08 July 2016

Puffing Billy Train

We were in Melbourne recently and took the opportunity to take the boys to the Dandenong Region where we jumped on the Puffing Billy Steam Train from Emerald to Lakeside. We all had a load of fun.

Here is a short film of our experience.

10 June 2016

With two of my mates, (photographers), we travelled to northern New South Wales in search of some images. We started off on the Lions Road from Rathdowney to Lismore.

Border Loop Lokout on the Lions Road
A little further along, we found some interesting derelict structures by the roadside.

17 May 2016

Brisbane Tramway Museum

The U3A Videographers' Workshop had organised a private visit to the Brisbane Tramway Museum at Ferny Grove last Tuesday. To get a private visit, it has to be booked months ahead. Lots of groups request private visits, including weddings. it is enormous popular, so much so that the organisers told me that they cannot take anymore bookings in the fordable future. So we were incredibly lucky.

The U3A Videographer's at the Tramway Museum 
The Museum Volunteers provided morning tea in the workshop
Then they rolled out the trams
That brings out memories
I used to go to work on one of these
Volunteers run the trams
This is the oldest tram in operation at the museum
Here is a little video I made:

Here is a photo I found on the internet of the tram I used to pick up at the Treasury Building, every morning, in the 60s. It used to take me to Mater Hill.

The tram at the old Treasury Building that used to take me to work in the 60s

07 May 2016

Noises Off

We went to see the Beenleigh Theatre Group's production of a flop last night, Well, Michael Frayn, the playwright wrote the play of a so-called flop.

The pinnacle of a play within a play: Noises Off presents a manic cast of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called Nothing On. Doors slamming, on and off stage intrigue, and errant sardines all figure in the plot of this hilarious and clever comedy farce.

Add to this the ingenious device of watching this play from BOTH sides by a rotating two story set and you have a giant theatrical jigsaw puzzle which is hilarious to piece together and to watch.

Noises Off is very physical and demanding on the actors, with split second timing and physical strength required to run up and down the stairs, fall in and out of the set and wrestling segments in Act II. The BTG managed it to perfection.

I had seen Noises Off twice before a long long time ago, performed by commercial companies with big name actors. The production last night by the Beenleigh Theatre Group was equally well staged, acted and choreographed and just as funny, for a fraction of the ticket prices we paid before. I was impressed.

18 April 2016

A Weekend in the Mountains

We just spent a very nice weekend in the Blue Mountains. On Friday we flew to Sydney, where Carol and David picked us up at the airport. Together we drove up to Leura where we had rented a holiday house for the weekend. We expected it to be fairly cold and packed accordingly but were pleasantly surprise how nice the weather was on Saturday.

We started off after breakfast at the Toy and Train Museum.

The museum belongs to the Evatt family (former Federal Opposition Leader)
There are lots of Railway buildings and trains on the property
Note to self: Must take up Smoking
Fountain in the garden
Then we went to Sublime Point for some stunning views over the mountains.

The Blogger at work
Finally we visited the Everglades for morning tea including a delicious French Pudding. Followed by  a stroll through the autumn-leaves.

These two were getting ready for a sprint.
On Sunday, we went to Blackheath and Govett's Leap lookout. 

180 metre waterfall

29 February 2016

A trip to New Zealand's South Island

We've been to New Zealand a couple of times before, but never to the Otago region in the south-east. It was time to correct that.

We flew to Christchurch, exactly five years to the day, after the devastating earthquake ruined this beautiful city. Slowly the place is being restored to what it once was. But there are still a lot of damaged buildings everywhere.

Still lots of damaged buildings in Christchurch
But interesting renovations
On the second day, we hopped on the new TranzAlpine Express that goes daily from Christchurch to Greymouth. The brand new panoramic carriages offer great views over Arthurs Pass. We left the train at Moana as we had been to Greymouth on a previous trip. We took the opportunity to re-visit the town's only cafe for lunch.

The Station Cafe at Moana overlooking Lake Brunner
 After lunch we boarded the returning TransAlpine Express, back to Christchurch

The TranzAlpine Express has new carriages with bigger windows providing great views
The following morning, Diane's blogging friend Marja and her husband William. picked us up at the hotel and took us to the airport where we picked up a hire car. We had ordered a little Mazda and were pleasantly surprised when they upgraded us and gave us a near new Holden Malibu at no extra cost.

With our new friends we drove to Akaroa for the day. Akaroa is a wonderful tourist area with lots of bays.  Akaroa has a French connection. It was settled by French colonialists in time gone past.

Overlooking Akaroa and one of the many bays.
A pebble beach outside Christchurch
We left Marja and William and headed south towards our final destination. But we did stop at the
 Moeraki Boulders at Koekohe Beach on the way. These boulders are an attraction to photographers all around the world. Unfortunately it was very overcast and the lighting conditions were not very good.

I refrained from the cliche shots everyone takes, making the sea look milky and unnatural, that's not my cup of tea. I prefer the natural realistic look.

Moeraki Boulders at Koekohe Bach
After a night in a B&B in Timaru, we drove to Dunedin where we had booked into a B&B on the Otago Peninsula. To get there we had to drive on the dangerous Portobello Road following the Bay. It is a very narrow and unprotected road and local told us that at least one car a week drives off into the bay. What I couldn't understand is the authorities marked it as 70km/hr when it should have been 50km/hr. No wonder people lose control and end up in the drink.

The view from our bedroom at the B&B
On Friday we were booked on the Taieri Gorge Scenic Railway from Dunedin to Pukerangi.

This is one of the best rail journeys in the world. See a one minute video below.

The famous Taieri Gorge Railway
The historic Dunedin Railway Station
While on the Otago Peninsula, we also visited New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle and Gardens. The castle was built by William Larnach, a Scottish merchant baron and politician, for his first wife Eliza. The castle is still privately owned  by the Barker family. 
Larnach castle on the Otago Peninsula.
On the last day, we drove to the end of the peninsula, with the road getting even more dangerous the further we went. At the end is the Royal Albatross Colony and Centre. It was getting on dusk, and i was able to capture an albatross returning from a day's work out at sea, to feed it's chick.

An albatross returning from fishing out at sea.

A short video of the Taieri Gorge Railway

30 January 2016


A couple of weeks ago when we went to the movies, I saw a trailer of this gripping film so we went to see it yesterday. Spotlight is based on a true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local catholic Archdiocese, shaking the Catholic Church to its core.

The Plot
In 2001 The Boston Globe newspaper hires a new editor, Marty Baron (Lieve Schreiber). Meeting with Walter "Robby" Robinson (Michael Keaton), Baron discovers that Robby heads the "Spotlight" team, a small group of journalists whose articles are investigative in nature. When Baron reads about in the paper about the pedophile priest John Geoghan, and a lawyer who says that Cardinal Law, (the archbishop of Boston) knew that Geoghan was sexually abusing children and did nothing to stop him, Baron urges the Spotlight Team to investigate the story.

They soon discover that it was not just about this one priest, who was moved around several times by the Catholic hierarchy, children abuse was endemic by Roman Catholic priests in Boston. The Spotlight Team discovered that about 90 priests had been involved in child abuse in Boston, over a number of years.

Spotlight was shown 72nd Venice International Film Festival. It has a stellar cast in Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Michael Keaton as Robby Robinson, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer. The film was written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy and directed by Tom McCarthy.

This film can be well described as Gripping, Compelling, Remarkable. It is by far the best film I've seen so far, this year. Here is the trailer -

26 January 2016

Australia Day 2016

Our neighbour Rob called in this morning asking us if we'd like to join them on a visit to South Bank where there was a food festival in honour of Australia day advertised in the Courier Mail. Well, we had nothing better planned, so we agreed. We never miss a chance to go out for lunch. Rob and Kathy picked us up around 11am and we drove to the Hyperdome at Loganholme, where the 555 express bus starts for Brisbane City,via South Bank. From the bus station we walked down to the river, where an area was fenced in with a handful of food tents. There wasn't much action yet, so we walked over the Goodwill Foot Bridge over the river to the QUT campus.

There were just a handful of people waiting at the food tents
As with every Australia Day Celebration, there was quite a large Police contingent everywhere including officers on horses at the southern end of the Goodwill Bridge.

Mounted Police at the Goodwill Bridge
The City Hopper ferries people from one side of the river to the other.

The sky looked ominous and we were not sure if we were getting a soaking. But we carried on over the bridge.

Dark sky over the city
A City Cat passed below us
The Goodwill Foot Bridge leads under the Captain Cook Bridge, the main arterial road into Brisbane.

Captain Cook Bridge above us
I had to change the memory card in my camera, so I took the opportunity to try the new card on a pair of feet.

Typical Australia day attire, Thongs (Flip-flops in UK)
Again there was a police present on the northern side of the bridge, cops on bikes. 
Are they looking for new recruits? Sorry, lady, too old.
The sky was getting darker, so we trundled back over the bridge looking for a place to eat.

Mangroves on the bank of the Brisbane River.
Back at the other end, time for a pose with the horses
By now the crowd was getting bigger. We checked the food tents but nothing took our fancy.

In the end, we decided to walk down to the Plough-Inn, where we found a table on the upstairs terrace for a nice lunch.

Then we walked back to the bus station where a 555 bus was just arriving to take us back to Loganholme to pick up the car for home. A nice day out for the Romans and the Bohlens.