Monday 11th July 2011.
Another fine sunny day but with a touch of cool in the shadows and breeze.
We drove Melissa to Mackay for a Physiotherapist appointment.
While there we collected our awning ends from Mackay Camping & Canvas (also known as True Blue) and did a quickish grocery shop before collecting Melissa and returning to FH. While away, Steve arrived home from work and was waiting to take Melissa to work. Yes, work. Although in a good deal of pain she wanted to go to work. She sat on a stool and worked the cash register all afternoon.
Steve started to pull the gearbox out of the Toyota Hilux then Donnis and I assisted in feeding the horses.
In post 189 I wrote my grandchildren would be taking part in a Tae Kwon Do championships in Melbourne in July. Please pardon my confusion as it seems they are taking part in a karate competition. Grandchildren Shelby-Rose and Anakin have been in Melbourne this last week competing in the Shotokan Karate Australian Championships. Shelby-Rose was awarded third place in Kumite (fighting) and first in team Kata (series of movements and techniques put together). Anakin won second in Kihon (basics) and a third in Kata. Both have qualified for the world titles in Lithuania next year.
Tuesday 12th July.
While Donnis was at work I started on my census workload training, review, familiarisation and planning. I became the master multi-tasker. One of my projects was to write a set of numbers or my name and mobile number on about 800 pieces of stationary. While doing this I also watched an instructional DVD, read the training manual and reviewed the workbook. Boring and repetitive as some of the tasks were I still managed to put in about 6 solid hours and will do a similar amount tomorrow.
Of course while all this was happening sitting at my table inside WWWGO the sun was shining outside but it was a bit cool anywhere in the shade and breeze. From where I sit the view looks over a couple of horse paddocks on the gullies and hillsides. From the back (bedroom) window the view looks over vast sugar cane fields undulating towards Mackay, unseen and unseeable, in the distance. At the doorway, the three dogs, Ochre, Pearl and Red wait patiently in the shade for the next time I throw a ball for them to chase.
Sigh! Although it is a workday, the surroundings and warm sunlight just bring a measure of contentment to the tasks.
In the meantime Steve continued to pull out the Hilux gearbox and clean the gears. At least one bearing was broken and the main thrust shaft was badly worn. It looks like another work day for the four of us tomorrow.
Wednesday 13th July
Clouds rolled in for part of the day although the temperature did get up to 26° in the afternoon when it was sunny.
I spoke via Skype with a friend, Margaret C from Bomaderry in NSW. She was telling how the temps were way down and at mid-morning was still around 10° and colder gloomier weather was on its way.
Steve continued to work on the HiLux gearbox, Donnis went to work at Nanyima, Melissa went to work in pain at the garage and I continued on with my census materials, refreshing knowledge and packing the delivery bag.
Apart from that, the usual routine of feeding horses, chooks and dogs continued. Oh, of course throwing a ball for the dogs at various times.
With the cloud cover the temperature has not dropped at night and we were down to one blanket and at one stage that was kicked off the bed and we slept with just a sheet.
Sigh! Winter in the tropics can be tough at times.
Thursday 14th July
Melissa and Steve went to a funeral today while we stayed at home waiting for delivery of a custom built innerspring mattress.
It did not arrive! Without a Con Note number we could not call the delivery people to track where it is and when we can expect a re-scheduled delivery.
While waiting we did yet another re-organisation of our storage compartments and hatches resulting in a few items being thrown out while others have been packed more efficiently.
Mobile and Internet signal have been woeful these last two days. Perhaps it is my imagination but the poor signal, dropping in and out, coincides with the overcast weather rolling in.
Friday 15th July
Donnis left for work at 6am while Melissa left at 7am. Steve drove her to the farm gate while she drove the giant F250 from there. Steve retired to the work-shed and spent the day working at putting the HiLux gearbox back together.
Internet signal has improved today but still drops in and out although not as often and not as long. Mobile signal does the same. I hooked the mobile up to an external aerial and have a constant 5 bars of signal. I will buy a patch kit to fit the aerial and the Big Pond Elite Mobile Broadband Network Gateway Modem. Whew! What a mouthful. (I tried to buy a patch kit before we left last year but both the local Airlie Beach Telstra shop and the Dick Smith shop did not have any. They offered to order one in for me. In cases like that I say no because ordering stuff in can take weeks. (I planned to get one along our travels. Needless to say I forgot until now) When it works (that is, a good strong signal) it works wonderfully well. When the signal is poor (as it is at Finch Hatton) it is so frustrating trying to accomplish the most simple of Internet tasks. Although the modem is showing an internet signal and my laptop is telling me I have internet access, there is just not enough signal to be able to access the internet. Strangely, I still have Skype signal and although patchy in conversations it continues to work while internet is denied to me!!!
Late in the afternoon our custom made mattress from Made to Measure Mattresses arrived. The good truck driver brought it all the way to the front door. It is a good deal heavier than the old foamy and is about 75mm thicker. It is a perfect fit, allowing 15mm all round to allow room to tuck in sheets and blankets. By the time Donnis and I struggled to get it inside WWWGO and while I was clearing away the packing, Donnis started to make the bed.
I really wanted to get a photo of this very attractive, well made and comfortable mattress. I did manage to get a photo after Donnis had put the extra pillow top mattress protector in place. This mattress is firm but soft and we no longer roll into the middle of the bed.
Saturday 16th July.
After a comfortable cosy night, Donnis was off to work at 6am while I stayed in bed and dozed for another hour.
Today I crawled around on my stomach and my back to finally solve why our spice drawer sticks. It always has, ever since we bought WWWGO. I finally found the problem. In the original construction of the cupboard, it would seem the framework was not square so the chippies stuck little wedges of wood behind the drawer rails to straighten things up. In the process the drawer rails were out of alignment and once closed, the drawer wheel dropped off the track. This could only be seen by removing the drawer below, and while laying on my back armed with a bright LED torch, watch the drawer movement. I used the same chippy technique by moving the wedges further to the rear of the tracks and hey presto it works as it should.
After that I looked at the best place to mount our mobile/broadband antenna. Originally it came with a window mounting kit. I will mount it on the back bedroom window, high up on the outside and run the inside cable under the overhead lockers. I checked and can get 5 bars of signal with the antenna and only one bar without it.
Sunday 17th July
Donnis went to work at 6am and the day dawned overcast, drizzly rain and low lying cloud. As the day progressed the sun came out in patches and by mid afternoon there was a reversal of activity and sunny skies with patches of cloud appeared.
I took the opportunity to take a ride on Virago further along Finch Hatton Gorge road, virtually to the gorge itself but mainly to investigate a Forest Flyer activity. (http://www.forestflying.com/main.html)
I got as far as the sign on the gate. There was one lonely vehicle parked on the track outside and no sounds or visibility of anybody in the area. I decided not to walk past the gate as the tour costs $60 to ride on the flyer. The fee was 415 just to enter the property. Further up the track, after riding over three creek crossings I stopped at Platypus Camp
which also seems to be suffering from a lack of activity.
I should mention this part of Finch Hatton is in perpetual damp due to the thick rainforest, high rainfall, hundreds of creeks
and hilly terrain. There are many private properties with signs on the gate reminding you they are private. Further, most of them remind you to “Keep Out” while other signs soften the attitude a little by saying “Friends Welcome”. I cannot help wondering what it is they need to hide as the forest is so thick, no houses can be seen from the track. This part of Finch Hatton is a few klms from the sugar can growing flats near the valley floor. This area has never been cleared for cultivation. The other interesting thing I noticed were the other signs on the gates declaring this is a Wilderness for Wildlife property. The people who live here would have a constant battle keeping the jungle from the door not to mention the constant damp and most would only see a few hours of sunlight on a good day. There is no mobile or internet or TV coverage except by landline. Very few houses have power. None have town water and all have some sort of septic system. No solar panels were sighted.
So we come to end of another week.