The Retirees take a holiday – in Australia – Maleny.

Dear Reader

At first I was going to tell you how hard it is to look after two boisterous boys on a farm stay holiday but I got over it so I won’t bore you with that but I can show you some of the pretty sights around Maleny and the farm which we all enjoyed.

I will tell you that the trip to Maleny was one of – “Are we there yet”, French songs sung by William and Matisse at the top of their voices, and constant chatter as each of the boys contested the right to be heard over the other. It was Kerry asking “Are we there yet”. The trip was uneventful for an Easter holiday with the weather a mixture of showers and grey skies.

We arrived at Solothurn Farm just in time for the 10.30 wagon ride. After travelling in the wagon towed by the tractor down the rough farm tracks we arrived at a corral – not for the cattle but for the people to stand inside and hand feed to the cows on the outside. Matisse would not leave the safety of the wagon but William was not afraid of the cattle and spent most of the time raking the fallen hay under the rails to the cows. He was not so sure of the farm dogs though. Feeding over, the tractor travelled oh so slowly back up the hill. Fortunately the scenery was outstanding. Our cabin was ready after the tractor ride and after settling in I strolled around to the Chapel. They do weddings  there also.

The next morning we made our way up to the cow shed for the milking of the cow. The weather was threatening rain so raincoats on, umbrellas raised off we went. Once we got to the milk shed, Lilly lined up to milk the cow – three or four times and Matisse clung to me saying “not the tractor ride no tractor ride”. So I hiked down the hill to the horses then the goats then the chooks then the pigs then the sheep and back up again to the emus and back to the milking shed. The rain stopped shortly after the feeding of the animals and the day warmed up. We took a drive to nearby Maleny, followed by swimming with the kids in the farm pool and then the kids ran around madly until dinner time when we had a BBQ and a glass of wine.


Over-night it rained incessantly so that the next morning all the puddles that had dried up the day before were now brimming with muddy water. We did the animal feeding again and William and Matisse were more familiar and more adventurous. We did the rounds then got ready for the tractor ride. But once again Matisse said “not the tractor ride” so I stayed behind whilst Kerry and the others went off on the tractor. After feeding the animals, Cassandra and I took the older ones on a walk to take some photos and Matisse napped.

After the walk we went to the pool. The water was not as cold as the previous day and I was able to do some swimming before becoming a surf board, a diving board, a punching bag and wrestling mat for Lilly and William. Kerry and Matisse arrived after his nap and of course he wanted to go in the pool. Exhausted I had just climbed from the pool and I had just dried off. But back into the pool I went to chaperone Matisse. Kerry lowered him into the pool and a tantrum erupted – he did not want Grandad in the pool. Indignantly this two year old swam to the ladder and climbed out of the pool. So we moved to the playground where the kids amused themselves in the playhouse with Mr Tantrum throwing a wobbly every now and then.

Monday morning and I took the boys off to the animals while Kerry packed the car. We departed around 09.00 and by the time we got to Mary Cairncross Park turn off the kids needed feeding and a break. So we went to the park, the kids went wild and we realised how exhausted we were. After returning from Maleny we moved from East Brisbane to Carina to baby sit Lilly Jazz whilst Cassandra visited Sydney.

I managed to sneak away for a day of fishing in the bay with my brother in law Ian in his boat. We left his house at Capalaba and arrived at Redland Bay launched the boat and we were at the yabbie bank at 7.15 am before the tide had turned. We got our bait then hopped in the boat and anchored off the bank to fish the incoming tide. It worked perfectly. We caught 24 bream (11 legal size and therefore keepers and 13 went back to grow some more). In addition Ian caught two sting rays one of which would have been 3 ft across its back and broke his line and his rod. I caught the only crab, a male sand crab with 1 claw which we also released back into the Bay. After returning to Ian’s home as I washed the boat and cleaned the gear Ian filleted and skinned the fish and we all enjoyed a feed of fresh fish that Friday.

We have now returned to Long Eaton. A busy calendar of travelling awaits us. We will travel to Villiers Bretonneux for ANZAC day, host a visit from Kerry and Rod, host a visit and trip through France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland with David and Veronica, host a visit from my brother Greg, visit Edinburgh for the Tattoo, visit Sue and Joe in the Lakes district and meet up with Ivor and Shanelle in Prague. I think that’s about it for now.

The Retirees take a holiday – in Australia – Brisbane

Our visit to Caloundra had come to an end so we returned to Brisbane. Carly had asked Kerry to manufacture some new ball gowns for Glitter Designs (now under the management of Carly) new fashion label Urban Prima, in time for the “Dancing with the CEOs” ball fund raising for the Women’s Legal Service. The ball was a success, lots of glitz and glamour and photo opportunities for Carly and her fashion label.

The weather which had been hot and humid improved changing to hot without the humidity. Whilst in Brisbane I  caught up with many of the people in my business network and friends as part of the adjustment to our ongoing travels.

I am back to walking in the morning. I have a really great circuit – from home I walk down to Mowbray Park on the river with views to the CBD, Kangaroo Point and the Storey Bridge (correct name is the Bradfield Highway but no one in Brisbane uses its correct road description). My circuit includes the Churchie Boat Shed, the avenue of large fig trees in the Park the Ferry Terminal where workers appear from 5.00am to take the trip to work, the sights and sounds of Brisbane. It takes about 1 hour but I walk through and see some of the best sights in Brisbane.

There are some great opportunities to take photos of some spectacular sunsets as our home overlooks Brisbane CBD and we a have a 280 degree vista of Brisbane from the east.

Doug and Nerida live on the opposite side of Brisbane and have spectacular views towards the city but from the north.

Whilst we are home, the Lorikeets (a small brightly coloured  and noisy parrot type bird) are feasting on the flowers on the trees in our driveway so it is easy to awake with the Lories for my walk. Even though Brisbane is a large city we still enjoy some of the native wild life – spiders, water dragons, white cockatoos, as well as the common butcher birds, currawongs, magpies, crows and mickey birds all joining the lories to make quite a symphony.

After the farm stay and before returning to the UK we had a gathering of friends at home and I took some photos before it got right out of hand.