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Today's quote:

Thursday, February 25, 2021

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."


On Friday BHP closed at $47.32; on Monday it was $48.90; by Tuesday it had jumped to $50.43; the next day it sank back to $48.86. As I write this, it's hovering around $50.45 which means I'm still ahead of Friday by $3.13 - PER SHARE!

Is it market manipulation or short-selling that makes a behemoth as big as BHP jump by a couple of dollars from one day to the next? I don't know! All I know is that as a self-funded retiree I need to inhabit this "greed-is-good" world of global finance if I want to protect my savings and stay off the old-age pension which, while small, is government-guaranteed and would guarantee me that I can sleep soundly at night.

Of course, it wasn't always so. In the Australia I set foot in in 1965, no-one I knew owned shares, no-one I knew even talked about money. We all just seemed to have enough, and that was enough, even for the likes of me who was on a "youth wage" with the ANZ Bank which left me with just a couple of quid each fortnight after I had paid my boarding house fees. "The past is a foreign country: they did things differently there."

My train of thought came to a sudden halt when I discovered that someone had written a whole book about Australia in the late 60s and early 70s, and he'd done so without the help of L. P. Hartley’s immortal first line in "The Go-Between". As it were, he jumped right in, "I'm on a quest. I want to visit a place that's radically different to the one in which I live. This, I know, is the dream of many Australians - people who head off to places like Vietnam, Kenya or Iceland. But I want more. I want to visit somewhere really different: a place that is scary and weird, dangerous and incomprehensible, and - now and then - surprisingly appealing. It's the Australia of my childhood."

What really drew me in was his description of Gus' Place, already well known in my days in Canberra, not only for being the only outdoor dining place but also a place where, as an impecunious youngster, I could sip on one 'cheap-a-chino' the whole day if I wished - and I did!

Click on image to enlarge

Did you know that places such as McDonald's will deliberately use hard, uncomfortable chairs so that diners are not able to sit and relax for a long length of time? Not so at Gus'! With typical Viennese charm, he encouraged you to stay longer, giving you access to the daily papers and weekly magazines, plus boardgames like chess and Chinese checkers.

Indeed, they did things differently then, and I promptly ordered my second-hand copy of "The Land Before Avocado" on ebay, for $8 plus $8 postage. Never mind the expensive postage; BHP is up by $3.13!

Googlemap Riverbend


Did you know?

Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a spacesuit damages the suit.