December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

It doesn't feel very much like Christmas now that Shane Warne has retired from cricket. Its like being given a lump of coal in your stocking. Next thing you know, we'll lose our best pace bowler and wicket-keeper/batsman...

Christmas time again. I am now on annual leave for 6 weeks. I haven't had a break like that since I took a year off 2 and half years ago. I am astoundingly lucky. We are off to France to have a bit of a ski, and then to Belgium to catch up with some absolutely super friends.

2006 was a bit of a shitter of a year for me. Major personal disasters and then waking up one day in the burbs. This is nothing compared to the lives of some. I am astoundingly lucky. I will know by the end of the year if we have a farm in Margaret River. I would not have expected that to happen at the start of the year. Yet, it has, and we are now all excited about buying a tractor. Mortgages aside, there is really nothing to complain about. We cannot do all the things we had hoped to and dreamed of, but we have a good old crack at the others.

I like Christmas. I like celebrating the birth of a great man. Jesus had a good message: Love one another. 2006 years later, it rarely sounds like that same simple message. 2006 years is a long time to play chinese whispers.

One more thing. I miss my friends living overseas. Why is it we all only got to live in the same place for that amount of time? Have a great Christmas and we'll see you about.

I was going to put up a funny photo of us saying merry Christmas, but that would have been silly.

(Changed my mind. Merry Christmas!)

December 19, 2006

The Ashes

Posted by Picasa After feeling the pain of an Ashes defeat 15 months ago in England, McGrath said he had no sympathy for the opposition who had handed back the urn in just 15 days of cricket. "You don't feel too much for them," he said. "I remember standing on The Oval last year watching England celebrate when they won the Ashes. "I'm sure everyone else in Australia who met up with any England supporter since then has really copped it, so no, we don't feel sorry for them. Order has been restored."

Order has been restored. That is exactly what one of my companions said to me ysterday as we walked away from the WACA ground after having watched the Third Test of the Ashes. All is well.

I can't find the words to talk about Adam Gilchrist yet. The third day was a spectacular batting festival from various geniuses in the game of cricket; and from one Uber Genius, our Gilly. It was all too much for me at one stage that I needed to sit in the St John's cool room with the TV on. I ran out of there when Hussey was on 80. I wasn't going to miss his century. That was just the start of it.

I have some more pics and vid of the victory ball. They'll go up soon.

December 06, 2006

Wombats 2 Wombles 0

I must acknowledge that News Corporation owns the copyright in this spectacular piece of work. It was on the front page of The Sun today.

I'll state the obvious - it must be terrible to be an English cricketer. Firstly, because they are so bad at cricket. Secondly, for losing the second test of the Ashes series in the abysmal way that they did. Thirdly, becuase of the media treatment they are getting back home in Britain. Fourthly, because The Sun was the newspaper that made a very rich and very powerful Australian born person, very rich.
Words cannot express how happy I was to see England lose that cricket match yesterday. As a friend and I were discussing today, England need to be crushed.

As my friend put it: 'crush the English into oblivion so they lose all hope and sense of worth. Especially, Pieterson - he is a wankarrrrr.'

Done, done and done.

Thanks Punter. Thanks Warney.

Kevin Rudd

This man gave a good speech in the Australian Federal Parliament yesterday.,20876,20876230-601,00.html

December 03, 2006


We saw this crane-carrying ship recently in the Port of Fremantle. It had come from China, had dropped off a crane, was then on to Brisbane and Japan to do the same.

Look what those Chinese folks do with all that iron-ore we send over there.

Its like a funny factory game. We ship the ore to China in big mounds of sludge; they keep it there for a bit, add a bit of this and a bit of that, then they ship it back to us looking like this crane.

November 27, 2006

Things are looking up

A friend of mine has just bought this bouncy castle. I am going to get a few free bounces in exchange for providing legal advice. What a deal! I feel like the luckiest person alive!

I never expected my practising certificate to get me so far.

This could start a whole new round of who can buy the best stuff. We once played that game when living in Jersey. We bought a ridiculously expensive radio. Someone else bought a painting in a high end ski resort. Another couple got drunk, got engaged and bought an engagement ring in the same high end French ski resort. Then things turned silly when competitors turned their attention to motor vehicles.

I am not sure how you could top a bouncy castle. Buying a farm in a rural idyll might get you there, but that news will have to wait until our mortgage broker has stitched up the deal…

November 10, 2006

Wally Foreman

Wally Foreman died last week. Wally was a broadcaster mainly for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and on the radio. I listened to Wally Foreman a lot. He would be with me on a Saturday morning when driving to the beach, or working in the garden, or reading the paper. Then, he’d be around again when the football came on. He was always a particular favourite commentator of mine as he played and loved hockey. He promoted the sport in WA and formed the WA Institute of Sport, and he would commentate the hockey at the Olympics. (Another favourite is Dennis Committee – he played in and coached West Perth. That man is a genius).

I was listening to Wally’s funeral service streaming over the ABC website yesterday and thinking how strange that a radio voice would mean so much to me and to so many other people. There were 4000 people at the service, and there must have been many, many more listening over the wireless. I really liked listening to Sportstalk on Saturday. Even when it is about tennis, which I detest. I have become an AM radio addict, and Wally was right in there feeding the habit.

So, I was thinking about how much a radio voice can mean to people. And that got me thinking about another radio broadcaster I met once. Sadly, only once. Older people and my parents’ neighbours often ask me if I am related to Catherine King. A new work colleague asked me this question just last week. I have to reply that I am only related through marriage and that Catherine King is my husband’s grandmother. The people I respond to always say how they remember her show on the ABC and how they, or their mum, always used to listen to the Women’s Sessions and how they liked Catherine King. I must admit, I could never quite understand why this woman was so significant to them. After all it was radio and not like the famousness of television or politics… Before Wally Foreman died, I did not appreciate how great a connection a listener has to a radio broadcaster; to a voice and a personality a listener lets into their lives on a regular basis. Well, after Wally’s death, I now know better. And I can understand why people ask me after Catherine King. She was their friend on the radio.

Now I have lost my friend on the radio as well.

Maybe I will one day meet ‘Mary’ Foreman in the future. I’ll ask tentatively: “are you any relation to Wally Foreman?” And she will respond: “Wally was my grandfather.” I’ll tell Mary that I loved her grandfather’s show on the radio and that he was a brilliant commentator and a great broadcaster. Mary will walk off and not really understand what Wally meant to us but for her it will be nice to know that her grandfather was liked by so many strangers.

I wonder if she’ll know what a radio is.

October 27, 2006


Its tomato time. We’ve been at work in the garden. In this plot we have the tomatoes, encased in the empty tonic bottles. Also in this plot are potential string beans, radishes, chives, spring onions and mixed lettuces.

I love gardening. Or is it the idea of gardening? Whatever it is, the whole venture is rewarding. This is my second real vegetable patch. I have learned from the lessons of last year – there is no real need to plant 24 tomato seedlings. Certainly, there is a compulsion, but no real need. Loads of basil is in this year. And mesculin lettuce mix is a new one. Radishes and beans are what books recommend kids try and grow because it is easy and successful. You don’t have to tell me twice.

There is something special about eating food that you grow, whether its just the sticks of rosemary you add to your lamb roast, or a full home grown salad with herbs. Before I grew some veges I did sense that it would be a rewarding thing to do, and the suspicion is wholly confirmed. I think a smidge of our decision to buy the house we live in now came from their being a magnificent lemon tree in the yard. Never again for us, the torment of G&T, soul-less and woeful, without its slice of lemon. ...

If only the lime tree would come good…

We have abandoned strawberries, but that is just as well as look what they did to our friends in Glasgow. Fiendish things, with all their sticky little seeds on the outside, upsetting the norm in the fruit world.

October 25, 2006

Dad is 80

My dad turned 80 recently. I remember when he was 69.

When my dad was born, in 1926 in the UK, the life expectancy for a white man was about 55 years. If you are a white male born in the UK in 2006, your life expectancy is 78 years. How things have changed.

In 1996 he had a massive heart attack. Six months later he was the recipient of 6 new heart bypasses that were created using a healthy vein from his right leg. In open heart surgery, the surgeons have to use an electric saw to cut the chestplate in half to get to a persons heart. Knock on your chestplate, or your breast bone. It’s hard. Imagine someone sawing through that.

Dad’s heart was stopped. It is a wonder to me that your heart starts beating from when you are 6 week old embryo and does not stop again until you are dead. Or have open heart surgery, where it gets stopped on purpose, lifted from its place, fixed up, and replaced. And machines do its work while you are out nodding. Once the heart is fixed, the breastbone is placed back over the organs it protects; it is aligned and left to meld together once again. You can’t go walking in the wind for a little while and you need to wear a thick jumper if you do. This is to protect your fusing breastbone.

When a person comes out of the theatre after heart surgery, they don’t look much like a person. More like a big yellow swollen ex-person, with respirators in place to ensure they don’t actually become an ex-person.

I remember the first day my dad went swimming in the ocean after that operation. I bet he doesn’t remember. He was very nervous. I think because the shock of the cold water can lead to another attack, and these operations take away a lot of strength. We all grew up with the ocean, and it was a difficult moment to be a part of.

Anyways…there is no point to this really. Just indulgent reflection. But I would say that hearts are amazing things; heart surgeons and their teams are amazing things, and people that are always there looking after you are also amazing things.

He has made it to 80 and we had great dinner party with a dozen friends and some family and lamb roast and substantial amounts of red wine.

Here he is off to the beach he and mum have lived opposite since 1959.

Here is the beach.

And here is the champagne drinking...

October 06, 2006


Don't you just love an early spring drive in the Perth countryside?

That blaze ruined someone's day.

October 02, 2006

Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon at my place.

September 28, 2006


As I mentioned previously, so much has been happening lately, I can hardly think where to start...
September has been a busy month in the Burbs. You can ask my friends, I am not much of a sporto, but September became sportz month. The national football code took an exciting turn when the team I support and love started winning a few games on the trot. The highlight being the win in the Western Derby against the Wiggles. It hardly matters that the Wiggles are now in the grand final and Fremantle are not. The thrashing Freo gave them in the Derby was moral victory enough to sustain me until next season. As well as Fremantle finishing third on the ladder at the end of the home and away season. That was a surprise beyond all hopes and the disappointments of many years are fading…

Now back to me. Here is a picture of my actual hockey team (We decided to ditch the figure hugging uniforms that were mentioned in an earlier post. A looser polyester arrangement is much more satisfactory). This is a photograph of us just having won the grand final. I cannot explain what a relief winning was especially since being in the GF was first mentioned in April. The game itself was exciting. A team that beat us in the semi-final two weeks previously were caught unawares as us old ducks sprung out of the blocks to score two quick goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. It is difficult to come back from that. My team went on to score another two goals (one by a thirteen year old who just left everyone else on the field standing still and watching). The opposition also got 2 goals, but in all honesty, they were consolation goals that we generously gave them to keep their spirits up and game alive…Not true. They were good goals and they must have given it a good old whack as I had bruises on my legs and shoulder afterward, but – as they will confirm – the goals of the loosing side are irrelevant.

Other photo is me. I was absolutey stoked. I can honestly tell you, there is no feeling in the world like winning the grand final. There may be better feelings, or different feelings; but this one has its own special place. And I would guess that is because sport is basically pointless, yet there is so much effort to win, and winning something is rewarding. The shared experience of it all cannot be underestimated either.

An observation on the team. I have played hockey since I was 11. I played every year up until I left this country for the Channel Islands. I started playing again soon after I returned. So, all up, I have played hockey for 18 years. That’s about 400 games (not including intervarsity carnivals…). In all that time I have never played with a team of people with so much self-belief. This team does not train during the week. There is no coach. Most players turn up about 20 minutes before a game. The warm-up is hysterical. But most of them (other than the 13 year old) have played for many years, and the game is second nature. Half of them don’t know all the rules of the game, but they get the drift. No one talks about the game before the game, its just idle chit chat. A casual totter on to the field of play and the whistle blows and they are kind-of into it. But they all just know they can win the game. And they do win the games. We’ll be a goal down - as the clock keeps ticking over, the ladies continue a consistent application of pressure backed up by some sturdy skills, and eventually the effort is rewarded with a couple of goals, and – voila – another win.

The self-belief comes out at half time with discussions of ‘we’re not winning because we’re not playing our game and we’re not having fun. If we go out and have fun, we’ll win’. And they do. It’s as simple as that. And so now the Hustlers have won three premierships on the trot. This team could be a case study for some sports psychology research student.

An AFL coach would kill for that kind of world. I might give Chris Connolly a call and share my insight. I am sure he would appreciate it.

I’d tell Woosha, but I couldn’t really give a tinkers cuss if the Wiggles win the GF or not.


We went to the beach after work today. We went for a drive in the hills last Sunday. We went for our first swim of the season last week. The Saturday before last, I won my hockey grand final. This all adds up to one thing. Spring has sprung.

For those of you who haven't seen it for a while, here is a photo of the direction known as 'West'.

Well, home based broadband certainly doesn't hold a candle to the internet speed that one experiences working at a higher education institution. Blog updates to be done in the lunch hour from now on. And I have a lot to update. For one, I bought a digital camera. Waterproof and all. I can hardly wait till summer to go out and break it. And I can tell you, summer isn't far away. There is that feeling in the air. The sun is up and there is a bright light in your bedroom window by half five and you now have about 3 hours to do stuff outside before going to work. And you don't have to wear the uggies every night. And the grand final is on this weekend. That is a sure sign that summer, and therefore, cricket, is on its way.

July 25, 2006

Deep Thought

Deep Thought

It appears that there are people out there in the burbs that have more to contemplate than ikea storage solutions, old dead dogs and note-leavers.

July 20, 2006


I spied this beauty at a rally I went to in the City a little while back. It was a rally against our Federal Government's new workplace laws.

I love a rally. It brings all sorts out to have a good old march and good old chant. My personal favourite : 'Howards a wanker' in that tune that is hard to impart here. It is a simple statement. A statement of fact that does not urge any action or reaction; it makes no desperate, howling opposition to an awful policy; it just says the PM is a wanker. You know it, I know it, and here we all are marching through the streets yelling it out, with little smiles on our faces, because its a bit naughty. And because its true. That is important.

More Ned

I have just got around to linking my mobile phone to my computer.

I installed the little CD that came with the phone about 2 years ago. See how busy I am?

I moved all the pics in my phone to me laptop and found a few favourites.

Here is one of old Ned, asserting his canine dominance over my two barking poodles. Such glamour dogs. They cannot stop looking at the camera.

I’ll have to get a pic of mum’s new dog. When we first got him, he looked like he would be a small dog. But I think we may have got that wrong.

An old friend asked me the other day whether my mum really told me that she had buried Ned in the front yard. I had to assure her that, yes, mum really did try that one on.

Its probably where I get the urge to tell the note-leaver that the barking dogs have been destroyed.

July 18, 2006

The New Burb

We are doing well in our new burb. Last night we found a message on the back of an envelope in our letter box. I have scanned it for you to see. I stomped around to some neighbouring houses last night in my respectable suit to find this idiot, but only one neighbour was home. And they are selling up anyway, so they wouldn’t have bothered. I say ‘idiot’ because I have had a bit of a look at the envelope they used. As you can see, there is an identifying mark on it: “Abused Child Trust – Platinum Class Lottery’ with a funny ass-shaped upside down love heart (what does that mean?)

I did an internet search on the ‘Abused Child trust’ even though I was a bit concerned about what would turn up on my work screen. It looks legitimate. But there is the other half of the mark – ‘Platinum Class Lottery’. And I can tell you that the envelope was opened very cleanly.

The Platinum Class Lottery is one of two things – it is like the readers digest mega lotteries (your winning ticket is inside! Open this letter RIGHT NOW!) or the ‘only 2000 tickets at $50 each’ (You are likely to win something terrific with these terrific odds!) type lottery. In any event, it is only the stupid people hidden away in these leafy suburbs that open these stupid envelopes properly and then keep them tucked away in case they have to write an anonymous note to a new neighbour.

This is why private investigators go through the rubbish of persons of interest. Turning up an envelope like this will indicate you are dealing with either an out-of-work no-hoper (one of Federal Government's favourite words for the unemployed) or retired clown that has nothing better to do than sit around at home all day neatly opening lottery envelopes in the vain hope that they will win a million dollars and be able to buy another house away from those damn barking dogs!

I am not even going to go into the stupid exclamation mark. Or the anonymity. Good grief. Are we 14 again?

We were dog-sitting yesterday and I think that our guest dog may have sparked the note. I hope this is the case. Firstly, so I don’t have to do anything about my own dogs. Secondly, so when I go door knocking tonight to identify the author of the exclamation mark, I can tell them we had the dogs destroyed lest they continue to irritate. And if there is no further barking, they may just think I am for real and that their ridiculous anonymous note has lead to the near instant death of two very lovely, fluffy black poodles.

Yes, it is altogether much better to get worked up about this note, publish it on this blog, tell big porkies about killing dogs, than go and have a little conversation with the neighbour. I could also arrange a bag of dog poo on their doorstep. That’d be funny. And to think I suggested that anonymous notes with stupid exclamation marks was juvenile.

I can out-juvenile them.
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July 11, 2006


Its all a bit sports mad at the moment. Apparently they played the Wimbledon finals the other day, but it seemed to pass without a murmur. I was in my own sports buffet last Sunday. I played a game of hockey at 9.00am at a locale about an hour’s drive away from my home. So I had to get up early on a rainy Sunday after a 40th birthday party where the wine was decanted (and not to hide its cheapness, but to improve on its expensiveness). Very difficult to pass up good red wine. Very difficult to avoid a hangover when your alarm is set for 6.30am. We won. Actually, we haven’t lost a game for 2 seasons. Drawn a few matches, but not lost one. What do you think of our new uniforms? Pretty slimming, huh?

So, played a game, then dashed off via the holiday house for lunch and then back home for BurberKing to pack to get to the airport. Dropped him off and then had several hours to wait until Le Tour de France came on, and another several hours for the World Cup Final. Needless to say, I missed most of both. Save for the finishes. And that headbutt.

I do not really understand the headbutt. Any headbutt. I would be more inclined to give someone a quick slap. A head butt is just so… so…. so…. English.

I am sure the cyclists are grateful for the rest days on Le Tour. And so am I. It means I can get to bed at a decent hour. Unlike tonight. The stage finishes in Dax tonight. I once went to a gorgeous wedding in Dax. There was an oyster bar surrounded by Frenchmen. And me.

You know what I miss most about France? That you can buy foie gras. BurberKing misses Le Tour.

The World Game.

I wish I could have headbutted one of them.

Adieu Zizou...

July 07, 2006

Flat Pack

I spent nearly $1000 at Ikea yesterday. It's a love/hate relationship I have with Ikea. I guess that is the same for all people.

I had to buy some laundry storage solutions. I got a wall cupboard that could go in a kitchen so it is strength tested to withstand holding a 60 piece dinner set. Excellent. That means I can load it up with some serious amounts of OMO and Mortein.

The BurberKing should not have sent me to get the cupboard. How was I to realise that the laundry walls are only made of weatherboard and would not hold the weight of a kitchen cupboard capable of holding a 60 piece dinner setting?

Actually, I knew the walls were made of weatherboard, but it didn't occur to me that I couldn't simply bang any old large heavy thing into it and expect it to remain there. So, earlier this week, I made a pasta while the BurberKing came up with a solution to our storage solution.

The same problem applies to the rest of the storage solutions I bought yesterday. They all have to be applied to weatherboard. I hate Ikea. There should be flashing signs all around the store saying 'Don't buy this heavy storage solution thing unless you have checked with someone competent and responsible that the walls in your house can hold the thing up'
I might put this submission in their 'ideas box' at the front of the store next time I am there returning something.

By the way, the laundry storage solution problem has been solved, and we have a fantastic hat and coat rack. Did I mention my new oven? It’s beautiful.

I was sharing this IKEA story with some friends the other day and was pointed to this little gem:
It is amazing how massive revenue raising enterprises like Ikea and the ‘Church’ of Scientology, and Hillsong are able to take advantage of charity status regimes in various countries and pay no tax. There should be a law against it…

July 06, 2006

New Burb

We have changed Burbs. Brand new Burb! We moved about a fortnight ago and our first house guests dropped in last Friday night. The loafers didn’t leave till 2am. And they know who they are. As good hosts, so as not to be rude, we accompanied the guests’ consumption of champagne and red wine and gin and tonic. We even watched the World Cup quarter final involving those cheating Italians (I may never eat Parmigiano-Reggiano or prosciutto again). The ‘soft underbelly’ of the Axis powers in WWII are also soft divers who took advantage of a soft penalty. I hope the collaborating French Les Bleus whip them in the World Cup Final.

(Of course, I will eat Italy’s finest cheese and ham again. I even bought an Italian-made oven the day after they dived their way past the Socceroos. I am not good at boycotts).

But back to my guests last Friday. They were kind enough to bring a camera (ours has broken). Around here somewhere is a picture of the Burber King in the jacket his family gave him for his 21st birthday present. I have recently been trying to negotiate the delivery of this jacket to the local OpShop by seeking the consent of his family, and I stupidly raised the point again on Friday. I should have known better. Our guests have been to Solid Gold Balls and other similar parties. As if they would permit the discarding of this authentic 1986 double breasted leather jacket with shoulder pads and epaulettes. And how happy does the ginger Fonzie look now he has allies?

Can you believe that this photo was taken in 2006? I cannot. Even though I was there when the shutter opened and closed, I cannot believe this photo was taken in a house that I live in, let alone that I agreed to purchase. By now, you may have noticed the walls. That stuff you see is cork. Cork. I kid you not. It was once fashionable to surround yourself with a material that belongs only in the top of a bottle of wine or on the end of a fork. It was painstakingly applied to the walls some 20 years ago, and it will now have to be painstakingly removed from those same walls. Odd how the 20 year old jacket and the 20 year old cork find themselves together like this.

I think we will remove the wall entirely. That would do the trick.

June 16, 2006


Three tortoises, Mick, Alan and Les, decide to go on a picnic. So Mick packs the picnic basket with beer and sandwiches. The trouble is the picnic site is ten miles away so it takes them tendays to get there.

When they get there Mick unpacks the food and beer. "Ok Les Give me the bottle opener." "I didn't bring it," says Les. "I thought you packed it."Mick gets worried, He turns to Alan, "Did you bring the bottle opener??"Naturally Alan didn't bring it.

So they're stuck ten miles from Homewithout a bottle opener. Mick and Alan beg Les to go back for it, but he refuses as he says theywill eat all the sandwiches.After two hours, and after they have sworn on their tortoise lives thatthey will not eat the sandwiches, he finally agrees.

So Les sets off down the road at a steady pace.Twenty days pass and he still isn't back and Mick and Alan are starving,but a promise is a promise. Another five days and he still isn't back, but a promise is a promise.

Finally they can't take it any longer so they take out a Sandwich each,and just as they are about to eat it, Les pops up from behind a rock and shouts........"I KNEW IT!......I'M NOT F*CKING GOING!"

May 16, 2006


On Sunday, I spent a lovely little while swimming in the company of this gorgeous fella. We are fortunate to be able to swim among these seals as frequently as we do, and as the family has done for many years. The most beautiful things.

May 09, 2006

Down South

I just got back from going down south again. This time to a friend's farm. I put my foot through a stile and bruised my shin quite badly. Clearly I am not made for this country lark.
I also strained the torn calf muscle I have while playing celebratory kick-to-kick after the Dockers beat the Eagles in the Derby (what a game).

May 05, 2006


Like everyone else, we got out of the Burbs for the Easter break. Like everyone else, we packed up the Landcruiser and headed down souf. Camping was the accommodation of choice for the dogs and us this time. We looked in our little camping book, picked a spot on the beach, and hit the road… along with everyone else.

I love camping and I love getting away from where I live for a bit. I like being able to hang about in my play-clothes for a few days, and not having to wash my hair everyday. But getting away to go camping is a bit of a fag to be honest. Here is our small litany of ‘getting away for Easter disasters’.
  • Other half wakes up at 5.00am – can’t sleep and starts doing some work (for those who know him- yes it is true – I too was shocked). I keep snoozing. I wake up around 7 – fired up about packing the Landcruiser full of shit and taking it ALLLL down souf with us. The BurberKing is still at work and I am peeved – its holiday time – work should be out the window. This ridiculous work thing ends about 10 and now we are behind schedule in the rush to GET AWAY…

  • While packing, I tune into the ABC on the wireless. I love Aunty, but not today. The ABC is camped outside of Lake Clifton Roadhouse broadcasting horror stories of road deaths and the Easter Road Toll, and people speeding in their cars (presumably to GET AWAY). The radio people go on and on and on about everyone driving carefully and not speeding and the cops ‘ll get ya if ya do! My parents are also trying to get away and this radio show is freaking my mum out. I get a phone call from her, panicked about the likelihood that we are all going to DIIIIE as we drive down south to GET AWAY. I’m still packing, so am not as concerned as yet.

[I will note, though, that the people getting caught speeding and being killed in accidents over the Easter period were all locals of the country towns in which they were caught/killed. Residents of the Burbs were all tuned into the ABC and clearly aware of the dangers of GETTING AWAY. The locals were listening to their tape decks.]

  • We’re packed! Dogs, all our shit, and us. Off we go. Get 20 minutes down the road and we’ve forgotten the towels, and the cooking gear. How are we? Now we have to stop at Target in Mandurah to get some new ones.
  • No pictures to share with you, as we forgot the camera. It was sitting on top of the towels.
  • Nothing to drink. Forgot the red wine bottles sitting very close to the towels and camera. (Obviously not a problem. Stocked up on half a dozen of Peter Lehman’s finest whilst hubby filled up the car)
  • Back on the road. Tuned into the ABC again. By now this scare campaign is humorous and I cannot let it go.

  • As the traffic starts to bank up, we turn left for the relative isolation of the Albany Highway. It’s a good trip down, not too busy, we’re cruising along, enjoying the talkback. We drive for 4 hours or so with barely a hold up in the traffic flow, until we get to the outskirts of Albany.

Has anyone else got an opinion on the sometimes questionable usefulness of the State Emergency Service volunteers? I have an opinion and it was reinforced by the traffic jam they caused outside of Albany. They successfully brought to a complete dead stop - along a stretch of highway with a speed limit of 110 kph - the migration of hundreds of Burbs residents and road train drivers so that they could put their hands into the windows of vehicles and deliver a little showbag telling everyone on the roads about the importance of road safety.
What were they on? Road safety indeed.

I wanted to deliver them a little pressie of my own…I can’t imagine what the truckies thought.

  • Blah blah blah we find a camping spot. It’s brilliant. We set up in the dusk, have some dinner, and some wine. A little walk down to the beach in the full moon. We are AWAY.
  • Next day. We fill the Landcruiser up with diesel. BurberKing goes to pay and has lost visa card. Must have left it at Target when buying the forgotten towels. Have to ring some poor bastard in a bank phone centre on Good Friday and report it lost.
  • Saturday. Go surfing and fishing. This was our first time fishing. I kid you not. We bought a $30 all-in-one rod and reel and tackle fishing rod kit. We were fired up. You should have seen the other fishing rods along the beach. They were a bit larger than ours…We had to have a go at fishing, as we live by the beach and all. I didn’t hold out much hope of catch. But wonders never cease and the BurberKing reeled in a fantastic specimen. We were very excited, jumping up and down, now that we had successfully HUNTED and CAUGHT something. I didn’t see any other anglers on the beach raving about like we were, but maybe they were not as impressed by their occasional catches of tiny sand whiting as we were of ours. It was a little wee thing, and we sent it back to the sea. We threw the steaks we bought on the barbie instead.
  • Easter Sunday. This day starts well, listening to Macca in the morning on the ABC, with the rain heading in and BurberKing’s stepmother is on national radio wishing everyone well. That was surreal. Go driving for the day. Discover one of the dogs has a tick, no – two, no - three ticks. There are ticks all over the beast. Panic. Have heard ticks send small dogs into paralysis. Much like the time I had pityriasis rosea just before my wedding, I take on board all the rumour and non-fact based comment about the affects of ticks on a small dog. This caused quite a trauma as I thought ‘mon bon chien’ was going to become paralysed and die. (thats French for ‘my good dog’ and is also the name of a boloungerie in Paris that bakes and sells canine biscotti– a dog bakery. Paris is mint. Fin Review 5.5.6) Even BurberKing noticed the dog looked a little tired…After 4 frantic calls to Emergency Vet numbers that never answered and didn’t return my calls, a call to a friend on a farm that had a veterinary dictionary (was waiting for the instruction to shoot the poor thing) and a quick squiz on the internet, we concluded that the dog would not be dying from the ticks that had nibbled into him. Phew. Drama at an end. Waste of a day worrying and running about. Went back to camp and got pissed.
  • Easter Sunday night. Wrote letter to Macca in the Morning. Laughed ourselves silly at our attempts to imitate the oh-so-Aussie tone of the program. Stay tuned and I’ll post that little beauty.
  • Monday – pack up and go home. That’s a whole day. Shave the dogs to weed out any last ticks.

  • Take Tuesday off exhausted from traumatic getting away.

April 07, 2006


I do like young people. People younger than me. I like their ingenuity. I admire their strength.
Especially the ingenuity and strength of the young people that deposited this playground toy on the lake shore. Have you seen the springs on these things? They are massive! It would have taken whoever did this a substantial amount of effort and persistence. Much more effort and persistence than I would apply to such a task now. I might have given it a whirl fifteen years ago (I just changed that from 10- Even 10 years ago I was over it). Conceivably, I might consider such a task now, but I would have to be quite, quite drunk or otherwise impaired and with the encouragement of equally drunk associates.
But back to the kids. Good for them. I bet they were pretty thrilled when that spring broke. I can picture the spring pinging off and the looks of ‘what the f*k do we do with this now?’

I have made some assumptions here. I have assumed young people did this and that there was a group. I don't think there is any getting away from the need for youthful vigour to get one of these things out of its moorings. And the thought of anyone acting alone in this regard is preposterous…


I live in an old part of an old suburb. My parents live in an older part of the same suburb; and they have a much nicer view than us. If you were of a mind to chat to him, my dad would tell you how when he first bought his block there was no mains electricity or water. Even I remember when the water tank tower was taken down. The neighbours used to have a windmill. Now they have air-conditioning and one of those electric powered chairs that climbs up the stairs.

Just near to where I live, some developers are putting in a new suburb. It’s called an ‘estate’. Here are some pictures of it. There is not much to say really. You could say ‘wasteland’. Or you could say, as they do in Porpoise Spit, ‘You can’t stop progress’.

April 05, 2006


Here is a funny thing my brother sent me recently.

Doesn’t the PM look a little, well… little? Or maybe its my brother’s big hat and Howard’s shining chrome dome that are deceiving me.

I reckon my brother is a bit left of centre in his political leanings, so I am assuming this is a bit of a piss-take.

The guy in the blue shirt behind them certainly seems to think so.


March 30, 2006

Not in The Burbs

I heard a funny thing on the AM breakfast radio this morning. A Bangladeshi man that suffers severe mental illness and diabetes has been kept in an Australian immigration detention centre for over 6 years. Medical opinion is that his mental illness results partly from the 6 years of detention and that he should be released so he can get the medical help he requires. If medical opinion is anything like my opinion, I suspect they also believe the man should be released because 6 years is too damn long.

When asked about the fate of this man, the Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone, said that she will ‘make a decision on the case soon’.


The man has been held captive in the detention centre for over 6 years by the Australian Government and the Minister responsible says she will make a decision on the case 'soon'.

Nice one, Mandy.

March 29, 2006


Late in 2005, I planted a number of tomato plants. I had grown tomatoes before. When I lived on a small Island of the coast of France (NB: exotic place) I bought some plants off a secretary at work. They came bagged and staked. I don’t think I ever got the plants out of the plastic bags. Still, tomatoes are resilient plants, and they survived this mistreatment to render approximately 5 tomatoes. It was not all my fault. The weather on the Island was crap.

I have moved on from this. In my present foray into agriculture, I invested in 4 punnets of eight tomato plants. And two trailer loads of mushroom potting mix. That’s what the bloke told me it was. I also bought a load of stakes, but only after this become the obvious and only thing to do as the 32 seedlings I had planted were mysteriously replaced overnight by 32 giant vines bearing hundreds of small red fruit.

It is possible that I have overdone it. I bought the 32 seedlings on the basis of my likelihood to fail. I overestimated my incompetence in relation to growing tomatoes but, on the bright side, overestimating one’s own incompetence in any field of endeavour is a most pleasant surprise.

Now the tomato vines are a faded shadow of the wonder that was there before. Only this morning I had to beg my mother to come over and pick the remaining tomatoes as I could no longer face going into the vegetable patch. Tomato overload. There is still a bowl and a colander full of the things in my fridge.

I couldn’t stand to post a picture of the sad tomato vines but I do have a picture here of my fridge. How good is it? I can tell you it was a bright new day in our household when that monster arrived.
You can see that the dogs love it.

March 22, 2006

I do not have kids. I do have dogs. Here is a picture of my (our) two dogs and my mum and dad’s dog, Ned. Ned is the big one looking at a bone in the distance, and not at the camera. As you can see, my dogs have an eye for the lens.

Ned is dead. Before Ned was dead, he was a great dog. My husband called him a ‘great big mong’. Which he was. Ned was also like Lazarus. My parents had written him off several times, as had I, thinking he was on the verge of heart failure. But every time (nearly), he came back from a little attack of ‘Nearly Dead Ned’ as right as rain.

Of course, one time he didn’t come back, and the local vet had to do that horrible task. Due to other fibs my mother has told family members about the ultimate resting place of the family pets, I asked if she had brought the big mong back from the vets that day. At first she said : ‘Yes! And your father has dug a hole in the front yard for him!’ Seconds later she says ‘Well, no. Ned was a bit too big so he was left at the vets’. Well, of course he was.

Gee, I hope the young ones in family don’t read this and piece together where Max is…

We miss old Ned.

The Burbs around here need more dogs like Ned and less dog-whingers.

March 21, 2006

Why The Burbs?
I have a lot of friends living in exotic places and doing exciting things. I don’t live in an exotic place and rarely do exciting things. Although last night, I did go fishing with some friends. We didn’t catch anything. I did not even hold a fishing rod. I sat on the beach with a beer minding the dogs while the men folk did the hunting. They aren’t very good hunters. We had toasted sandwiches for dinner (sans poissons).

But back to The Burbs. These friends, those that live in exotic places and are doing exciting things, have set up web logs and web pages so that I can see what exciting things they do in these exotic places. I am not the only person not living in an exciting place and not doing exotic things (although I did have a mojito recently). It is time our story was told. The story of The Burbs.

I must be honest. I did once live in a semi exotic place and I did do exciting things. I can prove it from the photo around here somewhere of me and my husband at the top of a mountain we walked up in France (we got the ski lift down. Phew). The grass is always greener. When I was away, sometimes, all I wanted was to sit on the beach at home. Like in the other photo of me with my sister. Now I can sit on this beach every day, I am a little bit over it and jealous of friends living in exotic places and doing exciting things. But for now, I am in the Burbs, and I do like it. I love my garden and my tomato plants. And last night, (notwithstanding the utter lack of fish), the beach was beautiful.
So for those of us that don’t live in exotic places and don’t do exciting things, The Burbs is the antidote. Read it and weep.