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I’ve stolen the title of this blog from our friend Joanne – this is the phrase she used when she posted photos of Hugh’s, Kevin’s, and her great wins at this week’s golf comp in Bargara! When people here meet Hugh and ask what kind of work he does, he typically responds, “I’m working on my golf game” (insert eye roll here). Well, apparently he has been because out of 120 players in the golf tourney, Hugh won the low net score! Here he is proudly displaying his $60 gift card:

Yes, you can see the ocean in the background – the clubhouse for the Bargara golf course is in a prime location!

Kevin won one of the 2 days in his division (as well as closest to the pin twice) and Joanne won 2nd in her division. A darned good showing all ’round, no wonder they’re grinners:

Kevin, if you’re reading this, I’m supposed to ask you if the marinara sauce was any good at the banquet after the golf comp…

OK, an update on the mystery lizard from last week. Our friend Leigh who is the knower-of-all-things read last week’s blog and sent me this photo to ask if this was our lizard:

This is exactly what our lizard looked like! We haven’t seen him since (apparently he traversed all the way to the other side of town where Leigh lives and is now in her garden) but if this is him, he is a 10-lined ctenotus. So he is actually not a lizard but a skink! I had never heard tell of skinks until moving here. I posted a photo of one last June when I got to hold one at the agricultural show in Rockhampton, but he was chubby with a short tail so I thought all skinks were chubby with short tails. Well, apparently judging all skinks on the basis of one experience with one skink was not an example of sound reasoning skills, who knew. Click here to see a list of all the varieties of skink in Australia – beware, your finger will get tired from scrolling through the list. So what is the difference between a skink and a lizard, you ask? I have no idea. I’ve googled and there are different descriptions – some say skinks are larger, some say they have shorter legs, some say they’re skinnier than geckos but I’ve definitely seen at least one that is way fatter than geckos, so I have no clue. But I know I can count on Leigh to find the answer and send it to me!

More follow-up from last week – here are some photos of the back yard with pond/stream/raised bog filter:

And a video so you can hear the lovely trickling sound:


Andrea – you’ll recognize the solar fountain you sent for Christmas! Oh also – in your honour, we’ve planted a Cousin It in the back garden. Hopefully it starts to resemble you from the ferry in New York by the time you and mom get here…

Still more planting to do but things can grow so huge here that we’re planting gradually until we have a feel for just how enormous some plants will get. The gorgeous pink shrub that you see in the centre of the first photo was in a tiny pot when we bought him after Christmas.

It’s crazy how difficult it is to find rocks here – we now very much appreciate the ease of getting rocks and lumber in Canada. Very easy to get the small pebbles but anything of any size is either hard to get or costs a fortune. Fortunately Hugh scoured Marketplace and found someone giving away a bunch so he borrowed our friend Rod’s trailer to go get them. And then our neighbours were re-doing their lawn and anytime they dug up a large rock, they saved it for us.

Speaking of neighbours, we’re experiencing the same thing here that we experienced in Stoney Creek. Within months of moving into the neighbourhood, everyone else moves out! This is a little concerning. In Stoney Creek, of the 10 units in our cell block, 7 changed hands after we arrived. Out of the 19 houses on our street here, 5 have been listed in recent months (and our skink seems to have left us too). Hmmm. But there is another much more positive interpretation – after we move in, the property values skyrocket and everyone decides to capitalize on it. We bought our house for $675,000 last June and the houses across from us have been going for $800-865,000. So I’m going to go with the version that we bring property values up instead of the version that we drive people out 🙂

I mentioned last week that fall began on March 1. Well this weekend, we’ve been able to have the windows open all day and all night! Just needed the ceiling fans on. We had really missed having the windows open – it’s been 10 weeks of having the air con on and it’s so much nicer having the windows open. Daytime highs have been around 29C and overnight lows around 24C this week and the humidity has been lower (and dew point generally lower too). Just fabulous weather! But ice cubes still melt crazy fast in our drinks.

Four large, solid (you’d break your teeth biting into them) ice cubes in cold water and they were all totally melted within 15 minutes. Hence the need for moisture-absorbing coasters, the condensation on the outside of glasses here is extreme.

Also extreme here is the rainfall. In southern Ontario, the rain is rarely super heavy, it tends to be more drizzly and drawn out for hours (or sometimes days, it always seemed). Here it is much more patchy but when it comes down, it comes down in BUCKETS. In a few hours one night last week, we got 100 mm (yes, 10 cm or 4 inches) of rain! Here’s our rain gauge:

And other areas got more than that. The sound was deafening on the metal roof. We even lost our Starlink service for a good 15 minutes as it couldn’t “see” through the rain. And then it was done, just like that.

Oh, this reminds me – people here measure in mm, not in cm. So we ordered our new glass shower panel and it’s 1100 mm long, not 110 cm. That’s the case for everything, always in mm.

Speaking of measuring, I thought I’d show you the difference in coffee culture here. One of the days Hugh was away golfing this week (when I had to fend for myself), I went to Macca’s (Aussie for McDonald’s) to get breakfast. I ordered a large coffee and this is how big it is:

That’s a 6-inch ruler. It was a cheap coffee (deservedly so, worst coffee I’ve had here) but still cost $4.50. At most coffee shops, you can’t get a coffee this big and the smaller ones cost $5.50 or so. I do enjoy the “flat white” coffee here and, other than this one from Macca’s, it’s so good that I don’t need to put sugar in it. But I do sometimes miss my large regular Timmy’s for $2.25.

This week and last week I had to get up super early to teach a couple classes at McMaster, but I also chose of my own free will to get up super early on Saturday so I could go down to the shore to take a sunrise photo. This is because it is MMI weekend for the SLP program at Mac and every year since our first admissions interviews in 2017, I would take a sunrise photo from my back yard overlooking Lake Ontario and send it to my colleagues there to start our day off with a smile. Last March, I put a reminder in my calendar to take a sunrise photo this Saturday to send back to the wonderful Mac SLP team. Because the sun rises so early here, that meant getting out of bed at 5:15am, ugh. For those who don’t believe I got up this early, here is proof from the clock in the car once we were settled at the shore:

Remember the last time I tried to get a photo of the sunrise over the ocean here, back in December when we were in Bargara? Same damn thing happened this time – it was rainy!!! It so rarely rains here, yet on the 2 occasions I drag myself out of bed at an ungodly hour, it rains for crying out loud! We were patient (yes, Hugh got up to come with me, he’s a saint some days – or maybe he just wanted someone to cook breakfast for him…) and a small clearing did appear for a few moments:

We then went for breakfast at Lure along the shore and a patch of blue sky came out for us for a bit:

I then had to wait until 9pm Sat night to send the photos so the Mac SLP team would receive them at the right time 🙂

The good new is – we were rewarded for being up so early! As we pulled into the driveway, a splash of brilliant colour caught my eye on our fence:

This is a Pale-Headed Rosella. Just incredible colours! He let me get fairly close and I took a million photos plus this video:


He might be my new favourite parrot.

And while he was visiting, our local Nankeen Kestrel stopped by too:

Not colourful but so cute!

For the bug people out there (Marvin…), we get piles of potter wasps around our front pond:

They’re a brilliant orange colour and just over an inch long. They have no interest in us, they just seem to want the water to build their mud nests. We’ve scoured the brick of our house thinking it must be full of these nests because of how many we see at the pond, but we haven’t found a single nest yet (we had some when we moved into the house last June and removed them, but haven’t seen one since). A spider seems to have discovered that there is a feast to be had around the front pond and he has built a web over top of the water. We haven’t seen the spider and the wasps seem unhindered.

One of our fish died the other week! Fortunately the other 3 original ones are still doing well and the baby fish is growing and he’s now completely orange instead of brown.

OK I think that’s it for this week. I have an emu story to share with you next week, so stay tuned for that. The clocks went forward in Canada today so now I have to get this blog done by 8pm on Sunday instead of 9pm so it’s ready for the 6am coffee crowd at home (Cheri and Liz, that includes you :)). Hugh and I are heading to the TV now to watch the recording of the 1-2 game in the Brier!



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