Welcome 2020

I wish a happy new year is in store for all my faithful readers.  Both of you.  For me 2019 was a good year when most things went right, business was good, weather was OK though often inconvenient, and I got to spend a lot of time with my grandkids.  My 2 grandsons who live just down the road aged 3 1/2 and 5 1/2, spent mostly 2 days a week with me at Possum Valley.  Up from 1 day a week the previous year because my daughter Alice was doing a uni course in pediatrics via home study, and I think we all know that little kids demand a lot of attention.  I am lucky in having an occupation where I can service cottages, meet guests, do maintenance etc with a couple of kids in tow.  They are even a handy excuse if I haven’t got the cottage ready when very forgiving guests arrive.  And for new guests, it encourages them to see me as gentle and human, rather than an old hermit/ogre when I have a couple of naked kids in tow.

Though for the elder one, greeting guests in the nick may be a thing of the past as he still likes to meet them, but rushes to don a few clothes when he hears a car coming down the track.  His recent modesty is probably my fault.  We were showing a family around Blackbean Cottage and he was talking their ears off as usual, as he does know a lot about Possum Valley and bush life in general, when I interrupted him and suggested he stopped playing with his dick when talking to people as it was rather distracting.  I said it very lightly, not at all in an admonishing tone, and the guests laughed and suggested it was going to happen for a while yet.  But I think I have inflicted a permanent inhibition on him.  He still likes running around naked, and come to think of, so do I, though the running bit I can do without.  I got up this morning and it was 18C and a sunny day coming, and a rare occasion with no guests, so being quite comfortable, I didn’t bother to put on any clothes.  It steadily climbed to 30C and is now gently declining.  On such a day it is very comfortable to let it all hang out.  And hang it does, in unsightly bulges in all directions.  Guests may rest assured that I will never present them with such a horrifying spectacle and will be suitably dressed in my usual shabby clothes when I greet them.

As recorded above, I had a little “inconvenient” weather.  For a lot of 2019, many people down south had disastrous weather.  Drought and fires has been the reality lived by people in the bush in southern states, and the city people haven’t escaped unscathed with choking smoke and baking temperatures.  Even people in Dunedin in NZ can see it and smell it.  And our grinning spin-doctor-in-chief, otherwise known as Scomo, has empathised for all he is worth (about nothing), and said this catastrophe is what we can expect so suck it up out there, while I get on with business as usual and send our thoughts and prayers rather than any actual help.  I’ll be digging coal, fracking gas, making money etc.

Have we had enough fun yet?  Can we plan a little bit further ahead than the new year’s resolution will last?  Has Scomo any plan beyond managing optics?  Pass round the fig leaves and try to make it to the next election everyone.

It used to be that managing the present was good enough for effective government.  That was about 200 years ago, because things didn’t change much.  Since then there have been accelerating changes that governments have hastily dealt with by makeshift remedial actions. Now the future rushes upon us and governments should leave maintenance in the hands of bureaucrats and focus their entire attention on the future.  Scomo and his government seem the least likely people on the planet to achieve that aim.  I could convene a committee at the local aged care nursing home that is more progressive than him.

It has got to the point where on a press-the-flesh ultra sympathy tour, people left his handshake just dangling.  The ultimate Aussie insult.  How could a PR specialist have got it so wrong?  Because he is decades behind what the Australian people already know and is still in denial.  The climate emergency is happening now and accounting tricks won’t make it go away.  The laws of physics can’t be amended, suspended or repealed at the whim of government.

The authorities have admitted that the fires can’t be extinguished despite the valiant efforts of the firefighters, but must wait upon gentle, beautiful rain to rescue a nation in torment.  Perhaps in February.

Grandpa, are you going to live here forever?

That was a question from Philip, my 3 1/2 year old grandson.  He had been sitting quietly on a stool at the breakfast bar as I busied about the kitchen.  He had been thinking about the future, and I was quite taken aback.  That he even had a concept of the future was news to me.  Me, him and Possum Valley go way back to when he was a baby only able to crawl.  I was looking after him a day a week with his elder brother Henry doing the grandparent thing and freeing up time for his parents to do work and establish their farm.  So Philip sees me and Possum Valley as part of the furniture.  Always there and perhaps rather musty smelling.

I groped around for an answer, and told him forever is a really really long time, and I wasn’t going to last that long and was going to die before that.  He didn’t have a problem with that as he lives on a farm and has witnessed animal death, nor a problem when I said that everybody dies.  I don’t believe that hiding reality from even the littlest kids does them a favour or even gets past their bullshit filter for very long.  Then came the curious anomaly that he thought his mother would die, but his father wouldn’t.  I let that go.

I went on to tell him that I intended to stay and work at Possum Valley for as long as I could, but would get old and weak so that at some time I would have to stop working and maybe leave Possum Valley.  I couldn’t tell him what would happen after that as I don’t know myself.  I have rarely had such an incisive conversation with anyone, let alone a 3 1/2 year old.

I have always been of the opinion that it is important to respect children, what they think and what they say, and to listen to even incomprehensible ramblings because even if you don’t get the point, it is important to them.  This time it was important to me.  I really need a more comprehensive plan rather than just totter into the future until I fall over.  I will have to have some conversations with my daughters and their partners with a view to phasing me out as required.  Hopefully I can put the plans in place, but the implementation off for a while yet.

Thanks Philip.

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Disaster Strikes Possum Valley

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