Comings, goings and doings…

There’s plenty going on here at the moment.

I got back from spending a week in Nambucca Heads with mum on Tuesday night. Nambucca was hot and sticky. I did an inspection of our house in Woolgoolga and we had a very yummy lunch at the Beachouse Cafe afterwards. We’ve got great tenants at the moment; hopefully they’ll stay a few years, as they originally planned. We didn’t do much else while I was there, just had a nice relaxing time taken up with visiting family and friends. It went by very quickly.

We’re getting a new clothes line on Monday afternoon. I’m going for another rotary Hills Hoist. We’re sticking with some of the classics of the Aussie backyard! I do like a rotary clothesline that catches the wind; even if the amount of wind we have here makes it a challenge to get the clothes off the line!

I’m in the process of getting quotes for a new garage door. Ours is probably as old as the house  – over fifteen years and is looking the worse for wear. It has cracks in it, thanks to the almost continuous strong winds it’s subjected to, and there’s a lot of very unattractive rust as well.

We’ve decided to pull up the carpet in the lounge and in our bedroom and lay tiles. We were going to lay new carpet but have decided that tiling will be better. We’ve done the rounds of a few of the tile shops, though, and discovered, not unexpectedly, that we can’t match our current tiles. Not only can’t we match them but we can’t get anything that’s the same size and finish. Our tiles are as old as the house as well, so we’re not so surprised. It wouldn’t be such an issue except that there’s a strip about a metre wide (three tiles wide) along the side of the lounge room, running from the family room to the entry.

The tiled area that's causing the problem

The tiled area that's causing the problem

If we can’t get a suitable match, or matching contrast, we have to pull up about eight square metres of tiles and replace those as well. The rest of the house (family room, kitchen, etc.) is separated by a wall and doors so a change of tiles isn’t a problem from that point of view.

It’s that mulch time of year again so I put an order yesterday afternoon in with MulchNet.com. This is a fantastic website that hooks you up with local tree contractors. We’ve used the site to order our mulch for that past three years. I ordered 5 cubic metres of mulch for $140. The same volume of mulch from the local landscaping supplier is over $400 and is more compost than mulch; it looks like a rich black soil and breaks down into a soil-type compound very quickly – doesn’t stop the grass and weeds for long at all. What we get from MulchNet is tree mulch. It does it’s job fantastically and doesn’t beak down too quickly – we usually top up at this time each year.  We got a call first thing this morning from Whitfords Tree Services and Paul delivered some beautiful mulch – nicely sized and smelling wonderful.

“Do you mind if it’s a bit more than five metres?” says he, “There’s about 12 metres on the truck and you can have the lot if you want. It’ll still only cost $140.”

“We’ll have as much as you want to give us,” says we. “We’ll be happy to take the lot.”

So we now have about 12 cubic metres of mulch to move and spread around the garden.

Beautiful Tree Mulch

Beautiful Tree Mulch

Tomorrow we’re off to tour the Swan Valley winery area with three of our neighbour couples. One of our neighbours runs Perth Luxury Tours and we’ll be going with them. We’ll be having morning tea and lunch along the way.

Oh, and I almost forgot…the ants have started to show up again around the yard and in the bathrooms so I’ll have to add ‘organise spraying for ants and spiders, etc.’ to my to do list.

Fly me to the blue moon and decades come and go, but not yet…

Catching up…

On New Years Eve there was a blue moon.  Nice…but not in Australia or New Zealand. We don’t get to have a blue moon until the end of January. It’s all explained in this post on the Aussie Organic Gardening blog.

On New Years Eve we were booked on a redeye Qantas flight from Perth to Sydney, leaving Perth at approx 11pm, connecting with a flight to Coffs Harbour the next morning.  That turned out to be not so nice.

Early that morning we did the online check-in thing. No worries.  That night, a few minutes after we left home for the airport, I received a text message saying that our flight had been cancelled and to call customer service. We were still close to home so we turned around and came home. While I waited on the phone for customer service, I logged onto the Qantas website and discovered that we’d been placed on a Jetstar flight that was due to leave Perth at approximately the same time at the original Qantas flight. We headed back to the airport. I never did get through to customer service.

Surely Qantas could have given us more than a couple of hours notice that they were cancelling the flight. If there weren’t enough passengers to justify the flight they would have known at least the day before. Yet we had been able to check in that morning. We chose Qantas because we wanted leg room, pillows, blankets, adjustable headrests, seats that lay back a reasonable amount, movies, food and drinks. Jetstar are a cut-price airline and provide none of that – not even a drink of water –  unless you pay for it. We had already paid in our ticket price. We got none of it. When we got to the Jetstar counter to check in we were told we might not even be able to sit together. It turns out there were plenty of seats and of course we could sit together, the check-in lady was just being nasty.  We had to call up to get our frequent flyer points allocated – that wasn’t done automatically. I asked about compensation – nothing scheduled, but I could write a letter to Customer Service and put our case if we thought it was strong enough. Sounds like a lot of hassle for us, but I probably should do something.

It appears that if we hadn’t had to connect with the Coffs flight we’d have had a choice of either flying Perth-Melbourne-Sydney or Perth-Brisbane-Sydney on Qantas.  We had a most uncomfortable, sleepless, flight but at least we made our connection and had a very enjoyable 2 weeks with mum in Nambucca Heads. More to come on that later…

On the topic of the end of the decade…

There has been much celebration in the media of the end of the first decade of the current millenium.  The only problem is that this year is the final year of the decade, not the beginning of a new one. You may disagree.  You may say to me that ten years have passed, since the turn of the century, but I’d say no! You see, I think we celebrated the new millenium a year early.

The years on the Gregorian calendar are not counted like birthdays. A baby is not one year old until he has lived for a year. He has a zero year where his age is counted in months. There was no year AD zero. The first year of the first millenium wasn’t counted in months – it was year 1. This means that a year hadn’t passed until the end of year AD1. Therefore the millenium wasn’t over until the end of year AD2000, and by the same reasoning the decade won’t finish until the end of this year.

You still may disagree. That’s ok. Here’s some info. Until you’re convinced, I’ll sit on my side of the fence and you can sit on yours. Time will continue to march on no matter how we count the years.

Viva, Viva, Bris Vegas…

The view from our balcony of Margate Beach

The view from our balcony of Margate Beach


Rainbow over Margate Beach from our balcony

Rainbow over Margate Beach from our balcony


Sandgate Beach is a wonderful playground for dogs and kids

Sandgate Beach is a wonderful playground for dogs and kids


Hornibrook Highway Bridge. I remember driving over this 2.7km bridge when I was a kid and we'd go to the beach at Redcliffe. There's now a newer bridge and an even newer one being built, notice the cranes. This old bridge is now just a walkin/cycling bridge.

Hornibrook Highway Bridge. I remember driving over this 2.7km bridge when I was a kid and we'd go to the beach at Redcliffe. There's now a newer bridge and an even newer one being built, notice the cranes. This old bridge is now just a walkin/cycling bridge.


Queenslanders on Sandgate Waterfront

Queenslanders on Sandgate Waterfront


View to the Sunshine Coast from Montville

View to the Sunshine Coast from Montville


The view from Montville to the west

The view from Montville to the west


Deb and Maggie in Montville

Deb and Maggie in Montville


Views over Brisbane from the top of Mt Coottha

Views over Brisbane from the top of Mt Coottha


Stephen in Brisbane Botanic Gardens with Brisbane in the background

Stephen in Brisbane Botanic Gardens with Brisbane in the background


Mountain Ash Pottery in Coramba

Mountain Ash Pottery in Coramba


Stormclouds over the mouth of Nambucca River

Stormclouds over the mouth of Nambucca River


Stormclouds over Wellington Rock Nambucca Heads

Stormclouds over Wellington Rock Nambucca Heads


Some of the famous art along Nambucca's V-Wall

Some of the famous art along Nambucca's V-Wall


After lunch at the V-Wall Tavern

After lunch at the V-Wall Tavern


Nambucca River boardwalk with the river looking glassy after the rain

Nambucca River boardwalk with the river looking glassy after the rain


Eastern Rosellas in mum's garden

Eastern Rosellas in mum's garden

Viva Bris Vegas…

We arrived in Brisbane the morning after a huge thunderstorm, but thankfully that had all pass by the time we got there. The flight was as flights are – long and boring, ‘specially those overnight flights. The only thing defferent was that I’ve never been so cold in a plane! My feet in particular were freezing, though I was cold all over – I could feel cold air blowing on my legs and feet for the entire flight. I had socks and sneakers on, a blanket, a jacket, and an additional cardigan draped over me. Anyway, no major dramas. After arriving we picked up our rental car and headed to the Redcliffe Peninsula. We had some time to kill before we could check in (our flight arrived at 6am) so we drove around a bit, getting our bearings, then stopped at a cafe on the foreshore in Redcliffe for some breakfast before making our way to our waterfront unit in Margate. The unit was quite nice, ground floor with a glassed-in balcony where we could sit and watch people walking along the boardwalk, watch the ships come and go and watch the planes come and go.
We spent the first few days driving around, checking out different areas that we thought we might like to live. Brisbane is an older city than Perth and sprawls over a large and hilly area. Roads go up, down, sideways and around hills. The traffic is crazy as, in addition to the hills, a lot of the roads are quite narrow.
It didn’t take us long to narrow down our desired possible-future-home-suburbs as Sangate or Shorncliffe with Clontarf coming in a distant third. The thought of living in Clontarf had been quite nice as we’d stayed in Clontarf Castle when we were in Ireland. But the shine wore off that idea a bit when we drove around Clontarf Qld.
Our girls would absolutely love Sadgate beach anyway. So much shallow, calm water – just made for dogs to play in. It might look a bit like mud flats but it’s not. It’s very enjoyable to walk along.
We’d love to buy a renovated Queenslander, but they are very pricey and with 2 large aging golden retrievers a high-set home may not be the best idea. We’d probably also want to sell the house in Woolgoolga if we wanted to buy a Queenslander of any size. We’ll keep an eye on prices over the next few months and just see what the maket in the Sandgate area does. One of the big bonuses with Sandgate/Shorncliffe is the proximity to a train station and an easy train trip for Stephen to work.
We had a look through a couple houses while we were there to see just what you get for your money. None of them were exactly what we’d want – which is probably a good thing as we’re not ready to buy yet.
We also spent a day up at Mt Coottha and in the botanical gardens. That was really pleasant and the views from Mt Coottha are stunning.
I think everyone should be away from home on holidays on their birthday, and I achieved that while we were away. We hopped on the train and headed into the city on my birthday for lunch at a Japanese restaurant we’d been to a couple of thimes before, on a previous visit to the city. Unforunately we discovered that Sono isn’t open for lunch on weekends so that was very disappointing. Never-the-less, we did find a Japanese cafe/take-away with ready-made but good food – not classy like Sono but better than some fast-food Japanese we’ve had.
We caught up with our good friend, Sam, mid-way through the ‘holiday’. We had a lovely time. We saw her new home – very nice. We met her new squeeze. He’s very nice too.
Mum caught the bus up from Nambucca Heads a few days later and stayed with us for a couple of nights before we drove back down to Nambucca with her. We had a lovely day up in Montville while she was with us. Weattempts to contact Paul made several in the hope the we could catch up with him, though we got no response to email, text message or phone call. We were really disappointed about that.
We had pretty good weather in Brissy. It was a bit overcast and rainy some days, but not enough to stop us getting out and about, and not even enough for us to put on coats.
We headed down to Nambucca with the intention to spend a few days with mum and also doing an owners inspection of the Woopi house. All went as planned except for mum having picked up a bug os some sort on the morning we left Brisbane and being unwell for our stay with her.
The house inspection went well, everything is ok and our current tenants are taking care of things, unlike our previous let’s-not-go-there tenants. We detoured back to Nambucca through Coramba so we could have a look at Mountain Ash Pottery to see whether there was anything new we could add to our collection. We decided not to buy anything this time, but filed a couple of pieces in the memory banks for if we do move to Brisbane.
On the Sunday before we left we went for a walk from mum’s to the V Wall and then stopped for some lunch at the tavern. There were dark clouds and rain on the horizon and it drizzled a bit while we sat on the balcony eating. Then as we headed back the drizzle got heavier and turned into rain. Luckily we made it to a Lions BBQ shelter and were able to wait the rain out without getting wet. We headed back to mum’s and soon after the rain started again. It was still raining when we left for Brisbane on the Tuesday. We drove through water twice in our little rented Hyundai i30 as we went through Grafton; that was interesting! The rain stopped soon after and by the time we got to Brisbane the weather was hot, humid and brilliantly sunny.
We couldn’t believe the weather reports the next morning when we heard that Coffs Harbour flooded and the highway was closed later in the day on Tuesday. We were so lucky to get out!
All in all I guess the trip was successful in that it achieved it’s goals of finding us a suburb we’d be happy to live in and gave us an indication of what’s for sale and how much we’ll have to pay to get something we’d really like. It wasn’t a relaxing holiday, ‘though, in fact it was quite stressful.
I’ve decided this post is long enough so I’ll post the photos in a separate post.