Archive for May, 2013

317. Sunday 26th May 2013. Dentist, Hearing aid, family visit and another week in Fairfield…

26/05/2013

Monday 21st May

Frank had an appointment with the hearing testing centre today. After a passive test at NeuroSensory, http://www.nsu.com.au/  they advised he has good hearing in the “normal range” but mild to severe loss in the lower ranges. Combined with his tinnitus (a constant 24/7 ringing in the ears) it is little wonder he has trouble hearing at times. Before leaving they fitted him with a set of state of the art hearing aids which supposedly filter out the tinnitus noise as well as increase the sounds in the lower range. The aids are on trial use. After that it was a visit to the specialist who basically said, “good, good, follow their advice and that will be $95 thank you very much”. So far the hearing aids have been more of a hindrance than increasing hearing and filtering out the tinnitus noise.

Sigh!

Tuesday 22nd May

I put the hearing aids in this morning and went about a normal day. At times they seem to whistle when other loud noises occur.

Hmmm!

So far I am not impressed.

This afternoon we caught the bus to South Bank

This cyclist, cast in fibreglass was installed in this spot at the Expo 88 and has been presiding over the square at what is now South Bank for 25 years.

This cyclist, cast in fibreglass was installed in this spot at the Expo 88 and has been presiding over the square at what is now South Bank for 25 years.

and met sister Enid, her son Aaron and his wife, Megan.

Aaron and Megan at Max Bremmers

Aaron and Megan at Max Bremmers

They were married on Saturday on the good ship Solway Lass   http://www.solwaylass.com/  on a private cruise in the Whitsunday Passage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitsunday_Islands  Sister Enid was taxi for the day, collecting the newlyweds from the Brisbane Domestic airport and will take them to the Brisbane International airport for their flight to Thailand in the morning. We met at the big ferris wheel and went to Max Bremmers Chocolate Bar. http://www.maxbrenner.com.au/ 210513 max

Simply stated it was all rich and far too sweet but at least we can say we have finally been here. After that indulgence we needed a walk through South Bank and across the Friendship Bridge,   http://digitalphoto.shutterchance.com/blog.php?itemRef=77989    a bridge for pedestrians and bicycle traffic only.

Sister Enid with her son Aaron and wife Megan with Donnis.

Sister Enid with her son Aaron and wife Megan with Donnis.

Speed limit for the bicycles is 10Kph but we all had to dodge the zooming speedsters and frankly we could have done without that.  On the South Bank side of the bridge is the Brisbane Maritime Museum which was closed as it was late in the afternoon. We have put that on our “to do” list along with a ferry trip along the Brisbane River. http://www.maritimemuseum.com.au/index.php

"HMAS DIAMENTINA" at the maritime museum.

“HMAS DIAMENTINA” at the maritime museum.

The famous "PINK LADY" sailed around the world by Jesse Martin.   http://jessicawatson.com.au/pink-lady

The famous “PINK LADY” sailed around the world by Jesse Martin. http://jessicawatson.com.au/pink-lady

After our walk we decided on dinner at the “Surf Club” in the grounds of the South Bank parklands. Although the night was on the chilly side we sat at and outside table to take the opportunity to spend time with and congratulate Aaron and Megan on their marriage and share a meal with them. After dinner we caught the bus and were home shortly before 9pm.

Something we have noticed since travelling on the bus is the politeness displayed by passengers towards the driver. Mostly as they leave the bus they call out “thank you” to the driver. This politeness is not gender or age specific. Most passengers say thank you. I have no idea if this politeness extends to bus drivers in other towns and cities around Oz. I would be interested to hear from readers if they have noticed this politeness in their area.

Friday 24th May

I had an appointment with the dentist at 1pm.  (http://www.dentistry.uq.edu.au/ ) They had allowed 90 minutes to clean and polish my teeth. Being treated by dental students is fine, they are polite, careful but oh so slow. Apart from a talk on dental hygiene and discussion of diet, the best way to clean teeth and floss the cleaning began. Ooops times up. She only did my front teeth and will clean the remainder at the next appointment. The earliest is 2nd August.  Before leaving I had a full dental set of X-Rays. Sooo…after the next appointment they will next assess what other work I may require.

Sigh!!!

Next was a visit to NeuroSensory to return the hearing aid. At the moment I do not need it. Hmmm! The staffer then tried to sell me an iPillow! WTF! Why do I want to listen to music all night while I am trying to sleep? It is nice to have some silence during the day except I have the irritating sound of tinnitus with me. It never stops!

Saturday 25th May

Today we drove to the Gold Coast.

Again.

It was nice to have a look around and absorb the atmosphere of the lifestyle. We had lunch at HarbourTown Shopping Centre   http://www.harbourtown.com.au/ then went to the movies to see Star Trek – Into the Darkness – in 3D. The good thing about this theatre was the price of tickets. $11 for 3D movies or $8.50 all other movies.  When in Brisbane on Friday I priced tickets, $17.50 for me and $24 for Donnis. We both enjoyed the movie but I still feel Avatar is the leading 3D movie either of us has seen.

There is a reason for all this driving backward and forward to the Gold Coast. We will explain in due course…

Sunday 26th May.

Today was a rest day. In the afternoon we drove to Woodridge to visit Peter, Regelyn and Chris.

I have a question for our readers. On the Motorway, in a couple of places there is an additional lane with unusual line marking. Very few people drive in this additional lane until the markings cease then traffic moves into the lane. Does anybody know what the markings mean on the attached photos?260513 line 260513 line1

316. Sunday 19th May 2013. Family visit and adventures on the Gold Coast…

19/05/2013

Friday 17th May

HarrumpH!!!!

It is Friday already and I have not written about anything so far this week. So, far, no photo’s either.

We have both had dental appointments and we have been tied up while waiting on other people to contact us so we can make decisions.

First, we have placed our Airlie Beach property on the market. Auction date is 17th June. I am not a great fan of auctions but the market is slow and on the agents advice seems sound. Interest rates have dropped by .25% this month to a 50 year low so perhaps that will help the market. We did have some problems with the tenants who were trying to withhold permission for inspections to be carried out. I can understand their reluctance but it seems they were delaying us while giving themselves time to look for another property. Reason has prevailed. They will continue to stay in the house, pay rent until the house sells and a settlement date is known. They will have at least 6 weeks to find another rental.

We have also discussed several options for collecting my Subaru and Yamaha from my daughter Shelley in Townsville. As well we have a shed full of furniture in Airlie Beach, some to be moved to the new address, some to give away to family and some to be donated to St Vincent de Paul Society.

Today daughter Averyl, hubby Paul

Paul was not well and needed a couple of hours rest.

Paul was not well and needed a couple of hours rest.

and the grandchildren, Shelby-Rose

Shelby-Rose is usually quiet and camera shy.

Shelby-Rose is usually quiet and camera shy.

and Anakin

Frank and Anakin flying the Parrot A R Drone

Frank and Anakin flying the Parrot A R Drone

arrived for lunch and an afternoon visit before they went to Suncorp Stadium to watch the Bronco Vs Titans Rugby League game.

Averyl, Paul, Anakin and Shelby- Rose with Donnis

Averyl, Paul, Anakin and Shelby- Rose with Donnis

It was wonderful to have them visit but all too soon they were gone.

In the last month I started reading three political books.

1. My Life by Bill Clinton

2. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

3.Decision Points by George W Bush.

The trouble with reading books such as these is that they are of course about the USA and as the rest of the world knows, noboby can figure out their system of elections and why there are so many people with titles which seem meaningless. As these books are about the last three Presidents of the USofA does make them topical.

So… here is my synopsis of what I have read.

  1. Bill Clinton. Tough to read. He writes the same as he speaks. Words tumble about disjointedly in utter confusion. Every person he has ever encountered in his life is in this book with a detailed explanation of where and how they fit in. There is also an historical account of governors,  past and present and how they got into office and really I gave up when I was 9% through the book. Frankly I did not care about his presidency anymore and what he did or did not do. He failed to capture my attention.
  2. Barack Obama. The current President of the USA. He writes almost exactly as he speaks. Sentences are clipped and precise and spat out in a staccato fashion. Sentences are full of statistics and delivered in a no nonsense “listen to me and do as you are told” style. I gave up after I struggled through 10% of the book which also includes potted history of every person he ever came in contact with. I am tossing up as to whether he failed to get my attention or just plain bored me.
  3. George W Bush. He writes just as he speaks, slow and with a southern drawl. George also mentions everybody he has met and gives his history of state and federal politics and honestly he has held my attention, at least until I am 54% through the book. I am likely to reach the end. Not so with the first two books. Make no mistake the book is boring as far as I am concerned. It is less boring than the other two.

On the subject of boring I will also mention a book by Whoopi Goldberg. You know, that crazy actress with a fun personality and a wicked sense of humour?  In real life she is not that person. The book takes on the award of most boring. I struggled, really struggled, as far as 5% and could read no further.

This year I have read two books by Michael J Fox who by the way becomes political in one of them, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future”, where I almost stopped reading altogether. He also gets a mention by George W Bush in his book.

For a change of pace when I finish George W Bush book I will read a murder mystery or a thriller or perhaps even a recipe book. At least something which will keep my attention.

Saturday 18th May

For a change of pace we collected grandson Chris and took him for a drive to the Gold Coast.

Donnis prepares Chris for a flying fox ride at The Broadwater.

Donnis prepares Chris for a flying fox ride at The Broadwater.

After lunch we ran through the sand and water at the Broadwater, which by the way he claims he has never done before.

Frank shows Chris how to make sand balls.

Frank shows Chris how to make sand balls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Coast_Broadwater

The Skyline of Surfers Paradise as seen from The Broadwater at Labrador.

The Skyline of Surfers Paradise as seen from The Broadwater at Labrador.

 

A local metal detector company sponsored a field day for current detector owners and potential owners. Here they are searching for Imperial coins hidden in the sand.

A local metal detector company sponsored a field day for current detector owners and potential owners. Here they are searching for Imperial coins hidden in the sand.

 

Sunday 19th May

Hmmm! Can you believe Donnis and I drove to the Broadwater again today, by ourselves and this time drove to the other side, past Sea World and on to The Spit, entrance to the Broadwater.

Setting sun highlights the tall buildings overlooking The Broadwater at Biggera Waters.

Setting sun highlights the tall buildings overlooking The Broadwater at Biggera Waters.

There is not much we can explain about our trip except to say it was a long, tiring but completely satisfying.

Motorised Para Glider over The Spit.

Motorised Para Glider over The Spit.

315.Doors. Most often we take them for granted…

14/05/2013

In our travels we have spied many interesting doors. Many have been worthy of a photograph. In fact for the first year we never even thought to photograph these portals into another world. What follows, in no particular chronological order, are a collection of doors we encountered during our travels.

I stopped in Coolamon southern NSW while on my way north in October 2010. I stayed three nights in the council campground because:

It was cheap. Only $10 per night.

I had power and it was raining and cold. Power was used to fire up the reverse cycle air conditioner which was used to keep me warm.

The town had interesting buildings and history.

Most importantly I had nowhere to be for a few weeks so this town was as good as any to stay awhile.

 

Dunny door, Coolamon NSW.

Dunny door, Coolamon NSW.

All the shops fronting the big wide main street had a service lane-way behind them. Once upon a time all the shops had outside stables and toilets beside the back lane-way.

Typical stables and dunny behind Coolamon shops.

Typical stables and dunny behind Coolamon shops.

We travelled to Taylors Arm, the small town with the local hotel reputedly the place where the song, “The Pub With No Beer” was written.

Museum Taylors Arm, NSW.

Museum Taylors Arm, NSW.

This doorway to a Doctors surgery in The Rocks area of Sydney NSW is typical of many of the doors on the old buildings in the area.

Doctors surgery The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

Doctors surgery The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

Many of the oldest buildings in the New England district of NSW, particularly Armidale, Guyra, Glen Innes and Uralla are built from locally made clay bricks known as Armidale Blue. Typically the old buildings have sturdy doors as well.

Catholic church Guyra NSW.

Catholic church Guyra NSW.

We stayed in a caravan park called Kidmans Camp on the north bank of the Darling River in the western NSW town of Bourke. The area is well known as the beginning of “the back o Bourke” a colloquialism for “in the middle of nowhere”. This old outdoor dunny became a telephone booth then as telephone booths became obsolete it is now a curiosity.

Once and outback dunny, now a public phone booth on the Kidman property, now a caravan park at Bourke, western NSW.

Once and outback dunny, now a public phone booth on the Kidman property, now a caravan park at Bourke, western NSW.

This gateway opens onto a brick paved courtyard between two buildings in Uralla NSW leads to an empty car-park.

Not so much a door but a gateway which leads to an empty carpark in the once prosperous New England, NSW town of Uralla.

Not so much a door but a gateway which leads to an empty carpark in the once prosperous New England, NSW town of Uralla.

Armidale Courthouse is a wonderful old building full of charm and character. It is a pity the building will become empty in 2013 when the court is moved to a newer building. Council is taking submissions for future use proposals.

Solid timber doors, as you would expect, are a feature of the Armidale Courthouse. The courthouse will be closed and moved to new premises. The old building is open to submissions from interested businesses and groups.

Solid timber doors, as you would expect, are a feature of the Armidale Courthouse. The courthouse will be closed and moved to new premises. The old building is open to submissions from interested businesses and groups.

The old Commercial banking Company of Sydney building at Inverell in NSW has been used by a number of tenants since the bank was amalgamated with National Australia Bank sometime in the 1980’s. Currently it is part of the courthouse precinct and houses the Sheriffs Office.

The north central NSW town of Inverell has lots of old buildings ewrected when the town was young and gold, precious gems and other in demand minerals were mined in the district. This is the original Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Inverell branch doorway.

The north central NSW town of Inverell has lots of old buildings erected when the town was young and gold, precious gems and other in demand minerals were mined in the district. This is the original Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Inverell branch doorway.

Ahhh! Tumburumba NSW in the southern NSW Alpine area. Those doors suggest it is warm inside.

This sturdy pair of doors is located in the small NSW Alpine town of Tumburumba.

This sturdy pair of doors is located in the small NSW Alpine town of Tumburumba.

I stayed here in September 2012. It was a great base for exploring around the Alpine areas of Victoria. The barn was toasty warm if I kept the slow combustion stove burning all day and night. I enjoyed staying here and the wonderful views of snow capped mountains all around the valley at Mt.Beauty.

These wonderful Redwood doors grace the wonderful barn I lived in late August and September 2012. The property is located in the Victorian Alps at Mt.Beauty, just below the snowline in sight of Mt.Bogong and several other snow capped mountains. The barn was heated by a wonderful wood burning stove and provided I kept the fire going 24/7 I was comfortable inside.

These wonderful Redwood door’s grace the wonderful barn I lived in late August and September 2012. The property is located in the Victorian Alps at Mt.Beauty, just below the snowline in sight of Mt.Bogong and several other snow capped mountains. The barn was heated by a wonderful wood burning stove and provided I kept the fire going 24/7 I was comfortable inside.

314. Sunday 12th May 2013. Tooth troubles and house hunting…

12/05/2013

Monday 6th May

In the morning the mail arrived. I had ordered a leather cover for the Kindle Reader.   http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Black-PU-Leather-Case-for-Amazon-Kindle-PaperWhite-3G-6-Wi-Fi-2GB-Cover-Holder-/130904017820?pt=UK_iPad_Tablet_Cases_Covers_Keyboard_Folios&hash=item1e7a7ccb9c&_uhb=1    A cover which folded into a stand for ease of reading when on a table, or folded  with a hand strap for comfortable hand held reading or folded closed which turns the reader into auto sleep mode. The cover had to come from the United Kingdom and took precisely 10 days to arrive. The cover and the reader got a good workout today. The CO-PILOT had a dental appointment in the city at 1pm. She was in the chair for three hours and had a new filling and cap. While she was there I wandered the city streets…again.

Brisbane hosted the World Expo 1988. Much of the items have been saved and are set around various streets, in museum displays or still in storage. This bush campfire sculpture was originally made in fibreglass. It has since been bronzed and spay painted white. It can be seen in Anne Street.

Brisbane hosted the World Expo 1988. Much of the items have been saved and are set around various streets, in museum displays or still in storage. This bush campfire sculpture was originally made in fibreglass. It has since been bronzed and spray painted white. It can be seen in Anne Street.

I spent more time in the Town Hall Museum and Auditorium.

I went to WWWGO to put a tape measure in the tool box which was in a side hatch which I had left open. As I closed the hatch cover a brown coloured snake slithered from under WWWGO, past my foot and into a garden area beside the driveway.

Hmmm! Two snake incidents in three weeks.

Tuesday 7th May

Today started out as a day for study and preparation for Donnis job interview tomorrow. Just after lunch her new filling fell out! She was given another appointment for 1pm tomorrow. In the morning I had also booked TERIOS in for a service at Mt.Gravatt.

Hmmm! Time will be a bit tight tomorrow so I will drive her to the first appointment then drive to Mt.Gravatt and walk around the shopping centre while the service is carried out. After her first appointment Donnis will catch a bus into the city for her dental appointment.

During the afternoon I made an appointment for Thursday to visit an Over 50’s Lifestyle Resort at Beachmere, 100 klms to our north.

I also made an appointment to visit another lifestyle resort at Barney’s Point on the Tweed River, northern NSW about 100 Klms to our south.

For the next three days we will be go go go with appointments.

Wednesday 8th May

After dropping the CO-PILOT at her job interview I drove to Garden City at Mt.Gravatt and handed over TERIOS for a 120,000Klm service. While waiting I walked the length and breadth of the shopping centre four times. The CO-PILOT arrived home after 5pm with her new dental work intact.

Thursday 9th May

After lunch we drove north to visit Palm Lake Retirement Village at Beachmere Sands. http://palmlakeretirement.com.au/  Basically it is across the street from a beach on Moreton Bay and has lots of nice designs and some nice facilities. But… because it is built under legislation for a Retirement Village rather than as an over 50’s Resort it does not appeal to us as if we ever decided to sell they take a 35% Exit Fee. As well it is a little isolated and surrounded by low lying umm err tidal flats! During heavy rain the roads from the highway are often cut by rising creeks and rivers.

Our route to and from Beachmere takes us along three toll roads and several kilometres of tunnels. The tunnels have signs which remind you to “Turn Headlights On” and to “Turn Radio On”. There is a reason for these instructions. We also use a GPS which continues to function underground and where traffic accidents or incidents are known, our GPS gives a warning and description of the incident on our route ahead. On our return journey, while in the tunnel our radio station was overridden by the tunnel control room. It warned of an incident ahead in the right lane and for all traffic to slow to 60 Kph and merge into the left lane. As well, lights and markers in the ceiling began to advise to reduce speed to 60 Kph and a red cross indicated the right lane closure. Every minute the radio broadcast the safety message. A few kilometres further and we passed the breakdown safely and were able to re-join the right lane and continue our journey. We were impressed by the safety features installed and the ability of our GPS to function underground.

Shortly after arriving home late in the afternoon the CO-PILOT’s latest tooth cap fell out. That’s twice this week the filling has fallen out of the same tooth!

Sigh!!!

Friday 10th May

Today we drove 100Klms to visit Palm Lake Resort at Barney’s Point on the Tweed River just over the border in NSW.

Near the Palm Lake Resort on the Tweed River are lots of old small jetties. They have turned into ideal resting places for sea birds.

Near the Palm Lake Resort on the Tweed River are lots of old small jetties. They have turned into ideal resting places for sea birds.

http://www.palmlakeresort.com.au/index.php?cID=706    The resort is not complete. In fact only several houses are complete and the first owner moves in at the end of this month. The club house only has footings poured. The wharves, jetties and mini marina are in place as is the 26’ motor cruiser and the two matching jet skis. I must say this place has the Wow factor and will be a benchmark for all other such resorts but the prices begin where other resort prices finish. We had a wonderful hour before heading to another Palm lake resort at Banora Point.   http://www.palmlakeresort.com.au/locations/new-south-wales/banora-point-over-50s-resort/    It is about 12 years old and has very few facilities compared to newer resorts. From here we travelled back towards Brisbane another 50 Klms to Ruby Gardens at Eagleby.    http://www.livinggems.com.au/ruby-gardens.html   This was our fourth visit and we are comparing an existing house only 12 months old at way below original purchase price or spending an additional $50,000 and building from scratch. We visited a nearby wetlands wildlife reserve wedged between the Logan and Albert Rivers. We stayed for dinner with 140 residents to meet some of them and get a feel for this type of living. After dinner a Country and Western singer entertained the crowd.  What the…? The crowd with ages in low 50’s up to late 80’s were up dancing and rock n rolling.

Part of the dinner crowd enjoying the entertainer at Ruby Gardens.

Part of the dinner crowd enjoying the entertainer at Ruby Gardens.

A group was boot scootin’ to the music. What a wonderful, tiring but enjoyable day and the decision to meet the locals was the right move. We gained a great deal of insight to help us come to a decision. So far Ruby Gardens ticks most of the boxes.

Saturday 11th May

After a busy morning taking down curtains in WWWGO so they can be washed we drove to visit Peter, Regelyn and Chris. Regelyn worked miracles preparing home-made Spring Rolls and Thai Fish Cakes as an entrée. Then we watched the great Indian movie, Life of Pi. I can imagine what this movie would be like if it was filmed in 3D. The special effects and clear HD filming along with heart thumping tense scenes gives this a must see tick of approval. After the movie I went to the car and discovered the door opener would not work. In fact the key would only open the driver door. The battery was flat! Pete came to the rescue with his car and a set of jumper leads and we were soon on our way.

Sigh!!! Looks like we will need a new battery tomorrow. The old battery went flat in September 2011. This was a replacement battery and I am disappointed it has only lasted 18 months.

Another sigh!

Sunday 12th May

Mothers Day!

Although the battery seems to have held its charge overnight I still put a charger on it for several hours. I expect sometime in the next few days it will fail completely. We drove about 50 Klms visiting a Bunnings Hardware, a SupaCheap Auto and an Aldi Store. I put the charger back on and the volts reading was 13.8. By the time the charger indicated the charge was complete, the reading was 13.2 volts!

In order to set the radio stations I had to first of all use a code to unlock the radio. It seems each time a battery is disconnected the radio goes back to factory pre-sets and requires unlocking.

Sigh!

Donnis enjoyed her dinner last night including a slice of cheesecake and a chocolate pie. Either they or the main course of a baked pasta and bolognaise, full of cream and cheese, played havoc with her immunities. She spent most of the day with a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.

313. Sunday 5th May 2013. Fairfield, house shopping Brisbane and Buddha’s Birth Day Festival…

05/05/2013

Monday 29th April

I have been getting into the habit of waking about 6.00 am and going for a brisk 30 minute walk. Gradually the mornings are becoming cooler. The CO-PILOT manages to wake and join me about every third morning.

We have both stopped eating bread in many of its guises. In fact we have reduced carbs once again. We have not had an alcoholic drink in 7 days.

My weight at the commencement of these extreme measures was 81 Kg. Tonight my weight was 78.7Kg. I do not expect a dramatic weight loss but rather a slow and steady progression to 71Kg. If I reach that target I will look at a new target.

Donnis starting weight was the same as mine.

Wish us both luck.

Today we went window shopping.

How can anybody spend three hours looking at products with big price tags, not buy anything but enjoy the experience?

We did.

Tuesday 30th April

Not much happened today. We stayed home, did some housework and a bit more research on over 50 lifestyle resorts.

The CO-PILOT finally amassed enough study hours to comply with nurse licensing regulations and submitted an application for employment as an agency nurse. In the afternoon she received a call to attend an interview next week.

Meanwhile I languish behind with having submitted about ten job applications but not heard back from any of them.

Sigh!

Wednesday 1st May

We drove to the Sunshine Coast to visit friends Joan and George who are living in a retirement village at Kawana Island. We have not seen them since June 2011 when we visited them at their home at Seaforth, Qld. At that time they were trying sell their house. The house finally sold about 9 months ago and they bought into the retirement village. Of course George reluctantly (dragged kicking and screaming) agreed to the move. They are so busy they now have to keep a social calendar and George has become the village number one advocate. They have a delightful bright house and are only a short stroll to all the facilities.

We also made an appointment for Donnis to have an acupuncture treatment late in the afternoon and it was dark by the time we left Kawana island.

On our way home we heard on the radio there was a major traffic incident on the highway ahead of us. Sure enough, just as we approached the Pine Rivers Bridge on the outskirts of Brisbane we could see the flashing lights of Police, Ambulance and Fire trucks. We were thankful the incident was on the other side of the highway as the traffic was backed up on all three lanes on the two major roads which funnel onto the Bruce Highway. In the night we could see the lights of three lanes of traffic and as we drove the next 30 Klms the traffic was in gridlock all the way.

Thursday 2nd May

We have been wondering that as neither of us is working why we seem so busy even when we do nothing. We also started a calendar when we first arrived and it seems difficult to find a free day to ourselves. Today I had an appointment with my RSL Advocate to assist with my application to the Veterans Affairs for some sort of pension.

Donnis continued working on her studies to renew her first aid certificate while I went for groceries and had a haircut and in the afternoon cut the grass in the back yard.

Friday 3rd May

We had a busy day but the camera was left on the back seat – all day.

We had our third visit to Seachange Over 50 Resort. We had morning tea with volunteer residents and were given yet another tour of the resort including the M$15 Country Club facilities. This place seems to be go go go for the residents who have such a busy social calendar of activities every day. After almost three hours of the tour on a 6 seater golf buggy we had to excuse ourselves for the next appointment. The tour continued without us.

Next up was Ruby Gardens at Eagleby midway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane. This was also our third visit to this resort. Again we toured in a golf buggy and we looked at possible sites to build a house as well as looking at existing properties for re-sale.

Sigh!!!

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

We have plenty of time to continue exploring and will do just that.

We left late in the afternoon and as it was dark we stopped at the Ikea store which was on our route. The CO-PILOT had a hankering for Swedish Meatballs for dinner.

Saturday 4th May

A stay at home day. Donnis continued her studies and I wrestled with a recalcitrant pool gate hinge and latch. The spring loaded hinge needed replacement but it had become rusted and welded inside the steel gate frame. That simple ten minute job took up most of my day.

That’s enough on that subject!

Sunday 5th May

This was a big day for us. We caught a bus at 8am for the city. (yeah yeah I know we seem to go into the city every second day) Donnis had a 9am CPR course refresher for three hours. I wandered the streets to look for interesting sights and sites

I once managed the Mackay branch of the Queensland Country Credit Union Branch. This branch in Brisbane caught my attention.

I once managed the Mackay branch of the Queensland Country Credit Union. This branch in Brisbane caught my attention.

Brisbane GPO (General Post Office)

Brisbane GPO (General Post Office)

The Queensland Club

The Queensland Club

Banyan Fig in Brisbane City Botanical Gardens

Banyan Fig in Brisbane City Botanical Gardens. Planted 1864.

and finally got to visit the Town Hall Clock Tower tour.

View of church from Brisbane Town Hall clock tower.

View of church from Brisbane Town Hall clock tower.

The clock tower is 84m above sea level while a new building nearby will be 220m when completed. I quite enjoyed the trip in an old fashioned cage type lift which is still operated by hand controls. As a teenager working in the city of Sydney I often experienced this type of lift some of which had to be operated by whoever was in the lift. Most however had a lift operator who would describe the goods for sale on each floor of a department store. It was quote common to hear the operator say something like, “Second floor ladies fashions, lingerie, underwear and shoes” etc.

I found the beautiful sandstone original Government Printing Offices which has an interesting past. Please enlarge the image by clicking on it. You can then read the history.

Queensland Printing Office historical poster.

Queensland Printing Office historical poster.

Queensland Printing Office

Queensland Printing Office

Queensland Printing Office building information

Queensland Printing Office building information

Queensland Printing Office "Devil"

Queensland Printing Office “Devil”

Next was a visit to the Queensland Club opposite the Botanical Gardens http://www.brisbanehistory.com/queensland_club.html

I also wandered through the Botanical Gardens to the Gardens Reach of the Brisbane River   http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:212746/s00855804_1964_1965_7_3_600.pdf  with a wonderful view of the Story Bridge at Petries Bight.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Story_Bridge

Gardens Reach of the Brisbane River looking towards the Petrie Bight and the Story Bridge.

Gardens Reach of the Brisbane River looking towards the Petrie Bight and the Story Bridge.

We visited the Nespresso Showroom    http://www.nespresso.com/au/en   where they have many of their pod coffee machines on display and sale. More importantly at the back of the store they have formally dressed staff making a variety of coffees in the traditional cups. This was a wonderful coffee experience and one cup was enough for my daily fix. Donnis however usually enjoys a couple of cups as she did on this occasion.

In Brisbane Square we wandered through a very busy and culturally diverse Suitcase Markets. Basically you can only display and sell whatever you can fit into a suitcase or several suitcases.

Suitcase markets

Suitcase markets

The Laughing Cavalier at the suitcase markets.

The Laughing Cavalier at the suitcase markets.

After a shared lunch we walked across the new Victoria Bridge, the fourth such bridge at this location

Remains of the 2nd Victoria Bridge.

Remains of the 2nd Victoria Bridge.

http://www.yourbrisbanepastandpresent.com/2009/05/victoria-bridge.html  and wandered through SouthBank. Today was the culmination of a three day Buhhda’s Birth Day Festival   http://2013.buddhabirthdayfestival.com.au/   . There were market stalls,

Dippin' Dots Ice Cream of the Future   http://www.dippindots.com/home.html

Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream of the Future http://www.dippindots.com/home.html

Peach and Mango Dots

Peach and Mango Dots

cultural dances, music, food, food, food and lots of Buddhist hour long courses in the University auditorium.

Entrance to SouthBank Buddha's Birth Day Festival

Entrance to SouthBank Buddha’s Birth Day Festival

Performing stage at the Buddhist Festival

Performing stage at the Buddhist Festival

Donnis attended one of these while I wandered around enjoying the ambience and the crowds of people attending a relaxed festival. We sat down with another couple for a tea ceremony.

Tea ceremony

Tea ceremony

The protocol and etiquette involved in the ceremony is necessary to establish the mood and relaxing tradition. I’m afraid I was a little hasty in tasting my little cup of tea. It seems I missed hearing the part which requires each person to be served, then the host before taking a sip. Each person is served a cup on a wooden platter, then the next person and so on before the host takes a cup. Traditionally there are three mouthfuls in a cup. The first mouthful is taken after you absorb the aroma of the tea. The second mouthful is enjoyed within the mouth and the third is felt and enjoyed in the back of the throat. Whew! What a ceremony and I am glad we participated. At times I felt frustrated by the slow pace at which every little movement is performed as a ritual.

We arrived home after 4pm and the first thing I wanted to do was remove shoes and socks and sit down with my feet up.