Thursday, August 28, 2014

It will be an exciting few weeks

The  trip home was on the whole most satisfactory in that I saw my children, grandchildren, ancient brothers and their spouses and Merv and Madge from Singleton.

Both my brothers are living fossils and look like garden gnomes. I am almost there and am getting shorter and more gnome-like by the year. 

I missed people I should have seen but just did not have enough time to get around to them all.

Two weeks in Australia is not enough – but Cate is working to keep me in the luxury to which I am accustomed and – what with all our other global gallivanting – does not have that much time to spare.

The ones we missed will have to be content for another year with my blog - but of course they are welcome to visit us at any time in the jewel of the Midwest.

We apparently have some of the finest craft beers available in the USA and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum has to be seen to be believed. A visit to Bru Burger is a gastronomic sensation. 

We have decided after this trip that we do not want to live in Sydney when we return home. There are far too many people and the traffic is appalling.

Also - nine state members have recently had to stand down from parliament because of corruption charges - and this is unacceptable. 

We in NSW expect our politicians to be corrupt.  It is a long and cherished tradition – indeed why else would they go into parliament. 

But we also expect them to be more circumspect and not get caught so often. Some of our most successful corrupt politicians were not caught out until after they died – this is much less messier and saves the State a lot in legal bills. 

At least they are doing something. I suspect most US politicians are so lethargic that they do not have the initiative to take bribes. The last piece of legislation that went through congress here was the Louisiana Purchase. 

In response to our decision to open our house for the historic homes tour Sissi has started peeing on the dining room rug and the lounge room ceiling has sprung a leak.

It is one of those leaks that will be hard to pin down so we expect that it will bother us for some considerable time. 

Other than that it has been so hot and wet that about 8 million mushrooms have sprouted in the back garden, the grass is so long I will need a combine harvester to cut it a and one of our largest new trees has died.

It will be an exciting couple of weeks while we prepare for the big day. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Why do they make those bags?

Turns out our holiday house in Brisbane did not have wifi so we lost touch with the world for a while. But we did have a fabulous time.

We saw Lenny and Carmenchita and the new baby Yossarian. We also saw the dogs Lenny and Bandit. Lenny bit me as he usually does - this is his way of greeting me - before we became best friends again.

We stayed in a hotel in the Rocks in Sydney with a fabulous view of the harbour. We had our own balcony over the harbour and could have gone fishing if we had been so disposed but we found it more profitable to sit in the sun and drink something cold and wet.

Cate was concerned about the room because there were marks in the carpet indicating that at some stage the room had a coffee table. Cate told reception that she would like it back but they could not find it. I am not sure they tried very hard.

A month or so ago we bought a Tumi backpack which had a PC pouch which folded out so that - so Tumi said - we would not have to take our PCs out of our backpack when we went through security. We first got to test this hypothesis when we were leaving Sydney to fly to Brisbane.

The man said that we had to take our PC out of the bag. Cate - who likes to argue with security people - and I am not sure why because she cannot possibly win - said that it was a special bag in which you could leave your PC. Security man was unmoved and said that the man on the monitor could not examine the PC if it was in a bag.

Cate asked them why - in that case - did they make the bags.

The perfect response from security man was "I don't know love - I am not in marketing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It's not immediately obvious

We have already decided to go back to the Great Smoky Mountains and are planning a trip for next year with our Australian friends Merv and Madge.

There is lots to do there and we will also visit Nashville and take in the Grand Ole Opry. Merv is a big country music fan and dresses mostly like Garth Brooks.

Madge has developed the ability to filter out country music – and most of what Merv says to her.

I am not sure if I mentioned that we are going to Australia next week. Cate for one week and me for two weeks.

The horrifying prospect for Cate is that she will have to deal with the kitty litter – and feeding and watering the cats. Cate will only go near the kitty litter wearing full Hazmat gear and carrying a whip and a chair.

I know that when I am not here she survives mainly on vegemite toast so on the weekend I will make her a batch of chili and a pot of sausage and bean stew. I hope this will give her strength to open tins – empty litter – and give Monika her Whisker Lickin’s every nite.

She will get no peace until she does this.

I am sure the Purina people had a reason for putting the apostrophe where they did. It is not immediately obvious. Perhaps it was composed by the person who did this sign. 
Give me libety or give me deth

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's on our list

We had a wonderful time in the Great Smoky Mountains. Cate nailed the accommodation and it was terrific – with great views.

It was a bit of a struggle getting there and back with about a seven hour drive each way – but it was worth it – although we would not go that far again for just three nights in a cabin.

We found our cabin by heading towards Pigeon Forge – past the Dolly pancake shop and the Dolly motel and the Dolly locksmiths – and turning right into Dollywood lane.

We did not get to see Dollywood – or even Dollywood’s Splash Country – but they are on our bucket list for our next visit.

We did see Gatlinburg – which is quite extraordinary. It is hard to describe but is worth driving through if you have an hour to kill - as the traffic inches along at about 1 mph.

It will take some time for the memory of Gatlinburg to fade from our memories but just in case - we have pinned a note on our dashboard ‘do not go to Gatlinburg again’.

We got to see Clingman’s Dome – which you reach by trudging almost vertically for two miles. This is the highest point in the mountains but we could not see anything because of the clouds and mist. But it was good exercise.

There are some parts which are apparently heaving with bears – but we did not get to them. In any event most of America was in the vicinity and I imagine that seeing a bear would be a bit like trying to get close enough to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

We had our Nespresso machine and gallons of wine – and I made a batch of Chili to take with us so we did not have to go out for dinner.  

In the evenings we sat on our porch in rocking chairs, drank wine and read.