Spot the Difference

I’m pleased I swam yesterday and managed another, early swim this morning. It will be Thursday before I can swim again, provided the wounds are not infected when I remove the dressings.

I was at the pool by seven this morning, and in the water by seven fifteen. I swam until nine, then went to shower. The lid of my shampoo bottle had broken. The shampoo had disgorged itself into my toilet bag. So I used it up as body wash. I should have no problems with dandruff anywhere, for a while.

As I washed I spotted on my right forearm what I thought must be a new mole. I was sure it wasn’t there a while ago. Since finding the lesion on my left arm, I am now more aware of my freckles and moles. Especially since the one I was having excised today had not been there only weeks before.

When I got to Woodford I drew the mole to Mehdi’s attention. He peered at it through his magic optical device, and said “I think you are right”.

“So. That was well spotted” said I with a straight face. Mehdi agreed. Also with a straight face.

That was how I came to have two excisions. One on each arm. Now we wait for the biopsy report.

Two huge chunks were cut out. It is necessary to get all the tissue for three millimeters around the spot, and to cut the length three times the width, so that when it heals, the scar doesn’t pucker up. Five stitches each. Ten total. My new personal best.

I’m glad it wasn’t on my tat.

Not there before.

Mehdi told me he had seen my knee x-rays. My condition is severe and he is referring me to a specialist. The journey has begun.

Having had only an eight hundred kJ breakfast, I was famished by the time I was driving home. I managed to drive past Beefy’s without giving in to temptation, but then the thought of a nice piece of crumbed barramundi popped into my head. I gave in to temptation and set my course.

Saviges did not have barramundi available so I ordered a piece of crumbed cod. And a serve of chips. What the hell.

The cod was delicious. A large fillet. Perfectly cooked.

Eric the bin chicken helped me out by eating some of the coating. He didn’t get much of the fish at first, though I shared some chips. Once he understood I wasn’t going to grab him and wring his neck, or spray him with the diluted vinegar spray put out on the tables by the proprietors for just such occasions, he became quite friendly, and cheerfully ate from my hand.

I was talking to him all the time, just making conversation, asking about his family and whether he preferred battered or crumbed fish, and whether he was in fact female.

Some of the patrons were giving me the disapproving looks of those who do not believe wildlife, especially ibis, should be fed human food. Some gave me the look reserved for people of alternate ability that they are embarrassed by. Others were smiling. Whether at me or the bird I know not and care not. They were smiling. With their eyes. My kind of people.

I have certainly changed. There was more fish than I needed and in the end my ibis friend got a bit. There was still a heap of chips left. He looked enquiringly at them. “I’ve had enough” I said. He looked hopeful. “and so have you”. He said he hadn’t. I told him I was taking the rest home home. He gave a resigned shrug and wandered off.

At home I divided the remaining chips into three portions, which I put in cold storage to have with other meals. Not bad for four dollars fifty worth of chips.

The Facts About Bird Feeding.

Just the other day I was discussing this subject with my neighbour. He was horrified and concerned that I put food out for the birds. Never white bread, only small amounts of whole grain bread, mostly vegetable scraps such as lettuce leaves, carrot peel, tomato tops, and bean ends, and the occasional small scraps of meat and fat. Also, proprietary bird seed. Also corn cobs. I clean up anything not taken in a day.

I was really pleased to hear this podcast from the Australian Geographic Society, and to be validated by Australia’s expert on the subject. Even now, though millions of people feed wild birds in Australia, there is a lot of controversy on the subject.

Darryl Jones is a bird scientist who opened up the debate about bird feeding in Australia. He went from anti-bird-feeder to becoming a responsible voice for an activity a large number of Australians enjoy doing. He is also loves colourful Hawaiian shirts.


TimTam Two, the bush turkey, drops by every day in hopes of a handout. I feed him browning outer leaves from the lettuce, carrot peel, and the seeds from capsicums. Occasionally some leftovers that hid too long in the fridge. He eats anything,

Yesterday I discovered a goanna, about one and a half metres long, lurking under the caravan. He was gone under the gap in the fence behind my place before I could even think of getting the camera. Here is a picture of another one, from another time.

The ibis don’t often come to my end of the camp. I suspect we “permanent” residents may be tidier than the transients. Or perhaps there is another reason. Whatever, I was surprised a few days ago by an ibis poking his head in my doorway – possibly drawn by the smell of fish, Cooked my favourite way (if it is the right kind of fish) in the electric wok. Ibis are not popular birds, and this one did not believe me when I gave him a friendly greeting and asked if he was feeling peckish. With a beak like that he should be, I thought. Perhaps he was offended that I called him “Osama Bin Chikin”. Or perhaps he panicked when he saw the caravan was occupied, and fled.

There are many birds here I don’t recognise. Some give me no chance to observe them before they are gone. The other day I watched what may have been a swift or Martin, darting about catching insects and carrying them off, presumably to feed their young.

Not sure who this little fellow is.

Very late last night I heard a rustling outside my window. I suspected it might be TimTam returned to forage for further scraps. When I peeked I saw a shape that was definitely not a bird. Far too big to be a rat. I suspected at first it was a wallaby. There are several species on the island. But it did not move as a wallaby would. I concluded it was a possum or koala. I kept very quiet and watched. I hoped it would move out into the light from the lamp post opposite my site so I could get a better view, but it somehow melted into the shadows and disappeared with a final rustle of dead leaves. Leaving me wondering, because next morning I found a lettuce leaf left by TimTam. I conclude it was not interested in that. So probably not a possum.

There are lots of lizards and skinks gadding about behind the van. My favourite is one I think is a water dragon. Another one too shy to sit for a portrait.

I hear at least two species of frog, one I recognise as the ubiquitous Green Tree Frog, I haven’t seen any of them yet.

My reptile book was stolen and the internet tells me there are 1597 species of wildlife on Bribie. I have a lot to look forward to.

I haven’t seen any snakes yet, but I’m told they should be making an appearance any time.


For the last few days, smoke has filled the sky over Bribie and the air has been filled with the rather pleasant aroma of burning Australian native bush. The aromatic herbal and eucalypt smell belies the seriousness of the situation. People have died. Properties destroyed. Small furry, scaly and feathered creatures are suffering and dying. Yet we go about our lives as if nothing is happening.

I drove to the last meeting of the RRFPSG yesterday. The motorway into Brisbane was shrouded in so much smoke haze that at times visibility was considerably less than a kilometre ahead.

The moon was full last night. I sat outside in my directors chair and watched it westing in the early hours with a late-night gin and tonic. There was just a hint of colour that I believe was caused by smoke haze from the fires inland.

This morning, the sky here over Bribie appears clear, and the smell is abated, though the RFS map tells me there is still plenty of burning going on.

I should probably be more concerned than I am. My time in the Kimberley has left me unperturbed by fire. Crippled though I may be, I’m a trained firefighter and know what to do. I may not be physically capable any more of fighting a fire, but I know how to run away and where to go.

A Grand Day Out

This morning I drove to Maroochy Botanical Gardens to enjoy a walk and a picnic with two lovely friends, Angelia and Mario. We had a delicious picnic brunch and walked around the sculpture gardens for a little communing with nature.

A couple of guests tried to join us for lunch, a scrub turkey and a currowong. Of course we fed them. The currowong even took food from my hand. I always like it when that happens. The currowong is a member of the magpie family and very intelligent. That she figured out she could trust me is cheering. The turkey on the other hand wants the food, but has no trust. Stupid bird.

The walk we took was quire a short one, and the path was concrete, so it didn’t cause me any problems except for a short cut I took over a lawn down a bit of a steep gradient. Going downhill is difficult.

I enjoyed the nature sculptures very much, but some of the more abstract works did not resonate so well. I’m no connoisseur but I know what I like.

I was well on my way home by two, and back on Bribie before three. I had my swimming kit with me, so I stopped off at the pool for a swim. I entered the water at precisely 3pm and swam solidly until 5:03 by which time I had completed 100 lengths exactly. A new personal record. 2,500 metres in two hours 3 minutes. I’d had to pile the pace on to squeeze the last laps in. I just missed my two hour target. But my goal of a 5,000 metre marathon is beginning to look achievable.

I was pretty pleased with myself until I saw I was the only person in the pool and the staff were closing everything up.

It turns out the pool closes at 5 on Saturday. It is only open until 7 on weekdays. The wonderful staff were very obliging, They brushed aside my apologies and let me shower and change without making me feel a total idiot. I’ve had nothing but friendly and cheerful support from them since I started frequenting the pool.

Back at home I had a light meal and spent the next three hours trying to transfer photos from my camera to my MacBook via WiFi. And failing. What I should have done right at the start was take the memory card out of the camera and insert it into the laptop. KIS.

Architeuthis dux

I remember well my one and only encounter with the great giant squid, Architeuthis dux.

It was long ago, when I was young. So long ago, in fact, it was back in the days of pounds, shillings and pence. If you youngsters know what that means.

I was swimming in the sea near Goat Island when I encountered the huge squid, almost 10 metres long. That’s 32 feet as we called it back then. Huge.

Well this was a deep sea creature and was clearly unwell being washed around in the waves and surface currents. I grabbed a couple of its tentacles and dragged it towards the shore.

With a lot of heaving and hefting I managed to get it into the back of my beach buggy. It was pretty flexible.

I knew what to do. I drove straight to my friend John’s place. Luckily he was home.

I knocked on his door. “John!” I called.

“I’ve got that six quid I owe you”.