Friday, March 20, 2009


The Mountains, the city and the airport.

Heading up to Mount Tambourine, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Last Sunday was a busy day. We went to Mass in the morning and then left for a long drive to visit several members of our family.

Billy, Cathie and Robbie under the avocado tree.

We headed up to Mount Tambourine and had a very tasty lunch of prawns and pasta with Cathie and Robbie. It was good to finally see where Cathie has been escaping to for her relaxing weekends. Robbie has a nice property on the top of the mountains and we enjoyed chatting and eating in such a pleasant environment.
Cathie and the Wollemi Pine...a very special of the oldest pines discovered in the world.

We admired the huge avocado tree and Cathie was keen to point out a Wollemi pine they have growing as well.

This is the milkweek or thistle that is a good medicinal herb - in the NT we called it Father Christmas and blew the thistle top away.

Robbie told us about using milkweed or milkthistle, a weedy grass that has a long stem and fluffy pom pom top, as a herbal treatment for minor skin irritations . It had similar qualities to the Ti Tree oil that we had studied the day before so we were very interested. I would like to know more about our local herbs and plants.
Tracy and Bill having a chat!

We left there to head up to Brisbane to spend some time with Tracy, my eldest brother. He has been ill and is quietly recovering. We had a pleasant time just catching up on our different lives and talked a lot about planning for retirement and keeping fit and happy.

We did a running drop-off about 7pm at Cooloongatta Airport so Bill could fly back to Canberra. He feels ready for work again but still not walking as well as he would like.

Mum and I in her activity room at the Villa La Salle.

I got back to the Shutters about 8pm and slept soundly. Next morning Dympna was over and I was back in the drivers seat driving to pick up Sha for a trip to Southport to visit other relatives. I spend a lovely morning with my Mother and Rose prior to having lunch at Shark Park. We had all the Ryall girls together including Dympna the last ryall from the previous generation. Mum was quiet and relaxed but I notice she is losing some of her skills. She will be 92 in December and still looks great and seems contented with her life.

I hope to be so good when and if I get to her age!! I also pray that my children will love and appreciate me as much as I appreciate my mother.

God Bless


It was a special day when we made our visit to the Specialist and he said Bill’s wound was healed enough to go home to Ballina. There is still some healing to be done but the dressings are now able to be managed by me and we quickly headed for Ally’s for a trip to the airport. We flew to Brisbane where we were met with our car and my sister Sha (or Trish) as our chauffeur. We had a pleasant drive home, stopping for a Yatala pie (as you do) on our way home. It was an overcast day and we ran into a few showers on our way home – we enjoy seeing water fall to earth!

The countryside here is still lush and green and was a real boost after the brown dry environment of Canberra. We took the long way home so we could enjoy the coast drive from Byron through to Lennox and home.

Our Ibis friend was waiting here for us.

Bill nodded to his boat and Discovery as we drove in and we were soon settled into HOME. We took it very slowly, gradually picking up some social appointments but just taking it easy and making some phone calls. For such a special occasion as having Bill at the Shutters - and so healthy - I decided to cook a roast dinner. Not my usual chicken but a special beef roast for Bill. Sha and Murray and Dympna came to share our first family meal back home. It was a great feed and a lovely evening with family. These are the days and nights I crave.

A Ti Tree at Thursday Plantation.

Bill and I visited Thursday Plantation – a local tourist attraction that sells wonderful coffee and serves it on a large shady verandah. The Plantation is a Ti-Tree Farm and sells many Ti-Tree products. I was amazed to see some medical journal reports on the efficacy of Ti-tree oil and its many derivatives. It reminded me of how much use they make of our eucalyptus tree in Vietnam (Tiger Balm etc.). We have some wonderful local resources and maybe we will make better use of them now in the financial crisis. I bought some of the ointment and we are now treating Bill’s wounds with it very effectively. Lanolin from our wool is another Australian resource that we probably could use a bit more.

We never miss an opportunity for coffee at Shelley's Beach. Seen here with nephew Ben.

Sha's birthday dinner with all the family.
We celebrated Sha’s birthday several times – probably because we all wanted to make sure she had a great time before they return to America again for more adventures in their Winnebago. We had a family dinner, a brunch at Shelley's and some walks along the beach. You can keep in touch with their exciting journeys…..and learn a lot about America here

Bill finished his book and began looking for another. He was very relaxed. We did a trip up to see family in Brisbane (next blog) and Bill returned to Canberra on the way home. It was a bit lonely coming back here on my own again - but I had a great sleep and woke to the sounds of gentle rain on the roof. Life is good.