Our first few weeks in Brisbane, Australia have been a delightful combination of enjoying the peace and beauty of Ben and Sarah’s (our son and daughter-in-law’s) glorious 100 acre property on the fringes of Brisbane, unpacking storage boxes in our townhouse and catching up with family and friends.
It has been so special spending precious time with our Australian tribe and particularly with Ben and Sarah and our granddoggies and grand ducks in their new home.
We have so appreciated the opportunity to totally unwind from the busy-ness of getting our boat ready for her winter’s rest and to explore Ben and Sarah’s rolling acreage in this really stunning part of the world.
One of the things we have enjoyed so much is the bird life here. Every morning we wake to a cacophony of raucous, rumbustious, birdsong.
We lie in bed with the sun shining brightly at 5am listening to the kookaburras cackling and laughing, the screeching of the sulphur crested cockatoos, the magpies carolling with their flute-like voices, the male whip birds “cracking their whip” and the females replying with three bright chirps, the storm birds high pitched and haunting “coo-ie” and many more squawks, chirrups and melodies from birds we have yet to identify.
We have also loved the evening walks, seeing deer and wallabies grazing in the paddocks and the turtles and wild ducks swimming in the three dams.
One evening we drove in four wheel drive vehicles with Ben and Sarah and their best friends to the creek to give the dogs a swim.
After the “wolf pack” had enjoyed leaping into the creek to catch balls we headed to the top of the highest point on the property to watch the sun go down.
What a fabulous view and brilliant sunset!
Most of the many trees on the property are eucalypts but there is also a variety of coniferous trees and when we first arrived there were a scattering of jacaranda trees in bloom – their vibrant violet foliage glowing amongst the profusion of greens.
One of the unusual things about some Australian eucalyptus trees is that they shed their bark at the beginning of every summer. This seems very strange to people brought up in the northern hemisphere!
Once all the bark has peeled off, the trunks of the trees are left looking smooth and fresh, clean and beautifully renewed.
We have spent most days travelling the 25km to our tiny townhouse so we could unpack the many boxes we had stored in the garage and set up the house to rent out again – but this time fully furnished.
It was like Christmas – unwrapping all the bits and pieces we had in storage for seven plus years but honestly, we wondered what had possessed us to hang on to some of the stuff!
Once we had set up the house we decided what to take to the local “recycling recovery centre” (otherwise known as the “tip”), what we were going to keep in storage and what we were going to take to a charity shop or give to the charity “Bookfest”.
In the meantime, I celebrated another year around the sun and had a low key but lovely celebration on the day because poor Ben came down with Covid!
The following weekend Ben and Sarah took us to a lovely winery in Tamborine Mountain where we had a wonderful wine tasting session followed by a delicious lunch. It was a very special day!
Ben and Sarah also had a very beautiful but very energetic visitor – a handsome border collie named Jessie. He certainly pepped up our elderly grand dogs who loved playing lots of games and going for longer walks than usual!
This will be my last blog of the year so I would like to wish everyone who reads this a very Happy and healthy 2023. Thank you so much for travelling with us this year. I have been writing this blog for almost eight years now and it still amazes me that people actually want to read it and from so many places across the world – 80 countries this year which just blows my mind! So thank you everyone and happy travels (armchair or otherwise) for 2023!