Now that we’re back in the city, it’s good to take some time to look back over the last 6 months spent on acreage in Pullenvale in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. (https://mitchell.news/2020/10/29/from-52m2-to-10000m2/) Not the big-ticket events, just life as we’ve lived it.
Flora & fauna ….
Few days went by without a viewing of at least one wallaby. At one point, we had a mummy with a couple of joeys living under our bedroom. As there’d been no rain, things were pretty dry so we purchased a plastic bowl and put out some water for them. Visits from the deer were exciting and not as frequent. The vibrant king parrots that came by in the hope of getting fed, were beautiful and somewhat cheeky. We had regular visits from a kookaburra that we named Kev. We had the occasional visit by giant spiders, both inside and out and including those that decided to make a home on the car. We were very grateful that the only snakes we saw were on the roads as we went running / walking. Sadly, the majority of them had been killed by passing cars.
If the Australian bush was an art gallery, I’d be heading straight to the bark exhibition. I had not realised the beauty of a mass of gum trees as the bark peels off and reveals red, orange and yellow trunks below. As well as having great beauty, bark also has many functions. It helps protect the tree during bushfires and is a habitat for many critters.
Glenda enjoys a cup of hot water with lemon or lime juice first thing in the morning. The discovery of a lime tree down the road mean that she was spoilt with fresh lime most of the duration of our time in Pullenvale. The tree was outside someone’s garden and nobody else seemed to collect the little green fruit before it turned brown and soft. It was her duty to clean up the neighbourhood and collect a few pieces each week.
When we moved in, all the vegetation in the area was dry & brown. Summer and the ensuing rainy season turned the grass green and brought with it beautiful flowers. The streets were lined with huge frangipani trees in a multitude of colours. As the summer progressed, we had an infestation of mushrooms of all varieties. No sooner had we picked dozens of them than the garden was covered again.
Nature at its finest and most wild ….
With a house facing west, we saw a number of fabulous sunsets, even if filtered through the trees. The moonlit nights were something to behold, with Glenda being awoken on a number of occasions with a bright light bearing down on her. For some reason, the centres of cities seldom seem to bear the brunt of wild weather. Living amongst the trees did have us experiencing some ferocious storms and hail. The colour bond roof meant that we heard the force of the stones as they pelted down.
Getting around ….
One of the downsides of living amongst the wallabies & deer was having to get into the car to go anywhere. This was a huge change for us as wherever we go in the world, we tend to walk everywhere. Whist we did take on the challenge of the hills for our morning runs, most other places required driving. Sometimes we’d tackle the 6km return walk to our local coffee spot – the Curious Caravan – enjoying the sights along the way and the horses and cockatoos.
Speaking of coffee ….
Being fans of strong coffee, we tend towards the Italian blends and at home we use a Bialetti Moka pot. The moka is a stove-top coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurised by steam through ground coffee. It was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and quickly became one of the staples of Italian culture. Bialetti Industries continues to produce the same model under the trade name “Moka Express”. Spreading from Italy, the moka pot is today most commonly used in Europe and in Latin America. Having a moka certainly helped us as we didn’t have to get in the car just for a coffee.
Hiking the trails ….
Surrounded by bushland reserve, it was easy to find a place to go for a hike, whether for an hour or a day. When Brisbane went into snap lockdown in January, we had to wear masks for driving and exercise. Deciding that running with a mask was too much to ask, we put on our pretty blue disposable face coverings, jumped in the car and headed off for a hike. It was strange seeing the other hikers out on the rough trails wearing masks and breathing was a little challenging as we puffed up some of the big hills in the searing Brisbane summer heat. We were glad that the powers that be saw some sense the following lockdown and removed the need for masks when outside and social distancing was possible and when doing vigorous exercise.
Dealing with the lockdowns..
Whilst having the odd lockdown and mask wearing periods, most of the time we’ve been blessed to be able to carry on with life as normal. The main casualties have been those impacted economically, particularly those in tourism. The only Covid reminders most of us have are the need to social distance (never thought distancing would become a verb) and QR code check-ins at cafes, clinics & churches.
What this has meant is that when something does happen, panic tends to ensue and the population seems to go mad. The supermarkets are suddenly filled with crazy shoppers, in spite of the fact that the stores stay open during lockdown. For some strange reason the obsession with toilet paper continues to this day, and every time a lockdown is announced, shopping trolleys are filled with rolls of this specialised tissue paper.
By the time we moved to the suburbs in October 2020, in person church gatherings had resumed, although a number of churches were still providing online services of one guise or another. What this did mean, is that our church could hold its annual Carol Service, with an amazing show put on by the Kid’s Church under the direction of Carol (yes, that’s really her name). Glenda was roped into helping out with teleprompting for the key actors, so we scored front row seats.
Christmas Day 2020 services were also pretty much as normal – good to be able to celebrate Jesus’ birth with everyone. Easter 2021 was a little more subdued. With the city having just come out of lockdown, mask wearing indoors was still mandatory, making singing a little challenging, particularly if one needed glasses to read the words. That said, it was still a privilege to be able to meet with others to remember what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and the wonder of His resurrection from the dead.
Visiting other suburbs
Early in the Covid season, we made a commitment to visit suburbs across Brisbane, deciding to do it by working through the letters of the alphabet – suburbs beginning with “A”, then “B”, then “C” etc. Whilst we didn’t officially get further than “D” (https://mitchell.news/2020/06/18/brisbane-abc-dutton-park/), we have continued to explore different parts of the city. Within a single week, we covered off the beaches, visiting Jan, a friend living in Wynnum, and Gavin & Judy who live in Scarborough. The day we visited Wynnum was cool and wet so we didn’t do much exploring. As we’d been there a few months prior and enjoyed fish & chips by the sea, it didn’t matter too much. But our trip to Scarborough a couple of days later began with breakfast in Sandgate – somewhere we hadn’t been before – and included Brighton, Woody Point and Redcliffe. Watching some dolphins frolic at Scarborough Marina was a highlight of the day.