Tuesday, December 4, 2012

End of days .....

Hi All! Finally feeling well enough to put up a post even if it is not a pleasant one.

I am definitely unwell - Sarcoidosis effecting both lungs has resulted in complete respiratory collapse, congestive cardiac failure, pneumonia and advanced asthma. Just had 3 weeks in Calvary Hospital, Canberra, and now back home on "Home Oxygen" 24/7. Specialist says to sort out my affairs and make an appt. to see him in 3 months (nice way of giving you a 'time-line'!) 

Cannot eat - have lost 15kg (over 2 stone) in 3 weeks - Rhonda and I are making 'Life adjustments with a spirit of inevitable denial - we know what is coming. Grandsons coming down Saturday to see "Pa!" - guess that'll be their last Christmas with "Pa"!

Guess you won't see many more posts on here from me but when up to it I'll try to manage a few words. When the day arrives I'll have my daughter, Kat, put up a final message.

I really don't know what else to say this afternoon - we are going to fight this 'thing' for every hour and day we can claw back from it.

Must go for now, too tired to write more today but will post again. Have arranged for our daughter, Kat, to put up the eventual final post! Pain hurting, must go!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Been ill and in hospital

My apologies - I've spent the previous week in Calvary Hospital (Canberra ACT) with pneumonia (among other things) and will be out of action for another week or so while I recover at home.

Hope to put up a few posts over the coming days!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Georgia Girl

How embarrassing some people can be!!!

It must be quite a shock for Julia Gillard to find that President Barack Obama's re-election somehow transformed her into Australia's male, Christian president who "actually supports what he says". 
Confused? So was Kristen Neel, a teenager from Georgia, who gained Twitter infamy in Australia in a matter of hours on Wednesday evening.

Kristeen, we have a Prime Minister, who is female, an atheist (and lives with her male partner) and our voting system is compulsory and decided on a preferential distribution of ballots!

Yes! She's from Georgia, she's a 'New spell' "Christine", and she's blonde!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Conservationist dies of thirst in Outback

Ethabuka Station is a property covering 200,000 hectares in south-west Qld. (ABC News: Mick Fanning)

Bedourie, Qld map

One man is dead and another is recovering in hospital after their four-wheel-drive broke down near the Simpson Desert in south-western Queensland. Police say two men left Ethabuka Station on Monday morning in a four-wheel-drive and got bogged about 16 kilometres from the house.The two men were working on a bore near the station. Ethabuka Station is a property that covers 200,000 hectares (1,000 square miles) in the north-east corner of the Simpson Desert, near Bedourie.After several failed attempts to free the vehicle, the pair decided to walk back. Police say they tried to walk back and did not have enough water in temperatures that reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees farenheit). Mauritz Pieterse, 25, collapsed along the way, with his 30-year-old colleague barely making it back, suffering from extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion.Police say Mr Pieterse's body was found several kilometres from the station. The man who survived the ordeal is recovering in hospital.Ethabuka Station is owned by conservation group Bush Heritage Australia (BHA). Station spokesman David Whitelaw says authorities are still trying to work out what happened. He says Mr Pieterse had been working on the reserve for a year."It is something that we treat very seriously - safety is of significant importance," he said. "The incident itself is subject to a police investigation, so that information is still being worked through. Our staff are trained and are provided the necessary equipment to operate out in the field."Mr Whitelaw says BHA are offering support to Mr Pieterse's family and staff."We are grieving at the moment and our support and deep sympathy has gone out to the family," he said. "It is a terribly tragic event and it is sad time for everyone that knew [him]. We yesterday offered our sympathy to [his] family and ongoing support."Police Inspector Paul Biggin says a report will be prepared for the coroner. He says the tragedy highlights the need to travel in remote areas with enough water and proper communication."Police have been in contact with the Work Place Health and Safety managers who look at incidents and deaths on property, so that will certainly be looked at," he said. "From it it would appear on the circumstances there have been a number of mistakes made and as I said unfortunately one young man has lost his life. "Obviously with the temperatures that Mount Isa and our district has had, certainly a warning that if you are out and about - regardless of whether you are working or travelling - make sure you stock up on plenty of water and have communications. Everyone is susceptible to those high range temperatures that we have in summer."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today's Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup field 2012

Here is the field for the 152nd running of the Melbourne Cup.
Click on the horse's name for their profile.
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major Thoroughbred horse race. Marketed as "the race that stops a nation", it is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. Conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, the event starts at 3pm (daylight saving time) the first Tuesday in November.
The total prize money for the 2011 race was A$6,175,000, plus trophies valued at $125,000.  For 2012 the total prize money is A$6,200,000. The first 10 past the post receive prizemoney, with the winner being paid $3.3 million, and tenth place $115,000. Prizemoney is distributed to the connections of each horse in the ratio of 85 percent to the owner, 10 percent to the trainer and 5 percent to the jockey.
The Cup currently has a $500,000 bonus for the owner of the winner if it has also won the group one Irish St. Leger run the previous September.

Dunaden1. DUNADENMikel DelzanglesCraig Williams1659kg
Americain2. AMERICAINAlain de Royer DupreDamien Oliver1258kg
Jakkalberry3. JAKKALBERRYMarco BottiColm O'Donoghue1955.5kg
Red Cadeaux4. RED CADEAUXEd DunlopMichael Rodd1855.5kg
Winchester5. WINCHESTERJohn SadlerJamie Mott2255.5kg
Voila Ici6. VOILA ICIPeter MoodyVlad Duric1355kg
Cavalryman7. CAVALRYMANSaeed Bin SuroorFrankie Dettori654kg
Mount Athos8. MOUNT ATHOSLuca CumaniRyan Moore854kg
Sanagas9. SANAGASBart CummingsNicholas Hall454kg
Ethiopia10. ETHIOPIAPat CareyRhys McLeod1454kg
Fiorente11. FIORENTEGai WaterhouseJames McDonald253.5kg
Galileo's Choice12. GALILEO'S CHOICEDermot WeldPat Smullen1153.5kg
Glencadam Gold13. GLENCADAM GOLDGai WaterhouseTommy Berry753.5kg
Green Moon14. GREEN MOONRobert HickmottBrett Prebble553.5kg
Maluckyday15. MALUCKYDAYMichael, Wayne & John HawkesJim Cassidy953.5kg
Mourayan16. MOURAYANRobert HickmottHugh Bowman353.5kg
My Quest For Peace17. MY QUEST FOR PEACELuca CumaniCorey Brown153.5kg
Niwot18. NIWOTMichael, Wayne & John HawkesDwayne Dunn1553.5kg
Tac De Boistron19. TAC DE BOISTRONMichael KentOlivier Doleuze2153.5kg
Lights Of Heaven20. LIGHTS OF HEAVENPeter MoodyLuke Nolen1753kg
Precedence21. PRECEDENCEBart CummingsBlake Shinn2053kg
Unusual Suspect22. UNUSUAL SUSPECTMichael KentGlyn Schofield2353kg
Zabeelionaire23. ZABEELIONAIRELeon CorstensCraig Newitt2452kg
Kelinni24. KELINNIChris WallerGlen Boss1051kg

Eating Tiger Pies in Sydney

I could have put up this post under the title - "Not quite Nigella Lawson", but it would lose something in the translation, I reckon!

Let me say straight off - Tiger pies are messy!

There are old milk crates scattered around and a few stools to perch on to eat, but most punters stand to eat, leaning elbows on the counters in the shade of the awning that goes all around the pie cart. In addition to sauces (Worcestershire, sweet chilli and HP), white vinegar and salt and pepper, there are boxes of tissues readily available.

Harry's Cafe de Wheels, Wooloomooloo Sydney

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is a Sydney institution. That is an understatement of the fact! Many a young couple have fled their Debutante's Ball in the wee hours of the morning after dancing the night away to seek some inner sustenance from Harry's Cafe de Wheels. They stood there rubbing shoulders with broke gamblers, carbohydrate hungry drunks and soldiers and sailors returning from their night on the town (even American marines in dress uniform indulged and gave 'Harry's' their stamp of approval).

Australia’s most famous pie cart was originally named “Harry’s” and served ‘pie and peas’ and crumbed sausages near the front gates of the naval dockyard at Wooloomooloo back in 1938. Proprietor and namesake Harry Edwards took a break from his food business to join the army and fight in World War II, and upon his return, reopened for business. Over the years, the pie cart has been replaced, upgraded, modernised and run by different owners, but Harry’s Cafe de Wheels has been operating continuously at Wooloomooloo since 1945, serving up hot tasty food to tourists, visiting celebrities, local workers, taxi drivers and late night revelers.

We are here for a Tiger, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels’ signature pie named after founder Harry Edwards (who earned the nickname “Tiger” for his boxing prowess - an asset for a purveyor of fast food on the Sydney waterfront). 

All the choices sound good and I love a Curry Tiger, but today I want the "Original Tiger", that is, a beef pie topped with mashed potato and smothered with mushy peas and gravy, served almost too hot to eat.

The Tiger Pie menu

Brown gravy, lumpy mushy peas and mashed potato all piled on top of a meat pie probably sounds like someone’s late night drunken invention, a nightmarish idea dreamed up during a serious attack of the munchies. It’s a beautiful monster of a pie I’m proud to love, a deceptively substantial savoury combination that brings comfort and pleasure.

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels doesn’t just serve pies. You can get pasties, sausage rolls, hot dogs and other snacks here. The hot dogs were introduced in the 1970s to cater for American sailors. I know quite a few people who will testify to the restorative properties of a Harry’s chilli dog or two at the end of a big night out. It’s fantastic late-night drunk food but it’s good tucker at any time of day.

I ordered my curry tiger (AU$5.60) and watched greedily as the cheerful man at the counter used an ice cream scoop to plop the mashed potato on top of the pie and continued to add the mushy peas and pour on the gravy. Carefully carrying my precious pie, I sat down at one of the tables. 

Be warned, if you’re not familiar with this Harry’s, the surroundings are dirty and not the most appealing or appetising; the tables have dried streaks of tomato sauce on them, and you may need to brush away the pastry flakes left by whoever sat at the table before you did. But it’s takeaway, it’s street food (you’re literally sitting at a table on the side of the road), and many people eat at Harry’s Cafe De Wheels after a hard night of partying rather than at lunch or dinner time. 

One of the great things about Harry’s is most of them are open until late at night or really early in the morning. If you’re a late-night/early morning Harry’s customer you probably won’t notice or care about all the dirt and crumbs and litter around you (it will probably be too dark anyway!). Me, I noticed the grimy surroundings (I was there a little past 6pm), but I was too busy breathing in the smell of hot brown gravy to care.

If ever you get to Sydney, ensure a visit to Harry's Cafe de Wheels is on your itinerary - even just for the "Photo-op" chance if you are too timid to feast on the delectable menu on offer!

Trivia Point: I
“The name Cafe de Wheels came about because of the requirement from the city council that mobile food caravans had to move a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm) each day. The cart has been moved by the city council five times over the past 55 years, and is now back at its original spot. Local legend tells that the name was temporarily changed to Cafe de Axle at one point when the wheels were stolen.
As the years passed, ‘Harry’s Cafe de Wheels’ gained new fame as a tourist attraction. A visit to the caravan became a ‘must’ for visiting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum and Marlene Dietrich. In 1974, Colonel Sanders stopped at Harry’s and enjoyed the food so much that he ate three ‘pies and peas’ while leaning on his walking stick in front of the caravan. A picture of Sanders taken during the visit still hangs in the caravan today.”