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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