This weeks post is later than usual. We have exceeded our download allotment but can continue you operate at a greatly reduced speed. It has taken almost three hours to upload the text and photos. Goodness knows how long it will take to actually upload and publish this entry.
Monday 20th December
Bad night last night. Woke about 2am and wide awake and in some discomfort. Rather than take painkillers I decided to try the age old remedy to fall asleep. ..TV!
I went into the house and turned on the TV and sat back in the recliner. It sort of worked. I fell asleep. I woke. I fell asleep. I woke. At 5am I went back to my own bed. Donnis was sleeping so soundly I did not disturb her as I grunted in pain trying to get comfortable. She woke about 6am and put a shade in the window above the bed to keep out the sunlight shining in then she went inside the house so I could sleep on. Little did we know this would be the last sunlight we would see this week.
We spent the best part of the morning setting up tarpaulins on one end of the WWWGO awning so now most of the rain which comes from that direction will be deflected. I also put an awning on the drivers side to shelter the fridge so it does not have to work so hard maintain temperature. I also put another shade tarpaulin over the door entrance so we will be able to leave the outer door open even when it is raining.
We put all the rubber mats out in the sun to dry and allow the muddy ground underneath to dry out. Donnis removed our luggage from the car and we removed the bike from the rear of WWWGO. We are beginning to get our surroundings sorted out so we can be comfortable over the next three months.
I also did a bit of research on Cooran, the nearest village, as Traveston is little more than a couple of buildings. The name Cooran is Aboriginal but I have two conflicting explanations as to its meaning.
One spelling and meaning is:-
Guaran which means Tall Trees or Moreton Bay Bush. This explanation could be correct as the area has huge trees on the hillsides. However I can find no information on Moreton Bay Bush and I am sure it does not refer to Moreton Bay Figs as I have not seen any in the area.
The other explanation is:-
Guran the local fresh water lagoon where water bulbs and fresh water mussels were collected. The explanation is not clear if the lagoon was called Guran or the bulbs or mussels are called Guran.
Take your pick. I like both explanations.
(I also Googled Guran and it turns out he is/was the Phantoms best friend. Remember him? The little rotund native who wore a skirt of grass?)
It stayed sunny n hot all day and the ground had a chance to dry out. Weather forecast is for another nice day tomorrow and Wednesday perhaps even some of Thursday but then the rain comes back for the next several days, including Christmas Day.
Hmmm. With all that expected rain I really need to think about putting something on top of the rubber mats (or even under the mats) so that mud and water does not squirt up through the holes when we walk on them.
We took a walk around the property today and also took more photos of Mt.Cooran.
It seems to me the mount has different moods and every day is different. During the walk I found a swarm of bees in a young tree on the hill above WWWGO.
There are plenty of flowering plants in the gardens and bush around the property. I must try to wake a little earlier (for earlier read 4.30am) one day this week so I can take a photo of the sun rising beside the mount. The full moon rose this evening over the hill and treetops above us.
The train line is only a few hundred metres away down the steep hill. This line has an electric service from Brisbane to Gympie several times a day. The line continues further north to Cairns so the Queenslander and freight trains also use the track. Depending on where we are during the day we have heard a train several times a day.
Hmmm. It is nice to see the train service is still operating and as far north as Cairns. I cannot help thinking about all those distant western towns in Qld (and NSW for that matter) where the train services have been discontinued and the smaller towns are dying. Travel is an eye opener especially when we see all the waste and or over servicing of the coastal fringe, especially the south east corner of Qld compared to the poor roads and closed railway lines further west and northwest.
Tuesday 21st December.
Another morning which saw both of us awake and out of bed at 5.30am.
Morning work included emptying the cassette toilet. Emptying the grey water. This involved decanting it into 5 buckets and taking it away from the house and emptying it into the bush. Filling the fresh water tanks with…fresh water. In the process of walking around I encountered a whip thin, milk chocolate coloured, snake. My Google search tells me it is probably the Brown Tree Snake but they are usually active at night. I sure hope it was not one of the many Brown Snakes which are supposedly larger, faster, aggressive and venomous. Also bad tempered. In all cases I will leave them alone.
After lunch we started to drive into Noosa but turned off just after Cooran for a 5.4klm drive to an unnamed lookout. The road was mostly uphill, gravel and steep. The view looking out across the valley towards Noosa and further south to Maroochydore is quite interesting. Before leaving I had experimented with the camera so I was able to zoom from 12x up to 48x and used Mt.Cooran as a test subject. So, here I was on a lookout higher than and closer to Mt.Cooran but unable to repeat the 48x zoom I was able to achieve in the house. Oh, well. Back to reading the instruction book again.
After depositing a cheque at the bank and a little shopping we head over the Sue n Ken’s where I was very pleased to find my new mobile phone battery has arrived. Cost, including postage was $5.95. A local phone store in Maroochydore wanted $48 for a genuine replacement battery.
Ken is a bit subdued this week as he has been diagnosed with shingles around his left eye area and he is obviously in discomfort.
The four of us took a short walk along the river then we headed over to the Nursing Home to visit uncle Bill and have pizza with him as a sort of Christmas get together.
Bill is pretty much confined to the Nursing Home as he can only walk around with the aid of a walking frame and most cars cannot take the frame. He is remarkably well informed about the outside world ( he reads all the newspapers and watches the news on TV) and knows all the latest gossip of what is going on in the Nursing Home.
We left Noosa before 8.30pm and was just passing through Cooran when we noticed a couple of really large and impressive Christmas lights display in a side street. Impressive enough for Donnis to do a U-turn and go back for a closer look. Although I have seen Christmas lights in years past, I have never seen two houses, side by side with such a huge display of lights and animated Santa figures and Manger scenes. There was also a singing Bundy Bear and a singing, dancing Santa.
Later, at home after a cup of tea I announced my ribs were not hurting and had not done so for a few hours but would take an anti-inflamatory tablet anyway. We both fell asleep watching a fluffy movie on TV. We went to bed and the Moon and Stars were shining so it looks as though tomorrow morning will be fine.
Wednesday 22nd December
Woke at 3.30am to the sound of light rain. I leapt out of bed to close the two overhead hatches. That was a mistake as my ribs are not intended for leaping out of bed while in recovery mode. I am typing this at 4,30 am while waiting for the pain to ease. Maybe there is something on TV.
Today was a lay day. Perhaps that should more correctly be spelled LAZY Day. Apart from improving the awnings over WWWGO – to keep the rain out – taking garbage to the bins and putting kitchen scraps in the compost bin, we really did not do much at all.
The rain was on and off. We are so over the rain as I suppose are most of the people on the eastern part of Australia. On the TV news last night an American tourist was interviewed and asked how he felt about the prospect of a wet Christmas Day. His reply was immediate and interesting. “Lovin it and it is preferable to a White Christmas”.
Although the rain is annoying, it is not cold. The average temps are down but it is not cold. We still only need a sheet on the bed. Even when we have a blanket it gets kicked off the bed during the night.
For dinner this evening we tried a new recipe in the pressure cooker. It was Sweet n Sour Pork Spare Ribs. It ended up tasting more like Chilli Spare Ribs as I changed the ingredients a bit. I somehow got confused with a Pork Spare Ribs with Sauerkraut recipe. I do not like sauerkraut as it contains too much vinegar. In fact anything with vinegar is too much for me. I can tolerate a little. As we did not have any sauerkraut I decided to cut up a heap of cabbage. Hmmm. The sweet n sour did not have cabbage in the recipe. Oh well. I tossed it on top of the other ingredients. What a stroke of accidental culinary genius! The ribs were slide off the bone tender. The cabbage was reduced to a sort of caramelised cabbage, absorbing all the brown sugar and chilli flavours. The meal was accompanied by mashed potato and a simple salad.
Mmmm. Lovely! The complete meal was less than $10.
Thursday 23rd December.
Gosh only two more sleeps to Christmas.
At breakfast this morning we were visited by a couple of magnificent King Parrots.
I am sure they were looking for something to eat as Guy told us he sometimes leaves bird seed on the barbecue.
This morning I took some time to read up on using the Macro setting on the camera and photographed a few
of the many flowering plants around the property.
After the routine morning chores were done we set off to visit the Buderim Ginger Factory. The Buderim Ginger Factory is no longer at Buderim. It is located at Yandina about 40 klms from Cooran.
We decided to drive as far as Pomona then turn off to the highway. Wow! Pomona is much more than the little village we drive to get to or come back from somewhere else. We promised ourselves to take some time out and walk through the village in the next week.
Now let’s visit Yandina. It is also a little village but the stores are all 21st century operating out of tiny very old buildings many of which are certainly 100 plus years old. The pub is a bit of an eye catching building
and at the time of our visit was well endowed with drinkers.
The ginger factory labels itself as the best and largest ginger factory in the world. They make and sell and export anything ginger. All of which is grown locally. Way back in 1941 five local ginger farmers got together and discussed setting up a co-op to market their crops. Each kicked in five pounds to start off. A factory was eventually built at Buderim and quickly grew to the point that the premises were too small and transport was a bit of a problem. A new location was found at Yandina and as they say…the rest is history. It seems that during WWWII the supply of ginger from China was cut off so the local ginger was in demand here and overseas. The export earnings are so huge that overseas offices have been established in places such as UK, Germany, USA to name a few.
The factory was closed for Christmas so we missed out on a tour but did the little train ride
through the grounds and looked at Gingerbread Man tour on a little boat. The train engine was built in 1901.
The factory is a tourist destination in its own right and has lots to see and do and has a walk through a rainforest with exotic plants including lots of ginger, all in flower. They also make 61 varieties of ice cream on the premises and have a little ice cream making room with a large window where you can watch the ice cream being made. All I got to see was the washing up.
On arrival we had a coffee with a large ginger scone which included a giant dollop of ginger marmalade and whipped cream. The scones had just come out of the oven and were very hot. At $5.50 each it was a bargain. I was a bit hesitant about ginger scones but I am now a convert. Light rain started to fall but never bothered us.
After the rain we walked across the road to a macadamia nut factory and had a look at their setup. They also had free tastings of their flavoured nuts. Lots of Japanese were there, buying up basket loads of macadamia nuts and associated gear. We also had lunch here but the menu was mainly nut free.
Oh! They also make fancy chocolates here and have demonstrations in a little cooled room with a large window but today the demo was finished and all we saw was the completed chocolates such as orange slices dipped in chocolate and cherries dipped in chocolate. At $2.20 each they were a bit rich for us.
Next door was a coffee factory with free tours and tastings but we forgot to visit. We can do that another day.
We finished the day with a visit to the bank to query a rejected transfer of funds, then a visit to Centrelink then head back to Traveston to rest up while watching the news.
Whew it was a long day doing tourist stuff.
Friday 24th December.
One more sleep for kids.
Another heavy overcast and rainy day.
Grrr! The water runs past our front door and when we step on the mats the mud squirts up through the holes. I have doubled the mats but we still get squirted. We went into Cooroy to look at a retirement village. Hmmm. Disappointing compared to Maleny. Almost the same price but older timber caravan park type buildings. Security gate no longer operates. It looks run down. The office was closed with a note on the door to call a mobile number. We called but got a recorded message.
Bought a pie in Cooroy but nothing special. I will have to resume making my own. Weather forecast is for lots more rain for the next week.
Since we left home on 19th September there has been more overcast and or wet days than fine days. There are flood warnings current for 15 Queensland Rivers. If the tropical low near Cairns changes to a cyclone and moves down the coast, more rivers will have flood warnings.
Saturday 25th December. Christmas Day.
Started the day well at 4.30am.
A tropical low turned into a Tropical Cyclone, “TASHA” and crossed the coast a little below Cairns just after 5 am today. Although it was rated a Cat 1 cyclone there was still some wind damage but the rain and flooding caused the most damage. At Traveston it was a mainly overcast Christmas Day with a couple of patches of sunlight and light showers from time to time. Later in the day it started to rain and continued steadily until we went to bed very late at 11.30pm.
We spent a quiet day together speaking with our children on the telephone.
We went to a Church service at the Uniting Church in Pomona where I developed an uncomfortable bout of indigestion which became very uncomfortable and now included a headache. Some fizzy ginger ale, Enos and a couple of Panadol gave some relief, enough so I could fall asleep until lunchtime.
Lunch was at Cybils on King, a restaurant in the village of Cooran.
We met another couple who recently moved to the district. They run a publishing business from their property.
There are some interesting old buildings in Cooran. One, little bigger than an outdoor toilet is used for a massage business.
After lunch I went to bed for a couple of hours sleep.
Lunch was so good we only needed a light salad at 8pm followed by some plum pudding and custard.
That was our day. There really is not much you can do on a wet Christmas Day.
Sunday 26th December.
Woke early as usual.
Listened to the constant rain for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
At 5.30 a movement caught my eye. It was a good sized Kangaroo crossing the driveway. A smaller roo followed.
All this constant rain reminds me of the 1982 Harrison Ford movie, Blade Runner. The film had a background of constant rain and damp.
Our bedding and clothes no longer feel crisp but rather limp and damp.
Spent the day snoozing or watching TV or in my case a combination of the two.
Of course from time to time I got up walked outside and watched the rain.
Despite all the constant rain we do feel blessed that we are all set up and WWWGO is dry and comfortable. We also have power, water and toilet facilities. Imagine we could be stuck in a bush camp somewhere and no solar energy going into the batteries, mud running outside the door.
Spoke with sister Sandra this evening. She tells me in Mackay it has been raining on and off rain for the last three months. I cannot agree more. It seems since we left Airlie Beach on 19th September we have had more wet days than fine days.