Togetherness, termites, tractors, temporary tenants and a farewell feast

What a great time we had on our short visit to Australia! We did lots of socialising – catching up with family and friends for wonderful lunches and dinners plus some excellent meals out, going on walks and having coffee dates together and attending book club meetings.

Our grandbirdie Gidget trying to extract honey – usually it comes from a spoon!

A big thank you to everyone for hosting us – we promise to have all of you back to “the doll’s house” (our small town house) when we come back for a longer visit at Christmas.

Bird life of another kind – a beautiful owl we encountered on the road one evening

Between the aftermath of the floods and most of an entire household catching Covid, we didn’t get to see enough of our extended family although we did have a fantastic family picnic day at Ben and Sarah’s new property.

Family picnic day!
We had plenty of camping chairs
to sit on for lunch

Despite there being very little furniture in the new house, as Ben and Sarah were yet to move in properly, we had a lovely shared meal there and later went down to the nearest creek on their property, just a short walk/drive from the house.

Down by the creek
The children loved paddling

There was much splashing and swimming on the part of the children and the dogs but the highlight of the afternoon for the bigger kids was to tumble into the back of Ben’s 4WD to drive back to the house.

We found a water hole which was deep
enough to swim in
Enjoying watching all the splashing
and swimming
The dogs had a great time too
A stick and water – the best combination!
Driving back to the house in the
back of the 4WD

Or maybe the absolute highlight was to be allowed to sit on Ben and Sarah’s tractor and toot the horn endlessly until it “ran out of battery”?!

Sitting on the tractor was a bit of a hit

Just before we arrived in Brisbane we had heard from the agents who were overseeing the rental of our townhouse that termite activity had been found when the tenants moved out.

Inspecting some of the damage

So we had to organise termite treatment and repairs to the affected areas. There was also a big mess left in the garage wall and ceiling (and we later found, the floor upstairs in one of the bedrooms) created by an unreported leaky shower.

We had to organise termite treatment and repairs to the affected areas
There was also a big mess created by an unreported leaky shower

In the meantime, our nephew’s family had been made homeless as their apartment was badly flooded so we offered them the townhouse while they sorted themselves out. Fortunately, they were able to stay with his parents (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law) for a few weeks and then house sit while his parents were away travelling. However, they asked whether their friends who had also been made temporarily homeless, could “camp” in the townhouse for a few weeks, which they did.

As the required repairs were quite extensive it meant some repainting would be needed so we decided to have the whole house done while we were at it. New flooring was also needed downstairs as the old marble floor had some big ugly cracks and stains. So we were busy organising trades people towards the end of our visit.

The floor was stained and had a
massive crack in it

We also decided to pull our remaining possessions out of storage and use our garage to keep them safe.

Why pay for storage when you have a garage?
The removal van arrives to unload
our scant possessions
It all fitted in very nicely
Taking a few bits up to Ben and
Sarah’s new place

In the days leading up to our return to Europe it poured with rain again and we were anxious that there might be more flooding to come. The creeks near Ben and Sarah’s new place did in fact rise but we were still able to get in and out of the property for the remainder of our stay.

It poured with rain again
The causeway was covered but passable
Just before the driveway was pretty soggy!
The sun came out again and all was well
The doggies taking me for a walk
One of the glorious views from
Ben and Sarah’s new place

Although we didn’t spend a night up there, we visited most days and tried to help them with the various jobs they were tackling such as cleaning up the garden around the house, filling holes in the walls left from picture hooks, then touching up the paint and organising food for Ben and Sarah and their friends who amongst other things, helped them with fencing for the duck/dog run.

Working bee to construct an enclosure
for the duckies
And the gate is installed!
Starting to look good!
The completed enclosure
A well deserved drink and paddle at the creek after all the hard work
Another day, another job, cleaning the big shed

The day before we left for the Netherlands Ben and Sarah took delivery of their brand new ride on mower (more of a mini tractor really!) – one well up to the task of keeping their many acres of grass under control.

Mine, all mine! says Sarah who loves mowing!
Newly mowed paddock at the back of the house
Another newly mowed paddock on
the other side!

On our last evening I was thrilled to see the sweet little wallabies munching on the grass at the back of Ben and Sarah’s “old” house. I had only seen them once before at their place – the day we finally got through after the floods had prevented us from doing so for four days. It seemed like a good omen and a really lovely memory of their beautiful home. Next time we visit Australia the place will be well and truly sold.

The backyard at Ben and Sarah’s old house looking glorious
What a fabulous colour!
Two little wallabies come to say “goodbye”
What a lovely memory to leave Brisbane with

That evening Ben and Sarah took us for a really excellent and enjoyable meal at Persone Italian restaurant at 81, North Quay – a brand new building since we were last in Brisbane.

The restaurant had gorgeous views of the Brisbane River and the city skyline and the food and service were both excellent. What a great way to end our flying visit to Australia!

Such a fabulous farewell feast!
Mucking around with Easter Bunnies

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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