Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I Want to be a Pilot
Sometimes authorities are mean to small bears. They try and keep you out of interesting places by building fences that take so long to climb over that Mum or Dad always catch you and haul you back. This fence is around the pilot station at Port Adelaide. Now I really do want to be a pilot. I watched the pilots in the helicopters and it doesn't look too hard to fly them, but I don't get any chance to try for myself. But here is a building that is just for pilots. I wanted to get in there and offer my services. Dad caught me and told me that I would get into trouble for climbing over a fence with that sort of sign on it. I never read signs if they won't let me do what I want to. Anyway, it turns out that the pilots in there are for boats, not helicopters. I like boats too, so one way or another I will be a pilot someday.
I Don't Like Baths!
I really don't like baths. The warm bit is OK, but the wet bit isn't. I hate the way my fur gets all sloppy and soggy, and I hate it even more when Mum attacks me with the hair-dryer and my fur then goes all fluffy. Mum thinks it is great fun, but I don't. Even when we are on holidays there is no escape. You would think that a weekend at Crown Towers in Melbourne would be no problem, but there was a spa in the bathroom and I had never been in one. I let myself be talked into trying it out. Silly me, I thought it might be fun surfing the bubbly waves. No way. It was a horrendous experience full of yucky-tasting bubbles and water that tossed me all over the place. The best bit was what you see in the photo; a soggy bear desperately trying to dry himself in a nice big warm towel. Someday I would like to go snorkelling with the oldies to see what is so great about that, but baths are definitely not fun.
Friday, July 27, 2007
A Shed Full of Aeroplanes
Here I am at the South Australian Aviation Museum. This is a museum that is growing rather well at the moment. Its main hangar has lots of interesting aircraft in it, and the guides will show you around the workshop if you are interested (particularly if you are an interested small bear). In this picture you can see an English Electric Canberra and the framework of an Avro Anson. with a bit of the tail of a C-47 Dakota and an Jindivik target drone in the background.
I have had an email from somebody who wants to know why I always say "aeroplane" rather than "airplane" like they do on TV. Well, "aeroplane" is the correct name, it means "flys in the air". "Airplane" is an American mangling of the correct word. An "airplane" is a pneumatically-powered tool for smoothing wood (I had to check that big word up in a dictionary), not something that I would like to try flying in. So it is "aeroplane" or "aircraft" as far as this small Aussie bear is concerned, regardless of what American TV calls them.
Nit-picking aside, do visit the Port Adelaide area if you are ever across that way. Any place with maritime, aviation, railway and military vehicle museums all within a couple of blocks of one another is well worth the trip.
Another Visit to Melbourne
Last weekend big brother Trent took Mum and me to Melbourne. He wanted to see one of the netball finals between Australia and New Zealand and wanted company. Dad can't stand netball so he stayed behind and caught up on some of his hobbies. Trent booked us into Crown Towers and I had a great window to check things out from. I could see boats cruising up and down the Yarra, trains coming and going from Flinders St station, trams zipping along Flinders St, and lots of people of course. I kind of share Dad's opinion of netball, so while Mum and Trent were out at the game I wrote a postcard for Dad. I figured that AussiePost wouldn't get it to him before we got back home so I saved the postage and delivered it myself. Oh yes, the game. Well, Trent should have remembered what happened when Mum, Dad and I went down for the cricket back in February. Australia never wins the game when Mum or Dad is in the crowd watching them. The governing body of Australian sports should ship us out of the country whenever finals are being played, preferably to Fiji or the Maldives.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Signs and a Scaredycat Bear
Here's a couple of signs that tell you a bit about Blue Lake and the courage and foolhardiness of some bears. Scruff and I climbed up onto the rails where we could read them easier. The top sign tells about how the lake is the main water supply for Mt Gambier. Scruff had no problems with that. Indeed, he was so unworried that he sat on the top rail of the safety fence and rested his legs on my head. Now, not only is this stupid because a gust of wind could have blown him into the lake, but it is also downright rude to use your younger brother as a footrest. However the next sign we climbed up to showed up just who is the smart bear. We read the title and Scruffy was out of there and back into the car like a shot! (click on the photo and you can read it too). Us educated bears know that the volcanoes in Australia are all extinct and that the crater won't explode. I had a long talk with Scruff about geological timescales but I think he is still a bit confused. Anyway, he cheered up a lot when we left My Gambier.
Blue Lake Blues
One of the places we visited on our roadtrip this year was Mt Gambier. The whole region is a mess of very old volcano craters. This one is the best known one. It is called the Blue Lake because the crater is filled with water that is incredibly blue. The photo was taken on a cloudy day so you don't see the really crystal blue that it looks on sunny days, but you can see the colour even on a dull day like this. Scruffy and I sat there for ages while the oldies were busy taking their usual swag of photos. We were hoping for a sunny break, but it didn't happen. We did meet some new friends while we were waiting, a family from England that had just settled in Australia. I think that they were surprised and pleased to see that small bears inhabit Australia and can sometimes be found in odd places.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I Get High in Helicopters !!
Dad shouldn't have taken us for a helicopter ride when we were on our Great Ocean Road trip because both Mum and I are totally hooked on them. They are a fantastic way to see things that you can't see from the ground and really give you a better idea of what the country you are driving through is like. Here are a couple of pictures from our two flights so far. As you can see, the weather and scenery were very different each time. The pictures on the left are from the wild and rainy day we flew over the Twelve Apostles and the nearby coast. You can see how rough the ocean was and how deserted the countryside is apart from a few houses and cows. The pictures on the right are from our Gold Coast trip. You can see a big difference. Beautiful weather and a landscape full of buildings, canals, lakes and sandbanks. My favourite spot in helicopters is on top of the instrument console. From there you can keep a check on what the pilots are up to and can see everywhere except behind the chopper. Sometimes I clamber around the cabin but Mum always notices and drags me back, even when you would think she is concentrating on filming. Mums really do have eyes everywhere!
To see the photos better, just click on them. And do check out my archives for earlier posts.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I Do So Do It Myself !!!
I have had a couple of emails from people suggesting that I don't write this blog. Thay say that Mum or Dad must be the fingers on the keys (or in the case of Dad the finger on the key). Well, I have news for the doubters, and photographic evidence to back me up. Here is a photo that Mum snuck up and took of me hard at work editing last week's postings. How do I manage to type single keys with wide teddy-bear paws? Simple. I push the keys so that the letter I want is under the paw and then use the arrow keys, the space bar and the delete button to remove the letters that I don't want. It takes a bit longer than it does for someone with fingers, but it works and it means that I can say things without parental censorship. Be assured, I really do type my own blog!
Two Sizes of Hawk
Whenever we go to airshows I have a great time. It seems that pilots and groundcrew all like small bears, so I get to go places that big people can't. For instance, how many airshow visitors ever get to sit on the nose of a BAe Hawk 127 LIF? One of the great things is that I can always talk Dad into making a model of the aircraft that I like best, if there is not one already in our collection of 800 or so. So as soon as we got back from the Richmond airshow last year I started putting the pressure on for a model of the Hawk that I sat on. We always do our models in 1/72 scale, so the model is much smaller than me and I guess that I shouldn't try sitting on it.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Another New Friend
This little red guy may not look like much but he is very important. Every year in Australia we have Red Nose Day. This is a day when most of us donate to the SIDS foundation (SIDS = Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Lots of babies just die in their cots for no apparent reason and SIDS is trying to find out why and to find some cures. My oldies always support SIDS by buying something from them during the red nose time. We have had small red noses on their faces and large red noses on the house and cars. This year they bought me this new friend. He is even hairier than me, has a bigger nose and is a pretty spectacular colour overall. I call him Sidrufous. Please support SIDS. Without healthy babies lots of small bears would be unloved.
A Classic Collection of Cow Cups
Did I mention that Mum has this thing about cows? She stops us at odd and often inconvenient places when we are travelling just so she can look at and photograph stray cattle. Her "odds and ends" cupboard is full of cow statues of all shapes and sizes. And as for the kitchen shelf where the cups and mugs are stored, it is mostly full of cow mugs. Only a couple of astronomy and fish ones are left in there, all the rest have been banished to the garage or given away to make room for this pile of mugs. As small bears don't drink much tea or coffee they are not much use to me, and it does seem like a lot of mugs for a house with only three people in it. I think cows are strange and curious critters but have to admit that the ones on these mugs are stranger and curioser than any that I have seen roaming around in the paddocks.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Some Signs Are Meant to be Ignored
I mean to say, just what is this sign on about? And how is a small bear supposed to be able to read it if he isn't allowed to climb up where he can see it? So of course I climbed and stood on the rails. Mum explained that the sign was about my horse, Tom, but the people watching thought it was about me. I liked that thought; "Beware Bart, the big, bad, bold bear. He bites!". I was not so keen on the next bit though. I would change it to read "Please feed me". I think Tom would like that too. Signs really are strange things.
A Terrific Tram
Here's a tram with a difference. Back in the days before electricity most trams were hauled by horses. This one still works that way. It runs between Victor Harbour and Granite Island in South Australia. I always wanted to drive a horse so I got talking with the driver and the cute conductor. They let me be back brakeman on the way over to Granite Island. It is really difficult to turn the brake handle while you are sitting on it, but I had to manage it because if the tram went too fast on one of the gentle down slopes it would run into the rear of the horse. I did such a good job of it that they let me drive on the way back to Victor. This was even harder as I had to work the front brake and handle the reins as well. At least on trams you don't have to steer, particularly as the horse, called Tom, had done the trip so many times that he just plodded along between the tracks and trusted the brakemen to keep the tram from clobbering him. Most of the passengers didn't even realize that they were in the hands of a skillful small bear.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I'm a Beach Bear at Heart
No doubt about it. When the weather in Canberra is rainy and cold I want to get back to the beach somewhere warm, preferably in Fiji. This is one of the nicest beaches I have ever been on. Nice warm sand, clear water, no waves to swamp me, no hordes of people trampling me into the sand. Even the crabs left me alone. Can you see me in the photo? The beach is actually at the Blue Lagoon in Fiji. My friends, the Captain Cook Cruises crew, took me there back in 2006 and I really would like to be back there again. If crabs were more civilized I would become a full-time beachcomber.
We always stop at lighthouses. Mum has this strange desire to see every one of them in Australia and Dad encourages her so I have to go along and make sure that they don't fall into the water. On our Gold Coast trip there was only one that we hadn't seen before. Actually, it was two; an old one and a new one at Cleveland Point just south of Brisbane. The new one is just a strong light on a couple of tall posts. No character at all so I haven't put a picture of it in my blog. The old one is much better. It is a beaut example of the wooden lighthouse towers that were built in Queensland in the 1800's. This one was built in 1864 and marked the entrance to Raby Bay until the new one took over in 1976.
Lighthouses are OK, but to a small bear the trees nearby are much more interesting. While the oldies were busy taking photos I found one that just begged to be climbed. Strange leaves in clusters that made the perfect hidey-hole for me. It took the oldies a while to find me, but this time they just laughed and took my picture.