Month: December 2016

525. Sunday 25th December 2016. Christmas Day, Prawns off the trawler and Donnis is home…

Wednesday 21st December

Donnis arrived back on the Gold Coast at 10pm on a Jet Star Flight from Sydney to Coolangatta. Our normally precise choreographed collection technique was delayed. On arrival at the Coolangatta Airport I took a drive through the Arrivals / Departures pick up/ drop off area. Wow! The queue of cars waiting to pick up passengers stretched all the way back along the road almost to the Gold Coast Highway. I continued on along the road. Past Departures and went to wait in the little shopping precinct parking area.

Hmmm! Both Jet Star and Virgin had flights scheduled to arrive at 9.15 so perhaps they were late.

They were. Both planes were trying to get passengers disembarked and luggage unloaded to make room for the final flight of the evening.

I waited until ten past ten when Donnis flight finally touched down. It still had to taxi to the terminal and disembark passengers and they had to wait for their luggage. Finally 35 minutes later the luggage was collected Donnis was ready. I suggested she wait at Departures otherwise I may be delayed waiting in traffic. That turned out to be the case. I drove past all those cars waiting in line at Arrivals and collected Donnis at Departures and we were on our way home. We were home a little after 11.30 but one of us was jet lagged and the other simply tired after a long day.

Sleep was also late in arriving.

Thursday 22nd December.

An Aussie Christmas tradition gaining more and more popular each year is a seafood lunch on Christmas Day instead of a hot pork or chicken or in some cases Turkey in which somebody in the house has to spend hours in a hot kitchen, in a hot climate to have a big hot meal at midday. One of the main items in the seafood lunch, are, Prawns. Most people buy their, questionably fresh Prawns from Supermarket giants, Coles, Woolworths, Aldi or IGA. People who live near the coast and who have cash, line up where the fishing trawlers berth and sell their catch direct to the public. It is questionable if buying direct is any cheaper or fresher than buying through the supermarket. This year for the first time ever I joined those people. The plan was to arrive early at 5am and beat the crowds. It did not matter I arrived at 6am as the place was crowded since 5am. About 8 trawlers were in port. Some had only crabs or green prawns. Some trawlers were still arriving as I waited. And waited. Stocks were getting low and the man selling the prawns was heard to say that a strong wind warning may keep the boats in harbour and there may not be prawns for everybody.

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Waiting in line at the trawler for a feed of prawns.
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Getting closer to my prawns. Like everybody else in the line I was mouthing a little prayer, “Please let there be enough prawns for me.”

Alecia and her Canadian fiancée will be with us on Christmas Day so the prawns and some Lobster Tails I have in the freezer will be a great lunch on the beach.

Sunday 25th December

Christmas Day.

Instead of the planned sunny day eating prawns at the beach we got thunder, lightning and rain periods.

Alecia and Tyler arrived in the morning. We took a drive to main beach where families had gathered with their tents and shelters for a day at the beach.

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Main Berach near Southport Surf Life saving Club with the ominous dark clouds slowly rolling in from the sea.
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Standing ankle deep in the surf. Tyler, Alecia and Donnis.
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Happy snap at the beach.

Naturally at The Spit we were caught in a brief storm.

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The rain is beginning to move along the beach.
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Surfers Paradise, framed in the Sand Pumping Jetty at The Spit.
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Tyler and Alecia wandering along the breakwater at The Spit just a few moments before the rain began.

Back home we set our table in the pergola beside Biggera Creek and had our fresh off the trawler prawns for lunch washed down with champagne.

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Our table at the creek just waiting for prawns.

It was a quiet Christmas Day but grateful we could share the day with Alecia and Tyler as their brief stay in Australia is drawing to a close.

Tomorrow we are off to The Pub With No Beer for three days. (Yes Virginia, there really was a Pub With No Beer)

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524. Sunday 18th December 2016. Rats, Dyson, Noosa and Star Wars…

Tuesday 13th December.

Woke at 5.30am and staggered out of bed but not yet ready to take on the world. I saw something on the floor in the laundry and my foggy brain did not at first realise what it was. I thought it was insulation from the ceiling. Nooo. Brain begins to focus as I reach for the object. It was a Christmas gift of a cookie in the shape of a reindeer with an icing face sealed inside two layers of closed plastic wrapping. It was on my dining table last night. Sealed and intact. Today it was partly eaten.

We have a RAT!

Or RATS!

I bought two rat traps and placed one at the bottom of the laundry stairs under which there is a small opening to the underside of the house. The other trap I placed at the scene of the crime, on the floor under the dining table. In the afternoon while in my LaZ Y Boy recliner reading a Terry Pratchett book, The Colour of Magic, I fell asleep. I was woken by a clattering on the floor. A big RAT was in the trap, not happy and jumping around trying to get free. In its antics the rat and the trap slid under the lounge and all went quiet. I went to the kitchen to get a bucket and broom to sweep the rat into the bucket. On hands and knees I looked under the lounge. There was the empty trap, but the rat had scampered.

Where to? Inside the house in a dark corner somewhere to slowly die of a broken neck and turn the house into a smelly grave? I searched the house with torch into all nooks and crannies.

Darn darn darn. Where would an injured rat go?

Home? Where is its home?

I am going away for three days in the morning. What will I find on my return? Just in case, I reset the traps. Who knows, perhaps another rat family member will try to abscond with the trap tonight.

Wednesday 14th December

In the morning I found a dead rat in one of the two traps. Before leaving the house I reset both traps inside the house and closed the laundry door to prevent any further ingress from the garage. If there are no rats in traps when I return I can be fairly certain there are no rats in the house and they are entering through the garage and laundry entrance door.

Regular readers may recall  three weeks ago we left our Dyson DC22 Vacuum cleaner with Dyson in Brisbane for repair. It was returned, with comment that the motorhead attachment must have caused a short. They suggested we throw away the motorhead and buy a new one. WTF! The vacuum arrived in pieces and could not be put back together. It was shipped back, “fixed” and returned to us a second time. This time the on off switch would not switch on. This morning I delivered the whole package, including the motorhead, back to Dyson. Later I received a call to say the fault was a PCB – whatever that is – Power Control Board perhaps – which has now been replaced and all is working as it should. Oh, BTW the Powerhead was not faulty. Hmmm! Fancy assuming the motorhead was faulty without testing it. My opinion of Dyson has gone to rock bottom these past few weeks.

Ken and I went to Noosa River for a couple of drinks and nibblies at sunset. So did hundreds of other familes. Naturally I left the camera back at the house. Too bad. A picture of hundreds of families on the river bank would have been interesting.

Back home we had dinner on the terrace and watched a Garden Orb Spider build its web.

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Garden Orb spider building its web. The web covers an area of at least a square metre and is enough to trap a small bird. Double click and double click the image again to see just how hairy these spiders are.
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Busy busy busy Garden Orb spider.
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Almost finished, final touches before settling down to await dinner.
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Web finished. The spider tucks itself into a head down legs folded position.

There a huge number of Orb spiders with over 100 known species in Australia. These spiders build their “ORB” web every night after sunset and “eat” the web at sunrise, thereby re-cycling the protein rich material. During the day the spider hides somewhere nearby leaving only the main horizontal and vertical strands in place. They can and do bite, although producing a swelling and uncomfortable bite site, they do not have a fatal venom. In the time it took to eat our meal, the web was complete.

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While watching the spider spin its web this fruit bat got annoyed at our torchlight. Typically of a bat it would not hold still for a nice sharp clear photo.Note the sharp hook on the leg.

Thursday 15th December

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Weyba Creek
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I went for a walk before breakfast. I saw a number of canoes and boats along Weyba Creek. This interesting specimen has an outrigger made out of Poly Pipe. Look carefully and you can see an electric outboard motor mount on the stern on the same side as the outrigger Ama.
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An old “tinnie”,

Ken and I joined the usual Hastings Street Noosa traffic for an hour at the beach. No surf! However the water temp was 23° so it was worth a quick dip. Even without surf, sand somehow finds its way into swimming costumes. After a fresh water shower sand still resides where it ought not.

We then drove along the coast to Coolum Beach just for a look around.

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After our swim at Noosa Beach we drove to Coolum Beach for a look at all the development going on there.
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While at Coolum we watched a surf competition for the Under 16 Girls.

Sister Enid arrived home from Mackay so we celebrated at a Thai Restaurant around the corner.

Friday 16th December

Joined the traffic heading south to Brisbane where the traffic to the Gold Coast got worse.

Sunday 18th December

Went to the movies to see the latest Star Wars franchise. Rogue One in 3D and in the Titan XC theatre with the exciting 360° explosive sound system. Waiting for the movie I saw families arrive with a big buckets of popcorn, choc coated ice creams and a large 1.25 litre Coca Cola drinks. For each family member! Apart from costing $7.50, that food package is full of sugar and fat and is no wonder Australian children are following the USA into obesity.

The movie? Hmmm! 3D big sound lots of special effects and a story line almost impossible to follow and at times the good guys and the bad guys are indistinguishable. I must be stuck in a time bubble because the first released movie is still the best. Oh and the surprise appearance of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) for two seconds at the very end of the movie made me pause. Hmmm! The makeup department did a good job as she looks no older than she did in 1977 in “The Empire Strikes Back”.

One week to Christmas Day and local prawns at the beach for lunch.

523. Sunday 11th December 2016. A Christmas rant,a village lunch and lost in routine…

Forgive me Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ 200 for it has been two weeks since my last photo.

( I can hear the muffled cries from the FZ200 as it tries to shout from the camera case. “Take me out, take me out. I will let you take photos of anything if you will just take me out of this bag”.)

OK OK you have been a good little camera. If you continue to behave I will see what I can do this week.

Tuesday 6th December

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

Colourful lights are being strung up on houses here in the village and colourful cards keep finding their way into the letterbox.

The village social committee arranged a Christmas lunch complete with entertainers.

At 12.30am we collected Alecia from Brisbane airport and our first task of the day was to go to bed and get a few hours sleep.

ZZZZzzz…

Wake in time for the Christmas Lunch.

Hmmm! What happened to those two bottles of wine? Did we really drink all that between three of us while eating lunch, singing and dancing?

It was a fun afternoon and sleep caught up again in the early evening.

Wednesday 7th December

Boo Hoo Sob Sob.

I drove Donnis and Alecia to Coolangatta Airport. They are flying to Sydney and then on to Wollongong for the next two weeks to visit with Errol.

Thursday 8th December

A few weeks ago at Post 519 I had a minor rant about being able to buy Aussie Crab Meat. Failing that I wanted to at least be able to get crab meat from NZ, USA, Canada or Norway.

Well today I went shopping for groceries as I usually do and as I usually do I check labels for

  1. An Australian owned company
  2. Wholly grown and packed Produce of Australia

On today’s expedition I went to Coles Supermarket. For our overseas readers Coles is Australia wide (but is not represented in the smaller rural communities) and is probably the largest supermarket chain in Oz.

First up I wanted Pink Salmon. I have been conditioned over the years, since I was a child,  to Ally brand. It was usually a wild caught salmon from USA or Canada. Today it comes from China!!! So did all the other well- known brands including an Australian brand, SAFCOL (South Australia Fisherman’s Co-Operative Limited.) You have to wonder when a brand trading on an Aussie iconic name has fish sourced in Asia. Surprise, surprise. Coles own label has wild caught salmon from…Alaska.

I looked for Olives and Sundried Tomatoes. I could not find any from Australia. Italy, yes, Spain yes, China yes, but none from Australia.

Canned Beetroot was next on the list. I had trouble finding any from Australia but surprise, surprise, Coles own brand is Australian grown and canned.

A packet of biscuits from a Proudly Owned Australian company – Greens. Made in Australia from Local AND Imported ingredients.

Arnotts Biscuits probably the premier biscuit maker in Australia for over 100 years. Made in Australia from local Ingredients. But… Arnotts were sold to an American company a few years ago so although the jobs of employees and farm workers are kept in Australia the profits go offshore.

Campbells Soup. An American company. Proudly announces “Made in Australia” but declines to mention where the produce comes from.

SPC Baked Beans. A proud Aussie company for many years with Australian logos all over the can. They also claim Made in Australia but fail to mention where the produce comes from.

Bacon. With hundreds of packages and a dozen brands to choose from it is only when you read the fine print do you realise that it is made from Imported Pork. Only one brand, a small Australian company, Bertocci Brothers, announces, proudly, the bacon is made from Australian Pork. I discovered an Organic Butcher at Paradise Point who only sells bacon made from Australian Pork.

Vegemite. That great Aussie icon is made in Australia but is made by an American owned company, Kraft. They also fail to state where the ingredients are sourced from.

Capelano Honey that great well known Aussie icon. Packed in Australia from Local AND Imported honey. Often their local honey is blended with honey from China so there is no real Aussie home grown honey from this mob. There are other honey producers who proudly announce they are an Australian company and only use Australian sourced honey. Best place for real Aussie honey are the markets, farmers markets and organic markets.

Sultanas. One brand, Sunbeam, known from my childhood proudly proclaims themselves as an Australian Company and the Sultanas are grown and packed in Australia.

Prunes. I could not find any prunes grown and packed in Australia. Even the USA famous brand gets their prunes from Chile. Others come from China.

Saxa Salt. Australian grown company since 1911. Australian produce and packed in Australia.

Uncle Toby’s Oats. An iconic Australian company for over 100 years, owned by Nestle a Swiss Company. My favourite Oat Flakes contains no added sugars or salt. Made in Australia from Local AND Imported ingredients.

Golden Circle another famous Aussie icon, originally made famous for Pineapple Juice made in Australia from Local pineapples. Now it is made in Australia from Local AND Imported ingredients.

The list goes on and on. It is difficult to find an wholly owned Australian company which grows and or makes wholly Australian products. This list is by no means comprehensive but just an indicator of how hard it is to find and support Australian companies and support Australian farmers and producers.

Here is my take on our culture and mind set. Australian workers, like any other nation, wants top dollar for their wages. They are reluctant to spend that money on good quality Australian grown and made products. We want cheaper products and if it comes from overseas we do not want to know about it. The problem is those jobs which grow and process the food are gradually being eroded. Our unemployment goes up and soon other jobs in other sectors are affected. We can and do grow our own meat, fruit, vegetables and can process our own food. We can also make our own clothes and household items but gradually those products are made offshore and we lose jobs.

Please Australians, support your own job by supporting Australian grown and made in Australia.

Saturday 10th December

Today was a Bowls Club Christmas Dinner and award presentation. About 50 people turned up for chicken and salad and of course social interaction which we do a lot of here. During the course of the meal I was surprised to receive an award for Most Improved Bowler – Male. Considering I just started a few months ago it is quite an honour.

Tonight I finished reading “Where Have A/ll the Bullets Gone” an biographical story by the zany Spike Milligan. Spike is one of the ever popular Goons. The book is one of several he wrote about his part in WWII and his adventures and misadventures and how he met musicians and comedians and other actors along the way. Often the read was hard going as his brand of humour is way out there and often needed to be thought about in order to understand. Others in his true life series was “Mussolinia: His Part in My Downfall”, “Monty: His Part in My Victory”, “Rommell: Gunner Who?” and “Adolf Hitler: My art in His Downfall”.

Sunday 11th December

Does anybody else have these kind of days?

I have a Scratchit Ticket to be umm err scratched.

I need a coin to scratch so go to the bedroom to find a coin.

I find the washing which I brought in earlier, left on the bed and still have not folded and put it away.

I start on matching the socks when I spy a Tea Towel and remember when putting the tea towel in the wash I forgot to replace it in the kitchen.

I go to the hall cupboard to get a fresh tea towel to take to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen I spy the Scratchit ticket and head to the bedroom once again to get a coin but the laptop goes DING! With a Facebook Messenger delivery but before I open the message I recall I am waiting on an email so check that first. While responding I recall the Facebook Message so quickly open that, read the message and start to reply when I recall I am still thirsty since an hour ago and was going to get a glass of water in the kitchen.

So I stop the Facebook message and go to the kitchen for a glass of water but there I spy the Scratchit which is still unscratched and recall I was headed to the bedroom for a coin.

In the bedroom I see the washing again and start folding those now sorted socks when I spy a hand towel and recall I did not replace the hand towel yesterday when I put a hand towel in the wash.

I go to the hall cupboard to get a hand towel and on my way to the kitchen spy the open laptop and recall the unfinished Facebook message. I complete the message and Facebook Dings once more with a new post from a friend. Eventually I see the hand towel on the table and wonder what it is doing there.

Ding! I was going to put it in the kitchen. As I do so see the tea pot is still unemptied from breakfast so empty it into the garden and back to the kitchen to rinse it and realise I still have not washed the dishes but at the same time spy the Scratchit and need a coin and head to the bedroom where I see the unfolded washing on the bed.

Sigh!

Where has my day gone?

Oh, I should mention that every morning  I ride the Bicycle over 20Klms along The Broadwater, over the Nerang River via the Southport Sunvale Bridge, through McIntosh Island Park over the Nerang River via the McIntosh Island Bridge to Main Beach and home again. Then I do my floor exercises. I am proude to advise with the exercise routine, interrupted a year ago, is now back in full swing. So is my low carbs and low sugar (Same things really) diet. I have lost 12 kilo’s but more importantly I have lost 10 centimetres of girth and can fit into most of my clothes again. I never thought I would be able to wear my jeans again but they fit nicely. Some of the clothes I bought while big around the belly will have to be donated to The salvation Army or St Vincent De Paul Society as they are continually sliding off my hips.

I still need to lose more weight and more girth.

522. Sunday 4th December 2016. A quiet week, I gave the camera a holiday and Harvey Norman surpises us…

Sunday 4th December

It has been a quiet week.

Alecia has been visiting from Canada. On Thursday she and Donnis went to The Lighthouse Restaurant at Cleveland Bay a Brisbane suburb, for a family dinner with Uncles Aunts and Cousins.

At the beginning of the week the weather forecast warned to expect heat wave conditions for the next week. Some temps were predicted to be in the mid 30’s and 41 degrees out west. In any event here on the coast and at our village on Biggera Creek, the worst day was 28°. We have window awnings and roof insulation which keeps the house comfortable. Add to that the ocean breeze coming in off the creek and we have had pleasant days…no need for air conditioning. We have done our usual things like riding the bike, line dancing, walks along the beach, lawn bowls, line dancing and table tennis.

Harvey Norman the electrical retailer had an interesting sale over three days. They hired out the Gold Coast Convention Centre and paid for the parking of shoppers. They invited their suppliers of big ticket items and small ticket items. The suppliers responded by sending their staff and products and some demonstrations took place. As well a roving Master of Ceremonies called on a supplier who then offered a crazy discount price on a particular product. For example I recall an LG 300W Sound Bar normally retails for almost $400. They offered nine for $100 each. Before the MC had finished making his announcement all nine were sold. People had shopping trolleys piled high with goodies. From our point of view it must have been a spectacular success judging by the sales being made. Fridges, washing machines, dryers, freezers, TV’s, recorders etc were selling as fast as staff were putting them on display. Initially I was cynical of the whole exercise but have to agree the whole concept was a different approach to selling.