Flubbeddydoo

What to call a post when you don’t know what to call it? I guess it will do.

I just wanted to start by saying that I apologise for not having posted much recently, I have just been very busy and preoccupied with too many things, life has just been a roller-coaster. Taking Jack to birthday parties, running Mum to various different things, trying to get the car prepped for a roadworthy to change the registration from another state, helping Dad build a fence across the side to secure the backyard, and throw in the Cairns Show, Cairns Gem Festival, Jack’s art classes, trying to get my art studio organised and built, and then on top of all of that, untreated fibromyalgia, it’s just been hectic, tiring and crazy.

Good news is, Mum has been seeing a new doctor (third time lucky) and yes, it seems we may have found the doctor we have been looking for, someone who is willing to help us with our fibromyalgia, and has an understanding of it. So, on Wednesday, I am off to see her as well.

I have gone months and months with no treatment, and hell doesn’t even describe it, so hopefully, I may finally get back onto the meds I need. The new doctor has not had a problem prescribing the only effective medication for Mum, so hopefully she will be the same with me.

The other thing that has been happening with me, inexplicably, is I am not hungry much recently, although it’s not making much difference to my weight, but for example, my first food today was tonight’s dinner. I didn’t even realise that I hadn’t eaten all day until I sat down for dinner. I knew I had bypassed lunch, I was engrossed in a job I was doing, and Mum asked me if I was going to have lunch, which I said I wasn’t hungry, but realising I hadn’t even had breakfast, because I was so busy getting Jack ready and then launched into my project for the day, was quite a shock.

Anyhow, I am going to leave this here for now, I am totally worn out, and, during doing a spring clean of my room, I happened to find 1 fast acting Tramadol tablet in my travel case, which I had no idea was in there, so I have taken it, and now the pain of the fibromyalgia is dropping to the lowest it has been most of this year, it may be a good time to get some sleep, because that hasn’t been very good recently again either.

Andy.

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School Holidays are here again….

We have just completed the 3rd day of the school holidays. Between the usual duties of doing the washing, and garden maintenance, Jack and I have been playing with the mountain of Lego I got him for his birthday. We are discovering just how many sets are there, there are sets that go back to 1978 that we have made so far !!! We now have a fleet of different trucks (newer style sets, so time consuming and huge), and a Firestation, (a huge one again), plus a 1979 Holiday home, and a few other buildings as well. And we haven’t even made a 1/3rd of it yet.

Today I took all the wheels off the car, put it on stands, and checked all the undercarriage out, getting ready for it’s roadworthy inspection, making sure everything is fine. I also pressure washed the underside as well, so now it all looks like a brand new car underneath. There are no leaks at all, this car has never leaked but wanted to make sure, and the brakes are all fine as well, with plenty left on the brake pads. It was a huge task, and I am paying physically for it now, but at least I now know that apart from a windscreen replacement, it is all okay and should pass the roadworthy inspection with ease.

After all of that, Jack and I went for an explore around the place, as Sugarcane harvesting has commenced, and seeing this is the first season we have lived here, I wanted Jack to see what happens. We found a place where a harvester was working, and watched for ages, as it went backwards and forwards across the fields. Jack was amazed, and there were a whole heap of white egrets following the harvester, obviously picking off all the harvester disturbed bugs. After that, we went on the hunt for some Cane Trains, and saw several, a couple were smaller ones, and then we spotted a huge locomotive carting a substantial load, more than 1 km long, to the sugar mill.

It’s all rather exciting, and when you go into town, the smell of the freshly crushed cane, and the smell of the subsequent juice being refined down to sugar, is sweet, literally !!!

Anyhow, time for bed, and hopefully sleep.

Andy.

 

A trip to Tully and back

Monday, the last day of school holidays, saw Mum, Jack and myself get in the car and go out for the day. We took off at around 9am, and got back nearly 8 hours later.

We had an absolutely awesome run to Tull, about 1.5 hours south. Tully is known for having the highest annual rainfall on record in Australia, 7.9 metres of rain (7900mm, or about 311 inches). So, I guess the next thing is, what is there?  Well, here’s a few things.

Jack Tully april 19

This is the Golden Gumboot, complete with it’s Giant Green Tree Frog,  a major draw card for Tully. It is also a lookout, where you can get a good view of the Tully Sugar Mill. Below is the plaque in front of it.

Golden Gumboot Tully

Then, dotted around the main street are these, very decorated rubbish bins………..

Gumboot Bin 2

The red gumboots were Jack’s favourite, I preferred the below one…..

Gumboot Bin Tully 2019

So this is the view from the top of the Golden Gumboot. Tully Sugar Mill, with a diorama in the foreground. It looks like the sugar mill will probably be going full tilt soon, as the sugar cane is nearly ready, and it looks like they have got the place ready to go now.

Tully Sugar Mill

Here are a couple of the little Cane Train Locomotives, Tully 12, and Tully 15. The may be small, but they cart 100’s of tonnes of cane each time they go to the mill.

Tully Sugar Mill with Cane Locos

This is the close up of the diorama, the first image is hauling the cane, in the days before the Locomotives, it was all horse drawn tramways then.

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This is the cane cutters loading the carriage………..

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and finally, the farmer with his dog and horse in the cane fields.

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After we left Tully, we headed on over to Mission Beach. It is a lovely beach, where you can look over the water to Dunk Island, a popular resort. Mission Beach was hit by a pretty nasty cyclone a few years back, and it appears to be struggling to recover. It is pretty run down, when I was there 9 years ago, it was an upmarket holiday destination, now it is a bit overgrown, and needs a real bit of elbow grease. I declined to take any photo’s there, as I was a bit shocked, but below is a common road sign in this area. This is the home of the Southern Cassowary.

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Next, we headed west toward Silkwood, where we had some lunch at the Roadhouse, and then drove up the Valley behind Mission Beach and Innisfail. This takes you to Mena Creek, but before we got there, Jack and I took a dip in a swimming hole I knew about from when I lived here a decade ago. The water was just so nice.

At Mena Creek is Paronella Park. It’s recently been the location of a new Australian movie, don’t ask me the name, not quite sure, but Paronella Park was built by a love struck man, and he wanted to build a castle in the jungle. Below is the main bit you can see from the front, a pretty impressive tower. The site also includes a hydro power station, built by the chap who built the park.

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Below this very wobbly suspension bridge is Mena Creek Falls, and Jack was a bit nervy to be on it, but we just had to get the shot !!!

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After leaving Paronella Park, we drove on up to Innisfail, where we ended the day with these very colourful banana’s in pajamas. Innisfail is a huge sugar cane and banana growing area, it’s also where Jack was conceived all those years ago.

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Well, I hope you enjoyed this little bit of a travel story, it’s nice to have something nice to write about !!!

Andy.

Quality time.

I always try and pass on the things I have learnt, important skills, and other things that might come in handy through life’s journey. Today, Jack and I painted the front of the shed. I taught him the right way, to get the paint even, no drips, nice and neat. And he did a fantastic job. We Also did some more sealing work around the back of the shed, getting it ready to paint as well, and some gardening. He just loved seeing how to do all theses things.

For a reward for his hard work, and bloody great work too, it turned out really good, I took him down to Babinda Boulders for a swim this afternoon. Mum was tired, so it was just me and Jack. We had a good drive down there, and spent about an hour and a half in the icy cool water, and it was so refreshing after sweating our backsides off in the morning.

We stopped in at the local supermarket for a treat after the swim, and then did a bit of back road driving on the way home, checking out some of the side roads on the way back. It was worthwhile, as we think we have found another great swimming hole a lot closer to home !!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I am going to try and get one of the sides of the shed ready to paint, and if lucky, get it painted too. I am trying to get it sorted, especially the sealing it up to stop the leaks bit, because I am going to line the inside with insulation and boards, and turn it into my art studio. I have so wanted a specific space just for painting for so long, and now the opportunity is here. It may not be ready until mid May, as the shed dad is getting built is delayed, yet again, and I can’t do the lining work until his stuff is out of the old shed and in the new one. I can almost see it now, but not quite yet.

I am also looking at some windows, I need to replace the window in the back of the shed with a decent one, as the current one is just a perspex one with plastic frame, and is very crazed and stained, so a bit bigger, glass and aluminium framed one, is really what I want to put in. I have been looking at them at the Recycle Shop, and they are a real good price, but really don’t want to get one just yet until I can virtually just put it straight in, as I don’t want a glass window just sitting around on the off chance that it might get broken before it gets put in. I need a decent window, not only for light, but airflow, it is just a shed, so I need to be able to get it cool enough to sit and work in.

Last night, my one remaining cherry tomato plant was destroyed by the neighbours cats, they snapped it clean off in a fight, and knocked over several pots which have small desert roses in them. Luckily they survived, but unfortunately, the tomato plant is beyond saving. It really sucks, because of the 4 I had growing, 3 succumbed to wet weather and crushing heat early on, it survived, then went really ill as it first flowered, so I did a bit of work on it and managed to resurrect it, carefully cutting it back to help it get strength, and it came back really beautifully, started flowering  again a couple of days ago, and was doing very well, and then the cats snap it off.

I am actually pretty pissed off about it. It is actually illegal for people to leave their cats out at night around here, and our neighbour has three of them that they feed outside, never let inside, and just let them kill everything in sight. I am getting some plants to get rid of them from our yard, apparently they don’t like Coleus plants, so we are going to underplant all the trees around the boundary of our property with them. Plus, we are keeping all the citrus rinds and grating them up to scatter around, as apparently cats hate that too. If it doesn’t work, I will be getting a trap, and if they stray into it, they will be going to the pound. I really don’t like animals that obliterate native wildlife, like cats do, and the fact they are coming in and wrecking the garden irks me as well.

Anyhow, I must get off to bed, it’s late once again, and I really need to get some rest, I have been over doing it for days, and it is really taking it’s toll.

Andy.

 

School Holidays and other adventures

It seems the craziness of life just wants to keep me hurtling forward. No rest for the wicked they say, but surely I haven’t been that wicked.

Nothing ever stops. There just doesn’t seem to be a moment where I am just in a zone of peace and quiet, without a care in the world. There is always something going on.

So, this first week of the school holidays has flown by. I just don’t know where it has gone. It’s just full on crazy. We had plans for 2 outings a week during the holidays, but this week it’s been one. We had a really wonderful day trip to Lake Barrine, which is just up the road on the Atherton Tablelands. It was really quite a remarkable place. It is a crater lake, ie, a lake in the crater of a former volcanic vent. It is surrounded by the most amazing rainforest, full on tropical rainforest, heck, it even rained when we were there, even though it wasn’t forecast. The sounds of the Eastern Whip birds rang through the trees, amazing curtain figs went from high in the sky to the cool, crystal clear waters of the lake below. A multitude of fungi and strangler vines, huge towering giants of the forest reaching to the sky. It was really beautiful. Mum and Jack even spotted some of the very rare musky rat kangaroo, a small rodent sized kangaroo which live in the very specific habitats surrounding these crater lakes.

After a 5 kilometre hike through the rainforest, we headed on to Atherton, and lunch. At Atherton, they have an amazing IGA supermarket, where you can get all sorts of stuff, it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of food. After lunch, we did a bit of Op Shopping, and stopped in at a place called Crystal Cave, a shop which has, you guessed it, lot’s of crystals, as well as a good range of fossils and other geological wares.  On the roof of this place, in the main street of Atherton, is a Triceratops, and on the footpath at the front door is a velociraptor like those in Jurassic Park. So, obviously, the little dinosaur mad nut was in his element. He even got to hold rocks from outer space, thanks to the sales assistant.

The rest of the week has been filled with lots of jobs around the house, and the usual weekly stuff like shopping. It’s seemed like we haven’t stopped, although, apart from the one outing, we have been at home.

Last Saturday, I did a huge job in the back garden, it was the first rain free day for weeks, and so I got out and did a heap of work in the vege garden. I have planted cucumber, radish, lettuce, spring onion, spinach and some sunflower seeds, and all of them, apart from the sunflowers, have sprouted today. Yes, amazingly, everything apart from the flowers wasn’t there yesterday afternoon when I watered them, and this morning, nice neat rows of seedlings are now poking out of the worked over soil, only 1 week later.

A few of the other plantings have been suffering a little due to the prolonged overcast and wet days, but now, for the past week, it has been sunnier, and we are seeing a good recovery in them all. We even had a small harvest of beans in our stir fry tonight from the garden.

One of the grape vines is now fully trained onto the lower trellis wire, as well as the Passionfruit, and the Passionfruit has a couple of nice leaders just about ready to go up to the top wire of the trellis. The citrus plants are going well, and our birds eye chilli bush is producing well, supplying some nice zing in our pasta’s and other cooking. The food production is really starting to happen.

Our little lean to out the back of the shed is being rebuilt, I completely dismantled it, and am now rebuilding it, the main frame is completed, and now all bolted together rather than just screwed, making it more safe in the event of a cyclone. I have one section of roof back on it, and hopefully, all going well tomorrow, the roof will be complete. It is a bit taller than before, as it was so low that I was leaning over every time I was inside it, and 2 of the main beams of the frame were very weak and half rotted, so it really had to be fixed.

I also cleaned up the front of the shed, and have sealed it all up properly to stop it leaking, and hopefully, weather permitting, Jack and I will paint it in the next day or two. We have some old paint from the exterior of the house, and seeing we won’t be using it on the house again, it’s a waste not, want not scenario, so instead of wasting the paint, we will paint the shed, thus making the shed last longer too. Dad also got a big tin of paving paint, as the concrete steps leading up to the shed are not made well, the concrete is fairly fragile, not enough cement was put in the mix, so it is all pressure washed now, and to stop it deteriorating further, it will be protected by the paving paint. There is enough paint for that, as well as under the entertainment area of the verandah, so once that is sorted a bit more, it will get freshened up too.

Well, it’s just ticked over to midnight, so I must get some sleep, and until next time, smile.

Andy.

Calm

I am feeling relaxed and calm as I write. The last bit of the house renovations is just about done, the bench tops are all installed in the kitchen, I did it on Saturday, and today I cut the hole out for the cook top to go in, and put it all in place. We just have to wait for the gas fitter to come and connect the pipework to it, and then the Kitchen will be finished. The whole place has been in chaos since the beginning of the year due to tiling and the kitchen renovation, but now we are getting it all back to normal.

I still have the stress of finding a new doctor, it’s something that I will have to throw myself into this week, as I need a doctor who will help me manage this condition, but it needs to be a doctor who will work with me, not against me. Why are doctors so arrogant? They aren’t Gods, although I think a lot of them think they are. Working with your patient will always yield the best result.

Today I have spent a bit of time in the garden, which I really believe is my happy place. I got a lime and mandarin tree in the garden over the weekend, and have given them a good fertilise today with blood and bone, along with all the other food plants. I also ended up mowing the whole place, I was only going to mow the front yard, because I have been feeling wrecked and in pain, but ended up doing the lot. I was a bit of a mess when I finished, feeling a bit faint and also nauseous, but after sitting on the verandah, having a nice long drink straight from the garden hose (remember doing that as a kid? It is still good!!) and my cursed cigarette (something that I am planning on attempting to ditch again this week), I went inside and had some lunch, before I just couldn’t do any more and after a shower, had a sleep for an hour or so before I picked Jack up from school.

While I was sitting on the verandah trying to recover from the mowing, I watched the birds, some species of which I hadn’t seen in the garden before, and a multitude of of different types of butterflies, swoop in and out of the trees doing the most magnificent ballet routine I have ever watched. I also saw different types of skink lizard run around through the rocks and crevices, one type was rather large and had a brilliant red area running down from it’s head to it’s front shoulder. Last night, we even had a lovely little tree frog next to the front door, climbing the wall to get near the light for the bounty of bugs it was attracting. The Geckos are also making their presence known, one just cheerfully chirped just out my bedroom window. There are lots of little baby geckos around right now, and they are awesome little bug eaters, they stop a lot of the insects from making their way into the house, and we have no spider problems around the house itself.

I still have a few more tasks I want to sort out as a matter of urgency, like sorting all my tools out, because I have been the home handyman, I have been constantly doing stuff in the house, and the Granny flat where dad lives, and usually, when I am finished a job, I am too worn out to put the stuff away properly. So it’s all a bit of a mess, but now the big jobs are done, i am going to sort it all. Hopefully tomorrow, if I eel well enough to do it, or, more to the point, if I can push myself through the constant pain and fatigue to do it. I normally do, even though most of the time it is a struggle.

Well I might leave it here for now, I am barely awake, and the pain is pretty high, so I need to lay down, and hopefully, get a bit of sleep.

Andy.

Weirdness

I haven’t been bombarding the airwaves for the past couple of days, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of days. Last week ended as it does, on a Friday, hahahaha, yes I know I’m funny, well dad joke style, and then on Saturday we had a day off. Well, sort of.

I managed to sleep in a bit, although 8 to 8.30 am is about the best I can do these days, even though I still wake like a zombie, and feeling like I need 3 years sleep. It’s just the way it is all the time now. We had breakfast, Jack actually made himself an omelette all by himself, with a little guidance from Mum, and he was really chuffed. I had a bowl of my usual cereal, one of those full of grain things with dried cranberries and tropical fruits. I don’t always eat breakfast now, like I never did before, but because I was trying to set an example for Jack, I started again for a while. I just don’t seem to feel like eating until around 10am, and if I don’t eat until then, I lose weight.

After breakfast, we headed down to Babinda Boulders, a really neat swimming hole, on Babinda Creek, a few kilometres from the little town of Babinda. I had been there before, and funnily enough, so had Jack, although in his mothers womb at the time, it was one of the places we went when she was suffering from the pregnancy. The swimming hole is at the joining of Babinda Creek with a small side branch waterway, and the water is mountain cold, and crystal clear. It is surrounded by rainforest, the bed of the waterhole being course sand and smooth rocks with no silt, so really nice on the feet. Green Birdwing and Ulysses Blue Butterflies float around without a care in the world. Mum came too, and she has fallen in love with the place as much as I have been, since the first time I went there over 9 years ago.

After about an hour of just floating around in the beautioful cool water, we got out and changed, and then went back into Babinda for a little walk around to see what was about, before we headed up to Belenden Ker Cafe, a non-descript little cafe in a 2 storey house next to the highway. We had heard about the amazing pies they make, so after finally finding it (it just has a sandwich board sign out the front advertising coffee and cake, with no other signage to even indicate it is even a business), we stopped in for lunch. All the talk about the pies was spot on. They were the best I have had for years.

After that, we took a drive down a side road, to Behana Gorge, just to see where the road went. It is not far from home, so it will certainly be another adventure soon. Apparently there is a waterfall there, although you need to walk to it. Then, we decided that going home was not an option just yet, so we headed out to Yarrabah, Mum hadn’t been out there yet, and took in the wonderful paradise once again that is this beautiful Aboriginal Community. After that, we were thoroughly tired, so a slap together meal was all we could manage to make and eat, before drifting off to sleep.

Sunday, we were out again, this time earlier, as we had heard about another fruit and vege market that is in Cairns city, Rusty’s Market. We hadn’t been in before, but after our Sunday morning visit, we have unanimously decided it will be where any fruit and veges we need will come from. It is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is great as we need to buy fruit and veges weekly. As our vege garden gets into production, we won’t need so much from the shops, but we will not be growing everything, we just don’t have the space, so we will still need to go there.

The rest of Sunday was a blur, even though it was only yesterday, I can’t remember much else we did, I was suffering pretty badly with fibromyalgia, so that is probably why I don’t remember. Getting to sleep was an ordeal last night too.

Today my body has been a rollercoaster ride, Jack has been back to school, and I just pushed on, mulching the vege plants, doing a bit of weeding, some cleaning, fixing some of Mums furniture that got broken by the removalists, and what ever else happened. Yes, today was bit like yesterday as well.

I started this post with the title, weirdness, and this is the part where I explain it. With everything that’s been happening, and the fact that since just after Christmas the main living areas of the house have been some form of construction zone, I have not felt settled.

Right now, we don’t have a functional kitchen, it’s nearly there, but we are having to use the laundry tub as our kitchen sink, and the BBQ, which fortunately has a gas ring burner as well, is our stove and everything else. The great big 8 seater table I made years ago is inside, currently being used as our kitchen bench. It really is too big to use as a kitchen table inside, that is why, up until the kitchen benches were removed last week, it was outside. It will go back out there once the bench tops are ready to pick up and I’ve installed them. Thankfully all the tiling is now finished and we have our house a little more normal. But it’s not quite there yet.

When I came up the street on Saturday after our day out, and saw the house, I had this sudden feeling that I wasn’t coming home just yet. It doesn’t quite feel like home. I am not sure what it is, I put it down to the fact that things haven’t settled down yet because of the renovations, but yeah, I don’t know, it’s just not quite home yet. How long does it take for a new place to feel like home?

I spoke to Mum about it today, and she agreed, she feels the same way. That is just how things go. As we make more of our own mark on the place, as the gardens get fuller, and everything settles down, it will feel more like home. I get these feelings sometimes, at absolutely random moments in time, that I almost have to pinch myself that we are actually living here now. Only last Friday, when I was stopped at the traffic lights on the way to pick up Jack from school, this wave of disbelief that we are really here rolled over me. It’s just so random when it happens, but so unreal. I guess once life returns to normal routine again, it will be alright.

Thursday, I will be seeing a new doctor, for the first time here. I am getting low on medications I need to stay mainly okay, and don’t want to run out. I have been procrastinating over it, but now with only about 8 days worth of Tramadol left, I really need to just get on with it. I really hope the new doctor is as good as my old one. I will find out on Thursday I guess.

Anyhow, I should get myself off to bed, I need sleep as always, and I have to be up early for the usual school day stuff. Goodnight.

Andy.