Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, May 12, 2024


 Some readers probably know that I have been suffering from sciatica since September last year. It gradually got worse and worse until I could hardly walk. I had physiotherapy,  I had a cortisone injection into my spine and all to no avail. Finally my GP said it looks like an operation. I was mortified. Many people I know who have had spine operations have not been cured and have had to go back for more. However, I went along to the neurosurgeon for his diagnosis. He was armed with my X-rays and showed me the problem and how he could fix it. He said you can take pain killers of have a keyhole operation to remove the ligament inside the spinal column which was causing the problem. I said I'll try the pain killers. He said okay but you'll be back.  After a few more months of pain, I bit the bullet and consented to the operation, which took place last week. I was only in hospital overnight and sent home dosed up with pain killers and an anaesthetic injection.

Our lovely daughters were here to help out at home. Carol flew from Melbourne for a week and worked remotely. Sonya has moved to Brisbane but she was learning a new job and settling the boys into a new school while Bernie had a job, which sent him away for a while. However, they came over to see me when I came home from hospital.

The moment Carol brought me home.

The next day Sonya and family came to visit with their cute dog, Chief, the Border Terrier.

The next day the meds had worn off and the pain kicked in. Every time I moved it was agony. Anyway, I upped the painkillers to real strong ones, which made me feel drunk and loopy, so I stopped them and took milder ones. Carol was a great help doing everything for me. Bill also did as much as he could. After a week and constipation, I finally am starting to feel human again with no sciatica.

Carol had to return to Melbourne on Saturday so on Friday night we had a get together with Sonya's family in their rented house in a Brisbane inner suburb. Carol drove us over to their house and she made a cake for Fox's fourteenth birthday.

We were celebrating Fox's Birthday, our 55th Wedding Anniversary, Mother's Day and the sale of Sonya and Bernie's house in Melbourne so they can buy one here now. It was my first outing since my op. Lots to celebrate. We ate cheese and crackers washed down with wine (not me on pain killers) while Bernie cooked dinner.

The best mother's day present is to be with our girls.

Bernie was home from his job and he whipped up a pizza party. 

We sang Happy Birthday

Then it was time to say goodbye. 
Carol took this photo of the Brisbane part of the family now. We are so happy to have them home. (But now Bernie is separated from his mother and four siblings and Sonya from her sister.)
Carol is back in Melbourne now and we are slowly getting back to normal. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024


 Sonya's family arrived from Melbourne two weeks ago. The boys have only had a few days at school. They have had to learn the route to walk home from school. So much for them to get used to. Then it was Banjo's birthday last weekend. He hasn't been at school long enough to make any firm friends so he had a family only day. 

His dad cooked him his favourite breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup.

He was excited to receive a book that he had wanted about "How Things are Made".

Then they had a restful time on their deck  before coming over to our place for lunch.

After lunch we had the cake and presents. Banjo loves lamingtons so I built him a cake from lamington squares and fingers. I am not a cook so this was easy for me and he loved it.

We gave him a few presents including my old iPhone 12 Pro. He was overjoyed as he was the only one in the family without a phone.

It is so good having them live in Brisbane. The next day Sonya and Bernie took the boys for a surprise visit to Movie World on the Gold Coast, as a treat for Banjo's 12th birthday.

Thursday, April 25, 2024


Today is ANZAC DAY, the day we remember the Australian and New Zealand members of the armed services who have fought and lost their lives in all the wars since WW1. We have a national holiday and many services around the country with huge parades in the cities.  We have our little parade and service followed by morning tea in our village. Residents invite their families along too.

Our flag flying over the village.

Residents who have medals and family members of those who have inherited medals wear them with pride.

 Then they march around the village to the community centre where there is a service held outside in front of our little memorial and flag post. 

The residents lined the streets and clapped in appreciation.

Then everyone found a seat for the service.

Ian, our chairmen tells the story of the brave ANZAC soldiers.

Brendan, husband of our managing director, Chiou See reads the ANZAC poem.

 Then wreaths were laid for all the different armed services and others who have participated in wars.

 Then we have a minute's silence and the flag is raised from half mast.

A photo of the ex-servicemen who live in our village plus Chiou See and Brendan.

Commerarderie in the community centre

Monday, April 15, 2024


Byron Bay is a famous beach town on the north coast of NSW. It is only a few hours drive from Brisbane. It has beautiful beaches and a rainforest hinterland. There are lots of activities for holiday makers. It is loved by surfers, scuba divers, backpackers and international celebrities. It has amazing restaurants, resorts and million dollar houses. 

In 1770, Captain James Cook named the cape Byron after  Vice Admiral John Byron who sailed around the world in 1764-66. He was Lord Byron the poet's grandfather.

(Photos from website)

However, it hasn't always been like this. In early days it was a timber town, then a meat processing place and a whaling station. When I visited with my parents in 1956 it was a very smelly place but after whaling was banned the town became a camping destination.  

When we visited Byron Bay in 1956 my parents and friends went up close to a whale on a flatbed rail carriage  waiting  to go to the processing factory. It was very smelly. I stayed back and took the photo with my new Brownie box camera.

 In 1985 we took the girls for a camping holiday there. It was a sleepy holiday destination with beautiful scenery. We went swimming, horse riding and played golf but it was all undeveloped, quiet and peaceful.

Later it became a hippy and alternate life style place to be. These people have stayed and introduced yoga and wellness stays. It had huge music festivals although this year festivals have found it hard to survive.

In 1999 we visited Sonya (our daughter) who was living there and working as a barista in between Stage managing theatre productions.

Cape Byron Light was built 1899-1901 and the architect was Charles Harding. It is an active heritage-listed building. It was automated in 1989 and it now has a museum inside giving information about Byron Bay's history and stories of shipwrecks. The view over the township and the beaches is amazing.

In 2015 we stayed again in Byron for a reunion of friends from PNG.  Now we have been to the most easterly point, the most southerly point, the most northerly point and almost to  the most westerly point of the Australian mainland.

Some of our group walked out to the tip of the most easterly point of our continent but not Bill and I (the aging process had started.)
We did do the Lighthouse walk, which was strenuous enough.

Saturday, April 6, 2024


 Our youngest daughter, Sonya has been looking for a career change. She has been involved in Stage managing, production managing and operations manager for theatre and circus for thirty years. During that time she was often responsible for work place health and safety. She was getting bored with her job and she studied more university courses on WPHS. She made a few applications in Victoria in different industries but wasn't successful. Just for fun she applied for one in the Arts industry in Brisbane. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre was very keen to employ her as she knew the theatre industry well. She wanted to withdraw her application because she didn't want to uproot her family from Melbourne.  However, QPAC was not going to let her go. They offered her a good salary and pay for the removal from Melbourne to Brisbane. After discussing it with her family she decided to take the job and the family would move to Brisbane. 

How Happy Are We ???

They are coming to live in Brisbane, hooray.

So Sonya flew up a few times to find a house to rent, which is not easy these days. There is a shortage of houses and besides that she wanted it in the catchment area of Kelvin Grove State College because that is the school she wanted the boys to attend. She has remained friends with some she made when attending university here back in the nineties in Brisbane. They have been helping her decide on schools and finding a house. Finally, a friend found a suitable place to rent until they sell their house in Melbourne and buy one here. So they packed a huge truck with their household stuff and Sonya flew up to meet the truck and supervise the unloading. Bernie and the boys stayed in Melbourne. He is preparing the house for sale, he has done a lot of renovations and is building a back patio. The boys finished the school term and now are waiting for Bernie to load them and the dog into the car with a trailer of more stuff that didn't fit into the truck and drive them to Queensland. It takes two days.

Sonya has been amazing unpacking all the boxes and putting together a king sized bed and renovating an old pantry for the kitchen. She also drove us to drop our car into a repair shop after I crunched in the front driving into a garden. She also came and picked us up and drove us to see her house. It is an old Queenslander type house but quite nice and in a lovely area close to everything but in a quiet street. The best area is the back deck high amongst the trees.

Bill makes himself at home.

They will be a half hour drive away not a two and a half hour flight away.
We are so proud of her.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


 It was our village dinner night last week and it was another St Patrick's Day celebration. The last one was Happy Hour but this one was dinner. We sure do like to party here.

It was a special night for the year 12 Rochedale High School catering students. It was the first night for this new intake of year 12 students. They come with their teacher to help in the kitchen and learn from our chefs. They also have to learn how to serve us properly and clear away too. They were very nervous kids but they did a good job. The chef even complimented them too.

Guinness Pie with a Trio of Beef, Lamb and Pork. Mushy Peas, Red Cabbage and Mash.

Ginger crusted Key Lime Pie with Lime and Pistachio Cream

Our dinner coordinator, Ann thanks the students and the chefs.

Some of the Village Singers entertained us and encouraged us to sing along. (12 sec video.)

We enjoyed the night.