Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Going to St Ives

Another place that the Oldies visited in 2007 was St Ives in Cornwall. They say that St Ives is one of the prettiest towns in the UK. Like many of the towns in Cornwall, it is built around a small harbour. The road into town is so narrow that tourist buses aren't allowed to drive into town. They have to stop at a parking area out of town and tourists are taken into town in small shuttle buses. The first photo was taken from this parking area. You can see the harbour and the tall tower of the church. The streets near the harbour were packed with people sunning themselves (it was a cloudless, warm day and the English grab every bit of sunshine they can get. It usually takes them around half a day to badly sunburn on Australian beaches:) What I find strange is that the harbour was almost empty of water. It is several metres deep when the tide comes in but at low tide the boats sit on the sand. At the entrance to the harbour is a small lighthouse, another one for Mum's growing collection of "lighthouses I have visited". Oh yes; there was no sign of a lot of kittens, cats, sacks and wives going or coming on the roads. The Oldies keep saying that they would like to go back and spend a few weeks driving around Cornwall and I keep encouraging them to go, provided they take me with them.

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Pyramids Close to Cairo

It has been cold, wet and miserable for the last week here in Canberra. In weather like that I think about somewhere warm and dry. The warmest and driest place that the Oldies have been is Egypt. Long-time readers will remember that the meanies left me at home while they were gallivanting around the globe back in 2007; they won't ever do that again. The first thing that people think about when they think Egypt is "Pyramids", so here are some more photos of the best-known ones, situated right near Cairo, at Giza and Saqqara. You can see more photos of the big Giza ones in the posts from late 2007. In the top photo you can see the suburbs of Cairo in the background, just beyond the edge of the desert plateau. In fact, the Oldies stayed at a famous hotel just 800 metres from the pyramids. The photo was taken from a lookout point where all the buses stop. It was jammed solid with people but Mum managed to get to the front of the crowd and take lots of photos. What I like is the batches of camels taking tourists for rides. No, the Oldies didn't ride, they say they respect their posteriors too much to have them bounced around on a bony camel. The bottom picture is of their favourite pyramid, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. This was actually the first attempt to build a big pyramid. It was built for Pharaoh Djoser, over 3000 years ago. Before that time, pharaohs were buried in big rectangular tombs called Mastabas. Djoser wanted something bigger, so his architect, Imhotep, piled six mastabas on top of one another in a tapering pile. Later pharaohs used the same idea but filled in the steps to make the classical pyramids. Scruffy and I make pyramids whenever we are at the beach, but so far we haven't built anything higher than 2 metres.


Friday, June 14, 2013


Model Museum Monsters

Here are some interesting critters that I met in the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. This museum is a "must visit" place when you are in Townsville. It is full of stuff that explains the history and critters of the tropical north of eastern Australia. One section is on maritime history and has a big display about shipwrecks. The most fun thing in that section is this monster-size sea captain. He is posed like he is taking sights with his sextant. Obviously, he would be helped enormously if he had a small bear to read the charts while he did the measurements, so that's what I am doing in the photo. There are lots of life-size models of dinosaurs that used to live in Queensland. I got Dad to take photos of me with some to give you an idea of the size of these critters. The little one looks cute and harmless and would make a great "horse" for small bears. The big guy is a different story; he is totally scary. Imagine meeting something like that while you were surfing. No, I am not scared white by the critter, that's the colour that the camera makes me when the flash is too close. What are they? I will let you Google them and find out for yourself; it's a cold, wet day in Canberra and I am off to find a warm place to hibernate for a while.

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Friday, June 07, 2013


Dubai Arts

Dubai is full of interesting stuff. Not only the buildings, but the amazing things in the buildings and around the streets and courtyards. Near the Al Manzil hotel where we stayed, there is a souk (an Arab market). In the courtyard I found this sculpture of a chair in a rock arch. Now obviously it is not meant to be sat on, just looked at, but I really had to try it out. The hard part was getting up steps that are higher than me, but fortunately there was enough rough rock to clamber up  on. Inside the souk there are many large pots. I know that these sorts of pots were used to store and transport stuff ages ago, so I had to look and see if anything was in them. Maybe a genie? No luck, they are all empty; pretty things to look at though.

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Here's some photos of one of the most famous ships in the world. It is HMS Victory, preserved at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in England since1922. The Oldies spent a day at the dockyard during their big trip in 2007. They were running out of time, so didn't get photos of the inside. Things would have been different if I was there, no excuses about spending too much time looking at the remains of the "Mary Rose". "Victory" has been the flagship of many English admirals at many battles. Admiral Keppel at Ushant in 1778, Howe at Cape Spartel in 1782, Jervis at Cape St Vincent in 1797 and, most famously, Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805. Actually, she is still a commissioned ship of the Royal Navy and is the flagship of the First Sea Lord. Not bad for a ship launched in 1765. Now look at that fantastic forest of ropes, spars and woodwork. It is an artwork as well as a ship and can't you just imagine the fun a small bear could have climbing and clambering all over it? Next time I go too.

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