Friday, December 27, 2013


In a rather late race review, Pork 'Sore Head' Pie, has gone straight to the bottom of the SSS champers bucket for inspiration - and finds 'Elevator & Co' with a fine minus thirty. An excellent inspiration to refocus from the turkey and pav, the chardy and Reschs, the sea and the snoring, and attend to matters of state, indeed national, significance - like the excellent event 13 at Woolwich Dock last Monday.

And what an excellent event it was. John 'Le Pantalooney' Anderson returned us to Clarks Point Reserve with a map presentation rather like an arthritic Italy without the boot. A knobbly knee finger of land, jutting, thrusting, weaving and meandering around its central focus - The Woolwich Pier Hotel! ….no, I mean Woolwich Dock, that 18th century engineering marvel sadly out of bounds on the night.

Let's take a closer look.

On arrival at the park (excellent parking), and stepping from the Pontiac fully expecting 35 degrees, 'The Pants' had flicked a switch and produced suddenly cool perfect running conditions. He even whistled up a little breeze to give his tent erection crew a little workout. An amazing change, and a welcome one. Interaction at the trading table left one poorer and richer at the same time. Gone was the tenner, but, to hand was the lower leg map - in full colour and of a landscape disposition. John had worked up the scale to that pensioner friendly 1:7500 offer, and scattered his circles about in a full width throw of the dice. It looked close to a six, with a couple of 'push-on' controls that might tempt and ruin a night, as we see in the best SSS offerings.

After digesting the offer, working the string line and listing the stations to be visited, most runners took an east or west beginning - rather like last week at Georges Heights. A common thread for both was doing all in the east, and working well into the middle pots before returning - perhaps using the 21,14,4,6 area as a turnbuckle, or pushing further to the lower claim of 18,22. These sort of loops led to scoring in the 350/450 area and was a decent reward for doing Wednesday on Monday. The 'stretch' points were generally conceded as the two westerly lumps (12,15,1,30) or, (2,5,16,13), although at least one pair of SSS possums went west instead of the easterly bag. An uncommon decision.

While avoiding the stretch to the two 'lumps' as being a bit too far, adding 27 and 12 to the main bag route already described was probably a good decision if you had the speed - as it was almost flat running. Pork Pie's 6,4 and across to 18,22 might have benefitted from this extra bravado when his back early hit the screen.

One of the potential 'problems' with this end of Hunters Hill/Woolwich is the out and back nature of having to run along the same road - always annoying, but here almost perfectly avoided by 'The Trousers' excellent setting. You could work west via Kelly's Bush, cross over to the Lane Cove view points and then run back the road (21,14,9) before dropping to 11 and the the east - finishing via 28 (we love you JA),7 and the final rip around Clark Park (or the whole thing in reverse of course). Perhaps the flog along to #17 reminded viewers of the old days, but runners with an eye for differentiation, went up one side and back the other! Inspirational stuff.

There was some discombobulation reported in the Kellys Bush tracks (see previous post), with some time poor runners working 6,26 and leaving out #8. Others found 26, but not the direct track junction to #24. One or two also found solace trying to rise or descend from #9 to the road - a difficult and somewhat religious experience. The controls were all well secured, and presented themselves in a sort of nervous innocence for impending thrusts of the dibber. Even old Si's found a friend.

Looking at the course, control #1 probably takes the lonely pot award - with the old Mobil Oil peninsular bag the least attractive loop. Number 30, bottom of hill, number 1, top of hill - you get the idea. There is something nice about the descent to #15 however. Speaking of nice, how about some of the views! The 'poppet crusher' (??) at 24, the seat at #20, #25, 21, 18, 19, and 28 of course - all rewarded the runner carrying a Box Brownie.

So, in summary, an excellent course in a great setting - and with our champion score on the night (Richard Green) being 590 - a picture perfect summer series outing. Let's have a look at a few more facts and figures to round out the report.

Around 185 or so nags on the nibble (169 entries with 11 groups), not bad given the looming festivities. We saw 19 runners post 500 or above, seventeen of them blokes, and two fillies (Gill with 510 and Catherine on 500 - Lisa just ten shy @490). We also had eight competitors going the full 600 sweep, with 'The King' mentioned as the best of them and only 10 seconds over. Another exceptional run from Richard.

Of the age category results, most winners continued recent form, although some by tighter margins (Mark Shingler 20 off 'Burton On Trent', Catherine to Gill mentioned). Steve Flick posted his first entry/win in Legends Men, Andy Povah pipped Anthony 'The Knee' Petterson in WaM, and we saw a couple of interesting winning ties (Wazza Selby and Mel Cox in SVM - 460 pts and Heiko and Ken in IM - 370 pts). I also note the tied score for second (behind 'The Claymore') in SJM of Reece 'The Towbar' Gledhill and Sam Rogers both carding 370's. Duncan and Steve's 430 winning score was also the most popular score with nine runners. A bigger spread of point totals than in recent outings, probably indicating a good spread of control options.

No 45.01's this week, although MM's Vivien De Remy De Coucelles posted 45.02 and probably wished he hadn't stopped for a shandy at the pub half way round. Ian was out for over eighty, Bev for just twenty eight, and Steve Holloway 'Prison' just gets out of jail with a finely timed 44.57. All good servants of the game. I also should note Michelle and Peter Chen here from Dandenong Ranges O club in Melbourne - posting a 280 pt bag, and hopefully enjoying our Sydney style of summer series event.

I began by celebrating 'Otis, Dad and Grandpa', who's 64.34 outing for -30 is right up there. OD&G is one of the great group names that we hope to see more of (as one grandpa says to another) and keeps up a long tradition of enjoying the scenery and not the clock. Some of our groups take things quietly like this, but increasingly, we are seeing good scoring here - Alex and Tristan taking the Group lolly this event with 380 points in a mere 39 minutes. We look forward to more by 'Watt & White' in weeks to come.

Perhaps a couple more names to chew over, this time at the foot of their categories. Barb Junghans (WaW 160) goes 30 under Julie Cossell, Barry 'The Coalminers Daughter' Cole (IM 230) does thirty less than Andy Vesey-Wells, Ross 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' Catteral takes twenty less in SVM from his namesake (and leading Hollywood star) Ross 'The Duke' Duker (280/300), and Scarlett Gill flames forty less than Deb 'The Potato' Noble in Open Women (290/330). Not to be denied, we continue with David 'Sonny Terry' McGhee posting 310 and ceding 60 to Greg Ockenden in MM, Denny Sparling holding out Ernest 'Of Vipers' Windschuttel (230/310) in LM, and Robert Martin giving eighty to Gavin 'Lefty' Wright in the Mens Vets (190/270). Unusually, we also have two ties at the foot of a table, with Liz Bulman and Stacey Bryce both carding 260's in VW, and Ruth Jacka and Adrienne doing the same score in SVW. In tune and on fire - that's the Sydney Summer Series!

Given we are all on the couch (or enviably up at the Christmas 5 Days orienteering in Orange), that's a wrap this week. Not a week of inspired prose or allusion I'm afraid (Christmas has take its toll), but a report none the less. A most enjoyable evening, rounded out for many by the rather deliciously proximal Woolwich Pier Hotel for dinner. The tradition continues! Thanks John and the Garingal crew, youse done good.

Next Wednesday (New Years Day), sees the overindulged rocking and tottering forth to Lindfield and more fun at Fiddens Wharf - with Bennelong's Mark Savery in charge. This is always a good flog, combining the great Lane Cove river, bush track stuff with the odd engagement of puff-o-metre and leafy suburban perve. Marcus Aurelias is sure to have worked a miracle of cunning as we take our new year medicine, and it will be nice to sniff the gum and scrape the sandstone as we begin our second half. Make it a date folks, and dress in shiny lycra. As Leunig said 'I like a lycra life...'


Tuesday, December 24, 2013


SSS Correspondent 'Rosscoe from Moscow' (aka Pork Pie) is struggling into the santa suit, and may be a day or two with his Woolwich Dock post - but, brings you the sad tale of his own run last night - where working a tidy 430 point plan, downloads to find only 400 on the screen???!! What? It turns out Porkie, gliding forth at medium power and working uphill into Kellys Bush, ran from #24 up a bush track and ended up at #8 - without realising he had folded the map across #26. The old fellow, blissfully ignorant of this major miss, continued on via 6,4,18,22 etc and the eastern points to his date with download sobriety. The dope!

Merry Christmas everyone. PP will be with you shortly.

Friday, December 20, 2013


A great evening at the Bennelong Restaurant as six of our Open and Master stars (including Steve Craig home from Europe for Chrissie) managed to demolish the delicious seafood chowder in under 45". The show ponies (Gunnarsson, Ryan, Joss, Hill and Green - in addition to Craig) all worked their spoons and bibs in a clean and thorough sweep of the bone china - 'The King' the fastest of them in 40.29 followed by 'The Gallows' in 40.56. A burp adrift you might say.

This was to be a big night on the nibble with over 200 guests queuing  for a table, and excited to be before the Chowder once again. Head Chef Rachael Povah was ably assisted by Maitre'd Bluett and Sous Chef Cox on the night and the order of service went well - despite an early glitch when menu's went for a car ride. The offer of Moet or Krug while you waited was appreciated by those early and eager diners, calming the growing crowd as memoirs of meagre fare here twelve months ago lubricated conversation.

With the doors finally open, the evenings main course was now at hand. Diners, many dressed in colourful garb (Ian Cameron's orange shoes a highlight), took up the recipe for careful study - some in group conference (tables of four and six common - no tables of eight however) and some in the quiet shade of the Mosman Mens Shed. The portrait sheet was clearly titled and fully listed the thirty ingredients. It looked a hearty dish with garnish and deep juicy sides - and the clean plates of early anticipation ultimately delivered as noted above.

Let's work through Po's recipe and see how the diners fared.

The first impression of the meal was how suited it was to both left and right handed guests. The major ingredients formed a bowl like sweep both left and right of the cash desk, with a twenty point garnish (the flat leaf parsley) to the north and an eighty point exotic 'fresh clam' claim at the bottom of the dish. Only those with deep spoons managed the latter - and three others going 'the clam' but ignoring the quarter cup of cream at #6, and giving us our 590 point punters (Burton of the tap wash amongst them).

Many worked a left hand first slurp - where 2,14,22,15,3,5 eased the stomach into the chewy stuff to come. After quickly digesting five and seventeen, a decision point arose. To drop to #16 (the chopped bacon) before continuing back up and over to 30 and the bush loop, or to go flatter and pull in #18 (the 18 grams of butter - thoughtfully misplaced by a local youth)  before the drop. The latter option was 100 metres longer but flat, and proved the more popular choice. Several diners were noted adding both, and suffered mild discomfort from the post 'bacon' climb.

Once working the bush spoonfuls, things flowed well, with the nice track change to #8 noted approvingly. Diners then flogged across the bay named after the dish, passing upwards past a wedding party suddenly rumpled and crumpled as competing diners panted, sweated and bellowed past. Then followed the climb (many missing the turn off to #13) to the gun emplacement and garnish decision before calling for the bill at the BNO finish flag. Those beginning with a right handed scoop had the additional conundrum of deciding on the garnish early or leaving it till their end game - where the 1(bay leaf) klm out and back needed time up the sleeve or speed to make the two twenty's worth it. Looking at the score sheet it appears many runners were tempted by the white wine and fish stock points only to see the forty so energetically obtained, evaporate when the bill was printed. Rod Parkin was onesuch, and I suspect James Lithgow another (his 500 obtained in 48.20 - thus losing forty).

As noted, we had six clean plates (3 MM's, 3 OM's) after nine diners ran the full offer - including our well credentialed clean bowl man Glenn Horrocks, who lost time after a slight discombobulation at the moved #18, and carded a 47.17. There were probably others that saw the distant eighty (the snapper pieces, the peeled tomatoes, the onion) and, suitably tempted and with a touch of the madman about them, kept on from #18 but paid a late fee at the checkout. The weighty southern gather was just too far for most however, with well over kilometre of dead running down and back - a tough call for those letting out another notch in the belt.

All assembled took on the down and up movement of spoon to mouth that Rachael demanded, with most working the full loops described and accepting the steep hills as just part of the dining experience. A more modest dinner might have foregone the bushy burp (and the southern eighty kilos of prawns) and worked up from 25,7 straight to 16/17 and then back along Bradleys Head Road - or in the reverse - for a scenic evening and around a 300 point final bill. It is interesting to note that three quarters of the field were above the plimsol line like this. All tables and routes included sensational views, with #21 the standout. But how good was running the bush track from 30,10,9,27, across the bay to the wharf (#24), and the great 'garnish' track along to #11 (the peeled and chopped potatoe).

Most diners enjoyed their meals, with only the hardest to please wishing for a tickle of seafood north of Middle Head Road to add more spice to the Chowder. In contrast to Gordy's Gasper last season, the full tum served by Rachael and The Bennelong staff was a welcome change. Hard to find an ingredient that fits the lonely pot, although #6 deep in the saucepan was probably not worth the contours (Burton dropped this one) and would be my vote. Some missed the track change to #8 and raced on (Linda 'The Siesta' I think one of these), and others ignored #3 up on top ('The Pants' one-such as he raced the clock in his clockwise soup slurp). All other checkpoints were well swallowed.

So now, let's interview a few diners as they leave the restaurant and tally a few stats.

A great roll up, with 185 entries (including 15 groups), giving us over two hundred satisfied customers. There were only three tallies below three figures, with most enjoying good point scores - and as we said, well over 75% getting above 300. The three at the modest end all need a salute however, including our shortest time at table award to Marley Lowe (SJW) whose tidy 80 point evening meal was caressed down in a mere 21 minutes. Hiroyuh 'The Hero' Takashima and Samira Bachir are our other two-digit diners - both working reasonable totals, but going past the tables cleared bell as they enjoyed 56 + minutes at their consommé.

Interesting to see there were no late penalties for the first nine runners (probably a record), with 'The Peruvian Playboy' copping the most for his 87 minute walk. Curiously Ian missed a twenty somewhere,  not sure which one (unless he missed the moved #18)?? Our 'Cruel World' award goes to Carol Jacobson with her classic 45.01 annoying but still allowing her a win in LW (Mary Jane adrift by ninety after finding the cream a bit filling). There were a couple of other '01's', but they were within the 45 minute soup course time limit, and sort of don't count. No doubt Joel (44.01) and Emmanuelle (42.01) would have still rather stretched just that little bit harder though. There were also a couple of close calls, with Dan Dohle the pick at 45.00 exactly! Duncan 'Of Dundee' and Claire Winnick also used their napkins in 44.58 and 44.59 posts that bought a tickle of moisture to the brow.

Our most popular point posts during service were 500, with thirteen diners (including six Masters Men - the restaurant's popular bar manager Richard 'Reschs' Pattison the best of them in 39.55), and 460 with fourteen beepsters - and a winning whirl of the soup spoon from OW star Rachel 'The Gourmet' Grindlay at 41" exactly. Unlike the 500 point ponies and their strong MM showing, the 460's were much more democratic, including diners from various age backgrounds - Opens to Legends (a modest reference to your restaurant reviewing correspondent). Others at the long table here include Mike Free (processing the cooled soup in the blender), Linda Sesta (heating gently for five minutes), Stu Dean (adding the bay leaves), Gordy, Bob and Andrew (jointly stirring the pot), and the three Ian's (McKernan, Clitheroe and Cameron) - all working over a medium heat until soft and golden. I've left off Cath Chalmers and the Stodart/McShie Group - but didn't mean to. What a bunch!

Age class winners were all from well to do eastern suburbs families, and performed much as expected - having been bought up eating out regularly. In looking deeper into their wallets, I note Aidan Dawson winning JM with a simply excellent 48.16 all points outing (net 560 and 14th home), Claire W surging to the front in OW with 550 in 45.59, Mary Fein leaving all MW's in her wake with 540 (and three seconds to spare), and Lloyd putting 100 over his brother Mal when it is more commonly the other way round. Great work from these SSS stars, but I should also add to the list the sensational wins from Mel Cox (SVM with 540 ozs of fresh vongole), Michele taking out JW with an even 500, and Ronaldo curling in a 430 point winner in IM.

I also note it is great to see Melissa Thomas from Red Roos Orienteers in Canberra enjoying a night out in Sydney, as did many others without club affiliation. Let's hope these presumably new SSS fans enjoyed their chowder and will front for another course in the greatest after work 'meal' yet devised. I note Freddy 'The Burger' Burghardt the best with 530 in OM, with Pete 'The Falafel' Fallows and Richard Banks (both MM 500's) following instructions, and Phillip Smyth twenty back after finding a bone. Toce Torok (OM with 450), Shrav Malkani (MM 420) and Shaun Locke (MM 410) are other non clubbies working through their main course well, and sure to take up subscriptions soon.

Lots of other good contests and scoring of course (take a decko at Immortal Men, with the top five all close - very close!) - and a great night out with Po's Kitchen. A top spot and one of the Sydney Summer Series most scenic maps, so big thanks to all at Bennelong and their magnificent Seafood Chowder. Very yum indeed!

Chowder Bay was the perfect place for that pre Christmas entree - as we await our main course at The Woolwich Pier Hotel next Monday. Yes indeed, instead of finishing off the season at the Buena Vista, we are pretending next Monday is a Wednesday, and going off to pud and presents with one last 2013 flash dance at Woolwich. John 'The Trouser' Anderson and the Garingal all-stars are bringing you this return to a much loved harbour side area as you squeeze in 'just one more' before the break. Starting from Clarks Point Reserve gives us a change from Dunk's last outing - and brings the famous Kelly's Bush into play again. Expect ferry wharves, exotic real-estate (including the wonderful neighbourly juxtaposition of Treasurer Hockey and Eddie Obeid!!), harbour side and river views, as we dance across the peninsular and back again.

And perhaps a little quiet one at the Pier afterwards. Sounds excellent. Sounds like a plan. Why not join us to wrap the first half of SSS season twenty three. Yay!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


On another warm Sydney evening, Andy Vesey Wells (the 'Moffatt Oxenbould' of the Western & Hills Opera Company), directed a splendid outdoor performance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly at Meadowbank last night. With an all star cast, including Steve 'Anson Austin' Ryan as Pinkerton and Gill 'Elena Prokina' Fowler as Cio Cio San, the specially favoured audience of 200 were treated to a wide range of emotions as AVW made one of this well loved opera's most audacious stagings.

Vesey Wells began with the setting, turning the Meadowbank stage into a perfect representation of Nagasaki and its harbour - complete with naval wharf near control #3 and the embassy buildings at control #11- and rounded off the illusion with a course design that was an almost perfect replica of a butterfly. And for those that enjoy Pork Pie pushing the envelope way too far, we note with approval control #15 (Cio Cio San's age) being located behind the pink striped paper modesty screen in the north west, and somewhat detached from the hurly burly of downtown Nag and its points picnic. More? Well, you could say the map shape was rather like a butterfly net, and the open yellow areas the fabulous markings of the Imperial Japanese Monach - a rare species indeed, and prized by collectors because of this colour and its unique large left wing, small right wing shape.

Being dressed for a first night, and already in the thrall of Giacomo 'Pie', let's set forth in our tux and Blahnik's, and analyse the evening.

The cast sheet for this special Charity (Point) event was a full colour affair in landscape configuration, and was on offer to attendees for a modest $10 donation. Upon taking their seats, guests noted the eastern wing offered 210 points (230 if you added #16), and an almost similar wing shaped amount in the west. The west wing show also included some stretch work where young naval officers, intend on making a call on the Geisha, had to 'put in' a ninety point penance for their troubles. These four controls (7,24,29,14) were beyond most, who, inbound or outbound, peered past #13 and #27, began to quaver, and abruptly turned for more yellow. There was also a flutter further north, with the shops near #30 providing Pinkerton with flower buying opportunities as he awaited introduction to our heroine at #15 by #8 (Goro, well played by Graeme 'Mike Burton' Macfarlane).

It looked a gentle affair without too much need to scratch and string. For those of SSS average abilities, there was a 380/390 - 410/420 point loop around the butterfly wings that was hard to vary. The east side included the 'suck in' (#2), the worth it scenic 'Larry' to #26, and the 'Terry Bluett' award tenner at #4 that was best avoided. After working through 22,20,25 and the 19/28 fun, runners generally ignored number sixteen and raced over the railway to the western 'wing' - looping from 12,5,21,23 to the yellow points homeward bound. If you had time (and many did), there was a four hundred metre dash to #6, or the bolder shopping trip to include 30,8,15 etc already mentioned.

There was little else by way of variation (although many did the above journey in the reverse of course), it being a simple two direction exit sign evening with the course then following line astern - as per Pinkerton's departing frigate. Probably the most scratch work in the programme was how to add #11, with a 3/2/11 loop working for the speedy (and the ramp to #1 immediately questioning memory and ability - an excellent 'sucked-in' placement that screamed don't, don't) - or working it in by going 19/28/11 and then using the road crossing west instead of the footbridge. Ian 'The Brewers Elbow' Miller was one working this light ale route.

The ABC arts programme was on hand to record impressions of the night, and files the following 'stage door' report.

In contrast to last week, Andy's opera saw 129 of the 185 actual entries post 300 or more - with 59 A Reserve seats going over 400. Our star tenor, Steve Ryan, once again took the first curtain call with 580 in 46.52 (560 net) to hold a tenner from fellow OM star Andy Hill (550). Our leading 'all roles' baritone, Glenn Horrocks, was one of five all ports singers, posting his 600 in 50.25 to take third prize - and with another tenner back to fellow MM Richard Green 'Room' on 530. Of interest, our other three 600 songsters were all at the foot of the programme - Ian McKenzie (113.29 for minus 90) taking the deeper bow from Ulf Stigen (94.46) and Graeme Hill (91.32). Splendid work boys, and great to see Graeme about his work again.

Age group winners were mostly as per programme once again, although we note; Louise Brierty taking the MW title, the tie between Janet & Sue in IW (240 points after both back slightly late), and Rebecca George winning in SJW. Aidan and Michele Dawson had handsome JM/JW wins (480/390 and both back early), with, by contrast, Dunk winning SJM in much more modest fashion than is usual with 'only' 380. As noted in the opera guide, once a route was well underway, there were few add-on options if you suddenly saw old father time had gone slow on you.

In the timing department, Helen Murphy (a splendid Suzuki) gets things perfectly right once again (!) with an exact 45 minute performance. John Bulman (VM) looks like our only .01 over cast member, although we are talking well over, with his 50.01 reducing his 460 somewhat - and no real close shaves. Darren Li (playing Yamadori for the first time) gets close though, with 44.56 and a 310 point post finding favour with the well coiffured ladies in row D.

Let me see. Perhaps a run through a few other notables in the audience.

A very modest score is noted from OM star Mark Schaefer (200), although the addition of 'group' beside the list of sponsors and donors could be behind this. Pork Pie also notes a return to first night running from Sir Ronald of Terry Hills (working 42" for his 330 points and being forced to queue for the after party dinner at the West Ryde), Gerry Wong back on the burst (one of the elders of Sydney orienteering and the WHO club - great to see him back), Chris Crane looking in much better health at the download bar, and Thuy Ho (OW 190 points) preparing for a repetitive sir name christmas. 'Chest Fever' looked good with 490 (MM) - sneaking ten from Richard Morris and Sandy 'Beach' Smith in the same age class, and from BenneGo respectively, with Kar-Soon 'Not Made Here' a further ten adrift on 470.

Wazza is speeding up at last, although Mel landed the more important role - and goes home on 450 to his understudies 440. Neil, again, has taken a more minor role (Sharpless) and contends himself with an early back 410 - as does your senior 'culture writer' in LM (probably thanks to Ted going astray at the bridge above #28, as he was moving with purpose and pace in the early stages). Ian Cameron piles on a nice 420 in SVM, Tim & Dazza worked the morning show for 460's, Lisa managed a clearer signal from the US consul and posted 470, with Claire 'Of Hardy's Bay' back twenty after losing ten by fourteen seconds. Tania Kennedy had another good run with 380, to be only twenty behind VW leader Robin Cameron, and holding ten over Linda Sesta, and another ten to project lighting designer, Lisa Lampe.

Of the groups, White & Field have a certain ring (270), Kringas & Naz are noted in the circle (230), J&J Josie are promising to do better next time (120), and Trevor & Seb are after work in the costume department - and have paid 180 points for a look in. Great to see Tearaway Ted on the burst (IM 340, but thirty off Heiko Heiko San), and young Sam Rogers tackling his SJM roles with vigour (ten behind Alastair 'King' George) and not too far adrift of Tall Timbers. Jim Merchant's twenty second over cost him an equal lead in WaM with Anthony P (I can feel you pain Jimmy cried the audience), Margaret Waugh took twenty over Carol in LW, and Garingal's Scarlet Gill posed for the camera with 250 on the clock. There are many other tales and performances worthy of extended reporting, but the ABC is suddenly short of funding and time is UP!

To conclude, our most popular arias were 410 (sung by twelve) and 370 (another twelve member chorus), with most other point options getting a moment on stage (well, not 570-600 of course!), so it was a night that went down well. Perhaps not a night of drama, route choices made and regretted, hills not anticipated, or controls hidden - but, it was a most enjoyable outing in one of our favourite theatres. A special feature of WHO productions was the excellent placement and securing of checkpoints - much appreciated by those bent on a swift insertion and perhaps a glass of Moet before act two. Thanks Andy (and Adrian White noted in the programme - who turned out to be the organiser, not the setter), and all the WHO cultural crew. A great night was had by all.

Next week we return to Georges Heights where Bennelong's Rachael Povah is promising 'beach, bush, battlements, beasts and a brae'. Brae?? Hmmm. Sounds excellent, and an (almost) great way to finish the first half of the programme - remembering that we have a final pre-christmas turn out on Monday 23rd at Woolwich Pub (oops, I mean Dock). The Chowder Bay/Balmoral/Mosman flog is our next event, and is always a goodie, with good parking and sensational views. Add the almost sprint like old building stuff around about the start, and you've got me - and I suspect you too. Whoo hoo folks, it sounds like a biggie.




Thursday, December 5, 2013


As Pork Pie hinted in last weeks match preview, Greg 'Hydrocarbons' Barbour did indeed deliver a tough show last night at Roseville's Loyal Henry Oval. With only 56 of the 200 odd competitors making more than the 300 halfway bag (possibly an all time record low), you can see the wreckage, smell the cordite, as 'The Oil Rig' worked the demon blade deeply into the soft body of the Sydney Summer Series. Expecting a challenge, and another dose of the unique 'Big Foot Experience', we weren't disappointed - we got it in spades (or, perhaps using a weapons theme, splades).

There are many interesting stats to report (including one of our lowest ever winning scores), but let's firstly settle into the Roseville Twin Cinema as the lights go down and we set the scene at Summer Series event #10.

In the main theatre SSS patrons had the option of Peter Coleman-Wright (Sweeney Todd) and Judi Connelli (Mrs Lovett) as the felons in 'The Demon Barber of Fleet Street', or perhaps the lighter offering upstairs of Rossini's 'Barber of Seville' - with Jose Carbo as Figaro and the legendary John Bolton-Wood as Dr Bartolo. There were even seats available for those that liked the idea of a bit of both, but had trouble deciding whether to hum or to sing - the 'Barbour of Big Foot' had both planned for comedy, and planned for drama.

The evenings programme was a simple enough affair, A4 in landscape format, and annotated Blue Gum instead of the advertised Sugarbag. The synopsis was a brief one (in magenta) and included the word 'abide' - perhaps a prelude to those that might be singing the well known hymn during their run -along the creek line, and well over time. The cast sheet was also brief, with abbreviations of the main players (mmc,cmc,ms,ps etc), but we all knew the director and his penchant to surprise. The two theatrical experiences looked to be the two Sondheim flogs (UTS or the creek) with Seville street stuff before or after (or in rare cases as a connection), or the more strictly Seville programme with UTS as an add on for those with stronger bladders.

Working the streets and UTS, or working the streets and creeks delivered similar point scores, so it came down to the choice of light comedy or drama. Early returnees (as if from war) and the final results tell the tale, with most of the game ones who worked east (13,22,14,28) and then south to the creek (3,4,5,18,27) feeling Greg's shiff well and truly planted between the shoulders. Although it looked loopy and connected, Contour Kate was to the fore in the south and in the run home, and it was slower running the bush tracks. This opera delivered gristly and often dramatic results - especially for those that went UTS as a finishing flourish.

On the other hand, the street collection with added UTS was much flatter and was favoured by those with more sensible shoes. A good loop here saw the 13,22,14 start mentioned above followed by a sprightly duet (Count Almaviva and Rosina) to 25,7,12,19,6 and then 'The Bowie' knife to the uni before attempting Greg's dreaded uphill 'Dundee' blade and the drop home via 2 and Loyal. A more modest route here dropped the 13,22,14 start for a direct exit to 17,25,7,12 - and probably getting back on time. Something few managed.

There looked to be three dead zones in the collective programme that deterred the older subscribers; the two knife stretches along Eton and Abingdon Roads in the UTS bag, and the circuitous 'Kukri' route via #28 to the Kings, Alexander, Findlay collect where the only pings were mere tenners. Although many did the former (some going for the Bowie twice), I suspect not many went to Nepal. Another unexpected route choice was working directly to Sugarbag Creek from the UTS points - straight down through the green! 'All Stations' was onesuch, spoiling what was reported as an 'ok' route by going all silly into #11 and having trouble with 'Between Cliffs Foot' (Cliff who you may well ask). Dan's green plunge was a bold showing, and reminiscent of competitor expectations at the previous Big Foot outing from Loyal Henry (in 2002) where various bits of untracked bush were streamered. How tame we have become.

So then, an evening in two parts. A drama where ambitious creek and contour work resulted in many being pie meat, or lighter fare in the leafy streets of Roseville - with a touch of uni for those that could run the blades. Looking at the libretto now, Pork Pie still finds it hard to believe the scoring. Three quarters of the field below halfway??!! Maybe we should have a peek backstage.

We see only one 600 point member of the audience - our own baritone Glenn "Teddy Tahu' Horrocks, with 62.07 on the clock for his troubles, and an overall 420 (shared with Patrik, Anthony Dowle and Mark). Steve Ryan wins the Swiss Army Knife with 550 at 49.37 for our solo 500. 'The King' follows with 470, in turn twenty ahead of the returning and speedy Westpac CEO (well the old one anyway) and the Feet's own Andy 'The Breadknife' Brown. There were only 12 runners with scores of 400 or more, with WHO star Andy Hill only just making the cut with his exhausting 590 point claim in 62.19. One wonders at the missed tenner - maybe #2, or maybe #6??

Our age class winners were mostly as expected, but a few show buffs either outperformed or were caught too long at interval chatting and missed the second act. In the former category, how about vigorous applause for David Bray for matching Michael Burton in the VM category (380's), James Lithgow (SVM) for taking the hundred points with a forty point buffer (about time), Ian Big Blue' Miller who ran Rosscoe close in LM with a clean 300 (one of his best results this season), and to Debbie 'Coles & Woolies' Byers for a clean win in SVW (300 and forty clear of Adrienne). Those that perhaps will need to read their lines again include OW star Lisa Grant, who went too wide at 61.14 and only scratched a modest 270, Aidan Dawson (JM) whose 450 run suffered from 150 unopened fan letters, Heiko Schaefer (IM) who had a good plan, but then went awry in the uni, and 'The Hawthorn' footy club, once again gifting SVM mates a round as his creek route dramatic role took longer in rehearsal than imagined (51 minutes plus).

As as addendum to the programme, we see record late penalties swelling the Big Foot Productions coffers. It's not so much how many were late back (heaps, including Mr Resch), but by how many minutes. We had 55 runners incurring 100 point or more debits, including several in the two hundreds, and three hundreds, but we pause in awe of our runner up here - Julia 'I'm Married To Him' Prudhoe for a magnificent 410 point penalty (410-410=0), and our winner, Yang Yang (OW) with her 95 minute plus outing seeing 510-510=0. In fact there were seven zero's, including 'The Dashwood Pass'. Unusual for David methinks.

We only had one .01 'Oh Cruel World' award - Marina with 50.01 and a (still excellent) 340 point post. No one closely just under, although the Big Ben award goes jointly to Jim Merchant and Brook Martin - both home in 45.00 exactly! Amazing timing from 'Bare Rock' and 'Norway, you'd better look out'. Our most common score was 180 points with twelve fans, amongst them we see 'The Lampost' and 'The Ian Thorpe', 'The Captain' and 'The Queensland River', and Rosie & Kath running in group colours.

Some others in the audience worth topping up the champers with, include Malcolm G & Kenny J holding adjacent centre circle seats in IM (winning 280's), 'Le Dunk' with another strong SJM run (360 points), and The Cox's (no, not the map) back on the Nike's and in home territory (Bryony oiling the hip with 170 and back in her seat well inside the intermission allowance, and Timbo working a 270 (IM) and going long almost to the same minute as Bryony went short). Ian left a little sauce on the plate with his 51.47 outing and promised to 'send me an email' (spare a thought Paul!), Bob Morgan will no doubt be carrying the canyoning ropes after his 55+ minute surrender to Mr (Sheen) Finish, and Kashi, Bezi & Sevali work into Opera Chorus contention with 170 tunes remembered. The KBZ team worked close to time and could be on the OA radar.

Did I mention Michele with a blistering 330 win in JW? Or Paula and Mary taking gold in VW and MW respectively (380's)? Or the fact that dinner is looming? Let's slip out of the tux as we wrap the event and look forward to number eleven. Despite the low scores, most workers of the lower leg and puff-o-metre enjoyed their flogs, and had lots to talk about over a Coopers. We sort of knew The Barber of Seville would be a bit more Sweeney Todd, more knife in the guts than rose in the lapel, more 'who gets eaten and who gets to eat'. Nevertheless, it was a great night and beautiful evening. Thanks Greg and Undy and all the Feet (great to see 'The King of the Rock' on hand helping) for another glimpse into the future. Map, think, run. Mmmmm, sounds interesting, might give this a go.

How about next Wednesday then, when Western Hills have been persuaded to bring back the great Meadowbank riverside map for another outing. 'The Paint Tube' is our course setter and will work the foreshore, work the parks, and work the sprint-like apartment fun stuff. 'The Meadow' has the lot. Rivercats, couples in passegiata clutch, artists hoping, fishermen (also hoping) and the unique footbridge over the main northern line to excite the train buffs. We know it's going to be a biggie.    

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