Archive for July, 2014

383. Sunday 27th July 2014. Strawberry Fields Forever…

27/07/2014

Monday 21st  July

Donnis started her first shift at Coolah Hospital and for me it was another workday.

At the office, one of the women, who shall remain nameless but not blameless has a bad cold and is coughing and sneezing. Although I feel for her condition I am more concerned about my condition and as she does not cover mouth or nose when a coughing or sneezing fit comes on, those germs are getting spread around.

Hmmm! I have avoided a cold or the flu for at least 4 years. What are my chances in an air conditioned office?

In the afternoon I prepared the remaining five window sills and frames ready for the first coat of tinted varnish.

Hmmm! On closer inspection I can see the timber sills have dried considerably over the last 4 or 5 years.

Tuesday 22nd July.

No work today as I had a medical appointment in Mackay.

In the morning I put the first coat of tinted varnish on the base of the window sill. The timber soaked that up pretty quickly. I also started a coat of clear varnish on the laundry door frame and by then it was time for coffee before heading out the door for the 2 hour drive.

My specialist appointment was for 3pm and after an ultrasound scan was performed we finally came up an answer. Without going into the how when where I why’s I am on an anitibiotic treatment for three months. This treatment can only be approved by the Commonwealth Health Services.

Friday 25th July

The end of the working week and as much coughing and sneezing from one person as my immune system can tolerate.

Once home I did some more varnishing and I am on the downhill run on that job.

Saturday 26th July.

Woke with a sore throat, headache and general feeling of lethargy.

Uh Oh!

Cut the little grass which is still growing and prepared the ensuite cabinets for varnishing later.

My runny nose and headache and sore throat only got worse.

Gulp!

Sunday 27th July

Although the flu is probably still battling with my immune system I am hopeful my immunities are winning.

I  slept in until 7.15.

Today was the day my sister Enid flew from the Sunshine coast and we had planned to meet at Camerons Pocket for a strawberry picking adventure.

Entrance to the coffee shop and beginning of the Ballantynes Strawberries.

Entrance to the coffee shop and beginning of the Ballantynes Strawberries.

I am not sure why this is so much fun as it costs about twice as much for a punnet of strawberries as it would cost at the supermarket.

They only allow you to pick in certain rows. Once they feel a row is picked over enough they move the red buckets and pickers quickly move over another row to get the biggest, reddest, ripest, luscious sweet strawberries.

They only allow you to pick in certain rows. Once they feel a row is picked over enough they move the red buckets and pickers quickly move over another row to get the biggest, reddest, ripest, luscious sweet strawberries.

I arrived at the Camerons Pocket location after a 90 minute drive. Along with Enid were her daughter Kelly, partner Jase and their two children Cooper

Cool dude Cooper.

Cool dude Cooper.

and Oliver.

Jase, Cooper, Kelly and Oliver picking and eating. Cooper will not eat strawberries at home but loved picking and eating in the field.

Jase, Cooper, Kelly and Oliver picking and eating. Cooper will not eat strawberries at home but loved picking and eating in the field.

Camerons Pocket is the home of Ballantynes Strawberries, next door to the famous Wintermoon Music Festival both of which are nestled into the foothills below Eungella National Park and Mt Dalrymple on the Great Dividing Range. The Strawberry Fields (gee I have been wanting to say that) are set beside the picturesque St.Helens Creek.

Clean clear water of St. Helens Creek.

Clean clear water of St. Helens Creek.

The number of people who drove 12 Klms off the highway along a twisting narrow road to pick strawberries was surprising. I guess the good weather and the chance to pick fresh sweet strawberries and have a coffee with French crepes and strawberry ice cream is just too tempting. I had a scone with strawberry jam and cream. The options of strawberry based cakes, pastries and desserts is just too tempting and we all had an enjoyable morning. Yes I did pick strawberries and eat them as I walked along. Some got put into the punnet as well.

At midday we met up with another sister, Shan, her partner Dave and Enid’s son Aaron and his wife Meeghan. They were waiting for us the Calen Hotel. Established in 1930 this old timber building served many a cane cutter back in the days when cane was cut by hand. The two story hotel burned down in April 2012 almost putting an end to a long tradition. The owners – bless em – decided to rebuild and like the Phoenix, Rose Again from the Ashes (see the photo) was rebuilt and re-opened in April 2013. It is now modern, clean and attracts tourists like never before. However some of the original escapees from the Deliverance movie were outside drinking. The food was surprisingly good for a little hotel basically in a cane field which was not renowned for good food in the past. Hat’s off to the Calen Pub owners and their chef.

Note the flaming Phoenix on the sign on the new single story Calen Hotel.

Note the flaming Phoenix on the sign on the new single story Calen Hotel.

The only other viable business in Calen is the umm err general store. The old ladies who run this store have been there as long as anybody can recall. The old tin shed has stock dating back into the last 50 years. All stock is in cardboard boxes labelled with contents. I have no idea if the shelves are stocked alphabetically or some other magical system. All you have to do is ask one of the ladies for, say a light bulb from turn indicator of a 1970 Ford Falcon and they can find it.

The mixed general business  still living in the past.

The mixed general business still living in the past.

They also sold the number one prize ticket in last nights winning lotto. Somebody local, not yet identified, has won $722,000!!!

On the strength of that I bought a $5 scratch ticket.

Wish me luck when I scratch it tomorrow.

In the afternoon I finished all the varnishing.

Next week I start painting rooms.

Sheesh!

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382. Sunday 20th July 2014. House contracts exchanged and a birthday in Townsville…

20/07/2014

Monday 14th July

Well another week begins with the promise of exciting times ahead. The purchase of the house on the Gold Coast is underway. We have signed the contracts and paid the deposit. Just waiting on the next stage which is the building and pest inspection reports.

Tuesday 15th July

Donnis left for her flight to Sydney and then by train to Wollongong to visit son Errol and family. She will be away until 23rd August.

Sob Sob.

Wednesday 16th July

Hmmm! Settlement of the purchase of the villa on the Gold Coast is on or about 8th September. I need to see daughter Shelley and family in Townsville before I leave. Perhaps if I leave after work on Thursday I can have a few days with them.

Thursday 17thJuly

Today was a bit of a WOT THE sort of day. About an hour before the end of my work week the managing director called me into her office and asked me to take a seat. Hmmm! This cannot be good I said. And it wasn’t, at first.

It seems my working only 25 hours a week is not helping the two main brokers a great deal. They need a full time person just processing the work for them. I was about to say I do not want to work full time but will stay on until you find somebody when I was told a full time person has already been hired.

WOT THE!!!

The new person will start on Monday and although I am no longer needed would I stay on for two weeks while she is trained. Hmmm! I nodded. Yes.

Then I said I was coming to see you anyway. We have bought a house on the Gold Coast and are moving.

It was her turn to be floored with a WOT THE moment.

When? She asked.

About 8th September.

Oh! In that case would you like to stay on until then?

Hmmm!

OK

So alls well that ends well.

That is when I had planned to work until anyway!!!

In the later afternoon I drove to Townsville arriving at 9.30 pm and after a cup of tea I was ready for bed. Four year old Matthew gave up his bedroom for me but he likes to sleep with mum and dad anyway.

Friday 18th July

Townsville is a city I have stayed at or driven through many times in the last twenty or so years. Mostly I have preferred to drive through as although the city is on the coast it does not feel like a seaside city but just seems dry and dusty.

I guess I have not taken the time to stop an appreciate the town although on reflection I have had some good memories.

Today Shelley had the day off. The children were at school, the youngest, Matthew was at Day Care and Dwyane was at work. It is Shelley’s birthday on Sunday and it was good to have some free time together, just father and daughter to have coffee, exploration and lunch.

After an hour at the shopping centre to sort out some banking and telecommunications questions followed by a coffee. (I cannot miss my morning coffee) we drove to Kissing Point the site of  Jezzine Army Barracks and coastal fort.

One of several walking entrances to Kissing Point Fort.

One of several walking entrances to Kissing Point Fort.

Most of the old barracks buildings have been maintained and the old fort and munitions bunker have been retained, landscaped with pathways and signage and opened to the public. This was a first time visit for both of us as the site has only recently been thrown open to the public.

The fort was built in 1889 as a defence against a perceived threat from an unknown enemy after British Ground Forces were removed from Australia in 1870.The fort is well sited to cover the entire Cleveland Bay but in reality the two ancient 6 inch cannon would have been of little use.

One of two 6 inch cannons at the fort. Castle Hill the imposing, dominating pink granite monolith seen from every part of the city is in the background.

One of two 6 inch cannons at the fort. Castle Hill the imposing, dominating pink granite monolith seen from every part of the city is in the background.

The second of the 6 inch guns with Australian and USA flags, the two nations who defended Australia against the Japanese in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The second of the 6 inch guns with Australian and USA flags, the two nations who defended Australia against the Japanese in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Significantly it was again prepared for defence during World War II when the Battle of The Coral Sea with US Forces against the Japanese. The battle was waged on the Ocean as well as in the air and many Australian and US Forces were based in Townsville.

The entire Jezzine Barracks and Fort were the focus of a M$40 restoration project which was only completed late in 2013. As part of the project a walkway was built from the fort along the cliffs above the coast to Rowes Bay, the first time the two locations had been connected by a direct link.

Walkway from Kissing Point to Rowes Bay completed in 2013.

Walkway from Kissing Point to Rowes Bay completed in 2013.

Townsville is still classed as a Garrison City with both the Army and Air Force having a base here. Naval ships are frequent visitors to the port.

Looking across Cleveland Bay to Magnetic Island as seen from the Kissing Point Fort.

Looking across Cleveland Bay to Magnetic Island as seen from the Kissing Point Fort.

Shelley and I spent a good two hours here and still did not see all there was to see.

I recommend a visit to, the barracks, the Military Museum and the Kissing Point Fort.

Castle Hill in close up. If you enlarge the photo you can see a white Saint figure near the top left hand side. This was painted by a bunch of daring University students from Mackay almost 30 years ago.

Castle Hill in close up. If you enlarge the photo you can see a white Saint figure near the top left hand side. This was painted by a bunch of daring University students from Mackay almost 30 years ago.

We had a so so lunch at the Cowboys Rugby League Club. Tonight the Cowboys played away to Cronulla in Sydney and had their first away game win  this season.

Matthew had been sick with diarrhea and vomiting this week and passed it on to Jack who was also sick today. Tonight Dwyanne came down with the same malaise and during the night so did Georgia.

Hmmm! How do I protect myself against whatever germs are running rampant.

Saturday 19th July.

Shelley went to work but was sent home about two hours later. She was being violently ill and diarrhea.

I am beginning to become concerned for my own health.

Dwyane took Matthew and I for a drive to the Port of Townsville where we inspected a cruise ship which will be refitted as a medical ship and used to bring medical, dental and optical services to remote areas of Penang New Guinea a northern neighbor of Australia. The ship was open for inspection in an effort to obtain donations of money, spectacles or volunteers to go to PNG.

The tourist ship AMMARI destined to be refitted as a medical ship and used to provide medical services to remote villages in Papua New Guinea.

The tourist ship AMMARI destined to be refitted as a medical ship and used to provide medical services to remote villages in Papua New Guinea.

The organization is called Ywam Medical Ships (http://ywamships.org.au/ )

Hmmm!

I did the maths.

To volunteer for two months costs $800 for a meal package.

$800 return flights to PNG to join the ship and probably another $300,to $400 spending money whilst arriving and leaving PNG.

That’s a bit out of my league at present but maybe if I won the lotto…

After the ship visit we drove to Castle Hill

Another view of Castle Hill seen from the Port of Townsville.

Another view of Castle Hill seen from the Port of Townsville.

the giant plug of pink granite which dominates to Townsville skyline. On top of Castle Hill is a monument to Captain Robert Towns, the founder of Townsville and after whom many local sites and business bear his name. I thank Wikipedia for the following information.

Robert Towns monument

In 1873, Robert Towns, the founder of Townsville, died in Sydney and was buried in Balmain Cemetery. ( I was born at Balmain and lived there until I was 13)

In 1940, the Municipality of Leichhardt decided to replace that cemetery with parkland (called Pioneers Memorial Park).[7] The plans were advertised and families were invited to arrange for re-interment of bodies or removal of memorials.[8] In 1941, the Leichhart Council offered the memorial from the grave of Robert Towns to the Townsville City Council.[9][10] In January 1942, Townsville City Council voted to accept the memorial and transport it to Townsville at a cost of £23/10/- but it as not unanimous with two councillors opposing the plan, one claiming that Robert Towns had done nothing for Townsville and it was only sheer good luck that caused the city to bear his name.[11] A local resident, Tom Gleeson, proposed “high on the peak of Castle Hill, overlooking the harbour” would be a suitable location for the monument.[12] Having arrived in Townsville, the monument was then placed in storage for a number of years.

It was not until October 1947 that the Council discussed where to place the monument. A number of locations were considered: Castle Hill, the Botanic Gardens, in front of the Queens Hotel, the Anzac Memorial Par and the Railway Oval, but Castle Hill was ultimately the council’s choice.[13][14] In February 1948, the Queensland Government gave its approval to the council to place the monument in the centre of the car parking area on the top of Castle Hill.[15]

Over two years later, in November 1949, the monument was finally placed on Castle Hill, where it stands to the present day.[16] A plaque was added to explain the origins of the monument.[17]

Monday 14th July

Well another week begins with the promise of exciting times ahead. The purchase of the house on the Gold Coast is underway. We have signed the contracts and paid the deposit. Just waiting on the next stage which is the building and pest inspection reports.

Tuesday 15th July

Donnis left for her flight to Sydney and then by train to Wollongong to visit son Errol and family. She will be away until 23rd August.

Soib Sob.

Wednesday 16th July

Hmmm! Settlement of the purchase of the villa on the Gold Coast is on or about 8th September. I need to see daughter Shelley and family in Townsville before I leave. Perhaps if I leave after work on Thursday I can have a few days with them.

Thursday 17thJuly

Today was a bit of a WOT THE sort of day. About an hour before the end of my work week the managing director called me into her office and asked me to take a seat. Hmmm! This cannot be good I said. And it wasn’t, at first.

It seems my working only 25 hours a week is not helping the two main brokers a great deal. They need a full time person just processing the work for them. I was about to say I do not want to work full time but will stay on until you find somebody when I was told a full time person has already been hired.

WOT THE!!!

The new person will start on Monday and although I am no longer needed would I stay on for two weeks while she is trained. Hmmm! I nodded. Yes.

Then I said I was coming to see you anyway. We have bought a house on the Gold Coast and are moving.

It was her turn to be floored with a WOT THE moment.

When? She asked.

About 8th September.

Oh! In that case would you like to stay on until then?

Hmmm!

OK

So alls well that ends well.

That is when I had planned to work until anyway!!!

In the later afternoon I drove to Townsville arriving at 9.30 pm and after a cup of tea I was ready for bed.

Friday 18th July

Townsville is a city I have stayed at or driven through many times in the last twenty or so years. Mostly I have preferred to drive through as although the city is on the coast it does not feel like seaside city but just seems dry and dusty.

I guess I have not taken the time to stop an appreciate the town although on reflection I have had some good memories.

Today Shelley had the day off. The children were at school, the youngest, Matthew was at Day Care and Dwyane was at work. It is Shelley’s birthday on Sunday and it was good to have some free time together, just father and daughter to have coffee, exploration and lunch.

After an hour at the shopping centre to sort out some banking and telecommunications questions followed by a coffee. (I cannot miss my morning coffee) we drove to Kissing Point the site of  Jezzine Army Barracks and coastal fort. Most of the old barracks buildings have been maintained and the old fort and munitions bunker have been retained, landscaped with pathways and signage and opened to the public. This was a first time visit for both of us as the site has only recently been thrown open to the public.

The fort was built in 1889 as a defence against a perceived threat from an unknown enemy after British Ground Forces were removed in 1870.The fort is well sited to cover the entire Cleveland Bay but in reality the two ancient 6 inch cannon would have been of little use.

Significantly it was again prepared for defence during World War II when the Battle of The Coral Sea with US Forces against the Japanese. The battle was waged on the Ocean as well as in the air and many Australian and US Forces were based in Townsville.

The entire Jezzine Barracks and Fort were the focus of a M$40 restoration project which was only completed late in 2013. As part of the project a walkway was built from the fort along the cliffs above the coast to Rowes Bay, the first time the two locations had been connected by a direct link.

Townsville is still classed as a Garrison City with both the Army and Air Force having a base here. Visiting Naval ships are frequent visitors to the port.

Shelley and I spent a good two hours here and still did not see all there was to see.

I recommend a visit to, the barracks, the Military Museum and the Kissing Point Fort.

We had a so so lunch at the Cowboys Rugby League Club Tonight the Cowboys played away to Cronulla in Sydney and had their first away game this season.

Matthew had been sick with diarrhea and vomiting this week and passed it on to Jack who was also sick today. Tonight Dwyanne came down with the same malaise and during the night so did Georgia.

Hmmm! How do I protect myself against whatever germs are running rampant.

Saturday 19th July.

Shelley went to work but was sent home about two hours later. She was being violently ill and diarrhea.

I am beginning to become concerned for my own health.

Dwyane took Matthew and I for a drive to the Port of Townsville where we inspected a cruise ship which will be refitted as a medical ship and used to bring medical, dental and optical services to remote areas of Penang New Guinea a northern neighbor of Australia. The ship was open for inspection in an effort to obtain donations of money, spectacles or volunteers to go to PNG.

The organization is called Ywam Medical Ships (http://ywamships.org.au/ )

Hmmm!

I did the maths.

To volunteer for two months costs $800 for a meal package.

$800 return flights to PNG to join the ship and probably another $300,to $400 spending money whilst arriving and leaving PNG.

That’s a bit out of my league at present but maybe if I won the lotto…

After the ship visit we drove to Castle Hill the giant plug of pink granite which dominates to Townsville skyline. On top of Castle Hill is a monument to Captain Robert Towns, the founder of Townsville and after whom many local sites and business bear his name. I thank Wikipedia for the following information.

Robert Towns monument

In 1873, Robert Towns, the founder of Townsville, died in Sydney and was buried in Balmain Cemetery. ( I was born at Balmain and lived there until I was 13)

In 1940, the Municipality of Leichhardt decided to replace that cemetery with parkland (called Pioneers Memorial Park).[7] The plans were advertised and families were invited to arrange for re-interment of bodies or removal of memorials.[8] In 1941, the Leichhart Council offered the memorial from the grave of Robert Towns to the Townsville City Council.[9][10] In January 1942, Townsville City Council voted to accept the memorial and transport it to Townsville at a cost of £23/10/- but it as not unanimous with two councillors opposing the plan, one claiming that Robert Towns had done nothing for Townsville and it was only sheer good luck that caused the city to bear his name.[11] A local resident, Tom Gleeson, proposed “high on the peak of Castle Hill, overlooking the harbour” would be a suitable location for the monument.[12] Having arrived in Townsville, the monument was then placed in storage for a number of years.

It was not until October 1947 that the Council discussed where to place the monument. A number of locations were considered: Castle Hill, the Botanic Gardens, in front of the Queens Hotel, the Anzac Memorial Par and the Railway Oval, but Castle Hill was ultimately the council’s choice.[13][14] In February 1948, the Queensland Government gave its approval to the council to place the monument in the centre of the car parking area on the top of Castle Hill.[15]

Captain Robert Towns memorial.

Captain Robert Towns memorial.

 

Over two years later, in November 1949, the monument was finally placed on Castle Hill, where it stands to the present day.[16] A plaque was added to explain the origins of the monument.

Townsville, Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island seen from Castle Hill.

Townsville, Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island seen from Castle Hill.

View of Kissing Point Fort seen from Castle Hill.

View of Kissing Point Fort seen from Castle Hill.

A seaplane which takes passengers on joy flights over the city lands in the bay beside the marina. A few minutes before it had flown low over the top of Castle Hill.

A seaplane which takes passengers on joy flights over the city lands in the bay beside the marina. A few minutes before it had flown low over the top of Castle Hill.

From Castle Hill we drove to Mt Stuart, also pink granite which dominates the skyline and has the local TV transmitter towers.

TV towers atop Mt Stuart.

TV towers atop Mt Stuart.

Now here is something which I find interesting. The Great Diving Range well west of Townsville is sandstone. In fact the 3,000 kilometre length of the Great Dividing Range is sandstone. The coastal plain to the east of the range and prominently in the case of Townsville itself there are several plugs of pink granite rising up to 300 metres and dominating the landscape. These pink granite monoliths crop up along the coastal fringe to the north of Townsville at least as far as Cardwell and as far south as Bowen. In all cases the pink granite stands out along the skyline. Kissing Point and the munitions fort which we visited yesterday is also pink granite.

The steep cliff faces on pink granite Mt Stuart

The steep cliff faces on pink granite Mt Stuart

Dwyane and Matthew on the edge of cliffs on Mt.Stuart.

Dwyane and Matthew on the edge of cliffs on Mt.Stuart.

Then we drove part of the Range Road but decided the destination of Charters Towers some 120 Klm away was not worth the long drive there and back.

Welcome top Townsville from Harvey's Range. Another pink granite mountain.

Welcome top Townsville from Harvey’s Range. Another pink granite mountain.

Finally we drove to Saunders Beach north of Townsville before arriving back at Bushland Beach after 6 hours on the road.

Sunday 20th July

After wishing Shelley a happy birthday and saying goodbye to Dwyane and the grandchildren I drove the 330 klms back to Airlie Beach. Even the traffic was co-operative today. I did stop in Ayr for a coffee from Maccas, traditionally when driving to or from Townsville I always take a break here.

 

 

 

381. Sunday 13th July 2014. Decking oil and Gold Coast dreaming…

14/07/2014

Monday 7th July

In the cold light on Monday morning (and it was a cold morning – it is winter after all but winter in the tropics) I looked back on the late night offer I made by email for the villa on the Gold Coast. Of course the usual doubts and or unasked questions pop into the mind.

The agent had told me he was going to Fiji for a week from today. His daughter will maintain the office and sales while he is away.

He had also told me that after the inspection yesterday an offer had been made…he also told me the amount. It was more than I was originally going to offer but still well below the asking price.

My offer was above that amount.

At least four more inspections are organized for tomorrow so any of them or all of them could make an offer and any or all of them could offer the asking price. I am not that confident of securing the sale but I can always up our offer if need be.

The only thing we may have in our favour is the vendor wants a long settlement so their new place will be built and ready to move into. That suits us.

Late in the afternoon the agent called. The vendors appreciated our offer and the long settlement but we were just a whisker below what they would accept. Well, alrighty then. What more can we offer and then suddenly it was ours.

Tuesday 8th July

It will be a long busy week organizing and signing contracts, arranging pest and building inspections and paying a deposit.

In the afternoon the purchase agreement arrived but I had to remind the agent that with a transaction of this nature there are several sets of documents that should accompany the agreement and I need them all before we can sign.

Wednesday 9th July

All documentation received this morning and forwarded to the solicitor.

Thursday 10th July

The solicitor advises documents are in order and if we are happy to proceed to sign and send back to the agent.

Friday11th July

This morning we signed the agreement and had our neighbor Stan as witness. Stan mentioned he has a  2.5 metre  python living in his backyard which comes out in the morning to sun itself.

Hmmm!

I finally got started on a project I have wanted to do since we moved into the house.

This is how the deck looked before I started the endless cleaning and acid wash  and 4 coats of decking oil.

This is how the deck looked before I started the endless cleaning and acid wash and 4 coats of decking oil.

The back deck was washed down with a mild acid solution and rinsed off with the Gerni. After it was dry I put down the first of several coats of decking oil.

We scanned the signed agreement and sent it to the agent. I also transferred a big chunk of money into the agents trust account. My hand was trembling as I made the on-line transaction.

After dinner we visited Michael and his Spanish wife Julia and sat outside in the cold huddled around a fire until midnight.

Saturday 12th July.

Stan had a visit from the snake catcher this morning. She caught the very large very fat python and slid it into a canvas bag. Stan & Meriwyn were not both pleased to see it go. However the neighbor on the other side felt the snake was too close to their clothesline area and wanted it moved. Stan & Meriwyne feel the snake was not doing any harm, it is a Carpet Python and therefore non venomous but if cornered could protect itself with a bite – not fatal of course. To maintain neighbourly harmony the snake was relocated.

I managed to put down a second coat of decking oil and in the afternoon drove to Proserpine for the Queensland Open Go Kart Championships.

Final race of day one of Queensland Open Titles. There were 30 starters in the race.

Final race of day one of Queensland Open Titles. There were 30 starters in the race.

Sister Sandra and boyfriend Dave were coming for a visit. Sandra had left Dave at the Go Kart track while she visited Airlie for a Day Spa massage and beauty treatment. Of course I volunteered to collect Dave from the track.

After dark we walked to Jubilee Tavern for dinner.

Sunday 13th July.

It was a busy day.

In the morning I put down another coat of decking oil then baked a loaf of cheese n chives bread.

Then I washed RALLYE.

In the afternoon I put a fourth coat of oil on the deck.

I have crawled over that deck on hands and knees removing old paint and candle splashes. I hammered nails, I plucked gravel and leaves and twigs and dust and grit from the spaces. I have swept and vacuumed and washed and twice gernied and acid washed that deck with loving care and finally four coats of decking oil.

After 4 coats of decking oil.

After 4 coats of decking oil.

I thought I was finished but of course there are splashes and streaks of decking oil on painted surfaces still to be removed…another job crawling around on hands and knees .

Next week I will re-start on varnishing the window ledges and then when I catch my breath will start painting a few rooms

Sigh!!!
Does it ever stop?

Even with a hand held camera this full moon clearly shows the craters, mountains and seas.

Even with a hand held camera on 48x zoom this full moon clearly shows the craters, mountains and seas. It is worth double clicking the image to see the detail

380. Sunday 6th July 2014. Airlie Beach to Mackay to the Gold Coast and back again…

06/07/2014

Monday 30th June

Over the last few weeks I have felt somewhat “restrained” in mind and activities. After almost four years on the road we returned to our home to bring it back into an acceptable state for either another rental or to place it on the market. Of course we have not made a decision on either of those options. I am more focused on getting the work done.

That said, I still feel like I am marching on the spot but eager to start travelling again.  That makes me feel restrained.

Recalling our time on the road and looking at a map of our travels I can see we have not really covered much ground and there is a lot of map still to be filled in with our travels.

Sigh!

Friday 4th July

This is the day our friends in the US of A celebrate their Independence. It is also a public holiday. Like Oz when we have a public day of celebration it is also an excuse for some within the community to use the day to drink booze, get drunk and kill somebody on the road .

Sigh!

Today started off with lots of plans for things to get done around the house while we are both still here. In another week or so Donnis heads off to another 4 weeks of nursing at Coolah in western New South Wales. The day soon changed gears and we found ourselves going in a different direction entirely.

The pest control man from Amalgamated Pest Control arrived to conduct an internal house inspection – for white ants (termites) – and to carry out a full barrier soak of the ground to discourage said termites. We last had a full barrier treatment several years ago and it was time for a top up. Donnis did not want to be around chemicals and poisons so we went to the shopping centre for some essential items.

Whinge Whinge Whinge. A full morning wasted when I could have been working on a few tasks around the house.

By the time the pest control men were packed and away we arrived home for lunch. Then came the phone call we were hoping for but thought it would not happen for a month or two. Graeme G a Real Estate Agent from the Gold Coast called to say a villa at Harbourside Gardens Biggera Waters had come on the market last night and would we like to inspect it? It seems he has four inspections already booked in on Tuesday as these villas are highly sought after. We told Graeme I would be there tomorrow.

Our Telstra Gateway wireless modem has been dropping signal lately so our internet has been patchy and the new antenna delivered last week made no difference. As the signal came and went I somehow managed to book a flight out of Mackay direct to the Gold Coast – there is one flight there and back each day – Jet Star Airlines only introduced this new service last week.. I also booked car. The option to book accommodation was discarded, I said Naaah I can find a motel when I arrive.

Easy!

Famous last words.

By the time the booking was complete a new 4G Wireless modem arrived and for the better part of an hour was spent setting up and installing. This latest device is about the size of a mobile phone while the Gateway was about the size a cake mix box. The old Gateway required constant 240 volts while the new modem is battery operated and only needs charging. It also has an LCD screen to tell you state of charge, signal and how many devices are attached plus options to change settings. The speed is WOW and there were no dropouts for the rest of the day and night.

Our old Gasteway modem on thye left and the new Netgear replacement on the right. The new modem tells us signal strength, how much download we have, how much is used and how long until recharge..

Our old Gasteway modem on thye left and the new Netgear replacement on the right. The new modem tells us signal strength, how much download we have, how much is used and how long until recharge..

Hmmm! Now that I have a reliable wireless modem perhaps I should book a room.

I tried the top end of the Gold Coast and worked my way down to Tweed Heads. All the cheaper options are booked out for at least a week.

Hmmm! Start again with mid- range options.

Also booked out.

Hmmm! Maybe I should try all options. WHAT THE!!! All options are booked out. Maybe I should start looking further away. All booked out, even the $800 a night places. I called a friend who lives in Calypso Resort at Coolangatta (bottom end of the Gold Coast) 6 months of the year. He explained apart from the fact it is school holidays and most places are booked out there is also a Mega Marathon being run on the Gold Coast this weekend and some streets will be closed off and accommodation is unobtainable. Oh as well the Gold Coast Suns Aussie Rules Team has a home game this weekend and draws huge crowds and any fans would have taken any available rooms.

It suddenly seemed likely I may have to sleep in the hire car!!!

We called our friend Glenda who lives on the western fringe of the Gold Coast. She can make up a bed on the floor in her partially built house.

Done! It is my only option and far better than sleeping in the car even though as Glenda told me, there is no wall on one side of the room so nowhere to hide from the wind. That’s what blankets are for!!! By the time my flight and car bookings were complete and tickets printed and a bed organized it was 11pm and time for bed as I have to drive to Mackay in the morning.

Good night ZZZZZzzzz!

Saturday 5th July.

After a 2 hour drive to Mackay Airport I was soon on my way to the Gold Coast. As the plane came in over the sea to make landing approach I could see the high rise buildings reflected in the calm sea. After landing  I collected the hire car, a Kia Cerato and drove 50 Klms to Biggera Waters in time to meet the agent and spend an hour looking through the villa and taking photos for Donnis. The villa is sited one back from the prestige Biggera Creek but does have a creek view.

This is the villa we are interested in buying.

This is the villa we are interested in buying.

After waiting a year for villa to come on the market I suddenly feel less confident about making an offer especially as I discovered  there are at least 6 potential buyers set for viewings between now and Tuesday. The villa has not yet been advertised on the internet and already people are lining up to buy.

The complex only has 101 villas and is small compared to most Over 50’s Resorts which have a minimum of 200 units often as many as 400. One thing I noticed since our last visit in 2013 the Mens Shed has built a small cenotaph and flag pole to conduct Anzac Day ceremonies.

This is the cenotaph erected by the small group of 101 villa owners. It is erected beside a delightful gazebo with barbecue facilities overlooking Biggera Creek and looks towards the Biggera Creek Canal development.

This is the cenotaph erected by the small group of 101 villa owners. It is erected beside a delightful gazebo with barbecue facilities overlooking Biggera Creek and looks towards the Biggera Creek Canal development.

After the inspection I drove 25 Klms to Worongarry for dinner with Glenda, her mum and her brother. By 8.30 pm I was ready for bed.

Sunday 6th July

I was awake at 6am to see the blood red sunrise off the Gold Coast but the multitude of trees meant no photos.

After breakfast I drove to the coast to visit Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach

Surfers Paradise skyline seen from Kirra Beach. I am unsure why but I never seem to tire of this view.

Surfers Paradise skyline seen from Kirra Beach. I am unsure why but I never seem to tire of this view.

which I surfed many years ago when three mates and I drove from Sydney and arrived at Kirra just on dark but being young, bulletproof and ten foot tall we went straight in the water for a surf despite the dangers. Today the Beach is all tidied up with footpaths and boardwalks and gazebos and parking restrictions but it is the closest beach to Coolangatta Airport.

I was soon at the airport and then on my way home. After arriving in Mackay followed by a 2 hour drive to Airlie Beach I was ready for bed soon after dinner.

However between arriving home and dinner we discussed the villa and agreed to put in our offer but with another 4 couples yet to view I am not all that confident unless we offer what the vendors are asking.

I am frankly not keen to do that as the villa is 11 years old and is looking a little tired. I need to keep some funds in reserve to “refurbish” the villa.

I guess by this time next week I will have more to report.

Wish us good luck in our quest to buy a villa on Biggera Creek.