A colleague kindly forwarded this link to me - it may bring a smile to your face. A classic piece of headline ambiguity which does conjure up some entertaining images. My guess is that the bloke is a bit cut-up about it all but probably quite 'armless by now.
This ICE idea where you put an 'In Case of Emergency' number in your mobile is a good idea so I've put in The Handbrake's number as my emergency contact. Now when the phone rings, it no longer alerts me to the fact that it's my dear wife calling, it simply says ICE. The organisers obviously didn't think about that did they ? There's now thousands of people anticipating a frosty reception when their partner rings them up.
Perhaps I ought to enter the acronym for Stingy Nasty Old Woman against the Hex's number seeing that ICE is already allocated.
Trying to diet in this cold weather is very difficult. There's an irresistible temptation to shove all sorts of warm, stodgy, carbohydrate-laden crap down my throat but resist I must. The length of the working day doesn't help. By the time 9.30 comes around it's been about 4 hours since I finished breakfast and I'm looking around for some serious sustenance. After that I can usually hold off until lunchtime, about midday, but then it's a really long haul through to dinner at 6 o'clock - by which time I'm starving. In between the cold weather, the length of the day and the easy availability of prepared meals it's hard for a lot of the guys (myself included) to resist the food and, unless you consciously force yourself to do some exercise or develop supernatural degrees of willpower, some waistline expansion is inevitable. Over the last few months my weight has slowly crept back up, so this fortnight at work is 'turn back the tide' time. I want to see some numbers starting with '7' on the scales again when I get back home.
I won't say I'm getting bored with my evening walk but it's fairly dull terrain the road passes through. I turn left out of the gate and then it's dead straight for three and a half kilometres at which point there's a slight left turn. Highlights of the walk include negotiating the cattle grid at the 1 kilometre mark and, along one side of the road, the local cow cockie's (farmer's) version of clearfelling. The other side of the road hasn't been raped and pillaged as much but it is equally unexciting. A car went past me tonight, a very rare event, and only one Singapore bound jumbo flew over at about 7.15. Some nights two jumbos fly over. I even broke into a jog a few times tonight to break the monotony.
Tea tonight was an Indian lamb curry, although goodness knows where they get the Indian lambs from, rice and peas. I love the delicate flavour imparted by cardamom pods but what I hate is biting into one of the pods, disgusting, must watch more closely next time. To cap off the day's excitement I had a tangerine for dessert.
I've been back at work for a few days and my three weeks off already seems like a distant memory. Mum & her gentleman friend, F, decided to return to the UK early, cutting short their holiday from 8 weeks to 3 weeks. Mum was as fit as ever and she's doing very well but the last year hasn't been kind to F, and, as much as the spirit was very willing, it's now, with the boundless wisdom of hindsight, only too obvious that the flesh was not really up to it and he shouldn't have made the trip. Last year the journey took a lot out of him but he bounced back within a few days. Not so this year. He was very unsteady on his feet and had a few falls, including one particularly noteworthy house-waking episode at 3.35 one morning. Strange how you can go from being sound asleep to hyper-alert in the space of about two seconds! We were terrified that he'd do himself a really serious injury and require hospitalization which would have made getting him back to the UK a nightmare. Besides, who the hell wants to go to hospital in Bundaberg ?
Things went downhill not long after they arrived. A couple of bouts of cold weather overnight, down around the 5-6°C mark, didn't help very much and by the end of the first week it was decided to cut the holiday drastically short. Full marks to Singapore Airlines for changing the flights so promptly and easily. To make life a bit easier I flew down to Brisbane with Mum & F on the Monday night and helped them get from the domestic terminal to the international terminal and stayed with them for a while during the long wait for the flight to Singapore. It was definitely not the most enjoyable of holidays, neither for Mum, who spent most of the time worrying about F, nor obviously for F. They're once again comfortably ensconced (I love that word, people don't use it anywhere near enough) in the UK after another tiring flight and all involved are somewhat relieved. On the plus side we did get to see each other for a while and they managed to stock up on macadamia nuts, tea-towels with prints of koalas on them for the rellies in the UK and Mum's favourite sliced ginger.
The Handbrake and I luckily managed to grab a few days down in Brisbane during the break and signed on the dotted line for a unit (apartment) in the inner suburbs. Time to avail ouselves of some of the tax incentives available for those who are courageous enough (or plain foolhardy enough) to borrow to invest. I try not to think for too long about the national wisdom of giving tax breaks to people who borrow in an attempt to make a profit but my perspective seems to get more self-interested the closer I get to retirement age.
If you've drunk as many cups of coffee, smoked as many cigarettes and chewed as much betel nut as I have your teeth are probably a long way from being what you might describe as white. So, before I headed off to work for a fortnight I bought a tube of Colgate's Simply White toothpaste with the express intention of seeing if it would actually make a difference. The fancy container reads, ''BRUSHING FOR 2 MINUTES TWICE A DAY WILL GIVE YOU NOTICEABLE RESULTS IN JUST 2 WEEKS". I adhered very closely to the instructions (Do Not Swallow - what the hell has it got in it !? No, don't read the ingredients, far too frightening...) and probably only cut the time short once or twice.
So, did it work ? Well... yes, it appears to have done so but I'm not sure whether it was the whitening agent or the brushing for a full two minutes that has had the desired effect. Two minutes is certainly far longer than I normally clean my teeth for. The Handbrake isn't convinced but I think I definitely spy a noticeable improvement. Round 2 is scheduled for my next fortnight at work in a few weeks' time. OK, so I was joking about the cigarettes and the betel nut, but I do drink unhealthy amounts of black coffee.
Aaahh bliss ! Home again and this time for three weeks. I've taken a week's leave which, thanks to the peculiarity of my roster, actually gives me three weeks off (good deal if you can get it !). Mum, and her gentleman friend, F, arrived on Monday morning and are staying with us for a while. They're both getting on a bit and the journey from the UK really takes it out of them so there'll be a few relaxing days at home before we venture forth too far. Despite having a stopover in Singapore for a couple of days they're both still suffering from jet-lag and are prone to nod off from time to time. My youngest daughter has also come down from Townsville on the Sunlander for the first week of the hols so it's a full house right now.
Winter has been very mild here so far, even today I'm still wandering around in shorts and t-shirt. A few showers over the last couple of weeks have kept the garden nice and green. In response to the savaging it got before I left last time, the small tree in the front garden has burst into bloom. I've been calling this a cottonwood for the last few years but a search of the internet has just told me I'd appear to be completely wrong with my identification. It has quite beautiful pale purple flowers and massive pale bluey-green bilobed leaves. The leaves are a confounded nuisance because they appear to be specially adapted to piling up against fences. Underneath is a 'pom-pom bush', I've no idea what that's called either. Both of them seem to thrive in Bundaberg's sandy soil.
Whatever it's called, the 'red pom-pom bush' is a favourite of the local nectar-feeding Noisy Mynah (Manorina melanocephala), more commonly spelt 'Miner' and not to be confused with the pesky Indian Mynah import. If you look carefully in the top left-hand corner of the first photo you'll see the power line I managed to get the aluminium ladder tangled in last time I was home. I'll be giving it a very wide berth this time I can tell you !
Here's Molly, our latest attempt at being owned by a cat. She's very cute and still tiny at 5 months and the runt of the litter by all accounts. Likes sleeping, eating and resting. I wanted to call her Sifa but Miss A chose Molly because it was such a different name to her predecessor, Milly.
Last day at home today and back on the early flight out of Bundy first thing in the morning. I really don't know where the time goes when I'm at home, once the weekend turns up it seems like it's almost over. Because I'm not home a great deal we try and cram a lot of stuff into a weekend which others might spread out over several. Yesterday was a prime example; breakfast at Bargara, visit four nurseries and not find the plant we were looking for, order, take delivery of and start moving 2 cubic metres of mulch, seriously prune the accursed cottonwood out the front and generally exhaust ourselves. All before cooking a roast and a myriad other little things to fill in time. On the plus side we spent so much time out that we missed the Salvo's red shield appeal collector.
This morning has started off in a similar vein. The Handbrake has gone off to school and I've carried on where we left off yesterday. On Friday we rented an aluminium ladder and had it delivered this morning so that I could clean out the gutters. I'm obviously not a good judge of heights because this thundering great ladder is big enough to reach the gutters without being extended and consequently is twice as long and twice as heavy as it really needs to be and, quite frankly, a little beyond the capabilities of the average person with a dodgy back to manipulate and stand up. On my first attempt this morning to get it upright I encountered quite a bit of resistance at one stage. So I looked up to see what the problem was and I'd managed to snag it on the power line running to the house. Good job the powerline's sheathed, that's all I can say...
Meanwhile there's a few autumn flowering shrubs coming into bloom and the poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and snowflakes (Euphorbia leucocephala) are particularly showy right now. To my surprise, the two species are quite closely related to each other despite the obvious differences in appearance. In both these species the 'petals' are actually coloured bracts which surround relatively small true flowers. Not so long back we removed a big snowflake from the front garden where it had become completely out of control. We though we had got rid of it, it's still sending new suckers up from its very extensive root system.