Thursday, January 31, 2013


A great event last night at Abbotsford, where head chef Steve 'Jamie Oliver' Flick, worked the colander and pepper grinder in delivering a gastronomic feast of cunning running. The weather was warm, but the breeze made perambulatory conditions reasonably pleasant (and a nice change from the recent stormy wet stuff) as diners gathered at the old quarantine station for the culinary fray. There was anticipation in the air. Dry mouths looked to a nutty amontillado. The BNO wait staff straightened their uniforms and brought forth the nibbles. Barry 'Nat King' Cole was seen with the tip jar. Steve hovered with the carving knife, Terry with the rouge homme - and with 235 guests (plus 20 odd standing) duly registered and seated, service began.

The menu was in landscape format, and of modest colourings. A fine script noted the thirty dishes on offer, and the various temptations that needed a decision. Many were familiar with the head chef's tastes, and were not suprised to see white meat and white chocolate once again on offer (JO had been seen in kitchen with an old recipe from 2007, and thought he would reprise a few of the dishes with a fresher garnish, and a sweeter syrup). So, how did it look? How did it taste?

With the old Nestle chocolate factory site providing a Sprint O setting in the middle of the dish, diners noted the peppering of sweet meats thereabouts, and also the spread of other controls - spaced as though water droplets from a colander - with general approval. Those that had been following Steve's 'Twenty Minute Meal' recipes, liked most of the entrees - especially the fresh blue cod on offer at #13 and the BBQ quail at #17 - but were unimpressed by #19 (park seat pie) - and completely avoided #15 (road junction pizza). Of the appetisers, numbers 5 and 9 were intended for the younger diners, and therefore found little favour with the tip men. The road junction dip at #2 also found few takers (the elderly runner that ran 12-2 thinking he was running 12-20(!!) notwithstanding). Perhaps the nibble that really caught the eye was the fig gelato at #7, a great dish - and a great view!

Moving to the mains, diners seemed to want the lot - and in scenes reminiscent of 'Le Grande Bouff', piled into them big time. The north western trio (22,24,23) were must haves, 21 likewise - as were the delicious pepper steak numbers in the apartment complex. For runners interested in the history here, #26 'footbridge flan' (Nestles) made a nice accompaniment, and contrast, to #27 'top side steak stair' (BHP Wire Works).  In addition to the eight 'must have' mains, broiled park seat (#25) and sliced and pickled 'stair bottom' (28) provided the outliers for those with stomach stapling in mind, or who had bought the doggy bag. It was going to be a night of high scoring - and loud burping.

Looking at the spread of pots and points, there were good circles to be had, with decisions needed in how to chew 16,21,8,11 into an otherwise steady meal. The apartment courses were on all plates, with #29 being the outpost and turn back point for most, and with the lower group (25,1,6,12,3,2) being an easy drop if you had taken too long over the other dishes. This gave you 410 points - interestingly our most common collect with 13 diners. The next two biggest groupings were twelve diners each for 480/490 points, and obviously a result of adding the southern 80/90 points mentioned above (the fresh greens in garlic butter at #12 being a distinctive part of this fuller tummy experience).

Most runners seemed to begin with #22 and the describe a clockwise route - some 24-10-23, some 24-8-23, others still working in #16 early. Being a contrary soul, Pork Pie likes to dine alone, and seemingly running against the tide, began 16,17,1,25 to collect along the lower menu pages, before swooping through the apartments and allowing a feast of points on the run home. In this case 18,21,11,13,23,10,24,22 - but getting back early, seemingly outrunning the similar 2007 loop by several minutes. Sometimes it pays to check the watch - even if this is rude at table.

Everyone loved the Nestles site material, and are thrilled that this area will be remapped at sprint O standard for one of the Monday series. Lots of good flowing reported, but also great discombobulation. Heiko was slowed by the many dishes hereabouts, and had trouble finding the gents after a gravy spill from the 'stair stew' at #29. His IM rivals greatly appreciated his difficulty in the crowded restaurant though, as did other sprint O stars, working well at the 1:10,000 mapping while others had difficulty with the paths (especially at #18) and roads. The stair up to #27 was another classy delivery from Mr Oliver and his mystery meals.

So, in summary, a great menu and great fun. Fish and meat courses, nibbles, crusty pies, Chicken Kiev - and of course the fig and dark chocolate souffle. To run the Sydney Summer Series is to anticipate dinner afterwards (yes, The Birkenhead did deliver) with a light Rose in reward, and the tingle of reward after a great flog. Last night chef Steve delivered dinner during the event. The double whammy!

OK folks, let's put the Blue Nun aside while we check on the scoring.

As you have seen/will see, the head chef delivered throughout the scoring range, with three punters carrying their bats (in a wonderful mixed moment of cricket and feeding). Unlike last weeks great Balmain Basket weaving wonder, scoring was more concentrated - with many enjoying the same dishes as their dining companions (I have noted the bigger groups above). Another factor that also takes the Maitre D's attention is the number of early returns - none more so than Stacey 'Went' West, returning from her post main course nap in 29 minutes. There were also several mid 30's, and Pie Chops has already mentioned his own early to be routine. In contrast, the overtime's were less, with Ian McKenzie walking the 600 in 87.13, and taking the LOC Award (I'm discounting Gails 101.42, because she forgot to clear and check!).

Before we get to some class timings, I always like to see who has copped the cruelest of finishing beeps - and none are as bad as Mal 'Countersigned' Gledhill's 49.01 with the one second denying him the outright win in IM. Well, he and 'Tearaway' both get the ton, so no probs I guess. Good running from these 410 pointers, and good to see TT in top running form again. Other one overs include Tim Austin '7' and Keith 'President Putin' Povah (46.01/47.01 both MM's) and Vet Mark Robinson (a lengthier time spent on his main - at 51.01). We also have a few very relieved 'on the minute' finishers - with Wayne 'Sergeant' Pepper the happiest at 45.00 exactly. Wayne is our course setter next week, so good that he didn't end his hen & chicken dinner last night in a fug - and thinking 'revenge'!! Kenny 'The John' Schaefer and 'The Hawke' flatlined on 46.00 - a minute over, but still enough (in Neil's case) to deliver a Winning Post Port for his troubles. Mr James would most likely have rather he 'ported' before he ran and gone one under the allotted.

So, who cleaned their plates then? In a break with recent tradition, correspondent Rosscoe from Moscow (aka Pork Pie) thought he would look beyond the evenings podium, and probe those that didn't quite. The 'pipped at the posts', the 'downtrodden and overlooked', the 'poor', the 'lame'..."give me your poor..." I think I'm straying to something American here. "Straighten up lad, what on earth are you on about"!!

Sadly, saluting some of the lower orders is difficult in several classes. For instance in SJW we only had 'The Shunter' (350) and Ellen 'Rogan Josh' Currie (260) on the paddock - no 4th place getters there. Likewise in SJM, where, although we had four at table in suitable bibs, a tie for first (Dunk & Adam - 490's!!), with 'Little Sir' Hugh at 460 and Alex K on 420 rounding out the entries, no 4th again. The Juniors are even more thinly represented in the also ran stakes - with only one/two's to report Matty/Jay and Bethany/Natalie). Our lady legends are similarly of rare pedigree, and much in demand when setting high table. Bryony, MJ, Sue and Janet all enjoying the cakes and fruits of Jamie Oliver's labours - and Kate Grenville's excellent production at STC.

Age classes that do have depth are often ones that only have a (vanilla) wafer between talents. Our Open's for example. After the two Andy's and Mark have left their mark, we salute Patrik 'The Gunboat' Gunnerson (4th with 570) holding off Tommy 'Gun' Joss (5th/560) and a couple of big eaters in 6th equal with 550's (James McQuillan/Michael 'The Four Turn Technique' Weiner). Anthony 'Terry' Dowle, one back (540) in 7th place, was ticked off for wearing his 70's headgear at the table, and will be keen not to upset the judges next week. In the OW's (after sensational stuff from Gill, Lisa and Clare), we saw a tie for 4th with Catherine Murphy and Clare Williams running up 510's. One back with a great run is sister Clare (Murphy), only ten off Catherine 'Parr' and hoping the national O selectors (Henry the 8th et al) will listen up. Great run Clare. Silvia 'Chairman' Teoh takes 6th on 470pts with Amy Harmer a place back with 450. Excellent and selective dining from our Open's.

The Masters also yield packed tables, with tight finishing in the blokes and m'ladies. Apart from Glenn, Richard (best on night with 600 in 42.19), Kar-Soon etc, we very clean plates further down. How about Martin 'Jerry Lee Lewis' Cousins and Pete 'The Yorkshire Dales' Fallows =4th with 520pts, a quartet of runners in =5th and 510pts (Anthony P, Kenny Schaefer, Ross Morrison, Sandy 'Shoe' Smith), and a trio on 500pts - and equal 6th (Wayne, Eric and Laurent 'The Pillow' Billot). David 'The Head' Kricker put the boot in, but ended ten back on 490 - and gets the washing up to do. In MW, Maree 'The Afgan' Bunney and Lisa 'First Stop' Linssen put up 440's to hold 4th from Emmanuelle Convert 'Able' and 'The Real' Julia Clemments (5th= on 400pts) and a triplet of madam's in 6th place (380's) - Lynda Calder, Kirstan Lamont, Louise 'Cat Stevens' Tiller. Feliz Bensan '& Hedges' lights up 7th place with her 290pt post, while casting an eye back at Rachael (510), Antoniya (500) and the 480 girls - and wondering if it was the uncooked mullet tail at #13 that slowed her. Next week Feliz, next week.

Liking what's on the table? Maybe a bit of Vet pie.

I'm noting Graeme McLeod taking 4th with 520, ten on from Mark 'In Irons' Savery and Andy Graham (5th=), and a tie in 6th (Ian 'I Believe in the Market' Clitheroe, Mike Ridley-Smith - 500pts). Jamie Kennedy finished the soup in 7th (490) with Matt 'Mort Bay' Peters working the long sox and after dinner mints for 480 and a tidy 8th on the order of service. Tania Kennedy reprises her run last week with an excellent 4th in VW (420) behind Carolyn, Paula and Sharon. Jan 'By The' Seeho was untroubled in 5th (410, same as her son Jay), enjoying the sea breeze, while Airdrie carded 390 for 6th and Sue Froude worked a tougher pork chop for 360 pts and 7th place. The SV's saw Karin polish the trophy (460), well clear of Kerry Emslie/Helen Murphy (=4th with 380's) and Penny 'The Haystack' Field (5th 270). At the mens table, Wazza is getting back to form with a 4th= run with Ron 'The Banana' Garner (470pts apiece), with a trio in 5th ten back (Lummo, Ian 'Of Cronulla' and 'The Art School'), and David Bowerman making the journey from Green Point to the Abbotsford Arms worthwhile with 450 points and 6th placing. Julian and Martin 'Ned Kelly' Mansfield kept their revolvers from view, gobbling their hen pie with 430 peas in smart time.

Going to the top table we see Legends Ken 'Of Epping' (410), Ernest (400), Dave (370) and Ron (360) fall in behind Rosscoe, 'The Pants' and a nice pudding (with prunes) from Ian Miller (3rd with 420). Tim Cox enjoyed an unusual white chocolate topped muffin for his 2nd in IM, as Brian, Lloyd and Heiko went equal 3rd, and Bruce Stanley (4th, 310pts) tipped the pith helmut at the head waiter (and was duly evicted) was well clear of Bruce Abrahams 250 5th placing. Rounding off as the staff began to clear plates, we see walkers Mel run away with 420 from Jim and Chris (410) a century on from Andy Povah, Matty Morgan (300 in 4th) and Ian's 170. Michelle, Kerryn and Ruth placed in the WaW stakes, with Lelsey, Julie and Alison having to watch - and wait! Not much in this girls!

Finally, a nice report from checkpoint #9. Apparently a family had set up a picnic there, covering the table, and the control with blanket tablecloth. Approaching beepsters found the control by lifting the cloth! The friendly group asked our correspondent to join them. Nice one.

PP is struggling with updated computer and keeps losing this blog, and then finding it again! Fearing this treatise on Sydney's dining habits, and other things gastronomic, might go awol - he roars to the final hurdle. And gives thanks to Steve and the Bennelong crew for such an enjoyable dinner. Great fun, great run - and a full tummy! Very satisfying indeed.

Now to next week, and a return to Penno! This promises to be a sensational, and different SSS experience. We haven't been to Pennant Hills Park for a Summer Series outing for well over 10/12 years, so there is much anticipation in the air. Setter Wayne and the BN crew (again!!) are sure to give us a bit of bush track thinking as we dash beyond the netball and tennis courts. Maybe even some off track stuff?? This was an early Sydney orienteering map, well revised over the years, and always one to offer some excellent navigational challenges. The Pork is already losing hair at the thought of it. Join us as the SSS caravan rolls on - up north this time, and in complete contrast to the last two harbour side symphonies. For those craving a more bushy SSS experience - this is your moment.

Thursday, January 24, 2013



In a huge roll up last night at Balmain, Dr Matt Peters posed a new interpretation of doing laps in the Dawn Fraser Pool. Instead of going up and back, up and back, the good Doc had more circumferential things in mind - going round in circles!

And go round we did. In a grand sweep of this fascinating peninsular suburb we began at Mort, ignored the Snail, shoveled on coal at the Balmain Power Station, swam between the flags, studied 'Pioneer' tied up at White Bay, and marveled at the steam hammer. What a night, what a course, what a dinner afterwards at the 'Dry Dock'.

Lets have a decko at the whole shebang, and look beneath the skirts of this intriguing piece of course setting and the night that saw attendance records smashed - much as they were here last season (257 entries with at least another 25-30 in the group category. Well over 280 nags on the nibble).

First up is the great assembly location - further west of last years biggie, and the better for it. The UR crew were in full branded plumage with humour to the fore at check in (weigh in sounds better). The Banjo lands a portrait sheet with a choice of clue description sizes. A cool evening added to the anticipation, as the string men retired to the Camry to consider the unusual 1:8000 scale - and the centrifugal factor at work in Matt's mind. Punters used to the duck and weave of recent Summer Series offerings, where startled to discover the Doctor had deployed the noose - a complete ring of controls with very little in the middle. If this was a triple hanging at the OK Corral, the rope would need some tightening to deal with prisoners 14,7 and 10 - standing alone and trembling in the middle of the wagon (Pork Pie thinks he hears John Wayne, but snaps awake.....).

The course looked to be one of the smoothest circles yet seen in SSS racing, but did come with a nod to the puff-o-meter (the stairs on Dawn's western flank). All looked very connective however, with an easy to like beginning in the anti-clockwise direction that led one further and further on before confronting a barren return for the medium fitties, or a full circle to the east for the guns and some high scoring. This was seductive setting from Matt, drawing runners ever deeper into a web in the west, and then demanding commitment and a touch or daring to go fully east.

Most ponies jumped from the barrier and headed for #29, working the steam hammer and pool points, before plunging on to the old power station site. Some great control sites on the way in this magic part of Sydney (views from #15 and 24, the superb rotunda at #26, the pump house at 22 and yet more visuals at 21). Top stuff, and points well earned with the steps up and down at 15-4. You either then worked 11,23,25,16 and White Bay, or took a job on less pay via 1,14,7 and 9. Both had their fans, and both rewarding runners with the fascinating surroundings - if not the points.

Another option, and one adopted by 'The King' and the Pork Chop (in a 'brush with fame' moment), was to work east first via #19. Ignoring the hill climb to #10 gave a lower level route to #20 (connecting the streets here needed careful map contact) and a good linkage across the bottom the map to the western fun. The advantage of going clockwise was it gave you lots of point options in the closing stages - unlike those going 'anti'. Many looked at the spread of olive green, the low rewards in the centre, and just said 'bugger it, lets catch the Circle Line'!

I'd say most pots got some action, with possibly #10 being the least visited. There were problems at #5, with the small gap shown n/w not passable. James Lithgow lost time here, intending to run 27-5-6, and madly running south to only get 27-6 - and losing valuable time (not sure why 'The Tractor' didn't back up from the blocked route and loop in from the north??). Another classic to report - the local who complained about the noise of runners using the stairs adjacent to her house at #17! Matt has copped some weird ones over the years, but noisy stairs! Hard to believe.

Let's have a look at some of the scoring - and report an unusual aspect of the evening - the almost complete recording of all possible scores, with only 140 points unloved, and only one wet nurse ministering to #480. Also unusual to see the most popular score (with 12 competitors on the lick) at 510 points - very much higher points than the normal 300's bunching. Eleven runners posted 270 to be the next biggest group, with all other scores getting fewer adherents. This gives the lie to Porkies initial impression - that huge number would end up with the same score (29-21 and back). Good setting Dr Matt.

Claiming the yellow singlet, Richard Green swept the course in 42.34 to hold the 100 from fellow MM's Tim 'Bucktoo' Austin (running in desert fatigues) and Neil 'I've Got A' Lefevre (570's), and Kar-Soon's close 560. Going down the age escalator (something Mr Pie would rather like to do), we see OM star Andy 'Murray' Hill working across court for 600 in 44.46 to take the lollies from Mark Schaefer (590), and Jeremy Fowler/Andy Brown - home in 70's brown suede with 560 apiece. Even further down, we see an exceptional run from Sub Junior Adam Halmy (560 pts) taking the candle from Aidan (520 after the cruelest of one second penalties) and a great run from Hugh 'Grant' Petterson with 510 on the chalk board and a movie offer in the wings. Balmain local, 'The Watering Can', put on 490 in the same category.

The juniors didn't quite match 'The Ham', with Will Kennedy piling on 540 to lead Bjorn 'Borg' Lindqvist and 'The Mattress' by thirty. The girls were also on the fly with Amanda 'Home & Away' Holmgren screen testing 490 points, to shade Adam's sister Bethany (410 and wearing the silver sash). Sadly, there were no SJW's to report, so we now go back up the age ladders - to record yet another fantastic finish from OW star, Gill Fowler - home in exactly 45 minutes (!!) for a sensational 590 points.  Catherine Murphy took silver with 560, shading Lisa 'Sprint The Bays' Grant (540) and Claire 'Big W' Winneck (530 for the Shoppers Friend).

MW racing gets the Members Stand excited, with last night's betting plunge on Rachael 'The River' Povah paying off big time. Rach posted 520 to be well clear of earlier favourite Carolyn Haupt (450), in turn well clear of 'Tracing Paper' on 420 and Kirstan Lamont 'Blanc' (410 points and covered in snow). The vets turned up a tie in the blokes (Greg and Michael - 570's for equal firsts) and in the mares (Marie 'The Washing Machine' Ringer and Caroline 'Rod's On The' Davies - 380's for equal seconds). Paula, not lost on the Tongariro Track, piled on the VW win with 420, and PP notes Tania Kennedy running into bronze with 360. Good scoring from The Marquess of Queensbury Rules.

The Supers had well credentialed winners - Karin (380) from Debs (370) and Dale (320) in the SVW's, and Mel running on from James by ten in the SVM (510/500). Ian 'The Turin' Froude shared third (and the holy water) with Neil Hawthorne (490's) - after Neil, in an effort to shake the Beecroft Bandit, added #1 on the 25-23 squirt (JL going straight), but went over time and forgot to ping #29 on the run in! In the elderly ward, Rosscoe managed a tenner over the Pants in LM (no Steve Flick last night), with Tezza back on 380 - and wishing for more bush. Bryony took another win with 270 over Toni Frank (Sinatra) from BOW club in Perth - sharing the spotlight and the stage with MJ (210's apiece). Finally, Heiko flew for 450 and a win in the Immortals, with Janet claiming likewise, but with a more dignified 240 (claiming from Sue with 210). Brian 'The Bus' Cleland and Mal Gledhill worked the curbside lanes to be back in the depot with 340's - well off The Kincumber Kid's classy total, but a tenner on from Tim Cox.

The walkers were as per programme, with Chris holding Jimmy 'Page' Merchant at bay (350/310), and Michelle doing the same to Wendy (340/270). Something not right about our vet star (and recent open challenger) walking like this. Fans of 'The Bendy Bus' hope injuries will soon ameliorate and we can once more marvel at her extraordinary speed. Ruth 'The Prime Minister of New Zealand' Jacka is also note in the WaW's - with 220 points, and a message to the Queen about butter exports.

Some other stats to fire up the eyelids.

How about some great timing stories. This outing saw six (!) perfect pings, with Rochelle 'Chocolate Box' Cox, Heiko, Bethany, Gill, Tim 'Two Seconds John, Two Seconds' Cox, and Christine 'The Running Shoe' Walsh all home exactly on the minute (no seconds). In the close shaves department, how about a cheer for Martin 'Two Art Schools In The One Name' Slade and Andy 'I Believe' Graham, both carding 44.59! Connie and Ruth Jacka both managed a second more to spare - with 44.58's. Phew! In the groaning penalty corner, Hamish McDonald threw the kilt at the finish banner after carding a plus one second (43.01), and Mike 'Legs' Ward also suffered from his pit stop at 'The London' half way round - finishing in two over (45.02). Cruelty indeed.

Great to see such a roll up. It appears to be a truism with the Summer Series, the worse the parking, the bigger the crowd. Actually, not too bad last night, but I reflect on many other tight ones - Lavendar Bay, Kirribilli etc. Some other random attendees to note. The Russian Ballerina, Antoniya Bachvarova, with a perfect 500 (MW), Dan 'Brown' Bunting, agreeing to an all time record advance for 'The Pork Pie Papers' (400 million), Digby 'The Gardeners Friend' Pritchard, working 300 litres of complete lawn food in VM, Emily and Lucia taking turns with the E stick, and posting 200 Vatican postcards - and Gail 'The Chairman' Barr walking with purpose to the board meeting, 100 points in the briefcase. Great scoring amongst a host of others of course - including our all time record 'over'. How about a round of applause for Rodolfo 'The Cactus' Gonzales scoring minus 920 points after a 161 minute outing! Rodolfo's 250 points and 1170 point penalty are destined for the record books, and well shade Ian McKenzie's all point walk in 92.55 minutes (600 - 480 for 120). Ian, your just not trying!

OK, enough of this, the blogsters must be itching to add comments (something Porkie was somewhat sad to see didn't happen after early january entreaties). A great night with an amazing spread of scoring. Matt's deception worked a treat it seems, and maybe had something to do with his recent London City Chase participation - and take on things 'cunning running'. A top spot, and a map large enough to keep rotating - and maybe get to Snails Bay next season.

Looking forward, we remain in harbour contact with Steve Flick's Abbotsford next week. Steve returns to the initial assembly location at the Quarantine Station buildings, giving us great harbour-side running options with views galore. This is a relatively flattie, so should see some fast time amongst the flash Harry's. Steve is in excellent running form himself, so expect no quarter from the Legend - or any left over chicken. Make it a date.

Looking even further forward, I note the change of venue for round 20 at Vineyard Creek. We are now beginning at Homelands Reserve, Homelands Avenue, Telopea - not at Rock Farm Reserve as advertised.

Finally (Porkie is exhausted and in need of a White Rabbit Dark), I'd like to remind all summer series fans, followers, flogsters and friends, that the series is completely bought about by volunteers. There have been one or two recent incidents of abuse to course setters that really go beyond the pale. Please always reserve any negative comments you may have till after you have cooled down - and then maybe (if you have to) mention them to the organisers, to me, or ONSW Technical Director Andrew Lumsden. And it never hurts to let the course setter know they have done a great job - no matter how hard or easy the course. The magic of the Sydney Summer Series is the great texture we get from a variety of venues - and a variety of course setters. Long may the mix and the madness continue!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Like many other orienteering and SSS fanatics, correspondent 'Pork Pie' will be away in New Zealand immediately after Dave's 'burn' at The Incinerator this Wednesday - running (staggering more like it Pie Face) in the Oceania O Carnival. Given his race calls are usually made close to trackside, the old punter will need to lay the pencil and binoculars aside while he battles the All Blacks, and hope others can report for him. So, to facilitate correspondence about the next three events, SSS bloggers are invited to add reports and comments directly beneath (this Reschs stained note from the furlong post). I look forward to hearing about three great events as the 22nd SSS legs it well and truly into 2013. Porkie will be back inside the Tuza at Dr Matt's Birchgrove Snail fry up.

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