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.

coonabarrabran clock
Coonabarrabran Clock Tower Roundabout.

Wednesday 4th December

071219 broadwater dawn3
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.

130419 dance3 framed
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.



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