Thursday, December 03, 2009

All Hooped Out

The second day of the croquet competition I found a bit taxing. It was only just over two hours but as the sun got hotter I started to get tired. The insulin shots only do so much, and after the first hour my concentration began to wane. The close shots were particularly difficult and I kept missing the ball.

After the game, one of the referees came over and gave me a couple of tips on how to hold the mallet correctly. He was being helpful, but by that stage I was thankful just to be standing up, let alone trying to improve the fine points of my game.

I had planned to go home after the game, get something to eat and sit down for a while, but my sister received a phone call on her mobile. Somebody whose chickens she'd been looking after was back from holiday and wanted to collect them. So we drove straight to her place and she caught the required hens.

So it was a late lunch followed by a nap. I felt shattered. I'm either more unfit than I realized, in poorer health or older than my birth certificate states ("born: 1950").


Now that Novel Writing Month is over, maybe I'll be able to get some time to organize my radio collection. All the stuff I've downloaded or recorded over the last month is sitting there on my laptop's hard drive waiting to be sorted, edited and burned to disc. No wonder I keep getting these messages telling me I'm low on disc space and/or virtual memory.

The weekly shows like 'The Big Broadcast' and 'Those Were The Days' are now into their Christmas season. You wouldn't believe how many Christmas-related shows there are in Old Time Radio. Even 'Dragnet' did at least two!


Reading 'United In Crime' by H. Montgomery Hyde [Heinemann 1955]. A collection of short pieces about crime and the law: accounts of the legal cases of Sir Travers Humphreys and Lord Simon followed by a sections entitled Law and Crime; The Enigma of the Multiple Murderer; The Case For and Against Flogging; the Problem of the Young Offender.

The early sections are the sort of legal cases that one might find in the short stories about Rumpole of the Bailey. The chapter on flogging, however, is amazing. I had no idea this was still going on in my lifetime. Who knew that the cat-of-nine-tails was being used into the second half of the twentieth century??

Monday, November 23, 2009

Return of the Blogger

Bears hibernate for the winter.

So do some bloggers.

I felt so run down during the last few months that I haven't been updating this at all. It didn't help at all that we just had the wettest winter for fifty years. I couldn't walk out my back door without changing into boots, the mud was so bad.

Even my hobbies, like collecting old radio shows and reading seemed to lose their appeal. I was so tired that I felt I would be all right if only I could take a nap for an hour after lunch every day.

But the season change, and I recently started on insulin injections and have started feeling a little brighter. Maybe things are on the up from here on.

I had been afraid I wouldn't be strong enough to take part in this year's National Novel Writing Month; the physical exertion of typing 50,000 words might be too much for me. But I started as scheduled on November first, writing a horror novel "The Bohemian Relic" (partly a tribute to H.P. Lovecraft). By last night I had written 32,080 words - that's not the 37,400 I should have written by then, but it's better than I thought I would do.

Onwards and upwards, gang!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pass the Bicarb

Aaaaagh. I feel as though I’ve swallowed a tennis ball. I found an old bottle of the indigestion cure Dexsal in the medicine cabinet, but the use-by date was 1999. It just lies there if you drop it into a glass of water.

Maybe I shouldn’t have had so much coffee this afternoon, or forced myself to finish that big bowl of plums in custard at dinner. And it definitely didn’t help that we spent the evening in a house where the residents keep the heating at maximum.

Perhaps it was a combination of all the above factors. Possibly aggravated by fatigue brought on by the builders next door starting work at 6:30 this morning.

I hope to improve for tomorrow, but at the moment I have to say I feel at a low ebb.


Stopped in at the New Town Croquet Club on Sunday afternoon to watch the final round of the state championships and presentation of prizes. One of the officials encouraged me to have a hit on the now-vacant greens.

“This time next year you’ll probably be on the team,” he said, gazing fondly at us as we raised our mallets.

The scary part is I don’t think he was joking.

Here’s a couple of episodes of Theatre Organ Showcase from local radio. Have you ever heard the theme music from Star Trek played on a pipe organ? Neither had I. And the Beatles medley is pleasant.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's goodbye Julie

My sister Julie and I have always been close, but it looks like I may have to get along without her. The reason is this e-mail she received today:


I felt very sorry and bad for you, that your life is going to end like this if you don't comply, i was paid to eliminate you and I have to do it within 10 days.Someone you called your friend wants you dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told us that he wants you dead and he provided us your names, photograph and other necessary information we needed about you. If you are in doubt with this I will send you to death.

Meanwhile, I have sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation, but I ordered them to stop for a while and not to strike immediately because I just felt something good and sympathetic about you. I decided to contact you first and know why somebody will want you dead by all means. Right now my men are monitoring you, their eyes are on you, and even the place you think is safer for you to hide might not be. Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? It is up to you. Get back to me now if you are ready to enter deal with me, I mean life trade, who knows, and I might just spear your life, $9,000 usd is all you need to spend. You will first of all pay $3,000 usd then I will send the tape of the person that want you dead to you and when the tape gets to you, you will pay the remaining $6,000 usd. If you are not ready for my help, then I will have no choice but to carry on the assignment after all I have already being paid before now.

Warning: do not think of contacting the police or even tell anyone because I will extend it to any member of your family since you are aware that somebody want you dead, and the person knows all members of your family as well. For your own good I will advise you not to go out once is 9pm until I make out time to see you and give you the tape of my discussion with the person who want you dead then you can use it to take any legal action.

Good luck as I await your urgent respond. Do response to me on this email

Mr. Jacks Hitler (Everyones Nigtmare)

Goodbye Julie, we'll miss you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Times of Change

2008 was a year of change. Most people would think of the Obama election, the international financial downturn or even the Beijing Olympics. But I found it a time of flux on the personal level.

For a start, I left my job at the Church Office after twenty years there. I’ve only had two jobs in my life, each lasting 20 years -- what a boring CV that would make.

I got myself a new car (well, newer) after the old one virtually fell to pieces -- it wouldn’t go up hills anymore, rather like me. With all the automobiles in the world, I ended up with a Toyota Corolla, notoriously the world’s most reliable and dullest vehicle.

My financial problems were somewhat alleviated when I began receiving a regular payment for being partly disabled. This came about when the Employment people offered me a particular job and I expressed doubts that I could handle it. “Do you have any health problems?” they asked. I replied “No, apart from being a near-sighted hard-of-hearing diabetic with a bad back.”

I’m now on an interesting variety of prescription drugs, pills and tablets. I’ve also been trying to remember to take St John’s Wort twice a day -- it’s useful for mild anxiety and nervous tension, but you can’t take it if you already have a prescription for anti-depressants.

Probably I would feel better if I could get more rest. I’m tired all the time and have been for the last year or so. Recently I’ve started limiting the amount of coffee I consume; I suspect I’ve been drinking more and more of it because my body is seeking some form of stimulant to make me feel more lively.

On the home front, my sister Julie was saddened by the death of her favourite dog, Saj the mastiff. This gentle giant had survived an operation for cancer the year before, and in fact the bills for it ended up outliving him. (I think they should all be paid off by next month.)

One of the big problems on the domestic side is the large number of poultry in my backyard. It started out when Julie brought over some chickens from her place, some because they were in poor health and some because they were specimens she wanted to breed from. You can probably guess what happened -- a few moments of inattention and we had a poultry population explosion on our hands.

Let me tell you -- that business about roosters only crowing at sunrise is something that they thought up for the cartoons. These ones crow morning, noon and night.

On the plus side, I have been able to start reading again a bit. The last decade I
have been reading less and less, until it was a struggle to even get through the morning paper. But this year I have been able to read a few light novels without too much exertion. Part of the problem I guess is my graduated-lens glasses which stop me from reading in bed; I have partially overcome that by reading e-books on the little Asus EEE mini-computer that was a retirement gift from the office.

As for the future -- well, we shall see.

I continue to spend a lot of my spare time on my current hobby, collecting Old Time Radio programmes. This is one case where synchronicity timed it perfectly, with the invention of the MP3 sound file and the wide spread of the Internet. These two things have made it possible for me to hear old shows that I never imagined I would ever enounter.


There was a lot of fuss recently about whether Vegemite contained too much salt to be consumed without a health warning. I tend to agree with one website that said “Vegemite is a condiment. Condiments tend to be bad if you look at them in isolation - but hey - we do not (well most of us) eat vegemite by itself.” He went on to advise us to check the fat content of salad dressing and check the sugar content of the chocolate you sprinkle on your latte before worrying about the Vegemite on your toast at breakfast.


Alan Rider is back on air again after a few weeks away sick. I always enjoy his
show Theatre Organ Showcase

Friday, January 02, 2009

D.E.L. (don't eat lunch)

I raised the glass of champagne and toasted the horse as he grazed in the garden. I’ve always found Christmas to be a stressful time, but Boxing Day things start to calm down a bit. One of Julie’s neighbours asked us round for a drink, and even invited Julie’s horse.

We opened the champagne, then took down the slip-rail that divided the two properties. After a bit of cajoling, the horse wandered in and started cropping the grass. Then he wandered off again.

All the time we were having drinks and nibbles, the horse came and went. You can probably guess what happened in the end -- when we were ready to leave, I put the slip-rail back in place, and the horse decided he wanted to come back into the garden. He stood there and looked at me reproachfully across the fence.

“You had your chance,” I told him. “You should have taken the opportunity then.” He just grunted accusingly.


The end of the year is a bad time if you’re trying to lose weight, especially in Tasmania. You just get over Christmas, when the vast majority are engaged in becoming ever vaster, then you have the Summer Festival.

This started as a time-filler between the start and finish of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, but in twenty years it’s become a fixture on the Tasmanian scene. The jewel in the crown is the Taste Of Tasmania, a week-long festival of food and drink held on the Hobart waterfront.

Friday my sister and I made our third visit of the week to the old warehouse that houses the enormous range of stalls. We started out with a glass of draught cider to wash down the eight different kinds of cheese we sampled at the Bruny Island cheese stall.

Then we moved on to the smoked lamb with rosemary and pinkeye potatoes with spiced cherries. We made our way down the line of sheds heading for the Turkish stall, but got detoured by the Huon Valley free-range roast pork.

When we finally made it to the Turkish stall, we had some lamb cutlets, then moved on to the Paris Cafe stall for coffee and Mexican beef on a buckwheat crepe with Mesclun salad.

I was starting to fill up by this stage, but managed to sample the pancakes with strawberries and ice cream. While we were buying a take-away platter of the Bruny Island cheeses, we were standing next to the stand selling Panna Cotta (the name literally means “cooked cream” I believe).

Watching the people walking away with plate after plate of that beautifully light eggless Italian custard was too much for me. We ended up sampling that as well before we walked out into the late afternoon sun.

“Do you want anything else to eat?” asked my sister.

“No,” I said firmly, “I do not.”


Alan Rider isn’t well, so the last couple of episodes of Theatre Organ Showcase on 96FM were slightly different to usual -- no Irish comedy segment for example. But we still had a lot of enjoyable music, including an agreeable swinging version of “Mack the Knife” and a Klaus Wunderlich medley.