Sunday, April 15, 2018


We need not be deterred from radicalism for such as environmental or social justice issues. That is one of my reactions to these words.  Yet these words point to the reality.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
A perfect world is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. 
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is life's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No program accomplishes the whole mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own. 

Untener of Saginaw.

Friday, April 13, 2018


Morris dancers hop into line.  They like entertaining the festival crowd.

It is heard said that the typewriter is not out of favour. The new generation have a  nostalgia for nostalgia. And typewriters have no hard drives or backup so are seen as secure which is liked by some officials.  Budding writers learn their craft better while using the limited processes offered by a typewriter. ABC Radio National reported. All the same, word processing has many pluses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Labrinth.  The new economy is a labrinth.  Subservience and abuse of work conditions, dog eat dog methods of employment, unionism given the axe with approval by Liberal party government.  Is it all that bad?
  Labour hire at the controls.  Job seekers, backpackers and new arrivals are sent to dangerous construction sites on the far side of the city to take up the reins and find a role there, English speakers or not.  We are not in the grim days of a depression, far from it, there is a building boom yet labour hire is there to get what they can out of the system at the expense of decent workplace conditions.
 Loyalty and pride in work and security is not part of it.  Do it yourself workers, no responsibility is offered from hire or from the boss, no redress.
  Superannuation contributions are an issue. The onus must be on the worker to follow this up on their mobile phone from the construction site.  Several years on and it is found that no super contributions have been made, Labour hire went bankrupt or so-called and no employer contributions made and it is a complex task for a labourer/worker to extract any justice. What about pay as you earn tax?
 Tax and social security departments have been whittled down to bare bones and a worker who calls them has great difficulty getting beyond the long que to get a hearing.  Ombudsmen interventions and the complexities seem impossible on the end of a phone. 
 Those who are well paid are assured of superannuation benefits in their retirement .  It is the lower paid, less secure workers who need all the help they can get and they have no chance to legally manipulate the system to secure their old age as others do,  
 So, to new apartment owners, if you are unlucky, enjoy any shonky failures in the apartment, the windows that leak maybe one of the minor issues, there is the privatised officials that sign off without due regard,  remember that apartment development was based on a lot of exploitation.  

Monday, April 09, 2018

Pile of bikes.  This is not in China but is in the national capital at the folk fest.  Could be that at the same time as the Chinese are giving up their good habits around cycling we are seeking to increase the number of cyclists.
  Canberra has caught the light rail bug - the latest 'must have' and a construction zone is beyond the trees and bikes.  Cruise down Northbourne Avenue in a state of mild disbelief along one long construction zone with speed restrictions and its share of chaos.
  So our valley and Canberra have at least two points in common - light rail pioneering and drought. The district is as dry as, brown and dessicated plus water restrictions and very warm days and nights into autumn tho generally the trees had not turned golden or red which can be special where nature is usually evergreen grey or olive.
Return via the Southern highland for a totally different scene of green. 
 

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Vegie, Halumi, beef etc burgers were rather good from this outfit.  Om Noms, Nat Folk Festival Canberra. There are degrees of a good diet at a festival if you pick and choose, what would you make of the stockman's camp who did a spit roast whole lamb over an open fire plus big boilers full of potato pumpkin and greens, miles of onion gravy  and  damper with cocky's joy and billy tea for $12 in a smoky atmosphere with bush ballads. The 'chefs' were scrawny stockmen characters each wearing an old kilt skirt, thongs and maybe an old singlet and a broad brimmed hat.


Wednesday, April 04, 2018


Closing concert at the National Folk Fest.  Today there is a report that live gigs have all sorts of benefits for our well being.  Depends on some factors with performers as different as chalk and cheese, Belshazzar's Feast quietly diverting humour from the UK to Western electrifying swing from the USA there is diversity to filter and get those benefits.   Below recalling, is believed to be The Western Flyers, The fiddle player is really notable.


Monday, March 26, 2018

One of the latest child care centres.  In general carers are after more pay, is it currently around  $23
no, $21 hour.    Child care and aged care are not high on our priorities. Priorities lie elsewhere.  Business ventures would laugh at those pay rates. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Join in EARTH HOUR this Saturday 24th March.

How well is the message understood of the total interdependence of all life forms?  From micro-organisms on to our atmosphere there is a chain that is crucial. Our actions that unsettle this chain have consequences that cannot be denied. Not only do the future consequences hold no concern for  some, the consequences are not even believed in.  Strange but true.

A flock of crows (or murder of crows) is caught making a fuss.
Birds feed on smaller life forms.  They have no alternative larder except healthy grubs, insects, seeds etc for their very survival.  Its that or nothing.  In turn, that's how it is for all the rest of our earthly kingdom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

At sunrise a rain shower on a country stream when the birds were heard.
Turn the sound up.

Monday, February 19, 2018


 The surf was crazy at Newcastle beach due to the after effects of a cyclone in the South Pacific and yesterday annual Surfest and boardriding was underway in a lot of white water. The scene was filled  with promotions and pop up structures but I caught a glimpse of the action.
No sign of a classic wave but imagine the pics from a professional camera. Mine is all purpose and very small and impossible to monitor in bright sunlight except for a minuscule peep hole. The mobile is another device.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018


There is the picturesque but drought stricken countryside is the reality in much of our Hunter valley. Severe drought is burdening farmers. Livestock suffer.  Dairy herds and the milk industry is even more vunerable.

https://www.buyabale.com.au is one way of donating to help purchase hay and water.

Some thinking is that drought is a common occurance and the cost should be borne by the farmer and just what is the role of the government.
Federal government is out of it, too busy with a man and his muse.   If one could look at Federal Government with an open mind it could be seen the extent to which its role is redundant. That we support a Federal apparatus as big and costly as a city is so taken for granted. In return we have federal interference that complicates and doubles up and confuses services and have media that hang on every word which all shows we have got it out of proportion.

Today is both Valentines day and Ash Wednesday -  chocolates, fish and fasting!........... Remember.. that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return....




Wednesday, February 07, 2018

From the gardens near Heatherbrae, the work of volunteers, where you will find very unusual plants among the mainstays.
Exotic motifs all about Mexico and that vicinity broke into our consciousness at one stage in the past when images of the sombrero, cacti or donkey decorated our little household items.

Monday, February 05, 2018

 A pre school on the waterfront seems perfect.  Part of the play area is abandoned as the surf has crept closer carrying erosion and stinking rubbish.

 More motor cycles on sale from Sol Invictus in Hunter street mall.  The retro Nemesis model is probably a Chinese clone.  Latin and Greek is tossed around ....nemesis...emesis....

Sunday, February 04, 2018

 Full moon equals high tides and Stockton Beach has suffered.  The seas have encroached into an old rubbish dump and homeowners in the area are worried over the poor condition of the sea wall and the shifting sands.
  Out run any peril with this set of wheels which is a bit unusual for a standard JapaneseTriumph.   Or so it seems to someone who is not an ardent fan. In fifties or sixties styling. The owner showed us images of his other extravagances, namely bikes of European origin.

Friday, January 26, 2018


'Stralia' Day, means different things to different people. Life goes on but sometimes there's a discontinuity  - debate over the meaning of this day has been occurring and disssent has arisen. It is food for thought.
Above, our state premier once visited Hamilton Railway station while she was a minister and plans were germinating about the new interchange, privatisation and other processes and that time a minor protest was underway - which fell on deaf ears.  This week an unrelated rail strike on a critical day was averted much to the relief of the said premier no doubt.
Well, today the new bus routes and timetable round Newcastle were found to be challenging, it took three modes to make the relatively short distance to the CBD, admittedly bypassing another possibly easier 'block chain'. At one stage the bus driver took a wrong turn and following prompts from the passengers after a few attempts and a detour managed a short circuit to Broadmeadow Station - which is a bit tricky - where a connecting train was quite some time off.
A fellow traveller was taking a train to a country town four hours away and had several pieces of luggage.  On arrival the luggage service seemed unattended so after a while when staff 'appeared' she called to them from platform 2 and asked about checking in the luggage. No, that should have been done half an hour earlier and with possibly 15 minutes before departure shortly the 'porter' jumped into his 'buggy' to transport one single suitcase to meet the country service, it was not as though they were under pressure from countless travellers and might have obliged her.
Next a connecting shuttle was caught up in traffic on the foreshore by which time a lot of the holiday action was half finished. We are usually carefree as it is very rare to get caught in a traffic jam in the city.
Unpatriotic dissidents we rejected meat pie or chips and going international a Spanish paella was enjoyable during a chaotic lunch.
Afterwards, return to the interchange drew attention to the total wilderness that is Hunter Street, due to light rail construction, and how fences and detours added to the return walk in the high summer sun. The bus shuttle seemed excluded from doing a return run to the interchange, there was no flexibility that way.
Never the less, we returned buoyant.  
 I am guilty of wondering if there are many red neck bogans among the flag and accessory wearers although this was not overdone.  It is a problem if a person is deemed an Australian only if they are a regular looking Anglo. 


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Lambton Pool in a heatwave. Very nice.
Its unheard of...Federer got angry and talked with the umpire... makes him more likable. I guess he will be in the finals this weekend.  The Australian Open at this time of the year is enough to ruffle any character no matter how steady and controlled. Not that Federer was necessarily in that category.
 
Morning exercise in the oasis.

Plumeria or frangipani are at their best. Rich texture rich perfume. There are many beliefs about them in differenet cultures.  Similar beliefs are most unlikely to be found hereabouts.  

Sunday, January 21, 2018



 A little duck is part of the flights of fancy penned by Leuing in the Sydney Herald.  Duck is hardly a well known food around here, there are the Asian stores where a rack of bright red cooked birds hang in the window.
  Ex-senator Amanda Vanstone has a polite talk show on  ABC radio and she alluded to the purchase from Woolworths of a carton of frozen ducks or maybe 2 cartons.  As a past minister to do with social security and another time immigration she was a minister with a firm hand in the genera of the unforgettable Ruddock and now, for goodness sake, Dutton   She was ‘rewarded’ with a diplomatic post in Italy.
  A few months ago I spied a consignment of frozen ducks in the freezer aisles at Woolworths and somehow Vanstone influenced me to buy.  It is hard to recall ever having eaten duck until more recent times when a thoroughly enjoyable example was had at Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton.  Delicious served in a jus.
 A re-run of Rick Stein food adventures in Vietnam had insight into the cities and heritage but he was enthusiastic about duck cooked Asian style.  I jotted down the details and probably got most of it.
 It was the recipe for me.  It was deemed to need 39 hours to defrost before dividing the duck  into portions which was new ground. It is not the same as a chicken carcass and garden secateurs came into use as I hacked away on the fatty slippery bird.  The fat was significant and was trimmed, I believe it has its uses, and frying and browning released more and more fat.
  A large old pressure cooker was big enough for all the pieces bathed in a fluid concoction which gradually heated and spread a wonderful aroma during the slow cooking process.  Yes, the sauce was delicious and the meat unusual.  Too late I found it was more than cooked and overcooking may have had some negative consequences. Also the recipe would seem good with chicken pieces.
 It produced several meals to freeze and will be interesting later-on beyond the heavenly day of glorious abundance of duck.

The recipe has well know items.  Fry duck pieces for 5 – 6 minutes and discard the fat.  Into the cooking pot with the duck put lots of garlic and fresh ginger and almost cover with orange juice.  Add 2 tablespoons fish sauce, several star anise, 3-4 chillies and a bruised lemon grass, 1 tablespoon palm sugar, ………  Cook slowly.  Add shallots near the end of cooking.  Thicken with corn flour.


 




Friday, January 19, 2018

Over the entire day a train journey on The Ghan was on TV.  The program dwelt for very long periods on almost unchanging landscape from a few points on the train one after the other except aerial footage during the last sections.
 Almost in silence - normal train noise was faint. Discreet informative messages in text made an occasional appearance in a nice form growing in size as the train approached and as in real life it was difficult if not impossible to read them as they 'rushed past'.
There were no obvious concessions to travelogue style even when it is presumed it was showcasing the train which crosses the continent north-south.
The minimalist unending content gave the viewer the impression of actually doing the epic journey, the passengers would have some variety of scene inside the train which takes a day a night and a day to reach its goal.  Some passengers stop off for local adventures.
The train itself is very very long with two locos and most of the journey is on flat terrain plus a few seemingly minor climbs.
It was great to be taken back to the 'red centre' and the unending nature of the country and the endless miles of driving. It is had to say whether the film would succeed in generating more passengers or just the opposite. 
Shown of SBS TV.



 

Monday, January 15, 2018

RECYCLE.....RECYCLE...........RECYCLE....Return and Earn....
A ten cent refund is offered on certain drink containers. It is a recent move after a long period when cordial bottles were returned for actual reuse as they stood.
'Everyman and his dog' was at the 'digital interface'. Bags, cartons, suitcase, or a trolley full.  One man was leaving with some bottles and he said the bin was full and a truck was on the way to renew the container-sized bin.
Drinks were popular and possible life-savers during this super-hot summer silly season.
All the same, tap water is aok it is sugar free and provides fluoride. Are bottled fluoride deficient water bottles refundable?  It is said that the drink companies will increase their prices - you win some you lose some.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Rama and Sita.
 The Ramayana (Life of Rama), an ancient Hindu epic, is a tradition in Indonesian puppet theatre. I read that the epic is part of the culture throughout S E Asia.

It was a fun interlude when we performed this epic after Christmas dinner with adaptions from Henry Lawson and the Loaded Dog (monkey) and some action set in Kakadu - so it was a bit laid back and absurd yet gripping.

Never the less, this is a tale of combat between good and evil which I was uninformed about. It is a model for relationships and for behaviour, honour, loyality, and duty, of vows and taboos for a good society long before the rule of law.  The vast theme of journey towards a kingdom and of redemption is echoed in Christian thinking.

The Wayang golek are 60cm high puppets made of wood. They are among several types of puppets including shadow puppets which are one dimensional in leather where the outlines are pierced with holes and the arms are moveable.       


Sunday, January 07, 2018


Escape from a soap opera is one way to describe release from a four bedded hospital room. A single room would be a very different experience but is it better?