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.

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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.

Time

I have been so dark and stormy, sort of like the weather outside tonight, for the past few months. It’s not normally me, but with everything that has been going on, I don’t think you could expect anything less from someone going through all that crap.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have put a circuit breaker in a lot of the crap, firstly, we got the go ahead to put the house back on the market, so we did (with no real estate agents this time), Facebook Marketplace actually, and within about 16 hours, we had 3 people come and look at the place, hectic, but we actually had an offer made by the end of the day. An offer that we accepted. Tuesday we should see the contract signed, deposit paid, and everything back on track. We have even made arrangements with the owner of the place we were going to buy to buy it again, and thankfully, that too is steaming ahead. Hopefully it isn’t a repeat of the Titanic this time.

After my little (read BIG) explosion at my father, things settled down, and so far, things are holding steady. He has been a reasonable human being for the most part now for 3 weeks, which is a record by a long stretch.

During the past fortnight, we, meaning Mum, Jack myself went for a 5 day sojourn to Melbourne, it ended up being a bit  busier than I think we had anticipated, the time flew, but we spent some great time with my Aunt and brother. My only real plan for the 5 days was a trip to the Point Cook RAAF Museum, and a possible Op Shopping day, which accomplished, but my brother also insisted on us all going Ten Pin Bowling, and seeing a movie (the new Johnny English one) on one day, and my Aunt insisted on us going to the Werribee Open Plains Zoo, which by the way, was absolutely brilliant, far, far better than I had expected.

I am currently very drained however. I am still taking Valium to sleep at night, I did do a couple of nights without, but have needed them again. I am excited by the prospect that this time the sale and move will go through, but am containing that excitement, deliberately trying to avoid another disappointment. I couldn’t take what happened happening again, I’d end up going into a complete breakdown. It’s hard to keep your shit together when you are prone to depression, that’s what the Valium is doing, helping me keep my shit together.

Tomorrow sees Jack back to school for another school term, so this afternoon has been a flurry of making sure bags are ready, shoes are polished, and I even managed to fit in cutting his hair, yes, a single parent has to be a jack of all trades. Apart from his first ever hair cut by a hairdresser (which to be honest, was woeful), I have been cutting his hair ever since, and seeing the mum’s of the kids at the school want to know who cuts Jack’s hair because they want their kids done by them, then I must do a good job (I always say to the mum’s that it was “somewhere in the next town, can’t remember what they are called”, I don’t want to be a hairdresser for everyone else’s kids!!).

Anyway, I am pretty tired, but just wanted touch base so you didn’t think I’d fallen off the face of the planet.

Goodnight.

Andy.

Far from perfect, but not boring

Well, that’s life, never perfect, but I will tell you, it never seems boring around here lately.

We’ve had 2 potential buyers for the property have a look this week, both have been very keen, and today’s apparently has the money, according to the real estate agent. It’s been a busy week, I have felt like crap for well over a week, and just when I thought I’d get a chance for a rest, we get a phone call for the first looker on Monday morning. 15 minutes later, the real estate agent calls for another, so 2 in a week, no rest, and lot’s and lot’s of cleaning and trying to keep it that way. Fingers, toes, and everything crossed, one of these 2 buy and let us know before the week is out.

We are halfway through winter, 6 weeks too long for us. We are going to be moving to a much warmer climate when the house sells, we even have the house chosen, but can’t buy it until this one is sold. We would be only 200 metres from a school, which is better than 5 kilometres, which is basically what it is right now.

The school holidays haven’t been so much fun for Jack this week, given we’ve been cleaning, and he hasn’t been able to do anything which would make a mess, which for a kid, is anything they want to do. He’s been really good, and this afternoon he has played with his Lego for the first time in about 4 days. I think he was quite happy to finally get a toy out and play.

The weather has been appalling, wet, freezing cold, and windy, I spent a bit of time outside in it over the weekend, as we moved some stuff we have had in storage in town, 20km away, up to the property, as we now own a 20ft shipping container, the vessel that will take all our worldly possessions to the new place. I am starting to feel the effects of having spent too much time out in the weather, I have a slight sore throat, and this afternoon, the fatigue came over even more strongly than normal. I hope I am wrong, but I think I may be facing my first cold for the year. When it’s all said and done though, last year I reckon I had had a cold or flu about 3 times by the same time in the year. The year before, we were sick again as soon as we got over the previous one.

Today, after getting the house ready for the inspection, we headed down to town while the people had a look at the place, had lunch at Subway, did a little shopping, and then came home and have done not much else since. Dad managed to sell the overly big leather lounge today, so we assembled the 2 armchairs that we got to replace it with, there was no point putting them together until the couch was gone, as there would have been no room. Now the lounge room looks huge. At least now, as much as I love cuddling my son, I won’t have a small person draped all over me every time I want to sit down and relax. One of the things about fibromyalgia, which is a curse, is sometimes even just someone touching you leaves you in agony.

I am very much hoping that one of these 2 people buy the place, and soon, because another effect that sensitive to the touch stuff does is that it makes wearing long trousers painful, which is a tad inconvenient when it is freezing cold and you can’t not wear long trousers. Bring on a warm climate where shorts are all that you need to wear.

I am under no illusions that there won’t be an adjustment period when we finally move back to warmer climes. I lived most of my life in the tropics before coming to live in this freezing hell hole, but after 8 years living in the cold, I am sure the first summer up north will be a shock to the system.

Anyhow, time for me to go, I must sleep, and everyone else, apart from Jack, is asleep now, so I guess we better get there too. Goodnight.

Andy

Successful day, considering….

Today we, Jack and myself, headed off to Hamilton early, with the main aim of hitting the Op Shops, and then getting back home for lunch. It’s about an hour each way, and 5 Op Shops. We hit all of them, and had a successful trip.

I ended up with a brand new blood pressure machine (like, still in the box and the plastic still wrapped around the box), which set me back $10, and also 2 matching doona’s for our beds. They cost $11 all up. Jack got some toys, and we dropped into a discount variety store called Trevs, where I picked up some ankle supports and another wrist support, and another compartmentalised container for Lego. We have too much Lego (no, not true, you can never have too much Lego !!).

So after all that, we got home at 12.45, just in time for a lovely Silverside and salad sandwich each, and I had a side of Caesar Salad as well. This afternoon has been occupied with washing the new doona covers, sorting out a bit more stuff, and just generally mucking about with Jack.

It’s been very cold and wet, with a side dish of very windy today. On the way to Hamilton, we had drizzle all the way, but during our wanderings around, it didn’t rain at all. I like to park the car centrally to where we want to go and walk around, we must have done about 2 or 3 km’s of walking, with not a single drop of rain. Our trip home was dry until about 2 minutes from home, but the wind had picked up, so we were continually buffeted side on by 50 to 60km/hr wind gusts, at times it was fun keeping the car on the road.

Tonight, as I type, Jack is watching a movie, we have the bedroom light off, and outside there is the occasional flicker of lightning off to the south west. Funnily though, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, stars to be seen all around. Tonight the weather is supposed to go pretty nasty though, we currently have a weather warning for damaging winds in place.

So, the considering part in the title of this post is because of my now 4 nights in a row of really, really bad sleep. It’s been horrendous, to be honest. Tonight I have done everything. I have had a huge soak in a hot bath, taken every pill I am allowed, my wrists and ankle are strapped up (they have been a major problem with actually getting to sleep), i haven’t had a coffee after dinner, and………..well there is other stuff I have done to try and maximise my chances of a decent sleep tonight, only time will tell if it will be a success.

When we have dramatic shifts in weather, like the past 4 or 5 days, where the barometric pressure dramatically rises and falls in a matter of hours, I seem to have a bad flare up of the fibromyalgia. It’s interesting, I was actually watching a quiz show last night, and the answer to one of the questions was what divers suffer from if they come up too quickly, The Bends. It got me thinking, that hey, nobody is quite sure what causes Fibromyalgia, but could it be that the muscle pain and joint pain intensifying with dramatic shifts in atmospheric pressure works by a similar mechanism to what happens with The Bends ? It’s just a thought. I guess when you suffer from something like this, you try and come up with an answer yourself, when nobody else seems to have the answer. Who know’s, maybe the crazy ideas like this may actually lead to an answer. I have always thought that if you want to see the solution to a problem, look outside the box.

Well, I might leave this for now, I need to be up and out of the place before the shipping container arrives tomorrow, it’s due between 9 and 10, so I need to hopefully get some sleep before then. Goodnight.

Andy.

School Holidays

Today is the middle of the first week of the school holidays, not sure how it’s gone so fast, but it has. It always seems to be the way.

Yesterday, we went off to see the latest installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom. It was what I expected, enjoyable, and Jack obviously, due to now having been a dinosaur nut for at least 5 years, loved it. He really likes the Velociraptor “Blue”.  I guess it’s easy to have a soft spot for Blue too.

Apart from heading down to Warrnambool to see the movie, we went and had lunch at Subway, did a bit of shopping, I got myself a new rugby top, and we got a bunch of DVD’s as well, ranging from the original “Wizard of Oz” to “Pacific Rim”. I had planned on making the most of the specials at Sanity, but after spending 30 minutes trawling through the DVD’s and Bluray discs, there really wasn’t much special about it. We instead went to our trusty source of movies in Warrnambool, a secondhand bookshop, and scored big. Ended up with 10 movies for $40.

I am one of those rare men that enjoys shopping. I’d enjoy it more if I had more money to spend, but all the same, half the fun is trying to find the best deal for the least amount.

Today we had a few things on, mainly to go to the dentist for Jack’s final visit, and I was supposed to go to another appointment, but that was canned as they rang me instead, we discussed what we needed to, and that was that. I went and checked on the time for another appointment I had for the end of the week, I had forgot what time it was for, I mean, the appointment was made 4 weeks ago, so a lot can vanish from my mind in that time !!! As it turned out, the appointment had to be shifted to early next week anyhow, as the other party has had something unexpected come up and is now no longer available on Friday. Just as well I popped in today !!!

As for the rest of the past few days, since the school holidays began, I can’t really remember what we have done, it’s all been a bit of a blur. I have been suffering a bit with the fibromyalgia, so that certainly stuffs the memory around.

I’m still up now, at 11.30pm, because of the fibromyalgia. I am in a fair bit of pain, and nothing is settling it down much, but worst of all I have a bad bout of IBS. I just had to duck out to the loo for the second time since starting to write this. It is horrible. And to make matters worse, Cottonelle Kleenex brand toilet paper is NOT soft, regardless of what people think. I’d rather my cheaper, usual toilet paper any day.

It’s amazing how this blog goes from one thing to another extreme so quickly, but that is me. I tend to get side tracked, I’ll be talking about something, it leads to something else, and then eventually I get back to what I started off with !!!

For the rest of the school holidays, we don’t have solid plans, we will be going and doing something outdoorsy, but this time of the year you just can’t plan that too heavily. For instance, the next 3 days are supposed to be very, very wet, very, very windy, and very, very cold. Not the ideal outdoorsy weather. I think on Friday, we might go for a little run up to Hamilton, and check out the Op Shops up there, it’s been a while since we have, and Jack just about jumps out of his skin with excitement if I mention the words “Op Shop”. Just as much as he does if I mention “Garage Sale” !!!

He has bagged some amazing bargains in his short life. He scored “What Bird is that?” a book that is easily worth $100 secondhand, at a Garage Sale for $5. He found about $400 worth of genuine Lego at an Op Shop for $40. And that doesn’t include the huge collection of AFX Aurora slot car stuff he has amassed, currently he has at least 3 sets (it’s all together as one lot though), with about 12 cars, and everything needed, which even on the secondhand market is worth about $500, and all up it’s cost about $30. He really has a keen eye for things.

So apart from some possible Op Shopping, I am thinking of a day trip up to The Grampians, we have been up there a few times, it’s a favourite spot, but we haven’t been for a while. This time of the year is best, because the waterfalls are….waterfalling, and there is also the possibility of snow. We will wait and see if that trip eventuates, but I sure hope we get the chance.

Anyhow, it seems my insides have settled down now, so if I can overcome the pain with sleep, I am going to give it a go.

Goodnight all, and see you next time.

Andy.

Growth Spurt

Since the beginning of the year, Jack has grown about 3 inches (around 7.5cm), and as such has been growing out of clothes at a rapid rate. He has pretty much skipped size 7 clothes, and was only very briefly in size 6, and now is firmly in the size 8 category.  it’s just incredible how quickly a kid can grow !!

So today, I have had to go and get some new long sleeve t-shirts for him, as all the rest he had were size 6, and we’ve been getting by between school clothes, which thankfully I bought size 8’s, and a whole bunch of size 8 flannelette tops I got on a shopping trip to Melbourne at Easter. I also managed to get a few pairs of jeans down in Melbourne on that trip as well, but have just added 5 pairs of smaller ones to the pile of clothes going to the Op Shop.

I’m starting to look at what I need for Summer, even though we are in the middle of Winter right now, as if he continues to grow at this rate, he won’t have any shorts when the warm weather gets here. Then it will be short sleeve shirts too………..

As I am on a limited income, it takes a bit of planning to make sure I don’t get caught short with his clothes, I have managed to stay ahead of the game up to now, but this rapid growth may end up getting ahead of me.

Tonight we are having a late one, tomorrow he won’t be at school because of the dentist visit, on Friday he will be back at school, which is the last of the term, then it’s the 2 week school Winter Holidays. I look forward to the holidays, I enjoy having him around, and it also means I don’t need to be awake before the sun to get him ready and off to school !!!