Sunday, November 11, 2018

Another letter to The Mercury

I have not yet learned to just skip Charles Woolley's column. The last one featured what feels to my ear like a made up quote and it lit my blue touch-paper.

- - - | - - - 

In his column in Tas Weekend 10/11/18 Charles Woolley admiringly quotes Norfolk Bay anti-fish-farm activist Mark Duncan saying “Mate I’m not a bloody greenie tree-hugging feral. I’m just a knockabout bloke … protecting my patch. I’m a local”. Woolley goes on to disparage the Greens as a voting option for people like Mr Duncan.

Many environmentalists trace their commitment back to some trigger event close to home that affected them and their neighbourhood personally. After this, their empathy for other people and other habitats led them to get involved in wider issues while continuing to advocate for their own patch. This is expressed in the slogan ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’

Whether Mr Duncan likes it or not, he is an environmental activist. He may one day develop empathy and start to care about issues not directly affecting his patch and his business. He may not. Either way, he might get more boats joining his flotilla if he stops bagging people with a genuine passion for Tasmania’s environment. If only knockabout blokes with shacks or businesses in Norfolk Bay are allowed in his group it might struggle.

At least he got a good promotional piece for his fishing charter business out of Charles, although he forgot to include the phone number.

Chris Rees
South Hobart

Wednesday, November 07, 2018


Launceston is a surprisingly interesting place. It had the first electric municipal streetlights in the Southern hemisphere (1895). And the first underground sewer system in Australia – which is still working today. It's got a great range of architectural styles, especially from the 1890s when Hobart was in a depression, but Launceston was riding on Melbourne's coat-tails. Then there's this Gas Board building (a retort I think) from 1930.

A lot of suburbs are low-lying, and they regularly flood. The floods of 1929 were very serious (22 dead) and the photos of it are remarkable. 

And that brings me to what I came here to talk about. One of Australia's great footy grounds, York Park is by the river in Invermay. Across the river is undeveloped floodplain. Heaps of it. So when you look at an aerial photo (this has east at the top), there is nothing, nothing, nothing, fields, the river, a quarry, fields, a road, fields, nothing, the river again, then BAM an established AFL venue. It's odd, no?

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

At the PO in 2018

I just sent off Jacki's birthday present at the local PO. It has always been staffed by the older age bracket of postal clerk – the youngest is over 55 and seems… grim. Next door to the PO is Hobart's largest elder care facility. 

 I formed a 1-man queue behind a nice old gentleman who was withdrawing $500. As I waited I heard the familiar skipping snare sound at the start of Blister In The Sun by the Violent Femmes on the radio. 

When I'm out walking I strut my stuff
And I'm so strung out
I'm high as a kite I just might stop to check you out… 

OK now you'll need your pin number.
Ah, oh that might, ah, that might be a stretch…

…body and beats, I stain my sheets I don't even know why…

Now it should have four numbers, you have only put in three.
Aaah - ooh, I, ah…

…my girlfriend, she's at the end,
She is starting to cry 

No, that's not it is it. OK, you've got another card?
I do, I… here it is

Let me go ooooooooon like
I blister in the sun 

Well do you know the number? This one needs a PIN number too. 

Let me go ooooooon
Big hands, I know you're the one…

* * * *

I stuck on my nine stamps. This was all still going on as I left. Good luck sir and well done to the grim postal clerk for holding it together and being respectful.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Tuesday Night Soccer 30.10.18

Well this was a bright idea - I hurt myself on Tuesday and won't be playing again for a while. But nevertheless I scored three goals (can only remember 2 right now) and did a couple of nice passes.

White: Steve, Cam, Troy, Old Sean, Pat, +1
Black: Adrian, Me, Rick, Hazel, Ben

  • Took the ball up the centre and space opened up so I toed it at Steve in goals. He didn't see it coming and fumbled it in, and it hurt his wrist
  • Little give and go with Adrian, punted it into the corner with my left toe
  • Long looping pass onto Rick's head which he put away
  • Left foot chip over traffic, again to Rick, led to a goal.
I was sore all week and probably shouldn't have played, was just curious to see what it would do to me really. Now I am really sore, had an x-ray on Friday to indicate if its tendonitis or osteitis. I am 50 years old.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tuesday Night soccer 23.10.18

I love to think back over my soccer career and relive little moments to lull myself to sleep, or pass time waiting for a bus. As my memory is starting to develop small gaps and holes, I am going to record some details for our Tuesday night soccer kickabouts at Rosny college gym. This is extremely self indulgent but I don't know how long I'll be able to keep doing this, and I enjoy the memories so much - it would be a shame to carelessly lose them.

Black: Me, Cam, Adrian, Hazel, Matt
White: Old Sean, Young Sean, Rick, Anthony, Pat

I scored 4.

  • Carried ball through centre, Adrian called for it on right and I half dummied then went left of old Sean, rebalanced and sidefooted it past goalie on right.
  • Cannoned off me unawares and went in
  • I took it off Old Sean over by the netball pole, then took it to the byeline, worked along it looking to cut it back, noticed Pat was off the goal line and just flicked it in with the outside of my right.
  • Hazel was throwing out from goal, I was zigging and zagging looking for space. He hurled it hard, high and wide out left. It was out of normal reach but I was in tons of space so something made me leap out for it, maybe knowing I had time to recover if I got it. My first touch was in midair, and perfectly halted the ball. I landed and kept going with momentum which meant I swung around with the ball on my right. Took a touch and then buried it. A gem. I felt like Nureyev but probably looked like a flying wardrobe.

Michael's next mountain walk

Our boy had a day off school (Moderation Day, we used to call it) and wanted to walk up the mountain on his own. We were dubious but talked ourselves into it. He's walked most of the planned route numerous times, and we had worked out a new way to the foot of the track without walking up roads without footpaths.

Elf and I were both at work, monitoring his progress by text. He left home just after 9, and made it to the Organ Pipes at 12.37 or 12.38 (he says). Then he sat on top of his favourite Pipe (which slopes back a little towards the pinnacle), had a snooze, then walked home.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lost World walk

Michael was keen to go for a walk on the mountain today. I suggested a short walk so I could keep him company and not take too big a chunk out of my Sunday. The Lost World track looked like a good one on the map - steep but interesting.

We can see the Lost World area from our house. The small peak is Mt Arthur
(I think I have told people in the past that it's Collins Cap but that is quite a bit further away)
I imagined a track of hundreds of steps, in fact there was not one. Instead, think of large boulders, with arrows scratched on them to keep you going in the right direction.

My guide, the nimble-footed Michael, at the top of the descent.
The Big Bend, Pinnacle Road - we parked the car near the white car in the centre.
The first 10 metres of the track was a peat bog, and after that is a dry rock scramble.
We descended for about 20 minutes. The Lost World Track meets the Old Hobartians track down below, but that is closed still since the August storms. I was happy just to get that far and turn around. In fact it was such a steep and laborious descent that a picked a spot with a good view and told Michael I would wait there for him. He went down to explore.

The 'Organ Pipes' on the eastern face of Mt Wellington/kunanyi are huge dolerite columns.
Here further north there are smaller ones – I always think of these as the Little Organ Pipes.
Michael is at the very centre of this pic. You can see where at some stage of geological time
a lot of the columns fell and smashed. They are distinctly hexagonal in section.

The climb back up begins
I am probably haunted a bit by my near-miss when I got lost walking in India. I just did a search of the blog and I realise now I haven't written about it here, except for this tiny snippet. Anyway it has made me uber-cautious about getting lost or injured walking out in the bush. But now I know the lay of the land here, I'll be happy to come back and push on further.

The amazing part was how fast it was to get back up to the top. The process of choosing foot- and hand-holds on the way down is so slow, that it actually is way quicker going up.

A day in Melbs with the boys

Marcus goes in every maths competition that crosses his path. A month ago he received an invitation to an award ceremony in Melbourne for one of them. He had Achieved Outstanding-ly, without winning the lucrative first or second prize. He was keen to just fly over and back in a day on his own to get his certificate, but we were not ready to give him quite that much freedom.

Michael and I accompanied him and made a (long) day of it.

 I let the boys have the iPad on the plane ( I was sitting separately) and they went selfie-mad.
As an experiment, on the way into the city in the morning we caught a local bus (901 to Frankston) as far as Broadmeadows Station, and trained in from there. On Saturday that costs $6 ea and that is your public transport paid for for the day. [On the way back to the airport (when I am more nervous about being late) we just caught a cab.]

The train station is really just an annexe to the Kebab House.

Our first stop in the city was the National Gallery of Victoria and the first thing we did the was - eat chips. Elf wanted me to take the boys. After an hour of art I was keen take them through the CBD but they both enjoyed the gallery and wanted to keep looking at things.

Marcus loves the collection of 1960s moderne furniture.

This is at the venue at Melb Uni where Marcus was getting his maths prize.
The carpet is patterned with numbers
Marcus is in the background - prize recipients sat in the middle and family at the sides.

Various profs shake his hand. He was one of 18 getting $50 for 'outstanding achievement' - first prize was about $600.
Next door we explored the School of Medical Science, which is where they have preserved these carved desks or benches, which are mounted on a wall. There are also richly decorated pharmacists' jars like the one below.

Celebratory dumplings and chilli prawns at Shanghai Village in Chinatown [112 Little Bourke for future reference]
We walked down a lot of alleys and lanes working our way down to Flinders St.

 … and arcades. We were lucky to be here just when Gog and Magog donged their bells.
Gog's went 'clang' and Magog's went 'clunk'.
We were too late for; and will return to [notes to self] ; Wunderkammer at 439 Lonsdale St, The Watch Gallery at 337 Little Collins St, the old High Court where Elf's grandad presided at 455 Little Bourke St, and the Immigration Museum at 400 Flinders St.

At Flinders St Station we passed under the clocks, hopped in a cab (spending our savings from earlier) and got to the airport to find our flight was delayed and we had over-abundant time to flop around.

A good day, everyone had fun and Marcus is better off by a $50 voucher.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Woodsdale footy ground

I took Michael up to Buckland, about an hour north, to go horse-riding. he went off on a trail ride so I went looking for the fabled Woodsdale football ground nearby. It was well worth it. Now grazed by sheep, the club is in recess but has not folded. Hopefully the sheep will be shooed away soon and the lines marked for a return to competition.

The view from Woodsdale Rd

The long steep driveway down. Its behind an unlocked gate.

Sheep graze around the 40 metres out from goal.
They have no chance of sinking one from there – they're sheep.

The clubroom, scoreboard and mini-playground.

Practice cricket pitch - they would erect nets around it in season I guess.

The view from the scoreboard. My real reason for coming was to
file a report for Scroreboard Pressure, the blog of record for Australian scoreboard lovers.

I am not a selfie-taker but this is a a special for Chonk in Winterthur. Thanks for the beanie and scarf!

This is the final score from Woodsdales last grand final win, over Mount Pleasant in 2012.

I call the typographic style untutored but confident.