It's me, Pappa Smurf back ( minus the beard ) to post my final blog.
A poignant moment in my life.
My heartfelt thanks go to :
* Uncle and Jenny Merrick for lending us many things including the best tent in the world
* Ellen and Rob Wade for lending us sundry items and giving very useful advice
* Granville and Yvonne Taylor for lending us snatch straps, compressor etc etc.....
* Roger Perkins for the use of a most necessary fridge that worked like a charm
* Geoff Green for hosting us on his wonderful farm at Tamworth
* Melanie and Narelle for their wonderful hospitality on their farm at Taroom Q.
* The Gatkowski clan at Bowen for their generous and warm hospitality
* Chris & Val Miesch for their hospitality at Lake Tinaroo ( great set up they have there )
* The whole Paspayley team - Nick, Richard, Cap'n Cook, Dace and his entire crew on board the MV
Christine ( we had a ball ) - we were quite reasonable honorary deckies.
* Malu and Mari Barrios in Darwin - your hospitality and hosting abilities were world class.
* Rod and Wendy Carter ( Rod is my cousin ) for their hospitality on their wonderful sheep and wheat
wheat property in Cunderdin W.A.... I am surprised that they can run that farm without us........
* Vern and Liz in Fremantle - your hospitality was fantastic as was the dinner party....
....so you can see that Mr Dear and I were quite successful spongers and , on reflection were adept at identifying unsuspecting targets; although, to be fair, we did, in many instances earn our keep.
The trip, for both of us was a once in a lifetime blast from start to finish. Everything went right, nothing went wrong, we met some extraordinary people ( Pete the tyre bloke at Weipa probably gets the man of the match ), saw some extraordinary places and were blessed with the weather. The highlihght?....working on the MV Christine, a Paspayley supply boat for 19 days.
We are blessed to live in Australia - it is 10 countries in 1 and I reckon we saw most of the 10. The people are interesting, funny and really a likeable bunch. The scenery is world class.
I love this country.
For a 10 year old Prado with 200k on the clock our little buddy did us proud. By the time Ian rumbled into Sydney it had done the 15k without missing a beat. Diesel and manual helped the 11 litres per 100k average fuel consumption. If anyone is interested in making an offer, it is a very reliable and sound vehicle.
Thank you for stepping into the breach for me for the last few weeks of the trip; it was appreciated by both me and Ian. He has difficulty eating tangellos alone.
DONATIONS TO CURE CANCER AUSTRALIA AND HMRI
To those of you who have donated go our sincere thanks; many of you have been very generous, thank you.
We do not have a final total figure yet but it is the thousands not hundreds - a wonderful effort.
If any of you would still like to make a donation, simply go to ' gofundraise.com or hmri.net.au '. We will be forwarding receipts to those who have made donations.
MRS HENDERSON AND MRS DEAR
To Ged and Christine go our profound thanks.
To get a leave pass for 3-4 months is a rare but wonderful privilege which we both have appreciated and we have both agreed that you are a couple of top sheilas. Thanks.
MY TRAVELLING BUDDY - MR DEAR
..........and they said it wouldn't work.
Spending 24/7 in a car or a tent with someone is a big ask. Spending 24/7 in a car or a tent with me is an extraordinary ask. Ian's intelligence and stoicism allowed him to be impervious to my idiosyncratic whims and all too rare companionable silences.
A good driver, a great travelling buddy and, someone who, whether he likes it or not will be a lifelong friend.
Thanks Ian - it was an unforgettable experience.
John from Singleton