Saturday, 4 November 2017

Off season

Ok I admit it, the Brisbane Lions had another bad season. Yes we won more games than last year BUT we won the wooden spoon!!


Off season is like walking aimlessly through the wilderness until Cricket season starts.
Off season has such delights as the trade period, the Draft,  International Rules , Women's Competition and the pre season schemozzle. The media, bless their collective cotton socks, have a absolute field day trying desperately to turn dross into gold with their stupid left field predictions about what will happen with whom and where. The long suffering faithful fans angst accordingly and take to social media to vent their spleens.

The Lions:
Delisted my sponsored player, Josh Clayton - that's two I've sponsored in the number 19 jumper by the way, maybe I am the kiss of death???
We also delisted a few other good quality young men but we have picked up Luke Hodge and.....Charlie Cameron.
Both of these pickups are controversial; Hodge because he had ostensibly retired for Hawthorn and Cameron because the Crows are a bunch of Chardonnay swilling, Apricot slice consuming, Texas John knitted doll making, Webber Q toting, the opposition supporters are too loud whingeing bunch of misbegotten whelps!!!!
So when the opportunity arises to get up the noses of a Crow supporter or two one seizes it with alacrity!
I had an apricot slice delivered to a rampant Crows supporter to say thank you for Charlie Cameron.....apparently it ended up in the bin, but the point had been made. Of course if I am successful in my attempts to sponsor Charlie there will be many more opportunities to get up the collective noses of Crows supporters everywhere...

Currently the faithful are sat in the corner of the couch, holding their preferred libation, rocking gently whilst watching the calendar.

2018 looks to be a better year (hope springs eternal annually) Hodge will help young Harris Andrews down back and Cameron will add speed and depth to the midfield. I have decided a three game membership is the go as I still live interstate and I have put down Charlie Cameron as the player I want to sponsor!! Of course my second preference was whoever wears the number 19 next year........


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Champagne and Footballers

Even though I now live and work in Canberra, I am still a loyal Brisbane Lions Fan, Member, Member of the Women of the Pride and Player Sponsor of Josh Clayton (19).

My Lions Membership is of the Supporter Member variety, I don't attend games being that I live 1200 km away from The Gabba.

Anyhow...one of the benefits of being a player sponsor is the Player Sponsor Function each year. Two are held; one for Victorian members and one for the Queensland members.

It's my one chance a year to catch up with my player and catch up with my footy friends.
The Normal Autistic Chickie generally attends these types of things with me which is always fun.

This year I few into Brisbane the day of the function and after an interesting cab ride - Greek chatty cabbie who had some very interesting ideas re the governing of Australia and its States - I checked into the Wellington Apartment Hotel.
I love staying here. It's clean. comfortable and the restaurant is not too shabby at all. It is also a brisk 10 minute walk to The Gabba, so ideally placed for footy and cricket!!


The Normal Autistic Chickie was stuck in traffic and she still needed to get changed - we were going to be fashionably late.
Being the sensible middle aged type I am I had brought some flat shoes for the walk to The Gabba , the footpath is crap and were were running late. Guess who tripped three times on the way? Guess who has some really pretty bruises on her legs, feet and hands?

I changed into heels at the venue before meeting with the players, I walked home in those heels incident free........

The function is held in one of The Gabba function rooms and canapes and drinks are served. It's always a convivial atmosphere. Catching up with players and friends and the champagne is nice too!

The vibe among the players is very positive - we're not winning games but the club culture has improved and our youngsters are signing on in droves. I believe the Lions can win on any given day - instead of lying down and getting smashed in games they are now fighting out 4 quarters.Each player I spoke with said that Fages ( Chris Fagan-coach) was not as dictatorial as some previous coaches - he has a more nurturing manner. Often it is more about what isn't said by the players but this time it seems there are no undertones to report.
Apparently my boy Josh was a bout ready to be called into the senior team when he did his ankle in the NEAFL. His recovery has coincided with a couple of wins and Fages wanted to keep the team together. We've had some big losses the last two games so maybe young Josh might get a shot at the big dance as Fages tests out the youngsters.
Obligatory picture:




After the function the Normal Autistic Chickie and I wandered back  to the hotel and had delicious Lamb Shanks from room service. Delicious!!! Time spent with the Normal Autistic Girl is always well spent.
Champagne, Footballers and time with the daughter - all around a lovely evening.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

life is a funny thing

The week after our Lockhart lark HR decided he wanted to see the Sea Cliff Bridge which is part of the Grand Pacific Drive.

As it was HR's idea I left him to do the planning and choosing of hotels. Never again!!!!!

We left early Saturday Morning to drive to Wollongong. I was a bit grumpy, I hate getting up before 0800 on the weekend. Off we drove up the highway chatting along the way. After around 4 hours we started along Lawrence Hargrave Drive and whamo there it was!! Magnificent scenery both sides. A huge sheer cliff on one side and the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean and as we drove along a whale breached a few klicks out to sea. Of course I did not have the camera ready and when I did they whales were too far out to take a decent shot.

We parked at the end of the bridge and walked along the pathway back across the bridge.








.












All that magnificence, and exercise, makes one a tad hungry - off to Robertson Cheese Factory for lunch!!!
Wow so much to look at in the Emporium and the Gelateria has some really neat lollies.We tried some Blue Goats Cheese at the Dairy Store and it was a little salty for my tastes.
The best part though was the Cafe where we had an amazing cheese board. There was three different cheeses, cold meats, fruits and crackers and a zesty tomato relish, we bought a jar of it to take home.

We had decided to spend the might at Mollymook and HR had chosen the hotel. So after a satisfying lunch we toddled off to find our hotel. Ah I wish we hadn't. We arrived at around 1530 to find reception abandoned and no cars in the car park.  We found our room and um well it didn't smell too fresh. HR and I carry our own cups and coffee and tea making paraphernalia and so I made a cuppa and sat on the bed, which sagged. As I drank the cuppa I asked HR how long it would take to get home, 2 hours he answered I said right let's go!! and we did.

On the way home Mother called......and as a consequence of that call I ended up in Oakey for two weeks.

























































...

Friday, 7 July 2017

Vintage cars

I was trawling through my Face Book timeline when I came across a post from Spirit of the Land Lockhart regarding an upcoming vintage car muster. I thought HR and I should check it out as I have always loved the cars of my youth and those that were born before me.

I ascertained that HR was available and then started arranging the trip. We figured Wagga Wagga would be a good place to stay the night before the muster and so I booked the International Hotel for the friday night. What a fantastic choice! This hotel is beautifully appointed with a gorgeous bathroom and sumptuous king size bed. The best thing about this hotel though? DOUBLE GLAZING yes boys and girls double glazing. Zero noise from the street. The next best thing? The thickness of the concrete between the upper and lower floors. You cannot hear anything from those rooms above you. We have paid $300.00 a night for first class hotels and still had to contend with the noise from people moving around above. The block out drapes on the windows provided extra insulation from noise and light.
This hotel was so quiet and restful that we didn't even open our eyes until after 0900!!!!!!!!!
The next time we use Wagga as a base for a trip we will be staying at this hotel!!

The restaurant at the International hotel, Allure, was really quite good value. Tasty food prepared well and served by friendly engaging staff. I loved the  Smoked Salmon and Feta Bruschetta followed by salt and Pepper Squid and HR made a mess with the Crispy mild spiced chicken wings but was a bit nonplussed when the pasta of the day was actually a risotto!! I enjoyed a nice Warburn Rumours Moscato and HR had a couple of  Crown Lagers. Dessert was a shared Fig and Date pudding|butterscotch sauce|Chantilly cream  and fresh strawberries.

After a hurried start to the day on the Saturday we motored on out to Lockhart and looked for a suitable eating place for a late breakfast. We stumbled across Latte da Coffee Bar.  HR reckons the coffee was good and I reckon the egg and bacon roll was awesome!! Another fantastic little shop in Lockhart is Sweethearts. Typical country service, people having a yarn and being helpful.

The cars arrived just after 1100 and were worth every minute and penny spent to go and see them. Some of my favourites are bellow.













Monday, 22 May 2017

Sydney

I may or may not have mentioned that HR only gets one weekend off per month, the rest of his 'weekends' occur during the week while I am working.

I may or may not have mentioned we like to do something with the weekends we have together, you know, go away, have an adventure.

HR and I subscribe to various travel deal emails. Some of the deals look quite good and a month or so ago we decided to take the plunge and buy one of the deals.

Luxury Escapes was the company we chose and the deal was a two night stay in Sydney at the Ovolo Hotel Woolloomooloo. The deal was $599.00 for two nights, buffet continental breakfast daily, happy hour daily, free mini bar daily and use of the hotel amenities. We figured why not? We bought the deal and then booked the dates we wanted no problems.

HR decided we would take the train to Sydney so he didn't have to mess with the traffic which is dead set nuts!!!

I took a Friday off and we caught the early train to Sydney!!! The trip took as long as it would driving but was so relaxing and no pesky traffic or getting lost (that came later). The Buffet car on the train was reasonably well stocked and very well priced. As we'd left home so early, taxi to the station for 0645, we decided to have breakfast on the train - not the worst move!!

After breakfast we settled back and enjoyed the ride. I was reading Sharon Kay Penman's "The Reckoning"  on my Kindle and HR fell asleep.

We arrived at Central Station Sydney around 1130, disembarked and wandered onto the Grand Concourse in search of an OPAL card and what train we needed to catch to get to the hotel.

The lovely young lady at the help desk sorted out the OPAL card and advised us that after we spent $15.00 per day on travel any further travel that day would be free!!! We perused the boards above the hep desk and then had to figure out how to get to the Terminal and Platform we needed for Martin Place.

If you've ever read Stephen King's Dark Tower series you'll understand how I felt when I went into the underground parts to get to the train....it was like being below Lud with Jake as he out ran the bad guys...I kept expecting to see creatures coming out of the tiled walls and it didn't get any better the more we went into these areas...it was kind of surreal.

Anyway, we boarded the train and off we went. Arriving at Martin Place we needed a little direction on which way to go and there was a really nice bloke, train station staff, was very helpful. As we emerged from under the ground we were hit with the arcade of the homeless. It was confronting to be faced with these people whose only shelter was under the arches of the arcade that ran the length of the station.

Out of the station and into the gardens and getting lost!! We almost didn't get lost but there you go -we had no clue and the cabby made a quick tenner getting us unlost.

Arriving at the Ovolo and dropped our bags- room wasn't quite ready so we went in search of lunch.

Manta was where we chose to dine. It's only now looking for the link that I see it has quite the reputation and that HR and I have excellent taste.
Sitting near the water's edge we decided a light lunch was in order and chose some 'hand cut Angel chips' and a cheese tasting plate from a menu heavily seafood oriented. From the wine list I chose a Cloud Bay Sauvingon Blanc (New Zealand) and of course HR drank beer - Murray's Rude Boy Pilsner.
The cheese platter was bloody awesome; particularly the Cashel Blue cheese. Smooth rich creamy and not salty like some Blue Cheeses are. The angel chips were very tasty. The  scenery was so engrossing; trying to chose which of the many boats we should buy, that we ended up having a few more drinks and staying there quite awhile. The service was excellent as well.



Eventually we returned to the hotel and completed check in. Up to our room and it was quite a surprise. Very quirky and well set up, great views and usb ports everywhere!!! I did find the toilet with no lid a tad disconcerting. Robes to be used, slippers to take home, a bathroom filled with toiletries and a set of scales! The mini bar was a tad disappointing with one beer, one cider, half bottle  each of white and red, water and coke. There was only one snack bag for the two days.
We didn't take advantage of the Happy Hour but we did do breakfast and let me tell you that was a nice selection to chose from each day - very tasty, a good start to the day.

Saturday, after breakfast, HR and I set out for Martin  Place station (not getting lost this time) only to find out the trains on the Illawara line between somewhere and Bondi were replaced by busses because of track work. Well gee, new in town where do we catch a bus and what way should it go??? We fluked it and got to Central Station and wandered in the general direction of China Town getting distracted by Paddy's Markets where I picked up an amazing outfit at KIMDO clothes.

From the markets we wandered through to the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Stunningly beautiful and well wort the time, it was sad that such a haven of peace was spoilt by the constant traffic hum in the background.







After the gardens we pondered our next move- go to Spotless stadium and watch the NEAFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Giants, have lunch in China Town or got to the Cinema and watch Arthur - we figured a train ride to the stadium where we could get junk food for lunch and then return to go to the cinema.

Guess who got on the wrong train? By the time we got back to Central it was too late to try again so we figured we'd go to Darling Harbour and catch a Ferry to somewhere. We caught a Ferry, bought some Sushi and Dim Sum, and did Darling Harbour....






What great way to spend an hour!!!

Right we're going to the Cinema!  Or are we? Would have been good if we could have found one easily. We gave it up as a bad joke and strolled back to the Hotel, ordered room service and settled in for the evening. HR and I are not night people.

The following day after breakfast we caught a cab to Central with the luggage and caught the train home.

I think the deal was a good one and worth the money. I still am not a fan of Sydney.

Stay tuned for future adventures ...........

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Aftermath

Generally when HR have been gallivanting about the world we are extremely happy to return to Australia (Austen Tayshus) the Great Southern Land (Icehouse) that nestles Under a Southern Sky (Paul Norton).

Upon our return from that Slice of Heaven  (Dave Dobbin) New Zealand it's as though It's Been Raining For So Long (Dragon). We're in a state of Confusion (ELO) our Feelings (Morris Albert) are in a turmoil.

There was more than One Perfect Day (Little Heroes) on our trip that we just want the aeroplane to Take Me Back (Noiseworks). After our trip we are left asking is there More Than This (Roxy Music)?

After our trip to America (Simon and Garfunkel) we were only too happy for the plane to Take Me Back Home (Slade).  We went to San Francisco (Scott McKenzie) and visited Alcatraz and then we flew on the Silver Bird (Mark Lindsay) to Florida. On the way into Universal Studios we visited Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet) but we didn't get to Mexico (James Taylor).

I think we need to go Cruisin' (Smokey Robinson) again, for me Cruising (The Rascals) is sorbet for the traveller. Hagalicious and I are contemplating Sailing (Chris Cross) for the end of year break - though when School's Out (Alice Cooper) and the Holiday (Madonna) is upon us they do charge like wounded bulls!

Anyway Don't Worry Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin) I am sure HR and I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor) and will bounce back like a Rubber Ball (Bobby Vee)..........

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Land of the Long White Cloud - the end

We left Dunedin the next day....
We would return to Christchurch for an overnight stop and then fly home via Sydney.

We stayed at the Sudima Christchurch Airport and for an airport hotel it was excellent! Plenty of parking, well appointed rooms and a great restaurant - Acheron - but we'll get to that later.

It was a bittersweet return as we wanted to spend more time exploring Christchurch but, we were at the end of the trip ad we both felt a little sad.

After checking in we decided to go do a little souvenir shopping and off we went to Westfield Riccarton and meandered around. We hadn't had any lunch and dinner was a long way off so we looked or a place to have a cuppa and a snack...we found Theobroma.
Ostensibly a chocolate shop Theobroma also serves beverages and delicious foods - Menu
HR had a hot chocolate which was served in  lovely shaped mug with  warmer under it, HR was so impressed he had to buy the mug and warmer!

I ordered the Honey Dew Green tea - refreshingly delicious.

Now we decided that a proper lunch would ruin dinner so we settled for Pancakes served with ice cream and drizzled with maple syrup.

It was as delicious at it looks!! Totally brilliant choice.

We wandered around some more and then returned to the hotel to repack suitcases and sort laundry before going down to the restaurant for dinner.
I ordered the Seafood Chowder of course and HR chose the Bacon Wrapped Chicken Supreme stuffed with onion marmalade and walnuts / herbed potato rosti, pineapple salsa and pepper corn sauce. I was delighted with my chowder and the chicken kept HR quiet for awhile so it must have been good. Naturally we had NZ Cheese Board Selection of Kikorangi Blue Cheese, Pakari Aged Cheddar & Brie served with assorted crackers, grapes, dried fruits & nuts to finish the meal and once again we were delighted with New Zealand cheese.

We availed ourselves of the delicious buffet breakfast the next morning before heading to the airport.

And so we dropped of the obnoxious as fuck piece of shit' and checked in for our flight to Sydney.
It was with great sadness we left the Land of the Long White Cloud but we have plans to visit the North Island and then revisit the South ......