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30th July

The rain kept falling all night, the temperature dropped, it feels so cold and it is. Went down to the Museum to borrow their computer and internet service this morning – and the rain kept falling. The people at the Museum are absolutely wonderful but they are making me work. A TV interview and test drive another interview with a local newspaper is on the programme for tomorrow.
This afternoon I went out to Collingrove HillClimb. It’s about 25 miles away from Birdwood and being in the area I just had to go and visit the venue. When I was a child my father’s new Cooper had just arrived from England –he had a Manx Norton engine ready to mount into the new stead and then he was off to Port Wakefield to drive in the Australian Grand Prix followed the next weekend with competing at Collingrove HillClimb. For some reason I wasn’t allowed to go and I was sent to stay with my grandparents for the week. I was used to going everywhere when my father competed and I was completed gutted when I was taken to my grandparent’s house. I can’t remember how long I was there but I do remember sulking for the duration. My poor grandmother!
I saw the movie of my father driving at Collingrove all those years back and in my memory it is just like it happened recently so I just had to go and see the venue.
The South Australian Sporting Car Club gave me permission to visit and we arrived to see four kangaroos meandering near the course. What a lovely surprise for my two other team members to see our Aussie wild-life in full flight.
I sort of felt rather emotional when we set off up the hill. I’m so impressed with the hill. It is so challenging – I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to drive a competition car there. Mark was so impressed he was almost ready to ship his Cooper 500 out for the next event.
Snow is predicted for Friday in this area. That news is hard to believe and I hope the forecasters are wrong but whether it snows or not it really feels cold. Fancy leaving a hot Britain to come to cold weather!
Well………I must get my beauty sleep in time for the TV stuff tomorrow. The jet-lag symptoms are still raging but hope they have disappeared by Sunday and the start of the event.

29th July

Today we headed out of Adelaide to drive to Birdwood. The Adelaide to Darwin Veteran Car Run starts on Sunday at the National Motor Museum at Birdwood and there was no point hanging about the city – it would be a good test drive for the Oldsmobile so she could adapt to the Aussie petrol and conditions. We set out just before midday waved off by a couple of family friends I had not seen for many years. The sun was shining but the dark clouds seemed to be gathering pace over the hills in the direction we were heading.
It only took a half an hour and we were on the outskirts of Adelaide travelling through forests of gum trees with flocks of colourful parrots squarking loudly as they flew from tree to tree. I was amazed at how steep some of the inclines rose and it was necessary to change down to first gear on about three occasions as we climbed the hills at just 9mph.
Eventually we arrived at the picturesque township of Birdwood and I stopped to telephone for instructions to get to the accommodation we were booked into.
I just happened to stop in front of the Motor Museum to make the phone-call and we were soon joined from Museum personnel enquiring about the Oldsmobile. They asked if we would like to park the Oldsmobile in the Museum for a few days. As rain had just started to fall and the temperature dropped we thought it would be a nice dry place for the Olds. Now she is displayed in the entrance lobby of the Museum all roped off in the prime viewing position. That was seven hours ago and it hasn’t stopped raining since. I’m so pleased I stopped in front of the museum to make the phone-call.
There’s no internet connection where we are staying but tomorrow I will borrow the museum’s internet facilities to post this blog. I’m starting to believe that as we progress further into remote areas there might be difficulty with connections but we will see.

28th July

We arrived at Adelaide Airport at 5 a.m. It was still dark and rather cool. Taxi to Motel and it was totally in darkness – sat on our suitcases at the door until 7 a.m. and the front door was opened. Very nice friendly people said we should have rung the doorbell to wake them up. The next task was to pick up the support hire motor caravan and when we arrived it was still too early for them to be open. Eventually we set off in our small motor caravan to the South Australian Transport Office where I was obliged to apply for an International Visitors Permit which would allow me to pay for compulsory third party insurance. The system is different to the UK as part of the annual car registration (road tax in the UK) goes towards third party insurance. Three hours later I emerged from the government offices totally frustrated, fed up and suffering from jet-lag. At one stage I was convinced that we would not be issued with the insurance which would mean we would not be able to complete or even start the event. After numerous phone-calls, emails etc. it was decided to give us the documents. The problem was that very few people bring cars into South Australia that are registered in another country for a short period and the requirements that the Officers were asking for are not applicable anymore but they weren’t aware of current requirements.
By the time I emerged from the office my anxiety levels were extremely high but now with the correct paperwork we headed off to the docks to find the Oldsmobile to see if she was all intact AND she was with just a thick layer of dust all over her. After filling her with all the liquids, oil, petrol and water she started well and Mark drove her to the Motel where she was cleaned off and checked all over.
The sun sets about 5.30 at the moment and once it was dark the jet-lag took its revenge and everyone disappeared to bed before 7pm but at least all of the first day tasks were completed successfully, although rather frustrating at times.

25th July

Mark, Tweety and BruceWe are at Heathrow at last. The journey is now about to start. All excited and can’t wait to arrive in Australia to find the Olds. It seemed odd today leaving Britain in perfectly wonderful weather, usually it’s the other way around flying out to find warm weather. The rest of the Team seem happy. See photo!!

22nd July

The suitcase is almost packed. Had to take both winter and summer clothing. It is winter down south and when driving the Oldsmobile, without protection from the wind and elements, it sure can feel cold – the only protection is what you wear.
The others are excited, both are prolific tea-drinkers and have been agonising about the tea brands available in Australia! I have other concerns and that is how did my Oldsmobile weather the trip. We will be re-united next Monday.
We have a new Team member who will accompany us for the whole journey, unless of course he flies off somewhere else. I post a picture of him.Tweety

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