Friday, January 14, 2005

a hot time

The weather has been up and down so much that we don't know what to expect. Two weeks ago, the Rex cat was happy to bask in front of the radiator. Then this week we had a couple of days up around 30º – around 86º in the old scale – and I really found it hard to take.

It's one thing if the climate gets warmer and warmer over a few weeks, but a sudden blast of searing heat can be difficult to stand.

A deadly firestorm killed several people in South Australia last week. Negligible by the standards of the tsunami disaster I guess, but like most Australians I become a little uneasy as the bushfire season approaches. One's eyes absent-mindedly sweep the horizon looking for smoke in the distance.

You can imagine how chilling it was to come out my front door at midnight, look down the street and see one of the hills across the river crowned with flames in the darkness.

Thursday was busy as usual. Things were delayed a while by an unexpected phone call from a member of Federal Parliament who wanted to take part in the Sunday service that's part of the National Day Of Mourning And Reflection.

This took a bit of organizing, changing some of the arrangements and clearing it with those who were preaching that day. It was one of the times when it was a decided advantage to be a fast touch-typist, rattling away at maximum speed on the keyboard.

Less pleased with my performance when I managed to get through to the midnight quiz The Challenge the other night.

Richard Fidler (who's standing in for Tony Delroy this month) was almost to the last question when my turn came round. "Which company manufactured the first jet airliner?" I went totally blank.

I knew it wasn't an American company. It might have been British. What were some of the British aviation companies. What were any of the British ones?

I couldn't think of a thing. Nothing!

Feebly I blurted out an apology and they went on to the next contestant.

"De Havilland" – the makers of the infamous De Havilland Comet! - of course.


Probably my worst performance in the ten years I've been phoning in to the programme.

I haven't been watching the Doctor Who repeats lately, because this series with Tom Baker was repeated over and over again during the 1980s. But I did happen to tune in for "The Mask of Mandragora" last week. I'd forgotten how elaborate the staging was in this one.

Mentioned this to Kay while I was giving her a lift to the city. Her eyes narrowed – yes, she muttered, they still had a few good stories at that time before they succeeded with their evil plan.

I'd forgotten Kay's belief that the BBC wanted to cancel the show but were afraid of the public outcry that would result. Therefore they'd deliberately run it into the ground, turning out the worst possible show for years on end.

(And spending millions in the process of course.)

"There's a lot more stupidity and incompetence in the world than malice and scheming" I said. "Given a choice between the two, I know which one I'd blame."

Kay made a face. Her ideas aren't easily changed.

What makes a gentleman? Well, according to George W. Carver, writing in 1922, it is being someone .....
1st. Who is clean both inside and outside.
2nd. Who neither looks up to the rich or down on the poor.
3rd. Who loses, if needs be, without squealing.
4th. Who wins without bragging.
5th. Who is always considerate of women, children and old people.
6th. Who is too brave to lie.
7th. Who is too generous to cheat.
8th. Who takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.
May God help you to carry out these eight cardinal virtues and peace and prosperity be yours through life. Lovingly yours, G.W. Carver

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