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Shaz & Daves Gap Year

Hey Everyone and welcome to our GAP YEAR blog. Its time to take some time out from day to day life and get back to basics. We plan to head off end of May so if you want to share in our adventures check out this blog from time to time with new diary entries and photos. Cheers!

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Location: Penguin, Australia

Arrived in Penguin around 4pm. Met our B&B owner Barbara - a very nice english woman and her husband Steve. Their property is a farm stay with their residence just down the driveway from the Cottage we stayed in. They have Hazelnut orchard, chooks, ducks, and sheep. The cottage was lovely - entry, kitchen, dining room, lounge room, bathroom and 2 bedrooms enough for 5 persons. The weather was cold but we kept warm with heating and electric blankets.
Barbara made us welcome with fresh baked bread and sweet treats!

We did a day trip out to Stanley - which is a North West point of Tasmania. It was beautiful. Lovely olds buildings, very friendly people and a very high rocky outcrop which we took the chairlift to. There was a movie crew in the town and they were setting up the main street to look more like the early 1900's - shooting was to take place that weekend - the movie thats being produced is based on the book The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.

Penguin is a nice little town but obviously used by the locals as a summer holiday destination. Looking forward to getting to the mainland now and picking up our Molly and Wallace. Yes we decided to get 2 puppies (a brother and a sister). Double trouble.

Droved to Devonport on Friday and caught a movies (to pass time till boarding). Went and saw Interstellar - which I really enjoyed (love a good scifi). Then we had some dinner and boarded the Spirit of Tasmania around 6:30pm.

Sunday, 09 November 2014

Location: Hobart, Australia

Our self contained accommodation in Hobart is really cozy. We are in a building that has 4 floors and each floor is a self contained villa. We are in the Barcelona. Its really nice to just sit in the lounge and watch tell - go to the kitchen and make something to drink or eat and the bathroom is just a few steps away (ahhh the things we take for granted!!), We will stay here for 3 nights.

Had dinner at the Drunken Admiral on the first night and have the best seafood I have ever eaten.

Took a few trips into town and also went to the MONA museum of old and new art. Cost $20 to get in and to be honest it wasnt really "our cup of tea". No sure how an old chair with a ceramic bowl filled with gold fish and a knife protruding out of it is considered art??? There was a whole wall covered with different types of clay model virgina's - etc etc so I think you get the picture.

The rest of the time we have just been relaxing in the Villa. Hobart is a nice town and Salamanca (down at the harbour side) is a great place to go on a Sunday (market, lots of wine bars and shops).

Heading to Penguin tomorrow (just east of Bernie) - our last stop before jumping back on the Spirit of Tasmania and back to the mainland.

Saturday, 08 November 2014

Location: Taranna & Pt Arthur, Australia

Had a nice drive down to the Tasman Peninsula and stayed at a lovely Bed & Breakfast called the Old Convict Prison Stations. We had the Jetty Room - very comfortable bed and used the electric blankets coz it was a bit chilly around the cockles!!

Visited the Coal Mines Historic Site which formed part of the system of convict discipline and punishment on the Tasman Peninsula. Also went to the Port Arthur Historic site which was not only used as a prison but formed a complete community with homes to military personnel and free settlers. There was also a nice memorial to the persons who lost their lives during the massacre on 28th April 1996 - for those that are not familiar a man called Martin Bryant went on a shooting rampage killing 35 people and injuring 23 whilst they were visiting the tourist spot.

We only stayed one day & night then headed up to Hobart on the Sunday.

Wednesday, 05 November 2014

Location: Tasmania - Launceston, Australia

We arrived in Launceston around 10:30 and checked into our Bed and Breakfast. Had a lazy afternoon as Dave wasnt feeling well has a cold. We took a walk later that evening and had dinner at a restaurant/wine bar called Alchemy.
Thursday I took my poorly husband on a drive and checked out the North East side of the Tamar River. Got as north as Low Head and east as far as Bridport and Scottsdale then back through Lilydale and back to Launceston. Soup for dinner. Friday Dave was feeling a little better so we went into the town had coffee then drove on the North West side of the Tamar River as far north as West Head.

Again the countryside here is just beautiful. We checked out the real estate the other day and found that we could buy a 2 historic cottages and a Mitre 10 Hardware store (including stock and fittings) for less than what we have bought our house in Freo. The business was $100,000 and just around the corner from the cottages - this was in a beautiful little village called Scottsdale.

Ohhh well....something to contemplate :)
We head to Port Arthur tomorrow. Chat again soon!

Tuesday, 04 November 2014

Location: Tasmania - Launceston, Australia

Stayed at a Motel on Tuesday night just outside Melbourne CBD then Tuesday morning we dropped off the TVan at Melbourne Port storage. Boarded the" Spirit of Tasmania" (ferry/boat) around 4:30pm (took our Landrover with us). It took ages for us to get the Landy onboard but finally around 6:30pm all the cars/caravans & trucks started loading onboard. I lost David - he had to go check out the toilets (again) and when the cars started loading he wasnt back. Anyway we managed to meet onboard. I reckon he snuck off to the Bar on board!!!

Our Cabin on board was really nice - is was a 4 berth cabin (but exclusive use for just us two) and it had a toilet and shower, it was nice an warm too - as the weather was blowing a gale by the time we got through the heads and into the Tasman Sea. The boat left at 7:30pm. Had a few drinks on board and a nice dinner then hit the sack. We arrived at Devonport around 5:45am and everyone disembarked around 6:30-7:00am (once we found the car - I forgot which level I parked it on). We had breaky in Devonport then took a slow drive to Launceston. Our B&B room was available so we managed to get an early check in at 10:30am. We are staying at a place called Kilmarnock House (Edwardian Accommodation) - lovely old house built in 1905. Our room is big with an ensuite and decorated in period fixtures and fixings. Dave isnt feeling well though so we will just hang around today (think he might be getting a cold). Will be staying in Launceston until Saturday.

Saturday, 01 November 2014

Location: Bendigo, Australia

So arrived in Bendigo in the afternoon and stayed at a Big 4 around 10 kms out of town. I didnt find Bendigo all that appealing - I guess I got used to having lovely mountains and big green trees around us like the last few places we have stayed at. We did however go to the Camping/Caravan show that was on just down the road. It was fun - and interesting how our needs and likes have changed since living in the TVan camper trailer. I couldnt get over the head room in some of the new types of camper trailers and WOW some of the caravans are better than my house!!!

We also took a trip out to a place called Sunbury on Saturday to look at some Australian bulldog puppies that were for sale. We ended up buying a beautiful girl who we have called Molly and a little boy who we have called Wallace. Molly is Dave's birthday present (his birthday is on the 12th Nov) and Wallace is my Christmas pressy. The breeder is going to look after them for a week whilst we are in Tasmania so we arrive back in Melbourne on Saturday 15th and will then go pick up the TVan (which is in storage) and then go pick up our pups.

The breeder keeps sending be cute photos of them and video clips - Pam is so funny, a real dog lover. Cant wait to pick up Molly & Wallace (check out our photos) - only one of Wallace at the moment

Monday, 27 October 2014

Location: Bright, Australia

Dave booked us into the Big 4 in Bright just a short walk to town. This place is just so perfect. We are right next to the Ovens River and take different walks each morning. Dave went for a motor bike ride yesterday whilst I explored every shop in Bright. Found a shop that sells just Christmas decorations and had a ball. We go to the local Brewery in the evenings and there are lots of places to eat and get coffee. Bright streets are lined with Oak trees and I cant believe how green it is. We took a drive up to Hotham, Omeo, Falls Creek and back. Unfortunately we picked the wrong day as it turned quite cloudy and so the only view we got was fog and it got quite windy up the top of Hotham. It was 1 degree yesterday morning but the sun was shining so it soon warmed up. I love this place.

We head to Bendigo tomorrow then not long till be leave for Tasmania (4th Nov).

Friday, 24 October 2014

Location: Wodonga, Australia

Stayed in Wodonga for 3 nights Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Wodonga is like any other big town, but we took a trip out to Yackandanda and Beechworth. Really beautiful picturesque country towns. In Yackandanda we found a guy who make his own biscuit tin and cigar box guitars - reckons he can play them but he sounded pretty good to me. Said he learnt to make them from a You Tube video. Beechworth was lovely and had its own Brewery (seems to be the go in a lot of these smaller towns) - that and coffee shops on every corner....I feel so at home :)

Keep checking out properties on - so peaceful out here and prices are really cheap.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Location: Canberra, Australia

Left Mudgee and set off to Canberra. Stopped in Goulburn for a break then found a caravan site about about 15-20kms just north of Canberra City. so we're actually still in NSW and the boarder is about 10 kms down the road.

Thursday we went to the War Memorial and Museum which was really good. Excellent display of past war memorabilia and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was spectacular - beautiful mosaic walls and ceilings. After we went to the Telstra Tower and took some photos of Canberra from a great height.

Today we parked the car in the city (Friday) and walked across the lake to Parliament House (old and new). Think the landscapers and gardeners are on leave - could use some TLC. Had breaky in the city then headed to the Canberra Caravan and Outdoor Exhibition - had a nice walk around and look in all of the caravans and campers. Definitely trading the TVan in on something a little more comfortable.

We head off tomorrow heading south. Looking forward to moving on - I think we've pretty much seen it all in Canberra. Not a very happening place.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Location: Mudgee, Australia

It was a nice drive to Mudgee and only a few hours if that. Really impressed with this town - just enough shopping, cafes, bars and even there own Brewery which we have been frequenting every afternoon for a light bevvie!!
We are at a nice caravan pack next to the Cudgegon River so we get lots of big ducks and birds visiting the site.
Henry Lawson was born in this district in 1867 and was here until he turned 15, his father was a goldminer in the area at the time. they left once the gold petered out by all accounts. So there is a Lawson Park and Lawson Street, etc etc.

Took a side trip out to a town called Gulgong - nice little place - old buildings and the standard 4 pubs. Stopped for coffee then head back.

We did all of our bookings for Tasmania. We take the Spirit of Tassie across the strait on Tuesday 4th November arriving 6am on the 5th. We are taking the Land Rover but will store the TVan at the Wharf. We have a porthole cabin so hopefully will get a good nights sleep. We're staying in Launceston for 3 nights then Port Arthur for 1 night, then 3 nights in Hobart then up to a place called Penguin (between Burnie and Devonport) for 2 nights. Found some great accommodation - so looking forward to that. I've also booked an abseiling, canyon adventure at Cradle Mountain for David's birthday (12th Nov). Its about 7 hours all up. Check it out on - were doing The Dove Canyon. Hope its not too freezing!!

We head Canberra way tomorrow so looking forward to staying in "Our Nations Capital". I've never been there so hopefully I will find it interesting???

Thanks for keeping up with the blog.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Location: Tamworth, Australia

We left Sawtell on Tuesday morning and went inland through Bellingen, Dorrigo and Armidale. The country side through Bellingen was beautiful and so picturesque. Lots of farming country - beef and sheep with a few goats and lamas thrown in the mix. Was happy to get to Tamworth. We set up close to the town - put up the big awning and town is just walking distance so we enjoyed a few meals at the local cafes/restaurants. Went to a place called Wests Leagues Club and had dinner at the Smokeys Bar & Grill (name in memory of Smokey Dawson). I got to wear my cowgirl boots at last (no bootscootin though!!). The club run a bus and will pick you up and drop you off free of charge....dont get that in Perth. We're finding the meals and drinks alot cheaper here in the East.

Really liked Tamworth - not too big - just a nice country town.
We will stay here till Sunday then head to Mudgee.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Location: Sawtell, Australia

Well Dave took us on one of his magical mystery tours again so we didnt end up getting too far down the coast but we found a great little town called SAWTELL. Nice little main street, great surfing beaches and friendly people. We like it so much we are staying 4 days. We took a day trip to Coffs Harbour then headed south to Nambucca Heads. Dave decided we would then head inland which started off really lovely driving through green hills and lovely farmsteads but then we hit the national parks and ended up on the top of some range trying to find a road back to the main road. We had to use Hema maps, GPS in the car and my Iphone. We took a few wrong turns and ended up in some precarious situations but eventually found a road that took us to Bellingen and the local pub where we downed a few well earned beers. Thirsty work getting lost - we were out there 3 hours!! Having a quite day today catching up on blogging and will try and plan out our trip to Tasmania. It might be cheaper to go through a tour group for an organised trip. Anyway hope everyone is well and will blog again soon.

Tuesday, 07 October 2014

Location: Byron Bay & Nimbin, Australia

Tuesday 7th Oct - short trip to Byron Bay and we stayed for 3 days. Byron was a bit like Margaret River - beach, surfing, gromits, cafe's and restaurants but with more foreign tourists. Then on Thursday 9th we arrived at Nimbin. We kinda got lost going there as there were lots of road works - I think it took us an extra hour to find the place - got the impression someone didnt want us to go there! Anyway we set up camp and took a walk up the street. Yep lots of old hippies and alternative living in these hills. The occassional bus load of young tourist turned up all in the hope of scoring and even Dave got asked if he was interested in buying. We stopped for a few beers at the pub (more our style) and then wondered back to camp. You dont really need to buy an marijuana here all you need to do is walk out of your tent and breathe in - reminded me of when I went to a Pink Floyd concert many many years ago in Fremantle. Next stop will be somewhere further down the coast.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Ok so we stayed in Brisbane at Pete and Marlyns place for 10 days thereabouts. It was lovely to catch up with Marlyn. I finally saw my sister Carol and her boys Jermaine and Devin who emigrated back to Australia from USA about 8 or so months ago. They are renting a nice little place in Carina. We also caught up with Renata and Jessica (nieces) and there partners (Brad & Dave). Brisbane is a really nice city - much better than Perth. Seems there is alot more going on in the way of entertainment. We took a drive out to Tamborine Mountain and went to Wynnum a few times. Had a lovely afternoon at one of Daves work colleagues Tim and his wife Susan. They had us over for a BBQ - it was really nice, THANKS AGAIN GUYS.
And A BIG THANK YOU to Marlyn for having us - (bloody in laws!!! :))
We will head down the coast for a while then inland around Sydney. Next stop is Byron Bay.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Location: Bundaberg, Australia

Had a bit of a down pour whilst we were in 1770 so we ended up packing a wet canopy but we left on Monday and headed straight to Bundaberg which was only an hour or so away. Bundaberg is quite a big town and the Caravan site (Big 4) was really nice. We ended up setting up the big canopy side awning as we decided to stay for 5 days just to have a break from packing and unpacking. We did the Bundaberg Distillery Tour which was really interesting. Got to taste some of the different types of rum produced and they even do a liquor which surprised me. Its only available at the distillery though - I had it with a little cream and it was a bit like tia maria or kalua. We also took a drive to something called the Mystery Craters - but I wouldn't recommend it. We left Bundaberg on Saturday and headed straight to Brisbane as everything along the coast was booked out due to school holidays. Will be staying with my sister-in-law Marlyn for a week or so in Indooroopilly. It'll be nice to stay in a real house for a change!!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Location: Seventeen Seventy 1770, Australia

Thursday 18th
Packed up and headed east for the coast along the Capricorn Hwy to Westwood then took the Burnett Hwy South East to Biloela. Jumped on the Dawson Hwy heading east again and pulled into a caravan park at Seventeen Seventy not far from the beach. We are about 70kms south of Gladstone and will stay for 4 nights as it's school holidays here as of today so we might be pushing it to find vacancies.
Did a big walk Friday morning almost 10 kms I reckon - down the beach and around Bustard Point and back. This is the birthplace of Queensland - Captain Cook parked out the front in 1770 hence the name of the place. Found a nice place to have dinner right on the water front so looking forward to that.

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Recent Messages

From Carol
Hello Sharon and Dave.... hope you are both doing great and that Dave has gotten over his cold now, I got Devin and My birthday cards thank you so much and please wish Dave a very Happy Birthday from me and the boys for tomorrow luv and hugs xxxooo
Response: Thanks Carol xxx
From Karyn
You look like your having a great time Shaz and love the puppies :)
Response: Hi Karyn - hows work? Is OnTrack still running? Oh know they are soooo cute. Should be fun travelling with two little poopers!!!
From james nagel
it reads like you are having a great time, goodonyas.
Let us know when you are getting close to Adelaide and we will arrange to tour the oyster farm.
stay safe.
james & susi
Response: Cant wait - looking forward to catching up. We leave Tassie and back on the mainland Nov 15 so it might be somewhere around early December but will contact you with firmer dates. xxx
From Lisa Neagle
Hi Sharon & Dave, I see your in QLD. I have yet to catch up on the blogs, perhaps when I get some quiet time....anyway if you are in Melbourne remember I have a spare room for you to stay! Xx Lisa, ....keep having fun and lay off those strange QLD beers.
Response: Thanks Lisa I've been a bit slack blogging since Bundaberg. Stayed with family in Brisbane for a week now heading inland NSW. Nimbin was interesting??
From Liz Hill
Hi Sharon,
Have just spent the last hour catching up on your blog and photos.
Fantastic to see that you got to share some of your adventure with Angus.
Happy Travels.
Liz x
PS: Absolutely remember reading Dick & Dora books at school.
Response: Hey Liz
Glad you enjoying the read.
Looking forward to catching up with you all next year
From Rienholt
Hi Dave and Sharon. Hadn't viewed the blog in a little while and great to see the adventure still unfolding. Love the pics and you two look fantastic and happy. Love to catch up also when you guys are in Brisy. Take you out on the bay for a fish!

Response: Hi Reinholt glad you enjoyed the photos. Ive just updated the blog and pictures will follow shortly - thanks for your message and we hope to catch up
From Tracey
Hey guy's,
Hope you're both on the mend!! Doesn't shingles take months to get over??? How cool Gus gets to hang out for awhile, I've heard good things about Darwin...hmmm sun and warm weather!!! We're busy packing and looks like I've got tenants for my place. Settlement has been booked for 12/9/14 so still a few weeks to go, such a long settlement!! Frustrating because we just want to get stuck into packing but can only do so much for now. God it's going to be a big job...and then all the cleaning... not looking forward to all that. The new floors are booked and will start the week before we move in. Bye bye carpet! Think I mentioned we've found a horse for Adrian and pretty sure we've found one for me too. So will be moving in with at least one horse :-) The one I've got my eye on is pretty expensive so I've been reluctant to take him on too quickly, have ridden him three times now and will ride him another couple of times before I say yes. Don't mind paying so much if he's going to be a forever horse. Been a bit sad packing up, am really going to miss my little house and being in the Freo area...but still super looking forward to having space and horses at my door step, riding trails next door, the pub is just up the road and Byford had a nice little country feel about it without being too far away... anyhoo...better go, got some work to do. Talk soon... xxxx
Response: Hey Tracey OMG you are going to be so happy in your new place I can feel it. Glad you got some horses on the go - dont worry the packing and cleaning will soon be over and you will be enjoying your new place. We miss you both and I hope Adrian had a nice birthday the other day. We're in Charters Towers Qld now - Ive updated the blog and will upload photos shortly.
Take care and have a nice weekend love xx
From Stirlo
Hi Guys.
the adventure is ticking along great for you. Excellent. Sorry have been off-line a little as they upgraded software and lost the link - finally found in the old emails.. yeah!!!

sounds like the lifestyle to have to get the karma back into life..

will keep a track on ya.. let us know when you are getting close to Tassie..take care and remember Adventure is out there.
Response: Hey Stirlo
Thanks for the comments. Yes we are zenning out quite nicely. In Qld at the mo and its nice to be a bit cooler. The heat was really getting to us. Take care and keep watching this space xx
From Liz Hill
Hi Shaz,
We have been away so have just caught up with your blog. I am very jealous. It sounds like you are having a ball. We downloaded the Game of Thrones series to watch when we were away. I am absolutely addicted. Hope you are enjoying the books. The school girls are getting together tonight. We'll miss you but you are doing much better things. Happy travelling Liz x
Response: Hey Liz thanks for the message. Yes I am also addicted to Game of Thrones and I even bought one of the books so I could continue on from where the last series finished. Thanks for keeping in touch. xxx
From Karyn
hey Shaz you been quiet, where are you now?
Response: Hey Karyn sorry but I knew once we got to Darwin I might slack off with the blog. Been catching up with a lot of old friends (we used to live up here) and we took a 2 week break from the break - went to Bali. Back now so I should be more vigilant with the blog - hope all okay at Murdoch give my regards to everyone Cheers!
From Gaurang and Vidhi
Dave and Sharon........ Great Pics.......
Response: Thank you Gaurang
From Tracey
Hey Shaz, had our first girls dinner in months last night. Went to Blend, just the usual's, Deb, Trish, Donna and myself. Wasn't the same without you!!! Talk soon Trace x
Response: Hey Tracey - so hows the progress on the new place? Did you put yours on the market or are you renting it
From Rennie Poo
or should I say shazza poo! with your amazing new shitphone! ;o)

Sounds like you are being a crazy pair of teenagers! keep it up.. I don't want people getting the idea we are a sane family! ;o)

Love you both, stay safe! xxxx
Response: Hey Rennie thanks for the message - looking forward to catching up when we get to Brissy!! Can we park our camper trailer at your house (I remember you had a really long drive way) thats if we end up staying with Pete and Marly?
From Ben
Love the photos......

School holidays here in QLD. I have two teenage girls driving me crazy with supposed boredom.... tell me where you will be in two days and I will get them to meet you. You could drop them off when you get to Brisbane (no rush).
Response: ummmm Dave says no way.....having one middle aged girl is enough
From Tracey
Love the horse riding photo's, wait until you get back, we're going riding!!!!
Response: Yayyy but my back has been out for almost a week I think it was a mixture of horse riding and rock climbing. Yes will come anytime xxx
From Jo Lisciandro
Hi Shaz, looks like your having a blast. Saw the photo of you basking by the ppol that you sent to Gael. Sooo jealous! I will be in Darwin from Sat 5 July - Wed 9 July, if you guys are going to be in the area, send me a text. I'd love to catch up for a drink and hear about your adventures so far!
Take care and stay safe
Jo xx
Response: Hi Jo yep we are having fun. We wont get to Darwin until the 10th what a bummer!. If we do for some reason get there earlier I will definitely email you - or I think I have your mobile number too xxx
From Karyn
Wow loving the pics Shaz, you look so relaxed…must be coz your not at work haha
Response: Yep that could be it or because we are in bed most nights at 7:30!!!! No tellie!!! Having a ball though xxx
From Jodie (Murdoch)
I love the way you're putting the names of the caravan parks you are staying at. Perfect for me! Sounds like you're having a blast.
keep blogging.
Jodie xx
Response: Hey Jodie thanks for letting me know about this site! Hope all is well at work. Take care of Gael for me :) xx
From pete
Ive just seen the pictures of your horse riding
The best thing to do with a horse is make glue out of them
Luv Bruv
Response: Your mean. Dave said thats what they do with old buggers like you Pete xx
From Tracey
Tried to ring you guys the other night, it was 8.30pm... Mark reckons you would have been asleep. Drove past your place the other day, look like there was a party going on :-) Just kidding, only half a dozen or so cars lined up on the verge!!! Poor Gus, spys everywhere. Sounds like you're doing heaps, fabo! x
Response: Hey Tracey yes all good here. Ive been horse riding three days in a row - you would love it, lots of creek crossings , bush, cows etc etc. You must try and get to Home Valley Station or El Questro sometime. xxx
From Nick Aves
Horizontal falls tour awesome. Just loved it. Hope your day was great
Response: Yep we had a great time Nick. Spectacular
From Tim D
Great journal, pics and country. those NW blue skies. Thanks for sharing.
Response: Its a pleasure Tim plenty more to come looking forward to catching up in Wynam
From Carole
Hi guys look like you having a ball can't wait to catch up when you hit Darwin
Response: same here too Carole really looking forward to seeing you, meeting your man and seeing Hass. xxx
From Sylvia
Hope all goes well with trip. Also lved the rust bucket, make a good artwork. Been out to Lightning Ridge and touring Northern NSW. now in Indoorapilly visiting Marlyn, Carol and the boys.
Response: Hi Sylvia, sounds like your having a great time. Say hi to Marly for me xxx
From Gaurang
Hi look great in beard........may be you should have it ))))). Please give my regards to seems she is also enjoying........
Response: Hi Gaurang
Yes we are having a lovely time its hard though coming down from such busy hectic lives to just enjoying the serenity of nature and the simple life. But we will get there. Best wishes Sharon & Dave