House Sitting Ends – A New Home

Solo Decision Making

One of the challenges of living alone, means that you don’t have that partner to discuss various issues.  You have to make most decisions solo.  Now, I know I have been known to say that I don’t miss the arguments, or confusion as one finds it difficult to both agree, but it is good to have a second opinion most of the time. “Two heads are better than one”.

I’m just “over” house sitting.  Packing up and moving every few weeks, getting to know a house and become familiar with everything.  Even sorting out keys can irritate me!!  Anyway, I decided to give up house sitting.  I am getting too old for it, too!  Not communicating/knowing neighbours etc.

I did try and involve my family in some of the decision making – and I went to see some of the places they “found for me”.   In the end, I made the decision solo.  All by myself.  It is a move closer to them, but still some distance away.  The closer to both of my offspring, the higher the rent.  Too much.

The Lease is Signed

I hope I have done all the necessary research, for yesterday I signed the lease.  It’s for 12 months.  The unit is on the fourth floor, but has a lift so I won’t have to manage stairs.  It’s a brand new unit so everything is clean and unused.  It is a small space but with two bedrooms and two bedrooms, a small balcony and a reasonable size kitchen, dining, lounge area.

The property is very close to the beachfront, though it is not a swimming, playing time seashore.  Luckily there is a swimming pool on the property.  It’s handy for a lovely walk or bike ride, and the major shops are not far away.

No, I don’t have any photos yet.  That will have to wait.  It was pouring with rain when I went yesterday.  Maybe next week.

As I am house sitting here until the end of December, I have arranged for the lease to start on December 21st, so I am likely to move in around December 27th/28th.

I will be going to the Christmas Party in a couple of days time, so shall see if I can take a few pics then.  Oddly enough it is not far away from where I live now – as the crow flies.  If there was a boat across the river it would be quick, but one has to go the long way around. (If you see the words Deception Bay around the middle of the map and immediately north, with a blue dot and a yellow one – that is Beachmere.  I’m moving to DBay!)

 

 

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Strange Things Happen

Strange Co incidence

For me, it started with a strange message.  Someone I met at Ross River, near Alice Springs for the Rolling Solo Camp in August 2017, sent me a message.  She was in hospital not far from where I live, and the lady in the next bed, was another lady I knew.  The two women would not normally have met up.  I’m yet to learn how my name came up.

Anyway, this lady, whom I will refer to as G, was just making contact.  During our messages back and forth,   G, made a comment that really surprised to me.  She made reference to an event which happened after I left Alice Springs.  I smiled when I saw the words – for H must have told G.  Funny, that two folk, whom I don’t think knew each other until the hospital visit, could share this story!

Hospital Visit

As it turns out G has had some surgery, as has H, but G will be recuperating not far from where I live. I made vague arrangements to visit – but she will be in hospital for another week.  Then I realised I was going to be not far from the hospital today, so I have arranged to visit both of them.

In the outbac

I travelled to Alice Springs in Murtle the Turtle

I met G briefly.  She is a lady who lives much of her live in a wheelchair, and travels Australia in a campervan.  Amazing that she can do that.  I so look forward to catching up with G and H today.

No doubt we will talk about our brief meeting at Ross River Resort in 2017, with 499 other ladies who travel around Australia in vans, cars etc.

Have you ever had a similar co incidence?

 

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How do I address you, Lady Di?

And your name is?

Can I really call myself Lady Di?

I’ve had a couple of funny experiences when I have to give my name on the phone.  I usually call myself “Di” – short for Dianne.  Most of my friends call me Di, so that’s the way it is, but apparently, when I say it on the phone, it is not easy to comprehend.

So, a few times I have said, “Di, as in Lady Di.”  Mostly there’s no great response as the person, “gets it”.   On one occasion, years ago, I was speaking with someone in the US and said this, and for some reason, he thought he was speaking with the outstanding Lady Di.  It was before her untimely death.  I remember the seconds of silence and then heard him tell others that he was talking with Lady Di.  I had to laugh.

How do I address you?

So last Friday evening, the phone rang and a voice asked to speak with Lady Di.  I chuckled quietly to myself and said that she was.  A brief silence followed.  Then she asked, “How should I address you?”  I nearly choked as I chucked.

“You may call me Di or Dianne.” was my reply.

However, she chose to continue with “Lady Di”.  It was a representative from a major publishing company in the US wanting to know if I have a book ready for publication.  I wish.

Photo by César Viteri at Unsplash.com

 

I often think that I should write with a pseudonym – maybe I should write as Lady Di? I wonder how much trouble that would get me into?

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Speaking of Obituaries

My Interesting Topic

I’ve spoken at two writing events about Obituaries.   I met up with some of the attendees beforehand who asked me what I was going to speak about.  I’d laugh and say “I bet you are dying to find out what my topic is – you’ll have to wait!”

How many of us have had a family member pass away, and the family has a stressful time getting the right information.  It’s hard to prepare for the Eulogy or perhaps the Obituary, when everyone is grieving.  (Though in Australia Obituaries are few and far between. )

Prepare – Write it before the death

My goal is to encourage people to write the Advanced Obituary of their family members or friends, as well as write their own Advanced Obituary.  An Advanced Obituary is one that is written while the person is alive.  It is something newspapers do – for significant or famous people.  Most major newspapers would have many files of key people and it is the Obituary Editor’s task to keep them up to date.  So when the person dies, it is just a matter of completing the final paragraph.  Finishing with when and how they died, and what family members are left behind.

I have prepared mine and I do update it.

tomb stone surrounded by flowers

Photo by Anton Darius – Unsplash.com

These days more people are opting for a cremation rather than a burial – for often the cost of the burial, and the upkeep of the graveside is high.  Without a burial and gravestone, there is no evidence of the person, so an obituary which is submitted to one of the places that keeps them forever is helpful.

One place is Heaven Address

Check it out.

I also like to make my talk more fun, so often talk about funny obituaries too.  Makes it all less serious.

 

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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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