May 12, 2010

The Black Is Back Budget, A British Coalition. Climbing A Mountain With Flashbacks To Noodles. Conference Life.

It's been a big 24 hours of news here in Australia and abroad.

The Federal Budget has come and gone.  Well it hasn't actually arrived - many of the key features are not due to come into effect until 2012/2013 - assuming Labor remains in power this long.  Which it may well do if the Opposition can't come up with a good election campaign.  The Liberal party sort of need some good platforms, sort of now.  Anything, delivered with conviction, will do.

The main take home messages:
  1. back to black in 3 years, it worked for ACDC so surely it must work for K-Rudd and the Swanster
  2. more spending in health, these innovations actually sound practical and I hope they do deliver
  3. say goodbye to your shoe box of receipts (and instead return your designer heels to their rightful shoebox) because 6 million of us can tick a box and get an instant $500 tax rebate and not have to submit a tax return proper
  4. cutting spending with a deal between the Government and the pharmaceutical companies.  Now that there are no more drug company pens and sticky notes, I might forget to prescribe drugs - that's dollars saved right there and then.  Don't worry, that's not the entire deal, I hope.
  5. getting more cash from tobacco taxes, an easy target
  6. the Federal Goverment is no longer being BFF's with mining companies.  There are billions to be had by taxing the hand that feeds our economy.  This could be seen as cashing in on our next mining boom to be and depends on other world economies being stable or growing.  Apparently, this is Visionary and has provided inspiration to other resource rich economies to do the same. 

I fell asleep and cooked dinner (in succession rather than simultaneously - I'm not that good) whilst watching The Time Traveller's Wife last night.  It had a very 'made for television' feel to it.

There is a new British Government - a Coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.  These are times of great change, it will be interesting to see how the parties' opposing stands on Great Britain's role in the Euro zone come to some consensus.

It is so cold in Sydney this morning.  I am very grateful for our industrial strength bathroom heater and the super hot water heater system.  It was the best shower ever.  My other winter weather ritual is putting on the slow cooker.  Today, I have delved further into the fridge to unearth more aged vegetables for a soup.  Cauliflower and cheese soup is the plan.

While that's simmering away, let's talk about the only mountain I've ever climbed. 

To get to Mt Coolum, we followed a little path on the border of the resort and crossed a main road.


Here we are at the base of Mt Coolum.  It is about 208m high.  From a distance, it looked like a mild mannered kind of moutain with a user friendly walking path.

Which is was for the first few hundred metres of the walk.  Unfortunately, we were going to have to negotiate rocks to get anywhere above sea level....

There's nothing like negotiating rocks at altitude to focus the mind.  I was forced to concentrate on the task at hand foot.  There were men climbing in thongs, ladies striding upward with babies slinged to their chests and older climbers encouraging me upwards with the words "not too far to go now, love - enjoy the coolness where you are now, it's  a little warm at the top".

I am ashamed to say that I had to crawl sections of the up hill climb.

There was also the matter of my wondering mind.  I thought back to dinner the night before.

Which was Singapore noodles from the resort's Noodle restaurant - yes we did eat at every single eatery on the property, including pizza and a $5 bag of red rock deli chips from the corner store.

It's the Chinese in me.  I can't survive too long without rice or noodles...  I think my mother said that before me.

Distraction therapy paid off and we steadily made upward progress.

A view of the golf course from Mt Coolum.

We saw roof tops and the ocean beyond that.

Mr SSG doing a victory leap at the top of Mt Coolum.

As I contemplated the greenery beneath us, thoughts also turned to the vegetable stir fry from dinner.

The clouds broke up the sunlight over our view.  It looks more like the countryside than the tropics.

Yes, the blue dot on my iPhone was accurate.

With a final flash back to dinner, I made my way back down the mountain.  Which in some ways was easier but also harder.  I had to crab walk down the steep sections.  Thank goodness for all that back bend practice at yoga!

This was the mi-goreng that Mr SSG had for dinner.  The prawn cracker is one of those huge and flavoursome kind often found in Malaysia.  They have more bite (in terms of both taste and texture)  than the pretty pastel pink version.  I like both kinds.

Having successfully returned to ground level, we found signs of life on the golf course.  Our friendly kangaroos had come out for bit of a stretch.

Conveniently, a shuttle bus zoomed by and we got a lift to breakfast.  This is the life!

It was very civilized.  In the background, Mr SSG is tucking into some muesli with real honeycomb and yoghurt on top.  There was the holy trinity of mueslis on offer - bircher, toasted and raw.  I had all 3 most mornings.  Except on breakfast meeting days, in which case there was a full cooked breakfast.

In case you were wondering, lunches for the conference were the best I've had for a large crowd catering situation.  A wide choice of fresh sandwiches, rolls or roll-ups plus fries or wedges (with a range of toppings).  Even the vegan and lactose intolerant offerings were tasty.

I started with a muffin.  The baked goods were very impressive.  They all tasted artisan bakery standard.  I am pretty sure none of the breads were from a commercial bakery.  There was too much fruit in the fruit loaf for that.

The chess board was popular with the kiddies.

The breakfast area looked out onto one of the many pools on offer.

It wasn't all idyllic views and leisurely breakfasts.

There were coffees to queue for and somehow, I coped without promotional sticky notes and highlighters.  You can always count on the insurance and indemnity people to come through with stationery though.


  1. try reading 'the time travellers wife' i ended up giving up and thinking im never watching the movie, ill fall into a coma and never wake up ... LOL

    loving the blog x

  2. Hi danielle
    Thank you.

    Oh yes, the book was heavy going too.

    SSG xxx

  3. SSG I too have done this climb whilst a conference and looks so easy being all monolithic but gosh its hard! Particularly with a mountain goat of an 8 year old who I was terrified would fall over the side! Husband wimped out with 4 year old daughter but son and I made it too the top! I have a lovely photo which resides on my sideboard of son and me at the top taken 13 years ago and I look quite fetching in my cut off shorts (my legs will never see the light of day again sadly!)

    It is a great achievement and well done!

  4. Hi Kate B,
    Thank you for your comment.

    I agree, it is a photo moment when you get to the top.

    SSG xxx

  5. I had no idea that mining was a big deal in Australia.

    That big chess board looks fun--and the mountain....and that delicious breakfast.

    You're always doing such cool stuff. ;)

  6. Nice pictures...Nice post...

  7. You've been busy! That took me half a cuppa to read and look at all the great photos. Thanks for the reading material SSG.

  8. christine: yes, mining is big news in Australia. There is fall out already in the business world here.

    Laura: thanks for stopping by.

    Langdowns: LOVE today's post.

    SSG xxx

  9. Hello there! Just stumbled onto your blog by happy accident! Love the read...I'm a Sydney girl from way back (not too way back!!) - it's a city full of adventure-potential! Always a lot of fun to be had there! Best wishes from QLD, Michallee (Treasures from Moira's Armoire)

  10. Hi Michalee,
    Thank you for stopping by. Yes, Queensland is magic. I have to go back again soon.

    SSG xxx


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