Risking Arms and Legs on Dashboard in Cars

What are they thinking with their feet on the dashboard? Yesterday, I went with my daughter as she delivered her daughter and friend to a party.  On the way, we passed a car where the passenger was playing on her mobile phone, but it wasn’t that action that bothered us.

Dangerous Habit of Feet on Dashboard

It was that she had two feet on the dashboard – no doubt quite comfortable.

Except of course if there is an accident. What would happen if there was an accident and the safety airbags suddenly filled with air and thrust themselves towards whoever is in the front seat of the car.  It’s most unlikely that one would have time to safely reposition one’s self if there was an accident.  I can imagine some broken arms and legs would result.

Airbags may break legs, arms and cause head injury too if feet on dashboard.

Legs on the dashboard in a moving car is dangerous.

This blog post explains what happened when a US blogger ignored her husband’s warnings, and kept her feet on the dashboard.

I see it often.  Clearly, those who do it, have no idea of the risks they are taking. The lady  who wrote the above blog post ignored warnings.  Surely any sensible person would have some idea of the risks of doing it?

Arms out of Windows

Another dangerous driving habit is having one’s arm hanging out of the door.  Usually, it is the driver who does this, but I have seen passengers doing it – even to tapping on the roof of the car while travelling.

Why?  Comfort?  To keep cool?  I have no idea, but it is stupid.  A passing car can easily come to close and damage the arm and the car.  Driver and passengers would be much safer with their arms and legs kept in the right place.

I often laugh, that my legs are so long it would not be possible to put them on the dashboard – it is certainly not anything I would want to do – even if I could!

So, be warned.  Don’t let any of your passengers risk life and limb by doing these silly things. Just stop the car if someone puts their feet on the dashboard.

What do you think?


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In the Bus, In the Rain

Living in the Bus in the Rain.

Bus and Rain, don’t go together. Down comes the rain today. I am back in the bus, Murtle, after seven weeks house sitting, and after weeks with little rain, it is bucketing down today.  I arrived at the bus late yesterday, and not knowing about the pending rain, decided to leave things in the car until this morning.  Bad Idea, as it turned out.

I didn’t bother about connecting the power last night, as I had enough battery for lights, radio etc, but there will be no sun today, so look forward to having power.  It rained a little in the night, but this morning it is very heavy.  So much so that I have had to shut all windows.  There is also a leak in the back window, so I have to manage that.

In the Garden at the last House Sit

In the end, it was too dark, and I had no life in my phone or computer battery so I headed to the house.  Water was about 3 inches (7.6 cms) around the van, so I carefully walked through it carrying my computer in its bag and headed to the Gough house.  One granddaughter is home – watching her mobile phone I think.

Beautiful Garden

Nodding Violets at the House Sit

Life in the bus can be challenging.  It is better with power, and it is horrible when it rains. I have about four weeks here – though when the family are away, I can spend more time in the house.  Me and Steel, the dog, for about a week.

Bus Living is Challenging.

I don’t mind living in the bus, but long term it is not an option for me.  I am focused on some co-housing, but it is slow going at the moment.  Hopefully more progress in the new year.

I have a few house sits for 2018 – and perhaps be the end of that period, I will have more info about better housing for me.

(These photos are from the last house sit at Sandstone Point – a discovery of the  wonderful beachfront – with lots of photo opportunities).

Near high tide at Pebble Beach












Rocky Beachfront at Pebble Beach/Sandstone Point

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My Bamboo Adventures

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Bamboo Fan

My business card announces that I am a “Bamboo Fan” – I love anything bamboo.!   I am known for my bamboo adventures.   In fact, I have spoken recently at some clubs on bamboo. When I travel I like to visit bamboo farms, shops, nurseries etc.

Bamboo Tourist Attractions

This morning I found an article about a bamboo tourist attraction in Japan, just out of Kyoto.  It is a famous place that I would love to visit –   You can read about it here. 

There are several places around the south-east of Queensland – nurseries mainly.  They are good as a tourist attraction, as they have great tunnels and gardens.

Bamboo Photo from Unsplash.com

Bamboo Adventures Continue

I continually research the many uses of bamboo and love exploring/buying bamboo products.

My presentation is always about the uses of Bamboo – not how to grow it.  I do briefly talk about the number of species and the difference between clumping and running bamboo.

If you are looking for a fun guest speaker on an interesting topic, please contact me. I have a Powerpoint presentation and bring all my own equipment.

One sees a lot more bamboo growing these days – in fact, there are some very clever uses of it – as fences etc.


I was not initially aware of its flammablity.  Well, I knew it was like wood and would burn easily.  However, I have heard a few stories that are worth researching.  If anyone has a bamboo wall/fence around their house and a bushfire is headed towards the property, the bamboo adds a greater danger to the property.

Interestingly bamboo is used for the ceiling of the international airport in Madrid, but I was told that they had treated it to reduce its flammability.

Recently an event at a bamboo property in Queensland was cancelled as it was a very high fire risk day, and as hundreds of people were expected it was considered to be too high risk to continue with the event.  Also, to add to the risk, it is not only the bamboo itself, but the dried leaves that are often on the bamboo or on the ground below.

Currently, I am trying to buy some bamboo fabric, to make a bag to carry the items that I take when I do a presentation.  I have a collection of things to show how bamboo is being used.  Send me a message via the contact form.  I only do the talks around the Brisbane area.

One item I love (and I carry a sample to presentations) are the bamboo tea towels.  I have several and I get them from Pure Zone.

I get about three bamboo teatowels for around $10 from Pure Zone, and will drop by to get some more for Christmas gifts.

My Bamboo Journey continues.


Bamboo on Wheels from Jan Sturmann on Vimeo.

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Secret Santa Book Dilemma

Secret Santa Books

At the SWWQ Christmas End of Year meeting this year, members are taking second-hand books, written by women writers, as part of a “Secret Santa Books” project. Sounds like a bit of fun!

Second Hand Books

The Wamuran Second Hand Book Stall opens on Wednesday mornings, so last week I was there early to see what I could find. There are hundreds of books to choose from in two rooms. I was looking not only for women writers, but a quality book that could pass as brand new!

I chose 5 because I figured I could take a couple extra books for those folk who “forgot” or didn’t manage to find/bring a book. These are the ones I chose:

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
Amenable Woman by Mavis Cheek
Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Naked by Jo Hill


As I walked home with my new books, I wondered if I could read some before I gave them away. I started on Naked on Wednesday. I finished it on Saturday. It was a very confronting read. The blurb on the back of the book reads “With a volatile father and an alcoholic mother, ten-year-old Jo was a desperately unhappy child.” It was Jo’s story – which in parts, is quite horrific and confronting.


I am not sure that I can give it as a Christmas gift, and will ponder that in the next few weeks leading up to the event. As confronting as it is, it is a good read. One can’t help but get angry while reading, as these predatory men take advantage of a young girl. Jo talks frankly about the events that scarred her life. I enjoyed the read though. It was well written and each chapter ended with a hook. It made you want to keep reading. I teared up several times, angry with the men, and willing her to not be so passive about it all.

At a time when the Henry Weinstein affairs in tinsel town are lead stories in the media, it does bring home the truth that men see women/girls as their playthings. The Weinstein story has brought more stories. I know from my own experience that only the smallest tip of the iceberg has been revealed!

Now, I am in a quandry. Do I give such a confronting book to another woman as a Secret Santa Book gift? Who could I give it to without causing additional trauma? Especially if the woman has had horrific experiences herself!  So, I have a decision to make before I prepare for Secret Santa Book event.

I have a few weeks to consider this. And I have four more books to read before then.

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The Mysteries of SEO


Search Engine Optimization.  As someone who writes content at times for websites – mainly my own, and a couple of not-for-profits as well as Weekend Notes, I know I should learn more about SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is something that in some ways is a bit of a mystery.  With all the writing workshops and website meetings that I have attended, there has been little reference to it.  Other than, that it is important.  I was at a WordPress Meet-Up the other day, and requested that in one of the future meetings, that SEO be on the agenda.  Perhaps the January meeting will be focused on


Yoast Plugin

I do use Yoast – a plugin, which does an assessment of one’s writing, where there is a list of items to check when you complete your post or page.  But I need to know more.  I have read several articles, but I found this Wikihow one to be of value.  At least I understand it. Perhaps I need to Pro version of Yoast, but at the moment I will use the FREE version.

Guest Blogging

On occasions, I have been asked to provide a guest blogger for a website.  It is easy enough with my contacts to find someone who is willing to do the work, but I have found that I have had to edit it.  Generally, writers are not familiar with SEO.

Understanding SEO is beneficial.   Mostly it is a technique used in website management to gain more traffic and higher ranking in search engines.  It helps gain more readers too, of course.


The use of keywords, is one issue.  Keeping sentences short – or at least not more than 20 words in sentences.  Using subheadings is important. Short paragraphs.  Each article should have appropriate hyperlinks too.  And there’s more.  The Wikihow article is excellent. Read an article on keywords here.

I am currently helping some writers complete some content writing.  Experience has shown me that many writers do not understand the value of SEO.   It is not something that is important to other writing.

Maybe after January, I will be more knowledgeable and perhaps can be more confident chasing content writing work.

I recommend this article on Wikihow.

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City or Country Living?

City?  NO!

I have lived in country areas and in the city.  Where I lived as a child in Adelaide, it was right on the edge of “civilisation”.  Across the road from our house, was a railway line.  The house is still there, and so is the railway line.  Nowadays it is not steam trains playing their way along the tracks.

On the other side of the tracks were open paddocks, a horse track and a vineyard, and the occasional house.  In the 14 years I lived there, many things changed.  Houses were built everywhere, the road in front of our house which had been a dirt track when we first moved there, became a sealed road. Traffic increased.

I used to walk to school – nearly 2 km through open bush, now it is all built on with houses and roads.

To the Country

When I was 19, I moved to Mt Gambier – was still a country town at that time.  I lived at the Nurses Home in the hospital grounds.  Within a couple of kilometres of the town centre, it was country.  Farms of all sorts, and further out acres of pine forests.

When I married I moved to Warrnambool – a bigger place, but still country living.

Back to City Living

Subsequently, I lived in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – and while sometimes we lived some distance from the city centre, it was still much busier than my preferred “country life”.

Of course, with all the developments over the years, cities and suburbs have become bustling places.  I do avoid the city – in fact, have lived in a rural beachside village for around 4 years and it is my preference to live in such a place.  However, my families live in major city spaces.  My daughter in Brisbane and my son on the Gold Coast.

I hate the traffic, I hate the multi-storied accommodation blocks.  I am dismayed that the council lets developers continue to build such monstrosities.  Parking is a massive issue around these places.  Parking in the areas around these places is difficult.  Massive shopping centres service the residents in these areas – again parking is challenging – in fact on occasions one has to pay to park a car and go shopping.

Driving in the city and close to city suburbs traffic is challenging too.  It takes ages sometimes, and the drivers clearly don’t understand or follow the road rules.

It makes me want to scream!!!!

Currently, I am house sitting – so am lucky to enjoy staying in more rural areas.  (Though you may not escape traffic issues – am at a home on the D’Aguilar Highway and the traffic is heavy and noisy!).

Where to Next?

Beside a Lake or River is good.

Near the bush with friendly neighbours

Where do I want to live – where do I want to live for the next phase of my life?  Definitely not in a busy city.  Maybe some 50 km from the centre of the city of Brisbane?  However, I am challenged by that – as I will not be close to my family members.  I want to be in a community – surrounded by friendly souls.  Somewhere where I don’t have to travel far to shop (although I know that these days I can order almost anything online. I want to be surrounded by trees and open paddocks or water.  I’m happy to be near animals e.g. goats, cattle, sheep, horses etc.

I just don’t want to have to breathe in the dust and pollution from high traffic or hear the noise of constant vehicles passing.  I want fresh air and peace.

Maybe I will not get what I want. Dream On!





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Gardenia – a Little White Flower

Gardenia Fragrance

A little white flower, which in the evening sends out a beautiful fragrance – the Gardenia.  I do like these flowers, though sadly they don’t last long.  However, if the bush has plenty of flowers – the nightly fragrance will last for quite a few days.  Not only do you sense the fragrance late in the afternoon, but it lasts overnight and can also be around in the morning.

Gardenia at Wamuran


The Chinese do wonderful things with gardens and plants.  Some few feet away from the Gardenia was a garden full of rose bushes.  When we arrived there at the end of winter, it was hard to notice the roses – there were probably 20 rows of plants, but after the long winter, it was a little difficult to even see the leafless rose bushes.


But as the weather warmed up, and the bushes “came to life” and eventually flowered profusely, it was an impressive sight.

Rose Garden

I was always very impressed by the rose garden.  Sadly, when I returned to the university campus after a couple of years absence, I was shocked to see that the rose bushes were no longer there.

What remained was a rather sad looking garden.  However, the Gardenia hedge remained.  Perhaps it was the fragrance or the fact that the hedge required little attention other than a trim every now and then.


I’ve never grown them.  Perhaps when I settle down sometime in the future, I will create a wonderful Gardenia hedge and enjoy the evening fragrances.

Info on Growing.

Gardenia’s are not difficult to grow – in fact while they do well in the garden/hedge, they also do well in pots.  Click here for information about growing

So get a plant from your favourite nursery or plant store, and watch for the flower and fragrance at the beginning of summer.

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Customer Service and Shops

Customer service is so important in retail.

Firstly, let me explain that I have a background in retail – I worked in retail (a fashion outlet) and was the Marketing Manager of two big shopping centres about 30 years ago.  Later, I was a secret shopper, where I was assessing the customer service skills of retail outlets.  I’ve also been involved in teaching retail and a raft of other skills.  I’ve always automatically made judgements about people “behind the counter” in retail/shops.  Mostly I do nothing but shake my head.

Photo from Unsplash

I know how important it is to have a good impression of a retail outlet – whether you are going to shop or just wander around, it is essential that the staff welcome you and endeavour to help you spend your money.  I’m not suggesting they need to be pushy, but in a subtle way help you make a purchase.

I’ve just been into two retail outlets.  One was a post office and the other a liquor shop.  At the post office, I was just collecting mail for the folk for whom I am house sitting.  The person behind the counter had a blank expression on his face and was far from welcoming.  He didn’t make eye contact and didn’t smile. Perhaps I interrupted whatever he was doing in the little office in the shop.  In fact, I don’t recall that he even spoke to me.  I told him I was there to collect mail – there was a blue card suggesting there was more mail.  Oh, well. I probably didn’t look like I was going to spend any money there, so I was unimportant!

Oh, the Bottle Shop

The bottle shop was next door, and because I had never been there, thought I’d check it out.  The bloke behind the counter was doing something on the computer. He raised his head a little and said “hello” in a most disinterested manner.

It was not a particularly interestingly set-out shop, and I walked around seeking out my favourite drink.  He never made contact with me or offered to assist me.  I was in the shop for around 5 minutes and walked out.  Other customers had come in, and I saw him walk to the rear of the shop.

Now, I may have bought some wine.  I found my favourite drink, but as it is Monday and I am trying to keep my drinking to the weekend, I was not in a hurry to spend.  But, I might have.

I walked out thinking that I am unlikely to return. I’ll probably go to a more friendly store.  Same as the post office. I might have to go back there and get more mail, but I am unlikely to bother with it.  I wonder how many other folk feel the same way about unfriendly staff behind the counter.

Customer service is so important.  Some people should not be in retail!

At least smile, acknowledge and welcome your potential shopper.



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Living in a Van

Van Living Challenges

Living in a Van has challenges.  One is the size of the bed!!  In the Toyota Coaster, there are two small beds on either side of the rear of the van.  I’m really too tall for them.  I can make changes to give myself more space so that my head and feet have more room, but it is a challenge!  It takes a few minutes to change and it is quite heavy to do.  It means that I have to set it up at the end of the day preparing for sleep and change it all in the morning.  Otherwise, I have limited access to some of the storage.

Other challenges include the Porta Pottie and having to empty it at Dump Points etc.

I am learning too, that on a hot day, the van can be oven-like.  I am intending to keep it for 12 months or so, so another 6 months to go, but I am quickly learning that as a long-term option, it is not going to be suitable for me.


As one gets older and has more mobility challenges, it certainly is not the best option.  Even climbing into the bus and exiting can be painful for me as one of my legs does not like the steps!!  Manageable at the moment, but long-term, NOT.

Also, I continue to have trouble with the refrigerator.  It works well most of the time, but there has been some food spoiling.

Travelling vs Living

Space is fine for travelling, but living in the van, requires different space management.  For example, I now have my printer in the van as I need to do some printing.  I have to move it around in the limited space.  When I want to use it, I need to have it on the sink/bench, and I store it on the spare bed. It is quite heavy too – though just manageable.

My Recommendation

Weigh up the pro’s and con’s for you.  If you have some physical challenge check how you can manage.  The big issues are emptying the toilet and managing the waste water, and checking the oil and water in the engine, I think.

Try before you buy.  (I confess I didn’t) but spend some time with someone living in a van if you can.  Talk with them about their challenges.

Make sure you have the funds to pay for any work that needs to be done on the van, and make sure you have insurance and road side assist.

Rent a van for a short holiday to test if you can.



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On-line Challenges

It’s been many weeks since I had “easy use” of internet facilities.  When I left Brisbane on August 8th, I did not know I would have such “online challenges”.  When I drove around Australia in 2012/13 I had only a little trouble getting on line, but this time it was different.

My Dongle created challenges.  It rarely worked.  I did get it “seen to” and a new card was provided, but it didn’t work.  As well, my computer found it difficult to access available Wifi.  Again annoying.

Back “home” in Brisbane, I continue to have trouble.  The area in which the van and I are parked is not good for any reception.  Which means I have to find a spot (daughter’s home, the library) etc to get some work done.  It’s frustrating.  But that is all about to end.


I will be attending this in the city and staying at a hotel there.  Free Wifi.  Oh, I so hope it works!!  Then, I set off on another adventure.


On Wednesday I move into a house at Wamuran.  I will be house sitting there for 6 weeks.  YeeHaa!!  Internet!!!

Wamuran? or Wam as the locals call it, is a little town on the D’Aguilar Highway.  It is a fruit growing area – in the past more for its pineapple plantations, of which there are still some.  There is a big mango farm behind the house I will be staying at, and nearby there’s strawberries and other berries.


There is a dog, with escapologist tendencies, and an indoor cat (not allowed outside), and 10 pigeons in a nice cage not far from the house.  There’s also lot of garden to look after.  I will be there for six weeks.  Oh, how I am looking forward to that.  Hoping to get a lot of writing done.  There’s also NANOWRIMO during that time, November the big writing month.  So perhaps I can participate.

Oh, I do hope I don’t continue to have online challenges.

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