Down Under, the Christmas holidays coincide with summer weather. Santa has to deal with hot sunny days, warm nights, barbecues and beaches. You ain’t in the wintry northern hemisphere now, son. Old Santa sure has to deal to some weird weather extremes down here, and Rudolph’s nose is glowing red due to heat exhaustion, not some dodgy blizzard excuse of a story. Regardless, it’s a big continent with cities spread far apart, and so Santa’s caper with that sleigh would be serious hard work.
Sometimes, a persons gotta work hard. The book 1984 by the author George Orwell made light of the protagonists long working week. Far out, those dystopian fictional characters worked some long hours. But then, that was probably the point, it was intended to never give them time out to think for who knows what might have happened? Fortunately we don’t live in that dystopian fictional world, and summer holidays down here are times where people can sit and think, not being too busy and stuff.
Makes the curious person wonder just how much thinking is going on right now across the country. Can’t really say for sure. For a lot of people, the summer holiday break concludes today, Sunday. Tomorrow people begin dribbling back into work. Some thinking may have been done during the break for sure.
Recently, this area was getting smashed by tourists, after all it is only an hours drive to the centre of the big smoke. However, it was hard not to notice that visitor numbers in this area had dropped off by Saturday (yesterday).
Other areas are experiencing visitor numbers differently. Over the summer break, Sandra caught up with a friend at a beach side locale. The beach was probably further than a day trip from the big smoke, which suggests that people stayed in that area during their holiday travels. In previous years, the locale had been packed with happy tourists, but this year things were quieter beach side. It’s an odd contrast to the experience over in the more fashionable western end of this mountain range, which was crazy busy with visitors. At a wild guess, the difference may possibly be explained away by the observation that people can visit these parts in a day, but they have to pay for expensive holiday rentals when they’re over by the beach. And economics are biting.
Given there is a possible economic dimension to the different visitor outcomes, it makes an alert person wonder if households aren’t reducing expenditure? It is after all cheaper to go on a day trip, than it is to take on the cost of a week long holiday rental. No doubt people recall that last year the cost of mad cash increased (interest rates), and at the same time the money supply continued to expand faster than there was enough actual stuff to buy, which lead to rising prices (inflation). A heady mixture of economic bad news.
Summer holidays are a good time to sit and think, and maybe even make some plans. I’ll be very curious to see whether all that thinking time combined with the economic bad news has real world implications in the near future, but who knows until it’s a certainty. One possible outcome is that people may begin to slowly sell off the stuff they don’t need, and can’t afford to maintain, like say: holiday homes and expensive cars. Time will tell.
The economic ill winds are probably biting households right now. On Monday night we went to the local pub to enjoy a pizza and a pint. The weather was warm, and being the New Years Day public holiday, the staff were paid penalty rates. A surcharge applied to all the items on the menu. Everything cost more. And fair enough too, the local pub isn’t a charity.
Standing at the long timber counter, with the beer taps on the other side, we waited patiently to be served. There were plenty of customers, but the staff were elsewhere. Another lady stood to my right, she looked expensive, as some people do. I remarked to Sandra that it was like the Mary Celeste in here, an historical reference wasted on many people in these well educated times: Mary who? I don’t know any Mary by that name… Now amused, we continued to wait patiently, there was no hurry.
Turns out we had had to wait because the expensive looking lady had ordered three pizzas, then proceeded to negotiate a discount with the staff. This is a highly unusual request in my experience. But after delay and consideration, the expensive lady was politely informed that the price was as stated. There was a bit of pouting, certainly what appeared to be some sulking, and possibly also some foot stomping. A fine display of theatrics. The transaction concluded, and we could then order our two pizzas and drinks with no thought of a discount. The lady left in a very large white four wheel drive, notably expensive to own and run those machines. Makes you wonder what sort of economic story is going down in that household, and whether the act of public sulking comes before or after hard summer holiday economic decisions get made?
The Cherokee Bank of Firewood (CBF) was filled earlier this week. No more deposits can be accepted at this time.
Bizarrely, for three days this week, cold and wet weather arrived here from the huge frozen continent of Antarctica. On the coldest day, the air temperature only reached 11’C / 52’F, and withdrawals had to be made from the CBF.
Stuck inside the house during the brief burst of cold and wet weather, we decided to investigate the problems with the battery terminals mentioned in last weeks blog. The battery case first had to be cracked open without damaging it. This is not as easy a task to do as you’d imagine and finding a how-to instruction on YouTube is impossible. Clearly it was not intended that the battery is to be opened, and it is very risky to do so – the label says so.
Once inside the battery case, a cause of the problem suggested itself. There are six wires soldered to the underside of each of the battery terminals. To say that the arrangement is sub-fluffy-optimal is an understatement. Yes, it works, but it’s not an ideal arrangement. All those different combination of metals for the battery terminal have different electrical resistances (i.e. the electricity doesn’t flow through at the same rate, and so the bottlenecks cause electricity to get converted into heat). By way of explanation: the black and red wires are copper; The solder used is most likely a combination of tin and lead; The battery terminal is probably aluminium; The bolt which screws into the terminal is stainless steel; and then the wires and lugs from there are copper.
There is a plan to fix this battery arrangement, but we are waiting on parts. It’s an interesting enough problem that we might put together a YouTube clip.
Eventually the weather improved and we continued work outside on the new low gradient ramp.
A lot of Agapanthus plants had to be removed in order to continue work on the new low gradient ramp. Removing those plants requires a jackhammer due to the massively thick root systems. This is why those plants are so hardy.
It took a few hours, but all of the plants from that section of hedge were removed. The other Agapanthus hedges aren’t going anywhere…
The rocks which were split last week, were hauled back up the hill and placed into position. They’ll be used to retain soil, and they’re heavy enough to be able to handle that job with ease.
Soil was required for the project. A new rock gabion site was excavated and the soil relocated to the ramp project.
Further soil was extracted from an area above the garden terraces. There’d been two large mounds in that area which have now been levelled. Levelling out that area will make it easier to maintain in the future.
All that relocated soil, barely made much of an impact on ramp project. Need more soil.
The three hop vines planted a few months ago have begun to grow strongly. One of the vines has even reached the top of the steel reinforcing mesh structure. Clearly these plants are related to Triffids.
Raspberries are also producing well this season, and each day we harvest about a handful or two of tasty sun ripened berries. We store them in the freezer and when there are enough, a batch of jam is made. Raspberry jam is a favourite.
The snow peas have also begun to produce tasty pea pods. They really are good, and can be eaten fresh off the vine. What’s been interesting with this plant is that the direct sown seeds have outperformed the greenhouse grown transplanted seedlings. Beans on the other and are the exact opposite experience.
There are plenty of pollinator insects around. On warm sunny days the air hums with life.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 8am is 23’C (73’F). So far this year there has been 11.0mm (0.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 0.0mm (0.0 inches)