Author: frankeeg

624. Sunday 16th February 2020. Rain, big rain, a cyclone, minor flooding and big seas…

Monday 10th February

Rain, heavy at times and a lightning and thunder show.

Tuesday 11th February

Once again rain is on and off today along with thunder and lightning.

I had an appointment with a physiotherapist today. She told me she could see that when asked to do simple movements my back and chest muscles operate in spasms. She massaged the main problem muscle in my back and made an appointment for me to have hydro therapy next week. The massage gave me some relief and I slept well for 7 hours.

Wednesday 12th February.

Another day of thunderstorms, heavy overcast and rain, often very heavy. The bowling green is a pond and the swimming pool is overflowing.

On one of the photo sites I Administer, somebody posted a photo of early hard hat diving apparel made out of leather. It reminded me that my uncle, Bill Gray, established a dive business in 1945 after the war.

bill gray
Both these old photos are of my Uncle Mickey. For some reason he was known to us as Uncle Mickey or Mick. Everybody else knew him as Bill.

The business still operates today and is thriving. It operates 24/7 365 days a year to cater for the needs of its clients. bill gray1

Of course my uncle is long gone but the business name lives on.

There is still some pain today but nothing like the pain I have been experiencing for months.

Maybe, just maybe I am beginning the comeback to a normal healthy pain free lifestyle.

Tropical Cyclone Eusi which formed in the Coral Sea near Noumea and is tracking along the Queensland coast is bringing lots of heavy rain. Here on the Gold Coast it just seems non- stop heavy buckets of rain, louder and heavier as the hours rolled by. Of course it was accompanied by lightning and thunder. It was just a good reason to stay home. The seas have been producing bigger swells each day and by tomorrow and Friday expected to reach four metres. Already warnings have been issued to stay out of the surf unless you are a really exceptional experienced rider. All beaches have been closed.

Today I bought fuel for $1.19.9 per litre. That’s E10 of course.

Thursday 13th February

The rain is, if anything louder and heavier this morning. For hours I wondered if it would let up long enough for me to drive to the airport to collect Frank and Kay. The rain stopped for awhile and I got excited it would stay stopped. Nope, just as I was leaving I heard on the radio the heaviest falls are at the northern end of the Gold Coast and to expect minor and localised flooding. I did not want to hear that.

I decided not to drive the M1 as with heavy rain, a speed limit of 110 KPH and hoons it was a recipe for disaster. The Gold Coast Hwy seemed like a better but slower option. If there were floods or accidents it would be at slower speeds and more people to help. The rain did not ease off. Within half a kilometre I encountered my first flooded road and of course there are hoons of all ages who think it best to race through floodwaters sending up big waves and showering cars and people and sending waves into homes and businesses. As I got closer to Surfers Paradise the rain eased and the further south I travelled the rain was less. By the time I reached Coolangatta Airport the suburbs were dry and had not had rain for hours. It was still raining at home! After collecting Frank & Kay we decided to come home via the M1. But first we drove to Coolangatta to see the huge waves at Kirra, Greenmount and Snapper Rocks. There was no parking anywhere. A huge crowd of sightseers had descended on the Cooly to see the action. We could only see the action as I drove slowly, one eye on the road one eye on the surf. How I would have loved to have stopped somewhere and walked back to see the action. All was Ok until we turned off at Helensvale where we reached a Police partial roadblock. Some cars were continuing so I did too. The first flood was about knee deep, flowing quickly and several cars stalled. One was stalled in the first lane and a 4WD had stopped to offer assistance which blocked 2 lanes. I was forced to drive near the shoulder to get around them. That patch of flood was about 200 metres long. The next was probably a bit deeper and I could feel the flow of water pushing at the car. A hoon in a 4WD came rushing through sending a huge wave over us. Sorry no photos. I was too busy concentrating on driving while Frank and Kay were putting finger impressions in the upholstery for anybody to take photos. Once we emerged from the last of the flooded sections we noticed the only other cars which came through were 4WD. I did well in my low slung i30.

Friday 14th February. Valentines Day. I looked everywhere around the house but found no cards with love words, no boxes of chocolates or bunches of roses. I did find the load of washing from yesterday which I had hung on an inside clothes line were still a little damp. I guess there is no Valentine for me this year.

The surf at Snapper Rocks, Greenmount and Kirra Breakwater was huge and televised around the world. Some big name surfers were here for the 4 metre monster waves. Big seas are still expected tomorrow but nothing like the monsters of today.

I plan on being at Cooly in the morning. Full batteries and empty memory cards in the camera.

I noticed fuel was $1.69 or $1.71 all over the coast today except for my local at Labrador where it was $1.17.7 with a huge line-up of cars waiting for fuel.

Saturday 15th February

I drove to Cooly and as expected it was crowded but I managed to get a parking spot and walked to Greenmount Point for my first lot of photos.150220 greenmount150220 greenmount exit150220 greenmount2150220 greenmount6150220 greenmount7 There was so much salt haze in the air, no amount of lens wiping was going to ensure all photos turned out OK. I did my best. 150220 greenmount 1150220 greenmount3150220 greenmount4150220 greenmount5Next I walked to Snapper Rocks. 150220 snapper rocks150220 snapper rocks1150220 snapper rocks2Swells are a metre to 2 metres. 150220 snapper rocks3150220 snapper rocks4Yesterday by news accounts the waves were 3 to 4 metres with occasional 5 metres. 150220 snapper rocks6150220 snapper rocks8150220 snapper rocks7Why wasn’t I here yesterday? 150220 snapper rocks9150220 snapper rocks10150220 snapper rocks11That said there were still some good waves and entertaining activity in the water and around the rocks.150220 boys150220 boys1150220 boys2

On my way home noticed fuel was still $1.17.7 at Labrador, clearly 50 cents cheaper than anywhere else on the coast. Again there were big line ups waiting. I decided to go after dinner. Big mistake. They increased the price by the time I got there.

Sunday 16th February

My back pain seems to be easing at least for a period. Sitting, especially getting in and out of the car produces extreme pain. I know, the simple solution is not to get in the car. However the computer chair, the chairs at the table and my verandah chairs are all the same. Some chairs at other peoples houses are even worse. My car is comfortable compared to Linda’s 4WD. At least it seems to be easing and I have more time with little or no pain. Perhaps I have turned a corner.

On this day in 2011 I am still housesitting on top of Mt Traveston and it has been raining. Sound familiar?

Today (2011) I spoke with an old workmate, Brian. He left Oceanic and joined another insurance broker in Townsville. Brian who is 20 years younger than me had a heart attack! Sigh! You never know when its your turn.

See you next week.

623. Sunday 9th February 2020. Back pain is getting worse and looking back in time…

No Photos This Week.

Monday 3rd February

Today was hot, about 36° with high humidity although we had a sea breeze blowing in off the creek.

In the morning I went with Shirley to the Telstra office to sort out a few problems with her new smart phone. She has had the landline disconnected and will use her mobile to Hot Spot her tablet to do her emails and banking. Afterwards we went for coffee.

Frank called around and cut down two large shoots on the Golden Cane outside the kitchen window. They were rubbing against the house and ants were using it as a platform to enter the house.

Late in the afternoon Diane invited Shirley and myself for a Scotch while sitting on her verandah overlooking Biggera Creek.

After dinner I took Ngaire to the Star Casino to watch The Gentlemen. A violent but humerous movie with lots of twists and shock scenes filled with extreme bad language but midway through you become immune. I was astounded by the number of people here on a Monday night. The theatre holds over 2,000 seats and there were very few empty seats. Afterwards we grabbed a coffee and strolled around the gambling area and watched hopefuls losing hope… and their money.

Driving through Surfers Paradise to the Casino we could see constant  flashes of lightning in the distance. Once home and after my shower the thunder and lightning started again along with some heavy rain and a huge drop in the temperature.

On this day in 2011 I was on the Sunshine Coast in severe pain once again and had X-Rays. Nothing new. The same problem as 10 years ago only this time it had degenerated and there was a tear in the muscle.

Tuesday 4th February

The day started cooler and overcast. I managed to do my 3 Klm walk along the Broadwater before the expected rain arrived. In fact by 6pm the rain still had not arrived.

Mid- morning I had my appointment with the GP to discuss how to tackle chronic pain over a long term. We now have a new plan.

Increase my current Lyrica by 25 Mg for another 3 days. Then increase by another 25Mg every three days until our next meeting in 2 weeks.

I have a referral to a physiotherapist and my first appointment is next week. To be on the safe side I now have Endone to be taken a half hour before the Physio appointment.

We discussed Medical Marijuanna. He is prepared to go down that path but pointed out it is time consuming and expensive. First we have to get a referral to a specialist who will interview me and determine if I am a candidate for the MM. That appointment is $250 and not covered by Medicare so I am out of pocket by $250. If approved the specialist will determine the type of MM will suit my needs and the dose. He then makes a script and the cost of MM is around $250 and once again IS NOT covered by Medicare so again I am out of pocket $250 or more. The benefit of this method is it is an approved treatment and I get a prescribed dose. On the other hand I can drive to Nimbin buy MM there without a prescription, without an interview and without a dose. The quality is not guaranteed.

Last year about June I drove to Nimbin and bought some MM for stepson Peter when he was having surgery for throat cancer. I called to ask how it worked for him. It didn’t. He never took the MM. $300 worth of MM is still sitting in a bathroom cabinet. He has agreed to give it to me. Hmmm! This could be interesting.

Roll on weekend.

Stay tuned as I am sure there is more to the painful back saga, after all it has been going on since September but much worse since early November. The MM might be interesting.

Wednesday 5th February

On this day in 2011, I was housesitting at Traveston and woke with… drumroll…A Painful Back. I even referred to the time when my back was so sore and my saviour was Mary Beth. (It is strange that I mentioned Mary Beth at this point. I am now writing this on Sunday morning. I went back through my notes to look at what I was doing and noticed that on 3rd February 2011 Mary Beth rang me from her home in Cardwell after having spent a terrible night living through the hell of a direct hit from Cyclone Yasi. She told me there were many boats sitting on her deck and in her swimming pool. I suspect that may have been the last time I spoke with Mary Beth. I am sad all over again today. RIP Mary Bet)

A walk along the beach at Noosa did not cure my back but it sort of eased the symptoms. That night I went to a Blackboard Acoustic night at Cooran. I dressed in my baggy Vietnamese Fishermans pants, Wintermoon Festival T-shirt and shortly after arriving realised I was overdressed. Once I took off my expensive leather sandals I looked like one of the locals, in fact I was mistaken – several times- as one of the performers. I had to change seats often and stand to ease the back pain. No different to my daily life at the moment.

Thursday 6th February

I increased my Lyrica dose by 25Mg. I now take 125Mg twice a day. I find it does make me drowsy and I can fall asleep on the recliner within a minute.

I could not do my usual walk today as it was raining and thanks to the drop in temperature and the Targin/Lyrica combination I slept until 7.30 am.

On this day in 2011 I was housesitting in Traveston. It was raining, in fact raining on and off for the last couple of days. It is the same at the moment. The days are almost a mirror image of themselves. 2011 was also the year of the Brisbane floods. I also had back pain and would walk along the beach to ease the pain. Sitting and getting in and out of the car was a problem. The same as now.

Friday 7th February

Now I am on Targin and Lyrica 125Mg, both twice a day. It takes a long time to kick in and when it does it makes me sleepy and I get some relief. I sit in the recliner and fall asleep. In fact it is about the only chair I can suit in without the overwhelming pain. Regular pain, yes,  but once in a correct seating position and cranked back, the pain disappears. Long before my next dose the pain returns. Perhaps I should supplement the day with some Paracetamol or the MM which Pete has promised to bring on Sunday.

On this day in 2011 I was on top of the mount at Traveston, my back pain was not getting any better. I was given Panadeine Forte for the real bad pain and Panadol for the standard pain. I was seeing an acupuncturist as now it seems strange, the referred pain was in my left hip and leg. The acupuncture did nothing to ease my pain and after three visits I gave up. Later the doctor treated me for Bursitis. That means rest (Hah) Panadeine Forte and Panadol.

Saturday 8th February

Another wet days with some heavy falls. I watched a little recorded TV and sorted through some photos and prepared a slide show presentation and created a gentle background music for a wine and cheese night we have organised for the 21st of this month.

Tonight I decided to take myself to dinner and went to Runaway Bay Junior Rugby League Club. Naughty me ordered a pasta dish which is not in my diet. I slapped myself on the wrist several time….and got some strange looks. Perhaps it was strange looks as I tried to sit down in piercing pain. I could not find a position without pain and without making little noises or muffled screams as I did so. Eventually I found a position less painful until the buzzer went off and I had to stand up, shuffle to the counter, collect my meal. Shuffle back and try to sit again.

On this day in 2011 on top of ole Traveston it was a “D” day. That is a Dreadful Day. So many things went wrong on the laptop. Some backing up saved the day. As well I still had my pain in the back/hip/leg left hand side. Now it is right hand side.

Sunday 9th February

Lots of rain overnight and rain on and off during the day.

Once again there is nothing much to report.

In fact on this day in 2011 there was not much to report either. I drove from Traveston to Tin Can Bay and the weather was terrible. Wind and rain. Totally overcast. No opportunities for photos. I walked barefoot along a beach had lunch and drove back to Traveston. It’s kind of strange that both days were wet and miserable and both days there was nothing to report. I suppose I cannot be on the go every day. Oh, by the way. I had back pain on that day too.

622. Sunday 2nd February 2020. Australia Day, pain,Chinatown and looking back…

Monday 27th January

We had our Australia Day celebrations at the village today.

Wayne cooked up a storm of pies, peas, potato and gravy for lunch.

There was damper, also made by Wayne for morning tea.

Dessert was Pavlova with fruit salad and cream or Lamingtons with fruit salad and cream.

Typical Aussie tucker.

Graham did his usual MC task to keep the games rolling along.

I was Barista and prepared fresh coffee.

Frank and Marie kept everybody happy by sorting problems before they became umm err, problems.

The day progressed along happy lines. A few hiccups were quickly sorted and no complaints.

My back got steadily worse during the day. Lucky I have a doctors appointment tomorrow.

Tuesday 28th January.

The doctor repeated that I have a Chronic Pain condition. In fact I am intoo much pain at the moment to consider any physical manipulation – such as physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy, even massage. He increased my Lyrica dosage to 75Mg twice a day and will increase that to 100 Mg twice a day after a week. He also prescribed Targin twice a day. If I get the wobblies, discontinue the daytime dose. At the end of the day there may have been some relief but I know the Targin is messing with my head plus it makes my skin itch. I have heard the itch is similar to what heroin addicts get!

Most Opioids, including heroin , can cause intense itching. This itching is related to the way the opioids interact with the immune system and the central nervous system. Opioid- induced itching will usually go away when a person stops using the drug.

Targin is an Opioid!

Wednesday 29th January

In the morning, two things stand out as things I look forward to.

The first is a walk along The Broadwater early in the morning. Today I met up with other walkers, Bill, Doug and Mark for a coffee at Beach Café in the Aqua building on the corner of Marine Parade and Imperial Parade Labrador. What a wonderful location for coffee or breakfast.

The second is, as good as breakfast is at the Beach Café I also enjoyed making my own mushroom and capsicum omelette and eating it on my verandah with a light breeze coming off Biggera Creek.

Friday 31st January

Hmmm! It seems the Targin is doing its job of making me drowsy which helps me to have a good sleep at night. During the day I often struggle to stay awake so have accepted the fact and allow myself a snooze after lunch.

Saturday 1st February.

Sister Enid arrived today and carried out, in her usual whirlwind, cleaning house and gardening. The work got the better of her as she lost track of time. She planned a walk along the Broadwater, then cocktails at the Grand Hotel followed by dinner in Chinatown. We started our walk but as it was already after 6pm we had to postpone, yet again, the cocktails. Darn, I was so looking forward to a Pina Colada. Next stop, Chinatown where parking was not going to be easy. It meant walking only 2 blocks then wandering around the food places. I started off by looking at the budget places run by mums and dad’s and gradually worked our way up the more elaborate establishment. Surprisingly the prices were not much dearer but included full waiter service, a larger choice of dishes and a liquor licence. We finally settled on an upmarket place called YuYin

The food was good, the service was excellent and as expected, Enid finally found a restaurant which serves jellyfish. In this case it was a chicken and jellyfish salad. As expected it was served cold. We had this many years ago in a Chinese Restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown. It’s a dish I can take or leave. I chose to leave it tonight.

Afterwards Enid suggested we go to Harbourtown and have cocktails at Crafty’s.

When we arrived, customers were packed in, shoulder to shoulder, three guys were providing music and the noise levels were toxic. Nup. This is not the place to be if you want to sip on a quiet cocktail.

Sunday 2nd February

Enid did more gardening for me and headed back to Brisbane after lunch.

I should mention here, as I have not mentioned for awhile, my back pain is no better and in some respects it is not worse. In other respects, it is worse.

I still take the Lyrica and Targin although neither seems to stop the pain. However it could be that the meds are screening the worst of the pain. Sitting in some chairs creates a painful experience and then makes walking painful for about half an hour afterwards. Getting g in and out of i30 is painful but once seated I am virtually pain free.

This week in 2011 I was housesitting at Traveston on the Sunshine Coast.

270111 kangaroo
I was housesitting on a mountain top at Traveston. Although I used the house for watching TV and cooking, I used WWWGO for sleeping. Oftren various wildlife came down the hill to eat and have a look at me.

The weather was unsettled with many days of rain.

300111 gympie
This is the underground carpark at a new shopping centre at Gympie. It was opened only a few weeks before Christmas. Then the rains came and flooded the Mary Valley. Although the Mary River is across the road, the floodwaters never reached the shopping centre. However there was so much rain the shopping centre itself was flooded, The water also permeated from the shopping mall above and down to the carpark. The centre was closed for weeks while a cleanup was carried out. Hmmm! Either a design flaw or poor workmanship.

Of course earlier in the month there were the flooding rains which devastated Brisbane, parts of the Gold Coast, Mary Valley including Gympie and parts of the Sunshine coast.

290111 guitar picker
While housesitting at Traveston I yook the opportunity to explore the Sunshine Coast. This guitar picker was sitting on a little verandah of a shop at Eumundi selling Hemp clothing.
290111 pomona hotel
The local; watering hole at Pomona.

The weather here on the Gold Coast has been hot and humid. It is typical summer weather.

Heavy rain is forecast next week.

621. Sunday 26th January (Australia Day) 2020. An unexpected road trip…

Monday 20th January 2020.

Went to the movies at Star Casino at Broadbeach. I went with Linda and Ngaire and we saw Judy. It is the story of the final months in the life of Judy Garland. It was very emotional.

The Star Casino! Wow! I became a member when it was Jupiters Casino way back in 2014 or 2015. I needed to update my card but that only took 5 minutes and I have all the benefits of a base member. Way back when we first joined we went with a friend who is a Gold Class member and she took us to exclusive places including a free buffet. Naturally you are expected to gamble. I suppose I am like the majority of members who go there for the cheap or free stuff the casino offers.

Lynda took a small back cushion for me to use. She was very insistent. Good thing she was too. I needed that cushion.

Friday 24th January

Today the colour of the water in Biggera Creek has changed from muddy brown to mild black tea. The reason for the massive water coming down the creek at low tide last Saturday was the release of water at Biggera Dam. The Biggera Creek Dam, or formally the Biggera Creek Flood Mitigation Dam, is a dam established for flood mitigation purposes over the Biggera Creek, located in the suburb of Arundel. It is operated by the Gold Coast City Council. The dam has a capacity of 3,700 megalitres and the height of the dam wall is 12.5 meters. Because its sole purpose is flood mitigation, the retention basin behind the dam is almost always empty of water. At times like this with exceptionally heavy rainfall, the dam is opened as the tide is going out. The idea is to avoid flooding rather than collect a domestic water supply.

Saturday 25th January

As I do every morning at around 5 or 6am, I go to The Broadwater for a walk. 250120 broadwaterIt seemed there was a light mist or haze of some sort. 250120 broadwater1The water is returning to its normal clarity and cleanliness after the heavy rain this time last week.250120 broadwater2 It’s still not pristine but is looking good.250120 broadwater3

As I watched a group of 17 Stand Up Paddleboarders paddled past. They were followed by a couple of pods of dolphins rounding up a school of fish just a few metres off the beach. I was standing with three guys who I know and who were about to go for coffee. While watching a group of ladies stopped to ask what we were looking at.


I chatted with the ladies and found the men had already left for coffee.

It is nice to be able to begin to recognise and know people on my morning walks.

Sunday 26th January AUSTRALIA DAY.

Last night I received a phone call from my grandson Anakin. Long story short, he is stranded on a farm outside a town called Bungunya about a 6 hour drive from the Gold Coast. The next nearest town is Goondiwindi a four hour drive away. It seems he has been abandoned by his drilling contractor employer. He has to find his own way to town and the next bus service from Goondiwindi (pronounced Gun Da Windy) is Monday. Well if you are gunna be stranded for a couple of days there are worse places than Gunda. I like the town.

After a troubled sleep I was on my way to Goondiwindi at 4.30 am. By the time I reached Cunninghams Gap, the steep and winding pass over the Great Dividing Range, it was full daylight but low cloud cover meant it was not only dark but constant moisture, not rain, meant I needed the wipers turned on. I caught a few glimpse of cliff faces but due to the switchbacks and low speed and poor visibility I needed to really concentrate on driving. The few glimpses I saw reminded me there would be some good photo opportunities here. Then once over the pass I was heading to Warwick and a much needed stop for coffee, toilet and walk to ease the back pain. Naturally I saw lots of photo opportunities but I was on a mission of mercy and needed to stay focused.

By now the sun was up, temperature was climbing to mid 30’s and it was apparent there had been lots of rain over the last 24/48 hours. I passed through towns which screamed photo opportunities. That is until I reached Yelarbon and making good time.260120 yellarbon The Silo Art just had to be photographed. In fact the small town is worth a day of photographing.

260120 yellarbon1260120 yellarbon2260120 yellarbon3260120 yellarbon4About this time Anakin called me and asked if I would bring his friend back to the Gold Coast. WTF! The original plan was to bring Anakin home with me for a few days until we could organise a flight. It seems his friend was also abandoned by the same employer except the friend had been injured on the job and taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs. I asked that they have the friends mother call me first. She did. I agreed to bring him back but only if I could get a copy of hospital discharge papers and details of any medication and or treatment he may need.

On arrival I found the friend in lots of pain but no serious injury, no broken ribs but bad bruising including bruised ribs. Another long story. The hospital would release him to me but by now his mother had organised air flights out of Brisbane this afternoon. This meant I was on a timetable to get them there on time. I was a bit annoyed the booking was made without consultation with me. That was a 5 hour drive including stopping for toilet breaks and fuel and food stops. The quickest route was via Toowoomba  and I dreaded the long slow drive through the main street. However just out of Toowoomba I found a new Tollway which detours the town saving us about 20 minutes. It avoids 18 sets of lights and was only opened in September last year. I have no idea how much the toll cost but by now all I wanted was to stop but still had to deliver the boys. By now my back was sending messages to stop and rest and walk around for awhile.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time then I had another hour to drive home. By the time I arrived and tried to get out of the car my back was in spasm including the muscles in the thigh. I had trouble standing let alone walking.

Bugger it. If I am ever called upon to be a guardian angel again I am going to take time for my own needs.



620. Sunday 19th January 2019. Back pain, no job, heavy rain and Rock and Roll…

Monday 13th January

The long awaited visit to the doctor occurred this morning. I had expected that with an MRI, X-Rays and Ultrasound I might have some answers to the pain of the last 3 months. That did not happen. The doctor talked about managing my pain.

I do.

I only take Panadol when needed. He also talked about looking at a video about pain. Then suggested I take up Tai Chi and Yoga. Then after telling me I should be looking at pain management alternatives he prescribed Lyrica. I have been doing pain management and exercise for at least the last 20 years. But when my back muscles go into spasm’s no amount of exercise and walking changes that fact. I will always have Spondyliolithesis and that will never change. The vertebrae will always be out of alignment, the disc between L5 and S1 will always be compressed and pinching the nerve. So, while the muscles are in spasm I will need pain killers. When the muscles settle down I can start walking and do my special exercises again. So far that has been months and may be many more months before I am temporarily better…until the next time. In the meantime he wants me to take 25Mg of Lyrica twice a day for a week then increase it to 50Mg twice a day for another week. Then we review pain and a Care Plan with the Phsyiotherapist.

After lunch I drove to the C-Bus Stadium at Robina for a group job interview. Time will tell if I am suitable material for a Casual Customer Service Event Day Staff.

Tuesday 14th January

Today, at the suggestion of the doctor I went searching for a Physiotherapist at Runaway Bay. The idea was to discuss my needs with them and come to an agreement about costs and a treatment plan. I spoke with the head honcho. It seems that if I get a referral via the doctor for a Care Plan I can get a $53 rebate from Medicare. The head honcho drew up a diagram of what he thinks is my problem – he is yet to see the X-Rays etc and the attendant reports – and a suggested treatment plan. His fee is $120 per session, less the $53 rebate. He suggests I see him initially, he reads the reports and looks at the X-Rays, he draws up a treatment plan, commences treatment and gives me exercises to do at home. Thereafter I see one of his colleagues at $85 a session.

Friday 17th January

Received an email from C-Bus Stadium. I was unsuccessful with my job application. Oh boo hoo , sob sob. I am crying dry tears. Naah, not really. It was just an application for a job to earn some pocket money and get involved with something happening in the community. I was not depending on the job.

Now my time is free for something else.


Saturday 18th January

The forecast rain began last night about 10pm. Lightly at first then gathering intensity. I was lulled to sleep by the sound of rain.

I was woken at 4.30am by the thunderous roar of rain, then by thunder and lightning. The rain really came down with a vengeance as follows.

300mm overnight, 145 mm in just 2 hours 4am to 6am. I walked along my street which was mostly clear and drains were working as a drain should, even with torrential rain. Further along the street things were not working so well.

180120 rain6
Flooded Street.
1801210 rain7
I suppose you could say the water was one foot deep in places.

The drains from the multi- story complex next door must have been blocked. Their drains were overflowing into my neighbours houses across the street. The water ran across their backyards, under the house and through their garages and any ground floor rooms and poured into the street. Along the way this torrent of water picked up any debris which in turn was too big or too many for the drain which had become blocked. The water still continued to flow into the street and backed up. Further along the street where our caravan parking are is located the water was about 600mm deep, so deep it was running through the caravans at floor level. There was some debris here but the water was so deep the drain had a whirlpool spinning in a wide circle around the drain.

180120 rain
Just look at that heavy rain and the whirlpool.

The swimming pool was overflowing. Like most pools this is designed to have an overflow system so the water level never exceeds a certain depth and is drained off quickly. The rainfall was so heavy over a period of time the drain system could not cope.180120 rain1

The bowling green was a small lake with a depth of 300 mm.180120 rain2

At the end of our street is our private park which faces Biggera Creek. The creek is normally a placid water way with the only movement of the slow and steady tidal movement. Today the creek was a raging river with the current going only in one direction – flowing towards the ocean. Luckily the tide was still on its six hour run out for low tide. Had the tide been incoming over the last few hours, many houses (not in our village) which were low lying would certainly have flooded.

180120 rain3
Biggera Creek umm err River.

180120 rain4180120 rain5

Sister Enid arrived in time for lunch.

Tonight we had been invited to a barbecue and some music and dancing at the clubhouse by friends, Frank and Kay. It was a nice group of 18 Rock and Rollers. Although my back is still not up to performing the gyrations required for dancing, I was able to do a few line dance movements which are a bit easier. My favourite dancer was there as well but once again my back problem stops me from enjoying my night to its fullest.

I have been nicknamed music man as I supplied all the rock music for tonight. Unfortunately I did not have time to set up Playlists and apart from the line dancing, had to select each song by standing at my ancient, original, iPad.

Enid was asked to dance by some very accomplished dancers and the glowing look on her face was wonderful to see.


Somehow the night which seemed like it was only just beginning, disappeared. By the time we got home it was almost midnight.


Sunday 19th January

Although there were threatening big black clouds in the north and fluffy white cauliflower type clouds in the south the day stayed hot and humid. The expected thunderstorm and rain did not happen. Enid and I drove to The Spit. Although the Gold Coast seemed chocked with cars we found somewhere to park and enjoyed my favourite walk to The Spit Light station and back along The Gold Coast Waterway along the Doug Jennings Park walkway as far as Moondewarra Beach and back to the car.

We had fish and chips at the delightful Seaway Kiosk which serves up a huge menu of mostly seafood. We had a great long walk followed by a great lunch. My back pain permitting.






619. Sunday 12th January 2020. South West Rocks, Trial Bay, Minnie Waters, Yamba and Home…

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Port Macquarie Town Beach

Friday 10th January

After breakfast we went for a walk along the popular Port Macquarie Town Beach breakwater walk.

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Port Macquarie Breakwater.

All the rocks have been painted with messages or memorial comments or family names anmd dates of visits etc. 100120 pm breakwater1100120 pm breakwater2100120 pm breakwater3100120 pm breakwater4This was followed by morning coffee and more conversation which threatened to lead into staying another night. I was anxious to be on my way.

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Cormorant at Port Macquarie.

We eventually got on the road before midday.

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Trial Bay gaol.
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Camped beside the wall of the prison.
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The guard topwer is now a hollow shell. Even the original floor has been removed.
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The beach at Trial Bay
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Trial Bay beach

First stop was South West Rocks

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Back Creek Bridge at South West Rocks
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The further end of the original Back Creek Bridge has been closed to the public.Access to the island is via the new bridge on the right.
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Jumping off the Back Creek bridge at South West Rocks. Did I want to do this? Yes of course but my back would not enjoy climbing over the railings.

then Trial Bay Gaol, Smokey Cape Lighthouse

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Smokey Cape Beach

and finally a leap into yesteryear with an ice cream soda at Tasty Treats located at Back Creek.   We were surprised to see ice cream soda on the menu. We thought this fun treat had died out years ago. Of course we had to pretend we were teenagers by slurping with the straw when we reached the bottom. That slurping noise was when Mum would tell us not be so rude.


Back on the highway we saw a sign to Minnie Waters and as neither of us has been there we side tracked.   100120 minnie waters1There are several camp grounds here and several beaches to choose from. 100120 minnie watersOne also has a Surf Life Saving Club.

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Minnie Waters

It seems to be a popular holiday destination with many weekenders for  people who live and work in Grafton.100120 minnie waters4100120 minnie waters2

Back on the road again we took a minor road to Ulmarra where we had stopped for coffee last week. We thought dinner at the old hotel would be a nice close to the days driving. Just as we arrived we took a vote and decided to continue on to Broadwater. It’s difficult to take a vote when there are only two of you and nobody has a casting vote. Tony and Dawn had told us to go to the Broadwater Hotel for a good reasonably priced meal. We discovered Broadwater was a further 100 Klms up the highway so we decided to go to Yamba. (The next day we discovered  Tony had given us the wrong information, the hotel he recommended is at McLean!) Dinner was at Tom’s Seafood Chinese Restaurant, Yamba.      The place was packed, busy and very, very noisy. So noisy in fact we discussed leaving before being served. Eventually we were served and we are glad we stayed.

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View over Yamba from Tom’s Restaurant

The service, once the order was taken was quick and the food delightful. It was well worth the wait. We shared a Garlic Prawns entrée and a Beef in Black Bean Sauce with fried rice as our main. I had a glass of wine and on leaving Yamba at 9pm was stopped by a breathalyser unit. I told them I had one glass of wine. They tested me using a voice/breath analyser and the officer hesitated before asking again how many drinks and when. My heart skipped a few beats. He then asked me to blow in the next analyser and after a little hesitation told me to have a good night. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? No explanation but it left me puzzled and concerned especially as I only had one drink.

The next few hours seemed to pass quickly and we were home by midnight – NSW time.


Saturday 11th January

Despite going to bed at a late hour AND after driving all day, I was awake at 5am.

Enid and I did a three Klm walk before breakfast. My back has been hurting but not necessarily because of all the driving. After leaving the car when driving for a few hours my back feels less painful than sitting in a kitchen chair. That said I have an appointment with the doctor on Monday. He now has the results of a MRI Scan carried out in November plus X-Rays and an Ultrasound taken just after Christmas. The pain and discomfort have been plaguing me since September and I really need some answers and relief. My activities have been restricted due to pain. Making the bed, putting on a load of washing, vacuuming, gardening are quiet painful.

Enid washed i30 which has been covered in soot and mud from the bushfires, dust storms and rain. It now looks like a new car again.


Sunday 12th January

We did another three Klm walk before breakfast.

Enid did a couple of loads of washing, vacuumed, cleaned house and did some weeding before heading back to Brisbane. That left me time to sit at the computer (until my back protested) and edit the hundreds of photos I have taken this week.

There is very little smoke haze around the Gold Coast.








618. Thursday 10th January 2020. Maroubra, Barangaroo, Wollongong and Port Macquarie…

Too many photos this week so I have to split the post in two.

Monday 6th January

Today was the day we planned to do the Maroubra to Malabar clifftop walk.

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The walk begins.

The weather was kind, it was overcast and a coolish breeze was blowing from the south.

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Sandstone cliffs at South Maroubra

We were ready to roll. Enid, Bev, Pete were ready. My back was not.

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Sandstone wall at South Maroubra and beginning of the Malabar walk.

I walked the first 600 metres with them on some uneven ground.060120 maroubra That was uncomfortable. 060120 maroubra3The start of the walk is on a beautiful flat walkway suspended above the coastal heath. So far I thought I could make it. Then the path finished and from there it was all rough uneven ground across rock and with tree roots and foot tripping obstacle. Regrettably I had to say goodbye to the others and watch them continue the adventure.

I returned to South Maroubra where I spent so many days surfing and laying around on the beach all those years ago. The rough almost natural rock pools were the same as was the rip beside the rocks which I used to paddle out beyond the breakers.

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Natural Rock pools at South Maroubra.

I watched as other surfers used the same rip to their advantage.060120 maroubra1060120 maroubra1

The surf cub is much larger and a raised pathway now connects South Maroubra with Maroubra. The promenade has been extended with lighting and the surf club also extended. However any fond memories I had of Maroubra were shattered when I noticed all the stains on the promenade, pathways and steps.

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Maroubra Promenade

Across the street where all the food shops. They look untidy, old and uninviting. In fact the entire area was depressing. I loved this place. Now I no longer have any feelings for it.

The others arrived back at the carpark and we had a picnic lunch. They shared their adventures and I shared my disappointment in not being to go with them and the run down state of Maroubra.

C’est la gare.   Que Sera, Sera


Tuesday 7th January

Enid, Bev and I had a long day. We took the train to Central Station and walked to our Aunt Gwen’s flat at Redfern. We had morning tea with her, talked about the past, the present and as she is 96 her desire to reach 100.

And so say all of us!

Back at Central we decided to take the Light Rail or Tram to Wynyard station.   The light rail has been operating for three weeks. Given that it has to use the same roadway as buses and cars the trip was a little slow but it was quite comfortable and had regular information about destinations and links to other transport options.

Once at Wynyard I was gob smacked by the changes that have taken place and still taking place since I was there last century.

We followed the direction signs to Barrangaroo a new harbourside park giving fabulous views across the harbour and the Parramatta River.

Barrangaroo is a huge park which I believe was created in a deal between the state government and the developer of a new high rise shopping, accommodation and gambling precinct.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge from Barangaroo.

That said we could only see a small part of the park today as there are so many walking tracks and viewing locations.

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Anzac Bridge at Pyrmont

We were a long way from a railway station and still had to finish our tourist walk.

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Tall Ship

I wanted to see Pier 1 which was once a mecca of restaurants and specialty shops.

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Darling Street Balmain.

Alas only one restaurant survives and it seems to be struggling.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge from Pier 1 at Dawes Point.

The rest of the pier development is now yuppie apartments.

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Still Life sculpture.
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Luna Park from Dawes Point.
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Construction work at Walsh Bay behind Sydney’s The Rocks area. The area is also known as Millers Point or Dawes Point. In 2009 these terrace houses sold for around $1.4 million. Now estinmated to be worth around $4 million. They have stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour.
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Sydney Opera Housde and Tall Ship from Dawes Point Battery.

We followed the road around the edge of The Rocks, under the Harbour Bridge and into the Rocks proper where we finally called a halt to walking while we stopped for lunch.

After lunch we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art and I had my first experience with a Mixed Gender toilets.

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User comments

For those who have not yet discovered these facilities, Men, Women, those who have decided they are another gender and those still in transition can be found in these toilets. In this facility there were several cubicles with doors but no urinals. However it was strange to say the least when you have left the cubicle to be washing your hands beside somebody who looked like a woman but may have been a male. Maybe she was a woman who is really a woman. Or a woman who is a woman but thinks she is a male or a woman who is undecided.

She probably wondered about me too.

From here we walked to Circular Quay Station and caught the train home.


Wednesday 8th January

Today I drove to Wollongong to meet up with long time friend Wayne M. Wayne has a new Mercedes A Class AMG Built A35 4Matic Turbo Hatchback. He wanted to put it through its capability by driving up Mt Kembla across to Mt Keira and back home and through to Albion Park Rail where we stopped for lunch at The Oks Hotel. The car is very sporty with uncomfortable suspension.

We stopped at Mt Kembla Moto Cross Track and watched practise for awhile.   Just as we were about to leave a 4WD towing a trailer with moto cross bikes on it came into the pit area. The driver was -1 asleep, 2 intoxicated, 3 driving too fast, 4 inexperienced or 5 all of the above. He slid over an embankment with the car finally resting on its side while the trailer was flat on the ground behind it.080120 mt kembla080120 mt kembla1

There was so much smoke haze in the sky that it was impossible to see the coastline below the lookout.

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Wollongong is down there somewhere. Normally on a clear day the city and coastline would be clearly visible. This is the smoke haze from bushfires.

I was back at Gymea in time for dinner.


Thursday 9th January.

We are heading back to the Gold Coast.

Enid and I were on our way shortly after 8am and made good time through city traffic. We reached Heatherbrae on the outskirts of Newcastle as per my projected time line. We stopped for fuel and coffee.

We arrived at the bustling town of Laurieton in time for fish and chips. This is a busy tourist town well known for its fresh seafood from the local trawlers.

After lunch we drove to Camden Haven where we walked to Pebbly Beach and Enid continued on to Camden Head and Perpendicular Point.

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Pebbly Beach near Point Perpendicular at Camden Head.
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Camden Haven breakwater inlet.
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Camden Haven Inlet.

We then travelled through North Haven to Bonney Hills, Rainbow Beach,

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Beach Staircase at Rainbow Beach near Lake Cathie.
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Rainbow Beach
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Rainbow Beach. Earlier the top of Middle Brother mountain was invisible due to cloud cover plus smoke haze plus salt haze. The haze in this photo is from the salt in the air after many days of strong winds.

Lake Cathie,  Tacking Point Lighthouse

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Tacking Point Lighthouser at Port Macquarie. Built in 1879    and Lighthouse Beach at Port Macquarie.

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Lighthouse Beach staircase.
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Lighthouse Beach Port Macquarie.
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Lighthouse Beach. All along the NSW coast, salt haze mixed with smoke from the bushfires creates thick curtain obscuring the view. The haze also clings to houses, furniture and cars. It also feels sticky and gritty on the skin.

We stayed the night with friends Tony and Dawn. As always the hospitality is first class. Thank you Tony and Dawn.

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The strong north easterly wind was trying to blow me off the hill at Tacking Point.
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Unnamed beach below Tacking Point Lighthouse. The track forms part of a rugged 8 kilometre walk along the cliffs and beaches to Port Macquarie.

617. Sunday 5th January 2019. Art Gallery, Cape Banks, Cemetry and Bare Island…

Today was a busy photograph day.

Sunday 5th January

Today we went to the Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery

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Around Cronulla Beach in the early 60’s. to see the Southern Swell Exhibition of Surfing over the last 60 years, particularly in the Sutherland Shire.

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A range of surfboards spanning the last 60 years.

I.E. Cronulla Beach. I was expecting a small gallery with a small gift shop.

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The Holden Sandman. A popular van made especially for surfers.

Instead I found a large busy gallery with an absolutely huge coffee shop chock a block with customers and a small gift shop.

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Quirky bits of artistic presentation around the coffee shop.

I was greatly impressed.

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Dried fern fronds, sprayed with pastel colours made an interesting display in the coffee shop.

Just to go there for a coffee was a treat.

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Even to serving window ws tricked up.

Gymea is well supplied with coffee shops in the main shopping centre but the gallery coffee shop tops them all.

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Enid Sandra Bev and Pete.

Back at Bev’s place Sandi finished packing so Enid and I drove her to the airport. After dropping her at the front doors we headed out to LaPerouse to see what we could see.

There was a howling southerly wind blowing today which made our walk at Cape Banks National Park a little challenging.050120 cape banks3 The wind is blowing the smoke from the horrible bush fires on the south coast. The smoke haze is combining with the salt haze from the strong north easterlies which have been blowing for the last six days. Within the park is050120 cemetry The Coast Hospital Cemetery. More than 2,500 people were buried here, many of the graves are overgrown and are left that way to protect them. 050120 cemetry1Les than 100 graves are visible. I found one grave of a Captain who died at sea aged 39 and was buried here in 1860. His wife Janet who lived for another 42 years is also interred with him.050120 cemetry2

Further along the walking track we came across the ruins of Fort Banks built during WWII to help protect our coastline from invaders.

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Fort Banks

The ruins here are exactly that – ruins. 050120 fort banks4Much of the buildings are locked up but no information exists.050120 fort banks2

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This is curious. These sandstone blocks were used to build a retaining wall. Many of these blocks look to be headstones or part of a grave from the nearby cemetry.

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Cape Banks is located on a wild and wooly wave lashed steep cliff faces of naturally sculpted sandstone.050120 cape banks2 The wind was strong enough to blow me away from the cliff edge- which was probably a good thing. 050120 cape banks050120 cape banks1The entrance to Botany Bay can be seen as well as the southern entrance called Cape Solander.

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Cape Solander. The southern entrance to Botany Bay. Note the salt/smoke haze.

We drove to LaPerouse, found a parking spot (miraculous) and walked across the bridge to Bare Island.050120 bare island The island was an armed fortress designed to protect the entrance to Botany Bay against invaders from the sea.050120 bare island1 050120 bare island2050120 bare island3We planned to walk around the rocks at the base of the fortress. While standing at the gate a Park Ranger let a group of people out from the fort. He announced he would be conducting the last tour of the week in five minutes. 050120 bare island4We were in the right place at the right moment to have a guided tour through this old fort. 050120 bare island6I recall that, as a teenager, I had walked to Bare Island and in those days it was not locked. 050120 bare island5We could walk onto the island and roam around. That is no longer the case. National Parks has control of who goes on the island. 050120 bare island7The fort was built in 1885 to counter a perceived threat from the sea by Russia or France or even Pirates! 050120 bare island11The five cannons were never fired in anger and by 1912 the fort and the cannons was decommissioned and used as a War Veterans Home until 1962.

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That little glow in te top centre of the photo is the sun. The salt/smoke haze was enough to almost obscure it.

Three of the 5 cannons were sold as scrap metal. The remaining two cannons were too heavy to lift off their pedestals and move across the bridge. 050120 bare island10Getting those cannon onto the the fort in 1885 must have been a logistical miracle. At that time there was no bridge so everything, including the cannons had to be brought in by barge or rowboat. Imagine how an 18 ton cannon was lifted ashore, up the steep hillside and lowered into position in a firing pit and lined up correctly really plays with the imagination.

It is difficult to imagine what life was like for the 60 soldiers who manned the fort. We noticed that some National Parks Rangers live in the lower barracks on the island.050120 bare island9

Each firing pit had alcoves built into the walls for each of the cannon crew to take shelter in the event that an enemy was firing at them. That said, from the sea, the fortress was designed to look like a grassy island and no structure, apart from an observation deck, was visible from the sea. The walls can only be seen from the land or inside Botany Bay.050120 bare island13050120 bare island14

Much of the fort is carved from solid sandstone, the buildings are made with dressed sandstone blocks while some parts have been made with an early version of concrete.050120 bare island12

While the design of the fort was brilliant, much of the work, carried out by a civilian contractor was below standard and had to be re-done.

Each firing pit had markings along the wall to show the height above sea level. These markings were used to make adjustments to cannon elevation.

616. Saturday 4th January 2020. Radiology, drive to Sydney,family get together and some exploring…

I have decided to post early due to the large number of photos still to be edited.

Monday 30th December

Up at my usual time and my usual walk with the usual suspects along The Broadwater.

At 9.30 I had an appointment with the Radiologists for X-Rays of my spine and an Ultrasound of my hip. The Sonagrapher was, as expected, a little less than forthcoming with the results although he did say the Chief would review the results and have them to the doctor by Thursday. I asked specifically about Bursitis of the hip. He found some swelling although he expected some but it is not significant. More likely he thinks it could be a tear in the muscle due to the body trying to compensate for the spasm in October and the body trying to work out a new way to walk and move. He expects I may need an injection, likely in the spinal region.

I will be in Sydney on Thursday so will visit the doctor there who ordered the last lot of X-Rays. Maybe he can send them to my local doctor to compare with today’s results.

The rest of the day was spent saying Happy New Year to friends in the village. Oh yeah I had a snooze after lunch.

Sister Enid arrived late in the afternoon so we went for Yum Cha at Harbourtown.

Tuesday 31st December

After a quick breakfast we hit the road by 7.15.

Today would be interesting as I was unsure how my back would handle travelling all day.

After 4 hours we stopped the old Port town of Ulmarra NSW on the Clarence River and had a coffee and mid morning snack at the Ulmarra Hotel.

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Ulmarra Hotel – A30 photo This is a lovely old hotel on the river.

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Ulmarra Hotel formal dining room. A30.
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Ulmarra Hotel stair case to rooms. A30

Ulmarra was settled about 1857 and has now been National Trust Classified.

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Docks beside Ulmarra Hotel. A30
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View from Ulmarra Hotel across Clarence River. A30
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View of Clarence River. A30
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Delightful dining at Ulmarra Hote. A30.

Much of the hotel has been maintained as it once was. I must comment that the cakes and pastries are all cooked locally or on the premises and prices are reasonable. For two coffees, a scone and a slice of banana bread was $16. Compare that to Starcut Florists in Mackay a couple of weeks ago when I was charged $12 for a cup of coffee and a Pastizzi.

The town was originally a port to ship the Cedar as it was cut. Later when the Cedar ran out, properties were established as Sugar Cane farms.

The closer we got to our destination the thicker the smoke haze became. The outdoor temperature started to rise from about28 degrees and reached 39 degrees. On arrival the temp had dropped to a comfortable 28 degrees. We were blessed with traffic without any major delays or accidents. The only bottle neck was at Coffs Harbour. The M1 is a great road which has almost by-passed all towns but because the country around Coffs Harbour is very hilly it has taken a long time to find a route deviation.

Although we changed driving each two hours it was still an eight hour day. On arrival in Forster we went for a walk and had to walk down a steep hill with a very strong wind at our backs. That was uncomfortable.

Our other sister Sandi was here as was sister Bev and husband Peter. We were at our brother Allans and wife Rae house in Forster. It is not often we are all together like this so any opportunity to get together is welcome.

Allan barbecued a butterflied chicken for dinner.

At 9pm, those of us still awake stood outside in the cool breeze watching the fireworks from Forster sports ground.

Somehow we drifted off at various times to bed. The most brazen of us stayed awake the longest. Enid and I were awake to not see in the New Year. Ten pm and it was lights out in the household.

Any noise of NYE revellry which may have been made by neighbours at midnight were not heard. I slept all night.

Wednesday 1st January NEW YEARS DAY. Yay.

I slept on a hard futon and spent a painful night.

After breakfast we drove to the breakwater wall and walked to the end then had coffee at a very busy restaurant in Tuncurry.010120 family1

The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and talking. The strong North Easterly winds from yesterday returned. There is a strange haze hanging around. It seems a mixture of smoke haze and salt haze from 6 days of relentless winds have driven the salt mist ashore and has mixed with the smoke.

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The kitchen table an swivel chairs originally belonged to our prents. Allan has kept them and had the chairs re-upholstered. They are at least 50 years old. Back row from L-R are Enid, Sandi, Bev and Rae. Seated L-R are Me, Peter, Allan.

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Thursday 2nd January

We were up and ready to leave by 8am. Rae had an appointment for her Chemotherapy Treatment at the local hospital. Sandi came with us.

Enid and I took turns driving, stopping for fuel once and a coffee stop at Heatherbrae north of Newcastle. From there I took on the driving, over the Hunter River via the Hexham Bridge and onto the M1 all the way to Sydney.

Bev and Pete were about 30 minutes behind us, arriving just as we were finishing our lunch.

Dinner was simple but delicious. Pete barbecued some salmon steaks and I made a salad of Rocket, Baby Spinach, Shaved Parmessan, toasted Walnuts and thinly sliced Apple with a light Caesar Dressing.

There were no leftovers.

Friday 3rd January

Today we had planned to walk the new clifftop track from Maroubra Beach to Malabar Beach. Bev and Pete had child minding duties, Sandi is still unable to walk far, my back is suspect and temps were expected to be in the high thirties. Instead Enid, Sandi and I caught the train to Circular Quay where we had coffee and raisin toast then caught the ferry to Parramatta. We have been wanting to do this trip for a long time. The reality did not live up to expectations. The first half is quite interesting although we did not go via Balmain. All the suburbs are new to us. The ferry is fast and has many stops so photo opportunities were limited.

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Our ferry to Parramatta is named Pam Burridge after the Australian Surfboard campion who dominated the International surf scene from 1977 to 1990.

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Original Bond Stores at Sydney Harbour.

The day was strength sapping hot so we sought shelter inside.

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Underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
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Groups of walkers on the topmost arch on both sides of the roadway.
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Spectacle Island with Sydney Skyline in background
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Cockatoo Island on left, Spectacle Island on right.
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Gladesville Bridge on the Parramatta River.

Once we arrived none of the attractions were within reasonable walking distance so we stopped to look at an old house known as Willow Grove built in 1870 which is currently undergoing a battle to save it from demolition.

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Willow Vale

Next we had lunch at a small Thai Restaurant. Prices were reasonable and serving sizes were large. I had the Beef Salad and did not notice it was served with a chilli dressing. Wow! That helped to clear the nasal passages – quickly.                      

Across the street was the old Roxy Theatre,,_Parramatta built in 1930, Heritage listed and now permanently closed. Most likely the owners cannot afford to maintain the building according to heritage rules and therefore cannot develop the site. They most likely cannot sell as any potential buyer inherits the heritage ruling.

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Roxy Theatre Parramatta

We decided we no longer wanted to return via the ferry. Instead we caught the train to Redfern and changed to the Cronulla line. That was better. The train was faster and air conditioned.

Saturday 4th January

Sandi, Enid and I walked to Gymea for a look around the shops. Then it was time for a coffee and an egg and bacon roll simply because we can. The weather forecast was for very hot conditions of around 38 ° and around 44° in the western suburbs. By the time we walked back to Bev’s place it was already uncomfortably hot and the house, especially upstairs was almost unbearable.

After a light lunch all 5 of us drove to Cronulla Beach to see the movie Jo Jo Rabbit. The beach was packed with people seeking shelter and cooling off in the ocean.

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Cronulla Beach looking north. Taken with Samsung A30.
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Cronulla Beach looking south. Taken with Samsung A30.

I fell asleep in the movie. Not once but three times. Everybody else stayed awake.

After the movie we had drinks at the Cronulla Hotel (exceedingly noisy) then walked to Cronulla Mall and had an early dinner at Kurrabar Cafe. One of the reviews said how good the Seafood Chowder is. Well, I tried the chowder before I read the review. Even while I was eating the chowder I was trying to compare it with Canadian chowder. On the east coast they tend to do a cream base while on the west coast it seems they use a tomato base. I really like the cream base. Tonight it was a cream/tomato base and honestly I loved it.

Once home I fell asleep watching TV until the predicted Southerly Buster turned up and dropped the temperature by 10 degrees within a half hour. It also deposited a fine layer of dust over everything.

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.