beerkend — and s’mother stuff

just looked down at my watch/calendar and realized that we’ve been in the can-berra for exactly a month today. and speaking of cans (and can’ts), and cats and dogs, (yes, dogs) and birds, we have some news. but first the important stuff. the cans.

OK. and bottles.

the truth is, pernille and i, two beerficionados, have been cast adrift in a land where we know next to nothing about the brew scene. so what else is there to do but taste them all, culminating in a big three-day beer-kend. this past few days was the three day labor day weekend in australia, so after a few weeks of this-and-that beers, we had a chance to get down to some serious sipping.

at one point yesterday, pernille said, “i think we’re steadily getting there”. the truth, however, was closer to “unsteadily”.

our conclusion: there’s a great craft brew scene in the neighborhood. pernille is most fond of the dark ales, particularly the white rabbit, which is a hearty quaff, but won’t knock you down. i have a few top picks, “pirates life” being the sentimental favorite because of my past life as a real pirate. (long story going back to my youth in el paso). but the one that has captured my taste buds may be the bent spoke crankshaft IPA, which has just the right mix of hops and octane, weighing in at a pleasant 5.8% ABV.

and now for the news. we bought a car over the weekend. one piece of advice, though. it’s not a good idea to have beer tasting and car shopping on the same weekend. we either bought a toyota land cruiser or a range rover discovery. i only hope we didn’t buy both.

not to worry, though, because the car won’t be ready for delivery until next march or april, so we’ll have time to sort it out. we could have had it in february, but it would still have been a 2020 model. we opted for the 2021 because of the added resale value, even though it means waiting an extra few weeks.

in the meantime, they’ve given us a rental vehicle at a dirt cheap price. it’s a skoda, a czech-made two-wheel drive SUV called a carcass, or a carcan, or some clever SUV name like that. pernille has taken to driving it like a duck to water, but i’m having issues.

when i went to drive it for the first time this afternoon, i got in, sat down, and realized the steering wheel was on the other side. did i feel like an ass? of course not! i pretended that i just had to check the glove compartment, then got out and calmly walked around to the driver’s side. of course i was in the garage so nobody could see me, but it was the principle of the thing.

i drove carefully to the grocery store, realizing that my depth perception and reaction times are not what they were when we lived and drove on the left side of the road in india 30 plus years ago. but i can still handle it. at least to the grocery store.

coming out with a load of groceries (and beer), i opened the car door and lifted the heavy bag onto the floor so as not to have a beer accident in case sudden braking were necessary, as happened to disastrous effect a couple months earlier in our son karl’s brand new car in the US. but as i lay the groceries down, i noticed some suspicious pedals. and sure enough, when i looked up, there was the steering wheel, no more than four inches from my face. driving in australia is going to take some getting used to.

fortunately, there are no photographs of these incidents.

the good news is we’ve had great running weather, and there’s a spectacular mountain ridge park a block away, and on the other side of the mountain, a 10 minute walk, is a gorgeous lake that is 27 km circumference, ringed by a deluxe biking trail.

but there are hazards. not only did i trip over a root and fall last week, scraping the skin off the palm of one hand, but yesterday as i was trudging (running might be a slight exaggeration, especially up the slopes), suddenly there was a wild eruption. without realizing it, i’d stumbled on a pack of kangaroos resting in the forest. as if on cue, they shot to their feet in unison and bounded away, scaring the bejeezus out of me. and of course the galloping herd went straight toward pernille, who was running in another part of the forest, giving her a good scare, too. two for the price of none.

meanwhile, our pet magpie has become a constant companion at our window.

she’s a lovely girl, but thinks she should be an indoor pet. she’s ridiculously personable, and sings to us all the time. it’s hard to tell what the future of this relationship may bring, but for now she’s the “canberrable lightness of being” in our australia experience.

what happens when we get a puppy is another story. it’s premature to speculate when that might be, as the spokeshuman would say. but we’ve got feelers out for a possible border collie mix. border collies are very popular here, and for good reason. they’re among the most intelligent of dogs. the big question is, how well do they get along with magpies? this could get interesting.

next we’re off to sydney for a long weekend. pernille’s got meetings with the staff at the sydney office, and we’ve got plans to get together with chris kremmer and hamish mc donald, two old pals from our india days. more adventures ahead.

and oh yes. pernille reminds me it was a land rover discovery. i’m so lucky to have her to share this experience with.


  1. Scott Saarlas says:

    Great to hear you are getting the most important things out of the way. Beers and cars! I hear they are a good compliment to one another. I suspect it wont be long before we see pictures of your pet magpie riding on the back of your new border collie. Continue the fun!


    1. you’d be a great co-author. we got a good chuckle out of your reply. spending four days in sydney. can’t wait to post about it.


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