Thursday, 3 July 2014

A short beer review

Feeling like a small treat I took myself into Plonk this afternoon (2 July?) and acquired a few Pommie beers.  Purely from an educational point of view here are some thoughts on the outcome.  (This will be updated as the other samples get tested to destruction.)
  • Marstons Oyster Stout:  at 4.5% ABV this is not a particularly robust stout but it definitely rates as pleasant plus.  A little bitter but good complexity in aftertaste. Not as choclatety as some some samples, but I can certainly see it going down nicely with a dozen of Coffin Bay's finest.  (In passing Iwill note the strange message about cookies on the linked site.  That seems to pop up on many UK websites recently: presumably it is a Laura Norder requirement.)
  • SEcond cab off the rank is Box Steam Brewery,from Holt in Wiltshire UK offering up Derail Ale.  An IPA with considrable merit, albeit relatively little ABV (5.2%).  Very hoppy - I can still summon the aftertaste some 90 minutes after finishing the bottle.  It drank very well despite travelling several kilometres today!
  • The final item here is back to Marstons for their Strong Pale Ale. At 6.2% ABV it certainly gets the strong bit undercontrol and it did have the characters of a good Pale Ale.  Unfortunately the test was hardly fair as the bottle had got a trifle shaken in transit.  Possibly also stirred as it erupted when opened.  Worth another try under better circumstances.
In September I acquired some other beers through Woolworths and have now tested them.
  • Dalgety Blonde Ale: Mid-strength at 4.0% but very refreshing.  It had a fair bit of complexity to the taste buds.  Considerably cheaper than the Pommie offerings from Plnk so rates highly.  (What a nice life - live in Dalgety, outside Cooma, and brew beer.)
  • Murrays Whale Ale: Nothing to do with the River this Wheat Beer comes from Port Stephens and is named after the cetaceans which migrate past that town. Initially I thought it was OK but not exciting: that was because I'd had a Dalgety first.  A second test - one has to check these things - and I found it to be very inteesting and refreshing.  Well done that Humpback!
Both the above enterprises offer other brews which will require examination.

I was then struck with thirst outside the Liquor-license enhanced IGA in Yarrawonga (Vic) in late September.  They provided:

  • Cascade Stout: a very nutty offering at 5.8%.   Very tasty but approach with care!
  • Abbotsford Invalid Stout.  Quite OK but not as tasty as the Cascade (as might be expected from a CUB product).  At 5.2% not as headache inducing either!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

ANPS emulates the Duke of York

This is nothing to do with Mr Fergie (nor even Ms Fergie) but more about the Grand Old man of the Nursery rhyme.

We went up Mt Taylor and then came down Mt Taylor.  However, unlike the Duke's troops when we were half way up we had morning tea (and when we were halfway down put the fang on lunch).

We went up to check out the magnificent views from the apex, of which more later.  At the start it was a tad foggy so I will say now, rather than repetitively through the post, that many of the images show condensed moisture on the flowers. I'll also say that quite a few of these species seemed to be flowering somewhat early.

Hardenbergia violacea
 Indigofera adesmiifolia: the 'other indigofera':  Pretty and pink and I didn't recognise it: three hits towards being a weed, but no, it is a native.
 Pretty and yellow and I did recognise it.  Native to an area about 120km away as the Superb Parrot carries seed so surely a native.  No sir: its the dreaded Acacia baileyana which is rated as a weed ...
 ... at least by the People for Botanical Purity who know how to deal with it!
 As we began to ascend a good growth of Allocasuarina verticillata was noticed.  According to Julie, this area was basically bare grazed in the past, but following the fires is developing a very good covering of vegetation.
Here is a flowering (? these are male parts but I think flowers can be blokes not just females) she-oke - it has been suggested better called 'he okes' -   in the distance ...
 .. and close up.
A few of the trees low down were mature enough to have dropped a few cones, while further up some of the trees had a very good lunch bar for Glossy Black-Cockatoos.  Thus far the big birds seem to have been able to resist.  There was no sign of chewings under the trees.
 A hairy fern, Cheilanthes distans.
 Here is C. distans with the commoner C. austrotenuifolia in the background.
 A good crop of Cryptandra propinqua is about to burst its buds.
 The magpies in this area seemed particularly habituated so came close for photographing.
 The Crimson Rosella also posed nicely, but was more than 5m off the ground so a little occluded by the fog.
 So here are the promised views (theory below, reality above).  First to the East ...
 .. then the West.  What mountains? What snow?
 It was pleasing to see the dog bowl and water at the summit.
 Eucalyptus dives just below the summit and in flower.
 Moss and ferns in a small run-off stream on the way back down.
 Moss and fungi, ...
 .. and a gall.
 Why on earth is Bursaria spinosa flowering now?
 Some local had a better idea about what to do on a foggy day!
Despite the fog ruining the views it was a very pleasant walk.  Certainly a lot better than Orroral, where I suspect snow might have been on the menu (and the ground).

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June Weather report

In brief (I was going to say "Summary" but that might be misleading) Winter has finally arrived, bringing with it some welcome rain in our area and some even more welcome snow to the ranges and ski fields.

(As a blast from memoryland one of the items I saw from the Department of Immigration before I emigrated in 1970 talked about the Australian ski-fields being larger than Switzerland.  This will almost certainly be true most years in about August but the didn't mention that the permanent snowfields amount to about 20m2 on the shady side of Kosziosko!)

I don't have any snow scenes for you, but these two cloud images from the 30th, looking from Weston towards the Brindabellas are quite attractive.

OK: attractive in a rather Mordor sort of way!


My weather station recorded precipitation on 16 of the 30 days of June.  Of those days, 6 were readings of 0.2mm, which can be attributed to a heavy fog.  The heaviest fall - 32mm - occurred on the 14th and caused the Creek to go over the drive for the first time since it has been enhanced.

We do seem to be climbing out of the depths of the mini-drought of 2013.
While it is still early days we would need some seriously arid months to get back to the position of January 2014.


My records don't go back far enough to look at a comparison with previous Junes but we did at least see a couple of solid frosts.
I am impressed by the length of some of the bars, indicating the difference between the temperature at 00:30 and 23:30.  The yellow bars indicate the evening temperature higher than the early morning (most likely where cloud has come across to 'hold in' the warmth of a day.  The blue bars show the converse, reflecting passage of a cold front.

12 days had a range >10oC (maximum range 14.9oC on the 7th. while 3 days had a range less than 5 oC (the most yucky being the range of 2.4oC - from 2.8 to 5,2 - on the 29th.


A benefit of compiling these reports I that I get my attention focused on topics which I mightn't otherwise register.  I was aware of the rain and (more or less) the temperature profile.  However I was very surprised to notice that the 1700 Hrs relative humidity was less than 70% on only two days and over 90% on 6 days.   the next chart compares the average relative humidity for each 30 minute reading in June 2014 and for my entire data set for all of 2014.
One could say a muggy month, but the low temperatures make it seem less oppressive.


I still cannot find a definitive way of presenting information about the wind.  
This chart shows the maximum wind gust during the day and the average gust speed for each 30 minute period during the day.  The pattern is very similar: a few windy days early in the month (frontal passages) and a period of sustained nastiness for the last week.

June updates

As usual a set of revisions, edits and corrections that early readers might have missed.

I'll begin with an image scanned from the UK Country Life magazine.  For a number of weeks they reproduced samples from a book adding comments to famous London Statues.  This is my favourite.

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