The Moose and the Porridge.

Well, it’s exam week (apparently) so here is a look at something school related…

As part of his schoolwork Dani and his class have lessons in public speaking every week. A good thing to do at that age. In fact, the kind of confidence that class can instill will probably do much more for the kids in later life than most of their academic learning. Not just for the confidence of speaking in front of other (often older and presumably more experienced) people. He also seems to like it. You will probably see why later in the example below. For me this is a great opportunity to record the work he brought home. I am sure he will enjoy reading it when he is older as much as I did the other day.

For the rest of you… Well, you may find it a little bit daft, if not stupid. It’s typical kids stuff. Boys stuff to be more exact.

A little bit of bullshit goes a long way (in life)

The saying used to be; “It’s who you know, not what you know”. I am sure that still counts for a lot when trying to make your way in life especially as an adult. But another thing definitely comes into play these days. The subtle (or even not so subtle) art of bullshitting can take you further in life than real skills. I have witnessed it so many times in the many and varied jobs I have had.

Make no mistake. For all the positive or obvious benefits of practicing public speaking at their age, these kids will certainly also be better equipped to bullshit their way through many situations later in life. Although right now that additional benefit will be very much in their subconscious. And they are already busying themselves with some complete nonsense. Below is a great (and funny) example.

This is an exact copy – word for word, spelling mistakes and all – of the typed transcript Dani brought home. He did this task with his classmate Jarvis.  The aim of the task was to write and read out a “fragmented fairy tale”. It is completely ridiculous and it is definitely no Oscar-winning script, but it did make me laugh. What great fun to be that age. I can almost remember it myself…

The Moose and the Porridge.

Narrator 1.(aka Jarvis de goat)

Narrator 2.(aka Dan da man)

The moose.(aka Jarvis de goat)

Baby porridge.(aka Dan da man)

Daddy porridge.(aka Jarvis de goat)

Mummy porridge.(aka Dan da man)

Narrator 1:  Once upon  time, there was a  Moose who was called Moose. He got sick of eating leaves so he looked for something else to eat.

Narrator 2:  He had a long stroll down the woods until he came across a massive bowl of porridge.Outside came a Baby porridge, a mummy porridge and a Dad porridge.

Daddy porridge:  I am going to leave for the milk now  remember baby porridge and mummy porridge. I kind of like you.

Baby porridge:  I kind of like you too but deep inside my heart I feel like becoming Daniel and eating you for breakfast.

Narrator 1:  The moose comes up to the porridge family.

Narrator 2:  The moose let out a loud fart and said:

The moose:  MMmmm!! Something smells like my armpit hair. Yummy!

Baby porridge:  Stop the caaapp! Your armpits smell like rotten eggs and bacon! Look at you!You are just ugly Racoon Pig!Is that not a thing? Dont care Its you!

The moose:  I want to eat that baby porridge with ugly rotten teeth. 3.2.1 CHARGE! oops! I broke your fridge with da empty milk containers

Baby Porridge: Nooo! The fridge! My Doritos! My frozen Doritos! That’s it. Fight me!

The moose: You want some, I’ll give it ya you wet oat!!

Narrator 2:  Baby porridge leaped in the air and corrected the moose. I’m dry!

He smashed down on the moose and.POW!

The moose:  Ow! you oat . i’m gonna belt to the milky way

Bam! Slap! Slash! bang!

Baby Porridge:  Wow Dude! That hurt! But I’ll give you a good thumping and a spanking AND a good hiding to even it out.SMASH!

The moose:  BRO!What in the world! OUCH! Time for Plan B …We are calling a ca130 on mr and mrs Porridges home bang! smash! boom!

Baby Porridge:  Clap Clap Clap. What an airstrike! You blew up the chimney! Now how do I get presents from the Fat Man?

The moose: You mean Santa-Claus? The guy that comes into your room and looks at you while you sleep?

Baby Porridge:  Wow! I didn’t know Santa was so sussy Jamal!

The moose:  All so cool but didn’t your dad leave for the milk?

Baby porridge:  Oh yeah! He’s been gone for 3450 years!Waaaaaaaaa!

The moose:  That’s sad LMAO!

Mummy porridge:  Get out you rotten head with a horn!

The moose:   How dare you call me that!I’m the most beautiful moose in the world!

Baby porridge:  True but all moose are ugly! So u suck!

Daddy porridge:  Son, I… Have come back with the milk. I realised… That I still kind of like you!

Daniel: Yum! Yum! Porridge! Let’s eat the big one! Jarvis! Look!

Jarvis:  Let’s also put the moose in the crock pot!

YUM! CRUNCH!

Daniel: We hope you enjoyed This story by Oatmeal and horn- head productions.

Jarvis:  Also sponsored by Raid Shadow Legends.

Daniel: It’s done!Go away now.

Dani is Nine

Today is Daniel’s 9th birthday. He got a fair few presents and all the usual attention a kid that age enjoys. But I thought I would do something a little different this year. A kind of musical birthday card for my son. A montage of photos (mainly) covering part of his first two and a half years here in Australia.

He is getting to that age where he is easily embarrassed by his parents so I may not get much thanks for this right now. Hopefully though he will come to like this birthday card video in years to come.


A Musical Birthday Card for Daniel
Song: El Universo Sobre Mí by Amaral

There are plenty more recent pics of course and lots of other places not shown; but there’s also too many. I had to start somewhere. Maybe next year I will bring it up to date and pick up from where this video leaves off (which was about April this year).

Sculptures by the Sea

This Sunday was the final day of the ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ exhibition. It is an annual event   but of course the last two years this free outdoor exhibition was cancelled (not saying that “c” word). The artwork is placed along the coastal walk between Tamarama Beach and Bondi Beach. We just caught it this year so here are some of the sculptures we saw and liked. There were plenty more and the 2km coastal walkway was packed with people.

Statues on Tamarama Beach…

The large disco ball was (perhaps understandably) very popular…

Bondi Beach was the busiest we had seen it for some time.

This coastal walk is normally fairly popular but this was a whole other level. Totally packed out. Well it was Sunday, it was sunny and this was the final day of the (free) ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ exhibition. And, judging by the way the weather has been so far this year, this time next week it will probably be raining (again)…

This was a good one. It all depends on the angle…
This one was called “Collossus”. I always thought the one carrying the planet was Atlas but hey…

Kangaroo Island – Part 3

Where Are The Kangaroos?

It was the afternoon of our last full day on Kangaroo Island and, incredibly, we still hadn’t seen any kangaroos.

That’s not strictly true. When we arrived a couple of days earlier it was dark. We had a bit of a drive to our accommodation and I did see one dicing with death at the side of the road. As I was the driver I was the only one in the car who saw it. It no doubt got run over a few minutes later. There were of course several examples of the (almost obligatory) road kill – which probably numbered about 6 or more dead roos.

Anyway, the point is that we hadn’t seen a live kangaroo. Now for me, just seeing a roo with his/her head popping up in the grass does not qualify as a real sighting. Call me old fashioned but I think you need to see them in full flight to fully appreciate them – and truly say that you have seen them. Hopping, bouncing along, using the full strength of those odd back legs. After all this is why they are so famous right?

None of Dani’s other relatives who had visited us had seen a kangaroo in full jumping mode. But his grandmother and auntie – who also had yet to see any – were about to break that unlucky streak.

As is often the case with these things it kind of happened by chance. We had to go and buy something from one of the few real towns on the island and were actually heading back to our accommodation when Dani decided to moan (as kids cooped up in a car tend to do). At that point his mum spotted a sign for a vineyard with wine tasting so we turned off and followed the signs. While Dani’s mum and auntie were sampling some wines we had a chat with the lady who was serving. She told us of a place not far from where she lived where there were “plenty of kangaroos, and wallabies too”. That seemed like a ready made plan. But first….

Koala Bonus

The wine cellar lady also told us about a koala she had spotted that morning in a nearby tree. Another great tip that proved correct. The koala – hardly the most active of creatures – was still there, very high up in a tree (full zoom needed).

Another koala. The second of three sightings on the island

Hitting the Kangaroo Jackpot. With a Wallaby Bonanza.

Following the wine tasting and koala gazing we followed the lady’s directions heading up towards the Emu Bay area. We were not disappointed. After seeing a few in fields we ventured onto a dirt road and found it. This was kangaroo dreamland. We had hit the kangaroo jackpot – with a wallaby bonanza for good measure.

A family of three wallabies with the Joey in the pouch

Soon the animals were appearing from all directions jumping across the dirt road (that had now become more of a track). Some sat motionless watching us from a (relatively) safe distance, only to dart off when we got too close. Many had youngsters and would bounce across our path as a family; mother, father and Joey Roo too.

This is the real way to see kangaroos close up
A large male
“real” kangaroo spotting LOL

The Kangaroo island kangaroo is brown and smaller than the grey kangaroos we had been used to seeing. They also seem to be far more cautious and don’t allow you to get too close. The smaller wallabies are even more nervous and generally scatter  just when you think you are close enough to get  good photo. unfortunately these photos do not do this place justice. There really were lots more just out of range or jumping across the track as I drove along.

We even spotted another koala – our second in less than an hour.

So a chance encounter at a vineyard wine tasting shop led to a great bit of wildlife spotting. As always with these things; if you know where to look….

Yet another koala bonus. Can you spot it?
Zoom in on classic koala tree hugging pose

You can read parts one and two of the Kangaroo Island posts here and here.

Kangaroo Island – Part 2

The Flinders Chase National Park and Remarkable Rocks

We stayed in an AirBnB house in a place called American River. You could barely call it a village really – more a hamlet. But it was a good base from which to explore the island.

American River village on the East coast of the island

The house itself had a lot of retro features too…

A yellow plastic sink? Yes. A first for me.

On one of our days out from here we visited the Flinders Chase National Park. To get there we passed through the village of Parndana which is pretty much smack in the centre of the island. A good place to stop for a break and fill the car up with fuel.

Parndana Post Office

One of only a few places to refuel outside of the main towns in the east of the island

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island so remembering to fill up in these places is important.

Flinders Chase NP covers the west of the island. The area is mostly wild bushland but is home to several protected species and some odd geological sights. Most people come here to visit Admiral’s Arch and the Remarkable Rocks.

Admirals Arch is located close to the Cape Du Couedic lighthouse, a classic round, brick built structure that just shouts “heritage listed”. This is also a popular area for a large fur seal population.

Admirals Arch

Some of the many fur seals seen relaxing on the rocks in this part of the island…

The Casuarina Islets, also known as The Brothers

Daniel at the Arch

Remarkable Rocks

About 6km east, along the coastline you come across one of those places that actually live up to their name. The Remarkable Rocks. Remarkable indeed. The rock formations are a result of erosion over thousands of years. The rocks are the remains of the top layer of a huge granite clifftop rock.

Remarkable Rocks visible from Admirals Arch area

Definitely one of the more impressive sights we have seen. Not unlike Uluru in some ways – smaller of course but the drop off to the sea on one side is every bit as impressive. One good thing is that in this place visitors are still allowed to climb all over the natural structures.

There were bodies all over the rocks but it does give a sense of scale.

You could spend all day here just trying to capture the rocks from every angle and still never quite obtain the desired result. But enough of that, just take a look at the shots I managed to get.

By the end of the second day on Kangaroo Island and we still hadn’t seen any kangaroos. Incredible eh? There was always tomorrow… Stay tuned for part 3.

Blue Mountain Beer

A quick visit to the Blue Mountains gave me the chance to stop off at one of the two craft beer brewers in the mountains, called Brew Mountains Brewery. These places are always worth recording for posterity, so here goes…

Brew Mountains Brewery

“Brew” being a play on the obvious name for a craft ale producer in this part of the world – “Blue”. Not convinced on that one personally but hey… Let’s just sample the ales eh?

This place set just off the main Great Western Highway in Valley Heights, was smaller than many we had visited. They still manage to have quite a few of their own brews on tap as well as a couple of guest beers.

I went for a tasting paddle of the first four beers on the board. Nice and simple.

I am a firm believer that people should keep an eye out for these places and give them your support. This one was definitely a good spot to pull in for a beer or two. They have food trucks on site for the two days a week they open so that was useful to soak up the ale. Remembering that I had to drive back!!

Dani borrowed some of their merch for a photo opp…
…and thought the toilet paper they used was funny

We even bought a Growler of ale to take home. Let’s hope the weather pick up. Always more enjoyable when the sun is shining……

For those outside of Australia a “Growler” holds about 2 litres

Too Early. Pleeeeaaase!

And finally: This from last week. I took this one day, maybe mid-week. It is definitely too early for Christmas decorations. Come on people! Why are they doing this? It is still almost two weeks before Halloween. Clearly the shopping centre does not intend doing anything for Halloween this year… What the heck are they playing at?

Kangaroo Island – Part 1

Bees, Sea Lions & Koalas

During the school holidays we flew over to Adelaide in South Australia and drove down the coast to take a ferry over to Kangaroo Island with Dani’s grandmother and his auntie in tow…

Kangaroo Island has been called ‘the Australian Galpágos’. I actually read that somewhere recently and took it with the pinch of salt it deserved. However, there is some great and rare wildlife on Kangaroo Island. The very name suggests so right? Well, we were about to find out…

First we had to get there on a ferry from Cape Jervis.

The odd shaped Cape Jervis lighthouse
The original Cape Jervis lighthouse was built in the traditional circular shape
For some reason the new was built slightly inland of the old

The Big Bee?

The island is small in comparison to the country but in its own right it is large. It is bigger than the Spanish island of Mallorca and half the size of Cyprus. There are strict controls on what you can take over there. You cannot even take honey across as the island is home to the only pure breed of Ligurian bees on the planet. Apparently there could be some bacteria in the honey from other bees that may affect the island bees. I am still not fully sure about that but those are the rules.

At the Island Beehive, just outside the town of Kingscote, you can see these pure bred Ligurian bees and buy their honey. We bought some and it was OK. I would not say much better or worse than any other great honey we have eaten in Australia but who am I to pass judgement?

The only pure Ligurian bees are found on Kangaroo Island

You can also see The Big Bee – yet another of “The ‘Bigs’ of Australia”. Not huge but it does appear on some “Big Thing” lists you find online.

The Big Bee

Curiously there are a lot of these signs around the island. I have no idea why. Are there people from right hand driving countries flying directly onto the island then hiring cars? If anyone knows please tell us.

  Sea Lions

What is the difference between a seal and a sea lion? They are different animals. Yet at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island you can see plenty Sea Lions. Another odd thing about this place, but still a great spot to visit.

This is a protected area with access to much of it strictly controlled but they do take you down onto the beach where you can get up very close to the sea lions. There’s not much more to say really as I think the photos tell the story…

Don’t be fooled. These creatures are faster than you might think. They have teeth like a dog and the adults are big. You definitely would not want to get int an argument with one.

The skeleton of a young humpback whale in the heart of the sea lion colony
The youngest pup – about 2 months old
The same pup feeding from its mother.

Dani took this last photo of two gulls copulating. He spotted them and shouted “Look, that one is having a piggy-back!” – which I thought was both funny and innocent.

Koalas

Koalas are not natives of Kangaroo Island. They were introduced in the 1920s as part of a protection programme. We were lucky enough to see a few. this one on the way out of Seal Bay.

There he is – just. (Assuming it is a “he”)
That’s a better shot

Cliff Diving World Series Final – Sydney

Sydney harbour was the venue for the Red Bull Cliff Diving 2022 World Series finals. Although there are plenty of (real) cliffs along the coastline here, the harbour was set up with an artificial “cliff” tower. Personally I think it would have been much better off the real cliffs plunging in to the Pacific ocean but there is no doubt why they chose the harbour setting.

It reminds me of those famous photographs of the high diving board at the Barcelona Olympics way back in 1992 with the city as the backdrop. Today, with the diving tower set up at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair on the harbour. So the backdrop was that postcard classic of the Opera House sitting in front of the Harbour Bridge.

Made for TV setting. With plenty of water based spectators too.
Large crowd for the free event…

The event was free to enter but to see it properly meant walking through the entrance gates with the crowds. Anything like this is going to be busy when it’s free. Also, it seems that spring has finally arrived and the sun was shining – another thing guaranteed to bring out the crowds. We managed to make our way to the front. We watched a few then left. Simple.

Classic backdrop for the diving tower


One of the male competitors doing a seemingly impossible dive.

A diver approaches the edge of the 27m tall diving board.

In case you are wondering, the water depth the are diving into is only 5.5m (about 18 feet)

Cliff Diving

Cliff diving is said to have started in Acapulco, Mexico at the famous La Quebrada cliffs, in the 1930s. It became world famous in 1963 when the Elvis Presley movie ‘Fun in Acapulco’ was released. Elvis played a cliff diver who performed at the the El Mirador Hotel at La Quebrada. Following that film cliff diving competitions at La Quebrada were regularly shown on sports programmes on US and British TV during the 1960s and 1970s.

Interesting fact: Elvis never travelled to Mexico and all his footage in the movie was filmed in the USA. Checkout that movie and you can clearly see that is the case. He is never really there. There are two stories. One tale is that during showing of earlier Elvis movies caused riots in Mexico City. The other story is that Elvis apparently said some disparaging things about Mexico. Either way it seems that he became “persona non grata”.

All that aside, the cliff divers at La Quebrada cliffs near Acapulco are an absolute must-see if you are anywhere near there. Dani’s mum and myself went to a show at the El Mirador Hotel some years ago when we were in Mexico. I would definitely go again, it really is an amazing sight and a great show.


One of the female divers. Using the slightly lower level

Views from the other side of the inlet…

The Big Rocking Horse

In the world of the ‘Bigs’ of Australia this one was probably the biggest and most unusual one we have seen to date. This is the Big Rocking Horse of Gumeracha, South Australia…

Mostly the ‘Bigs’ have some context to the area they were made and erected. Like the Big Trout in the Snowy Mountains’ fish farming area, or the Big Oyster in the oyster harvesting town of Taree. This one exists for no other reason than it sits alongside a toy factory and shop. I am sure you will agree, that is reason enough. It can be visited on a day trip to the Adelaide Hills not far from the city. About 40 minutes drive.

The World’s Biggest Rocking Horse

The Big Rocking Horse

In 1973, after opening a wooden toy factory in Gumeracha, the owner decided to build a large roadside attraction on the site in order to attract passing traffic. The firstly he used a large wooden giraffe (about 5m tall). Then there were a series of rocking horses. One three metres tall then a five metre version. Eventually the Big Rocking Horse was built. The 18.3 metre tall structure was designed by David McIntosh and John Twopenny, and it was opened in 1981. It took eight months to construct and cost about $100,000. The rest as they say, is history. The Big Rocking Horse now sits proudly in the lists of Big Australian things you might find on the internet or guide books…

Dani on the normal sized rocking horse

Viewing Platforms

The rocking horse has three viewing platforms. The upper two only accessible via steel industrial style ladders hidden inside the horse. There is a charge of $2 to climb to the top of the horse but they do give you a certificate to verify that you made the climb to the top.

The site also has a great toy shop – which includes plenty of old style wooden toys – and a cafe/restaurant.

The details are on display…

This was a small part of our trip to Adelaide and surrounding area. Our first visit to South Australia. There will be more to come…

Dani In The Doghouse

In the doghouse

Dani is definitely in the doghouse after being pulled into the school principal’s office on the last afternoon of last term. Right before the spring school holidays. In the final hour of that final day of term, he received 2 ‘demerits’ from the school principal, along with several other boys in his class/year.

I do not want to downplay the ‘infringements’. Some were fairly serious sounding although I do want to get to the bottom of it.

His mum is livid and I fully understand that. But it is always boys who seem to get into these ridiculous situations eh? Whether drawn in by peer pressure or instigating it. None of that is an excuse however and he will be punished. Starting with a total ban on screen time – which is the children’s modern day equivalent of the 5 years of solitary confinement dished out to Papillon on Devil’s Island.

He does not like being punished but he takes it on the chin. But I would prefer that he talks openly about what went on and any other things that go on in school. He doesn’t seem to want to do that. We still need the serious talk however, so we shall see…

We could not have that chat during most of his school holidays as Dani’s abuela (Spanish grandmother) has been here visiting. Thankfully she has just returned to Spain – not a day too soon I might add; although that is another story entirely. So, we will be having the chat very soon. Right before the start of term 4.

Meanwhile, he remains in the doghouse until further notice…