Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Home again.............

Twelve months have passed since Katrina and I left Aus for Oman. That means its holidays - yippee and as my contract includes annual airfares, coming home to Australia for a while seemed the sensible thing to do.  That and it's time for Katrina to finalise the thesis and hand it up.

So here we are, a week and a bit ago we landed in Sydney and made our way to Canberra. Courtesy of Michelle (who is now in the UK) we have somewhere to rest our heads.  The Etihad flight home was pleasant enough and the return flight in early April will surely be as good.

The first few days in Canberra were great, beginning to catch up with some people, there are many more to come in the next days and week and a bit.  Katrina has immediately buckled down to thesis work and I have immediately buckled down to holiday mode! Yay.

After running around Canberra for a few days I hit the road and went to Melbourne. For many years I had been meaning to go to a Grand Prix, so this year Albert Park it was......  What can I say? Noisy, smell that fuel, and FAST - so fast that the auto focus never stood a chance. So it was prefocus, try to track and time the shot.  In the end I just put the camera into sports mode and pressed the shutter for multiple shots. Meant I ended up with lots of empty frames, but they're easily deleted.
Mr Webber practising.
Being the cheapskate I am I had only paid for general admission -which of course meant that I was not tied to a seat and could roam the circuit looking for the right place. For me that meant around turns 11 and 12 - something they called a fast chicane.

The good things about going to a Grand Prix? Well the noise, speed and party atmosphere and the spectacle. Quite outrageous just how fast these things are. If you try to watch them you very quickly end up feeling as if your head is on a swivel and wondering just when the safety mechanism is going to give way allowing your head to simply spin off......

The bad - well the crowds, how far you are from the interesting bits of track, all the catch fencing (which makes photography rather difficult) and the fact that you see much more at home. For much of the race I had no idea who was leading - turned out to be a Finn, although I had worked out that the Force India had to have been leading for quite a while!

Saturday turned out to be rather dismal by the time qualifying rolled around. Wet and to my current sensibilities rather cold. But because I had chosen the right spot to spectate from I saw almost all of the incidents. Massa hit a wall - but kept on going, Perez pirouetted behind Button, a Force India spun, Webber had a moment and Guitterez hit the same bit of wall as Massa - but a bit harder and as a result shed bits of carbon fibre everywhere. But of course I have no shote of Guitterez going in, as my camera called it quits.
That's a jet, not a boat, despite all the water washing over it!
I did say it was raining......
And then it was just too wet, so I made the sane call (well before the stewards did) and took off for drier climes.
Sergio "I can't keep up Mr Button" Perez demonstrates a spin.
And then it was race day. So where was I? At the camera shop saying why won't this work? Being told "yep its not working - and in dying it fried the battery too......"  So I earnt lots of Katrina grumpy points by buying a new camera body, so I could go to the circuit again and photograph the race.  By the time I got there all the support events were over and it was simply find a spectator place and wait. At least it wasn't raining.
Ferrari vs Mercedes
Race came, race went and while I enjoyed it I don't see the need to front up to another. Well not unless someone gives me seats in a well appointed corporate box! - Not likely.

So after a feed of Melbourne fish and chips - OH YEAH how I have missed decent fish and chips this last year.  Grilled not Fried, with a twist of lemon.

It was off to Geelong and a short visit to the ancestral seat.  Caught up with a collection of parents, brother and his family (most of). And of course on Monday it was overcast and drizzly. By midday it was time to do something. So Mum, Dad and I jumped into the rental (VW Golf) drove to the beach and walked most of the Geelong Bollards.

Bollards I hear you ask. Yes Bollards - those big lumps of wood used to tether ships and give them something to bump into, rather than demolish the wharf.  And what's so interesting about old bollards? Well when the Geelong waterfront was re-developed a whole bunch of well used bollards (newly surplus to requirements) were given to an artist.

The result is 47 installations stretching from Limeburners Point to Rippleside Park. The Bollards are carved and painted to represent elements of local history. They have been there for quite the while now, must be close to two hundred bollards all up in those installations, as while many are a single figure others are in groups of up to six or so. Eminently walkable but a few kilometers in all.

The third bollard represents Cristovao de Mendonca a Portuguese explorer who is believed to have visited Limeburners Point in 1522.
Grand Dame of Society
Sailor and????????
A real life Gnome no less!
There have been enough artefacts found around Geelong to show that something certainly happened. So much so that folklore provides an explanation for the old kettle found washed ashore, believed to have brought the original "little folk settlers" to the region, well in advance of the white settlers.

And then with family visited it was time to go back to Canberra and be there to help Katrina (mostly just by being around) and see young Robert and help him with a few house things. But of course the trip back had its own twist. A few Kilometers out of Holbrook the VW threw up a warming light. Sigh. Pull over (in Holbrook) outside a rather nice bric a brac store, which Katrina benefited from to the tune of a black lace parasol. Two hours later the nice NRMA man, sent by the rental company, had me on the road again.

So alls well and all that...

No comments:

Post a Comment