Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Feel A Change Comin' On

Am grooving to the new Dylan album that I got yesterday. The track below is great played loud as it has an excellent bass line.

I had a conversation with the Blue Galactic Monkey yesterday about the need for fun as opposed to survival. I took my own advice today and splurged a lump of money on some fun toys. I treated myself to a Wii console and Wii Fit balance board so we'll be able to do boxing, yoga, tennis, ski jump and mass murder all in the comfort of the front room.

I also went to the gym today and worked hard, first time in 3 weeks due to various minor ailments and a week in Melbourne.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I'm not sure what it is with Melbourne but I seem to get sick when I go there. We arrived on Friday and by Saturday night I had a sore throat, Sunday a full on head cold. Previous trips have seen me laid up with virulent food poisoning (the Qantas breakfast sausage was to blame I'm sure), and another occasion a bout of flu. I love the place and will definitely go back but need to take more precautions next time.

Friday we headed straight to Alison & John's place in Endeavour Hills and took Coco the dog for a walk while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive from their Queensland holiday.

Saturday we hung out with my brother Nigel, Jackie, Ali, John, and their kids - Kyle, Thalia and Mia. It was good to catch up with them all as I hadn't seen them for 2-3 years. In the evening Mick & Jan (John's Mum & Dad) came over for a traditional Aussie BBQ.

On Sunday we drove into the city and met up with Marrissa & Clint for brunch at a cafe near Albert Park that had been converted from an old tram station. After a quick whizz round Victoria Markets we headed back to Ali's where a full scale Olympic challenge was underway - on the Wii. The game of the day was ski jump. You had to stand on the Wii board and lean forward, springing upright at the perfect take-off moment to make your character jump the furthest. Amazing fun to be had in the lounge, with quite a few jumpers tumbling and rolling themselves into giant snowballs. After all the excitement we headed into Berwick for an Italian meal.

The weather was beautiful on Monday so we drove to Lysterfield Park and managed a 5.5km walk around the lake. There were quite a few burnt trees from the recent fires, but nothing too bad, although there are some badly burnt areas nearby. In the evening I helped Ali cook up a roast lamb dinner, complete with gravy AND cheese sauce, which was a first for me.

Tuesday, after breakfasting in a very languid manner, and a spot of shopping in Dandenong we said our goodbyes to the family and drove to the seaside suburb of Williamstown to stay with our friends Fi & Pete and their cats Theo and Mia. (Yes, that's a coincidence).

On Wednesday we had a lazy day, brunched, walked round the botanic gardens and then crashed at their house all afternoon reading magazines, tending to cats and listening to my ipod. My head cold was raging by this time and I'd been dosing up on Codral. Later we were guests of Fi and Pete at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club where we chatted to some interestingly strange people and wined and dined overlooking the harbour and city.

Thursday, our last day was earmarked for shopping so we headed straight to Bourke Street Mall and surrounding streets but the hunt was disappointing. A few minor purchases: Natio toiletries on special, a cheap necklace, and a polo shirt for John was all. Oh - and some yummy choccies from Koko Black. A quick stop back at Williamstown to collect out bags then we had to depart for the airport for the 7.30pm flight.

The descent into Auckland was agonizing as my right ear refused to 'pop', I guess because of the head cold. I lost my hearing temporarily and waggled my jaw around like a demented creature for about 30 minutes before it cleared. We landed at 1am this morning, got home about 2am and managed to get to bed at 3 am after some snuggling of cats, and was up at 8.30, so I am aiming for an early night.

Mugshots of the family....

Alison and Mia
Thalia and MiaJackie and Mia
Me with Nigel & Mia
Jackie and Thalia
Lysterfield Park, VIC

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We are off to Melbourne at the ungodly hour of 4am, so I am packing then its an early night. I will have to wean myself off the recently acquired Scrabble / crackbook addiction - a bit like not being able to smoke on the plane.

Blogging will resume in about a week, with photos.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A long and lazy Easter break

A nice long five day break due to Easter abutting my normal day off today. Apart from a couple of visits to friends for dinner we largely stayed at home and did some tidying of the garden, went for a walk or two and played on our respective keyboards: John on his synthesizer, me playing scrabble online.

A hard two days work to come this week then we are off to Melbourne for six days to catch up with my brother and family and various friends. I read about a "Mozzarella bar" that's opened there which we have to sniff out - as fresh buffalo mozzarella is one of my favourite food groups. I always manage a visit to the good games store in the arcade when I am in Melbourne. It just happens to be close to a gourmet chocolate shop. Oh - so many temptations.

Autumn leaves near Devonport.

Micky warming his bonce on brother Basil's belly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poland vs New Zealand

We decided to get our house re-roofed before winter sets in, as the leaks are getting worse and it looks nothing short of shocking from the outside. We walked the neighbourhood today eyeballing various roof profiles and colours, not to mention peering closely at colours and shapes of guttering while holding up playing card size pieces of coloured steel. It's a wonder we weren't reported to the police. It's a whole new world of mystery out there. We'll also get a couple of new skylights fitted and have the chimney overhauled while the scaffolding is up. With a bit of luck the work will start at the end of April and be done by the middle of May.

I've been playing Scrabble with Mari in Poland, while simultaneously Skypeing with her on video call. Its good fun as we can pull faces and torment each other as we play. Almost like playing in the flesh but without the threat of physical violence :-)

Meanwhile, the weather plunged into winter as soon as the sun went down - at a depressingly early 6pm, despite it being a warm sunny day today. John made his signature dish of shepherds pie for dinner which warmed us up.

Mari - trying to beat me at Scrabble ....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The sun is sinking like a ship

Our clocks go back tonight, so the evenings will be getting shorter.

The red berries on the Nikau palm trees surrounding our property have turned bright red, a sign that summer is nearly over. The tree rats and possums eat the berries from the tree closest to the house and we get the white/grey nibbled pips dropped all over the deck. It is like walking on marbles out there. At night time we hear them pinging off the wood, like a metronome: Ping, Ping, Ping.

Noodle - looking surprised/alarmed, which is her normal look these days.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bob's BOTT alternatives hit the right notes

Hard Rain was released in 1976. It is a live album - BUT - it's amazing.

I've been reacquainting myself with it in the car and I've realised I like this version of 'You're A Big Girl Now' as much as (possibly more than) the original from Blood On The Tracks. By the sound of the audience at the end, they loved Bob performing it live too.

I particularly enjoy the reeeeeealy extended vowel sounds that emphasise heeees emooooooooshuuuuuuuns.

A cracker!

Our conversation was short and sweet
It nearly swept me off-a my feet.
And I'm back in the rain, oh, oh,
And you are on dry land.
You made it there somehow
You're a big girl now.

The cover is great too. I remember as a teenager listening to Hard Rain vinyl LP and wanting to touch his long curly hair - sigh!

While on the subject of BOTT alternative versions I have to post a link to the New York session take of 'Idiot Wind'. It sounds like such a different song here. It's a slow lovely gentle version without the venom that is evident on the album release. There are also a couple of new verses including one about throwing the I-Ching. Lovely.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart

You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn't enough to change my heart.
Now everything's a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped,
What's good is bad, what's bad is good, you'll find out when you reach the top
You're on the bottom.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009