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Monday, May 30, 2011

Don't mention the war

Having spent $1,312 on a sleeping berth in the luxurious QUEENSLANDER-class of the Sunlander train, I assumed I would be given a compartment all to myself.

I was wrong!!! There aren't even any single compartments in the QUEENSLANDER section of the Sunlander!

While so far I am not sharing my twinette compartment with anybody, a last-minute booking by another single traveller may change all this.

I have told the booking clerk that I am a German and that I would only accept a fellow-traveller if she doesn't mention the war.

Travel light, travel alone ...

... but not without my trusty old transistor radio to give me my daily dose of ABC Radio National and, more specifically, Phillip Adams' LATE NIGHT LIVE for my nightcap.

Solo travel has its own particular compensations. Travel with someone else, and you're for ever trying to strike a balance between your passion for Gothic and theirs for modern architecture, your need for sleep against their hunger for just one more night out, your liking for walking in strange streets against their conviction that it's wiser to take a taxi or a bus.

There's even more to it than that. Travelling with your nearest and dearest insulates you from the places you're in. You have someone to talk to, you have a bit of your familiar world with you all the time. That cuts you off from the very strangeness you've travelled thousands of miles to see. Alone, you get into conversation with all sorts of people in all sorts of places. You can team up with newly-made acquaintances when you want to do the same things, go your own way without hurting anyone's feelings when that's what suits your inclination.

There's plenty of the all-too-familiar to be found back where you'll be going all too soon. It seems a waste of your time and your fare to surround yourself with home-town atmosphere while you're away.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mist gets in your eyes ...

"Riverbend" plays Misty for me!

... and makes you want to leave for warmer climes!

Which I am doing: I have booked myself onto the Premier Bus Service from Batemans Bay to Sydney Central from where I will catch the overnight XPT train to Brisbane - sleeper class, of course.

After a one-night stop-over in Brisbane to catch up with my German friend Manfred Richter and his wife Tisna, I will step aboard the luxurious Queenslander Class SUNLANDER train to arrive 31 hours later in Cairns. Travel light, travel alone, travel by train!

An old friend from my New Guinea days, Brian Darcey, will meet me on arrival and give me a berth on his yacht, Tekani II.

Before departing Cairns I'll also look up Klaus Herbert whom I met on my last trip to Thursday Island six years ago and who now "hangs out" in his 11th-floor Centrepoint apartment.

Then I set off in my little GETZ hire car on another discovery tour of the Atherton Tablelands and beyond - see "I am often tired of myself".

See you when I get back!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ian Paterson

I am trying to find Ian Paterson.

Ian used to work as accountant with PDF Holdings on Bougainville Island in the 1970s.

I last met him after he had opened his own accounting practice in Nambucca Heads.

After that he moved to Brisbane where he lived at 19 Amanda Street, Rockedale South and opened an office at Suite 1, Level 8, 141 Queen Street, Brisbane 4000.

He moved from there and I lost contact with him.

If you can help, please

Government gone wild!


Will Australia be next under our unelected Redhead?

Prospective no more!

The prospective "Riverbend" buyers are now retrospective: "Thank you but no, thank you!" was their final answer.

And I am thankful, too, as the likelihood of a sale prompted me to have a big clean-out after which "Riverbend" is so much more livable that I may as well stay here!

I rid myself of at least three dozen pairs of pants, mostly made to measure (but not today's measure!) by tailors from Rangoon and New Delhi to Singapore and Bangkok to Hong Kong, a dozen-or-more suits and jackets, dozens of New Guinea-style dress shorts and socks, and dozens and dozens of business shirts, many with the hotels' laundry markings in their collars and others still untouched in their hotel wrappings (see above). I kept my best dinner suit for my own funeral!

A YASHICA miniature spy camera, flogged off to me back in the 70s by Roy "Goldfinger" Goldsworthy and never used, and a SONY Camcorder bought in Singapore in the late 80s for well over $3,000 and used only once, will go to the Spy and Camera Museum in Herberton. A gold ROLEX Oyster Datejust watch, not worn since my halcyon days in Saudi Arabia, will stay well hidden inside a drawer so as not to give the wrong impression when I line up for the weekly Pensioners' Special Roast Beef at the local bowling club.

Supernumerary radio and stereo and television sets together with a bar fridge (my drinking days are over!) and an old dishwasher will go to the local tip.

Then there were the three or four extra dinner sets, countless glassware and beer steins, cutlery sets, kitchen jars and containers and utensils, and endless nicknack (not to mention the paddy whack) which will all be donated to the next Nelligen Hall jumble sale.

And what about the countless tee-shirts which seem to follow my pretzel-shaped career path:

Papua Yacht Club Port Moresby
Morgan Equipment
Papua Besena
Papua New Guinea
Husat? I kisim Independence
Saudi Arabian Oil Splash
CLUB MED Cherating Malayia
Noumea Beach
South Pacific - The Beer of Paradise
Penang Malaysia
Saudi Building Systems
Kieta Bougainville
Sid Deeky is my Friend
I Love My APPLE ///
I am allergic to work
John XXIII College
Thursday Island 1877-1977 Centenary
Batam View Beach resort
Forget Singapore, Remember Batam
Kin Shi Ji
Selangor Club Kuala Lumpur
Canberra Computer Accounting Systems
Puerto Galera Philippines
Cambridge University
Wine Festival Dafni Greece
The Great Wall
Cape Pallerenda
Happiness is being one of the gang in Saudi Arabia
Had a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel
Drinking Team - Bougainville Island
Point Cruz Yacht Club Honiara
Harmonie Canberra
Saudi Arabia - Love it or Leave it
(I did!)
Peace Hotel Old Jazz Band
See India - Travancore State
Kelab Sukan Suruhanjaya Pelabuan Pulau Pinang

Then came the boxes full of old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and GRASSROOTS magazines after which I tackled my huge collection of professional books accumulated during my days as chartered management consultant and accountant and computer systems analyst and programmer.

Years ago I had already created a huge landfill at "Riverbend" from long outdated computer reference books but somehow they kept on breeding so that another lot needs to be disposed of:

The PC Configuration Handbook - 2nd Edition
Killer Windows Utilities
Glossbrenner's Complete Harddisk Handbook
NOVELL Netware Power Tools
HELP! The Art of Computer Technical Support
Working with Clarion
Dictionary of Computing
Tips & Tricks for your PC Printer
The Computer Virus Handbook
1-2-3 The Complete Reference
PC Secrets
The Audit and Control of Microcomputers
Working with PICK
Understanding Microsoft Access 2
EXCEL 4 for Windows
DOS for Dummies
Exploring the PICK Operating System
Microsoft Access/Visual Basic Step by Step
Using Clarion Professional Developer
The Printer Bible
Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Clarion Professional Developer
Revelation Tutorial
The Help Screen Collection
Using Access 97
Windows 3.1 The Visual Learning Guide
Murphy's Laws of Windows
Staying with DOS
The IBM PC from the Inside Out
Access Programming for Dummies
EXCEL for Dummies
Voodoo DOS
Using Access 2 for indows
Microsoft Access Answers
Computer Wimp - 166 Things I wish I had known before I bought
   my first computer

which, unfortunately, did not tell me not to buy so many computer books!

I certainly don't want to read any of these again:

Management : Theory and Practice
How to Hire the Right Person
The Laws of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate
How to be a Successful Computer Consultant
Asian Pacific Taxation
Accounting for the Changes in the Purchasing Power of Money
How to Face that Interview
The Legal Frame Work of Business
Creative Accounting: How To Make Your Profits What You Want
    Them To Be
Crime by Computer
Highlights on Taxes and Trade in Iran
Accounting Desk Book
Unaccountable Accounting
Efficiency Auditing
Introducing System Analysis
Management Information Systems Handbook
Management and Computer Control
Discounted Cash Flow
Model System of Accounts for Electricity Supply Undertakings
How to Save $14,500,000 through Internal Auditing
Readings in Cost Accounting Budgeting and Control
Discounting and other Interest Rate Procedures in Farm
Filing and Records Management
Modern Accounting Systems
Accounting Theory
Development of Information Systems
Materials Management
Manual of Cost Reduction Techniques
Accounting Perspectives
Accounting Practices in the Petroleum Industry
Management Consulting - A Guide to the Profession
Improving Office Efficiency Today and Beyond
Accountants' Cost Handbook
Microfilm in Business
Design of Purchasing Systems & Records
Sales Tax in Australia
Profit Improvement
The Law of Banker's Commercial Credits
Petroleum Accounting Practices
Budgeting Problems
Towards Better Company Reporting
Costs and Prices
Civil Claims Practice
Budgetary Control & Cost Reduction for Retail Companies
Business Mathematics
Manual of Auditing
(the classic by V.R.C. Cooper)
Guidebook to Australian Company Law
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Accouting for Management
Accountants' Handbook
Australian Secretarial Practice
Financial Handbook
Modern Internal Auditing
The Practice of Modern Internal Auditing
(another classic!)
Cases in Auditing
Sources of Company Finance in Australia
A Manual of Office Systems Procedures
Business Forms - Design and Control
Cost Reduction from A - Z
Spicer and Pegler's Bookkeeping and Accounts

    (generations of budding accountants studied this!)
Business Management Handbook
Company Law
(Yorston and Brown was required reading!)
Credit Management
Business Logistics
How to Form and Use a Private Company
Accountants' Data Processing Services
Australian Secretarial Reference Manual

and many, many, MANY more.

Nor will I ever again need to refer to these tomes from my five shipping assignments in Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Greece:

Tonnage Management
Tramp Ship Sale and Purchase
Voyage Estimating
Steamship Accounting
Handy Book for Shipowners and Masters
Laytime Calculating
Shipping and the Law
Marine Claims Handbook
Hague Rules Law Digest
Book of Shipping Abbreviations
Carriage of Goods by Sea
Bills of Lading Law
The Hamburg Rules
International Cargo Carriers' Liabilities
Chartering and Shipping Terms
Shipbroking and Chartering Practice
Scrutton on Charter Parties

I may, however, have another bash at these just for old time's sake:

International Maritime Fraud
A Popular History of Taxation
The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation
Adventures in Tax Avoidance

and Michael Summerskill's classic on shipping calculations,


which I have always struggled with (although Bozenna in my Pireaus office filled that gap wonderfully).

Freedom from clutter at last!

As for selling "Riverbend", well, let's take a breather and see what three other recently listed properties on less than 2000 square metres in the same lane - at # 23 for $1,600,000 and # 27 for $1,990,000 and # 33 for $950,000 - sell for. If they sell for their asking prices (or even near them), then "Riverbend" on over 7 acres is clearly too cheap at a mere $2 million!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Different views

The wave of Middle East revolutions was a false flag from the start and the ultimate target for the US was indeed Libya all along, insists Ian R. Crane, an independent researcher and campaigner for political truth and integrity.

­The reason for the Western media having certain countries tagged – such as Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea – is “they all have or had one thing in common – that is they are free of debt of the World Bank.”

“They are not locked in the World Bank or IMF, they have their own banks, they issue their own currency,” said the researcher.

“We also have to recognize the remarkable coincidence between the Gaddafi statement that he was going to start issuing a gold dinar and demanding that his oil is purchased with gold – and the next thing we know we have a popular uprising [in Libya],” points out Crane.

The researcher believes that the ongoing riots in any other country in the region, particularly the clashes between the army and rioters in Syria, “is deliberately contrived to take the attention away from Libya – the goal is Libya.”

“The goal is not just to control the oil in Libya. Libya’s debt was less than one month of its GDP, so it was not debt – it was just a working capital. But it is not just the oil, because in addition to supporting the country, let’s understand that Gaddafi paid a social wage, every Libyan of working age received the equivalent of $US 1,000 a month and it was up to them whether they worked or not,” reveals Crane, saying that Gaddafi was putting money back into the community and also making all education in Libya free.

Another considerable chunk of the oil revenues Gaddafi spent was on an enormous system of underground aqueducts, turning Libya’s part of the Northern Sahara into farmland, thus taking his country another step closer to becoming a regional superpower.

Crane goes on to link Osama Bin Laden’s killing with the “sudden manifestation” of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate that appeared on the White House website, which was immediately considered a forgery by some because “it was still in the Photoshop layers”. Crane says that following the publication, the media, particularly in the US, needed “something of enormous magnitude to take the birth certificate issue off the front pages – so they decided they needed to murder Osama Bin Laden, for what is at least the third time.”

The researcher also recalled previous rumors about Bin Laden being dead before the end of 2001 and mentioned David Frost’s infamous interview with the now late Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto on November 2, 2007, when she stated categorically that Osama Bin Laden had been murdered by a former MI6 recruit Omar Sheikh.

David Frost made no comment whatsoever and did not question Bhutto on the sensational statement and on 27 December 2007 she was murdered.

“People should not be taking the version of events offered by the mainstream media at face value,” Crane concluded, but rather dig as deep as possible “to establish what we believe to be the truth.”

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Labor's "Immigration Policy"

P.S. LATEST BUDGET NEWS: Julia GILLARD has announced she intends to make it more difficult to claim welfare benefits. From next Monday all Centrelink forms will only be printed in English.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Con-Fused no more!

Every electrician who's come to this house seems to have done his own little bit of wiring without ever marking the fuses to which he's been connecting his latest handiwork. It took me all morning to trace everything back to their respective fuses.

I've drawn up a little sketch of each room's layout, with each powerpoint and light referenced back to its respective fuse number, and pasted it inside the meterbox.

Fuse # 6 not only mixes powerpoints and ceiling lights but does so in a great profusion across the whole house: seven powerpoints, both upstairs and downstairs as well as outside, and fifteen lights, but this time only downstairs and outside.

To make the whole thing 'legal', I ought to call in an electrician again to separate the powerpoint and lights circuits on Fuse # 6 - if it can be done without pulling half the house down!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The weather is getting κρύο and I am getting some cryosurgery

My dermatologist, Dr Ian McCrossin, MB, BS Hons. FACD, FAChSHM, gave me the liquid nitrogen treatment today. At -196°C it's a short, sharp pain and a lot better than a long, sharp scalpel, I can tell you!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Never on Sunday

A former girlfriend in Germany sent me a whole pile of old letters and aerogramme - remember aerogrammes? - which I had written her from the day I left Germany in 1965 and again from early 1984 after I had attended my father's funeral in Germany. They make for some interesting reading and bring back many memories, some which I had forgotten and others which I had tried to forget.

They also included some old photos such as this one of me in my favourite Piraeus bar with my favourite barmaid, Lindelia Konionikoli, after a long day in the office. It was just around the corner from my apartment at Boudouri 2 at Marina Zea. Good old days!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dinkum Assorted

As active supporters of the Lantern Club, we attended the Bay Theatre Players' charity performance of Dinkum Assorted, a brassy, zany and moving mixture of comedy, drama, dance and music set in an Australian country town's biscuit factory during World War II. The play shows how the all-female factory workers fight to save the factory, run a ‘Mum’s Army’ Civil Defence Unit, put on a show for the War Effort - and cope with the fact that two thousand US airmen have just been stationed outside town.

It was an enjoyable evening and, to top it off, we won the lucky door prize of a large bottle of Teacher's Whisky. Cheers!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will they, won't they?

On the 27th of March a Canberra couple visited to ask if "Riverbend" was still for sale. They had bid for a smaller property in Sproxton Lane three years ago but were gazumped and are still looking for a waterfront property, especially on an acreage such as "Riverbend".

They have since arranged for a professional valuation - which was done on the 21st of April - to support their application for a bank loan and I am expecting to hear from them again soon.

"Sell in May and walk away" is an old Wall Street saying. Will it be true of Sproxton Lane as well?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clutter is the result of postponed decisions

For twenty years, from 1965 until my homecoming to Australia in 1985, I lived out of a suitcase. One suitcase - and a small one at that - plus one of those expandable airline pilot cases held all my worldly possessions necessary to clothe me, entertain me, and enable me to do my work. And even while I sometimes hankered to accumulate things, I would catch myself doing some 'trial packing' halfway through some longer-term job just to make sure everything still fitted into that one suitcase.

For the last twenty-five years, since 1985, first in Canberra and now at "Riverbend", I have been accumulating and collecting things with a vengeance. Even the largest removalist truck would be too small to carry away all that STUFF I now possess (correction: it possesses me!) ENOUGH!!!

I have made the long-postponed decision: I am uncluttering my life!

All that STUFF will be given away to friends and neighbours and Vinnies and the Salvos. And what can't be given away, will be thrown onto a big bonfire of vanities. And what a liberating feeling it is! I cannot hope to ever get back to that one suitcase but I can get it down to at least one average-sized removalist truck which I will order as soon as "Riverbend" is sold.

Then it's back to tropical Far North Queensland where I may not even buy real estate again. The German word for it is 'Immobilien' which says it all: it makes one completely immobile. Rent instead, and move about, and see the world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A room with a view


Having done my back in when pulling up some old wooden boards on the balcony, I was in urgent need of some aqua-therapy and so we drove the 75 km south to Narooma's indoor heating swimming pool.

We made an event of it by staying over at our old favourite, the Ecotel, which is a motel straight out of the sixties with the old-fashionedly furnished rooms overlooking Wagonga Inlet and Narooma Harbour. Munka, the manager, made us welcome again and even allowed our two little dogs to sleep on the premises in the back of the car.

We had Tempura Prawns and grilled Kingfish in Lemon Butter for dinner at the nearby Services Club and breakfast at a street café before driving back to "Riverbend".






late of Pakistan

Passed away May 2, 2011

Devoted father of terrorism, genocidal mastermind, despised by all who loved peace and freedom. Lamented friend of oppression, hatred and horror.
Will be sadly missed by al-Qaeda's mass murderers
and Taliban terrorists.

A celebration mass will be held
across the free world