US trip 2010: Perth to Melbourne

17 03 2010

I flew out from Perth yesterday afternoon, arriving in Melbourne at 9PM. I had used some of my half million Qantas Frequent Flyer points to upgrade to Business Class, so that was nice.

The meal was a choice of smoked lamb cutlets, Thai-style duck curry, or salad with ham. Except by the time they got to me, all the lamb had gone and by the time they got to the guy behind me, all the duck curry had gone! Not good planning on Qantas’ part.

However, the steward offered me a bottle of red wine seeing as though they’d run out of the lamb (my preference). I told him I couldn’t take it as I was going on to LA, but he said to put it in my hand luggage. Which I did. But the repercussions of that was that it was confiscated from me this morning at Melbourne Airport security check! As soon as you pass security and immigration, you can buy bottles of wine, spirits etc. and put them in your hand luggage, but you can’t take them through that check point. Crazy. And even crazier for the Qantas steward to suggest I put it in my hand luggage. And stupid me for forgetting that I wouldn’t be able to take that bottle through.

Back to the meal. The Thai duck curry was delicious. But it was accompanied by one of those silly little salads that Qantas do, where the ‘greens’ are nothing more than glorified bitter weeds! What’s the matter with lettuce? Iceberg, or cos/romaine, or even buttercrunch? Those spiky, bitter leaves they put in the salad are just inedible.

After the meal, they offered us a choice of a rich choclate icecream or cheese. I took the icecream! With a glass of Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon 2006 — a very nice dessert wine!

I stayed overnight at the Melbourne Airport Hilton, which is literally a walk over the road from the terminals. Very convenient.

Oh, and I got lucky! At both Perth and Melbourne airports, I was randomly singled out for an explosives check, which involced a quick swab/swipe of my hand luggage and body and a brief frisking of my body for liquids. Both checks were done by a female and the process was painless and not at all humiliating. But after all these years of travel, I’ve never been singled out for that sort of check before, let alone two in two flights.

Actually, I got really lucky. I got my points upgrade to Business Class for the LONG flight to LA! Woohoo! I had paid for Premium Economy, so I won’t get to sample that on today’s flight. And at the time of check-in, I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me, which means I might be able to use the spare seat to stow my laptop etc. when meals come around. Here’s hoping…

I found my bear!

14 03 2010

When I was very little, I got a teddy bear. I was so young, I have no recollection of not having it. I still have it. I loved that teddy to death and even played hairdressers on it when I was about 6, giving it a bit of a haircut! (Update 2017: I’ve been scanning some old photos and have found a picture of me aged about a year old with my bear.)

I’ve never seen another bear like it, and had no idea where or when it was made. I figured it wasn’t a Steiff bear, but its identity eluded me. Then two weeks ago on ‘The Collectors’, they did a segment on a doll hospital and at the end of the segment the panel discussed the value of several bears — including a bear that looked just like mine! I was so excited!

Thanks to ‘The Collectors’, I’ve now found out that my teddy is a Berlex Bear, made in Melbourne from the 1930s to the 1970s, and the value is around $300. Value is irrelevant as I’d never get rid of my ‘Ted’.

‘The Collectors’ episode that featured ‘my’ bear is Episode 4, 28 February 2010 and you can view it here: The segment discussing the bears starts around 5 minutes 10 seconds in, and goes to 7 minutes 48 seconds.

Here’s a screen shot from the video, showing ‘my’ bear:

Berlex bear

And here’s *my* bear:


And me with my Ted way back when:

Update October 2020: I’ve now had Ted restored back to his handsome self:

Wine racks are full

13 03 2010

Despite the heat and humidity, my husband got to and packed the wine into the wine racks after one of the tradesmen kindly bolted them to the wall.

There aren’t many spaces left…

The office fitout

11 03 2010

Before we could move into our new house, I needed to get the room we’d decided on for the office fitted out. We couldn’t move until I could work — my transition from one location to another had to be seamless for my clients. And I couldn’t work until the office was sorted. I did not want to shift, then have workmen trying to work around me and the computers while they set up the office!

I contacted Flexi Home Offices in Perth — they’d done our home office fitout back in 2002 when we were still living in Perth and I was impressed with their workmanship, their ability to cater for our designs and requirements, and the way they cleaned up after themselves! So I was pleasantly surprised that they were happy to come this far south to do this fitout.

(BTW, I tried a local company too, but they never got back to me to arrange a time to come out to even check out and quote on the job! Flexi, on the other hand, did pretty much everything except the final measure over the phone, fax and email.)

Here are some photos of the office during the two days it was installed — click on a photo to see it in a larger view. Oh, and the design was essentially mine with some adaptations and suggestions from the Flexi people during the design stage.

Wine racks have arrived!

11 03 2010

Some 6 weeks after we ordered and paid for them, the wine racks we wanted have arrived and been bolted to the dining room wall. Now we have to fill them! It’s too hot today to go lugging wine cases from the shed, but be assured that we will fill a lot of this rack with wine we already have  😉

For those wanting capacity, each rack takes 12 cases (144 bottles) + 12 bottles across the top. So that makes a total capacity of 26 cases (272 bottles). My husband’s intention is to stack them like the stores — each vertical column will contain one case and the display bottle at the top will tell us what’s in that column.

BTW, we got the racks from Howards Storage World.

The bathing suit

10 03 2010

(A friend sent this to me — I don’t know its origins so I can’t acknowledge authorship. Enjoy!)

When I was a child in the 1960s the bathing suit for the mature figure was boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a good job. Today’s stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice – she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney’s Fantasia or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of florescent rubber bands. What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks as any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped in horror – my boobs had disappeared! Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib. The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups.. The mature woman is meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.. The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom, and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, ‘Oh, there you are,’ she said, admiring the bathing suit. I replied that I wasn’t so sure and asked what else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring.

I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan’s Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day. I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.

I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit…a two-piece affair with a shorts style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.

When I got home, I found a label which read – ‘Material might become transparent in water.’

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I’m there too, I’ll be the one in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt!

15th Etsy Treasury

8 03 2010

One of my grape leaf mats was featured in an Etsy Treasury of wine-related things — picture below: