Saturday, August 17, 2019

An ignominious return to Canberra

Sadly, Winnie let us down badly on the very last day of our winter sojourn.  Just as we passed Gosford on the hilly up and down road the gears started acting up and it seemed we had lost 6th gear. As we progressed through Sydney it seemed that 2nd and 4th were also noisy and we consulted transmission specialists by phone. Andrew was hoping that the remaining three gears, 1, 3 and 5 would allow us to get home but alas, just at the Campbelltown turn-off, 5th gear also gave up the ghost and we were stuck.

We had to be transported all the way to Canberra.

Had we not been facing departure overseas for two months in five days time, we would have had the insurance people get us to a repair service centre in Sydney somewhere. With the car they would have provided we would have driven on to our home destination in Canberra and returned to Sydney to pick up the truck when it was ready.  As it was, we had many things with us that we needed to take overseas, so we decided it was more convenient (although much more expensive) to be towed all the way home.  On the next available working day we will once again have Winnie freighted to a transmission repair shop locally and repaired while we fly off to Scandinavia.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Morayfield - almost like a farm stay

We are doing our last house sit this winter and we are among a number of animals which we really like.  The two dogs, Kipper and Hendrix are ball mad and they would like it if we threw the ball for them all day long.  Maxi has proved herself well able to cope with having bigger dogs around her and whilst she is not friends with them, she tolerates having them around.

Kipper is the older and cleverer of the two dogs.  He is a confident dog and he has made himself quite comfortable on our bed.  He also sometimes sleeps on Maxi's blanket.  Basically, he considers himself the cock of the roost.

Talking of roosts, there are four hens who lay lovely tasty eggs.  This photo shows Maxi, quite happily sniffing around the hen pen.  The chickens are allowed out of their pen for a about an hour each afternoon so they can graze on nice grass.  If any of them get a little lost in the very large yard, Kipper will helpfully round them up if we ask him to.  He does this without hurting the chickens.

Belle is a former race horse and she is lovely.  Like all horses, she loves her food and she likes an extra apple, a carrot, a corn cob or even the corn husks.  It is really satisfying not to waste any food scraps as either the chickens or the horse will eat all edible food stuff that is excess to requirements.  Here, we have little wet rubbish as I forgot to mention, there is also a worm farm for the food scraps the chickens and the horse don't want.

As well as the animals, there is also a nice bridge club at Caboolture with bridge sessions three times a week so our social life is also catered for.  The Caboolture library is a nice one too and as we did in Shailer Park, we use it on a regular basis.

After a hard day's bridge, feeding all the livestock, etc, here is Nikki relaxing in front of the TV with the dogs.

Rob and Denny, who are staying at their Bribie Island holiday home where we were 3 months ago, came for lunch with Denny's sister Beverley.  It was a lovely sunny day and Andrew and Rob carried the table and chairs out onto the grass.  You can see the two big dogs, Kipper and Hendrix, in the photo but the two small ones, Maxi and Bella are out of range.  Nevertheless, all the dogs had a lovely day.  We even let the chooks out and all the livestock were wandering around quite happily.

We spotted a couple of kangaroos in the horse's paddock and I was quick enough to capture kangaroo and horse in the same frame.

We Canberra city folk are getting our dose of animals at this very pleasant house sit.  All the animals are a joy.  The dogs with their incessant ball chasing, the horse with her lovely nature and the chickens who provide our daily eggs.  This is better than a farm stay by far.

This will be our last memory of Kipper and Hendrix with Kipper's friendly paw over Hendrix's shoulder as they sleep on the couch.  Kipper often preferred our bed as the first photo showed but they also spent evenings with us as we tried to watch tv in the small space they left for us on the couch.  They exhausted themselves chasing after the ball as much of the day as they could persuade us to throw or kick it to them.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Shailer Park

We are now at Shailer Park, house sitting for a couple who used to live in Canberra and are visiting their daughter in the US (all very familiar) and Canada.  Benji, the lovely Golden Retriever is our charge and he and our little Maxi have developed a familiar but stand-offish alliance.  They stay and look after the house while we are out.

Benji is quite a big boy and he loves his walks.

He has also discovered Maxi's rope toys and he loves a tug-of-war with it.  When we come home from somewhere, both he and Maxi proudly bring us a rope each.  Very cute.

Mark and family spent a week in Byron Bay during the Victorian school holidays and Andrew expressed a desire to visit them there, so we went for part of the day and we had lunch together and a nice walk on the beach.

Andrew with Sean and Josh at Byron.

We finally went into Brisbane itself and visited the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) where the Margaret Olley exhibition is on as well as Bill Quilty's works.  Quilty was one of Margaret's numerous protegees.

Here is Andrew with Cathy and Ashton who are visiting from frosty Canberra.  We are at the GOMA cafe along the Brisbane riverfront.

A triptych of Olley.

There was a family setting at the gallery for children to draw their faces a la Quilty which Nikki had to try.  Here is her creation.

A nice old Queenslander in the city.

The former Treasury building which is now a casino.

The foyer with the chandelier which is in the form of two snakes intertwined.

There is a steak house restaurant in the casino and this is the showcase showing the various types of excellent Queensland meats.

The old windmill, built by convicts in 1828.  It was used both for grinding corn and punishment (as often the wind was not enough to run the mill and humans then did the turning).

Brisbane from the river.

We caught the ferry city-hopper which is a free service up and down the Brisbane River.

A visit to the Koala Sanctuary at Daisy Hill was also on the agenda.

The koalas, these adorable furry creatures, just sit there sleeping all day long while people come and admire them and take photos.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Wine tasting at Moffatt Beach

We went to a wine tasting at Jim Sutton's house in Queensland.  Normally, we go to his brother John Sutton's in Canberra for the wine tasting but as we are currently in Qld and we were playing bridge at Caloundra Bridge Club, Jim invited us to the tasting he and his wife Diane were holding.  It was good timing for us, on our way from Harvey Bay to Shailer Park so we accepted Jim's kind invitation and tasted some good wines and enjoyed excellent views.

Here we are at the tasting.

This is the Sutton's building at Moffatt Beach.

This is the view from their top floor apartment.  I have to say. this is the best view we have ever experienced at a wine tasting.  Diane would acknowledge that Ann Sutton is the superior caterer and Ann would also admit Diane's views are the best.  We are indeed lucky to enjoy both.

After we left the wine tasting we drove on towards Brisbane past the Glasshouse Mountains again and Andrew and Maxi went up to the Wild Horse Mountain Lookout where Andrew took these photos of the mountains once again.

A small panoramic view of the Glasshouse Mountains.  They are rather beautiful and well worth more photos.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A quick visit to Hervey Bay

We stopped off for a couple of days to stay with Marcel and Mattie, two bridge players originally from the Netherlands who now live at the Bay.

We also caught up with David Priol and his wife Gigi.  David is another bridge player whom I have known for many years.  He used to live in the Blue Mountains as did Marcel and Mattie.  They now all live at the climatically more pleasant Hervey Bay.

We had an excursion to Poona beach where Andrew took a photo of this osprey.  He was trying out our new Sony camera.

A shot of a clump of very attractive fungi on the forest walk to Lake Poona.

And some picturesque gum trees at the lake.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Socialising here and another two visits to the Maryborough RV Village

Last year when we were here, we met a few people at the bridge club who live at the RV Village just out of Maryborough.  We even spent a night then and looked around.

This time, Jan invited us to dinner. We had a lovely dinner with her and six others who all either live at or are visiting the village.

Jan's wonderful trifle and apple cake for dessert.

Jan's house, no 160 in the complex.  She has a lovely wrap around verendah. All the houses have verandahs but some are bigger and some smaller.

This village is somewhat like the one we had lived in at Newcastle but the difference is that these houses all come with an extra large garage, both in height and width to accommodate a motor home and/or a caravan plus car.

We stayed the night and slept in Winnie our van.  Jan's husband passed away and she has sold her RV but she has the space to allow visitors with RVs to come and stay.  The garage has water and electricity supply, all set up for RVs.

The concept is an American one and so far it is the only such village in Australia.  We met another couple from Canberra who live here half the year and leave their RV here over the summer when they are in Canberra.

At the end of our house sit at Beaver Rock Rd, Eric, another bridge player from the RV village, invited us to stay as his guest for a few days.  Here we are enjoying breakfast on his terrace.

Andrew walking with Maxi around the village.

Some of the houses have lake views.

We were delighted to be invited for another visit as the concept of such a communal village is still attractive, especially one where one can easily garage and protect one's RV and also leave if there during the summer months when, as in our case, one lives elsewhere.  But having tried it in Newcastle, we are reluctant to venture again.  But it is nice to be tempted.

After leaving the RV Village I stopped to have a massage at an out of the way location where Andrew took some photos of the livestock while waiting for me.

A nice looking black faced sheep.

A llama.  These are such good looking animals with the most beautiful eyelashes that many women would be proud to possess.  You can't unfortunately see these from so far away but they are very striking looking because of that feature.