Mum and Dad's China holiday
Mum and Dad are travelling to China with Mum's sister, father, and his partner. So for about two and a half weeks I get to look after the house and pet cockatoo, Con. I am not looking forward to this, but having Andrew and Alissa close by makes it more tolerable now. I'll be able to visit them by bus during the day. Andrew should have a job by then, so I could help Liss handle the kids. I don't want to impose myself too much though, so I won't be over there every day.
Spent most of the day at Andrew and Alissa's again. Spent a while playing hide-and-seek with Sarah, with Zac on my shoulders. Her version of hide-and-seek has more to do with play acting (e.g pretending not to have seen you) than actually finding the other person. She may have picked that up from the way her Dad plays along with her unimaginative choices of hiding place.
Went for a walk down to the edge of Learmonth Park. On the way down I saw the top of a crane. It eventually became apparent it was on the grounds of Kelso Public School. I walked over and saw workers putting up a new hall or gym style building in the top playground. I continued on down the hill and got to see the flood barriers that have been built on the edge of Learmonth Park. That shows how long it's been since I've walked down there. I took some photos and then started on my way back home.
Weâve been getting some good rain over the last several weeks. Weâve seen the reappearance of âLake Learmonthâ as we call it - very large puddles over parts of Learmonth park. There was more rain the last few days and Andrew sent me an email with a photo he had taken at the low Hereford street bridge last night. The water was very high and moving fast. He said he was going to take another look today and asked if I wanted to go along. I wanted to see the high river too and I also had been wanting to photograph the âfour thinkersâ sculpture recently.
We drove down to the bridge from the Kelso direction. I finished the roll of Superia 400 with one photo and replaced it with a roll of HP5+.
We first walked along the farm side as far as we could (the path went under water) before walking back and crossing the bridge to the town side.
I photographed the sculpture and then we checked out the drainage valve/pump station at the back of the showground.
We started walking up the temporary peninsula and came across a small tiger snake. It started moving off and then started swimming. It initially swam kinda upstream, but then turned heading across the river, which then swept it downstream. That was the second wild snake I've seen this year!
We walked on in the upstream direction, eventually coming to the old Denison bridge. We crossed it and had a short rest in the park between the two bridges. Then it was back the same way and home. That was two hours of walking and I was quite sore. I need to do more walking, but in shorter doses.
Mum and Dad drove to a hotel near the Mascot airport in Sydney and Andrew drove the car back. I tagged along, hoping to get some photographs. We wanted to leave around 10 but Mum and Dad stuffed around longer than expected and we didn't leave until about 11:30. Had lunch at Blaxland and finally arrived at the hotel around 3pm. Grandpa and Margaret happened to be arriving at the same time so we said a brief hello before leaving.
On the way back we dropped in at the Hills service depot to get replacement seats for Sarah and Zac's swing set, and a computer retailer looking for printer ink. Then we started the slow process of getting out of Sydney just as everyone was trying to get home. We had dinner at Richmond and stopped to take photos of the view from the lookout just down from Kurrajong Heights.
They were the only photos I took all day, finishing the roll of HP5+. We arrived home about 8:30. For those keeping score - it took us 3Â½ hours to get to the hotel, and 5Â½ hours to get back. If we hadn't left so late (1Â½ hours!) the return trip would have been much speedier and we would have had more time for photos.
My package of new film was waiting at the front door when we got back. I now have 5 rolls each of Velvia 50 and FP4+ in 35 mm, and Pro 400H in 120.
Went and saw Toy Story 3 with Andrew, Liss, and the kids. It was the first movie I'd seen in 3D (RealD). The kids behaved fairly well and the movie was good. We went back to their house and had lunch. I spent the rest of the afternoon there, playing with my niece and nephew.
Ok, there's definitely something wrong with my bum. The aches and pains are getting more persistent and the lump I found last month is back and closer to the skin. I went and saw doctor Enright and he did a proper examination (as much as I normally try to avoid having a man stick his fingers up my bum, it's justified when he's a doctor and there's something wrong down there). He said the lump was detached, moving about freely, and was probably some sort of scar tissue left over from the abscess and operation in March. If it gets worse I'm off to hospital again (he said the surgeons might have a better idea what to do about it), otherwise just wait for it to go away.
Andrew didn't like the thought of having to look after Con (our pet cockatoo) if I went into hospital while Mum and Dad are away. So lets hope I can at least make it that long.
Walked down to the primary school to vote. I took my camera with me and wanted to take some photos, but it was spitting and I didn't want to walk home in the rain. So I hurried to the local shops and home. This election is shaping up to be very âinterestingâ. Lets just hope not too âinterestingâ...
Andrew took me out to a pub with some of his friends. The area out the back was alright, but a band was playing extremely loudly in the front. I followed Andrew and his friends as they went to the front to watch the band, but the sound levels were hurting my ears. I went to the back area and soon Andrew drove me back home. Not a pleasant experience. Is all live music this loud?
Aw crap, a hung parliament.
Took a bus into town, put a roll of film in to be processed. I left it a bit late though and took the 2:50 bus. The buses run every hour during the day, except the whole 3-oâclock âblock', when the buses pick up school kids. So I had two hours to kill waiting for the next bus to take me home.
I walked up to the memorial park in front of the council chambers and courthouse. I loaded my last roll of HP5+ in my camera. I was quizzed by an old, dishevelled man asking what I was going to photograph. I told him âbuildingsâ which seemed to disappoint him. Perhaps he wanted his photo taken? He said other stuff but I had difficulty understanding him so excused myself and walked away.
I started with the Royal Hotel and the council chambers.
Then I moved onto the courthouse. I walked up one of the âwingsâ and into the central entrance. There a man asked if I was a tourist. I said I was actually a local out photographing the town. He told me that cameras weren't allowed past the fence that I had essentially walked around. I didn't see any signs, but I wasn't looking for any either (naÃ¯ve me). He said he was with the media and went on to describe several important court cases that were going on at the time, that jury members could be entering/leaving at any time. He made it sound like I could have caused a mistrial or something.
I followed him inside (after putting my camera away in my bag) and talked to a woman, who talked to someone in a side room. They both seemed to be quite unconcerned about my taking photos so I left.
A little shaken by that experience, I didn't hang about. I walked down Keppel street. I found something I'd never seen before in the 20+ years my family have lived in the area - down near the corner with Havannah street there are the words âINVINCIBLEâ and âFLOURâ on either side of the entrance to the silos. Theyâre made of the cement that form the rest of the pavement, raising a good 10-15 cm. I didnât photograph the words but should have. It's on my âtodoâ list.
Instead I photographed the silos.
Then it was down to my old favourite, the gas works. It would be nice if there weren't power lines running down the street.
And there was an interesting little building (shed?) nearby. Then it was back to the bus interchange to catch a bus home.
Again a bus into town, to pick up my processed photos and then onto Alissa and the kids. Unfortunately, the bus times again caused a delay. See, the first bus into town is scheduled to arrive at x:50 (where âxâ is the current hour), and the connecting bus leaves at x:55. Even if the buses ran on time I would only have five minutes to dash down to the shopping centre, into Big W, pick up and pay for my photos, and then dash back up to the bus interchange. But the first bus doesn't even arrive at the bus stop near my house until x:50 â the actual arrival time at the interchange is more like x:55. So I had another hour to kill waiting for a bus.
This time I didn't take any photos, simply walking around two blocks. But the weather was awful; cold wind with light rain. The walk only took half an hour and I spent the other half just sitting at the interchange.
The bus trip was quick and dropped me near Andrew and Alissa's house. Sarah and Zac watched me from a lounge room window, then opened the front door for me. I had brought an *ahem* DVD of My Neighbour Totoro so I put that on and the kids seemed interested. Andrew arrived home while I was eating the packed lunch I had brought. He ate as well, then it was off shopping with them and I was dropped off home. I ended up spending actually very little time with my niece and nephew or my brother. In future I should try to get out much earlier. And see if I can transfer straight from one bus to the next instead of waiting an hour in between.
Housewarming party! Andrew picked me up about 11:30 and also picked up Dick and his partner (married? dunno) with an esky full of grog. I dumped my bag inside and then started setting up in the back yard. At this time of year, even at midday, the sun only shone on a thin strip at the back of their small backyard. This was where we set up the plastic chairs to sit on.
Zac's favourite new activity seems to be riding his plastic trike down the steep driveway, at break-neck speed, into the open garage. A visiting girl also took to it quickly. It was a regular sound for probably several hours. There were only a few spills.
As the sun set we headed out the front of their place. The kids had fun repeatedly climbing up the embankment and slope at the front of the property.
Then the mischief started. Andrew and several of his friends set up chairs on the median strip in front of the house. At first they raised their beers to passing motorists to try to get them to beep their horns. Some did. Then they found a piece of cardboard to write messages on. The first was simply âJohn 3:16â. That got some funny looks and one guy gave them the finger, which I might have done too if I thought they were young god-bots trying to convert me.
Another piece of cardboard was found and the message âpit next lapâ written on it. This didn't get so many reactions.
to be continued...
Took the bus into town to do some food shopping. Instead of waiting for the next bus home, I walked. It wasn't too bad, except for the hill at the end.