Sunday, 31 August 2008

Day 9

We are cruising the Ord River today and crossing into the Northern Territory on our way to Katherine where we will stay the night at Knotts Crossing Resort.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Day 8

We are taking a flight into Purnululu National Park today. A guide will take us by 4WD to trek along Piccaninny's dry dreek bed and into Cathedral Gorge.

Returning to Kununurra in the evening.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Day 7

Heading to Wyndham, Australia's most northerly port via Five Rivers Lookout.

Spending tonight at All Seasons Hotel in Kununurra.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Day 6

This morning we can explore El Questro through a horse ride, a bush tucker and historical tour or cruise through Chamberlain Gorge.

In the afternoon we may swim in the waterhole and thermal pools at Zebedee Springs.

Spending a second night at Emma Gorge Resort.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Day 5

Scheduled to visit the Argyle Diamond Mine.

Staying tonight at Emma Gorge Resort at El Questro Station and Wilderness Park.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Day 4

We visit Geikie Gorge National Park and see limestone cliffs and embedded fossil remains via a river cruise.

Later we visit China Wall, a sub vertical quartz vein protruding up to six metres from the surrounding surface.

Will stay the night at the Kimberley Hotel in the small predominantly aboriginal settlement of Halls Creek.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Day 3

(Windjana Gorge National Park)

We are scheduled to visit Boab Prison Tree near Derby then travel to Windjana Gorge National Park.

Staying tonight at Fitzroy River Lodge, Fitzroy Crossing.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Day 2

The program today includes choice from a hovercraft flight over the Rosebuck Bay mudflats, a Pearl Lugger museum tour and sunset camel ride on Cable Beach.

Will hope to catch up with Ye, a nurse from St V, who is temporarily in Broome as chaperone for her grandson whilst he films a new television series there.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Day 1

We are flying out of Sydney at 2pm arriving in Broome (North-Western Australia) at 5pm (local time).

Staying at Cable Beach Club Resort.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Athlete of a century

Jared Tallent has just won the Silver Medal in the 50km Walk... add to the Bronze Medal he won earlier in the 20km Walk.

Somewhat amazingly, given Australia's long history of success at the Olympic Games, Jared is the first Australian male in more than a century to win more than one track and field medal at the same Olympic Games.

Well done, Jared.

Car park masochism

There may a be lot of car parking at Westfield Bondi Junction but I doubt many would find parking there an enjoyable experience.

For one thing the various sections of the car park are confusing for those not familiar with the complex. Second, you can't move from one section to another without leaving the complex if you are unlucky to find the first section you enter full.

I made a last minute decision to go to WBJ today to purchase a spare memory card for my camera ahead of my holiday trip tomorrow. Unfortunately being a cold, wet Friday and lunch hour when I arrived parking was at a premium. I did the circuit of four floors in a convoy of cars all looking for a spot before getting one.

Not surprisingly, cars were banked up as I returned to my car after purchasing the memory card and one driver seeing me signal that I was going to depart backed his car up two thirds of the aisle swerving around other banked up cars to get to my about to be vacant spot.

I bet they get a bit of car park rage in that place.

Holiday time

I'm going away on holiday tomorrow with Ae and Hn on a trip to the Kimberleys and Kakadu.

We will fly from Sydney to Broome from where we will travel overland to Darwin before flying back to Sydney. We will be away for thirteen days.

I have prepared daily postings to appear whilst we are away which briefly state where we are on each of the days.

I doubt that I will get much chance to post whilst we are away but if I do then I will try to provide some more detail about the trip.

Otherwise normal blogging operations will resume when we return to Sydney.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

No finesse

This posting won't make much sense to readers unfamiliar with the card game of Bridge.

There is a view that life partners should not be partners at Bridge. There would be few pastimes that generate more arguments between people than Bridge.

I have played Bridge with Ce as my regular partner for over fifteen years. We met through Bridge and are in no way life or social partners but our long and generally amicable Bridge partnership has often been commented upon by other players as remarkable.

That's not to say we haven't had our disagreement over the cards from time to time and both of us have been at fault on occasions.

Unknown to me, my failure to support Ce's bid in the very first board we played tonight festered in Ce's mind. I only became aware of this about ten boards later when Ce, having made an elementary mistake, exploded with a quite nasty comment to me relating back to that first board.

Our opponents were taken aback and so was I.

When I got home I was quick to check our results on the Internet. We didn't do very well overall but interestingly on that first board we scored a very respectable 67%. Significantly none of the other pairs was in the contract Ce accused me of failing to get us into.

I feel vindicated.

Anyone for football?

I'm not abandoning 'my' gorgeous Physiotherapy student but the Portuguese and Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (below) is a stunning looking man.

Anyone want to engage in ball games with him?

(Photo: Getty Images, downloaded from

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I need some physiotherapy.....

I attended a family members meeting at my Mum's nursing home yesterday and one of the participants was a gorgeous looking young Physiotherapy student. I don't have the front to boldly take his picture at the meeting. So you'll have to make do with the following image I downloaded from the net of someone whose looks, build and profile are very similar to those of the student.

This is Wes Cotton, an English Rugby Footballer.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Gotta love those rowers...

Drew Ginn and Duncan Free celebrate winning the Gold Medal in the Men's Pairs and...

...Australia's foursome celebrate their Silver Medal in the Men's Four.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

The Bank Job

In 1971, the Baker Street branch of Lloyds Bank was robbed. More money was stolen than in the Great Train Robbery. No one was charged with the robbery and the British Government prevented any reporting about the robbery for thirty years. All of that is true. Why?

The Bank Job purports to tell the why and how of this affair. If all or some of what is told in this film is true then the truth is fascinating. If none of it is true then the film is a great yarn anyway.

The British seem to do charismatic crooks better than anyone and Jason Statham is another in the illustrious line of these characters. The cast is uniformly strong with David Suchet magnificent in a key supporting role. Although he seemed vaguely familiar to me during the movie I didn't place Suchet in the role until it was revealed in the end credits. For those who only know Suchet as Agatha Christie's Poirot, this performance will be an eye opener.

An excellent film.

Friday, 15 August 2008


Mk and I usually see our Sydney Theatre Company subscription plays on Monday evenings. The plays commence at 6.30pm on those evenings, so we don't face a late night at the theatre. But this Monday when we were due to see Gallipoli, Mk woke with a heavy flu so I exchanged our tickets for Thursday night gambling that he would be well enough to attend by then. Unfortunately he wasn't.

It was a bitterly cold night and I would have been just as happy to stay at home with the heater on and watch umpteen television replays of the day's surprise Gold Medal win at the Watercube by the Aussie Women in the 4 x 200 metres relay. I had already seen the race live and numerous replays during the afternoon.

But I went off to the theatre and I'm glad that I did. The STC Actors Company supported by the third year class of the National Institute of Dramatic Art put on a terrific performance. The play, somewhat lengthy, sets out the history of the ill conceived attack upon the Dardanelles using music and verse in echoes of Oh! What A Lovely War.

The staging, deceptively simple, was stunning and really made the night.

The evening ended ironically. I started my car after the play and the radio was broadcasting yet another full replay of that Gold Medal win.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Brenton Rickard

I just had to include a posting on the unassuming Brenton Rickard who surpassed his own expectations today to win a Silver Medal in the 200m Breaststroke.

Brenton looks nothing like the lean, long limbed, fresh faced swimmers that I posted about previously but he seems a genuine nice guy and is an achiever. He obviously has a sense of humour as I heard him say in an interview that people don't believe him when he tells them he is an Olympian.

Well done, Brenton.

Those smooth swimmers...

(Australian swimmer - Eamon Sullivan)

Those swimmers always look great at the Olympics. Lean bodies, gorgeous smiles and healthy good looks.

Watching them must be like taking an elixir for those who are lovers of smooth men. The swimmers shave their bodies to maximise their speed through the water and I have often wondered whether that is a total shave (pubic hair, cracks and all) or just those parts of their body that are exposed. I imagine that they do.

Do you know?

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

"And the Gold Medal for the Guess Which Bit Is Real Challenge goes to..."

It seems I have good reason to consider that the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony lacked a degree of spontaneity.

First we learnt that the 'footprint' fireworks seen on television were simulated animations. And now we are told that the little girl in red who sang in the ceremony was miming her singing to another girl's voice. The real singer was replaced shortly before the ceremony because a member of the Party Leadership felt she wasn't pretty enough.

Can it be too long before the conspiracy theorists who question the events of 9/11 and the 1969 moon landing question whether the Olympics are actually happening in Beijing at all?

And whilst we ponder that, I this blog real at all?

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Married Life

When I purchased my ticket for Married Life last evening the woman in the box office rather cheekily asked whether I was "looking for some tips". I doubt that I looked like a harried husband but you never know.

In Married Life it is 1949 and Chris Cooper is the husband cheating on Patricia Clarkson with the widowed Rachel McAdams. Cooper lets his mate and single ladies man, Pierce Brosnan, in on the secret and what ensues is a triangle with occasional Alfred Hitchcock overtones and touches of Dial M for Murder.

The story unfolds with twists and turns in a leisurely fashion awash with 1940s/1950s mood and fashions.

Monday, 11 August 2008

City Homicide

I am a recent convert to City Homicide on the Seven network. I didn't see any episodes from Series 1 and therefore probably have missed some crucial background information on the characters but I am enjoying quite a bit of what I see in Series 2.

The story lines are sufficiently complex to lift them above the mundane and make them interesting and the photography adds to the mood.

Some aspects irritate though. The cast exchange too many meaningful glances for my liking. Once an episode would be reasonable but half a dozen or more is overkill. And what's with Aaron Pedersen SHOUTING all his lines? Does Aaron think I am going deaf? Well, in fact I am, but I have a volume control on my remote to deal with that.

Worth a look nonetheless.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

A Wolf at the Table

This is my current read, although the copy I purchased at Angus and Robertson in Bondi Junction has a completely different cover of a young boy.

I have read the earlier memoirs by Augusten Burroughs and found them interesting and funny. I also attended a session with Burroughs at the Sydney Writers Festival about three years ago.

I'm finding this book hard work to read. To my mind it doesn't have the same humour as the previous works and I'm not getting into it all. I'll struggle on a while longer but suspect I will not complete it.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Opening Ceremony Beijing 2008

Well, I did watch the ceremony on television and I survived until the very end at just after 2am Australian Eastern Time.

As expected, it was a large scale spectacle. There is no shortage of talented performers, artists and gymnasts in China.

I did ponder the Kafkaesque illusions in the endless lines of permanently smiling, identical worker bees uniformly performing their repetitive chores. I wonder if the authorities recognised this ironic representation from a Communist run system. Perhaps it was intentional?

The massive LCD laid into the floor of the stadium was used to brilliant effect. Similarly the stadium's roof was used superbly as a screen for background images.

However there were reminders for me of my own time spent in Beijing back in 1980 to 1982 when the authorities mirrored modern technology using the huge population to imitate high tech activity in the fascinating typeset routine. What appeared to be a terrific computerised and automated display was soon revealed to be the precise coordinated work of hundreds of men concealed in boxes.

I felt for the hundreds of field marshalls who continuously jigged and clapped their hands for over two hours during the procession of nations. I noticed the women marshalls were wearing high heels. I bet they are feeling the effects this morning.

But I feel even more for London who will try to top this spectacularly colourful and synchronised display of an ancient culture going back five thousand years in the Opening Ceremony for their Olympics in 2012.

In the end, as spectacular as it was, I felt like I had watched an Andre Rieu concert. Highly choreographed and not a single second of spontanaiety.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Another Opening........Another Olympics

Today is 08/08/08, a date which our Chinese friends find auspicious because of the lucky eights and it is the date chosen to open the Beijing Olympic Games. The Opening Ceremony commences tonight precisely at 8 seconds past 8.08pm. This will be at 10.08pm Australian Eastern Time.

No doubt I will be watching on television but whether I will stay awake through to the ceremony's end is doubtful. These ceremonies tend to be lengthy affairs. I've heard that the Australian team will be the third last team to enter the stadium. Given that, apart from Greece and the host nation, teams enter the stadium in alphabetical order I am curious as to the Chinese alphabet. Actually I didn't know they had an alphabet.

I had the pleasure to attend the Opening Ceremony of Sydney 2000. It is a thrilling feeling to attend a ceremony with your own country as the host nation. It was a windy and somewhat dusty evening for Sydney's ceremony which should give Beijing some heart with its current smog difficulties because thenceforth from Day 1 of competition onwards Sydney's weather was brilliantly sunny and summery. The opening pageant proved to be a great hit.

The entry of the nations followed and little did I realise how long, and frankly tedious, that could be. I still recall noticing from my watch the procession of nations had been underway for a full hour and we had only just reached 'M' in the alphabet. I don't recall now at what time the Australian flag bearer (Andrew Gaze, below) appeared in the Stadium leading Australia, the last team to enter, but our team was so large that it occupied almost the entire 400 metre track from start to finish before the last team member arrived.

In Sydney, the Opening Ceremony commenced at 8pm on the dot and I stayed to the end getting home at 3am. Yes, the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games is a marathon event all of its own.

The Phantom of the Opera

I first saw The Phantom of the Opera in its premiere Australian season in Melbourne in 1990 and subsequently twice more; once in Melbourne and then in Sydney. In one of the great triumphs of marketing the stage show broke all sorts of records for the Australian stage from my recollection running for more than seven years in Melbourne and Sydney alone.

Despite seeing the stage show three times I somehow never saw Australia's original Phantom (Anthony Warlow) and Christine (Marina Prior) in the roles. This was a great disappointment as both are wonderful singers and fine performers.

The current revival of The Phantom of the Opera stars Warlow and for this reason alone I decided once more to 'let the dream begin' and see it again. I purchased the tickets with some trepidation as there has been much publicity about Warlow only appearing in some of the performances this time around.

(Anthony Warlow as Phantom who we did not see and Ana Maria as Christine who we did see.)

I was disappointed on arrival at the theatre last night to find out that Warlow was not appearing. I read in the program later that this production has two alternate Phantoms so it may be that you have only 33% chance of seeing the one you might prefer. This is a curious thing given that this season of Phantom is heavily advertised as 'Anthony Warlow is the voice behind the mask'

A sigh of disappointment swept the auditorium at the announcement that Simon Pryce would play Phantom and this was immediately balanced by a ripple of applause presumably from those who know of this performer.

The performance was competent and the show remains visually spectacular. I had the impression, though, that the descent of the chandelier which concludes Act 1 was slightly mistimed.

Simon Pryce proved to be an imposing figure. His baritone voice was pleasing to me except in the higher registers which I didn't find attractive. I so wish I had heard Warlow in the role. Ana Maria was excellent as Christine.

To complete a slightly disappointing night, a woman in our row was attached to an oxygen tank and the sound of her breathing could be heard throughout the performance as regular as a metronome.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Rocky Horror Show

A group of us went to see The Rocky Horror Show last night.

This Sydney revival has been running for six months and is about to close.

I have only seen the show once previously about thirty years ago when its sexual innuendo, sense of deviance and splashes of nudity were considered scandalous. My biggest memory of that occasion was of my being red faced at times with embarrassment.

Times have changed. Far fewer people would consider this work scandalous nowadays and most would enjoy the fun nature of the show. This production is excellent with its strong Australian cast (iOTA, Paul Capsis et al are terrific) and a large audience was on its feet at the end cheering and dancing along to an encore of The Time Warp dance.

My recollection of the earlier production I saw was that it was mainly black, white and red in appearance but this production is vividly colourful.

A raucous and enjoyable night.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Car park cruising and dental health

On Sunday I was cruised and picked up by a man in a car park as we returned to our respective cars. The cruising was unexpected but so obvious were his signals, that the pick up was accomplished in seconds. The deed was completed quickly too. He must have been very much in need of relief.

It is the first time I have been 'speed' cruised and picked up in a car park for about four years. The last occasion was immediately following dental treatment when the dentist told me not to put anything in my mouth for thirty minutes. I disobeyed the dentist.

Monday, 4 August 2008

CR does an A&F?

Over the past five days I have been trawling Country Road for a couple of clothing items in my size from their winter line which were almost sold out.

I've been to their stores at Bondi Junction, Macquarie Centre, Burwood and Chatswood and I noticed that their male store attendants seem to have been selected from the same gene pool. They all had dark curly hair and were very tall, almost unbelievably lean waisted and extremely good looking in a WASPish way.

Has CR taken a leaf from the staffing policy of the US chain store Abercrombie and Fitch?

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Light reading

I'm currently reading Everyone Worth Knowing which as you can see is written by the author of The Devil Wears Prada. How gay!

The theme is similar to the Prada work and the book is a proving an easy bedside read as I keep my mother company in hospital.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Sands on Coogee

Tonight I joined Fs, Bn, St and Jn for dinner at Sands on Coogee.

Fs organised the dinner as a get together prior to her flight tomorrow morning to South Africa and Namibia for six weeks holiday.

I had met St about four years ago at another dinner organised by Fs and found him to be very attractive. His long time partner, Jn, was not at the dinner on that occasion as he spends most of the year overseas with his work for an international organisation. I had hoped at that time that St would find me attractive too and might want to spend time with me when Jn was not around. It was a foolish fancy given the long term relationship between the two and unsurprisingly nothing eventuated.

I was curious to meet Jn for the first time tonight. It turns out that he is quieter, less outgoing than St. I don't know whether St has aged noticeably in the four years since I saw him or if my memory is faulty but he was not as sexy looking tonight as I had remembered. There is no doubt though that St has a winning outgoing personality.

It was not a long evening. We met for dinner at 6.30pm and were finished shortly after 9.30pm.

The restaurant, which Fs selected from the internet, had a lively atmosphere with all tables occupied. The food was interesting and reasonable although I found the menu selection a little limiting probably because there was a focus on seafood and I am not that keen on seafood generally.

Alligator Airways

Three weeks from today, Hn, Ae and I will be flying to Broome to commence our two weeks trip through the Kimberleys and Kakadu to Darwin.

On Day 8 we will do a flying/driving/walking visit to the Bungle Bungles. Our flight will be by Alligator Airways. I have flown a lot but am not keen on small aircraft operated by companies with exotic names so it will be interesting to see how I handle these flights.

The day tour itself sounds great and flight aspects aside I am really looking forward to a day that should be a highlight of our holiday.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Born to the job

What's that they say about people with names that suit their occupations?

On the evening news just now, a Forensic Psychiatrist named Dr Stephen Allnut.

The Savages

This is the film Mt and I saw in Noosa last Saturday night.

It has been well reviewed in the Australian press, all reviewers mentioning its humour.

Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are siblings whose father is descending into dementia and has to be placed in a nursing home. Ostensibly a film about adult children taking on the role of parent to their parents, The Savages is as much about the relationship between the siblings and their own battles in life.

The film was not the humour filled work that we expected from the reviews although there were dark humoured laugh aloud moments. Linney and Hoffman, as expected, played their roles well; indeed all the actors were realistic and their characters beautifully drawn.

Mt and I were able to relate to the storyline. Mt is a Social Worker specialising in aged care and I have my own experiences as a participant in support groups at my mother's Nursing Home.

The depiction of aged care issues and situations in this work were so accurately portrayed, we both felt that the writer/director of this work must have had relevant personal experience.

This would not be a film to everyone's taste but lovers of dark humour and those who have cared for an aged relative or friend will find it interesting.

Day 4 Noosa to Sydney via Brisbane

Day 4 (Monday) was a farewell and travel day.

We had breakfast in the apartment, cleaned and packed up preparatory to departure.

After farewelling the others, Ll, Fd, Ml, Mt and I returned to Brisbane by car. We passed through rain periods and dark clouds signalled some unpleasant weather ahead. Ll, Ml and Mt were dropped off at Ll's and Fd then drove me to Brisbane Airport for my flight to Sydney.

I was early for my 1.15pm flight and the check in clerk was able to place me on a flight departing at 12.15pm. I landed at Sydney at 1.20pm just after my original departure time from Brisbane to be shocked at how cold it was in Sydney.

As usual there was a delay for baggage retrieval at Sydney Airport and a long queue for taxis. The latter was relieved by the sight of the taxi controller (a sexy looking man) so I didn't mind the opportunity to perve on him for a while.

My taxi driver however didn't appreciate the controller's handling of the taxi queue complaining to me that he (the controller) couldn't manage a brothel. The taxi driver added that if the controller were managing a brothel 'the prostitutes would become lesbians'! I didn't buy into that one.

Once home it was back to the hum drum of my life; getting down to the week's laundry.