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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

When the wheels fell off the proverbial bus!

This post is a bit serious but in my inimitable way, I finish on a lighter note ๐Ÿ˜„. 
A saying I can remember adults using to describe when things went horribly wrong when I was growing up here in Australia in the 50s and 60s was, ‘and the wheels fell off the bus’. Or sometimes just, ‘the wheels fell off!’ 
And that’s how I describe what happened mid to late March this year. We had been hearing of this virus rampaging and killing people in the northern hemisphere and every day the head of  the World Health Organisation (WHO) would be speaking on news broadcasts assuring the world it wasn’t a pandemic at that stage. 
In my school days we had learned about the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic but that was something way beyond our comprehension being so far back in time. 
But to those who lived through it, it would have been horrific. 

Then, back in March, every day as I watched the Aussie national broadcaster‘s, (ABC) breakfast show it became obvious that I was actually living through another momentous time in history. The wheels had fallen off the bus!! Big time!! 
The news stories from overseas countries had unbelievable footage and the numbers of deaths grew so quickly. And then the cases started to be recorded here in Australia. Every morning the totals for each state would be listed; number with the virus and the number dead. 
It seemed to happen overnight where businesses closed, people were in lockdown with restricted movement from their homes. In some states schools closed and eventually in the beginning of term 2, students went to online learning from home. 

Supermarkets were open but shelves quickly emptied. In some places fights broke out in the aisles of supermarkets as being fought over groceries, especially toilet paper, hand sanitisers, flour and pasta. 

My GP rang me to tell me about the flu vax and to assure me the medical centre was still open for business. She explained that if I made an appointment, I was to park in the car park, remain in my car and ring reception to say I’d arrived. They would then come to the car, check my temp then escort me to the doctor’s room. And of course there were telephone consultations which had been introduced because of the pandemic. 

My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, those who lost jobs due to the lockdowns, to those whose businesses will fail for the same reason. How awful it must be for those who lie awake due to money worries, and worries about being able to keep their home or feed their family and also pay bills. Mental health breakdowns are on the increase too. The homeless must be even more vulnerable now. I worry for the families where domestic violence has escalated; what anxiety for children living in such environments. 
I’m grateful for all those essential workers who kept providing services to the public but I’m ashamed of those in the community who directed verbal and physical abuse at those workers. 

Just because DH, myself and our family are safe, our children still have jobs with most working from home, we know not all have been as fortunate as us. As most golf clubs remained open in Queensland during lockdown, DH and mates continued to play 3 days per week, which gave me lots of time to knit/crochet for K4BN, sew and garden. 
(At the moment many people in Victoria are again  facing lockdowns if they live in hotspots where the virus has again appeared. How horrible these Aussies must feel. ๐Ÿ˜ซ)
And friends would send me funny memes...

Stay tuned for some more of my ramblings about what we’ve done in these last 3 months or so. Because it’s been a case of living in a time of great change so we are all creating history in how we coped, how we adapted, how we helped others and so the list goes on. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

What about the Needy?

Long time readers of my blog would know that I belong to a group who work constantly at providing warm items, children’s clothes and toys and toiletries to the needy in not just Brisbane, but also further afield in our state. We would also meet up on a regular basis at our Knit and Natters which take place at various locations, such as community centres and libraries. But with the Covid-19 crisis, these venues closed. 

But as you can imagine, the demand for the items we provide grew tremendously. And our members knitted, sewed and crocheted on regardless as we knew that eventually restrictions would ease enough for boxes of items to be distributed where they were needed.  
I made blankets out of donated squares I’d been given, as well as crocheting 100 plus granny squares myself  over a number of weeks 

After Christmas I had tagged along with DH while he checked out his favourite shop, Rivers at their sales. I would grab the 5 packs of men’s socks while we were in the shop and most times DH would insist on paying for them along with the items of clothing he was purchasing. So I had a few packs of these socks which are highly sought after by the homeless in the community. ( I eventually had a stockpile of 28 pairs of men’s socks as well as 13 pairs of women’s socks. I’d had a quick trip to the Reject Shop for yarn in early May and got a good deal on socks there!) 

And it was on May 8 that those of us on the Northside of the city were able to meet in the car park of the Albany Creek Library and hand over our donations. One of our members brought a ute ( utility) and each person put their bags and boxes in the tray. 

We practised social distancing...

Debra in the front of the photo was the organiser of this collection. After she took the donations home she spread the items on tables in the sun for a few days and then she sorted and packed up all the items again ready to take to K4BN’s storage shed at Glasshouse Mountains township. A big job! 
A lot of yarn was also handed in which was wonderful as many of the ladies in the group had been running out of yarn! 

Since Debra organised that collection, other areas have organised their own collections to help restock the storage shed. We’ve had another collection at Albany Creek too, once again organised by Debra. It is easier now to get items to the shed or to community groups who also distribute our items, as we can travel any where within our state. 
This winter is turning out to be a lot colder than we’ve had here in the south east of state, for many years. So as you can guess, I’m still knitting and crocheting as much as possible. 
The Zillmere Knit and Natter is on tomorrow...the first time in many many months. The big room we use in the community centre can only take 13 people under the rules for social distancing so the contingency plan is for any extra people to sit in the outdoor area. It’s a start as they say but sadly most of our venues are smaller than this one so probably only 4-5 people per meeting room if and when they invite us back. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Weekend in Wandoan

I mentioned in my last post that DH and I drove to Wandoan for our #4 granddaughter’s birthday. I thought I’d share some of the photos I took. 
First of all, here’s a map showing the town's position in regards to where I live in Brisbane. 

The family live on a property about 70km from the township of Wandoan. It’s a cattle property. 

The afternoon we arrived, DsD1 took us for a drive around part of the property. It was in that farm Ute in the photo above. I got to sit in the cab but the rest of the family sat in the tray at the back. DH told me later it was a rough ride! ๐Ÿ˜œ lol 

Even the birthday girl sat in the back with her Grandpa Jim. 

There had been rain in the weeks before we were there and instead of being brown, the property had turned green and lush...such a transformation! 

Our son in law jumped down from the back of the Ute and opened and closed gates for us...

This group of cattle took their time getting off the track...

After the drive we walked around past the big sheds to the main house...the girls loved the 7 farm dogs!!

Next morning, we followed Grandpa Jim around while he did some chores.
Horses to be fed...

And I plucked up the courage to pat this friendly equine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We also helped feed the poddy calves...

Those calves sure have strong suction on those feeding bottles...I needed both hands to hang on to it. 
And that filled in the morning until it was time to drive into town for Abby’s party. 
And after the party we headed for home with just a stop for a late lunch at our favourite cafe in Chinchilla. 

It looks a humble establishment but the food is pretty good. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Birthdays B.C.

DH commented last year that the birthday celebrations of our immediate family now number 16 each year so that’s a lot of dinners/parties and cake! 
We start off the year of celebrations early...January no less! Then February, 2 sons in law in March who prefer no fuss, then April, May and early June. Then a big break until September, then November. Now the way 2020 has rolled out, I’ve been describing family birthdays as Before Covid ( B.C.) and After Covid (A.C.) ๐Ÿ˜œ
Carrie’s 2nd birthday in January was a fun occasion with DD1 organising lots of lovely decorations, cake, jumping castle, amazing food etc. 

Carrie’s first birthday party had been at the beach and I hadn’t made her some bunting like I had done for the others...but I’d made sure that she had her own personalised bunting this year. 

Too long for one photo! Lol 

Anthea’s was the next birthday in early February...she had 2 parties! One in the morning with her kindy friends and children of her parents’ friends. Then in late afternoon she had her family party at a local tavern which has a playground and games room. 
We gave her a Paddington Bear and a pack of PB books which I put in a red suitcase from Ikea. 

Of course when you get some new books, you want to read them straight away! 

DsD2 made a gorgeous unicorn cake! 

The next family birthday BC was at the end of February and for this one we drove 6 hours to the farm at Wandoan to celebrate Abby’s second birthday. We drove up on the Saturday and stayed the night at the farm. The party was in a park in the town which is 70km from the farm. It had rained during the night and our son in-law rang various friends to check on road conditions before we set off. We drove through water on the road but not far from the town we encountered this sight...

As we were in a convoy of 4WD vehicles we got through easily but it had been a bit confronting to us city slickers when we first saw it! 
The rain held off for a while and the children at the party were able to have fun on the play equipment. But the flies were horrific; descending on people and any food ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ. 
That’s not passionfruit seeds! ๐Ÿ˜–

But very soon the rain came down so we all huddled under the one picnic shelter in the park while Abby opened her gifts. We always put money in our grandies’ bank accounts and give them a smaller gift as well. Abby got these from us...
A book to go with the doll we gave her when she was born...the book is lovely. 

Abby’s parents had bought her a toy kitchen for Christmas so I bought her some play food. I also made her a drawstring bag from strawberry and banana patterned fabrics, to store the toy food in. 

Time came to sing Happy Birthday as the rain got heavier...

A photo with the grandparents too...

( faces deliberately covered with text rather than blurring) 

By the time the 2 March birthdays came around at the end of the month, things had changed. But those 2 never want a fuss, so cards and money were posted. 
By April, celebrations had changed dramatically...but that’s for another post. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Way back to last December...

Now that the grandies are getting older, I like to involve them with things like decorating for Christmas. 
When the tree first came out of its box early last December, Miss Anthea straight away put 2 decorations on the tree...just 2! ๐Ÿ˜œ
Firstly a toy phone from our toy box...

And Mary from my knitted Nativity...Along with baby Jesus too of course ๐Ÿ˜„. 

The next day, Holly came for a sleepover so that was a perfect excuse for more decorating of the tree...but first there was some playtime in the red felt sleigh. 

Holly loved helping me with unwrapping the decorations from the tissue paper and then organising me to put the decorations on the tree where she wanted them ๐Ÿ˜‰

We left Mary on the tree...

Holly even got to play with a Santa decoration made with a dolly peg that her Poppy ( her mum’s dad) made when he was at kindy! (Some how this family heirloom is still in my Xmas boxes) 

Before Holly went home after her sleepover, she had time to write out some of her Christmas cards...

This was the card for Mummy and Daddy...

A few days before Christmas I dropped something I’d made in the letterbox at Anthea’s place...ready for Christmas Eve. 

A mug rug! There’s a pocket to put a letter to Santa in. 

As the month went on I did some more Christmas decorating...this year the knitted Nativity was set up on the corner table...

 We added some battery operated candles....

But alas no Mary and baby...she was still on the tree. 
As usual we had the family Christmas on the evening of the 24th. And what a bonus; this year all 5 of our girls, our 4 sons in law and 5 grandchildren were able to come! 

All lovely memories. 
Who knows what Christmas 2020 will be like. It’s closer than you think...a mere 6 months and 2 days away! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿป