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-take 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.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 World Cup

I am excited for the World Cup. Really excited. Everywhere you look there are epic possibilities and echoes of past glory, past ignominy.

Tunisia! Playing England in their first game! They were there in my first time cup in 1978. The prospect of them getting a result against England is quite tantalising, quite naughty.

 Speaking of which - Iceland! Less people than Tasmania! Playing Messi's Argentina first if you don't mind! And managed by a part time dentist!

 I pulled out Senegal in the work sweep. Remember the opening game of 2002 when their journeymen from the French 2nd division beat the champions France on opening night of the Cup? Football, bloody hell.

 My hopes for the beauty and drama of the football are boundless. Australia are quite likely to come home without a goal or a point. But ... what if on Saturday night they stun France, Senegal-style? And go top of the group? Nick a 1-1 with Denmark and then it's a 0-0 staring contest with Peru to WIN the group? Which would send them to a knockout game against 2nd rate Croatia, 3rd rate Nigeria or Actual Minnow Iceland?

 Yes, I dream big. See I've already got us into the Quarters (where we are going to meet at worst Uruguay) but enough of the football.

 My hopes for Russia, for FIFA, for racism, corruption, hooliganism .. are zero. This World Cup won't change a thing. They never do. And that's depressing.

 England's Danny Rose has insisted his family do not come to Russia for the Cup - their skin colour puts them at risk. German sports journalist Hajo Seppelt, who uncovered the story of systematic Russian doping, is not covering the Cup ... German security agencies have advised him he would be at risk if he travelled there.

 It's a collision of sports and politics, mad nationalism, individual brilliance and dogged team-first discipline, lurid despicable cheating, grace and generosity and rusted-on certainties and surprises. I hate it, I love it. Go Australia, go Iceland, go Tunisia, go football.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Opening up old photos

I have been training a documentary film-maker over the last few weeks, showing her ways to make good use of stills in her film. She is getting these amazing pics from the State Library of Victoria archives. It's her project, not mine, so I don't want to say too much about it at this stage. And just for my own clip I have protected the identity of these fellows (pointless really as it's not recorded who they are).

Anyway – this is one of 3 examples I have made for her to use in her film trailer.

  • In Photoshop I separated the foreground layers from each other and the background
  • faked up all the important parts that were hidden in the original (this is the hard part)
  • used AfterEffects to move the layers apart in 3D space so it's like a wafer
  • then rotated that wafer so that the 3D space is visible, with layers moving across each other
It's the most fun I have had at work in ages.

Twitter break

I am on a Twitter break. Day 6 of a planned 7 days. I might extend it, I think its doing me good. Look, I'm back here for one thing.

But, although Twitter is a bit addictive and a bit of an echo chamber, its a great place for the little one-line observation you just want to put out into the world. I have no place for those now – apart from sharing with family, co-workers and the occasional friend that I bump into.

Anyway here is what I would have  tweeted (that I can think of now) over the last week.


Loris Karius - that's two of the worst mistakes I have seen a keeper make, and they came in one game, which happened to be the world's most important club game of the year. I tipped he would be playing for Port Vale* next season but Rimini in Italy's Serie C have offered him a job. *Port Vale's home ground is owned by a man named Norman Smurthwaite.


I was designing a sign for Woolworths Ascot (QLD) today, with Ascot up top. I wanted to design it so it was reusable for other Woolies with longer names. In checking a list of all Woolies locations I was delighted to find that in WA is Woolworths Dog Swamp.


Does all nail polish come from Nail Poland?


OK that is honestly all the microblog content I can think of right now.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Teletubbies theory

Theory: The Teletubbies is an elaborate treatise on advanced chemistry. Po is obviously Potassium, La-La is Lanthanum [and the rare earths generally], and I think Tinky-Winky is a new alloy of Titanium and Tungsten.

 This alloy combines the lightness of titanium with the, er, heaviness of tungsten. We don't yet know what for.

 My theory is hampered or possibly helped by the fact I don't know the name of the other Tellytubby. But I am applying for funding to find out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


This is a memento of a happy moment. I sat here with Winston looking over the brewery while a flock of homing pigeons circled, flying over us every 20 seconds or so. It was very quiet, apart from the periodic flapfest.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Is it OK to be angry about more than one thing?

Yesterday Australia exploded in uproar and disappointment at the news our Test cricket captain had confessed to pre-meditated cheating in the 3rd test in South Africa. Later in the day a backlash developed as human rights advocates contrasted our national response to ball tampering with our national response to our mandatory detention of asylum seekers – which has resulted in untold misery, many deaths and life-changing injury and mental illness.

I am gutted about the gap between expectations and reality with the cricket team. Pre-meditated cheating, pushing young Bancroft out to do it, the shitty attempt at cover up after. The first I or most Australians knew about this was Steve Smith fronting a press conference, admitting the offence.

On the other hand, our government is carrying out an established policy (with tacit ALP support) that is grinding asylum seekers into the dirt every day. Every fucking day. And like millions of other Australians I have tried to hold our government to account.

I have written to ministers, to newspapers, signed petitions, attended vigils. I have volunteered for many many hours on an Amnesty International stall at the market where we try to convey the importance of these issues to people passing by. I was even pressed into taking part in a bit of street theatre in Refugee Week once [if you know me you will know this is waaay outside my comfort zone].  There are people like Ian Rintoul and Kon Karapanagiotidis who make fighting this fight their life's work. I have given time and money to help them but I cannot do what they do.

Occasionally particular events leap out of the continuum of officially sanctioned human rights abuse. The deaths of Reza Bharati, Omid Masoumali, and Hamid Khazaei and many more. And now the attempt by the government to stop a suicidal ten-year-old coming here for treatment. These are the headline events, when every fair-minded Australian agrees - hang on, this is not right. But then it slips from the front page but those innocent people are still in mandatory detention.

Yes, there are Australians who are blind to the injustice, and in fact say they support offshore detention, tow-backs and even more punitive action against asylum seekers who have committed no crime. But 45% of Australians want asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru brought here. Undoubtedly there are cricket-lovers and proud Australians on both sides.

Freeing people from offshore detention is an every-day fight. Concern about cricket or the environment or corruption or the possums getting into your carrots; none of this means you have stopped caring about and acting on behalf of asylum seekers.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Letter to the Mercury

Charles Woolley's column about Barnaby Joyce amounts to a whitewash. Most of the media focus has been on his private life and Woolley says, fairly, they need to get over it. 

But to say "He not a mass murderer, a terrorist … or even a crooked politician” is quite a stretch and amounts to a Joyce public relations manoeuvre. 

So, we can construe Woolley is OK with two taxpayer-funded jobs created out of thin air for Vicki Campion? 

Woolley is OK with the taxpayers millions spent on a ‘security upgrade’ of Joyce’s mate’s place in Armidale that he was staying in rent free? 

Woolley is OK with Joyce’s water buybacks at twice the market rate as Agriculture Minister? 

I agree, it’s time to lay off his private life and time to take a good hard look at his conduct as minister, and hold him accountable.

Sunday, February 04, 2018


I’ve just finished Longitude by Dava Sobell. Great story with some amazing characters like Admiral Sir Cloudisely Shovell

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Cloudisely Shovell died along with 2000 sailors in the mass shipwreck of 1707 in the Scilly Isles. 7 years later Parliament passed the Longitude Act offering £20,000 to anyone who could develop a method for ships to accurately calculate their longitude. 

Sobell says one sailor on Shovell’s flagship, who was a native of the Isles, spoke up to warn him they were off course. Shovell had him hanged for insubordination. Shortly after the ship HMS Association foundered on rocks, and three other ships followed; Eagle, Romney and Firebrand.

Shovell’s body washed ashore in Porthellick Cove. Sobell says 30 years later a woman confessed on her deathbed that she had found him on the beach alive, and finished him off so she could take his emerald ring.

North Hobart's tiny house district

I have worked out that in hour I can walk from Red Jelly up here to North Hobart and back. Or I can catch the bus up that way then walk around and have a really good look THEN walk back. I have found a big blackberry bush that I'd quite like to revisit, in a little thru-way between houses.

This is around Smith, George and Wellington Streets, between Argyle St and Letitia St. Some tiny tiny houses around here. (Photos from Google Streetview)


Friday, January 26, 2018

A wander around Rosny Point

I went for a paddle here this morning - Kangaroo Bay. There is a wonderful collection of mid century weatherboards around this area. Once back on land I went for a drive around Rosny Point. Below are some Streetview screen grabs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

To the ACT (Australian Christmas Territory) - Part 3, Festival of Bleak

Canberra is an unusual place. I try to accept it for what it is; a large decentralised city plonked in the bush, mostly built during the 1970s and marked indelibly with style choices of that era. The population quadrupled from 1960 to 1975, then a recession hit and building stopped dead.

But even by it's own standards, it is looking extremely bleak. There are some water restrictions – but they aren't draconian. Canberrans often have big flat blocks, and native trees predominate; often grey/green, with loads of dry bark piled up under them. Maybe the local flora is naturally bleak. But I have noticed in many places residents have essentially drawn a line across their property and just ignored everything past that point.

Some shopping centres are under a moratorium with no new building allowed and heaps of vacancies. A 5 minute-walk from Felicity's house are the Weetangera Shops. All over Canberra, this model of little clusters of shops was implemented. Here there is a Pakistani restaurant, a bodybuilding centre, a patisserie and a bakery, a dentist and Brazilian Queen hair removal service. There is zero traffic.

The tooth is headed next door for an eyebrow waxing.

You would never know you are less than 10 metres from a sindhi biryani
Further away but a larger are the Hawker Shops.

On my first visit I was overwhelmed by the abundant parking.
I returned to document the bleakness in full. It's not conventional suburban dystopia – there is very little graffiti. Things are just closed, or empty, or both. To be fair it is between Christmas and New Year, and everyone goes to the coast. But… a lot of these places are closed for good. I heard that Girlalang shops were a lot worse, but I didnt get a chance to ghoulishly cruise over there.

This changed to something else at some point but now its essential 'unisex hairdresser-ness' is reasserting.

The play area wasn't ALWAYS deserted but it wasn't hard to get this picture.
It is surrounded by blank brick walls, the back entrances of vacant shops.
Another factor is the Mr Fluffy asbestos scandal. Mr Fluffy was a local insulation business run by Dirk Jansen, that installed asbestos-based insulation in over 1000 homes. The Federal Govt is now buying and demolishing these homes, many in Weetangera. The three below are within a short walk of Felicity's. It is really sad to stand in front of a vacant block with nothing left but a letterbox, and perhaps a garage. Jansen stored the stuff under his own house. He kept installing it despite evidence of its health effects, until 1978.

You can just imagine the pall that this sort of thing could cast over a community. Neighbourhood friendships gone, possibly property values affected, and that nagging worry if your own health might be affected from living next door.

Below is a typical street in Weetangera. The first question this raises for me is; where do you walk? And in practice the answer is – on the road. Footpaths do exist in places but in many areas they have been omitted in favour of green nature-strips on both sides. Residents' approaches to managing nature-strips vary; it may be gravelled over for car-parking, maintained as tidy lawn, allowed to go feral or in many cases, planted with large trees and shrubs making it impassable to foot traffic.

And lastly here is a true Canberra icon – the cyclindrical concrete bus-stop. These date back to (and loudly scream) 1974!! They were designed by Clem Cummings. 

The bleakness is strangely entertaining, but for the good of all Canberrans I hope things turn around and freshen up soon.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The highest tea

We just had the highest high tea in town, at the Wrest Point Revolving Restaurant.

 It was very amusing. When we arrived we were looking over Queensborough oval and the university, but in no time we were leaving it behind and pivoting towards Battery Point. I would estimate it was travelling at around 70cm a minute, out at the perimeter. I enjoy looking at mirror images of the world, and the central core of the restaurant is all mirrored walls and doors to make this possible. You can see bits of the view in reverse before you get around to see them directly.

 A perspiring young man brought us a tray of 4 x 4 of little cakes, and 4 each scones, smoked salmon sandwiches, brown bread sandwiches and white bread sandwiches (crusts cut off and after hours flung down 17 floors to the ravenous gulls, you imagine).

 Service was good, the food was very good without being amazing. The standout was a little green-tea-flavoured creamy inch-high cube that weighed about 0.00001 gram. Marcus was given some pretty cheap orange juice but that might be a kids menu thing. He is about 6' 1" though. Proper juice for everyone please.

 We had rotated right around the Derwent side and just made visual landfall back in Sandy Bay when the fire alarm went off. It said
 It said that about 150 times before we got any instructions. Staff went around saying to other groups (not us though) "It's a false alarm so just don't worry and stay calm". It went on and on. We were just finishing our 2nd cup of tea – we'd finished but probably would have stayed to enjoy the view a bit longer. Finally some Wrest Point security or maintenance people arrived and a fire warden. They wandered around poking this and that then frowned and…
 … gradually word was given to us from Perspiring Boy that we should please make our way to the fire door. We did, near the front of the queue. We were told to wait there so we did. Then someone else came by and looked astonished that we were just standing there, and said 'Open it! Go down!'
 So we did; we were behind a slow moving lady and it took ages to move down the narrow fire escape. Everyone stayed calm and whatever we were thinking, we all stayed polite and pleasant. The slow moving group kindly moved aside and we got to ground and went out through a loading bay. So that was a little bit of excitement. We were allowed back up after a bit of time standing around, but we just went up to pay. High tea was $42 per head. but they kindly charged us for 3 rather than 4 people for our inconvenience.

We'd certainly like to visit again, this time to see the view by night.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

To the ACT (Australian Christmas Territory) - Part 2

We arrived on Christmas Eve, and quickly settled into a routine of cups of tea and Nescafe,  and Fred's home brew with whisky nightcaps. We all took it in turns to cook.

I didn't take any photos of Christmas Day and my recollections are vague, so thanks to Chonk and particularly Fred for the photos below. The kids opened their stockings before I got up – when I did there seemed to be gifts everywhere. There's a lot more juicy main-event stuff going into the stocking than used to be the case, it seems.

We all put on nice clothes and convoyed over to All Saints for the Christmas service. The nice thing about All Saints which I have probably mentioned before, is that it used to be a railway station! It was built as the receiving station for trains to Rookwood Cemetery, the main Sydney cemetery.

The sermon was odd and quite un-Christmassy. I sat next to Eric who was an unwilling participant in worship. He disappeared after a while, possibly impounded by the Christmas Police for the duration.

Chonk, Ed, Elf, Michael, me, Felicity, Karri, Imp, Marcus,
Miah, Bea, Fred (with Eric tucked in front of him) and Irma

After a wonderful lunch we had a flaming Christmas pudding. Eric had disobeyed instructions and left the table. When the pudding arrived he was was called back, to no avail. So we all started yelling "Quick Eric! Food on fire! Food on fire!'" He came barrelling down the hall calling "It's not my fault!".

Marcus tries to get to grip with pentatonic triads, or something.

A lot of man-hours went into jigsaws over the week in Canberra.
Someone received the famous game Twister for Christmas and kids, Imp and Irma spent a lot of time contorting themselves. The kids all enjoyed each other's company a lot.

Marcus and I spent a bit of time playing soccer with Eric, and one time Chonk, Eric and I were roped into an 8-a-side game with some a group of neighbourhood teens and another group of smaller kids and dads. It was quite fun and we all represented the family well.

One day we all went to Jamieson Water Park and the kids and fitter grown-ups spent the day plummeting down chutes. I was seized with the idea that all around us the diplomatic corps were enjoying the sun, the slides, the chips.

[Here comes the Chilean agriculture secretary down the corkscrew! The Uruguayan defence attaché is making a towel screen while the ambassador changes back into his underpants, wobbling on one leg. The Egyptian 3rd trade attaché (clearly a spy) is demanding to know what is in a Chiko roll.]

Felicity revealed that she is in the running for selection in the Australian Marmalade Squad to compete at the World Marmalade Festival in the England in March.

Her kitchen is a bit of a time capsule. Like many people in their seventies, she is happy to offer a good home to condiments and tinned food with use-by dates that go back several prime-ministers.

A lot of child-hours went into fiddling with the vapouriser attachment on the fan. A LOT.

The thug lyfe
The hug lyfe
I brought with me to Canberra a 2018 vacuum-packed Richmond members scarf to give Chonk,
who used to be a Tiger. (And surely will be again). He responded by fetching from his old bedroom
a 1983 scarf and beanie for me.