Miss Scarlett stretches her legs

We’re safely home, in one piece and tidied away already.

I was looking back and trying to work out when we’d last done a big trip like this, and was horrified to discover that the last long ride we did was back in October 2016, when we went up to Far North Queensland. Since that time there’s been knee surgery and the purchase of our caravan, both of which have tended to reduce the long distance motorbike travel. We did go to last year’s national rally, a much longer journey, but towed Miss Scarlett on a trailer behind the car rather than riding down.

Neither of us is getting any younger, a fact underlined by our ambitious travel program. The 500+km trip down took longer than we’d hoped, and we started late (the Husband was on night shift and got home at 5.30am, so we didn’t start out till 10.30am). The last hour of the journey was done in the chilly dark, with both of us vigilantly scanning the roadside left and right for the guided missiles also known as kangaroos. It’s a bike rider’s worst nightmare, a large kangaroo appearing out of the darkness and deciding that this precise moment is the one when he wants to cross the road. We were spared, but cold, tired and a bit tense by the time we arrived!

Our accommodation was the nice old 1920s colonial-style Albert Hotel in Monto, with the pub downstairs and the rooms upstairs, off a deep, shady verandah. State of the art it was not, but it did have heaps of comfort, period features, a large bedroom next to the bathroom, and really good plain home cooking. Up briskly the next morning, and another 250km ride to catch up with our club friends.

I think the smiling faces say it all, really…

Out the front of the Goomeri Bakery (which richly deserves its outstanding reputation!), the bikes were all lined up, and once the cakes and pies were eaten, and the coffees were drunk, we gathered in the sunshine to admire, tell tales, commiserate and do a spot of gentle bike-bragging. It’s such fun to gather with a nice bunch of people with similar interests and absolutely no axe to grind. As you can see, the weather smiled on us – in fact, it smiled the whole trip.

We didn’t make the mistake of starting late on the journey home. We’d come back to the Albert for a second night, and this time, we set out 3 hours earlier. Despite taking a slightly longer (and possibly less roo-prone) route, we were home before dusk. The trick, I find, is to stop frequently for a short time. It wasn’t the back or the knees that were giving me trouble, but lack of blood flow to my backside!

Kms covered: 1700+. Satisfaction rating: 8/10 (we’ll get the timing right next time!)


SAL 61: another few stitches

I wasn’t sure I’d actually get any stitching done this time.

Second post of the day, I know, but both ScrapHappy and this Stitch Along fell on the same day, so I had to get both done! Here’s the usual before shot:

Last time’s blurry photo…

And now for where I’ve got to. Not spectacular but at the same time, not too bad – at least you can see where I’ve been:

Do go and have a look at what the others in the group are working on. We’re all over the world and in different time zones, so if you don’t see a SAL post yet, pop back later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLinda, Mary Margaret, Heidi,
Connie, Jackie, Sunny, HayleyTony, Megan and Timothy

The next SAL is due on 6 May, so I’ll see you then.


I used to like irises…

But now I’m not so sure.

‘Ex’ Tropical Cyclone Iris is no longer an Ex. She got her big old self organised again, and she’s coming to visit.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Luckily, she’s just going to hang around like a bad smell, rather than making landfall and rampaging around like our old friend TC Debbie. It means strong wind, lashing rain and a certain amount of flooding, but not the widespread destruction and potential loss of life of a cyclone that hits the coast.

And the timing?

Wednesday late afternoon for the worst of it. Just as I’m lurching out of hospital on a pair of crutches.

You’ve got to wonder at the Universe’s sense of humour…


It’s surgery season again.

A month ago, while we were on holiday, I slid down out of the car and landed rather hard on my left leg. There was a sting of pain through the joint, and that was it…until that evening, when I looked at my knee again and it was a football. It got stiff and painful, and I strapped it as I’d been taught to do for my eternally wonky, non-tracking kneecaps. Only this time, it didn’t get better in the usual 3 0r 4 days. After a week, I went to a doctor. I explained what had happened, he wiggled my leg and the knee obligingly produced some gross clunking and grinding noises. Yup, that definitely doesn’t sound right. Here are some nice anti-inflammatories, you’ll need an MRI.

Once home, I saw an orthopaedic specialist, had the MRI. O happy day. I have comprehensively torn the meniscus at the back right hand side of my knee. The cartilage on the back of my kneecap is ragged and fluffy and there are floaty bits. Who knew getting out of the car could be so dangerous?

That thin white line in the meniscus is the tear, which runs all the way across

So, I’ve been in a knee brace for a month, the kind with metal bars down either side of the knee to stop it wonking sideways. I’ve been taking the Brufen religiously, but now, I’ve had to stop because surgery’s in 7 days, so the knee’s a football again. It’s going to be an arthroscopy: two small holes, one for a camera, one for the tools. They pump water into the joint space to expand everything, stitch the tear together, trim off the raggedy bits, remove the floaters, drain the water and close you up again.

Then the fun starts. 3-5 days on crutches, 2 weeks of restricted movement and probably no driving (gasp!), and then about a month of physio. It does very slightly increase the likelihood of arthritis in that knee. But I’m wagering real pain now against possible pain in the future, and I think it’s a good bargain. If the net result is a working and non-painful knee, I’m all for it.

The only question is, how long will it take me to get back behind the sewing machine?

Bonnard: no sun, but it’s done

It’s still raining, and no end in sight. We’re getting just the edge of the Tropical Cyclone Nora weather front, up in the Gulf.

No chance of hanging Bonnard out in the sunshine, for at least a week if the forecast is to be believed. So I’ve taken the photos inside, and just accepted that this is the best I can do for the record. The design wall is busy, and anyway, I wanted to see the quilt looking all nice and drapey. Bring on the chairs, and making the most of the natural light through the french windows.

So, after the last post, where I showed the completed hand-quilting, I still had a fair bit to do before Bonnard would be complete.

Trimming out is a lot more scary with hand quilting than machine quilting. You have to be careful not to slice off any buried knots or a load of your careful quilting might just unravel itself before you have a chance to get the binding on. I went carefully and slowly, and all was well.

The binding itself was pretty straightforward. I had just enough of the red, about 20cm of WOF so the strips could be long, with minimal joining. I like a narrow binding, so I cut the strips at 2¼ inches, which gives a neat, narrow double-folding binding.

The label was pretty easy. I’d already printed out the transfer sheet, so I ironed it onto white cotton, turned over the edges, and then placed it in the bottom left hand corner of the back. In case you’re interested, that line of Dutch at the bottom means: ‘What is made with love always leads to cosiness’ 🙂

I got the binding stitched on without mishap, but there were still 4 long sides where it needed stitching down. There was still a bit of hand stitching to do, then…

That’s it for the fingers just now, I think you’ll agree! (PS, do you like the teal nail polish? A bit of fun for working on Ovarian Cancer projects).

So, here it is. I still can’t get across the depth and richness of the colours, but this is the best I can do in the circumstances. Now to get it into the washing machine for a short ‘delicates’ wash with wool wash and three colour-catcher sheets. The backing is red, after all…

And then it’ll be time to fold and wrap it, and put it in a mailing box and get it on its way to Holland, with love.


Drop down, ye heavens…*

North Queensland’s had, and is having, a bit of a Big Water event.

We saw the start of it at the end of our holiday, resulting in a bail-out and run for home. Mackay has only caught the very edge of it, but even that has set the farmers rejoicing as they turned off their irrigators and watched the heavens provide what the young cane and cattle paddocks needed. Townsville, 400km to the north of us and notably dry over the past 5 years, has been the lucky recipient of a great deal of water over the last week, and the results are spectacular. The city has been under Level 3 water restrictions for a very long time, and Level 4 was threatened imminently.

The city’s main reservoir, the Ross River Dam, has a catchment area of 750 sq kms and a current capacity of 233,187ML, and is at 87%. Paluma Dam has a catchment area of 9.8 sq kms and a current storage capacity of 11,400ML, and is at 100% capacity. Another, the Burdekin Dam, is at 130% capacity and water is having to be released. (A ML is a megalitre, or one million litres, or 264,172 US gallons, and a kilometre is 0.6 of a mile.)

The graph below shows the Ross River Dam’s level immediately before the rain in red, with the current level in green:

© Townsville City Council

The dam hasn’t been at that level since 2011. This meteoric rise took place over just a few days. The city’s been experiencing some widespread flooding and road closures. Big surprise there, then….

Western Queensland getting some of the rain it needs

Now the rain front is moving inland, to areas that have seen no rain in well over 5 years. There’s flooding, certainly, but catch those rural communities complaining. There are children in their second year at school who have never seen it rain. Great cracks in the earth are closing, grass and crops are growing, graziers can restock their properties, and farmers who’d reached the end of their tether will see enough hope to carry on. I think it’s going to be a better year for the farmers of central and western Queensland. It’s not enough to make up for all those years of no rain at all, but it’s a very, very good start. No one cares much about flooding, road closures or a bit of inconvenience. It’s hope.

So next time you feel like having a bit of a grizzle about another wet day, spare those guys a thought. And my apologies to Cape Town. Looks like we’re getting your rain…

*Isaiah 45:8. You know me: I love an apt quote.




SAL 59: more petals

It’s that time again 🙂

I didn’t think I’d have a lot to show today, having got back from a holiday not long ago, but I’ve done OK!

Here’s the before:

And here’s the after:

It’s beginning to take shape now, don’t you think? I love how the colours mingle, the greens and lilacs. I’m feeling a lot more motivated about this now!

Do go and have a look at what the others in the group are working on. We’re all over the world and in different time zones, so if you don’t see a SAL post yet, pop back later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLinda, Mary Margaret, Heidi,
Connie, Jackie, Sunny

The next SAL is due on 25 March (eek! two in one month!), so I’ll see you then.