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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.