Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Attack sock

I am illustrating flat out these days. I am drawing every little thing an Australian infantryman in the Vietnam War might need on patrol, even including fripperies like a portable radio and a camera. This is an interactive exercise for schoolkids, which will be part of a CD-ROM distributed by the Dept of Veterans Affairs.

Each item has three appearances - how it looks on the shelf waiting be chosen, how it looks when it is first put on the infantryman or in his pack, then how it looks (if still visible) once he picks up his rifle and strikes an action pose.

It was while illustrating the offensive posture of the sock that I have finally succumbed to the ridiculousness of it all. I need a cup of tea.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A formal farewell to the Old House

We had our neighbours from xxw and xxy over in the backyard at xxx yesterday afternoon. The five kids got over their shyness and performed mass gymnastics on the swing set. At one stage Adrian set the double swing swinging hard, with no-one aboard, then crawled towards it. Five grown-ups turned as one and snarled "GET DOWN! KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!" It was just like 'Nam. We had a champagnes and nibbles and agreed to do it again at Christmastime. What nice neighbours we have/had/will have again.

Today I went back for the "last" (ie almost certainly not the last) time, walked into my house, signed an agreement with Terry and Judy and walked out of their house. As I left Judy was tearing the ivy off the wall outside the bathroom and Terry was laying bare the laths above the fireplace with a hammer. So, too late to reconsider then.

Snowy Friday

Its snowed here late on Friday. I was expecting it to fall pretty far down the mountain, but not to fall and settle in our backyard here at the Beach House. We would only be about 50 - 70m above sea level. Marcus had fallen asleep on the way home from town. We woke him up and he was excited, but cold. Michael took it all in his stride. Sun? OK! Snow? OK! Sun again? OK!

Nick and Anna and the girls were our first guests, on Saturday. It was too blowy and cold to take them to the beach, but they agreed it was a fine billet for the summer, and Anna was nice enough to mention that we had done well to have it tidy so soon after moving in.

I took the boys for a Sunday morning walk to the beach while Elf winkled out the very last bits and pieces from the Old House. It was sunny and fine, but the water was c-c-cold. As the waves lapped about our feet I looked up at the snow on the mountain and thought what a funny place this is. And I hope the weather hasn't gone crazy for good.

Beachy Thursday

Thursday was Show Day. We decided the boys are not old enough for us all to get our moneys worth before tiredness overcomes them. We will go along next year, as Elf and I are both big fans of the whole heifers-and-and-fancy-poultry side of it. Spare me the giant inflatable squeaking hammers, though.

I went to the Old House to do some packing. It was a nice day so Elf took the boys for their first walk to the beach. I came home later and we all enjoyed the sunshine in the relatively vast backyard. Marcus and I have adapted our backyard soccer to the wide one spaces. The previous tenant left four of those bamboo-pole kero fueled lamps. We have co-opted two as the goalposts that I defend, while my target at the other end for Marcus to defend is a fairly small yellow beach-style bucket. I also go uphill and have to get over a six-inch concrete step that runs most of the way across the yard.

Friday, October 27, 2006

More scenes from Kingston Beach 7050

Marcus teaching Michael to read. By the end Michael was reading it all unaided.

Diagonal pine, vertical pine, horizontal pine.

A couple of locals working on their tans.

We walked down to the beach yesterday. Boys afrolic in the foam.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

News from Penguin

ABC.net.au says "A new deputy premier for Tasmania will be chosen later this week after the former deputy, Bryan Green, appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court this morning on criminal charges [...] One of the TCC's directors, former Tasmanian Labor health minister John White, and a Penguin-based ministerial adviser, Guy Nicholson, have also been charged with conspiracy."

Guy Nicholson taught at Hellyer College with my dad. It's amusing to imagine the mental images conjured in non-Tasmanian readers' brains by the description of him as "Penguin-based".

Tiny Army Hats

For some reason, I find these pictures really, really funny. Possibly because they come from a website where grown-ups take all this stuff very, very seriously.

The Bowling Shanes Prem. Def. 20 d New Individuals 4

The New Individuals are mostly greenhorns. They were skipped by Maureen. One of the jobs of a skip is to wave their arms, lean over until they nearly topple, waggle their heads and grimace to get the bowl coming towards them to curl, stop or keep going. Maureen kindly did all this for our shots as well as their theirs, and you can see from the scoreboard our bowls were more responsive to body language.

We got 7 on the second end, which pretty much put our stamp on things. Shanes A shaded us again, winning 21-2. The Dancing Simones also came out on top, so it was a terrific night for TBSLBC.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Nah, yeah, just got in from the... coast.

I've got my sunnies pushed back carelessly on my head, traces of yesterday's zinc cream on my nose and a bit of sand in my rope-soled boat shoes. No, not really, although that's the image I will be carefully cultivating now that we live in a Beach House.

Moving was very exhausting and isn't complete yet, but all that's left is little bits of of stuff that needs to be shoved in boxes. We have a garage at the Beach House, which in retrospect should have been an essential criterion of the places we looked at. I now realise that if we'd been accepted for either of the two in Sandy Bay we would be in big trouble now, trying to find homes for all this junk. The garage sale is not far away - there is no way we are taking this all back to the New House.

Cultural note on Kingston - one of the aisles at Coles is labelled Brans.

Here are a few pics of the move so far.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Jimmy Greaves Makes Friends With a Dog

Probably for lovers of soccer and dogs only.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The ute - its kind of like a pickup truck

I rang Hertz last night about 8.30 to book a ute to help us move. After 6.00 it seems that calls are transferred to the USA. Apart from her accent, I could tell by the echo that we were talking internationally. I asked for a Hilux Flat-tray.

Hertz [reading off her screen] Flat-Tray Utility. Is a utility a van?
Me No, it's a ute. It's, aah, like a small truck. You're not actually in Australia are you?
Hertz Yes sir. It's a pick-up truck?
Me [Sigh] Yeah, a pick-up truck.
Hertz I'll put in a request, there'll be a two day wait on confirmation of that. What number can we call you on?

I rang the local office this morning to change the booking to a truck. They had a record of my request, and that it had been denied (no-one had called me). I changed the booking to a truck, which is all OK.

Just now my mobile rang and it was the same woman calling from the USA, to tell me my request has been denied, and what else can she do for me?

Darts kicks on in Iran with full support of Muhammad

Iran's three-times national champion Sahar Zohouri, 20, made it to the final of the [Asia-Pacific] women's singles.
"I started the game professionally about two years ago but we had a dart board at home long before that," she said.
"I think that this is a very good sport for women since there are no restrictions and limitations about height and weight.
"Even the hijab does not affect you in any way."

Blue food

We were driving. Marcus had been silent for quite a while. "Is there any food we eat that is blue?" The only naturally true blue food I could think of was blue swimmer crabs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Bowling Shanes Prem. Def. 17 d Sisters of Sincerity 6

This game against the old foe was uncannily similar to last week. We are becoming Dusk Specialists. A tight beginning with some generally poor bowling in warm but blustery conditions. Ends went either way as the score snudged along to 6-6. Hunter elected not to smoke this week while skipping. He has learned the basics of skipcraft from Dean, and true to form, was often busy on the phone when needed for some wise counsel.

Eventually as the sun slipped behind the smoothly robust Plaister Stand, and dusk fell, we came into our own. Or the Sisters lost the plot, more like it. Somehow we piled on 11 unanswered points and the score blew out. Sally skipped the Sisters well, but perhaps needs to remove her sunnies after nightfall in future. Our best was probably Hunter, who has started Mo-vember early with a beautiful Chopper Read lookalike mo.

At one stage the Sisters' lead suggested they needed to go man-on-man. If can each beat our direct opponent, he said, we should come out on top. While I am always glad to see footy tactics utilised on the green, I believe bowls is not quite like that. A team's performance is more than the sum of its parts. We did not bowl that much better than them, but we cleaned them up.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We have a permit!

We have our building permit! This is very exciting, as we have been working towards it for about eighteen months. We also have a house to move into, at Kingston Beach. We sign the lease tomorrow and start moving on the weekend. Only five or six more sleeps in the old house. I'm a soup of different emotions.

For anyone who knows Kingston, our Beach House is here - photos and contact details to follow.

Starfish hands

The boys have been generally great about getting their conjunctivitis drops. Occasionally they arc up. Last night Elf and I were giving them their drops in the car before we drove home from Citrus Moon, as we thought they would both fall asleep on the way. As I put in the drops Marcus started carrying on, saying it was stinging.

Elf started flicking her fingers, saying "Come on Marcus, starfish hands, starfish hands, take your mind off it". Marcus was crying and blubbing, but manfully tried to flick his fingers like Elf. I too was carried along by her enthusiasm, saying "Yeah, c'mon, starfish hands" as I gave him the last eyedrop. I figured it was a distraction routine Elf had worked out for giving them their drops while I was at work.

Today I found out that she made it up on the spot. Somehow she thought of saying "Starfish hands!" right there in the moment. I can only admire her quick thinking, and wonder at the strangeness of her mind.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh goody, robots

Beautiful, beautiful robots, made by a man named Gordon Bennett.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We are on the border of Rentland, negotiating for permission to enter. There is still the assumption of guilt on the part of anyone applying to rent, that I remember from pre-home-ownership days. You are (or are applying to be) a tenant, therefore you are likely to be a criminal and a credit risk.

As part of our application for one agent, we have been asked for five references EACH (including one from our parents/guardians - we are both over 35). Also 100 points of ID proof. Also - all applicants are asked to present at the Tasmanian Collection Service office, pay $13 each, and obtain a statement of their credit report.

We are hoping to reason with them, on the basis that we own our own home outright, and we have lived in the one spot for five years, and we have lovely smiles. I have no intention of paying for a blank credit report, and I will provide three references but five is crazy.

We saw two nice enough houses in Sandy Bay today. We will apply for both. We saw one at Mt Nelson that might be kind of OK, but I couldn't concentrate on it. The current tenant, who was asked to be, and appeared to be absent, suddenly came halfway down the stairs while we were all standing in his kitchen. We only saw his socks and heard his half-asleep confused and heavily accented ramblings. We had a look around the gorund floor at least. One unused bedroom had a bag full of Do You Really Know Jesus DVDs spilling across the floor.


Both boys have got a bout of conjunctivitis. Michael caught it first, from Friends daycare we think. He seemed to be over it, then Marcus caught it in one eye, now Michael's is making a comeback. They both dislike the eyedrops, but Marcus is particularly hopeless. There is no reasoning with him. He completely goes to pieces and has to be sat on and restrained. Worse still the eyedrops that we have been giving him haven't been working as they are anti-bacterial, when his infection is viral. Or maybe vice-versa. We have new drops now. Elf is doing the heavy lifting on the conjunctivitis as she always does when the boys are sick. I am thinking of minting her a medal.

Jive talk

I was getting Marcus to read me the prices from an electrical catalogue. "Three hundred and ninety five dollars. Six hundred and ninety dollars. One hundred and thirty nine dollars. Dad, why don't you 'freak me out' and ask me one with four numbers". He actually said it with the quotes, as though it was a bit of new 'jive talk' he was just trying out.

Michael picked up my address book, and happily carried it around for hours, and now has it in bed with him. He was saying "this colouring-in book has no pictures", over and over, and each time with the same surprised tone of voice. Elf pointed out later it was because he was copying a bit of Wiggles dialogue, where Greg is doing magic tricks. On one circuit of the sunroom/bedroom/dining-room loop, he was saying to himself "a goose and a moose, Dr Seuss, as loose as a goose...", then on the next he muttered confidentially "this isn't really a colouring-in book".

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fraught at the Big Pool

Elf volunteered me to take Marcus and Lana-from-next-door to the pool. They get on well so I was happy to give it a go. I was looking forward to having two kids with the same swimming ability - with Michael and Marcus I have to sit in the baby pool with Michael, trying to keep an eye on Marcus while he zooms around through the crowd.

I was only slightly apprehensive about the change rooms situation. My friend Rob takes his daughter into the blokes changing room, for now. I didn't really want to take Lana in, especially as with Marcus too it wouldn't necessarily be a straightforward in/change/out. Taking friends' kids to the pool is quite fraught, unless you are able to pick them up and deliver them back in some kind of supersize, extra-thirsty towel that doesn't get the car seat all wet. It's the undressing and dressing that makes me nervous in this day and age.

At the Big Pool there is a door marked Family Changeroom, which I always thought must lead to a corridor with a number of family changerooms. Surely there would be too much demand for them to have just one? Well, we had a pretty good time in the water, and when we got out found there there is only one family changeroom, and it was free. We had several knocks on the door while we were in there, so it seems to be in high demand. We managed the whole process without me having a panic attack or breaking any laws - although I am not an expert in this field.

What the lads are up to

I haven't written much about the boys lately, it seems.

Marcus (at 4 years and eight months) is drawing beautifully. He is writing well when he concentrates. The latest thing is to make up puzzles and mazes. Yesterday he drew a man, with stripes of colours here and there, and letters in and around him. Outside the man were a list of letters and swatches of colour to find in the puzzle. The "d" was drawn around the man's eye. It was all pretty ingenious. This morning he drew a patient and a doctor (above). The doctor is trying to give an injection but according to Marcus "the patient is grabbing it to turn it around and stick into the doctor's neck", which smacks of a boy who has been read a lot of Roald Dahl. He was very keen to get all the right instruments on the doctor's shelves.

He seems to have no trouble making friends. He's socially less switched on than some of the other kids, but they are mostly a little older, which can make a big difference when you're 4.

Our main difficulty with Marcus is over-excitement. He gets revved up very easily, and then its hard to deal with him sensibly. He pushes his lower jaw forward, talks in a super-macho grunt, titters with a grating fake laugh and generally gets right up our noses.

He's mad about chess. He was having a little grizzle yesterday about not winning more often. In the course of pointing out that he was doing very well for his age, I asked rhetorically "Well - you have won 2 games so far, how many have we played?" I wasn't expecting an answer but he said matter-of-factly "Twenty eight or twenty-nine."

Michael, on the other hand (at 2 years and nine months), is sweetness and light mostly. He is mind-bendingly cute. He says please and thank you, and when you thank him he says "you're welcome". He has fabulous parroting skills. He remembers, word-for-word, long snatches of Wiggles dialogue. He did his first (I think) deliberate drawing OF something yesterday (initially an insect, he changed his mind before adding any legs and made it a snake). He wrote a few Ms the other day. He dances. He sings. He may have a future on the stage. He still walks about sawing his arm back and forth like Captain Feathersword.

Michael can read something like 30 words. He doesn't have any close friends of his own yet, but he likes palling around with the kids next door, and with a few of Marcus's other friends. He plays outside with Marcus at Friends, and also goes to visit Marcus' Pre-Kinder room quite often. The kids there accept him and he obviously feels at home in their company. I love to hear him yell "See you later guys!!" when we leave Friends. As I write the boys are in bed together, nearly an hour after lights out, laughing their heads off.

Michael is eating a lot better now, and he is looking very healthy. Unfortunately my Mum hurt her back picking him up the other day, when he was distressed that we were leaving. He has packed on the weight since she last lifted him I think.

2nd hand name dropping

A friend of mine who sometimes checks here (hi Jeff) recently went to his annual reunion of footy kickin' mates in Melbourne, which they call Superkick. It's like kick-to-kick Olympics, with various events. Jeff is a bit of name dropper and he revealed that famous singer-songwriter and national icon Paul Kelly is one of his footy pals.

One event was "Freeform"- I will quote Jeffrey's stream of consciousness style

in the freeform event one is aloud to do what ever they want "drop kick to a running man is Kelly's favourite mine is "the coach has been sleeping with my wife and although I have been able to block it out and play I have a flash back while trying to control a dribbling ball, I pause, deliberate, but stoically push on to collect the ball and bang it through the goals on my alternative foot. i missed but still scored close to maximum

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Michael and I talked a bit about how "bark" falls from gum trees, and is also the sound dogs make. He thought it was interesting, and mulled it over for a while, talking quietly to himself. We were at the park, sitting with some leaves and bark and bits of cardboard we had found, which he started to arrange on the table. He said "I am making a dog from bark". Making a Dog from Bark sounds like an event at the Surrealist Olympics.

Bird Calls

Yellow-tailed black cockatoo plaintive plee-erk
Latham's snipe loud keow
Long-toed stint soft chrrup-chrrup-chrrup
Whimbrel tittering ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti
White-cheeked honeyeater chip choo chippy choo
White-eared honeyeater loud chock
White-fronted honeyeater musical tsooeee
White-gaped honeyeater ch ch ch-aweya or chock
White-lined honeyeater wheee wheee whee-oo
White-naped honeyeater sibilant sherp sherp
White-plumed honeyeater chee uck oo weee
White-streaked honeyeater troop drid-out drid-out drid-out
White-throated honeyeater rather peevish tserp tserp
Carpentarian grasswren ssst, ssstz, seeze-ooo chrr chreee, trrr trrrr, chrrrp chrrrp chuck, chrrrp chrrrp chick will

From Slater's Australian Birds. Coming soon - Bird's Australian Slaters

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Our growing boy

Having children is weird. One minute your wife says "I'm going to have a baby" and then five years later its playing chess, and its trying to suck you into an exchange of queens. Marcus actually checkmated me yesterday, and is still crowing about it. (Its true I had been coddling him along a bit, but it was awful shock when it happened). At one stage I noted he had not moved either of his knights yet. He said (direct quote) "I have not found them to be very useful".

Besides playing chess and talking like a PhD student he can also reach stuff on the mantelpiece now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Bowling Shanes Prem. Def. 16 d Spice Girls 6

The score above does not do justice to a cracker of a match. The Girls (skipped by a Steve) were in fine form, and had us on our toes right from the first end. When we bowled well, they bowled better. When they were a bit slack, we were worse. The score crept along to 2-3, with neither side able to capitalise on some promising work by the leads. Both skips sent down fabulous saves to pull back looming disasters from the brink. We conceded a couple, picked up one, then dropped another to be in some trouble at 3-6. It was a seven-ciggie match for Hunter. Nerves were taut.

Somehow we turned things around. At times there was an uncanny magnetic attraction to the centreline - everyone was finding the line beautifully, but having a bit more trouble with the length. We sneaked back on terms. Dean deserves a mention for his brave and precise drive that reversed a losing end. We then scooted away with a four and a three in successive ends. The brave Spice Girls tilt was over. The Shanes A completed a beautiful quadrella with a thumping win on the next rink. (We just missed the trifecta as the Dancing Simones lost by a point to the Bay City Bowlers). Merv suggested all Shanes will have to bowl left-handed next week.

Its been a good start to the season and the smell of Wilgrip, beer and sausages is mighty fine.

3 cheers for Layne Beachley

I have never paid much attention to pro surfing, but no-one could fail to be impressed by Layne Beachley. She has won the world title six times, and has now established the Beachley Classic, the richest women's surfing competition in the world.

She was instrumental in re-etablishing the women's competition at Bells Beach. The sponsor withdrew in 2001, meaning there was no womens' world championship surfing event at all in Australia for three years. Beachley approached her own sponsor SPC in late 2004, and talked them into supporting the whole event on their own.

Now she has worked her butt off to get another World Tour event, the Classic, up and running in New South Wales. I admire her energy and determination very much. She's in the running for her 7th world title, and I hope she gets there.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stained Glass Quoll Wedding

My Mum and Dad came down from Turners Beach for the weekend to mind the boys, and Elf and I flew to Melbourne for another wedding. I don't know what it is about us that inspires weddings, but we have been to umpteen since ours. Marcus came with us to Verity and Glenn's when he was five weeks old, then backed up at Joe and Jill's the following weekend, way up the east coast at St Marys.

As it is Dad's 70th birthday on the 11th, we had Sally and Matt around for a big family dinner. I cooked big atlantic salmon steaks. They were expensive but worth it because they are a) incredibly tasty for all ages and b) impossible to muck up. I fried up some scallops and oysters in butter and garlic for entree for Dad and I - no-one else was interested in eating squishy invertebrates. They were mouth-wateringly good and I don't think I can wait for another special occasion - I might have to just treat myself to some more one of these days.

This wedding was John and Carmen's. It was special for me as John has been my mate since we were sixteen, when we discovered our shared interest in The Cure, beer and shouting. One my happiest memories is the day I came home from a difficult backpacking trip to South America, when I was 20. It was a great experience, but I'd been living on pennies for weeks, encountered all the usual backpacker problems, and been very homesick. I got a cab to John's house, and in no time we were at the pub, playing pool, watching Dean Jones tonk a one-day ton on the telly, and eating steamed dim sims with soy sauce. I think Hunters and Collectors were on the juke box. It was a miracle cure.

Carmen and her three daughters are a perfect fit for John. They have just as much energy, creativity and lust for life as he does, and they will waste no time in telling him when he's being a goose. If he cuts a hole in a box, puts it on his head and talks through it like a newsreader, he will get the pummeling he deserves from his new family. He has been adopted by the whole extended Maltese tribe and is obviously a big hit with all of them.

John and Carmen chose Rupertswood near Sunbury for their wedding. Its a big mansion with an imposing tower (crowded with cockatoos) built in 1874. It's is all very grand - it was the social hub of Victoria, lots of hunting and grand balls. The chapel was once the main ballroom. There are glass panels painted with game and native wildlife, who I guess were possibly game as well. I've never seen a stained glass quoll before.

The service all went well, the principals were both a bit emotional but got through their lines. I saw a few tears from John when Carmen walked down the aisle. She was piped in and out of the chapel by a lone piper - who I think has terrific potential if he practices a bit more. John's father Ian presented Carmen with a tartan shawl and brooch to welcome her to the clan.

The photographer's phone rang during the service - he should have handed in his lenses and quit the caper on the spot. In the pause between service and reception, we mooched happily about the stately verandahs with drinks, and imagined potting at rabbits from the cane armchairs. There were plenty of them (rabbits, not armchairs). Of course it would be a lot easier potting at armchairs. It was beautifully balmy. As the sun set, the wedding party jumped into cars to somehow get more photos. If the sun goes from the east coast to Perth in about 3 hours you wouldn't be able to outpace it in a rented Hyundai Getz. (Supplementary question - are Hyundai going to name any more cars after jazz saxophonists? I'd trade in the Subie for a Hyundai Coltrane.)

My old buddy Alex and his wife Suparna were there. Alex and I used to play cards with John and the best man, Michael, on Thursday nights at the Lord Newry in Fitzroy. I was formerly the Clumsiest Man In Tasmania, and had come to Melbourne to take the title of Clumsiest Man In Victoria (Metro) for a couple of years. (There was a guy at Horsham who held the Country title, he once accidentally demolished the Mechanics Institute). I would put my glass on the floor to avoid knocking it over while playing, and would always then kick it over. I took to doing it deliberately at the start of the night to get the whole business out of the way.

We had not met Suparna before their wedding (the last one we took Marcus to). Elf had not seen them since, and I had but only briefly, so we had a lot of yaffling to do to get to know her better. She is bright, pretty, opinionated and funny, and we like her a lot.

The reception was very musical. Carmen's older daughter Alana had written a song about her, that her middle daughter Elise sang a capella. It was an amazing display of confidence and sincerity from one so young. We expect to see her on Aussie Idol in a few years - or maybe she'll just skip the small-time and go straight to Hollywood. The band flicked the switch from "light noodling" to "high volume funk" and we hit the floor to impress the Maltese guests with our clunky Anglo-Saxon moves. I was mesmerised by Alex's exotic performance skills and didn't pay attention but I suspect Suparna can actually dance. I would describe Elf's style as "do few things but do them well".

Elf and I staggered tiredly away about midnight to our motel. In the morning we drove off to see Mt Macedon. The properties on the way up the mountain are very, very swank. Not new-money swank, but very Establishment swank. A typical ad in the real estate office window said things like "From the principal residence, stroll through groves of liquid amber, spruce, fir, oak, elm, cypress and willow to the summerhouse, or down a country lane lined with dogwoods to the tennis court..." After a sultry evening it had come over all icy. We drove to the top, saw the view and the giant war memorial cross, scampered back to the car, and drove to airport. Everything people say about Jetstar is true.

The boys were pretty good while we were away. Marcus and Grandma played about a dozen games of draughts. Michael was delighted to see us - Marcus was too, but pretended to be disappointed we'd come home.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Kamarians are coming

When the Australian Defence Forces are practicing defending Australia with the use of force, they always call the imaginary enemy "Kamaria". This is to avoid upsetting any of our friends and neighbours who may at the time be considered a likely threat. I recall when I was briefly an army reservist in the 80s, a wizened old Warrant Officer saying "always obey orders without thinking, because when the Kamarians come over the hill if you don't shoot them they'll shoot you in the blink of an eye". While doing a bit of research for work I found this bit of Kamarian insignia.

For realistic training to be available to the troops there has to be an "enemy". In the Australian Army the "enemy" is the 7th Kamarian Division. A special group of Australian soldiers who regularly "invade" Australia or "attack" vital installations.
They have their own type of displaced pattern camouflage uniform and their own Unit insignia.

© www.diggerhistory.info

Animals by Marcus


Bee (my favourite)



The Bowling Shanes 14 d Kitties 7

The Shanes kicked off the new season with a competent performance against the Kitties. We dominated early and had pretty much secured the points when it was 10-0 and already getting dark. It was a cool evening, and the Kitties had some cardigan problems that probably cost them two or thgree shots. Hunter skipped the Shanes for the night, and took best afield with some tremendously precise tidy-ups.

Several of the better teams from last season failed to front tonight. I'm afraid we might have monstered some fragile egos in our unstoppable surge to the finals in June. Just as well they weren't there to see us handed the (now engraved) trophy once more, and finally get our hands on the legendary medallions.

The Shanes have been re-badged as "The Bowling Shanes Premiership Defence", and we have strength in depth with the return of our little mates the Bowling Shanes 'A', plus a lydies team known as The Dancing Simones.

From little things, big things grow. I imagine by 2026 we will have clubrooms, our own greens, pokies and Thursday bingo, with Ian Turpie or Lucky Grilles live on stage on Saturday nights.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Not smart enough for a pub

I went along to the New Sydney Hotel (a reasonably knockabout Irish pub) see my workmate's band The Fops play on Friday night, and was not let in, on account of my footwear - clean walking boots. The guy also mentioned my shorts. In my experience you can never debate with people in his position so I went home.

The reason I didn't get changed and go back is that I think its ridiculous to be excluded from a pub for wearing shorts and boots. I'll be giving this place a wide berth in future. If I'm going to go to the trouble of wearing flash shoes (which I don't very often) it will be for a more significant occasion than going to the pub.


While discussing the merits of West Coast's Daniel Kerr, [The Last Word, ABC Local Sept 24] Gerard Whately's mouth outran his brain: "The effold is two-fect... er, the effect is two-fold..."

Shepherd v Leopard

Further to last week's fragment of doggerel, here are a couple of modifications. I wish I had thought of "intrepid".

INTREPID SHEPHERD CONSUMES TEPID LEOPARD ( or "A spot of lunch after leopardy jeopardy")

While a shepherd was shepherding, a leopard was leoparding
With a gleam in its eye and its dream - shepherd pie
So it sprang at the shepherd who, brave and intrepid
With a thump from his staff split the leopard in half
So it rapidly tired and quietly expired.
Now the shepherd was thrifty, resourceful and nifty;
He said "Here is meat for my lunch,
"Though I can't light a fire, indeed I desire
Tepid, peppered leopard to munch"

by J.D. Rees

The shepherd was in leopard jeopardy.
The leopard ate the shepherd rapidly.
Even peppered he tasted very shepherdy.
Renowned, they are , to cool to tepid rapidly

J. R. McTaggart

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Terry saws our house in half

The people who are going to saw our house in half came to have their first good look at it today. Terry and Maree are going to plonk it by the Carlton River and put decks all around it. The spot where I sit typing, in the sunroom, will fairly soon have water views! Its pretty amazing. They were thrilled with the character of our house and are very excited about the project. They are getting the actual structure for nothing, so it is certainly a great win/win if it saves us $10,000 on demolition.

One problem might be that the contractors want to do the sawing-in-half-and-putting-on-trucks at 3am, to make driving the wide load through town easier. We mentioned this to Mark and Caron next door and they were underwhelmed.

Sunscreen and snow

It was a beaut morning, and I thought we should go for a walk on Mt Wellington. I recommnded the top of the ZigZag Track, because the views are excellent and its flattish. What I forgot was that it blows a gale up there. Michael was asleep by the time we got up there, so Elf stayed in the car while Marcus and I did a few laps around the pinnacle, in very strong and cold winds.

The peaks in the western distance still wear a thick cone of snow, and the wind felt like it had done a few laps around those icy parts before it blew through us. I had foolishly dressed myself and the boys in just a t-shirt and polar fleece, when perhaps two or three polar fleeces and a parka would have made more sense. Marcus didn't care, he thought the whole wind thing was a hoot. There were blobs of snow around and about, not enough for snowballs, snowmen or snow angels though. Its only about a week since it last snowed I suppose.

At risk of having it blown out of my hands, I took a map of southern Tasmania up to the pinnacle to show him how the shapes on the map matched the shapes down there in the view. I think he thought that was interesting, but we couldn't really hear anything each the other said.

We could see our house from up there too - not exactly it but our immediate neighbourhood at least. I always feel lucky to be among tourists from all over, looking down on this beautiful place, knowing that they must move on while I will come back down and live here for as long as I want to stay, with a wild mountain there waiting for whenever I feel the urge to go up to explore it.

Back home we spent a while in the backyard. It got pretty hot, and I was looking around for shade, of which we have none. I was putting sunscreen on the boys and feeling like this had been a fairly extreme kind of day. No wonder I feel so tired now.

Marcus invented a magnificent water pump in the bath tonight. A funnel, that fit snugly into a plastic cylinder, pumped water out of its spout as he plunged it up and down. Excellent hydraulic sausage that he is.

West Coast 12.13 (85) d Sydney 12.12 (84)

Well, what a Grand Final. In-bloomin'-credible. I watched it at home with the family this year, and everyone was very good about letting me just sit in front of the TV for three hours. Sydney were terrible for most of the first half, and were lucky that West Coast didn't take more of their chances. Sydney could have been dead and buried by half time. As it was they came out in the 3rd quarter and showed incredible belief in themselves, to creep within 11 points at the last change.

Last year's grannie was one of the all time greats, and just about everyone tipped that this would come close to matching it. Few thought this match would actually would surpass it. When Kirk grabbed the ball out of the centre, found McVeigh, who hooked it out to Hall, who handpassed to Goodes charging by, who slammed it through for a goal only 14 seconds into the quarter, it was obvious this was going to be a heart-stopper. Sydney five points down. It stayed this way for another ten fraught minutes, then a few rushed behinds pushed it out to 7 points, but the momentum had swung to Sydney and it seemed just a matter of time until their nose was in front. Several times they clawed within one point, but they were never able to go one better.

The siren sounded and West Coast were premiers, after losing to the Swans by four points last year, beating them by 2 points during the season then losing the qualifying final by 1 point a few weeks ago. The exact score that day was replicated yesterday, but with a different winner.

I was barracking for Sydney but I thought West Coast were deserving winners. Sydney coach Paul Roos was almost unbelievably generous in defeat. ""It would have been devastating for them to go down today, considering the amount of effort they've put in." They are just two terrific footy teams, and if they could go on providing grand finals like the last two, I think most footy followers would be happy to see them there again next year, and the year after that.

Rent in twain2

From a Ray White Real Estate ad for a new apartment: "From the second you step through the front door, you are transported into the 21st Century, with bold modern colours adorning walls, unique lighting and interesting spaces." Even homeless people sleeping on park benches are in the 21st century already, Ray White. You've had six years to think up a new cliche.