July 16thPink is incredible, 11 shows at Rod Laver Arena- she continues to be massive in this country. I like her attitude.
I run into our mate Wendy from the Deli at IGA- we stand outside in a howling wind to have a good gossip- normal people would of gone and had a coffee! As my Tee says "Normal People Scare Me".
Coming back from the art room and there is a rather magnificent rainbow in the sky. I bolt inside and grab my camera and click off a snap. Been years since I have seen a rainbow -well apart from endless SSM rallys!!!
July 17thOur friend Marys little dog Billy has passed away. She'll miss him, such a cute mutt.
Birthday parcel arrives for Marky from Mum, Sis, MIM etc. Still 10 days till his birthday but off to a great start. My Mum is so generous as is my sister, they love him like a 2nd brother & son.
July 18thTemple of Low Men was released 30 years ago today. One of my favourite Crowded House albums.
I drive and get a 5th year birthday card for MIM to go with her present. There is a cute book of 300 Australian animal stickers for a massive $2 so I grab that as well. All Aussie kids should know their local animals.
Work in the office all afternoon- a few calls, hate it when people call for 3 seconds and don't give you enough time to pick up. Why do they bother? We leave the answering machine on 24 hrs a day as well so easy for people to leave a message.
Out for dinner with some international mates who came up to the mountain-what a fun crowd.
July 19thNice to hear from Crowdies Matt Sherrod today, he's in Oz and touring with William Creighton. We love Matt, so hopefully we can catch up with him. So if you see someone on the street and he looks like Matt- it might well be him. Not sure if it was the promo photo but he's looking much skinner these days!
I chat to our manager about the next 6 months- Fleetwood Mac, Neil and Liams release etc. So much easier having information at hand and ready. The best hour this week- feel like I am onto it.
July 20th1.30 and I catch up with Andy White at Montage, always a great place for our artist and mates meetings. There is sleet on the way-my toes are freezing- must be close to snowing. Liza is updating the Mexican art display and one item catches my eye and Andys. He buys it, once again a bargain price. I tell him it would make a grand album cover.
Excited as Andy is playing the small intimate room at the new Caravan Club late August (23rd). It only holds about 50 people so that will be very cool. Will be a fun night, a chance to party with mates. You can grab tickets here, I have a feeling this one will be a sell out.
http://www.caravanmusic.com.au/gigs/ian-bland-with-greg-hunt-in-the-winnebago-lounge-2-2/ As we are leaving I decide we should try for a few photos in the alley that runs up the side of the building. I only have my crappy camera in the bag and the batteries are dying. I try a few tricks with the batteries & we manage 4 photos, Andy has his new hat on- it's a pretty good hat I have to say. Need to find out where he got it from. So a few images to mess around with, he is always so patient, easy to work with.
Later that night, the phone rings & I pick it up instead of it going to the machine. Our friend Mary is on the line, so we have a talk. Our 5 minute conversation ends up being an hour- tears & laughter. Back to the couch and Mark has IQ'd the "Guitar Centers Joan Jett" special. It's rather excellent and her band are playing really well. We LOVE Joan Jett We watch a Blondie musical show next, fabulous old footage and Deb & Chris in fine form. So a musical night for us.
July 21stHappy Birthday to Trudi & Fran. Send cards and best wishes to them. Hope they got them on time. You never know with Australian Post , sometimes they are quick other times as slow as a tortoise.
I escape the phones this chilly saturday and back to Montage with my Mac. Work on the AW images. Montage is packed- so many locals- get some work done but mostly chatting. I have to park my car in the Montage staff car park-which is ok. As I'm leaving, I open the door of the 4WD and I hear a "quack". Lucky I checked as a baby duck had climbed up onto my bull bar. I can hear his Mum calling out to him, so I talk quietly to him, pick him up and carry him over to the fence line so the two are reunited again. Such a cute ducky. He poses for a photo.
Home and send out some emails, tweets etc for Crowdies Matt Sherrod. He also penned a few words to the fans, he's a good guy so will happily give the tour a push.
Mark has his 2 hour Mum chat this evening, so I spend it in the office. Happy to work on a Saturday evening as we have been going out quite a lot. Afterwards we watch "Get Out". This movie has been hyped so much how could it live up to all the raves. But it was good, really enjoyed it, no not the perfect movie but I'd certainly watch it again down the track.
July 22ndWe sleep in , all of us- Mark, the cat and yours truly. It's a nice Winters day, suns out but no real warmth.
Afternoon, time to give my hair a bit of a dye job. A darker brown, looks ok. I wrap my head in cling wrap and do some work around the house. I look like a well wrapped liquorice cone head.
Watch more of The Durrells and all it does in make me pine for a tropical island, blue sea that you can swim in and sunshine. ..and Sven is in the closet and gay - well he is the most handsome man on the show so of course he is! Ha!
No desert so I bake a coconut, aztec chocolate cake. Not too bad, 10,000 laps of Kalorama after eating this one.
July 23rdEmail some of the Enz boys around some extra possible Enz live shows. We keep on finding 1 more "possible" so ask Nathan or the band. Naths been great with a few, too scared to ask him if he has all his old tour itinerary's. In those days many gigs just added to International tours while they were on the road , so the Itineraries are probably not all that helpful. So close to 1000 live shows for Split Enz (995 so far) so worth following up possibilities. I guess 1000 is just another number but it just feels so good - knowing they did 1000 shows. I keep suggesting they play a few more at our place but they haven't taken the bait.
You know it's cold when my fingers & toes are chilly in the office. Banshee has been running around the house keeping herself warm. I am still managing to create a pile of wood each night for our fire , so haven't resorted to buying any yet.
Our neighbour sends us a lovely photo of todays sunrise- a real red sky. Just made my day, we live in such beautiful part of the world .
We loved the 4th Season finale of 'Gotham" tonight, such a fine show, sad it will only get one more season-well written & quality actors-can I have some more please!
Finally Foxtel are showing 'Patrick Melrose'. I've read a few of Edward St Aubyns books and enjoyed the tv version, Patricks so fucked up. Gotta love that in a tv show. So bored of "nice" characters. Bad Boys and Bad Girls are far more interesting. We are looking forward to MAYANS the upcoming tv series from our beloved Sons of Anarchy. Kurt Sutter- so talented. It premiers September 4th and for once Foxtel have this one on time. Yay.
July 24thGrey, cold and now it has started to rain- I so need a warm tropical island. Thankfully we leave in a few days time. I have endless long service holidays left I'm sure, so tell our manager , our family and that is it. Disappear off the grid for a short while.
Mark laughs as my bag is packed and in the car 2 days early. I sit down and have a chat to Miss Banshee that she is visiting our friend Moss for a week. She isn't happy and refuses to cat talk to me all night. It is strange how animals just know these things.
I find a few places and things to do on Maggie (Magnetic Island) that we haven't done before , keeping my fingers crossed for perfect weather. Our closest friends know it is Markys birthday so maybe an island surprise or two for him.
July 25thMiss Trudi visits and we have lunch at Montage. She spoils us both with presents and we laugh a few hours away. One of our favourite most trusted people and she is so loyal to us. She's so like Mark, just suffer birthdays on the day and that is it. Just makes me chuckle, bless them both.
Home and in the office for the day. A call from Tim Finns manager around a fun "release" - something to look forward to when I get back.
I spend too much time deciding if I'm taking my super heavy duty hiking boots- I wear them on tour sometime as they are great in a fight. I'll have to convince my beloved boyfriend to squash them into his suitcase. My one fear on Maggie are death adder. Yes that super fast poisonous snake. They are a pretty handsome snake and usually bolt away from, humans but I get worried about stepping on one, so my boots might be a positive. I keep Magnetics Health Centre number with us , which probably sounds like an overreaction.
Mum phones in the afternoon and Sis at night to wish Mark a Happy Birthday for the 27th, just in case the mobile reception is crap. By 3.25pm I am excited that this time tomorrow we will be on a tropical island. If all goes well.
July 26thNot much sleep, too excited. Up early and feed Miss Banshee and she heads back to bed. Our car is loaded up with our bags so just a shower and food and we are off. Moss is looking after Banshee - they do such a good job with her - in safe hands. I always feel sad when I wave goodbye to her, and a touch guilty. I cleared the post box one last time & loads of cards for Mark from our friends which is so great. Leave my keys with our friend Daisy and next day envelope - bless her for taking care of us. You too Martin & Hisako. xxx
I take a short cut to the airport and it works, we manage to avoid peak hour traffic. The rain holds off so we arrive at Qantas departures with time to spare. We do our good deed and help an elderly lady drop off her bags and print out tickets. Straight to the freaky flyer lounge for us. Mark finds a copy of 'Crikey!' magazine and both of us are impressed at how Bindi Irwin is "stacked". A picture with Prince Charles and we convince ourselves that he is starring at her boobs. We are such naughty boys. Mark goes "Crikey she is stacked".
The departing Qantas flight is now late, they really are dicking about. The onboard staff promise us all is ok and we will catch the connecting flight, 25 of us on this one bound for Townsville from Brisbane. The delays continue but the Captain does a voice over and says all ok for our flight and one to Cairns. It gets later and just before we finally leave the aircraft, another call from the Captain saying they are holding the plane.
We bolt to the gate 17 and guess what no plane, they lied. I felt so sad for the pensioners who have tried to rush and make it, they look exhausted, they are also VERY angry at Qantas. A gate person tells us it's now moved to gate 20 , so people rush to that gate- and no, wrong flight. We are trying to stay calm, others certainly are not. Eventually I speak to a main Qantas person and he gets us on a Virgin fight at Qantas's expense. We know we'll miss the last car ferry too, so Qantas also cover all our accommodation. The best part of the Virgin flight were the Organic Beef & Horseradish sandwiches. I've now grown to enjoy Horseradish! I've grown to not trust Qantas.
We finally touch down in Townsville, it's so warm , feels great-and we are rather tired. It's been 12 hours since we left.
The Avis people are great and rush our new 4WD through and we are off. Qantas putting us up at the Grand Chancellor in Townsville. The night duty girl is an angel and upgrades us to their best suite- and we all laugh, it's the Bridal Suite! HA! Room Service was really nice, and the room is pretty good. Love the funky double showers and multiple balconies. We run into some of the others from the flight- we now call ourselves "The 25"- a bit of an in-joke. Supermarket shop at Woolworths and load up on goodies for the Island. I spot a very cool straw cowboy had- need something for sun protection. We have several vouchers (thanks Mum & Sis) -plus Woolworths gave us $10 off. so our shopping was a huge $6.05c! Gotta love that. Asleep by midnight-mainly from exhaustion. End of day this Qantas disaster could of been worse.
July 27thI wake up early and watch an superb golden sunrise, or is it the red Mars/Moon setting, hell I don't know, but it's rather brilliant. I watch Mark sleeping, soft gentle snores, it's his birthday today - so here we are off on another adventure. Give him a little birthday kiss on his sleepy head.
Too early for us to eat so an iced coffee and on our way.
We arrive at the car ferry and thank them for changing our tickets with no extra fee. The ride over is as lovely as always. 40 minutes and the morning sun shining. A lone man is on the Townsville breakwater fishing and the palm trees are swaying. I expect the SS Minnow to cruise by any second.
I drive our new Pajero 4WD off the Ferry and we are at the Boulder Court house 3 minutes later. A lovely surprise from Pip, Liza, Cath , Mike, Jennifer, Mark II, MIM and Mum- presents ,cards -even a cake with candles. I'm so stupid, the one thing I can't find are matches! I check the answering machine back at home and a few birthday messages from Allie, Merelyn & Maz and his dad so that was nice.
Take us to Radical Bay, down that insane pot holed road, which I LOVE driving down. So nice to swim- float, have sand under our feet. Maybe Radical is our favourite bay?
Dinner at Marlin bar- with Surf Crew. Drambuie. Seriously amazing sunset, with the boats and ocean all lit up. Party is on, and Crew is having the best time. We manage to fill Marks bedroom with 'Happy Fucking Birthday" balloons. I'm sure it wasn't my idea to build a human Pyramid and Pip in those scandalous yellow briefs . A wonderful night had by all. Marky never a fan of birthdays wants it all over on the day and no lingering. His mates get that so tonight it was a case of all celebrated out. Thanks to everyone & also to Liz, Trudy, Laura & Kevin , Annette & Stephen, Merelyn & Maz, Jennifer, MIM and Mark II, Joan, Alison and Trudi for the Birthday Cards. Carried them all the way to Magnetic for Marks special day. I also cleared the answering machine so messages from Allie & Merelyn and Maz too, and the other Peter G. Thanks everyone for making such an effort. I'm a good boy, didn't drive after the booze, Sandy our surf guy took the wheel (I'm sure I chuckled "Sandy the Surfer" one too many times).
July 28thWake up early, feel fantastic as does Mark, no hangover but decide I'll cook breakfast. I drive to Scallywags, just down the road and sample their coffee-2 to go me hearties . Excellent. The pirate girls are fun, wonderful dreadlocks. Great sense of humour, start my day off with a laugh.
Chat to the neighbours across the road, really good people, very helpful with some of the locals secret special places. They have this massive coconut grove in the front of their yard, each and every one grown from a single seed over the years.
I use our little fold out drink cooler and pack some food and we go hiking to Hawkings Point from Picnic Bay (Picnic Street). It's an easy hike , a mere 600m but lots of boulders and the yellow flowers are everywhere on the Kapok trees. No one else on the track just me and my best friend. It's magical. The lookout has exceptional views and we figure out a way to get down to Rocky Bay. It's a freaky beach this one, totally disappears at high tide. So timing is everything.
We head to Radical and I find the ancient piano. Hidden in a coconut grove. It's now decaying and wildflowers are growing around it, but even in its decay it has a certain beauty- possibly even more exotic. We chat to two European girls and they are excited that we know where the piano is , so we show them.
We have our beach shade tent up, good to protect the video camera and my good camera. I buy Mark a new facemask so we spend an hour exploring the fish and habitats. I'm teaching Mark how to use it and he is learning fast. He says I am part dolphin (I'm worried he means my penis- *JOKING*)!!!! The water is crystal clear and maybe 6 people on this massive remote beach. Sunshine on my shoulders, so nice to be away from Melbourne's grey Winter weather.
As we depart we see the 2 Europeans attempting to walk back, so we clear the back seat of the 4WD and give them a lift to the Forts bus stop. Nice gals.
Click on the 5 by Elections for a few minutes and the Liberals are dead in the water. Labor wins the 4 that it ran in and improved their percentage. The Liberal vote is down by a huge 10% -crash and burn Fizza Turnbull, their days are numbered. A nice 10 second return to reality.
July 29thBreakfast at Scallywags . Love the decor and the food is excellent. We post a couple of cards , mostly as a surprise for MIM, as I find a very cool 3D one and our mate Mary at Kalorama as I know she's missing the mutt. Reading the local paper and some back page article on that idiot Tony Abbott. Why do people even give this lame back bencher the time of day, he'd go to the opening of a paper bag. The quality of Aussie politicians certainly has dropped over the years. Abbott such a loser, pathetic that people even give him the time of day.
Drive to Horseshoe Bay and a local girl that I've met before gives me directions to the Old School House. Such a tiny structure and built in the forties. Our real reason for tracking it down is the little forest next to it. Thousands and thousands of butterflies - a natural occurrence. No people and you just walk around some subtle trails and they "dance" about you. I find a little wooden platform in a tree and sit among them and meditate. A nice part of our day.
We are up for a swim so decide it's time to visit Arthur Bay. It's up that bloody crazy road again but Arthur is the first so a small drive and the road isn't as crazy for that first bit. I'm determined to swim every day, well both of us are. I'm straight in the water, the initial shock is over with in 10 seconds, and it is rather warm. Mark tortures himself, inch by inch and he's so tall, so it's a lingering suffering. Finally he is in. I swim along with some skinny fish, can't recall what type of fish but they were patient and let me swim with them. I think I spotted two Bream and at one stage was surrounded by Butterfly fish. It's such a joy to be in the water - exploring and end of day some exercise. A mate of ours can't swim, so sad because she is missing out on so much, plus it's a nice calm here. We head back in a few times. Play with the frisbee and I even sit on the sand dune and do some ten second beach drawings in a little art book that Fran gave me a few years back.
We have lunch under a Palm tree at our HQ tent. Both chuckling as some teenager fails time and time again to split a coconut. After awhile he just starts looking rather foolish. I didn't have the heart to tell him the coconut he has, doesn't even have any milk or husk. He never broke it anyway so I guess never experienced the "no surprise" in the centre.
As we are departing we are chatting to two more European girls. We do the good deed and drive them to the main road. It's getting hot so good to help fellow travellers out. What is it about Europeans and us. ?
July 30thI pose under a Palm Tree at Geoffrey Bay reading The Courier Mails LABOR WINS front page head line. Good to taunt a few Liberals. Opps. Pauline Hanson is still a Liberal voting turd- pushed for One Nation voters to vote Liberal, but it backfired and 60% refused to do so.
We pack a few bits for our hike to the Forts - but decide to call into the old jetty at Arcadia to visit the Rock Wallabys first. We see them every time, bag of bananas and sweet potato - very few this time of day but they can smell the organic banana's so a few come out of hiding for a treat. I start to eat a banana and one cheeky devil hops up and starts on the other end. At least he had a nice smelling breath. Marks filming, so it probably looks like some bizarre wallaby fellatio moment. I see if there are any fish near the jetty area and Mark goes along the original stone walk way to film. Two divers are near the jetty and it looks so crystal clear and tempting. Thankfully I have my rugby shorts and facemask in the car so I strip and wear them. In I go, warm water and tides out so it's great to explore the area. Awhile later a concerned Mark pops his head over the wall and goes "so there you are" . Opps sorry baby should of told you. So I'm punished by performing for his camera. I'm getting good at underwater hand stands. The fish are different here to what I've seen at the bays, a few large ones and lots of purple crabs on the rocks. A few dainty seahorses as well.
I dry off and strip change in a cave on the walk way. What a handy location, I wonder how many locals have made out in this sexy grotto over the years?
We drive to the start of The Forts Walk. A little car park near the Radical Bay rd turnoff. It's full of cars so I squash in across the road. It's a fairly easy walk- just 2.8kms . It winds its way around the ridge and some excellent views. They've updated it's history so signage to historical items along the way. At the top are 2 gun emplacements, and two larger buildings at the top-one is the Observation tower and one the Command Post. Our main reason for hiking this one is to try and spot Koalas. We've seen some every single time and we mark the spot with a makeshift wooden "arrow" pointing the direction to nearby Koalas. I guess it's a local thing? Anyway for tourists in the know it's handy. We find one in a tree at the back of the Command Post and mark it. Two European girls are nearby so we explain to them what we are doing. They are over the moon to see a Koala in the wild- one looks like she is going to cry- so cute. AS family descends upon the rock outcrop and I'm horrified that they let their young kid just run to the edge. He slips and I grab his arm- not even a thank you for saving their brat. Mark gives them one of his "idiots" stares.
We take some photos at the observation tower, panoramic shots , such wonderful views. Eventually start heading back. We call into the massive water storage area and they now have a tap so we can refill our canteens and have a drink. Very handy and the water is so nice and pure.
Spot a 2nd arrow and find a smaller Koala off the track and 2 more Europeans . This one is more active. So cool to watch them climb about as they are usually like furry statues.
We are at the car park and an English guy and German girl ask us about the bus to Florence bay. We explain that there isn't one for the east 5 bays because the road is terrible. But we tell them we'll take them as we are heading to Florence. Another good deed, lets hope they don't murder us and steal our Pajero!!!! They are a nice couple, we lend them our face masks to explore the reef- and watch them get so excited diving into the water.
Marks diving skills improve a lot, he now gets why I like it. Out of the east bays this one is the easiest to get too as Radical Bay Rd doesn't 'decay' till after Florence. Some Japanese tourists try to film us with a drone and we tell them to fuck off and ask next time. My car very close to crushing their toy. Why can't people just let others enjoy the Bays without invading their space with fucking drones of all things. I see one of the 25ers under a tree reading a book, I just wave, she obviously wants to be alone, heaven help drone man if he tries to film her , she'd ram it where the Nth Qld sun doesn't shine. Ho Ho Ho.
On the way home we call into Alma Bay (named after my grandmother). We usually don't go to this one, it's all way too safe -oldies and families & so packed (Packed on magnetic is 10 people on a beach) . We walk to the end and check out the decaying holiday village, still decaying but a bigger security fence. So I'm guessing no one has bought it yet? Marks filming so I decide to go in for another swim, I swear I'm am turning into a fish. It's very shallow here and I hear 2 white trash bigots going on with absolute shit so I swim elsewhere, hoping a sink hole swallows them up. By chance I find a large kelp-reef and masses of fish. I baby Sting ray cruises by. Amazing just how many fish are gathered here. I never knew this was here so I'm delighted - and such an easy swim.
Back on dry land and home when the sun is setting. We find out that there is a Brahminy Kite nest above my bedroom in a palm tree and baby Kites are being fed - which explains there noise at 4am. I thought it was the dreaded Curlew annoying us but wrongly accused.
We were planning on staying in tonight and an urge for Pizza, so I drive to Mandalay Ave and they are closed. So we settle for a home cooked Pizza and I'll never understand the oven here. I'm so use to a gas oven. So chill out on the long couches, we watch The Box on dvd and dry some clothes to pack tomorrow. It must be all the swimming as we both sleep really well.
July 31stBags are packed and Mark has to pry my fingers off the door handle one finger at a time. Apart from Banshee I don't want to go back to a Melbourne Winter. We wave goodbye to Boulder Court. Still have some time to kill so return the key to the agents and call into the cute little cemetery a few minutes away. Quite a few early headstones from the early white settlers on the island.
Line up for the car ferry and we are the first vehicle ready to go. Within 5 minutes the line is long and they'll just get all the cars on board. I sit on the top deck and wave my sad goodbyes to this lovely paradise. Mark says "don't worry we'll be back soon". I believe him. The Island has stolen my heart.
Arrive Townsville, fill up the 4WD with Diesel ( the whole time it has cost me $24 in fuel- how good is that?) and arrive at Townsville airport and one of the best Qantas Lounges. The flight is a bit slow leaving but not as bad as coming up. I edit some photos while we are in the air. Mark has somehow brought on board the entire Frequent Flyer magazine shelf. So he is taken care of.
A rushed time at Brisbane lounge, which sucks as they had the BEST chicken sweet/sour sauce nibbly's we've ever had. In the air again and landing about 6.45 PM. It was 28 when we left and it's 3 degrees and raining outside at Melbourne. We make it to long term and rain has stopped and thankfully traffic home was light. Our glorious neighbours picked Banshee up. She has such good hearing, heard the car coming up the road and she was calling out. We are so happy to see her and she us. She spends the night walking around with us and cat talking. We miss the little bundle of fur. She cuddles up next to me and falls asleep, happy we are back.
August 1stShit it is cold. 3 degrees this morning, I miss that island warmth. Have roast beef and horseradish sandwiches for lunch. After the Virgin flight I've re discovered a love for horseradish.
I head to the office and work my cute well tanned arse off, pretty much play catch up. Keeping it nice and quiet that we are home. It's great to have some space and breathing time.
August 2ndMark records the "Beside Bowie: Mick Ronson" story on Foxtel Arts- the early footage is fantastic, really enjoy this one. I miss Bowie too.
Our mate Vali Myers would of turned 88 today if she was still here. Such a wonderful woman, so talented and no one was quite like her, you don't get to say that about many people.
The power was meant to be off on the mountain today but they must of changed their minds. We get back from Montage and still on. The girls are all going "Look how tanned you two are". The sunshine sure made us feel healthier.
I work on more Liam and Neil stuff. That is endless. Album out in 3 weeks so making sure everyone knows about LIGHTSLEEPER.
August 3rdI'm up early and call MIM for her birthday. She's 5. Once again Grandma got in before me. Maddie loves her presents, I sneak into Marks bedroom and MIM wakes him up too. He is forced to sing 'Happy Birthday'. Our niece rocks.
I see Apple are the first company to hit the Trillion dollar US mark. Incredible.
August 4thThe Fleetwood Mac rehearsals are going great guns in LA. Not long till that first show in Vegas. Good on you Neil Finn, whatever makes you happy I say.
I've been putting up Island photos for the past week + , so many nice comments, great people enjoyed them. I'm excited to see what Marks video footage is like, he has quite a bit from different times on the Island. I had that dream again last night that we bought 8 Boulder Court at Nelly Bay. Really just for our Winter escape. Such a detailed dream, who knows maybe the Old Gods will be smiling down on us like they have done so many times before.
August 5thGlad our friend Michelle is safe in Bali, and were not visiting Lombok that day. Nearly 100 dead, just terrible.
So that's it for yours truly, a 3 week diary , so an oddity.
What an incredible planet we live on, such a shame that people don't explore more then their couch.