Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Not Quite as Comfortable
Boats are fascinating things to small bears. You see one, you just have to try it out. This one at Coolangatta was a bit different. Nowhere as comfortable as the ones my friend Captain Cook runs. I managed to climb up to it, then found it a bit small to get into. I managed to balance on it but then couldn't find any way of getting it into water. Mum tells me it was just as well. If I had managed to get it into the ocean it would have sunk like a lump of iron. I guess it figures 'cause that was what it was made from, but then so are big ships and they float. Dad has me studying up on the physics of buoyancy and displacement.
Am I hooked on cruising? Am I what! Here's one of the reasons why. Parked with a friend on a deckchair up on the sundeck watching the islands go past and listening to the Fijian crew singing their way through their chores. Total relaxation (something small bears are very good at). Scruff and I were flaked out on the top deck of Captain Cook's "Reef Escape" somewhere off the Mamanucas. The oldies were scoffing lunch, so for the moment all was peaceful. I could use more of this. Dad, take us back again. Please.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Sometimes Scruffy and I go exploring. Here we are in a mangrove swamp in Fiji. There are lots of interesting things to see in these places. My favorite are the mud-skippers, little fish that scoot across the top of the mudflats at low tide. Of course, there is the problem of crabs. The solution is to stay up in the roots where you can see the little pests coming, and travel in pairs so you can watch each others' backs. Mum says that it is just as well that small bears don't have a good sense of smell 'cause the smell is so bad that anybody with any sense wouldn't go into a swamp like this. So she sent Dad in to get us back.
Waiting for the Train
We were at Clarence station ready to go for a ride on the Zig-Zag Railway. Dad had paid for the tickets. The carriages were all hitched up and ready to go. Passengers were gathering. All that was missing was the engine. This had to come from the engine sheds down at the Lithgow end of the line. I went for a snoop around the station to find a good spot to see it arrive. The best spot was on this post just off the side of the line. I sat there and the engine came right past me. Smoke and steam all over me!!! Then the driver let me climb on the engine (see one of the early posts for a picture). I really like trains and steam engines are the best of all.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Guess What This Is
I admit it. Dad and Mum have thoroughly infected me with their enthusiasm for aeroplanes. I love to go to airshows, particularly as the pilots and groundcrew let me go places where they won't even let the Oldies go. The aeroplane in this picture is quite rare now, even though they were used all over the world back in WWII. I know what it is and where it is but this time I am going to do something that Unka John suggested. I will be a bit mean and let you guess. If you want to, you could email me the answer (check my profile for the address) and I will then know that you read my blog. Isn't that a sneaky way of seeing if anybody reads this?
Never Stop Studying
Finding out about how things work is fun. My oldies have spent a lot of time doing this. They know lots about all sorts of things, from astronomy to zoology. I aim to be as good as them. Here I am trying to make sense out of an article that Dad wrote for the Stromlo Observatory web-news last year. I even pinched his galsses in the hope that they would make the big words easier to understand. They seem to work for him, but didn't for me.
Friday, January 19, 2007
There is always great excitement when Dad brings home some new aeroplane kits. The first things we do are remove the plastic wrapping , open the boxes, check the decals, read the plans, and drool over the fascinating shapes. My job is to learn to recognize all of the bits, particularly the little ones, so that I can help find them before the Styrenus monsters do when Dad drops them (the bits, not the monsters) on the carpet. Sometimes the kits are closed up and go into our big stash of "kits for later" but sometimes the aeroplane is so exciting that we just have to build it straight away. The big one I am looking at here is a model of one of the Tu-22 jet bombers that nasty old Saddam buried during the first Gulf War. It is definitely a "build it now" one, so I will have its picture on my blog as soon as Dad and I finish building it.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
They Finally Did It!!!!
Well, the Poms finally did it. They actually won a game. Mind you, it was against the New Zealanders, not our team. It was great to see a game where the teams were a bit more evenly balanced. Dad got real excited during the last 20 overs. He had me minding his vital supply. The one on the left was to drink if the Poms won, the one on the right if the NZers won. Since the game went down to the second-last ball he decided the only fair thing to do was to scoff both. Sometimes his logic escapes me.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Waiting for the Comet
We have spent the last couple of evenings around sunset up on the top of Mt Ainslie trying to see Comet McNaught. This comet was discovered by Dad's friend Dr Rob McNaught, who works at Siding Spring Observatory. It is the brightest comet for a long time, but we have had a bit of a problem seeing it. Here I am with a group from the Canberra Astronomical Society, all set up and waiting for sunset. On Sunday night we couldn't see the comet because cloud was in the way. Last night we had lots of smoke from bushfires making it hard to see things low near the horizon, but we managed to see it for an half-hour or so just after sunset. Mum and Dad are excited. They say this comet is one of the brightest they have seen and both of them saw the tail so it probably wasn't imagination. Lots of people were up there with us but most of them seemed disappointed because they were expecting something much bigger, brighter and fast-moving. Us astro-bears know that most comets aren't like that.
Weekend evenings in January we usually go to the Botanic Gardens for the concerts. Every Saturday and Sunday they have different bands and different types of music. My Aunt Shirley books a table at the restaurant and the oldies have their dinner there and listen to the concert. Some of the music is pretty ordinary but sometimes it is spectacularly good. Didn't you know that small bears are music critics? Remember that the bear family has a long history of dancing. Actually some of that history is not very nice but people are a lot kinder these days. Anyhow, last Sunday's concert was a real ripper. The band was called Malumba and they played what they called "funky folk". It really got my mob going and Dad and Aunt Shirley caused a bit of a stir by frenzied table-drumming. The only thing you really have to remember if you are a people is to make sure to take the Aeroguard; mozzies don't bother bears like me.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The Bear on the Airport Fence
My Uncle Chris had a big birthday last week. I promised to keep his age secret, so you will have to guess. His family gave him a special present that I hope somebody gives me next birthday (that is a hint for Dad). They sent him for a flight in this Nanchang CJ-6 warbird. Not just an ordinary flight. The pilot did as much aerobatics as Chris wanted. Unka Chris looked a bit shaky when they landed but he had the biggest grin I ever saw on a big person. It must have been fun. I watched things from the airport fence. When they landed and taxied right past us I tried to climb over the fence to get closer to the aeroplane but my mean Dad grabbed me and bought me back down. He explained about airport rules, but surely they only apply to people, not to small bears.
What Does a Bear Urn?
I'm in trouble again. Once again it is curiosity and climbing that got me into it. Mum bought this speccy-looking thing at the Egyptian Antiquities exhibition. She put it up on the top of the entertainment unit where it is fine for big people to look at but way above a small bear's head. Obviously there was only one thing to do. Climb up and check it out. Guess what, the opening in it is just right for a small bear to hide in. I was happily playing bear-in-the-box when Mum came home from work. You can guess the rest. Riot act read again and a ban on climbing on furniture. Oh well, the oldies are away a lot and what they don't see won't hurt them, will it?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
My Barrier Reef Ship
Here's the ship we cruised the Barrier Reef on in September 2005. It is the "Reef Endeavour" and belongs to Captain Cook. We spent a week on this boat and visited islands and reefs from Hinchinbrook Is to Lizard Is. The ship is bigger than our Fiji one, it has a whole extra deck. Here it is tied up at the dock in Cooktown, just about where Lieut. James Cook beached the "Endeavour" after he hit the reef back in 1770. Cooktown is one of Mum's favorite places and she wants to go back someday. The most memorable thing is the huge mango trees along the main street. Mangoes are there for the taking while we have to pay dollars for them here in Canberra. Actually, Scruffy and I were watching Dad take this photo. We are sitting in the window of our cabin but you can't see us in the picture.
Well, it's not quite like jumping out of an aeroplane at 15,000 feet but Dad says it is quite risky enough for a small bear. His version of a parachute is not quite up to the standard of the ones that the Red Berets use either. But it does work. Here he is about to drop me down the stairwell. Mum is waiting at the bottom with the camera to get a photo. I have to report that despite dozens of attempts this time and hundreds since, both here and at Unka Mark's where there is a longer drop, neither of them has managed to get a photo with both the parachute and the bear in a single frame. Dad says that gravity and Sir Issac always win. Despite predictions of gloom and disaster I haven't broken anything yet. Parachuting is great fun.
And I just have to say it: What about the cricket. We completely whitewashed the Poms in the test series and trounced them in the 20/20 game even without Pidgeon and Warnie. Maybe they will give us a closer game in the one-dayers.
Monday, January 08, 2007
This is Something I Should Not Have Done
I love to climb. Everywhere I go I look to see what might be fun to clamber up. Sometimes this is not a good idea. Here I am, stuck in the luggage rack of the train on the Zig-Zag railway. It was easy to get up here but I couldn't get down again. The oldies were off looking at the station and it seemed like I had to wait ages for them to get back. The meanies would not lift me down until they got a picture first; and they laughed about it too. Sometimes big people are really mean to small bears.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
I Would Love to Do This
We always go to the Avalon airshow. This happens every two years and is the biggest one in Australia. One of the spectacular events is on the Friday night where aeroplanes fly after dark. You can see the flames from the jet exhausts and the aircraft drop flares and things like that. It gets a bit scarey when there are big explosions and fires when they pretend to drop bombs, but it is also very exciting. Back in 2005 the show started at sunset with a lot of guys parachuting onto the airfield just in front of where I was sitting. I would love to try that. Dad rubbishes the idea. He says it is silly to jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane. Sometimes I don't think he understands small bears. But he has made me my own parachute that I can use down our stairwell and off our balcony, so I forgive him.
Sitting on the Sundeck
One of the best spots for small bears on "Reef Escape" is on top of the air-conditioner housing up on the top deck. From here, Scruffy and I were able to see just about everything as we cruised along. This photo was taken as we were anchored off one of the islands in the Naviti group in Fiji. Actually it was taken by Mum when she came back from snorkelling, just before she collared us and took us back to the cabin (see last post for details).
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Mothers have eyes everywhere and won't let you get away with anything. This is fact. In this example Mum and Dad were off snorkelling somewhere in Fiji. They had left us alone in their cabin on Captain Cook's "Reef Escape" and had left the door open. Scruff and I thought about it for a bit and decided to go see what the rest of the ship looked like. Before we had got far, Mum was on to us. She hauled us back and read the riot act about "small bear, waves, falling overboard, shark-bait, etc." By the way, "Reef Escape" is a great ship for small bears, kids and even grown-ups.
We were not at home for Christmas 2005. We decided to do something different and escape to Norfolk Island over the holiday week. This is where we spent Christmas Day, on the cliffs at Puppy's Point. This is one of the prettiest bits of wild coastline on the planet. Australia is somewhere out there, way over the horizon. Christmas dinner was a picnic; no washing up for Scruffy and me. Of course the downside to being away at Christmas is that Santa may not know where his favorite small bears have gone and we had to wait until we get home to see what he left for us.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Who's for Egypt?
After our picnic we went to see the Egyptian Antiquities exhibition at the National Gallery. Mum and I are studying heiroglyphs, so we have been to this exhibition a lot. It's funny how Dad always manages to lose his Visa card just before we get to the shop. One thing is for sure. Those old Egyptians really made sure that the ones they buried were going to stay there. I mean, how many coffins does one guy need. Mum says that they were just making sure that they were fully preserved and supplied for the afterlife, but I think that they would never have managed to get their sarcophagus open. (I had to get help to spell "sarkoffygus").
We are planning a trip to Egypt this year to see things first-hand. I am getting excited, Mum is getting hyper and Dad is counting shekels and looking glum.
A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you all.
Picnic by the Lake
Yesterday the oldies took me for a picnic near Lake Burley-Griffin. One of my favorite spots is on one of the new boardwalk areas near the High Court. From here you can see most of the central lake and be clear of the kamikaze horde of cyclists and rollerbladers that zoom along the paths around the lake.
I wish to point out that the pile of food here is not for me. Small bears are small eaters. Dads, on the other hand, are definitely not.