/* Blog goes here */

Surf Lifesaving
Fast Ride
Silver Gull
One Ultramaxi to Rule Them All*
Skandia Docklands Invitational
Went to Williamstown
Australian Open
Chapel Hill "The Vicar" 2001
Competition Track
Secret Men's Business
Gaffers Racing
Weekend Plans
Chicken and Bacon Recipe
Bolte Bridge Sunset
Williamstown again
Happy New Year
Debug stuff
Wed Jan 31 21:00:43 2007

Surf Lifesaving

Weather: still noxious

I finally dragged my sorry carcass back out into the vile Melbourne weather and took my bike for a short, slow potter down to the mouth of the Yarra. It would have been a lovely April day in the UK - cold, force 6, mostly sunny. The UV index is enough to cook a steak in minutes, the wind swirls aroung attempting to blow you over and it's cold. Did we mention that the weather is vile?

On the beach at Port Melbourne, there were a couple of surf lifesaving teams maging the most of the waves to do some training. The sport involves launching the boat into the surf, then pulling hard through the breakers. it looks like bloody hard work.

Surf boat Pull harder!

Just off the beach is a navigation mark that was being used as the downwind mark for a yacht race. The 50-foot competitive ocean racers were rounding at the same time as the smaller boats. Carnage was narrowly avoided.

Spinnaker Drop Hauling to weather

To finish, another fantastic sunset from our flat. We get these most days.

January Sunset Gravitationaly Bound Thermonuclear Fusion System
Tue Jan 30 19:18:21 2007


I'll do it later.

I haven't blogged in ages. This is because there's not been a lot happening. The few things worth mentioning have been covered at the other place. The real reason for the hiatus in bloggery is that I am a master of procrastination. I'm planning to write a definitive guide to it one day.

So, what has been happening? Very little. Australia Day was fun - a Friday Bank Holiday in the summer. The weather was lovely (which was a stunning shock).Tthe beaches were busy, but not nearly as overcrowded as they would be in Europe. We had no difficulty getting a free parking space right by one of the busiest beaches in Melbourne. The swimming pool was full of people in party mood. There was one group who seemed to spend the entire day in the spa drinking beer and chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" at anyone passing (the canonical response is"Oi Oi Oi"). We went for a little bike ride. The weather since then has been depressingly nasty - gales, rain, cold, hot, humid, windy. Often at the same time.

If anything does happen, I'll let you know. Until then, Aussie Aussie Aussie!

Wed Jan 24 22:38:39 2007

Fast Ride

for low values of 'fast'

I took the bike for a little potter this evening. Westgate Park (3.5 miles) took a shade over 12 minutes. I fought on against a brisk headwind down to Port Melbourne, where a roadie passed me at a junction. Imagine his surprise when I bridged back, ground past him and broke his spirit. On a heavier bike. I turned round just south of St Kilda, and cruised back with a gentle tailwind. 20 miles, 80 minutes, 15mph. Secret Men's Business was sailing up under Westgate Bridge as I was there. My bike is faster. Just.

Secret Men's Business sailing up Yarra Secret Men's Business sailing under the Westgate Bridge
Tue Jan 23 00:02:57 2007


at last

Today started out crappy with 100% cloud cover and a threat of rain, just like every day for the past fourteen decades. After a miserable morning, the Bureau of Meteorology came good on their promise and the clouds rolled away eastwards.

We took our bikes down to Westgate Park in the cool afternoon sun. This was the first time that The Other Cyclist had been out since The Incident. Confidence is returning. I hope.

Once the pesky gravitationally-bound fusion reactor had dropped below the horizon, we started scanning the sky for signs of Comet McNaught. There was far too much ambient light until about an hour after sunset, when we first spotted it. Hugs and happiness abounded. I may even have stopped moaning about the weather for a few minutes.

It's a long-period comet from the Oort Cloud, with a ridiculously eccentric orbit. Its period (if it is actually periodic) will be measured in tens of millions of years.

As the twilight faded, it became clearer, and we could see more and more of the tail. It would have been better without Melbourne's ambient light, but it was a magical sight anyway. Before I point you at a treat, you have to look at my pictures. Patience, people.

Thistle flower Thistle flower in the setting sun
Yarra Sunset Moody sunset over the Yarra. A boat's wake is breaking on the shore.

Well done. Now here's your goodie.

Mon Jan 22 01:00:21 2007

Silver Gull

If you take enough shots...

We took over 300 photographs this weekend. Purely by chance, some of them must be OK. This one might not be the best, but I think it's worth sharing.

Silver Gull A not entirely inadequate image.

More (better?) pictures here.

Sat Jan 20 21:34:40 2007

One Ultramaxi to Rule Them All*

*except for unforseen spinnaker wraps

Vile, foul, foetid, putrescent weather. Humidity is around 90%, 28 degrees and raining. We're meant to be happy about the rain. If my teeth are showing, do not mistake it for a grin. So, on to a festival of high-performance sailing.

This is all far-better described by Other People over at the usual place.Well worth a look. I commend it to you.

While I seethe about the toxic, rancid, noisome, putrid climate that is preventing us from seeing the best comet in centuries, have a look at some pictures. Notice the menacing, bullying, repellent sky. And enjoy!

An unidentified tern amongst some cold, miserable silver gulls.

Tern amongst seagulls I'm a seagull. Got a seagull beak. Not a tern at all. See the beak? Seagull beak, that. Proper one. Not a tern. Honest.

Skandia Wild Thing, 30m Ultramaxi, just after rounding the weather mark. moments later, she wrapped her kite.

Skandia Wild Thing Either bear away or dump the traveller, would you? Either will do. Now would be good. As we rounded would have been better, but I know you're all trying your best.

The fifty-footers are half a lap behind the hundred-footer. On the first lap.

Spinnakers Spinnakers

Skandia Wild Thing hauling to weather

Skandia Wild Thing upwind Ten million dollars, going to windward.
Fri Jan 19 23:01:37 2007

Skandia Docklands Invitational

Shiny toys

The yachts have arrived. Secret Men's Business is no longer feeling lonely. Intimidated, but not lonely. Around 20 high-performance racing yachts have joined her in Newquay marina for the Skandia Docklands Invitational series.

We strolled round the marina looking at the yachts. The engineering, style and grace is inspiring. I want to go and play. We were starting to think of the 48-footers as small. When you've been staring at boats like Wild Oats XI (2006 Sydney-Hobart winner) and the vast 30m Skandia Wild Thing, most things look small.

It's about perspective, and fun per dollar. Or fun per ten million dollars.Who's winning here?

Maxi Yacht Wild Oats X1 Big boat, little boat

I still want to play. Anyone need a sheet-trimmer?

Wed Jan 17 21:00:23 2007

Went to Williamstown

Should have gone to Port Melbourne

The weather in Melbourne has gone from 40 degrees and sunny to 25 degrees, grey, wet and miserable overnight. This is normal. After work (and shopping) I took my bike over to Williamstown. There was a strong headwind all the way. Since the route is semicircular around the bay, this is impossible. There were some boats racing downwind towards the mouth of the Yarra.

Spinnakers off Williamstown On to the leeward mark

If I'd followed the other bank of the river and gone to Port Melbourne, I'd have had a better view, and been closer to home when the rain started.

On the plus side, nobody passed me today and the new GPS is working fine. On the down side, 100% cloud cover, so no chance of comet-spotting. Poot.

Tue Jan 16 23:35:43 2007


Many happy wasted hours

This is how I've been wasting my time for the last couple of weeks. My (current) character is a Night Elf Warrior. Few brains, but jolly good at hitting things. Other People provide the thinking capability. I can hear the sounds of wholesale massacre as I type. Time to slaughter some more innocent creatures from the pits of damnation. Or something. Swords will be involved.

Night Elf on Hippogryph Smite.
Mon Jan 15 22:26:32 2007

Australian Open

Spiffing tennis

It's the first day of the Australian Open, so after work we hopped on a tram and pottered over to Melbourne Park to see some tennis. Yet another sport at which the Brits have no chance whatsoever. We managed to bag some excellent seats in the Margaret Court Arena.We were treated to a knock-down drag-out five set, three hour monster of a match. The Swedish chap won.

The atmosphere was fantastic. There was singing, chanting, shouting, mexican waves and fun with inflatable beach balls (much to the annoyance of the officials).

There'll be pictures in the usual place. Off you go!

Sun Jan 14 22:24:46 2007

Chapel Hill "The Vicar" 2001

More prizes than you can shake a stick at

With this many awards, it's got to be good.

Chapel Hill Wine Also, a sunset.

First impressions are promising. If I actually get round to proper bloggage today, there may be tasting notes.

Sun Jan 14 22:14:05 2007


One of the few animals I've never eaten

Camel rides were on offer at the market. Even when giving rides to children, a camel's pure raw superciliousness is overwhelming.

Camels Best served roasted
Sat Jan 13 21:31:46 2007

Competition Track

Wheeee! Zoom! Whoops! Ouch!

Roused untimely (well, around tennish actually) from my slumbers, I felt a fraction on the fragile side. Steeling myself for duty, I boiled the last remaining egg for Other People. Unable to construct a dayplan myself (owing to lethargy, lassitude and a throbbing pain in the temples), a plan was presented, fully formed and perfect.

Since The Crash, I haven't even mentioned trails to The Injured Party. Consideration itself, I have been. Proving, once again, that I am the most fortunate person alive, the plan involved trails. Lysterfield trails.

We stuffed my bike in the back of the Toorak Tractor, leaving The Other Cyclist's machine safely garaged, and drove to Lysterfield. I soothed my troubled brow geeked with my GPS while the actual driving was done. Beer fumes, you understand.

On arrival, I reassembled the velocipede and pointed the front end at the nearest hill, while The Photographer went for a stroll around the lake.

My GPS can measure altitude to an accuracy of about ten metres (it claims). I started at 76m, and went up. The start of the competition track is at 135m. I was feeling a lot better by then. The best cure for a hangover is water and violent exercise. I am told.

The competition track is six kilometres of varied single track - wild swooping descents, switchback climbs, sections of elevated boardwalk and rocky traverses. It's wonderful.

This is the first time I've ridden the whole thing. I stopped three times - twice to take photographs, and once because, um, well....

OK, I was riding a technical ascent. Very technical. Honest. Not totally trivial at all. The final bit was a short climb after a turn, hopping up onto a granite outcrop. Ah Ha! I say, my tyres will stick to that like glue. Point, power on, sloooow...crunch goes my copious arse, as it hits the rock. Whoops.

The descent from the top (216m) was astounding. The climbs were wonderful. Every trail I find at Lysterfield makes me a better, faster, more bruised rider.

Before you blow your bandwidth budget on my piss-poor pictures, see what The Talented Photographer did today.

Trail A trail through the woods
another trail Another trail.
Lake through trees The lake's there somewhere.
Lake through trees It's still there. Honest.
Lysterfield Valley Altitude: 216m. Plan: Plummeting descent. Guts/Brain Ratio: High.
Wed Jan 10 22:31:34 2007

Secret Men's Business

and jellyfish

Today, for the first time in weeks, the weather was actually pleasant. 36C, force 4 breeze, blistering sunshine. To celebrate we strolled along the waterfront to the pub, and ate dinner outside.

A racing yacht was moored a few metres from our table. She's called 'Secret Men's Business', and is just back from Hobart. She was 10th across the line, and 4th in her class of 12 (IRC division C).

Secret Men's Business Just in from Hobart
View along waterline Signs of hard beating on port tack
Racing yacht cockpit Huge working area.

The water in the harbour was soupy with jellyfish when I took the pictures. An hour later, they'd disappeared. Who can fathom the minds of cnidaria?

Jellyfish Cnidarian
Tue Jan 09 23:26:23 2007

Gaffers Racing

Ware gybe...

I stopped off at the mouth of the Yarra on my ride today. There were some Old Gaffers racing. The leeward mark was between me and Port Melbourne, so I watched them beating back towards Williamstown. About a force 4 southerly - very light for here.

Gaffer Race Gaffer race
Old Gaffer Working hard upwind

Even after the heavy rain in Gippsland over the weekend, the fires are still raging. The city was draped in smoke again today.

Smoke Haze over Melbourne Smoke haze again.
Mon Jan 08 00:13:18 2007


Mountains and Rain

Waking up to more howling gales, we decided to go to Marysville anyway. At some point, optimism must triumph. We left the house early, and by noon were beyond the Eastern Freeway, heading for Lilydale - a place far prettier in name than substance.

Past Healesville, the road started to climb.. And climb more. I stopped making glib comments, and wondered just how much it would hurt to climb this on my bike. At about 700m above sea level, the dark grey clouds touched the ground. Fog, mist and drizzle. Excellent planning from the Senior Navigator led us to Steavenson's falls.

It was about 20C and drizzling when we left the car. A couple of minutes later, the temperature dropped five degrees and the rain started. It was the first real rain we've seen in months. Great, plashing lumps of liquid water smashing on my bare head. I'd lent my hat to those in greater need. The waterfall is beautiful. The stream follows several paths down a sheer wall of moss-covered rock. I was a little more focussed on the water falling on my head than the waterfalls, so others took the pictures.

The drive back was lovely, long and twisty. If you enter a corner a few kph too fast, you get to experience plummeting death. I stuck to the speed limit.

The pictures are over there. Go and have a look.

Sat Jan 06 01:53:49 2007

Weekend Plans


This is the plan for tomorrow. Scenery, hills, mountains. With any luck, not too many fires. Or crashes.

Thu Jan 04 23:14:34 2007

Chicken and Bacon Recipe

Culinary Success

After the triumph of my Bechamel sauce, this evening we decided to take it a little further. For my own future reference, here's what we did:

Oven on, peel spuds, stuff in pan, bring to boil.

Toss chicken breasts and bacon in olive oil. Realise you've forgotten to put potato roasting dish in oven. Fix.

Don't touch the potatoes.

Slice some mushrooms. Fry them up a bit. Add to dish with chicken in it.

Melt butter. Remember you need to shave the Parmiggiano Reggiano. Take butter off heat. Hope it won't be ruined. Shave cheese - NB - this does NOT mean remove hair from cheese. Hairy cheese is better consumed with port.

Leave the potatoes alone.

Heat back on butter. add flour. Make paste. Add some milk. Then some more. Worry about the potatoes. Ignore them.

More milk. Looks like unfeasible quantity of roux. Consider discarding some. Don't.

Keep your hands off the potatoes. Add more milk. Lovely, smooth, creamy Bechamel sauce. Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and most of the shaved cheese. Let the cheese melt.

POTATOES!!!! Almost soup. Just saved them. Pour in hot oil in roasting dish. Cover with oil. Put in oven.

Pour sauce over chicken and bacon. Place in oven. Wait 40 minutes.

Turn the potatoes at twenty minutes. Some Chardonnay, I think, and you're done. Delicious. Just don't tell your cardiologist.

Thu Jan 04 02:14:29 2007

Bolte Bridge Sunset

Pub food

The Night Market was large, crowded, noisy and a fine source of tourist rubbish. We didn't stay long. Food at the pub was excellent. Sunset was exceptional. Other People took some pictures. I was allowed to keep this one:

Bolte Bridge Sunset Sunset behind the Bolte bridge.
Wed Jan 03 01:00:33 2007

Williamstown again


World of Warcraft is eating my life. I took the bike over to Williamstown again after work and before play. Herewith pictures:

Timeball tower Williamstown Timeball Tower
Melbourne Skyline with car carrier Melbourne from the West, including the world's ugliest ship

I was passed by three roadies on the way over. Not pleased. Drank almost three litres of water during the hour-long ride. I was probably a bit dehydrated to start with. well, that's my excuse.

Tue Jan 02 09:16:47 2007

Happy New Year


Happy new year.

After the Unfortunate Incident with Cuthbert, I needed to redeem myself in the kitchen. I did. We had pork steaks with the best bechamel sauce in the world ever.

Also, check out the new post over there.

Mon Jan 01 00:35:53 2007

Debug stuff

This will never appear


email BurbleChaz

Last modified: Thu Aug 31 22:46:12 AUSEST 2006