Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vintage 2012 rack off #1

This week at the alcoholery
Wine Review and Winery Work


This week, we had a roast beef Sunday dinner, with a bottle of Saltram's 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Barossa Valley, South Australia.

The meat was great, the wine superb. The wine was not heavy or tannic, a lighter red but not brownish, so is holding well visually. Smelt just great, no worries there. Tastes fine, definitely a little hot and peppery as it should be for a cold climate wine, just not like a shiraz. For an eleven year old bottle of the best, it was the best. Allowed two glasses, one with the meal, and one after, followed by a quick snooze....
Good thing is there are three bottles left from the carton.

Today, some winery work

Vintage 2012 Rack Off#1 of Garage Grapes

Vintage 2012 rack off #1 the wine made the other month.
Smell is typical of the type, and the taste is almost of a Rosè. I will have to source a bottle of Traminer, and try to satisfy the curiosity of this strange garage foxey grape. Looks like it won't be made into brandy/rum. Just yet.
Winter Garage Grape Vine

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

wet Toe dry boot

Yes, a Wet Toe, but fresh dry sock?

Dry boot too.

Is it me or the boot?
Maybe I need new boots?
Just a daggy dad looking for nothing bad... Just onset or mild MS?

But three pairs of footwear [bootish style] and the strange feeling of having a wet big toe or half the left foot feels like it's wet. Sometimes.

When I am sitting usually. Here at the desk like.

Wet toe dry foot. 

Or maybe while watching the teev in the Moran Armchair that is not quite right lumbar-wise;  the cat is drippingly purring all over my pot belly while I try to switch channels or reach the wineglass without upsetting her...

And sort of nearly stumbling sometimes, you know, tripping over the toe of your shoes/boots and looking back for that crack on the path or floor that you KNOW was not there anyway.

Is this what it means to have a slowly spreading build up of scarring scabular neurons in the head (where else stupid?). A numb feeling, strange feeling, or what?

Note from mid may 12 
next symp 
cold wet toe while in comfy socks and boot
strange cold? numb feeling while seated in car for a while

left ring fingre- tingling at end

on top of the 'cracking' knuckles a lot.

My dear brother is encouraging me to speak to my aunt that has had MS for about twenty years, she would be good to talk to- I do not know, we skyped once while she was overseas earlier in the year and she wanted me to go on meds straight away and the neurologist I have met about that, one consult mind, said, "Nah not yet".

Dunno. Yet. Feels too personal, even sort of avoided everyone this year at the annual cousin party in the country at Easter so not to feel 'special'.

It is not like last years episodes of when I nodded in the van and I had patches of tingly feelings down the left leg from the bum cheek. Which turned out repeatable over a few months only, thanks for asking... That's the scientist in me- has to be repeatable!

LEFT side?
Maybe related to the MS after all! Just a fake wet Toe dry boot?

PS to me- Just noting what's goin' on man, watching for symptoms?

PS2 Later on- I figured the strange feeling, which tonight seems to be spreading  to my thigh on both legs is like a menthol rub, cold type.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Salt and water and Eisteddfod Winner

Salt and water and
Eisteddfod Winner

The last few weeks have been a little slow...
The kids have been up to different things, and getting sick in turns.
I have enjoyed playing CivIV and keeping out of the way at home, and getting annoyed at the weather reports where I am missing a good sailing session again...

The other day I followed one of the twins down the hall.
And? They are young ladies now... nearly as tall as me...
Last week after I dropped one child somewhere, I pondered, wow, will I get to be a grandparent in the not too distant future? I mean, I welcomed fatherhood.

Ach vell, the veeks dat vas:

Last fortnight, Son#2 came down with a head cold, as you do when out with friends partying. Oh dear. Against my better judgement, but at least I know what is going on. Or Do I? And he has had to sleep in, well past lunchtime the last two weegens. And he's reducing my hangover cure pills by a smallish but noticeable margin... I hope the crap on the telly about fining and or actually jailing parents for letting kids drink at home is not true. But, avid risk avoider as I am, I am not letting the partying go on around here if it ever it comes up, I mean, the nanny state is going too far! And then I find out he said NO to a small job coming up, I do not think he has any other commitments except PAYING HIS MOBILE PHONE BILL ON TIME.

Speaking of bloody mobile phones- we tried to sort out the gels pre-paid accounts, what a rort! Cheaper this way or the same that way, but far too many plans... At least we can call each other for free. Oh wow, 21st century has arrived, pack the string and cans away. I really hope they appreciate they get to talk or message while I miss out on going speedsailing! Then I tried to get a new broadband plan... See my other posts... maybe I should get rid of ALL the phones and rely on the land line. HAHAHAHAhahaha, nope. Don't fink so...

The Eldest twin, Gel#1a, by a minute or so... was in a few Eisteddfod items locally last week, with the school band and the sale city band. Cos I wanted her to do something (a test) at a school rehearsal time without knowing How Important It Was to Attend the Final Rehearsal, she missed one performance out of three on the Thursday. Some teachers really piss me off. Anyway. At least they all did really well. And then the city band won its section, and they won another section the following Sunday, so all in all, she has fitted in really well with two great groups. And she accomplished it all with a cold she probably picked up from Son#2... Now all she should be keeping up is practise.

Now Gel#1b, the younger twin, has decided that the music scene as far as piano or brass is not up her street, is not doing any so maybe will miss out, at least she can read music! Also, she has not picked up a cold as such, but does have a funny eye, and a funny heel bone... So she missed out on a cross country run where her twin came fourth, ah well. Salt and warm water eye rinses and dry eye drops, all I can do, as so far, have not got a GOTTA TAKE ME TO THE DOCTOR NOW DAD.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Called de Gasman

marvined again
but killed two birds with one gas man...

walking in to the yard, noticed cover on gas water heater looking worse than ever
pulled it off to see how bad the rust was. 
the cover fell OFF
not funny dude.
some DIY?
wired it up, but the wind blew the gas out at the same time
tried to relight the bastard.
no go- FAIL
3 kids and me and NO SHOWER
buttons stuck or broken?
 no leaking gas tho
bugger- WORK time
later- call a gas man- immediate response!
around less than 5 minutes
CANNOT buy a new cover for less than half the price of NEW UNIT?
wow, hmm, the credit card maxed already...
can we relight it?
call de boss- 
"use more effort with pliers, swing OFF IT!"
Ahhch, Bach, es goot
can fold a cover up too? be back in 15? 
Oh, and while u r back here
look at the stove top inside...?
All goot, tankuse.

Waiting for the bill...

Oh DEAR, fencing wire no help this time

Noice cover Marv!

out with the old

in with the new, after 12 months on the bench...

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Dad has a trick

Does your dad do this?

Since I was a kid, he would shock kids, like a cousin or nephew, or his grandkids. How?
By doing an....

 Alien impression...

nanny reads to the gels

Just an old pic on the wall board

But poppy liked it, Tarn's Mum and her gels

Get It? Her girls- Who's gels? Hers! Who? Well, Tarn's and Bev's gels then.
Nanny Bev and my twins- gel#1b &  gel#1a, eldest gel got pink for evermore....

I was asked a while ago to print off a pic of my gels by Tarns's dad when he was around for a meal, oh, about the time of  Mother's Day here in Oz.

"Yep, no worries" I said.

With trepidation. Several thousand pics to go through on the hard drive....

At least I had roughly a time in their growth
  1. they were on Nanny's knee.
  2. there was no lamp table next to the chair.
  3. Nanny did not have a wig on.
  4. they were walking.
  5. it was well before we lost Nanny to cancer.
  6. they loved being read to.
  7. pics were not labelled, but all pics were foldered year, month and day.

Today, before lunch, I sat down here and did that calculation above.

Easy peasy. Five minutes or so.
Next was to process the pic, cropping and so on.
Then print off. First print on matt paper trying out the bottom one
Nah, the print was too grey to me, so fancied it up and printed the next one off on Kodak glossy. Shit, nearly late for work! Not really five minutes at all, haha.

Later. "Noice".

no tick?

Next installment tbalance the books, their paternal nanny!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sadder Each Time Now

Mother's Day for My Gels

Is getting to me

Each year, the girls seem to appreciate more the loss of a mum they never knew.

Adelaide, I think.

The last few years has been a bit gut wretching for me, to keep a stiff upper lip, to not let my tears show too much as we visit their mum's grave site, as I hold the twin's hands on her special days of the year- birthday, Mother's day, the accident anniversary.

Their grandfather seems to be affected by their moods too, at those times out there, so I do not like to invite him along at those times anymore either- I do not know whether that is selfish, but as the oldest child of eldest childs [make sense?], I try to control or have order and try to ensure everybody is not unsatisfied with a situation.

This year, the weather on Tarn's birthday was atrocious. No Visit 'Out There'. Just a little pizza night later that week with the kids and Ken and Brenda.

This week, Mother's Day, another anniversary, weather again unco-operative. However, stiff upper lip and surprise visit, whether they really wanted to or not, to the grave site with some flowers. By the time we got out of the car, the gels were teary. Another short rainy visit. Like the day of the burial. To me, Just Great. Not. Then home via the hospital to see Ken's partner Brenda, who is recovering [well?] from surgery, to give her flowers and cheer her up. Funny thing was, we followed Ken into the car park!

The night before, Son#2 came into my office, and said a little tippsily, that he really like that picture above, and where was it taken. So this blog is for him and his aunt.

For my Mum, I sent flowers, she had visits from at least two of my siblings, so I think Mum had a good weegen.

I appreciate the little things when they come around. Tarnia's little sister has lifted me a bit today, always so nice to read her blog which includes us too.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Not Hygenic

I like to make dinner, and early. Especially if the descendents have to go out.

Late yesterday afternoon, I spent some time making a quiche.

Once cooked, removed it from the oven with a cloth.

Repeat, A Cloth.

So burnt myself and dropped the lot, on the floor, where a cat had been waiting impatiently for scraps about 20 minutes beforehand.

Binned. Shrug. Have to.

A descendent removed retrieved some frozen party pastries, and why not, the oven was still hot.

I put them on a tray.

I came back to see if they were cooked.

I had not put them in the oven, and descendent was to be at band hall soonish as well...

So there was no band hall practice- the sore foot was just the final excuse not to venture on the road.

Was it due to MS somehow? A clumsiness inherent in the dis-order?


Maybe this should be filed here instead, like, bad luck to be born a duck, or filed here under overcooked, over worked and underpaid?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vintage 2006

Shiraz Vintage 2006 

Our Longford grapes Shiraz, the Hofford

My good friend Harry and I, made some red wine in 2006.
I have just opened a bottle of Vintage 2006 and it is ooh la la, beautiful!

The grapes were shiraz/syrah.

The vineyards are from across the river south of where I live, and grown in a  combination of sands, gravels and marl, basically a 'limey' situation. The area was used for a gravel pit once upon a time. The sheep farm where the vineyard is based is above the marshes or morass at Lake Wellington. Cheers Vintage 2006!
The growers- Lyn and Harry Stephenson.
Looking north over Lyn and Harry's old yards at left, square shape, and to the mid right, diamond shape, from Google Earth
The acreage is small, two yards 110x90m and 70x100m.

Wine made from these grapes have won awards for vintners who were capable of paying two dollars a kilo. Yep- 2 grand a tonne! Harry and I of course were only doing wine making at home, of 100 and 50 kilos respectively.

In the early 2000's, so a story goes, a vintner from west Gippsland was interested in some Gippsland limestone country grown shiraz grapes [?] and gave Lyn and Harry tips on what he wanted if he was to be a primary customer. The vines were carefully tended, and cropped back to avoid over-cropping and reduce disease favourable conditions. A second vineyard was created in the actual gravel extraction areas. This idea is similar to the French winemakers and grape growers idea of limestone country, the terroir for growing Pinot Noir- limestone or marl.

That vintner won an award one year, and my friend Bob of Tuckers Vineyard who I worked for 2004-2008 also won a medal for his 2004 Shiraz. But guess what? I think mine and Harry's is far better. Sorry Bob

We selected and harvested our own grapes from the old vines. We took them back to a backyard- Harry's or mine, and processed the grapes. The next day, yeast was added. A week or so later, the lot was pressed, and the waiting began...

So every year a few bottles were enjoyed.

I think I have opened my last one. But shit a brick, it is NICE!
Cheers to a few people, chin chin Tarn, Harry, Bob

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And another one gone again

Yesterday was Tarn's birthday

A slow day really. 

No grave visit this year- cold and windy, but maybe when it's nice again. Just getting too sad really. I think I am over it, but then the kids get a little upset.

Her twin gels cooked up one of her favourite dishes for dinner, Tuna Mornay, and I got a chocolate mud cake for desert.

Just the four of us this year, but tomorrow, a small get together with her dad and his bride.

That'll be okay.

Notta so good

Successes, Failings and successes this week

In black and white: the kids, the cats, the cars and me.

Celebrated Tarn's fifty-first birthday quietly this week with the three cheeky little monkeys. May have a pizza with her dad Friday. Mine soon enough.
[new addition- at bottom 22-5-12]

Family Car

Finally found the problem with the windscreen wipers not wanting to work on the family vehicle. Or, there was a short in the tailgate wiring. The wiring loom passes through lots of holes in the car body, and the auto-electrician I had to see in the end, spotted some bare wiring, on the loom from the car side of the tailgate, not exactly where it passed through to a protective tube, but further inside by a few cm/inches.

Ah backhgh, That Was All!

Mark the car sparky just wrapped some tape around it and we put it back together. Thirty three buckaroonies though, and a 40 km drive. Self findable?

Patience and money, patience OR money?

The Van

Then. THEN... Well, Back then... Last week actually, the van really started to play up.

The battery would not turn the engine over after a cold night. A few times the last month. New one purchased. STICKER SHOCK!
There was definitely a wobble from the front tyres, booked in for new tyres. Went along to the wrong tyre garage. The guy at the right one said he had just sent some-one to where I had just been. That was funny. Until the STICKER SHOCK hit me again. There was bare metal showing on the old tyres...

The kids

Gel#1b managed to drop my old fluorescent  desk lamp and broke the tube. New one. And a ballast. And a bit of maintenance.

Gel#1a needed new globe in her bedside lamp. A few nights later spilt red coloured drink all over the old flowery carpet. At bedtime. Her sister's bottle of course. Another late night.

Son#2 was picked up on his job so he could Drive rather than pedal, and as I put the bmx in the back of the wagon, the front wheel dropped off...........!!!
Another front tooth nearly lost? The first one he lost is going to cost an arm and a leg and more to replace. I may have to mortgage his phone and bike...

And the beer, a wheat milk stout, I started to brew last week, does not want to ferment at all. I wonder why- fed it some DAP...


The white cat left us a smelly reminder this week. We could not track where he had left it. Was it the junk room, cos he fled from there today? No. It was left on some power cords right next to the fermenting beer vat in the laundry...


Trying to buck myself up and it looks like I am losing out more. My credit card is starting to cost me too much ie I am living it up tooo much (?), and employment advertisments are depressing around here- like they know the person they want EXACTLY, like my skill sets are not upgradeable to even an assistant librarian?

I want to vacuum up information, but that is not cost effective either. Who else around here likes to know about and share shit about archaeology, geomorphology, astronomy, geology, oilfield news... No-one.

A fail for my 50th birthday present though- last year my family [sibs n folks] gave me a voucher for a Ballon Flight over The Big Smoke to be taken by May this year, so I was reminded by my eldest son to get a move on and book it. And guess what? I tried to early this week and was told "The company went belly up before xmas, and no-one was told"- so much for the customer is always right?

Cathartic? I have to tell myself that I do like myself, to smile and to vent and rant more.... Make more friends?


I am really enjoying 'guns, germs and steel' by Jared Diamond 1997.

A new Plonking Addition
For my 50th a matching barrel for the 40th, to put the Garage Grape Sherry into!

Note to self May-12 a

note this
is it a- what?

I have been feeling off key the last month or so, and it probably doesn't help I stay up late catching up with recorded programs, a Lot.

This week- feeling like my legs may give way if I don't concentrate, like a weakness in the knees?  Concentrate sounds weird, but I am trying to notice more than usual, any unusualness in everyday activities. Is it symptoms of MS?

And my right foot is Slapping the pavement. I know I hurt myself at Easter by a short run without a warm-up. And possibly a few years ago when trying not to drop a very large heavy netting [fruit] box on my foot in the winery. But different boots...

The back is better, the neck- not too uncomfortable to sleep with. Does the osteopath help?

The bee sting like feelings in the knuckles not so intense, but still cracking them a lot to relieve the feeling, which may return or not with in the hour once or twice more.

Or is it just old age.