Disaster Strikes Possum Valley

The television doesn’t work.  I went to switch it on tonight and not a flicker or a lonesome LED, dead as a maggot.  Which is an oxymoron of a phrase, as when anything is dead, the maggots certainly aren’t.  however the television dead with no sign of maggots.  Which has driven me to my computer, and having absorbed enough of a dose of dismal news, gives me leisure to compose a post.  Not that I have a lot to report as I have been in hibernation due to persistent rain, mist, mud, leeches and sheets of drizzle driven by gale force winds.  The sauna reconstruction is at a standstill though I did take advantage of 3 whole days without rain to get half a ton of materials down the precarious slippy track.  Even the ducks have had enough and loiter in my patio area undercover in a semi-catatonic state.

I must say that my guests have been taking the dismal conditions with a cheerfulness that defies reality and an optimism that is a credit to the Aussie ‘can do’ spirit.  I am reminded of a Giles cartoon that I grew up on that caricatured the grim British determination to have a good time.

Happy holidays by Giles

Just departed today is an extended family who have been coming for decades.  They said they a great time and saw plenty of wildlife, which of course doesn’t have the option to go on strike.  I think a large part of the ‘great time’ was the opportunity for 3 generations to get together without piling into one house and creating ‘hosts’ and ‘guests’.  They could come to neutral territory and just muck in together.  Muck the operative word.

Other recent guests have been forgiving for other reasons.  Despite the atrocious weather for the last …… well … forever, guests have seen the golden bower bird in the last couple of days. I had a couple of wildlife enthusiasts from WA and they were thrilled to see platypus out the window and the tree roos, possums and for them the highlight was the golden bower bird. They forgive and forget the mud if they get to see the special creatures they certainly wont see elsewhere.

The few fleeting days when I managed to get some materials down to the sauna was due to a blast of cold air from Antarctica I think.  On a day where the max temp was 12C, my grandson Henry, 5, gets all his gear off and goes round naked.  I had resorted to long trousers while he resorted to just skin.  I didn’t make a point of it as I was sure he would soon realise the error of his ways, but an hour later where he showed no signs of discomfort, I persuaded him to to put on a few clothes.  Philip, 3, didn’t show as much resilience to the cold, but then he had fallen over in the creek and was drenched from head to toe.  I tried to get him to walk up from Blackbean Cottage to my house as I was carrying piles of linen and bags of garbage, but he shuddered to a stop crying miserably and I dimly remembered similar incidents from my own childhood and abandoned my load in the paddock to whisk him to warmth, safety and dry clothes.

To say I was disappointed by the result of the federal election would be an understatement.  I couldn’t believe that a coal brandishing reactionary twit could possibly be elected.  I don’t think there has been a more idiotic result since the praetorian guard in Rome after several assassinations and much wine elected a horse as emperor.  Actually, I think I’d rather have a horse.  Winx for PM!!  Yeah!  At least Winx has a track record, so to speak.  Now our esteemed premier in Queensland has seen the political writing on the wall and is grovelling at full speed to provide Adani with the permits it requires.  We have to leave coal in the ground where it has been for the last 250 million years,isn’t doing and harm and isn’t going to poison the planet.  Digging it up, setting fire to it and choking on the fumes isn’t a rational future policy.  So now my federal representative is Bob Katter and has been since the dynasty was founded sometime around when the pyramids were built I think.  So, what now?  Nothing I think.  It is the business of government to look into the future and make sure it doesn’t happen.  Because they represent the interests of old money and old generations.  The Morrison government didn’t even try to put up policies because they thought it could be a target and anyway a waste of time as they didn’t expect to get back in.  Now haven’t a clue what to do.

I think I am like many old people who realise we have lived through a charmed period of peace and prosperity but now realise our profligate ways threaten the future of our children and grandchildren.  The worst effects wont impact us as our use-by date is fast approaching, the calamitous results are yet to come.  I am thinking of my grandkids and want to make some real changes to our economy of consumption and resource exploitation.  Little adjustments wont be enough.  More radical changes, even uncomfortable changes are required.

 

 

Spammed to Death

To the few people interested in my Possum Valley blogs, I have to inform you that you will no longer get a notification email that I have posted a new blog.  In fact you probably wont see this advice because unless you casually check my blog from time to time, as I have already deactivated the ‘subscribe’ plug-in.  I have had about 1800 subscribers for some time, quite aware that most were machines as I really don’t know that many people in Russia or Poland.  I really don’t understand what advantage ‘the bots’ give to their originators, but recently I have been overwhelmed by about 20-30 new user subscriptions every day and all those notifications from my website land in my email.  They are all from the same source as the form is the same with “meet Carmen and Alice (or any combination of girls names)” as a link I have never clicked on.  I first thought I may be able to block them as the were mostly from .ru, Russia, but they are coming from all over the globe now on an industrial scale with different domains and countries.  So apart form my own website spamming me to add to the piles of spam I already get about such things as “SEO optimisation” for my website, when I add a new post, my own website adds to the Worldwide Waste of bandWidth (WWW), with thousands of unwanted emails.  I have inadvertently become a spammer myself.

OK, so I have deactivated the subscribe plug-in but still got spammed, so I deleted the app and all data and still got spammed.  I looked at the front end of my site and the invitations to subscribe are gone but I still get a few from “chat with Carla and Simone”.  But the numbers do seem to be dwindling.  

Amongst my IT woes are my tax returns.  The only work I don’t do myself is tax returns.  Australia boasts the most voluminous and complicated tax laws in the world and when you have a business, however small, it is almost impossible to understand.  So I have employed an accountant for the last couple of decades.  In the first few years I used to take in masses of bits of paper for the accountant to muse over.  Then in 2002 I joined the digital era with ‘Quickbooks’ and took in a CD and then a DVD with the data on it.  After a decade, my program was no longer supported by up-dates and the accountant could no longer open the files.  But I found if I emailed the files to them they could open them.  This has worked for the last 8 years or so, but no longer.  I only found out about this last week when Centerlink was hassling me about business detail updates and I realised I had seen nothing from the accountants since I submitted the data in Sept 2018.  Only when I called in did I learn they couldn’t open the files I sent then.  8 months of inaction left me jammed up against a Centerlink deadline to submit my tax returns.  So I was faced with the prospect of purchasing new accounting software and the nightmare of setting up a company and defining accounts and categories of expenses and incomes, suppliers and customers and all that shit.  

Then my accountant emailed to suggest if I printed out a few reports from my program and brought them in they could process my tax return.  So I printed out the data onto 20 sheets of crushed trees, and took them by hand to the office of my accountant who I have never met, and left them with the receptionist.  It struck me as ironic that after 20 years of digital accounting, I had gone full circle and was again submitting my accounts on paper.

In other news, I must apologize to guests that my rebuild of the sauna burnt down Xmas last year has been much hindered by a protracted wet season, other obligations, and now more bad weather with a cyclone in mid May.  Mid May??!! Yeah, OK, excuses excuses, but I am working on it.  I now have the frame and half the roof.

For the forthcoming election I have already voted like 3 million other people who couldn’t endure the puerile debate.  I wasn’t offered my first choice which was the popular option of kidnapping Jacinda Ahern and chaining her to a desk in Canberra.  Then again, perhaps not a good choice as the prospect of the all blacks rampaging in retaliation in the streets of our capital is too frightful to bear.  

Recent Wildlife Sightings

Wildlife gets out there and has to hustle for a living come rain or shine.  Birds, having a high metabolic rate have to do it every day.  Snakes, being cold-blooded can endure weeks of bad weather before hunger drives them to action.  … [Continue reading]

Keep Trying

Decades ago I saw this old crosscut saw in a second hand shop for about $20 I suppose.  Not your hardware store version version to use on a sawhorse with a piece of 4 by 2, this was nearly 2m long with big teeth and perpendicular handles at each … [Continue reading]

I got a divorce today

Well, not exactly. I signed the legal papers with my wife in front of a JP and they will be filed in a court hearing in Cairns. Neither of us will attend as there are no disputes or child custody issues as our kids are grown with kids of their own. … [Continue reading]

Note to Younger Self: A Retrospective

I feel it is about time for a bit of introspective contemplation about my life now that I have completed the many stages of:- childhood, puberty, teenage angst, young arrogance, adult optimism, marriage and kids, middle-age cynicism, and now spending … [Continue reading]

Droughts and Flooding Rains

The poem by Dorothea Mackellar promised the extremes, but Australia is big enough to have them both at once.  The red center and the south have been sizzling for the past month and yesterday Adelaide achieved the dubious honour of a record … [Continue reading]

Power Pole Problem

A few days ago I heard a crack and the power went off.  I went outside and the inverter had tripped out.  Then a guest from Blackbean Cottage came to tell me the power had gone and a brief investigation showed transmission wires from the … [Continue reading]