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May 22nd, 2018

07:43 pm - House + Power
Note to self: solar power still not recording on the bill. Am assured it will be recorded by the next bill and that there will be a huge backlog of credit owed. Fingers crossed.

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May 14th, 2018

06:57 pm - Purple Bricks
My final set of complaints about Purple Bricks follows…..

I feel like their contract is misleading. Perhaps it is just me but I was surprised that I had entered into two contracts with them when I had thought I had signed only one document.

I read the contract with PB in detail, amended it and signed it. Then I clicked a button on their website to postpone payment til the end of the process – and clicking on this button automatically entered me into an entirely different contract.

Contract one – their services for 3 months. Contract two – their services for 12 months and automatic payment regardless of whether the property sold. This information was on page 12 of a 14 page document that did not automatically appear but was sent to me after ‘signing’.

I should, of course, have read the documentation attached to the click here button (my fault) but I did assume it was just a continuation of the contract with Purple Bricks that I was in the midst of processing. It was like a SURPRISE contract!

It all ended adequately after six months of enormous stress, but it was so very dodgy.

My strong recommendation: Do not use Purple Bricks.

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May 13th, 2018

07:16 pm - Purple Bricks
The major way Purple Brick advertises itself is by saying that you pay nothing until the property sells and you pay a set fee rather than a percentage of the value of your property.

What they do not highlight is that you pay the set fee regardless of whether your property sells. Regardless of how much work they do. This is not a situation that encourages the real estate agents to do their best.

My strong recommendation: Do not use Purple Bricks.

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May 9th, 2018

04:25 pm - Holiday
Pearl got to choose one thing to do and she elected to go to the New South Wales/Queensland border in Coolangatta.

There’s a monument there – in the middle of a traffic island. I think this is the first tourist attraction I’ve visited in a traffic island. (Possible exception – Stone Henge which is kind of surrounded by freeways.)

There’s a line on the floor that you can jump over (which we all did).

Also, there was some interesting information about the people who surveyed the area originally, back when they decided on the wibbly wobbly border for this part of the world, going through the mountains. It was quite interesting as it spent a long time pointing out how reliant they were on the local trackers.

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May 6th, 2018

06:12 pm - April books
Lois McMaster Bujold Brothers in Arms 1989
Rob Grant Backwards 1996
Rob Thomas Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss and Tell 2015
PG Wodehouse Stiff Up Lip, Jeeves 1963
Lois McMaster Bujold The Borders of Infinity 1989
Lois McMaster Bujold Mirror Dance 1994
Calm 2018
Breathe 2018

Got the B books back!

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May 2nd, 2018

01:47 pm - royal child
I think that Kate and Wills missed a chance to call their third child Oliver. It would have been an amusing homage to the real world Stone Face Vimes.

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April 29th, 2018

01:33 pm - Dream World
The kids’ favourite thing on the Gold Coast was Dreamworld. I was not looking forward to it, because I hate crowds and heat but it turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. It was, in fact, far less crowded than the streets of Surfer’s Paradise.

I can see now why people get season passes. We did a few things at two of the eight sub-divisions. My favourite was Legoland. Ruby is a big fan of King Julian and was pleased to encounter him. We also attended a Madigascar play before going to the water world section.

I am a big wimp who gets sick on the teacup ride so my children were only allowed to ride on the merry go round and the gentle Dronkey ride. I do not believe they really minded, though there was a token protest.

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April 25th, 2018

07:04 pm - holiday
Ruby was very keen on visiting Tropical Fruit World which turned out to be an excellent choice and one of my favourite places we visited.

Tropical Fruit World lies in a valley once owned by the NSW Department of Agriculture. In the 1930s they ran experiments there in growing mangos, bananas, macadamias and avocados, to see if they would grow and if people would eat them. Of course I think of these as basic foods but they were once foreign and exotic.

In the early 1970s the property was sold off to a guy who has dedicated his life to finding and planting different sorts of tropical trees in this beautiful valley. There are 525 varieties of fruit growing, with tens of thousands of trees. It’s the perfect place for it because the whole area lies on the remains of a volcanic explosion 20 million years ago which has left behind some rich soil and rocky outcrops like Mt Danger and Mt Warning.

We paid $40 each for a tour, which seemed expensive but you do get a lot out of it:

A tractor tour of the orchards.
Feeding domestic animals, including a very greedy sheep.
River boat tour along the bottom of the property.
A park with a miniature train that we all enjoyed.
Tasting of different fruits, the most interesting of which was definitely the strawberry flavoured bananas.

The whole thing made me feel sorry for West Australian gardeners because of course you can grow anything if you have actual top soil and rainfall, the two things we lack.

Oh, plus there was a Big Avocado so my life is now satisfactorily Australian.

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April 20th, 2018

06:56 pm - Holiday
The lawn bowls was a fizzle, as it was too hot to stay and watch them play. I was cheering for the Scottish team whose costume designer had crazily given them flimsy baseball caps that left their pale, Scots necks bare to the sun. By 9:30 in the morning they were already brick red necks, yet the team somehow overcame this distraction to win the men’s triple. Well done.

Watching the athletics was also difficult because of the heat. We were in the reserved seating for those with accessibility issues, and all the people in walkers and wheelchairs nonetheless moved to the narrow ribbon of shade without seating.

I liked that the athletics gave you a bit of everything – men’s 100 metres, women’s 400 metres, high jump, long jump, javelin, shot put, wheel chair racing. The kids certainly enjoyed the fact that there were multiple short events, but Pearl got overheated.

Also, once again, getting there was nightmarish. Although there were priority buses for those with accessibility issues, this was not entirely a smooth system. The buses were just regular buses (ie. room for 2-3 wheelchairs/walkers/prams) but instead were entirely full of people with mobility problems which in turn meant those who were already unsteady on their feet picking their way through a forest of canes and walkers.

Our GPS went mad or overheated or something and just sent us around in a complete circle two or three times before we abandoned it. Ruby: ‘Why are you laughing, Mummy?’ Me: ‘Just hysterical, darling, that’s all.’

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April 19th, 2018

05:58 pm - holiday
I am not a big sports fan, but there is always a pleasure in watching people do something supremely well. The hockey match we saw was Pakistan vs England, two strong teams with a grudge. I have never seen such a fast, committed game.

Since my Mum uses a walker, we had the best seats in the house, literally in front of the stand about two metres behind the fence. We were randomly seated in front of an area block booked by Pakistani supporters who cheered virtually non-stop. I learned that ‘Shabash’ (a word I had previously encountered only in MM Kaye and Kipling) is pronounced to rhyme with harsh not rash. ‘Diwa diwa Pakistan!’

The match was a draw, which pleased me because both sides were so committed and so competent that it would seem unfair if one triumphed.

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