Saturday, 21 September 2019

A 2006 Lamont chardonnay

For some inexplicable reason, I have collected a number of 2006 chardonnay from local producers, whilst a couple had moved past their best drinking, this fine example of an aged chardonnay is Lamont from Perth's Swan Valley.

This one we enjoyed in the back garden over a barbecue on a hot day. You could argue that a summer style white wine would or should be a sauvignon blanc or a semillon/sauvignon blanc or sauvignon blanc/semillon blend.

Fortunately, this isn't the first and only wine of the afternoon, there are a number of us at the lunch drinking wine so you really only get a glass out of each bottle, maybe two if you are lucky but you always show up for family with a decent drop. Sure we might get into a little bit of a pissing competition trying to out do each other - there can be no losers here.

According to the tasting notes, they describe this chardonnay as well made, with positive fruit and oak contributions; the origin of the grapes is not shown and not easy to recognise - perhaps no bad thing. But we know Lamont is a Swan Valley producer, so they don't need to list the vineyard on the bottle.

This chardonnay has a nose of toasty vanillin oak indicating this was matured in French oak with a tightly structured drink with tight acidity with the tasting notes identifying cream stone fruit. I really like Lamont chardonnay as this is an old style chardonnay utilising the malolactic process to produce that buttery taste - I love it.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

River transportation on the Rhine

I love to see the inland waterways of Germany used for transporting general cargo. In such a technological advanced country such as Germany, you can bet they have assessed multiple criteria to make a judgement on the economic viability of river transport - you can guarantee that.

Filling the roads full of trucks is an issue, the cost and usage of fuel, congestion, inefficient usage of resources and the potential for accidents with vehicles. The advantages of riverships to transport general goods draws its advantages from logistics principles of bulk cargo, efficient dispatch and centralised centres.

I love seeing the riverships operating on the Rhine, this is a beautiful river that is utilised in an efficient manner transporting not only cargo but people too. The banks of the Rhine are home to villages, vineyards and castles among other attractions. It would be a pretty good job working these riverships up and down the Rhine for a living.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Audemars Piguet is synonymous with quality horological excellence; since its 1972 release, the Royal Oak has been a highly sought after timepiece. What is certainly encouraging for independent brands, Audemars Piguet remains a private company with the founding family retaining a controlling interest in the business.

The Royal Oak is distinctive, there is no denying that, the Royal Oak was the first steel luxury watch nicknamed the jumbo due to its 39 mm diameter, considered large at the time.

The design was ground breaking, I am looking at the Royal Oak from a historical perspective being three years old when the Royal Oak was released. The design was futuristic from an early 1970s perspective, Audemars Piguet may not have known it at the time, but they produced a cult classic.

The octagonal bezel with exposed mounting screws is certainly an acquired taste, for some it may resemble a stop sign on your wrist. The Royal Oak was allegedly inspired by a diver's helmet retaining a space age utilitarian design resembling the space race and subsequent moon landings.

The Royal Oak was also the first of the luxury watches within the sports watch category based on stainless steel and not precious metals as a more industrial design over luxury.

Whilst I just don't get it, what I will concede is the Royal Oak is highly distinguishable; with so many identical designs abounding, the Royal Oak is an iconic design that remains in high demand by collectors and enthusiasts.

This timepiece may have been copied by many; however, this is an original design that retains its originality and industrial design inspiration with others trying to cash in on its success. 

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Circus Animals - Cold Chisel

After the success of Cold Chisel's 1980 album East, their follow up album Circus Animals released in 1982. I would probably rate Circus Animals as my favourite Cold Chisel Album behind East as I feel the whole album is a little more polished that the raw and powerful East.

Cold Chisel, well known for the pub rock blues, I have heard the term boogie blues bandied around, but to be honest, I don't really know what that is. A google search informed me the boogie definition is a blues style played on the piano with a strong fast beat. That possibly makes sense as key songwriter and pianist/keyboards player Don Walker had plenty of influence on the sound of the band. 

As a young teenager knowing nothing of Cold Chisel, I purchased the single Forever Now at my local record shop for $1.99 and was amazed at the quality of the B-side Bow River. Later on I really related to the lyrics of Bow River describing the 12 hour days and "the money I saved won't buy my youth again."

My favourite song of the album was When the War is Over written by Steven Prestwich, described by John Farnham as the best pop song ever written when he covered the song at a concert. Forever Now was the song that got me interested in Cold Chisel, I already knew the most famous Cold Chisel song Khe Sanh, back then, I just didn't know it was them who sang it. 

The songs from the album:
  1. You Got Nothing I Want.
  2. Bow River.
  3. Forever Now.
  4. Taipan.
  5. Houndog.
  6. Wild Colonial Boy.
  7. No Good For You.
  8. Numbers Fall.
  9. When The War Is Over.
  10. Letter To Alan.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

A perfect strategy?

There is no such thing as a perfect strategy, there are no perfect organisations either, I totally agree with Sanjay as I doubt anybody would ever argue that point. 

The crafting and execution of strategy is the pinnacle for many CEOs and senior managers tasked with creating shareholder value. I have often been told you don't need a perfect organisation or strategy, you just need a better strategy and implementation than your competitors - get that right and you will outperform your rivals.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Transiting through Addis Ababa

I am unsure if this is the longest route possible, it was a stopover I could do without but I was still happy to be heading home.

I was boarding an Ethiopian Airlines 787 in Lubumbashi bound for Addis Ababa before changing flights for Singapore and then another Perth. This route has a four hour flying time so I have a couple of hours stopover time before the nine hour flight to Changi Airport.

I have been on site for nine weeks and was heading home for two weeks break. This passport saga had now cost me three days from my break. My return flight to site is based on my normal roster so this delay takes time away from time off site.

I was already overdue for my break as I am on an 8/2 roster and this is further eating into my break time. As I was sitting in the departure lounge, I was aware I was already supposed to be sitting at home so that fact wasn't lost on me.

I had organised family engagements, that was a non event but I have no complaints, this is all part of the lifestyle choices I made when I accepted this overseas contract. I'm tired, I was already feeling the effects of a long swing and I know this trip is going to wipe me out for a few days.

I was surprised when we touched down on the tarmac in Ethiopia, the airport was nothing as I imagined. They have two terminals the airport is way larger than I expected. I had just departed Lubumbashi International Airport and that was exactly what you would expect for an airport in a developing African nation.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

The Omega Planet Ocean METAS certified timepiece

I'm a big fan of Omega, this company has plenty of heritage to draw upon but it is the current models that I really like. The Seamaster line is 70 years old with the Diver 300, Aqua Terra 150, Seamaster 300, Railmaster and Planet Ocean 600 as the current range with 13 or so variations within the Planet Ocean category.

My favourite Planet Ocean is the blue chronograph reference, the deep lacquered blue dial and ceramic bezel insert really sets the timepiece apart from competitors in my view.

Aesthetics aside, the powerplant is the 9900 co-axial movement that is METAS certified as a master chronometer with co-axial technology first designed by George Daniels and implemented by Omega. The Planet Ocean is a big timepiece with a 45.5 mm diameter that sits well on larger wrists but probably wouldn't work for smaller wrists.

The eight tests to attain METAS certification by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology are administered at Omega headquarters in Biel. The METAS tests exceeds the Contrôle Officiel Suisse Des Chronomètres (COSC) certification that the majority of high-end Swiss timepieces comply to meet chronometer certification.

Whilst METAS testing is pretty much an Omega certification, any brand may submit their timepiece for the 10 day certification process.

The eight METAS tests are:
  1. Average daily precision of the watch.
  2. Function of COSC approved movement during exposure to 15,000 Gauss magnetic field.
  3. Function of watch during exposure to 15,000 Gauss magnetic field.
  4. Deviation of daily precision after exposure to 15,000 Gauss magnetic field.
  5. Water resistance.
  6. Power reserve.
  7. Deviation of rate between 100% and 33% of power reserve.
  8. Deviation of rate in six positions. 
Not all Omega timepieces achieve the METAS certification with only the high-end currently seeking such certification although I believe Omega is transitioning all timepieces over to METAS certification.

The Si14 silicon balance spring, otherwise know as a hairspring that together with the balance wheel forms the harmonic oscillator in nonferrous ensuring the balance spring is not magnetised for magnetic resistance.  

The other and older method to protect watches from magnetic fields is to encase the movement in a magnetic permeable cage, usually iron to attract the magnetic field ensuring the movement is unaffected. Needless to say, the Planet Ocean 600 chronograph is well outside of my price range.

I do like to wander in an Omega boutique to try on a Planet Ocean from time to time when overseas to admire the engineering. Unfortunately, this chronograph won't be taking pride of place in my watch collection anytime soon.