Friday, October 28, 2011


Cooling Off at the Trough

It was hot the day we were at Berry and I needed to cool off somehow. I thought that I had it made when I spotted this thing like a bear-sized concrete swimming pool. It is a drinking trough for horses, donated by Annis and George Bills. There are around 700 Bills troughs around Australia. They were bought with money from the estate of George in the first half of the 20th century and spread across the country to provide water for working horses. Unfortunately, there are no longer any working horses in Berry so there was no water in the trough. There went my chance for a nice cool swim (provided I could have got in there before Mum spotted me). Fortunately, the Oldies were feeling the heat too so we went and found a cafe and bought some cool drinks. Here I am, a bearie with a berry smoothie in Berry. Berry nice.

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Berry Monumental

Like most small NSW towns, Berry has some interesting monuments tucked away on its streets. The one on the left is a bust of Alexander Berry, the guy that the town was named after. Berry was a Scottish surgeon, merchant and explorer. In 1822 he was given a land grant of 10,000 acres and 100 convicts to establish the first European settlement on the south coast of NSW. He called his place Coolongatta, and there is still a farm there called that, but the town that grew up was named after Alexander Berry and his brother David. The one on the right is in honour of the first mayor of Berry, James Wilson. It was originally a drinking fountain, but vandals have removed the fountain bits (I really do hate vandals). A pity because the day we were at Berry it was very hot and I could have used that drink. Actually, the central bit is a bowl so it would have made a good swimming pool for small bears.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011


Feathered Freeloaders

I got a real chuckle from something that happened most afternoons during our visit to Kiama. It happened just across the road from our cabin, so I could watch without being in the way. The local fish market opened about an hour before dark, after the fishing boats came in for the day. Lots of fish were delivered to the shop and lots of locals came to buy really fresh fish. Among the locals were a flock of six pelicans. They landed near the shop and hopefully waddled up to the door. They watched everybody who came to the shop, hoping for a handout. Nobody gave them a fish for ages. At closing time they finally got a feed. The shop-keeper came out with the fish heads and offal and the pelicans left happy. There are six pelicans in the photo, can you see them all?

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Rough Seas

Remember that I said it was rough the day we sailed outside Sydney Heads on the "James Craig"? Most of the passengers were sea-sick and the top picture may give you an idea why. The camera was actually held horizontal, not aimed at the top of the waves. Those waves are the result of a 5 metre swell and they are higher than Dad, let alone me. The ship handled it fine, only a couple of really big swells actually came over the deck. There was a lot of spray of course and it was raining a bit as well, so everybody got wet. The really sick passengers were taken down below deck and put into hammocks. The thing about hammocks is that they swing and can take some of the motion of the ship away. The problem is that if you keep your eyes open you can see everything moving in different directions to you and that can make you feel even sicker. Scruffy and I weren't sick. Small bears are immune to sea-sickness. We did want to see how it felt to be swinging in the hammocks though, so we grabbed an empty one and tried it out. We liked it, but were quickly removed to make way for the next sick person. Old sailing barques are great ships, but they are rough on passengers when the seas get rough.

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I'm 9 !!

Guess what? Yesterday was my 9th birthday. That's pretty old for a small bear. Maybe it is one of the reasons that I look a bit faded in recent photos, compared to ones from back when my blog was new. Anyhow, I love birthdays because there is always a special dinner and presents. Last night we went to dinner at Teatro Vivaldi, a resserterornt owned by Mum's friend, Mark (I still can't spell restaurant). And how about these presents? My very own skateboard. It even has straps so that small bears can stand up on it. It didn't take me long to get the hang of it; I can even do some tricks. And a special wombat friend, called Banjo, to join my critter friends. And the ultimate weapons for a guard-bear; the Hammer of Thor-bear and the shield of Captain Ambearica (Mum says that I have been watching too many Marvel superhero movies, Dad says that you can't possibly watch too many. I agree with Dad). Those creepy-crawlies that invade the house through the drain-holes in the fly screens are in for trouble now!


Friday, October 21, 2011


A Berry Nice Town

On Wednesday we drove down to Berry for the day. We had driven past Berry a couple of times on our way along the south coast but had never had the time to stop. So this time we made a special trip to check the place out. It is actually a very nice little town. There are roses planted along the main street, lots of cafes and shops and arcades full of interesting stuff. It is small enough to see most of the shopping area in a few hours. I think that the most interesting place is the Great Southern Hotel. It has two surf boats parked on its roof! Now I know that there is a flood there occasionally, but the water never gets that high. Maybe they are just prepared for the next biblical deluge, or maybe these are boats that they have sponsored in the past. I tried to climb up to them, but the verandah posts had too many splinters in them. You can just see me sitting on the rail if you look closely. There are lots of other interesting things at Berry, so do drop in if you are down that way.


Saturday, October 15, 2011


Contrasting Company on the Queen

No doubt about it, the company on "Queen Mary 2" ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, and these two pictures tell the story. The top one shows the Queen's Ballroom, a place where there is always music and dancing every night. The things that interested me most were two busts of royalty, King George V and Queen Mary. Here I am with the lady that the ship was named after, Mary of Teck, Queen Consort to King-Emperor George V. The bottom photo shows me with one of the lower orders. You guessed it, Dad after perhaps a few too many ciders in the Chart Room bar. The effects of several happy days cruising are obvious. Just as well there is a small bear on hand to mind Mum's purse and video camera while she is busy taking incriminating photos. I really loved our time on QM2 and hope the Oldies do it again sometime.

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Chatting With a Cuttlefish

There is a big cuttlefish in the aquarium at Coffs Harbour. Blu had never seen a cuttle before and was really happy to find out that you can actually talk to them. Cuttlefish can change the colours of their skin. That helps them camouflage themselves when they are hiding or hunting, but it is also one of the ways that they communicate with other cuttlefish. They are also willing to communicate with small bears. Evidently this guy had never seen small bears before and was just as fascinated by us as we were with him. To talk with cuttles you use your hands and arms (and fingers if you have them). Waving them at the cuttlefish looks like you are waving your tentacles at him. He will wave back to you, but also flash different colours on his skin. I guess most of the time he is saying "What are you trying to say? Use colours idiots". One colour signal was very clear. He responded to noisy kids tapping his tank by flashing black and spreading his tentacles wide. That obviously means "Shut up and go away or I'll bite". Blu and I had a nice chat with him and will visit him again when we are next at Coffs.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011


Mogo "Totem Pole"

There are always weird and wonderful things to see in an artistic village like Mogo. This piece of woodcarving is out the front of one of the shops. It is a fantastic bit of work. It is probably supposed to be a witch, but the "totem Pole" is covered with all sorts of plants, people, animals and strange critters carved into it. To a small bear, there is only one reason for a pole with all sorts of shapes cut into it. It was obviously put there for small critters to climb. I actually made it to the top, but the Oldies got me to come back down to sit on the arm for a photo. They say that I look like I am part of the carving. What do you think? Anyhow, I think that I add a touch of class and distinction to the carving, and I am grateful to the artist who created this superb climbing post.

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That's Really Big

It seems only a few weeks ago that we were on the "Queen Mary 2", but in fact it was 8 months ago! Time sure gets away, specially when you do a few trips in the meantime. Anyhow, did I mention that the QM is big? Really Big? Well, here's a couple of photos that show just how big it is. The one on the left was taken while we were docked in Adelaide. Just compare the size of the ship with the cars, and remember that most of the cars are much closer. The other photo was taken looking along one of the corridors on a cabin deck. That tiny little speck of light in the middle of the photo is the window in the door at the far end of the corridor. It's a sizable walk along the corridor, and the cabin decks don't go all the way from bow to stern. Big? It's absolutely huge. Time for the Oldies to think about our next cruise, I reckon.

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Friday, October 07, 2011


Crafty Bear

On Wednesday we went for a drive down to Bateman's Bay and Mogo. Mogo is an old gold mining town, but the gold was all found by the late 1800s and it is now a heritage market village. It also has a great zoo. Mum and I have a favourite shop at Mogo. It is called Amanda's and it is the best craft shop we have ever found. It is hard to move in the shop because it is absolutely crammed full of everything that you could ever need if you are into beading, card making, scrap booking, stamping or art. Do call in there if you are driving through the village on your way south of Bateman's Bay on the Princes Highway. It is actually handy to have a small bear with you when you are there. We can climb up to the top shelves and get things that would need a ladder otherwise. I love shops like this one, particularly when the shop lady is as nice and helpful as the one we met on Wednesday.

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