Monday, February 12, 2018

There was literally cake

Him Outdoors and I were both going to be busy on Waitangi Day itself, so we celebrated a day early by going to Dawat-e-Punjab and having a curry and a BYO bottle of 2007 Pinot Noir from Brennan

Palak papdi chaat
It's still very hot as summer continues. Chester is being careful not to over-extend himself.

Our friend, Dr Kay, had a significant birthday, which means a party, which means party food...

...and cake. This extravaganza was modelled on a set that Dr Kay designed for a production of Pride and Prejudice. I had to leave before the cake-cutting ceremony, but I believe it tasted as good as it looks. 


Monday, February 5, 2018

Cricket, clouds and rehearsals

Views from a morning bike ride around Umbagong District Park and West Belconnen Pond.

'There can never really be justice on stolen land'

I haven't seen this lovely lady for far too long, so we caught up over breakfast burgers and eggs Benedict at A Bite to Eat.

Little b at A Bite to Eat
Rehearsals continue for Oh, What a Lovely War!  These scenes are from Hitchy Koo and The Biggest Profiteer. 

'It's the cutest little thing'
'Don't you ask me what it means'

Female ensemble taking a break
'You must understand, my dear fellow, that war is a political and economic necessity.'
'Do you stumblebums realize that there have been two peace scares in the last year?'

'We've six of the family at the front, sir.'
One of the perks of the job is tasting products to see if we will stock them. This is a range of vodka and gins from New Zealand, made with manuka, saffron, cardamom, rooibos and cacao.  

Sacred Spirits
We tried once more to go the cricket at the Manuka Oval, this time with more success. We saw a 20/20 between the Prime Minister's XI and England. England won, which was great, and we got to see David Willey hit 34 off an over bowled by Nathan Lyon. Now that really was spectacular: five sixes in a row, and then everyone booed the final boundary because it was 'only' a four. 


Clouds were gathering and a storm was forming as I went for an evening run. I took a couple of pictures on my phone and then played around with an app to make new images with painterly qualities and turned them into a collage. 


Monday, January 29, 2018

Mainly Inside a Theatre

Canberra got to host a BBL game between the Sydney Thunder and the Melbourne Renegades. We were quite excited as Canberra has not got a BBL team and we think it's rather fun. So we headed to the Manuka Oval to see the game... only to find it was all sold out (it's a tiny ground with capacity of 13,550) and of course we had not been organised enough to buy tickets in advance. While this was not great news for us, it is hopefully great news for the future of the tournament in the town. So we repaired to The Durham where we had a paddle of beer and watched it on the television instead. 

l-r: Hope Brewhouse God Save the Queen; HopDog Beerworks A Feat of Stevens; Feral Brewing Company War Hog
We drove home that night through a cracking storm. These are not my photos, but they are so good I thought I would share them. 

Photo by Theresa Hall published in The Canberra Times

Photo by Matt Tomkins published in The Canberra Times
As I have been spending most of my time outside work inside a theatre, here are a few snaps from rehearsals of Oh, What a Lovely War!

Last year we watched the Australian Open final drinking BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA, which had just come eighth in the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers Poll. This year we watched the Australian Open final drinking BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA, which has just come third in the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers Poll. Not that we're creatures of habit or anything...

BentSpoke beer goggles

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sport & Leisure

If it's not cricket; it's tennis.

Monday, January 15, 2018

More of Sydney

Clearly we are gluttons for punishment, and it was only a gold coin donation to get into the SCG for the final day of the test, so we headed back to it on another scorching day, beginning with a fortifying coffee.

Coffee at Two Daughters Cafe, Surry Hills
The scoreboard shows both a duck (for Stoneman) and the fact that Joe Root retired ill. He came back in before lunch, but didn't make it back out again afterwards, giving him the dubious honour of being one of very few cricketers to retire ill twice in the same innings.

A friend lent us his tickets (and the essential collared shirt for Him Outdoors) so that for a brief time we could sit in the Ladies Stand and pretend to be Members.

We lost the series 4-0, as the Australian podium display so classily reinforced. 

As a tribute to the pink test, many of the statues at the SCG are sporting McGrath Foundation pink bandannas. This year is the tenth anniversary of the Pink Test.

Steve Waugh sculpture at the SCG
Maybe it's just because we lost so badly, but there is something about the SCG that looks a little like a prison - one from which there was no great escape, no matter how much the Barmy Army sang the theme tune.

We headed into the harbour to one of our favourite places where we sat and watched the boats coming in and going back out again beneath the bridge.

There was a spectacular summer storm building up as we sat at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar. Him Outdoors displayed his superior grasp of economics by explaining that, 'If a glass of Prosecco is $12 and a bottle is $48; we might as well buy a bottle, and then our third glass is free. And everyone loves a free drink.' 

Him Outdoors at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

And then between the lightning flashes and the downpours we walked around Sydney Opera House; one of my favourite buildings in the world.

The next day we checked out of our hotel early and had breakfast at Circular Quay before hopping on a ferry to Watson's Bay.

From Watson's Bay we walked over to South Head, where we looked out to Middle Head - the gap in between is the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

Harbour entrances are often marked with military hardware - they are the base of national defences. And yet, occasionally the cannons pointing inland look as though they might be threatening the city rather than protecting it. 

Cannon above Camp Cove

Hornby Lighthouse was built in 1858 following the wrecking of the Dunbar(August 1857; loss of 121 lives) and the Catherine Adamson (October 1857; loss of 21 lives) at the foot of South Head. Designed by colonial architect Alexander Dawson, it is the third oldest lighthouse in NSW and still operational.

Parsley Bay is a secluded little beach with a forested reserve, a lounge of water dragons, and a pedestrian suspension bridge built in 1912. The houses perched on top of the cliffs must have superlative views and real estate prices. 

Parsley Bay Suspension Footbridge

Camp Cove is thought to be the first landing place of Captain Phillip in Port Jackson in 1788 as he sailed from Botany Bay looking for a site for what would become Sydney Harbour.

This is also the location of the southern end of the cross-harbour boom net extending 1,480 metres to Georges Head. Building began in January 1942 as part of the national defence strategy. On the night of the 31st May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines attempted to enter the harbour: one became entangled in the not-yet-completed net and when the commander attempted to free it with a sawtooth metal cutter, he attracted the attention of the watchman for the Maritime Service Board, James Cargill. Cargill rowed across in a boat and was surprised to discover the submarine. 

It took him two hours to convince the navy that there was a Japanese midget submarine caught in the boom net. The commander, realising he had been detected, detonated charges, destroying the submarine and killing himself and all crew in the process. The other two submarines slipped through the net and attacked shipping for several hours before being destroyed. 

Green Point, Camp Cove
Watson's Bay

It was overcast but still very hot and muggy with enough sun peeking through the clouds to cause sunburn. I was applying sun-cream on the beach, when who should walk over and ask to borrow some but Alastair Cook. We chatted about the cricket and the heat (he said it was hotter than he'd ever played, except perhaps when he was in Abu Dhabi) and the Aussies (he said the English team had been drinking with them in the dressing room for about three hours after the game and that it was 'mostly good-humoured'). 

Of course, like any good English person, I didn't ask for a photo and just let him go about his business. Then we had fish and chips and caught the ferry back to Circular Quay, the train back to the station, and the coach back to Canberra.

Vaucluse Yacht Club

Back at the Quay
Back at Canberra we indulged in our traditional (done it twice before) Four Winds with Friends weekend. The first weekend we're all available after the madness that is Christmas and New Year we hang out at Four Winds Vineyard for a couple of fun-filled hours of pizza and wine; conversation and laughter; laziness and relaxation.

Four Winds with Friends