Archive for October, 2011

222. Sunday 30th October 2011. Another full week at North Mackay. Another week closer to being on the road again…

30/10/2011

No photos this week.

Monday 24th October

It was Donnis day off and she chose to stay at the house and do a few chores in the house and WWWGO.

I have spent the last week at the house and WWWGO and wanted a little time away. Last week the Canelands Shopping Centre unveiled their extensions including a two level Myers store. The centre is now called Canelands Central and it is surprisingly huge. The extensions increased the centre by three times its previous size. There is now another level and the food court is in a huge glass walled and glass domed area overlooking the Pioneer River.

ego venit ego saw ego eram infigo

I came, I saw, I was impressed.

Tuesday 25th October

Another hot day in the tropics but a cool ocean breeze umm err, breezed in after lunch. The co-pilot was at work so I did a bit of tidying around the yard then washed and polished the cabin of WWWGO. Pretty much, that was my day.

Wednesday 26th October.

The co-pilot had a day off so we cleaned a bit more of the house. We removed nails and screws and cheap curtain brackets and thumbtacks from the walls. They were a legacy of the tenant. Walls were washed in preparation for painting.

Back in the last week of June this year, I wrote about making Cumquat Brandy. Today we opened the smaller of the two containers and had a testing tipple or two. Or was that three for the co-pilot?

Hmmm! First thoughts are the liqueur is tasty, it is smoother than I was expecting and the cumquat flavour stands out. It is also sweeter than anticipated but as the two containers may have had more or less sugar, the next container may be a little less sweet. I will leave it in the hold a month or more before we test it. The cumquats are very nice but the skins are not as soft as I was expecting. They are chewy but the inner flesh is tasty and certainly pickled. I will look at somehow extracting the flesh – intact – before dipping in chocolate. In the meantime I will use several in a fruit salad I plan to make tomorrow.

Thursday 27th October

It was a hot day. More work in and around the house and a bit of a tidy up of the overgrown grass across the footpath.

I made a large fruit salad for lunch but forgot to include the cumquats!

Dinner was a couple of excellent Tasmanian Salmon steaks accompanied by asparagus and snow peas.

After dinner we discussed a rough plan for departure. More on that later as things start to firm up.

Friday 28th October

We spent the day replacing the insect screen in the 9 security windows in the house. The screens needed to be drilled to remove them from window frames. Then we cleaned out the accumulated gunk, mung and drool from the track before removing the insect screen then clean the security frame and finishing off with new insect screen and re-installing in the frames.

While all this was going on I managed to make a thick n hearty beef n vegetable soup. From scratch! For less than $7 of ingredients and gas we both got a monster serving of soup with another litre to be frozen for a couple of meals next week.

The co-pilot has not felt well all day and welcomed the soul nourishing soup. She feels she is suffering an allergic reaction to a wine she drank yesterday. The symptoms sound like the flu to me, especially as she works in the nursing home which is filled with sick people.

Saturday 29th October

The co-pilot was too unwell to go to work but well enough to do some more cleaning at the house. I removed more of the grass growing over the footpath and placed the sods in convenient places around the yard and watered them in. I then removed the sliding security door. The rollers no longer roll and the track is no longer straight so will fix both problems tomorrow.

This afternoon Qantas announced they have shut down the airline.

SIGH!

Donnis was expecting to fly with Qantas to Melbourne on Wednesday for granddaughter Amelia christening and a dental appointment. Unless the unions withdraw their action and Qantas withdraws their action she will not be flying anywhere for a long time.

For the same reason Errol will not be flying to Mackay to help with painting his house.

SIGH!

In that case, guess who will be doing most of the painting???

Another day closer to departing and resuming our voyage.

Sunday 30th October.

The doctor advised me some months ago that my bursitis will take a long time to settle and rest is the best cure. For that reason I have not carried out my usual long walks each morning, This morning I did a two klm walk – with Donnis – around the Gooseponds! Yes, the bursitis let me know it is still there but not bad enough to stop me walking on a regular basis again.

I bought new rollers for the sliding security screen. They fit, thank goodness but I need Francy and his rivet gun to finish the job tomorrow. The security door track and striker plate panel need additional securing rivets. That’s another job for Francy.

We sourced venetian blinds for all 9 windows and brought them back to the house. We installed the bathroom first but will leave the others until the house is painted. The bathroom décor just took a quantum leap from mediocre to good with the installation of the venetians. The rest of the house should scrub up well once the painting is finished, the venetians installed and the sliding security door finished and re-installed.

Internally, the rooms have had the walls and ceilings washed with sugar soap and are ready for painting. Thirty two litres of paint should arrive tomorrow – unless they were on a Qantas flight over the weekend.

SIGH!

While sourcing our venetians at Spotlight we ran into Kay D who is married to Max D a client from 15 years ago when I was a Finance Broker. Max owned a used car yard and a panel beating shop. He is now involved in the finance industry – home loans to be precise. Kay will get Max to call me and we will try to catch up this week.

All in all it has been a hot and busy day.

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221. Sunday 23rd October 2011. WE HAVE MOVED…

23/10/2011

Monday 17th October 2011

The day dawned bright and sunny but soon changed to overcast and a strong wind warning was issued for coastal regions from Cooktown to the Qld/NSW Border…about 2,800 Klms.

We left Finch Hatton Showgrounds knowing this week begins the countdown of our last weeks here in the Tropical North and a new campsite, perhaps until we leave.

Today we set up camp in the backyard of Donnis son Errol, rental property at North Mackay.

WWWGO in the North Mackay yard. Partly screened from neighbours and the street by trees.

The house is now tenant less but in need of a huge clean-up of the rubbish she left behind, cut out overgrown plants, restore gardens to the gardens and make the house presentable for rental or potential sale.

Interesting crossed palms in the neighbours yard.

But first… we had to get into the yard. The road slopes sharply to the driveway and the driveway slopes steeply the opposite way. Any attempt to drive in will result in the rear end of WWWGO scraping on the roadway. The gates to the yard are just wide enough for us to fit through so we cannot approach from an angle. The other problem is a tree has grown above the gates and the branches would drag over the front and roof of WWWGO. Thank goodness for handyman Francy who has done work for Errol in the past. He arrived before us, trimmed the tree branches, opened the gates as wide as possible and placed timber in the gutter to reduce the sharp approach. We still scraped the lowest part of WWWGO on the road but not badly. Francy and I spent another hour cutting out overgrown plants and preparing a load of green waste for the Council Transfer Station.

The wind picked up during the afternoon and early in the evening there was a wind driven shower for about 10 minutes. Tomorrow comes the sad work of getting the house in order.

Tuesday 18th October.

Donnis went to work and I stayed at the house to work with Francy. We filled a ute load and a trailer load with junk.

It was a wild windy day with on and off showers so after Francy left for the day, I just lazed around in the afternoon. Once the wind and rain eases I will be able to get out and about with the camera.

Across the street is a row of near identical Housing Commissioin built houses.

Wednesday 19th October

It was almost a repeat of yesterday. The same windy weather and while Francy worked on repairing some floor boards I began pulling out the sliding windows in preparation to clean all the window rollers, clean the tracks and wash the windows (which appear as though they have not been cleaned in the last 4 years) and measure each window opening to replace the flyscreen in the security mesh.

Thursday 20th October

Same weather, same work.

When Donnis returned from work I suggested we go to the North Mackay Bowls Club for a cheap meal.

Hmmm! Cheap meals seem to be a thing of the past. $15.90 each for stuff which is kept hot waiting for the masses. The club is undergoing huge renovations so we had a look at the undercover, all weather synthetic turf, bowling greens. They are absolutely huge being about the size of a football field.

These undercover bowling greens were packed with players when we visited.

The highlight of our evening was bumping into Mick from the Bucasia Beach Caravan Park who was our next door neighbour in May and June this year. He and wife Maria have been living there for 2 years. Perhaps in our travels we can find a job for 3 or 6 months and stay in a caravan park beside the sea.

Before going to bed the strong winds gave way in favour of a few showers of rain.

Friday 21st October

Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo Sob Sob.

This morning while reaching for a folder in the overhead cupboard I accidentally knocked out a paperback book called the Wanderers Mate, a compilation published by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia. It is a valuable guide to campsites and dump points. I digress. The book fell, landing with its pointy end  on the open laptop which happened to be on line at that moment. Instantly the laptop shutdown and reverted to “safe mode” and went through the process of re-booting. Which it did, except, it could not find a WiFi source. Anywhere! Despite my WiFi being turned on and broadcasting a high signal only 2 metres away. I spent the day researching and turning programmes on and off and rebooting, not only the laptop but also the WiFi modem. The laptop was telling me the WiFi receiver was turned on but could not find a signal within a bulls roar. By 4pm I had given up and packed the laptop in its carry bag ready to take it to the computer doctor when Donnis arrived home. She arrived home after 5pm so I cannot go to the doctor until Monday.

Sigh!!!

Just when I was feeling miserable and things could not get any worse, things got worse. Our TV turned itself off during the 6pm news. Despite changing power outlets and checking that other devices work on those outlets, we are resigned to the fact our TV has stopped working, or at least the PSU has and we may need a new TV.

SIGH!

During the day I took myself for a walk to The Gooseponds, one block from where we are camped and photographed the Geese,

Magpie Geese

Ducks, Waterfowl, Grebes and whatever else held still long enough.

This is, to me, an unidentified goose. Perhaps it is just a very old Magpie Goose. Any help from readers would be appreciated.

The Gooseponds is a delightful natural freshwater course running through North Mackay.

Just a small part of the Goose Ponds which stretches several Klms in each direction.

It has been enhanced and tidied up over the years and is a popular walking, cycling and picnic spot. Even one of the streets is called The Goosewalk.

More unidentified geese and ducks.

By making improvements, council inadvertently created a fish breeding habitat so went the next step and built a fishway. See  http://www.ausfish.com.au/vforum/showthread.php?72209-Gooseponds-Get-Fishway

These Geese seemed to stand in a group taking turns stretching their wings to full span while stamping their feet.

It was a miserable windy and overcast day.

This is a Great Australian Egret.

Saturday 22nd October.

This morning I decided to turn on the laptop and plug a cable into the modem so I at least have online facilities over the weekend. What The??? Magically, the WiFi has returned.

YeeHar. Yee har Yee har.

I checked the full TV power cable from the 240 volt three pins to where it joins the inverter and found the culprit. A loose connection at the inverter. We now have TV again.

YeeHarHarhar and a yip pip hooray!

Life is good again.

Sunday 23rd October

The sun arrived and it was a nice day with a constant breeze. Not hot, not cold.

Did lots of small jobs around the house and did the housework in WWWGO (that takes 6 minutes) I also rode the treadly (bicycle) around the Gooseponds bikeway to visit daughter Averyl. Alas, nobody was home. My Glutimus Maximus muscles were complaining after two days riding around the Gooseponds.

We get great mobile and internet signal from our backyard camping position. Probably because we can see the Telstra Tower from our camp site.

For dinner tonight I did Pork Spare Ribs in the Turbo Oven. One set of ribs with plum sauce another set with chilli sauce. The ribs were accompanied by wok toss fried asparagus and lots of garlic then topped with parmesan cheese.

Another week closer to getting on the road but no firm date set.

It is not far away.

220. Sunday 16th October 2011. Eimeo, Bushland Beach and Finch Hatton…

17/10/2011

Monday 10th October

This week last year we left Charleville and spent some time in Morven and Mitchel, shopped in Roma and camped at Surat. I made the comment I really must give up pies as they are expensive. I have since given up pies as they are a very high source of carbs and if I want to lose even more weight I have to stay away from, amongst other things, pies! I have had one pie in the last three months.

Eimeo.

There is lots of one off expenses in our life. Well, at least one off until they wear out.

Today I purchased a new battery for WWWGO.

Today I visited Centrelink to re-apply for a Health Care Card then had coffee with sisters Enid and Sandra.

Tuesday 11th October

The day started out fine and sunny but we could see and feel a big storm brewing and if the forecast is correct there will be a thunderstorm in the afternoon. We left Eimeo just on 9 am and started on the road to Townsville. This is a 400klm journey and should take around 5 hours. By the time we hit the Bruce Highway a strong and gusty north easterly wind had picked up and if was not hitting us nose on, it was buffeting from the side. We stopped for fuel at Proserpine 125 klms north of Mackay and had coffee a little further along the highway. It was hard work driving in such windy conditions and with road works every few klms it was a slow trip.

Driving through Bowen

High above the town of Bowen is their water tank. When the movie "AUSTRALIA" was being filmed here the local council decided to make their sign to rival Hollywood.

, the tomato capital of Oz we saw hundreds of workers out in the fields picking tomatoes. Pity we did not have the camera in the driving compartment. We arrived at Home Hill just after 2pm with another 120 klms to travel. The fuel gauge was reading a half tank. Yikes! Driving into such a strong head wind was taking a toll on fuel consumption. We decided to have lunch here and to resume the trip at 5pm when the winds may start to ease. Home Hill has a “comfort stop”

The Home Hill Comfort Stop has hot showers, toilets, undercover barbecues, camp kitchen and tables. A really nice set up with a camping limit of 48 hours.

in the centre of town where motorhomes and caravans can stop for up to 48 hours.

In the shade at Home Hill Comfort Stop.

Clean rest rooms and free showers are located just off the main shopping centre. While waiting we elected to have a shower and short snooze before beginning our travels.

Over the railway lines beside the comfort stop is one of the best Dump Points we have encountered.

The countryside is so dry and dusty and screaming out for a good fall of rain. As we drove through Ayr the picture changed for a short while. The town sits on the Burdekin River which has the largest dam in Queensland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burdekin_Dam  The farmers are happily irrigating their crops and the fields look damp and lush and contrast sharply with Bowen and Mackay where they are desperate for rain. It is strange really as Mackay suffered terribly from floods earlier this year and is now a dustbowl and just like many other parts of the state the lush grasses which grew during the wet are now tinder dry and that is why there were something like 46 grass fires across the state burning out of control over the last week. As we drove between Ayr and Townsville the evidence of those recent fires were along the highway, some of which were still smouldering.

We arrived at 6.30pm after a long and tiring nine and a half hour day on the road.

Wednesday 12th October.

Shelley has three sons and a daughter Georgia.

We washed WWWGO this morning then took Shelley and son Reece to Hogs Breath Café for lunch.

Reece

It was stinking hot with high humidity levels all day.

Dwyane barbecued some cod and coral trout for dinner.

We still cannot warm to Townsville. It is a large city in a nice setting beside the sea but apart from that it is a sprawling mishmash of old and new developments. To us it always seems to be a windy dustbowl and nothing we saw today changed our minds. Granted there are parks and lovely green and lush places but they are the exception to the rule. A nice place to visit but too many people. It worries me about the numbers of people we are going to encounter when we get to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Thursday 13th October

The house was empty by 9am, the time we left Townsville to drive back to Mackay. It was another hot and humid day with smoke haze almost obscuring the mountain s. In fact we saw fires still smouldering at several locations along the way. We stopped at a rest area Home Hill for lunch. This rest area is different to the comfort stop in the middle of town. It is on the edge of town at the entrance to the showgrounds. What a contrast. The toilets are dirty and in the mens, do not flush. It seems this is where the bulk of the el cheapo campervans tend to stay although there were a few ferals at the comfort stop as well.

I found a bunch of Silkie Chickens at the Home Home Showgrounds.

Roadworks slowed us at several places on the trip and we arrived in Mackay at 7pm. By 8pm a storm rolled in complete with lightning, thunder, wind and a small drop of rain.

Friday 14th October.

Today we drove to Finch Hatton Showgrounds and set up camp ready for volunteering for the weekends horse endurance event.

Finch Hatton Showgrounds. The concrete block wall runs parallel with Cattle Creek and is intended as a flood mitigation device. The Ficus Ficus tree behind WWWGO is the biggest I have ever seen. The ficus is growing side by side, metre by metre with an equally tall and equally wide of girth Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia

There are about twenty rigs camped here. Motorhomes, Campervans, Caravans, Fifth Wheelers and tents. I spoke with a German couple with their three children squeezed into a campervan. It was household cleaning day today and they had all their possessions spread out on the ground. I was so amazed they have been travelling Oz for 7 weeks and are having a ball. They claimed they were comfortable. Later in the day another German family camped beside us. They have an old banger Landcruiser towing an equally old pop top caravan. They also have three children and although they have more sleeping space they have to eat outside.

During the crushing season, a land bridge is built across Cattle Creek at the rear of Finch Hatton Showgrounds. The land bridge links roads so can tractors and bins can be brought to a railhead. Once the crush is completed, the culvert pipes are removed and the rock and soil are removed.

Tonight I cooked up a batch of mild Mexican chilli complete with kidney beans, split some capsicums into cups, filled them with the chilli mix, topped with a tomato and shredded parmesan cheese and baked them outside in the turbo oven.

Hmmm. We were thinking of leaving the turbo oven in storage but it has been handy and provided we have shore power we are better off cooking outside wherever possible.

Saturday 15th October

Due to the extreme heat and humidity, fewer riders than anticipated turned up for the Endurance ride. There were three rides scheduled. An 80 Klm loop for experienced riders, a 40 Klm loop for novices and a 20 Klm loop for trainers. Riders took a vote and agreed to run the rides at night starting at midnight for the open riders, 3am for the novice and 5.30am for trainers. That meant the volunteer manning the checkpoints had to in place by 3am. Do you think I can sleep knowing an alarm is due to go off in a few hours?

Sunday16th October.

It was a good thing the ride was held at night. There was little for me to do at the checkpoint in the dark but the riders are always pleased to see us at checkpoints as it gives them an idea where they are and they are on track and not lost. It was strange to see their helmet lights, 2meters above the ground bobbing along the cleared canefields and gravel roads. As they day wore on all the riders arrived back at base, tired (exhausted) and in some cases, dehydrated. Riders and horse just stopped in the shade and while the rider power napped on the grass the horse stood over them. An interesting sight to see.

A restful campsite in the Paperbark grove at Finch Hatton Showgrounds.

As the day wore on the temperature and humidity rose forcing people to head home early or in my case, escape to the air conditioned comfort of WWWGO and watch  Australia defeat New Zealand in the one off Rugby League Test.

219. There was movement at Finch Hatton, North Mackay and Eimeo…

09/10/2011

Monday 3rd October 2011.

It was a cool night and early morning but warmed up to hot during the day. The smoke haze is getting worse as are the fires all along the Qld coast and hinterland.

The smoke haze has helped to produce some amazing sunrises. Donnis off to work at 6am but managed this photo before she left.

Same morning sunrise.

Over the past few weeks we have been replacing curtains in WWWGO and even made some privacy curtains around the bed. The curtains have come in handy when the CO-PILOT needs to sleep and I want to watch TV or when she gets up early to go to work and I want to sleep. Today we tackled a couple of jobs which require a bit of upholstery work. Such as, re-covering the bedhead. I bought a cheap tack gun and carumba, it works good. Pretty much the soft furnishings in the interior have been replaced. It looks good too.

I called Telstra twice and on both occasions spoke with somebody in the Philippines and on both occasions was assured the SIM activation was being processed and we would get a call. I checked the phone every hour from 4pm without success. Finally at 9pm I got a phone signal!

That is not a good service.

Oh! They did not call as promised.

Tuesday 4th October

A miserable unhappy day which started out badly and went downhill as the day progressed.

  1. The signal on the mobile phone (LG KM900 AT) is patchy and drops in and out of service even worse than the old phone (LG TU500). However the latest phone, donated by daughter Averyl, does not have an antenna connection and is not a suitable phone for rural and marginal signal areas. I need a phone with a Blue Tick, which is suitable for the rural area plus has an antenna connection. Mild to medium annoyance.
  2. Later in the morning I went on-line to advise Centrelink of our income and received a message they wanted to talk with me. Long story short. My pension is stopped but I can re-apply when we stop work. As I did not receive any money anyway it is not a huge problem. However they have also cut out my Pension card which entitles me to discounted pharmaceuticals. Even to get a modified card I have to re-apply. Annoyance levels have been increased to Gosh Darn!
  3. Still later in the day I went on-line to transfer some funds from our savings and to pay the credit card. WTF? Both the transfer funds and bill pay options are unavailable to me. I called the bank on Skype and after several minutes, I could hear the operator but she could not hear me. I then called on my phone but the signal dropped out after 11 minutes without resolution. I will have to wait until our next visit to Mackay to see the bank in person. The last time I was at the bank I lost my mobile phone!              Annoyance levels have been increased to Grrr and ready to behead anybody who comes near me. Luckily I am on the farm and all alone.
  4. About 4pm I decided to start WWWGO to ensure the battery is up to the task and to ensure no rodents have crawled into the timing mechanism. (that is what happened in April this year in exactly the same location) WWWGO is booked into Iveco on Thursday for a full 80,000 klm service. We had planned to pack up this evening and drive to Mackay in the morning and then stay overnight before going to Iveco. I turned the key, lots of battery power, the motor turned over and stopped. Uh Oh. Tried again. Same thing. Then I noticed the dashboard warning light. The same warning light I had in April. I called Iveco but they are all busy but will call back when they get a chance. In the meantime I crawled underneath the motor to see what I could see. Ummm errr what exactly am I looking for? Annoyance levels have risen to code red. Snap. Crackle. Fizzle. Steam erupting from both ears. Flames shooting from the nostrils.  Invective gushing from my mouth. There is nobody here to hear me.

I sat on the grassy hill at the front of WWWGO feeling all overcome with frustration, grief, annoyance, helplessness, anger and a whole range of emotions I cannot put a name to. So there I sat waiting for a call. Then along came Red, the dog. He lay down beside me, looked at me and put his paw on my leg and sighed!!! I kid you not. Suddenly with that simple gesture from a dog I relaxed and even smiled. Thanks Red, you knew I was upset. The other two dogs sat nearby and watched. It was about now I realised I had given Iveco my telephone number which has poor service. I called them back and gave them the CO-PILOT phone number and sat down to wait. Later that night the phone rang to tell me I had a missed message on my phone. It was Iveco and I had missed their call. They had called the wrong number.

Tomorrow is another day and I have resolved a couple of issues.

  1. I will get a new mobile phone with a Blue Tick next time I visit Mackay.
  2. I will accept the Centrelink umpires decision and reapply for the pension when the CO-PILOT stops work.
  3. The bills and money transfer will just have to wait until another day.
  4. I will have to wait until tomorrow and call Iveco again to get something sorted out.

All of these things are beyond my control at the moment so I have to accept them and get them resolved as and when they can be resolved.

Wednesday 5th October.

Iveco have agreed to come to the farm, sort out the starting issue and do the service on site.

Nothing much else happened during the day except the strong winds, dust and heat continued.

Thursday 6th October

Iveco turned up late in the morning and found the fault within two minutes.

Not a mouse.

It was a low battery charge. Voltage had slipped below a certain level and the engine protection systems had taken over and shut down. Although there was sufficient charge to crank and possibly even start the motor, the immobiliser would not allow the motor to start. Putting jumper leads on still would not allow a start. He had to connect the computer and override the immobiliser. Then after switching off, we had to re-activate the keys before we could attempt to re-start. This is exactly what the problem was, according to the invoice. CONNECT E.A.S.Y, FOUND COMMUNICATION FAULT BETWEEN ENGINE ECU AND IMMOBILISER CAUSED BY LOW VOLTAGE, CONNECT JUMP BATTERIES, CLEAR ALL FAULT CODES, RE-STORE ALL KEYS, STARTAND TEST – OK.

After the service the battery life was checked and although reading 13.9 volts the capacity was down to 40%. The drive into Mackay should bring the battery back to full charge.

It is hard to describe the exhilaration I experienced once I was on the road and driving to Mackay. It is a different feeling to driving a car. I was on the road again, even if it was only for a short while. Once in Mackay we bought a new phone, a Telstra Tough™ 2 (T54) which has a Blue Tick and is a rugged phone, dustproof, shockproof and splashproof. I feel comfortable with this phone. It is not a Smart Phone but it will do the job.

We camped in the street outside Averyls house and Paul arranged a barbecue of crumbed steak for dinner.

Friday 7th October

We had a busy morning catching up with sister Sandi for coffee then appointment with Centrelink to give my hypertension a workout. Geez. If I was not already on blood pressure medication I swear I would have collapsed dealing with the public servants. You would be proud of me. I was not abusive but I did use a fair amount of sarcasm. Does sarcasm count as abuse?

Donnis made chicken tacos and a chocolate cake for dinner and I supplemented the tacos with a couple of pizzas. Geez 4 adults and two growing grandchildren made short work of the dinner. There were no leftovers except for a couple of empty taco shells.

Saturday 8th October

On the road again. I had four new tyres fitted to WWWGO and flexible valve extenders fitted to the rear outside wheels. Then back on the road again for the long trip of 15 klms to sister Sandi’s house at Eimeo. We are parked on the vacant block next door. It was a hot day with a hot northeasterly wind blowing making for a sticky dusty hot uncomfortable day. Sandi cooked up a Lamb Rogan Josh and a Red Curry Chicken for dinner. I’m afraid the diet has been tested at meal times the last few days. We have to get back to simple small meals with lots of salad or vegetables if we want to continue to lose or maintain our weight.

Sunday 9th October

Another hot day, prompting me to turn on the AC at midday while I ate lunch.

Be warned. Family photos below.

Baby Cooper, the reason we all got together for afternoon nibblies.

When the CO-PILOT returned from work we went to sister Enid’s son, Aaron’s house for a family get together

Aaron's home made barbecue. Those are aaron's hands cutting the ribs.

to celebrate the birth of Kelly’s first child, Cooper.

Meegan, Aaron's parther, enjoying a sausage on a stick.

Kelly. Mother of baby Cooper.

Jason, father of Cooper and partner to Kelly.

Sister Enid and mother of Kelly.

Mike first husband of Enid and father of Kelly & Aaron. For years the family has called him Mick. He and partner Jo prefer he is called Mike.

Sister Sandra. Sometimes called Sandi and or Shan.

Dave the builder. Beau of Shan.

After a glass or two of bubbly and a few snags and pork ribs on the barbecue we left and went to the local bowling club for dinner.

Full Moon Rising.

There endeth the week.

218. Sunday 2nd October 2011. Still at Finch Hatton but …

03/10/2011

Monday 26th September

The beginning of another week at Finch Hatton.

"OCHRE" held still long enough for a portrait shot - except I still had the camera set on scenery mode. When I changed settings he would not hold still long enough for a photograph.

Tuesday 27th September

The co-pilot had a day off so we drove to Mackay to buy some groceries and drop off some registration transfer papers to Averyl for VIRAGO – just in case it sells.

With the smoke haze all week, the sunrise has been of a very large red ball in the sky. With a little cloud it made for a spectacular scene. Pity the photo does not do it justice.

It is just getting light at 6am but the big red ball in the sky is really spectacular.

On the drive to Mackay the CO-PILOT suggested I needed a new mobile phone. I have had the old one for around 6 years, it needs constant re-charging and the keys are not working correctly. Being a Scrooge McDuck I resisted the suggestion. Once in Mackay we went in separate directions as I visited a past work associate and she visited the dress shop and an electrical store then met up again for coffee before going to the bank. While sitting in the bank I realised I had lost the mobile phone.

Sob. Sob.

Boo Hoo!

We retraced my steps, turned TERIOS inside out and upside down. No phone. We reported the loss to Telstra and advised them we will take a little time to decide on a replacement. Later we visited Averyl to deliver the transfer papers and she gave me her old smart phone and suggested I use it instead of buying another. Back to Telstra we went, had a new sim card made and was told it would not be activated until the next morning.

Wednesday 28th September

The sim card has still not been activated. A long call to Telstra and they claim it is because the phone needs to be released from the previous carrier!!!

I called Optus. The phone is not locked but…it still needs a release and the owner, Averyl is the only person authorised to do so. Averyl spent hours talking to ACN and Optus her previous carrier/sub carrier with no result. Both claim the phone is not locked.

Thursday 29th September

The card is still not activated. Perhaps it would be easier to buy a new phone outright! I spent most of the day researching replacement phones.

Daughter Shelley called. Her first husband Rod, died on Tuesday, aged 46. Whew. A heart attack was the culprit. When we knew Rod he was a bicycle riding freak. He trained every day and competed at everything in which he was eligible. Seems being fit did not help him.

Sister Sue called, her daughter Kelly had a baby son on Tuesday. Welcome to the world Cooper. Wow. Kelly and Jase visited me on Sunday and two days later they have a baby!

Geez, the quiet week has turned sorta busy.

Friday 30th September.

While the CO-PILOT was at work I travelled to Mackay to visit Kelly and son Cooper

Cooper at four days of age.

as well as to have a few words with Telstra. It seems the activation was never turned on and it will now take 24 hours before the phone will receive a signal.

Grrr!

Saturday 1st October.

The phone is not activated. I spoke with one of the usual Telstra jockey’s. You know, they speak English as a second language and it seems she was based in the Phillipines! She claimed the original activation never took place although it was scheduled. My second call on the Wednesday also put the activation in the queue. The Telstra Shop visit yesterday was also recorded but the activation was never…umm err…activated. She has promised me it will now be activated…just as soon as the activation staff come back to work on Monday. They get weekends off! I seem to recall a similar activation process last year when I tried to set-up the iPad. That process took a week!

Grrr!

A word about the weather. The days have been hot and dry with a dry annoying wind all week. The weather is worsened by the bushfires all over the state and accounts for the blue smokey haze which has been evident all week. At midday today it was 32° with humidity of 20%. Simply it is hot, dry and dusty and to make matters worse the wind today is quite strong, blowing from the western  flatlands on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. It has been rocking WWWGO all day and giving me anxious moments about the awning. It is too difficult to even contemplate taking the awning in by myself.

Remember this is the first month of Spring and already we are experiencing Summer temps although Summer normally brings cooling winds off the sea. Already we are sleeping with just a sheet.

Aaahhh! Spring is in the air. The nest is by either a Welcome Swallow or a Barn Swallow. Both look similar, both build the same mud nest and both fly around and rarely stop except to feed the young. Note the nest has horse hair built into it. Plenty of horse hair around this farm.

After studying my Field Guide to Australian Birds I am certain the bird is the Welcome Swallow as their tail feathers are shorter. When I approached the nest this pair flew around me in a sort of dive bombing formation and sat on the fence wire to watch me. It gave me an opportunity to get a photo.

Sunday 2nd October

Spoke with brother Allan. He reminded me it is a public holiday tomorrow in his state of New South Wales. Hmmm! If the Telstra activation office is in NSW my phone might not get activated tomorrow!

It was another hot dry day today and the grass is quickly turning from a pale green to a grey or brown colour. Soon the grass will be dry and crackly – just as it is at this time each year. At our home we never pumped water onto the grass as it will spring back to life just as soon as the first rain and the first lightning of the year occur. The lightning actually helps the growth process by charging the air and ground with nitrogen. Here on the farm the decision not to pump water is not so easy as the horses need the grass to feed. Melissa has been buying supplementary hay and pellets but will need to turn on the pumps to water from the underground bore and possibly from the dam. The dam still has some water but the level is getting low. Melissa and Steve started spraying the grass with water before they left for South Australia earlier this week and no doubt they will be pumping in earnest once they return in a few days.

We have some plans for this week including moving to Mackay to have tyres fitted and a service carried out on WWWGO prior to our planned visit to Townsville the following week.

217. There’s a Light, a certain kind of Light which never shone on me babe…

01/10/2011

…and I apologise to the Bee Gees. The words come from their hit song, To Love Somebody but has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. The opening words, There’s a light came to mind as I was thinking of a title to this apology about…drumroll… LIGHTHOUSES.

Yep.

Apology.

This all came due to a phone call from dear friends Geoff n Margaret C who commented I had already done a LIGHTHOUSE post about 18 months ago. They believed the photos were the same.

Hmmm! Could be.

Now, I checked the validity of their claim and found I did a post on lighthouses 6 months ago. It prompted me to review how I store items such as photos after they appear in these posts.

1. I do not want to repeat a post.

2. I may want to re-use a photo in a future post.

3. I want to quickly find all photos relating to a post.

Geoff n Margaret, I have started a new filing system.

Now, the other reason for this post is…because I have short changed our wonderful readers by repeating a post, I have decided I will post the next batch of RUSTY STUFF photos NOW instead of some time in the future.

So…

Let’s get on with the show.

This is one of those rare occasions where the photo credit belongs to somebody else. This was taken by my niece Kelly and is of Jason when they were in Cape York about four years ago. Jase found this rusty relic of a motorcycle.

From the tip of Cape York we move down the coast about 3,000 Klms to Imbil on the Sunshine Coast near Traveston. Imbil is an interesting old town and is worthy of a longer visit if only to see some of the older houses and eccentricities.

Rusty roof and cars in Imbil front yard.

Then we travel about 600Klms northwest as the crow flies to Morven.

Morven was an interesting old town with a mix of down and out old houses and ultra modern beside them. It was strange as Morven is a long way from the nearest town and has limited facilities, the nearest major centre is Charleville to the west. An interesting rusry relic, which regretably I did not photograph was an old settlers cottage (built during the depression years out of flattened kerosene tins) Of course the cottage was no bigger than WWWGO and housed a large family.

More from Morven.

Now we jump about 600Klms to the southwest and find Lightning Ridge.

Purpose built rusty church for a movie filmed at Lightning Ridge.

Now we teleport 1,500 Klms northwest to a cattle property near Moranbah Qld. We find the final resting place of a delivery van.

I found the rusting remains of a deck chair on an island accessible via a low tide causeway near Seaforth Qld.

Just one of hundreds of rusting yesteryear cars which can be found all over Lightning Ridge NSW.

This rusty old shed on the Yakapari to Seaforth Road, near Mackay is still being used as a feed storage shed. Can you believe it?

This is truly rusty stuff. No idea what it was or is. It is rusty. It is stuff.