2011 Speewa Easter Hoedown PART ONE

May 2, 2011

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The Barn, venue for the Speewa Easter Hoedown

Sunday 17th April 2011

Because some Queensland visitors over to sample the new SA Aquatics centre were occupying our house, we spent a pleasant night in a caravan park at Tailem Bend in SA.


Tailem Bend Caravan Park

Monday 18th April 2011

Tony and Heather joined us with their caravan and we followed them on out journey towards Speewa.  We stopped for the night at a nice community caravan park at Murrayville, only $9.90 per night with very clean ablutions.


Murrayville Caravan Park

Tuesday 19th April 2011

We hit the road at 10.00AM and after stopping for lunch at Manangatang, reached the Barn at 2.30 PM.  Des came out to greet us and said he was sorry but there was no room left, the site was full.  When he saw our dogs he said he was sorry, no pets allowed, Then he remembered Helen and Heather and after some hugging he was persuaded to let us in.  There was only one van on the site, Bob and Margaret from NSW had arrived that morning.  Des’s mate Alex and his wife were also on the property and were set up in the only surviving “chalet”, the others had been demolished, suffering the ravages of white ants.  After setting up our caravans and annex, a reconnoitre of the ablutions and the barn and a chat with Alex determined that next day we would clean the toilets and the barn and set up the dining room for the visitors.

 Wednesday 20th April 2011

We got up early, had breakfast, then went in to Swan Hill to pick up disinfectant, bleach and other cleaning stuff.   On returning Bob was found pushing a broom, he had jumped the gun and had a head start on all of us.  He had removed the Red Back and huge Orb spiders (he did contemplate leaving the very large orb spider nestling in the shower curtain in the ladies amenities but decided he had better remove it.  So Margaret, Heather and Helen got stuck into toilet cleaning, whilst Roger removed the dangling stuff from the ceilings and Bob and Tony dismantled and repaired one of the ladies loos which was leaking.


Spotless Ablutions

 After a lot of hard work, the toilets and external wash up area plus the pathways and access areas thereto were swept, mopped, disinfectanted sanitised and spotless but we could not get the gas hot water heaters or urinal flush system working, so Des left a message on the local plumbers phone.   In short, - no bloody plumber, so Roger arranged a novel manually operated urinal flush system.  

 After morning tea and some hot cross buns we had a bit of a rest and then had lunch.  After lunch, the team reconvened and were back into it, sorting out the dining room and dance floor.  The team now comprised Heather, Helen, Margaret, Paula (the caller), Bob, Tony and Roger, supervised towards the end of the job by a weary Alex who had been slaving away with Des cleaning up the grounds.  Much sweeping, mopping, wiping, cleaning  and lifting/moving of tables and chairs had the dance and dining areas clean and tidy with the tables set ready for the hungry mob.  

           Broken flush so use the tap


Nice clean dance floor

  Dining room set up and ready for use

 The team then all sat down for a cupper joined by Des, Alex and his wife.  Roger than managed to get the gas hot water system working in the men’s and lady’s ablutions and after accompanying Helen and her two dogs for a walk to the ferry and back (during which it poured with rain and they all got soaked) managed to get the second gas hot water heater working in the “executive” disabled toilet/shower room and then helped Alex get the gas hot water working to the kitchen (its marvellous what can be achieved by jamming bits of wood and heavy weights onto buttons and other safety devices).

 All in all a satisfying days work.  Work!  That’s a horrible four letter word I thought I would never ever say now that I am retired.  At least we were prepared for the arrival of the other caravans, we could now sit in our chairs and laugh at their antics as they parked their caravans.

 Thursday 21st April 2011

Groan………Who volunteered to clean the griddle plate in the kitchen – you guessed it my big mouth.  After two hours of scraping and scrubbing we got the job done.  We used all sorts, including bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, vim, eventually the run off went from brown gravy to consommé then eventually clear water, we ended up sterilizing the final job with salt and water.  Helen and I were joined by Heather and Tony, us blokes were left to clean the griddle whilst the ladies busied themselves with the work surfaces, sinks, utensils etc.  We rounded of the job by mopping the floor (to remove all the spilt gravy).

 Seriously we enjoyed the experience.  Giving makes you feel good!

 And so we sat down fro a rest, when some square dancer roared into the campsite at 100 mph and ripped up the water system.  At that very instant, Tony was pouring a glass of water and commented someone is using all the water, the pressure is very low.  Panic!  There was a fountain right in the middle of our camp.  Eventually we isolated the tanks and switched the pump off.  Whilst one group dug up the concrete covering the broken pipe, we scoured Des’s shed to find appropriate pipe fittings to fix the leak.  Oh the fickle finger of fate!  Prior to leaving Adelaide, Roger lost a screwed plug to his water tank, so had to buy another one.  When leaving for Speewa there it was on the ground about 10 metres from where he dropped it.  Guess what?  That plug was needed to finally complete the repair job to the broken pipe.  Amazing!  Whilst we were doing all this work, the culprit calmly parked and set up his camper seemingly oblivious of the commotion he had caused!

 Bob and I were trying to work out all the trades we would need for all the jobs we had done and reckon we would have needed a: plumber,  gas fitter, electrician, pest control officer, cleaner, kitchen hand, irrigation specialist , hospitality / function worker, furniture removalist, gardener and psychiatrist.

 That night Des put on dinner for those who had arrived, including our principal caller Peter Humphreys who made it early this year.  The dinner comprised soup, followed by rabbit venison and bacon hot pot with potatoes and veggies (very nice).  The proceeds of that dinner went to Des’s special charity “Beyond Blue”.  If you missed the dinner, you can go to the following web site and make a donation:  just click on the blue link to find out more.


 Des’s Beyond Blue Meal  (Looks like Peter preaching to his flock)

 Friday 22nd April 2011

I awoke in the morning; eureka!  I had an idea how to fix the hot water to the men’s and ladies ablutions (it was lukewarm).  When getting the heaters started there was a funny spindle/knob, I wondered if twiddling this would make the gas burner work harder, so I got up and twiddled, hey presto problem solved, hot showers for everyone.

Then it was time for breakfast as I pushed down the electric toaster, a shower of sparks shot out of it and yells emerged from adjacent vans that lost power because I tripped out the main circuit breaker.  Solution: throw toaster in the rubbish bin; use the gas grill.  Today more and more caravans arrived and they got packed in tighter and tighter until the site was fair bursting, by 6.00PM dinner time we had 22 caravans /motor-homes/campervans tea. 

 Full House

We had caravans two deep (right of photo)

 Finding power points and water connections was a problem.  Our caravan drew water from another caravan and a third caravan drew water from ours, then later an Avan  plugged into the third van.

The dining room was also well patronised for the traditional Good Friday fish dinner, beautiful steamed fish, vegetables and potato-bake, followed by chocolate pudding or bread and butter pudding; very nice, a good country style home cooked meal.  After the meal we had our first dance, not bad, 8 squares on the floor for most of the night, even more surprising, we had just over 3 squares from South Australia; 12 dancers  from Wild Frontier (click on, 5 from Goolwa Paddle Steamers, 4 from Adelaide Outlaws, 2 from Pine City Twirlers (Naracoorte) and 2 from Kanella Squares . Des said he had over 100 registered for this years dance.  Peter did most of the calling except we danced to three other guest callers, Ivan, Ralphy Baby and young Jayden.

Friday Night Dance








Peter Did Some Great Calling That night






Alex and “his manager” - Alex put in an incredible work effort the whole week



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