Gathering the straws of life together

Recent Posts

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, […]

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. In South Australia, it is 70 years and if that was the case I would only be a few years away from having my driving ability assessed. Living in Queensland means I have a few more years to enjoy driving around the countryside without telling myself I am an older and potentially reckless driver!

My “One&Only” (O&O) is at the stage of his life where he has the yearly medical review. It is quite stressful particularly when medical practitioners do not understand their role in the review. Many doctors think that the medical review is a medical condition! My O&O had the problem when we lived in Maleny and now in Toowoomba. He has even filled out the form for the doctor (in part) to help the process. His doctor last week was very uncomfortable with O&O telling him that the medical review is not a medical condition. When in Maleny due to the misunderstanding of what the licensing requirements were for drivers aged 75 years and over I ended up phoning the Department of Transport and Main Roads. We were correct in our interpretation. The yearly medical assessment is not a medical condition.

The information sheet available from the department is very clear. Currently, drivers aged 75 years and older have to carry a valid medical certificate every time they drive. A doctor assesses and determines whether a person is medically fit to drive. As the information states “Being certified as medically fit to drive is mandatory regardless of whether of not you have a medical condition”. The medical review, is not a medical condition – comprendes?

Older drivers are only one driving cohort. There is merit in monitoring driving ability across the age range of all drivers. The younger cohort 17-24 years are over-represented in road crash fatalities in Queensland compared to their proportion of the population. In the younger cohort (17-24 years) transport injuries account for 66% of all deaths. Looking at car crashes and fatalities in Queensland by age and gender. The age group that is most at risk are the 25-59 years.

In the past week, you may have heard about the potentially life threatening airbags. The ones in our cars that are meant to protect us. Many cars have the Takata airbags. These are found in a range of car brands, different models, trucks and motorcycles. Check here to see if your vehicle is subject to a recall.

Driving safely is our responsibility, but we rely on car manufacturers to do the right thing and sell us a vehicle that is 100% road worthy. If you have children or grandchild who is about to drive or wanting to buy an older car, make sure that the road worthy checks meet State Government transport guidelines.

Far gone are the days when I carried precious cargo, my baby, only weeks old, in the back seat of my VW in a wicker basket, unrestrained. We all know that many lives are saved because of stricter road and driving rules. But let’s not go overboard and over-regulate!

When I reach 75 or 85 years old I could join a sailing club. Are there any restrictions on age for sailing?
Sailing across the waters must be so relaxing. Even better than driving on the road.

Some older people are upset about government regulation that require a driving assessment. Is this age discrimination? Shirley from New South Wales (NSW) had to take a driving test when she turned 85 years old. It is mandatory in NSW to have the test at 85 years and every two years after that. NSW and Illinois in the USA are the only two jurisdictions that require older drivers to do a test. If you take a look at the statistics in the Sydney Morning Herald article it shows a higher percentage of older drivers involved in car crashes. The source is not well documented in the newspaper and I could not find the primary source from the information they provided. Therefore, I cannot rely on the statistics in this article, although the story about Shirley is worth a read!

Shirley believes that the bi-yearly driving test, once you reach 85 years, is age discrimination. The NSW Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association says the test is discriminating against older drivers. I believe it is age discrimination and I don’t look forward to the time when I will have to be medically assessed in order to hold a driver’s license. From being an independent driver to being dependent on others is a change though we must prepare for as we age. Maybe, in the years ahead governments can open off-road race tracks so that the older generation, all those baby boomers, can have a some fun, tearing around the race track with all the safety gear on and remembering the “good old days”! The reckless driver finally able to cut loose! Or maybe, I will just go sailing.

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 […]

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 to match our Princess Eggs. This is what I called the eggs laid by our chickens at our previous home in Maleny. Our chickens got only the best, the royal treatment. It was only right that I gave them the title of Princess Chickens. When we moved we had to say goodbye to these Princess Chickens that consistently did their royal duty, laying eggs for us each day. They were rehoused. It was far too complicated for them to move with us. Now in Toowoomba we buy free range eggs but still they do not hold their structure well. If you take notice when you next crack an egg for breakfast (from the supermarket) more than likely you will find that the white of the egg spreads all over the pan. Very little substance to the egg. We have driven all around Toowoomba looking for good quality eggs. When we think we have found what looks like good quality eggs, we buy another dozen. After 20 months of this behaviour it was time to grow our own!

Early on, I did not think it was possible for us to have chickens in our urban garden. However, after we put up a privacy screen and enclosed our vegetable garden we found we had the perfect space for a chicken coop. The project of growing our own eggs, that is, caring for chickens, began several months ago with a flat pack chicken coop. Next came painting (two coats) and modifications to make the chicken coop a suitable home for Princess Chickens. The project went on for 2 months, though it seemed like four months! As we love our eggs this provided good motivation to keep going to finish the project that was interrupted with rain and time away! The week finally came when we were ready for chicken shopping. However, to find Princess Chickens, ones that were willing to live at our place, we had to go to another rural municipality.

We went on the long journey and our young Princess Chickens, happily sitting in boxes in the back seat of our car, arrived one week ago today. On the second day they arrived, we unexpectedly got our first egg. Just as well the nesting box was ready and waiting. The first egg was not laid in the nesting box but by the second day Princess Lucy had found the proper place, the nesting box.

Enjoy the photos that tell the story of our “we love our eggs” journey that turned into us welcoming four lovely Princess Chickens (pure breeds).

The project begins. MY O&O measuring up after we had put together a few panels of the coop.

 

The chicken coop is almost finished. It included a wire floor (a modification). The bamboo blinds (another modification) on each side are to keep out the rain and heat. Only needs straw and feeders.
This is Princess Lucy, a Plymouth Rock (origin USA)
Princess Sophia, a Light Sussex (origin England)
Princess Carmella, a Buff Sussex (origin England)
Princess Lulu – she is the youngest and also a Plymouth Rock like Lucy.
The Princesses settling in and keeping busy
This is the privacy curtain on the nesting box I made from a burlap bag.I was surprised the day after the Princesses arrived we had our first egg! On the second day Princess Lucy found her way into the nesting box.
At last, two days after the Princess Chickens arrived we enjoyed our first two eggs for breakfast. And yes, we love our eggs!

 

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 […]

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 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?

Making money

Making money

Most of us are out and about making money. If we are not working or unable to work then we need to work out how we can make the most of the money we have. It is easy enough to spend money. It is wise […]


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