Next Saturday an election will be held for both the upper and lower houses for the state parliament. There are other, and perhaps better activities than voting, which were planned for next Saturday. With those other plans in mind, Sandra and I went and placed early votes.
What annoys me about the voting process is running the gauntlet of political candidates and other interested folks standing outside the polling place. They’re the ones handing out ‘how to vote’ pamphlets. The first to approach me was a young bloke representing the local Labour party (a Democrat equivalent in US parlance). He was approaching me as if he’d encountered a long lost friend, except I wasn’t. Just before he got a word in, a brusque hand signal and the words: “I’m just not into you lot”, spewed forth.
Where did that come from? Before I knew what had gripped me, a well of anger had surged into my consciousness. Serenity now! Serenity now! I used to be a rusted on supporter of the Labour party. However, they were at the helm of the state when we endured the longest lock down on the planet due to the health subject which dare not be named. It’s not an achievement to be proud of, and maybe I’m still carrying some residual trauma from that episode.
So I stomped off past the startled young bloke, only to be accosted by the local sitting member of the same political party. “Hi! I’m … the local member”. And whilst I make an effort to act with good grace at all times, the best I could manage was an assertive “No”. I’m not even sure what I meant by that, such was my state of mind at the time. The other folks standing around, perhaps reading the situation, left me well alone
Continuing to stomp on past that lot. A bloke near to the entrance of the polling place said to me: “Ooo, I like your style”. Thanks, came the reply. Now where had Sandra gotten too? Turning around, there was Sandra suggesting to the local member that if she wanted to get re-elected, then responding to constituents concerns was probably one effective way. I can’t even recall if the answer to the suggestion was coherent, but it was probably consistent with the members previous responses, i.e. nothing. We voted at the polling place, then went to the bank. Yep, a real fun day.
Searching within myself, there really is trauma hiding there after having endured the longest lock downs on the planet due to you-know-what. One of the lock downs went for four months, and nobody in the state government could recall who had made the decision to do so. That is a level of incompetence which I cannot support. And it felt like living in a police state, what with the prolonged curfews, non lethal projectiles used against protesters, women getting dragged from their homes for saying stupid things on the interweb, and let’s not forget the military and police checkpoints. If ever you wanted to document how quickly a previously civil society can descend into authoritarianism, well that’s been my life over the past couple of years. And the state of emergency was only quietly lifted very recently. Yeah, trauma.
Thursday morning, prior to voting, I switched my phone off. Emails were also switched off. Due to all of the craziness from you-know-what, I’ve ended up doing paid work continuously for three solid years without more than a few days break at any one time. And that Thursday morning, I was done. Enough. I’ve been helping people and businesses who pay me to work for them during this time, even when they were sometimes unable to help themselves. That’s taken an enormous amount of personal energy, and now they need to help me by giving me a break.
Switching the phone off was merely a first step. Over the summer Christmas break we plan to shut the business down for four weeks. Even then, there is paid work I can’t reasonably escape from. So in reality the four weeks means two uninterrupted weeks, and two interrupted weeks. That’s enough for me though.
Of late I’ve been contemplating issues surrounding the right to switch off and become inaccessible. New clients always tell me how hard it was to contact their former accountant, and that suggests an expectation. That story is consistent too. However, the quality of communication has decreased at the same time that the ability to communicate has increased. I guess something had to give, and what with emails and mobile phones these days, that aspect was my time.
What a surprise, it rained again this week. Sometimes quite heavily. It’s quite tropical feeling out there.
For a bit of excitement, one evening the outside air temperature dropped to 1’C / 34’F. Not a bad effort for only two weeks out from the official beginning of summer. And it is not something you want to experience if you have an orchard, or are growing any edible plants outdoors at this time of year.
Following another particularly heavy storm, the water flowed out of the ground water drains twelve hours afterwards. The soil is saturated.
There was a single day this week when the sun shone, and it was a welcome reminder as to what spring feels like. We used the dry day to pour the cement for the final concrete tread in the staircase between the large shed and the greenhouse. Rain is actually quite beneficial to curing concrete, but rain (or dog footprints) is also something you don’t want to see whilst the cement surface has not yet set.
Last week we recovered a dozen timber posts from the old raspberry enclosure. Those posts and some chicken mesh fencing wire were moved downhill to where they will be used as fencing with the new much larger vegetable and citrus enclosure.
When the sun did shine, we mowed. The grass is growing at an alarming rate. I also used the brush-cutter (line trimmer in US parlance) to remove the grass from around most of the trees in the shady orchard. It’s looking pretty lush in there.
Observant readers will see in the next photo, just how long the grass had become in some areas.
Some of the many paths were also becoming quite overgrown, and those were cut back with a hedge trimmer.
Long term readers will know that the rats and I are no friends. Dame Plum and I have hunted and killed a lot of rats this year, and after a lot of modifications, they’ve been successfully excluded from the chicken enclosure. Recently my mind has been working upon ways to exclude rats from the underneath of the house. This week, we began adding a layer of heavier rocks around the house. The rats will have a lot of trouble moving these heavier rocks so as to get access under the house.
As with the chicken enclosure, I’ll set systems in place to thwart the rats. The systems will fail, but by considering the failure and how to respond, I’ll learn more about the rats. It took about maybe fifteen or sixteen separate modifications to exclude the rats from the chicken enclosure, and no doubt as much work will be required to keep them out from the underneath of the house. At the moment, all I’m certain of is that they’re not happy, the cheeky scamps.
The seedlings in the greenhouse continue to grow.
With summer only one week away, and it being yet another cold and wet year, the growing season will be short. With this in mind we purchased and planted out some seedlings for chili plants so as to get a head start on the growing season.
Some of the more cold tolerant citrus plants are producing really well.
The pink flowering hybrid Strawberry plants tease us with the promise of ripe and juicy Strawberries.
And there are heaps of leafy greens to choose from. We eat a lot of leafy greens.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 6’C (42’F). So far this year there has been 1,351.4mm (53.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1,278.4mm (50.3 inches)