Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Heatwave 3

The widget says 34C ( at 6.40pm) but it feels hotter than that INSIDE!

I guess there's a point where the evaporative cooler becomes inefficient. Maybe our pads need cleaning.....?

Oh and yesterday I killed a scorpion in the front hall and a redback spider the size of a walnut in the porch. Gross.

Did I mention heat brings out the bugs :-(

Off to get into the pool and let the BA onto the computer so she can plan her weekend. What a social butterfly. Think it might involve being in an air conditioned movie theatre!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Heatwave 2



A Free Man has just called to say their air conditioner has died.

I told you things break in this weather. I have a terrible feeling about our old evaporative cooler............

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


This weather is not just unbearable, it is downright dangerous.
This is the kind of weather where things break, sometimes even people break.
The day is a long nightmare and when you finally get to sleep at night with ice packed around your neck, you know you will wake up to the same thing again tomorrow except that the retained heat will make everything just that little bit hotter, the car air conditioner will have to work a little bit harder and the train lines that didn't buckle yesterday might just do so today. Every ensuing day adds to the interminable surreal quality of life.
People start to do strange things.

Don't know what my little weather widget is saying right now but as I type it is after 11pm and the outside temperature only recently dropped below 40C.

The 'evaporative cooler' is not cutting it and it was so hot outside today that it hurt to breathe.

And of course, with this hideous heat you get BUGS.

On a positive note they have cancelled the Swimming Carnival on Friday so we get to skulk in air conditioned close proximity to sweaty, smelly, teenagers. Joy.

On another positive note we haven't seen the snake for a few days. Maybe he has baked behind the retaining wall? Mmmmmm. Snake-kebab.

Off to do a chapter of Year 10 Algebra in order to be ahead of the class.

Wish I could concentrate but it's so........hot...........

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

By Way Of Explanation

I currently have about three posts in the offing. There are more wonderful photos from the beautiful Kangaroo Island showcasing the lovely kids in my family; there is the BA's latest cooking catastrophe (hee hee hee); my beautiful sister's birthday and of course the start of school.

This last event kind of explains why I will not be posting on any of the other things for a few days. At its current running speed, uploading anything onto my computer can take hours and I mean hours. I do not have the luxury of that time at present.

So I will leave you with a couple of quick pictures and a promise of updates on the weekend.

If I survive the week.

What on earth made me think I could teach maths?

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Jeep Cherokee In Review

Jeeps suck.
Do not buy a Jeep.
Jeeps are a heap of trash.
Do not waste money on Jeeps.

(I hope you are getting this Google)

Explain to me how a five year old vehicle can show you a warning light for under 5 minutes before stopping completely; then, when taken to the repair shop, have need of a completely new engine with a repair bill quoted at between $15 000 and $20 000 (Au). Furthermore, the same vehicle was deemed 'not worth repairing' and by the way we have some nice new ones in the show room next door and we'll give you a trade in on this now non-functioning vehicle.

Let it be said that for the first year that the new vehicle was on the road, an engine warning light would come on repeatedly. When the repair people examined it, they could find no fault with the engine and decided that the light was malfunctioning and so.....we suspect....they disconnected it.
Could this be why we had no warning of the impending engine failure?

But anyway....what five year old car has engine failure?????????

And explain to me why, even when we suggested that we would prefer to replace the engine, the service shop laughed condescendingly and all but refused to do the job.

Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Do not buy a Jeep.
Jeeps are a heap of trash.
Do not waste money on Jeeps especially when you live in Australia and all the parts have to be imported.

Believe me, this is not the only problem we've had with the Jeep. There was the failure of the automatic windows, locking system and back door closure. That took over two weeks to fix. There was the promised fuel economy which did not eventuate until three years after purchase. At each service we were told that it was 'running in' and that 'the service would fix it'.

Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Do not buy a Jeep.
Jeeps are a heap of trash.
Do not waste money on Jeeps especially when you live in Australia and all the parts have to be imported.

Then there was the detailed report of damage that we were promised. At least we could take this to an independent mechanic for a second opinion.

Do you see this?

This cost $200.00 and do you know what it says??????

It says :

Not even correct grammar!!!!!!

I did not need to pay $200.00 to find out what I already knew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Perhaps I did not make that clear?????????????

Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Do not buy a Jeep especially when there are only two Jeep service/retail centres in town.

Oh, and apparently the transmission was also on its way out! Hence the vehicle was not worth repairing. Why is a five year old transmission on its way out???????????????????????????
My Husband has many failings and weaknesses and believe me I am the first to tell you about them but one of his strengths is his driving. He is a steady, conservative driver. In 36 years he has never had an accident (praise the Lord) and unlike me, he rarely gets a speeding fine. So WHY is this vehicle failing in both engine AND transmission after... ( did I mention this already?) FIVE YEARS.

Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.
Jeeps suck.

There. I feel better. We are still down $40 000 as we have had to buy a new car (do not start me on that little discussion or I will start telling you of my Husband's weakness....see above) but surprise, surprise we will NOT be buying a JEEP.

image credit

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Visit To An Island: Part 2

When I left you, we were frolicking on Baudin Beach on Kangaroo Island. Baudin Beach was named after the French explorer Nicolas Baudin who charted the southern coast of the island in 1803. At around the same time, the English navigator Matthew Flinders was charting the northern coast, closest to the mainland. On 4 April 1802 he climbed this 'sandy eminence' and named it Prospect Hill.

As you can see, there are now stairs to facilitate the ascent but *phew* it was still a tough climb. We were rewarded by this view however.
As the whole hill is a sand dune, there was plenty of evidence of wildlife on the sandy ground.

This sign however, might have been more useful if it had illustrated the tracks of Nike, Adidas and Puma. There seemed to be plenty of those around!
Our other stop on the way to the hill was a small cove near Pennington Bay where we were delighted to find this wonderful sandhill just perfect for rolling down.
Of course, those of us who preferred climbing to rolling were rewarded when they reached the topby this sensational view at their feet. We found shells which sang of the sea and hid in rock crevices. It's amazing how much fun you can have just exploring. Eventually we came home to a game of, my new favourite, Rummikub Word.
And this guy in the toilet!
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Visit To An Island: Part 1

I do love Kangaroo Island.

Because of Himself's work, the two of us have been there a number of times and last week we were excited to find, at short notice, just about the last holiday house on the island.
There may have been a reason for that! Still, rustic but available.
Catching the ferry across last Wednesday, we were able to share some of the Island's rugged beauty with our families, for the first time.

We stayed at Baudin Beach and on the first afternoon we ventured out to find the beach which, we had been informed, was at the end of the road.

Knowing how I love to read every sign or plaque wherever we are, my sister was keen to continue our walk without interruption.

"Move along there Sis, nothing to see here!"I could not be deterred however so she and the BA went on ahead. This is the approach to Baudin Beach.

And this is the beach itself.I never fail to be awed by the size and emptiness of the beaches on the island. Mind you, they're not that empty. I took advantage of my recently discovered macro setting to capture a few examples of the natural beauty. This one is taken in a rockpool.This is samphire and looks brilliant up close. See if you can click and enlarge it.Salt and shells in an ex-rockpool.My sister reflects on the relative sizes of the UK and Australia.
And of course, with such an expanse of beach to play on, there was much frolicking.
I told you there was a plethora of pictures.

More tomorrow!

I am Nothing If Not Helpful

It is official. My family think I am mad.

Firstly there was the whole running late for the airport thing and leaving the house in a 1980s navy blue and white polka dotted culottes set complete with shoulder pads. (Well, it's very loose and comfortable on these hot days around the house and I have just never got around to cutting the shoulder pads out!)

Middle Sis: What the h*** are you wearing?????
Baby Angel: Mum, you don't really have the legs to carry that outfit off.

Then there was the whole family photo thing.

You know what it's like. Whole family together after four years, four of them departing, let's take one last photo...you know the thing! Everyone bunches up and one person takes the photo, then they get in the picture and someone else comes out to take it and finally someone sets up a PAS with a timer on a chair and runs back to the group tripping over the chair so that you get a photo of the Qantas ad on the wall opposite, then they run back and do the whole thing again....you know how it goes.

So when, with red eyes and tear stained faces our depleted group dragged itself melancholically* down the concourse past a group of about twenty, doing the same family photo thing, our hearts immediately went out to them.

Mum: We should offer to take a photo for them
Middle Sis: I think they've already asked someone....I think the lady taking the photo is a stranger.

We stopped and watched carefully as the photo was taken. The woman checked the shot in the camera and then called to another member of the group. This was our cue. Obviously the people needed help so that everyone was in the photo.

I don't think they were quite prepared however for my sister and I racing each other to offer that help. Or the fact that I vaulted over the airport sofa en route (see orange sofa in picture above). Or my navy polka dot 1980s culottes.

The BA played this scene over to herself in her head for the rest of the day, especially the look on the woman's face. I know this because from time to time she would fold over, cross her legs, gasp hysterically and shriek with laughter.

A little unkind I thought.

edited to include photos

*I suspect this is not a real word but I am running too late to look it up.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Best Shot Monday: Sunset Over Baudin Beach

The days have raced past; the last few, like the sun which seems to speed up as it reaches the horizon, have torn through at mach 3. The visit of my youngest sister and her two babies is over tomorrow. I am currently not dealing with this.

Last week, we spent four days on Kangaroo Island (yes, that is its real name) in a holiday shack just over the sandhills from this beach. On the first night, Himself and his fancy schmancy camera and tripod marched off to the beach to try and capture the sunset. I, on the other hand, 'new second hand' DSLR in hand, planted my feet wide, tucked in my elbows and played with my settings. I thought this was a pretty damn fine shot and present it here SOOC!

We had a great time on The Island and I have a plethora of photos to post but it is late now and I need to go to bed so we can drive Baby Sis and her kids to the airport in the morning :-(

As ever, check out Tracey's place for the rest of Best Shot Monday!!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Catastrophe Update

Well, Himself and I thought about it and decided we had to tell my sister and her kids as the snake is resident in a rockery near the swimming pool. In fact, I think the only reason it has moved in is because we have been away for a few days and everything is quiet. Prior to that, the level of daily shrieking and squealing from the pool would be enough to terrify any self respecting snake.

I must say she took it very well. So the kids have not been allowed out the back door since....they're leaving tomorrow anyway :-)

What are we doing about said snake I hear you ask?

Not a lot at present.

Yesterday Himself saw it first and thought it may have disappeared under the back corner of the fence at the rear of the property. He called me over and we stood watching and listening from a safe (twenty feet) distance. No sign.

An hour or so went past and Himself kept going up to the back corner and banging about, trying to get it to move again to no avail. Eventually, Dad (who was here being the Acme Odd Job Man From Heaven) picked up a large stick and moved forward to poke at the leaf and bark litter under the palm and gumtrees in that corner of the garden. As he did, a largish piece of 'bark' dropped from near the base of the palm tree. It unravelled itself at the speed of light and shot off back into the corner again.

I left the scene at similar astonishing speed squealing something about calling the 'snake lady'.

The upshot was that the snake lady asked if we could 'see it' at that moment and because we couldn't, suggested we call back in an hour. Of course we haven't seen the ****** thing again but I just KNOW it is out there. I have been keeping the cats in, especially the little one whose latest trick is to bring live geckos inside and play with them in the hallway. Should she survive the encounter with the snake (50:50 with cats) she would undoubtedly bring it in as a present. *shudder*

Ah well. Just another day in Paradise.
Now to call the Jeep dealer and discover why a 5 year old vehicle whose oil light had only come on ONCE requires a $15,000 engine replacement >:-(
I am not convinced overfilling it could do that much damage, although perhaps driving it back to Adelaide did........????

Sunday, 18 January 2009

What ELSE Can Go Wrong?

1) I go back to school on Wednesday

2) The car is dead and one of the only 2 Jeep retailers in town has told Himself it is 'not worth repairing' and we must trade it in and buy a new one >:-(

3) There is a brown snake in the back garden. How do I tell my sister?

Riddle: What makes more noise than....

..........a 747 making an emergency landing with all airbrakes on, at a short landing strip with powerlines at the end of the runway?

Answer: My family when re-uniting after 4 years.

"And Lo, there was squealing............."

Monday, 12 January 2009

Best Shot Monday: A Plethora of Outings III: Victor Harbour

I am not sure why I feel this is my Best Shot this week. It's taken from the top of a horse drawn tram, crossing The Causeway from Granite Island to Victor Harbour. I guess I like the composition with the causeway stretching off into the distance and the mainland laid out across the horizon. We were suffering from the rather overcast day, but I still kinda like it.

This was yet another of the numerous family outings we have been involved with lately. VictorHarbour is a seaside town on the south coast of SA which nestles a small island within the safety of its sweeping bay. The island has long been the habitat of a colony of Fairy Penguins (although I believe they are now called 'Little Penguins' rather than 'fairy' for fear of upsetting the gay community.... I don't think I've ever heard anything SO ridiculous)I managed to captured this baby waiting patiently for its parents to return with food.

The day started badly when Himself's car broke down halfway to the coast. It's about an hour drive and he had the good fortune to stop just outside a small town so I was able to drive back and pick up some oil. Apparently in this day and age your car will not allow you to cook the engine like it did in the old days; the onboard computer shuts everything down and you simply stop until you can remedy the problem. Thank goodnes it was so simple I hear you say.Yes, well. That would work very well if the human factor was not involved. Particularly the male, 'will not be told' human factor.

On my return I held the funnel whilst Himself added oil to the engine. After a litre or so he checked the dipstick and found that the oil was only just registering. Grumbling mightily he proceeded to pour with abandon.

Me: Er, don't you think you ought to check the levels before you put too much more in.
Himself: *grunt*
Me: No, really, just check it, it's easier to put more in than take it out...
Himself: It was barely even registering before, it's going to need all of this.
Me: But it wouldn't hurt to check, I mean, you don't want to overfill it...
Himself *annoyed grunt*
Me: resigned sigh

The car still didn't start but we attributed that to a need to 'reset' somehow and called the RAA.
I loaded the troops into my poor little car and we struggled off to Victor to meet the parent body who had arrived ahead of us. After the obligatory hot dogs, chips and souvenir hunt at the kiosk we walked The Causeway to the Island and proceeded to explore.
During this pleasant, if cold and windy (check out Small Boy in the above photo) venture I received several more calls from Himself, still nursing his stranded vehicle.

Call 1
Himself: Well, it started once the RAA guy got here and he just told me off for letting the oil get
so low!
Me: No comment. Are you on your way then?
Himself: Yes, I'll be with you shortly.

Call 2 (15 minutes later)
Himself: Uhhhhh, the car's starting to sound rough again and the oil light's back on. I'm going to
Me: OK. How come the oil light's on again? It must be the oil pump or something.
Himself: Errr no, it's just oil related.
Me: What do you mean 'oil related'?
Himself: Nevermind, I'm pulling over now. I'll call you in a minute.

Call 3 (30 minutes later....allowing me time to 'forget' our previous conversation perhaps?)
Himself: OK It's cooled down and I'm going again but I'm going to head back to Adelaide.
Me: That sounds like a good idea. I still don't get why the oil light is coming on....
Himself: Well it might be because I ^%&^%&^&^%&^%$#%@# .
Me: Sorry? You're breaking up....because you what???
Himself: (covering mouth with hand) ) I *(**&^*&&^$^%#%#ed it.....
Me: Did you say you OVERFILLED it???????????????????????????????

I have been a very good wife since then and not mentioned this once. Even though we have to wait until Weds to have it serviced cos the Jeep Service Centres are all booked up and even though we have to HIRE a second car to get us on our NEXT excursion!!!! I have only once said 'I told you so.' Unless this counts for twice. :-D

Nevertheless, Himself has had to pay for his crime by taking 3 hours to complete a 1 hour drive back to Adelaide and missing out on a lovely trip with the kids. Here is the lovely beast that pulls the historic tram.

Here's the gang enjoying the view.
(Dad, Dad! I know you have been here 1 000 000 times before with all your geology students but for heavens sake try to look interested.)
Here's how close we seemed to be to the edge.

And here's an alternate mode of transport available on the beach. See how Ginger is enjoying the proximity of the next camel!!!

For more photographic fun check out Best Shot Monday at Tracey's place.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

A Plethora of Outings: Part Two-Cafe Hell

The day of Cafe Hell started innocently enough with the usual 2 hour family negotiations. The suggestions of zoo, museum and botanic gardens were eventually thrown out in favour of the Maritime Museum's pirate exhibition and show (twice daily: music, mayhem and pirate adventure). By the time we had determined how many cars we needed; who would travel in each car; who got to sit next to whom and where we would meet up; driven down there; argued over who was paying (I'm paying, no I'm paying etc etc), we had an hour to kill for lunch before the pirate show started.

"Where can we get a sandwich?" my sister asked the girl on the desk.
"Well, there's the one across the road but that's a little more expensive,"
it was also, inexplicably closed during the height of the tourist season, "or there's a sandwich bar about a block away on the main street," she informed us.

We made out way around to the cafe where my sister, ever aware of the perils of trying to organise big (and especially family) groups, decided we should all order separately. She quickly placed an order but was told she could not pay straight away as the girl did not know how to use the till. This should have been a warning to us.

I took my place at the counter next to her; it was approximately 1.07pm

The first thing I noticed was the two gormless looking late teenage girls standing idly about as a middle aged (obviously shop owner) woman flew from one thing to another. One of the girls, let's call her Kylie 1, in slow motion, reached for an avocado and cut it open to reveal brownish, speckled flesh. Seemingly unconcerned, she spread it nonchalantly.

Owner: Kylie, KYLIE
Kylie: (huh what? who me?) Yea?
Owner: Brown avocado is no good, you can't use it, scrape it off.
Kylie: Wha'?
Owner: The avocado, it's no good, that 's why its gone brown. Scrape it off and get another one
from the cool room.
Kylie moves off, again in slow motion.......

Meanwhile, there are obviously phone orders coming in from local businesses because there are a lot more things happening behind the counter than my sister's order and the owner keeps calling out to people who appear randomly in the doorway.
"Sorry Susie, won't be long, we're a bit busy, do you mind the veggie sandwich without cream cheese cos I can't find the cream cheese...?"
"Er no, I really like the cream cheese."
Owner stops what she is doing and rushes off to search out some more cream cheese.
Kylie 1 and 2 stare at each other as if unsure what to do next, move off in slow motion, bump into each other......

It is now 1.15pm and I have not been served.

Susie is served, and Bob and John and Katie are served, and then my sister's orders start appearing.

It is now 1.20pm and I have not been served.

Kylie and her offsider continue to move as if tranquilised although the scraped off avocado has been replaced by fresh. On the same piece of bread. At this point, my sister, who is still trying to pay comes in and stands with me.
"Have you noticed," she whispers, "the Owner has plastic gloves on but none of the assistants do."

The word salmonella sears itself across my brain like a flash of lightning.

It is now 1.25pm and I have not been served.
My mother joins me at the counter (This is never a good sign. somehow this must be my fault).
"What are they doing to that hot dog?" she asks as Kylie 2 puts it into a sandwich toaster and squeezes it flat.

At 1.35pm I am served.

"I would like two chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and two ham tomato and lettuce sandwiches(I had learned from watching not to ask for 'salad'....this involved slow motion asking you if you wanted beetroot? cucumber?carrot? etc etc etc). I would like a hot dog and chips a pot of tea for two and a chocolate milkshake.

Kylie 2's brain leaks out through her ear and drips onto the note pad where she has incorrectly spelled 2/3 of the order.

"I don't know how to make a milkshake," she says to the Owner who flies past like a tornado with hands full of baked potato and Payless margarine.
"Norelle will do that...NORELLE!!!!"
Norelle emerges from the back room. She has Down's Syndrome. She looks infinitely more capable than Kylie 1 and 2.

"I'll pay now," I suggested.
"Errrr.....I don't know ....,"begins Kylie 2.
"....how to use the till. OK I'll pay later," I sigh.

We make our way out to the kerbside table to await whatever they manage to bring us. Meanwhile my sister's children have finished eating and her sandwich has just arrived. The pirate show starts at 2pm and my mother's usual fret-fest is escalating.

It is 1.50pm. Our food arrives. It is predictably tasteless, after all we forgot to tell them to put salt and pepper on it. The chocolate milkshake appears to have no chocolate in it. Not a small amount, like a weak chocolate milkshake but no chocolate at all. Perhaps Kylie 2 made it after all. The pot of tea arrives. It is accompanied by a steaming jug of frothed, cappuccino style milk. My mother's eyes begin to bulge and I decide it is time to take the children off to the pirate show. Quickly.

When the children are in place (that's them on the balcony) I realise I don't have my camera with me (OMG it's the Wimpy Bar revisited). Relax, my sister arrives having brought my camera with her and having finally paid for everyone's lunch.
"Guess how much I paid?" she whispers,"thirty two dollars! It was going to be twenty-five because the girl couldn't find where she'd written down the order and she only charged me for the sandwiches and a baked potato. I reminded her about our drinks and the hot dog."
"What about my Small Boy's hotdog and chips?"
"Er, no I forgot that."
"And the pot of tea? The bottle of lemonade?"
"Ummmm no, forgot them too. Just as well really because she looked quite put out that I kept wanting her to add to the total."

Mum and Dad arrived shortly afterwards.

"Let that be a lesson to you Kylie! Hot, frothy milk is for COFFEE not TEA, you unspeakable heathen!!!!!"

(Do not mess with my Mum, she used to be a Headmistress)

After the show we investigated the interactive parts of the museum. There was the colonial ship's quarters to test.

Ginger:My, my it has been a long trip from the
UK to my new homeland.
Small Boy: Why am I up here again?
The BA: Oh, you children are so immature.

There was the cabin from the 1950s which, as Mum pointed out, was remarkably similar to the one we occupied on our trip to Australia in 1962 on SS Arcadia. Dad found a data base of immigrant arrivals in Port Adelaide, located our ship and scrolled through expectantly, only to find the records stop in 1959.

Eventually, after we had seen the museum, argued over not buying rubbish in the gift shop and had a real cup of coffee in a real cafe, Mum and Dad headed home with Small Boy Jnr, who hates to walk, while the rest of us went for a wander on the docks.

We saw some jellyfish,
and a lighthouse
and we discovered some talents.

Firstly, The Small Boy.

Then Ginger. This is really impressive, I think.

Then my sister and I.

I pulled a pectoral muscle in this exercise!

The Baby Angel was discovered to have no talents at all, according to her. Exhausted we began to make our way home.
"I'm thirsty, I can't wait til we get home, I need a drink now."
My sister and I agreed to find a shop and buy a bottle of drink. A shop. (looking around) anywhere? No, not THAT one. Not the Cafe from Hell. Surely there must be another shop somewhere here? Anywhere? No?

My sister and I look at each other.
"Well, I'm not going back in there."
"Don't look at me, I'm not going back either..."

Eventually we sent the Baby Angel down with some money. She looked back at us.
"It's closed!!!" she announced.

We went and had some lemon squash at the pub where the BA discovered her talent: holding pieces of ice onto the end of her straw by suction.