Thank you all for your patience and returning to the site for our updates.
Bridget is now fully recovered except for a fault with the reversing lights that I will fix on Monday. She is to be inspected by the Licensing Authority when I should receive a Visitors Permit enabling me to drive her around Western Australia and most, but not all, other states in the country. I may have to get additional permits for certain other states. The Australian Government has certainly gotten off, to a fine art, ways of parting tourists from their hard earned cash for very little value.
I have now been in Australia for just over a month and should be starting the journey around the continent on Wednesday. The probable route from Perth will be south to Albany and on to Esperance, an area, I am told, of outstanding beauty. From there will be my first ‘long drive’ to Adelaide, then on to Geelong and Melbourne. Many people have warned me that some of the driving that I shall be undertaking around Australia will be monotonous. I am told that at least one road I will be taking is dead straight for 90 kilometres and quite featureless.
The dangers on the roads here, there are always some unique to every country, are basically kangaroos and roadtrains. The first, because of the way they leap, have a tendency to appear from nowhere and, as some can be over six feet tall, could easily wreck the car if I should hit one at speed. The second, roadtrains, are even bigger. Not unlike the 40 tonne HGV’s in the UK at the front they have up to three trailers! Firstly passing some of these requires long stretches of clear road for us to overtake safely, from what I wrote previously that shouldn’t be a problem, and secondly once rolling these vehicles don’t hang about. On the plus side, however, unlike in Asia, they do have working lights and indicators, they are not brightly painted with messages of Christian love and they do not generally drive down the middle of the road.
Regarding the condition of the roads, most of those I shall be using are, I am informed, tarmac covered and smooth. There might possibly be some that are not metalled in the interior and the northern state but they should be fine as long as it doesn’t rain. Summer is however the wet season in the north so it could prove interesting.
So everything being equal I will resume regular reports shortly, although of course, communications do not cover the whole of this vast land and sometimes there might be slight delays.
The past week there has been plenty of activity, starting last weekend with an MG Car Club of Western Australia event. It is a two day drive, well supported with 64 entries, and I was honoured to be asked to ‘wave it off’. I have been working each day on returning Bridget to full health, under the excellent guidance of Tim Harland, and a lot of things needed doing. It was interesting from my perspective as it felt almost as if, for the first time in forty years, I had returned to a normal 8:00am till 5:00pm job without any management problems or worries. I even felt guilty one morning when I was late arriving because I needed to go to the bank!
To round off my stay here in Perth, I watched the Red Bull Air Race, a change from cars. Although not my preference as a pastime, it was thrilling and the pilots are extremely skilful. I will upload a series of photos as soon as I get a reliable internet connection.