Ya gotta laugh!

…or you’d cry.  I know I’m a sad case when I read the fine print at the end of newspaper advertisements, but the ad for Polytechnic West on page 53 of The West yesterday caught my eye.
In the last line it says, “Errors and ommissions accepted”. Obviously! A double banger. I reach for the sic bag. I think I’ll have to send them a rocket.
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I got the letter from Centrelink on Friday: pension’s all fixed, payments start on 15 February. Nice to be getting something back after all these years. Apart from the Health Care concession card, I’ve never had any government handout before. 
I never got the First Home Buyer’s grant in the 1980s, nor did I get the $900 bonus in 2008 for the GFC. Why? My income is so low that I don’t submit a tax return, but that meant I didn’t qualify for the bonus!  I wrote to the PM’s office to protest, but just got a gobbledygook fob-off reply.  At least they did reply.
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Phew it’s hot!  Air conditioning makes it bearable, but I feel imprisoned in the house at times. It’s junk collection this week and I wish I could go scavenging, but not in this heat.

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Lucky Dog

Good news about the lost dog running up the road I wrote about on Tuesday. I was leaving the rugby club last evening and happened to glance over the fence and through the hedge at the tennis courts below.
There was the same little dog, running back and forth chasing a tennis ball with someone down there. I could be mistaken, but I reckon it was the same dog. All’s well that ends well.
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Historic day last Wednesday: I submitted my application for the Age Pension. It took me days to figure out how to answer the Income and Assets questions and in the end, I just had to front up with one of the questions unanswered, pending their advice.
A supervisor was called over and he eventually agreed with my interpretation, so it was easy after that.
I’d been told that opening time is the best time to avoid queues and so it proved. I arrived at 0840am and there was no-one in front of me. They still made me sit down and wait for 15 mins, but I was all done and out by 0920.
It means I’m in their clutches now! Every change in my financial circumstances has to be reported from now on. Ho hum…
Anyone who calls me an old aged pensioner had better be ready for a slap!

I Love Dogs!

My heart melted today, and it wasn’t the heat. I was waiting at the lights to turn into Marmion Ave and a small(ish) white dog ran past on the road, in the middle of the left traffic lane. He was just running up the slope in the centre of the lane, not diverging and not weaving.
The cars caught up with him, blowing their horns, and he eventually got the message and eased over onto the verge, then looked lost and wandered into the undergrowth toward my street.
I wanted to jump out and take him (her? it?) to safety, but I couldn’t because of the traffic. Poor little dog, lost, bewildered, burnt feet… I hope he’s OK. He had a collar on, so I hope someone did the right thing.
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Minnie scared me this morning. Years ago, I found Boopsie, my Border Collie, curled up in the far bottom corner of the yard. It turned out she had a bowel blockage and must have been in bad pain and had gone there to die (as dogs do). Luckily I found her and got her to the vet and $1500 later, she was OK.
This morning, when I called Minnie at about 8am, she was down there too. She came out and just looked at me, then slowly made her way up to the path and inside. This is new behaviour. She seems OK, so I hope…
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I finished reading my latest book today, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, and all I can say is Wow! Phew, 850 pages and I didn’t want it to end. Luckily the cover says it’s part one of a trilogy, so I’ll be waiting for the next one.
It’s a historical novel starting at about 1910 and covering WW I, the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Treaty of Versaille after the war and the origins of Germany’s years of poverty leading to the Nazi party. It’s a soap opera in a way, but it’s engrossing. I now know a lot more about those times.

By Goddard

Thanks to KG (no, not King George V) I’ve discovered Robert Goddard, the British author, and I’m a fan! Good writing, complex plot lines, surprising twists and turns and quite a few new words to look up and learn.
I thought the author’s name seemed familiar and a few nights ago I was watching a program about rocket development (yeah, rocket science, slightly). There was the name Robert Goddard again, this time the American rocket developer in the 1940s and 50s.
I’ve just finished the UK author’s book Past Caring, and here’s another coincidence: the storyline encompassed British politics around 1910, David Lloyd George, the suffragette movement and King George V (hence my reference above). My current book is Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, and by coincidence, it’s set in the same time, 1911, suffragism, Lloyd George and King George V.

That’s handy, because now I understand all the references in Follett’s book, which, by the way, is not nearly as well written as Goddard’s. Follett’s a good story teller, but not a great writer in my opinion.

Don’t eat the mushies!

An amazing and tragic coincidence. A month or so ago, there was a report in The Guardian web news site http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/13/filmadaptations?INTCMP=SRCH about a London couple who went to stay with friends in Scotland. They decided to pick some field mushrooms and cook them up for dinner.
Apparently one person assumed the other person knew which mushrooms were OK to eat, so they went ahead and et ’em. Later that night all four of them felt sick and by morning they were alarmed enough to consult a book on mushrooms to identify what they’d eaten.
Ambulances were called and they all ended up desperately ill in hospital, with kidney and liver failures, dialysis, transplants etc etc. Ironically, both couples had nominated the other couple in their will to look after their kids if anything happened to the parents, yet here they all were, at death’s door. They all were/are in dire straits. It caused a serious rift in their friendship, because the visitors assumed the locals would know what was OK, or vice versa.
Now we have the ABC News item http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-04/two-die-from-death-cap-mushrooms/3757764?WT.svl=news0  of a very, very similar tragedy in Australia, Canberra, with two people dead.

I wonder who pronounced the mushies fit to eat in this event?

2012 !

Well, 2012 at last. Happy New Year to all my readers… all three or four?
It’s significant to me, as well as many others, because it’s the year we 1947 baby boomers turn 65. I can clearly remember where and when it was that I first thought about this milestone.
It was while I was walking, or perhaps riding in the pale green Commer mini bus driven by Joe Crawford, along the dirt road to the Werribee hostel. It was 1959, my last year of primary school at Wundowie. I worked out that I’d be 65 in 2012 and of course it seemed so remote as to be unbelievable. But here we are. I made it. We made it. Well, I’ve got six weeks to go, but barring accidents…

It was a quiet night around here last night, and Minnie wanted to sleep outside in the sand pit as usual. But about midnight the fireworks started to go off.

Well, she doesn’t take kindly to them and let out a few barks. Then she went quiet and I nearly let it be, as I was nearly asleep, but then I realised I’d left the gate open. And then I remembered that I’d taken her collar off earlier to wash it. Uh oh.


I got up and went looking for her and she was nowhere to be seen. So there I was standing on the street at 1210am in my jarmie shorts calling her and panicking a bit, because I didn’t want to have to go looking for her.


Luckily, after a few minutes, she appeared under a street light a few doors down and came when I called, albeit slowly and reluctantly. She thinks she can run away from thunder and loud noises.


That was the only problem I had. No loud parties in the neighbourhood, thank goodness.

Beautiful day here, cool 25C heading for 30. Very nice.