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Showing posts from 2007


Hello 2008!

The Night before Christmas It has been another hectic Christmas with the whole family flying in from various parts of the country to enjoy a bit of holiday frivolity in the land of the Lotus Eaters (or Banana Benders as Queenslanders are more often called) in our tropical North where no one wears anything but shorts. This year after all the travelling, we didn't go overboard on presents, but we did have a lot of family fun with murder mysteries, dressing up and lots of challenges Things started off well with some sumptuous cooking by my darling daughter which included three desserts and a chocolate cheesecake birthday cake for yours truly. As if that wasn’t bad enough, everyone else took a turn at cooking and tried to outdo each other, so the diet is well and truly down the drain and I’ll be lucky if I ever fit into any of my clothes again. A fine Christmas Angel A few nights before Christmas we did the grand tour of Brisbane’s Christmas Lights. The bus driver asked us to lead the

Duck Hunting

At this time of year, it's not uncommon to see lots of baby ducklings around Wrest Point Casino. Duck Crossing Sign at Wrest Point Casino Alas, there' s not much happening there today, so I walk on around the Esplanade, past sailing clubs, shipwrights and chandlers.... Past the modest and little known Reserve dedicated to one of Hobart's most famous exports. Perhaps Hobartians are a little embarrassed about some of his exploits ... To the Sandy Bay Rivulet, where water testers are hard at work..... Testing the Water at Sandy Bay Rivulet - Chloe, Jess and Tamara They assure me that this is one of the most polluted creeks in Hobart. However, the ducks don't seem to mind. Look closely -double click - and you will see lots of baby ducklings. Not bad considering that this is almost the middle of a capital city.

What Drought?

Spring is supposedly here and the whole country is in drought, the worst in decades, including large parts of Tasmania except that is, for Hobart, where it rains every time I go out. Between the showers though, I managed to have a lovely time at the market. I got some fabulous purple ranunculus and some Iceland poppies. Couldn't decide between the two so the stall holder gave me both at a discount. I was also given free shavings of coconut ice since they had run out of my favourite indulgence - and some organic apples. *By the way, it is now scientifically proven that chocolate is an antidepressant, relieves pain and prevents mood swings (ABC News, 7 p.m. Tuesday, 2/10/07). When I told my son this exciting bit of news. He said, "What? And they needed scientists to prove that? At home, our pear tree flowered like big wedding cake for a day or two before the blossom was blown around like confetti. The fierce winds also brought down a lot of trees and left five hundred homes wi

Land Conservation, The Trouble with Flying and Carbon Offset Schemes

In my case a bit of Greenhouse Guilt has paid off. After my trips to Hokkaido and Mongolia last year I thought I should contribute a little to the "Save Recherche Bay" fund being promulgated by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC for short), which buys up land destined for logging to preserve it for future generations. Recherche Bay has historic connections to Rear Admiral d' Entrecasteau's search for missing fellow Frenchman, La Perouse in 1792 and was probably the first bit of Tasmania ever stepped on by Europeans. The bay is named after his ship and many of the islands and channels and even the Huon River in this area, were named and charted by him. I know there are many flaws with Carbon Offset Schemes - George Monbiot likens them to pissing over the side when when the ship is sinking, when we should be down in the engine room bailing, but at least this is an established forest which is already sequestering carbon and one which we can see and visit. The

Alice in Kettering

Like Alice in Wonderland I stumbled into a strange world at Kettering recently. This is the place where you take the Ferry to Bruny Island and there are some pleasant places round about like Peppermint Bay, which has a great restaurant and Woodbridge, with its narrow crooked road, large old oak trees and quaint shops and vineyards. The road I usually take was closed and I ended up at an almost deserted hotel. Inhabited by strange creatures and mythical beings, it looked like a film set from Lord of the Rings. King Neptune guards the entrance. A mermaid gazes out to sea and wherever you look you come upon intricate sculptures by Swiss Australian sculptor Roland Gabatel. There's a Griffin grinning from the top of the chimney Giant Mushrooms lead the way to the door Entrance to the Oyster Cove Hotel. There are interesting sculptures inside too The mermaid's view from the verandah An exhuberant Merlin rises from a garden bed Strange creatures and mythical beings - even the gree

Year of the Blood Moon

Dear Friends, You must be wondering what is going on. Well it seems that my marriage of 24 years is about to end in divorce. This has made everything I was doing pretty meaningless - travel, writing, working overseas, doing up the house etc. and I have been miserable since June. It felt like someone had died. I think it was me. Now, after the coldest winter ever it is time to move on. For the last couple of weeks I have been in the nation's capital to see how the other half lives. On the surface Canberra is all public servants, anonymous high security apartments and tree -lined streets (the City of Masan in Korea is modelled on it), but every now and then you get a glimpse of what lies underneath. It's very international and restaurants of every persuasion outnumber every other kind of business at the rate of about twenty to one. I am not surprised that my son has been putting on weight. The rest seem to be delis and kitchen shops, although the clothes and bookshops are p
The sun is shining for the first time in months... Rosellas in the Garden Juvenile Molly Hawk at the tip The birds are coming back..... The First Blossom Hang in there folks... It's almost spring

Hi Brisbane Girls!

In case you are still looking at the blog from time to time, you got a comment on YouTube: Here it is. Hope you like TonyDebattista46 (18 hours ago) marked as spam i could not quite see what the other sign said, but u girls look hot and thats all that counts :-P check out my vids!

Endlich Einmal Auf Deutsch!

In the Princessipality of Taroona Wie versprochen,kommt heute endlich einmal etwas deutches. Nebenher esse ich sogar eine echte deutsche Pretzel damit ich so richtig in Schwung komme. Nicht das ich etwa viel zu berichten habe. Von Global Warming ist im Moment einmal nicht die rede. Der Winter steht tatsächlich vor der Tür, obwohl überall im Land, selbst in Tasmanien, eine große Trockenheit herrscht. Bei Cymbie in Brisbane darf man schon lange nicht mehr Gartengießen oder Autowaschen. Hier stellte man neulich fest, dass einige von denn Wasserstau worauf unsere Eletrizitätswerke abhängig sind, nur noch zu 11 - 13% Wasser haben, so wird jezt versucht, per "Cloud seeding" (also mit Silber Nitrate) Regen zu machen, was leider nicht allzu gut für den Tourismus ist und auch nicht für die Weinbau oder die Olivenbäume die auch zunehmend hier angepflanzt werden Ross ist zur Zeit bei uns indem er zehn Tage frei bekamm, so wird wieder einiges am Haus gemacht. Jezt hat

Keep up your English!

It will be a while before robots replace humans as translators. Instant translation is magic and as amazing as it is hilarious. I always wondered how they did that at international conferences. Now I understand why everyone looks so puzzled and perhaps why, after 61 years of operation the UN still has great difficulties in achieving its objectives. How does the European Parliament manage? Here are a few excerpts from the German translations of my blog. Haven't had time to look much yet, but you''ll see what I mean. Teller as in a person in a bank who takes your money is translated as storyteller Where I asked about whether the little girl I called Betty was Patty, it has translated Patty as pastetchen or little pastry My absolute favourite though is this one. In that Granny Appleby poem -in the Don't call me Granny! post, it translates "My Charlie won't get fed tonight " as "My Charlie won't get any Federal agents tonight." The Grammar i

Footnote: Pondering the Omnipotent Mind

You may have noticed small ads appearing at the bottom of posts. You will probably see different ones at different times, particularly if you are in another country. These are automatically put on by Google search engines working on keywords. I have nothing to do with what appears, but I am absolutely fascinated by some of the results. For example, when I wrote on "Surviving The Overland Track (February)," there was an ad at the bottom for survivalists. When I wrote about national mourning with respect to Korea's World Cup Defeat, there were ads for Grief Counselling and when I wrote about the chaotic traffic in Korea, there were ads for Defensive Driving Courses in Melbourne. At the moment, this is a private blog - ie only people I tell about it can read it, but a lot of people are saying I should go public so if you see any big mistakes or spelling errors let me know If anyone minds their picture being shown or their names being given, please let me know that too. Chee

The Missing Year - Goodbye, Soul City

The Great South Gate -Gwanghwamun- Cultural Treasure #1 Danpyong - or Leaf Fall, is another special season in Korea. Whole web pages are devoted to places, times and dates when the best foliage displays can be seen. Mothers tenderly lift up their children so that they may touch the changing leaves. It is a lovely time to be in Seoul, but it is tinged with sadness too because I know that soon like the autumn leaves, I will be gone. This is by no means the first time I have been in Seoul, but usually I've been here on business, whereas today I am just another tourist. I am on one of those buses that lets you get on and off all day and stops at all the tourist attractions. The city is lively, youthful and friendly. There are a lot of universities here and although it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world - only Tokyo ranks higher, I have never felt safer walking around a town at night. Street Procession. Scenes like this are commonplace in Seoul Following the crowd