Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rocklea Markets Rise Again

We love a good market over at MIA and NLQ.

One of our favourites in Brisbane is the Rocklea Markets.

On Saturday mornings, it's a great place to pick up bargain priced fruit, vegies and other produce. Often, we'll bump into friends to have a coffee or a wander around with, and there is always something naughty for breakfast. At times when seasonal produce like mangoes or strawberries are highly priced in the shops, we always come away with cases of them for small change at Rocklea.

On Sundays, Rocklea turns into a flea market, one of Brisbane's most established and iconic. The stalls change regularly depending on who's there, and what they have to offer. Sometimes you'll come home laden with bargains; other times you'll go home with nothing but an over-full tummy from eating too much for breakfast. (Or maybe that's just me...) But it's always worth a look.

Recently, they started Wednesday twilight markets too, which I'm assured are more relaxed versions of the weekend markets. (I've never actually been, so can't vouch for them myself).

In the recent Queensland floods, the entire Rocklea area went under, including the markets. However, an army of firies, SES workers and volunteers have been working tirelessly and I'm told the markets will reopen to the public on January 29.

Give them a good Brisbane welcome back by turning up and grabbing a few bargains in the process.

The kids had Christmas money burning holes in their pockets, so we went to the last Rocklea markets before they were flooded out. This was the scene as we waited for Miss 7 poffertjes. (Dutch pancakes).

We had to eat our breakfast undercover. (Ignore the Red Fanta bottles. I am sure they belong to someone else's children)

Mr 9 spent his money on a finch he named Cynthia. Mumma bought the cage as an early birthday present. (He's an Australia Day baby).

Miss 7 badly wanted one of these, but I told her the resident carpet snake might like them too...

Instead she spent her $10 on a guinea pig she named Star.

 Dogs like our foster toy poodle Zsa Zsa aren't allowed in the market area, but I couldn't help including a photo of her!

The Rocklea Markets are the best place I know to get cheap but beautiful flowers and roses

See what I mean?

 Fancy a budgie?

Or perhaps a guitar?

See what I mean about big breakfasts? (I haven't personally tried this one.)

Get your German smallgoods. If you look closely, you can buy buttbangers on the lower LHS. I'm not sure what they are, and I don't think I want to find out!

 More sausage goodness

Or some old-fashioned boiled lollies

Brisbane markets are at Sherwood Road Rocklea. Entry $1 per adult, free for children. Or $3 per car including parking. Trading hours 6 am-12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays, and 3.30-8pm on Wednesdays.


Monday, January 17, 2011

The power of many ...

Exhaustion. Looting. Bravery. Loss. Sheer hard work.

This week, this blog and my personal one http:// will be devoted to the efforts of the army of volunteers and kind strangers who have taken up the challenge to rebuild the areas affected by the floods. Mainly in Queensland, because that is where I am based, and that is where most of my contacts are based. (Update: Actually the devastation is so wide-spread I will be opening up the giveaways to anyone affected by Mother Nature's wrath, or anyone wanting to win something for someone who has been affected.)

If people in other states would like to contribute they are more than welcome by commenting below.

You don’t need me to bash out facts and figures and tales and reports. They’re all over the media, whether it be traditional or social.

Instead I thought I'd use this post to thank the peeps who are showing great strength, wisdom, love and sometimes even humour in doing their bit, often thinking outside the box when it comes to helping out.

Social media, and radio, television and newspapers to an extent, have provided a constant stream of offers and calls for help, putting people in touch with each other.

Here are a few of the quiet achievers who are making a difference.

- Counsellor Karlene Bradley is offering free counselling for anyone affected by pet loss in Qld. As long as you can afford the phone call to her on 0439 002 812, the counselling is free. Leave a message if you can't reach her, as she's still working, and is fitting in the free counselling around her other commitments.

- In the Ipswich area, top Mum Mummatopia Cas is putting together a massive Qld Flood Relief Appeal with a little help from her friends. It will be the 'Mumma of all Flood Relief Raffles', with as many $150 prize packs as they can lay their hands on thanks to Ipswich locals and businesses. More expensive prizes will be raffled off as individual goodies. Every cent will go towards the Premier's Flood Appeal. Tickets $10 each!

- The Purina Advice Centre is provicing information and support to those who have found animals who need help and care, but are unable to get to a vet straight away. You can phone them on 1800 738 238.

- There’s a Facebook page for animals lost and found in the Qld floods, with the aim of reuniting pets with their owners as quickly as possible.

- On Tuesday at the RNA showgrounds, there were free tetanus vaccinations until 10 am for anyone affected by the floods or the clean-up.

- Children haunted by the trauma are receiving special grief counselling at the Grantham State School evacuation centre. A makeshift creche has been set up at the school, with activities and games to try to dlet the children be kids again. Toowoomba ice cream vendor Dave Pemberton, of Toby's Kiosk, helped lift children's spirits by arriving with free ice-creams for all.

- The wonderful @digellabakes has put together an army of wonderful bakers to help get healthy and nourishing meals and snacks to those involved in the floods and the clean-up. Check out Danielle’s website Digella’s Emporium more information. Another kitchen angel @melkettle has been instrumental in the plan and has her own blog The Cook’s Notebook with loads of info too.
The relief effort has been so well-received it has its own baked relief website.

Courtesy of @BrisbanePlaces, who retweeted Brisbane Places @NotQuiteNaomi who announced that Arrivederci Pizzeria. Park Rd, Milton would serve up free pizza to those with ID from 6-8pm tonight (Tuesday January 18).

- Behind the scenes, 4BC producer, twitterer, yummy mummy and all round good person @Annieb25 has been on top of everything, tirelessly tweeting out calls for help and answers. Like a few below....

RT @organiseme: Kids you know lose books in the flood? Riverbend Books will give books to help out

If u have a PO box at an affected PO u can have ur mail redirected for 12 months free. U can organise at an operating Aust Post

Annie's beautiful website Life and Dandilions has loads more information, and of course you can follow her on twitter too (@Annieb25).

Readers, have you your own flood angels who have not yet received the recognition they deserve? Please feel free to add your stories in the comments form below.

In the next few days, I hope to canvas all my contacts and nag them into ask them nicely to donate prizes for a huge bloggie giveaway for all those affected adversely by Mother Nature recently. Lots of lovely comments will give me the ammunition I need to show them that people will read about their generosity and their products/services by joining my bloggie giveaway.

Stubbies schoolwear have already come on board - thanks mates - and I hope to have more prizes soon. You can follow them on twitter @Stubbies and like them on Facebook. 

Once I have enough goodies, there will be one post and one giveaway per day, with about a week to enter for each. This is so the products are not buried in one long post, but given a post of their own each day and the following week. I will also be tweeting about the companies who are generous enough to donate.

I think I have another sponsor on board, so stay tuned. And if you'd like to donate, you know where to find me.

Until, stay safe and be kind to each other ... xo


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Qld flood angels

The other night, I dreamt I was being evacuated. (Don't be rude. I mean being asked to leave my home).
There were SES volunteers in a boat outside my house telling me to leave NOW.

All I could think of was that A. I desperately needed a wee, and B. I desperately wanted to grab my laptop.

(Note: Both in real life and in my dream, the kids were with their Dad, and high and dry. Otherwise I would have grabbed them. Obviously.)

Anyway, my laptop is the keeper of most of the really precious things in my life, like my writing, contacts, and photos of my kids and pets. It’s a link to work, friendship, family, information, and it’s invaluable to me.

But no, the rescuers said, there was no time, I had to leave then and there, full bladder or not. (Possibly, in real life, I did have to wee. It is amazing how my bladder manages to make an appearance in many of my dreams.)

But I digress. Before the Dream Bronnie could wee, or grab my computer, the real Bronnie woke up, breathing a sigh of relief that it was only a nightmare.

But for many thousands of residents in Queensland, and now NSW, WA, and VIC as well, my weird-arsed dream has been an incredibly horrific reality.

Survivors had hours, sometimes minutes; to climb, run, drive, or even float to safety. Sometimes they quickly paused to grab something, anything. Sadly, a few people paid for these split decisions with their lives.

Others made it to safety with only the clothes on their backs and a couple of precious things, like their ID or their wallets. Or they died trying to keep their most precious belongings – family, friends, pets – alive.

Can you imagine the terror, the absolute trauma of having, to make split second decisions that could either keep you alive, or not? Or worst, your family?

Some survivors were airlifted, others were pulled and pushed to safety. They found blow-up beds in evacuation centres, where volunteers gave them food, hot drinks, friendship, and shelter.

The survivors queued in an orderly fashion for necessities. Like tampons for the ladies, nappies for babies, milk and sammies for kids, and shavers and deodorant for men.

They were stoic but let's not mince words: It was shit.

I cannot begin to go into the devastation of the Queensland floods, where the raging rivers turned into noisy, evil forces which caused inland tsunamis and dragged the guts out of towns.

As our Premier Anna Bligh said: Mother Nature unleashed something devastasting throughout our state.

And still it continues, with other states going slowly under while the clean-up in Queensland continues.

I was there the other day, handing out water bottles to sweaty, mud-splattered volunteers who were moving debris and washing floors in the stinking mess left behind.

They were all ages, and from all walks of life.  Men, women, kids, and yes, even Generation Y; mucking in and doing whatever they were told to do.

Lining up to register and again for free buses. Sweating in the sun, accepting cold drinks gratefully, barely stopping to pause as they worked, like the volunteer army they've been described as.

And today they're back doing it all over again.

My God they were, and are, awesome.

"Thank you," they'd say, as I handed over a bottle of H20, ironically, the same liquid that has reduced our city to something akin to a war zone. (Well except this water was clean, and safe, and drinkable, and totally not nasty). "No, thank you," I said, and as cliched as it sounds, I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

If you can, find it in your heart to go down and help out. Somehow, some way. Some people are delivering baked goods or doing sausage sizzles; others have eskies of cold drinks. Some are mucking in with their muscles; others are staying home but getting messages out and hooking up helpers and donations to the needy via social media.

If you can't get to the disaster zones, as I've come to think of them, don't go for a look. (The traffic is awful, thanks mostly to the number of volunteers, but also, sadly, the rubberneckers).

Just make a donation online instead. Here is the best place to see what's going on, what's needed, and where.

Meanwhile, here are a few tweets and Facebook updates, which has helped keep the disaster relief on people's minds, while occasionally lightening the mood:

- @girlclumsy: Fisher & Paykel has set up a free temp laundry at 8 Terrace Place Murrarie for any flood victims to wash clothes. 7am to 7pm

- All Brisbane City Council transfer stations are accepting general and green waste free of charge.

from Park Road’s Arriverdeci Pizzeria.
Owner David Silvestri said that while his pizza restaurant was not affected by floodwaters he was throwing stock out because of a power outage. Hot and tired flood victims and volunteers were happy to avail themselves of the gelato before it melted.

- My own nephew and niece-in-law did a sterling job helping those in need in the South Burnett region on behalf of Wondai Electrical Service Pty Ltd. Together, they got generators going, and out on boats to try and get pump stations up and going so the region could have water.

- @CamposCoffeeQLD
Campos Queensland gave free coffee to all emergency services, police, ambos, firies, SES, lifesavers, and army workers this weekend.

- @victorchurchill
Victor Churchill is donating 100% of sales this Wednesday to the Premier's Flood Relief Fund. Every dollar you spend will be donated

- And then there was this, which I took with the permission of one of the girls who put it up on their street as a symbol that Brisbane peeps still have their sense of humour:

Readers, who else deserves accolades for awesomeness during the clean-up? Please feel free to comment, so I can add them to the list.

I'm trying to organise some giveaways for flood victims and I'm pleased to announce that Stubbies (schoolwear for kids) have jumped on board, donating a shirt from their new range. I'm asking all businesses and companies who can afford to help to join in, and I'll then organise a massive (I hope) bloggie giveaway for those in need.

Anyone else? I will post about them regularly with details of giveaways to come.