Blog Hangover the Third – The Leftovers

This is the last of my posts atoning for my blogging laziness.  (Well, it was at the time I actually started writing this in April.)  There is a little bit of a lot of things so feel free to skip over the content that aren’t really your cup of tea/coffee/gin, especially if you’re a purist who thinks that a travel blog should just have travel stuff on it.

When I was a child, Valentines Day was a really big thing.  I made endless Valentines Day cards for my Dad using Print Shop always featuring a love heart and a bunch of balloon which I would then print out on our dot matrix and colour in using highlighters.  Here is a reproduction of my early graphic design work:

vday card simulation

It also appears as though I even made a hand-drawn version of the same design once…. Perhaps the printer was out of ink that day.

In high school, Valentines Day was even bigger.  Through prefect-organised fundraising initiatives, we sent messages and token gifts of varying degrees of feigned embarrassment and although you always protested that it was all about commercialism anyway, you were pitied if you didn’t receive anything.  (A little bit like how I refused to make a debut with my official reason stated as I didn’t want to be involved in an antiquated ritual celebrating the treatment of females as possessions but it was mostly because I was too shy to find a date.)

Now that I am an adult and have a partner who indulges my irrational need to celebrate romance on one singular day of the year only, Valentines Day is one of my favourite date nights.  (Although some of you might think that our lives would have been better without Colin, the slightly creepy valentines day bear who was a gift in 2009.)

This year I was really spoilt, spoilt beyond rotten, if I were a piece of fruit I’d be one of those dried Granny Smith apples that have been made into an actual granny after being allowed to rot in a particular way.

This is what I mean:


Speaking of apples, earlier in the week I went out to dinner at The Burrow and had a cider spider!  It’s like drinking an apple pie!


Sorry, I digress…

Davey gave me an incredibly beautiful London Topaz pendant, which is a stone which is made from some sort of radio activity – like a superhero, kind of, but more sparkly.

In the evening, we went out for dinner at the Walnut Restaurant at the Royal on the Park where we got even more Valentines Day swag – a rose, a box of macaroons and a Royal Bear and had an amazing three course dinner.  The staff were all super keen and the food was amazing, though I think Davey won dinner with his rib eye trumping my beetroot risotto.



Best Valentines Day ever!  Well, so far…

At the beginning of March, Davey was able to take a weekend off work so we joined members of our “urban family” at the Sunshine Coast.  As Davey and I were returning to Brisbane at different times, we drove in different cars.  Fun fact:  the length of time taken to drive from South Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast is almost exactly the same as the length of the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.

This was quite a relaxed excursion so I don’t really have a lot to report except we ate nice food, drank nice drinks and saw nice sights, such as this:


Also, Sally and I got the third degree about looking too much older than our drivers licence pictures when visiting the surf club, which I didn’t understand.  Surely if we looked older than the document that said we were 18, then we definitely must be of age!

The same weekend as our jaunt to the Sunshine Coast, my dad came to visit for a week.

My mother was also in town that night so we all had dinner together.  Aside from enjoying Dad’s company, an added bonus of one of his visits is the excuse to order an absurd amount of raw Japanese fish and know that he will eat the weirdest looking pieces.

The following night’s food was less impressive.  I attempted a Greek style lasangne.  I wonder if you can tell which is the photo the came with the recipe…


On Monday, I took Dad to the Gallery of Modern Art, passing by the Queensland Museum, where the Octavian the Scarlett (as I call him) watches over his subjects (commuters at the Cultural Centre bus station).


It really was worth going to see Falling Back to Earth on a weekday.  There was barely anyone else there and I got my own private personal tour of the exhibition for free!

The first piece was called Heritage and was created particularly for this exhibition.  There are 99 sculptures of animals positioned around a water hole filled with actual water.  Every minute or so, a single drop of water falls from the ceiling into the lake, creating a ripple.  It is quite chilling to observe this in the comparative silence of the exhibition space on a weekday.

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There were a number of goats in the artwork, an homage to the fact that the sculptures are made from goat skin.  Cheryl, my private guide, also pointed out that the baby elephant drinking at the waterhole actually has full sized tusks.


The second piece was called Eucalyptus, which not surprisingly, given its name, is a massive native eucalypt.



Exhibition goers were encouraged to draw the tree and imagine how it could be enjoyed in the future.

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Cheryl praised me for my superior fore-shortening abilities which I hadn’t really be aware of as a concept until she mentioned it.  Perhaps I had developed this talent due to being vertically challenged, and always seeing everything from down here…

We stopped for a glass of Tie Guan Yin tea from the Tea Pavilion.  The tea was crisp and clean tasting, without bitterness and is named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy.

The last exhibit, and I think, my favourite, was Head On – 99 wolves hurling themselves at a glass wall over and over, believing that the next time they will get over.  The glass represents the Berlin Wall and the artist Cai Guo-Qiang is quoted as saying, “invisible barriers can be the hardest walls to destroy”.

The wolves are stuffed with straw, have wire frames and are strung up by fishing line.  When they travel, they are packed in individually numbered boxes so that they can be re-assembled in exactly the same position at their destination.

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On the way home from the gallery, we saw a number of real, non-stuffed animals.IMG_0794 IMG_0790 IMG_0791 IMG_0792

On Wednesday evening, we went out to Nudgee and had dinner with Dad’s uncle.  The Homestead Tavern, which Dad remembered from his school days, wasn’t too bad, but perhaps the next time we go, we might try to avoid trivia night.
The next day was International Women’s Day, which meant that I ignored Dad for most of the day, although, I believe that Dion took him to the South Side Diner to compensate.

I began the day listening to our CEO kicking butt at a breakfast and ended the day congratulating my friend Monica, another butt kicker, at dinner (and drinks) at the Sofitel.  Monica was visiting Brisbane because she was being presented with an award from the Queensland Resource Council where I believe she was described as being “The Rising Star”.

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On Saturday, we caught up with Monica again, and a number of our other friends whom we acquired in Mount Isa.  I also “dragged” Dad along.


After we discovered that Fifth Element no longer does tapas, we moved to Ole.  Sebastian did some exploring on the way.


On Dad’s last day in Brisbane, Dion treated us to a home-cooked breakfast of Eggs Benedict, served on his balcony, with its enviable city views.

I had a lovely week entertaining (and possibly torturing) my Dad, being empowered by IWD and catching up with old friends and family at various locations.  I’m surprised, at the time of writing this, that all of this only happened in the space of a week.

In mid-March, I did a spot of cat-sitting for my friends Taren and Marcus, spending the week with my furry friend, Toby.

Marcus is Swedish and Taren, who I met at uni in Townsville, has spent an enviable amount of time in her partner’s homeland.  Their house really does embody Scandinavian chic and it is always so welcoming, although that might be due to Taren’s amazing cooking.  See below, the amazing Smörgåstårta (sandwich cake) and meatballs that Taren just “whipped up” for Marcus’s recent 30th birthday.  (Although, giving credit where credit’s due, I believe Davey was responsible for barbecuing those amazing meatballs.)



But back to Toby.  Toby is such a gorgeous animal, and I’m a little insane around cats, so I took a ridiculous number of photos of him, which I will share with you now:

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Also, staying in Newstead, I discovered my new favourite supermarket complex, Gasworks, which is magical at night!

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Toby is also fond of Gasworks.


In fact, we went back there for breakfast this morning again and this is what I got:




See, amazing!


After my week of being a cat lady, I attended the IRSE AGM and technical meeting.  While I did find the presentations interesting, I think you will find the most interesting part of the weekend was when we had lunch at Q1 (and I took a heap of photos).



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Just so you don’t think I just wasted a day on a junket rather than learning something, here are some facts about the Gold Coast Light Rail, the depot for which we visited:

  • The drivers and other staff members wear a uniform that makes them look more like resort receptionists than transport officials.
  • The LRVs (Light Rail Vehicles) have the most powerful air-conditioning system of any trams in the world.
  • It is possible to start the air-conditioning of an LRV remotely from the control centre and, in fact, the normal process is to start her up an hour before the first passenger service of the day.
  • Surfboard racks are fitted inside the LRVs.
  • All the complicated electronics of the LRV is actually accessed from the top rather than the bottom, like most rail vehicles.
  • The Go-Card readers are installed at tram stops rather than on the LRVs so they are more like trains than busses in that respect.
  • The trams are coloured blue and yellow to represent the sea and sand.

And as further proof that this was a genuine professional thing, here is a photo of me looking professional, wearing my IRSE badge.



So now I am a little more up to date with my “travel” blogging.  I still have a little more to get through before my next major holiday in mid-June, so stay tuned!

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