Monday 30th May 2011
Today was another of those perfect tropical days. Brilliant sunshine, no clouds, a light breeze, a little cool in the shade.
View across the creek to Eimeo Point and St.Bees Island in the distance. If it was not for the water it would look like a scene from Afghanistan.
The local dog catcher called into the park at midday. Just out of my line of vision (I was too polite to get up and go over and watch) a group of local campers and the park manager all seemed to be offering help. At least there were no raised voices or loud barking or shouting. Shortly, the catcher emerged with a dog on a lead. Then without any fuss the catcher lowered a cage at the back of the ute, the dog was led in, the cage raised and slid into position and the hydraulic back section was folded up into place and within moments was gone. The ladies waved goodbye to the catcher.
Hmmm! Or were they waving goodbye to the dog?
Of course I was sitting in the sun in my lounger while all this was going on.
In the afternoon I went for a walk across the exposed sand to Eimeo Creek at the bottom of the tide.
When I first lived at Bucasia twenty years ago there was a sand spit on the edge of Eimeo Creek. Over the years the sand spit has gradually washed away. In its place, a new sand spit is growing and creating a sort of harbour between the two spits.
I watched as a spotted terrier dog, leapt into the swiftly flowing creek and swam (um err I suppose it was more of a dog paddle really) across to the other side.
Here is the little spotted terrier swimming the deep and swiftly flowing creek.
There was nobody on the other side calling to the dog, just another dog. Bye and bye they caught up with each other and ran around like a couple of idiots playing in the sand.
Close to twenty years ago I joined the Mackay Sailing Club with a view to being involved in the sail racing scene. My very first race was on MARGAY. Race is a bit of a misnomer as we were the last across the line exiting the old harbour and last to arrive back late in the evening. I was bored as once the sails were up there was nothing else to do. Even raising the sails was an automatic event, handled by the skipper in the cockpit. I felt like I was only there as ballast.
Beachcombing at low tide reveals the remains of...something. Unsure what it is.
Tuesday 31st May
Normally this is a work day for me. Because Donnis has a new roster and now has an afternoon shift, I arranged for the day off. In the morning we drove to Andergrove and collected her son Peter’s ute. Peter is working in the wilds of Western Australia for two weeks and has no need of the car until he returns. Wednesday we both have off so will drive to Airlie Beach and collect the motorcycle. Pity we did not plan to do this Monday morning or even over the weekend. That would have given us two cars and I could have gone to work today. A day’s work is worth around $200 so that would come in handy for our build-up of funds.
The 9kg gas cylinder became empty on Sunday while Donnis was cooking dinner. I had it filled at the park office this morning. Hmmm! That has given us around 6 weeks of usage of cooking meals. It has not been used for heating water for showers and not used for boiling a kettle for cups of tea or washing up. We are connected to 240 volts and use the electric kettle and toaster. When used for heating water we achieved 18 days usage last October.
Wednesday 1st June – Winter has officially arrived. I am sure glad we are wintering in the tropics and not down south somewhere.
We drove to Airlie Beach and visited our house and collected some stuff from the shed and dropped some stuff off. It seems my Ratsak packs I left last September are now all empty and there appeared to be a rats nest built on the old recliner. We pulled the recliner out of the shed and offered it to our renter, Zac. He accepted. Donnis grabbed here massage table and has promised me regular massages. In exchange I agreed to leave my delightful closed cell foam rubber lounger in the shed. She also agreed to leave her juicer which has never been used.
So… we get rid of some stuff out of WWWGO and make up for that loss by bringing some stuff back. Overall we are probably carrying less weight in WWWGO as a result.
We also found my motorcycle helmet and gloves.
Friend Karen G lives at the top of Island Drive in Cannonvale and asked us to stay the night and of course to have dinner.
This is the view from Karen G house at the top of Island Drive Cannonvale. Donnis and I had our wedding "reception" here two years ago.
Last post I mentioned walking up the purported steepest street in Mackay, if not Australia. Mind you, that information came from the locals. I am here to say Island Drive, in my opinion would probably be much steeper, way longer and with doglegs.
We had a delightful evening catching up with Karen, eating a prawn cocktail as an entre̒ and followed up with Pacific Salmon in savoury cornflour and lightly shallow fried. Mango cheesecake with a cup tea for dessert rounded off the meal. Thanks Karen for dinner and the comfy bed.
Thursday 2nd June.
Karen gave us a lavish breakfast of bacon n eggs with tomato on toast. By the time breakfast was over I was ready to go and collect the Virago. A couple of friends of Donnis n Karen arrived at the same time I was leaving so Donnis had a long morning tea catching up with Karen A and Ros M.
Morning tea for four at Island Drive, Karen Donnis Karen and Ros
After I loaded the Virago on the ute
Virago on the Ford ute ready to be taken back to Bucasia.
I dropped in to the office to see my ex work buddies. Good to see that apart from Maria and Keith the directors, Joey, Darren, Ian, Sim, Syna and Brian are still there along with a couple of new recruits. Coincidentally another workmate, Sally called in on her way home from a month on the Gold Coast with her new baby. After a round of coffee, cake and question time I was on my way to collect Donnis and head home.
But first…Karen had a few computer issues. I was able to re-install her printer, load Skype, re-establish her Firefox and Google and set up a new internet home page. I could not resolve the wireless issue but as she can connect by LAN is not without internet. Her local computer guru may be able to help as I believe it needs a password to re-connect and she cannot find or recall the password.
We drove back to Bucasia and unloaded the Virago and surprise, surprise it started first time. I took it for a ride up the road to blow a few cobwebs out of the system as it was running a bit ragged. I will spend a bit more time sorting it out next week.
Arrived home to a partially defrosted refrigerator!
It seems the culprit is the 240volt section of the fridge (our fridge is 3 way – Gas (LPG), 12 volts when driving and 240v when connected to the grid)
I switched to gas, mumble grumble, groan, spit, cuss, complain and despite trying all the bits I know (both of them) I failed to get the fridge to live on 240 volts.
Friday 3rd June
What I failed to mention yesterday, because we were still cogitating, (do you like that word?) over a few phone calls we received. One was for a job which I had applied for two weeks ago and they wanted to set up an interview on Monday. It was a coal sampling job, 5 days a week and driving to various mine-sites and collecting samples. Initially I thought it may be a two or three day a week casual position because it was advertised as casual. Not so, it seems. They want a five day a week position. We never discussed pay or conditions as it already fell into a “I cannot commit to 12 months or a fixed five day a week job”. After all, we want to be on the road in a few months. We discussed pro and cons such as lots of money against we would need another car. Good long term job as against dirty, noisy and lots of coal dust in the lungs. If we stayed and took on a 12 month contract and buy a new car, what do we do with it in 12 months when the market for used cars and motorcycles is already overcrowded and new cars selling for around $15,000. I had a couple of calls from the employer but had to decline.
Donnis received a call from the Nursing Home near Finch Hatton. That was the job we wanted when we first arrived and that one is on the backburner for a few weeks. If the Census job does not happen we can still move back to Finch Hatton. I do not believe we would achieve anything by doing so.
I called the Census office in Mackay and it seems they are waaaay behind in their recruitment program and staff have not been interviewed or appointed and some area managers have quit before they got started. I got the impression help is being sent to sort out the local Census. It could be another couple of weeks before I hear anything more but I know there is 8 days training commencing around 8th July in Brisbane so they need to get a wriggle on.
Today I went to Andergrove to collect the spare wheel for Peter’s car. It seems the car is lowered and the spare will no longer fit underneath where it orta be. He keeps it in the spare room where he lives. Thankfully it was left in the carport as promised.
Next I went to Mackay to sort out the fridge issue. It seems the only people qualified and approved to do the job are in Mackay and will not or cannot do house calls. I have an appointment to take WWWGO to them next Thursday. YES. That is correct. I have to take down all the stuff I put up outside, awning, awning ends, shade cloth, tables, chairs, ladder, bicycle, laundry room and whatever else and pack them all up on the concrete outside and drive WWWGO into Mackay by 8.15 so we can be first job of the day. This is “F*****G” frustrating and tedious. After all, this is our home, it is not so easy to pack everything up to move it to Mackay for a few hours and bring it back again.
Thems the rules old boy. Want it fixed? Bring it in on Thursday. That was basically the attitude of the repairer. Sort of take it or leave it.
Oh well. These things are sent to try us.
Next job on the list is extension valves for the rear outer wheels on WWWGO and a set of chrome dress rims. Just my luck. The spare parts man is out. (he was out when I called him a month ago and he promised to email me a catalogue) the lady called him and he pointed her to the extension valves, none of which are the 180° curved version I need. They also need to see our wheels to determine what rims will fit. I need to see the product and a price list before I commit. I could wait for the spare parts man to come back but no time was given for his return.
“F**K” again. I make a point of calling people who are “too busy” and do not send the catalogue as promised. Today after making the long drive to the industrial area of Mackay for a personal visit the guy is once again “too busy and not in the office and again “
I Can’t Get No, SATISFACTION” (thanks Mick Jagger).
Another wasted trip.
Next I went to one of those cheap warehouse style places that sell OKKY straps by the truckload. Umm. “Waddaya mean you have’nt got any? You always have a whole wall of em” Sold out!
Off to Bunnings. They always have OKKY straps in all shapes sizes, prices and bulk packs.
“Oh, really, you haven’t got any?”
My shopping day ended there.
In my spitting fizzing fuming state I went to Pizza Hut. Hmmm. “What’s a Pizza Mia?” A small pizza. “OK I will have a vegetarian.”
“$5. Is that all?”
It was a generous size pizza, enough to satisfy my lunchtime craving and enough to mess up my low carb diet and enough to get the bad taste of the mornings non shopping event on the other side of the town, out of my mouth.
Saturday 4th June.
Today was a workday for Donnis and myself.
I walked 13 klms today.
As luck would have it, my district today was Slade Point. I got to see all the beachside area in all its beautiful sunny and mild winter best. Sorry, I do not carry a camera when I am working.
On my way home from Slade Point to Bucasia there was a roadblock with Police having closed off traffic in both directions. In fact the usual rubber neckers were also held back from the barricade, about 200 metres in both directions.
Hmmm! I could not see any accident but could see an ambulance. Perhaps there was a house fire? Perhaps a hostage situation? Perhaps a shooting?
Of course there was nothing on the national news and the next local TV news will not be until Monday night.
Sunday 5th June
It rained today and this evening.
Only a short work day and a short walk day. I walked 5klms although it all helps with the exercise regime.
Last week I placed an advertisement in the Mackay Pocket Trader for an annexe for a caravan. I received a response from a guy living on a property outside Sarina about 50 klms from Bucasia. After work I drove to the property and had a look at the annexe. It is an Aussie Traveller and although he has never used it, the previous owner obviously has. After looking at the annexe walls and extra bits n pieces I became quietly confident this was what I was looking for. It was in good condition and he hinted at a price which I found acceptable. That is, until I ran a tape measure over it. The length was fine but the width of awning was a maximum of 2.4m whereas ours is 2.8m. Although the rafters are the extendable type, they only extend to 2.4m.
Drat, darn, fizz, spit.
Oh, well, will have to keep looking. Maybe if the planets align with Mars we could afford to get a quote on a new Aussie Traveller.
Oh! Pooh! The planets were aligned a couple of weeks ago and Mars was in the alignment. Maybe I started my search too late!
According to a brief report in the national news, a home-made bomb exploded whilst being carried in a ute being driven at Mackay. The three men in their twenties who were in the ute were all taken to hospital. More information will come to hand in the next 24 hours.
Looking at the brief video footage I recognised the street where the ute exploded and was cordoned off last evening.