Showing posts from March, 2009

At the Australian National Botanic Gardens

This is basically an entry to cover a couple of images which appeal to me. They were both taken on 17 March.

The first is of a brown snake (about 1.6m long) - noting the date, it may have been driven out of Ireland!. The second image is an Eastern Yellow Robin.

From the Kitchen window

It is not uncommon for us to see 'roos from the house, and at this time of year the mums are often carrying a passenger. However actually getting this shot of a joey taking afternoon tea from the pouch was remarkably lucky.


Hinterblitz: some objectives and guidelines

1 To increase coverage, within the Canberra Ornithologists GROUP (COG) bird observation recording system of the area within the COG Area of Interest (COGAOI) outside the borders of the ACT – which I term the hinterland of the ACT.
2 To build up species lists for the hinterland and areas within the hinterland.
3 To give a simple project to which people interested in birds can participate whether or not they are members of COG.
4 To have some fun.

Relationship to the COG Bird Blitz
For the last several years Barbara Allen has been facilitating a Spring blitz of the COGAOI within the boundary of the ACT. This is building up a very useful time series of data. It is my intention that this exercise complements the Blitz and intend that the methods used will be largely the same. I have chosen to do this at the other end of the year to avoid any conflict of resources between the two exercises.

The core date is 21 March and if possible I’d like people to undertake their…

The (not very) big count

Also known as the Palerang Council by-election.

At the last Palerang Council elections a lady by the name of Judith Miller was elected (with the help of preferences from us). She unfortunately had to stand down after one sitting, citing health issues. So the rules are that there is a by-election.

A few days before I was contacted by our neighbour, the local organiser for The Greens and asked to help hand out cards for one o the 3 candidates. He isn't a formal Green as such, but is endorsed by a Comminity party which is aligned with The Greens. As usual I said OK - on my past performance, probably giving the poor guy a kiss of death.

I opened the booth at 8am and decided to try to keep a track of the number of punters. (The last time I did this for a Local Government election, in South Australia, I was on deck for 4 hours and not a single punter came by.)
At least this time there were some voters. I was expecting a rush at 8am and then slowing down, but in fact it wasquite quiet …

Back home to the fruit and veg

The opening photo above features a couple of Brandywine tomatoes which are about the tastiest I can recall, as well as being humongous or bigger than that.

It also includes a trombuccini, which as far as we can work out is a cross between a trombone (a variety of pumpkin) and a zucchini. This is a very strange looking fruit, but also rather pleasant eating when converted into a slice. Many thanks to Rob Ey for providing this plant for us.

The shoe is just there to provide scale: it isn't very big (by shoe standards) and I suspect not too tasty - unless well spiced.

This second image shows a gift basket of produce we gave to Ingrid for her 32nd birthday. )She also got a cheque towards a new computer but that isn't so photogenic.)

This image is of 3.2 kgs of crab apples picked from the garden bed in front of our bedroom. Totally un-netted so the Rosellas are really slack. I continue to be amazed how pruning the daylights out of a tree gets the fruit happening.

The moving finger daubs ...

.. and having daubed moves on. The images here are of signs and paintings noticed, when I was able to snap them, around Port Vila.

Heading for Objective 2

In a recent message to my running (on the rare occasions they aren't injured) friends I commented that for me to get fit I had three post hammie objectives:
Lose 20 years off my ageLose 5kgs off my waiststart taking 2m/stride rather than 2 strides/mI saw step 2 as the most difficult. However I have just been for a 4 hour walk around Pt Vila and have decided that I am well on the way of achieving it. So reality is restored and the difficult one reverts to #3.

My first was along through the wharf to the end of the road. Or at least as near to the end as one can get, since some fascist has decided to build his McMansion across the road. Quite good fun except for when a real estate agent (probably trying to sell the McMansion) went past in his car with two bolshie German Shepherds leaning out the windows stirring up all the local canines. Once the dweet was clear all the dogs returned to their abodes and resumed sleeping.

There were a few birds around, but unfortunately they were ma…


One of the interesting aspects of travel is meeting people from backgrounds rather different to those encountered in Carwoola. On my last trip here the most interesting were an American couple sailing a yacht around the Pacific. This trip (so far) it is a pastor who is staying at the Melanesian. We had nodded acquaintance at the breakfast venue, and one morning I shared a table with him due to the staff shifting the small tables around. Apparently he has been coming here for 25 years (on and off) and travels around the Region doing good works. His wife - a very pleasant younger Chinese lady from Indonesia - had not been to Pt Vila before and reckoned it was a bit quiet.

On 6 March I did a different run around the back of the CBD ending up coming back past the market at about 6:25am. Most of the stall holders were on site - although not open for business -and several of them were listening to a preacher give them the rounds of the kitchen. I did wonder it if it was a politician …

Kylies go up

We will get to the bimbos in a few bytes, so just be patient!

Here are a couple of nice piccies of trees around the cliifs behind the Lini Highway. I particularly liked the palm as it reminded me of an early Naumann in his Rangoon period!

I was tempted to refer to the second image in the title of this page, but thought something about 'Roots" might have confused the Australian readers and bewildered the rest of you!

Tonight I went back to Le Rendezvous restaurant - opposite the hotel at the top of the hill, for a serve of their Sri Lankan buffet curry night. Before getting to my table I took a couple of snaps of the carved wood in the foyer.

On getting to the table the sunset was rather speccie so here is a sample.

After sitting down I became aware that most of the other tables were half full of excited young ladies having blonde moments. I don't know if any of them were actually called Kylie, nor if their escorts were all Bruces, but the squeakiness of their voices and the…

An epiphanous moment!

When I introduced this epic to you I said "I will try to avoid philosopical commentary and details of my alimentary status." This page reduces my score to no more than 50% - and you are probably lucky that it is the philosophy that is breaking through!

I received an email this evening that concluded by hoping that I enjoyed Vanuatu to which I responded by saying that it was hard not to enjoy Vanuatu. This has led me to wonder - reflecting Andrew Lamb's lining me up as Julius Sumner Miller without the Cadbury's endorsement - why it is so. I have concluded, with the aid of some Bordeaux wine and Tusker beer, that it is because the place is very easy going and generally many slightly odd things to observe and think about. In other words, mst of the third world entertainments without thecrime and violence (so far).

However the epiphany came when I suddenly realised that the key to fun n travel is to treat New York, Paris, or London as though they are Dar es Salaam,…

Che joins the King

The title refers to my reading "The Motorcycle Diaries" on this trip and thus for me Che, like Elvis, lives. It is an interesting book although I really cannot imagine how they filmed it. By and large Che's behaviour is fairly reprehensible - when viewed from my age - or admirable - when viewed from his age when he took the trip! The book addresses this conflict but I am stuffed if I can see how it would be done in a film!

The translator of the book does explain the meaning of the nickname 'Che' as being Argentinian for something like 'mate'. This makes a lot more sense than our big fat English- Spanish dictionary, which translates it as 'Argentinian'.

As well as reading this tome I got out this morning for a repeat of the run through the port and managed a 30 second improvement. If this keeps up I will have to downgrade the distance.

At 6am the weather was quite reasonable: about 26 degrees and a steady 70% humidity. By lunchtime the humidity …

Vanuatu: the continuing saga

Dinner last night was partaken in the Thai restaurant forming part of the Hotel complex. A rather pleasant Green Chicken curry.

Day 2 started with a waddle down through the wharf area, just to continue the rehab of my stuffed hamstring.

The only surprising thing (and this being my third visit to Pot Vila it takes a fair bit to surprise me) was a young lady - of the white persuasion - stopping me to ask if the road was a dead-end. Since she was 1km from the previous turn-off and the cliffs were quite high on one side (and the sea quite deep on the other) I could understand her concern and answered in the positive. She showed me her map of how to get to a guest house and I explained how to get there (other than retracing her steps this involved some crampons and a very sharp panga).

The immediate question that arose was why a very attractive young woman was wandering though the port trying to get to a guest house at 6:15 in the morning. I hope she had enjoyed the previous part of her d…

A Virgin no longer

After many years of being loyal to QANTAS and receiving , in recent years, constant disappointment, I decided to try flying with Mr Branson’s outfit to get to Port Vila and back.This is being typed in Sydney airport on the way out, having flown from Canberra, so I guess I changed status as the plane passed Brand Depot. Passing Brand Depot is probably a good thing, whether walking, riding or travelling in a car or (particularly) an aircraft.Actually the same applies to Canberra Airport but I couldn’t be bothered driving – although I suspect I wouldn’t have had to get up any earlier to do so. The flight was quite acceptable, with lots of nostalgia since the last time I flew in an Embraeur was going from Houston to Aguas Calientes in Mexico.The scenery wasn’t as interesting this time.Anyway the plane went up and down in the appointed places and (QANTAS please note) times.Transfer to the International terminal was painless and quick (QANTAS please note).
On getting to the Terminal there w…