Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dad Moves ......

Dad ready to leave his Yarrawonga unit.
As many of you would be aware, my Dad did not cope at all well with the Victorian winter (which just happened to be one of the wetest ones on record). Even so, he still managed to turn outside of his unit area into a lovely garden while he was there.  I'm so pleased he got to see the roses bloom and even the Gladioli's put out a great show.  Much better than Dad had expected since they were bulbs just bought from one of the cheap shops. 

the back yard area
He has been wanting to return to the Brisbane Bayside area of Wynnum Manly ever since he and my stepmother moved away from it about 15 yrs ago.  To cut a long story short, which I'm sure many of you might be up to speed with anyway if you follow my blog, he ended up moving down here in March this year.  His unit sold pretty quickly once he put it back on the market and 45 days later, settlement! 

Chrysanthemums flowering out of season.
  Naturally there had to be a hiccup  - a problem with the furniture removalist breaking down so they sent a friend of theirs with a car
Arriving at the new unit
and tandem trailer (and nobody else to assist with the moving of furniture - lucky I was able to roll up my sleeves and hadn't happened to wear a skirt that particular day!)  I was so exhausted, the last thing I thought was to get a photo of it, so Dad reminded me of that the day it was due to turn up at his new unit - a serviced apartment in a Christian retirement village in Manly West - and interestingly built on land that was once owned by Dad and his brother years ago for market gardening.  They had to sell up since at the time they had trouble trying to get water!  Anyhow, back to moving day ........

  Imagine my surprise when I saw that turn up instead of van, knowing it would be making an interstate journey ........ Thank the Lord for watching over things and keeping rain from getting it all drenched (kmart tarps with holes don't equal water proofing). So Tuesday was a little more tiring than I had planned you might say (not to mention very stressful for Dad who was horrified by it all - trouble is, what options do you have when you have to be out that day and live in a rural area, and it's the 2nd last day of November!) 
I was feeling more horrified/ saddened by the fact that all his stuff actually did fit into the trailer ...... even though we kinda needed it to fit in order for it to get moved! 

Dad spent that night at our house and then he and I made the trek to fly out of Albury, via Sydney to Brisbane.  I was very thankful I'd thought to phone Qantas and arrange for mobility assist - they did a great job meeting us and helping Dad, who really did need the extra assistance as the flights played with his inner ear and balance - I'm sure the stress of the big move also played a major role.  All in all, it was a good trip up on Wednesday and Dad stayed with Uncle Richie that night, allowing the brothers time to catch up with each other.
Meantime, I stayed with a friend of mine who has her own dog grooming business and Wednesday night just happened to be the Christmas dog obedience break up and all were required to attend if we planned on eating dinner lol (not really, but it was a couple of hours of much needed light relief after the past couple of stressful months). I came prepared already dressed in my dress that I told her was also appropriate for Christmas lol - I did have a change of earings with me to add a Christmas touch and being the good friend she is, she had a chrissy hat ready for me to add the finishing touch ....... and voila!  From an hour car trek and several hours of plane travel and airports and rental cars  to doggie Christmas party !  Love it  lol
Photos with one of her doggies before we left

 and Thursday morning just after 9am the stuff arrived (and another removalist to assist).  Uncle
Richie was on hand to assist and a couple of hours later an old friend of mine showed up.  We took a much needed break for morning tea at the coffee shop and Sheila and I caught up on old times.  It was so lovely to catch up with her again and she stayed to help with more unpacking of Dads stuff.    The last time I saw Sheila we were at the same retirement village cleaning out my Grandmothers Unit while she was being moved to Palliative Care! 

I am blessed to have some very special friends in my life, friends that we are able, despite the time and the miles that might separate, to just pick up where we left off, accept things as they are, no pretence, just pure friendship!  I thank the Lord that I have a few of those types of friends and I do miss that I can't catch up with them more often.     It took the whole day, but we managed to get the furniture all placed , TV reprogrammed, photos up, things packed away into drawers and Dad and I even made a trip to Bunnings so I could buy him a couple of new outdoor chairs to go with his table, and a couple of Geranium plants to add some colour, as well as a new watering can and a few colourful pot saucers to give his balcony a bit of colour.

 Can you see the little "rocks "  (Stacey had bought him those for his garden at Yarrawonga ), and the gnome light (Dad and I both bought one of those when he first moved Yarrawonga) .......... they were packed in the hope he would have a spot to put them at his new unit (he hadn't actually been able to view it prior to moving there, so it was hard to know how things would fit). 

Job done!  Unit all Set up xox (Dad took his 1st Ipad photo)
  Anyhow, I think we managed well and I really hope Dad is happy with it.  It was a bit sad saying goodbye to him, and goodbye again to this area as it still very much is a big part of me having spent many years of life in this area at various stages....... but now its time for this next chapter and to embrace whatever the pages ahead have for us all.   Take care my friends


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Maryborough Delight

The past week has been busy as we set off on Tuesday for a flying trip north in order to undertake the next step in changing our gears to what will be retirement for hubbie and a slower pace for me.   I'm sure you've heard all about making sure your "ducks are all lined up" , and for us that meant getting our house in an area that will serve the next chapter of our lives ........ it happens it will be in Maryborough, Qld.  Leaving here while the moon was still up, we drove up doing a long 14 hour stint the first day getting from here to Dalby .......

We travelled pretty much the route shown above - Bundalong to Corowa, Lockhart, Temora, then meeting the Newell Hwy just on the outskirts of West Wyalong.  The water from the flooding at Forbes can still be seen up near the roadway which has km's of road getting repaired.........
Gold Mining along the hwy near Peak Hill area

and then a short 4 hr stint the following day........ ready  and waiting  for the pre settlement inspection, We waited at our favourite spot ........ the Maryborough Harbour has this great little place we found the last time we were up - perfect spot for taking some time out

too cute not to include!

with settlement on our future home the following day!  And here she is ...........

Isn't she lovely!  Built back in 1910 she has been well looked after by various families over those years.  I'm so happy to have the wonderful L shaped verandah ........

I can see me enjoying sitting out there with coffee and handiwork or a book to read, letter to write .........    Although it is a much smaller yard than what we have here in Bundalong,  ( the idea is to totally
reduce our mortgage down ,  to downsize the yard maintenance area a tad , and to be in a town where we don't have to drive 40kms to post a letter, or go to the bank, doctor etc etc.)..........Would you believe there is a small post office, patchwork shop and general store just down the corner of the street!!!  Apart from 4 bedrooms (so that one is my craft room since I have to leave my wonderful Bee Hive Cabin behind),   .......It has a fenced chook house area,

and a fenced vegie garden area separate to the rest of the yard! This means the girls can be let out from the chook area and not get into the vegie garden!!   I'm super happy to say that hubbie has decided the 6 chooks we currently have can come with us! Mary, Henrietta, Scarlet, Susie, Penny and Alice are all very happy to stay together in their little flock I'm sure!  Hopefully they will be able to pack up their suitcases soon! 

Oh how we would have loved to be able to stay, but alas, the following day we had to begin the 18 hr drive back down here. We were both very happy to stop over in Parkes for a much needed break.
Stopover in Parkes

  I took some cotton and  a crochet hook along with me and managed to crochet up some new dishcloths whilst sitting in the passenger seat. There were so many bumps in the road at times, crochet is the only thing manageable for me!

 We have put our Bundalong home on the market and we will stay here and continue working until it sells.  In the meantime we are beginning the Decluttering and packing up of non essentials.  And of course we only have till Wednesday of next week before Dad's unit has settlement go through.  The removalist is booked in for Tuesday afternoon to enable us to get it cleaned up. Dad will then spend the night at Bundalong with us and I will be flying up to Brisbane with Dad to get things sorted out for him at Janoah Gardens in Brisbane before flying back on the Friday (ready for work again on the Monday).   Naturally things keep busy and Dad has just had to have a remnant of a tooth removed yesterday (teeth that were removed 60 odd years ago!) ..... so this last week remains very busy.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Planning the Next Stage

Before we get into all the knitty and gritty - we best do the knitty, which hasn't been much - just a couple of beanies for birthdays ..... one orange one for young Layla  and an order for a minion beanie from my nephew in New Zealand finished off the 5 birthday beanies for the NZ crew (unfortunately I actually forgot to take a finished photo of it, so now I'm waiting for it to arrive so my sister can get a photo of it for me!

My brain feels exhausted at present with so much stuff that's been going on, especially this past week ...... but that's just how it is sometimes when you have
The Garden Dad did outside his Unit in Yarrawonga
several things in the planning stages that are beginning to move forward.  Dad's unit finally went unconditional on Friday afternoon at 1 minute past 5pm!!! So settlement for the sale on his Unit in Yarrawonga will be on 30th November  (yes, the one he moved into in April this year)

........ and the purchase of the Serviced apartment at Janoah Gardens in Brisbane will be happening at the same time.  With settlement so close, we have had to book the removalist who will collect his furniture on 29th Nov with delivery to Brisbane on 1st December.  I will be accompanying Dad up - we plan to fly out of Albury and get a direct flight to Brisbane on the 30th with me staying for just a couple of days to help get him unpacked before I fly back home on the 2nd ready for work after that weekend.

  So with Dad pretty much set, our planning for retirement has continued.  
Native Blue Banded Bee on our lavender

 Unless you already are mortgage free, or have a very healthy superannuation or other funds available - planning for retirement is a tricky business that takes time.  We began thinking about mortgages in serious terms a couple of years ago, and even with paying close to twice the amount we really need to each week, its still going to take another 6 and a bit years to pay off the mortgage here at this current rate. When we moved here 6 3/4yrs ago, we had thought the sale of the house in Townsville would have happened straight away and the price the agents had given us, meant that this house here would have been left with just a very small mortgage.  Unfortunately the Townsville place took 5 years to sell, had renters in that wrecked so much we had to replace carpets, fix gates and tiles etc, the housing market in Townsville crashed and then it finally sold for $50,000 less than what we paid for it - leaving us in quite a financial predicament, that has taken a lot of hard work to climb out of!   So now,  as one does, we get up, dust ourselves off and  get on with  planning out the next chapter ...........    
As you might remember from the previous post, we completed our secret squirrel business ....... and continued with negotiations when we got back.  We are now close to settlement on our investment house in Maryborough.......... very close, in fact settlement occurs on the 17th November (can you believe it's actually getting settlement before Dads unit - mostly because of all the mucking around initially and change of contract with Dad's unit which has drawn things out a bit)...........
And now with all of those 2 main pieces pretty much taken care of we have had to make another big decision.  Between now and April is the best time for selling houses in Bundalong as many people come up regularly from Melbourne during that time and it's become quite the place for them to have holiday houses ........ so yes, we've decided to put our house here up on the market and just see what happens, see where the market really is and get some feed back.  It would be lovely for Pete to be able to retire sooner rather than later, but that will all depend on when we sell here ......... so it's a wait and see here in Bundalong.   At least the garden is looking nice and the house and yard have changed quite a bit since we bought it on 26th March, 2010

And here it is now ............. with Solar, water tanks, gardens etc etc

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Crazy Days and Flooded Rivers

Up into the car park and around the park
With all the rain the rivers are flooded and overflowing and have caused damage for a number of people, but here we are fine, and I've only had one day where I've been unable to get to work due to flood waters across the main road to Wangaratta. The Murray River has flooded its banks and the walking track is under water, as is the jetty and half the car park leading to the flooded boat ramp.
The Jetty a couple of days before it went under
The swans with babies before the floods got right up

Jetty and picnic tables under

Rather, its been other craziness that has been keeping me away from writing my blog.  After
getting so sick I found I'd lost all interest in anything craft wise and it hasn't been until this week that I finally picked up my knitting needles to finish off this 3/4 sleeve jumper "Bear River", another Laura Aylor pattern.  At the time, I was happy with the length, but after wearing it the other morning I'm wondering if I should have made it just a tad longer??

With Friday Night with Friends suddenly upon us, I thought I might sit down and do some stitching of one sort or another - seems all I have managed to do is tidy up the craft cabin and work out what birthday gifts now need to get done before its Christmas!!!  I really need to get that side of things moving along!  I have managed to get a couple of dishcloths made for a friend to send off with a letter to her ....... hope they helped you Lyn to be able to see the difference with the types of cottons.

When Pete and I returned from the wedding in Brisbane, Dad had decided he definitely wanted to return to Brisbane and had made enquiries about a serviced unit in Janoah Gardens (a retirement village in his old stomping grounds of years ago - it even sits on land that once upon a time Dad's family had a small farm holding on!)  So once over the flu, I was busy getting his unit placed onto the market and beginning all that comes with
Maryborough Marina - tide out
that ........ its now looking quite promising that it may be sold - so fingers crossed!!

With that knowledge and the recent one day adventure to Maryborough and Hervey Bay with our friends whilst up for the wedding - Pete came home from work a couple weeks after our return and stated he is pretty close to ready to retire!!  Now that could mean a couple of months or another year or two and is dependant on a number of things that need to fall into place.  Mortgages, particularly of the larger type, are not something one can retire with when there is little to no superannuation to pay them out.  We had agreed we would stay here and continue to work to enable Dad to be able to move down to be closer to us, but with him keen to move back to an area he knows better and to have the care he may need in the next couple of years (which we cannot provide if we still have to be working), we are now "free" to be able to make other viable decisions for our "where to next" chapter of life. 

View from The Ridges Motel Room at Sydney Airport
So with some secret squirrel business and the help of a convenient long weekend, we decided to take a plane trip back up to Maryborough to take a look at some of the houses up there.  We flew out of Albury to Sydney on the Thursday night and stayed at one of the hotels at the Airport before having to be out of there by 4.45am to get back to the domestic section for an early flight out of Sydney to Hervey Bay.  We had quite the hectic time looking at lots of places - nothing is sorted or finalised yet, but our friends Chrissy and Denise came up from Gympie to have lunch with us on the Saturday, after which Pete and I headed down to the Marina to sit and enjoy it all.  Check out the mother duck that came by with her ducklings to eat the small crabs as the tide was going out......

And as we sat there sipping on some drinks and watching the world pass by, I happened to look over and saw this sign for Siromet Winery - how funny, as that was the Winery where the wedding had been held and initially led us to Maryborough in the first place!  I just had to take a photo of that!!

Sunday morning we headed to Hervey Bay early to have breakfast and enjoy the sunshine before having to fly back.  It was fun talking to people who were on the jetty catching fish - such a lovely atmosphere and nice weather, it was hard to leave it behind!

So I've been busy helping Dad with his viewings for his unit and meantime trying to do some Decluttering around our place.  We need to do some serious Decluttering if we are planning on a big move again as I sure do not want to take stuff we don't need to take, or things we won't have room for (including lots of ornaments I'm not fussed on dusting anymore, or boxes of stuff waiting to be sorted from the last move!!).....................  I feel the winds of change in the air .........
Canola Fields around Yarrawonga

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Let's Catch Up ..............

Finally I'm able to sit down to catch you all up on the last few weeks ......... You may want to grab a cuppa as I share .............
First there was the trip up to Brisbane to attend the wedding of my cousin Sharlene.  She was married at a Winery in Mt Cotton, just on the south of Brisbane. It was a lovely wedding and we were able to catch up with some of my family on Dad's side.  He decided he would not bother to go up for the wedding and this enabled Pete and I to have a much needed bread away. 
My Cousin Natalie and I (she was bridemaid)


Dad has not settled into life in Victoria (the winter is made worse since it has been wetter than usual, and Dad resents having to turn on a heater).  Dad has now made the decision to put his unit on the market and move back to Brisbane..........     It has been nice getting to take him to various places which he seems to have enjoyed ..... particularly if  tea and cake were on the menu lol

Taking a couple of extra days to enjoy some much needed time away, we arrived in Brisbane and hired a car, driving up to Gympie where we were going to stay with some friends of ours for a couple of nights before heading back to Brisbane on Saturday for the wedding. 

They have 5 Border Collie dogs and a couple of cats to help keep them in line lol.  Let me  It was lovely getting to spend some time with Chrissie and Denis again. 

On Friday they decided it would be nice to head to Maryborough and Harvey Bay for the day.   It was great getting to see the ocean again and we enjoyed a lovely lunch at Harvey Bay and spent some time in a few opp shops and antique stores in Maryborough. 

Surprisingly, it is only 1.5hrs from Gympie (3hrs from Brisbane). 

Pete and I were both quite smitten with all the lovely old Queenslander style homes around
Maryborough and I'm sure if we had more time we would have been doing lots of exploring - such beautiful old buildings around the town.

 On Sunday morning after the wedding, it was nice to wake up in the centre of Brisbane CBD and headed to an upstairs cafĂ© for a lovely
breakfast sitting on a veranda in the sunshine.  Surprisingly, the weather was cooler than we had anticipated and ended up in our jeans and jumpers for most of the trip.  Afterwards we spent most of the day catching up with one of my cousins  (Natalie) and her family, before heading over to Uncle Richies place so he could show Pete the car he is currently doing up.......


We flew out Monday morning from Brisbane, but it was Monday dinner time before we actually made it back home after getting into Melbourne and then driving the 3 and a bit hours back up here.  Scruffy and Cliff stayed with PJ and Sonia and had a fabulous time!!!

An unusual Geranium
Unfortunately a few days after getting back home Pete and I both came down with the flu!  I ended up so bad by the end of the first weekend home that I had to go to the doctors on Monday morning and he gave me the week off work - also sending me for chest xrays to check I didn't also have pneumonia, I was in such a bad way!  In fact, here it is the weekend and I'm still feeling quite exhausted.  Not sure how I'm going to manage back at work tomorrow, but at least it's only for 3 days this week.  I am still congested and have a cough - but nothing like what it was this time last week, and I still have another days worth of antibiotics left.  Thankfully Pete didn't get it quite as bad, although bad enough that he also had to go to the doctor and get put on antibiotics!

Pete and Chrissy as I try for photos
During the week Dad has been in touch with the real estates and his unit is now up for sale - lets pray for a quick sale as there is a unit available in the retirement village in the Wynnum area and he would like to get up there as soon as possible.  Sometimes it seems, no matter how much you try, your best is never good enough, but at least I can say we gave it all we could!

Having been so sick,  (perhaps stress has given it more vengeance ), its been unfortunate to have had a week off work and not be able to do any craft work!  In fact it wasn't till yesterday that I picked up a crochet hook to make the big effort of trying to get a simple dishcloth done!   I sure hope my energy picks up again quickly, as with Spring in the air the place is needing a good spring clean both inside and out in the garden!

Now before I forget, a thankyou to Maria from Life on the Block who sent me a hexie for my tablecloth.  I will get a photo during the week and have it ready to share in my next post.