Saturday, 23 January 2010

Catch up

Eating the big Emperor for diner

Great Aunty & Uncle

Some of the fairies

Even Bat Man takes Time out

Hi Everyone

Well it would appear that the big snow is over and normality has once again set in, well that's what the BBC tell now ifs its any different please let me know I need to know what I am coming back too???? I assume I will not need to travel back in my shorts and sandals.
This week we have taken things a bit easy the wad is getting thin and we have Vanuatu next week. We had a day out at Tumblegum again its such a nice place I had half a day on the boat with Keith were I managed to catch a Spangled Emperor ( Sweet Lip) plus quite a few other fish in fact we had a very good morning. Keith shown me the way they collect Yabbies which is a small prawn, it is done at low tide on the water line and involves pushing a large hand pump into the sand then pumping for dear live and spurting what is in the pump onto the sand whereby you collect the yabbies which hopefully you have extracted from there slumber. all was going well until I decided to step into one of the huge holes left behind from pumping, you guessed it ar-- over t-- into the water finishing up sat in two foot of water not only that we had another 3 hrs fishing I finished up rather chapped but that's another story.
Today we had a fairy party it was Pipers birthday last Tues so birthday party today to avoid the heat of the day they start at 09.00 as we were road crew we were up early and setting up by 07.45 see pics and you will see why the early start. It was fantastic party with lots of food and cakes. NO drinks ???
Its Australia day on Tues which apparently is a big day here national holiday people will take the
Monday off and make a long weekend of it ( lets make St Georges day very very special or even call it British day and if people don't like it then they can stay indoors for the day and watch bollwood films.) seriously though would it not be great if celebrated our national day like the rest of the world do.
So next week its off to Vanuatu in the south pacific Roger and I have been practicing "there is nothing like a dame" Noreen and Mary have been practicing "Balihi" we are all looking forward to the trip so avoiding Tsunamis, earth quakes, typhoons, deadly insect bites I should get one more blog off before we depart for Home.

Love to All
Big Al

Friday, 15 January 2010

this week

Brisbane Sky Line Noreen with her Bird of Paradise

Piper and the Koala Veiw from Tumblegum

Tumblegum From the tree tops

Tree top walkway

This week has been a bit busy Monday we were off to O'Riley's which is the top of a mountain were there is a tree walk they have actually built a walk way through the tree canopy which is very beautiful with magnificent views, especially when you climb a 80ft tree to check the view (which we did) there is a lovely story about a plane crash on the mountain were O'riley set out to rescue and led two survivor's to safety there is a lot more to the story but you get the drift.
Tuesday we set off for a run out on our own first calling at Nadeen's shop to exchange my sunglasses that have broke I explained that I have only had them 4 years so they must be still under guarantee. Noreen and I then went to a place with the fantastic name of Tumblegum a very quiet Ausie back water with only one river fronted street with art galleries and very hippy Cafes I am sure that the cake I had was laced because I felt extremely happy after I ate it. our return journey was through some really pretty countryside I have no idea were it was because by this time all I new was that the coast was in the east and that was the direction I was traveling. we eventually finished up at a placed called Burleigh from there we new our way back.
Wednesday it was a family day out to another mountain, to the Brisbane Planetarium great day for Kids and people like me who think they are kids, the show that is put on is very enlightening my only criticism is that it was all about the southern hemisphere which meant nothing to me but all the same a fantastic show, the Planetarium is situated in the Botanical gardens which are
mind blowing I never new that there were so many different types of bamboo and the kids had a great time on the children's I spy trail. that day was rounded off with a visit to the top of the mountain which has a cafe (food again) and a number of viewing platform that offer panoramic views over the whole of Brisbane.
Thursday Noreen's Birthday see separate Blog
Friday is day off am all tuckered out.

Keep smiling folks according to the BBC World service the thaw is on its way

Big Al

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The new Friend "Bruce"

The Pre -Dinner Nibbles

The Food

The Laughs

The Fun

The Cake

The Sparkler Spectacular Spelling "Love"

The End with Noreen's Finale

Hi folks

Birthday Party on the Beach in January:

It started with Noreen waking up which is always a good start; it then became a very casual affair as befits someone of Noreen's age, breakfast of fresh fruits and decaffeinated Coffee on the balcony, whilst opening presents and cards and being introduced to her new friend Bruce. The rest of the day was spent playing games with Mitchel and eating which I may add has become a prominent feature of the holiday, (not playing with Mitchel but the eating)All this time Mary and Roger were busily preparing for the party which was to be held in true Ausie fashion on the beach, where else

The whole family came including Bruce Noreen's new Friend who she insists I get a visa for and bring him back to the UK (another bloody immigrant)

Now as I said earlier food and drink is a part of the Ausie culture maybe because they have so much of it, but the spread that was supplied could have fed an army and I should know, it took over two hrs of constant eating on my part to finish it off (well I was always told it was rude not to finish your food, and that's my excuse). This included the Birthday Cheese cake made by Nadine which I swear was over 4" high with about 1lb fresh fruit on top. The whole party started with shading ourselves from the sun and ended with us navigating back in the dark. We had to stay late to give the whole of Southport a Sparkler Spectacular, Which was to be the highlight of the evening, except for Noreen's speech????.

It was a fantastic one Noreen is not likely to forget and one that could only be done here in Ause so we thank everyone for a great day.

Speak soon

knackered Big Al

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Noreen and Mitch in First Class (naturally)

Piper Stoking up

Mark performing

Hi All
Well here we are again Sunday. It all started so well this morning up at 7.00am washed Showered breakfasted and out to church for 9.00 mass only to find that it was ending as we arrived, well they have changed the times for the Holiday period and not being regulars at the church we just read the mass times published outside, all I can say is that the intention was good.
Then it was back here for a long day watching others enjoy the sun, as Sundays here are a time for very quiet relaxation, like all resorts the coast is packed on Sundays so we just st on the balcony watching the comings and goings of the Boats and the People its very enjoyable and can be very funny. We have had a week of coming and going Friday we went to the railway Museum at Ipswich with Jane and the kids, great day out luckily coming from Manchester I had a good grounding in steam engines and was able to answer most of Mitchel's questions even ones like "with the difference in engine Torque and horse power what did I think would be the best for transporting coal wagons over great distances like Australia Steam or Diesel?" WHAT!
where do these kids get it from, But he was very impressed when I was the only one who could work the diesel train simulator I think I even impressed lots of other grandads. the Museum and grounds were really nice. I may have said this before the Aussie have very nice cenotaphs for both 1st and second wars they are beautifully kept with lots of polished brass and wonderful designs, there was one at the rail museum commemorating all the railway workers who fell in the first and second wars, and yesterday we went to see Mark playing a gig at the RSL Aussie equivalent of our British Legion again there was a wonderful memorial to those who had fallen in both wars and they are still adding to it today. very respectful of them.
I transgress as I was saying Sunday is a day of rest so I thought I would catch up with you all, I was listening to the BBC this morning the weather sounds awful and even more to come I now feel sorry for saying its great here no snow. I expect that the excitement of the snow as now well worn off, its OK for a couple of days but the novelty soon wears off.
I am not sure if my car will start when I get back Tom ha not been able to get out to run it but there is always the AA
So folks that's it not much news, I have to go back to watching these boaters moor up (not that I could do any better but its always comforting to see some other silly sod cock it up

Speak soon
Big Al

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


One cheeky little Girl Piper

Moon light over the bay
Brewery & Cheese Farm
do not order Burger & Chips here

Ausi en Suite

Hi Folks

Well the Christmas decorations come down today 12 night the epiphany was yesterday and we had a 12 night party on the beach with Jane and the kids then back here for a Buffet tea, as the sun was not too hot it was a really enjoyable day. The weather over the past few days has been rather intense it is of course the rainy season so in between the heavy rain we have this very humid atmosphere were you become very wet. BUT its not snowing so I'm not complaining, I listen to the BBC world news on the radio at night and follow the weather on the Internet and of course I get updates from you lot, so I do understand just how bad its been or in fact is. Lets hope its all gone for when we return. It would seem that we have picked the right winter to come here. We are filling our days at the moment with days out in the local area when I say local that means within a 100 miles; that's local, all four of us are enjoying days out places like Tambourine Mountain were after waiting an hour for a burger and chips I actually complained demanded my money back and said that the service was worse than the UK ( something I thought wasn't possible) well it normally wouldn't have bothered me but Rogers had arrived and he had eaten his:! now that really pi---- me off and upset me, but it was for the good because just down the road we found a PIE SHOP that sold pies and mushy peas, I must say though the Pies here are good real meat but at 2.50 each they should be. Yesterday whilst swimming with the kids we were visited by a dolphin which caused great excitement as I think it only came in the bay to play nobody seem to bother it was just another dolphin, I on the other hand was running up and down the beach with camera at the ready trying to focus and snap a pic at something that only came up for 2 seconds at a time. I think people were more interested in the mad Pom running up and down the beach than the Dolphin. Today we are off, but yet know not where I am taking Roger to the station then off out. we have trips planned but not finalised yet But what we have got planned is a trip to Vanuatu ; now if your interested Vanuatu is a group off islands in the South Pacific nestling between the Pacific and the Coral sea we are off to Effi which is the capital Island, all this is to take place at the end of Jan which will give just three days back in Aus before our homeward journey. We have never been to the Pacific so its another name on the list. The place sounds very civilised and they say that the head hunters left years ago but I am sure that there will be a couple of stories in the trip. Not much fishing done in the past week though I did go off the Marina wall the other day and caught a Stripy Perch, and an eel plus a few crabs (no jokes please) Roger went out with Kieth on Monday and hooked into a Mantor Ray which they had to turn on the engine and chase to get line back only the anglers amongst you will understand the complexity of that?????

Keep wrapped up warm it will all be gone soon and all the little ones will be back in school with the snow being just be another memory ( that's all right for me its 8.00am and 72 here) Keep smiling folks

Speak soon

Big Al

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New year Celebrations

Brunch Evening Meal

Boat Launch Vici Notice the Net and the Flying Bear

Hi All
Yes the first Blog of 2010 and it starts with of course the New Year Celebrations. New years eve was full of comings and goings as the bay started to fill up with every type of craft $1 million boats to the simplest house boat all were packing themselves into the bay for a night of celebration. As Mary was hosting the family celebrations we were all put to task in preparing food and getting the place ready with balloons (thanks to Vici the hammock came in very useful look at the picture also notice the Flying Teddy guarding the balloons old friends are still with us) Streamers Party Games, and of course Champagne on ice, We started the evening at 6.00pm with a light tea of Fish Pie, this was just to get the kids in the mood for partying, then at it was off to see the children's fire work display, This early firework display is a great Idea as the little kids who are not going to make midnight can experience the New Year atmosphere. Then it was back to the apartment for a curry which I had prepared earlier. As midnight arrived the whole bay was a lit by fireworks, distress flairs, and search lights, the air was alive with sirens, ships horns and the screams of excitement, being on the 15th floor we had a commanding view of the whole of the bay all the way down to Surfers Paradise which of course enabled us all to see a very wide variety of firework displays. it was a very special night.
New years day arrived with a better than normal hangover which was helped along with having children playing card games and leaping frogs, children certainly help the recovery process????
Food was organised for 11.00am which was a brunch an Aussie BBQ Brunch Steak, Sausage, Bacon, Tomato, Mushroom, Scrambled Egg, Fried Egg, Smoked Salmon, Fresh Fruit and the ever flowing Champagne. Mark and Nadene joined the family for Brunch which made it a real Family occasion, After brunch it was all down to the beach for an afternoon of Launching the new rubber dinghy and frolicking in the sun, Then us oldies ended up back at the apartment for a well earned rest (Without any more food)
So that was New Year Aussie style not very different from our own its just hotter. and more food unless Noreen is Cooking when everyone gets a carry out.
We are now back at playing the tourist today we went up Tambourine Mountain with lunch at the brewery and Cheese factory a very nice adult day with Aussie meat Pies, Dark Beer and runny cheese. for lunch Fillet Steak for dinner.

Hope all your celebrations went as well as ours

Big Al