December 21, 2007

Time of Year

Its that time of year where we drag tress inside and throw bright things on them to amuse and delight. This is the first 'real' Christmas tree we have been involved with since we lived in Jersey and would buy cut trees encased in nets.

Its not even at our house, but at my mum's. Only having dogs to amuse, the Christmas tree no longer delights me. It delights my mum though, so that is enough reason to lop a branch of one of the trees on the farm.
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December 10, 2007

Newstopia with Shaun Micallef - LANGUAGE WARNING

I don't know how to post this to facebook, so it goes here instead.

December 01, 2007

Maxine McKew Wins Bennelong

I was stuck on 69 posts for a while there

October 30, 2007

Trash and Treasure

Recently we had a Sunday morning free. I suggested we go down to the local Rotary trash 'n treasure. Just to see what is out there. I was just hoping to pick up a couple of tomato plants or chilli plants for the vegetable garden.

That was not to be. Here is our bounty:

Husqvarna push along grass cutter
Flat leaf parsley
Bee hive smoker
Local garlic
Tow ball
Chilli plant
Wire cutter
Very Large Spanner
Lovely Chinese Style Lazy Susan Dip Holder

I spotted the bee hive smoker and the lazy susan.


I went to Bondi today. I saw this sign.

September 18, 2007


Another September, another hockey grand final...

A different result for the first time in three years. Although we didn't win, I got another bit of bling to hang on the nail in the wall.

It shows what happens when hustlers get turned into saints.

September 07, 2007

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July 04, 2007

New Technology

I have been resisting buying any new kind of television recording equipment like a VCR or a DVD recorder. I do enjoy watching the tube in the evening, but generally there is nothing on it I feel I cannot miss. Generally. The Tour starts again this weekend, and there is a certain something about the struggle of fit men to get up mountains on a bicycle that appeals to me. The thought of riding quite quickly for 3 hours nearly every day for 3 weeks makes me want to weep.

So we're off to spend some cash on a DVD recorder to record the Tour. I suspect this new machine may only be used for 3 to 4 weeks in a year.

June 29, 2007

Pasha Bulker

I admire activists. I admire the ingenuity of their protests. Like this one at Nobby's Beach in Newcastle, NSW, where the 77,000 tonne coal carrier, Pasha Bulker, ran aground earlier this month.
I have a friend who is an activist. She engineered a particlury amusing protest in regard to the conditions of child care workers. It involved psuedo soiled nappies and an MP's electoral office. I bet the MP didn't see that coming.

June 28, 2007

La Grande Boucle

I meant to post this many months ago.

On a Sunday, in last November, we went for a ride around the Swan River. 4000 other people did the same thing. The start was quite a spectacle.

I am not much of a cyclist. For one, I am far too fat (see chubby knees below). But, against my expectations, I have found that it is a pleasant way to get around, even if it requires far much more ‘gear’ than was required when I was a kid on my Indi 500. Cycling is turning out to be like skiing. Expensive. Also fun. Not quite addicted yet though. Also not willing to take the bike all the way to Europe.

The Burber King; he is a cyclist. A real cyclist. He didn’t really want to wear the maillot à pois rouges on this little blat around the Swan. After all, there are no mountains here (and to his despair, I could not face the idea of hauling up the big hill at Mosman Park, so we cheated at that point. Shhhh.).
But he has climbed mountains on his bicycle. He rode this very bike up Mont Ventoux.
Mont Ventoux is on the periphary of the French Alps, and is 1909 metres high.

It took him several hours and he never got off his bike once. And the bike was laden with paniers carrying all the supplies you need to tour France. I drove past this mountain once, and I have seen it on the Tour de France year after year. Our campervan would barely make the climb. It is difficult to contemplate it on a bicycle.

Anyway, as I said, he was hesitant to wear the Polka Dot Jersey around the Swan. I asked the question - of the 4000 people riding around the Swan today, how many have rode their bicycle up Mont Ventoux? Perhaps a few. But it would only be a few. So wear the polka dot jersey, because you have really and truly, ridden up mountains.

The Great Perth Bike Ride was a hoot. Freaken hot though. And our sprint finish was hilarious. But 53km circuit was completed in 2hour 9 mins. I think the people doing it as a race did 2 circuits – 106 k’s - in less time. Clearly, there are drugs in cycling.
Look at this freak. More evidence of drugs in cycling

June 20, 2007

Dirty Old Town

Poor coal ridden Newcastle

June 05, 2007

Foundation Day Derby

Captain James Stirling officially proclaimed the Swan River Colony in Western Australia on 11 June, 1829. Although Captain Fremantle on the HMS Challenger had already claimed, for Britain, this western part of Australia some seven weeks earlier on April 25. Stirling took off up the river thinking he might find a better place to live. Instead, he just found Bayswater and Mt Lawley. What an extraordinary dissapointment for Stirling! And for countless residents since.
Captain Freo, on the other hand, knew he was on to a good thing, and set up camp on Bathers Beach. Stirling agreed he had lost the race to find the best place in the west to live and acknoweldged Fremantle's excellent judgement by naming the place after him. The People of the City of Fremantle have celebrated their Captain's victory ever since by playing a terrific game of Australian Rules Football between the teams of East Fremantle and South Fremantle.

Here you can see South Fremantle warm up in the background while the locals pay minimal respect for their athletic need to warm up those active muscles.

I love WAFL games. Kids everywhere kicking everywhere. Many adults too.

Souths won.
Jeffrey Farmer - the clown - gave away two 50m penalties and got taken out of the game on a stretcher. Ridiculous. Bloody Dockers

June 02, 2007

Another disgrace

I remember how grand it was watching West Perth win their first grand final for 20 years in 1995. All the Cardinals supporters came out of the woodwork that year. I thought at the time that it was a feeling that you don't get to experience very often.

Fortunately for me, I support the Fremantle Football Club, so there is every chance I will get to wait 20 years before Fremantle win a premiership. That will be a sweet day.

June 01, 2007


I am very angry. Very angry indeed. I am going to write a letter of complaint that makes use of the c word.


From: Dockers Supporter 1
Sent: Friday, 1 June 2007 2:46 PM
To: Burber ; Dockers Supporter 2
Cc: Burber King
Subject: RE: is it true?

yep 7 are delaying it to start at 7.30 and foxtel can't start until 9pm because 7 won't let them.

I'm going home to listen to the radio

it's a disgrace


From: Burber
Sent: Friday, 1 June 2007 2:41 PM
To: Dockers Supporter 1; Dockers Supporter 2
Cc: Burber King
Subject: is it true?

Is the Dockers game not able to watched by anyone in WA unless it is 2 hours late?

May 31, 2007

May 29, 2007

Absent friends

With the garden works being on, I have had to leave our little friends down at Mum's place. I find I stay at work later when they are not at home. It is horrid coming home to the house without them being there jumping at the gate. I sometime wonder why I didn't get a dog sooner.

Speaking of dogs, I must introduce you to Wilfred. He is on the next entry. I am just trying to figure out this whacky google/blog spot/You Tube technology

Where would we be be without our SBS?

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May 23, 2007

April 24, 2007


The Farm came with a rain gauge. So now we can join in the talk about rain. Last time we were there we got about 40 millilitres of rain. Let me tell you, the district was quite excited. It was on the tips of everyone's tongues in the hardware store. And the brewery. And the vineyard.

Here is one of BurberKing feeding Molly and Blind Beauty. The calf will be on someone's dinner plate soon enough, so no need to give him a name.

April 20, 2007


The first person to find some helpful istructions on how to harvest the honey from our new apiary- and send them to me - will win a prize.
They must be useful and have pictures. We have a smoker thing and funny helmet with a screeen for keeping the bees from the Burber King's face.
Look at that apiary. It looks all innocent and peaceful now. Just wait till we have a crack at it.

March 25, 2007

Frontier Town

About that frontier town nonsense- I am not sure where I picked that up. It was in some self-congratulatory nonsense I read recently. It makes me feel like I am in a western. Surrounded by red necks.

March 14, 2007

Darth Rudd

"Australia should aim to become a greater force for good in the world."

Use the force, Kevin.

Burbs? What Burbs?

A big day today. Our ultimate non-burbs quest. A farm. A couple of hours ago the final settlement went through on a farming property we have bought in Margaret River in partnership with my brother and his wife. We are minor partners, but what the hell – we still have access to a farm. As Downsouth Realty describes, the farm is 120 acres ‘with 25 acres of bush and complimented by views of surrounding farms’. And it has a farm house. A FARM HOUSE!!! Arrrghhhhh!

The real estate blurbs don’t mention the two blind cows we have inherited. Blind Beauty is pictured around here somewhere.
Nor the ostrich. Yes. An ostrich. And the tractor. A TRACTOR!!! BurberKing is thrilled.
Its all very exciting for us. We are going down there this weekend to furnish.

Personally, I cannot wait for winter when I can set the massive granite fire place with a fire and then go walking around the paddocks and the bush in my wellington boots, only to return to the farmhouse to get warm. Leaving the muddies boots outside of course.

Please come and visit when you are in town.

March 13, 2007

Big Ships

Just the other week, the biggest ocean liner in the world docked in the Sydney Harbour. It was the Queen Mary 2. Twelve hours after the arrival of the QM2, her sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2 arrived in the Sydney Harbour.

It must have been quite a sight. The pictures here don’t quite do the event justice. The traffic problems the meeting caused in Sydney drew more attention on the air waves than the ships themselves. But who cares about cars stuck in jams when you have these two magnificent beauties cruising in. I wish I had been in Sydney to see it. Ocean liners never fail to amaze me.

Imagine the captains and their pilots manoeuvring these ocean liners through Sydney Harbour. As new and as massive as the Queen Mary 2 is, the QE2 is still a gorgeous and stylish craft. Seeing each other’s ships passing in this fantastic harbour must have been an amazing moment for the captains. It would have brought a tear to the eye.

I went on the QE2 once for a few hours when it was in Fremantle in 1990. My parents were off on a cruise to Africa. They like the ocean liners. They once took my four siblings around the world on a ship – the Angelina Lauro.

Dad arrived in Fremantle off a ship, like so many immigrants (these days and then; though Dad’s ship would have been more comfortable than our modern day refugee carriers. And the welcome more hospitable. Selfish Australia. Shame on you). In Fremantle, the local council recently built a wall and hung plaques on it with the names of all the European people that came to Western Australia as refugees after the Second World War. Nation builders they are called – now, at least. They wouldn’t have been called nation builders in 1946. They were unwelcome, but not as unwelcome as today’s refugees. Today’s refugees are all labelled as potential threats to our society, locked up in a cage in the desert to go mad. The threat to our society is allowing this awful situation to continue. I wonder what the plaques for these refugees will say.

What I know is that immigration is good for the economy, and I can’t get anyone to build me some decking for less than $220 per square metre – so let them in and share the wealth.

March 08, 2007

February 15, 2007

Invite received

"We may just chuck some snags on the Barbie and slap it on a bit of bread."

Well, that is my Saturday night sorted.

February 14, 2007


We are back from our holiday. We had a great couple of weeks skiing. We stayed in La Tania, a village in the middle of the 3 Valleys ski area. It is an area we had visited before; in 2000 for a particularly ridiculous holiday, and was where I had a more than ridiculous downhill accident. I took a picture of the slope for those of you that ever heard of my accident (in the web album link here somewhere); or who may have been there on the night. In retrospect, I was lucky to walk away clutching at my frozen rum and coke.

I have a web album up with some photos we took.

We just went skiing all day on most days so there is not much to tell – the photos set the scene. I will say one thing about skiing – this is the kind of sporting holiday you can do at any age from 3 to 70+. There are lots of old folks out there on the French slopes. By that age, sure, you are not going to be fond of icy black runs; or be queuing for the first lift (I must be prematurely 70) – but you can get out of bed, stretch your legs, get your gear on, trot outside, sit on a chair, ski down a gentle slope – maybe do that 2 or 3 times and off to lunch and then an afternoon nap. I doubt that there will ever be many 70 year old snowboarders out on the slopes. The assault on the knees and arse would be too much for the elderly. So there is a whole load of snow sport enthusiasts out there who might find that their winter holidays in the snow won’t continue because their mode of travel is designed primarily for youthful joints and those 20-somethings willing to wear their pants hanging down around their knees. I may be wrong about this. It makes for conversation.

There are a lot of Russians in Courcheval 1850 these days. It seemed a bit seedy. I know that it is bad to make generalisations about anyone. Having said that, there is a generalisation about rich Russians being crooked Russians. The poor French. They put up with the touring English for so many years, and now the Russians are coming. As well as this ill-informed generalising Australian (with a pommie passport). Still, someone is making loads of money up there. For instance, there is a pub that sells a half pint of Kronenburg for 25 Euros. A $7 half pint of Leffe in Perth pales in comparison.

After we had our dose of skiing, we went to Brussels, Belgium. We were greeted by our marvellous friends at the train station. They even had an esky waiting for us. It was a lovely week catching up with the Osborne’s and a lovely 30 minutes catching up with the Meston-Bunting’s. The latter got tragically ill and retired to the toilet for the next 3 days. Poor loves.
There are some photos from this expedition too. I was quite surprised at the beer. I had heard the Belgians were into it; but they really are very, very into it. And its great and its cheap.

Like us, our friends live in a house that needs some renovation, so we were glad to go and check out some salle de bains magasins with them. You’ll be glad to know that tiling and bathroom shops are much the same no matter where you go – located in the sticks and full of too many tiles that you could never hope to choose between. They did spy a great bath though.
I know I should write more about the holiday. But I am bad at it.

It was the usual long trip home plus 2 hours in the customs hall at Perth International Airport. No wonder there is a low unemployment rate – everyone is in uniform checking your passports or rifling through your luggage. One day I am going to be brave enough to re-enter Australia on my British Passport. When the ever-so-casual immigration man asks me how long I am staying, I will say ‘forever’ and get into some argument about visas. When it gets too much I’ll whip out the blue passport and tell him to go and get a real job. As if I can talk about real jobs…

Anyway, as soon as we got home, we jumped in the car and went to the beach. A swim in the ocean can cure so many things including the devastation of a 28 hour rail and air and customs hall journey. And then the next day we got back into the Burbs. Starting with picking up a big tray of Carnarvon mangoes for $11.99. Bargain.

February 07, 2007

Christmas 2006/7

I have just got back from a long 5 week break from work. 3 of those were spent overseas. But the other 2 were spent having a lovely Christmas and New Year time. Christmas was great - mucking about at the beach, doing jigsaw puzzles in the courtyard and drinking too much wine. Burber King and I took on the job of cooking the turkey for Christmas lunch. I only volunteered after having a brilliant turkey thanksgiving dinner in November with our wonderful neighbourhood friends. A good turkey really is possible. It doesn't have to be dried out after all. Turns out those Americans do know a thing or two - and cooking turkey is one of them (our friends aren't American (not that there is anything wrong with that... I adore Gore Vidal) they just lived there for a while). Anyway, our turkey was a success. And here is a picture of the family feeding on it.

New Year was a cool little home party with family and our neighbourhood friends. Big dinner, rowdiness and hats. I like the mini-party.

Here is a web-album of a few shots around this time.

January 03, 2007

Happy New Year

It doesn't feel much like a happy new year now that Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn and Shane Warne have all retired. And we thought the Chappell-Lillee-Marsh retirement was a bad time in Australian cricket...

We are leaving the Burbs for a few weeks. Off to the French Alps.

See ya. We will be back soon.

Happy new year!