I had a rough night of some sleep. Mostly troubled by chest pain and the urge to cough which produced more pain but I felt well enough to travel.
Shan dropped us at the airport at 9am for our 11.30am flight. Yes we were 90 minutes early but we can relax and wait with no rushing. On arrival at the ticketing counter we were told the flight was delayed until 2.30pm !!! Donnis wanted to take the bus into Mackay, find a doctor, any doctor, get medication for me and take the bus back to the airport. I countered with the suggestion we take the bus to Canelands and drag our carry on baggage with us around the shopping centre. Both proposals were vetoed by the opposite person. Instead we spent the next 6 hours (the plane was further delayed until 3pm) sitting in the Ibis Airport Hotel, TurBARlance Bar, and in the airport food area and in the waiting area. Somehow we managed to fill in all that time. I used the time wisely by making a doctors appointment for tomorrow morning.
After a couple of misunderstandings about where to wait for the Gateway Airport Parking shuttle bus we were on our way but not before heading over to the International Airport and filling up the shuttle with a full load of passengers AND their luggage. Soon we were at the depot, handed our car keys and we were on our way. I must say the Gateway crew are very well trained and know their role. It is a smooth operation and the price is reasonable.
I was not well enough to drive but with Donnis driving and me navigating we were on the M1 motorway within 5 minutes and on our way home. Although traffic was heavy it was moving. I had a couple of spoons of soup, showered and in bed by 8pm.
Tuesday 19th February
I woke feeling like baked beans for breakfast while Donnis woke with a headache, sore throat and a cough.
My doctor checked me out and said Bronchitis and gave me a prescription for antibiotics.
Donnis had an appointment with her doctor who prescribed the same medication although her symptoms are a bit different.
The rest of the day we spent resting, relaxing or sleeping.
My appetite returned in a limited way and I had a bowl of soup for dinner. Yay!
Wednesday 20th February
Nothing much happened. We both stayed near a lounge or a bed, took our meds and coughed a lot. We did manage to watch a couple of movies via Popcorn and Chromecast. We saw a documentary about a man who climbed a rock called El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He climbed the sheer rock face alone and without safety gear. The movie was called Free Solo and is nominated for an Academy Award. We had both previously seen Bohemian Rhapsody and despite myself enjoyed it. The performance by Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury was stunning. He deserves a personal Oscar for his performance. We also watched Green Book and know it has been nominated for Academy Awards and quite honestly there must be an award for this movie. Finally saw A Star is Born. Yawn. Yep seen it. I suppose the music may have been great but I could not understand what the words were. I suppose it will win an award.
All this week, Cyclone Oma has been hovering off the coast bringing strong winds, huge seas of more than 5 metres but no rain.
I took a drive out to The Spit to photograph the big seas and King tides.
I can see where the big tides and waves have carved out the sand dunes but waves are no larger than a good day.
Friday 22nd February
We both went to The Spit to look at the big swells and strong winds. The beaches are closed all along the coast. Donnis elected to stay in the car. The wind is so strong it was difficult to hold the camera steady and sand is being whipped off the beach and it tears against exposed skin of the legs and face.
Five minutes in the open and my eyes had a cake of salt around them, my ears were gritty with sand and my hair is filled with sand. This is no fun. Although the beach is closed with signs and barriers there are still stupid people who want to risk being blown or washed off the seawall.
Sunday 24th February.
Today marks the 46th straight day where the temperature has been above 30°. A coolish change is predicted for tomorrow.
The cyclone has started to move away from the coast but the strong winds and big waves remain.
We are both beginning to feel better although we are as lethargic as walking through wet cement.
Today I want to talk about someone, a stranger, an intruder, coming into your house and stealing stuff. What is worse is they do it while you are at home.
Think about that for a moment.
The thief knows what he/she is doing. Has done it before, is probably known to the Police. All the thief wants is to get in, create two escape routes, find something to steal and escape within about 30 seconds.
This event occurred between 6pm and 8pm last night. From where I was sitting on the lounge (maybe I was dozing) I can only see a small sliver of our bedroom through the doorway and can see nothing of the second bedroom and nothing of the laundry or the door which leads from the laundry to the garage.
Donnis is in the bedroom trying on clothes and I can only see her moving around as she moves in and out of view. Mostly, unless she comes to the bedroom door she cannot see anything either.
The thief has the element of surprise on their side. They came into the house knowing they might encounter the occupants. We, on the other hand would be in total shock trying to understand a stranger in our house perhaps even one who is armed. Access was most likely the wide open garage door then through the laundry door and first bedroom on the right, finds two handbags, grabs them and is gone. Neither of us saw or heard anything.
We did not know the handbags were gone until today when we were going to the doctors. Donnis went to get her handbag and it was gone.
While driving to the doctor we phoned the bank and cancelled the credit/debit cards. Unfortunately they are both on the same account so my card is also cancelled. Grrr! We have no access to funds until the new cards arrive.
We have reported it to the Police, the property owners, our own Home Owners Committee and neighbours. Nobody saw anything.
Forensics arrived, dusted for prints and found NO PRINTS, not any at all. Every surface was wiped clean and the Chux cloth thrown on the car windscreen. This type of theft is pretty common these days.
This afternoon I spent a couple of hours with friend Val R who has priced out some CCTV equipment.
Tuesday 12th February
Today I spoke with the land owners and they are looking at additional security measures but nothing has been decided. They have priced a drone which fly’s the boundary and roads within our village every 20 minutes and records what it see’s. That is an option.
I decided to walk the bank of our creek frontage, about 150 metres, with river gums, casuarina and mangroves growing along a steep bank. I hoped to maybe find Donnis handbag.
I did. It was still floating in about a metre of water at high tide. Her phone earbuds were dangling from a casuarina branch and her glass cleaners were on the ground. The handbag was empty. I went back two hours later as the tide turned but it was still too deep and murky to look for the cards or her card wallet. I did find another wallet belonging to one of the residents here. He had not reported the loss to the Home Owners Committee but may have reported it to the Police. I will go back at 7am for the first low tide to search amongst the rocks.
Donnis went to Motor Transport and reported the loss and applied for a replacement license.
The loss of the $15 is something which you cope with but on top of invading our privacy comes the cost of replacing the license, $75, being without our credit/debit cards and the replacement of Medicare card, Pension card, Fly Buys cards and all the rest.
Wednesday 13th February
One of the hottest days of the year. It was easier to stay home and keep cool in the air conditioning. We packed a suitcase ready to leave tomorrow.
I continued to research CCTV and decide that if I proceed what is the best way to install and where to install. I do not want to drill holes in the ceiling or floor but believe a hole in the floor may be easiest with all the cables fed through the one hole.
Thursday 14th February
Up at 5am and we were on our way by 5.30am. Today we drove to Brisbane Airport but first stopped at Gateway Airport Parking. This is the first time I have ever used such a facility. i30 will be parked under cover and they will drive us to the airport and collect us when we return. The cost is only $74 for 5 days. I compared that to catching the train to the airport which is $30 each, each way. A total of $120 and we still have to find our way to and from the train station. No sooner had we arrived and unpacked our bags than the shuttle driver was ready for us, packed the bags in the back and we were at Jet Star ticketing 10 minutes later. Although on stand -by we were issued tickets immediately and even had time for breakfast.
If we thought Brisbane was hot we were in for a surprise at Mackay. Hotter and more humid. It was energy sapping. We caught the bus into town and I collected sister Shan’s car from her work then drove to Canelands for lunch in air conditioned comfort.
Mackay has suffered with the heavy rain over he last 10 days. Although the rain was not as heavy and prolonged as further north and west, (they still had 1.4m in 24 hours) there was some minor flooding and some damage to local roads. The rain contributed to the extreme humidity.
Friday 15th February
We took the borrowed Mazda 3 and drove to Airlie Beach to meet with a Real Estate agent and to do an inspection of our house there. I always come away feeling dejected. Although Donnis is happy, the inside of the house is well maintained and clean I cannot say the same for the outside. We have a lot of trees around the property and the roof and guttering is full of leaves and palm fronds by the dozens are littering the pathways and once again bushes have completely overgrown the back of the garage. It is annoying that tenants will not carry out any work other than the simplest cutting of the grass. Donnis suggested – half jokingly – maybe we should just move back but I no longer feel like being a slave to yard work.
We had a pie at Cannonvale Centro Shopping Centre and were amazed to see Lou Tuck a Marine Surveyor, Himalayan hearing advocate, yachtie and all round hippy. Although we both knew each other we had forgotten each others names. Lou makes a trek to the Himalaya’s each year to support free work being carried out to provide hearing aids to the locals. Lou also just bought himself a new 35 Beneteau Yacht. I always liked Lou and got along with him despite many people avoiding him. Lou has always been an individual, always wearing grotty yachty clothing, no shoes, very opinionated and loud. He has changed. Today he was wearing shoes.
Afterwards, and before heading home we drove to Cedar Creek Falls as I expected it would be pumping after all the recent rain.
It was falling but not pumping.
The word is out though as there were many backpackers enjoying the falls and the clean water and just somewhere cool to laze around. I was pleased none had climbed to the top of the falls where, in the past, young heroes have jumped to their death.
They all seem to forget the rocks just under the surface.
Saturday 16th February.
That’s odd! I woke with a splitting headache which seemed to get worse as the day wore on. I also felt my appetite had disappeared. A sore throat has joined the other symptoms. We met sister Enid at Canelands Shopping Town for a coffee. I struggled with the coffee. No, there was nothing wrong with the coffee, I was unwell and felt bloated after drinking just half the coffee.
We went back to Shan’s house and I had an afternoon snooze.
By the time I woke I knew I had either a head cold or worse a dose of flu. We drove to Mackay and went to a restaurant on the riverside, called Ashtart, a Lebanese inspired eatery.
We were there for my granddaughter Shelby 18th birthday.
Unfortunately whatever it is I have, got worse and I struggled to drink a beer and only had two bites of a kebab. My taste buds AND appetite had both run away. The smell of meat, herbs and spices cooking did not make me hungry at all. All I wanted to do was curl up in a fetal position and sleep. I’m sure Shelby had a great night surrounded by family and friends. I was too ill to be a part of her celebration. We left by 8.30 pm.
Sunday 17th February
I had a rough night and the day didn’t get any better. I dozed frequently and Donnis kept insisting we cancel our flight home and wait for me to get better. I would rather be sick at home. As the day wore on Donnis was looking at alternate plans to stay longer and seek medical attention in the morning. On the other hand I want to be well enough to travel and be sick at home in my own bed.
Shan made dinner but I was still not well enough to eat more than a few mouthfuls.
While waiting for Donnis flight yesterday I was at North Kirra Beach. There is a rather large monument to a ship, “COOLANGATTA” which sank here in 1846.
Eventually the nearby town was named Coolangatta. Details are in the photo.
A small beach carnival was also in progress and a festive atmosphere prevailed.
Today was a mirror image of yesterday weather wise. Most of the day was spent hiding from the heat and late in the afternoon we drove to Main Beach ( I still call it Southport Beach) while Donnis got washed around in the surf I went for a walk. Imagine my surprise, well not really, when an Asian Wedding arrived on the beach all dressed in gowns, suits and heavy clothing. We often see weddings on the beach. Why not have wedding photos or even a ceremony here? It is a wonderful setting albeit a bit public.
After taking a multitude of photos it was time to find Donnis who by now would be covered in wet sand and a giant smile on her face. She was and she did.
Tuesday 5th February
Another day of 31° and an excuse to stay indoors although the AC was not required.
Wednesday 6th February
There was no Line Dancing today. Kay our dance co-ordinator is away and I had a Skin Doctor appointment.
First before I get to that I should mention an incident. I was at the PC messing with photos and Donnis was at the table when we heard a loud bang outside. WTF was that? Checking outside we found a car we have not seen before, wedged up in our garden without a driver. More WTF’s!!!
We thought it may have come from the neighbour across the street and the car has rolled down the driveway and into the garden. I checked the neighbour but no response. I called her. No answer. After another 10 minutes I tried again. This time a care worker answered the door. She had been showering our neighbour and not heard my calls or the phone. It was her car and the handbrake was off. Ooops! The car flattened a few plants that I wanted to get rid of anyway and narrowly missed hitting the house of our other neighbour. I now have an excuse to re-do the entire garden.
Last week I had a Skin Doctor checkup when he noticed something on my upper arm which said he did not like to look of. To me it looked like a little pimple but he took a biopsy punch and today was follow up. The lab report said the biopsy showed a superficial multifocal basal cell carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) of Skin is a malignant cancer affecting the skin. It is a slow-growing tumor generally observed in older individuals, in both men and women,,,Hmmm! I’m in this category.
This malignant carcinoma, which may be present as a lesion on the sun-exposed areas of the body, has the potential to metastasize (spread) to the lymph nodes… he found a little lesion which looked like a little pimple
Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is one of the most common types of BCC that is usually present as an erythematous (red) patch on the skin of the chest and back
Some lesions may grow to large sizes and ulcerate. They can also infiltrate into the adjoining soft tissues and nerves. Larger lesions also have a greater tendency to recur after treatment…mine was on the upper arm.
The cause of Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is unknown, but factors such as chronic sun exposure, smoking, and ionizing radiation, etc., are known to contribute towards its development. Also, fair-skinned Caucasians have a greater risk than dark-skinned Africans and Asians…ok I’m a fair skinned, albeit olive complexion, but still fair skinned and spent most of my youth and a good part of middle age out in the sun.
Any combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and invasive procedures (surgery) are used to treat Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin. Small-sized tumors and tumors that have not metastasized can be cured through appropriate skin surgery… I had the appropriate skin surgery.
The prognosis for metastatic tumors depends upon many factors including the stage of the tumor, health status of the individual, and treatment response. The prognosis may be guarded…fingers crossed and I have regular check ups.
I still spend time in the sun but wear a shirt, often long sleeved and if I am swimming in the surf wear a long sleeve rashie. I have always worn sunglasses since about age 11 and wear a hat with appropriate brim for different conditions.
So, he performed a local bit of surgery, put in 6 stitches and we await the results of sending the tumour to the lab. When my brother was 18 he had a tumour which got into his lymph gland and he had major surgery to have it removed. You cannot be too careful. Better I have a few stitches now than a life threatening tumour later on.
Tonight 26 of us from our village went to the Australian Outback Spectacular.
The tickets are normally around $110 PP but includes the floor show, a 3 course meal and drinks, wine, beer or soft drink followed by tea or coffee. It also includes a yahoo type souvenir hat. I did not know what to expect once we were ushered into a big barn like bar/waiting room.
I think the idea is to wait until everybody who is coming has arrived and so they can sell a few drinks and souvenirs beforehand. Then we got ushered into an even bigger barn like building with tiered seating and a serving platform in front of each row.
The entrée which was a delightful quiche with a spicy mango sauce was served immediately and cold beer and other drinks followed. If all I got all night was the quiche and a couple of beers I would have been happy.
The spectacular floor show began and the immense spectacle was a combination of light, videography, live action and a story. I think everybody who saw this presentation were enthralled by the video presentation of a waterfall on a screen and the water flowing along the creek was shown on the sandy arena. It really was so lifelike and the magical sound effects including sound through the floor and bench tables. This was impressive.
Midway through the show a chuck wagon comes into the arena and the outback cook announces dinner. Suddenly wait staff were delivering 2 inch thick fillet steak drizzled with a red wine sauce, a potato concoction almost good enough to serve on its own plus beans and pumpkin. More drinks arrived and the show continued.
During the show horses gallop around. Cattle are herded, utes and 4WD careen around gun battles on horseback and so many things to take in.
At one stage a helicopter flys into the arena does a few circuits and buzzes out. Obviously it not a real helicopter….but it is. It is made from real helicopter parts but the spinning blades and rotors are operated by batteries and the engine noise comes from the sound system. It is realistic enough for the show presentation.
A super rich chocolate mousse dessert arrived and although I heard people saying how rich and sweet it was, all the plates were licked clean. The only downside was the tea and coffee but I guess you cannot expect espresso coffee when you are feeding hundreds.
All in all a great night out, value for money and recommended.
Thursday 7th February
Donnis wanted to go to the beach for a washing machine experience in the dumping surf. I went for a walk.
As I approached where I saw the wedding I saw the photographer again and thought “aha, another wedding”.
Sure enough a wedding party came over the hill and the photographer got busy.
So did I. It seems the time for wedding photos is around 3pm. I must keep that in mind when we go to the beach next time.
Friday 8th February
Today we had a walk along the Broadwater and Labrador and Donnis has a swim at The Lagoon.
Sunday 10th February
Today was hot and dry and an uncomfortably hot and sticky wind was blowing from the north east. We prepared a picnic lunch and drove to Broadbeach and had lunch in a picnic shelter. The shade and wind blowing through the walls was pleasant. Afterwards we went to Marina Mirage for an ice cream. We took a walk across the footbridge to
Sheraton Grand Mirage
and checked out the twin Rolls Royce parked in the forecourt of Palazzo Versace
next door to Marina Mirage before going to The Lagoon for Donnis to have a swim.
Tonight, somewhere between 6pm and 8pm somebody came in through our unlocked back door, OR more likely through the open garage door, propping the door open and threw a cleaning cloth on the car windscreen. Nothing seems to have been taken but it is a bit of an invasion. The key which usually sits on a hook beside the door was left on a small desk. Several other events have happened to other villagers these last few weeks. We need to beef up security.
Update written Monday. Change of situation. Donnis handbag containing such mundane things as money, credit cards, license and so on plus a white purse were taken from the spare bedroom. That now explains why the back door was propped open to provide a second escape route. It also explains the dirty cloth, it was used to wipe down anything he/she touched. The scary thing is we were at home at the time! Donnis was most likely in the bedroom sorting through her wardrobe and I was on a lounge in front of the TV perhaps asleep. Police Forensics arrived and checked for fingerprints on the door. The door is clear. No fingerprints at all. Not even ours. Forensics believe the thief is most likely in the system, that is why the door was wiped down.
Today with the help of friend Val R who researched security camera systems for me has made a suggested kit of a 4 camera system. It will not stop a thief but will give us a measure of comfort knowing we can provide CCTV footage in any future event.
Yesterday my cousin Vicki called. She is on the Gold Coast to celebrate her sister Lyns 70th birthday. Lyn has dementia and she would have struggled understanding I am her cousin. Vicki will have lunch alone with her today. I arranged to collect her from the Miami motel where she was staying and have coffee at the North Burleigh Surf Club. I decided we would walk from the motel. It was a wise move. There was no parking at the surf club (it is the Australia Day Holiday and last day of school holidays and perfect weather for the beach the coffee shop is underneath the club so the high ceilings and totally open entrance meant the ocean breeze kept the area nice and comfortable, I could have stayed all day.
On the drive home I saw thick smoke across The Broadwater. There was a big bushfire in the native bush across from Sea World. The fire brigade had the fire under control within a few hours but people at Sea World and it accommodation were evacuated and people at the north end of The Spit were to leave and the road was closed.
The rest of the week was the same, weather wise. Humidity of around 90% and 31° temperature. I had a full blood test carried out as I have not been feeling well for some time. I also had a skin check and the doc took a biopsy on something on my arm.
For Christmas, Alecia gave me a book called Lighthouses of Atlantic Canada.
I have only had a chance to read some of it but I thought this has been a slow week and I can share photos of lighthouses.
One of the first things that stood out in the book was a comment how many lighthouses became de-staffed and automated, many were taken over by local interested persons or groups or historical societies. That sentence went a long way towards explaining for me why so many of the lighthouses are in such poor state of repair or maintenance.
Although the lights still operate automatically only that maintenance which is vital to the operation of the lights is still carried out by the appropriate authority. Maintenance of the building, especially timber structures became a local responsibility. Often those communities are small and with scattered houses often in the middle of potato fields. There is little or no community spirit or money.
I looked at a number of lighthouses on Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
The best lighthouse by far was one at Cape George in Nova Scotia and it probably had the smallest and most scattered community. The building was in immaculate condition and had a brass plaque installed by the proud community.
The worst kept lighthouse was in a small scattered community called Cavendish on Prince Edward Island. Pieces of the timber structure had simply fallen or been blown off in the potato field.
Considering the terrible weather conditions on this Arctic windswept island it is easy to understand why the timber structures do not fair well in the face of snow, ice and screaming winds blowing in, unopposed from the Atlantic.
Often there are two lighthouses and these are known as range lights. They are used by boats and ships and skippers line up the two lights to enter a harbour or passage.
There are 35 lighthouses on Prince Edward Island and we did not have time to visit them all.
At Wood Islands there are three lighthouses, all operational.
From here the ferry service goes to Caribou in the Province of Nova Scotia. The ferry service only charges a one way fare…off the island. Coming to the island is free. The ferry shuts down services during winter months and does not re-open scheduled services until 1st May. The only way off island in those winter months is by the 13 Klm bridge and in high winds and snow and ice conditions that becomes a bit risky.
For the same reasons airline flights in and out during winter are a hit and miss situation.
Sunday 3rd February
Donnis arrived today after a few failed attempts ate getting flights to line up with Errols work schedule as a pilot. The only way Donnis can get to the airport is when Errol is rostered on as a pilot departing from Melbourne and when his work day starts in the morning. Donnis cannot get flights when he is afternoon or evening shift as most flights are booked out.
On our way home we stopped at Palm Beach Surf Club for a cold beer and to just sit in the shade, listen to the music, feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the beautiful sun drenched scenery.