Thursday, 30 August 2012

Whoa! What happened to my pictures and links?

Having some problems with my computer. Suddenly I cannot add links and pictures to the Blogger posts. Irritating.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Please hold. Please wait. Please ...

I am not quite a happy camper at the moment ... and it is a very long moment.

Yesterday we had to go out. Just two little old pensioners needing to go down to the car park in our building.

We pay the body corporate fees. The body corporate managers are several blocks away and largely uncooperative as far as the owners and residents are concerned. The building manager is also the manager of the hotel that occupies some of the building. Lovely case of crossed purposes.

So we go to the lifts. We wait. Whoops!! The buttons are not working. We press on them anyway. No Lift arrives. We wait. Some lift noise is heard, but no arrivals. We wait. We phone reception. The  receptionist replies as if we are from another planet. She says she knows nothing about the lifts not functioning. She appears to be the victim of a total lobotomy. We wait a little longer.

Then we walked down the 67 flights of stairs. Yes, 67. Three for each floor and one extra at the bottom. If the steps don't get you, then the corners will.

A few steps.

When I eventually calm down I will mention to the reception staff that they have a job to do that includes being informed about the building. Brain dead idiots!!!! With apologies to the real brain dead. Why employ people who are incapable of working?

Monday, 27 August 2012


"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember; you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. The most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you.”  ~~~~~Winnie the Pooh

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Good morning

Good morning.
Found this on facebook. Rather awesome. Rather funny.
I do not know who owns this photo, but if it is in social media then maybe it is available by Creative Commons.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Are you sitting comfortably, my dear?

Some people are very creative. Some people are rather unwise.
Look at these pictures and think which is which.

Both cold and uncomfortable.

Is there such a thing as plant cruelty?
Imagine this in five more years.

Another hard problem to deal with.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mobile home

I guess this is in Europe somewhere. Maybe Hungary? Lithuania? The picture was sent to me on facebook.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

And that's when the fight started ..............

A friend sent me these jokes. I originally thought I had sent them to her, but maybe not.
Where do they come from? I don't know.
Are they rude? Not exactly. Offensive though.

The Unreasonable Mother-in-law 
One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
And that's when the fight started...

The Unreasonable Wife

My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have sex?'
'No,' she answered. 
I then said, 'Is that your final answer?'
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'
So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."
And that's when the fight started...

The Humour-less Wife

I took my wife to a restaurant.
The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."
He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"
"Nah, she can order for herself."
And that's when the fight started...

The Mis-informed Wife

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.
I asked her, "Do you know him?"
"Yes", she sighed,
"He's my old boyfriend.... I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since."
"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"
And that's when the fight started...

The Dangerous Wife

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed.  
But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer.. 
Always something more important to me. 
Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. 
When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. 
I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house.. 
I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. 
 I said, "When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway."
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

 The Lazy Wife

My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, "What's on the TV?"
I said, "Dust."
And that's when the fight started...

The well rounded Wife

My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."
I bought her a bathroom scale.
And that's when the fight started...

The Masochistic Husband 
My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."
And that's when the fight started... 

Photos are scrounged from Google images.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

50th Anniversay

This morning the Darwin Chorale sang at the special service at St Mary's Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin. It is 50 years since the new cathedral building was consecrated. One of the priests present today had been present at the original ceremony. Inspiring. There is so much history and love associated with this cathedral.

Love the architecture.

There was a brochure about a special window above the entrance. It is called the Aboriginal window and has sections painted by renowned Indigenous Australia artists. The western light should shine through, illuminating the designs. The problem for me is that these windows are not there. The painted windows have been replaced by plain ones. I wonder why? There was no explanation although the photos and descriptions of the significance of the art was a major display. Very odd indeed.
Here is a link.

You should have heard Nora Lewis sing the solo part of Taste and See. Wonderful. Angelic. The rest of us did a fine job also. Absolutely love some of the pieces. Jenny Rivett did a terrific job on the music and rehearsals. So dedicated and calm. The result made all the practices worthwhile.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Pandanus weaving

There is a style of handcraft around here known as pandanus weaving. Some of it is actual weaving and some is more like macramé or basketry. This art form is done by Indigenous Australian women. It is possible that it is done by men, but I have not come across that.

I took this photo at a nearby town during a festival.
The end products include fishtraps, mats, bowls, baskets, dilly bags, sculptures, armbands, and other personal decorative items.

This photo of pandanus is from The Eden project.
The process is long and difficult. Pandanus is a spiky leafed palm, often two metres or more in height. The leaves have small thorns along each edge. The green fronds are collected. Then the ladies sit around together and strip or slice each frond into strings. The thorns are discarded. The ladies use their fingernails to start the slicing and then pull along the leaf. This sounds simple but you need to concentrate.

Next the strings are grouped and dyed. I have not come across any artificial dyes being used, but it is possible this could happen in the future. Roots, bark, and fruit are collected to make the dyes. This is collected by women and children as they walk through the bush.  The dyeing process is not usually available for viewing by outsiders.

ATSIS photo
The visitor is leaning from the experienced artists.
After the threads have dried the weaving begins. Usually this is done as the ladies sit around in a group on the ground. I have attempted to learn the weaving or construction process but found it extremely difficult. Imagine crocheting a basket without a hook or scissors or any tool whatsoever. That is how it is done. The knots are close together and tiny. The smaller and finer the work the higher the quality and value. In the museum are examples from a hundred years ago and the standard is incredibly fine. Traditionally there would be ochre applied on the outside of some finished baskets as decoration.

A completed basket about 30centimetres high and 15 centimetres wide would sell in a gallery for around $200 here in town. The artist would have received half or less. If the work is taken to the bigger city the price will double again. Mats, fishtraps, and other large items sell for thousands in the galleries. The price is a mere pittance compared to the work involved.

No tools, just effort and talent.
This will become a bowl or a basket.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


It is festival time and fabulous, fabulous, amazing.

My Handsome Husband and I went to a symphony concert at the amphitheatre. The music was all from James Bond films. Two local lads drove their Aston Martins to the stage and allowed the public to have their photos taken alongside. Yep. Security guards and Hands Off The Duco Please. And there was a dress up competition with a substantial prize.

Tropical night. On the lawn. Starlight. Symphony orchestra. With my husband. Massive crowd. Relaxed. Families with grannies and babies. Did I say that it was free.

Had a wonderful time. Sorry you missed it. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A poster about the father and son relationship

I think this poster is wonderful. Maybe you will too. There is a signature at the bottom so you can see whose intellectual property this is.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


My choir is learning a new song, Tunggare.

I thought it was a traditional Indigenous Australian piece but the story is a little more interesting. The basic song has been adapted and arranged for choral work. Tunggare is the first movement of 'Man to Tree', a work commissioned by the Australian Society for Music and was composed by Steven Leek in 1997. We are singing it in four parts with some hand clapping, a capella. (Not sure of the spelling.) The title simply means sing, or a joyful voice. It is really hard to learn because the words do not give you any clues about when to change notes or add expression. It is the same word repeated throughout the entire song, maybe 200 times.

The sound seems like northern South Australia, maybe Central Desert. It seems like a women's song, but I am not sure. It is definitely not a sacred piece.

There are several clips on Youtube, but I liked this the best. The choir is German and it appears that they are singing songs from several different cultures in a concert. I thought the pronunciation was more accurate and less Anglicised than in the other clips.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Joys of Shopping

I have done rather a lot of shopping lately, due in part to our house guest from New York. She is an anthropologist and has been living near Yirrkhala. Her husband's job involves living in other countries for half a year at a time. Well travelled international traveller. So we hit the shops, all types of interesting colourful shops.

Who can resist a second hand bookstore? Not me. Or a market stall covered in old books? Not me. Do I imagine I am the great bargain hunter? The discoverer of hidden dreams? Of course. Of course. The armchair traveller. The armchair detective.

I bought three books which look as if the mainstream may have missed something fascinating.

This book about Changi experiences in World War II appealed to me because my father had been in Changi. He rarely spoke of his experiences. Families had been instructed never to ask, so we let if die with and within him. Treatment of trauma cases has changed over the years. Since his death I have read a few books on the topic of World War II experiences in the Pacific region. This book is old, not particularly wonderful, but a treasure for my heart. Diary of Anne Frank? Well, we all read that at school. A young girl who knows so little about Life and the forces beyond our control. Here is another, similar but not so well known. People are so resilient, so courageous. I peeked at the photos and was relieved to see that the author lived a long and fruitful life. Soon I will relax with a cuppa and discover more.

I really enjoy the television show Bones, where the good guys always win and the baddies are caught. Kathy Reichs is a real forensic anthropologist. She started writing books about someone like herself and one was the inspiration for the television series Bones. If you read through the credits you will see that she is a consultant for the show. The character nicknamed Bones is a version of Kathy Reichs. Yes, I have read some of the Bones books before. Yes, they are not all to my taste. But I feel the greed to try again. The books are not like the TV show which is short and punchy. The books interweave several story threads and pull you into a foreign experience. This will be fun and relaxing to read.

Then comes my most interesting find. What a cover! What an idea! So fascinating, so foreign, so colourful. The recipe book actually comes from a restaurant in Chicago which is simply called The Bengal Lancers. So I fooled myself. If it looks too good to be true, then it usually is. Ah, well. Nevertheless, the recipes look tasty and I will be exploring some soon. We are a curry loving couple, my Dear One and me.

Fun, relaxation. Dreams of far away places.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sweet Memories

When I was young and carefree I found the music of Cat Stevens really relaxing and beguiling.

He may have changed his name. I may have grown old and cynical. But the charm of the music lingers on.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Sand Sculpture

Like many Australians I have memories of making sand castles at the beach and in sandpits. Good for developing minds. Good for creative architecture. Good for learning about forces, texture, lines, water, cars, and much more. Good for keeping kids quiet.

In today's world of opulence and opportunity there are artists who make sand sculptures for money. A lot of sand. A little water. Concentration. A dream.
I saw this wonderful dragon in a park near here. Of course he needed a shady site; we are in the tropics. This took hours. Incredible talent and skill. My efforts were never like this.

The artist placed small paper parcels in the nostrils and lit that. Fiery dragon!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pouch for keys

I actually finished a craft project. On the same day as I started!

I made a pouch to hold the piles of keys that live in my handbag. I need to be able to grab the correct keys quickly and without fuss.

See the writing from the dreaded conference bag.
The blue beads are several different shades and sizes.
I already had some beads and  some scraps of fabric and batting. Blue beads to coordinate with blue fabric. Light coloured lining so I can find the correct keys.

I cut the fabric into pieces approximately 25cm long and 17 cm wide. I did not want a seam at the base. Looking at the finished product, it could be a bit narrower but I still need to be able to reach inside. The finished height seems big but it sits in my handbag in a way that nothing else should fall in.

I joined the batting scraps and quilted that to the blue cotton fabric. Love that new walking foot! Then I sewed the side seams. I made the lining to match from a scrap from a discarded conference bag. It is annoying to accumulate these bags and a project to use some of the fabric was welcome.

To make the base I folded the corners to form triangles and simply stitched  across, 2 centimetres back from the point.

Then I joined right sides together and sewed around the top.

Finished pouch.
It stands upright thanks to the quilting.
No seam at the bottom. Decorated.
As the work was now completely inside-out I unpicked a small section on one side seam of the lining and pulled the the quilted part through. Then I stitched the gap closed.

The pouch was fine but needed some embellishment.  This is the era of bling.  I attached a row of beads around the top. This helps the pouch sit without curling. It also holds it open. I attached some small rings to the lining to attach keys. Next time I would attach these horizontally not vertically. Live and learn.

A finishing touch was a tassel made of beads.

Bingo by jingo, the pouch holds all my keys and sits well in my handbag.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Smelly, sweaty, gasp!

I live in the tropics. It is not extremely hot but everyone perspires. Not everyone bathes every day. Result? Some people do smell very strongly. Obviously not everyone notices the smell of perspiration. I do. Often.

Why do some people neglect personal hygiene? Is it neglect?

Not everyone has the same cultural expectation that daily bathing is desirable. Or teeth cleaning. Or hair brushing. Or using toilets. Or changing clothes. Or wearing clean clothing.
Yes, it varies widely.

I recall my father's smell after a hard day's work and the notion that this was an appropriate smell indicating honest labour. Our family did not find it distasteful at that time. I remember my mother using a product called Odorono. My husband and I use a daily antiperspirant. We share. It is irritating that it marks my husband's shirts and the marks can not be removed.

Not everyone has the same access to bathrooms, privacy, toiletries, storage of personal items, or even housing. Some people actively choose to live or camp in the open rather than indoors. Yes, this happens in big cities too. Some people spend their money in a way that does not allow for accommodation. No home, no bathroom, no place to keep toiletries. If your home is crowded with many residents then there may be no private  place to put your personal possessions such as toiletries.

On the other hand some people do not wish to use soap or toothpaste or shampoo or deodorant. Their choice.

Here is an interesting article about deodorants and antiperspirants in the USA. I had no idea that these products had been available for such a long time.

I have some pictures here of deodorant and antiperspirant advertisements. I copied them from the internet as a piece of research. I think the brands are obvious so that should acknowledge ownership of the images. There is no way I could know who created these works of commercial art.

This man oddly has no hair in his armpits.
It might help with effectiveness of deodorants
but it looks strange to me.

Fabio was a favourite model in the days of
Mills and Boon romance novels.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Oh, little town of Batchelor

This weekend is the Lingalonga Festival in Batchelor.

Batchelor is a cute little town nestled in the jungly rainforest not far from Darwin. This tiny and tidy town is about an hour's drive south of Darwin, just a little off the highway.

The rather charming town of Batchelor was once known as Rum Jungle. There is an interesting story associated with that!

As Batchelor however it boomed as a mining camp in the 1950s when the uranium search was rampant.  There was a very substantial uranium mine there and workers came from all parts of Australia.

On this map Batchelor and Rum Jungle are shown as separate places. Rum Jungle is the mine site.

This map comes from the Litchfield National Park website.
Temperatures are usually about three degrees warmer than Darwin during the day and a bit cooler at night, due to being inland.

Some of the original buildings remain in use and some of the houses are still occupied although they have been modernised somewhat. The Education Department owns buildings and land which are used as a camp with huts, shower blocks, and a big kitchen. The original pit has been filled with water; once it was used for swimming but is no longer considered safe. The airstrip is still in use and is popular with parachuters.

There is a primary school and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Education which caters for some tertiary level students, flying them in from bush communities to workshops and lectures. There is a fully accredited child care centre. I have seen the Post Office, service station, a motel and a shop. Now the residents have built a folk museum. My choir will be performing at the opening of the museum.

When I was a child in Toowoomba in the1950s a family came to live next door who had spent three years living in Batchelor. They appreciated the fresh fruit and vegetables which they had missed while living in a remote mining town. Suburbia was a better choice for a family with four young children.

Batchelor is a pretty little place that has become a hub for Litchfield National Park. Waterfalls, safe swimming, beautiful rainforest, interesting woodland, fascinating termite mounds, space to breathe.

Come to Batchelor for a tree change, for a quiet life. You can find more information and pictures here. You may have to copy and paste the URL into your browser.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012