Month: April 2019

675. Sunday 28th April 2019. ANZAC Day is the focus this week…

Monday 22nd April

I had one of these days. I wrote about it once before  (December 2016) but it is worthwhile repeating here today.

Does anybody else have these kind of days?

I have a Scratchit Ticket to be umm err scratched.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Where has my day gone?

Wednesday 24th April

Today we spent most of the day setting up the clubhouse for our Anzac Day Luncheon, catering for 60 people. In the afternoon we set up the park area around our cenotaph. We erected 3 shade shelters but realised we needed another 3. A quick phone call to our local Federal Member for the seat of Fadden, Stuart Robert and we were lent another 3 shade shelters. The caravan park staff were seconded to tidy up the gardens around the cenotaph and apply fresh mulch. We then realised we were missing a Queensland flag. A quick phone call to the state member, Sam O’Connor and he provided a flag. Within an hour we had the 3 shade shelters and a new flag. About 40 chairs were provided by the caravan park and we had another 50 chairs.

|Hmmm! I think we need a new Australian Flag for next year. We will call on Stuart Robert to see if he can provide that, without cost.

Thursday 25th April

I was awake at 4.30 am and up at our private Cenotaph beside Biggera Creek by 5am.

I set up my phone to the ABC Listen App and connected to ABC Brisbane who would broadcast the Anzac Dawn Service from the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The new 3.5mm audio 3m cable I purchased yesterday was not a tight fit in my phone but was suitable to fit the Microphone in jack on our loudspeaker system. That meant I would have to hold the plug tightly in the phone for the entire ceremony. My fingers became numb but as soon as I relaxed the tension the speakers would crackle and signal was lost.

We had about 20 people attend the dawn service.

My sutures from skin cancer surgery last week have become infected and are red and inflamed. Luckily I saw a doctor at 10am and Donnis went off to find a chemist to fill the anti -biotics prescription. Considering it is a public holiday my doctor was working until midday and a chemist opposite the hospital was open.

Soon it was 11 am and our next service. We had around 80 people attend, some family of residents, some from the caravan park next door and Sam O’Connor, Qld State Member for Bonney. Sam is well liked, respected and trusted within the community. All politicians should be like him.

I played the various hymns, music, odes and bugle calls on my first release, trusty Apple iPad from 2010. Apart from one very minor glitch at the very beginning it was a smooth presentation.  It is the only Apple device I trust and it is somewhat restricted. It is so old it can no longer be updated. The last update was in 2014. Still it is good for playing music and doing photo slide shows.

Apart from old standards such as Abide With Me and Amazing Grace I chose to steer away from playing songs that are done every year. To close the service I played “I was only 19”, a song written by John Shumann a member of the band, Red Gum. I played the original song with its sountracks of helicopters and gunfire. Everybody sat still and took in the words of this Vietnam War era song with so much meaning. Afterwards people spoke about the meaning of the song and how it resonated with them.

Afterwards we went to our clubhouse for a catered lunch. Sam joined us and fitted in by talking with people, giving a brief speech and answering questions. By now our local councillor Krysten Boulton for Division 4 joined us. Krysten also gave a short speech and answered questions, immediately gaining trust by speaking without a microphone with a beer in her hand. She loves dancing and discovered we have a Rock and Roll night coming up in June and has already stated she will be coming. I had Krysten sitting beside me and Sam opposite me so had a wonderful opportunity to talk politics.

Next we had a two up session played with paper money and an opportunity to win a bottle of wine.

Afterwards we took down the fold up tables and packed away much of the items brought out for occasion. The anti-biotics must really be battling the infection in my body. By 3pm I was so tired and so much muscular soreness and quite a bit of pain, so I went to bed and slept for 2 hours.

Friday 26th April

Once again I was up early as I had an appointment with my doctor at 7.45. He spent some time with me explaining why the surgery cut is made in a certain direction and how the bodies own shape of muscles etc determines the direction of the incision. Then he removed the sutures and sprayed some liquid nitrogen on spots on my hip and we are all finished. Now I have pain on my left leg and pain in several spots on my right hip. I am walking funny.

Sunday 28th April

My leg is still sore but also need to exercise. I arranged to play table tennis with Jenny who lives here in our village for most of the year. She and husband Tony own a house in Tamworth so go backwards and forwards every couple of months. Jenny is probably the youngest person in our village and was once a professional tennis player and coach. She plays table tennis like she plays tennis. She gives no quarter and asks none. We played for over an hour and were both lathered in sweat. That is the exercise I need.

I weighed myself tonight and I have lost 3 Kg. It does not sound like much of a loss especially as I have reduced meal sizes and increased my cardio vascular exercise. The specialist did say that slow steady weight loss is what he is looking for and wants to see me lose 4 Kg by our appointment in June. I could perhaps lose more weight by dramatically reducing carbohydrate intake but according to our discussion I do not eat a lot of bread or potatoes and only have pasta once a week.

674. Sunday 21st April 2019.Skin cancer, table tennis, Easter and Tasmania re-visited…

Monday 15th April

Last week I visited a skin specialist as I had a growth on my left high which in my opinion had not been there the week before. The doctor agreed it was suspect so took a biopsy. Today I returned for the news. Back in February I had a similar situation being diagnosed with multifocal basal cell carcinoma. That was on my upper arm and the removal required 6 sutures. The growth on my leg was the same although he was a little more concerned. As he brought out his knife and fork I asked how deep was the cut. No reply but it felt like he was lifting something out of my thigh and cutting it. Next question was how many sutures. Oh about six ish was his reply. He covered it with large band aid and said do not get it wet for two days and see me in two weeks.

Tuesday 16th April

Flu shot this morning.

In a bid to do exercise which makes me sweat and burn calories I asked two of our stronger table tennis players to play singles this afternoon. By the end of two hours I was drenched in sweat and was worn out. I am sure I burned many calories this afternoon. The other players were likewise effected and promised they would play again…anytime.

I need to lose 4 Kg before my next visit to the gastro enterologist. I suppose between reducing meal sizes, table tennis twice a week, riding the bike, line dancing and walking everywhere I should achieve my target. Although a fatty liver is the diagnosis I still need to lose weight but the stomach is the last place which loses girth but this is the only way it can be done short of surgery.

I did see an ad on the back of a bus for liposuction. Hmmm!

Wednesday 17th April

Today I rode to The Broadwater and along the Esplanade to Lands End and back then rode home. As I left the village I noticed the film crew, making a movie called Bloody Hell are still working on the movie. About 50 people (cast and crew) were eating breakfast in the carpark of what was once a specialist supermarket, bakery, deli, butcher, green grocer, fromagerie, fish monger and a couple of restaurants. The building has been sold and will soon be converted into a three story public storage complex. In the meantime this is the second week of filming

In the afternoon I asked for a table tennis re-match but suddenly my opponents from yesterday are too tired. These are the same ones who told me…anytime.

Thursday 18th April

In the morning we had our monthly morning tea. About 40 people turned up expecting to hear a guest speaker from Associated Residential Parks Queensland a sort of union for people like ourselves who live in a private community. Unlike a union they do not squeeze loads of money out of us, do not resort to thuggery with members or employers and do not expect us to march and chant slogans and do not do questionable activities. The guest speaker was called away on urgent business. A resident, Barry, who was once in charge of Qld Ambulance, gave an impromptu talk on pain. Barry still keeps a first aid kit at home and is often called upon for falls and cuts and gives first aid and comfort until an ambulance arrives.

Tonight we played table tennis. Usually we play doubles. As a lark we played 2 games of triples. It was an interesting experience trying to get people to take turns in order. My team won.

Friday 18th April

Another morning tea, this time a special with hot cross buns being supplied. One of our villagers has recently returned from a trip to the Antarctic. I used about 100 of his photos to display via our computer to the large 75 inch smart tv.

I also carried out barista duties along with fellow committee member Shirley, making about 60 cups of espresso coffee. I recall the opposition from other committee members when I first suggested this idea. They reluctantly agreed to give it a trial run last year. It proved so popular that everybody expects good coffee at every event. It’s a lot of work but I enjoy the interaction and mostly people do not mind queuing up for a capucchino.

In the afternoon I got another 2 hour workout at table tennis. Once again drenched in sweat, exhausted, sore muscles but happy.

Saturday 20th April and Sunday 21st April.

It’s Easter. We stayed home and listened to the rain.

Sunday morning I played 90 minutes of hard fought table tennis. More seat and exhaustion, Surely this will have an effect and he lose weight.

This week I have also been researching my old photos from our trip to Tasmania in March April and May 2009.

bruny boat adventure
We were on an adventure boa out of Bruny Island Tasmania. I have never been so cold being exposed to the chill air at 43 degrees south. Well, maybe I was a little colder at Prince Edward Island Canada at 46 degrees north.

Many of my photos from our travels were overlooked t the time as I thought they were not good enough.

cape reserche
Cape Reserche as seen from Cockle Creek Tasmania

With a different viewpoint and a good editing App, those photos have taken on a new life.

coles bay
Coles Bay dawn.

During the same period, that is, from 15th April to 21st April we were at Cockle Creek,

escape cottage
A safe anchorage at Cockle Creek.

Bruny Island

Cormorants on an isolated guanno encrusted rock off the wild coast of Bruny Island.

and Coles Bay.

fur seals
A herd of Australian Fur Seals on another isolated rock off Bruny Island.
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Moulting Lagoon near Coles Bay.
road to moulting lagoon
Dirt track on the way to a hidden campsite at Moulting Lagoon.
tassie trawler
Another example of a tidy Tasmanian Trawler seen at Cockle Creek.
wineglass bay
Donnis on rocks above Wineglass Bay near Coles Bay.


673. Sunday 14th April 2019. Photographic work, Rock and Roll Rocks and I did go to Specsavers…

Tuesday 9th April

As the sole Admin for the Facebook photo site Aussie Photography for Beginners, I am beginning to find I have created a workload for myself. What started as a small group, of mostly inactive members has grown, with encouragement, to a busy schedule of daily photo posts, comments, likes and replies. Toss in the occasional hiccup by Facebook plus a bit of uncertaintly by members and I feel like I am putting out spot fires. Combined with a Home Owners Committee meeting last night and my role as Treasurer and a self – appointed researcher into CCTV and being on the Social Committee and arranging a Dawn Service on Anzac Day plus 11 am Service plus a luncheon with invited Council and state parliament politicians I am beginning to feel I would have more free time if I went back to work. I worked until after midnight last night.

Friday 12th April

I have spent many hours over the last few weeks looking back over my old photos, especially those that were taken with my first digital camera the Panasonic Lumix DM FZ 7. On looking at them in a new light I have found many which I have previously ignored which I now consider quite good. Anzac Day is approaching and I have a selection of 132 photos which in some way have a connection with Anzac Day. I have prepared them in a slideshow which will play as a loop on our 75 inch TV. It will just cycle continuously as a background much as pubs and clubs do. I have also prepared about 30 songs with an Anzac theme which will also play in a loop, again as background music. Both the slideshow and the music will be played during our Anzac Day luncheon. On the morning I will broadcast the Dawn Service from Canberra via the ABC App at our private Cenotaph where we expect over 100 people to attend including guests of the caravan park next door and a couple of State Parliamentarians along with our local Gold Coast Councillor.  So far we have 50 people confirmed a booking for our luncheon.

Saturday 13th April

The quality of the photos is not the best as Rock and Roll, unlike say surfing, or rugby league, or car races or horse racing, I can pan and follow the action and usually get good shots. Dancing I cannot pan or follow the action as it changes constantly.

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Dance floor and band area.

Tonight we went to a bushland setting known as Heritage Park in a location called Guanabah where the local Country Music Association has a rustic clubhouse.

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Guanaba Country Music Club

Tonight was their first of two Rock and Roll nights with a rocking good band well known among the rock n roll fraternity.

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The twirling skirt looks like Marilyn Monroe. The man in the blue shirt is my friend Frank who has been dancing Rock for 20 years.

Despite its somewhat isolated location about 170 people turned up at least half were from the Gold Coast, the rest from Brisbane.

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Here is Frank along with a pocket rocket dancer with so much energy. She is apart of a professional team of 3 dancers who teach and perform.

Our friends Graham and Wencke  came with us and we met up with other rockers from our village and their group of friends.

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Pocket Rocket again. I did line dancing beside her and she managed 3 steps to every body else one.

Donnis and I tried to dance but we are out of practise.

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I was intrigued by the dancers outfits and their shoes were so special. This couple had matching outfits including shoes.

Luckily a couple of the women took pity on me and asked me to dance.

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By now Donnis was not well, probably a bout of hayfever so she went to i30 for a sleep.

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More shoes. My friend Frank seems to feature in many photos.

A few line dances were played so at least I knew the steps.

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Even more shoes.

Or thought I did.

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Still more shoes.

Different locations have variations but with a couple of professional dance teachers in the group they really put on a show, not only in line dancing but rock and roll and even a waltz.

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Shoes Shoes Shoes. Theres Frank again.

Three of them make up a team and put on dance displays and travel to various dances every week.

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The professional dance team. Later in the evening they were joined by the third team member.

I enjoyed just watching them dance.

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Here they are again.

One is about my age and has the energy of someone 20 years younger.

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The dance team again.

I really need to make up for all those years when I refused to dance. Lessons start next month and cannot come soon enough.

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The dance team

Our village also has a twice yearly rock and roll night and I think we have now cemented ourselves into the rock and roll calendar as has Guanabah.

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Twirling skirts were everywhere.
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This lady could have been straight out of the movie, Grease. She never stopped dancing all night.

Sunday 14th April

Today we took a drive although Donnis is still suffering with hay fever. We drove to Carrara Markets. I am looking for a pair of leather soled boots similar to my Florsheim boots I once wore when I was still working. I want the boots for line dancing and rock and roll. I found a pair at the markets which was in my size but nowhere on the box did it say what materials were used in the sole, the upper, the lining. The sole feels like a rubber compound. Also lacking from the box is where the shoes are made or even an address or contact details. Apart from a brand name and shoe style and size there was no other information on the box. I did not buy anything but will keep looking.

In the afternoon I went to Specsavers for a checkup as I have been having some trouble lately reading numbers on the computer screen or labels on packets and cans. Yep my eyesight has changed. I will need a pair of glasses for close up reading and a pair for computer work or a pair of triple  prescription lenses that will do the job. Either way I am not happy but ended up ordering two pairs of glasses. I only need them for working at the computer so no big deal if I can see the screen a bit clearer.

672. Sunday 7th April 2019. Cleaning and re-arranging a back room…

Monday 1st April

The morning started off cool and gradually warmed. A phone call from the smash repairer said my car would be ready by 4pm. Then another call to say my battery is dead. It needs replacing. Ouch! There goes another $240.

Cleaning up the back room after the water damage a couple of weeks ago, I discovered lots of little pieces of the broken skylight. Many of them are about the size of twenty cent piece but are about the same colour as the bare concrete floor. I can hear them as the vacuum cleaner starts to pick them up. There are so many of them they cannot fit through the vacuum hose it soon becomes blocked. I turn off the power and they drop out again. I now have to get on hands and knees and brush them up. Even after doing this 4 times I still find small pieces.

I30 is home and looks great. It sure is a delight to drive compared to the Toyota Corolla hire car. The hire car was sluggish and very slow on the accelerator. The i30 responds instantly.

I also collected some carpet from Bunnings. The dimensions means it will fit the room perfectly. At the same time I collect some shelving brackets and Melamine  sheets.

Tuesday 2nd April

A final clean of the bare concrete floor and roll out the carpet. Oops somehow my measurements are wrong by about 15 cm on one side. No worries I have folded that piece of carpet up the wall and it will be hidden by the wall units when they are placed back in the room.

I then built in shelves on two walls and quickly filled them. After 4 years we now have somewhere off the floor to store our collection of suitcases. Hmmm! Now I wonder. We have a huge collection of backpacks and briefcase type bags. If only I could find a place for them.

In the afternoon we started bring the bookshelves back into the room. Now to unpack the books and re-pack the bookshelves and wall units.

I must admit the room is looking good. The water which came in through the skylight may have been a blessing in disguise. Expensive and time consuming but a blessing none the less.

Wednesday 3rd April.

Line dancing this morning. Painters have been in last week and I discovered all the connections for the TV, amplifier, DVD player, CD player and antenna and power connections were disconnected. Grrr! I spent the morning trying to re-connect but discovered the three rear speakers are not working. Everything else is now working as it should. I gave up.

The wall units and bookshelves are back in place. Whatever was in the garage has been re-arranged and also gave us an opportunity to get rid of stuff we have not used for a few years.

We also started re-arranging the garden sheds and getting rid of more unwanted stuff.

Thursday 4th April

Work in the garage, back room and sheds continues. We are almost finished but tomorrow should see it all looking good and tidy, giving us a bit more room. (to fill with more junk I suppose)

Sunday 7th April

Nothing but routine boring stuff over the last few days. Donnis is still sorting through books and other things and created two piles. Stuff we have not used in 2 years and probably should be thrown out or given away. The other pile is stuff we have not used in 2 years and will be kept. So far everything is in the “keep” pile. I managed to sort out one of our garden sheds, got rid of stuff I have not used in 2 years – actually Donnis helped me decide what to throw out. Funny how she can help me decide what goes but I cannot help her decide what goes! I can now move about in both sheds.


671. Friday 29th to Sunday 31st March 2019. A trip to Balmain then we fly home…

No Apologies for the large volume of photos today. I took 92 photos on Sunday and narrowed them down to the 36 shown here. This was a nostalgic trip for me and a trip down my memory lane for Donnis and my wonderful sisters.  It takes time to edit those photos, research some information and caption the photos.

Friday 29th March

Today Een and Shan (Enid and Sandra) had arranged to see West Side Story presented on Sydney Harbour at The Fleet Steps, Mrs MacQuaries Point. Bev, Pete, Donnis and I spent the day at home, I was busy editing 242 wedding photos down to a final 16. Late in the afternoon we drove to visit Mitch and Sam at their house. We were given the leftover cheese wine and flowers before we headed off to see a concert in the park outside Sutherland Shire Council offices. Apart from the goodies we took, plus the extra cheese and wine we also bought some Honey Chilli chicken wings. It was a pleasant evening, not hot with just a touch of a chill in the air as we sat on camp chairs and listened to the free concert.

Saturday 30th March

Our original plan for today was to do the Clifftop Walk from Malabar Beach to Maroubra Beach and return. Overnight there was very heavy rain with thunder and lightning and some roads being flooded. It was still raining off and on. The walk location skirts a rifle range at Malabar and Maroubra and the walk is closed EVERY Saturday due to firing on the range. WHAT THE!!! We have been waiting two months for this walk and it is closed! OK lets have a plan B. Catch the train to Circular Quay and catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island the old Naval Base.

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Sydney Opera House from Circular Quay Jetty 6 as we waiting for our ferry.
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Circular Quay Railway Station seen from the busy ferry terminal s and International Cruise Ship Dock.

Oh No! Trackworks are being held on the rail line and replacement buses are being used. We caught the express bus to Central Station, as we arrived the sun was winning its battle against the overcast. There were clear patches of sky. We then caught a train to Circular Quay and found we just missed the ferry to Cockatoo Island and the next is 45 minutes away. By now the sun was showing mastery and the day looked set to be a bright blue sky day.

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The Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line Ship, Ovation of the Sea was in port for re-fueling, re-stocking and passenger excursions.
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Ovation of the Sea

OK let’s do the Parramatta River Cruise. Nope, not today!

WTF! The ferry has been cancelled due to some works on wharves and jetties. Grrr!

We could go to Luna Park, The Zoo, Manly, Watsons Bay or Balmain. I spent the first 14 years of my life in Balmain and Een was only 6 when we left. We took a vote and decided on a ferry to Balmain. I love the old houses at Balmain.300319 darling3 300319 darling2Many are terrace houses, many are made from local sandstone, many are a mix of old and new. 300319 darling1Balmain, once considered a working class suburb is now a trendy YUPPIE Community with quaint little coffee shops, delicatessens, knick knack shops and original but revamped pubs.

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The London Hotel in Darling St Balmain has been operating continuously since 1870.
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This building was burned down several years ago and nothing has happened since. I believe that because it is Heritage Listed the cost of re=building to requirements of Heritage Australia the restrictions are so severe nobody could afford or justify the cost of building. It’s a pity really as those sandstone walls are 45CM thick.

Best of all are those houses many with spectacular harbour views.

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Lovely old Balmain house in Darling St with a mix of Sandstone and brick. It has Bull Nosed Roof Capping and even a stained glass on one end of the verandah along with cast iron lacework and a tiled entry.
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A modern home using original dressed sandstone.

Once on the ferry we stopped at Luna Park where I spent many a Saturday afternoon.

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Luna Park. When I was young it was advertised as “Just Across the Bridge and Just for Fun” It was a favourite place for my mother who went there when she a girl around 1935. In fact it was opened in that year ( 3 years after the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge) but closed in 1979 after a tragic fire in the Ghost Train where 7 people lost their lives. The park has been re-opened and closed several times in the intervening years. Thankfully the land is owned by a Trust and they want to keep the park operating although it is on prime harbourside real estate.

Kids lined up at the gates for a Free entry, a few Free tickets and some Free lollies. To get there I caught the tram to East Balmain Ferry Terminal, then a ferry across to Circular Quay where I had lots of options. Catch a ferry to Milsons Point (Luna Park) catch a train to Milsons Point and walk or walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Ferris Wheel at Luna Park.

It was a whole day away from home, lunch was unimportant and we got home when we got home. There were no phones so my parents just had to trust that I knew what I was doing at 9 years of age. Later I took my younger brother, Allan, with me!

Next stop on the ferry was Blues Point which looks like a delightful place to get off and explore. Sigh! Maybe next time.

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Blues Point Sydney Harbour.
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Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House seen from Luna Park.

Third stop off the ferry was East Balmain Ferry Terminal (in my day it was Darling Street Wharf). We stopped to look at the original sandstone building of J Fenwick and Co Boatstore,

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The old solid sandstone Fenwicks Building. A world class restaurant and gallery is being delayed due to the interference of a Greens Party controlled Council.
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An anchor on the Fenwick site.

built in the 1880’s and commanding stunning views across Sydney Harbour to Luna Park, The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Barangaroo,

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Barangaroo and part of the Sydney CBD.

Blues Point, Goat Island and the Sydney CBD. The plan is to open a stylish restaurant and Art Gallery but as usual Greens politicians would rather see the old building vacant and slowly decaying on the inside. All reports suggest the restaurant will open in June but it looks as though all work has been suspended. Next as we walk the steep hill from Balmain East Wharf and up Darling Street I was mesmerised by so many of the old buildings which in most cases have been tidied up but given a new old look.

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A trendy coffee shop at East Balmain near the ferry terminal. Note the OLD Shelley’s Soft Drink sign. Shelley’s has been around somewhere around the 1930’s but was absorbed by Coca Cola somewhere about 1970 and re-badged Kirks.

The median house price is around M$3.1 and rents around $900 per week. The location of these well -built houses has arguably some of the best views in Sydney.

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A nice stand out sandstone house at East Darling St.
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Part of a charming row of old terrace houses.

Most of the houses around here are over 150 years old.

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At some stage this nuilding may have been used as a professional residence but it seems the shingle was removed a long time ago. No attempt has been made to paint the front wall and indeed the wood riot in the front door, also unpainted suggest not much maintenance has been carried out for many years.
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Balmain abounds with little laneways which connect one street with another or lead to a park or in this case, the waterfront.

At the top of the narrow Darling Street we stopped at The East Village Hotel

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East Village Hotel Darling St East Balmain.

which was built around 1871 and has been variously named over the years as a Workers Club, then The Cricketers Arms, The Monkey Bar and Le Pub before becoming East Village Hotel. It calls itself a family friendly, trendy pub and is independent, that is, it sells craft beers and oh so expensive non-traditional pub food.  Interesting décor and an in your face view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the front door.

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View of Sydney Harbour Bridge from the front door of East Village Hotel.

We had a wonderful lunch here. I must admit the servings are generous.

The street here is so narrow, the buses and cars must pull to the side to allow a bus travelling in the opposite direction to pass. I recall as a child taking the electric tram to what was then known as Darling Street Wharf. The tram stopped at a counterweight at the top of the hill. As the tram descended using the counterweight as a brake another counterweight under the roadway rose to the top of the hill. When it was time to ascend the counterweight at the top slowly moved to the bottom which pushed the upper counterweight and the tram to the top of the hill. These days the buses travel down the hill in low gear and under brakes and have a large turning circle at the bottom.

As we walked we noticed a Street Library. Now, I must have led a sheltered life. I have never seen or heard of these before.

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What a neat idea which has thousands of similar library boxes throughout Australia.I understand the concept began in the USA where they have about 35,000 street libraries whereas it is new to Oz and at present we have about 50 libraries.

The Street Library is a huge Australia wide organisation. Simply you place a colourful glass fronted bookshelf in your front yard, stock it with books and people can borrow a book by leaving a book. Have a look at this

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I love these colourful gets set in a colourful wall on a duplex.
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This is what I call a knick knack shop where they sell old, re-painted, re-cycled expensive items to trendy yuppie (Young Upwardly Progressive Professionals)
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Another trendy coffee shop called Ciao Thyme

We walked along Darling Street marvelling at the sights and beautiful old buildings

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We walked up the hill from the wharf and along Darling st.
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This is the original Balmain Police Watch House from 1854 until 1920 when it become a Police residence for a local Policeman, his wife and 12 children. By 1965 it was no longer used and derelict. It was then handed to the National Trust, restored and is now open to the public and administered by the Balmain Association.

to Gladstone Park where I went to Primary school which was known as both Pigeon Ground School or Balmain Demonstration School.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge seen from the entrance to Gladstone Park and my old school.

Official records show it as the latter but locals called it the former. From the school we walked to my childhood home of 14 years.

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I spent the first 14 years of my life here. There were no trees then and certainly no cast iron lace work or security grilles or bars. My father built in the upstairs verandah so my brother and I shared the verandah as our bedroom.
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The Unity Hall Hotel on the corner of Beattie St and Darling St Balmain. Information is a little sketchy but it seems the first licence was obtained in 1876 but the building may have been built some years before that. I lived just down Beattie st about 200 metres from the pub.
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The main commercial hub in Darling St. Note the coffee shops.

We walked back to Darling Street caught a bus to Queen Victoria Building in Sydney CBD, walked to Town Hall Station, caught a train to Central Station and from there caught an express replacement bus to Gymea.

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The Anzac Bridge which is one of two bridges which connects Balmain with the Sydney CBD.

It was a long, satisfying, tiring and educational day.

Sunday 31st March

Up early again. The train lines are still being worked on so Bev and Pete drove us to the airport. Luck was on our side today and we got straight on the scheduled flight.

Soon we were in Coolangatta, collected our car and stopped at the Coolangatta Markets for a coffee and an egg and bacon roll and were home in time for lunch. While enjoying my coffee I sat and listened to the entertainer while Donnis look at the various displays. At this point I must mention the little coffee van run by a happy hippie. I thought the sign said Hot Coffee 70 cents. In fact the sign said Hot 70 degrees celsius! I then noticed all the signs spread around the van saying the coffee is hot. I fell in love with the barista. She told me every cup of coffee she serves is at 70 degrees and she has been making coffee for 20 years. Yay!!!At last a Barista who really knows coffee and the temperature at which it must be served. Oh BTW the egg and bacon roll Donnis bought, was great.

It was a great few days away spending time with family.


670. Monday 25th to Thursday 28th March 2019. Washing machine woes and we fly to Sydney for a wedding…

I have only posted half a week as there are lots of photos. 

Monday 25th March 2019

The day started off hot as seems to be the case lately. Summertime Blues in the middle of Autumn. If I can handle summer in the summer I can handle summer in Autumn.

I rode to Southport Bridge over to the other side turned around underneath and back again. I got started at 6am before the heat of the day began but as I progressed the crowds began. That was a good 20 Klm plus ride.

I planted some Portulaca ( a sort of succulent ) about three weeks ago. They have started blooming including three different coloured flowers on the one plant.

I also noticed the Orchid which has been planted against the base of a Golden Cane Palm but was in the shadow of a very bushy flowering plant whose name escapes me. I cut that plant back to a bare stump just after Christmas. It was just what the Orchid needed. More sunlight but still dappled shade. This morning I just noticed three wonderful Orchid blooms, the first blooms since I planted it.

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After 4 years my orchid suddenly blooms.

Our Samsung Front Loader washing machine stopped working over the weekend. There was an error message on the screen. Same error as July last year when Samsung replaced the part. They normally provide a 2 year warranty but unwritten they extend that to 5 years, Our warranty ran out in January. No worries say I. I bought a 5 year extended warranty from Harvey Norman when I bought the washer. Rang the extended warranty people who said no your warranty ran out in Jan as well. How can that be? Surely the warranty kicks in after the manufacturers warranty expires. Nope. Their warranty commences on the day of purchase. That means I am paying for two years of warranty for no reason.  Grrr!

Another good day to stay indoors but also a good opportunity to pack our bags for the flight to Sydney in the morning.

Tuesday 26th March

We were on the road by 7.15am and despite a short time spent on the M1 Carpark it soon turned into the motorway it was designed to be. We arrived at Alpha Car Parking at Coolangatta well ahead of schedule. We left our car and the shuttle bus took us to the airport where we arrived at 8.15am an hour ahead of schedule. We presented ourselves at the check-in where I fully expected to be given boarding passes. Nope they said. Come back 30 minutes before departure. After cooling our heels and keeping my frustration under control we arrived back at the appointed time. No boarding pass. The plane was fully booked and all passengers have booked in. Can we get on the 10.30 am flight? It is fully booked and there are 12 standby passengers ahead of you. What about the next flight at 2.30pm? It is also fully booked but you are short listed as stand by 1 & 2. As well, the next flight at 4.30pm was impossible but there is a chance of picking up seats on the 7.30pm which is also the last flight of the day. Come back at 1.45. We did. Nothing. At 2pm our names were called. Some passengers did not arrive so here are you boarding passes. One gets 3A and the other gets 16F. Both window seats. Of course once we landed in Sydney it is an hour later than our clocks tell us. While our clocks say 4pm it is actually 5pm. We catch a train to Wolli Creek where we change for the Cronulla Line. Bev picks us up at the station and we are at her home at 6.15 in time for dinner. Curried honey chicken on a bed of rice with crispy fresh vegetables on the side. Peter is not well and is still asleep.

Wednesday 27th March

We did not do much today as Peter is sick and Bev is working. Sisters Enid and Sandra arrived in time for dinner.

Thursday 28th March

We did a bit of mooching around the house for a few hours until it was time to get dressed for the wedding. All 6 of us piled into Bevs 7 seater Honda and we drove to Gerringong about 100 Klms to the south, past Wollongong and past Kiama. It is a beautiful drive once you get through the traffic bottleneck at Albion Park Rail. Particularly pretty is the drive through Minnamurra, Bombo and the hills above Kiama and the final drive down the hill into Gerringong.

We were in Gerringong for the wedding of Bev and Petes youngest son, Mitchell, to Sam (antha) Smith. Mitchell is an air traffic control officer at Sydney Mascot Airport. The wedding was held at a multi -function and accommodation location called Soul of Gerringong.     This is a wonderful location on a hill which although no view in any direction is not far from Werri Beach

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From the hillside looking down on Werri Beach.

and just above Gerringong Boat Ramp Cove.

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View from top of hill at Gerringong, over the cemetery to Boat Harbour Cove.
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A row of Norfolk Island Pines along the next hill from Gerringong. It is interest the same trees lined the hilly street in Gerringong. Almost a mirror image of each other.

Mitch and Sam did a few things differently.

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From L to R. My sisters Sandra, Enid, Bev, then Sam and Mitchell, Peter Donnis and me.

They had the wedding on a Thursday to coincide with the date they met 8 years ago. The wedding commenced at 2.30pm. The wedding cake was a three tiered set of cheese rounds. For a little while, the cake was kept at a distance so we could only guess what it was. It looked like strange coloured cake of different sizes and colour. Once we were allowed up close we could smell the unmistakable aroma of a smoked cheddar cheese.

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The Cheese Wedding cake. It has a splattering of Gold Leaf, flowers and tips of Pampas Grass.

Mitch and Sam are cheese lovers. The cutting of the cake was interesting as the top layer was a Camembert or a Brie which of course means the first slice was clinging to the knife and they could only feed each other tiny morsels.

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Sam and Mitchell prepare to cat the cake and do a bit of cheese tasting.

The guest list was below 50, close friends and family only.

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Mitch, his nephew Huxley and his brother David

There was no sit down meal but there was a 4.30pm snack of cheeses,  crackers, various meats, olives, dips and fruit and a small slab of honeycomb.

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Sisters Enid, Beverley and Sandra

Later a local man made a Paella, seafood, Chorito or vegetable

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The Paella man. I always thought Paella was a seafood and rice dish but it seems there is now a Chorito and a Vegetarian version.

It was quite a pleasant experience being part of a small intimate wedding party.

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Bev, Sam the Bride, Mitchell the Groom and Pete.

I suppose having the wedding on a Thursday at 2.30 would make it difficult for some people to attend.

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Me Mitchell and Enid.

A small band played and dancing continued until 10pm. We arrive back at Bev and Petes by 11.35pm.

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The Bride, Sam, flanked by her sister Chloe and her mother Tania while the official photographer coaches them on a pose.
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Peter and his granddaughter April.
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Sams mother Tania and her stepfather, Craig.
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My sister Bev husband Pete and their son, the Groom. Mitchell.