Merry Christmas

A classic from Atherton Department of Redundant Signs.

When my girls were at Possum Valley I used to make a bit of a fuss about Xmas and follow most of the traditions, however ridiculous and inappropriately imported from the northern hemisphere.  All that stuff about snow and reindeers racing through the sky over the gum trees.  The presents and the turkey.  Nobody much liked turkey.  The tree and the lights and the plastic tinsel stuff that gradually molted so you could find little glittery bits of plastic months later.  The vast meal that left everyone in a food coma.  The Xmas cake that came at the end that nobody had any room for.  It became a family tradition called ‘parading the cake’ where it was a lions charity cake still in original packaging was put on a plate and presented to the stuffed diners to be received by groans of protest.  It was then put back in the cupboard for the next year.  Very economical and it lasted 8 years.  The family never did have much of a sweet tooth and even as kids, my girls would let their meagre supply of Easter eggs languish in the fridge for months.  The cake could have lasted indefinitely except I got curious about the condition of the cake hidden from view all those years.  Sort of like Schrodinger’s cat (quantum physics joke).  So I opened it up and it was in surprisingly good condition.  Not too attractive, and with some crusty bits, but I reckon the middle would have been fine.  No takers.  Having survived 8 years being unmolested, we decided to give it a decent burial.  

A classic from Atherton Department of Redundant Signs.

A classic from Atherton Department of Redundant Signs.


The fact my girls didn’t have much of a sweet tooth was probably down to me.  I don’t have a sweet tooth.  I did the shopping and the cooking.  There is no shop within a camel ride, and I had complete dictatorship of the food provision.  Sweet things were just not in the house.  Which leads me to another Xmas story.  Whilst shopping in a supermarket in Atherton there was Santa ho-ho-hoing and sitting little kids on his knee and giving them little gifts and a photographer taking pictures.  That pic of my little girls made it into the local free newspaper and I probably still have a clipping, if only my filing system would yield up stuff from 25 years ago.  The little gifts Santa gave them were lollies wrapped up in shiny paper.  They came to me and asked what they were.  I was so proud of my little girls not knowing what lollies, sweets or candy were.  It’s just the grinch in me.

Now I am in full ‘Bah Humbug’ mode.  No cards, no presents, no turkey, no tacky tinsel.  Not to anyone including close family.  Then my daughter Josie this year sends me a Xmas present right out of the blue!  What was she thinking?  She knows there is nothing in the mail for her.  But then I find the touching card enclosed which assures me that “You will be happy to know only minimal funds were expended on your christmas gift, with all elements 100% sourced from secondhand retailers”.  Aw shucks, she knows me really well.  I am proudly wearing a shirt right now she sent me.  Also included a shaving brush.  Both daughters had been having a go at me about my shaving brush.  I know it was older than both of them, about 35 years old, the bristles were about 20 mm long after years of attrition, but hey! the handle was fine.  I now have a shaving brush with a magnificent 75mm of luxurious bristles.  But you didn’t think I would throw away the old one did you?  It is now relegated to the workshop to await some menial and perhaps fatal job of spreading glue.  

Grandson Henry discovers saws and demolishes my workshop

Grandson Henry discovers saws and demolishes my workshop

I had an excellent Xmas dinner invited by guests to share their family occasion.  Magnificent food spread out over a whole afternoon, and friendly relaxed feelings.  And here dear readers, I do a complete about face to extol the virtues of Xmas.  To acknowledge the worth of being in the warm embrace of family and friends.  To take time out from the hussle and bussle of getting by, and appreciate relationships and fun.  Thanks Lachy & Nadege.  I really hope you had an excellent Xmas as well.


How to Report Nothing

foundling possum

In this latest review into viability status, customer satisfaction and management performance, it has been found that ongoing policy settings are achieving their aims of furthering the company’s objectives. An analysis of current outcomes compared with historical data shows a continuing trend towards normality. The possible disturbances to this solid future scenario, such as Trump’s election and global warming, nuclear war and the last trump, have been shown to be less significant than formerly thought.  The downgrading of these threats can be largely attributed to consumer fatigue.  Any actual improvement in any of the aforementioned indices can be dismissed as illusory.  The Possum Valley shareholder dividends remains at a historically high level and the recent AGM has re-elected as chairman, CEO, board members and bottlewasher, Paul.  There were no dissenting votes.

So SNAFU.  So all good, if you accept good as less than optimal.  Could do with some more rain.  19mm yesterday afternoon, but much more needed as this is one of the driest years so far with just 1346 mm to date.  Hydro system down to less than half power.  Trees and shrubs stressed out in the rainforest.  Level 2 water restrictions in the district.  Another storm just managed to navigate it’s way safely round Possum Valley leaving only a few drops in it’s wake.  It looked quite promising on the radar.

A couple of nights ago there was a possum in the kitchen as usual.  At this time of year I leave the doors and windows open until I go to bed, as I guess most people do and don’t bother to evict them unless there are a couple having a turf war and things get too rowdy.  I put away any food I wish to keep and leave them bin diving for the vegie scraps and peel.  I wandered past and it was a female with a baby on it’s back.  Ah! , how cute, so I went for the camera, but it had scarpered before I got back.  Usually if I don’t make any hostile moves they stand their ground silent and still until I leave tham to get on with foraging again.  Next day I found the baby in a bucket in the laundry.

foundling possum

foundling possum

There was a window wiper in the bucket so it could have climbed out, or the mother in, but it had been abandoned.  Bad mother!  I took it outside and released it under the house in the hope its mother would find it otherwise it has no chance.  No, I didn’t consider trying to hand rear it, anymore than I thought of adopting the infant black snake that lives in the hydro system governor.  Didn’t bother evicting the snake, I’m just careful when I take a voltage reading with the multimeter a few cms above it’s head.  If I leave the snake there, I can be pretty sure all the surrounding control gear will be free from mice, rats, melomys, etc except for the very large white tailed rat, which I reckon would have that little snake for breakfast.  All those critters damage or even destroy electrical insulation.  I have met people who have had the electrical wiring in their car destroyed by white tailed rats.  Ouch!  Very expensive to replace.  I am lucky only having the knob on the gearstick eaten.  The high density plastic is as hard as a billiard ball.  Melomys can eat aluminium plate as I found when I tried to exclude them from a drawer.  But they can’t eat steel!  Humans rule OK!

Well dear readers, the festive season is upon us.  The full onslaught of the advertising system will be unleashed on us exhorting us to consume, consume, consume.  Oh how tedious.  As a grumpy old man, I can assure you that a large percentage of us ran out of excitement and enthusiasm for this commercial wank long ago.  For those of you with children, keep it going, but remember that extra love is all they really need.  All those ‘special foods’ has been ritualised as we already enjoy an amazing choice of foods all year round.  Eat well, don’t waste.  Have a great Xmas, but center it round relationships not ‘stuff’.




Possum Valley Meltdown

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Do It All Again

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Just Kidding!

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Notice of Possum Valley’s Imminent Closure

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40 Years and Counting

I came to live at Possum Valley in the dry season of 1976 and have been living here since then.  Michael Cheshire and I had bought the 156 acres of rainforest to do the hippie self-sufficiency thing, with half a mind of starting a colony of … [Continue reading]

Book Review

I read as lot of books, a couple a week at least.  I have bought about 10 books in my life.  Those of you with advanced mathematical skills will notice a discrepancy in the numbers.  This shortfall in books purchased can be entirely accounted for by t … [Continue reading]