the returneth

Guess what? I wasn’t here. I was here:

I know. It sucks to be me. This is the Queen Charlotte Sounds, at the top of the South Island in New Zealand. Mr. T’s grandmother has a bach here (a holiday house, a crib, a shack, whatever your parlance may be) since about the 40s or 50s:

And we decamped with his family for a few weeks, including his ratbag twin nephews, as per below:

If you ever get the chance to go to the Sounds, do so. This particular bay is only accessible by boat, so you’re pretty much stuck doing nothing. I know, it’s terrible. There was wildlife everywhere, particularly wekas and other similarly unafraid ground birds:

I know that’s not a very good photo of the weka, and that’s because if I zoom out a bit you can see The Twinado approaching it at a very high speed:

We had fun. It was a good break. Well, maybe not for that weka.


Oh hai! It was a long weekend here in Victoria (Labour Day, or something… I don’t really care as long as I don’t have to work on Mondays) and we went bush. We had a wedding to attend, deep in fire country.

Bushfires are capricious and temperamental things. Often as we drove, one side of the road was completely burnt out, while the other side was calm and green. On this particular stretch, the canopy on both sides was intact while the trunks and ground were charred black. The fire jumped the road, or stayed on one side, or both. Houses were lost in this area (but no lives). The wedding was held at the groom’s parents’ farm, and they had beat back the fires from their boundaries. The wedding itself was held in the garden which was in perfect condition, through their determination to save it. But turn 180 degrees, and not 50 metres away a sea of black trunks and dead leaves stretched away up the hill.

We arrived early and set up camp before the wedding, in the top paddock on charred ground where the ground was hard and dusty and tiny crickets jumped everywhere. As we were blowing up our airbed with someone’s air compressor, we both felt uneasy. Something was wrong. What was it? Mr. T figured it out… it was the airbed. Our airbed was red! And this airbed was blue! Which means… this airbed was our OLD airbed, which was replaced by the red airbed because… oh it’s all coming back now… the blue airbed was badly punctured. Yes. It’s all so clear now, three hours from home. We blew it up anyway and hoped it would hold.

This is the next morning. We haven’t taken the plugs out yet. Luckily for me, I am much smaller than Mr. T and all the air that was in the airbed came my way as he sunk gracefully to the ground. Unluckily for me, there was nowhere near enough air to sustain me all night and all too soon I was grounded also. Thankfully our sleeping bags are quite fluffy; but sleeping on the ground is not part of the Fun Of Camping. In my opinion.

After the wedding we drove further down the coast and camped at Bear Gully, in Cape Liptrap Coastal Park. Beautiful, and no bears. UNLESS YOU MEAN….

Koala bears! I have been in Australia for seven years and camped all over Victoria and this is my first wild koala. Very excited that it was such a fat, juicy specimen as this. We also saw heaps of birds and some ring-tailed possums (I like the ringtails, it’s just the brushtails which must DIE DIE) but I’ve seen lots of those. Not quite so close, and not quite so interested in my dinner, but lots.

How was your weekend?


Hi! It’s me again. And my laptop woes are over . O-V-E-ahhhhh. Because, of course, I have a new one. The other laptop ended up breaking on me three times. THA-ree. Turns out third time is the charm… or, not the charm; rather, third time is the point where I throw a fit and whine and order a new laptop from Dell. It’s green. It’s extremely green. I’ll post photos when I’m ever home during daylight hours to take any. It has Windows Vista on it, which went well right up until the point where I restarted it and the whole thing hung with just the mouse cursor visible on a black screen. Um, perhaps I shouldn’t have buggered around with the C drive quite so much? The System Restore point took me back to JUST before I installed all the programs I wanted, which means I keep thinking I have something installed only to discover I had System Restored back before it happened. Like time travel, but more aggravating. (Did everyone else know that Firefox has an FTP program as an add-on? I am wildly excited by this. I love you Firefox!) Regardless, Vista is pretty, especially if I overlook the fact it is consuming 53% of my RAM just by sitting there and batting its eyelids.

So the hard drive from the Snapped Laptop is apparently irretrievable. My geeks started talking about kernels or platters or something, which made me think of corn on the cob and I stopped listening. Suffice it to say that if I want those months of photos back, I have to pay someone large amounts of money to go into its guts, and really my photos aren’t that good. Also I’m lazy about getting photos off the memory cards, so I have most of my gaps covered. I am still pissed off about losing the “before” house photos though. It looked so much worse than now! Honest!

Shake-shake-shake, shake-shake-shake, shake your booty (shake your booty)
See? I still have these photos from the long weekend in June. Suck it, dead hard drive!

We remain on our busy renovation schedule, currently deeply involved in the “ignore it and just step over it until you stop noticing it” phase. The electrician has removed the extraneous wall light that I claimed was the reason I wasn’t finishing painting the lounge. The new taps and toilet seat are sitting on the floor of the bathroom. The one thing we did get done was installing the heated towel rail, because damp towels when you’re getting out of the shower sucks. Powerful sucks, even.

This is not my dog. This dog completely ignored my dog, waiting only for us to throw sticks or rocks into the water for her to chase. My dog in turn completely ignored this dog and indeed all the sticks and rocks, in favour of swimming aimlessly in circles.

My sister came to Melbourne for a week and bought the whole place out. Sorry, for anyone else who lives here or wants to visit here and had the idea you might like to do some shopping. The whole place is squashed into a suitcase and back in New Zealand. We also went to Wicked, which is the new musical here based on the Wizard of Oz. I really liked it, and even Mr. T didn’t actively hate it. (I made him go). It officially opened in the weekend, yet I saw it two weeks ago, because for some reason those two weeks of performances Didn’t Count. Also I didn’t know that many Australian Idols were in it (Millsy! Anthony Callea! Rob Guest! …wait, something is not right) but I did wonder what all the frantic clapping was. I just thought they had lots of friends in the audience.

Throwing rocks for the dogs. Sometimes AT the dogs; not on purpose, but due to 4-year-old coordination skills. Which are around about the level of mine. I tried to skim stones and just about gave myself a hernia, so don’t look to me for your stone throwing techniques.

All this typing and my hands aren’t clutched into claws! There is something to be said for laptop screen hinges. And that something is: They are useful. Don’t break them.