MP The Life of Michael Petersen

I’ve been finding it tricky to locate decent books lately but this was an absolute gem.

As a kid who took up surfing at 10 years old the name Michael Petersen was one that I knew well. The King of Kirra as he was known, was an amazingly gifted and yet strangely enigmatic surf hero of the late 70s who disappeared from the frontline somewhat inexplicably in the early 80s.

I had seen this book around, but at $30.00 I wasn’t convinced it was a good buy. However on a chilly morning at the Torquay markets I happened upon it in a second hand stall for just $12.00. A fair bit for a second hand book, but I knew this one wasn’t easy to find so I snapped it up.

While it’s the tragic story of a superathelete and his battle with mental illness it’s also the beautiful story of a mum who never gave up on her boy, even now at the age of 55. It could easily be called ‘The Life & Times of Saint Joan of the Gold Coast’.

If you want an insight into the tormented world of paranoid schizophrenia then this is the book to read. It’s hard to know whether the drug abuse led to the schiz or the schiz pushed MP into drugs as a means of escape. Either way it is genuinely painful to read in places and yet I couldn’t put it down. I guess I’ve known a few MP types over the years too…

Sean Doherty is a gifted writer and can mix great yarns, lucid insights and wonderful humour.  Comparing Petersen to David Helfgott, Doherty suggests that this was a genius who was able to cut out all distractions and focus his energy so powerfully that no one could match his brilliance. But despite a surfing ability second to none he was unable to cope with the social demands of professional sport.

His illness meant he was absurdly self centred, compulsively competitive and unable to relate normally to anyone. The MP of the story is not a likable character in many ways, yet knowing he was a man battling an undiagnosed illness for much of his life, you are able to read and cut him some slack.

As well as telling MPs story Doherty gives great insight into 70s surf culture and the Gold Coast surf scene of that time.

MP still lives in the Gold Coast and Rip Curl have a contest in his honour as a way of remembering him but also raising awareness of mental illness. 

Here’s some blurb on the book from another review:

‘For three years MP was the best surfer in the world, hands down. The gangly, long-haired rebel from Coolangatta breathed saltwater, and ruled the waves with savage, groundbreaking surfing. He was worshipped like a god – other surfers simply got out of the water to watch him, and girls threw themselves at him. But once you discover his dark beginnings, you?ll understand why MP was destined never to be your average guy. Michael Peterson was a tortured genius… and one complex cat.

An undiagnosed schizophrenic, MP despised the fame his surfing powers attracted, and he retreated into a world of hard drugs, fast cars and shadows. He hit rock bottom after a car chase that took 35 police cars to stop him. After years of jail and psychiatric institutions he emerged, alive, but bearing the scars of battle. For 20 years Michael Peterson?s exploits in and out of the water existed only as a series of mythological tales, passed down by the surfing tribe — until Sean Doherty, editor of Tracks, sorted fact from fiction.’

A brilliant read!


Thus far in our trip we have been blessed with great weather. There have been a couple of rainy days and a bit of wind here and there but we have generally been able to dodge it pretty well.

But it’s getting trickier…

On Thursday we left Mt Gambier after a couple of great days with old friends Garth and Sharron Wootton. The icy cold didn’t affect us there as we stayed indoors, and Thursday evening when we arrived at a freebie camp in Port Parham we were greeted with a warm balmy evening, nice enough to sit outside in a T shirt and down a glass of red. 

However by morning it was cold and wet. We packed up during a dry spell and hit the road with Ceduna in our sights. Admittedly it was ambitious and the wild weather on the way slowed us down considerably. Our ‘wet weather plan’ is simple. Keep driving… 

But by 4 pm it was still raining heavily and blowing a gale. We had gone out of mobile range so we couldn’t check the BOM radars to see what the evening held so it was a little hard to know what to do.

Option 1 was to check into a motel and avoid the weather altogether. Option 2 was a powered site at a caravan park and option 3 was a roadside stop with no facilities.

We stopped at Minnipa and drove into the caravan park. It looked like it had been abandoned years ago but there were still taps and powerpoints and a dodgy looking ablutions block. The sign on the door said to pay at the local hotel. So we drove around to check the price. Given it was full of weeds and hadn’t been maintained we half expected it to be free. But when we heard it was $28.00 we almost laughed. I asked ‘if anyone would know if we just lobbed in (no one else was there) but that was a no go. A family motel room was $105 for a night, but then we would have to buy food as well. An expensive 12 hr stop…

We decided to try Poochera about 50km on. While the caravan park was better it was still $28.00 and the motel was $120. Ok… Let’s go free and hope for the best…

We drove 2km out of town and down a track parallel to the main road. The wind was blowing strong but it wasn’t raining. We started to set up the camper and by the time we were half way thru the rain began to pelt down and the wind howled. We had to hide inside for a 10 minute spell and found ourselves wondering if this was going to work! The camper rattled and shook and at times almost felt like it was going to blow over.

We also discovered that our doona was wet as rain had seeped into the camper and the mudguard had also let rain in so the floor and everything on it was wet. Ellie was urging us to take the motel option, but – partly because we couldn’t be bothered packing up- we decided to stick it out.

The storm eased and we finished set up. We cranked the two gas stoves up to try and heat the place and dry out our stuff. With all curtains closed the little camper got warm pretty quick, but the bedclothes weren’t drying quite so quickly. 

A dinner of left overs and tinned food was the easiest option and then it was bed time. A few more squalls hit but it seemed to be easing. We were hopeful that all would be ok but we were worried the wild weather might damage the camper.

By the time Danelle and I crashed the doona was almost dry and the wind had eased. A good decision it seemed…

We were woken several times by squalls and storms in the first few hours and then at 1.00am a small voice called out into the night ‘mum i accidentally wet my bed’. (as opposed to the days I do it just for the fun of it…)  

Some days I am so glad my name is not ‘mum’.

We got him sorted and went back to sleep… eventually. The rest of the night was punctuated with a mix of rain and wild stormy squalls and a few times we were thinking we’d have to make a run for it. However sleep got the better of us and before we knew it the sun had come up and we were out of bed. 

We drove on to Ceduna today where everything is now out drying. 

What did we learn?

– rain isn’t a big problem as long as it’s not sheeting in

– gas stoves function well as heaters when we have no power

– we need to tape up the openings in the camper next time we hit heavy weather or accept that everything nearby will be soaked.

– it was worth the gamble to stay out in the weather but i’m not sure that will always be so!

As we head home we can see that this will be the pattern for the next month or so – dodging wind and rain… 


Back in Business at Quinns Baptist

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you’d know that back in October 2008 we were asked by a local Baptist church (Quinns Community Baptist) just km from our home if we would like to go and work with them offering leadership and direction to the group. We discussed this, presented our thoughts on a proposed future direction and were voted in unanimously by the church members for a trial period where we both had opportunity to get to know one another.

This ‘trial’ ended in April and proved to be much more contentious than either of us had imagined at the outset. When it was time to vote in July a small number of people were able to vote us out. Despite around 100 regulars in the church, only 40 were ‘members’ and 12 were enough to see us off. So ended one of the most bizarre and brief periods of conflict ridden ministry we have ever had. The direct missional focus was at odds with the desire by some to simply do business as usual and we were perceived by some to be lacking in godly character.

We didn’t know what it all meant, but we felt we had acted with integrity thru the time we were there and were quite puzzled by the issues that surfaced, and the way they played out.

Over the last 3 months there have been changes in that church and the 12 people who found us offensive have moved on. As you can imagine this is a story that doesn’t belong on a blog, but it has cleared the way for us to go back there.

On Monday night the church voted and this time it was again unanimous that we return there as leaders. So when we get back we will take up the task of helping QCBC become a missionary community, we will re-energise our work with Upstream and link it with Quinns in some way and I will also be off digging trenches several days a week with my business.

We are really looking forward to the challenge of helping an established church shape its identity as a missionary community and of seeing where it all leads.

Thanks to those who have walked the journey with us and had the courage to make some tough calls along the way.

Moving right Along

Just a trip update for those who are interested…

After leaving Melbourne we headed south to McCrae – Phil McCredden’s place, where we spent 5 nights. The camper fitted perfectly under Phil’s carport so the occasional bit of rain didn’t bother us and we were able to use the house during the day. We didn’t get to see much of the peninsula as 3 of the days were spent meeting with the Forge National team discussing future directions, but it was great to see the guys again.

From McCrae we hopped on the Sorrento-Queenscliff ferry and made a 40 min trip across the bay instead of a 2 1/2 hr drive around. For $127.00 we felt this was well worth the $$ to save what would have been a laborious and unexciting day of driving. Instead the kids felt they had been given a treat and the drive from Queenscliff to Torquay was really enjoyable. The ferry ride was really nice and a great way to see a bit of the area too.

As we got into Torquay we were reminded again that it pays to check around before booking a campsite. The 3 ‘Great Ocean Rd’ parks we rang varied in price from $31.00 up to $60.00/night. With budget always a consideration we decided to go for the cheapest and stayed at Torquay Holiday Resort right in the heart of town. These guys were having ‘kids go free’ so we saved quite a bit and ended up staying two nights instead of the one we had planned. This was a good park with plenty of facilities for a decent price, but the second night was stuffed up by two noisy groups who wanted to ignore other people and party on.

It takes a lot to get me out of bed at night, but these guys did… twice… I often don’t go out because I know that it would be easy to end up in altercation and that isn’t going to help anyone. However after 2 hours of on again off again noise I left the camper at 11.30 to politely ask if they could keep the noise down. The group of 4 or 5 ‘p’ platers across from us were sitting on their verandah drinking and laughing, but apologised and moved away. However at 1.00am they woke us all again as boyfriend and girlfriend were having an alcohol fueled argument on their verandah. After 15 minutes of hearing their problems I had steam coming out of my ears and decided to make another approach. This time was a bit more icy and involved a bit more ‘telling’ than ‘asking’. They got the point and not surprisingly didn’t say ‘boo’ again that night. Probably lucky for both of us…

While in Torquay the surf was almost flat for the first two days, so any hopes of surfing the area were evaporating fast. We did manage to have lunch with Gary and Ev Heard on the Saturday and it was great to spend time with a couple who are engaged in some exciting and challenging work leading the 8th Day Community in inner city Melbourne. We met around 25 years ago at a Baptist Basketball Carnival and while we don’t know each other well at all, the web has been a place for reconnecting and observing each other’s lives from a distance. We really enjoyed being around some passionate and earthy people, catching up on life and hearing their dreams for that part of the world.

After the crappy night’s sleep, we headed off to make the drive down the Great Ocean Rd and enjoy it. We stopped into check the surf at Bells and Winki and saw beautiful 4 ft waves rolling thru, but decent crowds at both spots. I wasn’t up for the hassle so we decided to drive on.

There were some great waves all along and in hindsight we should have stopped at Fairhaven where there were a handful of guys getting into some clean beachies. However we decided to try our luck a little further along and stopped for lunch on the west side of Lorne where 3 blokes were riding a wave breaking down the point. For some reason in the time between us eating lunch and considering heading out the waves had died and they had all come in… so we hit the road again with the intention of camping in National park in Johanna and hopefully scoring some isolated waves there.

What I didn’t realise was that once you get around the other side of Cape Otway the swell goes beserk. Upon arriving at Johanna we drove into the carpark and saw huge 10ft mountains of water breaking well out to sea and looking frightening even from that vantage point, so I was a tad disappointed. You wouldn’t consider surfing that in your wildest dreams, so instead we set about putting up the camper.

Johanna is a beautiful area with big rolling green hills and a rugged coastline. The campsite is big and grassy and while I’m guessing the Nat park ranger must collect some fees, he didn’t turn up while we were there so we had a freebie. You also aren’t allowed to have fires, but my wife being the rebel she is decided to light one anyway. She and the kids did the marshmallow thing, but I thought it was warmer inside even with no power so I stayed there. Brrr…

The next day we packed up and headed off to do the rest of the Great Ocean Road. This is truly one of the great spectacles in Australia. Right from Torquay all the way thru to the end it is stunning. Danelle drove for most of it as my desire to keep looking to my left made it a little dangerous at times. Words and pictures can’t adequately capture the beauty of this place and even though I had done it several times before I was still in awe.

We pulled into Port Fairy around lunchtime expecting to stay somewhere there. This is a beautiful town with a strong Irish heritage evident in the buildings and names of the streets and buildings. It had a lot of charm and given a little more time we would have loved to stay a few more days and check it out. A price check revealed the budget campsites were either Killarney on the way in or at Yambuk on the way out. Still hopeful of a surf I opted for Yambuk and we drove out there and paid $24.00 for a powered site for the night.

This was actually a very good campsite, right on both beach and lake with great kids playground, good clean facilities and a cheap laundry with free clothes dryer. The surf was big, wild and woolly and the wind chill factor was up there with Jindabyne so I didn’t get to hit the water yet again. Oh well…

That evening the rain started at 7 and the wind started to blow pretty hard too. The BOM radar suggested there was a storm either just going to miss us, or go straight thru us… we weren’t sure which… Fortunately by 2am the rain had stopped and the storm had passed. The little Jayco survived another night… We could have stayed at Yambuk a bit longer as the kids found a huge slide that they loved and we were loving the wildness of the area, but we had arranged to catch up with old friends Garth and Sharron Wootton in Mount Gambier today, so we packed up again and hit the road.

The forecast for the next few nights is a bit dodgy so we have decided to sleep indoors rather than in our beloved camper. We can handle the rain, but if the wind blows like its supposed to then it could be very noisy and unenjoyable.

So today we have been loving catching up with the Woottons and getting our heads around the road ahead. We have until Friday 2nd of October to get to Esperance where we will be hooking up with some other good mates Graeme and Sharron Mason for the weekend. It means we will be seeing SA in 4 days and then driving pretty hard across the Nullabor. I have allowed for 2 nights at Cactus – just out of Penong – in case the surf is any good there, but otherwise we won’t be stopping for much sightseeing. It means we won’t see much of SA at all, but we just figure we can do it next time. Already we have pencilled in another trip in 5-6 years time so we will simply do the rest at that time.

Anyway that’s where we have been the last week or so…

With 5 1/2 weeks to go it feels very much like we are homeward bound. There is part of us excited by that and part of us quite sad. It has been great to be wandering travellers and especially in the last 2 months to have been able to spend a fair bit of time with friends.

But the real world beckons…

Bad Language

I have much to say on this, but for now I will refer you to a more that Mark Edwards pointed me towards entitled Toward an Evangelical Theology of Cussing.

More from me later, but if you want to think it thru then here’s a place to start…

Can a Pioneer Survive as a Pastor?



I realize that’s a short abrupt answer, but I don’t think we would struggle to hear it as much if it were framed the other way.

Try it.

Can a pastor survive as a pioneer?

No. Of course not. That’d be a silly thing to expect of a pastor!

Ok, maybe ‘survive’ is a little strong… but only a little. Certainly neither will thrive in roles that direct their best energies into tasks for which they are neither gifted nor inspired and eventually both will reach a point of either frustration or incompetence that may well see them walk away in disillusionment and /or despair.

Let’s not try and make pioneers into pastors and pastors into pioneers. The kingdom needs both to do their job and do it well, but we also need to accept that they are very different animals.

While I’m making bald statements I’ll make another, a personal one. I am a pioneer, but I am not a pastor. My friends will attest to this. I can dream up new ideas, I can inspire people to give them a go, I can even work with people to make stuff happen, but I am not very good at the ongoing nurturing and caring work that is integral to classical pastoring.

I used to be ashamed of this and felt my deficiencies regularly (and deeply) as people in the church community would tell me I was ‘unrelational’ or ‘task oriented’ always with a deprecatory tone about it. I guess telling them to ‘piss off because I am busy’ didn’t help (only joking…) but it was true. I am naturally task oriented and while I do enjoy people, I don’t get energy and joy from some of those specific pastoral activities that are required to make any community healthy. I am definitely not a ‘cups of tea’ person…

If your church is unhealthy and in a mess then I am not the bloke you want to come and help you heal thru the pain. I recognize that there are gifted godly people with these skills and passions and I am grateful for them, but I am not wired that way. However if your church is keen to explore new initiatives and wants to enter some fresh territory then I reckon I have some skills to offer you and the energy to make it work.

An obvious issue is that we call paid church leaders ‘pastors’ and naturally we then expect them to function in that way – as a caring shepherd. When a person is task oriented, fast moving and outward focused they don’t seem to fit the typical pastoral profile, but speaking as one of those people, I need to say that in my 20 years of leadership there has always been a great sense of care, love and responsibility for the people in my community. I hear Paul say that every day he feels deep concern for the churches under his care and I resonate with that, but it is less care for the specific needs of individuals and more care for the overall health and well being of the community. A pioneer/apostle will guard and protect a community theologically and they will seek ways to help the body maintain health – all big picture stuff, but they may be less involved in the minutae of people’s every day lives.

One problem, that has been discussed around the web in various places (see my previous post) over the last week is that our tendency is to expect pioneers to morph into pastors once a project is established or once a church is planted. But this is a sure way to kill both pioneer and church!

I think most pioneers can make the shift incrementally to a point, but it is not a sustainable arrangement. These days if I were leading a community I would be seeking to identify the ‘pastors’ in the community and helping them to get on with that job amongst the rest of us. Equally I’d be seeking out the other pioneers /entrepenuers to so that we should share ideas and energy.

I was just chatting this around with Mrs Backyardmissionary (who is very pastoral and nurturing) and she suggested that part of the reason we seek to convert pioneers into pastors is that we aren’t sure the project/church they have initiated will survive in their absence. A church can become unhealthily dependent on the founding leader, but ultimately that co-dependence is a failure of the leader to empower and hand over and the community to take up the responsibility.

This ‘start up’ focus of pioneers can also present problems if we see mission as long term and relational, because many pioneers do get bored easily and feel the need to move on to new ventures. I know I feel this regularly and need to ‘tame’ the wandering spirit. (I’m sure this is partly why I got married!) My own solution to this has been to make sure I am free to create and develop new ideas within the longer term setting. If I am able to have an outlet for creative ideas where I am then I am less likely to seek a whole new experience. However if I am asked to simply ‘grease the wheels’ then I will get bored in days and start vomiting soon after.

When Ephesians 4 speaks of prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers it is a picture of the diversity of gifts required for a body to be healthy. Simply pioneers and pastors are not enough either – we need the whole lot.

Sadly the giftings of one skill set can highlight the inadequacies of the other and unless we are secure enough in ourselves then we can find ourselves trying to be omnicompetent and doing everything. A bad place to be…

So can we let pioneers be pioneers and pastors be pastors?

I think we’ll find it hard but why don’t we give it a shot?

If you would like to read a different perspective then head over to Steve’s blog where he explores .

Other posts:

who started the conversation

A few Gems

I haven’t come across before but he echoes some of the tension I and those of us born with any kind of a pioneering / entrepreneurial gene tend to feel in church leadership roles.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the business world it seems accepted that entrepreneurs are always entrepreneurs, they specialise in “blue sky thinking” and they then work with managers and administrators… the worst thing to do with a new product/initiative is to leave it in the hands of the inventor! Yet in the Church it seems to be assumed that a pioneer will gradually morph into a manager/pastor… I’m beginning to doubt this model.


Steve Taylor picks up on the thought and offers his own reflections

offers some great insights to communicators here and suggests that google can actually help you think more intelligently about how you prepare what you have to say


Google Trends provides a function whereby you can type in a topic and discover in what regions of the world this word has been searched the most and what topics hold greatest interest. The search can be narrowed to show in what cities and in what languages people have been Googling for stories and articles on this theme.

Phil Cooke picks up on a similar theme and observes that unless careful


– Craft – You create something out of passion for the art of it.

– Crowd – An audience discovers you’re good at your passion.

– Commission – You earn money for the thing you love to do.

– Career – You turn a passion into your profession.

– Caretaker – You protect and nurture the thing you’ve created, and do everything you can to “defend” your turf. A dangerous phase.”

Once we’ve achieved any level of success, the tempation to become a “caretaker” rather than creator is very powerful.

David Fitch outlines the and why we need to think more creatively about the way we help people engage with scripture.


Myth 1: If You Preach A Good Sermon The Church Will Grow (in Numbers)

Many a despondent preacher has discovered that this notion is no longer true. It has become a dying myth in post Christendom. Nevertheless, this notion gets reinforced by mega churches who leverage (by video screens etc.) one (or two) charismatic gifted teacher to build crowds who come to consume a good sermon. This, I contend, is largely drawing on the leftovers of Christendom, people still looking for “good teaching” that is portable and user friendly to somehow improve their Christian lives. I take no offense in ministering to those of us who are leftovers from Christendom, we need to be fed and nurtured too! I just want all pastors who aim their ministries in this direction to realize the pie is getting smaller and the competition hotter. Anyone therefore still holding onto the premise – if I just preach a good sermon, they will come – and ministering in post Christendom- must either compete or be grossly disappointed with the continued dwindling of his/her congregation.

And on a different note, From ST Images some great shots

asks how you determine what to let your kids read and offers some great thoughts. (I taught Kylie 24 years ago when she was in year 8 so its funny to be linking up to her now!)


Read It First!

Genre is subjective and lets face it good writing can be not a necessary consideration, as lone as people invest in the story and characters.

Read It First!

Or at least find someone you trust to recommend for you or read it first.

And finally offers some great thoughts on how we express ourselves as the church architecturally. I have just started re-reading Simon’s ‘God Next Door’ and still find it a beautifully profound and simple book that inspires me to live the gospel in my world. The question of architecture and buildings is a very interesting one because space does create atmosphere and beauty is part of that, but then at what cost?…


Interestingly, Farrelly identifies the church as one of the traditional reservoirs of this beauty; the poetry of its theology, architecture and worship pointing us to truth. However, she bemoans the fact that contemporary expressions of religious faith are running on empty: ‘Religion, once a perennial source of beauty, is now principally a bums-on-seats business, competing for market share with every other lifestyle choice, from scuba-diving to virtual reality games, and striving therefore to be groovy, unthreatening, accessible and, above all, popular.’ The churches of today, Farrelly asserts, ‘seem determined to snatch mediocrity from the jaws of transcendence.’ As churches leave ‘sacred architecture’ behind, they’re embracing corporate or corner-store architecture in its place: ‘Times when sacred music, liturgy and architecture were troves of transcendent beauty are long gone, good-riddanced by the ever-more-populist church herself.’

The Hierarchy of Success

I stole this from Seth Godin because I think he makes some good observations. We all want to do something useful with our lives and this framework gives insight into why some do and some don’t.

I think it looks like this:

1. Attitude

2. Approach

3. Goals

4. Strategy

5. Tactics

6. Execution

Let’s face it – the ability to ‘execute’ is fairly unexciting in the light of a lousy attitude. Its been said that ‘attitude is everything’ and its not a bad quote. It does take some planning to make things happen, but the absence of a can do spirit means the other stuff might never get done.

I know when I am recruiting people I am much more concerned for attitude than for ability. Anyone with a healthy can do attitude is likely going to be able to make the rest of the stuff work. They will find a way. But a lousy attitude that blames others, or makes excuses is never going to see someone make a useful contribution.

So I guess the key in so much of life is simply getting the attitude right…

A Few Campsite Tips

In the last two weeks we have stayed in a range of campsites

The first was at Warilla, the Lake Windemere caravan park – for $25.00 four of us stayed on a powered site. We had a tip from a couple who have been travelling very cheaply so we figured this might be the go and didn’t check anywhere else. It was pretty clean and close to everything with a lot of people living onsite permanently. If you thought Geraldton was the bogan capital of the world then you haven’t been to the Warilla Caravan Park. 

From here we drove straight thru to Pambula, but had we more time we would have probably stopped a number of times. Ulladulla, Narooma and a few other places looked cool but we were on a schedule so we had to keep moving. While in Pambula we stayed at the Pambula Beach Park and it was fantastic. We had been generously given two free nights by some friends, but the subsequent nights were only $36.00 a huge bargain for a campsite right on the beach. Some of the uuique features here were a free kids club, a big heated lounge room, an indoor heated pool and an outdoor pool, roos living onsite (one actually jumped into our camper when Danelle left the door open…), heated bathroom floors and a great surf beach 50m from our site. Normally it’s $56.00 for 2 +2 but even at that price I’d be happy to pay.

From Pambula we made the drive to the snow and stayed in Jindabyne Holiday Park. We had considered staying at Dalgety, but the slightly cheaper site was a trade off against a longer drive and better facilities. It was $55.00/night here and while it wasn’t a bad park it wasn’t super impressive either. One bonus was free wifi, but for some reason it didn’t work in our camper so that was no big gain.

After 2 nights in Jindabyne we hit the road hoping to get somewhere near Lakes Entrance. It was an easier drive than we expected and we rolled into town about 2pm. We like to get to our destination early rather than later as set up is much less pressured. Again we had a tip that a council run park was the place to stay and the Riviera turned out to be a good choice. The sign on the office window said it was $35.00 for 4, but she only charged us $25.00, good value for a site right on the river. The only thing you have to contend with here us that the site is also the local footy oval, so you might have a bit of noise from training and the guys after, but no big deal. We only stayed a night, but I’m sure it would be good for longer.

And now we are staying in a powered site in the Belgrave Heights Convention Centre up in the Dandenongs. Danelle wanted to take the kids on the Puffing Billy steam train so thus was a good location. For $20.00 a night it is good value, but don’t expect a pool or any of the fruit that dedicated parks have. While we have been here the wind has been gale force – and ironically it has also been 30 deg c – but we are tucked away in a little spot that us relatively untouched ( at ground level ) by the wind. We can hear it wooshing thru the trees and 3 branches have come down near us, but so far we have survived! Had we been in the mire open spaces last night I reckon the camper might gave tipped over with the strenght of the wind. The campsite is very basic but if you are on a budget then it does the job.

Anyway that’s my campground round up for the benefit of my fellow travellers who I know are reading

Top Trim Motor Trimmers Bairnsdale

Most of us know that good customer service can be hard to find so when you see it you want to cheer.

Well this post is an advertisement for Tracy and the crew at Top Trim Motor Trimmer in Bairnsdale who today did a fix up job on the camper.

A few days ago while in Pambula strong winds blew the flies hard and began to rip one of the eyelets/anchor points out of the fly over our bed. It was worrying because if it had gone completely we would have had no protection from dew or rain and would have got very wet.

It has been hanging in the last few days as we have travelled but it was only a matter of time before we lost it. On the day it happened I called every motor trimmer in the Pambula/Merimbula area, but no one returned my calls… 

As we entered Lakes Entrance yesterday I did another search and found Top Trim in Bairnsdale. They told me they were flat out, but to drop in and they’d see what they could do.

It was the best offer I had found so we dropped in this morning.

As I entered the sign in reception said ‘we are unable to accept any new work until Feb 2010’… Busy people!…

But also very friendly and helpful people. I met Tracy who had a quick look at what needed doing and got one of her girls to do it on the spot. We did a bit of shopping, came back and it was finished – all for the princely sum of ten bucks.

The staff were interested in us, our trip and our repair job and they stopped what they were doing to help us out. It was a small job but often finding someone willing to do a small job is a challenge in itself.

So this post is an ad for them. Anyone googling Motor Trimmers in Bairnsdale will likely discover this post and I can reccomend these guys as top people who do a top job!