Total Rubbish

It sounded like a truck. The deep rumbling coming from the road sure was loud enough. The mist hid the truck. What was going on that weekend morning? Were the neighbours getting a large delivery? Was it a drilling rig for a well? Turns out that it was the garbage truck. But why on a Saturday morning? Tuesday is Garbage Day.

Fifteen years ago, garbage services were provided by a local contractor. Being city folks back then, we considered garbage pick up to be an essential service. I assumed all of the waste went into landfill, but didn’t really know. Anyway, for some unknown reason the contractor didn’t return our calls, and we learned to live without the service.

Years later, the local rumour mill suggested that an official moved into the local area. Whatever the case may be, the official garbage pick up service was extended into the local area. That service competed with the local contractor. As we’d learned to live without the service, we also decided not to take on the cost of the official service. The official service does offer recycling collection services via another truck. So assuming that my maths is correct, there are now three trucks doing the job that was previously done by a single truck, and possibly all the stuff is ending up in the same place anyway.

But the garbage truck on that misty Saturday morning was on the wrong collection day. Tuesday is Garbage Day. Realisation dawned, and the little light in my brain clicked on and provided the answer: The health subject which dare not be named. All was now explained. I’d read about this unintended consequence. There are now so many people either ill or more likely in isolation due to being a close contact (often with no symptoms or illness) that society is running out of workers to provide important services such as: picking up garbage.

It’s utter madness. Empty supermarket shelves, or difficulties in obtaining basic items such as standard sized timber is just crazy. It leads me to the conclusion that if ever the numpties in charge were to face a genuine crisis, we’d all be up the creek without a paddle! I vote no confidence.

For some unknown reason the Editor and I live in the state with arguably the most draconian reaction to the health subject which dare not be named on the planet. After all, we must be proud that the city of Melbourne was locked down for longer than pretty much anywhere else. When the city folks were banned from leaving the city environs, the numpties in charge established a ‘ring of steel’ around the city. The idea was to establish 24/7 manned checkpoints on roads leading out of the city. The police and military manned the checkpoints and they checked all drivers for identification and of course ‘authority to travel into and out of the city papers’. A creepy experience to regularly endure.

However, the reality was that public servants manning those checkpoints had little shelter from the weather. During heavy rain the checkpoints used to wave traffic onwards. And once I recalled that it snowed on the closest checkpoint! At least they had a good looking brazier to warm themselves at on cold winter nights. For sheer style it beat the 44 gallon drum braziers I’ve seen in use on official checkpoints in Third World countries.

But the stupidest thing of all was that there were only a hand full of checkpoints in operation, and that left the many, many back roads open to travel. The fines for being caught were horrendous, but on the other hand the checkpoints tied up a lot of police (and military) resources. I recall that eventually the police union may have suggested as much and went on to outline more effective operational responses.

And that was when things got a bit err, effective. The ring of steel was eventually disbanded and the police got their wish. And oh boy, but were they effective or what. Living near to the edge of the city / rural divide, holy carp, there were suddenly police everywhere. It was quiet in this area before with the ring of steel, but it sure became super quiet when the police took charge of implementing the lockdown policies.

Earlier in the week I was reading a fictional book covering the Arthurian saga (Jack Whyte’s book Uther). The characters were discussing the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy is defined as: ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.’ Whilst Tactics is defined as: ‘the art of disposing armed forces in battle and organising operations, especially during contact with an enemy.’

Strategy and tactics answer entirely different questions. Strategy covers ‘what are we trying to achieve’, whilst tactics covers ‘how do we make strategy happen’. And right now I see the numpties in charge are getting so involved in tactics that it looks like meddling. Those folks lack the experience to avoid unintended consequences like failure to collect garbage and empty supermarket shelves. I vote no confidence. And you’d be hard pressed to say with any certainty what strategy it is that we are pursuing as a society. Where is the vision these days? What are we trying to achieve? That is their job to explain, and it ain’t happening. So yes, I vote no confidence.

The weather this week is still crazy. One day it is hot and then the next it is cold. Thunder storms have hit hard, then missed at other times. Fog and mist can hang around the farm all day long. Suddenly the sun will break through the clouds and the intensity can knock you around.

Work on the shed project continued. Both ends of the shed were clad in corrugated steel sheets. The front was completed first.

The front of the shed project was clad

The barn doors had been painted, and on a misty morning we hung them.

Plum is so excited by the barn doors that she wants to dance

The rear of the shed was also clad with the corrugated steel sheets.

The rear of the shed project was clad. Ollie is impressed

We’ve been busy recycling materials for this project from other sheds. Nothing goes to waste here, and the project itself has produced only a tiny amount of waste. The door was recovered from another shed and then installed.

A recycled shed door was hung on the rear of the shed project, next to recycled windows

Racking for eight solar panels was also installed on the roof of the shed.

Racking for solar panels was installed on the roof

For obvious reasons, there wasn’t a lot of free time for me or the Editor over the past week, let alone the two and half months this project has taken from idea to completion. However, this coming Friday and Saturday, the annual Triple J hot 100 commences. The radio station is billed as a national youth radio music station, but in reality it plays a whole bunch of independent artists, focuses on current music and plays more Australian content than possibly all other radio stations combined. Plus being paid for by the taxpayer, there are no advertisements. I reckon it is one thing the government got right.

Anyway, the trusty old high quality FM tuner I use to listen to the broadcast has been in need of repairs. The machine is three decades old and one of the components on the power board looked close to failure.

The red arrow points to signs of impending failure in an electrolytic capacitor

The cost of the replacement part was about fifty cents, and so I’d replaced all of the cylinder like electrolytic capacitors on the power board. Having some skills in electronic geekery from way back, I was able to do the repairs. I don’t actually understand how the machine works, but I know enough to repair it. There are not many people or businesses around which provide this sort of service these days, and those that do, will charge well for it because it is slow and painstaking work. Anyway, there is probably very little demand for the work to be done. It’s kind of sad how wasteful we are as a society. But hopefully with the new parts, the machine will keep providing high quality music for many decades to come and that puts a smile on my face.

The author working at repairs to the FM tuner

Some of the wet weather at night this week brought the tree frogs out to catch insects attracted to the lights of the house.

A Southern Brown Tree Frog hangs off the wall of the house

In produce news, the three year old grapevines are growing strongly. Grapes and strawberries are the only crops here which are entirely fenced off from the wildlife. And even then, the small blue fairy wrens can easily get in and then out again of the enclosure.

The three year old grapevines are growing well despite the cooler summer

Blackberries are just beginning to ripen. These plants are a prolific producer of berries and we grow only the thornless varieties. It is worth noting that all around the area there countless blackberries, all of which have wicked thorns. Most of the fruit goes unpicked, although the foxes and birds do their best to harvest the berries. From time to time the local council sprays the plants, but they always regrow.

Blackberries are just about to ripen

The farm supports a lot of wildlife, and on warm sunny days the air hums with insect activity. For some reason the leek flowers attract butterflies like no other flower seems to.

Butterflies are attracted to the many leek flowers at this time of year

Onto the flowers:

The roses in the terraced rows are producing heaps of flowers. Peas are to the left
Tomatoes on one side and roses on the other
And the view of the terraces from the other direction. Beans are on the right
The largest rose is a real stunner
This Olive herb produces delightful flowers
The Geraniums are as bright and cheery as ever

The temperature outside now at about 12.00pm is 18’C (64’F). So far this year there has been 33.8mm (1.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 31.0mm (1.2 inches)

46 thoughts on “Total Rubbish”

  1. Yo, Chris – Garbage (and it’s disposal,) is interesting stuff. Time was, a lot of the garbage collection (especially in large eastern cities) was controlled by organized crime (aka: The Mob). Why, you may ask? It’s a legitimate, in-demand business. Here, if you have an address, you have to have garbage pick-up. But there are a few ways to fiddle that. When I was downtown, I shared a dumpster with the business, next door. The cafe. The “service” tried to tell us that each business had to have a dumpster. But, as it had all been one building, at one time, it was 111 A … and B. By not mentioning that A & B part, we got by. Once, I needed an extra dumpster. Oh, my. $200 deposit. No getting around that. So I paid it. It was the getting it back, that took a bit of doing. Such as, two trips into their office. Such businesses are also great for laundering money. And, for claiming income from a legal source. There were many “no-work, no show” consultants, on the payrolls.

    As I mentioned, our garbage collection went all wonky, due to flooding and snow and ice. Having the solid waste transfer station (doesn’t that sound better than the dump? Kind of removes the reek of rotting garbage) in the flood plane, doesn’t help. But, it’s been there since time immemorial.

    After the recent bumps in the road, you might think that garbage consumers (well, that sounded wrong. Maybe, garbage service consumers?), might give a bit of thought to a plan B. Not that that’s going to happen. Here at the Institution, once the dumpster filled up, we were asked to hold our garbage. Not really all that onerous. But, some people seem to think that getting their garbage removed, is some kind of god given right (or, maybe it’s in our Constitution?).

    Some of my further comments, might be colored by being deep into Mr. King’s “The Stand.” Just an idle thought about those people in quarantine with no symptoms of illness. Asymptomatic or carriers?

    As far as your “ring of steel” goes, if it would have been (or becomes) and actual crisis, at least there not shooting people down. As far as we know. 🙂 . Arnette, Texas and Shoyo, Arkansas come to mind. Remember the several incidences of media suppression, in “The Stand.”

    But onto more pleasant things. The mead hall / machinery shed looks very smart. But, given it’s dark color, won’t it get a bit hot, in there? And not to throw shade (slang term), but isn’t there a bit of shade in the section of roof where you’re going to put the solar panels?

    National YOUTH radio. Well, I suppose one could say you’re young at heart 🙂

    First the FM tuner. Next up: brain surgery. 🙂 . Would you say your early days (Chris: The Early Days) at Radio Shack gave you a leg up?

    Your grapes look very good. I got a start on mine, today. Whacking away at them. I’m gobsmacked. Now, last year, the Master Gardeners cut them back. Severely. But boy, did they bounce back! And, as far as I know, they weren’t even fertilized. Go figure.

    Besides the foxes and the birds, the wasps really have a taste for over ripe blackberries. One must always give a branch one is going to pick, a light tap. Just to see if anything flies out.

    That’s interesting about the butterflies, and leeks. I may have to throw a couple in the ground, just to see if it gives them a leg up. The Master Gardeners put in a butterfly garden, but it’s down at the other end of the property. We see some butterflies around, but not too many. Other than the cabbage moths 🙁 .

    The roses really “set off” your garden beds. Frames them. Due to it’s simple structure, I’d say your largest rose is a really “old” rose. Seen in prehistoric impressions, and Roman paintings.

    Which reminds me. I’m looking through a new book now, called “Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils.” (Lomax). Fossils from all over the world, and different time periods. But fossils that are not quietly lying there, dead. These fossils are caught in the act of all kinds of things. Eating, birthing, mating, etc. etc.. And, besides a photo of the fossil, there’s also an accompanying sketch of what was going on, at that moment. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    No worries at all. Systems are good, but they can sometimes fail or be stretched a bit too thinly. It happens. I was unable for all sorts of reasons to complete writing last night which was a first, and had to complete the essay this morning. Although I’d had the bones of the essay put together and in a vague sort of order. Sometimes, the essays write themselves and take off in directions I’d not expected.

    Yeah, you and me both with the lightning strikes – it can be a fatal ordeal. The earth rods are fairly cheap insurance all things considered.

    Hey, as a suggestion, Margaret may have some idea as to what to do with the old DVD player. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to dispose of electronic waste, and the nearby tip has a space allocated to such things. Although what happens to the item after it ends up in that space is a bit of a mystery. My mate who works in the recycling biz, but with more basic consumable products was telling me that they are having troubles staffing such facilities due to you know what. It seems to be going around…

    Respect to your mates. Nothing wrong with being organised.

    Interesting and many thanks for the Detroit info. That kind of makes sense, and I’ve heard that sort of process described apparently as a ‘spill and fill’. Sounds pretty innocuous, until you’re involved in such a thing. Economists have been harping on about ‘labour productivity’ for many years, but one definition of that terminology could rudely be interpreted as more output for less mad cash. When I first began work, I don’t recall it being as intense as it is nowadays.

    At your mention of ‘high buy in costs’, it sort of indicates to me that perhaps the intended market for the bonds isn’t the mom and dad investors putting their spare mad cash locally, it’s probably more aimed at the institutional investors. The bonds I’ve seen look pretty pricey to me. Interesting things are afoot on that front in the land of stuff.

    Oh sorry, I’d forgotten that was how the hippie story panned out, although I recalled that one of the two came to a bad end. I realise that huge swaths of the population in the story went toes up, but would you really want to spend time with such a person? I doubt that they would improve with time. 🙂 That would make an interesting story. Zombie apocalypse – or whatever – and the only other person you can find to speak with, is either entirely crazy, or you just really dislike them because they were awful beforehand, and can’t seem to move past that. It would have to be a comedy for sure.

    The last page I turned promised an entire new chapter titled ‘Dragons’ and that was about page 245. I quite like the Nemo character, and don’t recall her from the original series. You know it will end tragically, but how is the question.

    Ah, they’re from the same director. So which did you choose? Monsters or Zombies. 🙂 My money is on monsters, just for a change of pace, but it really is an open question.

    Interesting, down under the local government authorities run the garbage pick up services, but over the years I’ve noted that they tend to contract out the services. Surely there would be places in your country without garbage pick up services? Admittedly, even I was amazed by the lack of services here – we don’t even get mail delivery. It’s kind of like a black hole which you don’t know about until you try to live here. There are plenty of such places down under in rural areas.

    But yeah I hear you about the mad cash laundering. Having huge wads of mad cash to deal with would not be something that I’d want to experience. It would be a nightmare, and make you an instant target. Not good.

    Hehe! That can happen for sure. Most of the time you hope you get your deposit mad cash back, but until it’s in your hands, it’s only talk or a commitment on paper. Actually, chasing small amounts of mad cash owed to you is a minefield. The money economy replaced the social economy of obligations and understandings, but even that system would have attracted grifters and charlatans.

    To my ears a solid waste transfer station sounds like something which treats sewage. And yup, it’s normal to expect that flood plains will eventually flood at some unspecified future time.

    Hey, the tree dudes turned up this morning. They were saying that their families in Samoa are doing OK, and they’d heard from Fiji, but nothing at all from Tonga. The ash cloud is drifting over Australia’s north east coastline: Tongan volcano creates ‘eerie’ sunrise thousands of kilometres away in Queensland. Who knows what has occurred there. And this might cause another year without a summer.

    Garbage consumers. That’s funny and it did sound wrong in an amusing way.

    Nobody really knows the answer to that question, and it would be nice if that was admitted. Captain Tripps was far and away a more problematic virus. Generally, those sorts of body counts and mortality rates means that the thing will burn itself out, but I’m no expert and don’t do deep dives on this stuff. I should be more interested, but somehow I’m not – dunno why. What I am interested in are the unintended consequences going on all around me. It’s utterly bonkers. But yeah, as far as we know, and also if we ignore the non-lethal projectiles used against protesters. Interestingly, the protests aren’t even being mentioned in the media – which is odd given the sizes of the things from what I have heard.

    Hot air rises, and the shed has ventilation all around the roof. It’s a similar arrangement to the greenhouse design which was intended to warm up, but not get that hot. Traditional shed designs and greenhouse designs are not well enough ventilated for this part of the world. And I too have wondered about the shading effect of solar panels upon a roof, and I’ll get to find out I guess. Although the steel may conduct temperature.

    Thanks, and yeah I’d like to think so about being young at heart. 🙂

    Grapes do seem to grow fast. But they’re yet to grow into their space, so I haven’t really pruned them much yet, other than training them to run along the wires. They’ve got clever little hook like growths that can cling on to supports. Have you ever had any fruit from yours? None here yet, although there are some small developing clusters that probably won’t make it to full size.

    Thanks for mentioning the wasps. Pesky critters but I haven’t seen any this year – yet. The very wet season last year meant that a lot of their underground hives (or in logs or whatever) flooded. They’re not native to down under and so they have little predation. I have no mercy with those wasp nests, but have only ever encountered one in fifteen years here.

    A butterfly garden is a clever idea, although the insects turn up only when conditions are just right. And yeah, there are cabbage moths around. I sometimes come across the egg sacks of one of their predators – a nasty way to go for the cabbage moths. It’s like Alien where the little critter crashes out of the guts of the crewman. Horrific!

    Thank you! The Editor is the brains behind the roses and I shall pass on your words of appreciation. That particular rose is super hardy too and it just fits perfectly in that location. There’s a light purple, almost mauve rose which has a really delightful fragrance, but on a hot day you smell the flowers when up on those garden terraces.

    It’s cooled down again and so I cut any watering which seems to have kept the soil a bit warmer.

    What a delightful and fascinating book on the fossils. A deep dive revealed some of the images. Had to laugh too, the interweb searches revealed a book titled: Dawn of the Deed. Very amusing.



  3. Hello Chris
    I avoid commenting on that which shall not be named as who would want to read me ranting on and on.

    I have grown grapes very successfully in the past, both in greenhouses and outdoors. Once the main branches have reached the length that you want, then prune ferociously every year. I cut right back to the long main branches always.

    Very cold today but with a blue sky which does uplift the mood. There were a few empty shelves in the supermarket.


  4. Hello again
    Oh dear, I wasn’t commenting on you when I said that I didn’t want to rant. I realise that my comment could be misinterpreted. Thank you for showing me that there are other sane people in the world.


  5. Yo, Chris – I’ll figure out what to do with the DVD player. One of our op-shops may still take electronic waste. Maybe our solid waste disposal people might have a place for them, in their recycle section. I should box it up and keep it “on tap”, until I make sure the new player works the way it’s supposed to. LOL. I just have to make sure it’s out of here, eventually, and not sitting in my closet, twenty years from now.

    A small concern, but what I was worried about when it came to Detroit’s default was their art museum. It has a world class collection, donated over the years by the big auto families. The Detroit Institute of Arts. There was some question as to if the city even owned the art museum. But, a deal was hammered out, and the collection was saved.

    Years ago, I looked a bit into munis. There are also funds, that invest in several munis. Spread the risk a bit. At that time, I think the smallest buy-in was $5,000. Here, back in 1983, we had a major default. The Washington Public Power Supply System. WPPSS. (Pronounced, whoops!) Someone thought nuclear was the next big thing. Well, in the land of hydro, it wasn’t. A lot of retirement funds had bought into it. And, some moms and pops.

    There was a recent sit-com called “The Last Man on Earth.” I watched a few episodes. Turns out, he’s not the last man on earth, and, the first other person to show up is a totally irritating woman. 🙂 .

    I went with the zombies. 🙂 . Since it was the last “Resident Evil” film, I wanted to see how it all turned out. So, now I’ve seen all six films. The series was panned, but I found it quit satisfying. But then, sometimes my taste is in my mouth 🙂 . There is a new prequel coming out. Kind-of. But I guess it has more to do with the video games, than the films. And doesn’t have any of the original cast. I don’t think. There’s also an animated series. I tried a couple of episodes, and just wasn’t “feeling” it.

    Fingers crossed The Tree Dudes relatives are all OK. Not much information coming in from Tonga. I heard we had some high waves, along our coast, but there was plenty of warning. No deaths and minor damage. Peru had two deaths.

    After your first couple of protests, they pretty much dropped out of our news. Probably didn’t want to give the locals “ideas.” I did see an article, last night, that Australia’s new approach is “Let it rip.” Now that a major part of your population is vaccinated. I heard a rumor that Frank, the mechanic, has it. He’s fully vaccinated, so, perhaps he’ll make it through OK. Frank’s older, but in really good shape.

    There wasn’t much fruit on the grape vines, this year. Yes, those little gripping tendrils are interesting. Same with green beans. I have to beat those back with a whip and a chair. They’ll glom onto anything close by. Lew

  6. @Lew
    Saw Chris said I might have some ideas re: the old DVD player. Here in Illlinois it’s illegal to throw out any electronics (though I’m sure plenty are) so municipalities hold recycling drives for those. Some big box stores, Best Buy comes to mind also takes electronics to the best of my knowledge.


  7. Hi Chris,
    Wow the shed looks amazing!! I hope with all your work you and the editor set aside plenty of time to wander around and enjoy the beauty of your place.

    Busier than usual week. My aunt from Chicago is coming to stay for two days. It’s her 78th birthday tomorrow and we’re taking her out to dinner. I’m happy that she’s OK with inside dining. Many aren’t. Today I had my first ever MRI as my back pain of many years has really ramped up the last two months. Appears my back is quite the mess so may have to reassess my activities or maybe the level. Then it was off to Marty’s to help him activate his new cell phone which of course turned out to be way more complicated than need be. He is often less than helpful too but we got it done.

    Two nice days and then starting on Wednesday it’s back to well below normal temps and still next to no snow. I did get my seed inventory done and only had to order a few more. At least the days are getting longer.


  8. Hi Inge,

    Thanks, but no need, I understood the meaning of your words. And we’ve discussed this subject many times before and I respect your opinions. There is a middle ground with all of this, and it is being ignored and I really do hope that it is not for crass commercial reasons or sheer ineptitude on the part of our leaders, but I guess stranger things have happened.

    We were in the big smoke today – first time for many weeks – and finding a place to dine at was challenging. So many places are shut due to staff shortages. Economically, it’s a bloodbath for small business. Ate a place we’ve been to many times before, which was nice, and they’ve got the fighting spirit and I said as much to the owner. Tipping is not really part of the culture down here, and I’m not sure how that works in your part of the world, but the businesses really need the help right now. The thing which annoys me is the breaking of the many social bonds that tie this whole economic system together with all the tiny day to day arrangements that keep the beast rolling along. I dunno, I would not have chosen this path, but here we are.

    Thank you for the advice regarding the grape vines, and despite many of the vines being three years old, only a few of them have reached and began growing along the highest run of wire (at six foot).

    I’m hearing stories of shortages in supermarkets, but I shop at a more expensive local independent supermarket and so far the business seems mostly well stocked, with a few notable exceptions. For some reason people are stocking up on white vinegar – which is an effective cleaning fluid. And milk powder has been notably absent.



  9. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks, and I reckon the barn doors lift the overall vibe of what could have been a rather fundamental building. They were fun to make too, I enjoy the detail carpentry work involved with them, but far out it was a hot day when we made the doors, and by the end of that day I was glad to have the work finished. I reckon the colour looks good too as a contrast to the darker cladding.

    Absolutely, the Editor the dogs and I do the rounds and enjoy the scenery. 🙂

    Can you actually do outdoor dining in your part of the world at this time of year? Rumour has it that it can sometimes be a bit windy where your aunt comes from. 🙂

    Oh my gawd, did you have an incident which set off your back? Ouch. Don’t neglect your stretching and rehab (he says with best dad voice on). I have to stretch every single day now after the shoulder, but it’s pretty good as a result.

    Did Marty end up with a smart phone, or just a basic device? I’d imagine that from what you’ve said in the past, when Marty puts his mind to it, he could be difficult. But you seem to have overcome that with patience. With new phones, I go to the shop, not that I change them around.

    Good score with the seed inventory, and funnily enough I’m thinking along those lines too. We’ll make some big changes to the greenhouse this year to make it work better based on what we’ve learned. It should be interesting, and fingers crossed that it just works. Not always guaranteed.

    Had dinner in the big smoke this evening, and there were a lot of closed businesses due to I’m guessing staff shortages. Yikes!



  10. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah wise move not to turf out the old machine, until the new one has proven its worth and reliability. Some of the quality of the DVD’s you get are not as good as, well they do come from a library system and people aren’t always nice to the books they borrow. Anyway, have you got the new machine yet?

    The Editor has just permanently damaged my mind by making me watch a utoob clip of the best songs of the 1970’s month by month. A lot of songs, a lot of very good songs – and I knew most of them, even here I have to fess up to knowing Convoy, the theme song from the film of the same name. It just showed a few moments of each song and generally played the chorus. And I dunno Mull of Kyntyre. I secretly liked that song too. A lot of spandex in the 1970’s, can’t have been good for the performers blood circulation. 🙂 And hope they don’t get too close to a naked flame, that might not end well. Disco Inferno!

    Twenty years in a cupboard for the old machine. It’s possible, you might have to set an upper limit.

    The art institution saga, and it most surely was, was a very close call. That’s the thing with donations, once they’re outside your ownership, it’s anybodies guess as to how the mess unravels. Hey, and I’ve heard of asset stripping with hostile take overs of charitable institutions – they need to get that sort of detail sorted out upfront, but you know legal stuff is all boring and things. Ouch! The creditors would have eyed off that stash of assets, and unscrupulous people may have been hunting for a bargain.

    Those sorts of bonds are around the $10k mark here, usually from the banks. Double Ouch! I have not known of one of those entities to collapse down under. There was some loose talk that some local councils in the state to the north of this one had invested rate payers money in CDO’s – and you know how that ended up. Speaking of bonds, Chinese property related bonds appear to be tanking and taking in water. Nobody wants that ship to sink, but err, it might.

    I can’t believe that someone else came up with the story idea already. Realistically I doubt that an irritating attitude would fly in those apocalyptic conditions. Can you imagine it: Yes, I know you are the only other person around, but here’s the thing. I’m willing to bet your life that there is someone else. What do you mean by that? Thunk. That’s what I meant.

    But irritating? Grateful for the company – I can see that, and I’d hope they weren’t also expectational? What a total nightmare.

    Go the fast zombies! 🙂 Critics be dammed – there were six installments of the film franchise. That doesn’t happen when the fans are happy to pay for it. 🙂 The facts in this case speak for themselves. Yeah animated zombie, can they even be remotely scary?

    Speaking of scary. Went out to dinner this evening in the big smoke. Wow! What a difference only a few weeks have made. A lot of restaurants were shut this evening. A whole lot. It’s an economic bloodbath out there for the business owners and the staff who used to work there. Look, people are saying that the businesses were staffed by backpackers, blah, blah. But that story doesn’t make any sense, because only a few months back, and they were all open and it is not as if the international borders have opened in all that time back then or now. Either people are at home sick, in isolation, or they’ve just gone stuff it and are doing something else with their lives. I heard a theory proposed which suggested that the young and young-ish folks who worked in such businesses are disengaging from the ‘dream’ because living costs have escalated beyond their reach. I mean, it is not as if the median house price in the big smoke is not hovering around the million mark.

    I recall a tourist town along the coast many years ago which even back then had become so expensive that the people who worked there, couldn’t afford to live there, or were living in tents or caravans (trailers) in the local caravan park. And they couldn’t even field a football or netball team due to lack of able bodies. Hmm. It’s like the current misery in miniature.

    The tree dudes got the best wishes for them and their families, but they hadn’t heard anything from that part of the world either. They’re mostly from Samoa, which is a respectable distance from the volcanic blast. They’re good guys and I’ve known them for heaps of years now.

    Yup, that is the strategy in play now – you see we are coming up to a Federal Election and the folks in power may have read the room, and it’s an ugly sight. One of the protests which was only vaguely reported on the media apparently had two hundred thousand turn up to protest.

    Look, you never know how it will turn out, but looking at the numbers here it doesn’t look too bad.

    Yes, the whip and chair is the right of it. Take that ya Triffids! 🙂

    Once a dark cloud hovered over our premier: Catherine Andrews car crash: Daniel Andrews moves to end ‘shameful’ rumours about Blairgowrie collision



  11. Hello Chris
    It is over 2 years since I have dined out. Tipping is definitely expected here and some places put it automatically on the bill which I object to. Awkward when paying with a credit card because one is never sure who receives it. I like to give cash direct to the person who has served or helped me in any way.


  12. Hello Chris
    We are now being told that women find men in masks, more attractive. Really?!!!


  13. Hello Chris,

    What a great shed! An excellent location for some extra PV.
    But I think you missed the red and blue parts of the Union Jack? 😉

    Regarding strategy and tactics – “what” and “how” – it is often mixed up as you write. Especially by politicians. But most of all, I sorely really miss the “why” – the long term vision. Which future do we aspire to?
    (And my own wish list is long, when it comes to utopian dreams…)

    Now your time for heat and sun and ripening of fruits – I hope the second half of the Summer will bring you more sunny days!

    Another step on the road to Unfreedom: Here in Holland, we have a new government since a couple of weeks, and they have invented a new opaque spending mechanism. Instead of having ministries/departments to dole out money to projects, they set up parallel foundations (with billions of euros) that distribute the dough. In that way, there is no disturbing transparency and accountability regarding who gets what. I think this is the next level of oligarchy innovation. What could possibly go wrong?
    Do you have the same in Oz?


  14. Hi Chris,
    No injury just many years of wear and tear. Starting PT on Monday. My doctor wanted me to go to a pain clinic first for an epidural which I wasn’t on board with as of yet. Luckily he listens to what I want.

    Some upscale restaurants have outdoor igloos where a party dines alone. It’s quite pricey – well restaurants have gotten pricey overall. That’s the only outdoor option so those who aren’t comfortable just don’t dine out. I was worried my aunt wouldn’t dine in as she’s avoiding it in the city but she said she was OK with it so we’re out to dinner tonight.

    Marty ended up with a lower end smart phone as he wanted a larger screen but he won’t be using it for internet. He purchases phone cards as needed.


  15. Yo, Chris – Anytime I get a DVD from the library, that’s been circulating awhile, I give it a good rubdown with alcohol and then a dry bit of towel. There’s often a lot of gunk (a highly technical and scientific term) on them.

    It’s Tuesday, here. Like a lot of other things, the tracking for the new DVD player, well, like a lot of other software, tracking seems to be losing bits of function. First it said it would be delivered on Wednesday. Then, Monday (which was a holiday, but I think they still worked). This morning, it said it would be delivered today. But, it’s still at a warehouse, far to our north. So, your guess is as good as mine.

    So, did the Editor tie you to a chair? Hold a gun to your head? Disco Inferno, indeed. Dance your booty off!! 🙂

    I think my best course of action, with the old player, is to put a sticky note on the box. “Dispose by 1/1/23.” Not to be confused with “Use by” or “Best by.”

    Now I’ve never been to the Detroit art museum. Probably never will. But I think art should be accessible to the public. Too much has disappeared into private collections, never to be seen again. There was an interesting article this week, about a villa, in Rome. The Villa Aurora. Due to a family dispute, it’s to be auctioned off in the near future. It’s stuffed full of art treasures. After decades of being inaccessible, the current owners made it more accessible. Not exactly a public venue, but more open. It all could be sold off, piecemeal. What I noticed is, just a mention, on the grounds are the remains of a villa Julius Caesar owned. Where he probably put up Cleopatra, while she was in Rome. Hasn’t been excavated. Wouldn’t THAT be interesting?

    As far as being in the apocalypse, and irritating people, you may remember Mr. Dinklage, in “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Maybe it’s Mr. King that put me an an apocalyptic frame of mind, but I was also thinking today about a 1936 film called “Things to Come.” From a book by H. G. Wells, “The Shape of Things to Come.” It’s really a hymn to techno-narcissism, but has some pretty interesting parts. A war-lord. A plague called “The Walking Sickness,” etc.. Given the date, the special effects were also pretty interesting.

    Your trip to the Big Smoke pretty much mirrors what’s going on here.

    Of course, we’ve pretty much “let it rip” from the beginning. They can mandate this or that, send out memos til the cows come home, but unless there’s real “teeth” and consequences, well, it’s all pretty ineffectual. I’m talking about us, not you.

    About tourist towns and real estate … We have a town in our state, called Leavenworth. For years, it’s been a tourist destination. Their “schtick” is Alpine Bavarian Village. Elinor went once, and has fond memories. I’ve never been. But there was a recent article that 80% of the people who work there, can’t afford to live there.

    No biscuits and gravy for me, today. The guy who usually does it, didn’t show. Could be anything. Might be he’s our board president, and, as the annual membership meeting this coming Sunday, he might not be, anymore. At least, that’s what word on the ground is.

    Since the holidays, I’ve had a craving for something called Chex Mix. I don’t know if you have it in Australia. You can buy the stuff, in bags, but it’s generally expensive and over salted. So, over the last month I’ve been gathering together the ingredients to make my own. One of the ingredients is Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I tried it on something else, last night, and it just doesn’t taste the same, as in the past. Or, as I remember it. Ingredients look the same. Oh, dear. Reading the fine print on the bottle, I see it’s made in the U.S., now. By one of the Big Food companies. I think they’ve fiddled it, somehow. Lew

  16. PS: Well, that explains it. “…except for the change… for American markets and tastes, Lea and Perrins has not changed it’s formula…” What a bunch of double talk. “We’ve changed the formula, but haven’t changed the formula.”

    I think it’s got more sugar in it. At least, to me, it tastes sweeter. Lew

  17. Chris,

    The shed is looking wonderful. The Princess said to tell you how much she enjoyed the photo of the large pink roses. “Spectacular!” is what she said.

    Things have gotten Beyond Hectic here. We are the planners for a Big Event later this month. We are very busy with that, almost endlessly busy. It’ll be hit or miss whether I can visit until after the event.


  18. Hi Inge,

    I can understand how the interval of two years came to pass. We are perhaps a touch more adventurous and have not stopped dining out, although the risk profile seems to be increasing with time. It’s nothing short of an economic bloodbath and the streets of Melbourne seem to have become even quieter than ever. People can’t hide in their houses forever.

    A sensible strategy to ensure that the tip goes to the appropriate person. Tipping is not part of the culture down here, but dining out is expensive, and getting more so as time goes on. You can either choose to add the tip to the bill, or often there is a tin with a label such as: Feeling tipsy? Quite amusing.

    Inge, it gets worse. Those sort of enticements are the sort of rubbish you would hear from the mouths of carney’s or snake oil salesmen. And I wasn’t joking it does get worse on that front. You may have missed this one:

    Can COVID shrink your penis? One man in the US believes the virus irreversibly shortened his manhood

    I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.



  19. Hi Goran,

    Thanks! Hehe! Yeah mate, I don’t have the spare time to do the painting job properly. 🙂 Next time you’re in the area I might put you to work on that job.

    And sheds work hard here. Not only do they store stuff out of the weather, they provide space to harvest electricity from the sun, but they also collect any water that falls out of the sky. Best to get multiple uses from any structure.

    Exactly, it has been a very long while since I’ve heard a politician explain their vision for the future – and then set about working towards that. That is their primary job, but no they spend their time meddling and getting caught up in the media cycle – because perhaps that is easier than doing the hard yards. It won’t end well you know.

    The problem with the heat coming on now, is that most of the fruits dropped off the trees due to the crazy cold and wet weather earlier in the season. You really don’t want to experience a season such as this one, and what with the Tonga volcano going off the other day, well who knows how the next growing season will roll. The thing is that here the country is a really huge place, and whilst my season is not so great, other parts of the continent which only recently were in drought are having a great season.

    Mate, that does not make for good listening. Between you and I, I’m having a bit of trouble wondering whether quantitative easing will continue (even if named differently) at the same time that interest rates are lifted. There is a strong possibility that will happen. And Oil prices per barrel are ascending.

    No, we don’t have those arrangements that I’m aware of, but there is always talk about what area gets what in terms of grant money and funding.



  20. Hi Margaret,

    Oh, well you’re in good company there sorry to say. I have no idea how people working in physically demanding jobs doing repetitive tasks day after day are able to cope as they age. Good for you, given you have to live with the consequences, it should be your choice how to navigate that maze.

    I’d never heard of such a thing before as an outdoor dining igloo. For a while there I thought that you were joking, but no. How do the poor staff have to bring food out to such a thing? But yeah, dining out down here is getting more expensive too, and the menus are becoming shorter and more limited – because they have to. Where all this is going is now a question which is beyond me – it might get crazier, who knows?

    How was the dinner?

    Ah, wise to go pre paid for Marty. Very wise. Does he have much of a concept of limits to expenditure? Plenty of people don’t.



  21. Hi DJ,

    Thank you, and it is a pleasure to share the land with you virtually. And the roses seem to be becoming more prolific as the weather finally warms.

    Watch out that nothing is hiding beyond the hectic and just out of sight, like Triffids and stuff. 🙂 But I hear ya, and was wondering where you’d gotten to. Enjoy the Big Event and hope that it all goes well for you and your lady.



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Another way to describe those err, well used DVD’s is the amusing: Slightly soiled. It can mean much or little depending upon the circumstances. And the description carries a slight ook factor which I haven’t been able to put my finger on, and probably wouldn’t want to anyway.

    Had a busy day today. It was a pleasure to mark the end of the working day at past 7pm with a coffee and a chunk lemon drizzle cake. Took the dogs for their after dinner stroll, due however to the dogs being high energy Kelpies, this is not the relaxing jaunt that it sounds. Whilst out walking I heard the drunken roar of a grumpy razor back the wild boar, which turned out to be the cute and furry with wicked claws tree climbing bad attituded marsupial I’d mentioned to you a while back. How cool is that? I finally spotted him perched high up in the crook of a tree. They’re not meant to be able to consume the local tree leaves, but he’s been in the forest for weeks now, so clearly he can eat the leaves. I reckon it is a vindication of all the hard work we’ve been putting into the forest which surrounds the farm clearing. Had the camera with us too.

    Yup, freight and delivery services aren’t what they used to be so your story about the DVD player hardly surprises me at all. Mate, my expectations have become so low now that I’m just happy if stuff arrives, or alternatively is actually available. Things are weird and they look set to get weirder, although what the end game of all of this is, is beyond me.

    Hehe! Nah, I was a willing participant in the 70’s music-a-thon. Heck, I grew up listening to that stuff. Probably explains a few things.

    With Uther I might have made it to around page 280, but wow did I laugh at the speech Centurion Dedalus gave to the two young rapscallions and then he set about intensively bringing them into line over the course of a week and a bit. You’d be lucky to ever encounter such a teacher. I used to tell the graduates that: I’d never shot anyone for making a mistake, but I sure did shoot them for lying to me. Always got a few nervous laughs, but sometimes you have to be drill sergeant, then you have to be counsellor and other times you have to stand back whilst they mess it up royally. A satisfactory way to learn.

    Good idea with the note, but which is it Use By or Best Before? I can’t say for sure that I actually understand what those words mean. Is it advice which can be ignored in some instances and not others?

    It’s going to get warm here for the next five days, although nothing too drastic 93’F at most. Then it is forecast to rain again. The interesting thing is that the plants are growing with the warmer weather. I’d like to hope that I’d get some zucchini’s. It’s possible. Up north the wet season (tropical conditions) is kind of looking wet: Red Centre’s first waterfalls of 2022.

    Out of curiosity, in the past was great art more accessible to the public? That’s not something that I’d considered before. It is good that the Villa had a patron to do at least some of the repairs and restoration. I’d imagine that such a building would put considerable strain upon the finances of most well heeled families. And yes, that excavation would be interesting. The place itself is a hoard of treasure.

    Oh you’re right too, yes Peter Dinklage performed a fine role when everyone else around him looked and acted a whole bunch kooky. The very clean looking retirement village where the group took his young companion was my idea of a nightmare.

    Lewis, the whole thing looks crazy to me. Society cannot continue to operate on this basis. It’s utterly bonkers, and I really do wonder what the end game of all this is. You wouldn’t do all of this lightly, and I note oil is nearing the $90 a barrel mark.

    Interestingly I had a chance conversation with a guy today who moved up this way to the nearby town because the big smoke was just too expensive. There used to be more middle ground and way less economic stratification on display in the suburbs than there is today.

    Word on the ground is probably correct in that case, although I could be wrong. People sound out other people in a group to take on that role, and then word gets around. No point going to a vote without having some sort of idea as to the outcome.

    Chex Mix is intriguing, and versatile. Never seen the stuff. Now, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce has been around in my living memory. I quite enjoy the addition to savoury cooking. Ah, I had not noticed that the flavour had changed, but there is that ‘except for’ possible peskiness in your country. Probably because someone asked for it? You could always get it shipped in from overseas?



  23. Hello Chris
    Yes, I had missed that one; it made me laugh aloud.
    The fact that I haven’t dined out for ages is nothing to do with fear. It is due to the atmosphere in such places having simply become unpleasant. I don’t know why.


  24. Yo, Chris – I had a good laugh over that link you pointed out to Inge. Even sent it on to my mate, Scott. He’ll get a kick out of it. I’m sure the news will send some of “the guyz” screaming into the vaccination centers. 🙂 . The mention Inge made of women finding men sexier in masks … well, if you look like your about to rob a stagecoach. Appeals to a certain demographic, who read too many Harlequin Romances and watch too many Hallmark movies. Back in The Beginning, when masking up to return into our building, I’d always say to H, “Let’s go rob a bank!” She told me it got old, fast.

    Back in the day, when I worked at the library, our first task of the morning (before opening) was to turn on all the public computers and clean the screens. More than slightly soiled. And this was WAY before touch screens. I figured the same people who move their lips when they read, couldn’t keep their hands away from the screens.

    Walks with H are … interesting. Often, I want her to go one way, and she wants to go another. So, she just plants her little feet and refuses to move. Sometimes, I wait her out. Other times, I just pick her up and move her where I want her. She’s always rather disgruntled. But, as with her baths, on one hand, she’s miffed. On the other, she likes the attention.

    That is very cool about your Koala. Maybe, they’re adapting? Pandas could take a page out of their book. Just wait for some naturalist do-gooder to show up. “We have to move the Koala. There’s nothing here for them to eat.” “But they’ve been here for five years.” “We have to move the Koala. There’s nothing here for them to eat.”

    The DVD player, arrived in what looks like good shape, yesterday. I spent about half an hour, fiddling with it. The remote has twice as many buttons, as the old one. I did get it to play a disc. But, somehow, I turned on the audio description (the button said subtitles) and haven’t figured out how to turn it off. In general, the screen is bigger. The sound, jacked up to the highest level, could be a bit louder. Hmmm. I had a thought. I wonder if the old remote would work with this machine? Same brand. I should be so lucky.

    I’d better pick up “Urther”, again. Your closing fast. 🙂 .

    According to Professor Mass, we might have a rather dry mid-January. He also had an article about the Tonga volcano. If I had bothered to get up at 4am, I could have watched my barometer take a plunge as the pressure wave rolled through.

    Theoretically, “Use by” means, beyond that date, it might be spoiled. “Best by” means, beyond that date, it won’t kill you, but the quality might be a bit off. Texture, and such. Think of pickles. After a certain point, they may taste the same, but will have lost their “crunch.”

    Wow. Red Center’s waterfalls are really something. Calendar worthy.

    Hmmm. In the past was art more accessible? I think it’s always been a situation of public art and private art. Anyone could wander into St. Peter’s and have their eye’s knocked out. Or, the Roman Forum. But the stuff in the Pope’s apartments, or the frescoes in the Empress Livia’s summer place, not so much.

    The Villa Aurora got no bids. So, their going to wait a month, reduce the price by 20%, and give it another go.

    I think the current situation is another step down, in the long decline. Accelerated by You Know What. It’s kind of like this place. “That Woman” set out to destroy any sense of community, about this place. Less bother. Power and control. Whatever. The pandemic was just the cherry on the cake. Made her nefarious plans so much easier. And what’s lost, will probably not be regained. Also, the demographic has changed here. Elinor and I have talked about it. For the younger batch, coming in, it’s just a place to live. Bowling alone.

    Worcester sauce is made in England … and New Jersey. I’d guess the formulas are different. I’m sure there were focus groups and blind taste testings, when the giant conglomerate bought the English company. Throw more sugar, salt or fat at something, and it’s more palatable to American tastes. Tellingly, the English version still has it’s Royal Warrant. The American version, no.

    What’s the end game? Well, if I were really paranoid … I think I mentioned I watched the last “Resident Evil” film. “Spoiler Alert!!!” Though I doubt you’ll invest in watching all 6 films. Turns out, the zombie plague was intentionally set in motion. The rich and powerful were all popped in their cryogenic tubes, just waiting for the rubble to stop bouncing, so they could emerge and make the world to their liking. Lew

  25. Hi Lewis,

    I’ve heard claims from snake oil salesmen that could be taken more seriously, but for all I know the guy did suffer some bizarre form of shrinkage. Guys, I’ve noted are a bit odd about that particular matter. And Inge wasn’t joking, the same assertion was made in the rounds down here: Surgical face masks make people look more attractive, new study finds. I’d like to suggest that I was making this stuff up, but I’m just not that creative. However, it makes me feel a bit unsettled not being able to fully see someone else’s face. The caveman bit of my brain clicks in and asks the hard question: Is this person I don’t know a threat? So your stagecoach observation, albeit amusing, is how my brain is wired. And face masks in the sort of hot weather I’m enjoying right now is some sort of bizarre torture. It’s not right.

    H is right you know, but then mate, it’ll be Christmas before we know it! 😉 Touche! But yeah, let’s heed H’s warning. Hehe!

    Ook, slightly soiled screens, but I can see why people would have touched them, although this is not something that you and I would probably do. I’ll bet you didn’t use disposable baby wipes to do that job? I’m guessing that because of your front of house days experience. Fat bergs are fascinating creations, but do we really need them for a well balanced society? Last year when we bought the new old white leather couch for the dogs to sleep on, the previous owner had used baby wipes to clean the couch. And it stunk, then the dogs – whom are usually neutral smelling – smelled of baby wipes for about two months afterwards. Talk about a chemical bath. Anyway, the smell eventually off gassed, but wow what a stink. I don’t use such things, but I’m in the minority.

    That makes sense about H. She is after all an independent thinker, and as such has her own thoughts on things, and they might not necessarily be aligned with your thoughts. Good luck! Sometimes the Kelpies have their own ideas about things and will respond to commands, but somehow manage to insert their own ideas into their actions. At such times I give them a look and say: So, you had important Kelpie business to attend to did you? And they always momentarily look sheepish, but somehow quickly move past that.

    I ran the now refurbished FM tuner for a few hours today, and some of the chemicals on the board (solder flux) were mildly off gassing. What a stink. Anyway, the smell has now dissipated and the machine is working very well – and more importantly, better than before.

    The plan is to get the power system into the shed tomorrow. Late next week, another tail end of a cyclone may dump some more rain here. That’ll be nice this time around because things have dried up a touch – but oh my the plants are growing this week. Wow. Triffid alert!!!! I quite enjoyed the BBC mini series version of the book. Have you ever watched it?

    Exactly. I could not have put it better, they’re wrong about forest management. It really is that simple and the facts speak for themselves. But 170+ years of continuously failed policies is hard to brush aside. It has its own momentum, unfortunately.

    Mate, I didn’t even know that there was an audio description track? You learn something new every day. And subtitles can be handy at times – eg. the original Mad Max film (The Road Warrior). I’ve got an Australian accent, and there were times I was struggling to understand what the characters were saying in the more extreme action sequences. Something about rising damp, apparently! 🙂

    No need to hurry with Uther, I was catching up, and technically this is not the same thing as over taking. Anyway, Dedalus is a very cool character.

    Cool! That would have been something to see. The ash cloud pushed 20km / 12miles into the atmosphere. I’d say that is right up there and the particles will no doubt travel around the world several times before cooling the next summer down. I’ll check out the Good Professors blog, he’s alright that bloke. Awesome pressure shock wave.

    The Editor and I were discussing pickles earlier this evening at the pub. You’re right they do get a bit mushy after a while, but overall pickles kind of taste like white vinegar with some herbals. What we were trying to ascertain was whether we liked the pickles or the taste of the vinegar?

    That dead centre part of the world will get some more rain over the next week or so. That part of the world can put on a show weather wise.

    Hmm, true. But are art museums more accessible to the public nowadays than in the past? And the owners really do want a lot of mad cash for the Villa. Does the property come with a hermit? That kind of detail may be what they are lacking.

    Ouch, man I hear you about the changes wrought. From time to time I’ve stumbled in just in time to see and experience the end of a few things, cultures, groups and situations, and sometimes that makes the pain of loss all the greater because you know what or how things once were. The newcomers don’t tend to understand what all the fuss is about.


    Really, was that the end game for the film franchise. It makes you wonder who they were intending to get to wipe their bottoms!

    Had a chilled out day today. A gourmet pie may have been harmed, well no it was harmed by the actions of my teeth. Also did all the little things in life which keep the household smoothly running – it takes a lot of effort to look this casual! 🙂 And yes, went to the pub and enjoyed a beer with the name of: Sunny Disposition. It had double hops and was just right for summer.



  26. Hi, Chris!

    That’s a great title.

    That’s interesting about the garbage truck. For 30 years we used a local trash pickup company, never had any problems, then a few months ago they were bought out by a big regional firm. It has never been the same. Pickup is supposed to be once a week; sometimes it’s two. We have been having snow, so it is understandable that they get set back, but the old company picked it up as soon as the road was cleared, this new one makes us wait till our regular day the next week, or the week after that if it snows again. I have no idea if the current unpleasantness has anything to do with it. I rather think not.

    You guys have been doing it hard since Day One with your lockdowns and empty shelves. It makes me shudder.

    That is SOME shed! And the Union Jack is up, and the other lovely door. Those are nice windows; that should make for a lot of light.

    That looks like a fine piece of equipment, that radio. Good for you for trying to take care of it. We have a radio from the 1960s, but no-one here listens to the radio anymore. I don’t think it works, but I’ll bet it could.

    Any signs of grapes yet? I have ordered some seeds as spring is just around the corner – I hope. I have yet to go through last year’s. Most of them did not get planted as we were so busy. I expect they are still alright, though some we had saved from past years, so we’ll see.

    You have a true rose garden, even though no-one ever promised you one . . . Thanks for the pictures.


  27. Chris:

    I see in a comment that your grapes have not produced yet. I could have sworn that ours did when they were just a couple of years old.


  28. Yo, Chris – Being a family friendly blog, I’ll have to tread carefully, here. 🙂 . There are many men in the world who believe that if they had just two more inches, their lives would be absolutely perfect. Their usually the ones who drive enormous trucks and have an AK-47 tucked under the mattress. My friend Scott was very amused, but observed no one has been interested in his junk, for years, so it really didn’t make much difference.

    We had special computer screen wipes, that, as I remember, had a rather citrus smell. I’m sure they had never come within hailing distance of a citrus tree.

    I like those warnings on products that say, “Use in a well ventilated space.” That off gassing from your receiver, will probably take 30 minutes off your life. But, at the other end of things, you probably won’t notice. 🙂 Speaking of stink, the last two days someone in the building has been using some wretched perfume that gives me headaches, makes my nose run and causes sneezing fits. I’m sure I’ve mentioned I’m allergic to a small number of perfumes. I think the only place it could be coming from is the bathroom vent. Which I’m going to block. I’m sure the regime will love that, next time they do an inspection.

    Yes, I saw the BBC Triffid movie. Quit liked it. But that was years ago. There was a new BBC “War of the World” coming out. Wonder what happened to it? Oh, I guess it was a series. I’d guess it’s only streaming, in the US.

    I always turn on the sub-titles, if they’re available. Besides dialects, some actors don’t know how to enunciate, any more. Audio description is for blind folks. I spent about another half hour studying the new DVD manual. Mostly, the remote. All 34 buttons. I think I figured out what I did wrong. And it’s clear I’ll have to find something small, blunt and pointy to push the buttons. I did find the “Tinkle” button. The one you use to stop everything so you can make a quick trip to the bog. 🙂 Some of the button functions are complete mysteries.

    Re: “Urther.” I was right. How many pages does your version have?
    Maybe it would be more accurate if I said I was up to chapter 20.

    Well, back in the 19th century, art museums (like libraries) were a bit more restrictive in who they admitted. One had to look a bit presentable. But, over time, those barriers broke down.

    I wondered that about “Resident Evil”, too. What about minions? But, by that point they were very much into cloning. So you get a good minion, and just run off a few dozen copies.

    Sunny Disposition. Not to be confused with Sunny Delight. Which has been rebranded Sunny D, just to appear to be hip and with it. It’s an orange drink, which, again, has never been within hailing distance of a citrus tree. 98% of the contents are water and high fructose corn syrup. Lew

  29. @ Margaret:

    I am so sorry that your back has been giving you so much trouble. Hopefully, there are some non-surgical ways to help it? I hurt my back years ago, it was not a chronic thing – which I think yours is? – and what set it right was sleeping on our wood floor with minimal cushioning for a couple of months. I liked it so much that I kept sleeping there (with a bit more cushioning) for years. Alas, I now sleep in the lap of luxury.


  30. @ Inge:

    I think you and I are on exactly the same page where this topic that should not be mentioned is. Frustrating.


  31. Hi Pam,

    That’s no good, but who knows what is going on in the background, but it has been known to be the case that less local folks will do a less local job. Certainly, down here it is the health subject which dare not be named creating massive staff shortages. I’m now amazed when things are actually working and/or you can get supplies. Speaking of which we managed to score some timber supplies for projects, and part of that was accepting super long lengths and the timber was also termite treated and so very expensive. Basically the stuff is available because it is not used in construction due to the cost. There’s an old saying about beggars not being choosers.

    Yeah, in some ways some folks in your country are responsible for this current bout of crazy, but at the same time – despite your disbelief – your countries response has been healthier due to its shambolic response than what has been going on in the state down under which we reside in. I certainly wouldn’t wish my experience upon anyone.

    Thanks about the shed! Began getting the solar power system installed today. So many batteries, and they were heavy at about 110 pounds each (all 24 of them). They’re the old house batteries.

    What do you mean nobody listens to the radio any more? 🙂 Nobody told me that. Had the tunes blasting out all day long today whilst we worked. With physical work I prefer having the radio on so my mind floats away on the tunes. There are people who restore radios that old, but those folks are now hard to find.

    The vines have small bunches of grapes, and by small I mean tiny grapes and not the sort of thing you see for sale in markets. I’m watching to see how the plants grow. I’m new to grapes. Have you grown grape vines before? And it ain’t just you, I’m also thinking about next growing seasons seeds (but am a touch busy at the moment to do anything about it). And other than the onion family, most seed is viable for a few years, although viability drops depending on how you had the seeds stored. I keep our lot dry and cool and away from moisture.

    Thank you for the lovely words, and the roses are loving the hot and dry conditions this week.



  32. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, dude, Meatloaf is dead: Bat Out of Hell singer Meat Loaf dies aged 74. Vale old Meaty, and I can only but forgive you your delving into musicals…

    Look, truth to tell I was dragged along to attend a local production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show a couple of decades ago, and you know, I quite enjoyed it (but we must keep this between ourselves lest I lose credibility). I got dragged to see Hair the musical too, and yeah there were some toe tappers, but are we really in the Age of Aquarius?

    Thanks for the link to the change in forest management practices. Not to be a Debbie downer, but it’s applaudable to do something, but the scale is just sheer bonkers. My understanding of the original process is that the Indigenous folks used to conduct more regular, but far smaller burns. So I reckon, eventually this sort of stuff has to be done on a local level, with local knowledge and local resources – and we ain’t even close to that outcome at this stage of the game. But yeah, at least they look like they are listening, despite the lack of acknowledgement. The sheer failure of the current regime is pretty difficult to ignore – although most people seem to be able to do so.

    Lewis, I’d have to suggest that you deftly navigated the Family Friendly code of conduct whilst pretty much telling it like it is. Respect. And I have no doubts that the many English programs which you have been subjected to over the long years have provided you with super skills in these areas. 🙂 So much wrongness in just say for example, the average Carry On film.

    A mass spectrometer would probably resolve the citrus cleaner aroma question – but where are these machines when you need one? You’re probably right, and it was nothing found in nature.

    It’s a disturbing thing to consider, but then you know, you’re right – would I notice the additional 30 minutes? Probably not, as you so correctly observed. I’m not sure I mentioned it at the time, but maybe a month or two back you said something about some oil issue, it may have been in relation to all the cancelled jet travel, and you quipped that it would probably only add 3 days to oil supplies. Boom! That was the sound of my brain exploding.

    Man, I’m totally with you in this matter. Perfume should be subtle, and yet I have noticed that some folks tend to think that a little bit is good, so more-on (say it fast!) must be better. It sets my sinuses off too. The thing with sneezing and a runny nose is that people confuse an allergic reaction with the health subject which dare not be named. And for your information, the Editor has banned me from saying every time the Editor sneezes: You’ve got it! I think it’s funny, but the Editor has put her foot down and commanded: no more.

    Good luck with the inspections, and why not remove the block over the vent during the inspection? You need a list of all the things that you have to modify before the inspection. Who can remember all those details?

    Got about two thirds of the power system into the shed today and wired up. I’d forgotten how heavy the old sealed lead acid gel batteries are. Each of them are 110 pounds and so we put them in the small ride on trailer and drove them down three at a time (24 batteries in total). That took quite a while and they had to be lifted in and then lifted out again at the other end and then carried into position. From a power density perspective, the LiFePO4 replacement batteries are one-fifth the weight for the same oomph.

    Got the five solar panels on the roof too, and had to get up at some ungawdly hour to get the job done before the sun squooshed my head.

    Had a break for lunch, picked up some materials, and then had a nap in the heat of the mid afternoon. Then went back into the work and finished up at around maybe 8pm. There’s a couple of hours more work to do tomorrow to get the job complete. The batteries were in surprisingly good condition given they’ve been sporadically charged over the past year and a bit.

    Nobody is afraid of Triffids in these enlightened days. That is, until they encounter one! 🙂 I enjoyed the series too. Hadn’t heard about the new War of the Worlds series.

    Not to put too fine a point upon your observation, but most people wouldn’t know what the word ‘enunciate’ even means! 🙂 A bit of gritty realism doesn’t hurt from time to time, and even today I encounter folks who mumble – and the prevalence of masks don’t help the situation. I see that there are calls for people to wear more expensive masks – you see what I have to deal with here? 😉 I guess it does little harm those commercial interests asking.

    A tinkle button is a great idea. Never encountered such a button before on a machine but I can well understand the usefulness of such a function.

    My edition of Uther has 916 pages. The chapters aren’t all that well marked (or indexed) in my paperback edition. The former owner of the book underlined one or two narrative errors, which seemed a bit err, an over the top reaction. They need to chill out, although being second hand, I have no idea what kind of person would do such a thing.

    When I was a kid, there were places where Dress Codes were enforced, and in fact there still are some such places today. The Editor was subjected to a Dress Code in her first adult full time job. Deportment these days has gone too far towards the other end of that spectrum, but what do I know.

    That’s the thing with clones: What if they decide that more of them, and less of the managerial folks is a good thing? They might have numbers on their side.

    Ooo! I have not ever encountered that beverage. I note that the Wikipudding page lists the many ingredients. Fascinating.



  33. @ Pam
    Probably so. Thank goodness I can let rip with Son and some friends, though certainly not with all of them. I do try to contain myself though.


    Chris again
    It is a long while since I had grape vines but I am sure that I also cut grapes out of the bunches so that there weren’t too many on each bunch.


  34. Chris:

    I just meant that at our house no-one listens to the radio anymore. I certainly know a lot of people who do. A couple of weeks ago I went through the list and descriptions of all the radio stations that I would be able to pick up on our radio. None of them appealed to me. I used to love our public radio station, but it eventually became mostly politics, so I gave it up. The few good shows I liked were all at the wrong time for me.

    I was thinking about shampoo last night. Do you all wash your hair with your homemade soap?


  35. Yo, Chris – I had not heard about the passing of Meatloaf. Can’t say I particularly liked his music, but I did like him in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” He brought real energy, to that segment.

    LOL. You mentioned musicals. So now you have to subject yourself to one of my dreams. A few days ago, I had an Australian dream. You and the Editor had pulled into a lane way, as, the Editor had spotted what looked like a 25 pound drum of ground coffee, displayed in front of a shop. She threw her arms around it, and broke into song. Then you broke into song. Then the shopkeeper came out, and joined in. Suddenly, there were about 50 hammers, in the air (aerial shot), and when they came down, you and the shop keeper were knocked cold. You were fine, as was the shop keeper. And then there was some kind of a voice over that indicated the shop keeper was a serial killer … And so it ended. Of course, dreams being dreams, I have no idea where the hammers came from. Should have been 50 dancers, throwing them into the air. Or, what tune you were all singing. Or if it was a toe-tapper. 🙂

    The Age of Aquarius? Ask Mr. Greer.

    Even if the forestry program gets started, the next change in administrations will put an end to it. Or try to. No matter how beneficial it is. Because that’s how these things go. No credit for anything thought up by the opposing side.

    Maybe I missed my calling, as a political speech writer? Rather than English programs I may have taken, I think it’s more my devious streak. 🙂

    Who needs a mass spectrometer? There’s probably an app, for that.

    Quip about jet travel and the oil supply? Wasn’t me. Credit where credit is due.

    Do they have the justifiable homicide defense, in your country? When the Editor is brought to trial, I’m sure your teasing her about You Know What will be entered in evidence. She’ll get off. 🙂

    I’ll probably leave the block over the vent. I’m tired of rearranging my life, every time they do an inspection. If they notice, I’ll take it down. Carefully. So I can put it back up once they’re gone.

    Well, speaking of supplies, the hunt for H’s Very Special Dog Food was successful. First I found a small 5 lbs. sack at my regular grocery store. ($11 with tax). Then I found an 11 lbs. sack at a grocery I don’t visit too often ($21). Then last night, I found the large sack at my regular grocery ($17). Thee were only three. So, we have two large sacks and one small, on tap. Might take us through the summer. One of our grocery stores that deals in over runs, and such, has a sign on the wall. “Wish I would have got it, when I saw it.” Suspect grammar, but you get the idea.

    The Tinkle Button. AKA: Pause button. Now on my old remote, you pause, and then press it again, to get it to unpause. On the new remote, there’s another button to unpause. Because, well, I guess the world needs more buttons?

    My paperback copy of “Urther” has 809 pages. You, obviously, got the annotated version 🙂 . I think I figured out who will kill King Lot. The weapon was the tip off. On reflection, I think there are two possible suspects. Unfolding events will reveal which one it is.

    Oh, a lot of the jobs I had, had dress codes. Usually, shirt and tie. It’s odd but the other day, I noticed that I suddenly felt like when I saw someone in a suit, it just seems a bit unusual. Even in the national media.

    Food box comes today. Or at least, they’ll be delivered, but if I get one or not is a moot point. No worries. There will be plenty on the swap table, to fill in. Lew

  36. @Pam
    Thanks! Yeah it’s a chronic thing that I’ve actually had for awhile but has recently worsened quite a bit so I decided I needed to find out more. My back is pretty messed up it seems. When my doctor got my MRI results he wanted to immediately refer me to a pain clinic to get an epidural. I told him I’ll do PT and see how that goes first. I think the fact that I’ve religiously followed a stretching, exercise/yoga regime has kept the worst at bay but I can certainly learn more from the PT. I was really quite surprised at his reaction and my BIL, a retired physician who has suffered from back problems his whole life thought the same thing. I think I have a high pain tolerance as most of the time it’s not that bad. That was really interesting about sleeping on the hard floor though I would prefer my bed.


  37. Yo, Chris – An article about our potential “Big One.”

    Something to look forward to. Glad I live inland and high up. No water to worry about, but still, quit a ride.

    Also saw an article about some dude named Jeremy Grantham. Described as a “legendary investor” and “market historian.” Seems to think we’re in “…a epic market bubble” that will soon implode. News that’s almost as comforting as the pending “big one.” Lew

  38. Hi Inge,

    What a great idea. I wouldn’t have thought of thinning the fruit on the vines, but it makes sense especially if conditions are a bit marginal for the plant.

    This past week has been the first taste of summer all season. The grass has yellowed off and the plants are finally growing. Spotted a few of the very first tomatoes, although they are still very small and still green.

    The trees are growing strongly as I assume they can access water deep within the sub soil.

    It’s good to hear that your country is finally coming to its senses. Still crazy here, but we’re slowly moving in that direction too and usually take our lead from the UK or the US.



  39. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for the clarification as it sounded like a big call to me! 🙂 Hey, I avoid the politics too and one of the benefits of the national youth broadcaster is that there are no advertisements and it really is all about the music. They’re playing their hot 100 for last year right now. Fun.

    But yeah, I hear you about finding the time to do frivolous and oh so enjoyable activities, and your life is full of family and obligations. Hope everyone is getting along OK under the same roof, and I reckon you did well getting your folks back from Colorado. It would have been a tough decision and even harder to make work, oh yeah.

    I use our olive oil soap which we make. It is easy to make the stuff, but it is not a process for the careless.

    What the heck, the Wiggles won the countdown for a cover of a more serious bands work. So strange but 2.5 million votes can’t be wrong.



  40. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for mentioning Jeremy Grantham, I’ve never heard of him before you mentioned him, but I like the guy and I really like his perspective upon the realities of history. And he came to the same conclusion that I independently came to, our current batch of leaders are meddlers with no vision to speak of and neither do they have the skills to adequately navigate a genuine crisis – which is not hard to see coming at us. Watch how they flip-flop as inflation bites hard and all they know is how to react. It’s actually embarrassing just how bad the current batch of leaders are, but you know, you do get the leaders you vote in. And the opposition is not much better, their job is not to oppose (as the literalist amongst them may suggest), but it is to build a case as to why they are the preferred team – but I don’t see that momentum building and taking shape. Numpties. This is why you end up with populist figures who can wield a sword, but history suggests that chucking out the baby with the bathwater is a very bad idea. I wouldn’t worry about it, we’re in for a wild ride!

    Well it is a bubble – that’s what they look like, and without exception, every single one of them has popped sooner or later. I’m watching the Evergrande slow-motion train wreck with a sense of fascination.

    What I do worry about, is like how did the children’s entertainers The Wiggles, take out the number one spot in this years Hot 100 for a cover of a stoner rock anthem? That’s what I call a return to nostalgia. I guess many of the 2.5 million votes would have come from folks who grew up listening to the entertainers – not I. Admittedly it was a good cover too of a very complicated bit of music from a band which is a muso’s musician – Tame Impala. The Wiggles cover Tame Impala ‘Elephant’ for Like A Version. Hard to explain, but there it is all the same.

    I’m kind of troubled that with Yoohoo news I keep getting this pop up about: 10 steps towards staff termination. Hope they do know anything… 🙂 Oh well, more time to do work around here.

    Hey, I got the power system in today. Oh man, it was a big job doing all the wiring slowly and taking the time to make sure it was done correctly. I don’t rush those sorts of jobs as there’s so much detail it is so easy to stuff it up. And it was sort of hot here today and by late afternoon I was done – and it all worked just fine. And despite only getting the solar panels connected up at midday, they still sucked in a bit over three hours of peak sunlight which was stored in the old house batteries.

    Your earthquake risk is kind of like what I have to deal with on a bushfire risk. You know it’s going to happen – it really is just a matter of time. In either case, risk can be reduced, but it can’t be eliminated. I’m doing stuff to reduce the risk all of the time, but it’s a big job.

    Yeah, Meat was certainly an energetic fellow and gave 100% to the audiences, even when he was struggling.

    Thanks for recounting the eerie dream. Not a good ending to the story given we were both knocked out cold with an uncertain future. And those folks can act rather unpredictably and are not to be trusted, under any circumstances. Can’t say I would have enjoyed the Dexters dancers interlude – a bit Bollywood really and it would have added a slightly off-kilter vibe to the incident.

    Still haven’t worked out what happened to Merlyn’s wife, but the story is progressing at a cracking pace. There are no chapters in my version of the book, but ‘Book Four’ was pronounced.

    I don’t reckon it is at all a bad thing to have a mildly devious streak. The word deviate after all means more or less to go off and do something different, and when lemmings are going where ever it is that they do go, should we follow?

    Yeah, you might be right about the Editor pulling that card. 🙂 It won’t look so good for me, but hey, it’ll be Christmas soon enough.

    Did Elinor survive the troubles which occurred during the most recent inspection? Last I recall, you mentioned that the granddaughter was helping de-clutter her place. But given that word has dwindled away to nothing, it might have been OK?

    I heard that pet food in your country is in short supply. Have you noticed this? I do supplement the fluffies diet with some commercial biscuits added into the home made stuff which is sold in 66 pound bags and I keep a couple of months supply of the stuff. The dogs look healthy enough although I had to stop Plum from consuming some sort of road squashed dead marsupial she brought to show me today. I know she didn’t do it, because the thing was flat as a pancake, and only vehicles do that – the local birds had clearly picked over the carcass. One benefit of peak oil is less vehicles moving around the landscape… She may have been sucking the essential pan juices. Yuk! Anyway, the chunk was taken off her and added to the worm farm. Revolting.

    That marketing campaign slogan is a bit eerie. And you are correct, but that is how people speak, so perhaps the slogan was not intended for yourself? Longer term I believe that literacy rates will drop and we shall revert to the long term mean – as that investor bloke would put the case. Already I know of people who do not understand that the first word in a written sentence begins with a capital letter. Hmm. And the vast echo chamber of the interweb only reinforces poor grammar. For all we know, such usage of the language may become the official version and syntax?

    Haha! OK, that makes more sense to me: Tinkle button equates to the Pause button. 🙂 Very amusing!

    Annotated version indeed! No the book was pre-owned by a narrative correctness fuddy-duddy. I’m sure that there is a more correct technical term to describe the person, but at the moment the word evades me. It is you who own the abridged version of the book. How does an author lose 100 odd pages?

    Suits are an interesting topic. When I was a young bloke and attended the more English than the English grammar school, it was well known that the suits required to be worn as part of the dress code was also a form of equalising and normalising. You see in that particular school students came from all backgrounds, and some parents had clearly stinted themselves to send their kids there, but other parents were full of mad cash. The suit requirement brought everyone to the same level, regardless of social and economic background – and this was well known in fact it was in the school rules of the time (which I had to write out a few times whilst in detention for being me). Suits also perform that function in the day to day world, and we have abandoned that social safety net, and look what happens: People flaunt their wealth, they can’t help but do that. I don’t give a toss for status, but mate, I’m in the minority here – and plenty of people believe that I am crazy for thinking this way and they look down their noses at me – they’re wrong to do so, but they’re following what they’re told to do. I tend to believe that the loss of formal business attire is a foolish trend because it encourages too much social monkey business and excludes plenty of people. And you can’t ever win that game, it’s not possible to do so.

    Did you get your food box?



  41. Yo, Chris – Well, I’m happy to see Mr. Grantham is getting some play in the legitimate press … or what passes for same. Of course, he will be largely ignored. Voice crying in the wilderness, prophet in his own land, etc. etc.. Yes, I’ve been following the Ever Grander saga. A bit. Might be the Land of Stuff will bring about world economic collapse, instead of us. Though our hands are not clean.

    Well, The Wiggles. Makes sense in a twisted kind of way. Now, I’ve never been exposed to them, but, it’s interesting that I know who they are. And who can forget that great anthem of childhood, “Shake Your Sillies Out.” Which I often say to H when she has an attack of palsy. 🙂

    I’m glad you’ve got the lights on, in the new mead hall. Though I will miss the flaming torches. Torch light is a lot kinder to the looks of people of a certain age.

    I see there’s a big brushfire, down in Big Sur. I wonder if the Fire Monks will be called into action? And, there are many cabins with literary histories, that I would hate to see go.

    I read a few of the obits of Mr. Meat Loaf. I hadn’t realized he’d been in so many films. But, I probably didn’t recognize him. Once he cut and washed his hair and lost about 60 pounds.

    Oh, the Editor wasn’t knocked out. Just you and the shop keeper / serial killer. But I did wonder where the dancers were, throwing the hammers in the air. There should have been 50 of them. Or, 25 with two hammers a piece.

    Oh, Elinor’s inspection is long past. The grand daughter shows up once or twice a week, so things are still moving … slowly … along that front. The big crisis right now is Elinor’s yearly recertification paperwork. But that’s getting sorted and the Community Outreach Person is helping out.

    Yes, the pet food aisle is very empty. And when they do get something in, it’s just two or three bags of whatever brand.

    Plum must have a copy of the “Roadkill Cookbook,” stashed under her mattress. Such a thing, does exist. I don’t have a copy. A gap in my collection. 🙁 .

    Monks were notorious for making little annotations in the margins of ancient manuscripts. When they weren’t drawing demented and naughty bunnies.

    Got our food boxes, yesterday. After many months, there was a box of produce. Carrots, celery, yams, oranges, a head of cabbage and another of lettuce. And several ears of corn. Of course, given the time of year, one wonders where that corn came from. There was the usual dry cereal and shelf stable milk. A jug of something that passes for apple juice. Pasta and white rice. Tinned apple sauce, pinto beans, green beans, and tomato sauce. No tinned meat or fish. Not a bad lot. I hauled six bags down to the Club, this morning. The pantry is plump, again.

    I stopped by the library, this morning. I took a new film back. “Show.” It was quit good. Rather Stephen King, with, perhaps, a bit more humor. The trailer doesn’t do it justice. They didn’t call, they didn’t write, but I noticed “Rummage” is on my hold list. I guess they took my suggestion to order it. Probably won’t see if for three or four months. Lew

  42. Hi Lewis,

    I tend to agree with the bloke, all other bubbles throughout history have popped without exception. But then does anyone really want to hear that message? That’s the thing, people will cope when the crunch hits, but only a few outliers suggest in advance that it is a problem to be faced – everyone else is partying like it’s 1999! Interestingly, he turned up in our local news too (I feel that we are now being officially softened up for the inevitable): GMO’s Jeremy Grantham warns ‘super bubble’ is bursting as Wall St, ASX fall again. It’s also equally possible that the guy is shorting the market, but then that is the risk he takes on board with the funds he oversees. And you know, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be softened up for the inevitable, and in some ways that official response is quite thoughtful – especially given the hand the officials played in making it all happen. I don’t know much, but all I know is that I would not have gone down this path. And I don’t believe that anyone’s hands are clean.

    Yeah, that musical return to nostalgia in a time of troubles was perhaps too strong a pull for the young folks and they voted. It hints at possibilities though, and maybe at least people are starting to wake up and ask themselves: when were things better? That’s a good sign in my books. H is a lady of the finest breeding, but yeah – I could understand how she’d need to shake those sillies out.

    Maybe it is just me, but flaming torches might suit rock constructions better than the timber framed mead hall. It’s been a warm and dry few weeks now and I’m not keen to put things to the test. Of course, you’re right – they would look super-cool. But we must tread carefully in the current few brief weeks of summer.

    What? Big Sur fire? Oh no! Isn’t it the depths of winter there? What the heck is summer going to look like for them?

    Need I mention that Meatloaf played the character Paul in the film Fight Club. Did a good job too.

    I have to get writing, and digressions are a lifestyle choice here, but hammers + musicals + dreams, kind of reminds me of Pink Floyds: The Wall. We don’t need no education. Which I’d have to suggest is not quite grammatically correct, and well let’s just leave the facts to speak for themselves.

    All rather unfortunate to go from one crisis to another. Whatever one’s personal beliefs are in the matter, the current system demands compliance with paperwork. I’ll bet the Roman’s liked that stuff too.

    You go first with the road-kill, but we have discussed that book before. Not to disparage the contents, but I reckon we could live without that source of protein. It may be one of those book mysteries you have to simply carry with you! 😉

    Killer rabbits! Respect to those ancient scholars for the work they did in bringing us some classics from out of antiquity. I’d doodle in Killer Rabbits too in those circumstances. It hints at a lack of oversight. 🙂

    Go the full pantry in both locations! Can we but ask for greater than this?

    Thanks for the film recommendation, and hope you enjoy Rummage. In Uther I’ve just met Owain of the Caves – and the massive bear incident.



  43. Yo, Chris – I think a lot of people’s disinterest in the economy is because it’s all so complicated. And they just don’t think vast chunks of it applies to, or effects them. So the stock market losses 45% of it’s value. “Oh, I don’t play the stock market, therefore, it has nothing to do with me.” Hmmm. It’s that old existential threat, again. If it’s not in my mailbox or in my face, “What, me worry?”

    Yup. The fire in Big Sur. And, just a couple of weeks ago, that big fire in Colorado. Near Boulder 🙂 . Nearly 1,000 building, destroyed. Thee was some pretty intense footage of people evacuating big box stores and pizza parlors. It blew up, and moved very fast. Amazingly, I think only two people were killed.

    As near as we can tell, the Romans loved their paperwork. At least the military did. There sure is evidence of that from Vindolanda. And, Egypt.

    Yup. Both pantries are in pretty good condition. I was reflecting the other day, that it’s the processed stuff that goes first. The convenient stuff. Oh, the fruit and veg eventually go. But not right away.

    Speaking of the Club, we have our yearly membership and elections, today. So, I’ve got to do that at 2:00 and then race home and walk the dog and toss her in the tub. The meeting won’t be long. We really don’t have that many “official” members. Oh, and the coup is off. The fellow we were going to get off the board (the bureaucrat) resigned a couple of days ago. No one quit knows why. There was a death in the family. But, perhaps “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.”

    Your not that far behind me, in “Urther.” I’ve been hitting “The Stand.” I’m up to the part where the first group (Nick, Tom Cullen, et all) have made it to Mother Abigail’s. It’s interesting to see how they adapted the book, to fit the series. Fran’s mother doesn’t make an appearance, at all. Rita and Nadine are compressed into one character. So, instead of Nadine showing up with Joe, It’s Lucy Swan who shows up with him. It’s been so long since I read the book that there are bits I had entirely forgot. And then there are parts that I think to myself, “He could have left that out.” But what do I know. I’ve never had anything on the best seller list. 🙂 Lew

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