For the past week or two I have been reminded of different parenting styles…by birds.
We have a little park on Biggera Creek just 20 metres from my door. Last month a pair of Masked Plovers hatched 3 chicks.
A pair of Ducks hatched 11 chicks.
The Plovers would take turns sitting on the clutch and the other would swoop and dive bomb anything or anybody who got too close…in Plover terms. Plovers have spurs on their wings designed for attack. Usually the one on the nest will squawk and attract your attention while the other silently glides in on an attack trajectory, giving a high pitched squawk at the last moment. If you fail to heed that and subsequent warnings they really attack. Plovers are the worst parents. Once the chicks are hatched and can move around the little balls of fluff on long legs run in different directions. The parents spend the rest of the day squealing and squawking to get the youngsters to stay near home. Of course the youngsters go in three directions and mum and dad can only cover two. As they round up one chick another goes in a different direction. This goes on all day and really gets annoying. They are probably the Bogans and dysfunctional family of birds.
Ducks on the other hand seem to just plant their eggs somewhere out of the way and never put up a fuss unless you get real close…then they chase you.
When the 11 chicks hatch mum and dad take them for an orderly walk and even a swim. A few quiet quacks and the chicks line up and follow the parents. No noise, no confusion just orderly parenting.
Wednesday 19th December
I was awake by 5am and off to The Broadwater for a walk.
About halfway it began to rain so it was just head down and plough forward. I heard my mobile phone “ding” with a message but l knew it could wait until I got home and got out of my wet clothes. The message was from Donnis.
Donnis had gone to Canada back in October because she wanted to spend time with her mother, believing she did not have long to live. Despite a fall and a broken hip and surgery and a move to a new nursing home, Dorothy seemed to be doing fine. Donnis had said that she now needed to ensure her mum was settled and her care plan was in place and she would be returning to Oz around New Years Eve or a day or two later.
The message on the phone was Dorothy had passed away a couple of hours earlier. RIP Dorothy.
Although Dorothy was 92 and a birthday due on Boxing Day, she was in good spirits and not ailing at all. Her death was not expected so it came as a bit of a shock.
Friday 21st December
Woke at the silly hour of 5am and went to The Broadwater for a walk. Oh what a wonderful morning, oh what a glorious day. Mornings like this make you want to breathe deeply and just keep walking. I recognise people who are out and about at the same time and on a nodding acquaintance with some. By 6am the delightful cool sea breeze is beginning to struggle with the biting heat of the sun. The heat is OK but it is the humidity, which at this time of year is uncomfortable. Still that’s what air conditioning is for. Now, where did I put the remote AC control?
In fact before midday I turned on the AC. It was becoming too humid and I think that is why I have had a restless sleep most nights this week.
Slowly I am packing my suitcase and car.
In the meantime Donnis has gone on a family road trip with daughter Alecia and Sister Joan to join niece Simone, her husband Lazar and his parents Ivan and Maia. Snow and ice all the way and the chalet has a thick coating of snow.
They will be there for Christmas and unsurprisingly they will have a White Christmas at Kicking Horse Mountain, Golden, British Columbia.
Saturday 22nd December
I left sleepy land at 5am and could not get back to sleep. I completed the packing and was away by 6.15. The plan was a 6 hour drive and I decided to leave the main highway and explore some back roads. Back roads and logic do not go well together. In some places the road was down to one lane and cars approaching each other give way by driving onto the dirt shoulder. That is not always easy. According to my logic and a few cryptic road signs if I stopped for fuel at Gayndah I should be able to connect with the Bruce Highway. Yes and No said the man at the fuel station. Yes it will connect about 200 klms further north near Rockhampton. No it will not connect anywhere near Gin Gin or Bororen. I needed to retrace my steps to Ban Ban Springs and turn there to join the Bruce.
The magic of inbuilt vehicle bluetooth meets spots of no signal along isolated pockets of the highway. Via Facebook Messenger I was able to speak with Donnis, who was in a mountain lodge surrounded by snow in Canada. Trying to talk with my daughter Shelley, about 1,000 Klms to my north was less successful via the normal mobile phone signal. The signal kept breaking up to the point we had to hang up.
I made it to Bororen about 2 hours later than planned. Oh well. At least I am here. Considering the amount of traffic on the roads I encountered about 10 idiot drivers who greatly exceeded the speed limit, passed on corners and generally displayed a lack of driving courtesy and respect for other road users. All but one were P platers.
After dinner a big electrical storm with lots of rain arrived. Grrr! I just washed i30 yesterday. The rain and light show continued for another hour after which it just rained although not as heavily.
Sunday 23rd December
Another long day of driving. Once again it was interesting to note the difference in fuel prices along the highway. How can there be a difference of twenty plus cents on a litre of fuel betKicween towns which may be only 50 Klms apart and how can small towns have cheaper fuel than the cities?
The closer I got to Mackay the more I realised I was heading into one big storm. At this point I will digress and say, If I have not mentioned this before, the drive from Rockhampton to Mackay all 380 Klms of it must be the most boring drive I have encountered. I suppose because I have driven it so many times it just gets more boring every time.
The storm I could see ahead dumped a huge amount of rain in Mackay before I arrived. All the creeks and rivers and gutters and canals were raging waterways by the time I arrived.
It was still raining when I arrived but I know that as soon as the sun comes out the humidity levels will soar. Last week Mackay had a couple of days with temperatures pushing 40 degrees.
Donnis is staying with Ivan and Maia and Simone and Lazar at the chalet on Kicking Horse Mountain. Lazar Velev sent me some photos he took while skiing in the back mountains where chair lifts and gondolas cannot take them. He and two friends use Ski Doos to take them up the mountains to the best powder snow and drop offs. They also carry back packs with gear they will need then enjoy the virgin snow. All photo credits to Lazar Velev.
Today we drove from Mackay to Boronen a journey of 504 Klms. Along the way we travelled through Clairview roughly halfway between Mackay and Rockhampton. It is here the highway passes by the coast. This is the only place along the entire voyage where you can see the ocean. In fact it is only about 200 Mtrs from the highway and you get a view for almost 1 Klm. I reflected on this and thought how many other places where you can see the ocean on what is supposedly the The Coastal Way route. From Sydney to Cairns a trip of around 2,500 Klms, there are only three locations where you can get a glimpse of the ocean. One is near Sapphire Beach north of Coffs Harbour in NSW where I can confirm the view is just a glimpse. Apart from Clairview the only other view of the ocean as you drive along the highway is further north in Queensland at Cardwell.
We arrived at Boronen and booked into the Boronen Hotel Motel which has operated continuously since 1895. Boronen is only a small town with garage, hotel/motel, motel, campground, diner and post office. It is a convenient rest stop with toilets, shaded picnic facilities and even a free BBQ. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bororen-Pub/123261097738816
It is difficult to find any information about the town, why it is here or what is nearby. Apparently it is well known for its meat pies and they can be bought at the Red Rocket Diner. https://www.facebook.com/redrocketdiner/ The hotel menu promises kitchen made meals (not the pre manufactured, frozen and packaged variety) including a Chicken Kiev. The meals are huge. The prices are reasonable. Meal sizes and prices are typical of once upon a time country pubs. Dinner did not disappoint.
Tuesday 11th September.
Today is the anniversary of the 911 tragedy but no mention in the media. I suppose because 911 is not until tomorrow in the USA.
The motel fee of $80 included a simple Continental breakfast. There is no bakery in town but the sourdough bread was terrific.
We were on the road by 8am and somewhere about 130 Klms to the south and a little beyond the town of Gin Gin we turned inland. We left the Bruce Highway and turned onto the Isis Highway which passes through the pleasant town of Biggenden
and also where we saw wonderful views of Mount Walsh.
This was going to be all new territory for us.
We followed the signs to Ban Ban Springs where we expected a town. I turned right to find the town and perhaps a coffee stop. After a Klm there was no town. Oh well, I turned around and headed in the direction we wanted go. After another Klm there was no town. Ban Ban Springs is a Junction of two highways where the Isis Highway and the Burnett Highway intersect. A service station and a rest area is all that make up Ban Ban Springs. Luckily the service station had a push button coffee machine where we were able to get a passable cup of coffee.
A primary school operated here from 1916 to 1965. The original corrugated iron school building and an outdoor toilet are now ruins slowly being overtaken by the bush. The timbers have been eaten out by termites and the corrugated iron roof and walls have collapsed.
Gradually the iron will rust while the concrete pad will last a long time but will be overtaken by weeds and shrubs.
In 2006, in an effort to beautify the springs, local council engaged a contractor to clean out and plant new trees. The bulldozing and planting actually resulted in the springs being drained. For the most part the springs are rarely umm err springs. The local indigenous community, the Wakka Wakka People took action against the Council for destroying a culturally significant area. The new council issued an apology and negotiations to restore the springs are, as far as I can discover, ongoing. Local farms with bores have also contributed to reducing the water table.
In the accompanying photo of the petrol station, if you look closely you will see a marker with the numbers 13384. Usually farms and businesses along country roads have a marker to show the distance from the nearest intersection or town. (Council will assign an address using a distance-based system. The numbers will be based on how far (in metres) your property’s entrance is from the road’s starting point (or datum), divided by 10. The starting point is usually an intersection or junction, but can also be the centre of a town. This is used by emergency services, Police, Ambulance, Rural Fire Brigade, to find a location quickly. In this case it is 13.384 Klms from the intersection of the Gayndah Mount Perry road and the Burnett Highway.
Somewhere between towns we saw a Galah ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah ) on the road ahead of us. As we neared we saw a dead Galah on the side of the road and the lone live bird was guarding its dead mate. Galahs are known to mate for life but if one dies the survivor will bond with another bird.
On our trip we passed through towns we have heard about, some vaguely heard about and some totally unheard of before. We saw new countryside and passed locations we would have liked to have spent more time exploring. Our diversion took about an hour longer than the direct route. We arrived home just after 4pm.
Friday 14th September
I have been busy since arriving home on Tuesday. A couple of months ago the social committee planned a Wine and Cheese Night for tonight. Bit by bit we have put together some activities to keep people occupied, interested and entertained. As well as the wine and cheese we planned on having some hot food. I have organised music, 60’s and 70’s rock music as a background. I needed to select the music and place it in a playlist in my ancient original iPad. Our dress theme is Black and Gold. I also have the Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke video hosted by James Corden, the UK Late Late Show host Most people in our village have not seen this emotional trip down Beatlemania memory lane. The idea was to get our guests warmed up while eating and ready for our next item on the agenda. We planned a Karaoke Night. The idea is to play a Karaoke CD-G through our DVD player and project onto a wall. I had to find the CD’s, check they work on the projection and prepare choices sheets. Getting reluctant people to stand up and sing in front of an audience is a bit daunting. Most have never had a karaoke experience. Most are a bit shy. A few wines seems to relax people but at first nobody wanted to sing. Gradually we got people up and joining in. We know we had a successful evening when the people who normally wander off home at 8.30 were still there at 10pm, singing clapping and smiling. Somehow we managed to toss in a few line dancing numbers and a dozen people joined us on the dance floor.
Although going during the week when there is parking and no crowds would be an obvious choice, we went today. We met our friend Glenda with whom we have been to this festival several times before.
Somehow the crowds of annoying people adds to the atmosphere of the project.
As always when I go to the festival I find the names of each piece of art makes no sense with what I am seeing.
Artists seem to live in their own cocooned world and see the world through another dimension.
Luckily the sun was shining but unluckily a strong cool wind was blowing so stepping into the shade was a bit chilly especially later in the afternoon as the sun started to set behind the Great Dividing Range.
We even had time for a cold drink and a toasted Turkish Bread with dips at Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club.
From the club balcony we saw several whales on their way south.
Although they blew vapour and breached, they were quite a distance offshore and difficult to photograph.
We were not the only people Oohing and Aahing.
Sunday 16th September
A strong wind warning had been issued for today but that did not deter us. We packed a picnic lunch, collected Glenda and drove across the border into NSW to Fingal Head in the hope of seeing more whales.
The wind was, as promised, STRONG.
Finding an almost sheltered place on the exposed headland was a bit of a challenge. Finding whales amongst the confused whitecap smothered ocean was even more of a challenge. Yes there were whales but far out to sea and their breaching was lost amongst the whitecaps. Lots of people made the trek to the headland looking for whale sightings, not expecting to be blown all over the clifftops.
We did enjoy our lunch but soon black clouds were shoving the sunlight ahead of it and bringing overcast plus cold to our exposed picnic location. We had to watch our steps very carefully when walking along the clifftop. The wind was capable of blowing us into a an unsteady step. Normally this is a delightful picnic, whale and dolphin watching spot. Maybe next week when the wind stops we can try this again.
Time to go.
Once we joined the M1 and headed home we noticed a flashing sign to tell us to expect delays and suddenly around a bend cares were lined up in three lanes bumper to bumper. It was reasonable to expect the next 40 Klms would be like this. It is Sunday afternoon, strong winds, storm clouds rolling in and people were leaving the beaches and heading home. We left the M1 and drove into the Currumbin Valley to join the Tallebudgera Valley, Mudgeeraba Valley and so on all the way to Nerang. It was a long way out of our way but at least we were moving and viewing some wonderful parts of the Gold Coast lower hinterland we have never seen before. Wow! Some of the homes out here in the hinterland had security gates and long tree studded driveways and a backdrop of mountains. Some were beside the upper reaches of Tallebudgera Creek, Currumbin Creek and surrounding valley’s.
Reflecting on our travels these last two weeks when we travelled inland along roads to new towns we have never visited before and finishing in Townsville. Then we drove to Mackay and once we left Mackay we travelled inland once more along roads and towns not previously visited. We ended this week by driving a little way inland from the coast and visited outlying suburbs and towns we have not seen before.
If we have learned one thing in our travels it is we must take a few back roads in our travels. Oh there is a second thing. We need to stop and experience those towns as well.