27 Jun 2014

Jeweller's clocks

Every town in Austria and Germany seems to have at least one jewellers.And they are invairably very well stocked with jewellery and watches -often high end watches.A year or more of Rolex's production must be in stock in Austrian and German jewellery stores.
A  characteristic of the stores is that most have very attractive and often elaborate signs incorporating clocks.These fascinate me and here's a collection of a dozen I photographed on my recent travels.

23 Jun 2014

Faded beauty on the street

I spotted this faded beauty on the street early morning in Munich a few weeks ago.It's a Peugeot 504 convertible.A fairly rare car nowadays.The 504 was an very succesful car in saloon,ute,wagon and convertible versions.It was good looking,well built and and you could not kill it with an axe.It was a really big seller in South America,Africa and the Middle East as well as in France.It was locally assembled in many of those markets.
It also enjoyed rally success particularly in the East African Safari Rally.

The 504 was styled by Pininfarina as was the rather chic convertible version.I have an idea that Pininfarina actually made the convertible version which came with 4 cylinder and V6 petrol engine options.
In its day the 504 convertible was seen as stylish car-not a Bentley,E-type Jaguar or a Ferrari convertible competitor in the glamour stakes- but certainly a worthy conveyance for transporting a minor starlet to a premiere at the Cannes film festival.

I was responsible for sales and marketing for the Australian importer of Peugeot through the 1980s and we took over the importation and assembly from Renault Australia in 1981.We never sold the 504 as we started by assembling the 505 -the 504's successor-from CKD kits at an assembly plant in Enfield,Sydney.Although when we took over the distribution we inherited 25 light green diesel 504 saloons.Now there was absolutely no interest in diesel cars in Australia at that time -petrol was still very cheap - and quite why Renault bought in these 504 diesels I never knew.The naturally aspirated diesel with the quite heavy 504 body was as slow as a wet weekend in Narrabri (an Australian country town).The 0-100 kmh time was way over 25 seconds.Cyclists and even joggers and mothers pushing strollers passed you as you moved away from the traffic lights.I gave the 504 diesels to our country sales and service managers and they clocked up the kilometres on them and somehow we managed to sell them all as used cars.I am sure they were all bought by country people who travelled long distances and were not in a hurry.

20 Jun 2014


Cycling has always been popular in many European cities but it seems to have become much more popular in the last few years.Now there are cyclists everywhere and unlike here in Australia they do not have to wear helmets.Cyclists and cars and pedestrians seem to peacefully co-exist and after three weeks driving in Germany and Austria I became much more cyclist aware particularly when turning left or right.
It is a pity that here in Australia we have such a negative attitude towards cycling in our cities.An attitude which is fostered mainly by politicians and radio shock jocks who are too old, too fat and too lazy to ride a bike themselves. I do have a bike and yes I do ride it.
And because there are so many bicycles in cities in Europe you find them left quite literally everywhere.The pictures below were all taken in the early morning in Munich and Vienna and there are bikes left in the middle of public places.Going by the state of some of the tyres some of the bikes are abandoned but most have just been left overnight.Outside Munich's main railway station there is a bike area with quite literally thousands of bikes.Most are used daily by commuters who travel in by train and then hop on their bike and ride to the office.

18 Jun 2014

Beauty on the street

Seen on a main street right in the centre of Munich three weeks ago -an immaculate,very original early 911T Targa.Was it being used as a daily driver?
By coincidence I spotted an almost identical car right down to the gold coloured badges -this time on Italian plates -in Udine in Italy two weeks later.That one was next to me in traffic but I was driving and did not have my camera or phone handy.And last week I saw a superb tangerine 911S Targa on the road in Kitzbuehl,Austria.It must be Targa time in central Europe.

15 Jun 2014

After three weeks on the road.

Just back from three weeks driving in Central Europe.Germany,Austria, Italy and Slovenia.2,600kms.Many beautiful cities,towns and villages.Quite a few interesting museums.Some spectacular scenery.Some really challenging roads.A lot of beer.A lot of pork and a lot of potatoes.Some unusually cold weather,some rain and in the final week continuous very hot weather.One encounter with a very hot and grumpy Austrian motorcycle cop but otherwise the driving was great.
Photographically not as rewarding as a trip in the far east and I could not avoid those cheesy tourist photos but anyway here's a photo gallery.Car photos later.All taken with the X1.

12 Jun 2014

My favourite

Of all the photos I took in Hong Kong and China on my recent trip this one taken in Stanley Market in Hong Kong is my favourite.You only get the one chance at a photo like this.Hesitate and the moment is gone.So I was lucky.The expressions on the woman and the dog are wonderful and the ice cream tub makes it.
I have recently read a piece on a blog by a fine art photographer- lamenting the decline of photography as a craft and guess this photo typifies what he does not like.It is what he would call a quick fix.Anyway each to his own.I like it and I hope you do too.If you see any photo competitions for photos of dogs and their owners let me know.I reckon that it could be a winner.

9 Jun 2014

Postcards from Hong Kong-part 3

Final batch of my photos from my recent Hong Kong trip.Shopping and sightseeing.Hong Kong used to a shopper's paradise with prices well below the prices in Australia,Europe and the US.It's not like that anymore.There are still bargains in the many street markets-particularly the electronics market-pictured-but the big brand shops and the camera and watch shops are actually more expensive than in Australia/NZ,Europe and the US/Canada.The world has changed.I cannot comment on the relative price of goldfish sold in plastic bags.