5 Dec 2018

Postman for a Day

Grandma C works very hard at organising our holidays.

When researching shore excursions on our cruise to New Zealand (via Melbourne) last month, though, she found the ones offered by the ship, the  Golden Princess, to be very expensive.

Indeed, some of the shore excursion for a day trip were about $300 each.

Looking for more affordable alternatives on the net, she chanced on this interesting offer by New Zealand Post.

In the little town of Akaroa, on the eastern coast of the South Island, close to Christchurch, the enterprising local franchisee of NZ Post offers rides with the postman as he does his 120 km mail run.
This is the van we travelled in.
On the day we arrived at Akaroa, we took the tender ashore and waited for the mailman to arrive.  Interestingly, there was another couple from our ship who had also booked this tour.
The Golden Princess at anchor on the left, and a Holland-America Line ship on the right.
Another three passengers, from the Holland-America Line ship had also found and booked this ride.

The very scenic120 km mail run took about 5 hours, and we paid NZ$80 each for the privilege.
Decanter Bay - The road on the left hillside brought us to this point.
Delivering a case of wine to a thirsty farmer
Some of the stuff to be delivered
In this location, a number of letter boxes were housed in this shed, protected from bad weather.
Mid morning, we had a tea break with snacks.
Of course, we had the occasional traffic jam
Grandma C, on the beach of a beautiful bay
Beautiful country roads

My GPS track of our meanderings that day
Akaroa town centre
A view of Akaroa town
We were very surprised to learn that 120 cruise ships a year visit this little town.  That's about 2 ships a week.  A great side business for the NZ Post franchisee here in Akaroa.

27 Oct 2018

The Australian Sikh Heritage Trail

In 2016, I blogged about the opening ceremony for the construction of the Sikh Heritage Trail in Adenia Reserve, near where I live.

I used to frequent this reserve with Flemington, but since his death I have hardly ever stopped there in the past few years.
Bannister Creek, on the northern edge of Adenia Reserve
In recent weeks,  I have started taking Ripper there, though, and he appears to love the reserve as much as Flemington did.
Ripper loves getting muddied up
The Sikh Heritage Trail was actually completed quite a while back and consisted of concrete pathways leading to various benches with metal "placards" that describe various aspects of Sikh life in WA.
Concrete walkways connect the various benches and information displays.

Close-up of panel above
One of the benches, under a Sheoak tree (mentioned in the above info panel)
Ripper on the bench.  Note the orange triangle.
The actual cremation site was a 40 metre square of land gazetted for the Sikhs to use.  The orange triangle in the above picture marks the south-west corner and the orange post in the following picture marked the south-east corner.
The south-west corner of the cremation site, as seen from the orange triangle.

Lord of all he surveys!

18 Sep 2018

He's Fired!

Remember how li'l Ripper learned to fetch the newspaper for me each morning?

Last Sunday,  I was a little distracted and forgot to take the paper off him once he brought it into the house, which is something I normally do.

An hour or two later, it was time for Grandma C to read the paper, and it was nowhere to be found.

Eventually, we followed a trail of shredded plastic wrapper and found the chewed up paper out in the front yard.
A trail of shredded plastic

A chewed-up end
The damage, and the shadow of the culprit
Proud of his handiwork - and living up to his name
All is forgiven, as a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do. 

Here's two pics of him enjoying a bone today.
He's found a shady spot out of the Spring sunshine to enjoy his bone

Speaking of bones, over the 6 months or so since we've had him, Ripper has thoroughly explored our yard and we often find him chewing over old, dirty bones which had been buried in various parts of our yard by good old Flemington.

Here's the most recent one Ripper found, another legacy from Flem.

30 Aug 2018

Toodyay Wildflowers

I think we haven't visited Toodyay since the boys were little, but a couple of days ago, we heard that they are having a bumper crop of wildflowers as this August has been the wettest since 1965.
Toodyay isn't too far away, just about 100 km from us.
On the way, we stopped at Noble falls, a little waterfall by the road for Ripper to take a comfort break.

This old mill is what I remember Toodyay most for:
I took a few photos of some of the local buildings on the main street:

And then we drove off in search of the wildflowers.

These pink everlastings were the most spectacular, and we also drove along some tracks to see what else were on offer.
We found these termite mounds along the bush track (our car in the background).

It was a good day trip, and Ripper behaved well.

24 May 2018

My Lucky Find

How wonderful to find a tool I didn't even knew existed, and this tool completely meets my need.

I've been making bak kwa for the grandchildren for over seven years now, and the main difficulty I face in making it is getting the thickness consistent.

Quite by chance one day, I came across this stainless steel rolling pin on YouTube, and then purchased it from eBay.
This rolling pin comes with adjustable raised sides so that I can achieve consistent thickness in my bak kwa slices.
It comes with 2mm, 3mm, 6mm and 10mm discs.

I made batches from both the 2mm and 3mm discs and found that the 3mm disc gave a nice thickness.   After shrinkage post process, you'll actually be eating a slice that's about 2mm thick.

The 2mm disc yielded a final result of 1mm thickness, which we found too thin.

Grandma C also thinks that she can make use of this roller in her baking efforts.
A great buy at about $13.00, from memory.
All rolled out, and ready for the oven.