Thursday, September 28, 2006

Go offline for reel good time

The sky is blue and the sun shines, so let’s take a break from the world of the spooks (reference, last post) and get out in the sparkling environment of Moreton Bay. Image from

THE attention that John Gallon paid to detail during his decades as a carpenter reflects in the way he spends his leisure time aboard his fibreglass boat.
The unnamed 22ft (6.7m) boat has been a labour of love since health problems forced John to retire early.
Three years ago, he had a heart attack.
A "triple bypass" solved that problem but John now suffers shortness of breath that he tracks to two short stints at James Hardie Ltd's Newstead plant in the early 60s.
"The X-rays show spots on my lungs," he says. "It (the disease) was dormant for about 40 years.
"They had me tipping bags of asbestos into a hopper. I only worked there for two weeks in 1961 and about six weeks in 1964."
John later studied carpentry by correspondence while working as a jackaroo on western Queensland and New South Wales cattle properties.
After he returned to civilisation, he set up at Birkdale, where he built an 18ft (5.5m) fibreglass boat in his backyard.
Now aged 63 and of Capalaba, John has a bigger boat for which the stern frame he used all those years ago supplied the pattern.
He loves crabbing and fishing on Moreton Bay and recently advertised in our Classifieds for "a hand".
John received about a half dozen calls but was waiting this week for the right applicant.
"Everyone wants one-day trips on weekends but I prefer weekdays, staying out overnight," he says. "It takes the same amount of work and makes the trip worthwhile.
"I have a chemical toilet and an outdoor shower cubicle."
John usually makes a base on North Stradbroke.

THE Times' Garage Sales notices are hot as Redlanders execute their spring clean-ups.
The countdown to the pre-Christmas peak is now on in earnest. Victoria Point was the Redlands' 2005 garage sale capital for the most sales during its December blitz, but it may struggle to keep the title if the spring notices are any guide.
Just before this week's deadline, 2004 champion, Alexandra Hills, appeared to be a bullnose in front of Birkdale and Victoria Point. The 2005 runner-up, Cleveland, had a mysterious drop to the tail of the leaderboard.
(This column appreared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia)

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