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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Housing capers...

Tues May 31, 2011

dear moover and groovers; 

 Louise back here on the blogosphere telling you all about our recent adventures in Troppo Land;

Not much has happened in the last week, Matt has finished his 6 weeks working in Townsville at the Dept of Housing and has lived to tell the tale. We received a call today (Tue 31.5.11) from the Dept asking Matt to go back again, but he declined as we are running around like chooks with no heads trying to get somewhere to live organised.  I have been dragging myself to the gym but that bloody spare tyre is proving hard to shift...  I shall persevere.

Aunty Lyn flew back to the Gold Coast last Saturday (with doggie) and we caught the ferry in with her to Townsville, and after bundling her into a taxi, we went to the Cowboys Leagues Club for a snack before venturing to the movies to see 'Source Code'  which was very good;  4 Stars from me;  and I'll throw in a bit of extra info, and let you know it's directed by Duncan Jones;  'Who the  hell is that?" you ask;  well it just happens to be David Bowie's son!  And a very talented chap he is too;  we saw his other movie 'Moon' which is also very good.   Check them both out if you can...

And speaking of living somewhere,  the latest is that we are now seriously thinking (and looking) at buying, not building a house! Yes - I can hear the gasp of surprise from here, but honestly, it's a bit of a buyers market after that bloody Cyclone Yazi smashed (almost) into the island.  It would cost us $290 + to build and we have just seen a 4 y/o house with 4 bedrooms going cheap ($300k) and we are sorely tempted;  plus we think that we may be wearing out our welcome living under Matt's folks...  It's always a strain having guests at the best of times, and a house build would take 6 months...  Too long we feel;  We have made an offer on the house mentioned above and we will see tomorrow if it is accepted.

The Real estate agent is trying (of course) to play hardball, but as I always say, 'You can't con a conman' (or woman in my case)!  

Being a Londoner and having a dad who thought he was a bit of a 'wide boy' i.e walking the walk and talking the talk, I grew up watching  him buy and sell cars (for himself) practically   every few months.  it was an education...   If  I can find it I will scan in a pic of me outside our dump of a house in the east end of london, with me poking my head thru the sun roof of the Mark 3 Jag he had just bought.  But back to the house price,   Matt is going to phone first thing tomorrow to see how the land lays... fingers crossed...

OK I shall depart to make a cuppa...

Sorry no pics this blog;  I shall add some soon.

adios amigos; Louise

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More of The Big attraction...Magnetic Island

dear chums;

We are nearly up to speed and the present time - I am still chasing my tail with past diary entries, but that's my fault for not getting this blog started earlier.  

Sunday 15 May 2011 - sunny 26c
Matt is down with the lurgy!  We have all had coughs/ colds and sore throats and he has succumbed a bit;  Tom is trying to dig out the post that holds the Hills Hoist washing lines, which has been in the ground since 1972 or thereabouts; there is about 1m of concrete at the end of it;  the cyclonic winds of Yazi drove a tree onto it, and smashed it beyond repair.  Tom has new one to install but the old is well into the ground.  Matt is next door slashing the block, against my wishes, as he is not feeling well.  But he is like a big dog on a short leash and says he must keep working on it. 

Matt doing a bit of pole dancing;  15.5.11

Tom (Matt's dad) surveying the scene 15.5.11; Matt is fully clothed as he got a rash from the sap from one of the trees he was clearing.

They eventually do it, with Matt jumping on the end NOT in concrete and swinging the thing around.

But Matt walks over suddenly to the picnic table and bench, lies flat  on his back and puts his legs in the air;  Hello - I think - Matt is   doing a Urdu mating dance maybe?  But on closer inspection, I see is face is very white and he says quietly  'think my blood sugar is dropping...'  Luckily I remember we have a can of Red Bull in the fridge and quickly get him to slowly sip it.  His Dad, laughs like a drain, but seeing how ghostly Matt looks, quickly stops.  After a few minutes Matt's colour comes back and I tell him to come and lay on the sofa while I make him a cuppa.  He realises he is trying to do too much at once, and agrees with me that he needs to slow down.   I do the housework and clean the bathroom...Here is my recipe for my own version of Spray and Wipe - mine costs about 25c a bottle and is eco friendly.

In a plastic spray bottle put :

half a cup of cloudy ammonia (available in supermarket laundry section)
1 cup white vinegar (in sauces/pickles section)
2 cups of water (or fill to top of bottle)

Give it a gentle shake and happy days!  Spray away...

This mixture cleans about everything, glass, tiles, benchtops and I used to spray it on my shirt collars when I was a ranger (they used to get filthy with grime) and then I'd give the shirts a wash in the machine.  Try it - you'll love it.  

Monday 16 May - windy 25c sunny

Matt's Auntie Lyn - Petah's sister arrives today for a spell with her cute dog Tully.  

Petah and I meet her at the Nelly Bay wharf down the road, with my car, as she has a huge cat cage that the dog was transported in from the Gold Coast;  but after saying hello, we realise the cage and her luggage is NOT going to fit into the back so Petah kindly agrees to lug it up the road.    The mother of these 2 ladies, Joy, lives on the island and Lyn is staying with her.  Joy is 91 and going OK, apart from a bit of bad vision and hearing and will probably outlive us all.  She has a very cute dog called Rusty, which I am sure, keeps her going.

Joy and Lyn having a cuppa; 21.5.11

Rusty (left) and Tully - they are best chums!  21.5.11

Tuesday 17 May 2011 - sunny 25c 
As I am feeling fitter now, and the parking at the Nelly Bay wharf is hard to get, I decide to walk to the ferry (8.25am) in order to make it to my hair appointment with Beck in Townsville.  I leave the house at 8.10 thinking a brisk walk in the fresh air will do me good;  I have the obligatory bag that most ladies carry here, containing a bottle of water, sunscreen and a thin cardigan in case it gets chilly later.  As I stroll along I suddenly realise its a bit further than I remember and I am not going to catch the bloody ferry unless I get a move on.  I start running,  Luckily I am in my Doc Marten boots and a sundress but I'm panicking.   

Suddenly a car pulls up next to me and a lady with short hair and glasses says huskily 'Get in..'   Thinking I have been transported to a bad spy movie, I do as she says.  'Hello I'm Jenny and I'm taking you to the ferry!'  Whoa, way to go Maggie islanders... How kind is that!   I gasp thanks as she pulls up at the wharf  and I run to the barrier;  the ticket collector lady just says 'no rush...' as I fumble for my 10 pass ticket and she clips it;  Just as I sit down on the ferry 2 more latecomers run on and the pilot gets the nod from the top deckhand and we take off.   

I walk from the ferry wharf at Townsville up to the salon, (5 mins) and Beck works her magic and makes me look fab again.  

I meet Matt for lunch and we go to the Cowboys Club and I munch my way through a $10 all you can eat salad/pasta bar.  My cholesterol being a bit high, I have read all I can on what to do to keep it low, and it seems a high fibre diet is the ticket.  I have been back on my usual porridge/ muesli combo for brekky, now with the addition of psyillium husks;  Love the husks!  Matt and I took them nightly before our road trip but got a bit slack when away.  The husks have a valuable effect on being cholesterol sponges, and they make All Bran look like a block of cheese...  Another Louie tip; don't bother with Metamucil - the husks are what that is made of, and on their own are half the price!  Who needs orange flavour and sugar with their fibre?  OK, I admit, it is like drinking wallpaper paste at first, but that aversion goes once the benefits are realised...

After lunch I hit the Salvos Charity shop to find, happy days, they have a green ticket special on and I scour the place and leave spending $20;  Some of these purchases are on now (search for matsta73) if any of you out there would like to make a bid?  

I catch the 3.45 ferry home - its the school run and what worries me is that half of the teenage boys who are in their uniforms, have beards or moustaches.   All I remember on the teenage boys I used to hang about with was acne.  Must be all the sun and good food here I wonder?

Weds 18 May 2011 - sunny, windy 25c
Lunch today with Lyn and Joy;  we go to Peppers at the Nelly Bay Wharf which is a very posh looking spot, but the lunches are reasonable.   After a lovely lunch we look at the huge lagoon like swimming pool in the middle of the Peppers hotel complex.  Lots of tourists come to the Island in our winter to escape the cold temps further south in places like Sydney or Melbourne;  the Europeans love it, as the swaying palms and sandy beaches are the stuff their dreams are made of.

Saturday 21 May - sunny 27c
Matt and I go and visit 2 local builders to see what they can do for us re our house build.  We explain what we would like, take along some drawings and chat about costs.    They are going to do some more detailed plans for us to check out next week.  I notice my left shoulder is hurting when I lift it and realise I went a bit too hard with the chest press on Thursday at the gym... maybe rotor cuff damage?  Decide to not do too much...

Monday 23 May - cloudy/ spots of rain  25c
Deciding against the gym I get domestic,  and of course, just as I hang out the washing on the new hoist, the rain is spotting.  Decide to brave it out and lo! After lunch the sun is out and the washing is almost dry;  that's the other good thing about life here, peg out the laundry and its dry in about 20 mins.

Which brings me up to TODAY! 
Tuesday 24 may cool night 27c

Dragged myself to the gym; did NO arm raises or similar but pounded the treadmill;  one thing did piss me off big time : I burnt some dance music CDs to use on the antique boom box at the gym in a wav file format; and bugger me, it won't play!  Now there are burnt CDs at the gym so I know the CD player must read them; but shall have to wait until Matt gets home in case I have done something wrong;  they play OK on my car MP3/CD player so I am confused, which for a 56 y/o menopausal woman is not that unusual... If anyone knows what I am doing wrong, please leave a comment.

I will blog again in a few days;  It's Matt's last week at (temp) work, so I will have him back to myself soon; Now one would think that after 9 months together in a campervan,  I would be happy to not see him everyday?  Wrong!  Matt is my best chum, among other things and I miss him.  (But keep that to yourself, dear reader, or he'll think I'm going soft...)

here is Matt with Pushka cat who is on a diet at the moment... 22.5.11

Adios amigos,  Louise 

Monday, May 23, 2011

may days on the Island

hey good people;;;

lou back here letting you know the stuff that you were dying to know...

Sat 7th May 2011 - a bit cloudy 27C

Lovely Ted is continuing to cut down the bushes and trees on our land for a few beers; bless...  He has a chainsaw and needs the chain bit fixing which Matt agrees to do, so Matt goes into town while I engage in that favourite Saturday pastime, the garage sale!  I find some great stuff at a house in Arcadia, and meet the lovely owner of the place, April;  I buy a fab painting, and some clothes, then realise after agreeing a price, I am $10 short!  To demonstrate how trusting the folks here are, she just says 'bring it around tomorrow...'  Now I doubt that would ever happen in Sydney...

I had to paint over myself the face in the mirror as it hadn't been finished off!  May 2011

Ted's needs are simple, and he requests a cask (box) of wine, 'Get the blue one, by Stanley wines, its $16.50 at the bottle shop' he tells me and after my garage sale finds I try to get what he wants; but 'bugger me' as they say here, there are 3 colours blue of the type of white wine he wants... I stand like an idiot in the shop, and meekly try to explain to the young chap my dilemma;  'the mid blue  is the most popular' he tells me and rather than stand there looking like I have dementia, I grab the one he suggests and leg it...  On arriving back at our vacant block, Ted is going well with the slasher, but his face slightly falls when he sees the colour of the box of wine... Yep, you guessed it, I have the wrong one.  But Ted, just smiles and says he will drink it anyways and takes it away...   I wonder if giving a box of wine to a man with chainsaw is a good idea?  I perish this thought and as it is Sat night I can indulge in my own glass of box a Snickers Bar... bliss!

Sun 8 May 2011  27C cloudy
Very lazy day;  do bugger all, watch the DVD 'Coco' about Coco Chanel, played by Audrey Tatou, with my mother in law Petah; it's very good and I am so glad I bought it from April at the garage sale the day before.

Tuesday 10 May 

We sell Matt's sub woofer!  I had signs plastered on the usual spots, and we got the full price of $350 for it, so happy days;  

Weds 11 May sunny 26c

I go to see Dr Glavin re those pesky bloody tests I had done, and he is sort of OK about them;  My cholesterol is a bit up from 5.5 to 6.1 and my thyroid function is a bit off wack too, but he says to come back in 3 months for more tests.  At least he didn't say 'don't read any long books'...

Friday 13 April
I have to go into town to get the bi annual mammogram done, I missed out last time as I was on the road.  For those of you who have never had one done, either because you don't have breasts or you are too young let me enlighten you about the procedure.  Before I scar you forever with the details, if you are male, just imagine one of your testicles is being squashed very hard  between two metal plates and you kind of get the drift.  

I arrive in town and jump in that bloody green car and of course, the effing thing does not want to go!  I give up after a bit, realising that I am not doing something right and jump on a bus instead;  I am feeling very flaky, like a person going to be tortured but who can do zip about it... the green car knows this and refuses to start, sensing my mood.

One thing I learn today is that the bus drivers of Townsville, (mostly female) are a mine of information and knowing bugger all about the geography of the place and clutching a referral form which I show, I get there with 30 mins to spare.  

The nurse who scans me is Indian and has a smile when I tell her I'm not nervous, I'm terrified...    I strip to the waist and the torture begins.  She gently grabs my right boob and due to my breasts being a bit on the small side, I am practically getting jiggy with this huge machine... As the top plate comes down onto my breast and begins the squash, I gasp.  'Don't breathe, just scanning now' Nursey says and ducks behind a lead screen.  Breathe!  Is she joking? I can just about stand the pain and mercifully the plate lifts releasing me from its metal grip.  I sag forward in relief.  The other boob has the same treatment and I think to myself 'that was ok' until I hear those dreaded words 'Ok we have to do the side view now...'  Yes, Yes, more of the same.  I realise its 2pm and I had brekky at 7am and my light headiness is probably due to lack of food and oodles of pain. I am told after it has ended, to sit and she will return.

A few minutes later more bad news;  'sorry we need to take an ultrasound now, there is some dense tissue there...'  Seeing the look on my face Nursey assures me that its just routine.  

The nice lady who operates the ultrasound, makes me lie down and smears warm KY Lube all over my boobs; Lovely; Such a shame its not Brad Pitt doing the deed, I tell myself, as my head swims even more.  Luckily the procedure is quick and I avail myself of the cafe next door and indulge in scones and jam & cream;  Not exactly a proper lunch but I find it strangely comforting...

I get back to town and find Deni my sister in law, and let her know I failed with the car - the problem is that its going on the barge back to the island as Aunty Lyn is arriving Monday and will need wheels...  Deni gets to the car with me at 4.45pm and you know what comes next... the friggin thing starts for her!  I wasn't pushing the clutch down hard enough, when jigging the steering wheel and tuning the radio (Ok I am exaggerating a bit here..) but phew! We drive it onto the barge and arrive back on Maggie at 7pm.

Sat 14 May
I get taken with Tom, Deni and Matt to a Cowboys Rugby team game at the Dairy Farmers stadium at the back of Townsville; we catch the 4pm ferry into Townsville, and have dinner at the Cowboys Club.  To be honest, every time Matt is watching a game on TV, I always say the same smart ass line 'what's in that leather handbag they're chasing around the field' to which I now get just a annoyed look.  But seeing it live, is a whole new thing, and I have to say I actually enjoyed it.  (the Cowboys won against Parramatta Eels by the way...)

views of maggie

Arcadia beach 21.5.11

Arcadia beach, left view,  21.5.11

The Arcadia Pub, with one of the many mini mokes in front.  21.5.11

More later amigos;  Matt is home from work - only this week to go; yippee!  and he wants me to help with dinner...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Arrival on the island - continuing...

dear pals,

Lou here again; just trying to get you up to speed on our move to the island and its trials and tribulations.

Friday 15 April 2011
Matt and I go into town armed with my proper rego details in the vain hope we can get my car registered in this state;  We catch an early ferry to Townsville and get to the Qld Transport as they open, and luck out by seeing the same lady at the counter we saw last time...all sorted!

My hair is a complete mess and I luck out again in finding one that can see me straight away; Beck Jane West is a one woman operation in Denham St., and is a mine of information on all that is going on here.  I walk out looking amazing, the grey ones gone and I am happy I have found a new hairdresser.  (there appear to be none on the island...)

Matt's sister Deni tells him he can start work at Dept of Housing, (her workplace) for 6 weeks if he wants as they desperately need someone to do the filing... Matt agrees and the process begins to sign him up.

Monday 18th April 
Matt gets a phone call from the RV Centre in Sydney who offer us $30k for our van; but it means going to Sydney;  (see our last blog at about our trip down).  

Tues 26 April  - my birthday - I'm 56!

We (Geoff on right) go to Ribs and Rumps Manly for dinner and drinks.

Thursday 28 April 2011
We fly back to Townsville, leaving our bedding and other odds and sods that was with us in the van with Geoff.  Arrive back at Maggie at 4pm - its 27C and lovely...  thank the gods I don't have to wear long pants and a jacket anymore...

We discover an ally in Ted who lives behind us, and kindly wants to help out clearing our block of land, in exchange for a few beers!   He lives alone and I think just likes keeping active;  Matt helps him out where possible.

Fri 29th April
The Royal Wedding!  What a cracker piece of entertainment; the dress, that pink pretzel hat Princess Beatrice was wearing, the Queen looking like a canary; it had it all....  You can say what you like; the Poms do know how do the pageantry thing!

Monday 2 May 2011
By sheer fluke I am on the computer at lunch time and see a newsflash; Osama is dead!  I rush upstairs and tell everyone; no one can believe it, and I watch, live, the speech from Obama.  Well, it took some time, but they got him in the end...  We all agree that OBL being dead will NOT stop the war in Afghanistan, but may slow it down a bit...

Tuesday 3 May 2011
I drag myself to the gym, as Matt has started work I have NO excuse not to go;  he comes home at 6pm and tells me he may not last the 6 weeks as there is a mountain of filing do get through.

Thursday 5 May 2011
My body is aching in bits I didn't even know I had!  That's the problem with being on the road for 9 months and no weight training!  But I need to get my triceps back into shape, especially as its  still hot here (27c) most days and I want to look good in a singlet!  I meet the gym's owner Thommo, who is a big guy that an AK47 would have trouble slowing down.   But he has his own gym, I reason, and why not be an advert for it?

Friday 6 May 2011 27C sunny (the usual so far...)
I get up early and have nothing to eat as I am going for blood tests for my yearly physical; I arrive at 8.30 and the waiting room is crowded.  I go to grab a number and I'm told by a chorus of those assembled 'Don't worry, you're after Mary'.  
I blink, and return the number and sit down with an very old issue of 'Shop till you drop' and await my turn.    I feel very much like an outsider -which if course I am.   The room is like a social club, everyone knows everyone else, and when I finally get in, I tell the nurse that they should install a bar and make a fortune...  The tests will take a few days and I should get the results by Wednesday.

Ok more soon groovers....  love louise

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our arrival days (continued);

dear chums;
Louise here again at the keypad with more tales of life in the 'troppo' tropics on Maggie Island.

It is actually a bit cool at night now, and we have had to have a blanket on, which makes a change from the electric fan.  The locals are wearing jeans and jumpers and its 24C! Not this little black duck; still wearing the minimum while I feel that sun.

Weds 6 April 2011 26C  sunny
The cough and fever I have are a lot worse and I make Matt take me to the local Doctor ; Bill Glavin, who is a portly chap with grey hair and reminds me of Bill Hunter (Australian Actor).  He gives me a script for antibiotics and says to rest up; Lovely - I can be lazy as its on the doc's orders...

Thurs 7April  27C  sunny
A call for someone wanting to buy Matt's Mitsu car! Hooray! But jeers turn to tears when the lady who sees it wants power steering, and that's the one thing the damn car is without!  Matt is crushed after doing his best used car salesman impression...  He also phones around some RV Centres and we again are only offered $25k for our van; bloody insult; we paid $40k for it.   We decided $30k is the lowest we will take.

Fri 8 April  28C sunny
We catch the barge to Townsville, with the van to get a new windscreen fitted; the crack we got in our first week on the road has not expanded but the van won't sell as it is.  It is booked in for 1pm at Instant Windscreens somewhere in town.

  Before this gets done we go to the Queensland Motor Dept to get our vehicle re-registered for this state; We queue for ages and they have no seats or a ticket machine; first in, best dressed. Talk about antiquated!  

We then find we have no third party cover and have to run to the nearest insurer, QBE and get a note and run back again to Motor Dept.  The lady behind the counter was very helpful, but what was NOT was the fact that the mechanic had not copied down my engine number properly on his papers and their is a problem; I have to now get the local police to verify my engine number as it is already on the Motor Dept system; Bugger!   

We then meet Tom (father in law) who is in town and he gives me the keys to the old green car that is kept in town for use when required; 'Push the clutch in and turn the key' he advises and takes off back to the island.  The plan is to follow Matt to the windscreen place and while it is being done, we can have lunch.  Matt gives me the address and we set off, with me following after.   As we round a corner I bump over a pothole and the car dies.  I managed to flash my lights as Matt goes through the junction ahead, but he keeps going;  I frantically push the clutch to the floor, while stepping 'on the gas' - to no avail.  I am feeling very hungry now - Its 12.45 -  and angry I get out in a lather of sweat.    Luckily a kind man takes pity on me and offers me his mobile phone, (Matt has our shared one) and when I tell Matt what had occurred he tells me he has to get the windscreen done - I tell him I will try and make it to where he is...
The mobile phone man has got the car started!  I jump in and ask him frantically where the suburb of Garbutt is, and he points and says 'towards the airport'.  I over rev the engine but manage to take off...  There is only 1 sign for the airport and I follow it, praying the car will not die again;  fortunately the road I needed (Bayswater) is marked up ahead on a roundabout sign and I veer and swerve through the trucks and cars to make the turn;  then I see our van parked outside the windscreen place and I heave a sigh of relief.  Parking the heap of rust around the corner, I leave the windows open (its 32C) and rush out to grab Matt;  As I bang on the side of the van a very unfamiliar face looks out the window;  at this point I say the most intelligent thing I can think of: 'your'e not my husband!'  The young driver points towards the office and I sprint towards it.  Another nice man greets me and informs me that Matt has just walked up the road to Hungry Jacks Burgers and I should be able to catch him...   I start to run, and I can see the HJ sign about 50m in front; the sun is burning me but I have to go on.  As I enter the cool air con, I see a blue 'Nike' T shirt with a loaded tray of food and grab the arm: Matt turns around and says "Louie!  How did you get here!"  and all I can do is burst into tears and mumble "I don't know..."

We have lunch and walk back to the green car; did I mention their is a superstition in my family with green cars?  All who have owned one have had grief, and I am now beginning to believe it.   While over lunch I told Matt about the car dying, but now as he tries to drive it away, the same thing happens.  I feel relieved as it proves the look I got from him saying 'it's your driving Lou' is unfounded. We drive about 2km and it dies again 2 more times, and we have to call the RACQ (roadside assistance) which Tom luckily belongs to.  Finally a tow truck arrives and takes it with me to the Hyundai dealer in town where it gets left for repairs.   I am not driving that car unless I really have to!

Sat April 9th  27C sunny
This is the day Tom falls off the trestle and sprains his ankle.  The lurid details are in our other blog  Its May 19th as I write this and his ankle is still not the best...

Sun April 10th  sunny 26C
Tom's ankle is well swollen and he looks very pissed off! As you would if you had been painting places for 40 years and this was the first time you had fallen off...

Mon 11 April   sunny 28c
Another potential buyer for the car; another man who wants power steering;  we are asking $3,300 ono and are hoping we can get a buyer.    Had lots of calls but when told no P.S on car, they don't want to know...

Tues 12 April  28C sunny
I join the local gym at the end of the road; $30 per month (see photos); my arms are getting the 'bingo wings' and I don't like it...

Here is my new gym; very basic, a bit of a cave really, but very, very cheap i.e $1 a day... Lovely!   May 2011

Other view;  I am usually the only client there at 9am when I go;  I can use the boom box and have my favourite dance music blaring out while I wrangle with that huge treadmill... May 2011

Weds 13 April - 26c sunny
After 3 days of phone calls trying to get the local cops to come and see my car, (to verify the engine number) they call and say they will be with me in 10 mins; I wait outside for an hour and they eventually turn up;   I get cranky waiting but Matt explains to me that we are on 'magnetic island time' and to not stress.  My papers for the new number plates gets signed and I am happy...

We get a call re: Matt's car and jump for joy when the man looks at it and says 'I don't give a shit about powered steering...' and produces a wedge of dosh!  Happy days...  Now just the van to sell...

OK guys More later on....  Matt is making dins and wants me to mash some spuds...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Arrival on the island - I've been magnetised!

Hey moovers and groovers, hang on its going to be a bumpy blog (to paraphrase Bette Davis)...

Louise back here at the helm, with a NEW blog;  this one is about life on Magnetic Island,  in far north Queensland.  (please google earth Nelly Bay and see where we live now...) 

We arrived here from the end of our 9 month trip around Australia, and for those of you who have not seen the old blog on the trip the address is and is worth checking out.

Well what to say about Maggie island?  We arrived on 2nd April 2011 to rain and storms, and as we have been here a while I will quickly zoom through my diary and briefly outline the story so far...

I should explain here that I have visited Maggie Is. many times over the past decade or so, and love it.  This is the first experience of my living here though.  Which is, I am finding out, a whole new ball game from being a tourist.

Some things I have noticed:

-   I realise  it is the so called winter here (i.e now) when I have to add a tiny bit of hot water to the normal "cold" shower I have... 

- Everyone knows everyone on Maggie; the population is 2,500 and is capped at 4,000 I am told.

- The local birds are bloody noisy!  Stone Curlews and kookaburras at 4am screaming, make me think I am in the middle of an old 1940s Tarzan movie -  (they all had kookaburras screams in -  odd as they are not found in Africa!).

Matt (my husband) grew up here and his folks have luckily for us, a granny flat under their house where we are staying, and are letting us stay here, bless them.

We have a cunning plan... that is to build a house on the block of land next door;  Yes, yes, I know - living next door to the in laws sounds a bad idea.  But there were 2 good reasons we decided to buy it, 

1. Tom and Petah have a swimming pool, and 
2. it was going $40k off the normal price as the owners were getting divorced!  

We already have another block of land the other side of the island in Horseshoe Bay near my sister in law Deni, but Nelly Bay is the de facto capital of the island now, with the new ferry terminal, so we have decided to build here and sell the other block to  help pay for it.  Sounds like a plan right?  And it would have worked but for the bloody Cyclone Yazi which has (we think) put real estate buyers off the island! So we have reduced the price down to $130k and if anyone reading is interested, we do give 'mates rates' if you have the dosh!  See Compass Real Estate and mention my name...

OK; let me grab the Anne Frank boredom killer and see what has been going on...

sat April 2nd 2011 - Raining  temp: 27C

We arrive in Townsville in our camper van and take it to an RV centre here, with a view to selling it; the salesman kept a poker face and said his boss would call in the week to discuss a price; not what we wanted to hear but we catch an earlier barge over to the island from Townsville and on arrival, grab a bottle of cheap champagne to celebrate the end of the trip.  Tom, Petah and Deni are frantically cleaning out the downstairs flat for our arrival.  Feel pissed so early in the day, probably the booze and lack of food?  Weird but enjoyable...  I finish the rest of the bottle over dins that night when Tom fires up the BBQ and realise why rich people love the stuff with the bubbles...And as it is Saturday I am allowed a drink!  No boozing Mon - Fri unless absolutely warranted.

Sun April 3- Raining all day - 27C 

I wake up 4.30am and have trouble (again) getting back to sleep;  a menopause thing I think?  Or just being angst having finally finished our big trip?  Who knows, do some affirmations courtesy of Louise L Hay 'you can heal your life' and fall back to sleep...
After brekky we open up the mail that has been redirected from Sydney to here;  it fills an empty fruit crate and it takes us ages to go through it all;  after this we extract all out stuff from the campervan and put it in the flat.  Matt makes an ace chicken green curry and jasmine rice;  I hit the booze again (see above) and feel better after half a glass; see why its easy to slide into drinking every night and make a mental note that its Monday tomorrow and I'm OFF the booze for 5 days...

Mon April 4 - rain again, 26C

Wake up 4am and yes - hello insomnia!  Drift off about 5am and get up 8am;  Matt and his dad decide to try and start the 2 cars we left behind on the island b4 we did our trip; my 1999 Daihatsu Charade and Matt's 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage;  the Charade needs a new battery we realise and luckily there is a car mechanic up the road.  Finish cleaning out the van;  it all  looks spiffing now; we just need a buyer.  

Tuesday April 5 - cloudy 25C no rain

Still have a bad cough I picked up in the Gold Coast ages ago,  may have to go and see the local doc if it gets worse.  Matt got up 7am and took both cars to the mechanic up the road to get them looked over so we can change the registration papers from NSW to Queensland.   Matt prints out For Sale signs for the Mitsu and we put them on the local community notice boards around the island (4 in all ) - we are told its the easy way to sell stuff; Let's hope its true...

The flat under the house, the view from the kitchen; the bedroom/bathroom is behind that white wall.  April 2011

the view the other way - April 2011

More later ;   time for me to go and do some grocery shopping ....  regards Louise