Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Have we been dudded all these years?

The Cat and Fiddle?
I really wanted to put this in for the children. It is one of the most famous sites in Hobart, especially for the under 10's. It is in the Cat and Fiddle Arcade right in the middle of town and can be reached from either the Elizabeth Street Mall or the Murray Street end near Myer. Unfortunately my own video of this was terrible so you will have to listen to the YouTube version below. But look closely at this image. As my friend Chris pointed out recently, that's not a fiddle as the nursery rhyme says. That's a cello! 
In answer to the person who asked on the internet, the arcade opened in 1962, so my guess would be that this moving clock dates from about that time. I still like it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Easter Bunny has arrived and Happy Easter to you all!

 It been all systems go since I arrived in WA. ( Not too many regrets about leaving Tas. It rained solidly for the last two days!).  First up when I got here there was an end of term concert with some excrutiating singing and this was followed by a Teddy Bear's Picnic for the younger ones. Mum - to - be was a bit subdued throughout and ended up going to hospital at around midnight, about one week early. The new baby - another little girl, arrived at around 4 a.m. much to the surprise of all concerned.

With a birthday celebration due the next day, there was a bit of midnight cake baking and decorating to be done but the Miss newly turned Five, expressed herself duly pleased with the result. The paternal grandparents also arrived.

The Birthday Surprise!

In between visits to check on Mum and the new baby, there were eggs to paint  and cards to make and the new bike to ride. Miss Five rides with her new gum boots on a tiara she has made.

The girls supervise Dad bathing the new baby sister
 Tomorrow we are having an Easter Egg hunt  and then we will be celebrating another Birthday for Miss soon- to -be Three, so don't be upset if you don't hear too much from me for a bit.
Here's one of the cards we made.
We hope you all have a lovely Easter too!


Strange the Folk you meet at Airports

This Mannie and her master Frank whom we met at Melbourne Airport

I hear she's a really good listener....

...and never ever answers back.
It seems Mannie and Frank got acquainted while on holiday in Thailand. Frank found himself a little left out when his friend brought along his partner, so he acquired Mannie and learnt to do some braiding. That's the short story as I heard it while waiting to board. Didn't have time to hear the long version. Maybe next time???

PS. Jetstar managed to lose half the pram package, but delivered it to the house two days later.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Golden Autumn Days

 It's a real shame to be leaving now. This is absolutely my favourite time of year in Tasmania. Misty moisty mornings, mellow sunshine and clear blue skies, with just a hint of melancholy. In Japan and Korea they celebrate the turning of the leaves and the papers list the places where they can best be seen. I think it's a lovely custom and one we could well implement here. I'm still trying to decide where the best viewing places might be. These pictures were mostly taken in the Sandy Bay area and the Fitzroy Gardens -the little park at the top of the hill, where the nannies of the wealthy used to push their perambulators.

St. David's Park
Even native trees such as this fig are putting on some colour

Tree beside an office building


The Paris end of Macquarie Street

Franklin Square is just starting

Cheap Flights

I'm heading off to Perth next week to play Grandma for a while. Cheap flight of course and I'm not paying myself, but I'll be watching closely to see if Jetstar is better than Tiger. The last time I flew Tiger airlines their add -on charges made them dearer than Jetstar and I had a big row with them. Anyway, I mentioned this to my ex- sister -in -law and she promptly sent me this. Too true alas!

I did ask them if I could get a discount for bringing my own personal flotation device, but I see someone has already thought of that. There are possibly worse airlines than Tiger, that I have not yet tried.  Another clip on the fine art of baggage handling follows. One thing I did rather like at Tiger was the way they had Tiger paw prints all the way out to the shed at the outer limits of the airport where you boarded. Take your lunch. There isn't much to eat out there.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

And now for the Good News....

I did promise you some happy news somewhere along the line, about positive ways in which people around the world are responding to straitened economic circumstances, but I have been waiting for formal permission to include a couple of video clips. This has not exactly materialised, but since they are all about  sharing what we have, I'll include them now anyway in the hope that  (a) I will be forgiven and (b) there will be many ideas here which you can utilise.

Some, like Couch Surfing are international and very well known.  Others might just inspire you to get a local group going.  My sister put me onto these after they were recently featured on ABC National.  Rachel Botsman who made the videos and co author Roo Rodgers have also just published a book What's Mine is Yours, about this new trend they call Collaborative Consumption.

Can't understand it? Go to  http://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_botsman_the_case_for_collaborative_consumption.html
for subtitled versions in 21 languages.

A couple of other useful sites follow.

Collaborative Consumption Groundswell Video from rachel botsman on Vimeo.

WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS from rachel botsman on Vimeo.

This is a rather nice idea, if you don't like to eat alone and it could be as simple or as complex as you want.

growing things
No, this is not about meeting your beloved in the garden. It's about being matched up with someone who either wants to plant vegetables in your garden or who has space available. IT has just been brought to my attention that if you are interested in dating and gardening, there is in fact a site in the UK which promises just that http://www.lovegarden.co.uk/ on the premise that you will have more in common than randomly meeting people on line.

 If you live in an apartment, you don't have to miss out on home grown vegetables. Many communities have found vacant space - even on roadside verges and along old railway lines, to set up community 

Landshare is an English Organisation 'connecting growers to people with land to share.'

Community Supported Agriculture. I first heard about this in Canada, but it is much bigger in the USA. Basically the idea is that city dwellers help farmers with the intial cost of seed and inputs and physically help with planting of mutually agreed crops. Later they help with the harvest and take a share. Don't know of any groups in Australia doing this yet, but it's an idea which could be followed up. 

Aussie Farmers Direct is an Australian company available in most states (not Tas. alas) which supports local producers and delivers direct to your door. It even gives you a refrigerated baggie for your order. It works very well in the ACT and I would love to see it here too.

Goods and Services

Let's Schemes are more or less local exchange communities, where you do say, an hour's child minding or gardening for someone else's time. Because credit vouchers are used, your skills do not have to match the the needs of the particular person whose services you need.

They are also available in all these countries. If there isn't one going where you live, perhaps it's time to get one going.

World / Africa / Asia / Oceanea / Europe / Nth America / Sth America

Freecycle - free goods, get rid of things you don't need. This is available in most states and internationally.
 If you live in Melbourne, there is also Gumtree which has free advertising for your stuff or what you need, though it does sound as if  you have to pay for things which you acquire.

NeighborGoods appears to exist only in the USA at present, but it could also be great here for those things you only use occasionally. This involves borrowing or renting out rarely used items such as lawn mowers and tools.

How NeighborGoods Works from NeighborGoods on Vimeo.

Travelling and Accommodation

If you are travelling, try the Hospitality Club which works in much the same way as as Couch Surfing i.e. you offer to have people at your place and you can stay at other people's places almost anywhere in the world.
House Swapping. This site links you to places in Australia and New Zealand. Home Exchange links you to homes in 80 countries and HomeLink to about 27, though I have not tried either of these sites myself. I have however, done some house sitting through House Carers, though there are a number of other companies doing this as well.


There are a number of rental sites such as Go Get, Zipster etc. but if you want to travel around the country Jayride is probably the best, though again, I have not tried it. If you are in Melbourne, Gumtree lists lots of carpools, community ride shares and forthcoming trips interstate. This area will be expanded as I look into some of the other schemes. If you have any experience -positive or negative, in this area or any others, listed or unlisted, please share them with us here.

Also any other great ideas you have come across.  Many of the listed sites have additional links which may be helpful. It's the new way to do things.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Belated April Fool's Day greetings

Oops! almost missed it. One of my favourite days of the year. Haven't prepared any gags like the classic International Spaghetti Harvest Festival once presented by the ABC but I'll give it some thought and save it for next year if necessary. I'll just show you a couple of signs that I have been collecting. They are not a joke, just crazy enough in themselves.

I am not sure if Milk Crate is a place or an object but Useless Loop is a very apt name for the road

Hey, they forgot mention the sharks!

False advertising

Where's the tree?

Catchier than the usual seatbelt signs

You see these a lot. Makes you wonder

Garage with Ned Kelly on top at Coolgardie. Ned Kelly was a bushranger. You could say that at least this mechanic is honest

Scary Cat Letterbox in Kin Kin, Qld
Cow, same place

Puffer fish. Competition is fierce in Kin Kin

Mixed Messages at Uni
Not a joke! This is a black carrot I just bought at Coles. I'll let you know how it tastes!

There were a couple of attempts to celebrate the day with a headline vanishing from the front page of The Australian Financial Review,  Ikea featuring a highchair for dogs and the Sydney Morning Herald  having a job ad for a senior doughnut hole puncher (all reported by Strewth, in the Weekend Australian, April 2-3, 2011:13).

Later ....Hmmn. The black carrot from Coles (The fresh food people) - if you found it in your fridge you would carefully put it in the compost-  tastes rather earthy and not as sweet as a normal carrot. It also made the broccoli go a strange brownish- purple colour, but it was interesting as many of the heritage vegetables are. Makes you realise how bland and standardised  much of our food has become. And sometimes why.

Music for the cynical soul

It's been a bit bleak and rainy here today so I have been looking for some new music. Listening to my old CDs makes me sad. I thought I was onto something when I heard this song on a film the other night. 

Alas, it turned out to be from the 1970’s and that the singer had been dead since 1975. I immediately remembered something Imre Salusinszky said way back in January (The Australian, 5/1/2011)
Referring back to his 1980 Diary, he had written:

“Wednesday, December 31, 1980.
Another year over, and I have realised something odd: all popular music released since January 1 has been absolute crap.
I am sure it’s a temporary aberration and the flow of fine music will soon resume. I mean, (imagine the alternative: sitting around 30 years from now and still listening to the music of the 1960s and 70’s!).”

Fortunately, I did manage to find one new spark  -Adele, who has a really strong voice.

I am also quite partial to Tim Minchin whom I have seen live in Perth and fronting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on ABC2 the other night. Not only musically talented, but extremely witty and not exactly politically correct. Please do not look him up if you are squeamish or easily offended.

Lazy boy's Underwear Goes Inside the Pants from 2006 could fall into this social comment category as would their Facts of Life, although they play beautifully as well. If you just prefer the music go for  their  Police Dog's Bonfire  which is purely instrumental. Under this heading you might also like The Shins especially New Slang  from their 2001 album Oh, inverted world. I am also still very fond of  the multiskilled Xavier Rudd whom I will include here, since he is unlikely to upset anyone and does play quite frequently in Europe.

I am eternally grateful to my offspring for introducing me to most of these or yes,  I would still be listening to Bat out of Hell.  Not that I have anything against Meatloaf  -on the contrary, he's a lovely person and he still rocks, but even he is sick of playing his old songs all the time.
I am still trying to find that very haunting Ethopian jazz I heard while travelling over the highlands of Iceland, with Cedric and Philippe,  so come on guys, or anyone else who may know, please drop me a line and let me know who that female singer was and what you are you listening to these days, apart from recycled music. What are you listening to in Brazil? I know we have at least one Brazilian reader.
I did mention that I was over rap didn't I,  and not so keen on drum 'n' base or classical. Almost anything in between considered.
By the way, Siggi, Heimar and friends (Iceland), when do I get a clip of  I love you Lucy Lou?
Meanwhile, here's a not so cynical new one with rather nice graphics,

I see someone else finally managed to get the Comments to work. Thanks guys. It makes me feel better about wasting so much time.

Running around in my head White Flag