Archive for March, 2016

483. Sunday 27th March 2016. Toowoomba, Aunts in Brisbane and Noosa…

28/03/2016

Monday 21st March

We had a long day of travel today. Alecia has only a few days whilst in Australia so a visit to her 92 year old great aunt Peg who lives in Toowoomba was in order.  Toowoomba is somewhere around 200 Klms by road from The Gold Coast, it was founded  somewhere around 1816. It is known as the garden City as is has an annual Festival of Flowers. It is also called a University City – University of Southern Queensland conducts a campus there. There are a large number of cathedrals and heritage listed buildings.

Aunt Peg still drives a car, still spends time on the computer sending email jokes and is a fervent fan of The Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Team and the State of Origin Rugby League series. It was a long day of travel. Aunt Peg is  still as bright as the last time we saw her around ten years ago.

Alecia great Aunt peg and Donnis

Alecia great Aunt peg and Donnis

Alecia and Great Aunt Peg.

Alecia and Great Aunt Peg.

Tuesday 22nd March

Today Alecia wanted to catch up with her Aunts, Rosslyn and Sara both of whom live in Brisbane. After visiting them we drove to The Hyperdome and had sushi for dinner with Regelyn and Chris. Afterwards they had 4 games of Tenpin Bowling.

It was another long day of travel.

Thursday 24th March.

A delightful walk along the Broadwater then Donnis and Alecia swam in the sand enclosure. Before we knew it, we had to leave for the airport so Alecia can fly to Sydney and spend a few days with her brother in Wollongong.

Friday 25th March – Good Friday

Today we travelled to Noosa to Visit sister Enid and hubby Ken. It was a good thing we did not travel yesterday evening as the traffic was queued up for hours bumper to bumper heading north. It was the same heading south. As it was, traffic was relatively heavy although there were no delays. As usual when we visit Noosa, Enid tries to pack as much activity into the day. We went to  the mouth of the Noosa River and the breakwater river mouth. Ken and I both took kites, my stunt kite and his strange looking kite. Mine simply could only get a few metres off the ground before sliding back to the beach. There was too little wind. On the other hand Ken’s kite soared to the end of the single line and stayed there until he wound it in. Noosa and particularly the Noosa Woods and river mouth are noted for traffic jams and parking is hard to find. Today was no different.

Sunset shadows at the rivermouth lifeguard station.

Sunset shadows at the rivermouth lifeguard station.

At sunset all the photographers arrive for sunset photos.

At sunset all the photographers arrive for sunset photos.

Frank, members of the public and lifeguards are fascinated by this Hobie Canoe with extra ama and trampoline.

Frank, members of the public and lifeguards are fascinated by this Hobie Canoe with extra ama and trampoline.

One of several tourist boats on the Noosa River day and night.

One of several tourist boats on the Noosa River day and night.

Saturday 26th March – Easter Saturday

We were up early and down to Noosa Beach before the crowds. The crowds got there before us. No matter Ken dropped us off with all our gear and went to look for a carpark. Ken went off for a surf on his longboard, Enid and I Boogey boarded while Donnis body surfed. The water temp was ideal, just cool enough to be able to splash right on in without gasping for breath.

The Groyne lifeguard hut mid Noosa Beach.

The Groyne lifeguard hut mid Noosa Beach.

Frank, members of the public and lifeguards are fascinated by this Hobie Canoe with extra ama and trampoline.

Frank, members of the public and lifeguards are fascinated by this Hobie Canoe with extra ama and trampoline.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with Noosa Beach, let me add some details.

In 2011 Travellers Choice Magazine readers poll placed Noosa Beach in the top three beaches in the South Pacific. Hmmm.noosa-headland-map

Noosa Beach is at the extreme northern end of the Sunshine coast about 90 minutes drive from Brisbane. The main shopping street, Hastings, follows the beach line but is the only thoroughfare to Noosa Woods and the river mouth. Two other streets feed into Hastings via a pair of roundabouts, creating the worst kind of bottleneck. As the beach is on a peninsular surround by the sea, the river and several creeks there is no land to build alternate roads. The bottlenecks will always be a problem.

Enid on her Boogey Board.

Enid on her Boogey Board.

Frank leaves the water with his Boogey Board.

Frank leaves the water with his Boogey Board.

Frank, members of the public and lifeguards are fascinated by this Hobie Canoe with extra ama and trampoline.

Frank, members of the public and lifeguards are fascinated by this Hobie Canoe with extra ama and trampoline.

Leaving the Noosa River mouth was frustrating bumper to bumper grind along a narrow tree and bush shrouded road taking us over thirty minutes to move one kilometre.

Thank goodness for a wonderful barbecued chicken dinner expertly marinated and cooked by Ken.

Sunday 27th March – Easter Sunday

Although not as early as yesterday we were still on our way before 8am. Enid had planned a 4 Klm walk along bush tracks in the Noosa National Park on the Tanglewood Track to Noosa Headland.

Enid Ken and Frank on the Tanglewood Track.

Enid Ken and Frank on the Tanglewood Track.

Tree huggers Enid Frank and Ken.

Tree huggers Enid Frank and Ken.

It was another hot day but once back on the coast section of track there was a gentle, very gentle breeze from off the ocean. We saw big black clouds gathering on the horizon and could see rain falling far out to sea.

Donnis Enid and Ken take a break at First Point Beach or was that Second Point Beach?

Donnis Enid and Ken take a break at First Point Beach or was that Second Point Beach?

Standup Paddle Board Rider on a gentle Noosa Headland surf break.

Standup Paddle Board Rider on a gentle Noosa Headland surf break.

Noosa Surf Life saving does not provide beach patrols on Noosa Headland. Instead a lifesaver on a jet ski floats near the beach. Each lifesaver is rotated every hour or so.

Noosa Surf Life saving does not provide beach patrols on Noosa Headland. Instead a lifesaver on a jet ski floats near the beach. Each lifesaver is rotated every hour or so.

We walked back to the beach at Noosa Woods for a cooling dip before the big fat heavy drops arrived. Within minutes it was a soaking rain and people were rushing off the beach to find their car to join the bumper to bumper to get home or back to their campsite.

Noosa Beach

Noosa Beach

Noosa Beach.

Noosa Beach.

After a late lunch Donnis and I headed home, expecting to beat the traffic jam. Because of the rain many people left a day early. We got caught in traffic and the journey took another hour on our usual average time.

Next week we follow the New South Wales Coast to Sydney on to Wollongong then western districts before heading north and home. It should be good fun.

482. Sunday 20th March 2016. A visitor from Calgary and another trip to Springbrook…

20/03/2016

Wednesday 16th March

When I arrived at the Pain Management Clinic for a two hour session of “Turning Pain Into Gain” I noticed the Pre Polling Booth at Southport Community Centre was open.

Let me explain.

Throughout the State of Queensland there will be elections this Saturday. The elections are for.

Local Government to elect a local representative for each Ward.

Elect a Mayor for each Council area

The State Government has cannily decided to also hold a referendum at the same time.  (having a referendum at the same time as a Council election saves money by not being conducted separately)  The referendum is to decide ,”should politicians be elected for a fixed four year term” OR to continue the current system of elected State politicians are elected for roughly a three year term and election dates are decided by the State Premier.

Australia has a polling system of allowing Postal votes, Pre Polling in selected venues and Absentee votes – that is votes when you are away from your home area. Voting is compulsory in Australia for ALL Elections.

Saturday, the day of the Poll, Donnis daughter Alecia is arriving from Canada and we are collecting her from the airport. We have a lot to do Saturday morning and do not want to get tied up in queues of voters who all seem to arrive as soon as polling stations open.

We decided to drive back to Southport and cast our vote in a pre- poll station. As usual we had to fight our way through volunteers wanting to hand you their “How to Vote” for their candidate literature. Some even want to engage you in conversation so they can explain their candidates virtues and convince you to vote their way.

OK, that’s done. Our civic duty has been completed and we have Saturday free of any other impediment to our day.

Donnis is sooo excited.

Friday 18th March.

Alecia arrives tomorrow and her friend Sarah arrives for a visit on Sunday. So… Donnis baked three cakes for the occasion. I am on a diet and not allowed to taste test the cakes.

Sigh!!!

Saturday 19th March

Alecia arrived on time at Coolangatta Airport. She had a long flight from Canada and although tired insisted on staying awake as long as possible so her body clock attunes to Oz time. After lunch – Caesar Salad with my own anchovy based dressing we drove to Southport Beach.

This group of a Brisbane based Japanese family karate group took a plunge in the ocean in full kit as part of their training. Note the young man still testing his skills while his mates soak up the surf.

This group of a Brisbane based Japanese family karate group took a plunge in the ocean in full kit as part of their training. Note the young man still testing his skills while his mates soak up the surf.

By now a strong southerly was blowing people off the beach but we persisted in a walk along the waters edge being splashed by waves on an incoming tide. We gave Alecia a tourists view of The Spit

Donnis and Alecia walking back from the Spit Lightstation.

Donnis and Alecia walking back from the Spit Lightstation.

and the Gold Coast Fish Co-Op

The Gold Coast Fish Co-Op is a collection of fishing trawlers and crew who sell directly to the public from their on board refrigerators and freezers.

The Gold Coast Fish Co-Op is a collection of fishing trawlers and crew who sell directly to the public from their on board refrigerators and freezers.

followed by a barbecue of Salmon and Asparagus.

Part way through a movie Alecia was sound asleep.

20th March

Alecia backpacked around Europe and worked as a nurse at the Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver  with her friend Sarah who arrived today for a visit. Donnis prepared a cheesecake for Sarah’s birthday and we drove to Springbrook

On one of many bridges over water courses which rush to fall over the escarpment lip. Donnis Alecia and Sarah.

On one of many bridges over water courses which rush to fall over the escarpment lip. Donnis Alecia and Sarah.

where neither had been before.

Donnis and her daughter Alecia beside a tree fern in the sub tropical rainforest at Springbrook.

Donnis and her daughter Alecia beside a tree fern in the sub tropical rainforest at Springbrook.

After a snack lunch we looked at several waterfalls and walking tracks along the top of the escarpment.

Twin Falls.

Twin Falls.

Surfers Paradise seen from Twin Falls Lookout.

Surfers Paradise seen from Twin Falls Lookout.

Life on the edge is precarious. This plant seem to be thriving on little more than a crack in the escarpment walls.

Life on the edge is precarious. This plant seems to be thriving on little more than a crack in the escarpment wall.

Tomorrow we plan on driving to Toowoomba.

481. Sunday 13th March 2016. High rise viewing, skate boards and bouche…

13/03/2016

Monday 7th March

Dear reader, this blog, as I and you know it, will soon change. WordPress has been the Content Management System and Domain Provider for thousands of blogs, including mine, since I started way back in 2002. Over the last few years WordPress have been pressing me to establish and pay annually for my own Domain and unique blog address. I have resisted their attempts but have come to a cross roads which will very soon require a decision. I would appreciate some feedback from readers.

If I keep the blog as it is, it will soon be stopped in its present format and a new address established requiring readers to make the switch then store the new address in their browser.

If I take the option to establish my own paid web address it can be more professionally upgraded and will allow video to be included in posts. It will also mean paid ads will be seen on the post. I expect they will not be intrusive but could be used to pay the annual fees to maintain the site.

May I have your thoughts??? Leave as is and possibly require a new blog and blog address. OR keep the blog with only a small change to the address but this means ads will appear more often.

We spent a lazy Monday morning then joined Tony and Dawn while they looked at a new high rise unit at Labrador overlooking the Broadwater and some views of the Gold Coast Seaway.

View from 4th floor unit on the Broadwater at Labrador. Ruined by traffic noise.

View from 4th floor unit on the Broadwater at Labrador. Ruined by traffic noise.

The views are delightful but that is tempered by constant, loud, annoying road traffic noise. Although the balcony views really are something special you would become a prisoner in your own unit – unless of course you could find a way to disregard the noise. It meant living inside 90% of the time and would require the use of air conditioning almost 24 hours a day, summer and winter.  Dawn was keen to buy. Donnis Tony and I held back our enthusiasm which was dampened by the traffic noise.

Tony and Dawn took us out for dinner and instead of the Yum Cha originally proposed we went to a pasta and pizza franchise. That was our first and last visit.

Tuesday 8th March.

Tony and Dawn were due to leave this morning but agreed to have a look at the new Waterpoint Apartments being built next door.    http://www.realestate.com.au/project-waterpoint+residences-qld-biggera+waters-600008633   Although further back from the beach than the apartments we saw yesterday, the build quality is much better and no traffic noise. They finally hit the road at 1pm and have a few hours drive ahead before they stop for the night. It was great having your company and we look forward to seeing you when we hit the road later this month. Stay tuned for details.

Saturday 12th March

Today I dropped Donnis at Robina Shopping Centre while I continued on to Elanora. I wanted to see the National Skateboarding Championships, part of the Bleach Festival and the Bowlzilla Sport Music  & Art Festival at the Elanora Skate Park. The competition is part of the Australian Skateboarding Federation programme of events for 2016.

Elanora Skate Bowl including the famous "pipe".

Elanora Skate Bowl including the famous “pipe”.

Inside the pipe.

Inside the pipe.

I know next to nothing about skateboarding although I will admit to making my own when as a teenager I saw skateboarding in a Surfing Movie. Friends and I dismantled our skates, screwed them to a piece if pine and away we went. After a few near misses with cars on a steep hill we drifted back to surfing which was more friendly if you fell off the board.

I digress.

The actual skate bowl is well set up and challenging.

This competitor was feeling the heat and his shorts show the rip from an earlier fall. At least his underpants are labelled "Saturday" so he knows what day it is.

This competitor was feeling the heat and his shorts show the rip from an earlier fall. At least his underpants are labelled “Saturday” so he knows what day it is.

It is in good condition and is one of a handful of skate bowls which has a full pipe (tunnel). I saw a number of broken arms in the audience and some on skateboards.

Skaters become airborne.

Skaters become airborne.

This one is a bit further airborne.

This one is a bit further airborne.

This was, I think, the youngest and shortest skater showing his skill sliding across the lip of the bowl.

This was, I think, the youngest and shortest skater showing his skill sliding across the lip of the bowl.

Another airborne.

Another airborne.

Every competitor wore a yellow wristband. Look carefully and you can see almost every person in the audience wears a yellow wristband. Very few skaters wore safety equipment and the number of near misses and falls suggests some skaters have not learned any lessons. 120316 skate6Although advertised as a family event some of the skaters threw bad language (and bad sportsmanship and manners) around in full view of spectators. I was surprised to see older skaters

This guy must be close to being the oldest.

This guy must be close to being the oldest.

This one also could be the oldest...if he lives that long. He had more falls than anybody else.

This one also could be the oldest…if he lives that long. He had more falls than anybody else.

alongside teenage boys and girls while even younger skaters showed what can be done when you have no fear. (Also mum and dad have to pay for the equipment and hospital fees)

Here is the youngest competitor again.

Here is the youngest competitor again.

It was a typical hot summer day (although it is Autumn) with lots of humidity.

This seemingly impossible position ended with a great reverse and exit off the opposite lip.

This seemingly impossible position ended with a great reverse and exit off the opposite lip.

Lots of action photos were taken.

Sunday 13th March

We have had rain, mostly at night, all this week. Today has been raining on and off while temperature has plummeted from a hot 31° to a less hot 28° although humidity levels are high. In the afternoon we played bouche or bolle in our park.  It was a nice friendly afternoon between rain showers.

480. Sunday 6th March 2016. Visitors, Tai Chi and a rugby league game…

08/03/2016

Monday 29th February

It has been a quiet week.

I am slowly reducing my medication, Lyrica 300 Mg twice a day to 75 Mg twice a day. The reduction has not been totally without some form of withdrawal. Therefore a quiet week means I can relax a bit.

Good friends Tony and Dawn arrive from Port MacQuarie. We spend the next few hours catching up with each others lives. They also felt like having a quiet stay so that suited all of us. They stayed for two days before leaving to attend a funeral in Toowoomba.

By Saturday they arrived back and wanting just to have a few quiet days with us. The came with us when we went to Tai Chi on Friday and joined Donnis for a swim at the Labrador lagoon while I flew my kite.

Sunday 6th March

Donnis and I drove to Brisbane to watch grandson Chris play his second game of Rugby League. Chris mum Regelyn and his other grandmother  Evangeline also helped cheer on the team.

The excited spectators Evangeline, Regelyn and Donnis.

The excited spectators Evangeline, Regelyn and Donnis.

Actually we all offered quiet dignified support. There is a sign when entering the field which basically states that this is just a game, the children are just children playing a game, there is no wagering, no shouting screaming or abusing. The sports officials are all volunteers. We are all asked to support the teams in a dignified way. Some parents shouted encouragement but it was nice not to see aggressive parents running along the sideline screaming at the children or the referee.

It was good to see Chris take the field this week with his mouthguard and Jonathon Thurston head guard. The head guard has minimal padding but is much better than no protection. Jonathon Thurston never plays a game without his headgear and he is the best player in the world. He is a great role model for the children - boys as well as girls.

It was good to see Chris take the field this week with his mouthguard and Jonathon Thurston head guard. The head guard has minimal padding but is much better than no protection. Jonathon Thurston never plays a game without his headgear and he is the best player in the world. He is a great role model for the children – boys as well as girls.

Chris team the Easts Leagues Tigers Under 12, chasing and supporting their own player.

Chris team the Easts Leagues Tigers Under 12, chasing and supporting their own player.

On a footnote Chris team lost.