Monday, January 3, 2011

Switching Blogs

Okay it's the end of our "Brisbane Master Class". Been there, done that.

Time for a new adventure.

The new blog about our adventure as "English Language Training Fellows" in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia can be found at

"For We are Jolly Good Fellows".

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Done and Dusted

Road Trip

Studies finished, time to head south.

Despite the inclement weather ... it rained most of the way as we drove to Orange (NSW) to visit our old friends S and C - with whom we also spent time with when we were in the UK.

We spent three happy days with them in their country-style cottage, helping them look after three little girls.


Leaving Orange, we were not keen to head south via the Blue Mountains, so we set off to Cowra. Hearing vague news reports on the radio about various flood-ridden shires and blocked roads, and noticing a darkness on the distant horizon ... we dropped into Cowra police station just to be sure. They assured us that there was no way we could drive south from there. So we turned around and retraced our steps - about 2 1/2 hours wasted. We had to endure the slow, winding Blue Mountains road with it's endless roadworks, twists and turns, and varying speed limits.

The Heads

Shoalhaven Heads Hotel/Motel is just around the corner from Mum's little unit, right on the waterfront.

Lovely little spot to recover from the rigours of study and all that!

The Gong

A few pleasant days with the folks, and then off to "the 'Gong" (Wollongong) for our big day. First we attended a video interview (for a job in Darwin) at a site in Wollongong, and then over to the university to finish what we had started.

We both got all clobbered up appropriately, and then graduated (with distinction).

It was an evening ceremony, so then we spent the night in the Boat Harbour Motel in the Gong.

Followed by breakfast by the water. Mmmm-hmmm!

White Sands

To finish off the trip, a few days down at Huskisson White Sands south of Nowra, visiting with brother M and his family. M has a boat ....

... and a spin around the bay was very enjoyable.

M and Peter also went out and brought back a meal for everyone.

Family Time

And of course this was one of those rare opportunities when a large section of the extended family managed to get together.

Various local wildlife came along for the occasion.

Back to Brissie

The weather was beautiful at Huskisson, and we headed back amid warnings of "dangerous thunderstorms" along the way. We heard that there had been thunderstorms in Brisbane in our absence, and Cowra was also now cut off with floodwaters. However, other than a brief shower with huge raindrops, it was fine - and hot - all the way home.

Approaching 'our' intersection in Brisbane, we had the odd sensation that something was missing.

In this photo from several months ago, there is a large traffic-lights pole, and we had often been amazed when looking at it from our windows to see it moving around in even the mildest breeze. Well ... it's gone. I guess it was a casualty of the storms.

AND Santa and friend have apparently moved in to the large apartment block next door.


No idea where to next ... yet. The world is our oyster, apparently.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On the loose in Brissie City

We've had a lot of rain ...

Purple rain!

Jacarandas are the tree of choice in Gregory Terrace - not so great for parking your car under!

So we now have time, between showers, to walk around the city where we are apparently so famous.

We like to walk, and are getting quite good at finding our way around.

A new initiative by the City Council is the City Cycles.

There are lots of these racks of bikes all over the city - and a lot of stands that have no bikes yet. Seems like a good idea, but ... well, they're not that cheap, you have to pay to sign up for the scheme and have a special card or something. And then there is the question of helmets - you have to wear one, so what? just happened to have one in my handbag here ... ? Oh you will be able to hire them (erch!) or buy some sort of cheap disposable ones ($$) at the time.

The biggest problem I can see is the roads. It's dangerous enough walking on the pavements in Brisbane. Where is one to ride? Oh, the pavement ...

I have actually seen 3 of these bikes out and about being used - all on the pavement.

I guess soon they will iron out the wrinkles and it could be a pleasant and innovative idea.

No Parking!

Of course bikes are a good idea in a city where it is hard to find a parking spot.

I think these people might be serious about not wanting us to park in their driveway.

The Big Story

The Story Bridge is visible from our kitchen window, and enhances any view - especially at night when it's all lit up.

And the Brisbane river, winding its way through the city, is beautiful from any angle.

It's a lovely walk from here onto the bridge itself. For a fee (about $100 each, I gather) you can actually walk over the top of the bridge, way up there.

Personally I'm quite comfortable looking out from here.

Most parts of the river have a pathway of some kind - a boardwalk in places where there is nowhere else to walk.

Our Favourite Restaurant

Being mostly Vegetarian these days, we find that not all restaurants have suitable dishes.

But just down in 'the valley' on Wickham St is a tiny Asian restaurant, the Kuan-Yin Tea Rooms.

This is what they offer.

Of course it was Lisa that introduced it to us. It's become a bit of a tradition to meet Lisa and the boys, and James when he is in Brisbane too, at our restaurant.

To go or stay?

We are enjoying living in our little apartment in this beautiful city.

So, shall we stay? Dunno. Depends on jobs. Waiting to see.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the flat ...

It was Monday. We read our final assignment results in our emails.

We talked about just riding the train and exploring Brisbane from stations that looked interesting - an idea I had during some sleepless hours of the night.

But first we had to go to the dentist.

That wasn't fun, and we came home with both of us having numb/sore mouths. I think some of the anaesthetic may have seeped into my brain. As it was close to lunch time I figured soup might be my best option, so I set about cutting up veges, and soon had a potful on the stove.

Peter said maybe the soup would be better for tea, as we had been talking about going out - on the train, remember?

Oh, ok. So I put my shoes on and out we went.

We got off at Vulture Street / South Bank, and decided to have lunch at our favourite restaurant. It was so beautiful, and so relaxing, as you can see from this pic.

We had already ordered, we had our cups of coffee, and were just waiting for our lunch to arrive ...

All of a sudden, it hit me ... !

The soup!! I remember putting the pot on the stove, and turning it on full for starters, and then ... well, then we left!

We decided to go ahead and eat our meal, quickly. Then we hurried back to the station - fortunately only about a 2 minute wait for a train. Arriving back in Fortitude Valley Peter (being a faster walker) went on ahead of me (nearly getting himself fun over on Brunswick St in his hurry).

As I came puffing up the hill I could see him opening our back door ... standing at the traffic lights waiting to cross I could smell it!

At least there weren't any fire engines! It had been on a good 2 -3 hours. There really wasn't any soup left to speak of.

So now we have washed all the curtains and everything, and had the windows open and fans blowing through. Nilodor sprayed around finished the job.

Think we might go down into the city this morning. Feeling like soup - got a nice new saucepan - but it can wait till we come back!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Time for a Break ...

The assignments are finished, and sent ... just waiting for judgement.

So with nothing to do for a couple of days (before a dental appointment) we got in the car and drove to

Rainbow Beach

(Thanks to Lisa for the suggestion of somewhere to go!)

It was pretty much last minute, and we thought we might stay at

'Debbies Place' - which was quite lovely. Unfortunately, she only had the one night available ... we had thought there would be hardly anyone around.

Rainbow Beach is a lovely little town, off the main drag, in the Great Sandy National Park. Everyone knows everyone, and Debbie soon found us another spot for one more night at the Rainbow Getaway.

Lovely resort with a nice pool and all - a visit to Rainbow Beach itself had revealed crashing waves on a 'swim-between-the-flags' beach (something us Rockingham-ites are not madly comfortable with) so the pool was very pleasant.

We had a lovely 3 bedroom spa unit, with two of the rooms locked and not paid for, but unfortunately we couldn't get the spa to work at all.

Fraser Island

Apparently the thing to do at Rainbow is to go across to Fraser Island - a favourite 4-wheel-driving spot.

Not having the necessary vehicle, we got Debbie to book us on a tour.

We were driven along Rainbow Beach to Inskip at the very tip of the peninsular, then straight onto a barge to go across to Fraser Island.

After driving several kilometres along the 75-mile beach, we headed inland to have a look at the rainforest.

It was a very bumpy ride on the soft sandy tracks, and those of us in the back end of the 15-seater vehicle left the sear every time we went over a bump ... which the three German girls in the back seat found increasing hilarious, laughing and squealing.

Our tour guide passed the time for us with interesting stories about the colonial history of the island and the area.

The best part of course was a swim at this remarkable 'perched' lake called Lake Mackenzie. With no inlet or outlet, the lake is just rainfall that has collected on this remarkable sand island.

The fresh water is crystal clear, the dark section is just very deep. But the water is quite acidic, we are told, and where it splashed onto my (new) off-white hat it bleached it an almost glowing white.

Our tour guide was a bit worried, because the tide came in while we were there, and getting back around the south end of the island to the barge is tricky when the tide is high, so he hung around and tried to waste time while we waited for the tide to go down.

On the way back we stopped for some afternoon tea (with lamingtons - much to the amusement of the Canadian tourists on board).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brisbane Fishing

You'd have thought the fishing around here would be marvellous...

But as we discovered when we went Beach Hunting previously, it is not so great. However, the spot at Deep Water bend was worth another visit just because it was a nice spot.

J and L and the boys came too.

L is vegetarian, and had never fished before. She and the boys had a great time dangling a line. Caught 6 fish (blowies) and threw them back!

And Peter caught a fish!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Out the window, the window, the second storey window ...

But when you look at the photo of our main room

(where we have been spending all our time, every day) your eyes are drawn to

The Window!
So, what's out there?

The Intersection!

This is our world. (A bit tame after China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia ... ?)

Little things become interesting and exciting - a chance to turn away from 'the books' (well, the laptop) for a few minutes.

Roadworks - who woulda thunk it - become an item of interest.

Odd noises (change from regular traffic) in the middle of the night woke us to find them putting in a new traffic light.

Another night - well, 4 am - these heavy plastic barriers were delivered by a truck and thumped and dragged into position by shouting road workers preparing for the EKKA (Brisbane Royal Show).


And then of course there was the EKKA itself (which we live almost next door to), with the rides (lit up in the middle there) with the screaming people having 'fun' and the booming anouncements.

The crash.

Despite being an incredibly busy intersection, this is the only crash we have ever seen/heard.

Right under our window, someone came around the corner too wide and demolished a car parked there.

The Cranes.

But of course the cranes (not birds) are a constant source of interest. We can't see what it is they are constructing, but we can sometimes see the 'little' man climbing the huge tower to his tiny cabin.

One day we were distracted from our studies by some unusual activity on one of the cranes.

Well, what do you do when your crane breaks way up there?

Time to turn back from the window to the computer ...