Win a holiday - what a scam

Wouldn't you just love to win anything let alone an all expenses paid holiday of a lifetime.

Many of us enter competitions, raffles and the like in the hope to win a prize let alone a wonderful holiday to somewhere, anywhere. I have family members who love to enter various competitions regularly in the hope of winning anything. I know of others who do so too. Australians in particular have this hopeful, gambling bit in our blood.

I know I would love to win any type of holiday especially an all expenses paid overseas holiday.  I count myself lucky to have won a door prize here and there and I still treasure this granny square blanket that I won and was made by a blind person in Bundaberg. I have not been lucky enough to win anything major and most of us in in that boat.

This Perth couple won their dream trip to Canada, including wonderful new luggage.

There's just no way you would begin to think it could possibly be a scam, especially as you haven't given your money or bank details. Most of us are smart enough not to do that, plus something like this happens to others not to us.

Yet, this couple were unwittingly conned into become drug mules as their new luggage had 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden inside each case, with a street value of $7 million dollars before they had even began to put anything into their bags.

Photo Source

I am uncertain what raised their suspicions, but thankfully for them, they took their concerns to the police and after some investigation, arrests were made of the true perpetrators.

Their dream holiday could have so easily turned into a nightmare and they could have spent the rest of their lives behind bars.

I found the gist of this story online at WA Today. where you can read the full story yourselves.

Installing RV water tanks

To start with, there are basically 4 types of water tanks that can be installed in your RV.

  1. Fresh water tanks - great for showers, washing, flushing the toilet. 
  2. Drinking water tanks - this need to be made from food grade material such as high density polyethylene.
  3. Grey water tanks - for holding waste water from everything except the toilet.
  4. Black water holding tank, for all waste from the toilet.
Tanks can be made from various materials. The fresh water and drinking waters can be combined in the same tank if the container is suitable for food and water storage. Accessibility also needs to be taken into account when designing your tanks and their placement.

Free camping can be limited if you don't have enough water storage
As we intend to spend many days free camping or boondocking as it is called in the States, we also need to carry as much as possible. Whilst we wish to carry as much water as possible, we also need to try not to go overboard. It is the lack of water and power that are the two biggest limitations on free camping. We have installed solar panels on our RV. Now we are trying to be wise as well as practical about the amount of water storage we can handle.

Baffles inside one of the tanks to reduce water movement
Rob has been busy making the various water tanks for the bus. Even though he has had over 10 years in the rotational moulding (polyethylene/plastic tanks) industry, he decided to make all the water tanks from aluminum with the exception of the drinking water tanks.

Checking the fit

All these tanks are made from 3mm aluminum. They will be all different sizes and shapes to maximize the various 'odd' spaces that are available underneath the  floor of the bus. After cutting and welding the tanks, Rob coated the inside and outside of each tank with a special paint to stop any corrosion. This paint is especially required for the black water tank as the acid breakdown from its contents is extremely corrosive. This paint is not suitable for drinking water, hence the fresh water tanks will be used for non food related purposes such as clothes washing & showers and we will purchase the drinking water tanks.

Black water tank

At the time of writing the the plumbing fixtures still need to be installed.

2 fresh water tanks

Giving a helping hand in Christchurch

Helping others has always been a part of who we are and what we do. We don't expect that to change just because we have retired, if anything, we now have even more time to volunteer. Even when we are traveling we love to do some volunteer work. We find it so enriching. You can read about some of our previous travel volunteer jobs at the end of this post.

Our talents and gifts don't disappear just because we reach a certain age. We may not want to work long hours again, that is our choice but we still want to be useful to society and give something back. As the saying goes, you get more out of it than you put into it.

At the end of September, Rob had the opportunity to go to Christchurch, New Zealand as part of a building mission trip with a team of about 19 from our church. They were to assist Spreydon Baptist Church in whatever areas they could especially with building some units for rehabilitation/retreat for ex prisoners.

The people of Spreydon Baptist Church have suffered greatly at the expense of the Christchurch earthquakes and numerous tremors since then. Yet they quietly get on with not only looking after their own parishioners but with the wider community

Various Volunteer organizations

There are many different volunteer organization and you can easily find one that suits your talents and personality. One doesn't need to have a trade, though this is certainly very welcome. One can just be a willing body, trimming bushes, cleaning windows, cooking a meal etc. Some organizations allow you a lot of flexibility as you travel and fit in various 'jobs' along the way. Others need a date commitment as they organize teams - often these are bigger and we are just a part of a wonderful team of volunteers. Some are responders to a crisis. You will be vetted and I assume all organizations do their own vetting of clients, though this depends upon many factors.
BCA Nomads (Bush Church Aid) helping churches in remote areas from gardening to building to haircuts and filing etc! This is our personal favourite.
MMM (Mobile Maintenance Missionaries) by providing building, maintenance and other practical services to people and Christian Organizations needing assistance
Outback Links  aims to give people living on the land in remote areas a helping hand
Blaze Aid helps families and individuals after a natural disaster. We haven't worked with this organization yet, though we have heard excellent reports of their work.

You can also help

Previous volunteer jobs

Some of the previous volunteer jobs we have done include assisting at various church usually cleaning and maintenance via an organization called BCA (Bush Church Aid). Many outback churches have a parish size that makes it very difficult and isolating for ministers and the parishioners to get support. Often times there is just not enough people in the church. A couple of jobs from working with BCA, included lifting lino and replacing a gutter at Roxby Downs. Another was installing play equipment and relocating the contents from an old shed into a new garage at the Underground Church in Coober Pedy.

We loved our stay at a youth camp ground called Wirraway, near Adelaide. Rob's building skills came in use here as they needed a pack kitchen installed in one of their cottages. This job was done through an agency called MMM (Mobile Maintenance Missionaries)

When we were in Queensland the last time, we joined up with Outback Links which aims at helping people in remote areas in various ways. We were allocated to assist on a cattle property, called Bogarella. There the young couple were struggling to find enough hours in the day. The house needed lots of little maintenance jobs done around the place and the young mum was glad to have someone help her catch up with jobs such as spring cleaning & ironing. In actuality I think, she really needed a distraction for her very energetic 4 year old boy, which I thoroughly enjoyed providing. We jumped on the trampoline and played lots of running games. I reckon I was smart as I worked out games where he had to run and I was not required to do anywhere near as much running! LOL It was a joy as it was like having one of my own grand kids with me for a bit!

Tidying Rob's Man Cave

Rob is doing some volunteer building work this week in Christchurch, New Zealand, which is still recovering from the devastating earthquakes of 2 years ago and the near constant tremors.

Rob on the left, working in Christchurch

So while he was away, I thought that I would lovingly surprise him a surprise by sanding this amazing tilt cupboard he has made. It was a job I had promised to do, but had procrastinated doing since it is way out of my comfort zone.

Whilst in there I thought it would be nice to sweep the bus out. I sort of got carried away and I ended up dusting and rearranging his millions of tools, screws, nails etc that have migrated into his new man cave. Good grief... I even vacuumed the floor of the bus! It took me all of three hours to do and this is just one tiny little bus!!! How much mess can a guy make? I didn't think to take a before photo, but here is the after photo. It is deliberately not too much detail since the bus is still a long way from finished, but you can see the floor and even some bench space.

After the tidy up

Will Rob be happy or horrified with what I done?

I understand that the garage is the quintessential man cave, and as such is a man's sacred sanctuary. By all intents, the bus seems to have become an extension of his man cave. Now when you read about a guy's man cave, it is a neat place where the man can escape to to do his tinkering. Not my Rob. His main workshop would look like a mess, especially his benches, to the uninitiated. But generally speaking, he does know where everything is.

As he has done various jobs in the bus, he has covered every surface with the myriads of tools and equipment that he has used. I guess there's no point in taking them back into his garage when you might need it again in the bus. Inside the bus now, are his welder and 2 masks, dozens of spanners, just about every screwdriver he owns, 2 measuring tapes, and I swear he has every one of his smaller electric tools in there from his nail gun, 2 different sanders, Oh lets not forget there are thousands of screws and pop rivets in every size imaginable.

I'd like to think Rob will be happy when he sees what I have done. Surely a clean and tidy space is not only aesthetically pleasing, but being a bit more organized, he will be able to quickly find that elusive tool he needs.

Take a gander at some real workshop type man caves. (There's lots that are just a glorified boy's room. I am talking about real workshops, man!

Photo Source

Photo Source: Chez Larsson

So what is your verdict? How would you react to such 'interference?

Time to myself.

Well Rob has gone to Christchurch, New Zealand on a building mission trip. So I get to spend a whole week having "Me" time.

I have spent lots of time browsing the internet.There are so many great ideas which I have collected and posted on my pinterest board here.

I have a variety of pin boards for food ideas, craft, travel destinations, parties etc. One board you might find interesting is my 'camping-caravaning' board where there is a collation of ideas that might be useful for people camping, in caravans, mobile homes and other RV's.

I want to make this for my RV

I spent some of my free time making these cute owl heat packs for my grand daughters. They seem to be quite popular with others asking for some too!

This is the first of the 3 owl heat packs I made this week
That's part of the beauty of having some totally ME days

What a wonderful way to serve fruit. Easy enough to do whilst camping too!
Rob had better watch out - I rather like being so selfish. I guess he had better come home soon before I get too used to it. Now let's see what else I can get up to whilst he is away!