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It’s been 2 weeks since my last post and I think, unless something really newsworthy happens in between times, I’ll probably reduce to fortnightly (that’s Aussie for every 2 weeks) posts going forward. This is because I think I might finally feel like I’m settling in and just living a normal day to day life. From deciding in December 2022 to make this big move, to planning the big move, to finding temporary accommodation, to learning a new job, to buying a house, to learning a new world, to having an unexpected health scare, to taking on a leadership position at work, to my mom having a big unexpected health scare, to going through accreditation at work so soon after arriving – I really feel like I haven’t had a “normal” week in the past 18 months! We finished accreditation (successfully!) this week and I have one other massive project (creating an entire online brain injury intervention course for a company in the States) that was supposed to be done May 31 (not happening), the house renovations are done, the yard renovations are done – so I think normal life is soon to be upon us!

But of course, “normal” in Australia is still quite different from “normal” in Canada! This post is a collection of random facts and observations on things that are normal here but not what we’d see in Canada.

Marvin, we’re starting with bugs. As I write this, I am downloading the Bugdex app that my friend Marvin was involved in developing. So maybe I’ll have some answers before I go to publish this, but we’ve seen some interesting bugs recently. My favourite is this one:

So rectangular! And not very good at camouflaging himself. This one is much better at camouflage:

We have dragonflies and butterflies all over the garden these days – they seem to especially like the area around the pond in the backyard, so I guess we’ve done well building a healthy-insect-friendly yard. I didn’t have time to grab my phone so I used Hugh’s to take a photo of this dragonfly but the brilliance of the red really doesn’t show up:

The red was really dazzling, especially in the sunlight. Then there were ones that were sort of a mustard yellow. The garden was just alive with colour and movement!

At night I often see geckos on the window in my home office – this one caught himself a bug that looks to be about 1/3 the size he is:

As I tried to get closer and get a picture without the reflection of my office in it, he dragged his victim somewhere else so I don’t know the ending to this story. But it wasn’t looking good for the bug.

On the golf course, Hugh took a photo of this nest in a tree:

Friends think maybe it’s an ants’ nest? It’s not termites.

If anyone has any ideas on some of these mystery bugs, please let me know!

Speaking of the golf course, as you will know from prior posts, if you need to see some Aussie wildlife, this is the place to go. Last week Hugh saw this lizard, at least a metre long:

We think it’s a type of monitor lizard, maybe a goanna? Any ideas, Aussie friends?

And poor Hugh had to tolerate this one day at the golf course (apology for the poor quality – it was a video that was in an unsupported format and this is the best screenshot I could get):

That’s about half the mob of kangaroos that he had to hit his shot over – good thing the ball didn’t get drilled right into them, this post would have taken a very different turn…

Continuing with the theme of wildlife, the Rainbow Lorikeets have begun hanging out at our bird bath again:


They’re so fun to watch but their screeching gets pretty darned loud when they’re in large groups.

Last Sunday, Hugh and I took our new-to-us e-bikes for a ride along the ocean, down to Statue Bay (the only ugly beach in the area – gorgeous when the tide’s in, ugly rocks everywhere when it’s out). First, I am TOTALLY HOOKED ON E-BIKES! Wow, what a great way to travel. I have actually decided to sell my Trek bike because I can’t imagine ever riding a regular bike again. We’re kicking ourselves for all the efforts we put into cleaning, dismantling, boxing our bikes to bring over on the container ship, then unboxing and getting re-assembled – now just to sell them. But the e-bike experience is really terrific and the only practical way to get around comfortably in a hilly area. I still make sure I push myself to get exercise, but having that motor to just take the edge off when needed is a dream. Still haven’t figured out how to get up our driveway though – need to have the motor in high gear and be going at a good pace to start with, but you have to make a sharp turn to get into the driveway at the same time, and that’s just not working for me. So the downside of an e-bike is that when you have to push it up a steep driveway, it’s a heavy sucker. Anyway, here’s the route we took, just a quick ride:

But where I’ve circled in red is where the soldier crab art installation is that I’ve been meaning to take a photo of for the past year and it’s never convenient to pull over in the car. But on the bike, I could finally get a photo – so here is Hugh with crabs:

And here’s the info about the soldier crabs (they’re actually tiny in real life):

I just love that Aussie humour shows through even in signs 🙂 I can’t remember if I’ve previously posted a picture of a billboard I see going to work – in big letters it says, “Having trouble getting it up?” and the picture is of a garage door that won’t open 🙂 You wouldn’t believe the humour you hear on the radio too – I’ve actually started listening to radio again here because the radio hosts are so hilarious. We have definitely found the mothership for our sense of humour here!

I’ve previously talked about how different the night sky is here. When the auroras were lighting up the sky the other week, Hugh and I went to where a local photographer had taken some amazing photos the night before to see if we could catch a glimpse, but no luck. I did, however, manage to get a photo of the Southern Cross and its pointer stars:

The star making up the right-hand point of the cross isn’t very visible in the photo, but I’m amazed how clear the others appear – my camera doesn’t take good photos at night, so you can imagine how bright these had to have been for this photo to come out so clearly. Here is how you can find due south using the Southern Cross or its pointers. So in this photo, south is pretty much straight down!

While we’re technically still in autumn for another week, we had a few rather chilly mornings this past week – it was below 12C outside and below 19C inside:

Hugh and I had to wear slippers around the house and I had to get dressed in full winter gear to head to work in these frigid temperatures:

Yes, you are seeing that correctly – I have socks on in my “slides” (Aussie for sandals that don’t have the toe separator), am wearing a 3/4 length sleeve shirt, and needed a cotton wrap for the first hour or two of the morning. Fortunately it got back into the 20’s by the afternoon. Apparently, we have acclimatised to the subtropical weather here 🙂 Here is a photo I took of the downtown beach and I am pleased to report I was back to wearing shorts and short sleeves:

With it being a full moon this week, we went to full moon yoga on Thursday night. This is done down at the main beach (just a bit left from the photo above, under the band shell) and it was very windy (normally quite a sheltered spot) – could barely hear the squawking of the lorikeets because of the wind and waves! The wind chill must have made it feel like 16C so it was almost too cold to do yoga, but our wonderful instructor Kylie found a sheltered spot and we could do the class. At the end of class, she took a video of us looking out over the ocean and up toward the moon – here’s a snippet from that video where you can see Hugh and me in our winter yoga gear:

We also do yoga on Saturday mornings out at the Tanby Garden Centre. It’s also outdoors (but under cover) and the mats are all set up among the potted plants and garden paraphernalia and you can listen to the birds chirping away. Hugh made it into Liliana’s Instagram post a couple weeks ago:

Some other random information – Australia has a mix of US and UK words and customs so it’s always interesting to see which way something’s going to go. You regularly hear “fries” but also “hot chips” – to distinguish from chips (they don’t say crisps). They more often say biscuit but sometimes you hear cookie. They define “lemonade” the way the Brits do – for the pop that’s like 7-Up or Sprite instead of what we think of as lemonade. But their “pancake” is the US/Canada pancake, whereas I absolutely love the UK “pancake.” I told Hugh about the UK version and he made them for me!

We used a lemon we got from the cheese shop in Rocky (long story) but there are 2 lemons on the lemon tree in our front yard getting close to being ripe, so I’ll soon be able to have UK style pancakes with home grown lemons, yum!!

Another unusual phenomenon here is that the start/end times for shows on TV seem quite random – they are not on the hour or half hour. For example, we watched this show the other night:

Yes, it started at 8:01pm and ended at 9:02pm. I don’t know if it’s done like that in the UK, but it certainly looks odd to my Canadian eyes!

Last night we went to Rocky to see a tribute band – see if you can name the band in this many notes:


They were called Echoes of Pink Floyd and they were terrific! All 8 band members were incredible, but the female vocalist who did the Clare Torry part of the Great Gig in the Sky song absolutely nailed it, gave me shivers. And the guy on lead guitar was phenomenal. Which brings me to the sentimental part of this blog. Watching the guitarist in Echoes of Pink Floyd play, I suddenly missed my “bro” Kevin K playing guitar back at the Gulch, hanging out with our friends on our patio or in one of our living rooms. Bro, I miss you and the Gulch gang so much!

And we’re thinking of our curling friends this week too. We lost a fixture of the Hamilton curling community this week, far too young. Everyone is in disbelief – Hamilton curling is not Hamilton curling without Simon. Simon and Hugh shared the same birthday and Simon commissioned Hugh to make a curling stone in wood for the newel post on their staircase. Our thoughts are with Betty and all of Simon’s friends and family during this terrible time. RIP Simon.


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