Monday, April 25

Anzac Day 2016

I was up early this morning - planning to ride my bike to the Anzac service at Beachmere, but could not find my helmet.  It is unlawful to ride without it, so I ended up driving.  (I have since found it!!)

It was a cool morning - much cooler than we have had for some time.  Beachmere always has a rather large ceremony - which is amazing for such a small town.

Australians certainly support the Anzac Day events much more than they did a few years ago.

Lest we Forget.

Planes and Anzac

A busy weekend again, with part of Saturday and Sunday at the War Plane Fly In event at Caboolture Airport.  It was a busy place with a number of vintage planes taking to the air. 

The airport was certainly busy - and the camera buffs were out in force!

Do remember reading about The Red Baron?  

It was a huge weekend for me as I "volunteered" there for the Caboolture Historical Village on the two days.  I am so tired.

Sunday, April 24

To Kingaroy

A few weeks ago, I made a decision to drive to Kingaroy (175 kms) from where I live at Beachmere, to write stories for along the way.  I planned to stay overnight and then return home via Gympie.  I was a bit too ambitious as I found that when I arrived at Kingaroy, after a drive that took 8 hours, because of all the stops and interviews I did along the way, I would have to spend a few hours in Kingaroy anyway, so planned to do the Gympie trip another time.

I did leave home just after 8 am, travelling along the D'Aguilar Highway to Kingaroy.  There are many places to stop and visit along the way.  I didn't manage all I wanted.  There were just too many!!  

One stop was Kilcoy - where I visited the Art Gallery, a Winery, and Yowie Park.

I woke this morning to a huge fog in Kingaroy, so I went out to take a few photos early, and eventually set off around 9 am.  So many wonderful places for tourists and even then I had a list of more to go to.

Kingaroy is famous for peanuts.  There is a huge peanut silo overlooking the town, and a couple of peanut vans around - and plenty of peanut products.

But there's more to Kingaroy than peanuts.  There are about three wineries around town.  (I only managed one!)  There's a very interesting Museum, Art Gallery, historic homes and so on.    I'd like to have had the time to visit more, but that's all I could do. 

I stayed in the Burke and Wills Motel in Kingaroy. Burke and Wills didn't travel via Kingaroy though, which I find amusing.  As the sun set over the town, there was a lovely sunset, and the image does not do justice to it.

The following morning there was a thick fog over the town.

It is the end of the peanut season, and many fields are scattered with plants pulled up.  (Peanuts grow underground).  Many fields have been ploughed ready for new planting.

Kingaroy has a number of peanut silos - one huge one overlooking the town.

Peanut Silos at Kingaroy.

Wednesday, April 20

Anzac Day - Lest We Forget

Anzac Day - April 25th, is celebrated with great enthusiasm each year - and getting larger each year.  The first commemoration in Queensland was in 1916!!

My parents were both in the armed forces, but much later.  My fater was born in 1919, and my mother in 1915.

They were in the Army around 1942 - 45, although my mother left earlier than my father.

I have no recollection of attending Anzac Day events when I was a child, in fact my father didn't until his latter years.  He had bad memories of his days in the Army, though it was not because of his "war experiences".  He never left Australia.  He had wanted to but was not considered healthy enough.  

There had been an episode when he was working in Alice Springs during his Army days.  Apparently he was working at a US Army project, and he explained that the food was shipped in on trucks that brought the food in.  Several of the soldiers, including Dad ended up with "food poisoning", and they were sent to Melbourne to Heidelberg Hospital which was THE hospital for the military in those days, and continues to treat veterans.

Anyway, Dad was discharged as medically unfit, claiming he had a stomach ulcer or similar.  He re-enlisted the following day, but due to his "medical condition" he was not allowed to leave Australia for the services. 

Although he continued in the Army for a few years later, he was always angry about the way he was treated, but he did attend Anzac services in the last few years before his death.

I like to go to the big march in the city (Brisbane), but for the last couple of years have attended the service at Beachmere, which I will do this year.

These days with radio and television there is a lot of publicity about the many events, and these days many folk go to Gallipoli for the service.  How wonderful!

Here is something written about my father by the RSL.

Here i

Tuesday, April 19

Revisiting the Past

I set out to a friends place to help her set up her blog.  She lived a few streets away from where we  used to live way back in the early 1970's, so as I set up the GPS, I decided to go via our old house.

As it turned out, I had to travel via places that I frequently drove through years ago, and it was quite amazing to see all the houses that are in an area that I recall as being all acreage lots, farms etc.  Now it is suburban!  Houses, shops, schools, industrial areas.  It is a strange sensation in a way, as my brain had some memories of the roads I traversed, but it had all changed.  

Reaching the suburb that we had lived in, and that I would not have visited since the 1980's, I was amazed at the changes.  Our regular shopping centre was completely transformed - a roundabout, gardens, etc.

Then I followed the road that once I was a regular on, to our house.

It was the first house we lived in, in Queensland, after we arrived around 1971.  We rented there, and it looks like it is still a rental property.  It was a weird feeling to see it.

I went on to see my friend, who lived in a retirement village which was build on an old quarry - which was a working quarry back in the '70's.   In one part of the quarry is now a lake - which apparently harbours a nasty creature.  When the mother ducks take their babies out for their first swim it comes up and eats them.

It certainly looked very peaceful when I was there.

After I had finished there I drove back the same route, but this time stopped to take a photo of the city of Brisbane, from a high point on one of the main roads, but I had to point the camera so that I did not get the house roof in the image.

I then went on to the Redcliffe Peninsula as I had some banking to do, and then I visited the Redcliffe Fire Station Art Gallery precinct.  It was closed, but I took photos for an article I wrote in Weekend Notes.

I also wrote another article about Monster Trucks.  Not my thing, but worth a few lines.

Editing and Proof Reading

Would it be wonderful if our writing was perfect from the moment it appeared on the page?  I do know of course, that there are few books published that have NO errors in them, and I tolerate the occasional "error", especially as I know that there are disagreements about the use of some words and some punctuation.  

I do hate it when a book is littered with errors.  I have a couple of funny stories about books and errors.  

Quite a few years ago, I read about a local woman who had published a book.  She had quite a bit of publicity about her publication, so I contacted her and invited her to be a guest speaker at a function for our local writing group.  It was an afternoon event on a Saturday, and I found one of the other members to chair the event, and I did the catering.  (I had had my own catering business some years earlier so it was an easy task for me.)

I was able to listen to the talk as I quietly arranged the food, cups and saucers, tea, coffee etc, and I learned that there were two printings of her work.  The first one had too many errors in it.  

At the end of the event, she asked if I had bought the book, and I said I had not as I had inadequate cash as I had used my funds for the catering.  She handed me a book and said, "Pay me later."

A day or two later I picked up the book to read it.  I was horrified at the number of errors I found in the first few pages.  I phoned the lady, assuming that I had one of the first print run.  She was adamant that there were no errors in the second edition and was a bit put out by my claim that I had identified many!!

I did go on to read it all, with my pencil in hand, circled all the errors I found.  There were many.  As an example, a character, a doctor, had his name spelled three different ways.  The protagonist had travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane in a car, which amazingly did the journey almost as fast as a plane, and a skeleton had a muscle spasm.  And on and on the errors went, and I sent an email to the author listing the page numbers and the errors.

She was not amused!!!  She told me to burn the book.  I did not, but used it for several years in workshops I conducted, as an example of getting a good editor.  In amongst our exchanges of conversation, she told me that she had paid $1000 for an editor's services!  OMG.

Another writer told me about her ebook, which I bought, and after a few pages, I found it difficult to read as error after error (spelling, punctuation, over repeated words etc) and I phoned her.  As she was a friend I visited her.  She took me to her computer to have a look at her words.  We found that (a) she had done a spell-check, but had not 'saved' her work, and (b) so many words were repeated over and over, and many other errors.

I know I make mistakes.  Often.  However, I use Grammarly.  
Each week I get a report on my writing.  Most of my writing is checked by Grammarly as I write.  My report for the last week includes this:  

"You were more active than 96% of Grammarly users."  

Your vocabulary was more dynamic (unique/total words) than 97% of Grammarly users."

I wonder what others get.  If you would be interested in using Grammarly, go to the link here or the advertisement on this page. 
I do "over rule" Grammarly sometimes!!!  Grammarly and I don't always agree on the placement of commas, but it is the only area of challenge between us!!

Monday, April 18

More on My Childhood

I am not sure that I can recall a great deal about the first few years of my life.  My mother told me some things that I remember.

My parents were in the Australian Army - which is where they met. They married while still in service and boarded with a lady near the city of Adelaide, and when my mother became pregnant with me, they had some issues to manage.  They could not board in the small room with a baby, so had to find new accommodation.  Not only that, my parents had to find a hospital so that my mother could give birth with medical care.

As it was wartime, all the hospitals were full with war wounded, and there were no places for women in labour.  However, not long before I was due to arrive in the world, my father rode his bike around Adelaide in search of a place for my mother to give birth, and found it in a small hospital close to the city, at Dulwich.

After I arrived safely, they moved around a few times, until they were able to move into their own home, which was after living at Woodlands.

My mother told me the story of my "kidnapping" at Brighton where they were living.  I was playing in the front yard, and mum had tied the front gates together so that I was "safe" inside while she went into the house to do some housework.

A short time later, when she went to check on me, the gate was open and I was gone.  She raced around screaming, and contacted my father, and a big search was set up.  It went on for about an hour before I came home holding the hand of a little girl who was a couple of years older than me.  I must have been about three years old.  
She had apparently spoken to me in the front yard and told me about her pet bird, (I think that was the story), and asked if I wanted to see it.  Which of course I did.  So she undid the gate, and I went with her to her home.  

Meanwhile, the search was on.  

I returned safely, of course.  I feel sorry that I put my mother through such agony at that time.

In relation to the "Dunny" story, I told my grandchildren about the humble dunny, and they were shocked.  I told them in those days we did not have neat rolls of white toilet paper, and had to use torn off pieces of newspaper and pages from the "phone book."  

I do remember in the early days how it was great to get a new phone book, so that we could put the old one to use in the"dunny".  My grand children were quite shocked as they had not known until then, the primitive conditions that their grandparents had to live.  What surprised me was that grandson, aged 12 at the time, asked me what a phone book was!!!

Also at that time, I remember the "chamber pot" - a china or enamel pot with a handle that lived under the bed.  If during the night, you needed to go to the toilet (lavatory was probably the most common name used), you could use the "pot", rather than go outside the house to the dunny.  Each morning, the mother of the house would empty the pot into the dunny.  When we moved into our house at Oaklands/Ballara Park, we had an indoor toilet, so the dunny did not have a place in our lives unless we visited an uncle and aunt who lived in the country.

Across the road from the house at Woodlands was a castle.  I have just found a video on castles in South Australia, and the Woodlands Castle is mentioned as it was one of the few castles built in South Australia.  It was demolished around 1950.   You can watch the video here. 

Here is something from the website SA Life, about South Australian History.  Not only did I live across the road from the Edwardstown Castle at Woodlands, but I have a connection with the church of St Mary.  It was my family's church back in the early 1900's and many of my ancestors are buried there.  It is not far from Tonsley Park, where my great uncle had a famous farm called Tonsley.  There's another story there.  

Grant: South Australia’s most famous castle was built here on a huge tract of land between South Road and Daws Road behind this beautiful church of St Mary.. it was built by a man called Benjamin Babbage who had vines and roses and called his place The Rosary, everybody else called it Babbage’s castle because that’s exactly what it looked like .. it was South Australia’s FIRST concrete home and possibly South Australia’s WORST concrete home as well.
Babbage was an engineer who used a pioneering technique for making concrete that was fundamentally flawed and created rampant salt damp. It was a grand home…described in the papers at the time as part Arabian nights, part Grimm’s fairytales… Benjamin Babbage died before it was finished and his married daughter and her family lived there.
But…by 1910, it was crumbling away…Babbage’s daughter moved from one room to another as the castle tumbled down around her. Ten years later, it was mostly rubble…the place was demolished and the land subdivided in the 1930’s.
Not far away, on South Road at Edwardstown, was a home that inspired the name for the Castle Plaza Shopping Centre. The first dwelling there was a modest affair built by Alfred Weaver…
The next owner was Scottish sculptor William Maxwell - the man who did the statues in the city of Robbie Burns and John McDouall Stuart. He wanted something that reminded him of home…the results of that are in this article from the 1947 SA Homes and Gardens magazine in the State Library…“Woodlands-The Edwardstown Castle.”
Woodlands was bulldozed in the 1950’s to make way for the Castle Hotel…that in turn was flattened in the mid 1980’s as the shopping centre expanded.

Sunday, April 17

Dunnies and Things

I am thinking of finishing off my Memoir and maybe getting it published.  As I was born back in the 1940's, I have a lot to recall and write.  In fact, I have done most of it, and just need to revisit it and finish it.  I'm not famous, but have had an interesting life.  I was thinking the other day, about my life. The first five years of my life?  Would that be interesting?

When did I start remembering things?  I don't know, but the first house I remember living in was when three families lived in the one house in Woodlands, South Australia.  It was a big house, maybe owned by my grandparents. I don't think it was a rental house.  My grandfather was much older than my grandmother - maybe 20 years and he was an old grumpy man, who did love his grandchildren.  I can only remember him being in his bedroom. He had his own small room, and my grandmother slept elswhere in the house.  I have no memory of the bedrooms of the house.  My Aunt and Uncle also lived there, with their two children, and my parents and I.  My mother was pregnant and my father spent all his spare time building our new house at Oaklands.

I remember meal times, especially the evening meal, with all of us at the table. I can't actually recall that Grandpa was there, but Nanna certainly was.  "Children should be seen and not heard" was a key table rule, and pity help us if we spoke!!  It was post war and food was scarce, as was electricity, and often we ate by candlelight.

My cousins were older, and while I did spend some time with them, I was mostly on my own when they were at school.  

The kitchen was at the back of the house, and we had a wood stove as I recall.

Outside the back door were two wooden buildings. One was the laundry with the copper, where the washing was done.  I don't recall if the three ladies did their family washing at the same time, but in those days, Mondays were washing days, but I have memories of the hot water in the copper, and the dragging of the clothes out of the boiling water with a well worn stick.

Next to the laundry was "the dunny".   The toilet.  Inside the wooden building, probably not unlike the images below.  I know there was a wooden seat with a hole in it, and newspaper to clean one's self.  I know telephone book pages were used, but I don't recall that.  In fact, I don't recall that we had a phone in the house.

My father worked, and so did Uncle Harold (he was a butcher) and the three ladies spent most of the day doing housework, and my grandfather spent most of his time in or on the bed.

There was a little girl who lived next door and we spoke frequently.  I didn't go to her house and she didn't visit our house.  I do recall that after a short illness she died.  She  had contracted polio.

I did go to kindergarten.  My mother used to walk with me as I pedalled my three wheeler bike to Mrs  Sugar's kindergarten, and she would walk home, and later in the day walk back to get me.

One day when she went to collect me, I was not there.  I had run away - in fact, ridden away.  On my three wheeler, I had escaped and taken another route home.  Mum panicked and everyone set out to find me.  Mum found me.  I had ridden another route home and got bogged in a huge puddle of water.  Mum was not happy - for several reasons, my escape and the fact that my bike was bogged in muddy water - probably 6 inches deep.  She had to wade in and push me out.  My grandmother had a weird habit of making my mother force caster oil into my mouth when I was naughty.  The two of them would hold me down and I would fight like hell, spitting and hitting as best I could while they tried to spoon the stuff into me.  This was always punishment as they thought that I was only naughty because I was constipated.  I know that when we moved to our new house it never happened.  Mum didn't have the power to do it on her own, and perhaps she would not have done it at all without her mother's influence.

When I was about four I started to go to a school called Hopetown at Brighton, which was run by two spinster sisters in a hall at the back of the Brighton Church of England (later changed to Anglican).    Mum would take me to the Woodlands Train Station and we would wait for the train to come, and Miss Fleming, (I don't know which one) would help me onto the train where I saw with all the other students and the ones that we collected on the journey to Brighton.  Then we would walk in file along Jetty Road, to Brighton Road to the school.  When school was finished we returned the same way, and Mum would be at the station to meet me.

I don't recall much detail about the school days there, but I do recall one day on the train we were shown a "biro" - for prior to that, we only used lead pencils.  Biro's were not permitted to be used in schools, and few people had them anyway.

My sister was born, and about that time, we moved into the house at Oaklands.  I don't know why, but I no longer went to Hopetown, but started at Brighton Primary School which was right next door.

I had to walk to school, then, which was about 1 km.  I walked with Roger and Janine Lawrence as I recall.  Roger was about my age, and his sister was a year or so younger.

One day as we were walking to or from school, through the bush, as we did, a huge spider found it's way to the front of my school uniform.  They probably heard my scream from miles away!!! Roger grabbed it and threw it in the bush.  I valued his friendship for a long time for "saving my life."

China's Empty Cities

When I first lived in China in 2008, I learnt that not all the massive buildings around the cities have residents or tenants.  It was rather weird, to see massive buildings that seemed to have no life.

I recall going on a cruise around one city, a dusk cruise where we enjoyed the ambiance of the late afternoon with friends, but as we passed the buildings, some 40 or 50 stories high, we noticed that as the sun set there were no lights on in these buildings.  Where was everyone?  We were to learn that there were few folk living there.  Explanation?  Usually, all we would get would be a shrug of shoulders.  Our students did not know why.

There was a major shopping complex near the train station, where each day people queued in long lines that went from the building, down the stone stairs and out to the road way, especially as busy holiday periods approached, but across the road was a shopping complex with rows of empty shops.  Some looked like they had never been used!

 As we travelled around various parts of southern China one would come across this sight frequently.  I recall that there was a video about the 20 million condo's that had no one living in them.
This article might corroborate my story.

I remember speaking with a student (close friend now) about this, as she told me about the investments her family had made in real estate.  They had some apartments somewhere (I don't recall the details).  Without knowing the detail of the massive number of empty buildings, I asked if they had good tenants.  She looked at me with surprise.  "No, we don't have tenants.  They are an investment."  Their goal was to sell the apartments some time in the future for a huge profit.  If you have tenants, she added, there are maintenance costs!!  I scratched my head in amazement.

Now, if anyone has looked closely at Chinese buildings, you may notice that the standard of building is not the quality that will last long.  Are they being duped?

In recent days another story has been published about a city called Kangbashi.  Read it here.

Recently near Hangzhou, I saw new suburbs or cities being built, and again row up on row of empty apartments.  The building which I stayed in in Ningo, was also only partly filled, but the car parks were overflowing.  Many families have more than one car in the family, but the building only allowed for one car each.

It is a curious thing.  There are many homeless people, but they tend to be up around Beijing, but the excess housing is way down south.  Strange.

This Youtube Vidwo details 64 million Empty Apartments.

Thursday, April 14

Electric Cords and Cables

I do love "wireless" and wish more equipment that is used in the home (or office) is wireless.  I wrote recently about irons, and the fact that there is an element of wireless.  The iron itself is wireless, and sits on a "base" to heat.

I have had a wireless printer for some time.  I use a Brother laser printer for most of my work, and get my toners from Hot Toner, which arrive quickly after one orders.  The last time I bought a toner was 2 years ago, so I will be interested to see how long this order lasts.  (I get 2 at a time!)

The Brother is quite a few years old, and yes, it has cables.  One connects the computer to the printer, and the other cable is the power one.  

I don't do much colour printing, as I get all my photographs printed at Officeworks or Harvey Norman.  The Epson printer is "wireless" but I have not managed to get it to do so.  I gave up a long time ago.  I've always attached the two cables.  However, a couple of weeks ago I got a bit annoyed about the issue, and played with the printer until it worked.  Yay.

I am often challenged with either technical stuff, or "men" stuff. Having to put things together is always a challenge for me.  As I am on my own, I have to deal with it.

Luckily both my printers are working well, so is my camera, so all is well.

A Writing I Will Go

I have been writing for Weekend Notes for some time, but really only "dabbled" for a while, but now have committed myself to around 20 articles a month.  There really is so much to write about - it is often "under my nose" but I don't always see it.

Driving my car, my Mitsubishi Lancer, is one of my great loves.  I did drive around Australia, rocking up some 35,000 kms, and I am keen to do part of that journey again, but meanwhile I do shorter trips.

Where ever I go, I keep my eyes and ears open for ideas.  Recently I went with a group from the Caboolture Historical Village to another pioneer village near Toowoomba, and was very frustrated that I could not take any photos.  The windows were hard to see through due to our advertising over all the bus.  However, I have noted the places that one day I will return to, so that I can include them in my writings.

It does keep me busy.

Next week I am driving to Kingaroy, some 160 kms from where I live.

There are many places to visit along the way, which I have listed.  I will be staying overnight in Kingaroy, a town which is "famous" for peanuts.    I have a huge list of places to visit, and on the way back, I want to head further north first, to go to a Red Claw Crayfish farm.

Weekend Notes operates internationally, so if any writer wishes to contact me and ask about it - I am happy to respond to any questions, but if you want to contact me please do so via Comments.  (I don't like SPAM so don't bother to do that. It will be deleted)

This is an article about an event with the Melbourne Cup winning jockey, the first woman ever to win, Michelle Payne.  She's very quickly written a book and will be talking about it at Brisbane Town Hall. 

I am also attending a WordPress Word Camp next month - details are here. 

If you are a writer and keen to write articles for Weekend Notes, which is international, feel free to click on this link.   To make it work for you, you need to post around 10 articles a month, and having a good camera and taking plenty of quality photos is most helpful.

Good luck.

One of my articles.

Monday, April 11

Should we Microchip Everyone?

Day after day there are reports of missing people - often young girls who get themselves into some sort of trouble and leave home.  Often they are found murdered, or raped.  Often it is the beginning of a terrible journey for the family and the survivors, and it need not happen.

We micro-chip or dogs so that they can easily be found, so why not microchip humans?  Well, I guess I am supposing it is proven safe to do it to humans, as the chip would have to last a long time - more than 8 times longer than a dog's life.

But it makes sense to me.  

In the last few days, a baby was taken by a stranger from the mother who had it in a stroller.  Hours later the baby's body was found, and investigations continue to determine what happened.  But what if the baby had a micro-chip?  They surely would have found the child earlier, and perhaps might have saved its life.

Adults in their very senior years often wander off - especially after they have had some health issue (e.g. dementia). Sometimes the person or their body is never found.  What if they had had a microchip?  Wouldn't it be easier?

I can hear those concerned about privacy getting upset with me already.  But it would make life easier for so many folkand it might just reduce crime as there may be a way of tracking the movements of people at a crime scene.

I do think that one day it will come to be - for there are so many benefits.  It could make our lives much safer, and reduce the enormous cost of search parties looking for folk.

Perhaps the technology is not quite there yet, but I wonder if it would help find the pilot of the helicopter that went down in north Queensland in the last week?

Just thinking out loud.................

Sunday, April 10

Playing with My Fish Eye Lens.

Recently I saw a little pack of lenses to use with one's mobile phone on a website and as it was less than $A10 (which included postage) I bought a set.  A tiny box arrived with some rather limited instructions, and I set off to explore the possibilities.  I am not sure I'd bother buying a fish eye lense for my Olympus, but it is not out of the question.  

The lenses fit onto a mobile phone, with a little clip, and it is quite easy to use, though I don't get the full image.  The sides are cut off.  I have worked out that the lense needs to be further from the phone than the current clip allows, so I have rigged up a pretty strange system using Blu-tac, which I can  fit onto the clip and take the lens back from the phone just a little.
The photo on the right is one of the early ones I took, at the Caboolture Historical Village.

Last week I was in Bribie Island, Queensland, and took a few more. Clearly they were without my new Blu-tack invention.

On Bribie Island

Another on Bribie - with the sun peeping in

On the Caboolture River 

Bendy Palm Trees near the River

I am still trying to "perfect" the use of the fish eye lens, but happy I bought them.

Chalk and Chalk Board

When I attended school (quite a few years ago), the teacher wrote everything on a chalk board, with a crumbly piece of white chalk. In the early days, I don't recall coloured chalk.  That was later.

When my children went to school it was the chalk board too, and a little later, whiteboards came into use.  The latter was after they had finished their schooling.  This history of chalk and chalk boards is interesting, and you can read it here.   It is interesting that a Scottish man realised back in 1801 that one could write on slate - which of course became the way children wrote in class.  My mother, who was born in 1915 used a slate to write on in class.  Can you imagine writing some wonderful work and then having to "delete" it so that you could write your next lesson.  No cameras or similar to record your words of wisdom way back then.

These days teachers use whiteboards, and of course computers with "interactive whiteboards" and other fantastic technology to engage their students.

When I went to China in 2008 to teach in Shaoxing, it was back to the chalk board!!  It was rather primitive teaching then, a step back from what I had been using in Brisbane.  The chalk was cheap and crumbly too, and it broke as you wrote and plastered our clothes and hands with white dust.   It was still in use in 2010 when I returned for another semester.

In Australia we only used "bare" chalk, but I learned that in Canada they had a plastic holder which kept one's fingers from the chak dust, and in fact made it much easier to write.  One of my fellow Canadian friends gave me one of these holders and I was thrilled to be able to use it.

These days I am more likely to use a white board when teaching, but I still have my chalk holder.   Recently, a community notice board was erected in my town, and I seem to be the only one who "maintains" it, occasionally cleaning, but frequently removing the rubbish that is put on it.

It has a rubberised surface on one side, so we can "tack" notices on without damaging the surface, and on the other side is a chalk board.   So, my chalk holder has found a new use.  It has come out of "retirement" and lives in my car, so that I can quickly add information to the chalk board.

One reason the chalk board remains in popularity, even in some schools, cafe's etc, is that it is cheap.  The boards need little maintenance, and the chalk is very in expensive.  White boards are ok, provided one uses the right "white board" pen, but sadly many expensive whiteboards have been ruined by the use of permanent markers.  The writing is almost impossible to remove.  The white board pens are not expensive but more so than chalk and the latter does not seem to "walk" as do the other tools.

I think too that chalk and chalk boards have a character all of their own, that does not seem to be replicated with the whiteboard.

The interactive whiteboards are very expensive, and requires a certain set of skills, and electricity to manage them.  

I recall going to a training session on using the interactive whiteboards in a school, to learn that at that time, and it was early days in their use, that many of the teachers felt they were too time consuming, and in fact the white board was a better alternative.

My Canadian chalk holder.

Wednesday, April 6

What??!!! No ironing?

OK, I admit I am a little old fashioned!!  It is not easy to change one's ways of doing things, especially when you believe you are not doing anything wrong.

Let me explain.  I referred in a previous post, the way young people (and I suspect some older folk) are going about seeking a new partner.   Well, I mentioned the sending of nude photos to each other!)  I know that many folk use various websites to locate a partner - some with good results, others, well, there are some stories there.....

Today I will talk about ironing.  I was lucky to be brought up in the era when electric irons were in use - in fact in all these years I don't see a lot of change in these appliances.   I mean, they still plug in with a cord, (which is a real pain - have they invented wireless irons yet?), heat to the setting you choose, and most have a smooth surface though I know there has been some developments in the surface, but not much.  Yes, one can put water in a "tank" and use it to iron with steam or spray that piece of the fabric that needs a "kick".

Fabrics have changed too.  My grandmother and for her early life, my mother, had to deal with cotton and linen fabric which was always a bit cantankerous and took a lot of time.  

I remember my mother did not have an ironing board in the early days and spread an old blanket andthen a piece of sheeting on the table and worked there.  How wonderful is it to have an ironing board, which one can set to a suitable height and doesn't need dismantling - just a quick flick of a piece of metal and it folds up and can be hidden away in a small out of the way place.

My daughter, fast heading towards her 50's has a massive amount of ironing.  She only has two children (two teenagers), who must change their clothes (usually throwing them on the floor for mother to collect or to scream at them to pick up their clothes and put them in the laundry!), and a husband.  I think they all change clothes every 2 or 3 hours, otherwise how do they get so much to be laundered and ironed??

She generally employs a "cleaning lady" who also does the ironing, often.   I see the huge piles of clothing waiting to be pressed and i look with amazement.  (I have helped at times!)

My grandmother would have had an iron that required heating on the wood stove - so she would do her deed on the fabric with the heavy iron and in a short space of time would have to return it to the stove to reheat.

But now we have a cordless iron.  I found this one (see image below) of a Semco iron, which looks rather neat.  It is not expensive (around $A40) and when my current iron decides it has had enough time with me I will buy one!!

Now, what I really started to comment on, are the people (yes, just a few) that have decided they will never iron again.  No doubt they have a house full of modern machinery, and the domestic goddess can enjoy more of the house-hold entertainment.  Now, don't get me talking about that!!!!

Monday, April 4

More on Nude Photos

I must lead a very secluded life these days.    After speaking with a friend about the post on Nude Photos, I discover I have much to learn.  Apparently, sending nude photos of one's self is now part of the "getting to know you" dating procedure.

It seems that if one joins a website seeking a partner, one sends nude photos.  What?!!!   Is this real?  I must be quite a prude!!!

Though from the conversations I have had with other friends whose ages are not that far from mine, we all find it a bit odd and indeed scary.  What if I did have a body like some of the top models/movie stars, would I want to share a photo of it?

It certainly is a world which I don't feel familiar with - I do remember my childhood and youth, and as a Christian, I was quite devout and stuck to the rules of The Ten Commandments, and other rules that my strict family set for me.

Photo Editing

As my readers know, I love taking photos.  My business card says "camera addict" as I don't like to call myself a "photographer".  I have to main cameras, a Canon and an Olympus, the latter I carry with me on my travels as it is more light-weight and easy to fit into my small bag.

I use Picasa too - though now that is Google Photos.  However, lately I have used Picmonkey, as I like to do the collages with that site.  There are so many options with th e Collages - I've done a few here, and it is very easy to do, though I have not mastered all the tools as yet.

It is an easy site to use, and it is FREE too.  So, I'd recommend it especially for those who write articles for the Internet or Blog, as you can make so much of your photos.

These photos I took this morning - the Gerberas were given to me by a friend yesterday, and the orchids are some that have been growing in my garden, and I now have them in the house.

See what you can do with Picmonkey.....

Friday, April 1

Nude Photos

Now, if you have come to this blog because you expect/hope that there are nude photos here, you may leave now.  There are none.  

My father, who died in 2011 at nearly 92 years of age (2 days short of his birthday) used to shake his said, and say things like "It's a strange world", or "I don't understand the world I live in."

Often we would agree with him.  

For those of us who were born in the 1940's and 50's we have experienced so many changes.  In Australia, we were somewhat British with many of the rather tough rules on etiquette, manners, behaviour etc.  We referred to adults as Mr, Mrs, Sir.  We would never address an adult without using such a "title".  Aunts and Uncles were called "Aunty ......" or "Uncle ....." I don't know whether it was this that mostly ingrained us with a respect for senior members of our community.

Good men would open doors for women, (including the car door), and would show more respect for women in other ways.  Of course, there were those that defied the "rules of the day" but by and large,  it was a much happier and respectful community, than it is in 2016!!  Not perfect, but better than now, I feel.

The obnoxious and violent behaviour by mostly men is just too much.  In Australia, the number of men who abuse, assault, or kill the women and children in their lives is just horrific.  Worse is the way the media keep on and on about it.  It is "in your face" every day and I suspect that some not terribly clever men, have an urge to copy this behaviour.

Nude photos.  OMG.  To me, it just beggars belief that anyone would want to share a nude photo of themselves.  OK, I can accept that a couple in a special moment could do it, but wouldn't you make sure that the photo/s were not able to be "shared". 

When I read about the blokes that take photos of their "private parts" and share with others I shake my head.  The politician who took a photo of his penis dangling in a glass of wine, made me feel sick, especially since I knew him and found it hard to comprehend that sort of behaviour by him.

Today's news reports detail a story about girls at a private school whose nude photos were shared!  They were 14 years of age!!!  What were they thinking?  

It is so easy to take photos these days - it is certainly easier to take a photo with a mobile phone, than posing with your Canon!!

The behaviour of some parents is unbelievable.  Click here to see what a father did!

How times have changed.  

Now, where is my camera???