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.
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”.
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
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
70731 (328) / *22.83 / $5.00
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.
70856 (453,6) / 58.18 / 9.60
Esso 11.1 l
My aunt (really my aunt) Freda lived in Frankston at the time.
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.
71641 (234.7) / 49.45 / 7.36
Shell 12.6 l
71752 / ?19.61 / 3.04
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
72088 (446.6) / 60.78 / 12.45
BP 11.2 l
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.
72387 (299.1) / 56.29 / 10.02
BP 11.7 l