Tuesday, July 31

History Visits

On Saturday I called into the Shire Clerk's Cottage on Tingal Road, Wynnum to have a look inside the Shire Clerk's Cottage.  I love looking at historical places and this is no exception.  I was amazed to find two framed works of art on the walls, that were created with fish scales!  Hard to believe, and I don't know if anyone is continuing with this art.  There were wonderful photographs and items that we oldies are more familiar with.

It was the turn of the Gumdale Museum folk to show off their Museum, and provide lots more fun for those who visited.

There were craft people there - including a lady who does wonderful patchwork (and I am in awe as I have only had one lesson, and have lots to learn.  There was a lady demonstrating toothbrush weaving too.  Toothbrush Weaving????   It turns out that it was probably created in one of the Scandinavian countries a hundred or more years ago, where the ladies created rugs using wooden toothbrushes.  Another name for it is Ragmatting.

The lady I met who was demonstrating her craft sells little 'starter packs' with a wooden (no, it is not a toothbrush), but little tools made by her father, who passed away several years ago, but had enjoyed making them so much that she still has a supply of them.

I have a little kit to learn how to do it.

Inside the museum was fascinating.  I had thought that the building, which looked like a shed, was in fact a shed, but it turns out it was a house and a lady who had been a child in that very house when it was off Rickertts Road, came to see inside.

Inside the museum

Another website and video for ragmatting/toothrbrush rugs is here.

Birthday greetings....

It was really one of the best, or perhaps the best birthday I have had for many years.  It started early - as I was awake at 5.30 am (usually I am awake around this time, but this morning I was on a mission.

My son, Gavin, was due to fly in from Finland where he had been for a few weeks with his girlfriend.  His plane was due in at 6.40 am, and I had made allowance for getting through Customs etc, and my timing was right.  As there had been fog in Sydney there were extra planes landing at Brisbane, and the traffic into the pick up area was heavy I chose to drive into the car park.  Just as I was parking the car, Gavin phoned.  He was ready so I quickly parked the car, and went to meet him.  I pushed my parking ticket into the machine - and was pleased that I didn't have to pay anything!

The journey back over the Gateway Bridge (even though it is named after Sir Leo Hielscher we still call it by its original name!), and to our daughter's place, where his car had been stored.

We had coffee and I opened some parcels from the family.  Now my friends have a giggle when they hear what I received!!!  Not me - all were items I will make good use of on my journey.

  • A fishing tackle box and a reel.  (I love fishing, and I have a rod, but I needed reel and box)  They will happily fit in for my journey.
  • A purple camp chair, which is wonderful with several pockets and a wine glass holder.  How wonderful.
  • An esky on wheels.  It will live I suspect on the front passenger seat floor, with those items that I would like to keep cold.  
Way to go!!!

I did receive other lovely gifts too, including some flowers.

Greetings came from everywhere, and Facebook was busy with greetings too.   

As well I had lunch with my daughter at a special place that I had not been to previously.  Gillian's Garden Cafe is very popular, with fabulous food and and amazing array of clothing, flowers, antiques and more.

Gillian Hirst is a very well know foodie in Brisbane, and her sister was a fellow student at Swinburne doing a MA (Writing) too.  Unfortunately Gillian was not there on that day, but perhaps I can catch up next time I visit.  Food was good, and it was just a wonderful place to dine - plenty of atmosphere.

In the afternoon I had some surprise visitors - two grandchildren called in on their way home from school.

Capped off a lovely day in all.

Monday, July 23

The Alarm and the Solar System

I'll update on the Solar System first - at last it is all connected but until the Electricity folk come it is not working. The electrician came today and the panels that absorb the sun's rays is connected to the box, but nothing can be done without a final inspection and connection.  I await.  Another day waiting for someone to come.

On Saturday night early I went out - to take care of two grandchildren.   I was going to take them to a music event, but they were very tired so I ditched the idea.  We were watching television (and I was listening to the Sydney International Piano Competition, when my phone rang.    

It was the neighbours at the house sit.  The alarm was going off at the house.  I bundled the kids into the car, and rushed off to find out if a burglar had entered the house.  Two of the local men had gone around and there was no evidence outside.  The lady from next door and I wandered in the house - checked every room - but there was nothing.  Perhaps a bug had walked in front of the sensor.

So it was lock up again, after resetting the alarm, and take the children back home.

Made for a bit of excitement.

Friday, July 13

Oh, the solar system.....

As I had my last meeting with the owners of my latest house sit, I was told that there would be some men arriving to install the new solar system.  I'd get a call closer to the date, which I did.  Today the men arrived.  Three men, one truck and another van.

Can I move the cars?  Well, I can move one, mine, but I don't have the keys to the other car, and anyway its battery is removed.

Can I open the garage.  Well, no, I can't.  I don't have the keys.

They are going to put cables and stuff near the entrance - which won't look good.  Let's think about this.

We need to get into the garage which is full to overflowing with things from the business that is run from here.  Not something I have anything to do with, and I can't do much about it.

"Can we speak to the owners" - Well, they are somewhere in Europe.  And so it went.

As best I could and with the help of the lady who is looking after the business in the absence of the owners, we sorted things out.  The installers were somewhat happy, but the changes it all necessitated, made it a bigger job.  Would I sign the documents for payment?  No way.

Strange things can happen at house sits, and this is one of the strangest, as I watched a crane lift things onto the roof, and hard the men walking over the roof.  The job is still not finished, but it will be later today with any luck.

Looks like it will all turn out ok in the end.

Tuesday, July 3

As the sun rises..........

I have been at this house sit before, and love so many things about this house.  It is probably the most luxurious of all of the house sits I have done since 2005.  It is not the first at Manly, Queensland, but it is the first that offers me glorious views.

As I sit at the table working on my laptop I can see the red glow of the sun as it strives towards the horizon.  It is a deep outback red close to the horizon, and it fades out to a pale blue.  From here I can see King Island, that little piece of sand island that is accessible on foot at low tide from Wellington Point, and beyond that is North Stradbroke Island.

My vision is obliterated to the left by trees and tall houses, but further on to the left I can see St Helena Island, and further left again, the lights of the Port of Brisbane, where it must be 'daylight' 24 hours a day, as they work continually to unload cargo ships and load them again.

With the grandchildren on Sunday we watched a train with 41 huge bins of coal headed to the Port - we are still trying to find out how many of these heavily laden trains it takes to load a ship to transport the coal to China.  Those of us who catch the train on the Cleveland line - at least between the city and Lindum can see (every day) the high number of trains transporting coal and other goods to the Port.

Sitting at Hemmant station waiting for our train in the morning we could see the huge trucks plying
the Port Motorway, taking different goods to the Port, or heading for the city with their loads, which included cars.  Such a busy corridor.

Meanwhile I sit watching the horizon.  The red glow has paled somewhat and one can see the pollution trapped in the air just over Stradbroke Island.  There are not winds to dispense it.

Out the front of the house are trees which are home to a myriad of birds, but as I write this there is silence.  The day is dawning.


Monday, July 2

Moving House and Steam Trains

The weather has been awful - constant rain and miserable.  But in the end I managed to move out my piles of stuff (having sold our house and had extra stuff in store at the house sit made for extra work.)

I managed to keep to the deadline but was sore and sorry for myself.  My feet, my legs.... reall complaining to me.

But I had a good sleep and set out early the following morning to take two grandchildren on the promised steam train journey.

Steam Train at Roma Street Station, Brisbane

The Wooden Carriages Await
The two girls and I travelled by train from Hemmant - it was an interesting conversation.  "Why couldn't Mummy drive us in?" I explained the sense of taking the train, and saving Mummy time and money.

When we arrived in the city, we went to platform 3 where our steam train had yet to arrive, but soon it did puffing its way into the station.

I was amazed how many people turned up to ride the train.  I suspect all carriages were full.  Ours was.  We had a wonderful volunteer in our carriage who welcomed us on board and told us the history of the carriage and of course the safety rules.  Children were not allowed to hang out the window they way we did when we went to school on the train many years ago.

We were allowed into the engine to see where the train driver worked, and where the fireman used his shovel to move coal into the fire which was of course burning.  We learned how hot it was to work there, especially in summer where the heat must have been overwhelming.

Soon it was time to board and we were seated according to details on our tickets, (which the conductor came along during the trip and punched a hole in it) in a carriage with wooden everything.  It was amazing to see how we relied on timber in those days!

The train journey took us on a loop down passed Tennyson and the Pat Rafter Tennis Centre, and on over the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly, back into the city and out through the west side of Roma Street Station and around to Bowen Hills,  through the RNA grounds, and back through the city centre to Roma Street.  An hour's journey in all.

The attendant on our train was Bob, with the same surname as the grandchildren, and we chatted with him about his name, ancestry and family history.  The girls were thrilled and keen to speak with their Granddad about the connection.  We have a photo of the girls with "Uncle Bob".

When we arrived at Roma Street Station, the crowds had already gathered for the next journey.