Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #22

What’s top of my mind: My trip to Antarctica is ON, baby!!!

After hearing nothing from my travel company despite repeated attempts from me to contact them, a simple request for info on their Facebook page did the trick. The trip is on, I’ve made a further payment and I’m now waiting on quotes from travel agents for flights and a possible side trip to Easter Island.

Easter island looks EXPENSIVE … even the flight there and back from Santiago will probably cost a thousand dollars, but hey. I’m only going to do it once. (If I do it…)

If anyone has a recommendation for a good travel agent – preferably in Melbourne in the south-eastern/bayside suburbs – I’d love to hear from you. I’m waiting on a quote from Flight Centre, but it wouldn’t hurt to get ideas from other people too.

Where I’ve been: to visit Dad.

A few days ago Mum had another fall and was carted off to hospital. At first we thought she’d broken her hip, but instead, she’s fractured her pelvis. Not as bad as a broken hip, true, but it’ll still take a long while to mend.

She won’t be home for weeks, so Dad is now needing to be looked after. He can look after himself physically – (though he asked my sister how to cook pasta and he wasn’t kidding…), but he’ll be feeling it mentally as Mum stays away in rehab. He’s never lived on his own.

Where I’m going: To Coles for one more week.

Dave from Strong Money Australia put me onto using Flybuys to get free groceries. Once he explained how he and his partner do it, I signed up straight away and waited to get the offer. I’m on my third week of buying $50 of groceries from Coles. One more week and I get a $50 free voucher for Coles groceries.

It’s fun perusing the catalogue, then going shopping with my calculator to make sure I’m not spending way over $50 each time. The only annoying thing about it is when I go to Aldi to do the rest of my shopping and I find out they’re selling their cauliflower for $1.50 less than what I just paid for one at Coles. D’Oh!

What I’m watching: The Midwich Cuckoos.

Most people have heard of The Day of the Triffids – one of the best sci-fi books ever written. I absolutely love John Wyndham’s writing. His ideas are still so fresh and even though his language may have dated – it’s very English 1950’s – I’ll challenge anyone to a bout of fisticuffs who says he’s a bad writer.

The Midwich Cuckoos isn’t one of my favourites to be honest – that honour goes to The Chrysalids, which is set in a post-apocalyptic future in a fundamentalist Christian town which frowns upon any physical aberrations. So how will they cope with a difference that cannot be seen? Oh, how I loved this novel!

Triffids and Choccy are also very good. I have a feeling that if I read The Trouble With Lichen when I was older, I would probably have liked it more. Even though I haven’t read it for decades, I still sometimes find myself thinking about it…

Anyway, back to The Midwich Cuckoos! It’s an interesting premise – for 12 hours or so everyone in a little English town falls unconscious and the town is cut off from everyone. Once the ‘blackout’ finishes, everyone appears to be fine – except that every woman of childbearing age is pregnant. Who are these babies and where/how have they come from?

There’s a limited series on Stan. I’m halfway through and enjoying it very much, though I don’t know why they’ve changed the character of Dr Zellaby from male to female. There doesn’t seem to be any narrative reason. Anyway, that’s a small quibble.

What I’m reading: The Hypnotist’s Love Story.

Say what you like about Liane Moriarty, the woman can write a cracking good yarn! I read this novel in 2 days.

We often hear about women getting stalked by an ex-boyfriend, but what if the genders are switched?

What I’m listening to: Casefile.

I’ve let my podcasts mount up a bit, so when I was working on my quilt today I listened to a couple of episodes of Casefile. One was absolutely crazy. Another female stalker – be careful out there, fellas!

What I’m eating: Twisties.

Well, it wasn’t exactly my fault. I had just over $1 to make up my $50 shop and small packets of Twisties were going for $1.10.

I can’t lie. It was really nice settling down with my book on the couch and munching through them.

What I’m planning: shopping for thermal underduds.

I HATE the cold. Hate it with a passion. Rumour has it that Antarctica is on the chilly side, even in the middle of summer.

Sometime soon, I’ll have to go shopping for thermals, a good weatherproof coat and some gloves that will let me still use my iPhone to take photos.

Anyone know where I should start looking?

Who needs a good slap: Me.

Because I’ve been working a fair bit, I’ve fallen behind on the quilt-a-long schedule for the crazy 5,000+ piece quilt. I’ve done two big blocks today, so if I keep on plugging away like that I’ll get back to where I’m meant to be.

A couple of people have finished already and have posted their quilt tops of Facebook. It’s spurred me on!

What has made me smile: Having a few days off.

I’ve been working full-time for almost a month, but the school’s main campus has exams this week and so there are more teachers available to look after classes. Far less work for CRT’s.

I have to confess that my lazy mornings reading and inter-webbing on the couch is something I treasure. So do the dogs. It’s not a bad thing to be reminded of why I retired in the first place…

Dad joke of the day:


  1. The BuLL

    So, what are Twisties? If you search it, FYI, you get something that is X-rated and I’m pretty sure that isn’t what you’re talking about! ?

    As a gal in Montana who does winter and summer backcountry camping/hiking, my favorite brands are Patagonia, Outdoor Research, and Under Armor. My base layers are Under Armor, and my winter/water/windproof jacket is Patagonia.

    Should be an epic trip!

  2. Maureen

    Yes, all those brands are great for outdoor gear, but I’d add SmartWool as a base layer option. They are kind of pricey (but worth it) for a once off vacation, unless you plan to make cold weather activity a habit! ; )

    • FrogdancerJones

      Urk. Probably not! Haha!
      But then again, who knows? It’s a big world out there!

  3. Aussie HIFIRE

    We do the Coles/Flybuys grocery challenges as well. One thing you can do is have more than one card (we have one each) maybe by getting your sons to get a Flybuys membership and therefore get another free $50 of groceries. Like you most of our shopping is normally done at Aldi but there is some stuff at Coles which is cheaper there when it’s on special and we just stock up on that when we need to.

    It helps a lot with bonus offers if you have the app, my wife regularly tells me about bonuses there like 2,000 points for a $50 shop.

    You don’t want to go spending too much though, otherwise it increases the amount that you need to buy to get the $50 worth of Flybuys points. There are lots of people out there who have to do four $400 weekly shops to get their $50 bonus, although presumably they’re spending close to that amount at Coles regularly anyway.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Ooo, I have the app but I never look at it. That sounds like it might be a mistake.
      Thanks for all the info.

  4. sandyg61

    Living in Qld no idea for thermals. When we did winter in Europe we simply shopped at Kathmandu and did layers.
    Love Liane Moriarty and her sister as well, Nicola. I’m waiting for the new Jane Harper too.
    I have Flybuys and Woolworths rewards and play them off against each other for the points. We each have a WW card and I build those up for xmas. Free ham, prawns and alcohol is great and usually some extras as well. You simply don’t shop on one for a little while and then get a lower weekly shop offer for points. I’m on a 4 x $80 WW shop at present for 7000 points or $35 and adding in extra for stocking up or items for Share the Dignity bags or Operation Shoebox for Christmas donations. It’s also good if it combines with batteries or Bonds half price.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Looks like I need to get a WW card as well!
      Thanks for the tip about the clothes.
      Yep. New Jane Harper – can’t wait!

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