Post-party ride home no issue for happy camper

Devonport’s Bruce Winter relaxes outside his second home – a camper-trailer pulled behind his bike.DEVONPORT’S Bruce Winter never has to worry about getting home when he goes to a party – he takes his home with him.
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Mr Winter said his camper-trailer, that took only minutes to put up, was towed behind his K1200LT BMW.

”I bought the bike from a bloke in Brisbane three years ago,” he said.

”He sent it down to Melbourne and I jumped on it for a trip along the Great Ocean Road before coming back on the ferry – the trailer followed about a year later.

”I haven’t had it on the mainland yet, but I’ve stayed in it a few times in Tassie, mostly after parties.

”It’s easy enough to tow around, you have to steady up a bit and take things a bit slower than on a solo motorcycle – the whole rig weighs about 650 kilograms and 300-odd of that is swinging off the back like a pendulum.

”You don’t see many motorcycles towing camper-trailers.”

Mr Winter said he had trips planned all the time, but his wife Tracy was not so keen.

”It’s five-star accommodation only for Tracy when we travel, but she has spent one night in the camper,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Bypassing Bulahdelah

AS holiday motorists face the last gasp of the notorious highway bottleneck at Bulahdelah, the town itself is confronting an uncertain future.
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Being bypassed is an experience that has killed some towns and been the making of others. How things pan out for any particular town is a function of the attributes of the locality.

Some settlements only ever existed because of transport routes, and once those routes were altered, the town’s lifeblood stopped flowing.

Other towns have qualities that make them attractive in their own right, so being bypassed isn’t actually an existential threat, but merely presents challenges of readjustment.

Bulahdelah clearly falls into the second category. The town’s location on the Myall River, beneath picturesque Alum Mountain, is by some measures quite idyllic.

The loss of the reliable commerce provided by a constant stream of traffic will certainly hurt some businesses and that shouldn’t be downplayed. But the town’s advantages are considerable and thoughtful marketing ought to be able to replace the losses. Removal of the highway might, in fact, prove to be a plus.

Boating between Bulahdelah and the Myall Lakes – already popular – has much scope for growth, particularly if some effort is expended improving and restoring degraded stretches of river bank.

The district has an interesting history, and the forest park surrounding Alum Mountain is appealing and attractive.

As always, the town’s success in achieving the necessary adjustment to remain prosperous will depend heavily on its residents and business owners and their ability to work towards a shared vision of what might be.

Given the positive comments from many, there is every reason to be optimistic about Bulahdelah’s future.

Meanwhile, those business owners whose livelihoods have depended on the restless stream of vehicles will be hoping for one last bumper season before the bypass makes bumper-to-bumper traffic a thing of the past for Bulahdelah.

One way cash-flow

IF the NSW government was to spend $2.38 million on some project in the Hunter, the news would be breathlessly announced by ministerial staffers.

But when that sum of money flows from the Hunter to state coffers in Sydney – as it did every single day of the 2010-2011 financial year – nobody in Macquarie Street bats an eyelid.

The NSW Minerals Council has helpfully revealed that the Hunter’s share of the record mining royalty crop harvested by the government last year amounted to $868 million.

That was an increase of 25 per cent over the previous year and represented the lion’s share of the total statewide take which added up to $1.25 billion.

It’s a mystery why a region that supplies the government with such wealth finds itself so often the victim of niggardly penny-pinching by the decision-makers in Sydney.

It’s an even bigger mystery why the region puts up with it.

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Standish is Catapulted

Jockey Michael Rodd riding Catapulted to victory in yesterday’s group 3 Standish Handicap at Flemington.MELBOURNE – Classy six-year-old sprinter Catapulted got within half a second of the course record to win the group 3 Standish Handicap at Flemington.
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The Mark Kavanagh-trained chestnut was explosive up the straight course and he spreadeagled his rivals to win yesterday’s 1200-metre feature by three lengths in a sizzling 1:7.66.

Iglesia set the course record when he won the 2001 Standish in 1:7.16 while unbeaten champion Black Caviar won last year’s Newmarket Handicap in 1:7.36.

Kavanagh said he was confident he had Catapulted close to his best after a failed trip to Sydney last month but was unprepared for the ease of his win and the winning time.

“I was surprised he did that with the weight (59kg) but he is a good horse when right,” Kavanagh said.

“I thought we had him nearly back and it is good to see him hit form again.

“He got them off the bridle a long way out and that always helps in sprint races.

“He’s been a fabulous horse, a great horse.”

Kavanagh is now planning to travel interstate again with Catapulted to contest the $400,000 Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 14.

“It is a quality handicap so we might take him up there now,” Kavanagh said.

Catapulted is no stranger to Queensland having won the group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) in June 2010 at Eagle Farm.

The Standish was his 11th win from 27 starts and his sixth at stakes level. However he had been winless since the group 3 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in February last year.

Michael Rodd, who returned from a Christmas break four days ago, rode Catapulted confidently in the first four and said he was “giggling” when the gelding was travelling so well in the run.

“With the run he had to the 600 metres I was giggling to myself because he is just below spring carnival form and not many of these horses have reached those heights yet.”

Rocking Force, who won the Listed Swisse Vitamins Stakes at Flemington three starts ago, charged home late to dead-heat for second with Cascabel while Canali raced on the pace all the way and finished fourth.

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Home brew brouhaha

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I’ve been a home brewer now for, let me see, um, memory’s not what it used to be since I started. Anyhow, with Newcastle Herald journalist Steve Williams profiling the pleasures of brewing in Monday’s Living Green section, it’s time for a testimonial.

Unlike AA, where you have to start any explanation with ‘‘I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’ve been sober now for …’’, home brewers revel in their addiction.

Probably because they haven’t been sober for years.

And besides that, it’s a craft, you see. A holy pursuit glorified for centuries by people as divine as Trappist monks.

Not substance abuse dressed up in beer wankery.

Having said that, ‘‘substance abuse’’ would be a fair description of some of my brews. ‘‘Crime against chemistry’’ another. ‘‘Rocket fuel’’ on occasion.

But as an interest it’s possibly more meritorious than, say, cooking crystal meth.

I was first attracted to home brewing by the challenge of making something better than commercial beer at a cheaper rate. And I’m here to tell you that’s possible.

Hang on, I’ll rephrase that.

I was attracted to the challenge of making something with as much alcohol in it as commercial beer at a cheaper rate. That much is a doddle.

Whether it tastes better, or is fundamentally superior, I’m not sure.

As the creator, you can never really tell. It’s like being a parent. Parents see no evil in their children, and brewers taste no evil in their brew – that they can’t kid themselves doesn’t exit.

Friends and neighbours will never tell you if your children are awful. They’ll always say they’re delightful. Same thing with home brew. Hence it’s hard to get an objective opinion about your beer.

My fallback benchmark is ‘‘over the line’’. As in, if you don’t gag when you swallow, it’s over the line.

Having said that, the gag reflex can be overcome.

It usually happens like this: You take a sip, recoil, and think, ‘‘hmm, different”.

Then you wonder if the bottle might have had an impurity. So you try another to compare.

Scientists do this all the time. It’s called an experiment control. Trouble is, technically, there’s not much control if you’re drinking in your lab. After a couple of ‘‘controls’’, it’s mystifying how much better any brew seems to taste – good or bad.

Possibly that’s got to do with the emotion and hope invested in a brew. Not only do you have to go through the rigmarole of making it. You’ve then got to wait over a month to find out if it’s any good. But if it turns out hellish, it can be devastating. Particularly if you’ve talked it up to a neighbour.

Truth is, no one should ever be allowed to drink your home brew unless they insist on doing so without prompting; and fill out a form acknowledging that fact to guard against public health class actions; and pledge to only say good things about it to your face.

There’s no greater insult than to suggest a bloke’s brew is shite. Still, it happens. But something in human nature dictates that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And that’s been the theme of my brewing career.

It’s a reasonably straightforward procedure. You take natural ingredients and you turn them into beer. You are beer Merlin. Sometimes your beer is magic. But in all honesty, I’m yet to cast the perfect spell. Or remember how I cast it. Given the gestation period, and experiment controls, it’s easy to forget the winning formula.

So next time I step up to the plate, it’s back to square one. And so it goes.

What’s the worst, or best, home brew you’ve ever tasted?

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Premier O’Farrell here for gallery, but can’t escape fig debate

NO ESCAPE: Barry O’Farrell, Tim Owen and Andrew Cornell in Laman Street, Newcastle, ahead of the exhibition opening. – Picture by Peter StoopHE came to open an unprecedented exhibition at the Newcastle Art Gallery, but last night NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell couldn’t escape what is undoubtedly Newcastle’s most debated issue.
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Mr O’Farrell was met outside the gallery, where he officially opened the Australian Modern Masterpieces exhibition, by a smattering of Save Our Figs supporters who gave out a loud cheer as he stepped from his car.

There’s a Sydney fig fight, too

Rather than turn and walk in the other direction or immerse himself in his entourage, Mr O’Farrell quickly paced over to the group.

He thanked them for continuing to fight for their beloved fig trees before a spokesman for Save Our Figs handed him a letter calling for his continued support.

Mr O’Farrell then abandoned the idea of entering the gallery through the back door and walked with a representative of the group to greet another collection of supporters on the corner of Darby Street.

The short stroll from there to the entrance of the gallery took the Premier down Laman Street and under the canopy of iconic fig trees.

The letter handed to Mr O’Farrell provided a list of the independent experts who have looked into the risk posed by the figs and asked the Premier to ‘‘actively explore and pursue any reasonable means … to assist the Newcastle community to bring about a more reasonable approach to this important matter’’.

The Save Our Figs group also thanked Mr O’Farrell for his attempts to assist Newcastle City Council in resolving the issue.

The exhibition paired 30 pieces of art from the NSW Art Gallery with works from the same artist from Newcastle’s own collection.

More than 500 people attended the official opening of the exhibition that featured the 1948 Archibald Prize-winning portrait of the late Margaret Olley by Newcastle born artist William Dobell.

Gallery director Ron Ramsey said he was ‘‘thrilled’’ with the turnout.

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‘Scrooge’ sledge over Cessnock Council sausage sizzle

ALISON DAVEYThe move has angered Cr Jeff Maybury so much that he told Cr Davey she was a ‘‘miserable woman’’ and described her yesterday as a ‘‘scrooge’’.
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He said he and councillors Bob Pynsent, James Hawkins, Allan McCudden, Neil Gorman and Graham Smith would boycott the sausage sizzle and pay for their own get-together at Hope Estate.

Cr Maybury said the end-of-year event was not just for councillors and council officers, but also for their partners who ‘‘put up with a lot’’ during the year.

The venue change comes after a rift between the council’s management and its outdoor staff over funding for their Christmas show, which ended up in the Industrial Relations Commission last week.

At an extraordinary council meeting last Wednesday the issue flared up again with councillors arguing that the council’s indoor staff party should also be funded.

Cr Davey said it was decided that the council should opt for a more modest function.

She said the council would not lose the deposit at the Crowne Plaza and it would be held for a future event next year.

‘‘The replacement of the Christmas function will now be held at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre for a substantially lesser amount,’’ Cr Davey said. ‘‘It does upset me that some councillors are suggesting they will hold their own function given that all councillors were provided with an opportunity to vote on two options for an alternative function.’’

She said she had taken offence at Cr Maybury’s remarks.

Cr Maybury said the mayor appeared to be concerned about the ratepayers’ perception of the executive event being held at the Crowne Plaza with a $6000 credit already with the venue.

The money was a deposit to secure a date for a River of Black Gold Festival event, which was also cancelled.

While the executive party was not going to cost $6000, councillors were told that other community groups may like to make use of the balance of funds and reimburse the council.

‘‘This is an insult, especially to councillors’ partners who put up with a lot during the year, take the abusive phone calls and complaints,’’ Cr Maybury said.

‘‘Cr Davey said there had been a vote and that I had received a fax about it, but I did not. I told her she was a miserable woman and that she didn’t want to see anyone enjoying themselves,’’ he said.

‘‘She is a scrooge.’’

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Hosking heats up pay debate

GEELONG – Chloe Hosking is the latest international cyclist to savage the sport’s boss for his assessment that women’s road racing does not warrant a minimum wage.
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Hosking had a dig at UCI president Pat McQuaid after she won race one of the Bay Classic criterium series in Geelong yesterday.

McQuaid generated plenty of criticism at last September’s world road championships in Copenhagen when he said women’s racing had “not progressed enough” for a minimum wage.

Hosking praised the standard of the women’s race yesterday and added she made a point of making sure there was plenty of action.

She was in a seven-rider group that established a lead of seven seconds until a crash with five laps left neutralised the race.

Trudy Van Der Straaten, from the Pitcher Partners team, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone.

When the race resumed, Hosking broke clear with less than three laps to go and won on her own, ahead of GreenEDGE rider Melissa Hoskins and defending series champion Rochelle Gilmore (Bike Exchange).

“I love racing like that, I don’t like really like sitting in and then sprinting,” she said after her first Bay Classic win.

“I don’t think it’s great for Australian racing.

“For me, it was really exciting to go out there and show what women’s racing can be like.”

Asked later to expand on her comments about women’s racing, Hosking made it clear that comments in the media lately had angered her.

“There’s just been some really negative things said in the press lately about how women’s racing is boring and how we don’t deserve a minimum salary, that sort of thing,” she said.

“To me, (this) was one of the most exciting races I’ve done.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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High levels of fun found at Low Head on New Year’s Day

Ethan Lucas, 6, with cousins Ella Jacobs, 3, and Nicholas Jacobs, 5, and brother Tyler Lucas, 3, all of George Town, play in the sand at She Oak Point.SOME spent the New Year’s Day public holiday at Cataract Gorge and others at Launceston’s parks, but many headed towards Low Head and the sea.
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The barbecue shelters near She Oak Point proved popular as did the sand at the point, where children from George Town’s Lucas and Jacobs families showed their architectural skill as sand castles appeared as if by magic.

Further around, at the Low Head boat ramp, Lefroy’s Ray Slinger was able to see the positive side of a fruitless day of fishing.

”At least I had nothing to clean when I got back,” he said.

A group of George Town friends amused themselves jumping into the water near the boat ramp.

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Clarke ready to bowl them over

Australian skipper Michael Clarke is ready to help Nathan Lyon in the spinning duties against India.SYDNEY – Australia captain Michael Clarke is convinced that spin will play a big factor in the second Test and is prepared to inject himself into the bowling and relive Indian nightmares if things get tight.
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When Australia last played India in Sydney in 2008, Clarke was thrown into the attack in the dying overs of the match and took three wickets in five balls to clinch a remarkable win for Ricky Ponting’s team.

Despite his pesky left-arm orthodox deliveries yielding 23 wickets at 37.47, making him a more than adequate part-timer, Clarke rolled the arm over just three times in 2011.

The skipper has suffered from chronic back problems throughout his career and bowled a combined total of just 15 overs last year.

But after backing full-time turner Nathan Lyon to play a huge role in the second Test starting today at the SCG, Clarke declared he was ready to chip in on the final days.

“We’ll wait and see how the wicket deteriorates as well . . . if required I’d be more than happy to bowl – I’ve always enjoyed bowling,” Clarke said.

“I haven’t done much of it in recent times but that’s because our bowlers have done their job, so if required and if the wicket does spin Nathan Lyon will play a big part and I can bowl a few overs for sure.”

Clarke made no changes to personnel after the convincing win in Melbourne, declining to call up recovered pace weapon Ryan Harris as he puts his faith in spin being vital as the match goes on.

Lyon has made a brilliant start to his Test career but struggled in Melbourne, taking just one wicket in the second innings.

“This series is a tough challenge for Lyono because India are such good players of spin bowling,” Clarke said.

“I thought he did a pretty good job without getting as many wickets as he would have liked in the last Test.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on (him). I love the way he goes about his work.”

Clarke said he was privileged to be leading out the Australian side on his home ground as the SCG joins the MCG and Lord’s as the only venues in world cricket to host 100 Test matches.

Australia has been plagued by inconsistency over the past 12 months and Clarke said the team was focused on putting together strong back-to-back performances.

“We’ve played some really positive cricket at times and some cricket we’d like to forget, and I guess this is another test of our character, to be able to back up after such an impressive win in Melbourne,” he said.

SCG curator Tom Parker denied accusations from the Indian media that the pitch had been tailored to suit Australia’s in-form pace attack.

Parker believes spin will still play a part and said the wicket was no different from the one rolled out for the Ashes Test last January.

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Body found floating in Lake Macquarie

DETECTIVES are scouring fingerprint databases and boat ramp car parks for any clues to the identity of a man found dead at Swansea yesterday.
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They are awaiting results from an autopsy due to be performed today although there was nothing to suggest the man’s death was suspicious.

Some small abrasions on the man’s head and body were probably suffered after he had died.

His body was found floating between moorings in Black Ned’s Bay about 1.30pm.

Police quickly identified and accounted for all the owners of boats and moorings in the bay.

A sweep of the southern area of Lake Macquarie failed to find any unattended boats.

Detectives are now collating registration numbers from all cars parked at nearby boat ramps and have asked anyone who may have seen a vehicle parked in the same area for more than 24 hours to contact them.

The man is believed to be aged in his 60s and had fair hair, with shades of ginger and was slightly receding.

He was wearing a long-sleeve grey sloppy-joe, long brown pants and white joggers.

It appears he was in the water for less than 12 hours.

He had a silver watch on his left hand and two gold rings on fingers on his right hand.

Information should be forwarded to Lake Macquarie detectives on 4942 9999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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