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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shoe shop witches, total eclipses, Ball glitches...

Good morning, moovers and groovers - its the Lovely Louise here at the blog helm once again.

Adventures? I've had a few, but then again too few to mention?  

Well, apologies to Cranky Franky, but I think I will have to mention them, letting my loyal fans of this blog know what I have been up to.

A quick weather report:  Magnetic Island is heating up!

Its 31C today, a few clouds in the sky, but mercifully not that much humidity:  a perfect day for yours truly to tap the typewriter with the ceiling fan whirling above her head.

Ball Glitches

On Saturday 6th October was the annual Magnetic Island Beach Ball (ball, as in dance) at the Arcadia surf club.  This was the very first one we had ever attended.  The theme was formal or tropical and a mixture of both was allowed,  so we kinda did both.     Various banners around the island declared 'Band Marathon' and I thought 'Oh OK, a few bands playing, should be good'?  

Hold that thought.

I decided that as I don't get out that much, and with my lovely clothes with sequins languishing at the back on my wardrobe,  saying, 'wear me!' that I would pull out all the stops and get a bit dressed up.

Here is the result below.

Louise: Before the ball: 6.10.12

Matt before the ball: 6.10.12

I should explain about that new hair colour I am sporting: Its a wig!  

A jet black one, (new) that I was lucky enough to find at the local flea market here on the island.    

(The last time I wore a wig - which was blonde - was when I was a film extra back in UK, on the movie 'The Birth of the Beatles' 1979  -  but that is a whole new blog, so trust me, I'll stop here, before I go running like Usain Bolt down Memory Lane...)

After realising that I had to pin my hair flat to my head, and use the hair net provided, all was good, although it did feel like a swimming cap at first.  

I also decided to wear way too much black eyeliner,  but I thought if I'm going to look dark and mysterious, why not?

Matt decided to go half and half dress wise that is, and I found that my sequin shorts that I've had for yonks were doing the 'flying V' at the zip -  i.e  I'm too fat for them - so I had to don my plain old black shorts instead.    

Just to explain, I went looking in Townsville's shops for 'going out' shorts and unless I want to swan around looking like a 'crack ho' (i.e with tiny shorts up my backside), trust me there is bugger all normal ones for anyone over 25 to wear.   So my old ones had to suffice.

Around 6.30pm we drove down to Arcadia, parked the car and walked over to the Arcadia Surf Club.   Greeted by the lady taking the tickets with 'Wow!  You guys look great!'  we walk down the steps to the tables and chairs set out for the revellers,  and I sadly realise why she was so enthralled with our outfits. Hardly anyone has got dressed up!  Oh bugger it, who cares, we are here now, so lets get a drink or three and enjoy the bands...

Now that's where the next slight disappointment set in.    

Still holding that thought from above?  

Turns out there is not a "Band Marathon", that is, a roll call of the best bands on the island - Oh no:  the band playing at the Beach Ball is named 'Marathon'.  Stupid me read the sign wrong.  

Ah well, time to down another red wine, and  after glass no. 3 we are up dancing to "Marathon" (a cover band) with a great lady singer who knows how to belt out a few good tunes.  

We leave about 10-30pm when most of the other patrons also decided to call it quits.   The turnout for the event was quite low according to some other people I met at the next table.  Only about 1/3rd of the expected crowd.     I wonder as my somewhat spinning head hits the pillow if we shall be attending the same Ball next year?  Maybe...  But I think the sequins will be staying at home.

Styling Up

I am a big fan of the web site 'Advanced Style'  as I have testified in earlier blogs. 

So...  I think I can take my ego for a walk and add some pics of me, dressed up and ready to go into town?   

I have so many great clothes just begging to be worn, although of course in the tropics wearing anything but a T-Shirt and shorts is considered dressed up.   But damn it, I can be a fashionista if I want to?!

Louise - off to the hairdressers ( Mondobassi Hair, Flinders St.) ; 9.10.2012

And speaking of getting dressed up, here is Matt in his new work uniform a la Steve Irwin: 'Crikey!'

Matt in new uniform: 8.10.12

Telling Tales

"A modern day fairy story"

Years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a terrific nightclub called DCM (Don't Call Mama) in Oxford St., Sydney, that was frequented by the beautiful people of that fair city.  They had the same banging DJs on every Saturday night who played to a packed crowd of happy revellers.  But Sydney City Council one day, decided to allow a block of units to be built very close to this club and guess what?  DCM had to close down due to noise problems.   A very sad tale.  

The club tried moving up the road, to another premise, but it was not the same and it went into decline.    

Then years later, a wonderful thing happened - some of the old DJs plus some of the original beautiful people  got together to have a reunion party, in the Arthouse in Pitt St. Sydney.  They called it 'Passion' and it was such a success that they had another: this too was huge and so, it was decided to have them every 6 months, just in case anyone was still interested in dancing to those old tunes and having an amazing time once more.    They had one rule only, you had to be over 27 years old to get in.

And the people were, and it came to pass, that they all danced, all night till dawn, and lived happily ever after.   

The End.

 I should explain the above.  (And no, I've not been on the magic mushrooms).

Matt and I frequented DCM Club in the late 90s /00s and had many a fun filled time dancing the night away.  

Friends were flying in from the Gold Coast, Melbourne and we were coming from Townsville  -  Sounds like a "knees up" to Matt and I.   

So, when we found out about 10 of our buddies were going to the next 'Passion' party, plus the Bondi Sculpture by the Sea exhibition was on at the same time, well, we had to go, didn't we?  And the airfares were duly booked.

Shoe Shop Witches

I have to backtrack a bit here, and ask you to look at me in those pink sequins above: check out the boots, my size 35 kids boots I got in Target about 7 years ago, and wow - they have lasted.  My dancing boots I call them, but on packing them away to go down to Sydney to the "Passion" party,  I was horror struck!  The black vinyl was coming away from the heels and looked very sad indeed - Bugger!  What to do?  I showed Matt and he agreed they looked crap, so I said 'I'll take them and try and get a pair of boots in Chinatown, as the shops there do small sizes for the local Asian ladies'.    Sounded like a plan, so they were packed and off we went.

We landed on Thursday 1st November to a Sydney heatwave of 34C - it was 30C when we left Townsville - so it felt normal.   We had a room booked at the Metro in Pitt St, (cnr Campbell) and dropping our bags in our room, around 5 pm we decided a walk around Chinatown nearby was in order.  After a fab dinner,  I persuaded Matt to shop with me for a pair of boots in my tiny size.  

The first shop we tried that I had been to in the past, had gone bust, so we tried a few more, with little success.  We went into the Market City shopping complex again to be disappointed with the choices and sizes available.  

But the shoe gods were smiling upon me, as we wandered up an arcade in Thomas St and found a tiny ladies shoe shop  - Angel Shoes.  

Better was to come when I saw a row of boots and a sign saying 'One Pair $69, 2 Pairs $100' and my heart sang!  I found a pair of black calf length boots with black rhinestones on the outside of the legs.   I asked the one lady working there is they had a size 35 and she came out with a pair in my size;  like Cinderella on a short black coffee, I nervously tried them on.  They fitted me!   Result!   

While admiring myself in the mirror, the sales lady came back with another pair from the shelf; 'No thanks, I only want one pair' I smiled.  None of the others on offer were pushing my buttons.

Matt went outside the tiny shop and waited for me to pay.  Whipping out the Visa at warp speed, I passed it over to the sales lady.  

Now, luckily for me, and I have no idea why, I actually asked the question. 'How much do I owe you?' before the card got swiped.   
She said to me  'they are $159.00, thank you.'   

Now, unless my powers of observation have really faded or that Laksa I ate was an alcoholic one, that sign on the shelf said "$69.00".   I slowly turned and pointed to the sign, and as turned back she was holding the price ticket from the sole of the boots on the end of her index finger, that indeed, did say $159.00.   
'But the sign says $69!' I protested.   
'Yes, but that is for the boots under the sign only.' she purrs at me.

As I always say, you can't con a con man (or woman), and growing up in the east end of London, I knew when someone was 'trying it on' from miles away.   

I quickly sang out to Matt on the foot way, 'Matt, these boots aren't $69, they're $159.00!'   

I have to say here that one of the great advantages of being married is that your partner knows when a certain look speaks volumes: as in this case with Matt looking at my pained expression.

Matt said 'No bugger it, that's too expensive, we'll go back to that other shop up the road.'     

Grabbing my Visa card I made for the door, and hadn't got more than a few centimetres when I heard, 'Wait, I give you staff discount!'  Her hands flashed over the pocket calculator on the counter.   'Now they are only $79!'   

Well, what to do?  Take umbridge and walk out, leaving behind the only decent pair of boots I'd seen, or bite the bullet and pay $10 extra?   I decided to pay the $10 extra, as traipsing around the shops, and looking again, did not appeal.  Especially with Matt in tow -  so the Visa was swiped by the now disappointed looking sales lady, and my boots were quickly wrapped up.

On walking back to the hotel, with boots in hand, Matt was fuming...

'How can they try and con us like that?  Do they think we are two dumb bloody tourists just arrived in town?'   
I could only agree with him, 'Don't let this spoil our time here Matt,  I have the boots I want, OK, so we paid $10 more that we should, but it sure beats me dragging you around again looking for a pair?'  

After a few minutes of waiting for traffic lights to change, Matt say my logic said 'Yeah, OK.'

I said, 'thank the gods you twigged what was going on, and you realised she was trying to con me, and you said that they were too expensive...'

Matt shot me a look.  'After all this time together Louise, when have you ever paid that much for a pair of boots?  I was serious about you not getting them!'   

I realised my theory,  that a bit of 'marriage telepathy' was going on back in that shop, was shot down in flames.   Matt knew I was a cheapskate, right enough.    But no matter,  I had the boots I wanted at sort of the price I (sort of) wanted to pay.

The new dancing boots:  01/11/12 (the day after the first wear...)

Sea Side Sculptures

Next day, Friday 2nd we met up with our good chum Geoff in the lobby of our hotel, to go and see the annual Bondi Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition.  

This is a huge event, with artists from all over the world hoping they will get asked to exhibit.  On Friday the temperature had dropped to 21C,  luckily it was sunny and the forecasted rain did not appear.   But to us, it felt cold!  (We left a steamy 31C  in Townsville) so the beret and jacket were worn.

Geoff and Louise, Bondi Beach Sculpture by the sea, 02/11/12

Matt and Geoff inside one of the sculptures, Bondi Headland. 02/11/12 (not sure we were allowed to go inside!)

This sculpture is named 'The optimist' (he has his fingers crossed behind his back) 
 02.11.12 - Bondi Headland

"View" Bondi headland 02/11/12

Matt and Geoff on one the benches/sculptures, Bondi, 02/11/12

My only gripe about this years Bondi Sculpture Walk was that it was teeming with school groups, out to do a project on the artworks.  It took the gloss off a bit, having to jostle kids out of the way so we could see the sculptures too.    But apart from that, it was definitely worth seeing.  We took the bus back to Bondi Junction and had a lovely long lunch in the food court at the local shopping centre.  Geoff kindly hung around with us the rest of the day, and after dinner in Chinatown, we sadly waved goodbye to him as he caught the bus from the City, to his home on Sydney's Northern Beaches.  

Passion Parties

The next day, Saturday, the day of the big party, we met our chum Kelly for lunch at Market City, Chinatown.  The funny part here is that she and Matt went into the Converse Store (after lunch) and each got a pair of shoes.   

Our chum Jono who was coming out with us to the Passion Party, met us at the hotel, and we all got ready early to go to Kelly's house in Erskinville for a few drinks before the party.  As we were next to Central Station it was only 3 stops away, and she was near the station.   Around 7pm, we set off.

We met our chums Vince and Tony, as they were getting off the same train that we had caught, and it was only a 2 minute walk to Kelly's place.  About 10 of us old DCM clubbers were present there, and after a few glasses of vino it was just like the old days.  

Around 10 pm we decided we should get our bums into a few taxis and head for the Arthouse Hotel in Pitt St, Sydney City.  Arriving outside, there was a line up to get in, (much to my surprise) and after waiting a bit we charged inside.  The old tunes were pumping, and we soon bumped into some more old chums, and the good times began to roll.

It must have been a fab night, as we all didn't leave until about 4.30am, and its all a bit of a blur...

Jonathan, Louise and Matt before the party; Matt and I in our new shoes!  3.11.12

The link above is a Youtube 3 min video of the Passion party that night if anyone is interested in looking...  (sad to say, no sign of us in the vid.  although the camera was near us; that much I do remember!)

Yes,  that pink sequin top came out again.   As I knew it was going to be hot! hot! hot! at the party, I thought 'bugger it' I'll wear it  once more.  A fantastic night, made even more so by the age policy - you have to be over 27 to get in.   Being (ahem) slightly over 27,  I just scraped in...  

The next one is on 1st June 2013 and we shall give it serious thought to going down and part-ay-ing all over again...

A Shaggy dog story

The last few weekends we have been "dog sitting" Eric the Yorkshire Terrier.  A cute little bugger, he schmoozes his way into your affections.  As dogs (and some men!) tend to do.

Here is the little scamp on Horseshoe Bay beach and the good thing is that he can swim, but he is not too keen on deep water.

Eric, 11.11.12 Horseshoe bay Beach

After taking him home we gave him a bit of a shower, to get the salt water off of him and to cool him down - its rough when its 30c and you are wearing a fur coat...

Eric getting a cool down from Matt 11.11.12

As Monty Python used to say :  And now for something completely different... 

A total eclipse of the alarm clock

The total solar eclipse happened up the road in Cairns, on November 14th.  The place was packed out with 'eclipse chasers' and as there was not another one in Australia until 2028, we decided we would get up at 6am to see what of it we could from here in Magnetic Island.  

We are about 380km away from Cairns and as such, we only got 80% of the eclipse, to the total 'full monty' up the road.    But alack and alas, we thought we had set the alarm clock, but who knows what happened but we slept through the whole thing, and had to watch it on the ABC Breakfast TV at 8 am.  Bummer! For those interested, here is the link to the Cairns tourist information net page detailing the whole thing:

Tears for trailers...

Look what I found at Horseshoe Bay Beach...

A very cute teardrop caravan from the 1950s I would say:  25.10.12
I love the way the canopy above matches its paintwork.

Oh, before I forget; does anyone remembers the photos I took of Greg singing at Noodies Restaurant in Horseshoe Bay, in September, in my last blog?

Well, I have entered 3 of them in the National Gallery of Australia photographic portrait prize.  Wish me luck, and of course if anything happens in that regard, I shall be blogging about it, in a very big typeface...

Before I go, I just want to leave readers with an idea for a fab Christmas gift;  

One of our coffee mugs;

Just go to our website as describe on the cup and pay via Paypal: easy peasy!

I shall be posting again in January, all being well.  We are having  Christmas and New year at home for once, but having Christmas day lunch on the beach in 38C will not be such a hardship I feel.  

As I always say my one gripe about having a hot Christmas here in Australia is that you have to look good in a bikini!  (In my old life in UK, I could put on a bit of weight and hide it under 2 woolly jumpers).

My other famous saying is 'thank god I'm an atheist',  so Happy Holidays to all and have a fun and safe new year.

Adios Amigos -    -  - Louise

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Skips, trips, bones and other stuff in between...

G'day moovers, groovers, winners and lovers!

Its Louise here once again with the goss, glitter, glamour and guffaws about life here on Magnetic Island in sunny far North Queensland.

Let's start with a quick weather report.

Now, can you believe I have had to break out the pink flannelette moo cow pajamas, plus the ugg boots as it has been down to 7c some nights here during our winter months of July/August? A scary mental picture I know, even Matt had a laugh at me in that outfit.

As we have been here on 'Maggie' now for over a year, I have realised that, yes, it does get cold at night, so cold that the doona/duvet had to be dragged out from where it was hiding, kicking and screaming.    What! you shout, you are meant to be lazing around a pool drinking cocktails and wearing a bikini - and speaking of them, as I always say if anyone asks me if I like cocktails;  'Tell me some!'

Sorry, weird sense of humour - blame my father.  Let me get my brains from my fishnets to the Internet.

So enough of my moaning about the weather -  what have I been up to, that will exhilarate and excite my readers?

Well we have started our own coffee mug web site;  please see pic below.

Just go to 
if you wish to purchase one of our mugs...we post worldwide

We wanted to do T Shirts originally with this design on, but it would a nightmare to get going, as we needed male/ female styles, 3 sizes in each and we wanted anything we did to be "made in Australia".  The cost would have meant we had to sell them for about $40.00 each -which is a lot -  so we then sat and had a brain storming session and realised that 99% of everyone we know has a coffee mug. Made in Australia; one size fits all and easy to post;  $25.99 (free postage).   The coffee mug for clubbers and others...

OK - my advert is over - I'll get back on track and relate the recent adventures.

I am looking at my diary to see that the last blog I did went out on 14 July!  Oh the shame of it, I am meant to be doing a blog once a month.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  (sigh...)

Beach bones

Walking along Nelly Bay beach on 19 July we came across some bones that had been washed up.  Most of you probably get dead seagulls, plastic bags or other junk on your beaches -  we get giant sea turtles...  

This is part of the back shell (carapace) of a turtle; Matt's size 9 foot in corner of shot.  23.7.12

Matt's size 9 thong next to turtle jawbone.  Nelly bay beach  23.7.12

 We both felt very sad to find these bones, plus we found some turtle skin  further up the beach.  Our local vet Alison has received rescued giant turtles, kept them in her back office in tanks and managed to restore them back to health.  After Cyclone Yasi went through the area in Feb 2011 a lot of the sea grass these animals eat was destroyed by the sea surges.   The dugongs are similarly effected and many of these lovely creatures are dying of starvation.  They get tired looking for food and often wash up on the beaches here.   Providing we get no cyclones this season, (around Dec/Jan) and providing the sea grass can grow back, the local turtles should start breeding once more. 

Skip diving

On Tuesday 24 July I decided to pay my local favourite cake maker Peta Headrick of Cake Celebrations (0747 785 710) a quick visit to say hello, and I noticed the house 2 doors down from her had a skip/dumpster parked outside, on the nature strip, filled with stuff to be taken away to the tip.  

Now my motto is 'always have a look in the skip in case there's something decent inside'  but I thought I would do the right thing and ask Peta if she knew anything about it.   As she beat to death some icing sugar in a bowl in her kitchen, she told me the owners of the house had left and that she thought it would be OK for me to 'liberate' anything I fancied - after all, who wants to fill up the local tip, if things can be re-homed and reused?  Armed with this good advice, I made my way back over to the skip.

I am sorry to admit,  I did not take any photos of the skip, I'd left the camera at home, as I was planning just to say hi to Petah, pass on some of my gossip magazines  and that would be it.  But as I am a born opportunist, I had to (of course) grab anything that I fancied.  

As I always say, Free is my second favourite "F" word...

The skip was about 2 m x 1.50m high and 1.50m wide.  (hold that thought).  

Here I should explain, that the thing I really wanted was hanging like a drunk man onto a lamp post, on top of this very full skip.  What I had spied was an old blue tin trunk, a bit shabby and dented, looking worse for wear, but nothing I couldn't fix.

Rescued trunk; 25.7.12 (on our decking) needing a good clean and makeover

And after scrub and rub and a lick of paint;  13.9.12  
(I plan to house a few of the many handbags I have in it)

Reaching on tip toes and slowing dragging the edge of the trunk until I could grab one of its side handles, I manoeuvred it to my shoulder,  then slid it onto the grass.

There was so much great stuff in the skip, it was (for me) like bloody Christmas.   

I found 3 new with flower drawings in them, photo frames (glass intact) about 50cm x 75 cm which I carefully lent up on the skip's side.  Just as I was retrieving a golf umbrella, this stern voice said 'Louise, what are you doing?'  

Catching my breath,  I quickly turned around to see my other neighbour Gwen, laughing at my discomfort.  
'Oh,  Gwen you nearly gave me a heart attack!'   I could see Gwen admiring the 3 frangipangi flower framed prints and said to her 'would you like those?'  
'Oh yeah, think they could look good in my place...'  and I passed them over to her and the 2 of us continued to scour through the skip and its contents for the next few minutes or so.

Suddenly Gwen was cowering down at the side of the skip, keeping low to the ground. She grabbed my T Shirt and pulled me down too, and had her finger to her lips:  I was somehow catapulted back to being in primary school, when you know there is something 'going on' but you're not too sure what  and you just copy the other person.    She whispered to me  'Bloody hell! It's Doug!'*   Not wishing to blow our cover I found myself whispering back 'whose Doug?'   

Well it turns out, Doug,  (a rather cantankerous old chap) was the father of the house owner, who had left the property earlier.  He had driven alongside the skip, parked his 4WD  and when Gwen saw him coming,  she dived for cover.   We stayed crouched down like this for a few minutes as he went inside.  Gwen whispered 'We'll have to leave this stuff and run back to Peta's house'.   

I am sorry but as I was now covered in dust and grime from my labours and had dragged that blue tin trunk from its metal tomb, there was no way I was just going to walk away and leave it.   So still crouched down I grabbed Gwen's rescued picture frames and began running the best I could with them, towards Peta's house and away from the skip.  

Just then, I was spotted by the dreaded Doug, who boomed out, 'What are you doing?'  

Mentally tossing up whether to keep running with 2 huge picture frames or to brave it out, I chose to stop and turn.  

 'You can't take that stuff!'  he yelled.   

I lent the 2 frames against Peta's fence and walked back. Gwen was up now too, and she was looking a bit distressed.  Or embarassed.  Or both.

'Look',  I said quickly, whilst casually grabbing the other frame I'd left by the skip,  'it would be such a shame for this stuff to go to the tip and become landfill...'   

A snort came from Doug, like a horse with a fly biting its arse...  

'And this lovely old tin trunk here'  - I pointed to it -  'well I know I can find a good use for that too...'  

Gwen was on the other side of me and we were slowly making a weird kind of pincher movement toward him. Poor Doug's head was swinging from Gwen and then to me,  like he was a drunk man watching a bad tennis match.   

Gwen said in a faint voice 'I'm so sorry, I'll put the stuff back if you like...'   

Doug (I think at this time realised he was outnumbered) snorted again and just said 'OK, OK'  while waving his hands in a 'I give up' gesture, and went back inside the house.

Realising this was our chance to leg it, we grabbed the trunk at each end, plus some other bits we had rescued and made it to Petah's house and sanctuary!    Poor Gwen, she could only mumble as she got to Petah's kitchen door, 'I need caffeine.'    Over a cup of tea we told Petah what had just happened and we laughed like crazy, more  with relief than anything...

Oh yeah, things can get pretty thrilling when skip diving here on Maggie Island.  

* Names changed to protect the guilty.

And then I met another cranky animal...

On Sunday 29th July, around 6pm I was just getting out of the shower when Matt yelled out 'Louise, quick, come here!'  

There was an urgency in his tone so I grabbed the dressing gown and made for the outside decking where Matt was looking aghast.  

What's up?' I said, suddenly noticing there was an odd smell of something like burnt hair in the air?   
'There's a possum in the barbeque' he gulped   'I think I've set it on fire!'    
'What?!'  I retorted, as Matt opened up the left hand side of the BBQ where the main hot plate was.  Matt was holding a towel which he handed to me.  
'I'll lift the plate, you throw that over the possum and see how it is... One, two, three...'  and he heaved the plate.

There looking slightly dazed and a bit singed was a large male possum.  I threw the towel onto him and lifted him out of his BBQ hotel.   

As I put him on the decking, he took off down the side of the house, like Usain Bolt on steroids, which was a relief as he couldn't have been that badly singed by Matt lighting up the BBQ.   Luckily, Matt had immediately smelt the burnt hair and turned off the gas, realising something was very amiss.    

We had not used the BBQ for a few months, so Mr Possum had decided it would be cool to camp there during the cold winter nights.  No harm done it would appear, but we will of course, check the insides of said BBQ next time we go to use it.   

Anyone remember that lemon of a movie, "Waterworld", with Kevin Costner?

On Weds 15 August,  around 9am, Matt's grandmother Joy - who is 92 and lives in Nelly Bay with her dog Rusty - called up Matt to say ''I've wet the bed, can you come around and help?'  

Matt said 'Of course' and we arrived about 20 mins later.  

But dear readers,  our Joy had not  wet the bed at all, her water bed of 30 years standing, had sprung a very major leak.   So much in fact that the bed frame was shredding, carpet was sodden and the room was awash.   I should explain she also has macular degeneration and is legally blind, plus she wears hearing aids.   She was most pleased, when I told her that it was the bed, not her, that was causing the problem.  
'Oh thank God for that, I thought I had kidney trouble!'    
Matt said 'Nana, if you had lost that much water you would be dead for sure...'  
She just laughed and we told her to sit tight while we emptied the water out.   This was a double bed, and as you can imagine, a LOT of water was in the bladder (main part of the bed) which is enclosed in a wooden box frame.  

What really freaked me out was that the water heater for the bed had been plugged in at the time of the leak.   I quickly pulled the plug out of the wall on our arrival, but its a miracle Joy wasn't electrocuted!   As it turned out, that morning at 11am we had to take Rusty to Maria (the dog lady), to get his  nails clipped.  On our arrival at her place, we told her what had occurred at Joy's and she kindly lent us her Vax wet/dry vacuum cleaner which was a life saver in sucking up the water from the bed frame and the floors.  

We soon realised that the bed base (which was chipboard) had also gotten a soaking, and was shredding before our eyes, like soggy Wettabix, so we had to take the bed completely apart.    

Thank the gods for a husband with muscles, and with the help of my trusty Swiss army knife, (its always kept in my make up bag) we dismantled the bed and threw the bits into the garden.  Then the whole carpet had to come up and we threw that out too;  luckily Joy has a second bedroom with a regular double bed in it, which we made up for her,  and a few days later (with some help) she went into town and got a queen size 'normal' bed to replace the water one.  

Nana's sodden bedroom carpet and bits of the waterbed; 15.8.12

Now as the old Monty Python sketch used to say; 'And now for something completely different'.

I am quite sure most of you know about the situation with Julian Assange?  But did you know that he spent part of his childhood here, on Magnetic Island?  All true, and the local Magnetic Island Community News had an article in a recent edition, on how some of the local supporters of Julian want a statue of him erected on the island.   

And as luck would have it,  when viewing the Australian ABC news, just as "our Jules" was holed up inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, they showed the street name; Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge SW1, (near Harrods).  

Now, as I am sure Julian would not be reading his old local rag stuck in London, and being that I had a spare big envelope and a few stamps, I had an idea that Jules may want to see what is going on in his old island home -  so I posted that paper off to him about 2 weeks ago, care of the Ecuadorian Embassy:  but I have to sadly say I have had no reply back.  No doubt he is busy?   I'll put any information in the next blog if anything arrives in the mail.    

I also included one of my business cards for the coffee mugs  - and I know they have an awful lot of coffee in Brazil, but Ecuador?  Not sure.

Fashion Spot -  just to show (and show off) what I wear on my treks into Townsville to get my hair done, at the fab Mondo Bassi Hair, Flinders St. -   this is me last Tuesday 11th on the decking, before catching the ferry.

11/9/12 off to town to get my hair done
That's a man's frilly formal shirt, black leggings and white brogues, I had a red and black 60s vanity case I use as a handbag with me too.  
Flat cap purchased in Op Shop last trip and first time wearing it. 
Sunglasses from my vast retro collection.  

The reason I am putting this on the blog is that I have discovered the best fashion site called   

in which a lovely chap named Ari goes around NY city snapping away at 'women (and some men) of 'a certain age' shall we say and posting photos of them on his blog.  And wow! some of these ladies are just bloody amazing.   Check it out.

My idea of style used to be to ask myself when looking in the full length mirror;   "Would Madonna wear it?"  (she is very near my age) but after seeing the A.S blog I'm now thinking 'Bugger it, I'll wear this outfit -  and stuff what anyone thinks!'  

I have to allay any fears here,  I am NOT going to be swanning around in hipster micro shorts or similar, anytime soon.  Well, OK, just maybe I might, if I can get back down to 50kgs, but I think I have more chance of winning Lotto, than my scales reading that weight again.  (But I am still hanging onto a fab size 8 Allanah Hill LBD that I paid heaps for, just in case)...

Martin H.   -  an old chum from my teenage years will testify to my fashion style back in London in the 70s; My usual attire consisted of a selection of 1940s dresses, my trusty platform sole boots, my Nan's old fur coat (before fur became a no-no) and a big black felt hat.  

Is it time to channel the younger stylish bastard I used to be, me thinks?   

Happy snaps

I am happy to say I am now the proud owner of a Nikon DSLR I bought on Ebay, its an oldie but a goodie and I am still learning to drive the beastie;  Here are few of the latest shots taken a few days ago.

Mangrove Swamp, Horseshoe Bay 13.9.12

Broken paving stones, Dent St. Horseshoe Bay (reminded me of a grave!) 13.9.12

Local resident, 13.9.12 (that ranch is across the road behind him)

One of our pals,  Greg Simmons got a gig singing at the Noodies Mexican Restaurant on 2nd September and I took the Nikon out  for spin.  

Greg at Noodies, 2.9.12

I took about 50 shots and some were changed to B&W and they came out really well.   

So,  as I started with the weather, I think I'll end on the same theme:

Here is the song I want played at my memorial service (I'm leaving my body to medical students, that way there is no funeral or cremation costs),  its by the Weather Girls - "Its raining men". 

Click on Youtube link below

Any comments about the blog are most welcome.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Sydney visit and other adventures...

Helloooo all!

Louise here again commenting on the good, great and generous of Maggie Island,  while continuing to record my adventures of life here in the tropics.

I've gone native!

Its 23C and believe it or not, I'm wearing long sleeves.

Matt and I used to come up here in the Sydney winter and 23/24C then was a heatwave from the cold 15C of Sydney's usual wet weather and frigid southerly winds.   Just goes to show how one can adjust to the higher temps. over our summer, when 38C is the norm.

And I have to share this: I found my old portable typewriter the other day in a box and felt all nostalgic;  does anyone use a typewriter anymore I wonder?  I'll show my age now, and tell that I learnt on a manual Remington typewriter at school,  and no, to you Gen X and Y smart arse teckies, it was NOT made of stone.

Since my last post, things have been a little bit exciting.

We have started our own online business selling our own design coffee cups and we had a lovely visit to Sydney to see a few chums.

We had a web page running but the damn thing crashed and burnt,  and Matt is in the process of getting a web site built via a new host.  I will blog the web address again, when that is up and running which should be soon, as we are getting "Little Heroes" hosting to design a new web page for us and who seem to have their poop in a pile.   Please don't ever bother trying to get web hosting with a lot named Crazy Domains -   I was 45 mins "on hold" on our land line,  trying to get these serious problems fixed and then I gave up in utter frustration.

I'll stop whinging now, change the subject, and tell the tale of our latest diet thing -  Matt, and my good self completed successfully 6 days of just drinking veggie/fruit juice on the Reboot your life diet.  Check out the link below.

If you have not seen this doco about how Aussie Joe Cross was massively overweight and decided to do something about it, then you should!  What an inspiration he is, and we decided to give it a go; there is no just starting drinking juices, its a slow progress to that start:  slowly lean into it by giving up the meat, caffeine and processed foods and booze.   Then have a few restful days drinking 20% fruit juices and 80% veggie juices.  Taking it by the horns,  we stocked up on a huge range of fruit and veg and away we went.

I should explain one of my neighbours Petah had me over for a cuppa with another pal Gwen and we got talking about this diet;  bless Gwen, she had a copy and kindly went home and got me the DVD to look at;  I came home and persuaded Matt to look at it with me, and voila!  We were hooked and decided to go with Joe.

Matt on Day 1 of Reboot Diet with a smoothie of strawberry, orange and pineapple. 23.6.12

I had a bit of a headache the day before, probably due to giving up caffeine, but it was not that hard just sticking to the juice diet. One thing I need to say in retrospect;  make sure you stock up on toilet tissue because   - oh yes! it definitely works its magic in the smallest room in the house.   (Which is a good thing...)

Matt and I both had a joint doctors appointment on the next Monday for our yearly check-ups,   I was happy to find out I had lost 1kg and Matt had lost 2kg.   Way to go!   We gradually got back to normal eating but we are steering clear of too much processed food and meat.  If anyone reading wants to lose a bit of weight, watch the documentary mentioned above,  (Fat, sick and nearly dead) then give this diet due consideration.  

Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself here  - let me rewind a bit:

The month began with a clank of chains as we were sitting doing some meditation; No, it wasn't the local S&M club asking for their equipment back, it was the doggie up the road; Bongo!  The naughty black Staffy had got out of his home and decided to pay us a visit (we regularly pat him walking past his place) so he knew where a friendly face and a quick feed were awaiting.  And he loves Matt;  as in luurve!  See pic below...

Aren't they both cute as a button?  Bongo on the decking with Matt; 1.6.12 

Matt's uncle Geoff came up to Maggie on his motorbike for a flying visit.  And no prizes for guessing where we went for lunch?  Yep, Blue on Blue for the $20 special once again.  Shame these guys at Blue on Blue, don't have a loyalty card for regulars, we would be up for a few free lunches by now.  

Blue on Blue, with your writer, Geoff and Joy (Geoff's mum) 2.6.12

Regular readers will remember the critters in the blog post I put out a few months ago.  Well they keep a-coming! This cricket/grasshopper was a recent visitor, while having breakfast  on the decking; Matt stuck the spoon there to measure him against it, not to eat it with...

3.6.12  "Can u walk the rice paper, Grasshopper"?   Or the spoon in this case? What a monster, not sure if its a cricket or what?

And here is something very rarely seen on Magnetic Island; traffic lights!  The walkway from Nelly Bay to Arcadia that has been wanted by locals for years is actually getting built.  There has been the odd occasion of idiots running the red lights and crashes ensuing, and the sign seen here was actually stolen (according to the police report in the local paper) and is now firmly set into the grass.

Traffic lights at hill towards Arcadia Bay 26.6.12

On Monday 4 June we jumped on a jet plane and headed for our old stomping ground, Sydney.  We took advantage of cheap fares 6 months before with Jet Star and thought it would be good to break out the winter clothes again.  And trust me, they got a workout.  For our first night in Sydney, after picking up our hire car we stayed with Jono and Kate (thanks guys) and then on Tuesday, we drove to Carmen's place in West Wyalong, in country New South Wales.  Cold?  You better believe it, 13C in the day and zero at night.  Driving along the main road at 4pm and still not dark, a massive full grown kangaroo jumped out onto the road;  Matt luckily swerved and the roo realising its mistake turned around and missed us by a gnat's knacker.  'Well that woke me up' I said, trying to sound non-plussed, but my heart nearly came through my chest, like that horrible thing did to John Hurt's character in the first 'Alien' movie.  When we told Carmen, she said 'I was going to say about the roos but I forgot!'  Luckily no harm done, but there was a $300 insurance excess on any damage done to the hire car, which we luckily avoided.

Matt and I were having a talk about death and dying after this incident, and I said to him, "I want to die in my sleep, like my Grandad",  Matt said "Really?"  I said 'yeah, such a  shame about the other 3 people in the car with him at the time, though...'    Sorry, my London sense of humour comes out when stressed.

After a lovely dinner and a chat and a few glasses of Sangria, Carmen had fired up the electric blankets on our bed and it was bliss sliding between the flannelette sheets.  But never let it be said I am not dressed for the occasion, there I lay with the thermal undies covered with  flanny tartan boys PJs on top.  Sexy eh?  Plus woolly beanie hat as the window didn't shut properly and there was a bit of a draught.  Who said romance was dead?

The next day was sunny but cold (15c) and we headed to Quindella, (local town) to check it out.  We also went to the local tip as country tips are a mine of unwanted stuff.  We found a few things; see pic...

Matt found that chair,  very comfy, just needs recovering!  6.6.12

Matt feeding the chooks; 6.6.12 (Ugg boots rule!)

The next day, Thursday 7.6.12  saw Matt on the ride on lawnmower while Carmen and I took off to check out Burcher and the surrounds.  At 4pm we lit a bonfire and got the Sangria going (again!) but didn't go too mad as we were driving back to Sydney the next day.  It was great seeing Carmen again, and she is so lucky to be on a property with her animals.  

Matt dressed for the zero temps 8am - 8/6/12

Here is Morgan the 3 legged cat (a fox got his other leg) with Carmen's boots drying in the sun 8/6/12

Here is the author, with more layers than an onion!  Stevie the cat on window ledge, Jackie the dog in the front;  our hire car in background.  8 am 8.6.12

We arrived back in Sydney around 4pm to stay with another good chum Kelly, who has just moved to Alexandria,  on the fringe of Sydney city.  The contrast to Carmen's place could not have been starker.  Rows and rows of terrace houses, and car parking at a premium.  We found a spot up the road to Kelly, so all good.   After lugging our cases in, we quickly changed clothes and headed to the 'Friend in Hand' pub in Glebe, Sydney for a comedy show and dinner downstairs in the pub; lovely!  Sleeping in a third strange bed, (Kelly's sofa bed) we soon dozed off.  

 On Saturday 9/6/12 Kelly and her boyfriend Dan took us to Sensis Cafe in the main street of Alexandria for breakfast.  I'd forgotten how "out there" some of the locals can be in this neck of the woods, but it was a treat to see a girl with bright pink hair, dressed all in black, with pink shoes and matching bag;  guys in skinny jeans so tight I wonder how they had any circulation, and a trendy man in a pale grey 1960s suit, complete with white shirt, a red skinny tie and red skate shoes.  My head was sloshing around like I was at the men's final at Wimbledon.  Fab!

 On Maggie Island we tend NOT to see stuff like this, more's the pity.  

The author, Dan and Kelly at Sensis Cafe, Alexandria 9/6/12

We waved bye to Kelly and drove to our good chum Geoff in Freshwater, on Sydney's northern beaches.  Geoff, bless him, had prepared a lovely lunch of pate, olives and bread awaiting for us.  Bliss!  After sitting around yakking for a bit, we decided to take off to the movies to see 'Prometheus' in 3D at the local cinema.  It was raining, hard, and cold -  not quite thermal undies cold, but jeans and jacket and my beret (that I wore non stop in Sydney), kind of cold.  Who me a wimp?

For some odd reason the movie really gripped me and I was shaking like a leaf toward the end (I won't say why to those who haven't seen it yet) which is very good.   I give it an 8/10 and its one of the best Sci Fi movies in a long time.  My all time fave?  The original 'Blade Runner'.  There is a "final cut" of it which came out in 2007, which I have not seen, but I will try and download from the net to see how it stacks up against the original. 

But I digress -  we spent another night in another chums place, on Geoff's sofa bed and next day awoke to yet more rain.  Another movie?  You bet.  We whizzed off again to the local flicks to see 'The Avengers' which was also very good and has some snazzy one liners especially those coming from the Hulk.   But something I am concerned about is that the Hoyts cinema we attended now have allocated seating.  Sounds fine?  Try finding a seat in the dark, with a ticket stub in hand and no usherette with a torch:  we did what it appeared all the other patrons had done,  and sat where we liked.  I can see huge fights breaking out over this stupid, dumb system; what's wrong with first in, best seats?  

After the movies we went for a bit of dinner at the Dee Why RSL club and an early night as we were flying back to Townsville the next day (Mon 11th)  and had to return the hire car.

We surfaced early the next morning, had a lovely brekkie that Geoff had prepared and sadly had to say farewell to Geoff and to Sydney.  Thanks to all our friends who put us up on our week back down south.

It was so good on arriving back on Maggie Island to feel the sun as we drove home, and discard the layers of clothing;  Loved Sydney but the winter weather?  No thanks.

Geoff and Matt  with brekky;  11/6/12

We soon got back in the 'palm tree lifestyle' and began walking in the mornings to get the bit of extra weight we had gained in eating out so much for a week.  

On 18th June we went with our car into Townsville for  'a big shop';  There are 2 supermarkets on the island but tend to be a bit expensive, so after visiting Bunnings, Big W and Dan Murphys Liquor it was time to load up on groceries  -  $300 later and poorer we got onto the 4.30 barge and back to Maggie.  We used to buy 2 tins of beans in Sydney, we now buy 10 or 12 along with the same amount of tinned tomatoes, spaghetti, red beans, corn.... you see where I am going with this?  Its only when we get to a Mother Hubbard situation that we need a 'big shop':  Don't even get me started on the freezer...

By the way, who would have believed that Mother Hubbard started Scientology!  Way to go MH! (LOL).  Apologies to Tom Cruise...

On 4th July, I could have been knocked over with a feather, as we received a call from our old boss Maureen at Beachside asking us to come and work for 2 days!  As we left on good terms and we were a bit depleted in the cash stakes we said Yes please!  and started next day.  I tell you what, after 2 months off the cleaning it is a huge strain to start up again.   My legs were protesting big time, hauling those sheets and towels up the stairs;  it turns out Luke, the man who replaced us,  had too much work and needed a hand.  Fine by us,  'all monies gratefully received'  is my motto.  

So dear reader(s) I hope you agree with my opening blurb about an exciting month.  

I'll close now and let you catch your breath.  

Chat soon:


I will re post a blog on our coffee cup business when the damn website is up and running... stay tuned...