This week Sydney hosts it’s 2nd centennial event to review the Navy fleet. As a previous member of the Navy (Scout Squadron RN06) I had to go down and see some of the ships. I especially wanted to see British warship D32 HMS Daring, which is the currently the most advanced warship in the world and it’s first visit to Australia -
Amy, Oscar and I go the fast-ferry in the morning and I went upstairs and strategically positioned myself to get a good view, it was lucky as HRH Prince Harry happened to sail by on his inspection of all of the ships -
A lot of luck to get that photo as we sailed past! HMS Leeuwin is a hydrographic survey vessel but is now helps to prevent illegal immigration (Tony Abbott probably loves this boat for that reason!).
When we got to circular quay it was packed but somehow we managed to get a table for lunch on the rooftop of the MCA which was really nice, we ate, had a quick walk around the Rocks and then back to the ferry. At 2:30pm the F/A-18s were doing an air display, I managed to catch this one in the tooths of the Opera House -
On the way back we all sat upstairs for the journey, Oscar loved it -
Over Sydney Heads there was a constant rotation of helicopters, police helicopters, navy helicopters, ambulance helicopters, surf rescue helicopters this was one of the cooler ones -
A great day for Sydney, can’t wait for the next fleet review in 2113.
Quick update, I’m going to get around to doing a full blog post soon about things but here’s a cool 15 minutes of a nice Manly Sunset from Queenscliff shrunk down into 15 seconds of enjoyment.
Welcome to Earth little baby Oscar!
Baby’s first sunset over Sydney
If everything goes to plan in the next few days we’ll have a new little member of the G2007 network! The spare time might be decreasing soon so I thought I’d get this last post out with what we’ve been doing!
We’ve been really busy planning for a baby, I had to move out of working from home and get an office and also start full time on my own enterprise, BuiltWith!
New Green Themed Office
Everyone is welcome to come and visit it is on East Esplanade opposite Manly Wharf.
Last November Amy and I went to ARIA for Amy’s birthday, it was a good night, the food wasn’t as good as I was hoping as it was supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Sydney but we had a good time anyway, and we got free drinks as they took so long bringing them to the table -
Amy and me at Aria Sydney
Also in November we did a trip to Paperbark Camp for our one year (paper) anniversary. It was a really nice camp in the forest at Jervis Bay, the camp was luxury camping, with no TV and limited power, but it was really good fun and we didn’t have to set the tent up ourselves (would have taken a week).
Amy outside the Paperbark Camp
Near the end of November Chris got a Groupon deal to go on a taster cruise from Sydney harbor on a huge cruise ship. It was good fun but felt like it was teetering on a riot as everyone was getting the most out of their one night special cheap cruise.
Chris and I in cabin on our taster cruise
For Christmas we headed up to Brisbane and spent it at Taryn and Wade’s house. The rest of Amy’s family came over on Christmas eve. I got some new bike lights and a inventors kit which has an Arduino board in it, which was awesome!
Wade also let us drive is Range Rover around Brisbane which was really good fun.
Zara, Cooper and Ali opening their Christmas presents
New Years was spent at Simone and Stuart’s (who just had a baby) which is right on the water in Manly, perfect for the 9pm fireworks. Amy didn’t want to walk so I drove over which was a mistake because there was not a single parking space for miles, I almost drove home and walked!
Well that is about it for updates hopefully I’ll get more going soon!
Last weekend Lorraine and Matt were kind enough to invite us down to Helensburgh (pronounce Helensberg) for the weekend. Lorraine and Matt moved there a few years ago and have taken a lot of the Woolloomooloo crowd down there with them, Gaétane, Andrew, Chris, Esther, El, Al and their entourage of children.
Helensburgh is about 1.5 hours drive from Manly or about a 1 hour train journey from Sydney, making it within commuting distance if you work in the big city. Manly to Helensburgh feels like a long journey though because you have to go through the city and put up with all of the traffic that brings so it actually feels like a holiday by the time you arrive.
We arrived on Saturday morning and Matt gave me a tour of their house, Amy has already been down twice but this is my first visit to Helensburgh save for weddings and trips to nearby Stanwell Park. It’s nice to have a house with lots of room and a garage where you can put things like bikes and cars! L&M also have this chicken that doesn’t actually do much egg laying apparently -
Matt and Lorraines Chicken
It was my job to feed the chicken, which wasn’t very hard, I just had to chuck food off the upstairs balcony into her pen. At lunchtime we headed off to the Helensburgh fair that was by chance happening that day, we bumped into all of the people we knew down there which was great and really nice to see them all again. Helensburgh fair had a “free books” stall where the books were free and Andrew got lots for his collection.
Afterwards we headed over to El and Alex’s house for a cup of tea and to see their new place which they’d recently moved into down in Otford. It was a beautiful sunny day and a great opportunity to take advantage of the large balcony and garden they had!
Gaetane had organised a PechaKucha at the Otford tennis court hall that evening, which is basically where you do a 6 minute presentation with 20 slides on the topic of your choosing. I was getting ready to meet lots of new people and it turned out the majority of them were people I knew which was strange for a place I’d never been to before!
PechaKucha at Otford Tennis Court / Village Hall
That evening Lorraine and Matt had prepared a fondue, El and Alex also came over and we enjoyed cheese fondue, followed by steak and salad followed by dark chocolate Fondue, followed by Cognac. It was delicious and really good fun -
Matt doing Fondue prep work
The next day we headed down the coast to Coledale Markets, where Gaétane and Andrew were running their stall - Plat Du Jour – La Crêperie. It was great seeming them at work and to finally taste one of their crepes. I had my eye on the salted caramel one since the beginning and I give it 10/10.
Gaétane et Andrew à l’étal de nourriture Plat Du Jour – La Crêperie
The Coledale markets had a cool sitting area and we sat in the sun and drank some coffee and tea with Matt and Lorraine before heading up the coast to checkout a pub and watch some hand gliders at Stanwell Park. Matt had asked if I wanted to try it out and I said I “wasn’t ready” – we went down the beach to watch some landings and I filmed some on my phone. It wasn’t actually windy enough for hand gliding apparently but one guy on a performance hand glider took off. Matt said to us, the worse thing that can happen is you land in the ocean. So we watched this glider come down the beach and then… crash into the ocean. He was lucky he was so close to shore and the life guards could help him as the seas were 4-5ft!
Here’s a panorama I made on the new iPhone 5 of Stanwell Park and the South Coast from the top of Bald Hill.
iPhone 5 Panorama at Stanwell Park
That afternoon we popped in to see Chris and Esther at their new place in Helensburgh (5 mins from Matt and Lorraine) and then headed back up the coast to Sydney, popping in to Potts Point to visit Marcy and Chris and see their new car and then go to Chiswick restaurant to belatedly celebrate Chris’ birthday (and give him his birthday gift).
A great weekend and looking forward to our next trip down the South Coast! Thanks for the hospitality Lorraine and Matt!
A few weekends ago Amy and I went to Uluru, which is a rock in the middle of Australia (it’s actually more to the left of Australia) and it is just about in the Northern Territory, but very close to the Western Australia border.
We got on the plane and saw another guy get on with us who had two bags of cheeseburgers. They sat in the overhead locker for 4 hours and were then handed out to his Qantas ground crew friends on arrival, who then tucked into them as if it was Christmas. It was disgusting to watch.
Central Australia Landscape
The scenery across Australia is incredible, you see the green of the coast, fade into the blue mountains and slow but surely it gets more and more red and crazy looking like that shown above.
We landed at Uluru airport which basically welcomes you to Ayers Rock Resort, as there’s not that much out here. It was lucky really as I hadn’t really planned anything and didn’t know how we were going to do anything. We went straight to the place we were staying which was called Longitude 131, which is 15 little tents that look out over the rock. The service there was fantastic we arrived and were told the itinerary for the days we were going to be there (which included some very early starts). Here’s Amy outside of our hut -
Amy outside our Tent at Longitude 131
That day was already planned out and we went on a base walk of the rock. It was fun getting on the bus and travelling to the rock which is incredible from a distance as well as standing right next to it. At the end of the tour we came across a little area where some drinks and canapes were setup for us which was really nice.
Ayers Rock and Me
Having water all the time was required because the air was so dry, it was like being on a plane for 3 days in a row but with more leg room. That evening we went to the fantastic restaurant at the resort and had some delicious food before going back to the hotel room and falling asleep as early as possible as it was a 5:45am start the next day for our trip to the Kata Tjuta, which is another rock nearby which kind of loses out to Uluru but is just as impressive from a tourist perspective.
We walked down one of the nooks of Kata Tjuta and saw a Rock Wallaby and also some Camels, which ever since they arrived have taken over central Australia apparently.
Amy and me at Kata Tjuta
Although it was 30 degrees in the day time it was really really cold at night (and at 5:45am) hence why we had pullovers and ponchos to keep us warm!
That evening we did dinner under the stars, which was basically an area setup away from the resort where we had dinner around a table with all of the other guests and got told about the stars, although there was a full moon the entire time we were there which meant we didn’t see too many stars but it was still fun.
We opted out of any other early morning starts as we just wanted to do a bit of relaxing, although when I booked the trip a free helicopter ride was a part of the package. It was just a 15 minute flight over towards the rock and back again but it was really good fun and a great way to see the place.
Uluru from the Helicopter
That was the end of our package adventure and the rest of the time we just spent relaxing, talking to the other guests and I even jumped in the pool (it was freezing). One of the things that amazed me about the area was how green it was, apparently they’d so much rain the past two years it was unusual for it to be as green as it was.
Everything at the resort was all-inclusive, so the mini bar and the main bar at the hotel was all totally free, if you were into drinking you wouldn’t have been able to walk out of the resort at the end of it! Every day the room keepers replenished the cadbury chocolate bar supply in our room, which I would then take out and put into my suitcase, hidden under some clothes. On the last night I went to pack my bag and found one of the bars had been eaten by some sort of creature with claws! That was pay back for me stealing the chocolates I think -
Chocolate eaten by a creature of some sort
It was a fantastic trip and I would recommend it to anyone, we really didn’t want to leave which is amazing considering it’s the middle of nowhere!
Last weekend Amy and I had a long weekend away to Uluru. Which is a famous rock known as Ayers Rock in the middle left of Australia, in the Northern Territory, which means I’ve now (and Amy) have visited every state in Australia; New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Here’s the video for the trip -
Full blog post coming soon!
Last weekend was Marcy’s birthday at a house near Berry called Redleaf, it was high up a hill and spent most of its time in rain clouds but that was fine because the house was built to be cozy -
Amy in the Living room with the fire
The house had three fires and because it was cold up the hill we lit them all. It was a round the clock exercise trying to keep them all going as normally one fire is enough work!
Here’s the kitchen fire, we tried to cook on it but it just wasn’t hot enough that morning -
Kitchen Fire trying to cook on it
On the first night Lorraine made a fantastic curry, the second day Stuart and Simone made a fantastic soup and for dinner we went to a restaurant in Berry called “The Hungry Duck” which was really nice as well, although they needed to do more on the heating front as it was cold! The next day Lorraine cooked a fantastic Greece style dish with lots of bits to share which was also fantastic.
Rambo the dog was also invited and when he wasn’t eating my slippers he was playing nice with Chloe, Nick and Lauren’s daughter -
Chloe and Rambo playing nice
Even thought it was freezing I was keen to go in the pool, however when we rolled back the cover it was full of dead worms at the bottom, so there was no way I was getting in. We settled instead to play a game of croquet although the games didn’t last very long, I think the weather played a large part into that. Here’s the house from the outside though with Croquet in the foreground -
Red Leaf house with Croque and cups of tea / egg nog
On the last night we remembered to take a photo, here’s all of us (apart from Amy, Nick, Lauren and Chloe) enjoying Lorraine’s Greek dinner she put together -
And as a bonus here’s the video of Marcy getting her “suprise” birthday gift -
Best of the year 2011, this year instead of a new category I’ve removed one (DVD of the Year) as we no longer watch DVDs and replaced it with TV Show of the Year!
Album of the Year – w h o k i l l – tUnE-yArDs
Merrill Garbus’ second album is awesome. I’ve never heard her first one, this one obviously got enough air play and buzz for me to hear it somewhere (I think most likely on Adam and Joe’s radio six show which has now sadly finished). Her live performance is apparently just her on her own looping tracks and it sounds like a lot of fun to see. Hopefully she’ll come to Australia in 2012!
|Cinema Trip of the Year – Source Code
I liked the premise of this movie, the idea you can be inside someones mind for the last few seconds they are alive. Basically any movie which makes you question what is happening from the out set is a good one (Matrix 1 for example). The Adjustment Bureau and the King’s Speech are probably a close second to this movie.
|TV Show of the Year – Boardwalk Empire
Set during US Prohibition, Nucky Thompson, play by Steve Buscemi is a man that has his feet in both sides of the law. He’s the treasurer
of Atlantic City as well as a mover of illegal alcohol. The stories are very interesting and it’s a great show currently in its second season. Other show’s we’ve loved are New Girl, Louie, Portlandia and The Thick of It.
|Book of the Year – The Lean Startup
I wish I’d read this book before spending time building software. He’s admission that he could of probably spent six months of software development time sipping umbrella drinks on a beach and the company would have been in the exactly the same place was a real wake up call.
|Game of the Year – F-SIM Space Shuttle
I’ve not bought any games this year, just to prevent myself from wasting time. So the games I have played have been limited to the iPhone. F-SIM is less of a game and more of a simulation. You have to land the space shuttle as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The challenge is to come down on the ball bar and land the bird not too fast, not too slow, as close to the centre line as possible and not too heavy. It’s quite a challenge and really well made (it’s all by an indie developer).
|Website of the Year – Reddit
This site is more of a college freshman site, but occasionally there’s some interesting information, such as AMA’s (ask me anythings) by interesting people. As well as “TILs” (today I learned) which has some interesting nuggets such as Magenta is a colour your brain makes up.
| Technology Purchase of the Year – iPhone 4s
I went from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4s in only a couple of months but as one of the most used and useful tools for doing pretty much anything it’s the best technology tool I’ve ever had. Siri, although in its early days shows great promise, I can just imagine in a few years being in the car and saying “Siri, is this the best way to get to Timthanuel’s house?” (in the future people will be called Timthanuel) – and it will come back at me with a new route on an OSD to help me beat the traffic.
|Restaurant of the Year – Budda Bar
This is a tough one, Budda Bar in Dubai was fantastic but we went there and were both very tired. The Green Curry Maki sushi roll was like nothing else I’ve tasted which is important for a restaurant. We went to some other good places this year, Celsius in Adelaide was fantastic and the food at Margan, the restaurant we had our wedding ceremony at was also amazing.
|Trip of the Year – Maldives
We’ve been a bit lucky this year, I made a trip back to the UK, we went to Thailand for a week or two, Adelaide, Dubai and Maldives. Dubai and Maldives was our honeymoon trip. The Maldives is a pretty special place because it’s not really on the way anywhere and it has a lucky cross section of weather, water and service. We stayed at two places Baros and Soneva Gilli, both of with were amazing. More of that though in the honeymoon blog update coming soon.
Well that wraps up the Best of 2011! Have a happy new year!!
A year ago Amy and I went to Queenstown in New Zealand and got engaged. A year to the day later we got married! The ceremony was in the Hunter Valley at a location called Talits French Estate and the reception was at Margan, a winery with fantastic wines and a great set-up for weddings. It was a fantastic day and all went to plan, we were blessed with great weather and had a fantastic group of friends and family to share the day with.
The website amy-gary.com will have all of the pictures, video and everything you can think of in an amazing online multi-media experice but first we have to go on Honeymoon! So expect an update in a few weeks!