Do you remember?

Recently, Sandra’s father died.

Sandra and I, share some common experiences. One of those is that the formative male in both our lives was not the father. In my case it was my grandfather, and for Sandra it was her uncle. As an incongruous fun fact, her uncle drove the same base vehicle that Mad Max (The Road Warrior) did. The gear shifter was vague and needed fixing, but that all added to the mystique. On the road it had a commanding presence.

He was a pretty clever bloke and worked as an architect. He’d earned six undergraduate degrees, and Sandra can recall him teasing her by suggesting that when she’d achieved that many, they’d be equals. Being clever meant that he never asked, but he understood her, his sister, and her home life.

So each summer Sandra spent in the the city of Canberra at her uncle’s house. Canberra is the nation’s capital where the Federal Parliament sits. To my mind the place is situated on land in the middle of nowhere, whilst the city itself is the product of an orderly mind. After all, it has been entirely planned since it’s inception. The original architects favoured geometric circles. Talk about revolutionary.

But best of all though, her uncle had an unheated swimming pool in which to while away the hot inland summer days. Being inland at elevation, just like here, the nights can get cold, even over the summer months. Thus the water temperature in the pool rarely passed 17’C / 63’F. That was described as the perfect swimming temperature. It is a truth universally acknowledged that children rarely are bothered by the cold. And Sandra and her friends from around the area enjoyed the amenities.

Enjoying the company of a kindred sharp mind, her uncle used to take her on visits to all the places of cultural and intellectual interest. The nations capital has many such places: The Questacon; the Mount Stromlo Observatory; the Botanical Gardens, just to mention a few. Even quirky places were visited such as the miniature village which sold home-baked pork pies. No stone was left unturned in the pursuit of culture, even the (destroyed by fire in 2003) Cotter Pub was visited to test the relative merits of various mulled wines. A charming place despite the huge contingent of bikie’s (bikers in US parlance). Fortunately, nobody came to any harm, and the mulled wine was apparently quite good.

Sandra’s mother was good with the piano, and enjoyed accompanying various local groups. Her brother (Sandra’s uncle), was the next level, and he played the organ at Duntroon Chapel for Sunday services, before eventually earning an Order of Australia medal. It’s a beautiful building, and as a child Sandra got to thoroughly explore the place.

Her uncle died in 2015, and there are only fond memories. However, like with the situation with my grandfather, we didn’t really ever spend time together as adults, and things got missed. For example, I wish I’d listened to the old bloke more when he was talking to me about his huge vegetable patch because now I don’t know what important information I ignored. Sandra likewise has similar regrets. Many years ago, her uncle sent her an email discussing the various strategies he’d learned for defeating the ‘Evil’ grade Sudoku puzzles. Being too young to be receptive to important information is often a stumbling block on the road to greater knowledge. Such was the case here, and the email was lost. Whilst Sandra is no slouch with the puzzle, she has to live with the certain knowledge that genius strategies were once within her reach.

In life you can encounter people who are a negative influence. Sometimes, those people can exert considerable power and control over your life. What you don’t understand when you’re young, is that other people can read the situation. They know. And a very few of those people can both read the situation, then step up to the plate. They’re rare people, and we’ve both had the good fortune to encounter them. It’s good to be able to take the time to appreciate such people.

This week we’ve done work when the mood took us, and it has been a slow and leisurely affair. Worked continued on the greenhouse project. The second of the raised garden beds was made from heavy treated pine sleepers.

The second of three raised garden beds was constructed and levelled. Ollie is looking for chicken manure

With these raised garden beds we’re trialling a new compost product. It seems quite good so far and has produced a crumbly soil-like consistency. Into that stuff, we’ve mixed: Super Phosphate + Agricultural Lime + Gypsum + Boron + Blood and Bone + Chicken Manure + Coffee Grounds. That should give the plants grown in the raised garden beds a good start to life and hopefully contains a wide variety of minerals.

I pour the additives on top of the compost, and then mix it in with a rake and mattock. Last year we used a similar mixture of soil additives to good effect.

A rake is used here to mix in the soil additives to the compost

The third raised garden bed was also made using heavy treated pine sleepers.

Dame Plum is impressed at the sensible lay out inside the greenhouse

The layout for the greenhouse is now complete. It took a while before the arrangement of the raised garden beds became clear. And before constructing any of the beds, we tested whether the various paths were workable, and that all areas of the greenhouse could be accessed. There is even a park bench at one end were I plan to while away some time with a book on warmer days.

There’s a bit of work left to do before the project is completed, but the project is rapidly nearing completion. Trim (which has paint slowly curing) has to be installed, the raised garden beds need additional compost, the paths need a bit more crushed rock with lime, and the bird proof mesh needs to be installed over the ventilation points.

Inside the greenhouse looking towards the large solar panel array
Inside the greenhouse looking towards the large shed. Ruby is impressed with the warmth inside the shed

The King Parrots have begun to take a serious interest in the Kiwi fruit. Fortunately, we have plenty of fruit to share with them, and the brightly coloured birds make up for the paucity of flowers at this time of year.

A King Parrot enjoying the plentiful Kiwi fruit

We’ve begun harvesting the Kiwi fruit and have barely made a dent. The plan is to trial making some Kiwi fruit jam over the next week or so. I’ve never tasted that flavour, so hopefully it is good. Otherwise the fruit is being consumed with muesli for breakfast.

Some of the Kiwi fruit harvest

Onto the flowers:

Rosemary enjoys the wintry conditions
The last few days for the Hydrangea flower
This Pineapple Sage is shrugging off the cold and wet weather
You don’t often see a Succulent and moss together

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 3’C (37’F). So far this year there has been 516.0mm (20.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 495.0mm (19.5 inches)

40 thoughts on “Do you remember?”

  1. Yo, Chris – I’m sorry for the Editor’s loss. Although, reading between the lines, perhaps not as devastating as loosing her uncle. Sometimes, one finds oneself in the position of asking, “How am I supposed to feel? There’s no “supposed.” You feel what you feel. Of course, the social niceties have to be observed. More or less. That was pretty much what the Frank O’Hara bio was about.

    Mentors. An interesting topic. I guess in my early days, it was the woman who had the antique shop I hung out in. That perhaps there was a better way to live. And, yes, I wish I would have paid more attention. And there are “glancing” mentors. I remember in grade school, seeing a classmates parents cuddled up on the couch, before dinner. Didn’t see that around my place. 🙂 And, later, in high school, my best friends large family. Pretty happy families may be all alike, but they are, I think, rather rare. And make an impression.

    It’s good you spent the week being a bit gentle with yourselves. After all, it’s winter. The “slack” season. And the greenhouse is winding up.

    That’s quit a soil mix. What? No stove ash? 🙂 . If you haven’t thought of it, already, you might go out some wet evening and collect a few handfuls of worms to toss in those new beds. I need to do that with my new stock tank. But first I need to dig in some kitchen scraps, so the little fellows will have something to eat.

    Another observation. In the picture toward the solar array, the path between the two beds, on the left, looks a bit narrow. Might be the angle of the picture. Is it wide enough for a walker? A motorized chair?

    A quick look down the rabbit hole (“What to do with kiwi?”) indicates you can make bread, muffins, pudding, salsa, and more salads than you can shake a stick at. 🙂 I was going to make a double batch of banana muffins. Thought I’d do some cranberry, some blueberry and some orange. Time and bananas wait for no man. I am not firing up the oven, in this weather. So I ended up putting them in the freezer, and the orange in the fridge.

    I saw my friend Julia, today (eggs!) and got the recipe, again, for strawberry / rhubarb jam or crisp (crumble). 5/3/1. 5 cups of either all rhubarb, or a mix of strawberries and rhubarb. 3 cups of sugar. On packet of strawberry jello. Not the sugar free kind. That way, whatever I tackle, will “jell.”

    The rosemary and hydrangea are very pretty. We have both, here. One of the Master Gardeners made an interesting comment. Just about everything in her garden, is three to four weeks, behind. Due to our long, cool, wet spring.

    H got her fortnight bath, today. She left a ring in the tub! Probably due to flopping around on the pavement, down at the Club. As it’s 90+ F, I think I’ll take her out to finish drying off. When I started getting ready to give her a bath, she hid behind my chair. I had to pry her out. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, it’s a tough sell. 🙂 Overnight last night was 34’F and there was a bit under an hour of sunlight today, so right now 93’F is sounding pretty nice to me. Proving that perhaps it is a relative problem? No, well, maybe? On the other side of the door I have a petrol generator noisily chugging away. Not a fan of the thing as it runs for 3 hours at a go (but can put 25% charge back into the large house batteries), and this year I have to crack the thing out on about 6 days, which is 2% of the year. My loose talk a while ago of finally overcoming the 1% of days the solar power clearly was tempting the sun gods as it turned into a reality of 2% of days. Yes, hubris. What can I say, I brought this poop on myself. Ain’t nobody else to blame.

    Did you get any rain from the huge green blob? And it appears that the weather forecast was reasonably accurate. Hope H enjoyed the solar drying routine?

    I do recommend red mustard as being more reliable than the green mustard plants and candidly they do taste the same. But my observation is that the red mustard is the more cold tolerant – those plants survive snow. And whoo whee, they’ll blast those boogers! 😉

    H’s attempt to hide from the bath, well, truth to tell, I tried that trick once with the Sensei, and he took me down after a brief, but hopeless chase. He looked incensed that anyone would try such a response to his authorita, and lesson learned for me. Anyway, sometimes you have to be in it to win it, and I sure did lose that bout. How did it work out for H? Probably about the same. 🙂 I feel for H, and relate to her fear, but whatever, sometimes it is easier to face one’s fears and hopefully for you she gets that lesson. And of course you are H’s alpha. Imagine what craziness would ensue if it were the other way around and you were at the whim of H? I’ve seen that in action. How it looks to me is parents telling their kids loudly (so as to acknowledge social norms) to shush, and the kids blithely ignoring them – that’s how it looks. No judgement, it’s their household and if they choose that option, it is no business of mine.

    Now Judith Jones, would she have accommodated crazy behaviour from authors? Probably not. Being able to ‘read’ and respond to difficult customers is a skill, mastered by few. The various masters in the book Japanese Inn, would have much to say upon the subject, and I note that the family so far has survived many societal wide disruptions. And from time to time, even those masters seem ‘put-upon’ by their shorter lived betters.

    An interesting point, and very possibly, it is not possible to achieve greatness via a committee process. I’d noticed that Judith ended up in Vermont in a small town, and seems to have thrived. It was a very beautiful place.

    Lumpy gravy is a sin, right up there with usury. Or is it more correctly ‘down there’? Not sure. Dante however, might have some opinions in this regard. 🙂 Cooking faster and dabbling with higher heat tends to suggest a more reckless hand in the kitchen, but then if it works out, the rewards are there. Commercial kitchens would require a little bit of a compromise in that regard.

    Scissors are one of those items that are easy enough to sharpen, but I agree, will people do this? Maintenance is so boring from many people’s perspective, but I put it in the boring but important category. The kitchen knives with the Japanese Damascus steel we recently purchased are beyond anything I’d previously used in the kitchen. The poorer the steel, the more it has to be sharpened. And every time you sharpen, a little bit of the blade disappears. Many years ago I was talking with an old bloke who used a strop to sharpen his pocket knife. He’d had the thing since his early days, and the blade was bonkers sharp and for a test we scraped some hairs off the arm. An inspiration as to what is possible if a person is careful with tools. Didn’t the Roman’s used to shave using the edges of their swords?

    A tasty meal, and it is very similar to the meals we eat here a few nights per week.

    Thank you. And did you note how well the words rolled off your keyboard and have the desired effect of acknowledgement? At part time Uni, there was another person in the class who worked in that industry and provided a presentation as to how marketing worked in that business. But yeah, grief is an odd thing and it goes it’s own way and everyone experiences it differently. The essay was written for the Editor.

    Hmm, I guess the author of the biography had to navigate the complexities involved in the aftermath of the death of the poet? Time can sometimes resolve such matters, maybe, but also unfortunately the public’s attention can wander into new areas and the past becomes forgotten. It happens.

    Yes, a very good example in your own life. I tend to believe that there are just some folks who can read a situation and perhaps meet a person they are compatible with, or better still, tend to and help grow. And hey, don’t we all wish we’d paid more attention? Is that not the beginning of wisdom? 🙂

    The greenhouse project will soon be complete, and we’re sort of discussing that the next two months be spent maintaining the place before commencing the next upgrade of the next item of infrastructure. It kind of feels right to work that way, but who knows how it will all turn out?

    Oh no! I forgot the stove ash. That would have been a good idea too. And the worms too. Right across the paddock and orchard I’m seeing little tiny mud tunnels that the worms have dug – there’s a lot of activity out there. Another thing that soil probably needs is an inoculation of soil from elsewhere on the property. You did that with the soil you rescued in the tarp which ended up in the stock tanks.

    The path is wide enough at 15.74 inches. We tested and measured the narrowest comfortable path, put I take your point about the future.

    I dunno about kiwi fruit in salads. Has the weather cooled enough to get the muffin mix into the oven?

    Mate, with that jam mix, it would be impossible to stuff it up, maybe. I assume the jello contains gelatin?

    I would not wish our weather last summer upon anyone, so hopefully your growing season is warmer. The plants know the difference.



  3. Yo, Chris – Yesterday’s high was 91F (32.8C). We’re in for a cold snap, today. The forecast is for 90F (32.2C). I might have to break out a sweater (jumper). Throw another blanket on the bed 🙂 . We’re still getting breezes, but, like everything else, they’ve warmed up, and don’t provide much relief. The huge green blog, disappeared. I figure it either evaporated, or the rain fell in the ocean. But it will start getting cooler, tomorrow. In the 70s. And there is the possibility of a few showers, later in the week. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    So do you just eat the leaves of your mustards, or have you ever tried to pound up some of the seed for spread? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Oh, H really doesn’t mind her bath, so much. It’s all drama. The wagging tail gives her away. With a “tell” like that, she’d make a lousy poker player. She does test. Yesterday, I’m at the door with her leash, and she’s all the way down the hall, sitting on her butt and not moving. Wouldn’t come. A little game she likes to play, from time to time. I just step out in the hall and close the door. She caves in pretty fast. Another little go around we have is, she is fully capable of jumping into my lap, when I’m in my chair. But she occasionally plays “helpless.” I have no problem waiting her out, til she comes to her senses. Mean Uncle Lew!

    Think of it this way. The masters of the Japanese Inn, are in the service industry. With all that entails. Good and bad.

    Speaking of commercial kitchens, our local auction house is having a sale of a restaurant / kitchen. Some of the stuff was a bit on the older side, so, they’d been around for awhile. But looking at it all, I really couldn’t get a fix on any kind of a personality. “Institutional” or “corporate” was about as close as I could come.

    In the tat trade, cleaning out an estate sometimes required a certain amount of … tact.

    Well, the Frank O’Hara bio was half about the author’s relationship with her father. Who was tactless and pretty tone deaf. Self centered. But her personal reflections didn’t detract from the O’Hara biography parts.

    I had a bit of a blast from the past, reading the James Beard biography. I think I mentioned he grew up in Portland, as I did. But long before my time. But later in life, he spent time in Portland, and out at the coast. There was a Portland decorator, named Harvey Welch. He and Beard were life-long friends. I remember my antique shop friend, mentioning Mr. Welch, often. He bought quit a bit from her, to tart up the West Hills mansions. I may have even met him a time or two, in her shop. Maybe.

    No, the muffins are going to have to wait, until the weather gets a bit cooler. By last night, my apartment was “just” tolerable.

    Yes, Jello is gelatin. In a more palatable form. 🙂 . A few steps removed from cattle hooves. But, if you were using both strawberries and rhubarb, you could probably use powdered, unflavored gelatin. Some recipes for strawberry / rhubarb have no strawberries in them, at all. They rely for the flavor, on the gelatin. To my mind, that seems a bit suspect.

    My tomatoes and tomatillos have flowers, but haven’t set any fruit, yet. Patience, patience. I saw another article on shortages in the ag business.

    Not so much fertilizers, as weed killers. Which might be more of a problem. You can’t just piddle on weeds. Lew

  4. Hi Chris,
    Doug is improving daily. I am still waiting though I suppose I could be one of the few lucky ones who escapes while living with someone with the unmentionable. Yeah, even though one tests negative it is thought that you could still have it and be contagious. If one were to follow CDC guidelines a person with an exposure such as mine should quarantine for ten days after the person they live with has recovered. Some people still have so much fear but at least as time has gone by it’s lessoned. Carla wasn’t upset with me it was my aunt that nixed my attendance and as the ladies overnight was at her place I had to abide by her wishes. The only movie I watched was the new Downton Abbey film. Our SIL, Carla’s husband, signs up for many streaming services usually intending to subscribe for a brief period to watch something specific. But then he never unsubscribes. He’s set up several on our TV with his account when he’s here because he wants to watch something so we get the benefit for no cost. We rarely use them though but this time that particular movie that I missed in the theater premiered on one of his services so lucky me.

    You may laugh but when I first glanced at the pic of kiwi fruit I thought it was potatoes. Thank you for sharing yours and Sandra’s experiences with family. Her uncle sounds like he was a very interesting fellow. Condolences on the loss of her father.

    When you learn someone’s family background you often gain much insight why a person is like they are. I am lucky that both parents were major influences though I was only 21 when my father died and I wish I had known him more as an adult and that my girls had known him at all. You don’t begin to understand who your parents were/are and why they raised you the way they did until well into adulthood. That was very much the case with me with my mother.

    I’m really looking forward to watching how everything works with your new greenhouse.

    One of the pigs died this morning. Doug is not having a good week.


  5. Chris,

    Please extend appropriate condolences to Sandra. Losing parent: bad. Losing parent who wasn’t the best role model: mixed emotions that can be difficult to sort through. Both the Princess and I have been there with the latter scenario.

    We hit 35C Monday. The heat pump used as an air conditioner still works. Avalanche is enjoying neither the heat, nor the change in the routine to early morning walks. Get her out of her routine and comfort zone and she struggles to eat.

    Last week was nasty. The oldest living relative of the Princess died. She was 93, health issues, and then contracted that which is not named, which is also what caused cousin’s death in eastern Montana earlier this month. My closest friend’s brother-in-law, whom I have known since 1983, also died – brain cancer at age 57. I worked with his wife for the last several years that I was employed, and saw him whenever I needed x-rays, as he was a lead radiology tech at our doctor’s office. The world is worse off without him.

    Then Killian’s mother was going through a crisis. Being the only person she knows who will simply listen and stay calm and just let her rant, she called me at the peak of her crisis. We were on the phone for 3 hours one evening, but things have improved.

    I also called my cousin in New Mexico. He’s the oldest living relative on my maternal grandfather’s side. 89 this year. His youngest, 10 years younger than I, is occasionally in contact with me. Such was the case several times since the phone call to the older cousin. He has health issues (heck he’s 89!) and contracted that which we don’t name. I’ll get more updates eventually.

    So, twas an extremely nasty week. I couldn’t “people” online.

    However, being in contact with younger cousin takes me back to my grad school days in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I’d often visit the rellies near Albuquerque. Cousin and his youngest and I would go to the grocery store. I’d grab 3 lemons and juggle them throughout the store, which drove youngest to distraction. She’d get embarrassed because people would watch me juggle lemons, then she’d get scared that I’d drop them and have to buy them. I’d just grin and say that I’d eat any lemon that I dropped and thus had to purchase. I never dropped any lemons while with the cousins. I DID, however, purchase the ones I juggled. I enjoyed the look of horror on her face when I ate them with no sugar.

    On one occasion, youngest forbade me from juggling lemons in the store. I grabbed 3 limes when her back was turned and juggled them. Drop free, of course. 😉 I also purchased and ate the limes in front of her.

    I notice that you made a lot of greenhouse progress when I was AWOL. It’s really looking good. Placing one of the benches in the greenhouse is a grand idea. I spend a lot of time under the patio roof with a mug of tea or coffee just whiling away the time. It’s a great activity.


  6. Hello Chris
    It was interesting to learn more about Sandra’s history. My condolences on the death of her father. I find that when someone familial or close (or both of course) dies one finds oneself re-evaluating ones past relationship with them and this can go on for a very long time on and off and be very interesting.

    Mention of mentors was interesting because I realised with surprise that I have never had one. I was about 7 when I realised that I was on my own in that sense. Tough in one sense but it rendered me very competent.

    My first thought when seeing all those kiwis was ”Wow, loose bowels). Shall be curious as to what the jam is like.


  7. Hi Inge,

    Thank you for the kind words. The Editor has had quite an interesting life, but surprisingly, she is a very private person who believes that I share too much. We differ in opinions in that regard. Her reticence comes directly from her father, and that itself is interesting because over the past year or so, she has come to understand that too far down that particular path is not without its problems. My opinion in this regard is that we humans communicate together by sharing stories, and that journey is part of her story.

    I tend to see stories everywhere.

    And I agree, it’s quite healthy for the mind to re-evaluate past relationships after people we know die, although at the time people may experience pain with the process. It is interesting, yes.

    Lucky you! I have to add that the mentors in my life due to physical circumstances relating to distance, had very few contact hours with me, and like you I enjoyed a great deal of physical, emotional and intellectual freedom as a child – it’s not for everyone. When people talk of this thing ‘freedom’, I do wonder whether they actually want that state, and perhaps you would understand my perspective in this regard?

    Ha! I consume a lot of fresh fruit, and always have, and so the bowels are untroubled by such things. 🙂 People should consider such things a personal challenge!



  8. Hi Lewis,

    The Pompeii tortoise egg was an amazing find. At first I thought that it had been discovered closer to Herculaneum and the beach, but no – an escapee! I wonder if those earthquake destroyed ruins hid anything else, like say, people?

    Yes, very bracing weather at 90’F. I’m really struggling to dig deep and find some sympathy for your plight given the winter weather here. 🙂 When it gets back to the low 70’s you might actually need that sweater. Looks like the next week’s forecast is for cold but drier weather. Very stable each day. Right now, I’m cranking the wood heater along so that we can get some heat into the house. We got home late and it’s 57’F inside the house, which is not bad given the house was not heated since last night and outside was only 45’F today, maybe less.

    With the mustards we tend to eat the leaves and save the seeds for replanting. Haven’t tried to consume the seeds, but they do look similarly sized to the sort of seeds you see in Dijon mustard. The plants will happily self seed, but you have to let the plants run to seed in order to get that cycle happening, and it is just as easy to harvest the seed as let it fall where the plants grew.

    H does not have a poker face if she wags her tail at such activities. It’s good that you can give her reasonably constant companionship, because she would see you as part of her pack, with you as the alpha. And dogs are very social creatures. I feel for lone dogs chucked in a backyard with no company, they do go a bit loopy under such conditions. Mate, she is testing you, but then all dogs and also people do that stuff. A very wise to cool her out.

    Those inn keepers have some ripping good yarns to tell! There’s is an old joke about the business being good, except for the customers. That’s an oldie, probably as old as the Japanese Inn, maybe older.

    Clearing sales can be a good way to pick up useful stuff being cleared. Some of our knives and forks (cutlery) came from a clearing sale of a pub’s contents back in the early 1990’s. The quality for this cutlery is amazing. Heavy stainless steel probably with a half life of a thousand years or more (unless someone comes up with the bright idea of melting them down into a sword). Imagine that! Everyday relics from the old ones gets converted into superb hand weapons at some far distant point in the future? They produced the finest steel. 🙂 Probably already been written.

    Tactless and tone deaf makes for company that is hard work, and when they’re related… pass the beer nuts! I forget now, did the author get past the sister who appears to have controlled the estate?

    It can be a very small world.

    Oh yes, of course no point heating up the insides. And that is one of the downsides of being on the top floor. We have an outside oven for baking on such hot days. You may get a chance to bake the muffins when the weather gets back down into the 70’s?

    Righto! So jello is your version of what we call jelly, and it seems as if it is gelatin boiled, but with additives such as flavourings, colour and sugar. It ain’t that far from hooves! Talk about everything including the squeak. I’m a bit dubious about the lack of strawberries, but obtaining strawberries that have flavour these days is not as easy a thing to do. The berries are often picked under ripe, and interestingly I believe they are quite low in sugar because they’re too early in the season to have stored much.

    Told you all of these problems were self correcting, but yeah, not good for yields. The good thing about weeds is that as a species we have a great deal of experience using lower tech methods of weed control. The garden hoe is a very elegant item of technology.



  9. Hi Margaret,

    You never know how it will turn out, and you might be fine, or have it and have very few symptoms. It’s a different ride for everyone, just in case I’d consume more fresh greens from the garden. Down here, if you test negative I believe you can still head out and about. The previous rules were bonkers and have resulted in vast disruptions for what I believe is very little gain. Yup, you have mentioned your aunt before in this regard. Everyone is different.

    Did you mention whether you enjoyed the film? We went to the cinema late last week and watched Top Gun Maverick, and believe it or not, the film was outstanding – they told a very simple story really well.

    🙂 Potatoes indeed! I’m looking forward to making the kiwi fruit jam to see what it tastes like. There’s a recipe in the book: Cookery the Australian way. I have never seen it for sale anywhere, so that may be indicative? Dunno.

    Thank you for the kind words. Sandra has decided to share a little bit more, she is a very private person, but we can all change.

    I agree, when you are very young it’s hard to grasp the motivations of the adults around you, and there is also the little bit of comprehension of nuance and compromise. Sometimes I feel that adults don’t necessarily seek to foster learning of the ways of the world, but that may have been my experience.

    Sorry to hear about the pig. And Doug is doing it tough. Hope he’s feeling better? I assume the pig was for you to deal with?



  10. Hi DJ,

    Thank you for the kind words, and also the understanding as to the sort of cards that life can deal to you. It’s our challenge to play those cards, and not repeat the patterns. It’s not a nice experience, is it?

    35’C is starting to get close to body temperature, always unpleasant. Is it cooling down overnight? Avalanche has a double coat and so she would be sweltering in those conditions. Sir Poopy likewise used to have such a thick coat of fur, and summer’s were hard on him. I used to take him to the groomer and get the coat cut as thin as possible – he looked far smaller after the haircut, as no doubt Avalanche would.

    So sorry to hear of your ladies loss. I’d imagine your relative had seen a few things in her long lifespan? Man, what a week you’ve had, I’m sorry for your loss, sometimes life can be cut short without thought or warning. Yes, the light does go out.

    Hope that the lady who has Killian also has time to listen to your stories of loss? Some weeks you don’t want to repeat.

    That’s funny, and can’t say I’ve ever encountered a person juggling lemons in a supermarket. And respect for not mucking it up, although you don’t seem to me like the sort of person who would kick splatted and bruised into the back shelves. After all, they might have been useful in a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster! There’s lemon’s and there’s lemons, but yeah I hear you about that. We grow grapefruit here, and like lemons’ they’re not for everyone.

    Hey, you could have swapped those limes into the drink too! That’s what I call planning ahead. Nice work razzing up your younger cousin.

    Whiling away the time is a very respectable activity. Not enough people give this serious business their attention these days. No wonder things are slowly going down the drain! 😉



  11. Yo, Chris – In 62AD, Pompeii was the epicenter of an estimated 7.5 earthquake. Which killed 2,000 people. According to Seneca.

    By the time of the eruption, rebuilding was still under way. Some archaeologists think a lot of the Pompeii “big money” sold off, and didn’t return to the city. Several of the “big houses” were divided into smaller dwellings, or, commercial space. I suppose, from time to time, they may have moved some rubble and found a victim.

    It got up to 90F (32.2C), yesterday. The forecast for today is for 70F (21.1C) with scattered showers. We’ll see. Cooler, but what will the humidity be like? I’ll remember you attempt at sympathy, when your summer rolls around 🙂 .

    I went shopping for the Club pantry, last night. Got about four bags of groceries, for $60. I went around 8pm. It was still hot, but at least the parking lot was in shade, by then.

    I’ll probably leave H home, this morning. I’ve got those groceries to juggle, and it’s biscuits and gravy day. I suppose she’ll pout, all afternoon.

    Stirling wrote several sci-fi books, where swords are pounded out of automotive springs. Or some part of the suspension system. I forget the details. On the other hand, there’s the advice to “…pound your swords into plowshares.” (The Bible). 🙂

    The author of the O’Hara biography never did get the sister to cooperate. But still put together enough sources to do a good biography. I think what it boiled down to is, the sister was pretty squeamish about O’Hara’s personal life. So, to avoid exploring all that (which the sister claimed was all hearsay), a biography should not be done. That the only published material should be critical examinations of his work. It didn’t help that when her father, years earlier, had attempted a biography, and interviewed the sister, he stated that someone else was a better poet. Which was caught on the original tape. As I said, tone deaf.

    We have some kind of fire inspection, tomorrow. Not a full apartment inspection, but I suppose I’d better swab out the place, a bit. Pain in the …. Lew

  12. Hi Chris,
    Yes, I very much enjoyed the movie. Doug took care of the pig before I even knew it had died. He’s continued to take care of the pigs and chickens but not much else until today.


  13. Chris,

    Agreed, trying not to repeat patterns isn’t so fun. Yet I don’t remember signing a contract before birth that said that life would be fun and enjoyable and free from difficulties.

    So far all of our nights except Monday night have cooled down nicely. Typical for temperatures over 34C to have difficulty cooling down at night. Tuesday was 9C cooler than Monday and was noticeably cooling as early as 8:00 p.m. If we stayed between 25C and 30C all summer, it would be very pleasant, and have little need for air conditioning.

    Avalanche’s coat is down to summer thickness. It’s still a double layer, but the inner layer is very thin, and the outer layer allegedly shields her from the worst of the sun’s heat. But temps at 35C are hot even in the shade, so she suffers.

    Dang it, I screwed something up. I put out 2 mouse traps, as Avalanche can’t keep up with the current population. No mice caught in the trap. I caught a male sparrow instead. Drat. No more traps have been set.

    We got a dread late night message Monday. Two members of the deceased 93-year-old aunt’s family got in a car accident and had to be flown by helicopter to Spokane. They are reportedly in stable condition. What were we saying about some things not being enjoyable? 😉

    Yes, Killian’s mother knows how to listen; we consider one another to be family. (There is a very distant nebulous connection.) She’s a good friend to both the Princess and I. Avalanche adores her.

    Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters? Interestingly, once upon an evening a friend and I decided we wanted to go get a couple drinks. We went to a recommended bar and promptly ordered said Gargle Blasters. We were immediately kicked out because 1) they were a beer only establishment, and 2) if we were talking such nonsense we were clearly too inebriated to serve.

    So we wandered to another establishment, repeated the order. That waitress had never heard of the Gargle Blasters, so asked about their ingredients. I mentioned that they include generous amounts of “that old Janx spirit” whereupon she started laughing. And laughing. She found us to be so amusing that we got our first beers on the house. Yup, another beer only establishment. But we got some free beer, she got a good laugh, and we all had an enjoyable evening.

    That particular summer, that same friend and I had borrowed the deep space telescope from our university’s physics department. We’d look through that for hours, then decide we needed drinks. I’d mix lime juice and tequila, we’d grab some good binoculars, climb onto the roof of the house, looking at stars through the binoculars while enjoying our drinks. (Meaning we were whiling away time.) My sister got home very late one night, saw the telescope apparently unattended and exclaimed aloud, “Did the aliens finally grab those weirdos for probing experiments?” We started laughing, which totally scared her as she hadn’t seen us on the roof. So we laughed louder.

    Soon after that, still summer, I watched “The Shining” starring Jack Nicholson. I’d recently read the book. The movie was on tv, ended about midnight. I’d just gotten to sleep when I heard a noise outside my window and a voice saying “Let me in. Let me IN!” I was thinking “GAAH! What the blazes?” as I was hanging from the ceiling by my fingernails. Then the voice said, “DJ, I got locked out. Please open the door and let me in the house.” It was my sister. Once I extricated my fingernails from the ceiling, I let her inside.

    My Albuquerque cousin of the older generation grew up with my mother. After I had visited the cousins a couple times, he told my mother that I was fitting in with them really well, and that I was teasing the youngest more mercilessly than her own brother did. One big difference, though. Her brother grew up with her. I had only seen her once before. When she was a baby 15 years earlier. So getting her razzed up each time I visited might not have been entirely fair. Today we get along fabulously. It turns out she is a professional historian with interests in the same topics that I’m most interested in. We’ve had many lively conversations.


  14. Hi Lewis,

    Ouch! Large Earthquakes next to an active volcano is always an alarming prospect, and didn’t the temple of Jupiter appear to be on an odd angle in the fresco? You wouldn’t want to have been there on that day. What interested me of the current day photo of the remains of the temple was that some thoughtful group had repaired the earthquake damage prior to the volcanic eruption, and the core of the construction honestly didn’t look that out of place with masonry work I’d seen from the buildings of the Victorian era. The work is superb craftsmanship, but probably not up for surviving a massive volcanic eruption. Something had to give. I’ve constructed a few brick walls over the years using recycled bricks, and they really are lovely walls to look at. However, I’m unsure whether anyone else appreciated the efforts. After the sizeable earthquake here last year, I have something of a new found respect for the sheer power of the earth. Many of the walls here still have hairline fractures from that day – I’ve been busy on other things, but will get to fixing the fractures up, sooner or later.

    On that note, tomorrow I’m hoping to finish the greenhouse project. That’s the plan anyway, the future however, is an unknown country.

    Lewis, today was an especially cold day, so the weather sirens were singing their praises of your climate, and all I can say is that I was weak and succumbed to the temptation. Mate, I’m only human and 90’F is sounding really nice right now. By way of explanation, I’m enjoying one of the cloudiest winters that I can recall. Oh well. So, what happened today was that I woke to 37’F, a maximum of 43’F was reached, and now we are back where we started. That’s dead sheep clothing weather, that’s what that is. 🙂 All I can ask for is your understanding and know that everyone loves a redemption tale. Tis’ true!

    A wise idea to shop late in such heat. Out of curiosity, was the shop quiet? We picked up the weekly supermarket run yesterday and just the coffee brick and dog beef jerky (2.2 pounds each) set us back $60. Things be ‘spensive. However, I noticed that pears were cheap and that suggests to me that people do not understand that pears are one of the few fruits which ripen off the tree. I’m hoping that the pogrom I’ve had against the rats means that they’ll not be able to consume as much fruit from the orchard as they did last summer. Dude, people are in for a real shock on that rodent front. Hope the Club’s haul of groceries was well received? Mince meat is now $17 per 2.2 pounds.

    Prepare thyself for a massive fluffy pout! All I can say is that you brought that biz on yourself. 🙂 H will be fine. I’m trying to worm Dame Plum at the moment for obvious reasons, and she’s dodging me, but tonight I slipped in a mixture of salt and raw sugar with worming paste into her food – and she fell for it.

    How is it that I missed the collected works of S. M. Stirling? Thus proving what a rubbish education I’ve received. Thanks for the super sneaky book recommendation technique number five and half. Respect! Hadn’t defended myself against book recommendations adequately against the now breached gates. So have you read this epic series of books? My gut feeling is that the much older advice is only half incorrect. One must do both.

    Oh yeah, tone deaf fathers happy to share their opinions. Met plenty of them. The problem is that after so many years, the whole back story the sister was unhappy with becomes water under the bridge.

    What an imposition upon your time. You never know what delicate sensibilities may become upset during such inspections. Although I have noticed lately that there has been less inspections for you – things are looking up. 🙂



  15. Hi Margaret,

    Glad to hear that, and not to flog a dead horse, but yeah, the film really was that good. Candidly, the enjoyment of the film was a bit of a surprise to us, and I read something about cinema takings in the $1bn mark. Dunno about you, but from my perspective I just enjoyed the pleasure of watching a very simple story told really well with no unnecessary bits.

    Does this news mean that Doug is feeling better? Hope so. During such illnesses I do try to stay active around the property, but it can be hard, and sometimes a person just needs to rest up and recover. But chest things, you kind of have to work the gunk out of the lungs sorry to say. Hope you are continuing to ward it off. There’s no guarantees with this one, and I’ve encountered quite a few people with it hacking and coughing away – like you do.



  16. Hi DJ,

    🙂 Respect. And so very true. Man, it was so long ago now that I can’t recall the details of that pesky contract.

    I hear you about the temperatures, and am at the wintry end of that story. Woke up to 3’C outside this morning and 14’C inside the house. It didn’t get any warmer than 6’C outside, and now is back where it started. Proving that conditions can be sometimes circular, and dare I say it, revolutionary! 😉 I kind of like that joke and wheel it out every now and then.

    You kind of dodged the question a little bit and I’m still unsure, what is an average overnight low temperature for you right now? Forgive my persistent curiosity, I’m just trying to get a mental map of conditions at your place.

    I have a hunch that if temperatures hovered between 25’C and 30’C for much of the summer, many edible plants wouldn’t ripen.

    35’C in the shade is an unpleasant day, especially for those of us who cannot shed their thick fur. Avalanche will adapt and change her routines. Mate, even we’ve got to get up early in the summer months in order to beat the heat. I used to believe that we got more work done over winter when it was cooler, but the facts suggest otherwise. Hoping to mostly finish off the greenhouse tomorrow.

    Not good for the sparrow. Oh well, technology has both benefits and costs, sorry to say. I once encountered someone admiring a possum fur item of clothing, and they remarked in all seriousness: Hope the possum didn’t mind being shorn. Yeah, maybe it didn’t… Most possum products come from the twin long island country of New Zealand. The other night I noticed two ring tail possums high up in one of the very tall trees here – they’re owl food, those marsupials.

    Oh my goodness, so much tragedy. Hope you are looking after your lady during this time?

    That’s good to hear about Killian’s companion being an equally good listener. Over the years I’ve known some people who have indulged their second and/or twentieth whinge, and could not be diverted from the topic at hand.

    Hehe! Thanks for the great story. I can see that happening. It’s a shame you didn’t encounter a bartender who knew the joke. 🙂 Hey, for your interest, unless an establishment is a microbrewery down here, you would be very unlikely to encounter a beer-only business. That concept had never even occurred to me. Hope the beer was good? Noting that not all beers are of equal merit. For your interest, since we have begun brewing operations many long years ago (the first item produced was a mead), the palate has developed and the tastebuds can tell a bit of the story behind the beverage. Have you ever brewed your own?

    Oh cool! What a great fun thing to borrow. Dude, there is nothing wrong with whiling away the moments in enjoyable reverie! And that’s a great line, very, very funny. Yes, probing experiments…

    The Shining was a very scary film. Jack Nicholson looked rather demented. The Editor recently re-read the book and noted the many red-flags leading up to the finale. Best nipped in the bud prior to such crazy escalation.

    It’s a very fine thing to sit down and have a chat with people who share similar interests. And history is fascinating. How did you go with the Welsh history? Did you end up finishing off the book?



  17. Yo, Chris – Bas relief sculptures. Frescoes are painted on walls, in wet plaster. Somewhere I’ve seen other sculpture reliefs of a bull sacrifice that was interrupted by the earthquake. And, an oxen team pulling a wagon, bolting. Might have been in the same series as the tippy temple. Well, they really didn’t know they were living on the slope of an active volcano. Earthquakes were pretty common, throughout Italy. Still are. It was a known phenomenon.

    Roman brickwork is quit lovely. There were different styles, at different times. Buildings can actually be dated, by the style of brickwork. Our Club manager, Mr. Bill, is a brick mason. In his 80s, and still takes on a few jobs.

    Our high, yesterday, was 64F (17.8C). The showers, never showed up. Todays high is supposed to be 69F (20.6C). The rest of the week is forecast to be in the low to mid 70s. No rain in the forecast, until maybe the weekend.

    Mid week, late in the evening, the shops are pretty quiet. For me, the ideal time to go. Either that, or when they open in the early morning. But as you know, I’m not a morning person. And neither are you. 🙂

    H wasn’t pouty. Surprise, there. In general, her spirits seem a bit low. But, her eating and digestion, are fine. I’m trying to pet and talk to her more, during the day.

    S. M. Stirling has written several series. The only one I read was “Emberverse.” The first book in the series is “Dies the Fire.” I think I got into it as it’s mostly set in Oregon and Washington state. I lost interest after about the fifth volume, and threw in the towel. Or maybe life interceded? I can’t remember. Another author to take a look at is Harry Turtledove. Haven’t read him, but he sounds interesting.

    Yeah, the fire inspection is any time, now. Depends on if she works from the bottom up, or the top down. Pain in the tuchus. But, not as invasive as a full inspection. But, I still did a couple of hours of cleaning, organizing and hiding. 🙂

    I hadn’t heard from Elinor’s daughter, in over a week. So, I called last night. She got back to me a few hours later. Turns out, yesterday, Elinor was having problems breathing, so, it was back to the hospital. Her daughter didn’t have much information, but will get back to me.

    I watched a new sci-fi, the other night. “After Yang.” It was good. I should have made a bowl of popcorn. Lew

  18. Chris,

    Good thing we were just talking about “the contract”. Got a text message from my closest friend today (Wednesday), he who broke his ankle in April. The surgery incision has become infected, which is one hideous situation for a diabetic. He’s back in hospital, has another surgery planned for later this week. If it doesn’t work, he’ll lose a chunk of his leg. He left limited information in the text, dunno what hospital he’s in, and he’s not answering his cell phone. Twas NOT a fun day but remembering our contract discussion helped. The Princess summed it up quite well: “June has sucked for us this year!”

    I liked the revolutionary concept of circular events. Even better was when you stated that you like to wheel out the joke. Well done. 🙂

    Oh, I misunderstood your question. Typical temperatures for late June through the first week of July are 25C to 28C for the highs, 12C give or take for the lows. From about July 7 through late August, highs between 28C and 35C are common, lows between 15C and 21C being typical. The past 12 years have seen more days annually in the 35C range than there used to be. Along with that change, above 34C tends toward evening clouds, holding the heat in until the clouds dissipate around 3:00 a.m. Low temperatures don’t get as low as they once did, or, if they do get to a pleasant temperature, it’s not for very long. This was an abnormally cool and wet spring. I’m hoping for “normal” summer temperatures, especially after last year’s excessive heat.

    Hmmm, domestic possums commercially raised to be shorn for their fur. Right. Or even wild possums enjoying being caught, shorn, and perhaps released? That would be funny if the person’s ignorance weren’t so stupendous. I recall that once upon a year the joke was that many children thought that milk came from the store, as did eggs, meat, etc. Their eyes got huge when introduced to cows getting milked at the fair. Nowadays, similarly to your acquaintance of the possum fur, I know a few adults who in all seriousness say that regular milk comes from white cows, chocolate milk comes from brown and black cows, strawberry milk comes from reddish brown cows. These same people wonder why my brow often furrows, leading to a sad expression on my face and my excusing myself from the conversation due to a sudden headache. 😉

    Yes, I’m looking after the Princess. After today’s message from my friend, she took care of me.

    Most bars hereabouts are beer/wine only. If they serve enough food, then they can get a license for hard liquor. Let’s see, the Gargle Blaster evening. We were university students. “Beer” meant whatever variety of cheap American swill was on tap. Most of us didn’t know any better in the 1980s. Heck, during the school year, our physics department would gather each Friday afternoon at the wonderfully local Bill’s Tavern. The professors bought the beer, Budweiser, one student brought in a 5 pound bag of roasted and salted peanuts in the shell, and a bag of unsalted also. Those of us who wanted more than that could order Bill’s Special: chicken and jo-jos. That was the tavern’s entire menu: chicken thighs and quartered potatoes deep fried in an oil bath. Delightfully and unhealthily tasty!

    I used to brew my own ales, yes. I preferred porters and stouts. The Princess liked my crisp pale ale, which she preferred in a lower alcohol content variety.

    That Welsh history book was a tome. I got about 1/3 of the way through it and needed to renew it. There was a hold on it, so I had to return it so someone else could borrow it. I’ll put a hold on it in a few weeks, get it back. It will be easy to pick up where I left off: a henchman of Henry Tudor just skewered Richard III. Between the City and County library systems, there is but the one copy. There used to be 5 or 6.


  19. Hi Lewis,

    Oops! And thanks for the correction. A deep dive on what was known about the eruption indicates that at first, the tremors in the days leading up to the eruption had been misconstrued as they were frequent in the area. Makes sense too because the volcano had not erupted in historical memory for the locals. That’s a particularly nice turn of phrase: tippy temple. 🙂 It certainly looked that way.

    That’s true down here too with brickwork. I noticed in the Victorian era buildings, the mortar courses were thinner than what they use nowadays, and I believe those old red Victorian bricks are heavier than the bricks used today (at least they felt that way to me). I’d read an interesting article a year or two back which suggests that the reserves of clay for brick making around this city appear to have been built upon, and the stuff is in short supply. Kind of ironic.

    Mr Bill would have seen some changes in over his time in that trade. Way back in the day, masons used to set out the footings, square off the houses and they produced not just brick walls, but things such as chimneys and other complicated structures. The trade appears to have been hijacked. Sometime in the past two years I had a chance conversation with an old bloke at the local stock feed store who used to work as a mason and we discussed such matters.

    Your high temperatures sounds like muffin baking weather to me. Maybe? Today was 50’F and a finer winter day you’d be hard pressed to discover. No wind and sunny blue skies. It was brisk in the shade, but you could feel the warmth of the sun. We worked on the greenhouse, and it was a nice place to be on such a day. Filled up the raised beds with soil, placed a nice layer of crushed rock with lime over the paths, fixed most of the trim (the paint had cured) and planted out the strawberry bed (the middle bed) and also the plants which were to end up in the permanent bed. It’s looking good. If the weather holds, I might be able to get the rest of the trim up on Sunday.

    This talk of early mornings makes me feel mildly unsettled. 😉 Yeah, we tend to do the grocery shopping in the evenings, and it is quiet. Went to the pub for dinner this evening, and it was pleasant and is getting back to being a locals only night. I read something from the local council about shock, horror, limiting visitor numbers during leaf change. Some areas of the more fashionable western end of the mountain range appear to be under siege from over tourism.

    H would appreciate the additional attention, and who knows, she may be getting with the Lewis program? Dogs are adaptable creatures.

    Ouch, well some series can over stay their welcome. It would be challenging for authors to keep a long running series fresh. And by that I mean keep engaging the readers with a lively tale.

    As to Turtledove, the cover art puts me off reading those series of books. It’s probably a personal thing, but anyway that stopped me reading the Harry Pothead series. People tell me it’s brilliant, and as to that I cannot say, but the cover art just didn’t talk to me. It told me instead to walk, and keep on walking. Probably not for me.

    Mate, the inspectors might get bored or distracted before they get to your floor? The cleaning might be good for you? 🙂

    Oh my, fingers crossed for Elinor and hope she recovers.

    After Yang sounds intense. I’ve spotted posters for the Orville new season, but still have not finished watching ol’ Dex, time being what it is.



  20. Hi DJ,

    Sorry to hear the unsettling news regarding your friend, and all we can but do is hope for the best, and then try to figure things out after that.

    Mate, also sorry to say that it is the mid week hiatus and I’m heading to bed. Sleep is calling me. Worked hard today on the greenhouse getting it finished. Me tired – not quite revolutionary, huh?

    Speak tomorrow.



  21. Yo, Chris – This is the way the people of Pompeii saw their mountain …

    Due to the rich soil, the area was known for it’s wine.

    Seems like “back in the day,” towns of a certain size (even some of the smaller ones), had brickyards. Or, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, where we have lots of clay. Vancouver, Washington had one. So did Centralia/Chehalis. Both torn down, now.

    I might get to the muffins, this weekend. Maybe. We’ll see. What with the bananas “on ice”, there’s no hurry.

    It will be interesting to see this week’s greenhouse pics. By the way, I do like the sidebar with more detail on other blogs. But, do you think you could put the blog owner’s names, in parentheses, after the blog title? (Such as, “Simon,” “Claire”, etc..) I can never remember which blogs belong to who.

    Prof. Mass has an interesting post on a controlled burn that got out of hand.

    If Venice can limit the number of tourists, you’d think you’re local council could do the same. 🙂 I’d say if the leaf peppers are disturbing the fashionable end of the mountain, there’s more likely to be some action. Funny how that works …

    Well. The fire inspection was kind of a non-event. The alarms went on and off, for about half an hour. And, that was it. No apartment visits. But it kind of hung me up and put a hole in my day. Per usual, no or not enough information.

    Elinor’s daughter called me, last night, with an update. She was having trouble breathing, as her oxygen levels were way low and her CO2 levels were way high. No reason why. She was “unresponsive” for quit awhile, but I guess is back to being alert. One or another of her daughters have been with her. But, she didn’t get the air tube. And oxygen mask, instead.

    I started watching a new series, last night. “Cobra.” A Carrington Event hits England. Besides all the chaos, from that, there’s all the political maneuvering, and several personal stories, thrown in. It’s engrossing.

    Well, it’s payday. Think I’ll run down to the credit union, and get a little what my Dad called, “walking around money.” Probably take H along. Stop for a cuppa, at the Club. I went to the library, last night, and went to the Club. Turns out they were having a birthday for one of the old guys. His wife from the Phillippines had made all kinds of Asian food. Egg rolls, etc.. Tasty. Lew

  22. Hello Chris
    I second Lew’s suggestion that you place the blog owner’s name on the side as well as I also forget who are some of the owners.
    I have some sympathy for Sandra’s reticence. Have sometimes regretted passing on information about myself. As with so many things, it can be difficult to tread a sensible middle path.

    Ah freedom! I have been left musing on the subject. Decided that I craved it above all else, both physical, spoken and in thought. I then decided that it doesn’t exist and anyhow physical freedom is eroding as I age. What really shook me was cogitating on whether I had freedom of thought. Finally decided that one doesn’t have it and can but try. Oh dear.


  23. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, well, many a contract is not written, but are an un-written thing which binds us all the same. Hope your closest friend does not lose a chunk of his leg. A mate of mine once had gangrene in his leg following an incident, and things have not been the same since, but he seems content with his lot. We’re an adaptable lot, and candidly the alternative to life is a much quieter existence. I have a hunch that we’re getting to the point in history when it is perhaps wise to keep a close monitor on one’s health. And I agree with your lady’s summation of the year to date. It’s awful, but things could get worse, but we hope springs eternal and we must brace ourselves for the shocks to come.

    Thank you and glad you enjoyed my humour!

    Ah, as to the future, it is hard to be certain. The explanation of your weather this time around made a lot more sense. We’re in similar territory here you and I, although over the past couple of years the overnight lows seemed higher to me than they once were, and the daytime maximum extremes have been bonkers and up to 45’C (a hot year is 10 days over 40’C). For your interest, the hottest overnight low I’ve experienced here was 29’C. That was one hot night. How does that all compare?

    Yes, maybe the possums were released after being shorn!!! 😉 Best to not burst their happy blissful and very ignorant bubble. Mate, I have not experienced the cow / milk issue, if only because I know where cows milk comes from. Along a similar vein, I once read an observation that children believed that cash came from ATM (bank machines). The disbelief is on a similar scale, and if only it were that easy.

    That’s kind of been my experience too, in that sometimes you’re ahead, and sometimes you’re behind. It is up to the person in a relationship who is ahead to look after those who are behind. That’s healthy, however, if being behind mentally becomes a permanent lifestyle choice, then hard decisions need to be made. There is a middle ground to find when dealing with an indulgence, which is an extreme end of that story.

    What a fascinating difference. A liquor license here generally means being able to serve on the premises and/or provide take away bottled supplies. The local pub has of course the famous beer matrix displaying craft brewed wares for sale, but behind the bar are all manner of spirits for the more adventurous in the audience. Being a beer only business would be an unlikely thing to encounter here.

    Thus proving that the matrix franchise was actually all about excellent micro-brewery beer consumption. You heard it here first!

    I have a deep respect for Porters and Stouts, and they are for the refined palate only. Lesser folks, apologies to your lady in this instance, enjoy lesser beers. 😉 A good pale ale on the other hand is a fine thing and brings to mind warm summer days – might be just the brew for winter weather, but dark days call for dark ales.

    Thanks for the book update. It has been said elsewhere that “Henry VII killed the princes and that the bulk of evidence against Richard was nothing more than Tudor propaganda”, thus perhaps proving that history is penned by the victors.



  24. Hi Inge,

    An interesting suggestion, and I shall see what the people involved call themselves. Some people seek anonymity and therefore practical identification may prove to be troublesome for them although easy for yourself. Out of curiosity, I did a search on my own name, and I’m hard to find anything about.

    Yes, I agree there too. Reticence is the exact word which springs to mind. I’m unsure as well, and if things ever go badly for me in that regard, I’ll have learned what the limits are. Recently I read a very strange article suggesting that the state gobarmint has been busily producing a database on its citizens. Hmm. Makes a sensitive person wonder what happens if they get the data wrong? There seems to be little oversight and/or accountability. So yes, the middle path in this instance is hard to find. On the other hand, I am doing my best and if I stuff things up, it is not for wont of trying.

    What I have learned over the years is that it is best to reach inside to seek grace and project that, whilst others are losing their marbles. 🙂 It may not be much, but it is a source of strength.

    I too have been pondering this matter, and may in fact have less legal rights than you do, or the folks of the US who comment here, for that matter. The attempted control of thoughts over the past two years or so has alarmed me, but such schemes inevitably fail. My thinking in that regard is that if genuine critique cannot be accepted, then errors will occur leading to failure. History suggests that this is so.

    Candidly, I have been cogitating upon this subject for many years, and I cannot speak for you, but I tend to believe that we have some freedom of will, but how that manifests between us all is a very interesting subject. And lately, I have come to the conclusion that the present attempts to break the bonds with the future, is an effort to obtain freedom, without doing all the messy hard work required to earn and wield that ability. Dunno, do you have any thoughts as to that observation?



  25. Hi Lewis,

    So, Bacchus was also Dionysus, God of fertility and wine. And the snakes had something to do with occult powers during the ancient Athenian women’s rituals. Here, I feel implored to suggest that those ancient Gods got up to some mischief, and lead very exciting lives.

    Speaking of snakes, the other day I got the bright idea to look up what does snake poop look like? Not as odd a question as you might imagine. Around the property I encounter all manner of scats, and knowing who is whom, often provides interesting information as to the movement of forest critters. Over the past few nights I’ve observed a shy fox at the forest edge, and the fox is clearly intelligent enough to wait until we’ve all gone to bed before venturing closer to the house. The foxes are actually doing good work hunting out the rabbits, and it has been a while since I’ve seen a rabbit. Interestingly, a few nights ago a fox dug into a rabbit warren, and woe betide those residents. I’d originally thought that the kelpie girls had done the deed, but no, they could be ruled out. Anyway, tell ya what: differentiating between fox and snake scats is no easy feat.

    Also speaking of Bacchus, there is a large marshy area to the west of here near the confluence of two rivers which carries that name. A lot of market gardens…

    Mate, there were brickyards in the suburbs back in the day here too. Transporting loads of bricks by dray is no easy feat! My reading of history over the years suggest that there were lots of things like that. Even up here there were quite a few enterprises beyond the saw mills, such as a creamery, orchards, berries, potatoes. And way back in the day there were quaint tea-rooms (all no longer in operation), which I forgot to add into the photos last week. I must remember this, plus we took some other photos on the camera phone today.

    Dare I suggest that your muffins right now are ‘super-chill’? 🙂 You don’t hear people suggesting to other people nowadays to ‘chill-out dude!” A cultural loss if you ask me.

    Had rice, vegetables, a huge amount of kale and a couple of fried eggs for dinner this evening. The nerves had to be soothed because we finally made a decision as to how and where to place a much larger woodshed. More reserves of dry firewood seems like a wise idea to me.

    Thanks, the links work really well with the new software, and they give a brief taste as to what the blog is about. I’ll have to see whether the authors are happy having their names included with the link, or whether they’d like some other form of identification displayed. I’m frankly unsure. Each of us views privacy issues differently, so it is easy enough to ask when they next pop their heads up.

    Hehe! Yes, that was my thinking too about the more fashionable end of the mountain range. I don’t see the problem with turning away excess visitors, although it may upset the people being turned away. There are limits to the number of people who can be entertained up here, and some areas look to me as if they are under siege.

    My thinking, and please feel free to correct me here, is that the inspection you have without being inspected seems to be a good thing. And they tested out the fire alarms, which I do hope some of the residents weren’t panicked by.

    Oh my goodness, that is news for sure, but is candidly not encouraging. Still, life follows its own course and takes us where she will. Glad to hear that Elinor has company.

    Cobra sounds pretty interesting, and it wasn’t all that long ago that an actual Carrington event occurred. The Editor sent me a trailer for a rom-com film ‘Ticket to Paradise’ and somehow I ended up watching some shorts from a film from twenty years ago ‘Snatch’. I could barely understand the characters and was grateful for the subtitles. Looked like an intense but comedic film.

    The food sounds pretty tasty! Yum!



  26. Hello Chris
    I don’t think that I can add any thoughts; the more I try, the more confused I become.
    Have just had an argument with Son who insists that he has absolute freedom of thought.
    Info. for anyone who uses ATMs. A friend has a job which means that he has to be present when some are opened. He has been amazed to see that loose notes accumulate at the back, They have slipped off something (I didn’t understand his explanation). It means that people have failed to count what they receive and walked off unwittingly!


  27. Yo, Chris – Most Roman households had a Lararium. The household shrine. Even poor folk, had at least a shelf, with maybe a few little statues. The rich folk’s, could get pretty elaborate. And, often, there were frescoes incorporating snakes. Here’s a pretty detailed article, of the day to day spiritual life of the Roman’s. The fresco at the top gives you an idea.

    So, let’s talk about poo. Animal, that is. 🙂 There are books … “Scats and Tracks of North America.” “What Shat That?” I took a look to see if there was anything that applied just to Australia. A few books, but they mostly seem to pertain to mammals. There’s even a set of flash cards. 🙂

    I’ve seen the Bacchus Market Gardens, in some of the Australian travel films, I’ve watched. I think you included some photos of a lakeside tea-shop, somewhere along the way.

    Which reminds me. “After Yang” was a very quiet film. Other than the daughter’s constant whining. The father makes his living as a tea merchant. The mother does something important, that requires a lot of meetings.

    So, you’re expanding the Fernglade Farm Bank of Firewood. Seems prudent. I happened to be down where they’re building the new credit union. Looks like they’re expanding, too.

    I finished watching “Cobra”, last night. Very good. Looks like there’s a second season. This season’s crisis is … cyberwar.

    Suzanne Who Always Has a Better Idea, actually had a sensible theory as to Elinor’s low oxygen levels. Panic attacks = hyperventilating = low oxygen. They took away her panic attack medication. There hasn’t been a doctor near her, since she entered the hospital. Such is modern medicine, these days.

    Yes, there seems to be fewer inspections, since That Horrible Woman (May her bones rot in hell), retired. Which indicates to me, some of the inspections were just harassment. Show us who’s boss. Etc..

    There might be some push back, from commercial interests, over the leaf peppers. At least the short sighted one’s who have no regard for the wear and tear on their staffs. Lew

  28. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for telling us the story about Sandra’s uncle, and thanks to her for being willing to have the story told. He sounds like a very special person indeed, someone to both remember fondly and to miss. It makes sense that being at her father’s funeral would bring memories of both her father and her uncle and their contrasting influences on her to mind.

    My condolences to her on her father’s death as well. Whatever the situation with her father, experiencing our parents’ deaths often brings life, and our own future deaths, into sharp focus. Such experiences can spur us on to consider the meaning of our own lives and to act on what we learn.

    My husband and his brother were very fortunate to have their aunt Gladys to expose them to cultural experiences that their parents had no interest in. Gladys never married and both of her and their father’s other siblings died young. She had the time and inclination to be active in caring for her two nephews and to take them to the zoo, the circus, and the symphony, among other places that she enjoyed as much as they did. When Mike married me, Gladys delighted in taking us out to dinner to mark special occasions such as birthdays, so I remember her fondly as well. She died about 20 years ago and we still enjoy talking about her.

    We had some rain last week, but not enough to make up for what has been lost through evaporation. While this week featured pleasant temperatures and low humidity until today, we are back into hot, humid weather that prompted us to turn on the AC to keep the house at 80F with less humidity than outside. It gives us a break from outside conditions while keeping the electric bill within bounds. You might have liked Lew’s weather in preference to yours, but you might prefer your weather to my 94F/34C with the dew point at 69F/21C (heat index 99F/37C). And it’s only 1pm; it’ll get hotter and more unpleasant before the day is over.


  29. @ Lew, I hope Elinor’s health improves.

    @ DJ, my condolences to you and the Princess for the deaths that have affected both of you. I hope your friend experiences the best possible outcome with his current medical challenge!

    @ Margaret, I’m glad Doug is feeling better and I hope that you don’t come down with what we can’t talk about!


  30. Hi Inge,

    That’s the thing isn’t it. It is a curious problem. Who’s thoughts are your own unique thoughts, and which are the other ones? Dunno about you, but I bypass the confusion point through the understanding that our current works (and internal thought processes for that matter) have been built by our predecessors, and I’m grateful for the hard work they did. We get to add to that mass (and the English language is very poor in this regard, and ‘mass’ was the closest descriptive word, and even then I might be wrong) in whatever way we can. Most people are along for the ride, so if you are even aware of the issue, that alone speaks volumes as to your intellect and life.

    Lewis once mentioned to me in relation to narratives that our heritage suggests that there are only several paths which have been well trod (e.g. The heroes journey). I agree with the analysis, but also acknowledge that there may indeed be undiscovered paths, which the only the greats can forge.

    As to your sons claim, I do not know. It may be that he himself does not know? Although an emotional response is suggestive that you’ve hit a belief system. I see little point in stressing other people out over such matters. I may speak my mind, and then walk away from the fight. It has been my experience that it is difficult to discern the inner workings of another person’s mind. Actions can be observed, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that by our actions, we give our inner selves away.

    🙂 ATM’s. Yeah! The banks have processes to deal with discrepancies, and the overs and unders are recorded. Machines are good, but they are not perfect. Fan’s of artificial intelligence might want to consider that aspect.

    Inge, we are wading in deep waters here.



  31. Hi Claire,

    No worries at all, and Sandra decided a few months ago to be a little more open about her life than she previously has been. Even I don’t really know why she changed her mind suddenly, but I do know that she may have thought the dilemma through over a long period of time and come to the conclusion. And here we are today. Interestingly, her uncle shared the bond of kindred spirits afloat on the ocean of life. They just ‘got’ each other, and he was a receptive enough bloke to understand the difficulties her home life presented and gave her, err, respite? And he was a very accomplished person and a positive role model.

    In many way’s we’ve both been lucky to have come into contact with many positive role models, whom have taken the time to nurture us.

    Yes, that’s true. As a strange side story, many years ago, a friend, at the parents funeral, described the feeling that they had somehow been elevated to the position of next-in-line. It’s an eerie realisation, and your words are so true. What shall we do today is a more important question than most people realise.

    Mike’s Aunt Gladys sounds like a really lovely person to have in your life, and ain’t that the way of things? Some people cast such long shadows and it is a pleasure to be caught in their shade. The sun is always out there, providing energy for us all to cast our nets both far and wide. 🙂

    Honestly, I had no idea what was meant by the term ‘Dew Point’, and found a brief article discussing the measurement. Feeling hot and bothered? It’s not the humidity, it’s the dew point. Yeah, not good. If I recall correctly, the city of Adelaide in the state to the west of here had a day like yours, but at 39’C last summer. Double not good. Things can always get worse sorry to say.

    It gets hottest here over summer a few hours after that time, maybe around 4pm to 5pm, and those times always coincide with the very worst fire risk. Speaking of which, I’ll be heading out tomorrow in the winter weather to do something about that risk. It never stops…



  32. Hi Lewis,

    Ah ha! I’ve visited several South East Asian countries where it was not unusual to come across Lararium equivalents with devotions, offerings and incense. In those instances the shrines were more for local spirits and not the Roman’s Lares. What an interesting concept too. I’m leaning more to the opinion that the Universe is an uncaring force upon the individual, and the individual must work to build relationships but who is to say what may have been attracted to a Lararium? The efficacy could be tested, although candidly it did not work out so well for the Roman’s on the longer time scale.

    I’m a bit iffy about the Roman’s preference for snakes, on the basis that they’re crazy deadly here. Do they really need to be the second deadliest on the planet? I was already scared before knowing that, and always treated them with the respect they deserve.

    Hehe! Very amusing, and I applaud your sense of humour. Nah, I looked at a large variety of snake poop images on the interweb and so now know more about the personal habits of the many fine reptiles who reside in this part of the world – but hopefully elsewhere. I tend to believe that in this instance, knowledge is kind of handy. Know thy enemy, sounds catchy, but you have to admit, it has practical dimensions.

    This morning was another day of pea soup fog, and so I woke up this morning only to observe the thick fog out the window. The Editor chucked the dogs outside – they did need to go to the toilet. And we went back to sleep. It was very civilised to wake later at 9.30am. Quite enjoyed the additional sleep.

    Had a quiet day of just doing the various administrative activities which keep the household going, like: vacuuming and mopping the floors. Making another batch of toasted muesli. Just generally pottering around doing household stuff. By very late afternoon, I’d finished all those tasks, and so headed down to the greenhouse and installed the remaining items of plywood trim and installed two latches on the outside of the doors at either end of the shed. Also had to drill a small hole so that anyone accidentally stuck inside the greenhouse could release either door latch. As a not-so-funny side story, I was once stuck inside the chicken enclosure when the strong winds that day managed to set the latch on the outside of the door. That was an interesting experience.

    This particular tea-house I visited last week was a riverside Victorian era boat house. A delightful place.

    Speaking of which, I’m very much enjoying the stories and narrative arc which the book Japanese Inn details. There are an awful lot of similarities with the current lot of bosses, and the Tokugawa folks.

    Lewis, meetings are a personal hardship for me, and one reason I moved away from the big end of town. People there had a love for meetings which I never quite understood, and in order to bring them to a rapid conclusion I may have on occasion uttered a candid bit of observation and/or advice. But then everyone gets so upset with me. I had work to do. I’m sure you’ve been stuck in your fair share of long winded-going-nowhere meetings?

    Hehe! Appreciate the parallel with your credit union. Technically it is the CBF, but Damo broke my little joke wide open. Then I had to consider the awfulness of it all: Does a naughty acronym break the code of conduct? The jury is out. And in my defence, I do blame my ill gotten childhood being subjected to English humour such as the “Carry on” series of films. They started it!

    Mate, being of an age to recall life before the interweb, means that cyberwar holds little fear. Sure, it would be inconvenient, and I for one would miss our regular chats – although we could go old school mail format (you may recall those days?), but yeah, whatever. Chuck in Fight Club planned far worse. It always comes back to Fight Club in the end.

    Oh interestingly, as the Tokugawa’s fall, strong men arise to fill the void, and I read about one such in the book, during lunch earlier today. Incidentally, a lamington was also injured today, and the dogs demanded their share.

    Suzanne might be correct there. I’ve re-read your words several times and cannot make heads or tails of them. What do you mean Elinor hasn’t seen a doctor, despite being in hospital? How is that even possible?

    Yeah exactly. It is very possible that the frequent inspections were a form of nuisance factor seven. Mate, my last rental experience was like that. Twice yearly inspections, the smoke alarm battery replacement dude needed access. But the kicker was when the owners tossed up the idea of selling the place – with us in it – and asked do you mind if we opened the place to prospective purchasers each weekend – and can we keep the place neat. So angry. Such invasiveness.

    Nah, the owners of the local businesses tend to work in the businesses during such times. I sort of suspect that long ago, it was possible for a person to own a business, provide the capital and then keep a discrete distance from the day to day activities. It is possible that somewhere this is the case, but I’m not seeing that much any more.



  33. Yo, Chris – Speaking of ATMs … I swung by my credit union, this morning, to pick up some more “walking around money.” It’s Saturday morning, here. Well … The ATM was gone! Stolen, again. Luckily, the drive through window is open, Saturday mornings. Although it took me a long time, as, whoever was in front of me was totally disorganized. But, the nice young man at the window and I had a little chat. That the new branch might not have so many of those problems, as it’s in a high traffic area, and probably has more police patrols. I must say, though convenient for me, their present location is a bit out of the way. And can’t be seen well, from the road and passing traffic. If they didn’t have window hours on Saturday, I would have been left without walking around money, until Tuesday. As Monday is a national holiday.

    It’s our celebration of all that unpleasantness, back in 1776. 🙂 Evening explosions are gearing up. Although, less then in previous years. There have been some new laws passed. Monday night, I’ll have my usual ring side seat for some fireworks. Though I must say, I get a bit bored after 5 minutes, or so.

    Well, the Romans were on a roll, for awhile. 🙂 . Cats began replacing snakes (and weasels), around the turn of the BCE/ACE. There was a big boost, in the Roman cat population, when Rome acquired Egypt. And it didn’t take long to spread cats to the furthest corners of the empire. Think of the cat paw prints, on Roman roof tiles, in Britain. They are not that rare. Face it. Cats, for all their independence, are a lot more cuddly than snakes.

    The weather here has been mid 70s days, and low to mid 50s, nights. Fine for some crops, but not the tomatoes or peppers. Something interesting happened, yesterday. I have four brussels sprouts plants. One of them (only about two feet high) has decided to bolt. Why? Who knows. There’s a list of reasons for that happening, about as long as your arm. Any-who. I’ll have to rip it out, before it gives the other ones, ideas.

    I’m sure you’ve shown us the ex boathouse, tea-room, before. But do it again. It was quit pretty, as I remember.

    The Tokugawa folks, dynasty, eventually kind of played out. As dynasties seem to do, sooner or later. And after the (forced) opening of Japan, there was a lot of pressure to modernize. There’s an old John Wayne movie (1958) titled “The Barbarian and the Geisha.” About the opening of Japan. Thoroughly romanticized, but a pretty good movie, as I remember.

    I picked up a book from the library, yesterday. “Hiroshige’s Japan: On the Trail of the Great Woodblock Print Master” (Delord, 2021) It’s a pretty interesting book, and a spent a couple of hours looking through it, last night. Delord is a French artist, who got himself a little motor scooter, and tried to find each place Hiroshige captured in his woodblock series, “The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road.” Each station chapter has a small illustration of Hiroshige’s print, and then the author’s take on what he found there, today, in sketches and watercolors. He’s quit good. With observations of local customs, etc.. And his interactions with the modern day Japanese. He often slept rough, which is an interesting tale, in itself.

    Yes. Hours and hours of meetings, in my life. Hours that I’ll never get back. 🙂 And why go, when people ignore you, when you point out the obvious? I think some of the resistance to a “return to the office” is people’s abhorrence of endless, pointless, meetings. I still think the “Dilbert” comic series, covers it best.

    Well, if we had to go back to the mail format, I was always a good correspondent. When I moved to California, I was shocked to discover how few people, are.

    Welcome to modern American medicine. Not that unusual, to be in hospital, and not see a doctor for long periods of time. I don’t know why Elinor’s personal doctor, has not shown up. It may be because he doesn’t have “privileges” at that hospital. Or, perhaps he just doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes? Elinor’s daughter and a grand daughter stopped by, yesterday, to clean out her freezers. Get rid of the freezer burned stuff. They said they’re talking about moving her back to rehab. But as yesterday was Friday, and we’re coming up on a three day weekend, that may not happen until Tuesday. Her mobility is such that she needs help, moving from bed to chair, and back again.

    Yup. If you don’t own your own place, inspections can get pretty invasive. Give people a little power … Though I’ve got to say that renters behaving badly, is a real problem.

    Some owner / operators are ok. Others are a total waste. Restaurants can be the worst. Investors who don’t know the first thing about food service, coming up with “bright” ideas. And what does a lot of restaurants in is that they expect that they, their large extended families, and any business associates should be served, gratis. Profit margins are thin enough, without that nonsense. Lew

  34. @Claire,
    Thank you for your kind words. Doug is almost fully recovered though his sense of taste and smell is quite diminished. For a food guy like him this is a problem. I lucked out and have missed this round.
    When I see the weather it looks like your area has gotten rain fairly often but from what you posted maybe not. We’re very dry for a 2nd year which is concerning. The vendors at the local farmer’s market were talking about this today – relating how hard it was to dig carrots and the like.


  35. Hi Chris,
    Doug is almost well and it seems that I have dodged a bullet this time anyway.

    My mother’s family was very private and Cecily’s husband is even more so. This can be problematic at times. A few years ago his mother had breast cancer and Cecily confided in me that her husband said no one was to know which included me. Some months later she and I were sitting together at one of the twin’s plays and she started talking about it. Well did I feel like an insensitive fool not having asked her how she was. It is hard to find a balance.

    Cecily is spending much of the month of July with us. There are some family issues and she having focused almost solely on her girls is now struggling with the next stage of her life as they turn 17 on the 4th and frankly don’t need her that much which is as it should be.


  36. Hi Margaret,

    Well done you, but be careful not to tempt those flu Gods with such loose talk. 😉 From what I’m observing of that thing, it effects everyone very differently. Still, I’d keep up consuming lots of fresh greens from the garden – if the heat and dry hasn’t knocked them around too much.

    I’m with you, there is middle ground, although according to Sandra, I share too much. But yes, the secretive nature of that put you in an awkward position, but then what do you do if the people involved don’t want to speak about important things?

    What a problem to have which candidly faces most parents. It’s funny you mention that, but friends tell me seriously that they’d like their kids to stay with them as adults, and I’m uncomfortable with such talk. And possibly the kids might have other plans? Historically, it was kind of how things rolled, sort of, for many people, but certainly not everyone. I’ve got no skin in that game, but my gut feeling suggests that one of the roles of the parent is to prepare the child for adulthood, but maybe I expect too much.

    Incidentally, it occurs to me that you would have avoided that trap if only because you also had your brothers to look after. What do you reckon about that?

    Burnt my index finger on the firebox tonight. Ouch!



  37. Hi Lewis,

    No way! I’ve heard urban legends of people stealing ATM’s but have never actually encountered that problem in my day to day life. I can’t even begin to imagine how a crim would do such a crime. Down here it is widely known that the ATM’s carry dye bombs which can defeat crims in various ways, one of which is rendering the cash useless by staining it.

    Your drive through banks amaze my senses as I’ve never seen such a thing. Down here, you have to park the car and get out and walk to the bank, enter the premises and speak with a teller. All very old school. Happy 4th of July for tomorrow! The bloke working there at the credit union clearly understands the risks involved with being a little bit out of the way.

    The British were prone to over reaching, and in 1776, they yet again over reached. You guys showed them. Been guilty of that sin myself, and it never ends well, and haven’t we all done that from time to time.

    A good cure for the boredom of fireworks is to imagine you’re in an early scene from: Day of the Triffids. That’ll give the fireworks a special edge.

    True, the Roman’s were on a good thing for quite a while, but then so were the Tokugawa’s before they got taken down. Ah yes, the cat paw prints on roof tiles in Roman Britain, thanks for the reminder. And we are most certainly on the same page here, some folks like snakes as pets, but far more people enjoy felines. I tend to believe that cats remind us humans of their independence, but when it comes to dinner time, they’re happy to enjoy the free feed. Had a cat years ago where a much larger tom cat split his ear. He was a nice cat, and proving revenge is a dish best served cold, I sprayed that nasty larger tom cat with the hose.

    Mate, I hadn’t visited the boat house in almost two decades, so I reckon I have not previously included photos of it.

    Fixed up the wood heater today. Replaced the two baffles and cleaned out the flue. The wood heater itself looks in good condition, and I also cut some new stainless steel sleeves to chuck over the exposed pins which hold the baffles up. Anyway, as you do, I hadn’t really thought it through, but I had an alarming thought that the stainless steel sleeves might get hot enough to weld to the stainless steel water jacket. That would be a bad thing. As you do, I chucked on the welding gloves and moved one of the sleeves with my finger, and ouch! The glove burned, and I now have a burn on my finger. That’ll teach me for being careless. I then used some tools to do the work, which is something I should have done in the first place. That’s what I call a rookie mistake. The firebox is working well now and hopefully it gets another five years of life. But I’ll order some new replacement baffles all the same…

    The Japanese didn’t have much choice in the matter of opening up to the barbarians. We kind of forced the issue. The chapter on the artist, Hiroshige, was a delightful read. And it surprised me that Hiroshige, financially barely kept his head above water during his life. The arrangement the inn keeper had with the artist was a fascinating look into beneficial social arrangements. The artist could knock back the sake from my reading of the story. Thanks for the book recommendation.

    I tend to agree about the reluctance to return, but it may also be officially encouraged so that there is a reduction in the demand for fuel. Dunno. But meetings… So dull. So boring. When I chat with people for work, we’re getting stuff done, but then small business encourages a ‘can-do’ attitude. Steering committees are not my thing. And hey, they owe you for that lost time – send them an invoice! 🙂

    True, active correspondence is not everyone’s cup of tea, sad to say.

    It would be an unusual situation down here, but I have not been inside such a place for a very long while so maybe things have changed. A very cynical part of me suggests that that industry possibly restricts numbers, which as economists know has the effect of pushing up wages. Sorry to hear that, and a person can only hope for the best.

    Definitely, there are problems on both sides of the fence in that story. But then, on the other hand, I paid my rent on time, kept a neat place, repaired the poisoned lawn out the front of the place and generally wasn’t a nuisance – and they still gave me hassles. I’m just not a fan of the arrangement if only because the legal concept of ‘quiet enjoyment’ seems to have (like Elvis), left the building.

    Man, free loaders in a restaurant were not even on my radar as a problem, but yeah, I can see that happening. I get the vibe that you experienced this situation? The huge interweb delivery folks demand a hefty cut of the action from what a person in the restaurant trade (not a client, so I can’t verify the veracity of the claim) was telling me.

    Better get writing.



  38. Yo, Chris – Yup. The ATM was just … gone. Yes, we’re the land of drive through. Weddings, funeral parlors. I’m sure you remember, even my local library. They don’t call us “car culture,” for nothing 🙂 .

    I was thinking the other day, that it was pretty unusual for the British to loose their American colonies. They managed to pretty much hold onto everything else, until fairly recently. Must have been quit a blow to morale. Maybe it was a lesson learned?

    I could swear you posted a picture of a tea room, on water, that was an old boat house. Maybe I saw it in an Australian travelogue? LOL. Or something I saw in one of the many British mysteries, I watch.

    Ouch! Your poor fingers! Probably a good idea to pick up some extra baffles, now. The price won’t go down. You better stock up on Parmesan cheese, too. I saw an article, last night, that the Po River valley is in trouble. And that’s where the real Parmesan comes from.

    I suppose the Japanese inn master, had a few slow nights, with fun customers. Time to tip a few. Does the book mention which station on the Tokaido Road, the Japanese inn is supposedly set? I seem to remember, in either a forward or an afterward, that the story was based on a real inn.

    I never had direct experience with a restaurant being run into the ground, by free loading customers. But I heard stories, when I lived in Portland, from friends who worked in the restaurant biz. And the problem pops up, in movies, from time to time.

    I guess H and I will head down to the Club for a Sunday morning cuppa and chat. Julia is usually there. And, a few other regulars. Lew

Comments are closed.