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We finally have an update on the shipping container. Not nearly as twisted a plot as The Shipping News, I’m afraid. You may recall that last week I commented on watching a crow eating. This week it is unfortunately about me eating crow. Why? Well, after all my self righteous indignation about Australian quarantine unnecessarily holding up our shipping container, it turns out that they did so very necessarily. The photos they sent were pretty damning. Somehow Hugh power washed two pieces of patio furniture but did not power wash the other four so those undersides were full of grass clippings from when the landscapers would go by and cut the grass and blow it all onto our patio. They were FILTHY. So it is entirely our (as in Hugh’s) fault that our container was held up for weeks. And it cost us $840 to have the furniture cleaned. If anyone is looking for Hugh, he can be found in the dog house. The good news is, on Friday our container was re-inspected and cleared by both customs and quarantine. So it should be en route from Brisbane to the Allied facility in Gladstone (about 2 hours south of here) and once it gets there, we should have a delivery date. What an ordeal.

To wrap up discussion of crows, I finally got a recording of the bizarre noise they make:

I still think psychopathic cat is a good description.

We heard a new bird this week, just at night time. I was scouring Australian bird sites trying to see if I could match its call to try to identify it and was having no luck. And then on Friday, someone posted in the Yeppoon Community Facebook group that they were trying to identify this sorrowful sounding bird they had heard at night and several people provided the answer! While the responses in the Facebook group simply referred to the bird as the stoney curlew, when I found a link to post for you, apparently its full name is the Bush Stone Curlew (there is an audio file on this website so you can hear him). It is indeed a sorrowful sound, but somehow it’s nice to listen to at night. Followed by waking up to the beautiful melodies of the Pied Butcherbird, I am in bird call heaven here. Fortunately, the crows seem to stay away until the afternoon; I would really not want to wake up to that racket!

A mid-splash photo of a couple magpies in our bird bath:

Took us awhile to realize that magpies and magpie-larks are 2 very different birds. They’re both black and white and that’s about it for similarities. Here is some interesting information about the magpie-larks.

While I was at work on Thursday, I decided to take a few more photos of the grounds:

Lots of shade and water everywhere. These photos are all on my short walk from the parking lot to my building. An absolutely gorgeous campus!

Speaking of water, we got a quote on putting a pool in our backyard. We will not be putting a pool in our back yard.

Any guesses as to the estimate for a 6m x 3.4m pool, NOT including concrete patio and fencing? If you guessed $61,000, you win. Apparently pool installation costs here have almost doubled in less than 5 years. Fortunately we have a few friends with pools and there is also the free Yeppoon Lagoon. Oh, and a free ocean.

Hugh had another busy week painting (we think he may have finished it all today, will have to inspect with fresh eyes tomorrow) and he also figured out the problem with our rainwater pump and got that all working again today. Very glad to have someone with a mechanical mind in the house, my brain just does not manage 3D visual reasoning well at all :(.

On Friday night, we went out with our friends Leigh, Sharyn, and Geoff to another 80’s music bingo night, this time at the Yepp Brewing Company (where we were 2 weeks ago for the comedian).

These are such fun nights! Leigh got a Bingo this week and her prize included a beer (which she donated to Geoff) and a Yepp Brewery hat (which she never took off the rest of the night and frequently wore sideways to channel her inner gangsta rappa – that’s Aussie for gangster rapper, I’m working on my Aussie ‘r’ sounds). I’ve been learning that Leigh is a very creative individual and one of her inventions was to use empty beer glasses and her phone’s torch (that’s Aussie for flashlight) to create a lantern:

Now you may be wondering what the red lines on the roll of paper towel are. Leigh first drew the handle for our lantern and then added the knob to make the light brighter or dimmer :). She was stone cold sober at all times. Unless the caffeine in her coffee has a very different impact on her compared to most. I took a video of Leigh using the lantern but the file is unfortunately too big to upload here – I was crying laughing! She would turn the “knob” with one hand while subtly adjusting the brightness of the torch with the other. She entertained a few of the other bingo attendees with this great party trick :).

Those of you who know me know that I totally LOVE dancing to 80’s music. Well, at the last 80’s bingo, I discovered a song that I had never heard before – Nutbush by Tina Turner. I am dying to know if any Canadians have ever heard of this song?? My Aussie friends were floored that I didn’t know it and even worse, that I didn’t know the dance moves to it. How have I missed this?? At the first 80’s bingo back in June, Leigh dragged me onto the dance floor because she couldn’t believe I didn’t know the Nutbush dance. So I worked really hard to follow her moves and was getting the hang of it. Well, the song came on again during this week’s 80’s bingo and she dragged me onto the dance floor again and Sharyn captured the momentous event on film (thank goodness it was dark – you can, however, see Leigh’s white hat):

We did some more investigating of this Nutbush phenomenon because Leigh and Sharyn still couldn’t believe that I’d never heard tell of this before – it is as ubiquitous at weddings here as the Macarena and Chicken Dance :). It turns out that it was very much an Australian thing. In fact, when Tina Turner died a few weeks ago, the Aussies came together for a record-breaking dance in the outback.

So that’s all I have to report for this week. If we’re lucky, maybe next week at this time I’ll be happily unpacking boxes and getting our house all organized with the contents of our shipping container :).

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