Friday, 21 November 2014

The End to the Australian Leg

Saturday 26th October to Friday 21st November 2014

One of the main reasons for the original timing of this trip was to coincide with Diane's dad turning 80; the rest of the things that required us to be on this trip all fell into place as a result of that original reason.

As they live in Queensland (Mooloolah) and they have done so for the last 20 years - something about it being warmer and such nonsense - I think I have made mention of the fact that I do not do hot weather all that well - never have, never will - it necessitated a huge amount of time and effort co-ordinating everyone to be able to make the trip - at least as many as could go.

As a sure sign of some solidarity, which is unusual for this complete family, everyone made it.

Diane and I flew up on the Saturday with Mitchell and Sara flying onWednesday; Sam and Vivienne were Thursday flyers; Robert, Sonia and Rialey are Queenslanders and only live 25 minutes away anyway.

Anyway, arriving on Saturday evening we were immediately confronted with darkness - these banana benders do not understand about the concept of daylight saving, preferring instead to have the sun come up at 4:30am and then set at 7pm - dumb, dumb, dumb.

It's a bit like going back in time by 10 years and 1 hour.

So it was night-time when we arrived but still warm-hot - nothing changed there.

Both Millie and Fil were well and in fact looking better than we had seen them for some time - always pleasing as they are just coming out of middle-age - at least according to Millie.

They moved house about 12 months ago and whilst I had been there last year when I came back to Australia, Diane had not seen the new home and was really pleased with both the size (not too big); the space (plenty of usable room) and the small backyard (means less work for them).

The rockwall that was worked on last year was now looking a treat with the plants established.
The place is looking more established and quite colourful
compared to a year ago

The little township is quite well populated with shops and really only a 5 minute walk away, so there is a chance to pop down to the supermarket or the hardware shop or grab a paper; as well there are a few good restaurants/take-aways, but importantly there is a nice coffee shop/cafe.

We think the coffee is fine, but Sam (the barista) will tell you otherwise - she has become a coffee snob, me thinks!

I had arranged to keep working for this week - I realised a while ago that when the sun is up early I am usually the same; older people take longer to get themselves going - this meant that the morning would be spent waiting for others to get ready (even if there was nothing to get ready for), so instead I used it to work.

We had a couple of days (really hours either side of mid-day) out doing some sightseeing and not a lot else; we organised a few things for the birthday night; and for the day after.

Suddenly Wednesday arrived and so did Mitch and Sara who found the house without too much trouble - Sara had not met the grandparents before and she took to them as indeed they took to her - well really why not - she is such a lovely girl.

Arrangements had been made for the two of them to stay at a resort at Caloundra - still only about 20 minutes away - and they would drive over.

It worked out well as they picked up Sam from the airport - she was the last to arrive - and we headed up into the mountains to Maleny for the birthday dinner at Key - Tastes of Africa.

Robert, myself and Sonia

the lovely Samantha

you reckon they look like father and son?

Fil (Terry) with his pet Komodo dragon

We were all there about the right time - restaurant was ours for the evening - and the service, the food and drinks were all very good.

With so many options on the menu, it was difficult for some to make a choice; they were able to cater for special requests including gluten-free.

Everyone was chatting away without any problems and we just enjoyed a very good night, which was just as well because Fil (Terry) had a great time as well - not one to be enamoured with the prospect of having people fuss over him, it all went over well and he enjoyed it as well.

Before we knew it we needed to be on our way home; the bill was taken care of and the place was left reasonably tidy.

The following day, Friday, we had only said to the older pair that we were taking them out for the day and that there would be a little bit of walking involved.

They do enjoy a good trip to the zoo, so we spent the day at Australia Zoo, just down the road and the home to the Irwin family (and a bunch of crocs).
They are really looking well - Fil (Terry) and Millie (Dorothy)

Sara and some guy - oops looks like Mitch

The weather was warm to hot (when isn't it) but with plenty of shade around we managed a fair amount of walking and seeing most things; with nearly all of us from interstate/overseas we wouldn't be back for a while anyway, but for Millie and Fil, who were only a few minutes away, they probably would like to see things again - so we arranged for a season pass for each which will last until March 2016 - mmm, that is thinking a bit ahead - they may not get to use all of it - a bit like being very positive about things and buying green bananas.

By the time we got home we were all feeling a bit knackered but not enough that the games wouldn't come out, including the Trivial Pursuit.

It was a close run thing with each of the three teams having answered questions to get each of there "cheeses" in place, all were on the centre spot at the same time - 2 teams answered incorrectly, but Sara and Mitch triumphed in the end.

Another latish night - Sara and Mitch headed off - they were off down to the Gold Coast in the morning for 2 days - the rest of us were going to take it easy and recover - 2 late nights in a row and an exhausting day in between - I certainly needed the chance to recuperate.

There apparently were markets on each of the two days over the weekend and those with an interest in them disappeared to be absorbed in them - Fil and I rested (Sam as well on Saturday).

With an exhausting week behind us, Sam and I flew back to Melbourne, and met up with Mitch and Sara who flew from Brisbane at the same time - Joey (one of Mitch's friends) arrived to pick us up and at some time after midnight, this little white rabbit was finally in his own bed - the weather outside considerably cooler and more inviting.

Diane stayed in Queensland for an extra few days and we then spent the last two weeks of our time in Melbourne finalising the movement of Sam upstairs and Mitch back downstairs.

Coupled with all of that was getting rid of all of the rubbish that seemed to have accumulated between the two of them.

We said goodbye to Sara as she flew back to Los Angeles to begin their relocation to the US - but without her man - just for the time being.

Once the US Embassy starts getting on with the job. Mitch will get his visa and he will be off.

Had another problem with this laptop - another virus that McAfee wouldn't handle - but thanks to the guys at Geek Computers the laptop  was restored to how it was prior to the problem. I updated it with all of the stuff I did on the new one I bought in the meantime. I should however have got rid of McAfee and installed the new anti-virus software because it (McAfee) let the same virus through.

Special thanks to the Geek guys again - they provided great after-hours service to help get me up and running again - first thing I did was uninstall McAfee and install Trend Micro - all working well again.

Now on holidays and no work for over a week.

In the meantime we managed to squeeze about 90kgs into our bags; got a taxi to the airport at 4am and flew out bound for Auckland.

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