Spring Creek, between Tenterfield and Boonah, NSW

Friday, May 6, 2016

CHASING THE AUTUMN COLOURS

Our U3A Travel Group leader, Michael, organised a trip for members to go to Tenterfield in the highlands of northern NSW to see the autumn colours and other scenic points of interest in the area. So come along with me for the next few days.
 On the way from Brisbane to Tenterfield we stopped at Stanthorpe for lunch. Then we had a walk through the park with our cameras.

 We said goodbye to the ducks and continued onto Tenterfield. It is about a three hour drive from Brisbane.

 After we booked into the Bowling Club Motor Inn we went on a tour of the parks. We saw yellow trees and.....
 red trees and.....

 orange trees.

I even loved the patterns and colours of the fallen leaves. (Remember we don't get coloured leaves in sub tropical Brisbane. So we get quite excited with the beauty.

Friday, April 29, 2016

THE BLUE BLUE MOUNTAINS

The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens. Katoomba, a major town in the area, borders Blue Mountains National Park and its bushwalking trails.
It is believed the mountains have a blue tinge when viewed from a distance because of "mia scatterings" in the atmosphere which in turn is caused by a large amount of volatile terpenoids emitted by the large amount of Eucalyptus trees in the area.
 There are numerous lookouts which can be reached by car and many more on the walking trails. This  is Sublime Point Lookout.

 We could see the famous "Three Sisters" from Sublime Point but they are usually viewed from the other side at Echo Point Lookout. We couldn't find a car park there as it was so crowded.

 The Blue Mountains are part of the Great Dividing Range. They are made up of a series of ravines and ridges which made it very difficult for early explorers to cross the mountains. Officially the first Europeans to cross were Blaxland, Wentorth and Lawson in 1813. Before that, the aborigines found two routes across. In 1980 letters were found to suggest that John Wilson, a freed convict, who lived with the aborigines crossed the mountains in 1795. It is believed that this fact was suppressed at the time so that the convicts wouldn't try to escape from Sydney over the mountains.
 The mountains are not very high with the highest point just over 1,000m/3000ft

 It is great to see families enjoying the outdoors.

 The next day we went to Blackheath, one of the townships, in the mountains. The weather was overcast but we did visit Govett's Leap Lookout.

Even in the misty rain, the views were stunning.

Carol and David pointed out the trail that they have hiked and a waterfall.

Maybe you can see the waterfall in this shot.

The rain increased so we found a super coffee shop inside an antique emporium.
Then it was time for our young ones to drive us back to the airport to fly home to Brisbane. What a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VALE PAUL

It was with great sadness that we farewelled our dear friend, Paul, yesterday. 

We met Paul and Helen back in 1990, when I started teaching with Helen. At staff dinners Paul and Bill met and we soon became friends. We often spent weekends away at the beach with Helen and Paul. Later we decided it would be fun to go on longer holidays together. We went to many places in Australia including Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory and many more. They were great travelling buddies.( Click on the photos to make them bigger)
Cradle Mt. Tasmania

We belonged to a big group that went on a wine tour every year to different wine regions all over Australia. Helen and Paul also came on many wine tours with us.
Paul wine tasting

When we retired we went further afield and toured overseas together. Paul took us to Scotland, the land of his ancestors. Then we cruised down the canals from Amsterdam to Budapest. After that Bill showed his homeland, Switzerland, to Helen and Paul. We all had a wonderful time away together. In fact it is our favourite trip of all.
Travelling together in Europe

Not long after this we formed our Birthday Bear Group. A few us from school, who had all retired decided to celebrate our birthdays together so that we would keep in touch. Instead of giving presents each time we pass on the Birthday Bear, dressed differently each time to reflect the personality of the recipient.  Paul and Helen were part of this group and Paul really enjoyed getting his Birthday Bear each year. In fact he was the first to receive the bear and he loved it so much that he kept it and Helen had to organise another bear for us to pass around.
Bowling Bear
Reading Bear
Walking the Dog Bear
Crocodile Dundee Fighting Bear
Paul was an inspiration. It didn't matter how much pain he was in, how much the treatment affected him or how tired he felt, he would always make the effort to come to our Birthday Bear dinners. Paul had Mesothelioma an asbestos related cancer.  Life expectancy ranges from 4 to 14 months generally but Paul fought this horrendous illness for nearly six years. He suffered a lot of pain, operations, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and experimental vaccination therapy. But he had some good days as you can see.

He even managed to come away with us on Birthday Bear trips too.


Unfortunately, over the last year, the aggressive disease invaded more parts of his body especially his bones. We saw him deteriorate more each month but he still tried to be cheery until the last few months when his quality of life was very poor. He finally said, "I'm ready to go." It is so heartbreaking to see this lovely man, who was such a gentleman, be dealt such a blow.

We attended his funeral yesterday. There were many, many friends and relatives present including his sister, his sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Friends and relatives packed the chapel and spilled outside.
Paul's favourite Fishing Bear was there to see him off.
Bear and many others were wearing the blue ADSS ribbon of the Asbestosis Disease Support Society, a volunteer society that supported Paul and Helen throughout his illness. We encourage you to donate to this group if you ever have the chance. 


After the service we were invited for refreshments at Paul's Bowling Club. It was nice to remember all the good times we had with Paul. There was a video celebrating his life and showing what a great family man he was.
Sharing stories
Paul's sister, Joan and wife Helen put on brave faces.
My BFF (My best friend forever)
My dear friend, Helen has endured the last six years with amazing strength. It has been so hard for her and she has more hard times ahead. I hope I can help ease her pain by just being there for her. 

Love you Helen.
Vale Paul.