February 2007

On the first weekend of the month, we went on an “Advanced Rider Awareness” course, run by Honda Advanced Rider Training (HART) and subsidised by the Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT. It was just brilliant. All about looking wider in a “search pattern” for potential hazards, being able to analyse those hazards and translate that into early reactions like setting up the brakes, so that you have half a chance of stopping in time if that car does decide to pull out in front of you. Within half an hour on the road, I realised that I had never seen so many hazards out there. Just the boost of confidence that I needed to get back on the bike. We went out through the suburbs, on back roads, on some really “snotty” roads and back on sone very fast roads. A great day out, but very exhausting. Sorry, no photos, we were too busy staying upright!

From Seattle.

Latest news on the property front: The house being built in Bentley, a suburb of Perth, is due for completion on 15 March and Simon & Lisa are due to move in around the end of March. Our total price is around $270,000 and it’s already valued at $390,000! Meanwhile in Kalgoorlie, the property is now finished and our house in the complex already has a tenant in it at $350 a week. This one is costing us $215,000 and is valued at $270,000 and we have received an offer for $278,000. I returned the agent’s call and laughed at her (nicely of course). Thanks to our friend Mary, we have re-financed all of our properties through AMP Banking and will be looking for another one as soon as the Bentley one is finished, the progress payments are out of the way and we can put that one through AMP as well. By then, our portfolio will be worth well over a million dollars. Not bad from starting with using the $20,000 from my father to buy the first one at $131,000 about 10 years ago.

Heh heh.

We have acquired a swing hammock thingie.

I went on the ORGANised Walk here in Canberra.

As I recall, this little guy is an organ recipient.


Early morning lightning and bird sounds.



April and the troops are here. Saturday morning, the sun’s not up yet, waiting for a taxi that our taxi driver mate had supposedly ordered for us. At 10 minutes past the booking time, we pulled the car out, drove to the airport and put it in the long stay car park, which was going to be cheaper than the taxi fare anyway! The shortest flight to Sydney I’ve ever had – we went directly to Sydney airport and joined the left circuit, turning hard right once, then hard left twice and straight in. Then the trains were closed for track repairs, so we had to catch a taxi to the International terminal. And wait for the troops to get through Immigration and Customs (of course).

Then wait again for the hire car to be brought around from the Domestic terminal. Finally on the road, stopped off at the nearest shopping centre for some essentials (like nappies) and then off towards the coast.

We stopped at Stanwell Park for the view,

then went down and over the road over the ocean, then stopped at the Kiama Blowhole,


gave Pebbly Beach a miss because it was raining and went straight to Murramarang Resort.

As Pip said later, “Welcome to Australia, we’re in severe drought and we apologise for the rain”.

Sunday – backtracked to Pebbly Beach, where there were NO wallabies. They’re ALWAYS there! Good fun on the beach though, and Julie managed to push April over in the water. Cold water too, but still not as cold as Puget Sound.



Visited the tourist town of Mogo before heading for home. All 4 of the kids have had a go at driving on the wrong side of the road, with varying degrees of success.

Monday – Visited Telstra Tower, took a look at Government House from a distance, then Parliament House and the Mint.


Tuesday – a down day for the boys, while the girls went out looking for scrapbooking stuff. And I’ve come down with a cold, so they all went out shopping for a while to let me rest. Another big storm tonight too, with some heavy rain, but still nowhere near enough.



Wednesday – we learned that said storm last night really hit the Civic area and has been described as the Storm of the Decade. I stayed home again to rest and go to the doctor while the troops went to the Zoo and on to Regatta Point to check out the Water Jet.





Duncan has managed to endear himself to both of us – me because he has just accepted me at face value, Julie because he has puked in her hand, left a grape in her purse (which she finally found 3 days later) and then later that evening, being without his nappy on ready for his bath, was discovered playing with some play-dough that looked suspiciously like the other nugget already on the floor, proceeded to drop it on the floor to have Datsun eat it. Must’ve been REALLY tasty! To understand the first part of this story better, you need to know that Julie absolutely hates getting her hands dirty – making a meat loaf is pure hell for her!