Lunch at Tetsuya's

I went to Tetsuya's for lunch yesterday with Ann and some of her friends, and it was a great meal! Tetsuya's is tucked out of the way on Kent Street, if I didn't know it was there I wouldn't have found it. It was a nice restaurant, and where we sat we had a view out onto the Japanese garden.

The meal itself was their degustation set menu, which consisted of about 9 savoury courses and 3 dessert courses. Everything you would expect from a fine restaurant, great service, fantastic food with many of the dishes combining ingredients that you wouldn't normally expect, like the beetroot and blood orange sorbet, strange combination for a dessert but worked really well. For me I really liked the veal dish as well, but they were all delicious.

We also had wines to accompany each dish and these selections were great too, it does go to show what good wines can taste like and how they can compliment the food that you are eating.

I can definitely recommend eating there, but you'll have to book well in advance!

Here's a scan of the menu for the dishes and wines that we were served:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Tetsuya's Menu"]Tetsuyas Menu[/caption]

More Fireworks

Outside my flat on the harbour!

Looked up from watching TV and there was a boat out in the harbour in front of the bridge and a firework display going off from it. Haven't a clue why.

Still I got out the camera and took a few pictures.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Fireworks in front of the Harbour Bridge"]Fireworks in front of the Harbour Bridge[/caption]

Click on the picture to see the others, it was a good fireworks show :) Hehe, it's amazing what goes on outside my windows :)

Slipknot & Machine Head

Last Sunday was the night, the venue was the Acer Arena at Sydney's Olympic Park.

They played to a packed arena, and they did not disappoint! Machine Head were pretty good, not really listened to them too much but they played a few tracks I recognised.

Slipknot were fantastic, great sound, great show, and played a lot of the old stuff as well as stuff off the new album. For the last track of the set the whole drumkit (including Joey bashing away on the drums) raised into the air and revolved around!

Slipknot - Sic - Acer Arena, 26th Oct 2008

Check out YouTube for more poor quality mobile phone cam vids :)

Sculptures by the Sea

A couple of weekends back we went to Sculptures by the Sea, which is a set of art sculptures exhibited on a cliff walk between Bondi and Bronte beaches. The weather was great, lovely and warm and sunny. So I got to take in a bit of culture.

Some of the sculptures were very cool, some not so cool and some were just plain weird!

Here's a few photos, and there are more on my flickr site:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="A boat"]A boat[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Train track with a twist"]Train track with a twist[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Sunbather"]Sunbather[/caption]

Another ship

Weather has been great this weekend, went to Bondi yesterday for the sculptures by the sea, I'll tell you about that later, today just had lunch/breakfast and spent an hour or so in the botanical gardens again with my book. It's like having my own garden almost in my back yard that I don't have to maintain! :)

There's a new ship in as well, appeared yesterday morning, left last night and was back again this morning, which seems to be a short cruise to me :p

Messing about on the river...

As you can tell from the previous post, I've been for a weekend away (long weekend for some that have to work... in fact it was a long weekend in WA the weekend before too, so if I was working I would have had the best of both worlds :)

We rented a big houseboat at Wiseman's Ferry on the Hawkesbury, James, Nads and Matt and myself (2 Matts, it got confusing a couple of times after we had had a few beers) on Friday afternoon, filled it up with beer/wine and meat for the BBQ and headed off downstream at about 3pm. The boat was big, with 8 berths, on-board washroom and shower, fully equipped kitchen, and an upper deck with a bbq, table and chairs and a sun shade, it really was a proper home away from home!

The Hawkesbury is a tidal river mostly surrounded by steep hills where the river has cut it's way through the rock of the area. We motored (very very slowly) with the tide heading southish for a few hours until we found somewhere to drop anchor for the evening, and that was where I sent that post from my phone. Just before I lost signal completely (which was for most of the weekend). The other problem was that the boat had no power points and so my phone ran out of battery (well almost, I ended up keeping it off most of the time, couldn't use it anyway with no signal ;)

We went through some lovely countryside, and the sunsets here were pretty spectacular too.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Hawkesbury Countryside"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Sunset on the first evening"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Sunset with the moon"][/caption]

It was overcast/rainy for most of Saturday, and we headed down to Spencer, which was a 1 shop village where we restocked on beer. An hour or so fishing then we decided to head back up-river to Wiseman's before carrying on up-river on Sunday morning. It took ages to get back to Wiseman's, for saying we only went with the tide for a few hours it took most of the day to get almost back to Wiseman's before dark, it was (according to my iPhone map app) just around the next bend. (This phrase seemed to be the phrase of the weekend, everything was just around the next bend :) There was a lot of low hanging cloud hanging around, you couldn't see the tops of most of the hills, and occasionally the clouds came pouring through a gap in the hills, impressive to watch.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Low hanging clouds on the hills"][/caption]

Sunday morning started off rainy again, and we set out for Wiseman's, after an hour or two we hadn't got there and I started to think we were heading the wrong way, this was confirmed a bit later when we saw a stone elephant on the same side of the boat as we had seen it the previous afternoon (it sorta stands out against the rest of the scenery which was all very similar), so we ended up asking for directions from someone on the bank... Doh! We were headed the wrong way, must have got turned around in the night when the tide changed... luckily it was with us this time and so it didn't take long to make the time up :)

Monday morning was another overcast day, but it brightened up in the afternoon. We headed up-river for an hour or so, and then anchored up for a spot more fishing. Now, none of us had managed to catch anything thus far, in fact, I haven't caught anything since arriving in Australia, but that was about to change, as I managed to catch the only fish of the weekend. Haven't a clue what it was, but it wasn't that big, and was silvery and quite spiny on it's fins, but it was definitely a fish! :)

Finally we headed back down to Wiseman's to return the boat and then to the Settlers Arms Inn at St Albans, which is a nearby village named after the UK town. The Settlers Arms Inn was built in 1836 from stone hewn by convicts and has quite a bit of history, one of the oldest buildings in the area.

After a bit of lunch and a couple of beers we headed back to the city, where Matt and I caught a train at Pymble, and James & Nads went back to the Northen Beaches.

That's another thing that's different over here, the trains are double deckers, you get on in the middle and then can go upstairs or downstairs!

I finally made it back to Circular Quay and civilisation (well, power and internet anyway :) at about 6pm, but all in all a great weekend, and I got to see even more of NSW and the country.

First day on the Hawkesbury

Here we are anchored in the middle of the hawkesbury, with the sun setting, lovely and warm, with a beer or two, about to drop the fishing lines over the side. Can't get much better :)

Perth & Western Australia

Just arrived back from WA after almost a week of visiting James & Emma and sightseeing, definitely not enough time, to even see the little bit of the state that I did get to see. Apparently you can fit the UK, Germany and Japan into the state of WA with room to spare, so there is plenty to go and see :)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Perth City Skyline"][/caption]

James and Emma showed me around Perth over the weekend, I had a walk around the city on Saturday morning whilst they went bathroom suite shopping. Perth CBD is nice, quite small, and has a nice waterfront on the river Swan, I met up with James and Emma in a pub called the Lucky Shag... named after a sea bird apparently, well whatever your interpretation of the name, it wasn't lucky for me ;)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="The Lucky Shag"][/caption]

After a pint we headed up to Subiaco for lunch and shopping for BBQ stuff, as we had a BBQ that night, which was a good laugh, a few of James & Emmas friends came round and a fair amount of beer was drunk, except for Emma of course as it's not good for the baby.

Sunday was a bit of a lazy day, hangovers in the morning for me and James, but it was another lovely sunny day, so we headed over to Kings Park in the arvo, then it was off to Fremantle in the evening and a trip to Little Creatures brewery for dinner and a couple more beers.

James & Emma in Kings Park
James & Emma in Kings Park

View of the city from Kings Park lookout

Monday was another sunny day, James and I headed off to a few beaches, when I'm in Perth I've gotta see a few as it's the main thing to do over there... It's a lot quieter and everywhere seems to shut at 6pm, or all day on a Sunday. We ended up having lunch at the City Beach, which was different to what I was expecting, not a city in sight, just turquoise ocean and white sands. Then we went on to Cottesloe beach which was very busy, and finally off to Scarborough beach for a quick half.

Later that afternoon I headed off on my travels to the Margaret River region, about 250km south of Perth, lovely drive down through the countryside, but as soon as I stepped out of the car it started raining.

I stayed at a place called Yallingup, in a guest house in a winery, woo hoo! :) Margaret River is wine country, and there were heaps of wineries around there. On Tuesday I visited Cape Naturaliste lighthouse, which is at one end of Geographe Bay... Apparently some French dude discovered the places and named them after his boats. September is the start of the whale migration season, the whales are all going south for the summer, and there were a few heading past the cape, so managed to see them breaching as they went past. They were quite far away though, you could only really tell because there was a bit of a bigger splash than a normal breaker...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse"][/caption]

Eagle Bay was next on my travels, which was another lovely beach, almost deserted, with clear blue waters and white sands.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Eagle Bay"][/caption]

I ended up having lunch (late mind you :) at Yallingup Beach, which was another nice beach although with big breakers and some looneys surfing... There is a pattern emerging here, WA has some very nice beaches. The sun started to set whilst I was there, and it was quite spectacular seeing the light break through the clouds, I can imagine that there are lots of great sunsets on the west coast.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Sun setting at Yallingup Beach"][/caption]

To round off the day I headed into the nearest town, Busselton, to find some dinner, and this seems to be another thing about places around here, if I blinked I had driven through the town, and after 6pm there was pretty much nothing open, oh, except the drive-in cinema. However, Busselton has the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere (according to the sign), it's about 1800 and something meters long, and took me a good half an hour to walk to the end, at night, in the dark (as I wasn't coming back there I thought I might as well)... one side had no hand rail either :P just open ocean... there is an underwater observatory at the end of it, but it was after 6pm so it was shut ;) But everything looks very far away when you are at the end, must go back when it's light :P

Weds turned out to be a bit cold, cloudy, windy and rainy... boo, a summers day in England even... still, I managed a bit of a tour in the car, starting with Canal Rocks, which is some rock formations that have been eroded in a certain way to make canals that the sea fills up. Then it was off south to Hamelin Bay, and then onto Augusta (nope not the one in Georgia), another blink and you miss it town, and then on to Cape Leeuwin, which is the southern cape of the two capes, there was a sign up as I was driving to it for a burger place, saying that it was the last burger before antarctica :) There is another lighthouse at the end of the cape, and also a waterwheel, that was apparently used to provide the workers who were building the lighthouse with fresh water. By this time the weather was awful, the water was blowing sideways off the water wheel it was that windy. Needless to say, I didn't hang about.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Waterwheel turned to stone at Cape Leeuwin"][/caption]

Next stop, Margaret River, for lunch before heading back up north again, stopping off at a few more places on the way, and I managed to get to a winery, Vasse Felix, and a brewery, Bush Shack Brewery, before everything shut for the night. Pity I couldn't do a proper sample as I was driving, but I did bring a bottle of Shiraz back home with me :)

So, finally made it back to Sydney today, and I'm just washing my clothes and re-packing ready for our trip to the Hawkesbury River tomorrow and the long weekend spent on a house boat. And it looks like it's gonna be warm weather too, yay!

New look for my blog

Welcome to the new look for my blog... until I decide I like a different theme :)

This has come about because I have decided to host my own blog rather than use blogspot, and I have installed WordPress and imported all my blog posts from blogspot into it.

WP seems to be the 'in-thing' at the moment and it's pretty impressive, only been playing around with it for a few hours though.

At least now I have full control over the whole site, layout, content and everything.

Muahahahaha, the power I have now is formidable!

Spring is here...

...and it's warming up over here in Sydney.

It was nice and warm over the weekend so I went to the Northern Beaches and stayed with James & Nads, needless to say beer was drunk, as we needed cooling off, with it being a record temperature for Sept, 32 degrees I think.

On the Saturday we rented a boat in the afternoon and took our fishing rods and floated around on Pittwater, avoiding the fish it seems. Especially disappointing as Nads had been telling us the night before how good she was at fishing and how she would be able to 'fish us under the table' so to speak... but no, no fish caught for the barbie for our tea :( Still it was a nice afternoon

Here's some pics of us on the boat

After getting back on Sunday night I have been busily setting up my media center pc, which is now up and running and set up with Vista, and Media Center, and also Media Portal which is a pretty good free alternative to media center, the project was started by one of the guys who worked on the original XBox media center project and you can see the similarities, it really is a nice app, and there is no messing around like in Windows Media Center, just point it at a network UNC share and off it goes playing the content on it.

So now that is sorted I can start to make sure everything is charged up and packed ready for my hols (haha, I'm already on holiday I hear you cry)

On Friday I am flying to Perth to visit James and Emma for the weekend, then I am off to Margaret River for some touristing :)

Margaret River is here:

View Larger Map

So expect a few photos in a new post when I get back. But not too soon, because I get back and then am straight off again for the long weekend on a houseboat on the Hawkesbury River, around the Wiseman's Ferry area, here:

View Larger Map

So that should be good too, fingers crossed the weather will be nice. I'll bore you with the details when I get back :)