Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Sonya and Fox     
It was our youngest daughter's 37th birthday last week.  Sonya is in Sydney at the moment for her husband, Bernie's work.  He is hosting Beauty and the Geek for Channel 7 again. Anyway they are going back to LA tomorrow, so we decided to give Sonya a surprise for her birthday. Together with her sister Carol-Ann, we organised for us to fly to Sydney for a birthday lunch with all of them but Sonya didn't know we were flying down for the day, she thought she was just having lunch with her sister, Carol-Ann and brother in law, David,

So, last Sunday, using our frequent flyer points we caught an early flight to Sydney. We were quite excited.
Carol-Ann picked us up at the airport and drove us to their apartment in Vaucluse. The view from their bedroom window is stunning.

They used to rent downstairs but they recently purchased this top floor apartment. The previous tenant left her balcony garden. It is quite lovely.

Bill enjoys the view from the lounge room while we wait for Sonya and family to arrive. We hid in the study until they had said their greetings and organised Fox's cot for his afternoon nap. Then we jumped out and said "Happy Birthday". They were all very surprised and happy to see us.

 Papa gave Fox his lunch.

 David made us gnocchi, mushroom sauce and salad. It was delicious.

Fox investigated every button available in Aunty Carol and Uncle David's home.

We are so proud of our little family and we love them to bits.  Photo by Carol-Ann

Then it was time to say goodbye and catch a plane back to Brisbane. (A 2000k round trip in one day. That's one good thing about being and oldie, you can do mad things like this)

That was last Sunday. Tomorrow, Sonya, Bernie and Fox fly back to Los Angeles and we are flying away on another adventure too. We are going on a Western Australian Wildflower tour with APT. Then we fly to Adelaide in South Australia and meet friends for a tour around Pt Augusta and the Adelaide Hills including a historic train trip.  We are catching the Indian/Pacific train back to Sydney. We will stay with Carol-Ann for a few days and then fly home.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I've enjoyed gardening for many years but I have only recently tried my hand at growing useful stuff like vegetables and herbs. We haven't been very successful but we are pleased with our latest effort.
Unfortunately, when we were on holidays some of these lovely heads went to seed even though I told the neighbour to help herself. Anyway they are still shooting out little ones which are very tasty.

Next to the veggie patch the lavender is blooming although I lost a lot of lavender plants in the winter not sure why. Maybe a problem with the soil.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


At last it has warmed up again and it is lovely weather for walking. Sometimes I walk with a neighbour and she showed me a new route to add to my various ways to walk each morning. This one is good as there are not many hills. 
 Our national flower, the "Wattle"

 A different type of Wattle

 A walkway between the houses and sports fields.

 Down a street which is nicely landscaped in the middle.

Through a park where a fir tree was dropping its needles, I think it might be dying.

 Back on an even keel.

 Past the school's football field.

Going back home now along another nice streetscape in Daisy Hill.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Last Saturday night we celebrated our friend Paul's Birthday. Of course Birthday Bear joined us at the Ceylon Inn in Sherwood.
Paul loves taking his dog, Deja, for walks. Deja is a beautiful chocolate Labrador. So Birthday Bear is dressed in his walking shoes, shorts, hat and his shirt has Deja's footprints on it. Birthday Bear's dog is the right colour but maybe not the right shape. Anyway Bear has a lovely leash for the dog.
Notice how the people at the next table are wondering what an earth a bunch of adults are doing with a bear???
From L to R. Bill, Ann, Mary, Birthday Bear, Helen. George and I are out of the photo.
It is a very popular restaurant and we couldn't get a seat inside so we sat outside, which under normal Spring conditions it would have been very pleasant. However, last weekend we had a cold snap with strong winds. So we had to rug up in coats, jackets and jumpers/sweaters. We were protected from most of the wind by those plastic curtain thingies and we had an overhead heater nearby. But we didn't linger after the meal, which was a nice Indian one. Birthday Bear liked my meatballs.

Mary was the volunteer, who dressed Bear for Paul's Birthday. We were all pleased to be celebrating with Paul as he hasn't been too well this year after having tumours and ribs removed earlier this year and he has also recently had radium treatment to shrink a new tumour. He has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Paul is a fighter and it is hard to keep him down. Happy Birthday my friend you deserve it!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Finally we had reached the west coast after travelling all the way from the east coast by bus. We booked into the Marriot Hotel in LA and then the whole group had our last dinner together at "Bubba Gump Shrimp Co." on the Santa Monica Pier. All 50 of us were friends now and we had a very jovial dinner.

Where the famous Route 66 ended and where we ended our tour too.  What a fabulous trip it was I'm sure you would agree.

Some of our group donned their maddest hat for the last night including our guide 2nd from right at the back. We said good bye to our new friends back here at the hotel as we were not doing the last  day's tour of LA with them, instead we were going to spend one last day with our young family. We had seen the places that the group were visiting in LA before the tour started.

 The day that we arrived back at Sonya and Bernie's place was the same day that little Fox took his first steps. We were so thrilled to see this milestone in his development.

"Look at me I'm walking!"

Look at him go, no stopping him now.

"This way Pappa"
For lunch we went to the Farmers' Market in West Hollywood just a few blocks away from Sonya's home.

Bye , bye my little darling see you soon in Sydney.

Bernie has being doing auditions in LA and he is hoping to get acting work there but in the meantime his agent in Australia told him Channel 7 wanted him to host another series of Beauty and the Geek. A good deal was arranged which included flights, accommodation and car for the whole family. So our little family have been back in Sydney at the moment for seven weeks but they return to LA soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


On the way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles we stopped at Calico Ghost Town. Bill giggled when he saw the  Open Hours sign when it was supposed to be a Ghost Town. (He has a funny sense of humour). Anyway, Calico was a silver and borax mining town in the late 1800's. In 1951 it was restored by Walter Knott and donated to the San Bernardino County in 1966. Now it is a historic tourist attraction and camping area. It is a good way for people to learn about history. There are hands on activities too.
Calico Ghost Town

Sweet Shoppe

Bath house

Fire engine

I was fascinated with the old time doors.

 After this we stopped at Barstow where there are a large number of  discount outlet stores of famous brand names. We didn't have room in the suitcases for any more clothes and neither of us are fussed on shopping for shopping sake, so we only  bought a few gifts for the young ones in L.A.
Unfortunately, my Bronchitis was getting worse despite taking antibiotics. I was looking forward to seeing Sonya, Bernie and Fox again in L.A. and to getting on the plane for home. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011


In Las Vegas we had a scrumptious buffet dinner from the biggest buffet you have ever seen then we went to see a show called, 'The Rat Pack is Back". It was fun to see Frank, Dean and Sammy singing again. The cast were excellent impersonators. The next day we opted to take a helicopter flight from Las Vegas into the Grand Canyon.
 I love helicopter flights. This one was the best! I was sitting next to the pilot.

We flew over the Hoover Dam

Then we dipped down into the canyon and followed the Colorado River. It was a heart in your mouth experience.

We landed on the bank of the river. It was stunning even though it was overcast.

There were seven helicopter groups. We were given a Champagne lunch. 

Then it was lift off.

Rising above the river.

Then up up up to get over the rim.

Will we make it?

Easily! The river snakes away into the distance.

The road too. The Americans sure know how to build roads. All the roads we travelled on were dual carriageways and made for a very comfortable ride.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


After the splendour of nature at The Grand Canyon we arrived in the razzmatazz of glitzy Las Vegas. It had an air of fun and excitement about it.

Bill was happy to see the famous welcoming sign.

 There was one huge hotel and casino after another along 'the strip'. This is the Venetian and was built like a replica of Venice.

Then there was New York.

This one is called Excalibur.

 Bill enjoyed the statue at Caesar's Palace while I enjoyed ........

The Chippendales.

It was an extremely hot night and we had walked for miles up and down the strip so it was very cooling to stop and watch the magnificent fountain at the Bellagio Hotel. Every 15 mins it puts on a 4 min show of dancing water to a song.