Saturday, September 15, 2018

 The Macquarie Pass is a terrific route to take from sea level up to the Southern Highlands NSW.  West of Albion Park the coastal strip meets the steep escarpment and the motorist is soon up beside the once distant rock face along the very top and on into Robertson not forgetting a pie shop there.   
The drive is relatively short past appealing thick greenery and tall trees and fresh air with glimpses out over the sides to the coast far below and hairpin bends are a feature.  It is not a major route, is in good shape and busy enough.  It is one of several roads from the coast but it has the edge.
The reflection of the maps spread on the dash is not a good look.  Despite the devices, map reading is still an old habit.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Courage....sing for joy...for water gushes in the desert,
streams in the wasteland, the scorched earth becomes a lake,
the parched land springs of water.......Is 35:4-7.

Words from sacred texts, centuries and centuries old, were read globally this week in the church that is global.
Drought is with us.

A convoy of farmers is heading for the nations capital, amazingly their message to the government is to increase efforts to prevent global warming.  They like to call a spade a spade when it comes to global warming and the effects on our land. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Dinosaurs and our wildlife.   Dinosaurs are an established part of children's toys, books, games and movies - they are featured everywhere.  The name of each creature is known by little kids and there are dinosaur models galore.  Dinosaurs came to an end never to be seen again and more could be made of the aspect of loss and extinction and what it can teach us.
How is this related to our wildlife?  Is extinction aok? Instead of the ancient past stress the importance of our own wildlife and how we need to take measures to protect it from pressures on the environment and halt the growing rates of extinction that our country is know for.
The 'ready made' topic of dinosaurs is lazily exploited instead of the reality of our present day so that it is out of proportion.  Of course, dinosaurs are very interesting, (didn't some have a type of feather covering?) we just need to keep the right perspective.  

Photo: environmental enemy: coal mining engineering: in transit, the body part of a behemoth without the wheels.  This 'tip truck' will perhaps stand several stories high.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Road Kill.  This is the fate of many kangaroos on Hunter valley roads.
Some say that at night  moisture runs off the roads and waters the grass which the 'roos graze on too close to the traffic.  Roos have virtual paths that they traverse, regardless of highways and used to seek out food and water or so I believe. 
It is best to avoid driving at dusk or dawn and largely in between times. Motorists are protected by high fences along sections. Serious car accidents can result from roos. The same with stray cattle. Animal rescue volunteers say to rescue baby roos from the pouch of the injured animals.  I am a so called animal lover but would have difficulties with that move. Killing in a humane manner would be suitable.

End times... we have lost our prime minister who communicated well and behaved in a professional intelligent likeable manner which we could be proud of regardless of his politics,
 A dreadful successor is muted as well as a few others. Bring it on. Dreadful is highly suitable so as to aid defeat in the next election. The humour is dark....the party was not conservative enough for the likings of some members!!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

 From the coast to Warkworth and in between the wattle season is looking good.  It can be depended upon each and every year, so far, unlike our politicians who change like the wind.
 Yesterdays bon homie is a different story today with back stabbing to the fore.
What a pity their antics get all the attention...its only the federal liberal party not the state apparatus who does all the work....I want attention to the things that really matter... fairness, humane solutions for refugees, education, drought and climate change.
 Parliament may be adjourned for a while as a last resort ....they are not doing anything worthwhile...its all constitutional who-har.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The river between Denman and Singleton flows onwards through brown vegetation in a dry environment except for green patches of irrigated crops where even guards might be an idea to protect the fodder - not that it has come to that. Every spare field by the rivers could be growing fodder during this state wide drought.
 I know nothing about farming but notice the haphazard way that stock are fed with grain or hay, the way it is dumped on the ground without any order, perhaps grain could be put on a light weight flat long narrow feeder that could be moved to fresher ground with every feed. Sheep originally came here from greener pastures overseas and are expected to live in extremes such as semi desert where pastures are seemingly invisible and any old ground is good enough prior to their destination and torture during so-called regulated live-shipments to indifferent markets overseas. Stop live export.
At the same time the countryside is full of kangaroos suited to our land and a ready source of meat that needs more exploration.    
Most places like stores and clubs are pledging funds from our purchases towards drought relief. 
The Commonwealth Bank went totally out of service for some hours - another irriate hacker taking them to task for their daylight robbery??

Friday, August 17, 2018

 A Hunter valley coal mine with a mountain of tailings. Closer and further views and the dry countryside.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

 It continues to be beyond any politician to state any positive views about reduction of carbon emissions related to power generation by our coal fired generators.
  Never will they commend us to reduce power consumption or to pay the price nor commend international agreements nor promote alternative power generation.
 They are incapable of 'raising the bar' nor leading us into a sane future. Not only do they ignore carbon emissions they promote an increase and actually hate remediation.
  At the same time as a state wide drought of terrible proportions and the spectre of climate change is with us it has no real meaning.
 Scene - Bayswater coal fired power station from the highway just to our north and the more illusive Liddel coal fired power station nearby.  

Friday, August 10, 2018

 Oyster shucking...pity this endless task at Sydney fish markets which were packed with hundreds of diners.  Four deep we lined up to buy plates stacked with marine life. The crowd generated an urgency.
It was as if a day in Asia, the food, the faces, the languages, the hub bub, the eager family groups and the absence of those of my own background was a taste of adventure.          
Incidentally, the food we purchased was not amazing, too many items were laced with chili powder and bravely I returned a portion of tough dry rubbery lobster tail for a substitute half wondering how I would manage when I only speak English and why was I so out of step when everyone else was ecstatic yet I managed.
 The outdoor tables were an alternative.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Towards Central Station Sydney.

Today, NAB bank at Kotara lost its connectivity in every way and could not function, The manager was at the entrance directing customers to other branches etc.  ( I dont bank there)  Was an aggrieved customer to blame?  The enquiry into banks is revealing the bad processes that we only feared might be true.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Snouts in the trough BASEment level.  Restaurant prepares for the evening crowds. 

Coles supermarket has let the side down.  Their plastic reusable shopping bags have changed from 15c to free of charge only several weeks in, they say customers are not ready to do better. Coles cannot tolerate any threat to shoppers or to profits.
  The thick plastic reusable bags are a stupid move.  They need to give way to a long-lasting fabric bag.  Some reports are of reusable plastic bags thrown out as single use - like one might expect  - and those bags would be even worse as land fill.
  We cannot put off the transition to sustainability. 


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

 Berowra area, old Pacific Highway once had toll gates somewhere on this spot which has become a rest area and firefighter's base.
A drive to/from Sydney included a toll to use the long new descent to the Hawkesbury River on the beginnings of the M1.
  The old two lanes were a steep climb of horseshoe bends and progress was very slow or in fits and starts but of interest. Engines boiled. 
Relatives have said they packed a thermos and food to have refreshments during a traffic jam, like outside the car - perhaps it was an exaggeration.
The old Pacific highway, is much improved and continues from the above point and motorcyclists seem to like its challenges.    

Friday, July 27, 2018

This route past the beaches is sure to please us. 

 A total turnaround has happened to local media and has been rapid. Newsagents were a sought after thriving business - not any longer, lottery sales seem their mainstay in those that remain in business.
  Just the other day as they say there was a rally in the city to support the local Fairfax newspaper from outsourcing important tasks - now there has been a sell out to Sydney's brash Channel 9 and doubts about the future of a whole network of country newspapers.
  In a relativly short period newspapers have had their day.  A local state of the art printing press of  fairly recent times has ceased printing the local rag and jobs have been lost - didn't management  see the writing on the wall?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

 Progress with light rail in Hunter Street with this section east of Union Street just before it was opened to traffic two days ago and includes a new road link with Honeysuckle near where the light rail emerges onto Hunter. Then the same section as it was a month ago.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Is it possible the new Hunter Street light rail rolling stock crept here today?  No? As part of a freight train, new carriages and a load of wheels was seen on the move near Tighes Hill, as was a coal train heading back for a load. Coal prices have risen, the bonanza continues and we 'fiddle while Rome burns'. Thinks massive ice burgs on the move and sea levels.
 Trump fiddles while Rome burns.  And what has Putin done?  That US leaders are provoked and react and complain about the actions of their president in response to Putin and would be a 'good' result as far as Putin is concerned he might be pleased he has caused more dissent in America.
Does protest (London) fall on deaf ears?
 We have enough on our own plate. Dictators and authoritarians are lapping at our shores.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Woolworths supermarket has installed those plastic seats made from recycled shopping bags. What's next?
Observations.  The scenic French countryside is followed with the Tour de France on SBS TV.  It is difficult to spot solar panels on any rooves or roofs.  Hope it is the exception.
The national data base of our e-health records is in progress.  Of course it is important and of great use.  I see very little evidence that medical professionals delve into histories or care plans at all, they reinvent the wheel with every incident. 
It is very true that the famous Thai Football team are well behaved demonstrated on camera sitting up in their hospital bed. Current thinking is to be up and about no matter what illness - within reason - not a chair was in sight. Difficult for young active boys. Off camera it would be different.  Then, strangely, the boys had comments recorded without taking their masks off - not even for a minute.  Possibly it was to deter recognition.  As if.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Citrus form a bright spot.  Mid winter, sunny days and blue skies with an edge.  Well, that's this week.
An old mandarine tree gives fruit year after year and it attracts possums or some wild life who scoop out the fruit. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Buddhist centre in Hamilton is open and is seen from the street through the windows.  A life long pursuit. As well, our approach to fellow humans is what its all about.

The slaying of two young lives by their father is an appalling loss.  There is no excuse.
Why are situations maintained at any cost?  Why are court proceedings pursued at any cost? Why prolong a court case with an allegedly risky violent long term unpredictable person? We need to use some wisdom about the reality.  All is not black and white.  But such thinking is unheard of.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The local Woolworths supermart must be going solar.  Praise be!  Talesun brand is on the products.  It is not a first, photovoltaic has taken off and great progress is seen on a global scale.
 Suzhou Talesun Solar Technologies has a web site that depicts grand solar farms in China.  Installations in Europe particularly and Thailand, India and USA are also shown from this Chinese company which has state of the art equipment from Italy and Japan.
 Where is our own manufacture of these products which we were into in the very early stages?  Naturally, we can not compete with the mega economies.  Some politicians are not even supporting solar.
 Is alliance with China such a bad thing?  We find an unfamiliarity with Chinese efforts to be part of our culture, our uncertainties are reasonable. Chinese global reach is notable. Their political scene and human rights agenda are alien.  However, how well do we and our existing allies stack up? How do we rate with the indigenous population? Our unethical tactics with refugees are shameful.   How many people are imprisoned in the USA - vast numbers. US politics and national standing are faltering. So how well does Chinese society rate in the face of our difficulties?  So called National security is another difficulty beyond this little rant.
 Is it possible to sit on the fence and for us to have good allies across the divide of China and USA?  End the either or situation and look towards an interesting future. If the East will have us.    

Friday, June 29, 2018

Small and slow eco gain.  A take-home reminder offered by the Woolworths supermarket in town.  A lot can be done, some supermarkets in Sydney and Canberra were no way into reusable bags in the past.
Manufacturers could be tempted to sell sets of plastic bags to make up for those from the checkout and handy for this and that.  It would be a backward step.  Plastic bin liners exist and some are biodegradable but doubts are cast on the biodegradable process.  

Full marks to those in the community who make reusable bags on the sewing machine.  Short handles are a must.  Please make short handles for the bags. Long handles mean that the bag drags on the ground if the bag of groceries is held by the handles.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

This photo is nothing like the reality of the long descent and climb up from the scary span with high sides to deter xtreme sports persons launching into the valley below
 Previous photos were of Hunter Street but since then several journeys have been along other highways.
The M1, Sydney to Newcastle secton would be the most ambitious, challenging, fastest and busiest in the land from what my travels have shown. Last Saturday afternoon the traffic was light.
Extensive roadworks meant kilometers of speed restrictions, in place to build extra lanes it is supposed. For one, the service centres this side of half way create problems. 
The last section closer to Newcastle is very boring until the TV transmitter on Mount Sugarloaf comes into view with relief that the home run is nigh.

 Hawkesbury or Brooklyn Bridges

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

 Beyond Darby Street, which is closed at this end, next was the Court House.  One area of design had used a balls and chain idea!   There, a section of the light rail was almost finished.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hunter Street revisited.  Locals may identify with this.  1.  Looking west from this side of Darby Street and light rail construction.  I'm all for workplaces observing public hols or is there a bit of urgency over finishing this work as soon as possible? Where do we draw the line.
2.  Looking east.   4.  Deserted footpath.  People were hard to spot on a rainy public holiday.  Next to no shops were open.
The shops have limited access to suppliers,to customers, to trades persons and their tools of trade, to cleaners, or for medical or fire emergencies.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Queens Birthday long weekend, I think, the city was as quiet as with rain showers in Hunter street.  1 Formal wear shop zone stand coy behind construction fences. 2  View is extended with a new glimpse up the hill where parking station was demolished in Perkin street.  3  Electric Bikes sit in wait. These sets are found around the city and are a positive move to take our minds off the general inconvenience of the moment.

Hunter Street revisited.  Images that a local may relate to.  1.  Beyond the barriers around the light rail construction is the former Newcastle Railway Station, due for reuse.  2.  Engineering works on ex shop front redevelopment. Formerly David Jones, formerly Scotts Hunter street mall.   3.  a patch of light rail in a finished stage and crossing to the wharves near corner of Scott and Wolfe Streets.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Yesterday, an unusually calm mostly warm sunny day, Jimmys Beach, north of Newcastle, inside headlands of Nelson Bay, was free of gross piles of items that had washed overboard when 83 containers fell off a ship.  The opposite northern beachface was also clear.  Other beaches have problems.
Clean-up of a range of plastic products had taken place and work was in progress in the distance close to the headland..  Several people were making their own offort  to pick up mini items of plastic.  There was littering at the extreme high tide mark I was told.
In the opposite direction, beach erosion was up to the edge of the street in a couple of places.  Development is too close to the beach.
Plastic ware degrades into unseen micro pieces and is an extreme problem for our ocean environment and marine life and down the food chain affecting animals and humans. 
Fishing boats can snag their nets on a container making for a dangerous situation.  They would rely on sonar.  The position of the containers may be 'charted' by the navy.