Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas Down under

How ya goin'? This is the greeting we get everywhere in the Riverland! "Good, thanks" is the usual response.

We are starting to settle in a bit now and feel that the river is definately the heart of the town and we are lucky to only be a few minutes walk away from it. Many leisure boats cruise up and down the river and at the nearby "town" of Paringa the bridge opens twice a day to let through large houseboats:

We're hoping to be moving at the beginning of Feb when our stuff arrives from the UK. We have seen a house that we like and it's very close to where we are currently. See this link to have a look:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=673&wrapid=tlif132529585324410&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=Tower+tavern+renmark&fb=1&gl=au&hq=Tower+tavern&hnear=0x6ac12b90760b3ec7:0x5033654628efc30,Renmark+SA&cid=0,0,17140514514739380181&ei=82j-Ts-MEOGTiQe_rNncBQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&ved=0CAsQ_BI It's a couple of minutes to the river, about 15 minutes from my work and school (walking). It's tough to walk anywhere at the moment though as the sun is very strong and hot. They've forecast 42C on Wednesday which is hot! I think the other seasons (Autumn, Winter and Spring) will be a bit easier to manage. From the house about 5 minutes walk away is the Tower Tavern which has a lovely outdoor decked area we can view the river from.

For Christmas we went to my bosses house and were privileged to join his family and friends for Christmas. The morning started on the river where Alex and Imogen got to sample the "donut"

Afterwards we went to Jonathan and Becky's house.

On Boxing Day we travelled to Adelaide, going via the Barossa Valley which is famed for it's wine with the likes of Jacob's Creek and Penfolds. It was very beautiful.

In Adelaide we visited the nearest sea-side which is Glenelg which was a bit breezy but warm and generally looked round Adelaide visiting the Botanic Gardens. Alex comandeered Trevor's camera and showed some promise!

On the Wednesday after Christmas we decided to explore the waterways a bit more by canoe/kayak and were lucky enough to see a couple of koalas!

Alex has been trying his luck at fishing and has caught shrimps and european carp so far. The Carp are considered a pest and cannot be returned to the river alive - so hard luck them!

Well, it's now New Years Eve and we will celebrate with a curry and some bubbly, possibly a venture into town where there is a fair.

It just remains for the Lancasters to wish everyone: 

A Very Prosperous and Happy 2012

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The First Two Weeks

Well, we've been here nearly two weeks and I think we're finally getting somewhere.

River Murray, Renmark

The house is sweet and comfortable and the town has most things in it, with everyone being friendly.

I started work last Monday and by Friday I'd stopped panicing so that was a good thing! There was much to take in - not only still a beginner at podiatry but a new computer system. All the clinical notes, appointments, letters, referrals are all done on the FrontDesk system. This does make things easier, once you know what you are doing! The Australian health system is different than the UK's at appointments may be free (provided by Medicare which is like their NHS) or to pay for. If you're a war veteran, or the spouse (?) of a veteran you have a department of veteran's card and voucher, you are entitled to free treatments. Private patients have to pay and medicare patients can get 5 free treatments a year. Medicare patients have to be referred from their GP and will have a need ie are diabetes patients or similar.

The practice is well run, efficient and well equipped. There are currently 7 pods working in it, but one practice is up in Queensland (West coast of Oz). The rest of us are rota'd to go to clinics in Renmark, Loxton (40km away), Waikerie (80km), Berri (30km), Barmera (40km), Mildura (100km?). Here we usually work out of a hospital which has hostel or "aged care" facilities attached and patients are a mix of private, hospital etc. All my patients so far have been "routine" - nails, corns, callus, dry heels with fissures, ingrowing toe nails. The way I am asked to treat is a bit different to UK - I don't use the "diamond deb" files - rather I use a sanding disk on the drill. Also I use a different drill burr most of the time. For ingrowing toenails a chisel blade is really good - I was a bit wary of this at first but am getting used to it now. With only 20 minutes a patient for everything including taking payments, and booking appointments it can be a push! Tomorrow I am going to Lameroo which is in the "Mallee".

We are gradually getting to know our way round and having bought a car is essential. We got excellent service at the local garage and it's a case of who you know! Once you drop in the fact that I work for "Jonathan Ellis Podiatry" the shop assistant or whatever can't do enough for us!

Our New Car - A Holden Commadore

We are busy making real nuisances of ourself to the local mobile/telecom company - Optus, who I can honestly say are hopeless - yes even worse than India! They charge an absolute fortune and haven't a clue what is going on! I'm trying to write this blog and the internet has cut out on me 4 times so far!! Frustration or what??

Anyway, we've see the local sweet possums. These live in the trees next to the river and come out at night. Someone leaves food out for them and they come to eat it!

Yesterday we decided to go for a drive. Trev was navigating and took us down an unmade road which was compressed sand! So we turned round after deciding that getting stuck wasn't a good option. On the way back we saw a kangeroo.

Today we've decided to join the Aussie masses and bought ourselves a BBQ and outdoor dining set. We've resorted to making our own bread because it's expensive unless you pay a fortune for it - like £3 per loaf. The fruit is very good -in season are oranges, apricots, plums, nectarines and cherries. As the climate is hot meditterranean there are tomatoes, aubergines, olives, courgettes etc - but it's best to buy from local growers because they taste better.
View over the local countryside.
The meat is good quality and pretty good value as well, but coffee is expensive and we are buying water because from the tap it's awful!

Last night we had a massive electrical storm and loads of rain which we're told is unusual for this time of year. Today it's hot again - about 30C and sunny/cloudy.

Well must go now and see if the boys are managing to fix the BBQ together without my input!