Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, December 29, 2019


My Story continued:

When Sonya started Pre-school I applied to do SupplyTeaching after being a stay at home mum for seven years. I managed to get enough work to help save money for a trip to Switzerland to let Sonya and Carol (5 and 7 years old) meet their other grandparents and for Bill’s parents to get to know their only grand children. This was going to be difficult because the girls only spoke English and Bill’s parents didn’t. I had tried to get Bill to talk to them in Swiss from when they were babies but he preferred not to saying that he was still trying to learn English. We tried to explain to the children that they would not understand Grossmutti and Grossvati but it was still a surprise for them when we got there.
We flew from Brisbane to Singapore, Bahrain, Frankfurt and  Zurich where we caught a train for two hours to Thun. When we saw Bill’s mum and dad waiting on the station, we pointed them out to the girls. They ran up to them and gave their Swiss grandparents a hug and a kiss. Bill’s parents were so happy. We stayed with Bill’s parents at Durenast. You could see the Alps from their apartment. While there the girls had their first experience of snow.

Grandparents and grandchildren
meet each other for the first time.

 The first time the girls had seen snow.

Bill's parents live near the Lake of Thun

We went on a ferry trip around the lake.

 We sailed past many castles and villages of chalets. It was beautiful scenery.

We got off the ferry and walked along the Seeweg
to a park where the girls played
in the autumn leaves.
 Another new experience for them.
Another day we took them tobogganing.

We went into the city of Bern 

We went to see the Bern Bears in the bear pit.
The emblem of the Canton of Berne.
(it was sad to see them kept like this.)

Friday, December 27, 2019


On Boxing Day we went out for lunch with friends from the village, Karen, Eddy and their son, Danny. Karen grew up in Germany so we took them to a German restaurant in Brisbane called
'Munich Brauhaus'. Sorry if the title of my post misled you. It would be nice to go to Munich for lunch but when we live on the other side of the world the 'Munich Brauhaus' will have to do.
The restaurant is in South Bank Parklands in the heart of Brisbane. We arrived early in case the parking was difficult but most people must have been in the stores for the Boxing Day sales because the carpark was half empty. Since we were early we took a stroll around the parklands.

There is a water park for children

The dishes fill with water and empty on the children

There is a man made beach for families with our State Government Building
towering in the background.

Then we found the street with our restaurant.

The Munich Brauhaus. We had a beautiful spot outside. The weather was not too hot.

When in Munich!

After German sausages and pork knuckle, we made our way back to our cars.
 (L to R) Danny, Bill, Karen, Eddy.

The park is colourful

I like the huge, colourful, flower pots

Friday, December 20, 2019


As most people know parts of Australia are experiencing a dreadful drought. The stock farmers and crop farmers are suffering badly. There is not enough water and feed for the animals, there is not enough water to plant crops, and country towns are running out of water.
Many city folk on the coastal areas are trying to help the people suffering from the drought. Some time ago our village raised money to buy bales of hay and send them to the cattle farmers in the country town of Quilpie.
This week a tour company, "Fun Over 50" invited villagers for a free trip to Stanthorpe in their newest Diamond Class coach. The idea is for us to go to Stanthorpe, a rural town on the Southern Downs of Queensland, to spend money in businesses there. Town businesses are suffering because the farmers don't have money to spend in the towns anymore. So city people are encouraged to go to the country shops to do Christmas shopping.
Besides taking groups of city people to Stanthorpe to spend up, "Fun Over 50" also paid for 10 tankers of water to be sent to the farmers in the area, especially to the vineyards to keep the vines alive.

 So we set off at 6:30am for the 220k/140m trip up the ranges to Stanthorpe. The main road was closed due to bushfires so we had to take a back road. The scorched, parched land was a sad site.
A dry brown land, no cattle, no crops and a thirsty town on the hill.

Some farmers are diversifying into solar farms.
These are banks of solar panels a poor phone photo from the bus.

We enjoyed the wine tasting and we bought lots of wine.

We were taken to 'Jamworks' where we tasted and bought jams.

We bought Christmas gifts 

Then we walked the main street and this message on a shop window says it all. We found an air conditioned hotel where we ordered a big lunch. The temperature was 40°C/104°F. We didn't have a lot of time left to spend in other shops unfortunately, because we had to get back to the coach for the long drive home. We hope our little bit helped the poor people of Stanthorpe. This is only one country town out of hundreds that are suffering.

Main street of Stanthorpe

Sunday, December 8, 2019


As the University of the Third Age (U3A) year came  to a close we had a lot of end of year lunches and then came the village Christmas Party. Last week I had four lunches in a row. Travel Group Lunch, Tutor's Lunch, Photography Class Lunch and Play group Lunch followed by our Christmas Party last night. I forgot to take photos of the first two lunches.
This is our group of playgroup ladies we have kept up our friendship for over 40 years from when our children were toddlers. Now we share stories and photos of our grandchildren. I'm right up the back.

 The next day we were in the same hotel, Chatswood Tavern, with our Photography group.  Bill and I are not continuing to tutor photography and videography for U3A anymore. After doing it for 10 years we have had enough of volunteering and preparing lessons every two weeks. Now we are going to be U3A students instead. Our group were sorry to see us finish up but they were very appreciative of what we have done for them in the past. It was very rewarding to hear all the thanks and compliments.

 Last night we had the best Christmas party ever. Santa came too.

 There were 120 residents present and we had a bunch of great people at our table. Some I have known for years. Diane in front right I have known since playgroup days and Dot second left was in the next bed to me after our first babies were born (47 years ago). Now we all live in the same street in Elements Retirement Village. What a coincidence!

We were lucky to pick out of the hat number 2  for our table. So we  were second to go to the buffet. There was Turkey, ham, baked vegetables and salads.

 It was delicious. The caterers did well to feed 120 of us.

One of the desserts was Pavlova.

 Then we had entertainment. This couple were so good. Singing and acting songs from the 60's. It included audience participation. They were lively and funny.

 After dinner they played dance music. 

I enjoyed a dance with Santa and too my surprise everyone else stopped dancing and clapped me on.
I will try to add a video next.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


My Story Continued

Sonya was four years old and she was starting Pre-School where they attend each morning of the week. It was part of the State School system. Now that both girls were at school, I applied to become a relief teacher. I would get a call in the mornings if I was needed at a local school to take the place of an absent teacher. So I wasn't working everyday. On the days I went to work, I paid another mother to take Sonya to her house for the afternoon until I finished work and could pick her up. We had become a two car family so that I could drive to work. I had a battered old Ford but it did the job for a few years.

First day of Year2 for Carol-Ann.
The neighbours went to the same school.
 We all walked to school.
Sports Day and Carol was in Dennis House

Carol in Year 2,  Springwood Central State School,
fifth from left, front row.
Sonya turns five. 

Pretty cute
Our beautiful brown eyed girls.