6 Jul 2019

Over the hills and far away...

Morning stop north of Dungog.

The last three days I have been on the now annual, classic Porsche group road trip into northern New South Wales. This is the fourth running of the road trip. I have been on three-missing one in 2017 due to being in hospital . This year the unofficial "club" has expanded to 5- all with very similar early 70's longnose 911s.
The company was, as always, great. The roads were generally superb and so empty. Surely some of the best driving roads in Australia?
All the cars behaved themselves. Mine had a new clutch, new rear shockers and new seat belts for the trip and was going better than it has ever done since I owned it. Thank you Simon and the team at Autowerks.
The weather was not fully cooperative - rain squalls, low cloud and patches of sunshine, particularly over the Great Dividing Range, but we all drove safely and quickly on some very slippery mountain roads and lived to tell the tale and drink some excellent Pinot Noir on the last evening.

Peas out of a pod. Lunch stop Buladelah

Justin, interloper from Victoria.

Following Ash on the road north from Bellingen

Coffee stop at very cold Ebor in the middle of nowhere. L to R Craig,Colin,Justin and Ash.

Having a silver car is not compulsory

Frosty the snowman

My car at home among the gum trees

A great colour choice Justin.

From the front Craig's,Colin's,Justin's, mine and Ash's

A very wet Long Flat at the bottom of the mountain.

27 Jun 2019

The Reichstag

After the reunification of Germany in 1990 Berlin was reinstated as the capital city of Gemany. Subsequently the old federal parliament building, the Reichstag, which had stood as a disused shell since the end of World War 2 was reconstructed to a design by the British architect, Sir Norman Foster.
The high point, literally, of his reconstruction is the glass and steel dome perched on the roof of the old building. It is a very brave design, up there with the Louvre's glass pyramid, in terms of architectural bravery.
It's easy to take a cheesy, standard tourist photo of the Reichstag and the dome. I opted for an internal view with, luckily, the German flag fluttering in the wind outside.

The thinker

The thinker? The daydreamer more likely. Beautiful Phoebe, now our only cat, staring into space.

26 Jun 2019

The Royal Pissoir

Whilst taking an early morning walk in the old city, close to the Royal Palace, in Stockholm last month I came across this structure. My first thought when I saw it from a distance was that it was a sentry box but as I came close I saw that it is a Swedish Pissoir-a urinal. Not at all what I would expect to find near the Palace in Stockholm or indeed anywhere in Stockholm. Paris definitely, but not Stockholm. Anyway there it was and yes, it is fully functioning.

25 Jun 2019

The cat with pink ears

Well. not really-that's just the sun. Photographed at a farmhouse near Minas De Santa Domingos in central Portugal last year. This photo has just been selected by the Leica Fotografie International for inclusion in the LFI Gallery.

23 Jun 2019

Beyond Stockholm

One of the many delights of Stockholm is that the surrounding islands are so accessible by ferry. During our recent visit we took one of the vintage steam ferries to the island of Vaxholm for the day. The trip was delightful with frequent stops at small jetties to drop and pick up passengers. Most of the dwellings on the near islands are summer houses which apparently cost Sydney real estate prices. Above are some of the scenery we passed that day and the ferry boat which took us. It all looks so typically Swedish.

20 Jun 2019

A sad time

Whilst we were on our way home from Berlin two weeks ago we received the very sad news at Doha Airport that out wonderful little cat, Zoe, had died at the Terrigal Vetinerary Hospital. It was not a shock as she was 19 and had been diagnosed with diabetes 8 months previously. She really had done very well to live to such an old age for a pure bred cat and also to live with the diabetes for so long. Nonetheless it was still sad news and we would have liked to have said goodbye.
We really miss her. She was so cute and mischievous and always hanging around us in the house. The photo above was taken on the 31st March this year.

18 Jun 2019

More from the flea market.

More from the Mauerpark flea market in Berlin. A stall selling reproduction East German communist era hats incl Red Army hats. Not sure why anyone would want one unless they were going to a fancy dress party.

17 Jun 2019

Psst, wanna a smelly old camera?

This decidedly grumpy man was manning his table in the wonderful Mauerpark flea market in Berlin on a Sunday morning last month. I usually find that flea markets are disappointing -full of stalls selling junk but the Mauerpark market is well worth visiting as whilst there is plenty of junk there's plenty interesting stuff as well.
The market is really popular with both locals and tourists and you can find anything from craft beer to vintage Marklin model trains and smelly old cameras.
There were three sellers of old cameras on the Sunday I was there. Most of the cameras are East German models-Prakticas, Exaktas and Exas. You would be pretty brave to buy one. Old cameras do not age well unless looked after. Rubber and cloth focal plane shutter blinds are particularly prone to rotting and fungus loves old lenses. Going by his demeanor this guy was not finding many takers for his doubtful offerings.

Vintage Marklin model trains

13 Jun 2019

100% Stockholm

I had been to Sweden a few times many years ago but had never visited Stockholm until last month. What a glorious city. I could almost live there if it wasn't for the climate and the prices but maybe I should not jump to snap judgements-five days in a superb hotel harbourside right opposite the Royal Palace has perhaps given me an unduly positive view of the city.
Anyway here is a 100% Stockholm photo. A cyclist riding down the quayside on the cobbles, passing a vintage steam ferry, across from the Royal Palace. And in a massive enlargement of the photo you can see a sentry with his blue uniform in a sentry box in front of the Palace.

9 Jun 2019

A hole in the wall.

A hole in the wall -taken along one of the still standing stretches of the Berlin Wall. In this case the stretch beside the very sobering Topography Des Terrors exhibition on the horrors of the Nazi regime in Germany and across Europe.
Germany, to its credit, has fully confronted its Nazi era history. You need a very strong constitution to view this exhibition in its entirety.
The photo was taken through the front window from the top deck of a bus.
The cyclist is one of the tens of thousands of Berliners who cycle as their main mode of transport every day. The fact that the city is flat encourages cycling but also Berlin motorists have a very understanding attitude towards cyclists unlike Sydney where the government and many branches of the media have an openly hostile attitude towards cyclists.