Thursday, June 28

Wet and Miserable Weather

Here I am trying to move out of one house to another - and it is non stop raining.  Grrr.
Yesterday I had to wait for MM who was having some medical treatment and I chose to go to the Brisbane River - had some writing to do etc.

The Brisbane River from Kangaroo Point Cliffs
So today, regardless of the weather, and it is not likely to be better for a few days I will have to brave it and move out.

(Photo taken with my Samsung)

New Business Cards

I have just had business cards printed via Vistaprint  (sorry other printing friends) but I do find the price and the ease of working with them very tempting.  I had a little bit of fun creating these as they have a lovely bamboo graphic and my details in purple.

I did have thoughts of adding 'house sitter' to them, but in the end chose this.

"Writer, Traveller, Camera Addict, Bamboo Fan and Workshop Presenter.

I will have others done, but for the moment I am happy with these despite the fact that I cannot use them yet, as the website I have on them is not active yet.  More work to do.

Most folk who know me would understand the Writer, and Traveller tags, but perhaps no be aware of my addiction to my camera.  I joined a Camera Club and am an enthusiastic participator in their monthly competitions and am finding I am getting good feedback and points.  Whoo Hoo.
Normally the photos I submit are done on my Canon, but I do have another digital camera that neatly fits into my handbag - and I'd rather call myself a Camera Addict than a photographer.

Bamboo Fan?  You will have to wait until my book is published but after living midst bamboo in China, I started to study it, and am overwhelmingly impressed by this grass - which we should be growing more of in Australia.  You can read more about it here at my blog Bamboo Journey.  BTW I'd love to have comments, questions, and information added to that site too.

Workshop Presenter?  Mmm.. Must work on that, but I am hoping to do some workshops on Blogging and Lifestory Writing soon.  It is in the pipeline.

Tuesday, June 26

Sunshine Coast

Yesterday I drove up to Belli Park (on the way to Kenilworth) to visit Australia Bamboo.  Part of my reason for going was also to drive a good distance - preparation for my long distance driving later this year and into 2013.  I had a plan to do a few things, which I won't go into here, but it all worked out.  Luckily I chose to go yesterday, as today the rain is quite heavy and I would have changed my mind about going.  No need to drive long distances in the rain, if I don't have to!!

The trip was just over 300 kms from here in Brisbane, to Belli Park and back, though I did detour a little as I will explain.  I am conscious of needing a break during driving, and I did not take a break on the journey to Belli Park, but had two short breaks on the way back.

One was to go to the Maroochy Botanical Gardens and I confess I only did a short walk in the gardens.

One funny incident that I will report, is that I paid a visit to the public toilets and there was a lady from the UK, on holiday from over there, taking photos in the facility.  I didn't make any comment, but perhaps there was an odd look on my countenance.  She quickly explained that they were the cleanest toilets she had ever seen!!  Public toilets that is!!!  My, how bad must the UK dunnies be????  Certainly they were clean, and very functional, but I would suggest quite a list of other better or nearly as good as, facilities around the place.   Still, she couldn't wait to tell her Pommy mates back in "the old country" about our grand facilities!!

There were spots of rain when I was there - nothing big deal, but I sat in my car and devoured the snacks that I had brought with me, before setting off again.

My next detour was at Wild Horse Mountain, and I set off to walk up to the top of the mountain where there is a lookout.  I managed to get one third of the way up the mountain, and came down.  I need to be fitter.  Still I managed to take a few photographs through the trees, but it was not a good day for photography anyway.  It was spitting to rain, and I didn't want to have to run down to the car if the heavens opened up if I was up on the mountain.  Maybe another time, and (talking to myself) I must get fitter!!

Mt Timbrogargan

Near the entrance of Wild Horse Mountain

In the bush at Wild Horse Mountain

Maroochy Botanical Gardens

Sunday, June 24

The Road Kill Recipe Book

In my research for my proposed round Australia trip which starts in December, I am looking at accommodation in Broken Hill where I will be around 20th December.  There are many options and in a month or two I will make some tentative bookings, but in the meantime I am ‘just looking.’

There are many options for me, and I came across a website for Emaroo Cottages  which also has the most extra ordinary recipe book.  It is called “The Australian Outback Road Kill Handbook (Wanted dead or alive?) written by Ned West, so it says.

If you have a decent Aussie sense of humour you will enjoy reading the tongue in cheek recipes.
It is a start reminder of what one is likely to find on the roadside, or perhaps as one drives along the long dusty outback roads, one of these creatures will find its way into the front of your car, hopefully without any damage to the vehicle.  I have promised myself, friends and family that I will not drive around dusk or dawn, which all Aussies know is the time when many of these animals choose to be out and about.  Luckily for me, this is the best time to take photos, which is what I hope to be doing at that time of day, if not sleeping.

It reminds me of a time, back about 25 years ago, when I was in a mini bus on my way from Perth to York for a conference, with representatives from around Australia and some from Denmark, who represented the company which manufactured the product range that we promoted to nursing homes and hospitals in Australia.

There on the side of the road was a very flattened, long dead, hugely smelly corpse of a large kangaroo that had met with a vehicle some days before. The Danes wanted the car stopped, and it reversed back to a reasonable distance from the body.  The men got out with cameras at the ready and took copious shots of the unhappy foul smelling sight - as it was the first kangaroo that they had seen since their arrival in Australia.  I hoped that somewhere before their return to their home country that they would have the honour of getting up close and personal with a live variety, but I was not to learn about that.

Check out the website for Road Kill Recipe Book.  There are recipes for Shaslik of Sheep, Roast Feral Pig, Dingo and Damper Dumplings, Mouse meat balls, Echidna enchiladas, Goanna Greek Style, Wombat Waffles, Galah Goulash, Koala Kebabs, Cajun Crocodile, Goat au gratin, Silver City Snake Slivers in beer batter, Casserole of Camel, Fricassee Fox, Ribbon of Rabbit and last but
not least, Tender Pot Roast Rump of Emu.

As someone who has driven on the outback roads, I know that I have seen most of these animals flattened and dead roadside.  And don't bother to collect any specimens unless on an authorised university or government study.  Just cast your eyes and have a quick look as you do not want to take your eyes off the road.  If you have passenger, it might be a game to count the varieties or the numbers in an effort to relive the boredom of such a long journey.

Check out the website here.

Saturday, June 23

Money and the lack of it.

I have applied for a few jobs, but several things are against me.  (1) My Age - I am over 60, and even folk over 50 find it difficult to get jobs, and (2) I am over qualified.  Especially now with my Masters. and (3) Knowing that I move frequently and am planning a trip to Melbourne/Adelaide on September (I AM going to my graduation!), and my planned drive around Australia starting in December, I am not a good risk for employment, so will have to rely on other means.

When I move to the next house in Manly, I will put into action some of my plans but in the mean time, have joined this site and so far have earned a small amount of money for my zero financial input.

Luckily I have some finances, though slim, and I will try and save over the next few months.  I have estimated my expenses for the first 10 days of my trip, and hope to be able to fund it from my savings, but will have to supplement it.

I have applied to write for some travel mags too, and hopefully I will have a few more query letters written in the next few weeks, and then of course is my book and photographs.

I am also looking to link with someone who knows more than I do about using Blogger.  I have some questions that are not been answered to my satisfaction on the Blogger site.  I wonder if there are any folk with talent in this area in Brisbane???

One of the many things I am doing in preparation is collecting brochures that provide me with great information on routes, accommodation and interesting places to visit.  There is so much FREE stuff, and I am putting it into a bag.

Friday, June 22

Moving House

Short house sits are easier, but no less challenging.  Living out of a suitcase sucks after a while.  But this house which I have been for nearly 10 months is much like 'home' but I must move on as the owners are coming home from China next week.

I have a house sit to go to - so will move into the 'new' house on the day the family arrive here - can't leave a little dog alone for very long.

Packing up, and cleaning up will be on my to do list until there is no sign of me left here.  I will take some things to the shipping container at my daughter's, and a few things I will take with me to the next house.

I am looking forward to the next house as I will be alone - no animals.  Marti has been waking me up far too early lately!!

I have some two months at the next house - before heading to Melbourne for graduation, and then on to Adelaide to see the folks down there.  So it is a busy time.

Check out this site.

Saturday, June 16

Cook's Travels

Yesterday I was on my way to a Forum with Ross Vasta, the Federal Member for Bonner with Malcolm Turnbull about the NBN network.

As I parked my car I noticed I was out the front of a home with a huge campervan parked at the front, and a gentleman was standing by a car in the driveway.  He nodded and said hello.

I said "Good morning, Mr Cook.  You are Mr Cook?"

He looked a little surprised, but then realised I had read the name on the front of the van.  "Cook's Tours"  He smiled and admitted he was indeed Mr Cook.

I had heard the name before, in relation to travelling as there is a company that publishes directories for tourists, I think mainly in the west of Australia.  Cooks Tours provide free directories and I note that the current ones are up to date to August 2012, which is ofcourse two early for me and my adventure, however, I will make sure I order the current books around the end of the year, so that I can continue my planning for the visit.

I learned from Mr Cook that he is to set off today for a 4 month tour.  He has done others.  He suggested I get a small van, however, it is not my plan. For a start, I don't have the funds for such a van.  And I am hoping to 'surf couch' around Australia.

I wish the Cooks happy travelling.

Thursday, June 14

My Small Table and Marti

At the Caravan and Camping Show at the RNA recently there was a little table on display in the huge section of Down Under Camping, and as it was a very special price I paid for it, but rather than lug it home on the train, I chose to pick it up from their store at Capalaba.

As it turns out I have passed the store on many occasions as it is directly opposite Officeworks where I spend quite a bit of money from time to time.

I spent some time exploring the treasures in Down Under Camping and found a tent that might be exactly what I want, and some other things.  I am in no hurry to get some of these items as I move house in a couple of weeks, but I will probably visit next week and put some items on layby.

I will miss this house, as I have been here since September last year, but I move to a house in Manly at the end of this month.

I will especially miss my little mate Marti, though of course there are days when I am not happy with him.  Actually if I knew I had to share my bed with him I might never have moved in, but we have learned to keep our distance and for the most part he sleeps on a towel at the far end of the bed, and usually snores lightly all night.

What has been funny is how he feeds.  He has some special food that is supposed to help clean his teeth, and he is given a half a cup of dry food twice a day, and half of that is is special food.  Recently I bought him a pack of chicken flavoured dog food from Woolworths and he's smitten by it, and will pick out the chicken pieces and leave behind the other food.  Then he will come to me and paw at me, and as I walk or run to the back door thinking he needs to 'go' he stops near his bowl, which will still have the special food that he has not eaten.

I tell him, that he gets no chicken feed until he eats all the special food.  The look he gives me is priceless.  He will look at me, then at the plate and I walk away saying "Eat your breakfast/dinner or whatever all up and I will give you chicken bits.  He stares at the bowl for a while and then I hear the unmistakable crunching as he reluctantly eats his way through his not so favourite food.

If I have returned to the desk and my computer, he will quickly come and paw at me again.  Always, when I return with him to his bowl it is empty.  If he could, I am sure he would hide it from me and not eat it, but I am sure he downs it all.

I will miss him.  I think he has put on a little weight and he has lost one of his front teeth in the past week, but he seems pretty healthy.  I hope he stays that way, at least until the owners return.

Tuesday, June 12

Just a Little Naughty!

Someone with a wicked sense of humour must have been at work in the city today!  As we headed up to the railway station through the shopping complex, we saw this.    Put a smile on a lot of faces!

Monday, June 11

The Nullabor? You are kidding!!!

It is some months away, but it is in my plan to drive down to Adelaide via Charleville, Bourke and Broken Hill.  All being well I will head off on December 10th or 11th, 2012.

I will spend a few weeks in Adelaide (perhaps house sitting if I can arrange it), before heading west, but via Port Pirie, Kimba and Port Lincoln.

Then the drive across the Nullabor.  It's been quite amusing watching the response from other when I dare tell of my plans.

Most women initially look in shock, but then tell me that they'd love to do it too, and wish me well with enthusiasm.  Men?  Well, mostly they will try and talk me out of it, especially when they learn that I will be driving my Mitsubishi Lancer.  Not a 4WD??!!!  Shock horror!

A RACQ guy I met while he was working on another car, reckoned I could do it without any problem!  So many folk tell me how boring it must be - and I am sure I will get a bit sick of it.  But, I hope to break my trip up frequently with stops to take photos, or have a drink, or walk around.  And, mostly I don't intend to drive more than 400 kms a day.

And I hope to have many stories to listen to - from Richard Fidler's program on 612 QR and Classic Radio, with Margaret Throsby.  Each take about an hour, and are worthwhile, and I may also add some books to the list too - so that I can listen to them, and there will be plenty of rousing music, and I hope I will have the sense to stop and rest if I need to!

I will have a tent, though I laugh and say, that I am hoping to bring it back in pristine condition, preferably without use, and sell it on Ebay!!!

One thing that I have discovered is that there are quite a few websites with information - stories by others who have done the journey with tips and ideas.  Clearly water is the big issue!  I certainly will be taking plenty of that with me!!  I certainly do not plan to drive at dawn or dusk.  Those are the times I would prefer to be taking photos anyway.  The light is best then - for photography.

The Internet is a valuable source of information - and when the time comes I will be able to check on road conditions too.

Bit by bit I am purchasing items to pack in my car - mindful of weight, size etc.  This week I should pick up the sleeping bag that I have on layby, or maybe next week, and I pick up the folding table I bought and paid for at the Caravan show.

I still have a few items to purchase - and there's no hurry.  Maybe another $300 to spend on items to take - that is not counting food etc.

If anyone has done the drive, I welcome advice, tips etc.  What are the best places to stop?  What are the best photo opportunities?

Please comment - I'd appreciate it.

Saturday, June 9

Caravan and Camping Show Brisbane

Yesterday I set off for the Caravan and Camping Show in Brisbane.  I had been to a caravan show some time in the past, but didn't realise it was so popular!  I went by train, which is the easiest and most economical way to go, especially as the train ride between the city and the showgrounds is FREE.

I sat beside a huge guy that had two friends sitting opposite.  They were hilarious.  Obviously good Aussie blokes with a typical sense of humour for country blokes.  One was a pumpkin farmer.  I was trying to read, but they had been in fits of laughter that I saw no sense in trying to continue and put my book away.

I was looking for ideas, information and perhaps some product for my proposed trip at the end of the year.

There was so much to see - and so much that I was not really interested in.  Mind you, I did step into some amazing caravans, but my little Mitsubishi Lancer would not be able to pull anything like that.  Saw one little van, which was a lottery prize and bought some tickets.  Would the Lancer manage that?

I did make some purchases - a neat fold up table, which I will collect from a store at Capalaba next week (didn't fancy struggling on public transport with it!), and some neat graters which will make nice Christmas gifts, and some Mammino Icecream.  I had the macadamia and ginger icecream, as I walked around the exhibits.  Wonderful.  It is worth going to their webside to learn about the wonderful macadamia nut!  "Australia's only native plant to be cultivated as a food crop."   It was very yummy!!!

Also I spoke with Michael Leyland, one of the famed Leyland Brothers who had a stand there promoting his many shows that he did on television all those years ago.  Luckily his name was everywhere, otherwise I might have looked at his face and wondered if I had met him sometime in my life.  No such thing, but watched his show so often, it is as if I knew him.

I was only walking around for a few hours, but soon, had had enough so headed home.

Saturday, June 2

Adventure before Dementia

I saw this on the back of a a 4WD on Wynnum Road today.  I'd seen it before, bit it wasn't until I saw the sign that I remembered.  Don't know where, don't know when, but I love it.  Like many, I am trying to fit in as many adventures as possible before it is too late.  Dementia?  Likely for me, so it is something I am concerned about.  My mother is in a nursing home in Adelaide, but she was nearly 90 before she lost the plot.  Maybe I will hang out till then too.

While it is some 6 months before I am due to set off, I am planning.  First of all, I have a list of all the things that I need.  Some I have, some I have bought on ebay, one I have on layby, and others are on the shopping list.

This week, via ebay, came a 'headlamp' - a neat and inexpensive light that I can wear on my head, but it gives me three types of lights - and as they are LED they are very powerful.  Perhaps I will need to look into a dark corner of my car, to see what I am looking for, perhaps I will need to have two free hands while I seek something in the dark, maybe I have to walk somewhere at night.  In any case, I have it.  It does scare the dog - but it arrived safely this week.

I could even use it to read in bed - but as I have the Kindle with the built in light, I think that will suffice.

I also purchased a fold up screen - just in case anyone is keen to give me airtime and let me get my data projector out, to do a workshop on something.  Blogging?  Writing?  Lifestory Writing?  Who knows.

The sleeping bag is on layby, and I'm looking at tents.  As I am tall, I am likely to opt into a 4 man tent, so that I don't have to crawl on my hands and knees.  A kilo heavier, but just as easy to put together.  I hope.

I am in no hurry to buy things, but, it is easier getting them when I see them, and it saves a big bill in 6 months time.