190. Sunday 15th May 2011. A week in Bucasia…

Monday 9thMay.

Our site among the Casuarina Trees and Coconut Palms on Bucasia Beach.

There is this very large and wonderful Paperbark tree on the edge of the mangroves lining the creek behind WWWGO.

The day started – for me – at 4am. Wide awake. Geez. I thought after two days and walking close on 20klms I would be dog tired and sound asleep. Not so. Oh well, it gave me a chance to get a few things up to date on the laptop. Eventually I will be tired enough to go back to bed before the alarm goes off for Donnis to go to work.

I drove Donnis to work then hotfooted out to Finch Hatton to collect some food, bedding, washing machine and the bicycle before heading back to Bucasia to finish off some jobs which need to be done.

As there always is.

Forgot the bicycle helmet so cannot ride around Bucasia until I arrange another trip back to Finch Hatton and collect a few more things.

Tonight we dined on chilli con carne made with chicken mince. I’m not sure if the name becomes something other than con carne if you do not use beef. I will still call it CCC. It is also the first time I have cooked pasta since going on the low carb diet two months ago.

Tuesday 10th May

Drove Donnis to work and started my own job at 9am. It was a short work day but enjoyable in the brilliant sunshine.

I got a haircut on the way home and decided on some greasy chips for lunch. I bumped into BIL (BIL = Brother In Law) John W, who was also shopping for greasy fish n chips for lunch. He has a team of workmen renovating an investment house he has in Bucasia. He offered to buy them lunch. Afterwards I put a couple of loads through the washing machine. The machine is only 2.5Kg rated so loads can only be small. The wash time is the same as if I was doing a bigger load. It does a good job and is far better than Donnis washing her work clothes by hand.

Tonight we had delicious thick n hearty chicken n vegetable soup leftover from the weekend and which we had frozen for another day. I made some croutons in the frypan from the end of a rye loaf otherwise too small to toast.  A good soup is a wonderful meal and is also cheap. Donnis bought the chicken carcasses for $3 which she boiled for a few hours along with onion, garlic, celery, pepper n salt. After draining and picking out the chicken pieces it was set aside for a few hours to cool and remove any fat which solidifies on the top. (Cooling in the fridge overnight is a better option but we only have a small fridge) We then bring the soup to a boil again adding carrots and a couple of handfuls of soup mix of  dried peas, lentils and barley which has been soaked for a few hours. Once it is all bubbling away for some time we add a can of drained five bean mix and let it simmer for a couple of hours. We also added some extra chicken stock cubes and viola. Soup enough for two people for two days and all for less than $7 including cooking costs.

Wednesday 11th May.

It was such a cool night we had a thin blanket on the bed all night and we were both a bit reluctant to escape from our warm cocoon. I was so tired last night, I slept through until 4.45 then went straight back to sleep. Donnis had to get up at 5.45 to get ready for work but unusually for me, I stayed in bed another hour.

Today was spent walking along the beach,

Bucasia Beach at low tide with early morning sunlight.

Bucasia Beach has a swimming enclosure to guard against stingers during the "season" November to May.

re-arranging stuff under our awning and figuring out a better way to cover two open parts on our awning. Should it rain we cannot leave the door open. I installed tarps over the awning yesterday but they are flapping in the breeze and one has rolled into the shape of a sausage.

Did some washing in our little washing machine.

Dinner was yummy lamb fillet, asparagus and baked sweet potato chips (no… not the frozen ones from McCains, these were freshly cut up by yours truly and baked). No fat or oil or deep frying was involved. Over a cup of tea and watching something on TV, great tiredness overcame me and I fell asleep sitting up at the table. Donnis insisted I go to bed. I did and slept all the way through until 5.15 and quickly went back to sleep.

Thursday 12th May.

Woke when Donnis alarm went off at 5.45am but I stayed in bed out of her way. She is now very well organised, making her lunch the night before and cooking her breakfast, unless I get out of bed and do it for her. It is simpler if one person does the cooking while the other gets dressed or sleeps.

Another day of washing and re-arranging the tarp over the doorway. It is quite windy today and a little cool in the shade. Inside at midday it was 25.9° but outside in the sun it was delightful. I sat in the lounger for an hour reading my book.

The sand forms into low ridges as the tide recedes.

I thought a little history may be in order.

In the late 1800’s, Catholic Father, Pierre Bucas established an orphanage and cemetery in the area then known as Marara, which became known as Seaview and is now named Bucasia in his honour. The land is bordered by sandhills and sea on one side and mangroves and swamp on the other three sides. In those days a horse track led from Mackay to the Northern Beaches area of Eimeo, Blacks Beach and of course Bucasia. (even as late as the seventies, the road to the northern beaches area was still nothing better than a gravel or sand track and only adventurous spirits lived there. Father Bucas brought the first nuns to Mackay, the Sisters of St. Joseph who ran the orphanage from 1876 to 1879. When they withdrew, they were replaced by the Sisters of Mercy who ran the orphanage from 1880 to 1885. At least 19 children died of Malarial Poisoning as it was known then and they were buried in unmarked graves on the estate. So far the cemetery remains unlocated. The Orphanage was located on the highest point of land in the area and that is probably where the name Seaview came from. The orphanage was closed in 1885 and the remaining children were moved to an orphanage in Rockhampton. Father Bucas moved to Barcaldine in 1912 and remained there for many years until he moved to Rockhampton where he died in 1930. In 1946 his remains were disinterred and moved to Mackay and reinterred in the old Mackay cemetery. The Catholic Church in Bucasia is named in his honour. The church sits on the edge of swamp ground in sight of the hill, about 1 klm distant, where the orphanage was located, believed to be on what is now known as Bucas Drive and Geoffrey Thomas Drive. The only remains of the original orphanage were some mango, guava and papaya trees planted in the orphanage grounds. The buildings have never been located and the orchard is long gone.

I received an email to advise my next shift is 9.30 on Sunday to collect survey packs we distributed last weekend.

Friday 13th May

Yep! Today was Friday the 13th!!! Despite there being some dire predictions the world would end today due to the fact that four planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, would be in alignment, the world continued doing what it has always done for many billions of years. The sun shone, the birds sang, the tides came and went, came and went and the day panned out with nothing out of the ordinary.

Well, that is until Donnis got up at dawn to see the planets in alignment because the best time to see them was at first light, or hint of light, in the eastern sky a few degrees above the horizon. This event last occurred in 2010 and will not occur again for another thirty years.

Donnis was unwell today so stayed home from work. We drove into Mackay for a little light shopping and one of the items we bought was a change tent. This will become our outside laundry and storage area. While sitting around Canelands Shopping Centre waiting for Donnis, I received a call to ask me to come to work on Saturday as a reserve. Okey Dokey. Will do.

Saturday 14th May

We both woke, without aid of an alarm clock, at first light, to look at the planets in alignment. While Donnis remained snuggled up in bed and viewed the spectacle from our bed window, I lay around on the boat ramp car-park, trying to set up the camera. Once that job was completed I crawled back into the still warm bed for another hour.

Arrived at the office to be told I was no longer reserve but had a full shift today and tomorrow delivering survey packs.

BTW I have lost about 9kgs and 8cm from around the belly. No wonder all my underwear and pants are falling down on me.

Today I walked 10 klms and still have to do it all again tomorrow to visit the people who were not home today.

After the shift I was on my way home and the thought occurred to me that outrigger friends Ken and Trish J, once lived in Bucasia. I have not seen them for many years and decided to call at the last known address to see if they still live there.

They do!

Trish is National President of AOCRA (Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association) and was away at Mooloolaba for the National Marathon Titles but Ken was home. It came as a shock to see Ken who has Oesophageal Cancer as well as Prostate Cancer. Ken is only 59. He was diagnosed with the prostate cancer 18 months ago and as part of the scans they discovered the OC. If it had not been for the PC he would probably not be alive today. He has had his Oesophagus and stomach removed and is on heavy duty Chemo Therapy. Once he has that under control he then needs a prostate operation. He has lost around 30kgs and for someone who was once a professional tennis player and an outrigger paddler, he is now a shadow of his former self. He is quite upbeat and confident he can beat the Big C.

Goodonyer Ken!

It sure puts our life in perspective and reaffirms our decision to get out and enjoy our chosen lifestyle while we are young enough to do so. We are both enjoying the parts of Australia we have visited and look forward to those we have not yet seen. It is sort of like a lucky dip and an almost daily adventure.

Even when we go to work.

With my job of calling on people and delivering survey packs I mostly meet nice people sprinkled with a few grouches and fewer anti-social types. One house I visited today had a sign at the door which read “One really nice person lives here along with one grouchy person”. When a lady answered my knock on the door I greeted her with “you must be the really nice person who lives here”. It was a pleasure to see her cheeky smile in response.

I walked another 10klms delivering survey packs today.

Sunday 15th May.

Another 4.5 hours today and 8klms of walking.

Finished all my deliveries by 2pm and picked up a few items from the hardware store, the WOW store and a Supa Cheap store and those items will give me a few jobs to do tomorrow.

We both did a small grocery run to Bi-Lo at the Eimeo turnoff.

Small grocery run??? Almost $80, mostly fruit n veg, no meat but combined with groceries in the fridge, freezer and pantry we have enough until mid-week. Donnis is still coming to grips with buying smaller amounts of groceries often. We simply do not have the room in the fridge or the freezer to buy all the stuff on special. We have plenty of pantry room. When we eventually get out west again, fresh fruit, meat and veggies will be in short supply and there will be less choice.

Donnis son Peter is home from working in Western Australia so she went to call on him late this afternoon before he heads off to west Oz again.

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