A Freak Gasoline Fright Accident

Apparently our bus is over 3.1m high. Thankfully the dangly bits informed me before the cover tore our air con unit off. By the looks of things someone else wasn’t as lucky. On a related matter, there is now a 3.5m sticker above my driver’s seat. I think the bus is 3.3m at a stretch, but I’m not risking it.

“A flat white, extra shot and the fuel please. Sorry, I don’t know the number,” I said to the console operator at the service station we topped up at in Bowen as I pulled out my card. “It’s the diesel.”

This was the fifth time I’ve put fuel in our bus since we left Gympie, which is a mere 1000kms or 11 hours down the road. Because my father-in-law started to explain what’s involved if you run out of fuel with a diesel engine I’ve been treating a half empty tank as the sort of crisis Zeus would have assigned a god to.

Still, the actual process of filling the tank is pleasant enough. For one thing I get a break from driving and the kids, who aren’t allowed out of their seats at a service station unless they need to use the loo. Tracey will usually take them while I clean the windscreen or tell the bloke on the other side of the bowser how great my bus is.

But on this occasion the windscreen was clean and the only other person attending their car was too far away for polite conversation.

In general I was just drifting off a bit and not paying as much attention to the world as perhaps I should have been. As I picked up a nozzle I distinctly remember thinking, ‘Premium Diesel? I’ve never heard of that before.’

Which is probably why, standing at the checkout five minutes later to pay for fuel, the next thing out of the lady’s mouth made my blood run cold.

“I don’t have any diesel owing,” she said. “Do you mean the premium unleaded?”

I wasn’t hooked up to any diagnostic machines so I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure my blood pressure hit a personal high score at this point. Words started to back up in my constricted throat, and then came pouring out.

“OMG!  I bloody hope not,” I blurted while wondering how much this was going to cost to put right in the week before Christmas and who I was going to get to tell Tracey. “Y0u must have another bowser on the screen. Shit! Tell me there’s such a thing as premium diesel. Please!”

“It’s okay,” said a voice from the kitchen: the gravelly, grill-jockey voice of an angel. “His wife paid for it on her way to the toilets with their kids.”

Maybe going forward I should order the coffee before I attempt to fill up the bus. I better drink it too.

“Look, Mummy!” yelled Miss4. “I know what that  factory does – they make clouds!”
Things got a little warm on the bus with no air con so we picked up some hand held fans for the kids. What could go wrong?
Somehow this was our fault.
I suspect Miss6 just wanted some attention too.
Bringing the bikes was an excellent idea – right up until it wasn’t. Exhaust seems to be unfortunately placed. It actually melted the reflector off one of the wheels.
We used up 40% of our available download in the first two days. Naturally the kids copped a mouthful. Then we realised when I got my new iPhone and transferred the info across it acknowledged I owned various songs but didn’t actually add them to my phone so we’ve been playing about 10 hours of music from cloud. Kids got their electronics back with an apology.
My sister sent this photo of a chocolate fountain she’s got in for Miss6’s birthday party on the 26th, at which point the kids informed me I was to drive directly through to Wonga Beach. You can’t argue with chocolate. We managed the 1180km from Yeppoon over two long days, stopping only for pees and supplies and diesel and an overnight nap at Ayr which, although I didn’t see a sign, I’m pretty sure is the roundabout capital of the world – I don’t know who your town planner is but they don’t like right angles, eh? You could probably do Yeppoon to Wonga Beach quicker, but sometimes we hit 40kms/hour going up a hill. Yep, we’ve become that vehicle. 
First things first – getting the laundry up to date. Miss6 says she likes hanging the washing here because she can reach.
With a little help.
Meanwhile, the set up at the bus has begun. And of course I nearly went ass up coming out of the bus because someone had taken the step.
Our set up is looking mighty cosy. Amy, those lights were an excellent idea.

Some home video of the kids being super excited because after two big days (8am to 7pm & 8am to 4pm) we arrived at our Christmas destination – Wonga Beach, north of Port Douglas. Now to relax and enjoy this tiny bit of paradise which my sister, Kez, and her hunka-hunka burning love, Daz, manage. Try to ignore the sisterly shove in Miss4’s back from Miss6 and try not to notice the mess down the aisle where some stuff had moved out from under beds and our table when I went round corners and over the speed bumps. And if you manage all that, try really hard not to notice how fat I am. Or my chins. Thank you.

Raising a family on little more than laughs


  • Looks loverly! I still cannot believe that you’ve headed north though … just in time for cyclone season/the big wet!!!

  • Welcome to Wonga Beach. Make sure if you go on a croc tour, you go with Ricky J as he’s the best (croc express I think down near the ferry).

  • Sounds like some long drives there. A tip to make the drive more bearable – audiobooks. Keeps you entertained and allows you to focus on the road. Try one, you won’t be disappointed.
    Merry Christmas to all & happy birthday to Miss6 (from another Boxing Day baby).

  • Oh I sympathise with your fright! Glad it worked out so well Bruce!

    Our 3 adult daughters headed off to inlaws and work after Xmas lunch at our home today. They were heading in 3 different directions and all had a drive of around 2 hours.
    After the first 2 cars had left, daughter number 1, who HAD to be back in Bris for a 5pm shift as an emergency vet, began to pack her car.
    Except no keys, which were eventually located in number 2 daughters handbag, already almost an hour away.

    Fortunately we were able to move keyless daughters gear quickly into one of our vehicles and send her on her way.

    My parting words? “love you darling, drive safely, thank you for a wonderful Christmas, we’ll miss you, the roads are wet, be careful, blah blah blah”.

    Her fathers? “and don’t forget, it’s a DIESEL not a petrol, ok?”


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