Month: December 2019

615. Sunday 29th December 2019. Christmas, fly Mackay to Brisbane,

Monday 23rd December

Up early for a walk.

Today I took Sandi as she needs the exercise. I walked a bit more slowly for her but she was beginning to feel uncomfortable before we arrived home.

After breakfast, niece Kelly arrived to do some hairdressing for Sandi.

Later we went to town for a Hand Therapy session then off to the pathologist for a bone density test then started our shopping list.

While waiting for Sandi I went for a coffee and a pastizzi at the Starcut Florist Shop. I should have had alarm bells ring when I noticed there were no signs or menu or prices listed anywhere. Usually I would expect to pay between $6 to $7. I got a shock when I went to pay. The bill was $12. Anywhere else I would have got two coffees and  a slice of cake for that price.

I wanted to visit Jeremiah Bullfrog, a store which sells 99.9% clothes and accessories for women and a tiny rack of clothes for men. This store has been in this location in Mackay for about 30 years. The lady behind the counter recognised me. She has owned the store 25 years They burn incense which offends my olfactory senses but they do have clothes made from natural fibre and although the male selection is small they have the lightweight cotton trousers I want. I was so pleased I also bought a shirt. I no longer needed to visit the surf shops I had on my list.

Sandi also bought a dress for Christmas.

By now both of us complained of back pain so it was time to head home.


Tuesday 24th December

Another quiet day. Sandi and I went for a walk in the morning.

Then we had a consultation with the surgeon who put her hands back together. He is so pleased with healing he removed the wound dressing and declared she can now have a shower without wearing Cling Wrap on her arms. He also told her tat she can remove the splints when she is sleeping at night although Sandi does admit the splints keep her relatively pain free. She can pick up a tea cup while wearing the splints but without them it is a painful impossible task. That said it is the back pain which is wearing her down.

Afterwards we went shopping at Mt Pleasant until the back pain announced it was time to go home.

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Woolworths had a Schools Competition to have children hand make Christmas decorations. I found this entry by Bucasia State Primary. My daughters went to school there.


Wednesday 25th December CHRISTMAS DAY.

We did our usual early morning walk but wondered if it really is Christmas Day. In our entire walk we only saw one other person. We saw no children riding around on new bikes, scooters or skateboards. There were no sounds of squealing happy children.

Later in the morning we visited our sister Enid her daughter Kelly and her partner Jase and their two boys Cooper and Ollie who I spent about 2 weeks with in October.

Then in the afternoon I prepared and set up the oven for a Crackling Ham and a Salmon Pastrami Roast. This was a delicate operation as there were different oven temperatures and times as well as a cream potato bake. On a day when the temperatures was about 36 degrees and humidity hovering around 85%, the oven just made the house hotter. The air conditioning struggled in a losing battle to keep the house comfortable. Suddenly dinner is ready and no guests. Grrr! Dinner guests included Sandi’s son Luke, daughter Jo-Elle, their friends and my daughter Averyl.

All three dishes were great albeit a little overdone. Sandi’s son Luke, prepared a 24 hour slow cooked pork in his Souve Cooker then quickly seared in a pan and then pulled it apart – pulled pork. Moist and tender, full of flavour.

Hmmm! I might just further investigate Souvee cooking.

As we were eating dinner a storm rolled in with lots of lightning and thunder but very little rain. There was a enough lightning to create a power failure, blacking out the entire suburb. We had to wait another 2 hours before the power came back on so the cream could be whipped for a Pavlova topped with cream and fruit. Decadent!


On this day in 2011 we had Christmas lunch at Corrimal in Errol & Nicoles tiny flat. 251211 lunchSomehow we squeezed in us four plus Nicoles mum Merrilyn, her bothers Greg and Scott, Scotts Peruvian wife, Monica and baby Amelia around a table designed for four.

After lunch Donnis and I drove to Gymea to meet my sister Bev and husband Peter for a drive to Cronulla Beach and on to Captain Cooks landing place in Australia at Kurnell on Botany Bay in April 1770. By the way there is a lot of conjecture about the origins of the name Kurnell. While all are supposition and romantic alluding to a colourful past, remember that was 250 years ago and there is no agreement as to how the name came about. Is it an English corruption of an Aboriginal name or an Aboriginal corruption of an English name?


Thursday 26th December – Boxing Day.

My usual walk today. Sandi slept in. Pain was working overtime on her back.

We drove into Canelands Shopping Centre where Sandi had an appointment to have her nails done while I had lunch with my daughter Melissa and her husband Steve at the Coffee Club. It was wonderful to spend time together again. Melissa looks like she is getting younger.

The rest of the day was just frittered away with nothing in particular. Except, start packing my bag as I fly out of Mackay in the morning.


On this day in 2011 we visited Stanwell Tops to watch those brave people who launch themselves off the Bald Hill in their hang gliders and para gliders.    Lunch was at the beach below the hill.


Friday 27th December

I was up early again this morning. Instead of going for a walk, Dave drove me to the airport. The predicted rain started as showers but held off long enough to walk across the tarmac to board. As the doors were closed it began to rain. Within minutes we were flying through the clouds and suddenly at 22,000 feet we were above the clouds which looked like fluffy white cotton wool as far as the eye could see. Within a half hour of landing I had collected i30 from Gateway Airport & Cruise Parking   and on my way home. I joined the 66Klm long car park and inched forward, locked into a grid of cars all inching forward. For some reason, I thought most cars would exit the M1 to visit various shopping centres. Not so it seems. Most of the traffic was heading to the same place I was. The Gold Coast. I had an appointment at Harbourtown but noted that cars were parked along the main road up to three Klms from Harbourtown. It was quicker and easier to drive home, park i30 and walk across the street.

In the afternoon I did as little as possible as my back was plaguing me with umm err, pain, which is a bit stronger than discomfort.


On this day in 2011 we were conveniently parked up in the building site at Corrimal. The Co-Pilot was studying and I did little odd jobs on WWWGO and TERIOS. The weather did not encourage outdoor activities.


Saturday 28th December

Did my usual walk along the Broadwater. It was overcast and a cool breeze was blowing from the south. Ideal conditions for walking.

My back did its usual protestations and continued to irritate, annoy and insert discomfort for the rest of the day.

I caught a bus then the G-Link Tram to Surfers Paradise. Cavill Avenue to be exact. I want to find another pair of lightweight cotton trousers and reasoned that out of all the fashion shops and the markets, I would find something.

Hmmm! Perhaps not.

I was on my way to Hogs Breath Café   for lunch. I turned left instead of right at the top of the escalator. It is time to try something new. Vapianos is an Italian Style eatery.   Granted the food is cooked in front of you. Granted it is fresh. In fact fresh herbs – Basil and Rosemary – are grown on the table and you can add your own. I found it noisy. Bothersome noisy. If you want a pizza you go to a pizza counter and order. If you want pasta or risotto there is another counter. If you want Antipasti or Insalate (salad) go to another counter. You want dessert? You guessed it. Another counter. I was impressed the chef brought all the carefully measured ingredients together in a wok and tossed them around then pulled out a wire basket with Linguine  in it, tossed it in to the wok, transferred it to a plate and hey presto Gamberi Dal Mar Linguine with a sprig of Basil. (Gamberi means crayfish or prawns while Dal Mare means From The Sea).  On entry you are given a credit type card and a menu then you can find your own table. You use the card to purchase food and on leaving pay the total.  The food was good but expensive. The décor was interesting but noisy. It is popular but I imagined trying to order a family meal going from one counter to another and drinks are on yet another counter. It was interesting but I think that will be my last visit.

The markets were not yet open so I came home and still feeling satisfied from lunch I took i30 and drove to Australia Fair to see Star Wars. This was a Star Wars movie with all the twists and turns and drama and light sabre fights and action scenes and laser fights among spacecraft and everything you expect from the franchise. Somehow they managed to include many of the actors from the original including Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamil and Harrison Ford. Did it answer all the questions and tie up loose ends? Nahhh, but it was so well done who cares?

Empty cinema 10- minutes before screening began. With 2 minutes to go suddenly people started arriving but only filled half the cinema.


I was home by 10.30 but lights out was not until 11.30.


On this day in 2011 we were still camped in the building allotment. While the Co-Pilot spent the day studying, I cleaned out the sink downpipes and holding tanks. That was not a simple job but by the time I was finished the kitchen sink drained like it orta.


Sunday 29th December

The morning started early as always and I enjoyed a walk along the Esplanade at the Broadwater.

A quiet day.

I had coffee at Harbourtown with a friend then drove to Carrara Markets – Australia’s largest marketplace   – looking for lightweight cotton trousers.  No luck there.

The rest of the day was spent staying out of the heat.


On this day in 2011 I wrote this –

2011 is quickly slipping through our fingers.

In the morning we organised for the CO-PILOT to visit a doctor, a pathology lab and the hospital to have inoculations, blood tests and confirmation her other immunisations are still within use-by date. It seems NSW Health Regulations are pretty strict with the health of health workers they employ.

 I helped Errol install Cove Cornices in the bathroom before lunch.

In the afternoon we called on a workmate from many years ago (about 35 years ago) Barry H and his wife Kathleen in their wonderful house at Keiraville. We expected to have a coffee and spend a couple of hours but our hosts insisted we stay for dinner and sample some Swedish apple cider. Followed by some Margaret River wine. Some strawberry liqueur and a blackcurrant liqueur were also taste tested. Oh and of course a beer. Naturally I was the designated driver and had a wine and sipped the liqueur only. We had a wonderful evening, especially for me as Barry also spent two years in National Service as I did and we talked about our experiences.


Barry revealed he had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and got his news on the same day and at the same hospital as another friend Bob T. Barry, Bob and I worked at the same place many years ago. We all three served in National Service. Within two years both would die from their cancer, within days of each other.

Vale old mates, Barry and Bob.

614. Sunday 23rd December 2019. Carer duties, back pain duo and not much else…

Monday 16th December.

Hmmm! Sleep routine is back to normal…well almost. Woke at 5.30 and went for a walk around the estate.

Said goodbye to Dave as he left to go to work in Bowen.

I am now Sandra’s Carer.

She is able to clean her teeth and dress herself albeit with some difficulty but where there is a will there is away.

We drove to The Four Ways in Mackay. Sandi was booked in for special splints to be made for both wrists. The therapist slowly unravelled all the bandages, cotton wool packing, plaster and wound covering. The scars on both wrists look good. Very little swelling and there is no angry redness or signs of infection. The therapist made up the two splints and gave a set of exercises and we were out in less than an hour.

191219 sandi
Here are the festive splints. She is saying, “if you post that photo I’m gunna hit you with these”.

Next we went to Bupa Health Fund to arrange refunds then the most important part of the day was to go to Canelands Shopping Centre for a coffee. I had a mushroom, spinach and fetta omelette at the Coffee Club. It came loaded with a layer of rocket and two little wedges of toasted sourdough. It was OK but honestly I make a far better omelette at home. Tastier and fluffier. In fact my coffee is as good.

Next we bought Sandi a Kindle Paperwhite as it will be easier to hold and turn pages than a regular book. Mostly it is also lighter and holds up to 1300 books. The salesman tried to talk Sandi into buying a more expensive model. The original has an 8Gb memory whereas the new option is 32 Gb for an extra $30. I said I have had my 8Gb Kindle for almost 8 years and It would take me a long time to fill it with and read 1300 books. Standard model it is. The salesman was not pleased with my input.

Afterwards we looked at a couple of shops for a pair of trousers for me then went to Coles to look at their Crackling Ham and Salmon Pastrami Roast for Christmas Day. By then we were both tired and in a bit of pain in the back. Time to go home, turn on the AC and do nothing.

On this day in 2011 we were continuing our leisurely trip along the east coast in WWW.GO. The words to the Chuck Berry song, With No Particular Place to Go echoes in my mind, we were at Camden Haven on the NSW north Coast and preparing to continue south.

Tuesday 17th December

Another 5.30 start and a walk around the estate. Even at this time of day it is hot.

Back at Sandi’s house I did my back exercises then made a wonderful Brussell Sprout Omelette. I reflected on my comment yesterday where I compared my omelette to the Coffee Club Omelette. I have had to reassess and have come to the conclusion that I make a far far better omelette.

In the afternoon, while Sandi was resting I drove to Mt Pleasant Shopping Centre to look for a pair of cool lightweight cotton trousers. It seems they no longer exist. Everything seems to be heavy material like a pair of jeans. I would probably find what I am looking for if I went to a cold climate.

Today I downloaded a Calibre E- Book Reader Library organiser App on the laptop. I already have the App on my desktop at home. The library is in a set of folders and finding a book is easy. Now I can download some books from my laptop to Sandi’s new Kindle.

On this day in 2011 we were exploring with brother Allan and wife Rae the coastal town of Halliday’s Bay.

Wednesday 18th December

A walk around the estate and exercises done.

We watched a movie on Netflix.

Can things get any better/worse? The pain has shifted to the base of my spine but I have two sets of pain. I now believe I have Bursitis in my right hip. I have had that before. Walking upsets the Bursitis but calms the back. Standing still calms the bursitis but upsets the back.


On this day in 2011. We were staying with Allan and Rae in their home at Forster NSW.

Thursday 19th December.

Star Wars opened in cinemas across Australia today and I have not yet made plans to see it. Perhaps I can see it when I get home and before the new year.

The day started with the usual “discomfort” and a walk around the estate. The estate is a divided opinion of the location. Sandi insists it is Rural View but on maps it is called Plantation Palms. I recall when Rural View was first opened as a residential estate it was on the western side of the Mackay- Bucasia Road. Later a new estate on the eastern side of the main road towards Eimeo was opened and called Plantation Palms.

Anyway I went for a walk around the estate followed by my back exercises.

Another hot day in the tropics although quite comfortable at 32 degrees the same as on The Gold Coast. It is hard to imagine those people out west who are having temperatures getting up to 49 degrees with dry heat and some have bushfires to contend with.

Dave arrived home in the afternoon and his first job was to give Sandi a shower. Next we went to a bar in town. Two ladies from Sandi’s last workplace were putting on some nibbles and a get together. One is having a birthday and another is retiring. Naturally I was the designated driver. Sandi cannot drive and Dave likes a beer.

I continue to be amazed at how well Sandi is coping with her hands. Every day we can see improvement. Her back is giving her hell…as is mine. We laugh at each other when we sit or stand and let out a sigh or a grunt or groan.

On this day in 2011 we left Forster to drive to Sydney and on to Corrimal, a suburb of Wollongong. We stopped at Bulladelah, a small town north of Newcastle which was once a traffic bottleneck and is now bypassed by the highway. My high school friend, George Curtis lived there. Sadly George passed away a few years ago, alone on a dirt road just out of town. His body was not found for several days.

Friday 20th December

The day started like every other day.

Sandi had a physiotherapist appointment and a doctors appointment. We needed to do a chemist run then went shopping until our backs protested it was time to head home.

I cooked up some onion chunks, potato, pumpkin and Brussel Sprouts in the oven. Dave barbecued some lamb steaks. We had a win. Dave does not like Brussel Sprouts but was encouraged to try one. He is a now a convert.

On this day in 2011 we arrived in Gymea and parked WWW.GO in sister Bevs driveway for a few days. We needed to make plans of where we will be for Christmas day. A little bit of visiting and being visited was planned. We also drove to Wollongong to visit Errol & Nicole and plan where we will park WWWGO over the next few weeks.

Saturday 21st December

The usual walk at 6am. Strangely the pain in my right hip is moving to the centre of my back and beyond. It has gravitated to my left hip as well.


My patient is improving in leaps and bounds.

We went to a pre Christmas family luncheon at Sandi’s ex husband, Johns house. John had a large group of nephews and nieces and their partners and children, most of whom were in the pool. What started out as a “perhaps I will stay for an hour until the pain gets too much” comment from Sandi, ended up being a marathon 9 hour session of music and drinking.

211219 family group
Luke. Roger the pup, John, guess who and Sandi. Trying to get 4 people plus a dog to pose at the same time is not easy.

I was designated driver. Most of the relatives left way before the sun went down but Sandi and Dave, Jo-elle (Sandi’s daughter) her partner Ben, John and I stayed on. We had a sing along with many of the songs pumping out of very loud speakers. I am sure the neighbours were gritting their teeth in frustration.

211219 joelle
Geez thay asked me to pose for this shot and I feel embarassed. Jo-Elle, is a burleque dancer and knows how to pose.

By now we had run out of nibbly party food and despite most people saying they were not hungry, John and I dug out some pies from the freezer and processed them, one by one in the microwave. The pies disappeared in”not really hungry” mouths. By 10pm I convinced Dave it was time to go. Sandi had already fallen asleep on a lounge. After dropping them at home I drove back to John’s house, collected Jo-Elle and Ben and their big Labradoodle pup and drove them home to North Mackay. I did say I was the designated driver didn’t I?

Sandi has a new Hyundai i30 Elite. I really enjoy driving it. It is filled with so many devices for making life easy, comfortable and safe.

On this day in 2011 we were parked up in a driveway of house construction site in Corrimal.

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Parked up in a building work site in Corrimal NSW.

Being Christmas there was no work being carried out so we were quite safe and not at risk of being in the way of workers.

Sunday 22nd December

The usual get up early and go for a walk before it gets too hot morning.

My daughter Averyl and Grandson Anakin came over for a visit.

Geez I have been keeping a low profile the last week.

On this day in 2011 we were stilled camped up in Corrimal and just doing all the little pre Christmas stuff that every family does every year.

Happy Christmas everybody.

613. Sunday 15th December 2019. Long walks, discomfort continues and a flight to Mackay…

Monday 9th December
This week begins the same as last week. Up early and down to The Broadwater for a walk.

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Morning along The Broadwater

Every day is different. There is different cloud or no cloud, sunrise, smoke haze, changes in tides. Most days I see the same faces, other days there are new faces. It all depends on what time I get there. My routine is not clockwork. I wake when I wake, not by an alarm. This week at this time the tide is coming in. It is near high tide. In fact it is a higher than normal tide. The water is so clean, I can clearly see rocks in the white sand. There are fish, mullet are jumping. The air is fresh and clean. This morning a light southerly has picked up. That is unusual for this time of day. I got talking with a man who is here every day. He is sitting in his car reading. He tells me his wife walks from home to the Sundale Bridge, then along the Broadwater to this lagoon then she swims with all the other early morning swimmers. She arrives as we are talking. She is a beautiful Thai woman, they have been married 6 years. She is 44 he is 71. She works in massage (genuine) he is retired. He goes to Thailand every year. He tells me if I like travelling, Thailand is the best destination. He started throwing facts at me and saying I should go there for a holiday. I told him breakfast is calling and I will see him on another day. I know where his enthusiasm is coming from but I am not interested. However I would like a holiday overseas – cheaply. I need to ask him more questions. Not about finding a young girlfriend or bride. No No. I need information about cheap air fares. Cheap accommodation. Places to see. He talks about renting a self- contained apartment for a month or two. I only want a holiday for a week.
Heatwave conditions are ramping up. I even turned on the AC today.
Tuesday 10th December.
Every morning I am up early and at the Broadwater for my walk. My friend Wayne from Wollongong – I had dinner with him Sunday night – said what is it with people on the Gold Coast? He was up early Sunday morning and went for a walk and was amazed at how many people are up at that time.
Saw the Osteopath today. He is pleased with my progress even though most days I am uncomfortable and still restricted to what I can do. Yes line dancing is good. Rock and Roll may be OK but at the first sign of pain – stop. No table tennis.
I mentioned at times the pain seems to be moving towards the centre of my back and even towards the left hip. He told me that is good because the pain and discomfort are referred pain emanating from my lower spine and the pain is now beginning to centre itself. I am looking forward to saying goodbye to the referred pain, hoping it will be soon but also being a little apprehensive. Will the pain and discomfort be worse when it finally goes home to the L5 S1 vertebrae?
Wednesday 11th December
I had my regular morning walk at The Broadwater. Always home in time for breakfast.
Later I managed a full Line Dancing session this morning although I did a gentler version of the foot stomping parts.
Every day has been hot. I escaped for an hour or so to Australia Fair Shopping Centre. Finally found a shirt for our Christmas Dinner at the Clubhouse on Friday.
In the afternoon I set up a Karaoke style set of Christmas Carols to be sung after Dinner. Experienced choralist, Kit, joined me and practised the songs as she will lead the singing.
Thursday 12th December

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Surfers Paradise is almost lost in the misty cloud.

Up early and did my usual walk.
After dinner I joined the table tennis players for a cup of tea. No I am still unable to play. Betty who had her 99th birthday late last month was there too. I told her I would walk home with her. When we got outside I saw she had parked her walker in the barbecue shelter. I asked her to wait while I turned on a light and I would get the walker for her. As I opened the door to find the light switch I heard a sound like a squeaky hinge. I turned and could not see Betty and stepped back outside and saw her, unmoving, on the ground. I still had not turned on the light but shouted at the others that Betty had fallen and went to her aid. Even in the dark I could see she was breathing. Her body was on the concrete pad and her head at a bad angle on the grass. I gently lifted her head and spoke to her and she started to groan. The others arrived and turned on the outside light. I asked for a cushion for her head. Shortly she was able to speak although by now shock had set in and she was trembling violently. We checked that she could move her head although it was sore. Her toes wiggled and testing her fingers there was a big bruise on one finger and at the back of her thumb. Her tailbone was sore. After awhile she felt like sitting up with help from us. Then we got her walker and three of us walked her home. We called her daughter who came to take her mum home overnight. Even I was left shaken as I had asked her to wait while I turned on the light and got her walker. Betty is an independent person and thought she could get the walker herself. She tripped on the edge of the concrete. I want us both to celebrate her 100th Birthday and her fall scared me.
Friday 13th December
The day started off as usual. Brilliat sunny consitions and perfect for walking along The Broadwater. Mid morning cloud began to roll in and I thought I heard thunder in the distance.
Yep I did. Soon the thunder and lightning arrived and seemed to be concentraing on our little street. It was constant, loud and flashes of brightness. The rain began, although it was not forecast. The rain got heavier and suddenly the wind picked up. The rain was coming in all directions. Luckily I had shut all the windows except the bathroom and of course the rain poured in through the venetian blinds. The rain got heavier and our street was running a banker. The lightning and thunder continued when suddenly the power went out. Oops! Well it is Friday the 13th after all!
Later we heard that 125 mils of rain fell in an hour, more than all the rain for the previous 6 months. Localised flooding occurred at Labrador and Southport with some cars being trapped in floodwater in shoping centre underground carparks and even some flooding in streets nearby.
As part of the social committee I have been involved in planning a Christmas Dinner at the clubhouse. We spent a good chunk of yesterday aternoon setting up the tables and chairs and decorations ready for tonight.
I received a phone call from my friend Frank. Come up to the clubhouse. We have a flood.
Hmmm! Inspecting the damage shows the library was the worst. Fifty mils of water was over the floor. The front entrance was certainly wet as were along the edges of two walls but realistically no water damge to 98% of the clubhouse that we would use. A quick mop up and it was time to go home and get ready for tonight.
While the caterer was bringing in the food and setting up. I prepared the computer, linking it to the smart tv, numbering all the Christmas Carols in readiness.
Our guest of honour tonight was Sam O’Connor, our local State Government Representative . Sam was almost an hour late arriving and wolfed down the plate of food. He spent the afternoon helping flood trapped motorists, moving flooded cars and helping with cleanup operations. He had to go home, shower and change and come to our dinner. He also donated four special lunches at Brisbane State Government house in the special dining room. Our 99 year old, Betty was one of the four winners. At one stage a car was blocking the driveway, Sam jumped up and offered to move the car, which he did.
Saturday 14th December
The morning started as it has every other morning this week. A three kilometre walk along The Broadwater.
After breakfast I started packing my bags. I was due to fly out of Brisbane Airport to Mackay. My sister Sandra had surgery on her two wrists on Thursday and I will be there to help over the next two weeks.
I planned to catch a train from Helensvale to the airport but when checking the timetable found the Gold Coast line will be closed this weekend to carry out electrical overhead line maintenance. Instead I drove to Brisbane and left the i30 at Gateway Parking for two weeks. They have a shuttle bus to the airport.
I arrived to find that Sandra was discharged today and was resting at home.
As well as the shattered wrists and the plates inserted she still has the two broken vertebrae but they will simply have to heal by themselves. At the moment it seems she has more back pain than pain from the surgery. That will change.
Her friend Sue dropped off enough Thai Green Curry Chicken to feed us for two nights.
The flight from Brisbane was almost 2 hours of discomfort sitting in the tiny upright seats at the back of the plane. They cannot be reclined. I was forever trying to adjust the way I was sitting. When booking the ticket I noticed it said “meal provided”.The meal was a big cookie with a coffee or tea. Meal? Geez Qantas I skipped having something to eat at the airport expecting a “meal”. Even a sandwich would have been better.
Sunday 15th December
I slept in until almost 7am this morning. I walked around the suburb. The rest of the day was being on standby for Sandra. Coffee, tea, tablets. Do the grocery shopping, make lunch.
Tomorrow Dave goes back to work at Bowen two hours further north. I will be Sandra’s sole carer. She has appointments tomorrow. She bought a new i30 a month ago so getting her around will be a breeze.

612. Sunday 8th December 2019. Walking, smoke haze, no dancing and meet old friends…

Monday 2nd December

Weather forecast all week will be HOT! No relief until a Southerly comes through on the weekend with a possibility of rain next week.

Not sleeping much does have a limited benefit. It means I can go to The Broadwater early and walk to exercise my back. Three Klms from Labrador Lagoon to Lands End and return. The back protests somewhat and I am off all meds except Panadol when I feel I need them.

I like walking here. Lots of people doing the same. Many interesting people but we all focus on what we are doing. Nobody stops for a chat. Neither do I. I carry my keys in my pocket and phone in my hand. They both annoy me.

After lunch I went to the pool for a walk in the water. Forwards, backwards, sideways. Have to be careful on the sideways to the right but I survived. Swimming freestyle with kicking the legs is out of the question. The back does not like the kicking even supported in the water.

Once again I thought of going to Brisbane on the train and spending the day riding the Brisbane Ferries. Carrying a backpack with the camera concerns me at the moment. The camera, camera bag, spare battery and spare memory cards weighs 1.1 Kg. I am sure carrying the pack plus water for three days contributed to my back problems. I wonder if carrying a backpack lower, say around my buttocks is more suitable. I must ask the Osteopath. The army backpacks were like that. Even carrying my shoulder slung man bag is uncomfortable at the moment.

I had an appointment with my Superannuation consultant just after midday and that ruins any opportunity to go anywhere.

On this day in 2010 I was in Coonabarrabran NSW. It was still raining in bucketloads and the Castlereagh River was in flood. The town is isolated and trucks cannot get in or out. The crucial wheat harvest has come to a grinding halt. The crop, normally worth some M$350 will only be worth about M$100 if harvesting is delayed much longer.


Tuesday 3rd December

Up early again today a walk along The Broadwater. It is another brilliant sunny morning along with all the other people doing the same thing. I am still wearing the brace but I wonder if maybe on these longer walks I should try without it. It does get uncomfortable about halfway through the walk.

Today I had an appointment with My Aged Care. (Gee I hate the way that is worded – My AGED Care. Couldn’t it be shortened to just MY CARE?) I am unable to vacuum, sweep, mop, lift, pull, push, carry etc. According to the interviewer I am eligible although there is a waiting list for cleaning. Want a companion to drive you to shopping? You got it? Want some spring cleaning done? Clean fans, air con filter and clean venetians? You got it. Need a gardener? You got it. Need someone to come and just be a companion for a couple of hours? You got it. Need a cleaner? You have to wait. My Aged Care is an initiative of the Federal Government to keep older Australians in their home rather than going into a nursing home.

I do need a plumber to fix a leaky toilet. I could probably do that myself but a plumber has all the tools, plus the knowledge and the easy way to do things. All I pay for are the parts. Hey presto. A plumber is coming in the morning.

Another swim umm err I mean walk in the pool after lunch. I was very brave and did a gentle breast stroke which includes a frog kick and it does not cause pain.

On this day in 2010 we are still in Coonabarrabran. Mostly the day was overcast and the river level started to drop. Once darkness arrived, the rain arrived with it, a sort of sneak attack. The roads are closed again.

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Coonabarrabran Clock Tower Roundabout.

Wednesday 4th December

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Smoke haze over The Broadwater

Today I did the walk with the brace and a bum bag. The phone and keys are in the bum bag. I also have a set of earphones and listed to my music while I walk. Once again the brace became a bit uncomfortable.

The plumber arrived after breakfast and replaced an entire fitting in the cistern. Parts cost $50 which I thought was OK. When I bought the same part for a toilet in Airlie Beach about 12 years ago the part cost $70.

Line dancing was fine but it all depends on the movement. If there is any sort of twisting movement I have to stop. That may severely limit me at Rock n Roll on Saturday night but I can still enjoy the music.

After lunch I had another swim…walk. Today while walking backwards I slammed into the end of the pool. My back protested at that. More walking and more breast strokes.

On this day in 2010 we were still in Coonabarrabran. It was still raining heavily. Luckily we were camped on my cousin Bob’s place a bit out of town. There was a big family gathering for an early Christmas and we were part of it.

Thursday 5th December071219 broadwater dawn2

Another walk along The Broadwater. Today I turned south. I did not wear the brace, just the bum bag. Once again about halfway through the walk my back started to protest.

Another day of walking up and down in the pool. It is not quite heatwave conditions but 32 degrees with a sea breeze is not too bad.

On this day in 2010 we were still in Coonabarrabran. The rain has eased with more dry periods throughout the day. All the family members are planning to leave tomorrow. We will leave too and head north with Moree as our target

Friday 6th December071219 broadwater dawn1

Looking back over this week it might have been easier to say, “went for a walk along the Broadwater then exercised in the pool every day”, because that is what I did.

Today was no different. Instead of having the pool to myself other heat effected people arrived so it ended up being a social gathering of about 8 people just floating around and chatting.

On this day in 2010, the rain eased so we left Coonabarrabran but stopped at the Crystal Kingdom for what I thought would be a 5 minute quick scan of the items on sale. I did not realise there was a Geological Museum, most of the items were from local sources around the Warrumbungle Ranges and the volcanic plugs making an interesting geological feature. Next stop was a caravan park in Moree with 5 Thermal Spring pools.

Saturday 7th December071219 broadwater dawn

The walk along The Broadwater this morning was different. Filled the smoke haze it was still no less beautiful. The smell of smoke is quite strong. You cannot help but feel for all those people who have lost their everything and for the efforts of the Rural Fire Fighters.

No walk in the pool this afternoon as I simply want to rest and not have any unexpected back problems at Rock n Roll.

There was a big turnup at Woongoolbah Public Hall for the year end dance. Us visitors sure outnumbered the locals by about three to one. It was a disappointing night for several reasons. The band did not play their usual rock and roll therfore the night had less oomph. I did manage to do a few line dances and the back only protested a couple of times. The ladies must have been given prior warning of my back problems as they stayed away. The pocket rocket, Marcia, my favourite dancer did talk to me and wanted to dance a bit later. Unfortunately I was driver and Wencke was in pain herself. So I agreed to drive her, Graham and Lynda home. I asked Marcia if I can have a dance next time. Then I found out as I was saying goodnight, Marcia, Kaye, Margaret, Shelley and Averil all were reluctant to ask me to dance as they had heard my back was a problem.

Averil did get me up to do a little step, step, step nothing dance with Lynda and another guy who also was sporting an injury. I now understand why she was being so umm err, gentle.

I really missed my opportunity to dance with Marcia.

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Marcia Dancing with Frank. No not this Frank. The other Frank. Notice he is lacking a share of hair.


In bed just after midnight.

On this day in 2010 we arrived in Goondiwindi Qld. This is a nice tidy town with all the best looking houses all along the main street. We could not find anywhere to free camp as all the rain has turned all the free places into a sea of deep mud. We decided late in the day to push on to Millmerin for a free camp arriving late in the evening when the rain began again.

Sunday 8th December

Up at the crazy time of 5am again and down to The Broadwater. The smell of smoke is strong in the air. It was cooler this morning as the promised southerly has begun to roll in. The normally glass like water was ruffled by the southerly breeze.

Most of the day I spent playing with photos and posting them on various Facebook photo sites.

Tonight I went to dinner with Wayne and Narelle at the Southport Surf Life Saving Club. I have known them for more than 40 years, I met Wayne when he was a junior where I worked and I attended their wedding. They still live in Wollongong and they brought me up to date with their activities.

Wayne has established a charitable organisation where clients can buy a bag of groceries for $30 and are presented with a second bag of fresh vegetables and or fruit or other packages of food. He has now established 4 outlets and that keeps him active 4 days a week. He is also on the board of the Illawarra Hawks Basketball team and they were here to watch them play on Saturday night. They played the Brisbane Bullets who had a slim margin win. The bullets have been struggling and the Hawks were expected to cruise to a win. Wayne was disappointed. He is also on several other boards, one is for a retirement village. He has amazing stamina and a mathematically gifted mind.

It was wonderful catching up with them again as it has been a couple of years since we last visited. When I do the planned road trip in January I will try to keep one day clear to visit him and Narelle.

On this day in 2010 we set up camp in the Crows Nest National Park which is north of Toowoomba. It has been raining on and off all day. Little did we know then but the rain will continue for several weeks culminating in the disastrous floods experienced in Brisbane in 2011. A major flood also occurring in the Toowoomba CBD. However that is still a few weeks away and we wanted was somewhere to stay the night on level, dryish ground. By dark, there was nobody left in the park. Even the Rangers had packed up and gone.



Sunday 1st December 2019. Mostly about pain, discomfort and musing…

Monday 25th November

A day of rest.

Tuesday 26th November

I have almost completed my last heavy duty drugs but still have some opioids that make me drowsy or at least not me. I stopped taking them over the weekend, trying to go Cold Turkey…after all I am a strong male….right? And these are just a few tablets to help me get through the pain which is diminishing anyway…right? All I have to do is just stop and I am strong enough to cope….right?

Yeah. Right!

I visited the Osteotherapist today and told him my story and he was pleased I was getting off those drugs and prescribed some more exercises and lots of walking, avoid standing too long or sitting too long. Yes of course I can do Line Dancing or Rock n Roll but at any sign of discomfort…stop! Along with specific exercises he prescribed ways of bending down to pick up objects, how to sit, how to stand, how to get in and out of bed, in and out of the car and retrain my muscles and nerves which have been locked up and afraid to allow my body to function the way it ought to. In some respects, parts of my body are fighting other parts of my body. There is a sort of war going on.

Of course the underlying problem, (Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that affects the lower vertebrae (spinal bones). This disease causes one of the lower vertebrae to slip forward onto the bone directly beneath it. It’s a painful condition but treatable in most cases.) is always going to be with me and the spectre of a sudden onset of pain sometime in the future haunts me.

Wednesday 27th November.

Not a good night for sleeping. I woke a few times and was aware of discomfort but maybe not pain. Then again maybe it is pain. Maybe just a constant ache.

I was out of bed by 6am and was dressed ready for a walk when I decided maybe two Paracetamol would help and maybe I should wear my back brace.

By mid morning I was ready for Line Dancing but maybe I need more Paracetamol. Sure enough after two dances my back was protesting and I stopped and decided against any further Paracetamol.

After lunch and resolving a couple of other issues by phone I decided to have a little nap at 2.45 believing I can only improve from here.

I woke at 4.45.

By dinner time I had no appetite but was in pain. So go for a walk, wear the brace, use the heat pack more often and two Paracetamol. I guess I am not as strong,  nor as healed as I thought yesterday when, obviously, the drugs were still in my system. I continued my exercises and watched TV until signs of boredom crept in.

I relented and took  the last two Mersyndol tablets which have a higher dose of Paracetamol plus some Codeine. At least they should make me tired enough to sleep while taking away the pain.

Time for bed.

Thursday 28th November

Nothing new to report. Back pain is easing although I feel most comfortable while walking. Standing is not good. Sitting is OK but I need to get up frequently.

Panadol is my only drug.

Sunday 1st December.

More of the same over the last few days. Pain is less but almost constant discomfort.

No photos this week.

I thought a trip to Brisbane might be a good idea but carrying the backpack with a camera changed my mind. I really believe carrying the camera in a backpack for three days while in Sydney contributed to my current situation.

Looking back on this day in 2010 we arrived in Coonabarabran NSW with torrential rain which kept falling for several days. Today it was dry here on the Gold Coast. A storm rolled over, a little lightning, almost enough rain to wet the driveway and humidity increased dramatically.

Hopefully next week brings something new to write about.