On Easter Saturday, my grandparents’ celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Knowing this, I arranged a trip to Townsville, which took advantage on the 3-day week between Easter and Anzac Day this year. But before I could ease into Easter holiday mode, I had to travel to Newcastle again for work.
As you might already have guessed, I don’t really mind travelling to Newcastle because the scenery is always lovely and there’s often a chance of catching up with my family. It was less than ideal that this time, because what I ended up doing was leaving my home at 4.30am on Wednesday morning (with all of my luggage for Townsville) flying to Newcastle, staying the night, flying to Brisbane on Thursday morning, going to work and returning to the airport without returning home again. I’m not entirely sure I can follow that, and I was the one to whom it happened. Never mind.
After getting up so early and having a bit of a rude shock from the sudden cool weather, my colleague, DD, rewarded me with a solid breakfast at Zinc on Darby Street, which had both great chandeliers and savoury mince.
That is not the mince.
We went to some meetings and I got unreasonably excited about how the isolation panel is going to work at our facility and then we and a break for lunch on the foreshore after being warned in our safety induction to the office that we might need an escort if we go out at lunch because there was the possibility that we could be mistaken for escorts ourselves, given the nature of the neighbourhood.
My pulled pork burger was good but it wasn’t life-changing like the one at O’Malley’s on Queen Street Mall. The sweet potato fries were quite delicious though, which was sufficient compensation.
In the afternoon, I caused momentary (but completely unnecessary, it eventuated) panics about axle counter sweep functions and then we wrapped up the day with a visit to the Mereweather Surf Club, which still has amazing views:
That said, the view from my hotel wasn’t too bad either.
This trip I stayed at the Crowne Plaza which is close to where my cousin works in Honeysuckle. Given that I was a bit disorganised this trip, my cousin invited me to family dinner as a surprise guest, where I was treated to char sui pork noodles, char sui pork buns and chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs.
The next morning, my lovely colleague DD dropped me to the airport before it was reasonable to actually be awake and I went back to Brisbane to work for the day.
After being roped into re-estimating something about half an hour before I intended to leave, I escaped to the airport and the Velocity Lounge for some buffet curry, passionfruit cookies and Sense and Sensibility on my iPad (the Dan Stevens version, not the Hugh Grant one) before my flight to Townsville.
In the weeks leading up to the Diamond Anniversary, I had been toiling away, creating centrepieces for the luncheon – half a dozen yellow satin and organza roses in four vases filled with “diamonds”. Yellow to match the bridesmaid’s dress, 6 for the number of decades and “diamonds” for the anniversary.
I spent most of good Friday making final touches to the pieces and working out how to tie a bow that looks like a bow (turns out the trick is not to tie it like a bow…) and I was ver happy with the results:
There were also a few moments where I was distracted by Easter “bonnets”…
Saturday was the big day, but just to get in the mood, here are some pics from the big day 60 years ago:
To mark the occasion, we took some “official” photos of the family to match the portrait taken at the 40th anniversary, 20 years ago. See the comparison below:
There were also some smaller group photos. Here are some highlights:
We had an amazing lunch with an endless array of dishes and the opportunity to catch up particularly with my uncle and aunt who live the US.
I don’t usually spend a lot of time in the section of the house where we were sitting for lunch because the dining table is oriented the other way when there are less of us, but it meant that I saw these figurines of what I imagine is Victorian London that I used to play with (while under supervision) when I was little (well, littler). I used to create a Lincoln Log high street for them and act out all sorts of Victorian London adventures. (I’m sure many of you are not surprised that my childhood imaginary world was like something out of Dickens…)
It was nice to see them again.
The family members weren’t the only ones to wish Gran and Grandad a happy anniversary. The Prime Minister also sent a note of congratulations:
Continuing with the nostalgic theme of the weekend, I spent a bit of time looking through my parents’ old photo albums searching for photos for the marketing people at work who wanted pictures of me doing engineeringy stuff with my dad when I was a child. Photos like this:
However, I think the photo that was the best predictor of future behaviour was this one, taken when I was about 4 years old:
Yes, that is a colander.
I also came across an album where it looked like Dad had printed off a whole bunch of his Instagram photos. Weird!
Grandma came over for lunch on Sunday (see evidence above) and after we regained consciousness from our chicken-stick induced coma, Dion, Cara and I went out to meet Shannon at Cactus Jacks, now a place of pilgrimage for Townsvillian ex-pats.
The main reason for selecting Cactus Jacks is that everything always stays the same… or at least it had been until now.
The happy “hour” was still between 5 and 7pm, which was good, and led to mass cocktail consumption and appreciation of the ambience.
But when it came time to order some dinner, we were shocked to discover that the Southern Fried Chicken Crispers had changed from an amazing feast of wow, with a delightful pastry shell for dipping in awesome sauce, to a contrived, minimalist obento rip-off with no pastry in sight. It is an abomination. I will never recover from this.
I had a reasonably relaxed time for the rest of the week.
I spent some time finishing off my latest artwork, which was commissioned for my mother’s office at school. It’s called Circles of Mercy and is inspired by the Sisters of Mercy, in particular Catherine McAuley, and Saint Patrick’s College (by the sea).
I went shopping with Kimmi and bought these babushka pyjamas, which were actually too warm to wear until I got home to Brisbane.
During my day with Kimmi, we stopped off at her place to check how her renovations were going. The kitchen counters had just been laid, and she was in love.
I went for dinner with my Uncle, Aunt and parents at Jam Corner, who do a particularly good meal, despite the fact that there is a traffic light equipment box within their alfresco dining area.
I had a ladies’ lunch with Shannon and Sally at the Watermark, which certainly wasn’t as good as Jam Corner. I was punished for attempting to order something healthy by getting a beetroot salad, except the beetroot was so raw I could barely chew through it. A little disappointing but the company made up for it.
I re-watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug again with my dad after last holidays where all of my family members left me in the lurch in terms of seeing it at the cinema (Leo to the rescue!). I much prefer the second movie to the first, describing it to Cara as having, “More action and sexier dwarves!” See example of sexier dwarf in action pose below:
I was so inspired that I learnt how to fish tale braid so I could look like Legolas.
It does seem like all I did on this trip was eat, and I think that might be true. But, never the less, I managed to invite myself to dinner at Davey’s parents’ place. We had a Christmas-worthy roast turkey, with a mountain of potatoes that was a challenge even for a carb-craver such as myself.
I also attempted to say hello to Blu:
Grandma had been invited to host a master class for origami at CWA so I helped her with preparing her handouts by taking photos and writing numbers on them. The lotus flower is surprisingly easy for something that looks so effective, but perhaps I found it so because I was having a private lesson with the master.
To counteract all the holiday eating I had been partaking in, I went for a walk around the river and stalked some birds. There were so many! Some I had never even seen before! Here’s a selection:
Another phenomena that I saw on my walk was Yarn Bombing, which I hadn’t ever heard of before but it appears to be covering thing that would usually be covered with graffiti with woollen handicrafts. Sounds like a much better way to cover up naked infrastructure than spray paint.
I finished off my trip with breakfast on the strand at the C-bar with my mother. In comparison, Mum was so oblivious to the lovely beach scene at the Strand, presumably because she works there, but I found it to be lovely, and photo worthy.
Also, the Red Barron flew really close to us and the passengers waved, but I was too busy hoeing into a hash brown to get my camera out quick enough.
I had such a relaxing trip. It was just what I needed.
And now just some last minute, express blogging to clear out my brain cache before I start my next trip in 2 hours.
I inherited a vintage label maker at work. It was the highlight of my week.
Emily and I attended a brilliant play called A Tribute of Sorts. I was the best live acting I have seen in years and was a delightful way to combine spirit fingers, adolescent incest, infanticide and a sequinned onsie. I was so enthralled, I posed with cut touts of the super star characters, Ivan and Juniper, in the foyer:
I received some enormous Indiana Jones-esque boxes at work and had to tetris them into my pod.
I attended Sophia’s Sheriff Callie’s Wild West themed 4th birthday party and may have accidentally taught someone else’s child how to light matches (also Soph was super cute!)…
The grads and I went to the paleo cafe to celebrate the almost-end of a project. I was so impressed with my meal I wanted to club it over the head and drag it back to my cave…
My mother came to visit twice and we had a family dinner in her apartment one time (refer to photos of Chinese food below) and went to the Royal on the Park the second time (refer to photo of mum being dwarfed by a seafood tower below).
And I saw a blimp:
Righteo, I think I am now 100% up to date now, ready for my 100% pure New Zealand holiday. Phew!