Saturday, January 21, 2012

A touch of autumn

Sunflower season 
How odd. It seems we only had a couple summer days and now it's grey and drizzly and just a little bit sad. No doubt there will still be some blazing summer days and then I'll complain about the heat, but I have seen the first thistledown tumbling by and these sunflowers today and they make me think that winter is just around the corner.
I am about to be separated for my computer for a couple of weeks and you may not hear anything from me. Don't despair though.
I will be back,
Cheers for now,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Suddenly a Wild Internet

A couple of months ago when I had such an appalling internet connection that I could only get on the net between 4 and 6 a.m. and not at all when the gamers were busy over the weekend, I cast about longingly for open networks with far greater connectivity than I had. There weren't any of course, but some really interesting names.I used to get the Cat Network, Happy Home and a couple of  other rather witty ones, but now only Bubbles and Suddenly a Wild Internet remain.

Mine will be one of those boring ones that just says Optus#zyzzzz#@!!# and has really poor connectivity

I only thought of looking them up again because of an article in yesterdays Age by Peter Munro * who turned up an interesting collection on a Wifi walk around Melbourne. How about "Asio Van" or "YourKidsAreUgly"  or maybe "I'm Watching You Sleep?" There is even an interactive map.

He also lists a website devoted to same where you can vote for your favourites and there's another list too at 
though the tone here seems more "rack off and get your own internet connection" rather than to entertain. However, I did like "Trapped in router, send help," and "Connect for Identity Theft" deterrent function nothwithstanding.  Network connection names do open  up a world of opportunity for creative expression you may not have thought of before. Great inspiration for people like me whose mind goes totally blank when confronted by dialogue boxes demanding user names or passwords.
Thanks for reminding me about this, Peter.

*You can also find Peter on]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When erratic becomes the norm

More crazy weather.
I wonder where the climate change deniers have been living?

Today we had a very humid 34oC earlier in the day, followed by a hail storm which did little to relieve the heat. Just now though at 1 a.m. we have had what amounts to a tropical thunderstorm.  Here’s what we are supposed to be having at this time of year. It comes from a website entitled   “The facts about Tasmania’s weather
The data, extracted from the web pages of the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, is based on Hobart.
The Tasmanian East Coast is milder, the West Coast wetter and the NW Coast windier.
Yearly Mean Rainfall (mm)
Highest total first

Mean Daily Minimum Temperature °C
Month of July
Coldest city first

Mean Daily Maximum Temperature °C
Month of January
Warmest city first


Alice Springs





Alice Springs

















Alice Springs




The cool, temperate climate of Australia's island state with its distinctive four seasons, (reminiscent of conditions in central Europe without the severe winters) makes this place ideal for year-round comfortable living and touring. The long summer evenings provide opportunity for extended sight-seeing with darkness coming slowly.
The occasional deep low in the Southern Ocean, usually in springtime, can produce a gale that "blows dogs off chains" (the island is located right in the Roaring Forties after all). During summer, autumn and winter successive days of calm, balmy weather compensate, while no-one has ever complained about the regular afternoon coastal seabreeezes from October through to May.”
Climatologists did say that for sub temperate regions, erratic weather was more likely. What is even more disturbing though is that no one seems to notice any more how crazy our weather has become. Freak storms in Sydney and Melbourne. More cyclones. Even Hobart has had the occasional one. What would have been alarming a few years ago is just no longer news as it’s happening more and more often.
Nor are things looking much better in the Northern hemisphere, not after the heatwave I experienced in Russia last year and I understand that north America is having a rather mild winter right now.
This has already had an impact on global grain supplies and will probably get worse. Locally unseasonable floods ruined potato crops, cabbages and probably the berry harvest - haven't seen too many about this year, not to mention what Cyclone Yasi did to the price of bananas. I suppose we can only expect food prices to continue rising.

That's my lament for today. 
By the way, having once camped put on Mt. Black in July, I always thought Canberra was ten times colder than Tassie in winter. The figures above prove it, at least in terms of past history.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WMDs - wonders of mass destruction

These are just their clothes

There is glitter in the bath and a trail of destruction through the house. There is every indication that a natural disaster has taken place. The little girls are in residence. All three of them.

They have taken over the bedroom

Over Christmas I happened to mention to my older son how my big sister used to tickle me unmercifully until I agreed to do the dishes for a week or any other unpleasant task she could think of.
“What a great idea!” he remarked enthusiastically, “I could see them deploying that at Guatanamo to extract secrets from enemy combatants.  It wouldn’t leave any traces either.”

Well, I have another rendition technique for those so inclined. Just leave them alone with a toddler and two small girls for a while and they will confess all. Grind them down with sleep deprivation, the constant noise and the chaos and the state of perpetual emergency and they will soon become quivering, malleable wrecks. It certainly causes perfectly normal and peace loving parents to become slightly unhinged, so what hope for a mere bystander with no right to crimp their creative expression.

And the bathroom

I have twice maimed myself on assorted kitchen utensils with which the youngest member of the family has been playing. Cookie cutters are the worst. Then there are the crayons which the older ones leave strategically placed at intervals on the stairs. This is particularly hazardous at night as I pick my way through a rubble of books, shoes and pencil sharpeners because I dare not turn on the light. Sometimes there are stools perched precariously at the top of the stairs to repel boarders and at other times the girls lie crossways on the floor. They look so cute then that I am reluctant to move them. They have also thrown the cord of my dressing gown over the rail in order to make a quick escape.
The shoes are a problem throughout the house. They are supposed to be left by the door, but in this respect the girls are like centipedes and must have sixteen pairs each as they are always everywhere, except when we are about to go out. Then you can't find any two that could be remotely related to one another.
They may not look as if they could make grown men cry.....

The only time the girls are quiet, move fast and collaborate is when they are doing something they shouldn’t be, like painting the bath with nail polish (they didn’t do that this time), unravelling all the toilet paper  or decorating the stair rails and door handles with sticky tape or tissues.  Silence is not golden. It means someone has fallen off something and we are about to head for the hospital or they are up to no good.

Fairies R Us have just decorated the ornamental pond with all the neighbour's flowers. I see him peering wearily through the slats of his venetians while the girls shriek with laughter. They have now turned on the hose. Their laughter tinkles like bells through this quiet neighbourhood. 
You know it won't last long. Any minute now it will turn into a banshee wail because someone has slipped over or done something to the other, but for the moment, it's lovely. Nature's way of  ensuring survival of the species.  Temporarily.
My other son just dropped in. 
"Love what you've done with the place," he said. "Now it looks all lived in  instead of like a surgical ward."
How do I tell him I have been striving for that look - not the lived in one - for the last thirty years and am still in recovery from my own parenting days.

Nor does the littlest one....

But we all know where it leads

Monday, January 16, 2012

The cyberspace news

The good news is that Eli Pariser's "Filter Bubble" concerns may be diminished under new a innovation by Google  see Has Google Popped the Filter Bubble?

You can also diminish your exposure by using the following tips: 

On the negative side, green groups have come under increased surveillance here in Australia, both electronic and otherwise with the government contracting private companies to do the work. Nor is Australia alone in this. Crikey's Bernard Keane has been bugging the buggers and kindly provided a link to bugged planet which shows all the companies involved in tracking down those pesky dissidents.
"The list does not include internet monitoring and censorship operations undertaken under contract to intelligence agencies (which are kept from the public and available only to MPs on request) or law enforcement bodies such as police forces" such as the one above."

For a long time I have been wondering how the internet will change the way we think. Just as books led to linear forms of thinking and the development of pictures in our minds  (and new neural connections), different forms of input will yield their own patterns of thinking. Thus far I have tended to be optomistic about these developments as people also prophesied gloomily about the advent of comics and the coming of television. As this vast new mass experiment gains traction worldwide however, researchers are beginning to notice the effects. 
Read this Adbusters article by Nicholas Carr to find out what it is they are discovering. Fortunately, there is good news there too, about ways to mininimise the negative effects.
Rural > City > Cyberspace | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters
Lastly, a friend  who makes beautiful music from samples combined with old music has been lamenting the stringency of our copyright laws and I also often find myself in a quandary when I would like to combine pictures from elsewhere, say a newspaper clipping or advertisement with photos or other people's art. To make things worse, it looks as if the U.S. anti piracy laws have gone through too. Wiki is protesting this by shutting down for 24 hours, though I don't quite see how that it will help, other than stopping about 25 million kids from doing their homework.
Looks like our only option may be moving to Sweden where according to the Atlantic Wire, filesharing has become an official religion

"It took two years and two failed attempts for members of the Missionary Church of Kopimism to earn the official designation as a state-recognized religion in Sweden, but they finally did it."
At last! A religion I could believe in. Where can I join?
And just to spite the laws, I am going to put in this lovely pic shared by my friend Bec.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Up the Street

Saw these friendly blokes filling in two enormous holes outside the Hill Street Reservoir

 As I went past they were joking about leaving the other one overnight to see how many pedestrians they could catch.  The pickings would have been good. There's a pub on the other side of the road.

 They were working really hard as I came up the road, but when I got there they stopped work to let me pass.

Classic Road Worker pose
It reminded me of a little skit I once saw on one of those ABC comedy shows. The first scene showed the road workers hard at work. Then one calls out "Quick! Someone's coming!." After that, they all settled back, leaned on their shovels and pretended to be doing nothing until the person had passed.

When I told them about that, they obliged me with the above picture in suitable pose.
They did leave the other big hole, but by the time I came back from the shop it had a big barrier around it.
Nice work fellas!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

After the smokers, where next for the Nanny State?

Smoking indoors, in workplaces, bars and restaurants was banned here years ago. Victoria has just banned smoking on its beaches and Tasmania recently banned smoking at sporting venues, bus malls and outdoor cafes. In Qld. There is some kind of law about not smoking in public parks or within so many metres of schools. While I agree that smoking is a nasty habit,  never smoke indoors, detest smoking in public and always bin my butts, I don't see why if we can have injecting rooms for other addicts, we can't have pleasant civilised smoking rooms like they do in Estonia.
I really liked some of the comments that followed this article. For example:

"I presume all the self-righteousness evidenced here is coming totally from non-drivers? Because I feel just the same way about your car emissions as you do about my smoking folks – it’s a filthy disgusting polluting habit and all motorists have absolute contempt for pedestrians and deliberately run them over (see? stupid generalisations aren‘t helpful are they?). Always dispose of my butts in portable ashtray or bin, take care not to inflict my smoke on others in public places. That’s more than you can say for any car-driver - indiscriminate pollution blasting forth anywhere and everywhere." - Linda
or maybe this one:

"The whole bay is toxic, and the river, a few more million butts only adds to the mix. If you want beaches, go to Queensland. They have machines that clean beaches now. Invest in a couple, you will only need them for a few weeks in summer, the rest of the year nobody will use the beach, it is to cold."
or this:
"Good to see all the anti-smoking Nazis are still alive and well ... get a life" - Adolph

And who will they pick on next when there are no smokers left? We have already had purges on drink drivers, speedsters and gamblers.  Will the next  to be demonised  be those among us who also disobey the rules of common sense and good health by consuming junk food and those who peddle it? Will there be gruesome warning labels on packets of crisps and soft drinks, icecream, biscuits and chocolates? Will they ban their advertising in public places and forbid the eating of junk food in films? Junk food advertising on children's programs has already been banned, but this only seems to ad to their appeal, just like denying young people the right to drink until they reach 18, by which time they begin binge drinking in earnest. Will there be no more product placements for things like McDonald's and Starbucks.  Will we be eating our sugared cereal in secret and out of brown paper bags and will it only be sold in plain brown wrappers, stored behind locked doors and sold to consenting adults after presentation of photo id? Will bakeries become Adults Only venues with no displays in shop fronts and will Mr. Whippy's icecream van be banned from places where children congregate such as parks and beaches and schools?

The airlines are already muttering about introducing fat taxes and they are already operating in the U.S.A. 
 The outlook is not encouraging. I just read an article that most contestants on The Biggest Loser and similar shows regain all the weight they lose and many end up being heavier than they were before
Same goes for WeightWatchers, Jenny Craigers and other crash diet victims, which does not bode well for the future.We will just be made to feel guilty failures without achieving anything.

I really liked the comments on this article too:

"... I actually find the weight-loss shows discussed above to be quite obscene, a form of 'emotional porn' and I don't watch them."

and especially this one.

"These TV shows are revolting. Combing the encouragement of self loathing and a freak circus. I hate the way they reduce participants to these drivelling losers who would all have a much better time if only they were thinner; so it buys into and perpetuates the whole pile of crap that is thin equals happy. That if you are a fattie you must be preoccupied with hating yourself (no society is preoccupied with that and dumps it onto the person) and food. Funny thing about that is I am surrounded by thin or skinny women who a) hate themselves and b) are preoccupied with what goes in their mouths. Isn't it time to move onto another group to demonise? Get rid of those foul shows!"
For a much more positive spin see the spoof ad produced by advertising companies for the Gruen transfer

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Relativity of happiness

"I wish I had your worries," said my oldest son, when I was complaining about my present lack of focus and direction. "Then again," he added, "My worries would seem trivial to an African too."

In consequence he's just sent me an excellent upbeat article about how well Australia has done on a number of social and economic indicators over the last twenty years in comparison with other OECD countries, but also poses the question," If we have never had it so good, why aren’t we deliriously happy?"
Certainly, I would not want to be in Africa right now, or even the mean streets of Britain or the USA, but I am a bit tired of people telling me how great things are and how lucky we are. Although our individual troubles may seem trivial in comparison, I think they can be summed up as follows:
  • Firstly, it’s really hard to sing and dance and kick up your heels while you see others suffer
  •      Secondly, averages disguise great inequalities even if ours are not as great as elsewhere. 
  •       Even those lucky enough to have jobs have no security, too much stress and very little pleasure or leisure. Material progress has come at a great cost.
  •        And lastly, deep down we all sense that global economic growth is unsustainable in its present form. It seems just a question of time before it unravels, if it hasn’t already. It's a bit like playing that kid’s game. “What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?” without the fun.

Sorry, I don’t like being  an eternal pessimist. And Yes, we should celebrate the fact that we still have a few social services and our society is fairer than most; that we have less corruption and few people visibly begging or starving, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels or allow further inroads on the things which made this country good – sticking together, sticking up for your mates, equality, “a fair go,” no one too rich or too poor; being able to say what you think;  protection at law,  -but while things may be better than in a lot of other countries, we shouldn't go around congratulating ourselves either. There are still a lot of things wrong – aboriginal health and deaths in custody for instance, immigration and detention issues, the prohibitive cost of housing, disintegrating families, disintergrating infrastructure and communities and overlong working hours in the short term, and the bleak prospect of global environmental decline hanging over all of us in the future. 

There's an interesting article in the Atlantic about how Walmart may be one of the biggest influences on the greening of China. Because both are such huge players in the global economy, this could have a big impact, (especially if the Chinese government applies the same ruthless determination as it did to population issues). However, the conclusion confirms my own misgivings.

"The bitter reality is that even if unrestrained consumerism becomes less environmentally destructive per unit of production than it was in the past, it is still unsustainable in the long run. So even as this most innovative of corporate and statist green strategies may represent an environmental breakthrough and good business for Walmart, and good politics for the Chinese government, it may nonetheless end up being very bad business for humankind.
 Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society."

Now do you understand why I am not laughing? Though that' s not to say we shouldn't be grateful for what we have, or try to make things better, or try to find a little humour and joy in our daily lives. I envy the lemmings though. I am sure it would be better not to know anything and just enjoy each day.
On the other hand, pessimists also have their uses. If there weren't screeching warning birds, we would be congratulaying ourselves all the way to the abyss. This way at least, we may be able to slow it down. To this end what we need is slow motion, less productivity; fewer hours and higher wages; big taxes on robots, polluters and international capital flows (Robin Hood or Tobin Tax) and big royalties on resource extraction either generously distributed among the whole population, the way Alaskans do it, or at least to benefit the whole population by way of education, health and infrastructure. Go to it optimists!    

And feel free to raise your objections here!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More on food.....

There have been a couple of very interesting programs on our National Broadcaster. Since these two about food are from the UK, you should be able to get them there on one of the BBC's.
If you have ever wondered what goes into making commercially produced food, try "Jimmy's Food Factory" on ABC 1 at 8 p.m. on Thursdays. It is both scientific and entertaining. I caught an epsiode about making Low Fat Mayonnaise and I don't think I will be using it again.

Watch out also for the next episode of "The People's Supermarket." People's Supermarket, Thursday, January 5 This link was shared byThe Ethical Consumer Group

This is about one man's struggle to breathe some life into an empty shop in his UK main street by opening a supermarket and inviting people to take up shares in it. In the episode I watched, he was losing money hand over fist because being a chef, he tried to stock his shop with with interesting food. This however did not serve the needs of many of his local shareholders, many of whom were already on the breadline.
"What do I want with  with artichokes? Where are the chips?" was a typical comment. On the other hand turning it into just another retail shop with aisles filled with soft drinks and biscuits, did not please his more middle class shareholders.
Eventually he hits on the idea of buying directly from local farmers, who are also being ground down by the big chains.  The produce previously rejected by them such as potatoes which were too big or too misshapen, proves immensely popular with his customers as well as being a win for the farmers. Even the middle class shoppers are pleased because it is local and not freighted in from abroad.  The next episode promises to be about food waste, the importance of which has already been mentioned..

Just why it's important to offer some alternatives to the power of the big chains  will be evident from watching the follwing clips. In Australia the two big giants control 60% of the food supply, far more than their UK counterparts who only control 48% of the food market, or the U.S. where the major companies only control around 20%. But wait! There's more. Watch the clip:

Or this one:

Or on suppliers and food manufacturers

There are four episodes in this series and several more interesting videos on the subject.  Just follow the YouTube trail when you get there.

The concern re farmers, manufacturers and small retailers, is that they are being pushed to the wall, making them vulnerable to the kinds of takeover we have seen repeatedly in recent years. Even for the consumer, what use are cheaper products if you can't afford to buy them or you don't have a job? The worst part is, once the majority of suppliers and competitors have been killed off, the prices are no longer cheap. It's the TipTop principle which was deployed years ago when supermarkets started selling cheaper bread using their greater purchasing power and then raised the price as soon as they had put all the small country bakeries out of business.The fourth segment in the series shows what happens to companies which try to compete or other businesses in the places where the BIG TWO decide to set up shop.

It makes a mockery of those heartwarming, warm fuzzy ads about "My Woollies." Not to let Coles off the hook.
Let the buyer beware indeed!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Another Mystery of the Universe Solved and a Case of Mistaken Identity

Aussie Brian Schmidt may have discovered the accelerating expanding universe, but I have discovered the filter in the heating and cooling system here.
The little girls are due to arrive here tomorrow so I have been busy cleaning and baby -proofing the place.  I was down on my hands and knees looking for the old paper clips and stray buttons that babies always manage to find, when I noticed that there was fluff poking out of the grille on the heater. I am always a bit nervous about taking apart things electrical, especially since I killed the piezo switch on the stovetop by cleaning it, so Hallelujah! I looked it up in the manual. It said that the power should be turned off and the filter should be cleaned every two weeks.  

Interesting. I have been home for a year now and never knew it existed and by the look of it - it looked like a layer of thick felt insulation, I would say that none of the previous owners ever knew it existed either. The manual said vacuum lightly, but vacuuming didn’t move it, so I spent an hour or so scrubbing it with a toothbrush. I also washed the Titanium Apatite Photocatalytic Air Purifying gizmos inside and all three are now hanging on the line to dry.  Who said that there’s nothing more to be discovered?
Lost in Hardware Land

And this is one of their smaller stores
Not being very confident either when it comes to measuring things and sticking things to walls other than with Blutack, I made my youngest son come with me to the big hardware store yesterday to look at baby gates for the top of the stairs. The place was as big as an aircraft hangar and I kept thinking that I should have brought my GPS and that they should have moving platforms like they do at Changi Airport. Eventually though we did find what we came for, but somehow got separated between aisles 16 and 23 with my son in charge of the trolley.

Just before I caught up with him again, he ran into an old school friend whom he hadn't seen for years. When I got there, the school friend had apparently noticed the stuff in the trolley and was in the process of congratulating my son on his impending fatherhood. He looked at me in amazement; then he looked at my son and then he took another look in the shopping trolley. It took a while to explain what we were really doing, but it just proves that you shouldn't jump to conclusions based on what people have in their trolleys.

Saw this beast in the carpark. Tanya's husband Steve spent 2000 man hours building this 4WD camper.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Before we had iphones, playstations and Facebook...

I was strangely pleased to see this

 You don't see it much any more. A gaggle of children just playing outside together and amusing themselves with very little in the way of equipment or supervision. If you told them they had to climb up that hill forty times to enjoy the brief thrill of sliding and tumbling down, they would never do it. My daughter and her little friends just loved it when they were little and I confess to having enjoyed it too. There just aren't too many opportunities these days, especially in an urban environment.
Just before Christmas, when my friend and I were looking at toys, I was saying how I didn't like things that were 'too finished' and preferrred more open - ended things, which stimulated children to think of things themselves. I told him that one of the best and cheapest presents my sons had, was a piece of rope with which they could swing down from their cubbies, tie pirates to the mast, tow things etc.etc. "Yes," said my friend, looking at a large pink plastic thing with lots of knobs and dials, " Buy something like that and the kids will play with it for about an hour on Christmas morning and spend the rest of the day playing with the box."
Well, that's exactly what these children seemed to be doing. Sliding down on flattened cardboard and then dragging it back up the hill to do it all over again. You didn't have to tell them to excercise because it was good for them either.

They can do this for hours and all it takes is a bit of cardboard and a suitable slope
Had occasion to go to the park yesterday to meet up with the people who run a local produce exchange in this area. It was a lovely afternoon - children playing, even the dogs, while the adults enjoyed a cuppa and some food they had brought to share. It was all very friendly, casual and neighbourly. The group is still very small at present and I was a bit embarrassed at having so little to exchange, but I came away with  lemons, new potatoes, some spectacular zucchinis and two tomato plants in a pot. It's a great idea.
It's early in the season here and there isn't much surplus, but what cannot be swapped is passed on to Second Bite which distributes food to the needy, or it is given to a local institution which looks after homeless men.
This is also a wonderful idea. Interestingly, the state has recently passed legislation to protect donors of food from liability. In fact it is part of a wider Good Samaritan Act to protect those who help others

"The Good Samaritan provisions mean a person who volunteers to assist someone who is ill, injured or at risk of serious injury, will be protected from civil liability if their help inadvertently fails to improve the other person’s situation. Provisos relate to assistance being in good faith and without expectation of reward"

When then Premier Bartlett introduced the legislation in 2008, he said  that he was doing so to make Tasmania "a kinder place." Certainly, it would prevent the kind of situation faced by people who witnessed the little girl being run over in the marketplace in China, but who declined to get involved because they feared prosecution. I understand that this is a big problem in the U.S.A. too.
Even more unusually, Premier Bartlett acknowledged the input of the Opposition member in passing the legislation. "We do not have a mortgage on good ideas." Now that's what I call governing for the people instead of the ridiculous situation we have at Federal level now, where there is opposition and  blocking of good legislation, simply for the sake of it, except when it comes to awarding themselves payrises.

Meanwhile, the new act here will allow many other businesses and individuals to participate and reduce the enormous amount of food which is presently wasted. I don't know the figures for Australia, but the Worldwatch Institute says that up to one third of the 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced each year is presently wasted and just the 34 million tonnes wasted in the U.S.A. each year would go a long way towards easing the hunger of the 1 billion or so people in the world who presently do not get enough to eat. Yes, I know it is often a question of logistics. The extra peas on my plate will not help a starving African, but thinking about them might. I am pleased to see that at least one of the major national retailers is contributing substantially  to Second Bite.

The U.S.A. does have similar food bank programs. The following are listed on the Worldwatch site above.
To donate food:
The charity group Feeding America partners with over 200 local food banks across the United States, supplying food to more than 37 million people each year. To find a food bank near you, visit the organization’s Food Bank Locator.
    To support food-recovery programs: 
 In some cases, food-recovery systems will come to you to collect your excess. In New York City, City Harvest, the world’s first food-rescue organization, collects approximately 28 million pounds of food each year that would otherwise go to waste, providing groceries and meals for over 300,000 people.

A pleasant afternoon
It was good to have spent some time with positive people and I came away  feeling rather pleased for no good reason.

On the way back I passed the row of trees where the shoe tree was some months ago. I was a bit worried because a lot of them had been severely pruned and I couldn't see the shoes anywhere. I needn't have been. The one tree that was still more or less intact, was now sporting a strange configuration of gleaming brass taps and a showerhead.

Foot fetish? And there were shoes - very small Barbie sized ones
Go you guerilla artists!