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Well, winter is indeed upon us in the sub-tropics! While it’s still in the low-to-mid 20’s during the day, the early mornings and evenings are downright chilly! It was below 10C yesterday morning:

I skipped outdoor yoga as I didn’t think I stood a chance of staying warm! The funny thing is, there are still Aussies walking around in shorts and T-shirts yet Hugh and I are in long pants and long sleeves in the mornings and evenings! Not all Aussies, of course, many are getting their puffy jackets out 🙂 I remember a year ago laughing at a shop that was selling electric blankets – well, I laugh no more! Last night when Hugh and I got home from an 80’s music night, we turned the heat on and got out blankets to sit and watch TV. When I went to bed, I felt like I did when coming home from a night of curling. It’s crazy how cold it feels when the temperature is below 20! I know part of it is that the houses here aren’t insulated so if it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside. But I even find it cold outside. I remember when deciding which clothes to take and which to donate last year, I hummed and hawed about bringing sweaters (“jumpers” in Aussie – I don’t get this one, I can see that they make you sweat in North America, do they make you jump in Australia and the UK??). But I did bring some and I’m glad I did. The problem when going to work, though, is that it’s chilly in the early morning but warms right up by mid-to-late morning, so what you really need is 3/4 length sleeve shirts plus cardigans – so I bought a couple more cardigans this week! But I will quit my whinging (Aussie for whining) because this afternoon we took our ebikes out for a ride on Farnborough beach:


While we were out, we saw a new bird (new to me anyway, Hugh saw them a year ago while walking on the beach while I was working):

This is the Pied Oystercatcher – neat looking bird!

And then later we went to the yacht club and listened to FABULOUS band Instant Karma, who included a bunch of blues-y pieces plus 70’s rock and even a great 80’s tune, exactly the fix I was looking for:


And what a fabulous view – the boats with sticks in the sunset:


So if I have to tolerate some chilly mornings and evenings, so be it. This was a pretty spectacular winter day!

Continuing on the theme of temperature, we had an aerosol can and I was reading the instructions on it and the warning caught my eye. My recollection (correct me if I’m wrong) is that aerosol cans in Canada tend to warn you not to store them in areas where temperatures exceed 30C. Check out the temperature limit here:

48C! So this makes me wonder, what do they do differently in the manufacturing process of aerosols such that they can only withstand 30C in Canada but 48C in Australia?

In the last blog post I included a photo of one of the geckos that live in our patio area. Here is a photo of Stubby, who lives in our garage:


We called him Stubby because he dropped his tail at some point. Tail dropping is a normal phenomenon for some geckos and other lizards. We haven’t seen any tails lying around so we’re not sure what happened to result in Stubby dropping his tail. But it’s been fascinating watching it grow back. It was only 2 weeks ago when there was barely a tail at all and now you can see how long it is in the picture. If you compare it to the gecko photo I posted a couple weeks ago, you can see that this isn’t as long as it would typically be, but it’s more than tripled in length in 2 weeks. Hopefully Stubby is happy about this. I was a little worried that I was going to have to add an addendum to this blog that Stubby wasn’t very happy – we found a short-tailed gecko floating dead in our pond this afternoon – but phew, when we got home from the yacht club, there was the real Stubby on the ceiling!

Speaking of the last blog, Hugh got a better video of kangaroos at the golf course this week. He was golfing with Rod on Thursday and they had to walk through this mob (Kevin L – that would be your roof they’re talking about :)):


I’ve been mentioning that we’ve been getting more and more birds back to the bird bath in the last month. We moved to this house on June 23 last year and there still isn’t the huge variety and volume of birds as last June, but it has been such a wet autumn that maybe the birds have lots of other options for drinking and bathing and so don’t need our bird bath as much. The bin chickens (proper name, Ibis) have been returning and they do seem to enjoy sitting on our TV antenna:

The kookaburras are just so fun to watch. They look cute, fuzzy, and cuddly but don’t be fooled, they are ruthless killers with their beaks and super strong necks! But here are some cute videos. This one shows a kookaburra having a drink and then turning around to figure out how to get the fish in the pond (fortunately, the fish have lots of hiding places so the kookaburras can’t seem to catch them) while his buddy dries off on the fence after his bath:


And here is one who, when the lorikeet initially landed, seemed annoyed (he even snapped at him), but then decided to share the bird bath in peace together:


So the bird bath and pond in the front yard has been where all the birds go – until this week! A couple kookaburras discovered the back pond! I was sitting on the patio working on that brain injury course I’m developing for the company in the US and heard a bunch of splashing:


He must have gone in and out 5 times! And I didn’t catch it on camera, but he whacked his beak against the edge of the pond a few times – I’m guessing this was maybe practice for killing prey (you will recall the video from last year of a kookaburra killing a gecko on our front fence, yikes – if Stubby had witnessed that, he would for sure have dropped his tail). His buddy stayed on the fence most of the time, swooped down to check it out at one point, but didn’t have the nerve to try going in. This pond isn’t terribly deep, but it’s quite a bit deeper than the bird bath, so if you’re a bird, you do have to be prepared to be in over your head!

Some other random things. This was delivered this week:

Yellow and white pages! Can’t remember when I last saw these. What was interesting, though, is that the phone numbers in the white pages were cell (called “mobile” here) numbers. I flipped through and didn’t see Hugh’s or my numbers so I don’t know how this works – hopefully you have to provide permission for them to be published.

I got to try an Aussie treat that I haven’t previously had the other week:

Quince is a fruit that seems to be commonly grown down in Tasmania. They make a paste out of it and you spread it on crackers with cheese. It was very tasty!

Something else we learned about Australia in the last couple months is that there is no nuclear power here. It is all coal and renewables. There has been a big debate recently about if they should allow nuclear to be built.

Another fun fact is that there don’t seem to be any convenience stores here. We thought maybe that was a small town phenomenon but it’s the same in the big cities. We did see some called “convenience” in Sydney that were really just tourist shops. So if you need something after grocery stores have closed, you’re out of luck, better plan better next time!

Speaking of big cities, remember I posted that photo of the new building in Brisbane that to me looked like the Death Star in Star Wars? Well, I discovered that it is actually called The Star, just minus the death part – probably better for marketing that way 🙂 You can see in the link the amazing light shows it’s capable of. It’s supposed to open in August so will have to stop by when I’m next in Brisbane in November.

This weekend is “The Show” in Yeppoon. I talked about this last year, it’s the equivalent of our fall fairs back home. There is a woodwork competition so Hugh decided to make some of his world famous Christmas ornaments to enter this year:

Back in North America, he was one of only a handful of people who could turn the finials so incredibly thin. We haven’t seen anything like these here, so he put a set in the competition in Yeppoon this weekend and another set in the Rocky show on Thursday. Well guess what? Hugh won 2nd place in the Yeppoon show!

The entry fee was $2 and 2nd place won $15 – how many people can brag about that kind of return on investment?! We’ll have to wait and see how they do in the Rockhampton Show – who knows, we might be able to buy an extra bottle of wine this week :). While Hugh was making these at the Men’s Shed, his skill caught the eye of a few of the of the other guys and he’s been asked to come out and teach them this week. Not sure how the retiree will fit this in between all the golf, pickleball, and sailing, but I’m sure he’ll find a way. It’s a tough life 🙂


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