Shattered and Soothed

Driving to Woodford this morning I had just crossed the M1 and started down the d’Aguilar highway when, under the Pettigrew St. bridge a sound like a gunshot startled me from my cruise mode reverie. A truck was passing in the opposite direction at the time, but I have a suspicion the missile came from above. Not that I could do much about it.

I completed my mission, left another little piece of myself behind, and returned to Bribie without stopping at Beefy’s.

Direct Hit.

A call to the RAC and a new windscreen was arranged. Such good service. While I was talking to them I changed my address and clarified that I did not need to transfer my membership or insurance to RACQ even if my drivers licence is changed to Queensland. So that’s one thing off my mind.

As I talked to the RAC man in Perth I felt calmer. I enjoyed the beauty of my basil bush, which I grew from a piece of a bunch of basil from the supermarket. My parsley died off but I see it is coming back now the pot is in a better position. The chives thrive. The rosemary cuttings survive. The pepper and tomato seeds I planted are struggling valiantly.

I’m going to hunt for a bay tree next.

Riding in the Dark

This evening, to shake off a sudden mood, I took the bicycle for a ride. A better alternative to eating something. The headlight on the bike seems bright, but it is more for being seen than for seeing by. The paths on Bribie are shared.by cyclists and pedestrians. Only the bravest, hardiest cyclists use the roads by choice. Box drivers have little consideration for cyclists. Several times on the road I have not been given the right of way that is my due.

So it is particularly gratifying that Moreton Bay Council have provided such wide, well-made paths. Better still, they are not laid out in straight lines along the roadside, but meander in sweeping curves around trees through park-like reserves. Riding them at night with what seems suddenly a very dim light, is a whole new experience. I rode south along the beach front into an area I hadn’t visited before by bike. The path took me far away from the road and any streetlights. The cool breeze from the sea blew the dull thoughts away and eased the ache pulsing in the rear of my head, just behind the right ear. Bats, frogs and night birds squabbled and called from the trees.

After a while I had no idea where I was, but I didn’t mind. Though the panel LEDs were telling me the battery was down to half charge. I had not plugged it in when I returned from the pool. I had taken an extended ride then, too, up to the mall where I bought a cake and dropped in on the way back for the pool staff. I told them it was to celebrate my twenty first. Kilogram.

I also bought myself a tiny little single serve Christmas cake, some nougat and some Turkish Delight to put aside for December 25. Christmas Day will be a calorie amnesty.

But I digress. Back to pedalling. I knew if I followed the road I’d end up somewhere I recognised. So it proved. I’d travelled further than I thought, but i was now back on the route I travel every day. It was a pleasant diverting ride. I was home again before the panel LEDs dimmed any further.

I’m going to ride more often after dark.

Noddy Has A Very Busy Day and Makes a Decision.

Senior moment today. Fully aware that I had an appointment with the GP in Woodford at 11:15 I hurried off for my morning swim at 07:30. I was in the water well before 8 and swimming to the accompaniment of Mozart, Beethoven, Dire Straits, Ultravox, Pink Floyd, Clannad, Steeleye Span et al.

Ninety minutes passed quickly and just as I planned, I emerged from the pool at 09:30 for a shower before driving the 50 minute commute to Woodford. I like to always allow a little extra time. It is a habit you learn in the outback, where a four hour drive can sometimes end up taking a couple of days.

Except without even thinking about it, I had ridden the bike to the pool. Now I had to ride back to base camp to get the cruiser.

Today I found out how the bike performs on full assist. Really well.

I arrived in Woodford, without breaking the law, in plenty of time for my appointment, which was all about the latest blood and pee test results which are encouraging. I took the opportunity to raise the subject of my knees, now that the weight was coming down. Mehdi prodded and pushed, and wrote a referral for x-rays.

Three weeks ago he had checked me all over for melanomas. All clear. Today as I was about to leave, he pounced on a new spot on my forearm and examined it with his super magnifier. Not good. Worried frown. He took a photo with an attachment on his iPhone and showed me what it was about the spot that concerned him. He told me to make an appointment ASAP to have it excised. I go back on Monday.

A couple of hours later I was being x-rayed by a cheerful and chatty young radiographer at Caboolture Hospital. After a few poses and buzzing sounds, she pronounced that the images had come out perfectly,

Then, looking at the images, she said sympathetically, “I bet they hurt”.

I told her they do. Then added “You know, I used to go out with a radiographer”.

“Did you really?” She said.

“Yes, but she saw right through me from the start”.

“How long have you been sitting on that one?” She said, laughing.

“I composed it just then, for you”.

Next stop the Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre Caboolture. I’ve been here in Queensland over a year now, and several times at road checks when queried about my WA drivers licence and how long have I been in Queensland, I’ve told the police I am passing through, hanging around only for medical reasons. I have already stayed over the legal time for using an out of state licence. The time has come to acknowledge I am not up to the Grey Nomad life in my current state. I won’t be moving on soon. Maybe I shall in the future, but for now, I’m probably in the best place I can be. Where I am. A very Zen thought.

The nice lady at the Customer Service Centre gave me a form for my doctor to sign, and checked the forms of ID I carry. She pronounced them satisfactory. All can be sorted once I return with the signed form.

So out of practical necessity I’ve made a decision. I’m staying here. I shall join a bowls club or some such for a social life, cheap meals and meat pack raffles, and see about a dinghy to fish from.

Testimony

E-mountain bikes may enable newcomers to gain fitness on daunting hills or snowy trails.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/well/move/mountain-biking-cycling-ebike-fitness-health-electronic-assist.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

Or on bush tracks. That seems to accord with my experience so far.

Visitors

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.

L&P

Found in Woolworths. I bought it all. There were only six cans left. There must be a few kiwis here.

For those of us who grew up in NZ in the sixties it is a little can of nostalgia, and it still evokes happy beach memories, despite no longer being bottled in Paeroa, and despite the ghastly new can design.

It was on the Asian foods shelf, beside the Wattie’s tomato sauce, which I also snapped up.

Another crowded morning at the pool. Now the weather is hot, I think I shall swim in the sea on the weekends, and visit the pool weekday mornings only. I cut my swim short this morning after only 75 minutes, due to high demand. Three to a lane gets tricky. Instead I went for another long ride, which is how I ended up in Woolworths looking for kitchen tidy bags and green curry paste.

Speaking of Which,

Today turned out to be the scorcher they predicted. 27 degrees already and I’m in an all- over sweat. I shall be in the camp pool later for sure. Soon. The pool is beside the laundry, so I can kill two birds.

After my swim this morning I pedalled to Aldi for eggs, chorizo and a baguette. There, in the new Wednesday specials , I spotted a plastic laurel leaf trellis with solar powered LED lights. Just the sort of cheap but reasonable quality thing Aldi is famous for. It was too big for the bike, so I went back for it in the cruiser. On the way home I called in to the bottle store for an icy cold bottle of Coopers Best Extra Stout, a drink good enough to rival Speights Old Dark. I’m drinking it now. I have just put the trellis up, and I’m drenched.

This is my home, where I live.
That’s my herb garden in the green bucket, above turkey height.

The idea of the trellis was to allow me to leave my door open and roam the caravan in my underwear on a hot day without offending anyone who glanced in. I couldn’t care less about the LED lights, but my neighbour two doors down was very enthusiastic about them. Christmassy. They won’t cost me anything to run, and if they break, who cares?

My neighbours have all fired up their air-con units. Yes I chose that word deliberately. They are perplexed that I haven’t installed one. They tell me I won’t survive without it. I managed last year well enough, but this year may indeed be different. We shall see.