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Before I forget, I need to share the exciting news that Hugh has finally cracked the mystery of getting sourdough bread to rise in the hotter, humid environment here! Three batches in a row have risen to perfection, so we now consider this problem solved. He just had to let the dough rise significantly LESS during the bulk fermentation process than he did back in Canada.

While we’re speaking about bread, Hugh and I were out for lunch the other day and they had this Australian delicacy in packets on the table:

I checked with my friend Sharyn on the best way to try this to optimize my chances of not being totally grossed out. She recommended fresh bread with a thick layer of butter and a thin layer of vegemite. So, do you think I loved it, tolerated it, or hated it?? Answer to come later 🙂

Other random tidbits from this past week. When we look out our bedroom window, this is what we see:

One tree that is WAY taller than every other tree around! It just makes me smile.

And then these cool inventions – I have never seen these in Canada:

You push the door to lock it onto the the cylinder in the floor and it keeps the door from blowing or swinging closed. We have one on every door in the house – they’re fabulous!

Final random tidbit – when we first got prescriptions refilled here, we noticed that they always came in blister packs – even aspirin:

We found this very annoying and it seemed like such a waste as the packs can’t be recycled the way plastic bottles can. Then this week I got my thyroid prescription refilled and it came in a bottle (hallelujah) but it has those packets in to keep the dampness out of the pills (“tablets” in Aussie):

So this made me wonder – maybe the blister packs are to prevent the humidity here from impacting the tablets? I don’t know the answer to this and I’ve found variable results in my Google search. Will have to remember to ask the pharmacist next time we’re there. There are other medication differences here, for example the heart prevention aspirin at home is 88 mg but here it’s 100 mg – everyone here thinks it’s hilarious that ours is 88! No idea why the difference in dose between the 2 countries. My 100 mcg levothyroxine at home is a tiny tablet but here it’s at least triple the size – shouldn’t 100 mcg be 100 mcg??

OK, onto Remembrance Day. Those of you who know me well know that Remembrance Day is very important to me. I feel gratitude deep in my core for what so many young people went through because they wanted to ensure that future generations lived freely, even though they knew what was likely to happen to them in the process. My grandparents were in WWII in England and experienced the horrors first hand. I worry with each passing generation that war becomes an abstract concept for too many. Anyway, Remembrance Day is a special day for me and we went down to Emu Park to join the ceremony there yesterday. What we call the Legion at home is called the RSL here – the Returned & Services League. They did a beautiful job! They had the young cadets participate:

They had amazing performances by a lone bagpiper and lone trumpeter (videos too large to upload). The women’s choir sang a version of Hallelujah I hadn’t heard before:


Geez, this song brings tears to my eyes at the best of time, throw in these new lyrics and during a Remembrance Day ceremony and I was a puddle. If you haven’t heard the Veterans’ version, take a listen here. Every year on Facebook I share the song A Pittance of Time by Canadian musician Terry Kelly. I think I will now alternate years and include the Veterans’ version of Hallelujah.

I’ve previously written about the Veterans’ Memorial at Emu Park. It is the most beautiful memorial I have seen anywhere and we’ve visited it a few times now. It is along the coast, so the views are amazing, but there is a level of calm that envelops you while you walk through the various installations paying tribute. This is one of the installations, this one for the Navy:

Each one shows the years and locations where Australians fought. There is another covered area detailing all the major battles and the local Australians who were involved. And the memorial ends at the Singing Ship (I posted a video of that a few weeks ago). Here is the view from one section of the memorial walkway:


A major difference with Remembrance Day here compared to Canada is that you don’t see people selling or wearing poppies. At the Remembrance Day ceremony, we saw a handful of people wearing a variety of pins or homemade poppies, but prior to that, not a soul. We were chatting with our friend Anita on Sat afternoon and she commented that she hadn’t really thought about it, but now that we mentioned it, she doesn’t know what happened to that tradition. She said when she was a child, everyone wore poppies, so she doesn’t know what changed. In Canada, poppy sales are a huge source of revenue for the Legions – maybe the RSLs have other sources of funding and don’t need the poppy sales? Whatever the reason, I do think it’s sad to lose this tradition. Fortunately I brought a poppy with me because a veteran gave me a special pin to use with it so I will dig that out next year!

Of course, what was most unusual about Remembrance Day yesterday is that it was a beautiful warm day! This is definitely the first Remembrance Day where Hugh’s been in shorts and I’ve worn a summer dress 🙂

Oh – and at the end of the ceremony, the MC announced that everyone was invited to enjoy a sausage sizzle and that the bar was open! Definitely an Aussie twist on Remembrance Day :). I don’t think I’ve told you about sausage sizzles before but if there’s a gathering of some sort, there’s a good chance there’s a sausage sizzle happening. It’s pretty much a small sausage on a piece of bread, not really my cup of tea, but very Australian!

As we were leaving the memorial walk in Emu Park, just near the Singing Ship, I saw a bird I haven’t previously been able to photograph for you – the red-tailed and yellow-tailed black cockatoos! Like many other birds here, they can be rather noisy:


I still haven’t got a photo of the white cockatoos for you. The best chance I had was when I was teaching back in July and one flew right outside the classroom window. The students were all completely understanding when I had to halt the class and grab my phone to take a picture, but he had landed in a spot that I couldn’t easily see. So you’ll have to wait on seeing a photo of the white ones. They are HUGE though. And then this came across my feed in Facebook this morning:


Like the bin chickens aren’t bad enough! Fortunately, the dumpster-diving cockatoos are only in Sydney right now, so hopefully the ones up here don’t learn this skill.

We drove around some of the neighbourhoods between Emu Park and Yeppoon. There are so many amazing views around town here!

We then went to the Yeppoon foreshore to have a drink at the new Crimson Finch brewery that opened (the one I told you about that closed at 8pm on its Grand Opening day on a Friday a few weeks ago, with 50 people happily drinking away) and noticed this on the street:

Presumably this helps stop people pouring bad stuff down the street drains?

We then decided to have lunch up at the restaurant at the Lawn Bowls club in town so we could watch and learn. Food was good! Hugh had calamari and I had a pesto salad with pumpkin fritters – really am liking the pumpkin here. We think we’re going to try lawn bowls because there really is A LOT that is similar to curling.

Except it’s not freezing cold! They have a retractable “roof” at the lawn bowls club so you don’t bake in the sun:

One of the guys from Hugh’s golf club was playing while we were there so he’s going to hook us up with the club pro to try this game out.

Today we drove up to Byfield. I wrote about our trip to Byfield in a blog post back in May. We went back to the pottery shop there, hoping to find a couple mugs. Lots that were nice but none were exactly what we were looking for and the prices were steep – a single mug cost $60-100! For that price, you have to REALLY like the mug. I bought a cool chicken there back in May and it was reasonably priced, not sure why the mugs are so expensive.

I finally remembered to take photos of these signs you see on roads and highways around here:

The signs are placed before dips in the road and then the dip has an indicator stick to tell you how deep the flood water is there:

Very good idea so that you don’t drive in thinking there’s only a foot of water when there’s actually way more!

Speaking of water and being in Byfield – when we last went to Byfield in May, it was a grey, drizzly day. We pretty much haven’t seen rain since (it is the driest spring on record here, worse even than the spring before the Black Summer of 2019-2020), but this week we did! We got a really good rain on one day (now have 2ft in each of our 6 rainwater tanks – they have been dry for a couple months) and light rains on the other days. I normally haven’t had to think about the weather forecast so this was an unusual week, trying to hang laundry out when it wasn’t going to rain. I’m thinking meteorologists here also haven’t had to think about rain because I have 4 weather apps and none of them predicted rain on 2 of the days I wanted to hang laundry out and they were all wrong. Thought I’d share this hilarious item on the Aussie Bureau of Meteorology app:

50% chance of at least 0 mm – seriously?!

Anyway, when we got back into Yeppoon from Byfield today, we noticed signs for a plant sale, so we headed over as we’re in major landscaping mode now that the ponds are built. Well, what a find!! Dave is a retired teacher and his hobby is plant propagation – his property is huge (Kevin – he lives on Kevin Drive)  and he pretty much has a full nursery on it. And he knows so much about all the local plants. What an amazing help he was. We bought a bunch of plants and shrubs from him and we’ll definitely go back there – a fraction of the price and double the knowledge.

When we were leaving his place, we noticed a bird we haven’t previously seen here – the Australasian Figbird:

He has red skin around the eyes and looks a lot like a honeyeater but is actually a member of the oriole family.

Oh I almost forgot – after years of wanting to play the piano, I finally took my first lesson Thursday! My piano teacher is Christine and she teaches just the way I learn – I’m so excited! I highly recommend this whole work-life balance thing 🙂

So, what was your guess about vegemite? If you guessed somewhere in between “loved it” and “tolerated it”, you were right! I think the very small amount on top of butter was critical for my first tasting, so a huge thank you to Sharyn for her guidance on this!


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