Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lord Mayor's Carols in the City 4th December 2010.

Orchestra rehearsing under Barrie Gott, the conductor of the Qld Pops Orchestra.

Barrie on an upbeat.

Brass and woodwind rehearsing.

Strings rehearsing.

"Let it snow..."

"Let it snow..."

"Let it snow..."

Choir relaxing.

Choir still relaxing.

Someone's been playing with the lights.

Leisa Barry-Smith and Troy Cassar-Daley.

Jingle Bell Rock.

Troy Cassar-Daley (and Barrie Gott).

Colin Buchanan checking his words.

Birthday girl.

Rainy rehearsal.  Colin Buchanan asked for more tarp in the foldback.

The grounds were saturated in the afternoon, but by evening they were packed with people in ponchos, sitting on groundsheets and waving candles.

Sopranos smiling in the rain.

Paulini won't be photographed by this camera.

Paulini rehearsing in the rain.

Keyboard under cover.

Strings under cover.

Stan Walker takes off his hat.

Under Stan Walker's hat.

Choir robes named and alphabetically arranged.  Colin Buchanan asked did we have to be ordained to wear these.

Two angels.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Adventures of St Paul in Damascus

At Anna's suggestion, I decided to compile the adventures of St Paul in Damascus into a book, which you can hopefully preview here:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Daintree 22.09.2010

A further 18 km north of Wonga Beach, and 70 km north of Cairns, the little village of Daintree lies on the Daintree River. On the spur of the moment, we decided to take a crocodile-viewing river cruise. Our boat was a small, very quiet, solar-powered electric one. We were the only passengers, so had the knowledgable local guide to ourselves.

I couldn’t believe it when we went straight across the river from where we boarded, and there was a three metre crocodile!

He wasn’t moving, but he had his eye on us.

Further downstream was a one metre baby.

This fellow was 3.5 metres long, and very well fed.

I didn’t like his teeth, and was quite relieved when we slipped silently away without incident.

The river was breathtakingly beautiful.

Our guide Scott spotted this green tree snake directly overhead.

I will remember this trip for the rest of my life.

Wonga Beach 22.09.2010

Just 18 km north of Mossman lies Wonga Beach, a classic deserted tropical beach with white sand, gentle waves, coconut palms leaning towards the sea and coconuts lying ungathered all over the beach.  We couldn’t believe we had this idyllic tropical paradise to ourselves.
Carol (and no-one else) on Wonga Beach.

Sprouting coconut on Wonga Beach.  We took a coconut with us and I spent half a day getting in to it - but I did succeed in the end.

Mossman 22.09.10

We spent the night in Port Douglas in our Wicked Van parked in Carol’s friend’s driveway, then the next morning drove to Mossman.

Carol remembered this avenue of rain trees from a visit she made there when she was eight.

At a second hand shop in Mossman, Carol found a picture of magnolias that caught her fancy. This involved removing it from its frame, wrapping it (roughly) in newspaper, and being directed to obtain some cardboard from the Mossman Post Office rubbish skip to post it back to Brisbane.

Mossman locals.

Splendid Daintree Inn in Mossman.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Port Douglas 21.09.10

View over Port Douglas.

Our Wicked Van at Port Douglas.  It was a great conversation starter wherever we went.

Entrance to Nautilus Restaurant at Port Douglas.

View from the reataurant over the water at Port Douglas where we had dinner.  There were lots of people there waiting to see the gropers being fed.  Unfortunately, on the day we were there, the gropers didn't come.....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cairns to Port Douglas

Carol is presenting at a Permaculture Convergence (!) in Kuranda, and invited me along for the ride.  Wicked Vans were recommended as offering a good deal to Convergence attendees, so we dcided to hire one for a week and make a holiday of the trip.

We took the airport shuttle bus into Cairns, which dropped everyone off where they wanted to go, so we had quite an enjoyable tour of Cairns before we were dropped at Wicked Vans.

The characteristic of Wicked Vans is that they have hand painted murals on the outside of them, and also grafitti slogans, so of them quite rude.  Ours has a painting of the indigenous boxer Ron Richards, who was commemorated at Purga near Ipswich earlier this year, so its slogans are about boxing, which isn't too bad.  Still, people are generally surprised to see two mature ladies hopping out of it everywhere, and its a great conversation starter.

Firstly, we drove to Carol's permaculture friend and co-author of one of her books, Janet, who lives in the hills a bit west of Cairns, in a spot that was a bit hard to find.  Janet lives in a Balinese-inspired house with a magical tropical garden with brilliant blue Ulysses and vibrant Cairns Birdwing butterflies fluttering about everywhere.  They were extremely difficult to photograph, especially as it was raining on and off, so this was the best I could do:
The Cairns Birdwing butterfly is Australia's largest, with a wingspan of up to 16 cm.  The other side of the lower wing is a brilliant emerald green, but I could only catch them when they had landed.

The other side of the Ulysses butterfly's wings is a startling iridescent blue (you can just see a glimpse of it here) but once again they were too quick for me to catch in flight. 

Then we drove up to Pt Douglas, to visit another of Carol's friends.  The road north of  Cairns is very pretty, with mountains on one side, and the sea on the other.  Pt Douglas is a resort village and very relaxed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gary Hatcher's Book Launch: You Probably Have Parkinson's Disease

Saturday 17th July 2010 was the long-awaited day when Gary's book was officially launched at the Bracken Ridge Community Centre, to a very receptive group of family, friends, neighbours, former colleagues and members of the medical profession.

In 2000, Gary retired from 30 years of being a primary school principal.  Slowly, a few things went wrong - he couldn't whistle, he had a slight tic in his wrist, he lost his sense of smell, he had trouble with his voice and he developed a stiff shoulder, and these problems were treated independently of each other.  In 2002, a doctor, while administering a cortisone injection into his stiff shoulder, remarked "By the way, you probably have Parkinson's disease."  This diagnosis was later confirmed, and then Gary and his wife Ruth embarked on a difficult and tumultuous journey.  In March 2009, when medication could no longer provide Gary with a satisfactory quality of life, he underwent a Deep Brain Stimulation operation.  While life was by no means plain sailing after this, Gary now looks forward to a bright and active future.  His book You Probably Have Parkinson's Disease is a light hearted record of his experiences to date.

Gary's brother Bryan was MC for the morning.

Grandson Connor wanted to sit with Gary.

Gary's speech.

Gary's speech.


Gary's speech.

Gary's speech.

Gary's speech.

Anne's speech.
Jim tells the story of when he and Gary, both primary school principals on the Gold Coast, decided to take an early mark one afternoon to go fishing, telephoning Gary’s school to say he had an important meeting to attend. When Gary arrived back, Ruth had three questions to ask:

1. What was that sudden important meeting you had to attend?

2. Why did you wear those old clothes to a meeting?

3. Where did all those fish come from?

Karen's speech.
Karen officially launches the book.  Hooray!
Casey draws the raffle.
Nigel wins the lucky door prize.
Champagne for Anne.
The gathering.
Nigel and the lucky door prize.
Darren and Connor.
Broni and Darren with Connor.

Leonie with Callum and Casey.
Lindsay and Robyn on their wedding anniversary.
Grant and Kim

Gary signs Pat's book.

Best wishes to Ruth and Gary for the future (and we hope you sell lots of books).
To buy a copy of this heartwarming book, please email: