Saturday, 27 October 2018

Volunteering at a "Nearly a Vet" Convention.

Saturday 27 October

My dear friend, science teacher and children's author extraordinaire, Rebecca Johnson, asked me if I would like to assit with a 'Nearly a Vet Convention', at St Aidan's School, Corinda. I had previously commented I would like to be a fly on the wall at one, having heard just how exciting and engaging they were, especially for young girls. I was definitely eager to join this event.

A range of Rebecca's books.

The venue.

Our first chore on arrival was to fold and fill the Vet Kit boxes with a real digital thermometer, working stethescope, face mask, surgical gloves, pipette, specimen jar, a real bandage for animals, a 'Nearly a Vet' diary and a syringe pen.

The lab coats were kept separate, so that we could quickly pop them over the Nearly Vets heads, as they arrived.

Rebecca set up her teaching display. 

Then, 90 eager Nearly Vets, ranging in age from 4 to 11, began to arrive with their toy pet animal to receive their kit and lab coat.

Some took time to have Rebecca sign their favourite "Juliet, Nearly a Vet" book, whilst waiting for the convention to commence.

Rebecca's initial emphasis was to stress to the maxium, "it is never okay to be cruel to animals".

Discussion followed on the role of a vet, which led to the 'Nearly Vets' finally being able to open their kits to find their stethoscope.

Concentration as the 'Nearly Vets' listen to their own heartbeat, before learning where to place the stethoscope to listen to the heart beat of different animals.

After much discussion as to why vets take the temperature of sick animals, our 'Nearly Vets' took out their digital thermometer to take their own temperatures. A discussion (and a few laughs) then followed as the stuffed toys had their temperatures taken in the way vets, inserting in stuffed toy bottoms. A reminder was given that this was not something we would do to our real pets!

A syringe couldn't be included for obvious safety reasons, however Rebecca managed to find a syringe style pen, to go with the vet notebook. The 'Nearly Vets' recorded information they had learnt during the convention .

Next on the agenda was bandaging wounds and broken limbs. Great skill was shown by all the 'Nearly Vets'.

The use of face masks and surgical gloves was then discussed.

Time was rushing on. Rebecca's final segment was relating to the 'Nearly Vets', how she became involved in writing and especially in writing her "Juliet - Nearly a Vet' series of books that had brought them to this convention. Rebecca stressed how important it is to verbalise ones ideas first, before writing one's story down. A keen volunteer offered to write some of her ideas down.

All too soon, it was time to pack up their Vet Kits, thank Rebecca and I believe rush home to practise their new vet skills on parents, sibblings, toys and with their parent's permission and guidance, on their pets.

But the morning was not quite over. Many of Rebecca's books were purchased and she happily continued signing, chatting and encouraging these lovely, young 'Nearly Vets'.

How gorgeous is this toy siamese cat?

And these two delightful Nearly Vets.

What a marvellous morning with the 'Nearly Vets' and their inspiring convention leader, Rebecca. I do hope I am invited to help again.

I would love to read your comment.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Beauty after the Storm

Sunday 21 October

Today's spring thunderstorm passed through about 4 pm, delivering 33mms in just under half an hour.  The golf ponds, which just 2 weeks ago were looking very low, couldn't cope with the downpour and overflowed into one lake. Just after 5pm I happened to pass a window with a view to the golf course. The storm was still passing to the east as the sun was falling in the west. The pond vista that greeted my eyes now, had me grabbing my camera and heading out the back gate. 

A joyous hour followed.

I should add that the grass of the golf course was totally brown 2 weeks ago. The miracle of rain is precious.

I would love to read your comment.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Out and About with the Hungry Hikers

Over the past few weeks, our group has opted less for the bushwalking and more for making the most of local events. This has been partly because the options for bushwalking were depressing given the brown, drought conditions we have been experiencing. I am relieved and delighted to report, that as of this past weekend, the green has returned! There have been wonderful falls of rain and thankfully it has also fallen where it has been most needed.

Walking Wednesday 10th October

The original plan was to do a 30 min walk in Pine Ridge Regional Park, through banksia bushland and rare coastal heath, to see the wildflowers missed on a previous visit. This was to be followed by morning tea by the bay and then a lengthy walk through the Coombabah Wetlands, spotting wallabies and koalas.

The day prior, I learnt that the World Parachuting Championships were being held in a neighbouring suburb and should not be missed. So grateful for that snippet of info.

The walk.
Unfortunately the walk didn't reveal wildflowers. It must still be too early in the season, but it did stretch the muscles.

We became quite excited when we spotted this yellow cross on the sandy pathway. We assumed it must have been something to do with the parachutting event. Definitely not so on this day, but we could spot the parachutists in the sky, further to the west.

It was Joc's birthday, so we celebrated with style, under a brilliant blue sky and beside the glistening bay.

A five minute drive then had us at the Runaway Sports Centre, where we were able to enter the complex and explore for free. The flags of the 24 competing countries greeted us.

We watched teams rehearsing their manoeuvres on rolling pads prior to their jump. Others had returned and were laying out their parachute for repacking.

Here a group is practising exiting the aircraft.

A good hour was spent observing the teams preparations before we took another short drive to Luke Harrop sporting fields. The time was about midday so the light wasn't good for watching the parachutist's formations on exiting the aircraft, but it was certainly magical watching the constant stream of coloured parachutes drifting down to land. Some gently. Others almost manically, but in full control. Simply amazing to watch and to see the camaraderie between the competitors.

A discussion ensued re who would or wouldn't like to do a tandem jump, which has led me to delve through albums to find proof of the tandem jump Frank and I made [separately] back in 1997. It was a brilliant experience and I felt no qualms at any time.

Unfortunately, the weather during the latter half of the week was not great. On Thursday the gusting winds brought the program to an early halt and throughout Friday and the weekend, drenching rain fell.

Wednesday 17th's walk.
The weekend had seen constant rain and the forecast for the week was not promising for hiking. An adjustable plan was put in place. We met at Joc's unit, in the suburb of Camp Hill, close to the Brisbane River. Over a delicious morning tea, we checked the radar and weather reports and decided to take our chances on foot, to look for the magnificent displays of jacarandas in the New Farm Park area.

It was a short drive from Joc's unit to the cross-river ferry to New Farm Park.

Views down and upriver from the ferry terminal.

The moment we climbed the embankment from the pier, we were enthralled by the magical colour of these South African trees.

The carpet of fallen blossoms is equally beautiful.

The added bonus of the park's roses being in full bloom, had us gasping with delight. With our tropical climate, roses are very difficult to grow in the home garden.

The rain wasn't finished with us yet and umbrellas had to be unfurled. Joc had the perfect colour for this outing.

The rain wasn't heavy enough to send us looking for cover so we continued on to find the Graydon Gallery for their new exhibition by Pamela Gough. 
Alas, we were a day early, so continued onto the Brisbane river trail to complete a circuit back to New Farm Park, with a delicious lunch sojourn at the Merthyr Bowls Club and its river views.

My favourite Brisbane jacaranda is found here and today it was as splendid as ever. The mauve colours were stronger with the sun now out.

A final, short walk in New Farm Park in the sunshine, then time to retrace our steps back to the ferry.

Yes, two more wonderful days out and about, down under.

As I complete this post we have been treated to another torrential storm. [Sunday 3pm] We watched its approach via Stapleton Radar. As you can see there is more than one cell. It is now causing havoc at the Super V8 car race at the Gold Coast.

Photos taken through the windows.

The 3 ponds are all but one.

The worst has past but the rain continues to fall.

I quickly dashed out to read the rain gauge - 33 mm in less than half an hour. Yep, a typical Aussie, spring/summer storm. Hopefully, there hasn't been damage anywhere. The morning was intensely humid and now the air is so refreshingly cool it is cardigan time again.

I would love to read your comment.