Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Back from the HBA Conference

I got home early this morning from my awesome adventure down south for the Homebirth Australia Conference. In the last 6 days, I’ve driven around 3200km (2000mi) and attended a 2.5 day conference.

Of course, I made great time, and rushed home to see Littletree, which was great, but now I’m paying for it with having come down with the flu. Purple has made me a wonderful, spicy tomato soup with lots of garlic and my homemade chicken stock.

Anyway, I left after lunch on Wednesday, and stopped for a rest at about 8pm. I slept a few hours, and woke up around midnight, feeling refreshed, and FREEZING – it was 2 degrees (35F)! So I drove onwards… The van was whining a bit, and I realised the battery was draining with the lights and heater on after a few hours, so I stopped to sleep again, making sure I parked in a rest area where there were other cars, lest I couldn’t start again in the morning.

When I woke up, the van started, no problem, so I drove into the next town; Coonabarabran (The astronomy capital of Australia) and stopped to fill the petrol tank.

Coonabarabran has Australia’s largest telescope, and the worlds largest scale model of the solar system – it is spread out over about 200km! I have to bring Littletree out there one day!


My poor van, Sunshine, wouldn’t start again – flat battery.

At least I was lucky enough to have made it to the town! and more luck: I had broken down right in front of the NRMA (roadside assistance club)! The NRMA guy came to jump start me, and I said I didn’t think it was charging, and it was probably a problem with the alternator belt.

The NRMA mechanics looked at it, decided indeed, there was a problem with the alternator. While I waited, I browsed Coonabarabran, and found this awesome dolls house for Littletree in the OpShop, for only $5!


Back at the NRMA, it took about 5 hours to work out that the problem wasn’t the belt, but the alternator, which they pronounced dead. Apparently, a replacement alternator could be found in Dubbo; 2 hours south, but not until the next day.

I politely declined the offer of a (NRMA-paid-for) hotel room and a 24 hour delay, and got them to charge my battery – I then set out for Dubbo with the number of the place that had the alternator, not daring to switch off the engine for anything, to find an auto electrician who could fix it.

In Dubbo, I pulled into the first auto electrician I saw on the road, and begged them to help me… Maccas Auto Electrical – true legends! They not only agreed – at 3pm – to do the job, the apprentice quickly worked out that my alternator was not dead, but just the belt (oh the irony!), and replaced it for me.

On the road again by 5pm! No thanks to the NRMA!

Anyway, even despite the 8-hour-breakdown, I arrived to Echuca by 11am the next day. Since I had nothing much to do till the conference registration/ cocktail evening started, I browsed around the op-shops and walked around, and finally, went out to the resort where the conference was to mooch about till starting time.

Another moment of Luck! Anne Frye, who is somewhat of a midwifery-guru to me, having authored my bible: Holistic Midwifery, was also mooching around with not much to do.

Like a total idiot, I went up to her and blathered “OMG you’re Anne Frye! I’m such a big fan!”, She was really nice and we ended up chatting, and we sat together at dinner the next evening as well :D


The way home was somewhat uneventful. I drove all day yesterday (which was my birthday), stopping for stretching breaks in all the little towns, browsing in the op shops – I scored some great stuff; small remote towns always have the best op shops! I passed 177777.7km on my odometer


and was treated to a spectacular birthday sunset, complete with sunset rainbow



It’s nice to be home.


  1. You should also write a book! It would definitely
    be my bible!
    Quite an exciting adventure you've been on :)

    Hugs from Norway

  2. Happy Birthday! Glad to hear that the car troubles worked themselves out. I have to admit that what I know about cars would less than fill a thimble!

  3. Sounds like quite an adventure!

  4. Thanks Julianne! My editor told me just yesterday that I should be publishing a book. LOL I don't think I'm there quite yet.

    and Thanks Mouse; I do actually know the first thing about cars. and sometimes the second thing too; but I generally don't know what to do about the second thing, and I don't know the third thing. ;) I can diagnose most problems, I just can't fix them. (a little-known fact about me is that as a child I wanted to be a mechanic, and I did work in a garage for a while when I first dropped out of school.

    thanks karisma too :) every day is an adventure around here!

  5. Happy Birthday!! You were so close to us! Shame we couldn't have met you, what an awesome sunset.

  6. Happy birthday!

  7. What exactly is an op shop?

  8. Op Shop is an Australian-ism; it's an abbreviation of "Opportunity shop" and is usually a charity-run second-hand store, or thrift store. (The kind where people donate old stuff that is sold cheaply in the shop to raise money for the charity)


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)