Tuesday, November 27, 2007
A Place Called Portsmouth
Here's another photo of a place my globe-tottering Oldies visited while I was at Unka Patrick's. This is Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in England. They took this photo from up a high tower called the Spinnaker Tower. Dad must have been a bit green. The big ship with lots of masts and yellow funnels is HMS Warrior. This was the first iron battleship to be driven by a steam engine and propellor and back in 1860 was the largest and fastest ship in the world. If you look carefully at the picture you can see lots of ships. HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar is in the middle of the picture. It is a bit hidden because it is not in the water. You can see two aircraft carriers. The closer one is HMS Ark Royal and the other one is a French one. There are lots of destroyers and smaller ships there as well. I wish I had been with them; I do like boats.
Bart the Bearonaut
Big Bro Trent had a party on Saturday night, for his 25th birthday. He never does anything by halves, so he had a big room at a club and lots of loud music and flashy lights. He also had lots of helium-filled balloons. Well, I ask you, what would any beardevil do? I just had to see how many balloons would be needed to let a 160 gram bear fly. Dad helped collect balloons and harnessed me up. 28 balloons later I was drifting happily across the room. The long strings made it easy for the "youngsters" on the dance floor to drag me around with them. It was great fun, until the fog machine made it too hard to see things and Dad brought me down. I really do like balloons.
A Cute Unwelcome Visitor
Two weeks ago they had to cut down a heap of old gum trees near our place. The trees were dead and dropping branches on roofs (my pedantic Dad says this should be "rooves" but nobody says that any more), so they had to go. Last week we started to hear strange scrabbly, slithery noises in our roof and walls. Dad thought it might be mice and put some special food out for them that he says makes them go away. The noises didn't go away and one day Mum heard claws scratching on the laundry roof fan. We thumped the ceiling and something hissed and growled back at us. The oldies knew straight away what it was. We had been invaded by a possum. Possums live in hollows in old trees and this one must have been living in one of the ones that were cut down. He picked on our place as a new spot to live. He climbed into the vent from the ceiling fans and was living in the ducting pipes. He must have thought it was the biggest tree hollow ever. Once we knew where he was we got the possum catcher man in to trap him. We disconnected the top of the ducting and aimed it at a trap with an apple in it. Possies love apples, so last night we heard the trap door snap shut and then a big rattling around as possy tried to get out. He rattled the cage occasionally during the night, so he wasn't popular with the oldies. This morning I went up into the roof and had a talk to him. He wasn't happy. In fact you can see by the mess around the trap that he was scared (Dad removed this word because he says it isn't polite). I told him that he would be collected soon and taken out to a forest where there are lots of trees and lady possums and he calmed down. Somewhere out there he is free again, and our vent pipe has been possum-proofed.
You can see a bigger picture if you click on this one.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Just Like Dad's Shelves
I didn't mind having to stay with Unka Patrick while the oldies were away, but there was a couple of places they visited that I really would like to have seen. This is one of them. It is the RAF museum at Hendon, north of London. Hendon used to be one of London's airports and a fighter base. Now it is mostly warehouses and this great museum . The museum has examples of just about every type of aircraft the RAF ever used, and some "enemy" types as well. The oldies spent a day there and took hundreds of photos. This is part of just one display hall and in it I can see a Bf 109, a Kawasaki Ki-100, a P-51D Mustang, a DH Mosquito, an Me 262, a Eurofighter Typhoon, a Fokker D.7, a Sopwith Camel, a Sikorsky R-4, a Hawker Hart, an airship gondola and a cruise missile. Honest, it looks just like a bigger version of one of Dad's model shelves.
Egyptian Bear Bling
Mum came back from the overseas trip with heaps of jewellery and general bling. She bought stuff in Dubai, Egypt, France and the UK. All of her friends got a special bit of bling, and guess what, she even bought something for me. The thing on the chain around my neck is a heiroglyphic cartouche. Cartouches are the way that ancient Egyptians wrote their names. Well, Mum and I can read cartouches so I know that this one is really special. Most of the ones she bought back have the friend's name in them, but mine says "Ramses 11". Ramses 11 was the greatest Pharoah of them all, so this makes me the greatest small bear of all (maybe).
Monday, November 19, 2007
A Beautiful Building
This is Mum's favouritest building in the whole world. It is the Burj-al-Arab in Dubai and is one of the most spectacular hotels ever built. The oldies shouted themselves to lunch there when they stopped for a while in Dubai during their overseas trip. The resserterrornt they were in is the thing that looks like a harmonica stuck onto the side of the building up the top opposite the helipad. To get there they had to go up in an outside glass elevator. Mum loved it, Dad was his usual scaredy-cat self. Mum videoed the trip up, but since the elevator does 27 floors in 7 seconds, all you can see on the tape is a blur. Mum took lots of pictures of the totally luxurious inside of the Burj but all of her pictures were lost when her camera, phone, watch and money were stolen in London. If they ever go back to Dubai they have to take me because they obviously need a guard-bear in Mum's handbag.
Somebody Who Sticks to His Job
I met this guy down in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. He doesn't say much and he doesn't move very fast but he has a very important job to do. He is the one who keeps the crows, corellas and cockatoos from eating all the grapes in this vineyard. That's important because if the birds win then there is not as much wine for the oldies (not just my oldies, but everyone's). When I met him he was leaning up against the lamp post and there wasn't a bird in sight for him to chase away. We had a talk about the importance of having the right stuffing. I reckon my fibre and bead stuffing is better than his loose straw, but he says that his is more traditional. Maybe, but small birds can't pull bits of mine loose to make their nests with.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A Foot On Both Sides
Here's my mad Dad at a rather special place. The line on the ground that he is standing over is the Prime Meridian of the Earth. It is at Greenwich Observatory in London, where the astronomy was done to set up the navigation system for sailors. If you look at a map of the world you will see this line marked as 0 degrees of longitude, running from pole to pole. All east-west distances on the Earth are measured from this line. Dad is standing with a foot in the eastern half of the world and one in the western half, pretty good for an old codger. Now he has the urge to stand on the other side of the world straddling the 180 degree line. That sounds good to me, because the 180 line crosses land in my favourite place. You guessed it, it's in eastern Fiji and Captain Cook has a cruise that takes you right there. If they do go there I will be going with them because the Fijian customs guys all know me and I just love Captain Cook's boat.
Playing the Piper
Guess what they brought me back from Scotland? A Bart-sized set of bagpipes! I have been practicing all week. The neighbour's cat doesn't come into our yard anymore and Trent shuts his door and turns his TV up loud, but I am getting the hang of wrestling the pipes and squeezing something like music out of them. I can play "Scotland the Brave" really well and am starting to learn some jigs and reels. Uncle Keith was married at the weekend and he wore his clan tartan and had a piper there. Next time he does anything with a Scottish flavour, I am going to be there as official piper.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Going Around in Circles
Mum loves to get up high. Dad doesn't. That means that she is always dragging him up tall towers and into things that he wouldn't do by himself. Actually he usually enjoys the experiences, after he comes down. Here they are at the world's largest Ferris Wheel, the London Eye. This is a great way to see the panorama of central London, provided you are game to open your eyes while you are in the glass capsules way up in the air. Actually, the wheel moves so slowly that even Dad liked it so much that they went back for another ride on their last, rainy, day in London. I would like to ride the Eye, but the hazards of security and customs make it very hard for small bears to travel around the world safely.
I knew that there would be a camel hidden somewhere for me, 'cause Dad promised to bring me back one. Well, I've found it and here it is. Not just any old camel, this one is Bart sized and comes with it's very own small Arab to mind it. This is great beacuse I don't have to chase it if it wanders off and don't have to clean up after it. I call the camel Braz because of his brassy nature and the noise that camels make. I don't know the Arab's name; he won't tell me. They come from a place called Luxor where the oldies visited two ancient temples. Dad says that this is the sort of camel that he saw in caravans in Egypt, but I think he is kidding . You certainly couldn't get a full-size camel into Uncle Paddy's caravan.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The Eyefull Tower.
One of the places the oldies stayed for a while is Paris. The most spectacular thing in Paris is this thing, the Eiffel Tower. At night it is all lit up with coloured lights and sparkles. The oldies visited it during the daytime and went up to the second observation deck, then went back at night and had dinner at the first floor resterrornt. They were there during the Rugby World Cup semi-finals and there was a large football suspended in the centre of the tower. The night they took this photo, England was playing France. Now Dad only ever barracks for two teams, the Aussies and whoever is playing against the Poms. Needless to say, the Poms won. They should pay Dad to follow them around and cheer for the opposite team. Actually, when they go back to Paris they had better take me because I really want to parachute (maybe that's Paris-chute) from the top of this. And I still say its name should be the Eyefull Tower because it really is a great eyefull.
What Do They Mean "Ships"?
They call these critters "ships of the desert". I can't see why. They haven't got masts or funnels or anything like that and they don't look like they would float all that well. Besides, they live right away from water. The oldies tell me that these are wild camels that they found way out in the dunes of the desert in Dubai. Actually, the camels don't look all that wild to me, they are just doing the camel thing of turning your back on annoying tourists and pretending that they aren't there. Which reminds me, Dad promised to bring me back a camel and I haven't seen it yet!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Why Mum Didn't Sleep That Night
Mum didn't sleep at all on her first night in Egypt. Here's why. They stayed at the Mena House Oberoi and had a room on the top floor, looking out at this view. Those pyramids were less than a Kilometer away and were lit up for a long time. Mum kept getting up and walking out onto the balcony to look and take pictures. Dad told her that they had been there for the last 5000 years and would still be there in the morning. He went to sleep. If I had been there I would probably have been out on the balcony with Mum.
Been Out in the Desert Too Long??
Sometimes I worry about these Oldies of mine. I mean, just look at this. They say it is because they were off to a galebaya party (whatever that is) on their Nile cruise boat. I think it is probably because they had been out in the sun and sand too long and it got to them. They say that for the party they changed into Sheik Rattleanroll and his favourite wife Neferonnasunday. Anyhow, this is one of the odd pictures I have managed to find in their hugh stack of trip photos. I will show you lots more sensible and not-so-sensible ones later. Some of the images are really pretty good, but I wouldn't tell them that.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We are home again. The oldies flew back yesterday and boy, are they zapped! If long flights make people that tired then I am glad to have missed out. Anyhow, they met Uncle Patrick for lunch and collected their favourite bear (me). When they got me home they let me help with the unpacking. There was a lot to unpack, so much that they had to pay excess baggage to get it all home. In the pile there were a few things marked "Bart". Presents for me. Yippee!! Here is what I have found so far. Models of a London bus and a taxi. The oldies used a lot of the real ones to get around London. A small, black sort-of-monster-thing. Dad says it is a Gargle (or something that sounds like that). He caught this one for me on a corner of a roof in Paris, where lots of them roost. And best of all, my very own small bear. Mum tells me that he is not just any small bear but a genuine Harrod's bear, which is just about as special as a unique bear like me. I have called him Harrold and will look after him like the oldies look after me. Hmm... I remember something about a camel; I had better check the bags again.
The oldies took over 11,000 photos on their trip. Dad is busy downloading them. When he has finished I will show you some of the best ones. It is really good to be back home with my very special Mum and Dad again.