Saturday, 10 October 2009

Granite Country

South of my days' circle, part of my blood's country, rises that tableland, high delicate outline of bony slopes wincing under the winter, low trees, blue-leaved and olive, outcropping granite- clean, lean, hungry country.

We’ve just returned from a spell in Judith Wright’s granite country.

Despite the fact that it’s nominally spring, there were frosts in the morning, and a fire was necessary at night.

It’s hard, flinty country, where they grow rocks with spectacular success. There are lots of boulder farms. Boulder farms are like prickle farms in the sense that a successful product is assured despite the season.

Lately, the season hasn’t been too good. Fires are a problem, and this country burns pretty well with the wind behind it.

Apart from the boutique wineries, and the national park, Stanthorpe is well worth a visit. It’s a community untypical of Queensland country towns – partly, I’m sure as a consequence of a thriving Italian influence. Whilst most of these families are third or fourth generation Australians, they maintain the entrepreneurial spirit of their immigrant parents, and there is a style and flair not apparent in other places.

I like the plonk up here, and my bride enjoys the countryside. We were able to tour the wineries with the roof down, and that provided a feast for the senses. It was just cool enough to be bracing, and the sun was pleasant whilst driving until about 10am.

The problem, of course, is that the driver can’t taste, so it pales somewhat.

The solution, I’m sure would be to resurrect an idea from the twenties – the charabanc. The marketing possibilities are endless. One of the Stanthorpe entrepreneurs should pick it up.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


I've been a bit quiet on the blog recently, having been to the mountains and back - but that's another story.

Last week I disposed of a trailer, which was excess to requirements now that all offspring have left home, and there is no longer a need to own something capable of moving books, CD's, computer games, bed and desk in one hit.

I'd bought a tradie's trailer for this and it was well-suited to the job being secure, waterproof (it always rains when we shift) and about the right size. I also thought that it would be relatively easy to sell when the time came, and I was right.

After only one day's advertising, I had a call last Sunday from a young carpenter (who called me "mate") wanting to come around and have a look at it. He turned up, driving a diesel ute with P plates, and looked about 18 or 19. He hailed from out of town, so was anxious to get the deal done and tow the trailer home.

We agreed on a price - very little haggling occurred, and he presented me with cash. He was $100 short, so went out to talk to the "missus" (his term - she was about his age) who was sitting decoratively in the ute, and returned with the extra dosh. The only slight complication was an incompatible trailer cable, but he went to Supacheap and bought one. We sorted the rego transfer, I gave him a receipt, and he drove away with the missus and trailer. I put the four figure cash amount in a safe place until I could bank it on Monday.

When I got to the credit union the next morning I discovered that he's given me $100 more than what I'd thought we'd agreed to, and what I had written on the receipt. We'd counted the initial sum together, but not the extra bit from the missus.

I phoned him - and he said that there must have been a misunderstanding, as he paid me what he thought I'd asked, and there was no need for me to refund the $100 which I told him I was prepared to do. All he wanted was for me to amend the receipt - for his tax.

I posted him an amended receipt.

On reflection, I read all sorts of doom and gloom about the current generation and their fast and loose lifestyles. Maybe.. but my experience, through my own kids and the young people (mostly teachers and therapists) that I work with, tells me otherwise.

This young tradie is another example.

It's always easier for cranky old buggers to be negative than positive about Millenials, but maybe if we looked for the good stuff, we'd find it. There are a few bloggers of the far right persuasion who need to consider this.

A Pinch of Common Sense

Courtesy I found this posted in Facebook a few weeks ago, when the faux outrage about mandated vaccination first began to ...