I have 9 old, wrinkly friends, who are retired or semi-retired. Five of them all used to work together and the other four are husbands. They didn't want to lose touch when they retired so they decided to meet and have lunch or dinner when it was their birthdays. However, they got disenchanted with buying a present every time, and decided instead to give a Birthday Bear (thats me.) I get passed from one birthday person to the next each time they meet. The fun part is, that I get to be dressed differently each time, usually to reflect some aspect of the recipient's personality or life.
PS: Two of my wrinklies, Chris and Bob, have gone on a working holiday tour around Australia so they don't celebrate with us very often.

Friday, May 22, 2009


It was Paul's Birthday and he is very proud of his Scottish heritage and spends a lot of time studying genealogy. He recently visited Scotland and met his relatives. So here is I have a Scottish Tam on my head and a bottle of Scotch whisky in my lap and I have opened my cupboard full of skeletons. We enjoyed lunch at Hog's Breath Cafe.
When it was Chris's birthday, I came dressed as a teacher of prisoners, as that is what Chris was doing at the time. Unfortunately for us, Chris and Bob have left our group to join the Grey Nomads travelling and working their way around Australia. We had lunch at the Blue Parrot on Macleay Island in Moreton Bay. When it was Diane's turn, I came as a blogger together with my cardboard laptop and camera. I was also sporting identical glasses to Diane and white hair like hers. We had lunch at my favourite Chinese Restaurant, Kam Koon.

Here I am blogging bear.

Helen had just returned from a River cruise in Europe on the blue Danube, so I came to the lunch dressed in my sun baking bikini , sunnies and a holiday hairdo. I am sipping a cool drink watching the boat sail down the Danube. Lunch was at Fish 52.

Kathy loves bush walking and walking her dog every morning. I came in my jogging track suit with bum bag and water bottle. I was wearing a black sunhat which is Kathy's trade mark as well as the long blond plait. In my hand I have the dog lead. Lunch at Sunnybank Hill's Tavern

The first time Paul received I was dressed as a fisherman as Paul loves fishing. Lunch at Runcorn Tavern.

On Bill's Birthday, I came as a videographer,with a white beard and glasses, holding a Swiss chocolate, Bill's favourite. I also brought a cardboard T.V. with a paper roll of a video. You could turn the handle and get the pictures scrolling.

But Igot distracted by some chocolate coated lychees that Kathy made for Bill. Lunch at Runcorn tavern.

Ann is always off travelling around Australia on coach tours, so here I am in a coach, together with my maps and crocheting. Lunch at Runcorn Tavern.

George loves reading. One of his favourite authors is Robert G Barret, he has written a series of funny books with the main character being Les Norton. Les is a bouncer and is always getting into strife. I came to lunch as Les Norton, sporting a black eye and his baseball cap. I also brought a sequel to the series including George as one of the characters. Lunch at Michael's Chinese Restaurant.

When it was Bob's birthday I came in my camping gear. I had my tent ,Esky( ice box), I even had a campfire and frying pan with fish in it. I also had an Aussie camp hat with a fly net all around. I had a map of Australia as Bob and Chris are just about ready to set off on a tour around the continent. Lunch at the Services Club.

Now Mary enjoys a good night out. So this night we went to Jupiter's Casino for dinner and a show. I came in all my glitter, baubles and bangles ready for show night.

Next time our birthday group went to a cafe at Mt Gravatt called "Bean Out". It was to celebrate Ann's birthday. Of course I came dressed as Ann, who enjoys going to the theatre and movies. She just about sees all the theatre productions that are on at any one time and she goes to the movies in between.

So here I am at the theatre, dressed in my theatre finery, clasping my tickets and programs, not to mention the popcorn and streamers for the final performance party at the theatre.

I had my hair done too.
Happy Birthday Ann.

Last Christmas the Birthday Group decided to have a Christmas Lunch at Springwood Hotel.

There was Diane, Ann, Kathy, Mary, George, Helen, Bill and Paul. Guess who else was there.........
........its Santa! Ho, ho, ho.( its really me) Ann did a fabulous job of dressing me up for the occasion

And there is Rudolph pulling my sleigh.
There I am at the head of the table. By the way the meals were good and the service excellent and the price all right.

On Bill's birthday, his choice of venue for our birthday group was the Australian Outback Spectacular show and dinner. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to go, I had to wait to join the others when they had supper at Diane and Bill's place after the show.
They arrived early to pick up tickets and then all visitors were corralled in a hall and entertained with bush songs while They waited for the doors to open. There were photos, drinks and memorabilia on sale.
They opted for a silly photo. Everyone is given a stockman's hat with either a red or yellow band to indicate which side of the arena to sit, and which station (ranch) they belonged to.

Bill and Diane with George waiting for the show to start in front of the horse stables. The horses were magnificent animals and so well cared for. No photography allowed in the show.
The show and meal was very good. They witnessed a multitude of riding skills, an incite into station life and the early pioneers. They listened to bush ballads watched sheepdog mustering and wild colt breaking. They cheered for our station/team in the pig races, camel races, and desert boat races. They saw Honda Quads verse horses in a time trial around an obstacle course and many more wonderful acts. They all enjoyed ourselves immensely and told me all about it when they all came home to find ..........

...that Ann had dressed me as a stockman on my horse for Bill. Diane had a senior moment and forgot to use a flash so pics not so good.
I had fun riding on my horse, which has it's head in the chaff bag. (or is it a web brush?)

Bill had a happy birthday.

I had my shotgun at the ready. I look smart in my jeans and checked shirt. Ann and George did a great job.

Bill cooked his own birthday apricot pie, isn't he a "bonza bloke?"

Paul, Bill, George, Mary, Helen and Ann. We miss Chris and Bob who are working their way around Australia actually they could be swimming around at the moment as they are in the flooded area of Queensland. Kathy couldn't make it tonight either.

Next time our birthday group celebrated George's birthday. He decided to have lunch and a river cruise on the Kookaburra Queen, paddle steamer.
Paul. Helen. Ann, George, Diane, Bill, Mary and guess who is in the sriped bag next to Mary? (I was dying to get out and have a look around) It was Mary's turn to dress me for George.

We arrived a little early so Diane took some shots of our surroundings. Here are the two Kookaburra Queen restaurant cruise boats.

Upstream is the Storey Bridge..Brisbane's landmark.

Looking up they see some of the office towers.

Then the tour guide calls us on board (what a character)

The photographer came.
My friends settled down for lunch but I wasn't allowed out of my bag until they had finished eating and made room for me on the table.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE.....George has just recently retired and I am dressed as a retired fisherman.

My hat has hooks and sinkers on it, my shirt is covered in fisherman's excuses for not catching any, I have a tin of bait over my arm, a bottle with a wriggly worm and of course my fishing rod.

And a book on 101 things to do in retirement.

After lunch the boat did a U turn and we headed back. the CBD.

Goodbye Brisbane River. I went home with George and Ann on the train, Helen, Paul and Mary went home on the City Cat ferry and car, Diane and Bill went home on the bus and car.
They did their bit to keep traffic out of the city, saved on parking fees and got off peak, pensioner concession tickets on all the public transport.

14 May 2009
This is going to be my most exciting birthday yet.
Unfortunately, Chris has missed all our birthdays this last year as she and husband Bob have started on a working tour around Australia. At the moment they are working in Townsville in Far North Queensland. As it was Chris' birthday this week the group decided to surprise her by taking me to Townsville. Bill rang Bob and made the arrangements but kept it secret from Chris. The lunch was to be on Saturday. The group decided to make it a 3 day getaway, so on Thursday, we flew to Townsville with I had a free flight in Ann's cabin luggage, he he he. It is a 2 hour flight.

The view from my hotel window.

Jupiter's Casino Hotel.

The group didn't want to be seen by Chris, so they thought they would leave the town and get a ferry to Magnetic Island.

Bob rang Bill with the startling news that Chris was taking her son to visit the island today. This was going to be tricky! Luckily she had gone early and was due back at 2:00 pm. The group's tour started at 1:15 from the ferry terminal. They had just got onto their bus when another arrived and they saw Chris and son alight and head for the ferry home. That was close!

The next day we were to walk to the Rock Pool Restaurant where Bob had arranged for us to surprise Chris, she thought she was just having lunch with Bob and neighbours from the caravan park.

I was clamouring to get out of the bag and check out the hotel before going to lunch.Here I am in casual holiday attire, bikini and sarong. Accessories included a bead bag with sun screen and insect repellent, bucket and spade, and a booklet with photos and stories of all the lunches, which Chris had missed. Ann dressed me and I was very suitably attired for Townsville.
I checked out the pool area and had a sun bake.

Then I ordered a drink....

...and chatted with friends, Diane, Ann and Helen.

I contemplated having a swim......

....but decided on a workout in the gym.

I needed a nap before the long walk to the restaurant.

We walked 2.5 kms along the beautiful Strand Park. The tropical views are magic. There is no surf because the Great Barrier Reef stops the waves.

Sadly you cannot swim in the sea at this time of the year as there are dangerous marine stingers.

However, there are netted enclosures where it is safe to swim. But I just wanted to get to the restaurant.
"O.K. I'm ready for Chris to arrive and give her a big surprise."

Here she comes with Bob.

She is so happy to see us all that she.....
...cries.....but not for long.....
I think she enjoyed the surprise for her 60th birthday.

Then we all settled down for our birthday lunch I was at the head of the table.

Ann, Pam, Troy, George, Bob, Chris, Diane, Helen and Paul.(Bill took the photo)

We watched the sun go down. It was a beautiful sunset to end an exciting day.

Bye, bye Townsville, bye bye Chris and Bob. I wasn't allowed to stay, I had to come home with the others to get ready for Mary's birthday on 12 June. Mary couldn't come with us to Townsville as she was on holiday in Victoria.

So now that you have met me. In future posts you will be kept up to date with my antics. (and what silly seniors do when they are retired)


  1. Ma'am Diane, you will never grow old. why? Because you never stop playing. This is an adult version of "Play School". And I believe it is sane, healthy and happy for all of you.

    What a bright idea! You are fortunate because all of you live at least closer to each other. What a story to tell, Ma'am Diane.

    If through your posting I will continue to enjoy life by just reading fun blogs like this, then it makes me very happy to know that folks like you LIVE to the FULLEST!

    Hope to see more birthday bears next time. And the motif of dressing Birthday Bear according to each celebrant's persona is another splendid Idea too!

    Wonderful! Miss coming to your blog. And what a new and lovely surprise to find!

    Great thinker Ma'am Diane is! Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL!

  2. I love what you have done here Diane. Birthday Bear has his very own blog. So sweet. I enjoyed each and every birthday experience and thought of how cool it would be to have a birthday bear in our family.

  3. What a wonderful bunch of mates, and a very nice old bear who is a show off with all his outfits, but still seems a nice enough chap,( for and Auzzie bear!) it hasn't all gone to his head.
    Good luck for lots more adventures together.

  4. Good to see Birthday Bear has his own blog and since he has such an interesting existence with heaps of things to share with all of us.