Monthly Archives: March 2013

AMSTERDAM CYCLING – facts and figures

Bikes and Cafe Winkel's Dutch appeltaart. I'm looking forward to both.

Bikes and Cafe Winkel’s Dutch appeltaart. I’m looking forward to both.


Thanks to Mark Wagenbuur’s excellent blog about cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands, BICYCLE DUTCH, I’ve been able to gather some up-to-date statistics on the use of bikes in Amsterdam.

It makes encouraging and inspiring reading. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycling, Holland

THINGS I LEARNED LAST NIGHT – at the Sydney Seafood School

I'm not the only one who expects a good meal here.

I’m not the only one who expects a good meal here.

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day and it will taste so bad he’ll never eat raw fish again. Teach a man to cook fish and you give him a lifetime of showing off at dinner parties.

After he’s sourced the ingredients.

I’ve got enough stuff, so when another birthday rolled around it was very smart of my daughter to give me a voucher for a class at the Sydney Seafood School.

I’ve written before about this excellent institution at the Sydney Fish Market, but I can’t praise it highly enough. It’s open to anybody who cares to spend an evening or an afternoon learning to cook two or three fabulous dishes. For locals and visitors it’s time and money very well spent. Continue reading

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Filed under Travel-Australia

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Future Tense. I can feel it coming…

This is going to be huge, I just know!

This is going to be huge. Somehow I just know!

Right, I’ve got a start. Now I just need a few characters, a setting, a plot, some kind of theme… Add a bit of dialogue and away we go!

ACT ONE, SCENE ONE.

HOUSE LIGHTS FADE.

CURTAIN OPENS AND THERE ON STAGE WE SEE…um… IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STAGE WE SEE…

It’s about time for a cup of coffee. Back soon.

(Thanks to Daily Post for a tricky Weekly Photo Challenge.)

STOP PRESS: Thanks too to all those helping with ideas in the comments section. Keep them coming. This has Tony Award written all over it!

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Filed under Writing

2b or not 2b@hamlet #TWITTER MURDERS ENGLISH! OMG!!!

Are texting and tweeting, online chatting and emailing destroying people’s ability to write good English? Or is resistance to change in the language coming from a few pedants who still want to see a double ‘m’ and an ‘e’ on the end of ‘computer programme’?

This week I’ve been at the excellent Newington College Literature Festival, leading writing workshops for Year 5 students and telling my stories to younger children.

A lively evening panel discussion examined “Language in the Digital Age” and raised the questions above. Continue reading

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Filed under Writing

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA HOUSE

It makes you feel something special is about to happen.

Simply approaching it makes you feel something magic is about to happen.

Mevrouw T and I don’t do this often enough. A thoughtful Christmas present was two tickets to a Sydney Symphony Orchestra concert.

A rare trip to the iconic Sydney Opera House at night reminded us what a special building it is, and what a spectacular location it enjoys. Continue reading

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Filed under Travel-Australia

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – my best and worst ever lunches

Peter Gilmore's salad of yellowfin tuna. Those things that look like baby tomatoes are made of fish.

Peter Gilmore’s salad of yellowfin tuna. Those things that look like baby tomatoes are made of fish.

This WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE has the title ‘Lunchtime’. I’m sure I’m not alone in having a computer clogged with never-to-be-looked-at-again food shots.

Let’s start with the good news. The most memorable lunch I will ever have in my life was at Peter Gilmore’s Quay, regularly named by those more expert in the field as Australia’s best restaurant. The food included the dish pictured above, though the fine dining was overshadowed by Mevrouw T and I being surprise parents of the bride. For a full report on the event (and more food shots), CLICK HERE.

Unfortunately there are many contenders for my worst lunch ever, though one in Friesland, Netherlands, was a standout.

We did a hard morning’s cycling to reach a small village where a kaatsen tournament was in full swing. It’s an intriguing local Friesian sport, so we stopped to watch. And ate the following…

The fries on the right weren't bad, but were more than cancelled out by the sheer nastiness of that 'gehaktbal' - a meatball.

The fries on the right weren’t bad, but were more than cancelled out by the sheer nastiness of that ‘gehaktbal’ – a meatball.

For the full story, including news of how we repaired the internal damage with an excellent Friesian dinner, CLICK HERE.

As you would expect, there was a price differential between the two lunches. The meatball wasted a couple of my hard-earned euros. The meal at Quay, including wine, was paid for by somebody else. Thanks!

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Filed under travel photography

AUSTRALIA’S TOP 50 BIKE RIDES

The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride - fabulous organisation, great routes and rather a lot of company.

The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride – fabulous organisation, great routes and rather a lot of company. I’ve done this one twice, but there’s a new route every year.

Damn you, RIDE ON magazine, for publishing this list of Australia’s Top 50 Bike Riding Experiences. Now I want to do them all.

I’m able to say I can tick off a few of your selections, but still have about 45 to go. There are some MTB routes which are out of my comfort zone, but also many road rides that look fantastic.

Meanwhile I’m chained to my desk for a few more weeks, with only the occasional morning ride in Sydney to keep me sane.

Have a look at the list, and if anyone has other great Aussie routes to recommend – let me know, while I still have some knee cartilage left.

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling