Wednesday, 23 December 2015

My 2016 Summer 'Colour' Series ...

Some of my work in the 2016 summer series ...

I call these three "the Summer T-Shirt Series ..."

And this one "Blue tongue Lizards"

Disclaimer: No child was hurt in the making of this artwork, and none of the sunburn was my fault.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


Youi ... they get me.

It's true, they say so in their adverts and, because I'm not some gullible person that just believes adverts, I checked their website and I am happy to confirm that it says so there as well.

So, knowing that they'd get me, I got a quote from them when I bought my Mitsubishi Outlander a few years ago and it was a really good quote ... they really did get me.

So I took out my car insurance with them, breaking a long standing relationship where I just insured everything through RACT.

But then something strange happened ... a year passed.

I didn't have any accidents.

None of my other life circumstances changed (except I got a year older and wiser).

Inflation was running at around 2%

And of course my car was a year older and so you'd think worth less ...

... and yet, somehow, and I know I'm the only person on the planet this would have happened too ...  my insurance premium jumped 9%.

Hmmm ...a 9% increase in premium to cover a car that's worth less than it was the year before.

Weird I thought ...  Youi may be getting me, but I'm not sure I'm getting Youi.

What's even weirder, I'd say almost unbelievable, is that my insurance premium has continued to increase year on year at this same pace - it increased another 7.2% last year and the premium this year has just arrived and its increased yet another 8.5%.

That's a cumulative 27% increase in premiums over three years.

Now because Youi are such great guys (and get me so well) I'd normally just assume that this increase was because my car was increasing in value or something (I'm a pretty astute buyer) but I'm not so sure now, because during the course of the year, I happened to call Youi to get a quote for my home insurance and after spending 45 minutes (yes, that is how long it took) on the phone with them answering an endless series of questions, the quote came out at around $1,200 - which was way above what I was paying currently with another insurer.

Now, if you're not sitting down, sit down now because this bit is going to shock you ... they then offered (within seconds of my telling them that this quote wasn't competitive), to insure my home for just $890 (which was still well above what I am currently paying), but it made me think ... why did I just spend 45 minutes answering questions which got me a quote three hundred dollars more than what they were happy to insure me for?

But, you know, am I sitting here now getting alternative quotes for my vehicle insurance, or am I sitting here typing out a blog post explaining why I should go and get another quote ...

I'm typing this blog aren't I.

Yep,  like I said at the beginning of this post ...  Youi ... they get me (and my money).

Monday, 14 December 2015

Boo ...

Have you ever watched the Weeping Angels on Doctor Who?

If you haven't, then the premise is that the weeping angels are a predatory race that resemble statues and as long as you watch them, they can't move and you're safe, but the second you blink they're suddenly on top of you, and they transport you back in time, somehow living off your life energy.

I hate to say this, but I think Kim is a Weeping Angel.

Except ... instead of transporting me back in time and living off my life energy when I blink, she suddenly makes new life forms appear instead ...

For example, a few years ago, I blinked and suddenly I had a family of monsters ...

Then, about a year ago, I blinked again and I suddenly had two puppy dogs ...

Can you see them waiting for me to blink ...
A couple of months ago I must have blinked again, because from out of nowhere, we had four chickens (now chooks) ...

Blink she's saying, blink ...
Tell me that's not a weeping angel ...

And then on the weekend, I must have let my eyes close briefly again ... because when I opened them ... we had a new kitten called "Boo" ...

Blink says "boo" and I shall make a thousand fleas appear.
As you can imagine, the accelerated pace at which these new life forms are appearing in my life is alarming (even more so when I tell you that by Sunday we also had an infestation of fleas).

I haven't slept since Saturday and now plan on linving on red bull and coke until such time as I can have my eyelids removed or sewn open so that I never blink again, because Kim is already talking about wanting a sloth ...

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Black Jack Bight

I've been meaning to go for a paddle across to Black Jack Bight (and nearby locations) for years now, and with the extra motivation of having a new flat earth sail installed on my Pace 17 thanks to the hard efforts of Roy, today was finally the day ...

We were a small group - just Terry (the trip coordinator), Mark and myself and after an easy launch from Cremorne Beach and a brief stop at Cape Deslacs we had a very quick and smooth crossing to Black Jack Bight as Mark and I debated and discussed the world of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and zealots.

Black Jack Bight has a lovely little beach to land on, and once there we had a good poke around where I found not only what seemed to be the entryway to a secret hatch just like on Lost ...

But I also found my very own Wilson ...

We went for a bit of a play along the coastline after our early lunch stop and then bee-lined back to Cremorne, rafting up and letting me lift my sail and get a bit of practice in before exiting back at Cremorne around 2.30pmish, probably 5hours and 24kms after our departure.

It was an easy day with pleasant company and good paddling.

beachcoming at black jack bight
Easy landing beach.  Kayaks in the distance
The temptation to head off and explore ..
Don't know why I don't do it more often.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Kim's Bruny Island Ultra

So three rather awesome things happened today.

The first was that I saw (in the space of thirty minutes) eleven quolls, a betong and a potoroo all whilst driving from Great Bay to Dennes Point on Bruny Island at 4.30am in the morning ... which makes me think I should have said three rather awesome, and one amazing, thing happened: the amazing thing being that I got out of bed at 4am on a Saturday.

So ELEVEN quolls!!!!!

In my whole life I think I've only seen 3 or 4 quolls in the wild, and today I saw eleven and they were all so wonderfully, totally, cute.

OK, just wanted to put that out there.

The second rather awesome thing that happened was that Kim ran the 64km Bruny Island Ultramarathon which I think (although slightly over-clouded by the eleven quolls) is one of the most amazing things ever ... particularly as she was still smiling at the end.

and I might just add that I think the Bruny Island Ultra is still one of the best, most friendly, foot races I've ever been to. or participated in

For such a long stretched out event, it sure is cool, and everyone is so supportive.

So go Kim!

The third, and perhaps the most amazing thing that happened today was that ... wait for this ... I was a properly organised support crew.

Didn't see that coming did you.

Yep, I was awesome.

I was there with Kimmy the night before making sure she was properly carbo loading ...

There is no such thing as empty calories.
I do confess I failed in complying with her instruction to "sleep on the floor" at our cute little AirBnB place (so she could get an uninterrupted nights sleep).

Entry to our little B&B room

But, that was just a small blip on my otherwise faultless support crewing.

I was there at 5am in the morning as she set off ...

There she goes (go right Kim ... right)
I was there 2kms in at the top of the first hill cheering her on ...

I was first in line at the CWA hall when they opened at 6.30am to get Kim's double bacon, no eggs, muffin ...

Then I drove about 14kms down the road to deliver said double bacon muffin to my Kimmy ... and refill her bottles, and feed her watermelon.

30kms in I was there, cheering her on as she ran past the lookout ...

At the half way point I got out the folding bike, rode back to get Kim's order (more watermelon, more water and goanna oil) and then rode back to have it all ready on the car for her arrival ...

Then it was off to Adventure Bay to get ice to cool the drinks before returning at Alonnah to carry on my cheering ...

I was there at Lunawanna as the skies opened to make sure she took the right hand turn to Cape Bruny ...

And I was there every 2kms from that point onwards ...

OK ... maybe I got slightly distracted taking some flower shots.

And I was beside her at the end as she made it home ...

Yep - I didn't go off exploring and lose track of time, I didn't go for a quick ride only to discover a new trail which needed exploring and I didn't go off kayaking ...

I just supported for once, and that's awesome.

So in summary - eleven quolls in a single day - awesome, Kim running 64kms - mega-awesome, me being a proper support crew - frickin'  miracle.



Can I just finish by saying that I was really impressed by Bruny Island.

Yes, the ferry fare has gone up to $33 return for a car (when I was a young lad it was six and thrupence ...) and yes the Dennes Point Store and Lunawanna Store both appear to have closed down, and yes, the latte I had at the Alonnah Shop was dreadful and every single place I wanted to stop (Get Shucked, The Cheese Factory, The Fudge Factory, The Coffee Shop in Adventure Bay, the Coffee Shop on the way to Alonnah and the green sheep second hand store were all shut when I drove past early in the morning) but the places that were open ... they were superb.  The service and food at Hotel Bruny was so friendly and good, and we just loved our little AirBnB at Great Bay.

I'll be back.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Seagull Gathering ...

Just while I'm talking beach stuff ...

Ever since we moved to Lauderdale, I've been intrigued by the fact that everytime I go down to the beach, there's this one spot where the seagulls always congregate in great numbers.

I often found myself pondering what it is that caused them to be attracted to that one spot, but I ultimately put it down to one of the unexplainable wonders of nature - some invisible factor that I would never understand.

Today, however, as I walked along the beach, I found that sometimes even what seem like miracles have very simple explanations ...

In this case ... there's a lady that lives just above that spot that throws them food.

I'll put that one down to Occam's Razor.

The Star Thower ...

Have you ever heard the star thrower story?

It's a lovely little parable (check out the link above) about the difference in view between a young boy and an old man both confronted with tens of thousands of starfish washed up on a beach after a storm.

The old man see's the young boy occasionally throwing a starfish back into the water, and realising the futility of it all, tells the young child “there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference”.

In answer to this, the little boys bends down and throws another starfish into the water and says "It made a difference to that one!".

I heard this story years and years ago, and it resonated with me.  I have always tried to hold onto the belief of the little boy.  Even if faced with ridiculous odds, I wanted to think that at least I'd try to do something.

Life can sometimes be literal, and over the last few weeks, I've been walking the dogs and have come across the odd sausage jelly (which is an egg sac) washed up on the beach, and so I've diligently bent down, picked them up, and tossed them back into the ocean.

It was easy at first, there were only a few and so I could be the hero saving them all.  It was my small good deed for the day.

But then last week, I started finding myself stopping every few metres and tossing one back into the surf.  It was (to be honest) a little frustrating.

Today,  I walked down to the beach and suddenly there were thousands of them ...

I initially tossed them into the water, but soon felt both the futileness of the old man at such an endevour and the desire of the young boy to at least do something.

Problem was that as I tossed each egg sac into the water, I couldn't help but notice how small a difference it really did make.

I guess there's a lesson in that ... I'm just still learning what it is.