Friday, June 26, 2009
A Huge Pile of Mullock
This is not a real hill. It is one made up from all of the bits of rock and dirt that have been dug out of some big mines in Broken Hill, over by the New South Wales and South Australian border. We stopped for a while at Broken Hill early on day 2 of our trip across Australia while our Indian-Pacific train was being refuelled. A bus took us around the historic mining town and even up to the top of this pile. There are two buildings up there. The bigger one is the Mining Museum and the smaller one is the Miners' Memorial. The Museum was not open so early in the day (Dad liked that because the gift shop was shut as well). The Memorial has a viewing deck where you can see out over Broken Hill and see some of the "mines that made Australia". I liked the views and all the old mining machinery on display, but felt sad when I looked at the list of all the miners who have died there and some of the horrible accidents they died in. There is absolutely no way that this small bear is going to be taken down a mine, no matter how interesting Dad says it is.
Meet My Mate Milkshake
Here's the latest addition to our family of critters. She is a small cow and her name is Milkshake. Mum found her in the Teddy Bear Shop. Mum just can't go past that shop without going in. She claims it is to see if she can find another bear like me so that she will know what brand of bear I am. I can answer that for her, I am a Unique bear. Anyhow, no bear like me (there couldn't be) but over in the corner was this cute little cow. Three hits on Mum's conscience; cute, little and COW. Naturally, money changed hands and I have another critter to educate. Actually, Milkshake spends most of her time with Holly (you can see pictures of Holly if you type her name into the "Search" box at the top of the page), trying to learn cow-type things. I sometimes wonder if Holly knows much about real cow things. In any case, Milkshake is interested in everything, she is a happy little soul, and I am considering letting her travel with Scruffy and I on our next trip.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
No doubt about these Oldies of mine. They always seem to have something happening. Here they are, all ready to go off to the 40th anniversary dinner of the Canberra Astronomical Society. For some strange reason (definitely connected with Mum, who has been the dinner organizer for the last 20 or so years) this year lots of the members wore masks to the dinner. I had to stay home. Somebody has to look after the house when the Oldies are out, and I think Mum is still a bit worried that I might get bearnapped again. (I must tell you about the bearnapping episode sometime, it is full of old motels, break-ins, drunks and bikie gangs). They did take someone to the dinner with them, a strange little grey, squeaky guy who claims to be an agent of the Galactic Overlord. He isn't much of a problem because Dad pulled the plug on him and he is now all flat and rolled up in our garage. Actually, I don't mind being left behind on occasions like this because the Oldies always bring me back some of the balloons that decorate the ressarterrornt (I still can't spell restaurant). I scored 20 bear-loons this time, not quite enough to lift me into the air, but enough to make me light enough to leap tall chairs at a single bound. When they start to deflate I intend to take them outside and scare cockatoos with them by letting the balloons loose while the cockies are flying overhead. Small bears and balloons are a fun mix.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Chasing the Port Adelaide Dolphins
Whenever we are in Adelaide we go out to Port Adelaide. This is a great place with museums full of boats, trains, planes and army vehicles. One of the best things to do is to go on a boat trip down the river. Along the way you pass all sorts of boats, including a place where there are lots of wrecked ones that have been towed up a creek and left to rot. You go past the place where Australian submarines are made, the big power stations, and old historic buildings like the quarantine station. But the thing that most people want to see are the Port river dolphins. These are a family of dolphins that have adopted the river as their home. About 250 bottlenose dolphins live in the river and the estuary. They have had a tough time in the past coping with polluted water because this is an industrial area, but the South Australian government has made the area a dolphin sanctuary and now the river is much cleaner. On the day that we went dolphin watching we hadn't even left the wharf when two dolphins swam past, between me and the tug boat moored in front of our big cruise boat. I thought that was pretty good and that I would see lots more dolphins during the cruise. No such luck. Over the next two hours we saw lots of other interesting stuff but absolutely no dolphins. I guess they were all hiding and giggling at us. If you are in Adelaide, go on the dolphin trip down the river. It is full of interest and, with luck, you might even see dolphins.
Meet My American Cousins
Last Saturday we went over to Uncle Patrick's place to meet some new cousins. They were Unka Paddy's niece and nephew, Katelyn and Jimmy. I guess that as they are Unka Paddy's niece and nephew that makes them cousins of mine. I never knew that I had cousins in America, but there you go, life is full of surprises. I like my new cousins a lot. The people in the photo are (going left to right around the back row) Aunt Karen and my cobber Yo-Yo the Bear From Yosemite, my new cousin Jimmy and me, Unka Paddy, Unka Grant, my new cousin Katelyn, Unka Craig, Dad, and Mum in the front. It's great to have family all over the world.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Bears at the Wheel Again
One of the things we did in Perf was to go on a boat trip up the Swan River to a winery. The Oldies liked this trip because it had lunch included as well and there were prawns for Mum and curries for Dad. Plus as much wine as they could drink (and they are pretty good at putting good wine away). It really doesn't take much to keep my Oldies happy. The boat was a bit different to others Scruffy and I have been on. It was very low so that it could get under the bridges it had to go under. Just a big aluminium punt really. The trip went past lots of big houses, most of them with boats tied up at private wharves. The winery was called "Waters Edge". Not because it was actually at the water's edge, even though it was. It was because the first people to own it were called Waters. The boat passengers were shown around the winery and were able to sample everything. The wines were (reportedly) great and the Oldies even bought some special Port. It was just as well it was downhill to the boat because lots of passengers couldn't walk all that straight on the way back. Maybe that was why the captain let Scruff and I drive on the way downriver; we were the most sober passengers on board. With Scruff navigating and working the throttles, and yours truly at the wheel we got back to Barrack St jetty right on schedule. Small bears to the rescue again.
The Perf Cat Bus
While we were in Perf we used the buses to get around. They have a wonderful system over there. Bus travel in the main part of the city is totally free. Naturally enough, Dad really liked that as an idea and says it should be done everywhere. The buses that go around the central city are called Central Area Transport buses, or CAT buses for short. Just so you can tell them from other buses they have big cats painted on their sides. The first one that I saw was in evening twilight and all I saw at first was this big black cat zooming towards me . Until I realized the white background was a bus I was a bit worried. A cat that size would make short work of small bears.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Here I am, way down at the end of the very long platform 1 at Sydney Central Station. It is the first day of our trans-Australia trip and the locomotive is busy getting carriages hooked up for the trip. This is the big loco that hauled us across the continent. It is about to hook onto a special carriage that carries cars, two decks of them. It will then haul the carriage onto the same track as the passenger carrriages are on and couple it onto them to make the complete train. I love watching shunting operations like this and Dad is usually OK about taking me to the far ends of platforms and holding me up so I can see over the barriers.The Indian-Pacific usually has a couple of car carriages. People can drive their car on in Sydney, Adelaide or Perth and not have to do the thousands of kilometers of driving. I think that is a great idea and it saves a lot of petrol and tired drivers. Maybe next time we will take our car with us.
No Winter Blues for Me
Winter is here again and it's cold in Canberra. We even have some rain at long last and that makes things a bit miserable, even if it is really badly needed. The Oldies are full of grumbles every morning when they have to get out of bed and get Mum off to work. Dad says that it is unnatural to have to get out of bed before sunrise. Well, I've found the answer to the cold that creeps up on you while you are settled in watching TV and the heating is struggling to keep the house warm. Bro Trent bought Mum this great electric rug thingy. It works OK as a cover for people, but it is super-splendiferous as a snuggling place for small bears. Whenever I start to feel cold and don't want to go into hibernation I make a nest in the rug, switch on the heat, switch on the telly and settle in for the duration. Warm bears are happy bears.