|A water dragon we saw in Forest Lake|
We said goodbye to Pauline, met a really nice couple on the campsite from Yorkshire on a year away (they left in February, had 3 months in NZ and are now two thirds of the way through 3 months in Australia and then intend going to SE Asia. We exchanged blog and email addresses as we may meet up with them again somewhere) and then headed to Paul and Cat’s house in Forest Lake, a posh part of south Brisbane.
|Paul looking smart for his 'day job'!|
We know them from when they lived in the UK and were in Solihull Mountaineering Club. They emigrated (Paul for the second time) about 9 years ago with their son Aaron and Paul’s son and daughter Riess and Rachel, their mother and new husband.
Paul is a larger than life character working in the Real Estate industry and they are both doing really well in Brisbane living in a really nice house with swimming pool and all. They generously offered to put us up in their spare bedroom for as long as we want and Paul offering to arrange a couple of long weekend trips into the mountains, so how could we refuse? We turned up on Wednesday afternoon and felt a bit out of place parking our old little campervan on their drive in such a posh place,
|Paul, Jackie and Aaron|
but they are so welcoming and don’t seem to mind! At the moment we intend staying until just after next weekend (23rd June) as Paul is taking us off on a ‘mountain adventure’ this afternoon (Saturday 15th June) to Mount Barney, so our next entry after we return on Monday should have great photos of that.
|Cat and Aaron|
|At the top of Kangaroo Point|
Yesterday we managed an afternoon of climbing at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane. It’s a huge slab of rock right on the river front in the city centre, created from the granite quarrying that was done in the early twentieth century to build the early buildings. It’s now a popular place for climbers, walkers, runners and for relaxation, having BBQ’s tables and chairs and toilets scattered all along the length, with the 20m high cliff face stretching probably 200m with about 250 climbing routes of bolted, trad and top roped from very easy to very difficult.
In short, it’s an area to suit everyone and, of course it’s very popular. It faces west so gets the full afternoon sun right through to sunset so, when we went (in the middle of winter) it was pleasantly warm, but apparently in the summer it’s only possible to climb in the morning, later afternoon and at night (its floodlit!) as its too hot in the afternoon.
|Brian belaying Paul|
Paul came along with us after he’d finished his work and, after spending quite a bit of time trying to identify where we were in relation to the guide we’d printed off the internet, I set off up the first climb I’ve done since my little operations. It was a grade 16 (about equivalent to French grade 5), but it was pretty bold with some thin moves here and there and made my mouth go dry and concentrate very hard! Anyway, I got up and was pleased that both Paul and Jackie found it quite challenging on my top rope.
Jackie led a climb, about a grade 12, which was really enjoyable and I led another grade 13, equally as good. Paul was about to start a grade 16 when we realised it was 4:30pm and we had just overstayed our 3 hour parking, so packed up and hurried back, Jackie going off at top speed. Luckily we hadn’t got a ticket, even more so when Jackie said that we’d actually parked in a 2 hour zone and were over one hour overdue! On the positive side we were at the top in time for the sunset over the city.
|Paul and Jackie trying to identify the routes|
|Jackies turn to belay Paul|
|Which he did without difficulty|
|Jackie needing a foot support|
|Enjoying the sunset|
|Outside The Spice Avenue|
Our evening was just as interesting as we went out for a meal. Not just any meal, but an Indian Balti, or to be more precise, a British Indian Balti! Yes, these people are British born Indians who used to own and run The Spice Avenue on the Moseley Road in Birmingham, next door to the Moseley Dance Centre and the Creation climbing wall, almost opposite our favourite Diwan’s Indian restaurant! Inside were photos of Birmingham City centre and when the owners son came over to serve us he spoke in a thick Birmingham accent.
|Jackie, Aaron, Brian, Paul and Cat|
The food was superb and was just as we get in Birmingham, all served in Balti dishes. It was as though we had been transported back to Birmingham, particularly being with Paul, Cat and Aaron, who were in Birmingham the last time we saw them. Finally the owner, Naz came over and told us how he started The Spice Avenue in Moseley in 1980, opening another restaurant in Wolverhampton, before coming out to Australia. When we arrived at 8:00pm the place was full and buzzing, but by 10:00pm when we left we were the last people there! They do eat early in Australia!
|Jackie with Naz|
Naz told us he regularly serves 200 meals in a night with just one other chef. The difference here is that he serves all those meals in 3 hours, whereas in the UK that would be spread over about 8 hours, with a second wave of people coming in around 2:00am when the night clubs closed! How they’ve got an easy life now they are here, the doors were locked just after we left – 10:30pm and they are closed, can you imagine that in the UK!
That’s it for now, must get ready for our camping trip!