Welcome 2017

Welcome 2017 – I can’t believe you’re here already!

I started writing this blog at the beginning of 2015 as a way to share some of the thoughts that often clutter my head. I found the process very cathartic in many ways as I shared some personal experiences from my childhood, stories about my Dad and also my Mum’s journey with Alzheimers Disease.

Come August 2015, I made the decision to step away from this blog in order to concentrate on our travel blog All Around Oz. We have a dream to buy a caravan and travel around Australia full time for a few years. All Around Oz will, hopefully, be a source of income during that time. Therefore I had to make it my priority.

However, I miss Melba Says, so I am going to stop by here from time to time with some snap-shots of where my life is at, some recipes and a few book reviews. I have once again signed up to the Australian Womens Writers Challenge and you can too. This year they are asking for reviews on classic Australian novels. I’m already excited about re-reading Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner and The Silver Brumby by Elynne Mitchell.

So what have I been up to since my last post?

MOVING HOUSE

We completed our house move in late June and quickly became accustomed to living in a smaller house…..except for the kitchen. It was poorly designed and the appliances were old, dirty and didn’t really work properly. So we quickly made the decision to replace the kitchen.

Welcome 2017

A brand new kitchen

Our new kitchen is so much more functional than what it previously was. Plus it has added a modern touch to a dreary 90’s house.

I have also painted the entryway and the kids bedrooms. 2017 will see us complete our renovations with new floors being the main item on our list.

OUR TRAVELS

We had a lovely family trip back to our home town at the start of 2016. Mr B and I have also been lucky enough to share some weekends away and a few day trips around our local area. We are so lucky to live where we do and have so many gorgeous places to visit right on our doorstep.

Welcome 2017

Hinze Dam in the Gold Coast hinterland is a favourite spot for a day out.

THE KIDS

Miss M completed her last year of high school. It was a stressful year for both of us I must say. The pressure for our kids to achieve is huge these days I think. But we made it to the end and she has been accepted into university to study Criminology. I can’t believe that in a few short weeks she will turn 18! She got her drivers licence and a little car and continues to work hard at her part-time job.

Her Graduation and Formal were the highlights of the year and the perfect way to celebrate the end of thirteen years of schooling.

Welcome 2017

Miss M looked stunning for her Year 12 Formal. {IMAGE CREDIT: Amy De Klerk Photography

Master B heads into year 12 at the end of January. 2016 seems to be the year he grew and grew and grew finally plateauing at a whopping 198cm! He has recently started his first job and also has his Learners Permit and the driving lessons are going well.

MR B AND I

Hubby and I celebrated 15 years of marriage in the middle of the year and 20 years of togetherness. Something of an achievement these days I think. Our secret? We respect each other. I love how hard he works to provide for his family. We have so much in common and still love to spend time together. Sure we get on each others nerves sometimes but we never fight and hardly ever exchange a cross word. We are excited about our future travel plans and can’t wait to hit the road together!

Welcome 2017

This was a belated 15th Anniversary treat.

2017 GOALS

  • Regain my fitness – I have let this slip in recent times.
  • Get more freelance writing experience.
  • Read more books.
  • Enjoy the company of my kids before they take off into the adult world.
  • Save some money for more travel adventures.

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REVIEW – Jimmy Barnes Flesh and Wood Tour

I have been a fan of Australian music legend Jimmy Barnes since his early years in Cold Chisel. Their music was raw and gritty and always appealed to me.  I was lucky enough to see the original Cold Chisel line up (before the passing of drummer Steve Prestwich) in concert a couple of times. When Cold Chisel called it quits in 1983 (they have reformed a number of times since then) I followed Jimmy’s solo career and have seen him live a number of times.

Cold Chisel were one of the foremost Aussie bands of the 70's and 80's.

Cold Chisel were one of the foremost Aussie bands of the 70’s and 80’s.

But I hadn’t seen him live in over 20 years, so when my local radio station here on the Gold Coast ran a competition to win tickets to his Flesh & Wood concert at Jupiter’s Casino, Master B announced that he was going to win me tickets. I must admit I laughed because it is usually impossible to get through, but unbelievably he got through on his first attempt and came up with the goods – two tickets.

We decided that he would come to the concert with me as he had won the tickets.  All four of us had dinner at the Casino first (lovely food at Spinners Restaurant) before Master B and I headed into the show.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as there had been some unkind reviews of Jimmy’s performances in the past but I’m here to tell you this man has lost none of his vocal magic.

And the range of songs that he sung during the show was just awesome – everything from ballads to gospel songs to hard rock with some wonderful personal stories thrown into the mix.

It was definitely the most ‘sedate’ Jimmy Barnes concert I’d ever been to with the bulk of the audience being in the 50+ range but it didn’t stop us singing along to all his songs and screaming and chanting for more at the end.

Jimmy is backed these days by a very talented range of musicians which at his Gold Coast concert included most of his family – son Jackie on drums and vocals, wife Jane, daughters E.J and Ellie on backing vocals along with Tina Harrod and one of my all time favourite vocalists who I saw perform a lot in Sydney in the late 80’s  – Shauna Jenson.

Jimmy Barnes is still an amazing performer. {IMAGE CREDIT)

Jimmy Barnes is still an amazing performer. {IMAGE CREDIT)

Perhaps one of the highlights of the concert for me was when wife Jane sung Let It Go with Jimmy.  Not only did I not realise she had such a great voice but it is also very obvious that these two are still very much in love….no mean feat in an industry that can sometimes be notorious for relationships not lasting.  He also sang some Cold Chisel classics such as Khe Sanh, about coming home after the Vietnam war and Flame Trees – a song about revisiting a small country home town.  He also sung another personal favourite – Brother of Mine which he dedicated to his brother John Swan, better known as Swanee.

Master B and I had a wonderful night and it was lovely to spend an evening with him doing something that I have always loved – going to a concert.  I will be lining up to see Jimmy again next time he visits the Gold Coast.

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Houses and Roundabouts

You may have noticed that I have been somewhat absent from Melba Says over the last 3 months and let me tell you that a large chunk of those last 3 months have been more than a little trying.  Thankfully, life seems to have settled again for us now but here is a quick recap on all that has happened recently.

THE FLU

In about mid-April I came down with a really good dose of the ‘flu’.  I had all the classic symptoms – a temperature, runny nose, aches and pains and I slept – a lot!  It took me about two weeks to get over it but was left with a horrible chesty cough which I couldn’t shake.  Even as I celebrated my 50th birthday at the start of May I still wasn’t feeling well.  I went back to the Doctors twice and was given 2 different lots of anti-biotics, neither of which seemed to work. I finally took myself off to see a different doctor and after telling her that I had once been a heavy smoker (I haven’t smoked for almost 20 years) she sent me off for chest x-rays and blood tests.

Tissues have been my constant companion for the last few weeks.

Tissues have been my constant companion for the last few weeks. {IMAGE CREDIT}

Thankfully they all came back clear and a spirometry test (lung function) also cleared me of any lung damage.  So after another dose of antibiotics and a short course of steroids I thought I was finally on the mend. But my body seemed to have other ideas and I came down with another cold/flu thing.  So back to the Doctors I went to be told that I was basically ‘unlucky’ and there was nothing she could do.  So instead I took myself off to my chiropractor who gave me some immune boosting vitamins and that along with being super good with what I eat I think I am finally on the mend.  I even managed to go for a walk this afternoon without running out of puff.

SELLING HOUSES

At the start of May we found out that the tenants in one of our houses were moving on and we decided to put that house on the market. We used the same agent that we had used to look after the property when it was rented out and it didn’t take long to sell.  But then the fun begin with a teen party almost being held there and the mortgage broker that we had used previously seemingly not doing his job properly which then delayed settlement by more than 3 weeks.  Fortunately we were able to allow the purchasers to move in early but it was still very stressful with almost daily phone calls from our solicitor, chasing our bank and our mortgage broker.

MOVING HOUSE

As I have mentioned in previous posts we owned two houses and we had been going to sell the second one as well but as it was an older house our agent advised us that we wouldn’t get a good price unless it had some  work done to it. As we couldn’t afford to do what needed to be done to it all at once we made the decision to move into it for the next 2 or 3 years (until the kids finish school)  and do as much of the work as we can ourselves.  Unfortunately, it was rather grubby so it took me almost a three weeks to get it clean to my standards as I could only do little bits at a time. We also painted the kids rooms for them so they were nice and fresh.  They were very lucky in our old house in that they had big rooms and a bathroom each.  Now they have to share a bathroom and their bedrooms as just normal size but they have accepted the downsizing without complaint.  It took us just on a month to completely move in and we are almost all sorted out now.

CAR ACCIDENTS

In the midst of all that, I had my first ever car accident.  A lady ran into the front of me on a roundabout.

This huge roundabout was the location of my first ever car accident.

This huge roundabout was the location of my first ever car accident.

There are several really big roundabouts here on the Coast and this one is a particularly busy one and she assumed that because I was in the left lane I was turning left but I was going straight through, which I might add I am allowed to do on that particular roundabout.  Fortunately no one was injured although it frightened Master B a lot.  I’m just grateful that Miss M wasn’t driving as I’m sure it would have shaken her learners confidence.  So we then had to wait for over two weeks to get our car back but I can report that it is back and as good as new.  I should also add that RACQ Insurance were fantastic to deal with.  I should probably also mention that I received a speeding ticket recently but I won’t as I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m a bad driver!

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