A trip down the rocky road of memory

We talk of going down memory lane but in fact memory can be more like a rocky road – bumps and potholes everywhere.

I mused on this when, unexpectedly, I found myself spending a night in Redland Bay and taking an early morning walk to reacquaint myself with this once much loved area to the extreme south east of Brisbane. 

My relationship with the bay goes back more than 50 years to when Bob and I and our three small children first arrived from Kenya and it became one of our favourite weekend playgrounds.  We asked so little of life in those day; just to have each other and be together; and though we had no money we had a lot of fun.  In our old car we would drive out on Sundays to the one small beach in an area of mangrove mudflats.  North and south of Brisbane were the endless beaches of the Gold and Sunshine Coast, or Bribie Island, where the sand was white as snow or the colour of an underbaked biscuit. We went there too, when we could.  But Redland offered safe swimming for small children and the pub atop the cliff was exactly 40 miles from our Tarragindi home.  You had to drive at least 40 miles, in those years, to be allowed to buy a drink on a Sunday.

The beach where we used to bring our small children back in the late 1960s. Not a spectacular beach by Australian standards but safe for children because the water was shallow and surf-free. No pathway and rock wall in those days. Below, the gentle curve of this small bay from the northern end.
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Taken from a bit higher up. No concrete pathway back then, we had to clamber down the bank with our picnic baskets and blankets.

These boats seem to have sat there on the sand for 50 years! Coochiemudlo Island in the background, to the north and, further east, the long line of North Stradbroke Island.

The Redland Bay Hotel had something else to recommend it back then – a jukebox.  My grandchildren and great grandchildren will be amazed and probably amused to know how limited was our access to popular music in those pre-digital (pre cassette tape, pre CD) days.  We could listen to it on the radio and hope to catch a favourite song.  Or buy the record, which cost money which we didn’t have.  I was enamoured of Neil Diamond’s song Shiloh at the time, and of Melody Rush’s Angel of the Morning, and would happily drive out to the bay just to hear them!

The old Redland Bay Hotel, almost unchanged from the old days except for this covered beer garden. In the 60s and 70s we used to drink and sometimes lunch on the old verandah behind, where the juke box was.
The entrance to the pub.

In those days we generally headed baywards with friends Jock and Rosemary Payet who had come with us from Kenya in the late 60s.  Their small Louise and our Robert, Amanda and Cathy would play happily in the pebbly, shallow water while we adults swam and chatted and ate our simple picnic lunch.  We might go and have a beer at the pub but we could rarely afford to eat there!  And Rosemary’s picnic lunches were better than anything you could buy at a pub back then.  Or a sandwich shop.

Within a couple of years we had bought a block of land on Lamb, one of the many islands which dot Moreton Bay, of which Redland Bay is only a small part.  It was sold to us as a waterfront block and indeed it was – at high tide.  When the tide went out it exposed an expanse of mud and mangrove breathers sticking up like daggers.  But the jetty was close by and we swam there, and fished.  I once foul-hooked a huge mangrove crab and, on another occasion, a flounder.  There was a rail across the island from the jetty and a rail cart that had to be pushed.  This was so that the mangoes, grown on the eastern side facing North Stradbroke Island, could be harvested and pushed to the ferry for transporting across to the mainland.  Our children had great fun with this rail and over the other side was a family called Bulwinkle who had 12 acres and showed us much hospitality – and supplied us with mangoes!  In summer, though, the mosquitoes would swarm out of the surrounding mangroves and mug us with ferocity and it was not possible to push the rail cart fast enough to outrun them.  We learned to smother ourselves in repellent first – but it was never quite enough to protect us.

Coming back on the Sunday evening ferry was always a treat.  It was a little foot passenger ferry that serviced the mid-bay islands of Lamb, Macleay, Karragarra and Russell (where peculiar people lived, or so we were told). The sun would be sinking behind the hills on the mainland , the  water like a mirror.  Our companions were other weekenders like ourselves, very few in number back then and only a handful of residents living permanently on the four islands.  There was great camaraderie and some swapping around of scones and cake and biscuits and cordial.  On our drive home – only about 25 minutes in those traffic-free days – we would stop for the Sunday night treat of fish and chips, which was my children’s favourite meal of the week despite all the effort I put into providing them with tasty and nutritious meals from Monday to Saturday!  Oh, they were glorious days!

Cathy and I fishing off the jetty on Lamb Island in about 1969.
The busy foot passenger ferry to the islands. Back in our day it was just a jetty.
It’s even got a little coffee shop at one side
City commuter buses stop there
Passenger schedules just like an airport!
A nice little pathway where the creek runs out; a few fishing boats beyond.
Though the larger passenger ferry can be seen at right, the dear little old ferries are still operating – and this is how we travelled over to Lamb Island half a century and more ago.
The four main inhabited islands in Redland Bay are serviced by this passenger ferry. Coochimudlo, to the north in Moreton Bay proper, is serviced by a different ferry, as are the big islands of Moreton and North and South Stradbroke.
Close by is the second and smaller landing place for the vehicular ferry – years ago there were was no such thing. Foot traffic only, or your own boat. The big ferries for Stradbroke leave from Cleveland, further north.
Back in the day there was a small, dirt car park here which took about 50 cars, if that. Now, it’s shiny vehicles as far as the eye can see, so popular have the islands become.

And life moved on – we returned briefly to Africa, then back to Oz and nearly 20 years in  Noosa, then west a bit, then in the mid 90s back to the general bay area again, though not to Redland Bay itself.  I moved into my fifties, Bob into his sixties.  We bought a small yacht and kept it on the marina at Manly towards the northern end of the bay and once again headed south to Redland on weekends, this time by water.  We used to anchor off Karragarra and row ourselves over to Lamb and Macleay, where there was a small pub. By then the pretty little islands had attracted residents with a reputation for being feral – probably because there were no police there to pursue the pot growers and others seeking the kind of freedom that often translates to lawlessness.  But we never had any problems with them and loved our peaceful anchorage.  We’d take Friday off so we could make it worthwhile – setting out early and hoping there would be enough wind to get us down the bay.  Staying overnight and Saturday and coming back Sunday afternoon with a south-easterly behind us.  Winter was harder, with the westerlies blowing us all over the bay and the rare northerlies were a real problem and meant trying to make it mostly on the small engine.

Sailing back from Karragarra in the late 90s, me at the helm. The usually calm bay waters can get choppy and it looks like a stiff breeze blowing from the south, portent of stronger wind and choppier sea by the time we reach the northern bay off Manly and Wynnum. I’m wearing a jacket so it’s probably late winter, early spring.
Cap’n Bob
Looking across to that same area today, north from Karagarra and out past Coochimudlo where Flinders once landed.
Two views looking north and north-east

That all stopped 22 years ago when we moved to Tamborine.  And I haven’t been back to Redland Bay since, or at least not long enough to go down by the water where my memories lie.

All those memories trickled back to me yesterday as I walked for two hours around that once dear and familiar shoreline. Under a flawless sky so many things remained unchanged.  The old, mostly weatherboard houses.  The people who still smile and say hello when out walking even though this area is now an outer suburb of Brisbane.  The water shone under a strong spring sun and the islands stood out clear and low – Coochiemudlo just to the north and beyond it Peel with its sheltered bay and lovely St Helena, out of sight but nor mind because we often used to sail there.  Ahead of me and to the south Macleay, Lamb, Karragarra and Russell.  Plus all those tiny little uninhabited mangrove-edged islets which dot the bay more thickly as it narrows towards the Gold Coast Broadwater.  And beyond them all, on the horizon, the long bulk of North Stradbroke Island. 

There are, inevitably changes – in fact the whole area has the feeling of a place on the edge of transformation from sleepy waterside to condomania.  Now  that all the places with good beaches have been overtaken, those that simply offer water views are modernising fast.  The dear old wooden houses have subdivided their large gardens and large, glossy signs promise apartment blocks to fill the space.  A Woolsworths supermarket under construction dominates the small townscape within a few metres of the water. 

The Jetty Store, still there after more than 50 years. I had breakfast here, sitting outside in the sun. As unpretentious as it ever was. There are a couple of posher coffee shops around the bay area now but none with better value food.
See what I mean?! And it was as delicious as it was filling. If only Bob could have been there to share it. He always did love a cheap brekkie!
Opposite the cafe, on the water, is a scruffy little park. Those fig trees weren’t there back then. Look how lovely they are now!
This clifftop house was there back then and in 1970 my parents fell in love with it because it reminded them of Mombasa. So they bought the block of land next door…which the owners of the above house had subdivided for their old age.
My parents later sold the land. This is the house that’s on the block now – much bigger than it looks from the front. There is one more house (to the right) in this tiny clifftop street, and that’s all. And below is the view from the garden….if only I could have inherited this block!
Finally, just round the corner a stone’s throw from the little beach pictured further above ,nd also my parents’ block, is the house we nearly bought in 1970, It was very smart back then, white with black shutters and trim. But it was a long way from the city and Bob’s work, and the asking price (from memory) was $16,000. Which was slightly more than we could easily afford! We were still considering it when World Bank sent Bob back to Africa. When we returned to Queensland two years later we went back to look at this house – but it had sold. And we moved north to Noosa. Sliding doors! If we had bought this house and settled in Redland Bay how different our life would have been.

Yet at 7 o’clock yesterday morning I sat in the sun outside the Jetty Store and ate my breakfast and sipped my coffee where more than half a century ago we bought potato chips and soft drinks for our kids.  It hasn’t changed much, nor the scruffy little waterside park opposite.  The friendly operators seemed to know everyone who popped in and these were all the ordinary Aussie types of yesteryear. Music played softly in the background and though I couldn’t identify it the sound was vaguely and reassuringly 70s in tone.  Folksy.  Even the birds sounded as they did in my youth.  And for a moment I knew a moment of ineffable peace.  The peace that passeth all understanding, as Bob would have said, had he been there. But he wasn’t, nor Robert either, the once eager child who was always first on and off the jetty during  our island adventures.

That’s the problem for those of us who venture down the rocky road of memory; we encounter those loves whom we will never meet again. And yet,  the view at the end is always worth it.


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Taken from a little higher up. There was no concrete ramp or steps in those days. You had to clamber down the bank with your picnic basket and blanket.
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It all started with Cathy’s idea – why not take Mum to Hamilton Island for her birthday this year and we’ll have a week of fun in the sun, snorkelling and sailing and dining and wining and generally chilling out!  And this would help the sad Lake girls deal with their grief at losing a son and brother, father and husband in one year, so we can all move on.

And so on Saturday, May 29, two days before my birthday, we all flew off to “Hamo” – myself, Cathy, Amanda, Sue (who had flown over from WA) and Cathy’s partner Nettie. 

Hamilton Island is lovely and has many good things about it.  But by the far the best, as far as we are concerned, is my grandson Richard.  He seemed to actually enjoy the company of his mother, grandmother and aunts.  What’s more he owns a boat business so was able to take us out sailing and snorkelling and to lovely Whitehaven Beach and this just made for the most perfect week. 

The accommodation was large and roomy and with splendid views.  Service was good everywhere and so was the food.  The weather was generally kind, especially when we most needed it to be.

And of course we had each other for company.

I am just so grateful to ALL my four girls – and grandson Richard – for giving me such a wonderful time and some memories I shall never forget. 

And, for those who would like to know more, here is the trip in pictures:


We flew from Brisbane and arrived on the island just after 3pm. Sunshine and blue seas. Our accommodation turned out to be perfect for five women who like a bit of space from each other. Large, comfortable, gorgeous views.

Nettie and Cathy checking us in at Brisbane airport.

Below from top left: Cathy wondering how to drink a glass of bubbly through her mask. Me celebrating take off with a large beer (an unwise choice before flying!). Boarding the plane, which was full of screaming children. The little Hamilton Island airport. Cathy tells us to hurry up and get on the buggy, which awaited us at the airport for our use during our stay. Most of us on board – golf buggies are the only guest transport on Hamilton Island, apart from the free bus that goes around regularly. Our first glimpse of the scenery. Nettie in her favourite pose – “we’re here!! And then there’s The Peak, which she intends us to climb. Arrival at our villa. Our villa from the front – my bedroom at top left, Cathy and Nettie’s top right, Sue and Amanda at the back. Spectacular views.

I had forgotten how beautiful the Whitsunday Islands are. Most of the scenes below were taken on Hamilton but some are of other islands, including Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island itself which has been rated one of the 10 best in the world. I’ve included a pic of the Hamilton Island resort (where we didn’t stay, but were able to use all the facilities, which are excellent), the bakery (Amanda and Sue outside) which we patronised a lot, and the Hamilton Island Marina.


What did we do all the time? Apart from eat and drink? Well here are some of our activities…. we visited Dent Island where there is a golf course with splendid views from just about every hole. It’s a 10 minute ferry ride from Hamilton and you can have a buggy ride around Dent, followed by a truly delicious lunch at the Golf Club (see food section of story). Best food I’ve had in years. Pics show us arriving on the ferry, on the Dent Island jetty, the golf buggy caravanserai, distracting views from the greens, Cathy and Nettie and I, a cool reward after the tour, having lunch.

Amanda thought she might like to go to church…because who could resist this sweet little chapel, the scene of many a wedding.

But often we just chose to loaf around the pool….

Of course, the best activity of all was snorkelling…courtesy of grandson Richard who owns a boat business on Hamilton Island and kindly took us to some beautiful spots around the other islands in the Whitsundays, including famed Whitehaven Beach. The pics showing first picking up our gear from Richard’s shop and office, Cap’n Richard getting stuff ready and then welcoming us all aboard, leaving harbour and then picking up speed, Sue’s feet, getting suited up (with some difficulty in my case, reminding me of why my old diving suit only came to my thighs!), then approaching our first stop.

Another wonderful experience was the sunset sail on the big catamaran owned by Richard’s friend Rob (pics above). We were out for a couple of hours, sipping drinks and nibbling and chatting and watching for dolphin. Bliss! Nearly forgot to include this pic of Richard’s pretty housemates, below.

For the five of us, it was a week of bonding. We did things alone, in pairs, in threesomes and all together. Here we all are, as couples and individuals. Plus Richard of course.


Cathy…and Richard below her…then Sue. We seem to have rather a lot of Sue, but then she IS very photogenic. Mostly! Finally, Nettie, then me.



And now for some couples and threesomes….no need to put names to them as this is mostly for family


We did some very fine dining. The golf club on Dent Island was the stand-out meal but Tako’s offered Mexican-influenced share platters with a difference at a very reasonable price. Romano’s was pricier but the food was good. And Cathy and Nettie, our two cooks for the trip, turned out a couple of tasty meals plus my lovely seafood smorgasbord (Richard got the crabs and prawns). We patronised the bakery a fair bit too – good sandwiches! And cakes, especially the Tiramisu cake.


And now we come to our last night. Richard and his sister, granddaughter Sarah, in London (!) took the initiative here and organised something rather special. It’s the custom on Hamilton Island for visitors to go up to One Tree Hill, where you have 360 degree views, and drink the sun down. There’s a little bar that opens from 3 until 7pm. From London Sarah organised the purchase of cocktails for us all. and Richard, who is handy in the kitchen, prepared trays of cheese and biscuits and nibblies. All a big surprise to me, when I arrived and was handed a mojito! What a wonderful thing to do, and what a wonderful way to end our trip.

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With Covid19 still plagueing the world but not – lucky us – anywhere near Tamborine Mountain the Caponians celebrated Christmas with the usual dinner and entertainment. Both were scaled down compared with previous years and so was the number of diners but we still had a good time.

Some new faces and some gone from us forever – this was Bob’s and my tenth Capo dinner but alas we couldn’t celebrate this anniversary together because Bob is no longer able to participate. At least we can still enjoy life in this lovely little community even though we are not as young and lively as we once were – and nor are our closest friends here! I still miss Maureen and Patrick and Wal and Val and Carol and Paul and Rosie (who gave us such sumptuous Christmas feasts in the past) and others who have moved on. And dear Bill Raggatt who, sadly, moved on for good just a few months back. Luckily Fran is still here to cheer us up!

But as some leave, so others come to replace them and the community continues to thrive, with plenty of kindness and mutual support.

No little pantomime this year but instead a skit, directed and written as usual by Bernice (and modified when we felt like it by the rest of us!). Our subject was food allergies and we had a go at them all – gluten, lactose, shellfish, veganism! Myself, Bernice, Gretel, Renee and Delle had a cheerful go at our friends and neighbours, all to the tune of “Rudolph” and accompanied by Ellie on the piano. Even our hired chef had a small role – which he performed with gusto because he can’t bear fussy eaters!

In between helping out as a waitress and performing in the skit I managed to grab a few photos – though not many. If anyone else sends me some I’ll add them to this post. In the meantime – for those who were there and those who wished they could have been – here they are: (I did put in captions but not too sure where they are!!!!!)

Good to spend some time with Dale again; like all of us he’s had an up-and-down-year, enduring both chemotherapy and a hip replacement. And he’s come through both with flying colours.

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Renee still rocks!

Yesterday, while swimming in our pool, I glanced across to where my beloved friend and neighbour Renee Hardy was tending the small herb garden she has planted OUTSIDE her fence, where others can enjoy it.

I watched her bend effortlessly to tend her plants, then stand up to wield her hoe, slim and lithe in her grey gardening jumper and slacks, hair immaculate as always, big earrings dangling. Even when gardening, Renee is glamorous.

And the extraordinary thing about Renee is that she turned 80 last weekend! Not only does she manage her own garden and one (or more) of the Capo di Monte community garden plots but she finds time to make chutneys and pickles, sing with the Bellas, take part in various artistic endeavours, tend her grand and great grandchildren, watch football with Ted and generally enjoy life to the full. And she can still rock and roll!

Because Renee is so universally loved her mountain friends threw a party for her on Sunday, here in the Capo pergola where so many fun parties have been held over the years. It was short notice so not everyone on the guest list could make it, and the weather was horribly cold and damp for a subtropical southern hemisphere November, but we still had fun. We decorated the pergola with shocking pink banner and balloons to match the tableware, all purchased by me on Friday with much glee as I wanted this to be as much like a little girl’s party as possible – even to the bowls of sherbet lollies on the table.

Louise Macrae made the cake (and what a cake!) and others brought dishes to represent various countries as the theme was Around the World in 80 Dishes. As we only had 14 guests we couldn’t make the 80 dishes – but we did have a nice big 80th candle on the cake!

Two highlights of the afternoon were Bernice’s especially written poem in honour of the occasion, referencing Renee’s acclaimed role as a fairy in two of our Christmas pantomimes (which Bernice writes and directs). Plus Sandy Hardie’s hilarious and very naughty chimney sweep poem which Renee requested. These girls are seasoned performers and know how to play to the gallery. Sandy, of course, is the author of the acclaimed and very funny (and personal) Diary of a Menopausal Poet.

And of course we sang and sipped bubbly and celebrated the friendship that binds us all together. In this horrible year such celebrations (and we have had a few!) are more than ever precious to us because in our small community it is our deep connection with each other that has helped get us through. Anyway, as usual I’ll let the pictures tell the story….

Oh and by the way, the night before Renee’s family threw a party for her at the coast (see below, with her son) – a 70s style disco party complete with coloured mirror ball. She danced until all hours – and still had plenty of oomph left for her party with friends on Sunday. Wotta girl!

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Linda’s still sexy at sixty!

Lovely Linda – nobody would ever believe she has just turned 60.


All aboard the Love Boat – Linda and Barry wait at the top of the “gangway” for us all to board.

Dianne and Alan who turned their lovely big house into the Love Boat so Linda could celebrate her birthday in style

A great party last night, Saturday June 27, at Di and Alan’s for Linda Simister’s 60th. A Love Boat theme and most people dressed for a cruise from the days when we did this with style and elegance. Barry made a fine Captain to welcome us all aboard, a bowl of sangria by the door (companionway?) warmed us all on a chilly evening, food was abundant and delicious, champagne and other beverages flowed freely, Linda looked gorgeous, so did some others of us, all ages sang and danced, a firepit gave atmosphere to the “shore excursion” and some of the decor looked familiar to those who remember the Pirates Panto of a couple of years back! And the cake, made by Di (with Linda as sous chef) was HUGE! An occasion that will be remembered by all who attended.  As usual, the pictures tell the story:

Me, all dressed up and ready to go. Who says you can’t wear animal prints when you are in your 70s?! (Even the earrings are leopard print!)

Cap’n Barry, very nautical in his uniform mostly borrowed from the Zamia Theatre costume department, welcomes guests aboard the Love Boat with a brisk salute

Di, also there to welcome us aboard and channelling Ginger from Gilligan’s Island

A glamorous trio, reminiscent of Titanic, Sandy, Louise and Renee.

Emma and her mum Debra come aboard, ready to join the crew

They SAID they were from Idaho. Chuck and Whatsername – something typically rural American anyway. But some of us recognised them as Kevin and Lisa!

I have several friends called “Diane” or “Dianne”. This is one of them and as I hadn’t seen her for about four years it was great to catch up. But I really took his pic to show how Di and Alan’s big entry hall-cum-living room can be made to look like a ship’s saloon, with the quarterdeck through the doors beyond – the deck came complete with a help but alas you can’t see it from here. It all looked very shipshape out on the quarterdeck but as the night was chilly few of us lingered there.

Warrick Bailey made a very fine pirate. And the shoes were made specially for him when he was in a production of…I think he said Man of La Mancha. Something appropriately Quixotic anyway!

Another Di – this time Di Parker with daughter Meg. Thoroughly enjoying themselves as you can see.

Of course we had singing. And of course Margy Rose kicked it off for us. Here she and Cassie perform a comic song before leading us all into a rollicking version of Toyota Corolla.

And of course we had dancing. Though with only about four dance-able men (Wayne, Rob, Kevin, Barry) the girls had to partner each other – here Margy and Sandie Hardy give it a whirl. In the background the very talented Rob plays and sings us some Spanish…great stff.

You just can’t keep Sandy Hardy still – here she dances with Lisa.

As for Debbie, well, the old professionals never give up and she just can’t resist that beat. She and husband Wayne were dressed strangely but strikingly in black and were our “mystery” passengers. Though exactly what the mystery was, we never did find out! Maybe they wee planing to lead the pirates in a hijack! Di is clicking her fingers and tapping her feet in the background.

Alan is wondering whether he could give the dancing a go…or maybe just planning how to thrash Bob at chess again!

Anyway, some of the girls dragged Alan into the ring and while Renee, Cassie and Elizabeth all give him a whirl it takes the irrepressible Louise H to show him some dirty dancing!

Linda, looking just gorgeous, welcomes us all to her party and tells us basically how wonderful we are for being there. We heartily agree! And indeed, all the guests represent the many different aspects of LindyLou’s very busy community life. She sings, she teaches ukulele and rock and roll, she acts, she works with both the elderly and the young, she brightens every room she’s in and she has more life in her smile than most people have in their entire bodies. All that, and she has Barry too! (And Ollie the dog and Fergus the Fat Cat!).

Pirates galore. And Sue Albury on the right, looking pensive.

We’ll leave the last word to Louise H – she usually has it anyway! Though exactly what she’s up to here is anyone’s guess. Behind her is our other Louise, looking elegant in her gorgeous sequined dress – and op shop find – and an elegant but unusual stole made by her mum! Local newspaper editorBarbara Proudman is in the background, camera round her neck as usual. The only time she takes it off is when she’s dancing – and she surely does love to dance! As do we all.  Age does not wither us, nor the years condemn, we can still get up there and shake it all about as we did when we were 16.  Though perhaps not quite as gracefully!!!! And (groan! moan!) we pay for it the next morning!

Below are some more photos, taken by Barbara Proudman.



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75 and not out!


Just out of bed to start my birthday – my pyjamas say it all, really. (The bottoms are a leopard print!_)

Sunday May 31 was my 75th birthday.  I don’t really believe it.  I am now officially “old”.  According to the Queensland Government anyway, which deems that I must now have a doctor’s certificate to say that I am fit enough to drive a car.

And of course in the eyes of all young people I am indeed an old lady.  But let me tell you, this old lady ain’t going quietly!  After all, I can not only still drive a car with a certain amount of verve and the same pleasure I’ve always found in driving, I can also rock and roll!  And sing.  And play the ukulele. And bushwalk.  And indeed do most of the things I’ve always done. I just do some of them more slowly, is all.  Take the time to smell the flowers.

This makes me one of the lucky ones. Though I don’t feel so lucky right now because 2020, which began with so much promise, has turned out to be a bugger of a year so far.  First there was Covid19 which though it didn’t affect Queenslanders too much still restricted our lives and saddened us with what was happening elsewhere – as well as dominating the news for weeks.

Then I lost my beloved son –  a blow that will always damn 2020 in my memory long after the Cvirus has gone from it.  And I had a tooth abscess.  And shingles. And as I write this we are not yet halfway through the year!

But life, while we still have it, should still be celebrated. And so  I made as much of my birthday (because I’ve always loved birthdays) as possible under the circumstances.  Here it is in pictures:

Bernice’s poem – “Owed to Julie” (with apologies to certain other lesser poets!).  It’s a marvellous poem and has me nailed – beautifully illustrated too.  A real keepsake.  Lots of subtle references. And please note the final infernal reference – cheeky girl! – but never mind Bernice, I’ll see you down there!


She of shapely leg and golden hair,

Who likes to play some little air,

Upon her Ukulele

Tra la le and tra la lo – and then a pling

That’s Julie!


Shall I compare her to a summer’s day?

Rough chilly winds did shake the darling buds of May,

When she was born.

And for those, who become objects of her scorn,

Watch out! There’s Julie!


Nuns at school tried to save her soul

At least I heard that was their goal

They had as much chance as a wax cat in hell

She fought for her freedom, like William Tell

That’s Julie


She must have been a “bomb” back then,

Alas, alak, all those poor men,

But one she captured – quite a prize

I think that he was anaesthetised

By Julie.


Life is full of roads not wandered

But she followed many – pondered.

Migrating with her little family

She went through tough times – behaved quite grandly,

In spite of being Julie.


And years from now – when she’s gone

And you hear a Ukulele strumming on,

The sound wafted upwards by summer breezes

And by rough hot winds that dare to tease us.

Stop awhile, have a smile – and say, “There’s Julie”.


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Folk fun

Louise joins Polly and Rob Reed for some delightful harmonies

Another lovely afternoon of mountain music on Sunday as myself, Brenda and Bernice joined a crowd of friends and acquaintances at Louise MacRae’s house to enjoy folk duo Polly and Rob Reed.

Polly and Rob, who bill themselves as Twa Lost Geordies, are fairly recent arrivals on Tamborine but have already entwined their way into our musical hearts with regular performances at festivals and the  markets.  They have performed all over the world and specialise, among other types of music, in the folk songs of the Tyneside and north-east England whence they come, with a fine repertoire of old sea shanties.

Polly has a true folk voice, reminiscent of Judy Collins, and Rob plays both the guitar and the Appalachian dulcimer.  He has four of these, gogeous instruments, and  we ukulele and guitar players in the audience were fascinated by them – he even let me have a go!  One plays it horizontally like a dobro and it’s quite strange but hauntingly beautiful.  Goes well with Polly’s voice.

Louise managed to fit 50 of us into her big sitting room and there was plenty of good stuff to eat and drink and time for a chat during the interval, and a wander round the garden.  I love her house!

The concert was to raise some seed money for the Five Senses Festival which starts in a few weeks – the Bellas will be singing at it, among other attractions.  These small musical gatherings are such a joy and we have so many talented people here always ready to perform a variety of music for us.  It’s nice not to always have to drive to Brisbane or the coast for entertainment…here are a few rather bad photos…

Rob Reed with one of his dulcimers


Gathering for the concert – Warwick Bailey in the foreground and also Alan James having a chat with Brenda.

Louise, our hostess with the mostest, chatting with friends during the interval

Darling Dianne with Denise (I THINK that’s her name) who is holding a garden party for the Five Senses Festival on April 5 at which the Bellas are singing.

Getting some fresh air on the verandah during the interval – the weather continues SOOO hot and humid.

Alan and Bernice tucking in!

Lesley and Steve in serious conversation.

Sandie Hardy chatting with friends in the interval. Tony was somewhere around too.

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The final poster

Well, the 2019 Capolettes Christmas panto-skit The Adventures of Snow White was a big hit with its (admittedly easy to please) audience on Tuesday, December 17 – despite the usual shambolic dress rehearsal the night before.

Alas, I don’t yet have any photos of the actual panto – when and if I do get some I’ll post them on this page in an update.  In the meantime, here are some pics of the dress rehearsal and the dinner itself…it was a great night with wonderful food… antipasto and plates and punch followed by  a buffet of baked salmon,  avocadoes stuffed with seafood, lamb, pork, turkey, ham and all sorts of interesting vegies and salads, followed by Rosie’s amazing chocolate daleks and Barbara’s Christmas pud, all served with cream and ice cream and brandy butter.  I can barely eat a mouthful today!

The wine flowed and those few of us who unwisely stayed to the last also polished off Terry’s lovely – and expensive – Glen Morangie!  We Caponians might be ageing, on average, but we still know how to have fun (though those of us who danced and sang Big Spender are paying for it this morning !  Who would have thought I could still kick that high?!  Who would be silly enough to even try it at my age and not realise there’d be a price to pay next day!  I just hope the same goes for the rest of the Seven Tarts!

Actually, several people have asked why this Snow White features an Uber driver and tarts instead of dwarves – whoops, vertically challenged persons!  Well, this is our Bernice’s take on Roald Dahl’s take on the original fairy story.  In OUR version the pubescent ( but amazingly precocious and independent) Snow White runs off to work for a household of seven reformed tarts after the Queen, her wicked stepmother, tries to have her killed by the huntsman.  Because, true to the Disney version, the Magic Mirror one day tells her that Snow White is prettier than the Queen herself.  Untrue to the Disney version is that Snow White then hitches a ride with an Uber driver into town to get a job with the tarts, who have a penchant for betting.  She steals the Magic Mirror and, while her father the King is counting his money and all his other possessions)  gets the Queen of Tarts (not to be confused with the Wicked Queen) to ask it the winner of the next race at Doomben.  The mirror obligingly provides the answer and Snow White and the tarts have a big win…and a big spend-up to follow.  The Wicked Queen is naturally furious and – Disney with a twist – takes the tarts a basket of apples poisoned with Round-up!  Snow-White and her surrogate mothers fall to the floor in their twitching death throes (I enjoyed that bit but getting up was hard!) but the fairy steps out of the mirror, reveals her true identity and revives them all.  Whereupon the narrator wonders whether some day Snow White’s prince will come…but he, she’s only twelve and says she and the tarts would rather stick to betting because you’re better off betting on a hose than on a man!  Whereupon entire cast sings and dances to the old song “Stewball was a Racehorse”!

Well, you ASKED me!

(And yes, I DO know that Round-up kills weeds, not people.  Trust me, I’m a horticulturist!)

The Bobfather at the dress rehearsal, with his Uber taxi ready to pick up the hitchhiking Snow White

Two old tarts – Rosie and Ellie waiting their turn to go on at the dress rehearsal.

Jackie, at 91 the oldest tart of us all but still able to kick up her legs – and her walking stick – when required!

As part of the final dress rehearsal audience Wolfie and Pam are obvously discussing the finer points of our performance – though actually Wolfie was supposed to be taking a video! He is SOOO easily distracted by a pretty woman!

Well tonight’s the night and I’m ready – but with two roles to play in the panto I’ve not got time to take photos, alas.

The dining room starts to fill up – Ellie to the forefront before she sneaks off to put on her tart’s costume

Renee (as the Magid Mirror Fairy), Brenda (as Snow White) and Bernice (director/naraator) take a well-earned rest at the end of the dress rehearsal.

The dining room begins to fill; Ellie to the forefront at our table before she sneaks off to put on her tart’s costume.

Barbara tries to light one of her Christmas puds

Meanwhile in the kitchen chefs Paul and Rosie are slaving away – Rosie still in her tart’s wig which she may make a habit of wearing from now on because it was such a hit with the audience!

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Perking up the pergola

Our lovely little Capo di Monte community recently invested in some improvements to our pergola area with a new roof and planting around the eastern end of the pond.  To celebrate, we gathered together last night for a barbecue organised by Chairman Ron and wife Pearl.  Geoff and David were on cooking duty while the rest of us brought along plates of nibbles and drinks to share.   It was all great fun despite a strong wind blowing from the west, following a very precious 30 mms of rain the night before.

Here is the story in pictures:

Rick and Ted – Two good old boys who are always happy to quietly volunteer around the place and help to make Capo the good place it is to live. And that’s the Lake house in the background, or part thereof.

Renee, visitor from Nairobi Hamish Wilson, and Sue

Everyone wanted to be photographed with our gardener Sebastian – well the women, anyway! Probably because he is young enough to be our grandson. Here Pearl gets a firm clutch on him.

Now it’s my turn to be photographed with Sebastian, who worked very hard to give the pond a good clean out and plant all around it – in another year it will be a truly tropical paradise. Our house in the background.

Pearl and I, very happy that the impromptu party is such a success. Pizza oven in background. Pearl wearing her barbecue apron. She’s a real worker, that Pearlie Girlie!

Chairman Ron thanks everyone who worked on the project – except himself!

Caponians (and a couple of visitors) listening with unusual interest (given the shortness of our average attention span!) to the words of Chairman Ron

Renee, Hal, Jan, Fran and Terry

Wolfgang looks unusually exalted while Dale sits quietly contemplating (perhaps) his operation in a month’s time! Bob (wearing cap) in background, with Robin: coincidentally both these next-door-neighbours suddenly elected to grow beards! If it was a competition Robin would win because his beard is exuberantly patriarchal while Bob’s is more serious and restrained.



I took this shot just before everyone arrived – to show off the new planter box made by Warren (as were the handsome timber pieces along the rail where we can lean or  stand our drinks) and planted with gardenias and alyssum by Renee.

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NAB blues!

As we all know to our cost, today’s banks exist only to please their shareholders – customers to them are a necessary nuisance.

To make themselves feel good about this they put out a lot of spin – in advertising, in customer communications, during the endless waits one has to endure on the banking hotline – and having told us all how wonderful THEY are and how valued by them WE are (one of the great lies of the 21st century) they then proceed to make our banking life as difficult as possible.

Some months ago I decided I’d had it with the National Australia Bank.  Not only had it closed my local branch it continued to give me very poor service and, worse, treat me like my husband’s inferior appendage!  All banks are lousy at customer service but NAB in my experience is particularly poor at serving elderly customers and especially elderly women.  So I transferred my two main accounts – one an operating account, the other purely for savings – to Westpac.  The latter was chosen merely because it has the closest branch to where I live but it has proved a fortuitous choice because the staff (so far) are efficient and helpful (there are still times when one has to physically enter an actual bank branch) and the online site is more user-friendly than that of NAB.

However, I kept my Visa credit card with NAB for various reasons.  The bastards won’t get the use of my hard-earned savings but they might as well continue to carry me on credit every month.

Anyway, a couple of days I get a new “low fee” card in the mail.  No letter of explanation, just the information that it replaces my existing low feed card.  Which I didn’t know I had.  Turns out a “low fee” card is a new name for a credit card.  The new card has a different number and expiry date.  So I now have two cards, one valid for another year and a second one valid until 2022.

So I ring up the NAB to ask why.  After spending 40 minutes with three different customer “service” people I still don’t really have an answer!  It appears that in August NAB decided, following complaints from customers, that where two people with joint bank accounts had the same credit card (one primary user, one signatory) they now get a card each, different numbers, different SMS phone contact etc.  Great idea – but it would have been nice if somebody had told me about it!  But that’s not all – at the end of my third conversation I’m told that actually my lovely new silver “low fee” (read “credit” card has “no data on it” and it seems I can’t actually use it.  Despite a sticker on the card that tells me my existing PIN has been transferred to it!

Luckily my “old” red Visa card will remain valid for another 60 days (but not for the 12 months still marked on it as the expiry date!). Or so I’m told!

Do I believe them?  Only time will tell.

This is a bank that came of worse than most in the recent financial scandal.  The bank that has made some appallingly inept top-level decision in recent years. Maybe if it started to improve customer service it might go some way to winning back public trust – but don’t hold your breath!

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