Sunday, November 30, 2008

NZ: Megan and Tony's wedding

On  the weekend of 21-24 November I was lucky enough to head back to NZ for a friends wedding. Lucky as the flight back were a birthday present. Unfortunately it was too late to get back for my good friend Ange's 4oth birthday though.

I flew out of Perth on Thursday evening Auckland, it was an overnight flight and was way more tiring than I gave it credit for. We left Perth at 6.50 pm and arrived in Auckland at 4.45am and Wellington at 8am. It was only 8 degrees when I arrived in Auckland which was a shock to my system after living in Perth for a few weeks. The flight to NZ was pretty uneventful and these days we get our own personal entertainment with our own movie screens, this makes the trip always go much faster.

I had planned on doing lots of errands on arrival into Wellington but tiredness overcame me and I ended up having an afternoon nap. Friday night was spent having a great catch up BBQ with Jason's family and talking to Jason on Skype so that he didn't feel too left out and alone in Perth by himself. Even though I had a great afternoon nap I still slept really well that night and slept in till about 11.30 am. I don't ever sleep that late. In my defence it was only equivalent to 7.30am Perth time :-)

After the fantastic sleep in it was time to get ready for the wedding as I needed to be at the Wellington Railway station and on the bus ready to go by 1.45pm. The wedding itself (reception and ceremony) were held at Pencarrow Lodge-

The lodge is about an hour bus trip from Wellington, it is rural, remote and has amazing expansive views. It is out past Eastbourne and the Pencarrow lighthouse. 

Here is a shot from the bus we are still on our way to the lighthouse at this stage. This part of the trip made me a little sad as it is this rugged beauty of the Wellington coastline that I miss in Perth.

Still heading out to the lodge on the bus, lucky I don't get car sick unlike some guests travelling.
Megan, the bride, was arriving by helicopter and as I understand it she nearly didn't get off the ground as it was almost too windy to fly.  After some phone calls and favours Megan managed to get the biggest Helipro chopper there was and luckily she was able to fly in as planned. Here is the helipad.
This is our first view of the bride and bridesmaid... it was pretty exciting really as the chopper did a fly by first before swoping back up and around and then finally landing.

Here is the beautiful bride, Megan and her cousin, Bridget. It was a windy day (even by wellington terms) but they both looked great.
The start of the ceremony.
Bridget trying to keep Megan's dress under control in the wind... hehehe
The whole bridal party and the great view out at the lodge.
I now pronounce you Dr and Mrs Harrison!!! You may kiss the bride!!!
Signing the register.
Having a quiet moment to themselves after the ceremony and from the strenuous time of photos and congratulations coming up!!!!
Nice spot for a bath :-)
The beautiful wedding cake (it tasted as good as it looked)
And the bride and groom... 
Tony's father spent hours engraving names into rocks (Tony is a doctor of geology). It was a lovely way to do placenames.
No detail was spared, the place and table settings were just lovely.

The lodge itself was great, inside there were two roaring fires to keep us all warm which made it very nice and toasty! So the strappy dress wasn't too bad at all inside.
After an hour or so Megan and Tony were back from their photos... and still looking great.

After they returned from photos we were treated to a great dinner, awesome bread rolls, great salads: 
  • tomato, basil and feta, 
  • asparagus, avocado and strawberry, 
  • spinach, pine nut and parmesan, and
  • Kumara and orange
We also had amazing roast pumpkin (boy do I miss NZ pumpkin and kumara), and new bolied potatoes.

The meat was also great with roast beef, ham and pesto filled chicken breast wrapped in bacon!!!

Dessert was a choice of chocolate mousse or pavlova with strawberry cream.

After dinner and some tear inducing speeches we were treated to a spectacular Wellington sunset:

Here is the bride and groom's first dance.

After a few dances it was time to leave. Our bus left the lodge at 11.30pm and I was home by 1am.

All in all it was a great evening catching up with some good friends and celebrating with Megan and Tony for the start of their married life together.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Freshwater cove

Jason and I live in between the Swan River and the Indian Ocean... we are just a short walk from both. A couple of weekends ago we decided to head down and check out the riverside as we had only been to the beach. To get down to the river and our local bay- Freshwater cove, we have to walk through one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Perth, Peppermint Grove. Here it is not uncommon to have multimillion dollar houses. They are amazing! 

This is just a short blog today, just to give you an idea of some of our neighbourhood, next time we head out I will get some photos of the houses as well.

On the way down to the river there is a great rock wall with an old, half burnt tree trunk on it. I got some great photos for the collection.
The Swan river is incredibly busy, there are boats of all shapes and sizes out racing and just generally enjoying the day. I was really impressed at how much was going on at once.
Here are some photos of the various types of craft out on the river that day:
Here is a shot of the sand bar, if you look closely you can see poeple out walking on it. Jason and I are aiming to get round there and check out the river from the opposite side sometime soon.
As I said earlier there were all sorts of water craft out that day... 
A couple of shots of the racing:

And what sort of outing would it be without the compulsory arty shots:

On the way back home I saw some great flowers for some close up shots and as yellow is one of my favourite colours I had to take a few of these.

When we got home we noticed this little fellow in the tree just off our deck, just eating away.

Sorry this isn't really  a big newsy post. But I promise the next one will be better. Coming up I have my trip to NZ and photos of our house (once our furniture arrives).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Red Bull Air Race

On the weekend of 1-2 November Jason and I enjoyed our last weekend in the West Perth apartment. Jason was quite excited that this last weekend also coincided with the Red Bull Air Race. After visiting 10 other cities around the world the Perth air race was the final round in the 2008 world series and was raced over 2 days. Jason was enthralled for the entire 2 days... I watched intermittently (in between sun bathing on various decks at our apartment- dependent on the best tanning options hehehe). I apologise now as I have uploaded lots of photos to this blog. Some are repetitive but I just couldn't decide on what ones to use!

All photos were taken from our deck so some are far away! Here's a patriotic one for the aussies... the flag above the race course. Too far away to really see the detail though.
A temporary runway was set up in Langley Park. Langley park was created by reclaiming land from the Swan River (which kind of looks like a lake not a river!!!). Apparently the park was used as an airstrip in the 1920s and in 1997 a plane used the park for an emergency landing as it was experiencing engine failure. Here was our view of the park:

The planes used for the races were pretty small and maneuverable, they have to be when you actually see the course that they have to negotiate. The next few photos are of the race planes.
This one is the actual red bull plane... not dispensing free red bulls like the girls in Wellington though :-)

We managed to get some great shots of the planes from our deck... we have almost the best view that we could possibly get... bar actually paying for tickets and being in the stand... which wouldn't really be ideal as it would have been so hot and uncomfortable. We got to enjoy the comforts of the apartment and the actual race!!!

This is a better shot of the race course. The inflatable pylons are knows as "air gates". These gates define the air race track. The pylons can withstand winds of up to 60 kmh so not so good for Wellington at all. The pylons are held upright by using a high pressure system, the pylons burst apart when scraped by a wing from a plane. The pylons are designed for rapid repair and everytime one bursts a speedboat zooms out to the pylon and engineers have a new one up and ready to go within 3 minutes. 

The objective of the race is too negotiate the pylons in the correct way, in the fastest possible time incurring as few penalties as possible. Each gate is 20m high and between 10 - 14 m wide. The planes wing span is about 8 m wide. The following photo shows the awesome spot that the numerous Perth boaties had!!!

Each loop from the racing planes was about 1 min 20 seconds. Between the race there was lots of flying entertainment. There was a lot of formation flying and I do apologise that I have LOTS of photos from this... here they are at the start:

And moving slightly closer

And closer still:

Now some of their tricks...

One of the real highlights of the weekend was the fighter jet and its stunts. The noise was amazing and we both really enjoyed this part of the show!

And some more formation flying (just in case you didn't get enough above)

The next series of shots is of two planes "playing" together:

Then after all the fast and noisy planes came a quantas jumbo jet... it looked slow and awkward compared to the other flying we had seen. Not a great shot but here it is...
Finally... what goes up.... must come down...

Thats all... we have over 500 photos from the weekend so this is just a small snapshot for you.