Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dropped Off the Face of the Earth...but found my way back...

May has been a crazy month here. And although I have sat down several times now to write to the blog, I've not managed to actually post it up!'s what I had started to write at the beginning of the month...

Just back from a quick trip to Sydney. The main reason for going was to get to Cafebiz, an industry trade fair for...well, cafes! A friend was doing a reopening on Saturday of their small roastery and cafe that had suffered from fire damage and it seemed like a good excuse to go down a day earlier. When I got the invite to head out to Western Sydney for the Top Fuel Nitro racing...NO hesitation!

I had asked my friend, who employs me to make coffee, if she wanted to come and she was keen to join me. So, we managed to escape from work mid Friday afternoon and had a quick trip to Sydney with a stop for a lovely dinner in the Hunter Valley. Its always nice to show your friends your favourite haunts, I think! Merredith was very impressed with the Brokenback Bar and Grill. We had tapas, which I think is a million miles better than any fast food outlet and although you probably could have eaten several times at one for what we paid at the restaurant, there is just no comparision, I'm afraid!

Saturday morning saw us heading south to Sylvania for some good coffee and me catching up with both new and old friends. Mostly people I know through the Coffeesnobs forum, but also good industry people who are great to know. You can never have enough people to get ideas from. And I know that Merredith was soaking everything up like a sponge too.

She was also brilliantly patient with my seemingly whirlwind tour of Sydney! I warned her though, that we'd be crossing most of it. And we did!

We really wanted to get to Ikea for a bit of retail therapy and my mum wanted to join us as well. She was keen to get some drawers for her bedroom. Me having the pickup down was just the way for her to get all those boxes home! So, on our way back north, we stopped at home and got my mum. I really was expecting Ikea to be incredibly busy, which it was but I was expecting more people there. Often, I've been during the week, which is the best time to go as its so quiet! So, we managed to get through it pretty quickly, I thought. After taking our things and mum back home, we then did a quick unload and got back into the car to take the drive out to Western Sydney.

The drag racing was just so much fun and we had a great host who had been in a past life, a competitor on the drag bikes. Yes, you heard me, they even drag race bikes and some of them are even nitro powered. We were told that they can get to 100 kilometres an hour in ONE second! Now that's acceleration. It was a great night out and we even got to wander around the pit lane. This makes this sport very friendly and family orientated, I think. You can get up close and personal to the machines and those who are working on them. I was amazed to be invited into one pit garage so as I could get some photos. If they didn't want you wandering that close to their machines, the crews had set up rope barricades. But you were still close.

When the nitro cars finally made their runs, you found yourself trying to clear your eyes which were tearing up badly, holding your earplugs in even firmer and trying to take a photo! The fastest accelerating machines in the world and the fastest run that night was done at 500 kilometres an hour. In under 8 seconds. Just astounding and I would be absolutely hopeless at describing the noise that is associated with going that fast. Suffice to say, its a huge sensory experience that rattles right through your body. No wonder people go back time and again to see this spectacle!

SS Camaro

The next morning, I wanted to have breakfast out and of course, our favourite breakfast haunt over the years has been Cronulla. So, we dashed off down to the Buzz Bar and enjoyed coffee and brekky overlooking South Cronulla. As Sunday was the day of Cafebiz that I'd planned on attending, we reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the view of the beach to head up to Randwick, where we'd have a view of the racecourse instead! Cafebiz was a great day, I caught up with friends from the industry and helped out on the Coffeesnobs stand. I successfully managed to make myself the butt of a joke all day because I had been suckered in to using a small roaster that only had instructions for use in Korean. Sadly, I don't speak Korean, nor do I read it. So, I could hear the beans going into the final cracking stage and as jumping about trying to stop the machine didn't work either, I had to find another way to stop the roasting process. Winding the dial all the way back seemed to work but it was too late for the beans and they were only one step back from ash. Anyway, it was good for a laugh. I know that they got bagged up and had "Scoota's Blend" written on it, whilst there was a small pile on display for all to admire. Which they did!

Monday was our day to drive home but first I had to go via Brookvale and Manly, north of Sydney. At Brookvale we picked up my new fireplace and at Many we visited our coffee supplier. So, we were well caffeinated up for the long drive home! And by that stage, the pickup certainly was coming into its own! Not only was there a fireplace and a new flue kit in the back but my mum had given me her old cedar tall boy as well. At Belaroma, they gave us some of their barricades and an umbrella, along with twenty kilos of coffee! So, the car was well and truly loaded to the gills. We had a nice smooth ride home, I can assure you.

So, the following week of being at home, I worked at getting the fireplace installed. When down in Sydney, I'd asked mum if she had had any slate tiles from the house left over. She did and told me to take what I wanted. With some help from Seth, we tagged teamed chipped the old tiles off the hearth and with help from my mate Davo, I layed the slate down. After grouting and then sealing, we finally lifted the new fireplace into its home. The hearth is not finished however, I am still to get some new timber edging and grout out to it. But the fire is in and is working a treat at keeping the entire house warm.

Fireplace replacement

Hearth redone

Fire is IN!

The next job on the house is the bifold doors which are still on their way but should have made the mainland this week. They were manufactured in Tasmania, and so are made from recycled Tassie Oak. I can't wait to see them installed as they will make a huge difference to the back of the house, both in weather proofing and looks.

Well, I'm going to leave this post here...and continue the rest of the news over another post. Can't tell you all now...otherwise you won't have anything to read later!


Ganeida said...

I did read but it's been a madhouse here & I was far too tired to comment sensibly. Fireplace looks lovely! Love to you both.

Ganeida said...

I see you there sneaking around on my blog! heeheeheehee. Come on girl! Where's you're update? Hope all is well with you both. ♥♥♥