Friday, August 29

Movie - The 100 Foot Journey

When in Sydney I set out to see this film one wet and windy day, but learned that it would cost me nearly $40 to do so - instead I enjoyed more of the sights of Sydney and was pleased I did.

Today I went to the Bribie Island Twin movie theatre - a funny little building halfway between Bongaree and Woorim, and for a whole $7.50 I saw the movie.  I didn't know a lot about it but as I am so impressed with Helen Mirren's work, that was enough for me.

I am so glad I did - if one reads the reviews of the movie it doesn't get a very high rating - comparing it with other recent movies about food - but since I don't recall seeing the ones mentioned I can't compare.  I loved this movie.  A relatively simple story that's for sure as it is not hard to guess the likely outcome - the war between the two restaurants and the love story - but it was not "bland" for me as described by reviewers.

I loved the photography - especially the close ups of some of the food - and it did make one keen to return home and create something special. (Still thinking about what I will do - though I did have omelette for lunch with chili in it!)

I certainly enjoyed the whole movie - and would give it 10/10!!!

Here's a taste from Youtube.

Helen Mirren - how could one criticise her work?  She is a great actress and she certainly did well with this role.

Sunday, August 24

The Chinese Gardens of Friendship

On my last day in Sydney I walked to Darling Harbour from the Pensione Hotel - really only a 10 minute walk - to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship. Oh, I am so glad I did.  It is only $6 for adults to go in and as I was looking for the money in my purse the lady behind the counter caught sight of my Concession Card and told me I only had to pay $3.  Bargain!!!  Well worth the full price and much more.

I have only recently been in Yu Yuan Gardens in Shanghai and have over the years visited several other Chinese gardens in China and generally enjoy them all, but this one is the best I have seen. Perhaps because of its large size and despite being right in the middle of Sydney, it didn't seem as crowded as others I have visited.  The photos show that it certainly has high rise buildings surrounding it - but it is not only beautiful but peaceful - with the only sound being the birds (and there are many), and the waterfalls and other water features.

Entrance to the Chinese Garden

I wandered around with my Samsung Camera (it was threatening rain when I left the hotel so chose to just use the smaller camera.)

Everywhere there was signs explaining the various aspects of the garden.  The tea garden/cafe is behind the entrance but I found it and had a coffee and Chinese pastries, before heading out for more exploration of Darling Harbour.

Sydney Markets

I was so blessed to have chosen Pensione Hotel in George St, Sydney to stay in - it was a stroke of genius actually, and I am most likely to choose to stay there when/if I go to Sydney again.  It is just so convenient to everything and I am a great fan of the Pensione Hotel in Melbourne too.

The room on the third floor was all I could ask for - it was quiet, despite looking over busy George Street - I was one of the first dropped off by the shuttle and one of the last picked up - for me a bonus as I have a history of car sickness so less time in a vehicle going "round and round" saves me from great embarrassment!  Unlike the Melbourne counterpart there was no coffee lounge/cafe on site, but right in the midst of Chinatown, and busy George Street with all the eateries, it was not an issue.

I didn't have to spend a lot on meals - but chose a variety of places including a Korean cafe, Chinese, French Bakery etc.  and enjoyed a great steak at Tokio Hotel at Darling Harbour!  None of which "broke my budget."

It was a good walk into Circular Quay - and my Fitbit was pleased with my efforts - praising me for going well over my target.

On the first day I did find the markets - Paddy's Market was downstairs and I wandered around exploring the items there - only buying one small thing, which I will reveal at some later stage. Upstairs above Paddy's it felt like being back in China again - many Chinese shops, and a great food court.

There was a brilliant Umbrella display - and I am so thrilled with my photos.

Walking around the Chinatown area was interesting.  Perhaps I can say again, that it did feel a little like walking around China - though much cleaner.

Again more protests and information about Human Rights in China.  I met a Chinese man, who told me that he was born in mainland China 74 years ago, and as he had graduated from university he was persecuted.  He did not explain.  However, he managed to escape and came to Australia.  He is very worried about the future of China.  Had an interesting chat with him.

I found a few retaurants - hot pot and Korean BBQ - that I might visit when I return.  Great place and so near my hotel.

I did consider going to the movies, and went to the Events theatre along George Street.  I have never had to pay $39.90 to attend a movie and won't be starting any time soon - Concessions?  Start at 1 pm.  Sorry.  Glad I didn't go, though I do look forward to seeing the movie "The Hundred Foot Journey" at Bribie Twin Theatre, where I pay less than $10!!!

The Rocks at Sydney

My next stop (on the bus - The Sydney Explorer where you can get on and off at the many stops) was The Rocks area of Sydney.  Now I had been here on several occasions in the past, and I was thrilled to go again.  I wandered into the Ken Done Gallery, and  noted the Ken Duncan Gallery, and walked through the food market.  I found a great button shop (with antique and new buttons) in the Nurses' Walk area of the Rocks.  I wandered back and forth, took photos, but just enjoyed the sights and sounds.  There were great queues for food in the markets and some great food - though I only bought some wonderful dried fruits.

Cadman's Cottage is right there - and I was impressed to see school children all dressed ready to visit the Cottage.

The food markets

Water feature
I walked around reading the information on the buildings and visiting some shops.  I went into one shop where a Frenchman Louis Cardini sells his wonderful leather goods.  I was in awe.  Sadly, apart from the fact that I was not out "shopping" the prices were above my budget, but Louis was a delight to meet and he clearly is so proud of his amazing work.

I walked on back along George Street to the Pensione Hotel - planning to go out again later, but in the end I decided to rest my worn out feet and legs.

Day Two of my Hop On Hop Off Bus (Sydney Explorer) Tour

I am sure I have mentioned that I prefer to start the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour around midday on day one, and complete the tour on day two.  Otherwise it is difficult to fit much in - and even so I didn't manage to do all I wanted.  There is so quick brekky at a place on George St, and walked to the Town Hall bus stop - just in time to catch the bus.

I had two places I wanted to visit on this leg of my journey - one was the Sydney Opera House and the other was The Rocks area.

Along the journey to the Opera House I watched as so many places passed hat I wish I had time to stop and see.  (Maybe I will have to go again another time....)

We were soon at the Opera House.  I recall when it was opened on October 1973 - we were living in Sydney and we went somewhere in the hills so that we could see the fireworks.  It was some distance from the Opera House but I do recall seeing them.  But I was no to visit this great icon - until this visit to Sydney.

I walked around the perimeter of this amazing building - with camera in hand (working overtime of course.)  These are just some of the photos.

After circumnavigating the complex, I went down "under" and had a coffee and a wonderful citrus tart.

The seagulls are friendly!

It is here that many of the buses drop off visitors/tourists, especially those from China - where there is a constant protest
about issues in China - from fulong gong, to the secrecy of China's Communist Government.

Water drips down the rock wall - managed to catch a drop.

The Hop on Hop off bus.

Thursday, August 21

My Birthday Holiday to Sydney

Back a few months ago I planned to celebrate my birthday with a trip somewhere.  I thought of Tasmania (I have never been there), Darwin (I have been but would like to spend more time there) but in the end I chose Sydney.

We lived here on two occasions many years agao - but each time it was with small children so I had little chance to see all around.  Some years later with my daughter and granddaughter we came back for a few days.  I wanted to have a good look around!!!

And so it was that I flew here yesterday (Wednesday 20th August) - caught a shuttle to the hotel (Pensione Hotel) and after booking in, went for a walk around the area.  I booked at the Pensione because I like the Melbourne Hotel of the same name, and when I saw it on the map I realised it was within walking distance of many great places here.

On my first day I went to the markets - Paddy's - nearby, and had a wonderful time wandering around in and out of shops etc.  

Today (Thursday 21st) I walked right into the city - in fact to Circular Quay and caught a ferry to Manly.  I had a giggle to myself - it cost only $2.50 return - there are benefits in getting older!!!

Walking on Circular Quay

Passing the iconic Opera House

A bit further away

Manly Wharf

After arriving at the Manly Wharf I walked along the Corso to the sea and sat for a while.  The sun ws shining and it was a delight.  

I don't recall that I have every walked through the Corso in my previous visits to Sydney and Manly - at least I have no memories of it.  

It was a lovely day really - well, at least when I was in Manly.  I did pop into a few shops but didn't buy anything.  I just wandered exploring.  

Inside St Matthews Anglican Church at Manly

Sunday, August 17

I met Jack the Cockatoo at Penrose Park, Silverton, NSW, in 2012 not long after I started my round Australia journey.

He dances and then goes down into the hollow of a tree trunk.  Funny Jack.

Saturday, August 16

English Conversation Progam in China

Chinese students need more “conversation” experience – which is why a university in Shaoxing is considering a new program where native English speakers visit the university and spend time speaking with students.  It may be that a formal program will be developed (more information on that later), but initially I am interested to find anyone interested in participating in the program.  While ESL experience is welcome, it is not necessary – just the ability to converse on a range of topics which may include general health, public speaking, creative writing and other topics.  

Read about Shaoxing here.  (It is roughly south of Shanghai)

Participants will need to pay their own transport costs to and from the university, their own Visa and travel insurance – but will be offered free accommodation and meals on the campus.  It will enable you to explore China on the 3 or so days when you will not be required on campus.  Similar programs operate in parts of Europe.  The city is a very interesting historical place and has many interesting places of interest and is not far from Shanghai and Hangzhou.  It is possible to visit places like Xi’an or Beijing for a weekend or before or after the program. 

There is a possibility of a trial run of the program in October/November, and then in April/May 2015.

(Travel, Visa and Travel Insurance would be approximately $A2,000.)

Also they are keen to hear from anyone who wishes to teach English at the university – however, to be considered for this you need to be under 60 years of age (Chinese government  requirement apparently, and have a university degree.)  Semesters start in September and February and 6 or 12 month contracts are available.

If you or anyone you know is interested please send me a message or leave a comment, explaining which program you would be interested in, and when, and I will send further information.  

Sunday, August 10

Beachmere - a Hidden Gem.

It is around 50 kms north of the CBD of Brisbane, but when you are in the seaside township of Beachmere you could be worlds away from civilisation.  Driving along the fairly narrow Beachmere Road from the M1 to Beachmere it is hard to believe that the city is so close - for there are horses, cows and goats on both sides of the road.  You get to feel like you are really in the country.

The Caboolture River does a few lazy twists and turns and makes itself visible along Beachmere Road, and at the moment it looks to be a mecca for fisherfolk who are there most days, especially at high tide.

The village of Beachmere - the shopping area is more than adequate for the locals - with a tavern, an IGA, a BP Servo, and a range of other stores as well.  Pretty well catered for  but it is not far to Caboolture and Morayfield and more shops if you want.

The beach is hidden too - though access is from a small park at the end of Beachmere Road, with  recently built stair down to the beach.  A great place for children to play in the sand.  At high tide the water laps at the endge of the white sand, but at low tide there are many shallow pools of seawater and if you are there at the right time millions of tiny soldier crabs run hither and thither along the edges of the pools, and if frightened talk little time going in circles digging their way into a hiding spot below the sand.

The birdlife on the water front is interesting - not only seagulls, but an array of other birds wandering through the shallows in search of food.  As the seawater retreats it leaves amazing patterns in the sand.

One can walk along the beach (to the left of the stairs) at most times, but at high tide there's a few big pools that need negotiating if you wish to walk to the right.

At the end of Moreton Terrace there is a park (complete with BBQ, and toilet block as well as a dog park - but many folk choose to go there at low tide and let the dogs run on the sand and in the water.

These photos were taken at low tide around 4 pm on August 10th, 2014.  Just beautiful.

At the end of Moreton Terrace

Horses enjoying a swim

Swamp at the end of Moreton Tce

Birds are a-nesting.

I had to go to Brisbane via Morayfield Shopping Centre to return something at Coles, and I took the short cut from King Street, behind the shops onto Morayfield Road and was most surprised to see the hundred, perhaps thousands of birds nesting in the trees.  

Later on in the day with camera in hand I stopped on Esme Street and took the following photos.

Mostly it is ibis, with so many apparently nesting on the ground, while other birds are in the trees above.  

Also there were pelicans that appeared to be nesting too.   Quite a sight!

(The birds are roosting between King Street and the Caboolture River - near the lake that looks like a boot or an old telephone, but there are probably many roosting areas in the neighbourhood.

Friday, August 8

Memories - Colonel Bogey March

I heard this played on the ABC this morning and it bought back memories.  I didn't know the story behind it, but I certainly recall it from my childhood.  It was a popular piece for large events - I can recall bands playing it and me (and others) marching.  Even today I marched (for a few minutes!!!) to it.

From Wikipedia.

"The "Colonel Bogey March" is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts (1881–1945), a British Armybandmaster who later became the director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth.

Since at that time service personnel were not encouraged to have professional lives outside the armed forces, British Army bandmaster F. J. Ricketts published "Colonel Bogey" and his other compositions under the pseudonym Kenneth Alford.[1] Supposedly, the tune was inspired by a military man and golfer who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase (a descending minor third interval About this sound Play ) instead of shouting "Fore!". It is this descending interval that begins each line of the melody. The name "Colonel Bogey" began in the later 19th century as the imaginary "standard opponent" of the Colonel Bogey scoring system,[2] and by Edwardian times the Colonel had been adopted by the golfing world as the presiding spirit of the course.[3] Edwardian golfers on both sides of the Atlantic often played matches against "Colonel Bogey".[4] Bogey is now a golfing term meaning "one over par".  "

I found another recording of it - by Mitch Miller.  Boy, that brings back memories too.  I remember listening to his music too, and I loved it.  He did the music for "Bridge over the River Kwai"

This text was from Youtube.  

"Uploaded on 7 May 2009

RIP Mitch Miller!  He died 99 years old.

Mitchell William Miller (July 4, 1911 - July 31, 2010) was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&amp:R man and record company executive.  He was one of the most influential figures in American popular music during the 1950's and early 1960's.

In the early 1950's Miller recorded with Columbia's house band as "Mitchell Miller and His Orchestra". He also recorded a string of successful albums and singles, featuring a male chorale and his own distinctive arrangements, under the name "Mitch Miller and the Gang" starting in 1950.  The ensemble's hits included "Tzena, Tzena, Tsena", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", and the two marches from The Bridge on the River Kwai.  "The River Kwai March and Colonel Bogey March"

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a British 1957 World War II film by David Lean; based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai by French writer Pierre Boulle.  The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942-43 for its historical setting.  It stars Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Hawkins and William Holden.

In 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry. 

Two prisoners of war are burying a corpse in the graveyard of a Japanese World War II prison camp in southern Burma.  One, American Navy Commander Sheers (William Holden), routinely bribes guards to ensure he gets sick duty, which allows him to avoid hard labour.  A large contingent of British prisoners arrives, marching defiantly whistling the Colonel Bogey March under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness).

A memorable feature of the film is the tune that is whistled by the POWs - the "Colonel Bogey March" when they enter the camp.  The piece was originally written in 1914 by Kennel Alford "   (Note this differs from the information above). "

If you want to listen to/see the Mitch Miller version - click here.

Beachmere Protest

A former mayor of the area says it was the biggest meetingin Beachmere that she can recall.  The locals arrived in force at teh Beachmere school for a meeting to discuss the Draft Moreton Bay Regional Council Planning Scheme which has the locals "up in arms".

The draft plan was only released recently and the time for consultation with the locals ends on August 15th, but there has been little or no consultation.  The local councillor has been off sick for some time, and some locals have met with the local council, but there are still concerns.

It is essentially about the flood risk - and a huge area of Beachmere which has been listed as high flood risk area - places that have never seen flood.  In these areas people who have property, or who will purchse property will be very limited in what they can do with the property as essentially any new buildings or developments will not be given approval.

In "my" street - some of the houses are in a high flood risk area - but as I write this building is proceeding with houses - in fact five or six new houses are being built in the street at the moment (? a rush by developers to complete the buildings before the new regulations come into being).  Why would anyone want to buy (or rent) in an area which is listed as high flood risk?

If it goes ahead without changes - Beachmere is in big trouble.  No one will want to move here - and locals will be restricted.

The strange thing is that much of the area listed as high risk flood has not flooded before - certainly old time residents cannot recall any such flooding.  There is low lying swampy area which floods and on rare occasions when there is heavy rain and high tides some areas have flooded, but in general it is not a problem.

Beachmere needs more development - not less - for its future - so this is causing great concern.

Tuesday, August 5

My Yarnbombing

At least one day a week I find myself at the Caboolture Historical Village - and today (August 5th) was one of those days.  On my way I bought some cable ties at Gone Bonkers at Beachmere and with my bag of knitting and crocheting I set out to do some Yarnbombing at the Village.   I had spoken about this weird form of graffiti but few of the other volunteers and visitors knew what I was talking about - so chose to do some myself.

So I took my bag of "tools" and "crafts" and set out to decorate a tree - much to the amusement of the other volunteers.  It sure caused some interest.

I happily wound my knitting and crocheting around the tree and held it in place with my cable ties.

I was quite pleased with my efforts!!!

As I am trying to walk 10,000 steps a day I set off for a walk around the Village.  It was cold and walking in the sun kept me warm and I took a few other photos as well.  I recall volunteers working on the construction of this new building which I am sure will be used for weddings or small family ceremonies.

Something new in the village 
I was most surprised to see the Military Museum with its doors open as it had been closed for a while last year.  Apparently it had been re opened earlier this year but I did not know.   I didnt spend a lot of time there, but will go back again later and have a closer look.  There are so many things to see there.

Military Museum
It is an awesome exhibit and I am so pleased to see it open.

Saturday, August 2

Oh, to lose weight!!

I have actually over the last few months lost a few kilos, but I have a greater goal - to lose 30 kgs.  Mmm.  When I went to a dietician recently she said something like "well, that's not going to happen."  Grrrr.  So encouraging.

So I started walking.  Walking has been a challenge to me as I have a knee that "gives way" on me from time to time, so I don't like walking alone.  How can I get back home if I am struck by my kneemonia while out on my own.  But walking with someone is a problem - most of the people I have walked with don't like walking as slow as I had been walking.

Still, I am setting out to prove the dietician wrong.  I didn't go back for my second visit.  I started off trying to walk longer distances and I kept a record of it on my mobile phone using a program called S-Health.  Which is good, but I don't always carry my mobile phone and I don't always have pockets so it has dropped a few times.  There's got to be a better way.

A week or so ago I found Fitbit and with a little trepidation bought one online.  I see it varies in price from about $50 to $140 - and the one I bought was towards the lower end of the price range and it came within a couple of days.  Instructions on setting up are online, and not too much of a problem to do, though I haven't worked out the sleep process properly yet.

Already today I have walked 11,000 steps - along the beach, in a sporting park nearby, and this morning walked to get the Courier Mail.    I am not a great fan of the Courier these days, but do get it on Saturdays as I like QWeekend, and I am collecting the obituaries in the Saturday papers.

I am imprssed so far with the Fitbit, especially as I only have to find the App on my phone to check my progress and am going great guns.  Weight?  Mmmm.  Slowly going down, but a long way to go.

The Fitbit sits on the wrist and I can wear it 24/7, though will need to charge the battery about every 5 days - can even wear it in the shower.  So it is on me 24/7, and I have found it easy to record my food/drink.  Early days, but so far I am loving it.