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Friday, August 30, 2013

Bran Nue Dae


With hindsight, my foresight to cut the grass yesterday was spot on as we had soft, drenching rain overnight and everything looks clean and green again.

Received this email from somebody called Danny:

"We were in Nelligen on the weekend and fell upon your property listed for sale while driving down Sproxton's Lane. One quick question first up if I could; Can you tell me if there are any restrictions to building homes on the separate title blocks?"

Oh Danny boy, if I had a dollar for every time somebody has ask me that question I'd be very rich indeed. And what a sordid idea wanting to clutter up these beautiful eight blocks with eight more houses!

And, quite unexpectedly since we're well outside the tourist season, a couple booked into "Riverbend" Cottage for a three-night weekend, starting tonight.

It promises to be an almost perfect weekend by the river, sunny and 25 degrees, so let the good times roll as I read my latest book, Broometime, a documentary-style narrative that centres on the lives of some of the charismatic and original characters who made Broome their home.

It brings back many memories of Thursday Island.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Growing lyrical

Speaking of words, during yesterday's visit to a second-hand bookshop I also picked up Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words (a very timely find during an election campaign) and An Exaltation of Larks which is an entertaining collection of over 1,000 collective nouns.

Of course, everybody has seen The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio which is a sort of Lord of the Flies in a modern setting. I've just found the book by Alex Garland which is so much better than the movie. And, being the armchair-traveller that I have become, I couldn't resist Paul Theroux's Fresh-Air Fiend, Travel Writings, 1985-2000, and Andrew Eames's Crossing the Shadow Line - (obviously, the shadow line is a reference to Joseph Conrad's story).

Only a week-and-a-half to the elections and the papers are full of it. I ignore the front page and go straight to what really matters, such as Bradley Manning now wanting to be known as Chelsea, and WikiLeaks Party candidates having resigned because of lack of transparency and accountability.

Or what about the broccoli that was imported from China with glass in it? Broccoli? Are we really importing broccoli from China? I don't even know anybody who eats broccoli!

And this Luis took the old saying 'eat, drink, and be merry' a bit too far: he sued his GP for failing to refer him for weight-loss treatment and was awarded $360,000. Luckily, his GP managed to have the original judgment overturned before Luis could spend it all.

What a career move: pay a people-smuggler to set yourself up in Australia; then become a people-smuggler yourself. The AFP arrested five today - see here. Now we have to house and feed them in our jails for the next ten years at an annual cost of well over $100,000 each. What a soft touch we are!

And lastly: paid parental leave of up to $75,000 for six months. It's the hot-button election issue but it won't start until 1st July 2015. Sorry, fellas, no nookies for the next eighteen months!



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Contact

Publisher Penguin Books Ltd, published 25/02/1988 ISBN-13:9780670801671, ISBN-10:0670801674 hardback, 100 black-and-white photographs.


Went into town today to buy some spare parts for the ride-on mower and also to browse through a second-hand bookshop where I found this little gem of a story of a group of Australian gold miners who make the first white contact with tribes in the New Guinea Highlands.

This encounter was painstakingly shot in 1932 on 35 mm film which had been lost until the 1960s when it was released as a movie.

What a find! I was celebrating it with a coffee and cake in a little café when my stomach started to rumble and I realised that I needed to pass wind. The little café was packed with people but the music was really loud so, to get relief and reduce embarrassment, I timed myself to the beat of the music.

After a couple of songs I started to feel much better. I finished my coffee and noticed that everyone was staring at me. I suddenly remembered that I had been listening to my iPod!

So how was your day?


Monday, August 26, 2013

A final RAAF flypast for our outgoing not so Prime Minister


I take my hat off to the man who led that Squadron.

You may have to lean back a bit from your computer monitor and squint, maybe even close one eye (I had to close both my eyes while this useless government was in power!)


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

All ear!


I still remember those long winter nights in the (c)old country, reclining on the much sat-on sofa in the warm kitchen while listening to someone reading a book aloud. We spent much of our time in the kitchen because it was the only warm place in the house, and we often listened to someone reading a book aloud because television had not yet invaded our lives.



Well, Padma has gone to the village hall to join the Crafty Ladies (aka Stitch & Bitch) and I've spent a peaceful and sunny morning in the 'Clubhouse', listening to an audio-book on the old cassette player while tanning my tootsies.

I listened to "The Riddle of the Sands", only briefly disturbed by Rover's contented sigh next to me in the armchair or the occasional quack from a duck on the pond.

And, yes, I did have a cool BIR BINTANG*, but you would've guessed that anyway, wouldn't you?


* as in 'Twinkle, twinkle, little bintang, How I wonder what you are'.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The good ship SV SETTLEMENT


My good friend Andrew Holt on the good ship SV SETTLEMENT (as in 'divorce') and Sue-the-crew are at this moment sailing through the Indonesian archipelago. 17,508 islands to choose from!

They're having a great time. As Andrew emailed, "All is going well, they certainly are a friendly race out in the islands".

Their last stop was at Pulau Tomea south-east of Sulawesi. That's Joseph Conrad country and I've emailed them some required reading: LORD JIM and AN OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS.

Where are they now? www.findmespot.com shows all their positions - except their nocturnal ones! ☺ Click the 'Zoom In' button below the little yellow man to see what they're having for breakfast right now!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

When I came back to Australia, I immediately lowered this country's average IQ


All I lower now, as I lower myself into the heated pool, is the average age of the assembled geriatrics.

We are a regular crowd: there is Adele and Kathleen and Imogen (not the daughter of King Cymbeline) and on the far right - in keeping with my political leanings - is Padma.

At the edge of the picture is another Peter who's just being 'craned in' and John has made himself invisible by clinging to the edge of the pool.

The water is always a comfortable 30 degrees and we've made a submission to management to instal a swim-up bar.

Why not join us? The drinks are on us!


A quick geography lesson

Click on image to enlarge
(wouldn't it be great if you could do it so easily with the real thing? ☺)


Sunday morning coming down

A thorn between two roses


Nelligen is one of those places that almost wishes not to be noticed. It invites passersby to take a Sunday afternoon nap with it.

It has a Mechanic's Hall that keeps one eye open just long enough to give tourists a chance to buy a few trinkets.

Trinkets such as a mug from the Sydney 2000 Olympics for just 10 cents. Selling something for 10 cents these days is like saying, "We want you to have this as a gift from us but we don't want you to feel bad about it, so give us a coin you forgot you had."

And I almost forgot that today Padma is doing volunteer work at the Mechanic's [sic] Hall which was built back in the days when Nelligen still had a mechanic. Just the one!

Some things change and some things stay the same: today Nelligen no longer has a mechanic but its burghers still misplace the apostrophe! ☺


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lighten up! Only 20 days to the elections!

Padma is in the treehouse and I am in the doghouse


She doesn't quite agree with my current preoccupation with a business in my old stamping grounds of Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea who have asked for my help in controlling their financial and tax situation.

They are in full flight but have now reached a level of turnover where they need to spend some time on paperwork for their own sake and to keep the greedy taxman at bay.

As my last job was pretty short-lived - click here - and I have lots of time on my hands, I've accepted this new challenge.

It's a little difficult to implement proper procedures and exercise financial controls via emails and I may travel up to Bougainville for a few weeks later in the year.



My wife said if I didn't stop being preoccupied with this PNG business, she'd leave me. I'm really going to miss her. ☺


Monday, August 12, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

In Memoriam Noel Butler


* 28 October 1920
† 11 August 1995

Noel Butler at Wewak, Christmas 1975

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.

Noel's war service in the 42nd Battalion and his war grave at the Bundaberg Cemetery.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly accurate

Read the full description before looking at the picture


The picture below has two identical dolphins in it jumping out of the water. It was used in a case study on stress levels at St. Mary's Hospital, London.

The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins. The more differences a person finds between the dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing.

Look at the photograph now and if you find more than one or two differences you need to go on holiday....



No need to reply. I'm on holidays!

P.S. Never take life seriously - nobody gets out alive anyway!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An informed voter

He may be four-legged but he knows what to make of Rudd!


Free beer at "Riverbend" today


Today I celebrate my arrival in Australia 48 years ago to start a new life in God's Own Country. And what a life it has been! [read more]


Monday, August 5, 2013

Watch this space!


Come back here tomorrow!