Part two of this week. Pain is making it difficult to write and edit photos and the pain killers makes it difficult to see the words on the screen. I have edited several times and may have still made errors.
Saturday 2nd November
Today was a quiet day, given over to cleaning house and setting up the garden for about 45 guests.
Bev and Pete had a caterer provide food and had a professional lady look after organising the kitchen while everybody got on with the job of enjoying themselves.
Their sons, David, Chris and Mitcel gave a speech presented as an ongoing story narrated by each in turn. I was no good for taking photos tonight but I will say there was plenty of food and drink.
It is nice to see a large group of people enjoying themselves without incidents.
It turned out to be a late night with the last guests leaving after midnight.
Sunday 3rd November
Enid, Cooper, Ollie and I went to Sea Life Aquarium at Darling Harbour.
Although vehicular traffic on Pyremont Bridge has been closed for many years, foot traffic still remains in place allowing the public to move from one side f Darling Harbour to another. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrmont_Bridge
As a boy I really enjoyed travelling to the city with my mother on the bus or the tram from Balmain and stopping at Pyremont Bridge to see it open. Later, when I was old enough, about 10 years of age, I would take myself to the city and explore.
The aquarium was fun with lots of sea life not just the usual sharks and sting rays.
I sort of thought we would be in and out in less than an hour. The reality was quite different. I can recommend this attraction as worthwhile. Although entry is not cheap staff are busy all day looking after guests and keeping things clean. One of the attractions which was a surprise. There is a Dugong, one of only two Dugong in captivity in the world. Staff feed it lettuce leaves about every hour.
It was difficult taking photos here as apart from being inside the aquarium, most exhibits are seen through glass which does not lend itself to good photos but added to that is the water itself which gives every photo a murky shadowy look. Then of course the water and the sea creatures are in constant motion.
Just as we were leaving the rain began , in bucketloads, so we did a series of short runs up Market street seeking shelter then dashing across the cross streets. Our destination was The Sydney Tower Eye Observation deck 250 metres above street level.
On arrival at the Tower we first had to watch a 4D Movie of various attractions and locations around Sydney. Actually it is a great short movie with great visuals, appropriate soundtrack and a vibrating floor to add to the experience.
Although it was a long day and long train trip home the energy levels of the boys were still on high. Sometimes too high.
As with the trip to the zoo on Friday, I carried a back pack and did a lt of walking.
I wonde if that contributed to my woes of extreme pain which were about to visit me but I will save details for the next post.
It is always nice to visit Sydney, the Harbour City.
I may be prejudiced but I still think it is the best harbour in the world.
I WILL BREAK THE POST DOWN INTO TWO PARTS – AT LEAST FOR THIS WEEK. MY PAIN HAS NOW GONE FROM CONSTANT TO CHRONIC, TO INTENSE TO SEVERE TO MAJOR. SITTING FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME IS A NO NO. BUT I WILL POST WHEN POSSIBLE AND EXPLAIN AS I GO ALONG.
Thursday 31st October – Halloween
I was up early, 4.15 am to be precise. I was away on the M1 by 5am. Dropped i30 off at Alpha Parking at Tweed Heads and the shuttle bus dropped me at Coolangatta Airport shortly before 6am. Then came the not so good news. I have a ticket for the 8am Jet Star flight but I am on standby. The ticket desk told me the flight is fully booked as are all the remaining flights today.
I was told maybe there were seats still available on Qantas. Maybe, but at $428 one way I was not keen to go that way.
I decided to take a risk and wait until 7.30 in case somebody did not show. At 7.25 my name was called and I got on the flight which was delayed by a half hour. I was on my way to Sydney.
Why was I on my way to Sydney?
My sister Bev and her husband Peter are both celebrating their 60th birthday on Saturday.
After changing trains twice I finally arrived in Gymea, hungry and hanging out for a coffee. It has been a long day.
Bev was sitting her two granddaughters, April and Violet. In the afternoon sister Enid arrived with her two grandsons, Cooper and Ollie and the noise began.
Four children under 8 running jumping shouting. Then we took them to Cronulla Beach, ate fish and chips in the park and the children ran around in the dark. Sometime somewhere they must slow down.
Tonight I got the news my youngest sister, Shan had a turn earlier in the week. Doctors are looking at her heart as the culprit. The heart specialist will install an Implantable Loop Recorder which will record her heart activity for up to 2 years. Because she had fainted and has been left weak and shaken and her confidence is at an all time low, she has decided not to join us this weekend.
Friday 1st November
Enid, also known as Sue and to her grandchildren she is known as Lally we headed off to Taronga Park Zoo. We took the train from Gymea to Circular Quay.
The zoo was opened in 1916.
The zoo is situated on hilly land of 28 hectares (69 acres) on Bradleys Head overlooking Sydney Harbour.
There are over 4,000 animals in the park and all set among native vegetation. There is a large cable car taking visitors from the wharf to the park entrance and if it is your first visit you will gasp in delight at the view. The zoo has changed over the years especially since my last visit in another century. Although this is not my first visit, I still gasped with delight.
The difficult ting about visiting any zoo is where do you start? We had four differing opinions but two of us wanted a coffee before we began. After that we found while on our way to something we thought we wanted to see we saw something which was interesting and we deviated from our course.
The boys, Cooper and Oliver,seemed to enjoy everything but in 6 hours we only saw a portion of the zoo. Elephants were high on their list of must see but they were more impressed with the tiger adventure. This was followed by feeding time for the gorillas and after that the free flying bird show.
That was very impressive and the boys came away saying that was the best part of the day. We never had time to see the aquarium, the seals, the penguins, the chimpanzees, the Australian Native animals, the Rhinoceros, the Hippopotamus and so on. I think another view of the Zoo is on my to do list.
Despite the smoke haze, the view of Sydney Harbour was still awesome.
We caught the cable car back to the wharf and were on the ferry at 4pm and were home again by 5.30. Arriving at the zoo by ferry from Circular Quay is not the only way to enter as there is a large car park at the top entrance to the zoo but is really the best way. Maybe I am a bit prejudiced but having spent my childhood and youth travelling Sydney Harbour by ferry I still think it is the only way to travel.
Yes it was a long day but we enjoyed ourselves, especially the boys.
Despite all the walking and uneven ground my back pain still allowed me to enjoy myself with only a few instances of moving, standing or sitting the wrong way to remind me.
Up early this morning and went to The Broadwater for a brisk 3 Klm walk. What a glorious sunrise although any morning I can see a sunrise is glorious. Back home I did my floor exercises to strengthen my back. Did sit ups and push ups and some weights. I will have to buy heavier weight to start building up muscle again. My weight is still hovering around the 70 Kg mark and still irks me that I have lost weight but not where I want to lose weight. Actually I want to lose belly girth but it seems that might not happen. I will keep trying.
Friday 25th October
Up at 5am and down to The Broadwater for a walk and enjoy the sunrise. I usually take a left turn at the park and walk to Lands End. Today I took a right turn and headed towards Loder Creek. It is about 3 Klms return walk. Afterwards it was floor exercises, sit ups, push ups and weights.
Saturday 26th October
It was a wonderful Spring day. I decided to do a little pruning. As I stepped into the garden and leaned forward over a large pot plant my back went grmmmp! The pain almost laid me out on the spot. I managed to get inside to rest but knew from past experience this was not going to go away in a hurry.
It has left me wondering about all the back strengthening exercises I do and how in just a moment and wrong choice of movement and all that work can be undone.
Friends Tony and Dawn arrived.
For several reasons, including my painful back I was not able to make dinner for us so we agreed to walk to the Japanese Restaurant, Kabachi Ya which is just outside my village front gate. As always, the welcome is genuine, the service is quick, the food is fresh and well prepared and the prices are reasonable. Sushi does not appear on the menu. The only drawback is the menu although written in English, does not explain what is in the dish. From past experience it seems they only serve beef, pork or chicken. No seafood. They do a number of vegetarian dishes and some noodle soup dishes based on bone broth or Miso broth. Sometimes you have to wait as we did tonight. It is worth waiting and judging by the number of Asian people who eat here we know it gets their tick of approval. It has an open style kitchen so you can see what is being prepared and cooked.
Sunday 27th October.
Woke with pain which in fact was with me all night. The pain really makes it difficult to do simple things like put on a pair of socks or my shoes.
Dawn wanted to do some shopping so Tony and I went people watching at Harbourtown while we waited. The new Harbourtown Food Court is bigger, brighter and busier than ever. The bonus here is that the eateries are all outside in fresh air with lovely garden and water features and it seems to appeal to lots of people. There is even a micro- brewery of craft beers called – Crafty’s Sports Bar which also include a small grill area.
Tonight we went back to Harbourtown for dinner. We did not get to try the fare at Crafty’s but settled for pasta which is a bit of a no no for me as I try to avoid carbs. We ate at Zingara’s Kitchen which was once called Fasta Pasta.
I really did not care where we ate or what we ate or when we ate. Pain does that to you.
NO PHOTOS THIS WEEK. I HAVE A VIDEO BUT IT CAN ONLY BE SEEN BY VISITING MY FACEBOOK PAGE.
Wednesday 16th October.
It was Rock and Roll lessons again tonight. It started out a bit of a disappointment, only in respect of numbers. There was Graham, Marie, Jenny and myself. Oh, of course Frank and Kay our instructors were there. It seems that trying to get some people involved is a bit like pulling teeth. It was good nonetheless as we did some revision, particularly in the dance I really wanted to learn, the Cowboy Cha Cha. But, I am getting a little ahead of myself. We were just going through a bit of revision and Jenny was doing her twirling, which she does well and I was making her twirl. Which I do well. Frank and Graham tell Jenny, no, no, no stop twirling so much while Kay looks on with a big smile knowing full well it is me making Jenny twirl. Then a person comes in the clubhouse door. This is about 7.15 at night. It is Betty. Betty is 99 in November. She loves dancing and listening to the music and came along to watch the lessons and maybe find something she can shuffle to. This lady does not act her age. She thinks she is a young 70. She explained her mind tells her to get up and dance, her body tries to disobey, she fears falling but she wants to watch and learn. Graham took her for a slow dance and to see the glow on her face was magic. Betty was one of the first people to put her name on the list of those who are coming.
Last weekend we had 17 names on the list of those coming to the dance. By tonight we have 39 names from our village and we understand another 44 people from various Rock and Roll groups on the Gold Coast have nominated.
Houston, we have lift off.
The dance is on.
The band, Route 66 is booked for Friday night.
Friday 18th October
This morning Graham, Frank W, Wayne, Marie and I gathered at the Clubhouse to set up the tables and decorate the hall for tonight. Just to be sure we set up the tables to seat 83 people. Somebody always pulls out at the last moment. Also at the last moment a resident and visitor decide they want to come. It usually works itself out.
By 6pm almost half the people had arrived, an hour early. The band was setting up and everybody was jockeying for somewhere to sit with friends.
Soon the band was pouring out a rhythm and a beat. Toes were a tapping and dancers were, well…dancing. Thankfully, enough ladies asked me to dance to keep me on the dance floor and add a few more skills to my learning. Every partner is different especially as males are meant to lead and I have not yet developed that skill. That said, I did Ok and was even complimented by several people who were watching. It’s kind of exciting discovering that I am being watched. Stand out in my mind was THE DANCER, Marcia, who asked me to dance – twice. All the dancers say she is so full of energy and she exhausts them. I know the feeling as she does 3 steps to every one step taken by everybody else. I was exhausted too but there is no way I would have said so.
After the dance, several of us adjourned to Kay and Franks house for coffee. I was home and in bed by 12.30.
Saturday 19th October
I was awake at 5am and no way could I get back to sleep. I am sure sleep will catch up with me later.
Most mornings I do a brisk walk, three times around the village. After the walk I do my floor exercises to strengthen my back muscles and sit ups and push ups then a series of weights to do muscle toning on arms, shoulders and chest. All in all it is about an hours routine. My weight is hovering just a little over 70 Kg, not quite 71 Kg but getting to that final 70 Kg or, even better, 69 Kg is a bit of a challenge. I started my diet at 82 Kg so feel I have lost 12 Kg and when people comment I know the effort has been worthwhile.
Frank and Kay suggested I join them at Southport RSL for the Rock and Roll night there tonight. Would love to but… I am too tired, more’s the pity.
I have some great video footage of a dance last night but this blog page does not allow video. I have posted the video on my Facebook page.
Sunday 20th October.
Graham and Wencke asked me to join them for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant tonight. After trying on several pair of trousers and jeans I have taken a few pairs off the rack in the wardrobe. They keep sliding off. On checking the size labels I realise I have still been wearing trouser of a larger size. How are they still in the wardrobe? No wonder I had trouble on Friday night, having to keep cinching my belt ever tighter to keep the trousers up.
It might be fun looking for a few new pairs of trousers and jeans.
A quiet gardening day. Actually it is still sorting pebbles day.
Tonight we had Rock and Roll lessons. There were only four of us tonight plus Frank and Kay giving the lessons. I asked if we could learn the Cowboy Cha- Cha as well as the refresher lessons. Despite a shortage of numbers it was a good night.
Thursday 10th October
I do not know how I have these bright ideas. Today was windy. A chilly strong wind from the south -west. Knowing it would be cool and blustery I chose to drive down the coast into NSW and visit…somewhere – anywhere. Preferably somewhere on the coast with surf. I originally thought Evans Head then recalled that is a 3 hour drive.
Naah. Too far.
Undecided I hit the M1 and was doing the speed limit as I passed the Byron Bay turnoff when an idea came along. Lennox Head with good views, good surf good places to eat.
I rolled into Lennox and my clock said midday but NSW is on Daylight Saving Time so it was 1pm. I did not realise that until later, much later.
The surf was pumping and so was the wind. I took a walk over the headland and tried to take photos but the wind was too strong, making the camera shake. I drove to Boulder Beach where the surf had been whipped into a brownish foam sitting on top of the water.
Then finally back into Lennox for some fish and chips at Fishy Fishy.
Then drove the road back through Byron Bay and onto the M1, noting the town of Billinudgel to pay a return visit in the future. I turned off the M1 onto the coastal road to visit Pottsville, Hastings Point, Cabarita Beach and on to Kingscliffe for a drink at the bowling club right on the beach. It was here I realised I was in the wrong time zone. My car clock was telling me 5pm but it was really 6pm. That explained the crowds of people at the club.
Oops time to get on the road so I could be home in time to play table tennis.
Friday 11th October
A bit of gardening in the morning.
In the afternoon I saw the movie JOKER. This is a psychological thriller and I do mean psychological. Be prepared to have your mind played with. The actor Joaquim Phoenix will undoubtably be nominated for an Academy Award.
Lynda, took me for coffee today. Goodness knows I needed a break and a new face and new outlook and a coffee made by somebody else. She took me to the Beach Café at Labrador and although the wind was blowing a gale we took a seat at the back and avoided the wind. I was introduced to a Piccolo Latte. Now for somebody who always orders a Capuccino or occasionally a short black, this was an adventure for me. This is like a baby latte in a 100 ml glass. It is as you can imagine a more intense coffee flavour and when ordering, it is best to ask for extra hot. We enjoyed the coffee so much and along with intense conversation and laughs we ordered another. Next time Lynda wants me to try an Afogatto. Espresso over ice cream.
Tuesday 1st October
More pebble sorting today.
I also visited the gastroenterologist who is pleased with my weight loss and wants me to lose more. The bad news is I will probably always have a bit of a belly although I may need a smaller trouser size. What he is trying to achieve is a reduction in my fatty liver to an acceptable level.
Sharon called around she is having eye surgery tomorrow and although she has somebody to drive her has asked that I take her to the follow up visit to the specialist next week. I offered to put in her eye drops but she has other neighbours to do that.
Wednesday 2nd October
Lynda called around today with a big load of plants for my back garden. Where I had intended a basic, perhaps stark, succulent garden, she saw the need for lots of succulents some in pots some in the ground. She took over as gardener for the afternoon. I kept busy sorting pebbles.
Thursday 3rd October
I took a break from sorting pebbles today. Instead, I started painting a trellis I bought for the back garden. Once painted I will then weave white venetian blind slats through the uprights to give it a basket weave pattern.
The garden area is coming together nicely so I will be pleased when it is finished and I can take some photos.
Friday 4th October
Coffee at the usual time then off for a walk along the beach. Luckily I finished the walk before the strong blustery winds came along. Today I paid the $2.20 fee to walk on the Sand Pumping Jetty.
It gives an entirely different outlook of Surfers Paradise and the board riders are just below.
Saturday 5th October
The day started with predicted brilliant sunshine but by midday a cold windy front moved in along with clouds. The temperature dropped quickly.
I have 90% finished painting the trellis and called on Lynda and Ngyrie (I hope that is the way it is spelled) to help me weave the venetian slats through the trellis. It was a three person job. After that was finished they held the frame in place while I screwed it to the Colourbond fence panels. I do like the look of it even if I do say so myself. Only a bit more finishing off and I can take a photo of the finished yard.
Tonight I travelled with Graham to the Woongoolba Hall, in the middle of the sugar cane fields near Jacobs Well.
We met the other Rock and Rollers for the monthly dance. I was told a funny story – not sure if it’s true – worth repeating here. The Woongoolba Hall where the monthly dance is held is basically in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sugar cane fields. The story goes something like this.
“A young cowboy dressed in his jeans and worn boots, sleeves rolled up with his mangy, sweat stained, dusty, chewed, Akubra perched on his head. He was dressed in all R M Williams gear. The band was in full swing playing country music and dancers were crammed on the floor. During a break in the music he was asked. “Isn’t this just a great dance venue?” Dancin’ be buggered, he replied, “where else can ya get all ya can eat for $10?”
A woman sitting across from me is Transplant Coi-ordinator based in Sydney. She needs to get away from Sydney every few weeks to relax. She comes to the dances with her local boyfriend. It was interesting to hear part of her territory was the Prince of Wales Hospital where my daughter Averyl had her kidney transplant.
Once you see the spread of food put on by the social committee for this rural community hall you can understand the reason for the story.
We had a good night and apart from doing several line dances a couple of ladies asked me to dance. I was only slightly disappointed as those I wanted to dance with were busy.
All was OK as they approached later and told me they will dance with me at our Rock and Roll night in two weeks.
Sunday 6th October
I started the day with painting the trellis. At least it is 99% completed and I have achieved a rustic look.
In the afternoon I drove to Surfers Paradise and then caught a bus to Nobby’s Beach. I planned to travel light without the camera, figuring I would put the A30 to a test of its capabilities. Besides I expected to do a lot of walking and did not want the weight, bulk and responsibility of a large camera in what I expected would be crowded conditions. I had asked a few people from my village if they wanted to join me on a Brazillian adventure but they all passed.
Really there is only so much one can take watching scantily clad Brazillian beauties with lovely figures, tanned skin and big…smiles. The drummers were relentlessly playing the same beat and I actually got tired of watching the dancers shaking their various body parts.
I tried using the A30 to take photos but I would rather use my camera.
Next came a troupe of Salsa dancers and once again there is a limit to what I can take. Constant drumming and the same tired smiles on the faces of dancers and a crowd cheering the dancers. Of course there was an announcer who is constantly revving up the crowd and his perpetual frozen smile and non- infectious enthusiasm was a bit annoying. The beat seemed rhythmic and maybe seductive but I must be getting prejudiced. I would rather a Rock and Roll beat.
The promised street food vendors were in short supply and I was a bit disappointed that tacos and nachos etc were being served but not typical Brazillian food. How can they say Brazillian street food when all they have is Mexican food?
All in all I was a bit underwhelmed by the lack of scale and the little that was on offer.
I wandered into a crowded noisy foodie place which by now were having happy hour and I wanted to be out of the sun, somewhere in the shade and somewhere I could sit for awhile. I ordered a Lick Your Lips Spritzer (Which is a refreshing sparkling drink – and here is the recipe https://paleoglutenfreeguy.com/limoncello-spritz/ ) and a seafood pizza.
Seafood??? Yep somewhere on the pizza was a couple of pieces of anchovie and I am sure there was a piece of Calamari somewhere. That said, it was very filling and I passed on the offer to put the leftovers in a doggy bag. I had had enough. The spritzer on the other hand was really refreshing but I declined a second helping. I think I will be making these as a signature drink whenever I have visitors.
Nobby’s Beach was once the site of Magic Mountain a theme park which had a castle at the top of the hill, a chair lift and a water slide all the way down https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Mountain,_Nobby_Beach I feel fortunate that I was able to go to Magic Mountain, in it’s heyday along with my daughters during its 30 year lifespan. Somewhere packed away in a box held by my daughter Averyl are a couple of photos taken from a castle turret.
I left the street festival and wandered up to the beach and tossed an imaginary coin. Heads I walk to Broadbeach along the sand or tails catch the bus.
The tall buildings look so close but 5 Klms later I finally reached Broadbeach and wanted to rest again. I caught the “G”, the light rail through to Surfers Paradise and visited the Surfers Paradise RSL which I joined a month ago, finally collecting my membership card. The Sydney NRL grand final would be telecast on the big screen and here I was with a new membership card in my pocket. I had a rum and coke and nursed it while watching the grand final. The crowd was noisy, The Roosters won and it was late. I found i30 and was home after 9pm, tired and ready for bed.
Oops thats when I found the text message on my phone. I was supposed to play table tennis with Jenny at the clubhouse at 7pm.
My new phone, the Samsung Galaxy A30 is working wonderfully, especially as a Hotspot for Internet on the PC. I am a little lost as many of the icons are different from the A3. However the much larger screen is easier to use with a bigger keyboard.
Tuesday 24th September
The work of creating a new back yard goes on. I need to be careful with lifting the heavy pavers and buckets of pebbles. I cannot have a back problem again. I am sorting and sieving the pebbles and today used them to great effect. On one edge of the carpet grass I have made a small garden with edging and placed some succulents, namely, Echeveria Benimusume still in their pots. The remaining area has been filled with the cleaned and sorted pebbles. I have now started digging the pebbles and pavers from the last section of yard so I can prepare the ground ready for the final roll of carpet grass.
Wednesday 25th September
Regular readers may recall I have, from time to time, given a progress report on my weight loss. I started at 82 Kg and told my Gastro Enterologist I would like to be at least 72 Kg by our next appointment on 1st October. With just over a week before I see him I can proudly report my weight is hovering just a little below 71 Kg and I expect will be 70 Kg by the appointed date. The weight loss has been slow and steady since I started in March this year. Although I have lost 11 Kg, it has been in places other than where I want to lose it, namely the stomach. Granted I have lost some stomach, but most of it has come from the rest of my body, mainly my bum. At least I am back in trousers and shorts I once wore when I was working, circa 2010.
Today while sieving pebbles a Water Dragon paid me a visit. He/She is only young and lives part time under my house. It also lives part time under the other houses too. They are wonderful creatures and although a little scary to look at, are harmless and help keep vermin away. I found I was talking with it and it was kind enough to pay attention and not run away. Most of the people here feel the same way about the Dragons, it is nice to have them here and watch as they sun themselves on our driveways and roadway.
Friday 27th September
On my early morning walk I met neighbour, Rita, walking in the opposite direction to me. We talked about the Dragons who live in our village. I was surprised and pleased that she also talks to the Dragons.
Saturday 28th September
Worked on sorting and cleaning pebbles.
Will I ever be finished?
In the afternoon I played bowls then joined the other players for happy hour and watched, off and on, the Grand Final AFL match between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney. The winning margin was so great you would be forgiven for thinking GWS had packed up and gone home after the first quarter.
In the evening I watched the Rugby League semi- finals between Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm. The Storm were there but did not play like the well- oiled machine they are.
Sunday 29th September
We started the morning with a Social Committee breakfast put on by Wayne and Deb at their home and followed up with a Social Committee meeting. As usual Wayne worked hard to provide a great meal enjoyed by all.
Afterwards I joined neighbours Frank and Kay, Graham and Wencke and Linda at the Guanaba Country Music Club Paradise Kids Charity day at their clubhouse at Heritage Park, Pimpama.
Seven Country Music Clubs attended along with seven bands
and a handful of guest artists.
The day kicked off at 10am and ran through until 6pm. The entry fee was only $5 for the entire day of entertainment.
Linda and I took a walk through the heritage park looking at all the old buildings and machinery which had been transported there.
The Heritage Village is being slowly constructed from some old some new materials or buildings transported to the site and will be a working historical village one day in the future.
One of the buildings which caught my attention was a Single Man’s Workers cottage built around 1920.
The walls were lined with wide pine boards which were used as packing material to ship Ford Automobiles from the USA to Australia.
It was a great afternoon of music and dancing and lots of laughs.
A man, apparently well known for living his life as an Elvis impersonator did some pretty good Elvis songs while dressed in the authentic jump suit, worn by Elvis in his Blue Hawaii Tour. He apologised for being a little rusty as he has been keeping a low profile for the last 40 years!
Back home and after dinner I joined other neighbours Tony and Jenny for some heavy duty table tennis competition. Tony was exhausted after two games but Jenny and I battled on for another hour before I finally called it quits. I was also ahead on the scoreboard so it is better to quit while you are ahead.
My muscles will make me pay tomorrow and the next day.
Just in case you have not noticed/realised/understood the meaning of the first number of the post each week. Just so it all makes sense this weeks number is 600. That means I have posted an article, mostly on a weekly basis, on 600 occassions. That is the equivalent of a post a day for almost 2 years. In real terms that is at least one post per week for 12 years. Think about that. Hopefully you stay with me for the next 12 years.
Wednesday 18th September
At last the phone account is now swung over to my name, I have a new Samsung Galaxy A30 which I will use as a Hot Spot to provide Internet to the PC and laptop. I retained my phone number and will still use my email address.
All is right with the world.
Or so I thought.
I drove to Currumbin Beach for a look at the Sculptures at the Swell Festival for a second time but mainly to photograph in the setting sun. My first problem was no Internet. Everywhere I walked along the beach, there was no signal.
Although the time was pushing 5pm the number of children, with or without parents, were moving in front of and playing in on and around the sculptures. The chances of getting a clear photo was almost nil.
Unless I waited them out.
What was worse were the children, young and not so young, accompanied by parents, who thought it was a good idea to climb on the sculptures despite at least two signs in front of each piece, printed in large type, asking not to climb on the works. I guess the children AND their parents never learned to read while at school. Or is it simply, the parents do not care.
It was getting on for 6pm, light was fading fast, a chill wind was blowing off the sea when a pod of whales cavorted just off the beach.
They did breaches and tail flaps and flipper flops and generally hammed it up for the people on the beach.
That said, most of those on the beach never noticed the spectacle. Unfortunately with fading light and using a hand held camera on full zoom is not a recipe for successful, clear, sharp in focus action shots. Regardless of the negative aspect I felt elated to be in a position to see the whales on their way back down the coast. It sort of made up for not having Internet especially as I was to meet with another person from my photo group with whom I have only ever communicated via Facebook. Perhaps I should arrange a day at Fingal Head or Cabarita Head at suitable whale watching locations.
My Internet problem was solved later when I turned off the phone and re-booted.
Grrr! If only I had thought to do that when at Currumbin. Normally that would be the first thing I would try but today had a mental blank.
Thursday 19th September
Went to a morning tea function at the clubhouse where we had a guest speaker from Emergency Medical Services Pty Ltd. Basically they are selling a SafeTwear pendant which is monitored 24/7 anywhere in OZ including up to 25 Nautical Miles to sea. If you have a fall or any type of emergency the pendant will send a message and somebody will call you (the pendant is like a phone which has a speaker and microphone). If there is no reply they will send an ambulance to the position indicated by GPS tracking within the device. You can even wear it in the shower. Several people came up to me and said I need such a device as I have a reputation for going to adventurous places.
Friday 20th September
In the morning I went to art group for coffee, cake and conversation as well as to show my photos.
The local Telstra store has still not fully transferred my details onto the account as requested and as they promised to do. I cannot access Telstra 24/7 in order to see what usage has occurred. Today I was at Helensvale collecting some photo blocks I ordered and decided, on impulse, to visit the Telstra shop there. I made an appointment and viola, within 5 minutes my details were fully transferred and my new user name and password were set up. They also did some tweaking on the font size on my phone and I was on my way to my appointment at the bank.
So far my new Samsung Galaxy A30 has delivered fast internet via Hot Spot. According to my account I have used 1.2 Gb of data in the last week. Allowing for say, 2 Gb per week that would average out at 14 Gb per month and would be below my 15Gb per month allowance. I will monitor over the next few months. While at Telstra I noticed on their private screen that somewhere in the future I will be offered 40 Gb – at no extra cost I would hope. Maybe then I can stream movies but so far I am not interested in that. My TV and DVD recorder gives me all the entertainment options I need.
I did a download/ upload speed test. When using an ADSL Modem I was getting a download of around 10 Mbps and an upload of 3Mbps. On Hotspot via the Galaxy A30 the download speed is now 37.4 Mbps and upload is 10.2 Mbps. That is 4x times faster using the phone.
Saturday 21st September
Tonight I went to the Guanaba Country Music Club Rock and Roll dance. Top Rock and Roll Band, Dance On, was featured. My friend Frank went a couple of hours earlier so he could get the preferred table for his group of dancers. As it transpires most of the usual attendees were at another dance. Frank’s wife Kay stayed home with Bronchitis so the number of dancers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast was about half the usual number. As you know by now I am a total novice at Rock and Roll so I expected to just be a listener and only join in for some Line Dancing. A couple of ladies had other ideas and got me up for several dances. One partner, a dance instructor, who is nicknamed The Pocket Rocket, took me way beyond my comfort zone by getting me to join her in a Rock and Roll Waltz. I have never done this and was totally at sea as I was twirled around the dance floor. That said, I had a fantastic night and my dance confidence levels just took a huge boost.
Sunday 22nd September
I had planned to go to Fingal Head today to see the Whales and that is what I did. One of the ladies in the village had eye surgery during the week and is unable to drive and is frustrated at not being able to get out and about. I offered to take her with me.
There was lots of traffic on the M1 but all considered it still took just on an hour to arrive at Fingal in northern NSW. There was a strong wind blowing from the North East which put a lot of chop and white caps on the water. We did see a couple of Whales, way out past Cook Island but too far to photograph. A pod of Dolphins swam along the cliff face, then as Dolphins do, swam out beyond the waves and started surfing. Of course they were surfing where my camera was not pointing.
When I first visited Fingal Head four years ago, the lighthouse was in good cobndition and there were lots of Pandanus trees.
Sadly vandals have started to tear up the 100 year old forecourt of the lighthouse and many of the trees are dead or dying. There are still lots of trees but not as many as there once was. I wonder if vandals have done something or if climactic conditions means the soil is dryer these days. Pandanus on other nearby beaches do not show the same signs of dieback.
We took the scenic route home along The Gold Coast Highway turning off through Currumbin and getting caught in traffic. Today is the last day of the SWELL Festival and there were people and cars everywhere. I am glad I did not plan to come here today.
It seems every day I put in at least an hour working with the huge amount of pebbles I dug out of the backyard last week. I put a bucketful through a sieve and end up with a small pile of larger pebbles, a large pile of smaller pebbles and a sand soil mixture which I have picked over to remove the old weeds and plant material. I suspect the pebble originally were a low grade mix, probably taken from a beach, unsorted and unwashed as there seems to be a large number of small seashells in the smaller pebbles. I have also found a couple of sinkers, bits of fishing lines, a hook and a swivel on fishing line. I suppose there is no rush and I can take my time. In fact although my back hurts I find the routine somewhat mentally soothing. What is a mental challenge though is the fact that an equal amount of pebbles and pavers still has to be dug up and the ground levelled so I can put down more carpet grass.
Wednesday 11th September
Today I caught the bus to Southport. I used my Event Theatres card to buy a ticket to see the movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It is the ninth quirky movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. It lived up to the quirky theme you associate with such a director and the two leads, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt really give the impression of good buddies. Australian actress Margot Robbie played the part of Sharon Tait and although the story line had her as a side plot it all melded together well. The movie is about 3 hours and the first 2 hours is building the story line, slowly, ever so slowly until finally it all comes together in a dramatic fashion. Despite the length and the slow build up, I enjoyed the movie and the realistic depiction of Hollywood life in the 60’s.
Friday (ooh its scary) 13thSeptember
Took i30 for a 75,000 Klm service this morning.
Next was morning coffee at the art group and to show a few photos.
I walked to Harbourtown to talk with Telstra about the new phone plan. My Samsung Galaxy A3 is not going to be powerful enough to be used as a Hot Spot and the battery is quickly wearing out. Yesterday I purchased a Samsung Galaxy A30 and charged it as soon as I came home. I took it off charge at 10pm last night and at 1pm today was still at 100% even after updates and transferring data etc. The A3 on the other hand was taken off charge at 7am and was 100%. At 1pm battery was down to 28% so it confirms that the battery would not last and the power of the A3 would not be sufficient. However I will still need a couple more days before the system is all in place and my old number – SIM Card – is installed in the new phone. I have to shut down the old account first and transfer that to my name. It all takes time. Telstra have been helpful.
Saturday 14th September
My intention was to be at Currumbin Beach to see the sunrise and photograph the sculptures with the dawn as a backdrop and to avoid the crowds. Within half a Klm of leaving home I saw the sun just above the horizon, glowing as a big red fiery ball. I suppose the dust in the atmosphere from the dust storm last week and the smoke from the bushfires helped give it that extra glow.
I arrived at Currumbin Beach and was lucky enough to get a parking spot although even at 6.30 am it was getting full.
The crowds were already here, oohing and aahing around each piece of sculpture instead of standing back and admiring.
The pieces are arranged along the beach from Currumbin Alley Rock to Elephant Rock and along the park behind the beach.
As usual there are about 50 entries and although many are from Queensland there are entries from around the world, including one from Iran.
This is a family friendly festival and even at this early hour there were lots of families on the beach and as I discovered mid-morning at all the little coffee shops having a late breakfast.
All places selling coffee and food were packed.
I took 331 photos in 3 hours. Amazing! Now have to narrow my choices down to about 20 preferred images for final editing.
Later I wandered into Currumbin RSL for an early lunch. This gem of a place is situated on Currumbin Creek between the M1 Motorway Bridge and Thrower St bridge and surrounded by a ring of trees which hides it from view. The views across the creek from The Deck Creekside are stunning. Hmmm. Maybe I should have joined here instead of Surfers RSL.
Sunday 15th September
I really wanted a photo of the sunrise yesterday.
For some reason I woke at 4am this morning and went to The Broadwater and waited for the sun to make its bold, colourful journey out of the sea.
I was not disappointed.
I spent some time sorting pebbles and for a few hours went to the St Bernards Hotel at Mt Tamborine and listened to a Jazz Band called Galapagos Duck. I recall seeing this band many years ago when they performed in Wollongong. Two of the original members are still playing and they are now based on the Gold Coast. I had a cold beer and as the afternoon wore on it got colder. It was so cold I was shivering.
Time to go home.
As a treat I went to the Harbourtown Outlet Shopping Centre and had wonton soup at 8 Street. http://www.8street.com.au/ which is like an Asian street food locale. 8 Street is an Asian hawkers market style street food precinct combined with a beer garden. 8 Street is designed with traditional Asian architecture in mind, the stalls feature wooden fixtures and fittings and allow shoppers to see their food being made to order in front of them.
In true Hawker market style, 8 Street stalls are compact and provide takeaway food as well as dine-in options. 8 Street beer garden offers a large range of Asian and international beer, cider, Japanese sake, Korean saju, and Australian local wine.
The many choices of street food and simple bench seats and you really feel you are in a street in Vietnam, or Malaysia etc. I had a bowl of soup which had a dozen wontons but also included another 6 steamed dumplings. It cost $12.90 and very filling.
Work continued in the backyard, digging up pebbles, roughly levelling and creating an edge to keep pebbles off the carpet grass. I laid down a sand base to finish the levelling.
Tuesday 3rd September.
Drove to Australia Fair to watch a movie. The session I wanted to attend was Gold Class only and the ticket price was $25 instead of the usual $12.50. I chose to come home.
I laid the first 3 metre section of carpet grass and partially pegged it to the ground and replaced a couple of the stepping tiles.
Wednesday 4th September
The weather has been a lot like summer and no rain in sight. Woke to a smokey smell and a smoke haze across the creek. I went for a walk along the Broadwater to Lands End. Then it was back to work in the back yard, preparing the ground for the next lot of carpet grass. I must have 20 bucketloads of pebbles. Now that I see the pebbles up close it seems there is a mix of reasonable size pebbles mixed with a sort of smaller sixed pebble and small gravel. Yuk. I am going to have a hard time sorting good size pebbles from smaller rubbish and the soil which is mixed in.
The smoke haze is from bush fires in the valleys of the hinterland a few Klms to our west.
Thursday 5th September – Happy Birthday to me.
With nothing planned I drove to Surfers Paradise and took a new route. I am not sure if it was any shorter or quicker but found myself on Chevron Island. It was coffee time so I stopped for a coffee and banana bread. I had a walk around the shopping centre and realised it is a pretty self- contained residential area with a good variety of shops. All of this is shadowed by the high rise just across the bridge.
I knew that parking would be a problem in Surfers so left the car at the coffee shop and walked to Surfers, along the beach and then back to Cavill Avenue where I rubber necked at all the shops and tourists and street people. I walked into an arcade and saw a sign saying Surfers Paradise RSL Club and renovations almost complete, come on in a have a look. So I did . Umm no you cannot come in as you live within 15 Klms and you must be a member or member of any other club or a visitor from outside the 15 Klm radius. Oh Ok then. But, they said, you can join for three years for $2. So I joined. Beer is discounted for members as are meals in the dining room.
There is a nice little park and cenotaph just outside the club and a memorial to a dog called “MATEY” who greeted visitors to the beach for many years.
I have not been a member of a club for many years and had been thinking I should join an RSL so this was an ideal opportunity. Talking with a neighbiour who was President of the Southport RSL Club for 13 years he commented their fees are $6.50 per annunm so $2 for three years is a bargain.
In the afternoon I continued working in my backyard.
Tonight, friends Deb and Wayne invited me for dinner before Deb and I went to table tennis.
Friday 6th September
A bit of work in the back yard then I attended the Art Group for a coffee, display some photos and a chat. It is always fun.
Then back to the yard and finally rolled out the second three metres. Again I have roughly pegged it in place. Put down a couple of concrete pavers and started sorting and washing the pebbles. OMG this is going to be a mammoth job. I suppose the easiest way is to just select the best pebbles one by one by one.
Tonight on the news it was announced that several fires in the hinterland are out of control and with the forecast strong westerly winds, high daytime temperatures and no rain in sight, Catastrophic Fire Conditions are forecast for the next few days.
I did not win Powerball last night.
Saturday 7th September.
I spent most of the day sieving through the bucket loads of gravel. I have ended up with three piles of medium to acceptable pebbles, smaller pebbles better suited to being called gravel and a third pile of dusty soil. Looking around at the 6 milk crates lined with garbage bags all filled with gravel/pebbles, I see a lot of work ahead which will keep me off the streets in the coming days and weeks.
Tonight I went with friends Frank and Kay and Ken and Glennis to the Woongoolba Hall monthly dance. The hall is located in the middle of a sugar cane field which itself is surrounded by sugar cane all of them located between the M1 and the small coastal community of Jacobs Well about 45 Klms from home. In other words in the middle of nowhere. Luckily most of Frank and Kay’s Rock and Roll Group attended along with two other dance groups. Most of the locals who would normally attend were at the final night of the Beenleigh Show. The band, “Bittersweet”, was really a husband and wife duo with a good repertoire of songs. So the night went with some Waltzes, Gypsy Tap, Line Dancing, Rock and Roll and a mix of whatever you wanted to do. The last song was the Hokey Pokey. Even if you cannot dance you can do the Hokey Pokey.
The hall committee also put on a lavish supper of all the foods I normally do not eat in my diet. However not having eaten dinner I had a couple of small helpings and gasp shock horror, two beers during the night. I also had a cup of tea but the tank water did not have a pleasant taste. Yuk.
It was a fun night, something different and gave me a chance to learn more about the R&R group and the people and their dance abilities. As has been the case, every time I go to one of these events I am in awe of the dancing talent. They make it look so easy.
My parents were very good ballroom dancers and my aunt was a dance instructor so I guess somewhere in my genes there is a gene crying out to be let loose. Perhaps that’s why I found myself quick stepping back to the table after a dance.
I had a good night and was pleased I had friends to share it with.
Sunday 8th September
I did a little sieving and sorting of pebbles in the morning then headed off to Browns Plains in Brisbane.
Yesterday and overnight the fire got much worse and about 11 properties were destroyed in the Binna Burra, Beechmont, Saraba and Springwood areas. The original wonderful Heritage Listed Binna Burra Lodge Resort, built in 1933 was totally destroyed.
For the last time this season I went to watch Chris play in a Rugby League Grand Final at Browns Plains. Chris had his own cheer squad of parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts to cheer him on. Sadly the team lost, by an uncomfortable margin. I decided not to take the camera so you not be subjected to endless photos of Chris on the leagues ground.
After the game we went to The Glen, an overpriced hotel at Eight Miles Plains.
The Rugby League season is over.
Unless Chris gets chosen for an under 16’s representative side.