Looking for the things in life that make us happy



Pelicans below us at the Fish Cafe

Last Friday, once again a beautiful day, our very good friends Jean and Graham travelled by train and bus from Brisbane to Bribie Island. Doug met them at the bus stop, just a short walk to our place and we sat and chatted for a while. We then went to our favourite Fish and Chip Café which is literally situated right at the water’s edge. We sat looking at the wonderful view that I never tire of looking at. As we sat at our table and looked down at the rocks below, there were 3 of my favourite birds – pelicans – 2 together and 1 a little apart from them. They were preening their feathers and waiting hopefully for food to be thrown to them. Seagulls were sitting on the rocks and the jetty close by and many more were wheeling and squawking in the sky. Boats bobbed around at anchor and others passed by each way, obviously making the most of the perfect weather.

We ordered our meals, opened a bottle of wine and sat chatting, eating and sipping our deliciously chilled wine, all the time watching the tide slowly come closer until the water was lapping at the pylons directly below us. The beauty before us always makes me so grateful to be living in such a gorgeous place but that was not all: suddenly a pod of 3 or 4 dolphins emerged not too far away frolicking about for quite a while – how lucky we were to see that.

We said farewell our friends and shortly thereafter our daughter Catherine and her three children arrived for a sleepover. What a day we had. Next morning Catherine, Kara and I took Cooper to play his Rugby League game a short distance away from Bribie. He played very well, made a try and a conversion as well taking part in many tackles. We all piled into the car and headed back to Bribie where Doug had taken Harrison for his game. We were in time to see the last half of his game. Just as he does in cricket he “directs the traffic” as I jokingly say, indicating to his team mates where they should be on the field.

They departed in the afternoon, leaving the usual mess in our small unit but 15 minutes later all was back to normal and we were able to sit down and reminisce about the lovely weekend we had had.

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THE PHILLIP ISLAND FAIRY PENGUIN PARADE (Victoria, Australia) (Now known as Little Penguins)



Little (Fairy) Penguins coming ashore at Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

When our family first began camping at Phillip Island, as you may imagine, things were quite pristine and not commercialised in the 1950’s. I’ve outlined in another story about our many holidays and the fun we had playing on the beach and visiting other parts of the island. During the summer holidays we would always make a trip to the beach where the penguins would come ashore at night.

Mum would pack sandwiches and drinks, thermoses with tea for the adults along with rugs to sit on and we would all don our warmest clothes as even in mid-summer it could be extremely cold sitting on the beach in the evening. My memories remind me that just on dusk the first penguins would begin to emerge from the sea. Once the penguins arrival had begun, if there was a tour bus there for the ‘show’, the bus or if we were lucky enough, there might be more than one bus, would shine their headlights onto the waves and we were able to see these valiant little birds being washed onto the shore. Sometimes they would have to have several attempts to land on the sand as the waves would drag them back into the water. Poor little mites must have been exhausted by the time they were able to put their feet on dry sand but his was a daily event for adult penguins so they were used to it.

We would watch these cute little creatures waddle up the beach to their burrows where their chicks would be waiting for the food their parents had caught for them. Now and then we would see one who had lost a leg and sadly, some would never return because they had been taken by sharks or other predators and their poor little chicks would be waiting for food that would never come.

People in those days, as far as I’m aware, were very respectful of these little penguins and didn’t interfere with them. As we walked back to our car in the darkness with only a torch to light our way, we could sometimes see the chicks just inside the entrance to their burrow waiting for their parent/s and calling for them not knowing if they would return. Mutton birds were also their enemies and would take chicks if they left their burrows. As time went on and more and more people came to see the penguin’s nightly parade, permanent barriers were erected along pathways and people didn’t have the freedom to walk amongst their burrows as we were able to which was a good thing. Given that the penguin’s pathways were fenced and the many visitors were kept at a distance, the overhead lights that were installed in later years, must be very invasive to these little penguins compared to the torches that we used.

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I think we all take pleasure in many things: some small, some big but for me, my greatest pleasures usually come from family.

Yesterday a surprise visit from our granddaughter, if measured on a sliding scale would without doubt be at the highest level.

I have frequently lamented that we haven’t seen much of Jamie since she finished High School at the end of 2013. Of course she is almost 18 and her life has changed dramatically. She has worked at a local supermarket since turning 14 and continues to do that. She has also begun a Nursing Degree and has a social life. She now lives mostly with her mother and nanna whereas while at school she spent a week with her mum and a week with her dad and stepmum. That arrangement is more difficult now and being able to drive would be such a bonus for her.  She has completed the necessary hours (100) but has yet to gain her Driver’s Licence. She is saving to buy a car and her dad is matching dollar for dollar, so that may take a while.

Yesterday afternoon the doorbell rang and I asked my husband to see who it was and to our surprise it was Jamie and her girlfriend who had driven them to Bribie Island for a swim. They had lunch and then called in to our place. We all had a lovely visit together – there’s nothing like a one on one conversation instead of sms or news through her dad.

Jamie is our eldest grandchild and we have had a lot to do with her as she grew up, especially as her parents separated when she was a baby and her father lived with us until he married. Her father fought for his parental rights and he and Jamie have developed a very strong bond despite strong opposition from her mother, proving that quiet determination and strength of character negates the need for aggressive behaviour.

We look forward to the day when Jamie has gained her Driver’s Licence and has her own car in the hope she will visit us from time to time. In the meantime hopefully her friend will bring her for a visit now and again.

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