Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year & thank you

Happy New Year from the Millers and Rasmussens in Canberra. YIC enjoyed New Year's Eve with some excellent pizza from Peter and Alison followed by Alison's special chocolate cake. At the dinner table, all the children wanted their parents to sit next to them. YIC felt slightly left out, until his good friend Mr Hahn (premium light) volunteered to sit next to him. Here are the troops watching Alison cut the cake.
When YIC asked them for some cheesy grins, he got this. Really. Happy New Year.

YIC is now leaving Australia for New Zealand. It just remains necessary for YIC to thank all those people who have showed him such wonderful hospitality during his time here:
Peter & Alison, Patrick, Tristan & Natalie - in Canberra
Rob & Gill - in Melbourne
Rick, Kiz, Tasman & Nyah - in Hobart
John & Barbara - at Malua Bay
Mike, Michelle, Callum & Declan - waterskiing on the reservoir
Cheerio folks. You are welcome in Tynemouth any day.

Uncle Dan supplies the photos

Here are a couple of photos courtesy of Dan Rasmussen. The first one was taken on 23 Dec as the assembled Miller/Inglis/Rasmussen/Duff choir exercised their vocal chords and belted out numerous Christmas carols.

This one was taken on Christmas Day. Would anyone like to supply a caption?
From Rev T - "John hams it up again".
And from James Duff - "I know there's a joke in here somewhere..."

Waterskiing Wednesday

YIC rounded off his Australian trip with some waterskiing at a reservoir near Yass courtesy of Mike, Michelle, Callum and Declan Inglis. After a couple of false starts, he managed to stand up and ski a couple of lengths of the reservoir. Here he is in action. He'd like to say that he was travelling at the speed of light as it certainly felt fast, but Mike assures him it was only 15 MPH.

Mike and Michelle were experts and whizzed back and forwards on a single ski - as these photos show. Declan and Callum were also at home in the water, taking great delight in "tubing". This involved clinging on to an inflatable raft for dear life as Mike put the speedboat through its paces.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Tidbinbilla Today

Today YIC joined the troops on a visit to Tidbinbilla nature reserve. Thanks to our professional spotter (Peter), we did see a koala. It was sitting in a tree, not doing a lot, looking like a brown football. Here is everybody looking at the koala.

Then we headed to the wetlands area where we spied a musk duck putting on a mating display. Apparently it might have a while to wait - it is the only musk duck on the reserve. Here are Tristan, Sarah and Patrick on a rock at the reserve, with Kristin and Natalie in the background.

On the return journey, Patrick and Tristan requested some songs in the car, including "I am the man, the very fat man, that waters the workers' beer" and YIC was happy to oblige. However Natalie wasn't so enamoured with YIC's singing - she ate her ice-cream then fell asleep.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Music Group hits new heights

Word has reached YIC that Holy Saviour's Church Music Group is expanding its musical repertoire. It now boasts a shawm played by Chris Smith. For those unsure if a shawm is a good thing or not, consult Psalm 98 verse 6 in the psalter.

The music group is gearing up for a ceilidh in January. Buy your tickets now - they are sure to sell out fast. Not content with this, they also supported Maddy Prior on her recent concert at The Sage. YIC has it on good authority that when Steve, Ian, and Patricia got on stage to provide percussion accompaniment to Ms Prior and The Carnival Band, the audience went into raptures.

Christmas at Malua Bay

YIC spent a very enjoyable Christmas with the massed ranks of the Inglis/Miller families at Malua Bay. For those whose Aussie geography is not quite A1, Malua Bay is on the coast east of Canberra and south of Sydney. The photo above shows Peter & Alison with Patrick, Tristan and Natalie, and Alison & Dan with Kristin and Sarah opening presents on Christmas Day.

The Inglis/Millers obviously knew YIC's tastes for presents. He received:
vegemite - from John & Barbara
rooibus [red bush] tea from Peter and Alison
toblerone - from Rick & Kiz.

Here he is with his rooibus.

YIC attended The Anglican Church of The Ascension in Bateman's Bay on Christmas Day. The priest showed the crib to the children with shepherds angels etc, but there was no Jesus. Fortunately the priest had the baby Jesus in his pocket. As the priest commented, everybody needs a pocket Jesus - he can go everywhere with you.

And finally, let nobody say that YIC doesn't enter into the Christmas spirit. Look below. Need YIC say more?

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Tasmania Farewell & Christmas Greetings

YIC has been exploring northern Tasmania. He spent 2 days in the Walls of Jerusalem (pictured above) - a beautiful alpine area stacked full of biblical names such as King Solomon's Temple and Damascus Gate. The former is a mountain and the latter a pass. YIC climbed both.

YIC took advantage of a beautiful day to climb Mt Roland and Mt Van Dyke. Dick wasn't there, in fact no-one else was either. This hills are like the Cheviots versus the Lake District: beautiful but quiet. There were A1 views over Cradle Mountain, Mt Ossa, and northwards to the Bass Strait.

Looking north to the Bass Strait from Mt Roland

Looking towards Mt Van Dyke from Mt Roland. Click on the picture for distant views of the Overland Peaks - Mt Ossa on the left, Barn Bluff and Cradle Mountain on the right.

This was YIC's last day in the Tasmanian hills. He heads for Canberra/Malua Bay on Saturday for Christmas with the Miller/Inglis family. In true style, YIC hasn't sent any Christmas cards this year. Rather, he simply says "Merry Christmas" to all his readers, and promises to buy them a Deuchars when he next sees them in the Tynemouth Lodge.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Fleshmarket Close

YIC has just read "Fleshmarket Close" by Ian Rankin. It's one of the Inspector Rebus crime series which are set in Edinburgh. This book featured a couple of skeletons found in a pub cellar on Fleshmarket Close - a small pedestrian street off the Royal Mile. It's an entertaining book, and what's more Rebus drinks Deuchars IPA - a man after YIC's heart.

Those who have been on a Duff trip to Murrayfield, will know that The Half Way House pub on Fleshmarket Close is always the first port of call after alighting from the train at Waverley. YIC won't be able to cheer on Scotland at Murrayfield this year, but he wishes them all the best as they march towards another Grand Slam (possibly).

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

ho ho

Qu: What was the tortoise doing on the motorway?

Answer: About 1 mile an hour.

This joke was brought to you by Lois Gordon. For some reason which YIC can't understand, Lois thought of YIC when she read this joke at a Christmas party.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

North Hobart Uniting Church

YIC has attended North Hobart Uniting Church for the last 4 weeks. It's the closest church to Riz & Kiz's house and Kiz's mother Margaret attends the church. This morning, the church was getting into the Christmas spirit with stirring renditions of Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Once in Royal David's City. They were also lighting their Advent candles. Unlike the Anglican Church which focuses on Mary, John the Baptist etc for the candles, the Uniting Church gives each candle different meanings: peace, joy, hope and love.
As a visitor to numerous churches over the last few months, YIC appreciates those churches that give a friendly welcome. North Hobart scores very highly on this front.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Frenchman's Cap

Mes amies, votre internationale correspondent (VIC) avez ascender Frenchman's Cap. C'est une magnifique montagne. Heuresment, il fait du soleil and VIC avez ascender la montagne deuxieme temps - en Mecredi apres-midi et aussi en Jeudi matin. VIC a voyer au nord Cradle Mountain, au sud Federation Peak, a l'est Mount Wellington, and a l'oest les plages sur la cote.

VIC sur le summit

la sud-est visage du Frenchman's Cap

les Tasmans Turtles
a gauche - Boyer, Helen, Liz, et Pam

Monday, 8 December 2008

Mount Wellington before Down on the Corner

YIC finally had a view from Mt Wellington. This was one of his easier ascents: Rick Inglis drove him to the top. Here are from the left Nyah, Tasman, and Rick.

And here's YIC with the world (aka Hobart) at this feet.

Afterwards YIC adjourned to "Down on the corner, out in the street" with Rick & Kiz and family. Kiz's mother Margaret was singing in the Tony Backhouse Gospel a capella choir. They were fantastic, knocking out the gospel numbers. Here's a photo with the conductor (Tony Backhouse) getting very animated.
And after that, we headed off to Fish 349, a local fish restaurant that did excellent fish & chips, washed down with lemon myrtle beer.

Friday, 5 December 2008

birthday girl

Congratulations to Helen Ansell who is 21 again (plus 19) on Monday. This information was conveyed to YIC by an anonymous source (Katrina Pescott).

from the capes to the hills

YIC ventured down to the Tasman Peninsula where he walked to Cape Hauy and Cape Pillar. This involved an overnight camp in the bush. Both Capes have spectacular sea cliffs, with Cape Pillar rising 280m from the sea. YIC peered over the cliffs by lying down then inching forward to take a precarious look. He also visited Port Arthur - an old penal colony. They used to imprison people there for telling bad jokes - so fortunately YIC was never at risk.

Cape Hauy

The Blade (right) and Tasman Island from The Chasm on Cape Pillar

Later in the week, YIC headed into the south west of Tasmania. He camped at Mt Field National Park and climbed Mt Eliza which gave sweeping views over Lake Peddar and the Wetern Arthurs. He had thought of walking further from Mt Eliza to Mt Anne, but his plans were thwarted by a distinctly chilly climate on the Eliza Plateau, as this photo shows.