Category Archives: AWL OBDA AEBRA TANGS



saffy bello 108
I have been fortunate to have known, been mentored by and  loved by some very fine men.

They have brought an edge to the female wisdoms I have also had access to.

It was a man called Tennis Eddie who told me of the bright blue pilot light of Outrage which needs to be kept burning. The Flame which says – You Will NOT do this to me again.

Last week saw the passing of a gentleman by the name of Bede – who taught me many things.

AVAIL YOURSELF OF THE BEST – said Bede. And – In this situation, behave as if you were your own best friend.

Bede also  said to me once, words to this effect – “ you have become very adept at protecting yourself from your enemies. Now it is time to beware of your well-meaning friends. “

There seems to be a way of the Peaceful  that achieves good outcomes. It seems to me I have just survived that era. The Reasoning, the Reasonable, the Rational. I have worked with people who were good at it. One Boss of mine in particular, was able to formulate desired Outcomes and to proceed calmly towards them. 

As for me, I am of the Protest generation. Seemingly born with a Sense of Outrage. Its one of the reasons I like Facebook with its vibrancy, immediacy, lack of political correctness or editing.

I know there are dangers inherent in that. I know there are dangers in the Protesting. I am, however, more at ease with those dangers than I am with the Smooth Spider Web Weave of the  Politically Correct Era.

Somewhere a few years back, I came across a story of a young man who had experienced great sorrows and griefs and for whom the consolatory and gentle were not working. He was, as I recall the tale, riding on the top deck of a bus, through a city when he saw a Cross atop a church with a bleeding Jesus and realised that, for him, ONLY A SUFFERING GOD WOULD DO.  It brings to mind another instance for me when a student took a matter serious to her to the School Counsellor, who continued to smile as the girl spoke of her concerns. “ I do not want someone who smiles at me when I am telling them about the worst things in my life. “

I would in many ways like to be Peacable. If not that, I would like to be a Fighter for Causes. I seem only to sit at home and Complain. And yet, as times change, I am glad to be somewhat back in my original time of Outrage. One voice is still a Voice.

The hidden reduction of services at Bellingen Hospital is the matter which has flickered that blue pilot light of Outrage into a flame today.

Bellingen Health Action Group (BHAG)*


After looking at the PETER SPENCER Facebook site and then talking about PETER GARRETT’S rather ambiguous position in life, Izzy  came out on to the closed in verandah where I spend my mornings and said:



Back in my own world:


I am usually very focussed on my own personal life. I am less fearful of that than wider social issues. Even way back in the Vietnam Marching Days, I found myself more inclined to take to a corner with a camera and take a photograph. It could be my Libran birth legacy of seeing this side and that side and balancing this argument with that – or it could be a cowardly streak. I don’t know which and I no longer debate the matter within myself. Not often anyways.

However, now and then, some matters seem clear to me and I am willing to stand up and PROTEST. This week’s one is PETER SPENCER, the farmer from Cooma. All arguments aside, all issues ignored for the moment, this brings back the powerlessness we experienced in Bilambil when trying to have our telephone issues looked at a few years back, and last year when Vodafone Broadband failed us completely but our complaints were not acknowledged AT ALL.

It brings back the year of NO income from CENTRELINK for Izzy and a reduced disability pension for me – combined with the deeply humiliating Job Network Process which continues today for my 60 year old partner in Life.

It brings back to me all the unheard cries for help of Little People I have known.  I wish I were of the ilk of PEACE PILGRIM and would do more than grumble at the brekkie table.

People are now saying that PETER SPENCER has proven his point and its time to come down before he dies. I don’t want him to die – but I surely understand  his refusal to come down when it doesn’t AT ALL seem that his point has been proven to the people who should be listening.

In our case, it only took a town rally, a TV Show and months and years of a forgotten community complaining to get ORDINARY phone service 15 kms from Tweed Heads. But I never thought it would require such a thing. Polite , politically correct complaining amounted to NOTHING AT ALL.

Yesterday – or the day before – I went to buy a bag of rice in a supermarket in Grafton NSW. I could get rice from Spain. or Thailand or USA – but NOT Australia despite the packaging being that of a company which had been Aussie for as long as I recall. NO AUSSIE RICE. Wot !!! Not enough room to grow rice out here.  A better carbon footprint to  to sail all round the world on huge ships bringing coals to Newcastle and Rice to Australia. GET A GRIP.

As for Peter Spencer – in the end I don;t care whether he is ‘ right’ or ‘ wrong’. WRONG is that it ever needs to come to such a place for any of us.


One of the wee buildings in Small Park. Seems we can’t have our River Festival with all the wooden boats and street activities but surely we could have a show or a festival in Small Park.

In one of my whingeing moods, so bear with me whilst I get it down onscreen and can return to BEING EASILY PLEASED – which is ,perhaps, a wiser default position for me to take.

I went for an Ulmarra walk one morning this week, before the heat came, and took a look around Small Park which is just next door and past the tennis courts. There are large signs directing people to use the public loos there while some kind of work is going on in the wee park down on the river. I could see the former glory days of SMALL PARK. Rodeos and Shows and other community gatherings. The wee sheds are there and the grandstands but – BUT – noone has emptied the 44 gallon drums of rubbish since the Floods in May. Funny that – since the Council is directing tourists to the loos and the Bushfire Brigade does its exercises there on many a Sunday.


Last night was a blisteringly hot night with assorted bugs and restless sleep. It was also somewhat of a shock after using a heater and wearing my MacGregor overcoat only last week. With windows opening and breezes cooling the air a little, we heard a call from the West and it was clearly ‘LET’ . “Let” – what a lovely sound. The Tennis Courts were back in action . Hadn’t been a game since the May Floods when the courts went under. I had been watching people at work on fences and surface all week and it was a very good thing to hear the Let Call and see the night lights shining.


Crazy Day was on last week in Grafton. I lost my car and house key at some stage of that day and held little hope of locating them. Not to be found in Ulmarra. Not be found in the car nor on the ground nearby. Sunday we took a trip into the splendid new SHOPPINGWORLD, noticed the office open for a moment. Iz took the chance to ask the young security man and there they were listed in the Lost and Found Book. I was very impressed. Still am, as I was by the sight of Robbie from Coffs dressed as a clown and singing his way around SHOPPINGWORLD  with his amp on wheels and by the boot scooters in the main street.

Izzy is a rock muso who has been playing jazz with a blues band. I am pretty sure that country music is his next step. He is resisting but I don’t know that country music can be resisted indefinitely. SQUATTER’S REST on Friday Night.


Here, in the Attic, at the edge of sunset, the days of the Inland Sea look appealing. So does the Ulmarra Pool down beside the Commerical Hotel on the River Bank. It is , however, closed till the “official” summertime and then only open for a couple of hours in the afternoons.

I was recalling the Sydney pools of my childhood in the Harbour and Rivers. Net pools  Hollywood out on the George’s River and Carr’s Park. Nielsen park at Vaucluse and of course Manly.  I Love swimming.




It has become routine to take lunch at WIDE RIVER. I have even taken to eating the same lunch most days which is not something I have often done. I have toasted cheese, onion and avocado sandwich on white bread with a banana smoothie unless I feel the edges of a cold. In that case, I order a COLD REMEDY which is one of the most deadly juices I have ever drunk. It seems to successfully drive the potential swine flu germs back into hiding.


Since we have been in Ulmarra, Izzy has begun to allow his hair to turn white as he said he would at the age of 60. Kati B has come to visit and do the 2nd hand shops of the Clarence.


I also re-discovered FEZZ. We first had FEZZ when the Poppy was a baby and had a blocked nose and now I find that its available for adults as well. Some assistance with breathing is something I could do with.


The last Thursday of each month, we take ourselves along to the MUSIC CAFE at the EMPORIUM, SOUTH GRAFTON.
That is a pleasure in itself . Annie Dodd has had the EMPORIUM for almost a decade and it reminds me of the mystery of Sydney in the early 70s and of such adventures as the ANTIQUE SUPERMARKET on South Dowling Street. Its an evolving organism is the Emporium. This month, July, Peter Greeman, in the kitchen is doing PASTAS. The eclectic array of musos is expected and Iz looks forwards to emceeing.

We have already encountered the MULLANS’ at the June night and Karl and Sharon took the drive north to do ILNAM ESTATE WINERY with Izzy on July 26.  The crowd was well pleased and joined in the mayhem of Izzy and Co and the beauty of Shaz’ Irish melodies.  Karl and Izzy put in some powerful reheasring and Izzy was fully pleased with the day.

I was able to enjoy two magical little girls who came along from BUSBY FLAT to support their parents.

IZZYS MAY 2008 003

There is a new dam someplace down here near COUTTS CROSSING. It is said to be  able to provide water to COFFS and GRAFTON for many years to come. I  haven’t found it as yet but will look for it soon.

Just out of Armidale is the DUMARESQ DAM where we picknicked with the Mad O’Briens. There is some unusual info about Armidale, electricity  and hydro-electricity.


Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

lozjamie4 024

Transition to a new home and community has uncertain elements – obviously. On  the weekend, we went north for the ILNAM gig. I haven’t been back since moving and have no desire to do so at this time. I don’t relocate easily. NOT EASILY TRANSPORTABLE, am I. I am easily confused by the overlapping worlds. I had promised Iz I would go with him this time for several reasons. One being that ILNAM and the Quinns have been very good to us and the other was to meet the MULLANS FAMILY. Karl has been rehearsing here in Coldstream Street but I hadn’t truly met Shaz or the Girls. It was , in fact, a pleasurable experience but after a night spent in a dodgy Tweed Heads South Motel for $75, I was in a deeply reflective mood. As deep as the light on a Fender Bass.

izzy 60 ilnam day 028

I think it was occasions like Izzy’s 60th birthday at Ilnam’s with nice people, nice food, nice views which convinced me that it was time for me to leave the area because I just wasn’t content – even in the good places with the good people doing the good things.  So – now I am here on the Clarence and for this time in my life – happy.


Glory Be ! Up here in the Attic, I am at last ONLINE.


Much like the Bridge of the Starship, Enterprise, so I am told. What I know is that I now have workable internet. Vodafone can do what it pleases as long as I don’t have to deal with IT again. I don’t even want to talk to my electronic friend , Lara, anymore. I give credit to the upgrades department, which despite failing to upgrade me and still charging for one account when they had said they would not, was staffed by courteous, literate, savvy young people. Au Revoir VF. May our paths not cross again.

Now, I am ONLINE but still in the process of adapting to the 21st century. That means it might take a while before I feel secure in the new situation. For today, CELEBRATIONS and off to Bellingen to fetch Kati B.



015 018

In my own way, I am a very Wealthy Woman. I now have the Fridge. That’s the two lads delivering it a week late and refusing to carry it up the 8 steps unless we paid another $15 which Izzy refused to pay. Fortunately, we seconded our next door neighbour and Izzy and the neighbour brought it up the stairs. So, we now have a fine fridge.


These are the signs at the intersection of COLDSTREAM STREET and the PACIFIC HIGHWAY, ULMARRA. Andrew from WIDE RIVER says – SEE ULMARRA – IT WON’T TAKE LONG.

Well, theoretically it shouldn’t take long but in practice, we have been known to take hours in the Village.


Include the many mandarines on the trees beside the house.

may 2008 006 A lot of laughter and gentleness and no violence at all. Lots of music as well.

I have read poetry at an Austlit Breakfast at the WORDSMITHS CAFE in the ST LUCIA CAMPUS of the UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND in BRISBANE.


I lived for many years in the small town of Urunga and over the last year have eaten there with my daughter at the BOARDWALK CAFE. We have wonderful breakfasts at the BOARDWALK and are served by young men whom I once taught.

KATHMADNANA My Grandchildren learned to swim in my own very excellent swimming pool, way up on the Queensland border.


wide river 003

Went for lunch at Wide River today following the Total Failure of Geoff and CLARENCE VALLEY COURIERS to deliver the Fridge. We have been waiting for days and look like waiting longer. Bum to that. So we took lunch at Wide River and the discovered that the mysterious BOOKSHOP is now open. ITS PERFECT ! I was bemoaning the state of the shops in Ulmarra when I was first able to access the main street after the floods. Doors were shut and hours seemed as erratic as Latrobe and Given Terraces in Paddington, Brisbane.  For one brief dubious moment, I thought I had decided to reside in a dying village and being of a depressive nature and recently emerged from the week’s inundation, a sorrowing near overtook me.

One of the Closed shops , seemingly neglected and deserted has stained glass windows and is a fine old building. After a few days, I began to HOPE. There was activity and boxes being taken in and sure enough, it is now open as THE BOOKSHOP. Wonderful Books. Wonderful prices.

Next door is the treasure trove of Jack-a-Dandy. That’s it below.

wide river 004

The WIDE RIVER CAFE where we lunch, had the Cafe Botero girls in. They RAVED about the Coffee and the Cafe. Said it was easily the best, cleanest, brightest of the 70-80 shops they visit on the North Coast. I don’t even drink coffee , but I know its a Good Place is WIDE RIVER.

wide river 002

Tomorrow, I am meant to go and fetch Kati B. Iz was coming but the Fridge Failures have interfered with that plan. So Its the CHARADE and me to Bellingen again. Lets try this without floods !


lynne gc Following the Vodafone experience of last week, I delusionally thought I could cope with being patient for another 2 months while they “ upgrade to 3G”. I do not know that I can. Tonight I cannot even open an email let alone look at images.  My internet might not involve anything life saving but I surely do have a lot of things I like doing and its been MONTHS since I could do them with any speed or ease. NOW ITS AGAIN PARALYSED. I am not paying for 2 months. That’s one thing but I am slowly realising that its because I am not GETTING ANYTHING.

1 1/2 years I have been struggling with this setup. Before that it was CHILLI and BIG AIR. We went to VODAFONE thinking a big company surely couldn’t be allowed to provide such demonically low standards of service – WE WERE WRONG.

My dealings with Vodafone the other day satisfied me AT THE TIME. That was from the relief of speaking to young Jamie who was charming and soothing after my first contact who was abrasive, insulting and inaccurate. A week later, I realise that there is no enduring comfort in sitting in front of the endlessly turning wheel of destiny waiting for a page to open,leaping in at a frantic pace when small periods of connection are available.

I have several projects at hand ( as well as my beloved recreational Scrabble online). They are all way behind because of inability to access the data or make  any post, or add images or videos.

These are the things being demolished at the moment:

Peter’s PhD research.

My heritage website.

All Foreal Enterprises web promos

All the Bands’ sites.

My father’s 2/3 Pioneer Battalion site.

All my blogs.


Jamie tells me the towers are being upgraded to 3G and it MIGHT be so. I HAVE HOWEVER, HAD ENOUGH.

Dear Lord I hope I am NOT locked into this contract until December.

The other issue which disturbed me last week was the manner in which Moustafafa, the first Vodafone consultant with whom I spoke, handled things.

He told me that there is only a certain amount of space available and that it is designated for mobile phone users and SMSes and that ‘ what is left over’ comes to the MOBILE INTERNET users.

He told me that ‘they’ in his tech support section speak in technical language ‘which you wouldn’t understand’.

He told me that my contract would have told me I couldn’t get GPRS because its called 3G plan. Get a grip, my furry friend. I am on GPRS now. He also suggested we shouldn’t have moved.

ITS MOBILE ! Moustafafa. MOBILE!!!!!!!


Simmering down, I am still grateful for the Jamie outcome. For the courtesy and for her not trying to convince me that all four of our computers were suffering from  Swine Flu at the same time. She explained the upgrades that are currently underway. She came to terms with which I agreed, (although I now find the delay to be really obstructional) and she treated me as if I were a) not trying to skuzz some odd outcome by dishonest dealings for who knows what bizarre reason and b) could understand the essence of what was going on and wanted a positive outcome.

Nevertheless – at this moment – ITS A FINE DREAM YOU HAVE THERE VODAFONE AND I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE REMAINED A PART OF IT – BUT I DO BELIEVE ITS TOO LATE. Another promise just isn’t doing the trick.

Please- please-please – someone give me a break.





Saw the mail delivery this morning and when we looked – I was taken aback. The DOCS Disaster Recovery team had indeed deposited $768 in our account to replace BERTHA, the fridge that drowned and odds and ends which we lost in the floods.

Just a few Sundays back, 2 young women arrived at our front door, looking for the previous tenant. They were DOCS DISASTER RECOVERY people and very pleasant they were. When we told them our Bertha story, they went right out to their car and returned with the appropriate forms which they filled in – including photographs of Bertha and the Underneath of the House. We chatted and showed them the dead snake hanging on the front fence and off they went. Now, today, enough money to buy a fridge. Bravo DOCS !!!!


I have found this year to be interesting in terms of the low level trauma.  Victoria saw the horror of fire and large numbers of deaths. Here in the floods is something different. Apparently minor but seeping. INUNDATION they call it. Odd tales pop into conversations. One gentleman is found dead in his car on South Arm Road. The death passes softly and almost unannounced.

Entire towns and Villages are ordered to evacuate. Self-evacuate to other flood prone towns through rain and wild weather. SES tells people they are unable to help.

One house in Urunga is battered by waters rushing through and is then condemned and a family becomes homeless.

People are isolated for 1-2 weeks on their properties behind Bellingen. No phones or power and no assistance incoming. Trees down and wild storms and not knowing whether they were the only area affected or whether the whole town or state was also demolished. A family sitting at dinner and hearing and feeling a shudder as the yard slipped into their gardens and surrounded their house in mud and debris.

In the meantime, we all proceed in minimalisation. We recover from a disaster we didn’t know we had. And then a kind voice, money for a fridge – all become emotionally touching.

EMPMUSICCAFE 090    Tonight we will go to the MUSIC CAFE at the SOUTH GRAFTON EMPORIUM and eat fine curry.


We pay $89 a month for this “service”. Its so slow I haven’t even been able to play SCRABBLE or read my emails let alone use FACEBOOK or add to my blogs. $89 per month for the two of us with almost no means of complaint nor the ‘right’ to do so if there is any connection at all. They told us when we signed up 1/12 years ago that Vodafone was building 50 or 500 towers and the service would be excellent. HAH!!! It was bad enough on Tweed with access to 3G which which discovered is URBAN ONLY. Here in a rural area, there is only GPRS which is – well! This week its not possible to actually use it at all and complaint means attempting to access the company through electronic voices and non-tech people.

I surely just don’t know what to do anymore. This is a 2 year contract but I don’t know what to sign up with when its finished. SHAME ON YOU VODAFONE !!!!!!!!!!!

AND SHAME ON WHATEVER SYSTEM SAYS WE SHOULD ALL SMILE AND ACCEPT IT. Funny how swiftly TELSTRA was able to remedy the NON-PROBLEM in Bilambil once the village gathered for the rally and TODAY TONIGHT came in. It was fixed in a day and never mucked up again.


Read last week in the local Tweed papers about the Tweed mayor’s delight in the Planned development of Bay Street, Tweed Heads and her desire to see Tweed developed along the lines of KIAMA down South. Looks like she is in luck, because a former Mayor of Kiama, Neville Fredericks,  was sighted just this week in Murwillumbah with  what looked like the Board of the Satya Sai School dining at Luffley Cafe.

Carool, Kunghur, Tyalgum,Tweed Heads – they could all be in luck.



Collection of Scotch Proverbs

Stampoy, Pappity

Better sit idle then work for nought.

Changing of works is lighting of hearts.

Many hands makes light work.


A miscellany of Irish proverbs (1922)

O’Rahilly, Thomas Francis

Three things that are useless when old, — an old schoolmaster, an old horse, an old soldier (?)’ (GJ. 79, p. 105).


The rest that the smith's working-boy gets,'
i.e. no real rest but merely a change from one
kind of work to another

Learning comes through work.

Be one's trade good or bad, it is experience
that makes one an adept at it.

Dall súil i gcúil dhiiiiic cile.
An eye is blind in another man's corner,'
i.e. One feels strange among strangers : one
does not know one's way about in a strange
place, or when attempting unfamiliar work.
There are three kinds of men,— the worker,
the pleasure-seeker, and the boaster.

Turkish Proverbs” 1880.

All work and no play will make such a
dull boy.
During the pilgrimage not eyery thing
does suit the taste of the pilgrim.
"Buddhist proverbs"

KAMMAVAGGA – SECTION OF ACTION. Atisitam atiunham ati say amid am ahu iti vissatthakammante attha accenti manave. “Too cold, too hot, too late” can always be the excuses to those who do not want to work. They let their chance pass by.

Do study the law of Morality. With morality veil studied and observed in this world come all kinds of wealth.


I also throw in here some consideration of schemes I have seen which haven’t been too bad.

LEAP in BELLINGEN. Peer support. Cool leaders. Appropriate to situation and clients. 

JETS for single mothers.



Today’s Exercise.


The Black and White Homework exercises of the Job Search Network appear to be sourced from the above company. I have been verbalising my attitudes on many things but you can decide for yourself on this one. This webpage which is 1. USA. 2. of a less than salubrious design standard , is the material being used in an Australian Environment to the unemployed of Australia. Well done – send Australian Money to Overseas Companies for strategies which match neither our psyche nor our needs and perhaps have not worked as well there as one might desire. 

I will close with the Chicken Burger image sourced also from the Homework Sheets to which said clients are to be devoting their entire Friday.


Having determined somehow that LIFE IS MUCH LIKE A CHICKEN BURGER, the day’s exercises conclude with points which include:

A total time of 6 minutes is THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER for cooking a chicken burger.

“This is how fast food restaurants operate” says the sheet from the Salvos and Friends. ” IDLE TIME IS WASTED TIME” says the sheet and summarises the day’s study with ” USING THE CHICKEN BURGER IN YOUR OWN LIFE WILL ALSO HELP YOU ACCOMPLISH  MORE IN A SHORTER TIMETABLE”. 

I wonder if anyone mentioned to the Buddha that IDLE TIME IS WASTED TIME.  Or to Bill W who founded Alcoholics Anonymous and of whom his wife said: Bill never ran when he could walk, walked when he could sit, sat when he could lie. 

The two of them could have been making CHICKEN BURGERS. I am being flippant this morning because I do not want to look too closely today at the deeply disturbing attitudes underpinning these exercises. 

It does day very clearly. THE BEST POSSIBLE TIME TO COOK A CHICKEN BURGER IS 6 MINUTES and the “WORST POSSIBLE” is 16 minutes. There are worse possible things in the world of these JOB SEACHERS than taking 16 minutes to cook the burger and there are WORSE POSSIBLE things which could cause them to take longer than 16 minutes.

Do we actually want to live like American Fast Food Restaurants?

I am happy to wait a good half hour for fresh food, cooked with love and thoughtfulness, not prepared in a microwave. I am delighted to have the cook or the waitperson take a moment and chat and ask me how I personally would like my food.  WHAT KIND OF LIFE DO WE WANT ?  




Free and easy membership to listen to audios. 


As Schumaker says – ALL WORK SHOULD BE GOOD WORK. 

As an ancient primary school teacher I would also be happier with something other than,” Go into a quiet room and SHOT the door”.  (I let many booboos slip through on this blog and others but I am not an national and international major company in service of “a myriad” [their mistake not mine] of people in trouble. Proof readers anywhere ? Editors?)   


I was going to recommend that you take a look at STREETWIZE COMICS – a comic and health issues for Kids which used Aussie graphics rather than the salvos generic Clipart and which was specifically directed at OUR Kids and their world. Being a few years out of 

the World of the Young and of the troubled, I find it has folded in 2006. Thanks again Mr Howard and Co. STREETWIZE – relegated to the POWERHOUSE MUSEUM where, perhaps. other Australian Artefacts dwell.

Here is the blurb. Shed a tear or two for the loss of  this one and for the implications. More U.S. companies? More facile generia is all we seem to have left to us. Chicken Burgers indeed. 

Statement of significance

Founded in 1984, Streetwize Comics produces free educational comics for young people covering a wide range of issues. The 

comics communicate important messages in an easy-to-read format that young people can relate to, particularly disadvantaged youth. The comics, as well as other material including posters and educators’ notes, deal with topics such as health and safety, legal issues, racism, sexual 

harassment, domestic violence, homosexuality, housing, employment, gambling, drug and alcohol abuse and other current social issues. They are developed in consultation with young people from the target audiences and are based on the philosophy that effective communication must be built around the perceptions and needs of the audience. Funding comes from federal and state government departments and community


The Powerhouse Museum collection contains a selection of comics from Streetwize, but mainly those editions dealing with health and safety. They illustrate the way in which government and community organisations approach the dissemination of information to targeted groups (in this case, disadvantaged youth) and at the same time provide a record of the range of health and other social issues affecting young people in the late 1990s.

‘Spur of the moment!’, is a national publication aimed at raising awareness among young people of the issues and consequences of car theft. It was produced by Streetwize Comics Ltd for NRMA Insurance Ltd.








eyes2worrierIZZY returns from his UNWORK at the SALVOS and again I give thanks for the Animated Gif. Nothing else covers this area of Shocked Reaction with so accurate in this situation. 


So lets look at Mondays again. Monday at the Salvo Job Network. A brief Rounding up. Iz has worked since the 1960s. He has a degree, a Masters and is half way through his PhD. He has headed Bands, produced albums, been Project Coordinator of the Food-Share Australia Programme in the Illawarra, was Recreation Coordinator of Headway Illawarra,  Media Communications with AUSTRALIA HEALTH MANAGEMENT Group. Coordinator of the ILLAWARRA COMMITTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, President of UOW SRC and now he is being taught how to Google NORTEC VOLUNTEERING for a volunteer position and Helpful Trainer has written in Large and Clear Letters on a scrap of paper – Just in case Iz has used up all his intelligence in these previous positions- “NORTEC VOLUNTEERING” – Then in a kindly addendum she writes – “GOOGLE – PRINT VOL JOBS.” Just in case he doesn’t know how to use the Internet or a computer.  Iz says he now feels perfectly trained to be INTENSE. 

As he would after a one day session of HOW TO SET GOALS.

He says he now has a goal – I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE EVER AGAIN.

On top of it all – the coffee is sh** !

marx1Some of the issues are these –

They are told to be there at 9a.m. and in order to receive their $395 per fortnight and to sit for 5 hrs a day 3 days week being ASSISTED.  

However, the Training Sessions so far have started sometime 9.15 am or later despite the Clients’ being required to be on time.  All Training Sessions Izzy has attended finish early. A lovely bonus but if the day has been planned ahead, what use is an ‘early mark’. By the end of the 2nd week, the 3rd day has already been dropped with instructions to DO YOUR WORKBOOK AT HOME.  One question to be asked is – Is the TRAINING COMPANY being paid for the designated hours that this “intensive training’ is recorded as taking place ?

This jobwork network has replaced the original CES which DID actually assist you in finding a job. This Job Network approach states that it doesn’t find you a job. That’s up to you. There is also an apparent assumption that you have been doing something wrong to end up where you are. 

Izzy HAS  a goal. He has a few goals. One of them is to complete his PhD which he is battling to do because there is NO GOVERNMENT PAYMENT FOR PHD CANDIDATES. AUSTRALIA – THE CLEVER COUNTRY.

Izzy’s overriding philosophy about the whole thing is – GIVE ME A DAY JOB. There’s less work involved and you get real pay. It really is like a punishment for being unemployed. 


The day continued into the sublime with the COLES Lass on Checkout. “They are white peaches”. said Iz.

Says the Coles Lass -” I don’t have to know what the fruit is. I just punch in the number on the sticker on the fruit”.


Putting aside the cynical, and recalling programmes which I have seen work and work well, there are ways of developing and providing specialised assistance which are less generic, far less shaming and have lasting impact in lives.

I,myself, in the 1980s, emerged from 20 years of drug and alcohol addiction and unemployability into what was truly INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE. I was assigned a case manager who assessed me – my needs, desires, abilities, health issues etc. We then moved into a cooperative venture of preparing me for the future. Had training or study been the best next move that would have been where I was directed to. In my case, we, WE , working together, re-located my Teaching Career from my early adulthood, and through stages of rehabilitation I was able to resume an aborted career. This was a combination of CES and JETS – JOBS EDUCATION and TRAINING for SINGLE PARENTS. 

In today’s case, the Trainer who was showing her Client how to Google for a Volunteer’s Job, at no stage incorporated the information that her client had in fact  managed large Volunteer Programmes himself, that his computer, research, goal setting skills etc are highly developed. The various participants in the workshops are treated as if THEIR needs, desires and abilities were all homogenous. The reality is that there is probably a greater diversity than in many other situations due to the only primary common bond being UNEMPLOYMENT. Some are longterm. Some shorterm. Some old, some young. Some are  educated and some not. Some are healthy. Some are physically fit and some are not.  

Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera. As the King of Siam once said. Shall we dance?

The Package which I am seeing doesn’t attend to the differences AT ALL. Being recommended to ring people from the Yellow Pages is a very minimal level of client service.  Being sat in front of a video of – HOW TO ATTEND A JOB INTERVIEW – is in the same Lazy technique for assisting people who are already struggling with the effects of unemployment. Suggestions of how people should wear hair or clothing must surely be entering into dangerous areas re personal rights as well as being naive.

Perhaps thats the issue troubling me. The Naivitee, the Folly and the Waste. At some stage is an assessment made of the effectiveness of these programmes ? Of the Harm done ? Is there any psychological assistance ? I haven’t seen it here as yet. Some of the other areas which seem to have missed an opportunity – to me – are:

The group involves changes from day to day eliminating the process of peer support.

The morning breaks change from day to day. There is no social or living skill development such as sitting and eating together. There is no official lunch break. That might be legally correct but is a missed chance at job situational rehab.

Petrol and transport costs are not attended to effectively.

I shall leave off with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Of INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE which targetted the “jobseeker’s” specific strengths and weaknesses. Of a hand held approach. If age be the raodblock to employment – then deal with that. If lack of training be the issue – then deal with that. If a mental or psychological condition be the issue, then deal with that. ONCE AGAIN – ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.  Do not treat me for smallpox if I have malaria. And don’t ask me to fly to the moon if I am dolphin.  

IZZY adds to this – I have put alot of years into my Game Plan to reach a Goal that I had set only to be sent by the JobSearch Network to start again from the Bottom of the Heap. 

In cases where the unemployment is not long established, early intervention in and re-direction of long held and well developed goals might well be deemed unwise and inappropriate. 






That was my waking thought. Another Centrelink encounter via Izzy has brought me to that place. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. This client – Thats the word they use – This client presents as a 59 year old man with a 40 year employment history including music, welfare, project manager, management of own company and academic background which has reached Masters and PhD candidature, has included tutoring, lecturing, course design of Local Studies Subjects amongst others. The client is highly articulate, well presented, 4 syllabic in literary manner and following a 2 year contract at the University of Queensland and unable to obtain Government Assistance in order to complete his PhD thesis – has been driven into the World of Newstart. The Client is also computer literate and masters his own websites. 

However, in the world of ONE SIZE FITS ALL Employment Network, The Client is required to participate in INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE. 

For me, there are a number of problem areas involved in this. One for me, despite my being somewhat of a God Freak, is the involvement of religious organisations in such matters . I don’t  see that this is appropriate in allocation of Client and Network.

The Intensive Assistance seemed a little exciting – Hmm ! Thought I. Perhaps tailor made to The Client. So The Client heads off into the Industrial Area of Tweed Heads where the Network Office is located, to return after a 2 hour session with a generic programme of activities, designed to prepare him to enter the workforce. The Folder is glossy and contains the fundamental prerequisites of the Boom Era which has just ended and the conclusion seems to me at this stage to be – that with the shiny folder including Logo and rather intimidating catchcry “WE NEVER GIVE UP”, and with 3 weeks of rah sessions in an airconditioned ( don’t worry about the environment) cell, The Client – who is already more Job Ready than the average – will defeat the Great Recession and the sheer lack of jobs . As the world tumbles around us, I do believe the very thought of this is driving me back to the Animated Gif.

zwerg_07Pay no attention to the 590000 jobless figures.

When we have completed the INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE, the Client will be:

  • well dressed (with Funds provided by the Network) 
  • carrying his TARGETTED RESUMES ( which said Network is about to teach him to do. They have already SIMPLIFIED his Resume for the online site and incorrectly listed him as an English Teacher)
  • he will understand his Employer Needs
  • have found the Hidden Job Market
  • have developed JobSearch Strategies
  • and Overcome the Roadblocks to Employment.


Some of these Schemes might work. I have not over my 21 years or more of observing them, seen success in any substantial degree but there are some valid and interesting techniques. I have seen far more failures and distressing outcomes. In this case, I see serious problems with the ONE SIZE FITS ALL which does not cater for the enormous variations within Clients and their needs and desires and capabilities.

And the waking thought was that – the programme of Intensive Assistance which I am looking at right now – does not respond in any way at all to the situation which exists. Years back, at an education conference in Boambee, the Guest Speaker spoke of Education in Australia as being oblivious to the Neutron Bomb which had gone off. The building still stood and we catered educationally to an imaginary stable family of Father Mother and Children with 3 meals and cosy beds to tuck into of a night.  Here we are, attempting in the same manner, to prepare people who are unemployed from a wide variety of causes,  to re-enter the world in which the Neutron Bomb has already exploded. A better outfit of clothes, an even higher standard of education than a PhD Candidature, a wider smile , the compliant attendance at “Training Sessions”, the patronising ” we shall give you petrol vouchers and new clothes” – none of these things  is addressing the World in which we live. And each of the elements of these programmes makes a life already difficult and usually incorporating shame and embarrassment, even more difficult, even more shame-filled and even more embarassing.


And IN CLOSING – as they say. I will close on these PET PEEVES as Jim Belshaw calls them:

Why should I say thank you for giving me what is mine. And why should I say thank you for giving me Half of what was already mine? That’s a loose mauling of a quote from someone in the Black Panthers probably. I just can’t deal with the ” if you are a very good boy we might let you have petrol and maybe new shoes”.

Oh! So you have worked all your life and done wonderful things – bad luck. Now we have you.

And on my Mother’s passing, a wee blossom of a social worker, maybe 24 years old, entered the ante-room of shock and overwhelming grief, in the same manner as Young Mr Grace on “Are You Being Served?” – Everyone alright in here ? says she.

Finally my daughter’s comment on emerging from a session with her high school counsellor – I HATE PEOPLE WHO SMILE WHEN YOU’RE TELLING THEM THE SADDEST THINGS IN YOUR LIFE.



Says I – The original INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE idea was probably pretty good.







There’s a cane toad in the Van and a Snake in the palm tree. Robbie told me last night that he saw more snakes last year in Hungary than he sees down here where we are renowned for them. He saw a snake take a wee fish in one of the Big Lakes. The biggest freshwater lake in Europe? I am an Untravelled person so I can’t be sure of its location but Robbie described it well. He is an artist, Robert is . Robert Todonai and he lives ina sandstone castle out near UKI.  This is his art site. THE ART OF ROBERT TODONAI. He also told there are death adders up here. I hadn’t knnown that. I am not fond of death adders. Now that I look at the name -perhaps the poor things are maligned. He also told me that once on S.A a brown snake came UP their toilet. I don’t fancy that either. 

Don told me that Bilambil Valley has more varieties of snakes than any other place in Australia. Hmm!

I now find that he has been given the honour of being named THE EARL OF LOCK. Robert suggested that if we leave the door of the Van open, the Cane Toad will exit of its own free will. We didn’t know it was there until Izzy had unpacked most of the gear for the gig. He adds it to the hazards of performing in the sub-tropics. Never, says he, has he been rained out of so many gigs as he has up here in the North of NSW. Drought ? What drought?

Luckily, just over the border, the forward thinking Queensland Government planted many drought resistant gardens. They’re doing well in  the relentless, daily rain as is the desalination plant off Tugun and the LETS DRINK EACH OTHER’S WEE project in Toowoomba. 

Here on the Hill, I shall lock the doors and windows and not allow myself out until I am able to guarantee my own behaviour. Could be a good long wait. 

feb-bilambil-017 On a note of cheer, I have discovered the PLUOT. A cross between an apricot and a plum and the summer fruits which were not splendid at Xmastime are rather good now. CoastFM, Pluots and the Internet are a combination I can enjoy. 


Here in  the North, its tropically wet and lush.  I don’t have words for Victoria and will stay silent. These few days are days to stand silent before. The Container that will hold the Sorrows of this dimension will need to be vast.


Was working through yesterday on SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES and noticed the Hits going through the roof. I thought for a time that I had stumbled upon a blog writing technique that really appealed to people. However as the Hits continued to climb, the wee Saturnian Voice began to mumble that something was odd about these figures. On investigation, I tracked down the referrers for the day and came across 

I was a little disappointed at first due to my theory of personally being a genius was demolished but its a very interesting concept – like a massive leaflet drop or letterbox assault on a suburb. Take a look. You can post your blog or any other blog you fancy onto and it goes on a reading list. Saturating the Interverse with all our blogs and by passing the Megas by the look of it. I am quite impressed so far. Will see what holding traffic remains after the initial Tsunami.  It could be a radical new departure. That would be something nice instead of Google search pages of drivel. 

P.S. Still a lingering regret that I hadn’t earned the attention all by myself. Ah well.

One should worry about fame just as pigs about being fat.


Today we took a trip to CENTRELINK to hand in additional papers. We met one young lady handing in her fortnightly form.  She works fulltime but receives family payment and each fortnight in she goes to hand in the same details as the fortnight before. What we seem to have in common is CENTRELINK SHAME. The FULL MONTY remains in my awareness. We do need something to restore the self esteem. A CENTRELINK CLIENTS ANONYMOUS group perhaps.

The MURWILLUMBAH staff were again friendly and courteous and hopefully efficient. That brings me to today’s gripe. We then proceeded to the TWEED REGIONAL ART GALLERY in South Murwillumbah. I liked the old ART GALLERY in an old house on the banks of the Tweed near the new car parking lot which looks much like the new facade at TWEED CENTRO. One day in the future, perhaps they will try to draw conclusions regarding these fortress like constructions. The grace and elegance of the old ART GALLERY appealed to me. Now the artworks are housed in a multi million dollar establishment much resembling the KEMPSEY MUSEUM. I don’t mind the corrugated iron effect and the setting of the new Gallery is very lovely albeit  beyond the scope of the walkers. I don’t however see the need for the noise and visual indignity of air conditioning units, rubbish bins, exposed pipes and the ilk to be the first encounter with the Gallery when alighting from our vehicles.

It was a pleasant enough experience for us to visit but it was disconcerting to find the staff of CENTRELINK to be friendlier and more courteous than the Art Gallery Attendants, who didn’t exchange one word or one smile with us. What is this ? The era of COOL? There were similar comments in the Visitors’ Book as well.

The great pleasure for us lay in the Exhibition which was just opening when we arrived. GREAT COLLECTIONS it is called and is on NSW REGIONAL TOUR.

GREAT COLLECTIONS, as per the blurb;

is a landmark exhibition that brings together iconic treasures from the eight premier cultural institutions of NSW.

The pleasure for us was in one particular section which was the THOMAS BARKER silverware and plaque. Not at all what we expected on a Murwillumbah Morning. There it was – 1830s-1850s artefacts from the man who had BASIL KENDALL tried for his dodginess. The man who employed PATRICK McNALLY and probably my own ancestor, or step/ancestor, HENRY SAMUELS. A great pleasure to be within one sheet of glass from actually touching the history we are seeking. Thanks, ART GALLERY. Perhaps next time a smile and a chat could accompany the Viewing. Next to us was a fascinating couple making some interesting observations on a piece of furniture. They would have been worth talking to as well.


On HomeComing, DOS informed us of a visit he paid with some friends to the Gallery last week in which they encountered a similar reception and don’t intend returning. They were even more unfortunate than us in that the Exhibition was closed and so was the Cafe when they were there. No matter. Lovely views, Thomas Barker and a fine cake and coffee. Enough complaining for today.   


Whilst acknowledging that its not the North to those further up the Australian map, for me this is the NORTH. Coming across JIM BELSHAW’s NEW ENGLAND Blog put a match to a few wee sticks of smouldering resentments which I have been allowing to burn softly. “Resentment” isn’t applicable to all of the issues. Some are simply observations. They are, however, wee sticks on a fire which flares now and then.



One of these wee smouldering sticks is this. Peter Knox, BCA Hons. MA. Hons. PhD Canditate through University of Wollongong, interrupted his  PhD Candidature for 2 years, 2006/2007 to participate in the research and development of the huge AUSTLIT PROJECT

AustLit is a non-profit collaboration between twelve Australian Universities and the
National Library of Australia providing authoritative information on hundreds of thousands of creative and critical Australian literature works relating to more than 100,000 Australian authors and literary organisations. Its coverage spans 1780 to the present day.

On completion of his contract with AUSTLIT and having become enamoured of the NORTH, he decided to continue his PhD in this Region and proceeded to apply to the Universities of New England and the Southern Cross with the intention of transferring from UOW. Both establishments found themselves unable to take on this candidature for various reasons including lack of anyone capable of supervising this particular thesis. None of these included verbal or personal contact. Simple email responses with one exception.

I have no intention of fighting Peter’s fights for him. He is able to do that.

My burning sticks are these:

Peter’s thesis is about Melinda Kendall, a poetess born in NSW in 1815 and one of the very early settlers of the Clarence.  I, myself, would like to see her story emerge from the heavily forested rivers of history but it appears it won’t be done with the support of UNE or SCU. Odd! One element of Peter’s request for transfer was “the very fact of her presence in this region and that  the University of New England, like the University of Wollongong, doesn’t seem to be situated philosophically and academically in the area of its physical location.”  

Is there not a simple basic  courtesy in the way we deal with one another academically? 

Are there so many PhD Candidates applying for transfer  that personal interviews would exhaust the valuable time and energies of the prospective supervisors and institutions?

In the meantime, UOW continues to support this project at a distance whilst leaving the Northern Universities unruffled by Southern Invasion.

And in a less rankled way. The NEW ENGLAND STATE BLOG, aroused in me a desire to see the area which has been home to me and mine for generations , truly retrieved from the shadows and not only by the Genealogists and Volunteers who work hard to keep safe the fragments of a barely examined past.

In the ARCHIVES in ARMIDALE, we were really shown the ropes and I was MOST IMPRESSED. It even smelt sacred in there.



Nevertheless, it seems to me, as a NSW Northerner, with a passion in particular for the RIVERS, that the next development in historical maturity would do well to involve far more  tertiary level involvement.



The fundamental rights of [humanity] are,

first: the right of habitation;

second, the right to move freely;

third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it;

fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange;

fifth, the right to justice;

sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and

seventh, the right to education.


Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind, independent of the prevalent one among the crowds, and in opposition to it — a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.



The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
Take a look at this page for more concepts of SOCIAL JUSTICE including


When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.


And one Roman Catholic Priest. I am a lapsed childhood Methodist but I like this man.

Inside of everything that’s best in us, we hear an invitation to join him there: To live in pain rather than lower our standards, to risk being alone rather than compromise who we really are, and to be lonely, mighty lonely even, rather than to sell ourselves short.

Any definition of a culture of peace must address the problem of achieving justice for communities and individuals who do not have the means to compete or cope without structured assistance and compassionate help.
Mahnaz Afkhami


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

I have friends who do considerable good in the world, and I don’t seem able to do that but I just read this;

“Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.” — Mohandas Gandhi

Important perhaps for the single mother who on becoming PARTNERED found SHE was not eligible for a training course, only her new male partner was. Lucky he was a nice bloke. Take a look at the amount of personal power that a young woman loses when partnering as a single parent and at the pressures it puts on all members of the newly forming family.

“We don’t have to agree on everything but we should be known for disagreeing well and respectfully.” – Shane Claiborne

I wish I did that better. More moderately and without bursting into tears.


Daniel Berrigan, SJ
“… we are that small and assailed and powerless group of people who are nonviolent in principle and who are willing to suffer for our beliefs in the hope of creating something very different for those who will follow us. It is we who feel compelled to ask, along with, let’s say, Bonhoeffer or Socrates or Jesus, how man is to live as a human being and how his communities are to form and to proliferate as instruments of human change and of human justice; and it is we who struggle to do more than pose the questions—but rather, live as though the questions were all-important, even though they cannot be immediately answered.”

—from “A Dialogue With Radical Priest Daniel Berrigan” in Time(March 22, 1971


“It is better to be generous than just. It is sometimes better to sympathize instead of trying to understand.”
~ Pierre Lecompte de Nouy

Now I’m going back to my SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES Site of quotes and proverbs with images. The theme will be continued there.



The preceding post graphically illustrates some of the historical aspects of my Centrelink Tremors. Include standing before a magistrate at the age of 54 or so – atrembling amongst other ‘felons’ and being fingerprinted by an apologetic constable and my attitudinal problem with authority makes more sense – ” to me “.  Sutherland Shire Crofters driven from their miniature farms, Irish Convicts, Glaswegian thieves, London counterfeiters. They’re all in there plus more. Most likely, James Bell DID attempt to rob the Oyster Bar. Most likely, Hannah Hutchings DID hide the figured poplin under her skirts. Sentenced to death she was for that one. I only received a one year good behaviour bond for my ‘overpayments by Centrelink’ and am repaying it at a never ending $30 per fortnight from my pension of $530 per f.  John Curtis probably did make his own coins and was sent to Portsmouth for his cruise to NSW. I don’t know what Ann Moran or Johannah Ready did to have them transported for 7 years but there is a good chance that ‘THEY DUN IT’.

But the Devil is in the Details.

Did attempting to steal some figured poplin warrant a death sentence?

Did coinage warrant loss of family, home etc FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE?

Does doing a PhD warrant no Government Support?

Does failure to attend a Job Network Training Course ( ‘how to write a resume’) warrant a breach and withdrawal of payments?

Does not reporting a day’s work really require the consequences that now occur?

I have years now of anecdotal and proven Centrelink responses and initiatives in my case and in many others around me. For years I have felt ashamed of my failure to thrive or fit within the parameters of either the workforce or welfare system. Fairly sure that I deserved to be paying back $30 per fortnight from my pension. Fairly sure that if I dared to say anything, then things which were already intimidating and frightening would get worse.  Pretty much convinced that I must be basically flawed and possibly even an inherent criminal to have come to such a place. I might well be having mature age onset Irish Rebel Disease. I WAS fined $82 for dipping my headlights at oncoming traffic to warn them of police presence and that was only a month or so back but I think there would be wiser and broader concepts here if I only had the words for them. Something about Social Justice. Something about compassion.

I come from the Anti Vietnam era of the late 60s and early 70s and the Hippy Society. I do not have the skills of the politically correct, “stay calm” era. As the years have passed, the things which I saw happen in the last 21 years or so seem more outrageous not less. It now seems outrageous to me that ANY person is refused the very bottom line of subsistence such as Newstart for ANY REASON AT ALL. Just from a quick memory scan, these are a few of the distressing recalls I have. More Later. I have over the years looked like a Loony in hysterical reaction . Now I am old enough to not care. 

  • A young country man app 17 years of age was required to report to whichever Job Network thingummy bob was in vogue at that time. He was, as is common, required to report to a town which he could not reach without a vehicle other than by hitching. Having given him and some other lads a lift, I waited outside said agency while he completed the Forms. Out he comes and says to me, pointing to the very first question, ” Lynne, Do I have a psychiatric illness ?” Not a question I would have thought to be asked without medical supervision and support.
  • A young woman residing in a rural community was flooded out on the far side of the Centrelink ‘ handing in form’ office. Phones were out. No way through. Her mother called the Centrelink office to notify them that the girl would be unable to hand her Form in on that Day. The Response included. “She should not live that far from town if she wants benefits.” And ” we will not record your call because she has not made it herself”.


  • Dole forms were often required to be handed in the day before the ‘Clients” were to be paid. Often the Centrelink office was in the nearest town and in rural centres it could mean many kilometres for people without vehicles or money. Often, all that was then asked was that the “Client’ place the form in a box at the entry to the Office and then attempt the reverse journey.


  • On one occasion, when I was considering retraining from Primary School Teaching, due to the illnesses which have now led to my being on this pension, the Job Agency Case Manager breached me for not reporting to an interview whilst I was on a heart monitor in the Local Hospital. By that time, I was familiar with the hazards of the Welfare World and actually had the nurse call him but he breached me nonetheless.


  • When 2 people PARTNER in Centrelink Terms, their needs of a sudden appear to become much reduced. Check the amounts on the Centrelink Site.


I have barely dared to complain over the last non-compassionate years. I have a feeling that perhaps more people are tasting the bitterness of life down here on the ground. Maybe understanding will evolve from that.  I shall recall some more of the Centrelink Encounters in small doses. The memories are Traumatic as is the Present.


And to wrap it up for the day, other than locating some SOCIAL JUSTICE quotes by the Wiser and Broader, even when the Centrelink Officers and Departmental Assistants are truly trying to help us, their clarity on the issues, the legislation and what process we should follow right now in our present situation seems confused, minimal and variable. Three times we have followed Centrelink Advice with assurances that we were doing the correct thing, only to reach final interviews and be told that we did not qualify for payment. This time we have been asked to bring a ” part time enrolment form’ for Peter’s PhD. A PART TIME ENROLMENT FORM ! Not common at this level of Academia.

I say;


As Rev Samuel Marsden said of my GGG Grandfather John Ready;


and David Murray writes of the same ancestor;


Ah Lordie, is this to be my fate?



the 8-8-08 was a big day.


We had a good deal of trouble wrapping her gift in a manner which AUSTRALIA POST found acceptable and I think it didn’t get there in on the correct date as a result. I am sorry for that because I like my little daughter in law very much and would give her far more if I could.

jos present 008

The weather was mild and starlit and The Bandits were at Brunswick Heads Hotel which has very good food , good atmosphere and  good people. We met up with a lady by the name of Pam Burnard from the UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE and did some PhD talking. The crowd loved the Bandits and PJ did a fine drumming to Scrubby’s Train songs.

Down on the corner I saw a sign saying astronomy event here today and a large telescope set up with a van beside it which appeared have a video of the astronomy event showing but by the time I did a circuit of the block and returned to take a look – the scope and the van were gone.


A grand night all round with dancers from wee children to cartwheelers , skiffling 20 year olds , lovers from Cambridge University and a couple just slightly older than Iz and me , all on their feet and singing along. They are threatening to cut out live music due to the complainers. What sense does it make to stop the families dancing ?

Just to bring it into the category of ” THIS IS A NIGHT I CAN ADD TO MY NIGHTS I REMEMBER WELL” , Dave brought down the big screens and I seated myself in a carved wooden seat near the big gas burners while the lads packed the gear away and I watched the OLYMPICS OPENING IN BEIJING.






Well – Still  struggling with drop outs on the internet so I rang LARA again . Lara is the Replicant woman on the Vodafone line . I know how to speak to her somewhat now and I know that  I need to say VMC. That got me through toute suite to a real person in another country who was a combo of pleasant and efficient. My case has been ESCALATED already – silly me. Should have known. Telstra works fine now that we have had the Village Rally and the Today Tonight TV show and now it does seem that Vodafone – at least explain what they are doing to help. He tells me Engineers have been sent out to do an on site test of coverage and to check my device . As long as Earle ” the belligerent farmer” hasn’t obstructed them – they could be anywhere around me . The very Nice Vodafone man in another country  told me it took 3 days from ESCALATION to resolution. Then he realised 4 days had passed so he said that he meant “3 days from now. Working Days that is “. So I said. Ok. After the year of obstructionsim and lies from Telstra – 7 days is NOTHING AT ALL. Specially with explanations as the Escalation goes along.  I am in  fact quite impressed at the civility , action and technical savvy. Thanks Vodafone. Mind you I am still on restrictions while I have the chance at these newspapers and thats a bummer but it is not as bad as when my Dad died and the Mouse ate my other PC. Nor is it as bad as CHILLI and BIG AIR all through 2007. Izzy is down at THE BOB DYLAN SONGBOOK BAND but I remain in contemplpative withdrawal. Bruised by the world. So I have ClassicFm on and incense burning and the front door closed in some gesture of renunciation while I return to the 19th century war between Canada and US and try to find some indication of PATRICK MCNALLY, JUDITH KILFROY OR MCDERMOTT. I seem to think that if I just keep publicly begging on the Internet someone will go AHA ! here are the birth and marriage dates. Here is a well padded story about Pat and Jude and the Kids.

No luck so far but I have had plenty of good fortune with my own family research. So I shall keep at it.




Sometimes I live in the country

Sometimes I live in the town

Sometimes I have a great notion to jump into the river and drown



KATI B at Kirra Pub with the petrol cap we left on the roof and the open taNK.  Sometimes I have a great notion – especially now with the internet playing up with the same ferocity as the phones did last year. Pat the Rat used  to say the Alcoholic had a great desire to neck himself . Vodafone is inspiring that urge in me this week. Rough connections and no connections. Thought it was my own sweet as ACER Aspire series laptop – tried the little ACER Pc I call Elpacca and she did the same thing. dropping out. Pages not opening. Near Hysteria.

The laptop worked just fine down at the Aza motel in Lismore on their wirless. So we try ringing  VODAFONE ” Support”. Not an Australian Accent. No matter. Followed a complex set of troubleshooting directions which pretty much dismantled Izzys phone and my laptop. No result. Tried distracting into playing Age of Empires instead – then ventured to sneak up on the Internet from behind. Still not working so I rang VODAFONE again. Doesn’t sound intimidating but IT IS ! First I have to talk to LARA – the  Replicant – in a language she seems to understand but which I don’t. Then I meet an American woman – nice for me – I don’t travel much who passes me onto the Broadband team – well- waited on ring tone for 12 minutes first – then I encountered something I have been encountering a bit in this collapsing era. A real person who was honest. MAKES A DIFFERENCE. After the telstra year of lying, ducking and dodging and calling Earle ( who is a very nice man) – a BELLIGERENT FARMER – when he reached hysteria and nervous thermal combustion in trying to deal with them – well Telstra people began to get honest. Behind the Weavers and Artful Dodgers – are the People.  NOT the ones named Starr, and Sweetness , and Melanie and etc who are posted at the front line to evoke sympathy – not the ones who say ” You don’t know how hard it is to run a cable over Bilambil Mountain” – but real people who break party line and TELL YOU THE TRUTH.  I’m pretty good with the truth even when I don’t like it. Doesn’t even make me want to SUE them which seems to be the major fear. ” I am not litiginous by nature “. Makes me feel a bit like Earle – the belligerent farmer. The gentle man who grows thousands of trees and takes care of the wee animals. Makes me feel like throwing myself into the river and drowning.

This PERSON with another American Accent did inform me that its a big problem. MASSIVE UPDATES AND UPGRADES AND UP YOURS that VODAFONE is doing. Good God !!! Why didn’t they say that  last night ? Why didn’t they put it on the website or send an SMS – anything except pretend it was all ok. Anyway VODAFONE is trying like the rest of the world to adjust to  3G – the miracle of 3G – The 3 Goons perhaps. So we WAIT – pay and wait as usual.

And remember the good times, Jamoze with my girl and her lad.  Lismore with the iz.