Saturday, August 29, 2009


A few weeks back my automatic espresso machine malfunctioned and a light of doom came on. Instead of fetching the instructions to remedy the problem I threw the machine out. It always made less that acceptable coffee and the light was a perfect excuse to spend up big on a new Rancilio Silvia V3 with matching Rancilio Rocky doser grinder.

Ordered on the Friday and I picked it up from the PO on the Monday. I knew it was good quality when the post office ladies wheeled it out on a trolley because it was too heavy to lift.

The deal I found at Cafe A Roma (the Aussie importer for Rancilio) left me with everything I needed to brew my first espresso. I didn't really know what half the things were but it wasn't long till I was making coffee, albeit terrible coffee.

After a few weeks of experimentation and practice I'm over the moon with the quality of espresso I can get out of the machine and will never go back to an automatic. The process is a little longer but very therapeutic.

I've purchased a timer that switches it on automatically every morning so that by the time I rise it's nice and hot, ready for me to do my magic. Enjoy.

Rach's Canberra Visit.

Rach came to visit for a few days this week. We didn't venture too far as I still had to work for the week but there was a great deal of cafes, pubs, lounge bars, restaurants, country roads, markets and random goings on.

Coffee at Spill the Beans.

Lunch time beers at The Phoenix.

Gelati by the lake.

Cocktails and live funk at Trinity Bar.

Markets and a country bakery lunch at Braidwood.

Perfect weather for a drive to the coast.

The National Botanical Gardens were flowering.

We eventually needed a quiet night in to catch up on Scrubs.

Elroy came with us for a hike to the top of Mt Majura.

Tea at Cafe Essen.

Lunch in front of the fire at the pub we discovered on a drive out through Collector.

Wine and dinner with Trent and Steve at Tilley's.

A quiet afternoon tea at Yaralumla Nursery where the cherry blossoms were in bloom.

It seemed like longer than a week which is always a good sign, gotta love how much there is to do in Canberra, despite what people say.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fixed to Lake George.

In what has become a regular Saturday morning thing, we rode out to Lake George via the Old Federal Highway this morning. Fixies only, and at a surprisingly fast pace, we cover around 65-70km before breaky at Spill the Beans. For those bike nerds out there, we roll on around 73 gear inches.

Today me and Steve took the journey in what started off as a 2 degree, frosty and foggy morning. My house is situated on a 'fogless' hill, so as I left it didn't dawn that I'd need flashers to warn cars of my presence. Within a couple of hundred metres I hit it and my distrust of cage drivers became apparent as I stuck to the bikepaths for safety.

The fog rolled over the hills until we reached clear skies. Steve decided to disrobe as he was getting a bit toasty, but as Murphie's Law would have it, the fog came in again until we reached Lake George.

Steve's bike, looking ever so colour coordinated with his apparel.

A bit of a moonscape, with windmills in the distance catching the wind from the open plains. Well worth the ride for the view, but breakfast was calling.

Steve took a moment to contemplate........the journey home.....after all, he is old (his words not mine).

And this is the last thing his breakfast saw once we reached Spill the Beans.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The night of the good samaritan.

Something slightly unusual occurred on Friday night.

It certainly wasn't unusual that I decided to head to the Wig & Pen for eleventy thousand after work Kolsch's. Starting at 3pm probably wasn't a great idea but my plan was to have a few followed by dinner then off home on the trusty fixie. But we had the much sought after corner table, which couldn't be given up lightly.

What comes next may surprise a few of you who know that I really don't like the Moose as an establishment for enjoying a few quiet ones. Luckily the 'ones' I had there weren't that quiet.

Everything soon after I reached the Moose began to blur, at one stage I remember chatting to a barman about my fixie, he'd seen it locked up outside. He asked if he could contact me by email; however, in my state I couldn't even write or remember it (even though it is MY NAME).

The night progressed somewhat ordinarily for a blinder of a night.....until I decided to leave.

The bouncers firstly noticed that I was having issues unlocking my bike. They came over and offered a helping hand. Little did they know that the key we were trying to unlock my Kryptonite lock with was in actual fact my house key (little did I know that it was my house key). They retrieved a small ladder to try and lift my bike over the sign it was locked to, to no avail.

Next was the biggest surprise. The police arrived and also tried to unlock my lock. Using their own tools to try and pry the lock open. I was very noticeably intoxicated and everybody was trying to help me ride home.

The next thing I saw was quiet amusing. A bouncer running from the Moose grasping a spinning angle grinder - probably not the thing the local punter trying to enter the pub wanted to see. Within a couple of seconds sparks were flying and my bike was free.

The next thing I remember is waking up lying on the bike path somewhere near Lyneham (about six km from town). Two men were running toward me asking if I was okay. I assured them that I was fine, was just on my way home and that I'd be on my way in no time. The two guys, speaking in strong South African accents, told me that they would drive me home. I said I'd be fine but they started to pick my bike up and ask how they could remover the front wheel so that it fitted in the car. Clearing the garden debris from my body I grudgingly agreed.

Once I was crammed into the back of the hatch-back with my disassembled bike, I abruptly fell asleep again before being awoken as we arrived in my suburb. I directed the guys to my place where they unpacked my bike and were on their way, like masked heroes of the night.

I now believe in Karma.....because I didn't even wake with a hangover.