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Today's quote:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shop 'til you drop everything


Last night I did my first bit of grocery shopping since Padma left. Despite queueing in one of those "10 items or less" lanes, with all those 'Lesses' in front of me, it seemed to take forever before I got to the cashier who was clearly stressed out. As I fumbled with my card, she sternly said, "Strip down, facing me".

I was surprised but did exactly as I was told (bear in mind, I'm German-born and -bred). After all the shrieking and the alarms had died down, I discovered that she had been talking about the card reader.

After all that, I thought I had better not push my luck by telling her that "less" should only be used with grammatically singular nouns and that "fewer" should be used with nouns for countable objects instead (as any ex-Scots College boy would know; right, Andrew? ☺)


Monday, October 27, 2014

This nearly brought the house down


How did they ever get this woodburning stove into the house? I mean, even the 'Strongman from Piraeus' couldn't shift it. All I can think of is that they sat down the stove first and then built the house around it. ☺

Anyway, it's out now and so is the green hatch that was used to pass firewood from the outside into the kitchen. Chiselling out the edges to re-brick the opening nearly brought the house down. A humble carjack saved us from total disaster!

The opening has now been re-bricked except for a half-brick which is the 'keystone' that saved the whole thing from caving in.

It'll be mortared in place properly in a day or two when the mortar on the other bricks has sufficiently hardened.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

The devil finds work for idle hands


With the wife safely away in Surabaya, this may be a good time to start on the long overdue kitchen renovation!

However, to ensure the surprise awaiting her doesn't turn nasty, I had better proceed with caution: so far I have only looked at Bunning's Kaboodle Kitchen website which makes it all seem so simple.

Methinks I start on HALF the kitchen first and let the 'better half' return before doing the second half. The first half will be to remove the old wood-burning stove (which hasn't been in use since I've been here). Move into its place - temporarily! - the refrigerator and remove the old broom cabinet to instal a 1000 mm x 1000 mm corner pantry cabinet in the freed-up corner.

Then move all the STUFF from inside the old pantry on the opposite wall into the two new pantries, demolish the old 1.5m wide pantry, and replace it with a smaller 600mm pantry and a recess for the fridge.

Move the fridge into its new recess, then demolish the old cooktop bench and instal four 450mm wide 2-drawer cabinets inside the brick archway. Add the drawers and doors and kickboards and instal the benchtop, and have a beer (or three) while planning the "attack" on the second half.

If all goes well with the first half, I may even attack the second half before the 'better half' returns and attacks me for not completing the job.


Friday, October 24, 2014



The nibbler on the roof has finished his job and "Riverbend" now has its very own "Pizza Hut"

It's time to sit down in the shade with a cool drink and dream up some more projects ☺


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Keeping a sharp mind in retirement


As we slowly move through retirement, we need to keep ourselves occupied with small projects like this bloke.

I know, I saw it right away, too: no safety glasses or hearing protection.

I noticed something else that is really important: he wears no gloves.

I am still as sharp as a tack!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

A more balanced perspective


The trained parrot of Riverbend


I've trained my very own "Captain Flint" to sit on the gate and screech "It's a bargain; it's a bargain" at any car that finds its way this far down the lane. The results so far: three bids for the parrot; none for the property!

Things should pick up during the 'Open House' across the lane and I shall replenish my flyers as fast as they're taken away.

I always like to state the obvious, so I glued the letters "TAKE ONE" on the box. "TAKE ONLY ONE" would be better but didn't fit. In any case, it reminds me too much of the real estate agent up north who had one of those "Please take one" baskets outside his shopfront but the basket was always empty. When I walked into the shop to ask for a brochure, I suggested that he fill up the empty basket outside. "Ah, yes," he said, "I don't put any more out there. People keep taken them away."

Anyway, it wouldn't make much difference to the local village idiot who seems to have escaped from the Mental Health Unit at Liverpool Hospital. This individual, who has been CCTVed and YouTubed to facilitate quick re-admission, delights in snatching away fistfuls of flyers, tearing them to bits, and bowerbirdlike depositing them in "nests" in the vicinity. "Take your medication, Village Idiot, not my flyers!"

The nest of a human bowerbird

Mental health can be quite an issue in the country! ☹


An early Hopper-esque sort of morning


I've just come back from the Bay where I dropped off Padma who caught the 5.45 a.m. bus for her 5-hour journey to Sydney's International Airport. Better her than me!

Even though I wouldn't want to make a habit of them, I love those early melancholy mornings when, for a short moment, the few people who are about, seem connected by some sort of comraderie.

The American painter Edward Hopper captured those moments perfectly in his paintings which depict sad and lonely scenes, and yet which don't make us sad ... perhaps because we are allowed to witness an echo of our own griefs and disappointments, and thereby feel less personally persecuted and beset by them.

I drove home slowly and in a reflective mood to drink an early cup of tea by the end of which I was ready to feed the dogs and the ducks and to face the peninsular - "almost island" - world of "Riverbend".


Friday, October 17, 2014

I was going to copy this picture from the internet

Click on image to enlarge


But it hasn't even been uploaded yet despite the 'Open House' being on Sunday at 11 o'clock. How many people are they going to attract through this ad in the local rag?

Anyway, they got my attention because the property is our neighbours' across the lane who have been trying to sell since at least mid-2012. They're now with their fourth agent and have pulled out all stops: 'Open House' this weekend, and presumably every weekend thereafter, and an on-site auction on the 29th of November.

They are the same people who, totally unannounced and unsolicited and salivating at their mouths, walked into "Riverbend" on 27 March 2011, asked if it was still for sale, arranged for a valuation on 21 April 2011, and then decided not to go ahead with the purchase.

Instead, the following month they bought this smallish wooden cabin on 1920 square metres across the lane for $950,000, and a few months later the adjoining 1500 square metre vacant block for another $750,000 - marked in the photo inside the faint red lines -, both of which are now on sale again.

Gobsmacked? So was I!

I mean, why did they buy a small wooden cabin on just 3,500 square metres for $1.7 million, when for just a couple of hundred thousands more they could've bought "Riverbend" which stretches from the right-hand side of the red-lined box to the very end and around the bend in the river and has a substantial two-storey brick house and many improvements on its over 30,000 square metres of waterfront land?

They must've asked themselves the same question because they lived in that small wooden cabin for less than a year before abruptly leaving and putting it up for sale again. If the 'Greater Fool Theory' still works, we may have new neighbours for Christmas!

Anyway, here it is now - the neighbours' place is inside the red box; "Riverbend" is outlined in yellow:



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Riverbend Cottage is under reduced management


Padma's mum is seriously ill and Padma will need to fly back home to Surabaya to look after her during which time Riverbend Cottage will be under reduced management.

I have already donned my new uniform, so don't expect any tiramisu or baked cheese cake or other culinary treats while I am in charge.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thamer, عيد ميلاد سعيد


I wish you Eid meelad sa'eed! and may you always fly First Class! ☺


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The beat goes on


With the help of my trusty assistant Troy, I am building a 3x3m gazebo next to Riverbend Cottage. It'll be another day (or two) before the structure is fully done, after which I'll order the metal for the roof.

Come back to this space for a photo of the first guests watching the boats on the river from the shady comfort of the gazebo.