Tuesday, 14 June 2022
but this is often what my lap looks like when I sit down to update my blog..
In celebration of the recent federal election results I made some themed desserts for family dinner.
I'm REALLY looking forward to longer days but today I could at least satisfy myself with the nice views from my office window at about 5pm.
Some photos from recent-ish runs and hikes..
When we tidied up dad's shed a few months ago we came across a lot of wood. Most of it was scrap, but there was also a pile of long planks taking up a fair bit of floor space - in fact they made it impossible to access many of the shelves without awkwardly squeezing your feet alongside them. Those six thick and 3 metre long planks had been there for at least 20 years - Dad had shipped them down from Sydney when he went to clear out his mum's place many years ago. Mum had previously learnt that these were kauri wood planks, reclaimed by my Sydney grandfather who worked for the Tooth's brewery in Sydney. He re-routed the wood from a certain tip ending when the brewery's wooden hop vats were replaced with stainless steel ones (which he helped design) a zillion years ago. It seemed weird to me that the brewery would use such expensive and rare wood in the first place, but in all likelyhood, when the company bought the wood in a job lot a hundred years or so earlier, it probably wasn't valued very highly.
A few months ago I got Zali to help me lift one of those dusty, dirty and insanely heavy planks onto the roof racks of the car and we drove it home. Later that day, after I hauled it singlehandedly off the car, nearly killingmyself in the process I noticed it had a lot of termite damage on the underside. Looking closer still I realised the holes running widthwise through the plank would make it next to impossible to use for anything. So with much annoyance I dragged the plank around to the side of the house and left it there - thoroughly regretting moving it in the first place (as now I was going to have to get rid of it).
I went about my business for another month or so (trying to avoid eye contact with the plank lurking next to the wheelie bins) before I suddenly felt inspired to give it another chance. I pulled out my electric planer and ran it over the top..
Huh, I thought to myself. This might actually be ok. So I continued planing and sanding and filling the gaps and holes, and leaving other imperfections (for character of course), and staining and sanding then staining again..
Until I eventually decided I actually needed another plank to finish my projects so I took Jett with me and we collected another one. This one was in even worse condition than the first but now I had a solid plan and technique so it didn't matter.
In the end I made a long entertainment 'plank' for the new shack, and 3 bench seats. The wood is lovely and heavy and has weird holes and termite marks and a long history and I love it.
Wednesday, 27 April 2022
We are now just one night away from being able to fly home. It's been a long, weird, fun, boring, frustrating, disappointing, expensive & memorable time being isolated together with friends at the Oceana on the Gold Coast.
Over the last week we've entertained ourselves with endless movies, puzzles, eating and the kids have done lots of crafts.
First they spent a day painting by numbers:
The results actually fit in quite well with the apartments' decor.
Then they moved onto something called GemCraft - sort of a plastic embroidery I guess. These projects actually took a few days, and we all ended up chipping in to get Jett's finished.
Now they are working on embroideries:
The craft has been interspersed with various puzzles:
and we've had plenty of opportunities to work through all the leftover food items from other holidayers.
A few days ago we moved apartments from level 2 in one building (where we could hear the happy and annoying laughter of the families in the pools outside), to level 8 of a different building - it was nice having a change and the view definitely improved:
We can't really complain about the spacious living conditions, and it's certainly been a treat to have friends around, but we've all had moments of feeling like this:
Yesterday I logged onto work to try to do 2 full days before we fly home tomorrow - unfortunately it was too hard and after a few hours I gave up and applied for 2 days sick leave instead. It was simply too stressful and hard trying to work on my laptop, particularly when I wasn't feeling very well at all.
So tomorrow we'll pack up and make our way home. There is only us, one other family and one abandoned teenager (Niko) remaining as all the others have escaped at various times during the week - either to fly home as their close contact time expired, or to get out before they too tested positive, or to local friends who have already had covid.
Thursday, 21 April 2022
We'll laugh about this holiday one day.
Zali got up this morning and having felt dodgy since the middle of the day yesterday, decided to take the one RAT test that we had on hand. She promptly tested positive. Alarm bells ringing, I took Riley (who conveniently got covid a few weeks ago) to the shops where he ducked out and got hold of 5 tests. At home Jett tested positive too - he was actually showing symptoms a few days ago but we assumed he'd just got the cold that another Tasmanian had (who had been testing negative). Nup that was positive too.
Jon tested himself next but the result was inconclusive, so we took ourselves to get PCR tests after dropping Riley off at orienteering near Seaworld. The queue for PCR testing was very short so we were able to pick him up before he had to resort to the share bikes for the 7km trip home.
Once we reported our positive tests to our friends we received many kind offers of shopping and other services - we even got some flowers delivered which was lovely. Then the rest of the Tasmanian gang started going down too. By the end of the day, 4 out of the 5 Tassie families staying in this apartment block have covid cases, and apparently 11 apartments in the whole building are positive too. While this is extremely disappointing (and expensive as we've had to rebook flights and accommodation), it's kind of a great place to be isolated - we've got friends in the same situation (Zali sent Riley out to kmart for arts and crafts supplies), and as close as next door - so we can share resources and company without having to get in the lifts or go very far. We're soldiering on as best we can!
Now if this had happened in Kingaroy (like it did to Jon's brother and sister in law) it would have been a different vibe - we were living in a shoebox there with almost no facilities and we wouldn't have got to do any orienteering at all. I'm certainly sad, and it's going to be a hassle trying to work from my laptop next week, but in the grand scheme of things, it's fine.
Wednesday, 20 April 2022
Today Jon and the kids and their friends headed to Movie World for the day. They had fun but did spend most of the day in queues by the sounds of it. In the 7 hours they were there they got onto 5 rides and spent the rest of the time queuing with a 30 minute break. One of the queues was 2 hours long, only slightly better than when we queued to see the Statue of David in Florence. The last time we went to Movie World was at the same time of year but only Tassie kids were on holidays so the queues were much smaller - checking back through my blog I can see that we only queued for up to 30 minutes for any one ride.
So Movie World sounded like a dud pick except when we heard that other friends who went to Wet n Wild water park, queued for the day and got onto 4 slides. Gosh.
I spent the day relaxing at home then strolling to the shops to get my first haircut in over a year. Jo insisted I take some before and after photos so here we are:
Before the haircut:
After the haircut (looking serious about boogie boarding):
After boogie boarding:
Once everyone got back from the park we joined our friends (who are all staying in the same apartment block) for a mexican dinner. It was a nice finish to the day.
It took a while to leave the apartment yesterday but we finally got out the door around 1pm with a plan to visit some waterfalls then a glow-worm cave as it got dark.
The first destination was the Twin Falls circuit walk - which was really fantastic. It was an hours fairly arduous driving to the west of the Gold Coast up into the green hills.
The circuit was 5ish km and took us down, around, behind and above a beautiful series of waterfalls that looked out onto lush canyons with the buildings of the Gold Coast in the far off distance.
It was a tropical version of similar Blue Mountains walks around Wentworth Falls. We had entertained thoughts of swimming at the bottom of one of the falls it wasn't as hot as down on the coast so we really just carried our towels around the circuit.
After we completed the circuit we drove half an hour around to Natural Bridge.
It was a short walk to the bridge which had a cave that is filled with glow worms. Our plan was to stay until it was dark so we could see in their full glory but the kids were freaked out by the bats who also lived in the cave - so we spotted just a few glow worms then left it at that.
Also there were gangs of youths in the area so we thought it was wise to leave before it got dark
We drove back to the Gold Coast where the kids made dinner while Jon and I swum in the pool. perfect.
Tuesday, 19 April 2022
Please note that I am writing this update sprawled in the lounge in the living room of our spacious apartment on the Gold Coast. The master bedroom here is bigger than the entire motel room that we all stayed in in Kingaroy - the last 7 days feel a bit like a blur now.
After our late arrival we were up and about pretty early so we could avoid traffic getting out of Brisbane. As we have picked up an extra passenger (the lovely Riley who travelled with us in NZ), I grabbed a lift up with Jo who was staying nearby, so we could fit everyone and the bags into the mitsubishi ASX we hired.
It was about a 2 hour drive to the first event which was the family relays and elite prologue. It was a nice grassy area with big boulders and a few creeks. I managed to miss a control but luckily I wasn't selected on the family relay team so I didn't ruin it for them. I think they finished a respectable 10th or so.
We then drove another hour or so to Kingaroy - peanut capital of Australia. We checked into our dodgy but completely acceptable motel then immediately went over to our friends' cabin in the neighbouring holiday park to use their kitchen and pool.
The first official day of the easter 3 days competition - I had a good run, Jon was good for the first half, Zali made a dumb mistake reading the number upside down on the control and thinking she was in the wrong place then spending 30 minutes looking for what she had already found, while Jett did fine. In the afternoon we hit the big Kingaroy tourist destinations.
Day 2 of competition - fun again but I made some mistakes which permanently cost me the overall lead. Jon went about the same, Zali improved her reading skills and won the day, and Jett and Riley both did really well to finish their long courses (13+ straight line - 16ish by the time they were done). We had a nice dinner with our NSW friends at the RSL before collapsing in our little motel room to recover.
The final day. I made one dumb mistake and finished 2nd over all. Jon was the same, as was Zali (which was a good recovery after her disaster on the 1st day). Jett had a good run and was very respectable overall given he's running 20E and he's 16. Riley had a rest day to recover from the big run yesterday.
The arena on Monday was fantastic. There were beautiful grass trees everywhere and a nice little clear area to watch all the orienteers on their courses running around the nearby rocks.
After the event and the presentations we went for a swim at the local waterhole/waterfall. It was really lovely.
Then we drove the 3 hours down to the Gold Coast where we are for the next week.
After finishing work later on Monday, Jon and I both worked longish days on Tuesday, followed by a zoom call with the bank, followed by driving to up to St Helens in the dark, arriving after 10. Luckily we had some accommodation organised in our friend's holiday house, so we had a good night's sleep.
But there was to be no sleep-in. We were up at 6 so we could go to the site before everything started happening. It was pretty exciting to see a huge crane towering over the street - according to its minders it had arrived and been set up the night before after doing a job in Bicheno.
We had time for a quick walk around the site before the first truck rolled around the corner.
The truck later drivers told us they left Westbury at 3am that morning so it had only taken 3 hours to get to St Helens (via the Lake Leake road as the alternatives had too many tight corners). They also told us they had a delivery to Port Huon the previous week which had them doing a 7 hour drive from midnight. Our blocks were far from the widest structures they'd delivered.
When the first truck arrived there were a few discussions but generally the whole process was performed pretty calmly by the large crew as I guess they've done it heaps of times before.
Discussions over it was action stations as the crane was manoeuvred around, the temporary roof over the bottom section was removed, two large slings were attached and eventually 1/4 of our holiday house was lifted up and onto the block.
While the first bit was secured to the footings with by the on-site welding crew (of 1), the next truck was driven into position.
This part had to be lifted from the top rather than with slings, as the floor structure wasn't as rigid since it was the upper story. The lower part had steel girders underneath it.
It looked to be a lot harder and slower to lock the top story in place so Jon and I took the opportunity to go and get hot drinks and choose the carpet from the local flooring shop:
Once back on site we could see everything was secured and the welder was busy attaching tall poles to the other half of the site to hold up the other half of the top floor (the bottom right hand side will be the front door and enclosed garage which needs to be built on-site onto the concrete slab).
We had to leave at this point, but before we did, Jon talked the site manager into letting us go up a ladder to take a look at the view from the upper story. Yay - we could see the water!
We are next to an even taller & wider house which is still being built, which blocks out the neighbours behind even more than we do:
As our house is fairly narrow, our behind-neighbours (tenants) can still see out their left and right end main windows. Although I wouldn't be surprised if that place is demolished and something even taller is built behind us - they are currently very basic little units. The owner bought them after all our planning had been started - so they knew what was coming in front of them.
Anyway - at this stage we had to say goodbye and zoom back to Hobart for us both to catch up on our work, and pack for Queensland. It was great to see the photos of the house when they were sent through at the end of the day. It's no architectural marvel but I think it looks great. The bottom rhs will be enclosed.
Now there is a few more months of waiting while the garage/front door area is completed, the stairs are installed, the deck is tiled and the deck railings attached. The kitchen benches and tiling needs to be finished too, and lots more things that we probably aren't even aware of.
After the big day, Thursday was also pretty huge with a hectic last day of work, last minute packing and then cleaning for the house sitters, followed by a late evening flight to Queensland. Amazingly we arrived on time at 11pm, but we had to endure a few hours of stuffing around picking up the hire car which was off site and involved a shuttle bus which couldn't fit us all in at once. It was amazing to finally get to bed at 1am.
Friday, 15 April 2022
Work is crazy at the moment, I'm working long hours and seem to be living with heightened anxiety levels between 8am and 6.30pm every working day. It's wearing me out.
So this week was always going to be extra daunting. Exciting, but daunting.
It started last Saturday:
Jon and I volunteered to be course marshals on the new kunanyi mountain running event - our mission was to sit at Junction Cabin and encourage and direct the runners through to the correct track of the 5 available choices at that particular junction (theirs was the most uphill on). It was an easy and fun gig, the only less than easy bit (but still fun), was the bit about getting up at 4.30am so we could drive up to the springs then walk the 3.5k in the dark to get to our position in time.
Not surprisingly we were running a bit late, so we had to jog the last 2 ks - luckily we have good head torches, and lots of warm clothes. As soon as we got to our position we changed out of running shoes, and into ugg boots and puffer jackets. We didn't need them all day though, by the time we clocked off at around noon, it was t-shirt weather. I think it was a great day out for all the runners - we certainly had a good time.
Once we got home around 2, we had originally planned to pack the car and head to launceston but instead we decided to stay at home for the night as we weren't ready to go anywhere and it meant Zali and I could watch the F1 Grand Prix qualifying.
Getting up early again, we drove the 2.5 hours to go orienteering near Evandale which was fun. Then we sent Jett home with Jo, while the rest of us continued on to Launceston making it to our budget motel minutes before the start of the F1. This was the moment when Zali finally let us start eating the delicious F1 themed biscuits she had made.
Thankfully we could sleep in until 8 before packing up and heading to Westbury to do our first (and last) inspection of our holiday house which is being built at the Tasbuilt site there. It was exciting to see all our choices come together:
After our pretty quick look around the 3 sections, we scooted back home and to our desks to work the rest of the day. That kind of ended part one of the crazy week.
Monday, 11 April 2022
I have had a few sewing afternoons lately, with mixed success. These were the success:
and this was the failure:
Not a complete failure, but a failure enough that I ran out of mojo before sewing on the eyes, and certainly before making the other 2 I intended to make.
It's a shamefully long time ago now, but we did celebrate Jon's birthday with a small amount of fanfare and a cake by Zali:
As I only work from home now, I seem to be running more and more often in Peter Murrell Reserve. Which is okay, because I really like it. I still seem to find good spots to stop and take photos.