Wednesday, 26 September 2018

A Stormy Evening

Wednesday 26 September

Growing up on a farm, I soon learnt to spot storm clouds. On reflection, I recall that they regularly rolled in just as milking was about to start, around 4pm, or as a high school student, when I had to make the ten minute dash from school to railway station.

I was extremely nervous of them. My bedroom curtains would be closed and I would hide my face under a pillow. When I was about five, lightning struck a tree near our garage 60 m from the house. Thankfully the burning tree caused no damage to the building. At about 12 years old, a storm rolled in just before milking time and I bravely sat on the verandah with my parents, watching . It was a spectacular storm. I felt incredibly brave, until the Weather Gods threw in the drama of a fireball flashing through the sky and descending on the far side of our 90 acre property. As a teacher in the junior school, I soon had to learn to mask my fear when early afternoon storms rolled in. As a mother, that still wasn't easy.

Eventually I learnt to relax and enjoy these magnificent light displays. I've now lived in the city for 37 years but when its dry, I still yearn to see the white anvil cloud darken, an listen for its distant thunder. I eagerly watch our radar site to watch for formation and progress of any storms.

Like so much of Eastern Australia, drought hovers. Watching the radar late yesterday afternoon, we could see that areas to the south east of us would receive heavy falls, but our chance of any was slim.
Joy of joys, that scenario rapidly changed. Our first spring storm arrived with driving rain, small hail and non damaging wind around 6pm. 21 millimetres filled the gauge and several other minor cells that rolled by during the evening, added to the total. My garden rejoices!

The hail on our pool cover.

Belatedly adding these photos of the same storm at Beaudesert, 45 km away and Tenterfield 255 km. We had driven through Tenterfield on Monday afternoon. So glad it wasn't a stormy day then.

And 12 hours later, the hail was still on the ground.

Today was hiking day with the Hungry Hikers. Our meeting point was King George Square, Brisbane, which was serendipitous. We discovered that we could not only enjoy the famous 'Ekka strawberry icecream' but in so doing also support our strawberry farmers, who have been doing it extremely tough. Drought, low prices and then someone with nothing better to do, added a few needles into packaged strawberries, resulting in recall and then frightened customers.

Apologies for the following layout. I had copied and pasted an article, then deleted but the format won't change. I'm short on time to try and fix things.

So not only did the Hungry Hikers support the farmers this morning, they were interviewed by ABC 612 am radio, and managed to be on Ch 7 News albeit in the background. A fantastic start to our city hike.

People were drawn by the thousand, tempted by the lure of the famous Ekka strawberry sundaes and the opportunity to support farmers devastated by the strawberry contamination scare.

More than 14,000 strawberry sundaes sold out by mid-afternoon on Wednseday.
More than 14,000 strawberry sundaes sold out by mid-afternoon on Wednseday.
Photo: Facebook/ABC Brisbane

But by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, the pop-up stall organised by the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation in Brisbane's King George Square had sold out of sundaes, selling more than 14,000, and using up 700 kilograms of strawberries.
Strawberry grower Mandy Schultz and her 12-year-old daughter Madeleine travelled from the tiny town of Wamuran, west of Caboolture, to shake hands with people and chat about their plight.
“It’s been really hard for us since this happened,” Madeleine said.
“We just wanted to come out and say thank 
you to everyone.

My ticket was no.2656. The queues were just beginning at 9 am.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Enjoying Spring Sunshine and Creativity

Saturday 15 September

My friend Lyn and I arrived at Currumbin Beach at 7 am, on this beautiful, spring, blue sky day. Our early start enabled us to view this year's Swell Sculptures before the masses of crowds arrived. A hint of coolness to the breeze, gentle waves washing the shoreline, surfer's gliding in on the waves, whales spouting regularly and happy children, all added to the enjoyment of the morning.

"Come face to face with awe-inspiring sculptures by local, national and international artists at the 16th SWELL Sculpture Festival, 14 – 23 September, 2018

Kannitha Ly, Qld - "Sandy Sundays"

1. Karl Meyer, SA - "Foci" [a central point of attraction, attention or activity.]
2. -
3. Wesley Harrop, SA - "Zygomaticus"   [a muscle of facial expression]

1. Tessa Bergan, Qld - "The Castle Buiders"
2. Marie-France and Anthony Rose, NSW - "In the Flow"
3. Lamce Seedon, NSW - "Sanctuary"
4.  -

1. Kari and Ross Annels, Qld - "Shemple on the Shore"
2. Greg Quiton, NSW - "Jump"

Elizabeth Poole - "Medal Blooms"
A link to explain this one.

Phillip and Alex Piperides, Qld - "Currumbin Rock Boys"

Dion Parker and Andrew Cullen, Qld - "Prickles the Unhuggable Bear"[bardwire]

Jack Quilter, NSW - "Portal Sun. Harvest Star. Shadow Moon."

Monte Lupo, Qld - "The Seamtress"

Dave Hickson, NSW - "52 Women"

Joy Heylen, Luke Mallie, Ronda Sharpe, Jacqueline Damon, Agata Mouasher, Qld - "Embryo"

Karl de Waal, Qld - "Wherever you go, there you are."

Unnamed sculpture? No, but they did catch my eye.

Mid-afternoon a new destination was driven to with my friend Joc - Tamborine and its annual Scarecrow Festival - 17 km trail and approx 300 scarecrows. 

My favourites.

The winner for me. Just loved the toes and the heart-shaped potato over the heart.

Little Bo Beep was rather special too.

Humorous duo. The petrol operator had 'closed' in his R hand.

Painstaking brillance.

For OS readers - September / October is 'magpie' season. If you happen to walk or cycle anywhere near their nests, you will be dived on.

"Scaredy Crow" The book - 'How to Stone a Crow'. A crows worst nightmare.

The snowman was taken for my Grandson, as I won't be able to build one with him. The gorgeous pig is for a wonderful group of friends I meet with regularly.

Just on dusk, a lantern parade was held in Main Street.

Finally, I fell in love with this child's entry of 'Lily, Millie and Billy.' Just love the names too.

An amazing day of amazing creativity and talent.

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Friday, 14 September 2018

Cities visited on the Rhine and Main Canal

Our river cruise started in Amsterdam and took us along the Rhine and Main Rivers. The Main Danube Canal of 171 km, completed only in 1991, then allowed us to join the Danube River to sail on to Budapest.

This fabulous fourteen day journey stopped off at a port or two each day, allowing us to discover the history and culture of several of Europe's vibrant cities and many smaller charming towns and villages.

Our time at each port was often dependant on timings for the locks. Our time in Ochsenfurt was unexpected. We were scheduled to arrive just in time to meet the coaches that had gone on the Salzburg day tour and then sail on. The locks weren't as busy as expected, so we had several hours to enjoy this lovely village.

On arrival at each port, a local guide would take us on an informative walking tour of the town for and hour to an hour and a half. Fantastic to get our bearings  and then set off by ourselves.

Of course more than one or two pics were taken, but I've decided to just give a selection from each port.
Soooooo ......... difficult to choose, but here we go.

Nijmegen - the oldest city in the Netherlands, dates back to Roman times but now its population is swelled by university students. A fortified city with wonderful historic buildings, centuries-old plazas and home to Netherland's oldest shopping street.

Nijmegen sits on the German / Netherland border and was badly bombed by the allies on an unplanned bombing raid, after a German raid had to be abandoned.
The arches of the bridge below are significant as a memorial to the Allied soldiers who brought liberation to the city.

"Sunset March is a daily tribute to the Allied soldiers who fought for the liberation of The Netherlands. And especially for those soldiers who lost their lives. In 2013 the city of Nijmegen finished the construction of a new City bridge called the Crossing (Oversteek). It was constructed close to the area where US 82nd Airborne crossed the river the Waal on September 20, 1944 as part of Operation Market garden. 48 Allied soldiers lost their lives during this “Waalcrossing”. The street lights* on this bridge are very exceptional. On the bridge are 48 pairs of street lights. At sunset these sets of street lights are, pair by pair, ignited at a slow marching pace. The total duration of igniting all street lights involved lasts almost 12 minutes."

Views from Valkhof Park dating back to Roman times. In the 1700's a palace fortress dominated the clifftop. St Nicholas Church dates back to those times and survived the bombing raids.

Buildings of the Great Plaza or Market Square.

Kronenburger Park outside the old city wall was an unexpected find on our rambling.

The Gothic Cathedral is Germanys most visited attraction.

Waterfront buildings gave a fairytale atmosphere.

In this collage, spot the wreath left by a suitor to profess his love for someone living in this apartment.

How many locks?
Far too many in my opinion. [Attached to the railway bridge]

A long walk beside the Rhine took us through lovely parklands and gardens to a multistory building, with a 360 degree view. On our return along the opposite bank we discovered this wonderful sculpture park.

I loved the old city of Colgne but the view from the 'Triangle Tower' was rather unsettling.

Built on the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, this ancient city is the gateway to the vinehards and ruined castles of the Rhine Gorge - a wonderful city to explore.  This being our 3rd visit, we took time to take the cable car across the river to Ehrenbeitstein Fortress.

I've no idea how the setting changed on my camera on our 6am arrival in Koblenz, but the affect is quite acceptable.

Basilica of St Castor in its lovely gardens.

The Thumb by Cesar Baldacinni sits outside the Arts Centre.

Three sections of the Berlin Wall.

Ehrenbeitstein Fortress and vistas

It was a delight to wander through our first Bavarian town.  Cobbled narrow streets, medieval architexture, quaint signs, romantic alleys, historic market square and Mildenberg Castle - there just wasn't enough time to take it all in.

Nestled on the confluence of the Tauber and Main Rivers this medieval town was just a short coach drive from Miltenberg. Our ship was navigating a lock while we visited. It was equally exciting to visit as its sister town, but was dramatically dominated by its castle.

Happy memories of our morning in this much bigger Bavarian town.
This first photo was taken from our ship at 8am, as we passed through a small lock below Marienberg Fortress, home of the local prince-bishops for nearly five centuries.

Old Main Bridge - originally an arched masonry bridge built in the 1400's. The 1700's saw it replaced as a stone arched bridge of 8 arches and 12 statues of 2 kings and 10 saints. Such an imposing structure. It is now pedestrianized  and the vistas from it of the city, fortress and vineyards is quite superb. 

Vistas from the Old Main Bridge.

The Palace of the Bishops didn't allow photography but its interior was opulent and magnificent. Unfortunately time was limited for our visit to its sensational Rose Garden.

 A wine festival and markets created a wonderful atmosphere, as we made our way back through the old city to the river and our boat. 


The visit to this small, charming Bavarian village was a bonus on our itinerary. Our uninterrupted progress through the locks on this afternoon meant we docked 2 hours ahead of schedule. We were able to leisurely explore its quiet Sunday afternoon streets, whilst we waited for the arrival of the coach load of passengers returning from a full day excursion to Salzburg.


This northern, Bavarian German town nestles on the confluence of the Regnitz and Main rivers. The old town dates back to the 11th to 19th centuries.

The Romanesque Cathedral was begun in the 11th C and features 4 towers. The Bishop's rose garden was nearby.

The Rathaus or town hall occupies an island in the Regnitz R and is reached by arched bridges.

Their famous smokey beer was taste tested but the jury was not overly impressed.

Our ship was moored a good half hour from the city centre so our initial introduction, by a local guide, was by bus. It was a Monday after a 3 day weekend for a Saints day. Hitler's  parade grounds and surrounding parklands had been home to 70,000, mostly camping, rock fans. The views from the bus were not pretty and our progress was slow in the aftermath of the weekend.

Nuremberg Castle of medieval fortified buildings, dominated the city from its position on a sandstone ridge.

My artistic shot from the castle wall!

After visiting the castle we were able to wander from the castle down to the vast, old walled city. Fortunately we had a free afternoon to explore its many streets and charming buildings.

At this point we are about midway on our cruise to Budapest. Each day had been thrilling. The history and architexture incredible. Such a complete contrast to Australia's short, recent history. At times it felt like we were living a fairy tale and we didn't want it to end. 

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