Sole Sister

Cruising in the single lane

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Redcliffe Rules

Youthful impressions can be hard to shake. One such teenage conceit was to regard the Redcliffe Peninsula, rightly recognised today as a lifestyle paradise, as “daggy” and uncool, a second-best beachside holiday destination of boarding houses for country Queenslanders. This wrong-headed notion was born of growing up on the Gold Coast at a time when surfing and Surfers ruled. So a seaside resort without waves, and red sand to boot, just did not rate.

Subsequent visits over the years, especially to the Scarborough end of the Peninsula have gradually dispelled my teenage prejudices and a recent visit with interstate guests buried any lingering negativity. The local council has obviously been busy. The tree-lined foreshore, shaded with stands of eucalypts, pines and pandanus, frames the blue expanse of Moreton Bay stretching across to Moreton Island. Generous barbecue and picnic facilities under accommodating pagoda-style pavilions, walking and cycle paths, and shaded playgrounds make an ideal destination for recreation-minded local families or Brisbane day trippers. For those who prefer a restaurant there’s fine foreshore dining available. Add in a perfect blue-sky Queensland winter day and my visitors concluded that in coastal comparisons Redcliffe ruled!

ImageRedcliffe foreshore rotunda.

IMG_2958Shady pandanus.

ImageProtecting the kids from the midday sun.

ImageDon’t forget to pack the bikes.

ImageThe Orient comes to the Redcliffe foreshore – pagoda-inspired picnic pavilions. ImageA Peninsula classic…looking to the Glasshouse Mountains from Scarborough at low tide.

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Nanna kindy

In my multicultural family “Nanna time” is a learning opportunity.  Called to weekend Nanna duty because of a double dose of parental influenza, babysitting offered a chance to add to my Nihongo vocabulary. I’m only slightly more advanced in my Japanese language studies than my 18-month-old grandson so his innovative bi-lingual word books, with written katakana and hiragana and spoken vocabulary, thoughtfully provided by his Japanese grandparents, are ideal for both junior and senior beginners.  My “Japanese kindy” classes brought to mind a friend’s first steps in mastering this challenging language. As a trailblazer in the teach-English-in-Japan-and-learn-Japanese trend over forty years ago he kick-started his studies by enrolling in grade one at a rural school. A local newspaper photograph of the six-foot-two-inch gaijin at his desk alongside his tiny classmates was like the scene of Will Ferrell towering over his elf classmates in that delightful movie.

IMG_0689Mainichi no kotoba zukan – the illustrated words picture book for children.

img_06791Nanna’s homework.

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Dr Google to the rescue

When confronted with a computer-related quandary my son advises: “seek and ye shall find – on Google”. “There’s always someone who has had the same problem before,” he says, and he is invariably right. I, like just about everyone, use Dr Google to solve an array of household and minor medical problems. Rarely does he let me down.

Today, for instance, I encountered an unusual – self-created – dilemma. In haste I had poured pine disinfectant into the rinse aid dispenser of the dishwasher.  Mmmm! Knowing it would take many “empty” runs to clear the dispenser I sought Dr Google’s advice. Few people seemed to have been foolish, or blind, enough to make a similar mistake but, as my son said, there is always someone.

Two pieces of advice were offered: one, neutralise the disinfectant by pouring vinegar into the dispenser; and soak up the excess offending liquid by inserting cotton buds into the dispenser. I improvised with folded tissues, more absorbent and flexible than cotton buds. Some 15 tissues or more later the greeny, pino-smelling liquid was starting to taper off. Time for the vinegar.  Then another “empty” run. One load later and we’re still alive, the glasses are sparkling and the artificial pine smell is subsiding.

IMG_0632Use THIS in rinse aid dispenser!

IMG_0633DO NOT use this in rinse aid dispenser!

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What a day it’s been

If only little kids could realise how much they will treasure sleep when they grow up. My 18-month-old grandson, like many of his peers, runs from sleep time like a puppy fleeing the bath tub. Luckily he has an Achilles heel – the ABC Kids TV’s Giggle and Hoot program lullaby performed by gifted Israeli-Australian singer-songwriter Lior.  At the sound of the magical words “What a day it’s been, what a magic day..” eyelids flutter and it’s not too long before he’s in Hoot land. Naturally, when on babysitting duty, I ensure I have my iPad loaded with the music video at hand. Listen for yourself.

Lior is becoming a regular in our family life. Lior’s This Old Love, melding sentiment and sweetness in lyrics and melody, ensured that the mother of the groom shed a few tears at her son’s wedding when it featured on the reception compilation tape. This September Lior will perform in Compassion: A Collaboration with Nigel Westlake with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at QPAC. This Old Love will be one of the featured pieces.

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ImageA chilly start to the day. This was the temperature when I finished at the gym.

As I approached retirement I would dream of being able to sleep in on cold, dark, wintery mornings. But old habits died hard.

Almost without fail my body clock’s well trained internal alarm continues to go off at the crack of dawn. So then it’s off the the gym, another well ingrained habit. The silver lining to this is that I see wonderful sunrises, or driving along the Indooroopilly reach of the Brisbane River, the setting moon reflected on the still stretch of water. This morning, on the way home from the gym,the cold air generated a mist along the river highlighted by the early rays of the sun. Magic! If only my photographic skills were equal to the artistry of Mother Nature.

IMG_0271(2)Mother Nature…nobody does it bettter.