Australia Day 2011

We had a terrific Australia Day this year with a bunch of friends at the Huntsbury hotel. It could have been a disaster since we’d organised for the day to be at our regular haunt, the Lewisham Hotel. Yoda and I had to go to IKEA first thing in the morning and, with luck and some amazing public transport connections, we managed to get to the Lewisham way ahead of the 1pm scheduled start time.

Only to find it was closed. You can’t imagine a hotel being closed on a day when everyone wants to drink and celebrate but you probably can’t imagine a hotel like the Lewisham!

I had to madly sign into the net via my mobile and send group text messages to everyone to let them know of the change of plans. We discussed which pub we should go to instead and the Huntsbury seemed the logical choice since it was only 10 minutes walk and most of our group knew where it was.

The two most difficult people to get a hold of were the two who the get together had been organised for – Cathy, who was coming down from Newcastle for the day and Donna. Donna had her mobile phone switched off (arghhh!) and Cathy didn’t hear hers.

We also worried about Big Dave since isn’t contactable and we didn’t know what time (if any) he would show up. Luckily that problem was solved when he turned up exactly at 1pm while we were in the middle of the chaos. I decided we needed to leave a sign on the pub door for Cathy & Donna to tell them where we were…but there was no sticky tape. We had pen & paper but no sticky tape.

I quickly trundled down to the nearby servo and all they had was electrical tape. It would have to do. We threw together a sign for anyone who we hadn’t been able to contact and bit off lengths of electrical tape to stick it to the Lewisham’s door!

Then we marched down in the humidity to the Huntsbury. Thank god they were air conditioned! These last-minute change of plan things can either go really bad or really well. Luckily, the day went brilliantly. Everyone managed to get there – and Cathy & Donna did see our sign on the Lewisham’s door. God knows what the pub manager thought when he arrived at 3pm (when the Lewisham was finally due to open!)

In the end, it didn’t matter….even baby Liam (who was the star of the day) caused an issue when he arrived since he wasn’t allowed in the main bar of the pub. We promptly picked up our stuff and moved en masse tot he bistro area and put a couple of tables together to accommodate our large group.

Throughout the day people kept turning up…James arrived from his trip to Canberra, Vanessa, Judy & Greg and, of course, baby Liam along with Mum & Dad! It was a really fun day and a great way to stay out of the heat and humidity!

There was a man there (see video) with a rather controversial T-Shirt. I just had to take a photo of it. It said “This is Australia. We eat meat, we drink beer and we speak fuckin’ English!” Ooh, a tad racist but he didn’t seem to be causing any trouble. Just another local I suspect!

Tonight, I’ve finally thrown together a quick slide show/video of pics of the day. The quality of the photos is awful because most were taken using the tragic camera on my Nokia e63. And because they were taken into the light, half the faces are in shadow. Oh well, that’s life – enjoy the vid!

(if it doesn’t play in this window, just click on it and watch it on Youtube)


At the Fritzoneum, Lobethal

David & Ben outside the Fritzoneum

David & Ben outside the Fritzoneum

The day after Christmas, we were invited to go to Lobethal to visit friends David & Ben. They spoilt us rotten with food, drinks, presents, home-baked goodies and more. They also had three lovely little dogs that I just adored.

David & Ben live in this big ‘ole house on a huge block of land in Lobethal which is a country town outside Adelaide. Ben came into town and picked us up and drove us back to Lobethal which was very nice. We also got a life home as well. V.v.civilised!

The big excitement of the day for me was when I found out David & Ben’s home is the very house where Fritz was invented! I zoned out there for a while, I just about pooped my pants with excitement. The House of Fritz. The Fritzoneum. The Museum of Contemporary Fritz? I immediately had visions of escorted tours of the house and busloads of “in the know” tourists descending upon Lobethal to pay homage.

Only very few in South Australia would not have experienced a "Fritz & Sauce" sandwich.

What does Wikipedia say?

Devon is a type of manufactured meat product sold in Australia and New Zealand. It is usually served in a sandwich, often with tomato sauce and can also be fried in slices. Typical commercial preparations list the major ingredient as “Meat including Pork”. It is usually composed of several types of pork, basic spices, and a binder. One popular brand, Primo, uses the same ingredient list for both Luncheon and Veal German, with the exception being the addition of red wine powder to the latter, a more expensive, product.

It is referred to as “Polony” in Western Australia, “Luncheon” in Queensland and northern areas of New Zealand, “Fritz” in South Australia and far western areas of New South Wales, “Belgium” or “Rokeby Roast” in Tasmania and southern New Zealand and “Devon” in Victoria and East New South Wales.

Devon would be classed as “Luncheon Meat” in the UK. It is similar in appearance and taste to boloney. Originally known in some parts of Australia as “German sausage”, this name fell out of favour during World War I when Australia was at war with Germany. Gelbwurst, a Bavarian sausage, is also very similar to Devon.

And what of Lobethal?

LOBETHAL (Meaning Valley of Praise) is set in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, about 40km SE of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

At the close of an open-air Thanksgiving Service on the 4th of May 1842 Pastor Fritzsche, The Founder of Lobethal, quoted the 26th  verse of the 20th chapter of the Second Book of Chronicles: “Am vierten Tage aber Kamen sie zusammen in Lobethal: denn darselbst lobten sie den Herrn. Daher heisset die Stätte Lobethal, bis auf diesen Tag.”

Which in Luther’s translation of the Bible reads:

And on the fourth day assembled themselves in Lobethal: for here they blessed the Lord. Therefore the name of the same place was called Lobethal unto this day”

To this day Lobethal has remained rich in the history of its German pioneers.

The popular smallgoods FRITZ (peculiar to South Australia), was named after Fritz Eisenberg, an early butcher and sausage maker, who first made it in his Lobethal Main Street shop. The shop which was built in the mid 19th century and added to in the late 19th century, still remains and is now a private home.

The famous Onkaparinga Woollen blankets were originally made in Lobethal, and the site is now used as weekend markets, as well as being a Business Incubator.

The Lutheran Manse, built for pastor Dr. Loessel in 1867, was the first two storey built in Lobethal, and is now used as a Christian Book Shop, and teachers residence. Behind the Manse is the original Lutheran Church, built in 1843-1845,for Pastor Fritzsche, and known as “Zum Weinberge Christi”. It is the oldest Lutheran Church, still being used, in Australia. Between the old Church and the Manse is a Museum, which is built over the original Lutheran College, which was built in 1845 by Pastor Fritzsche, and was the first seminary built in Australia. The Museum contains much memorabilia and early artefacts.

The “Lovers Trees”

Behind the church is Pastor Frizsche’s grave and nearby Lovers Trees. It is said that in the early days of Lobethal’s settlement two young lovers were to be married, however a week before the wedding the bride-to-be died, and was buried near the church. The bridegroom was devastated, and pined away, dieing of a broken heart a month later. He was buried next to his wife-to-be and they shared the same tombstone. A short time later, two pine trees began to grow above their graves, with there branches intertwined. Today these two trees still stand as a tribute to their love and are over 65feet tall.

There are many other old buildings and reminders of Lobethal’s history that form a total of 24 locations that can be viewed by following:
a. The Lobethal Heritage Walk (around the town)
b. The Lobethal Heritage Drive (around the surrounding district)


So David & Ben are living right in the middle of all this history…their basement was where the experiments and development of Fritz began. I didn’t go down there but I imagine you could just feel the history. Well, if you were a South Aussie like me! 😉

It turned out to be a really enjoyable day for us – with a bit of history thrown in!


The House of Fritz, Lobethal

Dogs of the Fritzoneum

More Liesbeth in Sydney

It was a very rainy day in Sydney yesterday so we concentrated on indoor activities. Our international visitor wanted to see some contemporary art so we went to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and had a fab guided tour from a volunteer named Caroline. Caroline was just fantastic. After the tour we further explored the Gallery.

Last night we went to the Shakespeare pub in Surry Hills for a trivia competition. Our team was the “Van Demons”. However the best team name of the evening was “Two Gentlemen Requesting Aisle Seats on Qantas but not over the wing.” Classic!

Liesbeth...modern art

it's all art to Liesbeth


Liesbeth outside Art Gallery NSW

Outside Art Gallery of NSW

Liesbeth goes Christmas at Myer

Liesbeth goes Christmas at Myer

Pub Trivia

The Van Demons at Pub Trivia

The old gang gets together again

Last Saturday (October 2), the old gang got together again. More of us than there has been in one place for years. Mark (Marcia), Judy, Greg, Donna, Fran, Big Dave, Grant, James, Cathy, Fran’s new beau Rod and Mr. Peugeot aka Christian.

The venue was Platform 26 next to Central Station (aka Royal Exhibition Hotel). It was a day in the beer garden filled with lots of fun and frivolity and quite a few of us realising that we’re not spring chickens anymore. As time goes on and people get caught up in their own interests, these bigger get-togethers happen less and less. So it was a day just to relax, have a few bevvies and celebrate old friends and shared history. Whilst – in Fran’s case anyway – creating some ‘new history’ (she’s still as wild as ever!)

It also happened to be the day of the repeat of the AFL final in Melbourne. After the previous week’s draw. The game was shown all over the pub, including just above our table! For some reason the eyes of a few of us were repeatedly drawn towards the screen. Nothing to do with all those hot AFL footballers of course.  Nick Riewoldt…amazing!

Nick Riewoldt...AFL Player

A big shout out to Andy, the birthday boy!

The braces are gone!

The braces are well and truly gone. And he’s not a sweet teen anymore. But he is having a birthday.

A wonderful friend, Andy Andrews, is celebrating his birthday today (that’s Saturday in European time). I first knew Andy when he was just 16. In fact, I met his whole family in Nashville, Tennessee way back in 1998. Andy and I drove to Dollywood – a crazy road trip where we got lost on the way – but ended up having a blast. It really is a treasured memory.

Andy is a total class act as a person. I’m very proud to know him. So happy birthday kiddo. (even though you’re not such a kiddo anymore!)

Andy & JudgeG did Dollywood in the 90s!

Okay, so I haven’t updated the site for a while!

King of the nags!

My BSF (Best Swedish Friend) Gustav, sent me a very unsubtle text message overnight about the fact that hasn’t been updated for eons. Nag, nag, nag!

Okay, so I admit I have been slack. I actually have been writing lots of posts in my head…but they never quite get transferred to the computer keyboard. Some really good ones too. Now disappeared into the mists of time. Or drowned in a schooner of Cascade Light!

Plus there’s been soooooo much going on since I got back from Sweden & England. And I was sick for the first two weeks back. So really….make lack of posting is all quite justifiable.

None of that cuts any slack with the Swedish Nagzilla of course. He’s merciless. Now of course I’m feeling guilty because I can’t do a James O’Brien and update my site 8 days a week!

Cos this is my life, my friend….oh god, I’m having an Anna Bergendahl moment! Jeez, she was as boring as bat’s poop in Melodifestivalen this year but won the contest and then sunk like a lead weight at Eurovision. Still, she was fabulous at Stockholm Pride this year. The crowd went nuts. She was overcome with the reaction. So was I actually.

So anyway Gustav, you ole nag…just call me Anna Bergendahl….one day I’ll get back into the swing of updating this thing regularly…one day…

Boat trip to Nacka Strand

On my last full day in Stockholm, Gustav took me on a boat trip from Gamla Stan (The Old Town) to Nacka Strand (where he lives and works). Prior to that I’d been catching the bus – 443 or 71 or even 404 – back to his place where I was staying during my time in Sweden.

The boat ride was a fantastic idea, the views were amazing. It was a cold(ish) and windy afternoon but it didn’t alter my enjoyment of seeing Stockholm from a different angle.

Although the steps from where the boat docked up to Gustav’s place almost put me in hospital!

Gustav and the Judge!

I feel a new (and expensive) block of flats is on the way!

The area I stayed in for 10 days!!!

The evil steps...few have survived them!