Sunday, June 15, 2008

Our Mini Market Day

Well this is the card stall at the Crowley Mini Market for 2008. Crowley residents and their friends work throughout the year to make handicrafts and special items for the day. The locals are very supportive and funds raised go towards facilities for the Aged Care services provided by Crowley. Now I am a resident I joined the card making stall. My Aunt Dympna has been involved for a few years in this stall and I have heard about their activities and sent used items for her to use. Now I am one of the team!!

It has been fun – I love to work with such energetic and creative people and they know how to enjoy themselves. While I don’t have any creative skills I was able to use my technical skills and wonderful computer to design and produce some inserts for the cards. This is one morning we had a session in the Gardenia Room. The girls are looking very serious but I had to bide my time between jokes to take this shot!

The Gardenia Room is next door to my unit and we make good use of it. The grandchildren have had fun at the table tennis table; Sam had a play on the organ; Bill and Larry enjoy the daily papers that get delivered there every morning; and I just enjoy walking past and seeing such a wonderful area for my use! It was a good place to invite our card makers for our final session to ready for the Market Day.

The Market day dawned sunny and bright – we do get a lot of rain her in Ballina! – and I think they would be satisfied with the crowd. We sold lots of our cards and paintings and made about 30% more than last year so we all thought it was a great success.
Dympna and I were exhausted so we took our sausage sizzle down to the beach for a recovery lunch….and then we went home to bed.

During the evening i had a call from Perth to say Mumma Duffy was being admitted to hospital and was not likely to recover. While we have been expecting this news over the last few months it still came as a shock. Bill flew across immediately from Canberra and he got there in time to have a little conversation with his Mother. the rest of the family are gathering and I will fly over tonight from Brisbane. I think Claire is going to come and get me to the airport. Families are wonderful and you experience that most at the saddest times!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nature around Ballina

We had a lot of lovely walks while Bill was in Ballina last weekend. We discovered a tree covered in some extravagantly decorated beetles! They were in a very public place right on the shoreline so I was surprised when none of the locals seemed to know what they might be. I loved their colours and patterns but I hear they may be a wicked beetle that destroys trees and forests!! Have a close up of what we saw.....

Something closer to home - on my coffee table on the patio - was this lovely Bromiliard. I loved the shell pot and thought the contents were pretty spectacular too so they came home with me from the local nursery.

You will all know that Bill prefers vegetation that he can eat in his garden so I thought I had better show you that I am also culitvating some lovely lemons to furnish my lemon chicken dish with and so that my sister will be able to make me some more preserved lemons when she gets back from America!
Tomorrow is our Fete Day. Dympna and her friends manage a card stall and we have spent the last few months making some hand made cards . they are pretty clever and creative so we hope to do well. One of our group is a great artist and has painted a lot of little oil paintings of local scenes and flora - Ihave already bought a couple of them. More about the fete later. We are off to Happy Hour now!! Life is tough. Congratulations Billy on another three months extension to your contract in Canberra.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The June Long Weekend

The Duffy's enjoyed a family outing at the RSL - Billy was confused with his G/Uncle Larry.

Well it was a really long weekend but it all flew by so fast. I drove to Coolongatta to pick up Bill as usual and we caught up on all the gossip on our journey home. We had a leisurely Saturday morning, Bill found some citrus plants he liked and I found my ‘Orange Jessamine” or Murraya that I love. It has a wonderful perfume but I have since found out that it is an environmental week - luckily I have it in a pot so that is acceptable. After a few hours my bare balcony looked lovely and inviting.
My very fruitful cumquat tree - getting the brandy ready for the preserves!

Larry arrived mid afternoon. We settled in for a quiet night, after a sung Mass at our Church, with the rain drumming on the roof. Sunday Morning we had breakfast at the RSL on the river and watched the Fishing Club parade with Claire, Allan, Jordan, Matt and little Billy.

The Ballina Fishing Club putting on a 'sail-by' for Bill!

Sunday was fishing and newspaper day and Cathie arrived to celebrate her birthday with her brothers. That night we had roast chicken for nine at The Shutters. We managed to fit everyone in and had a lovely night. We all had a chance to watch football, play table tennis,read the papers, walk along the beach wall or have a little nap - or enjoy cooking my roast chicken and trimmings in my lovely kitchen!
Having a quiet night in - the boys were next door playing table tennis in the Gardenia Room.

Monday was fishing day but we didn’t do too well. We did see some others catching fish but I think we have a lot to learn yet! We saw lots of wonderful things like a whale spurting and playing in the sea, lots of lively dolphins, a scurry of multi design coloured beetles and the surf at Byron Bay where we drove for a leisurely lunch with Dympna and Larry.
Cathie was first to spot the cavorting whale - and then we all saw the dolphins!

On Tuesday Bill did a few tasks for Dympna in her garden and then he and I had a picnic on the beach wall and watched the waves dash against the rocks at our feet. It was so relaxing and a good way for Bill to end his busy Ballina weekend.
We didn't want to leave our little picnic on the rocks!

We drove to Coolongatta and we had a nice dinner on the beach before we got to the airport where we enjoyed a quick catch up with Pete Gibbs and Sam. We left Pete and Sam and Bill to catch their planes and Ret and I drove home in my car for a quiet evening at the McDonalds.

Pete Gibbs and Sam heading back to Sydney.

This morning Ret served a healthy breakfast of boiled eggs, toast and marmalade and great coffee and then I headed into Southport to visit Mum. I had a lovely time with her – she took up her knitting like she had been doing it for years and really seemed to enjoy it. I left her having her lunch.

Mum picked up the knitting needles and remembered the stitch like it was yesterday!

After a quick chat with Tony I headed back home to Ballina. My weekend was over and I was alone again. I wondered how long before Billy would be here permanently but I did enjoy walking into The Shutters and making myself a cup of tea after such a busy, happy weekend. I drank my tea sitting on the patio admiring all the wonderful plants Bill potted for me there!

The view from my chair on the patio!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Last Weekend

When Billy comes to Ballina for the weekend I try to keep lots of free time for doing "off-the-cuff" things. Like a walk along the beach, a visit to new friends, a dinner party or a night out and a drive around the area. This weekend we covered all of those things. I was waiting at the aiport at 9.30pm when Bill arrived and I had a little light dinner for him - savoury egg sandwiches, fruit and nuts and a hot coffee. We enjoyed it as we drove along the highway to Ballina. This means he can come straight from the office to the airport and still have a good meal to keep his diabetes in control!

On Saturday I had his favourite croissants with some local jam ready for his breakfast and then we went and explored the main streets looking for a construction company. We also visited the pharmacy as Bill had brought Dante's conjunctivitis with him to Ballina! Then we went and visited A/Dymp and we took her on a drive to Lismore - about fifteen minutes away. The scenery on the way is spectacular and we drove through a few little sunshowers on the way.

On Saturday night I had invited two new friends to dinner and we had a great night exchanging life stories and family histories. Our friends run a bed and breakfast here and we had enjoyed a few nights there before we got our unit. It was nice to have a social exchange with new people in our new environment.

Sunday on our way to Mass Bill suggested we travel to Southport to visit my mother and maybe join my family for lunch or dinner. So suddenly we had another plan and we were off....we drove to Southport, spent the afternoon with my Mother and then picked up my brother and his wife and we went to my sisters for a wonderful evening meal. She is a great modern cook - had a delicious slow roast pork belly ready with an interesting salad, garlic mash and some great bread. We laughed and planned and drank and ate until it was time to get Bill to the airport again to return to Canberra. I arrived home about 10.45pm and Bill was met in Canberra by Joe about 11.45pm. A lovely weekend.