As you have probably worked out, we must be the world's worst correspondents - so this is our attempt to keep all of you up to date with us. If you have been wondering what we are up to - hopefully you will find the answers here..........

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oh where did I go wrong??

My second eldest 'dependant' has become a bikie chick............

Lilly and Harley

My swing

As a little girl one of my favourite pastimes was swinging on swings.

I loved the feeling of pushing my legs higher and higher 'up into the sky' and then tucking them in to scoop the air as I swung back. The wind on my face and in my hair was pure pleasure.  I think the other wonderful part of swinging is being 'pushed'. A lot of trust goes into being pushed on the swing as the 'pusher' has control. The pushing can be too gentle or too rough. It can create harmony or disharmony and there is nothing worse than the pusher grabbing the hold ropes mid swing and suspending you off the ground - dangling.

Growing up in Brisbane there were plenty of parks for picnics and swings.

When the family moved to Townsville in 1969 it became a ritual to go 'down to The Stand' in the evenings to the sea breeze and escape the oppressive heat. Mum always headed straight to the swings and we knew that her quiet time on the swing was her way of relaxing, having some space and cooling off. Dad suffered motion sickness so he could not bear even watching us on the swings!

Over the years I have dreamed of having my own swing. Rob knew this so now that we have a garden with massive trees his first project was to make me a swing in the avocado tree..

The wooden seat is lovely and wide and the ropes are thick and strong and it swings beautifully.

Since the swing has been up it has been enjoyed by others.

Gregor and Kyle had a go:

Recently I was showing a local business man around our new property. He spied the swing and asked if it was for my grandchildren! What grandchildren?? Anyway, I think he thought me eccentric when I explained that it was mine and I suggested he try it. After telling him how wonderful it is to swing he sat on the swing, chuckling and saying he had not been on a swing since he was a young boy. He pushed off and a look of sheer delight crossed his face. He was amazed that he still knew how to use the swing and he did not hurry in getting off.

So the next time you see a swing - throw caution to the wind - hop on and release your inner child. I cannot recommend swinging highly enough.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Yesterday I took Rusty and Max for a wander around my friend Patricia's property. This is a lovely property with loads of bananas and fruit trees. Unfortunately this is seed season so what was a fun run around for the dogs ended up with a prickly end.
This is Max before the walk.......

This is Max after the walk...........

His whole body was thick with the dreaded 'Cobbler's Pegs'.

These sticky little black seeds stick to clothes, hair everything and transfer from one item to others very easily. They are an absolute nightmare!!

Combing them out was not an option so I resorted to nail scissors.

He was very patient and I did the 'haircut' over two sessions - the poor little boy!! He now looks like a moth eaten, hacked dog.

This is Max post haircut .......

I hope he still loves his Mother.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to remove a 25m tall Norfolk Island Pine

This morning I was enjoying a very good cappuccino at the Cafe Mocca  when I saw a man at the very top of a beautiful pine tree. The tree is growing behind the Westpac bank - Burnt Pine and was planted around 20 years ago.

Then the chain saw started up............ and bit by bit the beautiful Pine was removed.






The result..........

This tree was removed because it had outgrown the small area behind the bank. Unfortunately it is insurance costs and risk management policies that demand these iconic trees be removed from our streetscape. Hopefully the majestic Norfolk Pines can be grown more appropriately in paddocks behind the shopping precinct.

 This is Howard - he is an absolute master at removing trees. He also plants 1000s of Norfolk Pine and other native trees around the Island.

Here are a few shots of the Master at work.....................

His mate said " Howard gets up a tree so fast he beats the rats".

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How is the weather on Norfolk Island?

Last Thursday night I attended the monthly dinner meeting of Club L which is a ladies only dinner club. Each month we have a different speaker - it really is extraordinary the number of very interesting, intelligent and vibrant women we have on this small Island. Our speaker was Maria Fisher who has recently come to Norfolk Island as the Weather Observer at the Bureau of Meteorology. At the end of her talk she offered to show us around her workplace and explain weather observing.

So at 10.30am I was there......

We have 3 Weather Observers on the Island so the station is 'manned' all day every day. The Observers not only supply weather information to the community but also assess the conditions for all flights in and out of the airport.

Because the computers only work off limited data they often 'see' and report conditions which are not the reality, therefore the human observers need to override and supplement the reports with actual observations.
A weather balloon is released at 10.45am each morning and tracked via manual and automatic radar. The balloon is hydrogen filled and carries a 'reflector' for radar detection and a small $200 gadget which sends back information about temperature, moisture levels and wind direction. This gadget actually dangle well below the balloon so that it is in 'clear' airspace.

The hydrogen for the balloon is actually generated on site by filtering water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere.

The station also has all the usual apparatus out on the grassy paddock.

The wind direction indicator (with Maria)

  The sunshine measurer - a perfect glass globe

Wet and dry bulb, alcohol & mercury thermometers
                           in a Stevenson Box.                                                            

  The 'offical' rain gauge with standardise measuring flask

Maria says that the simplest way of forecasting the weather is to check out the weather over Phillip Island because whatever is happening over there is on it's way to Norfolk Island!
I really enjoyed my morning at the Met Office and ever since I have found myself watching the clouds and trying to guess the next 5 minute's weather!

Thank you Maria.............

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hibiscus at Peace Cottage

Recently Norfolk Island endured a very, very long dry spell. Most people had to repeatedly buy water in as the tanks were empty. Gardens really suffered and the surrounding landscape was dusty, bone dry and uncharacteristically brown. The local churches held 'Pray for Rain' sessions and water became the main topic of conversation - it was worrying. Then in its own time the rains came....and came.....and came!!
Now of course, because people are never happy, we are thrilled at the sight of an occassional blue sky. The Island is now the most beautiful emerald green and all the gardens have bounced back and flowering profusely.

Last weekend was a stand out weekend - we had mild weather, sunshine and a gentle breeze that felt like Spring. So I got up off the couch and took photos of all the gorgeous hibiscus flowers in my garden at Peace Cottage. I don't know the name of any of them! If you do please let me know......
This one is very tall and growns up against the deck at the front of the house. The flowers are big and bright and poke through the railing. The colour combiation of red, orange and yellow takes my breath away!!

This flower on the left and below is absolutely beautiful in real life. It is the most vivid lemon yellow and set against the green foliage I often think a light has been switched on. The flowers are big and bold.
These two are in the back garden planted next to the lemon (above) and they are lovely. The red one is about the size of your hand and a real red lipstick red.... 

The little ruffly white flower has a deep blood red center and seems quite delicate next to the big boofy red.

The following few are the plants that make up th hedge along the front fence. At the moment they are all absolutely covered in flowers.

This is the palest, soft pink.....
This is huge ruffley and 'in your face'.....like a 'Tequilla Sunrise'.
This one has changed colour! When it was a shorter plant the flowers were splashed with white - spotted. Now the flowers are solid pink

Our path to Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is an External Territory of Australia and it is paradise! Immigration to Norfolk Island is not easy and you need either a TPE (Temporary Entry Permit) or a General Entry Permit (GEP) to live and work here. There is no Social Security, i.e. the dole, so if you live here you must work and/or own a business. The TEP covers workers who fill jobs unable to be filled by a local ie: hospitality roles etc whilst the GEP is granted on the purchase of a business. A GEP holder is considered a 'resident' and is allowed to vote, however after holding a GEP for 5 years you are entitled to apply for Residency and a Norfolk Island Passport. The biggest financial drawcard for some is the fact that Norfolk Island residents do not pay Australian tax. This has been responsible for the wave of 'economic immigrants'.
Thats it in a nutshell!!!!

You can however purchase a holiday home here and live on the Island for up to a total of 6 months of the year. Having stayed in accommodation everytime we visited we thought a little place of our own would work well. So after spending the day with one of the local Agents we purchased "Peace Cottage".

Peace Cottage had been a 1 bedroom accommodation property for many years and as such came fully equiped - right down to fishing rods and sunscreen. It was perfect as we did not have to pack much when we left Tassie for our NI holidays. We just opened the door and settled right in. We had lovely holidays here and given the welcoming, generous people we also had lots of fun socialising with the 'locals'. We really missed the place when we went back to Tassie.
In 2008 we had negotiated with a neighbour to purchase a very small block of land which neighboured Peace Cottage. When this fell through our trusty Real Estate Agent suggested we think about investing in a rental property. This suited us as we felt even more connected to the Island.

The little cottage on Cascade Rd was in great need of renovation.
  Over the December holidays we got stuck in and the builder continued whilst we were 'off island'. We replace the bathroom and enlarged and replace the kitchen. The whole place was painted and we were very happy with the end result.

  We still have a little more work to do around the gardens but now we fit it in around tenants.

 After one too many cold, wet, muddy Tasmanian winters we took stock and thought about the possibility of actually moving to Norfolk Island to live. However this meant having to buy a business! Given my lack of cooking abilities and my mind blanks when trying to work out money and change we thought accommodation would be ideal.  

We were granted our GEPs' in July 2009 based on our purchase of an accommodation property called Central Garden Apartments.   It is almost in the centre of the Burnt Pine Shopping area - at the end of a quiet
 cul-de-sac called "The Village".

 The property had 2x2 bedroom units and 2x1 bedroom units.  The place was fairly typical of most of the old accommodation on the Island - seen better days and in need of a redo.  Just the challenge Rob and I love....    
The demolition started in August after we had gone back toTasmania - to pack. We only saw the action via photos. It was a real shock when we finally arrived in October.... however it needed to be done!

 In March 2010 we had a change of builder and the project is powering along. We are changing the layout to 2x1 bedroom units in the larger building and 1x2 bedrooms in the smaller building-we are aiming for 5 stars. The main building has been extended and under the extension we have had 2x 5000g water tanks re-instated. This water storage is in addition to the 2x8000g above ground tanks we had installed.

 The plan is to be finished in time for the AAT Rating visit in August 2011. I'll keep you posted...