Friday, 4 November 2016

Waite (there's more)

On 3 November a memorial was held for Trevor Wicks, one of my flatmates from when I first emigrated to Australia.  I was asked to go along and say a few words about our time in the Torrens Street house.  I decided to do a day trip flying on QANTAS points.

For some reason I was able to get a business class ticket.  This meant I was able to use the lounges rather than the cattle yards (which could do with some input from Temple Grandin to humanise the facilities).
I had left home at 0445 to catch a 6:15 flight via Melbourne (I thought the extra 15 minutes compared with the direct flight leaving at 0600 was worth it.)  This meant it just on sunrise when we were loaded.  Note the colour(s) of the little luggage tractor- has the management of Canberra Airport emerged from the closet?
As we headed South there was still a little snow evident in the NSW mountains .....
.. and more on the Victorian Alps.
Coming in to Melbourne the view of the CBD emphasised how close it is to Port Phillip Bay.
After an hour changeover we headed off again.  I was impressed with the number of trotter training tracks on the Western outskirts of the urban area.
In the rural areas we overflew several wind farms.  This one is clearly still under development as no turbines have been erected on the furthest track.
I think this rocky area is somewhere close to the Grampians.  Presumably the area is still not recovered from bushfires
Getting closer to Adelaide Lake Alexandrina was replete with water.  That situation is likely to continue for some time as the floods in NSW work their way down the Murray-Darling system.
As we came over the Adelaide Hills I noticed a number of quarries in the area.
Here the Hills form the usual backdrop to the urban area.
The City itself with the Oval prominent in the Parklands.
Someone has been busy with their Lego set at the West End of the square mile of the city.  I think the older building in the bottom right is the former jail, which caused me to have a few memories of commuting to work in the '70s and seeing the prisoners working in the attached market gardens.
After picking up my cheap rental car from East Coast Car Rentals (a fair step from the airport, but they provide a shuttle) I headed South towards Maslins beach.  For those that know the social history of South Australia, 'that' beach  is the one on the LHS of this photo: I remained, in my kit, on the Port Willunga side.
This sea stack (apparently called Gull Rock) was largely devoid of gulls ...
.. but well endowed with pied cormants.
These are the Pied (note upper case) Cormorants ...
.. which can be readily distinguished from the Black-faced Cormorants.  Apart from the black face, the black vs ivory bill is a give-away.
The B-f c's were bird of the day but had they not been this Pacific Gull would have won a gong (but it had to make do with a far more useful fish).
Back on the cliff top a male Nankeen Kestrel posed very nicely.
I ended up with 35 species for the day, adding 4 to me year list.  I'd hoped to find Elegant Parrots there as we did 2 years ago.  Unfortunately the regenerating area was covered with tall grass and forbs - bustards could certainly hide in there and small emus would be invisible.

On getting back to the urban area I went to look at the house we lived in from 1970 to 1974 (14 Torrens St, Mitcham).  Its the one at the end of the lane and looks much suaver than it used to: the drive used to be gravel and there wasn't a nice fence in front of it.  I spoke to a nice lady from #12 who said it had just been sold.  I'm sure if they'd known Wicksie and I had lived there the price would have been higher!
Walking around the Waite arboretum I noticed this excellent dragon blood tree.  Apparently it is the logo for the Waite!
The rose gardens at Urrbrae House were in full bllom.
Here is the crowd (there were 170 registrations) getting ready for the speeches.
And the first speaker (I think the Director of SARDI) getting things underway.
I was very restrained in my drinking - a great shame as there were many vignerons and wine industry people present, quite a few of whom had donated product to the event.

I was able to find a service station selling unleaded for $1.08 a litre - a major improvement on the $1.34 everywhere else.  The manager of the car rental place said the price had been $1.08 everywhere at 9am that morning but around 10am everywhere put it up to $1.34!  No collusion there folks, just coincidence!

Back to the airport (enhanced by a fire alarm going off- fortunately a false alarm) and up in the air on time at 7pm.  It was approaching evening and this time I had an aisle seat so only took one photo.  Although it is very blurry its the best depiction I have seen of the Eastern edge of the Adelaide Hills abruptly hitting the Murray plain.

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