Saturday, 7 December 2013


Silver is the new black.

Regular readers will remember that my bride's Ford Focus was hailed.

This, as I pointed out at the time was an ill wind. We were about to trade it, on a late model second hand vehicle, and had been doing the rounds of the various yards in Toowoomba in preparation.

We'd found a Mazda 3 (Skyactiv SP20) which looked pretty good - only 17000 km - but weren't happy with the lousy trade-in. Then we found out that the payout of the Focus was $3000 more than the best offer as a trade, so decided we might as well buy new.
Red cars go faster.

The Mazda was a good car, but lacked both refinement and rear seat space compared with the Focus Trend, that we bought. We didn't want to have to put up with whinges from adult offspring on the fairly rare occasions when we carried them in the rear. The Mazda's Skyactiv technology (including idle-stop) was interesting, but the economy gains marginal at best.

The Focus is like all small Fords, a treat to drive, although the loaner car (a 1600cc Ambiente with the old-fashioned hydraulic power steering is actually more tactile). I believe that a car is for driving, so you might as well enjoy it. The Trend (2000cc) has electric steering. It's initially very light, but firms up as speed increases, and has a good road feel.

We were loaned this until the Trend turned up.

My bride, fortunately, is of the same opinion.

After about a week of ownership, the Trend is looking OK.

It's fun to drive, very quiet, and comfortable. For an old fart like me, it's not too difficult to enter and leave. SUVs are superior in this respect, but we weren't inclined to be saddled with driving around all that extra metal.

It comes with a full size spare (rare these days), 60 profile Michelins, and the Sync feature which allows you to talk to it.

This works well with the phone, but is a bit unnecessary with the audio, as you can do most things using the steering wheel mounted controls.

The sedan is lighter, stronger, and easier to see out of than the hatchback.

And if I want to shift anything large, I'll use the trusty ute.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Welcome to Queensland

I'm reposting this from the 7RAR Facebook pages.

When it comes to living in Queensland these days, it says it all.

A young soldier has told of being strip-searched by police in front of his home as the Queensland Government's tough anti-bikie laws continue to take a toll on recreational riders.

1RAR soldier Private Noah Schefe, 22, who is a member of the Townsville chapter of the Patriots Motorcycle Club, was searched by police outside his home about three weeks ago, late at night, after he returned from the chapter's clubhouse.

He was not charged with any offences.

Patriots Australia is a military club for serving, former regular and reserve members of the Australian, Commonwealth and Allied Defence Forces.

It regularly participates in fundraising for charities, recently raising $4500 for Legacy Townsville.

The club publicly condemns all criminal activity, and is not included in the government's list of bikie gangs declared as criminal organisations.

Pte Schefe said the police officer who searched him was not aware of the club, nor had any interest when told about it, despite Pte Schefe showing the officer his Defence ID card.

``He got me up over to the cop car and put me up against the car and started pulling everything out of my pockets and taking my boots out,'' he said.

``The other cop had my bag on the bonnet and pulled everything out of my bag, searching the whole lot.

``They had me there for probably a good half an hour, at 1.30am, with all the lights on and everything.

``All my neighbours saw it - I'd just moved into this house about two weeks beforehand - they're sitting there thinking they've got a criminal bikie who's moved into the neighbourhood."

There are about 20 members of the Patriot's Townsville chapter, who based their constitution on the Defence Law Manual, following the rule of civilian law.

``We're only doing good things for the community,'' Pte Schefe said.

``To be treated like a criminal, for the same reason someone's shot somebody on the Gold coast, it's absolutely ridiculous."

Local Government Minister and Mundingburra MP David Crisafulli told motorcyclists gathered at a public rally at Anderson Park yesterday the new laws should not be making innocent people feel like they were being treated as criminals.

At least 100 motorcyclists attended the protest, alongside riders from across the state as a show of solidarity against the laws, aimed at criminal bikie gangs, that have resulted in the harassment of law-abiding people.

Mr Crisafulli told the crowd gathered at the rally the Government's laws were in place to target the one per cent of bikies carrying out criminal activities.

``The rules are there to protect the community and I don't think we should move away from that,'' he said.

``By the same token, the rules should not be there to make innocent people feel like criminals.

``Because you ride motorbikes, and have tattoos, it doesn't make you a bad person."

He said he was willing to speak to motorcycle riders about "getting the balance right" on the legislation.

Motorcycle Riders' Association Townsville spokeswoman Karina Ewer said the "one-per centers" were not the only ones being targeted by police.

``We've had a woman pulled over nine times because she rides a Harley,'' she said

``There are people here from all walks of life, and we have all been affected in some way, and we won't accept being classed as collateral damage."

She said the bikie laws were having a devastating effect upon clubs who conducted charity fundraisers.

``The MRA raises about $10,000 for Christmas every year through its toy run, every year,'' she said.

``We literally had people walking to the other side of the street to stay away from us, for the first time ever."

Last month the Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) launched a fighting fund to raise money for any High Court challenge against the laws.

Monday, 2 December 2013


Somebody posted a reference to Chickenman on the 7RAR Facebook page the other day.

I thought it might be a good idea to post a link on this blog, as I know a few fellow vets read it, and it might bring back some memories.

Anyhow, I couldn't find it, so am posting this instead.

It was played on AFNVN in 1970, when I was there, and no doubt many years before and after.

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...