Wednesday, June 24

Rodeo? Me?

A Rodeo, me?  I will look out of place. As it turns out, I cannot attend, but perhaps one day when I am available I will venture to the Queensland Equestrian Centre to see what a Rodeo is all about.  I know it focuses on horses, and bulls and a whole lot of stuff that is Rodeo - but it is not familiar to me.  I am a "city slicker" really, though I occasional lament that perhaps many years ago I should have hooked up with a farmer and not the city slicker that I did!  And I think it is more of a "boys" thing.

It does look exciting, and I do love animals but I suspect I will feel very sorry for the animals involved in a Rodeo.

There is one being held in the Equestrian Centre on July 4th, but I am off to a friend's 80th Birthday Party, and to hear the Caxton Street Jazz Band.  Now that is something I am more comfortable with.


Neighbours and Fences

Fences and trees are two of the issues that upset neighbours.  Frequently on the news there are stories about neighbourhood spats because someone has built a fence that the neighbours don't like and often are required to help finance, or trees that overhang a neighbours property - and that the neighbours end up in a fight over the issue, often ending up in court.

My issue with fences is different.  The developers of the estate where I live have a caveat on the properties that home owners must not erect fences in the front of their properties.  Two owners have done so - which is not bad out of 40 properties I guess - and I don't know if there have been any complaints about it.

What I find amusing is that the developers reasoned that with no front fences, the neighbours would not have a "barrier" between them and that they could form friendships easier.  Does it happen?  No.  Quite the contrary.    There appears to be no interaction between neighbours here.  Why, you might ask.

I think it is because all the living areas are at the back of the house.  The only windows that overlook the front of the house are bedrooms, and these rooms are seldom visited during the day.  We don't see our neighbours come and go.  We are "isolated" to some degree in the rear of our houses.

I can walk up and down the street almost all day (though I don't) and you never see a neighbour.  If you see them, they are generally in their car going somewhere or coming home.

Would the front of the house be used more if there was a front fence?  Maybe, maybe not.  Few of the neighbours are gardeners and the properties nearly all are 2 metres higher than the road (above flood level), so the front yards are not a gardeners paradise at all.  We mow, and that is about all.

I'd like to tell the Developers that they concept failed miserably.

Monday, June 22

A Writing Competition for My Writing Friends

This is a fun competition that is the first for the Caboolture Historical Village.   You can find out all about it here. 

So get writing.

I love entering writing competition but as I am the co ordinator for this one, I shall have to just wait for the entries to come in and send them on to the Judge.

Elly Hoyt - Remember the Name!

Elly Hoyt is a great Jazz Singer.  I'll explain more later.   Caboolture is a "Country" community - surrounded by farms, with the State Equestrian Centre and Showgrounds, it is a sort of "cowboy" country.  The most popular music is "country".  So when we introduced Jazz at the Caboolture Historical Village it was with a little trepidation.

And so it was on June 20th, 2015, that we held a Jazz event at the Village with the trio Jazz Australis, and singer Elly Hoyt.  The crowd was not as big as hoped, but some folk whose knowledge of Jazz was nil attended. There were some jazz fans, but many were country music fans.  One was a country muso, who approached the event with caution - saying he had no idea of that music genre.

I am the Jazz fanatic - and was most keen to learn how the locals would react.

It was overwhelming.  At the end of the event, there was nothing but positive responses.  Some of the crowd approached the musicians and singer, heaping praise.  One guy, the "country" muso was gobsmacked and I was gobsmacked at his reaction.  In fact, he came and hugged me as he thanked me for arranging the event!  Others just raved!!!

I was asked to thank the audience and the entertainers at the end of the event, and I asked everyone to remember the name Elly Hoyt.  She is an amazing singer, and has won an extra ordinary scholarship, and is off to Boston USA shortly to continue her career in a country that is a much greater jazz community than Australia.  I get goosebumps when I think of the potential.  When she sings I get goosebumps.  She is amazing.

Remember the name, Elly Hoyt.  I am sure we will hear a lot more of Elly, as she makes her career in the USA.

Saturday, June 20

A Little Green Frog Causes Trouble!

Green frogs are common around Beachmere.  With all the bush and water from the swamps, the river and the sea (though green frogs avoid seawater), it is no surprise.  I have a family that lives in my air conditioner - happily, as I seldom use it.  I see them come out late in the day in the warmer months and hop around my yard.

I see tiny little ones frequently.  They live in my green house and behind the leaves of other plants in my garden.  I love them.  When I find them I chat in a friendly way to them, admiring their beautiful faces and bright eyes.

But this morning, one gave me trouble.

We have had a bit of rain this week and most of my plants have been watered by the rain from the heavens, but I have a problem with an overflowing pipe near the back of my house, so I have chosen to leave a large plastic rubbish bin in situ and collect the water, which I eventually use to water those plants that miss out on the rain.

Today, I collected my tin watering can from the greenhouse and lowered it, as I usually do, into the bin of water to fill it, which all went very well, but when I went to pour it on the plants the water dribbled.  Something had blocked the outlet. I peered in, as best I could, as it is small, and there I saw a tiny green frog with his eyes wide open and perhaps this little froggy was wondering what was going on!!

Was it stuck?  No, I was able to move it momentarily back the spout, but when I tried to water the garden again, it wedged itself in the spout and prevented any water escaping. I tried to gently poke it with a leaf.  It refused to budge.

So, now I wait.  I wonder if I go away and leave it, it will choose to escape.

Some time later I returned.  The frog was quite a deal bigger than I had estimated, but still a small one.

It clung to the side of the watering can, so I left it alone for a while hoping it would move on.  Cute though.  And I guess it does find safely in my watering can if I leave it in peace!

Thursday, June 18

So Many Photos....................

I have another box full of photos and other ephemera.  So many photos and newspaper articles going back many years.  My parents used to send them to me, and as many were about historical documents I kept them.  Sadly I will throw some of them out now as I don't think any family member will be interested in the articles.  Many were about Mount Gambier where I and my parents lived for several years.

The above photo was in the box - me at about 2 or 3 years of age in Adelaide.  I put it on FB and asked if anyone knew who it was.  Apparently my eyes and smile are the same.

Me a few years ago.  I have long hair now.

The bottom one is of me in Beijing, in Tiananmen Square, taken on April 3rd, 2010.  Another Aussie and I had travelled from Shaoxing, south of Shanghai, via Hangzhou Airport to Beijing.  We had two days there - two very full days.  As it turns out our hotel was just a few metres from the Forbidden City, which backs onto Tiananmen Square, so on our last morning we walked to the Square and had a good look around.  Would love to have stayed longer - there was so much to see.

And there is still so much to see in my big plastic box of photos and other papers.

Making Wontons

I know they are easy and one doesn't need fancy kitchen gadgets to make them.  It is a long time since I have made any, but recently I bought a pack of Wonton Wrappers in the supermarket and each time I opened the refrigerator door they beckoned me to create with them.  These are of course popular in China and the Chinese are fairly simple cooks as they didn't have fancy kitchens!!!

There are a lot of recipes around and even videos on Youtube to help, but as usual I created my own.  I'm not one to rush out to buy just one or two ingredients that I do not have in my refrigerator.  I create!!!

First of all I made my mixture.  I used chicken mince, finely sliced onion, finely sliced shallots (the long green leaf variety), frozen spinach, and shaved cabbage.  I mixed it in a bowl with some Hoi Sin Sauce, some Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, and pepper and salt.   Most recipes say to add an egg, but I don't like eggs so I just mixed it together.  

On each wonton square I placed around a big teaspoon full of ingredients, and having "painted" all sides of the square with water with my pastry brush, I pulled the edges together and made little parcels.

I use a bamboo steamer and soon I had some tasty morsels.  How long?  Maybe 10 minutes.  I didn't check. Remember that using uncooked chicken you need to make sure it is properly cooked!

They froze well too.  I made quite a batch, so carefully placed them on a plastic tray and froze them.  I have had some since, and have some remaining.

Great to have on hand.  And as I live alone I like to have some "spares" in the freezer.

I don't mind frying them but prefer steaming.  Healthier I think.

What to put in them?   Have a look around at the various recipes online and in cookbooks and create your own.  Easy.

Monday, June 15

More Beachmere...

I have fallen in love with the little township of Beachmere and often wonder why it is not more popular as a place to live - especially for senior members of our country.  To be fair, there are a lot of seniors here - but there are also vacant houses (sale and rental) and the capacity to welcome more to its shores.

Just 50 kms north of Brisbane, with easy access to the city by train from Caboolture, and my the Bruce Highway (and alternate routes) it is a magic place.  We don't have major supermarket and fast food chains - but they are a 15 minute drive away if you really want them.  A Pizza place delivers, but there are restaurants and cafes in Beachmere.

There are many real estate agents who service the area, but L J Hooker have an office in Beachmere, and another agency Beachmere Real Estate.  Other agents work the area but do not have offices as do these two agents.

There is a primary school, Beachmere State School with some 320 students - many living within walking distance from the school.   There is also a Steiner School.   There are a number of private schools not too far away, and high schools serviced by buses at Caboolture and Bribie Island.

It is an area of great beauty and tranquillity.  Being beside the sea, (with views to Bribie Island, Scarborough and Moreton Island) on the northern edge of the Caboolture River the scenery is spectacular.

There is a good community with plenty to do - and not far from other opportunities.  There is an IGA - but it is not too far to Coles or Woolworths and major shopping complexes at Morayfield or North Lakes.  There is a great pub - Beachmere Tavern, with a bottle shop.  Medical and Dental and other allied health practices.

There are many folk who live here and work in the city too!  But most try and find employment locally though it is limited in Beachmere itself, but with more developments there are a few opportunities to come in the near future.

So, if you are looking for great real estate - have a look at Beachmere and see the possibilities.

Sunday, June 14

Getting my Writing Done!

It is my plan to focus on my writing - hoping to achieve some BIG goals this year.  I have a biography to complete and a couple of other works in progress.

I am helping others with stories and have found some websites that might help me too.  I have written about them in another Blog that is on my website.  I am also working with a website called Weekend Notes - writing articles on events in the Caboolture/Brisbane/Moreton area.

The remainder of this month will be busy - halfway there and so much to do in the meantime.

Next month I have some major events - from a meeting on the Gold Coast on June 2nd, a special 80th Birthday of a friend on Bribie Island, with the Caxton Street Jazz Band, and on the 30th July I set off with a friend to Darwin to go on The Ghan.  It is a four-day journey via Katherine, Alice Springs and
Coober Pedy in South Australia, before the journey is completed in Adelaide.

Me at Katherine Historical Village

Katherine Gorge

Swimming anyone?????

So a busy time and I have to fit in a lot of writing.

Friday, June 12

To the City

I have become a bit of a country bumpkin living where I do.  I love the peace, tranquility and lack of traffic and associated problems, but sometimes you just have to go to the city.  Today is one of those days.

Rather than driving my car and paying high parking costs I choose to catch the train.  It is an easy run to the Caboolture train station (I remember when I was a child we used to say "railway station") and though my Go Card said I had no funds on it I boarded the train - it was that or miss the train and wait for another 30 minutes.

Still, it was a good trip and I managed to get quite a lot of crochet done before arriving at Roma St Station, where I had to pay for my Go Card and then get on another train to South Brisbane Station.
Then I wandered - yes, wandered, looking at all the new restaurants along Stanley St, and Little Stanley St.  So many more since I was last there.  I arrived at Flowers of the World - a wonderful cafe and flower shop. and as I couldn't see the ladies I was to meet, I ordered a coffee and sat down in the Little Stanley St area, not knowing that they were waiting upstairs.  However, they found me and we chatted about an event that we hope will be run in September.  (I took a photo of the flower on the table - a lovely pink Gerbera.

Then I set off to the city - to a government office to submit documents for an incorporated association.  Apparently the Commonwealth Bank was having issues and I was unable to make the payment.  So I headed for the Myer Centre and found an ATM where I didn't have to pay an extra fee for using it, extracted some cash and walked back to the government office and paid the account in cash.

The back to the Myer Centre and feeling very tired I chose to abandon any hope of shopping and set off for Central Train Station and was just in time for a train to Caboolture.  It was packed, but I found a seat and continued with my crochet.

There was chaos for banking as the Commonwealth Bank's system was down for much of the day - so businesses could not collect money, and many people could not pay for the items they purchased etc.  Terrifble.

In all (according to my Fitbit) I completed over 10,000 steps, (nearly 8 kms) and my feet are "killing" me, and I feel so tired.

I will sleep well tonight!

Monday, June 1

Freezing Cold Supermarkets.

I am about to head to my local supermarket. It is a cool day - though for the first day of winter, it is not really cold.  Overcast and cool, that's all.

But what I hate is that most supermarkets - Coles, Woolworths and IGA - are all doing it, is having the store temperature so low that it suits the foods in the store, but not the customers.  At the IGA the ladies usually wear thick jackets - even those on the checkout!  It is crazy!!

It is about all the food that is out in the open trying to entice us to spend our money, but it is not comfortable for the shoppers.  Women, in particular, have a lower tolerance to lower temperatures. We often talk about being in the car with ones partner/husband and he likes the temperature much lower that we ladies can tolerate.  It was a constant argument with my now ex.  I had to wear a jacket - even in summer, and it is silly as we don't always plan to take a thick jacket when the temperature is high.  I take a pashmina with me often (folded it can fit in my bag), as there are many places that are cool.

In cafes, workplaces, theatres - you can be seated under the air conditioner with the cold air blowing in your direction.  Again it can be much colder for women.

Researchers write about this phenomenon - click here for information.

I also have Raynauds which does add to my challenge.

Another article is here.

Perhaps I can wear the coat so generously given to me by one of my Chinese students.  Her family owns a factory and manufactures for Romania where it REALLY gets COLD.  I seldom get to wear it in Australia, even when I travel south.  It has a dog fur trim around the hood too - which embarrasses me somewhat!

Maybe supermarkets will have to provide coats like some butcher shops do where they let you select your meat in a freezer room!