Sunday, February 14, 2016

Miami Allá Voy!



This week I am off to the city of glittering golden tans, bulging biceps, Cuban coffee, models and mojitos, hot latin cuisine and even hotter latin nights! Yes that's right, Miami.

I was invited to go to a 10 day leadership forum with 5 days in Miami and 5 days in Orlando. I've never been to Florida before, so am quite excited, although it won't be all sun and beaches. It will be a lot of hard work as I understand that the forum is very intense. It is not only a series of conferences, but also hospital visits to see how implementing certain changes has an impact upon healthcare provision and patient experiences. 

It is such an amazing opportunity, I am very grateful to the powers that be for investing in me the way they have. I still think I should be able to fit in some time for exploring. If I get up early each morning I can go for a run along the beach and have breakfast out somewhere.



I have one free day, Saturday and I plan to make the most of it. I'll make an early start with a run, swim and then breakfast before looking around some of the shops and markets. 


I'll swing by little Havana for lunch and a mooch around, 

then back to over to South beach for dinner at a nice seafood restaurant and then maybe a little bit of late night salsa!


Although I probably won't fit in with the botoxed bentley-driving set eating kobe beef siders and ordering champagne by the bottle, I'm ensure I'll enjoy it all none the less.


I look forward to sharing some actual photos of the trip when I get back at the end of the month.

Meanwhile Peter is still frantically stringing chandeliers, pruning roses, stocking guest rooms and planning the finishing touches for the big day - less than 3 weeks away today.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

2016 International Polo Cup NZ vs Argentina...


At the weekend Peter and I went to the International Polo Test, with our friends Tony and Beth, which has become somewhat of a standing fixture in our calendar for the season. I missed out last year, so was happy to be able to go back to NZ for the weekend to attend as well as to help with some of the final arrangements at Willowbrook for the upcoming wedding, such as planting a few last plants, hanging some crystals on chandeliers, and rearranging furniture. My mother and her husband Terry Urban, a professional photographer and jade artist, came up as well and started to take some of the promotional photos for our new website which will go live at the end of this month.

The weather was not the best, but at least the showers were very brief and few. The curtain raiser match in the morning was the NZ North Island Team vs the NZ South Island team. The South Island team had a glorious win.


After several glasses of champagne and a lovely buffet lunch the international test kicked off.
Above: The NZ Team
James Woods, Glenn Sherrif, John Paul Clarkson (Cptn), Tom Hunt

Below: The Argentine Team
Paco O'Dwyer, Michel del Carril, [Manager], Juan Britos, Pablo Llorente 

For the first few chukkas the teams were neck in neck, but then NZ started to give away too many penalties, and slowly the Argentines edged ahead.




By half time I think it was about 7/5 to the visitors. We all toddled out to stomp the divots, although the turf was in such excellent condition that we were actually hard-pressed to find any.

Above: Me and my friend Beth, who's 80 this month. Such a hoot!

Below: Doppelganger of my dear friend & devoted blog follower Fran
Above and Below: Everyone was having fun at half time.

Soon they were back to the serious business at hand...



By the end of the 6th chukka the visitors had declared themselves the winners, the final score 13/11 to The Argentine. Terribly hospitable I think of us, I mean, they had come all this way...!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Dubbo Chronicles ... 3rd Road Trip


After last week's trip it was back into the fray straight away, so another brief interlude was just what I needed. We left Dubbo at about 7:30 and headed south, destined for a place called Wagga Wagga. The scenery on the journey south was no different from much of what I had seen of the greater western NSW area the week before. The storm which in the last post was just coming in, was just leaving again...


Despite the storm, the fields seemed just as dry as ever...


even the sheep looked as if they were trying to suck the lichen off the rocks (a slight hyperbole).


There were a lot of 'character filled' houses, and I wondered how hard people had to work to scratch out a living in some of these places where irrigation wasn't possible and one's livelihood was entirely up to the fate of the weather. Once we were south of a place called West Wylong the fields started to green up a bit with more pasture...


There must have been the ability to grow a lot of grain, because I lost count of the number of granary silos we passed. Here are a few snaps of some of them...

 They were all built alongside the railway. 

We made it to Wagga Wagga by 1pm. Wagga Wagga - 'place of many crows' (wagga = crow, wagga wagga = many crows) was a much larger version of Dubbo.

Like Dubbo, it is build along the course of a river, the Murrumbidgee river...

There were a few nice buildings, my favourite was the Catholic Church of St Michael...

Anyway, we grabbed a quick bite for lunch and then met with the Director of the newly opened ED, and gained some more insights into the design for our own. After catching up with old colleagues that evening we made another early start back to Dubbo...

Above and Below: Just after sunrise.

It was a much finer drive back to Dubbo - the weather had turned.

On the way back we stopped and visited a further two new emergency departments, much smaller than Wagga Wagga, but very useful to see, especially as they were both designed using the architect that we are employing. The first was Lake Forbes. Here is a photo of the old hospital, as seen across their new helipad...


The second was Parkes. After visiting Parkes, we had to stop for some lunch, so we got to stop at the cafe at the Parkes radio telescope (something people had been telling me I should visit for the past 3 years). 


Although ginormous, I almost couldn't see it from the main road...  
 
Up close it was much larger.

I guess it is more impressive for the role it played historically than for its size compared to modern radio-telescopes. It was used to help track Apollo for the moon landing, something which became the subject of a movie called "The Dish"...

Above: Trailer for The Dish

Below: Short documentary clip about the telescope

Above: The telescope the night of the moon landing.

Below: The telescope today. 

That was the last of the interesting sights we saw before heading back to Dubbo...

I am looking forward to finishing up my tour of duty this month and returning to Willowbrook on Friday to see Peter and to check on the progress. He has been working hard to get things ready ahead of the first wedding, including finishing the folly and creating a fountain in the front courtyard. I shall keep you posted on my return.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Dubbo Chronicles ... 2nd Road Trip

Last week I was away again on another work trip, travelling round various new emergency departments and gathering feedback from them about their designs (what works well, what they wouldn't do again, and why). We start the schematic phase our plans for the new department next month, so it was important we concluded all our R&D this month. Which has meant that I have got to see more of the state on my 1400km round trip.

It was a sunny morning when we set off from Dubbo, north towards Tamworth.

As we headed north the miles and miles of arid land started to green up a little...
 Above: View just outside Coolah.

Below: View around about Premer.

When we arrived in Tamworth we discovered it happened to be the Tamworth Country Music Festival week. So after a few hours at the ED there, we headed into town to grab a bite to eat and look around...

The awards for the festival include the Golden Guitar Award, hence the large golden guitar. It is somewhat obligatory to have one's photo taken next to the big guitar, so we did...

After an early night we set off at 7am for our next destination, Port Macquarie, on the east coast...

The scenery started off fairly similar to that of most of the western NSW area, but then little by little gave way to greener pastures and forest...
 Above and Below: Views soon after leaving Tamworth.

Below: Views as we started to enter the Cottan-Bimbang National Park.

There was a steady climb up hill as we went through the forest, which was full of ferns and eucalypts, including some quite old ones...

There were signs along the way warning drivers to beware of Kangaroos, Koalas and even Wombats.

Through the forest we started out descent to the plains of the east coast...

It was a lot greener on this side of the mountain range...

After arriving in the early afternoon and spending a couple of hours at the ED there, we took a break and I managed to go to the beach for the first time in 3 years I've been here...

Although there were a couple of beaches with marauding children and loud families (being school holidays), there were also several which were strangely devoid of people, even though the adjacent bays were heaving. 

This is Rocky Beach, just above Flynn's beach...

I took a coastal walk along all of the beaches...
 

The walk took me past Sea Acres Rainforest National Park...

Which is where I came across this strange bird on a track, which I've since found out is an Australian Brush Turkey...

Eventually I made it past Miner's beach up to tacking point light house...

The lighthouse is Australias 3rd oldest.

Tacking point was named by Matthew Flinders on his circumnavigation of Australia in 1802. 

Above: The original lighthouse plans.


I climbed down the hill on to the rocks to get closer to the crashing surf...

Having finished by coastal walk I headed inland and was surprised to find a field full of camels! Not what I was expecting, but evidently camel rides are quite popular.

The next morning we set of to Sydney to visit a further two EDs there.

It was a fine sunny morning, but the trip was long and the scenery unchanging. The road unfortunately does not follow the coast, due to the coves and peninsulas, and so it was the freeway all the way down to Hornsby.

Concluding our business for that day we checked into the hotel. What a view...
Above and below: The view from my bedroom window by day and by night.

The following day, after visiting our last ED we headed back west to Dubbo. It took us 6 hours, and as we drew closer to home it was clear a storm was setting in. We made it home before it started pelpting down with rain, and I managed to get some dramatic stormy pics as we drove...
Above and Below: Views near Lake Windamere.
 Above "Lone Tree 1"

Below: Stormy Hill
 Above: "Love Tree 2"

Above: "Rain on the horizon".

This coming week we are off on an overnight trip to Wagga Wagga, to see the new ED there, which has only been open for 2 weeks. It's great to learn from one's mistakes, but its even better to learn from those of others. Hopefully we can avoid many pitfalls in our new development by doing the rounds. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...