Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I Want One of These
I really do want one. This is a replica Fokker Dr.1 and is painted just like the Red Baron's triplane. Dad and I have built four Dr.1s in various markings, but only in 1/72 scale, nothing like the size of this one. I found it in the South Australian Aviation Museum at Port Adelaide. I noticed a crazy dog hanging onto one of the cabane struts, so naturally I had to climb up for a chat (you can see me struggling up the slippery yellow frame if you look hard). Turns out the dog was actually a clone of the famous Snoopy! We had a great time but he wouldn't let me take the aeroplane away so it is up to Dad to get one for me.
A Different-looking Lighthouse
This does not look like an ordinary lighthouse. The top bit with the lamp looks normal but it is mounted on top of a big steel pipe. The pipe is just wide enough for people to climb up inside it on a very tight and steep staircase. The pipe has lots of bracing legs and struts and things that look like they would be a great climbing frame for small bears. Naturally the lighthouse is locked away behind a security fence to keep small bears out. You can see this lighthouse just off the main road between Rosebud and McCrae in Victoria. It is the main eastern light marking the shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Here's Where a Rail is Handy
I really liked staying at Queenscliff. There are lots of lighthouses there and there is even a black one. Also an old fort with big guns on display where small bears can see them. And some long piers where you can walk way out over the water and see lots of fish. Even a place where the big car-eating ferry lets cars and trucks from the other side of the bay loose. There are lots of interesting things to see and do. In this picture you can see the black lighthouse and a big water tower in the background. You can also see the jetty where the pilot boats stay. And you can also see the entrance to Port Phillip Bay on a day where the infamous Rip was not acting up. The grass and trees near where I am sitting are full of small birds, insects and lizards, all of which are great fun. However, the sand is full of holes that are full of CRABS and they are no fun at all. So it is handy to have a good solid rail to walk along and sit on when you are a small bear in places like this. Thank you, Queenscliff Council.
An Impossible Task
If you think that Scruffy and I look a bit peeved and disappointed here, it is because we are faced with an impossible task, one that small bears just cannot do. We found this old tree stump in the garden at Captain Cook's Cottage and decided to see if we could work out how old it was when the tree was cut down. According to Dad you do this by counting the number of rings of wood from the centre to the edge. Trees grow one ring every year. Well, this stump shows lots of rings and it should have been easy but we hit a fatal flaw with the process. Neither of us can remember more than 5 unless we have something to count on and small bears like us don't have fingers and toes!! So all I can tell you for sure is that this is a stump that is older than 5, probably older than Scruffy or me and maybe even older than Dad. Mind you, Mum is glad that I don't have fingers because that way drivers who annoy us think I am just waving to them.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
A Slow But Pretty Way to Travel
Every year around the end of March there is a big balloon festival in Canberra. Mum always drags Dad along to see the balloons launch early one morning during the festival. I love going to see this. You can walk up close to the balloons, talk to the pilots and ground crew and even feel the heat from the burners as the hot air gets pumped in to inflate the balloon. They take off and land real close to you. The air over the lake and the parliamentary area gets full of balloons and it is really pretty spectacular. Dad is not so impressed by this early morning stuff. He says balloons have been around for centuries and that any vehicle that has to go wherever the wind blows it is not much use to anybody. He is very grumpy in the mornings and we have to get him breakfast from the food tent before he starts to become human again. Unka Mark and Dad sent me up with balloons once. They got a real big bunch of weather balloons filled with Helium and attached me to them, hooked on a kite string then let me go. I got up real high but Mum made them get me down quick before the string broke. I thought it was fun. I would like to go up in one of these real big balloons one day, particularly in the one made like a frog.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The Windiest Spot
Here I am with Mum at the windiest spot we have ever visited. You can see how windy it is by the angle of the bear on the rail and the way Mum's hair is trying to run away from her. We were at Cape Otway visiting the lighthouse. Cape Otway light is the oldest in Victoria and the third oldest on the mainland. It marks the northern entrance to Bass Straight and was often the first sight of land that sailing ships would see on their long voyage out from England. The coast around here has seen hundreds of shipwrecks because sometimes the captains thought the light was the one on the southern side of the straight. This was the furthest south we got on our road trip this year. It was so windy that it almost blew us backwards when we walked around the lighthouse. Dad says that was because there was absolutely nothing between us and Antarctica to stop the wind.
Did You Ever Wonder About That?
Did you ever wonder how small bears manage to travel all over the country and get into odd places? Well, the secret is to have a Dad with a backpack. Scruffy and I spend a fair bit of the time in here while Dad provides the camel service between interesting places. We get to see some interesting people from here as well, because just about everybody does a double-take and has to come for a closer look when they see a 60-plus carting teddy bears around.
I Want to be a Fireman
When I grow up I want to be a fireman and drive trucks like this one. You can see that I have to grow a lot because so far all I have managed to do by myself is climb as far as the front bumper. The door handle is a long way up from here. The truck was on display at the Canberra Show this year and I got lifted around to see all of the controls. It must be fun to be able to race through red lights with sirens blaring and to squirt water all over the place. The fireman in the truck wanted to keep me as the truck mascot but Mum wouldn't let him.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Be Sure of Your Balance if You Try This
Here I am, way out near the edge of the safe area at Cape Schanck lighthouse. I am actually closer to the cliff edge than the lighthouse is. It was good weather the day we were there and the sea was lots calmer than it was later in our trip. Lots of ships have been wrecked on the reef that runs out to sea from this point. Mum went orbital when she saw me balancing on the railing. I tried to point out that I didn't actually climb up there and had some help. So Dad got the riot act read to him as well. There are signs all around places like this that say "Beware Cliff Edge". I keep a sharp lookout for Cliff Edge, who is evidently a real trouble-maker, but he never turns up at any of the places while I am there.
I met some big members of the bear family when we visited the National Zoo. They are European brown bears and I watched them being fed. I decided that I would not join them for dinner. They are big and rough. Mum says that these are the sort of bears in the Goldilocks story, and in fact there were three of them in the enclosure. I couldn't see Goldilocks anywhere and just hope that wasn't her they were gnawing on. Dad confused me by saying that these were my forebears, but no matter how hard I looked I could only see three of them.
A Strange Cruise-Critter
This strange thing can be seen on the sunniest deck of Captain Cook ships every time the oldies return from snorkelling. It took me a while to figure out that it wasn't some peculiar mutant blend of animal and furniture. It is actually the way that Tiko the divemaster told the "Os" to dry their dive booties quickly. It has other passengers fascinated and they suggest all sorts of names for it, but Mum has the best one. She says it is a Footstool. Can't argue with that.