Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We are very lucky to live in Queensland, where it doesn't really get very cold in winter. We get very hot summers so when the temperature drops to 10 C  in the early mornings, we feel very cold. During the day it can reach 20C-25C in Brisbane even hotter further north. Yesterday we went to Sandgate a northern suburb of Brisbane to have lunch on the beach with David's parents, Alma and Bill.

Sandgate lies on the northern reaches of Moreton Bay. When it is high tide like this day it is beautiful.

Looking south along the walkway.

Looking north towards Redcliffe Peninsular.

It has become a tradition to have fish, chips and salad with Alma and Bill every now and then.

It got so warm and sunny we took off our jumpers and Bill had to make a hat out of the chip bag to keep the sun off his face.

Enjoying the winter sun.

Gulls enjoying the sun.

A typical old "Queenslander" style house overlooking the fabulous view of the bay.

Monday, June 22, 2009


As I am working on my birthday on Wednesday, we celebrated yesterday. We had lunch at the Foyer Bistro in the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in the city. It is situated on the South Bank of the Brisbane River, together with the State Library, the Museum, the Art Gallery, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (opera house), the Conservatorium and Convention Centre. This area is one big Cultural Centre on the banks of the river. It was my turn to receive Birthday Bear and I was quite excited trying to anticipate how she would be dressed this time.

Here she is dressed as a gardener. That's me! She has on her overalls, garden gloves and garden shoes. Of course she has a visor and sunnies.

She even has a little wheelbarrow full of lemons. She also has a watering can and fork and shovel, with froggy handles. I love frogs.

Ann and George (in front) did a wonderful job of dressing bear and making the props. Thank you. From left to right...Ann, Mary, Bill, Birthday Bear, Paul, me , Helen, George. We even booked a place for Bear, which the waitress thought was funny.

I had Pork Belly with apple and rhubarb sauce and side vegetables.

BB had Salmon and schwabi sauce with fries on the side.

Then Bear wanted to check out the view from the deck. The GoMA building at the side overlooking the new pedestrian bridge and the city on the other side of the river.

The city cat glides under the partially constructed pedestrian bridge connecting the cultural Centre with the CBD. We had a lively discussion about the aesthetics and cost of the bridge. Some of us liked it and others didn't.

The very old William Jolly Bridge a few metres down stream.

After lunch we went to have a look around the modern art gallery, which was featuring Chinese artists but Bear wasn't allowed to come she had to wait in the cloak room and look after our umbrellas. Yes it has been raining for 2 days now, which is very unusual or this time of the year, but it is better than the drought we've had over the last 5 years.

We went up to the other floors and saw some really way out art. Some was interesting and some was rediculous.

This huge lady in bed was interesting

Up close her skin was almost translucent and very life like. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Brilliant Bill" or "Ode to a Good Bloke."

In our family, Bill does the cooking and I do the gardening. Bill hates gardening and I'm a hopeless cook. He also has a dicky ticker and should take it easy. However, after my surgery I also was must take it easy. When we had the trees lopped we had some of the mulch left on the grass for us to spread. Now who was going to move it before it killed the grass and before it rained? "Brilliant Bill" offered. So I supervised. I needed it on the pathway next to the vegie patch. Of course that was in a hard to get at place.
At the top of our back garden.

Filling the barrow.

Down the steep hill.

Through the narrow gate (to stop the wallabies from eating the beans). That done he went inside and made some cookies.

Then he cooked lunch

Ham and eggs. Haven't I got a "Good Bloke"?

Saturday, June 13, 2009


 Birthday Bear is going to the COTAH Restaurant to celebrate Mary's birthday together with a bunch of retirees. COTAH is the College of Tourism and Hospitality. The restaurant is run by the students.

The college is at South Bank in the city. I forgot my camera and used my phone. That was just one of the glitches we had on the night. On the way I received a text from the bank saying my keycard may have been copied so would I go and change my PIN, just what you need on the way to a birthday dinner with friends. It wasn't an easy place to find but when we arrived Birthday Bear was already there, sitting up waiting to surprise Mary. Mary volunteers at a community Library and she is often wondering where to go on her next holiday. So Bear has thinking bubbles suggesting places of interest to visit. She also has travel brochures and her passport ready. She is sitting in her Library (real photos of her library) She also has jigsaw puzzles and afternoon tea with a birthday cake ready. Helen and Paul did a great job of dressing Birthday Bear.Unfortunately, there were a few more glitches before the fun could start. Mary's taxi driver couldn't find the venue and got caught in grid lock going around the block trying to find us. Finally when he found the place Mary discovers she has lost her phone probably in the cab. So poor Mary was a little agitated by the time she arrived.

However, when she spied Birthday Bear she felt much happier.

The students did a good job with dinner. Calamari entree.

Chicken or salmon for mains.

Tiramisu or crepes for dessert.

We all had a good time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Lemon Tree ,Very Ugly and the lemon flower is sweet........"

I had a "Lemon Tree, Very Pretty" as the song says. However, after a few years of bearing lots of pretty flowers and lovely fruit, it got an awful disease. I think it was wasp gaul. Nothing can rid the plant of this gross disease except cutting it off. Well, the whole tree was covered in the forever creeping gaul, so I had the whole tree cut down except for a little stump. As it was cut below the graft, I was told that if it regrew it would grow as a bush lemon tree, the host for the graft. It wasn't long before it started shooting prolifically and the long gangly branches had huge spikes like on a bush lemon tree. Many, many flowers blossomed but it was far from a pretty lemon tree as the branches were drooping and the tree was a weird shape.
However, as the fruit appeared I was surprised to see that they weren't crinkly, thick skinned, bush lemons but the lovely smooth, thin skinned lemons like before. The tree was laden with hundreds of lemons and the branches couldn't cope with the weight and the fruit was touching the ground so BB propped up the branches with stakes.This made the tree look even more ugly, but the fruit is big and juicy.

Now the fruit is ripening and it is fun harvesting them.

This is the fourth load. We have given some to neighbours and friends and we have hunted the recipe books for ideas with lemons. I have ice block trays full of frozen juice. I just wish our vegie patch would do so well as our ugly, mutant lemon tree.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Our Garden gets a Haircut

Winter is here and it is time for some trees to be lopped. This will provide a bit more sunshine in the winter but hopefully produce more leafier trees for summer to provide much needed shade and privacy. However, it still breaks my heart to see them be denuded. I don't like how the garden looks bare and our privacy has been eroded. Its a bit like a bad haircut and you say to yourself OMG what have I done?

Early morning and the truck, mulcher, men and their chainsaws arrive. It doesn't take long to see my beautiful trees lying on the footpath.

A mountain of them.

The mulcher gobbles them up and spits out the chips.

"Smoko Time" (I can't help feeling they enjoy slaughtering my trees)







Feeling a bit depressed by the carnage I found some colour in the garden to cheer me up.

Then it was time for work to commence on my favourite tree. It is a big Paperbark Melaleuca. It stands in front of the house and it has a fairly nice shape except when the Electricity Company comes and hacks it away from the street power lines. But now it has grown over the roof and is filling the gutter with leaves and blossoms, so it needs to be trimmed back from the house. It also has big roots that have found their way under the driveway and they have lifted the concrete. So we are getting the roots cut off on that side. My poor baby I hope you survive.