Thursday, February 24, 2011
Here's Those Big Things
Well, I told you in the last post that two really big things were going to go between the little lighthouses on Tuesday, and here is what they were. The "Queen Mary 2" and the new "Queen Elizabeth", both coming into Sydney Harbour at the same time. And I was there being part of it. The top photo is from the "Sydney Morning Herald" news chopper and shows the Queens near Fort Denison. I thought the fort was big, but these ships absolutely dwarf it. Since we passed the little lighthouses before there was enough light to get good pictures, I couldn't get shots of the ships passing the lighthouses, but here are pictures the two ships (you can bet there will be others coming). The one on the left is "Queen Elizabeth"; we took this shot from the top deck of the "Queen Mary 2". "Queen Elizabeth" is big alright, but my ship "Queen Mary 2" is much bigger. Since I was on her, I haven't got any photos of the ship during the morning harbour entry, but the one on the right should give you an idea of how big and beautiful she is. It was taken as we watched the ship arrive in Fremantle to pick us up. A superb ship and you will hear lots about her later, but right now I am tired out after an exciting, busy and exhausting week and am going to bed to hibernate for a few days.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Watch This Space
These two little lighthouses are two of the main channel markers in Sydney Harbour. The eastern one was built in 1908 and the western one in 1924. The western one collapsed in December 2006 and has been salvaged and rebuilt. Big ships have to go between them, otherwise they end up running into rocks. Something special is going to happen in the space between these lighthouses on Tuesday next week. I am not going to tell you what it is or what I have to do with it, but I will give you some clues. I am going away for a week, I will be part of what happens, and it involves two really big things. Exciting piccies when I get home next week. Watch this space.
The Easy Way To Walk
This is my favourite way to walk - let somebody else do it for you. I have travelled oodles of kilometers in Dad's backpack. They must have had small bears in mind when they designed it because it has an outside pocket just the right size for me and sometimes Scruffy as well. It also has a safety strap to stop me falling out if Dad slips on something. Dad doesn't mind walking around with a small bear on his back. He says it is a chick-magnet, but I haven't noticed any chickens rushing up, only ladies that stop and talk to the Oldies for a while and usually leave with one of my business cards. Actually, some of you ladies might be reading this right now. The path that we are walking in these pictures is a pretty little one that runs from Manly Beach around to Shelly Beach in Sydney. The suburb that we are walking through is called Fairy Bower. That means that it should be a place where you can see fairies in the bushes. I looked really hard, but couldn't see a single one. Maybe they only come out at night. There are usually lots of snorkellers and SCUBA divers in the water near this spot. It is a marine park and most times it has really calm and clear water. Even from the path you can see lots of big fish, so I bet there are lots of small, pretty ones that you can see if you get in there with them. Someday the Oldies will work out a way for me to go snorkelling with them.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
He Won't Fit In That...
No doubt about it, people were smaller in the Middle Ages. Just look at this suit of armour that Dad is leaning on. Much as Dad would love to wear a suit of armour like that, there is a big problem - there is no way that he would fit into it. I should point out that I am not just referring to Dad's circumference, but his height and the length of his legs and arms as well. The Oldies saw lots of armour during their big trip and all of them were about the same size, too small for any adult in their tour group. Sadly, they didn't see any small ones that would fit me either. I would really like my own personal suit of armour so that dogs would not be a problem any more. With proper armour, a good sword and a long lance I would even tackle the nasty Alsatian that lives up the road. This armour is in Boringdon Hall near Plymouth. Boringdon Hall was the most interesting and comfortable place that the Oldies stayed. It is a big manor house that has been renovated and extended to a great hotel. In fact, the original Boringdon Hall was built before 1086, so it is a historic building and at some stage the armour was actually worn in battle .
Another Speccy Sunset
I love spectacular sunsets. There is something magic about watching the Sun sink behind the hills and seeing the clouds light up in shades of red and orange for a while. This one was watched from the balcony of the unit we rented on our last trip to Hamilton Island. The weather was pretty lousy for most of the stay; rainy and windy for all but two days. However, that meant that there was usually enough cloud around for sunsets like this one. You can see the hills of the Queensland coast in the background, the shadow stripe of a cloud across the glow, and a ferry from Airlie Beach zipping along. And another great thing about sunsets, as far as small bears are concerned, is that they start the Oldies thinking about dinner time.
Friday, February 04, 2011
The Entry to Portsmouth
One of the places in England that the Oldies liked best is Portsmouth. Here is one of their photos of the entrance to Portsmouth harbour. You can see that the entrance is fairly narrow and has forts on each side of the harbour mouth. The big white thing is the Spinnaker Tower. You get great views of the harbour and the historic dockyard from the tower's observation deck. Dad was a bit wobbly when they went up the tower. It has a glass floor in one place and he just wouldn't walk across it. Portsmouth is the main naval base in Britain and you can lots of warships there. In fact it has been the main navy port for centuries, since Roman times. You can see some famous ships here in the historic dockyard, "Warrior", "Victory" and "Mary Rose" among them. I will show you some of these later.
He Shouldn't Be Doing This
Here's a photo of Dad being naughty and stupid. He is down by the lake feeding swans. Now you might think that that is OK, the swans certainly do, but really it is not a good thing to be doing. Swans eat water weeds and algae. They can get stuff that's one metre deep in the water because their necks are so long. I guess to a swan an old codger with free bread scraps is a bit like an ice-cream van is to kids. Whenever you go near the lake there are always swans swimming hopefully along near the edge trying to look hungry. If you actually feed them something swans come from everywhere to see what's being given out. This is not a good thing for the swans because their tummy is not built to handle people-type food and they can get very sick as a result. So if you see swans looking at you with a hungry, pleading look in their eyes just remember that the best thing you can do for them is not to feed them.