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

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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2 Responses to “383. Sunday 27th July 2014. Strawberry Fields Forever…”

  1. placestheygo Says:

    I am surprised that picking strawberries cost more than buying them already picked at the store. Here they are much cheaper to pick. We do, however, do the marking of the rows to be picked. I understand why they do this but I don’t like it.

    Like

    • frankeeg Says:

      I know it sounds silly but the price of the empty punnet is $8. You then have to spend the next 20-30 minutes in the sun picking your own. Add to this the cost of fuel just getting to a location. In my case I drove 109 Klms both ways.In the store a punnet of about a half the size costs between $2.50 to $4. Often the supermarket will sell them on special for 2 for $5. Still cheaper in my calculations however I looked at the day as an opportunity to spend time with family and that is priceless.

      Like

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