Wednesday, April 23

Suck and Blow

I have to laugh at what has happened since I have been on my own.  I have had to learn to be quite independant - as there is no many around to help with most tasks.  I do have a wonderful neighbour who does things for me - he mows my front lawn, and he brings in my bin after the garbage collection each Monday, but most things I try to do myself.

There are two areas of my house that have given me some grief.  The front porch tends to fill up with leaf litter, bird's feathers, lawn clippings and other rubbish and I have tried to sweep it away, but it does seem to be a losing battle at time.

In the back I have a lovely outdoor area with glass table, and nice comfy chairs, and this area too seems to be the dumping ground for all sorts of windblown rubbish.

When I saw a special at Harvey Norman in one of their catalogues for a Morrison leaf blower and vacuum machine at a very reasonable price, I thought I would go and have a look at it.  The Morayfield store didn't have one in stock and they ordered one in.  I bought it without looking in the box.

Arriving home I opened the box and was quite surprised - as I put it together I realised that it was much, much bigger than I had imagined.  Far bigger than it looked in the catalogue.

It was with a little trepidation that I powered it up.  Amazingly it is very effective and despite its size and weight it has been quite easy for me to use.  It is heavy - but has wheels.  

It is quite manageable and so effective.  I am most impressed.  I have just found the video - mmmmm, maybe I had better get some protective glasses...

Very impressive and I got it at a brilliant price.

Tuesday, April 22

From Darwin to Kakadu - a Year Ago

The scenery around Australia is awesome - and I so enjoyed taking photographs and I am now enjoying putting some of them in frames and on my wall.  It is just as hard to choose my "favourites" as it is to choose the favourite places of my journey.  There is so many and I am glad I do not have to choose.   As far as my photos go, I can choose to remove them from the frames and replace them - rotate my photos.

I am actually going to try to make my own frames.   We will see about that.  I have the instructions from Bunnings, so will make a trek there tomorrow to sort out the items I will need.

I left Waigat Beach around 9 am and set off - keen to get on the road again.  I had taken many photos of course - and kept on clicking.

Wagait Beach

I had passed a Bamboo Farm on my way into Wagait Beach, so arrived unannounced to see what they had to offer.  I was shown around some of the amazing property and had quite a chat with one of the owners, whose enthusiasm for bamboo is exciting to see.

I have driven along the Cox Pensinsular Road to the Stuart Highway, and then north to the Arnhem Highway which leads to Kakadu. There really is so much to see, and luckily there was scant traffic on the road, which enabled me to drive slower and "take in" the scenery.  I'd stop occasionally, but had a plan so stops were minimal.

I was keen to see crocodiles up close so headed for one of the Crocodile Cruises, and enjoyed a fascinating time on the boat feeding huge crocodiles and later some birds who "peformed" to get a feed.

The cruise was interesting, and I am glad I didn't have to swim!.

Monday, April 21

Have you heard about Neuroplasticity?

Have you?  In the last couple of months I have heard several speakers on this topic - the idea that the brain can be "retaught" - and have done further research on the topic.  I will over the next few weeks introduce you to some new speakers and further information on this topic.

I remember when I was at school there was a perception that, unless you went on to university, that all your learning was over. As it turns out, I have continued to study and even have two university degrees gained in my more mature years.  I do believe that if you don't "use it you will lose it" and that I continue to "do" and "learn" - while many of my contempories find that watching television or playing Bingo is enough for them.  I keep getting invited to join some of them, but I am far too busy to attend some of the events that are seen suitable for "seniors".

In fairly recent years there has been much research done on the brain - and the information about "neuroplasticity" is coming thick and fast in a vareity of media. I am keen to learn more about it - so will continue to "educate" myself on the topic.

Here is a video I have found that might be helpful to readers on explaining what it means.

There are many articles and even sites with exercises for the brain - some of which I have done.  No doubt we will get deluged with information on this topic and more on brain training and brain gym.  One site is Lumosity.

Around Darwin - near Wagait Beach

This time last year I was staying with a friend at Wagait Beach, which is across the water from Darwin.  It is quite a pretty almost rural area, so peaceful.

I went over to Darwin on the ferry on a couple of occasions and had a look around the city and visited the markets.

There is a great difference between high and low tide, so each day the scenery on the waterfront changes.  When there is bad weather the short trip between Wagait Beach and the port area is quite a challenge I am sure - but it is a very long way to drive compared to the short journey across the bay on a boat.

It is a very beautiful part of Australia and I am keen to return again and stay right in the city to get a good look around.  Perhaps a visit mid year would be great as one would escape the heat and humidity that is normal for most of the year.

Friday, April 18

Another Visit to Australia Zoo

I first wrote about a visit to this Zoo in 2012 and again I visited a couple of weeks ago with my Japanese guests.  We hadn't had rain for weeks and weeks, but the week that the guests were here it rained every day.  You have choices - either stay home and watch the rain from the window, or go anyway with an umbrella and try and enjoy.  We did the latter.

Yesterday the weather was awesome - blue skies, sunshine and not too hot, though still a little warm for this time of year.

My "guests" were two gradchildren - aged 10 and 8 years - extremely demanding and hyperactive. I gritted my teeth and went - knowing it would be a big and interesting day.

When we arrived I had to pick up my pass (previously I had paid for it, but had to collect it the next time I visited.)  I asked the children to wait quietly on a seat adjacent to the area.  You guessed it, perhaps.  By the time I had done what I had to do - they had gone.  Narky grandmother  (me) found them and scolded them.  They had not gone far, but I freaked when I saw the empty seat.  They were so excited abot the visit - though I do know they have been twice before.  They rushed everywhere with no plan.  Dart here.  Dart there.  Hurry. 

I was on my own - well, me and them.  It was a hard ask to keep up with them, though we managed to see few big lizards and crocodiles as we headed to the Crocoseum.  We could hear some music - panic set it.  J and M though they were missing out on something so in great haste they took off again.

It was a show that I had not anticipated - Bindi Irwin and the Jungle Girls doing a show - we managed to find a seat and watch.  Miss M wanted to go and stand in front of Bindi and co - but I would not allow her to go alone, and her brother refused.  If I went I would have left one of them alone.  I "put my foot down" and we stayed up in the stand.

As Bindi's show finished, the Crocodile Show started and as it was school holidays Bindi was there and her brother Robert, and their mother, Terri.  

Bindi and the Jungle Girls

Robert, Terri and Bindi


Not so cute - but interesting.

Granddaughter with two friends.

Wombats were very active.
It is a huge zoo these days, and we managed to get around most of it - though some things we missed.  One really does need a couple of visits, which is why I like my pass.

My feet and legs were almost killing me as we left.  I was knackered.  I did take some photos of bamboo - they have such an amazing collection of beautiful bamboos growing there.

The late Steve Irwin and a show about 9 months before he died.


Wednesday, April 16

Open Gardens at Beachmere.

There is a wonderful program called Open Gardens Australia where people open their wonderful gardens to the public on weekends in particular.  I did have in my diary to attend one at Caboolture some time ago, but something happened and I didn't get there.  Today I found a notice on a shop window about one at Beachmere, and I am looking forward to seeing it.

It is called Kerryville at 744 Beachmere Road, Beachmere.  I often wonder how I can get to see the garden as clearly from the road as I pass, there is an interesting garden behind the trees that face the road.  I pass it several times a day often, and each time my curiosity gains momentum.  Amazing that I should discover it's opening days on the weekend of April 26th and 27th.  There is a donation of $7 requested and I am sure it will be well worth the visit.

On the Open Gardens website it says "Kerryville garden
Bridges cross ponds fringed with willows and dietes in a garden alive with colourful jacarandas, poincianas and weeping melaleucas. Archways and arbours festooned in wisteria, stephanotis, lady slipper vine and mandevilla. 'Duchesse de Brabant' and other old-fashioned roses. Hibiscus garden; palms and tropical foliage."  There is also a photo on this page if you follow the link on Kerryville garden.

According to information the place was purchased in 1998 - a neglected former fish farm.  Read here.

(Beachmere is in Queensland, (north of Brisbane), Australia.

Brisbane Town Hall Museum

We made the journey from Caboolture to Brisbane city yesterday - myself and the two grandchildren who are staying with me for the week of school holidays.  I had to collect my Passport ad Visa from the Chinese Visa office for my trip to China next month, and as the train journey of one hour was long and boring for the children, I decided to take them for some "education" at the Brisbane Town Hall Museum.

The Town Hall is a lovely old historic building, built around 1920 - 30, and was completely renovated and restored between 2010 and 2013, and now has an amazing museum on the third floor.  I was stunned with the amazing exhibits in the museum - from awesome photographs and other ephemera, great films to watch, and touch screen exhibits that allowed the visitor to see more of their choosing.

The Many Lives of Moreton Bay Exhibit was excellent, with so much to see, read, and learn.  The children were fascinated, but typically their attention span was short and I spent most of my time trying to find them, as they ventured off on their own.  Still, I reason, I have to go back next week to collect my sister's visa, so will be able to explore more when I am on my own.

We came to live in Brisbane first in 1971, so I remember some of Brisbane as it was then, especially around the river.  We were living in Sydney for the 1974 floods which so devastated the city, and we moved here just after the floods.  I remember flying in to Brisbane over the river and seeing debris on the land beside the river down towards the mouth.

There are many events on at this wonderful building which are listed here.  There was a performance in the main hall (I remember it well from speech nights for my daughter's school (Clayfield College) in the 1980's, and even earlier (I think on the same floor as the museum) where I used to take my small children for child care while I did my shopping or attended medical appointments in the city.  Many memories were revived yesterday at this place.

On the ground floor is the cafe The Shingle Inn - the original one opened in Brisbane in the 1930's and is now a franchise with Shingle Inn's popping up around Australia.  I will visit for a coffee and cake when I return to the city next week.

In front of the Town Hall is King George Square, with a number of statues including two lions, and one of King George V respendant on his horse.  It was given his name in 1936 after his death.  It has only recently been renovated and changed and is a busy throughfare between Adelaide Street and Ann Street.

The bronze statues are great places for photos!!!!