Month: August 2018

636. Sunday 26th August 2018. On the road again…

Thursday 23rd August

I have been reading a book called “KEEPER” by Andrea Gillies. It is true story about a family caring for a family member suffering from Alzheimers disease. The following short excerpt echoes in my mind, almost on a continuous loop.

IF I HAD to pick one catchall descriptor for Nancy’s life in the last few years it would be misery. Profound misery, unceasing and insolubly a family member suffering frome. She knows that something is wrong, very wrong, but what is it? She’s had a series of terrible daily encounters with herself and her environment that might have come directly from an amnesiac thriller: waking to find she has aged fifty years overnight, that her parents have disappeared, that she doesn’t know the woman in the mirror, nor the people who claim to be her husband and children, and has never seen the rooms and furnishings that everyone around her claims insistently are her home. Time has slipped, gone seriously askew. Every day for her is spent in an ongoing quest to put things right. The trouble is, she can’t seem to concentrate on the question or on possible clues to it. She can’t navigate the problem. When she left us for the nursing home, she was daily engaged in a very protracted, slow-motion form of panic. It’s been over eight years now since the formal diagnosis and eleven years at least since symptoms began, but even after all this time, she’s only at stage 6 of the disease. Stage 7 looms, the cruelest and last phase, with its loss of continence, motor control, speech, and ability to swallow. Eventually her lungs will forget how to breathe, her heart forget how to beat, and her quest will come to an end.”

Our Dad (that is, Dad to my brother Allan and sisters Enid, Bev and Sandra) died, not from Alzheimers but something I believe Alzheimers created. I suppose Dad was in Phase 7 as described above and even as he progressed from stage 6 to 7 there were moments of something like clarity and understanding on his part. Truthfully, they were only moments. I know that sister Enid probably saw the worst of stage 7 but by then he was in a nursing home and gradually deteriorating.


On reflection it seems so much time passed while he gradually worsened. In reality it was a relatively short period but the near daily dramas made it feel much longer.

My sisters and I tried to keep Dad independent and in his own home. That became increasingly difficult and just like the author of the book, we made the gut wrenching decision to have Dad enter a nursing home. Even carers starting off with the best intentions finally make the same decision.

We all watched and felt the repercussions of his gradual loss of short term memory. That was frustrating and difficult to continually try to remember this was a disease taking his mind and not some game he was playing and tormenting us with. We learned patience ( a long slow process in itself) which does not always come easily. Next we experienced the loss of even some of the long term memory and a gradual decline of knowing who he was or where he was. For a while he wanted to “go home”. Home being somewhere in his mind which only he knew or maybe not knew but had a vague idea home was somewhere else. Gradually that passed and every day for him became a challenge to not only know who he was, where he was but even recognising his children was gone. Recognising the people around him was like meeting new people every day.

Tunes are stored in a different part of the brain than words. That particular part of the brain is the last to lose its contents. That is why music seems to reach the Alzheimer sufferer with not only the tune but the words that go with it. Incredibly Dad remembered words and tunes but often did not have words for a conversation.

The last part of the brain to be taken over by the disease is the Cerebellum, tapping along, singing, clapping along and humming along with a song gets the cerebellum working. On my last visit with him I am still unsure if he knew I was there or if he did, did he know who I was? Music was playing in the hallway where we were sitting. The song was, “Those Were The Days My Friend”. He knew the tune AND the words. The song was not from his youth nor from his young adult life. The song was first released in 1968 sung by Mary Hopkins and produced by Paul McCartney. Dad would have been 50 when the song was released. At the end of the song after he had talked and sung and hummed along he declared “Oh wow!”

I am writing this for a couple of reasons. One is for my own, perhaps belated understanding but mainly to bring to the attention of any reader who may have a loved one or even a friend who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease. Knowledge will not stop the disease as there is no known cure but knowledge may help you to understand and come to terms with what is happening. As well it may help you to accept the increasingly difficult behaviour. Not only what is happening now but as the disease progresses. It may help with learning new ways to cope and learning the big new talent… PATIENCE.

If you are interested, the book is available from Amazon.

I may be able to help you with a digital copy. Please contact me by email or leave a comment on this post with your contact details.

Friday 24th August

I looked back over what I wrote yesterday and recalled something which annoyed me, stuck in my craw and it still aggravates me, came to mind. In the early stages of Dad’s disease he was still independent, ambulant, still driving, still getting his own groceries and still paying his way. What annoyed me was this. His bank insisted he have a debit card which has those four numbers called a PIN. Personal Identification Number. We all have one and many people, much younger than Dad would forget the number and usually write the number somewhere they can find it easily. Dad forgot his number and forgot where he wrote it. We would go to the bank and in their wisdom the bank would issue a new PIN. Then the next time he forgot they would issue a new PIN. The bank kept saying they did not want customers coming into the bank every second Thursday to get their Pension. They wanted Pensioners to access their money via an ATM. Grrr! Banks still do this. Getting money from his account was always a stressful time for him and Enid when she had to sort it out for him. Surely the hierarchy in banks knows and understands that Alzheimers is here to stay. Could they not come up with a different way for a customer to access their money in that interim stage between astute mental clarity and when they lose all short term memory and need a carer?

Today I visited the Skin Doctor who firstly gave me the all clear on the cancer he removed last week. He has removed all traces of the cancer. He removed the 5 sutures, froze a few non malignant skin cancers and sent me home.

This evening we had some rain with thunder and lightning.

Saturday 25th August

Amazing experience here this morning. We were on our way by 8am.

We tracked through Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla and stopped for lunch in a pub at Miles. The highway between Dalby and Chinchilla is undergoing huge roadworks including in the main streets through the towns. Two lanes is being turned into four lanes.Bae of people wanting coffee and cake.

Back on the road we arrived in Rolleston just on midday. We stopped for a toilet break and found another barista at a Coffee in the Park van and doing a roaring trade with the Grey Nomads constantly stopping.

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Coffee in the Park at Rolleston.
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This timber hut is called Purbrook Hut. It is mostly the original boundary riders hut from the 1850. Some of the timber and all of the roofing iron has been replaced but what you see is what it was like way back then.
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Inside you can see that it was pretty basic and draughty but would have provided shelter and shade from the sun and a dry place during the wet.

The coffee shop and sandwich bar across the street, the only other food outlet in town was closed.

On the road for another hour we passed through Springsure

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Springsure sits alongside the shadow of a worn down mountain range.

and later stopped at Red Rooster at Emerald for a yuk lunch and an hour later we were in Clermont, a Gold and Coal Mining Town. Gold was discovered here in 1861.

The final push of about 600 Klms to Townsville begins in the morning.

635. Sunday 19th August 2018. Skin doctor, cooking, smoke alarms and travel plans…

Tuesday 14th August

Last week I mentioned visiting the Skin Doctor who took a biopsy and sent it to the lab. Today on my follow up visit I was told the sample returned a positive result. It is a    Squamous Cell Carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising from the squamous cells in the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer. Cumulative, long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun over your lifetime causes most SCCs. Daily year-round sun exposure, intense exposure in the summer months or on sunny vacations. SCCs may occur on all areas of the body but are most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, balding scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs. The skin in these areas often reveals tell-tale signs of sun damage, including wrinkles, pigment changes, freckles, “age spots,” loss of elasticity and broken blood vessels. I have had several SCC removed over the years including one on my nose in March this year. Today I had surgery on my neck just below the jaw line and it required 5 stitches and I felt them all. I know the area was numb from the local anaesthetic but I still felt the cutting and stitching.

Wednesday 15th August

On Sunday at our fun sports day, Donnis chose a veggie burger instead of roast beef and gravy. I watched Wayne as he prepared and cooked the burgers. I noticed the yellow colour which I once thought must be potato and pumpkin mashed and other vegetables added. In fact the recipe used by Wayne has a Lentil Flour base. Lentil Flour! I happened to have some Chick Pea Flour I used on a bread I made earlier this year. The internet has hundreds of veggie burger recipes using either Lentil Flour or Chick Pea Flour so tonight I got to work making the burgers. I probably could have used more salt or pepper or even a curry powder but those veggie burgers were nice. There was no meat in our dinner tonight, just the burgers and a bit of broccoli and some cold baby cucumbers. We used some yoghurt as a dip and it was yummy. Next time I think I will add some crushed mint to the yoghurt and spice the burgers a bit more. I will also make a bigger batch.

Friday 17th August.

Where has my week gone?

A keen eyed resident noticed some spelling and typo flaws in my RV vehicle rules I wrote about last week.


I decided to take down the wonderful laminated copies I put on the notice board last week. I have re-written and tidied the rules and asked a neighbour who works in a legal office to proof read them before they get laminated.

Today is Art Day at a neighbours house where 8 to 10 residents get together to do their art…whatever that may be…and to have a coffee and cake social gathering. I usually go, bringing my own coffee and a photo slideshow culled from photos of our travels over the last 10 years. I usually show the photos on the iPad or laptop. That is my art contribution. While on the subject I will also mention I am a member of four “Photo” type Facebook Groups. I contribute my offerings and comment or Like other contributions. I enjoy my hour or so in the world of photography.

I have included a few photos from the first half of 2012. Some of these have been shown in this blog at the time while some have not been seen before. I have cropped some and digitally enhanced some but essentially they are all my own work.

belmore basin
I once lived in Wollongong. More than 20 years in fact. I have a special fondness for the area. Its history, its natural features and I have many friends who still live there. During 2012 we visited The Gong on a number of occasions. This location is Wollongong Harbour or Belmore Basin as it is known officially. This gnarly old tree has had children climbing on it for at least 100 years and with care will see another century of children climbing.
Wollongong Harbour boasts two lighthouses. One stands at the entrance to Belmore Basin while the other is higher above on Flagstaff Hill where its beam is seen well out to sea.
row of dinghy's
This tidy row of dinghy’s is located at Belmore Basin.
tallawarra jetty
Wollongong is fortunate to have a large lake on its doorstep. Lake Illawarra is popular with sailors, swimmers. crabbers, prawners, fishermen, water skiers, jet skiers, cyclist and family picnics. This jetty is near the site of Tallawarra Power Station with Mt Warrigal (Native Dog Hill) in the background.
Another favourite location especially for board riders is Sandon Point a little north of The Gong. For some reason most surf breaks…well at least the beaches I went to, had right hand breaks. I surfed as a goofy footer which meant on right hand breaks I surfed with my back to the breaking wave wall. I always enjoyed left hand breaks such as the one at Sandon Point. These fishermens huts have been here for more than 100 years. They are still in use.
surf at sandon
There is also a right hand break at Sandon Point which usually works in bigger swells. When I first started surfing here there were pylons still in place from an old coal loading jetty.

Sunday 19th August

Another week has rushed up at us and gone by so quickly. The weather has been kind. Sunshine and warmth, at least after about 9.30am. Early mornings are what we call chilly getting down as low as about 8 degrees. Usually we get cool westerly winds in August. We have had some of those as well.

This morning we could smell smoke. Donnis wondered who would need a fire at this time of day on a warm morning. It turns out there was a house fire about one Klm away. Early reports say the house was 60% damaged. All five people escaped without injury. The fire is believed to have started in the meter box in the garage. The Fire Chief when interviewed believes smoke alarms should also be installed in garages.

WTF! Sometime in the next few years every dwelling in Queensland must have a hard wired with back-up battery power smoke alarm installed in every room and hallway. The law was passed and effective 2017 but we have a ten year period of grace to get them installed. All smoke alarms must be set so if one goes off, they all go off. At a cost of around $120 each, plus installation even our modest 2 bedroom villa needs at least 6 fire alarms. It is not a cheap option. Now they want them in garages too!!!

Last week I mentioned we have some travel plans. We will be going to Townsvillle next week. Instead of taking the coast road as we have done 1,000 times before we will travel via the Warrego Highway up the Toowoomba Range, through Toowoomba to Dalby then Miles where we join the Leichhardt Highway to Taroom and spend the night there. We will probably stay at the Cattle Camp Motel. From there we will take a minor road, the Bauhinia Downs Road via the Palmgrove National Park and link up with the Dawson Highway to Bauhinia and on through Rolleston, Springsure and Emerald. Then we join the Gregory Highway to Capella, Cleremont and the long lonely haul via Cape River all the way to Charters Towers where we stay another night. The Cape River system feeds into the Burdekin River to create Dalrymple Lake and the immense Burdekin Dam. The catchment area alone is 115,000 square Klms. That is half the size of the state of Victoria and 50 times the size of the Australian Capital Territory. It is also about the same size as the state of Ohio in the USA. It is also larger in size than 14 US states and is the same size as 7 US states combined.  From there it is a reasonably short haul down the Mingella Range and across the flat country to Townsville. Whew that is about 1,500 Klms and 16 hours of driving. Once upon a time I would have driven that in one day. Not anymore. Some of those roads and places we have never visited before so we have allowed exploring time in the itinerary.

A little way south of Wollongong is another historic coastal town, Kiama. Just north of KIama is Bombo which was once a quarry which is often used for television commercials, usually for cars. The stretch of twisted ancient volcanic coastline also includes little beaches more often used by keen board riders. The Boneyard springs to mind as one such beach but on this day it was more like a pond.
cathedral rock
Cathedral Rock is a familiar rocky landmark known to thousands of board riders who have ever surfed at The Boneyard.
camp oven
The little town of Albion Park, south of Wollongong, has an historic railway park. On the day of our visit they had a camp oven cook off competition. Aromas of wood smoke and cakes, dampers, roasts and casseroles bubbling away was delightful.
mahon pool
My brother and sisters and I have fond memories of Mahon Pool in the rocks on the north end of Maroubra Beach, Growing up as a teenager, so close to the beach and this rock pool meant we always had something to do every weekend, summer or winter.
footbridge at hat head
The footbridge at Hat Head connects the public area and campground with a peninsular beach on the other side of a tidal estuary.
A lonbg way from The Gong is the inland town of Euchuca on the Murray River. The town was a bustling centre of river commerce with many paddle steamers moving wool and wheat from properties upriver to this inland port. It is still a busy port but the paddle wheelers take tourists today. I have no idea what these carts were for but they were everywhere around the port.

634. Sunday 12th August 2018. Social club activities, a visit by family and a fun sports day…

Gee what a slack old week. No photos. No new places visited but that will change.

Yeah yeah, I know I have promised that before. Usually I deliver…at my own pace of course.

Wednesday 8th August

My sister Bev has a birthday today. I called to wish her a Happy Birthday. She was at work and we could only chat for a few minutes. Sadly there will be nobody home to take her out for dinner tonight.


I saw my Skin Specialist today who took a skin punch biopsy sample on an itchy growth on my neck. I expect it will come back positive, after all I do live in sunshine most of the year and have done since I was a young pup. Sunshine can be a bit damaging to skin but the effects do not show up when you are young. Cancer waits until you are older, then pays a visit or dozen as payment for a misspent youth in the sun and surf.

I will know the results next week.

Thursday 9th August

Nothing happened today.

Oh wait! A few things did happen.

The co-pilot was busy cleaning house as my daughter Averyl and granddaughter Shelby are coming for the weekend.

I attended a Social Club Committee meeting to finalise arrangements for a fun sports day this Sunday.

We also made plans for a Rock and Roll night in October, a Wine and Cheese Night combined with Karaoke  in September, a speaker for our morning tea next month and we finalised and approved a set of rules for a Recreational Vehicle Storage Area.  I have been working on the rules for several weeks as they are long overdue and will help solve the problems which arise because there have been no clear cut rules in place. The rules are now approved, printed, laminated and placed on two notice boards within the village and copies have been sent to real estate agents to bring to the attention of potential buyers.

We also sketched out a rough plan for a progressive dinner during the summer months. We have a gazebo in our private park beside Biggera Creek, a pontoon and deck area, a couple of residents with large outdoor areas, an area around the pool, a barbecue area beside the bowls green and of course our clubhouse. There are plenty of places to have a progressive dinner. The committee liked my suggestion and a few residents we shared the idea with are enthusiastic.

Next I went and bought special Barista Milk and lots of coffee, hot chocolate and Chai Tea as I will provide all the coffee during the day. We have about 35 people attending and we will be self- catering muffins and coffee mid- morning and beef or chicken rolls with gravy for lunch followed by a selection of 4 different desserts. Fellow committee member Wayne will do the catering including baking as he has done in the past.

So, yes, something was done today.

Saturday 11th August

Collected Averyl and Shelby from Brisbane airport then drove home for a short break before attending the first of two appointments to inspect accommodation for Shelby,

Sunday 12th August.

While Averyl and Shelby were inspecting more accommodation options and attending Griffith University Open Day Donnis and I joined the Fun Sports Day. I was kept busy making cappuccino, hot chocolate and chai latte for 34 residents. I seem to have a reputation as a Barista. I made about 50 cups of coffee and some people came back for seconds, a few came back for thirds and one had 4 Chai Lattes. I operated three pod coffee machines and two milk frothers which kept the coffee/chocolate/chai drinkers happy.

Our Social Committee President, Graham sorted us into teams of 4 and had us doing all sorts of strange games which do not require a great deal of physical activity or special skills although quite honestly some people have no skills. I think it was just good luck which was on some teams side. Naah not sour grapes on my side it was all about having fun and we had lots of that.

We charged residents $5 per head for the day. That included as much real coffee as they wanted, muffins, lunch bread rolls and dessert plus of course the games entertainment and prizes of …chocolates of course. In most places you would be lucky to buy a cup of coffee for that price. The Social Committee subsidised the event and we lost $50 on the day. I had budgeted for a bigger loss so our catering skills are getting better.

In the afternoon we drove Averyl & Shelby back to Brisbane Airport.

It has been a busy couple of days.

I have been planning a trip to the north of the state in about two weeks. More details next week.


633. Sunday 5th August 2018. Seafood, beach walks, Rugby League and electrics…

Monday 30th July

Today we drove to Sea World Beach for a walk in the sunshine, fresh salty air and bare toes in the sand.

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While sitting on the beach we saw this pair walking up and down doing the Metal Detector Shuffle to the tune of Have Not Found Anything of Value or sometimes they play Just Bottle Tops.

Donnis felt invigorated after the walk. Afterwards we stopped to have a look at Peters Seafood Market in a little unnamed street just beside Palazzo Versace.   This is a hidden gem selling mostly, Australian Wild Caught fish and seafood. They have fish and chips for $9. Unfortunately you are only offered Basa catfish from Vietnam or Hoki from New Zealand. Both are pre filleted and half cooked in a thin batter then frozen. Peters finishes the cooking process. You can choose any other fresh Australian fillets of fish which they will cook for you. Battered, crumbed or grilled. Of course the price is dearer. Outside there are bench tables and seats all looking across the Broadwater and the fishing fleet marina on one side and the multi- million dollar boats in the Versace marina on the other side. These spectacular views cost nothing as you sit back and enjoy your seafood. Although there are only a couple of small signs on Seaworld Drive, this place is busy especially as it is Monday and not the busiest day of the week.

Thursday 2nd August.

Donnis is still not well but not so bad that she is confined to bed. She wanted to spend some time on the beach in the sand, just sitting there and enjoying the sunshine and fresh sea air. The beach opposite Marina Mirage seemed like a good idea but the breeze from the south was just a little cool and annoying. So we decamped and went to a walk around the marina precinct including Mariners Cove, Marina Mirage Palazzo Versace Marina and saw the boats, all in the multi- million dollar plus class at the private marina at Palazzo Versace.

There are a few seafood places here, one serves a $9 fish and chips but on checking found it is the dreaded Vietnamese Basa. Mariners Cove Fish and Chips will not be on our “to do” list.

Hogs Breath Café also serve fish but they offer whiting fillets, they are pre battered, half cooked and frozen ready to complete the cooking. It is still much better than Basa and for a $9.90 lunch time menu, Monday to Friday it’s not a bad deal. It comes with piggy fries and a salad too.  I still need to confirm if the fish is Australian or imported.

At the end of the marina is Fishermans Wharf Tavern.   They have $8.99 bar meals including a fish and chips option but I did not speak with the staff to discover what type of fish they serve. They also a dining area overlooking The Broadwater and the fish of the day including chips and salad is $19.90. Before we eat there we will ask the same question we ask here in Australia, Canada and the USA. What fish do you serve? If the answer is Basa, we leave.

Across the Broadwater we saw the circus tent for the Infamous Circus, well, it’s a circus but it isn’t.

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Across the Broadwater, viewed from Mariners Cove Marina is the spiral tent of the Infamous Circus/Cabaret show.

They call it simply, Infamous The Show, which does have circus acts but is also a bit like Circe de Soleil and a bit like a cabaret. It is a 18+ venue and ID is required. It seems there is some nudity and some adult suggestive themes and is intended to titillate attendees. Prices start at $50 and wander up from there. If you enjoy being titillated then this could be for you when it comes to your city.

We wandered to an unnamed beach just past Seaworld where all the yachts are moored.

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Looking across the Spit sheltered boat mooring area is The Broadwater and Southport.

We found a spot out of the breeze and within a few minutes had fallen asleep.

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Sea World, Marina Mirage and Palazzo Versace Marina are located to the left of the photo.

Wow! That was relaxing. It’s a pity Donnis was not well enough to stay for the sunset but once the sun begins to set the temperature drops too. The amazing thing about the beach is there were no mozzies or even more importantly. No sandflies.

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The Gold Coast Outrigger Canoe Club store their canoes on this unnamed beach. No wonder the car park always seems to be full.

Friday 3rd August

One of the elements on our Ceramic Cooktop stopped working. It is the element we use most of the time so it is a choice of…

  1. Continue to use the remaining three elements and put up with it as long as possible.
  2. Accept the offer of a used cooktop which may or may not have a long life ahead.
  3. Look for a Scratch and Dent sale and pick up a new cooktop at a reasonable price.
  4. Buy a new one and look for a good price.

For the moment we will use option a. Today I went to a Harvey Norman Scratch and Dent outlet and found the cheapest price was over $300 so option b is not going to happen. For option d we were told that Aldi had a cooktop on sale for $229 and recently dropped the price to $199. We called at a local Aldi but found they had sold out two weeks ago but called another store at Oxenford who reportedly had a dozen in the storeroom. I drove all the way to Oxenford and asked a helpful looking man. No idea about spare cooktops. Yes they have two gas cooktops but sold out of the ceramic style about two weeks ago. Hmmm! Sounds familiar. The store manager got involved and found a ceramic cooktop at another store west of Brisbane. They offered to have it shipped to a store near us and will call when it arrives. In the meantime we will run with option a. I read an on-line review of the product. They range from mostly glowing reports to a few who had cooktops fail after a few months. The cooktop comes with a three year warranty and past experience with Aldi is they usually honour the warranty with an instant replacement, no questions asked.

I should mention our toaster which cost about $20 in 2010 and which has travelled on the road with us ever since blew the power safety switch late last week. We bought a new toaster on Tuesday for $50 and Aldi had a new fancy toaster on sale for $42 on  Wednesday.

Saturday 4th August. I woke at 5am not feeling the best. Last night I had an upset stomach, a headache, my legs shaking and aching, diahorrea paid a visit and I had an indigestion pain which would not go away. On waking I still had those symptoms. So in the dark I dressed and went for walk. Arriving home at 6am I felt incredibly tired and sat in the recliner chair and umm err, reclined. I woke at 7.45 am and if not feeling 100% felt much better and the indigestion pain was gone.

In the afternoon we both felt a walk in the sunshine and along the beach or waterside was in order. So, for something different we parked the car at what is known as The Moondarewa Spit and walked the pathway along to the Gold Coast Spit and Seaway.

The Emergency Access Stairs in use. (Photo courtesy of Gold Coast Waterways Authority.)
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The dive entry/exit platforms are used by divers and snorkellers. A scuba diver drowned in this area a few years ago trying to climb out of the water onto slippery rocks Council has spent a truckload of money imp[roving the parklands around The Spit. Improvements include two sets of what are called Emergency Access Stairs. They are much used and are a testimony to something good coming out of something bad.
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It seems the local Fire Brigade organise free trips on the fire truck and information sessions where kids and adults can wear fire clothing and have a ride around the block with sirens sounding and lights flashing. You can also hire the truck for special events. I guess they need to cover the costs of running the vehicle and gives the firefighters something to do between fighting fires.

It seems half the population of the Gold Coast was there with the same idea as us.

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The Gold Coast has these wonderful para sailing adventures being towed behind a boat. The safety line is so long the riders were well out over the parkland before the boat wound them in.
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Almost wound in.

After returning to the car it was shoes off and a walk along the beach watching all the watercraft coming and going. While at The Spit we stopped to look at the menu of Seaway Kiosk.   We were quite surprised to see Flathead fillets, crumbed or battered with chips for $12 or Cod for the same price. Hmmm! I need to find out where the Cod comes from. I would rather pay that price for real Australian fish than the imported Basa junk for $9.

Of course while walking the pathway we passed a number of people sitting at bench tables and seats and eating their fish and chips. The smell was driving us crazy.

Last week we somehow got onto the subject of meat pies. Somehow this week we have Fish and Chips for discussion.

Near our home we have Charis Seafoods on the Broadwater at Labrador which sells mainly Australian wild caught seafood and they do a mighty fine fish and chips but you have to specify which fish.    $9 gets you Basa while $12 and up gets you Australian fish. This is a popular place which every day at 1 pm the staff feed the Pelicans (and seagulls) the remains of fish from the shop. Busloads of tourists show up for this event. Looking at the faces of the children as well as the adults shows they enjoy the spectacle. The downside of buying from Charis is if you do not choose your time wisely you end up waiting in a long queue before ordering then waiting with a huge press of bodies all anticipating their fish and chips.

Donnis and I have an aversion to the importation of cheap frozen bottom dwelling and feeding catfish which is farmed in the murky waters of the Mekong and other polluted waterways of Vietnam and other south East Asian countries.

We have a lesser aversion to local farmed fish and acknowledge that if we are going feed people fish, much of it will have to be farmed…under proper conditions. In the meantime we prefer wild caught fish.

Even closer to home is Harbour Seafood Market which is similar to Charis except they do not have nice views over the Broadwater.

They also serve Basa for $9 but will do Barramundi for $12 and Red Emperor for $15. I find it annoying that these local seafood outlets serve good quality fish but in order to win customers, even those who apparently have no taste buds, they offer up the cheap pre- packaged, pre- cooked, pre-frozen, risky import – Basa.

For our friends in the UK, Canada and the USA be aware that cheap Basa is available in many seafood places and the first clue is that it is CHEAP. It is also available through supermarkets especially Walmart and Costco and is sold as pre- frozen pre-cooked fillets under a variety of names but somewhere on the packaging the name Basa will appear. It frequently appears as fancy fare on cruise liners, cross country trains and towns a long way from the coast.

Hmmm! In Australia the fillets are available in 1 Kg packs of 7 fillets for $7.60 or about $1.10 per fillet. 1.4 Kg of Basa fillets for $9.97 CAN. OK lets see. An average of 10 fillets per pack that works out to be slightly less than $1 per fillet. No wonder seafood retailers, who can buy at wholesale prices can sell fish and chips for $9 and still make a profit.

Virtually outside our back door is Burger Bros a New Zealand franchise which offers a huge fish burger with chips and an extra fillet of fish…NZ Hoki – which is much better than Basa – for $13.It is not unusual to see other residents of our village at Burger Bros, some even go in groups once a month and sneak in a bottle of wine. The only fish served is Hoki and it is battered. No other choice. Kiwis are our neighbours so Hoki is acceptable.   It is Wild Caught.    Of course I would prefer Australian wild caught such as Barramundi, Red Emperor or even more local fish such as Bream, Flathead or Mullet

One more stand out fish and chips is both the restaurant and the take away of Doyles Seafood at Watsons Bay in Sydney.   Travelling to Watsons Bay by ferry from Circular Quay is half the fun. They have a great selection of mainly Sydney seafood but waiting in line in the summer sun is no fun. They really need to install some shade at the take away counter. Apart from that they have good fish and chips. Well worth the effort of going there when next you are in Sydney. Besides, the views across Sydney Harbour comes free. For an extra special treat you can always dine at the restaurant option.

While I am on the subject I must mention the good fish and chips AND seafood chowder we experienced in Canada. We had good fresh local wild caught fish and chips in Vancouver BC. Special mention is made of Daves Fish and Chips at Steveston Harbour and Tony’s Fish and Oyster Bar on Granville Island. Also we tasted wonderful fare in various fishing villages on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. Mostly the fish on offer is Cod or Haddock but it is FRESH, it is LOCAL and it is WILD CAUGHT. Alecia had much to do with the choice of seafood places for us to eat at. I still salivate over the seafood chowder I ate at the Sou’ West Bar and Grill which is located at New London a small fishing village on Prince Edward Island.

Sunday 5th August

No fish and chips for us today although I had planned something along those lines before we left home. Somehow life seems to get in the way of plans.

We went to watch grandson Chris play Rugby League…again. Chris scored three tries today and his team won 32/16. Chris actually scored half the tries for his team.

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When he gets wound up very few can lay a hand on him.

Chris is a talented player although he is too young to understand or appreciate where his talent can take him.

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Scoring under the black dot.

It seems talent scouts for the major clubs are everywhere these days and offering training programs for young talent.

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Sorry this is out of focus. Once Chris gets the ball in his hand it is only a matter of moments before he is over the tryline and I have to get him in the viewfinder, zoom in or out and try to focus on a moving target.

We know that Chris has already been sighted and offered some training which he has attended…without enthusiasm…at this stage.

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Sometimes the opposing team do get a hand on him but he drags them along anyway.

Afterwards we went back to Regelyn’s home for coffee and cake. A friend of a friend works at a place where they make restaurant quality cakes. Any rejects often end up at her house. We had what was called a Jaffa Cheesecake with our coffee. By the time we left an afternoon had disappeared and we never did get a fish and chips lunch.