Archive for November, 2009

111. Sunday 22nd November 2009. A new life…


A much relieved Shelley delivered Matthew John, 57cms and 10 pound, 13 oz on Monday 16/11/09 at 8.14pm. Mum n son doing well.

Matthew and Shelley.

So it was I left home at just after 7pm on Friday night to head North. Donnis had left early in the morning to catch a flight from Mackay to Melbourne.
I had some difficulty leaving before 7pm. WHERWILLWEGO started OK but the low fuel warning light was on. I knew the tank was near empty but believed I had enough to take me the 7 or 8 klms to the fuel station. I tried to drive up the steepish driveway but the MH refused to get over the top. Eventually it stalled and refused to start. All manner of strange warning lights came on! I allowed the MH to roll back, in the dark, as far as I dared. The reversing camera was useless in the dark and I could not see out of the side mirrors. Geez where’s the co-pilot when you need her?
I then had a mental picture of walking to the dark garage with only a small torch, finding a diesel only drum, driving to the fuel station, getting 5 litres of diesel then back home put the fuel in the tank, put the car and the drum away, close the garage and try to start the MH again.
Instead I pulled out the owners manual to see what the warning lights meant. Hmmm! I did not want to read that. “Take the vehicle to the nearest service centre”. I opted to try the motor again. It started! Yay! Hmm, let me look at the gear lever with torchlight. Could it be I was trying to drive up and over the steep slope in 2nd gear or even 4th?

There is an on board computer which controls the engine. In fact by depressing the accelerater before you turn the ignition key means the system locks up. I am trying to learn not to touch the gas pedal when starting.
Try again. Yay! I am up and over and on my way down the street. Perhaps I should stop at the Family Shop in Airlie and fill up there. Just in case. I did and got a shock! $1.48 a litre for diesel.
There was plenty of traffic on the road, trucks and for some unknown reason, many Toyota Land Cruiser Tray Backs with swags and esky’s all heading North.
I rolled into Home Hill just on 9.30 and decided to stay at the comfort stop as I was getting drowsy. Hmmm! Just like last time the comfort stop was populated with young people. Probably backpackers maybe a few locals all drinking all loud. I parked further away beside the rail lines and could hear an occasional bit of noise. Only two trains passed through during the night. Anyway. I made a cup of tea and a piece of toast and I was in bed shortly after. The night was hot and sticky so I propped up the battery operated fan near the foot of the bed and there was enough breeze to help lull me to sleep zzzz.
Next morning I was up at 5.30 for a brisk walk. The council cleaners arrived and they started sweeping up the mess of rubbish and empty beer cans etc from the night before.
On the drive North I passed through Ayr then as I approached the floodplains near Giru there were dozens of flocks of hundreds of birds. Near as I can tell they are Green Pygmy Geese although I would be happy if any ornithologist out there can tell me otherwise. They fly in flocks and every so often one at the front would drop down, back and join the rear of the pack. One would be followed by another and so it went. Suddenly the whole flock would do a gigantic turn and fly in another direction. Pity I was driving as I could not give my attention to them.
Then it was on to Shelley and Dwyanes house where I was greeted by grandaughter Georgia carrying latest arrival Matt. Georgia is not much bigger than Matt but she had a good grip on him. Once inside the door she handed Matt to me while I went in search of Shelley. Thankfully the AC was operating as it was around 35degrees outside. Thankfully WWWG also has AC when we are driving. Actually it is always on.
What can I tell you about Matt? At the moment he is dressed in his little cotton jumpsuit, looks like a deep pink lump of skin with a bit of wispy hair on top and sleeps a lot. I have seen his eyes briefly a couple of times. Sounds like a new born baby. Right. During the weekend I heard him cry – once.
I had planned on a family picnic but we were delayed about an hour as Dwyane was at the football grounds mowing the field and we could not leave until he was finished.
The plan was to travel up the highway about 60 klms to Paradise Waterhole at Big Crystal Creek. This is a great picnic spot and campground controlled by Qld Parks and Wildlife (QPW). A short walk from the carpark over a hill and suddenly the waterhole is revealed in all its paradisical splendour.

Georgia, Reece and Jack preparing to ease into the cool water at Paradise Waterhole.

I had asked Shelley and Dwyane to come with us. Although Shelley is still tired from the birth earlier in the week I thought it would be nice to get out of the house and we could have a family picnic. While I took Reece, Georgia n Jack in WWWG, Shelley n the others followed in the Cruiser.
It wasn’t long before the kids were in the water, then jumping off the rocks. The waterhole probably had about 50 people immersed; most of them just sitting in the water at shoulder height and talking in groups. Leaving Shelley to keep an eye on the kids, Dwyane carried Matt back to the carpark to change a nappy while I started making egg sandwiches for the kids and ham n tomato for the adults. After lunch I took the boys to Rollingstone Creek for another swim while the others headed back to Bushland Beach as Dwyane had a tag football match to play.

Jack likes his fluffy toys. He is not aware he is re-creating the image from E.T.

Saturday night was a bit more comfortable for sleeping. I was connected to 240v and turned on the AC. I still woke at 5.30 and as usually happens when I wake at that time I cannot get back to sleep. It was a nice morning to go for a 30 minute walk.

Parked beside the fragrant frangipanni.

Sunday I talked with Shelley and Dwyane and the kids until it was time to head home.
The trip home took me five hours as I made several stops and as I was getting tired.
I stopped for fuel at Townsville and made lunch in Ayr then a final stop at Bowen to splash water on my face. Perhaps the cold beer with lunch made me drowsy.

era la semana que era

110. Sunday 16th November 2009.Rain n Cool, Sun n Hot…

barking owl

Barking Owl

What a strange week, weatherwise, this has been.
Early this week we had some good falls of rain and the grass made lots of noise as it grew and changed colour from brown to green.
The rain stopped and the sun came out – with a vengeance.
The ground still appears dry n dusty. The falling leaves has slowed to a trickle, either because there are no leaves left or because the roots received some water and put a halt to the shedding leaves process.
Daughter Shelley was due to give birth to her 4th child on 11/11. I called her that night hoping there would be no answer cause they were all at the hospital to see the new arrival. Shelley answered. She is not comfortable and not happy. The head honcho doctor at Townsville hospital will not agree to an inducement until 7am Monday 16th.
In the meantime Shelley lives an uncomfortable existance waiting on a baby who has full control of her.
I called again on Friday evening. No changes. So I will go to Townsville next weekend.
Thursday there was some excitement at the office when an owl was sighted sitting on a plam tree frond outside the office. Although it was gone Friday it had returned by the evening and I was able to get a couple of flash photos. Identifying the owl proved more difficult than expected. Closest I can figure is it is a Barking Owl

although there is an outside chance it is a Southern BooBook. Given its location in a treed area near a creek and the plumage on the chest looking a bit “untidy” and of course its size being a bit around the 30 cm mark I believe it is a Barking Owl.
I used the weekend to finish putting up a roofing steel fence along one side of the motorhome. That is the side we can walk along and with the untidy and overgrown neighbours garden I am constantly being snagged on sharp branches or cacti spines.
We also continued painting the verandah trim and what a chore that is turning out to be.
Eli O, workmate, called Saturday night. He spent a couple of hours pushing his high performance motorcycle from Strathdickie to his home. In the heat! The bike just spluttered and stopped. We reasoned that there are three main possible reasons.1. water in the fuel. 2. He was on reserve tank, perhaps it ran dry and did not switch to regular tank and needs priming. 3. Beacuse it is high performance and set up for the racetrack perhaps his sedate usage has caused it to run too rich and there is a build up of carbon on the plugs. He also flattened the battery in trying to start the bike. I know what Eli will be doing on Sunday!
Donnis son Peter arrived Saturday afternoon with his new lady, Pamela, a German women living in Oz for the past 5 years. I had to ask where she was from as she has little or no accent and very good English. Donnis has more accent than Pamela. Sunday they have gone on a three island cruise on one of Fantasea Cruises boats.

109. Sunday 9th November 2009. What happened this week…?


…well, let me see.

I went to work.

Donnis went to work.

It rained.

OK there was a bit more to the week but somehow it is not getting from my mind down to those two fingers I use to manipulate the keyboard.

Eli, a workmate, rides a Yamaha cafe racer to work.  We have suggested we go for a ride just for the fun of it. So this week we agreed to ride into Proserpine Saturday morning, stop for a coffee and a sausage roll at a bakery in the main street then ride on out to the Peter Faust Dam. Great so far. Eli then mentioned he is bringing a friend who is a photographer. Getting greater. Perhaps I can learn something new about photography and the dam is an ideal place to find something to photograph. Eli and I agreed if it is raining we will not go.

So Saturday morning arrived and it was raining. Real rain.

That was the end of that. It rained on and off all Saturday so could not paint. Donnis and I climbed on the roof during a lull in the rain and emptied the gutters of leaves and gum nuts. We also raked up leaves in the front yard and put them on the gardens as a mulch. We also put up a couple of sheets of roofing iron as a fence with our neighbour. They have an overgrown out of control garden and one of the problems is a cactus with big spikes which is growing in many places into our yard. When I back the MH into its parking spot those cacti try to spear me in the face when I open the window. I am always cutting them back but they grow quickly. The fence will hopefully keep the worst of their plants on their side of the dividing line.

I did my on-line banking on Friday night when I was tired. Somehow I transferred all my balance into another bank account which I cannot access to obtain cash. So instead of having a cash balance to call upon if needed I now only have less than $100. Oh well. Its more than enough to get through a week. I just like to have a reserve.

Donnis worked a night shift at the nursing home last night, came home had breakfast and was asleep in moments.

So I raked up more leaves. Tidied up and strengthened the fence. I want a load of gravel to place under the MH. When it rains the roadbase turns to quicksand. I figure a load of gravel and a slush of concrete over the top will hold it together so I can walk and drive on it even when it is raining.

I managed to finish one tin of Egyptian Red paint today. That is the colour we are painting on the trim. I also managed one coat one a facia running underneath the verandah. Yeehah we are getting into the home straight of the painting.

I did a service on the whipper snipper but it will still not start. Errol borrowed it when he came to Mackay last week. It started and he was whippering around when it stopped and would not start. I checked the usual suspect parts and found a worn fuel line and although I fixed it the WS will still not start. Probably an electrics problem as it just stopped suddenly. Cleaned the filter. Pulled the spark plug and it looks good considering the WS is about 5 years old and never even looked at the plug before. It always starts if you follow the start directions. Next time I have some free time and an inclination I will pull the covers off and have a look at what else could have gone wrong.

Shelley is due to have the new baby, Matt, on 11th November. We will travel to Townsville next weekend if she does. If the baby is late, as seems likely as the other three were late, then I will go to Townsville the following weekend. Donnis has already booked a flight to Melbourne on 20th November for a party at Errols wifes mothers house. (Errol is married to Nicole and her mum is Merilynn and she lives in Melbourne). She is having some sort of family party and Donnis just loves family parties so she is going. I will stay home and paint or drive to Townsville to see Shelley and Matt and Reece and Georgia and Jack and Dwyanne. It seems I made a promise to take the kids in the MH and have a picnic. Crystal Creek is the planned venue. Geez I’m gunna be in trouble if Donnis is in Melbourne and I go to Townsville.

I will not have a helper.

sálvenos de la rabia del camino.

108. Sunday 1st November 2009. Survivor, rain, painting, Halloween and what not…


Thursday night I sat up until 11.30 pm watching the final episodes of Survivor. From the first episode in this series I expected Sugar would be one of the first three to be voted out of the game. However from the moment she set foot on Exile Island I gained a new respect for her and expected she would be in the final three and possibly win the $1,000,000. Hmmm. One out of two correct is not bad.

As anyone who knows me well (Hmmm. That’s probably Donnis) will tell you. I ride my Yamaha Virago to work and always wear a jacket, usually the one with armour padding. It can also have a warm inner lining zipped in and a waterproof liner for when it rains. I also wear strong gloves with the armour padding on knuckle joints. Of course I always wear a helmet. After overnight rain, Thursday morning dawned clear and bright. I decided to ride the Yammy to work but because it was soooo nice I left the jacket and gloves at home. That was a mistake. Just after 5pm as I was packing up at the office, the rain came down. I got soaked going home. At least my head was dry under the helmet and weird as it seems I did not get wet around the waist area. Every other bit of clothing was dripping wet and a chill wind had sprung up. Straight into the laundry when I got home and stripped off except for the boxer shorts which somehow were still dry!

Friday morning as I left for my early morning walk I noticed the brown grass was no longer brown. There were patches of green. That’s good but bad. Once the grass starts to grow I will have to cut it….Often!

Friday night Donnis said a Nursing Home staff party was being held at the Proserpine RSL and we really ought to go. We did. Only had one drink. Then off to the Metropole Hotel for dinner. I ordered Fettuccini Carbonara while Donnis ordered crumbed steak. Uh Oh. I am sure she does not know what crumbed steak is but it would not hurt for her to learn. The food arrived and the look of dismay on her face was sad. “It’s deep-fried” she whispered. Yeah, that’s what crumbed steak is all about. Being the gallant and chivalrous person I am, I offered her the fettuccini. In a flash she had the plates switched and I got the deep fried guk. Some people eat this crap regularly and reckon its good tucker. Listening to the conversations at the table they equate food which spills over the plate as being good value. Oh well to each their own.

It rained off and on Friday night and I swear I woke every hour.

Saturday morning dawned cold, windy n wet. Yep. Cold. I needed a little blanket to keep me warm while seated at the computer. I probably could have closed the window and kept the cold breeze out.

A couple of years ago when I had the broken ankle and the prostatitis ops I spent a lot of time in the office on the computer. I enjoyed sitting in the office with my open window looking out onto the sunny garden and the wall of greenery outside.

This is our view looking out the office window.

Wall of Green outside the office window.

Saturday morning at 5.30 am I was sitting looking outside in the dim light and noticed drops of water on some of the plants. Hmmm! The garden is just as attractive in the wet so I took a few photos of what I have to put up with. LOL.

This Elk Horn was a Christmas gift from my daughter Melissa about 10 years ago. It is quite happy in the mottled light and hanging in the tree.

Elk Horn. Daughter Melissa gave this to me as a Christmas gift about 10 years ago. It thrives in the mottled sunlight where it is hanging in the tree. The hook has pulled out of the hardwood block twice and fallen to the ground but the plant still lives.

Of course a few raindrops hanging from leaves looks attractive, sooo…

Is this an Agave?

Is this an Agave? Any horticulturists reading this might like to comment.

And another…

Mini Papyrus in our water fountain.

Mini Papyrus in our water fountain.

and finally…

elephant ear plant

Elephant Ear plant – variegated. This was one of my Fathers plants. He kept it in a small pot on a outdoor table near the front door of his unit. After his death I asked the family if I could keep the plant and repotted it to a larger pot. During the year it dies off but come Summertime it will crowd the pot it lives in.

Donnis worked Saturday and Sunday so I continued to paint. I am on the home run now with only the trim to do. In fact as I write this all the trim at the front of the house, including the carport has two coats and I am finished the front. Yeehah! Now all the rear deck, steps and laundry to be completed. Maybe if Donnis has a day off work during the week she can finish some of it.

Spoke with Shelley on the phone last night. Dwyanne has taken Reese, Georgia and Jack, Trick or Treating. It is Halloween and the kids have been asking to go all week. Dwyanne has said “NO! Its an American custom and we are Australian” I guess three little kids not understanding customs putting pressure on him made him relent. He is correct though. It is an USA & Canada thing and something as an Aussie kid I never knew anything about Halloween. My kids never experienced it either until we moved to Mackay in 1987 when we got Trick or Treated and had nothing to give but fruit. When I went for my walk this morning I noticed jellies – you know, snakes and such – on the roadway. I guess loose jellies are not hygienic and got tossed out by the kids or their minders.

Shelley is due for child number 4 on 11/11/09. She has asked if she has not delivered by then can she have it induced as she is really feeling quite uncomfortable. They already have a name, Matthew, shortened to Matt already and Georgia refers to Matt in her conversation.

tienen una entrega rápida y segura Shelley.