Archive for November, 2011

227. Sunday 27th November 2011. Still at North Mackay. Still painting the house. But…this is our last week. YeeHar…

28/11/2011

Monday 21st November

“Monday, Monday, So good to me”. So go the words of the famous Mamas and Poppas song written by Wilson Phillips.

Except, it was another hot working day not so good to me. The only good part is, it is one day closer to leaving.

Another day of painting and other associated house renovation jobs. The project is looking good even if I do say so myself. I think we are just about finished but the reality is we keep finding things not yet completed, not yet started or not yet thought about.

Have I mentioned in the last two weeks I have had enough?

Tuesday 22nd November

I suppose the heat and humidity and the seemingly never ending work is beginning to test our patience with each other. We seem to disagree over small items. I can imagine how the contestants in the TV series “THE BLOCK” felt after a few weeks of working all day and into the night with little time for a break. Add to the mix my insistence that we are leaving on 28th November and we have a deadline to contend with.

We took time off to have lunch with Kelly and Jason with newborn son Cooper. We dined at the Northern Beaches Bowls Club at Eimeo and were once again surprised by the quality of the food, even the food in the hot boxes.

It rained just on dark while the CO-PILOT was painting eaves and gutters. She was sheltered from the rain so kept on painting. The rain did not last long and was more of a distraction and a nuisance than helpful rain. The rain lasted about 20 minutes.

Wednesday 23rd November

Last night’s rain contributed to the high humidity levels we faced today. By 6 am the level was 85% and midday saw the rate increase to 95% but no rain.

Thursday 24th November

I took some time off while the CO-PILOT continued to paint and clean. The time off was really things that needed to be done anyway. I drove to Slade Point to collect a cigarette lighter fitting from Len F. The cigarette lighter in WWWGO has never worked and the replacement I bought will not fit the opening. Len took parts from the old and new fitting and made a new workable item. As I will be running a GPS and a Black Box Video camera at the same time it is imperative the fitting works correctly. After my visit with Len it was off to do battle with CentreLink to apply to have my pension re-instated. Geez they have frustration inducing methods which really work well. I left frustrated with business still incomplete, requiring a return visit in the afternoon.

SIGH!

I went to a tent maker to collect the side awnings they made for me then into Caneland Central  to have a prescription filled and while waiting I had a coffee and a scone and sat at a table overlooking the Pioneer River.  It was good to have a few hours away from the project and to have some alone time.

Friday 25th November

Not Happy today.

Went to install a cigarette lighter in the dash of WWWGO as the old one was too short to hold either the GPS or the Black Box plugs.

Hmmm.

Once fitted it holds the devices OK but there was no power coming into the fitting. Len F came over to help but first we needed a testing device but it had a faulty positive wire so he rewired and soldered the wire and probe. Testing continued apace but the cigarette lighter never got installed.

Our gas stove has an electric ignition switch. The switch failed today.

Grrrr!

I gave up and went back to painting. Will find an auto electrician somewhere along the highway.

Only another three sleeps until we start travelling south along the Bruce Highway as we sail off into the sunrise on the next chapter of our adventures.

Saturday 26th November

Woke early and drove the CO-PILOT to work at Mirani

After I dropped Donnis at the nursing home this Falcon swooped and caught a mouse from the grassy roadside verge and flew to the top of the power pole to eat it. It was a bit hard to photograph and it became agisited and flew off before I could get some decent close ups.

while I continued on to the horse stud at Finch Hatton and a visit with daughter, Melissa.

In the evening we walked to the local bowls club for dinner. On the walk home and just as we approached the bridge over the Gooseponds, I developed a nose bleed. Just like that. Out of the blue (or in this case the black of night) We stood on the bridge waiting for the bleed to stop but each time I released the pressure on the bridge of my nose, blood would start spurting again.

Uh. Oh!

I have never had a nose bleed where blood pumps out. It usually just drips. We walked back to the house and I sat in a chair while the CO-PILOT administered a cold pack on the back of my neck and washed blood off my hands and face. The nose still spurted. Long story short, it took an hour to stop the bleed by which time I also had a headache and felt drowsy tired.

Sunday 27th November

Woke at 5am when the CO-PILOT alarm went off. Her last day of work (for the time being at least) WTF! I slept all night propped up by pillows. At least there was no more nose bleed during the night.

It was a very hot day with little or no breeze but high humidity levels.

I worked on finishing touches and cleaning inside the house. All the empty paint tins and accumulated bits n pieces were either binned or put in a box for Francie to use.

Also some cleaning and packing work on WWWGO. When the CO-PILOT arrived home we both started packing and more finishing touches were carried out on the house. We discussed leaving in the morning.

We will not set the alarm but if we wake early, as we mostly do, we will finish packing and try to get on the road by 7am before the mad rush hours and have breakfast along the highway. If not we will breakfast one last time here, wash up and wait until 9am to leave.

We shall see which option pans out.

This time next post should see us on the Sunshine Coast.

See you then.

225. Sunday 20th November 2011. Another week of painting at North Mackay and the countdown to our departure begins…

21/11/2011

Monday 14th November

Painting gives me a sense of “get me outta here”.

It is boring.

The only enjoyment is when it is all over and you can look back and say “I did that”.

Today the biggest event of the day was the walk around the GP observing my fellow walkers/runners. Some are regulars and I see them every morning. Some smile and say “gidday” or “good morning” and I feel they mean it. They look happy and comfortable within themselves. Then there are the runners, intent upon their running and oblivious to everybody around them. They wear their iPod ear pieces and as they bounce along their eyes suddenly look down or sideways, anywhere but at you. They do this so they do not have to acknowledge you are there. Yeah. I know. It’s a pain saying “good morning” to everybody, sometimes twice but I only encounter about 25 people at the max, so saying “good morning” is no hardship. There is one tall thin woman who turns her whole head to avoid acknowledging other people. She is tall and stooped at the shoulders and she has a beaked nose. I imagined her as a South American bird of prey, the Condor.

See? I toldja painting was boring. I get my enjoyment out of watching other people.

Sigh!

We will not be here much longer. Another two weeks at most – unless someone puts a “Spaniard in the Works”. If you do not know what that means, have a look at, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Spaniard_in_the_Works

Tuesday 15th November.

Another day, much like any other. these last couple of weeks. I walked the GP and painted.

Wednesday 16th

I was up and walking the GP a half hour earlier than normal.

Earlier this year, around March, I mentioned I was going on a diet. It is a low carb diet. Not a no carbs diet, just low carbs. There are days when I slip into old ways and have some potato. For the most part the diet was reduce intake of potato, rice, pasta, bread, biscuits, pastries, pies, crackers, potato chips, corn chips and so on. Things like corn, pumpkin, carrots, are also carbs. Sugar, is converted to carbs. What the body cannot use it stores – as fat. My weight has been reducing slowly, as planned and as the CO-PILOT has recently finished her diet, she has also slipped backwards, so both our weights remain pretty constant. I have used some features of her diet such as small serving of protein and one vegetable, preferably leafy green. I also increased my salad intake and often had a fruit salad for lunch. Although high in sugar it is also high in fibre. Anyway to cut to the chase…today…Ta Da…I broke the 70Kg barrier. My weight which has hovered around 71, 72 Kgs for weeks has reduced steadily each day until this morning it was 69.8Kg. My trade mark “belly” is reducing in size and already my trousers and shorts no longer fit. According to sources my weight should be between 58 to 72 Kg.

Hmmm. Perhaps I can afford to lose just a little more weight?

Tonight we dined with my sister Sandra and her man, Dave at their favourite Indian restaurant in Mackay. The food was good but I suspect I will pay for eating it. Pay for it in the sense that my stomach will grumble and growl in protest at the richness and all those carbs. We also said our goodbyes for the second time in a year.

Thursday 17th November.

Woke at 4am with my stomach growling, and music going around in my head. ( I have had the iPod playing on loop while we work during the day and when I walk around the GP. One of the songs I really enjoy, but not on continuous loop in my mind at 4am, is Neil Murray’s “There’s Good Light in Broome … http://www.neilmurray.com.au/pages/lyrics_the_wondering_kind.html OR  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLQB0EzE50w ) I was also dreaming of painting.

Soooo. I sat in the house carport, in the dark, checking emails, reading blogs and listened to the drizzle of a light shower and waited until the dawn arrived.

As the first smudge of colour arrived in the eastern sky the birds woke up, calling to each other as they greet the new day.

Another tiring day, cleaning, painting, repairing, wiring, plumbing and everything else involved in doing a renovation on an old house I have had it up to the eyeballs. Please do not let me ever try to buy an old house and “do it up”.

Apart from the work the noise in the suburb is quite aggravating. The noisiest cars and motorcycles treat this street as a dragway and or speedway. As well we are on the flight path to the Mackay airport. Less than two weeks before we leave.

I received a 240 volt electric shock tonight. The CO-PILOT was replacing a blown lightbulb in the house and came to me to show me how the globe had become detached from the base. After checking the power was off I grabbed a pair of long nose pliers with the intention of slowly twisting out the brass lightbulb base. With one hand clutching the pliers ready to grab the base, I reached out to hold the lightfitting cowling to steady it. Once I touched the cowling I received a heavy dose of electrical shock. It scared me and left my left arm and hand numb for some time afterwards.

Hmmm! I am guessing the fitting is incorrectly wired as although the power is off, it seems the metal of the cowling is still “live”.  It probably explains why the bulb broke away from the base as the glue has become “cooked” as has the screw in fitting itself. The entire fitting will need to be replaced and professionally fitted.

Friday 18th November

Just a tidy up day today. Painting has been put on hold. The Real estate lady came around to take photos in preparation for listing the house for rental. At 3pm …I know I know, that is when school lets out and traffic would be horrendous, it was … we left the house for a weekend away in WWWGO. We were off to join our friends from the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, Mackay Sugarloafers Chapter annual Christmas Dinner at the Retreat Hotel near Nebo,

At the free campground at the Retreat Hotel.

about 90 Klms from Mackay. We arrived late in the afternoon and set up camp and socialised with friends.

In September 2010 when we last travelled this road, I commented on the number of signs marking where accidents occurred beside the road.  It seems there are more signs this year in line with huge volumes of traffic caused by the opening of many new coal mines in the Bowen Basin. Much of the workforce is now classed as FIFO – Fly In Fly Out. The workforce is usually bussed to Mackay at the end of their rostered days on. Many of course live in Mackay and choose to drive themselves and this is where the troubles begin. After completing a 12 hour shift after up to seven days straight, many workers jump in their cars and drive to Mackay, in some cases two and a half hours away. Instead of showering and getting some sleep they drive tired. Add to the mix where many stop for a “couple of beers”, add darkness and a heavy foot as well as using a mobile phone. Add also the unpredictability of cattle and kangaroos suddenly jumping onto the road and it soon becomes apparent why there are so many accidents on this one stretch of road with the highest number of accidents.

Saturday 19th November

A great day of talking, socialising, helping other members with their computer problems and being helped with my electrical problems. . The co-pilot and I walked barefoot along the sandy Denison Creek and relaxed in the coolness away from the heat just above the high creek banks. Christmas dinner at the Retreat Hotel near Nebo was the worst we have ever encountered. Not worth the $25 a head the hotel was charging. I think the chapter will be looking at a new venue next year. For some reason I was struggling to stay awake despite the efforts of tuneless, talentless revellers a few metres from my bed. I fell asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

Sunday 20th November

After the monthly meeting and a long morning tea and socialising and saying our goodbyes again we left the Retreat to head back to North Mackay. Along the way we stopped at Palmyra Go Kart Track to see the last race of the State Titles and to catch up with sister Sandra and Dave. Then a trip to visit daughter, Averyl to end a relaxing but tiring weekend.

A break away from working on the house was most welcome.

We also blew our diets this weekend where we ate not only too much but ate all the things we do not normally eat. It was all for a good cause – catching up with old friends.

Tomorrow I start painting again.

Tomorrow we start our diets again.

224. Sunday 13th October 2011. Painting a Masterpiece in North Mackay and the countdown to leaving commences…

13/11/2011

Monday 7th November

No photos’ this week because we have been painting and no time off for good behaviour.

Up at 5.45am and a brisk walk around the GP. The walk is again becoming a regular feature of my day and the Bursitis is reasonably under control. At this time of day, on a Monday, the beginning of the working week I could see, hear and smell the city coming to life.

The duck lady at the GP was walking along the edge of the water carrying her load of feed for the geese, ducks, grebes and whatever else decides to feed on the goodies she supplies. There was a procession of water birds strung out behind her, waddling, swimming or flying to her chosen feeding spot.

Another interesting sight is the lady who takes her dog for a walk in a pram! So the dog is perambulating rather than walking.

I collected Errol from the airport at 10.30 and although he has been awake since 4am he was quickly involved in painting ceilings in the house. If we can keep up this rate of progress we should have all the painting completed by the weekend.

Tuesday 8th November

Another long day of preparation and painting. Good progress was made. We drove to the airport and collected the CO-PILOT then we went to Souths Leagues Club for dinner. I know, I know, I said we would never eat there again. Once again they stuffed us up. The Two for One Tuesday deals now only applies to club members. By then we had queued to get into the dining room then queued to order our meal. We could have joined the club for $2.50 each but it would mean relinquishing our position at the order counter, go to the front desk, complete membership applications then line up again. Member meals are cheaper by $2 and all drinks are discounted to members.

Wednesday 9th November

More painting and all rooms and ceilings have at least one coat, some two and some even have three coats. All the doorways need the gloss trim to be painted as well as the kick boards at floor level. Masking tape is in place ready for tomorrow.

Tonight we dined at North Mackay Bowls Club. The CO-PILOT and I paid $2.20 each to become members until the end of December.

I have previously mentioned any plans we make are set in jelly. We plan to leave by the end of the month and things are shaping up that we will. I will not disclose an exact date until we are sure we are leaving.

Thursday 10th November

How much more boring can I be??? We are still painting. Painting white over dark colours such as red and purple needs 763 (do I exaggerate?) coats to hide the colour underneath.

SIGH!

Do I have anything else to report? Apart from the fact the CO-PILOT was offered an agency nursing job for 5 weeks at a 10 bed hospital at Dirranbandi in western Queensland. The job starts 19th December. Of course we said yes.

Somebody via another agency said yes faster than we did and the job is gone.

SIGH!

Remember, our plans are set in jelly so another opportunity will come along.

Sometime.

Friday 11th November.

Armistice Day and at 11am we were painting and forgot to observe a minute silence.

Saturday 12th November.

We dropped Errol off at Mackay Airport, drove to daughter Averyl’s house, collected VIRAGO and rode it to niece Kelly’s where it will stay until it can be sold. Then it was back to the house where we spent the day painting the ceiling and walls.

Sigh! Will this job ever end?

Sunday 13th November

I apologise dear reader. The boring painting in North Mackay is coming to an end. Today I commenced painting gloss coats on the window frames and installed four sets of venetian blinds. They look pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

Also coming to an end is our sojourn in this area. The next two weeks will be a busy time for us with a round of lunches and dinners and coffee meetings before we leave.

I am feeling the anticipation building within me and just like when we left Airlie Beach last year, the leaving will end up being an anti-climax.

In the meantime there is still some painting to be completed

223. Sunday 6th November 2011. Still at North Mackay and the housepainting begins…

06/11/2011

Monday 31st October 2011.

Up at first light for a walk around nearby The Gooseponds.

I noticed a strange fruit lying on the ground under an equally strange leaved tree. Another walker stopped to tell me she thought it was a Sausage Tree.

Odd shaped sausages on the Sausage Tree.

What the…!!! Sausage Tree!!! Since childhood I always thought sausages were made by the butcher! A bit of research shows, in fact, it is a Sausage Tree. You would not want to eat the fruit which was very heavy and seems to have a skin as tough as Rhinoceros skin. The Google results explain better than me. http://waynesword.palomar.edu/sausage.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kigelia

Tuesday 1st November

Along with Francy I spent the day cleaning, repairing and modifying things around the house. Our brief is to carry out maintenance so the house is functional. Lights which umm err, light. Doors which open and close. That sort of stuff. All security screens and doors cleaned and solidly in place. All nail holes, old door fittings and dents in walls to be filled with plaster and sanded. Venetian blinds on all windows. Interior and exterior walls painted white. Today we completed windows and doors and plastered where required. We will allow two days for the plaster to dry before sanding and preparing for painting. Sixty four litres of paint were delivered along with a new gas stove and oven. Things are moving along. By 3pm Francy and I had had enough and called it a day.

Wednesday 2nd November.

Woke at 4.30am to get the CO-PILOT dressed, fed, packed and off to the airport to catch a 6.45am  Qantas Link flight to Brisbane where she changed to a Qantas flight to Melbourne. She called me on arrival at Brisbane and during the call I heard lots of frantic emergency sirens. Fire trucks, Ambulance and Police in the near distance. We hear sirens every day but there seemed to be many more at once. Later when I was leaving for Bunnings I could smell wood smoke and assumed there was a house fire in the area. Tonight on the news I heard there was indeed a house fire, right here in North Mackay and there was a fatality, a 56 year old man. The Police are treating the fire as suspicious and had detained two men, located elsewhere in North Mackay and they were “assisting Police with their enquiries”.

Wow!

Apart from some hardware and grocery shopping I only did some sweeping and tidying around the house today. Maybe tomorrow the mantle of enthusiasm will descend upon my shoulders once more.

Thursday 3rd November.

Enthusiasm woke me at 5.30am. After a walk around the Gooseponds I started sanding the plaster we had inserted in the holes in the walls. Then the walls were wiped down to remove dust and finally the floor was swept. I removed all fittings from the bathroom in readiness to start painting tomorrow.

Friday 4th November.

Enthusiasm is waking me earlier at 5am. I spoke with Enthusiasm about waking me so early and asked if it could maybe let me sleep a little longer.

Hmmm. There is something wrong here. I should be sleeping until at least 8am.

The plumber/gasfitter arrived, installed the new stove and oven and looked at all the other plumbing jobs and promised a report and quote. I painted the bathroom ceiling  and cornices then sourced some moulding for a few walls. In the afternoon I washed and polished the rear of WWWGO.

The local TV news advised the 56 year old man who died in a house fire had committed suicide. Being the thoughtful type he left his dog outside. According to the news report the dog kept trying to get inside. How sad all round.

Saturday 5th November.

Well! My little talk with Enthusiasm yesterday seems to have paid dividends. Enthusiasm woke me at 6.15 this morning. A nice walk around The Gooseponds before the day heated up. In my walks around the GP I have noticed the huge variety of trees, most of which I cannot identify. Some are obviously native. I saw another strange fruited tree, similar to the Sausage Tree, with similar coloured fruit but looking more like Potatoes. And, as my Google research shows, that is what the tree is called. The Potato Tree. It is part of the Nightshade family of poisonous trees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_erianthum

Further in my wanderings I also found an Itchy Tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagunaria

When I was in primary school, these trees were growing around the perimeter of our school grounds. (What sort of twisted mind did the gardener have? Planting itchy trees at a boys school was sort of an invitation to evil. Countless years of pre-pubescent boys finding the ripe yellow itchy fruit, breaking the skin and placing the mass of barbed hairs down the back collar of another unsuspecting boy and watching the fun as he writhed in itchy discomfort, trying to disrobe and rid himself of the assailant “bomb”. Of course once rubbed the hairs cling to the skin causing an awful itchy rash for the rest of the day. The more you scratch and itch the worse the situation becomes. Some fun, huh!)

I spent the day painting the bathroom. With luck it will be finished tromorrow.

Sigh! I would rather have a day of rest.

Sunday 6th November

Another early morning walk around the GP before painting began.

Little Egret sighted while walking The Gooseponds.

Water Lilly pads on The Gooseponds.

I am so pleased to report that after another sweaty day in the bathroom, the painting of that room is now complete. Three coats of white paint were used to hide the colour underneath. Add a splash of colour in the shape of red bath-towels and silver venetian blinds and it looks…Wow!

Only another six rooms and a hallway to be painted before we start on the outside.

Sigh!