Thursday, July 31, 2008

And that's not your bloomin' lot

Everyone who has watched or met Peter Cundall has to admire his infectious enthusiasm for life. The former self taught gardener and self confessed juvenile delinquent from Manchester, soldier, prisoner of war, television broadcaster and communist candidate for parliament and current radio broadcaster, environmental campaigner and gardening guru is not planning to slow down. He is the forefront of the campaign against the Gunns Paper Mill in Tasmania.

"The sheer pleasure of gardening I regard as one of the magnificent luxuries. To be able to sit in the garden, or on your arse looking at it, it's one of the great joys of life."

For Cundall, the real enjoyment in gardening is building it up and watching it develop. "A lot of people are now finding this out and wanting to develop their own gardens and also to grow their own fruit and vegetables."

In postwar Britain, Cundall grew them to feed his family. Now people are more aware of what they're eating and the methods used to create the produce so they're going organic - the only way to garden, he says. Not only is the produce more tasty, but it's better for you.

"Vegetables straight from the ground that have been organically grown - that is with no chemicals or sprays - are fantastic. What you're tasting is not just the flavour but the vitamins and minerals that your body is crying out for. People are discovering the way things should taste."

As well as being a healthy stress reliever, gardening is also a great leveller, according to Cundall, and he wishes it could bridge the gap between politicians of different persuasions to solve the world's ills.

"Imagine if Hitler had done a bit of gardening, things might have turned out differently."

Parliament, he says, is a cesspit, and only a few can go through without being contaminated.

His long term plan?

When I eventually die, I suppose it has to happen, they can shove me into the nearest compost bin where I can at least keep on working. Or cart my corpse in the back of an old ute to the nearest university.

What a great guy. Down to earth and very grounded.

And thats your bloomin lot.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Deep Fried Mars Bars available in Flagstaff Hill

Mars bar (UK style). Photo by sannse.Image via WikipediaStopping to get chips on the way home on Saturday, I noticed that this great Scottish delicacy was available locally at the Lebanese fish and chip shop. The owner confirmed that they were very popular and that the key was deep freezing the Mars Bars. Her early attempts had been disastrously gooey.

Judging from the first lot of chips that I returned, maybe there was too much chocolate in the fat.
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Spoil Sports

An 80 year old former Olympian has been banned from running up the down escalator in a department store, in an attempt to recreate his former training regime.

The manager said it sent the wrong message to young people.

Ryan used to love to do this. First it was mastering the escalator and then moving on to more challenging variations. I have vivid memories of his cheeky look as he timed his run up the moving stairs.

No children were harmed in the supervision of this play activity.

Where I don't get my stuff done

This is why I could never work from home. I am lucky in that I can, but I find that I follow this pattern pretty closely. So I am better off getting in the car and driving half an hour and actually showing up in my office.

It is actually more fun since I like (most of) the people I work with.

I'll be back after I make a cup of coffee.

Thanks for these very professional procrastination tips Chris Garrett.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

New Family Pets

Not content with two dogs, two rabbits, two goldfish and seven budgies, Ryan has taken to more unusual options for family pets. On the way to planting trees with the Scouts yesterday, he was telling me that he wanted a pet Tarantula. He had read that the venom could be removed and that they would be nice to hold. I am certain that he has not run this one by his mum.

His other hopes are for another cat to replace the beloved Chester and some Hamsters and Guinea pigs. The Terrapins that were must have a few months ago are apparently forgotten for the moment. He even recognised that the Alpacas that we passed on the way were a bit impractical for our back garden.

I was glad that he did not add these two critters which were demonstrated after the mass tree planting, to link to the type environment that was being created, to his list of preferred pets.

When we came back we got to see a nature bunfight. The Jackdaws were screetching in the huge gum tree across the road. When I went out to take a look I found that a Koala and a baby had taken up residence high in the tree. The birds were less than impressed. I always thought that sort of thing only happened in kids books. I have vivid memories of a black and white book I got when I was younger about family life in Australia. One of the plates was of the family saying hello to the backyard Koala.

Finally I was able to live out that childhood fantasy about Australia which I had growing up in Scotland. I must have been about the same age as Ryan is now. It is easy to imagine then why he wants to have Tarantulas.

It is also nice to see animals in their natural environment from your back yard. Koalas are relatively rare in suburban areas, and have many challenges in surviving in an increasing urbanised environment, although it is not unusual to hear about them crossing roads on traffic reports and last year a neighbourhood Koala was reported to be visiting a family and sitting down to watch television in the northern suburbs. Now that would be a great pet for show and tell. Instant kudos.

It is also a cold night to be out with babies up a 30 metre gum tree. Last night was the coldest July night in 25 years. The dogs ears were freezing when they came in this morning.

Tough life being a pet.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Photo Hunt: Hanging (Out)

It gets pretty hot here in the summer and you can often see our rabbits, Ben and Daisy hanging out in the shade. They have the free run of our garden and the neighbourhood, although Ben is a bit fat to slip under the gate.

They are not so visible at the moment since our new terrier finds them a great source of amusement. I had to rescue Ben from getting stuck in the fence after being chased around the garden and finding that his escape route was not wide enough. All entertainment for Rufus, exercise and annoyance for Ben and Daisy. I hope that Rufus has calmed down by the time the warm weather rolls around again.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Barry to wear special Guernsey to avoid strife

Just watch out for head butts.

Hall has missed the past two matches because of an attempted striking charge and a separate club-imposed ban, with rumours circulating personal problems were behind his poor on-field behaviour.

He has been recalled for the Crows game after feedback from the Swans' psychologist, and Craig says Hall will be challenged fairly by the Crows.

"If you expect our players to comment to Barry about his current situation and his personal issues I would say no," he said.

"But if you expect them to play hard, tough footy and run into him and verbalise him just as he verbalises other people, that's been going on for years."

In reality, the AFL has sanctioned the first AFL straight jacket in a bid to keep Slugger on the pitch and keep sponsors and rights holders happy. Club officials are feverishly working on the logistics of colouring the jacket and ensuring that sponsors logos are clearly visible.
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Midge Ure (Gone) to be Scottish Tourism Ambassador

Doctor Vee has been moaning about the BBC Weather Site being sad. My memory of the weather forecast was generally pretty depressing. Not sure why you would care much whether it was going to rain in the morning, midday or later in the day. I understand that the issue now is weather over 25 degrees centigrade. Those Scottish heatwaves. Poor babies.

It is encouraging to know however that the Midge Forecast is up and running. Very good news for all those crazy types who plan to go roamin in the gloamin in mid July. All the more so since Alex and the boys will have to report on their latest midge research.

The time to act is now. Forget coos, a total midge annihilation strategy will secure the Scottish tourism industry for the long term. Mr (Man) Ure will not have to work so hard to persuade those foreign visitors to come and come and get bitten by thousands of miniature assassins enjoy nature while admiring all those lovely views.

I hated those buggers on the enforced camping trips in summer that my parents made us go on in Western Scotland when I was a kid. We have too many flies in some parts of Australia, but nothing compared to midges.

Tonights Midge Forecast, brought to you by some commercial midge eradication company.

Extremely itchy with some light scratches. Long term outlook (wait for winter). Good.
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McObama Claims Victory in Glasgow East?

From the Front Page of the Glasgow Herald. (You can click on the picture to get a larger version).

Seems that the SNP candidate for Glasgow East has morphed. Is he Haggis McObama or Porridge McSarkozy? I wonder how well Bonjour Messieurs et Mesdames (pardon the French) or Totally Awesome Dude will go down in Shettleston from their elected member. The latter would likely end up with grevious bodily harm being chibbed on the guilty party.

Meanwhile Gordon Brown has been awarded the following trophy by his colleagues for services to the Scottish National Party and David Cameron's electoral ambitions.

Mr Brown meanwhile is banking on an encouraging population trend to keep him in power. Long term youth strategy I think.

What is all the more amazing is that all those young families must have been listening to Jack McConnell.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Winehouse Waxes Lyrical

I wonder if this will get her to shut up.

Her sailor-inspired tattoos are lovingly reproduced, including a lightning bolt, horseshoe and pin-up girls on her arms.

Onya Amy. You got in before Gordon. I wonder if he has any bad taste tattoos?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Victoria Wins Dimwits of the Day Contest

Here, Here and Here.

Take your choice.

Personally I vote for the Terrier Bankmailers. Our new canine is a grey version of this dog. Personally, I would ask for more.

In evidence tendered to the court, Scott Wilson, 18, and Andrew Davidson, 46, hatched the plan in March this year.

A co-owner of the dog said she found a front window of the couple's Ringwood East home forced, the dog missing and a note written on a napkin on the floor.

The note was addressed to her partner.

It read (sic): "Found your dog, willing 2 do a trade, one unregistered handgun + ammo.

"Place it in bin beside handycap parking in a towl at 7pm sharp at the Ringwood East FC with your contact details here ...

"(Phone) for your dogs safe return

"Failure to comply or police contact and theres no hope for your dog".

Under police guidance, the man wrapped a brick in a towel and left it as instructed.

Wilson and Davidson were then arrested at the scene.


I Go Campaignin' Y'all

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goodbye Good Riddance

After spending seven years not watching Big Brother, I can look forward to a lifetime of the same without trying.

Only seven years too late.

Social Media: One Way Conversation

Atilla the Hun of Twitter

I wonder how much you would have to offer to get him to follow you?

Thanks @JonSymons

When Do You Throw Out Your Ugg Boots?

These are my first and only pair of Ugg Boots. I bought them over 5 years ago and they have been everywhere with me. I have them patched up with masking tape after Rufus decided that they made a great toy.

I know that they are uggly, but I am reluctant to part with them. They are part of my process of becoming an Aussie.

I am surprised at the fashion Ugg Boots that some people wear about town. Not me, I like daggy ones.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wireless Thieves in your Neighbourhood?

This might do it.

Borat Mankini Hits the Cat Walk

I am just waiting for the tartan version (and some warmer weather).

Sticky Fingers

The Shah of Iran is reported to have said "Eating with a knife and fork is like making love through an interpreter."

I know what he means. Fish and chips and a haggis supper just don't taste the same on a plate with a knife and fork.

Reading the Australian Sunday Magazine last week, there was an article on the increasing popularity of eating food with your hands by Maeve OMeara, SBS Food Safari Specialist. Obviously a lot of fast food, fruit and breakfast food is served up that way and indeed in many parts of the world eating with your hands is the way to go. She was talking more about restaurant food and is it the next big thing?

When we lived in Singapore I used to like to go to the Fish Head Curry Restaurants and eat off a banana leaf. I didn't ever eat any fish head curry, but the other curries were very tasty. The whole experience was very tactile and messy and me, being a natural slob used to come out looking like a six month old with their first meals. My friend Richard, who worked for the Australian Foreign Service had a great picture of him with Bob Hawke at one of those restaurants. I didn't know who he was at the time, but it doesn't really compute now that I know who he is (was??).

That said, you can get a lot more food down your throat faster than this alternative.

As a society we became very used to chopsticks over two decades ago. I didn't become completely comfortable until my years in Singapore. Now it is just one of those things. It is a little like skiing. Tricky until you get the hand of it.

But are we ready for mainstream hand eating in restaurants?

Maeve predicts that this will be the next big thing with many restaurants only offering cutlery on demand. A good washing up bowl in the restaurant will become an essential item and based on my own experience, expect to spend more on dry cleaning and laundry. That and you are going to have to relax and drop that feeling of self consciousness as you dive into a large pile of food. Just think, you wont have to worry about what that pesky third spoon from the right is to be used for. That and is it ok to use the left hand and how do you get all those curry smells off your hand will be minor details as you tuck in.

Interesting idea since our kids started off using their hands and it was considered a graduation into a new adult world when they started to use eating implements. Other than additional clothes and floor washing, perhaps it has some merit. That and you could save a lot of time, power and water from reduced dishwashing. You could get ETS credits. How could that be bad?

But how would you eat porridge?

Thanks Mottekaero jDonuts

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Eddie the Eagle debuts for England

Dave Darren Pattinson (who?) debuted for England today at Headingley against the South Africans and is at the batting crease as I write. He must be good, since he moved Monty, who makes Glenn McGrath look like a top order batsman up the batting order. Batted behind Monty is hardly a ringing endorsement, but then he is there to bowl.

He was optimistically announced by the Cricinfo Commentary team. They obviously have high hopes for him as England offer up a sorry excuse for a cricket team yet again.

It's a procession, and now, into the fray comes the debutant Grimsby-born roof-tiling medium-pacer from Melbourne. The Chris Powell of England cricket selection? It's not tea after all, incidentally.

Who are those guys who are playing a test at Cardiff next year? Perhaps they are looking for his Aussie sledging experience to unhinge Rickie and the boys when they show up this time next year.

And why do I still support them?

Update: Two slogs and he is out. Eight more than the Captain and Monty combined. England all out for 203. Time to go to work Mr Pattinson (and Mr Flintoff).
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Go Oscar

Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius fell short of the 400 metre qualifying time for the Beijing Olympics despite running a personal best today.

The 21-year-old South African finished third in 46.25 seconds. That is 11 hundredths faster than he ever ran before, but still outside the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55s.

Very inspiring. Less than a a second off the qualifying time. I hope he gets picked anyway. The Olympics needs inspiring stories like this.
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SA Government Radical Speed Camera Plan

The South Australian Government is set to spend $3.5 million on new speed cameras.

This after a survey of residents revealed that only 56 percent believed that speed cameras were about revenue raising rather than reducing the road toll and making roads safer.

"The new cameras will reduce court time and get these crazy drivers of the road for good. While there may be a short term spike in the road toll, the longer term outlook was good based upon modeling done by the manufacturer" said a spokesman.

Got You You Bastard???

This guy is lucky to be alive.
Recommend he stays out of South Australia.

And if all else fails, you can use this proven method of getting out of the fine. It is on the internet, so it must be true.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sheffield Shield Big In Australia

The Intra State Australian Cricket Competition and major loss leader for Cricket Australia in their quest for world dominance in the land of the Silly Mid Off, Point and Square Leg has had a face lift and is set for new life as the Sheffield Shield again. Many Australian traditionalists have been unhappy with the retirement of the shield and its replacement by Pura, a milk brand.

The history of the shield goes back to 1891-92 when Lord Sheffield was in Australia as the promoter of the English team led by WG Grace.

At the conclusion of the tour, Lord Sheffield donated pound stg. 150 to the New South Wales Cricket Association to promote inter-colonial cricket in Australia.

His generous contribution would have gone unnoticed if there had been just one vote different at a meeting of the newly formed Australasian Cricket Council, which met at the Oxford Hotel in Sydney.

The council, made up of NSW, Victoria and South Australia, voted 6-5 to put the money towards an annual trophy. The five dissenting votes wanted the money simply divided equally among the three colonies and spent.

With such a huge focus on money and razmataz, it is reassuring to see the return of this 107 year old trophy, which was restored for free by a Queensland Jeweller. There are some things that money can't buy. I have been to a few games here and they are most noticeable for their being about as many players on the field as people in the crowd. South Australia have been pretty abysmal since I arrived here, despite having Jason Gillespie, Darren Leamann and that tall skinny kid who bowls fast (Shaun Tait) available for most games.

In the photograph from 1991, the tall guy at the left is James Sutherland, current CEO of Cricket Australia, who was a fast bowler for Victoria when they won it that year. He will announce the return of the trophy with new sponsor Weetbix today.

How many did you have for breakfast?

Meanwhile back in the Old Dart, the Old Farts Rule the Roost. Tradition wins out in the shaping of the New English Premier League, Cricket that is. Let's hope it doesn't rain on their parade. Wouldn't want to see anything radical old boy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mama Clutterbuck

Elizabeth is at home with the kids this week for the holidays. She has been scanning old photographs. This is her Dads mum later in life. We have the tables and chairs in our house. It is nice to see them where they used to live. Pride of place with Mama.

Her name was Gwendolyn Blodwyn John and she was from Wales. She lives on on a shelf in our shed with her husband and Elizabeth's dad. One day we will get around to finding an appropriate spot for them. Elizabeth's other Grandmother was called Violetina Minnie. Aren't those names great? My grandfathers name was Ebeneezer. Aren't we lucky that the grandparents didn't force us, both first born's to be named after them. Thank you Thank you.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Photo Hunt: Support

I have recently started a new phase of my life as a soccer dad. Most Saturday mornings are now spent supporting Ryan and his under nine football (soccer) team. I am continually picked up by the kids on that one. Football is Aussie Rules here in South Australia. I stand corrected each time despite associating football with the round ball game.

As with most things I get involved with, I have ended up on the committee. They still haven't won a game yet or even scored a goal, but they enthusiasm is still high. As a parent you support your kids through thick and thin and this is one way I am doing it. They are just reintroducing football after a few years of lack of parent interest. Hannah has missed out because of the gap. Like so many school activities, it is the parent involvement and support that make a difference.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scottish People Sick of Being Made Fun Of

All I can say is that this is fuckin' racist ye English bastards.

It seems Scottish people are once again the but of abuse and jokes in the old country. Poor old Gordon Broon and his Scottish entourage, currently running one of the larger economies in the world and getting slammed right left and centre.

Apparently the Daily Mash people think that it is fun to make fun of poor Alistair Darling. Don't they know that Scottish people have had it with being mocked. It's been going on for hundreds of years. We have had it. Alex will be raising an army of ASBO recedivists to demonstrate the benefits of the Glasgae Kiss and the like if they don't back off.

"In the space of 20 seconds we heard four 'fuds', an 'erse', at least two 'keechs', and one 'gerrit right up ye, ya fuckin' shitebag'."

He added: "There were also five 'boabies', a 'basturt', three 'chebs', a 'bam', two 'fannybawz' and a 'come aheid ya fuckin' dobber'. We believe much of it may be offensive."

A spokesman for ITV said the show's Manchester-based staff had mistakenly invited the Scotsman onto the programme thinking he was either Bulgarian or mentally retarded.

We've had enough of this puerile shit.

Thanks to Ginro, who pointed me in the right direction.

And who is Jeremy Kyle? Any relation to Kyle of Lochalsh?

Thanks to the Daily Mash and Newmania for the excellent fashion shot. I want one of those.

And to top it off from Tuscan Tony's entertaining blog, we have the Slogan Generator with the key word Haggis.

Tonight, Let It Be Haggis.
Life Should Taste as Good as Haggis
Haggis stays sharp to the bottom of the glass

And finally another Canadian Myth

Marvin the Mounty always gets his Haggis.

Speaking of which, courtesy of JMB

It is good to know that we are not the only ethnic group that have to put up with this kind of stuff.

Every day is a Haggis Day in my world.

G8 Leaders Tuck In

Freshly escaped from lecturing the UK population on frugality, Gordon and his rich chums tucked into a 27 course banquet at a Tokyo McDonalds as they discussed the world food crisis.

First up Whale Nuggets and Consomme followed by a Saki Slurpy.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

They must have been watching Madagascar

Madagascar (video game)Image via WikipediaI just want to be free.

Fifteen camels, two zebras and several llamas and pot-bellied pigs escaped from a circus visiting Amsterdam early Monday, police said.

"We suspect that a giraffe kicked open a pen," Dutch police said in a statement, adding that the animals did not get far before they were rounded up and returned to the circus.

There is something great about the movie Madagascar. I was forced to go with the kids to see this a couple of years ago. I actually enjoyed it.

The idea of pursuing unrealistic goals appealed to me. Been there done that.

And the rave scene is an all time film classic. Lemurs on ecstasy? Perhaps they were looking for some drugs to break up the boredom of captivity. And imagine being a detective detailed to question a giraffe? Where was Dr Doolittle when we needed him ?

We probably will never know and the perpetrators are back behind bars without a trial in another police stitch up job.
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Wrong Place Wrong Time

The right place for naked pictures of young children is in the family photo album, not on the cover of a publicly funded art mag.

Leaving aside the gauche way in which the magazine sought to defuse the earlier furore about Bill Henson, parents who defend their decisions to allow the publication of these types of shots do not make sense to me. Even more so be getting their daughter to also defend it in public.

This is exploitation of innocence. Fine in a family context. Wrong in the public domain. Do we not on the one hand condemn child paedophilia, with huge international resources going into tracking down these people. We cannot on the other hand defend this kind of stuff.

Our kids got hold of our film camera and took a series of detailed shots of their goolies. I was shocked when I picked up the film from the chemist and saw the shots. I was sure I had the wrong set. In the back of my mind, I wondered if we would be dobbed in. It was exactly the sort of thing that you would get into trouble for if it was on your computer.

Because it was our kids and they will never see the light outside one of our large cartons of photographs I feel comfortable remembering their pride as they explained how they set up the shots.

Public sexualisation of children is wrong. They are too young to make these kinds of decisions in my mind. It is bad enough looking at the Target catalog some weeks. All the highbrow references to art are bunk in my mind.

Rob from the very excellent Broadsheet Rag highlights another case for parent euthanasia.
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