Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Oscar's new passion is space. He lives, eats and breathes it at the moment so when I saw a fact book on the Moon, with pop-out-and-make Saturn V, lunar module and command module models in it I knew I had to buy it. On Sunday afternoon we read the book together, and I found the video of the original Moon landing on Youtube. He was very excited to learn that his Nanna Beckett had watched the first man on the moon, so when we skyped home that night he "interviewed" her. The next day we built the Saturn V rocket while Rae was out, and are both really looking forward to finishing off the last two models.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Happy Solstice

Depending where you are in relation to the equator, last night was the shortest or longest night of the year. In the UK, where it was the Summer Solstice the temperatures were around 14C. Here in Brisbane we had 24C weather, even though it was the Winter Solstice. What a weird world eh?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Oscar's Big Thrill

Last weekend Rae, Oscar and I spent Sunday down at Sea World on the Gold Coast. It wasn't the best of weather, as the dolphins were as dry under the water as they were above it. Still, we had an awesome time, made better by taking Oscar on his real first "you must be this tall" ride - the Vikings Revenge Flume Ride.

Click on the big pic above to jump to the full video (3:19 long). If you want to skip to his hilarious reaction to the drop just drag the slider to the 3:00 mark.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Driller's Droop

No, we aren't drilling a horizontal well. A spot of preventative maintenance meant that the mast had to be lowered for access.

I expect that we will have to pump a (viagra) pill before things get going again though.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Country Towns, AU

I had to go into Roma (out in central south-west Queensland) today and had the nicest of experiences. Firstly I was in Woolworths picking up some essential supplies and ran short of coins. Before I could blink three people were thrusting 50 cent pieces out to me. The overriding consensus was that money was there to be shared. I felt honoured, and it was only the first of three similar experiences I would have today.

The second came when I went to get a chipped windscreen repaired. Leonna at Roma Windscreens jiggered her workload to fit me in, then drove me back in to town while the work was done and then picked me up to retrieve my ute. When I went to settle the bill it was "Nah darl, that's fine." Lovely!

Then I went to pick up the spare tyre that I was getting replaced at BJs Tyres. The work wasn't done when I got there and the guy explained that he had to order the tyre in, and it would take a week. When I explained that I was uncomfortable driving around the tracks without a spare they found a second hand tyre and fitted it. For free!

How's that for country town hospitality?

Monday, 16 April 2012


Our Mitusbishi Pajero has given up the ghost. A few weeks ago I was driving down the motorway when the engine starting making a more alarming clunk than normal. I just got to my exit and she cut out. I got it recovered and taken to the mechanics - the verdict was not good. We are considering our options: replace the Pajero's engine, find something new to drive or I get the motorbike I've been hankering after.

This morning Oscar asked what had happened to our 4WD and I explained that it’s engine had died, so it had gone to heaven. He laughed and said “No, there’s no such place as car heaven”. Then I told him that TVs and computers go to silicon heaven when they broke down. “No, that’s not real” he said. “But where do all the calculators go?” I asked “Oh” was his reply and he wandered off with a thoughtful look on his face.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Hobbit Saved

Quick update to my last post - public pressure has forced the license owners of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to back down and are allowing the owners to buy a copyright license to save the name of the pub. The fate of the rest of the pub's Hobbity character (interior artwork and drinks menu) is still in question as the license only covers the establishment. There is more on the story over at the BBC website. Thanks to Dad for sharing the news.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

One Pub To Rule Them All

While Rae and I were studying and living in Southampton we often went to a pub in Portswood called The Hobbit. It was a hugely popular venue amongst the university students and our friends - almost an institution you could say. So I was stunned to read today's news that the owners are being legally challenged over the pub's name.

I normally don't advocate Facebook but if any of my 4 readers have Facebook accounts I urge you to join the Save The Hobbit ring.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Road Goes Ever On...

I really can't think of anything suitable to write about our visit to The Shire today. I could tell you that it's easy to find (near a town near Matamata), it's well worth it (picturesque views), truly informative (guides know their stuff) and authentic (set dressing still there) but I'll just post the photos instead.

Having been reading the book for 32 years you can be sure that I was pretty chuffed to pay a visit to the home of Bilbo, Frodo and Sam. There's another 100 photos that may still get posted up - does that give you a clue how much I enjoyed the 5 acres of Hobbiton that Peter Jackson kindly left behind in a quiet corner of New Zealand?

It's our last full day today - currently holed up in Tirau (the corrugated steel capital of NZ) because of the rain. Tomorrow we will head to the caves in Waitomo before trundling back up to Auckland before flying back to Brisbane.

PS - Oscar totally believes that Hobbits are real, but very shy because they didn't come out to see us. Why else would his Mummy and Daddy take him to a field with a bunch of "houses" in it?

Friday, 24 February 2012


Rae, Oscar and I have nipped over to New Zealand for a week to catch up with Dave, Ang and Paige - friends from Balikpapan - before they head back to Canada. I've been wanting to do a bungee for a number of years (even going so far as putting it on my bucket list) and promised myself that I'd save it for New Zealand.

So today, while we were in Taupo (which is in the centre of the North Island) I - and I apologise for the pun - took the plunge as my 40th birthday is fast approaching. Either I closed my eyes for the first drop or I have mentally blanked it out. I'm glad I did it though.