Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stephen Fookes - The end of another era in wool

L to R: Phil Cranswick, Duane Knowles (new CEO), BvR and Stephen Fookes.

As some readers of this blog will know, today is Stephen’s last official day as CEO of NZWTA. Stephen has held this position since the inception of NZWTA, and is also a well known and respected figure in the wool industry. We want to wish you well and hope retirement is everything you wished it would be, and more. I am sure it’s more a case of “see you later” than “farewell”. Enjoy the new phase of your life and career.

Tomorrow also marks Eugene’s first birthday. He today started saying his first word (“ta”), and can now also walk up to 3 metres all by himself. Such a big boy! He has also started playing peek-a-boo, and knows how to wave goodbye and blow kisses. Too cute! I will post pictures tomorrow.


Other than this the main other item to mention is the weather. It has been hot in Sydney, with a max of 36 expected next week. Ouch! Bring on the cooler weather!!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Home - Trying to make do with the Canon where an X-Pan is needed...

Two views of our apartment with the pool in the foreground. These pictures are stitched from 3 seperate images and then cropped to a ratio of 6:17.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dreams of Linhof, CS3 and D700's

Click on images to see larger versions please

The Crossweb spider; a common sight in Sydney.

Karla at Palm Beach with some stormy weather in the background.

Another view of the same, strange storm clouds.

Eugene helping to take down the Xmas tree today...


Friday, December 26, 2008

Xmas Day 2008 - Sydney

Luckily it was not nearly as hot as it has been in the past. As a matter of fact, December has been decidedly cooler than the last two year (either that or we've aclimatized).

We started the day with the kids opening pressies, then went to church and finished the day with a Braai at Werner's new place. We cooked some chops and boerewors on two seperate Weber's. On the one we also placed some Hickory wood chips. The cheese-filled Boerewors went onto the Weber with the wood-chips; mmmm!

Werner bought an put-up this 6m wide gazebo, which worked well. We had some Savanna Light on-ice (below), just in case the heat got too much.

Karla and Eugene both had a lovely day playing all over the place. Eugene even took a 2 hour nap to give Mum and Dad a break; such a good boy!

Karla was her usual self (boucing and running all over the place) and also had a fun day.

Just before we got into the "tucker".

The joys of fatherhood - Toy assembly...

Karin and Colin having a bit of fun.

It was also nice to see Rudolph, Marie-Louise and their daughter Cari (above) again.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Carols in Oatlands

Karla, and her friends Jesse and Charlie, spoilt the local residents with some Christmas Carols last night. These songs were delivered with beautiful, Angelic voices. They even got some $$'s and chocolates too!

Karla and her candle, plus some of the "goodies" they got as rewards for singing.

The girls following one of their singing sessions. Cute, hey!

...and what Eugene thought about having to stay at home and not being able to sing along! Shame!!!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday's are here! Thank goodness.

The December Holidays, short though they may be, have arrived. We have a busy time ahead of us, so will probably be more exhasuted after the break than before...

When I got home on Friday, Eugene popped into the car to help me steer it into the garage.

Minutes later we were in the pool. It was not cooking-hot, but warm enough for a swim. All we kept telling Karla was "Hold onto your brother!"

"Look Eugene, smile at Mum!" He did not want to play along.


The day before we were also in the pool, and Eugene was captain of HMS Babybath II. He cleary did not trust her sea worthyness. When dad helped stabilize things he was much happier (below).

Karin also backed two "Stollen", a German Xmas fruit-cake, for us this week. It was VERY tasty.

Stollen dough ready to be baked.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

AWTA Sydney - Lab Xmas Lunch

Thank you to Yvonne and Pat for really putting a lot of effort into the lunch. The food was excellent, as was the entertainment. Top-notch Santa too!!

L to R: Yvonne, Santa and Pat

L to R : Trevor, Alan and Nigel

The canteen


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rain, Xmas sillyness and paper lanterns

Last Wednesday we had 10mm rain at the lab in 10 minutes. It tested our drainage systems, but the brave men of our maintenance department, especially Staff-Sergeant Ralph, did an admirable job of keeping us dry(ish). The heavy rain certainly highlighted the odd leaks.

The roadway just outside our boiler and compressor rooms. No drains were blocked, so this shows the amount of water coming down.

Here is our sampling van driving through the same area. Check the haze on the van's roof. This is rain hitting, and bouncing off, the roof.

The afore mentioned Staff-Sergeant Ralph....

Princess Karla playing "silly billy". Dad and Mum did the same, but the photo's are of a limited edition and can only be obtained by depositing roughly $1,000 into their bank account...

Tried as we may, Eugene just stayed cute!

Jon Trowbridge (a colleague from work) gave us this idea. We bought some paper bags ($2.08 for 50 at Coles) and BBQ fat-absorbing sand, and hey presto, paper lanterns. Good on ya John!

Dad needed some pants altered (length, not width haha!), and Karin ripped out the trusty Janome and fixed them in no-time.

Eugene's little hand, which he now uses all the time to pull himself upright. He walk 4-6 steps at a time, before (effectively) taking a flying leap. Mum and Dad must then just grab the little fella lest he remove most of his (very beautiful) facial features!

I almost can't stand looking at his blue eyes. He has clocked-up somewhere in the region of 10,000 kisses in the last 48 hours.

The happy lad enjoying his bath. He loves everything except for rinsing his hair.


Friday, December 5, 2008


Don't ask me, I assume "Hi-per-fi" is some girly-word for high-heel shoes. I mentioned these in an earlier Blog post, so here is the evidence. Too cute for words! Ma & Pa, click on the pic and tell me who's feet you see.

Eugene is also getting into the Krissy-spirit, and loved being our little Elf earlier this week.

It gets hot in Sydney people, and I don't mean a lowly 30 degrees. Think hotter. Don't believe me; here is my mate Werner standing in front of the standard Sydney domestic fan. He has osmium-filled (look it up) shoes and heavy-duty velcro on the shoe-soles, which is how we managed to get this photo.

Finally, one for my "Woolly" friends in-the-know. Here is a photo of some rather nice wool (yeah, subtle understatement, I know). Just remember you saw it here first!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Christmas Tree has gone up

As per tradition, the Christmas tree must go up on 1 December, and we stuck to "the rules". Before starting we switched on the air-con (it was warm last night) and put some Christmas music on. Karla could hardly contain herself, bouncing around like Bambi!

Eugene made it to about 8:30PM, and then decided it was time to visit Lala-land.

One of the highlights for (a very impatient) Karla; putting on the star....

...and then switching on the lights!