Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We don't usually see the opera house from this angle. Our daughter sent us the picture. She works at the opera house as a production manager. One of her jobs was to organise the setting up of "The Speigeltent" on the forcourt. (The round white shape in front). She also organised all the shows to be played in the tent.

The usual view, pity it wasn't a blue sky the day I took this. The white sails look great against a blue sky.

Stairs to the front of the opera house.

Sonya in her office
What a view to meet you every day when you get to work...the harbour and the famous bridge is just to the left.
On a visit to Sydney last year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Can you remember when you took your babies to a local playgroup? Maybe you are doing it now. Maybe you did it 5 years ago, or maybe 10,20. This group of mothers took their babies to playgroup over 30 years ago but they still have get togethers.

Twice a year the playgroup mums of Springwood in the 70's, still have a dinner together twice a year, where everyone gets up to date with what their grown up babies are doing now.
We swap photos of our grown children and in some cases the grandchildren. Then we have a lovely dinner with lots of laughs and fun.
Before leaving we choose the next person /s to organise a dinner in 6 months time. It is fun to keep in contact with old friends. Many mums have moved to other suburbs and towns but they make the effort to attend twice a year. Each time we try a different restaurant, which is fun. The souffle was good here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Yesterday was the last day of my recent contract to teach upper Primary School (Elementary) children, who have difficulty learning to Read and Write. So I thought I would show you around my workshop. I only teach 3 children at a time,..... I have a little room......

situated between two double teaching spaces, where Years 5,6 and 7 work.

These spaces open onto a wet area for Art, Cooking, Science and small group work. This area opens to the outside, teaching areas and playground.

The advantage of a double teaching area you can have two teachers helping you. The children have finished their end of year tests and they are now completing an Art assignment....

........sewing an advent calendar.

The Information Centre

The Author/Illustrator Narelle Oliver visited the school and ran a workshop on making prints.

Here are some of the children's prints.

Our school year finishes on 12 Dec. and the new year starts on the 27 Jan. So the children are about to hold elections for school captains and vice captains so the school is plastered with election posters.

School bag racks outside the classrooms

A gazebo outside the classroom. Used for learning and relaxing.

Outside the classrooms

Rainwater tanks to help during drought times.

The tuck shop, the lunches have been ordered and made and are now in the baskets waiting for the lunch monitors to pick up and take to the classroom.
The undercover area where the children eat lunch, there are 3 teachers supervising them. It is a small school with about 360 students from Prep to Year 7 (4 -12 yrs old). They wear a blue and gold uniform, they must wear a hat if playing outside.

Meanwhile teachers have lunch in the staff room.

Then the kids can play here or....


.... but not here, this is out of bounds. It is behind the oval and close to the environmenal area where the odd snake has been sighted.

They love playing cricket or football here. They also play softball, netball and tennis. They go swimming too.
They can play here.......
......and rest here.
School's out I can get in my little red car and go home and play blogging.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror-
The wide brown land for me!
(A verse from "My Country" by Dorothea Mackellar

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Today our birthday group went to a cafe at Mt Gravatt called "Bean Out". It was to celebrate Ann's birthday. Of course Birthday Bear came dressed for Ann, who enjoys going to the theatre and movies. She just about sees all the theatre productions that are on at any one time and she goes to the movies in between.

So here is bear at the theatre, dressed in her theatre finery, clasping her tickets and programs, not to mention the popcorn and streamers for the final performance party at the theatre.

She has had her hair done too.
Happy Birthday Ann.

Friday, November 14, 2008


During our holiday in Switzerland we went for a trip on the Lake of Thun (Toon) on a very interesting paddle steamer called the Blümlisalp.
The Blümlisalp was originally built in 1906 in Zürich especially for the Lake of Thun.On August 1st 1972 the Blümlisalp completed its last cruise, which was from the town of Thun at one end of the lake to Interlachen at the other end of the lake, stopping at villages on both sides of the lake on its way. At each stop there was a celebration for the old girl.
The company that owned the ship replaced her with a more modern ship. The Blümlisalp was to be left to rot. This caused outrage among the local people and radio stations and newspapers were inundated with complaints. Petitions were signed and sent to the government but nothing was done, the ship was towed to its final resting place , a disused quarry, to rust and rot and sink to the bottom.
A group of concerned people and paddle steamer enthusiasts formed a group, "Friends of the Blümlisalp". They were dismayed to see that vandals were damaging their beloved steamer so the group organised watches on weekends and at night with two people sleeping in sleeping bags on board every night.
More and more people joined the group and working bees were organised to maintain the boat. Rust was removed and primer painted on. The windows were boarded up and engineers kept the engines spotless and greased. Complaints to the authorities about unauthorised people frequently visiting the ship were dismissed as many of the law enforcing officers were members of the group. So the ship would not die.
After 10 years of exile there was a feature article in the Swiss press about how the friends of the Blümlisalp had kept the ship alive. The owners BLS relented and handed the ownership to the persistent group of enthusiasts.The people of the canton (state) demanded that the government step in and provide funds for the complete restoration to the stage where it could be put back into service.

The issue was put to a referendum as all issues are in Switzerland the birthplace of democracy. The "yes" vote was overwhelming and the government commissioned the renovation.
In May 1992 the renovations were complete and the DS Blümlisalp once again became a proud member of the Lake of Thun fleet.
Never before in the history of Swiss paddle steamers had so many people fought for so long and so hard to keep a beloved paddle steamer in service.
During our trip Bill was given special permission to go into the engine room to film the young female engineer running the engines. She receives the commands from the captain down the brass tubes. It was a great experience for Bill and here is the video that he made of the event.

Monday, November 10, 2008


When we were in Bill's hometown of Thun, Switzerland, he showed us the statue of "Fuhlehung" (lazy dog). He is a court jester wearing a devil's mask.The Fuhlehung appears every year in September at the "Ausschiesst" (Shoot-out) Festival. When Bill was a child he was told this story:
In early days when the Duke of Zaringen lived in the castle and ruled the land he ordered the court jester to wake him and his men early to go to a battle, but the jester slept in and made them late in setting off. The Duke was so angry that he chased the jester out of the castle calling him a lazy dog -"Fuhlehung".
Now days an unknown person dressed as the Fuhlehung appears every year at The "Ausschiesset" (Shoot-out) Festival in September. The Shoot-out Festival is where the town cadets have a crossbow shooting competition. This festival stops the town for 3 days while the people celebrate in many ways. There are processions, dinners and much partying but for the children the appearance of Fuhlehung is one of the highlights. They chase him through the streets calling him a lazy dog-Fuhlehung. He carries a stick and inflated pigs bladders and he (pretends to) whop the children if they catch him or do anything naughty. This practice can be traced back to the 15th century.
I have been lucky enough to have witnessed the festival a few times. I was woken at 4:00 am to the chant of hundreds of children calling "Fuhlehung,Fuhlehung, hung, hung," as they searched the streets looking for him. Then later in the day there is the procession to the Shoot-out competition. One of the Fuhlehung's jobs is to keep the crowds quiet while the cadets shoot.

Children chasing Fuhlehung calling him lazy dog.
He carries a baton and inflated pigs bladders to punish naughty people.
No one knows who is behind the mask.
Keeping the crowds quiet.
Posing with the cadet crossbow shooters.
Look out here he comes
Fuhlehung with inflated pigs bladders.
He can often be found hanging out of a first floor shop window throwing sweets down to all the children hunting for him.