Brisbane, QLD

Monday, January 28, 2013


This weekend was a holiday weekend for our national day Australia Day. It is also the last weekend of the school summer holidays. Hundreds of holiday makers flock to the beaches and camping grounds. However, brewing up north just off the coast was tropical cyclone 'Oswald". It developed into a huge low pressure storm which came down the east coast of Queensland dropping a huge amount of rain flooding all the creeks and rivers and northern towns. Then it came further south to central Queensland and stalled over the town of Bundaburg where 7 tornadoes developed and ripped the town to shreds. Many homes and a few lives were lost.
The storm slowly picked up again and headed towards Brisbane flooding rivers and towns on its way. I can tell you I was a bit worried about those tornadoes which develop fast and give little warning. The holiday makers clogged the roads in their effort to get home before the extreme winds and rain hit.The wind and rain blew for three days. It has started to clear now.  However, flood waters and high tides are causing the Bremmer River and Brisbane River to flood again like they did 2 years ago. Although we have been told it wont be quite so bad because water has been pumped out of the dams for the last week. I feel sorry for those who were flooded 2 years ago and have just had their houses fixed and now it comes again. Meanwhile the storm has gone on its way to Sydney, leaving a trail of destruction behind it.
We were relatively lucky as we don't live near creeks or rivers but on the side of a hill which seems to protect us a bit. We did have a tree fall down and broke our washing line but luckily it missed the house. The damage to businesses, houses, cars and roads is unbelievable. The heroic rescues are unbelievable. I guess many of you have seen television reports but here are a few of my photos and a couple from the news media which really tugged at my heartstrings.

At first it just rained and rained heavy tropical rain.

The next day the buffeting winds started. All these shots are taken through the windows.

The rain is so heavy that the gutters can't cope with the volume of water and they overflow and surge down our balcony shade blind.

The poor birds are bedraggled and hungry from not being able to get out and forage. This one shelters under the balcony rail with drips coming off its tail.

Looking down from the deck 
On the third morning when I looked out of the window I saw a tree had fallen onto the washing line.It was an old tree and half was dead. I was intending to have it lopped but alas I waited dithered too long. Now I need a new washing line and clean up the mess. 

The rain eased for a few minutes so I went downstairs to investigate the damage.

It had bent one of the steel arms of the washing line into a rightangle.

The bottle brush tree (Callistamen) had four trunks. One fell onto the washing line and one fell the other way onto the footpath two thin ones are still standing.

I saw two heroic rescues on TV:
A young teenager decided to go for a swim in a swollen creek and nearly lost his life and that of his rescuer. This rescuer had a rope on and managed to get through the surging water to the tree where the boy was clinging. He grabbed the boy and only just managed to get him to helping hands but the water was so strong it was holding the rescuer under the water so he released his rope and let the river sweep him under a bridge and down stream . Luckily he managed to grab a rock and held on until colleagues hauled him out.

Two young women and a baby were stranded on a flooded road. The water rose rapidly and they climbed to safety of the tray of the truck. An amazing helicopter rescue took place. Because the baby was wet and slippery she had to be put into a waterproof bag which was zipped up and attached to the helicopter line to be lifted to safety.

Friday, January 25, 2013


A few days ago we had to go into the city for a U3A meeting. After the meeting we had a walk through town. I'm always attracted to sculptures and public art that we come across. Here are a few that I saw on this day:
We walked into the Queen St Mall, as usual full of people, tourists and locals going here and going there in a variety of summer attire.Then I noticed an interesting facade peeping through the trees.

It is the facade for three entrances to the Wintergarden Shopping Centre.

As I got closer, I saw that it was more than just a facade but a giant work of art. It was created by Architects "Studio 505" and the consultant artist was John Warwicker. It cost $6.5m.

 It is described as "Nature, geometry and layering communicates the rich diversity of life". It is more than an illustration. "The engagement with the facade lies within the irresolvable ambiguity." (You got that?)

 Not far away is the MacAthur Centre building. Above the entrance (missing from this photo) is a Sicilian marble statue portraying, "strength, plenty, production and growth" by Fred Gowan.

It is a 1934 English Renaissance style building steeped in World War II history.

In 1942 it was commandeered by US General MacArthur to serve as Allied South West Area Headquarters.

Now it houses a discount book store, a WWII museum and apartments. However, the whisper is that Apple have submitted plans for a $10.5 million renovation for the largest Apple Store in Australia.

(I'll have to chain up TOH to prevent him running amok in there.)

Around another corner I spot this unusual weird piece by Augustine Dall'Ava titled "Echoes from the North" depicting colours from the rainforests, flowers, tropical fish, the sea and the sun of the tropical north.  (It doesn't do much for me)

Can we ever go near an electrical/camera/computer shop without TOH buying another toy? This time a camera for the dashboard of the car in case we get involved in road rage or accident. Dare he say 'boo' next time I go into a shoe shop! Don't know anything about the statue of the knight.

My own piece of street art. "Old and New". The "poor" girl is trying to make a call on a public phone she wasn't successful. The young asian lad with his smart phone doing smart things with it. (Even growing a leg out of his nose)

I am glad to report that today our temperatures have dropped and we even had some wet stuff fall out of the sky. The lawn has turned green, the trees are laughing and the birds are happy.
Just heard the news that the remnants of a cyclone is going to dump centimetres of rain on us over the next few days, including our National Day Holiday on Monday. The engineers are going to release water from all the dams upstream of Brisbane to avoid another flood like 2 years ago. It has already hit the north and towns up there have been damaged badly by flash flooding.
Last week we were fighting bush fires, this week preparing for floods. Crazy climate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


As most readers know my only grandchildren live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in LA. I don't get to hold them, hug them or kiss them very often but thanks to the digital age I get to see them on skype, on iPhone videos and photos. I nag my daughter to send me photos every week and she does.
Here are some recent ones:
Fox has a haircut
Mexican Fox

Man eating dinosaur.                             

I can sit up now!

Banjo and mummy keeping warm in Palm Springs
Not fazed at all.

"When we get to the Ice Cream Shop you have to call out "YO YO!"
Then they'll stop and buy us a frozen yoghurt."

Sunday, January 20, 2013


 How time flies. This is a walk we did in Springwood Park back in Spring but didn't get to post it. Since it is too hot now to take TOH (The Other Half) out for a walk I'll show you one we did in spring when the Jacarander trees were in flower.
 This Jacaranda Tree is in the front yard of a house near the park. It has a great shape as well as a dazzling colour.

 We enter the park where there are many trees like this one. Jacaranda trees are not native to Australia but were introduced from South America. 

There was only a short bush walk in this park.

 We crossed over the bridge.There wasn't much water in the creek but I loved the afternoon light dancing on the new leaves of this rare deciduous tree in the tropics.

 Soon we were back into the open park where there is a children's play area

 The warm afternoon sunlight highlighted the crisp, fallen leaves and I played with DOF.(Depth of Field)

I should go out more at this time of the day to capture the evening light.

Friday, January 18, 2013


We visited GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) when Our Daughter and SIL visited from Sydney. The APT7 (The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial) exhibition was on. It doesn't seem three years since we saw the last one. We enjoyed it very much so we were happy to go again.
The Gallery of Modern Art

As we lived in Papua/New Guinea for some time, we were interested in looking at the art work from there. We recognised quite a lot of articles. Don't look too closely to this piece as it might shock you.

I was very remiss on this visit and forgot to take shots of the information plaques so sorry no artists names etc.

As I looked down one of the spaces I saw this huge yellow construction. As I walked closer it seemed to get bigger and bigger and you could walk inside it like TOH and Carol-Ann did here.
It stretched the width of the building and it was two storeys high. Believe it or not it was called "Yellow" and it is constructed from cardboard cartons, tape and yellow paint.

Three funny heads.

My kind of art.
I liked these too. The design was inspired by knotted balls of string. On the white benches are all different kinds of tangled knots of string.

There was much more that we saw but I don't want to make the post too long.

 After our wander around this beautiful gallery Carol and David took us to the Restaurant there for a delicious lunch and red wine. They can come and visit more often.

Monday, January 14, 2013


There are so many bird blogs out there that I'm loathe to join in because I am hopeless at photographing and identifying birds. This is something that I must work on. Anyway here are a few birds that visit our garden.

 I think this is a Pied Currawong. They have a lovely song but not a very nice nature. They eat other baby birds and eggs. Here he is eyeing off my tomatoes, which have to be in a fenced garden to keep  the wallabies out of the veggie patch.

This is the pretty Blue Faced Honeyeater. It has olive coloured wings.

The Pale Headed Rosella.  This was taken some months ago when we last had rain. 

 The noisy Rainbow Lorikeet love the Bottle Brush Tree outside our bedroom. So we have early morning screeching when the tree is in bloom.

 The Lorikeets also love the Grevillea Tree and...

 the Banksia Tree.