Sylvia had arranged through Al for us to gate crash a Campervan Rally so on arrival in Tasmania at 7.15am, we set off from the boat to join the Van Demons of Tasmania. On the way I stopped for Diesel and I thought I could not be more embarrassed than when we spoke with the quarantine officer on boarding the boat. Wrong. We got out the manual again to find out how to open the fuel cap. Sylvia found a lever and pulled, the pump attendant said, "Well you now know how to open the bonnet". Eventually I got it by accident; I should have known everything 'down under' seems to be the opposite way to home. Lying in bed one morning I remarked, "It's strange to think we are lying upside down".
Anyway, we could not have been made more welcome by the Van Demons and we count Al and his partner Viv as friends; the President Sue MacKenzie was also very helpful and is now a member of our blog site - they were all lovely people. First we went in the shuttle bus to the town's tulip festival; yes they grow tulips which they sell to Amsterdam. You may have some of the bulbs growing in your garden and believe they were grown in Holland. The banter in the shuttle bus was very funny and we wont forget the driver George and his remark, "When I come back in another life I will have my initials after my surname, they have done no bloody good in front of it". There were 42 vans and we had the use of the site and buildings belonging to the local Lyons Club of which Al was a prominent member.
An early comment was, "I bet you are very excited at owning your first campervan, I know I was". I replied, "I don't think I have settled yet, those drives through Melbourne scared the life out of me". He replied, "Listen, those drives through Melbourne scare the life out of us". What a nice man; I felt much better and assured.
All members join together for 'Happy Hour' and a good blether; definitely our kind of club. After the evening meal most members get together in the main building and Sylvia was welcomed to the female group and I was sent to join the men. Eventually one man took us outside with a big torch to look for possums, of which we saw many, and wallabies of which we saw one. Whilst walking and shining the light on the animals our friend mentioned that we should also shine on the grass in front of us in case there were snakes; Sylvia was wearing open toed sandals. Prior to leaving the building I had promised one lady I would bring my monkey 'Squeaker' on my return.
Yes folks, Squeaker is also on his holiday; for those who have not yet had the chance to meet Squeaker, he is the ugliest arm puppet monkey you will meet and I love him. Well when I entered the room I was carrying my coat over the same arm that I had Squeaker on and Squeaker was doing his stuff. Many of those present thought the mad Yorkshire man had got hold of one of the possums. It caused quite a stir and much laughter. We won't forget the Van Demons and I don't suppose they will forget us. We look forward to our next rally where ever it may be.
NB Our van is on the extreme right of the picture.