Gandy of the Golden Curls

 So Gandy left us on Thursday.

I thought I heard a click of his claws on the floor,

And thought of him, going through the door

On his way to join Malcolm and Moo.

 

A perky even frisky fellow, not quite a gent.

In fact quite a scruff, curly and unkempt

In a laddish, charming way.

 

Frolic was his second name;

Good company and well behaved,

Whenever he came to stay.

 

The skip in your step and hop on the bed

Gave birth to grins and forgiveness of sins.

Thank you for all the comfort and joy,

We are  poorer without you dear old boy.

 

 

 

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Sursum Corda*

(*Lift up your hearts)

I get up just before the sun to walk Lulu. My Dad called staying in bed after you wake up ‘scugging’, – I am not a scug.

The first few minutes are  mostly muzzy: where are my shoes? Fill the bird feeder or the bird shrieks until its fed, waking herself… why am I doing this thoughts begin seeping up….

Then Lulu woofs and I go to her room and she kisses me and bounces around making soft growly joyous sounds.

As we step outside the cool freshness is sublime.

Morning skies this week have been blue with high wispy wind clouds tinged pink by  early sunlight. This morning they were swollen, lowering grey with a hint of purple. Maybe it will rain.

stone curlewAt the end of the street, two stone curlews freeze and pretend invisibility. Lulu suspects something but is not sure.

We are heralded by the butcher birds who whistle and chortle from tree to tree. The kookaburra leads us across the park.

Under the big gum tree that is shedding its winter bark and displaying its new pastel green skin, two crows are examining something on the path. They shout squawk off  but flee as I approach. Their interest was not a blue tongued lizard as I had thought, but an Australian wonder: a squirrel glider.

squirrel-glider.jpg

Such a pretty little thing! It hopped towards me miaowchirping as if to say thank you, pleasecanIwalkwithyou. I said No and herded it to a tree waving away a persistent crow. It scrambled up  and was soon safely out of sight. A lovely little animal – I have not seen one before.

We walk on under a fig tree quivering with breakfast birds and past the water-dragon.jpgsilly ducks that think I am a feeder. I am not.

Two water dragons stretch their necks, frozen to bathe in the morning sun.

magpie goose

Three magpie geese waddle away from us as we walk down to the bridge.

purple swamphenLulu tries to ignore the purple swamp hens (pukeko in New Zealand) who gallump across the path on tbush turkeyheir long feet and the bush turkey scuffling on its mound of leaves which it uses to keep its eggs warm.

Back up the path, we meet Harry a big grinning chocolate Labrador for a sniff and a smile. Then home again.

Let us give thanks and praise.

Dignum et justum est. It is right and just

 

 

 

The Deliberate Termination of Life

(Be warned: you may be horrified and disturbed by this article. It’s about abortion and execution. Maybe you should skip it?)

 

I read a recent report on the execution of a murderer in South Dakota. The wife of the murderer’s victim said it was a peaceful and sterile death, not like that of her husband who died in a pool of blood with his head bashed in.

The murderer had been serving a life sentence for attempted murder and kidnapping when he killed a prison guard in an attempted escape. The appeal process had taken seven years.

In the same online news website there was a report from a woman who had an abortion at the age of 16. Her outrage was directed at the doctors who were clinical and distant, when questioning a sixteen-year-old to confirm that she didn’t want to continue the pregnancy. She felt that wasn’t simply unkind, it was cruel, so the law on abortion should be changed to unchecked abortion on demand.

That stirred some sort of turmoil in me.

I believe in the death penalty, just not the inhuman delay between sentence and execution. Some murderers cannot be rehabilitated and need to be removed from society. Imprisonment is cruel and costly. It is not right that society should be forever burdened by the cost of prisons.

Soon (if not already) it will be possible to monitor every persons’ movements. Everyone will need a permanent unalterable identity marker in order to transact any business, access the internet or enter buildings.

Vicious criminals could have this identity revoked and be restricted to isolated regions; (Mars comes to mind). If they defy the restrictions they could be taken out by armed drone guards. They would have to regulate themselves and produce their own food and produce to sell for a livelihood.

Thieves and perverts can be electronically marked so that everyone knows them as such and they can be prevented from entering specified areas.

 

The thought of unchecked abortion on  demand for sixteen year olds fills me with horror. I am not against abortion. There needs to be some interrogation and education involved. Surely getting an abortion is more serious a thing than buying a puppy?

What I am against is free and easy abortion – Vegas wedding chapel type abortion options:

  • Your surgeon/abortionist could be an Elvis look alike and champagne will be served to celebrate your freedom to be fucking stupid again!
  • Would you prefer an abortifacient that induces abortion. (Abortifacients for animals that have mated undesirably are known as mismating shots – how cute!)
  •  or a suction curette to cut and suck it out?
  • Every third abortion is free through Eezy Abortion Clinics

Mind you, I am not against sterilization of the irresponsible and castration of rapists either.

Just as well I didn’t become a judge!

 

The poisons we love

Imagine if chocolate was found to be the cause of a major proliferation of diabetes in children. smarties

Revolting image – sorry! (It will probably kill me too! I love Smarties…).

Would we stop eating chocolate …?

So, what’s my point? Well, it’s the poison we all have built into every aspect of our lives, surrounding us and almost indispensable! I am talking about plasticplastic in all of usPlastic affects human health. Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

It doesn’t decompose, it breaks down until we can’t see it and has entered every water system in the world.  Plastic soup anyone?

It is simple. The continued production of plastic must be prohibited – like dangerous drugs are. But plastic is so useful and efficient! Can you imagine your kitchen without Tupperware type containers? Or your house or your car …?

But plastic is very new technology. Its not even a hundred years old. Our parents and grandparents did without it. It’s certainly not essential, it’s useful …. and we are lazy, spoilt and indisciplined. We continually deny what we know is bad for us, because it makes our life easier, more fashionable, funky (think tattoos and body piercing).

I mean dogs lick cane toads for the buzz, for heaven’s sake, why can’t we be stoopid like them?

Plastic producers made plastic functional, fashionable and pervasive. It can’t be their fault – they were doing us all a favour, producing such cheap and useful stuff. But now that they know… it is all different.

In a 2014 Florida USA Court judgment, a tobacco producer was ordered to pay damages of $23 BILLION to a chain smoker’s widow. Think of the damages payable by plastic producers for all the harm caused to the population of the world by pollution and carcinogens in their products!

So next election, vote for the party that produces the best plans to:

  • educate our children about the fact that plastic is poisonous
  • ban the production of plastic
  • generate programs to eradicate or recycle plastic into less harmful products
  • funds research which enables widespread bio-degradation of plastic.

Yeah! I know this is a daydream and if the billions wiser than me can’t see it happening, it is not likely to happen…

plastic scavengeBut how would one dispose of these formerly loved poison lumps? Dump them in the bin, to be a treasure discovered by some Third World scavenger? (Yeah, refuse is exported to people rich, poor countries.)

 

Or chuck them in the river when no-one’s looking?

plastic wave

 

                                                              Apply your mind to save your future!

The Jam of History

Way back it was just God and Adam, who was lonely.

God was not, but had compassion.

Eve arrived to brighten the night.

All was good … for a while.

 

A snake whispered: whisper to me

the woman said why?

He couldn’t deny

and it all went awry.

 

Exile and exodus, murder and flood.

 

Never look back, just follow the man,

He’ll take you back to where it all began.

Or fail you, like He did in Japan.

 

The pot keeps boiling, sticky like tar.

We can’t recall what went in the jar.

We can’t look back, it stretches too far.

Reality Check

This video eloquently expresses the future shock boomers and later generations (people just like us who you know) are facing.

It sounds almost poetic; it is quite long, but stick with it (I know it’s hard for you) – it is a major life lesson:

TED video: retirement reality check

Remember that this woman is from affluent America!!

Swallowing our pride and coming out are the hardest thing to do if you’ve grown up in the Consumer Age, keeping up with the Joneses. Downsizing and offloading all that hard earned stuff is not easy.

when I get older

Relying on the State is just foolish. Age pension will shrink as longevity increases.

Check out your parents – they will hide their plight from you; it is anathema for you to help them out!

  • Show them this video
  • Talk to them;
  • ask them to show how they are coping
  • suggest ways for downsizing and trimming sails
  • consider more communal living if it reduces living costs and increases income

If you are young, start now to work out how you are going to live after you retire (probably at age 72).

when I get older i will

My view is that families should combine on rural land and produce as much food as possible.

 

Cockatoo

Crocodile Dundee calls it the Kakadu; the place where he bewitched water buffaloes and baffled crocodiles.

That’s where herself and I spent a few days camping in a tent – once next to a billabong in which we saw three crocodiles. freshie

Alright, they were only freshies, but they are not exactly toothless or harmless you know. One of our camp neighbours was over three metres long!

We were lucky enough to be invited to join friends doing a Grey Nomad trip through the Territory in their caravan. We sourced a tent and self inflating mattresses and hopped on a plane. Such spontaneity for 65+ year olds is invigorating!

The Kakadu National Park is part of the Northern Territory and very much on the caravan route which could be called the grey fringe of Australia because of the  continuous flow of  middle aged caravanners, campers and tourists which clog the camps and roads.

That is,  in the dry, up North; in the wet monsoon and cyclone months most of the area is under water or subject to flooding at a moment’s notice.

In the summer months 75% of the area is burnt off. The result is a open  savannah with burn scarred trees, rejuvenated grass, anthills and lots of  cycads. Sadly, we saw almost more roadkill than live animals: a few feral pigs and wallaroos. Despite lush grasslands, there were not many water buffalo in parks and a few cattle in areas outside of parks. I was reminded of the rocky ridged cattle country near Nomahasha in Swaziland.

Waterways were busy with birdlife and crocodile seeking tourists. Every roadside, park entrance and river bank is posted with warning signs about the danger of salties: the ubiquitous and lethal estuarine crocodiles.

Paradoxically, the most popular tourist venues and camps were those adjacent to beautiful billabongs, pools and streams where swimming was deemed safe. Nevertheless these places were studded with signs advising that estuarine crocodiles were know to visit all waters, but were removed when observed; freshwater crocodiles were always present and harmful if provoked!

The waters were clear and refreshing with gushing waterfalls and darting fish. Everyone swam, including herself, who has a known aversion to chilly water.

There were quite a few birds, many of which were clearly kin to African counterparts:

rainbow pitta

Cockatoos, storks, coucals, cormorants, flycatchers, bee eaters, ducks, geese and rainbow bee eater

hawks and eagles. I think I saw a Rainbow Pitta, which I have not seen before; my dream birds, the bee eaters, followed me all over the North.

The best bird was the Jabirua black stork, with a powerful bill said to be strong enough to pierce a croc’s skull. Certainly they were ignored by large passing salties.ro jabiru

If you are brave enough to fish, the Barramundi, provides fine sport and is a very tasty fish dish. The only one I saw caught was a ten kilogram plus beauty, snapped up by a huge crocodile.barra-croc.jpg

We had a really good trip with our good friends and tenting was quite fun; certainly no hardship. Beer and wine seemed to go down quite well despite the fact that it is more difficult to buy alcohol in the Territory than it was in Alabama during Prohibition.

There are huge social problems with Aboriginal communities as a result of generations of drink dependency which necessitate such measures.

I was left with a somewhat surreal impression of empty land with crowded roads and camps, lovely waterways and an economy greatly dependent on a population of crocodiles, once nearly exterminated by hunting, now nearing over abundance!

The Kakadu must be very interesting to see in the wet, but with temperatures in the 40’s and humidity consistently close to 100%, I will rather read about it.