Monday, February 28, 2011

I've been given a new place to park my car at work: under one of the transmission towers in Mount Coot-tha, which is about as high as you're going to get in Brisbane... even without taking a step onto the tower. If you were allowed to climb it - which I'm not- it would be a 202 metre climb to the light-bulb at the top.
The view, I've heard, is stunning. The Glasshouse mountains, the sparkling Pacific, Stradbroke Island, the Gold Coast and everything in between.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Wish Your Wish

"Inspired by a Brazilian tradition, Rivane Neuenschwander’s installation I wish your wish 2003 invites visitors to tie colourful silk ribbons to their wrists that feature printed wishes on the fabric. Hundreds of the ribbons are inserted into the gallery wall to create a sea of colour and silk. According to tradition, the wish is granted when the ribbon wears away and falls off."

I took a ribbon which said "I wish the right thing was always the fun thing". When you remove a ribbon, you write your wish on a square of paper, roll it up and stick it in the empty hole.
Which one would you take?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sea Of Hands Poster

Look, I'm not one to blow my own trumpet... OK maybe I am.
 Back in October '09 I did a post about a "Sea of Hands" which was being exhibited as part of the West End Live festival. The organiser, ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation), contacted me recently to see if it would be OK to use the photo as part of a poster... and here it is! I'm very proud.

Read more about the Sea of Hands here.
 Find out what's happening with ANTaR nationally here.
 Have fun designing your own hand here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lego Men

The white lego exhibit has been coming and going for a few years at the Gallery of Modern Art. If you are a lego purist, this is the place for you. It's addictive. Give yourself a few hours.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Swimming Pool at GoMA

There's a swimming pool in the Gallery of Modern Art that is the strangest thing...

When you look into it, people look back at you but they never come up for air...

To get into it, you can't jump in; you have to walk down some stairs and through a corridor. When you get there, it's even more bizarre....

After being inundated in the lower floors during the floods, GoMA has re-opened and this free exhibition is called "21st Century: Art in the First Decade". It struck me that most of the exhibits turn sensible serious adults into giggling, curious kids. While I was there, a middle aged couple spent a good five minutes swiming around like goldfish while their friend took pictures from above.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Drain Strain

Yesterday saw a humdinger of a storm pass over Brisbane. Reports of 40mm of rain in 15 minutes. We got a knock on the door of a friend who was chatting away to his daughter when he noticed toys and books floating down a stream in the middle of living room. Drains in our area couldn't cope and backed right up into houses - some of whom that had just cleaned up after the floods. Being one story up, our place survived unscathed but my friend's place around the corner took on water again. This time it came up so suddenly, her and her husband ran downstairs, wading in the water to hold up their brand new washing machine while the waters rose around them. (I think they managed to save it) The chances are the drain was still full of mud after the cleanup which would have contributed to the surge. 

Talk about kicking someone when they're down!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Everyday Is Like Sunday

We picked a good time to be without a kitchen. Brisbane is boiling hot and sweaty at the moment, which suits our outdoor kitchen arrangements very nicely indeed. We've got the camping stove set up on the garden table and the Weber for an oven. What you are looking at is a Beer Can Chicken. You open a beer and drink half of it, then you sit an uncooked chicken (innards removed) upside down on the can. Place on the bbq, close the lid and crack open another beer while it cooks. The steam from the beer keeps it moist and because it's standing up it gets browned all over without you having to turn it. For those who like BBQ chicken, it's a marvel! For those who don't drink beer, any liquid in a can will do.

NB. When you slide the cooked chicken off the can of beer, no mater how thirsty you are, don't try and drink what's left.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Six weeks ago I'd never heard of a Gerni. Now the relationship is like family.

Round these parts a Gerni is a high-pressure water cleaner. It's a brand name used to describe the generic product - like Band-Aid, Kleenex, Hoover etc... and it's also a verb.

"I'll bring my Gerni over and have you cleaned up in no time"
"Give that a Gerni, will ya?"
"Yeah, love, you can Gerni the garden wall but watch out for me marigolds"

They were a ubiquitous piece of kit during the immediate aftermath of the floods and as we continue with our clean-up, Gerni-ing down the side of our flats was like welcoming an old friend. It's very satisfying. And in the blazing heat, it's quite nice to get sprayed with the water...despite some of it being filthy. Although it wasn't my Gerni so I didn't get a go. When it's your Gerni, you call the shots. Others are relegated to sweeping the water in the right direction and occasionally pointing at bits that have been missed. And then watching as it magically becomes shiny and clean.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Coiled Spring

The news chopper on one of the helipads at the top of Mount Coot-tha, ready to spring into action.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nearly To The Top

This isn't one of mine - I was forwarded this photo by email the other day. It shows how close the water in Wivenhoe Dam got to the top of the dam wall during the floods last month. If the water ever reaches the top, there is an emergency "plug" built into the design of the embankment wall. The idea is that the water reaching the top triggers the erosion of the plug, effectively acting as another gate for the water to escape.

Wivenhoe Dam is about 80kms upstream from the centre of Brisbane and holds 2.6 cubic kilometres of water.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Kip On The Couch

I passed him at 5.50am yesterday morning outside Boxvintage on Vulture Street. An hour later he was gone.
This morning the couch is gone too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hearing Brisbane Roar

Being a flood victims, we got free tickets to the Roar on Saturday night!

Brisbane's A-League football ("soccer") team Brisbane Roar thrashed Gold Coast United 4-0 in a local derby on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium. It was the first time anything has been held in Suncorp since it was inundated last month, flooding all their electrics and changing rooms. I can report first hand that the lights came on, the beer was cold and the chips were hot... and the players were clothed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Floor Make-over Special!! 2. After

Ahhh now isn't that better?

Nice cool tiles, clean, lovely and with any luck... waterproof!*
The insurance company have said that because we paid for our "floating" floor ourselves, it came under the contents insurance. Had we left the original carpets there, it would have come under buildings. In other words, our year of floating floor procrastination was not in vain and we will be covered for the floor.

And so... we moved all our stuff back in yesterday. Our kitchen is yet to be decided on but at least it has a nice floor while we wait. In the meantime we shall be doing knee-skids and barefoot moonwalks around our home... just because we can..

*the term "waterproof" may be subject to change at any time and without notice. Please note there are several types of water.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Floor Make-over Special!! 1. Before

 This floating floor had been a year in the making; neither of us are the DIY type and so it was the source of much procrastination and frustration. The skirting boards hadn't even been attached yet. We think they were submerged for about 12 hours so the slick of river mud over them was only a couple of millimetres thick. You can tell from the light at the top of the picture that each board had started to bow.

Just as an aside, a friend who has worked in recovery centres in Queensland with all the flooding recently said that the thing that made Brisbane different in the clean-up was the vast array of fancy wellies/gum boots around.

Anyway: the floor. As far as insurance goes, our contents are covered but the buildings insurance is not. We subsequently found out that no body corporate in Brisbane has flood insurance. So the question was posed: is the floor considered "contents" or "buildings"?

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of this make-over special! (Don't you just love a cliff-hanger?)

Friday, February 11, 2011

If You Go Under The House Today...'d probably be best wearing protective gloves.

Here we are under the house - not my house, my friend Bron's. It's a typical Queenslander house which means it is elevated on stumps. Her place was largely submerged in the recent floods. What was once a smooth packed dirt floor is now rock-hard, lumpy dried-up mud... and that door has seen better days (see below for close-up). I have noticed that hollow doors like this don't seem to bow straight away after the waters recede. It takes a couple of weeks to get them to this level. On the plus-side, the builders turned up yesterday to check the place out  and are ready for a complete makeover. And one day all of this flood business will be a distant memory.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

100 Hardgrave Road

I've posted twice about this place in Hardgrave Road; once when they knocked the house down except for the facade (here) and once, not so long ago, to show how local artists have used it as a canvas (here). Friends of ours used to live here. This week, the builders are out the back working hard, pouring concrete slabs over what was once the back yard. A place of lazy parties, neighbours talking over low fences, swings in trees, wild flowers and herb gardens. I still haven't worked out what the point of keeping the facade was and what they are going to do with it once the new buildings behind take shape. This is taken from the back...

Paste-ups, slogans and spray paint have spread like weeds, adorning both the outside walls and the remaining area inside.
I get the feeling that it's living on borrowed time so I'd better get a few more snaps in before the newly-poured concrete takes over and the developers commit a neatness. Shame, really.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brisbane Sexual Memoirs

This book that I'm reading at the moment is the extensive sexual memoirs of a Brisbane girl. You can really get into it and it's pretty racy too. The author works locally. If I see her it's going to be weird!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monstera fruit

I was staying at our friends' place (what a surprise) and for breakfast, with pancakes, they offered this Monstera fruit.

The plant is native to Central America (Monstera deliciosa) but grows wild around Brisbane. Lots of people have them in their houses all over the place and call them Cheese Plants - I think I grew up with one in our front room in London. When they fruit, you get this thing that looks a bit like a green corn-on-the-cob. When the segments start to seperate, you can scoop out the flesh and eat it. It looks a bit strange but it's surprisingly good. It's like banana but with the sweetness of a pineapple mixed in.

If you can't afford the price-hike in bananas this season, maybe you should give one of these monsters a try.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Chicken Whisperer

After a morning greeting, a few words of encouragement and a friendly pat, Lily the chicken was gently shoved out of the way so that breakfast could be collected.

It still surprises me how many people in this city keep chickens.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Waking Up On North Quay

Lately we have been the beneficiaries of many acts of kindness, one being the birthday present from a good friend of a night in a swish hotel on the 22nd floor. You get a whole new perspective on things when you look at familiar places from unfamiliar angles. Especially after a fabulous night's sleep and the prospect of a gigantic breakfast.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our Exhibition

Last night, one of the local bookshops in West End invited anyone who took photos of the floods to print out their photos, frame them and put them into an exhibition. The idea was to sell them off and donate the proceeds to the flood appeal...

There was a huge response with all sorts of great photos and styles...


I got five of mine framed and put in - you can see three of them here with the sludgy-coloured mounting...

People squashed in, took a look at the photos and got out their wallets. I couldn't believe how quickly things sold - it was a huge success!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Positive Outlook

We moved in with another neighbour on Monday to give our previous hosts a bit of a break. This is the view from her verandah where I sat and drank my tea this hot, steamy morning. The news of the destruction of Cyclone Yasi started to trickle in from up north. Queensland has really taken a battering of late.

Back at our flood-affected unit, the tiler started tiling yesterday and has made good progress already. We reckon we'll be able to move back home as soon as the floor is done. We can have cold showers (welcome in this weather) and get a little one-ring stove in there... brush up on our one-pot meals... it'll be like posh camping!

And I picked up the photos from the framer and delivered them to the bookshop owners in readiness for the flood appeal exhibition tomorrow night. They look really good! (if I say so myself). I'm told there has been a huge response and they are struggling to fit all the photos on the walls. If you are in the Brisbane area tomorrow evening, you should come along.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'll Huff and I'll Puff

Despite the blowy title and the enormous now category 5 cyclone approaching the north of the state, today's huffing and puffing is not weather related. This is "Huff 'n'Puff" which is kids of a certain age running or walking around the school oval 5 times before the school day begins. Most of them do about a lap (or less) running and then slow down to a gentle stroll and a chat to their mates, bursting into a jog every now and then. It might not look it but the conditions aren't that great. I was sweating just standing around watching.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Batten Down The Hatches

As if Queenslanders didn't have enough to deal with over the past few weeks with most of the state affected by the recent flooding, now a giant storm 500kms wide, Cyclone Yasi, is on it's way.  Brisbane looks like it will be safe, but in the north of the state, people are getting as far away from the path of the storm as is possible.
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