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Rainbow Bay, The Gold Coast, QLD

Monday, August 24, 2015


It was Birthday Bear celebration time again this month. (Anyone not familiar with our Birthday Bear tradition read here:)
This time it was Helen's special big 70th. We celebrated at Chatswood Tavern, a small hotel where the service is good and the meals delicious.
Chris, me, Mary, Helen, Birthday Bear, Paul, Bill, George, Bob and Ann
We were lucky this time because our 'grey nomad'  friends, Chris and Bob were in town and they could join us for Helen's special birthday. Whenever we book for our get togethers, we always book a place for Birthday Bear. I'm sure staff and patrons think we are crackers. We don't care because oldies can get away with being silly.

When we arrived at the Tavern, Mary had already organised Birthday Bear. She was dressed as Birthday Girl to reflect Helen's special birthday. She had on her party dress and accessories including a brown wig. She had brought a birthday cake, card and a box of chocolates.
She even had on a new pair of shoes decorated with sparkles.

 It cheered up Helen to see her Birthday Girl Bear. Poor Helen and Paul are going through a difficult time with Paul being very ill with cancer, but he is a fighter and won't give in. He comes along to celebrate even though he is in a lot of pain. Bravo Paul!

 Mary created Birthday Bear this time. We take it in turns to dress Birthday Bear.

 Helen cut the cake for us all to have a piece.

Happy Birthday Helen but I wish it could be happier.

Friday, August 21, 2015


It was 1970 and we left our motel for LA airport early. We swapped our QANTAS tickets for TWA tickets to New York because we wanted to fly on the new Jumbo Jet and QANTAS didn't have any then. Unfortunately, that was not a good move. The plane was scheduled to leave at 12 noon, however, it was delayed for over two hours due to 'technical problems'. That gave me the heebie jeebies. Finally, we took off but had to fly further south than usual to avoid a storm so that delayed us further. It was late at night when we arrived in NY and then our luggage didn't turn up. We had to wait another two hours. We rang the hotel to say we were delayed. They told us they had given our room away because we hadn't arrived before five o'clock. After a heated exchange they found us another room. Luckily, our luggage arrived and we took a taxi to the hotel. We weren't impressed. It was late at night. The service was non existent. There was no lift we had to climb stairs with luggage to third floor. There was no dining room we had to find a restaurant in what seemed a dark and seedy area. When our eyes adjusted to the dim lights and smoke filled cafe we noticed that we were the only whites. By the time we crawled into a not so comfortable bed all tired and frazzled, we were not impressed with New York. In the morning we decided to return to the airport and fly to Toronto. ( A decision I regretted for the next 40 years until we did visit NY again and thoroughly enjoyed it.)

  My cousin Molly, Aunt Ada  and children Stewart and Fiona met us at the airport. 
The next day Molly drove us up north to the lakes district. We stayed in a friend's cabin. The children went swimming but it was too cold for us. Once again my relatives, whom I hadn't seen since a small child in England, were very kind to us.

One of Molly's friends lent us his big Oldsmobile to drive to Niagara Falls because there were six of us, too many for Molly's little car. His only stipulation was that Bill was to drive. Bill was overjoyed to get behind the wheel of this beaut car but he had to remember to drive on the right hand side of the road, not what we were used to.

Fiona, me, Aunty Ada, Molly and Stewart at Niagara Falls.

 We walked behind the wall of water thundering down in front of us. We had to dress in black waterproof ponchos. We all looked like penguins.

 We all went up the Skylon Tower to have lunch at the revolving restaurant. The lift was on the outside of the tower. It took your breath away.

Molly took us for a tour of the city. They were very proud of their new City Hall. 

That night we flew to London. The plane was empty and we could lie down and sleep most of the way. We took a taxi from the airport in London to the Imperial Hotel in Russell Square. In the afternoon we went to Regent St. to pick up our car that we had bought in PNG to be picked up here. After some messing about we were given the keys, as I sat in the car and pulled the door shut the door handle fell off into my hand. (Not a good start). We waited for it to be fixed and then took off into the hair raising London traffic  and for the first few hundred yards on the wrong side of the road. Bill still thought he was in Canada.

This is like the Ford Capri that we took delivery of in London except ours was two toned blue.
The next morning we found our way out of London and headed for Dover. Bill was getting excited at the thought of seeing his parents again and introducing me. We intended coming back to London later with his parents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Continued from last post "Belated Honeymoon in 1970"

After meeting Aunty Velma and cousin Lynne for the first time in twenty odd years, we soon became friends as they drove us down the beautiful coast road from San Fracisco to San Luis O'Bispo.

 The scenery was magic and in the afternoon we pulled into yet another aunt's house in Monterey. We stayed at her house for the night. Aunt Marion was so friendly and generous even though we had never met her before. Monterey and Carmel were lovely towns with very nice houses and shops. I remember seeing a tree dripping with thousands of butterflies. We visited an early Spanish Mission built in 1770.  Silly me took no photos as Bill was filming it all. I did collect post cards on the way around the world so I am using them to add to the few photos I have.

Bill, Uncle Ted, Bonnie, Aunty Velma, Me, and Pam. 1970.
 The next day we arrived in San Luis Obispo, where Aunty Velma and Uncle Ted (my mother's brother) lived with their two youngest daughters Pam and Vicky. Their eldest children, Bonnie, Chuck and Lynne were married. That evening more of the family arrived to meet us.

The next day Bonnie took us to watch her son, Jeff, play baseball which was new to us and fun to watch. That night we were taken to dinner at Madonna Inn a fascinating place built from natural stone and decorated with antique furniture. Each room was decorated in a different theme. The strangest of all were the toilets.

Hearst Castle
The next day Bonnie and her sister in law, Lois, took us to Hearst Castle. Built in 1947 by Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. Hearst was influenced by Spanish buildings and he imported most of the materials from there. It was his lavish home with 165 rooms and 127 acres of garden and pools as well as three guest houses. 

In the afternoon we visited Chuck at work. He was a teacher at a prison and it was graduation day. That was a different experience, entering a prison and mixing with the crims at a graduation ceremony.

Early the next morning we caught a Greyhound Bus to Santa Monica and LA. We said our goodbyes to my wonderful aunt, uncle and cousins. I never saw my aunt and uncle again. I didn't see my cousins again until 2011 except for Bonnie who visited us in Australia in the late 90's.

We booked into the motel and then went on a tour of Universal Studios and Hollywood. Little did we know that our daughter would be living there in the future.

The next day we visited Disneyland. It was so much fun but we wished we had our friend's kids with us to enjoy it too.

We obviously visited China town as this card was in my scrap book but I can't remember much about it.

We left for the airport early the next morning looking forward to New York.