Showing posts from December, 2014

Left-Right Amalgamation

It’s on again. There’s talk of an amalgamation of local Councils. An unlikely coalition of 10 SA industry groups and the Labor Right-aligned Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association will meet to advocate a policy for amalgamation to be submitted to the State Government. The industry groups say that there are inconsistent regulations between councils and this was a handbrake on new investment. In plain speak, the industry wants bigger Councils and reduced red tape and less control by Council. They don’t want a level playing field, they want it tilted in their favour. This would not be good governance and would disadvantage the local communities. Let’s not forget that Councils exist to serve their communities. And why is the Labor Right-aligned Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (Union) involved? They've been conned into believing that amalgamations will reduce rates and put more money in the pockets of working families. If this coalition of Left-Rig

Peacharine chutney

I was devastated. The weather had been alternating between hot and raining. I probably had not been giving the fruit trees enough water. A large branch (half the tree) of my peacharine tree snapped and fell to the ground. It was loaded with good sized fruit that would have ripened in 1-2 weeks. It was looking like a good season for stone fruit. Last year was a poor crop across Adelaide. I left the branch where it had fallen. After 2 days I decided to pick the best of the fallen fruit and make a batch of spicey chutney. I used the same recipe as for my green tomato chutney, just much less brown sugar. Despite the fruit being green inside the chutney brewed into a golden peachy colour. That's how I spent last Sunday afternoon; helped along by a beer beside the cutting board and the cricket on the TV in the background. If it weren't for that fallen branch I probably wouldn't have made peacharine chutney this year. It was an opportunity that had to be exp

Plain English please

Each year the Plain English Foundation highlights examples of poor communication and poorly constructed sentences. The really bad get awarded as the worst for the year. Here are some samples: Conscious uncoupling – used to describe the decision of a married couple to separate. Rapid disassembly – used by a car maker to describe the reason for the recall of 14 million vehicles with airbags that had a tendency to explode. Potential for dangerous aquatic organisms – a Queensland coastal Council erected signs warning about the potential for dangerous aquatic organisms in a local waterway. The Council CEO later explained that the danger was from bull sharks that could physically penetrate the waterway. and my favourite (that I will try to use a lot in 2015) … Appropriate financial envelope – used to describe staying within tight financial/budget constraints. Here are links to the Plain English Foundation …

Emus in the outback

Last week I was up at Andamooka for a few days. Took my son to noodle for opals. On the way up, it rained for 60 seconds just south of Pimba. 15km from Andamooka we slowed because of a mob of emus beside the road. Dad emu was going walkabout with 10 large chicks (20-30cm high). And then, the serenity of the outback was shattered. There in front of us, on a sign warning of kangaroos was an election poster. I was devastated. I had gone bush to escape city life and take a break and unwind after the recent Council election. There was no mobile phone connection, very few amenities and yet on a sign post on a hot wind swept plain was an election poster. I took a photo and headed for town and a cold beer.

Stuffing, best ever!

I'm not really one to boast. I don't flash about my titles, accreditation, memberships and awards. I don't sleep in my Council gown. (Black is not my colour.) I don't expect recognition when I venture out. During my recent stint as Deputy Mayor, I didn't request a new gown with a flash stipe or two to make me stand out. I don't wear my Council name badge (and I have a choice of gold or silver) when I go the local shops or coffee joints. If someone recognises me, then that's nice. If they don't (and I expect they won't) then that's understandable. I'm not one to boast, but I must say that my poultry Christmas stuffing is the best. Absolutely the best and this year I exceeded expectations. It was so good that I've awarded it as the best stuffing, ever. Christmas dinner would not have been the same without Bob's special stuffing. Ingredients: Home grown sage and thyme, chopped unsalted cashew nuts, chopped dried apricots, coars

Chilli Christmas

One of the Chrissy presents I received this year came a few days early. A neighbour down the road had a neglected pot of chilli bushes in her front garden. It had been dumped there by her Dad 6 months ago and it was making the place look untidy. It had never had a drink. She gave it to me. We agreed that if asked, her father would be told that it had been stolen. I took it home using a sack truck; it was a huge pot. Gave it some heavy pruning to get rid of the dead wood and to give a bit of shape. A dressing with blood and bone, planted seeds of old shrivelled chilli berries in a few vacant spots, pea straw on top and a good soaking. A bonus - it came with a water collection base dish. The next day I applied a special chilli fertiliser to promote flower development. Tiny flowers are ready to burst. It will be a forest of assorted chillies. Who knows what type they are. It will be a surprise in a couple of months. That's what Christmas is about. Giving - and the joy of re

Xmas cards

Thank you for the Christmas and New Year cards. This year I received 31 cards. Not a bad effort for someone who does not send cards. Why bother? It costs 70c postage + the card and it gets quickly scanned and hung on a string across the window or placed on a shelf and never really looked at again. It's sort of a boast thing; to show off your cards. It's not that I don't care, because I do. True friends will take no offence when I don't reciprocate with a card. However, it is strange they they do keep persisting year after year. They always have and they always will. The cards will continue arriving year after year. Giving to my favourite charities is more meaningful than sending Christmas cards. The cost of 31 cards = 31 x (0.70 + 4.00) = $145 Isn't it a more worthwhile outcome to send no cards and save $145 to give to a charity?

Give to the Salvos

We are the lucky country. But our luck and good lifestyle comes at the expense of, or is in stark contrast to those less well off; those who are disadvantaged. It’s Christmas and our thoughts turn to those who won’t have a very merry Christmas. I was reading the back of a Christmas card sent to me. The purchase of the card provided a donation to the Salvation Army. I was staggered to read: The Salvation Army helps more than one million disadvantaged Australians each year without discrimination; this includes people who are hungry, homeless, abandoned or abused; that's one person helped every 30 seconds. One million people (out of a population of 23 million) need help from the Salvos each year. In NZ, the Salvos help 120,000 people. Each week in Australia the Salvos provide: ·          100,000 meals for the hungry ·          2,000 beds for the homeless ·          5,000 to 8,000 food vouchers ·          1,000 people with assistance in finding employment

Councillor navigates home

At any Council, Councillors and the Mayor are recognised as community leaders. They champion the wishes of the residents, they are captains of initiatives and drivers and navigators through difficult obstacles. Their goal is to get there, to deliver outcomes. They are meant to be representative of the broader community; and to some degree they are. They are also human and from time to time err like the rest of the people. I do and I am quick to confess and say that I got it wrong. As a matter of decency I will withhold the name of the Unley Councillor who recently had trouble navigating home after a day trip to Victor Harbor. For some reason, she/he decided to take a bit of a scenic detour through the country-side. She/he got lost in the Meadows/Macclesfield area and seemed to be going in circles. After passing through Macclesfield for the third time, the Councillor went to the Post Office at Macclesfield (postcode 5153) and asked for directions on how to get to Adelaide. I ha

Forestville Reserve

I keep getting questions re the upgrade of Forestville Reserve. Stage 2 has commenced. There is daily progress ... (at last).  The majority of works will be completed by March 2015, subject to site and weather conditions. The work is jointly funded by SA Government and Council. Here is a list of the planned works: ·          Restoration of lawn areas around the skate park ·          Restoration of basketball half-court       A  new netball half-court ·          New fitness equipment, including an upgrade of the existing fitness equipment ·          Enhancement of the new culvert opening, including planting ·          Resurfacing of the skate park (currently in progress) ·          Irrigation and low and medium height vegetation along the train and tram lines Tree species of similar mature dimensions to those that have been removed will be planted along the tram line overpass (northern side), following the completion of construction works.  This work is

RAA embraces cycling

The report released by the RAA highlights that on some commuter routes you get there faster by riding a bike. Not exactly a revelation. However I was surprised that the RAA is now encouraging drivers to consider riding to work. A sensible (and obvious) recommendation. I guess the day will come when the RAA does call outs for broken-down bikes. For more info, follow these links ... RAA says to ride a bike - it's faster Bike SA is delighted by RAA statement

Good Dingo

There used to be a bounty on the scalp of every dingo. Now, a recent study by the University of Adelaide has revealed that dingoes can actually deliver economic gain to cattle stations. The report demonstrates that in optimum conditions the cattle farmers could gain up to $0.83 per hectare each year; that’s $83,000 per 100,000-hectare station – simply by dingoes' natural control of kangaroos and goats. When there are too many herbivores on the land, the cattle will eat less pasture, grow more slowly and sell for a lower price at the market. Obviously you wouldn’t encourage dingoes in sheep farming country. For more information,  read this link

Panettone for Christmas

I was reading a glossy brochure (with mostly pictures) of genuine Panettone (cake). It is becoming traditional (around the world) to enjoy an Italian Panettone at Christmas rather than a heavier English style rich fruit cake. I noticed that the brochure had a quote from Oscar Wilde. It read … In Italian: Avere buon gusto รจ facile: basta scegliere il meglio di tutto... and then in English … Having good taste is easy: simply choose the best of everything. A great quote to use for advertising anything of purported quality! I was curious as to why the Italians would quote from Oscar Wilde. Surely there were Italian philosophers that could have been selected. Then again, who on earth can better Oscar Wilde?

End of Captchas

The days of using a Captcha are numbered. What’s a Captcha you ask? You see them on on-line forms and blogs. They are squiggled text and numbers that you have to enter to prove that you are a human (and not a robot or a web bot). They’re damn annoying and often you have to refresh to get a new one that you can read. Sometimes I have to refresh multiple times. Wouldn’t it be simpler to simply click a box next to the statement ‘I am not a robot’? That’s what Google has been working on and is now ready to release it. For more detail about the underlying technology and rational, read this link …

An expert

Enjoy this comedy sketch on the art-form of a consultant being an expert. TheExpert (Short Comedy Sketch) - YouTube – needs sound.

40 tough words

People can be harsh judges when it comes to noticing spelling errors. I am. However, the judging is harsher when a word is incorrectly used. It makes you look rather foolish. Here’s a link to an article titled 40 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Dumb Take the time to learn the correct use of the words. Don’t worry, many people have a problem with some. Link to incorrectly used words

Under Anzac

Fantastic news … the pedestrian/cycle path under Anzac Highway is now open. Now, that path on the edge of the Showground will continue under Anzac Highway and continue into the CBD. Underpass links cycling paths The underpass beneath Anzac Highway and Greenhill Road has been officially opened, providing uninterrupted access to and from the city for cyclists and walkers. Minister for Transport, Stephen Mullighan said the final major piece of the Marino Rocks Greenway - the $2 million Keswick Path - was an important link that connected existing paths on either side of the busy intersection. "Keeping cyclists away from the intersection will provide a much safer option for them - and they will save time too," the Minister said. New route opened to CBD "Greenways are important linkages connecting local streets with off-street paths, creating direct cycling routes and access to public transport stops and stations," he said. "The underpass improves acce

The Phillip Hughes Stand

I reckon that Ken “KG” Cunningham is on the right track. He says that the Adelaide Oval should ditch the Riverbank Stand name and replace it with a permanent tribute to Phillip Hughes. There are 3 stands at the Oval: The Western Stand, the Eastern Stand and the Riverbank Stand. In my mind, it doesn't matter which stand is selected, but why not rename it as the Phillip Hughes Stand ?

Goodwood Groove

This Friday (05-Dec) is the night to be in Goodwood. Goodwood Groove is back in action. There will be great local food and free entertainment. See you there J More … Time to get your Goodwood Groove on!  Friday December 5, 4 - 9.30pm  Once again the Green Lawn Space adjacent to the Goodwood Community Centre will be transformed into a twilight wonderland for the Goodwood Groove. Great free entertainment for kids, including The Amazing Drumming Monkeys Fabulous food from many of our Goodwood Road Foodies and a bar by The Goody Wonderful live music, incuding the Germein Sisters , fresh from an overseas tour For more information check out  this link

Indian feast @ Unley


You can not hide

I have a passion for science and mathematics. Today I found an interesting story in a news feed from the online news. Much has been said about the merit of facial recognition. Now, a local researcher (Teghan Lucas) has proven the worth of the cheaper and more accurate alternative of identifying people from their body movements (and clothes do not present an issue). So if you hide your face under a mask and wear a hoody and baggy trackie daks, you can easily be recognised from a database. Teghan is seeking men from the Adelaide metropolitan area to be involved in body measurements and photographs. I’m not sure why women are not being included in the latest study. Here are extracts from the news item. Using data from 4,000 United States armed services personnel, a South Australian forensic anatomist has found that people are more easily and accurately identified by their body measurements than their facial features – even through clothing. Teghan Lucas

Young Beaujolais

On Sunday I attended the French Christmas Market held at Memorial Gardens, Unley. I spent a couple of hours with three other Councillors and their partners behind the white picket fence drinking young (very young, shamefully young) Beaujolais. In France, it is a tradition to celebrate the release of the latest batch of wine, just weeks old. Here are more details about the tradition … Beaujolais Nouveau Day Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music and festivals. Under strict French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., just a few weeks after the wine's grapes have been harvested. Festivities and parties are held across the country and to celebrate the first wine of the season. The Beaujolais was airlifted into Adelaide (and across Australia) so that we could join the French in celebration. Later in the night, I visited the food stalls and discovered some absolutely superb croissants from Bottega Rotolo @ 4