27 December 2013

Traditional Christmas Mince Pies

Over Christmas, the topic of mince pies came up. it turns out that in the Curry clan, none of the men like them. Reason enough to go and buy some.

I got son-in-law Bernard and his brother Stephen to sample one.

26 December 2013

Back To Front

I know, I know, I should have done this post before yesterday's, but somehow Christmas seemed more important. Anyway… on Christmas-eve we went exploring Arthurs Seat at Red Hill. We entered "Arthurs Seat" into the GPS and set off from our B&B. It took us into a cul-de-sac somewhere in a residential area and announced: 'You have reached your destination.' Like heck! We'd been to Arthurs Seat before on one of our wine trips many years ago and this was not the spot. As it happened, a lady was driving out of her driveway right there, stopped and quizzically looked at us. I said to her, 'we're looking for Arthurs Seat,' She said, 'your GPS took you here, right?' It obviously happens a lot. We did eventually got there.

Arthurs Seat was named by Acting Lieutenant John Murray when he entered Port Phillip Bay in the 'Lady Nelson' in February 1802, as it reminded him of the hill of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. So Arthur never actually made it to this seat, (whoever Arthur was).

There is lots of information about local flora and fauna

The Blogger sits in Arthurs seat, Arthur didn't mind.

There is a fantastic view over Port Phillip Bay from up there.

View from Arthurs Seat
For Ann's information, it was morning tea time, so we had tea and coffee at the caff there.

Then we headed for the coast again and stopped at Rosebud for lunch. The blogger had a chat with Bob The Builder in the street. They have these strange statues of street art in Rosebud.

When we got to Curry's, the cousins posed for a picture, after some persuading.

(from left to right) Banjo, Jimmy, Freddy, Lachlan, Ella, Fox and Georgia Arlo was asleep 

25 December 2013

A very Merry Aussie Christmas

We were told that we would have to be at the Curry household at 7 AM this morning. A bit hard as our B&B doesn't serve breakfast until 8.30 AM.Oh well, we skipped brekkie and were there just on 7.00, the children were awake but the parents were not. However when they heard the car, there was movement. Immediately the children wanted to open Santa's presents but they were told, not until 7 o'clock.

Then it was on:

The children lined up behind the barricade youngest ones first

Santa brought Fox another box of cars, what else.

He was proudly showing off his new collection

Banjo digs deep into Santa's bag for his share

He sure does.

Banjo plays with his new train set Santa brought him
Meanwhile in the garage, Santa had set up a drum kit, a present for James (12), but Fox got into the action as well and I was very impressed, he sounded very good for aged 3 and the first time on a drum set. perhaps a future Mick Fleetwood in the making. We offered Sonya and Bernie we'd buy him a set for next Christmas, but that was answered with glassy stares. Well, maybe not.

Fox on drums with James looking on worried
Then around mid-afternoon the back garden was prepared for Christmas dinner which consisted of 13 adults and 8 children. Sullivan Stapleton, another Hollywood actor joined us. We had traditional Aussie Christmas food, prawns, turkey and pork,  potato bake, potato salad, peach salad, pumpkin pie and for dessert, plum pudding, custard, ice cream, pavlova and rocky road. No dinner for me tonight.

The weather was very kind to us, perfect sky, perfect temperature.
Backyard setting for a perfect day
The blogger enjoyed a couple of glasses of French Rose
The ladies had argued whether French Champagne was better or worse than Australian bubbly, so it was decided to have a blind tasting amongst them. Jason poured five glasses of bubbly, 3 French and two Aussies and let them taste it. Sonya and Kate correctly identified the wines and it was decided that the French champagnes won by a very small margin.
Sonys samples the bubbly and picked them correctly

After dinner, we had a Kris Kringle session with Grandpa Neville acting as Santa.

Santa Neville handing out the presents

Banjo scored a set of Maraccas

As did Fox
Tomorrow Boxing Day, Carol and David arrive from Sydney (via Brisbane) to join us for a couple of days. More after….

24 December 2013

More of Rye

We're still on the peninsula. Christmas-eve tonight but we're celebrating tomorrow with a very large crowd I am told.

A couple of shots from the last few days.

On Sunday night, as we were leaving the family for our B&B, we saw the most amazing sunset. Luckily I had my camera and shot this out of the car window. The blogger was driving.

Out of the car window at Warratha Street, Rye

Yesterday we drove down to Mt Martha to have lunch with friends. He took us down to the local beach where I finally saw those colourful beach huts up close.

I wonder what he was thinking about?

Then we drove back on the coast road to Rye, where the kids were getting ready for a game of cricket outside in the street.

A future opener for Australia at Lords.

Again, merry wotsit to everyone.

21 December 2013

Dinner with the Stars

Yesterday,  while spending time with the family, they had a couple of visitors for dinner. Bernie cooked a delicious BBQ and Diane and Sonya prepared a nice salad. My contribution: salad dressing.

Dinner with the Actors (Photo, Sonya Curry)

From left to right:  Son-in-law Bernard Curry (Hit The Floor,  VH1, USA), Stephen Curry (The Time of Our Lives,  ABC-TV, AUS), me and the blogger, Brett Tucker (Spartacus: War of the Damned, Starz, USA)

18 December 2013

Photo Funia

The things you do on holidays. I've been playing with the boys and when they're asleep with a website called 'Photo Funia', where you can do amazing things with your photos.

16 December 2013

Grandparents Time

We're at Rye on the Mornington Peninsula for a week and a half, spending time with Sonya, Bernie and the grandsons.

We're staying in Weeeroona B & B in Rye, in a fabulous unit. After yet another trip to a local Telstra Shop to get our internet access fixed, we've finally settled in.

 The unit is called "The Tuscan' here hidden under the vines, in a French fashion, all the paintings and decor are of French origin. More photos will probably be on Diane's Blog.

Interesting what you read in Visitor's books, this one in ours. (Luckily from October).

But of course, the star attractions are the boys from L.A.

Granddaddy is discussing world politics with the boys.

While grandma is story telling



A selfie with Fox

12 December 2013

Happy Christmas

I wish everyone a


07 December 2013

Light Box

We're doing Food Photography on Monday at the U3A Camera Club meeting. It was time to make a light box to take along for better results. A light box is basically what it says, a box with a light source to prevent shadows of the product to be photographed. You can buy a professional light box at an inflated price, or you can just make one. which I did.

I started with an ordinary run of the mill, but sturdy,  cardboard box

I then removed the lids and glued the bottom flaps firmly in place.. I covered the jagged edges with silver duct tape left over from my air conditioning days.

I had an old floor standing lamp we haven't used for a long time, so I detached the stand and disgarded it. Next I measured the diameter of the light and cut a circular hole into the side which is now the top of the light box.

I painted the inside top and sides of the cardboard box with white emulsion paint. Two coats.

The secret is to paint the inside of the light box white so that it bounces the light source all around the inside preventing nasty shadows of the product.

I cut a large piece of white cardboard the side of the back and bottom and glued it into the inside. It is important to shape the bottom back slightly curved so that the edge doesn't show in the photographs.

I finally place the light on top of the circular opening on top, turn it on and the result is a nice even white light inside the box.

Unfortunately, I am not happy with the light at this stage, as the only bulbs I could find are giving off a light which is too warm. So I have to set the white balance before every shoot, until I can buy a proper photographic light bulb next week.

But this box will do for Monday morning's meeting.

23 November 2013

O'Reilly's, Lamington National Park

We've just spent a couple of days at O'Reilly's with a few friends from the Birthday Bear Group. O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat is in the Lamington National Park on the Gold Coast Hinterland. It has a lot of interesting birdlife and I was able to see (for the first time) a couple of Whip Birds and a Rufus Wagtail, on a walk early one morning.

Here is the (re-edited) version of a short movie I made.

12 November 2013

Photographer Ansel Adams

I've been into monochrome photography ever since I was in my early 20s in Switzerland when I had my own darkroom. An interest, I recently redeveloped, when our camera club discussed the subject of Black and White Photography.  We looked at the works of Ansel Adams. What a surprise then when we got to the National Maritime Museum recently on my visit to Sydney and discovered they had an Ansel Adams Exhibition, 'From Mountains to the Sea'.

Ansel Adams was a gifted American photographer and passionate conservationist born in San Francisco in 1902. A solitary and shy child, he left school at the age of 12 to be tutored at home where he could also explore the nearby beaches, sand dunes and waterways of San Francisco Bay. In his 20s, Adams became interested in photography, attending camera club meetings and visiting photographic exhibitions.

In the picture below, one of the most epic of Adams's landscapes, humanity is signalled by a field of scattered crosses in the foreground. The settlement itself makes an irregular rhythm from left to right, in contrast to the fling horizontals of the mountain range and the swift, painterly markings in the sky.
Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico 1941

Adams is famous for his photographs of the vast and dramatic landscapes of Yosemite National Park he visited for the first time in 1916. In 1919 he became a member of the Sierra Club, a group of dedicated to wilderness conservation and activism, an important influence in his 60 years career.

Water was one of Ansel Adams favourite subjects. He photographed it consistently and repeatedly from his first picture in 1915 until his death in 1984. He became fascinated in shipwrecks he discovered on the Pacific headlands and in crashing waves and seascapes.

With his pictures of water, Adams pioneered new directions in photography. he was a leading figure in a groundbreaking group of Modern artists who believed that photographers should embrace the mechanical qualities of camera and lens, making pictures that looked like no other art form

Seeing this exhibition alone was worth the trip to Sydney

09 November 2013

Sydney Maritime Museum

I'm in Sydney for a couple of days. Saturday Carol and David took me to the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour. We took a ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay where we changed to another ferry to Darling Harbour.

We sailed past Sonya's old workplace 'The Sydney Opera House'
Then under the Sydney Harbour Bridge

After lunch at the Museum Restaurant 'Yots', we boarded the 'Onslow', an Oberon type submarine, open to the public.

HMAS Onslow is anchored next to HMAS Vampire, a destroyer
The Onslow was commissioned during the Cold War, a tense time that called for a submarine to watch, listen and collect information without detection. The most secretive work was tracking Soviet submarines moving into the Arabian Gulf from Vladivostok via the Coral Sea and the Great Australian Bight.
The sub was steered by the Coxswain, usually a NCO

A very impressive engine room

On the way out of the HMAS Onslow, we explored the Destroyer HMAS Vampire, Australia's largest museum vessel, which is the last of the country's big gun ships. After this, Australia's fighting ships were equipped with missile weaponry. The Daring class were the largest destroyers built in Australia. These powerful, fast ships were designed principally for the machinery and weapons of war. One look at the cramped living spaces onboard and you will see that comfort came a poor second!

Control Panels

Full Steam Ahead, Coxswain.
Able Seaman Dave and Able Seaman Bill

Point the Guns at the City