A busy weekend in Brisbane and Yatala Pies

I’ve just got home (Canberra) after a busy weekend in Brisbane to see my daughters. May is a big month for us, my father’s birthday is in May, my eldest two daughters both share a birthday in May (two years apart), it’s mothers day in May and my birthday is in May.

I arrived late Friday night and the girls were already in ‘bed’ ready to sleep. They had a big Saturday ahead of them.

On Saturday we got out of bed at 5 am and ate a quick breakfast. I had peanut paste on toast (I didn’t have time for a low carbohydrate meal) while the two youngest ones had Mum’s lemon curd on toast. We had to be on the road by 6.30 am and on our way to Yatala for the QGSSSA Cross Country championships. Athletics is not the favourite sport for Miss13 and Miss17 however, as all rounders they compete in as many sports as possible. The meet is held at Rivermount College which isn’t part of the QGSSSA. The college is at Yatala near the Gold Coast.

Just thinking back a bit, when I arrived Friday night I discovered that a tube of moisturiser (yes I have Ichthyosis) had ‘exploded’ in my bag and the shirt I was going to wear had been ruined. Mum said I should wear one of Dad’s shirts. She also said it would be warm so short sleeves wouldn’t be a problem. I always listen to my mother.

So we arrive at Yatala and it’s cloudy and cold. I’m shivering. Thanks Mum 🙂

[To get more detail out of the images, click on them, they should open in a new window with a higher resolution. I’m happy to receive comments on the photography. Some images were captured with a Canon PowerShot G16 and the others with a Nikon D7100. I shoot in manual and capture RAW files to allow some post processing in Adobe Lightroom. ]

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

The girls run well and enjoy themselves. The next stop is the Sleeman Sports Complex in Chandler. We have to get Miss17 there for gymnastics training. Even though she didn’t make the Queensland team this year she’s allowed to compete at the national championships this week in Melbourne. She has to train at Gymnastics Queensland headquarters in Chandler. Before we get there though, Miss17 suggests a spot of morning tea at Yatala Pies.

Yatala Pies is a bit of an institution in South East Queensland. Their pies are known far and wide. Funnily enough I’ve never eaten in the Yatala Pies shop. This was a first.

The Famous Yatala Pies shop at Yatala near Queensland’s Gold Coast http://yatalapies.m2media.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/feature1.jpg

Yatala Pies on Urbanspoon


Miss17 had a curry chicken and vegetable pie, Miss13 had a sausage roll and I elected to have a pasty. It’s been ages since I’ve had a good pasty. This one didn’t disappoint. I loved it.


Yatala pies pasty

Yatala pies pasty

Yatala pies takeaway box.

Yatala pies takeaway box. You can see Miss13’s sausage roll in the background.

Now regulars readers know me so it shouldn’t be any surprise that when I saw Vanilla slice I had to have one. Yatala Pies sells French Vanilla slices with a whopping big layer of French vanilla cream. It was gorgeous.

Yatala Pies French vanilla slice

Yatala Pies French vanilla slice

After a lot of driving back and forth between Chandler and Chermside it was a long tiring day. After getting the kids back to my parents’ place it was time to cook our special May dinner to celebrate so many birthdays and mothers day.

I said to Mum that I wanted to cook salmon and would be wonderful is Miss17 could make a salad. I also made a pumpkin cauliflower mash which I used to smear the plate and perch the salmon on.



#Dinner is salmon on a smear of pumpkin cauliflower mash with a green salad

#Dinner is salmon on a smear of pumpkin cauliflower mash with a green salad

For dessert, Miss17 had made an ice cream cake. The base was made with Ferrero Rocher, Chocolate Mint and Queensland nut (Macadamia) ice creams. The top had a combination of mixers added to make it a cake to remember.

Miss17 made me a Ferrero rocher, chocolate mint and Queensland nut ice cream cake with heaps of mixers

Miss17 made me a Ferrero rocher, chocolate mint and Queensland nut ice cream cake with heaps of mixers

After dinner we watched The Hunger Games on DVD. I’d never seen it before. It was good.

After a good night’s sleep Miss19 joined us after a busy weekend of working and studying. We had planned a special breakfast together. My daughters and me 🙂 We decided to head to Groove Train at Chermside because it was close and the last time we were there we enjoyed the food.

The Groove Train on Urbanspoon


I asked for poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise sauce, avocado and mushrooms. It was pretty good.

Poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise sauce, avocado and mushroom on sourdough toast

Poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise sauce, avocado and mushroom on sourdough toast

Miss13 asked for pancakes

Pancake stack with berries and maple syrup

Pancake stack with berries and maple syrup

After breakfast I had to take Miss17 back to Chandler for more training. I said my goodbyes and then caught a flight back to Canberra.

Dinner while watching Master Chef Australia was a nude burger with tomato, bacon and Coon cheese.

Nude Wagyu burger with bacon, tomato and Coon cheese

Nude Wagyu burger with bacon, tomato and Coon cheese

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Hope you had a great weekend and ate YUMMY

Goodbye Brisbane | #likeCanberra | #LoveBrisbane | #adoreDarwin

It’s been a nice few days Brisbane. I’ve been with my kids, I’ve spent time with my parents, and I’ve thawed a little while Canberra freezes. I know there’ll be more subzero mornings in Canberra and apart from the weather, time in Brisbane reinforces why I like to live in small quiet towns like Darwin and Canberra. I especially like small towns that have all the amenities of larger cities.

This weekend proves again just how much I dislike traffic and complicated road systems. Brisbane has grown and developed so much that it looks like an engineered city rather than an evolved city. If it wasn’t for my iPhone and the TomTom app connecting seamlessly through the rental car’s audio system I would be a nervous wreck. As it was there were times when despite “Jane” giving me instruction and direction I was confused. I’m sure if I lived here again I’d get used to it but the city’s roads are more like a concrete jungle and it is unattractive. I grew up in Brisbane knowing that in the context of area rather than population it was the largest city in the southern hemisphere. The Brisbane City Council is bigger than some national economies. Getting from one side to the other can take the better part of a day’s drive.

If it wasn’t for the daily pain and discomfort of living in cold and dry Canberra (Ichthyosis vulgaris sucks) I’d love it rather than simply like it. Canberra is small and friendly, relatively easy to navigate and there isn’t any appreciable traffic, at least at the times I drive. Bring on global warming I say (facetiously), if the seas can come closer so there is a beach front (Pacific Ocean not Lake Burley Griffin) for Canberra so much the better. Then it would approach the glory that is Darwin 🙂

Canberra is a great place to live in full of friendly hard working people. It’s a great place. It would be perfect if it was situated where monsoons exist.

Thank you #brisbane #likecanberra #lovebrisbane not icy here

An Instagram post from this morning


Time to say goodbye #brisbane 😞

Goodbye Brisbane and hello Canberra

Mamak in Haymarket | #ManFlu | #bestblogs13

Last year Bron visited this place while in Sydney. She came back raving about it and how good the food is. We’re here in Sydney for a few things this weekend. So we thought we’d try out Mamak in Haymarket. It’s the sort of place that’s so popular they don’t take reservations and you need to queue to get in. I don’t mind queueing for something good. We had a dilemma on timing. We’d gone for a walk around Darling Harbour and checked out an Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier at The Star. We ventured into Chinatown to look around and given the opening time of Mamak was 1730 AEDT we just hung around. At about 1715 AEDT we walked around to Mamak and a queue had already started to form. We crossed the road and joined it.

The queue at 1715 AEDT

We've joined the queue 😃

The group waiting was a good mixture of people from a range of backgrounds.


The menu cover

We're in 😃


The kitchen

They are busy in the kitchen

These guys and girls were going flat out the whole time and having people on the street staring in.


Chicken satay

Chicken satay #dinner #yummy

Grilled over flaming charcoal for that authentic Malaysian flavour. Served with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce.


Roti planta

Roti planta buttery goodness #dinner #yummy

A rich buttery roti served with two curry dips and spicy sambal sauce.


Lamb curry

Amazing lamb curry #dinner #yummy

Kari kambing. Spicy lamb curry slow-cooked until tender. This was the best lamb curry I’ve eaten in a long time. The meat was fall apart tender and so rich in flavour that it penetrated the glugginess of my #ManFlu and gave me a good warm feeling all over (no it wasn’t the fever of the #ManFlu).  Check the YouTube video below embedded in the post. 


Fried chicken

Eat your heart out Colonel Sanders. This fried chicken beats KFC hands down #dinner #yummy

Ayam goreng. Malaysian-style fried chicken. Marinated with herbs and spices and full of flavour. Eat your heart out Colonel Sanders. This was so much better than KFC and really finger licking good.


At first we wondered if we needed rice and thought about getting a plain roti. We had kept about four pieces of lamb and the curry set aside and asked for another plain roti. This was perfect and I was so keen on it I forgot to capture an image. Rather than flat it came out scrunched like a sponge. It was pretty good and the last of that lamb curry went down a treat.

We would like to have tried the sweet roti but after five dishes we were too full. We’ll have to come back. Watching the kitchen team was amazing as they made the roti on a hot plates.


If you like Yummy Lummy I’d appreciate your voting for me in the Australian Writers’ Centre best blogs competition for 2013. You’ll have to scroll through about 5 pages before you get to Yummy Lummy. Thanks for voting.


Mamak on Urbanspoon


Roti menu savoury and sweet

Satay menu chicken and beef

Mains menu

Rice and noodles menu

Mamak http://www.mamak.com.au/

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/agaXJ

Google+ reviews https://plus.google.com/110338527731153349643/about?gl=au&hl=en


Pho Viet Review 2 | The Aldi Expressi Coffee Machine | Back with Bron | My week in Instagram

This post has a few important messages in it. Like most of this blog it focuses on food and what I’ve eaten during the week. I hope you enjoy.

On Friday morning Bron and I shared a single Mavi Breakfast wrap. What was nice was that as we lined up in the queue, Connor who was cooking this morning saw us and gestured “one” or “two”. I held up a single finger and he nodded. This was before we had ordered and paid money. Before our coffees arrived we had a single wrap cut neatly in two for us to share. You’ll see why later we we shared. In part it was also a good thing so I could keep a work commitment to “Hot Chips Friday”.

Hot Chip Friday #HotChipFriday for hash tag lovers

#lunch #HotChipFriday #yummy Ping @kecozanat @jacquimkane @jesskirkham08

These are some of the best chips available

Mavi Breakfast Wrap. A full wrap is enough to keep you full all day. Honestly these things are that good. They contain fried bacon, friend egg, sautéed mushrooms, a hash brown and cheese. When cut in half, I can still eat lunch.

#breakfast Cut so Bron and I can share. #yummy

Cut neatly into halves for Bron and I to share.

Coffee at work on notebook

Mmm... Starting my work day with coffee 😃☕

I’m really enjoying my Aldi Expressi coffee machine. It’s a pod-based machine and makes a nice cup of coffee.

On Thursday evening Bron and I went to Pho Viet for dinner. In August 2001 I went there for the first time and blogged about the experience. Despite Michael Park calling me a cock that particular post was my most popular for 2012 Check out http://garydavidlum.com/2012/12/31/2012-the-year-of-ups-and-downs/ and the image https://garydlum.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/best-posts.png It’s odd, who would have thought that would be my most popular post.

So Bron and I turned up at about 6.30 pm. There were a few tables taken but most of the restaurant was available. We were shown a table next to the door which was wedged open. Oddly enough, Thursday was the last day of Summer. It was also wet, cold and windy. The door open wasn’t helping but the restaurant was warmer than being outside. As I wrote in 2011 and as confirmed by Michael Park the staff are friendly and courteous.

With a complimentary basket of prawn crackers we read the menu and decided on a couple of starters and two main meals to share.

I think it’s important to understand that when it comes to minced pork dishes I compare everything to my mother’s cooking. That is essentially the standard I live by. Check out Mum’s recipe and a recent endeavour.

I’ve tasted food that has come on a par so I’m not suggesting she has some supernatural power. Mince pork though should be hand minced with meat cleavers for the best result. Ideally another protein should be added like raw prawn meat. Texture can be achieved with chopped water chestnuts. Taste is improved by slapping the pork. The pork used in the Pho Viet pork balls and wonton was very finely minced I expect by a machine. The fat content wasn’t that high. The mince was very dense and lacked texture, it was almost homogenous. That said the taste was good. The pork balls themselves were juicy. The wonton was nicely and lightly fried. I had hoped for more meat in the wrappers.

Pho Viet Barbecued Pork Balls

#dinner Barbecue pork balls #yummy

The sauce was delightful

Pho Viet Deep fried wonton

#dinner Deep fried wonton #yummy

These were light and tasty

The main course dishes were very nice. They complemented each other although both were quite peppery and fairly salty. Having rice was great. The squid was fresh and cooked just right. The pork was tender and not over cooked.

Pho Viet Caramelised pork

#dinner Caramelised pork #yummy

Pho Viet salted squid

#dinner Salted squid #yummy

The sauce was amazing. It was mainly pepper.

Karin’s Bill Grainger brownie

#dessert Bill Grainger brownie. Thank you Karin via Bron. #yummy

Bron brought this from a work afternoon. It was just what we needed for dessert.

After I posted the images to Instagram and twitter I received a comment from my friend Jude (check out this post from a couple of weeks ago) Jude has recently commented she is a nagger. I tend to think of her as a caring registered nurse. Check out this comment from Jude

She then followed up with a tweet asking me to read this for homework. I reproduced the text below. “Healthy food: can you train yourself to like it?”

So hopefully you’ve worked out Bron and I are back together. 🙂 *happy dance*

So after such a big dinner, half a Mavi Breakfast wrap each was enough.

Now for my week in Instagram.

Urban Bean Espresso Bar Passionfruit Whoopie

#afternoontea Passionfruit whoopie #yummy

This was nice and light. The passionfruit flavour was strong but not over powering. It is a good afternoon tea snack.

Urban Bean Espresso Bar Cheesy bacon and chunky beef hot pie

#lunch Cheesy bacon beef pie, passion fruit whoopie and raspberry soda #yummy

This pie is the bomb. The bacon is in large slices that you can easily see and recognise. The beef is large, chunky and really tender. The gravy is just right. It doesn’t ooze too much and binds the contents well. The cheese is under and on top of the lid so it’s cooked nicely and still recognisable.

Salmon and salad with Bron

#dinner Made this for Bron last night. Salmon and salad.

My usual way of cooking salad with a nice avocado salad. The roasted beetroot was also nice.

Lots of spinach in my iced coffee banana smoothie

#breakfast How much spinach in a smoothie? This much! #yummy

I’ve really taken to adding some spinach to my breakfast smoothies.

Donut King Pineapple icing and custard and cream Long John

#lunch I was persuaded by @jacquimkane and @jesskirkham08 to have this. Ping @kecozanat

This was such a nice treat.

Office coffee

Mmm... Coffee

I can make hot chocolate in my Aldi Expressi coffee machine

It's a rainy day right! #aldi #expressi #hotchocolate

Spinach laden iced coffee banana smoothie

#breakfast Looks so disgusting. It has to be good for me right? Spinach iced coffee banana smoothie #yummy

Perfect Canberra weather

This is truly when I #likeCanberra I wish it was like this every day of the year. This would be #perfection

Bron made me a card

Someone special sent me a wise owl card 😃

So cute

Chicken and salad

#dinner Chicken and salad #yummy

Office coffee

Post lunch coffee

Love my magic bullet for breakfast smoothies

#breakfast The green tinge is from spinach and rocket in my iced coffee banana smoothie #yummy

The last Haigh’s dark chocolate ginger

My last piece of Haigh's ginger chocolate #yummy

Perhaps my favourite chocolate

Saying goodbye to work mates is only eased with cake

#afternoontea Saying goodbye to work mates is easier when they bring cake #yummy

Bron gave me this cookies and cream cheesecake at work on Monday

#lunch #dessert Look what Bron brought in for me. Cookies and cream cheese cake #luckyboy #yummy

This was amazing

This was really nice lamb and feta sausage with salad

#dinner lamb and feta sausage with spinach leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice, avocado, roasted beetroot, tomato, spring onions, red onion, feta, sesame seeds, ground pepper, coriander and olive oil. #yummy

Mmm…I love sausages

Healthy food: can you train yourself to like it?

I decided against reproducing the text to avoid any copyright problems.

University hijinks and fish fingers

I was on the telephone chatting with a friend the other night and she was cooking herself fish fingers for dinner. I explained that when I was in university we used used to visit a friend’s house and have fish finger sandwiches.

That was a really good time in my life. I had entered medical school as one of twenty boys from my high school into a class of 220. In my third year I decided to take a year off and complete a Bachelor of Medical Science. This meant I said good bye to people I’d become very familiar with and some friends who I’d sat in classes with for eight years. After I completed my BMedSc I had to join a new class and get to make new friends. I happened to be put into a group with five others who had all spent the first three years as university college residents. None of them were from Brisbane. This was a great group of people. During the winter one of my fondest memories is spending some lunches at Jo’s place. She shared with another medical student in a different group and a physics student. We would go to Jo’s and make toasted fish finger and cheese sandwiches.

At the time a couple of the blokes in the group were still residents of a university college and when we spent days at hospitals they would get a cut lunch. The lunches consisted of sandwiches and fruit and were presented in a brown paper bag. One day I remember taking his brown bag out of his bag. I carefully unwrapped the sandwich and then took a single large neat bite from his ham and cheese sandwich. I then wrapped the sandwich again and put it back into the paper bag which went back into his bag. I then waited patiently for lunch time. It was so funny. I did it a couple of times after that and became known as someone not to be trusted.

Toasted fish finger and cheese sandwich for students and adults

Fish fingers
Students pan fry the fish fingers in butter until golden.
Adults cook fish fingers in an oven without any extra fat.

Students use four slices of Coon. Two on each side of the fish fingers in the sandwich.
Adults use a little blue cheese on one side.

Students use white bread and liberally apply butter to the outside so the sandwich has a rich buttery smell.
Adults spray a little olive oil on the sandwich press and nothing on the multigrain or wholemeal bread.

Accompanying drink
Students enjoy their toasted sandwich with Coca Cola.
Adults enjoy theirs with sparkling mineral water or a cup of tea.

Coming home to a flooded apartment

Tuesday was a long day at work. On entering my apartment car park I noticed water on the concrete and water pouring from the ceiling onto cars below. The area roughly coincided with where my apartment is above. I immediately had very dark thoughts. Did I leave a tap running, was the toilet leaking, was the washing machine leaking… I parked my car and raced up the stairs, at least I tried to but the carpet covering the stairs was soaked and there was water flowing. I opened my apartment door and was confronted with water across the floor and over the tiles in the kitchen area. I quickly took my shoes and socks off to look in the laundry and bathroom. Everything was fine. I walked out my door and noticed a fire hydrant in the services well was on and flowing. I turned it off and noticed the outer door was open; on walking outside there was a man in a high visibility fluorescent shirt. He was a plumber. I asked him if he knew what was going on. He said someone on the second floor had turned on the fire hose and when they tried to turn it off the faucet broke and the flow could not be stopped. I asked why the hydrant was open on my floor and he explained it needed to be open to prevent back flow to the upper floors. The plumber was waiting out the front for a delivery of spare parts because local hardware stores didn’t have the right parts to fix the hydrant. He had been waiting for an emergency store to be opened. I expect he couldn’t turn the water off to the entire complex so let the water run. The down side was that water flowed through my apartment.

I went back to my apartment to try to clean up and prevent any further spread and water damage. I quickly moved as much stuff as possible from the floor. Fortunately most of my personal possessions were stored off the carpet. I’m a renter so I quickly called the real estate agent so she could inform the owner. She also gave me the name of a carpet cleaner who could come out and try to prevent any further damage.

Came home to flooded apartment

My kitchen floor covered in water.

Flooded apartment

The carpet in my doorway.

This fan is so noisy. But it's working. #FloodedApartment

A floor fan that has been blowing since Tuesday evening.

#FloodedApartment This floor fan is still going strong. No sleep though :-(

The carpet is billowing with the force of the fan

YouTube video http://youtu.be/3U1_mdTF4nU

Black. Because that's how I roll (today anyway) :-)

I didn’t get much sleep because of the fan. I needed lots of this black coffee.

This is the noise…

Lunch inspired by @SunburyFi Sardines with red onion, ground pepper and chilli flakes along with avocado.

I worked from home today and was able to make my lunch. Sardines with red onion, ground pepper and chilli flakes along with avocado. This was inspired by a twitter friend @SunburyFi who posted last week a picture of a sardine sandwich.

The carpet care company my real estate agent suggested was Steamatic. As soon as I called they said they could come out that night and start the process. It turns out my neighbour is also with the same agent and his apartment was worse off so I waited until his place had been attended to before mine got started. The process begins with lifting the carpet and removing the soaked underlay. A floor fan is then started and this will now blow for about four days, especially because I’m living on a concrete slab as it takes longer to dry. It was a rough sleep last night and will continue to be for the next few nights. I don’t expect the carpet to be relaid any time soon. This is such an inconvenience. I still don’t know why the dwellers above turned on the fire hose. I’d like an explanation, all I know is I’m assuming the owner has insurance and the insurance company will be paying for all the repairs. I guess though I won’t be compensated for my inconvenience.

Website http://www.steamaticcanberra.com.au/
Steamatic 24 hours Emergency Response:
Telephone: (02) 6242 0856, Facsimile: (02) 6262 2156, Address 2/38 Dacre Street, Mitchell ACT 2911

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/R5d0P

I’m very grateful to friends on twitter, facebook and instagram who commented after I posted comments and images on what was happening. This is what I love about social media. I really appreciate everyone’s concern as well as the helpful suggestions on things to do. I’m especially grateful for the funny responses which did lighten my mood 🙂

Yummy salmon, avocado, grated fresh beetroot, celery, chilli, cucumber, Gorgonzola, ground pepper, lemon juice, lettuce, Maggie Beer quince paste, spring onion, Tabasco sauce and tomato #yummy

Dinner tonight was good but noisy 🙂
Yummy salmon, avocado, grated fresh beetroot, celery, chilli, cucumber, Gorgonzola, ground pepper, lemon juice, lettuce, Maggie Beer quince paste, spring onion, Tabasco sauce and tomato.

Since my last post I had a relaxed Sunday and a busy first day back to work.

Walking to the light :-)

Hey @lozvox this reminded me of the twitter chat the other night.

This is silly. It's too soon for hot cross buns.

It’s silly I think that as soon as Christmas is over supermarkets are selling hot cross buns. I mean the buns are yummy especially when warmed in the oven and slathered with real butter. But Easter is months away.

Finishing off the pâté, quince paste and Gorgonzola. Soft bread today so no broken teeth 😃😃😃

In an attempt to avoid another broken tooth I chose a softer white bread and didn’t toast it. If you click on the image you’ll see a comment from Trish (@eatshootblog) about multigrain bread being “Dentists’ Delight”. It’s a pity because I love multigrain bread. The Maggie Beer pâté and quince paste was still good along with the Gorgonzola.

Chicken Maryland with lettuce, Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated fresh raw beetroot, spring onion, avocado, tomato, lemon juice and herb bread served with pineapple and mint crushed ice drink

Sunday night dinner was Chicken Maryland with lettuce, Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated fresh raw beetroot, spring onion, avocado, tomato, lemon juice and herb bread served with pineapple and mint crushed ice drink.

Brie and onion quiche

Back to work Monday I didn’t make my own lunch. I bought a really nice brie and onion quiche from the Urban Bean Espresso Bar.

Happy birthday Ursula Ping @kecozanat @jacquimkane @jesskirkham08

We also had a small afternoon tea for Ursula who is the branch’s executive assistant. It was Ursula’s birthday last week. The brownies in the foreground were very very nice.

Salmon, Chinese sausage, lettuce, celery, cucumber, tomato, lemon juice and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with fresh grated beetroot.

Dinner was simple, some Salmon, Chinese sausage, lettuce, celery, cucumber, tomato, lemon juice and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with fresh grated beetroot.

Good morning Mr Owl at 0515 AEDT. It's like a sultry tropical night.

This week the weather predictions for Australia are extreme and next week it gets worse. The Bureau of Meteorology has altered it’s temperature modelling charts because the old scale had a maximum of 50 °C, now it is 54 °C. Monday evening was warm and when I went for a walk at around 0500 AEDT it was what I would regard as pleasant but what everyone else in Canberra felt was too hot. Tuesday was a pretty bad day across the southern parts of Australia with temperatures averaging the mid to high 40s in some areas. There were numerous spot fires and large grass fires that burnt extensive areas of land destroying homes and livestock.

Feeling slack today. Sausage roll.

Gourmet sausage roll.

A sour end to a wonderful break

I left Brisbane today after a little over a week of joy and happiness. I’ve had a fantastic time visiting my parents and my daughters.

This morning Dad made us breakfast sausages and bacon.

Breakfast snags and bacon.

Looks odd but it was tasty.

For morning tea we had pavlova

Leftover pavlova for morning tea is the best :-)

It’s always better the day after when the cream goes a little more stiff.

My parents had to attend a matinee session of South Pacific this afternoon and I had to deliver the girls home. I had a couple of hours to kill so I got to the airport a couple of hours early. I checked in my bag using a QANTAS QTAG. A simple and convenient method to avoid paper based luggage tags. The process seemed to work okay.

I went to the Qantas Club and spent time reading. They had iced vivo biscuits which are a real treat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iced_VoVo

Thank you @qantasairways for the upgrade and the iced vovos 😃

I boarded my flight after getting an upgrade thanks to Qantas. For an afternoon snack, I had a cheese plate.

I was going to say nice cheese plate @qantasairways but my bag is still lost. Still tracing according to website.

It was delicious.

Then on arriving in Canberra I discovered my bag was not put on flight QF961. This is the second time in two months that this has happened with Qantas.

I caught a cab home after being told my bag would be delivered when it’s found. The cab driver of TX73 was not the driver on the dashboard card which was for A2278. He didn’t indicate to change lanes or turn corners and he was speaking on his mobile telephone throughout the drive from the airport to my place (this is now illegal in the ACT unless he has a proper handsfree set up which he didn’t). He didn’t know the directions to my place so I had to direct him. When I asked about his authority card it was in his pocket. I called the taxi company and they didn’t want to do anything. I would have to put the complaint in writing.

At 2055 AEDT I called QANTAS but they had closed their baggage service area despite their brochure saying it is open until 2100 AEST (which is 2200 AEDT). I called the Canberra baggage claim area and was told I should avoid using the Qantas QTAG system in future and there was still no trace of my bag. I am so annoyed. This has made me feel quite upset after what has been a wonderful break from work seeing my parents and daughters. I have stuff in that bag that I need to use not least of all the value of the contents.

I try not to rant too much on this blog but tonight I’ve ranted all over twitter and I felt the need to ventilate here.

I hope my bag shows up soon. Word to the wise, avoid the use of the QANTAS QTAG system.


Pacific Fair

Today is 2013/01/01 (YYYY/MM/DD this is the way I shorthand dates), the first day of 2013. It was also the last day we spent on the Gold Coast. I promised Miss11 and Miss15 a shopping trip in the tourist shopping centre, viz., Pacific Fair.

Pacific Fair Website http://www.pacificfair.com.au/

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/wafZ4

To start though we needed breakfast. We walked across the road to Bistro Blanc on Surf Parade on Broadbeach.

Bistro Blanc Website http://www.bistroblanc.com.au/

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/2YeKg

First things first.

I really need this.



Miss11 and Miss15 both had bacon and egg on a muffin with a hash brown.

Miss11 and Miss15 each had a bacon and egg muffin.  They were happy.

It was served “gourmet” style with barbecue sauce.


I couldn’t go past the Eggs Benedict with bacon.

It's hard to not have Eggs Benedict.

This was done on a Turkish bread which was very nice.


Having spent more than a week away from home, I planned my 3G data usage to perfection.

Perfect planning


Okay Pacific Fair with Miss11 and Miss15 meant lots and lots and lots of dress and shoe shops. It also meant looking at some novelties.

For fans of plants v zombies

I never knew you could buy Plants v Zombies plush toys 🙂


I haven’t posted pictures of everything they looked at. I am fortunate that my daughters like looking and are careful when choosing to spend money, even my money. In the end everyone came away happy.

For morning tea, you guessed it, it had to be another vanilla slice.

Vanilla slice at Pacific Fair

This one I shared with Miss15 who reminded me that when we lived in Darwin every Saturday or Sunday morning I’d walk to the local pastry shop and buy them caramel tartlets and buy myself a vanilla slice or bee sting.


After more than half a day of shopping we needed some food before the drive back to Brisbane. We opted for a mall Chinese takeaway. This was a $10 plate of self service. It was awful. Truly disgusting. The worst I’ve ever had. The place is called Cathay Oriental at Pacific Fair shopping centre. Don’t do it is my advice. McDonald’s or KFC would be better.

Shopping is hard work. We all shared this. Worst mall Chinese food ever.

It looks nasty. Tasted worse.


Miss15 and Miss17 needed new wrist watches. I bought them some very nice looking watches.

ICE watches for Miss15 and Miss17


As we were driving home Mum and Dad were cooking dinner. Basically it was wonton soup without the wonton wrappers. Instead it was served with noodles.

Chinese style pork and prawn meat balls. Basically wonton soup without the wonton wrapper. Fantastic meal. Thanks Mum and Dad.

Check it out. This was beyond awesome.

For previous entries on wonton take a look at this search query http://garydavidlum.com/?s=wonton&submit=Search


For my last night in Brisbane with my parents and two of my daughters, Mum made her “world famous” pavlova. One of the greatest Australian inventions ever (I write this to deliberately stir up my friends and family from New Zealand*).

Mum's homemade pavlova. A true Australian classic. Mum makes the best pav.

This one had passion fruit, pitted cherries, banana and mango topping.


Okay, tomorrow, I return to Canberra. I have had a great little break in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

*For all I care, New Zealand can keep Russel Crowe and Richard Wilkins as their own. Pavlova is ALL AUSTRALIAN.

Wet’n’Wild Water World

It’s the last day of 2012 and the second last day of my holiday with my daughters. Today we went to Wet’n’Wild Water World on the Gold Coast. There aren’t many images because I was dressed in a pair of speedos, boardies and a rashy. No pockets and for the major rides you can’t carry things like cameras or smart telephones. Besides, at a water park, it’s all about the fun in the water. Today the weather was perfect. It was mostly around 29 °C and overcast with occasional sun bursts. That meant it was warm and not hot. It also meant that with four applications of sun screen throughout the day none of us got sun burnt.

Breakfast this morning was at McDonald’s because we were in a hurry.

Not quite as appetising as a Mavi breakfast wrap. Cheaper though.

Rosti wrap. This is rubbish compared to a Mavi Breakfast wrap. Check out previous posts on the Mavi Breakfast wrap http://garydavidlum.com/?s=Mavi+Breakfast&submit=Search


After a day of water activity we enjoyed ice cream at the ice cream parlour.

Ice cream time

You can buy small medium and bucket sized sundaes.


I had a small caramel sundae. It’s all self serve through a series of dispensers. I chose mango and sprinkles plus caramel sauce.

I got all the sprinkles

The sprinkles came out in a rush. There was more on the floor than in the cup.


Goodbye Wet'n'wild

Goodbye Wet’n’Wild Water World.


As the sun was setting

The sun sets and Jupiter's casino lights up

Jupiter’s casino was lighting up for New Year’s Eve.


Bath time

It was nice to extend the water theme and have a bath. Sadly the spa didn’t work.


Tonight it was Miss15’s turn to choose a meal.

Chicken Kiev with Caesar salad. Miss15's choice :-)

She chose Chicken Kiev and Caesar salad.


After dinner we walked the streets of Broadbeach watching people. Today I pondered that the Gold Coast, especially around places like Broadbeach is for the “beautiful people” while places like Wet’n’Wild Water World is for everyone in all their shapes and sizes, colours and backgrounds. What is great about a water park is that everyone is just in their togs. You see almost everything, especially the tattoos and body art, plus the fat and obesity that is plaguing our nation. You also see the wonderfully crafted and honed bodies of the fit and healthy. I know I’m using strong words, I appreciate all the diversity and I’m not meaning to offend. At a water park, everybody is there to have some fun and get some Vitamin D. The streets of the Gold Coast though are about being seen and looking good to be seen. That is, except for blokes like me. Middle aged Australians with kids in tow. Tonight I chose a daggy T-shirt, King Gee work shorts and thongs. I reckon I got stared at as much as the tall leggy women and the muscle men. It made me laugh on the inside.

NYE treat from Miss15. Coconut vanilla and mint gelato sundae. Thank you Miss15. I love you

The best thing about walking the streets tonight was the lovely gesture from Miss15 to shout me and Miss11 a gelato. Miss17 had already left for a party with her BF so it’s just me and my two youngest daughters.


Of the rides at Wet’n’Wild Water World, only a few have cameras that worked.

It was raining while riding the Tornado.

It rained today during our ride on the Tornado.


I'm so fugly! We're on the Kamikaze.

I put my hand up to hide my fugly face lol 🙂 This was on the Kamikaze ride.


Enjoying Mammoth Falls

This is from the Mammoth Falls ride.


We went on a heap of other rides. It’s hard to pick the best. I loved them all. The faster and higher the better. It’s probably best to visit the website if you’re interested.


Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/OHtRX