Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wild Oats XI takes the Sydney Hobart again

The 30 metre maxi, Wild Oats XI won line honours for the fourth consecutive time in the Sydney - Hobart Yacht Race this morning. The race record stayed intact, with a quite civilised 9.34am finish at Castray Esplanade.

I went down to Alexandra Battery in Sandy Bay to take a few photos as they were in the home stretch. Katie and I then got down to just above the finish box as she was about to take the cannon.

Now we're off to the first day of the Taste Festival. Tis a good time to be in Hobart.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Terrible buildings of Hobart: #1: The Federation Concert Hall

Most cities these days try to present their best face to welcome visitors when they come in on the major road from that city's airport. Not Hobart.

As you drive along the first section of Davey Street, just after the Tasman Highway ends, this is the view with which you're faced:

Zero Davey, a residential development that somehow turned out to be a bit larger than what was originally approved, the Grand Chancellor Hotel (aka "Gray's Edifice"), which is simply a carbon copy of a hotel in Malaysia that the developers also own, and the crowning glory, the Federation Concert Hall, a building resembling a massive colorbond clad water tank, complete with dented panels and insulation hanging out of the joins. Apparently it's a "tribute" to an old gasometer that used to be on the site.

The Federation and its neighbours successfully block what could be a fantastic vista of Hobart's beautiful waterfront and Sullivans Cove district. I wanted to demonstrate to a friend what a shocking building it was, and lo and behold, I really couldn't find any proper pictures on google images, only ones put up by the Grand Chancellor and other tourist type sites that manage to shoot it from an angle that belies its inate hideousness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Critical Mass' Victory in House of Lords

Police have no rights to block peaceful protests according to landmark ruling

Police have been told they have no power to control regular peaceful protests following a landmark ruling by the House of Lords.

Officers had warned cyclists gathering in London every month for the Critical Mass protest that they were liable for prosecution for failing to notify police.

However, the Law Lords ruled that since it was a regular protest with no specific organisers, it was not subject to controls.

The ruling will have an impact on similar gatherings around the country that face regulation by the police.

The Critical Mass protest has gathered in London every month for more than ten years. The colourful and often noisy gathering of up to 1,000 people began as a celebration of cycling but over the years has become a wider protest on environmental issues and against war.

However, the Metropolitan Police argued the protest was unlawful because no advance notice was given. They said the police needed prior notice of the ride's date, time and route and the names and addresses of the organisers in order to maintain public safety.

Critical Mass fought back, claiming that because the cycle rides are "commonly or customarily held" they are exempt from public order legislation.

Five law lords at the House of Lords agreed that the ride was a "customary procession". They said that since the protest is spontaneous and not organised by anyone it is not necessary to give the names of organisers or the route.

On the question of similar protests, the Lords said the legislation was not designed to restrict gatherings like Critical Mass.

Phil Michaels, the lawyer for Critical Mass, said it set a precedent for other types of protest that take place on a regular basis.

And following a crackdown on protests around the House of Commons in the wake of anti-terrorism laws, he said it had wider implications for free speech.

"This is a case in which the highest court in the land has upheld the right to protest peacefully and has said in essence that if those rights are to be curbed then it needs the clearest possible language from Parliament before that happens."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today in Sullivan's Cove

The Sun Princess leaving Hobart at 11.30 this morning. The Diamond Princess (still docked) pushed off about 6pm. They're just floating motels really.

Bring back the QE2:

Click the images for full size.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Pigs become Pork

Well, the day of judgement finally arrived for young Ham, Sausage and Cha Xiu. Duncan took them off to the Cradoc Slaughterhouse Sunday a week ago, and on Friday night just gone, He, Katie and myself collected our sharpest knives and decamped to Tim's place for a night of home butchery.

Guided by Hugh Fearnley Whittstall's DVD 'Pig in a Day", his "Meat" cookbook, various webpages and a fair bit of blind luck (fuelled by Duncan's home brew) we managed to get oursleves a fair whack of lovely organic pork. By the end, the pigs came in at about 70Kg each, which meant hams of about 15Kg. You can work out the rest of it from there. needless to say, the frypan was working overtime cookin the scraps on Friday night. I've buried our ham
(as displayed here by the beautiful Katie) in about thirty kilos of salt. Gonna leave it there for a month, and then hang it in Mum & Dad's beautifully cool, yet sometimes drafty workshop for probably the best part of twelve months. We'll see what comes out of it then, eh? As for the rest of the product, it's bloody tasty, and well worth the effort involved. In fact, some Gordon's Knob Pork Neck was one of the primary ingredients in one of the dishes Mary served up to us at a sumptious Chinese dinner party hosted by Becher and herself on Saturday night. Yum yum.

BTW, Duncan and Jeannie (well, actually, Darcy the sow) are expecting another litter of young swine on about New Year's Day. Watch this space!