Monday, 25 June 2012


Over the weekend we went to another festival, this time India@Mindil.

This festival is organised by the Indian people who live in Darwin, specifically the Indian Cultural Society of the Northern Territory.

Of course people of Indian heritage live in most countries, and some have come to Darwin from countries I do not expect to hear about. My husband has an Indian friend who comes from Guyana. Another Indian friend comes from Russia. People here mix together really well and there are no ghettoes. Intermarriage is common. We are all Australians.

India@Mindil attracted about 12 000 people this year, a good crowd for the location by the beach.

I am guessing that there were thirty food stalls set up selling freshly prepared authentic Indian food. There were some wonderful dinners available. I certainly enjoyed my chick peas and spinach with yellow rice. Indian beer was also available, but quickly sold out.

Lots of families took their food down to the beach to enjoy as the sun set and lit the sky.

Indian fabrics and crafts were for sale as well as Indian grocery items.

Usually there are lots of folk dancers in fabulous costumes presenting traditional culture.

This year it was more modern, with rock bands singing Indian songs, and a massive Bollywood style entertainment. A huge crowd established themselves in the best possible positions to enjoy it all. The performances were a real credit to everyone involved.

If you get an opportunity to enjoy Indian foods, dancing, music, and crafts then get yourself there. It is colourful, vibrant, and sounds beautiful.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Plastic water bottles

Sites like this are common
in communities in the Northern Territory.
I live in an area visited by tourists. It can be hot and dry. Everyone is encouraged to stay hydrated by drinking good old-fashioned water. Or other enjoyable drinks. Beer is popular and so is coffee, but not at the same time.

I usually carry a water bottle in my handbag.  It is a re-usable bottle but probably does not get washed absolutely every evening when we wash the dishes. Maybe there is bacteria breeding in there, but maybe there is bacteria in most water supplies around the world.

According to the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, most beverage bottles sold in the USA are manufactured from polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic determined safe to use and reuse by the US Food and Drug Administration. Some plastic bottles contain bisphenol A, or BPA, which is associated with a variety of health risks particularly if the plastic is heated. PET bottles may contain traces of hormone-disrupting chemicals associated with levels of estrogen. It is hard to know what is true.

Discarded bottles are a problem not just here where I live but in most countries. Why do people throw the empty waterbottle on the ground? Is it an outward show of power and influence? Is it intended to be a show of wealth? Is it intended to be an act of rebellion against the intellectuals and the greenies?

Why do so many people succumb to buying bottled water? It takes 3 bottles of water to manufacture 1 new bottle of water. It takes a quarter of a bottle of oil to manufacture one new bottle of water.

Recently there were some interesting facts about bottled water presented in a popular TV show called The Gruen Transfer. I recommend you watch this episode. It contains the discussion and some other matters related to selling a water based product.

There are several types of safe reusable water bottles.
I see many backpackers with these.
We are not able to recycle very many manufactured items here in Darwin due to our distance from manufacturers and the high cost of transporting freight. It has been tried. Plastic water bottles become an environmental problem as well as a hygiene issue and a visual scar.

Do you use a metal water bottle? Some other type of bottle specifically designed to be reused many times?

Here in Darwin the water quality is excellent. The water is free but the pipes and infrastructure cost money, so costs are passed on to home owners.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Some people are not very nice!!!

Some people are good.
Some people are foolish.
Some people are eccentric.
And some people are not at all nice!!!

I know I am not particularly good or nice or clever or kind. I can be rude and unpleasant. I hope I am just generally eccentric. I do try to be the right sort of person usually, but trying does not always work.

I read this story and feel it is definitely worth sharing. It seems to me to be about someone who thought she was good, then showed herself to be foolish, and generally defined herself as not nice at all. Maybe it is about a married couple who are not at all compatible.

The story comes from the Westside News, a local newspaper from near Ipswich in Queensland. The journalist is Emily Crane. I have paraphrased her article, but the important bits are exactly as she wrote them.

*****A dog was returned to the RSPCA in Queensland a week after being adopted because the new owner said that the dog drooled.

Jethro the dog with Michael Beatty from the RSPCA.
Courtesy of Quest Newspapers.
Jethro was adopted by a Brisbane couple after seeing a photo of him in a local newspaper on June 13 this year. Jethro, with a Biblical name indicating his fine personality, is a bloodhound great dane cross. It is not too hard to imagine his size, food bill,  exercise requirements, and habits if you know very much about dogs.

Just five days later this lovely pooch, Jethro, was returned to the shelter, because of his drooling!!! Said RSPCA spokesperson, Michael Beatty, "Last week he was sadly returned to the RSPCA Wacol Animal Care Campus because his new family thought he slobbered too much. The husband was very upset but said his wife had put her foot down and said it was either her or Jethro who had to go."

Jethro's profile has now been relisted on the RSPCA's 'Adopt a Pet' website with the comment that 'his drooling is all part of his charm'.

The RSPCA spokesperson stated, "There is no truth in the rumour that he told RSPCA staff that he would really rather have surrendered his wife." *****

Dogs drool.
Dogs are loyal.
Dogs smile a lot.
Dogs like to chase things.
Dogs like to swim.
Dogs eat weird things sometimes.
Dogs follow you around, even into the bathroom if you are not quick enough.
Dogs shed hair.
Dogs shake water everywhere after a bath.
Dogs scratch wooden floors.
Dogs bark.
Dogs bury treasures.
Dogs need walks.
Dogs defecate and you have to collect it for disposal.
Dogs are easily bored.
Dogs have sharp claws that wreck car upholstery.
Dogs jump on people.
Dogs slobber.

But, most of all,
  dogs like people.

It is very easy to love a dog.
Living with the mess is just like living with a mean and stupid wife, I expect.

What a shame that even some adults in this country do not know these simple facts.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What sort of place is Australia?

The results of last year's census have been made public at last. The census results help government departments plan appropriately for the future so that less money is wasted and facilities may be available when they are needed. Of course it does not always work, but it is a beginning.

I have copied some results from an article in The Australian, a major newspaper in this country. The journalist is Pia Ackerman. I have not used all the article but selected the parts I found interesting.

The current population of Australia is officially 21.5 million. On census night 21,727,158 people were counted in Australia including 219,440 overseas visitors. There are more women than men, and the median age is 37 years. Life expectancy at birth in Australia is almost 82 years.

English is the most popular language spoken at home, Mandarin is second, and Italian is third.

Approximately 60% of the population regard themselves as Christian, but 22% have no religion at all.

More than 72 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job. (That does not mean a full-time job of course!) The median weekly wage per person is $362. Overall however the median weekly income is $577. The median household rent is $285. The median monthly household mortgage repayments are now $1800.

Around 45% of the population consider themselves as part of a couple with children. The rate of marriage remains the same as previous census results. The ratio of one-parent families has remained constant at 16%. If you are from another country you may not know that there is no such category as an 'illegitimate child' in Australia. All children have the same legal status.

I found the information presented a snapshot of my country that I do not usually see. I do not know many people who consider themselves to be Christians. When I was teaching children very few had ever been inside a church and they relied on the religious instruction teachers to tell them information about Christianity. I do not know of any place where the rent would be as low as stated by the census results. I do know of a town where the rent for a three bedroom house is $3,000 per week. The apartments in my building are rented for around $400 per week for a one bedroom place and go up lots from there. Even an unpowered tent site in the suburbs is over $100 per week, but you would have access to a toilet and water.

Australia has a pretty good welfare system that helps lots of people and is probably abused by some as well. The political system is stable. Politicians are elected and all adults over the age of 18 years are entitled to vote unless they are in a corrections facility. Of the people I know, most choose not to marry their partners. Education is available to children, although it may be difficult to access in some remote areas. There is a public health system, although its efficiency and accuracy varies from place to place. There are free public hospitals.

If you are looking for a good place to live, Australia should definitely be top of your list.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Chocolate choc chip biscuits

These biscuits are really easy to make.
No beaters.
No strong hands.
No sharp knives.

But you do need to melt the butter and chocolate together so children will need supervision for that part. Be careful, children, removing things from the oven too. Hot. Hot. You could burn your fingers and drop the whole tray!!!

Chocolate Choc Chip Biscuits
Makes 60.
If I can get 60 out of this mixture then you can too.
These are cooked and cooling slowly before I do a taste test.
1 ½ cups plain flour
125g cocoa
300g sugar
150g butter, cubed
150g dark chocolate
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Parisienne essence
Raw and ready to go into the oven.
250g choc chips (less would still be fine)

  1. Sift the flour and the cocoa together into a bowl. Add the sugar. Smash and lumps.
  2. Melt together the butter and the dark chocolate. I used a saucepan for this part but you might be able to do it in a microwave. Allow to cool but not set.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line four baking trays with baking paper or foil.
  4. Add the beaten eggs to the chocolate butter. Add the Parisienne essence. Stir well.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Combine well. 
  6. Add the choc chips.
  7. Place spoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Leave room for spreading. 
  8. Do not forget to lick the spoons and the bowl!
  9. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes. Cook longer to get harder biscuits.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes before touching.
These biscuits are quite sweet. I worked out that you get one teaspoon of sugar in each biscuit if you make 60 biscuits. Plus any sugar that would be in the dark chocolate and the choc chips.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Are you a good driver?

Accidents happen to even the most careful drivers.
Sometimes circumstances just change things.

Sometimes I am very nervous as I drive.

I was sent some funny car photos and found that most of them came from this website.

Some could be from another site but I could not locate it.


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hats Off to Broadway

The Darwin Chorale again performed to a very appreciative audience at the CDU amphitheatre last night. The Darwin Symphony Orchestra excelled themselves. Huge success.

My favourite piece was Memories. Here is a clip of Barbra Streisand singing the same song. It is so touching. For copyright reasons we were not permitted to record any part of our show.

Michael Cormick
We had a visiting artist, Michael Cormick, who has achieved world-wide success in musical theatre. Expensive but worth every cent. Wow!!!

Michael has played lead roles in Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Time, Calamity Jane, Chess, Romeo and Juliet, Into the Woods, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Falsettos, Tivoli, Beauty and the Beast, and Grease. He has performed his own cabaret show at the Ritz and the Savoy Hotels in London, and his one man show, Michael Cormick sings Bacharach, received rave review.
And now he has sung with us.

Our soloists were Fiona Wake, Noelene Trinne, Tom Pauling, Siobhan Casey, and Nora Lewis.

Fiona Wake
Fiona trained at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in a range of productions in Australia and internationally. She is highly regarded in the Northern Territory, not only as a soloist but also for her work as a Remote Area Nurse.

Minor soloists were Angela Gates, Jenny Rivett, Hayley Barich, Annette Gore, Barry Condoseres, Dennis Pangilan, Michael Foley, Philip Gerber, Col Goodsell, and Martin Gore.

Hayley Barish also performed a soft shoe number during Always Look on the The Bright Side of Life. Wonderful, and the audience loved it.

Costumes were simple with the emphasis being on the songs.

We had incredibly generous sponsors for these two performances. Darwin is a good place to live but it costs a fortune to stage a show like this. Thank goodness for the sponsors.

A fantastic evening (well, two evenings actually) under the tropical sky.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sewing again

The Chorale is performing two nights this week. Preparations have been rigorous and the show is really entertaining. Hats Off to Broadway. We have a visiting artist to lead the show and he is amazingly wonderful.

I missed some rehearsals so am now assistant to the costume organiser. At least I am there.

The ladies all look so glamorous and I felt a bit jealous. So I found an old skirt and converted it to a fashionable blouse to wear with black tights. The neckline was rather adventurous but I solved that with a few tucks. I wore this top last night and looked suitable for a back stage job.

Not couturier standard but yet satisfactory for the job.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Here is something to amuse and educate.

When we learn about other people we learn about ourselves.
Do you find these inventive, funny, clever, amusing, foolish, or imaginative? What did you learn about yourself?


 These come from the internet, obviously. You could chase their origins, but most are accessed through Creative Commons. A couple are acknowledged on the photos themselves. The lesson is to learn how to make that bit of writing on our own pictures.

No harm is intended. Admiration actually for both the photographer and the subjects.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Recycling and Being Green

This was sent to me and I think it is worth sharing.

At the checkout, the young cashier suggested to an elderly woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my young days."

The girl responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save the environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shopkeeper sent them back to the factory to be washed, sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. Or the Boy Scouts collected the bottles and returned them for fundraising. 
The bottles really were recycled.  

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Parcels were wrapped and sent in brown paper not plastic satchels. The brown paper was reused for numerous things, most memorable was as covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by graffiti or accidental marks. Or the paper was used to cover exercise books which we used instead of computers and printers. These books were transportable, used no electricity, and were affordable.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an elevator or escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to our friends' homes and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. We rarely travelled by plane and even then the aviation fuel did no damage to the ozone layer. We didn't even have a hole in the ozone layer. Cars and motor bikes did not roar through the quiet suburbs because their engines actually matched the needs of the drivers instead of the greed of the manufacturers. We talked to our neighbours and created a safe and friendly place to live. In the vegetable patch we did not use dangerous chemicals but grew things sustainably as our parents had taught us.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we did not have the disposable kind. We reused these instead of throwing them on the ground to foul the environment. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up electricity -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our day  We made clothes for our family to show them our love. Children wore hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. We patched and mended clothes to make them last longer and no-one worried about teenage fashions.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We managed to survive without hair dryers and hair straighteners. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen (remember them?), not a screen the size of Tasmania. We sang or whistled around the house as we worked. In the kitchen, we beat and stirred by hand because we did not have electric machines to do everything for us. 

But we didn't have the green thing back then. 

We didn't fire up an engine and burn fuel just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We used clippers, scythes, sickles and spades to trim edges and shrubs. We used brooms to clear leaves from paths. We exercised by working so we did not need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a reusable mug or glass when we were thirsty instead of using a disposable cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.  We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. We did not use air conditioners because we opened the windows or went outside to a shady spot.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We did not need to phone our friends to inform them of our every waking thought because we already valued our friends' time and privacy. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 25 000 kilometres out in space in order to find the nearest cafe.

But we didn't have the green thing back then. 

It is tragic that the current generation laments how wasteful old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then. Is it ignorance or bad manners? Lack of respect or lack of responsibility?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

2012 Glenti in Darwin

Keep up the good work, Evan.
This weekend is the Glenti here in Darwin.
This is the biggest cultural festival held in the Northern Territory and is a celebration of Greek culture. The Glenti is held in Bicentennial Park nowadays, but was originally held in the grounds of the Greek Orthodox church. About 30 000 people will probably attend at some time over the two day festival. Of course you do not have to have Greek heritage to enjoy the Glenti!
It is vibrant, colourful, hectic, complicated, fun, and relaxing all at once.

The profits are donated to a different charity each year, with this year's beneficiary being Total Recreation which provides sport and recreation for handicapped and disabled people.

Over the years many Greek people have come to Darwin to live, with a new wave coming now that Greece is in big financial difficulties. The Glenti is a chance for Greek people to share with the general community and for barriers to be reduced. We are very proud that in the Northern Territory people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds mix and work together successfully.

Multiply this by 100
Tons of octopus, lamb, and chicken will be cooked and sold to the hungry crowds. Three tonnes of octopus was cooked last year and four tonnes of lamb has been ordered for this year.

There are Greek drinks, together with Australian beer, for sale at the bar. Greek coffee is sold and many people enjoy it with some delicious Greek pastries like baklava or vanilla slice. Other Greek sweets are available, mostly locally made.
Of course the favourite is honey puffs.

This year extra support was provided by the Department of Corrections and the inmates enjoyed constructing some super special cooking facilities. Things are on a big big scale for the Glenti. Learn new skills and help the community.

Families can sit in the tents to eat or spread out on the lawns of Bicentennial Park. I really enjoyed my lamb yiros as I watched the sunset.

Entertainment is imported from all over Australia. Excellent compares keep the show rolling at a good pace.
Evan and Jimmy are local lads but really outgoing and great at this job.

A sideshow alley keeps youngsters busy. This year I saw a jumping castle, three reverse bungees, ping pong clowns, a small train ride, a fast spinning scream-and-thrill ride, and two shooting galleries. Open the wallets Mum and Dad.
Dora the Explorer and her troop of children's entertainers were doing a great job when we were there.

This year I saw Maria Stavropoulou perform, a rather sizzling entertainer. There are other singers and an imported band. After-parties will beheld at local pubs.

And the Greek traditional dancing!! Always fabulous. In costume of course.

This video clip takes a while to get started but sets the scene well.