Saturday, 30 August 2014

The World Congress of Families SUCK



Aldi removed Roald Dahl's book, 'Revolting Rhymes' from it's shelf because of a couple of complaints on it's Facebook page. The objection was raised because the dickhead head Prince in Cinderella called her a slut. Well bugger me!!

Burchell Wilson - yeh I know, who is he? - well he's the chief economist at the Australian Chamber of Commerce, got stood down cos some time ago he put up a picture of a tubby kid Joe Hockey with a comment, ' Fat little bastard'. And there were some other comments about Muslims. Really it wouldn't matter what those comments were, he clearly just was not entitled to say anything on his private Facebook page.

So clearly censorship puts paid to any honest interpretation of 'Freedom of Speech'

Unless you have a few minutes to waste and decided for fuck knows what reason, to have little look at stuff about The World Congress Of Families.

This bunch of fundamentalist Christians or extreme Catholics are meeting in Melbourne right now.

They are rabid anti abortion, anti gay and anti porn loons. I am sure they are anti lots more things but that was the stomach lurching limit to my research.

What a utopia they promote!! Graduate High School, get married and have some kids and you will never be poor!! Well fuck me!! I just never realised that it was that easy! There are just so many holes in this theory, no idea, no OPINION. Let's all have a little slice Stepford wives shall we, I'll put the kettle on and whip up a cake while I wear my apron. I am guessing that there are millions of poverty stricken folk in Africa or the war ripped Middle East who would be grateful for this simple solution to their desperation.

Still those poor sods who are party to the whole poverty cycle should be very pleased because at least they have no easy access to pornography. In the June 2014 Newsletter, according to Gail Danes - buggered if I know if she has any qualifications and I am pretty sure they'd be as skewed as a pretzel if she does,  reckons, no states definitively, 'Hypersexualised images have prepared an entire generation of boys and girls to become exploitators (sic) or exploited'. So to save the world we need to censor porn and allow this lot to promote as FACT whatever shit they choose believe.

I wonder how it is that all these nutters are allowed to say the most inflammatory shit without reproach.

I wonder when Freedom of Speech was a token handed out to the preferred few, and what I really wonder is who is doing the doling out!

I am pleased that I don't find it necessary to censor myself on this little blog.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The sad demise of country town centres.

Rockhampton is a pretty little town built on the banks of the Fitzroy River. There's a bloody great sculpture of a bull or maybe it's a cow, to announce you have arrived and as one of those 'Keep you awake' trivia questions on the highway asked what the place is famous for and then a kilometre later Cattle is flashed up as the answer, one imagines that Rocky developed as a rural trade centre for cow farmers.
Now these early folk must have been great drinkers cos there are lots of pubs, even though some of them have been transformed into sort of flash eateries, and they must have had plenty of cash cos there are beautiful buildings associated with their trade and they might also have been just a little naughty, cos the Court house is also something to behold.
The main street runs 2 lanes each way divided by a parade of mature trees, which provide shade for parking and some sort of food for birds and bats, so they can shit all over your car while you have a good look around. 

I love country town centres. They are generally are not filled with the usual chain shit shops and are definitely worth a stroll along, even if it just so you can feel a bit smug about the strange stuff that rural people want to buy and wear and have.
Rocky high street is no different. It must have been majestic in it's day. Shops like Stewarts Department Store are clinging on and if you want an outfit to wear to a wedding or the Races then this is the spot to go. Shoes, fascinators, frocks and handies all ready to set you up from toe to head top. I admit to feeling more than a little underdone in my shorts and thongs. My Nanna would have been perfect cos she always thought, rather demanded, that we dress up to go to Town. I wonder how long Stewarts can hang on. A long time I hope.

Most of the old buildings have been given the usual tosh about to make the ground level facades a bit modern looking but this has not saved 'em. There are lots of empty ones.

AT the end of the street there's a new Target centre. It looks exactly the same as any other little shopping centre anywhere at all. We didn't go there.

If it's true, 'all things old are new again' then there is hope for Town centres everywhere. I like to think that if I return to this lovely town in a few years' time that maybe retailers will  have been drawn back into town.
All those huge soulless tin sheds on the outskirts of town did not draw us in. I am sure the locals use 'em, same as we have to at home, but I fancied a little holiday memento and have left empty handed, except for the shells Steve picked at the beach - not very helpful to the local economy at all.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Another Dog Hol. What a lucky girl!

As mentioned, we are in Yeppoon and did we ever bring the weather with us! We left behind the grey pissing down at the Goldie and bugger me, it stayed there. All too often that shitty weather follows us on holidays. Maybe this is the definite beauty of travelling so bloody far away.

This might seem like an odd choice for a holiday destination but there were a number of carrots drawing this horse close.

Firstly I trained to be a teacher with a bloke who lives here. He and his family have grown up here after he came home from the 'big smoke'. We haven't seen each other for decades, but we  have managed to keep up with our news through chatty xmas cards.

So an 8 hour drive was a good excuse to catch up properly and we are.

Secondly, we wanted to be here at a time when swimming is possible without the need to wear Nanna's stockings or whatever else keeps you safe from stingers. I was unaware that crocodiles were also a problem though. It seems they might have migrated south in the last 30 years. Or maybe they have always been here, but as a youngster I just didn't give a shit. There were people standing right next to a warning sign yesterday. I think they were hoping to get lucky by catching their dinner, fishing in the Fitzroy River. I sat a good way away, reckoning that even with a shit knee I could scramble into the monster truck before the croc got to me, and besides it would be too busy chewing up the fisher-folk. The river is wide and slow and I didn't see them catch any fish, or crocs.

And thirdly, I managed to find dog friendly accommodation. Yeh it's a long way to go, but definitely worth the drive.

So we have been out and about taking Dog along too. She has been very well behaved, and very often we have been able to let her off the lead if we are sitting having a coffee, but not in the high street cos cars still scare me and Dog is a car idiot. She has romped at the beach and Steve has spent time searching out perfect shells of different colours and shapes for me to do something with - who knows what. It is lovely to be at a beach that's so very different from what we have left behind. The shells and the rocks are in such contrast to the Goldie's white sand, and I have even started up a pumice collection a piece of which I put to good use this morning when I scarped my feet - OK more information than is strictly necessary. Suffice to say that the stuff off the beach is far superior to the expensive shit you can buy from the shops.

The photo is from our morning tea stop at Byfield yesterday. The pottery place we wanted to see was closed but the famous cafe was opened and we spent a quiet while sipping coffee and watching Dog wander - and hoping it's not tick season, and that she didn't disturb any snakes or grasshoppers.

Oh I really am not a country girl.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Greetings from Yeppoon

It's quite a drive to get here, but well worth the effort.

We left the chilly rainy Goldie on Sunday morning. Steve was up at some silly o'clock and packed the truck and dog jumped in and we were off.

We stopped at a few places to let Dog out and to have a bit of a stretch. At Tiaro we had a coffee and a little snack and Dog went completely spastic cos we were stupid and sat at an outside table of the only coffee shop, which as it happened was right next to the walk lights.

Well who would have guessed that in this sleepy little backwater there would be so much foot traffic across the road? There was a very steady stream of people who had parked up their vans and used the loos and then come across to the cafe. It was like downtown New York at rush hour! And every time they pushed the button and the noise started up, so did Dog. We had to put her back in the car. She just would not settle. She must have had a very bad experience at the lights in a previous life.

We stopped again at a camp site near Benaraby, and I was reminded why I am not a camper. There was some old station wagon set up for sleeping, but not in the way you'd expect. I think maybe one person was gonna sleep in the car cos they had slung a bit of fabric over the windshield for privacy, but the main sleeping quarters was a pop up tepee attached to the roof of the car!! Clever little blighters had fashioned some sort of ladder to allow them to climb up to their roof top terrace. I would have taken a photo, except that I was laughing so much it would have been all blurry.

We thought we were very rural cos we had a drink and a slab of cake that I cut up with my fingers and I remembered to take my own loo paper with me to the toilet, I even gave some away to a girlie not nearly as well prepared, but in all honesty, our amazement at the tepee car left us feeling very city indeed.

We arrived in the daylight just before it was ROO time. The house is fab and it really is only 3 minutes walk from the beach. I feel like I need a bit of a rope balustrade to grab onto on the way down the slope but that's only cos my knee is rooted. Dog was happy to romp and soon after we settled in on the couch to a pasta dinner I had prepared earlier and slunk quietly into sleep. We were buggered.

The days are warm and we left the rain far behind. The beaches are beautiful and the pace is deliberate and slow. The high street is full of old fashioned bakeries and somewhat snooty newcomers and we are having a wonderful time.

Old friends lobbed over for dinner and drinks and a very long overdue catchup. How bloody marvellous.

Off for another day of looking about. Ahh Hols!!v

Saturday, 23 August 2014

My Nanna's boozey fruit cake.

A while back, with the arrival of my new kitchen toy, I decided that I would spend sometime on Saturdays doing a bit of baking. No I don't want some apron award from the 50's, I just wanted to try my hand making some stuff that I would enjoy stuffing into my pie hole, and so I started making biscuits. They have been a big hit with Steve and anyone who has come through the house.

But today was rainy and grey and not a good biscuit day at all. Now this was more than a little disappointing cos we are off on another adventure and I wanted to take some baked goods with me.

I did a little calculation of ingredients in my head, well not in my head, in the pantry, but the guessing was in my head, and I thought I might have enough stuff to make a fruit cake. I had never made one before.

I found a Christmas cake recipe and with a bit of jiggery pokery I came up with what I thought might just about cover the recipe.

It is the cardinal rule of cooking that for all things baked you must follow the recipe, but I have never been any good at that at all. I will have a little look and usually follow the method, pretty much anyway, but when it comes to ingredients, I reckon there is some leeway.

This recipe called for about 1.5KG of dried and glace fruit, but I didn't have quite enough so I threw in some walnuts and macadamia nuts and then there was the little issue with swapping scotch for brandy, and squeezing it all into a smaller cake tin that was round instead of square, and then of course the cooking time was all a bit of a case of best guess.

But bugger me, I cooked it and it is bloody marvellous!

The smell of Christmas has wafted through the house all day and I can now understand why Christmas was my Nanna's favourite time of the year. She was a pretty grim cook in general, but shit could she knock out a chrissie cake and her puddings were legendary. It would not shock me to learn that she might have tippled a little for the cook and so her ruddy cheeks were grog flamed as well as the result of all that heat from the oven and cooker, in a Queensland summer.

I reckon that as the cost per slice dawns on me I might have to limit the cake baking to special occasions but as the smell through the house took me straight back to my Nanna's kitchen, I hope there are lots of occasions which call for a boozey cake.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Howard Seeley Bloody inventor of the IRON

Howard Seeley an American has a lot to answer for. In 1882 he was sitting around in his New York lodgings and thought, 'I want to piss off every woman from now til forever and a very large number of blokes too, so I am gonna invent an electric iron.'

I mean what got into his head? He could have used the same idea to invent something to remove wall paper. That would have been useful, would have saved time, could have been used and swapped for an electric drill or something else useful once you were finished and you wouldn't even have to find a spot for it.

Who thought that ironed clothes and pillow cases was sooo much better than crinkles, and whoever that was how come they weren't stoned to silence by the poor sods who were given the shitful job?

I remember when Jersey and Polyester became popular cos they didn't need to be ironed, until of course some cock decided that they did.

It's possible that the same person who started the edict about wrinkle free clothes also decreed that boobs would be trussed and creased up skin would be pulled and sliced and preened, and feet would be squashed and tortured into stilts via bunions and blisters.

I like an ironed outfit, but am happy to admit that it might only be because I have been thoroughly brain washed to do so. I can see being still quite happy in a wrinkly frock and I'm sure I'd quickly get used to sleeping on an unironed pillowcase, after all it only takes a few sleepy minutes, and it's all sweaty and creased up anyway.

Yeh it was ironing day and what a bloody pain in the arse waste of time that is. A whole stinking day, with the shitting steam iron chewing through gallons of water and so much electricity that the extension lead was left more than a little warm.  Maybe I can hope that it's faulty and so put a permanent hold on any more ironing.

Let's start a wrinkle campaign, clothes, bedding, faces. Let's think about the beauty of crinkly creases.

Oh bugger it, I can't see that sort of mind set change. What a bloody shame.


Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bread - We are spoiled for choice.

There's this kind of bread.

And there's this kind of bread.

And then of course there's the yummo sort of bread made by friends who have a Thermie or
 a Bread maker. The sort of bread that sends waves of yummie smells all through the house that just a whiff of can count as a whole food group of its own and can add inches to the gut with just thoughts of slathering it with delicious butter and homemade jam.

It should surprise no one that the third sort of bread does not make an appearance here at the Big House, and not only because I don't have a Thermie or a bread maker, it's cos I am just too damn lazy!

We are lucky enough to live across the park from a bakery and an IGA so if we want bread we go for a little wander.

The bakery bread is better but more expensive and I have argued with the owner and when they recently made the French Stick about a quarter smaller, I suggested that it would be more honest to just put the price up, so today, Yeh, the price had gone up and it's smaller.... be careful what you hope for huh?

The IGA 'made  daily' bread is ok cos you can see it, but it's not 'made daily' as well as the bakery can manage and as for the other stuff, well I am just not at all sure what it is. It's fine for toast soldiers but I am not real keen on the 'fresh' sangas.

We don't eat a lot of bread. I like a couple of bits of a French stick with pasta - that's what's on tonight! and sometimes I will get a hankering for really crusty white bread with jam or cheese or maybe just more crusty bread. I am not keen on tucking a loaf into the freezer, cos I reckon too often it tastes different and not in a good way.

Consequently there is usually a half opened loaf on the bench near the kettle going mouldy. This is Sunday's craving leftovers.

No this is not a staged photo, I just got my lazy arse off the chair and snapped what was there. If I was gonna stage something, I reckon even I would have wiped the kettle over, ho hum.

I keep the 'old' bread just in case we get a visit from the swans and I can be arsed heading down to feed them. Trouble is they are not here everyday and I don't want to touch all that mouldy shit so there are only a couple of days' grace period and after that I am just kidding myself and growing antibiotics.

My sister, when she was a girl, (not now, that would just be silly, she buys her lunch now), used to keep all her school lunches in the drawer under her bed. We shared a room. Her bed stank. The room stank. I grew quickly to hate school lunch sandwiches.

This might well explain why I like to keep the bread where I can see it and why I have never owned one of those bread bin things - all too close to the under bed drawer full of mouldy rotting bread.

Ooo Yukky. Just off to chuck this lot into the wheelie.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Our GP Jane is like family.

I reckon in this day of techie nutsoness and social media and google your symptons and become your own doctor as you convince yourself that you have some shitful disease that no one has ever heard of but which will kill you horribly in about 2 and half minutes, it is pretty rare to stumble across a doctor who is happy to learn all about your quirks and strangeness and who seems to know her shit too.

I was lucky enough to filter through a bunch of GPs in Brisbane and finally found the amazing Maureen. She and I grew up together. Her kids presented the same quandaries as Bell and she was a trooper the first time my boobs went ape shit. I was sorry to have to trade her in for the impersonal 'You are just a number' medical arrangement which was my experience in the NHS in my years in London.

When I dragged the Pom home and we settled in the Goldie, for a long while I trooped back up to Brisvegas to see Maureen.

However this required a 2 hour drive and I had to fit into Maureen's pared back working hours. I sure as shit did not blame her for cutting back, after all I was not keeping myself too busy either. That should be what your 50s are for, kids are gone so do a bit of pleasing yourself.

For urgent little unimportant flu season sort of shit we would just go to any-old-one, until one day the sun broke through the gloom and we met Jane. Steve likes her cos she is no nonsense and I like her cos she knows her stuff and if she doesn't she looks it up. She looks after us separately and together.

She's a good bit younger than me so I am hoping that I might not have to break another one in for a good few years yet.

It's interesting to me that there is so little status for the humble GP, instead specialists earn the big bucks, and hopefully know their stuff but know you not at all, and all too often it feels the specialist's input is only marginally better than googling symptoms.

I like to think that a doctor might know what I look like and know a little something about how I might think and react, not just what my xrays look like or my blood scores.

Anyway, Jane is my, not so new Maureen. And Steve likes her too. BONUS. Jane happily rings through prescriptions to Kelly our Pharmacist, who is happy to dispense stuff if she reckons Jane will send through the paper work. Jane rings us at home to discuss test results or just to see how we are going if we've been poorly.

Well what do you know, I am happy with the rural country town nature of our health care. Perhaps I am more of a country girl than I thought. Yehhh......NOPE.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Nail Infections - look away now.

Almost a year ago I noticed a shit curling thing happening to my big toe nail. OOOOO YUK!

I had for years had my toes 'done'. I like to be able to poke colourful toes into my thongs. It sort makes them high fashion - the thongs not my toes. Coloured toes can make any shoes look flasher and they also make it fine and dandy to wander barefoot.

I reckon feet are the most unattractive bits of my body unless I count what the rest of it looks like lounging by the pool in a too small tankini, in which case the toes if painted are not really too bad.

I am not a high maintenance kind of gal. I can be ready in heart beat to be off into the world. I don't give a rats arse what people think. Makeup is a sometimes thing, and if I haven't got time or the inclination to do my hair then I just grab a handful and scrape it back.

But an hour in a salon with the smells and the hippy dippy music and someone scraping and buffing and painting my toes is an hour very well spent.

There's a woman at Main Beach who does an extraordinary job. She attacks all that hard gristly skin with a scalpel blade and my feet come out like a newborn's. She's pretty pricey tho.

So occasionally I would save a few pennies and go to one of those feet factories that appear routinely on 'A Current Affair'. Their hygiene is questionable. I am never sure if they have cleaned let alone disinfected the foot bowl, or the tools and the fact that they wear hand gloves should I suppose tell us that they don't want to get any little diseases from our feet.

So an infection I got, from where one can never be sure.

Dr Jane told me what stuff to get and said that I needed to be diligent about painting this shit on twice a day for about a year.

And so I did.

No pedicures, no polished toes, just shit that turned my nail black and a truly ugly sblodge pointing out the end of my thongs. Yeh I could have worn shoes, but that would have meant finding some.

But as I look today, I reckon I am DONE. It might not be pretty, but it ain't black and flaky and curly, so it must be time to bring on the paint! Yippee!!

Who would have thought that I could ever have been patient enough to see success so slowly. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Robin Williams and The Individual

Way back when I was a skinny Graduate with a big mouth and bigger hair, I sat for my first Teacher Interview (called the Morals Board back then for reasons that anyone alive in the late 70s under the control of Premier Joe would understand). They asked me all sorts of shit, like 'Do you think you will be able to manage being married and teaching?' 'What, at the same time?' I wondered, but told them that my husband was such a good honourable man, that he would be able to help me out if I needed it.

And so it went on. The main thrust of their questions being how was I gonna manage being a woman and a married one at that! and teaching adolescents.

Teaching is all I had ever wanted to do. I wasn't one of those kids who changed their minds about what they wanted to be when they grew up. I just knew. My school results would have allowed entry into all sorts of Uni courses for professions which would have ultimately paid many times a teacher's wage, but that was not my driving force.

I just wanted to teach kids. So I sucked it up and answered their banal questions with cheery '70s bullshit.

Finally they asked a 'real question', 'Why do you want to be a teacher?'

I uncrossed and re-crossed my unstockinged legs and said as pleasantly as I could, ' Because there is so much wrong with the Education System in Queensland and the only way to fix it is from within.'

This was clearly NOT the right answer.

A combination of government ordinance which saw teaching positions doled out according sex (men first) and marital status (singles first) and perhaps the Morals Board's reaction to me, saw me wait a very long time for a job, but finally I did get my hands on those lovely blighters.

I reckon you can teach a monkey to remember stuff, but what separates us from the apes, is our ability to THINK, and that has always been my passion. Oh sure kids have to be fed all the shit that allows them to pass the exams , but the rest of time can be spent encouraging them to think for themselves.

I used Robin Williams' films as  a springboard for this many many times. Literally hundreds and hundreds of my kids have watched a Williams' film and have been encouraged to Carpe Diem, and question authority and decide for themselves.

I used to think that every teacher should watch 'Dead Poet's Society' at least once a year. I thought it should be mandatory, except that would hardly be in keeping with the ethos of the movie. I still reckon this movie is my all time favourite.

'The World According to Garp' and 'Patch Adams' and 'The Fisher King' and 'Awakenings' are other favourites.

Mr Robin Williams' body of work has been inspirational.

I hope that at least a few of the thousands of kids I have taught have had the courage to go forth and forge their own paths and that perhaps Mr Robin Williams and I can take some small bit of credit for this.

Thanks very much to Robin Williams, an inspiration. The world is definitely a poorer place for his passing.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Optus and Aldi - still smiling.

Steve and I are off again very soon and rather than face the problem of wifi charges or being disconnected from the world, I went off to Optus to get a connection fix. Ta to my mate, Carol, for the direction here cos really if I had had to do the research I would have been buggered.

The bloke there was very helpful and the whole experience was not nearly as awful as I imagined it was gonna be.

The new portable modem is very cute and as Mr Optus explained how to get it up and running in a step by step guide for idiots, I managed to get it sorted in no time at all. Unless of course you count how long it took me to open the bloody thing to get the security code. Mr Optus just went clickety clack and voila. But I broke a nail, used a variety of tools, and finally attacked it with a nail file. I prised it open but that took me about twice as long as the rest of the set up. There is clearly a knack to it and I reckon that knack forms a major part of the staff training at all of these places.

Buoyed by our easy success we ventured in Aldi. I am quite the snob about this place. It all too often smells less than fresh and I can't read any of the signs and I never remember to take my glasses so I walk around looking like a right royal wanker wearing my prescription sunglasses.

I was just curious to see if there were any bargains to be had, cos I do love a bargain. Sometimes there are some strange bits to be had.

I know China, is the answer to most of the questions about the stuff in Aldi.

How come it's so cheap?
Where is it made?
What's it made of?  only joking I got some plastic stuff, not china today.

So Steve found some tool or other that his collection was incomplete without and I collected up some containers to tidy up my pantry, and then we had a look at the meat for dinner.

I took the plunge and got a bit of pork belly that I am slow cooking for dinner and it's quality will determine my interest in going back.

I am not sure where a lot of the meat comes from and the cynic in me wonders what the little bit of the Aussie flag in a corner of the label actually means. I needed to see an MSA label or the name of the farm from whence stuff came , before I was interested in taking a chance. 

But my real problem with going there is at the cash register. The folk on the machines are very pleasant, but there is no where to put your stuff after it's been zapped especially if you are an unseasoned Aldi shopper, and have neither bag nor trolley. So I was trapped, clutching a slab of pork belly to my tits and Steve was packhorsed up with other bits and then the dilemma about the credit card surcharge needs to be considered. And of course the fella waiting was just going a redder shade of red as his ire over my incompetence, grew.

I understand that it is now unseemly for the assistants to touch your card, but as I was doing the juggle with purse, handbag, pork and card and then had to try to squint to read all the shit on the screen about accepting the charge etc etc, well in the end it just all gives me the shits. Not cos the stuff is no good, or the people are not nice, but because I feel like such a dickhead while I try to finalise the transaction.

There's quite a lot to be said for places that allow the parter of the cash to feel good about themselves. This must account for the wide smiles and empty pockets of people in the flash centres. There's not much joy in paying over the odds for things unless it comes with a sense of self-satisfaction and a gormless smile.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Going to the 'Humpity Bump' then and now.

I remember loading a whole pile of shit into the car and setting off with my Dad to the humpity bump. We'd be bloody filthy and sweaty and a little stinky and we'd be pleased to be going on an adventure to one of our favourite local places.

The road or more accurately the dirt track that lead to the big old pile of rotting crap was lumpy and dusty and that's why we called it the humpity bump.

Often times we'd squeeze the car into a silly spot and open the boot and just 'go the big hoik'. I'd run around barefoot or maybe if I was feeling flash, in my thongs.

It used to amaze me what good stuff people just hoiked away. That old saying, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure', must surely have been coined by someone at the local dump.

I can remember finding all sorts of treasures that sometimes Dad would let me keep, but mostly he would just tell me to hoik onto the pile.

When the lump of garbage became too overwhelming a bloke on a tractor would set about pushing it over and from one visit to another the pile would change location and size and all the while the height of the place crept higher.

I loved going to the dump!

Today Steve and I took some crap to the 'refuse and recycle centre'

I have been there before. It does not excite me one little bit.

The road in is smooth bitumen and car parks are marked up in white paint, and woe betide anyone who messes with that system.

There is so much signage and warnings and direction arrows, that it would be all too easy to 'go wrong'

We put the paint in one spot and the broken whipper snipper somewhere else and then the useless bits of timber and the cracked glass cooktop somewhere else again. It's just as well that we are reasonably literate so we managed to get most of it right. I fear that people less well educated might struggle, except that there is a bloke there to keep order and make sure that no scavenging goes on.

I suppose that this same bloke is the fella who writes up tickets for putting the wrong thing in the wrong place.
We had to dump things in a big deep pit that must have had a scooper dooper thing to push it all to one end when it got too full. The thing that I like to watch is the conveyor belt which just takes your crap on one more little journey before it is unceremoniously dumped with all the other shit. 

If you wanted to come home with a bumpity treasure, it would have to be through quick thinking and skilful watching and a bit of serendipitous timing and parking next to someone with good shit who was willing for you to help yourself. Not much treasure escapes I fear.

I miss the old Wynnum Humpity Bump. I miss the rancid stench of the place which heralded all things possible. I miss the ease of hoiking shit away.

I realise that this might not be very 'eco, greenie' of me, but it was a simpler time with simple pleasures and a sweaty dirty smile and my lovely dad.

Biggest hazard is getting it wrong!

Be a bad mistake to think that these are portaloos

Are they shitting me?

I couldn't work out the front from the back, lucky we got permission to throw our cardboard into the pit.

This should be in many languages

Look at that .... a perfectly useful screen door. !!
No KIDS !!

No stealing, oh bugger!

Conveyor Junk.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Farmer Sue returns

Steve finished off all the hard landscaping in the courtyard a few weeks back and hard it certainly was. He lugged and pushed and cursed at huge concrete sleepers and bedded them all down, no not in a good way, and made sure that they were all exactly bloody perfect. I reckon he had had an absolute gutful by the time he had finished. He sure did not want to 'garden'.

We got the pots for the front door and they have patiently stood their sentry duty by the front door  waiting, hoping, all but begging for a plant companion.

I reckon it had been long enough for Steve to have forgotten about his grunting so I took him plant shopping. Now this is akin to shoe shopping, except that at least if he was in a shoe shop, they might have a men's section so he could amuse himself there for a while.

Instead, he kept picking things and pointing to stuff, and I just kept saying, 'Nope'. It did give him the shits and I understand why. He wanted an explanation but the WHY was mostly the same and had to do with the fact that the things he was picking out were common stuff I have seen all my life even if they were triffid crazy strange to him.

He dutifully put stuff on the trolleys and got out his Amx and shovelled it all into the monster.

We argued about the planting of the big trees cos we both wanted to be in charge. He took over and I sulked.

BUT today, I was up early and at it. I had placed lots of smaller things in the planting box he had made me from the old twisted sleepers and once I had had a final little fiddle, also not in a good way, I set to planting them out. I was in charge.

Later Steve joined me and he began grunting and generally staying out of my way.

We managed to finish off without killing each other or rowing so loud that the neighbours are tempted to call for help.

The plants look bloody wonderful.

My nails look like shit. This is why I don't like gardening. Oh look you can see my safety boots in this pic.... I had to take it with my nose, but that's another story.

Now we just have to be patient and see what grows. I am not kidding myself, some of this stuff is bound to die, perhaps because I planted it or perhaps because it was shit to start with.

A pleasant time can be had in the afternoon as I step out to water my 'crops'. Ahh

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Sounds of Silence

My Ipod player thing needs a new battery and regardless of how or where I placed the radio I just could not get any station to give me sound static free, so as Steve was out all day at golf, I have revelled in the quiet. Ahhh.

There have been giggles and light chatter from the park, but mostly it has been me and the dog, and the burr of my machine as I made biscuits.

The tellie proved a bit of respite for a while, but in all honesty, I do love the silence.

There is always so much frantic frenetic noise and movement that a day off, is wonderful.

I think my need to sink into the quiet began when I was teaching. In any one day I might have entertained, disciplined and hopefully taught 200 kids and the noise was just a given. A drama space, often McGuivered out of a breeze way or built under another building,  generally had kids' noise bouncing off the concrete and back into the room, escalating the noise and heightening the chaos.

I am surprised that the 'Elf and Safety police have not outlawed Drama teaching unless all concerned are wearing industrial headphones. Oh shit! I have probably just given another fool a job!!

Anyway by day's end I was more than happy to sink into my old chair and surround myself with still and quiet. The house was pretty calm and quiet unless Belly had been pinged for smoking or similar teenage misdemeanours, or we had people in drinking and being silly.

The strange silence might well explain why Belly now surrounds herself with rowdy metal bands screaming and screeching.

I do wonder if the cycle will continue with Zig choosing calm over the metal madness. Only time will tell.

In the meantime I will enjoy the sinking of the sun.

Friday, 8 August 2014

More GCCC crappola.

The training process for GCCC customer services staff.

( Of course the initial 3 days would have covered Elf and Safety gems about not hanging yourself with the headset cords and how to operate the toilet, where to go if there is a fire and which forms to fill out to claim compo if there is a fall even if it was a result of human stupidity.)

Trainer:   Here's your headsets, pop 'em on and turn up the sound

Joanne:    Yes master!

Trainer:   If the phone rings push the delay button which will play some recorded bollocks to the     caller.

Joanne:    Yes master.

Trainer:   If the caller has shown tenacity and is still on the line after 10 minutes of bollocks they are dangerous. Under no circumstances give them any information.

Joanne:    Yes master.

Trainer:    Do NOT think for yourself. Do NOT even attempt to be helpful and under NO circumstances are you permitted to tell them your NAME.

Joanne:    Yes master.

Trainer:    If at anytime the caller is asking for specific information chant, 'I am not obliged to tell you that.' Let's try that together.

Trainer and Joanne chanting together. 'I am not obliged to tell you that, I am not permitted to tell you my name.'

Trainer:  Remember that the less helpful you are the more council workers we can have, so one day maybe we can take over the world... Fill the world with mindless useless drones on full pay so that the rates money can all be eaten up paying ourselves and then no services will be provided so there will be no cause for any of these people to ever ring again. Oh what a wonderful world that would be!.

There are high 5s everywhere and Joanne is sent off to man the phones.

Today I spoke to the 'lovely' Joanne from GCCC customer services, who uttered the most amazing, appalling words, " I am not permitted to tell you my surname." She was not OBLIGED to explain the hierarchy of positions in the Animal management section of the council, but apparently she was not PERMITTED to tell me her name.

I cannot even imagine my reaction if I was ever told that I was not PERMITTED to say my name. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Building a different website for this Blog

I am not an IT genius. There are people in the world who are worse at managing the modern techie stuff but they aren't many and I rather imagine that they are indeed quite a lot older and have absolutely NO interest in ever being able to replace their old banking Passport or their sepia family photos.

I want to know HOW to do stuff and I know I will not be a quick study. Any youngster will tire of my questions quickly and their constant fiddling with tweetie pies and texts while they are teaching me will just give me the irrits.

I read quite a few blogs and some of them look very schmick and some of 'em look like mine. I reckon it is possible to guesstimate the age of the author by the format of the blog.

I know it is possible to part with cash and someone will do the design but I want to know how to do it and manage it and change it if the mood grabs me and I am a control freak anyway so I don't fancy someone else doing all the doing.

So today I took the plunge and dived into a website that proclaims to deliver you a wonderful fully formed website FREE OF CHARGE. I signed up and went through the design sequence and it ended up looking the same as mine is now. Not exactly the same but close enough to make no difference at all.

I want some drop down options and categories and a useable spot for people to argue or agree or just say something pleasant or not. I just want it to look modern and be friendly enough in design for people like me to manoeuvre around.

If anyone knows of a website that might give me a step by step, written for dickheads who were taught by teachers who threw actual chalk, please let me know. I don't know why it is not possible to leave comments on this site, but it is possible on google+ or facie.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Gold Coast City Council - changes afoot?

I got the documents I had requested and brief, barely begins to describe - One page of edited notes and a picture of Steve and Dog and a map of our house!

The explanation letter ran 2 pages!! It explained that if I was not happy there were other forms of recourse. It was clearly too much to expect anything like a bit of customer service!

So I got to and wrote my own 3 pages to the Mayor and our local guy and the GCCC CEO. I thought I'd give 'em a week to get back to me.

I outlined the events and my concerns about the council procedures and finally asked for a review of the process prior to sending out threatening letters.

I did not include a phone number or an email address because I had hoped they would actually write back.

But NO, I got an EMAIL from my local councillor guy. I am not sure where he found the address but there was some sort of weird mention of the last elected bloke so I guess it must have been on record somewhere. This is what I got back.

SUE ELLIOTT CR239436 Request review Council procedures relating to dog complaints ‏



From: Division10 ( This sender is in your contact list.
Sent: Monday, 4 August 2014 9:30:07 AM
To: '' (

Dear Sue
I refer to your recent letter addressed to me and copied to Mayor Tate requesting Council to review its procedures relating to dog-related incidents as a result of a recent event in Gladys Moncrieff Park at Bundall.
Arrangements have been made for the matter to be investigated in accordance with Council’s adopted Complaints (Administrative Actions) Policy and I understand a response will be provided to you within 14 days. Once the investigation has been finalised, a copy of the outcome will be made available to me.  
In the meantime, if you have any further questions relating to this matter, please contact John Madigan on 5581 6664.
I appreciate you bringing this matter to my attention.
Paul Taylor 
Councillor for Division 10
Chair Engineering, Water & Transport Committee

I am not sure what most of this means. It's not that I lack basic comprehension skills, it's more that as I do not work in a bureaucracy I don't know the lingo.
I wonder what the Council's adopted Complaints Policy is. It does not sound like a way to coming up with a new procedure though. It sounds to me like someone will have a look at what I wrote and decide if I had the right to complain.
I obviously have no clue who John Madigan is or his role in this matter.
I am so pleased that Paul Taylor appreciates my letter. I rather imagine that bit might have been added as a bit tongue in cheek though. 
As I can expect a response in 14 days I have to imagine that they are NOT in fact considering a change of policy as I rather imagine that would take very much longer.
This is very disappointing. How can a Council action the allegations from  an anonymous fella without considering that there could be an alternate take on the events?
I worry about the clear and obvious corruption possible. I worry about the effects of this sort of bullying behaviour especially against people less able to defend themselves.
It will not be even close to good enough for some clerk in the Council have a look at my letter and go, 'Oh dear dear me, isn't that a bit rich, we will have to take that threat letter off our records. I'll send the woman an email and let her know. Not today of course cos I have to get myself sorted for my RDO tomorrow.'
Firstly I do not believe that they will remove it, and as they investigate themselves there will be no way to verify it anyway. 
And secondly I want the procedures to be reviewed.  
It seems to me that so much of the world has gone mad. Money grabbed, with threats of eviction for non payment,  from rate payers, distributed to employees who are not accountable, and the people parting with all the  money having no say in how it's spent or the processes used.
When did this become the accepted norm.
The Mayor Tom Tate, has had his hands full in Glasgow,  so I understand that I have not heard from his office, but the CEO Dale Dickson whose nose is firmly in the rates money trough has not seen fit to respond at all, not even one of his many underlings whose noses are similarly smudged, has been bothered to acknowledge my letter.  
The wheels of change move far more slowly than is strictly necessary mostly because the institutions that permit the change are fighting so hard to ensure their own longevity.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Botox for Migraine.....sheeeeit!!

I am not know for keeping my suffering of migraines under wraps. I seem to have spent years whinging!! I reckon I had tried about everything, including some rather odd concoctions and weekly pummelling to the shoulders and neck which used to leave me weak and crying. I only just pulled up short of leeches and injections of cow shit. When I read about the Botox option I thought YIPPEE.

AS with any new idea, there are hoops to be hoolaed and so they were. Today was the big day. All the obstacles were covered and I was off for my bit of Botox.

Once the paper work was filled in - you know the sort of government shit one has to endure - Stat Dec to say that I had tried everything and that my desire for Botox was not driven by a vain choice to remove wrinkles and the ability to express surprise, the Doctor began to outline the possible downsides of the stuff. Well the possible side effects didn't really bear thinking about, and I was having trouble keeping calm just considering the 31 - yeh THIRTY ONE! injections. I looked at the picture and diagram on the wall and breathed deeply and wriggled my toes.

I did not exactly leap onto the table / bed thing.

She's not much for conversation this Doctor. She just started sticking me. The forehead was first. She asked me how many I reckoned she was up to. I said 9. She apologised and said only 7. Shit shit shit!

I turned my head and she started up in my hair. Well that fucking hurt!! I just kept breathing and wriggling my toes. Other side of my head, same result!! The first side was bleeding and she asked me to put pressure on it and sit up and climb off the table while spreadeagling some medical expensive looking machinery. Dainty I was not!

Sitting in a chair now and she attacked the back of my skull. The first one really hurt and I was told later by the receptionist that I did shout out SHIT and that the others in the waiting room heard me clearly. Good to know that there had been no impact on my vocal cords.

Stab stab stab. And then she came to the shoulders. She told me that these needles do hurt, cos they are like any normal injections. She was right.

Now I am crossing my fingers and hoping that I am part of the 70% of people who react well to all this abuse.

I told Steve about it when I got home and he just shook his head and said he didn't know how I could even think about going back in 3 months for another crack, and then it dawned on him that if 20 minutes of this shit is better than the migraine, then the fucking headaches must be truly shitful.

20 minutes of yuko instead of days and days of the other, is a trade I am happy to make.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

How is Sally Pearson going to celebrate?

I've been watching a bit of the Comm Games and as I sit here, my arse spreading itself comfortably over the lounge, I am struck by how these elite athletes say they are gonna celebrate their success.

Sally Pearson said she was gonna hook into a packet of Tim Tams. Bugger me!! If that's the standard, I must have been a Comm champ every day for years.

It is almost impossible for this couch potato to imagine the sacrifice needed to compete on the world stage. The fat fairy would need to arrive with a very large empty wheelbarrow and steal away half my body weight before I could even begin to start on the training regime, of cardboard and no sugar or fat - deep fried Mars Bars are the Devil's Temptation.

Celebrations have always been driven by FOOD and DRINK. Where to EAT, what to EAT how to EAT, and drink drink drink. And god knows that there has not been anything comparable to celebrate.

I have enjoyed watching athletes squeal with delight and their concentration and focus loosen up morphing into utter joy. It must be this utopian endorphin rush that forms the basis of their celebration. Of course I am not all that convinced that this rush would be better than  a glass or bottle of bubbles and a big bowl of creamy pasta followed by a walloping chunk of cheesecake, but then I am not the fastest, fittest, most flexible anything, but don't stand between me and a biscuit.

It's entirely possible that if Sally Pearson was  presented with a pic of me tucking in, and she was  told to pop it on her fridge, then she could well be motivated to do whatever it takes to avoid looking like THAT.

In fact I reckon that's what I should do. I could be the ANTI motivator.

Ooh goodie. I have a part to play. Yippee.

Friday, 1 August 2014

School Holidays and Richard Branson.

Bell and me in London when she was 10. Yeh it was cold, but we had to go in our summer cos I was a teacher.

The summer hols have started in the UK and my teacher friends are breathing a sigh of relief, while other friends with kids are wondering what the hell they are gonna do for 6 weeks.

Unless you are part of the 'Money ain't no object' brigade, then it's likely that taking your family away for the summer is just too bloody expensive. Of course the UK does not have this issue all to themselves, it's the same here in OZ and I bet just about everywhere.

As a teacher, holidays with Bell during school holiday times were always a given. I had no option to take her out of school and whisk her off on some adventure.

So I was keen to read Richard Branson's article in support of exactly that.

I wholeheartedly agree that family time is always going to be a bonus for kids.

I wholeheartedly agree that the stuff kids learn on holidays is valuable and rarely taught at school.

I wonder about a society that actually issues fines for parents who take their kids on holiday in term time, with notice and a willingness to take a bunch of books for homework with 'em, but cannot ensure kids from poor households can get to school routinely. 

I do have more faith than Mr Branson in the usefulness of the stuff taught at schools. So yes kids learn 'stuff' in their travels that they don't learn at school but they also learn stuff at school that they more than likely don't learn on holidays.

I borrowed cash all the time so Bell and I could go on our adventures and then I spent the rest of the year paying it back, and even so, we went more places than most of the kids she was at school with. People might say that we were lucky, but I reckon it was down to the fact that I worked so bloody hard, was prepared to borrow to go and am a bit of a gypsy at heart].

So, of course parents should be able to take their kids out of school in term time. Kids should be exposed to as many different places and people and experiences as their parent's income allow. The school staff must surely be in a position to distinguish between a holiday request and a parent just too lazy or bullocked to get their kids to school.

I suppose with my teacher hat on, I would request that when the kids are returned to school that THEY do the catch up, not the teachers. The teachers will have not doubt already prepared holiday work prior to the kids going so it would be cool to think that the kids' holiday jaunts do not mean a great deal of extra work to their already 'going like a steam train' teachers.