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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve at "Riverbend"

Even though to me the only thing significant about the new year is its insignificance, I wish all of you a very Happy New Year! (well, to the ONE person reading this blog - YOU!!! ☺ ) and may the new year unfold in a manner that will make you smile so hard the top of your head will fall off! And remember to be good to one another because at our age we need all the support we can get.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Walk into Paradise

I spent the last couple of days of the old year in a contenplative mood watching an old movie, WALK INTO PARADISE. It hasn't much of a storyline but the New Guinea Highlands scenery is wonderful to watch!

As my old friend Noel used to say, "My spiritual home will always be New Guinea". He said it as he tried to settle at Caboolture in the late 70s, and he said it again after he had moved to Mt Perry, and was still saying it in Childers where he passed away in 1995.

After having spent his whole working life in New Guinea, Australia had become a foreign country to him. He, as so many others (myself included), had become lost souls after leaving New Guinea. We hadn't gone there because of a particular job but because of the country itself which offered something for everyone, be he missionary, moneymaker, or misfit.

Happy Birthday, Khin San Myint !

Shirley aka Daw Khin San Myint

Remember Lobo? You asked me once why I never listened to his songs anymore. Well, how can I tell you? His music takes me straight back to the wonderful time in Komin Kuchin Avenue. Those are bitter-sweet memories and only in recent years have I found it bearable to listen to Lobo again.

All my best wishes for your special day tomorrow. And all your other tomorrows.

Spare a thought this Christmas for those less fortunate ...

... like my Canadian friend Chris who hunts the Arctic wasteland to feed himself and then returns to a snow-bound house which is lit up by no more than his computer screen.

Isn't life tough? No wonder he's dreaming of "Riverbend" ☺

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tidings of comfort and joy

Manfred in Brisbane, another German "Auswanderer", emailed me this photo of his wet Christmas, both inside and out.

Theo Zantman emailed from Bali: "love to wish u a very happy - healthy 2012 ..it shall be an exiting year, a very special year .... go in the new year with an open mind ... be nice for each other ... and remember we are not alone ... start to work for a world without any border... warm greetings from hot bali"

And my Canadian friend Chris went orgasmic about his Christmas dinner consisting of "roast breast of duck, baked potatoes, buttercup squash, fresh green beans and a little gravy. The aprés was a chocolate cake roll iced with chocolate flavored whipped cream and filled with the same and all with just a touch of Tia Maria for extra flavour."

Bozenna in Greece seemed relieved that "two days of guzzle are over. I was invited for the Christmas Eve supper to a Polish family. Today, I had lunch at home of Polish/Greek family. Tomorrow is one more feast-day, as a friend of mine is celebrating her birthday. I drink herb-tea after each session behind a table to speed-up digestion. Then, there will be New Year's Eve celebration - less food, more drinks, music and dances (not for me). All my friends are much younger (friends of the same age have left Greece or died) than I am and they force me to participate in all events to avoid depression. To tell you the truth, I don't like to go out of the flat. Everything bores me. In addition, I don't feel well. It seems that the old age caught up with me. I complained to you and my mood improved."

And Brian's SKYPEd from Keppel Bay Marina where he's waiting for good sailing-weather to continue his voyage to "Riverbend" where a nearby building block has just been put on sale to make us wonder what this may mean to our peaceful neighbourhood in 2012.

Boxing Day is boating day on the beautiful Clyde River and the hills are alive with the sound of outboard engines to which I shall shortly add the soothing putt-putt-putt of my 8-HP YANMAR inboard diesel engine.

I leave you with the following message, outsourced this year to India to keep costs down, to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wearing out old memories

Remember the funny tee-shirt that reads, "My parents went to [insert location of your choice] and all they brought me back was this lousy tee-shirt"?

Well, for twenty years I lived all over the world, working in several dozen locations in some fifteen countries, and all I finished up with is a collection of tee-shirts.

Penang Port Commission, 1978

Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Cambridge University, Summer School 1983

Saudi Arabia, 1982-1985

Air Niugini, Port Moresby, 1974
still with laundry mark "15" for my room in the Pilots' Mess at Six-Mile

Sid Deeky is my friend

I am sure you don't want to see the other fifty-or-so, do you? ☺

"Riverbend" is closed for Christmas ...

... but that doesn't stop the emails from coming in. Here's one from Saudi Arabia:

Dear Peter,

Seeing your post while searching for historical information about my uncle Abdulghani Mofarrij was something made me feel good. I am delighted that you have good memories of Saudi Arabia and my family. I bet you don't remember me, I was maybe couple of months old when you were working with uncle Abdulghani. My father, Ali Mofarrij, recalled your name when I asked him about you, and he insisted to post his regards to you.

Truly thanking you for warm and kind words you said to Abdulghani's memorial.

Best Regards,
Thamer Mofarrij, MBA
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Young Thamer - and what a striking resemblance to his father Ali!

Well, thanks, Thamer, and what a pleasant surprise it was to receive your email. Of course, I remember your father Ali, Saudi Arabia's answer to Omar Sharif ☺ Please give him my best regards as well.

And, no, I don't remember you as I never came to your father's house and only went once to Abdulghani's place for a meal (to which I brought my own MARS bar as I'm not particularly fond of sheep's eye and tongue ☺). You must be in your late twenties now which means you've done rather well, judging by your MBA. Congratulations!

As for Saudi Arabia, I both loved it and left it - and still wear the tee-shirt to tell the tale. ☺

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last chance!

31 Sproxton Lane, Nelligen, $750,000

"Last vacant block in Sproxton Lane. Moor your boat out the front and build your dream home. WON’T LAST!! Exceptional opportunity to own deep-water front on the banks of the beautiful Clyde River.

The land is situated in a rural setting but close to the historical town of Nelligen and only a few minutes drive from Batemans Bay CBD and beaches on the coast. ENQUIRIES: DAVID 02 4478 1105"

So runs the advertisement by the local real estate agent. $750,000 is a lot of money for a piece of dirt just 19 metres wide and 85 metres long. 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' because you'll never be far away from them. ☺

If it sells, we can expect another six months of building noise. We will be somewhat insulated from it down here at the end of the lane, but spare a thought for the new owners of # 33 who've just spent close to a million dollars for a bit of peace and quiet!

In case you need some cheering up

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious / secular persuasions and / or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Australia is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for others, is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher .

Best Regards (without prejudice),

Name withheld (Privacy Act).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Round the bench

Was my previous blog about the 'last deed for the year'?

Well, there has been one more deed: the installation of a bench around a tree which perhaps is symbolic of my circular life in retirement. Why keep 'moving forward' when the final destination is all too certain? I shall be slowly going round the bench instead.

A bit more trimming around the edges with a little help from the 'Mexican', and I'll call it quits for the year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The hills are alive ...

... with the buzzing of ride-on mowers and whipper-snippers as everybody is getting their place ready for the Christmas holidays.

My last deed for the year was to 'de-ivy' the walls of the 'Bibliothèque' and to clear the 'jungle' surrounding it by removing much of the undergrowth and covering it in woodchip. Not exactly cheap as chips but it looks good, doesn't it?

Hidden under all that woodchip is my electrical work in readiness for the installation of a Bali lantern similar to the one that's lighting up the foothpath by the watertank.

Let Christmas come - and with it our first visitors!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Then and Now

Of course, here in Australia we don't have any of these problems: while our finances and freedoms are being eroded, the Gillard government is debating the legalisation of same-sex marriages!

So while America’s decadent and degenerate empire is committed to finish up on the scrap heap of history, and while the European Union is about to break up as did the Soviet one before it, we here in Australia debate whether those born with an extra X chromosome, making them XXY, should be any better off than the rest of us. Let them get married and let them eat cake! I couldn't give a XXXX about it!

In the meantime (and apropos of nothing), an Italian driver was stopped by astonished police in the southern city of Bari on Saturday when they saw him speaking on two phones, with a handset in each hand and no control of the wheel. Asked to explain his actions, the 43-year-old driver said he was speaking to his wife when his mother called and he could not hang up on either of them. I know the feeling!

Christmas comes but once a year

Which is almost once too many! I mean, why must I light up the river all night with kitschy Santa Clauses and listen all day to sentimental Christmas carols?

I had to numb myself with several glasses of Pino More to endure the Carols by Candlelight at the Bay last night. Christmas is the season for stuffing stockings. Preferably into carolers' mouths.

And what about Silent Night? A silent morning and a silent afternoon wouldn't be so bad either.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Just don't drag me into it. Ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My summer office

Understanding Women

Being a bit of a bibliophile, I can never resist buying the latest book.

Here it is: "Understanding Women" in paperback!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

European bailout

It is a slow day in a damp little Greek town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Here's an excellent game which shouldn’t be hard to win and you can play it by yourself. It will help make Gillard's speeches almost tolerable. Simply print and distribute this page to friends and listen to Julia's next speech (be sure to read directions at the bottom).


Rules for Bullshit Bingo:

1. Before Julia Gillard's next televised speech, print your copy of "Bullshit Bingo"
2. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of the words and/or phrases.
3. When you get four blocks horizontally or six blocks vertically, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

How to get expelled from school

Click on image to order this must-read book

I can remember reading warnings for a decade or more that we only had five years to act before the planet would become uninhabitable. About now we were told to expect that the few ‘breeding pairs’ of humans left would be living in a barren desolate wasteland practically devoid of water and food unless emissions were cut immediately.

Are pupils, parents and the public being fed political propaganda on climate change?Here is your chance to find out. Professor Plimer gives 101 simple questions with answers for you to ask teachers, activists, journalists and politicians.

The climate industry adjusts the temperature record and withholds raw data, computer codes and information from scrutiny. Computer predictions of a scary future don’t agree with measurements.

Past natural climate changes have been larger and more rapid than the worst-case predictions yet humans adapted. Is human-induced global warming the biggest financial and scientific scam in history? If it is, we will pay dearly.

You simply have to listen to this.

P.S. Remember the Y2K scare? That cute little con cost the world between $300 and $600 BILLION! Add a few more zeros for the global warming scam!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My new personalised number plate

With most of my friends displaying personalised number plates on their cars, I have always wanted my own but the costs are rather steep: $220 plus an annual fee of $90.

By contrast, changing my name by Deed Poll to match my existing number plate would cost me a mere $154 with no further annual fees.

I have lodged my Deed Poll application and hope it will be registered in time for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday night at the club

Australia has very strict laws about drinking alcohol and driving. Australian Police are authorised to stop any vehicle and breath-test the driver at any time. There is no absolute safe level of alcohol consumption for competent driving. For fully licensed car drivers the legal limit is 0.05 g/100ml. Get above the leal limit, and even a first-time offender can expect a fine of $1,100 plus an automatic six-month disqualification.

So last night, after a few drinks at the club in town, I did something I've never done before. Believe it or not, I took a bus home. Yes, a bus! And I arrived home safely and without incident.

This was really a surprise to me as I'd never driven a large bus before.