Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm a Little Doll

Living back in a small community has its hazards. One of the them is getting roped into things you would never do under normal circumstances. This video demonstrates my point exactly. Those are my friends E and B and I am in the middle.

It was done for a good cause. The Balgal Beach Seniors group (of which I am NOT a member) decided to take part in Australia's Biggest Morning Tea to raise funds for Cancer Council Australia. We were a hit, mainly because Balgal Beach people are very easily pleased such lovely encouraging people. We had already performed our little number at last year's Seniors Behaving Badly concert and we were requested to do it again because they like to see us embarrassing ourselves enjoyed it so much.

I think twice is more than enough, don't you?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Down by the banks...

A couple of days ago we went back to the river, armed with my camera, to see if we could catch another glimpse of our crocodile. We saw him therefore we have a proprietorial interest him. But we didn't see him or any of his relatives this time. The photo below is near where we saw him the other day. He was about two metres out from the bank. It just looks like it would be good for lurking crocodiles, doesn't it?

In spite of a serious lack of crocodiles in the river, we did see abundant wildlife like this beautiful fellow. I never know whether to call them egrets or herons, so feel free to teach me.

 Next photo, not exactly wildlife - just a little enigmatic. Deliberate or accidental? Funny things happen in cyclones, so you never know.

At least three groups of mamma ducks and ducklings were out and about. I think this little lady had the largest brood. Poor mamma duck.

I saved my favourite until last. It is not a great photo and it is not even cute. Can you see what they are? No, not E.T. and friend, but close. These two turtles were so in love they kept popping up and kissing each other.  At one point they were about to take their relationship a bit further when someone cycled over the footbridge above their heads and it put them off.

Life's like that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wild life.

 Soon we will be going back to beach-side living.  Our choice. We missed the natural environment - wild life and beach walks in particular. Now we we have less than two weeks left before we move, and what happens? Wild life. Last night and today it was this fellow - a tawny frogmouth owl - who didn't seem the least bit phased by Mr Sunshine walking up to his fence with the bins or me getting up close with my camera.
 The second picture is a sleepy-eyed daytime photo. I think he was being hassled by some feral mynah birds. I hope he makes them pay when he is out hunting tonight. He is gorgeous, but today while we were out for a walk along the riverbank (not something that we have had many opportunities to do unfortunately) we saw something even more exciting.

For the first time, after nearly 30 years in Townsville, I spotted a crocodile in the river. To be honest, I thought at first that I had spotted a log looking very like a croc. I had just said to Mr Sunshine that it would make my day to see a croc, when, almost immediately I spotted the eyes and nostrils protruding from the water. I couldn't believe my luck - really couldn't believe it. So I walked closer to the riverbank to be sure, thinking Mr Sunshine's skepticism will be correct as usual. We got within a few metres when the croc smoothly and quickly submerged and took off. It was one of those jaw-dropping, stop-breathing, pupil-dilating moments. It did make my day!

If you are wondering about the state of my survival instinct because I walked to the riverbank near a crocodile, I have to confess, he was a freshwater crocodile. They are much smaller and more timid than their big saltwater cousins. The distance between his nostril and his eyes was about 30 cm if you want Mr Sunshine's estimate, or 40 cm if you trust me. He was probably less than 2 m long from nose to tail tip.

 I hope I get to blog about a saltwater croc one of these days, but I won't be standing on the edge of the riverbank to get a close-up photo for anyone.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eccentric Old Lady

I might be the eccentric old lady. You can be the judge.

A couple of years ago one of the wings broke off my favourite old reading glasses. I haven't replaced them because they still work and they still stay in place, sort of - just like in the first photo. Some of my friends thought that that was a little eccentric. But now things have become a little more weird. I am wearing an eye patch around at home. Eye patches are not exactly comfortable, so I 'wear' a handkerchief under the eye patch to stop it rubbing or pressing on the sensitive eye area. I still need to wear my reading glasses for reading and computer work, thus I invented the new sophisticated style in the second photo. The really amazing thing is that Mr Sunshine has refrained from putting a bag over my head making any jokes about my new look.

Why am I wearing an eye patch? Well might you ask...

The eye surgery I had a couple of weeks ago to reroute my left eye's tear duct had a rare complication (fat where there shouldn't have been any fat). Consequently the operation took an extra hour and I have had a lot of swelling and continual double vision. The swelling is going down slowly, but the double vision (if it is going away at all) is much slower. How rare was my fat eye? My ophthalmologist is at least ten years older than me and he had never seen anything like it in his life. That seems pretty rare.

The photos below show my progress at two days post op, four days post op, thirteen days post op and what I (now) normally look like with my eye patch. I cannot not wear an eye patch because the double vision makes me feel very sea sick in about thirty seconds flat. When I go out, I wear my sunglasses with a piece of card covering up the inside of the left lens so that I'm not mistaken for a pirate. I'm not that eccentric yet.

I now have even more admiration for anyone coping with a vision defect than I had previously. How people with only one good eye drive without having accidents, I am mystified if I know. I am not getting behind the wheel of a car until I (hopefully) have two good eyes again.

Another positive is that my ophthalmologist doesn't charge for post op visits and so far I have had two, and have another booked for next week, and there will be more.

Don't read the next bit if you are squeamish.For those who are wondering what the surgery entailed - it involved an incision of about 3 cm between my left eye and nose and cutting a passage through the bony bits into my left nostril. If you look up external dacrycryorhinostomy (or DCR) on Youtube you will be even more edified.

For now, I try not to scare the grandchildren too much (or any children for that matter). 

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tornado or not tornado...

Not prize-winning photos I'm afraid folks, but they do convey the damage. They were taken with my iPhone through the window as we were advised that it wasn't safe to enter the building. It doesn't look too bad from the front - apart from the wires hanging down, the sign in pieces and the tiles balancing precariously.

Now you can see the Real Estate's sign also crumpled on the ground. The Real Estate is the bright orange front of the building which stood out in some of the news footage of the destruction. At the top of the building, you can see the roof has peeled back. That  is the bit that didn't blow away. Most of the roof is lying on the ground on the other side of the building.

The next photo is inside, looking towards the rear of the store. It could look worse, but it probably doesn't matter because most of the books and CD's that you can see will have water damage to some extent. The carpet is totally drenched as you can tell from the water marks on the floor. The glarey bit at the top of the photo is the sky where part of the ceiling used to be. It is now a water feature dripping down on the stock below. No doubt, at the height of the storm, it would have been like a washing machine inside the store. The absent bit of ceiling can be seen leaning against the CD rack on the left.

This one is inside towards the front. Another large gaping hole can be seen and again rain is dripping down on the display below. More debris litters the floor. Sadly they were all geared up for a big sale that was to start today.

Out on the footpath was a power pole snapped off at ground level with wires all over the place. Townsville's (possible) first tornado ever.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Sunbirds are one of our favourite birds in North Queensland. They are small in size, but big on character. Because of their size, they are easy prey for the carnivores of the avian world. To overcome this vulnerability they often build their nests very close to humans. When she lived in Mackay, one of my sisters had a sunbird nest built at head height, directly over her washing machine. It made washing day a little awkward, but the nestlings were assured of their safety and security from most predators.

In spite of their size they are very brave little fellows. This was proven this morning when frantic chattering and chirping made me investigate the cause of the disturbance.

This was one of the chirpers, swinging back and forth on a coat hanger as she vented her spleen (do birds have spleens?) in the direction of the fence. Can you see what she is so angry about? Hint: it's lurking on the top of the palings.

Before you folk with ophidiophobia (my new word for today - it means snake phobia, but you knew that) freak out, here is a close-up. Yes it is a bamboo snake. The sunbirds are intelligent little guys, but not intelligent enough to recognise that my snake is not real. The unreal snake has been very successful in doing what I hoped it would do. That is frightening off the feral, Indian Myna birds that poo on my washing and take over the environment from the native birds. 

I had to go out and remove the snake for the sake of the sunbird family. They would have worn themselves out with their distress and their chirping. So now the snake is on my kitchen sink. I am not an ophidiophobe. If it was a pretend spider, that would be a different thing.

Here is the reason for the sunbirds' consternation. I know she looks like a full grown sunbird and in physical size she is the same as her parents, but she was definitely not a fully fledged adult.  Her colours don't quite match the adults' colours. Only adult males have the iridescent blue bib. Females are entirely yellow underneath. Both parents have darker wing  and tail feathers. She sat on a branch a safe distance away while her parents courageously saw the snake off the premises. At first I thought she was another adult female until she wobbled a bit on her branch and nervously tried to steady herself. Then I saw she was wearing 'L' plates. Not really, but she was the bird equivalent of a teenage learner driver.

When I think of courageous mothers defending their young, I don't think of lions or any of the big animals who have size on their side. For courageous mothers, and fathers too by the way, you can't beat birds.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Holidays are over

Now that we are after-hours caretakers of a charitable home we don't have a lot of time to get away together - especially not if we want to be away for more than a couple of hours. Usually Mr Sunshine has to teach on weekdays and I have commitments to grandchildren and a Bible Study group. So while schools were on Christmas holiday break we took the opportunity to get out during the day when we could.

In early January we had a relaxing day trip to Tully with Cheetah. Tully is the rainfall capital of Australia, although there have been times when (shock, horror) they have been accused of topping up their official rain gauge in order to maintain that reputation. Obviously having the highest rainfall is a great source of community pride - even more important than maintaining your communal meteorological integrity. Things have settled down these days and it's all water under the bridge.

So proud are they of their achievements in the race to the top of the precipitation stakes that they built a giant gum boot with a spiral staircase inside. That is Mr Sunshine looking out from the top of the boot and Cheetah sitting on the foot. The sign inside the boot tells you all of the important data about Tully's rainfall.

From the top of the boot you get an excellent view of the Tully Sugar Mill. Sugar cane, banana, paw paw and pineapple farms blanket the landscape from Rollingstone to the Daintree, but sugar cane dominates. Unfortunately sugar cane is also responsible for a  dark stain on Queensland's history when Pacific Islanders were tricked into leaving their islands and  forced into virtual slavery on many farms.

An unexpected delight of the day was the colony of woven bird nests near the giant gum boot. I have since found out that they are Metallic Starlings (also called Shining Starlings). Apparently their colonies can grow so large and heavy that they bring down tree branches and as the nests lay crushed and scattered on the ground the goannas, bandicoots, rats and snakes clean up the mess of injured birds and nestlings. Note to self: this idea could be sold to the creators of Angry Birds.

On the way home we saw a sign to Murray Falls which neither of us had ever heard of so we rounded out the day by taking a 20 kilometer detour that was well worth the effort. Apart from the main falls, there is a series of rapids and pools that turbulate like a washing machine. Here I have to apologise for not having a better photo, but we were under attack while trying to enjoy the spectacular scenery. March flies the size of baby elephants bit us and tormented us until we gave up and left.

Note to self: never, ever go bush without insect repellent!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ladybug Days

Juliet is working on a couple of days a week. Actually, as mum of 1 year old Ladybug, she is working 7 days a week. That is what mums do. But Juliet has a job that she gets paid for as well which is a bonus, except that I'm sure she misses little Ladybug while she is away at work and Ladybug misses her too. On the day that I have her we do our best to keep Ladybug busy and entertained, but it's not hard because she is a very good Ladybug.

A couple of weeks ago Ladybug borrowed our boss's toy clown called Buttons. Buttons did very well playing with Ladybug and making sure she was happy.

This week we decided to go to the McTavish home while they were away on holidays and play with the cousins toys and not just the toys. Like all little girls, Ladybug likes shoes, but she is not a slave to fashion. She really liked spending the day in Monkey's joggers and socks even though she had two pairs of shoes of her own in her bag.

Aunty MMcT's childproof cupboard doors were another source of fun. Apparently rattling them very fast makes a great noise.

Best of all there was the boys' bunk beds. They have a camo net around the bottom bunk which is fun to hide behind and say, "Heyooohhhh", in a singsong voice over and over and Lion has a huge toy Lion that you can snuggle up to and pretend to go to sleep.

Even better than "best of all" is the top bunk. Up there you can be taller than everyone, especially Grannysaurus.  It's so high that Ladybug could almost touch the stars on the ceiling.

You can feel very brave being soooo high up even if it is a tiny bit scary.

Granny's tunes

Mr. Sunshine & Grannysaurus

Mr. Sunshine & Grannysaurus


About Me

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Townsville, Queensland, Australia
I have worked as a Biology lab assistant, Pathology lab assistant, geochem lab assistant, land tenure researcher, hospital and prison chaplain, parish care coordinator and part owner of a small business. I have studied some science (no degrees) and have a theology and a chaplaincy certificate. I still love science of all types and enjoy studying theology. Science and theology belong together. At present I am a work-at-home Grannysaurus.

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