Brisbane, QLD

Monday, February 26, 2024


So Bill turned 81 this month. We didn't have anything planned for a celebration. At the last minute we decided to ask some friends to  come to lunch with us. I was surprised that they were all free at such short notice. We had a delicious lunch and a nice little private nook of our own at the Thai Orchid Restaurant.

That was Tuesday on his actual birthday.

Surprise surprise!! Our girls flew from Melbourne on the weekend to celebrate with their Dad. Sonya stayed extra days to find a house to rent as she has won a good job here in Brisbane, so the family are moving here next month. Very exciting but hard to find houses to rent or buy especially in the school catchment area where they would like to send the boys.

Carol, who loves baking, made a cake for Bill. 

 Later the girls took us to a Otto's  Italian restaurant in town overlooking the river.

Happy Birthday Bill!

Monday, February 19, 2024


 It's that time of the year again when our Chinese Singaporean managing director, Chiou See, puts on a Chinese New Year celebration. She invites all the residents and their families especially grandchildren because the celebration has a lot to do with giving children good luck for the future.

Chiou See and her friend , Poz the chef, and her husband, Brendon did all the cooking for 200 people. Here is the menu:

Ian, our resident committee chair gets instructions on how to set up the room to fit in 200 people. The committee and volunteers help decorate the room and set up the fold up tables and put out the chairs, and set the tables.

Helen, my friend, volunteered to help. She wrapped the cutlery in a serviette.

Brendan is going to hang a lettuce from the ceiling for the Lion Dancers.

The people are arriving, finding a place for their families and getting drinks from the bar. We are encouraged to wear red if possible.

We are served spring rolls as an appetiser while we wait for the lions to appear.

Then the drum and cymbals begin. It is very loud and noisy.

The lions dance to the beat of the drums. They also drop a banner from their mouth which is giving us  good luck.

They dance down the aisles and interact with the guests, Each table has colourful envelopes where we deposit some cash to feed to the lions. Their fee for the entertainment. Its fun watching the children gingerly putting the envelope into its big mouth. Sometimes they put their big mouth right over your head which looks like they are eating you. One lion did that to me. 

Part of the ritual is where the lion tries to eat the lettuce (greens) and spit it over the guests for good luck.

Chiou See's food was delicious.

Another part of the occasion is where the oldest person in the room presents all the children with an envelope of money and are encouraged to buy something sweet with it. All for good luck. The children line up from the youngest to the eldest. Chiou See is a very proud new grandmother. Her little one is at the head of the line while a 92 year old guest presents the envelopes with the help of one of the teenagers.

There were lots of grandchildren.

There were lots of guests.
 We also had a Chinese trivia session.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


 North Stradbroke Island is a sub-tropical Island, located 30k south east of Brisbane, and is the world's second largest sand island: about 38 km long and 11 km wide. It's nickname is Straddie but it's real name is Minjerribah, named by the Quandamooka people the traditional custodians of the land. They have been there for 21,000 years.

European contact was first made by Captain Cook in 1770 and he named Point Lookout. Later  Stradbroke Island  became a convict depot, a quarantine station, an asylum and a pilot station to guide ships through Moreton Bay to the penal settlement on the mainland, which eventually became Brisbane

In those days Stradbroke was one island but a cargo ship carrying dynamite ran aground and it was detonated for safety reasons. The explosion could have caused the fragile sand mass to move and a gale helped to eventually break through the island and now we have North Stradbroke and South Stradbroke Islands.

North Stradbroke is very beautiful, with beaches, lakes and a National Park. It now has camping grounds, holiday houses and resorts but it is a very laid back destination for a holiday or a day visit. Tourism started in 1964 when a drive on drive off barge started operating from Cleveland to Dunwich. There are three townships on the Island. Dunwich, Amity Point and Point Lookout.

After my dad died my mother used to fly from Sydney to Brisbane for holidays. We took her to Stradbroke Island in 1984. She was 72 and I was 52.

This is where we stayed. It was winter time but the weather was beautiful and warm. We walked on the beaches and through the National Park.

Cylinder Beach Stradbroke Island. There are other beautiful beaches on Straddie but this one is the most popular because it is easily accessible by car and the waves are gentler perfect for families. Life savers patrol the beach, (photo from web)

Blue lake in the Naree Budjong Djara National Park on North Stradbroke Island. (Photo from web.)

Thursday, February 8, 2024


Last month our daughters came from Melbourne to visit us and in Sonya's case for a family holiday at the beach on Stradbroke Island. While they were here we all went to the Lighthouse Restaurant at Cleveland Point. Bernie wasn't with us yet. He was working and was joining us later. 

We had to wait ages for our meals. So the girls entertained their Dad with funny film clips on the phone. It turned out our order got lost when they had an interruption to the internet. We were given a free drink in compensation.

Carol and David left for Melbourne after Carol had come with me to see the neurosurgeon about my sciatica. 
Bernie arrived and we went to the Lions Australian Rules Football Club for dinner. While we were there members of the staff recognised Bernie as an Australian actor and wanted to meet him. He is always willing to meet and greet fans and be nice to them, obviously to keep popularity. 
The next day we grabbed a neighbour to take a family photo before they went off to Stradbroke for ten days.  You can see that Fox looks like his Dad and Banjo like his mum.
However, Bernie got called up to work on another movie in Victoria so he had to leave before Sonya and the boys. They stayed overnight with us again before flying home. Unfortunately their plane was delayed after they had boarded and they had to sit on the tarmac for over an hour in the tropical heat without air conditioning. Finally they got home safe and sound. Now they are all back at work and school.
By the way the movie is 'Ice Road 2: Road to the Sky" with Liam Neeson:
I'm a proud MIL.