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.
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.
Bridge over Biggera Creek at Lands End.
Properties on Biggera Creek/Canal at Lands End.
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.
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.
Palazzo Versace Hotel and Marina Mirage to the east
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.
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.
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.
Gold Coast Hospital being demolished…
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.