A One Night Stand

Well, dear reader.  “A One Night Stand.”   It is not what you think, when you read the title.  I am actually planning to spend one night only, about 2 kms from where I live.  A friend lives across the road from the Caboolture River, and we are going to spend some time together over the weekend.

She has suggested that I drive Myrtle there and park for the night opposite her house and I can stay overnight.  Another test for Myrtle.

I have not driven Myrtle since returning from our failed expedition to Neurum Creek.  I have been packing up my house, as I must move out in a few weeks.  On top of that, I have had some family dramas to negotiate.  It has been a busy week, but getting little done of what I wanted to do for myself.  Still, I am not worried – I think I am at this point under control.

One thing that is happening is that my “fernhouse” is going to my friend’s place near the river.  I checked it out today and am so excited as many orchids are in bud and so will have some flowers shortly.  It does create some challenges.  Where will I leave them in the short term?  I am going to negotiate with a grandchild to take care of some of my plants, and my friend will have some also.

Moving house always has challenges.  What do you keep?  What can you sell?  In my case, as I am going into a campervan I am restricted in what I can take.  So many things (including boxes and furniture) will go to storage.

I am also taking note of all the things I have to do.  Close my NBN internet account, electricity account, advise the various government apartments of my new address.

New Address?  In Toyota Coaster Myrtle somewhere on the open road?  I will have to “pretend” that I live at my daughter’s place.

Inside Myrtle – the driver’s seat, refrigerator

The Sleeping Quarters – though in reality at bedtime I rearrange the mattress/bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Night Stand

So, I will take Myrtle out – and stay one night, just a short distance from home.  It is going to be fun.

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TED – A Best Friend of Mine

OK, let’s get it clear right now.  I don’t have a man named Edward, Ted, or similar in my life, other than the amazing website www.TED.com.

It was when I was in Bali in 2012, that I learned about this site.  I was swimming in a pool in Ubud and met a guy from Netherlands, who was sitting beside the pool watching a TED video.  When I found the site for myself, I was hooked.

So TED

The concept of 20-minute talks, with no waste of time with MC’s, and limited rambling of speakers makes perfect sense for me.   Well, the maximum time for a talk is 20 minutes.  Sometimes the talks are shorter.  The topics are so varied.  I download them to my tablet often and often will watch a talk when I have some spare time or on the one hour trip to Brisbane on the train, or on a plane if I am flying anywhere.

I regularly visit the TED website and scan the recent talks – and choose those that I wish to view and quickly download them.  It is FREE.

Some time ago, I also went to a TED talk at Griffith University.  The talks were most interesting and I can revisit them whenever I wish.

Today I scanned some of the talks on TED and chose to highlight the following one.  The title of  “What I learned from 2,000 Obituaries”.  I chose this one because I have an interested in obituaries.  Before you wonder what could be interesting about the dead, an obituary is a life story, and I love biographies, with a little detail about the person’s death.


I am surprised to learn how few of my friends have discovered TED, so I do talk about the website often and have converted a few of them to be regular viewers of the site.

Here are some shorter talks – to listen to while enjoying your coffee.  Click here.

Go on, go and explore the amazing, interesting talks on TED.

 

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Exploring with Photographs

I am lucky.  One of my hobbies is photography and I have a wide range of photographs from my travels.  People often ask me if I have a favourite photograph, or even favourite place to use my camera.  I can’t answer that.  It depends.

One of my recent photographs was taken at dawn, not far from my home.  I live at Beachmere, which is about 50 kms north of Brisbane.  It is a seaside village, on the northern banks of the Caboolture River.  The area has considerable birdlife and a few kangaroos live nearby.  Sadly I have not been able to take many photos of the ‘roos, as they hang out in a place that is not easy to get to – narrow busy road.  But the beachside photos always impress me.

 Where I Live

Dawn over Moreton Bay

Sometimes if I wake early and there are some clouds about, I can hop into my car and drive to the waterfront.  With camera of course!  The above photograph was taken at dawn, and the one below is a view of the water at low tide.  Same spot.

Low Tide at Beachmere

Reflections

One of the exciting things I like taking photographs of are reflection and I find so many places in China where there are canals.  Still water equals good reflections.  These photos were taken in 2016, when I visited during Spring Festival to attend a friend’s wedding.

In Cixi

Around Shaoxing

This is in Shaoxing.

I’d like to spend hours sitting on the edge of some of the waterways in China.  In some there are bamboo boats (Wupeng boats) plying their way around a lot of waterways.  Some times the canals are narrow and not easy to get a good image.  Sometimes though the reflection of the Wupeng boat is a key part of the shot.

 

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Bamboo – Versatile Giant Grass

My friends and family all know that I have an addiction to bamboo.  It is an amazing “grass”.  Yes, a grass.  When I lived in China I saw how much it is loved and used there.  Other Asian, South American and South African countries use it more than we do in Australia.

In China, I saw many items made out of bamboo, and it was there that I discovered fabric made from it, and subsequently bought many bamboo things that are dotted throughout my home.  I get concerned that Australians have not embraced this renewable, fast growing grass which is really so useful.  I can only guess why it is not used so much here.

Today I came across a “camping pod” created in Melbourne, Australia, which I found very interesting.  In fact, the website has quite a few interesting items on it.

GIANT GRASS

Until I went to China I had not seen any of the giant species.  One weekend the university took us on an expedition to an area to the west of Shanghai.  It was very hilly, and we could see bamboo growing everywhere.  We had visited a tourist spot during the day, and late in the afternoon arrived at our accommodation for the night.  There was no time to explore then.

In the morning I was up early, with camera in hand, and set off along a windy road up through the bamboo.  I was able to touch huge “logs” of bamboo – some of it had been harvested, but most was just growing up and down the hills.  I was in awe.  Perhaps not as much as the local Chinese, who saw this tall, blonde woman walking through their village with a big camera.

Some of them just stopped what they were doing and stared at me.

You can read about the camping pod created by Giant Grass here.




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Creating a Crossword for UBC Challenge

UBC – the Ultimate Blog Challenge for day 8 (and I am behind, I know, but working fast to catch up) is to create a contest or a promotion.   I decided to create a Crossword.  Now let me explain further.

I don’t spend a lot of time answering questions on Crossword Puzzles, but I like creating them.  Perhaps it is my love of words or something, but I just enjoy the challenge of making a list of words, and creating the questions, using those words as answers.  I have used a program called Eclipse  for some years.  I liked to use it in my English classes.  As a teacher one can create a puzzle using words that have been in recent lessons, It generally is fun to do in class.

Eclipse.com

As I have not been teaching for a while, I’ve not used the program for a while, but have always known that I could (with practice) create puzzles for a website/blog.  I haven’t done it.  I am hoping I can do it today, but have already failed in my first attempt.

I have created the Crossword – but now finding it challenging to get it here.  It is a work in progress.

Have you created a Crossword for your Blog?  Perhaps if you have done so, you may add a comment with advice for me.  I have allotted 60 minutes to create this post, and the Crossword, but with 5 minutes to go, I know I will not achieve it right now.  I will see my computer Mentor and see if I can work out, with help, how to do it.

I do recommend Eclipse for creating Crosswords, and it can be fun to make them up – you can have fun with grandchildren especially, or indeed anyone.  It is possible to print out the questions with the blanks for someone to pencil in the answers.  You can also print out an answer sheet.

(Right on my deadline I figured a way to do it.  I used the Snipping Tool to create an image of the crossword!!   Yay!)




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Advice for Bloggers

I have some advice for Bloggers, Writers or folk promoting themselves or their business.

Some many years ago, I ran networking events for small business owners.  One of the things I gave advice about, was the exchanging of business cards.  If they have the correct/updated information, they are bound to cause some curiosity by the recipient.  Of course, if there has been an opportunity to tell the recipient a little about the business, it usually adds to the exercise.

What? No business cards?

I currently work with writers/bloggers and when I request a business card, they look at me with a blank face and explain that they are not “in business” so don’t understand the need for “business cards”.  I then refer to them as “name/contact” cards.  How can people find you if you make it difficult to make contact with you?

Now, I know that there is a focus on all things “internet” – from websites, Facebook and other on-line social network opportunities, but I do believe that there is still a place for business cards/name/contact cards.  People can hold them and read them at their leisure and they have in their hands the different ways you can be contacted – that is if the card has the info.

So what should you have printed on your cards?  This is terribly important!!  Your name, your phone number/s, your email, your website/blog site URL,  and a little bit about you.

The above card is one that I have used for some time.  I have them printed by Vistaprint.  It’s funny as I have “Writer, Traveller, Camera Addict, Bamboo Fan, Workshop Presenter” which causes some mirth when they read it.  Then they ask me questions – what do I write, where do I travel, what camera, etc.  They are so inexpensive, that if and when I want to promote anything special. e.g. book, blog, workshop project or similar, I add it to the back.  I have a Dymo Labelmaker, which I update if and when I wish to add further information.

“Make it Easy for People to Find You, your website, your blog”

Let as many people as possible know about your blog.  If you have just released an e-book, add the URL to the back of the cards, or get some new one’s printed.  Make it easy for your prospects. That is important advice to help you create success for your project.



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My First Attempt at Camping in Myrtle

My first camping venture out in the Toyota Coaster, known as Myrtle the Tyrtle, was not a success. It was Wednesday April 6th, 2017

Setting of on a Camping Expedition

I left Beachmere around 9 am to meet with other Rollers at Redcliffe.  Most were planning to go to Alice Springs for the event in August.  Great to meet with the other ladies – many of whom I knew by name only from Facebook.  After a coffee, chat and talk about Alice Springs and Safety, I departed for Beachmere, excited about setting out on my first adventure with Myrtle, my newly acquired Toyota Coaster.

Louann with her van,  was waiting for me when I arrived home, and I quickly put the last of my things into Myrtle and we set off.  I normally drive down the street to turn but followed Louann and sadly backed into a stobie pole, and damage the rear of Myrtle.

My Van Breaks Down

We set off and were quickly onto the D’Aguilar Highway, only 25 kms from home,  but minutes before Wamuran, a strange noise occurred and odd smell, and steam, (or was it smoke?) billowed from the dashboard.

I quickly pulled to the side of the road, stopped and leapt out of Myrtle.  Louann stopped behind me.  I phoned RACQ – not only had I failed to register Myrtle with them, but they don’t do such big vehicles!! They could though tow me to safety if they could find a big enough tow vehicle. Then I contacted the insurance company through the motorhome club I joined, but there were some issues there.

With Louann’s help we found that the radiator was empty, and we filled it with water and soon Myrtle started.  I drove the few kilometres into Wamuran and parked at a Repco motor vehicle repairer. That is where we met Seth, who was to be our saviour.  He found that there was one rubber (cable) broken.  So Louann and I drove into Caboolture in her van to get two as he was concerned about another.  We were rather surprised to learn when we were arrived that our new friend Seth had phoned ahead and they had the items waiting for us.

Louann’s Van Breaks Down

Seth’s Business in Wamuran

I paid, and we went back to Louann’s car to drive back.  Her car wouldn’t start.  So we got a mechanic and found out that it was her battery.  He jump started it and we headed back to Wamuran.  Seth was waiting and soon fixed Myrtle, but Lucy, Luanne’s vehicle needed help.  We managed to get to the car park just off D’Aguilar Highway and spent our first night “camping” there not on a grassy area – but the bitumen.   It was terribly noisy from all the traffic on the highway and we managed little sleep.

Somehow earlier, I had managed to bang my head on a high cupboard, and had a huge “egg” on my head which really did hurt, but luckily I had no concussion or headache.

The following morning Seth turned up and had another look at Louann’s van.  He thought he could fix it but we were to learn later that he would have to order some parts in and fix it on the Friday.  So we spent the day in Wamuran.  I Googled “what to do and see in Wamuran” and the answer came back “nothing”.  This time we had parked behind the Community Hall, handy to the toilets and there we stayed. We slept, ate and in the afternoon started on wine/vodka.  Not much, but hopefully enough to help us sleep as we’d not got much sleep the night before.

Camping? No.  Glamping No.

We had a good night’s rest and more sleep, but woke frequently as men visited the toilets.  We have laughed so much about it as they spend a lot of time there.  Alone.

Gave us a lot of laughs.  Right next door to where we were parked were friends of Jeanie, another friend of mine. e I went there to say hello and charge my phone.  Had quite a chat with Peter.  He was most interesting as he had been in the police force.

On Friday morning, Seth came and picked up Louann’s van so that he could work on it.  So we went for a drive to Woodford in Myrrle.  We walked around, visited a few shops and had a pie at JC’s pie shop, a very popular spot we discovered.   We returned to our park beside the community hall and toilets in Wamuran and both slept in Myrtle.  Then I did some long overdue work on a project that I needed done by the Saturday and Louann sat at the Men’s Shed and read a Women’s Weekly which she found in Myrtle.  (June 2016!).  I was keen to return home but chose to wait until she has her van back.

We had booked into Neurum Creek Park but never made it.  On the Wednesday we had high hopes of getting there, and on the Thursday slimmer hopes, but it was not to be.  I phoned them frequently to advise them of our situation, but by late Thursday let them know that it was not to be.

Thank goodness we both had a sense of humour, as we laughed about the whole adventure.  Louann returned to my place and had the shower she had been longing to have a Neurum Creek.  Maybe will get there on our next attempt.

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Preparing the Van Continues

Preparing the Van

It is taking a long time to prepare the van, Myrtle the Turtle, for its first trip tomorrow.  The van has many items in it that I am replacing.  For example, I have a cutlery set – with purple handles that I have had for years that I want to use in the van.  There was another set (or part thereof) in the van, which will be donated to an Op Shop.

The refrigerator will shortly be replaced when I find one that fits into the space.  It is old and looks a bit battered.  I am looking at options.

One of the big mats has been removed.  I keep tripping on it – it will wait in my garage until I determine whether I want to use it.  Meanwhile little by little, it is turning into MY van.

Tomorrow, after I meet with the girls from Rolling Solo at Redcliffe, I set off on my first venture in the Van.  Not without some mild anxiety.

Coochin Creek or Neurum Creek?

A friend and I are going to Neurum Creek, which is some 60 kms from here.  We had intended going to Coochin Creek, but because that is a state operated camping ground, and many of these are closed, we were unable to book into that one.

It will be a test for me – as I have never done anything like this before.

What about the bed?

I laugh at myself.  Lacking in experience as I am, I have a few questions about using the van.  Lots actually.  But one is about using the bed.  Do I use a sheet?  Top and bottom?  I am used to sleeping in a queen size bed, and now I am sleeping in a single (and small single too) bed.  Luckily it is still hot weather – so I am not likely to get cold overnight but I wonder what everyone else does.

So the preparing of the van continues.  At least on this occasion, we are only away from 2 nights, and as it turns out, close to a town, so getting food or anything is not going to be difficult.

I guess it will take me a while to learn.

Have any of my readers any tips or ideas for me?

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An Inspiring Woman – Michelle Lang

An Inspiring Woman I hope to meet

In August I expect to meet quite an amazing inspiring woman.  I know little about her.  I do know that she is doing some amazing things.  Around December 2015, she started a group called Rolling Solo.  As someone who was employed in the RV/Caravan industry, she became aware of the huge numbers of solo women travelling around Australia in their cars (with tents), motorhomes, caravans and camper vans.

Michelle Lang of Rolling Solo

Some 15 months later, Michelle Lang is heading up a group of some 6000 adventurous women.  She is currently organising an exciting camping event in the centre of Australia, at Alice Springs, and some 500 women are planning to be there.  I am one of them.

Stuck in the Middle With You’s – An Epic Womens Camping Event 2017 from Michelle Lang on Vimeo.

I so look forward to meeting her.

Adventurous Women in Australia

Australia is a big country – with great distances between towns.  Driving on the roads can be hazardous – especially at night.  Kangaroos, emus, goats, camels and cattle are often found on the roads, and none have any traffic sense.  I don’t drive at night!

The idea of women driving solo on our outback roads is rather scary – and we are always being told we are brave or stupid.  Especially by men!!  It makes us laugh.

Travelling Alone

I am a solo traveller.  I have driven around Australia on my own, and completed many other long distance trips.  Other trips including going to London and driving around Ireland on my own.  Also I have lived in China (as an English Teacher), and visited several times since, and lived and worked in South Korea.  All on my own.

As readers will know if they have read previous posts, I have just purchased a campervan, and am about to live and travel in it.  One of my planned ventures is to go to Alice Springs/Ross River Resort to join the Rolling Solo Ladies.  I have been to Alice Springs on a couple of occasions, but am looking forward to this unusual venture.

Alice Springs in the middle of Australia

Alice Springs – photo from Wikipedia

Alice Springs here we come!

 

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Trying to Downsize

I have to downsize. Here I live in a 3 bedroom unit.  I would have, could have moved into a two bedroom unit – if there was one when I came here 4 years ago.  I had visions that my grandchildren would come and stay. But now I find I have too many possessions.

The two youngest did stay a few times, but these days are too busy – they are into their teens.  The older two have not spend time with me – they are too busy. It is a complaint of many grandparents.

I have decided to leave the unit – and move into the Toyota Coaster.  But I have a lot of things to get rid of.  I have to downsize and it is not easy.

How to Downsize

I have some BIG things that I need to find new homes for.  Two single beds, two televisions, a bicycle (electric two wheeler), some book shelves, books, a desk, some small tables, a filing cabinet – and lots more.

Will I be able to sell some of them?  Don’t know but will try.  There’s a big gas BBQ in the van that I don’t want, so I will add that to my list of things to leave here.

Car Boot Sale

It was a little disappointing.  There were not a lot of customers, so I didn’t sell a lot.  I did dispose of some things, though.  Some plants, and some fun things that I gave to children.  And I made a small profit.

FB Buy, Swap and Sell

Some of my items will find themselves onto this Facebook page this week.  Will give it a try. Even if I sell a couple of things it will be good.  Maybe the BBQ and the bike?

Off to Camp

This week I will attempt my first camp.  I am going to Coochin Creek, some 30 kms north of Beachmere.  I have not been there before.  It is not by the beach, but a creek.  A friend is supposed to be going with me – but not sure if that is going to happen yet.

 

 

 

So I have a lot of learning to do this week.  I still haven’t worked out how to switch lights on, use the water (and toilet).  There is so much to learn.  Hopefully I will survive.

Postscript: Due to the damage/result of cycle Debbie, I cannot book the campside at the moment.

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