Monday, January 30

New house sit offers

Life is quite an adventure - and I find with house sitting I am always changing direction.  Actually I have my direction changed for me.  I am going to stay with a friend for a few days when I return from Bali, but she has asked me to spend several weeks looking after her house when this house sit is over.

It is worth thinking about - I have made no decision, but it is a lovely house, near where all my 'action' is, and I know I will love it.  It is close to the sea, and wonderful for long rides on my bicycle.  That sounds really good.

I do get regular offers from a couple of house sitting websites, and some sound exciting, but none that really suited me at this point - mostly timing as I am already book.  I am curious though, about the number of dogs and other animals that people keep.

Could I look after 3 dogs?  House dogs?  No way.

Of course I have looked after dogs, but usually one at a time.  Cats - yes, I've had two at a time, but I baulk at the idea of running around after more than one dog.

I certainly am looking forward to the few days after I return from Bali - I have so much writing to do.  I am writing about bamboo at the moment - you can read some of the information that I have found here.

Sunday, January 29

In limbo - a little

I am back at the house for a week - the owners are in Tasmania and will return on Wednesday, but I will have left for a week in Bali.

I planned the Bali trip for two reasons - (1) with the owners home I felt I had to find somewhere else to stay and (b) I am researching bamboo.

After Bali I am back again in Brisbane, but as the owners are not leaving until February 11th, I will be looking for a bed with a friend.

Living out of a suitcase is not my idea of fun, but it is a reality for me at the moment as until the owners go, I am not on a great position to do much else - especially with the "to ing" and "fro ing".

It may be the end of June before I need to move on again - and I am not sure where I will go, then.  I'm not wasting any energy thinking about it now.

Am I getting sick of house sitting?  I guess the main thing is that I long to have my own space - my own home.  I don't know when that will happen.  I don't know what that part of my future will be.

The rain is almost non stop here in Brisbane at the moment, it is overcast and quite depressing.  When you need lights on in the house to see anything, it is depressing.  I have though been making some cards using photos that I took over the last few weeks.  Most of them are photos taken in Western Australia.

I have set up a new site where I am going to feature my photos.  You might like to visit it.  Click here.

Wednesday, January 25

Back house sitting.

What a crazy few days.  Perth and apart from playing the traveller/tourist role I attended my friend's graduation at the Perth Convention Centre after a wonderful full on lunch at the Atrium at Burswood Casino, and a sleep in hot humid conditions, I flew to Adelaide.  I can hardly (almost) fly over Adelaide without calling to see my mother who is 97 later this year.

She was fit and well, and looking marvellous on Sunday, but a bit cranky and wild on Monday.  Still it was good to call in and see her.

On Monday night I flew on the late flight arriving back in Brisbane around 10.30 pm, and was whisked off to my daughter's place for two nights.  Today I moved back into the house sit again - at least for a week.

After the torrid heat of Perth and Adelaide, it was good to see Brisbane again.  However, it is raining - really raining with local flooding and chaos on the roads.

Why do so many silly people take a risk and drive through flooded creeks, especially where the water is fast moving.  So much wasted manpower trying to save these idiots who seem to think they have super powers, but in the end risk their lives and certainly damage or even lose their cars.

I drove just a few kilometers from my daughter's place - and had to face bumper to bumper traffic and reroute around flooded roads, to get here, but all is well.

So, today, shop, study, do my laundry, repack for the next adventure.

What a busy life!!!

Tuesday, January 24

Dongara to Perth

On the road between Dongara and Perth - photography on the go
The storm from Cataby
Storm clouds over the Brand Highway

Mystery Tree

What tree is this?  This great tangle of limbs is a tree which is between the Dongara Museum and Dongara Library.  I am hoping to find out what type of tree it is - but the great tangle, we decided, was a likely place for a homeless person.  The tangle forms a strange platform around 6 feet from the ground.  I wonder???

Australian History

Dongara is a very interesting place - I love looking at the old buildings that have been there since the early settlements.  The main street is a wonderful treelined place, but when the first folk settled there it was treeless.  The Methodist Church, in old photos, stands out in the treeless landscape, but soon a deciion was made to plant a number of Moreton Bay Fig Trees that flourished, and now line the main street of Dongara providing shade, a wonderful vista and a home in summer to a flock of noisy corellas.  When the corellas come to town apparently they feast on the new shoots of the big fig trees, screech and of course leave behind piles of excreta.  So the ranger has the job of 'shooting' them - at least firing a gun with blanks, the noise from which scares them away.

As I sit typing this, I am reminded of the Dongara corellas, as across the road from where I am staying is a guy who is a bird lover, who attracts corellas and other bird life to his property by his bank of feeders.  Funny, one group of people trying to get rid of the birds, and others making them welcome.............

We went for a visit to the Dongara Museum, which is in the premises of the old Dongara Police Station,  on Thursday (12th Jan) and discovered it to be a fascinating place, helped along by the volunteer tour guide, a member of the Dongara/Port Denison Lions, whom I had met at the Lions meeting on the Monday night.  He is a long standing member of the community and knows much of the history and he certainly gave us a good tour.

Recreation - lifelike model of a prisoner in a cell - complete with 'mattress' on the floor and the bucket.

Set up as the kitchen to provide food for the prisoners, which is cleared away to make way for the court.

It was surprising to learn that the old court room is still being used for some small court cases - as there is a shortage of other venues in the area. Seems quite amusing to think that the old kitchen which supplied meals for prisoners in years past, has been resurrected as a sometime court house i
in the 21st century!!!

Old tools in the old stables

There is so much of interest there - especially the history of the rabbit in Australia, and the old prison quarters. The old stables have been revamped and there is an awesome collection of tools, animal traps, and so much more.  Well worth a visit.

Thursday, January 19


Today we ventured to Geraldton. I’d not been there before, so was keen to see this town on the coast of WA – famous for a number of things – including the memorial for the HMAS Sydney, but more about that later. It is an area of great history, with historical settlements, information on the pioneering and Indigenous history, and a fabulous coastline with plenty of fishing, and other water sports, and lots more to see and do.

HMAS Sydney Memorial

We left Dongara around 9 am and headed north – and our first place of interest was the famous Leaning Tree. The wind in these parts is very strong, and these trees manage to cope by leaning over with their backs to the wind. There’s one tree beside not far from the road, complete with information about the trees – appropriate for photographers!

The Leaning Tree

Further on we came to the Greenough Pioneer Museum, which was ‘established in the former Maley homestead by the Geraldton Historical Society in 1966.’ The house was built somewhere between 1862 and 1880, where the Maley family settled and had 14 children. There really is so much to see, and we wandered around the old house looking at the vast number of historical artefacts, many donated by people keen to preserve items from their own families, that had great significance. Anyone visiting this area of WA must set aside time to explore this and the other buildings on the property. Beside the homestead are the remnants of a Flour Mill, and a general store. And of course you can find more information at the website

There is so much to see in this area and a fantastic area for those interested in Australian history to explore further. You really need almost a day to check it all out.

We headed into Geraldton and wandered around, visited a few shops, before going to Memorial for HMAS Sydney which is on a hilltop overlooking the town. It is quite an extra ordinary memorial to a dark time in Australia’s wartime history, and has been created since the discovery of the wreck some distance from the WA coast. It is well worth a visit.

Then it was off to The Dome on the new esplanade. Once upon a time the railway went along the esplanade, and after it was rerouted, development of the Esplanade included shelters, grassed areas, and access to a sandy beach with two pontoons for young people to jump off into the water. The Dome is a restaurant/café on the waterfront, which is clearly very popular and they were doing a roaring trade when we were there. We enjoyed lunch overlooking the sea, while a number of ships either sat at anchor or made their way north.

After lunch we went for a stroll along the Mall – but it was quite hot, and we weren’t interested in shopping so we made our way back to the car on the esplanade.

We were soon on our way back home, via the fish cooperative where we bought some scallops and bug meat – the latter to be consumed for dinner tonight.

The journey back to Dongara included a visit to the Greenough Historical area – which is quite amazing. The churches, homes, and other buildings are so well preserved and a wonderful historical area has been created – complete with a fabulous café and shop, which is the entry point for the park. After a wonderful afternoon tea of tea/coffee, hot scones with jam and cream (enough cream for 4 folk I think!) we ventured into the buildings. The school, the police station, and gaol (can’t imagine anyone escaping from the cells, with such high windows and secure doors), the court building, various cottages, churches, nunnery etc. We were able to go into the buildings unescorted, just so long as we closed the doors behind us. (I have many photos – these are just a selection.)

On the grounds were 6 inquisitive alpacas too – they looked at us with suspicion but were more interested in their afternoon feed.

One could spend a long time in his place – such a lot of history to explore. It is amazing how many old buildings (some of which are still in use) and others in various states of decay – with so many churches that the locals must have had great faith in the Lord way back then.

We soon were back in Dongara – a wonderful day again.

Wednesday, January 18

No house sitting - just travelling

What a week!  I packed my things, cleaned up, and took the dog to its holiday place on the Gold Coast, and moved in, exhausted to my daughter's place.  Early on the 14th I went to Brisbane Airport for the long flight to Perth, Western Australia - where I was met up with my cousin Pat and her husband Barry.  I had not seen them for many years, but we managed to talk non-stop about family and the comings and goings of ourselves.

They took me to Kings Park, overlooking the Swan River and we had a lovely walk around the park.

Perth City from Kings Park
The old Swan Brewery on the banks of the Swan River
On the Sunday morning, my friend Bev arrived, and after lunch we set off for the long drive to Dongara.

The new road was good, but warnings of kangaroos, emus and other wild animals were signposted along the way.  We only saw two emus - who chose to run across the road in front of us.  Luckily Bev braked in time, and we just 'bumped' on big bird.  No damage done to us, the car, or the emu we think.

We called in to Lancellan for a brief look, and went on, arriving in Dongara about 7.30 pm, so had dinner at the Dongara Hotel.

We've had a quiet few days - small jaunts around the area, a little shopping, but to today we venture to Geraldton, about 60 kms north.

Monday, January 9

Downside of House Sitting

Nothing is perfect - including house sitting.  There are lot of little things that are annoying.  Really not having your OWN space is one of them.  "My" things are in every room of the house almost and as is happening in the next weeks, the owners are home for a while.  I am moving out.  Now I know I am free to stay, but it is rather awkward, so it is my excuse to do a little travelling.

However, I try to leave the house just as it was when they left, clean tidy and without my things scattered.  I don't have a house to go to so my things will go to the shipping container at my daughter's place.   Pack the boxes, move the boxes, store the boxes.

I have two 'cleaners' coming on Friday - two granddaughters keen to earn extra money.

Meanwhile I have my writing projects to progress, and as usual I might find myself running late on all this.  Bah!  Humbug!

Working on my bamboo project will keep me busy in the next few weeks.

Sunday, January 8

Home Alone - after the Tennis

Our view of the centre court!
 For the second year in a row, Bev and I attended the Brisbane International at the Pat Rafter Centre at Tennyson.  We did look a the peaceful Brisbane River flowing past and wondered how the river could have risen so much to flood the centre court.  Hard to comprehend.

Ball boys and girls warm up before the games started.
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We had a look around prior to the start of action on the centre court, and saw Serina Williams practicing on the outer court.  We were not to see her play on centre court - but enjoyed the whole day's experience.

Serena Williams at practice - with quite a group of spectators around the court.  She certainly was the centre of attention!
Serena at practice with mother Oracene sitting beside the court.

(In between games I learned how to upload photos onto Facebook from my phone.  Clever me.  I have only had the new phone for about 8 months!)

The day after our outing at the tennis, Bev departed - flying back to Perth about mid morning.  My granddaughter was with me when we went to the airport, and then we two 'shopaholics' went on to DFO.

South Bank

We did sleep in a little on New Year's Day, and slowly recovered - not much drinking so no need to recover except from the late night.  We decided to go to the movies at South Bank - to see We Bought a Zoo.  So off we went, ready for the first afternoon session.

I will not go to the South Bank theatre again - I think it is stupid that if you want to use the lift, you have to ask a staff member.  Which I did, but I don't know what happened as I didn't see one appear, and had to go and ask again.  I really don't feel safe/comfortably climbing so many stairs.  By the time we got into the theatre, there were few seats left, except in the front rows, so we sat apart.

A great movie.

Afterwards we walked around South Bank.  It was such a beautiful day.  It is hard to believe that just over one year ago, this place was all under water from the inglorious Brisbane floods of 2011.

Look at it now!

South Bank Pool on New Year's Day

South Bank Pool looking towards the city

The Go Between Bridge over the Brisbane River

Looking back to the city from near the Maritime Museum
Jess Watson's boat at the Maritime Museum

There are new restaurants towards the Maritime Museum - and it looks absolutely stunning.  The Maritime Museum is a must see - especially as Jessica Watson's yacht is not on show there.

New Year's Eve

Tartufo - this restaurant opened around October 2010, and we celebrated the new year there (Dec 2010), as our son Gavin, was performing on the night.  Again this was to be - and so we booked in again.  Actually there were almost a dozen family and friends in the house that night.

Gavin sang on his own earlier in the night before Simon Bower arrived and found a place at the grand piano.  The entertainment continued, and at midnight we all joined in the celebrations as the count down was shown on a screen.

The food was awesome - thank you Tony and team - and all in all it was a good night.  I had chosen to drive as we figured it would be challenging trying to get back home on public transport, or getting a taxi, so I celebrated with a glass of wine sometime after 1 am.  At least we had a sleep in.

The food at tartufo was excellent.  Thank you Tony and Team!!!

Time flies when you are having fun!

Sanctuary Cove
It is hard to believe that it is over a week since I posted.  But of course, we have been busy.  Bev and I travelled back and forth to various places of interest around Brisbane, went to the movies twice, and tried to rest.  Actually I tried to study - but it was challenging.

The broken pot
One morning as we were sitting drinking coffee/tea we heard a loud crack, and it seemed something small hit the side of the house.  Later when I went outside I discovered the cause.  There is a big pot of Jade plant, and it is clearly pot bound - I suggest that the pot had just had enough and gave up - cracking all around.  No other damage done, so I removed the broken pottery, and found a larger pot which was empty, and just lifted the jade and dropped it neatly into the bigger pot.  I think it will be a long while before the roots protest again!