Friday, August 27, 2010

Honey and Lemon

I have been at home for a couple of days this week with a cold. I have a yucky cough and my throat is quite raw. Thank goodness for the wonders of the honey and lemon drink! Definitely my comfort drink of choice when colds and flu knock at my door.

The lemons are just ripe on the tree outside so I should be good for supplies for a few days yet!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Dinner with the hockey girls

Second last fixture of the season and I finally managed to get my act together to organise a dinner for my hockey team! Ten of us were able to make it, so not a bad number for a team of eleven plus reserves.

Dinner was at The Windsor Hotel. Coincidentally this is Chad's and my favourite pub and we generally have good food and a good time!

It was great to catch up with the girls socially and it is always fun to see everyone out of uniform and with their hair down. It was an especially good day as we had won our game earlier and we were on a high.

The team... well, most of us!

Kirsty and Dannii

Janelle and AJ

Marie and me

Ellen and Sara

Meg and Molly!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Adventures in the land of pineapples - Brisbane still

Back to our Pineapple adventure (1, 2, 3)! Saturday dawned and it was warm, a sultry 27C. For a midwinter temperature that was very warm to us. Neither Elissa nor I had packed appropriately for the weather so we made do. Thankfully I had packed a couple of t-shirts and skirt.

First on our schedule was a catch up with friends, old and new. A former work mate had moved over to Brisbane a few years ago and I could not leave town without saying "hello". D and I had started at the same company within a week or two of each other and she was always good value in the lunch and shopping stakes! We also met Kylie of Flying Ducks fame. Both Elissa and I had corresponded with her and it was exciting to meet her in person and hear more of her adventures!

Elissa and Kylie had been a part of a package exchange and they took the opportunity of our visit for them to exchange their packages in person. It was Christmas in July - literally! If you are curious what is in the packages then read Kylie's post for a more eloquent rundown. And photos.

We met at the Shingle Inn for morning tea. It was a mountain of food as you can see here and I failed to finish mine. I felt over sugared! High tea was served with a glass of orange juice and a pot of tea, a different twist that I have not come across before.

Here we are, Elissa, Kylie, me and D.

All good things must come to and end and we eventually had to say goodbye. Elissa and I rolled onto our next adventure and waddled(!) across to the Westend in search of some shops that had been in Kylie's guide. A couple we liked (and the only ones that I took a photo of) were Don't Tell Fannie for local fashion and Nook, for handmade and funky designs from Australia and the world. They have many brands that I have previously seen and admired, including versions of the Mattt bag that is now my favourite accessory.

After our sojourn to the Westend we caught a train to Fortitude Valley to see what was there. Shopping was the main activity on the agenda and we did a quick reconnaissance of the shops. I was feeling very poorly by this stage and resorted to over the counter drugs to keep myself feeling vaguely normal and able to still be a tourist.

The next morning we headed out to Southbank for the Young Designers Market. This market was excellently awesome and there were stalls and stalls and even more stalls of locally made and designed items. Clothing, jewellery, accessories, and everything that a girl could want. I was impressed with the size of the market and the amazing range of products. They happen on the first Sunday of the month and I would definitely recommend coinciding your visit to Brisbane with this market.

We were both feeling the pain of tired feet and lack of energy - I am sure that it says somewhere that you cannot get sick on holidays - so we headed to the Queensland Art Gallery to get some culture and also to escape from the heat. Unfortunately this also meant walking around but at least we could frequently stop as we admired the art.

Election Advertising

I have been struck during this election campaign by just how much advertising there has been in my local seat of Swan. It possibly has a lot to do with the fact that the (Liberal) incumbent won by 164 votes at the 2007 federal election and redistribution of the seats had made it notionally a Labor seat.

We have been inundated by paper in the mailbox since the election was called. Steve Irons has been the worst offender with constant bombardments and Tim Hammond also did not leave us completely alone, his leaflets including photos of him as a child!

I have been noticing posters in the most random places for Mr Irons, including trailers on my way to the busstop and opposite the local primary school, banners on balconies and posters in neighbours' gardens and in front of local shops. Yesterday morning there were also three keen youths waving the Irons message on the side of the road to passing communters! In comparison Mr Hammond has been somewhat MIA in my immediate locality.

One thing that struck me whilst waiting in line to cast my vote was the difference in the approach to advertising the candidates of the two major parties. The Labor candidate was outnumbered in posters by his leader, and even by their "scary" posters of the Liberal leader! I was not sure who we were meant to be voting for. The Liberal candidate on the other hand was definitely trying to sell his own brand and most of the posters were him, with the occasional reference to his leader. (Labor actually had more photos of TA around than the Liberals did.)

I think that one aspect that works in the favour of the local MP is that he has kept his profile up in the community during the three years since he was elected. There are usually several articles about his involvement in the community in the local paper and he puts a regular newsletter in the post to let you know what he has been up to. The cynic in me says that this is part and parcel for being the elected member in a marginal seat although I would hope that you would get this commitment in a safe seat as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Committed to exercise

Yesterday morning after my regular (weekly!) PT session I signed up for bulk classes. It works out slightly cheaper for me but it also means that I am committed now for 25 sessions! That is, another six months. Woah.

I enjoy the session. I look forward to it on Sunday evenings when I get my clothes and lunch ready. Usually I sleep poorly on Sunday night and when the time comes to wake up and go all I want to do is sleep. By the time that I get started it is good!

I have a one on one personal training session. There is some cardio mixed up with weights and generally my body feels achy for a few days afterwards. Today it was all about arms – I am definitely weak when it comes to the upper body and I use embarrassingly light weights!!

Now I just need to make sure that I motivate myself to pick up the exercise regime again and keep myself going to run and cycle and maintain a level of fitness.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Lazy Sunday

I had no hockey this weekend, no real commitments and suggested to Chad that we get out on the water for some fish and chips! Elissa has also never been on his boat and she joined us on our journey.

Elissa and I met Chad at the South Perth boat ramp. His boat currently lives at his parents’ house (around 25km from home) and we are looking forward to building our house and being able to have it live with us. So much more convenient!

We loaded up with an esky full of salad and drinks and set off down the river. It is such a gorgeous trip, and you see the houses along the river banks. We like to ogle the houses and try to figure out what suburb we are wandering past.

Perth from the water.

Leaving the city in our wake.

E commented that I have been posting too many unflattering photos of her, so here is a picture of me that she took!

Skipper hard at work!

To get out into the ocean you pass through Fremantle Harbour and the interesting cargo ships and vessels. I love the cranes and industrial feel. It never ceases to amuse me that the residents in the posh development of ?? complain that the port is noisy. Logic to me says that if you purchase a property next to a 24 hour port then you are likely to hear noise all times of the day. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for it, the noise will still be there.

Our maritime museum is rather different, don’t you think?

We tie up at Kailis and eat their fish and chips. They are happy for people to use their facility as long as you purchase from them and we are happy to oblige.

Yum. Fish and chips. I went the grilled variety and we brought our own salad.

Excusion over. Back to the real world.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Washing up a storm!

I thoroughly recommend living with an electrician. Very handy to have around the house, especially when light fittings fall off the ceiling (true!) or your washing machine plays up...

I had a domestic day last Sunday. Raosting a chicken, doing the washing... My idyll was interrupted by loud appliance noise. To be honest I thought that it was the oven again. The oven fan had been playing up and Chad had dissected it and worked his magic and made the noise go away.

Walking into the kitchen I realised that the noise was actually coming from the laundry. Oh no! Once I opened the door it was obvious that something wasn't right with the washing machine.

I figured out that it was the drain function, as the motor kept grinding when I switched the machine to "drain" and then to "stop". The only way to give myself relief from the noise was to turn off the power.

After having to replace the hot water system I was not keen on forking out more money to buy a new washing machine, especially considering it is only six and a half years old. I put out a distress call to my repairman and asked if his talents stretched to washing machines.

Never fear! Chad came home from work and proceeded to dissect the washing machine. He found the offending drain pump, and removed it from service. A quick trip the next day to the service centre to buy a new part and he worked his magic to make the washing machine as good as new!

The offending part, trying to look innocent.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A different kind of sweat shop

This is such an awesome idea! Over in Paris they have come up with a concept that taps into the current trend for home made and hand made. A local Sweat Shop.

They have ten sewing machine workstations for hire on an hourly basis and a communal worktable. Classes are also offered for those who need a kickstart, in sewing or knitting or even English!

This would be perfect for the casual seamstress, or for someone who is just starting out to learn and get a feel for the equipment and how to use it.

Brought to my attention by this article.

Just changed sewer to seamstress. I didn't think hard enough about that when I posted!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Adventures in the land of pineapples - Brisbane

We made it to Brisbane from Nambour safely. We had not anticipated the peak hour traffic trying to drive into the city and it was a little stressful. E was handling the GPS and I was trying to drive. At one point I ended up being forced to turn left off the road that we were on but apart from that we managed to make it. It was not clear to me where to park outside the hotel so E ran inside to organise parking.

There was an initial hiccup with our hotel room - we ended up with one queen sized bed - but they were happy enough to change that for us and our new room had two double sized beds. Bliss! We were both weary and ventured only as far as the hotel restaurant for our dinner.

The next morning we awoke to a foggy city. The view out of our bedroom window was a little obscured but it did not deter us from our plan to vist Mount Coot-tha.

Breakfast was at Mount Coot-tha. What a view to enjoy with your bacon and eggs!

After dropping off the hire car in the city we wandered aimlessly. Okay, that is not entirely true. I did have a basic idea of the layout of Brisbane from when I had last visited, however they did not have their prison at that time. (See here for reference to Perth's prison.)

It was warm enough and sticky enough for E to go for a paddle at the beach. Brisbane has this awesome artificial beach on their river edge where you can paddle and take a dip and enjoy the water. It is at Southbank, just near the Arts Precinct. I am jealous. Where is Perth's?

We tired ourselves out and went back to the hotel room for a snooze. Refreshed, we headed to the city for the brisStyle indie twilight market, shopping and dinner. The market was great, the weather was perfect and there was a lovely variety of stalls. E remarked that it was great to go to a market and to see completely different and new stalls!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting in hot water

Our gas storage hot water system had been on its way out for a while. Last winter we had a few windy days when the pilot was blown out and the slow drips from the tank kept the element damp. We knew that the hot water system would need replacing, it was just a matter of how long we could keep it working!

Last month I received a call from a very angry Chad while I was at work. The hot water system had gone out again and he managed to singe (or nearly!) his eyebrows trying to relight the pilot. He ended up draining the water out of the bottom of the system by drilling a couple of holes in the base!

After he had calmed down he rang a plumber to get a quote for replacing the hot water system and eventually we settled on a 5 star system. He looked at changing to a continuous flow unit, however the piping would also need to be replaced and so we stuck with gas storage. I insisted on the five star energy rated unit, rather than the cheaper 3 star system.

Quick work for the plumber and we are very happy with our new hot water system! The water is a fantastic temperature and washing dishes you definitely need to wear thick gloves to be able to put your hands into the water.

Out with the old... it lasted over twelve years, not a bad innings! Note the tape on the lower cover.


My poor sister copped my complaining about this word and I am so glad that someone else finds the pronunciation of "negotiate" by our Prime Minister as irritating as I do.

Ahhh.... what a beautiful song!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cartoon music

E and I are going to see the Gorillaz when they come to Perth! I am looking forward to it. I might have to buy their latest album too...

We are getting old and we have bought tickets with seats so we do not have to fight the crowds and try to peer over six foot tall blokes.

Image here

Monday, August 9, 2010


Congratulations to my sister E for passing her exam for entry into specialist training!!!

This was the purpose of our visit to Queensland and I am glad to have been able to be a part of the journey, even if I didn't let you buy cocoapops.

E tells me that she never has to sit any more exams again.

Image here

Perth City Link Road Show

I was intrigued to see a scale model of the Perth City Link on display at the bottom of the building I work in. Sinking the railway line and linking Perth and Northbridge has been talked about for as long as I can remember, and it was interesting to see what the latest concept is.

I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of open space in the model, but I guess it is conceptual at this stage. It would be great to be able to bring the two areas together in the first place and hopefully there will be some good open spaces.

For those who do not know the city, Perth and Northbridge are currently separated by a railway line, train station and bus station and there are limited points at which to cross. It is all rather grotty and uninspiring, and not the safest feeling to be walking through at certain times of the day. It would be great to have some options and make the trek into Northbridge for dim sum during work hours more direct and pleasant!

Futher information on current plans are here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Adventures in the land of pineapples - part 2

After making our way to Nambour, the day of E's exam dawned! I wished her luck and off she went - through the rain! - and I packed up our motel room and checked out.

I had a day on my own to try and keep myself occupied. We had no motel room to hang out in so it was on the road! E had kindly done some reading of tourist brochures for me and the Ginger Factory seemed to have enough to keep me occupied for a few hours.

I signed myself up for the ginger tour as well as the bee tour and thought that I might actually learn something from the visit. There was an awesome looking icecream shop there too and I would have been tempted to have a scoop or two if I had felt healthy.

Following this learning experience I headed across the road to Nutworks and learnt all about macadamia nuts! I knew that they were Australian but had never really thought too hard about where they come from. Sad but true. They are a native of south eastern Queensland and the only native Australian plant food that is produced in significant commercial quantities.

My brain was now bursting with newly learnt facts and so I decided to head to the coast and discover Noosa. Wow. Did I mention that there are many roundabouts in Queensland? I was very glad that we had borrowed Dad's GPS technology to help me navigate. I have driven around the UK on my own with a road map as a guide and I know how difficult it can be, so I was happy that "Bruce"** was there to let me know when I had gone the wrong way!

Noosa was very busy. It was quite warm and there were many surfers and beach goers looking for parking at the same time that I was. I perservered and found myself a lovely beach to sit at and enjoy. Bliss!

That was it for me and I was back to Nambour to wait for E to emerge from her exam and then we drove into Brisbane and to our hotel.

Yes, they had giant gingerbread men at the factory. Disappointingly they were not edible.

Great big vats of ginger. The majority of the ginger produced by the factory is used in their confectionery products.

The ginger tour walked us through the cultivation and processing of ginger and ended with a tasting of their products. My favourite was the Ginger Refresher Cordial and I am hoping that I can find it over here in Perth.

They have a couple of hives at the ginger factory and we learnt about bees. It was interesting to see the bees all milling around and learn more about the habits of the hive. We also had a tasting at the end of the tour. As much as I love honey I am pretty sure that we cannot bring it back into Western Australia so I just enjoyed the experience.

Noosa. Beach. Bliss.
I wished that I had dressed more appropriately for it - I was in jeans and sneakers!

** We nicknamed him Bruce. We were driving along the Bruce Highway and E made mention of this. I misunderstood and thought that she was calling the voice on the GPS Bruce... and so he was named. He was an Australian male and the name seemed appropriate.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Adventures in the land of pineapples - part 1

My sister E had an exam to go to this year. Even before I knew where it would be I offered to come along as moral support and for the adventure (as adventurous as you get here in suburban Australia!). In the lottery she received Nambour and we made plans to visit the Big Pineapple and Brisbane.

E and I ready for our adventure to the land of pineapples.

The electrifying view from our motel room in Brisbane. It buzzed. I crossed my fingers that the earthing calculations had been done correctly!

Mapleton Falls. This was as close as we got. E did not have sensible shoes with her so we couldn't go on the scenic walk.

The big pineapple!

After the excitement of seeing such a large pineapple, we wandered the main street of Nambour in search of lunch and a haircut. As you can see the weather was foreshadowing E's exam the next day.

Last minute exam cramming.