Gold Coast - September 2013

Day 3 - photo shoot & mini golf

Monday 16th September

By our normal holiday standards, today was always going to be a very relaxing and rather un-energetic day. There were no theme parks or any other energy-sapping activities on the agenda for today. As an anniversary gift for my darling wife of 25 years today, I had arranged for a photo shoot at a near-by photography studio - somewhat ironic in light of the new camera lens I received from her yesterday as an anniversary gift. This was the only objective for the day and whatever else would happen, would simply be happen-stance.

The photo shoot was arranged for 10:30am and so we afforded ourselves a relaxed and slow start to the day. Being naturally earlier starters that I am, Sandy and the two kidlets were up and about before I was, so by the time I got up, I decided I’d give the BBQ on the porch a go with some bacon to accommodate for my own breakfast. The little extra that I made was given to the kids, working under the assumption that they and Sandy will have already had breakfast by now anyway. Oops! It turned out that this was not the case and I got a double whammy from Sandy for not only eating all the bacon and leaving her none but also for feeding the kids nothing but bacon for what turned out to be their breakfast. Ok, so I’m on tentatively rocky ground from this point on today and I’d have to tread very carefully from here on in to avoid allowing this predicament to fester and grow.

I had chosen to cook on the BBQ this morning because of the time and effort involved in cleaning the frying pan yesterday and I figured I’d save myself some time and energy by doing so, as it took forever yesterday to get all the cooked bacon scraped away from the stainless steal cookware they have in the kitchen. The cookware you often get in holiday cabins like this always seem to be completely non non-stick. Fortunately, they do always clean up very well - probably why they are chosen I suppose. Anyway, I actually ended up spending about twice as long and about twice the energy cleaning the BBQ down after my bacon and eggs breakfast. I guess I just can’t win either way.

So, with the breakfast all said and done, and with me treading on egg-shells about the place, we pottered about a bit getting all dressed up for the morning’s photo shoot. All dolled up, we loaded up into the car and drove the 12 minute drive to the photographer's home photo-studio. Uncannily, every time we go somewhere, it always seems to be exactly 12 minutes drive as reported by the sat-nav. I guess we really are central to everywhere else here in Ashmore.

The photographer is a very lovely Irish lady who has converted her 2-car garage into a photo studio. Now, both Sandy and myself are photographers ourselves and, notwithstanding that this photographer is a very lovely lady, it didn’t take long to figure out that we knew more about her camera and her computer than she did. She was a fair photographer and we got some truly lovely shots with her behind the camera but we were able to put our own camera and computer skills to very good use throughout the morning and ultimately ended up with all the photos in both RAW & JPEG format copied onto our own memory card to take away with us. We eventually agreed to forgo getting a selection of photos actually physically printed, which is what she would normally do, given that we are only here for a short time anyway and we would be perfectly content to take possession of the actual photo files from her camera. Perhaps also because of all the tips we gave her on how to use her camera and computer, she charged us substantially less in the end than was the originally agreed price and I was more than happy to insist on rounding the figure she had in mind up to the nearest $100 for a grand total of $300 all told.

She was very good with the kids, who were on their absolute best behaviour. Daddy played the fool (I do this very well and quite naturally anyway) and managed to get some truly wonderful natural smiles and reactions from them both. The camera just loved them.

With the photo shoot over with, we set off for a nearby shopping centre to reward the kids with a new toy each for being so very well behaved (the photo shoot certainly had the potential to be an unmitigated disaster if one or both of the kids simply decided to not cooperate) and to grab a bite to eat at the same time.

Shortly after noon’ish, we made our way back to the cabin to peruse the photo takings and to just generally relax some more. I played a little with the kids, whilst Sandy had her turn on the laptop sorting through all the photos. Because we had the photographer shooting in a combined RAW & JPEG mode, she filled her memory card several times and we had to stop a couple of times to offload it and to continue with the shoot. As Sandy was going through the photos, she noticed that there was a batch of photos with just her and the two kids that were missing. Evidently, there was a folder of photos that we had overlooked putting onto our memory card. No big deal. A few SMS exchanges later and the missing photos have been located. We’ll swing by again tomorrow morning to collect them.

One of the various tourist leaflets that we picked up at main reception yesterday boasted a mini-golf attraction in Surfers Paradise so we loaded up and set out to have some fun on the mini fairways ahead of a planned evening meal at the Hard Rock Cafe nearby there. The whole Surfers Paradise area is absolutely replete with major road-works at the moment and it was really quite an effort to figure out how to get there. We actually drove past it but couldn’t make the turn due to barriers in the middle of the road and it was quite a logistically difficult detour before we finally pulled in. There was a very humorous road sign at one point that we encountered that read “Ignore your GPS and follow the detour signs.”

The mini-golf was a good distraction for an hour or so and we played the 2 indoor 18-hole courses that they had. The first was a dinosaur theme and the second was an Egyptian theme. Although this particular facility did look a little run down (especially from the outside), it was all good fun and, despite coming perilously close at times, neither child actually killed the other. There’s little more than a parent can really ask for in such situations so I was pleased with that.

The Hard Rock Cafe was but a 10-minute walk up the road. Given all the road-works, we decided to leave the car and head out on foot. The exercise from the walk there and back did us the world of good (this is what I tell myself at least) and it was a lovely family meal that was thoroughly enjoyed all round - particularly in light of how uncannily well both kids were behaving.

Back at the cabin, the bedtime routine was swift. The kids persisted in their good behaviour and were off to lala land with little fuss or fanfare. I’ll leave this blog entry here now and will be nodding off very shortly myself too.

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