Monday, December 31, 2012

Destination Bali

Just signed up for a Bali trip.  The local Flight Centre did the job in around 30 minutes and on the 10th of February, cousin Val and I are off for a seven day trip to Bali.

The young lady who arranged everything was charming and very efficient.  I asked if she would mind if I took her photo to put up on my blog.  She was a bit hesitant and probably thought  I was a sleazy old man....don’t blame her; but after she had a quick look at the blog let me take this blurrygraph of her.

She is originally from New Zealand and spent ten years in the NZ Navy.  she looks so young I figure she joined the navy when she was ten.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

$31 million OzLotto prize

As Charlie said in Willy Wonka.....’I just thought you would want to know, I didn’t win a Golden Ticket’.

I didn’t win the $30M lotto on Saturday night either.  I didn’t hold much hope as the odds on a $30m prize in Australia are estimated to be around 1 chance in 20,000,000.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.  I have had two invites one from a friend Margaret and another to my daughter’s place for an early night.  I am not feeling too sociable at the moment and may stay home, have a bottle of bubbly and ‘turn in’ nice and early.

I am still finding interesting artefacts of my late wife Joan’s many stashes around the house.  Recently I found a large notepad with outlines for several novels she was going to start writing.   One had real promise.  It is a saga of several generations of a  fictitious colonial family in  Papua New Guinea.   Most interesting reading her notes and plot ideas.  It is a pity she never got around to writing it.  I don’t have her writing skills or I would attempt to finish it.  

Miss you Joan.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

We had a small family group for Christmas Day lunch, with sufficient food for a dozen more people.  Roast pork, ham, prawns, ceviche, salads, fruit and a lovely cake and ample drinks.   It reminded me of a quite wonderful song by Tim Minchin called White Wine in the Sun.   You can see/hear it on Youtube here.

Time for the cake..nephew Brian and his wife Lilli, my daughter Helen, brother Graham and son-in-law James with Kev in the background.

The roses live comfortably in a large pot with my wife Joan’s ashes.  She would approve.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Damn those Mayans

So today is The Day.     I have decided not to do anything which may be redundant.  No kitchen cleanup, shopping, buying fuel etc. Haven’t decided whether to clean my teeth or even wipe my bum.

Read about it all explained here.   Better read it soon though, as it is All Over Red Rover at around 10pm tonight; doesn’t matter where you are in the world.

One of the possible predictions for today is the sun burning out.  It could well be so!
The distance to the sun from earth is calculated as 92,955,807 miles and the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second.  That means that in about 8 minutes the last of the sun’s warming rays would cease and we will all start turning on torches and lighting fires to keep warm.

On the other hand I will continue cleaning up the house for the family gathering here on Christmas Day.  Got to make some Ceviche, buy a ham and drinks and ring the mob to see what they are bringing for the Post-Apocalyptic celebrations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Family History

My cousin Ted is a bit of a family history buff.  He recently returned from a European trip where he traced his (our) antecedents back to 1700+ in Wales.  The Lee family is on my mother’s side and the family had an interesting circuitous journey from Wales to Western Australia.   My brother, cousin and I and Ted’s immediate family met at a tavern for lunch last week and he gave us each a thumb drive with photos of birth, marriages and death certificates, churches and gravesites etc.  Most interesting day.

The Locks (my father’s side of our family) have also been traced back to Somerset and we have met a distant relative from there who now lives in Queensland.  Sorry to report that neither side of our families have convicts in them.

Both families emigrated from Britain to other states, Victoria and South Australia and later moved to Western Australia in the early 1900s.

Both my father and mothers' families were farmers in the Western Australian wheatbelt out from the town of Narrogin.  I have fond memories of spending time with grandparents, uncles and aunties from the Lees and the Locks during school holidays.

I wonder if someone will look back on me in the future.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Santa is in store!

Father Christmas is in store!
My friend Joy took four of her grandkids along to see FC at a large shopping centre near her home.  After a long wait in line she and the kids eventually got to see him.  He told Joy that they were a very nice looking family and that if he wasn’t so busy he would take them to the North Pole to have dinner with him.
Joy asked him what he would be having to eat for dinner.  He told them that he was going to be eating reindeer.  Rudolph had been naughty and he was getting the chop and into the pot.  The kids didn’t seem fazed by this and one of the younger ones asked Santa if he knew Rudolph. “know him?  I am going to eat him’ replied Santa. ‘He has been very bad’.  And whale was also on the menu. 'If you eat whale you will go up and down' declared Santa.

This Santa is either very perceptive to deliver that speech to kids who would not  be traumatised, or is a complete nutter.   Joy's grandkids weren't traumatised and she was amused.    Me too!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Business is booming!

The furore over the prank phone call to King Edward V11 hospital by a couple of young Australian DJs has gone feral in Britain.
It seemed harmless enough, but the nurse who was sucked in by the call thought it really was QE2 and Phil calling up to see how Prince William’s wife Catherine was going.  A couple of days later she sadly took her own life.  The British press and many Britishers are baying for justice.    
DJs the world over pull is almost mandatory for them to do so.

The notes the nurse left before her demise have not been made public, but it is said that what she wrote in one of the notes was highly critical of the hospital administration.  It would seem that they may have treated her badly and shamed her.

I wonder if any suicides occurred after the 1938 War of the Words broadcast scare narrated by Orson Welles.  It wasn’t a prank, but people tuning in to the radio play late, thought it was really was a report of an alien invasion.  Thousands of people panicked.

Australia and Australians are regular targets of the Brits.....much of it deserved.  Bring on the Republic!

Business is booming!  At least the nail business is.  Every shopping centre has a nail treatment centre.  I hesitate to look into them as I walk by, but I have never seen them without customers.  These ‘treatment centres’ seem to be run mainly by Chinese folk.
I find it amazing how different nationalities tend to run different businesses.  Service stations often seem to have Indian owners.  Lotto agencies are popular with Chinese folk.   Interesting; not important, but interesting.  The last time we visited the U.S. we noticed that, in California at least, motels were often run by Indians.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Hiri

A little more about Papua New Guinea.

In the years of my first stint as a teacher in PNG, I was Teacher in Charge of a primary school in the Gulf of Papua.  The Gulf is a swampy area with lots of sago palms from which sago (not as we know it) was produced and bundled for sale in Port Moresby.   It was transported by coastal traders.    

In times past....long past, it was part of a trading journey by the Motu people from around what came to be know as Port Moresby.  The Motu were great pot makers, having abundant clay deposits and an annual journey by Motuans in large Lakatoi before the Laurabada (South East winds) exchanged pots for bundles of sago with the people of the Gulf.   The Lakatoi could not easily ‘tack’ across the wind and crews had to wait until they could run back home in front of the Lahara (North West winds).    When I was at Arehava in the early 1960s, villagers were still using Motuan clay pots for cooking.   I imagine aluminium pots now rule.

That trading journey was called The Hiri and because the Lakatoi  had to wait for the change of season and the arrival of the Lahara, the Gulf people learned to speak a simplified version of Motu, later called Hiri Motu.  Hiri Motu became one of the two Lingua Franca in Papua New Guinea, the other one was Tok Pisin (talk pidgin).  Motu spread throughout Papua mainly through its use by the PNG Constabulary and eventually was renamed Police Motu.  

Picture of a Lakatoi from the 1920s

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Australian live cattle and sheep exports have come in for a lot of greeny criticism of late.  We have seen how middle east countries and Indonesian abattoirs have been slaughtering our exported animals most cruelly.  Up until now there has been a feeling of  dismay at mainly Muslim countries’ treatment of  our exports, but yesterday it seems that an Israeli abattoir is just as bad.    Surely it is time to do Halal/Kosher slaughter of beef and lamb in Australian abattoirs where there are strict controls covering animal cruelty.

I believe that every meat eater would rather not know anything about the killing of animals for our delicious meat products.  I don’t want to know about it.

In the early 1970s we brought home one of my Papua New Guinean students with us on annual leave. A neighbour of my mother and father was a government Meat Inspector at a local abattoir here in Western Australia and he arranged for me and Michael to visit the abattoir where he was stationed.  At the time of our visit, cattle were being ‘processed’.  From a large pen, steers were herded up a ramp to a point where each was killed with a shot to the head by a special pistol.   Other cows in line must have perceived that something bad was about to happen to them because they were making loud noises which I had not heard from cattle before.  We drove home from that place without conversation.

When I was a youngster, I would visit my family’ farms during holiday times.  I often saw the slaughter of a sheep for the family table.  I can recall the sheep trussed up in a wheelbarrow, its large eyes in panic as its throat was cut and allowed to bleed out and die after a few minutes.

No pictures for this post.

Bon appetit.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Big Bang Theory

Feeling a little down this evening with my daughter and her hubby in Melbourne.  I often join them for Friday drinkies.   That was until I remoted to The Big Bang Theory, and things got much better.   I love that show...and Seinfeld and Becker etc etc.

I can watch, and sort of, enjoy the British shows on TV, but never get a charge out of them like the BBT and other U.S. quality shows.

I guess I am an Americaphile, but I cannot stand the so called ‘info commercials’ selling American products on an endless loop on TV; products such as non-stick fry- pans, steam cleaners, magic paint restorers etc etc.  Yuck!

Back to my bottle of Bubbly.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Replacement GPS

I have received the replacement car GPS from a Chinese firm operating out of Sydney.  I am well satisfied with their service.  The GPS is obviously made in China because of the Chinglish text in the instruction manual, but I am very impressed with its operation and many features.  Also with the price of A$87.00 which includes unlimited world map updates for free.
I don’t think I will be using many of the features, such as Bluetooth phone calls, the photo viewer, eBook reader, audio player and games. The voice is very bossy when I exceed the speed limit which is a good thing.

A friend, Margaret, has had a handyman come and repair her sheet steel roof. I had previously done a temporary repair to stop her back room flooding during recent heavy rain, so I climbed up on the roof to check out what he had done.  I have included a photo of his handiwork and even though I am not a roofing tradesman I could not have left the job as he has.  All the sharp bits left curled up could be fatal to any dumb birds landing there.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Yesterday, with a more than an ample serving of Champagne, I had a small mimsy (Lewis Carrol - Jaberwocky) thinking of my late wife Joan.
I don’t normally feel depressed about things, but I am allowed to feel a bit mimsy on occasions.   
Find Jaberwocky here

Here is a link to an award winning short film. Quite wonderful!