Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


At last it is really raining, it has been raining on and off for about three days, not just a half hour storm and then clear up, like the past few efforts. The grass has turned green, the leaves are shiny and clean and my lopped trees are starting to shoot like mad. I wish I had some vegies in the patch. I must make an effort to plant some in between showers.The temperature drops from the 30'sC/90'sF to 27C/81F but the humidity is extremely high and everything is damp and clammy, especially our skin, but I prefer it to being cold. You can walk in the rain and its warm and you dry off to a clammy state fairly quickly.

The birds love it and they are all chirping and screeching with joy.

The trees get a good wash.

It comes down in sheets at times and the gutters can't cope so it just tumbles out and........

..splashes on the deck railing. This is my world living in the sub-tropics.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Go Between Bridge

On the way home through the city from our Christmas lunch we are confronted by many construction sites. Brisbane is the fastest growing city in Australia. Many of the southerners have discovered that it is a nice place to live after years of them teasing us about being behind the times up here. Anyway thousands of people have been flocking here over the last 5 years. Over a thousand a week for many months. Consequently our city is madly trying to keep up with the necessary infrastructure to cope with the invasion. At the moment there are many bridges, tunnels, and road widening works going on all over the city. One of the bridges under construction is the one below, recently named"The Go Between Bridge"

Below is an artists impression of the completed bridge. (from the web) The bridge is named after a very successful Australian Band called "The Go Betweens". It was started by two university students, Robert Forster and Grant McLellan from Brisbane in 1977.They wrote the songs and the band performed here and internationally until 2006, when Grant died. They had a variety of support musicians play with them over the years. Since 2000, Adele Pickvance has been playing Bass and singing in the band. We are very proud to have Adele in our extended family. She is our daughter's sister in law. Bill and Alma from our Christmas Eve post are her parents and our SIL's.

Adele is chuffed about the bridge being named after the band. They will be at the opening ceremony.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Day for Lonely Oldies

When we know that our girls can't join us for Christmas we book Christmas Lunch at our favourite restaurant, Des Alpes. It is owned and run by our friends Monique and Nick, so it is like going to friends for Christmas. Unfortunately, it is on the other side of town but only takes 40 mins without delays.

So we drive into town on the M3. It is showery but we don't mind we need the rain. It makes us happy to see the rain.

We pass through the city on the Riverside Express.

We go under the new Karilpa footbridge that causes a lot of discussion as you can see why.

Soon we arrive in Mitchelton and the Restaurant.

It is a set menu so its like a surprise. All the tables have a little nativity scene and a gift of a Chinese Water Bamboo and a bag of Swiss Christmas biscuits.

Soon we had a glass of wine and an appetiser of Chäschüechli (cheese tarts). I was so hungry I chomped one before the photo.

A mixture of entrees. Crisp and delicious.

Turkey and cranberry sauce, ham, tomato spinach pie and potatoes. The meat was moist and melted in your mouth.

There was a buffet of desserts, everyone a delight.

We were full and happy. Monique had placed us under our favourite picture. It is a scene of the village of Spiez, where we stayed on our last trip to Switzerland. It is also very close to where Bill grew up.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Stroll by the Bay

On Christmas Eve we were invited by friends, Alma and Bill, to their house for lunch. We had a delicious prawn and avocado starter and then excellent grilled fish with salad, followed by Alma's famous Christmas trifle. It is to die for. After lunch they took us to Woody Point for a stroll along the bay.

The new fishing jetty

Interesting sculptures. I liked the lines but I thought they could have been placed in a better spot nearer the water.

Another new sculpture called "Under Marine Skies" made of steel and glass and lighting (it is alight at night). It had photos of people from the past enjoying the bay side beaches. These words were on the plaque:

The ocean is a beacon around which drift

our endless warm, lazy days:

the summer of our distant past,

those of childhood,

of the present........

and those of the future times.

Woody point is part of the Redcliffe Peninsular that sticks out into Moreton Bay.

New apartment blocks with million dollar views.

The locals enjoy fishing from the jetty.

Fishing and shipping.

Brisbane City peeps over the trees.

Brisbane is a busy Port. The Brisbane River empties into Moreton Bay. The bay provides for shipping, recreation and a habitat for sea life and birds.

Then it was time to stroll back and have afternoon tea of mince pies and Christmas Cake. Alma and Bill were so kind to help us celebrate on Christmas Eve, which is when Bill has always celebrated Christmas as they do in Switzerland.

Alma, Bill B and Bill P enjoying the bay breeze on a hot Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Australian Christmas

I have been sorting old photos to put them into a scrap book. I came across this Christmas photo of my second Christmas in Australia.

Notice that I have a summer dress and he has his winter suit. For many years Australians have continued to celebrate Christmas in the traditional British way. I suppose because the majority of migrants were British. However, in recent years we have started to realise we need our own Aussie type of Christmas and we are starting to do away with the old country traditions which are unsuitable for a summer Christmas. Many of us now have outside BBQ's and usually with loads of seafood; prawns, oysters, mussells, lobsters, Moreton Bay Bugs and fish. To go with this we have salads of all kinds and for dessert pavlova and fruit salad and ice-cream, or fruit platters with mangoes, stone fruit, and especially cherries. We finish off with Christmas cake and cheese and crackers. We also have mince pies and chocolates if you can eat them before they melt. (Mind you many still stick to the traditional fair, which is OK if you are in airconditioning). I'm glad to see many Christmas cards now have Australian Christmas scenes rather than snow and open fires. I still cringe when I see artificial snow, usually cotton wool, decorating the store windows.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


In Brisbane we don't have many deciduous trees, so we don't have a Fall in Autumn like in cooler climates. However, we have evergreen trees, which are continuously losing leaves and regrowing them. I have found that they lose more leaves in dry seasons. Anyway, it means I have to often rake leaves off the pathways in our garden. I need to do this at 6:30 in the morning before it gets too hot. Well its done now and time to play.
We have friends called, Bill and Ruve. We met them on one of our wine tours years ago. They are an amazing couple. They are both well into their seventies and they have just returned from a trekking holiday to the base camp of Mt Everest. They came back very skinny. Bill is the president of the U3A (University of the Third Age) camera club and he asked BB if he would give a talk at one of their meetings. I was keen to go and find out more about the club. We enjoyed the visit and became members. We go to meetings or outings once a month. But last week it was Christmas party time again. We had lunch at the Alexandra Hills Hotel. It was a good deal too. Buy one meal get one free. We had beautiful grilled fish and vegetables. Others had roast of the day for $6. Bill, Ruve and BB are right up the back.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Birthday Bear's Christmas Party

Birthday Bear insisted on a Christmas get together with her wrinkly friends. After all it is Jesus' Birthday that we are celebrating.

This year she came dressed as a Christmas Tree with bauble earrings and a star on top.

Ann is the one who helped Birthday Bear get dressed for the party.

We had a buffet dinner at the Greenbank RSL Club. From the left Kathy, Paul, Bill, moi, Birthday Bear, Ann, George, Helen, and Mary.
Ann took this shot and named it, "The Three Wide Men". 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Trees are Alive with Summer Blooms

Come for a walk with me to buy the newspaper and take in some flowering trees on the way. Sometimes we walk in the forest and then drive to buy the paper other times I walk to the shop, usually when BB has Atrial Fibrillation and finds it hard to walk. Today I grabbed my little Sony Cyber Shot and walked a circuit to the shop and back. It is about 3.5 km. I wind through the back streets and community parks to get there and then come back via the main road. It is before breakfast about 6.30am, the sky is full of heavy grey clouds covering us like a big blanket keeping in all yesterdays heat, it is about 27C, but it won't rain it just oozes humidity and it is like walking in a sauna. Aren't you lucky to be able to see the beautiful trees without the humidity?
We walk to the end of my street and enter a park. I love the contrast in colour of these two trees one almost black the other almost orange.

Then we go in between some houses, where an unusually coloured Bougainvillea hangs over a back fence. See how brown the grass is through lack of decent rain.
It is pink and orange

We cross the road and enter another little park.Then between the houses and onto another street.

A pink and orange Frangipani
Down a few streets and into another park. Then out to another street. The poincianas are starting to bloom, they are one of my favourites. Poinciana (Delonix regia)Hoping the residents of the house don't come out to see what I'm doing in their front yard. This street has a coloured tree in every garden. Coral Tree (Erythrina corallodedron) A red HibiscusThevetia neriifoliaSo now I have the paper in one hand and the camera in the other and we head for home. The main street was a bit boring.This Bauhinia galpinii is suffering from lack of water but manages a few flowers. Normally you can't see the branches for thick green leaves and masses of flowers.

At last off the road and back into the park for the uphill climb. Up the steepest bit to my street. Shirt wet and looking forward to a cold shower, drink of water and breakfast. Ah ha, home sweet home. Bill has breakfast ready on the deck.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Car Park Tree

Bill always parks next to this tree when we stop by to pick up a newspaper, after a walk in the forest.   It is a pretty little tree and I have named it The Car Park Tree. It has very interesting seed pods. I asked my blogger friends if anyone could ID the tree for me. A Spanish guy, who is a plant curator told me it is a native tree of Queensland and it is a Brachychiton bidwillii.

Ooooooh! I see a bug.

Let's have a closer look. See the furry texture of the pod.