Monday, 23 December 2013

Looking for snow!

Growing up I loved to sing, but I have 3 brothers who were never polite in telling 'the foghorn' to be quiet. I never imagined that one day I would belong to a choir. My dear friend Jayne belongs to the Beenleigh Theatre choir - A-chord.
 Jayne, Rachel and I after singing carols with A-chord on Friday evening.

One Sunday afternoon in 2009, I went to a performance of A-chord at the local sports centre. I was so thrilled by their presentation, that I commented that I wished I sang well enough to join them. The reply was 'Anyone can sing. Come and join us singing Christmas carols at Kaiser Drive.'

Kaiser Drive [2 k's long] Windaroo, is where almost every family in the street, 'lights up'. 

On Christmas Eve, the street is closed to traffic. The road is lined with candles in paper sandbags, families gather on their lawns and share food, wine, laughter and friendship, while up to 8 or more thousand people promenade the length of this incredibly beautiful street, beneath a starry sky and the A-chord carollers [on this night] sing from the back of an incredibly, slowly, moving truck. The scene is quite different however, when thunderstorms decide to show their might.

It is now 4 years since I joined the choir and Christmas for me is carolling at Kaiser Drive on 4 or 5 different nights, with Christmas Eve being particularly special. We sing all the traditional carols, as the sweat drips from our faces. The following carols always have me longing to see snow falling.
                 Winter Wonderland
                 Silver bells
                 Frosty the Snowman
                 I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas!!!
We do sing carols that relate to the Aussie conditions, but they don't give that warm fuzzy feeling.

Six White Boomers
Early on one Christmas Day, a Joey Kanga-roo 

Was far from home and lost in a great big zoo
Mummy, where's my mummy, they've taken her a-way 

We'll help you find your mummy son, hop on the sleigh 

Up beside the bag of toys, little Joey hopped 

But they hadn’t gone far when Santa stopped 

Un-harnessed all the reindeer and Joey wondered why

Then he heard a far off booming in the sky 

Six white boomers, snow white boomers 

Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun 

Six white boomers, snow white boomers 
 On his Aus-tra-lian run 

Pretty soon old Santa began to feel the heat 

Took his fur-lined boots off to cool his feet 

Into one popped Joey, feeling quite OK 

While those old man kangaroos kept pulling on the sleigh 

Joey said to Santa, Santa, what about the toys 

Aren't you giving some to these girls and boys 

They've all got their presents son,
we were here last night 

This trip is an extra trip, Joey's special flight 

Soon the sleigh was flashing past,
 right over Marble Bar 

Slow down there, cried Santa, it can't be far

Come up on my lap son, and have a look around

There she is, that's mummy, bounding up and down 

Well that's the bestest Christmas treat that Joey 
ever had 

Curled up in his mother's pouch all snug and glad 

The last they saw was Santa headed northward
 from the sun 

The only year the boomers worked a double run

And this is our take on Jingle Bells.

Dashing through the bush,
in a rusty Holden ute, 
Kicking up the dust, 
esky in the boot, 
Kelpie by my side,
singing Christmas songs,
It's Summertime and I am in
my singlet, shorts and thongs.

Oh!Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia
on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden ute.

Engine's getting hot;
we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard, he is welcome too.
All the family's there,
sitting by the pool,
Christmas day the Aussie way,
by the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells................

In 2006 Frank and I went looking for a white Christmas and flew to a small village in Switzerland, near Interlaken, called Wilderswill. Sadly this was the year of a very mild European winter and the only snow was on the mountain tops.
 Our cloud covered view of the Jungfrau, taken on Christmas day, as we enjoyed our sleigh ride through 'The Snow'.

In November 2009, my friend Jenny and I flew to Banff to visit our sons. Both had been away from home for several years. We arrived at night, but were quite aware that no snow had fallen. This is what we woke to.
Sheer magic!
Several days later, we were visiting Lake Louise, when snow began to tumble from the sky. I was ecstatic! To me it was - CHRISTMAS!!!

I now hang this very special decoration on the front door each year, hoping at least for a cool day.

Kim and Stuart continue to add to my collection of snowflakes.

Last Tuesday evening, Jenny and I took the bus to the city to experience its festive air.

The theme of the parade and City Hall light spectacular was the Nutcracker Ballet and I just managed to snap some fast moving snowflakes.

It was a joy to watch faces of young and old, as the City Hall light show cast its spell.      


We then enjoyed a brisk walk to Riverside, to watch a more subdued light show on the arches of the Story bridge, made all the more special by the brilliance of the rising full moon.

32 C / 89 F is the forecast for tomorrow Christmas Eve, with Christmas day cooling to 28 C / 82 F. Can't ask for better than that. Now that I know the direction for snow at the North Pole, I wish you all a safe and very happy Christmas with family and friends.

To my Northern readers lucky enough to have snow, make sure you enjoy it for me - throw a snowball, build a snowman, make a snow angel, take a walk and then snuggle up beside your fire. Have fun!

Thank you for visiting. I really would love to read your comment.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Walking Suburbia

Springfield Lakes is a suburb approximately 29km south-west of Brisbane CBD. Springfield Lakes forms part of a 2850 hectare site being Australia’s largest master planned community. Residents enjoy leafy streetscapes, parks, lakes and a network of hike and bike trails. 

Friends had often mentioned to me the vast trails of Springfield Lakes with the added bonus on a Saturday, of markets to explore. They were added to the 'must visit sometime list'.

Saturday 26 October we headed there, with the forecast  for a very hot day. By 7am we were sitting here, eating our breakfast, before hitting the trails. Alas signage was poor and we had to back track several times. There had been no rain for 3 months and the tinder dry bush was not at all welcoming. The vegetation along the shoreline tried to put on a brave face.

We managed to walk for 2 1/2 hours, but it wasn't with the usual sense of achievement. Even the markets took some finding and were so limited, that within 15 mins, we were back in the car and returning to Brisbane - dusty, sweaty and hot. Our spirits lifted when Margot suggested we have an early lunch at a tiny Vietnamese restaurant she frequents at Darra. Definitely worth a return visit.

Two weeks later, Saturday 10 November, found us setting off on a Brisbane suburban walk. The forecast heat for the day, had us parking the car at Toombul Shopping Centre, under the shade of the airport rail link, by 7am.

Not the most picturesque starting point, but we were surprised at how quickly we left the city behind as we set off along the bank of Kedron Brook. We walked for 3 hours return and the majority of that time we were in leafy parkland, with occasional views of suburban homes. It was lovely to see so many families up so early, enjoying the space and bike paths. 

We still hadn't seen any rainfall, so the creek banks wore the only splashes of green, but the meandering creek, with its overhanging trees and wildlife, made this a relaxed and satisfying walk. We even learnt, that along Kedron Brooks banks was where the 1st coal was mined in Qld, having spotted a cairn commemorating this historic fact.

For my Northern readers, the leaves on the path are not autumn leaves, but the signal that rain is badly needed.

October is the month that the Jacarandah tree drops its leaves and clothes itself in mauve blossoms. For uni students, it is the reminder that end of year examinations are not far away. It now being November, most blossoms were making a carpet beneath the trees. These few were being tenacious.

As the blossoms of the Jacarandah fade, the red of the Poinciana blossoms make their drammatic statement.

On completion of this walk, we drove a short distance to the Eagle Farm markets, where we discovered and abundance of food stalls, mouth watering fruit and vegetables, selections of cheeses, oils, crafts and creative clothing.  

A refreshing coffee beneath the shade of a large fig tree, was a very pleasant end to 
another walk 'down under'.

Thank you for visiting. I would love to read your comment.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Walking - Caloundra Coastline.

Saturday 2nd November saw Jenny, Margot and I driving to Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. The plan was that as Jenny was recovering from a hip complaint, she would walk for an hour with us, and then spend several hours visiting with her Mother at her Nursing Home.

It was a perfect sunny day with lovely, clear, blue skies.
A cuppa with this vista was most welcome after the 2 hour drive.

We were parked at Golden Beach, near the nursing home, so set off on the path south, along Pumicestone Passage for 30 mins, did an about turn, and walked Jenny back to her car.

Near the halfway point, we were intrigued by the antics of 2 pelicans swimming into shore, until we spotted the size of the fish in the gullet of one. It didn't look comfortable at all and with your mate wanting a share, most unpleasant. Alas we didn't have time to observe how the incident was resolved.

We turned our eyes to more relaxing vistas.

The northern end of the passage is known as Bulcock Beach. During the summers of my childhood we were always excited, when our overworked farming parents made time, to drive the 45 mins from  our farm at Mooloolah to the beach, for us to enjoy picnics and swimming. 
 Bulcock Beach

Even more memorable were the afternoons when it was decided to milk early, phone the Bulcock Beach Fish and Chip Shop, and put in an order to be ready on our arrival. Oh the joy of this so rare take away, whilst sitting under the pines of the above photo, with the view of the Glasshouse Mts below. 

This photo is taken across the bay at Kings Beach, just around the corner from the passage.

 Kings Beach

Although the system of paths put in by the local council are extensive, we decided some rock hopping was in order.

We became a tad anxious when we witnessed these cargo ships 'narrowly' passing.
Question is - Which boat passed closest to shore? Answer later.

We weren't totally able to follow the coastline, but this diversion over Tooway Creek brought back more memories of summer. If we weren't swimming at Bulcock Beach, we were more than likely in the calm water of Tooway Lake, where it was blocked from the sea by a sand bar.

Another successful day 'down under walking with friends'!

Post script 1: The ship on the right came closest to shore. We were quite surprised.
Post script 2: The day wasn't totally successful. Thankfully Jenny had driven, because on return to her home, my car keys had vanished and I had to call Frank to come to the rescue. It is a total mystery as to how they disappeared.

Thank you for visiting.
I would love to read your comment.