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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.