My Whinge About Builders and Architects

I do wonder if architects are actually used in some building developments.  Would I be wrong in guessing that some developers use “draftsmen/women” instead of architects because it is cheaper?

As these days I am focusing on suitable housing for senior/solo women, I am looking differently at some issues with housing.

As I have been spending time house sitting in Southport, I have had the opportunity of making assessments on the apartment in which I have been staying.  I have so many issues that concern me.  Perhaps some builders should not be in the industry.  I often surmise that they have a motto “near enough is good enough”.  This was especially evident in my last apartment.

The building I am current in and “reporting” on is in Southport.  There are some 30 or so units on the block, and it is less than 20 years old.  Maybe 15 years.

Some things:

  1.  Doors.   It is a “secure” property, with locked doors to make it difficult for criminals to access the building.  But the doors are so heavy, making it difficult to unlock them if you do have the key and want to access your property.  And don’t try and hold something – you need two hands to pull the door open!!!   This “encourages” tenants to put the door mat in such a way that it is not possible to lock the doors.  Stupid as it allows criminals easy access, and as I found out today, it makes it easy to trip.
  2. Ensuite Bathroom.  Clearly, there’s an effort to make it “look better” with little consideration about the practicalities.  The door to the shower cubicle is in an odd position, which creates challenges entering and exiting the shower.
  3. Clothes Drying.  Tenants have to use clothes dryers as it is not permitted to have any clothing on lines in the courtyards.  It’s about “looks” not practicalities.  And about a higher electricity bill!
  4. Taps – cheap and nasty.  In the kitchen, it is a challenge to get water into the kettle to boil water.  It is also challenging with the washing of some kitchen items.   It would probably only be a couple of dollars extra to have the water taps on a slightly higher level.
  5. Flooring – light coloured carpets?  Really?  They are easily soiled and look awful. Though this already dark apartment might look worse as even with all windows open, there is no sight of the sky or sun.  The latter also makes the apartment cold – and high costs for heating result.

I could go on – but what I wonder is, if any of the builders lived in such a place would they want to change things???

Stupid Builders

One other consideration is that those things mentioned above, create additional challenges with people who are physically challenged.   I’m not talking about a major disability here – it is certainly not suitable for this cohort, but a senior or someone with an injury would find difficulty in living in this place. I suspect so.

Oh, and the noise.  I can hear other tenants flush the toilet when I am lying in bed, and other crashing noises are constant.  I’d hate to live her full time.

And about downstairs.  I cannot believe the about of dirt, rust, damage, etc.  I wonder if someone should contact the council?  Apart from it looking awful, is there a safety issue with it. (There appears to be little general maintenance – I asked the manager to clean up a sticky mess someone left.  He did a little of it, but seemed to ignore a lot of it.)

Postscript. Less than 24 hours since I wrote this post – this article appears, about shoddy builders.

Some more funny building issues.

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Not a Good Day. Nothing is Working for Me.

Thank goodness this didn’t all happen yesterday on my Birthday.  Yesterday, was a good day.  Certainly in comparison to today.

I knew I had some issues to resolve, but I didn’t think it would be all that difficult.

The Car

My car is overdue for a service, so  I phoned and booked a service in Brisbane.  Why Brisbane?  It’s just a bit easier for me as I have some preparation with the van, and I “know” the company that will be doing the service.  (I do have some issues with their customer service, though!)

Anyway, all booked. Late this morning I find I have some messages.  My phone does not work here in Gav’s apartment.  I go out to the car and drive to where I get a good signal.   One call is from the Car Servicing company.  They’ve cancelled by booking as the registration number I gave them cannot be identified.  I phone to try and sort it out.  They don’t have my car registration listed in their records, nor my name, nor details of the car that was serviced there last week.  (That was the car my son uses that I took for a recall issue).

They told me just to turn up anyway.

Phone SIM Card

Nearly three weeks ago I ordered a new SIM card (on special with one of the discount coupon companies) and it was to arrive within 14 days.  It hasn’t.  I think I have been on the phone, and on chat help lines for around 6 hours now and have been given the runaround.  I have now asked for a refund.  They don’t do refunds.  Even if they cannot deliver the goods.  Ain’t that weird?  Still ongoing with that!!!

Then, wanting the car to be cleaned.  It is very dirty and not easy to do from here.  The first company I phoned said they couldn’t do it, as there is no power point handy for a vacuum cleaner and no hose.  (I am in an apartment), so I decided to drive to Ferry Road, Southport.  There are two car cleaning companies side-by-side.  The first one is having issues with their Eftpos and I need cash.  Don’t have.  The other has so much business I will have to wait over an hour to get my car done.  I left.  Too hard.

It will be a good day if I get a shot like this.

Photo by Jennett Bremer on Unsplash







Whale Watching

A few days ago I ordered a voucher online for the Whale Watching trip.  Paid and the voucher was emailed.  Next step is to “book” with the Whale Watching company.  I tried, but it says my voucher is “invalid”.  I make phone calls.  Have to send a copy of the voucher and all my details to the Whale Watching Company office and they will arrange my booking.   Have I heard from them yet???    Nope.

Hoping it gets better.

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WordPress WordCamp

What a big weekend!  I attended, no, volunteered, at the Brisbane WordCamp held at the QUT City Campus.   I drove up from the Gold Coast in almost record time (well, it certainly was record for me, as other trips have been much longer), and booked into the Royal on the Park, opposite the Botanical Gardens.


That night, I attended a Mix and Mingle event at the Stock Exchange Hotel, but the noise drove us crazy.  The band in the main function room was so loud, and after a drink or two, some of us left by 8.30 pm.

I had company walking back to the Hotel, and knowing I was in for a big, busy weekend, I was soon asleep.

Volunteers were requested to be at the venue by 7.30 am.  It was a pleasant walk from the Hotel to the QUT, through the Botanical Gardens.  I’d love to have taken a lot longer and taken a lot of photos.  (Note to self:  Visit Botanical Gardens early one Saturday or Sunday morning!)

Initially, we had to wait for people and boxes of things e.g. t-shirts, lanyards, registration details etc, and soon we were joined by attendees.  It was a busy time in the morning.  I managed to get to a few sessions during the day.

Lanyards Saiting


That night there was an After Party in the Botanic Bar (QUT Campus).

Trees in the Botanical Gardens at Night.













It is the second WordCamp I have attended, and though some of the information in the sessions is beyond my understanding (and I am a Blogger, not a web designer), I sometimes feel overwhelmed.  There is an amazing amount of information and support for all.  Friendly.  Informative.  Useful.  Fun.  One thing that always impresses attendees is the food and coffee.  There’s always a coffee van, and lunch for the two days was great, and great food for morning and afternoon tea. Catering for the after parties is impessive too.

Morning Tea

Interested in WordPress/WordCamps?  Why not join a WordPress MeetUp – and continue linking with WordPress Users.

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A Biography Worth Reading

A Biography Worth Reading

Just over a week ago, I visited the Wynnum Library to borrow some books.    I had not been in the new building, but had been a regular over four years ago at the old premises.  The new one is a delight, though I didn’t stay long.

As I walked in a book caught my eye.  It was a book written by Colleen Ryan Clur titled “Pixie Annat Champion of Nurses.”  I picked it up straight away and then grabbed another book from the Biography shelves.

I had met Pixie Annat when I was a “medical representative” promoting some products at St Andrews Hospital many years ago.  She would not remember me, but I have never forgotten her.  Every now and then I read about something she was doing, but certainly never knew the full story.

She is quite amazing and anyone who was nursing in Queensland, especially around Brisbane would recall much of the influence she had on nurses and nursing.

Pixie is the first on the video above, and speaks on several occasions during the video.

Pixie and Nursing Education

I was not aware of her involvement in the changes to nursing training.  Of course, I would agree with her that nursing education via universities is what is needed to give nursing higher standing. However, I have always had issues with it.

My experience was that some university nursing graduates thought so highly of themselves they would not do some things for their patients. It was beneath them.  I worked with some and I found them so frustrating to cope with.  They didn’t like getting pans for patients in need of toileting.  They would rather ignore the patient’s plight than lower themselves to do such a menial task.

I remember working with a young lady who was so full of herself and her uni education, but when a drama happened, she went to pieces.  She could not manage to complete the task required of her.  I remember being in

I remember being a patient in hospital myself and feeling totally neglected and ignored by the registered nurses.  In fact, I don’t recall that any of them came to speak with me.  I could hear them laughing and having fun, and doing little work in the nurses’ station not far from my room.

Perhaps, and I hope so, things have improved.  I do believe that quality university education is essential, but would hope that those who graduate have an understanding of patient care.  They need to be prepared to even do menial tasts, or ensure someone does what has to be done.

I enjoyed reading the book, as there were many people and events detailed which were known to me.  She is quite a remarkable woman and is still working and volunteering in her very senior years.



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A Visit to Murwillumbah

It was on my “bucket list” to visit Murwillumbah and go to the Tweed Regional Gallery. I especially wanted to see the Margaret Olley Gallery.  While living in Beachmere it would have been a two and a half hour drive to get there, so I kept putting it off.

When my son decided to go overseas, and I was asked to mind his unit, tropical fish and occasionally his children.  This means I was much closer to Murwillumbah, at Southport.  As well, I know someone who lives in the town.   I made arrangements to meet her, and yesterday set off to meet her and visit the Gallery.

Around 9 am yesterday, I set off along Smith Street, Southport and on to the M1.  Traffic was a little slow but after Nerang it improved and I had a good run to New South Wales.  I had been to Tweed Heads at the weekend for a soccer game (granddaughter plays soccer).

Soon I was travelling across the Tweed River and on to Murwillumbah.  I do recall travelling through this area – but it would be more than 20 years ago.  Some of the scenery was vaguely familiar to me, but of course, there were many changes – including of course the roads.

The Tweed Valley Gallery

On I went and followed the directions to the Tweed Regional Gallery, which is in such a lovely spot.  I was soon joined by my friend and we had coffee and cake in the Gallery Cafe.

Mt Warning from the Tweed Regional Gallery

Looking towards Mt Warning









Below the Gallery
















The Gallery itself is on the southern part of the town, high on a hill looking over the Tweed River and towards the mountain range, which includes Mt Warning.

There is parking underneath the gallery, with a life up to the Gallery, and plenty of parking in the surrounding area.


The Gallery is huge – allowing for a number of exhibitions, with a huge cafe at one end with indoor and outdoor tables, and a wonderful menu.

There’s a busy shop with a wide range of books, cards, and other items for purchase.  (I bought some cards and book marks.)

There’s a long wide corridor from the entrance to the Margaret Olley Gallery, with a range of exhibitions on the walls, and galleries on the side.  One gallery was being set up for an exhibition.  Current exhibitions are listed here.

The work of artist Joshua Yeldham, is worth seeing too.  Different, amazing.

Margaret Olley’s exhibition is most interesting.  Her art work was still life, which she worked on from her house in Sydney.  It was a house overflowing with flowers, vases, and a wide range of objects that appeared in her work.   The Gallery is actually a recreation of her house/studio – and shows the visitor the surroundings in which she worked, usually with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth!

There was so much to see!!!  Worth another visit.

The Dining Table












Beautiful with many of the items in her artwork remaining.

Afterwards, we went into the town for lunch at the Austral Cafe.  A huge cafe, much like old ‘cafeterias’ of days gone by.

A safe trip back home but this time I ventured from the Motorway to Tugun and travelled through the busy Gold Coast Highway trying to keep my eyes on the road and checking out the changes since my last visit there.

One day I will go back to Murwillumbah – perhaps with my campervan so that I can stay a bit longer.


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How Many People Ignore Laws?

There’s no doubt that I grew up in a “different era”, and with a family that was Christian and law abiding.  I know times were different then.  I find the current behaviour of modern people very challenging.

Laws Ignored.

I get so annoyed by people who have no consideration for the laws of the country and just do “their own thing” in complete ignorance of anyone but themselves.

In Australia, I think in all states, it is unlawful to ride a bicycle on public roads without wearing a helmet.  But, it seems large numbers of people have no concern about riding around without a helmet.  I’ve seen people ride bikes with the helmet hanging off the handle bars.  That will not be helpful in preventing a head injury!

Are people ignorant?  Uneducated?  Or just plain stupid?  Perhaps they are ignorant, uneducated and stupid.  It makes no sense to me.

Watching programs on television like RBT, and other Australian police-focussed programs it is obvious that so many/too many folk are a law unto themselves.  They speed, ignoring speed limits, driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, drive unregistered vehicles and drive without a licence.  They often laugh it off – in complete ignorance of the results of their actions.

Photo by Adrian Flories from




What is the solution?

There is so much work for our police officers that they appear to be too busy with more major issues to worry about some of the minor crimes.

What surprises me (among other things) is how many people disregard a range of our laws.

I’ll sound very sexist here, but clearly more men seem to be in trouble with the law.  Just open a newspaper or listen to the media, and over and over it is males who are in the headlines.

On the roads, and in the television programs it is men who are caught breaking the law.  Today in the news two men are caught stealing $1500 worth of cacti (see here). Last night there was vision on the news of a man stealing from a home where the husband was working at the side of the house and with two young children IN the house.  What GRUBS!!

What can be done to change this?  Do we need more police?  Heavier fines?  Greater alternative punishment?  More women in power?








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I don’t recall whether it was China or South Korea that I “discovered” mochi, but I know I bought these delicacies in both places when I was teaching there.

They are not regulars in Australian supermarkets, and I don’t go looking for them when I find an Asian supermarket.  Well, that is until now.

On Friday I set out to meet a lady, whom my son met some time ago.  We have communicated by phone and agreed to meet at Australia Fair at Southport.  After we met and had coffee and a chat, we went our own ways back to our cars.  I was unfamiliar with the Australia Fair shopping centre, so went for a wander.

It was there I found the Ming Mei Asian supermarket.  I often wander in these shops – not so much to buy anything, but to look and remember.   Living in China these were familiar type of supermarkets, though most I visited there were much bigger than Ming Mei.

Many products were familiar to me – others, of course, were not.  Then I found the Mochi.  They weren’t well displayed for me, but I recognised the delicacy on a lower shelf.   I bought a packet.

Blueberry Mochi



I couldn’t wait until I got back to the car to taste one.  Or two.  Yummy.

The following day I was back at Australia Fair, looking for something else, and just had to go back to Ming Mei and get some more.  Another packet of the same, and a packet of the tea ones.

The Green Tea Mochi were one of my favourites and I found a packet of them.  I was so excited. They are so good.  I often wonder why we Aussies haven’t “discovered” Mochi. They are special!!


I searched Dr Google and found a recipe.  I wonder if I could make them as good as the ones I buy?  One day I am going to try.    This will be the recipe I try first.

Green Tea Mochi



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Thrifty – it’s a word that I don’t recall hearing spoken very much in recent times.  I suspect it is a word that is not used very much these days.  A search on Google found that there were pages about Thrifty, the car rental company.  I wonder if those who use the services of that company understand the meaning of the word?    Perhaps they just know that it is supposedly cheaper than their opposition.

What does “thrifty” mean?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines thrifty as “showing a careful use of moneyespecially by avoiding waste”

As someone who was born during World War II,  I knew we had to be ”thrifty”!  There was little food,  very few items to purchase as much was in short supply. Of course, absolutely nothing (in Australia, anyway) of the great range of shops and shopping opportunities that we have now.

Houses, electricity, employment, services – all were in short supply as the world (especially Australia) recovered from the war years.

We were thrifty.  We penny pinched.  Grew our own vegetables, killed our own chickens (which were a luxury in those days). Most people were very careful with what money they had.

The Thrift Badge was one of the special badges one could earn as a Brownie or Girl Guide back in those days.  There was so much emphasis on being thrifty. It was a way of life then, and in some ways not surprisingly it is something that people of my generation still harbour as an important skill.

Many of us are shocked about the massive waste, the spending of money as if there is no tomorrow.


We have a society in many countries (including Australia) where there is little encouragement to save money, (it’s spend, spend, spend), and we have a huge problem with too much waste.  We waste food, we waste money, we waste clothing and furnishings, though I do know that there is a huge and growing interest in recycling.

Saving our Planet

In the last few days Woolworths and Coles, two of our major supermarket chains have announced the reduction of plastic bags.  Especially for single use.  I hope it is the beginning of a major trend.  We know the damage that plastics are doing to our wildlife – especially in our waterways. We also know that there is a lot of pollution of our planet by people who just discard their rubbish in places where rubbish is not meant to be.

When I drove around Australia I was shocked at the amount of rubbish on roadsides – it appears that so many people just throw their rubbish from the car window as they drive by.

I would appeal to everyone to (a) be more thrifty and (b) less wasteful and (c) take care of their rubbish properly.

Photo by Fabian Blank courtesy of

As I live in the van, I have to be thrifty.  I don’t have the space to take excess, and I have to be thrifty in many areas!

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A Day Around Wynnum and Manly

I had one major task to complete while my son is away.  He drives a Mitsubishi Lancer which was recalled about a year ago, but he’s never found time to take the car in for the “repair”.

So I booked the car into Bartons at Wynnum, and yesterday I set off around 8 am for the trip to Wynnm/Brisbane.  I drove the Lancer to Bartons, and was driven back to my daughter’s place in the Courtesy Bus, where I got into my Barina and returned to Wynnum.


I lived in the Wynnum area until a few years ago, so had a drive around.  There are many changes – different buildings (including the new library and supermarket), and I drove along the waterfront.  Again there are some changes.

Pelicans at the Wynnum Waterfront.

Another view of the pelicans

I remember spending a lot of time a few years ago, sitting in my car, sometimes reading, near theManly Harbour, watching the boats come and go, the fisherfolk on the rocks, children walking with their family members, and even swimming at low tide in summer.

There have been a few improvements over the years, and now there is a safe pathway out to the end of the rock wall.

Young folk with disabilities are taken sailing – so many more involved now.

A great cement pathway along the rock wall and lights now.

The Port of Brisbane in the background – from Manly.

I visited the new library at Wynnum, and borrowed two books.  One is about Pixie Annat, whom I remember from my days as a medical representative.  She was the Director of Nursing at a major hospital in Brisbane.  The other book is “Mary Poppins, She Wrote”.  I recall that Mary Poppins Festival has been on in Maryborough.  I was planning to go, but my plans changed.

After I set off for coffee with a friend at Frenchies in Bay Terrace, Wynnum.


I then had to collect the Lancer.  Oh, what a story!!  There was some chaos with the “Courtesy Bus” and I waited for over an hour at the front gate for it.  Several phone calls later and it turned up.  Hence I was very late returning to the Gold Coast – caught up in heavy traffic and it took ages to get to my destination.

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On the Goldie

I have never been a great fan of the Gold Coast, Queensland.  I don’t mind visiting, but have seldom enjoyed staying here and wouldn’t live here.

This week’s stay has not changed my mind.  I have only spent 3 nights here – just 3 weeks to go!!!

Terrible Traffic

What don’t I like?  Oh, there’s a list.  Traffic is one.  Last night I had to take young miss to Soccer training at Nerang.  6 pm.  Despite leaving with plenty of time, we didn’t get there until 6.20 pm.  The traffic was horrific.  There was some police activity – don’t know why, but it was just so chaotic!!

Traffic is two!!  So many people live here – the roads are always busy.

Dirty is three!  Is it just me?  I see so much rubbish around the place.  Oh, I know, there is a lot of public littering all around these days, but for our major tourist spot, I am surprised at the high level of rubbish.

I do know that the city is preparing for the Commonwealth Games next year, hence the building frenzy, road works, and extension of the rail tramway to Helensvale.  I’ve not had a ride on the tram yet.  Will hopefully do so this week.

The apartment leaves a lot to be desired.  I must have lights on during daylight as well as night.  There is little natural light that comes IN the building.  Oh, and you can’t hang your washing out.  Despite having to “outdoor” areas, washing must not be seen.  So one must have a drying machine.  Oh, how I love the sun to land on my washing and

The maintenance leaves a lot to be desired too.  Downstairs in the car parking area it is smelly, dirty, rusty, crappy.


I have a little crazy story I tell.  It’s about red cars.  Did you know they like to park together.  I know, you think I am crazy, but now I have told you, look around and see what does in fact happen.  My car is red, so I know about these cars.

Here are three parked out of the front of the units here at Southport.  Yes, mine is the one closest.



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