An hour or so later Donnis said she had a medical appointment at Robina and would I drive her. Sure. After dropping her at the medico I went to the shopping centre as it was convenient to wait in air con and as well Doughnut King has a special of a cup of coffee and two doughnuts for $4. As I was walking in the centre, Tony and Dawn were walking out. What a coincidence. There are so many car parks attached to the centre and probably 20 different entrances. What are the odds of seeing them? They had decided to call in for some last minute shopping.
Hmmm! Rather interesting. We also bumped into Tony and Dawn at the end of August in the biggest shopping centre in Townsville. In that case we knew they had gone there but had expected they had left long before we arrived.
Table tennis tonight. Even with the AC turned on we still got a marvellous workout.
Tuesday 23rd October
Rock and Roll lessons tonight. Why Oh Why did I not learn to dance when I was younger? Our teachers are such patient people and what is a complicated series of steps to us is simple basics to them. Simple things like when and how to hold hands and when to release and how to place your feet in a simple 4 step beat. Although it all sounds simple and straight forward we finished the night feeling like we just had a workout at the gym.
Wednesday 24th October.
Another workout this morning with Line Dancing. I suppose the line dancing moves has also helped with the rock and roll lessons.
Sunday 28th October
Much of the intervening days has been filled with a good of nothing plus a generous amount of time planning.
I drove Donnis to the airport this morning. She has flown to Canada for a couple of months.
What can I say about this week other than what we usually do plus my new duties as Admininstrator of the US based Picture A Day Facebook Photo Group. I have a steep learning curve involving protocol, hierarchy, rules and group dynamics, vet, accept or decline potential new members. Oh yes, also have to review member photos and make comments.
Nice comments or sometimes ask members to withdraw photos which do not comply with rules. I suppose one day it will all be straight forward but for now it is time consuming.
It’s funny how I am involved in a photo group and have not had time to take photos this week.
On this date in 2010. It was raining with a severe weather alert issued for more heavy rain, strong winds, lightning, thunder. Much the same as we have today.
Today, like in 2010 is a day to stay indoors and laze about.
Our new 75 inch smart tv arrived and has been hung on the wall at the clubhouse albeit without any connections to a DVD player, our six surround sound speakers nor internet connection or even basic Bluetooth. It arrived without an instruction book.
Hmmm. We have a steep learning curve ahead of us and I have waded in, sleeves rolled up and volunteered to sort it out.
Thursday 18th October
Once a month our Social Committee provides a morning tea get together. It is a bring a plate occasion where we also supply a birthday cake for those celebrating a birthday or couples an anniversary during the month. Often we arrange for an interesting guest speaker as well. Attendance has dropped off a little so this month we decided on a “breakfast” instead of morning tea or coffee. We charged $3 a head for a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, mushrooms, toast and marmalade etc. As well we provided entertainment with a group of professional lady singers, dancers, actors, comediennes and entertainers. Lead lady is none other than Hazel Phillips known for her caberet style tv shows in the 70 and 80’s. No longer a spring chicken she still exudes style and ability to sing and handle a crowd. I included my fresh espresso coffee bar with help from another resident Shirley. The morning was a huge success which was almost a disaster when all the heating elements of several toasters, hot water urn, bay marie, coffee makers, stove, oven, pie warmer and electric frypan blew the fuses just as we turned on the AC. It looked like nothing would work until we reset the power after unplugging some of the equipment. The AC was needed desperately with the sun shining creating high humidity after overnight rain and about 60 people inside the clubhouse.
Friday 19th October
We went for a walk along the beach at The Broadwater. A large barge with a tractor and a digger arrived. Council taped off an area where they will work. They are digging the inlet/outlet of the lagoon to allow the tidal water to flow freely at each change of tide.
Saturday 20th October
Our friends Tony and Dawn arrived on their way home in Port Macquarie from Mackay.
We made lots of crusty coated chicken for dinner. Including a glass or two of wine and a delightful dessert it was a wonderful evening with good friends.
Sunday 21st October
This morning I received a private Messenger invitation. I am a member of 9 Photographic sites worldwide. I try to post a photo to each site every day. One, Picture A Day is more helpful and friendlier than others. Unlike many Facebook sites, bad language and abusive and aggressive behaviour is not tolerated. Unlike some sites these conditions are enforced. I agree with the rules. When you are trying to showcase your photos, timely helpful advice and a sensible critique is sought and given. No negatives or making fun of a photo. So back to Messenger. It was an invite to join their Admin Team. Most of the Admin are based in USA and Canada with only one other from Australia. I was quite surprised and honoured with the invitation. I was so taken aback that I was unable to respond immediately. By tonight I had replied and said, YES. I was happy to say YES to this request unlike the Australian Government request a few months ago. Now I have to learn what Admin duties are and I am sure this will keep me busy most days.
While Donnis and Dawn spent time wandering around Harbourtown Shopping Centre, Tony and I drove to Robina Shopping Centre. We wanted to have a look at mobile phones as Tony’s old Apple can no longer be updated. It runs hot, needs charging daily and is slow. First I showed Tony how to round up sheep. Apple have released a new device of some sort so the sheep arrived in numbers at the new store in Robina. A man was casting from his iPad to a huge wall screen and teaching people who are young enough to know already, how to open Apps on an iPad. It seems Apple does not have an entry level phone or even a mid range phone. They only have phones near the top of the range which are expensive or phones which ARE the top of the range which are even more expensive. The cost is out of our league.
I have an ancient original release iPad which can no longer be updated and is unable to be used as an Internet search device. Apple could only offer to sell me a new device with the appropriate big price tag of course. My iPod Touch stopped working some years ago and was more expensive to fix. It was cheaper to buy a Smart Phone and have more facilities available to me. No way would I buy an Apple and all the road blocks and built in obslessence and an inability to add photos or music without having to open iTunes on my computer and import/sync from there. It seems in Apples eyes it is a crime to access iTunes from any computer other than the one you initially started with.
My old iPod Nano (or whatever the tiny device is called) also stopped working last month. I can no longer charge the battery.
Next we visited the Samsung store and a helpful young lady explained about the entry level phone, the mid range and top of the range phones all with a price tag to suit all budgets. We found a phone which suited Tony being in the right price bracket, is lighter but slightly bigger than his iPhone, has amazing battery life and short charging period and compared to his current phone is super fast. Now Tony is armed with lots of information to consider making a change OR not.
In the afternoon a huge summer storm rolled in dropping the temperature dramatically, lots of rain, wind, lightning and thunder. An hour later a brilliant sunset filled a cloudless sky.
Another great dinner with a couple of juicy fillet steaks.
At first I thought, “I have not done anything this week”. Except, I have. The usual, table tennis and line dancing but I have spent a lot of time on the computer.
Firstly I have arranged many of my photos since 2007 in little folders of around 30 selected photos per folder. . One folder of 30 photos are used in a presentation at an art meeting each Friday. Many of the photos have not been used in the blog before. It’s funny how looking back on those photos all these years later suddenly reveals something which did not catch my eye at the time.
As well I am a member of 8 different Facebook photo groups, some here in Australia and some overseas. I usually contribute a photo to each group every day. Each photo includes a name and usually a story that goes with it.
Today started fine and sunny but soon the predicted clouds rolled in, the wind picked up and the 30mm of rain looked certain to be a reality. I decided to drive to The Spit to take photos of the clouds over the sea and over the city. When almost at the Southport Bridge I noticed the big dark clouds huddled behind the city so I parked under the bridge and got creative.
Then I stopped at the fishing fleet wharf and created again.
It was then, I came to realise that something which was always there but I have not taken any notice of. The huge fenced off vacant land between the fishing fleet wharf and Sea World.
Today I discovered this is Crown Land and the State Government has called for submissions for an Integrated Resort Development (whatever that means) on the site. The State Government already leases surrounding Crown Land to Village Roadshow (Sea World), Marina Mirage, Palazzo Versace and the Southport Yacht Club. Currently the mostly open land but with some trees on the shoreline is supposedly vacant.
People in campervans and pop tops and even people in tents erected under the trees are living there. Illegally of course. They all have multi- million dollar views – for free.
Many people live aboard their yachts, catamarans and houseboats in the water around the vacant site.
Technically they can anchor here for up to 6 days but must then move on. Across the Broadwater is an approved anchorage of 24 hours before you must move. Boaties then move back to somewhere along the Spit for another 6 days. At least the boaties are monitored and controlled by Gold Coast Waterways Authority who send drones into the area to count and plot location of boats every day. The boaties must comply with a raft of regulations to stay in the area. One such regulation is the boat must have a waste water holding tank. The free campers have no controls or restrictions or sanitary waste collection and disposal. One boatie I spoke with has been in the area for 6 years and does the boat shuffle every week.
The only drawback is the daily helicopter flights taking off and landing at Sea World every three minutes. It will be interesting to see what happens to these flights when the government approves and building of an IRD is completed.
The promised rain, apart from a few valiant itinerant drops, failed to arrive.
I have a confession to make. Today I changed the “Scene” settings on the camera but left it in “scene” mode instead of switching back to Intelligent Auto or full manual. All 73 photos were taken in “Settings” mode so the usual default auto light, aperture, ISO and f stop settings were not working. All the photos had a washed out almost pastel shades with insipid presentation, I had to use a photo editing App to put some colour back into the photos.
Saturday 6th October.
Heavy rain or at least constant rain was predicted for today. It seems to be following a pattern. Rain is predicted but does not arrive.
The World Parachuting Championships kicked off today with a demo of mass jumpers landing on the beach at Surfers Paradise. It seems the rain which did not arrive was a bonus for the organisers. There are 46 nations attending and some big names and big talent will be here.
Sunday 7th October
The Drop Zone for the Championships is at Runaway Bay Sports Complex about 3 Klms from home. The small Southport Flying Club air strip will be used to ferry jumpers into the sky. It is about 2 Klms from home.
I drove to Runaway Bay and watched constant streams of people jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.
Some jumpers do 360 degree loops on their way down.
Some come in at amazing speed on an angle and suddenly they are on the ground and a few steps later are rolling up the parachute.
Others drop so fast almost vertically that you think they will surely crash when at the last moment they pull up quickly and also within a few paces they are on solid ground. I watched one jumper who seemed to just linger longer in the air than anybody else. The other jumpers stopped to watch somebody who is very good. The person seemed to float like a feather and landed so lightly they only took one step and was then rolling up their chute.
Later I drove to the airport to watch the drop planes arrive and depart.
The small private road had a sign warning there was a Koala in the area. I was mighty chuffed to find the Koala within moments and there was nobody else around to share the discovery.
It was high in a gum tree, Trying to photograph on hand held full zoom is difficult to hold the camera 100% steady so some lack of sharpness occurs. Regardless it was quite an exciting day to see a Koala and even better one who moved around as well and was aware of me.
Donnis arrived at Coolangatta Airport almost exactly on time. The sun was shining there was a light breeze and was well with the world. She wanted to go to the beach for a walk along the wet sand with the wind in her face.
Within a few minutes of our walk there were three fingers of storm fronts creeping across the sky. The wind picked up the sky got darker and we could see Surfers Paradise in the north beginning to look hidden behind a haze of rain.
From Bilinga Beach we drove to Currumbin Beach and as we have done on a number of occasions, dropped into the Surf Club for a drink and a snack.
By now the sky was heavily overcast and the air seemed to have an electric feel about it. Within minutes the lightning show began, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach disappeared under a curtain of rain and we had a front row seat beside the open floor to ceiling window.
Today was the beginning of what the forecasters were saying was daily storm cells, damaging winds and hail and rain, heavy at times including a tornado or two.
Wednesday 10th October
At line dancing today, the sun, which made a magical appearance for a few hours, reflected off the pool, through the windows and cast a shadow image of the palm fronds outside and the dancers inside onto the wall. Magical. We first noticed this last week. Today I brought the camera to capture a silhouette show but it is difficult to capture shadows just the way you want them.
Friday 12th October.
I read back though my blog page for September and October 2010 when we first left Airlie Beach to begin our permanent travels in WWWGO. I note how the very first day it started to rain heavily and WWWGO developed a leak around the area where the TV antenna enters the roof. Luckily we were not far from my daughter Melissa horse stud and we parked WWWGO in their tractor shed. Over the next week Steve and I cleaned up anything which may have caused a leak and re-sealed everything. Over the course of the next month it rained more frequently in our travels and we were often caught in flooded areas. The wet season was beginning at this same time in 2008 in much the same manner as it is beginning this year. At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 saw the disastrous Brisbane floods. I wonder if history is going to repeat itself.
Saturday 13th October
Heavy rain today. Hmmm! I know lets go to a brand new giant shopping centre. It will be nice and quiet. The new centre is Westfield Coomera and opened on Thursday to much fanfare. I figured the crowds would be thinner today and who would want to come out on a wet day like today. You would have to be crazy. Right! Like us! It is only 17 Klms from home and will take only 21 minutes according to Google Maps. OK lets go. Driving along the M1 with lots of traffic, heavy rain and spray from car wheels was OK. Hmmm! Said Donnis what is this red line on Google Maps for??? Once we turned off the M1 the red line became apparent. Traffic chaos! WT!!! Surely they are not all going to the new shopping centre. No, of course they ALL were not going there. Only the vast majority! I felt like turning off and going home but we were locked into umm err, gridlock.
A couple of Police cars were parked to block some traffic so that we all moved forward in a controlled manner. There were parking attendants in wet weather gear waving flashing batons. Everywhere we looked the car park was full. I asked a friendly looking baton waving raincoat shrouded figure how do I get out? So far my 21 minute journey has taken almost an hour and I want to go home. The attendant said turn left here, follow the wall and you will see the exit signs. With a wink he also mentioned we might find a parking spot.
Just as somebody pulled out we drove in and better yet it was under a shade sail. Meanwhile it was still raining.
Inside it was a mass of seething humanity all going somewhere with nowhere in mind. We did the same.
First things first. It was lunchtime so we looked at all the foody offerings to decide. There are 39 food outlets to choose from (with not a McDonalds or Hungry Jacks in sight) in several different locations. We looked at Hardy Boys and saw a plate for two with a price tag of $30. Some people just had theirs delivered to the table and we thought, A Ploughmans Lunch. Hmmm! Seems a bit much for lunch but even sushi elsewhere was going to cost $20 so it was back to Hardy Boys a place we have never heard of before. The platter for two was $16. The $30 option included a bottle of wine. WT! The amazing thing about this platter was sheer value for money. Honestly we struggled to finish the plate. It contained small cubes of a mild cheddar cheese, cubes of a goats milk fetta and some triangles of a Brie. Plus there were little bowls of sun dried tomatoes, olives, and smashed avocado. There was a steak cut into small chunks, salami, rocket lettuce, salsa, slices of smoked salmon and some toasted rye bread.
Bathrooms are interesting. When you wash your hands p;ace your hand under the spout and water runs as long as your hand is under the spout. There are two arms on the spour place hands under the arms and hey presto a blade of high speed warm air dries your hands and the drips go down the sink. So instead of finding one or two hand dryers in the bathroom, each hand basin has a dryer. No more waiting with dripping hands. Good new invention Mr Dyson.
Upstairs was a cinema complex with ticket prices starting at $20. (Our local movie complex prices are $9) Next door was a huge adventure and games complex. Wall climbing and walking across ropes and ladders and swinging bridges and a couple of flying foxes to keep kids amused and burning off energy without using a mobile phone. Geez if only old people could have a go but alas nobody older than teenagers.
The helpful thing about this Westfield as is the Helensvale Westfield is its location. Across the street from the railway stations at Helensvale and Coomera.
When we left it was still raining. In fact the rain brought back memories of 2010 and me wondering if this year will be a replay of 2010. So far it is
Tonight we watched the movie Hell or High Water with Jeff Bridges on SBS On Demand. Jeff Bridges is usually a great actor and he does not disappoint in this movie. It contains black humour, unexpected surprises and a few plot twists to keep you interested all the way.
Sunday 14th October
We went to the movies actually it cost $10 each. We saw Bad Times at the El Royale. This movie includes that stalwart Jeff Bridges and Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth. It is 2 hours and twenty one minutes of riveting edge of your seat surprises, black humour, suspense and enough plot twists to easily fill in those hours. We left the theatre drained of energy. Great movie.
Today I drove Donnis to Coolangatta Airport to catch a flight to Melbourne. I dropped her off at 1.45pm in plenty of time to check in and join the flight which was scheduled to leave at 3.15pm. I waited at North Kirra Beach
in case there were delays or she could not get on her standby flight.
Donnis called me 2pm to say she had her boarding pass and her flight was confirmed. In fact she was on an earlier flight which would be boarding shortly. As it turned out her flight was delayed and did not get away until 6.30 pm and she arrived in Melbourne at 9pm. Sheesh!
On my way home I spied a black Tesla 2016 Model S P90D in the lane beside me at the traffic lights. These cars still fetch around $160,000 used, on the Australian market. This all electric car can achieve 0 – 60 Klms in 2.8 seconds. The driver proved the point when the lights changed he changed lanes to pass the car in front of him then accelerated and pulled back into his original lane, he was over the first hill and away while the rest of the traffic was still moving up the hill. It supposedly has a range of 1,000 Klms on one charge. There are quite a number of re-charge stations around Australia and between Brisbane and Sydney there are many along the coastal route. The inland route is not so well serviced. On our recent trip to Townsville there is only 1 recharge station on the route but with a 1,000 Klm range it would have been no problem.
Wednesday 26th September.
Happy Birthday to my mate Tony whom I met on our first day of National Service Training last century. We have been friends ever since.
Tonight I am close to exhausted.
Line dancing this morning is normally a very active programme and good exercise.
I will do the exercises but the discomfort/pain is getting progressively worse. Sitting at the computer, reading, driving, riding the bike and sitting at a dining table with people to my right or left. If I do not turn my chair to face a person the pain begins in minutes.
Tonight the social club arranged Rock and Roll Dance lessons with a break for hot soup and bread. Our teachers are experienced Rock & Roll Dancers with at least 20 years experience…each. We started the lessons with the basic 1,2,3-4 steps and after we had almost mastered that they introduced us to combine with a partner. OK, almost have that, if not mastered at least familiar. Then we had to combine with a partner and put it a turn. We were so nervous and muscles were stiff trying to put the steps together and not embarrass ourselves in front of our village friends. Now let’s combine what we have learned and now include double turns.
Next we had to do it to music which I had set up on advice from two of the teachers. OK almost getting the hang of this when time out was called so we could have home- made chicken and vegetable soup with Turkish bread and social discussion about how we felt about our lessons then it was back into the lessons and now we had to add a cuddle step and a double turn. All too soon we had been learning for two hours and time to say goodnight.
We had a great night. A special thanks to Kay and Frank for agreeing to arrange the night along with their friends Clive & Shelley and to Wayne who yet again stepped up and did the catering.
Sunday 30th September
We have had some rain over the last few days including thunder and lightning. In surrounding suburbs they have also had big hailstones which caused damage. I am sure I have mentioned before that we seem to live in a pocket where all the bad weather usually bypasses us.
I had great plans for waking early and going for a bike ride to The Broadwater or even Southport. Yesterday morning I was awake at 5am so got dressed and went outside with the bike and it started to rain.
Sigh! Cycling was taken off yesterday’s agenda.
Today you say??? Well I slept until 7am but it was raining again. The weather forecast for tomorrow is fine.