Bluebottles, divorce & other ramblings

FeaturedBluebottles, divorce & other ramblings

I’ve neglected my blog and WordPress for the last few weeks. Life got really busy – as I’m sure you can all appreciate – and then the mad preparations for the festive season followed by the need for us to transform ourselves into the ‘new us for the new year’.

Christmas was wonderful and exhausting at the same time; the offspring and their partners came to stay. We entertained every day either with friends at home or out on the town. The cocktail shaker was dusted off and the espresso martinis were free-flowing together with the Aperol spritzes. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than having our house full of family – just like it used to be – the long hair blocking the sink, the makeup strewn around the bathroom, the endless piles of washing, the phone and laptop chargers snaking from every available wall socket, the stacks of sunglasses and heaps of swimming towels – it was brilliant! And the laughter, oh! the glorious laughter.

We traveled a couple of hours north to our favourite spot on the Sunshine Coast for a day on the beach. Chief was stung on the foot by a Bluebottle jellyfish while walking along the shoreline. By the time we were home, the story had morphed into “I was swimming a mile out and was bitten by a shark!”

Over the last few weeks, there has been an invasion of Bluebottle jellyfish, with thousands being blown to the shores of Queensland beaches. Last weekend alone, there were over 2,500 beachgoers treated for stings. The little critters wrap their tentacles around limbs and release their sting which I’m told is very painful. Fortunately, the surf lifesavers were on hand with bags of ice and advice. We’ll probably be giving the beach a miss for a couple of weeks.

Bluebottle (Portuguese Man ‘o War)

And then on the 2nd January, the house fell silent. The offspring headed back to Adelaide and Chief and me back to work. The tree has been ‘undecorated’ and packed away for another year, the beds stripped and the cocktail shaker back in the cupboard – for a while at least. About that – I’ve discovered a great online community, Hello Sunday Morning, which has become the largest online movement for alcohol behaviour change in the world. There is a great app Daybreak, which offers professional support and tools together with an online community supporting each other.

I’m feeling a bit flat, to be honest, but have lots of things to look forward to this year, none more so than our 30th wedding anniversary in June – I know, right! Where have the years gone? We will be celebrating by taking a short break in Hong Kong later in the year. I’m pleased to say that we have survived what is being dubbed as Divorce Day, January 8th, the most popular day for couples to commence legal divorce proceedings, according to lawyers (a UK study). After the pressures of trying to achieve the perfect ‘chocolate box’ Christmas, it’s enough to send any rocky marriage over the edge. They wait for the kids to go back to school and then – bang!

Dad update: By the time you read this, my dad will have had a pacemaker fitted which is the result of all the shenanigans in Dubai way back in October. Hopefully, that will be it and a return to full fitness is on the cards. All the best for a full recovery Dad x.

So that’s my round up for the start of the new year as I start to plan my trip to the UK in April, I’ll leave you with some images of our time over Christmas – happy new year everyone and may your 2019 be one full of good health, happiness and laughter – you have to laugh every day!


Good Morning Mr Magpie

One of the first cyclist I encountered in Adelaide had zip-ties attached to their helmet, making them look like……, I don’t know – silly I guess. Over the course of time, I noticed several cyclist with the same spikey adornments. I was going to have to investigate!  It turns out that they are a protection against swooping magpies.

Swooping MagpieDuring nesting season, the male magpie is naturally protective of his offspring and will turn aggressive if he thinks they are in danger from anyone or any thing, including people cycling by and walking through his patch.

When we moved to Brisbane, I noticed cyclist using heavy duty zip-ties; was there a species of magpie I didn’t know about up here? Some cyclist had eyes stuck to the helmet to fool the magpies into thinking they were being watched back.

I naively assumed that cyclist were way more at risk of being attacked than someone on foot – so imagine my surprise when it happened to me.

I was wandering around the neighbourhood a couple of Sundays ago with my camera and macro lens. I had stopped by the local sports field and was taking particular notice of the detail in the bark of a eucalyptus tree, when all of a sudden something grabbed the top of my left ear. My immediate reaction was to flap my arms about, wondering what on earth had just happened. As I turned around to see what it was, I realised it was a magpie and he was coming back for another go.  I flapped around like a woman possessed  which made the magpie even flappier! I ran as fast as my legs would take me until I was out of his territory. By this time my ear was throbbing and I realised that blood had been drawn – two puncture wounds.

The advice to protect yourself from possible attack is to wear a wide-brimmed hat or carry an umbrella. I was wearing a baseball cap so the tops of my little ears were sticking up and easy bait for the upset maggie. The other advice is don’t run and certainly don’t flap around like a woman possessed.  I did both.

Australian Magpie

At work on Monday morning, I was reciting my experience to the gathered crowd and was expecting sympathy (yes, really!) when instead I’ve been welcomed into the ‘you are almost a true Aussie club’. Apparently I’m half way there and all that remains is for me to hit a kangaroo whilst driving  and I’m in!

Keep safe people – just remember to look out for the Drop Bears too!

Wombat’s Vacation

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me; I’ve had visitors and trips away and life was busy for a time.

I met my parents in Adelaide, who were there to catch up with their grandchildren.  We spent a few days at Deep Creek Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsula which lies a couple of hours south of Adelaide. The park is the largest remaining block of wildlife habitat on the Fleurieu Peninsula and is home to an array of native wildlife. Immerse yourself in nature says the guide. We certainly did; our accommodation was set in four acres of peaceful natural bushland. Kangaroos came up to the house, feeding out of the birdseed dish every afternoon. Honeyeaters, blackbirds and galas splashed about in the birdbath and the little Fairywren busily darted from one plant to another – it was bliss!

Seven of us had made the trip to Deep Creek as well as Ziggy and Polly,  two Kelpie/border collies – they had great fun trying to outrun the kangaroos (they stood no chance) and playing with Freyer, the whippet on the next door property. From the property we hiked down the cliff path to Blowhole Beach. The view across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island was stunning with blue shimmering sea and azure blue skies; one of those ‘life is good’ moments.

Once the youngsters and dogs had departed for civilisation and the internet, the three ‘grown ups’ were left to soak up the peace and the away-from-it-all vibes; life’s stresses washed away and it really was a moment to recharge the batteries. One of our walks was through Stringybark Forest. The trees were magnificent. Because we were relatively late in the day doing the walk, the majority of birds had flown off for the day – we just had to look a little harder for the wildlife.

I brought Mum and Dad back to Brisbane with me to spend some time with us before their flight back to the UK. In the meantime, Chief and I attended our son’s engagement party in Adelaide. We had a super weekend and the weather gods were shining on the outdoor party while at the same time, Mum and Dad were experiencing torrential rain back in Brisbane. As you can see, we’ve been here, there and everywhere.

And now life has made a cruel twist – Dad was taken ill on their flight from Brisbane to Dubai last Wednesday and has been in a Dubai hospital undergoing extensive tests ever since. A ‘problem’ heartbeat has been detected and he may have to be fitted with a pacemaker before being given the all clear to carry on with their journey home. The Dubai health care is second to none thankfully, and we hope it won’t be too much longer before he is granted permission to travel home.

A moment of dry by the Story Bridge, Brisbane

So as you can see, it’s all been a hectic time and this week Chief is preparing for a three-week work trip, leaving Thursday morning. I’ll be in touch soon – until then!


Square in September – Day 17

Today is our son’s 25th birthday and apart from it making me feel rather old, I do believe that I have managed to capture all three elements for the ultimate ‘In The Pink’ challenge in this one photo.

tom and Christie
Tickled Pink

Earlier this year our son Thomas proposed to his beautiful girlfriend Christie. Chief and I were so delighted to be with them at the time, having flown to Adelaide for the weekend.

This photo shows Thomas wearing a pink shirt (tick!) The pair of them are absolutely tickled being having only been engaged for a few hours (tick!) and that ring is positively in the pink (tick!) Happy birthday Tom! xx




In the Pink

My blogging buddy Clare of Clare’s Cosmos drew my attention to a  photo challenge issued by Becky who has a super blog The Life of B. After the Weekly Photo Challenge from our lovely friends at WordPress (we miss you guys!) ceased, I’ve been missing that particular blogging community so I’m looking forward to forming new friendships with Becky and her blogging neighbours.

Square in September starts today, 1st September. The theme is ‘In The Pink’ which we can interpret as ‘tickled pink, ‘in the pink’ or just ‘pink’ but – The only thing you must ensure is that your main photograph is square. We can even share a photo a day for the whole month if we wish so watch this space.

I took the photo below when I was in Adelaide a few months ago and as you can see it had been raining. The petals were a pale pink and I was tickled pink that I’d managed to capture the reflections in the rain drops.

Unfortunately I don’t know the name of  the flower so if anyone can help out, please let me know.  It could even be a weed!

pink Square 1


Not the Weekly Photo Challenge

Not the Weekly Photo Challenge

Sadly the WPC is no longer and I  miss the community of like-minded bloggers sharing their take on the weekly photography challenge.

Nevertheless, I can still share photos with you and here are the final Bali ones. I have broken all the photography rules in the book – such as the rule of thirds, – but we all know rules are to be broken – right?

man on jetty_resized

local huddle

man and bike_resized

surfboard colour_resized
propped in colour

surfboard mono_resized
propped in monogram

hotel fountain_resize
night lights



Dry July Weeks 2 & 3 – Menopause we need to talk

Dry July Weeks 2 & 3 – Menopause we need to talk

Four days after my 52nd birthday I started Dry July, a month of abstinence from alcohol while receiving donations to support various cancer charities. I’ve been doing well, extremely well actually and I’m delighted to report that I am NOT an alcoholic.

However, two weeks in and my long-standing partner Fertility has decided I am no longer party central, and has packed her bags and moved out, leaving the door wide open for some stranger to move in. I’ve heard of this stranger, knocking on the doors of unsuspecting friends and family, and so far I have done well to avoid her but two weeks ago she came a-knocking with her best friend Hot Flush. My mum taught me never to talk to strangers, let alone let them in, so right now I am feeling invaded and not quite sure what’s going on.

Party Central

You see, Madam Menopause has paid me a visit – not for long, just long enough to drop her trashy friend Hot Flush off who thinks she can take over without warning at any time of day or night. She’s been waking me up at all hours with her antics and for someone who is usually a snuggle-under-the-duvet kinda gal, I am forced to throw back the bedding before I spontaneously combust. Chief’s all for calling in a witch doctor to wave a healing hand over me but I’ve told him that’s not helpful.

bonfire burning campfire fire
Photo by Pixabay on


So while I’d love to throw back an iced-cold beer to dampen down Hot Flush and her contrary ways, I’ll stick to the usual lime and soda thanks very much. There’s more to come on this I’m sure!


Dry July -Week One

Dry July -Week One

I waited until the last minute to register for Dry July; it was the last day of June and I only did it to give myself the incentive to see this challenge through to the end. After completing the online form and sharing my challenge on social media sites, I closed my laptop and went to bed.

Imagine my surprise then, when the following morning I logged into my Dry July account to see that the donations had started to flood in – people had actually put their faith in me enough to donate – I was delighted and committed.

So far I’m tracking really well, excellently in fact (smiley face).

Day one – Sunday: Chief and I headed out for dinner, more a casual ‘nosebag’, at a ramen cafe we wanted to check out. Before we reached our destination though, we diverted to Green Beacon, a craft brewery in Teneriffe. ‘Great!’ I thought, ‘temptation on the first day’. My non-alcoholic beverage of choice is soda water with fresh lime, usually slopped in the glass from a soda gun, with all the finesse of a firefighter extinguishing  a burning forest, and topped off with a wafer-thin slice of lime. There are a couple of fancy bars in Brisbane who will lovingly muddle the lime first and that makes me feel special. I was delighted that Green Beacon wasn’t just about ales and IPA’s as their bar fridge displayed bottles of soda water – thank you!

Crows Nest Soda, thank you Green Beacon

Day two – Monday: Straight after work I spent an hour at the gym before heading home. Being the first one home, I turned my attention to dinner preparations. This is usually a time I’d be thinking of cracking open a bottle but I was feeling pumped from the gym so the temptation wasn’t getting the better of me. Chief wasn’t having any of this dry nonsense and delighted in testing my willpower. I stuck to my soda and lime and even washed up Chief’s dirty wine glass although I pointed out that it would be the last time I’d be doing that for a few weeks.

Day three – Tuesday: I can’t say that I’m bouncing out of bed with heaps of energy and a clear head but that may be something to do with a bad night’s sleep (back problems). Tea was spaghetti bolognaise and the prospect of not having a glass of red with this dish was troublesome. I had already cooked up a big batch of bolognaise so just had to reheat and cook some pasta. This left me with some spare time on my hands and so to distract me, I decided to tidy out the messy drawer – you know the one – the drawer where we throw spare keys, pens, manuals for the cooking appliances, receipts, timetables and takeaway menus – yes, that’s the one; well ours is very tidy now. Spaghetti bolognaise was served and while a glass of red would have been the excellent accompaniment, I had to be content with watching Chief drink his.

Days four and five passed without incident or temptation which brings us to…

Day five – Friday: The day of the knock-offs, the kick back to the weekend and drinks out with your mates. Chief was working and the prospect of spending an evening at home with open wine in the fridge was daunting. I left the office around 5 pm, and made my way through hoards of office workers with knock-offs in hand, their laughter filling the air – It made me feel anxious for a moment until I pulled myself up and remembered the good causes my non-drinking donations were supporting. By the time I arrived home I was feeling strong and full of willpower which stayed with me all weekend.

Love a good soda, topped here with strawberry & fresh lime. The wine didn’t stand a chance!

So far so good, my journey made all the more easier knowing over 35,000 Aussies are taking part in the same challenge – go us!

Why Dry July is not about the weather

Why Dry July is not about the weather

I naively thought Dry July was a northern hemisphere summer weather phenomenon when in actual fact it’s a month when people can sign up to abstain from alcohol for a whole month while at the same time raising funds to support people affected by cancer.


It all started back in 2008, when three mates decided to take a break from their boozing for the month of July and called it their ‘Dry July’. At the same time they wanted to raise funds for a family member affected by cancer so they asked friends and family to sponsor them. Their goal was to raise $3,000 to buy a television for their local hospital’s waiting room. Their fund-raising exceeded all expectations and they ended up raising a whopping $250,000!

I’ve mentioned taking part in Dry July several times to my friends and family – a great way for me to kick the booze for a considerable length of time, and yes, 31 days is a considerable length of time off booze for me. Apparently giving up booze is going to improve the quality of my sleep, enhance my work performance and improve my concentration. I’m going to lose weight and my blood glucose is going to lower as well as my liver fat and to top it all I’m going to have hydrated, healthier skin – lovely, I can’t wait!


Today being the last day of June, I decided I should really get a grip and sign up to Dry July; I mean how hard is it? By signing up I have at least committed to taking part and being the straighty-one-eighty that I am means that I will at least aim to see it through. How delighted then, that after signing up and promoting my challenge on social media, the donations have started to flood in and over $100 has already been donated to support people and families affected by cancer by me staying off booze for a month. I wasn’t expecting any support so I am chuffed to bits!

So while I sip on my last savvy blanc for awhile and realise that my challenge is real – really real, I can be sure that it’s not even half the challenge I’d be facing right now if I was fighting cancer.


WPC: Farewell Favourites

This is all a bit sad and unexpected I have to say, and as 3Rs of Retirement states, you’ll miss us when we’re gone! It’s been a great challenge to ‘have a go’ at and a wonderful community. I’ve really enjoyed taking part over the last couple of years. And so to my favourites.

This was snapped at Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens and is known as Pink Poodle.  It’s a Calliandra surinamensis, and I loved the pink detail of the flowers. Detail was the challenge.

Pink Poodle
Mt-Coot-tha Botanic Garden

Huntsman & her eggs

This photograph was taken back in October 2006 and although it’s a scary looking Huntsman, it is a beautiful and rare sight to behold.  I’d popped outside to put some rubbish in the dustbin, opened back the lid and this was the surprise waiting for me.  A female Huntsman who had secured her sac of about two hundred eggs against the side of the bin.  She then placed a few loving arms over her precious bundle. Mother  Nature at her exquisite best. The challenge was rare.

and finally:


The challenge – evanescent
soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing. moment in time.
An Easter sunset captured in Belair, South Australia and one I knew I wouldn’t be seeing again for a while.
Thank you and good bye!

All-Time Favorites