Tuesday, March 29

Sausages in trees?

On Sunday, I was at Newstead House - that glorious old building on the banks of the Brisbane River, near the mouth of Breakfast Creek, where I was taking photos of a wedding.  It was blowing a gale. 

It is a lovely old historic house - and quite popular for visitors and tours. There I found this extra ordinary tree!  Things looking like huge peanuts dangled from the tree.  I actually said to MM that it was a peanut tree, and he look and agreed before realising that they were far bigger 'peanuts' than the real thing.  There was a sign on the tree that read "Africa Sausage Tree" - along with the botanical name for it.

The Brisbane River looing from Newstead - Mt Gravatt in the background


The African Sausage Tree

Newstead House

Sunday, March 27

Jam Session

I found a postscard advertising a jazz session, called Green Jam at the Queensland Performing Art Centre on Friday nights.  It is on for a month, and it is free, and great for anyone going to a performance at QPAC.

The Brisbane City Library had advised me that there was a book waiting for collection, so on Friday night I set off to collect the book, and I walked across the bridge to Cultural Centre.  The music had already started by the time I arrived.  I purchased a glass of Chardonay, and found a seat giving me a good view of the stage and the audience, and sat reading my book enjoying the music.

I was shortly after joined by a lady, Jen, who was a school teacher, but was to meet her daughter there later.  We chatted, enjoyed the music and the atmosphere.

The Brisbane River at dusk.


The Art Gallery on the Brisbane River

Green Jam at QPAC

Brisbane by night
I left not long before it finished to catch the Buzz bus, back to Paddington.

Friday, March 18

St Patrick's Day

It was 2005 that I went to Ireland - quite an extra ordinary story, which I will not dwell on here.  It is St Patrick's Day celebrations that remind me of that extra ordinary time.

It is a looong story, but essentially I flew off along from Brisbane on andventure of a lifetime - via Auckland, and Los Angeles to London.  I had been to Auckland some years before but the US and the UK were not on my 'places I've been list.'  And travelling alone - enough stress before I left that I felt I was going to die, but figured if I died on the plane it would be OK.  I was so, so stressed by it.

I had a 5 hour wait in LA before the next leg of my journey, and arrived in London mid afternoon, on September 3rd, 2005.  I found my way around construction sites to a bus station and caught a bus over to Gatwick Airport, where I was to catch the plane into Dublin early the next morning.

I stayed at a crappy hotel near Gatwick, but as I had to be up at 4.30 am I didn't get much sleep.  It was hot and very suffocating, as there was no air conditioning.  Not happy!!!

Still, I made it safely to Dublin, and was met by Ian's cousin, who took me to his place.  It was a Sunday.

I remember meeting his wife, and alter in the day, her family, but they took me to Phoenix Park, just near the city, and I marvelled in the Sunday afternoon activities there.  We wandered through Farmleigh House (dubbed the most expensive B & B in the country), and through the farmers' markets at the back of the house.

It is a huge park, and somewhere in the midst the Irish Presidential 'palace' is.  I did go back later, but really need to spend a couple of days there.

The following day I caught a bus into the city itself and wandered around - somewhat getting my bearings.  I wandered around back and forth across the Liffey River, went to Trinity College, and in to the huge old library to see the Book of Kells, and then back through Temple Bar area. 

I had arranged to hire a car, so the next day, I caught a bus into the city, and from there a taxi to the car high place. When I arrived there was a 'slight altercation' with some American lads who had pranged their rental car, so the folk behind the desk treated me with a little caution.  In any case I eventually took off in the little Peugot 307, on the big adventure.

I managed to get out of the city before peak hour, but the traffic was already heavy, and not knowing where I was going was an added challenge. 

However, I managed to successfully drive down to Waterford and on to Dunmore East, where I was to meet a lady I had met through 5W.  Dunmore East was a quaint fishing village with a tiny harbour and the smallest boats I had ever seen!  I had an Irish mobile phone, and I used the local pay phone (with some help from a local) but could not make contact with the lady, so in the end when it was getting dark, decided to find a B & B and stay the night.

Wise move.  I did meet up with the lady the next morning, and stayed two nights with her.

Monday, March 14

About my Kindle

I bought my Kindle about two months ago and have absolutely no regrets.  I had procrastinated for quite a while, but in the end, just did it.  When it came, I tentatively opened it, and put it all together.  I had the Kindle and the cover with light - it cost a little more to have the light, but again, I have no regrets.

I downloaded free and pay per book books, and have read most of them.  I am wading through the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi (which has quite a few challenges with spelling errors, and much reference to Indian culture that I just skim over). 

A week or so ago I registered with Smashwords, as I am exploring publishing one of my books with Smashwords, and I learned that I could also download books from that site.  I am sure there are other sites that I can choose to download books - am slowly but surely exploring the options I have.

I am sure booksellers would be concerned about the increase in e-readers, but I find that I also continue to buy 'real' books.  In fact in the past few weeks have spent much more money on books than I have in recent times.  I still like the feel of real books, and if I had to choose between real books and a Kindle, I'd find it very difficult.

My Kindle is fabulous for when I am travelling - not that I have done a lot lately, but an return air trip to Adelaide, and a drive to Mt Gambier (ok, I didn't read as I drove, but it was good to open up the Kindle during my 'rest periods' and at night in the motel, or when I awoke very early.)

I confess I have not tried another e-reader, but I've discussed my Kindle with friends, who have been considering buying an iPad for example, or another brand of e-reader.  The neat size of the Kindle is impressive, and much easier to carry than the iPad for example, though I know that the iPad has other features, not available in the Kindle.  My Kindle is only for reading.  It fits neatly into my (rather large) handbag, and goes with me everywhere.  I am surprised how many pages I go through even in the short bus trip to the city, or the journeys I make by train.  I find it easy to cast may eyes at the passing scenery, and then find my place again in the Kindle.  If I close the Kindle, it easily finds my place when I next open it or turn it on.  No need for a physical book mark.

I have had a look at other e-readers, but in my research I kept coming back to the Kindle.  It was less expensive, and had more features than anything else I saw.

I find the Kindle easy to use.  Fabulous actually.  I'm hooked!

Wednesday, March 9

Sharing

I've decided I am not good at sharing.  I like to do things MY way.  I don't think that I will every be comfortable again living with anyone.  That sounds rather selfish, but I've learned that I have been very accomodating with people, but I like things my way.

"I did it may way" - good title for a song perhaps.

I like going to bed at night reading, and with ABC Classic Radio or 4MBS on in the back ground.  I put my Kindle away, and turn off the light when I feel my eyelids drooping, and usually go off to sleep straight away.  In the morning, I can be awake anytime between 5 am and 7.30 am.  I am quite likely to get up early in the morning, turn on the radio, yes, ABC Classic Radio, and I listen to the brief news on the hour, and then enjoy the music that issues forth from the radio.  I'm not enamoured by talk back, or indeed radio with lapses into heavy metal or other modern music.  I enjoy the peace and tranquility of classical music.  I'm not a fan of opera, so will switch stations, but I do enjoy good classical music and of course jazz.

I have a friend, who like me, felt that she had to compromise and watch the same television show chosen by her husband, when she really wanted to watch something else, or indeed do something else.  They built a special suite on the house for her.  I guess I chose to exercise my freedom in another way.

Sounds like I have to get something 'off my chest', but no, not really.  You see, in this house sit, I am also sharing.  The adult son of the owners lives in a cabin on the property, and there are some things we share.  For example the laundry that I use to do my washing, is also the second bathroom, which he and his girlfriend use.  If I wish to have access to the laundry, I sometimes have to wait while he or she is in shower etc.  They must have the longest showers of all - for such small people they must be very dirty!!!

OK, so that is not the end of the earth.  We also share the clothes line.  This is irritating, often, as he does his washing, drapes his clothes over the line where they stay for days.  He doesn't use pegs, and he seems to be miffed if I take his clothes in, even if I am saving them from certain drenching if the weather turns.

I also share the internet connection - and as he downloads music files, I've had on more than one occasion been restricted in using the internet (and I need it for my study!).  He leaves doors open, lights on.  Only minor inconveniences, but I do find myself easily annoyed with what seems 'little' events around the house.

Still, I'm lucky to be here.  I don't know where I go from here.

Tuesday, March 8

The birds are back.

They are friendly, but at times I feel like I might be reliving a scene from a Hitchcock movie.  They really are quite cute, but a little demanding and intimidating.  I only have to appear in the kitchen early in the morning and they start.  Cheeky is often the first, and he follows me - if I go to the bedroom, he'll be on the deck looking in the window, hoping I will get some food for him. 

When I do go out with their food - about 8 or 9 butcher birds appear - and they compete in a friendly manner for the food I throw them.

Today though, Cheeky has been fed, and sits around perhaps hoping that I have forgotten.  He's had a snooze too - and now he is crying at the door.  He has flown at the window a couple of times.

He's cute, but a bit pushy.