Ornothological Shenanikins (as we say in Scotland)

Just saw he funniest thing as the storm is passing The big black bird, a currawong called Englebert was on his usual afternoon perch in the jacaranda opposite, which was swaying alarmingly. He seemed to be having fun then suddenly swung upside down with one wing outstretched. At first I thought he was caught,as he blew back and forth-but noticed the cool wind and rain were getting under his feathers as they blew up.  Then he tried with both wings, hanging totally upside down. Englebert was taking a shower! The rain got harder just as I got up to get the ipad video, and he has taken shelter. I will never get that opportunity agan. My own trapeze artist, with a lovely clean tummy.

I am not totaly convinced Englebert is a currowong, dut to my impaired vision. He could be a raven.


Bushfire Season Has Started Early


Last night’s rain has given my friend Louise and her bedbound husband a reprieve from the approaching fires. 

She could see the helicopter water-bombing nearby and knew the fire service would fight to keep them safe. 

This is the second year they have been in this position. Moving is not an option at this stage.

Whenever there is a bushfire in the Hunter there is always someone we know nearby. It is just something we live with. 

That, and snakes (though in 34 years I have only seen one, and that was heading in the opposite direction thank goodness). 

But dont get me started on spiders!

I live with very nice bushland on one side and a petrol station 200metres away but the fire station is nearby. 

It is important to keep grass mowed and dry leaf litter to the absolute minimum. It is all just a way of life we get used to in teturn for beautiful beaches and amazing scenery.

I am more at risk from sunburn at the bus stop!

Whale Watching from Newcastle Harbour

Photo courtesy Nova Cruises. Princess on the Hunter River Newcastle Harbour, under Newcastle Cathedral and The Brewery.

After my incident with dolphin watching (more about that later) my stomach will not cope with the up….down motion of the boat,but even seeing a whale from the cliffs here is excitiong so going close up must be awesome. The whales travel up, then back along the east coast of Australia as part of their breeding cycle.http://novacruises.com.au/m-v-the-princess#!prettyPhoto

Now that Nova Cruises will be going direct from the harbour it will be so exciting!

Less dramatic, and staying on calmer waters in the harbour, Some of us are going on the M.V. princess for the Lunchtime Harbour Cruise on my 70th birthday soon.I am already excited!

Check out this link: http://novacruises.com.au/m-v-the-princess 


I am very proud of my 19-year old grandson. Since finishing school at 17 he has delivered pizzas, flipped burgers and has just got himself a full-time job dealing with electrical parts; all without taking government benefits. He is lucky to have a family that can afford to let him find his way in this manner. He knows he has to learn in order to progress and was about to undertake a fork lift driver certificate when his latest employment came about. He wants to make money to live on rather than go for a degree at the moment, but knows there is time. He does it on his own through the internet and goes off to interviews until he gets something even though he is not a people person.
He was prepared to accept menial jobs in order to get a foot on the employment ladder and as a family we have the attitude that without the workers those at the top cant exist.
He is not happy at having to get up for 6am  but he is doing it.
I think this makes him rather special and he is making me determined to get back into my writing and get back into life.
I wont give his name, he would be mortified!
PS Don’t tell him I told you!


Thinking out loud, you will gather, imagining you all huddled round an old fashioned wireless set waiting for my next episode of The Archers. Eeeh you ‘ave to larf (sobs hysterically). Could have been Julie McIntyre once said mynlife would make a sitcom. No it was Helen, another lecturer

at Uni who reckoned her daughter was using my life to write one, and that was 15 years ago. I dont know what I do that is any different but dont tell me!  Right, coffee kicking in, tablets taken, gas man been and still in my dressing gown = overalls. Onward and upward.



 Well I never thought I would be selling up, packing up, and moving to the other end of the world, again, but here I go!

We first emigrated to Australia from England as a very young family when I was 25. I never thought I would see Britain again in those days, because I was such a poor traveller. The discovery of ginger tablets to settle my stomach really freed me to fly, and I have been back and forth five times now.

So I am not saying I wont be back, but the 23 hours of flying (including a two-hour stop) has not improved in all these years. It really knocks me about, especially since it can be a bumpy journey and the ageing bones dont like being shaken about.


I shall miss the lush green grass of England, and the trees that are lovely in all four seasons. I will miss the distinct differences of each season; bare and stark in winter, with brown furrows in the fields and trees etched bare against the sky, especially now the days are less grey; the vibrance of spring and the new shoots, the snowdrops followed by yellow daffodils full of sunshine then on to the waxy leaves and trumpets of bluebells.






So here I am in an empty house .My Scottish father said I would “start an argument in an empty hoose!” but Im too tired. I will get excited when the Airbus is safely settled on Sydney tarmac around 10pm their time.

VOTE FOR ME! Someone’s brilliant suggestion.

Would also work in the UK! Someone tell Mr Cameron, mr Milliband, and the other guy:

Subject: Grumpy old folks fix Australia

Absolutely love this, who-ever thought it up is a genius, they need congratulating. Enjoy, best regards :

Dear Mr Abbot, as the official replacement for our Prime Minister
Please find below our suggestion for fixing Australia ‘s economy.

Instead of giving billions of dollars to car companies & other businesses that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan..
You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force.

Pay them $1 million each severance for
early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire.
Ten million job openings
– unemployment fixed!

2) They MUST buy a new Australian car.
Ten million cars ordered
– Car Industry fixed!

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off
their mortgage
– Housing Crisis fixed!

4) They MUST send their kids
to school/college/university –
Crime rate fixed!

5) They MUST buy $100 WORTH
of alcohol/tobacco a week …
and there’s your money back in duty/tax etc..

6) Instead of ‘stuffing around’ with the carbon emissions trading scheme that makes us pay for the major polluters, tell the greedy bastards to reduce their pollution emissions by 75% within 5 years or we shut them down.

7) Cut down on pollies perks – they earn enough money to pay for their own petrol, food, drinks, airfares for their wives & families like all other hard working Aussies do. We pay big money.. but we still get MONKEYS!!!

8) No government credit cards for pollies – let them get their own then they will be more careful about how they use it and pay up on time so as not to incur interest.

It can’t get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances..

If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know. If not, please disregard.

Grumpies of the World Unite

Also …

Let’s put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home.

This way the pensioners would have access
to showers, hobbies and walks.

They’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they’d receive money instead of paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance.
Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.
A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell.
They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education.
Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free, on request.
Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.
Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls.
There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.

The criminals would get cold food, be left
all alone and unsupervised.

Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay $600.00 per week and have no hope of ever getting out.

Think about this (more points of contention):
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq… Why don’t we just give them ours?

It was drawn up by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for centuries and we’re not using it anymore.

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Parliament, is this –

You cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’,
‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ and
‘Thou Shall Not Lie’ in a building full of
lawyers, judges and politicians…

It creates a hostile work environment.
Think about this.
If you don’t want to forward this for fear of
offending someone —
It is time for us grumpy old folk of Australia
to speak up!!!!

Photo: grumpy old pensioner at Hodsock Priory, Worksop.