Our Diary News from Brisbane (Part 3)

November, 2009

It is the end of the sailing season in the Pacific and the trans-Pacific sailboats have started arriving. Here in Brisbane it is spring - a bit of a misnomer as really we only get two seasons; sunny and cool - or sunny and hot with rainstorms. But spring-like it is - the Jacarandas are in full bloom and their bright lilac blossoms cover the sidewalks. It's now warm enough to sit out in the evenings as we did last Sunday when we watched a movie on the deck (Ice Age 3) with the neighbours. It's a hard life!

Since our last missive, Christine has permanent employment with a software company (doing accounts) which is paying the bills, and Keith has been granted a visa to stay in Australia - both a huge relief to us. And Keith is feeling fit and healthy enough to work. He has a short-term contract as a Commercial Analyst with Fosters Brewery (we knew all that beer drinking would stand him in good stead one day!) so the cruising kitty is being replenished.

Australia has rallied really well economically speaking and the interest rates are beginning to creep back up. The huge resources sector is leading the recovery which has created a strong Aussie Dollar - a temptation to import all our needed boat goodies from the US. We hope the skill shortages in Australia will keep us gainfully employed for the coming few months.

Health wise things are looking good. Keith is just starting what we hope will be the final course of chemo - then it's wait-and-see. In a couple of months they will do another bone marrow biopsy which will gauge the length or depth of any remission. More tests will follow with a possible autologus stem cell harvest, where his stem cells are collected and frozen until they are needed in the future. Very clever! Isn't technology great!

We've also enjoyed lots of socialising (nothing new!). Carol & Trevor (Christine's sister and her husband) came to stay which is always fun - we particularly enjoyed the Busking Competition! They managed a few days by themselves up at the Sunshine Coast as well as a visit with Pippa and Xavier in Sydney. We are really excited now because Pippa is bringing 2-year-old Xavier up to stay for Christmas - we're already looking forward to buying loud toys! And, of course, Keith will enjoy doing the Christmas Dinner.

We're planning on taking Poco Andante out into Moreton Bay to scrub the bottom and change the anodes. It will be lovely to get out and anchor for a few days - we've been stuck in this marina for a year now! Keith has had his dive bottles re-certified and is dusting off his dive gear… Sue and Mick (our neighbours on Celia Mary) are also going out with us so we're aiming to have a few days of fun!

And we've had a visit from Rob & Jas (Keith's son and his partner) who came from the UK. This was the first time any of Keith's children has been to visit and we were very excited, particularly since poor Rob, who had been working in the US, had to fly US-UK-Malaysia-Australia! Jas has family in Malaysia so they enjoyed a good visit there before popping down to Brisbane for a few days. It was great to see them and the only disappointment was that the surf wasn't up at Surfers Paradise!

So, life has been much better these last few months - depending on what the doctors say after Keith's biopsy, we may even consider going sailing again. Brett and Debbie (Interlude III) had a great suggestion - we could circumnavigate Australia! This would still allow Keith to get regular medical check ups but we would be cruising again…

Once again, we'd like to thank you all for keeping in touch - we very much appreciate your concerns and kind messages. We also enjoy hearing about what is happening in your lives, so please continue with the emails!