Monday, February 27, 2012

John's birthday present

John loves motorbike riding, and he's a good rider, but what with work and family commitments he doesn't get as much riding time as he'd like. For John's birthday last year I bought him a voucher to spend a day on Eastern Creek racecourse, on the outskirts of Sydney, riding the racetrack on his own Triumph (a Sprint GT 1050).

Getting two (full-time employed) people plus bike 1600 km there and back, turned out to be harder to organise that we thought. But, just in time for John's birthday this year, we managed it: we borrowed a trail-bike trailer (thanks Trevor ...) and with the help of local Bangalow palm fronds (totally pliable and totally tough!) re-shaped the wheel slots to support the fat tyres of the Triumph. And so we set off to Eastern Creek: we took two days to get there and had a lovely time (great meals en route in the most unexpected places). 

John and I both had a super day at the track. I enjoyed the novelty of watching 'live' bikes on the race track; chatted with all sorts of people; and took lots of photos.  John was given a couple of advice sessions by a "California Superbike" instructor, and had six sessions on the track; each a maximum of 30 minutes long (about as long as ultimate concentration will last).

Here he is enjoying a corner at fair speed. His top speed, by the way, was 219.8 kph (and no radar traps to issue a speed infringement notice...).

The trip back was good too: Lots of ABC Radio National, reading out loud (me to John that is), good spicy meals en route, and the wonderful Australian landscape unfolding before our eyes.

What a lovely adventure it was! Thanks John for having a birthday! :-D

Friday, February 24, 2012

Just in case you forgot what the front of the house looked like ...

What with all the work going on on the back... here's the front, again:

I love the external cross-bracing which, interlocked, holds the house together better than any bolts & nuts possibly could.

You can see our big dog, Chooks (a black and tan rhodesian ridgeback x) lying on her bed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Busy times but here's an update

Lawdie lawdie, times are busy right now. Lots of (good) work happening at university, busy family, and so on!  But here's an update of where we're up to with the house restoration and deck/verandah building:
  • the roof is nearly done (wahay! no more interior dribbles!);
  • a fair bit of the exterior painting is done (guess who goes to lectures covered in paint spots); 
  • the gutters are nearly functional (but not quite: we had 70mm last night  which went everywhere except in the tanks);
  • the side louvre windows are in and looking fantastic (locally made by fenestrating joiners / craftsmen ...);
  • At the local recycled building material Co. I found a C19th oak door to fit the back door space  ...  alas it's been ravaged with 1970s vigour (eugh: it has to be seen to be believed: put your mind in the frame of psychadelic flowers, purple, green, afro and flares, but then in a 'door' context) .... but at least it's restorable...
  • the temporary railings are down in preparation for the installation of the real railings which have been crafted and delivered (by said fenestrators)... the temporary ones are the green diagonals you can see on the photo.
Sorry the colours of the roof are a bit washed out. It's usually green. The blue around the side room won't stay like that: it's insulation, and will be clad with hardwood. (Oh and someone remind me to take the horse feed drum off the fence post :-/  )