Monday, March 31

Happy Birthday Doris Day!!

On April 3rd, Doris Day will be 90 years of age.  Now, I know that many folk will have no memories of this amazing lady who really enthralled us all way back in the 1950's and 60's.  Remember, it was post World War II - so there was a certain discomfort around the world as the servicement returned to try and start their lives over again, as countries were dealing with the death and devastation, and deprivations of the war, and life started to pick up again.

Movies were a great escape from the realities and challenges of life, and movies such as Calamity Jane and the The Pajama Game enthralled us.  Calamity Jane was a musical based on the life of a real heroine who was great with a gun, but a lady of kindness.  

We sang along with the lyrics and music and it gave us all a lift.

Doris's story is a great one and you can read her Biography here.

It brings back many memories - do read her biography as it is very interesting.  Do read it until the end.  

There is also an interesting story here - written in January 2013 which reports on her life at that time, suggesting her days were nearing the end, but she still lives on.

Another site to visit is the Doris Day Tribute website.

Sunday, March 30

The Brisbane River

One great advantage of having visitors is that if you take them around our beautiful city, you often visit places you have not been too for a while.  It was a short discovery of Brisbane that was our agenda - to see it from the river.

On Saturday (yesterday, March 29th) we set off to travel on the City Cat - I had no idea it would take 3 hours to do a round trip from Appollo Road, Bulimba to Queensland University and back again!  It was not on my agenda to do that, but one day I might just do that.  On a fine day, perhaps early one Sunday morning.  

A cruise ship in port on the Brisbane River (opposite Apollo Street, Bulimba)

Newstead House - it is years since I visited

City Ferry - haven't been on one of those for years.

Some huge vessels at Kangaroo Point - Luxury here.
Approaching the Story Bridge

Mangroves under the Bridge

Right under the Story Bridge

A city Cat going under the Story Bridge
Looking back at the city
It really is a picturesque journey and luckily with all the rain about, our journey was not affected by rain.  I thought of something I wrote about new immigrants coming to Brisbane in 1939 - they didn't notice it but they travelled on small boats under the Story Bridge but it wasn't complete at the time.  It was opened later in the year. 

We alighted at South Bank, and had a walk through the beautiful rain forest, and on to the beautiful Nepalese Temple - something that is a reminder of Expo 1988.

We caught the next City Cat back to Bulimba. There are several boats that do tours of the river - so one day I plan to do one of those tours too, and take my camera of course. 

Saturday, March 29

The City Adventure - Shopping

A visit to the Brisbane CBD was on the agenda - and it was with some trepidation that I scanned the skies in the morning noting that the clouds were still thick and threatening rain, but knowing that for most of the time, if we were in shops, we would not get too wet!

I drove to Morayfield instead of Caboolture, but there was an accident on the way and we had to go slowly - and missed the a train by minutes.  So we had a wait.  Paper tickets were the go for the girls as we really had only one train trip/return, but it was ok.

It seemed a long and boring trip to the city - the girls seemed disinterested in the views from the windows and barely spoke to me.  It is a challenge.

When we reached the city we made our way first to the Koala shop where the girls were very interested in the merchandise and indeed did some shopping.  We headed next along Edward Street, via the Apple Store, to Bendigo Bank where I needed to bank a cheque.  Then it was along Elizabeth Street to the new Wintergarden complex and a roam around the luxurious shopping offerings before we headed into Queen Street Mall, and the Myer complex.  More shopping for the girls.

As they were hungry we set out to a Japanese restaurant in Mary Street as I had searched the internet re Japanese restaurants in the city, but as we were walking along George Street we came across a Japanese/Korean Restaurant called Noritor.  The girls, much to my amusement ordered Korean food!!!

I chose the Bento box.  So Yumy

Black clouds started to gather over the city as we made our way back to the station via Danda in Adelaide Street, back through the Mall to a few shops, then Officeworks, then to back to the Koala shop where the girls bought more things.

The trip back was loooong.  I was so tired. My feet were aching.  My wisdom to choose Morayfield station was good - as it was starting to rain again, and we didn't have far to go to the car.  Then home.

Fish and Chips for dinner - barramundi of course.  Then an English lesson.

I am sure we all slept well last night.

Friday, March 28

Gardens at Australia Zoo.

When we visited Australia Zoo the other day, I was most impressed with so much of it.  I hadn't been there for a number of years and the trees and gardens had grown taller, and the development around the park also includes amazing gardens. (You can read that post here.)

I took a number of photos.
This magnificent staghorn impressed me.

Heloconia in flower


More Bamboo

And more

Wonderful bamboo forms the backdrop for the Tiger area

Fragrant Ginge

And More Bamboo

Now that I have an annual pass I can revisit any time for free.  I will make sure I go on a day that is not rainy, take my Canon SLR  camera, and get many wonderful images.

Thursday, March 27

Weather we will or Whether we wont.

Fancy that!  My Japanese guests come for just one week and the rains decide to return!!  On Tuesday I had planned to take them to Australia Zoo - and despite the frequent rain showers we went, and surprisingly it didn't interfere too much with our plans.

It certainly was very wet at times, but we managed to see the performance in the Crocoseum, which was pretty awesome.  The birds were amazing, especially the one trained to take a $5 note from a member of the audience.  I won't spoil it by telling all the story here.

The bird comes for the $5 Note

Here comes the crocodile Graham

My Japanese guests

The girls enjoyed being up close with the koalas, though both girls have a fear of any animals and will not even touch or go near any animal.  Rather sad I think, and they must have thought I was a real nut case patting (and trying to encourage them to do so) 

We had lunch - the girls wanted "hot dogs" so that was fine.  Then after a wait we went on the shuttle train to the Tiger Exhibit.  The place is amazing - not just the tiger exhibit which was great, though we didn't see any performance.  The whole set up - the bamboo, the exhibit, everything was brilliant.

After the tiger exhibit we caught the train to the Africa exhibit, just as the skies opened up, and from the protection of an old leaky canvas contraption and later on the train "station" we waited for the train to return and take us to a dry area.  It was interesting to see how relaxed three "handlers" were in the tiger exhibit - as the tigers wandered around them quite peacefully.  I recall there was a tiger "attack" there recently.

Resting in the Tiger enclosure
It is about four years since I had visited Australia Zoo and there's no doubt been many developments, as it will continue to do.  One can see some work being done on other areas, and it does take a day or two I guess to see the whole place - so I purchased an annual pass.  It is so close to where I live that one fine day I will take my camera and visit - hopefully to get my money's worth, I will visit several times.

The Irwin family have done an amazing job there, and to read/hear about their efforts at conservation, it really is impressive.

Cassowary feeding.
I highly recommend Australia Zoo - next time I go I hope it won't be raining!

Monday, March 24

My Guests Arrive

I thought I had left home with plenty of time to spare, but hit traffic jams almost immediately - and it was slow go almost from Caboolture to Boondall, but as it turns out I arrived with time to spare.

The very tired group arrived and we were soon in the car and on our way to Beachmere - the girls sound asleep in the back of the car.

They are both very quiet girls - one in particular but I later coaxed them both to speak when we played cards!

After a snack about lunch time we headed off over to Toorbul  I like to show all my visitors the kangaroos enjoying the waterfront there.  They slept all the way from Toorbul to Woorim and when they woke up I encouraged them to go on the beach.  Hard to do wearing the footwear they had on their feet - black stockings and Crocs - really not beach footwear.

We had an icecream at Woorim and I fed seagulls and ibis.  One of the girls is terrified of all creatures great and small - so I hope she doesn't have nightmares. We had a great flock of birds around us.

Sunday, March 23

On the Beach Again

I went for a walk on the beachfront at Beachmere late this afternoon with my camera - some of the fruits of my "labour" will follow.  Every time one walks on the beach it is different.  It is hard to explain - the pools of water are different, birds are there, debris is different, the patterns on the sand are different.  

Artwork at Beachmere - at the end of Beachmere Road overlooking the beach.

It is not long since the new stairs were built, and you can see how much sand has accumulated there.

A bit close?

Yesterday at nearby Caboolture Airfield a plane crashed just after takeoff killing all 5 on board, and later in the day when I was on the beach there was a lot of activity in the air.  I was curious about how close these two planes were.  I don't think the larger plane was planning to land - it did one or more circuits between Bribie Island and east of the airfield before flying away.  

A number of smaller planes came - perhaps to land, not knowing what had happened and that the airfield was closed.

An ancient log in the water.

This old boat is not going anywhere in a hurry.


Love on the beach

Saturday, March 22

Here Comes a Big Week.....

Well, it is Saturday, and while I have writing I might tackle later, and tomorrow, I am in my final stages of preparation for my Japanese students who arrive on Monday morning.  A group of people including 4 adults I beleive and 6 or so round-about 14 year olds are coming to stay.  The organiser of the group is a member - in fact a SENIOR in the organisation in Japan - of 5W - Women Welcome Women World Wide.

I have been a member of this organisation since 2005 and attended many of their luncheon meetings at University of Queensland in that time.

The two girls who are staying with me are 14 years old, and at this time their parents are freaking out - sending their children to a "strange" country to live with people they don't know.  

Really I will be only having them for 6 days - much of which is taken up with English lessons and tourist things.

I will have a lot to learn as well, I am sure.

I have been busy re organizing the bedrooms, and getting some of my boxes into the garage, getting the cameras ready (loading SD cards, clearing out old data etc.)

One thing I don't use very much is my in car camera - and I have checked it and found some "funny" film on it - the last one is of a recent journey over to Bribie Island.

Again, I will "empty" the SD card, and keep it on longer while I drive.  I do think they are a good idea, but I must remember to delete from time to time.

With Blogging one is always learning.  New technology arrives on the scene, and one learns different ways of doing things, so it is never dull.  

This week I am part of a small challenge with some Caboolture Bloggers - 5 posts in ten days but with some extra exercises within it.  This is my post for this.

I must include photos or videos in some of my posts.  Normally I download from YouTube for my videos and on this occasion I am using the video download from Blogger.  It is taking a long time.  If it works it might be easier doing it this way rather than using YouTube.

Thursday, March 20

Old Photos and Memories

In my previous post I explained how I "lost" the photos in my camera, and found them today.  For some reason that I will never know the photos that I had taken in New Norcia and Kings Park in Perth have been restored - and I know now why.

I had learned about New Norcia before I left Brisbane and it was on my Bucket List - and on the day I had taken these photos I had spent a lot of time taking photos and was shattered when I "lost"them.  I did return to New Norcia, but unable to retrace my steps.  I had been on a tour when I took some of these photos, and was unable to go on one again.

It is worth reading the history of New Norcia - when a group of Spanish monks came to Australia - we were told it was because the Catholic Church in Australia was concerned that especially in Western Australia the Anglican Church was making a greater impact and they wanted to create a strong Catholic presence.  There is quite a story about the monks who came and settled there, and eventually set up an amazing settlement which included churches, schools, bakery, winery, olive, bees and honey making and huge properties for cattle, and crops.  Some of it is still there - including the hotel, and it is now a historic place.  There were 7 monks left, though they were excited about one more novice who had arrived.

Norcia is where they came from in Spain, so it was called New Norcia.

A peek at the Monastry

The old cemetery is very interesting - not only are there graves of the special monks who lead the formation of the new settlement, but many religious folk, and is still used for burials.  

Walking around the fields and over the river to the Apiary. 

In keeping with the old tradition of offering rest for travellers, there is still a guest house there and travellers can stay.  The rooms are basic but comfortable, and the meals in the dining room are top value.  I attended Vespers with the monks, on the night I stayed there, and highly recommend the experience.  

There's a little flyer here with details about the walk around the property.

One of the wells that was built many years ago to provide water to the farm.

The wheat has been harvested - the dry stalks remain.  Can you see my car?
I will post a few more photos.

Advice - if you are visiting Western Australia, it is well worth a visit.  It is about 132 kms north of Perth.

Photos Found

When I was in Western Australia just over a year ago, my camera played up.  I don't know what happened but a range of photos I took at Kings Park in Perth, New Norcia and some other places just disappeared.  I was unable to access them via the camera or my laptop.  The "problem" SD card has been sitting in my camera bag since and every now and then I think to myself "I must get that SD card and see if the photos can be resurrected.  I had spoken to photography friends about it too, and given little hope.

Today I inserted the card into my laptop, and much to my surprise and excitement, all photos were there!!!!

One of the photos was of my friend Erika - and I happily sent it to her today. She and I had spent hours in Kings Park, Perth, with our cameras and I was devastated to learn that my good work had been lost.  I had also been at New Norcia - which I later returned to, but was not able to replace all the photos I had taken.  

Me at Kings Park wearing my well worn, often squashed in suitcase hat.

Looking out over the Swan River from Kings Park.

Swan River

Steps in Kings Park

So glad I found the photos at last!!

No "Blogger" in China

I recall that when I was previously in China, that I had no access to Blogger, ( so I have already set up another blog that I can hopefully use from China.

Yesterday I received my formal invitation from Yuexiu University - and note that it says "during the time you are expected to give lectures to our students and teachers in sharing your learning and teaching experience."

There has been no information on how often, or any other details, so I guess I will have to wait until I get there to find out.  

Still, now I have all the documents to apply for my Visa for China - so will apply in the next couple of weeks when I am in Brisbane city.

I will be updating a Journal through World Nomads (
and it is called "More Adventures for DeeDee".   It is a free journal program.  World Nomads is the company that I have previously had by travel insurance through.  I have not really started it yet, and will work on it shortly.

(DeeDee is what my grandchildren call me.....)

We have just over seven weeks before we go so there are still some things to do:

* My sister must update her passport.  (She is having photo done tomorrow)
* Application for our Visas must be completed within the next five weeks.
* Find and book accommodation in Shanghai
* Apply for Travel Insurance
* Plan for speaking - includes creating PowerPoint slides
* Register on Smarttraveller
* Check advanced weather forecast for Singapore/China
* Pack (I am already adding things to a suitcase)
* Give my family details of my itinerary.
* Hair do - go the blonde!!
* Have a pedicure.
* Check my phone roaming.

Phew - Lots to do.

Wednesday, March 19

Japanese, Chinese and Australia

It is only a few days before my Japanese guests arrive - two 14 year old very excited girls who will spend a week in Brisbane - sight seeing and taking English lessons.  I have prepared many lessons for them, but I believe the best value they can get from the time in Brisbane is gaining confidence in "conversational English".

I am well prepared for formal and informal lessons which will include a cooking lesson where the girls will have to find the ingredients in a supermarket.  Should be fun.

I have been communicating with Yuexiu University in Shaoxing, China, where I taught English in 2008, and 2010, as I will be staying on the campus as an "alumni" in May while I do some research and take another round of photos.   As I will be accommodated on campus, I have to have an invitation letter and have sent a copy of my passport front page to them.  Perhaps because they need to have a reason to invite me, I have been asked to do a presentation to students on "Lifelong Learning".  I hope it is "a" = "one" presentation, but I guess I will find out soon enough, so over the next few weeks will find out more about their expectations and plan my presentation.

Meanwhile it is the planning for the Japanese duo.  I hope their English is good, as my Japanese language skills are zero.  I do have an electronic dictionary, so will be interesting how that goes.

Both girls are afraid of animals - but I do hope to take them to Toorbul to see the wild kangaroos enjoying the beachfront and the tranquility of Pumicestone Passage, and of course they will view (mostly from the safety of my car) the cows and horses that almost line the road between the M1 and Beachmere. We will also be going to Australia Zoo, so I guess they will see some scary ones there.

They will of course be going to the Caboolture Historical Village to learn a little of Australian history, and they will spend a day in and around the Brisbane CBD, as well as a visit to Bribie Island, and a romp along the sand dunes at Beachmere.  I'll be knackered by the time they go...

One of my lessons is cooking.  What should we cook?  I am thinking perhaps little quiches, or little cakes.  Any ideas?