Wednesday, June 28, 2017

An old chook like me

A poem I wrote yesterday
: The Old Chook

My feathers once crimson and pink
are now tattered, falling, or thinning out.
My beak has a crack in it
so I only eat the blandest of tucker.
I watch the young chicks preening
their iridescent coats, clucking and gossiping 
in a circle which excludes me.
I waddle, I wander, I wobble,
then as expected, stand with legs wide enough
to do the splits and fall into a muddle of pebbles
as I slide on melon and banana skins.
My favourite rooster, so bright his feathers 
were like Joseph’s technicolour coat, is gone,
taken one day by the humans in the big house:
that night we heard singing and laughter
as visitors from far away were hosted.
I don’t leave the bamboo walled pen much 
because of the sly creeping mongoose
who would grab one of my arthritic legs
and that would be the end of me,
though really the tender chickens would be tastier
than this old chook with the falsetto cluck.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A day in the life of ....

Day in the life of....

·         6 a.m. cup of tea and honey on toast. It’s 5 degrees.
·         Feed guinea pigs vegetables then put Ginger Meggs and Ratu Vulavual inside a carton to bring into the lounge room near the gas heater for a couple of hours.  They huddle together,a but anxious to be away from the freedom of the large puppy pen in the verandah.
·          Andy makes porridge for three, Take four pills.
·         Watch TV news – death, mayhem, chasing Corby unsuccessfully.
·         Check emails, facebook, Addie, Age, Fiji media. Not much going on.
·         10 a.m. to the medical clinic, read the paper Addie in 4 minutes, meet the new Diabetes Educator Georgia. (Every six months have a checkup.) A long session – of nearly an hour - with a new girl learning the computer options, slowing it all down. Bit of joking to mask my mismanagement of diet, etc. BP is 150/70, way too high.
·         Back home decide to try out Andy’s swing, high, low, high, low, then when I get down I spew up into the garden.
·         Grandson calls in on the way to work and we make arrangements for one of the cars to be serviced. We are grateful that the grandsons are working full-time.
·         Make tomato soup for lunch and pick grass in the garden for the guinea pigs.
·         2 p.m.  Instead of going to the library for our Book Club we go to the cafe in James Street where they have spectacular cakes for $8 a piece. There are six of us, a wake to remember our delightful member Maria whose funeral some of us attended a few days ago. Last meeting a month ago she was with us, animated, intelligent, sparkling with wit -  but alas two weeks ago after surgery there was a setback. Her body in now back in Portugal with kin. So we mainly buy coffee and little Portuguese cakes – like French madeleines. We talk about the book of the month – The Vegetarian – by a South Korean writer. Very dark, sad, scary. It’s now a movie – art-house kind.
·         I walk a block (with a walking stick) to catch the Newcomb/Whittington bus – haven’t used the buses for two months. It’s a run to catch it  - the buses pull up about four at a time – for less than a minute -and my BP is way up as I scurry. We pass the High School and the Shenton manse where we lived for nine years. No garden left. Cars parked in the front of the house where shrubs and grass used to grow.
·         Back at home, the TV ‘Heartbeat’ is starting – small rural setting in England and the lives of the police and others. I’m a sucker for this program at present. And other English detective/forensic kind of programs.
·         Andrew has made flatbread wraps with chicken and greens so that’s my late afternoon snack. And one for his daughter who has arrived home from high school. I remember when our boys were young and they went to Geelong High they would bring friends over to the Shenton manse for a snack at lunch time and practically clean out the fridge.
·         On the computer I do half-an-hour of the church bulletin for next week – including a contribution by one of the women and a prayer by St Francis of Assisi which sounds quite contemporary for our modern world. There’s  lots of comments that started with Margaret Court’s letter re definition of marriage – that really got the possums out of their hidey holes, their bushy tails shaking with anger. Plenty of bias and prejudice on both sides of the argument.  Even in the local paper there are arguments about flying rainbow flags. I watch a video I posted on facebook of guinea pigs talking about Trump. Two of them look like Ginger Meggs and Ratu Vulavula.
·         Our angel from Christ Church Anglican has dropped in with a box of vegetables and all sorts of goodies. We are so blessed by these gifts.
·         Tea is bacon and eggs and greens.  I have now a plan for six months which includes care with diet, twice a week at the heated swimming pool, etc. And after the periscope examination in a couple of weeks, then I can find out if I have a serious illness or not – to know why I have anaemia and low iron stores, etc.
·         Tidy up the kitchen, do the dishes.  Nothing much on TV tonight.
·         Aching despite the Panadol Osteo so find the Deep Heat.
·         That’s about it for the day so it’s time for bed and listening to the ABC talkback and quiz after midnight. But before that, I make a latte and a peanut butter sandwich!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fiji Times or Fiji Sun

We know that the Fiji Sun grovel to the current government so are favoured by them. The Fiji Times is far superior.
Here's a letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times:


Vijay Maharaj, Sydney Australia | Wednesday, May 17, 2017
This Sawakasa II village road sign is tilting on its side in Tailevu North. Picture: JONA KONATACI.
This Sawakasa II village road sign is tilting on its side in Tailevu North. Picture: JONA KONATACI.
I wish to thank the Attorney-General and Economy Minister, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, for moving around the country trying to educate the people on the system of budget preparation. He is also inviting suggestions and ideas that could be incorporated in the next budget.
While I appreciate the motives behind such campaigns, I am at a loss to understand why our A-G keeps on attacking The Fiji Times. I am a keen reader of newspapers and I closely follow the news section of radio stations and TV channels.
I believe The Fiji Times has given enough coverage and publicity to his meetings. Whatever transpires in such meetings are reported by well trained and experienced reporters. In fact, I believe I have seen more of Honourable Sayed-Khaiyum's pictures in The Fiji Times than any other current politician, for which he should be really thankful.
Some time ago in one of his meetings in Vanua Levu, I believe Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum even asked the people not to buy The Fiji Times, and now he is telling people not to believe what is reported in The Fiji Times. Such comments and actions I believe will do more damage for our A-G politically.
Finally I strongly believe that The Fiji Times is still the "people's" newspaper.
Look at the volume of its circulation and one can easily gauge its popularity. Whatever we read in this open column is entirely the views of the writers and the newspaper should never be blamed if it hurts any politician or a member of Parliament.
I believe in true democracy and according to our Constitution we have the freedom of expression and therefore any politician should always be prepared to face a bit of criticism and also accept praise if offered for good work.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers' Day and a Barbecue

The boys suggested we go to the You Yangs for a barbecue for Mother's Day so nine of us prepared and drove out past Lara but there were over a thousand people with the same idea! Anyway I did some sketches near a rock and the others climbed up Flinders Peak and took some photos which I will sort out later. Then it was time to cook - BUT all the gas had gone out in the public barbecues near us! So we drove back to Geelong to Eastern Park and hoorah - there was a spare barbecue at the shelter up top of the hill. Salads, sausages, chops, hamburgers, eggs cooked heart shape in bread, etc. etc. Now we are enjoying mudcake and coffee. (Have to drink my coffee at least two hours after eating red meat for the iron to work!) So we had a mountain and the sea today for our fresh air outing. 16 degrees, sunny at first so it was okay. Also, I received some lovely flowers and chocolates - the latter to share of course.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Plans for Point Henry

Plans for Point Henry. - article from Addie, map from Addie, my sketch, and a photo by Sandra J.
TWO thousand residents would call Point Henry home, under a plan that forecasts water-based tourism, environmental conservation and industry for the new urban suburb.
New hotels and resorts, major tourism attractions, a working pier, boating marinas and foreshore paths to Eastern Gardens and the Bellarine Rail Trail are encouraged under the 30-year vision.
In a win for conservation and birdlife groups, the prominent wetlands and former saltworks precinct will be protected and backed by nature-based tourism and commercial facilities.
Released today by the State Government, the draft Moolap plan details the variety of uses allowed across four designated precincts across the sprawling 1200 hectares of coastal land.
Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said the area was almost three times the size of Fishermans Bend in Melbourne, which is currently Australia’s largest urban renewal project.
She said the planned development of the Point Henry region, which has long been owned by Alcoa, would attract residents, tourists, recreation users and businesses.
“To really open up that area to community access will really change Geelong in a positive way,” she told the Geelong Advertiser.
There are four distinct precincts.
“It will change the nature of how we see ourselves and the nature of ... how visitors see us as well.”
The plan signals that the Point Henry urban area will be unique in the Geelong region, offering:
— Medium to high density coastal living for more than 2000 people;
— New connections to the water, including continuous coastal access and boating facilities such as a pier and marina;
— Boardwalks linking the pier to other parts of the foreshore; and
— Cultural, arts and recreational activities and spaces, including innovative re-use of existing buildings.
Further investigations will be done to see if the Point Henry Pier could be used to dock commercial and tourism vessels, such as cruise ships.
Ms Neville said there were a lot of similarities with Alcoa’s plan for its 575-hectare block, although the Government’s vision calls for greater protection of key industrial land.
“I think (Alcoa) would have liked to have see some of the south-east land develop more quickly, but our concern with that was the future of Dow Chemical and Winchester,” she said, citing the combined 450 jobs at the two companies.
“You need a good buffer to protect those.”
The draft plan has been released for further public feedback, before it is adopted and planning scheme changes are introduced from September.
City of Greater Geelong chief administrator Kathy Alexander described the project as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for the prime land.
She lauded the plan’s strong focus on conservation, stating that it was a key public priority.
“I think one of the things that has come out of the Our Future strategy, with the 11,000 people that have participated, is that the environment is really, really high on this community’s mind
“This will differentiate Geelong — with the clean air, the clean water, the beautiful things to see. I think so far it is a good outcome.”
To view the plan visit:
120 hectares, surrounded by Crown coastal foreshore
Major use: Tourism and Residential
Land use could include:
• major and minor tourist attractions
• entertainment facilities, cultural events and recreational activities
• retail, restaurants and bars
• hotels, resorts and other forms of tourism accommodation
• boating facilities and low impact marine industry
• medium to high density residential development
• community facilities and public open space
• retarding basins and wetlands
300 hectares of rural land
Major use: Residential
Land use could include:
• Standard and medium density housing, social housing and aged care
• retail and commercial businesses
• interface treatments to Clifton Avenue and Portarlington Road
• community facilities and public open space
465 hectares of former saltworks land, plus marine and freshwater wetlands
Major use: Environmental with complementary tourism
Land use could include:
• the management and conservation of environment and heritage assets
• wetland habitats
• low impact water, heritage and nature-based tourism and commercial facilities
• recreation areas and public access
• interpretative information facilities and viewing paths and platforms
60 hectare industrial estate to the south of Portarlington Road;
More than 45 businesses along Point Henry Road and Buckley Grove.
Major use: Industry
Land use could include:
• continued operation and potential expansion of existing businesses
• new connections to the broader transport network
• infill development with new and innovative industrial operators.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Want to buy a gaol?

The Geelong Gaol which is heritage listed is probably up for sale. The present tenants such as the Geelong Rotary Club do a good job in organizing tours and other charitable groups use some of the building but the Geelong Council are now considering selling it. Should it be pulled down, turned into a peace garden, or what else could it be used for?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sand whisperers in Torquay

Sand Whisperers creating amazing artworks on Torquay’s beaches

The murals typically take two hours to create.
One of the Sand Whisperers' favourite murals.

STELLA Tassone and Ondrei Aiello refer to their vast murals in the sands of Torquay as “love letters”.
The couple — aka the Sand Whisperers — have been taking to the sands of Torquay’s beaches, armed only with rakes, and scratching giant patterned artworks into the sand canvas.

The childhood friends, who describe themselves as “twin flames”, first began making artworks in the sand about five years ago after “reconnecting”.
“After we kind of reconnected ourselves, we started hearing a different language, and we heard nature speak to us,” Ondrei said.
“The only way we could express ourselves and return the language was through our love for one another and the love we have for nature … and this was our way of communicating back.
“You’ve got your shoes off and you’re putting your feet embedded into Mother Earth, and you feel the heartbeat of the earth when you’re actually doing it.

“It’s a way of expressing our love.
“We call them love letters”
The artworks, which have been up to 100 metres long, typically take the pair about two hours, Stella said.
“It’s a form of meditation and it’s a form of art therapy,” Stella said.

Keeping up your language

Embracing Fiji-Hindi

Shayal Devi 
Monday, April 17, 2017  (from the Fiji Times)
MORE needs to be done to maintain and embrace Fiji Hindi as a part of the hybrid identity of Fijians of Indian descent.
This is according to Auckland, New Zealand, resident Quishile Charan.
The University of Auckland student, who has links to Fiji, was one of the participants during an academic conference in Saweni last month, which focused on the abolishment of the indentured system 100 years ago.
"For me, as a person who lost their mother tongue because of the move to a Western country and the resulting racism incurred, relearning Fijian Hindi as a young adult has been vital to my cultural heritage," she said.
"There is a notion of Fijian Hindi being a lesser or broken language and as a community, we need to embrace and maintain the unique language as it is a gift from our ancestors and pivotal to our hybrid identity."
According to Ms Charan, younger Fijians of Indian descent needed to understand how the language was brought about in order to appreciate it fully.
"One of the ways we can grow the passion for our language in the younger generations would be to help the next generation understand how our language was made, that it was formed in times of survival and played a key role in the formation of our current community.
"Fijian Hindi is not dormant in the past, it plays a key role to our cultural identity in contemporary times and it is specific to us as a people.
"To hegemonise a unique language to a dominant one would only harm us and our continual growth as Fijians of Indian descent.
"Fijian Hindi is a reflection of us, of our history, of our relationship to Viti and our ancestral roots in India. Erasing that is erasing parts of ourselves."
Similar sentiments were echoed by University of the South Pacific academic Professor Vijay Naidu, who said the descendants of indentured labourers who arrived in Fiji more than 100 years ago had undergone many changes.
He said the most significant changes occurred in the areas of culture, language and social class.
"The indentured system basically demolished the caste system," Prof Naidu said.
"In Fiji, from the 1920s right through to the 1940s, there were talks of an Indian Government because there was a diverse group of people from India who had their own language and even culture and the obvious caste systems.
"But over time, the Fiji-Indian identity in particular became more significant."
Identity wise, Prof Naidu said the Indo-Fijian identity became more prominent during the post-indenture period.
"What developed was a more distinct Fiji-Indian or Indo-Fijian identity. The origin of the word Indo-Fijian was born in the 1950s.
"Being an Indian in Fiji separated you from the rest and the sense of being an Indian in Fiji became stronger when people moved overseas.
"A group of Indo-Fijians attended a university in India and they were called Fijians. That was a national-based identity.
"There was a loss of language especially to the more distinct ones like Tamil and Gujarati, south or north India but with a loss in language there is also a gain in language and we have now Fiji-Hindi."
He also added today's Fijians of Indian descent were more likely to be fluent in an iTaukei language or dialect depending on where they lived.
"Especially in areas like Vanua Levu. You have Indo-Fijians who go as far as speaking the dialect," Prof Naidu said.
"Likewise for the iTaukei. In the Ba Province and in Nadroga there are those who are very fluent in the Fiji-Hindi language."