Sunday, August 25

On the Gold Coast - Queensland.

I've never been a great fan of the Gold Coast - I don't mind a visit, but I have always been disappointed when I stay.  Nothing has changed, but let's start at the beginning.

A friend has a timeshare, so has booked a week at Tiki Village overlooking the Nerang River.  Not a bad spot really, but right on the main road.

We had lunch at a cheap restaurant on the Broadwater, which was pleasant.  The most enjoyable part was the view and the seagulls that helped clean up the left over food!!  The meal was ordinary, but I confess, inexpensive.  You get what you pay for.....

Then we set out to find Tiki Village - our accommodation.  There is a lot of construction going on around Surfers Paradise (the new tram/rail system), and even at the Tiki there was construction.  We found the right street, but there was no sign, midst the construction so we had
to have two attempts at finding the place.  Very old place, but recently refurbished, the room is ok.  A one bedroom apartment overlooking the Nerang, but they are not generous with anything.  One small cake of soap - and none of the extras that my friend was expecting.

We went for a walk along Caville Avenue, which was crowded late in the afternoon, and we were surprised how many folk (clearly of middle Eastern background) - it was noisy!  We had dinner at the Life Saver's Club,   Good meal.

Then we wandered back through the dark back to the apartment.  A few glasses of wine and an 'early' night.

But it was not to be a quiet night. There were noisy parties around, sirens etc.  In fact it went on until well after 4 am.  So that why I don't like the Gold Coast.  One more night and I am back to Brisbane.

Friday, August 23

Boredom? Not me!!!

I do enjoy my one day a week at the Caboolture Historical Society.  I confess I don't work hard there, but spend much of my time getting to know the place and what my role is in the marketing.  As any who work in a place where most folk are volunteers would know, there is often much to learn about who does what and when.  If a volunteer comes in for just one or two days a week, and on the other days someone else does the work, there can be an  element of confusion.  Sometimes it is a little frustrating.

I took a little walk around the village yesterday, just before lunch.  There are so many things to see that you would need more than one day to see it all.

One of the little buildings is the Morgue.  Below are a couple of photos I took there.

Another building houses a lot of memorabilia about woodchopping and a video explains some of the safety issues that those who chopped down the big forest trees had to understand. In front of that small building is a massive tree trunk.

This ten ton tree trunk sits in front of the building.  It's massive!!

One of the other things that fascinates me is the way old wheels have been used to create the logo of the village.  These wheels are welded together and form a fascinating vision.  

There are two panels of these wheels at the building. 

There are so many fascinating buildings and memorabilia and it is well kept by the many volunteers.

Do go and visit the Caboolture Historical Village..  Click here for more information.

The Reading Hour

It is hard to keep up with all the opportunties and events each week, but I like this one.  It is book week, though I confess I have not until now acknowledged it.  But I came across the information about The Reading Hour, and plan to at least read to me for an hour tomorrow night.

I will be on the Gold Coast - staying with a friend for two nights, and I will take the book that I have been trying to complete.  I confess that I have had my head filled with other things since I have been here, but I am trying to finish a book called The Binding Chair.

As my friends will know I have a love for China and I read quite a few books that are based on Chinese culture and events.  I read mainly biographies or travel stories.

Where this book came from is a mystery.  I found it at my daughter's place, in the bookshelf behind the guest bed that I occupy from time to time.  She thought it was mine, but I declare I haven't seen it and in the front it has the name of someone we don't know.  It is an old, slightly aged copy, but in good nick.

She thought she would give it to her 13 year old daughter, but I would not do so.  Some of the sex scenes are graphic, and quite extra ordinary.  I did not know until reading this that Chinese women used their feet (or the big toe) for sex acts.  Of course the whole idea of binding feet is so abhorrent to us - and surely was to Chinese women who had no choice.  Mothers and grandmothers insisted their offspring's feet were bound - it was a long and painful process that made walking painful and difficult for ever after binding.

At, the book is still available in paperback and the blurb about it is

"In poised and elegant prose, Kathryn Harrison weaves a stunning story of women, travel, and flight; of love, revenge, and fear; of the search for home and the need to escape it. Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century, The Binding Chair intertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future."

Tomorrow I hope to read a lot more of it.  Maybe finish it?

Even if you read this after Book Week, take the time to read to a child.  It is so rewarding.

Thursday, August 22

My Hair

I was blessed or cursed with curly hair.  Blessed because my mother loved it, and cursed because as I grew older I realised that it had a mind of its own.  When I was about 19 years of age, I had it straightened at a salon at Mt Gambier, and for years it was straight.  The information given to me at the time was that it would only be straight for months, but somehow the treatment had long lasting results. I only every had the straightening treatment done once.

Me at around 3 years fo age.

In the last thirty years or so I have only had two main hair dressers.  One was an apprentice at an up market salon I went to, and when he opened his own salon I followed.  He was always wonderful with my hair.  Our relationship soured after I paid a high fee to have streaks put in my hair - he thought they were "natural" but I thought they were invisible, so was not impressed.  I later used a proprietry product to lighten my  hair and he went ballistic!  That was the last time I was to visit his salon.  It suited me to change as we had moved house and going to his salon required a long trek, and I found a local salon.

I might add that every now and then I have tried another salon, but never found one that could successfully manage my curly hair.  So it was to the new salon which was located on the esplanade at Manly, Queensland.  He was an up market guy, trained in London, and I admit very good with my hair, but over the years I started to get a bit frustrated.  My hair looked good as I left the salon, but within hours it was back to its curly self, defying all my efforts to return it to the glam look that I had done in the salon.

When I lived in China I had my hair done by those in salons there - but I doubt if anyone was qualified, and once when I wanted my hair lightened, it was changed to green, and then to cover that up a very dark brown.  That was scary.

At times I considered growing it long, but was not prepared for the anguish and pain of the growing time.  But things were to change.

In 2012, I decided to drive around Australia, so I had a visit to the salon at Manly before heading off, and over the next 6 months never visited a salon. My hair was wild, blonde and woolly, but it suited me.  I didn't have to "waste" funds on salon visits, and when I returned I visited my salon and had it trimmed, but I don't think he understood what I was trying to achieve.

I then moved house and after a couple of months tried out the local salon.  Now I am not unhappy with it.  I came away pretty chuffed really - my hair looked good. They'd lightened the roots of my hair, and had not cut much off.  I liked it. I have mused over my treatment though.  I was "chstised" for colouring my own hair.  Apparently if I use the non-salon products my hair will fall out.  Since I have been colouring my own hair for years and have a healthy crop, I thought that was rather amusing.

I liked their prices, I liked the girl who did my hair, but their customer service stinks.  At both my upmarket salons they kept records.  Name, address, contact details and on each visit they noted what I had done.  The salon I last visited didn't bother getting my details, didn't refer to me by name, and didn't suggest a follow up appointment.  Strange but true.  Did they not like me?  Or my hair?

Me - taken in June, 2012.

One day when I feel the need to have my locks trimmed I will return, and wonder what sort of treatment I will get then.  Customer Service - epic fail.

Wednesday, August 21

Grandparents Day!

It is Seniors Week, and as part of that, there was a special Grandparents Day at Moreton Bay College where two grandchildren study.  It made me think of my grandparents.  This is what I wrote.  I have printed out four copies and will send a copy to each of my four grandchildren, with a note.

My father’s parents were Wally and Minnie Watson, and they lived at Prospect, a northern suburb of Adelaide, South Australia, in a lovely red brick building at 15 Airlie Avenue.  I drove past it last year and it still stands, though the current owners have planted trees and no doubt modernised it inside.  I can remember going inside it – it was typical of the homes of that era, rather dark and foreboding.  The toilet was outside – not far from the back door. I can remember the black telephone with the handle that Wally used to phone us.  I don’t remember Minnie – she died when I was two years old. She was 64 years old.  Wally continued to live in the house until his death. 

I remember our frequent visits to his home – I think my father had a car called a “Vanguard” and he drove it from our home on the south side of Adelaide through the city to Prospect.  When I drove the route myself last year I could remember so many buildings and parks along the way and it brought back many memories for me.

Wally had worked for the South Australian Railways – I think he was a train driver, but I am not sure.  In his small back yard he had big cages of budgerigars which he loved and I believe he bred black ones, but I don’t recall seeing any.  He also grew vegetables in his back yard and kept himself busy with his birds and garden.  He died on the 1st June, 1960.  He gave us a green budgie which we for many years – he was called Willie Fennell after a famous Australian comedian.

One day I will share stories of our ancestors going back many years – a fascinating history which I am still collating.

My mother’s parents were Alfred and Irene Ragless.  As you will learn later there is a lot of information about the Ragless family.  Pappa and Nanna Ragless had a property at Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, but during droughts and the depression they sold it – but didn’t make any money.  Pappa went to work for his brother at Tonsley (just south of Adelaide city), and one day I will tell you more about the famous Tonsley farm, which won awards for its farming practices.  Great Aunty Flo and Aunty Alice lived on the farm, and when they died it was bequeathed to the South Australian Government to be held in trust and kept as a historical farm, but the Premier of the day, Sir Thomas Playford sold the land to Chrysler and cars were manufactured there.

Alfred and Irene had a big family, Oswald, Lenore, Winifred, Joyce (your great grandmother), Doris and Beatrice.  Joyce at nearly 98 years is the only one surviving.   After moving from Mt Barker, they lived at Eden Hills, and later moved to Edwardstown, and lived in a castle there for a short while until their house was ready. One day I will show you all about the castle – which was demolished years ago, but I do remember it.  Nanna and Pappa moved into the house and I can remember that when the Second World War ended, my parents and I moved in and lived with Nanna and Pappa for a while.  Uncle Harold and Aunty Doris were there too, as were two of their children Jeanette and Malcolm.  Can you imagine us all living together?  Six adults and three children, and we all sat around a big dining table for dinner each night.

During and after the war food was scarce as many of the menfolk including farmers went to war and not all came back.  Food was rationed and so was electricity, so we often had blackouts and had to light candles.  People were still scared too – as the war had been so horrific that it was hard for some to believe that it had ended.  There was no television, and no refrigerators.  The milk and bread was delivered by horse and cart – the milk ladled into a billy can near the front door.  We had “ice chests” and a couple of days a week a man would arrive carrying a huge block of ice in special tongs, which he would put into the ice chest to keep food cool.  There were no supermarkets – butchers where the floor was covered in saw dust to mop up the blood from the animals being chopped up in the shop, fruit and vegetable shops (green grocers) where basic vegetables were for sale, and a grocer where much of the food was either in tins, or in bags.  If you bought flour or sugar for example it was put in brown paper bags to take home.  We ate all the bits of sheep and cattle – the stomach lining (tripe), the liver and kidneys – food that is not so common these days as meat is more plentiful.  Chicken was reserved for special occasions, like Christmas.  There was no television, just a radio.

When we went to the picture theatre to see a film, we always stood at the beginning of every session for the playing of “God Save the King” for during and after the war, it was King George VI (Sixth) who was the reigning monarch.  The new prince will be King George VII (Seventh) when he is crowned king.

Nanna Ragless had a big fruit and vegetable garden, and lot of chickens and worked long hours in it.  It was she who chopped the heads of the chickens when they no longer laid eggs, and she certainly was the boss of the house.  She was a little lady – short with grey hair pulled into a bun and took no nonsense from anyone.  She did have a sense of humour though – which she generally shared with her sons in law.  She was a great believer in “children should be seen and not heard” and woe betide us children if we spoke at the dinner table.  It was she who believed in a strange punishment which even at the age of 4 was submitted to as she and my mother held me down to make me drink castor oil.  My mother had no choice but to obey her mother.

Nanna always had her own bedroom, and Pappa had a tiny room nearby.  He was quite a bit older than Nanna, and would often be in bed for most of the day.  I don’t know what was wrong with him.  I do know that he loved giving his grandchildren peppermints and always had a tin of them beside his bed.

They moved to nearby Ascot Park, their new home adjoining that of Aunty Winnie and Uncle Len (and three of my cousins), and the brothers-in- law helped build the house.  Pappa died not long after they moved and Nanna lived there for a long time on her own.  She was a remarkable woman – she never drove a car, nor rode a bicycle that I know of, but was never late for church.  She would walk quite a few kilometres on her own to church.  She was very religious, in fact the whole Ragless family were and one day if you get to St Mary’s Church, at St Mary’s in Adelaide you will see the many graves of members of the Ragless family.

Not long after I went to Mt Gambier to do my nursing training, my parents moved to Mt Gambier too, as my father was working for the Housing Trust then, my sister had to live with Nanna.  She has always been angry about this, as it would have been very difficult for her.  I would stay with Nanna sometimes, and we always had to be in bed by 7 pm.  We all knew that was because she didn’t want us to see her sneak her flagon of sherry.  We would peer through the door and see her tiptoe from her bedroom, we’d hear the cork come out of the flagon, and she’d tip it into the glass and then creep back to her room.  I don’t think she ever knew that we knew!!!

When her house and garden (yes she created a new garden at the house at Ascot Park) became too much for her, she moved to a unit at Oaklands Park, before spending the  last few days in a nursing home.  My mother and aunts were regular visitors.  In those days the “Old Age Pension” was paid by cheque – but my grandmother who was then in her 80’s declared she was not “old” and wouldn’t cash her cheques.  Her daughters insisted that she do so!!!

She did come to visit us in Warrnambool, not long after Janet was born and not long before Gavin was due, and I was so excited to show off my baby Janet.  She paused momentarily and walked on, muttering something like “Seen one, seen them all!”.  She had so many grandchildren, I don’t think she remembered us all, let alone all the great-grandchildren!  I was so disappointed!

Alfred John Ragless was born in 1868 and died in 1954.
Irene Ragless (nee Pobjoy) was born in 1886 and died in 1975.
The Ragless graves are at St Mary’s, Adelaide.

Walter John Watson was born 1882 and died June 1960 
Minnie Blanch Watson (nee Curtin) was born in born 1881and died 1946.
The Watson graves are at the Main North Road, Cemetery, Adelaide.

Tuesday, August 20

Unloading my Hoards

At least all my hoarding is neat - a collection of cardboard and plastic boxes holds all sorts of memorabilia, letters, writings, and dare I say it, junk.  

A few years ago I disposed of my magazines - yes, I had kept all my House and Garden, Home Beautiful, Belle, and a lot of others as well, neatly in boxes.  Knowing that I would never have the time to read them all I got rid of them.  Sad.  Beautiful magazines which I hope ended up with new homes. I think I did endeavour to recycle them, but right now my memory of their disposal is zero.  I just know I said goodbye to them.

When I moved to Beachmere a few months ago, the boxes that had been languishing in the shipping container at my daughter's family home were shipped up here, and one by one I have gone through their contents.  I've found some amazing things.

I have a box of letters that my parents sent me - 45 years worth. I have letters from friends, Xmas letters, photos going back to 1919 - ok, I know I wasn't in them, but my dad was.  I have piles of amazing family history including an old book which I must read again.  Something to do with Lt Col Jonas Watson, who I believe is an ancestor of mine.  Search on Google for Lieutenant Colonel Jonas Watson - there are several.  A long story that I must one day check for more information and perhaps write it out for my family.

Today I disposed of several large bags of papers, a pile of books I no long want and a box of household items that maybe someone else can use, as well as some old spectacles.  I am so impressed with the guys at the Caboolture tip - they came and helped me with the boxes and bags too.  They do have a shop which they sell much of the unwanted items and I am hoping that some of my items will find a new home.

I returned home with two big empty plastic boxes.  I still have some more boxes to unpack, sort, and it is most likely that most of the contents will find their way to the tip.  Sad to say goodbye to some treasures.

I have been neat and tidy with the boxes, at least that is, until I open them up and find I have to create several piles, until they are filed again the house can look a lot messy.  Much is 'filed' in the WPB!

We all tend to hoard things - I am quite amused at what I have kept and have had a wonderful time going through them. It can be hard to get rid of items - some that were gifted to us and have special memories.

Today is a good day.  There are no piles waiting for 'filing'.  Job done. Today, that is.

Monday, August 19

The Birds Today

I watch most mornings to see what the plovers are doing.  The two tiny babies and their parents have made the park adjacent to my home, as their own territory.  The other birds steer clear as Mum and Dad plover get really angry, screech and attack any intruder.  My butcher birds have not been in for a feed for days, but I see them high in the branches.  Luckily they don't rely me for their daily bread (meat)!

This morning there were galahs and butcher birds around, and I wondered if the plovers had taken the babies to new ground, but soon, the plovers were back.  I saw one of the parent birds sitting on the grass, looking rather fat, but when it saw me it jumped up screeching and a baby ran from under it's cover.

The park had been "invaded" by local boys who had taken in huge piles of timber, and had created a tree house.  There was lots of banging and screaming - hammering often started as early as 6 am.  The council eventually came and removed it all and, I hope, warned the boys of the dangers of doing this in a public park.  I think their parents should have told them that doing so in their own back yard (under the guidance of adults) is one thing, but to endanger folk in a public park is no longer acceptable.

One day I will record the bird sounds that start early in the morning.  Clearly there are more birds here than I have identified - some clearly using the cover of the treetops to "hide".  The area abounds in bird life - from birds that enjoy the river and swamps, to the seabirds.

Often pelicans fly high overhead.  I love watching them - huge and often ungainly birds, they appear to glide easily in the sky.  They congregate around the area at spots where the fishermen come in to clean their catch and live on a healthy diet of fish bones and offal.  Clever birds pelicans.

Ibis - these scavengers about in the area.

Wednesday, August 14

A Little Plover in Trouble

I've heard the squawking of plover's quite a bit lately, and if I had taken the time to think about it, I'd have probably guessed that there was a nest nearby.  This morning, the evidence was there for me to see.  Two tiny plovers were running back and forth around my back lawn, and the parents were on the other side of the fence, squawking instructions to them and/or warning other birds (butcher birds mainly) to keep their distance.

I stood by my window watching in awe as these tiny birds ran back and forth around the lawn, packing occasionally at something within the blades of grass.  Then one ducked under the fence and returned to the parents, leaving the other one near my water tank.  The parent birds called and the tiny thing tried in vain to reach them.  The reality is it was only inches away from an 'escape' route, but didn't see it and didn't reach it as it dashed back and forth.   Several times it attempted to climb over the bottom rail of the fence but failed and then slumped breathless onto the stones.

Two butcher birds flew over head and the plovers flew at them screeching and squarking in their shrill warning cry.  I watched wondering if they'd attack me if I tried to intervene....

It was too much for me - I knew if I squeezed between the side fence and the water tank, the baby bird would run away from me and hopefully identify its escape route, so I warily crept out and did what I though would solve the problem.  It was of course successful, and as the tiny creature fled from me, it found its way under the fence.

Not before I had taken a photo of it.

Hard to see - but it is there on the stones, with the parent bird on the other side of the fence.
 They are beautiful birds and tend to be very scary, but I've not known of anyone to be hurt by their spurs.  Plovers are common around Brisbane, and happily breed in the most amazing places - and often barriers are put around the nest to protect them.  

Monday, August 12


I loathe housework!!!!  It is never finished - even when you think it is all done, you know there is SOMETHING you missed.

I recall in my mother's day that housework was a daily chore and seemed to go on for hours.  She'd get us breakfast, clean up after, then have specific duties to do each day. My mother never had a job, but managed quite a lot of community work with the church, and Girl Guides.  As well, she went to classes - floral art, cake decorating, art etc and entered in the myriad of local competitions at the time.

I have found her collection of certificates.  I remember I entered some floral art competitions after some informal lessons with my mother and I too have some certificates in my archives.

But, back to housework.  I do have a little envy of those women who have (a) a cleaning lady or (b) a love of housework (though secretly I think the latter are a bit strange!)

In my house sitting I have found that despite the home owner telling me that they they like to keep the house spotless, I enjoyed finding spots that had been neglected for some time.  Even the homes I've stayed at where there is a cleaning lady, I've been able to find areas which apparently no one dusts or cleans.

My new house is NEW.  No one had lived here before me.  It is 'white house'.  White walls, cupboards thoughout the house are white as are all wooden doors.  I do like it  - clean, white and bright!!! The three bedrooms have a grey carpet, and the rest of the house is tiled with large grey tiles with white grout between.  Eek.

The issue with tiles is that so often the grout (which is usually white when fresh and new) can become filled with dust from day to day living, and often turns a dirty colour and resists attempts to clean it.  I put my thinking cap on and thought I'd try a steam mop.  I had one previously, but only a small useless part of the original one remained in my possession, so I checked out others on the market.

Some are quite costly and with my meagre budget I was looking for something low cost and efficient if I could.  And so it was that I came across one at K-Mart, one called strangely a "Piranha" and it was less than $50!!!  So I added it to my list and time went by I added it to a very full shopping trolley.  It came in a big box with two towelling covers.  White?  Oh, well.

Steam mops vary in price, and I figured I getting one at the bottom of the rung so to speak - and maybe it would not be as good as the expensive ones.  "You get what you pay for...."  I didn't check the reviews on it until after I bought it - probably not a wise move, but if I had, perhaps I would not have bought one.  Some are not good.

However, much of the reviews I have seen are of a product that differs from mine - mine has a triangular head and gets into every nook and cranny, and today I gave it a big tick of approval.

I found something spilled and dried on my kitchen floor - and it had dried into the grout!!!  I swung into action with my Piranha, and without much trouble the area returned to its pristine white!!!!  Yay!!!

The bad reviews on the product are of a different product to mine - mine is the Piranha 1500W Cleaner, and I couldn't be happier.

I vacuum my carpets - takes almost no time, and vacuum the tiles to remove any dust/dirt/debris particles and then run over the latter with the steam mop - the white cover comes up quite dirty but there were two in the box and I know I can purchase extra ones at K-Mart.  I throw them in the wash frequently.

I think much of my housework is easy-peasy - but mostly there is only me to clean up after!!!

Sunday, August 11

A Little about my House Sitting

It has been several months since I was house sitting - I have been offered a few but I am not sure I want to do much in the future.  I guess the main reason I was house sitting was that I had no fixed abode after I went solo.  I had no home - and my belongings languished, probably feeling deserted in a shipping container in my daughters large back yard.

Now I am renting I have a roof over my head, and a home that I really love.  In fact my new home is like heaven to me - of all the places I house sat none felt like home, despite the fact that at times I lived in luxurious homes, had amazing facilities and they were in fantastic locations.  "There's no place like home" - and here, now I can use all my own things and do things the way I want.  Of course I have to pay the bills now too.

The continual packing and unpacking and not having my 'tools' and 'toys' all the time was a minor irritation at the time, but now I realise how much I missed them.  How much I missed cooking.  Now I can do what I want, when I want with my own things.

Will I ever house sit again?  No doubt I will, but for short periods - there's no point in paying rent on a property in which I am not living, but for one or two weeks it would be a pleasant holiday as long as there were not too many animals.

Several of my friends are still house sitting.  One couple have been in the same house for several years - the owners live overseas and have been trying to sell the older style house for most of that time, without success, so it suits the owners to have someone in the house maintaining the garden and as security so they stay on.  Apparently the owners are returning to Australia shortly so plans are up in the air.

Another friend is house sitting for a mutual friend who is working as a governess/teacher in the Northern Territory.  Another friend and her two children have been house sitting on a farm property near Gympie - with lots of farm animals to care for - and unexpectedly the owners are returning  earlier than planned - they miss their animals.

Another friend is house sitting in Brisbane - short term stays are her specialty.

House sitting has been good to me - it saved me from being on the streets I guess, but for now I am going to enjoy my wonderful peaceful abode here in Beachmere.

I still get notifications via some websites including Happy House Sitters and can subscribe to the site that worked best for me House Carers.

Saturday, August 10

Beachmere Conservation Park

I've driven past a number of times - it is directly opposite the over 50's resort that I'd like to live in, but each time I pass I have something else on my agenda.  To be fair, I've had a lot on my plate, so it hasn't been on my priority list, but as I manage to get most of the things done in my house each day, I set out on another exploration of the wonderful Beachmere area.  In part I find the area to have amazing photographic opportunities so explore at different times of the day.  I've not done much early morning trips as yet, other than one early morning fishing on the Caboolture River.  

Yesterday I set out on my e-bike, and took a short walk through the park.  One road leads to the beach, and the other leads through the middle of the park - through the bushland.  I don't know where it ends because on that occasion and later in the afternoon, I did not reach the end of the track.

It is a sandy track - in both directions, so riding is impossible, so I parked the bike on the path, and walked (without camera on this occasion towards the water.  It was high tide and just so very picturesque with many mangrove trees seeming to dance in the water.  On the one hand I wished that I had my camera, but I know that I can easily go back another time at high tide.  (Lucky too I didn't have my big camera as I came off the bike at one stage in such a big fall that the camera may have been damaged!)

When I went back (in my car) later in the day, I did have the camera but the tide was out, but still good for photos.  I'll just have to go back at high tide.  Since it is about 5 minutes from my house (by car) it will be easy to get to.

The sand track to the beach

The tide is out

Mangroves in the sand


Towards Redcliffe

Through the bush
The light was fading fast to I didn't get to the end of the track, but will do sometime when I have more time and light.  It is such beautiful country.

Friday, August 9

Exploring on my Bicycle

I've done a few short rides on my e-bike, but today chose to venture further, checking out Beachmere and surrounds.  On the bike I can more easily check out the housing, real estate etc and for stop further investigation without being conspicuous like I would be in my car.  I am amazed at the huge number of fabulous homes around here - many on acreage, and so many right on the sea front.

Some must be holiday homes - I have been told that by folk around here, and that there have been many folk holidaying here for many years.  Some of them look a little tired and in need of maintenance, but I guess that is hard to do when you don't live on the property.

There are many homes for sale too, and some of them are in need of a revamp, but it is such a lovely spot, I am surprised that there are vacant houses.

Beachmere probably has had a bad reputation, and there are some "alternate" folk living here, which can be off putting for some, but I have not found any challenges with folk here, in the short time I have been here.

Indeed I have found folk locally to be most friendly and helpful, and despite the fact that I have not joined any local community groups, I am starting to feel part of Beachmere.

The peace and quiet (save for the motorbikes!!) is worth coming for, and the scenery is extra ordinary.

I have been asked on more than one occasion why I chose to live in Beachmere.  There are several reasons, but I was looking for affordable accommodation within 100 kms of Brisbane - semi rural, and near a beach.  A friend and I checked out Beachmere about August last year and I was impressed. There are shops close by - IGA, as well as other shops, so purchasing food and most essentials is easy to do, plus it is a short drive to Caboolture and major shopping complexes and Bribie Island which has some good shops.

The housing prices are good - brilliant value, and for those who want to retire to somewhere quiet, or live on the northside of Brisbane it is ideal.  The only downside I see is that sometimes there is traffic gridlock on the motorway.  Grrr...

Beachfront towards Caboolture River

Park on the beachfront

Towards the river

There are quite a few real estate agents that service the area. This website has heaps of properties listed.  Just google - "real estate Beachmere" - there's lots to see and the market is pretty competitive here, so buying could be extra good value right now.

(After riding for nearly two hours I arrived home and fell off the bike at the front of my house.  No damage done - just some bruising.)

Wednesday, August 7

You Never Know What You Will Find

I can't recall when, if ever, I actually went right through my various collections of items - some of which have been kept in boxes for years.  I am sure that some have not seen daylight for many years, so going through them is quite fascinating as I sort them all.  I do find it hard to throw things out, but I do have several boxes to take to Mission Australia or the tip.

Today I came across a rather well worn book that I haven't seen for ages.  Age has affected the cover which seems to be disintegrating, but the book itself is readable, and inside I found something very interesting that I didn't know I had.

I vaguely remember the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.   I think we listened to it on the radio, for at that time there was no television.  We probably saw something at the movies, in Movietone News, which was a feature of all films in those days.

I remember being very patritotic in the theatre - which was mostly the theatre near the Brighton Railway Station a seaside suburb of Adelaide, South Australia.  I remember all the patrons standing to attention and singing "God Save the Queen" - we would have sung "God Save the King" prior to his death.  Clearly God didn't save him from dying.

Inside the book, it reads, in my mother's wonderful handwriting "Dianne Watson. Xmas Coronation Year 1953."  The price is still in it - my parents paid 12/6 (twelve shillings and sixpence in old money)

Inside was a book that I don't recall ever seeing "The Story Of A Great And Gracious Lady HER MAJESTY QUEEN MARY" in excellent condition.  Queen Mary died in 1953, before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  There are photos of her performing royal duties, and quite a story about her life.  It was written by Marguerite D.  Peacocke.

The first paragraph reads "At one minute before midnight on May 26th, 1867, a blue eyed, golden-haired Princess, first child and only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck, was born at Kensington Palace."

The price on the cover in pencil is 5P 1/- - does that mean 5 pounds and one shilling?  I shall carefully repack it along with some other amazing treasures.  I do hope my children and their children can appreciate it one day.  (It is listed on Amazon - two used copies at $27.)

Tuesday, August 6

A Full Day - again!

This morning I was back at the Caboolture Historical Village to learn my new job there - as a marketing assistant but my mentor was busy so I tried to keep myself looking like I was occupied.  There were school students in the village, and I wandered around into some buildings that previously I had not seen.

Each one of the buildings has a fascinating story to tell - and it really does need more than one visit to take it all in.

One of the staff had her 3 year old with her, and I kept myself and him busy around the village.  He is quite a smart young fellow and we wandered to meet up with Josie the little donkey, and into some of the buildings.

I was feeling tired and when I arrived home I contemplated going for a ride on my bicycle, but in the end drove down to the beach.  It was low tide and I walked northward looking at the wonderful scenery seaside, and the lovely houses on the beachfront.
Along the beach

A strange character guarding the beach.

Low tide at Beachmere

Decorations on the waterfront.

Thursday, August 1

The Benefits of Volunteering

I have a few friends and acquaintances who don't volunteer, or won't, as they see little value in it for them.  If one was to sit and consider what volunteers do, and where we Australians would be without their work, we would understand that we would not be as well off (in a community sense) if we did not have such dedicated volunteers.

The number of not for profit or community organisations is amazing - from small local organisations, to small foundations, and the larger organisations that we know.  The Cancer Fund, Red Cross, church organisations, sporting organisations - actually the list is almost endless.

There are amazing opportunities to volunteer overseas - click here for info - there are a lot of details on the website and lots of opportunities for people with qualifications.

Volunteering is something I have always done - from my days as a Brownie, Girl Guide and Ranger, later as a parent at school, in Quota International, Lions International.  As well I have been involved with writing groups, community development organisations, and an information centre to list just a few.

Even in China, I volunteered, doing extra English lessons in my own time - helping those students whose enthusiasm to learn extended beyond the classroom.

As so, after my move to Beachmere I was interested in meeting locals and contributing in some way. There are a number of local groups, but nothing appealed so I looked further and discovered the Caboolture Historical Village and eventually was interviewed and have been accepted as a volunteer on a trial basis (as all volunteers are apparently.)

I started last Tuesday - very much a BIG learning curve.  So much to take in, and I did spend some time watching the activities provided by a school group.


Here comes the train

In the garden

In my recent travels around Australia I visited many historical villages or places including the Museum at Dalby (Queensland), Miles Historical Village, Silverton in NSW, and Greenough in WA, Cossack in WA and more.

The Caboolture Historical Village is one of the best, if not THE best, though each has its own character.  The Caboolture one is huge - and it will be many days before I get to see it all.

There are some 150 volunteers, and the performances they put on for school children to give some idea of what life was like in Queensland in the very early 1900's.  I loved the school yard performance, where the students had to line up, not talk, obey instructions from the teacher and sing the national anthem of the day "God Save the King" as the flag was raised.

It is a great place - with plenty to do and see!  As a volunteer I am enthusiastic to help get more visitors to this wonderful place. The benefits to me are new friends, new skills, and a wonderful day out once a week.  The benefits to the historical village?  Mmmm, I hope I can be a valuable contributor. to their success.