Gold Coast

 Another early morning. Elaine gets out of bed at 4am each day, usually to get to the gym and stuff before work. For those who don’t know, she’s a bodybuilder. She’s a senior champion and has three competitions coming up so she’s hard at work building muscle and eating next to nothing. Very serious woman!

Despite this being a day off for her, she was pottering around at that hour and I woke just before 5am. At 5:30, we left and drove into Brisbane to Kangaroo Rock Point, where Elaine used to do a lot of her “boot camp” workouts. We walked for an hour across and beside the river, and through the market that was still being set up. Despite the early hour, the sun was up and the streets weren’t exactly empty. We worked up a bit of a sweat heading back to the car, where we buckled up for the drive to the Gold Coast.

 This wasn’t a log drive, and we made it in under an hour. On the way, we drove past more theme parks than I knew existed in Australia, let along just one part of it. DreamWorld, SeaWorld, MovieWorld, Wet’n’Wild… I’ll have to come back here with someone and work my way through them. Elaine then drove me around Surfer’s Paradise before we headed to her daughter’s house to sort out breakfast.

I met Erin once about 6 years ago when she visited the UK with Elaine. She’s now all settled in with her boyfriend in a new house and has a really good job. She’s also a successful “beach babe” who’s won a handful of trophies of her own. Not surprising if you ever saw her – she’s beautiful!

Breakfast was at a coffee shop just off one of the beaches, and I had an orange juice and “breakfast on the go” which consisted of muesli, strawberries, mango sauce and two enormous dollops of yoghurt. Gorgeous. Afterwards, Erin (thank you again for paying for brekkie!) headed off and Elaine walked me along the coastline and up as far as the border with New South Wales. I managed to be in two states in one day! The border is best shown at the Captain Cook memorial where the line between the two states is clearly displayed.

 As I mentioned to Elaine, one thing that was really noticeable compared to the UK was the number of people out there in the early hours trying to keep fit. Surfers, body boarders, joggers, cyclists, swimmers… hundreds of them. We weren’t the only ones walking around Brisbane earlier in the morning either.

It was time to meet “son number two” who wasn’t working that morning. Craig’s a surfer in every sense. Laid back, parties all night and sleeps in every morning. Like his brother, he’s also into motor racing and has his own muscle car that he built from the ground up. And a bike. And a jetski. And a pile of trophies for surfing. Noticed anything about Elaine’s kids yet? They’re all bloody good at something(s) and have the awards to prove it.

 Craig drove us into town to one of the surf clubs and we had lunch – a huge deluxe chicken burger with beer-batter fries. Afterwards, Elaine and I walked back to his flat – partly to let me walk off the calories and partly to allow Elaine’s car to cool down as the temperature gauge had gone mental on the way from the beach. Without much fuss, Craig sussed what it was (a broken jubilee clip on one of the hoses) and replaced it. Easy as.

It came time to come close to completing my collection of Elaine’s clan and we drove to her parents’ house for afternoon tea. Her folks are Scots, so needless to say there was more than just a couple of digestive biscuits on a small plate waiting for us…

I needed a wheelbarrow to get me to the car after the sandwiches, home-made sausage rolls, scones and apple crumble. My only disappointment was at not meeting Elaine’s brother, but I managed to see most of the family!

The evening was spent slowly allowing the food to digest and catching up on email via number 11’s ropey wireless. I really should knock on their door and tell them to shift their router nearer the window. Posted by Picasa

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