Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How does your garden grow?

My pumpkins have finally taken.

Another week and I'll be able to remove the "Denny barrier"!

My snow peas have shot up, bloomed and now fruiting.

My tomato bushes have fruit forming.

And, my climbing beans - in the white foam box, are reaching the top of the shade trellis.

We had another 15mm of rain last night, taking us to 78mm in 24hours and it is still raining with a 90% chance of more rain forecast for the next 5 days.

After Rhonda finishes her painting today, we are going to Cusack's at Kingston and to some fabric shops at Curtain and Blind Creations  at Fyshwick (two of the ACT larger shopping areas) tomorrow to buy some new curtain materials and then we head to "The Camp" for a few days, Friday to Sunday - may as well be up there in the rain as much as sitting around here in it! LOL!

Rhonda in the bath

Don't know what you were expecting but she's painting out the bathroom, laundry, toilet and alcove. LOL!

Fred Parris and the Satins

Just for John!

Fractured windscreens

Over a period of time we have accumulated heaps of "stars", "half moons" and "chips" in the windscreen of our Subaru without it breaking. Every trip we make we usually get another 'stone-hit' (usually from a small pebble thrown up by a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction but also, sometimes, by vehicles overtaking us) we've been expecting the windscreen to "go"!

It never has!

We reached a point where we decided, 'cos we have 'glass insurance' to get the windscreen replaced. Knowing that Subaru windscreens are very, very expensive, we visited a 'friendly' windscreen replacement company and had it inspected. The conclusion was that the glass was in "... a bad condition ..." but would not be able to be replaced under insurance as it was still, technically, intact. We were not happy and showed it. Our advisor told us to go for a very short drive (like back home) with the windscreen demister on 'extremely high' setting with full fan assistance. The moment we get home we were told to hit the windscreen with a full blast of cold water from the hose.

Sure enough we did this and half an hour later a crack appeared from the driver's side edge, about a third of the way up , where there was a significant 'star' hit, ran towards the centre and then turned and ran down to the bottom of the windscreen. We took the Subaru back to the windscreen replacement company.

Yep! Cracked windscreen with the crack joining two sides, therefore, as the windscreen forms part of the 'structural roof' of the front of the car it was classified as dangerous and able to be replaced under insurance.

Where's all this going?

Well our friendly windscreen man said to us, "I bet you rarely drive with your demister on?" Correct! We only use it to de-ice and then put the car heater on a low setting which stops most misting up or icing up of the windscreen and if we get a build-up we switch over to demist only until it clears.

He explained that laminated glass windscreens are subject to 'thermal fracture'. If you drive with your demister constantly on in cold weather the centre of the window  gets 'hot', called a "glass compression zone" while the edges remain cold and the glass there is 'stretched'. If a stone hits the edges and causes an significant impact any crack the crack will run away from the 'compression zone' where the glass is thicker and stronger and turn toward the edges where the glass is 'stretched' and more brittle. Our way of using the demister is more likely to prevent a thermal fracture but would not protect us from an 'impact fracture' - i.e. being hit by a large enough stone , or, a small stone at extremely high velocity. As Subaru's have extra strong laminated windscreens (always insist on a genuine Subaru windscreen replacement) 'impact fractures' are also lessened.

His advice was to use the demister as little as possible and when the windscreen is 'clear' switch to the internal 'face/hand' heating setting in combination with windscreen demisting as this will enable a more consistently spread windscreen glass temperature and lessen the chance of cold edges where the glass is stretched and brittle.

He also said to keep dashboards uncluttered and do not block airvents with things, especially dash mats or mounted applications such as Sat-Nav devices, reversing video screens or those large ornaments some people hang from their rear vision mirrors as all of these things interfere with the flow of warmed air. He pointed out how modern cars are now being built with Sat-Navs and reversing screens mounted into the dashboard instrumentation area as the makers had woken up to the dangers of dash mounted devices towards contributing towards windscreen damage.

 Most importantly, avoid placing any 'stick-ons' on your windscreens (rego stickers are usually OK as they are especially designed for windscreens, minimal thickness and have a 'clear space' in them but if you can  legally do so, put them on a passenger side window.)

Monday, November 29, 2010


Just when good spring rains looked like producing a false hope as all the good growth begun drying out to bushfire fuel - along comes more rain!

We got 63mm overnight and there's more around for the next few days. Ran into a few 'Cockie' mates at the post office and they were delighted!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My New Camera

Order confirmed yesterday and will be despatched on monday.

What Nikon Says About The D3100:

The Nikon D3100 features D-Movie for Full HD Movie recording with the use of the AF System. The camera continually stays focused on the subject you are shooting without the need to press down the shutter half way every time you want to focus. Also featuring in camera movie editing functions to allow you to edit your movie without the need for a computer.

The D3100 guide mode has been redesigned to allow the user to navigate through the camera's menu easily and quickly. No matter what your level of skill is the D3100 will be a breeze to use.

New features also include Built in scene auto selector (live view mode only) - which enables the user to set the camera to automatically determine the scene/setting and select the appropriate shooting mode from portrait, landscape, close up or night. This function will not work in manual focus mode.

Live view mode has been added to the array of features the D3100 has. Live view function can be achieved at the touch of a button.
The Nikon D3100 is the replacement model for the D3000. New improvements include 14.2mp CMOS image sensor, FULL HD movie recording and Live View Shooting Mode. In addition the Nikon D3100's camera menu has been redesigned to ensure ease of use reagrdless of your skill level. Creative bundle includes Nikon D3100 Twin VR Kit, 8GB SD Class 10 Memory Card, Kata Shoulder Bag, Inca Basic Tripod and 2 x UV Filters.
Key Features:
•DX Format - 14.2 megapixel CMOS Sensor
•Expeed 2 Image Processor
•Refinded Guide Mode
•Live View Shooting Mode with Auto Focus Mode
•new exposure compensation algorithm

Kit Includes:

•Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera
•Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm VR
•Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm F4.5-5.6G ED VR
•Kata DC-439 Shoulder Bag
•Hoya HMC UV 52mm Filter
•Hoya HMC UV 58mm Filter
•Inca i3150 High Performance Tripod
•Sandisk Extreme (30m/bs) 8GB SD Memory Card

WARRANTY: 1 Year Australian Warranty*
*Extended Warranties Available
Can't wait for it to arrive and start playing with it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Approaching storm

Its been very warm and humid, rain is predicted and the storm clouds are brewing.





Yep!  We are in for a thunder storm - Currently 27C inside and about 32C outside with a swirling breeze.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm backkkk!

We had a nice trip out west, Rhonda, myself and Denny-the-Dog.

We headed out to Cowra and stayed the night in a lovely cabin at Cowra Van Park

We provided our own linen and had an 80 litre Fridge/freezer in the back of the truck with basic foodstuffs. Denny had to sleep outside, tied up, but as it was mild he did not mind too much. We made sure he got lots of 'relief' strolls.

The old 'low level' wooden road bridge is still in place over the Lachlan River and now serves as a pedestrian bridge.

We cooked our own breakfast - bacon, eggs and toast - with the utensils provided and did some sight seeing. We went to the Japanese Memorial Gardens  (Cowra was a Japanese POW camp during WWII and the scene of a notorious 'break out') and also the Cowra Rose Gardens.

We found a little Chinese restaurant in town that had a 'buffet' ("all-you-can-eat") lunch for $AUS9.50 and we also had a glass of wine and a bottle of ice water with our lunch. Very nice and all-up $AUS29.00.

We drove up to Canowindra (pronounced Kan-noun-dra) and re-visited the "Age of Fishes" museum. In the Devonian period, some 410-360 million years ago, the eastern coastline of Australia lay much further west. An extensive river and lake system covered large parts of the continent, draining into shallow seas. What is now Canowindra would then have been a wide flood plain, dotted with lakes and billabongs. It was the 'Age of Fishes', and they abounded in the area. Scientists have been able to reconstruct the fishes found at Canowindra on the basis of the fossil evidence found there. The fauna appears to have been dominated by two kinds of strange armoured fishes, Bothriolepis and Remigolepis , which belong to a long-extinct group called the antiarchs. A third, less common, armoured fish known as Groenlandaspis was also present .

Canowindra is also known as "The Ballooning Capital of Australia"

Its a pretty town, nice wide street and lots of covered verandahs over the shop fronts to protect one from the heat of the day - 32C. We had a counter lunch in one of the local pubs and a cold ale!

From there we drove to Bathurst, The home of the Mount Panorama Race Circuit and the Bathurst 1000 klm race.

It also the home of St Stanislaus Boy's Boarding College (St Stannies) one of the best known rural boarding colleges in Australia and produced many fine rugby players, scientists, artists, poets and doctors.

We stayed at the local Caravan and Camping Park. They allowed 'small dogs' but were hesitent about Denny. They agreed to let us 'camp' in a tent we had with us. It's a truly magnificant park - very posh and 'up-market'.

The swimming pool.

The next day we headed down the road to Wyangala and "The Camp" where we felt more relaxed, comfortable and 'at home'. We stayed two nights and arrived back home tonight!

We purchased a kilo of Tiger prawns (shrimps to my Amerian friends) and some fresh baked bread rolls and are about to sit outside in the twilight hours and enjoy our dinner.

Oh!  In case you are wondering, 'Yes!" I broke the news to Rhonda about the broken camera and its possible replcement ($AUS1,500) and she said go ahead! You little beauty!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Going away for a few days

Rhonda is on days off and then goes to annual leave for two weeks so we are going touring for four or five days!

C'ya later!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Dropped my camera this morning and looks like the motor is stuffeed!


Will have to price a replacement!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some Aussie terms

We've had a bit of Welsh, so how about some dinkum Aussie speak? Now, this list is not conclusive as many Aussie terms are very dependent upon the inflexion and direction in which they are used - e.g. 'bastard' is the most confusing, 'cos "You bastard!" can be an abusive term or a term of endearment dependent uopn how its used and towards whom. Rozza's, Pommies, and the Tax Department are always "Bastards!" and that's no joke. LOL!

Ace! : Excellent! Very good!

Arvo : afternoon

Amber fluid : beer (also known as "A drop of the amber.")

Aussie : Australian

Back door discount : something possibly stolen and being offered cheaper than normal.

(Off the) Back of a truck - as in "Fell of the back of a truck!": Something that's been obtained cheaply - so don't ask questions!

Beaut, beaudy : great, fantastic

Big Mobs : loads, a lot of

Bloody : very

Blood oath! : that's certainly true

Blue : argument/mistake, a fight

Bodgy : poor quality

Bonzer : great, ripper

Bottler : something excellent

Bottling : his blood's worth: He's an excellent, helpful, bloke

Buckley's : (See "Yours and ...)

Buggered : worn out, had it, no good any more!

Bull dust : rubbish

Cactus : dead, broken

Cark it : to die, stop working

Cha! : cup of tea

Cheap : Nasty

Chocka : full up

Click : kilometre - "it's 20 clicks away"

Come a gutser : a bad mistake or have an accident

Coldie : a cold beer, as in "Letscrackacoldieorto" ( translated - Lets-crack-a-coldie-or-two!)

Come good : turn out ok

Cooee, not within : figuratively a long way away

Cost big bikkies : expensive

Cream, to : defeat by a large margin

Cuppa : A cup of cha! (or tea)

Cut snake (mad as a) : either very angry, or, someone with sever mental problems

Dead dingo's donger : (as dry as a) dry

Deadset : true/the truth, 'honest injun

Dingo's breakfast : no breakfast

Dinkum/fair dinkum : true, real, genuine

Dinky-di : the real thing, genuine

Docket : a bill, receipt

Doco : documentary

Donger: male appendage

Drink with the flies : to drink alone

Dunny rat (Cunning as a) : very cunning

Exy/'X' : expensive

Fair dinkum : true, genuine

Fair go : a chance / break

Fair suck of the sav! : exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief  - refers to a "Savaloy sausage"!

Furphy : rumour

G'Day/gidday : hello!

Give it a burl : try it, have a go

Give it away : give up

Give it up!: Go away, Lay off it, unbelievable!

Going off : good fun, or, Very crazy, as in "Going off one's head", or  'turned' as in that meat's gorn off!

Good oil : useful information, a good idea, the truth

Good onya : well done (Often abbreviated to simply 'Onya'! which is highly complimentary.

Grog (get on the) : To go out on a drinking binge
Grouse : great, terrific

Heaps : a lot of

Iffy : dodgy - as in 'Gorn off', or 'Sus'!

(Gone) Walkabout : it's lost, can't be found (see also "Walkabout")

Kangaroos loose in the top paddock : Intellectually inadequate

Kick the bucket : to die

Knock back : refuse

London to a brick : absolute certainty

Lunch (who opened their?) : OK, who farted?

Macca's : Golden Arches takeaway with Ronald McDonald

Mate's rate : cheaper than usual for a friend

Moree Handbag : A cardboard carton with a (4-5 litres) bladder of wine
No worries! : no problem / its okay

Nun's nasty : (as dry as a) very dry

Onya!: Well done, great effort!

Piece of piss : easy task

Pig's arse! : I don't agree (vehemently)

Piss off : get lost! get out of here! no way!

Plate, bring a : Instruction to bring a plate of food to a party

Pommie : anyone remotely suspected of being a new chum from Mother England - until proven to be otherwise - then you're probably a Taffy (Welsh), a Mick (Irish), or, a Macca (Scot)

Pozzy/possie : position, to secure a good position to listen to or view something.

Quid, make a : earn a living

Rack off : get lost! get out of here!

Reckon! : for sure

Reckon?: Don't think so!

Ridgy-didge : original, genuine

Right : okay

Ripper : Great

Rooted : ruined, broken

Rozza : Policeman, a copper and, collectively, the "Traps"!

She'll be apples : It'll be alright

She'll be right : it'll be okay

Shout : To pay your turn in a round as in "It's my shout and I'm buying!"

Smoko : morning tea time - a sacrosamct period and you interupt an Aussie on his smoko at your own peril!

Sparrows fart : dawn

Strewth : exclamation, usually of amazement or disbelief

Stoked : very pleased

Stuffed, I'm : buggered, worn out!

Too right : definitely

Turps, hit the : go on a drinking binge

Walkabout : to disappear when wanted, as in "Looked for him but he'd gone walkabout!"

Yours and Buckley's : (you've got) no chance

Zack, not worth a : not worth anything

Now! That orta keep you lot out of mischief for a while!

My pumkin plot

Denny-the-Dog has an annoying habit of snacking on compost - whew!  Dogs breath! LOL!

I 'brew' my compost in bottomless drums, so when I want to use it I just lift the drum off and mound it up, give it a good watering with liquid fertiliser - seweed concentrate - and when I plant my pumkin seeds (or whatever) in the compost heap I made up a surround from some old left-over plastic mesh and a few stakes.

Barbara, at the 3 Acre Homestead was having a problem growing comfrey, as her chickens ate it to the ground. this is what I did to keep Denny from the compost and I'm sure it will work for Barabara's comfrey.

When the pumkins start to grow and spread I'll just pull out the stakes and the frame and let them ramble!
I've also got my tomatoes growing in tubs which have staked frames - a convenient way to grow them and be able to move them around for protection from the elements.

That's strawberries growing in the pot in between the tomatoes and climbing beans in the foam box over in the top left corner.

In another foam box I have more climbing beans and to utilise space and to add a 'complementary plant' I've sown radish seeds across the centre area.

More of Helfgott and "Shine"

Shine is a 1996 Australian film based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions.

It stars Geoffrey Rush, Lynn Redgrave, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Noah Taylor, John Gielgud, Googie Withers, Justin Braine, Sonia Todd, Nicholas Bell, Chris Haywood and Alex Rafalowicz. The screenplay was written by Jan Sardi, and Scott Hicks directed the film. The degree to which the film's plot reflects the true story of Helfgott's life is disputed.

Part Plot: As a teenager, David (played by Noah Taylor) wins the state musical championship and is invited to study in America. Although plans are made to raise money to send David and his family is initially supportive, Peter eventually forbids David to leave, thinking this will destroy the family. Crushed, David continues to study and befriends local novelist and co-founder of the Communist Party of Australia, Katharine Susannah Prichard (Googie Withers). David's talent grows until he is offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, England. David's father again forbids him to go but with the encouragement of Katharine, David leaves and is disowned by his father.

In London, David enters a Concerto competition, choosing to play Rachmaninoff's difficult 3rd Concerto, a piece he had attempted to learn as a young child to make his father proud. As David practises, he increasingly becomes manic in his behaviour. David wins the competition, but suffers a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he receives electric shock therapy.

Shine won the Academy Award for Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush), and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Armin Mueller-Stahl), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

It also won a BAFTA and Golden Globe Award for "Best Actor". The AFIs gave it significant recognition as well, with nine nominations total. Interestingly, several different academies recognized multiple actors in the film for a "Best Supporting Actor" award nomination. There was, of course, Stahl's Academy Award nomination (he also won the AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor), but the BAFTAs and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominated John Gielgud and Noah Taylor (adolescent David Helfgott) for Best Supporting Actor, respectively.

The film was not without criticism. Notably Critics claim that Helfgott's pianistic ability is grossly exaggerated. In a journal article, the New Zealand philosopher Denis Dutton speaks for many critics who claim that Helfgott's piano playing during his comeback in the last decade [of the 1990's] has severe technical and aesthetic deficiencies which would be unacceptable in any musician whose reputation had not been inflated beyond recognition. Dutton claims that, while listening to the movie, he covered his eyes during the parts where Helfgott's playing was used in order to concentrate entirely on the music, and not be distracted by the acting. He felt that the musicianship, when perceived in isolation, was not of a particularly high standard. Despite being widely panned by professional piano critics, Helfgott's recent tours have been well attended because, according to Dutton, Shine's irresponsible glamorisation of Helfgott's ability has attracted a new audience who are not deeply involved in the sound of Helfgott's playing, thereby drawing deserved public attention away from pianists who are more talented and disciplined.

To my way of thinking, "Shine" was about David Rush's acting (supported by a first rate, top line cast) and to pan the film on the basis of Helfgott's musical abilities is pedantic, to say the least, and smacks of churlishness. Helfgott DID play Rach 3, in a London competition and won! That achievement is something few others will do, particularly some ex-patriate Los Angeles professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury sitting in the 'Shakey Isles' of New Zealand!

Friday, November 19, 2010

David Helfgott

Pianist David Helfgott, whose life story
 was the subject of the film Shine,
will perform at the Canberra Theatre
tonight. Photo: ANDREW SHEARGOLD

"... Yesterday afternoon at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra, Australia's most eccentric pianist, David Helfgott, had just flooded the bathroom. A few hours later it wasn't difficult to see why.

Helfgott, as usual, was full of energy. He makes it his mission to say hello to everyone that crosses his path and it's often impossible to capture his full attention. Luckily, there was a piano in the room.

''What do you want to hear? What do you want to hear?'' he asked.

Helfgott then launched into the final movements of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No3, the famous concerto featured in Shine, the film which made Helfgott famous.

''I love the piano, I love the piano, can't imagine life without it,'' he said.

His wife of 26 years, Gillian Helfgott, then took over the conversation, Helfgott clearly engaged with the piano.

''He's always got to play some Rachmaninov wherever we go,'' she said.

Helfgott will play Rachmaninov Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 No2 and Prelude in G minor Opus 23 No5 at the Canberra Theatre tonight, among other works; one from Mendelssohn, many pieces from one of Helfgott's favourite composers, Liszt, and Chopin. ..."
Courtesy of  The Canberra Times

The book of Eli

We purchased this DVD and watched it the other night. Fascinating movie, tho' lots of violence, but with a real "twist" in the ending.

It left us asking "Will there be a sequel to this movie, perhaps one involving Solara and her new beginnings?"


"In a violent post-apocalyptic society, the drifter Eli has been wandering to west across North America for the last thirty years reading a unique book that he brings with him. He survives hunting small animals and seeking goods in destroyed houses and vehicles to trade in villages for water and supplies. When he reaches the village ruled by the powerful mobster Carnegie, the man offers a job to Eli to join his gang. Carnegie presses his blind lover Claudia to send her daughter Solara to convince Eli spending the night with him. The girl sees the book of Eli, and when Carnegie beats up on Claudia, she reveals that Eli has the sought book. Carnegie sends his gang to take the book from Eli, but the man is up for protecting the book with his life."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bureaucracy as "risk managment"

For several years I have brought my caravan into town for its regular RTA registration check and certification for road fitness. Each year, by arrangement with the local Watch House Keeper I've parked it for a few nights in the police paddock adjacent to his residence. This year was no different, made the arrangements, even slashed the long and uncut undergrowth in the paddock, parked the caravan and gave it a good wash and scrub.

So, about 3.15 pm. just as the parents are picking up their children from the adjacent high school I get a knock on the door. Big ex-patriate Afrikaner acting police sergeant. He informs me that I'm not allowed to park on police property and must remove it immediately. Even chastised me for having slashed the grass as "... we have it under contract to be cut every 2 weeks ...".

Ummm! It hasn't been cut for 4 weeks.

Besides the point, public liability and risk exposure makes the caravan's presence and my slashing the grass makes the police liable for any damage or injury! Remove it.

So I went over and dutifully and lawfully drove it out of the paddock and parallel parked in a street reserved for 45 degree angle parking at a peak time for parents driving into town to collect their "rug rats" from the college.  Didn't I cop an earful from them for taking up four parking slots. All I could do was give them the acting sergeant's name and request that they take their complaints to him. Some listened to me and found it unbelievable that the police would order me out of the paddock and onto the street.

The caravan and truck parked in the street.
One of the school crossing poles is just visible
showing how close I had to park to the crossing.

So, this morning, after all the parents had again arrived to deposit their young, I drove it up town to the motor garage where the certifying mechanic is located. This afternoon it will be back, parked on the street, 'cos i want some modifications done at the local steel workers shop.

Oh, btw! legally, long vehicles that extend outside the length of the 45 degree parking spots are permitted to park parallel, as one officious gentleman who called the council ranger down to book me for illegal parking discovered!  One small win! LOL!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kite Surfing Extreme

You would need to be young, fit and have a full load of testosterone on board!

Talking about the weather ....

Here I was, yesterday, lauding over how lovely the spring weather was down here.

Then .......... A bloody great, big, low pressure trougth moves in over us!

" ....Southern Tablelands District Forecast
Issued at 5:42 am EDT on Monday 15 November 2010
for the period until midnight EDT Thursday 18 November 2010.

Warning Summary at issue time
Flood Watch for the Murray River Downstream of Hume Dam and Castlereagh River.

Weather Situation
A high near New Zealand extends a ridge to southeastern Queensland and a low pressure trough lies across western and southern New South Wales. The trough will move to the northeast during Monday as another slow-moving high moves southwest of Australia extending a ridge across the southwest of the state.

Forecast for the rest of Monday
Cloudy. Scattered showers. Winds northeast to northwesterly averaging 10 to 20 km/h becoming light later in the evening. Temperatures in the low 20s during the day.
Goulburn: Few showers.Max22 Yass: Shower or two.Max23 Canberra: Few showers.Max22

Fire Danger Southern Ranges: Low to Moderate [0-11] Australian Capital Territory: Low to Moderate [0-11]. ..."

We've collected 25mm of rain from 8am yesterday to 8am today!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For John Gray

Cheer up mate!

Understanding finance - Aussie humour

Bryan Dawe and John Clarke discuss how the financial system works.

This is sublime Aussie humour!

And, On Asylum seekers and refugees:

And on the 'Voting punters':

Lest we forget!

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

The Australian War Memorial will conduct the national Remembrance Day ceremony later this morning. This year's ceremony will include a tribute to Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce will deliver the commemorative address at the War Memorial, the symbolic focus of Australia's Remembrance Day ceremonies. The formalities will include the traditional minute's silence at 11:00am, to remember the moment the guns of the Western Front fell silent in 1918.

Since 2004 the names of those who have died in war are added each Remembrance Day to the Roll of Honour at the Memorial. It contains the names of more than 102,000 Australian war dead.

This year the names of 10 soldiers killed in Afghanistan will be added to the roll.

Similar Remembrance Day ceremonies will be held around the country.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Going 'Bush' for a few days.

When Rhonda gets home this evening we are heading off out into the "bush' (as we call the outback rural areas in Australia). Going to do some 'fossicking' out around some old gold mining areas. This morning, I have to go and see if we can get our little caravan out of a friends shed on a sheep property - probably blocked in my huge mounds of lucerne hay bales. If I cannot get that out, then we will consider camping or staying at a motel or country pub.

A country pub - this is the one at Boorowa, accommodation is on the upper level - rooms only open onto the verandah:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Movember Australia

Some information from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia:

Prostate Cancer Statistics

What is the chance for a diagnosis of prostate cancer:

For a man in his 40s - 1 in 1000
For a man in his 50s - 12 in 1000
For a man in his 60s - 45 in 1000
For a man in his 70s - 80 in 1000

•Each year in Australia, close to 3,300 men die of prostate cancer - equal to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually. Around 20,000 new cases are diagnosed in Australia every year.

•Each day about 32 men learn news that they have prostate cancer - tragically one man every three hours will lose his battle against this insidious disease

•One in 9 men in Australia will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime

•Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men

•As many men die from prostate cancer as women die from breast cancer but... a national survey by PCFA in 2002 showed that while 78% of women felt well informed about breast cancer – only 52% of men felt informed about prostate cancer

•The chance of developing prostate cancer increases:

•as men get older.

•if there is a family history of prostate cancer eg a man with a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer

•Early, curable prostate cancer may not have symptoms. While younger men are less likely to be diagnosed with it, they are more likely to die prematurely from it

•Simple testing by a GP can indicate prostate cancer

•Early detection can be achieved with PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test or DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) testing. Our research in 2002 shows that only 10% of men surveyed between the ages of 50 and 70 had taken these tests in the previous year.

•Some groups are at greater risk of prostate cancer

•... for example, for every 100 men who dies of prostate cancer in a metropolitan area of Australia (such as Melbourne or Sydney) 121 men will die in rural Australia. Various factors may include lack of awareness and education about prostate cancer, distance from testing and treatment, poor GP awareness and limited access to specialists (such as urologists)

•The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia states that veterans have a 53% higher mortality rate from prostate cancer than the average population

•A recently published international study showed that firefighters have a 28% higher risk of prostate cancer.

So, if you can a chance to either participate in "Movember", or, to support a "Movember" participant with sponsordhip, go for it!

The Running of "The Cup"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Grandson No. 1's birthday

Aidan, grandson No. 1 turns eight years old in two weeks so I've been out buying his 'Birthday Parcel'.  We tend not to buy much in the way of toys as he's spoilt rotten already with toys but I bought lots of colouring books, crayons, chalk, coloured pencils, a puzzle book, some plastic inflatable things for the pool (his other grand father has a pool of his own), some soft toys and, of course his plastic lizards and dinosaurs - he's absolutely taken with reptiles - and a barrel of toy soldiers.

He also got a tin of Dominos, as he liked playing us with our set when he was up at "The Camp" last.

Got it all into a box - about as big a cardboard post box as I could buy at Australia Post - but I will have to unpack it all when Rhonda gets home so she can see what I bought (and 'vet' the items!) I nearly bought a packet of 'party poppers' but relented at the last minute 'cos I knew the Hoo-Raa that the other grand parents would have raised to have a house full of streamers! LOL!

Didn't buy him any clothes as we'll get him some T-shirts and shorts for Christmas.

Sighhhh! Only a month until grandson No.2, James,  turns four. Just have to come down the list to similar items suitable for a four year old!

Vive Americain!

Well, it is 3.10pm here in Australia and the 150th Melbourne Cup has been run and won!

1st Americain - 6yo Horse by DYNAFORMER - AMERICA G & Mrs V Ryan, K & Mrs C Bamford, the Australian-owned, American bred, French trained horse ridden by Hong Kong based French jockey Gerald Mosse. A victory to the United nations of Racing! LOL!

2nd Maluckyday - 4yo Gelding by ZABEEL - NATALIE WOOD N Moraitis A M, ridden by Luke Nolen. A young stayer that will benefit from this years run and will be a force next year!

3rd So You think - 4yo Horse by HIGH CHAPARRAL - TRIASSIC Dato Tan Chin Nam & Tunku Ahmad Yahaya, Bart Cumming trained and ridden by Steven Arnold - run down at the finish by Americain, this young horse will be improved by this run and the experience.

Zipping was officially fourth!

Oh! Descarado failed to finish, so, as 4yo gelding that may be the last of its racing days!

Melbourne Cup Day

Well, the "First Tuesday in November" is here and its "Cup Day" in Australia and it is the 150th Running of this great race - 2 miles in the old measure - and a fine example of a staying race for gallopers.

 The full race meeting is dedicated by one TV broadcast channel and, of coursem we have Fox Sports Racing doing their regular meeting coverage.

The rain has held off at Flemington and all the ladies are out in their finery and 'fascinators' with Carla Zampatti designer fashion brand featuring well in the ladies choice of outfits but I did see a few Hugo Boss outfits.

A fascinator is a headpiece, a style of millenery. The word originally referred to a fine, lacy head covering akin to a shawl and made from wool or lace. The term had fallen almost into disuse by the 1970s. here are a few examples:

The rain has definitely effected the track to favour the horses who like the slow to heavy going. I've had three bets at the Tote - 3 separate 'boxed' trifectas (means my horses only need to finish 1, 2, or, 3 in any order):

Shocking,  Zipping, Maluckyday.
Zipping, Master O'Reilly, Maluckyday
Zipping, Descarado, Maluckyday

So now we wait for 3pm - race time!

5yo Horse by STREET CRY - MARIA DI CASTIGLIA Eales Racing Pty Ltd

9yo Gelding by DANEHILL - SOCIAL SCENE Mr & Mrs L J Williams

4yo Gelding by ZABEEL - NATALIE WOOD N Moraitis A M

Master O'Reilly
8yo Gelding by O'REILLY - WITHOUT REMORSE W F Sutcliffe, Mrs D Sutcliffe, Ms J Mawer & S Duric

4yo Gelding by HIGH CHAPARRAL - KAREMA LADY  D A & Mrs R J Henderson, Henderson Racing Synd

Monday, November 1, 2010

Great last minute

James O'Connor's great 'after-the-bell' try to give "The Wobblies" a victory over the "All Bleks"!