Friday, August 29, 2014


Beer Barrel Bartmobile

You never know what Unka Mark and Aunty Vicki will surprise you with next! We were invited across for dinner with them last Saturday and they had a great surprise for Dad. It's a remote-controlled 6-bottle beer barrel. You can load it up with ice and stubbies, park it out of the way somewhere, and drive it up to you when you need that extra beer. Well, that's how it's supposed to be used. However, the first thing us lads thought of (that's Dad, Mark and me) was that it is just about the right size for a small bear to zip around in. Yay, one more Bartmobile for my collection. OK, I will let Dad use it to carry beer sometimes, I may even ride with it, but I will NOT have ice in there with me.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Gold Coast Beach Bear

The Gold Coast beaches stretch for 30 Km, from Tweed Heads in New South Wales to Southport in Queensland. Only a few headlands and creeks break the strip. Surfers Paradise is the best known of the beaches, but in my opinion it is not actually the "best" as the surfing is better at others. I have been on most of the beaches, but Mum won't let me in the water so I have to be content with playing in the sand and terrorizing (small) crabs. Here are pictures of the beaches at the ends of the strip. The first one is at Coolangatta at the southern end of the Gold Coast. This is a good surf beach and if you look carefully you can see lots of surfers waiting for the best wave. The breakwaters protect the mouth of the Tweed River. Just south of the river you can see a jetty carrying a long pipe out beyond the breakers. This is a sand pumping station and it serves two purposes. One is to stop sand from clogging the river mouth, the other is to pump sand north onto the Gold Coast beaches. The natural drift of sand is northwards so this station makes sure that the beaches have new sand replacing the stuff that drifts away. The second picture is on the Spit at Southport, the northern end of the strip. You can see the high-rise buildings in the background and some of the hundreds of yachts that anchor here. I think it is great that right in the middle of one of the most "developed" areas of Queensland you can find a quiet area of beach like this for small bears to explore. There are proposals to turn the Spit into a cruise ship terminal, shopping malls and casino. Personally, much as I like cruising, I would be sorry to see this small patch of beach and native vegetation go under concrete and tar.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Tahiti Buildings

Papeete has a great mix of architectural styles. Most of the new buildings are rather uninteresting concrete and glass, but the older buildings are fascinating. Just across from the cruise terminal is what was obviously once a splendid hotel. Today it is closed up, the main door has been covered by a roller shutter and the only sign of its former glory is the staircase leading up to it. Even the fire escapes have class; no ugly ladders and landings, but recessed spiral staircases. It must have been an impressive hotel when it was in its prime.  I haven't been able to find out what it was called, Google is quiet on the subject. If anybody knows, please let me know too. Lots of the older buildings are very colourful. The red and yellow one in the photo is part of the market district. Papeete markets are well worth wandering around. All sorts of things on sale, but I really do wonder how all those millions of mangoes ever get sold. And of course the modern graffiti kids are active as well. Mind you, I think this wall in downtown Papeete is really a work of art and maybe will be kept and appreciated. The problem I had was that time was so short, there is lots more to see next time.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Escaping Winter

Canberra winters are so cold and bleak that some sort of escapes are necessary. Last week the Oldies and I escaped to the Gold Coast. We stayed at our favourite resort, Pacific Views. You can see how well the name fits by the picture taken from our 18th floor balcony. Those things that look like smudges on the beach and over the waves are actually kite surfers (click on the photo and you will see them better). I sat on the balcony and watched kite surfers and board surfers every day. I didn't see any body surfers, I guess the water was too cold for them. Dad didn't go in, so it must have been really cold. All along the Gold Coast beaches there are lookout towers for Lifesavers (these days they are being called Lifeguards because American television is eroding our good old Aussie names). From them you can see if anybody gets into trouble in the surf and start rescue proceedings. They are manned by volunteers and, as you can see if you look closely at the clicked photo, sometimes by small bears. Nobody got into difficulties while I was on watch. The main street in the suburb we stayed in, Main Beach, is called Tedder Avenue. Some people insist on calling small bears like me "Tedda Bears" so I got the Oldies to take the other photo just for them :-) Find the bear in the photo. Yes, it was warm and sunny and we are now back in cold Canberra.

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