Sunday, March 22, 2020

Beware the ides of March?

‎.
Tuesday, ‎17 ‎March ‎2020
Fine and sunny on Tuesday afternoon, but only half as many people turned up at the Croquet Club as the last two weeks.  The streets are quieter than usual but the supermarkets still have a lot of empty shelves.

More and more it feels to me as though I'm an extra in a disaster movie.  Things are progressing rapidly -- stores and offices closing down, transport restrictions, friends advising you to stay home and avoid crowds,  politicians trying to put a spin on increasingly bad news.  The radio is so incessantly full of the Corona virus I switched it off tonight and listened to a Bossa Nova album on You Tube.

I would have said I wouldn't be affected much by the virus scare, but I don't know now.  The Bocce Club has shut down for the duration, the Quiz Team didn't meet this week, I didn't visit friends on Monday, all sorts of little things.  What the future holds for we 69-year-old diabetics seems hard to fathom. 

‎Wednesday, ‎18 ‎March ‎2020
The Radio Classics Store has finally straightened out the problem with my account that stopped me downloading the big lot of old radio shows I bought last year.  (Main problem was I didn't realize I had to download them all within a month!)  I have until May to download them now, but better safe than sorry, so I spent this evening grabbing the 18 episodes on the album CLASSIC ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.  Still to come -- HARRY NILE, COUPLE NEXT DOOR and HOPALONG CASSIDY. 

‎Friday, ‎20 ‎March ‎2020
Another day of semi-isolation.  Some friends dropped in for lunch, bringing take-away food.  We ate out in the carport, being careful not to touch each other or anyone else's stuff.  It was pleasant enough, but conversation kept drifting back to the international situation.  I thought of going out to the K-Mart, but didn't go since I had enough provisions in the house for this week. 
The cat played with me for a while till he got tired, then I had a couple of hours undisturbed with the laptop while he slept under his blanket.  Then he got up and wanted attention again.  I fed him and he decided to take another nap.  Why aren't we all be more like cats?

‎Saturday, ‎21 ‎March ‎2020
As part of anti-virus campaign, the South Hobart Tip Shop is closed.  I wasn't sure if the Salvation Army would still be open but they were.  No plastic baskets unless you brought your own, to avoid cross-contamination.  Fewer people shopping than usual on a Saturday, so we could practice a reasonable amount of "social distancing".    Lunch at the Green Store, who were also still trading, though they were very pro-active in wiping and cleaning all the tables.   I await tomorrow to see how Sunday goes.

‎Sunday, ‎22 ‎March ‎2020
Sunday saw our first "Social Distancing" church service.  It was a strange experience.  Now I know how the footballers feel playing in an empty stadium. Not counting the minister and his helpers, there were less than a dozen of us spread around the church -- it's to be hoped that most of the congregation would have been tuned into the Internet feed.  "These are extraordinary times," the sermon began.   Indeed.
There were noticeably fewer people in the city.  That's the first time for about two years I've been able to park right at the back door of church. 

 

  • Following similar announcements in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia have announced tough new measures that will see both states close their borders to slow the spread of coronavirus 
  • Press reports say Sydney's CBD has fallen silent as Australia's increasing social-distancing measures and fears about coronavirus spark a mass exodus in business hubs and tourist hotspots.
  • Martin Place, Barangaroo and Circular Quay have become ghost towns punctuated with empty restaurants and deserted shops, and there's never been more room on the roads or train platforms of New South Wales.
  • Breaking news:  AFL football games suspended.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Summer of Fires

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The spate of bushfires seems to be easing off, though the other states have had it much worse than Tasmania.  It is disturbing to those of us who remember the terrible 1967 fires
 
1/02/2020
Back in the 1960s I was an Argonaut.  That would mean nothing today, but back then there was a popular ABC radio show for children and you could send off for a badge and certificate recognizing you as a member.  Among the many features and skits on the show was a short radio serial.  Already being aware of science fiction I enjoyed one serial they presented -- "The Stranger", in which a visitor turns out to have otherworldly origins.  I was slightly surprised to see it turn up on television a couple of years later.  And I'm very surprised to see it is now available for viewing again on the ABC's website.

10:39 PM 2/02/2020
Sunday didn't start well, but we won't go into   that. (I found a second broken window.)  It was mild and sunny when I went into church, so it was a bit surprising to see it was raining lightly when I left.  I had an invitation to go out somewhere, but this week had been so tiring I went home instead and lay down to rest.  I must have slept for an hour or two, then slowly awakened and stared at the ceiling, enjoying a faint breeze that cooled the house to a comfortable level.
I felt a rare sense of calm and peace.  For some time I just lay there, feeling relaxed and contented.  Moments like that are rare enough that they should be savoured and enjoyed for as long as possible.

4/02/2020
Cool and mostly fine Tuesday.  Surprised that 15 members turned up at the Croquet Club for this afternoon's game.  The sun was shining non-stop and there was a cool breeze.  I took off my cardigan for the second game and was happy in my light t-shirt.  "Aren't you cold?" asked my opponents, two ladies wearing jackets zipped up to the neck.  I told them I was quite comfortable, did not add that after last week I found the cold wind quite refreshing.
In the evening, out to the quiz night.  Didn't really expect to win three times in a row, but our chances were laid low by the absence of our music expert.  I think we scored 4/10 in the music round, and two of those were guesses.  So coming second wasn't so bad.

9:26 PM 5/02/2020
Spent a lot of Wednesday relaxing around the house, listening to the ambient music of this week's "Hearts Of Space" program and munching my way through an unopened packet of Vegie Straws I found while looking through some stuff.
Friends rang to say they were coming through in half an hour and did I want to meet for lunch.  That went off all right, but I made the mistake of saying I'd bought some extra plastic crates and they decided this was a great time to come round and help me do some tidying-up.  I think we filled 6 or 7 crates and tossed out another one of rubbish before I said good night to them. 

10:56 AM 7/02/2020
Thursday was a busy day even for me.  Got off to the Croquet Club punctually so I could fit in a game before I had to go into town.  A few of us up on lawn 3 while the first two lawns were occupied by the earnest players in the Pennant match.  Then caught the bus into the city (to avoid those diabolical new parking meters) for lunch and the first meeting of the year for the Friends Of Mission group.  Back home and drove out to the Bocce Club for a couple of games and a sausage sizzle in the bright afternoon sun.  Home in time to watch DOCTOR WHO (disappointingly did not follow on from the plot of last week's episode) and receive a long drawn-out phone call from Keith Curtis who is more of a night owl than I am these days. 

Farewell to a Feline friend

The end of 2019 saw one of Julie's cats go into a decline.  Since my sister died, Livvy had been morre and more "clingy" -- she spent a lot of time on my lap and usually curled up next to me in bed each night.  Alas, she began to waste away, and it was obvious nothing could be done for her.  The final trip to the Vet was a sad note to end the year on. 

1/01/2020
Wednesday morning some friends came round and we interred Livvy's tiny body in the front garden. We said a few words, then went out for lunch -- actually we detoured first to Harris Scarfe for a bit of what Helena called "retail therapy", which did take our minds off things a bit.
I spent the rest of the day at home, Nelson and I keeping each other company. He was visibly unsettled, meowing whenever he lost sight of me and curling up next to me for hours. I guess we will have to learn to manage.

3/01/2020
I had vague ideas of going out to play croquet on Thursday morning, but the cat curled up on me and I didn't have the heart to give him the boot. So I spent the day quietly at home, apart from going out for bread and milk later.

In the evening, tuned in for part one of the DOCTOR WHO New Year special. It was interesting enough, but most of the hour seemed to be just a lead-up to the cliffhanger at the end. Next week we shall see if part two lives up to it.

With my new iPhone, I have managed to install the free Kindle app and can now read my e-books on my phone. I began with an omnibus of 99 science fiction stories that I think I picked up for a dollar. First story was "People of the Pit" by A. Merritt, which was first published in 1918 in ALL STORY WEEKLY. Only his second published short story I believe, but the description of the lost city in the Arctic will make your hair stand on end.

4/01/2020
Saturday the forecast was for a hot day but smoke blowing in from other states shielded us from the sun. I left home about 10 a.m., picked up Keith Curtis and we spent the morning rummaging through places like St Vincent de Paul and the South Hobart Tiip Shop. Keith put in a lot of time going through stuff and occasionally it paid off (he was really pleased at finding that 1960s Pan paperback of a Simenon novel).
 

Lunch at one of my favorite eateries, the Macquarie Street Foodstore. After the meal, Keith gave me a long explanation of the history of Sun Books, one of the minor Australian paperback houses of the 1960s (of course in those days there were very few Australian paperback publishers).
We had to make a return trip to Vinnie's after lunch because Keith realised he had forgotten a book about Scarlet Macaws that he saw on top of one of their bookcases. Yes, it was still there. And we took the opportunity to go through the CD section -- I ended up with ten classical music titles for a dollar each. Now to find time to listen to them all...!


Today's short story on my Kindle: "Omega" by AMELIA REYNOLDS LONG, sort of a mix of Poe and Wells -- a hypnotist tells his patient to mentally travel forward in time to the end of the world and report what he sees. All right, but not that remarkable. From the July 1932 issue of Amazing Stories
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"Come hither!" I cry,
But there comes no response.
Just a flicking tail.
-- Haiku No.4 for January[2014]
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11:13 AM 7/01/2020
Monday seemed to be the end of the holiday season.  Traffic was busier and things started resuming for the year over the next few days.  In the morning, after my post-breakfast nap, I went out to meet friends for lunch after their visit to MONA [the Museum of Old and New Art].  In the evening I visited other friends who'd just returned from their Christmas break at Gordon, down past Flowerpot.  We chatted, had dinner and watched a DVD, and it was still daylight when I got home -- the wonders of Daylight Saving.

Kindle story:  THE Nth POWER by Arthur Train from The Saturday Evening Post, October 2, 1909.  A Wellsian tale about a stockbroker with an interest in the sixth sense who allows a scientist to experiment on him to enhance his five existing senses.  Be careful what you wish for!

----------------------------------------
Told anew by all,
Stories of the long past days
That make family.

-- Haiku for January No.5
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1:09 PM 8/01/2020
Tuesday I woke from a confusing dream -- I had been living in the city again, but some buildings had moved around and roads had either lengthened or shortened without rhyme or reason.
At midday I set off for the Croquet Club and played two games.  The weather was surprisingly cloudy, with a sea breeze cooling us.   Picked up some stuff at the pharmacy, then just had time for a short nap before the first Quiz Night of the year.
We didn't do so bad, though we fared badly in some rounds (who knew bromine was liquid at room temperature?).  In the end we were back in our old spot, fourth place.  Afterwards I drew the winner of the raffle someone had organized for Bushfire Disaster Relief.  We raised $250 in one evening.

Today's Kindle story was "Adjustment Team" a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Orbit Science Fiction (September–October 1954, No. 4) and filmed 2011. Early PKD story in which reality becomes unreal.

--------------------------------
Look away a sec,
Then you hear the "cluck cluck" noise.
Your sandwich is gone.
-- Haiku for a rooster 2020
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4:19 PM 9/01/2020
I had thought that if I rested up on Wednesday, I would be better prepared for a busy Thursday, but not so.  Felt so tired in the morning I didn't get to the Croquet Club at all.  After lunch, the NBN was off all afternoon, so I spent some time burning CDs from last year's downloads.  After that, I will transfer the files to my external drive, doubly backing them up.  It's not that I'm paranoid, but I hear there's a 50% chance any back-up method will eventually fail.


A visit to the Bocce Club this evening had mixed results.  A lot of us found the court unpredictable, with the result that our ball would head straight for the target and then just veer off and go past.   Aaaagh.

10:15 PM 10/01/2020
Friday things cooled down a little, and there was actually a light shower of rain when I went down to Blackmans Bay for dinner with friends.  These summer evenings are so long that we were able to stop and walk the dogs along the Cornelian Bay foreshore and still get me home before dark.

On the Kindle, this week I am reading REPEAT BUSINESS, a collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories by NZ author Lyn McConchie.  The gimmick is that each story features a character who has previously been one of Holmes' clients in a Conan Doyle story -- hence the title.

10:04 PM 11/01/2020
I can never resist those lists.  You know, the ones with titles like "100 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die."  I plowed through the latest one and I counted up 19 that I've read.  81 to go  --  I'm obviously going to live to a great age.
Of course these sorts of lists are inevitably not one-size-fits-all.  I once looked at a list where I scored quite low, because a lot of the books they mentioned were collections by American poets I'd never even heard of.   Conversely, a list heavy on classic science-fiction and crime stories would send my score soaring but would doom many literate people to a really low score.
But 19% -- yeah, I guess I can live with that.


12:08 AM 12/01/2020

Published in the NEW YORKER January 6, 2020, issue, with the headline “Grief.” 
 The Strangeness of Grief -
A writer reckons with the different forms of loss.  
By V. S. Naipaul
(I was going through an almost identical experience with my black cat the week that issue would have been on the stands  --  perhaps the Universe was trying to send me a message.)

12:30 AM 13/01/2020

When was the last time you kept a diary? Turns out, writing down your thoughts is a proven (and simple!) mind-clearing technique. “Journaling helps you analyze and organize your thoughts, which is a great way to relax your mind,” says Sanam Hafeez, PhD, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University in New York City. “Research suggests that expressive writing eliminates intrusive thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. These improvements may, in turn, free up our cognitive resources for other mental activities, including the ability to manage stress more effectively.”   --  Readers Digest website

2:22 PM 16/01/2020
Another Wednesday when I didn't have any appointments, so I thought I'd stay home where it was cool and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Yes and no, as it turned out.
About midday, I wanted another coffee and went to get the milk.  The cat, Nelson, was sitting on my shoulder and tried to jump onto the top of the refrigerator.  He missed, and bounced off my face on his way down.  I didn't see if he landed on all fours because he knocked my glasses off as he went past.
I had to get down on all fours to find my spectacles, then fetched the tube of antiseptic I keep next to my bed for putting on cat scratches.  (He also got me on the right thumb on his way to the ground.)
With all this, I somehow forgot to have lunch.  Forgot about it until the evening when I started to feel shaky and uncomfortable.  You may not be sure how to spell hypoglycemia but you know when you've got it.

1:56 PM 17/01/2020
Thursday I usually ponder on whether I'll play croquet, but some unseasonal thunder and a shower of (very light) rain in the morning made it a no-brainer  -- especially after watching Nelson eat his breakfast and curl up under his blanket without going outside.  But this may have been a good thing for my evening visit to the Bocce Club;  I made a couple of really good shots in the middle of the game, though I petered out towards the end.  Still, it's nice to see the balls go where you aimed for a change.


Home in time for this week's DOCTOR WHO story "Orphan 55" which has a couple of nods to the movie ALIEN in its script.  Some controversy about the script in on-line reviews but I liked it well enough.
Downloaded some old radio shows I bought from the Radio Classics website - SHERLOCK HOLMES, HARRY NILE, COUPLE NEXT DOOR and FAMILY THEATER.

9:24 PM 17/01/2020
For a change the cat decided to leave me alone and spent the afternoon dozing under his blanket.  I had lunch and listened to "Sentinels of the New Dawn", one of the Big Finish audio dramas based on DOCTOR WHO  --  it starred Caroline John, which is a big plus if you were watching the show in 1970 like I was.
Practiced my Bible reading for Sunday and after dinner watched the movie THOR RAGNAROK, which has a lot more jokes in it than you would have expected from the title.

19/01/2020
Sunday I was scheduled to read the Bible in church at the morning service, which I have done many times.   What I haven't done before is read Matthew 5, maybe better known as The Sermon On The Mount.  I've read lots of other pieces from the scriptures, but this was one of the biggies.  Ideally I would have liked three weeks of rehearsal time instead of two days, but I got up there and gave it my best shot.   Maybe not up to the standard of the original, but I'm sure that He'll forgive me.
After that, I just had to sit back and listen to the sermon from Jon Brown. who (somewhat to my surprise) started off by quoting from "The Portrait of Dorian Gray"  -- I'm sure Oscar Wilde would have been surprised too.

10:52 PM 21/01/2020
Tuesday I was a bit slow out of the starting gate, but was determined to get to the Croquet Club.  A bit warm at first, but spent nearly two and a half hours playing then went home to rest up for tonight.  After finishing fourth in last week's quiz, we zoomed into the lead and stayed there tonight.  We did pretty well in most of the categories, but it really helped we got an extra ten points when Mark made an inspired guess and correctly tipped the answer to the puzzle question was "the Electric Chair" !   Now that's what I call an amazing hunch.

=================================
Under a clear sky,
the mallet sees its target;
the hoop lies in wait.
-  Haiku for a croquet ball, 2014
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25/1/2020
Saturday was a fairly busy day.  Out to the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul, lunch in New Town.  Then on to JB Hi-Fi, Cracked & Spineless Books, Harvey Norman, Coles Supermarket, the Cat Cafe and Barrington Lodge. 
By the time I got home I was ready to sit down, but the cat was so glad to see me he kept running back and forth, smothering me with affection.  After about four hours, he finally wore himself out and went to sleep. 

----------------------------------------------------

11:40 PM 26/01/2020
Slept all right, and got to church on time.  A few people away for the Australia Day weekend, but it was nice to see Owen & Sue there today.  After the service, I stopped in town for lunch and bought the SUNDAY AGE [interview with Essie Davis].
After that, I went over to JB Hi-Fi.  Keith had told me they were having a 30% off sale.  I was tempted and I fell.  The good news is I saved a third on my purchases, the bad news was I spent (cough) dollars.   Came home with a bag of boxed sets of old TV shows, including MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, STINGRAY, CAPTAIN SCARLETT, SAPPHIRE & STEEL and BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.  I really don't need to buy any more DVDs for a couple of years. 

6:59 PM 30/01/2020
Thursday morning I was completely flabbergasted.  Early in the week my remaining goose had disappeared;  I had looked around for him and found only a pile of white feathers and some bones.  Sadly I assumed that he had met an untimely death.  Not so !
This morning I went outside to take food and water to the poultry before the weather got too hot.  I stepped out onto the patio and there was the goose, sitting there in the sun in front of me.  I just stood there, staring.  It took me a couple of minutes to overcome my astonishment.
I used to tell Julie "Never assume."  Looks like I should take my own advice.

9:14 PM 30/01/2020
Thursday afternoon I shut myself inside where it was a bit cooler (plus that's where the electric fan was).  Once the wind swung round to the south we saw the temperature drop from 36C at 4pm to 18C at 6pm.  Whew.
 

This week's DOCTOR WHO was such a remarkabe story that we had the whole Internet being carpet-bombed with spoilers. It wasn't easy but I managed to avoid 90 percent of them. That still leaves ten percent of course.

2:13 PM 31/01/2020
Today will be one of the hottest days this summer, and one of the highest temperatures ever recorded for Tasmania, said ABC News.  It will also be warmer in Hobart than it will be in Darwin, which is forecast to hit a maximum of 33C.
So I made sure go out to the shops before midday, but it was still 30C by the time I got home.  The power had failed at the supermarket while I was there -- first time I've had to gather up my groceries in the illumination of the emergency lighting system.   
It was 40C by 2 pm.  I was settled on the couch with the electric fan going and just about to reach for my second iced coffee.   Hope all my friends and relatives are going all right too.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Son of Notes from Down Under

21/11/2019
What a weird day.  It hit 36C at midday, then fell to 16C by 6pm after the wind swung from northwest to southeast.  I was in the city this morning for an 11.30 appointment with my endocrinologist and couldn't wait to get home.  Apparently there were similar feelings on the part of my white cat Nelson who seems to disapprove of my being out three days in a row -- he spent two hours welcoming me home before curling up for a nap.  I decided to follow his example.

4:41 PM 28/11/2019
This week saw Gene's annual visit on Julie's birthday.  We laid some flowers on the grave, opened a bottle of champagne to toast her memory, then repaired to the Boathouse restaurant for lunch and discussion of our many stories about her.  I picked some flowers from my own garden, which seemed to me a fitting tribute to the years she lived here. 

 Took photos of Gene and his daughter lunching with friends from St John's on the day they arrived from their trans-oceanic flight.

10:40 PM 2/12/2019
Spent Sunday afternoon and Monday morning quietly at home, resting after last week.  Went out for dinner with friends, then relaxed on the couch with the cats while listening to one of the Big Finish audios about Doctor Who.
And if you weren't confused by the half-way mark, you obviously weren't paying attention!

5:01 PM 12/12/2019
Weather a little unsettled but went over to the Croquet Club in the morning and played a couple of games with some new members.  After lunch, I listened to a podcast based on the first of Dashiell Hammett's 1923 Continental Op stories from "Black Mask" magazine.  Looked bright and sunny so I spent the evening out at the Bocce Club.

17/12/2019
Tuesday was a competetive day.  Spent the afternoon playing croquet, then after a short rest it was out to the final quiz night for this year.  We did fairly well, but finished third after one team scored an amazing 91/110 points.
(We bought dinner for five people and only had to pay two dollars and sixty cents  --  we saved up all our prize money from the rest of the year)

18/12/2019
Resting after lunch on Wednesday I dozed off on the couch.  When I woke up, I couldn't move my right arm.  

(The  black cat was asleep on my hand.)

19/12/2019

Thursday was a fairly busy day.  Set my alarm clock to give me plenty of time to get to the Croquet Club's 10 a.m. start, then spent two and a half hours playing.  After that, out to get stuff at the pharmacy and the pet store, the latter being for sun screen for my white cat who insists on going outside during the hottest part of the day  (he doesn't understand "Slip, Slop Slap").
After meeting Keith at the Salvo's for a late lunch, did some shopping and found myself fighting peak-hour traffic on the highway, a rarity for me.
Made it to the Bocce Club in time for their end-of-year evening.  Ate too much, but hey it's Christmas  ("The was made with sheep's cream.  I would have liked to leave it in the cheese cave for another week, but it shoud be all right.").

4:31 PM 22/12/2019
Parking was a nightmare in the city this morning.  It ended up costing me $42 to go to church for our annual Christmas Carol service.
You can probably infer my opinion of city authorities who pay parking inspectors to go round on the last Sunday before Christmas and fine motorists who park near the church of their choice.  I should write to the Prime Minister and ask if his new religious freedom bill covers this.

In the evening, next door for the neighbors' traditional  Christmas drinks.  Many familiar faces from previous years, and the champagne was flowing as it usually did.  A brief chat with the Deputy Lord Mayor -- she must get tired of people talking about council issues but she didn't show it. 
Several children playing in the backyard.  At one point, two of the little girls were chasing the dogs round and round the garden -- not sure who was enjoying it more, the kids or the dogs.  One youngster made repeated trips inside to dip a carrot stick into the pate, showing very advanced taste for her age.

Other Notes from Down Under

27/08/2019
 Tuesday, out to Croquet Club, then into Moonah -- bank, post office, lunch. Spent the rest of the day wrestling with my new phone.  With advice from the help desk and the aid of my largest magnifying glass, decided the problem is the tiny clip that is supposed to hold the SIM card in place, but actually doesn't. *sigh* A trip back to the place I bought it tomorrow then.
[Phone fixed without drama - it was, of course, the youngest member of the staff who solved my problem for me.]

11:05 PM 5/09/2019
Too busy for croquet again, with a committee meeting before lunch, then monthly PWMU luncheon.  Home and had a bit of a rest before heading out with Helena to see "Legally Blonde - The Musical" at the Playhouse.  Never have I seen a more demonstrative audience, screaming, whooping and applauding all through the show.

7/09/19

A bit cool and damp on Saturday.  Out for lunch and op-shopping as usual, then dropped in to see Kay.   A mutual friend was trying to fix up her audio-video system, and she was distraught because she kept insisting that the computer had to  be attached to her VCR if she wanted to see stuff on her television.  She wouldn't accept that this was neither possible nor helpful.   Sigh.

4:59 PM 9/09/2019

NBN seems even more problematic than usual.  By 5 pm it had dropped out at least four times -- may have been more but I wasn't on-line all the day.

3:29 PM 16/09/2019
Sunday morning I was a little apprehensive about having to step up to the lectern and read today's text aloud.  All sections of Scripture have their good and bad points (from a performance angle) but chapter 8 of Daniel was the first time I  have had to read a long passage of apocalyptic imagery.  Hey, it could have been worse -- I just had to read it, the minister had to preach on it.

21/09/2019
Saturday, a bewildering sight -- Keith spent an hour in the Salvation Army store and bought one book.  Just one!  That's like Dean Mrtin going into a bar and ordering an orange juice

1:00 PM 24/09/2019

Those TV re-runs sometimes turn up a forgotten gem.  Today I saw the pilot episode of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE with Steven Hill.  Interesting to compare it with the series that sprang from it.  Hill's Dan Briggs is unchanged, though intriguingly the voice at the end of the recording says "Welcome back, Dan", implying he's returning to the IMF after some time.  Barney and Willie have their brains-and-brawn sctick down pat.
The biggest difference is in two of the show's best-loved characters, Cinammon and Rollin.  Cinammon's sex appeal is more overt in this episode, verging on the sort of "eye candy" role common in 1966 -- later they would tone it down to the sort of cool elegance more appropriate to a high-fashion model.  And the make-up that was one of the show's trademarks falters a bit here, with Rollin's impersonation of a Latin American dictator very ordinary.
But the important thing is that this episode [the only one written by creator Bruce Geller] got the show on the air.  Its status as a TV icon would soon be assured.


4:13 PM 26/09/2019
Thursday's agenda:
10 am  Croquet;  1 pm  Lunch; 2 pm Facebook;  3 pm  Officeworks;  4 pm Star Trek;  6 pm  Dinner;  7.30pm Playhouse Theatre "Nunsense" .

7:31 PM 10/10/2019
Thursday I am still home resting up and trying to shake off that cold.  After feeding the animals, had a late breakfast and caught up on my reading till I nodded off on the couch.  Finally woke up when Keith Curtis phoned to say he'd got me a box of 60 year old issues of ANALOG magazine.  There are worse ways to wake up, I thought.

5:45 PM 11/10/2019
Being sick at home most of this week has given me the chance to watch a lot of STAR TREK re-runs.  Except for seeing them on the same day, I might not have noticed that "Devil in the Dark" [1967] and "Home Soil" [1988] are actually the same plot.

9:53 PM 14/10/2019

Sunday I got through church without sneezing or coughing (when I cough you can usually hear me half a block away), but the hymns were a bit of a challenge.  I only sing in church, so I  hadn't had to try it since before I got this persistent cold.  Afterwards, I had lunch, bought the SUNDAY AGE and went home, where I slept for two hours.  Let's hope my germs are packing their bags and making travel plans.

Monday I had planned to do stuff, but I never got that far.  Went out in the evening to have dinner with Pat & Ian.  They have a new big-screen television, organized by their family  --  probably because one of them has glaucoma and the other has macular degeneration, so they actually need a larger screen.  One of the family wants to connect them to Netflix, but I'm not sure it's necessary  --  they usually only watch SBS and ABC.
Still snuffling a little.  Warm and sunny today, which meant the cats both went outside after lunch, giving me a chance to make the bed for once.  Julie always said it was easier to handle cats during the winter, because you always knew where they'd be during cold weather  --  so true!

11:31 PM 18/10/2019
Dear iiNet, my Internet drops out at least three times a day for a few minutes.  Usually it's around midday (people logging on during their lunch break?), in the late afternoon (kids logging on after school?) and late at night (people logging on before they go to bed?)

Tsk, that's  two weeks now that I haven't made it to the Croquet Club.  Both Tuesdays I was put off by the weather, and both Thursdays I had a prior engagement.  This Thursday a group of us had lunch at Mather House after visiting the latest exhibition in the Allport Museum at the State Librart.  (Trivia titbit:  Mr Allport's daughter was the teacher in my sister Julie's art class at the Collegiate School.)

4:43 PM 25/10/2019

While television channel WIN BOLD was off the air, apparently due to bushfires impacting its transmitters, I tried watching the streaming feed on-line.  Nope, that doesn't work  --  we get five seconds of program,followed by ten seconds of buffering.  The end result is like watching a radio play illustrated with a series of still photographs.  The prediction that the NBN would bring us "fast and reliable" connectrions turns out to be just another political promise.  At least for FTTN. 
I wish we had ADSL2 back again.

2:31 PM 28/10/2019
Sometimes think the safest place to be in a zombie attack would be the croquet club.  Just stand out in the middle of the lawn till the zombie spots you and staggers towards you.  Then when he trips over a hoop and lands at your feet, you just bop him in the head with your croquet mallet and wait for the next one.

10:54 PM 29/10/2019
Phew.  After my morning blood test I played two games of croquet this afternoon with the temperature around 27 (or 80 fahrenheit).  Had time for coffee at Magnolia, then went home and put my feet up while I watched the afternoon Star Trek re-run.  Herded the cats inside then went out to the pub  quiz in Moonah -- we finished fifth but we had a couple of good rounds.  (And we got ten points because I remembered that it was Naomi Campbell that had written a novel called "Swan"!)

12:02 AM 10/11/2019
Thursday seemed pretty well planned out.  Croquet in the morning, Missions meeting and lunch at the church hall, Bocce Club in the evening.
Well, one out of three happened.  The weather turned wet and windy, so outdoor activities got the flick.  The meeting went off all right, with guest speaker Kim Jager from P.I.M.
Dinner at home and watched first episode of L.A.'s FINEST on TV;  Jessica Alba is as nice as usual but the show is just another cop series.
 
2:51 PM 17/11/2019
For a change, fine and sunny with not too much wind -- the equinocial gales last week were such that I feared the roof outside the back door was going to blow away.  Attended the morning service at church, where the sermon was interrupted by a couple of people being unwell  --  nothing to do, I hope, with my reading aloud the entire book of Philemon from the lectern.
After lunch, it was such a nice day I spent a pleasant hour in the garden drinking coffee while reading the latest issue of THE NEW YORKER and watching the cats wander in and out of the shade of the carport.  I have a full agenda for next week, but even God rested on the seventh day.

After my last update, when everything was so calm and peaceful, things took a surprising turn.  I was in my room, wondering whether I'd take a nap before dinner, when I heard a sudden commotion from the chickens.  Curious, I made my way to the back door.
Then both cats camre rushing inside -- and behind them a large black dog!  As it followed the white cat into the kitchen, I realized it was a greyhound. Out in the kitchen, the cat was "treed" on top of a cupboard, the greyhound standing up to look at him and the cat hissing at him.
Fortunately greyhounds are fairly docile beasts and I was able to herd him out the backdoor and walk him down the driveway to the street, where he was reunited with his owners.
One never knows, do one?

More Notes from Down Under

 16/07/2019
Muddy outside again.  Picked my way across the yard carefully, bearing in mind what happened the other day.  I went out to feed the poultry their breakfast and because of the wet weather they were in a different place to usual, sheltering from the rain.  I leaned forward as I threw their food down, and felt I was over balancing. 
Fortunately I managed to grab something and steady myself, but the chickens had seen me starting to topple over and had run off in all directions.  Tried calling them, but they were standing back suspiciously watching me.  I'm sure they came over as soon as I went back into the house.

9:16 PM 23/07/2019
Tuesday I was at the Croquet Club punctually and played two games.  The good news is that we did all right in the second game.  The first game?  Well, I haven't lost a game 7-0 for about ten years, but there's a second time for everything.

12:29 PM 26/07/20191
Blest be the tie that binds
  Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship our spirit finds
  Is like to that above.

When we asunder part,
  It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
  And hope to meet again.

10:33 AM 6/08/2019
A memory surfaces of dinner at the Bangsund home.  Left alone at the table with George Turner, I said by way of conversation that I hadn't seen any of John's SF collection anywhere.  George took a sip of wine and replied "Like a lot of SF fans, I expect he keeps it under his bed for quick reference."

10:08 PM 6/08/2019
Slept well.  Played a little better at croquet today. (Are the two things connected?) Then went into Moonah for lunch.  Weather a bit unpredictable from hour to hour.  This evening tuned in to watch first episode of SEA CHANGE  on TV -- who would have thought they'd make a new series 20 years after it finished? 

6:04 PM 10/08/2019
Drove up with Adrian to Oatlands in the southern midlands.  A big day for the town with the Heritage & Bullocks festival, though the weather was not co-operating.  (Helena's photographic studio was the warmest spot in town!).  Saw quite a few of the sights, including black swans on the shore of Lake Dulverton, lots of native hens, heritage displays and a coffee shop with an Errol Flynn themed decor.


6:13 PM 23/08/2019
Thursday it struck me that the week so far has been defined by things that didn't happen rather then by stuff I did do.  No croquet, no quiz night, no mobile phone and the laptop still in the shop.  Plus the batteries in the TV remote died while I was watching a movie last night!
Also no sunshine  --  while I was feeding the poultry a couple of days ago, it struck me that I had not seen so many pools of water on the ground since last year's rainstorm.   
Things must improve from now on, surely.

10:56 PM 23/08/2019
A bit busier on Friday.  Even the sun was shining.   I napped for an hour then went out for lunch and browsed through the Salvation Army store (mildly surprised to find a DVD bearing the emblem of the Mt Isa Blockbuster store - a long way from home).  Picked up the laptop from its service, then joined my neighbours for a trip to The Playhouse.  We saw David Williamson's classic comedy THE CLUB, which was very well received by a large audience. 

26/08/2019
A typical day --
1. Feed poultry, feed cats.
2. Breakfast
3. Facebook
4. Morning coffee while watching MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
5. Lunch
6. Phone Helena to let her know I have received SIM card for new phone
7. Wrestle with phone - gad but that's a fiddly job
8. Activate card on-line after giving up trying to get through on phone
9. Out for dinner with friends, watch episode of DEPARTMENT S.
10. Supermarket on way home.
11. Try out laptop after its service - tolerable.
12. Phone call from Keith Curtis, latest books collected.
13. Listen to late news on radio, go to bed.

Notes from Down Under

I haven't been posting much, but here are some notes I made last year.

Easter 2019 -  I am making a flying visit to Ballarat for a family reunion on Easter Saturday and staying overnight.  Sunday I will catch up with Leigh Edmonds, then return to Melbourne late Sunday.  I will be staying at the Victoria Hotel in the CBD and will be available for lunch or coffee etc before catching the 7.50pm plane back to Hobart.  

Wednesday I was still tired from my travels, though most nights this week I've been in bed by 10:15pm which is not usual for me.  To my surprise this didn't seem to harm my game at the Croquet Club -- in fact a couple of people told me how well I was playing on Tuesday.  Go figure.
A very windy night.  When I got up this morning I saw the lid had blown off the 44 gallon drum at the back door.  Never saw that happen before.  Went out to get some food for the poultry.  Let me tell you, the man who coined the term chickenfeed meaning a negligible amount of money never had much to do with caring for hens.
In the evening we competed in the weekly pub quiz and managed to finish in second place.  We only lost by a single point, so I reckon we would have won if we had done better in the puzzle question ("What year did NATO celebrate its 40th birthday?").

Thursday was quiet.  Anzac Day is a public holiday.  I played croquet in the morning and we shared a cake I provided  --  the club has a tradition that you have to bring a cake when it's your birthday that week.  Went home and took a nap.  After dinner I watched some stuff from the Sid & Marty Krofft boxed set I bought last week.  I was unaware that the State Cinema was having a special screening of one of my favourite films THE DAMBUSTERS due to it being Anzac Day!  Oh well, maybe another year. 

Friday got off to a sad start.   I gave Keith Curtis and his cat a lift to the Vet, but only two of us were coming back if you know what I mean.  :(   After it was all over, Keith and I talked for a while over coffee before I drove him home.
Lunch time, Adrian drove me down to eat with Mick, Helena and Zyta to celebrate my birthday.  Chicken and champagne, and since I wasn't driving I felt free to have an extra glass or two.  Zyta had come across one of the conical moulds used for making cream horns and served up a plate of them for dessert.  This was the first time I'd seen those in a long, long time.  Quite nice but you wouldn't want to be eating them every week.

AVENGERS ENDGAME  I enjoyed this a lot more than INFINITY WARS.  The movie hits the ground running and never stops, and though you'd need a PhD in Marvel to identify every character, it works.  The movie looks amazing and it has heart.  I'd put it in my Top Five list of Marvel movies.

10:50 PM 9/05/2019
Last night I felt a little unsettled, and today I felt sad and melancholy for the first half of the day.  A game of croquet took my mind off it for a while, but afterwards I drove past my sister's old house  --  it looked so lonely sitting there behind a chain-link fence studded with warning notices.  The whole property seemed like a wasteland, enlivened only by the donkey from next door grazing in the paddock. (Good old Rosie, I thought.)
Drove in to Moonah and felt a little better after a bowl of hot soup at the Magnolia coffee shop.  I kept thinking about the photo album Julie had put together for my 60th birthday, which I had been looking through recently.  Even after a couple of years, grief can sneak up on you at unexpected moments.

13/06/2019
Thursday night, out to the Playhouse to see the Tasmanian premiere season of the musical LADIES IN BLACK.  Who knew that Tim Finn could write the music and lyrics for a good old fashioned big musical?  This is based on the Maderleine St John novel, but not the movie which was made at the same time the musical was about to come out. (Imagine the legal minefield for the lawyers dividing up the rights!)   The cast includes such stalwarts of the Hobart stage as John X and Chelle Burt, but the star is Cecilia Hutchinson who shines as the bookish suburban girl who finds a way out of the conformist 1950s when she takes a summer job at Sydney's leading department store.  This is that rare play that I would recommend unreservedly to everyone I meet.

11:46 PM 14/06/2019
Friday night and I may not get to sleep easily tonight, because I was drinking a lot of coffee at the Alliance Francais quiz tonight.  The Amnesiacs were defending the trophy we won at their last quiz (which was back in 2016).  The questions were in French, so they had to be translated into English for us, then our answers had to be translated back into French.  Fortunately I was able to answer several of the science & technology questions without waiting for the translation.
We came in second, partly I suspect because of the round where they showed us pictures of statues in France.  We not only had to say who the statues commemorated, but where they were located.   A big ask for a team in which only one had actually been to France.  (I did mis-identify the status of Jacques Brel as Charles Tranet, but nobody's perfect.)

12:03 PM 2/07/2019
For most of my life, buying art has meant picking up odds and ends at local shops or church fetes -- I don't think I ever bought anything priced at more than $25.  But I am now proud to announce that I am the owner of  a "real" painting, the sort that they sell in art galleries.
Liz Barsham's latest exhibition at the Nolan gallery finally convinced me to take the leap.  I am happy to say that her picture "Seeking shiny things" is now mine (and wouldn't it make a great subtitle for my autobiography?).

Over oceans deep
Homeward fly the travellers.
Devils watch the sky.

--- haiku for Julie 2016