Gathering the straws of life together

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Pets and our health

Pets and our health

It may come as no surprise that there are benefits for our health in having a pet. This could be a pet dog, cat, bird, horse, pony or like us – chickens. If you are kind to an animal, feed them well and take care […]

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park

Yesterday we went for a walk in the park. We live only a few steps away from Jubilee Park in Mount Lofty, Toowoomba. We have been busy doing other things and walking in other places but not in Jubilee Park. The park is 313 ha […]

Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer

Did you know that the cost of treating skin cancer is higher in Australia than any other cancer. For many years I have been part of the QSKIN Sun & Health Study at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. The QIMR, based in Brisbane, Queensland, is a world leading research centre which focuses on four areas: cancer; infectious disease; mental health and chronic disorders.

I have the sunscreen all I have to do is put it on each day!

The QSKIN research is the largest medical research study ever conducted in Queensland. In 2014 the research was expanded to the QSKIN Genetics Project and 42,690 participants were invited to provide a saliva sample. I provided mine in 2015. In total 20,925 responded positively and 18,627 saliva samples were returned. This is an overall response rate of 43.6% which is very good. DNA were extracted from the samples and currently these are being genotyped at the Human Genomics Facility (HuGe-F) at Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam.

Earlier this year I and my O&O had a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) surgically removed. Queensland with our wonderful climate and sunshine has one downside, that is, we are at higher risk of getting a skin cancer than the southern states of Australia. Therefore, the slogan, Slip (on a top), Slop (on sunscreen) and Slap (on a hat) is a good one to follow. Slip, slop, slap is one of the most successful health campaigns in Australian history. It was first launched in 1981 and today is institutionalised as the core message of the Cancer Council Australia. If you want to learn more about their work go to the link – Cancer Council Australia.

In the latest QSKIN newsletter it reported that smoking increases the risk of Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC). Recent research has shown a link between current smokers as being significantly more likely to develop a SCC than non-smokers. On the other hand, there was no evidence that smoker had higher risk of BCC than non-smoker. The research was undertaken by PhD student Jean Claude Dusingize. More research of the area is required however the findings to date suggest that by quitting a smoker can lower their risk of SCC to the same level as someone who has never smoked.

Those of us with fair skin are more at risk of burning in the sun, rather than getting a tan. When I was a teenager I thought I could sun bake and get a fabulous tan. All I ended up with was fabulous sunburn and very painful it was. I remember one family holiday at Palm Beach, Gold Coast, getting very sun burnt after I fell asleep on the beach! I have had a few BCC’s removed and in the decades that followed I have covered up when in the sun. Now I am Vitamin D deficient and on supplements. Sun bathing is good for us, as long as we don’t over do it. The best times in Queensland are between 10am – 4pm in the summer. I have gotten wiser as I have gotten older, but still I have to remember to put on the sunscreen as well as a hat!

The Reckless Driver

The Reckless Driver

It seems to me that the reckless driver is 75 years or older. At least that is what it must feel like once you turn 75 years old. Then comes the yearly medical review to find out whether you are fit to drive or not. […]

Eating in or eating out

Eating in or eating out

What is your favourite thing to do – eating in or eating out? When I eat out it is not only about the food but about the ambience. In the winter I enjoy sitting near a fireplace and eating a meal. There are not many […]

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Markets

Yesterday we were at the Farmers’ Markets held in the grounds of the iconic Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. It is held every Thursday from 12 noon to 6pm. It was our first time at this Market. We arrived early and not all the stallholders had set up. This was due to a recent change of the starting time from 3pm to 12noon.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Toowoomba, perfect for being outdoors. We enjoyed our walk to the Markets and then having a look at the different stalls. We bought some fresh made pasta from Angelo. We found out that Angelo was the founder of Angelo’s House Restaurant, 210 Herries Street, Toowoomba, opposite Laurel Bank Park. The restaurant has recently re-branded and is now called the Urban Grounds Cafe. There is a growing cafe culture in Toowoomba. Gone are the days when the local cafe served up milk shakes, chips and paddle pops. Barista’s (those who make coffee) are popping up everywhere in the city. Barista’s are skilled in making a range of specialised coffee’s and are trained in the art of being a barista. Not that this is of significance to me as I am not a coffee drinker. I am fine to have the occasionally coffee but for me my preference is for tea. Most markets whether these be art & craft or produce & food you will usually find a barista!

Angelo with his fresh home-made pasta – buonissima (very good!)

Looking at all of Angelo’s pasta, made from Semolina, I had to take some home. We are having the pasta tonight with a rich Italian bolognese sauce. These days I make up extra and freeze one to two extra meals. It gives me a night off on another occasion. Better than getting a take-away! We know what is in the food and the hygiene practices that are followed in its preparation. Leaving Angelo we found a stall of organic herbs. I am fully stocked at the moment with herbs, 30 jars in all. Next we went on to the olive stall. Olives of different flavours made by Bunnyconnellen, Crows Nest. Tasting was welcomed and we enjoyed tasting three varieties before we made our selection of two. These will be great to add to our Mediterranean diet.

We did not buy any fresh produce today as we are stocked up on fruit and vegetables. Not long after we came home we wandered out to our veggie garden and picked fresh snow peas for dinner. I don’t think I have ever tasted a snow pea so good. This is life, day by day, at our place. My One&Only (O&O) is recovering from his shoulder surgery and diligently doing his exercises, set by the physiotherapist, three times a day. Life is challenging with only one arm, however we have moved into the rhythm of managing all that has to be done day by day. Fresh veggie’s home grown and our home grown eggs…this is the good life!

Bunnyconnellen olives – delicious!
Snow peas – from our garden to the table. We can’t get fresher than that!

Enjoy your weekend. Maybe you too, will find yourself in a farmers market this weekend.

We love our eggs

We love our eggs

We love our eggs. People all over the world, including Australia love their eggs. In Australia, people are eating more eggs. On average in Australia adults eat 5.77 eggs per week. Since we settled in Toowoomba 20 months ago we have not found an egg […]

Living life with one arm in a sling

Living life with one arm in a sling

For two weeks, my “One & Only” (O&O) has lived life with one arm in a sling. Most of us who are able-bodied and have two arms working don’t think too much about the importance of two arms working together simultaneously. Just like me, on […]

The Garden

The Garden

I really like the garden at this time of the year – Winter. We live 691 metres above sea level and with this comes cooler weather in the winter. Also, we are able to enjoy the changing of the seasons – the deciduous trees lose their leaves creating a carpet of colour. There is also the opportunity to walk through Queen’s Park or Queen’s Park Botanic Garden and shuffle through the pile of leaves covering the pathways. Yes, I really like the garden at this time of the year.

We have this beautiful tree in our front garden. It is a Maidenhair Tree – Ginkgo Biloba. It comes from China. The foliage is very distinctive, yellow in autumn/winter and lime in spring. There are a number of great specimens of Ginkgo Biloba in Australia. There is a 100 year old tree in Kingston Terrace and another in Medole Court at the University of Adelaide.  I don’t know of any notable specimens in Queensland. Though in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, probably due to the colder weather have street and park Ginkgo specimens. In Weston Park, Canberra there is a beautiful male Ginkgo in the grounds of Hobday’s Cottage (Yarralumla Gallery and The Oaks Brasserie) where you can sit under it and enjoy lunch. We can also do this at our place. Maybe we should!

The Ginkgo Biloba is our front garden

Even though our climate is colder than places closer to the coast we can still grow tomatoes all year around. Our enclosed veggie garden is proving very successful. All the wild life, including birds, possums, brush turkeys, cats and bandicoots are no longer able to venture into our veggie patch. Recently through one of our windows I saw a cat get a surprise when it wandered up to our privacy screen (inside our boundary) to find a barrier. It wandered around for a while and then put its nose up to the timber boards and peered through. That was as much as it could do and then take a new path back to where it came from.

The Veggie garden is thriving now that the wildlife are prohibited from entering
My “One & Only” (O&O) tending the plants. Once we had the veggie garden enclosed he got very enthusiastic. We have heaps of tomatoes growing, capsicum, chilli, peas, beans, garlic, carrots and lettuce. Even in a small space we can grow some of our own food. We moved most of the herbs to an open area of our garden. The wildlife are not as interested in herbs. This created more space for the veggie’s.

It is very satisfying growing your own veggies and herbs. It does not take too much effort. If you mulch it cuts down on having to deal with the weeds. Then there is the watering. My O&O installed a watering system above the garden. See this black tube in both photos. After that all we have to do is watch out for the random bug, that manages to get in and munch on our veggies, before we do! Happy gardening everyone.

The case of the disappearing pen

The case of the disappearing pen

I am on the case of the disappearing pen. We can buy a pack of twenty and before long we have trouble finding one. Then there is the matter of the 750 wheelie bins that went missing from the town of Lismore because of the […]


My Diary

Post ID:

I am on the case of the disappearing pen. We can buy a pack of twenty and before long we have trouble finding one. Then there is the matter of the 750 wheelie bins that went missing from the town of Lismore because of the rain event from Cyclone Debbie. Only 50 bins were found. Where did the other 700 wheelie bins end up? What about all the socks that disappear? Where do all the missing items go?

Then the other day my “One & Only” (O&O) could not find his keys on our return home (via the remote control into the garage). All was well, we found them in a door with the door wide open. Nothing in the house had disappeared, thankfully. A few days before my O&O could not find his car key. We searched high and low. I thought we should have a break and think on it for a while – it just can’t disappear! Finally, I found the key, safely tucked away in one of my jacket pockets. I wonder who put it there? Sometimes, it is not so easy for things to disappear in our house. But there still is the matter of the disappearing pens. Is it worth thinking about? The missing pen cost less than twenty cents from the supermarket but that gold-plated pen that was a gift must be hiding somewhere! It was the same when I worked in an office. We would buy 50 pens and before long everyone was looking for that elusive pen!

Hold on to your pen or it may disappear!

Do pens disappear to the bottom of a handbag or a briefcase? Certainly, not to the bottom of my handbag. I always have difficulty finding one there! My O&O usually comes to the rescue with a pen from his pocket. Should I ask how many he has hidden in his pockets? Is that where all the pens go? No, not there either!

The missing pen phenomenon also happen with teaspoons. A research team at the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health in Melbourne placed 70 numbered teaspoons in various tea-rooms across the Institute and tracked these for 5 months. Eighty percent of them disappeared for good! Read more about their research here. It is a fact that pens, spoons, socks, ribbons, hair pins, combs, brushes and now wheelie bins, all disappear after a while and there is nothing we can do about it. Replace and forget that is my motto! What about you? What goes missing at your place?


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