On the drive up to Gladstone we took a slight detour along the coast road and called in unexpectedly on good old friends Wal, Sue and family in Gympie. We were given such a heart warming welcome especially by young Cassie (their daughter) who thought we were still overseas that it brought tears to Bonnie Ronnie's eyes. The family looked really well and business appeared to be booming as Wal showed off his Great Wall dual cab made in China. An avid biker like me he related his latest adventure on the 'Rocket' and promised to send me a photo (taken by wife, Sue) of him on his beautiful machine. (I tease him mercilessly over the look of the Rocket since I don't particularly like the style of the radiator). I have added the photo of which he speaks, since he did send it to me:)
The Capricornia weather was very hot and humid, thank goodness for air-con and cooling water. The amount of road works due to recent flooding and damage to the roads meant that our travel time doubled.
Gladstone is famous for it's natural deep water harbor and has one of the largest coal exporting ports in Australia and the southern hemisphere for that matter. Of course where you have large ports and coal you have rather large mining companies and strong industry. While the rest of the world battles the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) Gladstone finds itself with a severe housing shortage and is in the process of preparing temporary accommodation to house the construction workers it needs for the new $4billion Wiggins Island coal terminal going ahead this year.
Brett is a member of Australia's finest (men and women in blue - Police) and is currently on tenure to Gladstone for 3 years, however parental access issues claimed by Cade's (Caydence) biological mother may alter this position in the near future. While Ronnie and I are thrilled at the prospect of having the family closer to home (Toowoomba) for ourselves and for Cades to be closer to her siblings, we are concerned about the impact that this may have on Brett's future advancement within the Police Force. They (Brett, Candice and Cades) have sacrificed a lot and gone through enormous challenges to reach this point and we hope and pray for a positive outcome.
We had a wonderful time in Gladstone with a bit of sight seeing, walks along the beech, BBQ and afternoon shenanigans with the garden hose whereby everyone except yours truly had a good old fashioned soaking. As soon as the hose started spraying everyone in sight at the hands of Cades, I headed for an appointment in Biloela where we had an interested party for one of our fleet vehicles. I had a pleasant trip and a successful conclusion to the meeting so even that touch on work, was great!
On our return we stopped in to visit another good old friend, Sharlene in Bundaberg. Shazza as we like to call her is the salt of the earth and has had more than her fair share of hard knocks but like all strong positive people she has risen up, lifted her children and is moving forward with her life - she will triumph! She never fails to remind me of how tough I was on her when first we met, "Bossman - you used to tell me that if you had to show me twice - I wasn't paying attention the first time", she said with that engaging smile on her face. I often wonder if I was really that bad.... don't answer that! - I think I prefer to ponder the question.
Unfortunately we have yet to resolve even one of our outstanding issues but we will persevere over the coming weeks. Interestingly the theft of our 'Debit' card which resulted in us cancelling the card on 3 separate occasions over the course of 7 days (this didn't slow down the thieves one iota and the balance dropped daily) resulted in a substantial negative balance to our savings account - how the heck can this happen? Three weeks after the event it appears that I owe the bank money for the privilege of being robbed despite assurances on three occasions that the debit card had been cancelled with each blaming and accusing the previous bank employee of doing the wrong thing. In the meantime the buyer of our Patrols Division is attempting to defraud us.... what is wrong with people? Ridiculous!... isn't it?
On a lighter note - my doctor (GP) is thrilled with my condition, BP perfect, lost weight and centimeters around the waist. She is an absolutely fantastic GP with a wonderful bedside manner, beautiful bubbly personality and ever the consummate professional, I am so pleased that I made her day!
|Wal on his Rocket