2003-10 (OCTOBER, 2003)

A Long Weekend At 'Dogwood' - NSW, Australia

This weekend was the first long weekend for the Summer. Naturally everyone had been looking forward to this weekend for some time. Naturally it poured with rain. Andy & I caught the train up to Taree where Dave collected us. As it was the end of a long week the evening's beer consumption was intense but brief.

Saturday's plans to continue with Project Uber Shed were thwarted by patchy weather and a general, long-weekend malaise. Dave & I shifted some logs around, but utterly failed to make any real progress. We pottered and gorged and generally relaxed. To my utter delight, just after sunset, the forest surrounding the house filled with fire-flies. I have only seen them once before (on a family holiday in Italy when I was 8 or 9) and I was very excited! They're quite a surreal sight, I can tell you.

Sunday had been earmarked for a spot of exploring. The weather put paid to the idea of going to the beach so we bombed around in the 4WD and explored the highlands and lowlands around Lansdowne. We paid a brief visit to the Mighty Sunday Market in Coopernook - a place where one man's rubbish is another man's rubbish as well. We also stopped in for a brief visit to the Lansdowne Lavender Farm. That evening was a wee bit alcoholic - a new bottle of Gin got us going and from there it was all down hill. It has been many, many years since I've passed out amongst the bushes in the garden - just like being a student again. Late on Dave & I hatched a plan to go in search of the luminous fungi (which the previous house owner had alerted Dave to) and I'm still nursing the cuts, grazes and bruises collected during the ensuing expedition. Sadly I, for one, did not see any fungi, luminous or otherwise.

Monday morning was a bit on the slow side for all of us. Andy & I boarded our train back to Sydney mid afternoon and were home just after 22:00. Sweet.

Anniversary - NSW, Australia

This weekend Andy & I celebrated our 6th anniversary. On the Thursday before I still had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. This would have been brilliant if it was Andy that was taking me away for a mystery weekend. Unfortunately it was the other way around. Doh! Fortunately I'm an IT professional so I specialise in Fire Fighting and Controlled Panic. After a tense hour on Friday morning we were booked into a four-star, luxury B&B near Lake Macquarie called Bunya Pine (see, Andy did well out of this - if I'd been organised, there's no way it would have been four-star!).

We hired a car and drove up on Friday evening. Our hosts welcomed us, showed us around and then sodded-off for the weekend themselves, leaving us in the hands of a friend of theirs (an interesting way to manage a B&B). We had the whole place to ourselves.

We didn't actually do a great deal with our weekend - lots of sleeping and eating, mainly, but we felt remarkably refreshed by the end of it. We did do a wee bit of exploring of the area by car (Andy tracked down the local Arts & Crafts Barn, which made her day), but the weather was mixed and we had a spa bath in our room.

Six years - crikey! S'pose we should get married soon, then.

A Visitin' - Sydney, Australia

This Sunday we took a wee jaunt over to Manly to meet an interesting friend of Andy's.

Dr Darryl Strickler is, amongst other things, a world authority on e-learning. For those of you that use Lotus Notes, he worked with Ray Ozzie on the development of PLATO, a collaborative communications network and fore-runner to Notes. He is also a dead keen rower and collects and restores wooden rowing shells which he trades on his web site, Rowable Classics. Given that I'm currently building my very own wooden canoe, you can guess what the conversation was centred on - Andy was a teensy bit miffed that I hijacked her friend into talking about boats for three hours, but hey. :D

Darryl showed us around his apartment that looks out over the Sydney Harbour side of Manly. He rows out to the harbour heads and back every morning (about 3km each way) - not bad for someone in their fifties. We also got to take a peek at 'Stella Blue', a concoursed, all-original Morris Minor Convertible - his pride and joy on land. We then went out for a pleasant lunch beside the sea which stretched on until 16:00. He left us to go and give someone a rowing lesson and we caught the ferry back to the city. A splendid day!