21 February 2020

What!!!! February already!!!

Hi Everyone,
I cannot believe how quickly time passes.
We have been back up in and around the Toowoomba region since December and we spent a lovely Christmas with Beckie and the three younger ones.  We even managed to catch up with Ben and Bradley in the New Year.
 Cheeky Miss G

 Skateboarding fun

 Mr M

Mast L with Granddad and Miss G

 Master L feeling the  cool on Christmas Day

 Beck and Barb in the partially renovated kitchen

 Darryl, Beck and Ben

We have been out to our friends farm and looked after their Miss Pip (dog) and Mr Puss (cat) whilst they journeyed into NSW.  We enjoyed the wetter weather and the change in the scenery from brown to green was absolutely amazing to witness.  Whilst there we had to mow the yard 3 times as it was growing so quickly.
I went to Dubbo for 4 days with the TAFE and began my language course and met some lovely fellow students.  Back to Toowoomba and out to the farm and the amount of growth in the grass was phenomenal. Our friends Sandra and Tom returned home on Monday
 A little friend and her baby came to visit in amongst the murraya.

and we moved into Toowoomba to house-sit for Anne-Marie and David whilst they travel to Victoria and New South Wales for 2 weddings.
We will be house-sitting until April at this stage and then hope to spend some time with friends nearby.
Darryl and I are both well at this stage and hopefully we will stay that way.
Hoping you are all keeping well also.
Love to all.

09 December 2019

a very eventful year!!!!

Hello everyone,
So sorry for not being a regular writer even when we have been in internet reception.
We have been very busy and caring for our friends properties during January to July.
It has been a difficult year weather wise [just like everywhere else in Australia] and we all DESPERATELY need good quenching rains.  Not just 20 or 50 ml, but about 100mm [4 inches] and then followup rains also.
It was a pleasure to care for our friends home whilst they travelled Tasmania in Feb to May, and then again in June when they travelled to Mexico for their sons wedding.  We also looked after our friends farm out near Crows Nest whilst they were away visiting the ancestral property out near Barcaldine.
In May, Darryl and I travelled to Barcaldine to be part of the AMLC [Australian Motorhomes Lions Club] GWR [Guinness World Record] attempt at 2 world records.  The first was the longest line of LED lights.  the World record was 660metres.  When the lights were measured at Barcaldine it was just over 5,900 metres. 
There were over 930 vehicles registered to participated in the longest line of rolling RV's.  On the Saturday afternoon and evening all the RV's had to drive out to the Barcaldine/Isisford Road and park up along the edge of the road, and be no more than 1 metre between you and the one in front.  This line of vehicles measured nearly 11kms.  We were vehicle 671 in the line.  On Sunday morning we were to be ready by 8am to begin the parading part of the record, but before we could start we had to wait for a helicopter to come flying over as it was recording the line of vehicles parked up.  At the same time the official distance recorder was marking a 3 1/2km stretch of road with lines at each kilometre.  There were video cameras and still cameras at each km and again at the 3 1/2 km mark, recording it all.
Darryl and I started rolling at 10am and reached Barcaldine (7km away) at 12.30pm.  We had a quick lunch and then had to head back to Toowoomba as I had to be there for Tuesday to teach weaving at the state [primary] school.
It took quite a few months for the data and videos and everything to be collated and went to Guinness World records office to be validated.  In October we were informed that the 'longest line of LED lights was NOT accepted as the line did not form and image.  I can recall that we were told it had to be the longest line, not that it had to form an image!  We found out in November that the Australian Records Office HAS recognised it as an Australian Record.
In Mid November we were informed that the GWR office had approved the longest line of parading RV's and will be recorded in the GWR data as having 868 vehicles [the previous record was 630 vehicles in Italy].
At the end of April Barb had a fall and damaged the thumb on her left hand.  Originally she was told that there was a small piece of bone chipped off it, BUT no one has been able to find it on x-ray since.  In late August she was informed that the joint is full of arthritis and she now has to wear a brace to keep the thumb bone in its correct position.
Throughout first semester Barb was teaching weaving to the students of the state school one day a week.  She thoroughly enjoyed this, and at the same time was attempting to teach the students some Wiradjuri language with the assistance of the Wiradjuri dictionary.  She had applied to do the language course through TAFE and was accepted to start in August 2019.
During May the doctors at the medical practice in Toowoomba changed Barb's medication to a newer form of her diabetic medications.
Towards the end of July, Barb was experiencing Meniere's symptoms and was treating it as per her usual regimen.  It didn't really improve and Barb was experiencing breathlessness on top of all her other symptoms [vertigo, tinnitus, nausea, vomiting] and then she started vomiting incessantly.
This progressed to where she was experiencing chest pain.  Darryl made the decision to take her the 45mins into the ED [Emergency department] at Toowoomba Hospital.  We arrived there at nearly 4 am and Barb was still vomiting and unable to walk more than about 4 metres at a time, before needing to rest and catch her breath.  She was taken through into ED proper and placed on a trolley.  Barb was quite dehydrated but the staff managed to get a sample of blood and then there was a room full of people and we were informed that Barb was in a DKA [Diabetic Keto Acidosis] episode and  we were very lucky to have taken her in when we did.
She was in ED for most of the 24 hours, before being taken to CCU/ICU [Critical Care Unit/Intensive Care Unit] where more procedures were attended and more IV lines inserted to try and get her glucose levels down and her other electrolytes within normal limits.  She was in CCU/ICU for 24 hours before being transferred to the medical unit.  It was here that she was informed that the new diabetic medications that were started in May, had been mimicking her Meniere's, and because she was treating the Meniere's symptoms, the diabetes was getting way out of control.  She is now very well aware that she must double check her diabetes BEFORE thinking it is Meniere's.
Barb was unable to walk as she was very unsteady on her feet and was instructed that she would need a physio review before being able to get out of bed.  After 4 days, she was reviewed and permitted to walk using a wheelie-walker with assistance.  Ummmmm - well, using a wheelie-walker anyway.
Because she was still having a lot of difficulty trying to drink and eat and still experiencing lots of burning in the oesophagus, she was taken to theatre for a gastroscopy, and informed that she had severe ulceration and oesophagitis.  She was commenced on anti-reflux medications via IV and oral.  She was reviewed the next day and instructed that she could go home with oral medications and a repeat gastroscopy in 6 weeks.
Barb stayed with Beckie and family for nearly a week, as she was unable to lie flat due to reflux, and she could sleep sitting up at the house.  After a week, Barb and Darryl moved to their friends home in Glenvale and awaited a review at the hospital.  After the review they travelled to Beachmere [near Bribie Island] for three weeks R+R.  Darryl did some fishing and Barb rested and began learning how to regulate her new medications.
We returned to Toowoomba for the repeat gastroscopy - and given a clear result. 
We then travelled to Wallerawang to spend time with Karen and Trevor.  During this time Barb travelled to Sydney to attend her Post-Grads luncheon at Parliament House and then a mini reunion with several of her fellow trainees.  It was a great time and she managed to spend two days with Gloria and 3 days with Sue.  She also caught up with Sheila (who had travelled out from England), Mary, Celia, Helen and Jenny.
Barb returned to Wallerawang, after catching up with Nicole in Penrith. 
We then spent a week with Karen and Trevor, before heading to Wagga Wagga and staying with Ian, Wendy and Holly.  Whilst here we caught up with Jenny and Family, Lyn and family, Barry and Raylene, Sharon and Stacey and then children, Di and Darryl and many others,  Sorry if I have missed anyone!
Barb also spent time with the Hands On Weavers [HOW] and also visited the Family History Centre to research different branches of the family.
We left Wagga Wagga and headed back towards Toowoomba.  We also stopped for the morning at 'The Dish' at Parkes.  What a fantastic morning we had, albeit with the flies.
We arrived back in Toowoomba and spent some time with Beckie and the grandchildren prior to travelling to Crows Nest to spend time with our branch of the Australian Caravan Club.  We had a great time catching up with old friends.  Hopefully over the next 12 months we will be able to catch up more often.
In November, Beckie purchased a small cottage in Toowoomba and she and the children have moved into their HOME.  No more rentals!
We are now in Logan Reserve spending time with dear friends [who happens to be our mechanic] and catching up with Sue and Gloria whilst we are here.
We are returning to Toowoomba for Christmas with family members before doing a farm sit for our friends Sandra and Tom.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Safe New Year.







07 March 2019

7.3.2019

We are still in Toowoomba house-sitting for our friends.
The weather is still unusually hot - as it is most places.  We did not get any of the weather associated with Tropical cyclone Oma, which was a shame as we were looking forward to getting some rain to put some water in the local dams.  The town water supply for Toowoomba is getting very low - so an input would be welcomed.
I have made a couple of blouses with fabric that I purchased in Alice Springs by artists from the Central Desert. The girls at school like them and because they are cotton, they are quite cool to wear.
I have been applying to do the Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Heritage and Culture at Charles Sturt University but am having difficulty.  I have been advised by the uni to do a Certificate 3 in Wiradjuri before applying again, but can only find a Cert 1 through TAFE based at Dubbo (which of course has already started for 2019 and no dates for 2020 yet😕).  I will keep trying but it is frustrating that they want you to do the language before you do the course at Uni!
I also now have weaving in 3 galleries.  They are Denmark WA;  Alice Springs; and Ayres Rock (Uluru) Resort.
I hope that all are well
Barb

18 February 2019

lost time 18.2.2019

My goodness me...
Where has that time gone 😕
We have been busy farm sitting and now house-sitting in the Toowoomba area.
We have had some lovely days with the grandchildren and I have been busy weaving.I have sent an order off to the Poornarti Art Gallery in WA, and also one to Voyages Resort Art Gallery at Ayres Rock AND an order to Yubu Napa at Alice Springs.
I am now replenishing my supply of woven goods.  A great start to the new year.
I am hoping that you are all keeping well.
Regards
Barb

23 December 2018

Trip to South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales #14

Hi all
We have been in Wagga for two weeks now, staying with my brother Ian's family.
Whilst here we have caught up with family and friends and the days have just FLOWN past.  There are lots of people that we WANT to see but it is finding the day and time to see them.
I have been to the Hands On Weavers (HOW) group and renewed some friendships, and went to a weaving workshop where I made a pouch using cumbungi - under the tutorial of Harriet Goodall - a renowned Weaver from Robertson in NSW.
I got some great news on Wednesday of last week - an Art Gallery in Alice Springs want my weaving in their gallery.  I am currently completing orders for them.  All because they saw my Sista Basket when we were in their gallery.  I am pretty chuffed with that.
Only 2 days left before Christmas morning - so we are wishing ALL OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS and a safe and prosperous 2019.
Keep safe one and all.

07 December 2018

Trip to South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales #13


#13
 Welcome to Alice Springs and below are some of the murals and street art around town.






 Beautiful Sturts Desert Pea



 Wendie, Darrel, Myself and Darryl

Sun 2nd.  We were out of the van park by 9.30am and making our way down the south.  
 The Centre of the Centre at Erldunda


We stopped at Erldunda for a relief break, before heading south to Kulgera.  
 the wide open spaces

 the ceiling of the bar at Kulgera



This is the first and last pub in the Northern Territory.  We stopped here for the night and joined in the Happy Hour from 6 – 7pm.  We even had a lovely swim in the pool for an hour or so before that.  The water is a little cooler than what we have been having and was truly refreshing.  The owners of the roadhouse also have provision for the local community artists to come and do their art at the roadhouse and then they put it in the gallery here.
Mon 3rd.  Heading south again and stop at the State Border for a couple of photos before passing into South Australia. 
At the border



 even found some wild flowers 😀


We have just lost an hour as South Australia has daylight savings time.  
We were to stop at Marla, BUT Darryl wanted to keep going as it was still early and it was an overcast day and a little cooler.  Soooo, we travelled on to Coober Pedy, where we refuelled and then kept going.  
 more wide open spaces

 the mullocky heaps appear about 10km north of Coober Pedy

 HUGE piles of earth at the mines



We stopped about 50km south of Coober Pedy and called it a day.  It was 4.30pm.  We were soon joined by three other vehicles.  The temperature dropped quickly once the sun went down and it got to 15 degrees overnight.
Tues 4th. Today we pulled out of the rest area at about 8am and kept heading south.  We refuelled at Glendambo, stopped for a look at lake Hart (a large Salt Lake) 


and also at Island Lagoon (another large Salt Lake) 

then refuelled at Pimba (on the corner of the highway that leads to Woomera) and again we kept going.  
 more straight roads and not much vegetation

 the freight train at Port Augusta some with double containers


  This bright light is at the tomato farm for Coles and is powered by Solar and sea water

 heading for Horrock's pass and Peterborough


 We didn't realise how much we had climbed until I looked in the side mirror

 a small Kangaroo by the roadside
 and coming out of Horrock's Pass it all turns very brown





 a welcome into Peterborough

We finally stopped at Peterborough and paid for 2 nights.  We had a lovely dinner in at the Peterborough Hotel before retiring for the night.
Wed 5th. Today I did the washing and got it all hung out before we headed in to STEAMTOWN.  The railway precinct of Peterborough and had an amazing tour of the Roundhouse and about 12 different carriages.  Our guide, Kim, was very informative.
 Steam engine with some steam

 a steam engine and then 2 diesel engines

 round house

  a Baby health Car

 Inside the Baby Health Car

 In a 1st Class car

We then went into town to the Capitol Theatre, which is now a café, and had lunch.  It is a quaint café with the sloping floor of the old theatre. 

The lunch was great.  We then walked along the street and found ‘The Burg’ in the Newsagency.
 [Peterborough was originally named Peterburg, but its name was changed in 1917 when a lot of German place names and street names were changed or Anglicised]. 
‘The Burg’ is a miniature railway, that was built by the newsagency owner and the room it is housed in has a lot of different murals depicting the history of Peterborough.
We then went to the Railway Museum carriage in the main street and said Hello to the statue of ‘Bob the Railway Dog’ [an interesting history/story of the dog from 1883 to about 1895] and then into the museum carriage and sat in the compartment and experienced a day’s travel on the train.  

You watch a visual display in the windows and have the audio to go with it.
From here we walked to the YMCA and wanted to see the miniatures built by Mr Meldonfield, 



BUT we were too late for the day.  We then called into the town hall and saw the beautiful Centenary Quilt of the history of Peterborough.  


Peterborough is unique in its design, in that all the shops are on one side of the street and all the official buildings and train station are on the opposite side.
Time to get more groceries before heading back to the van, had a swim (water was initially very cool) and then an earlier night.
Thurs 6th. We left the park at about 9am and headed EAST. Down through Burra and across to Morgan before heading to Renmark.  We refuelled at Renmark before we kept going and crossed the border into Victoria. 

 We lost another half hour here and made it to Merbein, where we stopped for a coffee and some lunch.  We had come through some beginning dust storms and witnessed many willy-willy’s start and grow, during our trip today.


 Willy-Willy of dust going up into the sky

 another Willy-Willy starting in the paddock

 the bridge across the Murray River

 and into New South Wales we go......

We decided that we would continue through Mildura and over the river into New South Wales and stop for the night at Buronga Riverside Caravan Park.  We stayed here in 2012 with our friends, Elaine and Bob, and Greg and Carol.  We set up the van [it was already 4pm] and went for a swim (yes, I know, we seem to be doing a bit of that.  The water was considerably cooler than Peterborough, even though it was still 41 degrees).
When we returned to the van, all our 12v power turned off – no lights, no water pump (and we need the 12v to flush the loo, even on 240v) and no 12v fan.  We still could use the AC but had to resort to head-lamps and torches for light and used water from a bottle to flush the loo after use. 
I went to the office and the lady gave me the card of a local auto-electrician.  We gave him a call and left a message and then managed to get hold of our service man on the Gold Coast.  After chatting and sending photos of what was happening, we were no closer to having 12v power.  Ahh, the fun of it all.
The caravan park owners had been setting up their Christmas lights today, here are some of them



Fri 7th.  Awake before 7 and having breakfast when the Auto-electrician rang at 7.45am.  He would come to us.  Yay.  He arrived at 8.50am and took him about 30minutes to find the problem.  The main little fuse box in the over-head cupboard had no power going to it.  Even though all our fuses were intact, because the panel itself wasn’t getting power – nothing else would work.  He pressed a couple of buttons on the main panel from the solar panels and VIOLA we suddenly had lights and the pump was working.  For some reason the ‘trip switch’ [which we didn’t know we had] had tripped and nothing would work.  We now had working lights and pumps, and all was good with the world.
We packed up the van and said farewell to our neighbours (who were also travelling to Wagga Wagga – to see their daughter graduate from Uni on Saturday) and then we left.
We refuelled at Balranald
 the heat haze/mirage in the distance

 and then again at Hay and booked into the Hay Caravan Park for the night.  It was 2pm and we had had more dusty weather, and very strong side and tail winds and the wind seemed to be getting stronger, so it was time to pull over.  We have about a 3-hour travel tomorrow to Wagga (with towing the van) and it will be very nice to see and spend time with all the family.