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Dec 2008

The 21st Century has arrived at Currawinya

In todays junk mail we got a scratch card from a business called Monstermobile. The scratching revealed that we had won a prize - anything from $50,000 to a Mega Mobile Game Pack. I was required to sign up for a $10/5 days Monstermobile Service to claim the unspecified prize. When I subscribed I was told that the prize I had won was a Mobile Game Pack, Oh how exciting.

Jean, of course, said that I was mad to have even tried to claim the prize.

There was an opt out option which I tried. The message wouldn't go because I had tried to send it to the wrong number. After two unsuccessful attempt, thinking that I had been suckered into a $10/5 days service which I didn't want, I realised my mistake and sent the opt out message to the right number and got a reply saying that the opt out had worked. I still have to be convinced that I haven't been conned, I feel that I might still get the $10 SMS pack every 5 days but I can always go to the ombudsman if that happens.I have to remember to keep the messages as evidence in that case. Perhaps I am just being paranoid, we'll see in due course.

As this is the last post for 2008, I wish all my readers a very happy, bright, and worthwhile 2009.

Posted: 30/12/08 10:15 PM

Xmas has Come and Gone again

I had an early Xmas present when Max, my son-in-law, came and mowed the back lawn and the back paddock for me. I needed some exercise so I helped with some of the back paddock.

The Lions Christmas Tree Function on Xmas Eve was a great success as it always is. We provided presents, drinks and ices for hundreds of children. It is very satisfying to be a part of such an important community event which is a strong and long lasting tradition, this was the 69th year the event has been held.

During the evening I noticed all had gone quiet so I offered to do a bit of a recitation. I was quite rudely told "NO WAY". The explanation was that this is an event for the children and not for the adults. The fact that many adults have to hang about all evening to mind their kids seemed unimportant to the organizers. During the preparation for this year's event, I had had a lady ask me if we could arrange some entertainment for the adults, music or community sining. That suggestion was not taken up.

I was pretty miffed and thought dark thoughts about my lack of common interest with most of my fellow Lions. I get on very well with my sponsors Ken and Ron Hiscock but I don't seem to be part of the social group of the others. I have realised that these dark thoughts were not really important and I have reverted to being a committed member of Barraba Lions Club come what may.

Xmas day was very pleasant as we now have family living in town and we spent time with them. The kids and the grandkids were very happy with their xmas presents and we all had a pleasant day consuming various goodies and quantities of alcoholic beverages. It was lovely to get a phone call from Rachel who was spending Xmas day in Sydney with her in-laws, the Fitzhardinges.

The weather has turned quite unpleasant, very hot and very wet but I'm sure we'll get some nice weather soon.

Posted: 28/12/08 7:24 AM

I feel another "I Told You So" coming on

I read in the newspaper today that the top 100 companies in Australia are expected to take a $50billion hit in their balance sheets next year because of the tumbling values of their "assets". I have often said "When I am Supreme Commander of the Universe, companies will not be treated as though they were people and they would not be allowed to own shares in other companies". "What" I hear you cry "That would destroy our financial system".

The basis of my policy is that wealth is only created by making products or delivering real services. The foundation of the economy is the production of real products and the delivery of real services. If companies focus entirely on these activities we would all be better served and the economy would be much less vulnerable to the deleterious effects of people and companies focussing on making money by manipulating money rather than making a real contribution to the economy.

I suggest that if my policy had been adopted, we would not be suffering the turmoil which now besets our society. I am constantly expected to feel sorry for those who are losing their saving as a result of the dramatic reduction in share prices on that "casino" called the stock market. They put their savings into financial instruments which they expected to increase in price but they are now complaining that the prices are coming down, a possibility which was always on the cards.

The stuff I am presently reading supports the view that I am not just a grumpy old engineer, I am actually talking sense. Some authors much better academically qualified than I am, who cite evidence for their conclusions, are saying pretty much the same things I am saying.

The latest book on my reading list is Confronting the Future by Charles Birch, a world famous academic ecologist. The book was first published in 1976 and revised and re-published In 1993. The stuff he talks about are still very relevant in the light of the world's present problems. His predictions stand up very well in the light of the developments of the past fifteen years. Like "The Limits To Growth" which also stand up very well in retrospect, Birch's idea have largely been ignored by those in power. Sadly, it might well be that in another few decades both these books will be seen as quite correct

Posted: 22/12/08 8:08 PM

A Night to Remember

Last night we had a visit from Lion John Olsen who is on a fundraising solo walk from Steep Point Western Australia, the westernmost part of Australia to his home in Geelong, Victoria. He is raising money for The Australian Lions Children's Mobility Foundation and his aim is $200,000.

He turned up in Barraba with very little prior warning so we were not really prepared for his visit.

He arrived in Barraba at about three o'clock but our scouts didn't find him even though we knew he planned to camp in the caravan park next to the Manilla River.

I met up with him at about half past four and was able to get hold of the key to the ablutions block so that he could have a much needed hot shower.

I invited him to join us for dinner at the Bowling Club which is opposite the Caravan Park and we arranged to meet at six o'clock.

I rang around all the Lions to try and get some other hosts and was able to recruit three. Happily one was Dallis Ervine who is influential in the Bowling Club.

We had drinks and a good long chat before we got into the Chinese Smorgasbord.

John's story about his walk were captivating. He had planned to attempt the record for crossing the continent as a solo walker. He was astounded that the record was set by a walker with a full support crew including cooks, physiotherapists and all. John's idea of a solo walk is to walk totally alone with all his gear in a hand trolley so he probably deserves a record for a truly solo walk across Australia. His route was quite astounding as he chose to cross all the deserts of central Australia only getting into inhabited territory after he got into Queensland.

After dinner, Dallis organized a bucket collection for John and we got donations amounting to $250. This just typifies Barraba as a most charitable place.

I was able to give John some advice about where to camp on the way to his next meeting with Lions at Manilla. I talked to the President of Manilla Lions and he planned to go to John's next campsite to meet him and arrange his visit to Manilla.

John thanked us for a very pleasant night and we wished him well on his walk back to Geelong.

Posted: 20/12/08 8:37 AM

We live in a Global Village

We were watching SBS on TV tonight when Silvio Riviere's Global Village programme came on. Our attention was sparked by the mention of Barraba.

The story was about a world famous harpsichord maker named Bill Bright who lives in The Nuthouse at Woodsreef in Barraba. He uses an artist named Rupert Richardson who is also a born and bred Barraba resident to decorate the lids of his harpsichords with local scenes.

We were sure it was our Barraba when a shot of the town clock appeared on the screen/ That is the same town clock that heads up my "Towards Transition Barraba" page.

Now, I know that Barraba is a very special place, but I didn't realise just how special it is.

Posted: 17/12/08 10:26 PM

Time off the Treadmill

I have been on the sick list for about a fortnight. I am on some different antibiotic and seem to be coming out of it. It has been a problem because there is a lot to do before Xmas and I haven't been able to get into any of the tasks. I hope I will be fit enough soon.

Posted: 17/12/08 5:34 PM

An Unusual Happening in Barraba

I was selling Christmas Tree raffle tickets in Queen Street this morning. It seemed like a normal day with plenty of people stopping to buy raffle tickets and Lions Christmas cakes.

During a lull in the proceedings, I heard a Baa and looked out into the street to see a young sheep walking down the middle of the street. All the cars, vans and trucks, managed to avoid the animal.

It finally turned back towards us and we suggested to a customer for raffle tickets that it was one of our prizes - a Dressed Lamb. It was had not put its clothes on today but it was definitely a lamb. Some-one tried to catch it without success. A red car drew up outside the Tourist Information Centre and a young fellow jumped out, headed off towards the lamb and returned with it in his arms. He put it in the back seat of the car and drove off. So much for our prize.

Sadly I didn't have my camera with me so I can't provide any hard evidence that this story is true.

Posted: 5/12/08 7:18 PM


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