Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Thoughts of New Year

Hi Everyone

Here we are again, the end of another year and the start of a new one. I am not one for looking back but this year I will take an exception. 2009 has been a year of many blessing, we have had our first year as "Canal People" it was a big gamble but thank God one that paid off, moving onto the boat has been all we expected, meeting lovely people, visiting lovely places, enjoying the fantastic countryside that the canal offers, resting up in such a beautiful marina, everything has turned out just right, my only hope is that the experience continues. We have also been blessed with all our family and friends being able to share it and by all accounts enjoy the experience with us; that means so much to Noreen and I. Of course one of the downturns of the last year has been the economic situation we all find ourselves in and really I have no control over that and, like everyone else have had to cut our cloth accordingly and get on with it, I will just have to eat less meat pies? Although as a family we have had one or two set backs, lost a few dear friends, and watch old age get a strangle hold us, our blessing out number our set backs that leaves us still here to tell the tale and fight another day.
Our trip to Australia has, and continues to be a great success, one that Gorden Brown almost took off us but we are here inspite of his efforts to curb everyones fun. We are now collecting memories that will last forever. of course the trip would not have been possible or as enjoyable without being blessed with having such a wonderful and generous family over here.

Now we look forward to 2010 with renewed optimism. Looking forward is something we should all do with love, charity and hope remembering constantly all our Blessing, also that your cup is always be half full never half empty. Constantly reminding ourselves of what we do have and what is important in to us, Put aside Global warming, Terrorism, War, The economic downturn, and the Bl----- Weather, Then you will see that we have a lot to look forward to.

Lift up your glasses, to thank your God we are still here with our Family and Friends to welcome in 2010 and pray for a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year .
also as an old squaddie I would ask you all to raise another glass and toast absent Friends.

God Bless you all.

Happy New Year

Noreen and Alan

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas Day Downunder

Mary Hiding from the A Christmas Fairy Christmas Cheers
Washing up

Fish Platter Big Sack for santa

Hi all
Well that's it Christmas day and Boxing day are now in the past and all that remains are memories, photos and headaches. Yes Christmas was different it was hot, the food was different but really Christmas is Christmas everywhere.
Ours started with Mass we now go to the local church which is very nice but not St Joseph's the 5.00 mass we went to was the children's mass and the place was packed people were stood in the car park but it was a nice service, then it was off to Jane's to erect a giant trampoline Mark had arranged everything and by the time we arrived he had flood lights up and crew shirts for Roger and I putting up the Trampoline was great fun as we all had a beer and nobody read the instructions it was really good fun by the way the kids were not there they were at dads so Nadene decided to wrap the thing in Christmas paper with a huge bow the neighbours must have thought us all mad.
Christmas day dawned rather gloomy not only the weather but there was no children to open presents, however that was soon to change, We had a few last minute food items to prepare then it was everything in ice boxes and off to Jane's though we did stop off en route at Nadene's sisters house to wish them a merry Christmas we also me met John and Kay Nadenes Parents who we know from their trip to the UK. anyway, We were soon in the Mele of Christmas with miles of Christmas wrapping paper and presents everywhere, and that was just the adults.
Lunch was Great you start with a huge platter of sea food King Prawns, Lobster, Morten Bugs, and Oysters. plus we made some fish parcels with fish caught the day before. Then onto Spit roast Pork, Baked Gammon, Roast vege and salads, Followed by Christmas pudding, Cheese cake, Trifle, all washed down with quaffs of Wine beer champagne and Port, we started at 3.00pm and finished I think about 6pm. then of course it was silly time. A really fantastic day. Oh I forgot we all received a Rolex Watch all the way from China????
Boxing day was just a lazy day with DIY food and an evening walk along the shore, yesterday we were off to the Christmas market at Bangalow about one hours drive away, really nice in a very old Australian town.
So that was it; a real Australian Family Christmas.
We now look forward to the new year and all that that will bring.

Speak soon
Big AL

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas away

Christmas in Foreign Parts

The Difference in Christmas is miles apart yet so similar.

This morning at 06.00 I was out fishing in a little boat in my shorts and t shirt.
In contrast today I received two photos from Sarah at Fettlers Wharf showing Buggerlugs covered in snow and stranded in an ice pack.
Then Noreen and I went out to the big shops where like any where else in the world (except maybe Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran) people are rushing about getting that last minute present even Santa is getting in on the act promising things Mum says he cant have. so I suppose commercially Christmas is the same the world over
Now its 4.30 in the afternoon looking from the balcony you can see the boats in the maria all decked out with the Christmas lights, Across the bay there are boats of all shapes and sizes gently rocking on a warm south westerly breeze, Behind them you can see Families setting up BBQ on the beach after having had a day on the beach.
This is Australia's big holiday time and everyone has come down to the beaches for there summer holidays sharing the festive season with family and friends.
Wherever we celebrate this magical time of year it seems most of us have got it right by spending it with our loved ones, Family and friends and sharing what we have be great or small its the sharing that counts.
Here in Australia we are being looked after like royalty and are surrounded by loving family and friends and are looking forward to a very different Christmas. I am sure though that Mary and Roger will understand when I say we will miss you all; just a little bit.
We are now all geared up for a very different Christmas but as always it will have the basic ingredient of all Christmas's
Love Peace and Goodwill

May the sun always be on your face and the rain on your back

May you always have a coin in your pocket and bread for the table

May you always have someone to love and someone to love you

May the years be kind and the wrinkles be soft

May your God Bless and keep you

Tight lines to all

Alan & Noreen

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Noreen met a sailor

The archway connecting everything

Copying the big Eye

Hi Everyone
Yet another week were I have been able to bring chaos, bewilderment and utter mayhem to the largest of Her Majesties Colonies, This week we have been helping Mary with the kids its great because I get to play with the toys, swim in the pool, and generally act stupid (no sarcastic comments please) Mon, Tue Wed we had the kids, Thursday Roger had to work up north so we had the car all day which is great of Mary and Roger as we get some great days out, as Roger needed collecting from the airport at 21.20, we decided that we would spend the day seeing the sights of Brisbane, and then collect Roger. We arrived about noon only to find all but one car park full when we came to pay we found out why it was almost empty $36 that's 18 quid for 6 hours parking holy sh--.
We started on what is called the South Bank they have a huge area were they have dumped sand and made an artificial lagoon in the heart of the city with palm trees, little beach shops, Nice grassed areas for picnics, good toilet facilities and changing rooms and waterfalls all just a couple of hundred yards from the car parks and shops. It was packed just like Blackpool on a good day.
there is also a good array of museum's, art galleries, theatres and street cafes all in the same area and connecting them is this covered archway with trailing vines its a great place. Noreen and I decided to see the city via the river because they have a ferry service that goes right through the city an all day ticket was 2.50 for us both fantastic value and you get to see everything
Even though we had all day we only did the Botanical gardens, Maritime Museum, the river trip,
and the shops, a really good day, Now its only 20mins from the centre to the airport but you know me always early so I gave myself an hour to pick up Roger we had our usual navigator Simon and he guided us out of the city sort of, you see there is a part of the route that is under construction but nobody had told Simon, It didn't take long before Simon knew we were lost and then decided to take us to the airport through the centre of the city but Brisbane has designated bus only streets and lanes again nobody had told Simon of these new changes to the transport system. after a lot of swearing and finger gestures with other road users some signs even I didn't understand, but in true British style we won through and made it to the airport in time to collect Roger were I gave him the keys to drive us all back to Runaway bay. I may also say that whilst playing with kids in the pool I have been cooked and am now walking around advertising Xmas lobster, Friday we all went to the beach where we made our Sandman for Christmas, today Saturday we have been getting the apartment ready for Christmas it is really looking like Christmas except for the Sun, Heat, Sand, Bikini's, and BBQs

Hope this finds everyone well and Happy

Speak Soon

Big Al

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Trip to Cairns

From the Tableland Plateau

Two Beachcombers

Inside the Cathedral Fig

In front of the Curtain Fig

04.45 am.

The alarm call is like a hangover that intends to last all day, as I stagger half naked across the hallway I can detect the smell of a bush far off bush fire, this is confirmed when I draw back the blinds and the just rising sun is like a large red ball hagging over the sea the bush fire haze is making it glow like a magic lantern.
Traveling to the airport and the flight to Cairns is left on my mind like a foggy haze, it was soon to awaken me as we stepped out of the air conditioned airport arrival lounge the heat was oppressively cruel, and we decided that this heat was going to get some getting use to.

The hotel was great Mary and Roger had the apartment and we had the adjoining suit it was all very cosy. As it was now still only 11.00 in the morning and we had already had 45min drive to the airport 2hrs 35min flight taxied from the airport to the car hire picked up the car and drove to the hotel, we were all a little knackered Roger however had to go to the office so we set out to discover the town. Cairns is one of those places that cater for everyone there are 2 $million boats in the marina and Backpacker accommodation everywhere its very cosmopolitan the shopping mainly consists of cheep souvenir shops and exclusive fashion shops and set in between each one is a cafe, Bar or restaurant.
Our second day Roger was working so Mary took us up to the Tablelands which is an area inland of outstanding beauty, the weather was quite bad as we left Cairns it had been raining all night which made the driving quite difficult this was enhanced by the fact we had now got a manual gear box that Mary was not quite use to. the road up to the tablelands was another hair raising experience of 1 in 6 gradients on hairpin bends and of course the obligatory mist, We had left Cairns on the Bruce highway towards Gordonvale then turned up the Gillies highway onto Yungburra stopping at lake Barrnie and Lake Eacham both wonderfully set in tropical rain forests. As we climbed we drew out of the rain clouds and were treated to some magnificent views. Our main reason for this journey was to see two fig trees one called The Curtain Fig and the other called the Cathedral Fig I cannot begin to describe these magnificent creations of nature only to say when you stand beneath them you stand in awe of either your God or the Creator you believe in. photos cannot do them justice. Friday Roger took us all up to the Cook Highway passed Port Douglas then up to The Daintree which is a wild life heritage centre about the size of Wales we explored Waterfalls, Tropical Rain forests, Coastal views. River ferry Crossing and so much more. A real glimpse into the Crocodile Dundee area of Australia???

We are now back in Runaway bay enjoying a very quiet Sunday off.
Love to all


Did you note I never mentioned fishing once.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Penal Servitude

Sunday Morning

Its Sunday morning and in the tradition of all convicts in Australia we have been given time off from our house building to attend church purely on the understanding that we repent from our sins and thank our benefactors for looking after us in such a hostile environment, and return to work as soon as possible,, refreshed and rejuvenated from the singing of hymns.

As you have gathered we have been working on the house all week, well Noreen has as I had half a day off to go fishing with Kieth more of that later. We are both tiered, the pure effort of working in the heat takes a lot of getting use to, and really saps your strength. It sounds awful but we are having a great time its great fun and we are having a good laugh, Roger and I go to Bunnings which is the equivalent to our B&Q and get this lads they have a drive through for timber. Now you know I have to have my B&Q fix now and again so really this rebuild or RENO as they say here (renovation) I presume though I have not been officially informed that we are on a Reno project. The new occupants came to see the place yesterday are are very impressed with the Reno work that has been done, they collect the key tomorrow ???? I wanted to leave a British mark on the place and have a few doors not fitting or a leaking tap, but my Foreman is insisting on a bonzer job.

My latest escapade on the high seas went well we got a good bag of fish, Bream, Mullaway, Taylor, Flathead, and I managed a Yellow Fin Tuna which was like pulling in a 30lb carp but it was only a small one about 6lb but they really fight hard. Keith in the past has lead fishing Safari's professionally so he know what he is talking about and says for a pom I am shaping up quite well .
Last night they had a Christmas party on the Marina below us all the boats had fairy lights on them and it looked very pretty but listening to Christmas carols in this climate seems very odd
We are off to Cairnes on Tues up at 4.30am to get the 7.00am flight the further north you go the hotter it gets so I am looking for so absorbent Undies.

Lokk after each other

Big Al

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Working Hard

Moonlight over the Bay

Noreen doing her Painting

Me supervising the making of a door

Sorry folks not a lot to report this week since Monday we have been helping Mary & Roger get the new place ready for the tenants Mary and Roger have bought a house near by mainly for Roger to use as an office and they are renting off the rest of the house anyway we have been working on it all week swinging doors, repairing the staircase, knocking holes in walls painting garage doors you no the normal things one does on holiday, in fact I had better watch out because I am only here on a visitors visa not a working visa Mary will be dragged up for being a illegal trafficer in an unpaid work force.
However tomorrow Roger has to go to Brisbane on business so we have all got the day off, I'm off fishing with Keith, Noreen is going to languish by the pool Mary is sewing blinds for the house. But Saturday we are all at it again as the new clients are getting the key on Monday and Tue we are off to Cairns so we have a lot to do. we finished tonight at 7.30 we have just got back, showered changed and had my Gin and tonic it is now 22.30 and we are about to have dinner, I hope I can stay awake long enough to eat it.
Thanks to everyone who have replied to the blog its gratifying to know its being read.
Speak soon Big Al