Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Our Birthday Bear Group have celebrated another birthday. We went to Baan Thai Restaurant, Springwood. The food is good, the price is normal and the service only just okay.
(L to R) Bob, Bill, George, Paul, Birthday Bear, Helen, Chris, Mary, Ann and I'm behind the camera.
Our group was complete this time because Bob and Chris were in town on a break from their nomadic travels. Bob had to have back surgery but as you can see he is making a good recovery.

 It was Paul's 79th birthday. We were all so happy for him to have seen this birthday arrive. Paul was diagnosed with mesothelioma (malignant cancer caused by exposure to asbestos) in 2010. There is no cure and the  average survival rate is twelve months. As you can see, Paul has survived for five years and he is the longest surviving patient in Queensland. He is such a stoic fighter and will not give in to this dreadful illness. He has had surgery, many, many chemo treatments and radiotherapy as well as a new trial treatment. He has been in hospital many times and he suffers a lot of pain. It has been a long hard road for both him and his wife Helen.

Because Paul can't do very much he enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles and stamp collecting. So Birthday Bear thought it would be nice to give Paul a hand at organising stamps. Luckily, Bear borrowed some stamp albums and equipment to bring along to dinner and surprise Paul.

For any new readers not familiar with our Birthday Bear Tradition click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


 Last Saturday our two daughters and two grandsons arrived at Brisbane Airport after flying all night from LA. Sonya and Bernie are moving back to Australia....hooray! Sonya and the boys are staying in Brisbane for a few weeks while Bernie settles into his new job in Melbourne. Carol flew to LA to help Sonya finish packing and shipping belongings home as well as helping with the boys on the flight to Brisbane.
The boys were pleased to see us as we pulled into the pick up spot at the airport. The girls looked a little tired.
 It sure has livened up our quiet home.  Carol stayed overnight and then flew home to Sydney. We have taken the children to the local playgrounds.

 We have been to the forest to see koalas and find friends to play with.

 We have been to the lagoon to feed the ducks.

 Banjo taste tests the bread first.

Fox was hand feeding them.

Banjo watered the pot plants for me before they packed up the hire car and headed down to Mullumbimbi for a Circus Festival and four days camping.  
Sonya has to get used to driving on the left again.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Disaster struck our house the morning before yesterday when sewage bubbled up out of the floor outlet in the downstairs bathroom. POOH what a revolting sight and even worse smell. on ringing our trusty plumber, he informed us that he was very busy but would try to be there in the late afternoon. In the meantime we couldn't use the bathrooms or any drains. By four o'clock I was busting for the toilet and I needed a shower. The plumber had called and said he couldn't make it until the next morning. I called a friendly neighbour (how embarrassing). Kathy was kind enough to let me use her bathroom and then invited us for dinner to save us using the drains. I had been washing up in a bowl and throwing the water over the balcony into the garden. Once I forgot the cutlery in the bottom of the bowl and threw knives and forks into the garden and then had to hunt for them amongst prickly bromeliads. What a day!
Next morning the plumber arrives late. (You don't want to know how we managed without toilet facilities.) After pulling out the toilet and putting a camera down the drain for thirty metres the plumber informed us that the problem wasn't in our drainage pipe but in the council's main sewerage pipe. So we had to call the council. The plumber, Matt, warned us they would insist that it wasn't in their pipes and he  told us to tell them to ring him if that happened. Sure enough that is what happened. After the council workmen called Matt, they proceeded to dig up my garden to prove to us that it wasn't the council mains blocked.
So a digger on caterpillar treads rolls into the garden and starts digging to find the manhole which had been totally covered by a mat of palm roots. However, when they were able to put a camera down the hole and into the main sewerage pipe they found that there were roots in the main pipe at the junction of our pipe, which was about 40 metres across the front of our yard.
They informed us that they would have to dig up that part of the garden to find the inspection point at the junction of the pipes. This took them the rest of the day, while we still could not use the bathroom.
Soon trucks and more men arrived and the digger tramples over another part of our garden and proceeded to dig a huge hole looking for the connection. (They had a plan and a vague idea). Those lovely trees will have to hoo.

This is what got trampled by the digger.

Bill happily watches on as he was so pleased that it was the council pipe and not ours otherwise we would have had to pay for it to be fixed.

Many plants get dug up too but the workmen said they would replace them.....I hope so.

Even though it was sad to watch I wanted them to hurry up and get it found and fixed so I could uncross my legs and use the bathroom.

 Hours later and a hole big enough to lose a man, they finally found the observation cap for the connection. They inserted the 'worm' that revolves and munches up the roots and cleared the pipe enough for us to be able to use the bathroom and drains. Yoo hoo relief at last! It was now late afternoon and time for the workers to go home. They said they would be back tomorrow to put in new pipes. The mind boggles at the thought of not being able to use the bathroom again.
However, when we woke today it is raining, which we desperately need but not now!
 We woke to rain and a hole with a ladder in it.

A few workers arrived and covered the hole and disappeared. What next?

Luckily much of the garden survives.

Newsflash: Our family from Los Angeles is returning home on Saturday. Hope the sewer is fixed by then. They are staying with us for a while before heading to Melbourne.

Friday, September 11, 2015


We went to check out the parks at Kangaroo Point for a suitable Camera club outing. First we hopped under the bridge but didn't find it that good for photos and there weren't many parking places. So we hopped up to the top of the cliffs overlooking the river, it was much better there.
The police keeping our walkways safe.

 Our iconic Story Bridge.

 The view from the cliffs looking towards Brisbane CBD.

 The sculpture "Venus Rising" by Wolfgang Butress is 23m high and is a stainless steel structure made up of hundreds of interlocking rings and polished tubes which twists and creates a hollow spiral.
 Looking up inside the sculpture

 Zooming in to the apartments across the river.

 St Mary's Anglican Church built in 1873, its distinctive stone work is inspiring.

The Brisbane Australia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built in 1998 in Kangaroo Point.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Every year in August, our friends, Ann and George rent an apartment on the Gold Coast at Rainbow Bay. While there they organise a reunion of staff from Kuraby School from the eighties and nineties. They organise a beautiful seafood lunch of prawns and Moreton Bay Bugs.(crayfish) I forgot a photo because I was too interested in the food. While some of us prepared dessert others went onto the balcony to watch the whales but Wes had his eye on the desserts: Pavlova, Tiramasu and dipping strawberries.
The view from the balcony is very restful but exciting when we see a whale breach. There is a splash of one in the background.

 We were invited to stay the night. In the evening we went for a walk along the beach. Even though it was still winter there were many surfers.

 After the sunset we walked into Coolangatta for a pizza. We could see the sun glinting on the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise

 The next morning was another beautiful day. The teenage girls were preparing for a surf while mum watched.

Off they go for their thrills and spills.

 We climbed up a steep path and then walked along the cliffs to the border of NSW. Rock climbers were having fun too. Then it was coffee time.