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I am alive. Just busy keeping busy.

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Five Months

Before we go on … The ‘Cure For Life’ foundation is an organisation that is devoted to finding a cure for brain cancer/tumors. I haven’t looked yet, but their site is
http://cureforlife.org.au
I’ll be having a good look and may offer input about a combinination of Soursop, Paw-Paw and cannabis oil. All three plants’ fruits have been shown to have ‘Cancer killing’ properties in lab and animal testing. Put quite simply, different compounds in all three plants induce death in cancerous cells, without damaging healthy cells. When will human trials be approved? We are talking about three relatively easy to procure or grow, plants. Two are completely legal in every way. Why aren’t clinical trials being conducted now?
Julia Gillard. You could make change. But I seriously doubt you’ll *ever* read this post. You’re a very busy person.
OK. Enough frustraton.

*This was the original post, before I added the above*
It has been Five months now since my Baby flew with the eagles. I thought I’d put some pics up here today (which was Wednesday). They’ve been up before. Some of them at least. Maybe some of you might like them. Eight months of photos of my sweetheart. We really didn’t like having our photos taken, so consider these rarities. Photos taken between March and October 2011.

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On the 13 March 2012 at the Barron River rest stop, just East of Mareeba. This was when Jimmy blew a gasket & Phil came to our rescue. He helped us out with some cash & we got Jimmy running again. We spent a week here if I recall correctly.

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On the 21st of March, we got down to the Little Annan crossing for a look. Tina made a cairn in honour of the kids. She left many of these in random places.

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22nd of March, on Grassy Hill Cooktown. She was so happy to be here. She beamed. Couldn’t get the smile off Her face.

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In April, Tina got her first ‘commissioned’ art job. Painting the croc at Pam’s Place in Cooktown. Croc gets decorated for special days, a trend Tina started with Easter, then Mothers Day (with Marys sewing skills assisting).
On Australia Day 2012, Scott and Ahdee from Pams Place decorating Croc with flags and stuff.

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Walking on Finch Bay beach. Looking for pretty things ๐Ÿ™‚

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Remember the ‘Planking’ controversy? We staged our own little protest. This was Tinas effort. Pretty brave to plank a Croc.

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At ‘The Top Pub’ on the 27th of May 2011. With a bunch of the banana workers, & Mary our Estonian pseudo-daughter, with Tina at the end of the table.

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On the same night with Thomas Lakefield. He was the third person we met in Cooktown. A gentleman.

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The next day we headed for Cedar Bay. Tina was checking the depth of Gap Creek, plus checking for big rocks. The clear water was very deceptive. That rock base was rough.

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On the way out of Cedar Bay, we took a photo of this old boat wreck.

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30th of June 2011. At our home, with Andre, ‘Legend of the North’. This is the last photo on my phone of Tina before our world collapsed.

And then…our Sister Kathy, & the kids, have a heap of photos of Tina in Townsville. This phone had mysteriously died while we were there. Here are some photos of photos.

In a lot of these, Tina was mucking around with Her kids. You need to realise that these were taken about a week after the operation. The first ones were taken about three days after the op. Tina recovered amazingly well, even surprising the surgeons.

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With me

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With lil sister Tracy

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Tina, Her brother Paul, Tracy, and Her big sister Kathy.

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Tina and Her youngest daughter, Loren.

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Her big brother Mark, with Loren and Lillian, my youngest.

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Kathy and Tina after they shaved their heads.

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Tina and her photo window. She had the most loving, bright bedspace in the hospital.

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Tina and Her Boy, Alex.

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Playing ‘Face-Off’ in the lift.

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This was Her, “I’m brain damaged’ look to scare hospital visitors ๐Ÿ™‚ .

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It’s sideways, but this is a little more ‘normal’.

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Tina & I. “More photos? Aaaw but…”

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Tina & Loren again.

I don’t have any pics of Sarah or Vicki, or Ella with Tina ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I think that’s enough photos for one post. I’ll pop some more up in another post sometime. From when we came back to Cooktown.

I hope you get a smile from some of these photos.

Laura and Quinkan Country

Perhaps I was a little misleading (or hasty), or confused when I said I’d put The Greenbus on hold.
What I should have said is, “There will be no more sad here. Only the fun stuff the ‘we’ would have been still exploring and posting about together.” It will be a nice place ๐Ÿ™‚
Brad’s Blog will take the weight off this place.

And so…

Tina had a deep love and respect for, and a keen interest in Aboriginal culture and history. Her art was influenced by the mysteries of The Dreaming. One of her favourite non-fiction references was ‘The Archeology of The Dreamtime which compares Dreamtime stories of different country with the archeological evidence of the past. This review give a good overview of the theories put forward.
One of the many areas on our ‘To Do’ list, was to spend some time in Quinkan country.

Laura, the commercial hub of the Quinkan country is only 140km (87m) from Cooktown. For a village with a population of roughly 120 people, Laura contains, and as a community, protects over 30 thousand years of Traditional history, and some 140 years of European settlement.
Laura township was an important link in the Gold trail back in the 1800’s, but more importantly, the country has been a part of the Ang-Gnarra peoples’ culture for thousands of years, and is one of the top ten most culturally significant rock art sites in the world.
Laura also plays host to one of the longest running indigenous festivals in Australia. The Laura Dance Festival is held at the Ang-Gnarra festival grounds, about 15 kilometres from Laura. Every two years, community members and dance troupes from as far away as Woorabinda gather in a celebration and education of dance, culture & history. The festival is also world famous, and attracts tourists from all over the planet.
I’ll give you a list of easy links to more information about Quinkan Country at the end of this post.
Last week, I had the chance to absorb just a miniscule sample of this history. As the year progresses, I will spend more time up in Ang-Gnarra country. For now, here is a small sample of this areas history and beauty.
*Note:* In respect of Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation, no images of rock art galleries were taken. In future visits, I will ask if I can capture some images for you. In the meantime, the links below have many authorised images of the galleries.

Images around Laura:

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If you head to Laura anytime after this years dry season, you’ll be crossing this bridge on the Peninsula Development Road over the Laura River. This bridge, and a couple of kilometres of dirt are all that is left of the road works between Lakeland and Laura. The original wooden crossing of which I promise a photo of soon,
*EDIT*: Borrowed from an ABC journo’s blog. A future edit will provide links.
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is very, very old & is impassable for most of the wet season. It regularly has metres of water over it.

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The T-junction at Laura. Turn left for Cooktown & South. Turn right to head ‘Up The Cape’.

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All that remains of the old Laura railway station. If you’re into railway history, the Cooktown to Laura line is worth researching.

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Once located at a Police outstation some 24km from Laura, this tiny ‘lock-up’ is now on display at the Laura memorial park. Part of the display reads, ‘…18 natives were once locked in here together…’

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This steam tractor was transported by rail to Laura, intended for use on the goldfields. Upon unloading, it was found to have a broken front axle and was left in town to decay.

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The heath country near the ‘Split Rock’ art site. At this time of year, many native shrubs are flowering.

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An assortment of colour on a rainy afternoon.

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Some of the wild features of this Quinkan Country.

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Allow Me To Expose Myself

Allow Me To Expose MyselfThere are no rude bits. I promise..

A Change of Venue

Hi gang
First up, it’s been just over 12 months since Tina and I left Rockhampton. We left, if I recall correctly, on the 2nd of March 2011. We had big ideas on what we were going to do with the rest of our lives when we started our journey. Go back to the start of this blog & you’ll get an idea of what we had planned.
As most of you know, things didn’t happen the way we thought they would. In fact the past 12 months have felt like a lifetime. A lifetime of joy, and a lifetime of heart wrenching sorrow. It has also been just over four months since I lost my best friend to cancer.

I’ve made a decision about The Green Bus. I’m going to leave this blog as it is for now. No more new posts for a while. This was Tina’s baby. She had planned for it to be a showcase of what every day people were doing around Australia in terms of self-sufficiency & renewable energy. It was never really meant to be what it has become, a record of loss & sorrow, and random travelogues from me. So for now (things may change in the future), The Green Bus shall be parked up like Jimmy the four wheel drive.
I am starting something new, called ‘InVivamus’. In Vivamus is latin for, ‘The Gypsy’. I may at times cross-post, or I may even export some posts from here to there. The Green Bus will stay though. It is Hers & and I still need to go back and read those early posts of Tina’s.
She was a woman with strong views about the sustainability of this planet, & besides her art, this is one of those things that shows what a beautiful soul She was.

You won’t find anything on http://invivamus.wordpress.com just yet. I’ll let you know here and on Twitter & Facebook when it’s ready. I’m a really experienced procrastinator, so don’t expect anything for a few days.

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Touring Around a bit

Hey all
I had the chance to revisit a bit more of my old tramping/walkabout ground yesterday. I had to run a 22 seat Toyota Coaster bus down to Cape Tribulation via the ‘Bloomfield Track’. Once there, I was to swap over into a 9 seat Commuter & bring it back to Cooktown.
Now, back in 1984, after the protests failed & the road was dozed through, I vowed never to drive on it. I would walk it, but as my own personal, weird, damned hippy way, I wasn’t gunna drive it.
Well, now that I’ve broken my personal vow, I have to say that it is a pretty interesting drive.
I must relate a little anecdote. I had 7 passengers. The first was in Cookie. An older lady. Before I got to say good morning, she asked, “Can you tell me why I was told to be here by 06:45 because the bus departs at 7 am & it is now 07:20?”
I replied politely, “I have no idea ma’am. Perhaps there was a miscommunication between myself & the office.”
“I shall find out when I get home” she replied.
Anyway, we headed off to Ayton & Wujal Wujal to pick up the rest of my charges.
The road to Cape Tribulation has some *extremely steep climbs and descents*. For example, on the first ascent, I had to drop from third to second & then within 20 metres, a quick flick of the gear stick down & to the left to grab first before I lost momentum and gave everyone whiplash.
The change went smooth & we climbed the rest of the hill feeling like a space shuttle crew on launch. I guess the steepest sections are about 30 degrees? Thankfully the real steep sections are laid with currogated concrete to prevent drastic erosion & extremely dangerous conditions for the unwary.
One of the decents was so steep that I had my left foot bracing my body & while my right played with the brake. I had to stay in 3rd to balance between the foot brakes & the exhaust brake. But all went smooth as. I gently walked the bus over the creek crossings and cruised at about 50kmh on the straight & clear ridge sections.
We arrived at PK’s at Cape Trib safe & sound. The older lady said as she alighted from the bus, “Thank you very much for your experienced and skillful driving. I’ve had some shocking drivers before.”
So there ya go. I wonder what she’d of thought if she’d known it was the first time I’d driven between Wujal & Cape *before* we left? ๐Ÿ™‚
I swapped over & had an empty minibus, so I could stop and check stuff out.
First up, I couldn’t go back to Cape Trib without taking a photo of the beach.

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This is looking North along the beach. Cape Tribulation itself is behind my left shoulder. Literally. You can’t see it. There are a plethora of ‘Cape’ pics around. But this one is a memory:
Thirty years ago this year, I was an 18 year old kid, wandering Far North Queensland, discovering me.
At the Northern end of this beach, almost where that saddle is, was a rough track that went up over the ridge & down, then continued along ridges and coastal flats & mountains, all the way to Wujal Wujal. The track was dozed back, if memory serves, in the late sixties or early seventies.ย By 1982 the track was no more than a walking track. In places it was almost completely overgrown.
The next few pics are of crossings & hills on the track & some nature
๐Ÿ™‚

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A Night Out Watching My Mates Catch Fish

I got talked into going fishing, instead of sleeping yesterday arvo. I’m glad I did go. I took the dogs too, down to Our beach.
I played with the dogs & my friends fished. S, caught the first and biggest. She pulled in a 65cm, really healthy Barra. Then, through the night they caught four fingermark in the 50cm plus range. Watched a nice sunset, and moonrise.

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Midway through the night, one of the boys hooked what at first thought was shark. But it turned out to be a protected QLD Grouper. I managed to get one photo with torch light before it swam offย  after being freed from the hook. To give you an idea of its size, That mouth opening would easily fit your foot in sideways. The mouth is about 30cm across. It was bigger than the carcass in the second photo. I found that on the beach a few weeks back.

1.5m 50kg est. QLD Grouper.

1.5m 50kg est. QLD Grouper.

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A QLD Grouper carcass found on Walker Bay beach, near Cooktown QLD.

A QLD Grouper carcass found on Walker Bay beach, near Cooktown QLD.

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August 2009 – From Her Notebook

Last night I was checking out an image of a Kite (the feathered kind) on my big Sisters wall on Facebook. It reminded me of how birds always seemed to gravitate towards Tina. I remember her taking a photo of a Willy Wagtail one day in Rocky. She was sitting on the ground with her legs stretched out in front of her when a Wagtail decided to perch on her boot. I still have the pic somewhere. He let her take a couple of pics, had a little chatter, then flew back to where I’d been digging in the garden, to chase a few more bugs.
I was also reminded of a few pages in a notebook that I found while going through our stuff a couple months ago. Back in August 2009, we were staying at certain spots along the Fitzroy River near Rockhampton. Tina had started to write a journal of sorts & this is what She wrote over a few days. Anything in brackets are my additions for clarity:

Mon 10-08-09
We moved yesterday, about 14km from town along Bowlin Rd. But that road is a 4WD track, so chewed up by blokes with their big mud tyres that it’s a 45 minute trip. There is another way to get here, along Port Curtis Road and out to the river, but it is a bit further and takes nearly as long. I don’t think we’ll be able to camp here for long. It takes too long & too much diesel to come all this way (every day). We’ll spend this week looking for somewhere else a bit closer to town I think.
*******
We had a very pretty sight to wake up to this morn. Looking out over the water, the fog hid the opposite bank up around the bend. As Brad said, “It looks like we’re on a lake.” The other bank and the mountains in the distance behind looked like a big island in the centre.
******
It’s raining! For the first time in ages. It’s not going to last long though. The clouds came over & I had plenty of time to make sure everything was covered. I saw it coming over the mountain, and it was just rolling in lazily. It’s stoped now. I can see blue sky again, but there’s still some rain somewhere between here and the mts.
The crows are flying around again after making a big deal of roosting just before it hit. So maybe they know it’s already over.
The rain barely pocked the ground. I can see tiny wet splotches where the raindrops landed, but there’s still more dry ground than wet. My fire is still alight. It’s still raining, but it’s more like mist. The rain on the mountains looks like it’s heading towards town, and the band that came through here I can see retreating Westwards.
I was going to open the back & sit on the tailgate to watch it go, but as I opened the door a scud came through. It’s gone again now but I think I’ll just sit here in the nice dry car & have rest,, in case another one comes through.
******
There’s a pair of finches in the trees next to the car. No, they’re tiny little Honeyeaters. They’re flitting through the trees., one of them performing little aerobatic manoeuvres as he goes. When he lands, he flips upside down and hangs from the branch to eat from the little upside down flowers.
*******
When we came up here yesterday we kept seeing a pair of Whistling Kites circling our car. We were wondering if they were our mates from the last campsite (8km away). When we got here & were checking the place out, the kites kept us in view, circling down close to the car several times. Now, I know that these types of bird are very common in this area, but that’s not a very normal behaviour for them. Usually they’ll fly quite high, & there’s only one bird I know who comes so close…and more recently his mate (at the previous camp, Tina had gained the trust of a pair of kites. They would perch in the ironbarks quite close to the car).
I know that it’s not likely to be the same pair, but it’d be cool if it was. This morning though, while I was listening, his call sounded different. It could be because he’s in a new territory, but I doubt it. I might allow myself to fool myself though. I told Brad yesterday, “You realise that if they’re the same pair we’ll have to name them Gryphonn & Phoenix”. I kind of like that. So from now on that will be their names…whether they’re the same pair or not ๐Ÿ™‚ย  (yep, She drew a smiley face).
*******
The Wrens are in the grass, jumping from stalk to stalk as they check me out. The female was trying to attract my attention this morning, but I’ve only just spotted the male now. He’s beautifully decked out in his finest Black, his little Red vest shining as he puffs out his chest. His full breeding colours and his wifes behaviour this morning suggests they may have set up home somewhere nearby. I’ll have to have a look so we don’t disturb them.
*****
The coolest thing just happened. I took Jack (our dog) for a walk along the river. I was hoping to see some evidence of crabs amongst the mangroves, so that we would have some idea of where to drop the (crab) pot tonight, but I soon forgot about the crabs. I was looking down among the mangrove roots & saw a round, white object floating in the water, trapped. A frisbee! Bargain! “You score Jack”,I told Him. After I found a suitably long stick to retrieve it without wetting my boots, we took the frisbee up to the wide grassy flat just up from our camp. This is the cool part! I threw the frisbee a couple of times & I heard the kite calling. I looked up & he was just there above me, about 4 metres up. He just sort of hung there on the wind, adjusting his wings slightly now and then. His mate was flying lazy circles, much higher up. “Hello Gryphonn,” I said. “Want to play?” I held the frisbee up to show him & he looked at it. Then, when I threw it, he flew above Jack as he ran, then turned and came back when he did! I was spun out! So I did it again…and so did the bird. And he kept doing it, never diving on it or anything, just flying low above Jack … around 3 metres or so, racing him to the frisbee. He did it eight times – I counted. Pity Jack got tired. It was so cool! I’m sure he was playing. I even apologised for not having anything for him to eat. I told him to come back tomorrow & I’ll have somthing. I hope he does.

Just a Friday photo

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Apologies for the poor quality. I have but a 3meg mobile phone camera.

It Has Been a Mad Fortnight-Part One

Well, I’ve hitched a few thousand kilometres and had a big week in Rockhampton, and a huge New Years Eve back in Cooktown.

So I should tell you about it and thank the friends, family and random people who helped me along the way.

It all started during a long, sleepless Wednesday night/Thursday morning two days before before Christmas. I had planned on staying in Cooktown for the duration & heading down after New Year, but I got pining for family…

Thursday 23 December 2011

I sorted out my pack with a minimal change of clothes & my toothbrush etc. I made sure I had socks & me walking boots & some basic first aid too. And plenty of undies. The plan was to hitch out at about three in the arvo. Then I got drinking with the crew ๐Ÿ˜‰ . At about 7:30 in the evening I rang my mate Alan, who owns Country Road Coachlines. His business services the Cooktown district, as well as Laura and Weipa. It happened that he was running a special to Cairns in the morning for a bunch of the Banana farmers, and was happy for me to jump on in the morning.

Jazz, Maddy, McGee after a big night

Jazz, Maddy, McGee after a big night

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This pic is of Jazz, Maddy & McGee the morning after. We had managed about 2 hours sleep between 5 and 7am. The night was also a farewell for Maddy as she scored a job with AAT Kings out at Uluru/Yulara. We love you Maddy & miss your guts ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday 24 December 2011

So, on Christmas eve at about 9am, with ten bucks & half a pack of rollies & my backpack & boots, I jumped on the bus & headed to Cairns.

We got into Cairns about one-thirty in the afternoon.
Alan, the owner of Country Road Coachlines dropped me out to the Southside of Cairns near Sheridan Plaza, and gave me $100 as an early Christmas present. Thx mate ๐Ÿ™‚

That got me some smokes & a feed to start with. Oh, if you haven’t eaten Hungry Jacks for a while, the burgers seriously taste like a handful of fat. Bleh…

I started off down the highway & a nice girl stopped & picked me up. I thought it a bit strange until a 4wd pulled in behind her carrying more of her family ๐Ÿ™‚
She took me to Gordonvale & said if I got to talk to one of the blokes from Troncs transport, I should mention her because her husband works for them & I should be able to get a ride to at least Innisfail.
I walked out to the other side of the Mulgrave River to a good hitching spot and stuck out my finger.
After about an hour or so I got a lift with two gentlemen who were heading to Mission Beach for Christmas. We had a great yarn about spirituality, and they gave me some beautiful mangoes to take with me. They dropped at the North side of Innisfail & I headed off to the other side of town.

I stood at the turn-off for hours without a lift and decided to hike out to the BP servo, about four kilometres further out. However,it was closed when I got out there. There was a caravan park just up the road, so I waited there in the hope someone might pick me up.
It was getting close to midnight by the time someone stopped. Four folk in a magna had been heading to Cairns from Townsville earlier in the afternoon & had seen me. They were on their way back & stopped for me. So, after an enjoyable ride,we arrived in Townsville about 3am Christmas morning…
To be continued…

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