Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, December 31, 2009


We had a roller coaster ride through 2009. Some very sad times and some very exciting times.

On 18 January my brother, David, succumbed to liver cancer. He lived in London with his wife Ann. The last time we met was in September 2008 in Switzerland (above). I was lucky to spend 6 wonderful days with him.
In February Sonya flew from Sydney to have a birthday lunch with her father. Her sister Carol-Ann was also visiting us from London. It was one of those rare times when we were altogether (except for their partners)
In March we did a road trip to Sydney, exploring new roads and new places on the way. We stayed at Bondi Beach (above) with Sonya and Bernie. We had lovely walks along the coast line.
In April we flew to Townsville (tropical far north Queensland) with a group of friends and Birthday Bear to surprise another of our friends for her birthday. We had loads of fun for the 4 days we were there. Also in April, I took on a 10 week contract at school teaching children with learning difficulties.

In May we did some day trips. One was to the country town of Kooralbyn to visit Martin and Judith. Above is the view from their house.

Martin and Bill went to Kindergarten together in Switzerland. Sadly Martin had an accident recently. He fell from his roof while doing maintenance and broke his back. He is still in hospital now. May wasn't a good month for me as I had to have an ovary and cyst removed. There were a few complications and it took a long time to recover.

In June it was my turn to receive Birthday Bear. She was dressed in her gardening clothes with a barrow load of lemons.

July: Winter is here and it is a great time for walking. We went on many river walks. Above we met friends, Joan and Norm, at the Ipswich River Heart Parklands for a walk.

August is another great month for walking and exploring. We found quite a few new wetlands in our area with nice walkways. I also got a new camera,Canon EOS 1000D. So I have much learning to do.

At the end of August and the beginning of September we went on a memorable trip to The Kimberley and Top End. A trip I have wanted to do for years. It was fabulous.We flew with six friends to Broome and then joined a small group tour to Darwin in a 4 wheel drive small bus/truck.

We had a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungle Range.

We went for many spectacular river gorge cruises.

We did some walks into gorges too. It was very hot reaching 40C sometimes. A trip we will remember forever. The scenery, wildness and remoteness was unbelievable.

In October I got hooked on photographing birds.

In November we got wonderful news. Our daughter and her celebrity partner are going to have our first grandchild. Bernie is in a TV soap and also the host of "Beauty and the Geek." So the news was written up in New Idea magazine. We were a very proud. (click on the pages to make them readable)

We even had more good news this month. Carol-Ann and David, who have been living in London for many years have decided to come home and start a new life in Australia. So we are are really excited about this even if they live in Sydney or Melbourne, which is likely due to their occupations, we don't mind. They will be much closer than London.

Well, we reached December, which is a bonus when getting older, so we partied hard. We had many reunion dinners and friends group lunches. Great fun and good food and fatter tummies. Guess what my New Year's Resolution is?
Tonight we are going to the New Year's Pop Orchestral Concert at QPAC Concert Hall, which is at South Bank Parklands where 100,000 people are expected for the fireworks celebration. We are going by train as there will be nowhere to park. So this will be an interesting night especially as I'm not fond of crowds.


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.

To see more worlds click on the logo.

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.

Below is a video of the band with Adele on bass.

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 when BB has always celebrated Christmas as they do in Switzerland.

Alma, BB, Bill enjoying the bay breeze on a hot Christmas Eve.