187. Back in Australia

We’re on the road again. The last few weeks have been busy and as usual I am way behind with this Blog. I started writing this on top of Tamborine Mountain south of Brisbane, not too far from the state border. It was pouring rain, just like on our last visit there about 5 months ago. It was the first time it’d rained there since then, so of course when we went to the Information Centre and mentioned that, they wanted to keep us here. I don’t mind the rain, it cools things down beautifully. So long as it doesn’t manage to find a way through the overhead ventilator and onto our bed… (which of course it did). 

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Even the scrub turkeys were looking a little bedraggled. Most birds were sheltering from the rain but this hopeful kookaburra hung around.

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It was wonderful to catch up with my dear friends Ian and Leonie and Bobbie, my “Brisbane family”, in their beautiful homes with the rainforest right in their backyards.

But back to the beginning ….. We were very fortunate to find the perfect foster family for Penny just before we left Christchurch, and have received various encouraging messages and some photos since then. The latest was: “She is very very good she loves my (dog) grooming clients too – new visitors with different news!!”

We went straight to Nic and Mick’s on arrival in Queensland, well sort of straight, via the efficient overhead monorail from the airport then a train to Caboolture where we were met. Our very grand Jeep Gand Cherokee which had been languishing under cover since last October was fine, the battery had been kept charged by a small solar panel. 

The dogs gave us the usual lovely welcome and the cats were sightly less frosty than before, so we were soon all set to do some serious house and animal sitting for five days while Nic and Mick took off for some much-needed R&R and a birthday celebration.

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The two calves Brie and Cracker only needed feeding from a bottle once a day and only three of the ten or so horses needed supplementary feeding, the rest were off in the far paddocks with the cattle.

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There were the usual beautiful sunsets.

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Dave had fun trying to mow the “lawn” early one morning before it got too hot …..

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When the fan belt of the ride-on mower broke we drove to nearby Esk for a replacement only to find the last one had been sold about an hour earlier. We consoled ourselves with lunch at “Nash” then drove to Toowoomba.

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I felt that the long drive justified spending more than 5 minutes getting a new fan belt, so bought some knitting wool and a pattern and also a new Western-style canvas hat. I was surprised that the local Lincraft was so relatively poorly stocked compared to NZ. We all know the art of knitting has declined but is having a resurgence in NZ; obviously not in Australia though. Well it is a bit hotter here. Also HUMID.

We collected the caravan in Caloundra without mishap, it had been well stored and smelled good, even if the cover was a bit torn. Bad weather, they said. The storage people (who had supplied the cover) tried to get us a replacement from the manufacturer, but no go. Still, courtesy, efficiency – much appreciated.

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Grandy was taken down to Banyo near Brisbane airport for repairs to the rear bumper bar, which someone had run into just before we left Aust. last October. Our insurance company insisted we use their recommended place in Banyo and I was stunned at the efficiency of the whole operation. Arrive at the appointed time, drive into one of two reception bays, welcomed by a smiling lady and in no time an assessor was looking at the car. 2-3 days, he said. They paid for a taxi to the airport to pick up a hired car, we drove back to Toogoolawah, then the very next day they phoned to say it was ready. Back to hand in the hired car, free taxi to the repair shop, here are your keys, sign here ….

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By then I was craving some Queensland prawns so after a hunt we found Morgan’s at Scarborough (not Redcliffe as I had thought) where many years back we would go to order a huge Christmas seafood feast; and enjoyed some prawns in their outdoor area, surrounded by the local birds.

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We left Toogoolawah with the usual regrets, it is a very lovely piece of country; fortunately they’ve had some rain since our last visit. Some local roos were lining the drive to wave us off.

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First stop en route to Ipswich was Lake Wivenhoe, source of Brisbane’s water supply.

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We headed for the Ipswich Showground where we camped for a few days while we caught up with friends and Grandy acquired a new set of tyres. The Showground actually had a welcome kit – first time we’ve received one. There was even a biro. The facilities were excellent. There was a huge old tree nearby, actually only the remnant of a larger one, a stump can just be seen on the left.

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Then off again heading for Tamborine Mountain. And the aforesaid rain.

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