Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fruit Wine Festival

Luckily MDR heard this show being spruiked on the local ABC radio on Saturday.  The Sorrell Branch of the Rotary Club put on a great event at the very pretty Bellerive waterfront.  For $9.50 you could sample as much fruit wine as you could drink.  There were over 110 varieties including banana and coffee liqueurs from Mt Uncle Distillery near Cairns.  The sun was shining and the music was good, a band doing great Sinatra covers. PTA loved June Allsop's number 61, banana liqueur declaring it tasted just like banana fritter, which it surprisingly did.  MDR loved number 97, Wayne Hewett's strawberry liqueur, the colour, fragrance & taste were out of this world.
Picture above is the rear end of an old ferry which is jutting out of the side of a nearby waterfront bar.

Hobart Farmers' Market

A great haul was had this morning from the one of the best farmers' markets in Tassie.  The team are eating very well indeed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tasvegas Vacation - Day 1

After an epic journey to Hobart yesterday the team arrived at their digs in Sandy Bay around 9:45pm. 
MDR & MB had a 5 hour stopover in Melb so they went to the Qantas Club only to find that MDR's membership had lapsed, the gatekeeper however took pity on him and allowed the pair in "this time". MDR then sashayed his way into the Business Class section of the lounge, with MB in tow, where it was much quieter and offered a much nicer range of snacks & meals, a very nice spot to while away an afternoon.  First born son PTA & partner, EMI, were in Melbourne already and met the oldies at the airport. After the skybus left they realised Emi's new Lumix G2 camera was still on the bus so after some frenzied phone calls they were very lucky to have the camera located and returned to them within a few heartstopping minutes of boarding the flight to Hobart.
The team hit the ground running this morning with a walk through Salamanca markets, MB loved the buskers doing duelling banjoes, the gypsy lamb rolls and stocked up on a $6 bag of cherries (1kg) plus some apricots and apples and some berry cheesecake. PTA & EMI cut loose and did some shopping in the city to pick up some warmer clothes. 
The afternoon itinerary was a trip to the famous block in New Norfolk, first time MB has seen it, photo above was taken at the bottom near the Lachlan River back up to the top of block which is roughly 90 meters away. 
Great weather today, warm and sunny and about 25c in New Norfolk, did the tiki tour of the town and the Derwent River parklands and had a beer at the Bush Park Hotel.  MB managed to spray the interior of the rental Hyundai with soda water, to the amusement of some and consternation of MDR.
Did a detour into Stefano Lubiana winery on the way back to Hobart but they're only open 11am - 3pm which was a bit of a disappointment.
Veal with mushrooms & cream sauce tonight with some local bintje potatoes following by the most fragrant strawberries MB amazingly found at the nearby Woolies of all places.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Flash of the Titan

Great excitement at Flecker Botanic Gardens in Cairns this week with the flowers of two of their Titan Arums about to burst forth.  The duo dropped in yesterday to check on progress, alas no flowering yet.  
The FBG have installed a time lapse camera to catch the flowering, which they promise to post online for those who miss this momentous event.  MB did ask about a webcam but was told by the nice FBG chappie that the Cairns Regional Council IT boffins claimed it would take at least a month to install one.

It's mine! No it's mine!

MDR snapped these great pics of our neighbourhood Kookaburras squabbling over a canetoad. One sneaky kookaburra tried to snatch the canetoad from his mate and at one stage was tenuously suspended by his beak which in turn was clamped onto the canetoad.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Telstra Rant

MB is off to a great start in this new decade. First call of the year is to Telstra for her elderly Father-in-Law (FIL) who is 81 years young, he has a Telstra mobile phone for emergencies. He isn't confident using it but is fine to receive calls on it.

When trying to call FIL on the mobile (due to his Telstra landline service being out of order) the calls kept diverting to the message bank before he could get to the phone. This causes him major stress as he doesn't understand how to use the message bank and can't get his head around SMS messages. MB thought this is easily fixed, just cancel all diverts which she successfully did for him.

However when one cancels all call diverts MB discovers that Telstra unilaterally diverts after 3 rings or less than 10 seconds, the unanswered call to a Message to Text Service. Again FIL can't make it to the phone in this time to answer the call before it diverts, making him very frustrated and angry. MB checked online at the Whirlpool forum and found the code you can use which delays diversion of unanswered calls by up to 30 seconds and has successfully done this.

MB tested this and still finds FIL isn't always able to catch the call before it diverts causing even more anxiety & stress for FIL.

MB also discovered on Whirlpool that one can request Telstra deactivate the message to text service however one has to call Telstra to have this done.  MB calls 125111 and gets Amber in Manilla, after a very long, confusing, convoluted and difficult to understand conversation with all of the loud background noise of her colleagues' in the call centre Amber finally seems to understand what is required and puts MB on hold.  After about 15mins the call dropped out. The entire call took 40 minutes.

MB does a test call to the mobile and finds that Amber has switched on all of the diverts and reactivated the Message Bank! MB promptly turns off all diverts again and tries calling Telstra Countrywide and managed to get onto Rick in Melbourne - but only after some backwards and forwards with the irritating voice robot thing. He understood exactly what MB asked and confirmed he would cancel the message to text immediately.

After 2 hours MB does another test call and finds the Message to Text is still activated.
MB is on Vodafone and and has probably racked up about $20 in mobile calls to FIL's Telstra mobile phone testing the call diversions.  BTW don't ask MB about Vodafone! They have been causing MDR some major grief as well...  Luckily Adam Brimo is sorting Vodafone out, see

This only reinforces MB's refusual to use Telstra for voice services anymore as every contact she has with them takes at least one hour, and more often than not many more hours of her life and it's just not worth it.

It's very hard for her to let the buggers get away with this so she will take this further and to the TIO if necessary.