581. Sunday 10th December 2017. A quiet week of cooking…

Christmas is rushing up to meet us. We have a Christmas morning tea to organise in the clubhouse next Thursday. A new specialist supermarket has opened next door and the owner will be our guest speaker.

Next Saturday we have a catered Christmas dinner in the clubhouse. We have 75 people already booked for that event. A dozen new folding tables arrived today. Just in time for the dinner next week.

Christmas Eve we have a planned Carols by Candlelight in our park beside the creek.

We have spent the week pretty much at home doing whatever it is that we do around the home. We play bowls, table tennis, indoor bowls, line dancing and swimming.I also do my bike riding.

The weather has been a mix of hot days with cool nights or rainy days with cooler nights.

There has not been any Commonwealth Games Training this week so instead I have been doing a little cooking. Hmmm! Maybe that’s a lot of cooking.

Over the years I have made a Zucchini Loaf which is delicious and seems to get eaten too quickly.

Recently I tried making a concoction using cooked brown rice and cooked red lentils with a capsicum sauce. Wow that sauce was a lot of effort for very little return. The rice lentil mixture was meant to be shaped into balls and baked with the sauce drizzled over the top when serving. I followed the recipe faithfully (it seemed like I was in the kitchen all afternoon – in fact I was) but the mixture seemed too crumbly to hold together in balls. Instead I put the mixture in a square pie dish and baked it like a flat loaf. A sort of rice lentil bread. It was tasty but seemed to be lacking – something. A week later I tried again this time adding some grated zucchini and two eggs. Now this was more like it but it was just a little too moist and still crumbly, not holding together like a loaf.

Hmmm! I thought. How can I improve on this?

So this week I tried again. I still kept the basic ingredients of brown rice and lentils, then added a grated carrot. I also grated a zucchini but sprinkled it generously with salt and left it for 20 minutes to draw out the moisture then squeezed it through muslin. I added that to the mix along with grated parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. I cooked up an onion and three cloves of garlic in curry powder with pepper and salt and added that and three eggs to the mix. Instead of putting it in a blender as the recipe stated I used a mixmaster on very basic slow blend. The mix was now a bit like a thick cake batter. I lined a square pie dish with paper and poured in the mix. I sprinkled the top with a tomato relish, more grated cheese and panko breadcrumbs. A few slices of tomato from our garden sat on top.  Then into the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, turned the pan around for another 15 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean. I let it “rest” for about 10 minutes then cut into squares and served. Yummo. This is a winner. However next time I will add some peas and maybe some chopped cooked bacon. Serve bigger slices and a salad and you have a delicious satisfying meal. Serve smaller slices as a sort of replacement for potato.

While in the mood I made some coconut and cherry muffins. Donnis had bought a box of Australian cherries for $5 and after she pitted most of them, froze some, glaced` some and let me have some for the muffins. We also had a nice glass of cherry juice. The muffins have such a nice taste and texture. I sprinkled them with icing sugar. Froze some and will have the rest between us with our morning coffee.

Donnis also bought a box of mango’s for $5. Hmmm! I feel a recipe coming on. This time it will be a mango and coconut muffin. I will use the same recipe but replace the cherries with chopped mango. We will also make a mango syrup and serve with thick cream as dessert when friends come to visit next week

Our freezer is now at capacity with all the extra frozen fruit. Did I mention Donnis also bought a box of Strawberry’s for $5 last week. She blanched and froze most of them. While I am on the subject she also bought a box of Bluberries – you guessed it, she paid $5 – and they are also in the freezer.

See you later. I have to go and whip up a couple of storms in the kitchen.


580. Sunday 3rd December 2017. The Broadwater, Commandos, Travel plans, Driver Training and Eternity…

Thursday 28th November

Had one of our happy walks along the beach of The Broadwater from Labrador to Lands End. As usual there is always something to see amongst the hundreds of water craft plying or anchored there.

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We would not like to be aboard this basic houseboat in a strong wind.
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This yacht aground on the beach is a classic example of the old saying. When the depth of water is less than the depth of the keel.

Something which really caught my eye was  boat built /owned/ used by Commando Knights a family of tight knit pseudo  idealists. I have written about the Commando Knights in previous posts on this blog. For example post 467 in December 2014 and again in 548 in April 2017. In both cases the small, almost fully enclosed floating fortress was supplemented by a larger floating fortress. Today, what we saw beached on Wave Break Island was a huge dormitory sized floating fortress. Have a look at this fortress which still appears to be in a state of building. It seems to be built a catamaran platform of some type. Apart from that the structure seems to make no sense at all.

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The Commabdo Knights have been busy these last few months. I have no idea what all the extra timbver is for but it must serve a purpose…at least in somebody’s mind.

Then again, the Commando Knights may know something the rest of us do not. Have a look at this You Tube video, professionally produced by the Tanton Family. These people are serious.


Brett Tanton who is the proclaimed General of a family of eight, seems to have some military training and is perhaps a member of the Queensland Police based on the Gold Coast.


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This houseboat is owned and cobbled together by a single woman who loves (Oh really?) and keeps them onboard. They have nowhere to go except under the netting.
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Zoom in and look closely and you can see at least one large turkey and a large duck or goose or swan.

Saturday 2nd December

Donnis and I have been researching travel plans for May 2018 after the Commonwealth Games are completed. The original plan was a cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Norwegian Jewel for 20 days. The cruise would have commenced in Yokohama Japan, another 5 Japanese ports, then on to Petropavovsk, Kamchatka, Russia. From there it was a cruise across the Bering Sea to Anchorage, (Seward actually) Alaska, a further 6 Alaskan ports and finally finish in Seattle USA. We would spend a few days in Seattle then train to Vancouver, fly to Calgary for a few days then fly to the east coast and spend 10 days in Prince Edward Island exploring PEI and Newfoundland before driving across Canada to Calgary, Vancouver and fly home. Wow! We would have been busy for 6 weeks and the budget was being stretched tissue thin but if we do not enjoy ourselves now we may not have another opportunity. Having decided, we asked for a final quote and cabin assignment. The email reply was encouraging until we found the US /Australia exchange rate has declined in the last few weeks. Worse than that was the original prices quoted was a teaser. US taxes of almost US$1,000 were added to the quote. Add to that the $13 per person per day compulsory tipping, shore excursion costs, air fare to Japan and overnights while waiting to board the ship and the possibility of $500 or more to obtain a Russian Visa, the tissue paper split. It simply pushed the budget beyond our limits. It was a difficult decision to cancel the trip especially as this was a maiden voyage for this ship on this route and a first time port of call to Petropavovsk.

We are now looking a different plan but like all plans it requires some research which takes time.

Hmmm! A train journey from Seattle across the USA to Albany spread over three days sounds interesting.

Sunday 3rd December

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are drawing closer. Today I attended, along with 2,370 other excited people, the first Role Specific Training course for drivers.031217 training031217 training2

Back in 2015 volunteers for the 2018 Commonwealth Games were called for. Along with another 55,000 or so other hopefuls, I applied. Gradually those numbers were whittled down to manageable thousands. Some 15,000 people wanted to be drivers. I attended the first selection interview process, which at the time had 4,500 people interviewed. All agreed to a Police and background check. All the approved volunteers, 5,000 of us, for all the various tasks, attended one of three sessions at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. I attended the second session on Sunday 12th November and now all the drivers will begin to attend role or location specific training between now and April when the games begin. Mostly the drivers look to be an able bodied group although I was surprised to see a number of people who were clearly grossly overweight, walked with difficulty or with a cane or in one case, in a wheelchair. I can only wonder how these people will cope driving dignitaries around the Gold Coast and Brisbane for up to 12 hours.

The event was very well produced, fast paced, interesting, lots of loud music. Enthusiasm bubbled and boiled out of the crowd. 031217 training1

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The local Indigenous community Youth Choir

Once again I am disappointed I did not bring my good camera. Once we start training and driving I should have plenty of spaces to carry all my things I need. Including the camera. Unfortunately either the mobile phone camera is not sufficient megapixels or I cannot hold the phone steady enough for decent photos.

Now let’s see 2,300 people leave the stadium in an orderly fashion. The coffee booth was closed. The tea and coffee and biscuits tables were cleared away. I waited behind, believing it was easier to read my Kindle and let the crowds sort themselves out. Below the stadium over 1,000 cars were all trying to squeeze out of one entrance only to be slowed by traffic lights which had not been co-ordinated to allow for peak traffic. Only 6 cars at a time were getting through the lights. This was the first sign of chaos I have seen in the organisational skills of the GOLDOC. (Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Organisation Committee). Somebody forgot traffic control and forgot to organise the traffic lights as if it was another big sports day. Eventually a second exit from the underground parking was opened but that traffic still had to merge with the cars coming out of the first exit! It took one and a half hours for me to get out of the car park. Good thing I stayed in my car, engine off and read my Kindle.

Now comes co-incidence and nostalgia time.

Earlier in the week I heard a radio interview on ABC’s Conversations with Richard Fidler. The interview was with Roy Williams, Co-author of a book about the Eternity Man, Arthur Stace. (1885 – 1967) Arthur wrote one word, ETERNITY, in a bold copperplate handwriting style on footpaths around inner suburbs of Sydney.

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This is the Eternity written inaluminium at the Wall of Water at Sydney Town Hall.

Mostly the word was written with chalk, sometimes in crayon. As a child and as a teenager, I recall seeing ETERNITY written on the footpath. My recollection is it was always written in yellow chalk or crayon. Until 1962 the identity of ETERNITY man was unknown.

Coincidence No1.

Later in the day I was listening to some music by Australian Singer Songwriter, Russell Morris. A song from his album, Sharkmouth, a song I had not yet heard, suddenly caught my attention. I heard the words and it was about Mr Eternity. Sung in Russell Morris distinctive style it instantly grabbed my attention. This is a brilliant piece of local Sydney history put to music with attention getting lyrics. Russel Morris you have done it again. I am hooked.

Co-incidence No2.

This evening, we were driving home from Brisbane. What were we doing in Brisbane? That is another story. Anyway we were tuned to the ABC when The Spirit of Things presented by Dr Rachael Kohn began. The story opened with a song by Jim Low and within the first two lines I knew it was about Mr Eternity. A different song to Russel Morris but just as deeply moving and full of history. Rachael Kohn also interviewed Roy Williams.

Co-incidence No3.

In the interview they drove around parts of Sydney where Arthur Stace lived, worked, worshipped and wrote ETERNITY. They stopped at a house in Redfern where Arthur and his wife Pearl lived for about 12 years, The house is tiny in a tiny lane called Arthur Lane just off Moorehead St.

My Aunt Gwen lives in Moorehead St just a few houses away!!!

Co-incidence No4.

I also recall seeing a dedication to ETERNITY during the New Years Fireworks when 1999 became 2000. Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit by fireworks which spelled ETERNITY. Later in the year during the Sydney Olympic Games opening ceremony a mock- up of Sydney Harbour Bridge with one word, ETERNITY, emblazoned on it was paraded around the arena.

So, for over twenty five years, from 1930 to 1956, Sydney-siders woke each day to a city that had already been visited by a phantom of the night. A phantom, that was to become the most famous graffiti artist in Australia’s history. For there on the footpaths, on the train station platforms and on the many walkways that linked the city’s buildings was that one word Eternity, etched so beatifically with yellow crayon in the fine copperplate lettering style. 

Where it came from, how it got there, what it meant and who was behind this phenomenon was a mystery to all. The mystery turned to fascination and eventually obsession. For decades leading newspapers and letters to the editor debated who or what was behind the mysterious appearance of the word Eternity each morning. It was an enigma, a one-word sermon that had Sydney columnists speculating often about the author. But in spite of the intense interest, the author remained a phantom for those 25 years.

Today, there are only three public places left in Sydney where you can still see Arthur’s Stace’s Eternity.

(1) You can still see a faded version inside the largest bell at the  Old Sydney Post Office on Martin Place. Written in about 1963, the ‘i’ has almost vanished, but the word ‘Eternity’ can still be seen.

(2) It was memorialized by Architect Ridley Smith in the re-design of Sydney Square beside the Sydney Town Hall. When it was unveiled at the foot of the Wall of Water feature on the 13 July 1977, The Sydney Morning Herald published: “In letters almost 21cm (8in) high is the famous copperplate message Eternity. The one word sermon gleams in wrought aluminium. There’s no undue prominence. No garish presentation. Merely the simple Eternity on pebbles as Arthur Stace would have wanted it.” Interestingly Ridley Smith was the son of missionary parents serving with the China Inland Mission. His father named his son Ridley because of his great respect for evangelist John Ridley, the very preacher whose words turned Arthur Stace into Mr. Eternity

(3) At the foot of his grave in the Botany Cemetery is his trademark etching in marble of his own special version of Eternity.

This ‘birdlike little man with wispy white hair’, Stace has become known as ‘the Eternity Man’, and is enshrined as one of the characters of Sydney. Others have taken Arthur’s Eternity and given it new life.


579. Sunday 26th November 2017. Family time and some time at the beach…

Tuesday 21st November

This morning I met with my two cousins, Lyn and Vicki, whom I have not seen in, ahem, umm err, perhaps, maybe, 58 years. Give or take a year or two. I had met up with Lyn earlier this year.

Vicki lives in W.A. and is only visiting the east coast for a week.

I was given the task of planning a meeting place for brunch. Hmmm! Where to brunch?

Lyn lives here on the Gold Coast so I wanted somewhere not far from her home while it had to be somewhere easy to find when Vicki drove from Brisbane. I also wanted somewhere where we could see the ocean or The Broadwater or a marina. I chose Hogs Breath Café at Fishermans Wharf on The Broadwater at Southport and arranged to meet at 10am. On arrival we found they do not open until 11.30am and do not cater for the breakfast/morning coffee/brunch people. Grrr! Instead we wandered 100 metres to Marina Mirage and had our coffee and cake or breakfast at the Diva Tea and Coffee House. This boutique collection of shops and restaurants overlooking the marina is set as an open air style shopping centre with an array of shade sails.

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Cousins Lynn & Vicki with Donnis

We just finished coffee and were chatting about the “old days” when we lived as children in Balmain. Suddenly the heavens opened and proceeded to dump rain while the shade sails were only partially capable of sheltering us.

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Cousins Lynn and Vicki withthe beared one.

Time to move!

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Vicki’s husband Red and Lynn’s husband Allan.

It was wonderful to catch up with my cousins after such a long time apart. Perhaps now we can have more frequent visits.

Sunday 26th November

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Surfers Paradise from the sand dune

It was such a lovely spring day although there was quite a strong breeze. We decided to go to what we call Sea World Beach – because the car park is located across the road from Sea World.

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Life Guard Station

The wind would occasionally whip the sand across the beach while the big dumping waves created a wild surf only good for paddling.

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Asian visitors enjoying the beach

The Life Savers were kept busy keeping people between the flags as a strong rip was running across the the channel between the waves and the beach. It was too rough to consider swimming but being a nice day it was good to just walk along the beach and people watch. The Asian visitors really seem to enjoy the surf beaches.

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Surfers Paradise from the beach.

On our way home we stopped at a sand swimming enclosure at Labrador. Donnis swim while I continued people watching.

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Visitors at Labrador.

578. Sunday 19th November 2017. A quiet week finishing with a fun Wine and Cheese night…

Saturday 18th November.

Our social club has been busy and is getting busier.

The planning and implementation of our Wine and Cheese Night came to fruition tonight. On the strength of our last Wine and Cheese Night a few months ago, we decided to do it again. This time instead of being a free night we placed a $6 fee per person entry. For this we supplied a choice of 5 wines

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Choose a wine. Red or White.

and about 16 choices of cheese along with all the usual bits and pieces which go with cheese tasting plus a selection of home-made meat balls and various sauces and dips.

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Table being loaded with food.

There was enough food even for those who had not had dinner. As well, entertainment was supplied by a couple from another village.

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Before the guests arrive.

Although this time when we charged a fee we were uncertain how this would be accepted. Numbers were a little down but we also had residents attend who have never attended a night before.

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Bill Gaudy. Only 6 per table Bill.

Plus we saw some residents up and dancing whom we have never seen on the dance floor previously. I may be a little biased but I believe we organised a great night.

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Marie Gaudy, Graham Gaudy and tasteful Lyn and Wal show their line dancing style.
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Marie and Graham showing off a gaudy garter.

Thanks must go to the rest of the committee for putting this together. Marie, Wayne and Lyn on the catering side and all of us for setting up the clubhouse. As always Graham is our ever hyper active MC and encouraging people up to the dance floor and running around ensuring people get involved and having a good time.

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The duo called Dusty Chords.
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Dance floor and residents.

We asked residents to come along dressed in a “gaudy” fashion. One of the meanings of “gaudy” is, dressed in bad taste. All the committee went to great effort to look gaudy or dressed in bad taste while a few others accepted the challenge.

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Kit Gaudy and daughter Ann Gaudy. Dressed like oranges and lemons.
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Unknown resident dressed in gaudy.
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Deb Gaudy and Graham Gaudy show off their tasteless dress sense.
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Hardy Gaudy.
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Ray Gaudy.
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Wayne Gaudy. Our Chef de Missione. Or the cooks gone missin’.
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Frank Gaudy. Is this tasteless enough? Some suggested it was an impersonation of Angus Young from AC DC.

Hmmm! Next time we might have a Great Gatsby theme.

Sunday19th November

Many hands make light work and about a dozen people showed up at the clubhouse to clean up after last night. Everything was cleaned, vacuumed and put away and all done within 40 minutes. The rain began today and is forecast to be with us, off and on for the remainder of the week.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

The spinach is looking ready to eat

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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.


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.


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.


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

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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.


This particular page contains more than 50 tribute tracks.


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.


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.

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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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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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