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Friday, February 27, 2015

Carpe Noctem


Carpe Noctem. Seize the night. Boating at night is different. As different as, well, night and day. To watch the sunset and see the stars come out through the open hatch cover is an experience like no other.

It never takes long to drift off to sleep on a boat and 'lights out' happens before you reach the end of the book. Slip into your bunk, and be serenaded to sleep by the water lapping against the hull.

And early to bed means early to rise and, on a boat, you tend to wake not long after sun-up to light the kerosene stove for a breaky of bacon and eggs and a hot cup of tea.

Summer is the time to be sleeping aboard. Try it sometime!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Paddling my own Canute


King Canute may have believed that he could sit on the water without getting wet but I paddled my own Canute and waited for the low tide before putting on a pair of gumboots to repair the jetty.

The morning was mercifully cool and it's all done now as are the new verandah steps to replace some rotten ones. A lick of the old Mission Brown and it'll look as good as new.

That reduces the number of items on my to-do list to three digits! ☺


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And then there were seven


Drug runners are not my favourite kind of people. Why they should suddenly have become the Prime Minister's I can only guess: vote-grabbing! I am sure there are many others who are more deserving of the Prime Minister's intervention than Chan and cohort Myuran Sumurakan who face death by firing squad. It's the law - L.A.W. - in Indonesia and they knew it!

What a lot of people seem to have forgotten is that Chan and Sumurakan were career drug smugglers. At the same time as the Bali Nine - Chan, Myuran Sumurakan and seven Australian mules - were arrested, Andrew Chan masterminded another international heroin smuggling attempt out of Hong Kong but the operation failed, and three young Australians were jailed - read more in the Daily Mail.

For our Prime Minister to go into bat for these villains strikes me as very 'un-Prime Ministerial'. Indonesians are very proud people. They threw out the Dutch and they certainly don't want to be told by Australians how to run their country. If anything, our Prime Minister's intervention and empty 'threats' made them even more determined to carry out the death sentence!


It's the custom


Padma's mum passed away a hundred days ago. In a final ceremony to mark the end of mourning, we scattered some flowers on the river. The day was suitably grey and overcast as befits such sombre occasion.


Whispering Winds of Change


While in the Bay, I discovered this interesting book in my favourite op-shop. I had never heard of Stuart Wilde nor read any of his books. A quick GOOGLE search brought up several commentaries for and against him and I still have to make up my own mind about him.

Although I won't rush out to buy any of his other books, I did find some of his writing in Whispering Winds of Change quite compelling.

However, after last night's heavy rains it's time for something lighter: Alistair MacLean's Ice Station Zebra. No, not the book which I read many years ago during my Alistair MacLean/Hammond Innes/Wilbur Smith stage of life, but the movie with Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine and Patrick McGoohan:


Monday, February 23, 2015

This is your Life Change


After Tribewanted and Barefoot in Tonga (since covered up again), we now have This is your Life Change.

Of course, Vorovoro is the same island that hosted Tribewanted before moving on to Umbria, Bali, Sierra Leone and Mozambique, making zillions for Ben Keene who's from the U.K. This is your Life Change's founder Mark Bowness, a former school cleaner, is also from the U.K. (must be something in the water).

Go ahead and click on "Apply for your Life Change"! As the blurb says, "You could be a teenage mum in New York, a corporate lawyer in London or an unemployed graduate in Melbourne" (they sure got Australia figured out! ☺)

Anyway, I applied! Where it asks, "5 Reasons We Should Choose You (convince us!)", I wrote,

1) Because I'm an easy touch!
2) Because I'm an easy touch!
3) Because I'm an easy touch!
4) Because I'm an easy touch!
5) Because I'm an easy touch!

That should convince them!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

A quindecennial anniversary


It was Christmas 2000 and we'd just come back home after having listed "Riverbend" Cottage with the tourist office in town when the phone rang and a man's voice asked, "Is that Fisherman's Paradise and do you have a vacancy?"

I hesitated. Fisherman's Paradise? Yes, of course, that's the name under which we had listed the cottage with the tourist office.

"Yes, this is Fisherman's Paradise and, yes, we do have a vacancy", and, having detected a German accent, I added "Where are you from?"

"Same place you're from."


And that's how Thomas Flock, his wife, and his sister became our first Cottage guests and "Riverbend" Cottage got started - although we no longer call it Fisherman's Paradise; it's simply Paradise!

P.S. Thomas, if you read this, please join us in the celebrations by being our guest again. This time it's on the house - or rather, on the Cottage - see here.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the paddler, home from the Clyde


There's nothing like an early-morning paddle on the river to blow away the cobwebs and make me look forward to a hot breakfast of porridge followed by bacon and eggs.

After weeks of hibernation, this weekend may be the time to hit the town and watch WILD at the Bay City Cinemas. I've already read the book and was fascinated by it.

And, of course, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will be released on the 26th which I won't miss either.


Friday, February 20, 2015

I wished


I wished that fat red arrow would point to my little "hole-in-the-wall" pied-à-terre in Sydney. Instead, my little renter is located under that scraggly yellow 'x' at the bottom near-centre of the photograph which I pinched from another real estate ad.



Still, if you knocked on the neighbours' door and demanded to be allowed into their bedroom and then stood on your toes, you could just see the Bridge ☺. Failing which the splendour of Sydney Harbour is just a short walk down the road - if you don't stop at my favourite watering-hole, the Blues Point Hotel, which these days I frequent only for its convenient and affordable accommodation.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cinema Paradiso


Our Cottage guests from the U.K. have left again and I was going to start on my usual chores, some of which require the assistance of my trusty helper Troy but he's just phoned to say he won't be here today.

He's been in hospital in Canberra since Tuesday, getting used to the idea of becoming a father. Last night he did become a father, albeit not quite used to the idea, when his wife Michelle gave birth to a girl.

Congratulations, Michelle and Troy!

The forecast is for a hot day, so I may stay indoors and watch one of the movies I recently bought on ebay:

The Year My Voice Broke

Winter of Our Dreams

Tea With Mussolini


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Tomorrow is "Ulladulla Day" with a spot of swimming, lunch at the club, followed by some 'retail therapy', and that's just about it for another week, and almost for another month. Where does time go?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Beware of Germans taking Greeks to Bali


Four years ago, my Greek friend Nick felt the urge for a real Greek salad and so I took him on a German tour of Bali.

For more of the same, click here.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Paradise is an island. So is hell.


This book won a prize in Germany as the most beautiful book of the year. It deserves to win several more. “Paradise is an island,” the author Judith Schalansky writes in the book's introduction. “So is hell.”

No doubt some islands far from civilization are idyllic — before the people arrive there. “There is no untouched garden of Eden lying at the edges of this never-ending globe,” she writes. And here is the transcript of an interview with her.

Here is a snippet from this beautifully produced book:

“The absurdity of reality is lost on the large land masses, but here on the islands, it is writ large. An island offers a stage: everything that happens on it is practically forced to turn into a story, into a chamber piece in the middle of nowhere, into the stuff of literature. What is unique about these tales is that fact and fiction can no longer be separated: fact is fictionalized and fiction is turned into fact.” (A sentiment my friend, the redoubtable Rob Bryce, can relate to ☺)

I lived and worked on several islands: New Britain and Bougainville as well as New Guinea itself, Guadalcanal in the Solomons, Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Upolu in Samoa, Penang in Malaysia, and Magnetic Island off Townsville, and visited many, many others, and I fell in love with this wondrous book which captures fifty islands that are too far away in every sense - from the mainland, from people, from airports, and from holiday brochures - for me to ever visit which makes this book all the more precious.

If you've read this far, your credit card may well have entered danger territory. Why not? Go to Book Depository and splurge $32.64 - or 65 cents per island - on this beautiful hardcover book.


Ask the Leyland Brothers


In tonight's Australian Story on ABC TV Mal Leyland for the first time speaks publicly about the Leyland Brothers and why he and Mike (who died in 2009) went their separate ways.

Armed with a camera and a catchy song that few can forget, they produced the quirky television program Ask the Leyland Brothers and made millions of dollars along the way which they subsequently lost in their ill-fated theme park Leyland Brothers World.

The brothers, who were born in England, had arrived in New South Wales in 1950 and were fascinated by the outback and all things Australian. They became quintessential Australian characters and their travel documentaries have become part of Australian television history. Not bad for a pair of Ten-Pound Poms!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Letter to the Eurobodalla Shire Council

The broken culvert

The fence's corner panels looking up the lane

The fence's corner panels looking down the lane



Letter to the Eurobodalla Shire Council:

"I have owned the property at 35-39 Sproxtons Lane, Nelligen since December 1993. For many years the bottom of the lane was almost impassable after heavy rain. You fixed this some years ago by installing a culvert, for which I am grateful. However, this culvert is no longer fully embedded in sand and the few heavy vehicles that come down the lane (the heavy garbage truck being one) have cracked the top of the concrete pipe - see first picture above. This crack will get bigger and eventually the whole culvert will collapse. Could you please prevent this from happening? (While on the subject and as an aside, could you please explain to me why you only ever sealed half the lane?)

Our neighbours across the lane at 33 Sproxtons Lane deserted their property sometime in early 2012 after others complained about their Colourbond fence and Council ordered it to be taken down (DA 106/13). I was not one of the complainants because, as I explained to them, I had grown up in the shadow of the Berlin Wall and was used to ugly and imposing fences. However, since the matter is now in the open (or should that be 'open warfare'?) and half the fence has already been pulled down, it may make sense to remove two more corner panels - see second and third picture above - which create a dangerous 'blind corner'. We are already used to it and turn the corner with great care but not everybody does and one day a nasty accident may happen unless full visibility is restored."