Posts Tagged ‘Brisbane’

A potpourri of pre-Christmas events.

December 20, 2018

Last week we drove to Sydney to visit our daughter who was meant to visit us. Due to storm damage  the trains were delayed and the buses were not running, we thought it easier to drive to Sydney instead. Trains are often risky and even a rogue wombat can derail trains. I bet the old ‘fast-train’ service will be raised again now that an election is due soon, together with the perennial second Sydney airport.  It keeps us nice and docile. Gee, the French sure know how to get things moving. I like their spirit.


This is our daughter and her youngest son, Max, who has reached that stage of being a teenager very drawn to languorousness.  This means he likes to adopt a seating arrangement between sitting and lying. He is Tom’s brother who is almost at the end of his Indonesian adventure and at present in Bali’s Ubud. Tom is 18 and now taken to sitting upright again.

The lunch was beautiful and included as a dessert a nice chunk of water melon ‘infused’ with mango gelato. This coming Christmas day she and both our Grandsons will be visiting us for a Christmas lunch with a possible stay over-night. Of course, that has the proviso the trains are running and that the wombats stay away from the rails.

The latest new’s item that really stunned me that for over 150 years a Tattersall club in Brisbane, Queensland, prohibiting women becoming members. They excluded women. Can you believe this? A vote was taken on the issue and the ban was lifted. Oh, Australia; where is your Santa list for moving forward?

The vote in favour of allowing women wasn’t all that overwhelming. It was mainly for financial reasons and not because it was so outrageously  misogynistic.

I wonder if the Republican issue will be dealt with soon? I suppose, we are waiting for the English queen to pass away. Another terrible sad bit of news is that the issue of refugees on Manus and Nauru will not be resolved before Christmas. When, oh when, will Australia be dragged in front of some court to face charges of crimes against humanity?

But, there is also good news. It seems that keeping pets helps to keep children healthy and possibly avoid getting infections. And…the more pets, the better!

A baby lying on the ground beside a small dog.

We are both now fitting in some more medical appointments as well. The medications we now ingest are keeping us alive as much as possible. This morning at 9am I was ordered to get in my underpants and take my valuables to the medical room and submit myself to a bone-density test. It was a remarkable experience. My feet were strapped in while laying on a hard surface in the horizontal position. ‘Just relax’, I was told by a female technician operating a sliding monitor taking images of my totally prostrated body. You know, when it was all over, I had trouble getting vertical again. The woman had to actually lift me up and prop me up a bit. The ignominy of ageing. It seems only yesterday we were skating and somersaulting about.

And now, look at it!



Are these Australian values?

July 30, 2018

The death of Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei.


” Coroner Terry Ryan found 24-year-old Mr Khazaei, who died in a Brisbane hospital in September 2014 after he contracted a leg infection in Manus Island detention centre, would have survived had his rapid deterioration been recognised.

Mr Khazaei suffered severe sepsis from a leg infection and was first moved to Port Moresby before being flown to Brisbane where nothing could be done to save his life.

Mr Ryan found the failures included not clearing Mr Khazaei for a timely medical transfer to a Port Moresby hospital from Manus Island, where the level of health care was “not commensurate with a clinic in remote Cape York”.

He found the Department of Home Affairs needed to enforce new policy that put the clinical needs of detainees first when medical transfers required the approval of Australian immigration officials.

Mr Ryan also called on the Federal Attorney-General to establish a new framework ensuring independent judicial investigations of deaths in Australia’s offshore detention system.

Mr Khazaei was pronounced brain dead at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital after a worsening systemic infection caused cardiac arrests at the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby.

Mr Ryan said his death occurred in the context of Australia’s policy of deterring asylum seeker arrivals by boat through offshore detention and highlighted the practical problems of ensuring adequate health care in remote tropical locations such as Manus Island.

“It would be possible to prevent further deaths by relocating asylum seekers to other places like Australia and New Zealand,” he said”

For how much longer will the Australian Government continue in the torture of hundreds of refugees, including over a hundred children? Those people have done no wrong. Australia continues to flaunt international law regarding refugees. A shameful period in Australian history. We insist on new migrants including refugees to adhere and understand Australian values before granting residency. But, does that include the torture of refugees including children?

A Place of Repose

April 14, 2018

From Wiki.

“Repose is a formal or literary term used to mean the act of resting, or the state of being at rest. Repose is also a state of mind: freedom from worry. As a verb, repose means to rest or relax, or to rest on something for support: There he was, reposing on the front porch.”

IMG_0039a place to repose

In the renewed effort to reclaim a more balanced and benign view of the present world there could hardly be a better place to achieve it than shown above. The cushion that our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ is resting on is the reversed soft cotton side. The other side is deemed by him too rough. It is actually a piece of worn Afghan rug made into a large cushion cover we bought somewhere on our travels up North near Brisbane some years ago. You can see how low we have sunk to cater for his every whim. Sometimes I feel Milo is the owner and we mere yeomen, just renting, cap in hand!

The reason for the need of a place to repose is that the bleached bones of some of my past were getting to poke out of storm’s dust, causing anxiety to well up far too frequently and making me feel the fate as unnecessary fickle and punishing. We all know the black-dog’s friendship with darker moods. It is thought and I agree, that the search of man’s obsession for everlasting happiness is futile, unnecessary and might also be very boring. However, the opposite of accepting a pervasive gloom is not really all that popular either. So, what about a bit of each?  Could that be the answer?

Medicine is often prescribed as an answer to shadowy moods, but apart from an aspirin and thyroxine I have never taken any mood changing stimulants, excluding the sharing of coffee in morning and Shiraz at the evening. The capriciousness of fate is hopefully teaching me in accepting the past what can’t be changed. We might as well accept. You would have thought that a man in his late seventies could have come to that insight a bit earlier, but…better late than never. I might just be a late learner and having migrated at fifteen did something.

From now on I will take up residence for a couple of hours each day in the chair where I took the photo from, just behind Milo on his claimed cushion and ‘repose’. The beauty of those few square metres is sublime. Helvi made this Nirvana and paradise. It is just perfect, especially after about four pm when the sun is starting to take a rest and slowly goes down making a mood for respite of heavy thoughts perfect for a change into something lighter and positive. Is it in the opposites, the Wu Wei of life that there might be an answer?

What do you think and looking at Milo, does he give an answer?



The annual obsession with School uniforms raises its ugly head.

February 7, 2018

IMG_1163Violets etc.JPG


“Students in NSW, Victoria and the ACT are not required to study maths at all in Years 11 and 12”.

Australian schools continue to fall behind in maths and science – ABC .”

“Maths should be compulsory at school: our future jobs depend on it”
With those alarming headlines one would hope that educational information would be at the forefront of all schools that are touting for students.  Lofty statements would be made at all schools, that maths was already compulsory. (together with a language apart from English as well).
But what do we get?
Over a hundred students were send home because their shoes did not fit the regimented size thickness of sole or heel, perhaps both. The head-master was seen to take the tape out and measure students shoes. A few millimetres out, and the students was marched outside the gate. It is a surprise the head-master had the skill in measuring seeing he probably also went without the compulsory maths. I am gobsmacked.
Maths in Australian schools is not compulsory but uniforms are?
Where does all this originate from?
If education is meant to take a young person to its full potential, surely letting them dress freely ought to be the norm. Isn’t the expression of the individual not at the forefront of the unfolding of a growing person? Why do parents put up with that? It is so stifling.
And while we are at uniforms ,why do we show our love of such blatant inequality when we have high fee charging Posh private schools and Bog public schools.
All schools should be equal and no divisions. All schools have both boys and girls. All teachers have minimal Masters Degrees and be well-paid.
Here another link to a good article by Jane Caro.
No compulsory math?

Going Danish in Queensland.

August 24, 2017


When I tried to make an attempt to increase my social life by joining an indoor carpet bowling club, I never expected friendship to grow so quickly. From a mere first timer, the progress of bowling, rapidly went to competition bowling. It still is social and not at all serious. We drive around now to other venues whereby we meet new groups just as keen on the game. Most are elderly and so am I. We might well all have reached the age where social intercourse is better.

Before the idea grew of getting about between more people, I considered taking up ballroom dancing. You know how it is. You see those elderly couples keenly trying to keep their marbles about them, (and so am I.) The music’s urging gliding along the parquetry floor taking slowly tango’s rapid littles steps, turning their heads this way or that way, taking care their interlocking legs and noses don’t collide inappropriately. It was the fear of collisions that I feared most.

In a way, the game of bowling does or can appear to resemble dancing as well. The experts seem to almost force the bowl to go to its intended journey by slow body movements alone.  A keen observer might well notice a form of ballet in action. Of course, with  ageing the ballet becomes less agile. Even so, by squinting eyes, some of us could easily have been performing Swanlake if not the dance of the Valkyries.

The friendship was further enhanced today by a lunch invitation held at the Scottish Arms Hotel. We arrived spot on at 12. I ordered my favourite salt and pepper calamari. Helvi had the flat-head fish. The price included a schooner of beer or a glass of wine. We both had a schooner of beer. The group consisted of about twenty five all seated around a long table. I think the women outnumbered the males.  Half the males were bald, but most of the women generously bouffant.

I am still battling to remember names. I suspect that I have reached a stage whereby names seem to get stuck into a colander without going through. A Kevin becomes an Eric and Jill became Joan. I am going to suggest people should wear name tags. It is funny but at clubs one needs proof of identity but not in pubs. Both serve drinks and food,  people play games, especially poker-machines. Yet, the clubs insist on proof of identity. It is something to do with liquor- license laws. I suspect there is a lot of money involved in all that.

It all came to a head when the Danish Crown-Prince Frederik tried to enter a club in Brisbane and was stopped because he could not produce proof of identity even though the  accompanying security police vouched for his identity.

You can just imagine how this piece of news went viral around the world. It is true though. There are some things that seem impossible to change and that includes outdated and archaic license laws.

The prince was let through, but…there were ramification. It appeared the club had made an erroneous exception for the Prince. The police ended up apologizing for not insisting that Prince showed proof of identity. He just did not have it on him.

Australia at times can appear very quaint. The High Court at some distant date will have to decide if Australia is being governed by rogue foreigners. Row after row of parliamentarians are queuing up having discovered they have another nationality, which according to the present constitution is strictly outlawed.

What with bowling and all this, how could life not be fascinating? I can’t wait to get up early and welcome the day.

A week away and Kalinka.

November 18, 2014

Helvi and I are taking a week or so away from domesticity including blogging. We are visiting family in Brisbane and on the way will visit Byron Bay again. See you dear friends, keep well.

Our favourites. The Finnish group Leningrad Cowboys with Red Army choir.

Mr Vlad. Putin cummen all toot’n for ‘n root’n to Brisbane.

September 22, 2014

images G20

It hasn’t been confirmed but I have it from an unconventional peanut sauce that Putin is coming to Australia’s sunny Brisbane. He was after all invited to the G20, and as most of those coming here are rogues and thieves, it was thought, nay welcomed, he might as well join the tribe of merrrimen and merriwomen. A huge table made from finely hand hewn Eucalypt and French polished with a mixture of gumnut and wombat faeces is now on its edge getting all those little alarm buttons fitted, just in case someone unexpectedly says …boo or, in extreme cases, says..poo. In that case machine-gun toting marshals will drop down with the help of long coiled up ropes (unexpectedly) from the Candela-bras high up, jump on the huge table, say stick’ em up, and shoot blue-berry muffins at the perpetrators.

The meat pies are already on high alert, lamingtons are now in lock-down mode behind reinforced glass counters and Morton Bay oysters have been told to practise coitus interrupt us. (just in case) On previous occasions, many male oysters committed mortal sins by leaving their mass before communion, hoping to avoid an oversupply of little baby oysters… Strictly, a no no in their neck of the salty environs. It is so difficult being a pious girl oyster.

I remember many decades ago, going to a very ‘in’ and ‘up’ market restaurant/ nightclub. The place where one could expect Rod Steward or a fake Elvis to pop in. Ladies were sitting at the bar smoking from elegant cigarette holders. It was during a period where women had their hair held back with large Rhino horned combs. They would blow out smoke and at the same time scan the diners making an or having their entrée.

I was with H and wearing a wine-red safari suit with a huge belt, not around my pants but around the jacket, that looked like phoney gold.(it was), but at least it gave me a bit of shine (where there was none). H was pure Scandinavian and so honestly told me I looked totally nerdy. Could I refrain from speaking at the dinner table, please?

nr two

Anyway, I was so nervously unsettled. All the expense which started off with a taxi and a generous tip. The first course was ‘ spinach stuffed oyster’ which were so expensive I developed an immediately headache. I mean stuffed oysters? I had a main dish of pigeons guaranteed to have been bred with reckless abandon high on the Southern Highlands but with a nervous disposition, making them extra lean.

There was so little sustenance in that meal I had to take a pain-killer while sitting on the toilet, reflecting also what a huge mistake it was to try and join the ‘in it folk.’ I left hungry but relieved we got out of the place.

I remember the nightclub/restaurant was called ‘Rogues’.

The Ladies boudoir is just the Bloke’s cabinet

October 22, 2013


Since our return with the Peugeot footrest to Brisbane our bedroom has been a hive of activity. Who would have thought that at our age? No, nothing of the sort. It's been a hive of a non-conjugal activity. It was all kept above the table, decent and no inappropriate behaviour. The bedroom is getting ready for summer while winter is being banished to spare upstairs lodgings. There has been a flurry of clothes being packed away with the new lighter, flimsier and whiter replacing the heavy woollen dark, sombre, winter wear.

An essential ritual seems to be that clothes can't just be taken out and packed away without trying them on again. I was at the same time struggling coping with a new computer that had a system called Windows 8. If you think a GPS is a magnet for trauma; you ain't seen nothing yet. The Windows 8 has a Metro and Apps and no more 'start button.' It take a real genius to make something simple complicated. Suffice to say, I nearly lost the will to keep going. Thank you Mr.Windows 8. You have created a real nightmare.

The theatre of dressing up is nowhere stronger than in the female sex. Trying on clothes by most males is a dread diabolically in contrast to the eagerness of females to 'dress up'. I would rather buy an ill fitting shirt untried than go through the motions of going into a cubicle to try it on. I often wonder what it is that I am so reluctant to shop for clothes. I like wearing nice clothes but the shopping for it sends me in a mood of yawns that, for the sake of my loving partner, I repress by pretending having a jaw dislocation.

I remember years ago an experience of a Unisex nature. Najee, Fashion-House for the discerning male, had a sale on in Sydney's George Street. I wanted to surprise Helvi with a complete new and different man. Well, not a different man, more a man different in clothes. Something just popped up about a 'tiger changing his spots together with someone hiding in wolves clothing.'

I went inside the store. There was utter chaos. Suits made of pure linen at 60% discount, shirts for less than a button. In one corner there was a whole contingent of men taking a break from office work , all in different kinds of undress. The fitting rooms had long been demolished and of course became out of the question. I soon joined the fray, grabbed a beige linen suit, imagined myself a la Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca for Helvi, and was hopping around on one leg just like the rest of them, trying to insert one leg at the time inside the linen pants.

Geez, I was agile then. Now, I am lucky to be able to hop around on both legs! The amazing thing was that the sales girls were just mingling in between the frenzied mob of male customers, all in underpants or even more exciting, sans underpants. No one blinked an eye lid despite the eyefuls that some of the girls must have inadvertently received. Anyway, that was the Unisex event, still fondly remembered.

In any case, and back to the story, our bedroom has had a rejuvenation at the same time as our winter garderobe has been banished upstairs. While at the Brisbane-River market a few days ago, Helvi picked up a beautiful snazzy bed cover. It has a very inviting warm Indian motif and colour about it. The photo above will give you some idea. I asked Helvi to pose (languidly) on the bed for the shot, but she refused. I offered to pose, but as with trying on clothes, males don't easily pose languidly, do they?

Here then is the Lady Boudoir which is not at all like the Man's Cabinet.

The Trip.

October 17, 2013

Andy Kovacic , a unique talent.

If you want to get lost, use a GPS (Global Position Service.) I Googled the GPS and over 90% of users get lost. Worse, some have driven into rivers, canals, trees or even the sea. The problem is that roads change quicker than GPS’ map updates. It means that, at times, when you are firmly told to ‘turn right or left within fifty metres’, you should ignore it, the road has long gone. The female GPS voice sounds as if she can’t be mucked around with. “Turn left ,turn left now” she commanded often. I feel intimidated and sometimes squirm by my own GPS, stuck centimetres away from my face by a plastic suction cap. How is it possible?

Just over the border in Queensland we did just that. It was 9pm and dark. I obeyed the satellite lady and promptly turned left into a green field and hit a pitch black Angus cow right into her udher udder. It could have been worse. Imagine turning into a new shopping mall with a mum and a baby pram on their way buying a dummy?
This is what the world of navigation and satellite has turned us into.

Over 40% of roads change yearly and the advice is to download maps at least twice a year. No matter where one turns, the internet is lurking somewhere to take your money. The maps on Tom-Tom downloads costs $ 99.-per country. Having paid $89.- for the gadget, I am tempted to just keep buying GPS’s with updated maps.

We were away for eight days and apart from GPS troubles and the Angus udder, we were blissfully away from internet or anything remotely connected to keyboards or a mouse. It was heaven.

The address that I had put into my GPS was inner city of Brisbane. We left Byron Bay as happy as Larry and I was even whistling. The night before we enjoyed beautifully hypnotic and suitably amplified music by Akova and in between sipped a quiet Sauvignon Blanc. We ate some delicious culinary unchallenged dead flat-head fish cooked in butter, garnished with parsley, lemon and garlic. We danced and were rocking. The waves were pounding on sands metres away in sympathy with the music’s drums and the proudly navel exposed stomping crowds.

The estimated time to reach inner Brisbane was 2hrs. When the time had passed we were still uncomfortably away from any inner city. Last time I could have sworn Brisbane had buildings over one story high and certainly not clad in fibro. ‘You have reached your destination,’ she of the GPS voice announced. Helvi and I had been quiet for the last fifty km’s as not anything resembling Brisbane had passed our window.
I asked Helvi if Toowoomba was part of Brisbane or Ipswich? ‘I don’t know’, she answered.

The street’s name was right but it wasn’t inner city Brisbane. A boy was sitting on a car tyre. A lawnmower was rattling away with a sun burnt man in a singlet staring at us. We were hopelessly lost and I took things in own hand. I ripped the suction cap held GPS from the window and strangled it on my knee. It made a last gasp, gurgled a final ‘turn left’ before it went all funny and black.

We stopped and I phoned my inner city sister. We were 39 km’s from Brisbane.
‘Why don’t you use a map,’ she told us.
Why indeed?

The Trip to Brisbane.

October 5, 2013

article-1315193-0B51BF4A000005DC-730_634x408We finally are going to Brisbane.
We will do this in our car with the foot-rest. It has been a sheer blessing practising this foot platform gadget. While in the past we would just jump in the car and go without a care or a plan, now it takes precise plotting and reconnoitring. My GPS has to be programmed, not a mean task for me. Each time I take a day off just to relax, build up courage, and charge the gadget before carefully programming it to the desired location.

And then there is the sorting of clothes and which items to take!

I do recognize the benefits of some gadgets, not least the simplicity and design of the cloth peg and paper clip, but electric things now are a world apart. Have you seen the latest vacuum cleaners? Some have cyclonic properties. Cyclonic properties? Should one look up the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest report before switching it on. Apart from that, those vacuum cleaners now intimidate just by its brutal design with all kinds of strange protuberances and additions. I feel, with the cyclone possibility and its looks, it might just take off to Mars by its own volition.

With planning stage for the Brisbane trip now well progressing, suitcases have been taken out and all bedding is covered with many clothes spread about like confetti at a Hawaiian wedding. I am being asked; “Does this suit me?” ” Oh yes, looks very young”. After a rapid withdrawal and a rustling noise, again; ” How about this outfit?” “Oh, very lovely it looks too, “I reply, still immersed in the mindboggling complications and multiple choices of setting GPS. It wants to know where I live. I thought the GPS would now this. If it doesn’t know my address, how will it know strange addresses hundreds of kilometres away?

As the days progressed, so did the excitement. “Should you book any motels, she said?” “I am not sure, can’t we just sleep anywhere” I blithely answered? “we are on holidays and we don’t have to catch the 6.30 am bus nr 401 to work, I added for sheer effect.” Remember when we just went, bought a tent along the way and slept next to the highway in the bush? I was warming to the subject of spontaneity and reckless high-way sleep-ins. “It was very romantic too then, I said .”

“Well, if you think I am going to sleep along the highway in a tent, forget it, I am not going.” She knows exactly how to stop any juvenile nonsense. “How does this look, do these shoes match my earrings?” “Yes, excellent choice, they will look very nice on Byron Bay beach.”

Remember we used to camp and take off with a 4 litre cask of Riesling and thongs? I again broached the subject of ‘just leaving on the spur of the moment.’ Yes, I do, and I never thought it was so romantic with flies, ticks and strange unwashed smells.

“Yes, but remember I would take out the surf board in the morning and ride the waves like any sun-kissed Apollo God of the surf?” “I wore a copper ankle brace with long hair that I used to get permed.” Remember?

No, I don’t. I looked up the Country Inn Hotel at Taree; go and book it!
Yes darling.