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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Macleay Island

Macleay Island

Well, it's that time again. The bags are packed (sort of) the house has been cleaned and we are ready for the off again. We are off tomorrow morning on the 11.15 boat and we  will be very sad to leave here. Mollie and I have had a fantastic time. The only thing we have grumbled about are the sand flies and we won't miss them!!!

Let's see, what have we been up to? Well Macleay is a small island off of the coast of Brisbane. I think it comes under the Stradbroke Islands. There are around 3000 folk on this one and accessible via a car and passenger ferry. There is nothing really to do on the island leisure wise or work.  Most of the people on the island work on the mainland and get this - they leave at 5.30am!!! There is no daylight saving in Queensland so the sun comes up at 4.30. Most of the locals prefer to get work done in the morning and are home by 3pm. BUT they are the most laid back people I have met and I can understand why now. Mollie and I are certainly very chilled. 

Anyway, back on track. The house we are staying in is basic but in a lovely location. The beach is at the bottom of the garden with gum trees and palm trees at the side. What are in the trees? Lorikeets, Kookaburras and Minor birds which also wake up at 4.30am! I had an alarm call from them for the first couple of mornings and then that was it "phew" The weather was actually really nice when we arrived on 30/11 but turned wet and cool a few days later (I'll refrain from saying cold as I'm aware that Scotland is currently in single figures and snow!!) 

When Mollie and I arrived on the island our first stop was the chemist for midge repellant and then to the Spar for fresh fruit, veg and shopping. On both occasions I bumped in to a young lady Claire with a wee boy and both times we started to chat and have a laugh. She invited Mollie and I to the "mums and bubs" group at the local cafe, The Blue Parrot on Monday. That meeting has been the crux to the success of this part of the trip. From Claire I have met the other mums on the island who are just lovely, been over to the mainland shopping with her and been introduced to the way of life here. I actually feel as if Mollie and I have been living here for years! Claire runs her own name jigsaw business. She cuts out the letters, decorates them and then makes them into jigsaws. On the Wednesday after the mums and bubs group Claire was a bit stressed. She had something to the tune of 75 orders to get out that week. Not too many you may think but when you are a stay at home mum with two kids and a husband working away it's stress. So the girls all mucked in and we spent a great day making jigsaws up (it's ok she didn't let us near the sharp tools!!) I was going a bit round the bend by the end of the afternoon. But at the end of it we had helped Claire out hugely and had a great laugh in the process. One I will remember for a while.
Mollie and I have had the chance to spend some quality time together which has Ben fab. Having the beach at the bottom of the garden has made this trip. We have spent mornings and afternoons in the water playing on wee paddle boats that the owner has in his shed, swimming in it and of course Mollie can now officially swim. That was such a fantastic moment. She was so determined to do it. She has now taken to throwing the arm band in the water and then swimming to it. She originally started out just doing two or three strokes but now it is nearer 7or 8 strokes. Such a proud moment but sad all rolled in to one.........
The last few afternoons the tide has been out and well out at that so Mollie and I have been down on the sand investigating. We have chased crabs, poked them, played with sand eels, found a jelly fish, watched ibis birds getting the eels out the sand, been spat at by crabs and so much more. I don't dispute that we would probably find all of this on Lossie beach or Cullen beach but this has been OUR beach to explore together and it has been so much fun. This morning we had a kookaburra sitting on the verandah. The owner told me two weeks ago that the previous people were giving it meat and so Mollie threw some cooked chicken to it. Well it took it, shook it off the floor to break it even smaller and then swallowed it. This continued for around 10minutes before it decided it had had enough and flew off! He will get a shock if he pitches up tomorrow morning. In fact he is probably miffed that we hadn't spotted him before. I will leave a note to the next people and make sure they leave him some tasty bites.

The main social area on the island seems to centre around a cafe which is located down in the main shopping area. It is called the Blue Parrot Cafe and is run by Dave. It is where the mums meet up, the local old dears meet for their weekly gossip and I even witnessed some business meetings going on so it is a pretty cool place. The food is fab too. Well Dave decided to host a 7course sweet dinner on Friday evening which Mollie and I both went to. What an evening!!! I took pictures of all 7 courses but didn't eat all 7. Mollie did help me out on quite a few. It was a fantastic evening and of course I had the chance of chatting to more locals. 
Well the weather in the last few days has been a good indicator as to what it can do over here. The temperature has been hitting 30 since Saturday. It is too hot to stay out in and so you do have to seek shelter or air con (Blue Parrot has good air con) Mostly people hit the beach and the sea which is exactly what Mollie and I did.

So Macleay hasn't been about running around booking excursions or trying to see things, it has been about Mollie and I and what we can do together (that's way too philosophical for me at this time lol) We have had a bundle of fun.

So what is next? Well we have three days spare before heading to Adelaide for Christmas. I had these days free in case we hadn't managed to do the Whitsundays or the Australian Zoo but we have so I had the chance of picking somewhere new or going back to somewhere that we have been and I have chosen Surfers Paradise which of course we were in a few weeks ago. Tomorrow I pick up a car and head down there. It is school holidays so I don't expect it to be quiet!!!

Pen xxx

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