Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fame, Fortunately.

What a blast. Yesterday's annual concert by our little band of modern vaudevilleans was more than well-received by its loyal following - who claimed to be surprised and delighted by the new format. "The best ever" was heard more than once. Fun and super therapy, too, for the on-stage guys - us! Nine women, three men, average age ... well, never mind. And a whole orchestra, that is to say ... piano, trumpet and tuba.

But I insist on telling the tale relayed to me by email this morning. Gwenda said she'd met three folk in the street (20km from where the concert took place) all of whom had enjoyed the show, AND ONE ASKED "Who was the young man next to you in the opening number?" Ahem. 'Twas I. And young? At my age, it is a glorious fiction, and bless that lady for her tact and kindness.

I am off in the morning on my mostly monthly jaunt to Adelaide, three hours away. Might catch a couple of good movies. Good company planned for tomorrow evening. See the eye specialist for a routine check on Monday. Lunch with other pals - fresh from tropical Cairns - in Unley; then home to the Yorke Peninsula, where a plan is afoot, as it were, for the eventual development of a 500 km walking trail - and biking and horse-riding. At present there is about 60 km, but in disconnected lengths in the vicinity of coastal towns and the Innes National Park. The model is South Australia's existing Heysen Trail which runs north-south from the Flinders Ranges down through the Adelaide Hills. I know, too, Ontario's Bruce Trail in Canada. What a fine resource such recreational trails are in many countries.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Michael Anthony's How To Be Happy Book

Here is a no-strings plug for a remarkable no-cost e-book from former sports mental coach Michael Anthony. He makes his book How To Be Happy freely available by download at his website:

That can't be bad!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hardwicke Bay

Hi again. Took my desktop computer tower to computer hospital this morning, all the way to Minlaton to the splendidly named Mount Rat Computer Services staffed by my acquaintances Dave and William, who greeted me as one known to them from their respective previous employments. Oh to be young and versatile ... or even employable.

On the way home by a coastal detour I visited the attractive Hardwicke Bay (a community as well as an actual bay on the Spencer Gulf side of Yorke Peninsula) where the lady at the general store said the year-round population is about ninety souls ... several times that number in the holiday season.

I then delivered to the Musical Director the DVDs I created last night - O.K., this trusty laptop did the real work while I watched something on the telly - revealing in grisly detail the bloopers of our upcoming stage show after yesterday' s first dress rehearsal. Yet again, the dog got the best laughs.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Floods, massacres and cups of tea.

The world is certainly a strange place. It is possible that we are not required to make sense of it; merely be kinder to one another than our frequent inclination is. Don't know what prompted that.

I really admire people who are adept with internetty things - including blogs which I have hardly gone the hang of yet - never mind your actual Information Technology wizards such as highly trained professionals or any eight year old.

Just discovered the LightScribe products which various CD and DVD manufacturers offer; Verbatim (who say they invented it), Hewlett Packard, Kodak (which has re-invented itself) and lots more. As with much else computer-related, I may be among the last on the planet to discover this neat hardware (the physical coated discs) and the necessary software which lets you put labels to your own design on discs which you choose to make ("burn") from any of several sources, such as a camera, or images (still or moving) on your computer, or from existing music CDs or DVDs. I mean ones whose content you own ... no piracy here, thanks.

The sun is shining. Pleasant breeze is blowing. All good so far. No floods and landslips like in Taiwan in the past week. No massacres within fifty miles of me like occurred in Sudan the week before. Et cetera. If one's nearby community is tranquil, then it seems to be O.K. to say "everything is fine." Some news guru on the TV mentioned that 28,000 shooting deaths happen annually in the U.S. Roughly same as the road toll. Is this good? Is it slightly bad? Can I change it? What can I actually DO? What I do actually do is to go and have a cup of tea, maybe as good a response as any, for the moment.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Perfect autumn weather

Hi. Yep, perfect fall or autumn weather here on the YP - Yorke Peninsula, South Australia's barley growing region. The farmers are pleased with recent rain after the drought conditions of summer.

Cold? Well, cool, and I'm happy to have my indoor log fire. Just finished resharpening the chainsaw after a session next to the woodshed. Then I sprayed some weeds on my acre block. Gotta, or the District Council guys put rude notices in the letterbox, 'cos undergrowth, come summer, is a fire hazard.

Yesterday marked the 90th anniversary and re-enactment of the first airmail delivery in 1919 by local hero from Minlaton, Captain Harry Butler D.F.C in his own Bristol monoplane brought here from England. All the way from Adelaide, and "overseas" by virtue of crossing Gulf Saint Vincent.

The re-enactment was by 60-year old Tiger Moth, flown by QANTAS pilot Alistair Crawford who wryly explained that 45 knot headwinds meant he kept being overtaken by trucks as he flew a route following the Port Wakefield Road. The Tiger Moth yesterday did not cross the open water of the Gulf since the conditions were considered too unsafe (but were about the same as Harry Butler experienced in 1919). All this and no GPS or radio or suchlike. They were tough in those days. Not much chance of rescue either, back then.

The mayors of Adelaide and of Unley had sent letters of goodwill, just like in 1919. And the special guest at the afternoon ceremony, outside the Harry Butler Memorial hangar-like museum which houses the original "Red Devil" aircraft, was none other than modern aviator adventurer and all-round Aussie icon Dick Smith. Dick Smith spoke succinctly and his remarks were appreciated by a good-sized audience in the blustery condition. Other speakers were less succinct.

I attended the evening grub-fest in the Minlaton Town Hall with my companion J.B., a grand niece of the famous Harry B. himself. Truth to tell, it seemed as though every second person was a rellie of Harry B., who sadly was injured severely in an engine-failure crash just a couple of years after his return to the Peninsula. He never fully recovered and died eighteen months later, but is certainly well-remembered 90 years on. Fundraising is going ahead to erect a statue in the town, and Dick Smith has generously kicked in with a $2,000 donation. Onya!

Another amazing crop formation ("crop circle" is a bit of a misnomer) appeared within the past 24 hours next to Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, England. I stuck it up above for now, but will take it down. It is not a Sea and Ships theme, is it? Maybe Miscellany. Anyway, it's not my image to use but I offer this info here as a free promo for the great folk at

Think they're all fakes and hoaxes? The formations, I mean, not the great folk etc. Think again. I'll vouch for Stuart Dike, who does much of the ultralight aerial filming, often within hours of a formation being first reported. No, I don't know who or what the circle-makers are. Nice to have a bit of mystery in our lives.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Drama

August already! The Blogspot date says 31 July but in my time zone 'tis indeed first of August already. So it goes.

Main drama of MY week was the falling through of the contract to sell my house in Tasmania. New plan ... I may go over there for a month and see to some serious reno and either re-let the place or put it back on the market. It was offered before at a discounted price (well below median for the area and type of dwelling), a purchaser knowing that it needed work. We shall see.

The nicer drama is that I have tickets for next Saturday's last night of the musical Oklahoma which the Maitland Arts and Music Club are putting on in the McKnight Theatre, where I was the other day for the nifty Metro Male Voice Choir performance. Twice to Maitland from Yorketown in a short space of time! That's like doing the Paris - Dakar Rally. Why, it must be ... 85 kilometres. O.K., so not the Paris - Dakar Rally, which, so I believe, changed its destination from Africa to South America last time they did it. You can't blooming rely on anything any more. Plus the Poms are beating Australia at cricket. Diabolical. I'm a non-resident Scot, but don't expect me to barrack for the English unless it's them agin an evil enemy, with no Aussies or Scots in the picture. So what's wrong with some good old one-eyed partisan spirit?

Where was I? Nowhere much. I dug up my entire potato crop of two plants (good potatoes) which grew all by themselves from last year's spuds which got overlooked. Cut some more logs for the open fireplace in my living room, warm and cosy. We're in winter, and July was the wettest here for yonks. The dry salt pans of this area - 200 of them - are full of ... water! And they look like proper lakes. Alas, no keel boat sailing. Not ANY sailing. I guess you could wade across 'em all.