The Great Wall… of Hervey Bay

I have very fond memories of the Urangan sea wall. As kids my brother and I would sit on the wall and let the water splash over us, or jump into incoming waves.

Until recently it was almost impossible to imagine such scenarios. The tide barely made it to the bottom steps of the wall, let alone offering up enough water to leap into without doing oneself an injury.

In October 2012 when I was looking at the apartment that was to become my home, the Real Estate Agent told me that the Fraser Coast Regional Council was planning to fix the sea wall (which was looking a little worse for wear). I knew it meant I’d have to suffer through some noise and disruption, but was basically pleased the iconic wall would remain.

IMG_4312I had a big moan however, when the Fraser Coast Regional Council finally started work on the Urangan sea wall back in December.

“Why on earth would you block off part of the esplanade at one of the busiest times of year?” I wondered. Aloud. And in a ranty way.

Unsurprisingly no one listened and work commenced a few weeks before Christmas.

IMG_4946Cyclone Oswald (officially Ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald… or as I like to think of it: the Tropical Cyclone formerly known as Oswald!) and king tides put work on hold for a few weeks, before Council staff got back to work with a vengeance.

As someone who lives across the road I’m trying to be patient. And sympathetic. And patient. (Oh, did I mention that?!)

BUT IT HAS BEEN BLOODY NOISY! From my expert eye I’ve noticed worker using a jack hammer to dig up the old wall; a big drill-thingy to dig holes in the concrete for the new wall supports; chain saws to presumably chop up the old wall; as well as many other noisy implements.

When all are unleashed at the same time it’s a nightmare for those trying to sleep work across the road.

But, I’ve tried to bear it bravely with only minimal (*ahem*) moaning and groaning.

IMG_4976The wall already needed replacing before the advent Cyclone Ossie (I’m allowed to call it that as we go way back!) and its wild winds which washed* concrete bricks out of the old wall.

I’m not overly sure that the new wall is the most aesthetically pleasing one that could have been chosen, but… that’s all water under the bridge (or over the wall).

I’ve seen no point in whingeing to the Council workers out there doing their job about the noise. Not when I can moan and groan on Twitter instead.

And – weather permitting – another month or so the noise will be a distant memory; I will again have my gorgeous ocean views (sans ugly fencing and road barriers) and – hopefully – the next Cyclone or high tides won’t result in chunks of the wall floating across the road.

Do others have fond memories of the sea wall, I wonder?
Or perhaps you’re as frustrated as I am about the disruption. (Albeit a necessary one!)

* apologies for the accidental alliteration. But now it’s there, it’s staying!


Sem gas

(First published in on 31 January 2013)

I’ve been struggling with cravings since last week. Hot and sweaty and enroute home from a Zumba class in my new hometown I decided I was too lazy to cook and stopped at the first ‘Asian’ takeaway I came to. Thai and Chinese are my favourites and the place I found chose was Thai. After a few false starts I discovered which dishes could be made gluten-free (for I am coeliac) and left 25+minutes later (having been told 10mins) with two dishes and rice in hand.

I scoffed most of the meal that night and had the rest for breakfast the following morning. The garlic and pepper chicken was TO DIE FOR!

It kills me that I cannot cook Thai / Chinese food that tastes as good as the stuff I buy.

As so often is the case, it gave me a taste for something delicious and spicy and I’ve pondered the idea of takeaway almost every day since.

However, earlier this week I convinced myself I would be satisfied with a more logistically-simple option, available at a cafe just a few hundred metres from my apartment.

SaltWhen I first arrived here I indulged in Salt Cafe‘s steak sandwich on gluten-free bread and served with chips a number of times. In fact, the friendly waitress who served me the day I hung out waiting to get into my apartment (while I waited for settlement and the removalist) remembered me each time I went back.

And before I knew it I was imagining myself biting into the sandwich, onion relish dripping down my chin.

For various reasons I didn’t get there yesterday so while phaffing about this morning I texted my aunt and uncle who live nearby, asking if they were keen to meet for lunch. Fortuitously we agreed on Salt and I sauntered down in the oppressive heat eager for my steak sandwich.

Once settled however, I was greeted by a waitress I didn’t know and handed a dodgy one page menu aptly named “Emergency Menu – available all day” and listing cereals, bread rolls, a couple of salads and chicken or ham toasted sandwiches. What. The. Fuck?!

“The gas is out,” the waitress explained.

Not convinced she wasn’t conspiring against me to avoid offering me the fulfillment I needed (ie. steak sandwich and chips) I turned to Twitter and Facebook to have this confirmed. And sure enough… my Facebook feed was full of local cafes and restaurants either announcing their reduced menus or sprouting that they use electricity and were offering their full array of food.

Apparently a gas pipeline was damaged a bit further north during our recent storms and until flood waters have receded it can’t be fixed… and there’s no gas. (I have to confess I’ve never really thought about where the gas comes from or how it gets here!)

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 5.49.18 PM

I’m not a gas-y girl you see. I’d love a BBQ but only gas makes sense and the notion of a gas bottle freaks me out. I’ve always bought places which have electric ovens and stovetops rather than gas cos of the whole ‘freaking me out’ thing. And… I always thought I would be the one to suffer – during an electricity outage; that I’d be regretting my no-gas decision.

And yet… here I am, still with electricity with which to cook, while the cafes and restaurants of Hervey Bay serve cereal.

Are you a gas or electricity person? Or perhaps both?

 * Sem gas = without bubbles (in Portuguese and possibly similar in Spanish and Italian!)