Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Years Eve

Are you thinking about New Year resolutions?
Are you planning a party for this evening?
Are you falling about exhausted because of the extreme heat?

There is a lesson here.
Tonight I will be strolling down to the Darwin waterfront where there will be a fabulous fireworks display for families at 9.30 this evening. This is free entertainment and a huge party atmosphere is created with bands, singers, comedians and dancers performing from about six o'clock until midnight. Expecting a big crowd. We went last year and loved it. There are restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and hotels where food and drinks may be bought, but families are encouraged to picnic on the lawn. The entertainment area is alcohol and glass free, and professional security staff assist with this. Another fireworks display will occur at midnight but by then I will be snoring in my own bed.

Tomorrow I will make one or two New Year resolutions, something I have not done for many years. New Year resolutions? Still trying to decide. Perhaps I need to be more like Kermit and a little less grim.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Quilting friend

A lovely thing happened to me.
Cathy Miller in the parkland at the waterfront in Darwin

I read a blog written by a woman I met about twenty years ago. Cathy Miller was a singer. Then she developed into a song writer. It was not long before Cathy started writing songs with groups of people and teaching them to become song writers and performers. This led her to work with a group of quilters and thus she was drawn into quilting. Now, the music is a sideline and Cathy teaches quilting in a big way.

How did we meet? I went to some quilting lessons here in sunny Darwin. Among the group was this charming Canadian woman who had come here because her husband had a contract as an engineer for a year or so. He was busy; she was champing at the bit to do something meaningful. She sang as she sewed.

Earlier this year I came across a blog called Cathy Miller the Singing Quilter.   Cathy Miller The Singing Quilter  I recognised her from a photo on the blog and soon became interested in her travels and achievements. And she travels!

Cathy often bursts into song while she is working at quilt festivals. And when she teaches. Here is one of her youtube clips.

A week or so back Cathy mentioned in her blog that she would be in Darwin so we arranged to meet for a cuppa. Wet day. Not the slightest bit sunny and tropical. But Cathy and her husband John turned up and we chatted for about an hour. Such lovely people.

So if you come across Cathy's work somewhere, or her classes and courses, I truly recommend that you go along and give it a go.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Day 2013

Did you hold the camera crooked
or is the world slip-sliding away?
So... what about Christmas pyjamas??? Useful? Not if made of Christmas print fabric, but doubtless lots of fun.
Found a pattern. Bought some festive fabric. Found some awesome lace stashed away for a rainy day. (Luckily it was raining.) Finally I felt in the mood.
Wore them last night. A bit big, but so am I around those abs. Totally kitsch. Awesomely bogan.

It is rather damp, cool and cloudy around here as we wait at the edge of another tropical cyclone. Very comfortable for wearing good clothes and makeup.
Everything is in place for a great day.

We will be using the good dishes, the napery that almost needed a mortgage to pay for it, eating food that I would not normally even consider, and generally celebrating.
There is so much fancy food it will take until New Years Day to wade through it all.
English cheese in a little crock. Popcorn with macadamias. French champagne delivered by courier. Pudding, two different custards, cake, nuts, cream flavoured with champagne, muffins, stone fruit, mince pies.
Gifts galore. Travel books. DVDs. A spray bottle of Arpege, my favourite perfume. How did we get so lucky?!?!

Telephone calls and texts are flying thick and fast as family and friends discuss gifts and arrangements for the day. My daughter-in-law has forty-eight uncles and aunts so a huge party is on in Melbourne for all of them. My son was so lucky falling in love with that wonderful girl. My daughter's mother-in-law has flown her family to Tasmania to celebrate together. One of my sisters-in-law is at a party combining Christmas and a wedding. Another spectacular affair.

This sounds like I am humungously wealthy. No. Usually life is very simple. Penny pinching. Toast and vegemite with instant coffee. It just all came together for this one day of a lifetime.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cuppa time

We went to a friend's house for a little (big) Christmas celebration.
Joel is French Canadian but has lived in Australia for at least ten years. He loves Christmas even more than I do.
After the lunch Joel made coffee. He likes to serve it in bowls. When I saw this though I had a drink of water. A little too much caffeine for me. These bowls would have held about a litre. Yes, he had one for each of the adults.
The half eaten gingerbread house is in the middle of the table, propped up with a couple of cans.
I had never before seen so much Christmas stuff on one table. And the tree would have done a department store proud. It was a great day, and the only photo I took was this one towards the end of the meal.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Xmas Pud

I have been indulging a little this Christmas season.
It almost seems as the Battle of the Puddings has been taking place.

Last weekend we had a Christmas dinner with our daughter and her partner. Presents. Toasts. Turkey, cranberry sauce, roast vegetables, Christmas pudding with brandy custard, and home made chocolates. Champagne for those who like it; beer and water for the others. Excellent.

Did I make the pudding? No, I bought one from the supermarket. No special brand or anything, just the supermarket line. It was really good. This pud had a preserved pear in the middle and was extra fruity. Heated it in the microwave. It came with edible gold stars to sprinkle on top. More than enough for four adults. Would serve eight easily. Looked marvellous. Tasted great.

Now what to serve for the real Christmas dinner? I found this Jamie Oliver pudding at a different supermarket. You have some strong competition Jamie.

Have I ever made my own Christmas pudding? Yes, several times, in cloth and in a metal dish. I do not think they were particularly good though. Last year we bought one of Heston's with the preserved orange in the middle. It was good too, but is not available this year. Maybe next year I will try harder and create something extra special; in the meantime though my wallet can do the work.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Incredible Christmas Spirit

Have you seen this?
Yes, I know it is about advertising. This advertising will never affect me because of where I live. But it is amazing!!!!!


Monday, 9 December 2013

Performance of Messiah

On Saturday night I sang with the Darwin Chorale in Handel's Messiah in the Supreme Court building. There was another performance on Sunday afternoon too. Both shows were sold out. Men, women, children, young and old. Not cheap either.
In this photo you can see the four soloists, the conductor Matthew Wood, the Darwin Symphony Orchestra and the Darwin Chorale. The soprano (in black) is Jassy Husk. The mezzo-soprano (in red) is Caroline Vercoe. The tenor is Robert Macfarlane. The bass is Simon Lobelson. The two men wore white tie and tails and the ladies wore evening gowns.
I am on the right hand side, not far from the timpany. Second front row. Second from the end. Next to the blond lady who is actually standing at a lower level than I am. The singers with different coloured scarves are the visiting choristers from Dili.

The soloists are standing just at the head of the stairs so the railings look a bit odd. This is not my photo, because I was busy at the time, but it was shared with me and many others.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Link to free gift tags

The photo is from the same site, Lindsey Bee.
I saw these tags on another blog and chased them to their original owner. They are free and the words are lovely.

A bit of fabric paint, some glitter, and bright ribbon - Voila!

I thought that a group of these presented in a decorated satchel would be a rather nice gift for someone housebound. My sister lives in an area with few shops, so you can guess what will be in her parcel. If I post it soon ......

Follow the link and download what you need. You can also see them scattered on Pinterest.


You can see the tags better on this site but you need to scroll down a fair way.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent 2013

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. This marks the official start of the Christmas season. (Shopkeepers seem to think it starts the day after Easter, but they are incorrect.) Advent, followed by Christmas Day and then the Twelve Days of Christmas. Fabulous.

I love Christmas. I enjoy the excess and the colours, the music and the parties, the posting of gifts and the waiting for something special.

We are already well into our second Christmas cake and enjoying every slice. I have made jars of chutney to include in some hampers with other gourmet treats. There is a plentiful supply of handmade cards and the first one will be used today when I write the weekly letter to our son. Friends are holding a Christmas barbeque next weekend, with a turkey and all the trimmings. This week is the Christmas party for my knitting group. Gossip time!

What is Christmas time for me? Stone fruits, mangoes, cheesecake, barbeques, swimming, Christmas cake, cards, costumes, parcels, mince pies, Christmas carols, fancy biscuits, salads, decorations, Christmas trees, lights, phone calls, parties, and singing.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Advice from Dolly

It is a fabulous day today. Tropical, sunny, hot, breezy. My home has returned to normal, close enough. The harbour is busy. The sea is sparkling. All is right in my world.

I saw this interesting advice from Dolly Parton and think it is worth sharing. Dolly is such a hard worker with an eye for making the best of things. I admire her. Gotta love those wigs and the costuming. (Rule number 8 is a stunner.) I think Rule number 9 was written with me in mind. Now if only I could achieve that tiny waistline; more effort required on my part.

1. If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!
2. Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
3. If you don’t like the road you’re walking on, start paving another one.
4. Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
5. Smile, it increases your face value.
6. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
7. You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.
8. There’s no such thing as natural beauty.
9. I’m not happy all the time and I wouldn’t want to be because that would make me a shallow person.
10. Some of my dreams are so BIG, they’d scare you.

11. I’ll never harden my heart, but I’ve toughened the muscles around it.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Still in cyclone mode

This photo is from Sky News.
My building is the blocky one on the right.
We have been watching the weather like hawks. Patchy rain and storms, thunder and lightning, strong winds, big clouds, and periods of blue sky and sunshine. A mixture. It is only a Category 1 cyclone.

Alessia has changed direction slightly. We are now expecting gale force winds between midnight and dawn tonight. The worst will be near Port Keats, and we will just get the tail. Schools will be open tomorrow and it will be business as usual.There is no need for anyone here to go to a public shelter. Different for Port Keats of course.

My home looks like a plant nursery with as many plants inside as could be done. The outdoor furniture is now cluttering the lounge-dining room. The verandah looks naked and small.

The shops have done good business as we all made sure we had our cyclone kits ready. What are we expected to pack? Here is one list that was suggested by the local newspaper.

The photo is from NASA.
We get excellent weather forecasts.
Fuel for the car.
A waterproof torch with plenty of batteries, candles and waterproof matches.
Portable radio.
Blankets or sleeping bags.
Strong plastic bags.
10 litres of water per person.
Special needs and medications.
Change of clothes.
Books, games, playing cards.
Masking tape.
Portable stove and cooking gear.
First Aid kit.
Copies of important family documents. Copy of the household plan. ????
Pet supplies.

Then they expect you to carry food for five days as well. It is all itemised as ridiculously as that list above.

My summary: pack the car with your camping gear, insurance documents, and your passport. Count your blessings.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Cyclone Alessia 2013 and me

This map shows the predicted path for Cyclone Alessia. It has been developing over the last few days, off the West Australian coast. It might strike us, but I doubt it. Nevertheless, we are already on Cyclone Watch. This means we prepare our kits and get ready.

I must bring in the pot plants and outdoor furniture from the verandah this morning. Anything that can not be brought inside must be very firmly anchored in place. This is a big job.

We live 22 floors up. You haven't lived until you have watched the cyclonic wind and rain from inside a high rise building, heard the noise, and waited for the glass windows and doors to smash. The glass does not break of course; it is thicker than in ground level houses. The doors and windows shake. The building shakes a bit. The wind roars. Anything outside is whipped into submission. Then you look down at the street and everything seems so calm down there. You wonder why you are apprehensive and you wonder if your name is really Sir Cowardly Custard.

It is predicted that Cyclone Alessia could strike Darwin on Monday morning. That sounds like a long time to prepare, but there are building sites with equipment, animals to be considered, homeless people, and a range of business and transport issues. All buildings here are constructed to a code, even garden sheds. They are firmly anchored from the roof to the ground. The big problem is debris of course. There are official Cyclone shelters for people who live in caravans or who have substandard accommodation. We are advised to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours, although here in the city area conditions are better.

Yesterday I went to Spotlight. So did hundreds of other women, all planning on sewing through the weekend. The DVD  sales will be pretty high today as well I expect. And beer, lots of beer.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Laugh time

It is an overcast, slightly wet day here. Lovely. No air con needed. Comfy. My sister sent me some funny photos. I hope they make your day as good as mine.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Locals helping those in need

The local Filipino community held a fundraising night on Saturday to raise money for recovery from the typhoon.

It was a fabulous success with more than $20 000 being donated in just the one night. Some of that money will go to the Red Cross to be used through official channels. Some money will be taken by local people when they travel to villages and towns and will be used directly to assist people. They will go first to areas where our friends have family members. Direct help with a personal touch does much to lift the morale of people faced with such tragedy.

We have many Filipino people here in Darwin. Almost everyone has a Filipino friend or work colleague, neighbour or family member. Single men who live and work in isolated places bring back Filipina wives. They seem to me to be a hard working people in general with a wonderful sense of adventure.

Among all the volunteer acts the Darwin Rondalla performed in the concert on Saturday night. This is a mainly ukulele orchestra which has been running here in Darwin for more than 60 years. The members are Filipino. (By the way, in Darwin this means that someone in the family has this ethnic heritage. There are no ghettos here and everyone intermarries.)

Everyone is happy to help the thousands of traumatised and grieving people who have been affected by the typhoon which struck the Philippines with such ferocity. The stories coming to us are shocking. The international response certainly restores my faith in human kindness.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Highs and lows

I did not get to this age without learning the hard way. I carry baggage you do not see; well, I hope you do not see some of it. I suspect that the better a person's memory is, the worse living with some of those memories might be. If Life was easy then it would hardly be worth living at all.

In my community homelessness and alcoholism are visible. People sleep on footpaths, even in the day time. Violence is visible. Teenagers think it is fun to damage cars parked in driveways. And so it goes. It is very easy to be a victim of minor crime and end up losing hope.

I know I am lucky. I had resilient parents who demonstrated personal strength. I know how easily good things can be ripped from you, never to be regained. I found new ones, when this happened to me, but I see around me people who have been unable to do that. Maybe they have been kicked in the teeth too many times.

Right now many people in our city are fund raising for the relief effort for the Philippines. The typhoon caused massive damage. Pictures of desperate people appear on our news broadcasts. A large medical team left from Darwin and has already started work.

I wonder how so many people will rebuild their lives. Do they feel thankful to be alive or are they feeling despair because of the loss of the world they knew?

It could have been me. It could have been you. Sometimes it is.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Need a night out??

I was sent this photo on Facebook.

My friends know I like a funny turn of phrase.

After I stopped laughing I found out a little bit more about this place.
Yes, you can go there for a night out. They serve meals and have entertainment every Saturday night. Heaven knows what a minnow shot is. The mind boggles.

Big Dick's Halfway Inn is on Cup Tree Road, Gracois Mills, in Missouri in the USA. It is on a lake called Lake of the Ozarks, which is actually more of a billabong, in an area known as Blue Bat Cove. This pub is not actually old and heritage listed; it has been running only since 1990.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Book review

I found this book, The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig, at a book exchange. This is where you bring a book and swap it for a different one. Not exactly a second hand bookshop, as sometimes there will be no money changing hands. A swap shop. The customer gets credit for books brought in and some book exchanges allow that credit to accumulate.

So I picked this novel by Matt Haig. It is his second novel and it appears that his first was very well received.

This is actually a young adult or teenage book. Not really intended for adults. But it was a light read for non-thinking time.
The style is modern and engaging. Punctuation adds to this effect. It is set in the present day.
The characters are well drawn. The writer is very accomplished indeed. It is the people rather than the scenes that are important to the story. The voice is a teenager's perspective.

What is the story? A boy's father has recently died in a car accident. The family runs a small pub in England and lives upstairs. The boy is an only child, about fourteen years old. He sees his father's ghost who talks to him and gives him instructions. Things do not go well. The adolescent boy grows emotionally, due to his skewed perceptions and a series of events.

Would I recommend The Dead Fathers Club? Not generally. I feel a teenager could become depressed if they read this book twice, although there is much to discuss and consider. Deep soul searching. Interpretations of love and values. If you have a host of bad memories then it is disturbing, worrying. If you are vibrant and happy it would be interesting and light. Events in this book do not lead to a happy outcome.

Monday, 4 November 2013

English language fun

Words are my stock in trade. For years I taught using words. I tutor with words. I am not so clever that I can play Scrabble or do huge crosswords, but I like words.

I found this and thought it might be fun for other people too.

English is an interesting language. If we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

English was developed by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

There is no egg in eggplant, neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Breadfuit trees do not produce bread.

When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

English  has been keeping students busy for years.
The farm was used to produce produce.

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

We must polish the Polish furniture.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

You can make amends but not one amend.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

I did not object to the object.

You fill in a form by filling it out.

An alarm goes off by going on.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

Nobody winks while taking forty winks.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. One moose, 2 meese?

When we speak of mouses we always call them mice. Why, when we speak of houses, why don't we say two hice? One index, but two indices.

Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

Sunday, 3 November 2013


Sometimes I feel useless. The chips are down. My spirits are low. Life is heavy.

Then the next day I wake up and my entire perspective has changed. The sun is cheerful. My home is sheltering. My worries are ready to be overcome. I can do it. At least I can do things well enough to be me.

I was bogged down by a computer problem a few days ago. So hard. Aaagh! I tried for hours.

So I went to visit my friend who makes her living from computers. Problem solved. But as Sandra worked on my computer she noticed some of my collection of strange photos. (Idiosyncratic rather than strange.) Soon Sandra was chuckling outrageously. This one particularly amused her. I thought I had shared it before, but maybe not. I hope you get a chuckle too, just like Sandra.

Today Life is just right. A cheerful day, spirits raised. My marriage is not the clubs and spades type; we are well matched and will go on for the rest of our days. Two hearts beating together, not the same tune but similar. I hope you have the same good fortune.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Built in kitchen appliance

This photo shows a built in kitchen appliance that might initially appeal to many Aussie households. Except for the price tag, and the ethical issues. I have this permanent idea in my head that wine is a luxury item and if thirsty I should drink water.

If people have beer fridges outside and wine fridges inside then why not have this little number to keep the cook happy.

Who needs four bottles of wine opened and ready to go? Are there really people too lazy to pour a glass of wine from a bottle for themselves. What is the environmental cost of running such an appliance?

Here is a review I found on the internet:   The Dacor Discovery DYWS4 WineStation allows for opened bottles of wine to be stored and preserved for up to 60 days. The home wine-serving station uses argon gas to stop oxygenation and allows opened wine bottles to be tapped and always available with a press of a button (and a glass). The unit measures about 20 inches across, stands less than 30 inches tall, and has a depth of 16 inches. It can be used in a standalone countertop configuration or it could be installed as a built-in. (So yes, some commitment required; not to mention its approximately $5K price tag.)
Read more: http://www.cnet.com/8301-13553_1-57585690-32/never-open-the-wrong-bottle-of-wine-with-the-dacor-winestation/#ixzz2jQGLgBHq

I have never seen this appliance. I do not know if it is readily available here in Oz. This is not a paid sponsorship or anything like that. I would not buy one. I was sent the photo and I investigated the idea. Now I am sharing with you how the too-rich spend their money.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lexi and her claws

I love our cat Lexi and I know she loves me. It's a give and take arrangement but I am not sure who gives and who takes.

When she was younger Lexi clawed furniture.

Now she only scratches one chair and one of my legs. Yes, my leg. It is her signal that I have been sitting for too long in her opinion. It works too.

We have a settee that has been badly damaged by Lexi's claws. And I am definitely not buying a new lounge suite until Lexi has gone to live in cat heaven. I'll just wait for another six or seven years.

I wonder what people do with furniture that cats have damaged.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Someone else's family

Today I have seen a few photos of the christening of Prince George, the son of Kate and William. I think this one is wonderful. It shows love, tenderness, pride, respect for the past and hope for the future.
Here are four generations of the same family. This is the line of inheritance for the monarchy of Great Britain, and thus the British Commonwealth. Elizabeth, Charles, William, and then George.
The baby is wearing a robe that has been handed down for generations. Everyone in this photo wore this robe for their christening. Laundering that heirloom will be a challenge I expect.

I did not take the photo of course; I found it on the internet after I saw it on TV. This family are a rather reserved bunch compared to other royal families, but see how like every family they are too.

Added later: I have since found out that the christening robe worn in this photo is a modern reproduction of the original garment. The old one was too delicate for use.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

I wonder, I wonder

My son studied law and has two degrees. Then he decided not to work in that field. "Oh dear", thought his mother. "At least he is well educated." His reason? The people he met who were working as lawyers were not the type of people he wanted to work alongside. Hmmm. I would have just found some different people in a different town or something; but ...  There are good and bad people in every line of work.

This came to mind when I read the following joke which mentions a lawyer.

I wondered about sharing this joke as it is rather disparaging. Certainly to tell such a joke in a workplace here would earn you a big reprimand.
Read it. It definitely made me think about several things while I laughed.

An engineer dies and reports to the Pearly Gates.

Saint Peter checks his dossier and, not seeing his name there, accidentally sends him to Hell.

It doesn't take long before the engineer becomes rather dissatisfied with the level of comfort in Hell.

He soon begins to design and build improvements. Shortly thereafter, Hell has air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators. Needless to say, the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day, God calls Satan and says: "So, how are things in Hell?"

Satan replies: "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning, flush toilets, and escalators. And there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

"What!" God exclaims: "You've got an engineer? That's a mistake - he should never have been sent to Hell. Send him back to me." 

"Not a chance," Satan replies: "I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him!"

God insists: "Send him back or I'll sue."

Satan laughs uproariously and answers: "Yeah, right! And where are you going to get a lawyer?"

Monday, 14 October 2013

Would you like rampant children with that?

This is one of the verandahs
at the cafe in question.
Lately we have had meaningful discussions around town concerning children and cafes.

  • Young mothers like to meet their friends at cafes. That's fine. 
  • They like to bring their children. That might be fine. 
  • The children do not always behave well. Some children are noisy. The other patrons become annoyed.
  • The cafe staff find the situation unsafe. Youngsters running about are dangerous while waitstaff carry trays of drinks and food to tables. This breaches Health and Safety regulations.
  • The cafe management tries to deal with the situation by requesting better supervision of the children. Polite signs are posted on doors. Parents are spoken to. Some people are asked to leave. The mothers scream and rant.
  • The press catches the story. Uproar.

Everyone wants this with their girl talk.
The general public supported the cafe management, staff, and owners. The recalcitrant mothers retreated taking their rampant little devils with them.

Now, the particular cafe where it all started is once more a quiet and relaxing place to enjoy a light meal and a chat. Other businesses around town are also reaping the benefits that come from well-behaved.
I am the centre of the universe.

I believe that visiting a cafe or restaurant is not a right but a privilege for children. Certainly there are times in modern life when a takeaway or fast meal becomes a necessity for families. But children actually have to learn the standards of behaviour that are acceptable in different settings. So do the mothers and anyone else who is with the children. Polite behaviour is not automatic.

The gardens are popular for weddings and parties.
Yes, that is a dinosaur scupture, just one of many.
One mother complained that she wanted to take her handicapped child (autistic) out and this was a cause of complaint. I really think that there was no discrimination in her case. I think that if child is unable to behave well in this particular cafe then she could take the child to a different venue where his behaviour would not prove intrusive to others. Maybe this child is not ready or is unable to go to a cafe at all for their entire life. It happens. After all I do not know the correct behaviours for a dog fight or a hiphop dance class, so I do not go. Some people avoid the opera and symphony concerts for similar reasons. There are many factors to be considered.

How do you feel when you go out and there are noisy and active children? What sort of allowances do people make in your area? How tolerant are you? Should the parents act before the children become amateur tyrants?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Solar Cars

We went to see the start of the Bridgestone Solar Car race last Sunday morning. There was a reasonable crowd at the beginning and more people lined the route. An orchestra played. Politicians appeared. Flags waved. Speeches. Cheers and applause.

The race was from Darwin to Adelaide, and has already been won. Less than a week.

Bridgestone, the tyre people, are the major sponsors of this race and there are similar events held in other countries at other times with other sponsors. There have been wonderful outcomes in solar technology as a result of these races and we will all enjoy some of those benefits at some stage.

There are scrutineers for each car to ensure everything is absolutely honest. I chatted with one girl who had volunteered to be a scrutineer, a biochemistry student from China.

Entries came from many different countries. Years back the entries used to be mainly from high schools, but time and costs have changed the race completely. There was one school with a car this year but most were from universities, usually the engineering faculty.

There are different categories. The newest group is for potentially family cars. Maybe some kind of hybrid car is a possibility.

The teams have to camp by the roadside each evening and keep going from the same spot in the morning. 

The rules now state that all cars must have four wheels. In the past some cars had three wheels to reduce weight, sometimes bicycle wheels.

Inside the cars are really empty in another attempt to reduce weight.

Do these solar cars go fast? Yes. The Dutch team actually got a speeding ticket because they were going over 130 km.

Here is a link to give more colour and information. Actually the reporter who did this story, Clare, is one of my daughter's housemates. There was quite a healthy contingent of journalists from several countries. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-10/dutch-team-nuon-winds-world-solar-challenge-adelaide-finish/5014254