Monday, June 29, 2020

A big move

Three weeks ago I experienced the biggest change in Dadness since Michael was born. Marcus moved out with his long-term girlfriend Miranda [who readers may remember from 2006].

They are, as the crow flies, 310 metres away. Our friend Steve has given them his studio on a short lease, at a reasonable mate's rate.

Marcus is living over on the dark side of the valley. He misses Winston a lot.

They are getting by on Marcus' tutoring income and Miranda's government Jobkeeper payment, which covers her part-time job while her employer is closed for Covid 19.

They are managing pretty well. Marcus says he was very under-prepared to begin with, but has learnt a lot. He thinks they are ready now to move out long term.

We have all been missing each other but after three weeks we are now into a new routine over here. Cooking for 3, often cooking for 2. We see them from time to time, which is nice. Little by little I am getting used to a new state of Dadness.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Rabbit spray

After my run this morning I was coming back through the part of the park we call ‘Rabbit Alley’. As usual there were rabbits running across the path into their hidey-holes, and as often happens, one of them decided to just sit and wait for me to get closer. I don't know why they do this; rabbit psychology is a mystery to me.

I took my eye off him and when I looked up he was gone, but I was just in time to see the spray of droplets in the morning sun, which must have been from his heels kicking the frosty dew.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


The kittens are nearly 6 months old now. Winston has fully accepted them and enjoys their company. He and Coco are particularly close. I suspect he trod on Ruby by mistake when she was small and she hasnt forgotten.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


This is the best new band I have heard in ages. I learn about new music mostly from this series on YouTube called the NPR Tiny Desk concerts. Always immaculately recorded.

IDLES are British sensitive new age punk. [They insist that they are not punk. They ARE punk like The Clash were punk.] They are blokes who love each other and are happy to show it. They speak about their feminism. They are pro-immigrant. Their lyrics are ingenious, full of punk imagery and life and great turns of phrase. 
Me, oh me, oh my, Roy / You look like a walking thyroid / You're not a man, you're a gland / You're one big neck with sausage hands / You are a Topshop tyrant / Even your haircut's violent / You look like you're from Love Island / You stood and the room went silent 
- Never Fight A Man With A Perm
They have fun on stage and love their audiences. They believe in expressive flouncy dancing. One of the things I found really impressive was their refusal to be "cool". At this concert at Glastonbury, the front man Joe Talbot has a little cry as they come out to play; he's dreamed of this and can't believe that he's really on stage at the festival he's been to before as a punter. I think that's really charming.

Oh, and the rhythm guitarist seems to mostly get around in his underpants.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Quiz victory to King Zog of Albania

Last year the boys and I went to a few quiz nights at the Duke of Wellington. We came 4th on our first try, and were pretty please with that for a small team. Then we came 4th again. Then when we came 4th again we thought ah, this is going to hard to be get past these established (and bigger) teams. On our last visit we struggled, so we left it for a while.

On Wednesday night we went back for our first quiz of the year. We were leading at the halfway mark, which was pretty exciting. We had all contributed some good answers, and of course now Marcus is 18 I was able to buy him a beer which is nice.

The Duke run a good quiz - it's very low stakes and I think that discourages cheating with phones. First prize is only $20 ($10 for second and $5 for third). Also they have a handicap system to try to give everyone a go. I think if you win, you start the next week on -2 points. One team started this quiz on -12!

So we brought it home well and finished in front! We ere all very please with ourselves and we'll be back next Wednesday. We might try to grow our team a little.

I have trouble remembering all kinds of things now but I was please with my efforts; especially dragging out some names that were deeply buried. There was a Harry Potter film question, and the boys knew that the actor had been in All Creatures Great And Small, and then I was able to retrieve his name after intense mental effort (Christopher Timothy). So, good teamwork.

Our team name was King Zog of Albania but next time we are going to be King Kamehameha of Hawaii.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


There's many different definitions of "a successful man". I would not normally describe myself that way.

I just finished work in the Hobart CBD, hopped on a bus, went two stops past my usual stop, and walked 3 minutes to this blackberry patch. It's quiet, the birds are chirping, a light breeze is blowing and the sun over the mountain is slanting through the poplars. About 20 minutes after leaving my desk I am picking blackberries for dessert in a sunlit paddock. 

I am fairly happy with that.

Monday, February 17, 2020

St John's Park

I dropped Marcus at indoor soccer before 7 last night (Sunday) and went for a walk around New Town, with a vague plan to wander through the nearby school oval and follow my nose. It ended up being the most interesting short stroll through an abandoned-seeming but fully-maintained government education/health/social welfare precinct. While that sounds dull, it is anything but. It's made up of buildings from just about every decade back to the 1830s. I am yet to research all this but there's information here.

I say it seemed abandoned but everything is maintained, lawns mowed etc. And there were cars parked all over the place, so there were people at work in the buildings although it was Sunday evening. There are actually three aged care facilities in the area, so that explains it I suppose – I heard music from one of them called Rosary Gardens. The zone had a Chernobyl feel; so quiet but no vandalism, no hoons driving through although it is wide open with two entrances from main roads. I didn't trespass or hop any fences (this time) to get these photos.

Anyway – I clearly know very little so I am going to just dump the photos here and caption them as I find out more.

I walked in via Ogilvie High School. There was a casual game of cricket happening on the oval. I have come across these before, just a crowd from the local Indian or Pakistani community (you'd love to think both) with their families picnicking around the boundary.

Ogilvie High School (1937) has a nice art deco vibe like a few state schools around Tasmania. The St John's Park precinct is up the hill behind it. This is the northeastern end of a very large parcel of state government land that runs NE-SW from  New Town Road nearly to Augusta Road.

These buildings are unoccupied at the moment it seems. But there are cars parked around; there are people inside around here somewhere even on Sunday evening. It's very interesting to me that there is NO graffiti or other vandalism visible here.

The Infants Orphan School, 1861. This is now one of the aged care homes. 

Gellibrand House (1939) was built as a home for World War I veterans. I'm not sure if it's in use now.

I love this corner with its split level roller doors.

I think this is the original 19th century Kitchen (I had guessed it was an incinerator).

I guess they fed wood into the stoves through these??

This joins the old kitchen building to the new (1959) 2-storey red brick kitchen.

I didn't photograph the front of the church and orphan schools because I have before. I've added an image below for context. This is behind the northern orphan school wing. I love the prefab steel stairs.
Two orphan school wings (boys and girls separated) were built from 1831 and 1833. The church in between them was completed in 1834. The white building here was the boy's school.

Nice carved lettering on the dedication stone of the new Kitchen block.

A genuine Musset hut.

Hydroelectric substation 

Above and below: Wingfield House (1939). It was built for kids with polio by the Tasmanian Society for Crippled Children. Like Gellibrand House I couldn't tell if it's still in use, but there’s certainly no kids here now.