Thursday, August 21

My Birthday Holiday to Sydney

Back a few months ago I planned to celebrate my birthday with a trip somewhere.  I thought of Tasmania (I have never been there), Darwin (I have been but would like to spend more time there) but in the end I chose Sydney.

We lived here on two occasions many years agao - but each time it was with small children so I had little chance to see all around.  Some years later with my daughter and granddaughter we came back for a few days.  I wanted to have a good look around!!!

And so it was that I flew here yesterday (Wednesday 20th August) - caught a shuttle to the hotel (Pensione Hotel) and after booking in, went for a walk around the area.  I booked at the Pensione because I like the Melbourne Hotel of the same name, and when I saw it on the map I realised it was within walking distance of many great places here.

On my first day I went to the markets - Paddy's - nearby, and had a wonderful time wandering around in and out of shops etc.  

Today (Thursday 21st) I walked right into the city - in fact to Circular Quay and caught a ferry to Manly.  I had a giggle to myself - it cost only $2.50 return - there are benefits in getting older!!!

Walking on Circular Quay

Passing the iconic Opera House

A bit further away

Manly Wharf

After arriving at the Manly Wharf I walked along the Corso to the sea and sat for a while.  The sun ws shining and it was a delight.  

I don't recall that I have every walked through the Corso in my previous visits to Sydney and Manly - at least I have no memories of it.  

It was a lovely day really - well, at least when I was in Manly.  I did pop into a few shops but didn't buy anything.  I just wandered exploring.  

Inside St Matthews Anglican Church at Manly

Sunday, August 17

I met Jack the Cockatoo at Penrose Park, Silverton, NSW, in 2012 not long after I started my round Australia journey.

He dances and then goes down into the hollow of a tree trunk.  Funny Jack.

Saturday, August 16

English Conversation Progam in China

Chinese students need more “conversation” experience – which is why a university in Shaoxing is considering a new program where native English speakers visit the university and spend time speaking with students.  It may be that a formal program will be developed (more information on that later), but initially I am interested to find anyone interested in participating in the program.  While ESL experience is welcome, it is not necessary – just the ability to converse on a range of topics which may include general health, public speaking, creative writing and other topics.  

Read about Shaoxing here.  (It is roughly south of Shanghai)

Participants will need to pay their own transport costs to and from the university, their own Visa and travel insurance – but will be offered free accommodation and meals on the campus.  It will enable you to explore China on the 3 or so days when you will not be required on campus.  Similar programs operate in parts of Europe.  The city is a very interesting historical place and has many interesting places of interest and is not far from Shanghai and Hangzhou.  It is possible to visit places like Xi’an or Beijing for a weekend or before or after the program. 

There is a possibility of a trial run of the program in October/November, and then in April/May 2015.

(Travel, Visa and Travel Insurance would be approximately $A2,000.)

Also they are keen to hear from anyone who wishes to teach English at the university – however, to be considered for this you need to be under 60 years of age (Chinese government  requirement apparently, and have a university degree.)  Semesters start in September and February and 6 or 12 month contracts are available.

If you or anyone you know is interested please send me a message or leave a comment, explaining which program you would be interested in, and when, and I will send further information.  

Sunday, August 10

Beachmere - a Hidden Gem.

It is around 50 kms north of the CBD of Brisbane, but when you are in the seaside township of Beachmere you could be worlds away from civilisation.  Driving along the fairly narrow Beachmere Road from the M1 to Beachmere it is hard to believe that the city is so close - for there are horses, cows and goats on both sides of the road.  You get to feel like you are really in the country.

The Caboolture River does a few lazy twists and turns and makes itself visible along Beachmere Road, and at the moment it looks to be a mecca for fisherfolk who are there most days, especially at high tide.

The village of Beachmere - the shopping area is more than adequate for the locals - with a tavern, an IGA, a BP Servo, and a range of other stores as well.  Pretty well catered for  but it is not far to Caboolture and Morayfield and more shops if you want.

The beach is hidden too - though access is from a small park at the end of Beachmere Road, with  recently built stair down to the beach.  A great place for children to play in the sand.  At high tide the water laps at the endge of the white sand, but at low tide there are many shallow pools of seawater and if you are there at the right time millions of tiny soldier crabs run hither and thither along the edges of the pools, and if frightened talk little time going in circles digging their way into a hiding spot below the sand.

The birdlife on the water front is interesting - not only seagulls, but an array of other birds wandering through the shallows in search of food.  As the seawater retreats it leaves amazing patterns in the sand.

One can walk along the beach (to the left of the stairs) at most times, but at high tide there's a few big pools that need negotiating if you wish to walk to the right.

At the end of Moreton Terrace there is a park (complete with BBQ, and toilet block as well as a dog park - but many folk choose to go there at low tide and let the dogs run on the sand and in the water.

These photos were taken at low tide around 4 pm on August 10th, 2014.  Just beautiful.

At the end of Moreton Terrace

Horses enjoying a swim

Swamp at the end of Moreton Tce

Birds are a-nesting.

I had to go to Brisbane via Morayfield Shopping Centre to return something at Coles, and I took the short cut from King Street, behind the shops onto Morayfield Road and was most surprised to see the hundred, perhaps thousands of birds nesting in the trees.  

Later on in the day with camera in hand I stopped on Esme Street and took the following photos.

Mostly it is ibis, with so many apparently nesting on the ground, while other birds are in the trees above.  

Also there were pelicans that appeared to be nesting too.   Quite a sight!

(The birds are roosting between King Street and the Caboolture River - near the lake that looks like a boot or an old telephone, but there are probably many roosting areas in the neighbourhood.

Friday, August 8

Memories - Colonel Bogey March

I heard this played on the ABC this morning and it bought back memories.  I didn't know the story behind it, but I certainly recall it from my childhood.  It was a popular piece for large events - I can recall bands playing it and me (and others) marching.  Even today I marched (for a few minutes!!!) to it.

From Wikipedia.

"The "Colonel Bogey March" is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts (1881–1945), a British Armybandmaster who later became the director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth.

Since at that time service personnel were not encouraged to have professional lives outside the armed forces, British Army bandmaster F. J. Ricketts published "Colonel Bogey" and his other compositions under the pseudonym Kenneth Alford.[1] Supposedly, the tune was inspired by a military man and golfer who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase (a descending minor third interval About this sound Play ) instead of shouting "Fore!". It is this descending interval that begins each line of the melody. The name "Colonel Bogey" began in the later 19th century as the imaginary "standard opponent" of the Colonel Bogey scoring system,[2] and by Edwardian times the Colonel had been adopted by the golfing world as the presiding spirit of the course.[3] Edwardian golfers on both sides of the Atlantic often played matches against "Colonel Bogey".[4] Bogey is now a golfing term meaning "one over par".  "

I found another recording of it - by Mitch Miller.  Boy, that brings back memories too.  I remember listening to his music too, and I loved it.  He did the music for "Bridge over the River Kwai"

This text was from Youtube.  

"Uploaded on 7 May 2009

RIP Mitch Miller!  He died 99 years old.

Mitchell William Miller (July 4, 1911 - July 31, 2010) was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&amp:R man and record company executive.  He was one of the most influential figures in American popular music during the 1950's and early 1960's.

In the early 1950's Miller recorded with Columbia's house band as "Mitchell Miller and His Orchestra". He also recorded a string of successful albums and singles, featuring a male chorale and his own distinctive arrangements, under the name "Mitch Miller and the Gang" starting in 1950.  The ensemble's hits included "Tzena, Tzena, Tsena", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", and the two marches from The Bridge on the River Kwai.  "The River Kwai March and Colonel Bogey March"

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a British 1957 World War II film by David Lean; based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai by French writer Pierre Boulle.  The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942-43 for its historical setting.  It stars Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Hawkins and William Holden.

In 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry. 

Two prisoners of war are burying a corpse in the graveyard of a Japanese World War II prison camp in southern Burma.  One, American Navy Commander Sheers (William Holden), routinely bribes guards to ensure he gets sick duty, which allows him to avoid hard labour.  A large contingent of British prisoners arrives, marching defiantly whistling the Colonel Bogey March under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness).

A memorable feature of the film is the tune that is whistled by the POWs - the "Colonel Bogey March" when they enter the camp.  The piece was originally written in 1914 by Kennel Alford "   (Note this differs from the information above). "

If you want to listen to/see the Mitch Miller version - click here.

Beachmere Protest

A former mayor of the area says it was the biggest meetingin Beachmere that she can recall.  The locals arrived in force at teh Beachmere school for a meeting to discuss the Draft Moreton Bay Regional Council Planning Scheme which has the locals "up in arms".

The draft plan was only released recently and the time for consultation with the locals ends on August 15th, but there has been little or no consultation.  The local councillor has been off sick for some time, and some locals have met with the local council, but there are still concerns.

It is essentially about the flood risk - and a huge area of Beachmere which has been listed as high flood risk area - places that have never seen flood.  In these areas people who have property, or who will purchse property will be very limited in what they can do with the property as essentially any new buildings or developments will not be given approval.

In "my" street - some of the houses are in a high flood risk area - but as I write this building is proceeding with houses - in fact five or six new houses are being built in the street at the moment (? a rush by developers to complete the buildings before the new regulations come into being).  Why would anyone want to buy (or rent) in an area which is listed as high flood risk?

If it goes ahead without changes - Beachmere is in big trouble.  No one will want to move here - and locals will be restricted.

The strange thing is that much of the area listed as high risk flood has not flooded before - certainly old time residents cannot recall any such flooding.  There is low lying swampy area which floods and on rare occasions when there is heavy rain and high tides some areas have flooded, but in general it is not a problem.

Beachmere needs more development - not less - for its future - so this is causing great concern.