Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Cows and More Cows
Last weekend we went to the Canberra Show. We go every year because Mum has this thing about cows. So Dad and I get dragged all over the place and have to listen to her gushing about the different breeds. These cows were parked in a holding area and were catching up on their eating (cows eat most of the time). Since Mum was concentrating on the cows I took the chance to do some serious climbing in the big pine trees there. Easy climbing because the cracks in the bark are just right for hand and foot holds for small bears. Of course I got hauled back as soon as the photo was taken, and had the usual riot act read to me again......
The Old Guy is 64!
Well, despite the odds, Dad has survived another year. Now he will learn the answer to the question in the Beatles' song. Mum and I took him out to their favourite eating place (I can't spell "restaurant"), the Green Herring out at Gold Greek Village. I think Dad likes the name because he has dealt with so many "red herrings" in his time at work. If you are ever needing a great ressterrornt in Canberra, head for the Herring. It is in a very old settler's hut and it is set up like a 19th century inn. The food if superb. As you can see from the photo the curtains and tablecloths are just right to camouflage a small bear. I was able to hide out and see everything.
We got home just before a big storm hit Canberra and damaged most of the buildings in the city centre. Hail, water and damaged cars and trees are everywhere. Mum's building at work is really trashed and she has been sent home until it is safe again.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Conversation With a Cuttlefish
Since I am not allowed to snorkel with the oldies I have to nag them to take me to aquariums so that I can learn about fish. This way I can keep dry and actually see some fish that the oldies haven't met underwater yet. Melbourne Aquarium has a tank of these Giant Australian Cuttlefish. Before I met them I thought cuttlefish were dry old things you picked up on the beach and gave to parrots. Dad explained that that the dry thing is only their inside shell and washes up when the critter dies and decays (Yuk!!) Cuttles talk by changing their colour and waving their fins and tentacles. You can have a reasonably sensible conversation with them by moving your arm and legs around. And guess what. They hate noisy brats and go black and purple and swim off and hide when kids tap the tank and annoy them. They are probably more intelligent than most brats. I like them lots, they eat crabs.
Train to Kuranda
One of the best train trips anywhere has to be the trip up from Cairns to Kuranda. Lots of tunnels and bridges and a real scary track in places where the hill goes straight up on one side and drops straight down on the other side. This is my favourite bit of the whole trip. The trestle bridge we are on takes the train across in front of the cliff and over the creek at Stony Creek Falls. It is one of the longest and highest bridges like this in Australia. I like to have the window up so the wind can ruffle my fur, but Mum gets all panicky in case I fall out and end up way down the gully. Actually, I hang on pretty tight. We take this trip every time we go to Cairns, usually up on the train and down on the Skyrail because that way you get the scariest rides.
Friday, February 23, 2007
A See-through Boat
The boats that take you from the Captain's "Reef Escape" to beaches and snorkelling spots in Fiji are a bit scary at first for small bears. They have bottoms that you can see right through. After the shock wears off it is great. You can see all the fish and coral that you pass over. The oldies say that it is not as good as being down there in the water, but for people that can't swim and bears that aren't allowed to get wet it is almost as good. When this picture was taken I was pointing out some Moorish Idols to my friend Mick. These boats can go into really shallow water and crabs are not allowed on board.
Beaches are great places for kids and small bears as well as adults. The only real problem is the risk of crab attack. This can be handled by having oldies on guard and keeping to places where you can't see any crab holes. Scruffy and I are examining the shells left by the tide on a beach in Fiji. The big shell is almost as big as Scruffy. I don't know what it is because Dad has misplaced (=lost) our shell book. You have to be careful when looking at shells. Some of them are alive and have nasty stings, and some of them that look dead are the homes of hermit crabs!
P.S. Mum found the shell book. The big one is a broken Triton shell. Tritons are important because they eat the crown-of-thorns starfish which eat corals.
Heading for the Beach
Here is one of the reasons we love Fiji and Captain Cook so much. We were heading in to the beach at a village near where those soppy "Blue Lagoon" movies were made. While we were there we visited the kids at school and heard some of the best singing ever. Dad says that you are not allowed to be born in Fiji unless you can sing; maybe he is right. This is a really pretty place. Of course we saw it at its best with the Sun out and the water crystal clear. The oldies snorkelled here and say it is one of the most colourful reefs on our trip. I wasn't allowed to get wet and had to stay on the boat so the crabs couldn't get me.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Cruising by the Opera House
Sydney Opera House is one of my favourite buildings. It looks like a whole batch of yachts have jammed together. So far I haven't been inside it, but Mum is putting some pressure on Dad to take her to a concert there and she has promised to take me too. Captain Cook's boats take you real close to the Opera House and you can get pictures of it from angles that you normally can't, unless you can walk on water. The other advantage of seeing it this way is that the oldies can get fed at the same time, and once Mum gets stuck into prawns you can escape the eagle eye for a while and see what mischief is available.
Through theTrain Window
I love travelling by train. No hassles about semi-trailers forcing our small car off the road, no problems with Dad's shonky navigation, and no need to stay in your seat the whole time. My favorite place is sitting near the window, high enough to see everything going past. This usually involves Mum wedging me comfortably between the side of the seat and the window frame. Here we are leaving Bungendore station on our way to Sydney. The train left Canberra at 6:30 am and we saw lots of kangaroos jumping along the trackside for the first few hours. I slept for the last bit of the trip.
Friday, February 16, 2007
When in Roam
They say that when in Rome you do as the Romans do. Well, I was Roaming around Wildlife World when I met this guy. He wasn't roaming anywhere. In fact he was really laid-back. So in the spirit of doing what the locals do, I took the chance for a quiet stress-free chat and a quick nap. After all, my legs are a lot shorter than his.
Also, this was the day after that disappointing cricket match and I was still a bit low. Actually, every cricket match since has been a disaster. What the heck has happened to my team? I guess the only thing to do is for me to get into solid training and make myself available to the selectors for the next series against those tricky P**ms.
Sydney Harbour is one of my favourite places, and the best way to see it is on one of my friend Captain Cook's boats. You can get almost anywhere around the harbour this way and it sure beats walking on a stinking hot day. I like to see all the different sorts of boats that use the harbour. In this picture taken out of the window of "Sydney 2000" you can see a yacht, a speedboat and one of the big Manly ferries. There are also a couple of things that my history-mad oldies are interested in. The little lighthouse is Bradley's Head light. Bradley was an officer on the "Sirius" which was the navy ship that guarded the First Fleet on their way to settle in Australia. The mast is from HMAS "Sydney", an Australian cruiser that sunk the German commerce raider "Emden" in the early days of World War 1. Gosh, this history stuff is starting to infect me. I had better get back to small bear things.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Move Over, Tarzan
Dad has been reading me Tarzan stories. They sound a bit sus to me. Anyhow, I have just had the chance to "do a Tarzan" myself. While we were at Sydney Wildlife World we saw lots of snakes and lizards as well as cute furries. Some of them, like the big harmless pythons, we were allowed to hold. Over near one wall there was the biggest snake I ever saw. He was curled around a tree trunk just waiting to pounce on Mum. No Tarzan around, so it was Bart to the rescue. You can see how he was huge, much bigger than me. But with a stranglehold on him I looked him firmly in the eye, said my magic words, and turned him into a statue. When you visit Wildlife World he will still be there, just like this except that I will be gone by then.
Bear in the Bush
Security patrols are very important. Particularly if your oldies are too busy drinking strange beverages and babbling on about the things going on around them at Darling Harbour. Somebody has to check the hotel balcony to see that it is free of prowlers, peeping-Toms, Russian spies and villainous crabs. So it was up to me. Here I am stealthily creeping through the shrubbery to make sure the oldies are safe. Or at least I was until Dad flashed the camera and exposed me to the world. Sometimes I wonder....
Bart, Train Crew
Did you know that I am really able to be part of a train crew? Here I am at my post on the lookout window of the Zig-Zag Railway's steam engine. Lookout is a really important part of the train crew. We let the driver know if there are trees, cows or stray hikers on the line. The driver then has to decide if he runs them over or not. You can see that the driver has placed me where I can see everything on my side of the train and be close to him and the fireman. I love trains, 'specially steam engines.
Do you know that nobody has ever been attacked by a crab on a steam train? Other than ones the silly passanger took on the train themselves and let get loose.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Is It a Wind-up Toy?
I met this little guy at Sydney Wildlife World. He is a lizard called a Thorny Devil and usually lives out in the deserts of Central Australia. His scientific name is "Moloch Horridus", no wonder he prefers to travel under his common name. Actually he is not a Devil at all, but a cute and harmless little guy who eats ants. Any water that falls anywhere on his back trickles down to his mouth, so he can drink anything that falls on him. He never stands still while he is awake, just marches around looking like a strange mechanical toy. I like him lots.
The Biggest Boat I've Ever Seen
This is the biggest boat I've ever seen. It is the "Sapphire Princess" and is so big that it will not fit under Sydney Harbour Bridge. The boat next to it in the middle picture is Captain Cook's "Sydney 2000", and that is not a small boat by any means. The "Princess is about 13 stories high above the waterline! Way higher than the Overseas Passenger Terminal that it is moored to. We took lots of pictures of her. The bottom one is taken out of the window of "Sydney 2000" and you can see how big it is compared to the buildings around Circular Quay. Mum would love to go for a cruise on the "Sapphire Princess" and so would I. Dad just looks at the costs in the brochure and mumbles.
Remember that you can see these pictures much bigger if you click on them, and do take a peek at the earlier postings in my archive.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Hanging Around With the Rellies
I had a chance last weekend to hang out with some of my relatives. These guys live at the new Sydney Wildlife World at Darling Harbour. Their attendant let me into the enclosure for a chat with them. Actually they aren't much in the entertainment line. All they do is eat and sleep, occasionally making rumbling noises and the odd growl, a lot like Dad I guess. Wildlife World is a great place to visit. It has lots of animals that are hard to see in the wild and I will have more pictures of some of them later.
Oh, the Disappointment!
We were there for the match between Australia and the P..s (cleverly avoids the UN court) at the Sydney Cricket Ground last weekend.We got in early, just look at all those still empty seats. We found our seats despite the rather quaint and puzzling way the SCG numbers things. Mum and Dad had their Fanatics gear on and I had a pair of flags to wave. All ready for yet another Aussie win, and what happened. Our lot played like the P..s have been doing and the P..s played like our guys have been. We waz thrashed. I will never forget the wave of disbelief that rushed through my small bear brain when Gillie was clean bowled first ball of the innings. Even my other hero Cameron "Bear" White couldn't save the day. Oh well, we have the three final games now and maybe the P..s (sorry, England) will see how the lads play when honour is on the line. Remember the Ashes!!
Monday, February 05, 2007
Lunch on the Captain's Boat
Our lunch on Captain Cook's "Sydney 2000" was superb. I have already mentioned that Mum Loves prawns. Here's an incriminating picture of her effort to turn a pile of prawns into a pile of empty shells. Dad is hoeing into curry. Honestly, sometimes I just can't look at them in action and just have to find a spot to sit and stare out the window looking for dolphins. No luck with dolphins this time, but Sydney harbour has always got lots of interesting boats of all shapes and sizes to keep a small bear's interest.
Sunday we went on a dinner cruise. On one of Captain Cook's boats of course. And guess what. My hero, Captain Cook, was there to look after us. Dad says it was a clone of Captain Cook, because the original one died centuries ago. I don't care, this one looked right and made sure we all got on the right boat. I must be related to Captain Cook because we have the same middle name (Bartholomew James Bear and Captain James Cook) and both love boats.And after all, Santa uses clones too.
We have just had a super weekend. Mum took Friday off work and we went to Sydney to see the one-day match between Australia and England (Dad says I have to stop calling them Poms or I will end up in the UN court). Of course you can't go to the Sydney Cricket Ground in business suits; unless you are a member or an official. You just gotta get into the spirit of things and wear the green and gold. Here's us all togged up and ready for the game. The experience was fantastic with illegal Mexican waves, huge (illegal) cup snakes, and brawls on the remnant of the Hill. And of course there was a cricket match, but the less said about that the better... More on that over the next few days.