Saturday, November 28

No Time

I have had house guests for nearly a week.  It has been wonderful to see my sister and her friend, and we have had a great time.  We have had time to enjoy each other's company and visit some special places around where I live.

Vintage Truck Arrives at Village

We visited the Caboolture Historical Village briefly.   I had a meeting.  As we arrived a tow truck delivered a vintage truck from nearby Wamuran.  One fellow told me that it may date back to the 1880's.  Great history.

Caboolture River at Beachmere

We visited various parts of Caboolture, Beachmere and Bribie Island.  Then spent one day in the city.

My sister loves plants with huge roots!!

Then on their last day with me we went to the Buderim Ginger Factory, which is now at Yandina and spent a few hours there, before heading up the mountains to Montville and Maleny.

Ginger Flowers at the Ginger Factory

Gardens and lake at the Ginger Factory

Terrorising Lizard

 We did the shops at the Buderim Ginger Factory, and then headed up the Blackall Range - but before  we left the Ginger Factory we had a coffee and the lizard above "terrorised" us.  I don't mind lizards but prefer that they don't stand beside me and look like they are going to run up my leg!!!!  This one was very challenging!!

These red flowers were wonderful at Montville

Trip home was challenging as the Highway was blocked in both directions after a nasty accident involving 6 cars.  One person killed.  Luckily we were on the Steve Irwin Way and though bumper to bumper, and slow as, some times stopped, we did get home!!  Safely.

Saturday, November 21

The Dressmaker - The Movie

Yesterday I went to the Bribie Twin Theatre to see "The Dressmaker" - a movie that was filmed in Australia with Australian and overseas actors.  It is not what I expected - but I found it most enjoyable most of the time!!

Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth - indeed all the cast were great.

The country scenery was impressive - before I knew for sure (I had to wait until the last of the long list of credits had almost finished) to learn where it was filmed.  I guessed Victoria, as the huge stones and dry land were typical.

The Murtoa Mechanics Hall was the old hall in the film.  You can see it here.

It was a strange movie - hard to determine the category for the film, but "quirky" might fit.   All the actors did a great job, and there were some hilarious moments.  Loved the costuming!

You can read the Wikipedia article here. 

Below are some  trailers.

I did enjoy it and could well go and see it again.  Soon.

Friday, November 20

Sexual Abuse Royal Commission

Sexual abuse has been going on for years - and in some schools, churches and other organisations it appears to have been, systematic.  Those people who don't understand that it is abuse of children and others and that the perpetrators continue to seek out the vulnerable and do what they do.  I wonder if with all the law changes, increase of penalties and so forth, if it will every end.

In some countries of the world women and children are sexually and physically abused - and so many men believe it is their right to do what they want with the victims, and often the victim is killed.  If they live, they are often so traumatised that leading a "normal" life afterwards is denied them.  It is horrific.

But in a world where males are usually the leaders, the persons in power in government, business, churches and so forth appear to do nothing, as it suits their own aims.

Many years ago, I was a whistleblower about a teacher at the school where my son attended. I have been assured that my son was not a victim, but I learned that others were and set out to have them punished.  The school has been the subject of the Child Abuse Royal Commission hearings recently in Brisbane.

It was hard to believe that the "strange" behaviour between teachers and students was not considered to be "illegal" or wrong by the headmaster of the school.  It is hard to believe that someone like a headmaster would not know what was going on and act to protect the children.  I reported the concerns that I had, and of course had no proof, and everyone labelled me just a "trouble maker."

So concerned are organisations about their public image that they do nothing to protect the victims, but do everything to protect their reputation.

Up until the time I appealed to the church to act on the sexual abuse, and their refusal to do so, I was a regular church goer, but from that time, I have refused to attend church.  I refused to be part of an organisation that considered itself to be of more value than the children in their care.

The Royal Commission had hearings in Brisbane this month, and I watched the television coverage of the hearings and have had many tearful times, as I learned more about what went on in the schools.  I cry because I was not able to get anyone in positions of power to do anything about it.  We removed our son from the school.  I cry for the boys whose lives were so changed by the behaviour of these devious and abusive teachers, and the way that they were supported in the schools while they committed their vile acts.

The whole episode has weighed heavily on my mind since those days around 1983 when I became the "trouble maker".

It has been a very traumatic experience for me - and for over 30 I have carried the burden of my inability to make a change.

At least I tried.

Monday, November 16

What a Day!!!!

Wow!! How can I explain my day - in a way that folk might comprehend.  Well, I am not going to try to give detail at this point, but to say that I travelled north to Cooroy to meet some folk about a project I am working on.  (Sorry to be a big vague.)

I met this amazing lady.  We did seem to click.  Perhaps we both had senses of humour that worked for each other.  She took me on a drive to show me a house near Boreen Point.  And then she took me to Boreen Point.  I might add, that as I left Beachmere I realised I didn't have my camera.  It was not a bad thing in the end, but I had wished I had it with me.  I feel somewhat "naked" without it - though I had my small camera and my phone so I still could have taken a photo.  However, as it turns out, I didn't.

We went to the house and I was shown a strange fruit.  In fact, it is a cherry from South America.  She and I pigged out on the cherries, and then we picked them and put them in plastic bags for me to take home.  I loved the property - the fruit trees, the bamboo - yes, a great stand of amazing bamboo - and loved the area.  The strange cherry is called grumichama - and we ate so many of them.  Below is a photo of some of them.

My new friend has lived around these parts for some time, and though we only met today, I am planning that she will be my new best friend.  We had so many laughs.

I am in some way glad I didn't have my Olympus with me, as I have promised to go back there with the camera and in my own time, take photos of this magic place.  I thought I had been there before, but when I arrived I knew that I hadn't but it is a beautiful place and I know I must return!!!

I drove through Cooroy but didn't stop - that's on the agenda for my next trip.

I did have another "appointment" with a friend/relative, so I headed back to Caboolture.  I did have a small adventure as I was nearly out of petrol.  Have you ever tried to find a petrol station in Eumundi?    So easy to miss, which I did, and then at the post office I saw two ladies chatting and stopped and asked them.  They laughed as they told me that it was not like a normal petrol station.

Not only was it so unlike what I expected, but someone comes out and puts the fuel in the car.  When was the last time someone did that for you?

Still, I made it back to Caboolture, had coffee and a long chat and then headed home.  What a day.

Add caption

Sunday, November 15

Power Outage

Our weather has been somewhat typical of Brisbane/South East Queensland in early summer.  Storms, rain and all that goes with it.   Yesterday I was in the supermarket when the lights went out.  We all had to leave as the staff could not operate anything without power.  I left, somewhat disgruntled, and headed home, and found I could not put the car in the garage.  No power.

It was a dark and gloomy day, so my house indoors was dark and without being able to use the lights it limited me in what I could do.

My phone was almost out of power, so I could not charge it.  I have a small charger but could not find it, and the one the local council issued me does not work for me.

I found a magazine to read, but it was hard.  I gave up.  I could not turn the radio on.  Silent, dark, boring.  Another disadvantage of living alone I thought.

I had so many things to do - and each one required some element of electricity.  The ironing, some writing (I wanted to preserve what little power I had on the laptop too).

I ended up laying on my bed and pondering some fo the issues in my life at the moment.  Tiny Houses.  Study.  Writing.   My week's plans, and so on.

Then after almost 2 hours there was a sound, and some flashing of lights and the power returned.  I quickly connected the phone to power, reset my internet, and got on with doing things, though first I went outside to my car in the rain (thank you rain for washing off the bird poo from my Thursday visit to Bribie Island), and headed back to the supermarket.  I bought more stuff than I wanted to do when I was there earlier, and then went to the Tavern and bought a bottle of wine (bubbly actually) and came home.

I pondered on how reliant we are on electricity and my wish and determination to have some sort of solar power system.  Soon.
This is a line of storms later in the afternoon.

It was a good night.  Today I have the ironing to do, and some writing catch up.

Saturday, November 14

More on Tiny Houses

I am becoming more interested in the tiny house movement, and looking at the options.  It is something that has been around for a while overseas, but slowly coming to Australia.  We are familiar with small and large homes being created from shipping containers and we know small and luxurious homes are being created from these, but the tiny house is somewhat different.  The focus is on the small house.

People are even creating smaller, more mobile houses, like this one in China.

The cost of housing is rising and houses are getting bigger and with more "stuff".  I enjoy watching the television program "The Block" - though confess I sometimes get irritated by the behaviour of some of the contestants, and I am gobsmacked by the amount of money that is spent on luxurious items.

House prices are increasing leaving large number of people having to rent, which is not inexpensive, and additionally leaves one at the mercy of a landlord/land agent with increasingly challenging rules and often much neglect of maintenance issues.  

I do have a lot of stuff - and I am quite comfortable with the idea of downsizing, though expect it will be difficult.  Still, I intend to do so - especially for my family's sake.  I don't want them to have to go through all my stuff - I want to be organised in my latter days to make it easy for my family and I am keen to reduce my living costs so it all makes sense to me.

Over the next few weeks before I set off for China, and when I return, I will be making some very big decisions about my housing and it just may include creating a tiny house.

I wonder if I can do it?

Friday, November 13

The Tiny House Movement

Housing for me is a BIG issue.  I currently rent a duplex in Beachmere, and the rent is going up and up.  It is going to be too hard for me to pay it soon.  It is a challenge now, but bynext year I will be really struggling.  It is an issue for many solo senior women - and the cohort in which I find myself!

I have for some time being looking at the options for me.  A granny flat idea has been discussed with family, and there is ongoing discussion and a possibility for me, but nothing definite.  I have in recent times been interested in the "tiny house" movement.  Around the world people are making decisions to live in small houses, and it is a growing trend because for many living in a bigger house is too expensive and many of us believe that we do not need BIG houses to live in.

Today I have been doing a bit of research and found a couple of companies that are making them.  One is Fred's Tiny Houses. 

I like my three bedroom duplex as I feel that to have someone come and stay with me from time to time is good, but for most of the year the two bedrooms are barely used.  I really don't need them.  I will find another way to have friends visit me if I choose to go into a tiny house.

The tiny house idea interests me a lot at the moment.  Perhaps I could afford one!!  I think that as I pay over $1200 a month to rent, that in ten months I will have "freed" up $12000 to pay for it. 

Downsizing?  I know I can do it.  I can rid myself of some of my book collection - not all!!  I don't need as many things as I have had in the past and think I can fit into a smaller house.  As I age, I look at doing less house work - three bedrooms and two bathrooms to clean vs one bedroom and one bathroom sounds good.  If I have any choice in the construction of such a build, I will look at easy clean options which clearly the builder of this place did not know.

Now I will be looking for somewhere to house my tiny house and for the moment will be looking at somewhere around Beachmere.  Any takers?

Saturday, November 7

Looking Back

I am speaking at an event tomorrow (Sunday November 8th) and I came to Brisbane last Wednesday to attend a Griffith University Friends of the Library event at South Bank where I took this photo.  Wishing I had my bigger camera with me.

The 7th Floor of the Webb building has stunning views over the river.  The phone camera does not do justice to the scenery.

I have been in Brissy for four nights now, and due to return to Beachmere after the writers event tomorrow.

I have visited friends, done some shopping and taken a range of photographs of the are around Wynnum - particularly some parks as I will write about them for WeekendNotes 

I have done some shopping - mainly trying to find inspiration for something to wear at the "weeding" in China.  I cannot wear red, black or white - so it is a challenge, but I think I have it sorted now. Though I have bought a few things, I am most likely to wear something that has been in my wardrobe for a long time.  I will have my leather coat to keep me warm, so all up I hope I have myself organised.

I head off on December 1st, so have to get myself organised!!! Have passport and Visa, so am all set to go.

At Manly this morning.

At a lake/park area near Iona College
Have you heard of Onecoin?  

Friday, November 6

Taoist Temple at Deagon

I wonder if many folk in Brisbane remember the Taoist Temple at the northern Brisbane suburb of Deagon?  The complex opened in 1988, and on the property was a wonderful temple, gardens and aged home units.

There were two restaurants on the site - a two storied building a short distance from the temple which proved to be a very popular Chinese restaurant and functio centre, and, within the temple building, a vegetarian restaurant.  I frequented the latter often - not that I was a vegetrian but I loved the food that was there - it was somewhat of a discovery fo vegetarian food for me.

Many years have passed since my last visit there.  In part because I no longer lived on the north side of Brisbane, and it was not longer a "local" venue.

These days I often pass on the motorway, which is adjacent to the temple and the other buildings, and often promise myself that I will go back there one day soon.  This week the opportunity came to me and I drove in.  

In some ways it was sad.  The huge restaurant is no longer there - the building looks a bit worse for wear, and is not being used.  I walked through the garden and temple, which is still very grand, but perhaps needs a little money spent on it to get it up to scratch.
The vegetarian restaurant has closed, and the area is used for storage.

I found the office and chatted with one of the staff/volunteers, initially to get permission o take some photos.  Granted.  I walked around the buildings again, avoiding the sacred places where one is not permitted to take photos.

I explored the gardens too - again, needing a little work, but generally rather attractive.  

I don't know what the future is for the building - I get the feeling that there is some alternate plan for the place, which is a shame.

I am so glad I went - but there is a little sadness for me as it is not the same as it was before.  I also wondered what part the Taoist Temple played in my love of things Chinese.  

Tuesday, November 3


I don't recall that I had ever seen Lotus flowering in Australia, and when I first saw them in China I was so impressed.  Such beautiful flowers.

I had arrived in China in February, and the country was still recovering from one of the coldest winters that they had had.  So many trees were devoid of leaves, and it looked terribly depressing to me, but soon it was spring and how things changed.  The fresh green foliage appeared on the trees, blossoms bloomed - in fact I was taken to a place famous for peach blossoms.  It was quite amazing.

Later I noticed that big ceramic pots had been placed around the "pond" near the entrance to the university.    They just looked like pots of mud, but soon the green shoots of the lotus leaves started to appear.  Fish and frogs seemed to enjoy playing around the leaves.  The "pond" - fact there were two - one on either side of the main driveway, was tiled.  Tiled walls and walls.  I was to learn later that until a year or so ago, there were no fish, but one of the Chinese teachers felt that the lake should have fish, to she went out and bought a whole lot of gold fish - big ones - and they had thrived and produced more.  We would sit on the edge of the ponds and watch the fish or feed them.

As the foliage grew in the pots, the fish and frogs were quite active around the greenery, and soon there were huge leaves poking out of the water.  Waterlilies usually create "pads" on the top of the water, but Lotus send their leaves out of the water.  Then come the buds.  Amazing beautiful buds on the end of a tall stem.  Gradually they open, eventually revealing a beautiful flower.

When I was living in the Manly area, I found a dam with Lotus growing near the Old Cleveland Road, and I used to drive past, and sometimes would stop and take photos.  

When I moved to Beachmere, one day I accidentally found the big lake at Sandstone Point and the flowers were blooming.  Every year I (well, the last three) I have been there to watch the progress of these flowers.

This week I wrote an article about this beautiful lake and its amazing flowers, and won an award for it.   You can read the article here.

In four weeks time I will be back in China, but I will not see any Lotus flowers.  It is winter.  Not the right time of year.  

Monday, November 2

Thief, Thief.

Today I set out to buy a few things - I went to a printer to get some quotes for something, and then set off to Officeworks as I needed some folders, and by the time I reached the checkout I had three items, and at the checkout I added a Sesame Bar too.  I paid, and left the store and as I walked to my car, I thought "I thought I had spent $20 something, and I was only charged $18 and a few cents.  As I reached for my car keys I found the offending item.

I had picked up one of my favourite Gel Pens, a red one, and had accidentally/conveniently dropped it into my handbag. OMG!!  I am a thief!!!

Quickly I returned to the store, and to the surprise of one of the staff I produced the offending item.  She laughed as she put it through the till,  for she could see that I was embarrassed.  She tried to make me feel better by telling me that every day people take items and they never come back - for many folk never intend to pay for them.  I was embarrassed!

I retreated to my car, having paid for ALL the items I purchased and felt a bit better.  How easy it is to take something!!!

Back home I set to work.  I had three articles to write for Weekend Notes.  You can read two of them here and here

I am enjoying writing for Weekend Notes - It is a lot of fun, and of course I can take photos to go with the stories.

An article (yet to be published is about the Lotus at a little park at Sandstone Point) I wrote today used some of my photos.  I have been to the lake for the last 3 seasons to take photos of these amazing water plants.  So perfect. 

If you have a pond or a lake at your home, you may be interested in growing lotus or waterlily - more information here.
The lotus are very special in the Hindu religion.  You can read about it here and here.

Sunday, November 1

Thinking of my Mother

My mother died last year, in her 98th year.  If she had lived until yesterday we would have been celebrating her 100 th birthday.

Today, as I have not only the last few days, but since her death, I reflect on her life.  She was born in a little place called Wistow, just out of Mt Barker, in the Adelaide Hills.  Her father was Alfred John Ragless and her mother Irene (nee Pobjoy).  Two sisters were born later.  See Ancestry entry.

My sister and I never visited Wistow, and my sister did not know of its existence, until Mum's later years and we didn't visit it until after her death when we scattered her ashes in a park there.

Mum and Dad were quite strict.  Mum was a staunch Anglican all her life as her mother's brother was the minister of the St Mary's Church of England Church, as it was called in those days.  My grandmother was a very strict Christian, and even walked several miles to church on her own, in her later years.  We went to Sunday School every Sunday, but at the Methodist church as there was not a Church of England church near where we lived at Ballara Park (now called Warradale), until 1956, when St Elizabeth's opened.  (I see it is now called St Elizabeths of Hungary!)

I remember going to church at St Elizabeth's with the family.  Dad was a Methodist, but he came with us sometimes.

I joined what was then called the Girl Guide movement (now they have dropped the "Girl") when I was about 10 years old (as a Brownie), and went on to Guides, and later Rangers. Mum started as a Brown Owl, (leader of the Brownies)
and went on to become the Commissioner - I think District only.

Mum didn't have a car.  I remember her learning to drive when I was about 17 years old, but she never had a car to drive.  Dad had a car, but would never let Mum drive it as I recall.  If she had had a car I am sure she would have gone on further in the movement.

I left home when I was 18, to go nursing in Mt Gambier, and apart from a short period in 1967, I never lived with my parents again.  

My parents and I spoke on the phone every week.  One week it was their turn and the next it was mine.  They came to visit our family in Warrnambool, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and we went to visit them in Adelaide when we could.  

I remember the long drives from Brisbane - with the two children in the back of the car - starting the "Are we there yet?" before we had crossed the Queensland/New South Wales border!!  How many games of I Spy did we play?  How many toilet stops did we have to make?

One thing that stands out in my memory is the time Dad was very ill.  He had a cancer of the bowel, and had it removed.  The bad bit cut out and he recovered very well, so it seemed.  A few weeks after he returned home, the "anastomosis" broke.  He had an infection and the area where the join in the bowel was, broke, spilling blood and contents into his abdominal cavity and brought on septicaemia.  One Tuesday morning I had a phone call from my mother to say that he only had hours to live.  I cancelled all my business appointments and rushed to Adelaide, arriving around 5 pm. 

At the hospital Mum and my sister had arranged for me to meet with the surgeon who explained Dad's predicament.  After that meeting I went to see him in Intensive Care where he was hooked up to a series of machines.  He was glad to see me, and I told him that he was in a bad way and that the doctor had suggested further surgery, but it would not be a guaranteed postive outcome.  Dad promised "to fight like hell" which he did and lived on another 12 years or so and was very healthy until his demise.  He died about 3 years before Mum, but had been her carer for a long time before she was admitted to a nursing home.  She had some sort of dementia.

Mum's last years in the nursing home were distressing for us all.  While often she was very happy and had conjured up some amazing stories to explain why she was there, her short term memory was awful, but she could be quite "on the ball" with things.

Sadly she passed away as I was returning from China in 2014, and I didn't get a "good" goodbye with her.  

She did want to make it to 100 years, but passed away just 18 months short of her goal.

Mum and Dad, September 2003