Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Party's over

It’s all quiet of the western front today.  A party which was in a house over my back fence went on for two days and nights.  First I knew of it was around 2am a couple of days ago.  There wasn’t any music but plenty of loud conversation by an estimated 50+ people on a range of topics from football to the upcoming election and the Malaysian lost aircraft.
This morning there was some subdued conversation, lots of clanks as bottles were binned and someone playing a guitar (badly).  When the garbage truck makes its pickup on Wednesday morning it will sound like a train crash.

Yesterday, cousin Val and I drove past the Lock family home which we long ago sold after our parents died.  The house was built entirely by my Dad in 1946.  Building materials were rationed after WW2 and there had to be some sneaky ways of acquiring cement, roof tiles etc.         The house is a timber-framed asbestos clad, three bedroom one bathroom place and has been sold twice since we sold it in the early 1990s.  Last time it sold for almost $1m.  Crazy amount for this house.  Even though it is a basic well built place, it is the suburb which commands the outrageous price.
In the front yard is a Peppercorn tree and it has grown immensely since we sold the house.  The owners have let it grow without trimming it in any way and it looks great.

Click to enlarge

We Western Australians have our own names for trees, fish etc.  This Peppercorn we call Point Walter Peppercorn because on the Swan River, Point Walter was covered with peppercorn trees. 

The name of our state has been the subject of some discussion of late.  There are two states and two territories which do not have real names....Western Australia, South Australia, The Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.    If we were to name our state there would be several years of discussions/arguments and probably some sort of referendum held.

Correction: I have just returned from dinner with my daughter Helen where she reminded me that the trees I mentioned as Point Walter Peppercorns are actually Peppermints trees.  The Peppercorns have red peppery berries and are what we locally know as Japanese Peppers.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Done and dusted

I am no Seer.  Just about everyone could see what was going to happen in the Ukraine and it happened.  Russia flexed its muscles and took over a part of the Ukraine in just a few days( OK a few weeks).  Crimea is now a Russian Province.   In the east of Ukraine near the now border of Crimea are many Russian speaking Ukraine citizens who are hoping that Russia will ‘liberate’ them too.   

The U.S. and western European nations have protested the takeover and threatened sanctions against Russia.  That aint gonna work, as Russia supplies most of Europe’s gas and oil supplies.  Pretty cold winters without heating.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Moans and Groans

 Western Australians are to go back to the polls for a second run to vote in the recent Senate Election.  The unexplained loss of 1375 votes in the November elections has caused the Electoral Commission to call for a new election just for Western Australia.

The incumbent Federal Government has made a few unpopular decisions since the elections and the W.A. rerun may change the balance of power in federal politics.  

There are a number of loonies nominating this time and today’s newspaper tells us that ten of those nominees don’t live in Western Australia and most don’t have plans to move here if they win.  Amongst the hopefuls are The Hemp party, the Sex Party, The Wikileaks Party, Smokers Rights Party, Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, Shooters and Fishers Party, Australian Sports Party, Animal Justice Party, Stop the Greens etc etc.

Australia uses the Preferential Voting system.  I don’t pretend to know how that works, but when lodging a vote the voter has two choices.  Above the line is a simple choice to put one(1) in the Party or group of your choice.  Alternatively, below the line voting means that you have to list your choices in order of preference,for all the parties/groups shown (77).  

Now for a few moans.

There is a family living somewhere near, or in, a nearby suburb who like dogs, leave their marks.  Bags of rubbish including filthy nappies (diapers) are tossed in the middle of the road from a car.   Today I stopped to see if there was anything in the packages to identify the culprits...nothing.  I didn’t use my hands when searching.  Pigs!

Back to politics....A Federal Senator in the liberal Government  has stood down whilst he is being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.  To my mind he has been a bit naughty, but his Liberal colleagues appear on TV giving him glowing references.  Each colleague uses the same words...”Honourable” is repeated over and over.  I am guessing that the party spin doctors reckon that if that word is used loudly and often, people may well believe it.  I don’t!

                                              Mimosa Pudica

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Concrete polishing

Yesterday I spent some time with our daughter Helen, applying a few sealing coats of a clear concrete lacquer to the slab where their Spa is to be installed.  James, Helen’s husband, is on site at Boddington Gold Mine and the spa is to be installed next Tuesday.    James and his mate Pete hired a concrete polishing machine to grind down the surface  until the aggregate showed through and the lacquer highlights the visual effect.  Not bad at all!

In the picture things look a bit messy, but it should shape up well with Helen’s artistic gardening skills.  Whilst I was there, we did a bit of gardening with a chainsaw.  A branch stump looked a good place to put up a bit of pottery Helen made years ago in a pottery class.  I reckon it is a portrait of Nero’s sister Shirley.

On Friday evening Helen cooked a wonderful Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles dish.  Absolutely wonderful!    Recipe here.   The author says... This fiercely spicy and addictive noodle will burn and numb your face off at the same time. This recipe requires red and green sichuan peppercorns.  

Helen made a milder version of this using less chilli and regular black peppercorns.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Doing a Sudetenland on the Ukraine

It looks as though Vlad Putin is about to do a Sudetenland on the Ukraine.  

On Sept. 30, 1938, leaders of Nazi Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy signed an agreement that allowed the Nazis to annex the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia that was home to many ethnic Germans. 

Adolf Hitler had threatened to take the Sudetenland by force. 
The Czechoslovakian government resisted, but its allies Britain and France, determined to avoid war at all costs, were willing to negotiate with Hitler. On Sept. 29, Hitler met in Munich with Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain of Britain, Edouard Daladier of France and Benito Mussolini of Italy to reach a final settlement.’   
The trio caved in to Hitler and allowed Germany to annexe that part of Czechoslovakia.   
Soon after, the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia and occupied their country before invading Poland.....WW2.

Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine are out in their thousands hoping that Vlad will return them to Mother Russia and true democracy.  I think he will (without much of the Democracy).

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A comedy of errors

Sister Shirl is up from Esperance on the south coast for a Volunteer Firebrigade reunion tomorrow.
It is an regular event and a couple of years ago Shirl came up to Perth city for the previous reunion.  It was held at a reception centre at Jandakot Airport.  I dropped her off at Jandakot and returned home to await her call to be picked up after the event.  As it happened as soon as I arrived back home Shirl rang me to be collected.....the reunion was a successful show, but unfortunately was held the day before.  Duh!
On the Friday I drove her out to Perth airport for the flight back to Esperance.  Shirl has just fessed up to the fact that she was actually booked to fly out on the Sunday.  She was too embarrassed to call me for collection again and had to pay extra to get on the Friday flight.

She claims that she doesn’t have Oldtimers disease....Hmn not sure about that.

Tomorrow I am driving her to the current reunion and I will stick around for a while until she confirms that it is actually the right date and place.