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.
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.
Time to move!
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
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.
The wind would occasionally whip the sand across the beach while the big dumping waves created a wild surf only good for paddling.
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.
On our way home we stopped at a sand swimming enclosure at Labrador. Donnis swim while I continued people watching.
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
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.
There was enough food even for those who had not had dinner. As well, entertainment was supplied by a couple from another village.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hmmm! Next time we might have a Great Gatsby theme.
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.
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.
The tomatoes are coming along nicely and beginning to change colour from a deep dark green to a lighter green.
The capsicums are also changing from a deep green to red.
The spring onions have just flowered and cast their seed.
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.
The spinach is looking ready to eat
and the thyme which looked dead when I replanted it in mid -winter is now thriving.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A mini opening ceremony was performed along with interviews by various paid and volunteer workers and athletes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
which is located on the Brisbane River with fantastic views of the river and Story Bridge.
On our way from the bus stop to Eagle Street I had to stop and admire The Manor Apartment Hotel. When 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 owls while below are lions) and 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.
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.
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.