Archive for October, 2015

463. Sunday 25th October 2015. A quiet week rounded off with the dance of the Pelicans…and other dancers…

26/10/2015

Monday 19th October

Several times over the last few months Donnis has commented her regret we had sold WWWGO. On reflection she would rather have kept our furniture in storage and continued our travelling lifestyle. As for me I have tried to suppress such feelings but I do in some respects agree with her. We had travelled to many interesting towns and stayed in wonderful campsites – most of them Freedom sites. We made our decision and cannot put the Genie back in the bottle. Despite not having WWWGO we will continue to travel.

Thursday 22nd October

Oh joy oh joy oh joy. We got i30 back today. Not that I can drive of course but Donnis can. The smash repair place did a great job on the damaged rear end.

Friday 23rd October

We both woke early shortly after 5am. We dressed and drove to the Broadwater so we can walk along the sand at the waters edge. Oh yes and splash a bit in the shallows. It is surprising how many people are out and about at this time. Walkers, joggers and three swimmers in the swimming lagoon. Further up the beach we came across three Police officers, one from the dog squad. It seems they were chasing a fugitive who ran into the water. He was shouting and abusing the Police who were waiting calmly on the shore. They could easily wait him out.

After my physiotherapist appointment we drove to Broadbeach for what I consider a con. Last week we were given a scratch ticket and were told we won a major prize.

Yeah! Right! As if!

We have encountered this type of con before as it is a way of getting customers in the door for a one on one presentation by a slick salesman. In this case they are selling holiday packages.

Out of interest we went to see if we could pick up a prize. The salesman started asking us questions about our holiday choices each year. Quite frankly we told him there are no choices. We simply go where we want when we want with little or no planning. I also asked for heavy rock music being played by supervisors to be turned down or better yet, turned off. I told them it was distracting and in my opinion, unprofessional. Shortly thereafter the salesman terminated his spiel saying the package was not for us. We scratched off the prize – 3 to 5 days in a resort in Fiji, Gold Coast or Port Macquarie plus a $99 booking fee. Really, it is a prize not worth pursuing. Meals and airfare not included.

On our way home we drove past the Gold Coast Indy 600 street race circuit and could hear the noise of the V8’s doing practise laps.   www.v8supercars.com.au/events/queensland/castrol-gold-coast-600

The event brings around $40,000,000 to the local economy so it is worth a few days of traffic delays.

Saturday 24th October

Up early and down to The Broadwater for a walk in the sand and waters edge. The rest of the day was spent planning and moving furniture in our front room.

Breakfast also brought a milestone in my recovery. I can now pick up and grind, with some difficulty, pepper and salt grinders. Until today I did not have any strength or gripping power in my left hand.

Sunday 25th October

What a glorious day. We had to make the most of the day as the rest of the week is predicted to be a bit ordinary with storms and showers for the rest of the week.

We went to the Broadwater before midday so I could take a walk along the beach while Donnis swam in the lagoon.

Somebody has a comfy old chair at the beach.

Somebody has a comfy old chair at the beach.

Many other people had the same idea as parking was almost impossible to find. Across the street we found parking outside a block of units where a Mediterranean style wedding was in progress with an enthusiastic band and dancers umm err dancing in a circle.

Dancers at a wedding.

Dancers at a wedding.

At the lagoon the Pelicans arrived waiting for lunch of offcuts from Charis Seafoods   http://www.charisseafood.com.au/    which are right on the lagoon. Charis normally feed the Pelicans at 1.30 each day. Not just the Pelicans were lining up for seafood. The adjacent park with picnic tables

Picnicers enjoying fish n chips.

Picnicers enjoying fish n chips.

and about a dozen charter boats were anchored on the lagoon to buy seafood for lunch.

Some of the boats anchored on the lagoon while they pick up fish n chips at Charis Seafoods.

Some of the boats anchored on the lagoon while they pick up fish n chips at Charis Seafoods.

It really is a sight to see all those Pelicans and a few hundred seagulls jockeying for a position for a free lunch.

These guys are keeping a close eye on the line up for food.

These guys are keeping a close eye on the line up for food.

Pelicans swimming the in the - Swimming - Lagoon - of course. Waiting for lunch.

Pelicans swimming the in the – Swimming – Lagoon – of course. Waiting for lunch.

These wild birds are amazingly tame.

These wild birds are amazingly tame.

I can almost reach out and touch them.

I can almost reach out and touch them.

Children and parents are not fearful of these big birds.

Children and parents are not fearful of these big birds.

BTW. Basa is not sold here.

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462. Sunday 18th October 2015. At home on the Gold Coast…

19/10/2015

Monday 12th October

We returned the HP Pavillion to the retailer for an exchange. They took it away to inspect the damage, perhaps thinking we had dropped it.

We hadn’t.

While we were waiting, another man had brought in his desktop to solve some issues with Windows 10. One problem seemed to be compatibility with his AVG free anti -virus protection. The technician suggested he buy a subscription to McAfee. The man balked at that suggestion saying McAfee will take over his computer and cost him big dollars for the privilege. I could not agree more. As the man was leaving I suggested he try Avast free anti-virus protection. I have been using Avast and the laptop has been running happily on Windows 10 since I upgraded. The other problem, he was trying to load Office 12 which he had bought when he purchased the computer which at the time was loaded with Windows 8. The technician said Office 12 is not compatible with Windows 10 and he would need to buy the latest version of Office .

Hmmm! My laptop has been running Office 10 since I upgraded to Windows 1o and have not had any problems. I still have the original Office 10 disc and 25 digit password. I inserted the CD in the new desktop and clicked on the install button. One of my options was if I have Office 10 it will run on Windows 10 and hey presto a few minutes later it is all installed at no extra cost. This information is being typed on Word which is part of the Suite included in Windows 10.

BTW we had the new desktop replaced.

Yippee!

Sunday 18th October

Not much happened this week apart from the usual physiotherapist and doctor visits. On Wednesday we took i30 to the panel beaters and came home in a taxi. They said it may be 6 working days before it is repaired.

Today being car less we went to Broadbeach using the bus and Gold Coast Light Rail system. At the light rail terminus at Broadbeach we walked across the street to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. Many years ago this centre opened as an open air development with a truly unique approach to shopping and dining. Everything was on one level, open air and friendly. Somewhere around 2010 the centre expanded with a much larger car park on multi levels and some of the outdoor area gave way to two floors of indoor stores. In January 2014 a new expansion commenced with more multi- level car parking and two floors of retail shopping and to some degree, dining. It is due to be completed by January 2016.

Today, as we discovered, part of the new section was opened to the public. The place was chaotic with shoppers.  Much of the outdoor space has been consumed and the little remaining outdoor area will disappear to make way for another two floors of shopping. The facelift will cost $667,000,000. Many of the stores are unoccupied and the friendly food outlets have gone.

Not able to find a food outlet which suited us we walked to Broadbeach where the Sunday Markets were still open. We bought some lunch and sat around in the sun, people watching.

Broadbeach looking south to Coolangatta.

Broadbeach looking south to Coolangatta.

Part of Broadbeach promenade.

Part of Broadbeach promenade.

With the delightful weather it was hard to drag ourselves away from the beach. We took the Light Rail and the bus back home. All up cost, return, on both bus and light rail was less than $6.

Donnis bought fish n chips from the Kiwi Fish Shop in the markets next door for our dinner. Amazing value for $14.50. The fish was a New Zealand Hoki, also known as Blue Grenadier which has a sweet flavour and delicate texture. It is wild caught although most fish is frozen or cooked frozen for export. It is nothing like the sewerage farmed Basa from south east asia. Sometimes it is possible to obtain fresh Australian Blue Grenadier in the southern parts of NSW and Victoria.

PS. Still in pain.

461. Sunday 11th October 2015. A long drive followed by a funeral…

11/10/2015

Monday 5th October

Today was a public holiday in Queensland, sensibly we stayed off the roads as traffic will be crazy with holidaymakers and school holiday traffic return to whence they came.

Tuesday 6th October

On waking we checked emails and found my Aunt Maude had died overnight. I phoned my cousin Bob who was at the Funeral Home when I called. The funeral will be at Coonabarabran western NSW at 2pm on Thursday.

Well Ok then. First cancel physiotherapist appointments this week. Phone my brother and sisters with details and ask if any can come to the funeral.

Went to see the doctor but just as I arrived she had an emergency so I have rescheduled my appointment for next week. If anybody is curious, yes I am still in pain – nerve pain – so this pain will require a Nerve Pain Clinic.

We will pack tonight and leave for Coona in the morning and stay overnight at Moree. The entire trip is at least a 9 hour, possibly longer, drive.

Wednesday 7th October

We left home by 9.30 am and drove north to the outskirts of Brisbane before turning west and then turning south. This may seem strange but it is a quicker route than heading south and then west. We drove through the outskirts of Ipswich and then through Warwick, to Goondiwindi and then south to cross the border to Moree. We are staying at the Artesian Spa Motel so we can use the artesian pools here. Tomorrow we will push on through Narrabri, the spooky Pillaga Forest and on to Coonabarabran. The Pilliga is a forest with the Newel Highway running through it. There are lots of stories about Yowies. The following link contains a good story about Yowies, Bunyips and the tragic Pilliga Princess.   https://oldbroadintheoutback.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/yowies-bunyips-and-mysterious-tales-from-the-pilliga-forest/  Truck drivers especially had a fear of driving through the forest at night.

Oops, we discovered on arrival that NSW is on Daylight Savings Time. What we thought was 4.30 was really 5.30.

Sigh!

Thursday 8th October.

We were on our way by 8.30 for the drive to Narrabri, through the Pilliga Forest and on to Coonabarabran.

Back in October 2012 – Post 278 – https://frankeeg.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/278-sunday-21st-october-2012-dubbo-through-to-the-warrumbungles-to-coonabarabran-and-hugely-changing-countryside/   – I visited some Aboriginal Heritage Caves in the Pilliga Forest. At the time I felt a spiritual presence of many people as I walked around the caves. I was the only person at the caves and although I felt alone, exposed and an unknown, non-threatening spiritual presence of many people, I still managed to walk the caves and take photographs.

I did not see a Yowie.

Arrived at Coona in time for lunch.

Coonabarabran is an old town populated by old homes. This is one example.

Coonabarabran is an old town populated by old homes. This is one example.

This wonderful Art Deco movie theatre stands out as a once busy but now sadly no longer used as such.

This wonderful Art Deco movie theatre stands out as a once busy but now sadly no longer used as such.

The Royal Hotel has now ceased trading. Interestingly the lights still burn twenty four hours a day.

The Royal Hotel has now ceased trading. Interestingly the lights still burn twenty four hours a day.

Allan and Rae arrived and we joined then for a burger. Aunt Maudes funeral was short, emotional and simple. From the church we followed the hearse to the cemetery. Interestingly the man from the funeral parlour walked ahead of the hearse and the procession followed.

Directions in Coona begin and end at the Clock Tower. The tower sits in the middle of the town on the Newell Highway. Locals will give directions such as “coming from Tamworth or Narrabri, turn left at the Clock Tower, take the next turn on the right and follow until you see the church”.  From the Golf Club the directions are, “follow this road to the Clock Tower, turn left and then turn right at the Shell Garage then follow the road to Nana’s house. Even printed attraction brochures use the Clock Tower as a reference guide.

The iconic middle of town Clock Tower with the sandstone court house and Police station in the background.

The iconic middle of town Clock Tower with the sandstone court house and Police station in the background.

On the third corner of the Clock Tower Intersection is the courthouse built from locally quarried sandstone.

On the third corner of the Clock Tower Intersection is the courthouse built from locally quarried sandstone.

The busy Newel Highway passes through town where all traffic, including trucks. The Clock Tower intersection includes the Coonabarabran Hotel on one corner

The busy Newel Highway passes through town where all traffic, including trucks. The Clock Tower intersection includes the Coonabarabran Hotel on one corner

The Imperial Hotel is on another corner at the Clock Tower intersection.

The Imperial Hotel is on another corner at the Clock Tower intersection.

This Military Sun Clock is on the Courthouse corner.

This Military Sun Clock is on the Courthouse corner.

The sun clock gives an accurate time but is not adjustable for Daylight Savings in NSW.

The sun clock gives an accurate time but is not adjustable for Daylight Savings in NSW.

A gathering took place at the Golf Club where we got to meet several family members we have not seen for many years and all the children and grandchildren we have not met. Later at Maudes house we joined a family only gathering and had drinks and finger food until dinner time.  Donnis and I both enjoyed the interaction of all the various family members especially the grandchildren who easily spoke & mixed with the adults.

Friday 9th October

Donnis decided to drive all the way home today. At Goondiwindi just inside the Qld border we bought some salads at Coles and went to a park for lunch. In town near the MacIntyre River bank is a statue of a champion, Australian Legend Racehorse, Gunsynd, which was owned and trained by a local. Gunsynd  is probably the greatest racehorse never to have not won the Melbourne Cup. It seemed rather strange therefore to find a giant lifelike statue of a Murray Cod in the park where we lunched. The statue was only installed and dedicated a month ago.

Hmmm! A tribute to the Murray Cod at a place nowhere near the Murray River. It seems the MacIntyre River was stocked with Murray Cod some years ago and they have multiplied. An annual fishing competition is held at Goondiwindi.

Hmmm! A tribute to the Murray Cod at a place nowhere near the Murray River. It seems the MacIntyre River was stocked with Murray Cod some years ago and they have multiplied. An annual fishing competition is held at Goondiwindi.

Hmmm! The Murray River is a long long way from here and as far as I can determine does not flow into the Murray. I cannot find any information on Google but suspect the MacIntyre was stocked with Murray Cod.

Saturday 10th October.

Time to just chill out at home.

Sunday 11th October

Grrr! Everything that could go wrong went wrong. First of all the laptop would not turn on. We kept getting a message that the start system could not be found.

Next our iPad would not run either Google Chrome or Apple Compass without closing the programme suddenly.

Our other laptop a basically useless thing which takes forever to run anything we decided to stop using it.

Finally found a way to get the laptop working so decided to do a backup…just in case.

The backup finally stopped after 9 hours stating the external hard drive had insufficient memory.

Hmmm! The hard drive has plenty of memory but to be certain I formatted the drive.

In desperation we bought a new HP Pavillion All In One Desktop Computer. Once we got it home and unpacked we discovered the screen is smashed.

WOT THE!!!

Hmmm! Tomorrow we will have to go back to where we bought it and get a replacement.

The laptop and external hard drive are ready to start a backup before going to bed.

460. Sunday 4th October 2015.

06/10/2015

NO PHOTOS THIS WEEK

Monday 28th September

Today was sunny and hot. At the moment the humidity level is much the same as Brisbane 1,000 klms further south. The countryside is brown as it always is at this time of year. The rains will begin in the next month or two and the humidity will rise. So also the grass will begin to grow and home owners pull out their motor mowers in a vain attempt at keeping the grass under control. Grass is nice but flowering native plants is nicer.

Today is a rest day much needed by us.

Donnis had injured her right shoulder reaching for her purse on the back seat while driving last week. It seems to be getting worse.

Tuesday 29th September

We drive 165 Klms north to Airlie Beach.

Our first appointment is at Oceanic Insurance Brokers, my last employer, where we have morning coffee and cake while maintaining friendships gained over 13 years. Only Simone has been there longer than me. Gradually over the years the staff has shrunk from 16 employees to 6. The business has grown and continues to do so. Technology means less people can do more work.

Sigh!

Next we see a doctor for Donnis painful shoulder. Then she has an ultrasound and the verdict is she needs cortisone injection into the shoulder. Hmmm! When can we get that done?

For lunch we go to Bucks Seafood. Buck started the business more than 15 years ago. Buck has a fishing trawler and always had fish supplies which he sold as fresh or cooked. The business expanded. Buck sold out two years ago but still supplies fresh fish. The fish of the day was Snapper which Donnis had grilled and I had fish bites.  The bites are smaller pieces of off cut fish battered and deep fried. Real fish. There is no Basa in this shop. Long may it remain this way.

Next we saw our estate agent for a review of the market after which we took a walk around our house and despaired at the dry gardens and all the dry plants we put in place a year ago to make a hedge. Can you believe 26 of the 28 plants are dead? Tenants! They never water the gardens despite the fact we have the watering system on a timer. All they have to do is turn on the water.

Last appointment of the day was with our Tax Agent, all is good and we were on our way back to Mackay a little after 5pm. A long but productive day.

Wednesday 30th September

We are both suffering from pain so decided today would be better spent doin’ nuffin.

We went to McDonalds for a coffee while on our way for groceries. I scratched a prize off a Scratch It ticket. In my mind I had already spent the huge win. I put all the paper on the tray and as we left I placed it all in the waste bin. Donnis went to the grocery while I went to the newsagents to cash in my prize. Uhhh! Where is my winning ticket? I remember having it on the table as I moved all the paper rubbish onto the tray!!!!!… Light bulb time….

I hot footed it back to McDonalds to retrieve that ticket. The helpful staff member was smiling a beaming smile as he exited the bin and held up a scratch it ticket. YES!!!

Back at the newsagents the bad news is the winning ticket will not buy half of Tasmania. Nor will it win me a stable full of sports cars. No, not even enough for bicycle. I can have $14 worth of more scratch its. With a typical hopeless gamblers glazen eyes I bought more tickets and will take my chances again.

Late in the afternoon we drove to my daughter Averyl’s house. We had a nice visit with grandchildren Shelby and Anakin. Averyl arrived home from work and we went to dinner at Ribs and Rumps.   http://ribsandrumps.com.au/   Now, let me explain, by giving the internet address to this chain restaurant that we may be promoting or approving or even recommending the restaurant. No we are not. Far from it in fact. The dining experience starts when you are seated and handed the menu and realise the noise levels mean we will have to shout at each other and the waitress when we want to order. Next disappointment comes with opening the menu to find a plate of ribs, no potato or veggies or salad, just ribs has prices starting at $39 and going up to over $50. Wot The? Ribs are 90% bone and very little meat. Steaks start at $23 and go up in price to eternity. I ordered a calamari salad to keep costs down while Averyl ordered a small rump steak, hand chosen, expertly cooked to your choice. The steak was meant to be medium rare. It arrived as a very rare but was inedible due to gristle.

My salad included lettuce leaves which had been somehow frozen, were mixed among fresh crispy leaves in an attempt at hiding  their limpness.

Not surprising then that we complained and will not visit this chain again.

Thursday 1st October

We met my daughter Melissa and husband Steve at Coffee Club in Mackay at 7am for breakfast. Coffee Club is also a chain style restaurant famous throughout Australia. Apart from high prices our dining experience was good. Spending time with my daughter after not seeing each other for three years was even better.

After breakfast we said farewell to my sister Shan and started our long drive home. First though we stopped at Yandaran, near Bundaberg a little more than halfway to the Gold Coast. We are staying overnight with Pam and Gerry, motorhoming friends for many years.

On the evening TV news we are shocked to see yet another school shooting in the USA. When will that nation wake up to their crazy “right to bear arms” built into their constitution. The right was part of a way of arming the population at a time when they were at war, on home soil with the English and the French. They no longer are at war except with themselves.

Friday 2nd October

After farewelling our hosts Pam & Gerry we start the final leg of our whirlwind visit to Airlie Beach. The trip to home from Yandaran is close to 400 Klms but as usually happens with a road trip there are stops for fuel, food and toilet breaks. The trip still takes over 6 hours. The final leg was partially slowed on the motorway due to a car accident. Four lanes of traffic are compressed to three lanes creating a slow bumper to bumper crawl along a motorway with a 110 Klm speed limit.

Sigh!

President Obama makes yet another speech of condolence to another school community which will remain in shock for a long long time. He makes an impassioned plea for Americans to wake up and change their gun laws.

Hmmm! He has asked the same legislators at least 10 times to do this. They will continue to support gun toting bullies by doing nothing.  Good luck Mr President. We will hear your routine speech at the next shooting.

A quick note on the scratch its. We scratched up $25 today.

Hmmm! More gamblers glazen eyes with the prospect of more tickets.

Saturday 3rd October

We wake in our own bed to a glorious sunny day.

We went to the movies today to see The Martian. We saw the movie in a Titan XC Theatre.   Titan XC Extreme cinema has the biggest screen, explosive sound in 7.1 digital 360°audio and wide comfortable seats. We knew that as this is a Ridley Scott directed movie it would be tense, with great visuals and realistic sets. We were not disappointed.

Sunday 4th October

Another lay day for us. In the afternoon we went for a swim in our heated pool.

Then like most of the population of two states we sat down to watch the Rugby League Grand Final played at ANZ Stadium in New South wales. This grand final had such an amazing lead up which generated such interest. It was between two Queensland teams and played in another state. Fans had to travel thousands of Klms to get there from the far reaches of Queensland. Initially, organisers expected perhaps a 35,000 crowd in a 80,000 plus stadium. The game generated such interest that the stadium was a sellout with 82,500 attendees. The game was played at an amazing pace and in the final moments it looked like a Brisbane Broncos win with a lead of 16 to 12. The North Queensland Cowboys were attacking the line with the final tackle and end of game. On the sound of game over, somehow the Cowboys scored a try in the corner. The crowd erupted as the scores were locked 16 all and in our house we had yelled ourselves hoarse. A conversion kick was taken and unbelievably the ball bounced off the goal posts. The game went into overtime and two exhausted teams faced off again. The Cowboys kicked off for the Broncos to attack them. The Broncos dropped the ball leading to a scrum which the Cowboys won and had 6 tackles to score. On their final tackle with a lot of defence running at the Cowboys, the captain kicked a field goal.

Game over with a score of 17 to 16. The crowd erupted once more and stayed at the stadium for the presentation. This amazing tale kept stadium and TV viewers enthralled for the entire game and beyond.  Even people who do not normally watch or support Rugby League were captivated by this fairy tale ending.

For our overseas readers I would like to say that all sporting events are shown on Free to Air TV.

http://www.nrl.com/thurston-kicks-cowboys-to-premiership/tabid/10874/newsid/90385/default.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/nqcowboys?fref=ts

Next week will have travel…with photos.