Wednesday, November 29

The dog

One of the reasons people like someone to look after the house is to keep the pets fed and cared for. Sure, folk can use kennels, but the cost of that can be very high, and anyway the spoilt pets often don't do well in kennels. This is my current "charge."

Island time and island life

I think that i could live on the island long term. I'd like to try a longer term, so we will see, but as my days here are nearly over, I have time to reflect.

It is so quiet. I'm amused at the locals. There's no bother about seat belts, I doubt if all the cars are registered, no one wears helmets not even on motor bikes, and there's a pretty casual attitude.

I've found the ferries by and large to be on time, but apparently at times they operate on "island time" so I'm told. At times it has been quite hot - it is right now, but I've managed withut turning the airconditioner on, although I admit to having the fan on for two nights. It was hot and humid.

The big challenge is the shopping - if one lived here long term you'd do big shopping expeditions and store a lot more stuff. I went to the kiosk and bought a 2 litre bottle of water and some nuts and it was over $8!!

Sunday, November 26

Early morning at the jetty

Early morning at the Lamb Island jetty is always a treat. On this occasion the air was still, as was the water, and I was able to take this wonderful photo looking towards MacLeay Island.


There's a lovely frangipanni tree not far frm here. It was funny because it was the fragrance that attracted me to the tree. I had to walk down a slope to the tree that was just on a vacant piece of land. Stunning flowers and amazing perfume.

Garden - the agapanthus

My own garden this year is looking pretty sad due to the drought. On the island the waste water is recycled and used on the garden. Oh if only we can do this on the mainland. The lawn is green, and the garden is doing well. My agapanthus have not flowered but here there are three healthy plants with wonderful flowers.

Busy Writing

As I planned I have been writing though I find I was far to ambitious with my plans. As well, I'm finding that myback aches frequently from sitting too long in front of the computer.

I do get exercise - I walk up to the kiosk each morning for the paper - a round trip of 2 kms. On my travels I meet other folk who live on the island. There's a lovely old lady who is 78 who has lived on the island for 20 years. She lives alone and looks after her garden and three blocks by herself.

After lunch on most days I like to go for a drive or a walk. I walked one day and the mosquitos got me. I'm covered in bites from mozzies and midges, and sandflies. Obviousl one of the downsides of island living.

Tuesday, November 21

Swimming Enclosure on Lamb

There's no public swimming pool on Lamb Island. This is the swimming enclosure between Lamb and North Stradbroke Island. The fence is to keep the big nasties out - things like sharks. There's no sand - just a stones and broken shells. Nice place to cool down on a very hot day at high tide!

Tuesday - all day on Lamb

I woke just before 5.30 am. Still, I'd slept all night without waking, which is rare for me. I tried to go back to sleep, but as usual I found it impossible, so I was up early.

Later I walked to the kiosk and back - meeting a few people along the way. I had a look at the Pioneer Hall, and the Bowls Club (no bowling green yet). It was a good walk.

I spent most of the day writing and rewriting. My Irish story, and others that I am working on. After my lunch I went for another walk, up the hill from here. There looks to be a few "deserted" houses. At least not a lot of signs of life at all. There are a lot of those on the island.

I followed steps down to the waters edge, and it was there that the mozzies appeared! In droves. I had Airoguard on, but as someone said, that's only condiments to the mozzies here. I headed back home waving my hands and hat around to keep them off. Pretty scary!!

Monday - back to the mainland

We pick gerberas on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and I've asked to be excused on Wednesdays.

So, to honour my commitment I was up early to do the chores at the house, settle the dog for the day, and get on may way. I caught the 5.50 am ferry - and was most surprised to see it full. Over 90 people setting off from the islands to work on the mainland.

An uneventful ferry trip - time to read.

It was a glorious day - blue skies, no wind, calm waters. The car was there - safe in secure parking, so I pushed my things in and drove off. I was at the farm just before 7 am. The flowers are looking wonderful - still a few bugs around, but so much better than a few weeks ago.

After picking and readying the flowers for the florists, I headed back home to do a few things.

I left around lunchtime, via Dick Smith's at Capalaba where I picked up a little USB jump drive for $10! Then to Woolworths at Victoria Point, and a few grocer items added to my bag before it was back to the Redland Bay jetty.

I met a man on the ferry - an older guy who had moved to MacLeay Island a few years ago and has no regrets. We chatted all the way to MacLeay and he told me abut the new supermarkets being built there. He recommended some of the shops there - especially the delicatessen so I'll have to go over and see for myself.

Back on the island, to my waiting "truck" and back to the house. Bella was welcoming - she had been home alone for the day.

Sunday, November 19

Birdlife on Lamb Island

I'm not a bird watcher, or twitcher as they are called, but I love all wildlife and I am in wonder at the number of birds on the island. Most you'd expect on Aussie soil, but one that we don't see much of on the mainland is the curlew. I think it is the stone curlew, though I'll have to do my research on this.

They appear late in the afternoon, and have quite a distinctive cry. They cry frequently in the late afternoon, and occasionally during the night. It is quite a weird sound, and they are odd birds. They seem to creep out of the long grass and for a while I wondered if they flew, but I have seen them fly occasionally. They stand around 12 inches high, with long spindly legs and a solid body. They often stand motionless for quite long periods. They are so well camouflaged too, and sometime sit is hard to see them, and hard to take a good photo of them. I managed to get a few photos, but working on getting a better one sometime.

The grandchildren visit

I received a call on my mobile. It mostly works here, but sometimes I have to go to the front deck. In any case on the second try we connected. Hubby had two very excited children with him on the way to the ferry. They were very excited when they arrived.

We drove around for a little while in "the truck" and then to the house where they befriended the resident dog, Bella. We had morning tea, and shortly later went down to the swimming enclosure where the girls had a swim. They are used to swimming pools and didn't like the salty taste of the sea water. They had a wonderful time. On the trip back to the house Z fell asleep. We woke her and after her lunch she fell asleep again. Hubby, Z, and I had a snooze whilst A played with Bella. She said she had a short sleep in a chair downstairs, but it couldn't have been for long!

After we woke, there was just a short time before they had to leave on the ferry, so we packed everything up and made our way to the jetty. Both girls announced that they'd like to return. It is so quiet. So peaceful, they said. I agree.

Coming off the ferry was a couple with a dachshund puppy! Quite a cute little fellow.

Sunday morning

A slow lazy perfect Sunday. I slept until 6 am. (good for me!) I did have breakfast, and I did tidy up. My hubby and two grandchildren are visiting today, so I am looking forward to a good day. Not much writing, but that's OK. I have decided to have a day off!

I'll take the ute up to the ferry and get the Sunday paper from the kiosk and sit and wait while I read the paper. The children are excited.

So am I.

Back to the mainland

I've made a commitment to go back to the mainland at least two days a week. We pick gerberas about 3 or 4 days a week at the moment, so I can't leave my family in the lurch that much, but I reason I will still have 5 full days of writing.

I set out to catch the 6.05 am ferry to the mainland. I was up and at the jetty with time to spare, but I'd rather do that than run late and panic. As it turned out the ferry was late - apparently on Saturday mornings it runs late as it has piles of the daily paper, the Courier Mail, to drop at each island.

I met a guy at the ferry who works at Bunnings and commutes each day from Lamb Island. What a life. He invited me to join the local fishing club, but I'll pass on this occasion. I have too much to do, but it sounds nice.

It was one of those perfect mornings. Blue skies, no wind, water calm. Picture perfect and I did take one or two.

I managed to get to the Gerbera farm just after 7 am. It was funny as on the way I felt a little hungry. I'd forgotten breakfast! I'd had a cup of coffee, but nothing else, so I pulled into a servo. That was amusing, as the guy had just bought the business, and it was his first day and nothing had gone right for him. I bought some bottled water and a muesli bar.

The flowers at the farm were spectacular. We've obviously solved one of the problems that we had. Fewer bugs and cleaner water. Gerbera Blog

After picking I went home and did a few things and left around 1 pm. On the way I stopped at Victoria Point, bought a few food items and a bottle of wine. I'll enjoy that later!

Peace at night

My nights on the island are such bliss. No noisy traffic for a start. It is just so quiet. Really the only noise from dusk is the curlews (I'll add details about them later), and the occasional car around the corner. Compare this with living on a busy suburban corner that hoons like to challenge their driving skills especially when the road is wet. I've attended enough accidents there.........

This is great. And at night it is dark. Even in the suburbs you can see the light in the sky from the city and suburbs. Here it is dark and you can see the stars.

I can get a good 8 - 10 hours sleep without interruptions.

Is that good or what?

Saturday, November 18

Day two on the island

Day one was pretty wasted really. I spent time getting organised. Making friends with the dog, and getting my things where I want them. A walk, and a snooze.

On the second day I planned to be more productive and I was. I was up early enough, though a "sleep in" compared to my normal wake up time. I read for a while, and then when I thought the kiosk might be open I drove the truck up the road and left it parked some distance fromt he shop. (I'm a little wary of making a fool of myself trying to back it etc. I'm not used to driving a ute.)

I did get some editing and writing done. In fact a lot, though I found it frustrating as I could not do as much as I set out to do. But progress all the same.

I went for a longer walk around the island - this time checking out the houses for sale. There are lots of them.

Getting sorted

In a way it is a weird feeling moving into someone's house when they are away. One of the things I do is open all the cupboards, and see where things are kept. I check out the fridge and see what is there. The folk are going to be away for three weeks, so if there is anything there that is likely to be inedible in three weeks time, I know they would expect me to use it. There's often not a lot, but rather than throw it out it may as well be used.

In this fridge there is going to be a whole lot left - chocolates, chocolate biscuits, and a whole lot of foodstuffs that I would never eat. Fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs. That's a start.

I make a cup of coffee and discover the kettle is dangerous. It is a cheapy brand, and doesn't work well, and water leaks through the switch. I choose NOT to use it.

I decide to put my suitcase on a bed downstairs. Most of my stuff doesn't need hanging, so I am happy to live out of the suitcase, and the bed is a good spot for it.

I set my laptop up on the dining table. I can still eat out on the deck, and I can spread my papers, books, notes, pens, and printer out on the table.

The dog is unsure of me and keeps her distance. I ignore her. Sooner or later we will be friends but there is no need to rush it.

Friday, November 17

Day one on Lamb Island

I prepared my gear the previous night, so that the following morning I could load the car, and go. I had to meet the owners at 7 am, so I left my Wynnum home just before 6 am. I had to get petrol for the car, and as I rounded the car into Wynnum Road, the car faltered. I knew I was low on fuel, but just hoped I'd make it to the Shell servo. It coughed and spluttered, but after a tense moment seemed to get the energy to go on to the servo. Thankfully we made it.

The drive to Redland Bay was uneventful, and arrived at the ferry terminal at the same time as the family, so there were a few words of explanation, the handover of the keys and they were on their way down to New South Wales.

I had a little shopping to do so I went back to the Victoria Point shopping precinct and waited until they opened at 8 am. Back to the terminal, parking the car in it's spot in the secure car park and I carried my luggage to the terminal and purchased a multi trip ticket to save some money on my frequent trips.

I waited in the terminal building and when a ferry arrived waited until the hordes of people disembarked. They came streaming up the ramps - both ramps - preventing me from going down, but I thought I had time to do so. I was angry as the crowds made way for me to go down the ramp to see the ferry backing out. I was not the oly passenger caught out like this. I have written to the Ferry company about this!!!

It was a waste of time as I had to wait another 35 minutes for the next ferry.

The trip over was interesting as the winds were strong and the ferry had a few challenges pulling up at the jetties.

The "truck" was where the owners had parked it - near the telephone box, so I loaded my things into it, and set on my merry way. I had no trouble with the truck, and am glad I only have to drive from one end of the island to the other.

The house and the dog were waiting for me. I unloaded my groceries, had a cup of coffee, and set about making it tidy. I will use one of the computers downstairs for the internet, and my laptop for writing and downloading any photos.

I took a long walk around the top end of the island, and a few photos, and feel I have settled in. It is so quiet. Occasionally cars pass, and there are myriads of birds. It is bliss.

Monday, November 13

Moving to Lamb Island

I'm due to meet the owners on the mainland on Thursday at 7 am and I'll need to be ready to move onto the island straight away. That requires a bit of organisation. I'll need to have my food, clothes, and everything I need ready to go early on Thursday morning. Once I get to the island, I'm there until Saturday morning. There's no corner shop!

Yesterday I was offered another house sit. This time on the mainland, and not far from Cleveland. No dog this time, and no cat. Lawns and garden. For six months. I'm still thinking about that one. It might work out though.

I still find it amazing that there are so many opportunities.

Sunday, November 12

Preparing for the next sit

I've been communicating with the house owners via email. I've given details of my car to put in the secure area at Redland Bay, and finalised details of dates etc. All is well.
I decided to go to the Island once more to meet them and discuss final arrangements with a week to go before I move in.

It was a fine day - well, at least until I was halfway to Redland Bay. It was quite heavy with rain, but OK. When I arrived at the ferry terminal there was persistent light rain, but not good photography weather. In fact on the ferry, those passengers that were hoping to sit on the back deck were "forced" indoors. It was just too wet!

Our first stop was Russell Island, and the rain had stopped. Arriving at Lamb Island, there was no rain, just a swirling wind, and threatening dark clouds. I had with me my back pack with a ream of paper and other smaller items, and a carry bag with my printer and miscellaneous items. I had planned to walk to the house. Just over 1 km away. I did hesitate, but then reasoned it would be OK. I could have phoned the house owner who was expecting my call.

The walk was great. It enabled me to "get my bearings" not that I'm likely to get lost when there is only one road, but I was able to see close up the homes on either side of the road. When I reached the B & B, the only one on the island, I did feel a little weird. I hadn't noticed it on my previous trip,and there were other things that were unfamiliar.

In any case I WAS on the right road, and in due course I found the house I was seeking. Pretty pleased with myself. A coffee with the owners and a more comfortable meeting with the dog followed.

Friday, November 3

Just two weeks to go

before I head off to the next house sit on Lamb Island. I'm really looking forward to that. The island is in a group of four just off Redland Bay, and accessed by a water taxi that departs from Redland Bay approximately every half hour. The islands are Russell, Lamb, McLeay, and Karragarra. Each island has it's own rather smart jetty, and the trip is pretty fast. There is no other way onto the islands. Your boat, or someone else's. Helicopter? Out of my price bracket. Karragarra and Lamb are the smallest islands. Lamb Island has a small shop. McLeay and Russell are much bigger and have more facilities for shopping. Most folk shop on the mainland. Greater range of products and somewhat cheaper although you need to take into account the $12 return trip on the water taxi.