After one night in a location very far from paradise, we packed up camp in the hope that we may find something else even the slightest bit better. After spending probably in excess of $20 on telephone calls phoning all of Melbourne, we finally found the only alternative within a 100km radius of Melbourne, we drove over an hour out of town and to arrive at, the one thing about caravan parks we dread the most, a "NO PARK..."
...we gave up and decided to return to the slums. I'm quite certain that the unpowered sites are illegal sites and given an emergency situation, the park manager would be up the creek without a paddle because the entire unpowered tent area was smaller than two classrooms and they had about 15 tents practically on top of each other, we had to camp right in the walkway between the entrance to the amenities and the barbecue area but hey, nothing like getting the most dollars for every last piece of spare grass I suppose.
I found watching the faces of the campers turning up to their sites very amusing. Probably very similar to how ours were upon our first viewing. We noticed a large group of two Asian families literally had way too much of a large setup to even bother trying to scramble their way in between the other tents. I mentally wished them luck as I watched one of the fathers anxiously trying to phone other sites in search of an alternative. After a good 15 minutes, they left and I assume they had better luck elsewhere. I just hoped that they weren't as Anti-No-Parks as we are.
The caretaker lived on site and just looked after the influx of late campers arriving after the manager had gone home. Vera, as Tom nicknamed her, was... hmmm how can I put this without sounding like an evil witch... Vera was a little different and somewhat socially challenged.
After we had finished our gourmet hamburgers ... a meal to christen our u-beaut new Cobb that we got for Christmas from my Uncle and Aunty, Tom and I sat to enjoy the surroundings. As I don't actually find the noise of freight trains, low flying aeroplanes and heavy metal music exactly enjoyable, I was relieved when Vera was kind enough to provide us with some entertainment.
She came storming through the jungle of tents and marched straight over to a couple of young Japanese guys who had just finished erecting their tents. Our attention drew straight to whatever it was that Vera was ranting and raving about. After a good 10 minutes, Tom and I figured out that she was accusing the Japanese boys of not paying their fees and was threatening to have them forcefully removed from the grounds. Even to a point where she began ripping out the pegs from one of their tents. The poor guys looked so stunned at what was going on and were trying to explain to Vera the Interferer that they knew nothing about what she was claiming. And then the penny dropped, Tom and I put two and two together only to realise she was hunting down the Asian family that entered the grounds and departed very soon after. Vera picked these boys purely because of their race and was absolutely destroying the first night of the next 3 months!!! of their stay at Hobson Park Caravan Park.
The next part of this blog post is extremely difficult for me to write. However, it was nowhere near as bad as the torture I endured during the experience. Melbourne had been overrun by the Poms. Everywhere you looked, there was just red & white taking over the world. The fourth test of the Ashes was in town and so were the English. After day three, the Australian cricket team had been so heavily annihilated by the English that it was blatantly obvious that there would be no "Oi, Oi, Oi's" echoing around the 100,000+ seat stadium at the MCG on day four. Every Australian in town couldn't keep further away from the MCG. Nobody enjoys watching their country be defeated by an inferior team. (oh I bet that comment will cause some uproar!!).
That morning, I woke to the love of my life, who just so happens to be English, begging to go to the MCG. You have to be kidding me!! Not only is it hard enough to come to terms with the fact that for once, the English actually had one up on the Aussies (yet another comment that I'm sure will go down like a led balloon) but he also wanted me to go and watch it amongst 20,000 ranting Englishmen. I figured, I could either go and hold my head in shame all day long or go and be the only Aussie in the entire stadium there to support my boys.
So, off we went to the MCG to be surrounded by some very horse-throated English supporters with sunburn peeling from every inch of exposed skin. And, I must admit, as much as it may have felt like somebody had stabbed a knife into my heart and twisted it, it was quite enjoyable. My hat goes off to the English, particularly the Barmy Army... admittedly that is one thing that I enjoy about going to an English game... they LOVE their singing. In Australia, if a grown man was to suggest to the other 'blokes' at the pub for a group of them to go to the "G" (MCG) to sing some happy go lucky jolly little nursery rhymes at the footy or the cricket... they would probably cut him off from the bar and send him home to the sheila.
The St George's flagging was flying so high that if wasn't such a beautiful day, you would have thought you were in England. The game was over by lunchtime and the English ... retained the ashes. :(
Please note : these photographs were courtesy of Tom Simpson Photography. They were in no way courtesy of Amy the Australian.