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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Election news, Sci Fi Sydney blues, Ballet shoes, and all in between...


Greeting movers and groovers!

Louise back on the blogosphere once again to regale you with tales of my adventures...

Its starting to warm up a bit here now, 30C today (86F for those not in metric) which in any one's language means one thing; HOT!  No rain since January/Feb and the whole island looks very, very parched, brown and as they say here in Austraia;  'It's drier than a Pommie's towel!'

Now, being a Pom myself, the first time I heard that very Aussie expression I laughed like a drain in a rain storm.  We do wash occasionally!

OK, enough of the weather report already.  I'm sure my reader(s) are dying to know what I have been up to lately?  


We took Matt's Nana Joy out for lunch a few weeks ago.  So, of course, I got dressed up.

My 'Sydney' clothes are lying idle at the back of the sliding wardrobe saying, 'wear me!'   On this island, having an ironed T Shirt is considered getting dressed up, believe me.

Here I am dressed for the occasion - and as my role model Joyce says on the "Advance Style" blog 'You have to be the star of your own drama of life!'  

We are off to lunch: August 2013

After our adventures in Cairns, (last blog) we laid low for a bit, after the excitement we had there.

Here in Australia, a general election was looming and as an avid Labor Party supporter I decided to do something meaningful.

 The wheels of fate and coincidence surely move strangely: as it happened my good pal BB in Blackpool, England, he once knew the Labor candidate for Herbert (my electorate here in Queensland), Cathy O'Toole.  So I decided to act -   I called Cathy's campaign office and offered my services.

On Sunday 11 August, the local Labor Branch secretary,  Linda came around to meet me.  After a cuppa and a chat I told her I was willing to help out in any way I could.  

On Thursday 15th I attended a Labor branch party meeting in Nelly Bay. There was a special offer of only $5.00 to join the party - a bargain - so I signed up.    

The date of the election had recently been announced for 7th September so on 30th August there I was putting fliers for Labor Candidate Cathy O'Toole into our local mail boxes in Horseshoe Bay.

Fully expecting to have dogs set on me, or just being told to "Eff off" I was pleasantly surprised when none of the above happened.  

'Just leaving you some election material'  I sang out to anyone who thought I was delivering junk mail.  Waves and smiles all round.  I met some nice dogs too.    More "letter boxing" was done with Linda in Picnic Bay, Nelly Bay and the surrounds.

For me there was a kind of pay off -  Linda has an enormous lemon tree in her garden and was kind enough to give me a bag full.  (I drink litres of lemon tea!)  Many thanks.

Now fired up with election fever, I agreed for a shift outside the one of the local polling stations here on Magnetic Island, at the Arcadia Bowling Club.

'Wear red' Linda insisted.

OK - I can do that -    How about a hat to go with it?  Gotta get dressed up for this...

Polka dot dress, Polka dot undies, a great look!  

No, not going to the races - your author outside the polling station, Sat 7th Sept. 2013

 I have to tell you that it was actually good fun.  I did a 2 hr stint and met some very interesting people.  From all sides of the political spectrum.   That's the great thing about living in this country, we can have different views on whatever you care to mention, but everyone gets on.  

Linda and I begged, cajoled, pleaded and just about promised sexual favours to the locals coming in to vote.  OK, I'm lying about the begging!   You catch my drift.  And it worked too.

Later that night around 10.30pm Linda phoned me at home to tell me the good news; our polling station had been won by Cathy.  Won the battle, but not the war.

Sadly, I have to relate the news that the Liberal sitting MP for our seat of Herbert,  Ewen Jones, (known as "Lazy Bones" I'm reliably told) got back in.    

Now many of my friends have asked me, 'Louise, why don't you go into politics?'   

I'll answer that question the same way George Clooney did a few years ago when asked it.  'Too many wild parties, with too many incriminating photos ...'   

Yep, George and myself do like to have a good time.  


Sorry I am digressing!  Oh yes, our Sydney visit.   Another one.  We got cheapo airfares again with Jetstar and our chum Kelly was having a Sci Fi themed birthday party.  Lovely.

We arrived on Monday 9th September and after a night with our pal Geoff we drove off to country New South Wales  to visit my good friend Carmen.  

Carmen lives on a huge property near Young, NSW and is currently helping out in the local shearing sheds as a roustabout.   A lamb roast dinner was in the oven when we arrived.  Lovely!  

We spent the next few days helping around the property (Matt on the ride on mower), visiting the charity shops in Young, (found some great shoes in my size) and just having a great time.  We even got to go to the shed that Carmen was working in! 

Matt with the shearers comb; we missed seeing them working sheep by about 20 minutes. 

And of course, there was lamb on the menu... with some of my famous home made Sangria to go with it...
Carmen and Louise feeling no pain after the 3rd glass!

But sadly, good things come to an end, and we headed back to Sydney to partake of our friend Geoff's hospitality at his place in Freshwater.  We arrived on the Friday 13th (someone call an exorcist!) and next day the three of us headed to the local party/costume shop to find something to wear to Kelly's Birthday Bash with a Sci Fi theme.  (Geoff was coming along too).

 Arriving at the shop in William Street, Brookvale, we find a big red sign on the door stating 'Sorry -we are closed until further notice'.  Lovely - not!  

We then raced into the Warringah Mall across the road to the party shop there; no luck either, as the Batman costume (to buy only, no hiring at this shop!) was $65 and didn't look that flash.

Luckily after quick visit to the library in the Mall,  we were directed to another party shop in Dee Why (yep, that's the name of the suburb!) and same problem -  some half decent costumes but even with hiring they were way too expensive.  A quick call to Kelly ensued.   

'Can we just forgo the costumes, and spend the money on booze?' Matt pleaded.

'Sure, no problem!' came Kelly's reply.  So that's what we did.

On arriving we found that 90% of people were in costume; but Kelly found a white lab coat for Geoff - he was now Walter Bishop from 'Fringe'! (Fab show, check it out...)

Which was great but Geoff has never seen the show, and just took it on good faith that he looked the part.   (see photo below...)

Geoff as Walter from Fringe (in lab coat Kelly had lying around!)
Kelly in Dalek inspired dress.

Your author feeling no pain after that third glass!  

Look at the trouble Kelly & housemates went to for the party: 
There was foil all over the arch, there was black lights in the rear bedroom, a nearly full size cardboard Tardis on the wall... the list goes on.  It was mammoth!  That plate on kitchen bench has tiny cupcakes with an edible Tardis on each one - now that's dedication!  14.9.13

The next day, Sunday, we went to see our chums Kate and Jonathan, and their new baby Riley; what a cutie...

Geoff & Riley, 15.9.13

We managed to squash in seeing nearly everyone in Sydney.  But two people were missing.

 I was keen to see my old workmate Jason, and his lovely new partner, Natalie.  They were both free the last night we were in Sydney and we had a very, very good dinner at the new Thai restaurant in Collaroy.  The food was great!

Matt, Nat, Jason, Geoff: Thai Restaurant; 15.9.13

We headed back to Magnetic Island the next day.  The 2 hour flight just went in no time and next thing we were touching down at Townsville.

It was nice to be home and we picked up Eric from his doggie hotel and finally sat down with a cuppa.  Bliss!


Our next dose of culture was the Russian Ballet who were touring Australia.

We booked the tickets for this back in February and kinda forgot about it.  

Luckily as Mae West said 'keep a diary and one day it will keep you', I had it noted down,  Friday 4 October.

We decided to stay in Townsville the night of the ballet; there was a sound reason for this - most of the other events we have seen at the Townsville Civic Theatre have had us leaving before the end, and rushing for the ferry.  

Luckily we managed to find a cheap overnight deal at the Ibis Hotel in Palmer St. and saw the whole performance.  

I have to confess here I have NEVER seen a proper ballet production or ballet company before.  I have seen lots of modern dance troupes come to Australia - I even saw in 1995 at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov as lead dancer which was amazing, but not a proper classical ballet company.

I won't bore you with the ins and outs of what we saw, but trust me, the Russian Ballet performance, it was fan bloody tastic!

The troupe did a few classic pieces and a few modern ones too; and staged the most jaw dropping modern dance to Ravel's 'Bolero'.  

After the performance,  the troupe was in the foyer signing autographs and of course I had to get a picture taken with one of the lead dancers.

4th October 2013 Civic Theatre, Louise and cute Ruskie ballet dancer.  I asked if he spoke English and he said yes, but I think he was telling fibs... Not that I cared!

But wait, there's more!

Next day at breakfast at the Ibis Hotel, sitting nearby was the whole troupe: what made my jaw drop was seeing one of the lead dancers puffing away on a ciggie;  so not a good look.   

The lead male dancer from the Bolero sequence was also there,  as I recognised him by the tattoo on his chest.  

Now you can get your mind out of the gutter - this tattoo was spotted while he was dancing...  

I went up to him and found to my delight that he spoke very good English.   

I told him how great his performance had been the night before.  He stood up and shook hands with Matt and myself and bowed!  Wow, these Ruskies are very, very polite.  They are back next year and I think we shall go again.


On a look around the house a few weeks ago we decided that the bathrooms need a feature wall or two; why not, we thought -  every room (almost) has a feature wall.

So on Sunday 22/9/13 we got stuck into it.   I wish I had taken pics of the progress as we went along, but fired with a few cups of strong black java, I forgot to grab the camera.  Bugger.  

But here is the before pic:  

(although I did have a few pics on the wall - this pic below was when we just moved in ).

Before -  a bit boring looking I think... July 2011

And after: with the Aqua Blue paint job; and picture frame over the mirror; 19 Oct 2013

If you can't have a bit of an art gallery in your bathroom, where can you?  

This pic is just to prove there is a shower in here too.

Photos from my college days. 

If you have a large picture frame with no glass laying around and you want to put it to good use, feel free to copy my idea of hanging it over a large mirror for a bit of extra interest.

I found a box of photo frames (above) at a garage sale on the Island, they were just plain brown timber so I spray painted them black.  I bought them mainly as they had the glass in all of them (8 in all) but I broke one of the glass panes, trying to extract if from the frame when I wanted to paint it.  (Super lucky to not open a vein!  But I always say, only melted chocolate and red wine would probably come spurting out...)  Plus all had eyelets and wires attached for hanging. 

I then had to mat the B&W photos I had lying around from my days at Sydney College of the Arts back in the 80s.  I 'googled'  "how do I mat photos for a frame", and deep joy, I found on YouTube a tutorial on how to use fabric to do the job with.  

Rushing to my patchwork quilting bag (yes, dear reader, I have many talents - some of which I cannot talk about...) I found a couple of metres of plain calico fabric which did the job nicely.  

A few hours of fiddling about with glue, fabric, card and ruler, and my work was done.   

I have to admit here though that Matt had to help me hang the buggers up on the wall.  When grouping frames like this, they have to be straight and equi-distant to each other, and we used paper templates before deciding on the final placements.  Not easy when there is no ceiling fan in that bathroom, and Matt was sweating like a flasher in raincoat shop.   But we got there in the end, and I am well pleased with the end result.  

We used the other 2 frames to put some DJ flyers into and stuck them in Matt's bathroom.  


I will end here dear readers with the last couple of photos and the short story that goes with them:

We had a possum in our loft!  And for those of you who do not know, these creatures are protected under Australian law, so we couldn't kill the cute thing.  

Just so you know, they are very noisy and  sleep in the day and rush around at night, eating and breeding.

Usually as we were nodding off to sleep, we would hear the damn thing scurrying over our heads; annoying in the extreme.

So  - all Matt had to do was get onto the roof, find the hole it was sneaking through to get into the loft, and block it up with wire.  Sound simple?  Well ... not quite!

Number one, we had to work at night to make sure it wasn't trapped asleep in the loft; 

Number 2: crawling around on the roof with a torch is not for the faint hearted - that's why Matt did it.   Me, I get vertigo if I'm wearing thick socks...

Scoping out where the possum was coming in, during daylight, was easy.  Using one of my makeup mirrors to see under the roof awning and between the gutter, Matt spotted it.   

Around 10.30 pm that night, we made our move.  My move being to hold the ladder while Matt climbed onto the roof.   As he made his way to the corner where the hole was, I heard him yell down;

 'Louie, the possum's on the roof and it won't move!'

'Just make a noise, Matt, and it'll run off.'

Matt duly makes a yelling sound and nothing happens.

'Its not moving Lou - any ideas?'

At this point I left the ladder and ran around to the side of the house.   There was Matt shining the torch on our little furry friend.   Mr Possum, realising that he had 2 of us to deal with, jumped and somehow managed to land in the palm tree next to the house.  (The gap was about 1.5m).  

'Bloody Hell!' said Matt 'I didn't know they could leap that far!'

'Me neither' I replied 'maybe he's been taking lessons from those Ruskie ballet dancers!'

Matt was not amused.

Here's the pics.

23.10.13  Matt on the roof, blocking up hole where Mr Possum was getting in.

Mr Possum after his leap into the tree.

Happy to report, no noise since, so we hope he has found another place to sleep...

And on that jolly note I shall leave you.  Please leave comments if you like. 

- Until next time...

Adios Amigos. 

Louise xxx

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dentist visits, garage sales, and how we became swingers in Cairns...


Louise here at the helm once again, bringing you the goss and glamour that is Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland, Australia.

A lot to tell relate, so I'll get stuck in.

I'll start with a pic of your fashionista author before she headed into town to visit the hairdresser...  I am a huge fan of the site below:

and as one of the ladies featured, Joyce, who is 75 and looks amazing, said to Ari Cohen, the blogs director,  'You are the star of your own drama of life... so wear what brings that out!'   So taking her advice, I gave one of the hats by Maya Neuman that I have,  an outing.  I do love hats and berets.

13 June 2013,  on way to town. (red handbag not shown.)


For those of you with a delicate nature, look away now.  I am about to relate my story of how I had recently had one of my teeth removed.  

A few weeks ago my back molar that had been throbbing on and off, decided to annoy me even further.  Whilst munching on something innocuous as multi grain bread, my tooth hit a grain and wham! a corner of said tooth snapped off, being swallowed by myself.  A quick feel with the tongue and a look in the mirror, told me the full horror.   I would have to use the dentist in Townsville, not my usual one,  Dan Pechar,  in Manly (Sydney).

A few days later, I saw Vik at the Smile Dentists in Townsville who told me the best option was to remove said tooth, as it was looking a bit delicate, and fix me up with a metal plate with 2 false teeth for the other side of my mouth where another 2 molars were missing.   Not the happy outcome I wanted but, if it had to go, well,  I'll try and be brave.  He gave me a prescription for Panadeine Forte. Which worried me, as I assumed it meant massive pain would be following?

Another appointment was made for the following week.   The day came and I asked Matt to come with me in case I was a bit shaky after the extraction and we both ventured into town.

Sitting in the waiting room, and feeling a bit nervous, Dentist Vik escorted me from reception.

I know now how the inmates in Gitmo feel when told they are to be 'interviewed'.     I lay back in the dentist's chair and I confessed all my sins immediately including many I'd only read about in the 'Readers True Stories' in Playboy Magazine, but this did nothing to placate my tormentor.   Then I saw the needle and really started to feel a bit panicky.

'Did you take any of the Panadeine Forte?' Vik enquired, while tapping the needle.
Transfixed by this instrument of pain, I slowly said 'No... ' then realised a respite - 'But I have them with me!'
'Well Louise,  I think you should take 2 before we start, just in case'.
Grabbing my handbag I shook two out of the packet, swallowed them, and lay back.
'We'll just give them a few minutes to get working, then I'll start...' he said.

Was there anything I could confess to that would make him cease?  The whereabouts of Lord Lucan?  The location of an alien spaceship in Area 52?  My real age?

My mind reeled, as I heard the dreaded words 'Open wide Louise'.
To be fair, Vik was very gentle with that needle and soon I was feeling no pain.  The Panadeine Forte had kicked in, but my hands were shaking like an alcoholic in a wine bar.

As Vik tugged with the pliers,  my gammy tooth shattered and shards flew inside my mouth, with your author poking her tongue out so the nurse could suck them off with that little vacuum pump thingy.  After what seemed an age of Vik tugging and turning, even standing behind me to get a better grip, the damn thing creaked and then came out.    Some blood flow followed.  As directed, I bit hard down on a gauze bandage now filling the hole where my tooth was.  (I have an idea to make these gauze 'plugs'  flavoured if anyone is interested in manufacturing?  Give me a call...)   After a few minutes the torture was over and I met Matt in the reception, with shaky knees.

Happily all has healed up and I have to go back into see the dentist to get my 'falsies' made up.  Not a jolly thought.  I wanted to keep all my teeth until I was wearing a wooden overcoat, but hell, sometimes you have to go with the flow. ( Or should that be floss?)

Here is the condemned woman before the dentist visit: 2 July 2013


On Saturday 6 July we had a first for our neighbourhood;  a street garage sale!  And it was bloody good too.  (see pics below).

Matt on our small stall, 6 July 2013

We arrived at 7.30am to find that one side of the street was already taken, customers were everywhere, so we parked ourselves and the Charade, under a tree opposite and started selling.  We had 3 car loads of stuff and sold most of it in the first hour!   Happy days...

Trevor, our neighbour organised the whole thing.  Here he is behind his stall, which went gangbusters!

Trevor, local sparky, behind his stall 6.7.13

L-R Gwen, Lisa and Petah (wife of Trevor);  I bought that green caftan at right... 6.7.13

Now Bill, another neighbour had a set of garden furniture for sale.   The coffee table that was part of the set, sported a sticker saying $35.00.  Of course, lots of people looked at it and thought it must be the price of the coffee table.   Hold that thought dear reader!

I said to Matt about 10am, 'I'm going to check out what other people are selling...' and wandered off. I had a quick chat to Bill, and said 'Wow Bill, $35 for that coffee table seems a bit steep...'  

Giving me a look that said 'this woman's a fool' (and rightly so) he told me 'Louise, that's for the whole set.  Plus I'll give you that can of black spray paint to touch up the rusty bits...'

Realising that no one else realised it was going well cheap, I rushed over to Matt, and explained.
Matt (for I have taught him well where bargains are considered!), went over to check it out.  I could only see the body language with Matt pointing and Bill chatting.  Next thing Matt has his hands in his bum bag and I can see dosh being handed over.

Matt returns, beaming.  'I've just bought that!'
'Lovely' I said, 'but how do we get it home?'
'All taken care of...'  he smiled,  'Jim is lending me the ute for 5 mins later and I'll put it in that...'
All good!  (Jim is another neighbour who kindly lent us his truck for the 30 second journey to our house around the corner).

Now here below is the said furniture in situ at the garage sale.  It needed a fair bit of work done to it.  Its under that blue tent awning, and consisted of 2 chairs, 1 x 2 seater sofa, and 1 glass topped coffee table.

View of Bill's stuff, street garage sale 6.7.13

A few days later, we got stuck into making the new garden setting look ship shape.  

Matt got more black spray paint and I began cleaning the cushions, (which had no zips to remove the covers, and were joined back and seat).   I had to do the old trick of filling our indoor spa bath with soapy water, putting a back and seat cushion in, and then doing the 'grape tread' on them until they looked clean.  Hours of fun!

Matt sanding back the frame of the sofa  09/07/13

And here is it all finished; it took about 2 weeks as the cushions had to be washed in the spa bath and then dried on the pool fence.  The glass topped coffee table as a cloth on it, as those damn glass tops show every mark.

All done!  20.7.13


In July it was Matt's 40th birthday.  We had originally planned to go to Ibiza, Spain, but finances being a bit tight, we opted instead for 4 nights in Cairns, Queensland.   Finding cheap flights and accommodation was our first step, and having secured that, we booked a few more excursions.

Arriving at 5.30pm on Thursday 11 July, we picked up our transfer bus into Cairns city.  We had booked the Hides Hotel, bang in the middle of town at Palmer Street.  Thus, no need for a hire car and it was a short walk to the local delights.

We didn't do much on the day or arrival, except have some dinner and then go to sleep.  

Next day (Friday) we had a walk around town and got the lay of the land.  And a very nice lay it was too...  Cairns is north from Magnetic Island by about 800 km which means it is a bit warmer.  They have an international airport too, (unlike Townsville) and the place was crowded with Chinese tourists. 

Before we arrived in Cairns, we got 2 tickets to see Sam Powers, Master Magician at the Hilton Hotel for Friday 12 July.   We got dressed up and enjoyed some very nice tapas at the Vibe Bar where my chatting up the waiter got Matt a free shot of Absinthe -  amazing how flirty I can be after a cocktail.  

We headed for the Hilton as the show began at 7pm and after another drink at the bar, we headed downstairs to the 'arena area'.   Oh no - we were told by the very nice girl at the desk that 'technical difficulties' had occurred and that the show that night was cancelled.  Could we come back tomorrow?  We just looked at each other and shrugged and said 'Sure'.  We then headed off to the frozen yogurt parlour nearby before having an early night.

But of course the hotel opposite hours had a cover band on.  Loud?  Yes!  Worse - patrons were singing along with them.  For hours!   Not good.  Luckily I brought 2 sets of ear plugs with me and we managed to get a bit of sleep.

Next day (Sat) we got up early for our included 'continental breakfast' in the hotel kitchen/balcony area and then headed to the railway station for the Kuranda Railway trip.   Matt had done this trip ages ago, but it was new to me, so we gave it a whirl.  see link below.

Louise  - Kuranda Scenic Railway 13.7.13

We did the train up to Kuranda and the cable car/skyrail back down.  It was raining as we arrived crawling up a very steep hill as the train creaked and strained, but the rain cleared up and we had a couple of hours to walk around.   A real hippy dippy town and like Cairns,  full of ugg boots, opal shops and all signs in 4 languages.  But worth a look.   

We jumped on the skyrail (cable car) back down the hill later in the day and a bus back took us back to town.   

Deciding the best place to have dinner was the Hilton Hotel, (Matt's birthday and all...)  plus the magic show was just downstairs. 

All good. 

When we rocked up to the ticket office to enter the 'arena' at the Hilton, the same girl was on duty as the night before.

"Hello Mr and Mrs Byron" she purred, "to apologise for last nights "no show", we have given you front row seats".  Lovely!   

Clutching the now better seats we entered the area:  then we stopped dead in our tracks and just stared.  Before us were about 6 rows of about 12 chairs with a walkway through the middle, no stage to speak of, but 2 giant speakers and a smoke machine were doing their thing.  

Matt found our front row seats, and as we sat down he hissed to me 'Is this it?'  

Pulling a face I said, 'Spose so...' and we looked around as the medium size room began to fill up.  

'I feel sorry for the magician' said Matt, 'that's why it was cancelled last night - probably not enough people here to make it worth his while...'

see link below

So we settled down to see what was on offer;  Suddenly the spooky music blared and a very nice looking Sam,  rocked out and began to do his thing.  Beginning with spearing his lovely assistant on a spike, and spinning her around.  She didn't complain, which I found a bit weird.  Ah well, any job in show business is a good one.

Then it happened.   

Sam walked over to me and said, 'Hello, what's your name?'  

'Louise' I replied and he held out his hand, 'come on stage with me'...   

Of course I went.  Me -  the bloody show off from way back, how could I refuse?  Now I wish I could say Matt took pics of my big moment, but no photos were allowed.  Damn!

Matt just laughed as I got involved in a card trick with Sam, (quite good) and I received a poster of Sam for my efforts.

During the second half of the show,  Matt was also called on stage to check the trunk that Sam was about to go into - then disappear - was a real one with no trapdoors.  (Matt got a DVD for his efforts).  The was the best trick I've seen close up and made up for the half filled venue, and previous nights cancellation.    On the way out I got Sam to sign the poster and Matt took a pic.

Sam Powers Magic Show 13.7.13 Hilton Hotel, Cairns.

As it was Matt's birthday, and we'd both been on stage, another cocktail was called for!
Hilton Hotel 13.7.13


Next day, Sunday we decided to go to the Bungy jumping site in Cairns and not do the bungy as we had done that in NZ, but do the Minjin swing instead;  So as I said at the beginning - we've become swingers...

Scary - yes, very!  But such a rush!  And let scary than the bungy jump, which was taking place to our right as we swung past.  One guy, Sam from Sheffield, UK did the jump in a hired Superman costume (available at the site).

and more about it here 

Matt at bungy jump Cairns 14.7.13

Come the Monday we left Cairns and back to the island.  Boo!  I really liked Cairns and Matt said he would live there if Sydney was nearby.  Me too, dear husband, me too!


To end on, it was a glorious day while riding on the Maggie Island ferry into town on Friday 2nd August last week.

I was in town to get my hair done at Mondobassi Hair, Flinders St, Townsville City,  (who are FAB!)  when the vessel came to a sudden halt.  The passengers all looked at each other with the "oh no, they've lost an engine again" (which does happen, they conk out regularly), only to hear the voice of the captain say 'Sorry for the slight delay, ladies and gentlemen, but I've stopped to let two huge turtles swim across the bow.  We'll get going soon.'  And with that we roared off across Cleveland Bay.  Only on Magnetic Island, I thought to myself.

So dear readers, that brings your tormented, cushion treading, cocktail swigging and swinging author to a close.

Please leave comments/ suggestions/ questions!   All welcome.  Just don't ask my age; only 2 people know that - myself and my plastic surgeon.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our Sydney adventures and other stuff - June 2013 - PART TWO

GOOD MORNING READERS;  Part Two of our adventures.

Louise here at the blog-o-sphere once again continuing on with our adventures south of the border, down Sydney way.  

Just to prove we really know how to live life in the fast lane here on Magnetic Island, I have to share the following.   Sit down if you have a weak disposition.

My Daihatsu Charade TS Model car which I purchased new in 2000 had a bit of a milestone: the old girl got to 100,000 kms on the clock!  Yee hah!  And of course an event of this magnitude had to be photographed!

27 May 2013; the clock says 99,999 km

Now it says 100,000 km!  27.5.13

I did warn you it was exciting...   I got this car new from salesman Victor Sultana in Jan 2000, the compliance plate was issued Dec 1999, and to be a classic car in Australia the vehicle in question has to be 20 years old at least.  

As I am too hard up to buy a new one, I think my poor old 'jam jar' (as we used to say in London) will have to keep going a bit longer.  

I do have this one fantasy though that involves my Charade.   

No, not that kind,  get your mind above your navel.  My fantasy is this:-  I want to go into the local Porche dealer (not that I think there is one in Townsville!) and ask to do a trade in with the Charade.  Matt can be secretly filming the whole thing.  I just want to the see the look on the face of the sales person.  Then I'll flash my platinum AmEx card and say 'I want that one...!'

But of course, for this to happen,  I need the cash to buy a new Porche in the first place.  All dosh, cash, moolah, whatever you call it, dear reader(s), will be gratefully received.

Now where was I? 

Oh yes, an old friend of Matt's from his school days, Dallas, and his lovely wife Bernie, came to stay with us for a few days.  I had never met them before and we had a amazing few days together.  

19.5.13, Dallas and Matt, Picnic Bay

After showing them around the island, and showing them the old Picnic Bay Jetty half demolished by Cyclone Yasi (above) we saw the chalked sign on the blackboard outside the Arcadia Hotel telling all that the free Bingo had jackpotted to $1000.  Well, we had to go and have a try at that!

Bingo! 19.5.13 Arcadia Hotel L-R Matt, Dallas, Bernie

Eyes down for a full house....

Sad to say, we didn't win a cracker!  But it was fun nonetheless! (No one won the $1k which rolled over to the next week - we attended, and it was won on the last number by a local chap...)

Deciding that as the guys had a 4WD, (which trumps our Charade any day!) a trip to West Point on the other side of Magnetic Island with a few fishing rods was a  must!  The roads are only sealed for part of the way, and potholes by the dozen line the unsealed section.   

(Previous blogs will show that my lovely husband Matt has to have a gun at his head to get the fishing rods out, but when Dallas suggested it, he broke the sound barrier getting to the shed to retrieve them and the camping chairs...)

I, as usual, caught nothing with my rod.  Young Dallas on the other hand, caught the one and only fish of the day, a Trevally, which we had for tea that night.  And very nice it was too.  Well done Dallas.

20.5.13  West Point, L-R, Bernie, Matt and Dallas

Dallas and Bernie left us on 21st May to go further north, and it was great having some guests we could show the island to.  


Vivid Festival, Customs House, Circular Quay, Sydney 30.5.13

On Thursday 30 May 2013,  we flew to Sydney for a few days, mainly to go to the 'Passion Party' at the Arthouse in Pitt St, Sydney City.   Luckily for us the Vivid Festival was also in Sydney, plus the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW.

We landed at 5.30pm, and by 6.30pm after checking into our hotel in Campbell St, we were in the Dixon St Foodcourt enjoying some lovely Asian food.  Matt loves a Laksa, and indulged in a mammoth one with everything but the kitchen sink in it.   We then embarked after dinner to a very long walk to Circular Quay where the 2013 Vivid Festival was in full swing.  The Customs House (above) had a great light show which was jiggled about by a moving dance floor!  Anyone could have a go, and the whole building appeared to sway and bend.  Hours of fun.   But modesty prevented me busting a few moves.   ("As if", says Matt...)

Another display at Customs House 30.5.13

Around the corner next to the Museum of Contemporary Art, was a light tunnel, made from LED coloured lights, which kept changing.  

Your author, Circular Quay, 30.5.13

Since I was last walking around the Quay area, the Passenger Terminal has really opened up with new restaurants and clubs.  Here we found a perfect view of the famous Opera House, and the shore was lined with tripods, with eager photographers behind them, clicking away.

Opera House, 30.5.13 Vivid Festival

This was one of the biggest displays of light and sound so far,  and around 11pm after looking at most of the installations, including some fab sculptures, we jumped on a bus and headed back to the hotel.  

Next day Friday 31st, I caught the ferry over to Manly to attend my old dentist Dan Pechar, for a quick visit.  I checked out the charity shops there too, but sad to say, they have become rather expensive since I was last there.    I think its due to the fact that Manly is a main tourist area of Sydney and this may be driving the prices up?  Who knows.   I rocked back up at the hotel in town at 4.30 as we had a dinner date at 6pm with our old pal Kelly. We met her at the bus stop near Elizabeth St and headed to Paddington to have dinner with another old chum Chris.

A very talented landscape gardener,  Chris is house sitting the most FAB place in Paddington!  A lovely 2 storey terrace, with a stunning and beautiful art collection adorning its walls.  Chris is one of these people who is always in the right place at the right time - and the owners of the house asked him to move in while they are overseas.    

The wine flowed, we talked about old times, we devoured a fab Thai beef salad, and before we knew it, it was time to go and catch the bus back into town.  Sadly Chris was unable to come to the Passion Party with us, as he has a broken bone in his foot (it can get a bit squishy at these events and my toes have been trodden on in the past).

We poured Kelly into a taxi at Elizabeth St. and waved bye bye.  She is also unable to attend the party as she has a 'hens night' on that night!  Bugger,  we had a huge crew of chums at the last Passion Party.

Next day Saturday 1st June, was the day of the party.  Do we have the time to squeeze in the Archibald Prize for Portraiture at the Art Gallery? I think so!   

It was the last day of the exhibition, it looked like it was going to pour with rain, but what the hell, we HAD to go.   Below is the link to the web page for the Archibald prize.   The other two prizes on exhibit are the Wynne and the Sulman (landscape and design/ sculpture) which are always good.  (and controversial!)

Another one of our good friends, Geoff, met us in the lobby of the hotel and we caught the bus to the Gallery.  The sky was darkening, rain had been forecast, as we went from the bus stop to the Gallery.     As we walked along something caught my eye.  It was 2 tickets to the Archibald!  Grabbing them at warp factor 7, I showed Geoff and Matt.  
'Are they still good for today?' asked Geoff (he was getting a senior discount ticket himself).   

'I have no idea' I said, 'but I'll go down to the desk where they take the tickets and ask.'   If these tickets were valid we were saving $20.

I smiled sweetly at the lady at the entrance to the Archibald Prize, and said, waving one the found tickets,  'I had to go outside for a minute, can I get back in again?'

'Of course you can'  and she went to take it from my hand, which I quickly retracted.

'Er, thanks, I'll just get my husband who I've left upstairs...'  and I spurted like Usain Bolt on steroids to get Matt and Geoff.

"We're in!' I hissed into Matt's ear.  
'Nice one...' he whispered back.

Geoff came over from the ticket desk with his concession ticket.  I hurriedly told him that the tickets were valid and we made our way through the herds of visitors, who were eager, like us, to see the last day of the Archibald Prize.    

On entering we realised that every art lover in Sydney had joined us.   We got out our list of exhibits and did the rounds.   After 2 1/2 hours, we suddenly heard the words on the intercom system saying 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Art Gallery will be closing in 5 minutes...'.  Wow.  It was 5pm; and we had still a few things to view in the Sulman part of the exhibition.   

I have enclosed a link of the one painting in the Sulman Prize exhibit that really grabbed me;

Its called 'Lounge Lizards' by Joanna Braithwaite, and I just loved it.

As we left the Gallery and waited for the bus to come, the black sky opened and it started to rain. Please oh weather gods, no rain tonight, I've left the waterproof mascara at home!

All three of us jumped off the bus at Chinatown and headed for the Dixon St food court.  Some Asian food was needed  after all that traipsing around looking at artworks.

Geoff and your author, Food Court, Dixon St, Sydney  1.6.13

We waved bye bye to Geoff after dinner, as he got on the bus home, and raced back to the hotel to get ready for our big night out - the Passion Party!  Woo hoo!

Our old chum Vince was meeting us at the hotel and we were all going along together.

Vince and your Author, 10 pm - 1.6.13 before the Passion Party

Don't be alarmed - I haven't had a bad black dye job, that's a wig!  This was the first time I've worn a wig to a nightclub.  And it was fine.  

 I know that top is a bit see through, but its due to the fact that the bra I have on under it, has fake diamonds sewn onto the sides of the cups.  Well, they have to be shown off, and if you can't look a bit tarty at a Passion Party, when can you, I ask myself?  Plus we knew from the last one it would be very hot on the dance floor.

Matt looking very shiny - with Vince before the party 1.6.13

It was only sprinkling with rain as we walked to the Arthouse.  The party was FAB.  There was a cloakroom (lovely!) but we were wearing our gammy old black hoodies in case the cloakroom was full and we had to stash them under the seats and retrieve them later.  This actually happened to us a few years back when we were living in Sydney.  We went to see Armin Van Buuren at the Hordern Pavilion, and of course, my black good coat I had to stash under a seat was taken, while Matt's old black hoodie was left!  Go figure.  Ever since then, I just wear old stuff I don't mind losing.

But I digress.  Arriving at 11pm, the joint was jumping - the decor inside the Arthouse was amazing, high energy old tunes from the DCM nightclub days were blaring out, great lasers, and a fun crowd singing away with the classics.   It must have been good as we left at 5.30am!  Below are some pics taken at the venue  - the ones with the lasers in are (I think!) the Passion Party.

Soon it was Monday and time to return to Magnetic Island.  Ah Sydney we shall miss you, but we are coming back again in September if we can swing it.

So that's about it in the continuing adventures of Louise and Matt.

Its now winter time here on Maggie, I am sitting here resplendent in my gammy old boys trackie pants with a long sleeve T shirt on top.  I know my reader(s) think I swan around in Hawaiian print sarongs and bikinis.  I sure hate to spoil that image.  Life in the tropics is not all summer nights and cocktails.

Its 24C -  and I'm in winter clothes - yeah I know, mental eh?  Its been 13C at night and trust me after summer temps of 34-38C on average, a daytime 24C seems cool, and a night time 13C is bloody perishing.  Bed socks and fleecy dressing gowns rule in this household after the sun has gone down.  No pics of me in those, I want to keep the illusion of me as a fashionista intact!

I'll close now.

Another post coming soon!  (hopefully just photos...)

Adios Amigos;