Frosty reflections

Frost on the grass near Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum

Frosty reflections on and around Lake Ginninderra

While I don’t count widespread frost as one of the positives from a winter in Canberra, the cold mornings mean still waters on Canberra’s artificial lakes and that means frosty reflections. It’s hard not to admire reflections in still water with a bright pure blue sky.

This morning when I woke it was –6.6 °C (20.12 °F). As I peered out my kitchen window I saw mist gently moving over the surface of the lake. The bright sunlight causing light to flare from the mist in all directions as blinding flashes inside my little flat.

Weather forecast at 6 am

I can see these images every week and I will still delight in seeing them again and again.

As I walked around Lake Ginninderra I reflected on many things. Work, friends, family, wants, needs, the cold, the future…

Frost on the grass near Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum frosty reflections
Frost on the grass near Lake Ginninderra

I pondered new friendships and the enormous joy it brings to meet new people and know that I’ve had some part in bringing them joy.

frosty reflections Reflective selfie while walking past shops on Emu Bank. I saw a reflection of me and stopped and noticed the dome shape of my bald head! Gary Lum
Reflective selfie while walking past shops on Emu Bank. I saw a reflection of me and stopped and noticed the dome shape of my bald head!

This past week has had a couple of significant encounters, one professional and one personal. Such encounters bring meaning to life.

Joy can also be found in the beauty (albeit natural beauty in an artificial construct) of highly saturated colours that come naturally in Canberra with brilliant sunshine through pollution-free skies on a nearby lake.

Then there is the joy in satisfying my desires associated with routines. I walked around the lake twice this weekend. I recorded a podcast. I read blogs. I listened to podcasts. I watched YouTube videos. I shared thoughts and feelings online with friends.

Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
I recorded Medical Fun Facts Ep 75 Bordetella Part II today Gary Lum
I recorded Medical Fun Facts Ep 75 Bordetella Part II today. The show will drop Monday 17 July at 7 pm Canberra time.

Then there are the incidental things. Chocolate. My football team winning (Brisbane Broncos defeated the Newcastle Knights last night). A small piece of beef slowly cooking in my slow cooker and filling my flat with the aromas of onions, celery, carrot, meat and potatoes.

M&Ms and coffee Gary Lum
M&Ms and coffee

Weekends like this, even with the cold, with frosty reflections, are worth living.

Frosty Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra
Frost on the bridge near the Belconnen Skate Park Gary Lum frosty reflections
Frost on the bridge near the Belconnen Skate Park

Tell me, dear reader, do you like frosty reflections?

What brings you joy?

Other posts you may enjoy

How to make the most of 4 nights in Cairns


A simple-minded joy in learning new things in Adobe Photoshop


A simple-minded joy in learning new things in Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a program I’m trying to learn

From time to time I get asked why I like photography, social media, blogging, podcasting and YouTubing. My usual response is because I get a kick out of learning new things, learning how to use bits of hardware, learning new software and basically converting electrons into stuff.

Today I combined a little photography and something I learned in Adobe Photoshop. I knew you could do short video editing in Photoshop but making a video for Instagram has helped me understand better how to use Photoshop.

An embedded Instagram video from my main account.

I learnt a new Photoshop technique today 😃👍 #photoshop #summer

A post shared by Gary Lum (@garydlum) on

Obviously, this isn’t something I can do on my iPhone, I need a desktop or laptop running the full version of Photoshop.

I’m continuously amazed at just how much can be done on a smartphone. If you noticed in the epic post I wrote about my recent holiday I took in Cairns, many of the photographs I posted were edited in Snapseed including the addition of some text.

The same video embedded in this blog post

You basically create a new document making sure you use a square template 1080 × 1080. Add a new layer and move in a photograph. In a new layer add a solid colour, e.g., black and reduce the opacity to between 20 and 30 per cent. In a new layer add some text and depending on how many text elements you want, add more text layers. In the Windows menu select timeline which brings up a timeline with all the layers separated. From there you can edit each layer and review with the scrubber. Then you export to video. Save as a mp4 file and Bob’s your uncle.

What I did today

I ate of course


Butter with some Raisin toast from Everbean Espresso Bar. I do like butter, perhaps a little too much. I also enjoy the coffee from Everbean Espresso Bar.

Raisin toast with butter from Everbean Espresso Bar Gary Lum
Raisin toast with butter from Everbean Espresso Bar


Jalapeño Spam and streaky bacon salad. I cut up a slice of Spam and cut it into cubes. I cooked the Spam with some streaky bacon in the oven and then put a salad together.

Jalapeño Spam and streaky bacon salad Gary Lum
Jalapeño Spam and streaky bacon salad


Naked beef burger with grilled pineapple. The beef mince pattie had a small amount of smoked cheddar cheese in the middle which melted as it cooked.

Naked beef burger with grilled pineapple and a smoked cheese core with beetroot, chilli, lettuce, tomato and celery Gary Lum
Naked beef burger with grilled pineapple and a smoked cheese core with beetroot, chilli, lettuce, tomato and celery

I walked around Lake Ginninderra

A little photography incorporating some bracketed shots which were merged in Adobe Lightroom.

Lake Ginninderra
Lake Ginninderra
Lake Ginninderra

Other posts you may like to read

How to make the most of 4 nights in Cairns


Learning to ride a bike

Best sleep ever

A fish out of water


Footy food round up for the 2017 State of Origin series

#footyfood #origin Chicken Maryland, potato gems and avocado #qlder Gary Lum

So for those readers who live in Queensland and New South Wales, you’re already aware of the State of Origin series’s result. For everyone else, whether you are aware of it or not, my favourite team sport is Rugby League and my favourite competition is the State of Origin clash between Queensland and New South Wales.

There was a lot of hype this year that the NSW Blues were ready to create an upset. Over the last eleven years, Queensland had won ten series. NSW won in 2014, which at the time seemed like a change was imminent, however in 2015 and 2016, NSW just couldn’t do it. In the first game of 2017, the Mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons went down in a heap. There were quite a few star players missing and it really felt like the VB NSW Blues were going to overwhelm us this year. In the second game, the Mighty Maroons played amazing football and evened the score one game a piece. This week we had the third and final game of the series. There was so much hype, commentators and sports aficionados were claiming this was going to be the most important game of rugby league ever. In the end, despite not having a star player like Jonothan Thurston, the Mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons outplayed the hapless VB NSW Blues for all but about 15 to 20 minutes of the 80-minute clash. It was more than enough to blood some debutants and seal as a legendary side the force of Queensland.

As many who know me know, I tend to be a Queenslander first and foremost above all else. I’m still grinning from ear to ear.

But enough of that, the title of this post was a round up of the food I ate for each game. I’ve already mentioned what I’d eaten in game one and game two. For game three, I’d been a tad busy and didn’t really have the time I would have liked to prepare so I went with a very simple chicken and potato combination. Two Chicken Maryland pieces along with the cheesy potato gems (tater tots for my North American friends).

Game 1

State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems Queenslander Gary Lum
State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems

Game 2

Roast chicken and potato scallops from Jamison Takeaway Gary Lum
Roast chicken and potato scallops from Jamison Takeaway

Game 3

#footyfood #origin Chicken Maryland, potato gems and avocado #qlder Gary Lum
#footyfood #origin Chicken Maryland, potato gems and avocado #qlder

Honourable mention

On Thursday night I didn’t feel like cooking so I went to the Jamison Takeaway and the woman serving me was wearing a Queensland Maroons jumper and she was very attractive, so I figure I should also show you what I may have also had for a footy food feast too.

Battered fish and potato scallops Gary Lum
Battered fish and potato scallops

If you’re from North America, do you have a favourite football team?

If you’re from Queensland or New South Wales, which NRL team do you support?

If you don’t care for rugby league, what’s your favourite team sport?

Please share with me in the comments so I can get to know you better.



How to make the most of 4 nights in Cairns

This is the life. Sitting on the back of a boat heading out to Sunlover Reef Pontoon.

The best 4 nights holiday

Cairns Holiday Specialists

This is my holiday journal. I should give you some notice this is a long post with lots of sections, photographs, videos and maps. If you find these stories boring feel free to give it a miss but I’ve broken it up with headings in case something might catch your eye. If you read a place name or name of a restaurant or service and it is an obvious link, I’ve tried to link to Google maps so you can see where the place is and read some reviews. Some of the reviews I’ve written myself. 

I apologise for one of the quirks of this post. If you look through a gallery, when you escape out, you get taken to the top of the post which means you need to scroll back to where to were reading. I’m sorry about that.

If you enjoy a good travel yarn, make a hot beverage or pour a cold one, sit down and I hope you enjoy this behind your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.


If you want to check out my social media activity while on holiday look for the hashtag #warmandmoist on Facebook and Instagram

You can check my Facebook feed at The general Instagram feed is at and all the food social media is at

February 2017

Dr50 who was then Dr49 had planned a birthday lunch in Montville for 02 July and asked if I would attend. This date coincided with the beginning of the last week of the school holidays in Queensland. A seed of a thought germinated. Maybe I could use this as a time for a break and enjoy a short holiday with my daughters.

Cairns Holiday Specialists

After a few phone calls and e-mails, we had drafted a plan. Ms 22 wouldn’t be available but Ms 20 and Miss 16 would be.

We agreed on a week in Cairns with snorkelling and other fun activities. I made bookings for accommodation, the Sunlover Reef cruise and the Kuranda day adventure through Cairns Holiday Specialists. The contact people were really very helpful, even when I made a couple of mistakes with the on-line booking process. An e-mail or two fixed everything. 

May 2017

Dr 49 soon to be Dr 50 called and said the party was off because his daughter (my niece) had a hockey tournament. I explained I’d still fly from Canberra to Brisbane and then go on to Cairns for a holiday.

Me and my brother in about 1980

Friday 30 June 2017

Work at The Canberra Hospital

It was a good day full of interesting results and good interactions with referring medical practitioners along with my pathology colleagues.


With a holiday happening, I was running down things in the refrigerator and vegetable tray.

I went with some frozen pearl barley couscous with bacon. I added a potato, some cream, some cheese, a load of chilli flakes and a big dollop of sour cream at the end. It was pretty delicious.

Spicy cheesy creamy bacon and pearl barley couscous with potato and tomato and dollop of sour cream

Saturday 01 July 2017

With a week away, I had no need to do a lot of grocery shopping. So I went and had a coffee at Everbean Espresso Bar and bought some snacks.

Walk around Lake Ginninderra

When I woke up it was –7 °C as even at 9.45 there was still frost on the ground.

As I came around John Knight Memorial Park I noticed the water fountain was spraying water with no one near it. As I got closer the flow increased. I shot a photograph and was pretty pleased to see a starburst with one of the water drops. Not bad at f/8 and 1/250 seconds.

This water fountain has a mind of its own
This water fountain has a mind of its own

Afternoon shenanigans

I recorded two podcasts and YouTube videos for Medical Fun Facts. Episode 73 is on using amoxicillin for treating sore throats and Episode 74 is a part I on whooping cough (the 74th show drops on Monday 10 July). Please check out the blog which gives you all the details to subscribe to the podcast and/or the YouTube channel. The blog can be found at

Saturday unhealthy lunch

I ate three small jam doughnuts and a bag of chips

Jam doughnuts

Dinner was a pie floater

Herbert Adams Chicken and Leek Pie floater on mashed potato and gravy with semi-mushy peas

This hack is hard to call cooking when all I did was heating things up and put it all together in what was a delicious meal.

Late night call from Qantas

I was in bed, listening to a podcast and at 10 pm received a call from Qantas asking if I’d be willing to defer my Sunday flight to the afternoon. Qantas had oversold the flight by one and the company needed to offload a passenger. I assumed it was because a heap of Canberra people would be heading to Brisbane to watch the Welterweight world title fight at Lang Park. As much as I like watching amateur boxing, I had no desire to watch the boy from Brisbane duke it out with the senator from the Philippines. I really needed to be in Brisbane on time because I had plans, plans to take a drive with my daughters and enjoy some time together. I declined the offer from Qantas to defer to a later flight.

Sunday 02 July 2017

I woke up 4.30 feeling excited about being on holiday and knowing I’d see my three daughters later in the morning. I always feel so happy to see them. I love them more than anything else.

Taxicab drama

I had booked a taxicab to pick me up at 6.15 so I got about making sure the flat was ready for a week of absence, you know, turn off the water to the toilet and washing machine. Pulling out all the electrical cords and cables. Disconnecting the ADSL modem and wi-fi router. The one thing I forgot was to empty the humidifier cartridge in my CPAP machine and clean the nasal prongs. The calcium in Canberra water is something fierce so there will be build up in the humidifier. I will have to soak the silicone nose prongs when I return to clean off all the snot bacteria!

The taxicab arrived at 6.15 and after I loaded my bags into the boot (trunk for American readers) the driver shut the boot lid on my right index finger. It was –8 °C outside, it hurt like a mofo. The skin was broken and finger started to swell immediately. I could move it so I was confident it wasn’t broken but gee I was suddenly in a dark mood. I took some deep breaths and focussed on seeing my daughters and a week away from the freezing Canberra mornings.

I arrived at the Canberra International Airport nice and early to guarantee a seat. I didn’t want to miss out in case a volunteer couldn’t be found overnight.

Business class would you believe?

Would you believe, when I checked in my bag, I was pleasantly surprised with a free upgrade to Business Class? Thank you, Qantas. Business Class meant a good breakfast of poached eggs with soft yolk, pork sausages (snags) and wilted spinach. Also on the tray was some sweetened Greek yoghurt and a Danish with coffee. I was pleasantly surprised that Qantas was able to keep the yolks runny in the poached eggs. Often poached eggs on flights have solid yolks which aren’t as nice the eggs with a nice runny gooey yolk.

Qantas free business class upgrade breakfast. Pork sausages, poached eggs and wilted spinach with a Danish pastry and sweetened Greek yoghurt.
Qantas free business class upgrade breakfast. Pork sausages, poached eggs and wilted spinach with a Danish pastry and sweetened Greek yoghurt.

Cowboys too

It was a good flight but very full with boxing fans and North Queensland Cowboys. The Cowboys had defeated the Canberra Raiders the night before on a really cold evening which should have been an advantage to the cold hardened Canberra Raiders compared with the North Queensland Cowboys who live and train in the tropics where the morning minimum rarely dips below 20 °C. It just shows what a class act the North Queensland Cowboys are. Superior athletes full of football spirit.

Landed early

The flight landed 5 minutes early which buoyed my spirits thinking I’d have more time with my daughters, unfortunately, I waited 25 minutes for my bag at the carousel. It was weird, normally the bags are already being offloaded by the time I get to the carousel. Maybe there weren’t enough ground staff and baggage handlers to get the bags in. I don’t know. I’m grateful my bag finally arrived.

Traffic bad

Why is Brisbane traffic on a Sunday morning so thick? I wasn’t expecting it and it delayed my picking up my daughters so instead of driving to Noosa we elected to drive to Caloundra for lunch and a lazy afternoon.

King's Beach Caloundra, Sunshine Coast
King’s Beach Caloundra, Sunshine Coast

Apple car play

It was so good to see my daughters. It was fantastic driving up the coast, chatting, laughing and having fun. It was a comfortable drive in the little Hyundai from Hertz with Apple car play. This was my first time using Apple car play. It worked like a charm. Siri answered all my questions and Apple maps was very helpful.


On the drive up, Ms20 had an Entertainment book of vouchers and she found a few places which looked good for lunch. After finding a park we decided on “Beau’s” on King’s Beach.

My lunch at “Beau’s” was a pulled pork burrito with hints of Thai flavours. It was pretty nice. I’d have it again. The menu was pretty appetising, so if you find yourselves in Caloundra, give “Beau’s” a try.

Beau's Thai Burrito with pulled pork
Beau’s Thai Burrito with pulled pork

After lunch, we had a nice long walk along King’s Beach and through the middle of Caloundra. It was a lovely afternoon with a cool but not cold sea breeze. I’ve become acclimatised to Canberra so much so that I was able to walk around in a T-shirt and shorts. Towards the end of the walk, we stopped and enjoyed a Gelato before heading back to Brisbane.

The highway traffic was bumper to bumper which wasn’t too bad because it gave my daughters all a chance to have a nap while I drove.

Caught up with Mum and Dad

Late in the afternoon we visited Mum and Dad and took them out to dinner. We went to the new Westfield Chermside food plaza and had dinner at “Pho Vietnamese Kitchen”.

Mum wanted noodles but the two dishes she wanted were sold out. Third time lucky she got fish balls and noodles. Things didn’t fair well for Dad who wanted an apple juice but they were sold out. In addition, Dad’s order got mixed up and he ended up with something he didn’t want. We were told if he wanted a change it would be a 20-minute wait.

My green pawpaw salad was refreshing with a good serving of pork and prawns. I wonder if they had white spot disease.

Green pawpaw salad with pork and prawns from Pho Vietnamese Kitchen.
Green pawpaw salad with pork and prawns from Pho Vietnamese Kitchen.

After the meal, we bought some eclairs from Savour Patisserie and had a cup of tea with the eclairs at my parent’s place. I had the Caramel A-salt (burnt salted caramel mascarpone, popping candy and crisp caramel pearls) which is the second in from the right in the photograph below. These were really nice (a bit gimmicky), but not as good as the eclairs my friend Sarah makes (no link, Sarah isn’t on social media so you can’t hit her up for her amazing eclairs!). 

Savour Patisserie Eclairs from Chermside
Savour Patisserie Eclairs from Chermside

Ms22 went home and I took Ms20 and Miss16 to the Novotel Brisbane Airport for a night before our flight to Cairns the next morning. When I first arranged this holiday my parents weren’t going to be in Brisbane so I booked and paid for a hotel room. When Dr 50 cancelled the party it meant my parents were not going to be with my brother so we could have stayed with my parents. Long story short, we stayed in a hotel room and had fun.

Monday 03 July 2017

Woke up to a beautiful Brisbane morning. Clear blue skies.

Got to the airport and ate breakfast of scrambled eggs, snags and baked beans.

Qantas Club breakfast snags, eggs and baked beans

Flight to Cairns uncomfortable

While boarding I received a call from the snorkelling tour people and our boat trip was now leaving an hour later in the morning. I hoped we wouldn’t miss out on anything.

For the whole flight, the bastard in front of me had his seat fully reclined. It was so uncomfortable. I figure on domestic flights less than three hours, seats should not be reclined.

Landing in Cairns

It’s warm and moist. It’s fantastic.

It’s raining. I’m happy. I can wear shorts and thongs.

Shorts and thongs Gary Lum in a thong
Shorts and thongs

We’re staying at the “Beaumont on Spence”.

Beaumont on Spence, Cairns
Ms20 and Miss16 with locals in the background
Ms20 and Miss16 with locals in the background

We went shopping

We bought a bag for towels and crystallised ginger (to ward off seasickness) and insect repellent (because of mosquitoes) and ziplock bags (to keep water out of cameras and smartphones).

We had dinner at Bobzip Cairns Korean Restaurant

I had the pork katsu, the crumbed pork with mayonnaise and kimchi was pretty good.

Bobzip Cairns
Pork katsu from Bobzip Cairns

Our first night in the Beaumont on Spence was pretty good.

Cairns City Apartments including the Beaumont on Spence

We rented for four nights a two bedroom apartment. The main bedroom had a large en suite and walk in wardrobe which was very spacious for holiday makers. The second bedroom was next to a bathroom with bathtub/shower. The built in washer and dryer were in a convenient space while the living area and kitchen were open plan and well laid out. The room was a bit musty each time we opened the door, but we quickly adapted and on balance this was a great apartment for the cost and convenience. It was a few minutes walk to the esplanade, marina and fleet terminal. It was also close to a slew of restaurants which made eating out a breeze. 

I’d happily recommended Cairns City Apartments to any families wanting to visit Cairns and use the apartment as a base station for adventures in and around Cairns. The staff in the reception area were really friendly and helpful. You need to understand these are not serviced apartments, so while towels and enough stuff is provided to get you through one night, you will need to buy food and soap and other toiletries. This is easy because the Cairns Central shopping mall is just across the road. 

Tuesday 04 July 2017

We all woke up early so we could catch the sunrise on the Cairns Marina. The sky was a little gloomy with heavy clouds.

Sunrise in Cairns with Ms20 and Miss16 wearing long sleeves because they're from Brisbane!
Sunrise in Cairns with Ms20 and Miss16 wearing long sleeves because they’re from Brisbane!

On the way back we stopped at Silk Caffe and had breakfast. I had a chicken bacon brie cranberry wrap.

Chicken bacon brie cranberry breakfast wrap from Silk Caffe
Chicken bacon brie cranberry breakfast wrap from Silk Caffe

After breakfast, we walked back to the apartment to get ready for a cruise out to the Sunlover Reef Pontoon for some snorkelling, sunning and water sliding.

Our start time was a little delayed so we sat in the sun and cloud cover as it alternated and occasionally rained. After a few sun showers, it stayed fine all day.

Here’s a photo of me sitting like Buddha.

Gary as a deity

Check out the cool bag we bought for $2 to carry all our stuff.

Miss16 with a bag
Miss16 with a bag we bought for $2

The cruise out to the pontoon takes a bit under two hours and is broken up by a stop at Fitzroy Island to offload passengers.

Tropic Sunseeker from Sunlover Cruises


The sea wasn’t rough but the swell created a nice roll so that the boat was a “bucket of vomit” by the time we got to the pontoon. I’ve never seen so many sick bags used and I’ve not seen so much vomit in bags. It never ceases to amaze me when people step on board and the first thing they do is have a mug or tea or coffee and some snacks. Little do they realise they do it at their peril. We came prepared with crystallised ginger. They only time, when the puking stopped, was when a whale was seen and everyone moved to starboard making me appreciate even more the modern marine technology associated with modern vessels.

Map showing Cairns Fitzroy Island and Sunlover Reef Pontoon
Map showing Cairns Fitzroy Island and Sunlover Reef Pontoon

A Google map I made with the GPS coordinates from the journey

I’ve noticed some web browsers do not render this map. I know it works in Chrome. Sorry if you’re viewing using Safari or Internet Explorer versions that cannot render this Google map.

While we steamed towards the pontoon I was taken by the amount of expensive camera equipment being carried on board. I also spent time admiring some of the timepieces on the wrists of many of the passengers. The glass with the cameras was a sight to behold, lots of red ringed Canon glass and many fine Nikon full frame lenses. As much as people talk about the move from DSLRs to mirrorless systems, I didn’t see any Sony other than my own, I saw a couple of micro four thirds systems, mostly Panasonic. The overwhelming majority of “memory makers” though were smartphones. It staggers me the penetration smartphones have made into the photography market. What bewilders me is the number of people who I see digitally zooming on their smart devices. Oh, and another thing, I remain amazed by the number of people who use an iPad or similar tablet as their main memory maker. I find it remarkable. Good on them I say for having the desire. I’d be too embarrassed to hold up my 9.7 inch iPad in a crowd. That said, walking around with my Sony α7ii with a 24–240 mm f/3.5–6.3 lens isn’t inconspicuous. I’m constantly impressed at how adept my daughters are with their smartphones, especially their photography and videography as it relates to apps like Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook. They take selfies like professionals and seem to be in constant contact with their friends.

On the wristwatches, I’m no collector or expert, I just like the look of a nice watch.

When we arrived at the pontoon I was surprised (pleasantly) to see there was a Vodafone 4G signal and the strength was pretty good. It would mean Instagram would be possible from the pontoon!

The first thing we did was board a glass bottom boat to look at some coral. It was low tide so we weren’t able to float over coral bommies for a close look. We just skirted around the edges and admired the different types of coral and various fish we saw. Mike, the guide, wasn’t the most talkative bloke. I felt grateful for the similar trips I’d done before and my reading about the Great Barrier Reef from childhood through to adulthood.

After the short glass bottom boat ride, we prepared to go snorkelling. I love snorkelling. My kids love snorkelling. It’s just one of the best things in the world to do if you can. The feeling of buoyancy, the feeling of being engulfed in water as it supports my weight. The feeling of being so close to so much fauna. Coral is just amazing, so many different varieties and so many colours. The fish are also so diverse in size, shape and colour. I’ve previously been snorkelling near reef sharks and never felt danger. I’ve seen a few sea snakes and I am scared of them. I’m not a fan of snakes. We saw a few green sea turtles too.

While I did take a camera with me (not the Sony), I didn’t spend too much time shooting still images or video. I was just enjoying diving down as deep as my lungs would let me so I could explore the coral and see the different types of fish. My daughters were content on the surface, not diving. One day, I’d love to go scuba diving with them. That would be real freedom.

Here is a gallery of photographs I shot while snorkelling. Click on a photograph and a gallery will pop up and you can flick through the photographs.

Here is a short video of what we saw underwater plus some scenes from the rest of the day.

One of the real surprises was that a face mask has a similar effect to wearing reading spectacles. I could see and read the type on the LCD screen of the camera (GoPro Hero5) I took underwater. Another good reason to spend life underwater in my opinion. This reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a friend on Facebook. The gist being, as Queenslanders, we’re more adept to life in the water than life on the land, especially our joints like knees.

Facebook chat with a fellow Queenslander

After the snorkelling we had lunch. The passengers on these tourist cruises are mainly Asian and most of them are Oriental, so Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. There were a few from the subcontinent, but not as many. There was also a good smattering of young American college students on their summer break along with some Scandinavians and Germans. So lunch was a fusion type of buffet. There was rice and pasta and salads and bread. There were also prawns and some cold meats. I really wasn’t that keen to eat rice, bland curries and pasta. I grabbed a handful of prawns, some bread and some butter and made a prawn sandwich. The only thing missing was some nicely flavoured salt and vinegar.

Prawn Sambo on Sunlover Reef Pontoon
Prawn Sambo on Sunlover Reef Pontoon
facebook conversation with a friend about so called deveining prawns.
Facebook conversation with a friend about so-called deveining prawns.

After lunch, we swam, hit the waterslide and lazed in the sun. My youngest daughter took some snaps of me on the waterslide. Have a laugh at this.

Here is a short video of me ejaculating from the water slide.

Ms20 and Miss16 on the deck on the Sunlover Reef Pontoon
Ms20 and Miss16 on the deck on the Sunlover Reef Pontoon
Semi-submersible craft at Sunlover Reef Pontoon
Semi-submersible craft at Sunlover Reef Pontoon
From the Sunlover Reef Pontoon
From the Sunlover Reef Pontoon
Fitzroy Island Great Barrier Reef
Fitzroy Island Great Barrier Reef

The cruise back to Cairns was uneventful and it seemed to be less vomit filled. We arrived back in Cairns close to 7 pm and we were hungry.

Indian food

On the walk from the fleet terminal to the apartment, we pass many restaurants. The Tandoori Oven caught our eye so without cleaning up we walked in and asked for a table for two.

The meal at the Tandoori Oven turned out to be a food highlight of the holiday. We had three dishes, Beef Madras, Lamb Korma and Butter Kitchen along with some garlic naan and plain naan. Each dish was rich in flavour and very spicy. My daughters’ palates have matured well and they really enjoyed the meal.

Beef Madras, Lamb Korma, and Butter Chicken from the Tandoori Oven, Cairns

We went to bed that night feeling very tired but quite sated.

Wednesday 05 July 2017

We woke early and had some peanut M&Ms and coffee for breakfast and walked to the pickup point for our day trip to Kuranda.

Kuranda has a rich history stemming back to the late 1800s with the construction of a railway, coffee plantations, other farming including sugar cane and in the early 1900s, there was some military strategic value to the area.

Train ride up a hill

Our pick up bus took us to Freshwater railway station where we had a thirty-minute wait. There was a tuck shop so we bought a scone, a muffin and a piece of banana bread to supplement the M&Ms!

Huge damper scone

The Kuranda Scenic Train ride from Freshwater to Kuranda via Barron Falls is very scenic, very windy and somewhat informative with an educational narration through the public address system.

Kuranda Scenic Train
Kuranda Scenic Train

Barron Falls is a nice looking waterfall. By no means a Victoria Falls, but who doesn’t like being mesmerised by water falling from a great height.

Barron Gorge
Barron Gorge
Miss16 and Ms20 at Barron Falls Station
Miss16 and Ms20 at Barron Falls Station

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

When we got to Kuranda, we walked around the shops. There are heaps of tourist shops for souvenirs, food, clothes, and bars. There are also some educational bits and pieces like the Australian Venom Zoo and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.

Vanilla Slice at Kuranda Markets
Australian Venom Zoo
Australian Venom Zoo

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary was probably the highlight of the day. We spent a couple of hours in there over two visits. It is just so relaxing watching butterflies. It was interesting watching them chase each other as well as watching how some varieties seem to be attracted to different colours. Some were attracted to white shirts while others to orange shirts.

Here is a gallery of photographs from the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Click on one and a gallery will pop up so you can flick through the photographs.

Army duck

After the butterflies, we went on an Army Duck tour through the Rainforest Station.

This was an amphibious adventure that focussed mainly on native flora and some fauna. Our guide Michael seemed like a good bloke and he made a real effort to get a good laugh out of us. Unfortunately, Australian humour doesn’t always translate well into Korean and Chinese which seemed to be dominant languages in the group we found ourselves in. I marvelled at how these vehicles built in the USA in the 1940s were still mechanically sound. Mind you I think the gearbox only has first and reverse gears. The gradients we ascended and descended were a bit hairy. It was also a little disconcerting that Michael had to turn off the ignition to change gear! That said, I never felt unsafe.

Kuranda Army Duck Experience
Kuranda Army Duck Experience
Kuranda Army Duck Experience
Kuranda Army Duck Experience
Turtle on Kuranda Army Duck Experience
Turtle on Kuranda Army Duck Experience

Ton of fun

We had lunch at the Rainforest Views Restaurant. I had a burger named “Ton of Fun”. The ToF was basically a large juicy cheeseburger with some grilled pineapple, bacon and a fried egg (sunny side up). It would have been perfect with a slice or two of beetroot.

Ton of Fun burger from the rainforest Views Restaurant Kuranda
Ton of Fun Burger from the rainforest Views Restaurant Kuranda

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

After lunch, we took the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway down from Kuranda to Cairns. The cableway has two stops along the way with lookouts from which you can see parts of the Barron River. Sadly we didn’t see any cassowaries.

Here is a gallery of a selection of photographs I shot on the way down from Kuranda to Cairns. Click on one photograph and a gallery will pop up so you can flick through them.

The bus ride from the base station to our apartment was entertaining with the driver sharing stories about local architecture and historic sites. It was good he also maintained Maroon pride and had a gentle dig at the Blues.

Breaking free from Asia and going Italian

After cleaning up and refreshing ourselves, we wandered off in search of dinner. Thus far we’d eaten Asian on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. It was time to break that trend. We found a little trattoria on Spence Street named Bel Paese Trattoria Italian Restaurant. The service was friendly and attentive. I went with crumbed veal parmigiana while Miss 16 had a pineapple and ham pizza while Ms 20 enjoyed a creamy bacon and mushroom pasta. I thought the pizza looked too big but I was assured it wasn’t so I said if she ate it all we’d also find dessert.

Crumbed veal parmigiana at Bel Paese Trattoria Pizzeria, Cairns City
Crumbed veal parmigiana at Bel Paese Trattoria Pizzeria, Cairns City

Pineapple on pizza! Yes or no?

Now some of you may query the wisdom of pineapple on a pizza. Might I remind you that Queensland owes a huge debt of gratitude not only to the Chinese free settlers but also the Italians too. My family owned and worked sugar cane farms and cut cane by hand alongside Italians and south sea islanders. Pineapples grow well in Queensland so I see nothing wrong with pineapple on pizza, for all I know Italians have been doing it for generations in country Queensland.

Challenge completed

Miss 16 finished her pizza and still felt hungry so we wandered around to NITRO LATO.

This place does liquid nitrogen based ice cream. I went with an “Aussie Adventure” which combined Milo and a classic TimTam with a smooth chocolate cream, and a tempered chocolate top. It also came with a syringe filled with chocolate sauce.

I quite enjoyed it.

NITROLATO Ice creams in Cairns City
NITROLATO Ice creams in Cairns City

Thursday 06 July 2017

Sunrise and pancakes

Cairns sunrise
Cairns Sunrise

We again woke early and walked to the Cairns Marina to see the sunrise. It was a gorgeous morning. We stayed a little longer than we did Monday morning and visited Helga’s Pancakes for breakfast. I had a short stack along with a small latte.

Short stack from Helga's Pancake House, Cairns
Short stack from Helga’s Pancake House, Cairns

A Spanish love story

We didn’t have a planned day trip for Thursday but we’d agreed we’d drive south of Billy Slater Land (Innisfail for readers deprived of the greatness that is Rugby League Football) and visit Paronella Park. There’s no way in a simple blog post that I can do justice to the story of José Paronella, a Spanish migrant who came to Australia in the early 1900s and made good working hard labour, buying and selling farms and then settling for a piece of land near a natural waterfall off the old Bruce Highway just outside of Billy Slater Land. He built a castle for his wife and turned it into a tourist spot for anyone who cared to visited and during the years of World War Two, for returned servicemen to enjoy some rest and relaxation with local women. He built a ballroom and a lovers’ lane plus all sort of other trails through the land. Unfortunately, José was not an engineer and didn’t realise the mica-based sand he dredged from the local river bank would not make long lasting construction material. Sadly much of his constructed work has eroded away with time.

This is a gallery of photographs from Paronella Park. Click on a photograph and the gallery will pop up so you can flick through the images.

A natural wonder of Paronella Park is a grove of Queensland Kauri Pine trees donated by the government to the Paronellas to preserve. These trees are magnificent and endangered. When Captain James Cook found Australia and charted it the Queensland coast he found these trees to be perfect for mast making. They are tall straight and strong. The trees in the grove will live for hundreds of years and grow to up to three metres in diameter. They are magnificent. The pattern of the bark of the Queensland Kauri Pine has been used by the Australian Defence Force as a camouflage pattern for some of its combat uniforms.

This is a gallery of photographs from Queensland Kauri Pine trees. Click on a photograph and the gallery will pop up so you can flick through the images.

For lunch, e ate at the tuck shop at Paronella Park. I had a couple of chicken and mushroom filo pastry things. They weren’t very good. Very doughy, but hey, not every meal can be a winner. It didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Paronella Park and the rich history lesson we had learnt.

Chicken and mushroom filo with Ginger beer
Chicken and mushroom filo with Ginger beer

The Bruce Highway between Cairns and Innisfail is undergoing quite a lot of work, we spent most of the drive at about 60 km/h which meant we totalled about four hours driving. It gave me an opportunity to become more familiar with the music my daughters enjoy. It’s nothing like The Angels or Cold Chisel.

Going to our roots

For dinner, we had decided we needed to go beyond Vietnamese, Korean and Indian, we had to go to our own roots, so we went to Taste of China. We started with some pan-fried pork dumplings and then had three big dishes. An FNQ mud crab steamed with garlic, ginger and shallots, deep-fried boneless duck, and lemon chicken with crispy skin.

Pan-fried pork dumplings at Taste of China
Pan-fried pork dumplings at Taste of China
Queensland mud crab with garlic ginger and shallots at Taste of China
Queensland mud crab with garlic ginger and shallots at Taste of China
Deep fried duck and lemon chicken from Taste of China
Deep fried duck and lemon chicken from Taste of China

Ice cream sundae to die for

This meal tasted quite nice, but the service was a little slow and the rice we asked for never arrived. In my opinion, I also thought it was overpriced. Rather than have a Chinese dessert, which is nowhere near as good as European desserts, we went across the road to Woolworths and bought a 220 gram jar of Nutella and a 1 litre tub of honeycomb and caramel ice cream. We also had some peanut M&Ms, so Miss 16 made us ice cream sundaes for dessert back at the apartment.

Caramel and honeycomb ice cream with Nutella and Peanut M&Ms from Woolworths
Caramel and Honeycomb ice cream with Nutella and Peanut M&Ms from Woolworths

Friday 07 July 2017

Banging and grinding with sunrise

I woke up thinking just how much work was waiting for me in terms of e-mails and meetings. I shook off that thought and joined my daughters in what would be our final sunrise in Cairns on the marina.

Sunrise from Cairns Marina
Sunrise from Cairns Marina
Ms20 and Miss16 at sunrise on Cairns Marina
Ms20 and Miss16 at sunrise on Cairns Marina

We ate breakfast at Bang and Grind. I initially thought I would have poached eggs and bacon on some Turkish bread but spotted an almond custard croissant and that desire overwhelmed me. They offered to toast it, I thought, why not.

I’d never had a toasted almond custard croissant before but this was a revelation. It was fantastic and made better by a really nice latte.

Toasted almond custard croissant from Bang and Grind
Toasted almond custard croissant from Bang and Grind
I love that Ms20 likes to photograph food like her old man
I love that Ms20 likes to photograph food like her old man

Checking out

After breakfast we returned to the apartment to clean up, pack and check out. I love that my daughters are so amazing. We had the place clean as a whistle in no time and were early in our final outing.

Posh Italian Knobs

We’d decided to drive to Yorkey’s Knob, have a look around and then drive to Palm Cove Beach for a swim, and then swing back to Trinity Beach for lunch at L’Unico. L’Unico is an Italian place right on the beach, it was suggested by my brother, Dr 50.

Yorkey’s Knob was a nice coarse sand beach with beautiful blue water. We sat and took in the view for about half an hour enjoying what we all agreed was perfect weather.

Yorkey's Knob beach
Yorkey’s Knob beach

The next stop was Palm Cove Beach. This is a resort area and far too rich and posh for my liking. We stayed here for about an hour so my daughters could enjoy a swim and I had a short nap on the beach under the shade of some palms.

Again we marvelled at just how perfect the air felt. It was 27 °C with a slight breeze and my skin feeling healthy.

Palm Cove Beach
Palm Cove Beach
Ms20 and me on Palm Cove Beach
Ms20 and me on Palm Cove Beach
Miss16 and Ms20 on Palm Cove Beach
Miss16 and Ms20 on Palm Cove Beach

After a swim and sleep, we drive south now to Trinity Beach. We found L’Unico and noted the outside tables had a great view of the beach. I asked for a Calamari Caesar salad, Ms 20 had a pizza gamberi, while Miss 16 went with a pizza margherita. These meals were delicious and we all agreed, L’Unico was a highlight of our trip.

L'Unico on Trinity Bay
L’Unico on Trinity Bay
View from L'Unico on Trinity Bay
View from L’Unico on Trinity Bay
Trinity Beach view from L'Unico as we at lunch
Trinity Beach view from L’Unico as we at lunch
Calamari Caesar Salad from L'Unico, Trinity Bay
Calamari Caesar Salad from L’Unico, Trinity Bay
Pizza gamberi from L'Unico, Trinity Bay
Pizza gamberi from L’Unico, Trinity Bay
Pizza margherita at L'Unico, Trinity Bay
Pizza Margherita at L’Unico, Trinity Bay


After lunch, we drove to Cairns airport and checked in for our flight to Brisbane. Little did we know when we boarded what we would have to go through. Before the drama started we had dinner which was falafel and couscous. This was pretty good for airline food.

Qantas Falafel and couscous
Qantas Falafel and couscous

As we approached Brisbane we could see the fog, we made a touch and go attempt and the Captain pulled up and out explaining there was too much fog and rain so we’d have to climb and head to Caboolture to join a holding pattern and wait our turn for another landing. The second attempt failed so we were diverted to Coolangatta airport at the Gold Coast.

We sat on the tarmac unable to dock with an aerobridge because earlier flights into Brisbane had also been diverted and there were no vacant spots. We ended up having to refuel on the tarmac.

It took about forty-five minutes to get into the terminal and then more than an hour to get our bags before boarding a bus to take us to Brisbane Airport.

Why have our bags not been put on this thing?

We arrive at Brisbane Airport just after midnight. We rented a car from Hertz and drove to my parents’ place. I got about three hours sleep and couldn’t fall back to sleep.

Qantas changed my Brisbane to Canberra flight from 8 am to 1 pm which didn’t suit me so I asked to get an earlier flight via Sydney.

Saturday 08 July 2017

So I woke up at 3 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got out of bed at 5.30 and had a chat with Dad about stuff while he was checking his blood sugar levels and making his breakfast.

When I arrived back at Brisbane Airport it was bedlam. I looked up at the board for my flight and noticed there were three flights cancelled and I just hoped my flight wasn’t one of them. Fortunately, it wasn’t. I managed to get breakfast and then boarded a full flight. At first, I was next to an unhappy baby. He and his mother were moved to the back so the mother could have a little more room. Then an unhappy man was put next to me. In a twist, he moved and a flight attendant was seated next to me. She was delightful.

The flight from Sydney to Canberra was a different kettle of fish. I had a dickhead sit behind me. As I was putting my bag in the overhead stowage area he started pushing around roughly to make room for his own bag. Arsehole. When he sat down, he put something bulky in the pouch in the seat in front of him. This led to the passenger in front of him and next to me to turn around and ask him to remove the object. The dickhead refused. He lacked any manners when flight attendants handed him a bottle of water and other service items.

Given the change in flights and the need to go via Sydney with a very short turnaround I really worried my bag would not make it. It’s happened so many times to me.

Oh, the joy, my bag. Hey you, get your mitts off my bag

Back in Canberra

Canberra is not #warmandmoist it’s cold dry and sucking big hairy ones. 

Have you been to Cairns and Far North Queensland?

Please let me know what you thought of this post.


Is my drawing getting any better?

Medical Fun Facts episode 69 Gary Lum

Is my drawing getting any better?

For my podcast “Medical Fun Facts” I do my own art. Is my drawing getting any better? Should I quit doing my own artwork? Tell me the truth.

Before you look at my drawing, check out what I ate tonight on my food blog Yummy Lummy

Over on my medical blog when I started podcasting, I would use stock photographs from Getty. I noticed that even though they were free I was getting problems with my blog navigation. I decided then to draw my own artwork. Now I’ve never been any good at drawing, but needs must as they say.

Some of the early attempts have been pretty crude and that’s crude not just rough and poor quality, but crude as is base and vulgar.

My version of dick pics

Take for instance the cover art for the show on urinary tract infections

Urinary Tract Infections Gary Lum

Then there was the penis drawing for the genital infections show

MFF Genital Infections Gary Lum

How would you draw the 69 position?

More recently there was the special art for Episode 69

Medical Fun Facts episode 69 Gary Lum

Today’s drawings

Today, I recorded two shows. The first was about PANDAS, so I drew a giant pandaMedical Fun Facts 0073 PANDAS Gary Lum

I also did a show on whooping cough so I had to draw someone coughing. Sadly it looks like vomiting. But that’s not a bad thing since whooping cough often causes vomiting too.

I posted a teaser video on Instagram too

Medical Fun Facts 0074 Bordetella Gary Lum

So what do you think? Should I give up the art? Maybe I should focus on photography.

I posted a teaser video on Instagram as well. On the Facebook page, I even got someone with a negative comment.

Photography or drawing?

This is a picture I made today while walking around Lake Ginninderra.

This water fountain has a mind of its own Gary Lum
This water fountain has a mind of its own

What did you do today?

Gary Lum QR Code

Some other posts you may like

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

My warped and twisted mind


2 goes at footy food in 1 week

Chicken thigh schnitzel, potato gems and panko prawns with mashed potato and gravy Gary Lum

2 goes at footy food in 1 week for Origin and NRL glory

2 goes at footy food in 1 week for Origin and NRL glory we Queensland wins game 2 and the Broncos defeat the Raiders on their home ground in Canberra

So while I would normally post food to Yummy Lummy, this post is about the great week it’s been in sport.


Roast Chicken and potato scallops

Three weeks ago, the XXXX Queensland Maroons suffered a defeat at the hands of the Victoria Bitter New South Wales Blues in game one of the State of Origin for 2017.

This Wednesday past was game two. I thought I was going to miss the kick-off because of a meeting I had at Parliament House. Fortunately, I was able to leave at 7.15 pm.

My original intention was to venture to Charnwood and get a charcoal chicken after I had enjoyed a deuce of potato scallops and prawn cutlets.


Enjoyed a couple of potato scallops and prawn cutlets Thanks @cbrfoodie for the advice on getting them freshly fried.

A post shared by Yummy Lummy Gary Lum Food Blog (@yummylummyblog) on

Because of the meeting, I would not have sufficient time so, on leaving Parliament House, I drove quickly and safely to old faithful, viz., Jamison Takeaway.

Roast chicken and potato scallops from Jamison Takeaway Gary Lum
Roast chicken and potato scallops from Jamison Takeaway

I bought half a roast chicken and two potato scallops (what the ignorant and uneducated call potato cakes or potato fritters).

Queensland Glory

After getting back to the apartment, I got ready for the game. I changed into a maroon shirt and XXXX Queensland Maroon’s hoodie. I then set about enjoying the chook and spuds.

The good thing about being late from work was that I missed seeing a lot of the pregame crap like the stupid musical performance by someone or people who I don’t care about. I mean why delay the kickoff when school kids love watching footy. Bring the kickoff back to 7 pm for it’s not such a late night, especially during what may be examination time for some kids. Unfortunately, I did have to listen to someone butcher our national anthem. I’ve said it before, I’ll keep on saying it, get a school choir to sing it and give the kids free tickets for sideline seats.

The game started with a frenzy and going into halftime, the Victoria Bitter New South Wales Blues (aka cockroaches) had a handy lead.

I thought I might have needed an ambulance at one stage. My heart was pounding so hard. I thought I may have had an infarction.

In the end, the Mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons (aka Cane toads) grabbed victory in the last five minutes. Unfortunately, one of our greatest players, Jonathan Thurston, the hero of the game, injured his shoulder and now he needs season-ending surgery.

Game three is on in three weeks. Bring it on.

National Rugby League

Chicken, prawns, gems, mash and gravy

Turn the clock forward to Saturday afternoon. I’d spent the day doing the usual weekend stuff but there was a game to watch at 5.30 pm. It was a Canberra Raiders home game in Canberra playing the Brisbane Broncos.

I’d been thinking of a footy food meal to beat all footy food meals.

Rather than make something from scratch I put together a meal from readily available bits and pieces.

You can check out how I put this meal together on Yummy Lummy.

Chicken thigh schnitzel, potato gems and panko prawns Gary Lum
Chicken thigh schnitzel, potato gems and panko prawns
Chicken thigh schnitzel, potato gems and panko prawns with mashed potato and gravy Gary Lum
Chicken thigh schnitzel, potato gems and panko prawns with mashed potato and gravy

Canberra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos

As is always the case during the Origin period, the Broncos are a depleted team with Origin players being rested or injured. For example, Broncos Captain, Darius Boyd has a broken thumb and is out for weeks.

It was a great game, the Raiders had the home ground advantage. Their supporters did their silly Viking Clap thingee just before 5.30 pm as the sun was setting and the bitter Canberra cold swept through to freeze fans of both teams to their bones.

The lead see-sawed throughout and at times the Raiders looked like they would run away, but in the end, spirit and Broncos grit took over, and the mighty boys from Brisbane prevailed and prevailed well.

The Brisbane Broncos defeated the Canberra Raiders 30:20.

How was your week?

Did you win?

What footy team do you support?

What’s your favourite footy food?

Gary Lum QR Code

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Potato scallops and algebra

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Podcast: Footy season has started again


Learning to ride a bike

Lake Ginninderra Learn to Ride Centre in Belconnen Canberra with the Prisma app Gary Lum

Learning to ride a bike

Medical Fun Facts Hungry

Can you remember learning how to ride a bike? I can. I was about 8 or 9 years old. Some older boys living a couple of houses up had bicycles and they offered to teach me to ride.

It took an entire afternoon and some abrasions to the palms of my hands and to my knees. It wasn’t entirely successful, I needed a few goes.

I got a bike for my birthday

It wasn’t long after I learnt to ride that I was begging Mum and Dad for a bicycle. It took a couple of years but when I was 12 I got a bike for my birthday. It was a fluorescent lime green dragster. That was the style in the day. It had high rise Angel bars, a black banana seat, and a three-speed gear system along with calliper brakes on both the wheels.

BMX modifications

It wasn’t long before I started modifying it. In 1977, bicycle motocross (BMX) was making its way into Australia. I started with changing the forks, handlebars and seat to something not so 1970s and more practical. The next change were those yellow nylon tuff wheels. I started with the rear wheel which meant removing the gear system and installing a coaster braking mechanism. Soon I had a new front wheel too. The big change occurred when I saved enough money for a chromium molybdenum Mongoose™ frame. It was a dark metallic blue colour.

It’s a pity I don’t have any photographs from that era. You’d see me with shoulder length hair, really dark skin and a bicycle transformation that confused, annoyed and at times angered my mother and father. They had bought me a bike. It was a perfectly good bike. The purchase and receipt of that bike meant I was formally allowed to ride on the streets, spend a day in the bush with my mates, and play in traffic. Having something of my own, gave me a sense that I could really make it my own by modifying it and doing things to it.

It marked the beginning of how I would look at other possessions. My second car was a good example.

Learn to ride centre

Why am I writing all this crap? The ACT Government, our national capital’s local council if you will, has recently installed a Learn to Ride Centre near an ‘adventure playground’ on Lake Ginninderra in the town centre of Belconnen on the north side of Canberra. It’s taken months to build. For the life of me, I can’t understand why construction projects big or small in Canberra take so long. In any other state or territory capital, you don’t see things like this taking so long. In other countries, it wouldn’t be tolerated. Who knows? Perhaps it’s the curmudgeon in me coming out.

I hope this Learn to Ride Centre gets well used, this morning I only saw a couple walking their dog through it. At one stage the dog emptied its bladder on a pathway. No kids on bicycles though. 



Lake Ginninderra Learn to Ride Centre in Belconnen Canberra with the Prisma app Gary Lum Learning to ride a bike
Lake Ginninderra Learn to Ride Centre in Belconnen Canberra with the Prisma app

In other news


The cows in the top paddock on Lake Ginninderra amuse me. I like visiting them and saying hello.

A close up of a Lake Ginninderra cow Gary Lum
A close up of a Lake Ginninderra cow
A close up of a Lake Ginninderra cow Gary Lum
A close up of a Lake Ginninderra cow
A selfie with a Lake Ginninderra cow Gary Lum
A selfie with a Lake Ginninderra cow

WTForecast App

Have you tried this app? I’m not sure if it’s available on Android but I am using it on iOS. You can adjust the level of profanity, and it has voice capability too. The so-called Australian voice is a little lame though.

Have you tried the WTForcast weather app? I find it very funny. Gary Lum
Have you tried the WTForcast weather app? I find it very funny.

More photographs

Autumn trees in winter

Lake Ginninderra autumn trees in winter Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra autumn trees in winter

Bollards in Lake Ginninderra

Lake Ginninderra bollards Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra bollards with the Canva app


If you like the Canva App, head over to the Canva Website and check it out. I really like using it.Streaming light over Lake Ginninderra

A bright morning on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
A bright morning on Lake Ginninderra
Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra
Lake Ginninderra Learn to Ride Centre in Belconnen Canberra Gary Lum Learning to ride a bike
Lake Ginninderra Learn to Ride Centre in Belconnen Canberra

Medical Fun Facts

Monday night I’m doing a show on how we squeezed vaginal juice from tampons back in Darwin.

The show drops at 7 pm Canberra time on Monday 2017-06-19! Go to and search for episode 71 after Monday night. It would be great if you subscribed to the show.

Click on the infographic after 2017-06-19 1900 AEST and get taken to the blog post

Medical Fun Facts Episode 71 It wiggles and jiggles and tickles inside you I also mention how we use tampons for vaginal juice Gary Lum
Medical Fun Facts Episode 71
It wiggles and jiggles and tickles inside you
I also mention how we use tampons for vaginal juice

Gary Lum QR Code

Check out these other posts

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

A fish out of water

Are you feeling hungry?

Last night I made chilli chicken wings with ginger, honey and soy.

Click on the infographic and get taken to the recipe

Chilli ginger honey soy chicken wings served with sour cream Gary Lum Yummy Lummy
Chilli ginger honey soy chicken wings served with sour cream
Click on the photograph for the recipe


Canberra is continuing to crush salmonella but not in a good way

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System Salmonellosis rates by state and territory accessed 2017-06-12 (Queen's Birthday holiday) Gary Lum

Canberra is continuing to crush salmonella but not in a good way

Medical Fun Facts YouTube

In March I wrote about the rates of Salmonella isolation and infection in Canberra. This was associated with a few outbreaks associated with food outlets.

Today I was tagged in a meme on Facebook about a combination of salmon and Nutella making salmonella. I thought it was pretty funny, so for lunch, I made a salmon wrap and put a jar of Nutella in the background. A blogger friend, Rebecca wrote on Facebook that she hoped I wouldn’t put the two together.

Salmonellosis in Canberra and Australia

It remains a concern that the rates of salmonellosis remain second only to the Northern Territory of Australia and well above the national average.

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System Salmonellosis rates by state and territory accessed 2017-06-12 (Queen's Birthday holiday) Gary Lum
National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System
Salmonellosis rates by state and territory accessed 2017-06-12 (Queen’s Birthday holiday)

It makes one wonder what it happening in the national capital which boasts of such a food-centric culture.

Salmon and Nutella

Salmon wrap Salmon+Nutella=Salmonella Gary Lum
Salmon wrap

Did I or didn’t I?

Nope, even I couldn’t bring myself to smear Nutella on salmon. I couldn’t even put it on the wrap. Instead, I laid down some garlic aioli then the shredded lettuce then some tomato and then the salmon. On top of that, I added the remained of the tomato and some spicy bits.

It was a great wrap. I needed two hands to hold it and eat it though.

Medical Fun facts

If you check out my other blog and search for ‘salmonella’ you’ll see some interesting posts.

While you’re there, you’ll see I’ve started a YouTube channel to go with the podcast. Episode 70 will drop tonight at 7 pm Canberra time.

Episode 69 was a bit of a highlight.

How do you like Nutella?

My favourite way of eating Nutella is coated around a spoonful of peanut paste. A treat I love is to take a long parfait spoon and scoop up a large ball of crunchy peanut paste and then plunge that into a jar of room temperature Nutella and coat the peanut paste in the hazelnut chocolate goodness and then lick it off as I watch TV.

How do you like your Nutella?

Starting on a positive

Gary Lum QR Code

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

Medical Fun Facts Episode 69 | The microbiology of this sexual position Gary Lum

My 10 reasons for podcasting

Podcasting has been my latest little venture. I’ve just reached episode 69 of Medical Fun Facts. I’d love it if you visited and left me a comment. I’ve included the audio for that podcast in this blog post (see the black horizontal bar at the top of this post). Go ahead and listen or watch the YouTube video below.

Questions and answers Medical Fun Facts  YouTube

Medical Fun Facts Episode 69 | The microbiology of this sexual position Gary Lum
Medical Fun Facts Episode 69 | The microbiology of this sexual position

YouTube video podcast

To mark the number which has become a thing in popular culture I recorded a special show that went a little longer than normal and which also has an accompanying video. It’s been fun doing the writing, audio and now video for the podcast. One of the fascinating things has been doing the artwork. When I started I used free Getty stock images which had a watermark in them. This created a bit of a problem with unwanted messages when trying to navigate the blog. I figured the easiest way to counter this was to draw my own artwork. A couple of my most popular drawings are for episode 54 and episode 51. Please check them out and let me know what you think. Just a warning though, the drawings at NSFW.

Questions and answers

Why do I like podcasting?

It gives me another outlet to express myself.

How else do you want to express yourself? You’re already on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as having a food blog and this blog to share your every thought!

Yummy Lummy and My Thoughts and Stuff are great outlets for my non-professional side but I needed something for the microbiologist and medical practitioner within.

I wanted something a little fun and light hearted, not too heavy and not too complicated.

How did Medical Fun Facts come about?

Would you believe MFF was conceived during the Ebola virus infection outbreak in West Africa? A friend was working in the relevant team and whenever I’d visit she would ask for a medical fun fact. I’d share all sorts of stories from 33 years of exposure to microbiology and medicine. When the response to the potential threat was over, my friend suggested I start a podcast. I don’t think she thought I’d end up doing a show on cunnilingus and fellatio 😂

How easy is podcasting?

It’s easier than you may imagine. While I’m a fan of blogs, I had a Squarespace blog that was effectively working as a landing page for domains I own like and

I did some reading about starting a podcast from within Squarespace and it looked pretty easy. I just add an audio file to the blog post and Bob’s your uncle.

To get the podcast into iTunes and Stitcher, you need to apply. It can take a week for a response, but it’s often only a few days.

What software do you use for each recording?

Up until recently, I was using MAC OS Garageband. Garageband is also available on iOS. It’s pretty easy. I use a USB microphone and do everything in my MacBook. I keep everything on a LaCie external hard disc drive which has a Thunderbolt connection for fast access and so I don’t have my MacBook’s hard disc burdened.

For the last few shows, I’ve been recording video. I’ve tried the iSight camera in my MacBook, a GoPro and a Sony α7s. I think I will use the Sony α7s from now on. The biggest problem with the iSight camera and GoPro has been latency between audio and video. I do the editing in Final Cut Pro X and for the podcast, I export the audio as a mp3 file and pass it through Compressor to reduce the file size. For the video, I save a high-resolution version and pass it through Compressor which converts it from mov to mp4.

How do you cope with poor upload speeds with ADSL?

I hate ADSL. My download is bad and my upload is worse. I’m lucky if I get 0.5 Mbps upload. So I take advantage of my Telstra 4G sim card in my iPhone. The upload speed is much better. Each video file though may be nearly 1 GB so I need to be careful. It’s so much faster though that the ADSL upload.

What sort of reach do you get?

I really have no idea. Squarespace provides some analytics, but I do this for myself. I know I have listeners in the USA and quite a few in Australia. I’d like there to be more and like blogging, I’d like more reach, but this is just a hobby. It keeps me occupied and my mind stimulated.

How do you see Medical Fun Facts growing?

I’m not sure. Now that I’ve done 69 shows, I may take a short break and think about what I want to do. It may be I end this series and go into Season 2 and try a more specific theme. So-called, “Season 1” was a run through the alphabet and a run on diagnostics.

Do you podcast about the work you do in the Australian Public Service?

I avoid the areas that may be regarded as controversial. Apart from that, I focus on material that I’ve learnt and taught over decades. If I get a question about specific policy areas I work on I will ignore them. Medical Fun Facts tends to focus on material from my time as a trainee, my time in Darwin and some aspects of what I do in Canberra at ACT Pathology.

Are there other things you’d like to podcast about?

I’d like to figure out a way to podcast about food and cooking meals for one to help people living by themselves. That’s really what Yummy Lummy has become. A repository of recipes that assist people like me to make a meal that is tasty and nourishing. Most of my meals are relatively quick to prepare and easy to cook. I’m a lazy person, or rather, I try to be efficient. If I can make something easily I will.

What else did you get up to this weekend?

I photographed cows

Do you like Monty Python?

If you don’t like Monty Python, I may not want to like you.

My warped and twisted mind

A fish out of water

An embarrassing story of racism


Comfort Eating Through a Period of Melancholy

State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems Queenslander Gary Lum

Comfort eating and melancholy


Comfort eating is both good and bad. It’s good because it brings momentary happiness and joy, but it is short lived. Comfort eating is often associated with foods that are not generally regarded as healthful either.

Why am I melancholy?

I’m currently feeling a little melancholy. You see, my favourite football team was defeated last night by a team I love to hate. The opposition ended up to be a far superior side in every respect and my team was soundly defeated. Last night was the first game in a series of three, unfortunately, the statistics do not favour us winning the series with the game 1 winner winning the series seventy per cent of the time.

For the last thirty-seven years, this time of year has been a roller coaster. While my team has had its periods of dominance, there have been some very lean years too. I fear we are beginning a period of solemn reflection which might extend for a few years based on the opposition team’s dominance and their players who are at their peak. For my team, there are some older players who are legends, but it may be time to regroup and think of the future. I’d hate to see these stars end their representative days on a low, better to go now and let younger players build their reputations and return our side to the dominance it often enjoys.

State of Origin on Yummy Lummy

Regular readers, especially readers who also follow me on Yummy Lummy, know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re new and especially if you’re not from Queensland, the Northern Territory of Australia, or New South Wales you may still be struggling to have any idea of what I’m on about. QLD, NT and NSW are the dominant jurisdictions across the globe in the sport of kings, the greatest game of all, that is, Rugby League. Not to be confused with Rugby Union (aka Rugby), Rugby League grew out of Rugby in the North of England and it’s found a solid home in the best parts of Australia, viz., Queensland, the Northern Territory of Australia, and New South Wales.

An older post from the old Yummy Lummy blog which provides some valuable context especially on the origin of the affectionate names Cane Toad and Cockroach. Go to the bottom of the post and read about Barry Muir.

State of Origin posts from Yummy Lummy

If you read a few related posts in Yummy Lummy you’ll come across terms like cane toad, cockroach, XXXX and VB. I’ve added a glossary to this post to help readers who are naïve to things the State of Origin.

A quiet start

So last night was unusual. The lead up to the game had been quiet compared with previous years. Over the last decade or so, the NSW team, especially its captain have had a habit of talking big about defeating Queensland. This year, with a change in captain, it has been quiet, I expect deliberately so. There was no extra motivation, no geeing up, no trash talking. New South Wales, also fielded a superior side consisting of some bright new talent along with some older wiser heads. This year, Queensland went in as underdogs, a status, Queenslanders oddly enjoy, especially when they are quietly confident, however, last night, underdog status was very genuine. Even FOGs (Former Origin Greats) from Queensland weren’t speaking with confidence.

An entertainment rant

I need to get something off my chest. Bloody channel nine needs to stop thinking about money and thinking about the ethical, moral and general well being of children. The game starts too late at 2015 AEST. It may be prime time for middle aged men with gambling habits but it’s too late for children who have school the next day. We don’t need a musical interlude with musicians who screech and whose music is too loud, that’s just a waste of time. We also don’t need people singing the national anthem so you can make money advertising the musical they’re currently appearing in. More often than not those clowns butcher the anthem with their wailing anyway. Get a bunch of school kids who love rugby league and a school band and let them sing the national anthem. For good measure, make sure they get to watch the game for free in good seats too. I don’t give a flying fig about some singer in a show that’s playing in some theatre. Can you imagine the joy you could bring to people by having enthusiastic kids playing music and singing the anthem? No, you can only imagine $$$.

Next year can you replace Ray Warren and Phil Gould. I’m sick of the both of them. save some money and get Ben Ikin to do it. He’s better than both of them combined.

Finally channel nine for the sanity of all, get rid of the gambling advertising. It’s pure evil. If people want to bet they will. Your advertising encourages problem gambling.

The game

In the end, it was one of the most exciting games of rugby league ever. The first half was frenetic. The completion rates were the best ever. There was no let up in play. You could see just how tired these superbly fit athletes were getting as they sucked in air. The second half was a nightmare. The usually wall-like defence of Queensland became porous. The men from NSW were clearly better prepared, fitter and hungrier for victory.

While I feel melancholy, I hope the players and coaching staff and administrators in the XXXX Queensland Maroons don’t enter a mental slump. I hope they regroup and use the defeat as motivation to square up the series.

Dear reader, I hope you can appreciate now why I’m comfort eating. Comfort eating feels good now, but I know my trousers will feel tighter tomorrow.

Comfort food

In the lead up to last night’s game, I enjoyed a substantial lunch at a Turkish Pide Restaurant close to where I work. It was a workplace function to farewell a retiring colleague. I have worked with her for about twenty-one years so I am glad I went.

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Turkish restaurants, the servings are always very generous. I was the only bloke in a group of eight and I think I had the biggest appetite and the largest capacity. We ordered the “special banquet” which included breads, dips, zucchini puffs, lamb kebabs, grilled chicken breasts, salad and two Turkish pizzas. One of our party has Coeliac disease so there was extra food. I don’t like seeing food go to waste, especially in a restaurant, so I ate what I could. I would definitely call Turkish pide comfort food.

Game food [Recipe]

As I waddled back to work, I was thinking about dinner. Being a game night, I had already thought through what I would eat. The question in my mind which was now being influenced by negative feedback signals from my endocrine system was, should I? The immediate response was, “of course I should!”

I had already bought the cheerios, puff pastry, Coon cheese and potato gems.

Footy food to me means comfort food that is quick and convenient and which can be eaten with your hands without the need for sophisticated equipment like a knife or fork or spoon. Because the oven in the apartment I rent is broken I had to rely on a small benchtop oven/toaster. Not ideal, but it worked. On the baking tray, I had some baking paper. I cooked the Cheerios in water and then allowed them to cool. I wrapped them in a slice of Coon and then wrapped that in some puff pastry. I brushed the rolls over with egg wash. Next to the puff pastry Cheerio rolls, I spread some potato gems on the baking paper and sprinkled over some grated Coon cheese. I then put all that into the oven at 200 ˚C for 30 minutes. I shot a photograph and then stood up at the kitchen counter and ate it all with my hands. You can find the details here.

State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems ready for the oven Queenslander Gary Lum
State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems ready for the oven
State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems Queenslander Gary Lum
State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems

Post game food

Today for lunch I had leftover curried bacon and Strasburg sausage with rice. I made this last Saturday and had enough for one leftover meal.

Leftover bacon and Strasburg sausage curry rice Gary Lum
Leftover bacon and Strasburg sausage curry rice

Tonight, the comfort eating has extended to roasted chicken wings and cubes of roasted Strasburg sausage with some guacamole which isn’t really guacamole but just some smashed avocado and sour cream mixed with lemon juice and olive oil with some lemon zest. I stupidly ran out of limes which I love.

Chicken wings with Strasburg and cheese Gary Lum
Chicken wings with Strasburg and cheese
Chicken wings with Strasburg and cheese served with lemon avocado and sour cream Gary Lum
Chicken wings with Strasburg and cheese served with lemon avocado and sour cream

Shaking off the feels

So that’s enough for now. I need to shake off this melancholy and get back with it. There will be regular NRL fixtures this weekend to watch and game 2 in the State of Origin series is in three weeks time. Before then I have to pay a debt on a bet I made with friends at work. We now have a ‘tradition’ of betting on games with the winner getting a free chicken schnitzel lunch from a local club. It’s a bit of a win win really, because even though I pay for my friend’s lunch I also get to eat a schnitty and we chat about footy and other stuff.

Star Trek Tuesday

So not to be confused with my Sunday ritual of doing my ironing on a Sunday and watching an episode from a series of Star Trek, to help get me out of this melancholy, I’m going to think about this Tuesday. In the morning, one of my good friends swung by work and gave me a present. It’s a T-shirt with a Star Trek meme. Most people would not realise how often I actually do think about being at the helm, or being Captain, or being the First Officer, or being CMO of any of the starships named Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise. I often dream of being Archer, or Kirk, or Picard.

Star Trek T-Shirt from Rob Cameron Gary Lum
Star Trek T-Shirt from Rob Cameron

Later on Tuesday Jeri Ryan who played Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager, replied to a tweet from Sunday. Jeri was my favourite actor on Voyager.

What no one knows, is on that Tuesday I was wearing gold TOS command socks too (no photograph).


Cane toad

Queensland players and supporters


New South Wales players and supporters


The brand name for the iconic beer brewed in Queensland. When I was a young boy, I lived near the brewery and have fond memories of seeing the lights of the brewery at night light up the four Xs and the image of Mr XXXX. Unkind souls, claim we call it XXXX because Queenslanders cannot spell beer.


The brand name for the beer company that sponsors the NSW team. VB is Victoria Bitter. NSW can’t event be sponsored by a NSW brewery.


These are small Frankfurter sausages. A shorter version of a hot dog sausage. In south east Queensland, they are called cheerios. Everyone knows them as that. You’d be in the delicatessen and ask for a “kilo of cheerios” and you wouldn’t even have to point. The sales person would just know. There is never confusion with a breakfast cereal of the same name. In the unenlightened parts of Australia, they are known as cocktail franks or little boys. Why on earth would you want to attribute a boy’s penis to something you eat and enjoy with tomato (dead horse) or barbeque sauce? I think there is something a little unresolved going on in the minds of people who want to call them “little boys”. When I buy cheerios in Canberra, I have to go through the laborious task of pointing at what I want and explaining that in the enlightened parts of Australia (viz., Queensland) they are called Cheerios.


Now just to be very clear, Coon is a brand of cheese, it’s a tasty cheddar. It’s been called Coon for as long as I can remember and I’m an old curmudgeon. Check out the website

Potato gems

Lately, a lot of friends in the USA have kindly explained why the words “tater tot” are a perfect description for what we call potato gems. I’m not going to argue with my American friends. Their appreciation of comfort food in many ways is superior to our own. I mean, have you looked at how they do sandwiches and tacos!

Final words

How do you feel after your team has been defeated? How long do you feel melancholy? Do you care?

The mighty Queensland Maroons (pronounced marones) have been dominant over the last decade, this could be a watershed for them but in a bad way. It may take me a while to get over this.