Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Cave Of Homeless Bears
We went down to Mogo today to stock up on craft gear from our favourite shop, Amanda's. The road from Canberra to the coast has a fairly steep section called Clyde Mountain and near the top of this hill is the cave of homeless bears. Near one of the sharp corners is a small cave. Years ago, around 40 of them according to Dad, somebody painted the name "Pooh Corner" above the cave. The name comes from the stories about that well-known bear, Pooh. Over the years people going down to the coast have left the occasional teddy bear in the cave. The name has been made official and there is a permanent metal sign there now. It even shows on Mum's iPhone. I thought it would be kind of romantic to be living free in a cave with other runaway bears, so I stopped in to visit them. You can see me sitting with Piglet just to the top left of the cave. There were dozens of small bears in the cave and climbing the rocks near the entrance. But most of them were in sorry condition; damp, slightly mouldy, smelly, and some of them had even been nibbled by foxes and rodents. I feel really sorry for these poor relatives and am really glad to be living in a nice warm house with Oldies that look after me.
Labels: Canberra, New South Wales, south coast
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
One of the things that I like doing on fine days is to stir the Oldies into taking me for a drive. We just drive around roads and lanes that we haven't been along before and see what's there. Last week we investigated some lanes just east of Canberra in NSW. There are lots of small hobby farms there and on one of their driveways we found this interesting bit of old farm machinery. Dad knew what it is, after all he is almost as old as it. It is a hay-rake that used to be dragged behind a team of horses or a tractor. Great for small bears to climb on, you can see that I managed to get onto the seat. If there had been a horse or a tractor around I would have loved to have a go at raking something. Actually, the only horses we saw on this "lane-cruise" were these two in a paddock near an electricity sub-station. I guess that if they had broken through the fence and touched one of the connectors they would have found another, shocking, meaning of horse-power. (Mum: Apologies for Bart's attempt at a word joke)
Labels: animals, Canberra, climbing, engineering, New South Wales
The New Dam Rises
Today we went for a drive out to the Cotter Dam to see how the work is progressing. You can see how much the dam wall has risen by checking back to my post in November last year. Since November the work had a big holdup. We had lots of rain and the water flooded over the wall and washed lots of machinery and materials away and held up work for weeks. Work is progressing fine now. The new wall is about twice the height of the old dam and it has about as far again to go. One thing that I like is the way that the area in the valley below the dam is being turned into picnic grounds and walking trails. The trail up to the observation platform is an easy one, even for my Oldies. As you can see in the photos, it is being extended to go across the river by a cute little suspension bridge and will take you right up to the dam wall. I watched the truck tipping a load of sand and gravel ready for the next concrete section of the path. As soon as I can walk along it I will post more photos.
Labels: Canberra, dam, engineering
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I love statues. They mostly have lots of bumps and grooves that make them great climbing frames for small bears. This statue was in the foyer of our hotel in SingyPaw. It is of a man called Confucius. He was a famous Chinese philosopher who lived about 2,500 years ago. His teachings advocated family loyalty, ancestor worship and respect for elders. Of course, I totally respect my Oldies; I just don't take much notice of them when they try to stop me doing interesting things. Well, Confucius' statue was great to climb on. When Dad found me there he told me "Confucius, he say: small bear who climbs wooden statue is blockhead". Somehow, I don't think Confucius ever said anything of the sort.
This is the Waterfall in the Dubai Mall. Dubai hasn't got any real waterfalls, so they built one in the Mall. It is four stories high and has dozens of statues of people diving down the waterfall towards the pool at the bottom. We liked to stop for coffee and snacks at the cafe near the waterfall. Actually, I got into strife there during our first visit. The water looked so cool, and it was so hot outside, that I figured a quick dip would be just the shot. Well, I managed to climb up to the top of the fence while the Oldies weren't looking. I was all set to see if I could look as good as the statues while I dived in. But that eagle-eyed mother of mine saw me and hauled me back. What's the use of cool water in a hot desert city if small bears are not allowed to swim in it?
Monday, August 06, 2012
One of the things that I love about travel is the chance to see so many trains, in museums and restored ones that are now running in tourist spots. Here's a couple of small ones that I found in Queensland while we were staying with Unka Ray and Aunty Libby. The top one is at the Ginger Factory at Buderim. It started life hauling logs in New Guinea and then was used in Qld to haul sugar cane to the mills. Now it takes tourists around the grounds of the Ginger Factory. It looks like a steamer, but in fact it is diesel powered and the steam engine is only for show. The bottom one is called Invicta and it runs in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, near the Hinkler Aviation Museum. It spent its working life hauling sugar cane to mills in the Bundaberg region. In 2008 it was fully restored and is now one of the five loco engines of the Australian Sugar Cane Railway. These little trains are great fun and are working reminders of the hugely important contribution of steam trains to Aussie industry. Do ride on them whenever you can.
Labels: Queensland, train
Sunday, August 05, 2012
At The Top
Here I am at the highest observation deck in the world. It is on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. That's 452m (1,483ft) above the streets of the city. The observation deck has an open area and an indoor one. Even though it looks like I am a long way up, the Burj has 40 floors and a spire above me. You do get a great view of Dubai from up here. One of the things that enhance the view are the hi-tech view screens like the one that I am sitting on. These show you the bit of the city you aim them at in day, night or historical view, so you can see what it looks like at other times and what it looked like before all those buildings were built. This can be a great help if you are unfortunate enough to be there when the dust in the air makes it hard to see with your unaided eyes. I really liked the elevators that take you up to the observation deck; they travel at 64km/hr! So fast that Mum didn't have time to video the floor counter numbers flicking away. A tip from me: if you want to go up the Burj, buy your tickets online before you travel. They are much cheaper that way and saves you having to wait in long, slow-moving lines when you arrive. Of course, you are locked into a certain day and you might be hit by dust, but that's the risk anytime. Anyhow, I now claim to be one of the world's highest bears. Note that aircraft don't count for this claim, and even if they did, I have been pretty high in A380s and 747s.