Palm beach and Jadoo

Dee insisted that we visit Palm Beach as the Hotel we stayed in was so close to it. We headed up there after having breakfast and saying goodbye to the Gibbons and Barrett folk.


Why Palm Beach? Home and Away is shot there apparently, and as we were so close, I was given no other option but to drive up.

I was reading an article in the October edition of CQ on one of our “rest” days and it contained an article about Jadoo’s Jbox portable power system (about $6000 dollars worth). A very cool piece of technology, very useful for portable/emergency power situations. I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys.

Happy new year everyone!

The Wedding.

Well the deed has been done. Fiona and Tristan are now husband and wife, congratulations! Congratulations also to Mr & Mrs Gibbons on 29 years of marraige.


It was a stylish and very civilised affair with all the guests being whisked off on a cruise on the harbour. Canapes and pink Champagne were offered to guests, before returning to the Hotel for dinner, dancing, and, of course wedding cake!

Of course, I took some photos, so a select few include.

I persuaded the next in line to pose for the camera..

…and managed to grab the Ronan women for a quick photo before we departed the church.

The most fantistic looking bridesmade ever (Hint, it is the person in the dress. Younger cousins please note, I was setting a good example drinking only orange juice!).


The new Mrs Barrett and I (slightly worse for wear)…

Dee, Anne, Geoff, and I ended up in Alice’s room and as our alchohol levels were reduced somewhat by the heat, we had to refresh ourselves with the contents of the Minibar. After these refreshments we headed (quite sensibly I thought) for our respective beds. A cracking day, really enjoyable and memorable for all involved.

Good days work!

After 4 hours hacking plastic, two bent PCI pins, an hour swimming in Botany Bay, and 2 hours fighting with Windows, it finally works, So now we get to eat dinner!

The completetion of our hard days work…

Our highly precise tools. Note the blackened penknife, from heating it with the lighter and a candle. The plastic was finely crafted to fit into the PCI-X slot to give some protection to the pins.

The proof of the pudding…

And lastly, for completeness, Davids inspiration, the man behind it all. Yes, we dared for more!

Around Sydney

We spent the last two days on the tourist trail, having a look around Sydney and doing the usual touristy things, the Opera House, the Museums, Darling harbour etc. Though there are plenty of things that we didn’t get to see (picture taken from a water taxi, on the way to the Opera House).

We finally ran out of steam yesterday and decided to give it a rest for today. We just aren’t built for walking around in 35 degree (and higher) heat. Deirdre and Nuala decided that the best form of relaxation was some (air condidioned) retail therapy. After doing relatively little for the most of the morning, David and I found a hack to allow him to use his shiny new PCI-Express Graphics card in his server. We are currently taking a hot knife to his motherboard to see if we can get it working. If we do, an afternoon on the beach beckons! If not, I may own a second hand, slightly damaged computer 🙂

Boxing Day

We’re in Sydney, Australia on Boxing day (see proof)
so what should we do? Well, once we recovered from last night, we headed out to find a vantage point to watch the boats depart Port Jackson for the Sydney to Hobart Race. What a spectacle.

Anyways, there is a film about to start and my beer is getting warm.

Christmas Day.

We didn’t do all that much yesterday, took it easy, and got slightly pickled last night.

We dropped up to the Gibbons houshold for a spot of lunch (after a late start and a swim in Botany Bay). Christmas at the Gibbons cannot be explained, it has to be experienced. We had a fabulous afternoon and really appreciated the invitation. We caught up with Fiona and Tristian and look forward to joining them later this week to celebrate their marrige. Mary and the rest of the Gibbons clan were there along with a host of others.

Also, Micheal and the lovely Tanya announced their engagement, I hope they don’t mind me putting their happy faces up here. Congrats!
Michael and Tanya

We returned to President Avenue, and after a bit of a rest, we had a bit of a “barbie”, it can be summed up with
With David and Nuala
The pudding wasn’t quite as good as at home, but liberal quantities of brandy helped significantly.

Happy Christmas everyone!


We’ve arrived! We left Port Macquarie this morning and stopped for lunch in Toronto along the way. Unfortunately our time in Port Maquarie was short (as in Byron Bay) so we indulged in a bit of retail therapy to console ourselves.

We called to the Gibbons household this evening and had dinner with them, cooked by Micheals chief financial advisor, thanks Tanya. We met most of the Gibbons clan, although the lady of the moment wasn’t in situ. A return expedition to St. Ives is currently in the planning stage.

We’re staying with David and Nuala, in Presidents Avenue, a stones throw from Botany Bay. Happy Christmas everyone, its blooming hot over here!


We left Byron Bay this morning (beautiful place), to continue the journey towards Sydney. After a few flirtations with speed traps, we arrived safely at Coffs Harbour just in time for lunch. We had a wander around and had a look at the marina and the town centre. A good bit bigger than Byron, but no less scenic on the waterfront. Just as we were leaving the Marina, and after putting the camera away, some dolphins broke the water some meters away. By the time the camera was out and armed again, they were gone (sniff!).

A few more flirtations with speed traps saw us in Port Macquarie.

Sydney ~400k

Something different

Last night we did the Brisbane Lights Tour. Mark, the owner, was driving the bus. We had actually met him earlier in the day as he drives the city tour buses, and when they stopped running the night time tours, he decided to start running one himself (with is wife’s blessing of course). Its a great tour, there is an excellent view from Mt Cootha both before and after sunset.

Today we diverged completely from the usual. We went to Movie World why? I’ve no idea (ask the boss). The best rides have to be Lethal Weapon 4 (80 kph, 4Gs), Scooby doo (In the dark and backwards for part of it), and then the two shows, the excellent Shrek 4D and the hilarious Police Academy Stunt show. The stunts are only peripheral to the comedy act. The silent (whistle blowing) usher is a scream, and thats before the show even starts.

After that we had a look along the sunshine coast, before heading for Byron Bay (and Australias most easterly point, Cape Byron) to catch the sunset.

Museums and stuff.

We spent yesterday and today doing the Museum Trail. The Queensland museum, the Brisbane Museum and the Maritime museum. Thats a lot of “eums”. They were interesting, though a lot of it would have gone completely over my head. The Maritime Museum was quite interesting, as were the two sprightly octogenarians (one an ex Navy engineer, the other ex special forces) that assisted us in navigating the museum exhibits and on the Diamantina. Also, yesterday we used the Brisbane “City Sights” Tour, to get around and get a feel for the place (jumping on and off at various locations), this morning we took a trip down the Brisbane river on a tour boat, it was extremely relaxing to have a coffee and watch Brisbane literally float by.

Some interesting facts(?). Brisbane has more sunny days than Florida and warmer winter days than the Bahamas. The oldest building is a Windmill, that was never really used as a windmill (not enough wind).

What has really impressed me about the place is that all along the waterfront is accessible to the public. Anyone developing a property on the waterfront has to allow public access. This means that there is over 20kms of walk/cycleway along the river front. Also, there are ferrys (citycats) with pontoons at strategic locations up and down the river. Rather than just go over and back, they go up and down allowing one to get from one end of Brisbane to the other on river based public transport, how cool.

Another thing that has surprised my about the country in general is, given that there is so much sun, there is relatively little use of grid tied Photovoltaic power systems. There are however, some houses, (more further North) using Solahart Water Heating systems, and even the odd house using a 2 inch Black Plastic pipe (works quite well in the sun). I can only assume that the economics of doing so still ísn’t attractive except over a much longer term, like at home.

Time for a swim. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, we are here.