Sunday, September 29, 2013

A 70th birthday celebration

last night our daughter Helen and brother Graham joined me and we drove North of the River to my sister-in-law’s place for her 70th birthday party.  I drove my car there and Helen was the nominated skipper and she drove us home.  A good party with lots of familiar old faces and much animated conversation brought on by Dorothy’s cocktails.

                                     Princess Dorothy dispensing cocktails

                                            Johnny Howard also turned up

                     We bought her two fine Australian bubblies and attached this card....

Our son Martin is ready to return to work if they haven't already decided they can find someone else to take his job.  His painful problem with a gallstone and enlarged Pancreas has calmed down.  I hope he can easily get back into work and not have the problem recur.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Enlarged Pancreas

Our son Martin is having a bad time.  He returned home from work with pains just below his sternum.  I figured it was gastric reflux, but none of the proprietary medicines we have here calmed it down.  The next day he attended his GP and later in the day had a blood test and an ultrasound.  Results showed a 12mm stone in his Gall Bladder and an enlarged Pancreas.

The GP told him that many people exist comfortably with such a stone and removing the Gall Bladder would only be necessary if an infection arose.  The GP suggested that Martin ‘watch’ the enlarged Pancreas. No dietary suggestions??   I have urged Martin to ask her exactly what she meant by ‘watch’.

I have just consulted Dr Google in the form of Web MD.  It seems that the most probable reason for enlarged Pancreas is Gallstones.  So there!

This morning he is feeling a bit better.  His employer is not too happy about the number of sick days Martin has had.  We, Martin and I,  both feel that he needs time to get better and if that doesn’t suit his boss then he should perhaps quit and seek work when he is better.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Arehava Village, Papua

My first posting as Teacher-in-Charge of a school in Papua New Guinea in 1962 was at a village named Arehava. 
Arehava was on the beach on the western end of Orokolo Bay.   The school and my aluminium SOQ (single officers quarters) was only 80-100 metres from the beach and on the other side about 100 metres from a tidal creek.  
A woman washing a pot in the creek.   Nearby another woman was taken by a crocodile.  I was told that it wasn't a croc, it was a sorcerer from another village who had turned himself into a croc.  Payback time!

I was the first and last European teacher at that school and the SOQ was built specifically to house me.  I spent almost three years there and at the ripe old age of 25 transferred to Madang to teach at Madang Technical College.

Arehava was a pressure-cooked growing up period for me, dealing with village politics, sorcerers and some teachers who resented the young Australian teacher in charge of the school.    I look back on that period of my 73 years as formative years.

Click the  photos to enlarge them
Arehava Primary School Std V..  much older than regular Std V kids should have been

At the school garden some miles from the coast.

Maisevese, my cooky who guided me through the village politics

Arehava warrior 1962. What is he doing now?

Arehava Village and the school were demolished by a sunami and the village is now some kilometres inland.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Yesterday, we, Joy, Margaret and I went to the cinema to see Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, a tale of self-destruction. 

  Cate Blanchett must be up for an Oscar for her tortured performance.  Alec Baldwin and the other cast members were also great, but Cate looks to me like the new Meryl Streep.

This movie was a little different to the usual Woody movie, but has the same mix of characters as most of his other movies.   Woody has made many wonderful, funny, crazy movies and some serious movies which could be called tragedies without happy ending.  The Purple Rose of Cairo is one which comes to mind.

Being a Woody fan from way back I took a while to fully appreciate this very good movie.  Go see it.

More info about the movie here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bindii grass

This morning I spent some  time in the sun weeding my front lawn of Bindii grass/weed.   Bindii is hard to find until you walk on the very sharp prickles.  Bindii comes to my lawn courtesy of Australia Post delivery motorcycles.  The postman takes the shortest route to the next letterbox over front yard lawns spreading Bindii seeds to all and sundry.  Thanks Mr Postman!  OK, I guess if I were a Postman, I too would take the shortest route to the next letterbox.  A Wikipedia file pic of bindii is below

                                                         click to enlarge

This week is, or was, Perth Fashion Festival and until I saw this photo in the newspaper I never knew why models never smiled.  She obviously isn’t happy parading clothes she most probably wouldn't normally wear.    Sexy indeed!

                      Photo from the West Australian our only daily newspaper.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cunderdin Agriculture College

Yesterday cousin Val and I drove to Cunderdin Agricultural College 158 kilometres from Perth city for its Open Day.  Val’s grandson Mitchell is a boarding student at the college.

   This year’s student population is a mix of boys and girls numbering approx. 150.   Most come from farming situations, but entry is not restricted to just them.
These students are studying year 11 and 12 in a selection of three pathways...Further Education leading to tertiary admittance, Agriculture and Agri Trades.  Mitch is in the latter stream and hopes to gain an apprenticeship as a diesel fitter after Year 12.

The College of some 2,114 hectares is operated as a commercial farming enterprise.

All students regardless of which pathway they have selected, do a rotation of the agriculture Animal and Plant Production Systems which involves breeding, cropping, butchery and driving monstrous machinery.  Great fun!  Most of the students with a farming background would have already been driving farm machinery from a very young age.
Later in the day there was a parade of their large agriculture machinery...mainly driven by girls beaming with pride.
                                                 Vintage Commer 30cwt
                                                        Metalwork projects
                                             Meeting place, Hall and Gym
Beaming gal

I was most impressed by the whole setup.    Great facilities and care for students, tours of mine sites and stations in the North-West of the state, certification in a number of fields such as PADI scuba diving, the state government’s boat Skipper’s Certificate, and various industrial tickets such as first aid etc. 
It is well that all students work hard as they get Breakfast, Morning tea, Lunch, Dinner and Supper.  Didn’t see any overweight students.

All visitors, probably several hundred, were treated to a very nice lunch.

The college fee for a full time boarder is around $11,000 which includes uniforms. formal dress wear, major excursions and transport to events.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

tips for single males

Single men; divorced, widowed, jilted or just unmarried have problems with fitted sheets. I did until I created Lock’s law.....mark the tops of both sheets for easy bed making.
Another tip guys....make sure that the printed sides of both sheets face inward.  Could be embarrassing if a female visitor checked out the bed.

If you have an induction hotplate in your kitchen (as I do) don’t put a pot on the hotplate on high and turn around to scratch yourself (as I did) because inevitably (and instantly) it will boil over and cause you to have a big cleanup.

Regularly clean light switches and sink taps to remove cooking detritus.

Sharpen up blokes!   

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's all over

Well, it is all over, bar the shouting and I reckon there will be a bit of that.  The liberalNational coalition have won the federal election.  Yesterday was poll day and I fronted up to a local primary school to cast my vote.  There was a long queue with the party hopefuls handing out how to vote slips.  I was offered one from an aspirant for the seat of Fremantle, Teresa van Lieshout....thanks but no thanks.  Then I heard her raising her voice in front of the assembled mob telling another couple of opposing party faithfulls....’You are both corrupt and you and your people will go to hell’,  Oh dear!?

Another voter fell into line behind me after refusing a how-to-vote slip from a LiberalNational touter.  I heard her tell him ‘I wouldn’t accept that for a million dollars’.  I turned to her and told her that that was a lot of money and I would eat a bucket full of horse poo for a million.   No reply.  Not a time for hilarity.

The suburb where I voted is a strong working class Labor stronghold.  There will be words, some shouting and probably some tears there today.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Year 10 Science Cecil Andrews High School

I had a FaceBook contact with an ex-student of mine, Dynese.  I taught her in 1989 at Cecil Andrews Senior High School.    She was in a couple of my classes at that school and made my time there tolerable.   I was only at the school for a year before I took Long Service Leave at half pay for 12 months.

The school was not like a previous school I had worked at, it had a different clientele, not generally happy about education and prone to a bit of classroom disruption.  This was offset by some students who were interested in what was being taught.  Sort of like Welcome Back Kotter with a few of the niceties.   After a year and a fair bit of innovative teaching I think we all came out of it OK.

Here is a photo I took of my Year 10 science class.  Dynese is there....not a great shot of her, and I won’t point her out in the photo.  There are a lot of stories about that group which would be 
movie material.  Love to have a class reunion before I croak it.

                                                    Click the photo to enlarge

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Yesterday I drove Margaret and Joy to visit Araluen Botanical Gardens in the Hills above Perth.  Araluen is a wonderful spot and it is very popular with locals and visitors to this state.   The reason for our visit was to see the Tulip festival.  

                           A few pics here.....Click on the pics to enlarge them.

I have to admit that I am not really a flower person, but the extensive gardens, waterfalls and indeed the Tulips and other flowering plants and trees are impressive.  A couple of mother wild ducks shepherded their flock amongst the visitors.  A park warden told us that they will probably not survive too long with the wildlife in and around the park,  Sad!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bad Parking

Just returned from a service station where I filled up with fuel.  In front of my car I watched a young Chinese guy having lots of problems getting fuel into his wagon.  A few litres had spilled onto the ground.  He hadn’t noticed the fuel hand piece didn’t fit into his filler....he was trying to put diesel into his petrol tank.  I yelled out to warn him and he slowly got the message and stopped.   Inside the servo he paid for 8 litres of diesel and I estimate 5 litres had managed to get in and mix with the petrol.  Big trouble now.

Yesterday at my local shopping centre I watched a woman park her 4WD over two parking bays.  She got out of the car, had a look at her parking, but didn’t think it was worthwhile backing out and having another go.  I took a photo with my phone. Not going to post it on this Bad Parking site.