Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts

03 March, 2011

A catch up and "Kids say the strangest things"

Today, I got to catch up with an old work mate who I haven't seen in MONTHS... And I also got to talk to her daughter as well!

They came in for lunch before heading to a class, so we had lunch where we had fish 'n' chips. Little E had some of the chips, as the children's sandwich's were egg, ham and cheese. Not together, but 3 half sandwich's! This was a little excessive for a 4yo, and there was no sausage rolls left either, so she just had some of our chips. After lunch though, I got some coffees to walk and drink (more on this later) but Miss 4 wanted a biscuit. I took her over to pick which one she want. Here's a couple of her more memorable quotes:

  • Mummy, leave it, the lady will do it... (To A (mum) cleaning up her crumbs on the table)
  • I don't want one of those half one's, make sure its a FULL one! (the Biscuit jar had a broken one in it at the front).

We then walked back towards my office, and on the lawn out front with LOTS of people sitting relaxing and enjoying their lunch, we said our goodbyes until next week... And with arms extended wide so as NOT to bump or spill coffee over each other, all was well... Until retracting from the hug, arms 'bumped' and my coffee was now in juggle mode. I thought I had it caught, but no, it was a slippery little sucker and it went crashing to the pavement... Oh well, everyone looking, we laughed it off!

After that, I went back to the office and back to work... After work, I got home in a fair amount of time and did the lawns, again, and continued the housework, before heading out to the shops where I got another 4 tee-shirts!

I also managed to get my registration completed for my conference in April, so now all that is left is the accommodation and train from London to Ghent via Brussels! Shouldn't be to hard! Also, only thing left for Auckland is (also) accommodation and car hire, either way, not to much of a biggie either, but this will be done tonight!

Hoo roo for now...


01 March, 2011

Plane right STRESSED

Its been a little while, but its been more than a little frantic... My resolution for this distinct lack of blogging is to make SURE I blog daily from here on in, starting March 1 (now)!

So, whats been happening I hear you ask... Well...a mate J and I picked up our new camera lenses, Sigma APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM (1 x Nikon and 1 x Canon). We went straight out to use them as well, and we are BOTH happy as pig(s) in mud! They really are very good! They were listed at $2,199RRP, but I managed to secure them at $1,650 each. BUT, as we are about to go to Auckland NZ, we can claim back to GST which is a further $165 saving! So they end up being a VERY good price!

Iron Maiden G-STRX
Iron Maiden G-STRX

We also headed up to the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Base up at Williamtown, which is also a commercial airport! There was joint AU and US exercises happening, so a lot of fighter jets which was moving WAY to fast for me, (I must be getting old)! There was also a couple of commercial movements, but being a regional airport, they were very few and far between! But it was a good day. J and I picked up another mate, K, who had a car accident the other day and has written off his car. He ran into the back of a semi trailer at 95klm/hr after being blinded by an illuminated speed sign! Both the truck, passersby and the Police all agreed it was not his fault... There wasn’t much left of his car, he was feeling very low, so I extended the invitation to come up with us and get away from it all... He really appreciated the invite, and to get away from his troubles!

We met up with N whilst up at Williamtown, and he came back down with us as we were going to the Wings over the Illawarra Airshow on the Sunday. We went to La Mono again for dinner (M and I are on a La Mono free week at the moment) which was also fun!

Saturday, I reorganised the living areas, putting the cane lounge back outside and the dining table back into the front room, and bringing the leather lounge from the front room back into the living area. It is a lot bigger now out there, and I like it better as it’s not as crowded with furniture! After this was all done, we then headed over to Cronulla for breakfast. I had not been over there since last going with L, so it had been a while! Breakfast was good, and after breakfast I bumped into my cousin S, who only lives one block back from the main street!!! We then left to meet up with J, who had been mowing lawns and helping is Nan in the morning, at the airport for a little more spotting for the afternoon peak hour of heavies departing for overseas!


Sunday was a very early start as we had to meet up with J and his dad for the drive down to Wollongong for the airshow. There was a small ‘glitch’ in the day as when we went to leave, his car wouldn’t start, but after we ‘clutch started’ it, we were off. The airshow was great, a lot of older heritage type planes, but a good all round mix. Avalon in Melbourne has a show this coming weekend which is more commercial stuff, but this was a good show! I have loaded up a lot of pics to both Flickr and to Facebook from the day. I also got a trip up in a helicopter, which gave me a good overview of the airport (there was a NOTAM that stopped us going straight over unfortunately). When it came to coming back home, all of the troubles started... J’s car wouldn’t start, another clutch start, but when it fired, there was a bit of smoke, a rattle from the engine, but it seemed to be going and the rattle cleared. There was also a couple of gremlins in it as well, electric windows didn’t want to work, and as we drove up, it started to get other things as well; ran roughly, low power... I was a little worried, and as we were driving, I was in the back seat searching on Google on my phone for issues. It is in at the dealer today (it is only a couple of years old, 80,000klm), and under warranty, so they were having a look at it. They have identified a battery problem, changed the spark plugs and have flushed the injectors and it should be ready tomorrow... They are also charging an exorbitant amount for it (being a dealer NOT a normal mechanic), and he's a little stressed about it... All will be OK tomorrow J, the little blue Maz will be ready!

RAAF Hercules
RAAF Hercules

More photos in the slide show below...

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

Talking about stress, I am also a little stressed by another special friend... She has a lot on her plate at the moment, Uni, Work Sporting etc... In fact, I am not long home after catching up and having a chat... ALL you have to worry about is the fact that you mean a lot to me, and that if there's anything, AND I MEAN ANYTHING, then let me know and I will help... OK!!!

Hoo roo for now...


01 February, 2011

House is 'coming along' slowly...

OK, so I know I've been slack lately with blogging, but I HAVE been a tad busy!

You will remember, that the house has had some major work done, (repoint and re tuckpointed on the facade). Here is a little more of a 'tease' as I want to get ALL of the painting done, and then do a big reveal! This will (knowing my upcoming trips) most likely be either my birthday in March OR the end of March at the latest!

House OLD 'v' NEW colours

I've also been busy with a trip to Nowra on the South Coast on an old CPH Railmotor, Brisbane for a day of spotting with J and met up with M, 20/20 Cricket games (NSW v Tasmania & NSW v QLD) with B & J (and Co...) as well just for good measure!

Nowra on a CPH Railmotor

The day started early, having to be at Central Station 8am. The old Railmotors, built in 1923, were restored beautifully and faithfully, except for the 'long drop' toilets are now no longer dispensing to the tracks below, as opposed to being enviro friendly today! There was a fair amount of 'rocking and rolling' as we had a top speed of 80klm. It was also rather noisy, as there wasn't much in the way of insulation for sound, but it was a great noise! The trip took us out from Central to Waterfall, down the escarpment via Helensburgh to Thirroul and through Wollongong. We briefly stopped at Bombo Beach just before Kiama and then onto Bomaderry (Nowra) where we had lunch at the local RSL Club. Thanks S&L for including me on this day trip, I had a ball!
CPH 1 & 7 Central Berry
Rounding for Bombo

Trip to Brisbane for some spotting

I spent Australia day with a mate, J, and his dad, D up in Brisbane. We also teamed up with N who flew in from Newcastle and some local spotters up there as well, M works with J but at the Brisbane airport! We did some spotting, but alas, these photos are still on laptop, so I will need to process and upload as soon as I can. The day will get a post in its entirety, as I had a great day, as I think we all did! Thanks J for the trip, I owe you one!! :)

20/20 Big Bash Cricket

Now I know that some people just do NOT understand the laws of cricket, and I am not about to tell you how its played. It is easier to watch a game and see it, rather than be confused as to its play. Having said that, this version, 20/20, is a recent incarnation of the game, and these two games are the Domestic version of it! Both games, I went with J & D (and co...), B &R and M. We had dinner up in the Members Gold Dinning Room, and then sat in the Members seating area which has a particularly good vantage point! On the NSW v TAS game, I did not take my camera, but I took it to the NSW v ACT ladies match and following them was the NSW v QLD game. There was a little bit of entertainment between games, and being an old curator myself, I watched the pitch repairs and rolling! It was, both nights, a great outing, and I can't wait to go again! Thanks to all involved!!
ACT v NSW Womens
ACT v NSW Women's
Pitch Maintenance
NSW v QLD Men Usman bowled
Pitch Maintenance
What a way to watch cricket
ANZ Stadium (4 pic panorama)

Hoo roo for now...


21 January, 2011

Work programs... Starting and finishing!

This week, sees the starting of a major works program at home, whilst it bring the finish of another. It had been a long time coming for me, and finally, a yard upgrade that is finished for a friend!

On Monday, the re-pointing and tuck-pointing of the house started. I first got a quote done for this way back in Feb/March of 2009. It was an on again off again due to other commitments. However, in November, I committed to it and I got the call from the tradesman saying he was going to start! So, on Monday, he took to the mortar lines with an angle grinder and ground out about 10-155mm or so of the old lime mortar. It was going to be a two day job, but it was done in the day (soft mortar) but he did finish at around 7.30pm!

Tuesday, the garage side wall was re-pointed in an off white mortar. This took the day, and Wednesday and Thursday, was the area along the other side of the house along the second bedroom in the same off white, as a decision was to be made if I was to have from the facade to the entrance door, tuck-pointed. You see, most early Californian Bungalows have a 'front door' but in my case, it is a door that is to the side of the house. So the facade (Garage, bay window and veranda around the corner) was of a slightly different brick, a face brick, with matching common bricks elsewhere. This was very typical of the period (1927) of the home. BUT, I am not sure about returning it to a tuck-point, and having a very distinct change where the entrance door is. The areas that are getting tuck-pointed, has a brown mortar instead of the off white, but then gets taped up and a very fine white line is put on. It is very much a dieing art and trade! Anyway, here are the pics I quickly grabbed the other day:

Garage Side
Facade pre tuck-point
Facade pre tuck-point Bay Window

Also, before Christmas, I helped plan and coordinate a friends backyard makeover. He did the bulk of the design, I just helped it come to fruition! It was fun spending HIS money for once !!! lol Anyway, his spa was installed prior to Christmas and yesterday, the shade structure was installed. So his makeover is now finished! He is SO happy with it, me too just quietly, and the yard is now very much a usable space for entertaining (not to mention, having a spa as well)! He's having family down on Wednesday, they don't know its been done, and he is very excited! Here are some pics of his place:

Frank's Spa
Frank's Spa
Frank's Spa & Sundeck

Hoo roo for now...


31 October, 2010

The Great Steam Train Day goes pear shaped!

When our train got back to Lithgow, we alighted and I managed to get a couple of contrasting pics of the old and the not so old... Here we have a Sydney Terminal bound, V set.

16102010_Two Motive Powers Elec and Steam

We watched our steam train head back to Katoomba, and headed for the car to take an adventure into the Newnes State Forest. After all, we had plenty of time... right?

16102010_LVR Train

We drove through Lithgow to see Mr S relatives house, and then up Scenic Hill that overlooks sleepy old Lithgow. We stopped at a lookout (only for a couple of mins, it was bloody cold) before the left turn at Clarence Station and into the State Forest. The roads are all reasonably good, but although muddy and slippery due to the snow, I locked it into 4wd. I showed Mr S and Mr L the way out to the Glow Worm Tunnel (for another day) and headed back into Lithgow via the Tunnel View road and we waited in the car until the scheduled time for the Dinner Train to Tarana...

16102010_DirtyGV Rear

NOW, I had always thought it was a 5.35pm departure time, and when we got to the platform and into the waiting room, I felt as though I wanted the world to open up and swallow me, as I had made us MISS the train, as it left at 4.45...

We weighed up options, a cab out to the pub would be cost prohibitive, and so we simply headed BACK to Katoomba for some dinner there, MY SHOUT!

So there it is, out in the open, I STUFFED UP in the train time causing us to miss it and miss the dinner train to which I was looking forward to. Another time maybe!

Hoo roo for now...


27 October, 2010

The Great Steam Train Day continues...

Continuing from the last post, sorry for the delay, but I have been a little out of sorts...

Once we had boarded our train to Wallerawang, and started to pull out of Katoomba, I started to get a couple of pictures, but due to the snow, cold and not really ALL that much to see, we ended up having some morning tea. Mr L went up to the dinning car to get something for him and Mr S to eat, and coffee's to drink, something to warm the cockles due to it being cold. Here we can see Mr S having a look around at the old photos that were hung in the cabin we were in (know as 'dog box's' in the day), whilst Mr L is well into his VERY hot pie and below it, an example of the photography used (Taronga Zoo Hippo)!!

Mr S & Mr L enjoying Morning Tea
Hippo photography

On our way to Lithgow from Katoomba, we passed through the Zig Zag Railway, which was once the only way to cross the Blue Mountains. There was also a similar trip up/down on the Sydney side in between Emu Plains and Glenbrook. But here, we can see some of the old rolling stock which is under storage. I will talk more about the Zig Zag later.

Garrat Restoration Zig Zag

Once past, we then entered the 10 tunnels, which by-passed the zigging and zagging, and we were soon entering the Lithgow Yard, which once house a locomotive shed, carriage workshops and the like that was all very necessary as part of its mining history. But now, there is only a very small remnant of these buildings and so on, and here is an old turntable.

Lithgow Yard Turntable

Once out of Lithgow, we then headed further West, towards Mudgee, and off onto a small branch line that would take us past the Wallerawang Power Station. Here though, we are under a Diesel power, as the steam engine is to the rear and will pull us back to Katoomba!

Turning For Wallarawang
Disused Wallerawang Platform

Once in the station at Wallerawang, we were given a 'party' type arrival, with show motorbikes, a Rotary Sausage Sizzle and entertainment abound... We were even allowed to walk up and get close to the Steam Engine Lachlan (or 3237 Class). Here I managed to get a couple of shots of her workings, and of the men that keep her a well oiled machine...

3237 Wallerawang
Engineer Oiling the Piston
Main Wheel Piston
Taking On Water
4701 OLD Candy Livery Wallerawang

I will do another post about the remaining afternoon, TOMORROW (I promise)!

Hoo roo for now...


17 October, 2010

Steam Train Day (and some snow!)

Yesterday, I was invited up into the mountains, for what could ONLY be told as, well, interesting... I was awake early, 4.34am, and out and on the road not long after that heading for Lithgow. Yes it was a cool morning and the wind blowing, but noting too bad. That is, up until I got to Mt Tomah. Here, I glanced down at the clock that doubles as a temp gauge, and I noticed the little 'snow flake', so it must be cold... And cold it was, it was saying it was -2c! I went along a little further and just as I hit Mt Wilson, it started to SNOW!!!! You cant really see it too well in this picture, but it was howling like nothing else and snowing.

Wind Blown Trees

I pushed ahead, and when I rounded the bend just near Bell where the Bells Line of Roads crosses the main Western line, you could see the snow drifts and flurries a little more clearly.

Bell Crossing Western Line

So I parked the car and caught the awaiting train back down to Katoomba, where I was to later catch up with some friends before joining the Steam Train for the day. When I got to Katoomba, I headed out (in the bitter cold) to the Savoy where I had some breakfast and a hot chocolate. Across the road from the Savoy, was The Carrington Hotel, a very famous hotel/pub.

Carrington Hotel

I headed over to the Station again, and my friends were not to far behind me. The train was on its way down to us, so we headed out to under the overpass (for protection from the weather) and waited. A quad loco coal train wandered through, and as you can see from the platform, Katoomba has a bit of a curve in it, which makes it a little difficult for the guards to ensure all passengers are on before closing the doors!

Downward Coal
Katoomba Platform

Finally, our little steam engine arrived, and here she is coming into Katoomba for us to join the train...

3237 Katoomba Arrival

More to come tomorrow!

Hoo roo for now...