15th Nov 2011 - 27th Nov 2011
Port Douglas week 15 and 16
Tuesday 15th November.
Choose to take Bonnie on the beach today as I think Buddy is just too exhausting for me and I really don’t think there is much point in trying to rehabilitate this dog in the short time I have left. He is a major project.
Pump class tonight and the usual bike to town for mail. Class sizes are reducing drastically but I guess that is normal for this time of year. The season is over and many people, like me, are moving on.
Wednesday 16th November
Meet apartment guests Shelley and David down at the yacht club. I enjoy being able to invite guests out even though it is not my boat. They appreciate it so much and of course spend $s over the bar which is the club’s idea of success. Astonishingly once again I win the cash prize. This week $100. This is the 3rd time I’ve won it plus once collecting on behalf of friend Dianne. It’s just too embarrassing so onto the bar it goes for all to enjoy.
Thursday 3rd November
Day off so I decide to take an art class. Yes, me, who cannot draw a straight line – or a curvy one.... There is an interesting looking Aboriginal gallery in Mossman running 2 hour classes for tourists. What a great idea. They learn a little about Aboriginal culture and take away their own dot painting. I’ve heard that the teacher is very deaf and so conversation is a little one way although he lip reads very well. Today I am the only student. He doesn’t mind a bit and gives a big white grin as he tosses a mounted blank black A4 sized canvas in front of me, 3 glasses of paint, a few pointy sticks, a paper napkin to wipe the sticks clean, then asks which animal I would like to paint. I don’t know. Anything would be a bonus. I make it pretty obvious I have no talent whatsoever and am terrified of the blank canvas in front of me, so he scratches the outline of a dugong and a few lines within the outline for me to follow. After a few hints he lets me loose on the dots. I have to say it is harder than you would think. Keeping them an even size and evenly spaced is surprisingly challenging. You can’t undo a dot. As my concentration wavers I start to feel mentally handicapped. The teacher chatters away about the history of the gallery and his late mother’s artwork hanging on all the walls around us while casually and deftly dotting a few dozen key rings for sale. I plod on painstakingly dotting my dugong and silently marvelling over my own mother’s art works (which she started at the age of 82) hanging in Waiheke, equally precious but not for sale. Eventually I finish what I think is excellent for me. It is full of mistakes which he assures me you don’t notice from afar (!) and I sign it proudly. Another heirloom for my sons to fight over...
Friday 18th November
The days are shrinking into a bit of panic as to how to fill them. The highlight today seems to be taking Bonnie for a walk. She is sweet and not quite as confident or boisterous as Malabu. Just as ugly.
Saturday 19th November
I must do something! After pondering I decide to experience a few more of the tourist activities on offer so I can recommend them, or not, in the future. Thus, it is down to the marina to hire a pontoon boat to toddle up the inlet. My interest is in proving one way or the other if there really are so many crocs up there. The boat is basically a rectangular raft with firm staunchions, life lines and a very large warning sign to keep shut (which is ominous). Even though the engine has an arrogance about it, meaning deafening, the steerability is about zero. Obviously the noise and high tide has well and truly scared off the crocs as I see not one in the water or lounging about the banks or scuttling into the mangroves. Another myth maybe. They are such nasty cunning creatures, I am seriously nervous and at one stage find my canopy caught in the overhanging trees because I am concentrating on the wrong things. I back out safely but my heart is pounding. For Heavens sake! What am I doing alone up a croc infested inlet on a raft with dodgy controls?
Sunday 20th November.
Still looking for things to do. Collect some cookie cutters from Annie. Her baby bat family has grown to 11 now – a full time job.
The humidity is really exhausting nowadays and my laziness wins and I wave aside the idea of gingerbread xmas decorations today. These are meant to be gifts for Helen and Mick, the only ones I know who will be home in Port Douglas for Xmas and will have a tree I expect.
Monday 21st November.
1 apt to clean. Wow that was hard (so hot). Get stuck into the Xmas gingerbread star decorations and chocolate rock treats and wrap them prettily.
Take Bonnie down to the beach. She is really quite a joy – not as intelligent or inventive as Malibu but more manageable. I kept some bones for her and boy is she in love with me now. We met her old friend Jess from the pound and they romp together while her owners chat with me on the beach. It is very gratifying to see the dogs so happy. The guilt creeps in as I know I must leave her at the end of the week.
Tuesday 22nd November.
I am really struggling to fill the day. Should really have flown home earlier as there is really no need for me here. The last guest leaves this morning so after that clean – that’s it. Next check in is Sat for a few days then nothing for another week. Good news is I can swim and sun bake in fewer clothes... Drop in my choc rock and ginger Xmas decorations after really a fast bike ride in 31 degrees (who knows what humidity). I thrust the plates at a surprised Mick with instructions to place immediately into the fridge, collect a few more fallen mangoes from their tennis court for Annie’s bats and one or 2 for me that are not as dodgy.
Off to pump class in the evening. One of the girls I’ve befriended there, Sara, is going to come sailing tomorrow. Apparently she has been down to the yacht club twice already and not been picked to go out. Strange system.
Wednesday 23rd November.
Wake up to rain – real tropical splatty rain. There have been a few showers overnight over the past week but this is the real deal.
Decide to empty the fridge of all the tom sauce bottles and mayonaisses and dips and milk and butter and ... you get the picture. Everyone’s left over bottles of ‘stuff‘. Where can I take them? I really hate waste. Jan and Neil (from the yacht club) live just down the street so I lug my heavy bag of goodies over to them in exchange for a cup of coffee (which I have run out of). They gleefully accept my offerings and we chat a while. They have just bought themselves a fizz boat as they are both around 70 and feel a yacht might be too much for them now. They are keen animal lovers too and have an elegant black cat and 2 greyhounds one of which, and to my dismay, chews both of my croc sandals to little rubbery pieces while I am inside. Ah well - less to pack I say. “Dogs eat crocs“ – a bit of a twist on the news headlines.
Take Bonnie out for a run, and return with a few packets of brisket bones for the dogs. Bid the owner Bianca farewell as she won’t be there Friday.
Sailing tonight. Sara from pump class comes too. She is a lovely sociable Kiwi who loves the time aboard and is very grateful. The raffle again – I win not money this time but a club T shirt. I think they will be very happy that this is my last club night for a while! The size of the T shirt is XXL but I am not going to complain. Helen picks it up and realising the size insists it be changed for a collared one my size. She will pay the difference as my Xmas pressie. This is embarrassing...
Thursday 24th November.
Head to Cairns with a small shopping list for John and Annie to keep myself busy. The rain pours for most of the day so no better way to dodge it. The humidity is plain awful. Drag myself off to pump class this evening as it is my last one and I want to thank Lou, the instructor – and give her the remains of my moroccan hair oil to try.
Friday 25th November:
Rain again this morning. It seems to be heavy every night and clears by midday. Everything is sodden.
Bonnie and I head for the beach for the last time. The tide is way out and she chases birds and plays with her other doggy friends. I do hope that they find a home for her before I return next year otherwise I can see what might happen...
Somewhere along the way I loose the keys for the apartments, ie the master housekeeping key and the post box key. This is really bad and exceedingly annoying. I head to the police station to report it but they closed at 4.30pm. John & Annie are very forgiving – reckon it will turn up as I tidy up but I’m certain they are on the beach somewhere and they will be in the tide by now. I am very cross with myself – I manage to keep them safe for 4 months then 2 days before I leave the country!......
Weather is 32 degrees with the low overnight of 24, but the humidity is like a suffocating blanket. Hard to breath so it’s my last ride to town to explain the lack of post box key and beg for mail.
Pack my bag and clean the filthy buggy car. Remove the hair from all over the passenger seat where Bonnie had decided to curl up or sit rather than bracing herself in the back of the car. It looks like new again.
Saturday 26th November:
Another fruitless search for keys on the beach but the tide is so high there is no beach at all. Police station still closed so I can’t report it. Down at the yacht club we head out with the marker buoy for the last time for a while. Only 4 boats racing but we win!! I can‘t stay long afterwards as J & A take me to dinner at Salsa, the best restaurant in the village by everyone’s standard, then we move off to a bar for a night cap. They are very understanding and forgiving of the key loss. We can only hope that they are now buried in sand. Lots of fun and laughs. So nice to have their friendship. Big hugs as we part.
Sunday 27th November:
An early start with the shuttle bus pick up at 7am. I leave a gift and some $s for replacement keys/locks etc. in the office for J & A. There is also a box of my ‘stuff‘ left which they are happy to store until I return next year.They see it as proof (hope) that I will return.
The flight is the usual boring time with no one of interest nearby.
Auckland is the quickest international arrivals hall I have ever experienced so I am on the bus then onto a ferry super quick. Waiheke is refreshingly the same and I can feel the contentment sliding over me.
I turn off the alarm, drop my bag and pull out my ringing phone. It is Kingsley. Where are you Mum? Australia or NZ? What are you doing at Easter next year? Yin Kuan and I are getting married! BIG smile on my face. Looks like I will be in Melbourne Easter next year.