We left South Golden Beach as the rain gauge topped 60mls at midday. Torrential rain followed us all the way to Brisbane as a tropical low hovered over the central east coast of Australia.
Much needed rain was falling all up and down the eastern coast and ranges. Dousing fires that had been burning for 6 months. Dams were filling. Struggling through the Brisbane CBD with umbrella dripping on and off buses, I made it to James St cinema in the Valley to meet my loyal movie club friends. A short poll claimed The Gentleman as our pick and a good one. The rain eased by 9pm but not further south where Byron Bay continued to record nearly 300mls in 24 hours, flooding Jonson St. Locals blamed the half completed bypass construction-of course – Not the combination of weird weather and a high tidal surge.
Friday was a busy day in Brisbane. Radio programs, car service, blood donations and dentist. Family history research at the State Library brought no new information on convict ancestors but a fascinating account of the colony of New South Wales in 1796 by the Judge Advocate David Collins. In the evening, we explored Howard Smith Wharf under the Story Bridge.
Arriving by ferry from West End we walked along the Riverside Boardwalk, avoiding manic Uber eat drivers on Green electric scooters. A newish development, Howard Smith Wharf is a restaurant and bar scene built on land reclaimed from a naval supply depot. It was pumping on Friday night and we were obviously some of the most senior citizens! Undeterred we secured a table upstairs at Greca, a Greek restaurant and enjoyed a shared feast of saganaki, sardines and horiatiki washed down with Greca Gris from Logan vineyards in Orange.
On Saturday morning, we left our new found accommodation in West End Central Apartments and walked to the Davies Park markets to indulge in a coffee from the Gypsy Vardo caravan and a crepe from our favourite French stand run by Rene. Sitting on our milk crate with hessian bag cushion we surveyed the passing crowd and bumped into some old friends including Peter from Happy Flame candles.
The weekend was definitely displaying a Water theme so we decided a visit to the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art’s Water exhibition was in order. Here we climbed over Olafur Eliasson‘s Riverbed 2014 water exhibit, an Icelandic memory for us, even though the stones were from the Northern Territory and New Zealand! In the children’s section a Ghost Net exhibit from the Torres Strait, showed how artists use fishermen’s rubbish ie abandoned nylon nets to create awareness of the destruction of our oceans by pollution.
Our evening was capped off by a Queensland Symphony Orchestra concert celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday with his Triple Concerto, the soloists Emily Sun – of Mrs Carey’s Concert fame, an ex- MLC girl – on violin, Caleb Wong on cello and Aura Go on piano; three young and remarkable Australian musicians internationally renowned.
On Sunday morning we set off for our adventure to Lord Howe Island, boarded our plan after looking at the weather site rather apprehensively, took off, enjoyed an hour and half of flight and THEN had to turn back to Brisbane. Yes, the weather got us in the end!