Friday, December 29, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
"Can you feel it in the air? The first sure signs of the build-up are upon us. None of that airy-fairy Mother Nature stuff like the temperature rising, a change of feather colours in some birds and the marching hordes of 'roaches and ants. No, the more tangible, mundane indicators.
Take the sudden ballooning of maternity leave departures from workplaces around the Territory - the legacy of those hot nights during the Christmas and New Year party season. Humidity, good times and a frisson of excitement stirred by storms, lightning and possible cyclones certainly do the trick in the romance stakes. And the ninth month since is near. Heat. A Top End aphrodisiac. Memo Tourism NT: now there's a selling point for visiting the Territory during the Wet. I'll even throw in a couple of slogans to get you off and running. How about, "Get all hot and steamy"? Or "Troppo con carnal". Or just take the John 'Singo' Singleton hard-sell and hit 'em right between the eyes with "Wet, Wet, Wet". Perhaps not.
Other sure indicators of the end of what has been a ripper Dry are Territorian musicians. As the Star Shell in Darwin's Botanic Gardens comes down after the Festival, the instincts of local musos become similar to those of Northern Hemisphere migratory birds. "Going south," they chirrup. "Going south." Some even do.
Then there are the big, hairy bikers. You'll see more blokes riding their Harley-Davidsons at night now. It's been too cold in just a black T-shirt for the past few months. The wind-chill factor could freeze your tatts off, mate.
There even signs to be found in pubs and clubs. While the barmaids remain beautiful - that all barmaids are beautiful is a basic tenet of my religion - they suddenly become less exotic and fewer in number. Yet those who remain serve you faster, remember what you drink and occasionally your name. Now there's a phenomenon for earnest scientific study. A doctoral thesis at least lurks in there somewhere.
Other clues about the changing season can be found lurking in the classified columns of the Northern Territory News. "Backpackers welcome" is seen less often in the situations vacant section - a tacit admission that many of them have packed and gone back. But they're still welcome to pick mangoes. Anybody is. Please. Expect a call for workers from East Timor, PNG and Siberia any day now. And there are vacancies for sub-editors at the Northern Territory News. Yep, it's definitely that time again. Remedial English teachers of eccentric habits and fetishes that in some way feature crocs may like to consider a change of career path. Nothing too weird, please. Write a nice letter to the editor. And just yesterday I saw the first "vacancy" sign go up outside a motel on the Darwin city fringe - the first such sighting for months. The "no" will presumably go into storage for about six months. But the Territory is still jumping. There are plenty of visitors about and work aplenty.
It is still too early for another sign of the build-up to show in the rental property market. These are the "lease-break" rentals that come when work dries up during the Wet or people suffer brain implosions in the sweaty atmosphere and would rather suffer some potential financial loss than hang about for the relieving rains. Reading between the lines of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the next few months are the peak time for the Territory to experience its annual 3 percent to 5 percent population shift. Hands up if you've been here more than two years. Congratulations, you are more likely to stay than people who have been here for less time.
Seeking advice from a weathered old Territory veteran, I asked if some build-ups were worse than others, as I have often been told. "Nah," was the answer. "They're all bastards. People just forget." And what do you do to survive? "Sweat. Everybody does."
Tomorrow is the first day of Spring down South. Tomorrow is the beginning of the Territory's six-month obsession with what the weather is going to do to us."
Friday, July 28, 2006
My mum and brother (Jack) came and visited us for nearly two weeks. We checked out Darwin with them - restaurants, rock climbing, mini-golf, and sunsets on the foreshore. After that we went camping for 4 days. We travelled South towards Katherine to a place called Leliyn (Edith Falls) which is part of the Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge). There is a walking trail along the escarpment that is about 60km long. We did a 10km section one day. It was pretty nice. We saw two Brown snakes, a cane toad and had a couple of quick swims in some of the waterholes along the trail.
We stayed at that campground for 2 days. Nice and green.
Then we travelled to Katherine to get supplies, before heading North to the Douglas-Daly region. We camped on the banks of the Douglas river (no saltwater crocs in this particular area). That night Jack and I killed 5 cane toads next to the river. They are slowly but surely advancing on Darwin and the WA border. We are supposed to humanely dispose of them by placing them in a plastic bag and putting them in the freezer. The idea being that they go numb before eventually freezing to death. But when camping all we had were big f***ing rocks to do the deed. Bloody RSPCA do-gooders. When we have no native wildlife left up here, what will they say then? Anyway, I digress. Cane toads suck.
The next day we went to some hot springs for a 'bath'. They were bloody hot, as the name suggests. A cooler stream flows in to the hot one, so if you find the right spot you can get quite comfortable with the mix of temperatures. Then we had to head back home to get the hire car back in time...
We had a great time with our guests. Not enough of them, we say! Good to see family. Miss you guys!
Jack enjoying the view above Edith Falls.
One of the little streams that run down into the Edith River.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Craig, Tina and Jodi discussing one of the many important and contraversial issues illicited from Womens Day.
Just look at that water!! Nice.. An unusually not-so-crowded day in one of the three pools. There's a little waterfall just to the left of us..
The three amigos..
Sunday, July 02, 2006
In the midst of the mayhem.
Jodi's favourite photo from the night.
Ant let off a 'Ladybird' - one of those fireworks that lifts off after getting the right amount of thrust under it's wings after spinning on the spot. They shoot straight up - all going to plan. This was Ant's third attempt with the 'Ladybird' - the previous two going off across the sand, dangerously close to the same groups' heads both times.
Anyway we headed down to the foreshore, got a good spot, set up and enjoyed the night. A couple of us ended up with minor burns to thumbs and fingertips, deaf in one ear, and a little edginess. Fireworks were coming thick and fast from all sides. People don't seem to secure them very well (if at all) and they usually end up tipping over and firing horizontally in to other groups of people. Hilarious from a distance! We could also light up a bonfire for the night. Where else in Australia can you sit on a beach, light up a decent fire, drink alcohol in public, urinate in public, and set off fireworks late in to the night?!? I think we're becoming true Territorians...
Photos below are mostly of the obligatory 'time-lapse' kind - good for fireworks!
Our stash. Value packs bought over the counter.
Ant gathering firewood for the bonfire.
One of the first for the night. Usual Nightcliff sunset in background.
Multiple fireworks set off. Looks like a rocket taking off.
Looks like some tropical flower arrangement.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
She caught the first big fish of the day - a 100cm plus Jewfish. Very pleased with herself - and let all the blokes on the boat know about it too! We cruised from reef to reef, searching for more fish. A lot of smaller reef fish were hauled in and subsequently released.
Later, Jodi caught a large Coral Trout - arguably the best tasting ocean fish around. A few more big Jewfish were caught by the other blokes, then it was time to head back in to shore. Most kicked back and drank some cold Melbourne Bitter cans.
I was cheering, not because of all the great fish I'd caught (I had actually caught a baby shark first up), but because I was so happy to be moving again. Open ocean fishing isn't my forte, and I'd spent the majority of the day throwing up overboard and feeling sorry for myself. Never again!
Jodi had a great day though, and will probably do it again in the future.
Jodi's first ever Jewfish!
Jodi and the Coral Trout
Saturday, April 15, 2006
We had to replace the entire benchtop, the kitchen sink (of course), stove, splash back tiles and all the cupboard doors. We did it all ourselves, which is the good thing about it all. It's a big job, but once its done, and you've given it a go, its pretty bloody rewarding. I'm a bit of a perfectionist myself, so I can see all the 'bodgy' parts - but to the naked eye it has come up a treat. Not quite the $20 000 gourmet kitchen, but a million times better than the brown and cream original late 70s early 80s shite they had here originally! It cost us $2000 all up (including paint for the walls) which is pretty good apparently. Sorry - don't have any before photos - they're all on our over-priced dead IBM laptop that we refuse to pay $1000 to resurrect...
The main view. New Formica benches, sink and cupboard doors.
New 2 burner electric stove top. Has anyone ever used all 4 hotplates at once? (except maybe cooking for a dinner party - which we'll never have here due to the lack of dining suite, plates, room to sit, etc.,etc.)
Friday, January 06, 2006
It was sunset, but at the same time a huge wall of storm clouds was coming across from the opposite direction. Jodi raced back home to get the camera, and the massive wall had almost passed over our heads. Still got some good shots...
Same sunset with the wall of clouds taking up
the top third of the shot now as it advances across.
Palm trees swaying in the wind under the ominous
storm clouds, just before the rain and lightning started.
As an added bonus, Jodi's Mum brought Jodi's brother Darryn up for the occasion.
Jodi on Christmas night with the crazy Santa hat.