Saturday, November 27, 2010

Red Lantern Markets Newcastle

Red Lantern Markets Newcastle
Family walk along from Newcastle Beach down through the mall to the Red Lantern Markets, which operate from 4pm to 10pm on Saturday Nights.  Very impressed with the atmosphere and numbers of family people milling past the many stalls and food vendors.  Weather-wise a breezy Nor-Easter kept skirts billowing and the little side streets cool.  No summer humidity here!
Atmosphere was Relaxed Christmas Markets - Cool!
 Bounced around through the old side alleys that were converted for the previous markets venture - it was busy but bearable and people smiled at us as we weaved the Phil and Teds' through the crowd.  Can't complain, it was shoulder to shoulder across the food stalls, so long in fact that we meandered on by and settled for a pistachio gelato from a side stall.

Red Lantern Food Markets Newcastle
  Wife really disappointed not to order a spinach and cheese Golzeme(?) from the friendly ladies who weave their magic.  But little H had her heart set on something...

Kiyoko Bag from Fugu Fashion
And she bought it for AU$10.  It is a funky little slip shoulder bag for a three year old.  My wife lifes it too.  The Fugu Fashion bag sits neat o her 3 yr old hip and holds a few coins too!

More Designs at Red Lantern Markets Newcastle

A neat evening out for the family, with some great music, street theatre (especially the shadow puppetry) and smells of market fresh foods.  Look forward to next visit.  Let's Know if you have an experience at the Red Lantern Markets...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Backyard Chickens in Merewether

Have been researching about keeping a few chickens in the backyard.  It is such an attractive option for us to make some use of the vast amounts of kitchen waste we throw out into landfill.  And it would provide us with some eggs, which we are currently eating at a 5 eggs per breakfast scrambled eggs!  The girls just love what they call "eggies" (scrambled).

Our New Adorable Egg Producer?

So, as you would expect, round a few beers I put it to the neighbors for feedback.  Unsurprisingly, they were completely sold on the idea at the mere mention of it.  We discussed plans and sourced a site and even worked out how and when to get the materials.  We decided on two chickens per family - six chickens in all.

We have placed the chicken coop out near the rear of the house where it will get some afternoon sun and be sheltered from the prevailing southerly.  It will sit atop an old sandpit that was generously built by my father in law, but has sadly been neglected and is no longer a feature on the girls play calendar.
The Chicken Coop Palace

Now, we were at Taronga Zoo on the weekend, and we observed in the Asia section a fantastic chicken coop, complete with spotted deer and pheasants.  What we noted for the structure was plenty of food bins and solid fence posts supporting thick gauge chicken wire. It was open plan with a lovely shaded section but most of all plenty of room for birds to scratch and forage.

It would be perfect backing onto our reserve, but I will have to consult with the neighbors, as it would involve a bit further walking to service the chooks.

Will keep posting as things develop.   Bukark!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dixon Park Beach and Merewether Beach

Dixon Park has some creative street art on the side of the old kiosk, much like Kurri is known for it's street art. Larger than life depictions of local scenes on the side of buildings usually.  These two figures are side by side and overlook the children's playground.  Both perhaps of Mark Richards - or at least they are riding boards with his logo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Backyard Rainforest

Our backyard Rainforest is thriving during the heavy rainfalls we have experienced this Spring. Here are some of the images we took recently.
 This is a Red Cedar.  We planted three saplings last autumn so they could grow along a natural water flow line.  They have well and truly established and are showing great inter-nodal length.  I have kept up cow manure, chicken manure and all purpose fertilizer granules along with generous mulching.
 These are the rough tree ferns, which I planted in a circle around a emergent Eucalypt.  They too have established and handle the heat and dry spells with a thick layer of rotting mulch.
 This is the King Tree Fern, I planted another half dozen of these around another damp spot.  They are surprisingly resilient too, given the foliage looks very delicate.
 A Crows Nest, I have planted dozens of these and they are doing OK, except for having to compete with grass weeds and wandering jew.
The Dickson Tree Fern has new emergent fronds, it is a slow old grower but does reward with lush green growth.

Will keep you updated with the latest developments in the vege garden next post.  Plus, the plans for the chooks....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Save Laman Street Figs

The Laman Street Figs are in a state of flux - they are scheduled to be cut down, mulched and some sort of concrete "plaza" installed in their place!

It is outrageous that some Newcastle Councillors have voted to cut the trees down!

Share your thoughts with these individuals directly >

John Tate
Aaron Buman
Brad Luke
Scott Sharpe
Graham Boyd
Mike King
Bob Cook

Sign the online petition at

This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The First Day on The Bike Solo

"First day on the bike all by myself!"  Such a remarkable achievement to ride with training wheels for the first time.

Little H rode and quickly followed by Littlle L running - indeed she has only just picked up the running thing in the last few weeks.

Great to catch some afternoon sun and the cool breeze as the day drifts into evening.  BBQ lifestyle suits us well, we are anticipating many more outdoor cooks. Even sharing the idea that we sell the home barbie and just eat at parks all the time.  Anyone else agree?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clumsy Weekend Fumbling...

Spent the weekend fumbling around children's parties and pointing at koalas.
Wonderful experience if it were without the elders and opinionated onlookers.
Imagine if I had a worthless contract for a wage job. OMGQ!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Turning the Tide - End Of Winter Fat

It has been a glorious and depressing winter to eat my way into a 12 kilo weight gain.

Unashamedly, I now wallow in my wobbly gut and drooping jowls whilst I fear my first Spring workout.

Already I can imagine my new personal trainer snorting at my pathetic push up count.

> Well this time , I'm gonna get even! I got meself a gun and a packet of knives and .... wait a minute, only JOKING - yeah, I have already begun the pre-gym sign up fasting process. I heard some other guys call it ramadan. It is a tricky bandwagon to get on but I'm doing my half assed best so far...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Plastic Container lids in the back corner of the Kitchen Cupboard - WTF?

Sometimes it feels good (or is absolutely necessary) to bring a little order into an otherwise chaotic life. With this in mind I just resolved to tackle that terrifying, hard-to-reach corner of my kitchen cupboards that houses my collection of plastic food receptacles. These range from worth-their-weight-in-gold Tupperware (all vanished) containers to bulk-purchased cheap-arsed plastic takeaway boxes of all shapes and sizes.

What I found was absolutely mystifying. When I finally managed to exit the cupboard on hands and knees and survey my stash I found that I had precisely 55 lids and precisely 11 containers. Of those lids and containers I had precisely 3 matches.

To prove that I really do Shit You Not, I took a photo, and here it is. Actually, I took 2 and here they both are.

How. Does. This. Happen?

I can understand the occasional container being sacrificed to the Gods of Playdough, Roughhousing and Occasional Microwave Disasters, but for the love of all that is decent, how did 44 containers vanish? Perhaps (thinking outside the square here) they didn't vanish at all, but never existed, and there's some strange lid-breeding program going on in my cupboard resulting in multiple births of new and exciting container-less lids?

Whatever it is, I want my containers back. Or my lids gone. Or more matches. Or at the VERY least - a scientific explanation.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Beach Challenge

Imagine setting yourself a walking goal of bettering your own existing record...

This event has been a long time coming but has the potential to become a classic sand running/walking event in Australia. The event was trialed by a group of enthusiastic ladies (see pics below) in 2009 (their record was 7 hours and 48 minutes) and this year we are opening the event to the general running and walking public. The event will happen in 2010 and will include a run/walk course starting from Birubi Beach in Port Stephens and finishing at Stockton Beach. This is 32kms of sand. There will also be a 16km out and back walk from Stockton Beach for those who think 32km is too far. This is called the Sight the Sygna 16 and will head 8km out to the Sygna ship wreck and back. Also not for the faint hearted.

Each year we plan to change the direction of the event, heading in 2011 from Stockton to Birubi.

Our official charity for the event is the Harry Meyn Foundation, who have just established Harry's House in Stockton. Harry's House has been established to allow families of sick children who need to travel to Hunter based medical facilities the opportunity to stay close to treatment and or seek a retreat to enjoy the beautiful Stockton beaches and township. Competitors in the event will be encouraged to seek sponsorship for Harry's House over their Big Beach Challenge.

The Big Beach Challenge will be held on Saturday, 21 August 2010.

Mojitos and Sexy Cocktails at the CLARENDON Hotel

It is so good. Walking along Honeysuckle and Sharing dinner.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Droll End Of Days - Some Call it August...

Have been existing through the droll end of winter days - some people call it August. I get the idea of GUST but Au should really be AWWW!

Still, we have managed to make it to the beach most days, walking along the Merewether to Bar stretch every other day for the last fortnight. Unfortunately, the weather has shown us the full spectrum from rainbows and perfect curling offshore swell to swirling storms and running for cover from the top of Cliff to Dixon Park.

Even though August in Merewether has been damp and cold and makes me want to chase my neighbour up north to Noosa, we holdfast and clean and de-clutter and recycle like crazy.

Oh and we saw a new idea for a business AUSSIE CAVIAR >>

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cellito's and Treachery Beach in Winter

Walked through the littoral rainforest to Cellitos and spent a sunny mid-winter afternoon picking over the rockpools.  Found starfish and some crabs and anemones.
Then to Treachery - no longer a light-camping twenty-something -  this time trudging through the dunes with some small fairies in tow.
Again, a memorable day and the beach/farmstay contrast makes the nature experience ideal.

Perhaps best summed up when Hazel began to cry once we arrived home "I want to go back to my holiday!"

Beaumont Street

Just love the gritty diversity of Beaumont Street.  Especially recommend the 'baby' Piddas up the other end near the Oasis section, but not actually in the oasis section. 
Go along a little further to Cappodocia and you can get the best value for your Pidda dollar, they go for $6 each during the day.  For some reason they are called baby but they are enough for one to eat for lunch and be satisfied.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Whale Tales at Merewether Beach

Shared the Bar the Merewether walk with some friends this morning.  Bracing the breeze, and quite surprised at the number of fellow walker out and about.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Admittedly perhaps not a Newcastle performance although quite deservedly so for this audience, please welcome the merewether-life our good friends, Radiohead.

The haunting beauty of this ode to self loathing has timeless appeal.


Here's the live webcam of Dixon Park Beach next to Merewether.
It's so good there on a winter's afternoon with the chill wind and the slanting sun whilst the girls play on the playground equipment.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Birthday Party

The girls had their joint birthday party at the railway sheds at Newcastle Foreshore.  A lovely morning shared with some friends and family and here we'll share some pics with you.

Funny story - my wife baked the two birthday cakes the day before and as is the process we had bought some of the ingredients from the local shop, which I argue is supporting local business instead of getting everything from the major supermarkets.  But the butter was two months out of date.  And the cakes tasted terrible.

So we had to start again and they turned out just fine, as you can see.  Our friend rates herself as a face painter and we agree it makes for a great experience for the kids.  Her offers of face painting ranged from fairies to spiderman.  A lovely sunny day.

Rolador Cafe, Beaumont Street, Hamilton

The Place > Had a delightful experience at Rolador Cafe at the Northern end of Hamilton's Beaumont Street.  Shared breakfast with my wife and ate in the weekday morning sun. 

The Meal > Ordered coffees and one plate each.  Loving the organic beans and generous portions of condiments.

Overall > Has a funky, art haus vibe with an eclectic jumble of furniture in gaudy clashing colours, recycled industrial reels and what appears to be stuff they have sourced from the side of the road on clean up days.  But the patrons love it and as I commute daily past this creative little space, it is always busy with customers.
Realistic pricing and spare unfettered service makes for a functional experience.  Recommended.

Would like a review of your business on merewether-life blog?
Let us know, we can review with images.


What a magical night am writing this as we have surged ahead by a goal in the twelfth minute.  Go Australia and go Civic Park Livesites.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Grocery shopping can be such a chore.  Here are three useful ideas for making the healthy food choice that is right for you when you are grocery shopping.
Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognise as food.
Like powders, or things like flavour enhancers - just what is with that?

Shop at the farmers' or growers' market - it's all fresh food straight from the grower.
Easy, just take along a basket to carry the stuff you buy.  Cool and cute.

Stay out of the middle of the supermarket - meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables are all on the outside aisle of every supermarket. The processed stuff is in the centre.
A revelation.  Another rule, less packaging, more nutrition.


Birthday-Gift-Basket-Hampers-champion-Australia-best- Thank You Gift Chance.
Andn being....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yesterday they Buried a Whale

Heard on 1233 Radio that a whale has washed up on the beach.  Dead.  Thought it might be an opportunity for the girls to see some of the cycle of life.

We tried to arrange our day so that we would be able to get by the beach and show the girls by early afternoon. Everything was going to plan and we were headed to the beach when we heard that the council had dug a four meter deep hole and pushed the whale carcass into it.

By the time we arrived and walked along the cliff top, there was nothing to see except the creases in the sand left by the excavator, and some disturbed sand where we guessed the whale lay.

Still, with the bulging waves and sharp wind, it was an atmospheric moment

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Keeping it All Together

It is a real story of survival and endurance that we have made it this far, and I feel we must share this particular story.
Not long ago we were cursed with a particular tenant who left our rental/investment in a deplorable state and we were forced to repair and clean her mistakes and damage out of our own pockets.
Now this has been a long and exhausting affair of dealing with contractors and tradies and real estate suits and of course the lawyers have out their hand up for some cash too.
It has been disheartening and a total experience.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What have I Achieved Today?

Not much positive.  Pretty bloody damn awful actually.
1 - Had a property we were selling fall over, so the sale is still up in the air.
2 - Delivered a Gift Basket and it was apparently a few hours late (1pm is still same day - sometimes peoples are impossible to please..)
3 - Have been biting my nails so my left index and right thumb are too bloody short and are throbbing!!

All in all a great day to have stayed on bed..

Let me know some pleasant, inspiring things please....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Attracting Readers to your Blog

Here's something I found in the newsletter.  I thought it was worth passing on.  Hope you get some value from it.  My comments are in italics.

1. Pick a Sweet Title – Picking a great title is one of the most basic ways to attract more readers to your blog. Even though it is only a few words, the title can entice viewers to continue reading and ultimately subscribe! Remember, pick a title that is catchy. Like Hampers if you sell Hampers. This is extremely important for drawing traffic from sites like or

2. Improve SEO – Improving your blog’s search engine friendliness is vital for attracting more readers. In order to do this, one should change their permalink structure and even tailor their title to Google’s needs.With a few simple steps, search engines can vastly increase the audience who views your blog.

3. Marketing – Word of mouth is one of the most basic but useful ways to increase the number of readers for your blog. Have a facebook? Create a fan page encouraging your friends to read your blog. They might just pass it on to more people if they find something they like. Have a Twitter? Post your blog’s link. Any type of advertisement will be helpful!

4. Write Original Content – When you write content that has already been blogged about, the chances are readers won’t come back for more because they’ve already encountered something similar. The solution – put a new spin on whatever subject you’re writing about! Quality blogs all have subject matter that is new and inspiring. (OK OK, I guess I fudged this when I copy and paste articles but this is worthwhile) Readers will always keep checking your blog if this is skillfully done.

5. Comment On Other Blogs Posting – Giving feedback on other writer’s blogs is an extremely easy way to get the attention of other bloggers and their readers. It’s very important, however, that you don’t look like you’re spamming. Make sure you read the article, and then simply advertise your own blog in a discrete way.  I have spent hours doing this and even though there are plenty of knockbacks, it is still worthwhile getting out there and seeing what everyone else is up to.

6. Guest Blog – Guest blogging on a similar blog is an effective way to get even more traffic to your site. Some bloggers have greatly increased their own amount of viewers by simply writing one entry for a very popular site. Even though it is hard to get your guest entry posted, it is certainly not impossible. If you succeed, your traffic will surely increase greatly.

7. Run a Contest – Running a contest is a great way to generate buzz in the online community. With a type of sweepstakes, readers will regularly check your blog for an update on the winner, while also telling their friends about their hopes of winning. Find something that is related to your blog that readers would enjoy winning. After your contest is over, publicize the winner. Participants will continue to read your blog even after the contest is over!

8. Link To Other Blogs – Don’t worry, you won’t lose traffic! Bloggers who link to other blogs usually see their efforts reciprocated. This friendly relationship allows writers to share a common audience. By networking with other writers, your blog’s traffic will inevitably increase.  GREAT IDEA!! Want to share a link?  I have a Love me and I'll Love You Back Policy at Merewether-Life which means you add me or follow me and I will return the favour.

9. Be Controversial, It’s Okay! – There are many bloggers all over the world. Not many bloggers, however, will write about a controversial subject. Don’t be offensive, but distance yourself from those other ordinary blogs. The online community will definitely take notice if you continue to push the envelope.  OK, Here's something controversial - No more tents or sun shades at the beach check out Australia Day 2011!

10. Just Wait! – While all of these tips can help you attract more readers to your blog, it still takes time! Do not become frustrated! The longer your blog is thriving, the sooner you will see a heavy increase in traffic. Don’t be upset if you only have a few readers! In time you’ll have a popular site that everyone is reading!  Yeah right.  It is like screaming at the top of your lungs into an empty barrell and just hearing your own echo sometimes.  But what a lovely echo it is, if I do say so myself...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why Pet Fish Never Get Eaten

Thanks to my new found friend at

A redneck was stopped by a game warden in Central Mississippi recently with two ice chests full of fish. He was leavin' a cove well-known for its fishing.

The game warden asked the man, 'Do you have a license to catch those fish?' 'Naw, sir', replied the redneck. 'I ain't got none of them there licenses. You must understand, these here are my pet fish.' 
'Pet fish?'

'Yeah. Every night, I take these here fish down to the lake and let 'em swim 'round for awhile. Then, when I whistle, they jump right back into these here ice chests and I take 'em home.'

'That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that.'

The redneck looked at the warden for a moment and then said, 'It's the truth Mr. Government Man. I'll show ya. It really works.'
'O. K.', said the warden. 'I've got to see this!'

The redneck poured the fish into the lake and stood and waited. After several minutes, the warden says, 'Well?"

'Well, what?,' says the redneck.
The warden says, 'When are you going to call them back?'
'Call who back?'
'The FISH,' cries the warden.

'What fish?,' replied the redneck....

Resourceful response under pressure. These pet fish love being fed, just click once on the pond once to give them three flakes of fish food or maybe some more...

Gorgeous Blog

Some inner city life living at marmunia#disqus_thread

Another thrilling walk - try this with your family

This walk is called the fat burner.  Downhill 75metres

Morning Exercise Route - Is it far enough?

Here is our morning walk, just wondering if you think it is far enough?  it takes about 25 mins to walk/jug and up to 40 mins to just walk.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Birthday Parties at Newcastle Foreshore

With the forecast predicting rain and cloud, we hastily re-scheduled the Birthday Party from the balmy but exposed Dixon Park Beach to the relatively sheltered Railway Sheds off Foreshore Park. And what a masterstroke it was! Excepting a band of fervent Star Wars re-enactmentors, the site was spacious, quiet and offered plenty of room for running, cycling and face painting.
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