14 November 2015

A bloody Good Read

Every now and then you come across a fabulous book. At the airport on Wednesday, while we were waiting for our flight to Sydney, I strolled into the book shop next to the coffee shop we were sitting in. There it was:


Just the sort of funny book I like while away from home. I started reading as soon as we were off the ground and was hooked by the time we got up to cruising speed. Now, I have never been a fan of Abbott so maybe, just maybe I am a little bit biased against this bloke who has absolutely no nous for politics, why else would he knight the Duke of Edinburgh.

Andrew covers just about every gaffe and blunder the Abbott government committed during their short turn.

Who could forget Treasurer Joe boldly declaring that poor people either don't have cars or don't drive very far. Who could forget Kevin Andrews boldly declaring his support to the government of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. Or who could forget Senator George Brandis making a statement that people had a right to be bigots.

The book is written exceedingly funny. Andrew rightly points out that it is very difficult for a leader to find people who will tell him that something is "a really bad idea". With this in mind, Andrew guesses a possible conversation between Abbott and an imaginary staffer:

ABBOTT: So anyway, I've decided to confer a knighthood on Prince Phllip.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: ...I'm sorry .. Prince Philip?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: As in the husband of the queen? That Prince Philip?
ABBOTT: That's the one.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Oh. [Pause] And, um, why?
ABBOTT: What do you mean, why?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Well, you look at the other people who are getting honours--- like co-Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, who's been a tireless campaigner for domestic violence reform in Australia, or Professor Denis Wakefield for his lifelong work on ocular immunopathology. You're giving him an Order of Australia.
ABBOTT: Yes, and...?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Well, I'm just curious as to what Prince Philip has actually, y'know, done. Especially as a British citizen of Greek descent who has been in the country, what, half a dozen times?
ABBOTT: Well, he's the prince!
ABBOTT: And it's about time he got some recognition for his life of service.
Abbott: Yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: He's already a prince, you realise?
ABBOTT: I do realise that, yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: And he is the Duke of Edinburgh.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: And he is also the Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of of the Order of Merit, Grand master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration , Lord of her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, right?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: And he needs to be given some recognition, you think?
ABBOTT: Look, just send the damn email.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Rightio then. Anything else I should know about?
ABBOTT: Well, I'm also thinking we should make Queen Elizabeth a dame.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Let's save that one for 2016, maybe.
ABBOTT: Eh, fine. hey, how's about Pope Francis?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Well... oh, my phone's ringing, I really have to take this.

This is just a great book describing a very embarrassing period in Australian politics. Let's say about 55% of the Australian population will find it very funny while 45% of the population may not, but at least cringe, one hopes.

I strongly recommend it.

06 November 2015

A long walk

We needed some landscape pictures for our session on Monday at the camera club. Although we have plenty in our archives, we decided to take a walk along the recently refurbished riverwalk from New Farm into the city. About 4 km. So we drove to New Farm Park and set off for our hike.

The Blogger checks her camera

We walked past some expensive mansions on the way to the river walk
Someone goes to great length to keep burglars away,
ha ha, the RSL actually
About half way along the river walk, we veered off in search of a coffee shop. We didn't have to walk far. We found one in Moray Street, called The Moray Cafe.
The Blogger left her back pack there, so we'll have to go back there
Back on the river walk
The previous river walk was floating, rising and falling with the tide of the river. However a couple of years ago, Brisbane flooded and the current was too strong for the floating walk and it floated all the way down into Moreton Bay. The Brisbane City Council replaced it at great cost to a fixed model, hopefully strong enough to withhold any future floods.
The remodelled river walk
There are lots of residential units along both sides of the Brisbane River.

The Story Bridge joins the River City.
There are also old buildings on the river in the city
 When we arrived in the city, it was just past lunch time, so we joined the city workers in one of the many river pubs for a delightful lunch and a few glasses of refreshing water. YES - WATER!

After lunch we hopped on a City Cat back to New Farm Park.

The City Cats provide easy transport along the Brisbane River

Toward the Story Bridge, we passed the Kookaburra Queen on a lunch cruise

Passengers get on and off at the many stops

Finally we arrived back at the  New Farm Jetty 
It was an enjoyable day out and we got our landscape (or should I say waterscape) shots for Monday.

22 September 2015

An unwelcome Overflow

Last week, while sitting in my office downstairs, I heard gurgling coming from the garage next door. Upon investigation I realised the gurgling came out of the downstairs toilet. Soon after that I saw waste water coming up from the floor waste. It kept coming until it eventually flowed into the garage. I realised Diane was in the shower upstairs. I sprinted up there and told her to turn the water off.  That stopped the water flow.

So we called our plumber and told him of the urgency. No dice, he said. Can't get there until tomorrow. Oh, great! What do we do in the meantime? Neighbours were good, they all offered for us to use their facilities until the problem was fixed. Kathy and Rob across the street even invited us to dinner, so we didn't need to wash dishes. It's good to have good neighbours.

Anyway, the plumber arrived the next day and stuck a camera down the drain further and further in without seeing any blockages. When the camera reached 30 meters, he told us that the problem was not on our property, but instead in the council's main sewage pipe. He phoned the waste water department and as he couldn't wait for them to get here, he advised me that the council would automatically deny that the problem could be in their pipes. With that he left.

Within the hour, the council workmen arrived and after explaining the problem, they assured me that the problem couldn't possibly be theirs. "Hang on a sec," I said and phoned the plumber. He explained to the council workers what he thought the problem was. They listened and disbelieving said they too would send a camera down this time from the main manhole, "just to prove to you that it is your problem", they said, adding, "what would a plumber know?"

To get to the manhole, which is actually on our land and totally covered by plants and trees, they had to call for a backhoe to start digging for the manhole. They eventually found it and were able to send a camera down the main pipe to the point where our pipe meets theirs.

After a couple of hours, the Forman came and informed me that they had found the blockage in THEIR pipe and that they would fix it at their costs. Then they started digging at the junction point, looking for our connection. They went deeper and deeper and by now late afternoon, they found it some 2.5m below the surface.

The work crew arrives

They start digging
And deeper
It looked like they were digging for ever
Until they find the inspection hole some 2.5m down
They cleared the roots from the drain and filled the hole
I must admit, I was very happy with the council. Not only did they fill the hole with good soil but they even covered the area with mulch again and planted some Grevillia trees. 

They left a surface inspection hole which is now regulation. Unfortunately it wasn't when we built the house in 1988. They advised me that in future, if there are any blocked drains, they can fix it through that inspection point. Unfortunately, the melaleuca tree next to the inspection point will have to be removed as they had to cut most of its roots off when they were digging. 

The Blogger is happy again. Garden fixed plumbing working. She is happy, so I am happy.

19 September 2015

Shades of Monochrome

Time to do some monochrome shots. All these were taken the last couple of weeks.

Miner Bird
White Orchid
Shadow and leaf

12 September 2015

Another Week - Another Photo Shoot

I am now in a small group of photographers of our camera club and we go out once in a awhile to improve our photographic skills. This week we went to our Botanic Garden on Mt Coot-tha. This was a rekke for our club outing on the 28th involving both of our camera clubs.

The Botanic Garden has recently been expanded after the completion of extensive roadwork provided the city with extra land.

There are lots of Orchids in the Botanic Garden

A leaf in the right place


The lagoon

Mother and chic Swam phen

Anthurium Andraeanum or as I call them, Pretty Red Flower

26 August 2015

A Great day out with a couple of Mates

Will, Michael and I, members of the U3A Camera Club, have been going on photo shots from time to time. A day out for the boys, you might say. Both Michael and Will are excellent photographers. Today we ventured into the Hills, Mt Tamborine to be precise. The first stop was the walk to Curtis Falls. It's only a 1.1km walk from the road entrance through a eucalyptus forest, but dropped down drastically with a few set of steps until we reached Curtis Falls.

A fallen tree lifted up this huge rock
Will takes a shot of it
Michael saw something up high
Moss covered rocks everywhere
Curtis Falls
Will and Michael admire the falls
Walking back was not as much fun, climbing up all those steps, but we did see some interesting things on the way.

Amazing tree creations
We spotted this Water dragon in the distance
Shadows provide interesting patterns
This one as well 
After lunch, we drove to North Tamborine lookout on the way home

Scenic Rim Panorama
Will and Michael take another shot
Then it was time to drive home to process our photographs.

04 August 2015

Trying out my new Camera

I thought it was about time that, as one of the tutors of two camera clubs, I should invest in a DSLR, even though I am extremely happy with my Lumix TZ60 point and shoot camera which shoots in RAW format, the format I use for my photographs.

I looked around and considered buying a Nikkon 3200, but found that even though it shoots in RAW, it can't easily be imported with Adobe Lightroom 6. Then the Blogger suggested I should buy a Canon so I can use her lenses. Great thought. So off I trundled to the local Camera House where I got a very good deal on a mid-range Canon DSLR, the 750D, @24 Mega Pixel. and a 18 - 135mm zoom lens thrown in as well as a tripod. We already have a few other lenses I can now use.

My new Canon 750D

So, as we headed off to Bribe Island for a few days, I had a chance to try out my new toy.

This is a panorama view from our balcony on the 5th floor. Five pictures stitched together in Lightroom 6.

One morning we went for a walk along the beachfront. The Blogger, Mary and myself.

Mary and the Blogger
We had some stunning sunrises and sunsets Mother Nature provided for us.

Sunrise over the Pacific
At one stage, a cruise ship sailed by. I captured it holding the camera on the railing, even though it was way out in the distance. 
A P&O Cruise ship passed by - 1/30 - f:6.4 
Ornament 1/15 - f:5.6
Another day we visited the Bribe Island Art Centre where we found a short walk to an island lagoon.

Island Lagoon - 2/200 - f:3.3
The moon after sunset - 1/125 - f:6.3

And finally on the way home we stopped at Bongaree where I shot this Panorama over the Pumistone Passage.

I am very happy with the Canon 750D.