Stone the Flamin’ Crows – We’re going out with a bang

Sydney Harbour

Crikey, talk about seeing the year off with a bang.

In a few hours-time Sydney Harbour will be engulfed in a blaze of colour as the world’s greatest fireworks show lights the southern sky…

A very happy New Year to all you wonderful people around the globe from the down-under crew…

Baz, Janet-Planet, and TomO the wonderkid!

B,J, andT

Well smack my bum (and call me Janet)

Girl next door? 

Well yeah, Janet-Planet was my next door neighbour, but don’t be fooled by that coiffured hairdo of hers, she is no wallflower…

And how good is that we get to have this sort of aerial fun together…

Just remember, if all else fails, remain out of control and see what develops – it sure works for us and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Baz – The Landy 😉

Gravity is a toy – Should we be proud or worried?

Baz and TomO (two peas in a pod?)
Baz and TomO (two peas in a pod?)

After the climbing I have been doing in New Zealand, and the travelling that Janet and TomO have done whilst I was in the mountains, we decided today would be a good opportunity to all relax together in the beautiful town of Queenstown.

 Well, when I said relax, I mean relax in our own special way…

 So we headed to a canyon with a high cliff, and jumped – courtesy of the great team from Shotover Canyon Swing, Queenstown.

TomO - you're insane
TomO – you’re insane

 TomO led the charge with a solo jump; doing a spectacular pin-drop, apparently one of the youngest to do this style.  Janet and I followed shortly after, and in case you are wondering, we thought we’d chuck TomO off first just to make sure it all held together…

What chance did TomO ever have - with this pair as parents
What chance did TomO ever have – with this pair as parents

And perhaps because we are just a little “insane” TomO and I took another leap together!

A chip off the “old block” ?

 Yes – perhaps, I’m just not sure whether I should be proud or just a little bit worried…

Oh, don’t  worry, we’re very proud (and just a tad worried!)

Anyway, pictures speak louder than words…Jumpppppppp!

(Ps: No trying this at home 😉 )

I’m a closet Devo (Are we not men?)

Whip it, whip it real good
Whip it, whip it real good

If you love music, wine, and being in the great outdoors then “A Day on the Green” would be just the thing for you.

 Yesterday afternoon, we headed to Bimbadgen Estate, a winery situated in the Hunter Valley, about a 2-hour drive to the north of Sydney for an afternoon and evening with some of the best musicians in the world today.

And apart from a couple of drops of rain, the weather was perfect.

Sunset over Bimbadgen Estate
Sunset over Bimbadgen Estate

 So what about the music, I hear you ask. 

Well, as many of you will know, I’m not a person too concerned about age or time, but this did take me back to days long ago, sitting in front of the telly watching Devo, yes Devo…

Strewth, don’t worry, it is okay if you don’t want to admit to ever knowing them, let alone bopping around the front living room with a funny little hat on your head, or maybe you just weren’t around back then.

But I have to say, it was a lot of fun and everyone was into it.

Remember those little hats
Remember those little hats
Fiona in Devo tee and floppy hat
Fiona in Devo tee and floppy hat

A good friend, Fiona, organised the best tickets for us, and she was there in her Devo tee shirt soaking it all up!

We were treated to a number of bands, and one of our favourites, a great Australian band, The Church, played some of their all-time classics. And if you have never heard Under the Milky Way, do yourself a favour and you-tube it!

The Church
The Church

And the evening culminated in Simple Minds taking the stage.

Now, let me simply say, Janet and I have grown up listening to this band, and we’ve taken every opportunity to see them live over the years, and last night as the sun was setting in the western sky we were once again mesmerized by the brilliance of the band’s music.

The always radiant Janet, and Baz
The always radiant Janet, and Baz
Simple Minds
Simple Minds
Ray and Leah
Ray and Leah

 And the evening, was a change of pace for my partner in all things adventure, and brother-in-law, Ray, but he had me hiking up a mountain Sunday morning, but more on that later…I’m plugging in the iPod to listen to some more of The Church

The Boys
The Boys

Hey, you wouldn’t be dead for quids…

And remember, if all else fails, remain out of control and see what develops!

The Shed – An Aussie Icon in the backyard

The Shed

You’ve got to love the Aussie Shed, a beacon in a sea of green grass that is usually found near the back fence on any Australian suburban house block. I love my shed and even though it was designed to house a couple of cars, and all that stuff that you accumulate over the years, you know, the Christmas presents that you couldn’t stand but didn’t have the heart to send to the refuse tip, they all invariably end up hidden away in a dark corner of the shed.

As a long-term fitness junkie, my shed houses surfboards, kayaks, a Concept C2 rower, and my weight-lifting racks and associated equipment, as well as numerous bikes collected over the years. Not surprisingly there is a small collection of old Landrover parts and camping equipment. And yes, the odd Christmas present that seemed like a good idea to someone long-ago.

Mind you, not all Aussie sheds house exercise equipment, unless of course you count the bar fridge in the corner which is standard equipment. Often you’ll see the men-folk doing some elbow bending as they drink a toast to the day passed, usually just around the time the sun is going down over the yard-arm. And like a bunch of Cockatoos, high on the fermenting nectar of fruit consumed under a hot Aussie sun, the squawking tends to increase as the amber fluid flows.  And you can be sure a fair amount of advice is passed around, an exchange of ideas, thoughts, happenings, and the odd joke or two. A  bit like Speakers Corner where everyone is given a chance to say their bit, to tell their yarn in a not too serious way.

But I’m digressing…Each morning around 4.30am, or silly-o’clock as Janet, my partner suggests, I make the journey out the back door and up the driveway to the shed. Even the dogs, Milo and Jack, can’t be bothered to get out of their beds, preferring to wave me through, especially on these colder winter mornings. Although, usually after about 30 minutes or so one of them will wander up to see what is going on, but I suspect if they could speak they’d actually be asking for a feed, seemingly oblivious to anything else, such is a dog’s life. Depending on the day I’ll either pursue my strength training, or use the rower for my daily cardio fix and although I would prefer to be out on the water kayaking it isn’t always convenient during the week, so the rowing machine is a great substitute.

I must confess upfront to being an early morning person, I guess you’d have to be to manage a 4.30am start each day, but it does have its advantages. In between the clanging of weight plates being moved, or interval sets on the rower, I can stand outside in the pre-dawn silence and marvel at the stars in the sky, the wondrous universe with you at its centre, once a month watch a full moon setting in the western sky, and if I’m lucky even a shooting star to ponder a thought on.

And what of the neighbours I hear you ask, what if they don’t share my love of the early morning? I must say it is hard not to be tempted into playing some heavy metal, AC/DC or Led Zeppelin (okay I’m showing my age here!) to help the mood and give that much needed pump for the session. But alas, it is mostly done in silence, apart from a moan or groan under the weight of a squat bar, or the last 500 metres on the rower.  But fair to say, if I head up for an afternoon session, which is more often than not, it is always accompanied by some loud rock or heavy metal music. I’ve always said that Theo, our next door neighbour, is a closet heavy metal fan, so the relationship has never been strained, he doesn’t always say much mind you, but smiles a lot, so maybe he’s actually deaf. And I’m frequently visited by Janet, and TomO, our son, during these sessions, which is always welcome, mind you there would never be any chance of that happening in the morning, in fact I don’t think they know what 4.30am actually looks like.

There was a suggestion not too long ago that maybe the shed could be converted and upgraded to have a loft, an upstairs area where TomO and his mates could hang out, maybe even move into as he advances in his teenage years. You know, a brand new building without the cracks that have accumulated over the years, possibly from too much heavy metal music resonating through the walls, or perhaps just cracking up from the tall stories that have echoed from within – but it just wouldn’t be cricket, and besides where would I put the bar fridge?

No thanks, I like my shed just the way it is, and as the sun slowly sinks below the yard arm in a brilliant display of burnt orange…Cheers, from the shed!