Sunday, November 27

Plenty of things to do and catch up with Friends.

It is a good feeling to have most of my major study assignments behind - I think I have done them all, but will do a quick check tomorrow.  I have already started on my project for the next semester, but I know I can have a breather now.  It has been good to catch up with friends.

I've been to Oliver's at Manly twice this week.  They have a good special of coffee and cake for $6.50.  The variety of cakes is quite amazing and clearly this is good value.

I must dine there one day - but I am a bit of a cheapskate and unless I can find someone to pick up the bill for me, I tend to be rather frugal.

It is a fabulous venue - overlooking part of Manly Harbour and the swimming pool and Little Manly Park.  

In the last few years, living in China and then house sitting, mostly to this point in the western suburbs, I lost touch with the local places, and am enjoying having the time to try out the many places in Manly.

Friday, November 25

Lotus Flower growing locally

I've noticed the pond, with the leaves which looked quite out of place in outer suburban Brisbane. I knew they looked like lotus leaves, but until today I had seen no flower.

It is one of the weird things about house sitting - being taken out of your home territory, and showing you how and where other people live and it is highly unlikely that I would have seen this little patch of amazing flowers growing - if I had remained in my 'old stamping ground.'

The Lotus Flower is spectacular - as a bud it reaches to the sky from its murky depths in a pond, often with water heavily polluted.  It makes one wonder how such beauty can develop in such sordid water!  The small bud reaches up, growing fatter all the time, and when it is almost ready to bloom it is a quite spectacular perfect specimen.

As it opens there is more perfection, and even when it is almost 'spent' it has remarkable beauty.

I drove past and resolved to return via this road, which I did, and armed with my little Samsung camera, I took some photos.  I'll go back later with the Canon.

Here are some photos I took when I was in China

A Map of Where I am.

View Larger Map

For any of my overseas readers who want to clarify where I am house sitting - I am in a suburb called Wakerley which is not far from Moreton Bay, which is at the mouth of the Brisbane River.  You can follow the map, and find your way up river to the city of Brisbane, or you can take a virtual tour out into Moreton Bay which has quite a number of islands on which people live.  

Tuesday, November 22

Discovering Parks

One of the benefits (and there are many) of house sitting is the opportunity to explore places that you would not normally visit.  I remembered visiting a work mate in this area back in 2007, and passing an interesting park.  I knew it was close by - I need to take the third exit on the roundabout, and go and see, and that I did.  Yesterday I discovered an amazing park, with quite a large lake with waterbirds lazing around on it.  

It is just such a peaceful place - complete with seat and surrounded by sleeping ducks.

Sunday, November 20

The dog ate

I don't know what I did to upset the dog, but clearly he was not happy with me.  Maybe I had gone out and left him home alone - but why attack my Chinese sandals?  These cheapies are common in China, and I used to use them in the bathroom - when I had a shower.  You have to understand a Chinese bathroom.  Still, I brought them home to Oz and they have been handy.  I am not a thong person, even for my feet!  I used to use these outside when I was watering the garden or trying to keep my feet clean and dry.  But Marti has fixed that.  No more will I be able to wear them.

Friday, November 18

New clothes

I set out today to buy some swimming togs - my 'old' ones were old, and I discarded them recently, so if I am to take advantage of the swimming pools around here (public ones I mean) I had to get new ones and Target had a special on this week, so I thought I'd see what was available there.

However, before I got there I happened to see a display in the window of Noni-B - new range of clothes suitable for travel - don't need ironing and fold up neatly and take up little space in the luggage.  (Have I mentioned my new purple suitcases??)  Anyway soon I was trying on these garments and a lovely lady Jo helped me.  Had a few laughs.  I told her that I had long been an admirer of Liz Davenport garments and I was most surprised to learn that she did not know of Liz Davenport.  Liz is from Western Australia, but has had shops all around Australia and I was a BIG fan a long time ago.  Even had quite a range of garments most of which I ruined in the clothes dryer once.  I still have one jacket left and I love it.  Wear it often in the cooler months (It is long sleeved).

I did buy some black pants at Noni B, and a purple top that I may wear to the Wynnum Chamber event tonight, and then on to Target and the togs.   I took 5 garments into the fitting rooms and came out with a two piece, and looked unsuccessfully for some sort of neck to ankle garment that I could use to hide my increasing adipose tissue that is clinging to my legs, arms, bum etc.  New year goal - lose 10 kgs at least.

And on the way back found this gorgeous purple shirt - so had that with me at the check out too.  Mmmm.  No spending for a while, but I am happy with everything I purchased, but not happy with my body. 

Thursday, November 17

House Sitting and Writing

I knew the connection - a long time ago.  Years ago when I was seeking peace and quiet to be able to concentrate on writing I 'found' house sitting.  My first house sitting jobs were taken so that I could 'shut out' the real world and concentrate on my writing.

It worked - and I continue to do it, especially to help me with study time. I find that few friends and family visit as I am in unfamiliar/distant territory, and I have no one but myself to worry about.  It is a sort of bliss.

Only this week though, the President of the Society of Women Writers passed on to me an email from a House Sitting organisation in the UK, which was celebrating its first birthday, and touting for business by encouraging writers to consider house sitting as a 'writing retreat'  Now, they were offering house sits in various countries of the world - based in the UK they have access to properties and people wanting house sitters in Europe.  Now that sounds like a good idea!

"Perhaps you could gain inspiration from 3 months calm and space in the mountains of South West France, the remote beauty of Western Ireland, 6 months on the beautiful island of Menorca, 2 months on stunning Maui or maybe a relaxing Christmas in snowy Canada. "  says the email from Trusted House Sitters.  

Check the website here Trusted HouseSitters.  There is a small fee to join, and I may consider joining when I am free to do more house sitting, but I may be booked until mid 2012.  Just awaiting confirmation.

Sunday, November 13

Authors Fair at Maroochydore

It was a long time since I  had been to Maroochydore, and I doubt that my 'new' has made such a long jaunt for a while.  (It is Dad's old car, which he bequeathed to me which is still in fantastic condition even after 15 years!)  With two writing friends from Queensland Society of Women Writers, we set off at 8 am for the Author's Fair at Maroochydore.  I'd printed out the instructions for my 'navigator' from the RACQ website, and set off.

Travelling was ok on the freeway - traffic travelled smoothly and we were soon at our destination.  Many authors had stands promoting their books, the Lions Club was there for a sausage sizzle, and CWA provided sandwiches.  It was all well organised, though some aspects of it, we noted, so that we would not do that in the event that we held a similar one.

We spent most of the day there - wandering around, speaking to other authors and yes, buying books.  I met Anne Clark - who is a health consultant and had to buy her book "Lose Weight while you sleep and eat" and another book about Karratha in WA.  I did spend quite a bit of time chatting with Anne, and no doubt will have some contact with her in the future. 

At one stage we walked over to the Maroochydore shopping complex - just to get more money!  

We found the little workshops challenging - mostly information that we knew, and they were held in a corner of the hall - making it a challenge for stall holders to talk with anyone who visited their stalls during the period.  Still it was interesting.

About mid afternoon we packed up for the return journey which was a little eventful.  About 25 minutes after we left we came across a traffic hold up on the highway - fire engines arrived, and drivers climbed out of their cars to see what had stopped us.  It was difficult to determine, but later we discovered a car had caught fire.  The fire was put out, and the traffic flowed again.

We stopped next at a fruit barn, as I was keen to get some water - it had been a hot day.

We made it home in good time - and the old car did well.  Not one unhappy murmur from it.

Is it a record?  All authors reading from their books in a record making attempt, with our own Joan Turnour reading from hers.  (I did not hear if they broke the record.)

Thursday, November 10

Some things

I no longer have a 'base' where my things are stored.  Until just over a week ago I left things at my husband's house - though I have left him some time ago.  Now the house is sold, he's moved out, and has lots of things in storage and I have things here at the house sit.  As it turns out the owners will be away for at least the next nearly three months, so all is well, but if I am going to continue here the following four months, I will need to move the things before they come back for the month break.

As it turns out, one of the owners made a quick trip back to Brisbane - arriving today - just to stay four days for a family event, and I have no need to worry about my surplus boxes, but it does create a bit of a headache for me.

The little dog was funny - didn't really welcome her real 'mother' back - he's used to me.  He actually growled at her at one stage and then came and sat beside me.  

Saturday, November 5

House sitting Challenges

There are always challenges with house sitting and two have affected me in the last week or so.  One is getting away.  It is not so easy to take a few days away - as here I have a little dog to arrange for alternate accomodation, and the other is storage of stuff.  The latter has not been a problem, as though my husband and are separated, we still had the house where much of my stuff was 'stored.' But the house is now sold and I have an assortment of boxes here at the house sit - some of which I have 'gone through' and I'll have to find space for them somewhere.  I don't have my own digs - so, as I say, it is a challenge.

Last week I flew to Adelaide for a few days - had to be there for my Mum's 96th birthday.  She had a lovely time, though her memory is such that the following day she had no recollection of it all.  Sad but true.

Mum on her 96th Birthday

The dog had gone to the Gold Coast to stay with the owner's brother, but I had to drive down to pick him up on my return, and that was the day the house had to be cleared out.  Oh, what a day!  I'm still trying to recover.

In Adelaide we scattered dad's ashes at his beloved bowls club, and I visited a friend in a nursing home, as well, I managed to visit something that I don't ever recall seeing, a famous place in Adelaide - the old gum tree.

My little red car at the Old Gum Tree park

This marks the spot
The Old Gum Tree
I don't recall that as a child I had ever been there - yet it played such a huge part in the early history of South Australia and it is quite possible that some of my ancestors were there on that great day in history.

Now I shall go and pack some boxes...................