Results tagged “Holidays” from Kazza the Blank One
In case anyone missed me.. I've been cruising the East China Sea .. (see link in Holiday Blogs section).
So we got back on Sunday morning (thanks to Chrissie for picking us up from the airport!!). While we were away they'd had problems one night with the alarm (went off for no good reason, and they couldn't find a spider). There was also a problem with the back door not locking properly - the door has warped a little, possibly from all the humidity from the evaporative cooling, and so can't be locked unless you push the lock up quite hard.
Also, the internet was dead. Something to deal with later.
Went to pick up something for lunch and for dinner.
After lunch I slept for about two hours, the sweetie most of the afternoon.
I had a go at fixing the internet. Rebooting the router didn't help. Nor did rebooting the wifi (not that I thought that would do anything, on account of my pc is wired, and it wasn't even getting an IP address). So I kicked the switch. And everything came back.
My computer got an IP address and got back on the network. But the NAS never came back. Rebooted it. Cold rebooted it. Nothing.
We've had no end of trouble with all the Cisco gear we bought a few years back. The 887 router just couldn't deal with our crappy phone line and would drop out and not come back til it was rebooted. The WAP was pathetic and also kept dropping out. We replaced both of them. Now the switch has crapped out. Anyone have any gigabit switches going begging?
Cooked sausages for dinner and we had a very early night.
And then woke up at 4:30 to the sweetie having a massive diarrhoea attack. He was sick all day the poor thing. I'm guessing a gastro virus picked up at the airport or on the plane. So now it's the ticking time bomb of will I get it too..
Tonight I cooked myself dinner and gave the sweetie rice crackers for dinner.
And then fought with the NAS some more. The thing has two network cables, but neither were giving a link light. Given that the switch had spazzed out, I tried plugging them into a small 100mb switch we had lying around. Sure enough, got link lights and the thing just started working! So now I'm copying photos off the laptop at 100Mb/s (well actually about 9MB/s). I really need to console onto the switch and find out what's up with it.
And we also really need to get our internet fixed. Last night it was practically unusable. It was a lot better earlier this evening, but has gone back to being almost unusable. *sigh*
We had a very quiet day today. After having to socialise Every Single Day of the break, we decided to avoid people. I didn't get much done though, partly because I was feeling a bit blah about the end of the holidays. We did do a bit of gardening though, and had a swim. I cooked a nice big roast pork for dinner, because we missed out on getting much crackling or leftovers at Christmas. Our fridge is stuffed full of food again now, so now the fun part begins of getting through it all :)
Monday would have begun our week off. Except it wasn't really a week off for us. Well not that we could fully relax anyway. But, I did get stuck into the house work I wanted to do. Monday I cleaned out the spare room cupboard and organised everything in there. Had sausages for dinner.
Tuesday I cleaned out most of our bedroom cupboard, although we still didn't find Stu's fitbit. Kit cooked us some ribs on the bbq for lunch which was nice. In the afternoon I cleaned out the ensuite cupboard. Chris and Zac came up for a swim, then Chris Bell came over as well. With Dumpling Inn apparently closed for the break, we did a big pickup from Chong Co instead.
Wednesday I cleaned out one of the kitchen cupboards which had been annoying me for a while. That one is a lot more organised now. Cooked up some pasta for dinner, and we watched Wag the Dog, which seemed a bit far fetched for me.
Thursday morning I didn't really get anything useful done. Went out during the day to Bunnings then to the chemist and had lunch, and finally our food shopping. Did a bit of sorting of stuff in the afternoon. Mum took us to the Labor Club for dinner with Chris and Zac. Had a swim in the pool afterwards.
Overnight I woke up at around dentist time and couldn't get back to sleep til around 5am because I was just too hot. The cooler was working really well before Christmas, but this entire week has been stoopidly humid which means the cooler is pretty much useless. No fair.
So Friday was a slow start. Mum went home, then got stuck into sorting the year's receipts and other such things. In the evening Ben and Serena came over for a swim, and we got pizza for dinner then chatted for a while.
And so now we're up to the last day of the year. I still have a few more bits and pieces I need to blog today. There's *heaps* of stuff on my todo list that I wanted to get done this week but couldn't because it was too hard to concentrate. But at least I have another couple of days left which I might be able to get some of it done. The ftp backup of my blog is *still* going :/ I did manage to do an sql dump of it all though which was good. 123mb, although a huge chunk of that is the search terms that people use on the sidebar. Go figure. Might see if I can delete some of that.
Edit: deleted nearly nine years of activity history, and the sql dump was cut down to 25mb :)
Airgaps in the flights are because A380s walls are so thick it's hard for the GPS to pick up the signal.
So the last couple of days have been busy with more bits and pieces.
Mum went home Tuesday morning, and spent the rest of the day and also Wednesday morning doing "finance" type stuff - downloading various statements, sorting receipts (cross checking bank statements, chucking out the boring ones), that sort of thing.
Went out to feed various cats, then out for lunch, then did our food shopping for the next week.
Got home and Kit asked if we could help her taken Petal to the vet (her car is out of action), so did that, and had a drink at Bentspoke while we waited. Like Wig and Pen it has interesting beers, and would be good to drop in every so often to try different ones.
This morning I've just been blogging the rest of my photos that need blogging.
Still have a lot more stuff I need to do this holiday break, and only four days left to do it ....
So mum was here overnight Christmas night. So didn't really get anything much done Boxing Day morning (we did beat the rain on a walk down to Chris' and raced back up during a brief lull - it pretty much rained solidly all day which was *awesome* for Canberra). Around midday she headed down to visit the little brother in Junee. I built SPACESHIP!! as well as started a jigsaw mum brought down for me.
In the evening Kit and later Ben came up for a while.
Yesterday morning I completely tided up the fish tank corner of the garage. Things had been dumped there for months and you had to climb over things just to feed the fish. Felt so much better to be able to go up to the fish tank without tripping over anything.
I also cleaned the kitchen and then almost completely cleared out the fridge. I pulled everything out except the condiment shelf, cleaned the shelves, threw out some yukky stuff (including something of Potty's that had rotted in sealed plastic cups that once they were out of the fridge expanded and went off with a BANG - it was soooo loud it made my ears ring and I screamed.. Stu put ear plugs in and took the other cup outside and popped it out there), and then rearranged everything back into the fridge in an orderly fashion. Felt so much better to have a clean fridge and be able to find everything again!
Then mum arrived back from Junee so didn't get anything much done after that. Leftover roast pork for dinner.
Today while mum was out and about I spent probably six hours tidying the "workshop" corner of the garage in front of my car. Mostly just organising all the crap that had just been dumped there over the past year or so. Felt so much better to be able to walk around that area of the garage without tripping over anything, and be able to find stuff again.
Also did a wander to feed Doc's cat, and pickup a key to feed Annie's cat.
An ongoing project of mine is scanning photos. At the moment I'm scanning Mum's photos of our trip to Western Australia in 1984. This morning I scanned this photo of the Leaning Tower of Albany - a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in a guy's back yard.
At the time, the tower was two years old - it apparently having been built in 1982.
So the dude who built it, Aldo Scamozzi, is apparently still alive, and still living in the same house. The National Library even interviewed him once.
So I've had a great Christmas break so far. Mostly.
Christmas day was a fairly lazy start after staying up a little too late with Kit on Christmas Eve (I forced them to watch the carols hehe and then we half watched Frozen, oops). Didn't get to Potty's til a bit later than I wanted to, which meant the pork didn't get on til a bit late, which meant it was going to be a late lunch. But we brought heaps of nibbles so ordinarily that would have been fine. But just as we were sitting down to eat lunch everything happened at once. While serving ourselves lunch Annie and the family turned up (it was 2pm and they were meant to arrive after lunch, but lunch was late hrmm), and miss V took that as her cue to open her presents. Next year I'm not putting labels on presents. That'll learn em. Anyway, so instead of a nice relaxing Christmas lunch it was all super rushed and stressful. Grunt. The rest of the afternoon was a bit better though.
George really didn't like his Christmas collar and was so depressed he almost got run over because he wouldn't get out of the way when we came home.
Friday morning I got stuck into my holiday break. Friday and Saturday I had really productive days, getting stuff done around the house, as well as some sorting out of *stuff* and sorting my photos and lots of sorting of Dad's photos.
Annie got me this for Christmas - super cute, goes with the little Neuschwanstein Castle she got me last year.
Cherries at Damien's
Sunday morning was more of dad's photo sorting, then we went over to Damien's for a Thermomix feast lunch. Not a demo as such (he wasn't trying to sell us one), just a fun little banquet of dishes from it.
First he made up some pizza dough.
Then he made a very nice dip of cream cheese, garlic, green onions and parsely.
Then a leek and potato soup
The leftovers of the soup made the base for a sauce that went with this steamed chicken and vegetables
And here's that pizza
And finally a sorbet to finish
So quite a feast in the end!
Afterwards we played a round of the Logo Game, which I won, then came home and did more photo sorting.
Monday and today was primarily photo sorting and a bit of house stuff. And shaking my head over dad's "system" of backups. So much waste.
Here's the "before" pile. The offsite backups, the archives, the working copies, backups of mum's photos, unsorted cds, copies of other people's photos, and an entire large spindle of unfiled duplicates.
And this is everything I'm chucking out. Over four hundred cds :( Such a waste. They would never even have been used either. He would have just burnt them, filed them, and that was the end of that. And I swear about fifty of those cds were from their Gulf Savannah trip in 2007. Sooo many copies of everything. Sigh.
Last night we went to EffanC's for dinner, and after dinner we watched Labyrinth on the big screen (aka their lounge room wall). It was super awesome.
So I've gotten a lot done this break, although not nearly as much as I wanted to. There's still so many things on the todo list. Life is too short. Holidays are too short. Sigh.
Lined up all my holiday piles of paper tonight, dating back to 2008. It covers the length of the dining table. Some are better sorted than others.
But I did find the one million mark note that we bought in Germany on our honeymoon but then couldn't find. So that was good.
Then some tv and jigsaw.
Since I don't post regularly, you might not have noticed that it's been a little quiet around here lately.
Well this time I have a good excuse - I was on the other side of the planet :)
Check out the blog (without pics) here.
After getting home just before midnight, I actually slept fairly well and had a decent sleep-in, so basically back to normal today.
Today I unpacked, did some washing, finished downloading photos and blogging, tidied up and generally caught up with life. The day went entirely too fast!
Tonight we had duck and venison sausages from Eco Meats, but they weren't as good as the last ones we had. Then we watched Harry Potter (on DVD not tv).
So last weekend (well really the weekend before.. sorry, I've been a slacker) we went down to Bermagui for the weekend. We had a slow start and left Saturday morning and didn't arrive till nearly 4pm.
Cheese!! I wanted to stop here and try cheese .. maybe next time..
A crappy photo of the Wallaga Lake bridge, which was recently used as a film set for Angelina Jolie's upcoming movie "Unbroken". The bridge is meant to be in Japan!
When we arrived at Bellbird Cottage B&B we got out of the car and it was all BELLBIRDS! They were peeping all around the bush and it was a lovely welcome!
The B&B is delightful. They only rent out one (very large) room and it's downstairs and has its own entrance, so it's very private and has a wonderful bush outlook.
I was sitting on the toilet for this photo.. :)
On the first evening they bring down a cheese platter as a welcome, so it was lovely to sit and nibble cheese and look at the bush and listen to the bellbirds.
We chillaxed for a while before heading out. Unfortunately we were a little too late for the seaside fair, so we had a wander around Sculpture on the Edge.
This was probably my favourite - it's made with the tops of milk bottles and old bicycle tyres and has solar powered strings of led lights mingled through. I would love to have seen these at night.
Wandered down to the wharf to find some dinner. The cafe was booked out, so we got some fish and chips from the outside servery.
It was about 7:45 at this point, and there were fireworks scheduled for 8:45. It was threatening to storm on us, so we went and found somewhere that we could park with a view of the fireworks. This is the spot we found.
The fireworks were actually really good for a small country town
Had a pretty good night's sleep.
In the morning they brought down a fabulous breakfast with a yummy variety of food. In fact there was so much food we couldn't finish it all, and I packaged up the leftovers for our lunch!
Then it was off to meet up with some people at the beach. It had been raining in the morning and it did look a little miserable to start with, but the weather cleared into quite a nice day.
Came back to Bellbird Cottage and chillaxed and listened to the birds and sipped some wine. Lovely!
Then we met up with J&H and D at Il Passagio down at the wharf for dinner.
A very nice salt and pepper squid
Polenta chips - crispy and yummy
Quite a nice steak
Good panna cotta
The next morning was another amazing breakfast
Saying goodbye to Bellbird Cottage - we hope to be back one day!
Went via the foreshore to hack some portals
Stopped by some cliffs and took photos of birds
Scratching himself on the wing?
Stopped at the rather green Blue Pool.
And headed home via Cooma.
Stu fell in love with this place overlooking a beautiful valley and across to Brown Mountain.
Fred Piper Memorial Lookout. On a clear day you can see the ocean.
Glider south of Canberra
Hume Solar Farm
And then we were home. A bit tired from what seemed like two days of travelling, but it was lovely weekend nonetheless.
Thirty years ago this month our family took a five week holiday to the USA. It was the first of four "flying" holidays that the were the most memorable and exciting of my childhood.
So I created a blog for it :)
I took a combination of my parents' photos and added some of my own memories.
It took me ages to scan all mum's photos at 600 dpi. But I've decided my scanner is retarded. Mum's photos are a bit age-coloured, but not as bad as the scans make it out. I think its colour balance is way off, scanning way too much yellow :(
Dad's slides were scanned thirteen years ago by Dad on a flat bed scanner that wasn't really designed for slide scanning - the pictures are very pixelated. But when you resize them to a max 500 pixels you'd never notice and generally the colour is a lot better in those. Unfortunately with Dad's photos, he put everything in theme and "show" order, which meant things weren't in chronological order, which made it super annoying to try and fit into the nice chronological order that my brain likes! Spent ages and ages trying to figure out where to put his photos so they were in the right order!
And I might have spent entirely too long trying to find the *exact* locations of some of the photos. I may as well have geotagged the whole lot and be done with it! heh
Also, Movable Type is completely retarded, and it won't save the blog to a nice chronological order of entries. So you'll just have to start at the beginning and click your way through. If you even care. I'm suspecting that noone apart from my brother and mother will. The rest will end up as Google Image Search fodder. (Not to mention the blog using the butt ugly "Rainier" theme which came with Movable Type 5.2. I really hate it but don't have the energy to fuss with it).
If anyone cares, here it is:
..Oh, and the guys and work didn't believe it was me in all the pictures - they couldn't believe I could have been so skinny as a kid!
The day after boxing day we made our exit from Sydney. Since we had to be back on the 30th for my cousin's wedding, the options were to stay in Sydney, go home, or have a couple of nights somewhere else. We decided to go to the Hunter Valley.
We let the GPS guide us out of Sydney, and we managed to avoid the most horrible piece of road in Sydney, which is the five kilometres between Gordon and Hornsby, where it's just stop start the whole way. The GPS took us round the north of all that, and it was much less stressful.
It's amazing the number of L-platers that were out. I reckon they should either be banned from highways altogether or allowed to do the full speed limit. Because forcing them to slow down on the freeways just makes everything slow for everyone else.
We decided not to go up the Sydney-Newcastle freeway, opting to get off at Peat's Ridge and take the back way. We mostly had the road to ourself, and it was a much prettier and less stressful drive.
Coming down the valley along the Great North Road was very pretty
Spaceman in a sculpture park north of Wollombi
Cessnock is very pretty at the moment with all the trees in bloom
As it turned out, we probably should have gone up the freeway, because we decided to go out to Minmi, which is right next to the freeway. So it was a bit of a detour, but we weren't in any hurry so that was ok.
Crazy big house on Richmond Vale Road
Caboose in Minmi
I want a liqour shelf like this! Pretty! Popped in here to get a (non-alcoholic) refreshing beverage
Then out to the cemetery to find graves of Stu's rellies
These guys found their own rellies
Then onto the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. A little pricey, but very nice.
Crowne Plaza reception
We got a hotel style room in the main building. There's a tonne of self-contained units around the place that hold quite a few people. They looked lovely, and people were out with deck chairs sipping wine, which totally looked like the life :) They're a bit further away from the main building, and something like $800/night - ouch!
View from our room - not that exciting
What I did love about the place was the abundance of power points. Something like 14 of them around the room, in nice useful places, like right next to the bed. 10 points right there!
Settled in and got ourselves freshened up, then went for a walk around the place
The huge pool. A bit emptier at this point, but it was full of people a little earlier.
Giant chess set (there was a checkers set in the main building too)
Beach volleyball court
Waiting in the Vista Lounge before dinner
The Red Salt restaurant (also the breakfast buffet)
Our view for dinner
We started with this lovely Adina (a local) Pinot Grigio
The sweetie enjoys the wine and the view
Stu's entree. I think this was "Caramelized Tart, of golden shallot and baked locally sourced goat's cheese, witlof salad"
I had "Warm salad of lobster, kipfler potatoes & frisse endive, poached quail eggs & black truffle dressing"
For mains Stu had "Coq au vin free range chicken, braised in Hunter Valley pinot, golden eschalots & smoked bacon, roast garlic puree, fried bread crumbs". This thing was delicious - and look at that huge chunk of bacon! Yum!
I had "Confit duck leg with cassoulet of white beans, lovedale smokehouse sausage & bacon, poached quail eggs". The duck was nice, but too many beans for my taste.
We also had a side of "Sauteed mixed mushrooms with garlic and sherry vinegar (Swiss Browns, Buttons, King Oysters, Enoki)". Omigosh this was so delicious! One of my favourite parts of the meal!
We also had an amazing Rosehill shiraz - so smooth! Yumm!
For dessert we had some Brokenback vintage cheddar (we were too full to eat any more!)
After dinner I was so full I went for a little walk around the place.
Took this nice HDR shot from the entrance area on my phone
We had breakfast the next morning at the resort. A pretty decent buffet of food. Was quite crowded though, even though we were there near the end of service.
At 1pm we piled into a little minbus with a family of Swedish people and headed out on a winery tour (stopping to pick up some other people on the way).
Our first stop was Peacock Hill Winery. This was quite a small winery, and was much like the tours we did at Yass last year with a very small cellar door and crowds of people. I found it a bit stressful, but the lady was reasonably well organised, so it wasn't too bad.
They have dinosaurs, which kept the two little Swedish boys amused
Peacock Hill selection of wines
Yeah being driven around the Hunter Valley tasting wines is a lovely way to spend an afternoon
The next stop was McGuigan's. Having heard of this winery it wasn't surprising that they had a much bigger cellar door. And they have this whole room setup for tour groups that looked pretty amazing.
Tour group wine tasting room
Us at McGuigan's
This cork stool looked pretty cool (but $249 and not particularly practical)
McGuigan's also make and sell cheeses. We might have bought some, but didn't have a cooler bag or a fridge at the hotel.
Sunflowers at McGuigan's
Next stop was the Pokolbin village for chocolate and cheese tasting. The chocolate tasting was ok (half a dozen nibbles of chocolate), but the cheese tasting wasn't really anything special. First you had to find the store that was doing it, then you had to ask for the cheeses to taste. Yeah, not ideal.
I did buy this cute little chocolate penguin from the chocolate place.
Our last stop was Brokenwood. This had a medium-sized cellar door and we sat around barrels to do the wine tasting. We even got to taste a wine which was normally only opened for people paying to taste the wines. So that was very nice.
On the way back we got up close to some kangaroos, which I think all the tourists liked :)
So a very nice (although somewhat expensive) afternoon, with half a box of wines and fortified wines acquired :)
For dinner we went to the Grapevine bar for beer and pizza
This was the "Truffled Mushroom" pizza, which sounded nice on the menu (swiss brown, button and enoki mushrooms, white sauce, confit garlic parmesan, thyme and truffle oil) but was a little bland
This was the "Italian" pizza - pepperoni, capsicum, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, parmesan & chilli, sour cream, thyme and rocket. This was much nicer (I think the sour cream was a winner!)
After dinner the pool was looking nice so I wanted to go for a swim. But a change had come through which made it quite cold. So we didn't stay in long.
So our final day.
First stop (after breakfast at the Scottish Restaurant in Cessnock) was a trip to Morpeth to look for more of Stu's relatives in the cemetery. We didn't find any. Just some harness horses trotting by.
Then to St John's College, only to find the whole place has been turned into a retirement village. So far the historic buildings remain, but who knows for how much longer.
Walking around to the chapel
The organ is still there, but the chapel is now a little community hall
And the garden out the back has a gazebo, and the cross has been removed. A bit different to last time we were here.
And instead of a nice view out to the floodplain, all you can see is houses
So that was all a little sad.
This is the bridge at Hinton
And we found another probable relative of Stu's in the Hinton Cemetery
Next up the sweetie thought it might be nice to head to Port Stevens, and Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay.
As apparently did the rest of New South Wales
It was so crowded it was painful. We didn't stop anywhere along the beachside. Couldn't have anyway - no parking! Just snapped a pic out the window.
We did stop at the lighthouse though (only because a super huge 4WD couldn't fit into a half sized parking spot, so we got it)
Carried on. Shoal Bay was just as crowded.
Eventually ended up at Fingal Bay where we stopped for lunch a few streets back from the beach, where there was actually parking. Fish and chips and potato scallops. Because that's what you do when you go to the beach. Even though we were nowhere near the beach.
So left the craziness behind and headed back to Maitland to meet up with Margie at the Fox Bar. This a nice little wine bar. We had the whole front area to ourselves, but it was only when I went to the loo that I saw the lovely little garden they have out the back.
And finally headed back to Sydney. Would have been uneventful except a horse float overturned on the freeway near Kariong killing two horses and completely closing the road. The GPS saw it coming and we took a detour around it. No idea if it worked out faster (it probably did) but it was certainly less stressful and no stop-start traffic for us.
Finally made it back to my parent's place and crashed into bed