Summer at home in Daisy Hill

Friday, August 31, 2012

PHOTO SHOOT

We belong to the Logan U3A Camera Club. Last meeting we went on a photo shoot in Alexander Clark Park in Loganholme. Our Challenge was to photo animal, mineral and vegetable.

Vegetation-vegetable, Earth-Mineral

Concrete table-Mineral

Kookaburra (Kingfisher family)-Animal

Magpie-Animal

Berries-Vegetable
Tree-Vegetable

Twigs-Vegetable

Human-Animal

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A TOURIST TURN OFF

The other day I was reading Sandra's blog "Madsnapper" where she was upset about the prices of bread and grapes that she had bought that day. I couldn't help comparing them with our ridiculous prices for food. Our dollar has soared over the last few years and is now worth more than the US dollar.
This is making it hard for people wanting to export their wares and it is making it very unattractive for tourists to come here. This is causing problems as we depend a lot on tourism. We have a beautiful/interesting country, even though some say we lack history and culture, we still used to attract millions of visitors.  I don't want to put anyone off visiting but I just want Sandra and others to know how well off they are with their food prices. We tried to take shots with our phones in the local supermarket without being seen which is a little difficult so the shots are not good but still may tell the story.
 One loaf of sliced wholegrain bread 700g,( nearly 2 lbs) $4.59

 3 litres (about 5. 5 pints) of milk $5.19

Seedless grapes $12.94 kg (2.2lbs) imported from USA (it is out of season for ours which do get cheaper in season.) Just look at the quality too, they were probably great when they left USA but now they are half rotten. My shot of the tomatoes at $10 kg didn't turn out. There was a sign next to the tomatoes saying the store apologises for the lack of tomatoes as there is a shortage at the markets. They are usually about $4 to $5 kg.

Another reason our food prices are high is because we only have 2 big supermarket companies, Coles and Woolworths. They have very little competition so they can get away with putting up their prices. Now you know why we're trying to grow our own veggies.

One good thing about our country for tourists is that we don't have to pay gratuities to anyone although you can if you want to.

For those following my blog, I am pleased to tell you that Sonya and Bernie arrived home in LA safely, the babies were well behaved on the plane. They all slept for 4 hours when they arrived home. Then they started adjusting bed times for the boys so they would be able get over jet lag.
The good news is that Bernie got offered two TV roles within the first week back so that is encouraging. I'll tell you more about them when everything is finalised.

Enjoy your grapes without gripes......


Sunday, August 26, 2012

BIRTHDAY BEAR GOES SWIMMING

Yea! It was Birthday Bear time again, where a group of us celebrate our birthdays by having lunch/dinner together. Instead of a present we pass on Birthday Bear, which has to be dressed to reflect the personality of the recipient. Last Friday it was Helen's turn. You can read about our Birthday Bear Tradition here. It is always fun for us to see how bear will be dressed next.

Helen goes to the local school pool every morning (except when its freezing cold) to swim and do exercises with her a noodle. Ann had the brilliant idea of dressing bear as a swimmer.
 We all met at the Sunnybank Sports Club for lunch. Bear was there to greet us in her pool with a towel, noodle, cap, goggles, ear plugs and.......

even a nose clip.

 Helen was very happy with her bear.

George, Ann, Bill, Paul, Birthday Bear, Helen, Mary and I am behind the camera.
 We always enjoy each other's company and have a great time chatting and laughing. It was wonderful to have Paul with us again now that he has finished his chemo therapy. It is a huge club and we could easily find a place on our own.

 We were pleasantly surprised with the club food. I had a pork chop and Bill had garlic prawns. Others had steak, or chicken. Everyone enjoyed the tasty meals.


(Sorry that I haven't been around to visit this week. I have been busy doing research for a tutorial on Monday.) 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BYE BYE BABY BOYS

Well that sad time has come when my youngest daughter, Sonya and her family are winging their way back to Los Angeles as I write this. She was so worried that the babies will be unsettled on the 15 hour flight from Melbourne to LA. I hope they are good for her.
Bernie, her husband has just finished ten weeks filming for Channel Seven's Beauty and the Geek, Australia. He is the host. Now they are going back to their home in LA where Bernie is trying to break into the American movie scene like many of his actor friends have. So far it has been hard for them. He has been doing many auditions and he has won a few small jobs but they are still hoping for the big one to come along.
While they were in Sydney we visited them for a few weeks and skyped often. At the end of Bernie's contract they went to Melbourne to spend a week with his family and today they sent a text from the airport saying bye bye. It brings tears to my eyes but they have to do what they want to do and we wish them the best of luck. If you want to see any of Bernie's acting work you can click here.

I will miss this gorgeous face


And this cute smile.

It was fun playing playdough with you.

It was fun taking you to the beach.

Granddaddy will miss his boys.

Aunty Carol will miss her adorable nephews.

We will miss our little family and only grand children but we wish them good luck and happiness in West Hollywood. California, USA.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

LIFE IN THE 60'S

We had been in Australia for 11 years and life for my parents was pretty good after their struggle to get established in their new country. We were living in Sydney. My brother and I had finished school and we were working. My brother was a Patrol Officer in Papua/ New Guinea and I was a Laboratory Assistant but still hoping to be accepted into Teachers' College. My Dad had finished night school and had a better job working for the local council. My mother was working as a psychiatric nurse. 
 My dad traded in our old Zephyr for a newer model and he enjoyed keeping it looking clean and shiny. Notice the neighbours outside dunny toilet. We still didn't have the sewerage pipes in our street but my parents had invested in a septic tank. This was a bit better than the dunny can, which we had to endure since arriving in Australia.
 I still remember the horrible sight of the dunny man carrying the can on his shoulder,  running down our drive with a million flies buzzing after him. Worse still was the fear of having him burst in on you with your knickers around your ankles.

 My mum never learnt to drive but she enjoyed going for a drive in our new car.


Our road still hadn't been tar sealed and our garden was non existent then.


 My mum and dad had built the house themselves and made the furniture and curtains too. It took a while before we had a nice garden. After living in a tent and a garage for 6 years it was lovely to have a house.

In 2012 , when we visited Sydney, we drove past my old house. It looks a little different after 50 years, but the big Jacaranda Tree on the left is the same little one you can see in the earlier  photo. My parents had the brick veneer put on years later but I can see the windows have been replaced and the front entrance has been built by the new owners.

Friday, August 17, 2012

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

Our weather is warming up and the garden is waking up. I'm not clever with names of plants, I just enjoy growing tough ones. Ones that can tolerate me leaving them to look after themselves when we go away. 
Here are some grevillea :





Some Banksia :

Some Camellias:



Thursday, August 16, 2012

RENOVATION VERSES VACATION

Well the time has come. After 23 years the house is starting to look weary. The deck needs renovating, the blinds need replacing, the garage and laundry need attention and the whole place needs painting. $$$$$$$$$. There goes how many vacations. I'm pulled two ways. I love travelling but I love to have a nice house. At seventy, how many more years will we live here???? Is it worth spending on renovations? Soon we'll be too old to travel. Shouldn't we go now? That is my dilemma. Somehow, I succumbed to start on renovations.
 Every few years the deck needs oiling. The last time we did it ourselves and managed to botch the job. In no time the surface bubbled and flaked off  but did we care ? No, off we went on vacations around Australia and overseas. Tut tut. So the deck became so badly damaged  that we had to get professionals in to try to bring it back to life.
Leo had to painstakingly knock all the nail heads down so that the sanding and finishing will be successful.

 Syd sands the deck and carts away bags of sawdust but leaves a fine deposit on all the windows and   walls for me to clean off later.

It is quite a big deck when one has to clean it, paint it, or fix it but it has served well for many parties and BBQ's as well as all meals out here in summer. We had to move all the outside furniture and pot plants into the house. That cramped our style for a few days. Our huge, heavy, timber table and 8 chairs were lowered over the side of the deck to the concrete downstairs. Poor little Syd nearly went flying over the edge with it. Besides this dining area the deck sweeps around ........

 to the front of the house. When I turn around 180* ........

 you can see the deck continues around the other.......

 side of the house. But wait.....that is not all.....

 At the back entrance we have a bridge type deck. The decks were starting to look good after they were sanded twice. 

 Then 3 coats of decking finish was applied.

So now it is finished and I don't want the huge, heavy, timber, table back up here so I gave it to the neighbours and I hope to buy a smaller, light weight one.

We have a street at the back as well as at the front. Yes, we have two addresses if we want but one lot of bills is enough so we only use the front address. Only being silly here. So Leo put the final strokes on and then retreated to his van holding in his pocket some of our vacation money.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WINTER AT RAINBOW BAY

Every winter good friends of ours, Ann and George, rent an apartment for a month at Rainbow Bay. While there they organise a staff reunion of the 90's era of Kuraby School. So we drove down to Rainbow Bay at the southern end of the Gold Coast. It takes about an hour. 
 It was a beautiful winter's day with the sun shining. The view looking south from the 14th floor was magic.

 Looking straight out across the bay we could see Surfer's Paradise in the far distance. I used a telephoto lens to bring it closer.

 Looking left around the bay was beautiful too.

We ate, drank, talked and relaxed all day with our old friends from working days. That night TOH and I were invited to stay overnight.

 In the morning the sea was calm and very clear and there were people swimming ....brrrrr too cold for me.

We came down from our tower and our friends, Ann and George took us for a walk around the rocks. It was quite warm. We didn't need sweaters.


 We returned to the apartment for lunch and some exciting whale watching. 

These paddle board riders were in for some fun. They spotted the whales and paddled towards them.

 They were a long way off and my zoom wasn't powerful enough but hopefully you can see the back of the whale poking out and the dark shadow underneath.

The whales turned around and swam back towards the paddle boarders, who flopped down onto their boards , put their legs up and paddled like mad. There is a boat behind the whales and the board rider is to the left  sorry he is just a dot.