Tuesday, December 31

What? I missed the Edinburgh Military Tattoo?

I was shattered this morning to read on FB that some of my friends were watching the 2013 Edinburgh Military  Tattoo - I'd marked it off as a "must watch" in my TV Guide, but somehow missed it - went to bed, strangely thinking it would be tonight.  I found it on YouTube though, and have just watched it - at least the version on YouTube.

I have always loved watching marching and marching bands, and have a couple of CD's of band music which I enjoy.  It reminds me of the Thinking Day ceremonies at Adelaide's Government House where Girl Guides from all over the state came and marched to the band music into the grounds of Government House and where girls were awarded their Queen's Guide Awards.  I was one of those girls in 1960 and still treasure my certificate and badge.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been going for 64 years - originally set up to bring hope and joy following World War II and is now a huge annual event in Edinburgh Castle each August.

The following is the 2013 Edinburgh Military Tattoo that I was just watching and enjoying thoroughly.


Monday, December 30

New Year Plans - Bring on 2014!!!

Each year, as one year ends and the other is about to germinate, I contemplate my plans for the future.  I am not a fan of “New Year Resolutions” as such, but I do like to have a plan for the coming year. Short term goals, mid-term goals, long term goals, travel ideas, fun things etc.  Those who know me well, know I am a LIST person.  Each day I write a few things down on paper – no, just can’t come at doing it on my “smart phone” – I like doing it with paper and my fountain pen, especially if I have purple ink.  Weird perhaps, but I note that we all are different and have our own different ideas and habits.

I like to have my list completed by December 31st, ready to get started on January 1st.  I am not one to be hung over or even doing anything very exciting on New Year’s Eve or Day – though not necessarily ready to get right into doing things on January 1st, but I revel in knowing that I have some idea of what I plan to achieve for the following year.  I’m likely to celebrate with a glass of wine or even bubbly – confident, knowing that I know where I want to go.

This time last year I was in Adelaide – about to set off on the rest of my “round Australia” journey – the journey that some folk thought I was mad doing.  I’d do it all again – IF I had more money.

Money?   That is one thing I want to focus on in 2014.  Clearly the “Old Age Pension” is inadequate.  I can live on it – just.  I want to LIVE – enjoy life more – afford to go out to dinner occasionally, buy new clothes, not have to procrastinate over invitations that I know will cost me more money than I can afford.  Certainly I would have loved to have won a big sum on one of the recent multimillion dollar Lotto draws, and though I had a ticket, my dreams did not come to fruition – in fact not a cent did I win.  Still, as they say, one has to be IN it to win it.  I did my best.

My 2014 plans are about making more money.  I will continue to be involved in PennyMatrix, and I do believe that I can made a small but steady income with that – though I have yet to convince any of my friends to  join.  I will still be involved with Lyoness – though I am not prepared to put in the dollars and time that are needed to make a success of that.  I am saving/earning small sums of money with that though and will continue.  There is another online program I have been involved in, but am not convinced it is of great value though I have more than tripled my investment, it is just that it is not so easy to get the money out.  I will continue to explore the options there as there is a large sum involved.

It is my WRITING that I am hoping will make things differently for me.  I have several unfinished/unedited works in my computer (and yes, backed-up), and I am committing to being more organised with my writing.  I WILL treat my WRITING like a business and will finish things and I will work and submit my work.  I will.   I will.

I will do my one day a week at the Caboolture Historical Village – but no more.  I have in the past few months worked harder that I had originally intended to, but have no regrets about what I have done.

As well as working on some of my unfinished works, I will also spend one day a week working on writing Life Stories.  I do have a passion about that – and hope that I can get some paid work doing this – and will work to achieve this.  A few years ago when I started The Official Biographer I managed to get some of my writer friends to do some writing for me – and hope that I can achieve that in 2014.  I hope to have the new business cards ready in the first week of January.

I am still working out my hours of work – particularly hours of writing – and will have that done by January 1st.   It will be hard to keep on track but I am determined to make a success of my writing.  Time is running out – I am (like everyone) getting older, and if I don’t finish things soon, they may languish forever in a computer until it too dies.

I do intend to keep blogging and this is presenting me with some challenges.  I will continue with the “Diary of a House Sitter and Traveller Blog” but I am hoping to create a blog which will be more successful and offer great value for readers, rather than a ramble of my activities. I am thinking it will focus on writing life stories or similar – though not sure at this stage.  I will have to hurry, but today I am doing some brainstorming and studying to help with this.  I am also committed to the Ultimate Blog Challenge – which I am sure will help me on my way. 

I had attempted the 31 day blog challenge previously, but failed due to study/travel etc.  but this time I have no plans that will hinder my participation and indeed having learned so much from that failed attempt, and since I am really keen to make a mark on it.

So, I must get busy.

Are there any readers who want to connect with me in the Ultimate Blog Challenge – we certainly could help each other.  Do contact me – even via the comment box!!!  Please.  It would be so much fun.

This is a white wooden piece that I took around Australia with me.  It is being transformed.





Sunday, December 29

Introducing Wally and Minnie

How to photograph goldfish…..
I never set out to take photos of them.  Well, I just didn’t even consider it – that is until I mentioned them in a blog and knowing that photographs go well in a blog, I wished I had taken the photo when they were just in the plastic bag in which I carried them home from the Caboolture market.  The plastic bag safely "hidden" in the Victoria Market bag along with a small bag of fish food. 

On arriving home I released them from the dark confines of the Market bag, into fresh tank water in their new home – a rather large cement type pot which many years ago housed my first gold fish friends.

I had already decided to name these new fish – after my very long departed grandparents Minnie and Wally.  I don’t recall Minnie though I have seen photos of her and I can’t even remember talking about her with my father.  Wally, I did know.  He lived alone in his brick and stone house in Airlie Avenue Prospect – he had lived there from soon after he and Minnie married, until his death.  My dad was like him – at least in looks.  He loved birds and had a great collection of budgerigars.  It is family legend that he bred the first black budgie – I don’t recall seeing it.    He did give us a budgie when we were children – a green one we called Willie Fennell after a famous comedian of the time. 

Back to my gold fish.  One is a Comet fish and the other has some strange name which I can’t recall and I don’t know what gender they are.  How do you tell the sex of a gold fish? Mmmm  Something to research.

Oh, the photo.  In their new home they have been hiding under the greenery that I purchased.  Some weird grassy things held together with some rubber bands.  I forgot to ask how to look after the grass – should I take the rubber bands off?  There’s absolutely no chance of getting them to smile for the camera from under the grass.

So, I rinsed out a large glass vase that has not seen any fresh flowers since I have been here at Beachmere – in fact I have had no fresh flowers at all since I moved here, and then filled it halfway with some of the tank water.  Then with a plastic food container I scooped and scooped and scooped hoping to catch Wally and Minnie as they raced feverishly around the big bowl trying to escape my scoop.  At last I had Minnie and eventually the wily Wally, and dropped them into the glass vase. 

I had cleared a small coffee table – and with great care lest I drop the glass vase and see my new fishy friends flapping on the floor, I carried it inside and safely planted it on the table. 

Wally and Minnie appeared rather stressed by this ordeal and clung together as much as goldfish can do, at the bottom of the vase, shaking and gulping (or was that really abuse being hurled my way?)

I sat patiently with Canon camera at the ready, hoping that with luck I could get a decent photo before stress got the better of them and they died of fright.

Click, click, click.

Thinking I had stressed them and myself enough for one day, I turned the camera off and gently walked the glass vase back outside and as gently as I could poured the water and the fish back into the “pond”.

(Later) I am not sure if they are still in shock or just resting beneath the greenery – but their tails do move a little bit and if they were dead wouldn’t they float upside down on the top?  Wouldn’t they?

I must read up – there’s probably something on the Internet – about caring for two goldfish, and perhaps I should find out how to determine their gender.  Perhaps Wally should be Minnie?  Or maybe they are both the same gender?  Gay, maybe?
That's Minnie silver and gold.

Minnie - clearly the dominant fish - on top.


How to tell the gender of a goldfish

Christmas to New Year

It is always a strange and pleasant time of year - time to relax and reflect on the past year and make plans for the new year.

Today I was up early and visited the Caboolture Markets - while not all the stalls were in place I managed to get what I wanted.  My two new friends Minnie and Wally came home with me.  (I'll take photos and add info later.)

I was back home by 9 am - and happy to get into cooler clothing as it is a steamy hot day.  I have a few tasks to do today - but it is Sunday - a day of rest.  The cricket is on - so have television on Channel 9 - but seldom sit just looking at it.  In fact sometimes I turn the television to MUTE and listen to the ABC and listen to music and just check the screen for scores occasionally.

I did take time to do the survey for Coles.  I am a user of the Flybuys card - I figure I may as well get the discounts etc offered and when I picked up the invitation to "tell Coles" at the supermarket the other day, I figured I should do it.  I don't mind taking back some of the money I spend there.  I do shop at Woolworths too - and use their loyalty card too.  Why not?   I save money - I do get rewarded for using the card. 

With Coles you can do the survey every month - and not only earn $5 off a shop of $100 or more, or alternatively 1000 points on your Flybuys (which is equal to $5 anyway), plus go in the draw for a $1000 gift card each month.  I've never won the latter, but the few dollars here and there is helpful.  Also I am happy to get 8c a litre off my petrol. 

I have done a little research today online, but it is not my focus.  I have some shortbreads to make, and a few other small tasks to do, but generally it is an easy day.

Weather permitting - I will go for a ride on my bike later today.  No rush.  No worries.

Tuesday, December 24

Merry Christmas

Best Wishes for Christmas 2013  and for the new year - May 2014 be great for us all!!

Sunday, December 22

Centenary Lakes Caboolture

I've been several times to Centenary Lakes at Caboolture, but last week I went armed with my camera.  Really there are many great areas within the Lakes grounds for photography, and I confess I went only a few feet from where my car was parked.
One day when I am feeling more energetic (hampered somewhat by a "bad back" at the moment) I will do the walking circuit.  It is a mostly peaceful area - with so much for all members of the family to do.
The lakes have a great population of birds including ducks, moorhens, geese (watch out or these during the mating season - they get narky!!) and children love to throw them scraps of food.  They will scramble around one's feet to get food - but will just as quickly race back to the water and paddle away.  (Don't forget to take a bag of breadscraps!)
There are many places for a picnic with shelters in many parts of the park, and a great covered children's play area.
According to the Moreton Bay Regional Council website "Facilities include toilets, electric BBQ's, picnic tables, seats, shelter, drinking fountain, water bridge, walking tracks and car parking. Sports complex incorporating basketball, netball, BMX and skate bowl."


So - pack a picnic lunch, a rug to sit on (or chairs in case there are no spare seats)  a ball or two, a bag of bread scraps, hats and sunscreen, walking shoes, and water bottles and set off.  One could spend a whole day there - so much to do.

Saturday, December 21

Santa comes to town....

Late yesterday I could hear a strange siren - sounded like an old police siren, but it went on and on.  Several times I went to the front or back yard to listen and determine what it was.  Perhaps I should have guessed, but I didn't   Then it got louder - and I found it was in my street.

Again I went to the front yard and a strange car with a siren and flashing light appeared and children came out from their homes - clearly they knew what or who it was that was visiting.

Then a strange apparition - Santa in his sleigh behind a reindeer appeared and Santa's helper threw lollies in all directions.  It was I found out something that was done each year by Apex - it brought a thrill to the children (especially if they managed to find a lolly!) and a smile to the faces of the adults in the street.

Good on you, Apex!!  Well done.  Next year I won't be too concerned and will have my Canon camera ready.


Friday, December 20

New flowers and garden.

When I drove into the car park at the Caboolture Historical Village last week I was greeted by a delightful sunflower - growing on the edge of the parking area.  Self sown, I am sure.  Probably the seed was dropped by a passing bird - but the plant has grown well without any care and was in full flower.

I just had to take a photo - it is between the car park and the road north to Beerburrum, with the railway line further over.

Then after taking the photos, I grabbed my things from the car and walked towards the main entrance to see that since my last visit only a couple of days ago, a new garden had been created.

It will be a while before the plants grow but it was a delight to see.

Monday, December 16

Queensland Symphony Orchestra at South Bank

I just love these performances - which look like they are not pre-arranged.  This one features the Queensland Symphony Orchestra playing Bolero - something that will bring back memories for many.  I love the little bloke and his drum kit too.  Congratulations QSO.

My Son

Yesterday, unexpectedly my son visited.  I have not seen him for many months as he spent some months in Finland with his lovely lady friend, and since he has been back we have just not had the opportunity to see him - until yesterday.

There was a lot of catching up to do - and it was great.  I saw the great website he built while he was in Finland - for FinOz - which is pretty awesome.

He has also finished his own website - he is looking or voiceover work now - though he does have a job in sales. 

(I must say I remember him like this - but lately he has grown his hair long - and looks a bit like Billy Connolly!!!)

He's pretty handy - now my kitchen table doesn't wobble and the fridge door closes properly!!!   Whoo hoo.  I wonder what other (minor) jobs I can find for him to do.........

Saturday, December 14

Moving Tribute to Mandela

What an extra ordinary life Mandela had - amazing to continue fighting for black Africans the way he did - and spending 26 years incarcerated in gaol for his troubles.  I am sure there are and will be more books about the amazing life.

I fear the last months of his life have been rather tragic - I hate to think about his condition during those times, but the outpouring of love for him since his death has been amazing.

I wish we had such an inspiring leader - is there anyone other than Mandela who can inspire a country like he did?

I saw this on FB - and had to share it here.  Awesome.  (even an awesome Woolworths store too!!)



It has been a few weeks since I put the crab pot in to source a meal of delicious mud crab - as many live in the lake nearby and I have had much success - in fact I think about 99% of the time I get a good sized crab.

I put the pot in on Thursday evening (I go at low tide as it is easy for me to get close to the lake to throw the pot in and attach to some railings there. 

I went back yesterday at low tide (Friday) and what I found shocked me!!  There was one large crab and the remains of another - which I can only guess was attacked by the big buggar.  The shell of the smaller on was almost empty - and a few claws and legs remained in the bottom of the pot.

The "remains" of the smaller crab.

The poor crab must have died an ugly death.  I can only guess.  The big fellow was ferocious!!  I found it difficult to release him from the pot - so carried it the few feet to my home and on the back lawn (safer than doing such a task on the rocks!!) I managed to drop him into the plastic bucket.

I put the crabs in the freezer to "sleep" before preparing. 

There it will wait until I have the time and enthusiasm for my crab dinner.  It is a good one with plenty of meat!!!  Yum.


Friday, December 13

Update, Update, Update

I do have a major writing commitment on at the moment and am looking forward to the next few weeks to get some "me" time - I don't have many commitments for Christmas at this stage, and as the Caboolture Historical Village will be closed for a few days over the holiday period, I am hoping to have some freedom to do as I want.

I am now working on a new website - hoping to do it all myself and so far so good - though it just does my head in a bit.  I MUST earn some money after Christmas - my current income gives me no flexibility so I am restoring my biography writing business, as well as increasing my other writing activity.

It has been a long and hard slog (well since late June) in settling in to Beachmere, and learning my way around.

One thing that I am doing and earnin some dollars - and looking forward to increasing that with some writing projects in 2014 is Penny Matrix.  I have friends who are earning money - it is not a get rich quick scheme thankfully, but it is worth looking at.  One pays $7 a month to access free ebooks, and as it is growing you earn a tiny commission of each person who is in your "matrix". 

So I invite readers to check on PENNY MATRIX - and see for themselves.  I am happy to send more information. 

I have big plans for 2014. 


Thursday, December 12

What I do at Caboolture Historical Village.

After moving to Beachmere (in the Moreton Region of Queensland) and not far from the town of Caboolture, I offered my services as a volunteer at the Caboolture Historical Village.  My role is as a Marketing Assistant - which seems to emcompass quite a bit really!
One of my tasks was to collate material and plan a "script" for Tour Guides for the Village - especially for bus tours.   Eventually though, we recruited a number of volunteers to act as Tour Guides in the Village - not only for bus tours but for any group.
We have had a number of bus groups visit and though we hae done very little commentary from inside the buses as most folk have been able and keen to, walk through the exhibits so we co ordinate this - adding commentary and information.
Last Sunday we had a bus group in from Bundaberg, and Miss Merry Weather (Sylvia) and I (in the new outfit) met the bus contingent and had a wonderfully funny time in the Village.  It was busy - very busy, for the short time the tourists were in our care.  I think the visitors from Bundaberg Coaches had a good time.
Leaving the Caboolture Historical Village

Miss Merry Weather at the Bundaberg Bus.
In all that it was me (the photographer for above) that was the only one of our Tour Guides wearing the new uniform that arrived that day. So yesterday (December 11th)  I managed to coax Sylvia (alias Miss Merry Weather) and Bill to show off the new oufits near our Shuttle Bus which we use to pick up visitors from the Caboolture Train Station (it must be pre arranged and needs to be a group of 3 or more I think).

Sylvia and Bill show off the new outfits.
 What do I do?  Take photos, train the Tour Guides and a myriad of other small tasks.

Wednesday, December 11


This little bear travels with me everywhere - at least when I have my car as she sits neatly on the dashboard. 
I bought it a few years ago - in fact I bought two - they were part of fund raising for the Cancer Fund.  When I set out on my travels a few years ago - I left the second one with a granddaughter - along with a collection of teddy bears. 
As a child I didn't have a teddy bear - so I collected a few in recent years, but travelling didn't have a safe place for them.  Along with the teddies is a Christmas dog - cute.  They are all on my guest bed at the moment - and one is awaiting repairs.  But at least the two lavender bears have been united - at least spend most nights under the same roof.  I have kept Lily in my car. 
I speak to her from time to time - and hope she has enjoyed travelling.  She's a well travelled bear - having been a passenger in my car for some 47,000 kms.

Sunday, December 8

More on "My" Frogs

Several nights ago, I was in my small but delightful back yard with a torch, checking on the whereabouts of the frogs that live in my yard - and saw the strangest things.  Two more green frogs walking along the top of the back fence.  Really, you'd only see it if you were wandering around your yard at night with a torch. Silently they walked, crept across the top of the fence, and into my neighbour's yard - not that I can see there, but that is what happened.

When my kindly neighbour came to help me erect some shade cloth to protect my pot plants from the searing summer sun, I told him about it.  He looked at me in disbelief. 

That night, I could hear him and his wife in their back garden and saw the flash of his torch between the palings that divide our yards.

"Can you see them?" 

They could see some of them, but two green frogs were still on their way across the top of the fence and he swung his torch to shine across the fence and saw what I had told him about.

Two frogs - about two metres apart - were making their way along the fence to his yard. 

He watched on an off for some hours - wondering if indeed they were going to have fun in his pond - but he claims that all they did was sit and watch him!!!!

Last night I watched just one frog make its way along the fence.

I wonder what they are doing??


It is a "green" frog - but this one has a browny hue to his skin.

View from my back yard at dusk