Brisbane Wheel

As the Wheel kept turning I knew we’d got our money’s worth

The Wheel of Brisbane is a beautiful structure to behold, with its massive white spokes stretching to the outer rim, and where 46 air-conditioned gondolas are elegantly attached.

To ride the wheel with my eldest grandson seemed the perfect way to end our big day out on a warm and windy winter’s day in Brisbane.

What I didn’t realise at the time was, heights make me uncomfortable.

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Australian Flag

Did the ballot paper really have to be that long?

Australia went to the polls last Saturday, 3rd July 2016. Eight days later the (current) breaking news is Labor Party leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat and Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull remains our leader, at least until the next election.

Politics isn’t what I want to write about though, what I was more interested in was how the local community connected with one another on the school grounds hosting the voting booths.

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Wish I’d glued carpet on my heels

Several weeks ago, feeling spontaneous and adventurous, I took myself off to the Boondall Wetlands – all 1500 hectares of it. Fifteen kilometres from Brisbane’s Central Business District the Wetlands consist of tidal flats, mangroves, grasslands, bushland and saltmarshes – if you’re flying in or out of Brisbane airport look out your window and you’ll probably see it.

Little did I realise I was also about to step into bird watching territory.

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Doing something different by looking up

‘Keep looking up…that’s the secret of life…’ ~ Snoopy

Sitting hunched over, staring at the floor swimming in a sea of emotion, I decide to stand up and look up – a technique I know will clear the foam in my head.

My eyes look towards the sky and while I first see this…

Sky shot in black and white over Brisbane 11.06.2016

The sky was a vivid blue though in black and white the image is rather moody

…colour begins to creep in and my heart lightens. I see the depth of blue and white of the sky and notice the swirling, waving, and fluffy cloud patterns, something which the ocean mirrors.

The sky, a fascinating panorama any time of day.

Coming home on the train recently, stratocumulus clouds (round and fluffy all in rows) lined the western sky in colours of crimson, red and gold. Lucky for the fellow next to me I restrained myself enough not to rip his arm off in my excitement (hey, I’m the excitable type). It’s not every day the sky puts on such a show. My mum would say it’s the angels hanging out their washing in which case I want their wardrobe.

Whenever I look up, it changes my focus, peaks my curiosity, and gives me something constructive to think about. It also allows me creative playtime with photographs such as the lone pelican below, sitting up high on a light pole.

Hornibrook Bridge

A lone pelican sits atop a light pole – a common sight near the Pelican Park just over the Hornibrook Bridge Brisbane

Some days the sky is mesmerising and photograph-worthy but I can’t stress enough that watching where you’re walking is good for your health. Earlier this year while attempting to capture a photo of a butterfly fluttering above me, something compelled me to look down. I watched in horror as a whip snake slithered past my sandaled feet. My frightened toes remain curled to this day.

Looking up gives my neck respite from reading hardcopy books, my mobile device (you’ve heard of text neck right?), and computer keyboard. The best thing is I see what’s going on in the world around me – winning!!

Have fun 🙂

Who knew a fence could mean so much?

Wilson: “My heart attack didn’t kill me, so why act like it did? See, Tim, it was the Roman philosopher Seneca who said “if we let things terrify us, then life is not worth living.”

“Home Improvement: Death Begins at Forty (#4.3)” (1994)

New side fence

No longer able to chat over the fence with my wonderful neighbours

Wilson W. Wilson Jn, PhD, was the barely visible neighbour of Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor in the American 90’s Home Improvements television series. Described as kindly and a 90’s style philosopher, Wilson would offer Tim snippets of wisdom through and over the high fence which blocked half of Wilson’s face. Lucky for Tim and Wilson their fence had gaps between the slats.

Fast forward to the present when the neighbourhood recently underwent a fence-lift. One by one the old fencing was pulled down, rotted palings were chopped up, churned into chipbark and thrown over the ancient garden beds.

My imagination had bubbled away with more enthusiasm than a pyroclastic flow visualising what the new fence might look like. In my mind’s eye I saw village style picket fences complete with showy flowers and shrubs to breath life into the apartment complex in which I live – a village of sorts without the arty shops or chic cafes where the cool kids hang out.

Nope, my neighbourhood is a a mixture of singles, families with no kids, and families with kids. Neighbours get along – something I suspect the community is grateful for, and when newbies move in they settle into the groove of living this side of the hill before they’ve rearranged their sofas.

A week later the new fence was up. My pyroclastic flow of excitement dried up the moment I clapped eyes on it. Apart from no space between the palings it’s a behemoth at 1.80m (okay so I might be exaggerating a little), its as interesting as watching a brick wall.

Sadly no more peeks over the fence to the rhythm and movement of the neighbourhood, no more chatting to neighbours while hanging out washing, and no more waving greetings (unless I’m on the laneway).

Some have said from a privacy and security perspective it’s great. I call it isolation from the community. The place has been safe in the past and the people friendly yet private, the tall fence now screams ‘Enter at your peril ’cause I’ll swallow you up whole!’ One neighbour who calls me ‘Wilson’ (my eyebrows arched so high they ended up on my shoulders) misses our witty repartee – we always have much to talk about and it’s lovely. And I miss it.

Who knew a fence could mean so much?

Humans are an adaptable species and with time the new fence will become the old fence, life goes on, and the neighbourhood chats will begin again somewhere outside the garage door, the laneway, down by the mailboxes, or behind the gate (below) because you can’t keep a community down for long ♥

New back gate

The only thing I can see through is the round cut out of the new back gate door

Tree Hugger gets Tree Hugged

A tree hugger from way back, I was in my element several months back when I decided to explore more of the countryside south-west of Brisbane.

Crossing over the Great Dividing Range and through Cunningham’s Gap can be somewhat of a white knuckle drive although the views of the mountain ranges does make it worthwhile. Pulling in to the carpark at the top of the Gap can be a blink and miss affair if you’re unfamiliar with the area because it appears quite suddenly – drive too fast and you’ll probably miss it.

It’s worth stopping for a leg stretch though. The rainforest is visually stunning and I couldn’t help but feel I’d landed on the movie set of Jurassic park. Now trees I adore, but dinosaurs – yeah…nuh.

Cunningham's Gap

Walking along the track I was in awe of this old rainforest, the bird call, and only slightly nervous hearing the rustling of something big in the undergrowth

The afternoon sun was beginning to disappear above the trees, bird call echoed through the trees, and just beyond the track animals of some description rummaged about in the undergrowth. Water dripped from leaves into puddles though I barely watched where I was going, instead I spent most of my time looking at the canopy of trees, most of which were covered in huge bird’s-nest ferns. My dad would have fallen over in awe at their sheer size and volume!

Rainforest tree Cunninghams Gap

Throughout the rainforest huge trees reached for the sky

Because light was fading I turned around and explored the other side of the carpark and came upon this lovely tree covered from top to bottom of these vibrant green leaves. The only way I could take a decent photograph with my phone was to practically stand against and under it. It was another wow moment for me of which there were many ♥

Cunningham's Gap vine covered tree

The air was thick though the temperature cool beneath the canopy of these glorious trees

Beside the green leaved tree was a tree (small strangler fig methinks) I’m sure housed a tree spirit, or maybe many – I’m not quite sure how any spirits take up residence within a tree.

Standing beside this tree a feeling of love and happiness washed over me, then enveloped me – like a huge energy hug – a feeling with stayed with me all the way back home. I’d never been hugged by a tree before but I like it ♥

I took the photograph below in memory of this tree and the tree hug it bestowed upon me.

Cunninghams Gap Walking Track

Although surrounded by a forest of trees, it was this tree where I felt peace, love, and harmony…strange but true…

Hug a tree today, you might get lucky and get hugged right back 🙂

Exploring my Assumption

On my way to Warwick, west of Brisbane, I pass a road sign in Aratula to Lake Moogerah.

I’d driven this way before and heard the lake was a dam. Imagining dull brown water, tufts of yellow grass bordering the sparse shoreline (don’t ask me why), and lots of quiet nothingness left me with thoughts of meh. My assumption was good enough reason to stay on the highway rather than drive the 12 kms to the dam.

This time I make a mental note to explore the lake on my return trip home.

Later that day…

Driving back to Brisbane on my return trip I take the Lake Moogerah turnoff.

This is what I see…

Moogerah Dam

A breathtaking view of Lake Moogerah and the surrounding mountains of the glorious scenic rim

I also see this…

Moogerah Dam motor boats

Motorised vessels permitted on the lake – it was a busy on the water with small boats and jet skis

And this…

Moogerah Dam Wall

Walking along the dam wall, the view was stunning – even looking down

I’ve never been so deliciously surprised! My wrongful assumption of a dull brown dam to what actually is – a wonderfully vibrant body of water surrounded by mountains was breathtaking.

What’s not to love?

So happy I decided to check out my assumption – win/win ♥