Posts Tagged ‘Turnbull’

In a blaze of Patriotic fervour.

June 14, 2017

 

 

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Our arrival in Australia 1956

 

You would have to feel sorry for our Prime Minister. Ever since he took over from the previous PM, Tony Abbott, because of an endless row of negative Polls, Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity is worse, obstinately stuck in the same drift sands of his predecessor. No matter what the policy, or how he twists and turns, it all turns to an uninspiring porridge of lukewarm indecisions. The light is slowly being turned off.

His latest attempt to pull his Government out of the never never of political defeat, he  turned once again to his voters assuaging the idea that we need all to become far more “patriotic’, far more ‘Real Australian.’ In this endeavour he is clearly appealing to the largest denominator, grabbing some good old fashioned Aussie values. The values that stood the test of time. Bradman Cricket, Phar Lap, the Mother tongue of English language, the spirit of Anzacs and standing up for flag and National Anthem. Oi, oi oi, Aussie, and all that stuff.

There is now feeling of desperation seeping in. With latest poll showing our Turnbull to be seven point behind the opposition, he wants to take the wind out of his adversary, Tony Abbott’s sails with a good old fashioned appeal to ” True Australian Values.” and sharpening this by making the rules of obtaining citizenship harder.  Migrants will need to wait for a number of years and have a good grasp of English together with doing a test on a suitable understanding and uncritical acceptance of all things “Australian,” before they can apply for citizenship.

It will also make a handy appeal to the One Nation Party of Pauline Hanson and possibly filch voters away. I feel this latest from Turnbull is racially tinged, and aimed at making migrants feel inadequate or less than equal by hinting that Australian values are somehow so much better and, that any feelings by migrants of their homeland’s cultural values ought better be left behind.  We need you to totally fall in line with us, or go home, is what our PM. Turnbull seems to be saying.

When we arrived none of us spoke much English, and it took a while to realise that English was even spoken in Australia. It took persistence to accept the foreign slang as actual English. It wasn’t all that rare even then, that in public, migrants were told to speak English only. My father was told in the bus once to stop talking in yabba, yabba, yabba (Dutch) and  speak bloody English. My parents never lost the love of their home-country. How could anyone even loose it? They always felt that Holland was their home-country but they also accepted Australia as their new home. It takes time. When my father retired they decided to go back home. Why not? Don’t many Australians make England their new home or Holland, the US? Over a million Australians live permanently overseas.

The appeal to becoming Patriotic is just silly and will make Australia look even less tolerant. One wonders what the loyalties of the only real original Australians , the aboriginals, ought to be pitched at, their killer overlords?

How we still cling to those Anglo ideas of the past, loyalty to a foreign Queen, despite most of us now having been born elsewhere. Why are we still a monarchy?  What is it about the ‘value of fear’ that we so love? What about encouraging change, move forward? Future Australians are now coming from everywhere, including The Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia. They too, in time will also become ‘real Australians’ and add to this wonderful mixture of all that we call home, Australia. I can’t wait for their national dishes to appear in our Cafes and restaurants. Do people still eat that soapy Kraft Cheddar embedded in silver foil, or Tasty cheese, Heinz tinned spaghetti?

How much better if our Prime Minister had used the opportunity for ‘tolerance, acceptance, and greater empathy towards others, instead of this silly national pitch for drum banging and ‘patriotism’.

 

Always look a gift horse in the mouth from ‘Twiggy’ Forrest.

May 23, 2017

“A truly magnificent gift!” “A gift of love!” “It cannot get any better than this!”  Our Prime Minister was besides himself, drooling with lofty praise for Andrew Forrest’s pledge to give $ 400 million ( tax deductable) to Australia. Our TV almost exploded with Mr Turnbull’s hyperbole but instead decided to just turn a shade of red.

One mustn’t get too churlish when somebody is willing to donate $400 million. But don’t count the chickens before the eggs have hatched. Mr Forrest is much more known for his grandstanding and complicated business misadventures than genuine generosity. He certainly proved his money making ability as a stock-market rookie when still young. His salesmanship was honed during that period. This was followed up by his alpaca importation from Chile and Peru. He bought alpacas from the poorest of the indigenous Indians for peanuts and sold them on in Australia for huge amounts. The alpaca fibre was the ‘new golden fleece’ and this was pitched to the high-end of town’s legal fraternity as a handy tax dodge when hobby farms were at their peak.

The law on hobby farms was changed and losses on alpacas could no longer be used to offset income from other areas of earnings. The golden fleece of the alpaca lost its lustre when histograms ( frequency of measurements) came in at 30 microns or more. It was unsalable and the sheep farmers could not be happier and had trouble keeping in their laughter. It was just a huge scam. This adventure landed Twiggy in Courts as most of his subsequent business ventures did. Twiggy Forrest is master salesman but he also loves grandstanding especially being photographed with the luminaries of the time.

People might remember he was photographed with the Iranian Ayatollah and  Pope Francis in 2015.  He was criticised for  overstepping his mark. That never worried him though. He is full of enthusiasm and bluster. It took considerable cunning and diplomacy to get that photograph. Some saw it as a blatent exploitation of the Pope. His idea was to stop slavery! The Vatican has since removed Mt Forrest and his phoney pledge about fighting slavery and felt that the iron ore business man had used the Vatican.

 

 

This Australia country is Crook as Rookwood

March 22, 2017

IMG_1087Milo 2017

There we go again. It seems that the refugee swap with the US is under some cloud. Australia claims it needs to cut back on spending. It could save billions by just finally accepting the refugees held on Manus and Nauru  on Australian soil. What seems more logical? The oft repeated mantra of keeping control of our borders is just ludicrous. Can someone point out which country borders us?

Our minister, Mr Dutton, for Torture and Unlawful Detention (TUD) should brush up on his geography. We are girthed by sea and in any case Facebook, Twitter etc. doesn’t respect national borders and makes a mockery of land borders. As it is, the world is becoming borderless. We are supposed to revel in being Australian and associate ourselves with ‘true Australian values’ but what are those values if not the same as those of most civilised countries?  What are Australian values that are so unique?

Treating asylum seekers as sub-human is a festering sore that will keep Australia on the international shame list while it lasts. I can’t possibly dance around a national Australian pride pole while refugees whose refugee status has been accepted are kept detained. They are not illegal and no charge has been levied against even a single person.  They are in their fourth year of unlawful detention.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-22/us-refugee-deal-architect-says-based-on-australia-doing-more/8375250

It seems  likely that the  trade in refugees between the US and Australia will at best limit itself to just a few of the seventeen hundred that are still locked on Nauru and Manus in exchange for perhaps fifty or so refugees from Central America. There are rumours that the refugees on Manus and Nauru have been fingerprinted by US officials. Heaven only knows what must go through those tormented souls? Fingerprinted once again!  The indignity of it all.

Many of the refugees are well educated and sometimes seem to have a better commend of English than their torturing privately funded interrogators. How could we have got it so wrong? I know the answer. We lack leaders that are decisive not divisive. There is our PM Turnbull, grandiosely  slapping himself on the back saying that Australia is the most tolerant, the most successful multi-cultural country in the world. Yes, but what about all that what happened within our child support detention camps. The people employed to look after the welfare of those children asking sexual favours. Suck my dick video has just turned up at the Royal Commission.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/don-dale-officer-filmed-himself-asking-children-for-oral-sex/8369284

How could things go so off the rail?

 

Milo seems to have an answer. Just look into his all-seeing eyes.

 

 

 

Woe those that save and live frugally

March 6, 2017

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There is always that pull to and fro of our past. Some say, don’t look back. But with age comes an oversupply of what has been and much less of what is yet to come. I am talking of time, not substance. It’s most unlikely that at the age of seventy-seven one contemplates joining the army or seek a career in investment banking. Sure, some go climb mount Everest or take up the piano, but most contemplate things and end up rummaging around in memories. I do.

One of the good things that was ingrained still occupies my train of thoughts. It was one my parents main input. ‘Live within your means. Save for what you want and don’t waste.’  This was also reinforced by the political system back in Holland. The era of consumerism never took The Netherlands in the same way it was embraced by Australia. Buying things on credit was unheard of. Today, this very different and the credit card is also embraced. Even so, some national habits are well ingrained. I believe even eating raw herrings is as much a pastime now as it was when I lived there. Saving is still held in high esteem.

This might well be the reason that of all the countries in the world, The Netherlands now hold the enviable record of 103 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth.  While much of that growth is contributed to cutting welfare and taxes and giving corporations greater freedom, Holland still enjoys a generous welfare system. Excluding costs of education, Holland spends 24.3 % of GDP (Gross Domestic Products) and comes in fairly high on the list of welfare spending. Australia spends 18% and  this is towards the lower end of world’s foremost economies. The US is the fourth lowest on welfare spending at 14.8%.

The Dutch pension gets paid irrespective of being poor or rich. Everyone who turns 65 gets it. It is a state insurance scheme whereby every one who works or has worked in the Netherlands gets a pension when turning 65. It is roughly 2% for every year that one has worked in Holland

http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/Social-welfare-spending/%3E-%25-of-GDP/Excluding-education

This is all about our experience on how saving in Australia is being punished.  Since about two months ago the government changed tack on pensions. Those with savings above a certain limit would either get the old-age pension lowered or totally taken away. We lost our pension. It seems, that in Australia it is best to whoop it up and spend, spend. Burn your money, go gambling, load up your credit card, run up debts. You will ensure you get the pension.

https://www.svb.nl/int/en/aow/wat_is_de_aow/wie_krijgt_aow/

And by the way, the Dutch pension is about 70% 0f average wage instead of 40% in Australia. So, next time you hear Turnbull or Morrison going on how Australia is some kind of social paradise. It is NOT. We are pretty stingy when it comes to social welfare.

 

What price Freedom?

February 27, 2017
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Mum in Holland with a Hoover electric vacuum cleaner. (not cordless)

We are all not so sure anymore if it is safe to visit the US. A pity. We have never been there. Perhaps it might be possible take a cruise and visit New York without getting off board and risk going through Border Control and be detained. When Ali Jr hardly got through how about anyone with a non-Anglo name? I visited Egypt back in 1961. This might well come to punish me. No doubt the FBI or secret service have kept a tab on that visit.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/25/customs-alis-son-wasnt-detained-because-hes-muslim/98419924/

While ‘Oosterman’ doesn’t sound Arabic, it does smack of something sinister. Oost is easily an East, and we all know what that means, don’t we? And what about that ‘man’ at the end?  A man from East? Say no more; detain him.

All kidding aside, and with all respect to my US based friends rest assured that the same is going on here in Australia. We don’t detain for a few hours, our prime minster Turnbull detains people for years if not life on Manus and Nauru. Woe those daring to enter Australia and not having drowned. You will be punished.

When I visited Egypt so long ago it was still allowed and possible to get right inside the Pyramid of Cheops. There was a tunnel that led one right up into the Queen’s chamber. It was quite a hike up and then down with a never ending stream of tourists doing the same. Afterwards there was the obligatory camel ride. I took a bit of stone from the pyramid and kept it for years together with a fez that I had bought in Port Said on our migration trip to Australia in 1956. So, our involvement with the middle East started early. The fez and pyramid piece of stone have long gone, possibly pinched by our children when young, showing off to their friends how well travelled their parents were!

http://www.guardians.net/egypt/gp4.htm

Rumblings of Turnbull’s demise and Trumps impeachment are growing fatter and gets richly fertilized as time goes by. We shall see. In the meantime I am still kept busy with another type of freedom; the Hoover cordless ‘Freedom.’ I have just done ( vacuumed) our whole house with one charge. What do you think of that? Of course, the battery is a lithium. It is now the new catch word in electronic jargon. People ask ; How are your lithiums going?

We were in Sydney yesterday having a lunch with daughter and one grandson. The other one is fighting with his mother over not being home ‘on time’ as promised. We know that problem well. However, it is their turn now. We are old and beyond feeling guilty about grandchildren behaviour, especially teen-grandchildren. There are lots of books about teen problems now. Just don’t read them.

Ever since we started brushing Milo, the hair load on our floor has eased. We brush him twice daily. He likes it and actually leans against the steel rubber tipped hairbrush. I then have the job of unpicking Milo’s hair from the brush. It is quite a job. (twice a day) I was surprised therefore that even with all that brushing I had to empty the ‘Freedom’ cordless twice as the canister was chock-a-block with Milo’s dust and hair. Milo just studies my vacuuming and then yawns.

That’s freedom for you.

 

A good sleep

February 16, 2017

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

Is it true that the elderly sleep less? As much as I dislike starting an article about sleep, I wonder about it? So much depends on a good sleep. One of the first thing we ask each other; how was your sleep?  Or, how did you sleep? I know that if the answer is “terrible” we could be in for a torrid day. With the years piling up, more and more memories and life’s baggage gets stored. You wonder if losing a bit of memory is a blessing in disguise.

I have become more forgetful, especially names. It is something that worries some but not me. I have no trouble admitting I don’t know a single name of a recent Olympic champion. I remember Zatopek and Fanny Blankers Koen from the past. I don’t know the name of even a single rugby player of today.  Sport and I are Teflon coated. Water off a ducks back, and gladly so. I feel sorry for all those ex-champions having to cope with a future life without fame, all fading away into so much nothingness. Like all of us really. One ought to be thankful for lacking fame.

We have both keenly taken to a large memory calendar on which we write down future appointments. One of our first appointment will be getting quotes for air conditioning. Next, yearly check ups for doctors, poking around a bit here and there. A hearing check up. That’s all there is so far. I hope to get more interesting appointments written down soon. A date for a trip around the world on a large cruise-liner would be nice. Or, being interviewed about having won a literary competition. Oprah Winfrey talk show invitation?

So far this large desk-top calendar has just those few appointments. No dinner dates or meeting up with our PM Turnbull nor any undertaker. I wonder if he suffers sleepless nights? He isn’t a happy man anymore. Being at the mercy of the extreme charlatans of the right. He must have had a dream for change. Make Australia progressive. Pass legislation hurling Australia into the twenty first century. Even the same sex marriage bill, which most want, including our PM, is now slipping away. Why doesn’t he have the guts of his convictions and go for needed change? He might loose his Prime ministership, but he can say; I tried!

No appointment needed for the date with autumn. A few golden-auburn Liquid Amber (Liquidambar styraciflua)  leaves have arrived already. We can’t get to cooler weather soon enough. We are now troubled by having seen a very nice free-standing house opposite where we live. It has a beautiful garden and a workshop-cum extra little living space (for times during marital upheavals/differences/ enthusiastic outbursts.) It has its own men’s shed really!  I could finally make a rabbit hutch. The house itself has more space. Above all, it would allow us to get away from the Body corporate and its Strata witchcraft. No more stolen plants or bullying threats from ropable divorcées.

We really like living in this town-house. It is convenient and so much work  Helvi put in the garden. The problem is that old trees don’t easily get re-planted elsewhere. Are we old trees? While not saplings, we don’t feel like gnarled oaks. What do you reckon? Should we move? It would be rather painless moving across the road and being able to give the ‘finger-up’ to Body Corporate/Strata witches. Mind you, retaliation isn’t an answer to bullying.

What do youse reckon?

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Move over Rover, the renewables are coming.

February 14, 2017
photo 2

Milo

The Prime Minister of Australia is twisting and turning to appease the extreme right in fighting against renewable energy. One  climate change sceptic, Mr Morrison, even took a piece of coal to parliament. He wanted Australia and the Government to acknowledge that coal will remain our prime ingredient for affordable energy.  “This is coal, don’t let it frighten you,” he said. “The more coal the better.”

It was well received. Lots of fun by the right. Our PM. Malcolm Turnbull, a previous fervent believer in climate change, guffawed with the rest of them. His vanity politics now running supreme. He wants to remain PM and so does his wife, Lucy. Through hook and by crook. The crook getting stronger as time goes by.

But, it will all be to no avail. The renewable energy is running at full steam. Nothing will stop it. It is the money that will finally overcome all the objection to change from coal to sun, wind and whatever else. You can’t stop it.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-14/solar-batteries-like-tesla-exploding-in-popularity/8259830

Australia is notoriously reluctant to change. We still have a foreign Queen as head of state and  love the status quo. Taking it easy is still one of our most revered ambition. But no amount of taking it easy or hugging pieces of coal in parliament will stop this revolution of change into renewables. The sun shines for free and the winds will keep blowing

The next wave of change will come in the form of electric cars. Anyone who has been to Hong Kong would know that the Tesla all electric car is hugely popular. Holland is planning the ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars within a few years. Last year the new Tesla, Model 3, took 10bn in orders in just 2 days.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/04/tesla-motors-sells-10bn-model-3-two-days

You can see why both oil and coal prices have dropped worldwide. Can you imagine the problems facing resource rich  countries? Many including Australia are getting a bit nervous. Perhaps, that’s why our government is so defiant?  We could have picked up the cudgel years ago and be the worlds biggest and best producer of solar equipment and technology. We did produce some of the best brains working on it. But unappreciated, many left to greener pastures.

Even a large coal lover and producer is now saying that the only way forward is to embrace the new renewables. With the recent heat waves people will receive enormous power bills.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-14/energy-australia-boss-worried-about-power-bills/8267070

The cost of coal fired electricity will be going up as the solar and wind generated households and industries are disconnecting from the grid. There will be fewer and fewer people left to carry the cost of maintaining the coal fired energy infrastructures. ( Poles and wires)

I do hope I will live to see all the faces of coal lovers drop as the tsunami of renewables will overrun everything in its way.

Last year I  (oops…more to come, gone for a walk with Milo, he is being difficult.)

Go and figure this one out!

February 5, 2017

 

Most of the world knows about  refugees. Italy alone took in 180 000 during 2016. More than three years ago anyone trying to reach Australia by boat would from then on be locked up. Manus and Nauru were the places agreeing to house refugees. Australia vowed never to let those into Australia.There are  more than 1200 refugees still on those Islands. Most have been granted refugee status.

The cost in housing refugees has been in the billions. Private contractors are the main beneficiaries as well as New Guinea  and Nauru. The idea in not letting the refugees ever into Australia was that letting them in would result in an armada of refugees coming to Australia, clamber over our dunes, take our jobs or bludge of welfare! They would covet our  women and make cliterectomy compulsory for all.

The idea of locking the refugees up had to be seen as harsh enough to deter the so called ‘people smugglers.’ At present refugees trying to flee to either Europe or elsewhere in primitive boats have a chance of 1-100 in drowning. We know that many are desperate enough to take that gamble. The Australian Government knew that risk of drowning wasn’t enough a deterrent. The idea was born that the punishment for not drowning had to be far more severe. Teach the survivors a lesson they won’t forget. More importantly, the message would go out. “Don’t think of coming to Australia.”

That’s why the conditions for refugees locked up  indefinitely had to be far more stringent and better thought out. The refugees were not charged with any crimes. They just had to be kept locked and deprived of the most essential need of all. A future to look forward to. For children not to grow up in freedom and get an education. Teach them a lesson.  After several suicides and many incidents of self harm, even by children, the Government rejoiced and proudly stated that no boat had arrived. The prime minister Turnbull was jubilant; “We are the envy of the world dealing with refugees,.” he announced proudly.

It was decided that after the UNHCR, the UN, and Amnesty International had become vocal in condemnation that Australia tried to fop off the refugees elsewhere. Forty million dollars was spent to bribe Cambodia in taking just three refugees. Two have since left.

Now Trump and Turnbull ( Trumble) have locked themselves into horse -trading over allowing 1200 refugees from Manus and Nauru  into America. The vetting will be extreme. Americans are justly asking why Australia can’t take them in. It must be a mystery. Per capita Australia has far more space than the USA. So what about that deterrent?

If you dare to come to Australia you might go to America?

More importantly, what about those people? You know the people on Manus and Nauru?

Go and figure!

Drunk with power

September 5, 2016
Japanese Windflower

Japanese Windflower

Thomas Grey once wrote,

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

It was always going to be an AGM that would be less boring than any of the previous ones. The furore about the public posters about the stolen cyclamen guaranteed a meeting whereby moving motions would thankfully be kept to a minimum. After arriving at 5.30 pm, Helvi and I took our seats around a large table. I immediately went for the head of the table. This would ensure that both my impaired ears were in line with whoever spoke from either side. I immediately noticed the carafes and glasses on their coasters in the middle of the conference table. The place was also heated. A sure sign that this Strata Body’s AGM was going to be a real bottler.

Five of the eight possible town-house owners, capable of voting were present and somewhat gingerly took their seats. We had anticipated that the issue of the posters was going to be kept last. There were still some issues to be dealt with, not least of all, the inevitable accepting of previous minutes of the last AGM and financial statements. I noticed that the Extraordinary GM whereby the dodgy quote for painting was dealt with together with the threat of the Strata Body Corporate losing their license, because of the irregularities of funding were exposed (by this writer) were conveniently not mentioned. The atmosphere was tense if not electrifying. AGM’s can never reach that sort of level. It’s not like a rugby game in Wales, nor like the procedure of politicians leaving the House pre-maturely and a Government losing a vote for the first time in over fifty years.

http://theconversation.com/turnbull-government-loses-discipline-and-votes-in-house-chaos-64772

At last after much wrangling the Poster issue was raised. It wasn’t a motion nor foreshadowed and I resisted the temptation to raise an objection. We were getting very hungry, and even though I drank some water, I don’t like gnawing hunger. But, and here comes the punchline. I was nominated ‘secretary’! After all that. The Poster complaint was wiped away when I mentioned we followed the police’s advice in notifying the neighbours by stapling up ‘Thief Alert’ posters. One lady had taken a large rock to the meeting, claiming it was hurled at her door as a result of my posters. She blatantly lied. I pointed out that putting up a poster doesn’t mean rocks would be hurled around.

It never stops. I am now a secretary. Unbelievable.

The Budget.

May 3, 2016

Our family about 1960. Frank second from left.

Our family about 1960. Frank second from left.


Our treasurer, Mr Scott Morrison had all the manners of a Moses holding his staff moments before parting the Red Sea. In fact a sea of red and obstinate budget debts is really closer to the truth. In the aftermath of his reading of the budget and recommending it triumphantly to the House, he started to be interviewed and questioned by prominent journalists. Those, whose job it is to keep the finger on the pulse and report back to the population at large. Millions of viewers were glued to the flat screens, sound bars turned up, not a word to be missed.
Innovation, jobs and growth were the catch words.

Now if this was Germany or Finland, the innovation would be pared to alternative energy. You know, solar- wind, saving the planet, showing the world real innovation. Australia, the sunniest and windiest continent in the world, but…no. Not a word. Our PM knows his hands are tied. The old guard fuddy-duddies, the clueless uncles of clinging to the past still holding him to ransom. But, hang on, our Turnbull was going to change and steer us into the future. Get away from onion eating monarchy loving PMs.

Sadly, no such thing. Back to the past and sleep and snore…The LNP the slumber party.

As for the “Almost There,” just a few more days. The final proof has been done, but each time I open the file, another spelling or funny fault turns up. Yesterday an extra f in off. It should have been a single f. I am so sick of reading my own words. It is naval gazing at its worst. A kind of verbal attempt at bungie jumping at the end of a metal chain. A most jarring experience.

But, take heart, dear readers. I am almost ready to send my second book off to the editor, the brilliant David Burton in the UK. This time, the paper-back edition will appear first and then the kindle version. I have dug into my reservoir of short bits on my Word-Press blog and found enough for many publications into the future. In the meantime I will just ramble on as it comes. The aim is to publish the words in book format as well as on WP. I shall also try and upgrade the Heading of my blog, and advertise the books at the top that I have noticed many of you do as well.

There seems to have seeped a certain lethargy into the present. An autumnal sweeping of brown leaves swirling before the bare skeletons of trees shown up stark in the evening chill. Perhaps a trip up North to warm balmy ocean shores is needed. But then again, all that sand and harsh sun-light, bags of tourists’ fries and hamburgers wafting around. We are both lovers of shade and cinnamon. Perhaps a good walk with Milo will do the trick. We will be asked; ‘How old is your Jack Russell?’ ‘He is eleven now.’ ‘Gee, he still looks very young, almost like a puppy.’ Milo looks up, but goes into a fury when a Harley Davidson roars by. He strains at his lead. Intend on killing the bike and rider.

He lifts anyone’s spirit. He really does.