My Friends

Every now and then I get a message from someone who reads this blog.  The comments are always kind and encouraging and I’m deeply touched by them. Many of those people have been following my website for the past 10 years. I sometimes wonder what people think about my life. This odd bloke who lived on a boat with a dog and now seems to be obsessed with growing vegetables.  It’s not a typical sort of life but I’m immensely  happy with it.  Of course I have times when I’m not happy and I can get a bit depressed.  Strangely though that’s generally when I get a message of encouragement and it genuinely lifts my spirits.

So thanks for reading and to those people who have written to me and have followed my story for years, I feel grateful and honoured by your kind words of support.   Thank you.

Running late 

The barges running to and from the islands are getting harder to get during peak hour.  The past couple of weeks I’ve had to get the later barge from the island due to the early one being booked out.  It’s not so bad though and just one of those island quirks I need to get used to.  I have a contingency plan if needed.

The Easter long weekend is booked out weeks in advance.

I know my photos probably get a bit monotonous but on days like today I can’t help but take them.  This is the ferry leaving the island as I drove onto the barge this morning.  It’s a novelty for me having such beautiful surroundings on my commute to work and I wonder if I’ll get to the point where I just take it for granted.

  

There is something therapeutic about travelling slowly on the water.  6 knots seems to be the ideal speed for a relaxing trip.  I sit back on the barge, close my eyes and feel the roll of the boat.  It brings back memories of the years onboard my old Westsail.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live away from the water.

 This is the  maritime equivalent to a keep right sign, unless you are going the other way and it’s a keep left sign.

  

It’s going to be a hectic week at work and I appreciate the calm before the storm.

Green is Good, Greed is “not” good!

My recent excitement about the little park in my street was met with a combination of disappointment and disbelief today.  The property owner next to the park has decided to try and claim “adverse possession” and has fenced off a significant chunk of the new waterfront park as his.

  

  

He claims that he has used it for the past 10 years and therefore he is entitled to it.  Firstly, I have a bunch of photos that clearly show that he hasn’t used it and secondly he must be getting his misguided legal advice from his cornflakes box since it’s crown land.

I know this bloke reasonably well and have had many conversations over the past year or so and I never got the impression that he was dishonest or unethical.  I also had the impression that he was a community minded person, but clearly I was mistaken.

He has happily sat back allowing ratepayers money to be spent on a rock wall, earthworks and turf and now seeks to not only solely reap the advantage from it but dishonestly claim that he has used this land for the past ten years.  Even the photos I’ve posted of the project’s progression below clearly show the land as unoccupied.  

It’s particularly disappointing because this is such a small community with very limited funding and facilities and it’s a blatantly selfish and greedy move on his part to disentitle the local community from the benefit of the park and/or the money recently spent on it.  

I’m even more angry and offended about this because I’ve recently had discussions with the Council to allow me to make a donation to a local island community project.  I’m trying to add some benefit to the community and this bloke is trying to take it away.

Since it’s completion, the park is actually getting lots of use.  There are 10 people in this photo all enjoying the new facility today.  Hopefully it continues.

He obviously hasn’t told those two little girls that they are trespassing on “his property“. How dare those children enjoy the park!

  

Rest assured there will be updates on this. 

Morning Inspiration

I didn’t sleep very well last night and was wide awake at 3.30am.  We have been getting heavy rain squalls passing through most nights for the past week.  The result of the regular rain is that the island is incredibly green and beautiful.  Instead of trying to sleep I thought I’d get an early start and made some breakfast.  By about 5.30 the sun was rising but the sky was still quite grey and cloudy from the rain earlier in the morning. 

I stood out on the porch taking in the early morning sights and sounds.  The thing I love about the island is its rugged natural beauty.  It feels like I’m a million miles from the city and the air is clean and crisp straight off the Pacific Ocean.

 I’ve mentioned before that I have a family  of white bellied sea eagles that fly off the cliff in front of the cottage.  I see them most afternoons but this morning 2 of the 3 eagles were gliding on the gentle uplift from the cliff.  

  

I could hear them making that typical eagle cry and just floating around above me.  

   

Seeing these birds up close is impressive. I’d guess the biggest has a wingspan of about 2 metres.  The photos don’t do these magnificent birds justice.

 

What a beautiful way to start the day!

Trapped in the big box 

I headed into town today and as usual I was frantically racing around trying to get more things done than I would possibly have time for.  I’ve been putting off getting furniture for the cottage because I don’t want to have to move everything when I’m renovating.  I thought I’d bight the bullet today and go see what all the fuss about IKEA was.

After getting trapped into a conveyor belt of humanoids I scurried through the maze of furniture and homewares hoping I might see a quick way to the exit.  Alas, there is no quick way out. It’s like one of those people you ask a question of and they take an hour to give you an answer after telling you a bunch of irrelevant stuff.  “Just give me the answer!”.  I just want to look at a bed!  

Fantastic, there is a “cafe”, maybe that’s an exit.  I was starving, and trapped, so I figured why not get the whole IKEA Swedish experience.  The cafe is more akin to an army kitchen.  You pick up your tray and enter into another conveyor belt of hungry humanoids.  Swiss Meatballs was apparently the delicacy of the day.  As I’m not a fan of eating balls I went for some overcooked salmon and something on the side that I couldn’t identify. 

  

After gulping the slop down I was back into the furniture conveyor belt looking at “furniture” that appeared to be made of matchstick wood. 

   

You even have to assemble it yourself, maybe that’s part of the fun.

  

Now I shouldn’t be overly critical because obviously this crap appeals to a lot of people and I did see some crap that looked like it would functionally fill a room or bathroom.  Just not mine and probably not for very long.

I think I’ll cut up some old hardwood pallets and make some furniture myself.  Now, IKEA must have a loading dock where they dump their old pallets somewhere close by.

After IKEA I was off to Bunnings (another big box where they don’t keep you captive) to get some paint rollers and supplies to start the interior painting for the cottage this weekend.

Then it was off to catch the last barge for the day. 

It’s good to be home.

  

Super Soil

Exactly 11 days ago I planted some pumpkin seeds into the back garden. I didn’t do anything special, I literally dug a hole with my hand and popped in the leftover scraps from the pumpkin I baked.  Today I have this spurting out of the ground.  If you look closely you can see the pumpkin seed still attached to the sprouting plant.  

  

 

When I first came to the island and I asked about planting stuff some of the locals laughed and said, “mate, just stick it in the ground and it will grow”. And so it does.

New park

I posted recently about the little park in my street where my mooring is.  I use the park whenever I want to take the canoe for a paddle or throw a fishing line in.  The old rusty steel retaining wall has now been removed and replaced with a far more attractive low rock wall.  I believe the cost of the project was in the order of $400,000.  It’s an enormous improvement, I guess it should be for that price.

Below is a series of photos of the project.

          

  

It’s almost finished and I’m extremely happy with the result. I’ll get lots of good use from it when I access the water. The fancy new turf is like a bowling green.  Maybe a Sunday game of barefoot bowls and a BBQ is in order. I wish they would have put in a jetty.  

This photo is looking along the waterfront.  It’s not really a rock wall but more of a few layers of rocks. 

  

I think the Council will probably plant a few trees here since it looks a bit bare, but it’s a nice start.  

Cutty is having a ball running around on the new grass. She is over in the right of the photo having a good sniff of the freshly laid turf.

  

And the evening view is equally as nice.

  

under the weather

One of the problems with living in densely populated areas is when a virus or bug is going around you have a better chance of picking it up from someone.   Having spent a week in the city I got back to the island on Friday and started to get a sore throat.  Foolishly I thought I’d shake it off and by Sunday I had a full blown strep infection.  As a typical bloke I thought I’d tough it out without assistance but after 2 days of dragging myself around the house I eventually took myself to the doctor to get some antibiotics and I’m well on the mend.  It’s easy to take our access to modern and effective medicine for granted.  For less than $10 I had a course of miracle tablets in my hand. Living in a first world country definitely has its benefits.

  

A Shoe Shine

I love unusual things and as I was looking through an old shop today I noticed this coin operated shoe shine machine in the corner. It’s a pretty cool little machine and even has its own polish dispenser above the brushes.



I asked the bloke who owned the shop about it and he said he has had it for years and it didn’t work. I had a quick look over it and asked him whether he would be interested in getting rid of it.  He said, you can have it for twenty bucks”.  I figured if it wasn’t working he wouldn’t want it so I countered with, “I’ll give you ten and you’ll never have to look at it again.”  He said, “deal.”

I got it home and opened it up.



While it looks a bit complicated, I started with the simple stuff.  

Check the fuse. Check power is getting to the board. Check the connections on the board. Bingo.  

Now the coin mechanism.  Had a play with that and adjusted a few bits.  



10 minutes later and replacing a missing spring I was officially in the shoe shine business.



If I can just get 10 people to pay a dollar to shine their shoes, I’ll have made a profit.  Or maybe I’ll just keep it in the workshop as a polisher.



 

The Demolition Shop

I dropped by one of my favourite shops today.  It’s a recycle shop just out of Brisbane city called “the Demolition Shop”.  It has everything from old doors to taps to original stair treads.

They collect all the building materials from old houses and stockpile them for sale. 



It’s a great place to find original period pieces for restoring old timber Queenslander houses.  I’m looking for some big French doors to suit the cottage for the bathroom.  I want to build a deck out the back for the bathroom to open up onto.



 

This shop has so much awesome old stuff.  You have to be careful not to get too excited and lose your head.