Saturday, 23 July 2011

Supporting Bill Morris

Bishop Bill. The Vatican doesn't like ties.

There may be Micks (and others) out there following this.

I've added the website set up by his supporters in Toowoomba to my recommended sites.

Friday, 22 July 2011


On the way back from our break at the beach last week, we called in for a cuppa at my brother’s place.

He’s made an art form of buying homes and renovating them, and making lots of money in the process. He has the uncanny ability of sizing up a bargain with potential, and also the ability to actually do the bulk of the work.

He has obviously inherited all the renovation genes in our family of six. At last count he had renovated five houses, and the one in the mountains behind the Sunshine Coast is the sixth.

As we were about to leave, my daughter spied a furry creature under our car. It was a woozy looking rat. Brother had used Ratsak because he thought he’d heard them scuttling around underneath his project house. He was right – they were setting up residence.

Anyway, the rat simply disappeared, and what was stranger, my brother and his wife didn’t see it after we drove off.

We drove the 150kms home, and put the car in the garage.

I had to drive west the next day to do three days work in schools, so didn’t give it a second thought.

My bride phoned on Monday night. She was not pleased. There was a horrible smell emanating from the garage. Obviously the aforementioned rat had found a place to die somewhere in the bowels of the car. Fortunately you can’t smell it from inside the car, but it’s not much fun to be standing downwind.

What’s the solution?

Our pet canine is part terrier, and I used her nose to tell me that the critter is in a housing above and in front of the offside front wheel. It can’t be reached without some minor dismantling.

The car needs new tyres, so I’ll phone around until I can find a company that will throw in rodent removal with a good deal on 205/55 R1691V.

I’m not in the mood for it today.


I wasn't in the mood for it today, either, but I took Cav's advice.

That's the last bloody time I'll ever do that.

What he should have advised was -
1. Fetch someone with good eyesight unencumbered by graduated lenses (daughter).
2. Fetch something with excellent olfactory skills (small dog).
3. Then jack car up and take wheel off.

What actually happened was that I followed Cav's advice, and ended up with wheel arch liner and plastic undertray detached, but still no sign of rat. The smell was emphatic, so I fetched the dog who immediately became very interested in the n/s disc brake assembly.

Daughter spied what was left of the rat who had been well and truly mashed by the first brake application. It had perched on top of the calliper. It was well hidden on the inside (rear) of the calliper.

It took one minute to remove the smelly remains using a set of disposable gloves, and two hours and a lot of bad language (moderated somewhat by daughter's presence) to reassemble the car.

Thanks Cav....

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sheer Bloody Arrogance

One amongst hundreds

This is one flattened guide post.

One amongst literally hundreds lining the Warrego Highway between Roma and Chinchilla.

It was flattened by a wide load carried by a contractor on behalf of a mining company.

No big deal?

Well, perhaps not by itself, but when hundreds are bent to the point that they're beyond repair, that must cost TMR a fair whack. There's kilometres of destroyed posts along this road. I followed one of these rigs the other day and watched it happening..

Now TMR's funds are derived from the taxes that you and I pay.

I don't know how you feel about it, but I'm not happy with public property being vandalised by corporations that are heavily subsidised and making healthy profits.

I wonder how far I'd get if I went along the road and systematically destroyed hundreds of guide posts?

It's indicative of the contempt the mining companies show for the environment out here, both built and natural. No wonder the locals call them "locusts".

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Nostalgia by the Sea

The esplanade - it was different in 1964

We’ve just returned from a week’s break at Caloundra.

Apart from being about the closest beach to home, for me it’s also a place with lots of fond memories.

Back in the mid-sixties, my dad was the principal of the Landsborough State School. Landsborough’s about 20kms Southwest of Caloundra. With the job came a house, although given that it was a three bedroom cottage, our brood of six created some hassles. It had a sleepout, and as I was the eldest, I drew the short straw.

Fortunately I was away at boarding school for the coldest part of the year, so sleeping outside wasn’t a major issue.

Because we didn’t own a home at the time, my parents decided to buy a beach house at Dickey Beach, Caloundra. This was great, as during the summer holidays, we’d spend all our time there. During the rest of the year, it doubled as a weekender.

Caloundra Surf Club - one of the few buildings that hasn't changed

At one stage, I held a holiday job of delivering mail at Caloundra. Back then, I’d cycle from Dickey Beach to Caloundra township, prepare my pile of mail for delivery, and have the job over by 10am. I’d then have time to cycle home, go bodysurfing in the middle of the day, and then ride back to town to repeat the exercise. In those days, there were two deliveries per day.

King's Beach

I must have been fit.

I was also stupid when it came to sun exposure, and I’m paying for it today.

When I started on the mail run I decided to use my own bike, as the Post Office machines were heavy and clunky. They did, however, have very good brakes. My steed, which I’d actually built myself out of bits, had a hand braking system I took off another bike which sort of worked in the dry. It was next to useless in the wet.

On my third day of the first week, it rained heavily. I found myself at the highest point of town, near the lighthouse, with a full load of mail in two saddle bags, one each side of the back wheel.

Spiky architecture and bikes ghosting by

I set off down the very sleep slope to begin my delivery run. Halfway down, I applied the brakes, as there was a busy intersection coming up. There was no perceptible decrease in velocity. Thinking quickly, I decided to abandon ship by jumping off and rolling on to the grass.

At least this was the intention. What actually happened was that the bike reared up (as a consequence of the heavy saddlebags) and sent me sprawling on my backside. It then hit a fence, looped over it, and sent the mail sailing down the street, all bundled up in rubber bands, one bundle for each street.

How did I survive in 1964 without these warnings?

I was lucky in two specifics. One was that very few people actually saw the incident, and the few who did took pity on me and helped collect the mail before it turned into papier mache as a consequence of the teeming rain.

That was the last time I used my own bike.

Caloundra has changed a bit since then.

So have I, but definitely for the better.

I'm not so sure about Caloundra.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...