Thursday, December 31, 2009
Both these Yachties will be called “Dazza” and “Al ex-Prez” and to explain this would be a further story so lets leave that to another time, maybe!!! Needless to say that the girls, Tracy, Denise and Sue don’t need silly names – it’s a boy thing.
I’m also told that he is a talented sailor and has done some ocean races in the past that include Bass Strait crossings from Melbourne to Tasmania. Now that is serious stuff....
LEFT: Looking across the Sandringham marina while enjoying a cool beer. Does it get any better?
A full moon rose above the horizon and reflected against the Bay waters for the whole night.
Loaded up with food and refreshments we met at “Bonsoir time”. Sue had prepared a caramelized onion and blue cheese tart, with a side dish of asparagus topped with shaved pecorino much to the delight of Al ex-Prez.
I brought some refreshments and thought we might go all Italian with Peroni beer, Prosecco, a dry sparking and a red from Montalcino in the Toscana region.
Back to this sailing thing – I thought I needed to look a little sea faring so I went down and bought a pair of sandals, and a sort of beach style t-shirt (Sue wouldn’t let me wear the Hawaiian shirt tucked away in the wardrobe for occasions like this) to go with my shorts. Being a cyclist, I thought the lycra might not be a good look. And just incase we decided to go for a dip, I put on the budgie smugglers under the shorts.
On arrival at the yacht we spied Dazza and Al ex-Prez in full flight on the Tazer. Al ex-Prez, remember he’s the big bloke offered me an opportunity to experience the thrilling delights of sailing. Now not wanting to seem a little petrified, I agreed to allow myself to be in the good hands of Al ex-Prez.
He explained my responsibilities but it was all “jibberish” (another intended sailing pun) to me. Ropes are not called ropes, they have other names which didn’t sink (let’s not take that word seriously) in.
On our return it was back to the serious part of entertainment. The night was just perfect in the mid-30s, a cool wispy wind travelling across the calm water and keeping us a very comfortable while viewing the shoreline from a kilometer or two out in the bay.
BELOW: The three photographs below were taken off the shoreline on a short time exposure while the boat gently rocked back and forth. This caused the lights from the shore move. I then used a little digital creativity to intensify the colour and contrast.
It's the end of the night and Dazza makes the final adjustments before we leave.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
One of my favourite presents this Christmas came from Sue - its a book titled "Cycling's Golden Age". It is a superb account of the cycling legends from 1946 to 1967. The forward is written by Belgium cyclist, Eddy Merckx. Many of the pictures capture scenes from France, Italy and Belgium.
You may have noticed that the Bathing Boxes have been replaced by a night scene of Melbourne as our header (well, one of my readers kindly noticed and made mention of it). I should explain firstly that it is not taken by me but borrowed from Wikipedia and so is the one below.
The scene is of area known as Southbank and the river running through the city is called the Yarra.
Looking down on Melbourne CBD you see Southbank to the right hand side of the Yarra. To the left is the famous Flinders Street Station where people meet "under the clocks".
Before British settlement, the area now called South Melbourne was a series of low lying swamps inhabited by Aboriginal tribes.
From British settlement the area which is now Southbank consisted of some old factories, warehouses and wharves mostly built between the 1860s-1920s when the area was part of the first port of Melbourne. It had a few old bridges, the first being the first Princes Bridge and later the Sandridge Bridge which was formerly part of the Port Melbourne railway line from 1888 to 1987, and the Arts centre precinct which opened in the 1980s on a former parkland.
The suburb was the subject of urban renewal in the early 1990s aimed at stimulating development in a period when Melbourne was experiencing an economic downturn.
The boys and girls await their coffee and raisin toast.
Southbank has progressed from an area of warehouses, factories and slum housing to the tourist precinct of today. I'm old enough to remember some of the area before redevelopment.
New Years Eve will see 1000s of people along both banks of the Yarra to wish in the New Year and view the fireworks at midnight. Some will take in the more rural stretches of the Yarra River seen below.
Some people prefer this part of the Yarra River to Southbank. It meanders from the hills of its source and through the country-side before reaching Southbank and the Melbourne CBD. At this point in the country, the river is fresh and clean. It is home to Platypus, trout. Kangaroos, wallabies and wombats can occasionally be seen along its banks. Some of my early cycling days were in the upper Yarra district.
Christmas and Boxing day have now drifted in to 2009 history and its only a few more days before we start a new decade. I've always felt that each new year is a good year.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Blessed Mary MacKillop (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909) was an Australian Roman Catholic nun who, together with Father Julian Tenison Woods, founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
Since her death she has attracted much veneration within Australia as a symbol of the strength of the early Catholic Church. She is the only Australian to be beatified (1995); on 19 December 2009 the Vatican announced the recognition of a second miracle attributed to her intercession. It is expected that her canonisation as a saint will occur in 2010. This would make her the first Australian saint. On 17 July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI prayed at her large tomb during his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008.
Should MacKillop achieve sainthood, she will have the distinction of being the only saint ever to have been previously excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church.
Only this week Mary MacKillop made the team.
Only 2 more sleeps before the jolly fat man in the red suit slithers down the chimney………..
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The Pavilion Cafe during the 1950s prior to being destroyed by fire. A more modern building is where we enjoyed lunch.
If you would like to explore more of the gardens, follow the link below.
Apologies for the average quality of the photographs - I carry a small Canon camera in my pocket for ocassions such as this day. The weather was overcast and light rain fell most of the afternoon.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Part of the Kelly Gang - John, Kathy, Judy and Lynette after arriving in from Adelaide.
Lynette and Kathy's father was Australian and brother to Sue, John and Judy's Mum, and that's basically the tie-in.
And this time with Sue, less Kathy.
Some of the leftover debri - gosh they enjoy their red wine.
I split a ripe fig and a drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic, then popped in a wedge of blue cheese. A couple of minutes in the oven to melt the cheese and warm the fig, then I put on a little bit of rocket with a slice of proscuitto and another drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduced to a sticky syrup. It was yummo.The Entree - extremely yummy.
Chermoula chicken with orange cous cous, a sweet chilli and yoghurt sauce and minted, honeyed carrots.
Then I made a "mangomisu". Think tiramisu without the coffee and coffee liqueur, and substitute mango and Cointreau. Fresh and nice.
From Left to right: Steve, Lynette, DT, Kathy and Sue.
It has been fabulous to meet and spend some time with our American cousins. The only sad thing is that we have just met them and they're flying home again. I guess it must be my turn to go there next. They're from Virginia Beach which sounds like a nice part of the world...and Kathy has offered to meet me in New York...mmm...sounds good.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I never really came to grips with Orstralian cars although I have had them in the past.
It was a great fun car, my Dauphine, although a Gordini would have been a step up. Maybe one day I'll find another.
The Dauphine and the ID19, so different yet so enjoyable in their own special way to drive.
Having said that, I did go through a British period of cars starting with MGs & Triumphs and a great little 1969 Mini, along with these French and British cars came membership to both Citroen and MG car clubs. Many great memories stem from these Clubs and friendships from those days exist now.
We had Triumph saloons over the period of our boys growing up - leather, wood, pure luxury we thought..... The Mini was great fun and my boys at 12 and 10 drove it in MG Car Club motokhanas on grass.
My little 850cc Renault Dauphine was a delightful car with its roundish curves and flat headlights poking out of a nose unlike the traditional chrome grill of the Holdens and Fords. The motor was in the back and openings behind the rear doors allowed air to travel to the rear engine compartment to cool the radiator. I can remember achieving the top speed of 75 mph on a downhill stretch. Very scary.
With the Renault Dauphine being a memory, in the late 70s a Renault 16 came my way. As a recycled bachelor, it helped me move home a few times. The seats had all these various configurations so I could transport my wardrobe, records and books. Oh yes, the bed also.
My first Citroen was a Slough built model out of England. Compared to the French built Traction Avant, it had such upgrades as a sunroof, leather upholstery and wood grain dash and door trims. It was the first of many Traction Avants, followed by a 1954 model and later a 1951 Big Six model with the huge 3 litre six cylinder engine.
A 1960s ID19 Citroen also joined the collection - now this was considered to be a radical choice by my Holden/Ford friends. It might not be very quick at the lights but it certainly was "Queen of the open road" with its air-cutting shape and its quirky suspension.
I had always wanted an MG during the 70s and in 1976 I was able to purchase a six year old MGB. This was the start of long association with the MG Car Club of Melbourne.
Our 2nd MGB was red, the 1st (mine) was indigo blue. Although Sue's everyday car, we used it on weekends for hillclimbs, motokhanas and general club competition.
The MGB was followed five years later with an MGA restoration project. Then came two 1950s MG Magnettes and a very cute 1963 MG 1100. The 1100 was a front wheel drive derivative of the Morris 1100. It was a surprisingly good little car for many years.
The MG Magnette saloon, quite a nice car, not quick (1500cc) but leather and wood gave it an attitude of refinement.
Yes, it does look a little sad doesn't it, but it was great project and done with my own hands after a 6 month panel beating course.
By the way, Sue was carrying our 2nd born who is now 21.
A great little car that we developed for competition in the MG Car Club.
At some time it was suggested that everyone should an Italian love affair and mine was the ownership of two Alfa Romeo Coupes. The first was a white 1974 2000GTV 105 (again Sue's everyday car). I truly loved that car and so it was followed by a 1979 Alfetta GTV, naturally in red. It was my substitute Ferrari.
How lucky was Sue to have this as her everyday car?
And my everyday car.
I quite often think I would like another classic to take out on sunny days - maybe another Traction Avant, yes but hellish in Melbourne traffic with its big drum brakes and flip flop wipers.
But I think I would like to "return to the future" and lovingly restore an example of my very first Renault Dauphine.