Monday, 20 September 2010

Solar systems

We threw caution to the wind and put in a couple of solar systems. Above, is the solar collector for hot water. Now, it has been pretty cloudy since they went in (figures!) but the temperature water in the tank is in the 40s. (That's deg C. It's in the 70s for those of you who still use ancient units.)

Attached to the storage tank is a small gas heater that boosts the water temperature by the required amount as it enters the house.

Meanwhile, up on the roof are a dozen panels for electricity. They work (so I'm told) but cannot be connected until a 'bidirectional' meter is installed. AGL, if you are reading this, I am waiting, waiting...

Combine all that with a hybrid car (4.9 L/100km on a trip to the country and back last weekend.), a new 6 star fridge, four water tanks and a vegetable garden, we are doing pretty much as much as we can.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Blues Train - Queenscliff


The steam train trip took a little over two hours. Every 30 minutes or so you moved to another carriage and had different performers.

A little Photoshop happening here...

All sorts of scruffy rat-bags on the train.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Two years on...


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W. H. Auden.


The two years since Dad died have gone quickly.
That's him on the left, circa 1974.

The guy with his head stuck in a bush is me, when I had more hair.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Going, going...gone.


For a number of reasons, the decision was made to remove an old jacaranda.

First we had to make access:

And then, it was gone.

Next step is to replace the decking and to put in a trellis.

What to grow over it? Would love go do something edible but it may make the decking gooey.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Oh, come on...


I'm sure athletes are not driven by a desire to nibble their trophies but the media (you know how much I love them) seems to love having the winners nibbling their medals, cups, plates and sundry polished awardware.

What message are they sending?

That they think the trophy is not genuine? That they distrust the organisers?


Monday, 13 September 2010

Speaking of phallic...


A magnolia flower, suggestive in its beauty.

But soon just scattered and discarded petals.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Spring is in the air!


Freesias - remind me of my Granny.

The wisteria is readying itself.

Will the possums get all the nectarines this year?

The ornamental grape - am I unleashing a monster?

And the first asparagus shoot - strangely phallic.

Attack dogs. Their owner's name is Rupert.


There have been a number of interesting stories in the media of late.

1. The mad pastor in the US and his Koran burning nonsense. How does a small town pastor from Florida, with only 30 people in his congregation, get to be known to a food chemist in Melbourne, Australia? And why?

2. The imminent stoning death of an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Moral outrage is high but we hear little about the people due to be put to death in America. Read more. Is state sponsored murder sweeter and more angelic in the home of the free?

3. The Australian Newspaper came out last week and said, in their Editorial, that "Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown's criticism with pride." They no longer deserve the designation of newspaper and now can be seen for what they are, a lobby group who prints propaganda.

Remember folks:

Whenever you read or see something in the media,
you are only getting what someone else
has decided that they want you to see.

And, yes, that goes for this blog too.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Well, yeah, your point is what?


US researchers have discovered that the chemicals used in frying pans can raise your cholesterol levels. (Text)


I think they were trying to rustle up a scare campaign about Teflon but there are worse chemicals in your frying pan if you are worried about your cholesterol level.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Father's Day


Poached eggs, toast, the newspaper...

That's enough - you can forget the socks and ties.


Saturday, 4 September 2010

Wet. Well, wet-ish.


You have to admire the irony of it: I put in 4 water tanks and we have the wettest winter in 10 years.

The media has made a great run on it. The drought has broken!

The state government, with an election in November, has made a great run on it and eased water restrictions. Mind you, they are being very quiet about the desalination plant they are building.

But how about a few other facts:

1. The dams are only 42% full. Better than last yet to be sure but they haven't been 100% full since 1997.

2. Best winter rains in 10 years but in the last 155 years this winter rates as only the 60th wettest.

3. And, looking at the year to date, there were 115 out of 155 years that were wetter at the end of winter.

4. Having trained people to be careful with water, what message is being sent by easing restrictions?

5. The price of water has gone up 25% a year for the last two years. Could be some hefty bills in store for people who go 'open slather' with their water.

But my tanks are full and the garden is wet. That can't be a bad thing.

Oh, and it took 11 tries to get that photo.