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Feb 2009

The Great Outcome of the Recent Adventure

The Transition Training workshop was absolutely marvelous. Naresh and Sophy who come from Transition Town Totnes and who had devised the training were on a world tour making their expertise and experience available to lots of people like us who are on the early steps of their Transition journey.

photo of the transitioners

The course was really interesting, informative, and most of all, invigorating. The thirty odd attendees were a really interesting group. Although we all shared a common interest in the Transition, we were a very diverse group with lots of differences in perspective which made for a very productive and interesting experience.

Everyone, in their closing comments, said that they would leave the course very keen and proud to contribute to the Transition project and optimistic that we would see a worldwide movement towards sustainability and resilience which would save the planet from the pending ecological disaster.

I was lucky to be offered a lift back to Sydney so that I wouldn't have to leave the course early to catch the only afternoon train from Bowral.

The kind lady who had given me a lift dropped me outside My son Iain, had left the keys to his house with son friends so that I could let myself in even though they were out at a concert. I dined very well at the local Indian/Pakistani restaurant and got back to the house only shortly before they came home.

They came home. Sadly Rachel had injured her back at the concert and had to go to bed. Iain and I chatted for a couple of hours and took to bed in the heat of the night. The weather cooled and we had a good nights sleep. I was up early, had some great coffee before I caught a taxi to Central Station. The driver and I had a great conversation and I walk onto the platform at Central just as the train was pulling into the station. The journey home started out much better than the trip to Sydney as the temperature in Sydney was quite low. As I write this we are approaching Newcastle and the sun is starting to break through. As the maximum temperature forecast for Tamworth today is 40°C (104°F), I expect the comfort level to decrease during the journey. As the train to Tamworth and the coach to Barraba are both air-conditioned, I will not be uncomfortable.

When I wrote the last paragraph, I didn't expect the air-conditioner in the coach to break down as we left Tamworth. The driver opened all the roof hatches and had us close all the curtains on the sunny side of the coach so we arrived in Barraba, hot, sweaty, and tired but alive and happy to be home.

Posted: 10/2/09 4:11 AM

Another Adventure

I had booked into a Transition Training Course on Saturday and Sunday and had to travel to Bowral. I chose to go y train because it was a lot cheaper with my pensioner travel vouchers and it would be a lot less stressful than a 750km (600 mile) drive.

The Country Link bus to Tamworth was on time and very comfortable.

The train was 20 minutes late leaving Tamworth because of speed restrictions on the line down from Armidale. We continued to lose time on the way down the Hunter valley because the engine was overheating due to the high ambient temperature, around 40°C (104°F). As we approached Newcastle the Train Controller asked me if I was traveling on to Bowral from Sydney. I said "Yes, I guess I have a problem". She replied "Yes, but if you get off at Strathfield you can get on your train to Bowral". I told her that I was meeting a colleague at Central Station and that I didn't have a mobile number for my colleague so I couldn't change our arrangements. She said she would talk to the Platform Manager at Central Station to see if he could get in touch with her.

This went OK but by the time we left Gosford it was clear that we would be 2 hours late arriving at Sydney and would not be able to catch our train to Bowral.

The Platform Manager arranged seats for us on the 8.40 pm XPT to Melbourne, complimentary dinner for us on the train, and for the train to make an unscheduled stop at Bowral. This seemed like a good solution to our problem so we accepted the offer.

I rang the people at Bowral to cancel their meeting us off the original train and arranged to have them meet the new train later in the evening.

When the XPT finally arrived from Grafton a bit late it was revealed that it had to have some engine maintenance before it could do the trip to Melbourne. I rang the people to Bowral again to tell them that out ETA was again put back.

The train finally came out of the shed about 2 hours late and we boarded and set off to Bowral. The journey was extremely slow as we were trapped behind a coal train. I rang the people at Bowral again at about 1.20 am just before we were going to reach Bowral. The kind lady who had been kept out of bed all that time picked us up, took us to the venue of the course. We were most impressed with all the help we had been given to make sure we arrived in Bowral before the course started.

We got to bed at about 2 am and had to get up at about 7 am to shower after a hot night, have breakfast and sign into the training course before it started at 8.30 am.

The day was long and packed with presentations and training exercises so we were pretty bushed by 7.30 pm when we finished dinner and I went early to bed to get enough rest to make it to tomorrow's training session with clear eyes and bushy tails.

Posted: 7/2/09 8:43 PM

21st Century E-commerce sucks

In today's paper we found a reference to a new biography of one of my ancestors, George Johnston.

George was a Marine Lieutenant who arrived in Australia on the First Fleet, sired a family of seven children with Esther Abrahams, a Jewish convict whom he had befriended on the voyage. He married Esther in 1814 when their oldest child, George, was 24 years old was and their youngest, Blanche, my great, great, grandmother, was 8 years. The Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, had asked George and Esther to get married to set a good example to the many defacto couples in the colony.

The dynasty they established is vast, stretched around the globe, and includes many famous people including a late 20th century Governor of New South Wales.

I decided to buy a copy of the book for my library and thought I could easily do this on the internet.

I duly searched for relevant websites. I hit upon the National Library of Australia which gave me the ISBN of the book. I used this to search for Australian book shops which listed the book.

The first look through the search results revealed that some of the hits referred to other books rather than the one I was seeking.

I hit on three book shops which were offering the book and tried to find the book and buy it. The first two shops, Booktopia and Tower Books, had such badly designed websites that I couldn't easily find my way around and when I found the book, I couldn't find any way to buy it. I conclude that e-commerce is sometimes very non-commercial.

I pressed on and eventually stumbled on another book shop, Better Read than Dead, which had a reasonable websites and I was able to find the book and buy it.

I hope the book is delivered in due course so I won't have to revisit this subject.

Posted: 1/2/09 3:25 PM


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Created: 1/02/09 and last revised 30/03/2014
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