Archive for December, 2013

350. Sunday 29th December 2013. Christmas in Colli…Part 2.

31/12/2013

Lots of photos again.

Saturday 28th December

Donnis has two days off!

Today we drove to Narrabri a one way trip of 190 Klms via an unfenced back road to Burren Junction, Wee Waa (pronounced Wee War) and on to Narrabri. The road has no line markings and no speed advisory signs on the corners and undulating road surface with unmarked dips. It was a challenging 92 klms to Burren Junction.

Narrabri was a bustle of Saturday morning activity with a promise of a hot day forecast by an already hot main street when we arrived. Donnis had her shopping day, the one she missed out on two days before. What she had not counted on was the shops, almost without exception, closed at midday. Even the tourist information bureau chased us out at 2pm as they wanted to close. Hmmm! Just as I was getting interested in the cotton harvester display. Can you imagine a giant harvester worth somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars was parked inside the tourist office as a cotton industry display?

Harvester at the Narrabri Tourist Information office.

Harvester at the Narrabri Tourist Information office.

I gathered some reading material and learnt a few interesting tid bits. First of all in my last post I commented how cotton growing uses a lot of water. It does but by comparison to other industries it is a minnow in the water use department. For example according to the cotton industry propaganda, a 1Kg of cotton uses 1,500 litres of water. While a Kg of wheat requires 1,10 litres but rice needs 2,385 litres of water. All that is fine but consider this, a Kg of beef requires a staggering 50,000litres or a Kg of wool requires 171,500 litres. Where these figures come from is not explained.

The day was hot, as expected. We could not even touch the body of RALLYE due to the heat. The sky was an impossibly washed out cobalt blue, dissolving into apparent whiteness without a cloud anywhere.  Thank goodness for the cool air conditioned comfort inside RALLYE. Even at 6pm it was still a scorching 38°.

Nearing Wee Waa on the return voyage we were delayed while a large flock of sheep were herded across the road by a farmer and a dog on his ATV.

Sheep across the highway.

Sheep across the highway.

The towns in the area depend on the crops of wheat and cotton, often with the two crops on opposite sides of the road, while a few sheep stations keep the wool and lamb industries alive. Wheat silos and cotton gins are a common sight. We stopped at Burren Junction to find the thermal pools are closed for the summer season as the water is too hot at 41.7°.

Burren Junction Artesian Bore Spa Pool

Burren Junction Artesian Bore Spa Pool

Burren Junction sign and information about artesian bores.

Burren Junction sign and information about artesian bores.

WOT THE! Too hot? Donnis tested the water and pronounced it cold. I suspect the pumps at the bore have been turned off. As it was late in the afternoon Donnis reminded me to be aware of kangaroos suddenly jumping out from the roadside.

After leaving BJ we quickly picked up the back road and almost immediately encountered our first challenge. A small flock of sheep – about a dozen –were on the side of the road, I slowed to about 90 KPH as they started to move away from the road when suddenly one bolted straight back onto the road, I hit the brakes and swerved to my left but had to be mindful of not only the rest of the flock but also a deep gully on my left. I hit the sheep on the drivers side sending it spinning and twisting off the road while I struggled to maintain control. I stopped 100m further along the road. Bugga!  Thank goodness there was no other traffic. In fact along the entire 184 klms return trip along this road we only saw one other vehicle. The front drivers mudguard was buckled as was the bumper bar and the driving light was shoved back into the chassis.

Damage to RALLYE.

Damage to RALLYE.

We were both shaken but went back to look for the sheep. It had struggled back onto its feet and was somehow limping back to the rest of the flock. Grrr! 6 weeks ago I elected not to insure WWWGO. I took out third party accident and liability insurance only.

For the next 80 Klms I slowed several times to avoid kangaroos on road verge, some jumping into our path as we approached. It was a tense drive home.

Old railway bridge. The train does not run out west anymore.

Old railway bridge. The train does not run out west anymore.

That was not to be the last adventure in store for us. Around 10pm I was leaving the bathroom after a welcome shower. Donnis was on the phone dialing 000. A car parked in the front yard of a house across the street was on fire! Hmmm! The car is owned by the occupant of the house who has been involved in some drama’s over the past few weeks. We had heard shouts and a car zooming away up the gravel alley beside the house but took no notice until Donnis saw the flames. The volunteer fire brigade arrived and quickly extinguished the fire within a few minutes.

Car fire.

Car fire.

By now the street had quite a few cars parked a respectable distance away. Suddenly out of the darkness a man came around the corner shouting “What the F…ing hell is going on here???” It was the cars owner who was not at home when the drama began. Lots of shouting occurred but we could not understand what was being said. We went to bed while the drama rolled on.

Sunday 29th December

Sometime around 1am I was aware of the fire truck leaving but saw the Police 4WD was still parked outside.

The car is a crime scene this morning.

Crime scene.

Crime scene.

Hmmm! The owner was involved in an altercation a few weeks ago when he bashed his wife/partner/girlfriend and pushed her through a window. They both ended up at the hospital (across the street so neither had far to travel) Donnis treated the woman while the man stripped off when in the waiting room and as the Police were questioning him ran off, naked, down the street. Perhaps this is a bit of payback by her family.

Today we went to Lightning Ridge,   (http://lightningridgeinfo.com.au/)    home of the world famous black opal.   (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning_Ridge,_New_South_Wales)    The road from Colli to Walgett was probably the second worst we have seen for road kill bodies. Almost every 200 metres was a body of a kangaroo but included within the tally were wild pig, emu, eagles and other birds.

Giant emu built from metal spare parts on the highway near the turnoff to Lightning Ridge.

Giant emu built from metal spare parts on the highway near the turnoff to Lightning Ridge.

Flying emu express.

Flying emu express.

 

It was Australia's most difficult towns to carry out a census. There are people here who just do not want to be found.

It was Australia’s most difficult towns to carry out a census. There are people here who just do not want to be found.

John Murray art Gallery.

John Murray art Gallery.

Had we known the temperature today would get as high as 46° we would not have made the trip or at least not left so late in the morning. By the time we stepped out of the car at LR the heat hit us a body slam. The bitumen was bubbling and of course we scuttled into the first air conditioned building we found, John Murray’s Art Gallery.

http://johnmurrayart.com.au/   Once inside I began to feel unwell, a combination of moving from AC into heat and into AC again. No wonder us elderly folk struggle with heat exhaustion. This was a warning sign to stay out of the heat and keep cool and hydrated. We were keeping hydrated OK but staying out of that heat was a challenge.

The John Murray Gallery was filled with his humerous art of which we were tempted to buy one of his originals. But the old question arises, where do we keep it until we settle down?

After the gallery we bought some ice creams and ate them at the artesian bore pool which was a comfortably cool 40° compared to the outside temperature which also included a wind heat element making it just too uncomfortable to be outside, even in the shade. However the pool water was far too hot for anybody to enter.

Lightning Ridge Artesian Bore Spa Pool. Too hot for anybody to enter the water.

Lightning Ridge Artesian Bore Spa Pool. Too hot for anybody to enter the water.

From there we drove around some of the diggings and miners homes on the ridge. To live and work in LR you need to be an umm err, …individual. OR escaping and hiding from the law or other persons. The houses reflect the individualism of the owner and gives the area a decidedly unique appeal. We love it.

Eccentric? Who said eccentric? Not me!

All right, all right. Ya gotta be eccentric to live and work in LR.

That said, we both love the place…heat and all.

Of course all our viewing was done from the air conditioned comfort of RALLYE and we only opened the window to take photos.

 

IMAGES OF LIGHTNING RIDGE.

The astronomers hand built home.

The astronomers hand built home.

The Bottle House

The Bottle House

Lightning Ridge residents like to build their own homes or use other options available to them.

Lightning Ridge residents like to build their own homes or use other options available to them.

Castle at Lightning Ridge hand built from local rock among the moonscape of  tailings from exploration mining shafts.

Castle at Lightning Ridge hand built from local rock among the moonscape of tailings from exploration mining shafts.

Messages all around his property.

Messages all around his property.

The owner of the castle is sending messages to visitors.

The owner of the castle is sending messages to visitors.

Even on a Sunday in the desert, the garbage must be collected/

Even on a Sunday in the desert, the garbage must be collected/

Excentric house design.

Excentric house design.

Individual House design.

Individual House design.

Moonscape of tailings.

Moonscape of tailings.

The cattle know where to find the best shade in 46 degrees.

The cattle know where to find the best shade in 46 degrees.

 

Moonscape of tailings.

Moonscape of tailings.

A couple of windlasses in the middle of a tailings heap.

A couple of windlasses in the middle of a tailings heap.

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349. Sunday 29th December 2013. Christmas in Colli…Part 1.

31/12/2013

It has been a busy week so I have lots of photos to accompany the words. In fact I have split the post in two as there is a huge number of photos. I will post part 2 tomorrow.

Enjoy.

Monday 23rd December

The day started like any other day in this neck of the woods.

Hot.

That soon changed. A warm breeze rolled in from the north west. The breeze stirred itself into a gusty blustery hot dry dusty wind fuelled by the baked plains between here and the great unknown beyond Bourke.

It got hotter and more uncomfortable with that gritty fan forced oven of a wind.

I no longer feel guilty about sitting indoors in air conditioned comfort.

I did venture out in the air conditioned RALLYE to look at a few sights around town. The town is dying a slow and painful death. All the buildings are old and many are in a state of collapse, held together with whatever materials come to hand. The hospital and surrounding support buildings are a modern oasis by comparison. In fact they ARE a modern oasis in their own right.

Colli Hospital

Colli Hospital

Communications are difficult with spasmodic data and telephone services. My blue tick phone will go from two bars of signal to none in moments. Our wireless data modem will often receive as much as three bars but this will also disappear quickly. Not only is the signal weak but the speed is abysmal as well. This is not a major town. In fact it is not even a minor town. It is just a stop along the way to a couple of bigger towns. The few shops which do open are all heavily barred and shuttered at night and weekends.

A walk along the river bank and under the bridge reveals broken bottles and glass of Christmasses past. I asked the lady at the Post Office/ bank agency/ tourist information bureau/ stock and station agent/ and anything else they can try to make a dollar, if the river bank under the bridge and near the weir was where glass was mined. It took her a little while to decide if I was serious when it dawned on her I was referring to all the broken glass. Her eyes lit up, her mouth curved into a smile as she realised  I was being facetious. Of course she agreed with me. Looking around town I am unsure if there is a lack of civic pride or just a lack of civic funds.

Or both.

The hospital doctor has sent my urine sample away for testing. It could be a few days, it could be a week or more before there are results. In the meantime from my symptoms and first urine sample he believes I have a bladder polyp. If that is the case it needs to be removed surgically. He will forward results to my doctor in Airlie Beach. Interestingly my last blood test, about three weeks ago, revealed something in the bladder so this could be it.

Tuesday 24th December Christmas Eve

Donnis had to work day shift and attend a staff lunch before she could walk home…about 100 steps…maybe less.

The day dawned overcast and cool. Somewhere around 28°.

I entertained myself by taking TERIOS for a 4WD trip following rough tracks which meanders beside the Barwon River. Wow! Some of the scenery of River Red Gums and other trees hanging over the banks or in a slight backwater eddy are just magnificent.

The sluggish Barwon River at Colli.

The sluggish Barwon River at Colli.

Wonderful old tree with a gnarled root system beside the Barwon River.

Wonderful old tree with a gnarled root system beside the Barwon River.

Colli Weir

Colli Weir

Another bend on the Barwon River.

Another bend on the Barwon River.

A couple of roos in silhouette.

A couple of roos in silhouette.

TERIOS on bank of Barwon.

TERIOS on bank of Barwon.

Although there is plenty of water in the river at present, the banks along most of the places I explored are high and steep. It sort of reminds me in a smaller way what the Murray River looks like. Even a few Klms out of town I still found places on the banks of the Barwon where glass was being mined.

I also viewed the large town water tanks. Water is pumped out of the river, put through a filtration process and stored in the tanks and used by the locals. Water sprinklers are going 24/7 at the hospital while other houses have grey packed earth and weeds neither of which require water or mowing.

Town non drinking water supply.

Town non drinking water supply.

This water tank is intended to be used for the big road trains and water tankers,

This water tank is intended to be used for the big road trains and water tankers,

Everybody has an ancient rusting water tank in the yard.

Everybody has an ancient rusting water tank in the yard.

Tonight we opened a bottle of Penfolds Grandfather Port a present from my employer. The port was as smooth and mellow as I remember it from years ago when I could afford it…by the tiny glassful…I could never afford a whole bottle.

Both yesterday and today internet signal was a miserable process of being lucky enough to be in front of the laptop when there is a signal for two or three minutes. It took all morning to download emails .
Wednesday 25th December – CHRISTMAS DAY.

In the morning I had one of my classic nose bleeds. It was one which I thought would never stop. It was not so much a bleed than a gush. The bleed left me weak and shaken.

By the time the bleed was under control – about an hour – we had to dress as Santa and Mrs Clause to deliver presents to the patients and staff at the hospital. I needed to fill out the tummy part of the Santa suit with a folded towel. Somehow they forgot to include a beard and a big black belt with the outfit.

Mr & Mrs Claus

Mr & Mrs Claus

Santa with nurse Heptz from The Phillipines.

Santa with nurse Heptz from The Phillipines.

Regardless, the elderly patients were pleased with the attention. One very frail old lady wanted a hug every time she was given a gift. It seemed she wanted the human contact more than the gift. That was a very humbling experience.

At midday we went back to the hospital and had Christmas dinner with the aged care residents and some of the nursing staff.

The day was overcast with rain threatening.

In the afternoon my phone rang and it was friends Glennis and Eric who have been on and off the road for three years. We have met up in some wonderfully remote places over the years, none of the meet-ups had been pre-planned. (We have, over the last three years met at Theresa Creek, Qld, Barcaldene, Qld, Longreach Qld, Charleville Qld, Nindi Gully Qld, Beardy Waters NSW, Culcairn NSW, Guyra NSW, Bucasia Qld and Brisbane Qld.) They are on their way from their newly purchased home in the tropical rainforest at Cape Tribulation near the Daintree National Park to their other house at Cockle Creek in Tasmania. The house at Cockle Creek is the southernmost house in Australia and they are getting it ready to put on the market. Anybody interested in buying a quaint secluded house knowing nobody else has a house this far south and surrounded on three sides by National Park with the creek and Bay part of the amazing views should let me know. They had arrived at Lightning Ridge and had called to say Happy Christmas. Wow! We are only an hour away so asked them to come to Colli and have Christmas Dinner with us and stay the night.  We had a starter of cheese and crackers followed by prawns then a delightful ham with Hawaiian Sweet Potato and pumpkin with a dessert of Christmas cake, custard and cream. What a wonderful Christmas dinner enjoyed with good friends despite being so isolated.

We had a wonderful, if not unusual Christmas Day.

Donnis went off to work at 10.30 pm.

Thursday 26th December – Boxing Day

It rained overnight and left big puddles on the road.

I was up at 6am and ready to go on my walk. I was twenty metres along the footpath when one of my dreaded nose bleeds began. That took an hour before clotting began and once again left me weak and shaken.

We farewelled Glennis and Eric, as they re-commence their journey to Melbourne via, Walgett, Condamine, Gilgandra and Dubbo and so on via the western parts of NSW into Victoria.

We then decided to drive into Moree as Donnis wanted to buy some extra towels and sheets at a Boxing Day Sale. Not one shop in town was open. We had a 300 klm drive for nothing except lunch at the local services club.

Late in the afternoon I took a walk around town looking at the old buildings of a bygone wealthier time.

Colli Anglican Church

Colli Anglican Church

Empty main street

Empty main street

The only remaining service station.

The only remaining service station.

Friday 27th December

It was hot again today and as Donnis has to work tonight we decided to stay at home and rest in air conditioned comfort. Oh and eat too many Christmas chocolates and jellies!

IMAGES OF COLLARENEBRI…COLLI.

Local Colli taxi...Just kidding.

Local Colli taxi…Just kidding.

Interesting Colli house.

Interesting Colli house.

Free Primitive campsite at Colli on the Barwon River.

Free Primitive campsite at Colli on the Barwon River.

You better believe how much dust the road trains drag along the highway. They stop for 5 minutes so the dust falls off.

You better believe how much dust the road trains drag along the highway. They stop for 5 minutes so the dust falls off.

Old car in back lane at Colli.

Old car in back lane at Colli.

Another delightful residence.

Another delightful residence.

I heard running behind me and turned to see a family of kangaroos bounding down the street.

I heard running behind me and turned to see a family of kangaroos bounding down the street.

This goat skull is on one of the cars owned by a neighbour across the street. Significance of this will appear in part 2.

This goat skull is on one of the cars owned by a neighbour across the street. Significance of this will appear in part 2.

Just in the distance this road reverts to gravel and the type of soil which quickly turns to gooey slippery mud when wet.

Just in the distance this road reverts to gravel and the type of soil which quickly turns to gooey slippery mud when wet.

Old loading loading dock

Old loading dock.

Shell sign.

Shell sign.

Old petrol pumps. This town once boasted 4 petrol stations and now only has one. It too is struggling to stay alive.

Old petrol pumps. This town once boasted 4 petrol stations and now only has one. It too is struggling to stay alive.

 

Old car in back lane at Colli.

Old car in back lane at Colli.

Tattersals Hotel at Collarenebri

Tattersals Hotel at Collarenebri

Colli has a high Aboriginal population. These laws apply to everybody not just the indigenious population.

Colli has a high Aboriginal population. These laws apply to everybody not just the indigenious population.
Sunflower growing wild in overgrown disused vacant block in the main street.

Sunflower growing wild in overgrown disused vacant block in the main street.

Another old car study.

Another old car study.

and yet another.

and yet another.

These delightful outdoor toilets are still in the back yard of every house and business in Colli.

These delightful outdoor toilets are still in the back yard of every house and business in Colli.

Another toilet.

Another toilet.

Yet another.

Yet another.

Another rusting old car.

Another rusting old car.

Another dead and decaying service station.

Another dead and decaying service station.

More wild sunflowers.

More wild sunflowers.

Part 2 follows.

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348. Sunday 22nd December 2013. Long Drive to Collarenebri…

23/12/2013

To answer the question in the title banner. 1,500 Klms from Airlie Beach.

Monday 16th December

Four days of work with nothing to report.

Friday 20th December

Although I went to bed by 10pm I woke at 1am.

Sheesh. I’ve got things on my mind!

I woke again at 4am and no matter how I tried could not get back to sleep. So after finishing my packing, a cup of coffee and dressing I was ready to roll in the half- light just before dawn. I was driving out the Flametree entrance at precisely 4.50 am bright eyed and bushy tailed. I breakfasted at McDonalds Mackay before 7am and re-fueled at a Coles Express Service Station. After a 4 cents a litre discount the litre rate was still $1.53.9. WOT THE! In Airlie Beach two days ago I used a discount fuel outlet which advertises $1.47.7 cents per litre and will honour both Coles and Woolworths discount vouchers. That brought the price down to $1.43.7 cents per litre. How can a small, off the main highway town like Airlie Beach have 10cents a litre cheaper fuel than a city such as Mackay. More surprises were in store for me. I stopped for coffee at McDonalds Rockhampton (can you see a pattern here?) then fueled up at the same brand discount fuel outlet as Airlie Beach but here in Rocky, a city bigger even than Mackay, it was $1.59.9, admittedly cheaper than the regular outlets which were $1.63.9.

More WOT THE!

I turned inland at Rocky, planning to pick up a highway near Emerald and travel inland along the same route Donnis took a month ago. I wanted to avoid the Mount Morgan Range. The GPS had other ideas but I ignored it. Or thought I did. Suddenly I found the road I was on was climbing steadily until I reached a road block forcing me to detour. It seems I had somehow found my way onto the Mt Morgan Range Road but it was closed due to a rock slide. The detour went via the Razor Back Range, a steep and winding narrow road with a mile of traffic behind a little red car. All of us crept up the range and into Mt Morgan. Grrr! I probably wasted a good 30 minutes on that road. Later, somewhere way over the other side of the range I drove through countryside which felt like I was in a giant pie dish surrounded by steep sharply pointed peaks. I thought it was the remains of a gigantic ancient volcanic caldera but in reality it is all part of the sandstone belt of the Great Dividing Range. Passing through Banana I continued to Theodore where I had lunch. Not far out of town I crossed the Dawson River. The signs along the side of the road gave me pause for thought. For the next 50 or so Klms it was all flood plains for the Dawson River. Wow! I would not like to see the river in flood.

I had been on the road for 12 hours by the time I reached Miles and ready to call it a day.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles,_Queensland    I am far enough inland now to begin to see road trains. These are semi’s towing three trailers and passing them on the highway brings the adrenalin flooding into the accelerator foot. Watching them come at you from the opposite direction on a narrow shoulderless road brings a lump into the throat.

Mostly road trains are for hauling live cattle but they do just as good delivering food, booze and electrical goods over vast distances at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a railway line. Try overtaking one of these monsters. Just make sure you have plenty of overtaking room because they are something like 50 metres long.

Mostly road trains are for hauling live cattle but they do just as good delivering food, booze and electrical goods over vast distances at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a railway line. Try overtaking one of these monsters. Just make sure you have plenty of overtaking room because they are something like 50 metres long.

Saturday 21st December

After a less than peaceful night’s sleep…I was too wound up from driving all day…I did a quick walk around some of the main street, fuelled up and I was on the road before 8am.

The railway "dont live here anymore"... Like many towns in western and outback NSW and Queensland, the railway is no longer viable. So all the infrastructure sits in place, overgrown, rusting, decaying, rotting and often the buildings are eaten b y white ants. All this stuff sits in place, just in case at some future point the railway is needed again. This is the main line and platform at Miles, Qld.

The railway “dont live here anymore”… Like many towns in western and outback NSW and Queensland, the railway is no longer viable. So all the infrastructure sits in place, overgrown, rusting, decaying, rotting and often the buildings are eaten b y white ants. All this stuff sits in place, just in case at some future point the railway is needed again. This is the main line and platform at Miles, Qld.

The road to Goondiwindi (the locals call it Gun di windy, it is spelled Goon di windy), 190 Klms away is across a flat and almost featureless plain. There are no hills or mountains, nothing taller than a tree to break the monotony except for…The Jumpup. This is a small hill not much taller than a tree which is still so small it does not stand out in the roadway. I was not aware I was on a hill until I saw a sign at the”summit”. The heat haze…temps are up around 40°… creates mirages where the trees in the distance look as though they are growing above the ground or even growing out of a lake. Of course there is no lake anywhere nearby. There are stretches of straight road so straight I was compelled to measure a couple. One stretch went for 17 Klms before I came to a small bend and continued on another straight stretch of 8 Klms before there were two bends followed by another impossibly long straight stretch. I was now beginning to see cattle sheltering in the shade of lone trees in the middle of vast fields of…nothing! I began to see Emu’s and further along where there was ground water and green fields from recent rains water birds including giant Bustards. Coffee at McDonalds Goondiwindi broke the monotony before another 160 Klms of straight road to Moree where I bought groceries, lunched at McDonalds…see there is a pattern forming… before another straight stretch of 145 Klms to reach Collarenebri by 4.30 and 40° heat. The side of the road was littered with patches of cotton bolls which had fallen off the trucks during the harvest. The countryside looks dry and withered but somehow cotton, which requires huge amounts of water, is the main crop in a 250 klm radius.

Although today just a 9 hour drive, I was worn out, nay frazzled and spent the rest of the afternoon shut up in air conditioned comfort while Donnis is at work.

I had a well-earned beer and fell asleep not caring if I had dinner or not.

Sunday 22nd December

Christmas is drawing ever closer and at least Donnis and I are together and can share the isolation…at least until she goes to work.

Today started out as a bit of a shock and I am once again hesitant about sharing until I have more information. There is no easy way of broaching this subject. I umm err urinated blood when I first woke this morning. Actually it was a dark blood clot followed by normal stream.  Let me tell you that was a bit of a gasp shock horror couple of moments which became a BIG WOT THE!!! I thought about possibilities while I waited for Donnis to wake, after all she just fini

The bridge out of town on the way to Moree.

The bridge out of town on the way to Moree.

shed her shift at 11pm last night and needed her sleep, Later, Donnis tested a urine sample and the results  were the ones I did not want to hear where abnormal were abnormal.

Gulp!

Apart from feeling a bit tired and washed out yesterday and not really feeling hungry I felt much the same as always. Luckily the doctor at the hospital was on duty and saw me after dealing with an emergency. By now I am beginning to feel like I have an emergency. There is not much else he can do except tell me I have a UTI. (Urinary Tract Infection) Yeah, I sort of figured that out for myself but what type of infection, and the usual how, when, where and why questions sprang to mind.

Dunno dunno dunno was all I was getting in reply. Instead I got a prescription for antibiotics and told to stay out of the sun while taking them. Oh that and come back in the morning and we will run some more tests.

Dear reader you will have to wait until next week to discover the results.

I however, might know tomorrow.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A SAFE NEW YEAR TO ALL.

RALLYE taking in the last of the setting sun on the banks of the Barwon.

RALLYE taking in the last of the setting sun on the banks of the Barwon.

The lazy Barwon River at Collarenebri

The lazy Barwon River at Collarenebri

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347. Sunday 15th December 2015. All quiet at Flametree……..

16/12/2013

No photos this week but this week begins a new travel adventure and I feel a photo or many are on their way.

Monday 9th December

Doing the March Fly slap. Or Marsh Fly. (actually, the real Marsh fly is a different shape) They are also known as horse flies or stable or barn flies. By any other name they still give a stinging bite as they draw blood. At this time of year when it is hot and humid and humans perspire, these biting monsters can be more than bothersome. They can grow to more than five times the size of a housefly and have much larger eyes. Although they are quick flyers and can land on your skin without you feeling anything until they bite you, they seem to be in a stupor when about to bite and they can be easily slapped dead. Sometimes you can have several of these flying around trying to find a place to land and have a feed. They are almost silent flyers but you can see them. Even wearing clothes is no deterrent. They can bite through shirts and socks. As soon as they come around I flee to the safety of the interior of WWWGO and turn on the AC. Thankfully they are not around all day every day. Some people say because they are a March fly and it is only December they are early. They are not called March flies after the month of March. They have a short life span of 3-4 weeks…except the shorter life span of the ones I slapped and killed. Hehehehe.

Wednesday 11th December

Donnis went to Lightning Ridge with three other nurses today. They had a look at the John Murray   http://johnmurrayart.com.au/    Art Gallery, (Donnis and I visited the art gallery in 2010 and we spent so much time looking at the paintings and photos all done with a sense of humour as the base starting point – we loved the gallery – it is worthwhile clicking on the link to look at the paintings) then onto an up market dining place for lunch then back to Collarenebri so one of the nurses could start her afternoon shift. Geez those nurses in isolated places get out and about and visit other isolated places.

Thursday 12th December

I started on my usual walk at 5.45am and suddenly I had a nose bleed!

WOT THE!!!

A nose bleed for heavens sake! Then I thought about past nose bleeds, after all when sitting around trying to get the blood flow stopped you have time to think.

Hmmm! I had a few serious nose bleeds last year during November and December. In fact I had a minor nose bleed a few weeks ago in November. More Hmmming! Come to think of it my very worst nose bleeds were during the months of November and December 2011. Wot The!!! That’s three years running I have had a nose bleed in November and December in three different locations. Could the lead up to Christmas be a stressful time??? In fact last year I had an Ear Nose and Throat specialist in Armidale do minor surgery to stop the nose bleed last December and I really have not had a problem since.

Well, until now.

Hmmm!

Meanwhile back at Colli Donnis used her day off to join three nurses from the Walgett Hospital, an hours drive from Colli, so they could all drive to Bourke Hospital, a two hour drive further west for a training session. (Donnis always calls Bourke “Back o Bourke” because that was how I explained its remoteness to her.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourke,_New_South_Wales

On their way home at dusk the car was hit by an emu. That’s right, they were hit by, not hit, an emu. An emu just came running out of the bush on the side of the road and slammed into the car. Nobody saw it coming. All the nurses were too scared to get out and put the animal out of its misery. This is an isolated road , the traffic belts along at greater than the speed limit, the bush comes almost to the edge of the road and it would have been dangerous in that location to stop. Donnis asked them to stop but the driver refused.

Donnis and I almost had the same fate in Morven, Qld about 8 hours north of Bourke in November 2010. In our case it was about 4 emus rushed out of the bush intent on smashing into us but I saw them out of the corner of my eye and was able to brake and swerve in time. I missed all four by a coat of paint or should that be they missed hitting me by a feather.

Sigh!

Friday  13th December

I made a trip to Mackay to take some legal papers and sign some more at the solicitors office. I then had RALLYE booked in for a 300,000 service and waited at the nearby library. Imagine my surprise to see old motorhome friends Lynn and Len F. We had a good half four catching up. The service place found a half dozen items needing attention, none critical to being able to drive to Colli next week but something I will need to have repaired in the New Year.

Sigh! More money.

Sunday 15th Dcember

A long day of doing almost nothing…much the same as yesterday. I transferred the Black Box video recorder from WWWGO to RALLYE. All this in preparation for the long drive on Friday this week. I have also installed a hands free mobile phone kit. I need only push one button to receive a call or to hang up. The speaker is mounted above my head and the phone sits in a cradle on the dash. I have the GPS in place and of course the battery changers for the phone, the GPS and the hands free. The difficult thing about working outside is those pesky March Flies. Trying to slap them while installing stuff was a bit of a challenge. Their bite becomes very itchy so I took a Phenergan Anti Histamine tablet which makes me drowsy and fall off to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

G nigh.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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346. Sunday 8th December 2013. All quiet on the Whitsunday coast…

08/12/2013

Monday 2nd December

Some mornings during summer in the tropics it is nice to wake to a cool overcast day. When I say cool I mean 25°(Celsius) and 73% humidity. Those conditions are delightful. Today was one of those days.

Friday 6th December.

Nothing much happened during the week. I went to work I came home, had dinner, spoke with Donnis watched TV, showered and went to bed. Each day was much like the other. The sun shone and the temps rose above 30°.

Today was different because I have held back some information.

Deliberately.

Last week we had an offer of sale on our Bucasia Beach house. Now that is good and bad news. What swayed our decision to accept an  offer just $5,000 below our price was our tenants whose lease expires in February, want to go back home in a southern state somewhere. They want to be out before Christmas. The purchaser wants settlement before Christmas. I went to Mackay to take some documentation to the solicitor, bring some away with me for reading and signing and for the solicitor to send documents by fax to Donnis to sign and Express Post back to her. All good news so far. The gut wrenching part is and this is the second sale offer in a three months, we have never lived in this house. It is a brick house, by the sea and we will never get another chance to buy such a house again. When we bought it the plan was we would retire to that house. Times change, needs change, financials change and for all sorts of reasons we will move on. I am tired of tenants and real estate agents, rates, insurance, water bills, small and not so small repairs and the gradual deterioration which tenants will not look after. This sale looks more promising. The buyers want to settle on 23rd December, the tenants move out on 20th the same day I will start the long drive to Collarenebri western NSW so Donnis and I can have Christmas together. I am sure I can drive there in two days in the RALLYE. (last Christmas I drove 900 Klms in one day in the TERIOS even in city and holiday traffic. The RALLYE is a better highway car and better suited to long distance driving – cruise control and AC help enormously) This year almost the entire trip will be on inland roads. I will of course drive south to Mackay then continue on to Rockhampton and then turn west and then pick up the Leichhardt Hwy travelling south again and follow that all the way through to Moree in NSW when I then turn right on the Gwydir Hwy and follow that to Colli.

On my way to Mackay I felt a slight wobble in the front right wheel. On arrival I noted the front right tyre was worn – scrubbed out – and definitely illegal. So I went to the tyre place and booked RALLYE in for 4 new tyres and a wheel alignment. Now I will feel safer when driving over three thousand Klms between Christmas and New Year. I asked the tyre place to check the spare. It is 19 years old and has never been used. By now the rubber is probably brittle and if used in an emergency could delaminate or blow out. I had the best of the 4 tyres on the car swapped as a spare.

Sunday 8th December

Not much happened today. I have organized a 300,000 klm service on RALLYE for next Friday. I also bought a mobile phone charger to plug into the cigarette lighter socket and also installed a phone holder. By the time I leave here on 20th RALLYE should be up to the task of over a 3,000 klm return trip.

A new week is coming up. Who know’s what will happen!

I know Christmas week will be busy with  a lot of travel.

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345. Sunday 1st December 2013. Rain, sunshine, visitors, doctor as life goes on…

01/12/2013

Monday 25th November.

Had lunch with good mate Tony A and wife Dawn and their son Charles. Tony and I first met in 1966 when we arrived at the Central railway Station in Sydney to commence our first day of Army National Service. We lunched on the deck of Airlie Beach Sailing Club which overlooks the bay. A big thunderstorm was building up and we could see a wall of rain heading towards us. I was facing Tony when suddenly a forked lightning bolt struck the water in front the club. I never saw the lightning directly but did see it reflected in Tony’s spectacles followed by his pupils dilating followed by an almighty clap of thunder. Clap of thunder? Did I say, clap? More like a thunderous roar of thunder!

After lunch we moved to Port of Airlie and had coffee at the Coffee Club overlooking the marina.

The Boathouse at Port of Airlie.

The Boathouse at Port of Airlie.

Marina at Port of Airlie.

Marina at Port of Airlie.

Window display showing Port of Airlie looking south to Shute Harbour.

Window display showing Port of Airlie looking south to Shute Harbour.

I wrote about the construction of the Port of Airlie in this blog entry in  2009   https://frankeeg.wordpress.com/096-sunday-9th-august-2009-birds-beasts-beach-dry-earth-and-construction/   Now the Boat House Resort and Marina are mostly complete but there is still work to be done on the marina. Some retail shop space is yet to be leased but the restaurants located there seem to be surviving if not thriving.

The Port of Airlie almost complete.

The Port of Airlie almost complete.

Hmmm! Methinks it is about time I rewarded myself with lunch at the Port of Airlie one day.

From the marina I was able to look across the bay to Mandalay Point and the hill known as Chesapeake and the millionaires mansion once owned by Hogs Breath founder, Don Algie.  http://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/mansion-at-airlie-with-360-degree-views-up-for-sal/520683/

Boats in the marina with the mansion  "CHESAPEAKE" on top of Mount Chesapeake.

Boats in the marina with the mansion “CHESAPEAKE” on top of Mount Chesapeake.

http://www.harcourts.com.au/Property/300515/QAI2743/188-Chesapeake-Mandalay-Road

The heavy rain which dumped on the area created a new leak in our roof hatch. Strangely it is not the same leak as on the weekend.

For dinner tonight I joined my sister Sandra who had driven from Mackay to Proserpine where she will be conducting classes tomorrow. She is the Headspace Mackay Youth Engagement and Community Development Co-Ordinator.   http://www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/headspace-mackay/our-staff

I am as full as a goog at present and I vow to not go out for lunch or dinner again. Well, at least not this week.

Tuesday 26th November

More storms including rain.

Wednesday 27th November

More storms with rain.

In the afternoon I saw the doctor and one of the items I talked about with him was the night last week when I woke with terrible pain in my left arm. He sprang into action, took blood samples and arranged for an ECG tomorrow! The first blood test which was done immediately took about ten minutes and returned a negative result! What is he looking for? Given my age and the pain and symptoms I described he suspected a possible heart attack but although he and I both did not believe that was my problem, he did the tests just in case.

Thursday 28th November.

What the!!! The sun came out today.

In the afternoon I had an ECG and as expected returned a negative result. However as pointed out, it has been a week since I was woken with the pain, they cannot entirely rule out a problem. So. I was told that should it ever happen again, do not delay, call an Ambulance. Better to have a false alarm than maybe waking up in hospital or worse, not waking up at all. Mildly chastened I went to visit my daughter who also gave me dressing down.

What did I say on Monday about not eating out again this week? Daughter Averyl, husband Paul and children Shelby and Anakin arrived in Airlie Beach for a few days R&R. They have rented a unit at Mediterranean Resort   (http://www.medresorts.com.au/?gclid=CLadtaCLi7sCFU1fpQodgi0Azw)  on the hill overlooking Airlie. The views here are inspirational. Averyl and Paul wanted to move in full time! Dinner was take-away, pizza, ribs and garlic bread. Yerk! I came away feeling bloated.

Friday 29th November

Around midday the doctor’s office called about the results of my blood tests. They need me to call in to see the doctor tomorrow. Nope, they cannot tell me anything over the phone. The doctor will discuss with me. Hmmm! How am I supposed to sleep tonight?

Despite all my best intentions earlier in the week, I ate out again tonight. Averyl, Paul and the grandchildren had planned to go out to dinner as tomorrow they are going on a jet ski adventure to Daydream Island then heading home to Mackay on Sunday.   http://www.jetskitour.com.au/page/tours/daydreamextreme/index.html

We ate at Cactus Jacks Mexican Restaurant.   https://www.airliebeachhotel.com.au/cactus-jacks/    It was packed with patrons. I tried something called Chocolate Chicken. Slow cooked chicken with a gentle chocolate sauce infused with chilli. Slow cooked? More like dried out and ruined a good bit of chicken breast. Sauce was OK but nothing special. Perhaps I should have had a Hillbilly Burger!

Saturday 30th November

Flametree Village has several pairs of Stone Curlews.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_Stone-curlew   I believe that each pair is also nesting as they go into a defence pose and issue a threatening hiss if you come near them. Their colouring, especially that of the chicks is ideally suited to camouflage them in the leaf litter where they tend to nest. Each time I go to the bathroom, day or night, I seem to have a curlew hissing at me. Today I saw the chicks for the first time. Anybody who has heard the curlews at night will never forget the blood curdling screams they use. First time visitors get a bit of a fright when they hear what sounds like a human scream. Sometimes their calls are mistakenly referred to as a Storm Bird call which, according to old wives tales, means rain is on the way. The real storm bird is a Koel… part of the Cuckoo family.

A couple of Stone Curlews in "frozen" position with a couple of even better camouflaged chicks.

A couple of Stone Curlews in “frozen” position with a couple of even better camouflaged chicks.

Speaking of camouflaged chicks...

Speaking of camouflaged chicks…

I went to the marina to farewell Averyl, Paul and the grandchildren on their jet ski tour to Daydream Island.

Jet Ski's waiting for Averyl, Paul, Shelby, Anakin and all the other tourists in the class.

Jet Ski’s waiting for Averyl, Paul, Shelby, Anakin and all the other tourists in the training class.

I waited around in the midday heat for an hour but they were still in a training class so gave up and  went to see the doctor.

The doctor told me the results of my blood test. Nothing life threatening although kidney function is lower than ideal but I do have a tummy bug called Helicobactor Pyloris which is responsible for creating ulcers or making ulcers worse. I am on a 7 day course of Nexium Hp7 designed to kill off the bacteria.

Sunday 1st December

Woke to an overcast morning and a 22° coolish temperature.

To start the day (after my walk and exercise regime of course) I made a World Best Practise bacon and mushroom omelette with fresh grated parmesan cheese and chopped snow pea sprouts on top. I placed a small dollop of oyster sauce on the side of the plate for an extra flavour boost if required.

I did not need the oyster sauce.

Yummo and filling too.

By 8am the sun came out with an angry vengeance. It made what was a tolerable 27° and 75% humidity, a 35° day with 98% humidity.

Averyl, Paul and the grandchildren, Shelby and Anakin arrived to drop off some of the food they over shopped on arrival and it is too hot to take home again. Hmmm! Cheeses, pate, dips, milk, strawberries, grapes and tomatoes. I will have to blend some into a meal this week. Perhaps an omelette with a Brie Cheese.

They also were still excited about their jet ski trip to Daydream island and said it was the best value they have enjoyed.

As the day wore on the cool of the AC inside WWWGO was the best place to be despite the occasional breeze in the shaded area outside. Summer has arrived!

So, trapped inside the AC’ed cocoon I thought what a good time to do an “On this Day”.

On this day in 2005 we were in our Coaster at a Boy Scout Camp called Rowallan Park on the northern outskirts of Mackay. Luckily there was enough power to spread around all the Sugarloafers in attendance as there was absolutely zero, zilch, nada, none breeze. Even under the gazebo which was open on four sides it was still uncomfortable.

Summer has arrived!

On this day in 2006 we had a Sugarloafers Christmas party at the Louisa Creek Community Sports Ground about 20 Klms south of Mackay. Only a very few early arrivals managed to find power. The rest of us sweltered and sought breezeless shade while seeking a non- existent breeze. Even walking to the creek and also to the beach brought no relief as the slight breeze off the ocean was from the northeast and felt dry and gritty. Just sitting around and enjoying a cold beer raised a sweat and it felt like we were walking inside a bubble of moisture. At night it was a nightmare of heat, humidity, mozzies and sandflies ensuring there was no sleep.

Shoulda gone home.

 Summer has arrived!

On this day in 2007 was a repeat of last year at Louisa Creek Community Sports Ground. I put forward the suggestion we find somewhere with power for next year’s Christmas party. The vote was taken and approved. Now the committee has to find us a haven for next year.

Summer has arrived.

On this day in 2008 we had a new party site at Sarina Showgrounds about 35 Klms south of Mackay where power was available for all. It was also the first time the club did not self-cater. Donnis had put forward the motion last year and of course won the vote. Instead we used a local catering business which allowed all members to sit back, relax and enjoy dinner for the first time in many years. Even so, the heat and humidity at happy hour and dinner quickly drove us all back to the cool of our motorhomes.

Summer has arrived!

On this day in 2009 I was at our home in Airlie Beach. For the strangest of reasons we were painting the interior of the house in the hottest most humid time of year. (actually January and February are worse as the wet season has well and truly kicked in)

Summer has arrived!

On this day in 2010 we had an early Christmas gathering with my cousin Bob and his wife Dianne at their home in Coonabarrabran, western NSW. It was raining but not humid. We were joined by my aunt Maude, Bob’s mother, his brother, also my cousin, Lance his wife Jane and their son Wade. Also staying for the week was Bob’s daughter Libbie, her partner Gary and their children Felicity, Paige and Isobelle. Plus assorted locals turned up for a refreshing ale and a barbeque making it quite a happy pre-Christmas gathering.

You would not know summer had arrived!

On this day in 2011 we were in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, Qld with my sister Enid and husband Ken. It was hot but relatively mild as far as humidity is concerned. We spent most of the day on the beach either in the water or in the shade enjoying the sea breeze.

Summer has arrived!

On this day in 2012 we were in Guyra northern NSW. Donnis had just returned from Canada and we were both keeping cool on a rare hot day in cold Guyra. At least the temp only reached 27° and humidity was only about 30%.

Summer has arrived but not as hot OR humid as we have in the tropics.

Later in the day the rain began and a wind picked up. Stangely, by 8pm the temp had only dropped to 27° and humidity of 77% but it feels quite cool.

Pleasant in fact.

Until next week.

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