Archive for December, 2014

401. Sunday 28th December 2014.

28/12/2014

Monday 22nd December

Only three more sleeps until Santa arrives.

I think I might be aging. Christmas no longer has the same excitement it once had. Looking back on my Christmases past I can see where I have gone through many distinct phases.

When I was really young, like age one and two, I really did not give a damn. Who cares? Then as I became aware of myself and my surroundings the magic of a childs Christmas  enveloped me. The knowledge of being surrounded by family who loved and cared for me just did not enter into my thoughts. A little older still it was the thrill of anticipation of presents under the tree. As well as the excitement of knowing that after the presents were opened and lunch dishes were washed and the family relaxed there was a chance to play with whatever it was I received for Christmas. I also knew that next day, as a family, we would get bundled into the car and we would go camping somewhere for a week or two.

A teenagers Christmas is different. It was a case of gimme my presents and how soon can I get out to join my mates. Late teens saw me interested in going to the beach and catching a waves from sunup to sundown. Then it was a girlfriend and spending time with her and her family. Then married and children of our own and the excitement of their Christmases. All too soon they went through the same process and were teenagers then boyfriends and moved away and being asked to join them and their family for Christmas. Now the children are going through the same process I went through and all are saying what are your plans this year? Now we have come full circle and the only wish I have is to spend time with loved ones and family. It is important that none of us be alone at this time of year. That is why I am spending Christmas Day with sisters Eni and Shan and their partners and children and grandchildren. Equally it is important to me that Donnis has somebody who loves her to be with her while she works at Lightning Ridge. Yes I am quite happy to drive the ten or twelve hours to spend a few days with her.

In the morning I rode about 6 Klms and did my usual exercises.

Later in the morning the enthusiasm returned and I laid carpet and underlay in the utility room. I was so pleased with the look of the room I also installed a venetian blind. Hmmm! Tomorrow I will finish the carpet edging with fancy quad and metal edging under the doorways.

Tuesday 23rd December

Rode about 6 Klms this morning along the Gold Coast Greenway.

Completed 90% of the trim over the carpet.

Wednesday 24th December.

Today’s event’s serves to remind me why I do not like to a) make plan’s and b) announce plans.

You may recall I announced in the last post our plans for Christmas Day and beyond to my drive to Lightning Ridge to be with Donnis. All was going fine until I was only around the corner from my sister Eni’s house. Terios gave a sort of cough and when I stopped the motor was running ragged. Luckily Jason was in the garage when I pulled up. Jason is a mechanic and he checked TERIOS. The coil for cylinder four had failed so TERIOS was only running on three cylinders! Christmas Eve is not a good time to breakdown and be looking for parts. At this stage I will not be going anywhere for a few days.

Sigh!!!

Thursday 25th December – Christmas Day

It was a typical Aussie Christmas Day. The sun was shining and it was hot. During the night I must have slept awkwardly and have woken with a stiff neck, shoulder and upper back. The pain is only evident when I move. Sister Eni sprayed me with a concoction called Zen pain relief and gave me a couple of pain relief anti- inflammatory tablets. They help.

Ahhh! Christmas morning. Christmas songs and Carols playing in the background, the sound of wrapping paper being torn by little hands too excited to open presents. It was more fun just tearing the paper.

Ahhh! Christmas morning. Christmas songs and Carols playing in the background, the sound of wrapping paper being torn by little hands too excited to open presents. It was more fun just tearing the paper.

Cooper received a White Pointer Shark splash pool from Santa

Cooper received a White Pointer Shark splash pool from Santa

While Eni and Kelly were preparing lunch, Ken and I went to Noosa beach. Ken wanted a swim and I accompanied him and sat on the beach. The amount of traffic around Noosa and Noosa Woods was unexpected but I suppose most families, like ours, were up early, presents opened and then off to the beach. The sun was shining the water was clean and clear, nice waves were rolling in and it seemed the rest of the world was, like us, trying to find somewhere to park so we could all get out and enjoy the beach.

At this end of Noosa Beach, The Woods, the beach seemed almost deserted. Towards the hill on main beach it was crowded.

At this end of Noosa Beach, The Woods, the beach seemed almost deserted. Towards the hill on main beach it was crowded.

The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, sleeping and fielding Christmas wishes phone calls until dinner of semi traditional fare.

The day and the occasion seemed hollow without Donnis being there to share.

I also spent some time on the phone with Queensland Rail trying to source travel home. It seems Queensland Rail have chosen this time to carry out maintenance work on the line. Several locations are closed so travel would be a combination of a bus to a station, a train, a bus, a train and so on. In all, to travel the 200 Klms home would involve seven changes of train or bus!!! A trip which would take around two hours in the car would take eight hours by public transport.

Sister Shan and partner Dave arrived mid-afternoon in time to join us for Christmas dinner.

Sigh!!!

Friday 26th December – Boxing Day.

I was well enough to take a walk along Weyba Creek and Noosa River and watch the sunrise.

Early morning skiff training on Noosa River.

Early morning skiff training on Noosa River.

Weyba Creek looking towards the main Noosa Heads.

Weyba Creek looking towards the main Noosa Heads.

One of several boathgouses and bpat hire locations along Noosa River.

One of several boathgouses and bpat hire locations along Noosa River.

On Weyba Creek which flows into Noosa River I found this decaying dinghy.

On Weyba Creek which flows into Noosa River I found this decaying dinghy.

Ken and I made the rounds of spare parts places around Noosa trying to locate a coil for TERIOS. Luck was not on our side. It seems the places which may have parts in stock are closed until after 5th January. Even the wreckers are closed.

After a discussion with Jas who suggested he thought TERIOS would be fine to travel on three cylinders if I drove carefully and did not use the air conditioning. I made the decision to travel home today in the late afternoon as the heat would give way to the cool of the night rather than stay and leave in the morning when the heat of the day would only increase.

As it turned out the decision was the correct one. Rain clouds started to build and with only 50 Klms travelled some rain  began to fall and there was 100% cloud cover. Lightning flashes could be seen in the distance. Traffic was reasonably light and I was home a little over 2two hours later. TERIOS performed well although underpowered on hills.

Saturday 27th December.

What can I say about today?

Nuthin!

Without TERIOS I was “confined to barracks”. The rain which started last night, continued all day. I did not feel inclined to ride the as yet unnamed eBike on wet roads. I did manage to get onto a mechanic to explain what is needed. He prefers to inspect TERIOS to determine it is in fact a coil problem before he will order a part. I also convinced him to at least check availability and price for a coil. TERIOS is booked in at 8 am on Monday morning.

Sunday 28yj December

The rain continued during the night and during the morning.

Sister Shan and Dave arrived as the rain eased and we walked to Harbourtown for lunch and all too soon they were gone.

The rain stayed away for the remainder of the afternoon so I rode to and along The Broadwater and back again.

There endeth my Sunday.

Happy New Year to all.

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400. Sunday 21st December 2014. Reflections on years past. Out and about on The Broadwater and Happy Christmas to all…

22/12/2014

Monday 15th December

Usually at this time of year I get to thinking where we were this time last year and the year before that and so on.

Last year is easy to remember. I was working in Airlie Beach and Donnis was working at Collarenebri Hospital. I took 10 days off work and drove to Colli to have Christmas with Donnis.

This time 2012 we were baking Christmas goodies while house sitting at Guyra and planning our trip to Gymea in Sydney for Christmas with my sister Bev and her hubby Pete, then on to Wollongong for Christmas lunch with Donnis son Errol, his wife Nicole the grandchildren Amelia and Hannah and Nicoles mother and her two brothers. Whew!

This time 2011 was similar in that we spent some time with Bev n Pete and Errol Nicole and Amelia and Nicoles family. Baby Hannah was not born yet. Errol and Nicole were in a tiny flat while Errol was building their house. We had set up WWWGO on a vacant building site across the creek from the house being built.

2010 we were in Noosa in preparation for a house sit on top of a high and steep hill at Traveston. Donnis and I spent a lonely Christmas Day in a little restaurant in Cooran before she flew to Canada for a few weeks.

Aaah. 2009 was a bit different. We were still living at Airlie Beach and ended up having Christmas dinner at my daughters horse stud farm at Finch Hatton in the hills to the west of Mackay.

We spent a weekend before Christmas 2008 in our original motorhome a converted Toyota Coaster bus camped at Sarina Showgrounds with the CMCA Mackay Sugarloafers Chapter.

Late this afternoon I heard the news of the lone gunman holding 22 hostages in a Lindt Chocolate Café at Martin Place in the Centre of Sydney. It was heartening to see 5 hostage make a bid for freedom and escape. By the time I went to bed there was no further activity except the lights in the café were turned out. A black and white Islamic Flag had been hung in the café front window.

Tuesday 16th December.

This is terrible news.

I woke to hear the siege in Sydney is over. Two hostages dead, the gunman holding them hostage is dead and five wounded requiring medical treatment. The gunman was well known to Police and was out on bail for involvement in the murder of his wife. He was guilty of raping 7 women and the judge gave him 200 hours of community service. There are also a string of offences and light sentences almost as far back when he first arrived in Australia. Seems to me the light sentences handed out by judges they should be judged themselves on the outcomes of their leniency. BTW the gunman arrived in Australia as a political refugee and has been an agitator and violent man ever since. This is how he repays the asylum and succor we have given him.

While it was still about sunup I went for a ride on my new cycle. I should mention here that it is an e-bike, that is, an electric bike.

Electric Bike

Electric Bike

It can be used as a regular cycle, or pedal assist or as a full throttle no pedal cycle. I will have to think of an abbreviated name for it in the same way the motorhome was called WWWGO, the Daihatsu Terios was called simply TERIOS, the Yamaha motorcycle was called VIRAGO and the Subaru Liberty with Rallye Pack is called RALLYE. Maybe one of our readers can suggest a name for our electric cycle.

I rode through Biggera Waters to Lands End where I stopped to take photos of the high rise buildings, the canal, the mangroves and the private jetties.

In the late 19th Century a landowner built a residence on land where Biggera Creek flows in The Broadwater. He called his property "Finis", Latin for The End. In 1960  bridge was built across the mouth of Biggera Creek. For years the name of residence at the end of the road became known as Lands End and the area is now officially known as Lands End.

In the late 19th Century a landowner built a residence on land where Biggera Creek flows in The Broadwater. He called his property “Finis”, Latin for The End. In 1960 bridge was built across the mouth of Biggera Creek. For years the name of residence at the end of the road became known as Lands End and the area is now officially known as Lands End.

Bridge over Biggera Creek at Lands End.

Bridge over Biggera Creek at Lands End.

Properties on Biggera Creek/Canal at Lands End.

Properties on Biggera Creek/Canal at Lands End.

Reflections

Reflections

From Lands End I cycled along the shared pedestrian/ cycle path which runs along the edge of the Broadwater. This section of pathway runs for several kilometres all the way in to Surfers Paradise and it was not long before I noticed the crowds of early morning walkers, runners, wanderers and cyclists stretching into the distance. WOT THE!? It looked as though a marathon was in progress. People everywhere and it was only just 6am. Every few metres I would need to sound my bell to inform walkers in front that I was about to pass. Frankly I found the process a bit frustrating. Although I enjoy riding along the path beside the beach it was becoming almost a stop start ride. In future I will avoid that path and find a less populated place to ride.

The rest of the day was taken up with installing a new flick mix tap in the kitchen and obtaining quotes to have a new Laz E Boy Recliner for Donnis OR have her old Laz E Boy mechanism repaired under the lifetime warranty and re-upholstered. The upholstery alone would cost almost as much as a new chair.

Wednesday 17th December

Plans for Christmas are now coming together and although not yet fully cast in concrete this is the current plan. Christmas Eve I will drive TERIOS the 209 Klm (2.5 hours) to Noosaville to spend Christmas day with family. I will return to Biggera Waters on Boxing Day and pack a fresh bag for  the 11 hour drive, 800 Klms to Lightning Ridge to spend three days with Donnis. I return New Years Eve to celebrate with those villagers still at home then fly out of Coolangatta to Sydney to housesit for sister Bev until 15th January when I will be home again for a day before driving to Armidale (500 Klms) on 18th January for two days of giving evidence  in court.

It was a busy day. In the morning I went for a bike ride followed by my usual stretches exercises then later in the morning I rode five Klms to visit a friend Val R. The day was hot, at least 36 degrees at Vals house so by the time I arrived home after a 10Klm round trip I was dripping in sweat. The ride was along a recently completed bike and walking track called the Gold Coast Greenway. It follows the Biggera Creek ( our villa is on Biggera Creek where it becomes part of a canal development.) as it twists and turns through Biggera Waters, Labrador and Arundel. I only followed the track as far as Vals house but I would expect in cooler weather I will be able to follow it for the full length wherever that may be.

After lunch and a recovery snooze I went for a swim covering 10 laps of the pool. Our friend Glenda called to say she once again had use of a holiday unit at Broadbeach and invited me to dinner. First though we went for a long walk along the beach. In the distance the beach view was indistinct as the salt spray forms a clinging mist. For that reason beachside units and high rise buildings need the windows to be cleaned constantly.

High Rise buildings at Surfers Paradise seen from Broadbeach.

High Rise buildings at Surfers Paradise seen from Broadbeach.

Surfers Paradise.

Surfers Paradise seen from the 5th floor of the Broadbeach holiday unit.

On my way home about 8.30 pm I drove past Broadwater Parklands.  I have always promised myself I would stop there one day. In this case I decided to stop and have a look, at night. The park has a pier stretching 150 mtrs into the bay giving wonderful views of Biggera Waters, Lands End, Runaway Bay and Hope Island to the north,

From Broadwater Parklands looking north to Biggera Waters, Lands End, Runaway Bay and Sanctuary Cove.

From Broadwater Parklands looking north to Biggera Waters, Lands End, Runaway Bay and Sanctuary Cove.

Palazzo Versace Hotel and Marina Mirage to the east

Looking to the east and the bright coloured shade sails at Marina Mirage.

Looking to the east and the bright coloured shade sails at Marina Mirage.

and Southport, Surfer paradise and Broadbeach to the south.

Looking south to Southport and Surfers Paradise.

Looking south to Southport and Surfers Paradise.

At night the Broadwater is a blaze of reflected lights.

Broadwater Parklands is a family and cultural friendly park The location has many activities, mostly free, at all times of the year. By day a man made creek and tidal rock pool is full of water and water based games for children (and adults) to play in.

The Rock Pool at Broadwater Parklands. During the day the rockpool is filled with water and hundreds of children.

The Rock Pool at Broadwater Parklands. During the day the rockpool is filled with water and hundreds of children.

Hmmm! There is lots of exploring to do here when Donnis returns.

Thursday 18th December

In the morning I drove to Southport where the original Gold Coast Hospital was located. A new hospital has recently opened –The Gold Coast University Hospital –  about the same time we arrived on the coast. The old hospital is being demolished. Demolition of the 20 buildings on the 3.4 hectare site will care carried out responsibly to minimize disruption to the surrounding community and businesses.  The project will take until perhaps June or July 2015. On TV we are always seeing multi story buildings demolished with explosives. This building is being demolished slowly, floor by floor with a giant crane. I was not the only spectator watching the proceedings. The site is a mini tourist attraction.

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Gold Coast Hospital being demolished...

Gold Coast Hospital being demolished…

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After looking at the photos of Marina Mirage from last night I decided to visit the centre today as I have not been there previously.

Marina Mirage.

Marina Mirage.

At first my impression was it is underwhelming. After a second walk around the centre, I realised my first impression was probably a little on the positive side. However underwhelming best describes the location. The sails look so much better at night…from a distance. The two floors of shopping is a lot of open space with overpriced boutique style stores and specialty food stores. The boardwalk on the marina side of the centre is populated with fancy named specialty boutique style overpriced restaurants with a grand view.

The long wharf precinct at Marina Mirage with upmarket restaurants.

The long wharf precinct at Marina Mirage with upmarket restaurants.

The marina itself is populated by lots of very big very impressive luxury boats. Most of the boats are for sale or are charter boats of one kind or another. Considering the marina size and location it felt strangely quiet. I did find a floating wedding chapel called OUR LADY ON THE SEA.

Our Lady on the Sea floating chapel which never leaves dock.

Our Lady on the Sea floating chapel which never leaves dock.

Earlier this year while working at Oceanic Marine Risks I had arranged to insure this vessel. At the same time as the insurance was due for renewal there was a change of owners AND a change of use of the vessel. What should have been a straight forward renewal from last year turned into a complete new process of finding insurers prepared to take on the risk. Given the new owners have no boating experience, are Chinese offshore owners and the boat no longer has a qualified skipper as the boat never leaves the dock meant the several insurers we approached would not take on the risk. Eventually I got cover for the owners and am so pleased I do not have to be there at renewal time next year.

On a floating pontoon next to the chapel was a landing pad for Heli-Tours, scenic  helicopter joy flights over the Gold Coast, The Broadwater and Runaway Bay. The only thing separating the two floating pontoons was a cyclone wire fence.

Helicopter Flights.

Helicopter Flights.

Imagine a gondola cruise around the Broadwater at sunset!

Imagine a gondola cruise around the Broadwater at sunset!

Late in the afternoon a semi regular storm cruised through town bringing a much needed drop in temperature, wind, rain, lightning and thunder. Somehow the hail which pounded Brisbane and the Sunshine coast to the north, missed us entirely.

Friday 19th December

Went for my usual bike ride and did my yoga exercises as usual this morning. I then drove to Bunnings to price some items. What I heard on the car radio was enough to stop anybody in their tracks. Eight children stabbed to death in Cairns and the mother of seven of those children taken to hospital with stab wounds. Oh no! Not in Australia. This sort of thing does not happen here. First the terrorist siege in Martin Place and now this. The Police were not saying much, only that they were investigating but they did sort of announce that there was only “one person of interest they wanted to interview.

The mother!!!

I filled all remaining holes with expanding foam in the “ceiling” in the utility room.

In the afternoon I went to the movies to see the Brad Pitt film “FURY”. Hmmm!!! On top of the eight dead children this morning I felt this violent for the sake of violence movie was perhaps a bad choice. In the end I was glad it was over and I suppose it may have been a fair Hollywood depiction of “real life” warfare I thought it was over the top and I never really felt anything for any of the characters.

Saturday 20th December

The mother of seven of the murdered children and aunt to one of the children has been arrested in hospital. Formal charges have not been laid but she is arrested. I do not think anybody has any doubt she will be charged with eight counts of murder. Her solicitor will no doubt plead “mental instability” and that is the last we will hear and the community will not have closure.

I cut the set foam in the ceiling in the utility room and started painting the wall edges ready to roll on two coats of paint tomorrow.

Late in the afternoon I enjoyed happy hour with some of the men who normally play bowls on Saturday afternoon.

I psyched myself up for the painting tomorrow. I have to paint in the relative cool of the morning as it becomes too hot with the sun shining on the roof and through the window in the afternoon.

Sunday 21st December

Well the psyche sessions with myself paid off.

I finished painting two coats in the utility room. It looks very good even if I do say so myself. Now I have the painting completed I am anxious to finish the rest of the room with curtains and venetians on the window, paint the trim, put down underlay and carpet (we saved the underlay and carpet from the second bedroom) and finish off with some furniture.

Next week with Christmas and New Year will be a busy time

Happy Christmas everybody and importantly have a safe and prosperous New Year.

399. Sunday 14th December 2014. Big storms, Sea World and family visit…

15/12/2014

Monday 8th December

When we first arrived on the Gold Coast in September we bought season ticket to three theme parks, Movie World, Wet n Wild and Sea World. The tickets are valid until the end of June 2015. Apart from going to Movie World twice in September, we have not used our tickets. For one reason or another we just have not been to the theme parks. With Donnis away until the beginning of February, perhaps longer and is planning a trip to Canada for three months in the first half of next year I reasoned there will not be too many opportunities for US to use OUR tickets. As I will be on the Gold Coast, there is no reason why I cannot use MY ticket. Today is the first day of summer school holidays and with it being overcast and a chance of storms and rain I thought the crowds would not be as large so here was an opportunity to get out and about and enjoy Sea World.

Entrance to Sea World on The Spit at the Gold Coast Broadwater.

Entrance to Sea World on The Spit at the Gold Coast Broadwater.

From Sea World looking back to Southport.

From Sea World looking back to Southport.

It is a good thing I did.

The first monorail.

The first monorail.

My monorail arrives for a 20 minute trip around the park perimeter.

My monorail arrives for a 20 minute trip around the park perimeter.

Sea Worlds main pool where daily shows are held.

Sea Worlds main pool where daily shows are held.

The Flum Ride where you would be lucky to escape with at least getting partially drenched.

The Flume Ride where you would be lucky to escape with at least getting partially drenched.

A castle within Sea World. Love the abandoned boat.

A castle within Sea World. Love the abandoned boat.

The day was overcast and hazy with the sun breaking through making for a hot sultry humid day. Even finding shade was no relief unless I found a spot with a breeze off the Broadwater. Better still the penguin pool had a below water viewing chamber and as the water needed to be chilly cold, so was the air around it.

The Emperor Penguins     are as curious about us as we are about them.

The Emperor Penguins are as curious about us as we are about them.

A haughty Emperor.

A haughty Emperor.

For an extra fee guests can get kitted up with cold weather gear and walk into the penguin enclosure for an up close and personal encounter. Hmmm! Perhaps on my next visit.

For an extra fee guests can get kitted up with cold weather gear and walk into the penguin enclosure for an up close and personal encounter. Hmmm! Perhaps on my next visit.

These flighgtless birds are at home in the water and only rivalled by seals and otter for speed and agility and aquatic acrobatics. The pool is large enough that they can eject themselves out of the water and airborne either back into the pool or onto the ice.

These flighgtless birds are at home in the water and only rivalled by seals and otter for speed and agility and aquatic acrobatics. The pool is large enough that they can eject themselves out of the water and airborne either back into the pool or onto the ice.

On land the eyes close to almost slits but underwater the eyes have a membrane cover a huge open eye.

On land the eyes close to almost slits but underwater the eyes have a membrane covering a huge open eye.

Some of the other enclosures had below waterline enclosures and the polar bear area was huge with snow and ice and cool breezes blown into the enclosure.

Hudson the bear cub (this is a cub?!?!?!) floats and plays.

Hudson the bear cub (this is a cub?!?!?!) floats and plays.

Hudson has lots of toys to paly with. He likes to destroy his toys.

Hudson has lots of toys to paly with. He likes to destroy his toys.

Hudson can smell something. Food maybe?

Hudson can smell something. Food maybe?

Below the waterline viewing area was also cool. I enjoyed watching the penguins and frankly I thought they were as curious at seeing the visitors as we were at seeing them. I stayed the longest watching the Emperor Penguins as they were always active and looked as though they were having fun. There were special seperate pools for the penguins, polar bears, sea lions, seals, dolphins,

During my vist it seemed the dolphins were practising their underwater swimming with their tails out of the water. There was no trainer in sight.

During my vist it seemed the dolphins were practising their underwater swimming with their tails out of the water. There was no trainer in sight.

sharks, sting rays and even shallow petting pools.

A Shovel Nose shark rests on the bottom of the shark pool.

A Shovel Nose shark rests on the bottom of the shark pool.

Sting rays in a pettingpoo, at Sea World. Enlarge the photo and you can see the stinging barb on the tails.

Sting rays in a pettingpoo, at Sea World. Enlarge the photo and you can see the stinging barb on the tails.

Sharks swim by close to the glass where hasps of awe ripple through the crowds.

Sharks swim by close to the glass where hasps of awe ripple through the crowds.

The Castaway Bay area had little wooden pirate boats moving around a giant pool on tracks. The people on board had hand cranked water cannon. People on shore at strategic locations had hand cranked water cannon. People were lining up to be a pirate or stay on the docks for a water fight. Everybody came away drenched.

Pirates Cove.

Pirates Cove.

The Pirate ship in full water cannon fight with water cannon defenders on the shore.

The Pirate ship in full water cannon fight with water cannon defenders on the shore.

Everybody on the ship and the shore gets a drenching.

Everybody on the ship and the shore gets a drenching.

Another play area had stairs and ladders and tightrope and stepping pads suspended in the air. The participants had to wear a harness and attach a safety rope which took them around a pre-determined course and they could not unstrap until they reached the end. Oh boy I would have loved to go on that!

The beginning of the Sky Climb where everybody is attached to the guide rail with a safety harness.

The beginning of the Sky Climb where everybody is attached to the guide rail with a safety harness.

Although I am not scared of heights, I prefer to call it a nervous respect of heights, I am sure next time I could try this challenge. The only problem is I cannot take my camera!

Although I am not scared of heights, I prefer to call it a nervous respect of heights, I am sure next time I could try this challenge. The only problem is I cannot take my camera!

Participants are spread out according to their ability in the Sky Climb obstacle course.

Participants are spread out according to their ability in the Sky Climb obstacle course.

Another was a series of rope ladders and swing bridges and obstacle course and so on suspended even higher off the ground. The entire course was enclosed in double safety net. It was designed for 4 to 12 year olds. Wow! I would love to be 12 again and play on that.

The Sky Fortress obstacle course. Designed for 4 to 12 year olds. Hey what about us older 12 year olds who want to use it?

The Sky Fortress obstacle course. Designed for 4 to 12 year olds. Hey what about us older 12 year olds who want to use it?

A daring young man hesitates before taking a terrifying and challenging  step into the unknown.;

A daring young man hesitates before taking a terrifying and challenging step into the unknown.

Just before 2pm I decided it was time to leave. I was getting hungry and not prepared to pay high price for food.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time but balked at paying $20 for fish n chips or $17 for an average hamburger and decided I would be home for a late lunch and can always go back another day to see those things I did not see today and perhaps even go on a ride or two! Woo Hoo!  That was another wise decision. Just as I drove in our garage the first thunder could be heard and within 10 minutes the lightning and thunder rocked the house and rain bucketed down. The storm continued for another three hours. There were 26,000 lightning strikes in that time. Over 10,000 homes were without power.

Tuesday 9th December

The morning was hot and sunny. That is until 3pm. Cloud had been building since 2pm and by 3pm the first clap of thunder was heard. It was not long before a frightening light show was on display. Lightning struck the street outside at least twice and the house shook. Some lightning was horizontal and the thunder seemed to follow the track of the lightning. The rain was driven by a wind which was swirling in three directions so I had to close most of the windows and basically sit in the dark to watch & listen to the show. Only 17,000 lightning strikes were recorded today and only 5,000 homes are without power. Our power went out for a few minutes. The rain was heavier and longer than yesterday. We have a spare  room at the back of the garage. It is basically a utility room (soon to be turned into a craft/TV/small extra bedroom) with a simple carport type roof. We cleaned the room last week as I plan to paint it. A black foam material was cleaned out of the roof profile. That was a mistake. The rain found its way in via the places where we had removed the black foam. It was a sealing compound.

Wednesday 10th December

Weather forecast for today. Hot and humid. No rain, no storms no lightning no thunder.

I used the dry conditions to fill the small openings and the roof where it joins the main roof with an expanding foam. Next time there is a substantial rain I will see if my handiwork is successful.

Thursday 11th December

Weather forecast. Hot humid in the morning with severe storms in the afternoon. By 2pm the first thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance. Shortly before 3pm the wind rain and lightning began. Although the rain was not as heavy as Tuesday so far the score is Sealing Foam 1, Rain/Leaks 0.However I did notice some condensation forms on the steel roof. Hmmm! How bad will the condensation become?

Friday 12th December

I kept busy most of the day by doing odd jobs which had nothing g whatsoever to do with the main task I have set myself. That is, painting the small spare room. Now that WWWGO has left we no longer need the Hitch n Go towing frame. The main parts have been wrapped in a blanket then in a tarpaulin to keep it dry and clean. The minor parts are bolted to TERIOS. Today I managed to detach the brake cable and undo one bolt from the towing frame under the front chassis. No amount of grunting and changing spanners, multi grips and socket spanners will loosen the remaining three bolts. They have been sprayed with WD40 in the hopes it will penetrate the thread enough to allow if not easy removal at least removal. So far it has not worked.

Sigh! I can try again tomorrow or the day after or the day after that! The sooner I get it all detached the sooner I can list it for sale on Gumtree.

In the evening I went to the annual Christmas Dinner at the club house and was placed on the party table.

Christmas Dinner party at the village clubhouse.

Christmas Dinner party at the village clubhouse.

Most people after a filling dinner, a dance or two were leaving by 9.30. Not the party table. They were the stayers…all but one. I struggled to stay awake. After a couple of rums and a few wines I was tired and took my leave at 10.30 and went immediately to bed.

Saturday 13th December

Today I drove to Redcliffe a northern beachside suburb of Brisbane which is for the most part accessed by a 2.6Klm long “bridge”.

First day opening of the Hiornibrooik Highway and Bridge in 1935

First day opening of the Hiornibrooik Highway and Bridge in 1935

Technically it is a viaduct. The first bridge was built in 1935 and due to a cost saving measure the pylons were built of timber, not concrete and over the years it was realised that with the huge increase in traffic and the deterioration of the timber a new bridge was needed. A second bridge was built in 1979 and soon the bridges were used side by side. A third bridge was built in 2004. The original bridge was abandoned and the newer bridges used as one way. That is, the old 1979 bridge was used for northbound traffic and the new 2004 bridge used for southbound traffic. The original “Hornibrook Bridge” was demolished except for a small section at each end where the original portal and toll booths stood. The remaining portals and bridge sections are used as fishing platforms particularly the northern portal section. When my family moved north from Wollongong NSW to Mackay north Queensland in 1987 I drove the original old rickety timber bridge with my daughter, Melissa. We thought the bridge would never end as traffic moved slowly. A semi fourth bridge has been built on the eastern side of the newest bridge. This new section is a footbridge and fishing platform accessed from the southern shore or the southbound footpath.

The portal at the southern end of the original bridge. Double click to enlarge the photo and you can see the northern portal 2.6 Klms in the distance.

The portal at the southern end of the original bridge. Double click to enlarge the photo and you can see the northern portal 2.6 Klms in the distance.

The second bridge to Redcliffe with the familiar hump in the middle to allow larger boats to pass underneath in the deepest section of the bay. Enlarge the photo and you can see the latest bridge behind. It is far higher above the water . The bridge traffic is controlled by traffic lights and speed advisory signs and strong lighting as the area is subject to fog.

The second bridge to Redcliffe with the familiar hump in the middle to allow larger boats to pass underneath in the deepest section of the bay. Enlarge the photo and you can see the latest bridge behind. It is far higher above the water . The bridge traffic is controlled by traffic lights and speed advisory signs and strong lighting as the area is subject to fog.

Sunday 14th December

I bought a Jeep yesterday. You bought a Jeep? No dear reader I did not buy a Jeep. I bought a pushbike. The pushbike, in my opinion is far better than a Jeep. This morning, early, I rode to the Broadwater and took sunrise photographs. The only problem was the heavy overcast and general poor light conditions. Although I only road perhaps no more than 10 Klms my legs felt like jelly and my maximus gluttus feels bruised.

Two vessels caught my eye, moored as they were on the Broadwater. Although there were hundreds of boats, these two stood out as being “live aboard”. One looks like a rough home made military vessel and it is. It is painted in camoflauge colours and has the name Commando Knights painted on its side. They have a website and even after reading the double speak I still have no idea what it is all about.

Small military style live aboard houseboat. Check out the Commando Knights website. Interesting.

Small military style live aboard houseboat. Check out the Commando Knights website. Interesting.

The other is much larger and big enough to house a family although the deck seems to be cluttered with , ahem, “junk”.

The Broadwater looking towards Southport and Surfers Paradise. Note the houseboat in the foreground.

The Broadwater looking towards Southport and Surfers Paradise. Note the houseboat in the foreground.

Here is the houseboat up a little closer. Note the small yacht rafted alongside.

Here is the houseboat up a little closer. Note the small yacht rafted alongside.

Closeup of houseboat rear deck. Essential gear or umm err junk?

Closeup of houseboat rear deck. Essential gear or umm err junk?

Looking across the Broadwater to The Spit with Sea World in the background.

Looking across the Broadwater to The Spit with Sea World in the background.

My sister Enid (she prefers to be called Eni or even Sue) called this morning. She was in Tweed Heads over the weekend and will call in on her way back to Brisbane where she works during the week. After giving her a guided tour around the house, the village and Harbourside Markets we joined neighbours Bill & Marie and several other “villagers” for happy hour. (I think Happy Hour is a bit of a misnomer). Start time was set for 4pm but “villagers” started arriving at 3pm and the party was still going when we left at 7pm. Afterwards we walked to Dublin Docks intending to have dinner but the prices were way beyond our budget. The shops in Harbour Town were also similarly priced so we walked to Harbourside Markets just outside the village gates where we had a wonderful Chinese meal. The service was slow but the food was very good. For the price of two main courses, fried rice and green tea was the same price as one meal at Dublin Docks. Nuff said.

Eni stayed for the night and will drive to Brisbane tomorrow morning. It was wonderful to catch up and all the all the walking we did looking for somewhere to eat gave us a chance to talk and explore Harbour Town and Harbourside Markets

398. Sunday 7th December 2014. WWWGO goes, so does Donnis and unrevealed plans…

07/12/2014

Monday 1st December

I can now announce that Donnis has accepted a contract nursing position at Lightning Ridge Hospital for two months. She will leave here on Saturday. Although there are still a few days between now and then there is lots to do and more announcements will follow.

Of course that changes all our plans for this month. We are not certain if there will be a Christmas this year!

I can now announce that we have sold WWWGO as we have been negotiating for the last few weeks. I have withheld mentioning the sale in previous posts until the sale was signed, sealed paid and delivered. We had originally planned on delivering WWWGO  to Adelaide towing TERIOS behind. Then we would take a leisurely three weeks to drive home via the Great Ocean Road and the New South Wales coast visiting family & friends along the way.

The purchasers changed their minds and now want to collect WWWGO from the Gold Coast and learn how to drive and get used to it as they drive it home themselves. They arrive tomorrow.

We do not yet have an alternate plan apart from getting Donnis on her way. I normally do not like to announce plans as they so often change.

Sigh!

Tuesday 2nd December

The new owners arrived today and paid the balance of the purchase price. In the morning I collected them from Coolangatta Airport and we had New Zealand Fish Burgers for lunch.  We spent some time showing them how things work on WWWGO before preparing a stir fry for dinner. After dinner we discussed a few more ideas for their travel plans and soon we were all yawning.

Donnis with new  owners Chris and Frances.

Donnis with new owners Chris and Frances.

Frank with the new WWWGO owners Chris & Frances.

Frank with the new WWWGO owners Chris & Frances.

New owners Chris and Frances, seated, belted up and all ready to begin their adventure

New owners Chris and Frances, seated, belted up and all ready to begin their adventure

Wednesday 3rd December

Frank, as usual was awake.  By 4am. WWWGO new owners were awake by 5am.

After a hurried training session it was all systems go and we watched WWWGO drive through the gate onto the main road and out of our life.

Sob Sob. BooHoo.

It may sound kind of trite and corny to write the above words. However it is true. We have both felt the sense of loss tinged with regret that this chapter of our adventures and travels has closed and we will be moving into a new beginning. Yes I did feel choked up and struggled to hold back, a tear perhaps? The new owners had indicated a rough plan on the delivery to Adelaide and had professed a wanting to stop at Bingarra NSW for a few days. I suggested what to me would be the best route.

Most of the remainder of the day involved Donnis organizing her clothes etc for HER big journey on Saturday. The trip to Lightning Ridge will take her along the same route as WWWGO with the difference being that just outside Inverell NSW, Donnis will continue to Warialda, Moree, Collarenebri, Walgett and LR. WWWGO will turn off just outside Inverell and follow the Gwydir River to Bingarra. The new WWWGO owners will camp beside the river at much the same location where we camped for a few days in November 2010.

 

Thursday 4th December

On my usual early morning walk I passed the empty space where WWWGO has been parked for the last two months. It has been a sight which I am so familiar. This morning, just seeing a blank space haunted me with memories until I let myself through the security gate. Then it was down to the business of my power walk, exercise and yoga to occupy my mind.

Once I started writing these lines  it all came flooding back again. On reflection I looked at other chapters in my/our lives where we needed to move on and change lifestyles.

For example as each of our children were born and reached milestones in their lives. On a personal note I was heavily involved with Motorcycle Trials riding and one year decided to give it all up. I sold the bike, the trailer, the spares, the special boots, helmet and gloves etc and never went back.

I also owned a yacht and the pleasure I felt using it was tempered by the fact it was not used much at all but it was a difficult decision but once made I moved on.

The same with selling and buying houses. The decision to sell and leave is difficult but is soon put behind you as you move on.

Our first motorhome, a converted Toyota Coaster bus was used as a trade-in on WWWGO and once the decision was made it was put behind us and we moved on. That said, WWWGO has given us much more enjoyment than the Coaster. Or the yacht.

Donnis knee has been giving her problems the last two weeks and this afternoon she had acupuncture treatment

Friday5th December

Donnis had another acupuncture treatment in the morning and the rest of the day was spent packing. Groceries will be an expensive item at remote Lightning Ridge so she is packing lots of groceries and “just in case” items.

Saturday 6th December.

RALLYE was packed almost to the roof line. WE have noted previously that items packed in the boot become baked after a long trip of a few hundred kilometres in blazing sun. We have decided to drop one section of the back seat to allow hot air to escape and air conditioned air to circulate in the boot.

By 9.30 am Donnis was on her way.

BOO HOO Sob Sob Sob.

She called at each rest stop as contrary to mentioned on Tuesday, Donnis has decided to take a different route which cuts 90 minutes and a hundred Klms off the journey. As it is on roads partially through suburbia and partial toll roads and she has to travel north before heading west then south then west and through an area she has not travelled before she felt uncertain about the route. That said each time she called she was on track following the written instructions and maps I gave her. She reached Moree NSW by 6pm and has about 250 klms to travel tomorrow.

Sunday 7th December

Donnis arrived at LR just before midday.

The trip was as planned and RALLYE performed as it orta and has done for all these years.

On the subject of RALLYE we have been looking at a new or near new car. Although I would love to have another Subaru we have to look at fuel consumption as a factor. The Toyota Prius with a consumption of 3.8 litres per 100 Klms and the Camry which has a larger motor but still returns 5.8 litres per 100 Klms. At this stage we will stay with RALLYE unless we find a car in the right price bracket.

I enjoyed Happy Hour with another 4 neighbours then made a pizza for dinner and shared it with the group who were still happy houring and enjoying a drink or two.

I have some plans for the coming week but will not mention them until they occur.

See you on the other side of next week.