A Grain Of Salt 2019 (Tuesdays)

LoveA Grain of Salt. Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

Stillness and solitude. It helps. Three weeks gone (along with 20,000 visitors) and only the last, the big one, Australia Day, to survive, soon after to return to normalcy. The year has had its moments, particularly those odd occasions at my local Rye RSL coming across the various visitor types who put large amounts of moola into those bandits and because of their actions consider themselves a form of a very important person. A long held fascination dating back years to my public service days and trying to come to terms with why my boss considered himself on a higher intellectual plain than anyone under him? Knew his statutes well enough, not so interpretations, the needle in the proverbial haystack in understanding the fine print of life. [Knowledge is nothing if the mind's not there; Storaeus]. Again, as an actor, an increased form of fascination. The simplistic is the star, the director, bugger the rest. Not all, some, mainly film and (to a lesser extent) television, including those with a doubtful right to their high handed behaviour. A preference for the stage, a form of equality, the aim a better production, togetherness, salaries and ambitions notwithstanding. Everyone's a judge? No doubt, but assumed superiority can hide a can of worms, sometimes (again, television) more interesting than the script. Mixed in obviously (luckily?) with some real talent, never the necessity to explain. They (we) knew, appreciated. Back to the RSL. Once upon a time there was a Members Bar, for members only, a place I avoided permanently. The self righteousness, sense of superior importance, an easily recognised smell. Better to let them play with themselves? Eventually opened up to all comers, members and visitors, still a no go personally on principle, my principle that is. What attracts (again) is the openness, the equality. The Crown Casino style was never on my agenda. A high rollers area, class culture, no thanks, no offence to other points of view. I've come across a few of these big spenders even at the RSL, some nice, one or two friends even. A classic recently. Shown the door at the Rye hotel for playing 3 machines at the same time, [A limit of leaving a machine for 3 minutes to do with giving others a chance to play during the busy periods]. Called the girl a liar and ditto the boss for sticking up for his staff. Took his business to the RSL (a 5 minute time allowance, cheaper drinks) explained (to we in the dedicated smoking area) his disgust with the hotel attitude and balked at my genteel intrusions into his justification argument. No big deal. I make a point of niceness (not always successfully), saves uncalled for nastiness, and knowing in the long run, self importance comes home to roost, in most cases, in the meantime providing a heightened interest over and above the prefrontal cortex while downing my two pots. [I did ponder once, before I barred reading any Donald Trump news, whether or not he was in fact a Russian spy. Decided against on the basis of him being a massive magnification of the VIP syndrome]. The old question, when Thucydides asked Pericles who was the better wrestler. Pericles reply "That would be hard to establish, for when I have thrown him in wrestling, he persuades those who saw it happen that he did not fall, and he wins the prize". As in adulterating and corrupting the essence of things, common, particularly in politics. Surely preferable to be nice rather than the need to be right, as you see it? [Brigid Delaney, The Guardian "There is no place in Australia as egalitarian or as democratic as the beach". True enough Brigid, unless you have a beach box?]. Note: No resentment, merely following my nose (pondering) as is my wont on this second of life's fascinations - the social media. 



Kevvy Rudd did well for us during the GFC but chickened out on his promised climate change policies, not to mention causing a run on tinned baked beans and spaghetti with his locked in self righteous cigarettes pricing policy, or was it Bob Hawke? Dame Julia (Gillard) let ambition go to her head by joining with her Victorian left wing union mates, snobby in their own peculiar way, to scuttle Queensland's Kevvy, who to that stage was doing a reasonable job. Abbott's sexism (and love of royalty) got the better of him, the thought of a female sprouting across the table too much, and when he did get there, with a host of promises, aptly named lies, he sort of shot himself in the brain, either that or the influence of Peta, the dragon lady. Lastly our marvellous Malcolm, who was enraptured by his self importance (as Prime Minister) lots of promises but little (if any) courage. The obvious question: If it was clear enough to us everyday Australians as to Peter Dutton and Greg Hunt's ambitions why was Malcolm (in no mans land, incapable of either good or evil) so naive as to think by continually caving in to their demands it would solve the problem? Again, the VIP factor, often arriving with a form of blindness? The fact he re-appointed Dutton as Home Affairs minister says it all. Such a waste of a (once) potential talent. We are left with Scott Morrison, clearly ambitious, representing himself as a man of God, an everyday Australian with a history of attacks on the less fortunate under the guise of fairness, by coincidence resulting in (if Scotty rules?) bigger profits for big businesses. These aims (business profits) in itself would not present a bigger problem if this mob had a plan to stop the massive profits going overseas, in some cases paying no tax? Does he really believe in "having a go"? Time will tell, but let's not forget he still has the vultures, Abbott, Dutton, Hunt and the sweet talking Mathias waiting to dive. Obviously it's Bill Shorten's election to lose, a drovers dog, a vision of fame or forgotten, and equally it's long gone time for a change of leader. Both leaders presently shoving popular little promises in our faces, meaning, as far as the election goes, fairy floss. Who will be the next leader of the Opposition? Greg Hunt? [I've ignored Mr Tampa, his "children overboard", a contributor to the Iraq disaster, Pauline Hanson's hero, our greatest prime minister. The less said the better].  



Outrageous? Laughable? A serious and respectful conversation says Scotty, we wish, in fact never. Honestly, our temporary Prime Minister is a prawn (a pawn?) at the very least, wet. A conversation on Australian values leading up to the dress coded Australia Day? Vanity or stupidity; hard to decide, surely not malice? Wage growth, health/medicare, climate change, cost of living, jobs, immigration leading up to no thongs and no shorts? Suspending belief, and assuming Scotty is all for his values, it might be an idea if he can set out his list of his said values? [There's a reasonable argument for Australia Day January 1st, when Australia became a federation, 1901. Whichever way we look at it January 26th implies conquest. It's not an easy choice obviously and whatever the date it should be representative of inclusiveness, and certainly not reflective of some past English glorification. I would (respectfully) suggest the 27th May, 51 years since the 1967 Referendum. This constitutional change meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were fully included in Census results for the first time. Just saying...].



Kelly O'Dwyer abandons ship? Good move...Channel 9's sycophantic Tony Jones on Nick Kyrgios defeat "Good riddance". Warren Mundine's ingratiating, highlighting the beauty of Australia Day, the great Aussie land...Time heals all wounds, or is it the other way around? The problem with bad memories is if you've got no-one to share them with they never go away?...A lot has been written about toxic masculinity; the gillette commercial? I'm wondering if I've got it? Nah, I use Bic sensitive. ...Reminder to myself; read up on all this Rule Britannia Brexit business, 'after' it's all sorted...To bring in almost every new behavioural rule/law on the basis of "if it changes the life one one person it's worth it" is yet another nonsense...Australian Workers Union raids. Michaelia Cash. No charges laid. No surprises...Public servants have a nonsense called 'key performance indicators'. Love to read the results for those working in Home Affairs...There's no doubting the advantage of Google. After years of ignorance I now know what petty bourgeoisie means; I think?...Andrew Bolt, the Herald-Sun director of disinformation?...I'm getting sharper rather than older. Boiled 2 eggs and remembered a mere 40 minutes later...Stephen Fry on when he was born: "I remember looking up and saying, that's the last time I'm going up one of those." I know how he feels...Keep yourselves nice...hooroo...www.ello8.com




CoolA Grain of Salt. Tuesday, 15th January, 2019

Heat Stress? Half way through January, something to be thankful for. Home alone, early visits to Woolworths, cafe (coffee), late afternoons the RSL. Ever the January hermit, the multicultural on the beach, hoons, jet ski protests. Writing this blog can be a blessing, a type of preservation of the mind, the atrophy of retirement. Not enough physical exercises to be sure (February can wait) more of the short sentences variety, facile opinions, dreadfully democratic, albeit a mephistophelian persona, well hidden obviously. Clearly I'm no pedant, a mention of the name (Peter Dutton) to clarify, test the waters so to speak. A national register of sex offenders, names, addresses. God help someone with the same name. Political nonsense. ASIO has a nice big building in Canberra, big staff. Give them something to do? Recalling ASIO in the 1950's, small time, conservatives politically, reds under the beds, an aura of self importance down there in St Kilda road, Victoria Barracks.  Were they watching? Yes, left wing unions, the Norm Gallaghers and bearded blokes? Now? In fact they would have lots to do, creativity an important factor in a public servant's lot, particularly making great account of many senseless things, maybe increased tracking of all those bearded types ex overseas? One wonders how they see Peter Dutton as their big shot, resentment perhaps, after years as the number one in charge of Australia's security. Atrophy? There's a political calm right now. We await our PM's actions on a number of matters; ABC Justin Milne replacement, superannuation top 10 suspicions, other sneaky items in the frying pan. Best to wait and see, the wonder of our temporary Prime Minister's plans on how to tackle (change) the minds of the majority Victorian Labor voters, although it's more down to Prince Peter Dutton than the verbal diarrhoea from Schomo's tonsils (I should talk?). Meanwhile (in a form of retirement) the fascination of Powerball and a first prize of $100 million, one chance, at $8 a pop weekly, in 100 thousand years. A mathematical impossibility, never, in fact, but if nothing else it makes for beautiful dreams. Gambling is a disease? Not so say the experts. If you take away the opportunity they will stop; nonsense. Life is a gamble. I could mention our cricket team; best not, despite the one day temporary re-birth. In desperation, the AFL is not far off (March 22nd, Collingwood Geelong), maybe watch the Richmond Collingwood semi final 2018 the night before as a warm up? Best I don't anticipate, best I make it to March before sounding off. A day at a time. I'm slowing up, or is it simply Summer. Can I manage another year writing these blogs? Or freeze at this keyboard, staring, still breathing, just, at this blank screen. [NOTE: Couple of big words in this stanza. I've been reading a John le Carré novel, it's catching.] At my age a week of feeling good, as in no dramatic illnesses, can cause a form of imagined anxiety. What's next? Ever onwards...[A fair go for all Aussies says "our" Scotty, today's Herald-Sun. Hard work, common sense and respect. With Jen and the girls enjoying the flathead and chips like everybody else, not dragged to the right or the left. Expect much more in the lead up to Australia Day, the unofficial opening of the election?] 



Comedy: On the backside of godfather Peter Dutton, supported by (once marvellous) Malcolm Turnbull (sucking up, unsuccessfully as it happened, to Peter Dutton) raining down on the dangers in the streets of marvellous Melbourne, our illustrious charmer PM Scotty Morrison following suit by having a go at law and order in Victoria. "Law and order means something in NSW and I feel for Victorians who are asking the big question. Why is this happening in our city (Melbourne, your city Scotty?) and not other places. There is a law and order problem clearly in Victoria." Scotty eventually changed his tune, even congratulating our police force, and now in favour of getting stuck into the weird one, Fraser Anning and the St Kilda fiasco (much later than his quick response to school kids on climate change). Hypocrisy reigns, unlimited, in fact teeming down. Hailstones, February to May, courtesy of our capricious Prime Minister?


How utterly dreadful. ‘‘City price falls worst in a decade’’. What to do what to do? Does this mean my humble unit has lost its yesterday's value, or is it still higher than its 2006 value? As for the housing market generally (82,000 on the public housing waiting list) it would appear the need for a form of price correction (particularly in Sydney and Melbourne) is becoming a necessity. We urge the personable Billy Shorten and his Labor mob to stick with it, not be sucked in, not lose its nerve, on reforming the capital gains tax concessions and the negative gearing provisions. Add in franking credits for good measure; no offence intended for those ageing (mostly moneyed up) lot. It's no coincidence we get bombarded with these housing prices fears this time of year. Creative news to carry us through to the heavy stuff. Resulting in unnecessary fears, renting or owning. As for mortgage holders who bought top of the range they had their choices, like all of us. We Australians are lucky. We have the benefit of choice, for a job, an iPhone, a cigarette, a house. Stop whinging. Stop the greed. Take a stroll though the poorer sections of Johannesburg, Iraq, a hundred other countries. If you're an Aussie and you stuff up, it was your choice. If still unconvinced go join the United Patriots Front. Get a free T shirt, maybe even a badge?   


Lest we forget: the Malaysia plan (Julia Gillard) involved flying newly-arrived asylum seekers straight back to the source country, Malaysia. Scott Morrison, then the shadow immigration minister and his leader Sir Tony Abbott weren't prepared to see if it would work and they stepped in to block Julia Gillard's legislation by teaming up with the (dreaded?) Greens, who wanted the boats to keep coming, and other cross-benchers. "The last person who tried to embarrass a minority government by undermining border protection laws in Australia was Scott Morrison". [David Rowe]. I't's a long journey till the next federal election, supposedly in May, but as this border protection racket will be front and centre better to have a sliver of knowledge at your disposal before entering the voting booth.


Australia Day and some local councils threatening the citizenship ceremony on an alternative day. No chance says our Scotty, it's "our" day. Scotty's big on the word "our". Scotty, our very own Iago. "A change to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code means councils will be forced to hold a citizenship ceremony on 26 January, another on 17 September, and institute a dress code that bans thongs and board shorts." Council response along the lines of "representing their ratepayers views"? I'm easy either way but looking at our Mornington Peninsula situation, particularly our local council representative in Rye, the idea of representing our views is laughable. No shorts?...Television, 8pm-11pm for the ageing: Silent Witness: Emilia Fox as Nikki Alexander. Now into series 22 and still waiting for Doctor Nikki to do her job and let the police do theirs. Nothing to do with femininity; simply, Nikki is a pain in the backside...Is it me? I long for a good murder mystery without spoilt brats in it. When they invariably storm out of the house blaming their parents I find myself wishing they would stay out. Even the better English shows. Example: The recent season 3 of Unforgotten with the brilliant Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar had four suspect families, ALL with troubled souls, painful ankle biters. Great stuff the show, pity about the kids...The ABC's Summer Drum hosted by Sydney's me me me Adam Spencer. Thankfully, I'm not that desperate...The latest: Mobile call from the Taxation Office, a lawsuit being carried out under my name, the remainder of the message missed as I hung up..."In every village there will arise a miscreant, to establish the most grinding tyranny, by calling himself the people. [Sir Robert Peel]...Someone asked Diogenes "Please teach me true contentment." "If I teach you that, you wont be content"...hooroo...www.ello8.com



LoveA Grain of Salt. Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

My compassion level has overflown. Almost nightly, the News, a drowning, Wilsons Prom, Phillip Island, Gunnamatta. Swim in the bay, paddle in the ocean, surely? Come to Rye, overcrowded, drownings appreciated. January on the Mornington Peninsula with uneven headed visitors around every corner, particularly on the beaches, the road, Rosebud to Rye, Point Nepean Road a carpark. Compassion, the quantum level, energy levels, including the quantum spirituality? Yes, well aware it's a bit above my head. Maybe a shade more than a "bit"? It's straight out compassion I'm on about. In plain terms if we relate it to our Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton we immediately comprehend, but only up to what we are told. He must have a hidden level, (a secret charity, The Patriots?). We surely all have it, but like everything, the levels differ. Facebook is overrun with compassion, spend all day, a week, a year on the bloody thing if your addicted, as indeed it appears some are. I'm sort of drained dry if I take on board the people on Nauru/Manus. Add in what's left for the unemployed on Newstart and there's very little remaining, even drownings, all of which (no offence) can be cancelled immediately, on the spot, with a toothache. I'm alright Jack? Forgive me, it's January...



Spending so much time alone patiently waiting for the crowds to disperse (evacuations on Sundays began January 6th to the big one January 27th) I think of how lucky I've been, always in retrospect. The wife departed 14 years back, complete life style change, softened by those memories despite a form of sadness. I ask myself "Did I realise we were having the good times while they were happening or am I re-writing history? I think not, although likely most of us are unaware of those good (sometimes not so good), those pieces of our past, while they are in process. Something like the short term version of a 3 weeks break after 49 weeks of work. Arguments the first week, forgotten in favour of the second two on returning to the daily grind. Maybe the daily grind was part of the good times, the treasured years, at 82 treasured more so, in retrospect? Thus, a message, to all you young bloods (all ages to at least 70, likely even beyond) try stopping every so often, and as I've said "smell the roses". And if you have parents or parent, keep in mind not only the now, but the possible changes on the parent's health issues. Is this an appeal? No. A reminder to take into account how lucky you are.  


Many years ago when I was anxious to do something about a perceived (forgotten) injustice a chap said to me “It’s like pissing into the wind son.” I never forgot, been part of my personal bible the past 50 years. Assume it all comes down to being unafraid to express your opinions, also 'feelings' if the situation is on safe grounds. Small victories, many defeats along the way, but in spite of little if any changes to the status quo it can still be a benefit. I’m no fan of “I never talk politics”. It feeds me. I never talk religion is true enough. To each their own, just please don't bend my ear, although at times I toy with the idea of a more philosophical approach, depending on the feed. I'm big on stillness, a miser with words, particularly with idiots. Other than that if you feel strongly enough about some things say so, good for the intangible soul, unless you've used up your quantum of compassion or (obviously) you happen to be in an argument with your wife. [Former Neighbours performer Magda Olympia Valance (psychologist?) - "Trust your gut. Your gut feeling is your guardian angel, putting you on the right path"] Gut? Funny people those psychologists, ditto actors. I'll give that one a miss.


After the $4 million dollar upgrade the jury is in on the new big bold and beautiful Rye RSL. A non smokers delight according to my singular research, minor noise level complaints, apparently a solution in hand. The old smoking area absconded (like footpath eating at cafes) in favour of the cleanskins, in favour of breathing fresher air and a doubtful guarantee of living longer, while we smokers have been shoved down the back opposite the poker machines; out of sight out of mind? It's OK to gamble till the cows come home but smoking is evil, apparently, in brainwashed Australia. (Ever noticed how the holy people cough even if spotting a smoker at 50 yards?). Rather sad on what I consider second class consideration, and then, suspiciously, only as a small comfort to further encourage those poker playing gamblers who enjoys a fag between their free spins? The same at Rye Hotel I'm advised. Also St Andrews Beach Brewery (without the pokies) big bold and beautiful, a map required to locate the hidden area for smokers. Multiple warnings (many with doubtful evidence) on the health issues of smoking. The question: Does gambling affect your health? A comparison of one against the other, pluses, minuses? A good one for all you thousands of research nutters. Only in Australia. Finally, observations from Rye RSL smoking area: Perhaps a goldfish bowl to blend in with the swimming pool style tiled floor, a fan in the undercover area to circulate the pure smoking air? A ban on the pain of the overhead blaring music emanating in between the Chemist Warehouse commercials.  


Aha. Senator Payne is alive and well. The lady has spoken, a bit each way nevertheless and signifying nothing: “It’s an interesting issue for us to discuss. At this point I don’t support or oppose quotas, but I do know that as an organisation there is more that we can do,” Kelly O'Dwyer also chipped in with her two bob's worth: "There's no question that the Liberal party can and should do better when it comes to getting more women into parliament". Interesting, not that either of them (and Julie Bishop) lifted a finger when Sir Tony Abbott attacked Julia Gillard on a daily basis. Violence against women a vague thought? Interesting to know if these ladies are in favour of the anti-harrassment fund started by Tracey Spicer, NOW Australia? [Not fussed on numbers, females, politicians, but heartily agree on more females as prison officers. Tough cookies, females.]


The lovely Alison Whyte as Lady Macbeth, Royal Botanic Gardens. Worth it for Alison alone...Powerball at $80 million, a week of dreams, thousands of discussions, how to spend or invest, Hallelujah?...Nicole (The Stepford Wives) "It was tough. Once I was 'in her' it was OK". Nonsense...St Kilda beach, last Saturday; Peter's patriots, perhaps?...Prior to Christmas day two new books; Shane Warne's on cricket and Sam Mitchell's on football, the nightmare of getting either as a Crissy present...Assisted dying, Alfred Hospital. Not right now but comforting...Let me get this straight, the new bollards are consistent with the heritage of the bridge (Princes) but a new Apple shop at Federation Square is not?...Why did the Sydney crowd boo Kholi, white (Aussie) supremacy?...Frances McDormand appealing to Meryl Streep and female nominees at the Oscars to stand up for female rights in the movie industry. Celebrities, way over the top...Shops selling hot cross buns, the question of why letter writers get upset about it?...For our beloved PM "Politicians need activity. It's their substitute for achievement"...Finally, patriotism, the last refuge of the scoundrel?...hooroo...www.ello8.com



SmileA Grain of Salt. Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019

New years day started off full of beans. 6am, no recycle blue bin. Located a block away, upended. Refilled, back in time for the council truck. Did not spot the offenders but according to gossip likely "of European appearance". Let us get it over with. Begin another new year with "Happy New Year"! Done, dusted? Happiness, restricted to the fact of making it "bigger and brighter than ever before" according to Costello's 9 news. And I'm a monkey's uncle. Tell it to the puppy dogs, particularly left home alone by puppy owners among those 400,000 people crashing into Melbourne for those crass fireworks. Watched them all, Melbourne, Sydney, Paris, New York, Moscow on the 9 news, all of 5 minutes. Not a grumpy bum. Don't like (appreciate?) fireworks full stop. Nothing changes, other than who is (supposedly) running this country. [In fact big business runs this country but best we don't go there, best keep it simple this early in the year.] From a new year opening blog 2009: "Nice to see the price drop in petrol and interest on mortgages. Does it follow food prices and interest on credit cards will drop? More likely the pigs will take to the skies. Savings will quickly be gobbled up as always by price increases in public transport, water and electricity. Never mind - another freeway, tollway, publicity pictures for the politicians, and all is serene in our land of false celebrities." As I said, a decade, and nothing changes, other than the climate. New year resolutions? All about me nonsense, rarely if ever carried through. Better perhaps to follow the "keep yourselves nice" rule as far as possible, no matter the surrounding ignorance at times. Resolve to help others? Practical at least? Just the one for me, same as last year. Never to watch, even by accident A Current Affair. Other than that, again, we live in hope. Indeed, in fact, seemingly, always in a state of flux as this and most years begin. 83 come March, insignificant at best. If I can stick around till 2036, 90, I might witness another Collingwood premiership; that's my significance. Little steps. How to put it - waking up on the wrong side of the bed? Every day? Nah, likely those last 7 days. Wrong time to write a blog? Probably. Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O'hara "I'll think about that tomorrow." Good idea. And now? Now it's tomorrow. Watched Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman" last night. Cheered me up no end. Moving on... 



As predicted, as expected, Aussie Godfather Peter Dutton (surely never ever a candidate for full membership of the #MeToo Nuns Chorus) has broken his silence with an extraordinary spray at Malcolm Turnbull. Incompetent, indecisive, a plan to become prime minister but no plan to be prime minister. “Malcolm is charming and affable but he doesn’t have a political bone in his body and it’s not a criticism, but without political judgment you can’t survive in politics and he didn’t.” Peter, political judgement? Reminds me of blaming the pitch when Australia was defeated by India, ignoring the Perth doctored pitch. A perfect pot and kettle situation with (seemingly?) misguided motivations, a bigger problem being, surely, he really believes his words, ignoring his own understanding in self destruction by challenging marvellous Malcolm? Credit where it's due I suppose; he hasn't (so far) referred to the "of African appearance" nonsense at Chelsea beach and in fact our Peter (on past performances) discarded his two liners in favour of (for him) a monologue. Maybe he should consider a career as an actor. Lots of vacancies right now with the disappearances of the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Craig McLachlan, John Jarratt. Oops. Sorry, no connection. I tend to run away with myself at times. If you think I've lost it keep reading. Alternatively, how can one lose what they never had? Also taped "The Godfather" last night. The late great Marlon Brando. Classic.  Ever so slowly we spring back into top gear; well, second gear at least.



Holiday time. So many of my friends (obviously richer friends) off overseas. Bali a regular spot, swear by it, various reasons, none of which convince me. Maybe once a year as a holiday but twice, thrice? Thailand, the pyramids, USA, Europe. Almost every time I go to Facebook I see friends pictures posted from overseas. Which is nice, appreciated. Happy little vegemites, possibly lovers of fireworks? I've been of course when my wife was alive. She also had this strange (as I see it) travel bug. She'd previously been (Hong Kong, Greek Islands, even Beijing?) but wanted to go with me? Why? Alas, six weeks, the good hubby, once, mid 90's after promising for 10 years. Hard work, albeit a small advantage in retrospect, the relief from being back home. I recall my actual words when I landed in Dublin 22nd August 1996, still recovering from that never-ending walk Heathrow airport to Aer Lingus "Only 47 more days before we get back to Tullamarine". Summer in Dublin, but raining? I get the odd fancies. Manly for a few days? A few days on a Greek island? No. 22 hours in plane? Maybe it's my mother? In true Aussie fashion always handy to put the blame elsewhere. Apart from two holidays as kids Mum never left Victoria, her trips amounting to Victoria Park, the MCG and Coles cafeteria in the city. We went to Bonbeach and Rye for two Christmases. No electricity, gas lamps. Perfect. No "what to do" nonsense by Mum, the same rules "Go outside and play". Right on the beach, just a train trip. It's not my age, I've never had it. Early days as a public servant we got three weeks leave a year, the real pleasure being three weeks of no work and relaxation at home. Girls, movies, racetracks, a beer or two, or three. Even those road trips to the Gold Coast with the kids, a combination of duty and pleasing my wife. Good luck to them, to almost all of you travellers. Me? I'll settle for a trip to my local cafe, the RSL, Woolworths, a slow stroll along the Rye pier. Yes, I saw the  eiffel tower once. I stayed down, had a smoke while darling went up and took lots of snaps? According to darling I missed a great experience by staying in my hotel room while she spent a day at the Pierre Lachaise cemetery? Who is Jim Morrison anyway? Oscar Wilde? Yes, I've read his books, seen his plays. To each their own. That's mine. Too old anyway. Am I complaining, a cranky old bugger? Correct! Presently a hermit, confined to barracks, to re-appear, revitalised, come the day after Australia Day when I spend the morning parked close to the Peninsula Freeway and indulge myself in the pleasure of watching those thousands of vehicles on the road back to Melbourne.   



We know the English hated the Germans with good reason WW2, but apart from their misguided hate towards their own Jewish people who else did the German's hate?...Well done to Michael Palin, knighted in Britain's New Year Honour's list, but thankful we don't do it here. Can you imagine - Sir Bryan Brown?...hooroo...www.ello8.com