Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I ate one Easter egg for each paragraph of this post

It is Easter Tuesday, and we are now all flopped and flooped around the house like dead fish. We drove back from the north west coast this morning, after four days holidaying up yonder. Again we took Winston with us - this time he remembered not to eat his lead (twice).

We were doing a house swap with our marvellous friends X and Y and their girls, who live in a tiny country hamlet. We didn't expect to see them on the road, but Campbell Town lived up to it's reputation for bringing travellers together. We were gingerly walking Winston around the no-dogs central park, when Y hailed us from a slowly passing car. They piled out and we had a bit of time together mostly taken up with them saying "God, he's huge. Man, he's enormous. Oh Lord."

Mum and Dad have actually sold their house, so when we got to Turners Beach the hound with his EZ-shed black hair and dripping jowls was not permitted inside. We stayed Friday night there, with the boys where we would usually sleep, and us in Mum and Dad's campervan. The spot where the boys would usually sleep is just boxes, boxes, boxes.

On Saturday Mum and Dad headed to Hobart to continue their house search, so we popped across to the other end of the coast to our Swappy Home Away From Home. X and Y are renting, so our hound was not allowed in there either. As they have incomplete fences, he couldn't stay outside either, so we had to take him up the road to the local cattery, for his first experience boarding. Cattery Lady said he was very nervous at first after we left but settled down pretty well after that.

We had a quiet day in the very quiet little town, kicking the footy in the never-ending backyard, reading, drawing, and getting to know the Wii games.

Marcus leaped about like a dervish doing Wii boxing, in which you start by beating up The Dude out of The Big Lebowski.
The instructions helpfully suggest that you PUNCH THE FACE.
On Easter Sunday we spent the day in Stanley. We took the chairlift up to the top of The Nut. Last time we were there the flies were practically blotting out the sun. This time there was one fat fly welcoming visitors as they got off the chairlift, but that was all. It was a perfect day, and the views from up top would have been worth the climb that we wimped out of.

[Just remembered I should mention Elf and boys got me an Easter egg the size of a football].

Stanley was a fishing village, but with a hinterland of very rich farmland. It's very tourism-dependent these days - everything is very well presented but the town has a lovely relaxed feeling to it. You get the feeling that rather than having some committee of awning-colour-nazis, everyone is just motivated to keep their own little bit of it looking good. Folks were friendly too.

The page I pinched this pic from suggests that the "staple" of Stanley is "crayfish washed down with crab". That is a little unrealistic.

We spent some time in the cemetery, the highlight of which for me was the grave of a man named Mr Horsenail. I completely forgot until we'd left that poor old Henry Hellyer was buried there too.

On Monday we collected the noble hound, and drove over for another night at Mum and Dad's. In the morning Mum and I walked Winston on the beach for the last time as resident of and privileged visitor to Turners Beach.

The drive home was uneventful (I have copied and pasted that from every other trip away I have blogged) but I did notice a sign in the driveway of a bottleshop in Oatlands: FORM ONE LATTE. I liked it but I have no idea what it means.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saltwater River weekend

Elf and I spent the weekend down on the Tasman Peninsula at Saltwater River, for our 10th anniversary. The cottage where we stayed is on the site of an old convict-era probation station, with lots of crumbling brick. We had a really lovely time, thanks to Imp and Ed and Mum and Dad for looking after the boys.

I am loving Newfoundland right now

View Larger Map

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Labrador Baby Lunch

We just had a very social weekend. Karri and Miah stayed with us while Imp and Ed attended another one of the endless Fullagar cousin weddings (best wishes to Isabelle and James). Mum and Dad stayed with us as well, as they have been every Thursday to Monday for a couple of months, while they search for the elusive house.* Sal, Matt and the young Arthur David Warren (approaching 1) came for lunch on Sunday - making 11 at the table.

Arthur has been enjoying his occasional experiences with dogs, lately. Sally was keen to bring him over to see how he would react to a dog ten times his size (although about the same age). They just loved each other. Grown ups had to keep leaping in to stop them loving each other too much - there was face licking. Arthur is pelting around on all fours now - at on stage he crawled between Winston's legs and out the other side.

It was the opening day of soccer season on Saturday. Miah, Karri and Marcus all played, and all three teams won. Miah scored two goals, and Marcus scored one, an exceptional glancing header. You don't often see headers, let alone headed goals, in the under 9s. David, who had already scored three, clouted the ball towards the goals, high but wide. Marcus was in the perfect position to slightly turn his head and deflect it into the corner of the net. I went a little bit beserk.

*Mum and Dad have put in an offer on a house over the river - I've got everything including my tonsils crossed for them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Outsmarting the Nazis

From the Wikipedia article on aqua regia
When Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of the German physicists Max von Laue and James Franck in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from confiscating them. The German government had prohibited Germans from accepting or keeping any Nobel Prize after the jailed peace activist Carl von Ossietzky had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935. De Hevesy placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. It was subsequently ignored by the Nazis who thought the jar—one of perhaps hundreds on the shelving—contained common chemicals. After the war, de Hevesy returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The gold was returned to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation who recast the medals and again presented them to Laue and Franck.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sir Michael

Michael has gone off to school in this home-made getup this morning. Although its basically medieval, there is a bit of Egypt going on there as well. On the back of the shield he has written a traditional Egyptian prayer on the back of his shield: O, Horus please make the enemies go.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Glenorchy 16.6 (102) d Clarence 9.12 (66)

Last night Dad and Marcus and I went along to Glenorchy with Rob and Olivia for the opening game of the local footy season. There was a record crowd (8400 plus about 5000 non-paying kids). A lot of us were there to see "Aker" – Jason Akermanis, the former Brisbane Lion triple-premiership player and Brownlow medalist. It’s a long time since a higher-credentialled big league player came to the state. He was sacked last July by his second club the Western Bulldogs, essentially for being a big mouth. He was getting paid by media outlets on the understanding he would be controversial, but his club just wanted him to concentrate on footy and stop giving other clubs ammunition.

As soon as he was cut loose, the Glenorchy Magpies began the process of luring him to Tasmania. Immediately my boss smelled a documentary, and from Aker's first visits to Tasmania we have been tracking him with a camera crew. I actually put my foot in it last night, when I was down by the boundary line and Raef and Jeff walked past, filming the crowd. I gave them a big wave - you aren't meant to do that unless you are a colourful character, preferably toothless and tattooed. It spoils the footage when one of the crew's buddies spots them and waves hello.

We watched the first quarter standing near the food kiosk - it was the first spot we had come to that was out of the wind. At quarter time we walked across the ground to a better vantage point (still the best thing about local footy is being allowed on the ground in the breaks). The umpires gather in the centre of the ground during the short breaks, and we were bewildered to note that they were being guarded by Darth Vader and a number of stormtroopers ranging from rake-thin to quite fat. One stormtrooper was adjusting Darth's cape which was in disarray due to the stiff breeze.

"How goes the Foot Ball?"  "The Pies appear to have the Roos on toast, your Highness".
We watched the next two quarters sitting on the bank on the scoreboard side, and copped that breeze right in the teeth. We put on every warm thing we had brought. My ears were suddenly so cold that I stuffed my gloves in under my beanie. They hung down like Winston's ears, and I was certainly one of the most ridiculous looking people there, which is saying something.

Just a new look I'm working on.
At halftime I decided to get in the hot pies for everyone, back on the other side of the ground. Just as I reached the front of the queue, the hot pies ran out, and the kiosk started laboriously microwaving frozen ones. I waited ages for ours, but at least they were fairly hot in the end. According to the paper "while the traditional meat pie might have been cold enough to warrant being served on an icy pole stick, just about everything else ran perfectly."

The tension is palpable as the hot pies in the Kevin Baker Kiosk run out.
The football was a pretty good standard, and it was certainly a crowd-pleasing result. Aker looked rusty early but was in better nick by the end. We stayed hoping to see the famous post-match handstand, but the "New King of Glenorchy" was swamped by kids. He apparently had a to have a few goes at it before he had enough space to execute one.

Marcus loved it, even though there was no big screen or commentary to tell him what was happening every minute. I think a good night was had by all.