Monday 17th December
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.
A HAPPY, SAFE and HEALTHY CHRISTMAS to all.