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Showing posts from January, 2011


Australia Day Thoughts - Coming to Australia

Want to be at home among the Gum Trees? Read On... Visiting, Working or Studying in Australia Today is Australia Day and that seems as good a time as any to talk about coming to Australia - another thing which people have been asking about. Visiting Australia If you simply want to visit, the easiest way is to apply for the very cheap eVisa which is available to most people coming from European Countries. This site will tell you if you are eligible and also has the relevant forms. It’s very easy to apply over the internet and basically you just have to show that you are of good character and have enough money to be able to support yourself during your stay. Don’t try to come without going through this process, because Australia is very harsh on illegal immigrants and people who overstay their visas: Working Holidays Western Australia has an excellent website on this topic including places where you can apply for jobs: Here is the

Plight of the Bumble Bee (and Others!)

The Bees were still looking good in the Caucasus - Photo by German Esipov Too Few Bees   How are your bees? Bees have been in mysterious decline in many parts of the world especially in the USA and Europe.  Although it has not been officially confirmed, it is believed that  a particular group of pesticides called neonicotinoids are responsible.  It is certainly apparent that in those countries where these pesticides have been banned - France, Germany and Italy, the bees are making a recovery . Bees don't just produce honey. They are the world's major plant pollinators including most of the ones we eat. Aavez is calling on the US and the UN to ban these these pesticides too, so click on this link to add your voice. Another pretty picture, but like the rabbits and Salvation Jane in the Mallee , looks can be deceiving.  Too Many Bees? Have the bees all come to

So You want to be an English Teacher?

Many people have asked me about teaching English overseas and another friend expressed interest in it only  last week, so I thought I should mention one or two resources here. Even better than my own experience (Click for start) which you can read about  right at the beginning of this blog, Englishdroid can help you out with all kinds of information, job listings , links to other useful sites and teaching tips and resources (even tips for students on learning and speaking English, courses etc).    Yes, it does help if you have Celta or Tesol qualifications, but they aren’t always necessary.  Usually you do need to have a degree, though again, not necessarily in English or Edu cation. Some places are happy to give training and others do not need you so much for teaching as they have very good local teachers, but they do want native speakers for conversation and to give students experience of hearing English as it is spoken in real life rather than in text books.   Glotagog X513 a

When Everything Old is New Again

This is for all you old car lovers out there. It was parked in the street this week [By the way, Morris Minor fans I have just found the photo from Ariah Park which made me think of you. It's on that blog  page now]. I am looking at my ‘new’ calendar which features old travel advertising. I must say I do rather like old advertising. I don’t know why. It’s not as if it was particularly great in artistic terms or reflected particularly good times either in society or my life. It’s probably a sign of getting older to find things from one’s childhood – retro clothing, old cars, toys and advertising quaint and fascinating. I used to collect glossy posters of bright shiny cars with fins. There was very little colour around at the time. No digital photography, nor colour photography, few photos in the paper and the printer’s palette was very limited. Just when I was getting a little nostalgic my son –in –law sent me these, just to remind me how times have changed and not to ge

The Real Chocolate War

The Post Christmas chocolate eating orgy is almost over. Here I am down to the last  of the Christmas chocolates - you know those with the squishy pink centres, the Turkish delight and one green chocolate frog, and it is now a political decision - a matter of putting one's mouth where it will do the least harm or the most good, as to where the next ones should come from. Absolutely nothing is value free these days. In case you are wondering how I came by so much chocolate in the first place, it's because my daughter visited the Chocolate Factory while she was here.[The Cadbury Building is still here, but our Chocolate Factory if it ever was ours not just British shareholders,' now belongs to Kraft and the classic purple Milk Chocolate is now made in New Zealand]. The current Aavez campaign,  is about putting pressure on the companies which are indirectly funding the dictatorship in the Ivory Coast and a brutal

Instant Karma

I just made a small donation to the Brisbane Flood Appeal. I would much rather have gone there to help with the cleanup but I can't afford to go down the street, much less to Queensland. I also checked their website and it said that the only way to help was to send money. They probably have enough people standing around with nowhere to go. Five minutes later I opened the letterbox. There was a Gift Voucher inside for 20 cents more than I had given which made me feel pretty good. Waterworld I'm not sure if anyone overseas has seen the terrible images from the Queenland floods. About a third of the state seems to be underwater including Brisbane, Australia's third largest city. Lives have been lost, so have crops and livestock. Houses and cars have been swept away, shops inundated. Thousands of homes are without power,  bridges and ferry terminals have been have been washed away, towns are cut off and transport is at a standstill. It's to be expected that new

Esperance and Points East

Esperance, Western Australia Esperance, 720 km South East of Perth was one of the last places I visited in Western Australia, accidently coming upon the dog cemetery at Corrigan and spectacular Wave Rock at Hyden along the way.  Esperance, which has about 12,500 people, was named by a Frenchman, the indomitable Captain Bruni D' Entrecateaux [who had also been searching for lost countryman, La Perouse in Tasmania] in 1792 , while sheltering from a storm and making repairs to his boat. Matthew Flinders visited in 1802 and mapped it for the crown in 1826 leading to the establishment of a military outpost at Albany to stop the French from claiming it. Eyre put in an appearance here too on his epic journey from South Australia in 1841 - indeed he and his aboriginal companion, Wylie, would have died here had had they not been rescued by the English Captain of a passing French whaling ship at the aptly named Lucky Bay. Although subsequently favoured by whalers, sealers and pirate

Weird and Wonderful Places around Perth - South East

  Jarrahdale - endangered species? Perth has the strangest development pattern. Leave the city and the coast, and settlements become very small and scattered with very little connection between them. Despite being the largest state and covering one third of the Australia, the total population of 2,010,113 (in 2006) is less than the city of Melbourne and 80% of it lives in Perth [] It is almost as if Western Australia gave up building towns and settlements after 1870, once the good agricultural land had been exploited and the gold rushes began. The gold rushes brought twice as many people to Australia in 1852 as the convict system had and by the 1870's the population had quadrupled. Although no more convicts were brought into WA after 1868, those that were already there, continued to serve out their sentences and were responsible for the construction of many fine buildings and public works. This peaceful clearing in the woo