Away for a week.

July 24, 2014

Lovely tangle of green

Lovely tangle of green

I will be away for a week.

See you all again then.

Love lost.

July 23, 2014
Lost love

Lost love

“I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Bettina”. “Ah, don’t be.” “Thank God he is gone, the miserable man”. And with that, the Bettina with the massive battle ship chin dismissed the passing of her husband of over forty years. Sometimes, people hide their grief with putting up a brave front. I don’t think she was in that category, having known both of them for over twenty years.

Sometime during the seventies both Bettina and husband Bob in their wild and impetuous youth travelled Europe in a left hand drive large bus converted to a camper wagon. You now see them everywhere, sometimes with bicycles or even a boat strapped at the back or on the roof. I saw a camper wagon recently that even towed a small car to buzz about in. And no doubt used, through the help of a GPS satellite system, to guide the happy travellers to the nearest Aldi or Woolworth emporium, to stock up on the essentials, including butter and lamb chops with continental parsley.

Bettina and husband Bob, (while in their youth) travelled overland back to Australia where they lived in a large house near the water. It must have been quite an adventure when Afghanistan and Burma were hardly on the well trodden traveller’s route. You would often see Bob and wife with their large grey converted left hand drive vehicle driving around the place with Bob never missing a friendly wave.

He used to regale their travel adventures to us but his Bettina would butt in ‘ oh, nonsense Bob, it wasn’t like that’ and than impose her version of it. He just used to smile and let her do the talking. He did love her, or at least allowed her the freedom to dominate him in conversations.

While on their return journey, they had filled their bus up with Afghan tapestries and carpets which they sold to anyone keen on a bargain. It were the days of so many young couples with children setting up camp in the inner city of Sydney. A true beginning of city living instead of the mind boggling boring but well promoted ‘dream’ of living in the suburbs.

As the years went by, as they seem to so relentlessly, Bob became profoundly deaf and conversations became stilted and awry. A great pity. He was always the friendly giving man and his wife the shouting over the top with such a large chin to accept (in a round-a-bout way). In any case, a long standing marriage were both no doubt had found their levels of comfort and acceptance of each other. True love?

I sometimes thought of Bob waking up and turning towards his Bettina and see the familiar large chin jutting above the sheets. He loved her, that’s for sure, and accepted her as lovingly as any caring husband would. Millions of couple all over the world do this. Hundreds of millions more likely.

And then, Bob died suddenly. Towards the last few years he had a long white beard and often stood silently next to his beloved Bettina. He was now as deaf as a bucket of sand and could not converse as before even though he would sometimes still break out and, while still smiling, mention bits about Afghanistan. Bettina now mostly had the full attention of the audience.

“Thank God he is gone” is what she said. (after forty years)

Iphone triumphs and models

July 21, 2014


” Troubles will never leave you alone, Gerard,” “wait till you are married and have children too”, she added with gusto and succinct foresight. Mothers know best, don’t they? Nothing prepared me for IPhone and computer connectivity though. You read more and more about road rage attacks. The latest in Australia where a man with a revolver pursuing another driver up to speeds of 200km an hour. The man being pursued screaming for help as he drove on till out of petrol. I wonder if there has been IPhone rage around?

Boy did I get close to hurling my computer out of the window.All out of the blue I could receive but not send e-mails with strange messages of protocol and socket errors 10060. My outgoing POP was not right. I was advised to contact my service administrator. First I got a lady with an incomprehensible English who kept rattling on about my identity and password. I hung up and had a little rage and strangled a tulip. I tried again and this time a man with an accent I could manage to hear most of it. I was on the phone for about 45 minutes and went to my ‘account’ and changed pop and outgoing and ingoing mail while Milo was lustily farting away underneath my chair. However, that is nothing compared with the inability to get my IPhone and computer synchronised.

The sad thing was, that it was working before but I suspect Microsoft Live Mail is a very unstable entity. I gave up and made my outgoing mail to an outdoor eating place and with H had a nice Fish and Chips.

As we were eating I glanced through a Vogue magazine and noticed that the models all seem to be scowling so unhappily. Do they have IPhone troubles too? Who would want to open the door to those model sourpusses. I would phone the police or at least an ambulance. Look at the photo of the couple. She has her back to him and he looks as if he needs a bit of a Charley Chaplin or perhaps some counselling.

After lunch I went back to the computer. H had calmed me down and the fish and chips worked their magic as well. (Barramundi fillets) Amazingly, the IPhone and computer are back working as normal and as before. A triumph of a fickle and unstable world. And I did nothing except skirt with a coronary.


July 19, 2014

5609750-3x2-700x467 The remembrance

“Malaysia Airlines MH17: Shrine of remembrance grows outside Netherlands embassy in Canberra

By Clarissa Thorpe

Posted 7 minutes ago

The teddy bears left outside the embassy gates are to remember the 80 children killed on board MH17.
Photo: The teddy bears left outside the embassy gates are to remember the 80 children killed on board MH17. (ABC News: Clarissa Thorpe)

5609768-3x2-700x467 Dutch Embassy

Dutch embassy

Map: Yarralumla 2600

Flowers and gifts have been left outside the front of the embassy of the Netherlands in Canberra in honour of the 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Australia, Annemieke Ruigrok, said she was overwhelmed by the kindness shown since the plane was shot down over Ukraine.

The Boeing 777-200 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with an estimated 190 passengers on board the tragic flight being Dutch citizens or permanent residents.

Initially, there was only a handful of flowers at the embassy front gates but in less than 24 hours the shrine included teddy bears to remember the 80 children killed.

Ms Ruigrok said many people were still coming to terms with the devastating loss of life.

“It was an absolutely unspeakable tragedy and we are extremely touched by all these expressions of support,” she said.

“Also people writing emails, letters and support on our Facebook page.

“We are united in grief.”

Flags at the embassy had been flying at half mast to remember those lost in the worst air disaster in the Netherlands’ history.

“We know that Australia has a big loss, and we have had a big loss,” Ms Ruigrok said.

“All nationalities, we mourn all of them wherever they are from.”

The embassy at Yarralumla is considering opening a book of condolence later this week for people to express their sadness.

Flags at all Dutch government buildings including the embassy in Australia have been flying at half mast.
Photo: Flags at all Dutch government buildings including the embassy in Australia have been flying at half mast to remember those lost on MH17.” (ABC News: Clarissa Thorpe)

A tragedy

July 18, 2014


“Dutch death toll on Ukraine crash plane rises to 173, flags half mast

Friday 18 July 2014

The number of Dutch nationals killed in Thursday’s plane crash in Ukraine was revised up to 173 on Friday morning, as Malaysia Airlines published more details about those on board the doomed flight.

Public buildings in the Netherlands have their flags at half mast on Friday in the wake of the crash and hundreds of people have been leaving flowers outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev.

Many of those aboard the plane were on their way to an international Aids conference in Melbourne and are thought to include several renowned researchers.

Television programming has been adjusted and celebrations to mark the end of the four-day Nijmegen march have been toned down as a mark of respect, Dutch media report. The planned summer holiday photo session with the Dutch royal family has also been cancelled.


It is increasingly likely that the Malaysia Airlines plane which crashed close to Ukraine’s border with Russia was shot down by pro-Russian separatists, experts said on Friday.

US officials have told CNN radar has confirmed the Boeing 777 was hit by a surface-to-air missile. The United States is analysing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from, the official said.

Black box

News agency Reuters reports the second black box has been found at the crash site. The first is thought to have been handed over to Moscow on Thursday evening. One black box records plane details such as speed, the other cockpit conversations, Nos television said.

So far over 120 bodies have been recovered, the Ukraine rescue services have told Russian news agency Interfax.

Reuters also states Russian president Vladimir Putin has telephoned Dutch prime minster Mark Rutte promising him a full and independent inquiry. According to, Putin also said the tragedy emphasised the need for a speedy end to the conflict.

Rescue workers

The plane was shot down over an area of Ukraine currently controlled by separatists who have given open access to rescue workers. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has described the apparent shooting down of the plan as ‘an act of terrorism’.

US president Obama has reportedly spoken to Poroshenko to discuss the tragedy and has told him US experts will help any way they can with the investigation.

The UN security council is expected to hold an emergency session later on Friday to discuss the latest events in Ukraine.

Journalist Noah Sneider tweeted from the scene on Thursday night: ‘At crash site of #MH17. Bodies everywhere, organs splayed out. Too gruesome to post photographs. This is an absolute disaster. #ukraine.’

Lucky escape

A family from Zeeland who were booked to fly on Malaysian Airlines MH17 had a lucky escape when they turned up to board the aircraft and found it had been over-booked.

Gert Jansen, his wife Pudji and son Pasha were given alternative seats on a KLM plane flying via Dubai, brother Bert told the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant.

The Ukraine crash is the biggest air disaster to affect the Netherlands since the 1977 Tenerife air crash when 248 people aboard a KLM flight were killed in a collision with another plane.”



The letter of disappointment and resignation.

July 17, 2014

 Some time back

Some time back

Dear Mr/Mrs ALP (Australian Labor Party)

So far you have outlined nothing but self opinionated ,pompous and belittling assertions to me, based that truth is your ultimate aim in preserving your Newsletter. A bewildering response and not just to me! Fair enough so far. I do think that the chucking of a fire extinguisher or words of a pregnant lady uttered in 1976 or ‘77 would not really be that significant in the readers mind of 2014. However, I have followed your advice on seeking council and lined up all those that have read Oscar Wilde’s ‘A picture of Dorian Grey’ and consequently rebuked them for enjoying at tale that is nothing but a grotesque lie. No picture will age while the sitter stays young and immortal. They all responded they don’t care about ‘truth’ but do care about the beauty and poetry of the tale. They wanted to be enthralled and captivated. Can you see what I am getting at Mr/Mrs ALP?

While your assertion that factual truth in preserving the dignity and worth of your Newsletter is all important and seems to be obsessively overriding all else, you seem to forget or ignore that the readers want to be able to sustain enough interest to read what has been written. In that you fail, especially in your own contributions. Your overly lengthy and turgid style destroys whatever truth you are trying to convey to your readers. Your last contribution at the beginning of the Newsletter proves the point. It defies anyone to read it till the end without the reader losing the will to keep on living. Surely you must know that. So ALP, weigh up your Newsletter and its future. Try and get more life into it, get writers that can tell truth and at the same time install a ‘Dorian grey quality’ keep the readers captivated and engaged. It is a creative gift not given to everyone including myself with a difference that I am not bound, like you seem to, to truth to exclusion of everything else.

Unlike you, I was fifteen when arriving here and did not have English as my Mother tongue and did not start writing till asked in 2008 by the ABC to contribute to ‘ABC Unleashed’. I had about forty pieces published and fully paid for. I am proud of that.
As for your repeated but somewhat disparaging assertions about ‘blogosphere’ and ‘Aldi’s biscuits versus Arnott’, there is a lot there but I am not a psychiatrist.

In the meantime I am happy to pay the forty dollars. Tell me how to do this. Please, do not send me anymore Newsletters. I have resigned from the ALP. I do hope you have it in you to search your soul if not your heart…. and wonder why? But…. at another time.



ALP Party politics no more.

July 17, 2014


If ever there is an incentive to resign from a political party it would have to be meeting the people that are running them. I thought I would dip my toes in the water and some three months ago, again decided to join the Local Branch of the Australian Labour Party here in the Southern Highlands.

Some many years ago I belonged to the same party but let it lapse when the monthly meetings seemed to be mainly about protocol, pre-selection fights or endless passing of minutes of previous meetings contested by some. It seemed to drag on forever. The ennui was overwhelming. Almost as bad as watching cricket.

Having just gone to my second meeting and having had some discourse with one of the leaders I have decided to give it a miss again. There is nothing worse than trying to regain of what has passed. I have resigned from the ALP but am considering now joining the Greens. At least they are concerned about the dreadful plight of refugees and more importantly the state of our planet. The old ALP stalwart warrior that I had admired but from a distance, turned out to be nothing but a huge disappointment at closer range.

He, the ALP leader always had his critics, especially after he wrote a book.

A major self absorbed ageing shadow of earlier years. Perhaps he was always like that but I was just taken in by a kind of Stockholm syndrome. He might well have always been the Emperor without clothes. A man now obsessed with taking revenge at the political world he once resided in and which now, no doubt, affords him a handsome pension.. A master of endless rants and boring rhetoric steeped in the past.

Good riddance and goodbye ALP.

The Iphone salvation.

July 15, 2014


It finally had to happen. After weeks of absence in more ways than just physical, I took the plunge. I bought a ‘refurbished’ Apple IPhone from a large toy and game shop. Perhaps they were called a B and D games shop. I could look up the receipt but won’t in case I lose the impetus to go on with this tale of woe and joy.

We were overseas and as I needed to contact urgently some of my contacts by e-mail, I was looking around for a techy device I could use. Most tourists still doing the usual clicking, swiping and tweexting. Why could I not enter that same sort of world? I have a mobile phone that is a phone and doesn’t allow e-mails or give location maps.(Tweet and text) I had been warned not to get caught in an outrageous mobile bill and had taken the precaution in switching off my ‘roaming capability’ believing that I could still use my mobile but without the exorbitant high charges. It turned out my phone was switched off. It took five days for my brother in Australia to get my phone back on roaming with much relief of woe replaced with a drop of joy.

I still had more than 36 dollars of re-charge left so managed to make the necessary calls including to Telstra not to ever switch off my ‘roaming’. If nothing else, aimless roaming is the essence of life, surely! Is there any other way through life than to roam?

After our return to Aus and the grim reality and horror of Abbott’s gaping mouth on TV and the triumphant Chris Morrison regaling his killing of refugees, I took the plunge and with total disregard for the state of my future mental health bought the IPhone. It was very sunny. There was a blinding reflection from the concrete parking lot in front of the toy shop. After entering the shop one was greeted by lots of pink coloured wares. Most of the shop was bathed in a pink halo and I am sure that would have added to this lapse in my mainly purposeful directional sanity. The salesman was aware of my diminished being and knew there was the perfect customer. I had entered his lair openly and without hesitation.

He addled up to me and asked if I wanted anything. Was I perhaps after a computer game or a good game console? Do you have grandchildren, he asked sweetly? He had a broad smile and pearl white teeth, perhaps of an Afghan ascendency. I have noticed that endless wars seems to bring out the best in smiles and white teeth. No amount of indefinite detention seems to diminish their good cheer and friendliness( there is lesson for us here, surely)?

I now have the device and it works. In public I make a show of swiping and acting out the world of the esoteric and well informed, of all that is IT and has a coloured screen showing Apps. What next? Should I get a gleaming white pair of ear phones and walk past a Dick Smith store?

I am one of them now!

The ‘morality’ of Australia under our Prime Minister!

July 8, 2014
Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott says asylum seeker mothers attempting self-harm won’t influence Government’s border protection policy

Updated 11 minutes ago

Tony Abbott
Photo: Tony Abbott says Australians would not want him to “capitulate to moral blackmail”. (AAP: James Elsby. File photo.)
Related Story: Asylum seekers may be held at sea for weeks if High Court hears case Related Story: High Court case may shed light on Tamils’ fate

Map: Australia

The Prime Minister says the Government will not be held “over a moral barrel” amid reports asylum seekers in detention are attempting suicide to ensure their children are settled in Australia.

Fairfax is reporting that a dozen mothers on Christmas Island have attempted to kill themselves so their children have a better chance of being accepted by immigration officials.

It comes as 153 Sri Lankan asylum seekers are held at sea while the High Court considers whether to hear a case on the legality of the Government’s actions.

Tony Abbott told Channel 9 that he would not comment on the specifics of the case but said the asylum seekers we safe.

When asked about the reports of mothers self-harm…

read on.

Is Australia still worthwhile living in?

July 7, 2014


Yesterday the Australian Government handed back asylum seekers on a boat heading for Australia back to Shri Lanka. They were fleeing Shri Lanka. The handing back of the refugees was done in mid ocean between an Australian navy vessel and a Shri Lankan government boat. They now face jail terms and possible torture. Shri Lanka is known of having committed war crimes against the Tamil rebels. The refugees on the boat were almost all Tamils.

A group of lawyers have now been successful in seeking and getting an injunction against the government stopping another boat of 153 refugees on a boat getting the same inhumane treatment from this dreadful government.

It seems that Australia will stop at nothing in inflicting as much harm, pain, misery and inhumanity on refugees as possible. The excuse is that it will stop people from drowning. They conveniently use the excuse of inhumane and dreadful demonising of defenceless people in order to gain political scores in also exploiting overt xenophobia amongst many Australians. However, a tipping point seems to now have been reached.

A revulsion is now gripping this country and the international community seems to be aghast on what Australia is doing. A previous Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser is comparing what the present Government is doing to what the Jewish boat people experienced just after WW2. He is close to the mark.

It all begs whether Australia is really a country still worthwhile residing in. We have been away for some weeks and it was glorious. All of a sudden there were people around us with compassion and humanity, an understanding and empathy for refugees. A world away from the mundane and irrelevance. We liked it and are considering our options.

Our children and grandchildren are here which is a significant factor for staying,.., but against that, the horrible daily intrusion of realising that my parents migrated to a country that is not what it used to be. It has lost its humanity. Its lights have been switched off. That is the problem!

What to do next?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 313 other followers