Saturday, December 20, 2008

Berry Island

New bit of Wollstonecraft naval base

HMAS Waterhen AKA "the Chook" in Wollstonecraft Bay Sydney Harbour. (Spot the top of the Coathanger in the background.) The Chook is all about mine warfare and is home to our spiffiest mine countermeasures gear.

The Chook was originally an actual ship before she became a base but was sunk in WWII. "Waterhen, with her sister ships Stuart, Vendetta, Vampire and Voyager became famous as the 'Scrap Iron Flotilla' in the Mediterranean. She was lost at sea 30 June 1941" says the Navy.

Crashed at a mate's last weekend just up the road from Waterhen. We strolled down in the morning to see if we could see any nice sailor boys but they'd all gone home for Christmas.

Wee beach at Wollstonecraft Bay Sydney Harbour

Wee beach at Wollstonecraft Bay

Nice spot Wollstonecraft. It's three bays west of the Coathanger, a quiet suburb of leafy streets and gorgeous 19th century houses.

It was named after a bloke who was the nephew of Mary Wollstonecraft, one of them suffragette chicks. She was around in the 18th century writing stuff, being in France during the French Revolution and giving birth to Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein when she was 19. She started it sitting close by the fire in the summer of 1816. It was a year of "volcanic winter", a year without a summer.

Three big volcanoes went off in 1812 (La Soufrière in the Caribbean), 1814 (Mayon in the Philippines) and 1815 (Mount Tambora in Indonesia). The volcanic ash in the atmosphere build up and up and up and blocked a lot of the sun's light. Temperatures dropped all over the world.

Brown and red snow fell in parts of Europe and the rivers rose. The Napoleonic Wars between France and England had only just finished and food was already in short supply. When there was no summer and no crops there was even less food and the people rioted in the streets just to keep warm.

In America the New Englanders set off to settle the Midwest, also in search of warmth. In Asia China was devastated by crop failure and famine and the rest of Asia didn't exactly do well either.

Ausbruch des Vesuvs, 1817 by Turner

Art and velocipedes were pretty much the only thing that did any good out of 1816. Some bloke called Turner got all excited by the glorious sunsets the volcanic ash made and got famous as a painter.

Horses starved for lack of oats in 1816 and in Germany in 1817 Karl Drais invented a horse-less form of transport, the ancestor of the bicycle. Which eventually led to the Straylyan poet Banjo Paterson writing Mulga Bill's Bicycle about a bloke who can't ride for shit and goes hurtling down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.

Native flowers at Berry Island Sydney Harbour

Balls. Tiny ball-shaped flowers smaller than the tip if yer little finger. No idea what the plant is called, looks like a native though. Growing in the park across from the Chook.

Down here in sunny Straylya in 1816, Macquarie was governor of New South Wales, there was a flood of convicts and free settlers following the Napoleonic Wars and the whitefella population reached a whopping 35,000. Macquarie set up convict Greenway as Sydney's architect, ordered people to get married and named practically everything after himself. Except Australia, which he formally named Australia.

The Year Without a Summer (worldwide info)

Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death (detailed stuff from North America)

Paintings of striking sunsets show effect of huge volcanic eruptions on climate

Brimstones and Bicycles

Local news

Kitesurfer 'peels off half his face'. Juicy headline no? It's that kite-surfer what slammed into Ettalong last week.

Woy Woy Steve has scary water.

Local photos

Flickerite Bivoir, who appears to be a guinea pig (hamster), has some nice Central Coast photos, particularly this one.

Amusement Park

Homemade lightning

Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night

This is the last Saturday before Christmas so have a good one and I'll see yer in January. May it not piss on yer barbie.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All the leaves are green and the sky is grey

I have been working my arse off this last couple of months. Have not even walked for a whole month. Hideous state of affairs. Must remedy. Holidays coming up and I'm trying to wangle a whole month off in which to have rest and walkies and rest and stuff and rest. Meanwhile, Woy Woy is blooming with summer flowers.

Hakea & Jacaranda Woy Woy

Jacaranda and Hakea

Jacarandas are an exotic species (imported and not native to Australia). Gorgeous trees. Currently looking fabulous against the Woy Woy skies. An aerial photo of a town when these are flowering will instantly tell you where the older areas of the town are.

Hakea (or possibly grevillea) is a native species and a popular garden bush. Couple more looking spiffy on a black background here.

Christmas bush

Christmas bush

Ceratopetalum gummiferum. Native species. Coming into full flower now, hence the name Christams bush.


Lillipilli hedge

Lillipilli hedge. A native species, Syzygium smithii. Not flowering but leafing. The leaves on top go red in spring and summer.

The flowering gums (native species) have finished flowering and those noisy lorikeet bastards have buggered off to greener pastures. The giant cacti are budding (exotic species).

Woy Woyan flowers both native & exotic

All the native flowers posted since I started tagging plus Winter floraland for added seasonal confusion.

Local linkage

The duck problem (Ta for the link, Ian.)

Excellent mappage and link to war stories from Steve. Had no idea the war came so close to the NSW coast.

Kite-surfer airlifted from Ettalong Beach. Looks like he came ashore at the end of Barrenjoey Road near those 60s flats. Poor bastard. Sorry I missed the chopper landing at Ettalong but.

Girl priest raises Woy Woy's PCF (Playground Coolness Factor).

Buy one get one free ferry tickets on the Codock II AKA Cockatoo ferry from the 27th.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Give me the Southerly or give me death

Jetty building platforms near Woy Woy Public Wharf

Jetty building platform boats at Woy Woy Wharf a few weeks ago.

It is bloody hot and bloody sticky. Got to 34 and about 300% humidity. I am irritable and miserable. We were promised a nice cool Southerly and so far there's been fuck all.

Have you seen this dog?

Have you seen this dog

These signs and others are still up all around Woy Woy.

Sanji has been missing since the 9th of November. She is part of the husky team that pulls Santa's sleigh to shopping centres and old people's homes.

Reward for her safe return. Phone 4341 2684/040 504 3306.

Full text of notice

Local Linkage

Tascott is now on facebook. It has photos and a cocky video. That's a video of a cockatoo not a video with an excess of self-confidence.

Right. I'm off. It is my intention to climb into a bath of icy cold beer armed only with a straw.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Smiley face in the sky

Bonus post. Once in a lifetime event. Next appearing in Southern skies in 2036 or something.

Smiley face conjunction 1st Dec 2008

Taken by a mate in Sydney.

Saw it here too but it didn't show up on my pissy camera. Here it was clearly visible through a light mist of cloud. A big cosmic smiley face up there in the sky. Glorious.

"[O]n Monday (1 December 2008) there will be a spectacular conjunction between the two planets Venus and Jupiter and the crescent Moon. Though the conjunction will be impressive from anywhere in the world, it will only smile on Australia and Australian longitudes almost in the form of a “smiley” emoticon. From the USA, for instance, the conjunction will be in the form of an upside down sad face."

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon: a smiley face in the sky (has photos)

December 2008 night sky guide and podcast

Another Sydney photo


Caitlyn says my RSS feed doesn't work. Ta for letting me know. Will fix the bastard as soon as I work out how.

Make link in Blogger

Linkage to my site can be had in the "Compose" tab of Blogger. Click the wee button of a green disc and link.
I link therefore I am
Or just copy this text link.

Okay, I'd better piss off. I officially started work an hour ago.