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

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.

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