Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Frying eggs on the bonnet of the car

Well today's drive has us in Mackay...possibly the most dull city in all of Australia. Its at the end of Australia's most dull drive (Rockhampton to Mackay) and both Robert and I are fighting the urge to give up the will to live :)

... do I sound a bit grumpy? Well its probably on account of the fact that we have had two days of hot hot travelling in a hot black car. In a twist of logic we discovered that it was cooler to sit directly in the sun with the roof off the car rather than with the roof on - go figure.

I reckon we could have fried an egg on the bonnet when we pulled up yesterday.

Last night we enjoyed the delights of Biloela (yep Aussies will know this as the place where the Biloela Sheila comes from). We ate out at a local club and delighted in watching to locals play up (yep there were some Sheila's doing their thing last night and they will have been rather sore and sorry for themselves this morning).

Anyway two more days on the road and we will be home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Still on the road - however now back in Queensland

Our road trip continues and today finds us in Toowoomba in southern Queensland. At the moment we are experiencing a fantastic storm. Its windy and rainy - a potentially very damaging storm. Its cold and windy outside which is a big change compared to the 32C we experienced when we drove into town. We are safe and snuggled away from it all in our hotel room.

Our accommodation last night at Moree was possibly the worst motel I have ever experienced. Robert thinks that he has stayed somewhere worse but in his opinion the motel was pretty awful. We picked this one because it had favourable reviews on so I have put in a review myself which was not so generous.

Our motel in Toowoomba is delightful - our room is very comfortable and clean. There is a restaurant attached to the motel also which is probably just as well with this storm swirling around.

Our drive was pretty dull - I grabbed the camera and took some photos to pass the time. Most were pretty awful and blurry but at least it passed the time.

Straight roads in Queensland.

Robert is unimpressed with my photographic experimentation.

Tomorrow we are off to Biloela. Its a long days travel with hopefully not another afternoon storm.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Echuca - West Wyalong - "there's not a lot out here"

Our road trip takes us through south western NSW today and there is a lot of wide open spaces down here.

Yep, plenty of wide open spaces!

It was a hot day and just kept getting hotter with 36C at 5pm! There was a report of thunder storms and hail to the north of where we were travelling so we will need to keep an eye out for the weather tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Echuca

Robert and I are on a road trip and Christmas Day finds us in Echuca on the Victorian/NSW border. We decided not to make any bookings for Christmas lunch but rather enjoy a quiet picnic somewhere about the town. No traditional food, just light summery fare which makes a lot more sense than European style wintery Christmas meals.

We discovered that while Echuca has a lot of really charming spots there aren't a lot of places for a picnic. The river bank is very dry and gravelly and not really inviting for a picnic and we found only one nice park where there was good shade from trees. Notwithstanding our picnic was all I hoped it would be - quiet, good food, relaxing and not too hot out of doors.

As you can see Christmas lunch was a very un-traditional informal affair.

Santa was very good to me this year with some Pandora beads and two great new books. The photo above is actually a shot of me with my head in one of my new books. Robert also received a new book and his spot on the blanket next to me was where he was laying back reading his book.

Its a hot day today - maximum temperature about 33C but we didn't really feel uncomfortable as the humidity was very low. The morning was nice and cool and crisp and we hope that it stays that way as we plan to continue our trip in the morning.

We plan to enjoy dinner out tonight at one of the local RSL club at Moama which is just over the border.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Having fun in Melbourne

Melbourne put on her best "four seasons in one day" for us yesterday. Hot winds pushed the temperature up to 36C and then a cool change came through to cool things down. Last night a bit of rain and this morning a cold wind. The hot weather didn't bother us so much because the humidity was very low.

Yesterday morning Robert and I went over to the storage facility to inspect our new (old) car that has been in storage for the past three months. The battery of the car was flat so we contacted RACV for a jump start. The battery needed a full recharge so this was done overnight.

After Robert attended to some tidy ups on the car - a few screws and connections needed tightening and that sort of stuff we realised that there was nothing left to do with the car. So Robert agreed that some shopping was in order.

I managed to get a whole lap of the DFO without Robert asking if I had bought enough yet so that was pretty lucky. I got Robert out of the centre before he lost the will to live and we returned to the storage facility to check that the car's battery was charging nicely. The car turned over first time but the battery still needed more charge so we left the charger going.

Later on Robert mentioned that he had never been on a tram before so we determined to jump on a tram to go into the city for dinner and then return afterwards. Melbourne CBD was busy last night - plenty of people shopping, dining out or just catching up for a drink afterwork. This time of year is lovely in Melbourne - the city enjoys long afternoons and twilights and it doesn't get dark until 9:30pm.

We had dinner at Federation Square where there was a concert going on and masses of people enjoying the Melbourne evening. We went for a wander about the streets but I wasn't allowed to shop anymore.

We have photos of our time yesterday but our internet connection is quite ordinary at our hotel. We will try at hotspot later on today to try to load up some photos.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our holiday starts today

Today we are flying to Melbourne to start our Christmas adventure. We are driving a new (old) car back to Cairns. We are calling the trip our Bandit Run as the car we are bringing home is a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am similar to the model used in the movie Smokie and the Bandit.

Our flight leaves at 1pm so I had better get myself sorted and packed!

Swap-bot treasures

A few months ago I disovered! What an amazing distraction! It all started out because I wanted to take part in a cross stitch exchange for one of the Yahoo groups I subscribe to. The group uses Swap-bot to manage the exchange. Now I am involved in a number of Australian groups on Swap-bot and have completed a number of swaps with international partners as well.

This past week I have received a number of fantastic pacels in the mail.

The first parcel I received was from Mona (sunshinesuperman) who crammed a mass of ribbons and buttons into a little Christmas stocking and sent it all the way from Kansas!

I was totally gobsmacked as each little treat was extracted from the stocking - so much!

Mona also packed a sachet of Hot Chocolate Mix - yummy. I haven't used it yet as its really not Hot Chocolate weather here in Cairns but I will find an opportunity to sit and enjoy a hot chocolate very soon. Thanks so much Mona.

I received another parcel from Laura in Melbourne. Laura sent me this set of water colour pencils. I have been trying a few new arty/crafty things since I found swap-bot and I discovered that having some drawing kit would be handy.

I have already had a lovely time using these - it was almost like revisting my childhood and have colouring in homework to do!

thanks again Laura (and William and your fur-kids)!

Lastly (but not leastly :) Carol sent me a little package of ribbons and buttons. I always have a use for these for finishing small needlework projects. I already have my eye on two of the buttons to finish a biscornu that I am working on.

Thanks Carol and to you and yours have a great Christmas.

Of course I have also sent things out to others - but do you think I was organised enough to take photos? No! Two biscornu and a package of buttons, ribbons and treats have been dispated to the USA and Canada. Some embroidery fabric has been sent to the UK and I sent a bunch of treats to the Aussie swappers who I have met this past few months.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Woohoo last day at work before a Christmas Break!

Yeh! Only half a day to go before we shut down the office for a Christmas Break. One or two important things to get done before lunch and then we will shut down and take a long lunch and don't go back until the new year.

The weather has been typically tropical - hot and humid. We haven't had a lot of rain as its too early in the season for the rain to start so lunch may be an indoor affair. Love that aircon this time of year!

We gave the team at work their Christmas presents today - hampers full of Christmas treats. The hampers were beautifully prepared and presented by a local lady here in Cairns. She always creates nice packages. The girls at work also gave Robert and I gifts in return - I have a nice shiny new Pandora bead for my collection and Robert received a Trans Am souvenir number plate and an 8 track to play in our '76 TA.

Matty (my son) phoned me today to let me know that his Christmas gifts made it to him in the mail. He has lined up vacation work to commence in January and is pretty excited about it. This will be his first job in his professional field (electrical engineering) and its our understanding that he will be working on a great project that links in with his current interests at university (satellite technology). He also likes the idea that his rate of pay will be more than he could earn in retail!

Life is good.

Ok lets give this a go.

Well I do enjoy checking out other people's blogs so I thought I would give keeping one of my own a go. I hope to share some of my thoughts and musings about our life and experiences living in tropical Far North Queensland.