Tuesday, April 29, 2008
How About Those IPLT20 Matches!!
I have been spending lots of time in front of the TV lately. The reason is the Indian Premier League Twenty 20 series. These must be some of the best cricket matches I have ever seen. At first I thought that the idea of making up teams of the best players from all over the world, sharing the players around so that every team had a mix of nationalities in it, seemed crazy. But hasn't it worked out well. I think the best thing is the way that players who had only played against one another have had a chance to play together on the same team. With one notable exception (the shameful Harbhajan Singh incident) it has worked really well. Mind you, my favourites are still Gilly, Haydos and Roy. When they get going they look like they are carrying the rest of their teams. Maybe I am just a little bit biased? And hasn't it been great to see Warnie and Pidge back in action. And how about that new stadium in Mumbai? That will be really something when they get the roofing on it. Usually, my favourite spot for TV watching is on the corner of the coffee table, right in front of the screen, but this series is a bit of a problem. The games go on right into the early hours of the morning and my oldies need their sleep. So I do a lot of watching from their bed. They get a bit stroppy if I keep the light on too long or get too excited and bouncy. If I do they turn on the recorder and turn off the light and I have to wait until the morning to see the finish. You can see that the rest of the bear crew are not so interested. Scruffy is his usual grumpy self, Samisch is confused because he can't understand the rules and William Thomas is completely uninterested, but he is Canadian so I guess that explains it.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Maybe I have mentioned that Scruffy and I love boats. We love islands too. Here we are, sitting on a fence at Hamilton Island, looking out at all the small boats and yachts moored in the marina. You can just see the Queensland coast in the background. The other islands are Dent on the left, and Henning on the right. On the right side of the marina entrance is a small "false light". It looks like a lighthouse but doesn't have a light in it. Hamilton is a good base for exploring the Whitsunday islands. It has an airport so that you can fly in from anywhere, and it is the central point for ferrys and tour boats that take you just about anywhere in the island group. The thing I like best about it is that we can hoon around on golf buggies over lots of the island, except for the bits that you need a big 4-wheel drive to get to.
A Perfect Castle
The oldies saw lots of castles while they were on their UK tour, but this one was the best of the lot. It is Caerphilly Castle in southern Wales. It is a huge castle, the second largest in the UK. It has a big moat around it with two dams to keep it full. The castle was built in the late 13th century by Gilbert de Clare, the English lord of Glamorgan, to keep the Welsh out of south Wales. It hasn't been altered much since then, so it is a great example of what medieval castles were like. I like the way that one tower has split and partly toppled. Dad says that it is because the castle is slowly sinking into the water-logged ground; he may be right, it happens sometimes. I also like the collection of siege engines inside one of the courtyards. One thing I would really love to do is to fire big rocks from a real trebuchet. Actually, if I sat in the bucket of a trebuchet and had my parachute with me it might be a fun ride.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Move Over Tut
Move over Tut-ankh-amun, here's the new Pharoah, Bart-hol-omew. The oldies bought back a real Egyptian throne, just my size. It is like one of the ones that were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. Here I am with more of the Egyptian stuff that Mum has collected, all set up to receive petitions from commoners (like the oldies). From left to right we have: A sphinx, something that most Pharoahs had, a fierce lion with the Pharoah's face; The goddess Hathor, Mum's favourite because she is also represented as a cow; Me; Osiris, god of the underworld, the original little green man; and Bastet, the cat goddess. There are lots of Egyptian things around our house, but I am not letting the oldies go back for more unless they take me too.
Mum has found a critter that she says reminds her of my Dad when he is acting nurse. She calls both of them Cranky Nurse Vince. Actually Dad doesn't really look anything like this. I guess things look different from a patient's point of view when they are being hassled to do something they don't want to, even if they should. Mum is still getting over her messy operation and Dad and I are looking after her. We reckon that she isn't a patient, she is an im-patient. She is getting better each day and will be back at work next week. I am really happy that she is getting better. Small bears need their Mum.
I got an email this week from a Californian bear, Califia. You can check Califia's blog at http://wherescalifia.com/.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Greeting a Goanna
This is the biggest lizard that I have ever seen. It is a Goanna, and it lives at Wildlife World in Sydney, safely behind thick glass so that it can't get at small bears. These guys are also called Monitor lizards, and the biggest ones grow almost 2 metres long. Goannas eat almost anything small enough to fit down their throat. They can run fast, swim and climb trees. When they run they rear up onto their hind legs; they really look funny do thist. Goannas live in burrows in the ground. We saw lots of the smaller sand goannas when we visited the Whitsundays and Lizard Island. Actually, my hero Captain Cook, named Lizard Island after the goannas he saw there. I was very glad that this one was safely caged because he was very interested in me and I was able to tease him in safety.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Blue Water, Battered Boulders, Boat and Bear
No doubt about it, Fiji has to be my very favouritest holiday place, and Captain Cook's boat is the best way to see it. Here is another boatload of happy bodies on the way to another island, another beach, another reef. This is actually the entry to the Blue Lagoon. This is an absolutely beautiful place and the location of possibly the two worst movies ever made. The rocks here are spectacular, limestone blocks eaten away at the waterline by the salt water. They are so sharp and jagged that not even small bears can climb on them without getting lots of cuts. Notice my boat "Reef Escape" moored in the background in deeper water, and how the small bear is navigating the boat in toward the beach.
Guess what? Only eleven more weeks and I will be back on "Reef Escape", heading for the International Dateline. I can hardly wait to stand with a foot each side of the Line, one foot in today and one in tomorrow (or yesterday if you count the other way).
Passing the Barrier
Here's Mum at one of the great pieces of engineering the Oldies visited on their big trip. This is part of the Thames Barrier at Woolwich in London. The barrier is there to prevent London being flooded by a combination of high tides and storm surges. To get to the barrier the oldies had to take a long boat trip down the river. I would have enjoyed that, but they left me behind with Unka Paddy. The silver shells house the big motors that raise and lower the floodgates. The gates were all down when the oldies were there. I think it would have been fun if the gates had come up while they were on the outside and locked them out for a while.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Mum, Stoned, Worse Than Dad
We have just driven Mum home from Hospital. She had a dangerously large gall stone and a batch of little ones that blocked some vital bits of her innards, so the doctors had to cut out her whole gall bladder. They were really impressed by the big stone. It was nearly 5cm across and shaped like a cross between a spikey golf ball and a brick. Way bigger and much more dangerous than the kidney stone that put Dad in hospital last month. The doctors wouldn't let me keep it. They say it is against health regulations, but I bet it ends up in a medical museum somewhere as the biggest gall rock ever. Dad and I went across to see Mum when she came out of the operation. She was really woozy and not making much sense. Quite scary for a small bear who cares a lot about his Mum. She had lots of pipes and things plugged into her and machines hooked up to her, but I wasn't allowed to play with any of them so I don't know what most of them did. They wouldn't let me stay with her overnight. When we went back next day she was a lot better but couldn't remember us being there the night before. I stayed with her that night and watched the nurses do their rounds. Anyhow, she is home now and Dad is being Cranky Nurse Vince and making sure that she does everything that the doctors say she has to do for the next few weeks. That will be a hard job for him; he says Mum is not a patient, she is an impatient. My job is to be a spy-bear and yell if Mum tries anything she shouldn't.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Dinner Boats at Hamilton
There are two things that I really like, boats and dinner. While we were at Hamilton Island I was able to combine these likes and have dinner on these boats. The little one is "Banjo Patterson" and the big one is "Denison Star". It is a great way to enjoy dinner, cruising around islands of the Whitsundays with a constant supply of fodder (particularly prawns for Mum) and booze on tap. I would like to point out that the photo of Scruffy and I was taken sneakily before we had a chance to pose, unlike the one of the oldies, and that the glazed look on Scruff and the tipsy appearance of me are not necessarily indicators of our degree of sobriety at the time.
A Paddock Full of Pyramids
The oldies were on a real high when this photo was taken. No prizes for guessing where they were. They were at the best photo-stop for photographing the pyramids at Giza. These big piles of stones have been there for thousands of years and have been visited by just about every important person in the world (including my oldies). Actually, Dad says that they (the pyramids) are not as big as he expected them to be, but the individual blocks of stone are much bigger than expected. As you can see, the blocks are bigger than Mum and weigh tons. The two large pyramids are really impressive, even now after people have been pinching stone from them for centuries. They must have been really spectacular when they were new and covered in smooth, white limestone but unless somebody invents time-travel I guess I will never see them like that. I am impressed by the way that the oldies managed to get so many pictures on their big trip without other people in the frame, even though there were hundreds of tourists and hawkers in the areas they visited. Next time they can take me and I can growl people away while they get the pictures.