Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, March 30, 2013


The rain has almost stopped at last, just a shower now and then. I hope it stays fine for the thousands of holiday makers this Easter Weekend. We always stay home at Easter now that we are retired as it is madness on the roads and accommodation is twice as expensive as usual. However, I did spend a little time in the garden. Everything has grown green and quickly except the daisies which drowned in all the wet.

One of the worst things about the rain is the appearance of the most revolting fungi you have ever seen or smelt.
These gross looking and smelling things are popping up all over the garden. You can see new ones just emerging from the the ground. They are called Stinkhorn Fungi.

 I can't help thinking they look like penises and they smell even worse.

They have a sticky cap and the flies love them. The smell is like something has died and in the evenings its the worst and even wafts in the windows.

This one is a bit limp. He mustn't be very excited to see me. After a few days they collapse and disappear but then a new crop appear. When the ground dries out they won't grow any more until next wet season.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I have been so busy with retirement jobs that I haven't been keeping up with my blogging. Besides that we had a bad storm which interrupted our internet for a few days. So I have some catching up to do. Feedly tells me that I have missed reading 640 posts. Ooops.

Some of the jobs that have kept me busy are; planning holidays to Cape York, Tamworth and the Hunter Valley, visiting the travel agent, planning lessons for University of the Third Age, presenting lessons to U3A, going to lunch with friends, playing tennis, going bush walking, going to the gym, going to committee meetings, having friends stay over and skyping with grand children. This retirement business is hard work having fun.

Another "hard day's work" was our recent day trip to the Workshops Rail Museum for a shoot with our camera club.

 These workshops have been operating since 1865. Thousands of people have worked here which was Queensland's centre of rail construction, maintenance and technology. Over 200 steam locomotives plus 11,000 wagons were constructed here. Today the site is still active looking after the states heritage railway fleet and housing Australia's biggest rail museum.
 This interesting old building used to be the offices, where the 3000 workers would clock on and off for work.
 When you forget your tripod anything will do.

 A tilt train which is used today in Queensland on long distance runs.

 After exploring the museum we were taken on a tour of the workshops. We started by a ride on the transverser. A very wide type of bogey that could line up with rails between the buildings to take on loads.

These are the oldest buildings, built by an English company to an English design with steep roofs for the snow to slide off. That makes sense in a place where it never snows.

A few workers are still here maintaining heritage locomotives.

It was a hard day's work taking photos in this interesting museum.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Just as our wet season was starting we managed to get a sunny day to explore another park in our city of Logan.  Logan River Parklands is only a 15 min drive from home. We grabbed our cameras and off we went. Since we did this walk we have had heaps of rain and this park was flooded as the Logan River burst its banks. At last we have see the sun again for the last few days.
 We had heavy rain a few days before so the river was full of brown silt.

Locals use the river for a variety of activities.

 We prefer to walk over it. This used to be a two way road bridge on the main highway to the Gold Coast from Brisbane but as the population grew the bridge was not big enough to cope with the increase in traffic. Now its part of the walk through the park.

 A new double bridge was built next to this one some time ago now. It just manages to cope with the traffic.

Traffic travelling to and from the Gold Coast crossing the Logan River. 

I like the character of the old bridge.

After a walk around the park we returned under the new bridge back to the car park. The sun shining on this grass with the dark underneath of the bridge as a background caught my eye but doesn't look as good in the photo.          

Thursday, March 14, 2013


It has been raining for the last 2 months. It has been hard to find a break in the weather to go for a morning walk. Then cabin fever sets in and one must take a chance and get out for a walk. A few days ago it had stopped raining for a while so I grabbed my umbrella and took off up the street towards Daisy Hill Forest. I hadn't even got to the end of the block before it started raining again, so up with the umbrella and I pushed on. I didn't have my camera so I used my phone to try to capture the wetness. One good thing about the sub tropics is that it isn't cold when it rains.

 The hot and wet weather encourages weed to grow on the lake.

The magpie geese have come to visit the lake edge. There were more than I have ever seen here before.This was just one small group.

The rain has caused the Golden Penda Trees to profusely blossom this year. The streets are lined with these native trees from north eastern Queensland.

 Now I had reached the forest. The rain eased off again but it was too wet and muddy to follow the hiking trails so I stayed on the ring road through the forest.

The rain has made the grass as green as green and the tree trunks shiny. It doesn't seem long ago when this forest had been back burnt to eradicate dead undergrowth to lessen the risk of bush fires. Now the undergrowth is springing to life again and so the cycle goes on and on.
PS The sun stayed out all day today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Birthday Bear came to celebrate George's Birthday with us today. We tried a new restaurant today and it was very good. Cucina of Italy at Sunnybank. George was invited to this restaurant when he helped the owner who was admitted to the hospital where George is a volunteer. 

Bear was at the restaurant to meet us dressed in his gardening clothes with his wheelbarrow, shovel, watering can and plenty of veggie seedlings and seeds ready to plant. Bear also had a photo of himself with a huge rockmelon/cantaloupe that he had grown.

Birthday Bear must have known that George is a keen gardner who enjoys growing vegetables. George was even bragging about the big rockmelon that he had grown. So Birthday Bear is looking forward to joining George in the garden.
George is happy to have a helper in his garden. Mary enjoyed dressing Bear for George's birthday.

Birthday Bear with his wrinkly friends from L to R George, Bill, Paul, Helen, Mary, moi, and Ann.

Many of us had lasagne

Bill had ribbon pasta and chicken.
The meals and service were very good as well as the Italian decor and ambiance. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013


It was 1961 and I had been working as a Lab Assistant for two years but I was still applying and hoping to be accepted into teachers' college. I had holidays in winter and I wanted to show my family the Snowy Mountains where I had been on ski trips with my school. They agreed and off we went with my best girlfriend, Kerrie and her mother. My Dad drove us from Sydney to the Thredbo, a ski resort in the Snowies. I had loads of fun trying to teach the oldies how to ski. We laughed ourselves silly on the slopes. My mum and Kerrie's mum got along like a house on fire as you can see in the photo. Both of them have gone now but Kerrie and I have kept in contact occasionally over the last 52 years.
Kerrie, me, mum and Kerrie's mum sitting on a snow gum in the Snowy Mountains in southern NSW.
I recently rang Kerrie for her birthday. It was an interesting conversation. Her life is so different to mine now. She and her husband are caretakers of Landor Station in the middle of Western Australia. The station is 1 million acres and the homestead is 250 miles from the nearest town, Meekathara. The road is rough and it takes them over 3 hours to get there. There is no one else on the cattle station with them. There is no mobile/cell phone service but they have a satellite phone and an airstrip.
 I asked, " What happens if you need medical attention?"
"If it is an emergency we call the Flying Doctor Service otherwise we drive 3 hrs to town to the hospital."
"What do you do out there?"
"Feed the chickens, the geese and the rabbits and water the cattle."
"Where do you get the water from?"
"Under the ground, bore water."
"Do you have to check the fences?"
"Yes, but we haven't got around the whole station yet. We can drive for 200 miles in the Toyota farm truck before we come to a fence."
"Are you doing anything special for your birthday?'
"We were going into town (3hrs drive) but there isn't any restaurants just a grotty Take Away (Oz for To Go). So we decided to stay here."
"How do you get your groceries?"
"Once a month I ring through an order and it gets delivered."
 "Do you like it out there?'
"I love it!"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


We belong to the U3A. The University of the Third Age is a volunteer organisation providing classes and activities in a whole variety of subjects. It is for seniors who want to keep alert, active and social. Tutors are volunteers and they don't have to be professors or qualified teachers, all they need is a passion for their subject. When I retired I joined up hoping to learn more about photography. Somehow we ended up being coerced into being the facilitators of a camera club. We have been going for more than 2 years now and we get a good roll up at each meeting. In fact we had so many wanting to join this year that now we have a waiting list. We hold the meetings at the local Library in a great room with black out curtains. We have 40 members on the books and 15 waiting. We must be doing something right.

One session was about how to share digital photos. We went through many options such as photobooks, Flickr and other similar sites and also discussed blogging. From that two new classes were formed. One on How to make Photobooks and another was How to Blog.

 TOH suggested that we could run the blogging class. However, we wanted it only to be a small group so that we could have it at our house for a faster internet than at the library. So for four Wednesdays we have a group of 10 oldies turn up with their laptops or iPads and we get stuck into it. They are a great group and we have lots of fun. 
 Helping each other and learning for pleasure.

 One of the members show us how to blog on an iPad.

Techno oldies rule!

Friday, March 1, 2013


It was time to drag TOH out for another walk for some exercise. This was a few weeks ago, since then we have had rain, rain, rain. The forests are much greener now. I wish we could get rain and sun in smaller quantities and alternating through the year instead of hot, dry drought for weeks and then tropical downpours for weeks. Oh well thats life here in SE QLD. Anyway back to the walk.
This day we went to discover Kimberley Forest Park. We had been there before some years ago and we used a different entry this time. It is another patch of Eucalyptus Forest surrounded by the suburbs of Kimberley Park and Shailer Park. It is a 5 minute drive from home.

It was a well established gravel track winding through the eucalypts which sheltered us from the burning sun.

 I like to show you some of the different trees that we see on our walks. This one is the Spotted Gum. No prizes for guessing why. Wiki tells me its botanical name is Corymbia maculata but doesn't explain what causes the pock marks. The name sounds like a coffee which I think TOH would much rather prefer than a walk down and back up the steep hill we encountered.

I thought he would pike out at this point when he realised we would have to climb back up but no.........

He kept on hiking down and down. We reached the empty creek below and turned around and climbed back up.

I stopped to admire the lichen but .....

he was off on his home run, thinking about that coffee.

I caught up to him as we emerged from the forest into the quiet suburban street full of nice houses. Many of them have solar panels on the roof to make solar power and thus save money and the use of fossil fuels.