Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bird takes up race driving

So, what's been happening lately?

After a brief Viktorian spring, we got an entire winter's worth of rainfall in one weekend. Lara was looking a bit soggy for a while, but not quite as soggy as the Gippsland region, which I seem to recall flooded back in July no doubt due to Global Warming. Damming the Mitchell River would apparently increase our water supplies by 4%, which is a big deal. But of course damming also affects the local ecology and frogs, and contributes to Global Warming. So, the good residents of the Gippsland region are contributing to the Greater Good by occasionally putting up with this:

At least we're thinking of the children..

To do my bit for the environment I threw the kart in a diesel powered van, drove to Adelaide, left it there, jumped on a big plane, flew to Sydney, attended a trade show, flew back to Adelaide, raced in the Superkart Nationals then drove home. Then I took a breath.

The trade show is a great event. I've blogged on about it previously but it basically is a chance to stand up all day and talk to people about floor sanding machines. Whether this actually does any good for business or not is still undecided but the relevance of the social events is unanimously agreed upon.
Where I spent two whole days talking about drum pressure and swirl marks

So much so, that boss Cam flew Sharon and Louise (his wife) over to join in and provide some female company and conversation pertaining to something other than Floor Sanding. Wednesday night, cocktail party. Thursday night, dinner with guests from Singapore. Friday night, big awards dinner with celebrity speaker to which I didn't go, but more on that later.

Before it all began, Tuesday night, I managed to steal away from our lush hotel at Coogee Beach, battling two hours of Sydney peak to visit the esteemed Godfather at the famous Kings' School Paramatta. It's always a treat to be "given an audience" with Dr. Timothy Hawkes, i.e. get hugged sensless, drip fed beer and red wine, and dined in a massive dining room with furniture dating back to the first settlers.

Archive footage of big blokey manly men

The Hawkeses are, without overselling them, a wonderful, wonderful family with infectious cheer. Absent was Pippa, up at their Pretty Beach house, um, "studying" and of course Peter and Amber are still in India rescuing slaves. Jane's nephew Chris, from the UK, was still down and working in Sydney with the occasional commute to NZ, and the lovely Alicia Jane was there after another day showing injured and sick people how to rehabilitate.
Quite frankly I think they all lead such boring lives.

So it was back to the relative drudgery of the timber flooring show, made interesting by my inclusion of the race car simulator. It was intended to draw a crowd, although day one it looked more like it would simply serve as a creche, since the visiting tradespeople's kids flocked to it. I was outraged. It's a race car simulator, not a bluddy video game, you little cretins. It's for grown men to run motorsport simulations, although it is kind of like, well...a.... Anyway, it ended up being quite successful. Friday night I missed the you-beaut gala dinner evening with guest speaker Mike Whitney (you know, the guy who once played cricket and was in a couple of reality TV shows. Woo-bluddy-hoo). Instead I was on a plane back to Adelaide. I would rather have been at the dinner but I chose this sport and the Superkart Nationals just happen to be scheduled right on top of our trade show. I think 2007 will be known as the Year of The Date Clash. Sharon went to the Awards dinner, presumably masquerading as one of Cam's two wives.

The Superkart Nationals were at Mallala, my favourite old place. I did okay, finishing fourth out of the Victorians but the South Aussies were too strong. I was buried mid-pack most of the weekend so in order to draw attention to myself I wore a silly hat.

Fourth seems to be my groundhog-day result. A week after all this date-clashing I had the final round of the Viktorian Club series at Phillip Island. I came fourth. Fourth is good.

Then after all that beingbusyness things got mostly almost back to some kind of normal-ishness. For Omi's birthday we drove across the other side of Melbourne (a distance equal to crossing several European countries) to visit the famous Healesville Sanctuary. It was about as touristy as you can get and personally, give me Cudlee Creek in the beautiful Adelaide Hills any day. Mind you, the birds of prey show was worth the drive. The park ranger would ask the large audience questions like "Do you know what the largest bid of prey in Australia is...?" in patronising, Wiggles-style tones. Omi would reply "Wedgetail Eagle" in who doesn't know that?? tones. And yes, it was one huge Wedgie.

To keep the tone of the show going, after having birds of prey swooping low over our heads (apparently the lower you duck, the lower they fly), a person claiming to be an aboriginal came out and started throwing boomerangs over our heads. We then went to their lavish new animal hospital, but I didn't see any muppets. There they taught you that if you find an injured native animal, you must not try and look after it, you must hand it over to the local wildlife concern.

After that day, by a strange quirk of fate, Naomi found an orphaned wattle bird, know as Winnie, who has now decided that a big gangly human kid is really her mother.

Race driving is a complex art. First, you must be facing the front of the vehicle when sitting in it. Well, actually, this creature isn't neccessarily less smart than most race drivers

So in our suburban dogbox block of land we now have a menagerie of squeaking piggies and chirping birdies and Lord knows what other critters Omi will adopt. Still, I have to admit that it's kinda cool having this little native bird come and land on your shoulder. From our Healesville training we did the right thing and asked the local wildlife concern to take on little Winnie, but they suggested "ah, just feed it and let it go, it should be okay."

So we did. And it keeps flying back to us. Of course, Omi isn't exactly heartbroken about this. More later. BYE.

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