Greg
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December 1977
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Groogle
This diary entry is from memory and with the help of some punch cards that I found on 3 December 2009. At the time I was on holiday in Australia with my wife Doris, who was visiting Australia for the first time.

Saturday, 3 December 1977 Bendigo Images for 3 December 1977
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This was the weekend of the family reunion. I saw many people I hadn't seen since I was a child, and maybe some I had never met before.

In the evening, my mother (Audrey) was sounding off about something that somebody had done to her decades before, making some of the people uncomfortable. Her brother Bob "the dog" Herbert saved the situation. He said “Audrey has a wonderful memory. But Gloria [their sister, and mother of Louis Nowra] has an even better memory. She can remember things that never happened”.


Tuesday, 6 December 1977 Bendigo
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After the family reunion, Doris and I set off to visit people we knew in the area, borrowing my father's Citroën DS 21 to do so. The following shows where we filled up, how much we consumed, and what it cost. The format is:

Mileage counter (trip mileage) / Litres / Price ($)
Brand  Location                 Date     Fuel consumption

A * in front of the volume meant that the tank hadn't been filled, and in some cases I omitted some of the parameters. The car had a speedometer and odometer in miles, but we calculated the fuel consumption in litres per 100 km. I'm omitting the date and location here, since it's in the headers.

70403 / 10.02 / 1.84
BP

Thursday, 8 December 1977 Broadford
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70731 (328) / *22.83 / $5.00
Ampol

My mother's family lived in Broadford since before she was born, and we visited my aunt Annie (really my mother's aunt), who was still there.


Friday, 9 December 1977 Frankston Images for 9 December 1977
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70856 (453,6) / 58.18 / 9.60
Esso                    11.1 l

My aunt (really my aunt) Freda lived in Frankston at the time.


Friday, 16 December 1977 Bendigo → Parilla → Adelaide Images for 16 December 1977
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71102 *245.2) / 28.58 / 8.46
Shell Bendigo           12.3 l

71407 (305.1) / 52.61 / 10.68
BP  Parilla             10.7 l

We set off for Adelaide to visit my aunt Audrey and my cousins Sandy and Karen.


Wednesday, 21 December 1977 Adelaide Images for 21 December 1977
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71641 (234.7) / 49.45 / 7.36
Shell                   12.6 l

Thursday, 22 December 1977 Adelaide → Hall's Gap
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71752 / ?19.61 / 3.04
BP  Adelaide

I'm not sure what the ? means here; possibly that we didn't fill up. This was at the BP station on Glen Osmond Road, and when I came out after paying I saw the Citroën driver's worst nightmare: lots of bright green oil running out from under the car. The oil is LHM (Liquide hydraulique minéral), which Citroën uses in the hydraulic systems. It's completely incompatible with conventional brake fluid, but my father later told me that some idiot had put normal hydraulic fluid in the system. It had been cleaned out immediately, but not sufficiently, with the result that the seals in the main pressure accumulator had failed—just as we were leaving Adelaide to return to Bendigo for Christmas.

Clearly repairing the accumulator was essential—without it we had no brakes or suspension—and it clearly required specialist knowledge, and above all parts. How many Citroën agents were there in the western states of Australia, an area of just under 5,000,000 km², half the size of Europe? I don't know, but I'm sure I could have counted them on the fingers of one hand. What a prospect. Without hope, I asked where the closest Citroën agent was—and it turned out that the filling station was the only Citroën agent in South Australia. They repaired the car immediately, and we left with a delay of only about 2 hours. The only issue was that they didn't have enough nitrogen to pressurize the system, and we had some issues with overly hard suspension as a result. But what an amazing coincidence!


Friday, 23 December 1977 Hall's Gap → Bendigo
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72088 (446.6) / 60.78 / 12.45
BP                      11.2 l

Sunday, 25 December 1977 Bendigo
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We spent Christmas Day with my parents in Bendigo. The weather was not pleasant: it was overcast, and the temperature only reached 17°. And that in the middle of summer, in a country considered to have a hot climate. We called my sister in London, where on the previous evening she confirmed that the local temperature was 14°—in the middle of winter in a country considered cool.


Wednesday, 28 December 1977 Bendigo
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72387 (299.1) / 56.29 / 10.02
BP                      11.7 l

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