More House Sitting

Travelling and House Sitting

That’s what I do.  I love Travelling and House Sitting.  I have been house sitting for most of the year – mainly in the Moreton Bay Region of Queensland.  This week I moved into a lovely house on Bribie Island.  The island is one of many off the Queensland Coast – but this is the only one with a bridge between the island and the mainland.

It is a magic place, just north of Brisbane.  It is surrounded by great beaches, with plenty of places to fish, and plenty of places to buy your favourite fish.  There are interesting historical remnants of World War II on the ocean side – much of it lost, but still some survive.

Bribie was always the holiday island.  In the early days people arrived at Bongaree by boat, and it was in 1963 that the bridge was completed.  When we first visited the island, there was a toll to go on the bridge and the little building remains.

House Sitting on Bribie

This is my first house sit on Bribie – and it is right at the edge of the suburb of Bongaree.  From the backyard there is a large park with grassed area  and beyond is acres of bushland where kangaroos live.  They often come out onto the grassed area.  Sometimes they only come out at night – and always leave their “calling cards” – roo poo.

It’s a lovely house – quite peaceful and I am hoping I can get a lot of writing work done. This house sit is for just over two months, and after that, I will be at another house on a canal.  There are many canal estates on the island, and I look forward to staying there – and I plan to do some fishing in the canal.

Looking towards the bridge.

Great for Photography.

It is a wonderful place for photography too.  Dawn and dusk, on any of the seaside spots.  One place I like is at Banksia Beach or White Patch, watching the sun set behind the Glasshouse Mountains on the mainland.

Towards the Glasshouse Mountains.

The Glasshouse Mountains at dusk

Three months on the island.  I am a lucky house sitter.

#dihill, #housesitting


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Writing Obituaries


Photo by Forrest Smith from

Writing Obits

Have you thought about writing or preparing obituaries?

I have a passion for “life stories” – and I believe that obituaries fit into that genre.  I like writing obits – sometimes.

Why sometimes?  It is a matter of time available for me to do it.  I have been asked to write them – but usually, it is when I am already time poor.  It adds to my life’s challenges.  I’d rather encourage people to write their own.  Write your own?  “I’m not dead yet” or “I don’t plan to die soon” is the response I often get.

I’d rather encourage others to create an “advanced obituary” – in preparation for when they will die. Everyone will, eventually.  It will happen.  We just don’t know when.  And like most things, it is good to be prepared.

What’s the Difference between an Obituary and a Eulogy?

A Eulogy is something that is spoken or read at a funeral or service after someone has died.  It is often a family member or close friend, or indeed a group of people (e.g. three sons), who present it.

The online dictionary says: a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died.

An Obituary is generally a short life story of the deceased person, which may be published after the person has died.  Often these are published in local or regional newspapers or other publications.  (e.g. online).

The online dictionary says: An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person’s life and information about the upcoming funeral.

In Australia, we generally have the obituary published some time AFTER the funeral – and our papers have “classified ads” (paid) giving details of the death and funeral service.  (Death Notices and Funeral Notices)

Prepare the Obit in Advance

An Advanced Obituary

You probably know that most media outlets have obituaries planned for key people from around the world.  What if a member of the royal family were to die suddenly?  What about famous people?  Most media outlets have a library of obituaries that they keep updated – ready to be about to publish the obit when the time comes.

Have you thought about a family member – perhaps one in his/her senior years?  You could put pen to paper, or start on your computer to write down the information you know about this person or these people.

What about preparing your own?  Do you realise that often family members tasked with the job of preparing a eulogy or obituary may have little knowledge of your earlier years.

Help them out.  Write notes.  Talk with family members.

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Chinese Ceremony

Do you like ceremony?

Chinese Ceremony of any sort impresses me.  They have many ceremonies in their culture. As some of my readers will know, I lived and taught in China way back in 2008  and 2010.  I just so loved the experiences I had.  I was fortunate enough to visit Beijing and X’ian, as well as regular visits to Shanghai and Hangzhou as well as many places in the region.

It is very difficult to explain my love of many aspects of Chinese life.  I had good times and not so good times, as I endeavoured to comprehend the quite complex culture of the Chinese.

I was fortunate to visit Tiananmen Square in Beijing and would love to have had the experience of attending one of the major military events there.  Because I love ceremony.

Occasionally I spend time watching Youtube videos of the amazing Chinese military ceremonies.  The precision always impresses me.

Watch the Female Soldiers March in a Chinese Ceremony

If I watch other military events, including Australian, it is hard to find any other country whose military marches with such precision. I always find it mesmerising.

The above video I found on Youtube.

It is incredible.  I could spend a lot of time watching it.

Do you like watching goose-stepping?

I love watching the goose-stepping marching. I think you have to be very fit to do it for long periods.  I know that all participants are measured so that they are almost identical in size (and shape) as the person next to him/her.

Korea (both North and South) also train their military to be precise.

The following video is a bit cheeky – but the marching is worth watching.  At least or me.

In the major events in China and I think the Korea’s,  the audience get involved too — not marching but with precision coloured items that help create an amazing scene.

Oh, how I would love to be in Tiananmen Square for one of these events, but I suspect there is a lot of waiting and with such huge crowds it would be a challenge even to get there – and they probably wouldn’t let me in.

Enjoy the videos.

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Who does Window Cleaning?

Old Habits

I am a senior, and I do have some “old habits” – some of which relate to domestic chores. One is window cleaning!  I was one of the young women who were trained to be “wives and mothers” many years ago, and many feminists and others don’t rate it well.  As one who grew up to be a wife and mother, and with many other careers, I rate it highly.  Perhaps I would also suggest that males also receive some of the training that we women had – for I have no doubts it would benefit all families.

We learned how to do housework, how to manage dirty clothes in the laundry and how to cook.  In amongst these were a range of other skills that I am sure helped me during my life.

Today I did some window cleaning at a house where I am house sitting.  One window, in particular, had mould and dust stuck onto the glass.  As the family are very environmentally friendly, I used an environmentally kind window cleaner and paper towel to clean it.

Every Three Months

It brought back memories of my childhood in Adelaide.  My father, with friends and relatives, helped build our families first house.  I was four years old when we moved into it.  It was a small brick house with only two bedrooms.  Dad added a third some years later.

It was post-war – no refrigerators so the “iceman” delivered huge blocks of ice several days a week for the ice chest.  The milkman delivered milk to our milk can at the front gate, his cart pulled along by a well-trained horse.  Both my parents came from large families and they were rather regimented and strict.  My parents were churchgoers, though Dad was not as full-on as our mother.

But he was obsessed about the window cleaning of the house.  It was done, inside the house and outside, every three months.

Window Cleaning in Times Gone By

It was a family affair.  Dad did the outside, sometimes assisted by my sister or me, and at the same time, Mum would be doing the cleaning inside.  They worked as a team – at the same time Dad did the outside, Mum did the inside.  Dad had a small timber step ladder, and he would climb it to reach the highest point of the window, and when finished, would move onto the next window.

Modern Window Cleaning

The new norm appears to leave the windows as long as you can, until you can barely see through them, and then get a “professional” to do so.  My husband was never an obsessive window cleaner like my father, and I suspect his father was not either.

We lived in a high-set (two levels) house for most of our married life, so doing the outside of the upstairs window was not easy or safe to do.  Hence, when we could afford it, we’d hire a professional who would have higher stepladders and a pressure hose, as well as a range of other implements that were not invented when my father was window cleaning.

The pressure hose, in my experience is risky, as it often forces water into the house.  I’d rather not have them use it.  Still, these days, I can still do the inside of the windows and often do, I’d rather get a professional – and negotiate my preferences on how it should be done.  I do get it that many people rarely have their windows cleaned.  Sad, but true.

This is apparently what was used to clean windows years ago – I have no idea what Dad used – a bucket of soapy water and a few old rags I think.  This according to the article Granny knew best is what was recommended.

Brave window cleaner

Photo by Ronaldo Santos, at

“Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 cups warm water in a spray bottle and shake well to dissolve cornstarch. Spray generously onto glass surface then wipe dry with a clean cloth or old newspapers, buffing to a streak-free shine.”

I don’t think many men these days participate in the housework.  Only few would clean the windows like my father did!

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Driving through the Glass House Mountains

I went to the Glass House Mountains yesterday to visit a friend. It was a great day, for several reasons, which I will explain.  There were 7 of us at a lovely property, right next door to a big pineapple plantation.

It’s a Small World After All

While having coffee and wonderful food, I asked one of the ladies some questions.  I found that she had been a nurse and quite coincidentally did her training at Mt Gambier Hospital, where I did mine.  She started around the time I left, so there were quite a few people that we both knew.

Then she said that she came from Bordertown – a South Australian town on the border of Victoria.  So I asked that her about someone I knew, who had lived at Bordertown, and quite amazingly they knew each other.  Small world, isn’t it.  We all live in Queensland now.

I Remember Vecchio’s at Glass House Mountains

Afterwards, I called in at a new Cafe, with a camera, and took quite a few photos, with the intent of writing an article for  It is a delightful place in the Glass House Mountain area.

Pineapple Farm

The Cafe was formerly Vecchio’s – one of the popular produce places along the Steve Irwin Way – not called Fresca, and along with all the cafe products, also sell fruit and veggies, but nowhere as many as they once did.

The Highway, was once the main road from Brisbane to all parts north before the new highway was created.  Some of the businesses that were there way back in the 1960’s and 70’s still exist.  One of them, of course, was Vecchio’s, and another was a huge chicken place called Mountain View.  In all the years of going back and forth along the road, I had never visited before.  I learned that one has to order fresh chicken meat at least the day before.  I could have, would have, bought a frozen chicken – if I had room in the freezer at the house at Sandstone Point.  There’s barely room for an egg!  But one day, I will order first.


The drive also brought to mind the fact that when we arrived in Queensland, there were many tobacco farms in the Glass House Mountain area.  I found an interesting article about the history of tobacco growing in the area.  It’s worth reading – check it out here.

Some of the farms I recognise, as being a tobacco farm all those years ago.  The industry closed down in 2006/7.

Other farms along the way were big pineapple farms – there are still some around, but many less than years ago, as much of our pineapples are imported now.  There are other fruits etc grown in the area, but nowhere near as much as it used to be.

Tourist Spots

These days the area is a popular tourist spot, with the amazing Glass House Mountains, and of course Australia Zoo, where Steve Irwin’s family continue to run the zoo following his death in 2006.  There is a lot of history around the area too, and I do enjoy visiting this part of Queensland.

Local Produce


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End of Autumn

The End of Autumn 2018.

It’s the end of Autumn. Winter is coming.  It’s days away.  I love it that I live in Queensland.  Cold weather does not impress me!  I was born in Adelaide and spent the first 18 years of my life there before going to Mt Gambier to do my nursing.  That was COLD! However, living in the Nurses Home, we had good heating in our rooms.  Going out – well, that was a different matter, especially at night.

It was another few years before I discovered winter in Brisbane.  Why would I want to leave this warm weather?  Our winter is warmer than summer in some places.  I have over the years travelled to Melbourne and Adelaide for family visits and events.  I am always pleased to return to Brisbane.

China and Electric Blanket

When I was in China, I experienced severe cold there.  It was often hard to keep warm as our “heaters” were not as good as we would l have liked.  Electric blankets worked well!! In fact I have been known to stay all day in bed when it was severely cold.

I wish I had an electric blanket when I was in London recently when they had the coldest winter in 35 years.  “The Beast from the East” came down and made my life, and that of many others, miserable.  I did get a cold and was quite ill for a few days.  I really was miserable!

My Chinese friend gave me two winter coats.  They rarely get worn in Australia.

No Public Transport in London

Will ever forget the last day in London? Probably not.  There was no public transport working and I had to get to a motel near Heathrow as I was flying out early the next morning.  No taxi’s either, but my friend just happened to phone the taxi company for me at the same time as a man phoned in offering to work.  I was so pleased, as I managed to get to the motel in plenty of time, and safely too.

The roads were awash with snow and mud from the stuff the council put on the roads to reduce sliding/accidents.  It was a miserable place to be, with sirens almost non stop. Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigades.

A Church in Barnet, London, February 2018

Winter in Brisbane

It’s not like other states.  Winter is usually dry, with plenty of sunshine.  Cooler, yes, but really a magic time.  You can learn more about our winter here.

There won’t be any snow in Brisbane, but to the west of the city there usually is.  I have had a jumper on in the last few days of autumn, but not all day.  Sometimes there is a cool breeze and it gets a bit nippy.

That’s why I like to stay here in winter.





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Scary Domestic Violence Event

The Unexpected Scary Domestic Violence Event

Yesterday, as I arrived at the railway station to catch a train to the city, not knowing that I would be involved in a scary domestic violence event.  I heard people shouting.  Initially, I thought it was just young people communicating loudly.  There was a women upstairs at the station and the guy down in the parking area.

I walked past the women on my way to catch my train.  She was standing with a little girl – a quiet young thing, probably scared, about three years of again beside a pram which had a baby in it.  I didn’t know she was following me until I got into the elevator to go down to the platform.  As I walked in, she followed close by.  Then I heard the yelling of the bloke.

You need help

I said to her something like, “Sweetheart, I think you need some help.”  She replied, “No, it’s ok.”   But I could see it wasn’t.  Abusive words flowed from the bloke’s mouth as he got closer to us.  Before the door had closed, he rushed in yelling about taking the baby.  There was screaming and loud banging noises.  I “escaped” from the lift, but turned around as I exited, yelling at him to stop and to leave her alone.  Then I yelled at him to get out.  By then, a few people had gathered not far from the lift and one man came closer to help.  It all happened so quickly, and it was very scary.  I shouted to the people watching “Call the police”.  Soon there was railway staff on the scene, but the bloke ran away, but not with the baby, I don’t think.  Shaking, I made my way down the stairs and to the train.  I was glad to get away and was quite distressed myself.

It shattered me that a young women and two children should be exposed to such violence and foul language.  I wonder what her future is.  I do hope that she is able to get some help.

Dometic Violence Must Stop.

Such behaviour is not acceptable – in public or at home.   On my return from the city a few hours later, I went to the police station.  The railway staff had directed me to do so.  I was clearly a witness, though not keen to go to court.  I’d be terrified if I saw this man again, though I doubt he’d recognise me.

What can we do about it?  I do think everyone needs education on “good behaviour”.  It is not acceptable that anyone has to experience or witness this abuse.  It will play on my mind for quite a while.

Is there more domestic violence than ever before?  Or is it that we are seeing it, or hearing about it more?

It must stop.  How?




Kayla Velasquez




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My Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

Watching the Royal Wedding Alone

I am house sitting and knew I would be home alone last night watching the Royal Wedding. But I was ok with that.  I thought if I went out somewhere – even to nearby friends, I’d have to drive myself home late at night.  It also meant that I would not be able to have a drink, and I thought champagne would be a good way to celebrate.  And at home, I could retire for the night if I got sick of it all.

Being alone doesn’t bother me.  I’m free then to do what I want.

Windsor Castle and Ceremony

Recently I was in London, and I had planned to visit Windsor, but the “Beast from the East” curtailed some of my sightseeing.  Maybe one day I will get back there.  I had to be satisfied with the wonderful images on television.  I love the pomp and ceremony, and I confess, sometimes I get teary.  And I did last night during the Royal Wedding.  In fact, I had quite an emotional roller coaster.

Some of the ceremonial parts did make me cry.  Even watching Meghan arrive – it was exciting and I felt for her.  She certainly managed to cope with it all – at least that was my impression.

I loved the uniforms, the amazing chapel, the wonderful music – and I joined in with the hymns that were familiar to me.   It made me  laugh at the facial expressions, especially when during the “sermon”.  I think the Poms were a bit surprised by the enthusiasm of the Reverend Bishop Michael Curry during is slightly long-winded speech.    Elton John’s facial expression was awesome.

There’s no doubt that a lot of people would whinge about one thing or another, but overall I thought everyone did a wonderful job and from what I saw, I could not complain.


Here comes the band.










Loved Dress No 2

I have read comments that Meghan didn’t do much about makeup – she was just natural and naturally beautiful.   I was not a fan of dress number one and would have liked her to have had a necklace on as I think it would have improved the look of the dress.  Just loved dress number two, though.

So I drank my champagne – at least one and a half glasses and enjoyed the wedding and the tour around Windsor by the bride and groom and the military folk on horseback.

Then it was time for bed.

I was pleased I had seen so much of the Royal Wedding.  I wish them both a very Happy and long Marriage.



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Ooops, I Forgot My Phone.

Rock Photography Expedition

This morning, I set off on a photography walk. I had decided some weeks ago to revisit some interesting sandstone cliffs and take photos at Sandstone Point.  I am house sitting at the moment nearby. What difference does the sunlight make?  Any?  It is the second time  I have taken photographs there.

One has to go at low tide, otherwise, it is rather difficult and dangerous to get to the cliffs.  I checked the tide times and found that around 7 am this morning would be best. It would be very low tide, so with a camera and my special sand-walking shoes, I set off.  Taking my phone just didn’t occur to me.  In fact, I didn’t even have it in the car.

Walking to a place that I had been before, I took quite a few photographs, and, as was my plan I set off for further cliffs.  The rocks were slippery with mud, so I chose to walk towards the shallows and wend my way through rocks, sand, mangroves, and seashells.  It was a bit scary – as on a couple of occasions, I sank in the sand.  My shoes tried to slip off.  It was then that I realised that I had put myself in danger.

Some of the rock formations.








Here I was, well away from other people, slipping and sliding in amongst rocks and sandy pools, and I didn’t have my phone.  Two light planes flew overhead, but I am sure they would not have seen me!

Seagrass, oysters and slippery rocks.

Close to the narrow sandy beach are small rock holes full of water and seashells and on many of the rocks, oysters cling.  I don’t like oysters (except smoked ones), and I didn’t have a tool to remove them from their homes, but I am sure that there’s a good food or three out there.

There is plenty of seagrasses too and interesting shells and other marine critters.  In fact, I touched a whitish thing in the sand and it moved and shrunk as I looked at it.  There’s plenty of mangrove trees too – mostly on the edge of the sandy beach, but there are a few further out in the sea.

Very low tide

As I walked through the muddy sand, I took a bit more care and carefully made my way back to the sandy beach and safety.  Mmm.  Made it.

I have yet to go through the photographs I took and determine which, if any, I will submit for the photography competition.

Note to self:  Don’t forget to take the mobile phone on next adventure.



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The Aged Care Revolution

Well, I hope there is a “revolution” in Aged Care.  I can remember back in the 1960’s when older people who were no longer able to stay at home were put in hospitals.  Then for many years some rather primitive places.

Old Version of Aged Care

My own mother who died in 2014 at the age of 98, was in a home that our family were not happy with – but we could not find any better alternative.  She shared a room which had limited space.  She had a single bed, a small bedside locker, an armchair, and a narrow cupboard which was closer to her roommate than to her.  The area near her bed was so small, that there was no space for visitors.  Nursing care left a lot to be desired!

I have in my work been to a lot of nursing homes and could see that there were slight improvements over the years.  Still, I was not happy with the facilities.  In any nursing home.

Regis at Chelmer

Yesterday, though I visited one that was pretty awesome.  It is a new one at

(Brisbane Western suburb) Queensland, where a family member has just relocated to.  It was opened in Nov/Dec 2017, and still does not have full capacity.

Everyone has their own room.  And what a room!  The room was quite big and there was room for a TV and other electronics (e.g. DVD player etc), plenty of cupboard space, and the bed was a big single bed.  Not the narrow, short beds that were the norm in previous times.  (As a tall person I found them too short for me in a hospital!)

The bathroom was amazing – even to automatic lighting when one walked into it.  So much easier for people with limited ability.

There were amazing loungerooms, a Cinema, a coffee lounge with an automatic machine spitting out cappuccinos and other coffees, and cake, biscuits and other snacks.

There were indoor garden rooms, plenty of space outside, great sitting areas inside and out,  and very sophisticated electronics to assist the staff.  Even to an amazing feature – which was screened onto a wall of fish in a pond, and one could interact with it by touching the wall.  There were security cameras everywhere and much more.

I could go on and on.  It is one of the Regis group.  Perhaps they have set the bar for all nursing homes in the future – and perhaps they can even get better with technology.

Aged Care shouldn’t be so scary any more.

This is a photo from a video. The young folk were moving their hands on the wall, making the water bubble and change. Wish I could add the video but it is too big.

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