Saturday, November 29

Storm Season

Many of us remember that this time of year, many years ago, we were victims of many storms that lashed through parts of Brisbane.  I can recall picking up my children from kindergarten late in the afternoon (around 4 pm) when huge storms lashed Brisbane.  They are adults now with children of their own so it was a while ago.

We would rather be home and safe, but we didn't have the warnings that we get now, and often we would be caught up in it, not by choice, but by circumstances.  If you were coming home from work, and had to collect children from school or kindergarten, and it was storm season, you were likely to find yourself midst one of these storms - sometimes hail, but mostly high winds and bucket loads of rain.  I can recall dodging broken trees/branches on the road was I drove home hoping that we made it safely.  Luckily we always did.

It has been a long time since we have had massive storms, such as found their way across Brisbane last Thursday (November 27th, 2014).  I had had several warnings from Council Alerts, that storms, possible hail, high winds, etc could be heading in my direction, but we have had that often, but they've fizzled out and we've not even had a bluster of wind, and sometimes no rain.

This storm was different.

I was at my daughter's place at Hemmant (eastern suburb of Brisbane) and luckily my son in law drove my car up to a shed at the back of his house, so the hail - which was the size of  Aussie 10 or 20 cent pieces dropped where my car had just been.  Rain came down heavily, but at Hemmant it was short lived.  I was ready to go to a function in the city - actually at South Bank, across the river from the CBD, and was going by train.  Shortly after the storm passed I drove to the railway station and parked my car.

There was a train in the station, pointing the direction I was headed so I got on board.  An announcement came over the PA system that there would be a delay.  I pondered getting back into the car and driving, but knew it could be chaos in the city, parking could be a problem, and while I was procrastinating the train took off - on its wait to the city.  Sadly it only made it past two more stations before it stopped.  We were advised that all trains were cancelled.  We would have to find our own way to our destination or return home.

There were two girls from Dublin, and a bloke from Europe who were "lost" so I suggested they come with me.  Luckily I was able to get a taxi and we headed for the city.  They didn't have any money, so I paid the taxi when we arrived.  I went on to my function and the girls went on to the city. I don't know where the bloke went, but he would have been better off if he had stayed with us!!

The attendance at the function was small - clearly many people did not make it.  We learned a little of the destruction that had taken place all over that city in the storm, as many homes were badly damaged, cars had massive damage and the Army was called out as there were trees down everywhere.

Around 8.30 pm I set out to return home - someone had said that the trains were working again, so I headed for the station,  only to find hundreds of people waiting.  We were told there might be buses, but it was vague.  I returned to the streets looking for a taxi - many with passengers passed but none stopped for me.  In the end I phoned my daughter who came to get me.

These couple of videos show some of the storm as it was happening.  It was scary - and many homes damaged - a lot will be unliveable for many months.  Flooding was in many parts and so many cars have suffered hail damage - one being one that my daughter was buying.  There is some discussion about that at the moment, as who actually owned it at the time is debateable.

When I returned to my home on Friday afternoon I passed a lot of damage - trees down in many places, and I had see lots of other damage along the way, though most seemed to be in the western suburbs and CBD.

My home was safe.  (I had phoned my neighbours after the storm and they had checked my place. ) Some of my plants were shredded - and a plastic box where I grew my chives is wrecked, and there is leaf litter everywhere but otherwise all was well.  There was no electricity for nearly 24 hours, but as I was not home, I didn't use my refrigerator and it appears all the food is ok, though I am going to use some of it very quickly.

Will we get more of these storms this season?  Apparently they could be more prevalent.  Mmmm.  Must make sure I stay safe.  Luckily we do get good warnings now via SMS and Email.

Monday, November 24

Who nominated us?

I work as a volunteer with a team of folk at the Caboolture Historical Village - a rather large complex with over 70 historic buildings on 12 acres just north of Caboolture, in Queensland Australia.  If you are headed over that way, why not pop in and see just how the early settlers of this area lived way back in the 1800's.  Sadly there is no indigenous display - something that is being discussed and has been on the plan for several years, but you can learn how the Europeans lived in the area when it was settled.

Someone nominated the Caboolture Historical Village for Kochie's Website Makeover - a competition that David Koch who is a presenter on Channel 7 Australia's breakfast show Sunrise.  We don't know who did it - we are curious - but in the spirit of all good things we have decided to participate.

We've hardly started promoting the competition and seeking votes, as one apparently does in these sort of competitions, and already we have 55 votes.   Not bad for doing nearly nothing!

Anyway, I thought I could ask my readers to go and visit and vote for the site.  Click here - and it will take you the the page with information.

The top of one of the windmills in the Village

Not easy to see as they aare a little crowded - but some of the great coaches that have been restored.
With a not-for-profit organisation with a huge property to maintain and daily visitors, our website is very important to it, and we have received a detailed report which is very enlightening and refreshing at the same time.

We need all the help we can get.

Saturday, November 22

Bordello, Prostitution and Bamboo

I do laugh sometimes when my posts on my Bordello tour, my comments on Prostitution get high numbers of readers, and the other things that are more important to me don't rate so highly.  That's life!

During the week I visited a number of bamboo properties in Queensland, and I made a number of purchases at Bamboo Land at Torbanlea.  One was a little note book - make of bamboo paper.  I'd like to quote from the inforamtion that came with the tiny notebook.

"Bamboo is a fast growing, recyclable material which thrives in harsh conditions returning much needed nutrients to depleted soil.  Bamboo releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than timber.  Paper has been made in China for over 1500 years and as demand for paper increases bamboo is seen as an excellent renewable alternative to timber."

It is a tiny notebook, but will find a home in a small pocket in my handbag.  I usually carry a much larger note book, but I can see that this one will be handy.

I also bought a few other things including a Bamboo Mouse - pictured below.   I ust say I am impressed with the comfort.  It is a little larger than the mini one I have been using and very comfortable and it works well.  These items and others are available on the Bamboo Land website.

Why are we so reluctant to use more bamboo?  It is so much better for the environment - quicker to grow than timber and more versatile.

Thursday, November 20

Bamboo Everywhere

It is along time since I have been north to Bundaberg, but I went there this week to do some research.  I had intended to check the Bamboo Society of Australia website to check details of any members/nurseries between here and Bundaberg.  As it turned out I forgot to check but almost as soon as I realised I had forgotten I found a large nursery around Bauple.  I drove off the main road and up and around taking the following photos.

I drove further north taking note of many stands of bamboo along the way.  Driving around Howard there were some signs for Bamboo Land - so happily I visited.  Wow.  I was so impressed.

First of all I had to visit the Bamboo Loo!!!

Their shop had plenty of wonderful bamboo items.  Amazing collection and I purchased some - some tooth brushes, a bamboo mouse for my computer and some more bamboo undies.  Whoo Hoo!

It poured with rain, but when it slowed down I wandered around the gardens - below are some of my photos of the wonderful gardens.

Saturday, November 15

All the Way with LBJ - Melbourne October 1966

With all the excitement in Brisbane for the G20 this weekend I remembered when another US President came to Australia - and how I ended up in the midst of protests.  I was working at a hospital on St Kilda Road, Melbourne -  Prince Henry Hospital.  I had become disillusioned with nursing so tried my other (clerical)  skills and worked for a short time in the Medical Superintendent's Office, before decided to return to Mt Gambier to do my Midwifery (which was cancelled not long after I arrived.)

I had been aware that President Lindon Baines Johnson was due to arrive in Melbourne, and didn't plan to be where he was, but one day, I think as I was heading to the railway station to catch a train home to my lodging at St Yarra, I came face to face with all the drama.  I think LBJ had visited the Shrine of Rememberance - it was during the Vietnam War and there was much hostility about it. Harold Holt was the Prime Minister of Australia, at the time and there was a lot of political unrest.

As I walked along St Kilda Road, I became surrounded by protestors, and police on horseback.  I remember that clearly.  I don't recall I saw the President, and fought my way through the hostile crowd.  I remember being rather scared by it all.

I had no intention of visiting Brisbane City to day - I am not keen to have to watch the protesters today and get caught up in the traffic chaos.

It certainly is great that these world leaders have visited Brisbane - but I had no desire to see them.

On NaNoWriMo

I've tried and failed several times to complete NaNoWriMo - and mid way through the 30 days of frantic writing I don't know that I am going to succeed in completing the 50,000 words, but I am pleased to report I am doing much better than I thought I would this time.  Life seems to get in the way - not that I am short of writing time, and indeed have probably written more than 50,000 words already this month - on my blog or other writing I have done for two of the organisations for which I am a volunteer.

However, I am here to report that I am doing well.  Not halfway yet, but doing very well thank you very much.  And I am thrilled with what I have written as the first draught.  I have several days this week where I will have the time to write and as I can be a copious writer I look forward to adding thousands more words to the word count.

I'd love to have a "buddy" to write with - but have not though a friend is particpating, but so far we have not managed to connect.  She has completed the task on several occasions.

I purchased Chris Baty's book.  Chris is the guy that started this crazy month of novel writing in 1999 - and the book is full of wisdom on trying to complete this mammoth writing project and he has of course participated each year since he started the program.  I've rad about 10% of it - on my Kindle. I have had to put it down - so I can write, but will get back to it soon.

The style in which he has written it is rather chatty - and I think any would-be novelist will get some great advice from it.  I have been to copious writing workshops and classes and find his writing about completing a novel in a short space of time quite inspiring.

Recently the following Video was made - well worth a listen, though grab a coffee and perhaps a note pad and listen.  I am also a great fan of Blurb.

My story of total fiction - a wild ride for a young 18 year old girl who find herself living with a 70 year old woman in Queensland, a woman who has chosen to avoid the trappings of modern life and since around 1953 has survived living alone (with the help of her brother) on a county property that only recently was connected to the electricity grid.  My experience as a volunteer at the Caboolture Historical Village has helped with with some fo the historical data, and a crazy sense of humour has assisted.

It is of course halfway through NaNoWriMo and I am just a little less than a third the way through my writing goal in terms of word count.  However, I am thrilled with my progress.

This coming week I am travelling to Bundaberg in Queensland, in an endeavour to add some reality to the story.  The story is based around that area so I am doing some research.  I did catch the Tilt Train to Rockhampton, in central Queensland recently and as the train passed quickly through the area concerned, but a little too quick and not easy to take a photo!

Driving through the area I can choose to stop whenever I want to.  Also I will be staying overnight - alone, so more writing time.  Perhaps by the end of the coming week I will be about 75% finished.  That's the plan.

I recommend that you read Chris Baty's book "No Plot, No Problem" - I am still reading it, on my Amazon Kindle.

I wonder why my writing friends do not participate.  

Thursday, November 13

On Prostitution

It is not a subject that I know much about - but I do have some stories to share.  I am not aware that I have ever met a prostitute - even though I have visited a brothel, which I will shortly explain.

It is something that in my experience women do not discuss. I would think from memory, any mention of prostitution would result in words of disdain about the men and women who "indulge" in this industry.  I know many women feel that prostitutes reduce rape - if a man is so desperate for sex he can go and pay for it rather than attack and rape a vulnerable woman.  Women certainly don't sanction their husbands using the services of a prostitute - though of course we can guess that many husbands do and the wife/partner would never know.

I think there is an unspoken almost support of those women who choose prostitution out of financial desperation, though wish there was some other way of gaining financial and other support.  I have read of women paying their way through university with  their income from prostitution, but in the end, for the most part it is illegal in Australia.

It was legal and very much controlled in some mining towns in Kalgoorlie for many years and I had the privilege of visiting one of the famous brothels in 2013.  It is a  working brothel and a tourist attraction.  I know, sounds weird.  Anyway, when I discovered the advertisement for it in the tourist brochure when I was there, I visited.  The Madam was most interesting - she had certainly not been a prostitute, and ran a good clean safe operation for the girls, despite the fact that the strict laws that governed the industry were no longer.  It was fascinating.

Questa Casa in Kalgoorlie

Why am I posting this today?  In part because I read an article about how Sweden has changed its attitude and laws regarding prostitution.  It was this article - actually on Facebook that interested me.  Women are exploited in many countries - for sex, and much of it is legal e.g. procuring young girls for marriage (sex) in many countries of the world.  Men have a strange belief that they have a right to sex whenever they want it.  Having many wives helps to satisfy their sexual appetite but does nothing for the value of women. 

Wikipedia says "The laws on prostitution in Sweden make it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them. Pimping, procuring and operating a brothel is also illegal.  The criminalisation of the purchase, but not selling, of sex was unique when first enacted in 1999, but since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009, and France began enacting a similar law in 2013"

Prostitution is governed by a number of state and federal laws in Australia - we have legal brothels and of course many illegal ones and there is a fair amount of traffic of young women being brought to Australia to do sex work.  Asian prostitutes are apparently very popular with the men.

The strict and somewhat draconian laws that governed prostitution in Kalgoorlie are no longer, and while some of the brothels, like the one I visited, are ruled by strict madams, much of the prostitution is carried out by young women from third world countries who are enticed here on promises of riches.

The issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections came to the fore a few years ago with the worldwide spread of HIV-AIDS which is still a problem, though much more manageable now with new medications and treatments.

For many women it is the fear of contracting HIV-AIDS from a husband or partner that has other partners.  The statistics in Australia are alarming to women.  It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2011 that 60,000 men used the services of prostitutes each week.  I don't know what the figures are for all of Australia, but those figures alone are alarming.  We can only guess that many of those 60,000 are probably married men. 

The most recent data for Australia is here.   "An estimated 26,800 people in Australia live with HIV, the majority of whom are men."

So why does not Australia adopt similar laws to Sweden and the other countries that have followed suit?  Perhaps women need to lobby politicians more.  Perhaps because the majority of our law makers are men, some of whom may use the services of brothels, we will not get change in a hurry.

Women need to be more vocal to protect those women who are lured into this industry.  


Tuesday, November 11

Swim with Crocodiles

Ok, we Aussies don't swim with crocodiles, however, in the north of Western Australia in 2013 at Lake Argyle I was on a sunset cruise in the lake and we saw freshwater crocodiles on the lake's edge, and some of the passengers did go swimming.  Not for me.  Not that I was particularly scared of the fairly harmless crocs watching on from the lakeside, I don't think I'd easily be able to get back into the boat if I jumped off.

Across the north of Australia there are crocodiles - huge ones - and most of us are smart enough to know that it is not very safe swimming in the areas where these huge monstors live.  Sure there are signs up in the tourist areas warning of the dangers, so why do people get taken?   Some folk have some strange sense of safety!  Or they are silly.

In the Northern Territory I did go on a tour on one of the rivers on the way to Kakadu where we went out on a boat to feed some of these monstors.

A Freshwater Croc 

Now you wouldn't want to swim with this Croc

Where I walked.....  (read the story)
I was extremely careful but I did stop my car and with great care walked along the edge of a waterway in crocodile territory to take some photos  - but I didn't take my eyes off the edge of the water.  I was looking for any sign of movement, any sign of a sneaking crocodile.  I was lucky I guess - I saw nothing.

Anyone doing any travel in the Australian outback needs to do some research - the heat, the snakes, the crocodiles are all waiting or unsuspecting travellers.  You need to carry plenty of water, wear a hat, and take a lot of care.

I drove around Australia and took great care - and I guess I had plenty of luck too - but had no problem.

Monday, November 10

The Dangers of the Outback

There are many things that folk from overseas do not understand about Australia and especially the outback.  Two things are (a) the vast distances between towns or civilisation in many regions of Australia and (b) the heat and what it can do to the human body that is not treated with care in these environments.

I have just read of a Belgian woman who was rescued from the Jim Jim Falls area of Kakadu in the Northern Territory.  Luckily her husband had the sense to call for help when she was distressed perhaps due to dehydration, but what the ABC says in its article is that they were in an area CLOSED because of safety issues.  Somehow these tourists have decided that they would be safe ignoring the signs that said it was closed.  I read that the radiant heat from the rocks in the area would have produced temperatures of more than 10 degrees hotter than areas not surrounded by such rocks.  In any case I get annoyed when folk deliberately ignore warning signs (or common sense) - and someone else has to risk their lives, and emergency groups have to use limited funds, to rescue them.

The woman is lucky - there have been deaths before..

I went to Kakadu on my trip around Australia - however, I missed out on seeing some of the most exotic places - some of which I would have loved to see because of the risks.  The biggest one for me was that I was a solo traveller and unlike the woman mentioned above, I did not have anyone to help me if I landed in danger.

It is a beautiful country - but the dangers lurk everywhere.  When I travelled I had some strict rules which I hoped would "guarantee" my safety.  There were one or two occasions, where I did not obey my rules, but luckily I was not stupid and I did the round Australia trip with no hassles.  In fact - trouble free.

One event occurred when I was at Eucla on the Nullabor Plain just past the South Australian border.  I had booked into the motel but, as I often did, set out to explore.  I knew there was a ruin of an old telegraph station, and I knew that there was a jetty not far away.  I walked off alone leaving my car at the telegraph station and headed for the sea.  It was mid to late afternoon, and I just walked through the white sand dunes, when I remembered that I needed to take my bearings in order to return safely to my car before dark.  Mmm.    It was not easy to follow footsteps in the soft white sand.  Luckily I thought to walk to the top of sand dunes and I could see a few trees.  (Nullabor means "no trees") so there were not many.  One tall tree stood out and I knew it was right beside the ruins.

I was able to walk on to the beach and the ruined jetty with confidence that I would safely return to my car.  I watched my time, took a few photos and walked back to my car.  It could have been different.  Luckily I took care of my car and had no problems though I did have a two way radio to call for help if needed.

Distances are something that boggles people from Europe and I can remember walking in an after hours medical centre when two of the UK doctors decided to drive to Cairns from Brisbane for the weekend, a distance of over 1700 kms which takes around 20 hours to drive.  They were doing it in a weekend!!!   When they reached Cairns they realised that they did not have time to look around, as they had to be on duty the next day, so they wearily drove back to Brisbane.  They were very lucky as they were not used to the Australian heat, and their rental car eventually broke down on them - as they said - at "Gumpie" which of course was Gympie and luckily not too far from Brisbane to be "rescued".  We Aussies thought it was terribly funny.

I took 5 months (though stayed with friends for long periods along the way) and was very obsessive about distances and my safety - which of course must have been right as I made it safely home.

Thursday, November 6

Are We Ruled by Greed?

I have heard the quote "Greed is Good" on occasions for many years.  Apparently now it is somewhat attributed to Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street way back in 1987 according to Wikipedia.  I am pretty sure I had heard it before but my senior brain does play tricks on me.

I am not sure that greed is really good - and I am sure that folks will argue with me on this.   Greed I guess is good for you if you are doing well with your greed - you have plenty of money, you have a good life, and so forth, but I look around me and see that the greed of some (or many) is resulting in the poverty of others.

I look at the big banks in Australia and see that they are making huge profits - massive insane profits, much of which of course is shared with shareholders, however I am gobsmacked at the insane amounts of money paid to the corporate leaders of these companies.  I see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Waste is everywhere - not just the rubbish I seen strewn around our wonderful country, but the waste in people's homes.  Do children need so many toys or clothes?  I am appalled at the number of young people who have rows and rows of shoes, of wardrobes full of clothes that are seldom, or ever worn.  (I know that my friends in China buy so much stuff in clothing stores and admit a short time later that they never wore and never will and cast it aside - hopefully to the poor.)

I recall a few years ago at a grandchild's birthday party commenting to my offspring that I found it difficult to comprehend why so many parents (read "mother's") would spend so much on gifts at parties and it was clear to me that the gifts whilst being appreciated on the day of celebration would be cast aside quickly as the children already had room overflowing with stuff.

How many stuffed toys does a child need?  How many gizmos?  It is insane.  How many children get gifts that they never wanted, never use and eventually are discarded.

Even adults are playing the game.  Despite my wish not to get gifts I get them - often things that don't physically fit me, or they don't fit into my wish list.  I thank the gift giver for their kind thought, wishes, and the gift - because I am polite, but deep down I wish I was given something that I would value or use.

I know that the more we buy the more the huge retailers profit, as do the banks, especially if the purchases are bought with credit cards and the folk and the other benefits are higher employment, and it looks like everyone is happy.

Where I live there are many people moving in and out of the area - I see the huge piles of things that do not fit into their houses - when the garage door is open you can see in and even just driving by you see why they can't fit the car/s in the garage.

As they prepare to move, or after they move there are huge bins - many of them filled with items that appear to be in good repair but are no longer wanted.  Recently some people moved out of a unit and left behind so much stuff - probably a lot of it rubbish, but there was a huge bed and some furniture that they could not afford to take with them or perhaps in the case of this family get more donated from one of the many stores or organisations that either sell or donate to "needy" folk.  They are needy because they have a greed for some things and neither save nor consider their future.

We have an increasingly unhappy society - there seems to be more lawbreakers - and I must say that if I hear governments telling us the opposite, I would suggest that it is much abaout the way they keep their statistics.  The police are busy with big issues mostly, which is fair, but so much petty crime or social disobedience is ignored.  People don't bother reporting some petty crimes - the police are not interested (and I have had first hand experience with that!) 

Older people are increasingly concerned about their safety.  Our televisions bombard us with the news of the latest gruesome crime further adding to the concerns, and people keep on doing what they want - many feeling that they have a RIGHT to do whatever they want.

For all the money, the greed, the things we can buy - we don't have a happier, safer, content community.  I wonder what the future holds.

Tuesday, November 4

The Melbourne Cup and the Horses

It is the horse race that stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November.  For my friends from places other than Australia would find this day quite extra ordinary.  The race of course is held in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria - but around Australia the festivities are enormous.  It is not a public holiday other than in Victoria, but across the country there is little work done especially in the afternoon.  The race is run in the afternoon, and the festivities start in the morning.  It is called "the race that stops a nation"!

Sadly I have never been to Melbourne but in the past have attended race meetings on Melbourne Cup Day in Brisbane.  On this day, November 4th, 2014 I was at a little bowls club at Beachmere for a cup event - and there were hundreds of these being held all around the country

There is a lot of planning for these events - clearly selling tickets or booking the numbers so that the event has a chance of success.  Most will offer a glass of champagne/bubbles on arrival, and tickets in Sweeps will be sold.  You can generally buy a $2, or $5, or $10, or $20 - though no doubt in some places $50 or $100 tickets will be sold.  Each purchase gives you "a horse" - you get either the number or the name of the horse and if it is placed in the Cup, you will win some money.  Usually with sweeps the money is shared with the "winners", though sometimes there is a prize for the person whose horse comes last.

Fashions on the Field - is a big event for fashionista's.  Fashion gurus, costumes, and more - just see some of the footage/photos from the event.  Major fashion designers are eager to see their fashions receive publicity so are keen to dress some of the "A listers" - those people who generally get a lot of publicity, whatever they are wearing.

A Fashion Parade, or a competition within guests to choose the best dressed guest, and/or the best hat is often a feature of a Melbourne Cup Party.

Food and drinks - that is important for a good party - lots of wine, lots of good food which hopefully will include prawns.  Lunch today at Club Beachmere included prawns, chicken, ham, pork, a selection of salads, hot bread roll and butter and lots more.  Dessert was a great selection!!!

There were lots of prizes, raffles, and lucky draws.  Many women were dressed in fancy gear - some men even dressed smarter.

There was a lot of noise and laughter and then at 2 pm Queensland time the big race started.  The television had been on for many of the races but with a large crowd it was difficult to hear what was going on, but we were all there for THE BIG RACE - THE MELBOURNE CUP.

The Winner is Protectionist  As the run ran, everyone watched and tried to listen, but with people yelling to encourage "their" horse to race to the finish line first it was all exciting.

Sadly after the race one horse died - it just collapsed and died and of course there will be a post mortem to discover the cause of death.  Another horse was injured following the race - in a freak accident as it shied after someone waved a flag.  Hopefully the horse will be ok.

I do feel for the horses - I don't like the jockeys whipping them - but it has been a feature of horse racing for ever, despite the fact that there is evidence that the whipping does not make the horse race faster and one jockey has been fined for over use of the whip.

The Melbourne Cup will be in the headlines of newspapers and television for the next few days. And then there is next year.

How does anyone know "the rules"?

As I look around the community in which I live - the country, the state, and the regional council where I live I wonder if anyone knows the rules of good behaviour.  Not that there is a written document, but I wonder how ordinary people get to understand what is accepted behaviour these days?

I guess it is always a problem - whatever community one lives in.  Even if there is an expectation that people "know" the rules they still disobey them.

This may be a long and convoluted explanation, but hear me out.

I have just been reading about a 26 year old man who with a 19 year old friend set out one day last week to trespass on railway property with the aim of doing some graffiti on trains.  I am quite sure both men knew that it was to be an illegal act.  But they went ahead.  I don't know all the detail, but the older man somehow was electrocuted.  He did survive initially - with burns to more than 80% of his body.  Apparently the other man called the emergency services.  He would have known then that he was in big trouble.  Fortunately he did not desert his friend - who later died from his injuries.

Stupid?  Ignorance/disobeying the rules?  Graffiti in this way is illegal, trespassing is illegal.  Was the "high" they got from their way of having fun worth it?

I know nothing of the 26 year old - but he certainly displayed little concern for his or his friend's welfare and no thought about his family who are probably busy as I write this mourning his death, and preparing for his funeral.

As I ride and walk around my small community of less than 4,000 I see the piles of rubbish in the streets and parks.  People who carelessly just drop the paper, drink can or bottle, or other rubbish right where they stand so that they do not have to walk a few steps or put their own rubbish in a bin.  I saw it when I drove around Australia - along the roadways all around the country is the evidence of the stupidity and lack of care by hundreds and hundreds of travellers.  They just chuck their rubbish from the vehicle as they drive by.  I have spent hours cleaning up the side of the roads and highways.  I lament the stupidity of this "morons" that seem to think that others should be responsible for their mess.

But I go back to my question, "how does anyone know (or learn) the rules of our society?

What on earth do students learn at school?  What do parents teach their children?  Why, as young adults, do people think that they can commit violence, public disobedience, and crime without their being consequences.

Many of my peers wonder at the wisdom of banning parents from smacking their children.  According to the "do-gooders" it creates a violent society - but as I write this, towards the end of 2014, we have a much more violent society than I can recall when I brought my children up - and they are parents themselves these days.   Did I turn out to be violent because my parents smacked me - or hit me with the wooden spoon?  Most of all my parents used it as a threat - for if one had experienced the wrath of an angry parent dishing out punishment with a strong hand or the wooden spoon - the pain is something that you did not wish to have again, so you obeyed the rules.  My children who were threatened more than actually punished, did not turn out violent criminals - for they too knew that the consequences of their actions might result in PAIN.  There is no fear or no consequences that young people these days have to face, and parents have less "tools" to use in their efforts to teach young people right from wrong.

Did the 26 year old trespassing graffiti vandal consider the consequences of his actions?  He was probably full of bravado with no thought as to any problems with what he was doing.  He's dead now and his family will have to deal with his death, the costs (yes, funerals are not free) and other consequences of his demise.

I could guess that 26 year olds don't read the papers, watch the television news, and ignore the copious pieces of paper that turn up in our homes detailing the various changes in the law.  They don't see the programs where potential travellers are denied an opportunity to travel because they have a criminal record.

Those who litter our country with no concern are probably the ones that want to be kind to animals, do something about the pollution and want the world to be totally free and safe, without understanding that we all must take a role in making the world a safer, cleaner and better place with a better future than we seem to have now.

With all the money spend on publicity concerning the health risks of cigarette smoking - and I see young people, many of whom look as if they are unemployed, continue to smoke.  Even older people who perhaps should know better continue to smoke.  I don't know what to do about that.

We all know that drug taking is a major problem - not only with health (it is proven that mental health diminishes with frequent drug use), but with the chaos that fills the lives of those who continue to use drugs, the potential to end up in jail or hospital, the massive cost to the community.  It is a major problem.  I knew in the 1970's of the consequences of drug use - as a registered nurse in a psychiatric hospital - we saw what drugs did to the mind and saw the consequences of people whose lives were ruined by their drug taking.  Still people seem to think they can take drugs with no consequences.  How can we teach them the truth?

How many idiots drive on our roads without a licence?  How many drive unregistered vehicles risking so much?

We must find a way to re-educate people - even some really formal re-education programs in return for Social Security.  People who rely on government pensions (unemployment, disability, aged) should also be required to do the right thing to qualify.  So if they smoke - reduce their pension, if they do drugs, reduce their pension.  If they do crime - apart from being dealt with by the courts they should get less money in their pension.

Do people know the real consequences of drug taking, smoking, law breaking?

Reward those who obey the law and are law abiding useful citizens somehow.  Worth thinking about!

Monday, November 3

Green Frogs

I get to see and hear green frogs where I live - and have managed to take a few good photos.  I look for them most nights especially during spring or summer, and when rain is around - perhaps they can smell the rain clouds - they croak loudly as if willing the clouds to let loose their rain drops.  It doesn't always work though.

We are enduring one of the driest periods on record - and long for some decent rain to liven up the lawns and the grasses for the animals - this is semi rural with  cows, horses, goats, sheep and other animals on properties around here.

I hadn't seen the green frogs during winter - but they are out and about now.  I found one on the top of my barbeque the other day, the same one that lives in my air conditioning unit and has done since I moved here over a year ago.

This fellow is a regular visitor.

This one high tailed it along the fence when it saw the camera.
I don't know where they go to exactly but previously I have seen several walking along the top of the fence - I wondered if they went to the house next door as they have a big fish pond. Well, bigger than mine.

I've seen as many as 3 or 4 walking along the top of the fence all at once, and I can only assume that some time before dawn the next day, they have made their return journey to where ever they rest for the day.

The Green Frog is an interesting species.  You can read the Wikipedia article here.

Well frogs don't go "La De Da De Dah" - but it is a song that I remember from my childhood.

Saturday, November 1

My E-bike

It was quite cool when I set off on my e-bike this morning.  I love my bike - love it that I can choose to pedal, or pedal hard.  I can choose to be kind to my right dicky-knee.  I went first to the Beachmere Markets - a bit quiet there but I visited most of the stalls.   Then for a wander to the beach front.  Low tide again.  I just love the scenery when the tide is low.   There were great groups of soldier crabs close in shore and long legged wader birds wandering in the shallows looking for food.

Looking out towards Moreton Island.

North to Bribie Island.
Then I called in at a friend's place - a cup of tea and a chat, and then off to the newsagent to get the Saturday Courier Mail, and then pedalled back home.  I left the bike ready for an afternoon ride, but I am procrastinating.  The wind is blowing a gale and it is hot.  Perhaps if I wait a while the wind will die down.

I have been keen to have a fritter - can't seem to get it out of my mind, but I haven't had the meat to put in it.  About midday when I was searching in the fridge for inspiration for my lunch I suddenly thought I should buy some beef and cook it.  I jumped in the car and went to Beachmere Butchery, and bought some silverside.

It was such a long time since I cooked a silverside that I'd forgotten so onto the 'Net and found a few recipes and it was soon in the pot.  Simple recipe - a pan of water with peppercorns, onion, cloves, bay leaves, salt and vinegar and I let it simmer for an hour and a half and it is all done.

Fritters tonight?  I think so!

Also while wasting time today I found a great article about a ranger on Moreton Island that loves photography - and what a grand place he has as his "canvas".  Good story, here.