Sunday, December 31, 2006

Lazy Days

MB was taken by the fancy to do some swimming today, the last day of 2006. Serious swimming mind you, laps at the local swimming pool. MDR was recruited on the pretext of doing some underwater hockey training and off the pair went, alas the pool was closed. Is New Year's Eve a public holiday?
"Let's go to the Bellevue where we stayed last week, you remember the PIN code for the pool gate don't you?" suggests MDR. MB isn't a fan of furtively using other people's swimming pools and countered with the idea of actually swimming in the ocean at Trinity Beach.
With both agreeing on a swim at the beach, they set off and amazingly found a parking spot just near the stinger net. Understood why when they walked onto the beach, not a soul swimming in the stinger proof enclosure and big signs warning swimming was prohibited as Irukandji jellyfish present!
After some lolling on the sand, the pair did a beach walk up to the Ron McKauge Track and walked around the rocky point. MB did actually get to do some paddling in the shallows and spotted a turtle from the walking track.
Trinity Beach on a late afternoon with a brisk sou-easterly sea breeze is certainly a very nice spot to be.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Day 2006 Trinity Beach

Christmas Lunch was a triumph, just one small hitch, forgot the peas, however some sauteed broccoli filled in admirably.
The little one was a bit overwhelmed by all the fuss, did lots of climbing on his avalanche of gifts, Mummy, Uncle, doting grand & great grandparents had to help with the unwrapping. Great Grandpa Steve was like a kid in a lolly factory, building a tower taller than himself with every piece of gift baby duplo.
Christmas night saw the MB family challenge MB for the Trivial Pursuit crown. After a long battle with lots of friendly bickering, the yougest son and Nana Anne team emerged victorious.
Holiday apartment was sensational, perched above the beach, each night the MB family was soothed to sleep by the sound of waves lapping the beach, plus some wine and/or beer....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cynicism to the Fore

Interesting discussion on ABC RN Counterpoint last night about a chap by the name of Dr Kersten who got so sick of the motivational guff and jargon that so many companies insist on forcing on their staff he decided to write his own book, The Art of Demotivation. MB checked out the website and got quite a chuckle from some of the satirical illustrations shown there. Worth a peek if you're jaded with those corporate love-ins and motivational types.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

:::::: Mango Season ::::::

Just showing off a fraction of Mr MB's mango harvest from our very own garden.

Christmas at Trinity Beach

Christmas is much on the minds of the MB family at present. The general consensus is for a tradtional home made hot lunch. First Daughter and MB have therefore hatched a plan to celebrate Christmas Day at the Northern Beaches of Cairns. This entails booking an air-conditioned, waterfront apartment so that the traditional hot lunch can be made and enjoyed in relative comfort!
MB's first draft menu follows:

Christmas Lunch Menu
Roasted Turkey, fresh free range from Marsh's Butchers, with sage & onion stuffing.

Roasted Rolled Loin of Pork stuffed with Apples & Wine Soaked Prunes.
Oven Roasted Tablelands' potatoes & pumpkin, kaukau, red onion & carrots. Seasoned with fresh mixed herbs and extra virgin olive oil.

Baby Peas infused with Corinne's home grown Mint.
Mesclun Salad with Vine Ripened Tomatoes and Millaa Millaa Buffalo Milk Bocconcini dressed with Balsamic & Olive Oil.
Traditional Home Made Cognac Steeped Christmas Pudding wrapped in calico accompanied by warm home made Crème Patissiere.
A selection of Ice Cold Drinks including: XXXX Gold & Corona, Trevor Jones Sparkling Shiraz, Dorrien Estate Rosè, Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Yarra Valley Pinot Noir & Chez Coles Sparkling Mineral Water for those not partaking.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Vale Holly Doggie

The MB family lost their faithful, beloved pooch this week, on Monday 13 November to be precise. Holly entertained, exasperated and looked out for the MB family for nigh on fifteen years. MB is thankful Holly passed away peacefully, due to old age, and did not suffer greatly, in fact she was her usual self more or less right up until the end. Mr MB found her a nice spot in the backyard, under the avocado tree, he's going to carve her name into the avocado trunk. Needless to say the Holly dog is going to be missed in a big way.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

First Daughter's Birthday

FD celebrated her birthday yesterday with a mandatory meal at Donnini's. We weren't disappointed either, we all enjoyed a superb lunch. Not dinner as a little too late for the little prince to go out.
TCO got her a birthday card illustrated with Miss Bossy on the front, his message inside was "you can have anything you want today except the password to my computer", when she read this she laughed and confirmed she was going to raise that topic again at lunch!
FD's planned night out clubbing didn't eventuate, maybe next year?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Christmas Wish List 2006:

Subscription to New Yorker Magazine, Showy Lilac Jade pendant - abstract design, Rick Stein's French Odyssey DVD, HDD Recorder with DVD burner and twin HD tuners, a couple of months anywhere in Europe, any book by PG Wodehouse or Elizabeth David (2nd hand is good), Pre-loved Finlandia 1970's "Arabia Ruska" stoneware or Temuka 1980's "Riverstone" stoneware and lastly a custom built, minimalist/shaker fusion design tropical hardwood timber kitchen hutch. Thank you

Siblings & Passwords

Firstborn Daughter (with baby Eljay) is staying in the family home whilst renovations are in progress at her house. FD is staying in her old room which is now MB's office, when baby goes to bed very early in the evenings, the room and computer therein are unavailable. First night FD needed to check her email and do some posts on her blog and tried to use her brother's PC, but was unable to get past the login password, TCO was out so she gave him a call to ask for the password. Fireworks ensured when TCO wouldn't divulge his password.
FD protests; "How can you let him have a computer with a password on it?". "He is entitled to his privacy." responds MB. For the past 3 days, while TCO is at work, FD has been trying to crack the password, unsuccessfully. The password topic has been raised by FD morning and night ever since. MB is finding it really quite amusing watching the interplay between her two "grown-up" kids.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday Lunch on Cairns' Esplanade

Mr MB came second in his spearfishing tournament on Saturday and won a one hundred dollar voucher for a meal at Villa Romana. MB immediately booked in for a late lunch on Sunday. After seeing "The Wind that shakes the Barley", a two hour epic of the brutality of the English occupation of Ireland just prior to the Truce, MDR & MB met the offspring at Villa Romana.
This restaurant is one of those "places to be seen" establishments in a superb location on the strip that is now riddled with tourists and "Made in China" Aussie souvenir shops. Lunch for the four of us was over $200 and honestly was very mediocre. Our meals were reasonable but lacked really fresh ingredients and imagination, the pasta in particular was very disappointing.
Villa Romana looks and feels good but the food is nowhere near the standard of some of the little "value" South Melbourne cafes MB & MDR dined in when last in Melbourne.
MB is pleased to report Baby Eljay was on his best behaviour, he sat up in his high chair as if he belonged there, munching on calamari and bread, and hardly a squeak from him for 2 hours.

Loud Failure

MB received her new super silent power supply during the week and proceeded with immediate installation, which was very straightforward. Once the PC was re-assembled it was switched on and yes it is extremely quiet, however after about 3 minutes the CPU fan started up. MB has now discovered the CPU fan is the main culprit, it can be heard quite clearly even in other rooms. More Googling has turned up some quiet fans which are quite reasonably priced, under $30. However MB has to open the case again to measure the existing fan, for which she is awaiting some more motivation. MB hears the dual core processors don't require cooling devices as they don' t heat up as much, is this a good enough excuse to upgrade?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Silence aint Cheap

MB enjoys quietness and to this end has decided to do something about her very noisy PC which sounds like an aircraft engine. For some unknown reason it becomes even louder the longer it's been running, the noise is due to a cheap power supply which MB's local yokel supplier claimed was very quiet. Google to the rescue, there is actually an American website for quiet pc design, amazing, it's not just MB with a noise problem!
MB has decided on the Seasonic S12, it has a very low Db rating and even uses less power. This is one of the better power supplies that can be bought in Australia (according to MB's research anyway). $199 for a power supply is pretty expensive but after two years of being worn down by the present one MB would pay just about anything for peace. After placing an order online with a pc parts supplier (and paying) MB realised she hadn't checked on Ebay for one, sure enough some of the exact same model (new) for sale in Oz, sellers asking for $221. "Well shopped!" says MB as she contorts herself for a self applied pat on the back.
On a completely different tack; did you know that Mynah birds eat their dead relations? MB discovered a dead Mynah bird in her backyard this morning and is psyching herself up for disposal thereof. She is having evil thoughts about a "gift" for the howling dog next door. All day long other Mynah birds have been dropping in and feasting on their poor, dead relation.
Must go, the lawnmowing beckons....Mr MB, the gun lawn mower is over in London, dammit.

Monday, September 25, 2006

BBQ Sunday

No rest for the wicked.
Two hours after MDR landed at home from his week long Philippines/Brisbane trip, it was off to the local park for a BBQ lunch.

Here he is demonstrating his beer marindade technique.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


En route from Townsville back to Cairns, I stopped in for lunch at Muddy's in Cardwell (07 4066 8133, 221 Victoria St. Cardwell Qld 4849). I'd heard good things about this place from MDR and I'm a big fan of crabs so I was really looking forward to a big feed of chilli crab.

The chilli mud crab was priced at around $70 on the menu which seemed a bit toppy. I was pretty hungry, however, so I went ahead and ordered one anyway. Here's a picture of the crab I was served;

Well, I must say, the crab was excellent. Cooked to perfection with just enough chilli so as not to overwhelm the taste of the very fresh crab meat. Was it worth $70? Definitely!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Let them eat Spinach

Monday saw the departure of the MB family from Charters Towers, MDR was pushing everyone along in the morning, much to MB's disgruntlement. The girls managed to get in half an hour's shopping before being hustled back to the car for the return journey to Cairns.
Lunch was just south of Ingham, at one of those roadside rest stops. This one was adjacent to a farm with two very friendly ponys, who watched as the MB family made and ate salad rolls for lunch.
This equine pair's patience was rewarded when MB and Cindy (Son of MB's girlfriend) fed the remainder of the salad spinach to them, which was gobbled up with lots of lip smacking. This was so much fun more treats were offered, two fermenting mandarines and an old baby's rusk which the horses made short of work of as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Australian Bank of Commerce

Just one of the beautiful heritage buildings in Charters Towers, this one built in 1891.

Pioneer Cemetery

This large cemetery in Charters Towers contains so many graves of children and adults in the prime of their lives. A poignant reminder of the fortunate times and longevity we enjoy.
Thanks to son of MB for all of the CT photos.

Charters Towers Sunday Sightseeing

Sunday saw the MB family on a whirlwind sightseeing tour of Charters Towers with mother of MB and step-dad, Steve.
Luckily it was the second Sunday of the month and the local markets were being held at the CT showgrounds. Our party swarmed into the markets, scouring the stalls for underpriced treasure. Lots of country style crafts and some nice fresh produce on sale. MDR & MB are honey fans and found some excellent Bloodwood honey being sold by a smiling eyes local honey producer. MB also spotted a couple selling chickens and was able to have an illuminating discussion on the relative merits of the Transylvanian Naked Neck hens, apparently they are very good in the heat as their featherless necks can shed heat quickly. MB harbours a strong desire to establish a chook pen and so have a ready supply of the freshest eggs possible.
After the markets it was a stroll downtown and coffee at the cafe in Australia's first stock exchange. The slowest coffee ever, 50 minutes wait for a lukewarm latte. Charters was once the second largest city in Queensland and has a fine collection of heritage buildings, all in very good shape.
PB treated us with Lunch to go which he picked up from Chez Coq Rouge for a picnic by the Burdekin River Weir (pictured). CT is so well supplied with water that the Qld Govt. wants to pipe their water down to the parched south-east.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Expedition to the Interior

After days of planning and discussions the MB family loaded up the trucksters and hit the road for Charters Towers on Saturday morning, only 35 minutes behind schedule. Not bad for 6 adults and one baby.
At the last planning "meeting" the inland route incorporating a trip to the Undara Lave Tubes was cancelled in favour of the quicker (5.5hrs) coastal route. Amazing how one little baby can have so much influence.
The coastal route took the expedition party Townsville where they turned west to Charters Towers, which is approximately 120klms inland. Townsville has the temerity to proclaim itself the "Capital of North Queensland". This sign at the northern entrance to Townsville did not go unnoticed by some members of the travelling party. MDR feels it's been placed there, rather than on the southern entrance, just to antagonize the folks who live in that verdant jewel of a city 4 hours north of Townsville.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Farewell Winter

MDR & MB's last day in Melbourne happened also to be the last day of winter and reached a high of 24c, perfect for a stroll through the Botanic Gardens and Shrine of Remembrance. Pictured above is the view to the city from the steps of the Shrine.
One last gourmet meal was had at Trotters in Lygon St (recommended by The Age Cheap Eats). The veal and sage sausages were a treat and the service remarkably good.
MB's planned shopping spree was severely curtailed by strict enforcement of baggage restrictions, as it was her baggage was 5kg overweight, but the nice chap at Virgin check-in let it pass.

Stop Press: Keep posted for the next excursion, a road trip to Charters Towers soon to visit mother of MB. This is going to be one of those family vacation type road trips with kids, in-laws, the lot! Should be plenty of sparks flying.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Melbourne HQ

MB dropped into her head office this morning to put some faces to voices on the other end of the 'phone. It's located in a tower in Collins St, what a jaw dropper, the ground level foyer is all marble columns, vaulted ceilings, marble floors and walls, huge sculptures and water features. "Roman Senate" springs to mind when entering this space, truly amazing.
Weather forecast today is a sunny 20c and, not bad for winter. A great day for the gardens.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Melbourne Monday

MB's shopping expedition was cut short with a visit to the irrepressible Halina, who has transformed an apartment on the Eastern edge of the CBD into her own very individual and spectacular grand style. The apartment has picture windows overlooking the exhibition gardens and double glazing, a true haven. After some compulsory computer tweaking, Halina took MB to the Mekong for a truly sublime Vietnamese lunch.

Monday night was dinner at Aunt Monica's with Aunt Norah & Uncle Barry in Monica's new villa. Monica cooked up a storm as usual, Crumbed lamb cutlets with pancetta & cheese, nicola potatoes gratin, gorgonzola & bella donna cheese platter, finished off with a gorgeous quince tart and Caroline's light as air chocolate cupcakes. MDR did some architectural drawing for Monica's patio while we all caught up with the latest family events, latest grandson is Nate, born on 17 August. Twelve of the Breen clan are off to the USA on 11 Sept for a month's holiday, America will never be the same again!

Tuesday morning saw Mr & Mrs MB head into town for more retail therapy and hopefully a visit to the Potter Art Museum at Melbourne Uni. It reputedly has a fine collection of antiquities. Halina's review of the Picasso exhibition was not so wonderful, so still debating whether or not to go.

MDR whipped off his croc skin belt this morning at the handbag repair shop where MB is getting her precious Fendi bag repaired. Another customer was there trying to buy a croc skin belt and couldn't find what he wanted, until he saw MDR's belt. Turns out he'd just returned from a trip to Cairns and forgot to buy one which he'd promised. MB got his email address and will send him some contacts when she gets home. What good Samaritans hey?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Zoo Sunday

A trip to Melbourne doesn't seem complete without a trip to the Zoo. Mr & Mrs MB carefully planned a tram trip to the zoo, using the directions from the Melbourne Zoo brochure. This entailed a walk over the Yarra River footbridge to Flinders St station, then cutting through the underground tunnel to Elizabeth St. At the tram stop there was a sign from 2005 directing zoo visitors to the No. 55 tram in Market St. This is the tram line one block from the timeshare apartment, so much for forward planning.

The animals at the zoo were all a bit slow, must be the chill. The Meerkats were the stars of the zoo, very cute, all standing up on their hind legs, facing the sun. Being Sunday the zoo was overrun with strollers, families and pregnant women, that baby bonus sure is working.

Sunday dinner was a great find, MDR suggested a visit to the Golden House Chinese restaurant just around the corner from the timeshare. MB was a bit indifferent to this suggestion as it was very unchartered territory. The restaurant was filled with Chinese patrons (always a good sign) and specialises in hotpot meals with Peking Duct (looked and tasted like Duck). MDR ordered the combo hotpot, a pot split in two with a mild soup in one side and a super spicy soup in the other loaded with chilies. A plate of very interesting vegies, fungus and some unrecognisable stuff appeared, along with platters of fresh seafood, lamb, beef etc with bowls of sesame dipping sauce. This was the perfect dinner for a cold winter's night in Melbourne, great value too, only $25 per head.

The casino is very close by but still no game of blackjack yet. MDR & MB did a walk through, there must be thousands of people in there at one time. It's a complete assault on the senses, all MB could feel was the faint aura desperation and disconnectedness of the gamblers, they seemed to be in a trance like state. MDR spotted 3 huge screens telecasting horse racing, AFL and NRL side by side. Luckily there was an eatery nearby so it was lunch there while MDR watched the Cowboys thrash the rabbitohs.

Monday will see MB escaping the couple thing to sack the city shops.

Where's the Rugby?

MDR peering into the window of the Maori Chief Hotel in South Melbourne, looking for that elusive televised Rugby Game.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Wagamama No More

Mr & Mrs MB are very happily ensconced in their palatial 2 bedroom timeshare apartment in Melbourne's Southbank, compliments of PB.

The apartment is the only timeshare apartment in this mainly residential building and on arrival the snooty concierge sent the MB's scuttling across the road to some shortstay rental office. After some time studying his computer the receptionist then sent them back across the road. The concierge then asked "Are you the the Americans?" A rather strange question for a couple who are unmistakably Aussie. The concierge warmed up after the "timeshare" expression was mentioned and the apartment keys were made available.

After working out how to turn on the central heating and thawing out MDR was keen for some Wagamama. He'd enjoyed an earlier visit to the Wagamama in St Kilda in April. MB worked out the tram route and the pair set out into the cold winter night to the tram stop 2 blocks from the apartment tower. The tram ended at Fitzroy St in St Kilda but not next to the Wagamama as MB had planned, it was a a further 2 blocks up Fitzroy St. Imagine their disappointment when they arrived to find the Wagamama was closed down and completely empty, even the signage was gone. Plenty of restaurants in the vicinity so MDR & MB settled on a little Italian Cafe and had a some winter warming pasta and risotto respectively. MDR also indulged in a very nice Sticky Date pudding, he declared it to be one of the best he's ever had.

Saturday morning's itinerary was exploring nearby Clarendon St, South Melbourne. This is a great street with lots of interesting shops and restaurants, loads of wine shops, everyone here must drink like fish, MB has caught the bug and picked up a Pinot Rose cleanskin, eat your heart out PB. No hairdryer in the timeshare, MB called the manager asked for one but was told "no hair dryers, they always get nicked". MB found a cheapie in a Clarendon St secondhand, along with a promising Evelyn Waugh book she hasn't read.

South Melbourne market is nearby and is next on the intinerary. Lunch is planned at the Crown complex, MB is even interested in trying her hand at blackjack or "21" as MDR insists on calling it. Could be dangerous....

Friday, August 25, 2006


Arrived in Melbourne 01:00am this morning, first night at the Hotel Ibis near the Victoria Markets. Excellent flight down, exit row seats and a flight that wasn't full (a rarity these days). After a very hot bath this morning, in our upgraded suite - lucked out again - ventured out into the cold for a food fix at the markets. Of course had to have a fresh, hot jam doughnut....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Golden Fleece

Mr & Mrs MB hobnobbed it with the arty set last week at the Cairns Regional Gallery for the opening of the annual Cairns Art Show. The local arts fraternity is alive and well, judging by the quality and quantity of work on display at this event, as well as the crowd, it was standing room only. Pictured is the "Unpackers Prize Winner", a real crowd pleaser.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Howling Pest

Living in the suburbs has its high and low points. The MB family has been subjected to a real howler of a dog for quite some time. This ruddy dog hates being left on it's own so when it's owners depart it finds a nice big verandah or car port with lots of hard surfaces to ensure it's howling is magnified and amplified to maximum effect into our bedrooms, day and night, for as long as it's owners are absent.

Mr MB mentioned there is an electronic dog collar available which works by emitting some sort of electronic/audio shock each time they bark. This prompted MB to try some trawling on the net and found this pearler at "Barking Problems - Docteur Meder Behavior Chronicle's Barking problems what can we do?" Excessive vocalizing in dogs constitutes auditory contamination for which there exists no costumbrism, but rather a decrease in auditory capacity, nervousness.....

MB is the none the wiser on what can be done about this pest, apart from sending Mr MB over to menace the howler's owners.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pleas no Stieling - PLeas be Onest Thank you

Stopped at this wonderfully charming and unique roadside produce stall in Julatten today.

Monday, August 07, 2006

O M G the Eggplant Exploded

Had an overload of home grown eggplant (not from the writer's garden alas) so MB decided to roast them tonight while dinner was cooking and make a baba ghanoush tomorrow. Egyptian best friend has the world's best baba recipe. As the MB family were savouring son's lime & rosemary pork loin chops with fresh tablelands' potato mash there was a loud explosion from the direction of the kitchen, MB ran out to investigate and found epgplant "shrapnel" all through the oven, it actually looked like huge, dripping globules of snot! Truly revolting. Son of MB took a photo but MB doesn't even want to go there.
Luckily two eggplants were still complete, so the baba will still be on tomorrow, albiet a smaller quantity.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Origami Zoo

Just got my home office back today and found this charming origami zoo on my desk, courtesy of Denpa, Shigei and Yama, three japanese visitors who've been occupying my study for the past week. They are school chums of Paul's from when he was on student exchange in Japan.
Such a sweet gesture. Can you imagine a trio of holidaying teenage Aussie boys making an origami zoo for their host?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another Triumph in the Kitchen

On Sunday night son of MB produced a superb Roast Pork with lovely crackling and all the trimmings. Daughter of MB also contributed a gorgeous steamed plum pudding for dessert. Don't you just love all those heart stopping winter foods.... Tonight it was Burritos, a welcome light change to the rather heavy, but nice, roast dinner the night before.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Challenge Begins

Son of MB has promised to cook for the family for 7 straight nights in return for his Mumsy mowing the lawn for his sister (the new Mum). Mumsy finds this highly amusing and can't help snickering each time she recalls Son of MB negotiating a deal so he could avoid doing the dreaded lawnmowing.
Last night was the first night with the new chef and a relatively easy meal, home made pizza (including home made yeast dough). The pizzas were very good, but the dough wasn't quite right, not quite sure what went wrong there. The only thing missing was anchovies but Mumsy and MDR were in the minority in that regard.
Looking forward to tonight's dinner, as yet no information to hand on what will be served. Sunday night will be roast night, Mumsy bagged a huge leg of roast pork on Friday at Woolies which nearly gave the the checkout chicklette a hernia.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ando Comedy Commando

The MB family were treated to some great live Australian stand-up comedy last night with Wil Anderson doing a show in Cairns. Wil, despite having a very nasty flu, had the entire audience laughing more or less continuously during his show. Seeing him live was a real treat, his delivery on stage is a lot punchier than his stuff on The Glasshouse. The MB family even bumped into Wil before the show at the Italian restaurant just down the road from the show venue, but politely him gave him his space and didn't mob him like some empty headed fans would. Looking to forward to seeing him again next year, hopefully at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Monday, June 12, 2006

CUBs Reunion in Sydney

Son of MB has decided the extended and far flung family should meet up in Sydney this Christmas. Sydney really is the most wonderful city with the best summer weather in Australia by far. The hunt is now on for a nice big holiday shack somewhere on the North Shore. Here's hoping we'll pass the NSW border security questionnaire. Wonder what the questions will be? Maybe we could grease the palms of a corrupt and greedy border security functionary?

Border Security

Balmy tropical winter days in the deep North mean lots of walking for MB and her hirsute hound, Holly dog. The other half, MDR, accompanied the duo today on a jaunt through the very scenic neighbourhood rainforest reserve, which happens to be a mosquito infested flood plain during the wet season. MDR noted the annual influx of Southern visitors, in particular, motor vehicles with "Mexican" number-plates. This provoked some rather xenophobic comments from him and in the ensuing debate it was decided that the Queensland borders should be manned by security officers who would administer questionnaires to intending visitors. Visitors would have to satisfy the Queensland authorities with their knowledge of Rugby League, Cane Toads, Beer, Bjelke-Petersen and Qantas before being given permission to enter the Smart State. One can imagine the border being choked with mobs of cold mexicans queueing for days to get through.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Move over DINK's

The CUB's (Cashed up Bogans) are now on the ascendant.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm Chuffed

MB watched all the business & politics programs this morning on the ABC in order to gloat over the scuttling of the Snowy Hydro sale. Another fact MB has only just gleaned was that the Snowy Hydro sale was going to inject over a billion dollars into this year's NSW state budget, their last one before the next NSW State elections. Would it be cynical of MB to suppose the current NSW Govt. had a very compelling and much shorter term agenda? John Dalla Bosca has the to be the spinmeister extraordinaire, when he was interviewed this morning he managed to duck and weave his way out of any meaningful answers to the interviewer's questions.
On another note Matthew Slatter from Tabcorp could really use a personal stylist, that pinstripe suit with the striped tie was not a good look.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Save the Snowy Hydro

MB is extremely concerned and really quite appalled at the sell off of the Snowy Hydro, with water rights for 72 yrs being handed over to the new owners. The sell-off was announced in January this year and there has been hardly a stir in the media and barely any significant public debate.

This isn't just an electricity company, it controls & owns vast amounts of water. How can the driest continent on earth hand over such a water rich asset to private investors? These water rights really are totally priceless and will be an absolute bargain for the buyers no matter what the Governments sells them for.

The Snowy Hydro may be located in southern NSW and Northern Victoria however all Australians have stake in the Hydro, it supplies electricity to Australia-wide grid and I'm sure once the Snowy is privatised, the cost of that power will increase and we will all feel it next time we get our electricity bill.

The Snowy River has only just started being rehabilitated, with water flows being gradually increased from 1% in 2002. Will the Snowy River continue to be rehabilitated after the NSW, Victorian and Commonwealth Governments sell off the Snowy Hydro?

There are three major issues here: Water, Conservation and Electricity, can we trust the Snowy Hydro Chairman, (who is also chairman of the Sydney Futures Exhange*) to think in the best interests of all Australians rather than in the best interests of private investors seeking quick profits?

Honestly it's like selling your mother to white slavers. Water is such a fundamental issue and control of our water should not be handed over to any minority group be it a business or otherwise. *

Online Petitions: and

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day

The MB family treated their Queenbee (hey that rhymes with MB) to two home cooked meals, which is an all time record. Youngest son was going to get up at 7am and make a crepe breakfast but didn't get up until First born daughter arrived and shook him out of bed at around 9am. Son of MB then made a batch of light as air, melt in the mouth crepes, with chantilly cream, fresh fruit and jam, ensuring the crepes evaporated in a very short time.
That evening Son of MB decided to cook something from MB's new Italian cookbook "Silver Spoon", he found a special recipe for meatballs with a secret ingredient and cooked up a super dinner. A pavlova would have been the "icing on the cake" but it was not to be..... Good thing too, MB really doesn't need all those kilojoules.
First born daughter knows what her Mum likes, an Angus & Robertson gift voucher, so MB can indulge her voracious appetite for a book or two.
By the way, the secret ingredient in the meatballs was mashed potatoes.
MB has been temping at a professional office for the past 3 weeks, mon-fri. Plenty of material there for some blogging so keep posted.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Commercial TV

"Commercial" is certainly the operative word when it comes to free to air television. Most of MB's limited viewing is on the ABC and SBS, with some cable TV thrown in. When the MB family were holidaying in Numurkah, one the commercial TV stations was screening a new Hannibal "movie". Big mistake trying to watch this, the length and frequency of the advertisements was completely overwhelming. The Hannibal program wasn't terribly good and it turned into an endurance test with all of the $%&*(!# advertising.
It gets worse though, the cable TV we subscribed to in 2000, for the Olympics, is also becoming clogged with advertisements. Paying a high monthly fee for this advertising makes MB very steamed up. However MB thinks the folks at the cable TV place are pretty canny, they don't interrupt the sport programs with adverts, so there is no way the male spouse is going to give up the cable TV.

Fireball Incident

Whenever a cyclone threatens Cairns the MB family loves to recount the Fireball Incident. This story has reached mythical proportions but the version herein is the most accurate.

In 2000 Cyclone Steve was on track to pass over Cairns so the MB family made all the usual preparations, storing water, getting candles, making sure there were batteries for torches etc. Late in the afternoon of the day the cyclone was due to hit, MB also picked up some extra bread at the bakery and for a special treat bought 4 jam donuts, one for each member of the family to have after dinner.

MDR put an esky on a towel on the floor in the kitchen in readiness for the usual power failure. Sure enough, the power failed once the wind got stronger, at around 6pm.

MB being the good mother she is lit some candles and started to assemble a small, portable gas lantern in the kitchen to cook some dinner. This particular appliance used a small gas cylinder which you had to punch with the gas lantern top to connect it. MB duly did this but the gas started to escape very rapidly and immediately caught on fire from the candles nearby. The escaping gas turned into a fireball over 2 metres high and completely engulfed and carbonised everything in it's path. The sight of the fireball was really quite breathtaking and the entire MB family was there to witness it, their collective jaws dropping and their eyes wide with wonder and panic.

MDR came to the rescue by grabbing the towel from under the nearby esky and smothering the fire. A dazed MB and kids were still gaping when a neighbour burst through our front door to help douse the fire, he'd witnessed the entire fireball though the kitchen window which overlooks the street. We gingerly lifted the towel, expecting to see a very damaged benchtop but amazingly enough there was no damage whatsoever, the closest thing to the gas bottle when the gas ignited was a paper bag containing the special treat donuts. This was incinerated and all that was lying there were 3 small, round, black things. MB realised that someone had eaten one of the donuts surreptitiously and cast an accusing eye over the assembled family members. Youngest son rather smugly owned up to eating one earlier in the afternoon!

There was no fire damage at all in the kitchen, luckily the ceilings are over 3m high so the fireball didn't reach. MB did get burnt arms though and needed some pretty heavy duty painkillers to get through the night, no scarring fortunately.

In case you're wondering, we disposed of the lantern and the spare cylinders.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Tide is Turning

MB just discovered adbusters via the weekend papers, they are producing anti-logo sneakers. You may remember MB's laments on this subject in an earlier post. Should MB even be advertising these shoes on this blog? Feels wrong somehow....

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Melbourne Comedy Festival

Those Melburnians really know how to stage an event. The MB family got to see two shows on Saturday night, many were sold out so opted to see "Waiting for Compo". A farce incorporating empty VB tins, a tub chair and some bogans from the burbs trying to get publicity by rioting and also claiming compo for their young son who had developed man boobs from being fed exclusively on reject battery hens.
The show was staged in a function room at the Duckboard Lane RSL, off Flinders Lane in Melbourne. The RSL is one of those old clubs full of wartime memorabilia and very atmospheric, we had a beer there before the show.
After that show we decided to go to the Trades Hall where comedy films were being sceened. This was another great venue, again we were funnelled to the show via the bar, which was adorned with lots of union posters and solidarity paraphenalia. We saw Night on Earth by John Jarmusch, made in the early 90's and chock full of famous actors, my favourite was Roberto Benignini playing a crazy Tuscan taxi driver in Rome.
Also screened was an episode of Grommatie High from Japan, one of those wierd Japanese Manga type cartoons.
Planning and booking ahead is going to be a priority for next year's
festival, this year's program was amazingly good.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So Many Choices, So Little Time

As expected Melbourne has dazzled the MB family with an overwhelming array of cultural and gourmet opportunities. The 20th Melbourne International Comedy Festival is currently in full swing and there are over 200 comedy shows to see. With only one night left it's so hard to know what to choose...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Feel the Serenity

Thanks Blues for the nudge. The MB family escaped the heat and humidity of NQ last week for some rural therapy in Northern Victoria at PB's country club retreat in Numurkah. Lots of golf, wine, touring and gourmet & not-so-gourmet eating. Yesterday it was roast chook from the Chicken Ranch in downtown Numurkah, the day before it was seared lamb fillet served pink at Oscar W's in Echuca.
MDR was getting a bit edgy in landlocked Numurkah but a day trip to Echuca solved his boat withdrawal symptoms, a trip on a Murray River paddlesteamer perked him up. He was ecstatic when he was served XXXX Gold on tap at Oscar W's. Incidentally MDR keeps pronouncing Echuca "Yu-chewka", oh well can't be perfect at everything.
Pictured is a spectacular skeleton of a gum tree seen at the Kinnaird Wetlands, on the outskirts of Numurkah, MDR & MB were hoping to do some bird spotting but the wetlands were as dry as toast, another victim of the drought no doubt (nice rhyme there).
We head back in the family truckster to the big smoke in Melbourne on Good Friday, MB can't wait to have some fat, juicy scallops which are impossible to get up North, maybe a little shopping too. The boys are looking forward to Coffin Bay oysters which apparently can be found at the Prahran Markets, a few blocks from where we'll be staying. We're not obsessed with food are we?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cyclone Larry

A rather tardy posting as Cyclone Larry is now old news. However wanted to display this photo of an uprooted tree outside the Cairns City Council. Our city's trees suffered dreadfully during this storm.
Cairns was very fortunate to be on the periphery of this very destructive cyclone, which ravaged the coastal towns about 100klm south of Cairns.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tea Anyone?

Why photograph a box of tea?

If you read the small print near the base you'll see that it says "Supreme Monkey Pick Oolong Tea".

MB has visions of an exalted monkey picking tea on the verdant hillslopes in Oolong. This monkey could even wear a saffron robe and tell your fortune by reading the tea leaves.

Or is there a labour shortage in China and monkeys are being trained to replace humans? The mind boggles.

The tea is actually very, very good and MB is very fortunate to have the most gorgeous sister-in-law who always remembers to send her gourmet teas.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Aunty Sue was published in the Melbourne Age for the second time in a few weeks.

Hoping this post will provoke some heated political debate....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

North African Travel Plans

MB was rather alarmed to read that the Italian Embassy in Libya was torched by protestors on the pretext that they were upset by those Danish cartoons.
Libya & Tunisia are on the itinerary of the study tour MB was hoping to take later this year. One of the best preserved Roman cities, Leptis Magna, is located on Mediterranean coast of Libya.
MB did a blog search of Leptis Magna and found some great blog posts from bloggers who had visited this amazing site, there are also loads of excellent photos on Flickr. One can certainly travel vicariously using the 'net.
So the jury is still out on whether or not to go....

This Space for Rent

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of advertising on clothing and other objects? MB is a compulsive reader, if she is confronted by any letters or words she must absolutely read them, even the letters on vehicle numberplates. For a long time MB thought everybody was like this but in the course of growing up found that most folks don't have this need to read.
You can imagine MB being worn completely down by the plethora of marketing slogans, logo's and brandnames on clothing, in fact they are not just confined to clothing, they are virtually on every visible object.
MB was heartened to read a few days on a t-shirt being worn by a young Asian looking guy the following; "This Space for Rent". It's so good to see someone else has noticed and has a sense of humour.
MB predicts this blatant form of marketing will cycle eventually and in a few years we'll be back to wearing garments with much more subtle, or even covert, branding.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Breakfast in Rocky

After two weeks at home MB finally got around to doing some filing in her office, where she found a receipt for a breakfast at the Coffee House in Rocky. This reminded MB of the best breakfast to be had on the road between Brisbane and Cairns.
This little gem of a restaurant has the most extensive & wonderful breakfast menu. If you are a foodie check out the link
Definitely a must visit establishment if you are ever in Rockhampton.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Keeping Focussed

Stop Press: MB has finally bought herself an MP3 player.
After extensive market research (and not getting suckered into buying one of those cute looking Ipods) she settled on a Creative 256mb with an FM radio. It's so tiny and can hold more than enough data, truly amazing.
The reason for this purchase is to have something other than the Gym's techno music to listen to while on the X-Trainer and the climbing torture machine that the Gym Maestro has directed MB to work on.
Now MB can download interesting podcasts and listen to them at her leisure, or rather during the monotonous workouts on those damn machines.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tropical Splendour

Looks great hey?
Notice the inexorable slide back into the NQ vernacular now that MB is back in North Queensland.
This is a shot of the Marina at Mackay, taken last week when we drove through on our way home, stopped there for a fish & chip lunch.
MB has been having a torrid time readjusting to the unremitting heat and humidity which is NQ during the wet season slash summer. Poor MDR was even assailed by a sobbing wreck, last week, begging him to move the household to a more agreeable climate.
There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for at least a trip to the northern hemisphere at end of Feb. MDR has a conference there he needs to attend. MB is counting the days.....

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Swedish Secret"

The above headlined an article in the motoring section of today's Brisbane Courier-Mail showing photographs of a swedish test vehicle very similar to the one we photographed in Jindabyne (see blog post of 17 Jan 06 below).
These test vehicles were sighted in South Australia and Volvo have confirmed they are indeed testing and photographing their "New Generation S80".
You saw it here first!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thank God for ABC Radio

Six weeks on the road finished last night at around 11pm when MDR & MB rolled back into Cairns. The final leg yesterday from Rockhampton was nearly 12 hours (with meal breaks). Being able to listen to the ABC is a godsend when you're captive in the car, yesterday on the Book Show (RN), we listened to the author Simon Nasht, who has just released a biography of Hubert Wilkins. If you have heard of Wilkins then you are way ahead of this blogger. Simon Nasht has written a biography of this amazing Australian. Cairns Library has bought a copy, MB is second in the queue so she''ll be reading this one soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Berry Bounty

MB finally found a U-Pick Berry Farm, she's been yearning for some fresh berries ever since leaving NQ.
This one was advertised as 30mins from Batemans Bay (on the NSW south coast), so after leaving Batemans for Sydney yesterday, we detoured to the berry farm for a berry feast.
We followed the directions given on the brochure, once off the highway we had to drive on an 11km dirt road, normally this isn't a problem but this one was extremely corrugated and rough in some sections, it was quite a ride just getting there, and much longer than the advertised time of course.
The ride was worth it though. We got to pick blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Of course we were told we could taste them but "feasting" was not permitted.
We certainly tasted them, many more than we actually picked. Nothing can compare to the taste of a freshly picked, ripe berry, the flavour is just divine.
Photo shows a laden blueberry bush. MB also bought some of their white peaches which are also divine, their flavour is out of this world and far exceeds anything that you could buy in the shops.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Scoop

These mysterious left-hand drive batmobiles with the fibreglass over-panels were spotted driving up and down the Perisher road with navigators glued to their laptop computers.
They happen to be staying at our units in Jindabyne where 4 of the 8 cars were found at the back of the car park without dust covers.
MDR approached one of the blond Nordic technicians sitting at his laptop in one parked car who was very circumspect and said he couldn't say what the car was.
A little Sherlock Holmes investigation by MDR revealed they are likely to be the latest unreleased model of a well known Swedish sedan under extensive on-road testing away from their European competitors' eyes.

Blue Lake, Snowy Mountains

Charlotte Pass to Blue Lake

MDR & MB tackled the walk from Charlotte Pass to Blue Lake today. This is a 10km round trip (across the Snowy River), with most of the first leg uphill so it was quite a workout. This trail was much quieter than the Mt Kosciuzko one which we walked last week.
We were better organised this time, took some lunch with us and stopped at the lake for lunch, the views were awesome, there were even small patches of snow visible. Pictured is Marc at the Snowy River collecting flies with his cap.

Big Trout

Passed through Adaminaby yesterday on our way to the Yarrangobilly Caves. The Big Trout dominates this tiny township near Lake Eucumbene. Haven't seen a live trout yet, MDR tried his luck fishing on Lake Jindabyne but to no avail.
The caves were excellent, we went on a guided tour of the "Jersey" Cave, only a small group of about 14 people, mostly well behaved except for the young boy in front of MB who couldn't resist putting his finger in the completely still pool of water that was reflecting the stalactites above it. There was also a thermal pool nearby, with the water a constant 27c. On the way back from visiting the thermal pool we spotted a male lyrebird. We heard it first, mimicking other birds, then saw it about 5m away from us, an amazing sight, these are such elusive creatures. No photo though, it was too shy.

Some cave photos on Flickr:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bush Tucker

Some mushies we scavenged from the emerald green parkland adjacent to the Snowy Hydro Visitor Centre in Cooma. The rest of the town, in fact the entire region, is absolutely parched.

Wishful Thinking

Spotted the "Hawaii Motel" on the main road in Cooma. MB believes this to be a very exaggerated claim. MB has been enjoying motel spotting along the way, with the ones offering such modern amenities as "colour television" and "fax machine" being the most notable.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Lake Jindabyne

Our lodgings in Jindabyne are nicely located on the lakeside, with lovely serene views over the grounds down to the lake. On our first morning here, right on the dot at 9:00am a huge roar started coming from the lake.
Looking down to the lake we could see lots of fancy speedboats racing around the lake with water skiiers in tow.
We discovered today that Jindabyne hosts the Australian National Speedboat Championships every year. The boats are something else, this is really a sport for only the very well heeled. I don't know how those water skiiers can hold on at the speeds they're doing, truly amazing!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mt Kosciuszko

Two milestones today; MB turned 43 and walked to the summit of Australia's highest mountain.
The digicam ran out of battery after only one photo on the trail, godammit. The walk is amazingly comfortable, y
ou catch a chairlift at Thredbo which takes you up the steep part and then there is a wonderful wide track made of raised metal grating. The 13km round trip to the summit takes 4 hours. There's even a portaloo about 1.5km from the summit!
Warmish day, strong headwind walking up, and a tailwind on the way down. The cold wind froze MB's ears and she had to use her overshirt as a scarf to hold her hat brim over her ears, so that she resembled an asian fishwife. MB did a search for some more photos taken on the trail but could only find this funny post about the same walk, from a Taiwanese blogger, poor chappie didn't know about the chairlift.
MDR in the photo feeding squashed march flies to the little fish in the babbling brook.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The ol' Homestead in Cooma

The road today trip took us from Canberra to Jindabyne. Stopped at Cooma for a major nostalgia trip for MDR. Pictured is the first house he ever lived in, MDR visited the new occupants and had a bit of a yarn with them.
We had a good look all over town and visited all of his old haunts, including the Savoy Cinema and the Barbershop which are apparently unchanged from the 1960's.
We were going to have a giant burger at the shop recommended by Sue Greb but after our "snack" at Bungendore at 11am we couldn't eat for about 8 hours. Portion control at the cafe we visited in Bungendore is a very foreign concept! Bungedore is another charming little old town near Canberra. It has some great secondhand bookshops and also a fantastic art and timber work gallery.

New Parliament House

We did a drive by today of both the old and new houses of parliament. The new one is quite a sight.
We also stopped by the National Rose Garden which was rather disappointing, it was looking very neglected, unlike the rest of Canberra.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Monday 9 January 2006: Drove from Sydney to Canberra, a surprisingly short trip of under 3 hours. The temperature steadily increased the further inland we went (it's 36c here today, 10 Jan). After finding some accom. Marc did a ring around the confirm there was a Monday night game of UWH. After a bunch of calls to out of date phone numbers gleaned from the internet, he eventually called someone in Wollongong who was able to give him the information needed and yes there was a game at Tuggeranong, 20klm south of the city.

While MDR played, MB went to the beautiful lake next door for a lake walk, very pretty with lots of ducks and black swans. Daylight savings really works here, being able to walk in daylight at 8pm is really a novelty for us North Queenslanders.

First excursion today was to the Royal Australian Mint. MDR made all the usual "dad" jokes about scooping up coins from the production line etc, then on the way in the security guard searched MDR's backpack. The Mint is very interesting, we got to see the actual production of coins as well as a lot of static exhibits with historical and commemorative coinage, including Sydney Olympic medals. The photo shows a mock-up of proposed coins when our currency went decimal, these are from a competition, there were 4 sets on show. MB liked the 10c coin with the Kookaburra eliminating yet another hated snake.

MB also got to "produce" an uncirculated one dollar coin on a coin stamping machine, but only after paying $2.50 for the privilege. At the entry to the souvenir shop is a hoard of coins and MB couldn't help but be reminded of her brother with his metal detector, the machine would have went beserk in there.

After our Mint visit, we drove over to Lake Burley Griffin for a looksee then into the city to pick up a bento lunchbox at Tasuke in Canberra city, after checking the lunch menu in the window we went in to order but were given a dinner menu. When we asked for the lunch menu we were told it wasn't available until next week. So we went up the road and had a kebab instead.

Canberra is a very pretty city, reminiscent of a lakeside European city in say Switzerland. There are large stretches of parkland with beautiful deciduous trees, very wide and circuitous roads and lots of boxy buildings.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Neutral Bay

I love Neutral Bay. We are not more than 100m from scores of restaurants and every other sort of shop and facility, even the Sydney Harbour Bridge is nearby. Taronga Park Zoo is nearby too.

Last night we went to the movies at the Orpheum on Military Rd, the most gorgeous art-deco cinema I've ever seen, which is only 10mins away by foot. Got to see Mrs Henderson Presents, a great new British movie with Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. After the movie we walked back and had to agonize over where to grab some dinner, ended up going to a gourmet pizza place, after seeing their beautiful pizzas through the windows on diners' tables, we weren't disappointed either.

Sure it's noisy here, we're one block back from Military Rd which is a major feeder to the City and we have Neutral Bay Fire Station nearby, but we're getting used to it!

After I lost my mobile phone I merely had a take a 2 minute walk up to Military Road and get a new one at the Telstra shop. I didn't have to worry about the traffic and car parking and best of all no waiting in a queue in the shop. The chap in the shop was incredibly helpful, he virtually re-furbished my old Nokia brick on the spot (at no charge) so it wouldn't keep switching itself off.

We caught a ferry to Neutral Bay yesterday from Circular Quay in the city. At the Neutral Bay Wharf is a little restaurant called "Thelma & Louise", we hadn't had lunch so stopped in there for a marvellous seafood lunch while seated on a deck over the water. Perfectly nice day with a gentle breeze, just heavenly. After lunch we caught the bus at the door that took us up the hill back to Military Rd, really could have walked it (I won't make any lame excuses here).

So yes we are really enjoying all those big city conveniences, great public transport and taxis, public spaces, shopping, people watching and I guess, lots of pollution too! Speaking of public spaces the Sydney Library in the old Customs House opposite Circular Quay is absolutely stunning, has to be seen to be believed.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

One thing MB has always wanted to do in Sydney is to walk across the Bridge, via the pedestrian walkway on the Opera House side of the Bridge. There is a Bridge Climb tour which costs an arm and a leg but MB just wanted to cross over on the public walkway. It's quite difficult finding information on accessing the walkway, I guess it's not hugely popular.

Fortunately Marc knew where it started on the North side, so we drove down the hill from our apartment in Neutral Bay to Kiribilli where we found the cheapest parking so far in Sydney! The steps to the walkway begin just past Milsons Point train station.

We walked across in about 20 mins, quite a few other folks doing the walk too, along with an obligatory security guard. On the city side you come out at the top of the Rocks into Cumberland St. There was a little tourist info. sign there that calls the bridge walk, the "Cahill Walk", couldn't find anything about this though in any of the tourist information flyers and books we checked beforehand.

Great views from the Bridge, although it was rather overcast and drizzling when we walked across. One can really appreciate the massive size of the bridge from the walkway, makes you feel like a tiny ant.

Friendly Flatmates - Colourful Characters

Little did we know we'd be sharing our holiday apartment with some very friendly, jolly little lorikeets, pictured here feasting on some fruit on our kitchen windowsill. They are very partial to cherries.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sydney Harbour Walk

Wed 4 Jan 06: Commenced initial 2 hour exploration of Sydney Harbour on foot, started at Kirribilli (home suburb of the Australian Prime Minister), walked under the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a meandering path which took us past the North Sydney Olympic Pool (in photo above), which looks charmingly art deco, then past Luna Park.

The weather conditions were perfect, overcast and only 21c, walked all the way to the Sawmillers Reserve at Blues Point. We completed the loop by returning via the suburbs that fringe the harbour. Loads of gorgeous little historic cottages, narrow streets and cute corner stores.

MDR was able to describe to MB the provenance of every major vessel that happened to be in view on the harbour.

After our little trek we returned to Neutral Bay at around 7pm, then had the agonising decision of where to dine, there are countless restaurants within walking distance of our apartment. Settled on Japanese at Samurai Sushi, in Military Road. Great choice, it's a new restaurant so the service was awesome and the food was very generous and tasty, although MB was a little bemused with two of the specials of the day, the Robster Sushi Salad or the Soft Sell Crab!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

First day of 2006

A truly memorable New Year's Day in Sydney, a massive heatwave had us sizzling at 44c. If MB received a dollar each time MDR said "Bloody hell it's hot!" she'd be very well off indeed. The hottest first day of January on record.

Our strategy to escape the toe-curling heat was to go to the Mall for lunch and a movie, so we plugged Darlene in, told her to take us to Ultimo and drove over to Broadway Mall (one of the few Malls open on New Year's day). Quite a few others had the same idea too, but it wasn't as overrun as expected. There was a queue at the cinema, so we queued up for tickets to catch a movie after lunch.

We found a Japanese restaurant in the centre, Tomodachi. By then it was after 1:30pm and MB was feeling pretty hungry (which also translates as "grumpy"), if she had to wait any longer for her lunch she would have cracked. After a bit of a wait getting our order in we had a very good lunch, excellent in fact, their lunchboxes are great value.

Went back to the cinema to see a new British movie starring Judi Dench "Mrs Henderson Presents". The cinema was packed and the air-conditioning wasn't working, so after 20 mins we gave up and left. The cinema folks, to their credit, gave us a bunch a free tickets instead of a refund.

After a bit of a browse we thought we'd try our luck at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. We were lucky to get a parking spot close to the entrance, just walking from the car to the Museum was an exercise in endurance, the intensity of the heat was astounding. The Maritime Museum had a special Viking exhibit which was rather good, even better though was the air-con!

The heat didn't let up until a cool change arrived at 9:30pm, the temp. rapidly dropped from 41c at 9pm to 20 something after the change. This change bought gusty winds, which were nearly cyclonic in intensity, causing lots of trees to fall over and other wind damage throughout NSW.

MB was so worried about the pussycats at Frenchs, but they made it through the scorcher unscathed and definitely didn't lose their appetites.