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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Its very wet and the monsoon has arrived!

Good morning,  players and stayers...

Louise here at the helm of the blog with the latest and greatest adventures in Paradise, commonly known as Magnetic island, Far Nth Queensland.

And today, its not so lovely, as it is absolutely lashing it down with rain.

Our monsoon is over 5 weeks overdue, but Cyclone Oswald has just finished making land fall up the road (1137 kms) at Weipa (the very north of Queensland) and luckily it was only a Category 1 cyclone, i.e not very destructive, but it developed into a rain depression -  and just to give an idea of what a rainstorm is like, imagine the heaviest rain,  then times that by ten.   Palm trees are swaying at 45 degree angles, and bits of leaves are flying through the air.  Its kinda scary.  Glad I am indoors.

The garden is a lake, my lorrikeets look like bedraggled colourful clowns with feathers and our (new) dog Eric (who had his testicles chopped off yesterday at the vets) is looking very sad and sorry.  I can't even take him out in the rain, as his stitches have to say dry.   Bugger!

Eric's owner is moving to Townsville and couldn't take him with her, so as we have been looking after him for a while when required, we were only too happy to have him permanently.

On a different note, I have to say I was very disappointed that when I asked the local vet Alison yesterday, if I could get 2 for the price of 1, and get Matt's nuts chopped off too,  she said 'no'!   (Matt was not amused and gave me that look of 'wait till I get you home...').

As the rain comes down in sheets and I have to turn up Triple J on the radio to hear above the din on our metal roof, I realise it's a perfect day to do the blog.

Before I forget - I trust my reader(s) had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

As I am now a 'born again' Humanist:

with a touch of Epicurus thrown in:   

I am somewhat worried about using the word 'Christmas' at all, and Happy Holidays sounds just too American to my ears,  (apologies to my US Readers).   Maybe 'Beautiful break' sounds better, but then again it could also be a bad compound fracture.

My poor brain cannot think of suitable substitute word for Noel, but I trust my readers cracked open a few bottles of a suitable beverage and just relaxed.

Our break was very quiet -  we were dog sitting Eric on right (see below) and Rusty, Matt's Nana's dog.   For the first time in 16 years, we had 25 December on our own - and my picnic plans to attend the local beach with the doggies was scratched as it bloody well rained on Christmas Eve.    This meant the sand would be too wet to sit on, so we improvised and had our prawns and champagne on the decking with the hounds.

Matt with Rusty and Eric 25.12.12 (Matt wearing our one bit of Xmas decorations!)

The weather cheered up on Boxing Day with all of us (dogs included) making it to Geoffrey Bay for a swim.  Our normal beach at Horseshoe Bay had an algae bloom in the water, so that was out.

Before I forget, we have a new addition to our home;  Eric the Silky terrier (who has been seen in the blog here in the past) is now our doggie.

Matt with Eric, 26.12.12 Geoffrey Bay

New Years Eve was the same -  quiet as Townsville on a Wednesday night -  and we stayed in for the first time in yonks,  again the heavens opened and it absolutely bucketed down with rain.  Luckily the booze came out and we drank a few 'wee drams' of good Scotch whiskey while watching the Edinburgh Military tattoo.  As I am half Scottish, the Tattoo is one of my favourite spectacles to watch  - Matt and I have been to the very car park in Edinburgh where its filmed and its really rather small.   Aah -  the magic of television...  

Now, what I really love at this time of the year is what I call 'the lost week'.

That week between December 25th and January 1st,  when no one knows what the hell day it is - (is it Tuesday darling?  I think the bins need putting out...) -  the fridge gets raided even when I don't feel hungry,  and there's nothing much on the TV except some good stuff on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation - sort of like the BBC in UK).  And if the ABC lets me down, its the DVD pile that friends have been kind enough to lend out.

Oh  - I must just explain what I asked Matt to get me as an Xmas present; Yes -  I may be a humanist, but never let the opportunity pass by for one's husband to get generous.

 It was not the pearls and diamonds that I know he wanted to splash out on that I desired (if only that damn Lotto would come good!)  but something more simple, something that I have been asking to do together for the the last 18 months.  (Those of you with your minds below your waistbands can stop smirking now when I tell you  - it was to take me fishing!)

Yep, the rods and reels have been languishing in the shed gathering dust, and, as we are short of dosh I knew this was one pressie that Matt could deliver on with little expense incurred.

Before I get carried away with our little fishing adventure, I should explain why we having fishing rods at all.  

In 2010 we decided to have a huge seachange -  In 2009, my Dad had passed away with the dreaded lung cancer which made me evaluate everything:  so we bought a camper van, quit work and off we went for 10 months cruising around Australia.   Just before we set off on our trip, my darling husband comes home with a very long skinny package.

Figuring it was not a coffin for Kate Moss, I asked (probably stupidly) 'What's that'?
Matt replies 'Fishing rods, one for you and one for me.'
'Matt, when was the last time you went fishing'? I asked pointedly.
My lovely husband looked at his shoes.
'Yeah OK, not for a while, I'll admit to that'.
I drew a breath.  'So, how much were they?'
Again Matt looked at his old Nike trainers.
'$300  - but they were in the sale...'  his voice trailed off as he could see my eyebrows practically shooting off the top of my forehead.
'$300!  Bloody hell Matt, we're meant to be doing this trip on a shoestring! What got into you to spend that?  Why do we even need fishing rods'?

Then the truth came out.

'Well, I thought that being stuck in the van all day, every day, as we will, I might need a bit of space to myself, and this way darling, well, well, you can be going around the charity shops and I'll go fishing - you know I get bored when you're looking for bargains...'

How can I argue with logic like that?   Trying to keep a straight face I said 'OK, I get your point, but I'm happy to take them as long as they get used - by both of us preferably - fair enough?'

Matt gave me a hug and said 'Yeah of course darling, I'll use them heaps; there's some fantastic lakes in Tasmania I fancy dropping some bait into...'

Dropping the rods onto the floor, Matt went out the kitchen and came back in with another box.  Medium sized.  And rattling.

'OK, Matt, what's that?' I say looking at it in amazement.

'Oh, that's nothing much, just a $50 tackle box and hooks that I got as well...'

Seeing my eyes widen even further,  he realises he is on a very 'sticky wicket' and has the brains to quickly exit the house as I reach for the knife block and his treasured collection of Global knives.

'It was on sale too!' he shouts over his shoulder.

I realise that maybe, just maybe, extreme provocation over a tackle box, would not be sufficient grounds to get me off a 'diminished responsibility' murder defence, and I decide to let him leg it.

There's a happy ending to the story though;  Matt came home 30 mins later with a family sized block of Cadbury chocolate, so all was forgiven.

Oh -  one more thing.  The fishing interludes on the trip?  Yep,  you guessed it, we only went fishing ONCE and only then because it was that damn lake in Tassie.  Total catch: zero!

That's why I was asking for this fishing jaunt at the Picnic bay jetty -  let's hope I can get this to be a regular experience, I actually enjoyed it, despite catching - you guessed it - nothing.  Matt had his bait taken so there's hope that at least one fish was under the jetty?

For those interested, the blog of our trans Australia trip is at

Monday 7.1.13 

Louise on Picnic Bay (disused) Jetty, enjoying my Xmas pressie...  It was 34C and hot!

Matt's parents were away until 11 January and they have something at their place that we do not - a swimming pool!  So for a few glorious days we used it and loved it.

Matt in pool with Eric 5.1.13

While on the decking at Matt's folks place the 2 doggies, Eric and Rusty began whining and going nuts; we soon realised why.  The resident possum was awake (they are usually nocturnal) and was walking up the handrail to where we were sitting.   Matt said 'Oh I think Mum told me she feeds a possum with missing teeth...'  and there he was, bold as brass.

Matt and new chum, 5.1.13

Note that deformed (?) front tooth on Mr Possum here.  5.1.13

Sunbird nest 5.1.13

We have some fantastic birds here on Magnetic island, none so clever at nest building than the Sunbird.  These tiny little yellow beauties cheep around and fly like fighter jets between the palm trees.  They build these amazing nests (see above) but compare this to the one in the link (below) and you will wonder what that swirly bit is in the middle?  These birds are so smart, (and have made nests here for years) that this new nest here has incorporated the clapper part of some wind chimes hanging under the house, and made it part of the nest.  

We had a nest at our house too, but no chicks were seen in it, and then we got told that Sunbirds will make a 'dummy' nest to fool predators.  Wow - how clever is that?  My admiration is huge.

While I am raving on about the wildlife, here is a snap of one of the skinks in our garden, sunning himself on the upturned dish I use for the lorikeets food, which the possums had pushed off the bird table.

Skink :  15.1.13

One of our chums Bill had to go to Mackay down the road, and asked us to dog sit his new puppy Pedro, who is a Jug, (that's 1/2 Jack Russell, and 1/2 Pug), sounds an awful combination but he is very cute.  (see below)

Of course puppies are like babies, I realised quickly and this one will poo and wee when the mood takes him;  luckily we have a tiled floor so it was not a drama.  But the weird thing is, Eric our new doggie who is 8 yrs old and (we thought) kind of together, was shit scared of Pedro!  We tried to persuade Eric with treats to get close, he did for 2 mins to eat the treat, then legged it.  Pedro thought it was a game and chased him until Eric growled at him and Pedro hid under the coffee table.    

Pedro: 21.01.13 - cute or what?

I was kinda sad to give him back yesterday.

Just in time for us to get off the extra kilos we both stacked on over the holiday period, we discovered the "5:2 Diet".  

Yeah, OK,  I know, another bloody diet that I'm endorsing.  But this one has scientific backing and basically its eat normally for 5 days and fast on 600 cals (500 for women) for the other 2 days. All sorts of health benefits are documented.  

So far 2kgs lost and into my third week of it.  For those people interested, see the article from the The Australian newspaper below and try and watch the BBC Horizon program 'Eat, Fast, Live Longer' in which Dr Michael Moseley investigates it and gives it a whirl -  its available to view on YouTube.  ( Dr Moseley also interviews a 101 yr old Indian man who did the London Marathon...)

I have a 'before' photo in my bikini but I am keeping up my sleeve, until I get to my desired weight and I'll wear the same bikini and take an 'after' photo.  Today is one of my fast days, (I like to do the 2 fast days consecutively) and distribute the 500 cals into 3 meals.  Breakfast was 1 slice bread, 3 tbsp baked beans, lemon tea:  Lunch: small can tuna and tomatoes, more tea.  Dinner? Not sure, may go mad and have some bananas and watermelon?  Yes, there are the odd hunger pangs, but another cup of lemon tea (no sugar) usually stops them.   My mind becomes very clear on fasting day 2, which is a bonus.

I have to say the breakfast on the next normal eating day is like nectar of the gods!   (Banana pancakes rule!)

Just one more pic  - this is me on Boxing day before going to the beach ...  Gotta love those kaftans - they cover a multitude of sins!

Louise 26.12.12

The rain is still teeming down, but I will end here and see if I can make it to the mail box without needing wellies, an umbrella and a raincoat.  

Ciao for now.

Just a quick plug here for our coffee cups...  $24.99 and free postage worldwide

Louise xxx

(all comments welcome)