Thursday, December 06, 2007


Sorry for the lack of bloggage, but we're currently living between Treetops and the Big Smoke, and working damn hard to boot, so unfortunately not enough time for leisurely photographing and blogging about the weather/garden/state of the planet.
But life's good!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New dawn, new day, new leadership

Finally, after 11.5 painful, depressing and infuriating years of the Liberal party and John Howard trying to turn this country into a mean, fearful, tightfisted and selfish nation, Australia has had ENOUGH!
Yesterday's Federal election delivered a staggering defeat for Howard and his party's policies. What a swing! What relief to see even former blue-ribbon Liberal seats turn their back on the Liberal party and vote instead for a vision of a future where our children receive the best education the government can buy them, where even the poorest Australian has access to excellent healthcare and where the future of our planet is placed above greed and consumerism.
And to all the Liberal hacks saying we should respect John Howard's achievements as being our second-longest serving prime minister, I say quantity does not equal quality. Our wise friend Andy said people use their vote to punish and by god I did that yesterday and it felt GOOD!
Right, enough ranting. Big big congratulations to Rudd, Gillard and the Labour Party for finally giving us something to vote for. Now live up to the expectations.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is there any point in going green?

New Scientist has just published the most comprehensive, detailed and inspiring feature article on how much difference an individual can make to global warming. So many of us wonder, as we unplug our appliances each night, buy energy-efficient light bulbs and recycle our newspapers, how much impact we can actually have when China and India are pumping out ever-increasing volumes of CO2 at unchecked rates.
The answer is that you can make a massive difference, reducing your carbon footprint by as much as 75% without having any significant impact on your lifestyle. New Scientist writer Fred Pearce has done the hard work of number crunching to demonstrate exactly how much CO2 output is reduced when you do such small things as replacing light bulbs, taking public transport, recycling and turning off appliances at the power point.
For example, each year:
- converting 25 light bulbs to energy-efficient saves 0.25 tonnes CO2
- switching all appliances off at the plug can save the average household 0.1 tonnes CO2
- with every 1500kms of public transport commuting instead of driving, you save 0.5 tonnes CO2
- recycle all your aluminium cans (av 120) will save 0.2 tonnes CO2
Implementing such small steps as these could reduce the average European's CO2 output by 8 tonnes (from average annual output of 12 tonnes). Australians have a much bigger carbon footprint, mainly due to our love of gas-buzzling cars - we produce around 19 tonnes per capita per year - but can still reduce our output by as much as 75% if we try hard enough.
Unfortunately this article isn't free online, but it's in news stands now (and no I'm not being paid to plug this story - I just think it's incredibly useful information)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kushudebu Public Health Mission Nepal

I can't really come up with a creative way to start this blog entry, so I'm just going to launch straight into it.
Our amazing Nepali guide leader, Ang Tsering Sherpa, who so skillfully and wonderfully shepherded us all through Tibet last year, has established a public health mission in his home town of Junbesi in Nepal.
The area is extremely remote - accessible only walking - and until recently had no medical facilities at all for its villagers. Ang worked very hard to set up the Kushudebu Public Health Mission, and has succeeded. As well as helping to restore the medical center, the organisation is also helping to pay for a doctor and nurse for the village.
Anyway, my long-winded point is that Ang has done something extraordinary, and if you're wondering what to give someone for Christmas, deciding what charity to donate to or just feeling flush with cash and contemplating a spending spree, why not donate to the Kushudebu Public Health Mission Nepal.
Details are on the website at

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Bestest siblings

Lucy, Bianca, Matthew
Originally uploaded by sideboarddave
OK, so I'm listening to Simon and Garfunkel and feeling the love, but just wanted to tell the world that I have the best brother and sister on the planet. Having them with me the morning of Phil and my wedding was so wonderful and special that I smile every time I remember the goings-on.
Thank you both so much for being you. Love yas.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Favourite quote of the day

Thank god for Gordon Ramsay. Not that I have ever watched any of his shows, but I just loved this quote from him, taken from today's Sydney Morning Herald, in which he claimed a prerequisite for becoming a food critic was to be "so far tucked up your backside you can't eat or breathe properly."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Little critter

Little critter
Originally uploaded by Mistress B
It's ground zero of a seven-year cicada cycle this year, which would explain the abundance of creepy looking dried-up chrysalises (is that chrysali), the ear-splitting chorus that starts the moment the sun comes up, and the presence of this colourful critter trying to hide under a leaf in our back garden until his wings harden.

Friday, October 19, 2007

TechnoBoy Goes Wild

TechnoBoy Goes Wild
Originally uploaded by Mistress B
Phil is in the process of setting up his home office, which seems to consist of him spending large amounts of money on incomprehensible gadgets that subsequently have to be screwed, welded or daisy-chained together to provide computing firepower the likes of which the Blue Mountains has never seen. If anyone in the vicinity experiences any power loss over the next few days, now you know why.
I'm safely hiding upstairs (wearing rubber shoes) listening to the occasional whoops of delight - signifying something working - followed by long periods of silence as TechnoBoy grapples with the next challenge sans instruction booklet.
He only emerges for coffee and to babble TechnoSpeak at me, during which I nod, then back away slowly without breaking eye contact.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Weddings are a unique opportunity to bring family together (in more than just the geographical sense), so here are some photos of our family from the Big Day - Robinson, Nogrady, Brazier and Hilder.

Pam Robinson and Susan Brazier, aka 'The Mums' Nan (Enid Hilder)
Keith Robinson Dave Hayes (my sister's partner) Alan Brazier
Lucy Nogrady and Kate Webb Matthew Nogrady and Mitchell Hilder
Graeme Hilder and Kerrie Nogrady Stephen Nogrady in speech mode Deb and Georgina Hilder and Kerrie Nogrady

Ceremony detail

The wedding ceremony was held on the shores of the duck pond at Collit's Inn. It would have true to form if I had fallen backwards into the pond (and no doubt many people thought I might) but I hung onto Phil and thus neatly avoided providing fodder for Australia's Funniest Home Videos.
A huge thanks to our friend Stephen for his beautiful contribution to the ceremony, to my gorgeous sis Lucy for her calm reading despite considerable nerves, to Nicholas Alias for his atmospheric music and once again, to Maureen for being the perfect celebrant.
Thanks also our photographers Dave, Chris and Pete, and Dean and Lisa.

Wedding ancestors Giggle
Bianca and Phil Nick Lucy reading

Monday, October 15, 2007

Go Kate, and Kev!

Kudos to Andy and Kate for their innovative Seven Wonders challenge - getting other Kevin Rudd supporters to fly the flag for Kevin07 in front of the Seven Wonders of the World.
And big raspberries to the mean-spirited bloggers who have picked up this photo and decided, in the absence of having any political defence, to descend to the level of personal attacks against Kate. It's a telling sign of desperation when the best these conservative bloggers can come up with in terms of political ripostes is to comment on appearance. Where's the comeback with policy on worker's rights, the environment, healthcare and education?
I thought so.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spring is sprung, bird is riz

Our first grevillea!
Originally uploaded by Mistress B
We're baaaaack! Again.
In the immortal words of She Of The Red Sparkly Shoes, "there's no place like home". We're back in the Love Nest, and loving it. Spring is in full swing, and as we haven't experienced spring at Treetops yet, it's a wonderful discovery. Everything is sprouting, blooming, fragrant, lush and just damn gorgeous. We've got our first waratah, and also the first flowers in the crop of natives we planted. Which also means the weeds are having a big hooray as well, but little do they know, their doom awaits ...
We had a fantastic honeymoon, visiting Dubbo, Broken Hill, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Elliston, Streaky Bay, Clare, Adelaide, Mt Gambier, the Grampians and Canberra. Covered a lot of turf, read a lot of books, drank a lot of wine and did our best to unwind after six months of full-throttle life and planning. I keep thinking it's all going to quieten down now, but who am I kidding. Within half an hour of returning home yesterday, Phil was sanding window frames and I was weeding. Unpacking is for pussies.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A grand entrance

Originally uploaded by Ecky Thump
I know, we're really drawing out the wedding blogs here, but there was so much going on during the day that we want to do it all justice - for our memories as well as yours!
Given my fondness for Peugeots, it was appropriate that my chariot taking me to Phil was my brother's Chick Magnet Peugeot 505 (gold) with sunroof.... phwoarrrr! It was a packed car, with my brother Matty driving, me in the passenger seat, and my sister Lucy, her partner Dave, and Matty's fiancee Kate crammed into the back seat.
Arriving was an amazing feeling - seeing all these people that I love all gathered into one place, all for Phil and me. There ain't nothing like it.
And having my wonderful parents escort me to Phil felt so incredibly right ... especially when they both started skipping along.
And thanks to Dean and Lisa for this photo, and for many others like it.'s behind you!

You can see that I am still smiling and totally unaware of the GIANT Mutant Lobster that is just about to open up the camper van like a ring pull can of baked beans...I escaped...luckily.'s behind you!

On the road again...

Drowsy Drivers Die!!

Powernap today!
For anyone that has been on a big outback trip these pictures will feel very familiar. I always have fun reading the signs targeting sleepy drivers. I’m sure it gets confusing for some people when to ‘powernap’ and when to ‘micro-sleep’... Drowsy Drivers Die, reminds me of a piece of graffiti I read on a train once which read “if you read this you will die!” which I really wanted to add “ some point”. I thought it was very zen even without my addition.

Bianca and I thought that “Powernaps save lives” would make a great office poster. I suggest that you have a powernap never know who you might save but please don’t powernap while you are driving.

Wedding at Collit's

We are still sorting through pics (please send us yours) but here are a few from Dean & Lisa. I have selected some that show the venue off.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Contented, sated, slightly drunk Phil

It's a tough job being on a honeymoon in South Australia.
First, there's the wineries - in this case, the gorgeous, eucalypt-dotted Clare Valley. As I was the designated driver, Phil had to do the dirty job of testing wines from such illustrious vineyards as Tim Adams and Grosset, so was pleasantly inebriated by the time we decided to have lunch. Despite the fact we've got about 5 cases of wine leftover from the wedding, I still managed to convince Phil we needed to buy more. After all, can't come to SA and not buy wine!
Then, there's the food. We picked up some incredible fresh ciabatta from a Barra Bakery, fresh fetta from the Neagles Glen winery, jam from somehwere on the road, fresh ripe tomatoes, a jar of olives, and settled down to the job of eating ourselves silly.
Phil was literally groaning with pleasure after each mouthful and in the warm spring sun, it was very hard to stay awake after a feast like that.
It just keeps getting better too. We're spending a couple of nights in Adelaide, and thanks to a recommendation from Bex Jenkins, had the most incredible meal at Chianti Classico on Hutt St last night, followed by obscenely naughty breakfast at Citrus, also on Hutt St.
Tonight, we're planning organic pizzas with local, seasonal produce.
I always seem to blog about food ... hmm.

Ya Big Galah

It took 3 days to get here but we finally got to see the highlight of our trip...a giant galah!
Luckily Bianca didn't have to get out of the van as I could show her the picture when I got back inside.
Oh you can see our trusty steed here too.


We have had some serious winds (and I am not talking about the vegi diet here).
This was on the road to Port Lincoln. The steering wheel was constantly pulled over to the right.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dave's Pics - The Preparation

Many thanks to Dave and Lucy for providing these pictures of the preparation for the main event...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here's to you Mrs (and Mr) Robinson

Yup, it's official - Mrs and Mrs Robinson (The Couple Formerly Known As Bianca And Phil) are wedded, and what an incredible event it was! Amongst the many amazing things was the feeling of looking out at the crowd and seeing so many faces of people we love and who love us. There's really no other ceremony like it in life, where everyone special to you, minus those outrageous jet-setters, gets together in one place.
We didn't have a formal photographer at the wedding and would love to see any and all photos and video taken, so please email or post your shots to us!
It was such a beautiful, wonderful, loving day and we're both still on a high from it, thanks to yous all.
Currently, we're in hot, dry Broken Hill after a long day driving from Dubbo through some amazing desert. Had an lovely day pootling around the zoo, but mostly we're just enjoying relaxing, reading, snuggling and being a nauseating newly-married pair. Now that I don't have to fit into a wedding dress anymore, I'm also really enjoying the leftover cupcakes, wine and chocolate.
Our vague travel plan is to aim for Ceduna as a turn-around point, which will take us around the Eyre Peninsula and along the Bight, then back through Adelaide and as many wine-growing regions as the liver will permit, before meandering back through Victoria and NSW. We will start taking photos soon, but we're still coming back to Terra Firma.
Big thanks to everyone who came to the wedding for making it special, to our families for being our families, to Niche Nosh for such fabulous food and staff, to our celebrant Maureen Williams for her beautiful ceremony, to Collit's Inn for providing such a stunning venue, to Wentworth Falls CupCakery for their cup cakes, to Madjestic Mini Bus Tours for getting guests safely home ... I'm sure there are others but that's it from us for now ... it's beer o'clock.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pam and Keith at Govett's Leap

Finally, the Blue Mountains turned on the kind of weather that makes my heart sing when I get up in the morning, and I was able to coax Pam and Keith away from painting our downstairs doors, and out into the bush. Now if only we could get this kind of weather for next Saturday ... everybody, start praying/begging/sacrificing chickens/crossing fingers.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Thai test card...waiting
I have been stuck in Bangkok. Sounds like fun eh? Well it started with over 4 hours on a dud plane on the tarmac. The AC was crook so the plane was hot. I got no food or water. Then there was the mixed up transfer to a hotel an hour away. And then a wait in the hotel till the same time the next day.
I thought this photo from the hotel tv at 01:40am was apt. It summed up the last 30 hours.
Oh and the entertainment system was broke again. Well now I am at the gate. Fingers crossed everyone.
Hope to cya soon.
Oh just had an announcement the plane is delayed for ANOTHER 3 hours =(

Seat for bored husbands of eager shoppers

Thoughtfully provided by one of the local businesses in Leura, this seat came in very handy for Keith as Pam and I poked through Leura's many tempting shops ... although we were very restrained and didn't buy anything.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Work it!

I'm a terrible daughter-in-law (well, daughter-in-law to-be). Pam and Keith, Phil's parents, have travelled all the way from Yorkshire for our wedding in two weeks, and what have I got them doing? Painting the bathroom! They've also stacked our messy woodpile, cleared up the building materials from downstairs, and washed up numerous times. I have actually been trying to get them to rest and relax, but they're unstoppable.

Monday, September 03, 2007

What’s the first thing you must do in London…?

Ok don’t look at the picture to the right…

Imagine that you have traveled half way around the world from Blackheath in the Blue Mountains to Charing Cross in the heart of London. You have been sat doing nothing or sleeping and been feed airplane food for 24 hours with very small cups of tea or coffee. Now look deep inside yourself, while imagining these things, and reach for your heart’s desire… Now look at the photo on the right. Scary isn’t it!! A full fry up breakfast in a greasy spoon café in the backstreets of Camden Town! I had to have a large café latte instead of the mug of tea which you can normally stand your tea spoon up in though.

Straight legs on the plane

For those lovely people who are concerned about my legs on long haul flights I give you this picture of my legs on the flight to Bangkok. Other than the straight legs First Class is really not worth it. Also just so you know…First class is NOT filled with rock stars and interesting people. First class is boring. Even though it was a free upgrade I think I would rather hang out with the plebs in Business Class ;)

Got some good sleep but the entertainment system did not work so no new films. It was funny because they mentioned they had a new touch screen, on demand system on the tanoy and then in the magazine for it then to not work. When they switched it on the little Microsoft Vista logo came up (Im sure Bianca is ranting by now about Vista) and it just didn’t work. They soft rebooted, hard rebooted, kicked it etc all the time giving the whole plane a running commentary about ‘one more trick up my sleeve’. Well it didnt work!! And this system also controlled my overhead lights so they didn’t work either!

A steward said to me in the end that they had put in 3 servers instead of 5 and used existing cabling rather than fiber optics and he wanted me to complain as it happens all the time and he writes it up in his reports and nothing is done. Well I hope it is sorted for my return flight…

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Up, up and away...again...

First Class coffee

3 weeks before the big day and I’m off to the UK for a business meeting… Hmmm priorities? Well at least I have been upgraded to First Class!! Yeah, yeah I know environmental nightmare…oh well what could I do?!? Thought I would share some pictures as I wait in the lounge. Funny that no matter what class you fly it is still boring. At least the coffee is ok but I am being a good boy… 1 coffee and no alcohol so hopefully I can keep leg issues at bay.

We have been rushing around trying to get the house ready for guests. Still sooo much to do but the place is very livable…not just livable but gorgeous. Someday I will be working from home and not jetting off around the world…

Talking of which I have been setting up my home office space downstairs. Bianca has had her space upstairs for ages now so it is so good to get my own space for creativity/work. I have treated myself to an adjustable desk (electric) which goes a treat with my old trusty steed the Bambach Saddle Seat. The Bambach has been great over the last 5 years (at least).

1 more hour to go…ho hum

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Total lunar eclipse

Total lunar eclipse
Originally uploaded by Mistress B
Having access to Technoboy's incredible array of camera lenses really helped in getting this shot of last night's total lunar eclipse, although I discovered it was quite hard to strike a balance between getting a long enough exposure to capture the detail without getting too much blurring from the Moon's movement across the sky. Still, at least the colour comes through. I was tempted to let off a blood-curdling howl at the moment when the Moon become fully-eclipsed, but resisted it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Brown antechinus

Brown antechinus
Originally uploaded by Mistress B
Our friends Robyn and Rolley managed to catch one of the antechinus that inhabit their home and bring it over for us to take a look. These little marsupials have a very unusual life cycle. Their mating season happens once a year, around August in the Blue Mountains, the males race around trying to copulate with every female in sight (when they succeed it takes around six hours), then after a couple of weeks of this all the males drop dead from exhaustion ... literally. All the males die. Talk about going out with a bang.