577. Sunday 12th November 2017. Gardening, Melbourne cup and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 gets into second gear…

Tuesday 7th November

Melbourne Cup Day. All the planning and organising by the social committee came together successfully today. Our main man in the catering, Wayne, is still in hospital with an infected foot injury. Marie and Lyn slid seamlessly into the role and lunch was a huge success as was the entire afternoon which included silly but fun games organised by Graham. They may sound like silly games but there were enough silly people including yours truly to ensure there were lots of laughs. Once the race was over the clubhouse quickly emptied leaving the usual social committee members and a few stalwart helpers to pack away the extra tables, clean the floor and return the clubhouse to its normal quiet state.

Wednesday 8th November

Quite a windy and cool day today. It was a good day to do a little weeding and plant corn.

091117 corn
I have not grown Corn for many years. Perhaps I am a lazy gardener but decided not to seperate the stems. I will let nature sort out the weak from the strong. Besides I only have a limited space in my little garden.

The tomatoes are coming along nicely and beginning to change colour from a deep dark green to a lighter green.

091117 tomato
Ehen my current crop of trellis type Tomatoes is complete I will experiemnt with hanging them in fence pots and allow them to hang as trellis tomatoes are meant to grow.

The capsicums are also changing from a deep green to red.

091117 capsicum
This is the first time I have tried to grow capsicums. They seem to take forever to flower and begin to fruit. Then they take a long time to ripen. Although small they are tasty and quite sweet.

The spring onions have just flowered and cast their seed.

091117 chives
My collection of Sping Onions and Garlic Chives. The little brown capsules are from the coffee machine and there to dry in the sun. I joined a re-cycling program and now that I have enough to mail away the program has been suspended until a more cost effective way of collecting can be achieved. Grrr! what am I going to do with hundreds of dried pods?

Meanwhile the brown onions are throwing up lots of stems while I have no idea what is happening below ground level. They will be a mystery for a few weeks yet. I suppose I can eat the stems just the same as shallots and spring onions.

091117 onions
These Onions look healthy enough but wonder if I can room for them in the garden?

The spinach is looking ready to eat

091117 spinach
This Spinach looks healthy enough although once cooked all this will shrink to about a cupful. Spinach, if you like eating or juicing needs be a big crop.

and the thyme which looked dead when I replanted it in mid -winter is now thriving.

091117 thyme
In there, hiding amid the Roquette and the flowering Dianthus is the oh so fragrant Thyme.

The roquette which reached maturity while Donnis and I were away had turned to flower and it too has been throwing lots of seed into the breeze. I expect lots of roquette to start sprouting in the next couple of weeks.

091117 roquette
Stille a few leaves of Roquette growing in there amongst the flowers and seeds.

Several species of lettuce finished seeding a few weeks ago and I now have the beginnings of a salad popping up in planters and pots and tubs around the garden. The mint is happy in its new home among the garlic chives and something.

091117 mint
There is my Mint on the right. After struggling for weeks the cutting has finally settled. On the left is something which needs to be identified. Maybe gardener Geoff can come to the rescue. Hmmm! I wonder if Costa Georgiadis from Gardening Australia reads this blog?

Why is it that everybody who has parsley in their gardens and who do not eat it has huge clumps of the stuff growing in supreme greenness? My parsley struggles to send out more than a few stems and then turns yellow despite the fact I have placed different seedlings in various locations around the garden. I love parsley and it just does not cooperate with me.

091117 parsley
Why does my Parsley always look tired and sad? Note the Lettuce growing in and around it.

I think the basil may have come to the end of its life although it flowered several weeks ago and produced seed pods. I might just leave it alone and watch for any fresh sprouting before decapitating the woody stems.

Sunday 12th November

Today is the beginning of a new chapter of adventure – for me.

I have been accepted as a driver for the 2018 Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast. I will be a driver based in the athletes village commencing two weeks before the games commence.

Today I attended a two hour session at the Gold Coast Convention Centre along with another 4499 other volunteers. There were three scheduled sessions this weekend to welcome all 15,000 volunteers mostly from the Gold Coast but others in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns and from interstate. Some volunteers also come from the UK, Spain and France. The uniform was presented amid cheers of delight with bold colours and casual outfits. I am looking forward to the issue of the uniforms as they are all quite attractive.

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The crowd was encouraged to cheer (what I call the Ra Ra session) when the uniforms were paraded. Look at all those hands in the air. With all those hands in the air I shouted “many hands make light work”. And they did. All the lights came on.

A mini opening ceremony was performed along with interviews by various paid and volunteer workers and athletes.

121117 gccg1
All the performers are together for a fianle.

I felt quite special that I was chosen from over 50,000 applicants. More than 15,000 applied to be a driver. It was special making it to the final 4,000 of those who volunteered to be interviewed. After interviews and Police checks I made the final 1,500 chosen to be drivers.

121117 gccg
Acrobatic performers getting the 4,500 crowd to participate.

When leaving the session I was disappointed to see lots of rubbish left behind. It seems strange that for two hours we were told how special we are and how we will be the image of the Gold Coast and a small number chose to leave their rubbish behind. How difficult is it to take your rubbish with you and place it in the bin provided at the base of each stairway and exit/entrance?

Unfortunately I did not take my camera and the mobile just cannot produce photos of the same high quality.

 

121117 boats
Late in the afternoon I took a walk along the Broadwater and proved the mobile phone can take a reasonable distance photo as long as there is plenty of light. After all it is not $1,600 iPhone X.
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576. Sunday 5th November 2017. Stuck in a tunnel, Baby formula, vitamins and planning for the Melbourne Cup…

Tuesday 31st October

Up early and on the road a little after 6am. Donnis is booked on a domestic flight with Jetstar Airlines (Qantas) from Coolangatta Airport to Melbourne. Flight leaves at 8.25 am. She must be checked in no later than one hour beforehand. Yep that’s pretty normal. What is not normal is the flight is loading from the International terminal and as such has to process passengers via a heightened security check and she must bring photo ID. I understand there are two reasons for boarding via the International terminal.

1.Coolangatta Airport is becoming busier with domestic flights and busier with International flights. So, when the International terminal is not required, domestic flights can also board, thereby utilising all the terminals all day.

  1. Under new regulations, security procedures will increase on domestic flights. Photo ID will be required. The International terminal is better set up for the process.

As we neared the M1 we heard on the radio a truck was stuck in the Tugun Tunnel (near the airport – actually the tunnel is under part of the airport runway) and traffic is banked up for kilometres and to avoid the area. Luckily we were able to exit the M1 prior to the tunnel and pick up the Gold Coast Highway at Palm Beach and arrive at the airport at 7am. Later we learned a house removal truck – with a house – got stuck in the tunnel. Drivers of over height trucks must plan their trip and tunnels have warning signs set up at prior exit ramps so trucks can exit. It seems the truck driver was not aware of his load height and had not planned the route well enough. There will be a fine for ignoring or not planning the route and he will have to pay for the damage to the tunnel.

Hmmm! The M1 is getting a reputation for traffic problems. Although in many places the road has three or even four lanes, each way, it still has unusual incidents and a daily peak hour morning and evening. All it takes is for an accident to completely bring the motorway to a standstill. I am a volunteer driver for the Commonwealth Games next April. My assigned station is the Athletes Village. It worries me a little that getting athletes to their venue on time could become a drama if movement is at peak hour and or there is an accident. I understand there will be Police escorts in such cases and I will know more as our training commences.

Wednesday 1st November

I suppose most people are aware that Australian Baby Food Formula milk is being bought up by Asian people who then sell it in China for huge profits. Most stores now put a purchase limit of 4 cans of formula per person. Even so it is not unusual to see entire shelves cleared out in a matter of minutes. Understandably many mums and dads are complaining they cannot buy the formula locally and are suggesting sales be limited to people who can prove they are local.

Another twist to this story is when I was at the chemist today. Groups of young Asian men and women (likely Chinese) were seen clearing the shelves of vitamins and other supplements, filling baskets to overflowing. They also queued to buy over the counter medications and pain relief. I asked the staff what it was all about. They told me it happens every week when the tourist flights arrive. Young people spend more than $500 buying up these items and emptying the shelves. It causes the same problem every week by making a queue to buy these goods and tying up counter staff who should be taking genuine prescriptions. As well the shelves get emptied and it could be a week or more before they are re-supplied. Granted the Chemist is doing a roaring trade in baby formula, pain medication and vitamins but genuine local customers sometimes cannot get their supplies.

Today I started painting six interior doors. First, I  had to remove all the door fittings then a light sand before painting the sides of the doors. First coat was completed in the afternoon.

Thursday 2nd November.

I finished the second coat on all the doors today.

They look great.

Friday 3rd November

The fiddly job of putting all the door hardware back on the umm err doors was completed this morning. I still have a laundry door and a back door as well as a spare room door to paint. As they have glass panels to be taped before painting I have left those until another day. Perhaps I will have some spare time next week after the Melbourne Cup. I am part of the social committee putting on a Melbourne Cup Luncheon with Sweeps. That will take up a bit of our time setting up the clubhouse, organising the sweeps and buying and preparing food for lunch.

Sunday 5th November.

Today we organised prize envelopes for each of the nine sweeps already completed and paid for. Tonight we discovered one of the favourite horses has been scratched.

Grrr! Now we have to re-do the prize envelopes and shift one person from each sweep into a new, as yet not fully subscribed sweep.

We also found our main catering and cooking person, Wayne, is in hospital with an infected foot from an injury last week. Hope all goes well for Wayne. Our fallback catering team of Marie and Lyn will take over the duties.

 

575. Sunday 29th October 2017. Storms, kitchen workshop, finance seminar and driving for the Commonwealth Games…

Monday 23rd October

A big storm passed through on its way to annoy people somewhere else. We got the thunder, lightning, rain and some of the wind and a huge drop in temperature. Other places got a much stronger wind, drenching rain and damaging hailstones. This was just an entrée, a taste, of what is in store this summer. We even needed a blanket on the bed tonight.

Tonight we went to Bunnings for their Kitchen Workshop. We even went on line two weeks ago and booked our place. Basically it was a bit ho hum, boring. Few of the presenters used a microphone and when they did it was only on low volume, the store background music was louder as were the people chatting behind us. A few people explained what they do. One tradesman showed us how to put together a Kaboodle kitchen cabinet. He explained how all the pieces are pre drilled and all hardware is included. He could not put it together and in fact cut his hand trying to force a fit.

Hmmm! Not impressed so far.

A chef was demonstrating a few recipes and handed out the results. He was never given much opportunity to explain what he was doing. We were then invited to look at their kitchen display which basically was a Kaboodle night with one other supplier from Blanco Sinks. We won a Blanco double sink.

Wooee!

Once we got it home we discovered it is an undermount sink and has no drainage tracks. As the name implies it is mounted under the benchtop and is usually mounted on a granite or concrete or marble bench top.

Bummer.

Grrr! It is no use to us.

Anybody want a Blanco Undermount Double Sink valued at $469 at a real good price?

Tuesday 24th October.

Went to Bunnings today to discuss plans for a new kitchen and asked if I get a new kitchen from them would they agree to exchange my double sink for something more practical.

No!

Wednesday 25th October

Now for something different.

We drove to Fairfield in Brisbane where we parked i30 and caught a bus into the centre of Brisbane. Back in 2013 when we were house sitting at Fairfield we would often park the car at Fairfield Gardens shopping centre and catch the bus into town. It was convenient for us then and convenient again today. It was preferable to driving into the city and paying $10 or even $20 per hour for parking.

We had been invited to a “Seminar” luncheon at The Black Bird Restaurant

251017 black
The Black Bird Restaurant

which is located on the Brisbane River with fantastic views of the river and Story Bridge.251017 black1

On our way from the bus stop to Eagle Street I had to stop and admire The Manor Apartment Hotel. 251017 manorWhen completed in 1931, built from local Brisbane Tuff, the Heritage listed Manor was Brisbane’s tallest building and remains today one of Brisbane’s magnificent landmark buildings. The heritage listed building with it’s gargoyles (actually the gargoyles look more like owls251017 manor1 while below are lions) 251017 manor2and elegant bronze semi-circular windows overlooking Queen St. and the adjoining heritage Post Office is considered today as one of Brisbane’s finest historic landmarks. The superbly constructed building looks as good today as the day it was constructed. It is easy to stop and look around Brisbane and find history amid the bustling crowds most of whom never look at what is around them.

The Black Bird Restaurant accommodated about 200 guests of the NAB Financial Services team. How we managed to score an invite is still a mystery to us but nevertheless we enjoyed our afternoon watching the world of the Brisbane River passing by.

251017 ferry
One of three types of ferry plying the Brisbane River. First there is the super fast big catamaran type ferries, then this slower old style chug chug chug serving those places where the big cats cannot dock and finally the smaller chug chug chug which just seems to go backwards and forwards to the other side of the river as far as Southbank

One of the speakers said there is no such thing as a free lunch so we had to listen to him. He is an economist and mentioned the biggest threat to the world economy was… he then flashed a picture of Donald Trump. That got a good laugh although the point made was serious. Actually, both speakers were quite interesting. The food was exceptional and the beer, wine and champagne flowed freely up until the lunch plates were cleared away. Coffee and dessert was a lower standard as by now they were waiting to clear the tables to prepare for dinner.

251017 customs
Brisbane Customs House

After leaving the restaurant we walked back to the bus stop and finally getting back in i30 we suddenly found ourselves in the  peak hour carpark which is also known as the M1. Imagine four lanes of traffic creeping and stopping all wanting to get home before the second peak hour wave began at 5.30pm.

Sunday 29th October

We sold the Blanco Double Sink on Gumtree.

I received confirmation that I am to attend a training session for the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Convention Centre. I have been accepted as a driver for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. My base will be the Games Village and driving athletes and or officials to and from the village to wherever they are competing.

Hmmm! That could be a challenge if I have to drive the M1 carpark in peak hour traffic.

The games commence in April 2018.

574. Sunday 22nd October 2017. Gold Coast 600, Rock and Roll singers, Rock and Roll dancing and a walk along The Broadwater…

Thursday 19th October

I have been listening to some old rock and roll songs by Dion and Rick Nelson. Gee they take me back in time. I can almost recall where I was and who I was with when those songs first aired on the radio.

Sadly Rick Nelson was killed in a plane crash on 31 December 1986.

Happily Dion (DiMucci) is still rockin and playing to packed houses in the USA. I read recently that it is a recent phenomena that some artists – Madonna, Pink etc – are known by their first name only. Actually it is not new. Cher was known only by her first name long before Madonna and Pink. However long long before her, Dion was known only as Dion since the late 50’s.

Dion has released a number of tribute albums for fellow musicians and I have been enjoying listening to those tracks. Dion – Heroes of Early Guitar Rock. You can hear it on You Tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM0k3iowlnY&list=RDSM0k3iowlnY&t=5

This particular page contains more than 50 tribute tracks.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/10/23/dion.heroes/index.html

Somewhere around the late 60’s Rock and Roll morphed into Rock which is a totally different musical genre and mostly not suitable for dancing. Rock also morphed into hard rock, acid rock and all types of rock.

Sigh!

Friday 20th October

Today the Gold Coast 600 began to sort out starting positions.

First appearing on the Australian motorsport calendar in 1991, the Gold Coast street circuit is a high speed, concrete-lined, thrill ride that was shortened for the new look event in 2010. The temporary street track has proven to create carnage in the past, particularly when drivers don’t show the patience required for victory.

The Vodafone Gold Coast 600 circuit sees the track cover 2.96km. The layout allows for better spectacle, providing fans with great on-track action and entertainment value. The track layout and design means is designed to reduce disruption to the local traffic and residents.

The RAAF sent an F 18A Super Hornet to fly between high rise buildings and along the beach as an opener to the event. We could hear the Super Hornet but it was too fast to see.

Some heavy duty helicopters could be heard in the distance but we could not see them either.

The social committee team got together this morning and we set up the clubhouse with tables and chairs for 90 people. Wayne, Marie and Lynn met in the afternoon to make 300 sandwiches, sausage rolls and start the party pies and LBD’s ready for tonight. The Old Time Rock and Roll Band arrived and set up.

By 7pm the band started and the clubhouse was a rockin’ and a rollin’. How it works is this. We book and pay the band, do the catering and set up the clubhouse. We charge $5 a head for the band and supper. That is incredible value. A small raffle with several prizes means we just about come out even on the night. No loss or a tiny profit. Around 40 or so Gold Coast Rockers arrive, about 40 or so of our village residents arrive and the night rocks from there. We bring our own drinks. Some of our residents are in their 80’s and even 90’s and come along just to listen and watch the top notch dancers from GCR. The rest of us get up on the dance floor and do what we can. We also have some good dancers and many of us get involved in the line dancing. The GCR arrive in their Rock n Roll clothes and sparkling shoes and really put on a show.

201017 dance
I apologise for the quality. This was taken as a “quick snap” on my phone as I had forgotten my good camera. Most of the night the dance floor was packed.

Lots of fun.

By 10pm the band (who have only taken two breaks) finally call it a night and after lots of goodbyes and hugs and thank you and comments such as “we will be here for the next night”, and suddenly the clubhouse looks empty.

These Rock n Roll nights have now become a twice a year event at the clubhouse which has an intimate atmosphere with everybody being close to the dance floor, the band, and facilities.

Some residents are asking if we can have a rock n roll night every month! They suggest we can do it with recorded music and bring a plate. Hmmm! It’s a lot of work but perhaps we can try one night and see how it goes.

My big regret is I never learned or even wanted to learn to Rock N Roll when I was younger. I realise now all the fun I missed out on all these years. At least we are doing line dancing and the social committee will ask if a couple from the GCR will give us rock n roll dance lessons.

Saturday 21st October

At 8am some of us committee members were at the clubhouse cleaning and tidying after last night.

Heavy rain began to fall and continued all day including a chilling southerly buster.

Mid- morning we heard the roar of the Gold Coast 600 racing begin.

Sunday 22nd October

What the???

The rain cleared overnight and today was brilliant sunshine but that southerly kicked in around midday. The racing continued today along with the RAAF fly past in the afternoon.

We stayed away from the crowds at Surfers Paradise but spent some time at the Broadwater Lagoon and a walk along the beach.

221017 ducks
For some reason only known to these ducks they flocked on The Broadwater and were being followed by seemingly militant seagulls. Strange really as seagulls are Omnivores, eating just about anything but they particularly like deep fried potato chips whereas the ducks are herbivores and generally eat in shallow water where they can eat the vegetation just below the surface.

At the lagoon the Pelicans and seagulls were arriving for their lunch of fish scraps from the Charis Seafood Market   http://www.charisseafood.com.au/   on the beach. The Pelicans are quite happy to have people walk or swim with them. They just move far enough away so you cannot touch them.

221017 pelicans
These Pelicans are on a landing glide and are so graceful as they genntly touch down on the water.
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Walking through the massed Pelicans is a breeze although one did make a sound of protest and clack his beak at me.

Further along the beach we found a couple of Schiller S1 Water Bikes.  http://www.blueride.com.au/   as part of the Seaway Kayaking Tours.  http://www.seawaykayakingtours.com.au/category/water-bike-tours/

221017 bike1

Hmmm! One of these plus a battery outboard motor would be great for exploring The Broadwater.221017 bike

221017 bike2

573. Sunday 15th October 2017. Packing, a visitor and rain, real rain arrives…

Tuesday 10th October

At last at last at last. All the packing at Peters house is complete. The removalists arrived. They saw.

They conquered.

Everything was packed into a container and taken away to their depot for storage. We completed the vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning and mopping.

All done.

Phew!

Wednesday 11th October

I collected daughter Averyl from Brisbane airport and drove home to the Gold Coast. We joined her for an inspection of a few units in the new tower beside us. This was followed by a drive around Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Miami Beach, Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach. We had dinner at Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club and came home via a different route.

Perhaps my memory is not so good these days. We had a meal here within the last 12 months and the prices were not this high. Donnis agrees so maybe my memory is still OK.

Thursday 12th October

Averyl went for an early morning walk and invited us to join her for breakfast. I chose Café 4 U in the Aqua Building on Marine Parade Labrador. The reason for my choice? Have a look at this review on Trip Advisor.

Cheap does not always mean bad – and in this case, it is bloody awesome
$7 buys you 2 eggs, bacon, slice of buttered toast, hash brown, sausage and a serve of baked beans- really what’s not to love????
With a coffee-$10 in total – good quality, cheap and an excellent coffee all for $10 and that view is beautiful
Staff service is friendly and professional
Definitely coming back here again
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g659071-d5801523-r372447819-Cafe_4_U-Labrador_Gold_Coast_Queensland.html#

 

I could not have said it better myself.

Lets put that in perspective.

A McDonalds Bacon and Egg McMuffin plus a hash brown and a coffee will cost you about the same. Without the personalised service.

The only pity is that more places do not put out a simple cheap menu like this. We see breakfasts at towns and cities and suburbs in our travels. Generally the bacon and eggs will cost about $16 to $20 extra for tea or coffee.

Another exception is the Star Coffee Co at Harbourtown Biggera Waters. The same breakfast as Cafe 4 u is only $5.90.

Hmmm! That is about almost as cheap as I can do it at home.

After that it was a lazy sort of day except Donnis and Averyl spent the afternoon shopping at Harbourtown.

Sigh!

Friday 13th October

Oooooohhh! Friday 13th!!!

Apart from a silly movie a few years back and a couple of forgettable sequels, the day was much like any normal day. Averyls friend Justine arrived and they were both on their way to Dracula’s House at Broadbeach for the dinner and the show.

https://www.draculas.com.au/gold-coast/

Saturday 14th October

So begins the rain.

Sunday 15th October

The rain continues.

Heavy and accompanied by strong southerly winds.

Wot the? It feels like winter.

 

 

572. Sunday 8th October 2017. Packing Pete’s house, a visitor and doorways to…

Sunday 8th October

We spent three days this week driving to Mt Cotton to pack up Pete’s house ready for the removalist to collect and put into storage next week.

Iain who has been staying with us left this morning to return to Armidale.

Apart from that it has been a quiet week so I thought I would open a few doors.

Gotham City Hall. Need I say anything more?gotham

Ray White Real Estate Kiama062 ray white kiama

In fact the entire external walls and internal walls had been painted up in bright Ray White Real Estate colours.

Inverell Pioneer Village067 village inverell

Interesting displays of old buildings, artifacts, tools and especially old machinery

Onboard Bundeena Ferry operating since 1939072 bundeena boat

Just love the old timber coated with so many coats of paint built up over time whereas the   brass fittings have been polished so often they are becoming thinner.

072 bundeena boat1
Notice how even the screw head slot has been worn thin with constant cleaning over 80 years.

Lightning Ridge Lockup

Interesting on the day of court sittings to men (well mostly men sometimes women) are held in this tin box awaiting trial. Lightning Ridge is hot most of the time but temperatures of 45 degrees and above are common during summer. The only shade if from a tree beside the lockup.073 lockup lightning ridge

Watchtower La Perouse

Built in 1821 and staffed by soldiers it was used as a lookout for people trying to arrive in the Colony by what was known as “the back door” at Botany Bay. Later it was used as a watchtower for a perceived invasion by Russia. No such invasion was ever planned. It was pure isolationist unconfirmed rumour.075 watchtower la perouse

Mudbrick Lightning Ridge

This old mud brick building (with a new door and windows) can be found in the main street of Lightning Ridge.mud brick lightning ridge

The Rocks

These old terrace houses in Playfair St The Rocks, Sydney were built between 1875 to 1877. They are NSW Heritage listed. It ssems strange to have doors so close together. One door for a street level residence and the other door for upstairs.066 the rocks

There is  quite a long history about these terrace houses which can be found here   http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/sydney-About_us-Our_heritage_role-Heritage_and_Conservation_Register.htm&objectid=138

 

571. Sunday 1st October 2017. A long drive home, Kombis and moving…

Monday 25th September.

While in Sydney we took the opportunity to visit Aunt Gwen at her flat in Redfern. She still looks so young and her mind is sharp. She has now completed a self- imposed project of converting all her collection of 500 DVD’s to her computer hard drive. I do not know too many people who could even contemplate such a task let alone somebody approaching her 94th birthday.

After morning tea we headed to La Perouse to visit friends Geoff and Margaret. Geoff is never still, always working on a new project around the house. Either that or he does lots of internet research. As usually is the case we swap ideas and discuss new computer projects we are exploring.

After leaving La Perouse (Noting it was now peak hour traffic time and pondering how we let a window of time slip away) we struggled with the Sydney traffic all wanting to be somewhere in the general direction we wanted to be. By the time we reached Gymea it was almost time for dinner. We all chose grilled Barramundi at Miranda RSL.

Tuesday 26th September

We started the long journey home and managed to get away at what is usually a safe time to avoid Sydney peak hour traffic. By and large that was mostly true. We picked up the Sydney Harbour Tunnel which joined the Lane Cove River tunnel which became the M2. We exited at Beeecroft and joined Pennant Hills Road. For some reason the traffic (mostly trucks) was still in peak hour mode here and we inched our way towards the M1 at Wahroonga. For those not familiar with the Sydney M1, it begins at Wahroonga on the north side of Sydney and runs all the way through to Beresfield, near Newcastle, 127 Klms away. The speed limit is mostly 110 KPH except for one stretch up a steep hill leaving the Hawksbury River. Here the speed is reduced to 90 KPH and all those cars I passed at 110 KPH are now passing me as I drive at the speed limit.

Sigh!

To join the MI means travelling along either Pennant Hills road battling the 12 hours of peak hour traffic or the Pacific Highway with a similar traffic problem. I spoke with Sydney Roads Authority who confirmed they are building a tunnel from the Wahroonga exit to link up with the M2 at West Pennant Hills. This they believe will take 5,000 trucks, per day off Pennant Hills Road. The tunnel should be completed by July 2019.

After leaving the M1 and joining the Pacific Highway we travelled to Heatherbrae where we stopped for a traditional Heatherbrae Pies lunch.

We arrived at Forster in the early afternoon. We have not seen my brother Allan and his wife Rae for 12 months so this was an opportunity to catch up and ogle their new Avida Motorhome.

Drool!

Wednesday 27th September.

After breakfast at the Barefoot Café on Fosters main beach we were away again. Foster has a 2 minute peak hour problem on weekday mornings but we left late enough to avoid the quiet rush.

Hee Hee Hee!

We drove all the way through to Ulmarra and had lunch at the Ulmarra Hotel on the bank of the Clarence River.270917 hotel Parked in the streets around the pub were about a dozen VW Kombis in various stages of restoration, 270917 kombi3270917 kombi2270917 kombi1some immaculately so.270917 kombi Perhaps they were on their way to or from a Kombi Rally. Unfortunately their group was leaving just as we were arriving so never had a chance to ask.

We arrive home well after dark to find a family friend, Iain looking to stay with us a few days.

All tired.

Zzzzzzz!

Thursday 28th September

On the road again. This time to Brisbane to pack up house for Donnis son Peter. All the furniture, bedding, clothes, electronics, garage stuff, everything a normal household collects has to be sorted and packed and a removalist to quote.

Saturday 30th September

Today Iain joined us to continue packing and sorting. TV’s had to be taken down off the wall mountings. The sound system dismantled and speakers packed away. Then we began on the garage while Donnis sorted the bedroom and kitchen.

Still a lot to be done as the sale settles on 16th.

Sunday 1st October.

Today is a lay day with just “doin nuffin”,

Besides, the Rugby League Grand Final is being played tonight and the fairy tale team of the North Queensland Cowboys are playing the form team all season, the Melbourne Storm. I know the Cowboys have played with heart to reach this game but it is a forlorn hope they win. They are the crowds sentimental favourites and mine too. I just have a niggling doubt they can win.

Cowboys lost 34 – 6.

Boo Hoo.

570. Sunday 24th September 2017. Long drives, birthday party and Bi-Centennial Park…

Thursday 21st September

Hi Ho it’s on the road we go.

I had set a goal to get away from home, at the latest, by 10am.  Regular readers will know that usually my target times are never achieved. We somehow drag the chain and are late by an hour or so. Today, by some miracle we were on the road by 8.30.

Another miracle occurred when we arrived in Port Macquarie 7.5 hours later.

So we spent a pleasant night with Tony and Dawn, a great dinner and too much dessert.

Friday 22nd September

Away by 9.30 and arrived in Gymea, south of Sydney by 3pm.

Saturday 23rd September

Away by 8am and arrive at Corrimal to start packing and tidying and arranging the remaining furniture and boxes of household items for Errol and Nicole who have moved to Victoria. The removalist was scheduled to arrive at 12 noon. We called him, he said he was caught in traffic and would be here by 1pm.  We were due at a 60th Birthday party for Wayne M at 2.30. By 2.15 the removalist had not arrived and was no longer answering his phone. We arranged for a neighbour to supervise the loading and left for the party. Later we found the removalist did not arrive until sometime after 4pm.

The party was a nice mix of people, friends, family, and past work colleagues. New South Wales and Queensland were in the grip of an unseasonal heat wave with temps in the low 30’s.The party was held in Wayne’s 2 story “Man Cave”. I was able to catch up with old work colleagues from 30 plus years ago. A nice afternoon. Thanks for the invite Wayne.

Sunday 24th September

Back in Gymea we went to Homebush Bay and Sydney Olympic Park for a picnic. The area is a huge park area including the Olympic Stadium (now called ANZ Stadium), Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney Showgrounds and Bi-Centennial Park on the shore of Homebush Bay.

We took a walk around Brickpit Ring an 18.5m high 550m circular raised walkway above the old Sydney Brick quarry. During construction of Sydney Olympic precinct this abandoned site (filled with rain water) was earmarked for a 300 million dollar hotel. Before construction began it was found to be the habitat of the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. The hotel plans were cancelled and the Ring Walk was created above the brick pits. The loss of the hotel saved the habitat of the frogs.

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This was the old brick pits destined to be the underground carpark for a M$300,000,000 hotel. Then an endangered frog species, the Green and Golden Bell Frog was found in the walls around the water. The hotel development was cancelled.
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The completed Ring Walk and the flooded brickpits. The frogs love it.

Next we walked to Homebush Bay to seek out more wrecks not found on our last visit in May this year.

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Remains of the wreck of the SS KARANGI.

It is little realised that the Bay area was deemed contaminated with a range of dioxins, including Agent Orange when Union Carbide used the bay as a dumping ground. Fishing and even swimming is still prohibited. In fact at one stage Sydney Harbour itself was declared unsafe to take and eat fish. The bans stayed in place until around 2000 when just the area around Homebush Bay was declared still unsafe. Still it is a lovely bay with lots of bird and marine life including a healthy mangrove system.

Bi-Centennial Park, like Centennial Park before it, were both built on reclaimed and mostly drained swamp and is a popular place for family picnics and riding bicycles.

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Boardwalk through the remaining mangrove swamp.

 

569. Sunday 17th September 2017. Forgetfulness? Or Lazy? Or Nothing to report…!!!

Unbelievable!!! I have been doing this blog, religiously, every Sunday (or perhaps a few days later) every week since September 2010. Suddenly, twice in the space of a few weeks I have not posted at all. I start the week with all good intentions and plans go downhill from there.

Sigh!!!

Tuesday 5th September

Happy Birthday wishes came from all over then it was time to put Donnis on a jet plane bound for Sydney. She will be away for 10 days. Donnis is helping son Errol and his family move to Victoria. Nicole has been ill and needs a little help. Besides Donnis found it a good enough reason to see the grandchildre.

Perhaps I can finish the painting by myself.

Grrr! Moving furniture, drop clothes, rollers, brushes, stirring paint (I really hate that part especially with a new tin of paint. It slops everywhere) roller trays and all the cleaning associated with painting.

Am I glad I finally finished painting the rooms this week. Now all I have to do is paint the trim around windows and doors and then paint the doors.  Eleven window frames, 9 door frames and 9 doors to be painted with two coats of enamel paint.

Sigh!!!

Ok Ok! I must admit the rooms do look nice.

Sunday 10th September

Drove to Nundah on the north side of the Brisbane River to watch grandson Chris play in his grand final Under 13 Rugby League game. There was a lot of support from his mother Regelyn and father Peter, grandmother Evangeline, the other grandparents, Uncles and cousins and of course me! Chris team lost 28 – 26 in a close fought game. I say well done to have played the season and the team was good enough to get to the grand final.

Wednesday 13th September

Finally finished all the door and window frames. Now all we have to do is paint the doors.

Yahoo!

(Oops will have to wait until a couple more weeks before we begin the doors. We have too many plans)

Thursday 14th September

Donnis arrived home to Gold Coast Airport late this afternoon, just in time to repack a bag as we drive to Noosa tomorrow to celebrate Dave E 50th birthday.

Saturday 16th September.

Happy Birthday Dave.

A nice night at a B&B in the Noosa Valley with lots of loud music and dancing. Luckily there was a TV so we could zip in and out of the big room to watch the Rugby League game between Parramatta Eels and North Queensland Cowboys. The Cowboys were meant to be cannon fodder in the finals series but beat the Cronulla Sharks, last years premiers, last week. This week they were not expected to win but won 24 – 16 and have made it into the final four. Good work Cowboys and thanks for the exciting games.

Sunday 17th September.

On the drive home we stopped at Ikea Northlakes for a light lunch. Donnis usually loves the Swedish Meatballs but this time wanted Salmon. The meal was a little below average and in fact we both felt overful and a bit ill all afternoon. Ikea your meals are not as good as they once were.

We bought a giant photo and frame 2m x 1.4m.

Hmmm! That was an unplanned purchase.

No photos this week but I want to share some photos of a photo class I attended in 2014 when we had a photo excursion to a Japanese garden in the Brisbane Botanical gardens.bbgbbg1bbg2bbg3bbg4

Next week we will both go to Port Macquarie then to The Shire in Sydney, Avondale for another birthday and who knows where to after that?

568. Sunday 3rd September 2017. House painting and a long bush hike…

Friday 1st September (First day of Spring)

For the first time in a long, long, long time I did not post  last week.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

We started painting the house interior last week and it has continued all this week.

Today was a lay day.

Yahoo!

Saturday 2nd September

Met sister Enid and hubby Ken at Binna Burra a small parcel of private land within the Lamington National Park along the Scenic Rim Region in the McPherson Ranges. The car park is 800 metres above sea level. Today we took a hike along the Daves Creek Loop Trail which took us through some heavily wooded country, some open heathland and spectacular steep cliffs some 900 metres above sea level.

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One of the legacies of Cyclone Debbie earlier this year. Although the cyclone came nowhere near this region, it was hit by strong winds and heavy rains. We saw many fallen trees along the track.

In places we could look across deep valley floors within ancient volcanic caldera and see Mt Warning across the border in NSW. Todays 4 hour, 12 Klm up and down hike was a sort of warm up preparation for a more challenging hike/climb of Mt Warning…perhaps in October.

In places the track skirted steep cliff edges which made for a nervous bit of careful walking and to ensure there were no trips or slips on the downward slope.

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Our path follows that cliff line on the left. The track can be seenheading close to the edge. The high range in the distance is part of an ancient volcanic caldera and overlooks the Tweed Valley in NSW. Look carefully and you can see a Telstra Tower midway aling the ridge. further forward but unseen is whta is known as The Best of All Lookouts in Springbrook National park which I have written about before.

We stopped for lunch on a cliff edge overlooking the Numinbah Valley where we could see the ribbon of back road which travels over the range down into the Tweed Valley of NSW to Murwillumbah.

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Our precarious lunch spot.

I am nervous about heights so removing my camera, hat, walking pole and backpack was done very carefully. A playful bird flitted around us looking for a handout of small amounts of bread which it took and placed in the fork of several bushes nearby.

Somewhere along the track we crossed a small brook or creek, no more than a stride wide which had a small trickle of water struggling through the rocks. This was Daves Creek for which the track was named.

After lunch we started the climb on the return to the car park and were surprised by a sign which said Surprise Rock. It was indeed a surprise a large rock in the middle of otherwise rock free bush.

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Looking across the heathland from Surprise Rock.

The rock had beautiful views across heathland to Mt Warning in the distance.

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Looking past Surprise Rock towards Mt Warning and the Tweed Valley of NSW.

Eventually we made it back to the car park where we stopped to finish our sandwiches but a busy cheeky unidentified bird made three passes snapping at my sandwich, taking a little bite each time. On the third pass he took what remained of my sandwich in one low flying sneaky attack. We never even saw him coming.

On the way home I stopped to watch Para Gliders take off from an impossibly high and steep hill. Now that’s what I would like to do. On second thoughts I am a little nervous about heights.

At least I can watch.

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Preparing for a bit of time in the sky.
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Quick take off. A few steps and this pilot was flying.
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The carry bag doubles as a comfortable sitting harness.
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Mt Warning is in the background.
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A gentle landing.