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Still no sign of our shipping container :(. But the good news is, we haven’t heard that they’ve inspected it and found problems, so hopefully it’s just busy and they haven’t gotten to it yet. But we figured it’s a good time to start painting the house while we still don’t have furniture, so Hugh got started on that this week. It took quite a few trials-and-errors to match the colours we had in Stoney Creek (Hugh’s now on a first name basis with all the patient and amazing staff at Inspirations Paint), but we’ve ended up pretty close for the 2 bold colours. The pale purple from our bedroom in Stoney Creek is a bit darker for our bedroom here, but I still just love how this colour feels:

Our bedroom, ensuite bathroom, and 2 spare rooms are all now in this “Greek Lavender.” And then we did an accent wall in our TV room in red. The name of the colour we chose is “Red Back” – a good Australian name, paying homage to the killer redback spider here :).

The rest of the house will be a plain ol’ warm beige. Will send photos once painted and furnished.

Speaking of killer things like the redback spider – our mailbox is very nice and placed right next to a beautiful flowering hedge, but REALLY awkward to access. Now, I watched plenty of YouTube videos before we left for Australia so I am well versed in all the places killer snakes and spiders like to hide (because it must be true if random people posted it on YouTube). Therefore NO WAY IN HELL am I sticking my hand into this mailbox to check for mail. I started by using long kitchen tongs, but that was really awkward (and I don’t want the neighbours to think there’s a weirdo on their street who walks around with kitchen tongs). Well, we were in Bunnings yesterday (one of our favourite shops, sort of like a big Home Hardware) when Hugh saw the perfect gardening gloves that would work for mailbox access:

Much better dexterity than tongs, full protection up to the elbows, and now neighbours will just think I do a lot of gardening near the mailbox, nothing weird about that at all. Problem solved :).

The real killer down here isn’t snakes and spiders but the SUN. Wow, can you ever feel the UV rays – it is intense, even in the dead of winter. No wonder Queensland is the skin cancer capital of the world. Will be investing in A LOT of sunshirts. And already have a lot of sunscreen – even comes in very convenient massive pump sizes:

Hugh was busy with a couple other projects this week as well. He’s been wanting to make his own pasta for a long time so we bought a pasta maker and he tried it out for the first time on Wed:

Success! I of course have very high expectations for all sorts of delicious pasta now… I have a feeling Hugh’s going to be wishing he hadn’t retired :).

One thing we’ve been a bit disappointed in here is the bread. Lots of loaves called sourdough, but they’re not the sourdough we get at home. Here it’s a much softer bread, the type that sticks to your teeth. Most of you know that Hugh’s COVID skill was making sourdough, so he set out to resurrect this skill here. First he joined a local sourdough group on Facebook and found a couple nice people to get some starter from. The starter he had at home came from his friend Paul Simon, so had quite a strong pedigree and Hugh didn’t want to lose that. So before we left, he found a way to dry it so we could bring it into the country. He tried reconstituting it on its own here but it wasn’t working. But once he got some fresh liquid starter from the kind people here, he was able to mix in what he brought from home and a couple weeks later, success! Then he bought a cast iron bread baker and found a local organic flour supplier and he started the mixing, kneading, and proofing process yesterday. Because there were already so many unknowns with this first batch, Hugh decided to do the bread on the BBQ instead of the oven because he has a good feel for the heat of the BBQ:

And yay, it was successful, finally we have proper sourdough bread! To heck with shrimp-on-the-barbie, we now have bread-on-the-barbie :):

As I was scrolling through one of the local Facebook groups last night, I saw that there is a sourdough breadmaking class in Yeppoon on Aug 20 so Hugh is going to attend that and see if there are any tips he can pick up for making bread in this hot, humid environment. But I was still VERY impressed with how well this first batch turned out – DELICIOUS!

I’ve mentioned birds a few times so I set out to record some bird songs for you this week. There’s a crow making a racket outside right now, but every time I walk out the door to record him, he stops squawking. The crows here are very vocal and sound like a psychopathic cat.

Next on the “wow, are they ever loud” scale are the lorikeets. I took this video for 2 purposes – it shows a bit of a sunset and also showcases the cacophony the lorikeets make at sunset every day:

We took more photos of the lorikeets for you, from when they visit our bird bath and window ledge (and window – they fly into our bay window regularly, hopefully once the shutters arrive, they will realize they can’t get through and the mass concussions will cease) every afternoon:

I told you about the Foxtail Palms our friend Rob gave us (he’s been growing them from seed) – here is a better photo of one of them:

The new frond you can see starting is what the lorikeets like to land on and peck at and it helps release the frond. And… as if on cue, it’s 2:15pm and the lorikeets have arrived for their daily bath-and-stand-on-new-frond routine:

Continuing with the bird theme, there are kookaburras EVERYWHERE here. I remember our first night at the Airbnb, we thought there were monkeys in the neighbourhood. I recorded this the other morning. Not monkeys, just kookaburras laughing.

My new favourite bird is the Pied Butcherbird. He looks like a magpie lark so I don’t think I could pick him out of a lineup. But he sings for us every morning (and at other times throughout the day – he was just singing again a few minutes ago) and it is such a beautiful sound – sort of like part flute part clarinet. I recorded this to share with you. It’s just a small part of a much larger repertoire. I look forward to waking up to his song each morning!

We had our first rainy days on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I hadn’t previously understood when the locals would say how much they enjoyed a rainy day. Well now I get it – when they are few and far between, they are indeed nice! Listening to the rain on the steel rooftops was lovely, as was watching the clouds form over the mountains.

A couple sunset photos taken from our front yard on Wed after the rain cleared:

And Hugh has started an herb and vegetable garden in our back yard:

With the hills in the area, we lucked out and have a raised garden bed! Much easier on aging knees and backs :). We’re looking forward to discovering what grows well and in what season around here.

And oh yes, there was another music bingo night on Friday, this time it was 70’s music! We learned about another iconic Aussie smash hit – Jump in my Car by the Ted Mulry Gang (very entertaining lyrics :)). We invited our friends Rob and Barb to join us and meet our other friends Leigh and Darren and we had a blast!

This time I had far superior bingo cards and I won the 2-line draw, meaning I get a free bottle of house wine from the Capricorn Tavern:

That’s Leigh sitting next to me and I’m going to force her to share the wine with me :).

I think that’s it for this week. Last week after I posted my blog entry, I heard from our friends at “The Gulch” where we used to live in Stoney Creek. It was such a lovely update to hear how well everyone was doing and the fun things the gang was up to and I had my first pang of homesickness – I’m getting teary again now when I think about it. And then the next morning, Hugh was driving me to work and the 80’s song Down Under came on the radio and I got all teary again, but this time a happy teary, thinking about how I’ve wanted to live in Australia for 22 years and now finally here we are. Last week I talked about the “split system” air con units here. Well, I think I’m also a split system now – loving both my old and my new homes :).


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