Friday, September 30

What is it with me and trains?

Only last week I had a drama when the trains did not work for some 5 hours and stranded me in the city and I had quite a time getting to my destination.  Last week it was a pigeon the caused the drama.

I did procrastinate as I am not feeling 100%, but in the end I went to the GU Friends of the Library event last night.  I noticed as we passed through Cannon Hill (on the train) that there was a fire - in an old building that was to be demolished as part as a redevelopment. Incidentally the second time in as many weeks that it has been the 'victim' of a great fire.  Vandals maybe - but it was well alight at 5 pm and I estimated 10 fire engines were there. (The Courier Mail were to report later that there were 15.)  So it was a BIG fire.

The Griffith event was the best yet.  The guy from Cork University was a delightful man, with a fantastic presentation about Cork University - and their projects.  One of which is called "The Great Book of Ireland" which was produced in the 1990's.  The University asked writers, artists, poets etc to contribute on page which they did on vellum.  Eventually it was all put together (work by some 120 folk) as the Book of Ireland.  You may have heard of the Book of Kells, which I saw at Trinity College, Dublin when I was there.  The Book of Ireland is a modern take on the old Book of Kells. 

John Fitzgerald, the CU guy, had some DVD's on the project and I have one - I look forward to watching it.  You can watch the video below and learn about the project.

So after some divine food, chatting etc, I headed off to the train for the return trip, and it was announced that the train would not be going to Cleveland, but to Dutton Park and we would be bussed from there to Murrarie.  Apparently the fire caused a lot of smoke and other damage and all the power was cut off in the area, so no trains.

Me and buses?  Having just eaten, I feared my travel sickness would cause me embarrassment, so I managed a seat in a bus that was going direct to Murrarie and in the front seat, just in case.  The trip was uneventful. Actually sat next to a guy from Northern Ireland!

So at Murrarie, we got off the bus, and crossed over to wait for our train to finish our journey - I only had to stations to get to.  We waited on the platform (two busloads of us) for the train that was due in 6 -7 minutes.  We waited.  Then there was an announcement that the trains were all functioning and that 'our' train would be in about 30 minutes.  So we were offered to finish our journey in the buses.  So back across the line and into the bus.

I arrived back at Wakerley at 9 pm - one and a half hours after getting to South Bank stations. Grrr.  What is it with me and trains/buses?

Saturday, September 24

Dinner with a friend

After the drama of the previous day, I needed a rest.  So I decided to have a quiet day.  That "went out the window" when I received an email from my tutor at uni saying I was late with an assignment.  Panic set in and I checked on the Assignment program with deadlines and there was no mention of the document she was seeking. 

I scanned furiously through the Uni website and there it was - a one liner in a spot that clearly I had not seen, asking for a two page document detailing ideas for the final assessment.  Fortunately I had much of it done for the final assessment so within a couple of hours I had sent it to her.  Just a little annoyed that we (a) don't have a newsletter type communication for our course or external students, and (b) that the requirement to do the document was not listed in the course due dates etc.

Still, without too much drama I had it done.  I am trying to rest and get well, so any dramas in my life are unwelcome at the moment.  Tried to have a sleep in the afternoon, but the phone rang a couple of times, and I gave up.

Last night I went to a friend's place for a lovely dinner.  Her MM was away, so the two of us shared a great 'chin wag' along with a delightful meal, and a bottle of bubbly.

She runs a Costume Sales and Hire business - and I had a peek at her new costumes in readiness for Halloween.

Scary folk to have in one's home!!!!!

Friday, September 23

The Pigeon and the Power outage.

I had gone to South Bank to meet a friend/fellow uni student to look at some things at the State Library, Gallery of Modern Art and The Edge.  We met at South Brisbane station and walked slowly to the arts precinct, and had coffee and cake at the gallery coffee place.  It was there that we met a guy who overheard us speaking and offered us some suggestions using his iPad.  Mmmm.  I have got to have one!

We went on to GOMA, though there was not a lot there at the time that interested us, so we wandered back to The Edge and spent some time exploring the amazing technology they have on their Apple Mac's.  We had a staff member help us - and made plans to return. 

Then it was back to the Coffee place and a bite for lunch.  CD had to go on to another appointment, so we walked back together.  Near the station CD went ahead to her appointment and I learned that my afternoon was going to get a whole lot messy. 

I had been going to catch the train to Sherwood - to hand over a parcel of goodies to a lady who is travelling to China today (they were for my friend, whose house I am currently minding), but there were no trains working. 

It appears that some hours previously a pigeon had flown into some high voltage power lines, and caused a major power blackout.  Trains were not operating in the city and had not been for nearly two hours when I needed to get one.

The bus stop was not far away, so I set out to get to Sherwood by bus - and after quite a long wait a bus came along which was destined for that part of town.  I boarded.  Now, I don't like buses.  I can cope if the route does not wind round and round, but, this one did, and eventually my car sickness problem arose.  I just got off the bus - rather than throw up!  It was near a train station, so I waited there and phoned the lady who was to meet me at Sherwood, and soon I had handed over my parcel, and returned to the station to determine how I got home.

Trains were still not working, but a series of buses and taxis were taking people.  The Queensland Rail man said the taxi would take me to Central.  (I guessed, rightly as it turned out, that Central would be chaotic, and asked if I could go to Park Road station, which he arranged for me.  Luckily.)

Sitting in the taxi, with my stomach rather churned from my previous venture in the bus, I was barely making it.  As we wound around and around, I just hoped that we would reach the destination before I emptied the contents of my stomach.

Luckily we did, and I made it to the train platform.  A short walk and a short wait and the train came along and took me back to my 'home' station.  I had 'wasted' around 3 hours!  I might add that apart from the car sickness I was not well.  I'm still suffering from Shingles and my arm pain was giving me problems. 

Back to Wynnum and I had to pick up my (formerly Dad's) car, take it to my daughter's and then make my way back home.  What a day!!!

Tuesday, September 20

Manly Markets

On Saturday I ventured to the Manly Markets - well, to Jan Power's Market at Manly - which is held once a month.  The weather was divine - sunshine and pleasantly warm, and at that time of the day (morning) the air was still.

Manly Harbour

On the Edge of the Markets under a rand Moreton Bay Fig Tree
I wasn't in for a big spend - bought some wonderful garlic (which is hanging by the back door - much to the amusement of the grand children) - but according to instructions given by the grower, and some parsnip yoghurt, and some weird jelly beads.

I had never seen them before - the stand featured glass containers with different coloured jelly beads, and rows of plastic bags with starter beads.  Of coure I purchased some purple ones, and am fascinated about them.

There's a video showing some clear ones in a science experiment.  I filled a jar with the tiny purple beads and watched as the added water was sucked in, and they grew.  Quite strange really. 

Will have to get some photos......

The markets are always great - I love it that we can purchase products direct from the grower or manufacturer at better prices usually than can be had in the supermarket.  The fruit and vegetables especially, but there are meats, fish, icecreams, biscuits, continental foods etc.  Such a variety and if nothing else it is a great place to visit - such wonderful atmosphere.

Saturday, September 17

Snakes Alive

They are on the move - after a long cold winter, the snakes are on the move and I have seen two today, both on the road.  Both brown ones - and if they weren't dead already they would be soon.  Sunning in the middle of a busy highway or road is a surefire way of getting dead!

But it is a reminder that they are out and about - especially near here where there is so much bushland, and water.  Plenty of food for them, and plenty of bush to frolic in, if that is what snakes do. 

Brown snakes.

Monday, September 12


I just love flowers.  Perhaps it is due to my family's involvement  with flowers - my mother was an enthusiastic hobbiest flower arranger, doing Ikebana as well as other traditional floral art forms, and my sister is a florist.  Our family in recent years had a flower farm - we grew gerberas - and it was one of the best things as we almost always had fresh flowers - and lots of them - in the house.

Here at this house sit - there are no flowers in the garden - something I will change shortly after all it is SPRING, and the best time to grow annuals so I have some plans to get some things into pots in the garden here.

However, last week I learned that Aldi had orchids on sale, so I purchased one.  I was looking for a purple one, but there were none left on the stand, so I took another beauty which I will enjoy.

I took this photo with my Samsung digital camera, purchased at Dick Smith.  And Yes, they do do deals.

Sunday, September 11

Have a laugh............

We went to Portside to meet some 'old' friends from way back - when we lived in Warrnambool, Victoria in the late 1960's.  We've kept in touch all that time. 

On the way out there was a dog looking very guilty.  "Fido, What have you done???"

Shingles and More.....

At long last I have found the cause of some of my health problems - it was Shingles.  Now this weird and painful illness is usually marked by an awesome rash, but so far the rash has not appeared.  I just have the pain - and that is severe. Thinking back I've had symptoms for ages, but with all the trauma in my life lately, I just considered it to be 'stress'.  Well, stress is one of the triggers for Shingles, and it is always difficult to determine which comes first.  In any case the extruciating cold I felt in Adelaide was in part the awful weather, but it was also the Shingles.  Now I think back to the sensation that my bones in my legs had frozen like ice - next time (and I hope there is not a next time) I will be more attune to the symptoms.  I've started on the medication now so hopefully it will resolve quickly.  But the weather in sunny Brisbane has turned cold.  For me literally excruciatingly cold.  Hopefully I will quickly improve.

I had a few things on during the week and managed them.  The big event for me was the Writers Festival, and despite the cold biting chilly winds I went - all rugged up and much more comfortable within the confines of the buildings for sessions.

There were two events that I attended - I actually missed one (was a little late!)

One was about Feminism.  The website says "Proud feminists Mridula Koshy, Leslie Cannold and Jane Caro" in discussion with Paul Barclay of Radio National ABC.  It was most interesting to hear their views on the past of Feminism and the future - but as they all pointed out there are plenty of things left to do.  It will be replayed on Radio National at some stage, so anyone interested can keep up to date via the website. 

There was question time - and some interesting questions, but one question/comment was made by a girl behind me.  I could't see her, but she introduced herself as a 'lesbian feminist activist' or similar.  I felt like getting up and saying 'why do we need to know your sexual preference' - do those of us who are 'heterosexual' announce our preferences?  I guess it shows that I'm not a fan of lesbianism, I can accept it for others, but I wonder why they need to announce it.  Is it a badge of honour?

I look forward to hearing the program when it is on Radio National - and I am glad I can download it to my phone or mp3 player.

The other session I attended was most interesting too. Students from a TAFE Literacy and Numeracy program spoke about what was beautiful for them.  It was a project that produced a magazine where students showed photos and wrote words about their life, and often what they say as beautiful in their own countries.  Some spoke of the national dress, with detail about the meaning of various decorations on the person.  Most interesting. 

It was strange - I was there for most of the afternoon - on my own.  I had not made arrangements to go/meet anyone, but thought I'd see someone I knew.

Saturday, September 10

Catching up with 'old' friends.

It has been an extra ordinary week.  Firstly, a phone call on Sunday night, late, to inform me that my mother had been taken to hospital - so soon after my father passed away, it was a shock and I immediately made plans to go to Adelaide, and probably would have gone if I had been able to get on a plane - but there were few seats (all expensive) and I had also to make arrangements for the dog.  I hesitated and played a 'wait and see' approach.  As it turns out Mum recovered and is out of hospital.  The burden of it all fell on the 'shoulders' of my sister - and I know how stressed she is.

I'd been plagued by shoulder pain and during the week had another visit to the chiropractor, but during the week worked out that it was Shingles again, so back to the doctor and an injection.

On Wednesday I went to the big Westfield Carindale shopping centre, and walking around I literally bumped into someone I had not seen for around 20 years.  We had worked together - she lived north of Sydney and I in Brisbane, but we worked for the same company and went to Singapore for a conference.  We had quite a short chinwag, exchanged contact details, and made plans to meet up.

The next person I caught up with was in the medical centre when I went for one of my Chiro appointments - we'd been friends for years but become busy with life and though we lived less than 1 km from each other, had not made contact for some time.  Again we exchanged contact details and made plans.

I had been phoned some time ago by an old friend - going back to the 1960's - the couple were due in Brisbane on Friday 9th September on board the Dawn Princess, a P and O liner doing a cruise around Australia.  So we met up with them at Dockside.  Coffee, nibbles and a glass of wine in Byblos, with the ship just a few feet away.

What a busy week.

Saturday, September 3

A snake and a magpie

We have our house on the market and had planned a Saturday garage sale.  In the tidy up I lifted a piece of cardboard that was on the cement floor - and underneath curled up as snakes do, like a twirl of rope, was a little snake.

I calmly told MM there was a snake there - and as usual he disbelieved me until I made it move.  Then he asked "What sort of snake is it?"  As if I would know.  I'm not a herpetologist!!!  I looked at it and saw the colour.  "A brown snake" I answered.  Though it had a strange diamond shape on its head.  Diamond python?  Who knows.  I think it met a sad fate - perhaps did not survive being thrown onto the road and mixing it with the traffic.  Like a lot of people I think a good snake is a dead snake, though I am more friendly to green tree snakes.

As it turns out, I had wanted to ride my e-bike (the battery operated machine that has been somewhat neglected as I had resided in very hill territory with narrow busy roads).  Now I am in a semi rural area, I can ride more, so I planned to ride it the few kms to the new abode.  The weather was fine, and luckily stayed that way for the day, and I set off shortly before midday.

Helmet on, battery working and I found my way along roads and paths that I had not ridden before.  As I was travelling along Dianthus Street, Gumdale, a guy in a Telstra van waved me down.  "Did you know that a magpie has dived at you four times?"  I had no idea.  Clearly the maggie had not come within my view - maybe I was a bit fast for it, I don't know.  In any case, it did no harm to me, and I rode on thanking him for the warning.

Two encounters with no so friendly Aussie wildlife in one morning.