Visiting The Whitsundays

I’ve been away in the tropics. We stayed in Airlie beach then did a bit of Island hopping around the Whitsundays.

AirlieWhitehaven

Wow, was it hot up there. It was strange actually because the temperature has been hotter here in Newcastle but the sun up there seems to have a real bite. I could feel my skin ageing years by the second so spent a lot of time lurking about in the shade.

When we flew out it was starting to rain here and we later discovered that it had turned into a little cyclone with torrential rain. My daughter sent me a text at 3am that night saying – It’s really windy here, I’ve never been in weather like this before. And I thought – well ok, nice to let me know that in the middle of the night but I wasn’t too worried as she is a bit of a drama queen. Then she sent me another one about an hour later saying – The side fence just blew down into the lane-way, I went out to have a look but I feared for my life so left it. So then I thought, I’d better have a look at the news back home.

It was crazy. So much flooding and damage has occurred in a large area of the region. People have died, washed away in their houses, some in cars or car accidents, towns were isolated and main highways closed due to flooding. So many trees and electricity poles down on houses and cars I can’t believe more people weren’t injured. People here are still without power almost ten days later which must be very inconvenient.

We didn’t have any damage to our house. We bought it just after the last big floods they had here so when we were looking at places you could easily see which ones had suffered water damage so we avoided them.

So I was sitting up there in paradise sipping on cocktails complaining about the heat and it all seemed like another world away. When we arrived home we flew back into another storm which was a bit hairy. It was night-time as well and I don’t like flying at night at the best of times. My husband asked me at one point if all the jolting was the wheels hitting the runway but it was just us buffeting about in the air. I always wonder why people drink on one hour plane flights, like why they can’t just sit there for an hour without alcohol but maybe turbulence is the reason.

Anyway we arrived home and I was sorry I’d complained about the heat because it was freezing here and the first thing we did was drag out the gas heater. I always think I’m going to like winter much more than I actually do.

Junk Food Junkie – it’s all about the chips

What’s your biggest junk food weakness? Tell us all about it in its sugary, salty, glory.

For me it’s all about hot chips. Not fries – chips. Fries are what you get at McDonald’s or KFC or other places like that and they’re just little worms and scraps that are usually either too soft or too crispy. Chips come from a fish and chip shop, or a corner takeaway or from the kiosk at the beach. They’re thick and actually have potato in the middle and they come in a cardboard cone and they’re good with just a bit of salt. My daughters like to cover theirs in tomato sauce or gravy, gravy is ok but you have to be in the mood and it has to be good gravy – not tinned stuff.

These ones came from Nobbys Beach kiosk and had a bit too much salt and a few too crunchy but they did the job. I had some really good ones a few weeks ago from Bar Beach Kiosk – they were really chunky, lots of potato.

hot chips

no more dads

We said farewell to my father-in-law today.

He died unexpectedly during the week and he will be missed and remembered fondly by many.

Some of you will remember that Daz’s birth father died a couple of years ago leaving the House of Horrors Hoarding debacle to be sorted out but the man we buried today was his real father in every sense of the word and the man whose surname we carry.

Terry had three children of his own when he married Daz’s mother and became father to her four young children as well. Later they adopted another three kids and over the years fostered 170 more.

He reminded me a lot of my father. They were the same age and they both lived in London as 9 year olds during the war and the bombings and they both moved to Australia as young men to start new lives. They both had the same toughness and attitude that comes from surviving something like that. They would say things; throw out little phrases that only someone else who had been through the same thing would know about. I remember one day I overheard Terry say – got any gum chum – and it was something I’d heard my father say. When the American troops arrived in England the kids used to run along behind the trucks yelling it out and the Yanks would throw them chewing gum. Just stuff like that.

So I’m all out of Dads now.

Terry did love a party and a joke and a drink – I first met him almost thirty years ago and I don’t think I’ve ever spent time with him without there being wine involved, (usually lots of it) so tonight I’m raising a glass or few in his honour.

R.I.P Terry – it was a pleasure knowing you.

You’d be pleased to know that Autumn turned on a spectacular day to see you off.

autumn

Morning walk to the Fort

I always seem to be blabbing on about the glorious weather we’re having and showing off photos of the clear blue skies and seas I walk by all the time.

So I may as well continue.

I do a 5km walk and this is where I start counting.

nobbys

Still warm enough for swimming (for some) and the lifeguards were setting up the flags for the day.

nobbys-guards

Always plenty of surfers further along the path at the next beach – lol – well three anyway but there were lots more out of shot.

surfing

When I’ve walked up that hill and all those stairs I showed you last week I end up at a lookout called Sheperd’s Hill Fort; it was built in the late 1800’s when it was thought Russia might come over and attack us but it’s really run down and kind of scary now.

sheperds-hill-fort-4

It’s a shame really because it was used by the army, navy and airforce at times and there’s a gun at the front and underground tunnels and whatnot that should be preserved.

Sheperd's-hill-fort1

Behind that fence is where the naughty people go I suppose. You must have to get to those cells from underground through the fort because there’s no way out of the pit.

sheperds-hill-fort-3

You can imagine how cold, dark and damp it must have been down there, right in the cliffs near the sea – beautiful above ground though.

Sheperd's-hill-fort

The white fence above leads to a drop onto steep jagged rocks into the ocean and if you walk along you can see where people have written words and poems for loved lost souls who have jumped from there.

rest-in-peace

jesus-loves-you

Then I trek back down and today I sat and watched the water and absorbed my vitamin D while I admired my new Nike runners which I tested out today for the first time. They passed.

nikes

Walking

The last 500 metres of my walk is killer, if Daz comes with me he has to bring his ventolin.

Once you get to the top of the steps you go around to the right and end up near that old building right up in the top right corner.

final-climb

The steps are at a really awkward distance apart as well; I have to take two steps on one then one on the next and when I’m coming down I feel like a little pony daintily trotting down because it’s the same thing – 2 steps then one and you can’t go too fast as it’s really steep. I can never quite work out if I want to step down with my left foot or my right either.

Back down a hill past the end of the beach where not many people go. The water has been crystal clear and it’s still pretty warm in. All those little dots on the horizon are coal ships waiting to come into the harbour – 24/7 they come in and out, depending on the tides.

gone-fishing

Finally back on flat ground up near one of the main beaches and the canoe pool there on the left. I have no idea why it’s called the canoe pool and I’m yet to see one in there; what you do see are kids and lots of them. The pool is really shallow and built-in and massive and it’s perfect for little kids. There’s supposed to be a map of the world on the bottom but I think it’s all covered now.

canoe-pool

I can’t believe this autumn – we’re going to be in for a shock when winter finally turns up.

A Newcastle Autumn

Did someone say Autumn?

Because I don’t think Newcastle got the memo.

5pm in the afternoon and the skies are clear, the water is glorious and it’s still warm enough to swim at the beach.

newcastle-beach

Or to hang out above the beach.

Newcastle-gliding

Or to swim some laps in the ocean baths.

Newcastle-lapping

And the Bogey Hole is looking glorious. Dug out of rock in 1820 by convicts for the personal use of the Commandant I’ve mentioned it before but this is the first time it’s been open since last year due to maintenance works.

These girls made me nervous – next stop America if you get washed over there. Although of course there’s always a row of coal ships waiting out there to come into port that you could jump aboard – you can see one way out there on the right.

newcastle-bogey-hole

Please let tourists never discover this place.

Easter eggs

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Sunny side up. Because it sure is hot and sunny here. I wish you people on the other side of the world would stop messing about with this snowing in spring rubbish because its holding up our autumn. Have been having to sleep with the air con on at night so hot and humid.