Jan 30, 2008

Sun Sun Sun

River City On the third day of the long weekend, rather than break the habit of a lunchtime, we went to the beach again.

Nicole was back to work earning the shekels to keep us dosed up on caffeine so was unable to attend, probably quietly seething in her air-conditioned medico-biosphere whilst I pulled the prostrated form of Eloise through the shallows of Moreton Bay on Nudgee Beach, Her Worship perched if not balanced precariously on the now-ubiquitous flowery boogie board.

The sun was out, the sun cream on, the ever unpopular hat slouched on her head. The water was beautifully warm and the tide gently coming in.

She has been coming up with some alternative musical terms. For instance she refers to Perry Como as "Mr Comby," Basement Jaxx as "Mr Jackson" and the Kate Bush classic "Babooshka" as "Back the Bush." I hope this last doesn't give any indication of political leanings.

The fine weather broke yesterday and the rain started again. The Queenslanders are telling me that this is how it used to be before the Big Dry, but I think it calls into question the whole Sunshine State thing frankly.

Yesterday, Tuesday that is, we had the irrepressible joy of a return to the Forté school of music for a new year. They have new tunes and everything. At the time I thought they were quite catchy, but now I can't remember a thing about them. Still Eloise was glad to be back.

And today she graduated to a new room at nursery. She's now a Fairy Penguin. Who would have thought it. Whilst she was in Nursery I toddled down to the city briefly after dropping Nicole off at a training course she was attending about death, dying and communicating with terminally morbid people. Should stand her in good stead. In between showers I took some snapshots.

Then later I walked the dogs in a new, unfamiliar part of Bunyaville Forest just off the Jinker Track. I'm sure it would be lovely, from what I could see it was, but it started raining cats and dogs and by the time I'd got very far my vision was obscured by streams of water flowing over my specs and I couldn't see a damn thing. I had to take off my clothes to drive home, they were so wet.

Still I took a scenic detour on the way back to a place called Clear Mountain which had very impressive views. And steep hills.

Jan 27, 2008

And We Brave the Surf

Point Break Go to the beach two days in a row? Us?

We went to Bribie Island to Red Beach which is one of our usual haunts. Again we went armed with sandwiches and crisps so no feasts for little old us.

We frolicked in the surf with Eloise on my shoulders which was great fun until she decided to take my glasses off... but despite being neck high in water with a sprog on my shoulders I got the blimmin things back and full service was restored.

Tiny was her concerned self but the surf had her a bit stumped as to how to keep us under control so she decided to take it out on the board.

Nicole and I both tried the board out on the breakers (they must have been nearly a foot high you know) with limited success.

I rode one wave about ten feet before I sank and three further waves washed me into shore. What a rush.

Australia Day

Slap It On Apparently on Australia Day, you're supposed to dress in yellow and green, drink beer, watch the cricket, eat a feast, get a flag painted on your cheek or attached to your car, and go and watch the fireworks.

Going to the beach is an acceptable alternative and that's what we did. Nicole had the bright idea of going up to Dicky Beach in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, where there's a little lagoon that's good for swimming in.

So that's what we did. Nicole was driving on the way up and the only emergency navigation required was due to congestion up the Bruce, so we detoured through Caboolture and up Steve Irwin Way (yes, really) then across.

And when we got there, Nicole thought wouldn't it be nice to get Eloise a "boogie-board" which is a kind of new-fangled surfing board for small people. So we did that too. And she was delighted with it.

So at the beach we broke out the sandwiches and swam in the lagoon. Tiny swam around with us quite a surprising amount, generally after me. At least someone cares.

Eloise was very confident in the water and though she didn't actually swim as such, she paddled around on her little board and played with the other kiddies and their dogs. Matilda spent the time sniffing around in the forest trying to find unpleasant things to roll in.

We'd thought we'd go and see the fireworks later on, but we were too tired after all that sea air.

Jan 25, 2008

Last Friday Off

Cry Havoc Today was my last Friday off. As of next week Eloise moves up a room at Nursery to the ominously named Fairy Penguin Room and starts to go twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday.

As these are the days on which I will be attending college, I will no longer have any leisure time whatsoever, because obviously this child care business is a full-time job from which no respite can be had and one should certainly not think that I take any more pleasure in it than is strictly necessary or that I consider it in any way to be other than the contribution I am making at the moment to society at large and my family in particular. Ahem.

I celebrated by going for a walk with the dogs. And we went to the cinema in the afternoon. Sweeney Todd. Quite good... for a musical.

Jan 23, 2008

Brunswick Heads

Brunswick Buccaneer Valerie from across the road is down on the Tweed Coast at Brunswick Heads in New South Walkes, camping Australian style.

She invited us down there and we drove down today. Nicole minded the shop her from the resplendent pit as she is on nights at the moment and therefore unavailable for daytime amusement.

I had some sort of vague map to work from and Val's instructions delivered via mobile phone in the manner of someone who knows the area very well. Unfortunately I'm the type of person whose brain involuntarily disengages when being given directions.

Still after a couple of hours we got there in one piece, after an uneventful journey during which Eloise failed to sleep, succeeded in eating lots of sweeties (well some) and I got a glimpse of Mount Warning poking its head into the broken low cloud.

We sat down for a cup of coffee with Valerie and her camping buddies in the communal area of a canvas multiplex of tents, some of which were sheltered under sweeping canopies of further canvas, and partook of the weft of conversation involving primarily sensible and eminently helpful instructions, sometimes framed as suggestion, sometimes enticement, to children.

Eloise enjoyed herself after a few minutes of coy shyness and heventuallee we got round, after an eternity of procrastination and prevarication masquerading as preparing mentally and logistically, we went for a walk to the beach.

This involved ambling along the banks of a river, past a fair (sadly abandoned), sheltering from a short but squally shower beneath some pine trees with Val, Susie, Carol, Zac and Rees (note to self: check spelling) and crossing a bridge "of character" whose builders clearly didn't possess a long straight edge against which to level the sides, we got to the beach.

Sand: good quality. Firm underfoot even though tide receded.

Wind: strong.

We got back eventually, stopping only for an ice cream which ended in a chocolate arm, then camped, if that's the right word for inane chatter carried out on canvas furniture underneath a palatial canvas awning whilst eating the cake that Nicole cooked the night before and which I didn't take credit for, really and honestly.

Then home again home again jiggety jig. And back before dark.


Fragile My lovely wife bought me a (very reasonably priced) 50mm prime lens for my happy snapper.

Takes a nice picture, I think.

Jan 22, 2008

Up and Running Again

Tree Hugger So point one is computer is back and up and running, and, mysteriously, has acquired a webcam and a totally different, shiny screen, and a couple of extra stickers which sort of makes me suspect that it might not be the same computer at all... but all the software is there and the hard disk is almost full with all my photos so all seems well, and why look a gift horse in the mouth, eh?

And it's great to have it back... gone are the days of waiting half a minute just for Google to load and only being able to do one thing at the same time, though it was nice to be able to do the one thing. So video skype is back on the agenda again. And doing clever things with photos. And Civilization. Yay.

Nicole got offered a research post at work which she's thinking about doing part time so things are moving for her at work as well.

And I've found out that my course is to start on March 3rd. Only fly in the ointment is they're having an orientation day on February 28th, and we're going to need to sort out childcare as it's not a Monday or Wednesday. Oh well if the worst comes to the worst I'll just have to turn up disorienated...

Today I thought we'd go somewhere a bit different so we explored the far side of Bunyaville State Forest and followed a walk down into a valley and across a verdant tree-lined little brook and up the other side. It was nice. Eloise was fascinated by the white rocks the strew (if that's a word) the landscape. If I were a proper Dad I'd probably be able to identify them, but I bluffed instead as I'm inadequate and opted for feldspar. Hah.

Eloise was most helpful later on when we washed my bike, oiled it and inflated the tyres to the optimum pressure for performance cycling before ambling off to the shops and stopping off at the playground on the way back.

Eloise's art is progressing and she's producing some fairly passable whales and lots of repetitive symbols which she insists are numbers.

Career development

I recently put my CV forward for an expression of interest to provide annual leave cover for the haematology and bone marrow transplant clinical trials research nurse team. I hadn't heard anything so just assumed I had been unsuccessful but I bumped into the clinical trials co-ordinator this morning as I was leaving after night duty and found out I have been successful. She needs to talk to the ward manager about the logistics of how it will all work out but it sounds as if I may work with them one day a week initially so I understand the role and what is expected of me. I am feeling very pleased with myself. It sounds as if there is a possibility of a permanent post either full or part time if it all works out.

The ward will soon be advertising expressions of interest for acting clinical nurse (ACN) posts. I have been asked to submit my CV. It is a very good system as nurses are able to act up in the role of CN with support and then apply for CN posts when they become available. It seems as if this is my year to get myself noticed at work.

Jan 20, 2008


Another humdrum week, although my computer has been fixed now and is on its way back home. Fingers crossed it gets here in one piece.

Eloise has taken back to swimming like a - dare I say it - duck to water, and has overcome or forgotten her previous fear of jumping in and is now diving with the best, well the worst of them.

In fact she's been swimming four times this week, once at Claire's house, once at the Redcliffe Settler's Cove lagoon, once at swimming and once at Nudgee Beach.

After swimming we went up to Mount Coot-tha for a coffee and chino to celebrate. I offered her pasta for lunch, after all why change the habit of a lifetime, but she refused.... should I be worried, with my cornucopia of two lunchtime options?

Other than that it's been pretty humdrum really, Nicole had a couple of days off at the start of the week, which is where Redcliffe came in, and I think I've covered Warhol already.

Wednesday's a bit of a blank... Saturday we went to the beach then met up with Nicky (who Chris brought camping with us, remember?) and went to New Farm Park then got a pizza before retiring with a potential hernia.

Today we went to the beach again but balked at the crowded coffee shop, instead opting for Woolworth's before a lie-down in front of a doco (that's documentary to you) about Catherine the Great. And a litle closing of the eyes.

Jan 15, 2008

Warhol and Grass

Warhol Rainy days rainy days.

In what you might term a spate of indoor activity we have been to the Gallery of Modern Art to see an Andy Warhol exhibition, which was fine as it went, but a little repetitive, what with all the repetition and all that.

Still they had a good kids' sections so we returned to see that today (it's raining again). Eloise had a good time - they have a fifty-foot high room filled with helium-inflated silver pillows which the kids play with and some photobooths which make Warhol-esque portraits (the one we got in was broken though I reckon).

The garden has been going mad with the rain-sun-rain-sun cycle. I mowed it the other day and Barton's two-stroke made heavy work of it.

Yesterday a snotty-nosed Eloise and I raked the front bit and we saw Val. She whipper-snipped (that's Aussie for strimmed) our edges and lent us her wheelbarrow. By way of repayment I made a cup of coffee for her, and while I was doing that Eloise helped her take her washing down. Oh how we laughed when she sneezed and blew her nose on the nearest available brassiere....

Jan 9, 2008

Little Miss Bump

Bruised but Unbowed Yesterday she:

- stubbed her foot into a door
- banged her head on a door jamb (got a plaster out of that one)
- slipped on the floor forwards
- slipped on the floor backwards
- stood on a something in the garden

This morning Nicole observed that her foot was swollen up and she was hobbling around on tip-toes. So we booked her in at the doctor, from whom she wholly expected sweeties and so was quite enthusiastic.

Needless to say within ten minutes the swelling was starting to subside and normal walking service had been resumed.

All was well when we went to see the doctor and chit chat was had until he got out his "silly glasses" - a pair of spectacles with magnifying lenses sticking out on the front - at which she became very agitated and burst into tears.

However an electric singing and dancing hamster dressed as a doctor came out, then a jelly bean and soon she was back to normal.

The doctor reckoned either she'd been stung by a bee or bitten by an ant, so she'll be on antihistamines for a couple of days. But really she seems fine now, all that remains is the accidents for today.

Jan 6, 2008

Walking on Water

Floodwater This is the bridge we rode across, not long after we did. But the waters had risen a little since then and when we came back it was pretty much submerged.

Our Own Little Flood

Floodway Eloise and I took the dogs to Bribie Island today and had a jolly time building sandcastles and paddling in the waves until a worrying looking grey mass of cloud began to lower to the West of us and I decided it was time for home.

So we drove back along the sea front with Eloise pointing out Chino shops where we might like to stop and I prevaricating over the rain and dogs.

Soon indeed it started to rain though not that heavily and it only cleared up when we got home, where it was soon apparent that we were out of milk. So we hopped on the bike and rode over to Fresco's fruit market.

When we crossed the brook there was a pretty decent flow of water creating a quite impressive cataract over the the rocks just upstream of the footbridge.

When we returned half and hour later, only an inch or two of the footbridge was visible under the torrent which had now burst the brook's banks. We (I) merrily (and carefully) cycled across regardless with the water reaching up to the axles of the wheels. On the bridge a little chitchat established that the brook had just expanded to this extent in the last five minutes.

After dropping off the shopping we went back with the camera and toured up and down the brook, riding through it where there weren't footpaths any more and generally goggling at the amount of water that must be coming down from upstream from what was, from what we had seen, only a pretty average downpour.

We saw Paul and Carol later and apparently while we'd been out there'd been an absolutely torrential rainstorm which had dropped half an inch of water in half an hour.

All this as extreme weather events cause flooding across SE Queensland and Northern NSW, as this news article attests.

Sounds like ideal weather for waterfall-watching, don't you think?

Jan 2, 2008

Kondalilla Falls

Picnic Creek All this rain is driving us nuts. Me nuts.

As soon as it starts raining it stops again. When you're ready to go out it starts raining. Then just as you decide it isn't worth it, it stops again. In an endless cycle that can only end in painting, playing music, watching childrens' TV or surfing the internet.

The other day we combined drawing and surfing by drawing pictures of whales while listening to the song of the Humpback Whale on whalesong.net. Discussing it over supper, we foolishly mentioned that it would be nice to go whale watching sometime, wouldn't it be lovely to see a Humpback Whale for real.

In the morning the first thing Eloise said when she burst into our room was "We're going to see the Humping Whales!" What a hot choc moment.

Anyway notwithstanding all that, we haven't actually left Brisbane for two weeks except to go to dodgy railway museums and windy beaches, and this infamous low-pressure system that's hovering around creating all this wind and rain and general unpleasantness looks like it isn't going away any time soon, so with Nicole having a day off today I/we decided to bite the bullet and go out somewhere.

I reasoned that what with al water flowing downhill and there being plenty of water around it would be nice to go and see some waterfalls.

So we trooped off to Montville in the Blackall Range to go and see Kondalilla Falls, about which I knew virtually nothing but I quite like the name.

So after a pleasant drive up there with Nicole at the wheel taking us up into the cloud-bedecked mountainous tumuli of the Sunshine Coast, we pitched up and walked down, and the heavens opened.

Eloise was all right because she has a raincoat, but we adults spurn such luxuries (apart from walking boots) and trudged down into the rainforest before being confronted, if that's the right word, by a lovely waterfall flowing hard into a rocky pool and under a bridge.

Whilst I took happy snaps the others wandered off and in the two minutes a tarried behind managed to lose me completely as the path forked... well I caught up with them heventualleee.

The heavens continued to open intermittently and Eloise, tiring, had to be shouldered as the path dove down into a gully down a set of winding stairs to the head of the main attraction.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, given that Eloise is getting to be quite a lump and not that easy to lug around for protracted periods of time, the path to the bottom of the falls was closed due to erosion and general unsafety so we never got to see the main waterfall.

Judging by how loud it was, and how much mist was boiling up the valley from it, it would have been pretty good though.

Never mind, instead we went back to Montville and had us some coffee, hot chocolate and cake.

"Will your little lady be able to manage a whole mug of hot chocolate?" the man asked. Oh yes she will. Oh yes.

I Am A Lady

Australian Gothic This is what you do when you're a two year old, stuck inside of an afternoon and can't get out because it just won't stop raining.

You take your Christmas pens, do your fingernails. Do your toenails. Do your lips. Do the same to your Dad. Do the same to the dogs.

Happy New Year...

Jan 1, 2008

Happy New Year

I agreed to work on Christmas Day as the staffing at work is not good at the moment. I agreed to this on the suggestion that I might be able to swap my late shift to an early shift on New Year's Eve. Anyway when push came to shove the staffing was even worse and I agreed to work an E12 (07:00 - 19:30) - 4 hours overtime - but atleast I got to be at home earlier than anticipated.

Since New Year's Eve 1999-2000 Neil and I have given up the going out to a pub and standing around talking to people that you can't even hear as the music is so load business and I have cooked us a nice meal at home. Neil stepped up to this tradition and so I arrived home after my 12 hour shift to a huge slab of steak with roast potatoes, asparagus and a melange of other sauted vegetables with a white sauce. It was a lovely surprise and now I know Neil does roasted potatoes so well I am hoping I'll be treated more often.

We were hoping to go to our vantage point on top of the reservior in Wilston to watch the early display of fireworks at the South Bank at 9 0'clock but the weather here has been cool and raining. Fireworks were cancelled on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Ipswich, Queensland due to low pressure winds and Brisbane were possibly going to cancel at the very last moment weather depending. We heard the fireworks from the comfost of our living room. Not so exciting but definitely drier.

We got Eloise off to bed about 10 o'clock. We watched Help! The Beatles film. I was exhausted from working two 12 hour shifts in a row. Neil woke me just before midnight. I watched the fireworks on the telly from Melbourne and promptly fell back to sleep again.

The ward has been really hard just recently. I guess it is due to the fact that we send everyone who is well enough home to be with their families. It is sad enough dealing with people who are newly diagnosed, relapsed or palliative at any time of the year but at this time of the year it seems even harder.

I have put in my CV to the research nurses to cover whilst someone is annual leave.

The permanent residency is coming along. We are waiting for out UK police checks to come through later this month. Then I guess a decision will be may made shortly after that. So, I guess we may be off to New Zealand later on this year.

My parents are coming out to see us in May. Our only visitors so far...

Anyway, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2008.