Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sunday, 8 Oct 2017

Monday, 2 Oct - Margaret was off to help declutter one of the sister's homes - this is a weekly (every Mondya) event and will probably last until we are released from our missionšŸ˜€ This afternoon Howard & Helen Jeffree stopped by on their way up to Queensland.  It was good to see them for a few hours.  Then we left for the Jones' for dinner.  We were able to see one of their "pet" kangaroos as we pulled up to the house.  They have a few wild kangaroos that come to the house in the evening for hand outs.

Tuesday, 3 Oct - I took the flat tyre into the shop for repair.  We went out visiting for a bit in the afternoon.  I got a call from the tyre place that the tyre was not fixable - we ran too long on a low pressure and the side wall was broken up on the inside of the tyre.  At 8 pm we got a call from one of the sisters asking for some food/nappy assistance and it could not wait until the next day - the nappies were the issue.  So I put on my tie and we took off to meet the sister.  The grocery stores close at 9 pm, so we just had enough time to meet them and get the needed supplies.  We find that many welfare cases tend to call late in the day or need the assistance "now", rather than plan ahead 1 or 2 days.  With guidance from the branch president,  we are trying to teach them that they need to plan ahead and work within a reasonable schedule - and more importantly to become self sufficient as much as they can. In their defense, the welfare cases are not too bad and are not a weekly occurrence, so they are able to fend for themselves most often.

Wednesday, 4 Oct - We made visits out of the city today.  We went to Maclean first (45 minutes out of town) and visited with one of the sisters there. She is in assisted living and visiting with her is a fun time - she has a great sense of humor. Then we went to Iluka (on the ocean and 30 minutes from Maclean)) and visited another sister.  This was our first visit and we learned a lot from her.  Then we drove back home.  The visits were about 180 km total (2 to 2 1/2 hours drive).  That makes the trip from Newbury Park to the Oak Park chapel a walk in the park.  Ah, but we did get to take the ferries across the Clarence River, so we enjoyed the drive. (PS - Happy 94th Birthday Mom )

Thursday, 5 Oct - Today we drove to Newcastle for a Missionary Zone Conference to be held tomorrow. The drive is 6 hours one way.  We stayed in a hotel over a local pub and restaurant - pretty typical of a number of hotels in Australia.

Friday 6 Oct - Zone Conference.   We arrived at the Charlestown meeting house just before 9 am.  We were able to hear from President Checketts, Australia Sydney North Mission President. He talked on why the LDS Church is different from other Churches and the benefits we get from being members of the LDS Church.  His talk was prompted by questions that he gets from some of the missionaries in their weekly letter to him.  Then the senior missionaries left the meeting and held flat inspection review meetings.  The missionaries had to clean and then inspect/grade their flats; and then share the results with us.  This was interesting and we found that most of the missionaries graded themselves harder than we would have. We then had lunch and left the meeting early so we could be on the road and reach home before it was too late.  We did get home around 7:30pm and found that the electricity was out in our neighborhood.  It did not come back on until about 9:30 am the next day.

Saturday & Sunday, 7-8 Oct - we ran the downloaded videos of the General Conference on Saturday and Sunday.  Boy there were a lot of warm fuzzy feelings during the talks as the Spirit touched our hearts to confirm that what was being said was true and what we needed to hear.  We are told that during General Conference that some of the talks will be just for us - BUT it seemed that EVERY talk had things just for us.  The spiritual feelings were really outstanding during this conference.

One of the Jone's neighbors coming in to borrow a slice of bread

They make it a family affair and bring the kids too

Spring is here and flowering plants are all over the place

The Ulmarra ferry

One of the walk on passengers waiting for the ferry to land

The Ulmarra ferry coming into the load/unload point

Sunset over the bay at Charlestown

Sister Haley looking out over the Charlestown bay

A house near the hotel where we stayed.  The house is overlooking the bay

Needless to say - the Big Banana.  This is a small fun/theme park in Coffs Harbour.  It was closed when we drove through Coffs at 6:30 pm

Elder & Sister Haley

Candle light dinner.  It would have been more romantic if the electricity was on and we had just turned out the lights.  Electricity was out for 14 hours.

Rainbow Lorikeet in the bottle brush bush outside our computer room.  They have all the colours of the rainbow and are really pretty.

A field on the way to Church covered with cockatoos.  Not the Sulpher crested ones - just plain cockatoos

One of the first Jacaranda trees to bloom. In the roundabout on Jacaranda Avenue (of course)

Trimming and cleaning out the bushes in the back yard so the neighbor is happy and knows that we do care about our garden (not food garden).  Now the work continues as the clippings are cut into smaller pieces so they can be put into the green/organic rubbish bin.

No idea what this tree is, but it is in our front yard.  It was green a few days ago but the leaves have turned a pink/purple.  It is kind of pretty.

Love the sunsets here in Grafton.  The sun is almost below the horizon

A few minutes later.  The sun is now below the horizon, but shining up in the clouds.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday, 1 Oct 2017

Well it has been 2 weeks since the last post.  I wonder if I can remember anything, as I am not sure what I did this morning.

Mon, 18 Sep -   called Toyota and scheduled the car for maintenance on 25 Sep.  Margaret went over to one of the sisters for her weekly "declutter" activity - helping clean out & organise her house.  I worked on the lawnmower and ordered a new throttle cable for it.  Then we collected the Elders at 4 pm and drove out to the Jones' for dinner.  The Jones live on Flaggy Creek Rd which is more like a sand/gravel path (see picture below).  We did have a good time and it is interesting to see how some of the Aussies live out in the middle of the woods.

Tues, 19 Sep - Went to the hardware store to get some items to fix the coffee table that was falling apart in the living room. Still things to fix in the house.  Margaret took one of the sisters to the dentist and then we picked up some pants from one of the members so Margaret could mend them.  Then off to the Primary activity.  After the activity we stopped by the hospital to visit a friend of the Church who was in for repiratory issues.

Wed, 20 Sep -  Talked with my mother this morning - she still has a house guest (Pauline) for a few more weeks. Elder Haley was to help with a move, but the people moving were sick so it was postponed for a few days.  The wife cancelled the move and then the husband called a bit later and was asking why we had not shown up yet - typical wife/husband communications - glad to see that I am not the only one.  In the afternoon we read the Book of Mormon with the YM who live a few blocks from the Branch meetinghouse. The Elders came over in the evening for dinner and then District Training Meeting (DTM).

Thurs, 21 Sep - final fixing of the coffee table - I hope.  Margaret picked up one of the sisters and took her to a doctor's appointment. We then worked on cutting out and sewing some shorts for the Christmas shoe box charity project. Margaret fixed some meals for one of the sisters that is a bit crook (sick). We met with the YM/YW for their weekly activity.  Both YM & YW are now meeting o the same day.  They did their final preparations for the TREK - handcart adventure.

Friday, 22 Sep - Met one of the families at the meetinghouse so they could vacuum the upstairs.  Mike did the ground floor.  Margaret took one of the sisters to the supermarket so she could do some food shopping.   The Flu bug bit into mike today, so he was not doing so well later in the day.

Sat, 23 Sep - Mike is fighting the flu bug and it is still up in the air as to who will win.  Margaret helped one of the sisters run some errands.  We have a few (not many) sisters that do not have a car and need help getting around town. Thankfully everything in Grafton is only 10 minutes away.

Sun, 24 Sep - Mike is losing the battle with the flu bug, so he did not go to Church meetings today. But the good news is that he is only feeling poorly and does not have any energy.  Hang in there Elder Haley. One of the counselors in the Mission Presidency spoke in Sacrament meeting today, but Elder Haley missed out.  Sister Haley said that all the talks were good today.

Mon, 25 Sep - The flu bug is losing the battle, but not giving up.  We took the car into Toyota this morning and then walked (15-20 minutes) over to downtown South Grafton. We went to one of the fabric stores and Margaret bought a number of Aboriginal prints that she did not have in her collection. Mike just paid the bill.  Sister Haley then helped one of the sisters with going to the supermarket to buy groceries.  Later in the day, she met with the RS president and they went over the Visiting Teaching (VT) roster and activity.

Tuesday, 26 Sep -  Mike is still fighting the flu bug, but is winning the fight. BUT the bug is not giving up easily.  Margaret provided taxi services to two different sister during the day so they could make it to doctor appointments or to get some groceries.  We held the primary activity at the meetinghouse even though it was school holiday, but we will not have the activity next week.  Mike met with President Norman to discuss some branch business. Mike took the sewing machine apart so he could remove some broken pieces.  We went to Sals Sewing in South Grafton to see if they had the parts - they did not.  But they work with a man who may have the parts.  Mike called and he did and would bring them to Sals Sewing in the following morning.  Mike went to the meetinghouse in the evening to have an emergency meeting with President Norman.

Wed, 27 Sep -  Talked with Mike's mum and then headed to Sals Sewing.  We found the sewing machine repair man in the back and picked up the parts.  While in South Grafton we visited some of the members there and found out where some of the family had moved to.  Mike then went back to the house and put the sewing machine back together. 

Thurs, 28 Sep -  Margaret provided a ride to one of the sisters who needed to go someplace.  Mike fueled up the car with petrol, so we had a full tank for when our YSA visitors (the "kids") arrive later today.  The YSA (Ka Yi, Luigi, Shawn) arrived about 430pm from Brisbane.  We had an early dinner so Mike could go to the meeting house for a branch presidency meeting.  The kids had helped Margaret clean up the dishes by the time Mike got back.

Friday, 29 Sep - We took the YSA to Brooms Head in the afternoon, after just "goofing off" in the morning.  We did meet with the Elders and had lunch with them before heading to Brooms Head.  High Tide had come in by the time we got there so we did not get to walk on the beach that we had planned to walk on.  We did get to the red cliff lookout area and were able to see a number of kangaroos - up close.  Then on to the end of the Brooms Head road where we were able to see the rocks, surf and some beach (in the far distance).  Next time we will come earlier and see about walking over to the nice, long beach.  Then off to home and homemade pizza.  We did use the Lawrence/Maclean ferry going and coming.  It is nice to have the ferries to use in crossing the Clarence River - it saves driving south for 10 km and then driving back.

Sat, 30 Sep - We headed for Washpool National Park in the morning.  Before leaving we said a prayer asking for safe travels and a safe/enjoyable venture.  Washpool has the Coombadjha creek running through it and some cascades/waterfalls.  Plus it is the home of subtropical rain forest, but we haven't had much rain for a long time.  On the way, we noticed that the car was leaning a bit on the back left side and it was not because Luigi was on that side.  We stopped and found the tyre was losing air - slowly, but losing it.  We checked the boot (trunk for you Yanks) and found that we had a full size spare tire and that it was full of air - nothing like prayers being answered.  We changed the tyre and then continued our trip.  Once we got to the park we ate lunch and then looked for the hiking trail. The hike was 8.5 km to and back from the falls.  The trail was easy in some parts and not quite so easy in others.  We did not see another human on the trail the entire time we were hiking; although there were several people at the campgrounds at the beginning of the hike.  It was good to get out of the city & house and do some hiking with the YSA.  The trail and forest was really enjoyable and we have a very nice time.  The only draw back was that Mike found 2 ticks on himself when we got home. We removed them and put alcohol & anti-bacterial ointment on the bite spots. No one else had any ticks.  I guess Mike is just "sweet meat" and will have to lay off of the ice cream.  We had BBQ sausages for dinner.  Mike is beginning (not there yet) to get a handle on bbq sausage on the barbie. We celebrated Shaw Long's birthday tonight even though it is really tomorrow.

Sun, 1 Oct - Oh my September is gone.  Today was Shawn Long's birthday.  We did attend our Church meetings.  Today was Fast & Testimony Sunday in Australia even though it was General Conference in the USA. It was a good testimony meeting today and the testimonies were uplifting. We will watch the General Conference sessions next weekend.  We had dinner at the house with the YSA and the Elders and then sent the YSA off in their car so they could catch the bus back to Sydney.  Now it is time to collapse.  It was a good visit and we look forward t more of the same in the future.

Flaggy Creek driveway to the Jones

Jones water tank

How you get electricity in the bush

Flaggy Creek drive in the dark

Cricket on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Primary Activity

Cricket at its best

Sun rise near Clarence River

Coffee table in the process of being fixed.  the top was not attached to the legs

Bundaberg sodas.  Family owned and really good tasting.  Sarsaparilla, Cream soda, Ginger beer & Blood Orange

Rainbow Lorikeet on the bottle brush tree outside the computer room window

Typical Grafton house on raised brick supports

South Grafton hotel. 

Another hotel.  love the iron work

A home in South Grafton. love the iron work

Papaya growing in the front yard of a home in South Grafton

This house is RAISED really high.  No flood will get to them

story behind one of the Aboriginal fabrics

Story behind another aboriginal fabric

Roos in the grassy area next to a park a few blocks from the house

Brother PS55 sewing machine in a torn down state, waiting to get new parts.

Missionary hanging out his laundry to dry

Dodge ball at the primary activity

Got him !!!!!

A mob of Roos near home


By golly, he did get it back together and it works.

Brooms Head - Shawn, Luigi, Ka Yi, Sister Haley

The beach from Red lookout towards Brooms Head

Ka Yi & Shawn - Brooms Head look out

Roo & Joey, Brooms Head Look out

Luigi taking a photo of a Roo

Trying to touch the Roo, but no success

Sister Haley at Brooms Head look out

The beach to the south of Brooms Head at the end of the road

Guess where?

Sign to "Short's" Road.  Mike's mum's nick name is Short

The setting sun (rays) coming through the clouds.

the kitchen crew working on dinner

Home made pizza - before

Home Made pizza - AFTER

Ant hill on the way to Washpool National Park

Working on changing the flat tyre.  Thankfully the spare was inflated properly an a full size spare

Cattle on the hill

Washpool National Park entrance

Ka Yi at the beginning of the hike

Washpool walk

Part of the washpool trail

Washpool trail map

Something was of interest at this point of the hike

On the trail

A different part of the trail

Another ant hill on the trail

Coombadjha creek water fall/cascade area

looking down creek 

The intrepid Three some 

looking back up the creek

With not much water, the falls are not doing too well.

Elder Haley taking a rest at the falls

On the trail back to the car park

Coombadjha creek

Coombadjha creek looking the other way from a bridge across the creek

Well do we go left or right????

Shawn being appreciative of his birthday cakeS

Yep, more than 1 cake as we were not sure which one we wanted to get for Shawn

Ka Yi, Luigi & Shawn with birthday cake.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAWN.

Shawn, Elder & Sister Haley, and birthday cakes