Sunday, 21 October 2007

Catching up, catching up . . .

Greetings and Salutations! I wanted to post photos and video from our recent trip to Phillip Island for the MotoGP, but our new camera had to go overseas with Charles in order for us to get a rebate on the GST, so I haven't got the pictures. But I can describe the weekend: AWESOME!! However, it must be pointed out that in our usual organised way, we forgot the tickets. Luckily we were only in Springvale when I discovered this, but it had taken us as hour to get to that point due to the traffic. On the up side, it only took us 20 minutes to get back home again to collect the tickets! But that did mean (for those of you who know what the Eastern Freeway is like and what the weather was doing that day) that we got totally soaked in the rain twice, instead of just once :s

On the second attempt, we decided to head straight for the South Eastern Freeway via Hawthorn so that we could bypass Springvale Road altogether. Good plan, until we got onto the freeway because the first round of traffic we'd encountered in Springvale was the 3.30 school rush. By the time we got onto the SEF it was the 5pm peak hour rush. I don't think I've ever been on the SEF in peak hour before, and let's just say it was an experience! Thank goodness we were on the bikes because it meant we could do some traffic weaving! It's good to be filthy biker scum ;)

By the time we arrived at Phillip Island it was 7.30pm and we were frozen despite stopping at the rest stop just outside Noble Park to get a MUCH needed cup of hot coffee. Thanks to the Noble Park Lyons Club guys, whoever you were, your services were much appreciated! We got to defrost in the trailer as we waited for our wristbands which would get us into the campsite, then we rang Paul who had travelled down earlier in the day with his daughter Katie and set up camp for us :D He also took most of our gear in his support vehicle. He gave us directions to the campsite and we finally arrived to be greeted by various smiling faces and the Taj Mahal of all campsites! I think we have some photos. Mind you, it wasn't the most impressive campsite there, but it was definitely comfortable. I think the winner of most impressive went to the family of 5 (mum, dad and three under-5's!) who had pulled up in a tour bus! With pushbikes and mobile sandpit to keep the littlies happy. Mind you, there were plenty of big "kids" out and about on pee wees too :D

Saturday we wandered off to the track about 9.30 and spent the day watching the practice laps and so forth. We had set up our shelter so that we were mostly protected from the wind, but as there was little sun it was quite chilly still. I wore my waterproof pants over my jeans for extra warmth (as they're windproof too) and with the dri-rider jacket I was pretty OK. I still managed to get a bit sunburnt though as there was glare coming off Bass Straight which I completely forgot about. Charlie and I were pretty pooped from riding in the night before (and not having slept too well as we were on a slope!) so after lunch we went back to the campsite and had a nap until we were woken by everyone returning from the track. That night we went for a wander over to the trackside campground (we were at hillside) and watched the band for a bit but we weren't really into it. Plus, although there was plenty of alcohol around and to be had, we couldn't drink that much because of still being on our restrictions (can't wait for next year, though . . . :D)

On Sunday we were up bright and early again and I cooked pancakes for everyone before we headed off to stake out a possie trackside. We were in much the same place as last year and where we had been on the Saturday (for those of you who know the track, we were pretty much opposite the big screen at Doohan Corner (turn 1)) but the crowd was so much bigger this year. I have some video of everyone standing for the race, it was pretty amazing. We got down to the fence for the 125's to check out the capabilities of the new camera and I'll post the results as soon as they return. Chuck fought his way through the crowd again to get some photos from near the fenceline as Stoner and Rossi et al streamed past as well.

After the race, we wandered back to camp and started packing up. We didn't want to leave too early because of all the traffic but we didn't want to leave too late either as we had a dinner appointment with my aunt and uncle in Endeavour Hills on our way home. I think we left about 6.15 and managed to be in EH by 7.30ish, which was when we planned to be there. The ride back was less hair raising than last year, probably because we have a bit more experience now and maybe because there were less hoons abouts? Certainly I didn't hear that anyone got deaded on the way there or back this year (unlike last).

Then, after we'd returned, we realised that the medication that Charlie needed to take to Canada with him the next morning was still in the support vehicle, so I made a quick trip up the Eastern to Donvale in order to reclaim our stuff from Paul's place. And then it was definitely time for bed!

We managed to get Charles onto his flight to Canada on the Monday, but I reckon he wouldn't have minded a bit if he hadn't made it! He's been ringing me with updates and from what I can tell, it's been the trip from hell. Firstly, he couldn't claim the GST back on the camera because they won't let you do that if there's less than an hour until your flight leaves (he had 30 mins). Then when he arrived in Canada, he found that the airline had lost his clothes bag and his laptop which he'd taken as checked luggage. The place he's been staying in is a serviced apartment complex, not a hotel and they wouldn't accept his luggage, they could only have it delivered to their head office. So when it turned up, Chuck had to pay CAD$41 to go and retrieve it. The building he's staying in has had the heating turned on because it's supposed to be cold in Canada at this time of year however it hasn't been, so he's been roasting in 27 degree heat and not sleeping well because of it (and on top of his jetlag!). All in all, I think he's quite happy to be on the plan today and will be back in Oz Monday morning, which I (and the cats) will also be grateful for, it's been a bit lonely around our house this week.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Meccano Boy

Yep, it was madness to sell off the collection back in '03 but there you go. While I'm generally not comfortable with atavistic impulses, this one I'm indulging big-time. It's really rather fun translating the shapes in your head into the steel framework, wheels, tracks, motors, drive train etc.

This is a hell of a lot more eductional than nintendo, and the engineering is still sound.

The ATV Ceilidh's posted pictures of has evolved a bit in the last couple of days, and now has Ackermann steering (look that one up). It's going to be a model of an M3 halftrack which if I'm lucky will be recognisable.

Ah well, back to work.