Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


After a few days with our eldest daughter and SIL in Vaucluse, we went to Bondi Beach for a few days to stay with our youngest daughter, Sonya, her partner, Bernie and son Fox. Bondi is only a 5 minute drive from Vaucluse.
Fox likes yogurt.

"This is my daddy"

They are lucky to have a children's playground right in front of their apartment.

Fox gives Grossvati some exercise.




Following in the footsteps of the Greek God Atlas.

We really enjoyed our time bonding with the little one, he is such a good baby. We also celebrated the news that Bernie and Sonya are getting married.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010


After my reunion on the north shore of Sydney Harbour (its real name is Port Jackson), our eldest daughter and son in law collected us and took us to their apartment at Vaucluse, a suburb on the southern shore of the harbour close to the heads.
Carol and David outside their apartment block.

The view from the front of their apartment block.

They took us for a walk along the cliff tops it was a dull, showery day, but the view was still lovely.

Father and daughter enjoy rare time together.
The next morning, Monday, Carol started work late and we went with her on the ferry from Watson's Bay to Circular Quay. It was pouring with rain. We said goodbye to Carol and then found a dry cosy restaurant in Custom's House. It was for young, trendy workers and our wrinkles and grey hair looked a bit out of place. However, the service and food was excellent. After lunch it was too wet to go exploring on foot so we went back to the Quay. We wanted to get a ferry down the harbour into Parramatta River to enjoy the sites of Sydney without getting wet and using our all day concession $2.50 ticket. Unfortunately, we just missed that ferry so we got on the next one that turned up and wondered where it would take us. We ended up at Darling Harbour and the maritime museum.
Rain over Sydney Tower

Darling Harbour

The Endeavour (replica)
The Endeavour was the ship in which James Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770.
240 years later the ships that come to Australia are a little bigger and the landscape somewhat altered, if only James Cook could see it now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


On 12 Nov. we flew to Sydney for a 3 day reunion of the 1962/63 students from The Australian School of Pacific Administration, which is where I studied to be a teacher in Papua/New Guinea. Our first reunion was in 2002 exactly 40 years since we were at the school. That was a fun experience, trying to recognise everyone. Since then we try to get together every few years. It is a little difficult as we are scattered all over Australia and overseas now.
On Friday night we had a meet and greet session at the Mosman Hotel on the northern side of the harbour, it is the suburb where our school was situated.

After dinner we found a coffee shop to continue catching up with everyone. Wendy and I talk families.

On Saturday we met for more chit chat and lunch under this beautiful shady oak tree at The Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay another northern suburb which was our stomping ground in the 60's as students. Many an anecdote was retold.

Henry is about to enjoy some of the great seafood sold at The Oaks. It was so good to see Henry here as it wasn't long ago since we visited him when he was very sick in hospital.

That evening we joined a Harbour Cruise for dinner.

The food was good, the company great and .......

...the views were spectacular. Well done to the organisers, Rod, (below) Keith and Dave. Unfortunately Dave couldn't attend as he was to have a big operation

On Sunday morning we finished off the reunion with a brunch at Chowder Bay overlooking the harbour. It is right next to the school where we studied but it is no longer ASOPA. After being closed for years and starting to deteriorate, it is now being renovated to be put into use again, but we are not sure what kind of a facility it will be. I'm glad it wasn't bulldozed. I had fun! Soon after this shot our daughter picked us up for a stay at their place.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


We received a parcel the other day. It was exciting to open it and find all our travel documents and goodies sent by the tour company, "Outback Spirit". We are off to Lake Eyre in South Australia but first we spend a week in Sydney, where we will attend a Teacher's College reunion and visit our daughters then we fly to Adelaide to begin the tour. See map here.
The "Adventure Pack" includes 2 backpacks, towels, hats, drink bottles, binoculars, luggage tags, tubes of sunscreen, a map and a document wallet with itinerary. This is our second tour with this company, we went from Broome to Darwin with them last year. So now we have two lots of this gear. We embroidered our names  on the bags so that we can easily identify them on the coach when everyone else has one the same.
I think I'm getting excited even though it is only a short 6 day tour.

Monday, November 8, 2010


A few weeks ago we had rain for about two weeks non stop. During those two weeks I discovered this weird fungus growing on an old stump root in our garden. When the sun came out I went to take a photo and found that it had all collapsed and looked dead. However ,when it rained again it sprang to life , so I grabbed my camera and went in between showers to capture it.  Now that it has stopped raining it has gone again. I have no idea what it is you?

The weeds also liked the rain.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Lake Eyre is 15 m below sea level and is the lowest point in Australia. It was named after the explorer Edward John Eyre. It is the terminal point of one of the largest internal drainage systems in the world called the Lake Eyre Basin and it covers one sixth of Australia's area. There are parts of it in 4 states: Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and NSW.

Lake Eyre Basin
Lake Eyre is mostly empty of water and is covered with 45cm/18in of salt crust but occasionally it fills with water, usually when we have a La Nina weather pattern, ( like now) which brings more rain than usual to Australia especially Queensland and the Northern Territory. The rivers in these states flood and wash down through the channel country into Lake Eyre. This turns the desert into a wetland and brings thousands of birds, fish and other animals. The last time this happened was in 1974 and now in 2009/2010.

Why am I telling you this....because we are going on a tour of the area to see this amazing phenomenon in 2 weeks time. Yeh!
Our tour map. 
We fly to Adelaide then take a 4wheel drive small coach. It also includes a scenic flight over the lake and rivers.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


We belong to the Redlands U3A (University of the Third Age) Camera Club to try to improve our photography. We meet once a month in a church hall in Cleveland. We have guest speakers, share our knowledge and sometimes we go on an excursions to practice what we have learnt. Later we display and discuss our shots.
A few weeks ago we went to Apex Park in Ormiston. Ormiston and Cleveland are towns in the Redland Shire which is to the south east of Brisbane on the shores of Moreton Bay. It takes us about half an hour to drive there.
Here are some shots I took in the park...still lots of room for improvement but I think I'm getting better.
I love the way the sun hits the leaves.

I like the blue sky reflection when you can't see the sky.

An oasis in a city

I don't know the type of duck but he is pretty and I like the reflections.

Turtles sunning themselves.

U3A members enjoying Spring in the park.

Nice composition crappy depth of field focus...need to improve here.

A grandma and children feeding the ducks, puts emotion into the shot.

Friday, November 5, 2010


FASHIONS on the Field winner Jaydee Paino wore an $18 dress with a horse print she bought online from Nashville to claim a large slice of the $400,000 prize pool and a luxury car.
"My inspiration was the 1950s. I love the Mad Menstyle and the ladylike glamour. I think it's so appropriate for a day at the races," the Queensland nurse said.
Picture and text above from Sun Herald website.

The Melbourne Cup Ladies Day was held yesterday. It includes The Fashion of the Field fashion competition. This year it was won with an on line dress for $18, while hundreds of other hopefuls would have spent thousands on their dresses. I think that is funny and good on Jaydee for pulling it off. She's a Queensland girl too. He he.
It certainly turned into an international Spring Carnival with an American bred horse, trained in France and owned by Australians winning the cup and a dress from Nashville, TN wins the fashion competition.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We went to Underwood Park to check out the wildlife. Warning.....I'm not good at names.
Mallard Ducks?? No wrong again. They are Wood Ducks...Thanks commenters. 

Waterhens feeding their babies.

White Duck ???

Goosy Goosy Gander ???

Kaiser Pigeon......OOps wrong again...It is a Native Crested Pigeon.

Mating Dance

Shag or Cormorant

Butcher Bird

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major horse race, billed as: "The race that stops a nation." This is because it is a public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne and everywhere else in the nation and New Zealand people stop to watch the race at 3:00pm on the first Tuesday in November.
The race is for 3 Year old thoroughbreds  over 3,200 metres (2 miles). The first race was held in 1861 and today it is the richest "two mile" handicap in the world. The purse is $6 million.
The race is held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. There are over 12,000 roses and 200 varieties of flowers growing at the racecourse.
(The next 4 photos are from the Courier Mail website)

 Over 110,000 people attend the race usually dressed in high fashion,

 with hats or fascinators (like above)

 However others dress in all manner of amusing and exotic costumes.

 There are prizes for the best dressed.
All over the country there are melbourne Cup Day luncheons and parties, where people get dressed up in high fashion and have fun (and usually drink too much). Many people who don't usually bet on horses do on this day. 80% of the population place a bet or participate in sweeps. This is the first day that I haven't been working on Melbourne Cup Day but we didn't go out for lunch we decided to slum it at home.

We had BBQ chicken, coleslaw, Camembert Cheese, Gruyere Cheese, beetroot, cornichons, mango, yoghurt and red wine.

 Bill donned his leather hat and bow tie and I made a fascinator and we had a fun lunch together. (talk about a pair of idiots)

 Then we watched the famous race on TV.

 The favourite didn't win. Instead it was "Americain", a horse bred in America, trained in France, and owned by two Australians.

 The jockey and trainer are french.

 The silks are in American colours.

The weather was typical for Melbourne, sunny one minute and raining the next.