Sunday, 26 February 2012

Bloke week

Another week and we don't appear any closer to leaving. Sigh so Katrina is getting stuck into the thesis.  I in the interest of not getting in her way have continued to explore the sights and sounds of Melbourne.

The theme for this week turned out to be transport, specifically trains, automobiles and planes in that order.  Get it another way around and there's a bad movie title there. Although John Candy's best work.

Earlier in the week I hopped a train to Geelong to surprise dad for his birthday.  It was his 82nd!  So a low key afternoon was spent in Geelong, resulting in a rather late train trip back to Ashburton.  All in all a pleasant day.

Then on Tuesday I went to the Fox Classic Car Collection.  That's some of the more exotic cars owned by one Lindsay Fox.  The museum is housed in the old Queens warehouse just behind Southern Cross Station. Interesting seeing how the warehouse has been made over to accommodate the cars.  My previous experiences with the Queens warehouse had been as the Customs uniform store, detained goods repository and boxes and boxes of records to be moved.  The building still maintains a lot of its character though the contents are now much more interesting and expensive.  Exotic Mercedes, Jag, Porsche and so on vs shelves of turtles, snakes, alcohol and the gun store.  Close.... nup the cars win hands down.

One of the things I really liked about the display was that you could walk around most of the cars and see them from all angles.  Much more interesting for a museum visitor,  In some cases the cars were face out with a rear engine cover open, great being able to see front and rear views.  I guess most car designers would tell you that their "art" is meant to be subjected to 360 degree scrutiny.

Amongst the cars in the collection were the Mercedes Von Ribbentrop took to London in 1936 as ambassador, a Beatles limo and too much exoticar to list.  But amongst all of that my favourites were the two functional model Rolls Royce cars that an enthusiast made for his grandchildren.  Absolutely lovely!

Today I indulged myself and went to my first ever flying show! The RAAF Museum at Point Cook had its bi-annual historic flying day.  Woot!!!  Gave me an excuse to re-visit the museum and then watch and hear a variety of historic planes fly.  Unfortunately the wind was so strong that the biplanes couldn't fly, pooh!  Had a great time watching as plane after plane took off and stunted overhead.  Surprisingly the noise was much less than expected, even when multiple planes were airborne together.  The bulk of the planes were WW2 era, running through to the sixties.  Just to satisfy anyone that cares, two mustangs, two DC3's, a Yak9, Wirraway, Kittyhawk and a CAC Boomerang all got up and strutted their stuff.  Disappointingly no Spitfire.  The loudest plane on display was the Sabre, which was also the last.   Great day but hot and so windy I could feel the windburn setting in while still there.  I don't want to be in my face tomorrow!
Here's a picture of one (just one) of the flight lines - all the planes in the flight lines went up.......

Mind you the week wasn't entirely blokey.  I did discover that at some time in the past 20 odd years the State Library of Victoria refurbished the dome over the reading room.  Leaks fixed, copper shielding removed and the dome windows now flood the reading room with light at its original design intended.  So there are some advantages to modern technology.  I took Katrina to the library for that and their two current exhibitions, which are housed in the upper galleries that surround the reading room.  The current exhibitions are about the changing face of Victoria and the impact of books through history.  For bibliophiles like Katrina and I this was great.  Included some works by my favourite engraver  - Mr Albrecht Durer.  But now for a gratuitous political statement!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Crocs 'n' clearances, music 'n' melancholic dog

Well another week or so has passed and still no movement at the station.  Katrina and I are in Ashburton with her sister waiting for the off..  Sigh

After another series of phone calls I now know that the delay is being caused by their security clearance processes.  Guess they need to make sure that I am not an undesireable.  Which is fair enough.  There are plenty of nutbags in the world these days and I would rather they took their time and got it right.  Although I am told that so far this particular process has taken 6 weeks - which in the scheme of clearances is no biggie - yet!

I have asked and been told that they will get their agency head to attempt to escalate this process.  Which is a relief because I really would like to be away and doing things.

Speaking of which my Au clearance process is also running and should be completed soon.  That's been rather long running, but most of that is my fault in not getting the papers  submitted.  Could be a race to see which process is finalised first.

While we were wandering around we visited Camberwell for a bit of a poke around, Katrina wanted to find a fabric shop so she could get some hand sewing done.  Guess what NO FABRIC SHOPS in Camberwell.  Luckily we ran into Dawn, who was on her way out to lunch, so a quick feed and chat later we headed off for the train station on pilgrimage to fabric.

So while Katrina researched train routes I staggered into the antique shop opposite t station  entrance and poked around a bit.  While there I took a photo of a renaissance recorder intending to show it to Katrina later.  However she rather unsurprisingly finished her research before I'd finished my reconnoitre. So into said shop she comes, and being a nice lad I showed her the recorder - Greater love hath no man!  A short time later we departed with said recorder in tow.  For any interested Melbournites there is a small collection of other unusual/interesting instruments also underpriced left on display.  (through entry up stairs in glass display cabinet near the centre of the store.)

It was a rather interesting day out as I was wearing in new shoes and we had to stop to buy socks, otherwise I would not have been walking by days end.  You see the previous day we went to Chadstone shopping centre and no sooner had we walked in looking for shoes for me than I spotted a Crocs store.  Huh says I let's go there and have a laugh at the rubber shoe thingies... So dutiful wife in tow we sauntered into the Crocs store all prepared to scoff and laugh at the, well, croc things.  Fifteen minutes later we walked out with shoes for me and thongs for Katrina.  Who knew that they actually sell shoes that look like shoes, rather than small rubber boats! At least it got us out of Chadstone in record time.  And I have to say they are rather comfy shoes.

So much so that yesterday I set out to take Jack (the dog) on a 7k walk yesterday. We got most of the way round before it became painfully obvious that all was not well in the world of Jack.  Staggering and falling over is not normal dog behaviour.  Thank goodness for mobile phones, a pick up was arranged and veterinary advice was "sounds like anaphylaxes". The rest of the day was spent on dog observation and this morning he seems pretty much back to normal - but no walks til at least tomorrow.  So what caused it? Well as far as we can tell the only change to his diet was the inclusion of plastic dinosaur.  Given the amount of other plastic toys and traffic cones Jack readily consumes perhaps the dinosaur paint disagreed.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Getting Kultcha'd

It's been a few weeks since the last post.  Well since then we haven't dropped off the face of the earth, in fact we haven't gone far.

Our departure was delayed in large part because the project team were out of the country.  I had requested a contact so that we could continue to progress things and well that didn't really help at all.  It also didn't help that the first two days back for the team were public holidays in Oman.  Anyhoo, I spoke to the Captain responsible for sorting my travel and visa etc, and it turns out he's still out country, but none too impressed at the lack of progress.  Hopefully rockets have been fired and things move in the next week.........  Not holding my breath though.

So almost two weeks ago we moved again, from Geelong to Ashburton and are staying with my sister in law.  She keeps saying she's happy to have us here as I've sorted a plumbing issue and Katrina has been cooking for her and the lads.  But that is only a little bit of the time.........

Katrina has made some inroads on the thesis and I as the heading indicates have been getting culture!  It's kinda nice to have some time to relax and go see things that you don't have/make the time to do in regular visits to Victoria.  So in the past week I've been to the Melbourne Museum, Botanic Gardens, Zoo, the National gallery and for the first time poked my nose into the Shrine of Rememberance.

Apart from that we've caught up with a bunch of people, some accidentally, like Peter and Lillian in a shop and Daffyd at a pub quiz night - at the pub adjoining the brasseirie we dined at.  Well to be accurate the Brasserie adjoined the pub!  Otherwise we caught up with  family,  most of the old (mid eighties) D&D crowd and some SCA friends at a series of rather nice dinners.  It's been nice catching up, with no real time constraints.

And on Thursday we went to Wesley College to see our nephew Braden appointed as a school prefect.  Rather a big deal for Braden and his mum Liz as she teaches there.  There's a photo somewhere below..  Funny going to Wesley as that's where dad and my uncle David went.  Whereas I am an ex Geelong College boy, somehow all that purple feels like it should be dark green!

I did catch up with an old school mate - David who looked just like his dad used to!  Now that must be a sign of the times.  It's funny when we talked about the last 30 years we each left with a feeling of wow how does my life stack up to yours? He never left Geelong, but he does run a pharmacy - or two, or three... and home grows beef and Mt Moriac wines! Things I would be proud to have achieved.  And yet he see's my previous travels and future as things to be greatly envied.  Guess familiarity does build, well not contempt, but a lesser appreciation of your own achievements.

And yes my techno hell has continued.  After eulogising about the roll up bluetooth keyboard I returned it for one that doesn't roll up, but does synch first time every time and where the keys all do what their label says.  Cost almost twice as much, but it works.  I also toomk my mobile phone to the Vodafone tech centre and they essentially replaced its guts and updated the software in an hour.  Funnily enough it seems to work now.



Snoozy Tapir at the zoo

NGV Triptych detail

Pick the prefect