A Walk on the Beach

The Beach at Low Tide

Yesterday was a beautiful day – and late in the afternoon, I decided to go for a walk on the beach here at Beachmere.  The beach at low tide is generally a spectacular sight.  I am currently house sitting in a unit which is right on the beachfront, but stairs are useless. They were not well constructed, and are not safe to use, so I walked around to Main Street to access the beach.

Beachmare at low tide

Beachmere beachfront at low tide

I used to walk on the beach frequently when I lived in town, but I’ve been away for a while.

It was interesting to see the many changes along the beachfront, the new/upgraded houses, and work was done to protect the houses from the rising tides.  It’s a beach that few people other than locals see.  It is really beautiful at low tide.

Thousands of tiny soldier crabs live on the sand

Soldier crabs on the march.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marching Soldiers

The soldier crabs are everywhere at low tide.  Children have a lot of fun with them.  they chase them – and sometimes the crabs just dig a quick hole in the sand and disappear.  One can pick them up, but expect a nip!

Beautiful sand patterns

Patterns on the sand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are wonderful houses fronting the beach. Million dollar houses actually.  Yesterday several folk were sitting out on chairs with wine, cheese and nibbles with friends.  A cool breeze wafted around making it really pleasant.  Sadly the property where I am house sitting, though right on the waterfront, does not have access to such space.

Low tide on the waterfront

Right on the waterfront

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you see?

At high tide, it is also possible to walk along the beach – but generally, it is best at low tide.  there are all sorts of things to be seen in the sand or the pools. There are all sorts of things to see – seagulls and other birds, dead jellyfish, sea shells, seaweed and more.

You can fish – but high tide is best.  There used to be seats in the water, for some fisher folk, but they have been washed away.

A forgaing seagull.

A Seagull wades in the water – no doubt looking for things to eat on the sand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wading plover

A plover wandering the pools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is not a beach that entices swimmers into its waters – for a start, the water is very shallow and one has to walk a long way out to get the right depth for swimming, and there are plenty of jelly fish and other creatures that discourage folk from getting in the water.  Paddling is fine.

Nasty jelly fish

A deceased jelly fish

 

 




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WordCamp Brisbane 2018

It was the third WordCamp that I have attended.  For the first two I was a volunteer and worked for most of the time.  I only attended a few of the presentations.

This time I thought I’d great on volunteering and attend the presentations.  What a good idea!

It was held at the QUT Campus.  Queensland University of Technology, near the centre of the city.  It’s on the edge of the Brisbane River, the beautiful Botanical Gardens, and the old Government House.

The event itself was held in Z Block – with two adjacent lecture theatres.  There was plenty of space between them for chatting, networking, registering and eating.  One of the great things about these events are that there is a low cost $50. It is because of the generosity of sponsors, the food and coffee is covered as well.  As is the “After Party” on the Saturday night which was held in one of the University Bars.

Yes, I went to the After Party – but did not drink any alcohol!!  I had my car in the car park and had to drive to the hotel to George St. I had missed out on a car park at the hotel so I had to go to King George Square Car Park.

WordCamp was great – though I did miss some presentations.  The theatre was too cold!  I had to warm up between presentations and I know that I can see the ones I missed.  Soon, all presentations will be on www.WordPress.tv

Photo from website http://www.ogh.qut.edu.au/
It’s FREE to visit and is a wonderful building in lovely gardens.

How do you find out about WordCamps?

There is always information on them at this website.  Click here. 

I think next year I might try to find one in another country too!!  One of the great things about WordCamp is that there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about WordPress.  It’s great to meet so many other folk who also like WordPress.

WordCamp Brisbane’s hashtag is #WCBNE

There was a competition at WordCamp Brisbane 2018, to get a good photo of a “bin chicken”.  This strange bird is unpopular in Queensland as they tend to overtake picnic areas and scavenge in bins – hence the name.  There were some great photos – and this is not one of them.

So, if you’ve never ever been and you use WordPress – check out the site for WordCamps.

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Where is the Hills Hoist?

I love a Hills Hoist clothesline.  I like the idea of putting my washing on the line in the middle of the back lawn so that the sun and wind do their good work on drying and refreshing my washing.

Sadly, with smaller house and land properties, the new clotheslines are these days attached to the side of the house, or fence, with limited sun and wind access.  Also, I find with larger items e.g. bedsheets and towels, that if there is a wind they flap against the wall/fence. 

The Hills Hoist, an iconic Australian product was created in Adelaide, South Australia (my hometown) back in 1945.

I remember when we moved into our new home in 1948, which my father built, we had a clothesline which consisted of a wire stretched from one pole to another, with a third pole used to push the wire higher after the washing was pegged onto it.  In those days there were no plastic pegs – we used the wooden dolly pegs.

It was probably 5 – 10 years before Dad put a rotary Hills Hoist in the backyard.  They were much easier for a lady to manage.  They would be installed in the middle of the backyard/lawn area, with plenty of access to the sunshine.  The top of the Hills Hoist was such that it could spin in the wind, accelerating the drying process.

Over the years, dolly pegs were cast aside for the cheaper and easier to use plastic pegs, and there are a myriad of styles.  I’d like to go back to the more environmentally friendly wooden dolly pegs. 

Wooden dolly pegs - used more for craft since plastic pegs became fashionable.
Dolly Pegs at Officeworks (Image from Officeworks website)

Dolly pegs are still available in a range of stores, but I know you can buy these at Officeworks for around $A4.50 and these days are more likely to be used as craft items.

Here are some pics of a range of dolly peg craft items.

The modern Hills Hoist is lighter and more modern looking than the old one that graced our backyard for years. New models can be easily removed so that if there’s no washing, children can play in the yard.

Modern Hills Hoist from the Hills Hoist Website

In most of my recent house sits, there has only been one Hills Hoist.  The rest of them have been attached to the wall or fence of the house.  I would rather have  Hills Hoist.

 




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A Year ago

Leaving Alice Springs

It was exactly twelve months ago that I found myself at Barrow Creek.  This was after an adventure at the Ross River Resort with 499 other women in campervans, caravans etc.  I was ready to leave on the return journey back to Brisbane.  It is a journey of some 3,000 kms.

I had previously had trouble with the engine of my 1983 Toyota Coaster.  On the suggestion of the mechanic who helped me a week or so earlier, I booked into an auto electrician.  I turned up at the appointed time and waited and waited.

Eventually, I was told he could find no problem.  So off I set on the return journey, heading north.  I had planned to get to Wauchope, near the Devils Marbles, a trip of some 400 kms.  However, by the time I had travelled 300 kms I was getting tired and I decided to stay at Barrow Creek.

Barrow Creek

Barrow Creek is famous for a murder and some massacres.  It has little more than one or two houses, a very old hotel and road house, and a battered caravan park.  (I think it is the cheapest in Australia – for the facilities are not worth much.)  My van was, I think, the only one in the caravan park, though there was a gentleman there with a caravan. He was a more permanent resident.  He welcomed me and when I asked if he could help me the following morning if my van didn’t start, he laughed and said “the cook in the hotel is a diesel mechanic!”

I was “warmed” by this information.  Of course, in the morning, Murtle did not  want to start, but before I could seek help, a man knocked on the window.   

Meet the cook.

“I’m the cook” he announced.  

He spent some time examining the engine, and eventually announced that there was no water or oil in it!  Then he announced that I would have to wait at Barrow Creek for three days, as there was no oil available.  I was quite shocked – what could I do for three days in Barrow Creek????

Then the cook jumped out of my van and ran to the road house.  I saw a truck backing in, and within minutes the cook was on the back of the truck and quickly returned with a big container of oil!

Inside the Barrow Creek Hotel

After paying for the oil etc, I was soon on my way.  Fancy that!!!  The hotel cook was also a mechanic.   As it turns out, I didn’t have any more issue with the oil and water in the engine, but checked it every morning. 

The Road House at Barrow Creek

So glad I didn’t have to stay for three days in Barrow Creek.




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No Fixed Abode

It is a real challenge not having a fixed address.  I am without home, as opposed to homeless.  But I don’t have a real home other than the 1983 Toyota Coaster deteriorating in my daughter’s back yard.  I have been house sitting the last year.  Moving every 6 to 12 weeks.  

I have stayed in many good houses, but they are not MY home.  It has its challenges.

Where do I live?

One big issue is one’s address.  Many organisations want to know where you live.  Do I notify them every time I move?  Or do I use an address and “pretend” I live there?  I do have a post office box, but many organisations will not post things to it – they want to send mail to my physical address.  There are several issues with that.  One is that my family often don’t give the mail to me.  It gets lost.  It can be very confusing.  

Photo by Anthony Tran – Unsplashed

My Pension Card says “No fixed abode”, and I had to “fight” to get that as Centrelink wanted me to advise them every time I moved!

There are many issues with having no fixed home/address.  And today I found another one.  I had been to the local library and requested a book.  It was not available in the library, but the staff member said they could get it for me and advise me.  Which they did.  When I went to pick it up, I was told that they had sent it to the Mobile Library, which visits the suburb I used to live in, some distance away.    I was a bit miffed as I had asked for it to be delivered to the local library.  However, the library staff, ignored my request and chose to deliver the book to the mobile library which visits my “old” stamping round.

As it turns out I will be in the vicinity of the mobile library bus on Friday, so hopefully will collect it then.

I want to stop moving around.

Oh, I am so sick of all the complications of not having a permanent home.  

Moving from house to house has its challenges.  All the houses have been good, but often I find that I have to get “extras” to make my life easier.  Like the house with no toaster (they don’t eat bread) or the house with no coathangers in the wardrobe (had to buy some), and so on.




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The Ugliness of Racism

Stolen Children

Racism was on the agenda at the weekend. I was at an event where a First Nation lady, (they prefer that terminology rather than “indigenous“) spoke of her sad childhood. After being taken from her family and sent to a “mission home” in Western Australia. She was told that her family no longer existed, and it was many years before she learned the truth. She has had to endure the effects of racism for most of her life.

I was surprised to learn that she was taken in 1954, which I would have thought the practice had stopped. However, I do recollect that around 1959, when I was a Girl Guide, we did some volunteer work at Colebrook Home in Eden Hills, South Australia. It was my first contact with First Nation children. I can’t recall very much about it, but know that we were children as were they, though I think that they were somewhat afraid of us.

Guide Badges

A few years later I was very busy gaining badges on my journey to be a Queen’s Guide, which was the highest honour for a Guide. On the journey, I completed the “Aboriginal Badge” – which I think required me to do some research on aboriginal culture. I met with a man near Oaklands Park and chatted to him, taking notes and later submitting my work. I would have been one of the first Guides to earn that badge and I still have it.

Public Housing

I don’t recall much contact with First Nations people until my children started school. In all my nursing career I don’t remember ever having a patient from that group of people.
My only “experience” was to discover that my father was terribly racist, but I do believe that it was all because, as he worked for the Housing Trust of South Australia and had to deal with the terrible damage to the houses in the south-east, where aboriginal families destroyed the good work of the builders and the government. He was terribly upset by what was happening. He was a man of great community spirit and I am sure his disgust was all about the treatment of the houses.

Confusion

When my son was at primary school he made friends with a fellow classmate and I made friends with his mother. I knew she was perhaps of a different culture – her skin was a little darker than mine. Perhaps, I thought, she had some Indian background, but was to learn in a strange way, that she was a First Nation’s lady. Her sister, who was a blonde,  didn’t help me identify her as “indigenous”. I soon learned that she had won an award for her work with aboriginal people, and then I learned the truth. In fact, we had some heated words at one stage at a school event where she claimed she had been discriminated against. The truth was that her son had “forgotten” to submit some paperwork!

I have endeavoured to make friends with other First Nations people, but without a great deal of success. While living at Beachmere, I did make friends with a lady, a wonderful artist, and we had a good friendship until she moved back to the city.  I have not seen her for a while.

Way back in 2001

Around 2001, when living in Wynnum, I tried to organise a morning tea for women, with the view to getting “aboriginal” and other women to meet in an informal way. The idea was to make it very friendly and perhaps learn a little about their culture. Despite my best efforts, and those of Dr John Herron, who was the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, it didn’t happen. We could not get the “aboriginal” women to participate.

Ugly Racism while Travelling Australia

Fast forward to 2012/13 when I drove solo around Australia. I was to witness the  racism and terrible behaviour of some indigenous people along the way. I recall driving into Wilcannia in New South Wales where some 30 or 40 aboriginal people were fighting on the road into the town. My heart rate increased, and I made an instant decision not to stop there. I was hoping to look around as our family had stayed there quite a few years ago.

My next experience was in Ceduna, South Australia where a drunken aboriginal man terrified me, but I was able to run to safety.

In Western Australia

It was Freemantle where I was accosted by three aboriginal men (perhaps they had been drinking) as I waited at a bus stop. They stood inches away from me hurling terrible insults and sexual abuse. I was terrified until the bus came and I could escape.

Broome the home of many First Nation Australians

On the beachfront at Broome.

It was when I reached Broome that I had a very interesting experience with an aboriginal man. He was staying in the same caravan park. In fact, he was in a cabin beside the one I was in. We said hello to each other as we passed by until he invited me to sit on the verandah and chat with him. It was daylight, and I didn’t have any fear of him. We talked for ages about racism, the aboriginal and white culture. Somehow we agreed that one of the major issues was that the tribes were all individualist. There was no one respected leader of the whole aboriginal population, and there never would be.

He was a teacher at one of the adult education programs in Broome – and had just arrived in town, though he had family living there. Perhaps he had lived there before going to Perth to study. I can’t remember.

On the second afternoon, he called to me to ask for help. He had lost his drivers licence for drink driving and wanted to go to his aunt’s home a couple of kilometres away. Would I drive him? I agreed and shortly afterwards I took him into an area where mostly aboriginal people lived.  The houses looked partly trashed, there was rubbish everywhere. He directed me to his aunt’s house, and as he was getting out of the car, he directed me to leave quickly, saying it was not safe for a white woman to be there. I fled to safety.

Now

Over recent years I have met more First Nations men and women, and I have a strong sympathy for what has happened to their people. I do read a lot and I am appalled at the way the early settlers in Australia treated them and destroyed their families. It’s awful, but I won’t accept any personal guilt about it. I certainly acknowledge and believe the stories that I read and hear.

What now?

I often think that we judge the people of our early Australian history on current thoughts and ideas, rather than the rather poor knowledge and culture of the early days. I’d love to be able to right the wrongs, but I don’t think anyone knows how to do it. There are still faults on both sides of the divide, but we must continue to work so that we can all get on much better for the good of the country. Bad behaviour and racist animosity will not help the situation.

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Ideas for Australian Country Living in Drought Times

The Drought

The drought across Australia is certainly giving us all concerns.  Our farmers are really doing it tough and we are all praying and hoping that rain will come and make life easier for them.    We live in such a vast country – the distances are amazing, as is the landscape.  I have driven in my car (Mitsubishi Lancer) around Australia.  I can’t remember now how many kilometres I clocked up – but it was significant.  It was back in 2012/13 that I did that.  In some ways, I long to do it again, though I doubt I will.

Our towns are very far apart, and a good number of them are finding that their populations are decreasing making life difficult for those businesses that need good numbers of people to keep going.

Moving to the City

It is not surprising that many folk choose to move closer to the cities or big towns, where more modern facilities can be found.  Young people often choose not to work the land as their parents and grandparents have done, and choose to go to university in the cities to get qualifications that mostly don’t equate to employment in the bush.  Sad but true.  I love reading stories about the folk who chose to go to the city to study and eventually return to the country.

I often wonder if some city people would consider moving to the country to live for a  few years – perhaps artists or others who can work independently, but whose presence can assist the small country businesses.  Maybe they could work for short periods too – but they could become customers of local businesses.

Parched earth by Dan Gold

Dry land in drought. Photo by Dan Gold – Unsplash.com

 

Drought Affecting Education

It is sad that some children are being pulled out of boarding schools because their parents can no longer afford the fees.  Read here.

I would hope that something could be done to help them to continue their education – would it be government subsidies, or the schools (some of which make huge profits) can assist here.  Perhaps they could arrange to continue their education in other ways.  I know a lot of country areas don’t have good enough internet to conduct quality education programs, but that should be a priority for many reasons.

Chinese Education Programs On-line

I watched this video – more interested in the data re the internet usage in China.  Awesome figures.  But towards the end of the video there is information about how the education of children in remote areas of China is proceeding with online classes.  I know we do a bit of this in Oz, but we should do more.

What do you think?




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Women Helping Women

Shebah – Women Helping Women Get Home Safely

I am not a regular taxi or Uber passenger, as I use my own car for most journeys I wish to take, and I did know about Shebah, a ride-sharing program that helps women get home safely.

Today ( July 21st, ’18) there is a huge article about Shebah in the QWeekend magazine within Brisbane’s Courier Mail.

One day I might get to ride in one, as I am sure my car driving days are numbered (though I don’t think it’s going to be soon), and I shall use this service.  I found the article someone alarming to read – but in a way, there are no surprises for me.

Men being Men

Sadly, there are too many men who don’t understand that sometimes their behaviour is often very offensive to women.  So many women are the victims of men, who don’t understand that harassing women, such as trying to indulge in unwanted sex, kissing or touching inappropriately, is illegal!!   Some don’t even see rape as illegal.  so many women are affected by this behaviour, and when they are alone, such as in a taxi or Uber, they are at greater risk.  The stories in the article do not surprise me.  I have been on the receiving end of this sort of abuse on more than one occasion.

Even with the #MeToo movement has highlighted the issue and this website details so many stories.

Continued Domestic Violence

There is so much domestic violence occurring – and I think we only hear about the tip of the iceberg.  The number of women killed by their husband or partners continues – there are so many reported.

Women are becoming more empowered to speak up, but as I have found, sometimes even family members don’t believe your story.  And going to the police is often hard, especially if there is no hard evidence.  It’s your word against his without a witness or evidence.

Women Helping Women

We are good at it.  In so many ways.  I love it that Shebah sees its role in helping women – not only getting them home safe but offering them an opportunity to earn good money as well.

Women help women

From Unsplash.com T Chick McClure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am working with a group of women helping women get into secure, safe, comfortable, permanent housing.  I know women help women and look forward to one day having a ride in a Shebah.




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Committees – Committed

When you are on a committee of an organisation, there can be lots to do.

It’s my fault.  I should learn to say “No” more often – but I don’t and get myself heavily involved in an organisation.  Currently, I am president of two, and on a couple of other committees too.  Actually, generally, I enjoy it, but there are times…..

Sometimes things do not go according to plan. And “life” gets in the way too.  Sometimes I feel blessed that I am on my own, as I can work when I please.  Early morning starts don’t bother me, and there is no one living with me to worry about.  Sure, being on my own can be lonely, but my social life is pretty busy.  I don’t think I could manage a busier lifestyle.

Two of my “projects” are very time-consuming.  The Writing organisation has a few events on, but all is going pretty well, but the housing for Senior Solo Women is keeping me extremely busy.

Another Committee – Housing for Senior Solo Women

As someone who is technically homeless, I find it all consuming sometimes as I fight to get justice for women and lobby for better affordable housing.  It’s a topic that gets a lot of media, but not a lot of action by governments.  In fact, despite all the publicity, I find politicians seem to have no knowledge of the situation at all.

The statistics about homelessness are pretty raw.

  • Over 40,000 women over the age of 65 are “doing it tough” and are at risk of becoming homeless.  This figure is predicted to double by 2036

(These figures are from this website – Mangrove Housing –  but I am not sure of their source.)

They are pretty stark statistics anyway, but I suspect the real figure is much higher than that.  I don’t know the source of these figures.

I doubt that I would be included in that number as I am not registered with any organisation other than SoSeW, and we don’t collect statistics at this point.

Old lady

Photo by Christian Langballe – Unsplash.com

As most of the politicians are male, there appears to be little interest in helping the cohort that I am working with. The fight continues.

All this work does connect me with other committees too – though I have enough to do already.

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Movie – The Book Shop

The Book Shop – the story written by Penelope Fitzgerald

Now I am on Bribie Island house sitting, I am close to the Movie Theatre and last night went to see the movie The Book Shop, based on the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.  I must say that I had not seen the trailer, but any movie with “book” or “writing” in the title entices me to see it.

It was a 5 pm session, which worked well for me last night.   There were maybe 20 in the small theatre (I didn’t count, so that’s a guess).  Many reacted through the theatre as funny bits occurred and the movie ended when we all thought there would be more to the story.

Penelope Fitzgerald.jpg

Penelope Fitzgerald – Courtesy of Wikipedia

The book is one of many written by Penelope Fitgzerald, who was born in 1916, and died in 2000. She “was an English Booker Prize-winning novelist, poet, essayist and biographer.In 2008, The Times included her in a list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.[2] In 2012, The Observer named her final novel, The Blue Flower one of “the ten best historical novels“.[3]

I didn’t do any research beforehand, but you can if you wish, as Wikipedia has a short article about the story – click here.

I confess I hadn’t heard of her before – but will now see if I can find one of her books in the library or a book shop.

Watch the trailer here.

The movie didn’t end the way the audience clearly wanted it to – and there were gasps at the end.

What’s Coming? More Mamma Mia.

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again is due to start at the local theatre in the next few weeks.  I loved the original Mamma Mia movie and love ABBA songs, so this is another one I must go to.

I felt the audience last night were tapping to the amazing music and it does look like a great movie.

The next must see movie is The Book Club.

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