May 31, 2007

Back to Mobility

Rest Stop Finally we are mobile again. Another $400 later, the car's crank shaft motion sensor has been replaced, which was at the root of terminal breakdown #2.

Ric and Cate must be fuming at their car if not at us! But thankfully they have repaid the money we have grimacingly handed over to the garage on their behalf.

Whilst carless I myslef was fuming when we went for a family haircut - oh what fun - on the bikes, and left the hairdressers to find I had a flat tyre, and had to push the bike all the way home. Not happy.

Still now we've got the car back and it seems to be working OK, though I haven't plucked up the courage to drive it very far yet!

Yesterday Eloise had a little play date with a girl, Lexie, who lives up the road. We popped around for an hour or so and they milled around whilst I had a cup of coffee with Ray (female), Lexie's nanny/carer/whatever. We'd chatted to them one day as they passed outside our gate and they'd called back yesterday morning to invite us round. It was good for Eloise, she got to practice interacting with strange people in a non-manic-nursery environment under fairly close supervision. She needs to work on her sharing...

May 29, 2007

The Scrabble Ashes

A couple of months ago Bronwyn and I were working together and one of our patients was playing scrabble with his wife to while away the boredom post trasplant. Bronwyn told me she routinely scored over 300 when she played. So I told the story of how Neil beat his nan once and no one ever beat her. We decided upon a scrabble Ashes.

Finally, we organised a date and Bronwyn and Scott came over. There was a subtext of Bronwyn meeting Eloise as she had offered to babysit for us and we have organised an evening out next month. Luckily, I had made a quiche before we popped out otherwise we would have been eating vegemite sandwiches.

The game of scrabble itself was pretty poor. We all had rubbish letters. Bronwyn and Neil managed to just about scrape past 100 points. Scott and I were some way behind a 100 points. Luckily we weren't rigorous about the Ashes rules and only played one game.

May 28, 2007

Rain, and Transport Trouble Part II

Gravity It has rained for the past three nights, off and on, which has been nice. Some green is actually returning to the grass around and about and the brook once again can be thought of as a contiguously flowing body of water rather than a loosely connected set of puddles.

The garage phoned this afternoon and I went to collect the car about 3 o'clock.

Naively thinking that having been in a garage to have the problem fixed, and having received a service on top of that, it would be safe to drive for a while, we headed off to do some shopping. It cut out the first time half way to Mt Gravatt on the South Side.

We got to Mt Gravatt and did the shopping - a tripod and cable release - only for the bank to reject my card payment on the grounds that I would have exceeded our daily limit on the account, having spent so much bleeding money on the car that day.

So we trooped off back home and the car cut out about five times before we thought Bugger This and called the RACQ again and got a tow back to the garage. The nice lady at the garage had stayed behind and gave us a lift home.

We actually had some social activity planned for the evening and Bronwyn from Nicole's work and husband Scott came round after a while for tea and Scrabble Ashes.

The English scraped home at the last minute by about a few points. We didn't bother counting in the end.

May 27, 2007

Book club

I have joined a book club here in Brisbane. I found it on - well of course I found it on the internet. This was the second time they had met. I thought I'd be really nervous about meeting up with a bunch of people that were strangers but it was okay. Neil and Eloise saw me off on the bus and off I toddled into the city.

We met in a coffee house in West End called The Three Monkeys. We had been there a couple of months ago for lunch before an osteopath appointment and it helped knowing exactly where I was heading.

My mum always reckoned that the book club in England was more of a wine group that discussed books. I have to admit I was a little concerned to hear they were meeting in a coffee shop. To my surprise, one of the other of group members came with a bottle of red wine and spare glasses. Everyone else was driving so I was able to be a good samaritan and help him out.

The book club is meeting on the last Friday of every month and will be discussing two books each time; one main stream and the other a little quirky. The first book was Nineteen minutes by Jodi Picoult and the other Jitterbug perfume by Tom Robbins. I managed to finish the first earlier that afternoon whilst Eloise was napping. I have recently read My sister's keeper and had little expectations. Everyone had told me how good this novel was but I thought it okay. Everone seemed to agree that it was a good beach novel but not a great literary work of art. I had only picked up the second book from the library a couple of days ago so I have only just got going.

May 26, 2007

Change in the Weather

Across the River Well it seems like winter is actually setting in. Which isn't necessarily to say that it's starting to snow or anything, but it is becoming quite parky enough after sunset for it to be necessary to close the sliding door to the outside world. And it's chilly at night, we're actually talking about getting some kind of heating. Though we should probably try wearing jumpers and long trousers first. Shock, horror.

We'll be carless until Monday at the very earliest, when they will be performing stage 1 of the operation on the patient, whereupon further damage will be assessed.

Oh, and Nicole went out for her first night out solo last night, to a book club held in a little coffee shop in West End. She braved the buses and the city on her own, in the dark, brave girl!

Eloise is still a bit off-colour but much better than she was. All bets have been off activity wise, we've been down the brook a couple of times on the bikes and up to the shopping centre, but that's it. We were going to catch a bus into town and go on a river cruise today, but called it off as she didn't look up to it.

May 25, 2007

Breakdowns Mechanical and Medical

Evening By the River There's been a lot going on over the past couple of days...

I was driving back home after doing some shopping and a little walk down by the river and the Hyundai hyundied, luckily just around the corner. It just cut out and wouldn't start again. The RACQ man who came out said that the timing belt was broken, and it's a major job to fix. So the car is now at the garage.

So we've been swapping emails and talking to Ric and Cate to agree where to have the cat towed to and about money etc. and they have agreed to foot the bill. They are problably cursing us and imagining us hacking the car about like rally drivers, but this absolutely isn't the case, in fact I never knowingly exceed the speed limit after Cate told me about the cops' zero-latitude attitude, which is quite difficult in a hilly place like this!

Secondly Tuesday night's post-swimming vomit incident was not swimming induced, as Eloise was sick again on Wednesday, in a minor way, then very listless and quite feverish yesterday. She hasn't been herself at all, so we had a quiet day and she's off Nursery today. She's needed a lot of cuddles and she's been off her food, having just a few mouthfuls of food though she's been drinking milk with no problems. She'll perk up after some baby-paracetamol and that will last a few hours but then get feverish again.

Still it looks like she's on the mend now.

We were going to go and see 28 Weeks Later at the flicks today whilst Eloise was in the nursery, but that plan has fallen by the wayside.

May 23, 2007

Sort of Swimming

Down to a Sunless Sea Nicole had a day off so we went walking at Mount Coot-tha this morning, parking at a different spot in a little pocket of houses nestled amongst the trees and walking up a road to a pond we've been to before - looking very empty and sorry for itself - then walking round quite a difficult circuit which Eloise found quite difficult and had to be carried around most of.

Eloise slept well in the middle of the day and we retired for a while to the hammocks outside as the weather was nice and warm after yesterday's grey drabness.

Then to swimming where Eloise did absolutely brilliantly, swimming unaided by person or flotation device to me for a distance of six feet, or more, or less. By God though she looked relieved when she reached me....

She had a little water-burp on the way back in the car... we thought she'd probably swallowed a lot of water....

And vomited copiously after her supper and bath, spraying ravioli everywhere.

"Thank goodness for wooden floors," we said.

May 21, 2007

Grey Day

A Stately Pleasure Dome It's been a grey day today. It rained a bit, but not a lot.

We went to a Kiddy Kingdom playground that's just opened this afternoon. It had a huge edifice for jumping around in and running around on and sliding down from.

It had a sign on it saying "4 and over only."

There was a tiny edifice for jumping around in and running around on and sliding down from. And a bouncy castle. Ringed by a little fence.

It had a sign on it saying "3 and under only."

Nicole sneaked Eloise onto the Big People's Edifice as the place closed.

Actually she sneaked her in earlier on when it was full of screaming kids, but the pace was a bit hot fo her and she wanted out again. Nicole just wanted to have a go on it really...

I drank coffee.

Dawn... not just a girl's name

I was incredibly impressed when Neil got out of bed with me when my mobile phone alarm went off at 05:30 on Sunday morning. I was planning to make him a cup of coffee and leave it on his side of the bed when I left at 06:30. It was lovely to have the company of Neil and Eloise for breakfast, even if they were both looking a little dazed.

Neil has made a suggestion that we endeavour to get up earlier in the mornings as "otherwise it is a waste of the day" as it is dark by 17:30 here during the autumn months. Is this the man I married? And James, before you say it, it is not me that is changing your brother. I set my alarm clock for 07:30 this morning but was woken about 07:00 by Matilda asking to go out into the garden. Then much to my surprise I heard Miss Gavin padding about in her room. I thought she might settle in bed with Neil and I but she was keen to get going. What have we done? Is this the end of the lie ins to which we have become accustomed?

May 20, 2007

Botanical Gardens

Horns We started off going down to a lovely lake which was dotted with very vibrant water lilies. We toddled around there for quite a while, snapping away at flowers and lilies and water and reflections, ducks and moorhens and the like... Eloise made herself busy by watching us all bemusedly, then playing with tripods etc, and finally caught the eye of a young girl's mum and got a decent supply chain of bread going to feed the ducks.

Then up to the geodesic dome thingy which has a kind of mini-rainforest inside with a central pool and a ramp spiralling up around it. There were little portholes in the wall so you could look in at the fish in the pool, and I think everyone gave Squeaky a lift up to goggle at the fishies. The cry echoed around, "More Fishes!" ad nauseam.

Across the way from the dome is a Fern House with lots of tree ferns in it.

Then to the Japanese garden, with a large ornamental pond with (I assume) a cherry tree up one end with bright pink blossoms. It was very placid there until a troop of scouts arrived...

After the Bonsai house, we decided to call it a day and left around eleven thirty. Eloise was asleep within twenty minutes of getting home.

The Crack of Dawn

Balloons Over Brisbane River Today was another field trip from the Photography Course I did a little while ago.

I had sort of suggested to Nicole (another Nicole, the course tutor, hereafter Dr Nicole) that we go to Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, and she suggested that for this time, and also suggested an eight o'clock start! Parp!

An email popped through the other day from her to say that her airplane had engine trouble and she was stranded in San Fransisco, but that the rest of us should proceed anyway. Poor dear.

So, Nicole was on an early today, and oh what a refreshing change for us all to get up at 5.30am. Oh yes, very bleeding refreshing.

We were out of the house by a quarter to seven, leaving some very non-plussed dogs behind. My strategy was, if I didn't get up with Nicole, we'd be doomed, so do that and get out of the house, so we went up to the top of Mount Coot-tha where there are nice views of the city and watch the sun come up.

We didn't quite make it for sunrise - that was around 6.20 - but when we got up there it was brisk and very (bleeding) refreshing. The views across the city were very nice with the sun rising up over Moreton Bay, with layers of distant cloud over the sea, and some hot air balloons floating lazily by in the middle distance.

Eloise and I shared a hot chocolate and watched the balloons drift over the city and away.

We got down to the Botanic Gardens at the bottom of the mountain twenty minutes early, and met up with the others.

May 19, 2007

Kite Fest

Eloise and Lulu Nicole had a day off today and we planned to go to a Kite Festival this afternoon up at Sandgate which ran from 12 til 4.

Eloise went to sleep at 12, absolutely cream-crackered. And woke up again at 2.30. So we decided to go up there.

By the time we sorted ourselves out we made it there by about 3.30, and we greeted by the sight of four kites. Oh, and an inflatable killer whale. Which was coming down.

Eloise was absolutely cock-a-hoop with excitement though.

She met a puppy called Lulu, who was in a little puppy-pram because she was only eight weeks old and hadn't had all her jabs yet. After ten minutes of playing I left them to it to go for a walk. When I came back twenty minutes later the puppy was out of its pram.

We stopped off at a little park on the way home to watch the sunset. There is a very long bridge that connects Redcliffe to Clontarf where the Kite Fest was. I wandered around underneath it then went to play on the swings with Nicole and Eloise.

May 17, 2007

Twilit Story Bridge

Twilit Story Bridge Eloise got shouted at today for tearing the front page out of a library book and ripping it up. A very unpopular move! She got sent to bed - actually that was where she was supposed to be anyway.

First thing we had gone out for a ride down at the brook and it was a very warm day. On the way back we stopped at a playground and played on the swings and slides. Which was nice.

Nicole had Pilates again this evening - twice in one week! - so I took Eloise down to a park on top of a cliff overlooking the Story Bridge and took a few snaps. We got pizza on the way back.

Pizza is always popular with Eloise. She has a new catchphrase today. "Pilots n Pizza!" And... "Thanks you... pleasure!" and "Sing! Eeh Eye! Eeeh Eye!" which is the signal for Old MacDonald Had a Farm. I get her to provide the animals now, but she onmly ever suggests Pig and Cow.

May 16, 2007

Stinky Matilda

Well we went to Samford Forest this morning, and tramped around there for a bit. There were notices dotted around the entrances talking about reports of dead animals being found around the park and asking if anyone had seen any suspicious behaviour around 1st May.

Needless to say Matilda found a dead animal. Needless to say she rolled in it. You could smell it from 30 feet away. Disgusting. "Stinky Dada."

So she was shampood when we got home, which wasn't popular, and kept outside for several hours, which was even less popular.

In other developments, Eloise turned down a Tim Tam this afternoon after waking up, prefering instead to insist on Belgian chocolates. Which she did not get.

She raised a stink of quite a different kind.

May 15, 2007

Hooray! Daddy's Cooking!

Brisbane at Dusk While Nicole was pumping her little body silly at Pilates this evening Eloise and I went into the city to watch the sunset - which, due to the traffic, we missed - and play on swings and slides and such like - which we did, in the dark.

We hotfooted it back through the slovenly traffic to pick Nicole up and she was ten minutes late out of the class! Typical!

Today's supper - prepared by moi - was a more traditional and less spicy haloumi with gently spiced leeks served on a chaise longue of rice. "Hooray!" said Eloise as it was laid in front of her. I kid you not! She said "Hooray!" and then, she said it again. "Hooray!"

May 14, 2007

Cooking calamity

Ever since we arrived in Brisbane I have been meaning to cook using more Asian vegetables and ingredients but not really known how. On Saturday one of the ladies who delivers the meals at work had a vegetarian cookery book in the kitchen and offered to lend it to me to try a few recipes. I had a little look through the book this lunchtime and decided upon Asian Greens with Teriyaki Tofu Dressing. We popped into Clayfield Markets on our way back from Centro Toombul as we were returning a truely awful hat I had bought for Neil's birthday. It is the wrong season for hat buying and when I bought it I hadn't got him any other presents so it was out of desperation.

Anyway, the recipe calls for baby bok choy, choy sum, snake beans and teriyaki sauce. Apparantly snake beans are a winter vegetable so were recommended normal beans instead. The recipe was quite simple requiring the vegetables to be stir-fryed and kept warm whilst the next stage was being cooked. The teriyaki dressing needed 1/2 teaspoon of ground chilli and 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger. This was based upon 6 people and I had halved the recipe but in my wisdom I put in 1 teaspoon of ground chilli, about 10 cm of grated ginger and 4 cloves of crushed garlic as I rarely cook without garlic and what harm could it do?

Remarkably, the final dish actually looked like the photo in the book. I had been concerned that the Asian vegetables and tofu would be quite bland but wow it was really quite hot... my nose was running and not just from hayfever. Poor Eloise had a few mouthfuls and then put her hands into her mouth as if she was trying to get the stinging out. We served her up a bowl without the offending dressing but was having none of it. She ended up with a peanut butter and jam sandwich. We have lots of left overs for tomorrow. Yeah right. I'm sure it will be even hotter tomorrow.

Shame Chris isn't here. He would have loved it. Maybe we can freeze it until he arrives next month.

May 13, 2007

Enough with the Training

Matilda Well we have, in theory at least, been training the dogs to walk well whilst we cycle, and to overcome their problems with lamentable speed and stamina after quarantine.

Today, for her Mother's Day treat, Nicole opted to ride to Nudgee Beach.

That's about 15km riding up the brook as we normally do, and then continuing in the same direction until you can continue no longer.

And, it must be said, the dogs performed absolutely admirably, trotting along beside us at an average of 9.6km/h for an actual 34km. Plus an hour toddling about while we were there.

There was a mysterious incident about a third of the way back, when we stopped to let the dogs have a drink and when we started off again, they both inexplicably broke into full gallops and we reached 30km/h for about five minutes!

I tell you what though. They were flagging by the last 2km in either direction, badly. And my bottom hurts. And my legs hurt.

Happy Mother's Day Nicole. I hope we enjoy your lovely Belgian chocolates!



Back to the Beach

Tiny on the Beach Well after all our shenanigans over the past week or so we hadn't been to Nudgee Beach for ages.

The weather was overcast and a bit windy. I was expecting it to be howling down at the beach, and indeed it was.

We took a bucket and spade, not that the sand there is any good for castles, and consequently it took us nearly half an hour to get more than forty feet from the car, but once we got going we went great guns, running and twirling our way across the sand and tidal pools.

Eventually the sun sizzled off the low cloud and poked through, and things warmed up nicely. The wind was still blistering across the sand though, blowing little zephyrs across the surface which nibbled away at my legs. By this point Eloise was quite tired and plaguing me with demands to be cuddled and carried. Though she might really have been after Indian food, I suppose.

She slept like a log when we got back and didn't wake up until four o'clock whereupon we indulged in some pre-supper painting. She had to be washed from head to foot as she was green by the time she had finished.

Australian Mothers' Day

I made sure I had a day off today so I could be thoroughly spoilt on Mothers' Day. I was given a big box of Belgium chocolates that we all tucked into before breakfast. Yummy.

We packed up a requisite packed lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and headed off for a bicycle ride to Nudgee Beach along the Kedron Brook bicycle trail. This is usually a journey we make in the car and akes us about half an hour. It was an overcast day so perfect for a bike ride. I have a monitor on my bike which records distance and speed. It is 17km to Nudgee Beach. We averaged about 9.5km per hour overall. It took us just under 4 hours to make the return journey. Once we got past Toombal the trail took us through wetlands which are interesting.

Eloise went straight to bed without a murmur. I'm not too sure why she is so tired as she didn't expend much energy in her bike seat. Although she kept Neil busy asking for "e i" - Old MacDonald has a farm. Pig and cow seem to be her favourite verses. Neil is complaining of being saddle sore. The dogs have taken themselves off to a quiet corner of the house and look absolutely exhausted. Matilda seems to be shedding a little of her extra flesh gained during the period of quarantine and I am sure I could feel her ribs this evening. I am about to head off to bed with my book but I don't think it will take too long for my eyelids to start drooping.

May 11, 2007

The Long March Revisited

Lake Somerset, Lit While Eloise was in nursery today, we went out to Mount Mee to revisit last week's major hike with dogs on leads. And they didn't get off this time.

We dressed up nice and warm because it was overcast today, and set off into the forest, being roughly towed along by the hounds of hell.

Tiny calmed down fairly soon but Matilda didn't really let up for the whole 13km. And she seems to have some sort of psychological problem with excreting while on the lead too. Not one crouch was had by her. She must have been absolutely busting by the end.

The skies only got greyer as we made our way through the forest, although occasionally the sun poked through and lit everything up, which was lovely. The odd spot of rain came down, though the clouds promised so much more.

By the time we got back to the car my left arm was about six inches longer than when we started. I don't think we can honestly say that Matilda at least behaved herself as well on the lead this week as last.

We stopped off for a coffee in Dayboro to rest our sore legs, the nearest village to Mount Mee and a nice quaint little place.

May 10, 2007

Didn't We Have A Luverly Time

Shorncliffe Beach and Pier ...the day we went to Shorncliffe.

It was a bit dodgy going out to the sea this afternoon because it had drizzled a little during the day - though not really enough even to wet the ground - and was a bit blowy.

And when we got out there (Eloise and I that is, Nicole was at work this afternoon) the wind was howling a bit.

We ran around on the beach for a bit, played twirls (the game Eloise really loves because she wants desperately to have outlandishly long arms) then walked up a kiind of abutment thingy which was only two feet wide but a hundred feet or so long and stretched out into the sea, presumably as some sort of surf break. I bottled it pretty soon... with the wind we were a little unsteady on our feet....

Then we walked up the pier and made really good progress until we came across a fisherman net fishing over the side of the pier. He caught a flatfish and plonked it in his bucket, and it flapped around in there slowly suffocating. Eloise was delighted and looked into the bucket, studied the fish, helped the guy with his net, watched his activities and generally enjoyed herself for a good half hour, following him as he walked up the pier with his pram (yes, pram) full of equipment trying out different spots and catching various little fishies, some of which ended up back in the water, others died a slow and no doubt painful death.

Oh well.

May 9, 2007

Fiddling Around

Eloise Music was relocated to today this week because Teena (sic) the Teacher had "'flu" on Monday.

Well she seemed fine today and in the relocated class there were only three of them. Eloise was very well behaved, quiet and attentive, until I made the mistake of congratulating her on it... then it all went a bit pear shaped as she pursued her own ideas and strategies of how these games should be played!

After that we took a bike road down the brook with promises of milk and Tim Tams afterwards, and an hour later we got home and she remembered, first words after getting off the bike being "Milk. Tams. Peas."

Quite polite I thought, considering that generally on bike rides down the brook, which is flanked by houses and streets on one side on which Matilda has a penchant for exploration, a lot of shouting and human barking goes on, a la "Matilda! COME DOWN! NOW!! GRRRR!!!!" along with foot stamping - because that works.

The unfortunate side effect of this is that Eloise on occasion adopts the same methodology with people... e.g. "Hey! Dad! C'm'ere!! Now!!"

She went down for a nap today for two hours, which was nice. Then we went shopping for veggies, then to Brisbane Forest Park HQ to see what it's like. We made it there for 4.30 to discover that it closes at 5. So we had a quick look around the HQ, which was closed, then came back along Settlement Road and Samford Road, and may have discovered a new Bushland area to walk the dogs.... maybe.

Work update

I returned to work yesterday after a night of poor sleep worrying about returning. Why do I do this to myself, it is always okay?

Today, I finally got assessed to give infusional chemotherapy and should have boluses assessed next week. Hurray. I have been menaing to do this for ages but either I am busy of the clinical educators are busy or absent. For those of you who may be interested in my clinical skills I placed my first male catheter a couple of months ago and am now able to access port-a-caths.

Work in general is going well. I am feeling much more settled and confident. I have been asked to undertake a preceptor training course and will hopefully be overseeing student nurses soon. Student nurses as so well looked after in oncology & haematology here. Not only are they supervised by a ward nurse that shift but another ward nurse is taken off the ward to oversee additional learning and debriefing them on a daily basis.

The ward operates a self-rostering system and to date I have always been given pretty much what I asked for. Always a bummer when you have rubbish shifts as you have no-one to blame but yourself. Anyway, I started out doing 5 x 8 hour shifts per week but I was finding only having 2 days off a week tiresome. So, I am now experimenting with working 2 x 8 hour and 2 x 12 hour shifts so I get 3 days off a week. The 12 hour shifts run from 07:00 - 19:30 which means I generally get hom in time for bath-time, book reading and cuddles.

May 8, 2007

Back to Work....

Nexus Through the veils of sleep and torpor at some time this morning that I assume was around six thirty I felt a kiss on my lips.

Through the veils of sleep and torpor at some time this morning that I know was around seven thirty I heard "Daddy! Daddy!" percolate to my consciousness.

Through the veil of torpor I made coffee and toast and watched children's TV. Back to work.

Wide awake and fully alert, we drove out to Samford Forest and walked up the hill, swatting the legions of mosquitoes that had awoken after last night's light rain.

Eloise was starting to look sleepy and torporous around eleven thirty so I read her a couple of books - "Gol-dee-docks" - and put her to bed. She was quiet for about half an hour then banging could be heard, so I left her for another half and hour to see if she would go back to sleep. She wouldn't.

We went swimming and Eloise made more progress with monkeying. Jumping in is still the high point for her. Valerie the swimming instructor is keen that she slow down and not be quite so enthusiastic about everything, mainly her suicidal instincts.

While Nicole was at Pilates exercising herself silly we went out for a walk down the road and looked at the house being built around the corner. The timber frame has gone up very quickly. A month or so ago it was just bare earth. We walked round to the football field where lots of kids were practicing, and made it back home for dark. The sky at dusk was very pretty, and I took this photo of the wonky telegraph pole opposite our house.

We ordered a pizza, which Nicole picked up on her way back from Pilates. We ate it.

That, dear readers, is the story of the day.

May 7, 2007

"Premier Leisure Experience"

Cloud Plane Well today we went to see one of Brisbane's "premier leisure experiences" and decided to visit the "vibrant, cosmopolitan world of Portside."

Eloise decided, after a while, to actually take her nap this lunchtime and didn't wake up til three o'clock or so, so after lucnh we drove out there and, well it was a trifle disappointing really in that it was much the same as all those other "premier leisure experiences" with its identikit "cutting edge architecture" and "contemporary dining" and so on and so forth.

Oh, and it was cloudy. And a bit chilly.

I took some nice photos, but then accidentally deleted them all. So here's one of yesterday's mosquito-swarming sunset.

May 6, 2007


Blimpvert We decided, after a quiet day of not very much going on yesterday, to go to the Sunshine Coast today, so we went to one of our regular haunts at Mooloolaba.

We climbed around on the rocks and generally had a nice time. The tide was low and there were lots of rock pools, many with fish swimming around in them - some of the fish were quite large, which Matilda found very interesting!

Lots of aerial activity with planes flying over trailing adverts for the lottery and a blimp advertising something to do with Holden cars, though we couldn't quite work out what.

We went for a picnic afterwards over the other side of the spit, and relaxed for a while. Nicole and Eloise went swimming. I kept the dogs company.

On the way back we stopped off at Wild Horse Mountain. The sunset was a bit of a washout, and the mosquitoes were awful. Eloise did a cracking job (not literally) of running down the hill though.

May 5, 2007

The Long March

The Further You Go, The Drier It Gets With Eloise in nusery we decided to do something a little bit different and eschewed Mount Coot-tha Friday for Mount Mee Friday. We went there on Monday, and did a short jaunt with Eloise but had been mulling over all week the idea of doing a longer (13km, about 8 miles) hike with the dogs. Leads are required here, so we ummed and ahhed a bit about whether this would be heaven or hell, but decided to go for it, in our own little version of the pioneering spirit.

And we started out with the best of intentions, being dragged along by the woofers through lovely groves of rainforest palms. The forest then changed and eucalypts predominated, making the canopy green and light much brighter, and then again to pine trees and tree ferns.

Walking up the path, we heard some shouting from behind us and thought we would be chastised for contravening some unwritten rule about dog-etiquette, but it was a bloke on his mountain bike (verboten) being trailed by a dog, off the leach(also verboten). We looked at each other, knowing what we would do next and the dogs were off.

Very well behaved they were too for about five minutes until the familiar sound of yip-yip-yipping into the distance was heard, then groans from us, and we waited for about ten minutes until they came back, panting furiously and <DELETE DELETE DELETE> needless to say they were back on their leads.

Absolutely knacked, the dogs were now ultra-compliant and very good on the leads, trundling along beside us as the forest changed again back to eucalypt dotted with Xanthorrhoea plants, with free-standing boulders beginning to make an appearance.

The heat was building as it was past mid-day now and we started to take little sips of water. We knew there was a lookout about half-way round the walk, but I was beginning to think that we'd lost our way, as we didn't ever seem to make it over that last ridge.

Then we did, and encountered a rocky escarpment falling away before us with the usual blah blah blah commanding glorious spectacular views across forested hills to the Brisbane valley and the parched land beyond underneath a lapis sky cumulated by cotton clouds... you get the picture. Oh, and there it is up there.

But we hadn't actually found the lookout yet, but Nicole spotted the path and a few minutes later we camped down by a little wooden railing and got out our now staple lunch of peanut butter sandwiches.

Presently a couple from Reading arrived and we chatted to them for a while. They were on holiday and this was their last day staying with his brother at Mount Pleasant. Sounds nice.

We continued our hike, and after a couple of hours we were back at the car, exhausted.

We went and picked Eloise up from nursery. Our legs hurt.

May 4, 2007

Cunningham's Gap

A Minimus of Hind'ring Knotgrass Made A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away, little colonists were doing what they do and trying to colonise an enormous far off untamed land.

In order to open up the interior, the Great Dividing Range had to be crossed, and a mountain pass found to allow traffic between Brisbane and Ipswich (then called "Limestone" apparently) and the bounteous country which lay beyond.

A certain chap called Cunningham was the man who accomplished this feat, finding Cunningham's Gap, employing his obviously considerable powers of humility and creativity in naming it, and discovering the Darling Downs beyond, which are a venue for a lot of agricultural pursuits these days.

We thought it might be nice to go down there, as I've heard passing mention of Mount Cordeaux and what a beautiful spot it is. So off we toddled.

It's a little way past Ipswich, and a nice drive across lowlands then into foothills and eventually into a winding highway (the equally originally named Cunningham Highway) which wends its way ponderously into the mountains. Huge trucks use it ponderously to wend their way into the mountains too.

Actually we'd been down this road on our way to Sydney, and recalled that when we crossed the mountains was when the radio became really really crap.

However, at the top of the mountain pass is a National Park called the Main Range National Park. The mountains were formed by the erosion of an ancient supervolcano, leaving volcanic plugs behind, so like the Glass House Mountains there are some unusually shaped outcrops, but they are named after parts of ships, strangely, like the Prow and the Funnel. The mountains themselves have more entertaining names like Mount Mistake and Mount Barney.

So we stopped off at a little picnic spot where we had lunch and watered ourselves, then parked again at a little car park and headed up a path which meandered into the heavily forested mountainside, and once again we were in thick rainforest. Which was nice.

The path made its way up to a nice lookout which gave us commanding views east over the lowlands we had traversed. We continued around the circuit, and presently Eloise, who was going great guns on the old walking front, crapped herself.

So we hurriedly completed the circuit walk we were on. And Eloise did seem to be in a hurry, she jogged down the hill giggling away to herself and had to be prevented for hurling herself headlong over the rocky precipice to her untimely doom. Although that might be putting it a trifle dramatically, there were railings actually.

And we drove round to another little mountain pass, up some dirt tracks to a Pioneers' graveyard which was almost completely unremarkable, other than the fact that the toilet there had a door that was sprung on a bicycle pump, and Nicole had the bejeezus scared out of her when she thought it was a snake.

We aborted a trip to another lookout as the road was a little hardcore for the car.

May 2, 2007

A Pretty Spectacular Sunset

Lava Sky Over Pumicestone Passage

A Day at the Beach

Eloise and Nicole Monkeynuts pushed back the boundaries of sleeping in this morning, and didn't wake up until 9.15! We almost missed Playschool, which would have been a disaster, but Jay and/or Justine aren't on this week, so we literally didn't lose any sleep over it. Although Rhys is quite good, in a veiledly sarcastic way.

I got out the hoover this morning and gave the house a good going over, whilst the ladies got up to whatever they got up to.

We resolved to go to Bribie Island and the excellent dog beach there. We set off at 12.30, delayed slightly by Eloise falling off the decking at the front of the house and giving herself a nasty knock on the head. Well, she won't do it again.

She was in good spirits soon though, and demanding verses of Row Row which Nicole and I performed in rounds whilst the dogs looked on bemusedly.

As soon as we got to the beach we broke out the sandwiches, some of which ended up, quite literally, as sand-wiches, much to Nicole's disgust. I tried one and it was very crunchy although the sand on the beach is quite fine.

We walked up the beach and down the beach. Eloise was walking really well. We think she must have walked a good three-quarters of the four or five kilometres we think we might have covered.

Red Beach is great for driftwood, and we played around on that. I took lots of photos of it. It's very photogenic. Eloise also demanded a lot of twirling and throwing around. Well, she enjoys it.

About four o'clock we got back and went to get coffee. There was a serving error; I asked for a cup of tea and got a cappucino. Nicole remonstrated - I assume - with the surly checkout shiela and eventually her tea turned up.

We then drove up to another dogs-permitted-area but on the leash, and watched what turned out to be a pretty spectacular sunset unveil itself.

May 1, 2007

Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree

Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree And he was after our lunch at Mount Mee yesterday.

Today has been kind of quiet, we went swimming and then out to an area by the Brisbane River called College Crossing which we'd driven past absolutely ages ago. We thought we'd have another look.

There was a nice playground there, and Eloise waded into the river to say hello to a goose, which we thought was a reasonably bad idea.