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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Message from an Apostrophiliac

We've just returned from Moruya where we had a beautiful Sunday lunch - and I quaffed a glass (or two) of chardonnay - at the bowling club.

On the way home, we drove behind a huge WINNEBAGO motor home that had "Happy Day's" written across its back. Happy Day's what?

At first I wanted to make a citizen's arrest; however, the chardonnay had sufficiently mellowed me to merely email their registration number to The Apostrophe Protection Society.

Let them deal with this serious infringement of the rules of grammar!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Enough steel to build the Empire State Building

Well, perhaps not quite but 30 pieces of 100mm-channel landscaping posts, each 1800mm long, make a sizeable hole in one's wallet at today's steel prices.

Why build in steel? We Germans like things to last a Thousand Years!

The work has begun, with Troy and Steve Colbrook setting a cracking pace. Even little Gracie is lending a tiny hand.

Six posts cemented in; many more to go!

The K9-3 DINGO makes digging those 800mm-holes child's play.

Still, sipping a cold one while sitting in the shade is always welcome!

Daylight Saving Time

We have been on Daylight Saving Time since the 3rd of this month.

Daylight Saving Time has been a veritable Australian institution as far back as 1916, except for Queensland which only chose to join the rest of the country in 1971 and for a short spell from 1989 until 1991.

They've got different balls up there!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Buchhalternase" - Memories are made of this!

In the days of handwritten T-accounts, it was mandatory in German bookkeeping to bring the end-figures of the left and right side of the ledger to an even keel with the drawing of the peculiarly-but-aptly-called "Buchhalternase" (a "bookkeeper's nose").

It was a required "rites of passage" for a newcomer to the profession to be sent by one's boss to a stationer's shop (whose sales staff had been prepared in advance) to purchase such a "bookkeeper's nose".

And so it was that, shortly after having started my articled years at the tender age of 14, I was standing in a German stationer's shop, earnestly discussing with the very attentive but strangely merry sales staff the shape and size and price of a "bookkeeper's nose".

Several years later, it was my turn to perpetuate this practical joke on young novices. I wonder if similar "rites of passage" still exist in today's computer-age!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Digne Ambulate

Walk Worthily

It's now 40 years ago that I sat for my accountancy examinations with the Commercial Education Society of Australia, gaining my Dip.Ac. (Diploma in Accountancy or Diploma in Acupuncture, take your pick!)

I had just gone up to Papua New Guinea to work as an Audit Clerk for Hancock, Woodward & Neill, a firm of Chartered Accountants in Rabaul. They required me to attain formal Australian accounting qualifications even though I had previously sat my examinations in Germany and also studied, by correspondence course with the Hemingway Robertson Institute in Melbourne, for my diploma with the Bankers' Institute of Australia.

No trace left of the Hemingway Robertson Institute, and no sign of the Bankers' Institute of Australia either. However, the Commercial Education Society is still in business! It will celebrate its 100th anniversary on the 19th February 2011. I have just received an invitation from its President to its celebratory luncheon in Sydney on that date.

Not many associations reach a hundred, so I had better be there!

Perhaps I should start brushing up on my accounting jokes:

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night."
"Have you tried counting sheep?"
"That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it."

Two hearts became available and matched for a patient waiting for a heart transplant. One was from an 18-year-old athlete who died bungee-jumping and the other was from a 61-year-old accountant.
"So which one do you want ?", asked the surgeon.
The patient thought for a moment. "The accountant's", he said.
"The accountant's !?" exclaimed the doctor, "Why?"
The patient smiled "'Because it's never been used !"

A public accountant dies and goes to Heaven. He is met by St Peter and a cheering host of angels.
"Congratulations !" says St Peter.
"What for? " says the mystified accountant
"For living the longest life ever - 147 years old!"
"But I'm only 63 !" says the ever more mystified deceased practitioner.
Immediately the cheering stops and St Peter, with a face like thunder, calls for the angel record keeper.
"What is going on?" roars St Peter to the hapless angel "you told me he was 147 but he says he's only 63!"
The angel thumbs furiously through a large ledger and then announces in a puzzled voice, "But he must be 147, I added up all his chargeable hours !"

The doctor's face was grim as he looked at her. "Madam, I'm afraid you only have three months to live."
The woman was aghast - "What can I do? " she cried.
The doctor was very serious. "I suggest that you immediately marry a chartered accountant."
"Will that cure me ?" she yelled incredulously.
The doctor stared at her and said sternly, "No, but it will make the three months feel like three years."

The Chief Accountant of a large manufacturing concern had the same daily routine: on arriving at work, he would unlock the bottom drawer of his desk, peer at something inside, then close and lock the drawer. He had done this for 25 years. The entire staff was intrigued but no-one was game to ask him what was in the drawer. Finally the time came for him to retire. There was a farewell party with speeches and a presentation. As soon as he had left the building, some of the staff rushed into his office, unlocked the bottom drawer and peered in. Taped to the bottom of the drawer was a sheet of paper. It read, "The debit side is the one nearest the window."

(which just goes to show that nothing has changed since Friar Pacioli gave the world double-entry accounting more than 500 years ago.)

And, finally, here's a little poem about

An Accountant's Life
He was a very cautious man, who never romped or played,
He never smoked, he never drank, nor even kissed a maid.
And when up and passed and away, insurance was denied.
For since he hadn't ever lived, they claimed he never died.

It's a dog's life !

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Lucky Country ?

Forecaster Access Economics believes Australia is on the cusp of another resources boom which will turbocharge economic recovery and drive up interest rates.

In compiling its forecasts for 2014, the independent economic consultancy says the China-spurred resources boom will be even bigger than the one between 2006 and 2008.

However, economist Chris Richardson says the skills shortage is likely to be worse than ever because of a lack of migration.

"Through the first round of this boom - as Western Australia desperately needed workers - out of every eight extra workers that it got, seven came from overseas," he said.

"Now fast forward to this bit of the boom where migration is falling fast - it's going to be very, very hard to fill the job demand that it's got."

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Great Retaining Wall of "Riverbend"

The timber has arrived!

The RAPIDSET concrete mix has arrived!

The 30 pieces of silvery steel have arrived!

Still waiting for ...

... the willing and able worker(s) - this weekend?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The week that was.

An unemployed security guard has won Spain's first national siesta championship by sleeping for 17 minutes in a busy shopping centre. Pedro Soria Lopez, who is from Ecuador, was praised by judges for the volume of his snoring, which won him extra points. The contest in Madrid was part of a campaign to revive the Spanish tradition of an afternoon nap, which is seen as threatened by the pace of modern life. As the champion, Mr Soria collected a prize of 1,000 euros (about $1,400).

South Australian Independent senator Nick Xenophon says taxpayers have every right to question the salaries being paid to former governors-general. Freedom of information documents show some of them are costing as much as $500,000 a year. Senator Xenophon says he will seek clarification from the Finance Minister about the high levels of benefit. "The fact that they are getting such a significant pension really raises questions about it," he said. "It's a case of former governors-general being looked after - I think it's fair enough that former governors-general are looked after - but it could be done on a premium beer budget, not a french champagne and caviar budget."

An American businessman in Singapore who is facing a punishment of caning for overstaying his visa has now been charged with money laundering. Police say the 37-year-old American was involved in a phone scam operation that involved cheating elderly Australians. If caned, he would be the first American to undergo the punishment since a teenager was caned for vandalism in 1994, despite appeals for mercy from Washington. The man could also be jailed for a maximum of 10 years if convicted of the criminal charges.

A West Australian court has been told how a man unwittingly led police to his crime after forgetting to hang up from a call to emergency services. James Patrick Bermingham, 20, phoned triple-0 in March this year after one of his mates was assaulted by another man in Geraldton. After reporting the incident to police, Bermingham forgot to end the call and was recorded planning retribution. He and three others then used a cricket bat to smash the windows of a car and house belonging to the man. Bermingham's lawyer told the court the revenge attack, along with several admissions, were recorded by police. Magistrate Ed de Vries said the case reminded him of the world's dumbest criminals. He placed Bermingham on a community-based supervision order and ordered he pay one quarter of the repair bill.

A Saudi prince has been found guilty of beating and strangling one of his servants at a London hotel. The court heard that the murder of Bandar Abdulaziz was the final act in a "deeply abusive" master-servant relationship in which the prince carried out frequent attacks on his aide for his own sexual gratification. Jurors were told that by the early hours of February 15, after a night spent celebrating Valentine's Day together, Mr Abdulaziz was left so worn down and injured that he simply let his boss kill him without a fight. Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud - the grandson of the billionaire king of Saudi Arabia - spent the following hours on the phone to his home country trying to devise a plan to cover up what he had done. Saud, who will be sentenced on Wednesday, had admitted manslaughter but denied murder. The servant had spent the previous three years travelling as an occasional companion of the prince, whose father is a nephew of the Saudi king and whose mother is a daughter of the king. He had suffered "a series of heavy punches or blows to his head and face", leaving his left eye closed and swollen, his lips split open and his teeth chipped and broken, prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw said. There were also injuries to his ears and internal bruising and bleeding to the brain, as well as severe injuries to the neck consistent with manual compression, the court was told. It was not the first time the victim had been subjected to beatings. Closed-circuit TV cameras had caught Mr Abdulaziz being hit by the defendant in the hotel lift on January 22 and February 5 and outside a restaurant on the night leading up to his death. Saud said he and his servant were "friends and equals" and that he was heterosexual. But the prosecutor said: "The evidence establishes quite conclusively that he is either gay or that he has homosexual tendencies."

It has been revealed a Victorian police officer has been on paid sick leave for more than nine years. The officer has produced medical certificates to support his absence and Victoria Police says it does not have the power to resolve the case. The police force has called for a review of arrangements for dealing with staff on long-term sick leave. "It's time to have a really good scrutiny over our different systems in cases of this nature," Assistant Commissioner Emmett Dunne said. "We're bound by the advice of the medical certificates, in this case that said he was too ill to go to the police medical officer."

Police at Ipswich west of Brisbane have charged a 21-year-old tattooist who is accused of putting an obscene picture on a customer's back instead of the image requested. The 25-year-old customer wanted a yin and yang symbol and a dragon but instead was given a 40 centimetre tattoo of a penis and a rude slogan implying he was gay. It is believed the pair had earlier been involved in an argument. Police say the tattooist will appear in court next month charged with two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one charge relating to the Public Safety Act.

A perfect day at "Riverbend" ...

... cool and grey, to continue the backbreaking work of cleaning up around the frontgate so I can start building a new wooden fence.

The kookaburra kept me company while waiting for every little worm that wriggled his way.

I cleared the undergrowth ...

... and chopped down the old junipers along the driveway.

The next big job will be to build a 1m-high retaining wall along the bottomgate driveway, and then backfill behind it to enlarge the area around the tennis-court at the top.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Early start ...

... as I am rostered with Marine Rescue to sell raffle tickets in Batemans Bay's main street every Thursday and Friday.

A $2-ticket gives you the chance to win a trailer-load of goodies - including the trailer and misplaced apostrophe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Congratulations, Stylianos!

Our 'other' Greek friend, Stylianos Koureas, has just won the accolade "World's Best Luxury Island Resort" for his Harris Batam Resort on Batam Island, just across from Singapore, in Indonesia.

Congratulations, Stylianos!

Today seven years ago ...

... my good friend Ted Chad passed away.

Rest in peace, Ted!

Message to Suhail Abdul Hameed Mofarrij

I trust you still enjoy riding your SEADOO RXP-X at 'The Creek'.

When you visit us at Riverbend, don't bring it with you as we are trying to ban these noisy watercraft from our beautiful Clyde River.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Life is a Cabaret old chum, come to the cabaret

We've just come back from a very enjoyable theatre performance of the The Bay Theatre Players.

It's truly amazing how much talent there is in as small a place as Batemans Bay!

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band.
Come blow your horn,
Start celebrating;
Right this way,
Your table's waiting

No use permitting
soem prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away.
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret!

I used to have a girlfriend
known as Elsie
With whom I shared
Four sordid rooms in Chelsea

She wasn't what you'd call
A blushing flower...
As a matter of fact
She rented by the hour.

The day she died the neighbors
came to snicker:
"Well, thats what comes
from too much pills and liquor."

But when I saw her laid out like a Queen
She was the happiest...corpse...
I'd ever seen.

I think of Elsie to this very day.
I'd remember how'd she turn to me and say:
"What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret."

And as for me,
I made up my mind back in Chelsea,
When I go, I'm going like Elsie.

Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn't that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Only a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!

An Invitation to the Mofarrij family

The former Mofarrij office in Jeddah - click on photo to look inside!

To Abdulhameed, Ali, and the rest of the Mofarrij family:

If you ever feel like getting away from your big sandbox and want to fly to an even bigger one, you are most welcome to be our guests at Riverbend Cottage - FREE OF CHARGE, of course!

Don't worry, we have stuck a qibla on the ceiling of the cottage so you will always know which way Mecca is!
>Do a quick double-check here and enter 'Nelligen Australia'

Just email your arrival time to riverbendnelligen@mail.com and we'll meet you at Sydney airport.

Current time
in Jeddah:

In Memoriam - Abdulghani Abdulraheem Mofarrij

Early Saturday morning, and Sheikh Abdulhameed Mofarrij has just called me from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to tell me that his brother, my ex-boss, Sheikh Abdulghani Abdulraheem Mofarrij, died about five years ago of a sudden heart attack. No wonder my letters and cards to PO Box 1337, Jeddah 21431, had remained unanswered.

I am truly, truly sorry!

Abdulghani was more than my boss: he was a very kind and very gentle man - a gentleman, no less - and, I would like to think, I was also his friend!

I will always remember you, Abdulghani!     Rest in peace!

انّا للہ و انّا الیہ راجعون

Abdulghani Abdulraheem


Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

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