Archive for September, 2014

387. Sunday 28th September 2014. Movie World and curtain world…

28/09/2014

Monday 22nd September

We woke to a cool and overcast day. We had showers off and on all day.

Along with many thousands of others we drove to Movie World about 10 Klms from our new home.

Entrance to Movie World on the Gold Coast.

Entrance to Movie World on the Gold Coast.

The firts rides which greet you on entering the park is the Batwing Tower on the left and the Superman Roller Coaster on the right.

The firts rides which greet you on entering the park is the Batwing Tower on the left and the Superman Roller Coaster on the right.

In fact there are several theme adventure parks in the same area. Wet n Wild, Whitewater World, Australian Outback Spectacular, Dreamworld and Sea World in the opposite direction. Last week Donnis bought passes which are valid for Movie World, Wet n Wild and Sea World which give us unlimited entry and free rides until the end of June 2015. We lined up to have our photo taken and passes issued while Chris, who has his own pass, jiggled impatiently from foot to foot itching to get started on the rides. It has been many years since I was last in a fun park and many of the rides have notices suggesting if you have or have had certain medical conditions you should not take a ride. Hmmm! Luckily for me I have two of the conditions and had to sit out the rides.

Geez! How disappointing!

Chris lined up to ride the Green Lantern which was scary just looking at it.

The Green Lantern ride.

The Green Lantern ride.

Chris on his 8th ride on the Green Lantern.

Chris on his 8th ride on the Green Lantern.

He made friends with a father and son who are from Malaysia. They lined up again to do the ride a second time. We met the entire family, dad, mum two boys and a girl. I felt uncomfortable for the little girl because as a Muslim she has to dress with several layers of clothes including scarves over her head. By midday it was quite warm and she looked so hot in her layers. We spent the next few hours waiting while the children went on rides and we got to know the mum and dad.

Tuesday 23rd September

Can you believe we spent another day at Movie World?  A friend of Chris, Blake, was driven by his dad to the Gold Coast to meet up with us. One of the attractions we saw today was a motor car and motorcycle stunt display which apart from being noisy and smelly from the burned rubber was very enjoyable.

These stunt car drivers chased the cycle riders around the course and through buildings.

These stunt car drivers chased the cycle riders around the course and through buildings.

Stunt cycle riders reach impossible heights.

Stunt cycle riders reach impossible heights.

This stunt man posed as a member of the audience "selected at random" to take part in the stunt show.

This stunt man posed as a member of the audience “selected at random” to take part in the stunt show.

Chris of course spent his day going on the same rides as yesterday. Another attraction was a 4D movie. Yep! 4D! It is the usual 3D which requires special glasses plus many extra twists. The seats thump up and down and backward and forward and tilt. Sometimes, all three at once.  Compressed air hisses from the backrests along with fragrences and a misty rain. You leave the theatre drenched. At one point a giant centipede is shown crawling over a rock and a piece of cloth fluttered over our legs. The whole theatre erupted in squeals when that happened. I was wondering how much punishment my back could take in these wild seats when the movie was over. It was just a ten minute preview so you will go to a theatre and see the full length 3D version. In the afternoon after the visit to Movie World, Donnis and the boys went to Treasure Island and spent another couple of hours in the waterpark. Although he vehemently denied he was tired, Chris fell asleep before dinner.

Batman Lives... on top of the asylum building.

Batman Lives… on top of the asylum building.

Whew! What a day. It is even more tiring managing two ten year old boys who want to go on different rides and trying to maintain calm in the face of boyish enthusiasm. Carrying food and drink for four people was also tiring but at least we had a fun day. Would we go again? You betcha we would although I would prefer to go as a couple.

Some of the Looney Tunes crew.

Some of the Looney Tunes crew.

Chris loves to pose.

Chris loves to pose.

Wednesday 24th September

In the morning we drove to THE SPIT, an umm err spit of land reaching toward the entrance of the Gold Coast Waterway. After a walk around in the lovely sunlight and breathing the refreshing salt laden air and watching the waves and all the marine activity we moved on to Surfers Paradise.

Guess who forgot to take the camera? In the afternoon we returned Chris to his mother, Regelyn in Brisbane arriving back at our new home on the GC by nightfall.

Thursday 25th September

Another day just doing little jobs around the villa and unpacking  bits n pieces. Dunno where the day went but I felt busy.

Tonight I joined a group in the clubhouse to pay table tennis or for the really older folk …ping pong. I have not played for probably thirty years or more. When I did play in competition I was always in the game to win and put everything into the game. It took me a losing game to get my eye “in” and I got playing seriously. The other players called me a “gun” player and want me as part of their regular Monday and Thursday games. By the time I walked home I was worn out, sweaty and could barely lift my right arm but I sure enjoyed the game.

Friday 26th September

Today we looked at venetian blinds, shade roller binds, curtain rods and curtains. The curtains which were in the villa look a bit dated and were pretty cheaply installed.

Tonight was fish n chips night at the clubhouse followed by bingo. We met about a dozen folks tonight and were asked to join the golfers, the charity group, the mens toy making project, the golfers, the bowlers, the snooker players and of course the table tennis players.

Saturday 27th September.

Bit by bit over the last two days we have managed to put away a few more items as well as drive around the area looking at furniture and carpet stores. This morning Donnis found a Queen Anne Bedroom Suite on Gumtree. We drove to the exclusive area of Paradise Point on Sovereign Island, inspected the suite which has been well maintained since it was crafted by Dineen  Furniture in 1980 and bought it. OMG! Buying furniture was not on the agenda. The owner helped deliver the dressing table and bedhead in his ute. Big black storm clouds had rolled in and just as we were taking the pieces from the ute the rain began, punctuated by a lightning display accompanied by loud thunder.

Our new bedroom looks rather impressive with this Queen Anne style bedroom suite made from Rosewood.

Sunday 28th September

After a slow start to the day we went out and bought venetians, curtains and rods and started installing them.

Hmmm! One window complete and only another seven to go!!!

Advertisements

386. Sunday 21st September 2014. First week in new home and a couple of days in Court…

22/09/2014

Monday 15th September

…and so begins the first week in our new home.

Unpacking continues slowly. There is still not enough space in the garage to fit either car. Today we managed to free up enough space to move the two steel cabinets into the multi- purpose room behind the garage. In turn this allowed us to get many of the smaller items off the floor and into the shelves so we can reach other items and begin putting “stuff” away.

Tuesday 16th September

Unpacking and putting away continues and will do so for some days to come but at least the initial overwhelming scope of the task has diminished.

Donnis has managed to have a swim in our heated pool yesterday and today. We took a walk to Treasure Island and sorted out our site agreement. The giant caravan park has a Treasure Island, Pirate and Adventure theme activities for children (and adults) to enjoy. There are so many things to do in the park that many families arrive and just stay in the park until it is time to go home. As tenants of our village we are entitled to use the facilities when we have visitors. We then walked to Centrelink to re-register for my pension. We also managed a walk across the road to Harbourtown Shopping Centre to get a few groceries. Late in the afternoon we sorted enough “stuff” to make space for TERIOS in the garage.

Yay!

Tomorrow I have to leave Donnis for at least three days, perhaps four to cope with day to day unpacking and sorting while I travel to Armidale over the border in New South Wales to attend court as a character witness.

Wednesday 17th September

Today I travelled the number 1 highway over the border into New South Wales as far as Ballina where I turned west onto the Bruxner Highway through Lismore, Casino, the historic town of Tabulum and on to Tenterfield where I turned south on the New England Highway to Armidale. The  town of Tabulum is quite small but has a very old and rickety one lane  timber bridge over the Clarence River. The bridge was built in 1902 and still carries all the traffic from the coast to Tenterfield. Have look at the history and some photographs here. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=tabulam+bridge&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=oHEdVI7GOcOC8gXo9ICoDA&ved=0CCEQsAQ and https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CC8QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.northernstar.com.au%2Fnews%2Fthe-fight-to-save-the-tabulam-bridge%2F1981771%2F&ei=oHEdVI7GOcOC8gXo9ICoDA&usg=AFQjCNF9Lb26IzeotoneWgBibOhtylQh7A&sig2=4BIc1s17I3KcQBG-Bu6y1A&bvm=bv.75775273,d.dGc

About 20Klm south of the little town of Deepwater I heard a siren and saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. As I was sitting on the speed limit I pulled to the side to allow the Police to pass.

Nope!

He was not passing. He was pulling me over!!! WTF!!!  The Police officer approached me and asked for my licence. Uh huh. Can do. He then told me he was doing a Random Breath Test!

Huh! A random breath test In the middle of %#@*ing nowhere!!!  No officer I have not had a drink today. I passed the test. He thanked me for my co-operation, wished me a safe journey and went back to the patrol car. WTF was that all about???  Later young Gavin explained that my Queensland plates probably caught his attention. Why would you pull up individual cars for a random Breath Test? Surely he would capture more drink drivers by having a roadside breath test station and stopping ten or more cars at a time? Having the flashing lights and siren almost gave me a heart attack!

Once I arrived in Armidale late in the afternoon and opened the car door the cold hit me like a blast from a cool room. Wow! I had forgotten how cold it can be here compared to the coast. It is Spring after all!

Thursday 18th September.

Without providing any personal information I will comment on the bare reasons why I am in Armidale. I am here to provide a character reference for a friend who has been charged with a criminal offence. We spent most of the day sitting and or pacing the waiting area in the new Armidale courthouse. The case was in a Closed Court which means until we enter the courtroom as a witness or character reference we are not allowed to watch and or listen to anything presented. The main door to the courtroom has a narrow glass panel where we could look into the room and see some of the players including the person giving evidence on a closed circuit TV. Obviously the person was in another room somewhere in the building. We could not hear anything but once while peering through the glass panel the Sheriff came around the corner and said we are not allowed to watch proceedings and to move away from the door. This did not stop other persons such as a detective and other witnesses from coming and looking – after first checking for where the Sheriff was. located.

A long and boring day was had by all but at least it was an opportunity to talk with people I know.

Friday 19th September

Another day at court. The other character witness (he is also a character in his own right) and I fully expected to be called in the morning. By lunchtime neither of us had been called. After lunch the prosecution witnesses were called and by almost days end the other character witness was called. At that stage the judge called a halt to the proceedings and declared next sitting would be the last week of October and I was left standing and feeling like a Shag on a rock – hung out to dry. The defence barrister advised he will try to get my statement issued via an affidavit to save another trip next month.

Grrr!!!

Saturday 20th September.

At this point I feel I can mention I stayed at the White Lanterns Motel in Armidale. A motel which looks nice on the outside but the cleanliness leaves a lot toi be desired. It seems the relief manager is a one man band of front desk, cleaner, cook and general repair man. Frankly he is falling behind on most of those jobs.

Another long drive back to the Gold Coast. The route I had taken was a reverse of the one taken to arrive in Armidale. I should mention that the journey between Tenterfield and Casino involves travelling over the Great Dividing Range. Part of the trip is a 34 Klm stretch of up and down and around corners which has speed limits of 35Klm per hour and seems to be the longest slowest part of the trip. Today the traffic over the bridge at Tabulum involved stopping in queue at one end while traffic came from the other end. It is a good thing I was not still living in Airlie Beach as I would have had at least two, perhaps three, plane trips each way. It was so nice being back in my new home in my old familiar bed and let the tension of the last few days and the long drive home ease out of my mind and body.

Sunday 21st September

We visited the giant Ikea store located about 40 Klm along the motorway towards Brisbane. If you have never been to an Ikea Store it is sort of like being trapped in a maze. The maze is so well designed to pull you away from the main route – which is marked by a lighted arrow on the floor – to explore room designs Ikea also put a cafeteria at the beginning and or end of the maze to encourage you to stop and eat to recover from your ordeal.

Afterwards we drove to visit Regelyn and son Chris who agreed to come and stay with us for a few days.

Hmmm! All unpacking has come to a grinding halt and no further unpacking will occur until after Chris goes home.

385. Sunday 14th September 2014. We finally arrive on the Gold Coast but are far from settled…

14/09/2014

Monday 8th September.

The most important part of the day almost never happened.

The important item today was the settlement. Supposedly at 10am. Our solicitor had sent the cheque on Friday via Priority Courier for delivery by 10am. By that time the cheque had not been delivered. I started making calls and was promised by midday OR if they failed to meet that deadline, no later than 2pm. Still no delivery and we made several more hurried, frantic and slightly miffed, annoyed and stressed calls. Finally the cheque arrived about 2.30, settlement took place at 3.30 and everybody went home happy.

Annoyed but happy.

Tuesday 9th September.

I dunno why but I can feel a week of drama coming on.

Our appointment with the Tax Agent went well. I dunno about her sense of humour though. We knew we would have to pay the tax office a big chunk of tax from the sale of our house in Mackay last year. Now, me being me, did a bit of mental arithmetic and consulting with others in a financial background and we all more or less agreed on what that large chunk would be. Within minutes of our meeting the agent told the bad news about how the Australian Tax Office (ATO) calculates the tax. Without going into detail about how the calculations are done let me just comment that all the blood drained from my face and all I could think of was a bigger chunk of money going to the ATO. After some moments of heart palpitations and not a drop of humour left in my mind, the agent then explained the resultant tax bill, while still being a big chunk, was a slightly lesser chunk. I could breathe again. Donnis thought the episode was funny. The expression on my face was worthwhile seeing.

Friends John & Lorraine S called around for a final coffee. Who knows when we will catch up with them again.

John and Lorraine arrive for a cup of coffee.

John and Lorraine arrive for a cup of coffee.

Wednesday 10th September

Moving Day!

We had been told to expect the removalist truck by around 9am. We were not fully packed but theorised that by the time the removalist were ready for those final items we would be packed.

The time came and went. An hour passed and no sign of the removalists.

\Now everything was packed away, even those items we would make lunch and a cuppa.

Another hour went by. Ummm, where are they? I called their base. Umm err they were delayed getting a pickup and delivery to Cairns but left there an hour ago. I was asked how long to drive to Airlie Beach. I did my mental maths and said at least 8 hours and estimated they would arrive in the late afternoon…about 6pm. Hmmm! Allowing two hours to pack and we do a final clean we could be on the road by maybe 10 pm. Not a good time to be on the road but at least we would be on our way.

Mid-afternoon the removalist sent a text message. Will arrive between 8pm and 9pm. WOT THE!!! Later their base called to ask if we had heard from the truck as they had not heard from them for several hours. WOT THE!!!

By 7pm the truck driver called asking for our address!!! WOT THE!!! They then advised a new ETA of 8.30 pm.

They arrived at 9.30.

With Donnis and I working as navies the truck was loaded, the removalists had a shower and were on their way by 1am Thursday. As we had cleaned the rooms progressively as items were emptied, we did a final clean and were tucked in bed in WWWGO by 1.15.

ZZZZZZZzzz.

Thursday 11th September

We were up and ready by 6am. We moved WWWGO out of its parking location and finally connected TERIOS to it and were on our way. Well, sort of. We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast. We left Maccas at 7am and truly were on our way with Frank driving and towing TERIOS and Donnis following in RALLYE. Although I am comfortable driving for hours on end, Donnis is inclined to cramp up and or become tired after a couple of hours. On top of that she was not enjoying driving behind while trucks were wanting to pass. She kept dropping further and further behind instead of driving ahead and choosing a place to stop for a break every two hours.

By now I can confirm the tension of the last few days was making us both feel out of sorts.

At last, by 4pm we decided to call it quits for the day. We had driven 600 Klms and stopped for the night at Calliope River where we had stayed on many occasions in the past. As usual this delightful spot was chock a block with probably another 100 campers and more arriving every few minutes. With a little daylight still remaining we had a walk around the campsite on both sides of the river. The bridge over the river was once part of the original Bruce Highway. When the highway was diverted and a new bridge built this lttle area became the property of the local council and they allowed the area to be used for camping. In fact on the high northern bank of the river they cleared an area, put in toilets, fence boundaries and a sealed access road. A few years ago the bridge itself was blocked off to all but pedestrian traffic as it was beginning to deteriorate rapidly.

The bridge at the old highway boat ramp on the Calliope River. Note the condition of the concrete supporting the bridge. crossing.

The bridge at the old highway boat ramp on the Calliope River. Note the condition of the concrete supporting the bridge. crossing.

Donnis enjoys the last bit of sunlight. Note the remains of a fire some eejit lit on the bridge.

Donnis enjoys the last bit of sunlight. Note the remains of a fire some eejit lit on the bridge.

Calliope River

Calliope River

Remains of one of hundreds of campfires.

Remains of one of hundreds of campfires.

Unusual house design on the banks od the Calliope River.

Unusual house design on the banks od the Calliope River.

Mental exhaustion caught up with us and we were in bed by 8.30 with a vague plan to be on the road by 6am to drive the remaining 600 Klms and arrive on the Gold Coast by mid afternoon.

ZZZzzz

Friday 12th September

Around 4am Donnis woke feeling ill. She had a “technicolour yawn” (Aussie slang – see Google – http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=technicolor%20yawn ) and came back to bed and shivered with cold until we both fell asleep. I was awake by 6am but thought it best for Donnis to remain asleep. We were on the road by 9.30 and this time Donnis drove ahead of me. The trip was uneventful and we crossed the threshold of our new home at 7pm. We had been on the road 36 hours.

The removalists had put some of the furniture in the logical places inside the house. The remainder was stacked haphazardly in the garage. At least we had a table and chairs and a bed for the night. Too tired and mentally fuzzed to try to cook we unloaded WWWGO fridge into the house fridge. Just outside the back gate of our new resort style home is a giant foodie place called Harbourside Markets. We had a nice Indian meal before heading back home to bed.

Another early night of ZZZzzz.

Saturday 13th September

We woke to the reality of all the unpacking ahead of us as well as all the day to day adjustments to a new lifestyle and set of rules.

We started meeting other residents as they walked around. Some are off to Hawaii tomorrow. Our next door neighbours arrived home from a three month trip in their caravan.

In the morning we wandered back to Harbourside Markets for a late breakfast at Tartare Restaurant. Imagine this. Two bacon rashers, two eggs, two slices of toast and a hash brown plus a coffee for $8.90 Compare this to a McDonalds McMuffin, hash brown and a coffee for around the same price. There is NO comparison.

 

By the way the market is named Harbourside Markets,which is outside our back gate. Our location is called Harbourside Gardens and we are across the street from a large shopping centre called Harbour Town.

We temporarily moved WWWGO into the Treasure Island Caravan Park next door (we get a 20% discount on all their restaurant and other facilities including accommodation. We also get a 20% discount on all food sold at Harbourside Markets – except in the restaurants. The food outlets include a bakery, chocolatier, specialist aged dried beef  butchery, fromagery, delicatessen. green grocer, gelatoist, pizzeria and a fish monger.

After a long day of unpacking and trying to store the stuff from a three bedroom house into a smaller two bedroom villa it was time to find all the cables for the TV and tune it in to the local stations.  The unpacking continues tomorrow.

Sunday 14th September

Most of the day was spent unpacking and finding storage places. We walked to Harbourtown Shopping Centre to buy milk but decided to stop at Fasta Pasta for lunch. Options for breakfast lunch and dinner will keep us busy for a long time to come. The movie theatre, including a Gold Class lounge will keep us entertained. The Chinese green grocer had a special of 6 punnets of strawberries for $5. Naturally they are now stored in the freezer.

After meeting several residents and hearing their reports on activities in and around the resort and the Gold Coast in general we will be busy for a long time to come.

 

384. Sunday 7th September 2014.Finish work, start packing, the Gold Coast beckons…

07/09/2014

Sorry folks no photos to busy, too busy.

Monday 1st September

Oh boy. The tension is mounting.

The removalist is booked for 11th September although he may come earlier That alone creates a certain amount of uncertainty to heighten tension.

Each day we find more little jobs to do around the house in addition to getting things packed away in boxes. The packing job is going slowly.

Our solicitor sent us a settlement statement by email. Whew! This part makes me nervous, Taking a large sum of money out of our bank account and handing it to somebody without physically seeing something in return.

On arriving home from work I managed to put new melamine edging on a shelf in the kitchen cupboards. One shelf edging had begun to peel and had broken.

In addition I am still working.

Only another three days of work.

Tuesday 2nd September

After work I drove to the bank and made a large withdrawal in the form of a Bank Cheque. I then drove to the solicitors office and handed the cheque to somebody I do not know.

Sigh!

When I arrived home I sprayed the laundry and deck steps with an anti -slip coating then inside our bedroom I found a couple of places on one wall where a mirror has rubbed small areas which need touch up paint. Luckily I had a small can of such paint and quickly completed the job.

Our local real estate agent visited to have signatures placed on a contract to rent our house. The rental situation is running at a high of 8% vacancy at the moment. That is not good but we feel we have targeted our rent so it is attractive to tenants.

Before dinner we sat down to watch the news on TV and found we were both drifting off to sleep. We think this tiredness is a by-product of the tension.

Only two more days of work.

Wednesday 3rd September

At work the Managing Director announced she would not be in the office on my final day so arranged for us all to have lunch in the board room. What would I like? A list of options followed and I grabbed the first. Fish n Chips from Bucks Seafood. Buck has sold seafood from this store as long as I can remember. Buck has his own fishing trawler and most of the fish comes from him. He sold the shop several months ago and according to us locals who have been enjoying Bucks fish for many many years the fish is not as good, it is not cooked as well and it is just not the same. Anyway, we all sat in the boardroom and swapped yarns and threw jokes at one another and ate fish, chips and calamari until we were full. Then it was back to work.

Only another day of work.

Donnis managed to put a few things in boxes and in WWWGO but prefers to wait until I am home to do the task together.

I fell asleep watching TV again.

Thursday 4th September

My last day of work. I managed to clear my desk of outstanding files or passed them on to somebody else.

Whew!

Retired…again.

Co-worker Ian H suggested that all things come in threes so he expects me to return.

Hmmm!

Friday 5th September.

The Airlie Beach Triathalon is being held this weekend and we are too busy to take the time to watch it.

I got a few text, Skype and phone birthday greetings today.

We took WWWGO to the fuel station and topped it up with diesel. No matter what time or day we leave next week we will not have to stop for fuel for at least another 500 Klms.

We took a load of  “surplus to needs” to the local “re-cycling station”. Instead of throwing things into the bin I put it all to one side. Before I had started the motor to TERIOS the vultures had arrived and were fighting over the bounty I had left. One woman had picked up the box in which I had put accumulated years of nuts, bolts, screws, nails and other assorted hardware and was putting it in her car. I am happy my cast off stuff is going to a good home.

While Donnis continued to pack things inside the house I worked at cleaning the leaves in the roof gutters.

The insurance company called to say repairs are approved and RALLYE can be brought in for panel beating and spray painting on Monday.

The tax agent called for us to call in on Tuesday morning to sign our completed tax assessment

The real estate agent called to make an appointment for a potential renter to look at the house on Tuesday afternoon.

The removalist called and brought the date forward to Wednesday 10th. Depending on the time they leave, RALLYE is finished and we complete the cleaning on the house and hand the keys into the agent we could be on our way south by late Wednesday afternoon. I would like to get a couple of hundred Klms on the road for our 1139 Klm trip to the Gold Coast. According to Google Maps it is a 13.5 hour journey. Of course it will be longer in WWWGO  as we drive slower than the speed limit but if I can get three or four hours of driving completed on the first day, another seven or eight hours on Thursday we can arrive fresh and bright eyed and bushy tailed on Friday morning.

Next week is already building to be a busy week

Saturday 6th September

No time for anything other than packing, cleaning and tidying. I feel like the rabbit in Alice through the Looking Glass. “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.” No time for anything other than keeping focused on the job ahead. Even so I still find myself abandoning one job and moving onto another then abandoning that job etc.

Somehow, slowly we are getting items packed away and although chaos still reigns I can see little patches of emptiness in the house and garage.

On reflection it was so much easier when we carried all of our world in WWWGO. We were like a tortoise and carried our home on our backs. We could pack up and move so easily.

Sunday 7th September

The leaves in the gutters have been cleared.

The penultimate trip to the “recycling station” was carried out this morning.

The day progressed slowly but as we moved boxes from the garage to the carport the little patches of emptiness grew.

Today is Fathers Day and thankfully all three daughters called or sent messages.

This time next week I will be reporting from the Gold Coast and a whole new adventure begins.