Welcome Zaidie!

Our new pet has arrived courtesy of the Working Dog Rescue Association.

Zaidie is a 12 month old, black & tan female Kelpie / Huntaway cross. Fair to say at this stage she is an independent thinker with a mind of her own!

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The ears have it! - 2016

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Tamworth - Sydney Road Trip

Some thoughts and plans were brewing…. Robin was keen to visit the newish equestrian facility in Tamworth ahead of some upcoming national championships as well as tying in a visit to Sydney to meet with our Macquarie investments advisor face-to-face. And there may have been a Porsche Turbo for sale that I might like a proprietary interest in… I smell a road trip!

We hit the road VERY EARLY to beat the traffic to get to the Hume Highway and on our way. Some toasted sandwiches and beverages at the Nagambie Bakery kept us watered and fed and we continued on our way past Shepparton going north. Inexplicably I now wanted to go to sleep. Very badly. So before the border I had to relinquish the driving duties to my co-pilot and within a couple of kilometres I was fast asleep in the passenger's seat, for a good half hour or so. Morning tea was at Jerilderie when I took over driving again and was fine the rest of the trip. Quite strange. Day one was long and we arrived in Dubbo around 4.30pm-ish with just enough time to unpack, and find a dinner destination.

Night 1 - Dubbo (The Comfort Inn, Dubbo City)

After much discussion and debate, dinner was at The Lions Pride Restaurant, a convenient 50 metre walk from our motel. The food was fine but the wine list left a little to be desired. Anyhow we were well fed after a long day in the car. We chose an after dinner walk down the 'Main Street' which was pretty lively on a Thursday night. Also the architecture and general feel of the town was very positive.

With a night's sleep behind us, we checked out and looked for a breakfast venue. The Grapevine Cafe caught Robin's eye. What got my attention was the temperature (see below). Yikes! Anyhow we ate well and hit the road.

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After an uneventful drive we had a late lunch at Gunnedah. Not expecting any great foodie locations and about to continue on to Tamworth we found the Chatter Chinos Cafe. With a modern look and feel and excellent food it was a great find. My steak sandwich was especially fine. In another hour or so we were in Tamworth.

Nights 2 & 3 - Tamworth (Ashby House Motor Inn)
The usual debate regarding dinner venues started shortly after our arrival in Tamworth. Especially once I found out that there (again) no coverage of the British Open golf on the motel TV system, Bah! Red Embers Italian restaurant was the chosen venue and a good choice it was too. Robin's lamb rack was excellent but the highlight was the churros for dessert. Especially fine!

After arriving at Tamworth we had the 'Check Oil Light' come on on the Cayenne. Hmmmm. After some hand wringing we went to Autobahn early on Saturday morning for advice an hopefully some Porsche diesel appropriate oil. And we got both. but wait there is more. We asked the young guys on the checkout what was good breakfast spot in town. One recommended Hopscotch. They didn't let us down on the oil and they kept their strike rate up with breakfast. It was truly excellent with creamed corn for her and savoury mince for me. And probably our best coffee since we left Melbourne.

Well fed, we started out touring. First was the Oxley Lookout which gave panoramic vista over the town. Then onto the marsupial park where I got to pat a wallaby. Aw shucks! Then a stroll through the Botanical Gardens, followed by a visit to an Art Gallery where Robin bought a couple of framed drawings then a late morning coffee to draw breath. Not sure where to go next we chased to visit the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre for inspiration. Boy was that expensive as one of the brochures we picked up was for The Aussie Bush Leather store in the middle of town. Sounding like a nice place to visit with probable food destinations in close proximity we made a bee-line to Peel Street.

The ABL store had two awesomely restored 'vintage' hard-wood frame lounge chairs recovered in soft 'Cigar' leather in his and her sizes. We were smitten and after a futile break for a light lunch 'to talk about the purchase. Of course we walked straight back to the store and signed up. The chairs should arrive in two weeks via ABL's preferred courier.

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A panorama of the city of Tamworth - 2016
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The entrance of the main equestrian & livestock arena - 2016
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Inside the main arena - 2016
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Fabulous street art - 2016

Nights 4 & 5 - Sydney (Sir Stamford Hotel at Circular Quay)

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Panorama of the Botanic Gardens from our balcony in Circular Quay - 2016
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Gratuitous photos of the Sydney icons - 2016

Night 6 - Albury (Albury Manor House Motel)
I thought the last night of our trip might be a slap-up dinner in high spots of Albury / Wodonga but Robin had other ideas. She figured we should just eat in the motel dining room. Oh dear… Well, she was right and I was wrong. The dining room had a bar with outrageously comfortable Chesterfield chairs that we used for pre-dinner and post dinner drinks. The food was very good and the wine list contained some enjoyable local varieties.It was indeed a fine end to our trip!
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Ah, those chairs - 2016

The run home was largely uneventful. An enjoyable and safe trip duly concluded.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Vale - Suzie Q

Good (sad) evening,

Very sad news today with the passing of our gorgeous kelpie cross Suzie Q. Unfortunately she quickly deteriorated with inoperable liver disease. Brave, loyal and loveable to the end. And we will miss her 'shadow-like' presence around the property.. RIP little one.

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A typical pose with bright eyes and wagging tail - 2016

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Uluru & the Red Centre

Good evening,

If we had a 'Bucket List', one item would have been ticked off with our recent trip to Uluru and surrounds.

Camel Ride 94

Ships of the Desert, our camel train - Photo by Nina Moradkhani (Desert Flash) 2016

We had a great time, and will return with access to our own car so that we can be a bit more flexible in scheduling and travel a bit further afield to really experience the 'Red Centre'.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

NGV - JM Whistler Exhibition

Good afternoon,

The forecast for Sunday was pretty bleak. Windy and rain. Aarrghh. Robin challenged me to come up with an interesting plan for the day. No pressure then….

We had been out and about up country recently and with the weather I was thinking about something a little closer to home. Somehow the 'Whistler's Mother' exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria seemed a good idea. Not too far away, easy parking, a wee bit of culture and I am sure we could squeeze in a decent lunch somewhere in Southbank.

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A great morning was had at NGV, St Kilda Road - 2016

It was less an exhibition of the artist's work and more a collective view of the artist's world when he painted his most famous work and the public review and subsequent acceptance and / or critique.

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'Portrait of the Artist's Mother - 2016

It had been some time since we last visited the NGV, and were impressed by the number of exhibits (in addition to the Whistler), 'other' use areas, such as an international book / publishing fair, multiple restaurants / cafes and a very diverse book / souvenir shop. We will be back!

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BBQ prawns at Breslin Grill, Southbank - 2016

One of our favourite restaurants on Southbank is The Breslin Bar & Grill who specialise in slow cooked pork or beef ribs. And we managed to find our way there again! Robin suggested that I try the BBQ Queensland prawns for entree and what an inspired proposal that was! They were superb. The pork ribs as usual just fell off the bone, however the chef recently decided to make his BBQ sauce with a little extra kick but it was almost too much for us. Robin doused the heat of the ribs with some Bread & Butter Pudding and ice cream!

For such a gloomy day, we had a super time of it!

Bye for now, BomberBoy

A wild weekend

Good afternoon,

On an otherwise quiet Friday morning at about 8.30AM, there was a large 'bang' close to the rear of the house.

Upon closer inspection, a very large pane of glass in our hallway shattered caused by some sort of impact which 'dented' and put a jagged hole in the 1/4" glass. Various theories of what caused the damage but no tangible proof was visible on site.

A quick call to our insurance company who instructed us to contact O'Briens Glass got the ball rolling. Late morning the O'Briens guy came, assessed the issue and set about clearing the damaged glass and boarding up the opening. He then sourced a security guy who arrived late afternoon to put the metal shutters on to physically secure the area. Great work to have it all done inside seven hours.

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Fast work on a Friday to secure the area - 2016

After Friday's incident, there were some severe winds on Saturday evening and overnight. Then early Sunday morning a crack came from the garden near the veggie patch and another large branch had come down. This has been a pretty regular occurrence on our property unfortunately.

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Another one bites the dust - 2016

Should all be repaired and cleared by mid week. Update: The branch has been cleared, and the new pane of glass has been installed, all 70kgs of it!

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Cooking updates

Good afternoon,

I have been manning the pans recently and mostly with decent success.

I found a bolognese / pasta sauce recipe that sounded OK, tweaked a bit for our tastes and have now made it twice and it worked both times so it will be a keeper. The slower I can simmer it ,the better it tastes (of course) but can still still be acceptably whipped up in about an hour.

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Greg's Secret Bolognese Recipe - 2016

On the Weber grill side, I tried two slow cooked cuts of meat, lamb shoulder and pork shoulder. Although I cooked the pork for some five hours it still came out more like roast pork than pulled pork. Successful from a taste point of view but wasn't the pull apart with a fork tenderness I was looking / hoping for. Will try even lower temps for longer next time. Then to the lamb, four hours fully covered on low heat and it was delicious. This one really did fall off the bone. At last I might actually be learning to cook low and slow!

The side burner on the Weber has been getting a serious workout with pan-fried tomatoes for breakfast and then various combos of vegetables for dinner, like the potato and spinach dish below.

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Fillet tournedos with sautéed potato & spinach - 2016

Bring on winter!

Bye for now, BomberBoy

A new Mac has arrived!

After a few months of procrastination I finally ordered a new 27" 5K Retina iMac from the Apple Store. I maxed out the processor, the video card and the Fusion Drive, while minimising the Apple memory making up for it with some more cost effective OWC after market memory sticks.

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Exciting times upon delivery & unboxing - 2016

The purpose of the purchase was to manage and 'process' my ever growing digital libraries of music and photos. The additional performance will help the likes of Lightroom edit and render the rather large RAW image files that the Canon 5D Mk111 produces.

The machine is just gorgeous in style and the 5K screen is brilliant in it's brightness and contrast for DVDs and photos. As I don't have any 5K video (who does?) I can't speak to the ultimate end of it's performance envelope.

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My new desktop 27" 5K Retina iMac setup - 2016

The wireless keyword and mouse have fantastic battery life (i am yet to re-charge) and both are very usable and responsive.

Overall, I am delighted so far.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Easter Saturday road trip

Good afternoon,

We planned a drive on Easter Saturday to do some reconnaissance on a lunch venue for a future PCV GT3 Register event.

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Up early to wash the 4S - 2016

Robin thought Kyneton was a likely destination so we duly drove up the Calder Freeway and started to take a look at what was available. Plenty of options but we had trouble choosing one that would fit our numbers, price point and taste preferences. After walking several kilometres around Kyneton we finally decided on the Albion Hotel which was 100 metres from where we parked the car!

The Albion is an old-style pub with exposed brick and beams, plenty of atmosphere but well maintained. The food is hearty and comforting - think corned beef and mustard sauce for her and crispy pork belly for me. And the serves were huge and moderately priced. Excellent!

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Yum, pork belly & sautéed cabbage - 2016

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Enjoying some of the local wine - 2016

After the sumptuous meal, our next planned stop was the picturesque town of Daylesford for afternoon tea. Except we made two rookie planning mistakes. Firstly, Daylesford was less than thirty minutes from Kyneton and there was NO room to add any more food in at that point, and secondly, on Easter Saturday it seemed almost all of Victoria's population was descending on the main street of Daylesford. Wow, what a zoo, but great for the town.

So on we went, not quite enjoying the restricted 80 km/h speed limits until we saw a sign that said 'Geelong'. Sounds good we thought 60-odd kilometres and we would be at the recently developed waterfront in Geelong. A pleasant drive through the Brisbane Ranges duly got us there, found a park a moderate stroll away from the restaurant strip and we were mightily impressed. Family friendly, but still modern and trendy the area was very enjoyable. Even more so after Robin chose a creperie as our afternoon snack destination!

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Panache Creperie Geelong- 2016

I decided not to risk a crowded and expensive ferry ride across the bay, in favour of a leisurely loop the long way back home. After a nine hour trip we were safely home after a most enjoyable day.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Health gremlins again!

In the interests of full disclosure and including the good and bad I am forced to list further hospital stays already in 2016. After a couple of day procedures and a short visit to hospital in early February, by mid March I was struck me down with cardiac issues and severe dehydration requiring I/V fluids and other supplements to get me back on my feet again. After about a week, I am pleased to report that I am back home, feeling well again and aim to stay that way.

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Your humble correspondent laid up - 2016

Many thanks to the medical and nursing staff at the Beleura Private Hospital in Mornington for their fine work and support.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

2016 AFL Predictions

No surprises for guessing that 2016 is going to be a very tough year for the mighty Essendon Football Club with the ongoing impact of the supplements saga. But we mustn't let that dampen the enthusiasm for the great game of AFL football or totally devalue the club that has a proud history of over 100 years and 16 premierships. So who will be the winners and losers this year? Let's break out the crystal ball…

Ladder

Hawthorn
West Coast
Geelong
Collingwood
Fremantle
Sydney Swans
Footscray
North Melbourne
GWS
Richmond
Adelaide
Port Adelaide
Gold Coast Suns
Melbourne
St Kilda
Brisbane
Carlton
Essendon

Premiers - Hawthorn

Coleman Medal - Lance Franklin

Brownlow Medal - Patrick Dangerfield

No real surprises above. If Hawthorn stay relatively injury free, they should be too consistent, strong and professional over the year and especially in finals with their experience.. Lance Franklin looks to be in terrific condition and could go on a goal kicking rampage, and Patrick Dangerfield seems to have slipped into the Geelong side perfectly and will get plenty of ball.


Essendon

Best & Fairest - Brendon Goddard

Leading Goal Kicker - Joe Daniher

Most Improved - Kyle Langford


The major issues for us this year as I see will be a lack of pace, some inexperience and physical presence and strength in defence and a query on crumbers around goal to help kick a winning score. The upside will be to watch the development and fast tracking of our new recruits with no expectations on a high ladder finish. It will be a tough year for Essendon but go the kids and bring on 2017!

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Happy Anniversary to us!

On February 26, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary at Le Bouchon in Balnarring in the delightful company of Chris & Julie Mason. A great time was had by all.

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The happy couple celebrating - 2016 (Photo by Julie Mason)

Bye for now, BomberBoy

EFC visitor to 'Windy Hill'

Great to meet Justin Rodski the Chief Marketing Officer of the Essendon Football Club at our front door this morning. His mission was to deliver a personal thank you for our continued EFC membership and passing along a positive message from the Essendon Football Club and coach John Worsfold. Thanks guys! A tough year is ahead but that's the very reason all Essendon supporters need hang tough and tight. Go Bombers!

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Bye for now, BomberBoy

Caribbean Chicken...

Good evening,

A couple of nights ago I broke out an old Caribbean-influenced Humphries family recipe, Calypso BBQ Chicken. West Indian spices and oils, combined with subtly managed pyrolysis via the rotisserie, delivered the traditional coloured exterior and moist, succulent flesh. Yum!

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Blackened chicken - 2016

OK, so I burnt it. The rotisserie got stuck and the infrared burner really did a job on the garlic olive oil basted skin. But in all honesty, the chicken tasted superb and was moist and delicious! Honestly!

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Vale - Jean Sheppard

Sadly, my late father's oldest sister passed away peacefully at her care home in Queensland in early January. Aunty Jean was a lovely, hard working woman, wife of Robert, and mother to Beverley, John, Steve and Russell. We were always close to the Sheppard family and while it was a sad day, the banter and chat at the 'wake' was one of joy and fond memories.

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Rest in peace Aunty Jean.

Bye for now, BomberBoy