Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for November 2007

Having a laugh.

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I put forward my suggestion about the gods ‘having a laugh’ at my expense a couple of days back but the extent of this became even more apparent yesterday.

To reiterate so of the points, I knew the daughter and family would be coming to stay so made sure I had a full week clear to go over the house to get it tidied and respectable looking. Most of that week was taken up by ‘things’ suddenly appearing to undermine my resolve and make it impossible for me to get much completed.

This left me on Sunday evening with three days left to get stuck in. As you’ll remember, Monday morning found me doubled over in pain because somehow I’d managed to strain my back on the Sunday. Nevertheless I told myself Tuesday I’d get into it… but again found myself in too much pain to get a lot done. Wednesday was the last chance so I told myself *this is it* and decided I’d take lots of painkillers and just ignore the pain and *do* it.

Morning started baly with me having to take the eldest daughter to get an ultrasound… not problems as it turned out but needed doing. This made her late for her lifesaving course so I had to take her to the swimming pool and wait for the school bus to arrive. But off she went, and off *I* went to get on with the work. Ok it was 10:00 a.m. by then but still I had time to make a large dent in the work.

Just after I arrived home… we had a power cut. Total power outage over the district. No vacuum… no dishwasher… nothing.

So I sat there muttering to myself all morning because I knew that at 2:00 p.m. I’d have to be at the kids school for a ‘co-curricular assembly’ which I’d promised to attend. At 1:00 p.m. the power came back! Yaayy… I thought I have an hour to do *some* cleaning. Then the phone rang.

The eldest daughter on the phone asking for flute and music for her performance. Some screaming into a cushion took place and off I went.

Saw the assembly… and the youngest decided she would come home so had to get her school bag. More time gone.

Came home… power had gone again. Sat there muttering for a while before realising the click on the oven had restarted. Realising we must have *some* power I went out to the power board and discovered that one of the outages had simply tripped the safety switches. Turned it on… and there was power at last… just in time for me to go back up to the school to get the eldest daughter.

While this was happening the wife called to say she was coming home early so could I collect her from the train station. After negotiating the traffic *she* wascollected and home we went arriving *just* in time for me to have to turn straight round to go fetch the UK clan.

Just before I left I had a quiet whinge to the wife asking her to please try and do *something* to make the place look liveable again and away I went.

Naturally collecting the family created it’s own small adventures. One was the panic when I thought I’d left home without my money… meaning I’d have had to borrow money off the visitors even before we’d left the airport!! πŸ™‚ Luckily I found it secreted in the bowels of my bag amongst broken Rennies, and assorted detritus so all was well and we set off for home.

When we arrived… the wife had worked a miracle! The place was both clean *and* tidy!! All the boxes had miraculously vanished and all was well.

Well… it was until I went up to the spare bedroom (where the *next* set of visitors will be sleeping in a week or two) and discovered it was now floor to ceiling filled with boxes of rubbish I’d been intending to sort through. Oh well it will give me something else to panic over next week… and at least it’s clear downstairs *now* which is important.. sorta.

Written by welshdog

November 29, 2007 at 7:34 am

Posted in General Ramblings

I'm not too fussy on pain.

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I always find pain hurts… can’t say I like it. Can’t say I like bad backs either.

Thing about a bad back is that you feel 100% otherwise… well I do anyway. The only thing is that when I move I get shooting pains that make me yell out loud. So I don’t move… and then it doesn’t hurt… so I try to move again. But circular really.

Anyway the house is a mess and after struggling to be able to get time to *do* something about it… I find the time but can;t bend stretch or twist in order to get on with it. To say the very least its frustrating.

I’ve asked the kids to help and whilst the youngest is doing what she can the eldest is ‘tidying up’ while playing the recorder. I’ve asked how she’s managing to do that since playing requires the use of both hands… but so far she’s not responded. She seems unable to understand what a request for help means. Yesterday for example, I had to get food from the local shop. I asked if she’d come and help because I would find it hard to carry the weight of the bags while my back hurts… and she said no. Not maybe, or perhaps, or give me a call later… just no.

She *did* come after I shouted at her (which made the back hurt even more) but it was only under duress. It just drives me crazy!!

Written by welshdog

November 27, 2007 at 6:14 am

Posted in Home and Hearth

I sort one issue… and lurch to the next.

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Today I thought I would *finally* be able to make some headway with the cleaning in advance of the daughters arrival Weds eve, however yet again fate got in the way.

I went to the gym as usual but on the way realised my back was beginning to ache more and more. By the time I arrived there I was clearly suffering some problems -yup… for the first time since my sister came to visit… my back has ‘gone’ again. Right on cue.

While I was at the gym the painkillers kicked in and I got my hour walking in, but after that I was almost incapable of moving. I managed to get into the car and drove slowly over to Penrith to pick up the remote control I’d ordered for the in-car DVD player. We need to keep the kids quiet *somehow* while the adults chat! πŸ™‚

Not sure if I mentioned the problems we have with the DVD before bu I think not.

The DVD ‘system’ is set up such that people in the rear seats can control the DVD via a remote… also they can wear headphones if they want that allow *them* to hear the dialogue (or music or whatever) while the other passengers chat, listen to the radio or CD or whatever. Over the two years all *five* sets of headphones were broken somehow. No idea how or who broke them cos nobody admits to it… of course. The final straw was when the remote control dropped out of the rear door… on neither child could be bothered picking it up with the result that I ran over it when the car moved.

Without the remote… the screen won’t come on… so for the past few months… no DVD.

Because the daughter is coming over with her kids I thought I ought to make steps to get it all fixed so while I was at the service station I made enquiries about the cost of replacing the lot. Nearly fell over when I heard the cost. $184.00 for the remote… $131.00 *each* for the headphones. Decided there and then they can whistle for them. I’m *not* paying $750 for headphones. However I *did* order the remote so the screen lights up.

I had a phone call that it was there so went to get it. It took me 5 mins to manoeuvre myself out of the car in order to stand up to walk into the shop! πŸ™‚

After that it was off to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to get our e-tag changed.Β  The e-tag automates the payment of the toll roads around Sydney… and there are lots. This particular electronic ‘tag’ is a few years old and the batteries have finally failed. After oozing out of the car and making enquiries… I discovered the wife hadn’t added me as a signatory to the account so I needed *her* to be there, or a fax from her to give me permission to sign for her. Of course she’s gone to lunch. Grrr…. though of course not her fault.

Eventually I managed to get back in the car and drive home. Currently I’m sitting here in pain and wondering just *how* I’ll get the house clean? There’s only one more day and the place is a tip. 😦

It’s actually very distressing… I’m not exactly ‘house-proud’ usually… but right now it’s beyond bad!

Perhaps tomorrow the back will feel better and I can doo all the work on the last day… but it still makes me wonder just what else is around the corner.

Ouch 😦

Written by welshdog

November 26, 2007 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Health

Interesting album software!

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The software I was looking at, as introduced to me by kyte (see previous post) looks as if it might be the answer to several of my problems, not least the presentation of digital uploads in a form that is ‘secure’ – i.e. watermarked – yet accessible to family and friends! I also want ‘control’ over them so I’d prefer they were on my own server space… which might seem pointless in some ways but in others, e.g. lower cost… is an ideal solution.

Flickr et al aren’t that expensive but this looks to be more flexible in its approach.

If you’d like to see the software go to JetPhoto and have a look at the tour. It explains how it works far better than *I* can.

Ok I’ve been wrong before… often and this may not pan out, but I’ll start playing with it once the daughter arrives and see where I can go with it. If it *does* work as I hope then I’ll upgrade to the ‘pro’ version (i.e. register it) which is US$25 and see just how versatile it can be!

Of course in the middle of this I still have to sort out three sites for Sally… which won’t be a chore since I like doing them but right now isn’t the time to be spending an entire day working on the look and feel of a development site!! They too will have to wait at least another week ! πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

November 25, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Posted in I.T and similar

Nice day – even if tiring.

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So out we went. We got up at 6:30 a.m. and moved around like zombies. We’d got to bed really late after watching the Labor landslide that swept the Liberals out of power after 11.5 years so were a little frazzled this morning. Nevertheless we *did* get out… by 8.20 a.m.

We’d told the guide leader we’d see her between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. – not realising the parade wasn’t due to start until 11:30 a.m. but there ya go.

Out we went, on we drove and go to the Queen Vistora Building to park at 8:50 a.m. so we had a pretty good clear run in. Got to the meeting place, met… and waited. I discovered we were actually standing outside the Channel 7 studio window and the show on air had none other than Guy Sebastian singing *live*!!!

Altogether now… oooohhh!!!!…. who he??

If you don’t know, and that’s probably nearly everyone who reads this, Guy won Australian Idol a year or three back. The second place guy was Shannon Nole and *he* has made it far bigger and better than Guy but that’s how show business works I suppose.

Eventually the hour and a half passed and the troop of around 50 kids and leaders marched off to meet up with the rest of the parade.

The wife and I wandered up onto George Street, found a convenient sport and waited. The march was due to start at 11:30 a.m. but there were hold ups so it was nearer 12:00 before the first floats hove into view.

We stood and watched for what felt like hours as float after float passed us in various configurations interspersed by marching bands, dancing bears (ok people in bear costumes) and the like.Β  The girls came, and went, waving and shouting the way Guides do.

I took loads of pictures and am investigating some new software I was told about by kyte that will allow me to present them easily on my own webspace. When the pics are up I’ll make a point of posting some info about them and how to access them! πŸ™‚

When the parade had finally passed with Santa waving and Ho ho ho’ing from the lastΒ  huge float we went off to get the kids. There was a lot going on in Tumbalong Park but we had to leave it to get back home. They kids have rehearsals for the Xmas Ice Show and also were *very* hot so needed to get into the pool for a relaxing swim before we set off again.

It’a all happening here!! πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

November 25, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

So this is how it happens?

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Took the daughters up to Guides on Friday an got ‘accosted’ at the door by the district leader. She was asking if anyone wanted to volunteer to run a BBQ at the local hardware store to help raise funds for the girls to go to Jamboree next year.

Automatically… with no thought about time constraints, Xmas or visitors… I said oh yes we’re in (as I do). It wasn’t til a lot later it dawned on me that losing an entire Saturday just before Xmas wasn’t perhaps the brightest of moves. We’re already snowed under and I can see no sign of the pressure decreasing between now and Xmas Day.

Trouble is I feel some sense of responsibility towards the Guide group because the daughters go there. It’s all voluntary work by the leaders and they need funds to keep the place looking good and to fund the kids activities. It’s just that we seem to be doing everything while other parents just don’t bother much. Ok *some* do turn up when pressed but in the main it’s just the same old regular few that keep the ball rolling… us amongst them. I wonder why I can’t be more like *them* sometimes?

It isn’t just fundraising that I volunteer us all for. Today there is the inaugural Sydney Xmas Parade. Apparently I volunteered the kids to take part in the Guides march past. Can I remember saying we’d go? Nope. Is it inconvenient for us to go? Yes. Are we still going? Well yes of course!! πŸ™‚

Kids are ready to go… so away we fly. More on this later I expect. I’m sure I’ll catch up with the work eventually… probably.


Written by welshdog

November 25, 2007 at 6:55 am

Posted in Home and Hearth

I think it runs in the family!!

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We got all set up and organised to meet and greet the UK daughter and family on Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. or so. Nice to be organised for a change.

Then we met up on MS-Messenger… and she let me know that she might have got the date and time a bit wrong. In fact they’d like to be collected on *Wednesday Evening* at *7:30 p.m.*.

Good job she let us know or we’d have been a little miffed maybe? πŸ™‚

As it is we get an extra day of grace to make the house fit for human habitation… well as close as we can get it bearing in mind who lives here πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

November 24, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Home and Hearth

Another day all bar gone!

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So I made Welsh Cakes… after going shopping for ingredients. All I need now is some raspberry jam to spread on the inside of the ‘plain’ ones and we’re away. I hope the Girl Guides appreciate them, but on past experience they just wolf them down without a care about who made them, how long it took… or what else they might have been doing!! Gannets one and all!! πŸ™‚

It’s now 2:00 p.m. and because of the shopping and cooking I’ve done no tidying whatsoever. In fact the kitchen is actually messier than it was when I started!!

I lost Weds, Thurs and now Fri entirely. In 25 minutes I leave to collect the kids from school then race over to the Ice Rink for one to practice, and the other to come to the Gym as once again I torture muscles and joints in the name of ‘physical fitness’.

At 5:00 p.m. we rush back home for the eldest to change into her Guide outfit… then get her up to the hall for their International Feast of Flavours.Β  While she’s there *I* have to get back and get the boned rolled leg of pork I have waiting in the fridge out and into the oven. While that’s cooking, it’ll be ‘peel the veg’ time and *if* I have time… we’ll have a session of ‘fill the dishwasher’ and/or tidy the kitchen time.

So in total… how long will I have to clear up around the house?? Absolutely none unless I try to stay up to the wee small hours.

Tomorrow perhaps? I think not.

For starters I have to get *up* in the wee small hours… well at 5:30 a.m. anyway… and head off to the ice rink/gym again. That will take us until 10:30 a.m. at least after which I’ll be too exhausted to do anything other than collapse for at least two hours… and *then*… it’s back to the Ice Rink for the girls to have a Dress Rehearsal for the Xmas Show… and there’s another day gone before it’s started! πŸ™‚

Don’t ask about Sunday… if I creep up on it quietly I might just manage a few hours… before we *again* have to get to the Ice Rink for yet more rehearsing

Maybe we should live in a tent??

Written by welshdog

November 23, 2007 at 1:15 pm

Posted in Gripes

Welsh Cakes

with 4 comments

Anyone who fancies making a few… try this recipe. It’s pretty much standard and seems to work! πŸ™‚


8 oz (225g) self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 oz (100g) butter/butter
2 oz (50g) castor sugar
2 oz (50g) currants
2 small eggs (or 1 medium egg plus 2 tablespoons of milk)

1. Mix flour and salt, and rub in butter until like breadcrumbs.

2. Stir in sugar and currants.

3. Add eggs and mix to a fairly stiff dough.

4. Roll out dough to approx 1/4 inch thickness
(slightly thicker works well, too).

5. Use small/medium diameter pastry cutter to cut into rounds
(don’t forget to re-roll the trimmings!)

6. Place rounds of dough on a moderately hot griddle
(approximately 3 minutes each side)

Note: Griddle heat is critical!
To not burn cakes, experiment to find the correct heat!!

There are regional variations of course. One of my favourites was to omit the currants and add extra sugar to compensate for their sweetness. These cakes were rolled slightly thicker, and cooked in squares. When cool, they are split in half and spread with jam (or jam and butter) and sometimes whipped cream in the manner of a Devonshire scone (but much tastier) on special occasions! πŸ™‚

The more adventurous might like to make them with wholemeal flour. These are slightly thinner and more like a ‘biscuit’ in taste and texture.. but still very moreish!

Dew… I’m getting hungry just thinking on them… aye!!

Written by welshdog

November 23, 2007 at 6:06 am

Posted in Food

And todays disaster is… ?

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Well ok it hasn’t happened yet… but I’m sure something will crop up. It usually does.

I took ‘three days off’ from the gym to clean the house in advance of the daughter arriving from the UK. The first day saw me having a blood test and shopping. Yesterday saw me sitting in a garage most of the day. Today… well I *was* going to get on with it… until the eldest daughter reminded me *she* had promised to make Welsh Cakes for her Guide meeting tonight.

Guess who will be digging out the iron bakestone and ingredients and knocking a couple of dozen up? Guess who’s supposed to be on a diet and will find every minute torture?? I love Welsh Cakes. When my grandmother made them us kids would stand there scarfing them down as fast as she could get them off the griddle!! Talk about a test of willpower!! Today will be awful!! πŸ™‚

Anyway – first I have to get the kids off to school and the faster they leave the faster I can come back and make the cakes… and *maybe* the faster I can actually make a start cleaning up!!


Written by welshdog

November 23, 2007 at 5:58 am

Posted in Home and Hearth