We had a python in our garden recently, again. After a tense search, I discerned the python lying motionless, poised above our bird feeding basket.

It remained there, motionless but with its head and neck coiled like a spring, for 36 hours. Then the position was changed for a while, followed by a return to the same post for another 12 hour vigil. The kerfuffle we heard in the middle of the night was probably the demise of a plump item on the food chain. It was gone the next morning.

As patient as a python, I thought.

Idly thinking about the prey of the python, I eventually pondered about sudden death. Just like it could happen to a plump pigeon, a garish lorikiet or a cautious possum, dining at a well known food spot , as they had for years…, so could it happen to anyone, even me!

But what about God’s plan for me? (Many years ago, a young Irish priest told me in confidence that God had a special plan for me).

Sooo …. now I am on shaky ground all of a sudden! Do I doubt this special plan and thereby risk losing my special connection with big G? Will it thrust me back into the pool of the ordinary people without special connections who like plump possums are subject to sudden death by python or squashing by runaway steamrollers or succumbing to coronavirus or … just choking on a potato…?

It is a fundamental, elemental question which tests faith and defies intellect and … I can hear Freddy Mercury singing Who wants to live forever?

Take this cup away from me, I am not brave enough to make the call. I have little faith in humans and their versions of God, yet the very idea of God is appealing and comforting.

Why is sacrifice necessary to gain Paradise? Why can we not just believe and shutoff the questions raised by our mind?

Sorry this randomly took its own direction … quite awkward actually. But that how it rolls sometimes…


  • bogus
  • counterfeit
  • fabricated
  • fictitious
  • forged
  • fraudulent
  • mock
  • phony
  • spurious
  • affected
  • assumed
  • concocted
  • invented
  • make-believe
  • pretended
  • pseudo
  • reproduction
  • sham
  • simulated
  • artificial

What a lovely list of synonyms – they are all so true, pertinent and apposite!

How sad that they have no currency today – nobody cares if any of these epithets are applied to themselves or their actions!

It was a glimpse of Elton John breaking down and weeping at his 937th concert because “walking pneumonia” prevented him from continuing to sing and play, that spawned this rant.

It wasn’t his crocodile rock tears, nor his powder blue sequined jacket and certainly not his music.

It was his lovely head of artificial hair looking so soft, fulsome and naturally brown on his chubby 72 year old head.

It made me think of all the other sham, artificial and simulated crap that is presented as valid entertainment on television today. The epitome of bogus in a slather of similar pseudo products is “Married at First Sight”.

The concept is wretched and the participants are mostly pathetic, shallow, botoxed, counterfeit people desperate for the accolade of celebrity.

Apparently, in Australia, there were 15000 applicants for this years’ production. What is worse is that over a million people watch each episode; more than the news or any other channels’ offerings.

Who can justify this fascination with tawdry, immoral, unscrupulous, desperate producers recruiting such poor human examples and their friends and families in shabby, sordid, sly and salacious screenings?

Botox, breast and buttocks implants are the winners. Good news, heroism, achievements and success are rejected – too hard.

Fake is cheaper and easier and quite acceptable.

Can you say that you watch MAFS without a twinge or even the slightest distaste, revulsion or horror?

I suppose it is the equivalent of watching the barbarities committed in the Colloseum to entertain Caesars …. it seems many people love watching pigs in blood, so long as they are not spattered.

They pretend that they are not affected by the behaviour they watch – is it pride? Look at that – it is sooo bad, sad and pathetic, I would never do that…!

How can we stop this love affair with the sham and shoddy, this belief that artificial is better than real, that dyed hair is preferable, that …. aargh! I give up!

Roll on Blockchain!


Lidi de Waal

die vrou sien die rolbos teen die lyndraad vasgewaai
langs die teerpad anderkant leeu gamka
en skielik kry die rolbos ń gesig
en ore en hare en ń lyf
en hande met ringe aan die duime
en die hande probeer desperatly vasklou
aan enige iets wat sal anker
maar sy kan sien die anker is te swak
en die wind is te sterk
en sy weet …. dis sy daai
en sooner rather than later
gaan een of ander wind
hetsy ń kunswind of ń hartswind of destiny
of sommer net ń bee in the bonnet alleenwind
haar weer in haar moer in aanwaai
tot sy conveniently iewers vaswaai
en die hande met die ringe aan die duime
sal desperatly try vasklou
en sy sal sê nou’s ons fokken klaar rondgewaai
hier bly ons nou
maar na ń jaar of so sal sy sien die anker is te swak
en die wind raak te sterk
en sooner rather than later
gaan een of ander wind
haar weer in haar moer in aanwaai
tot sy


Everyone everywhere should be screened

Let the camera capture

your face, your life, your ups and


And hers and his and theirs

All must be screened – t’will

make us feel safer and happier, until

we think about

Who screens

the Screeners.


Look at the screen

be obscene and herd.

This is our new morality:

I was on tv

did you see me?

Feral dogs in the media

A Redland City Bulletin reported earlier in the year that on North Stradbroke Island, feral dogs were killing up to five native animals every two days; a fisherman had been attacked and camping grounds had been closed. The island has suffered substantial dog problems over past years.

It has been decided that the point has been reached where action needs to be taken; putting cameras up and speaking to dog owners has not removed the risk and more native animals have been massacred. It has now been decided that the dogs must be captured and destroyed. A plan to phase out domestic dogs and cats is being seriously considered.


In my youth in Swaziland, a rabid dog passed through a local town, where my elder brother was a policeman. We were deputised to immediately round up and destroy every loose domestic animal: the risk of rabies infection was too great.

The rabid dog entered my brother’s own yard, where Pluto, his magnificent ex-circus giant Poodle attacked it, probably  saving my baby nephew who had been left sleeping in a pram in the garden. Poor Pluto had to be destroyed with the rabid dog.

The first point I wish to make is that the rabid dog decision was immediate, without any consultation or compromise or interim measures. Alas! These are the almost unfailing requirements in modern-day decision making, in order that no interested party is ignored or offended and there are so many….

I met our local city councillor and deputy Mayor recently, personally distributing a letter to letterboxes. The letter invited feedback about the proposed institution of a reduced speed limit on our housing estate. While I admire her cost-saving initiative and lack of hubris, I question the wisdom of such measures to consult ratepayers on so trivial a matter, as well as the other typical modern day solution: erect a sign or a notice to solve a problem.

We are turning into a society obsessed by trivia, driven to seek out perceived offences against precious human rights in order to be able to blurt our outrage to the world.

We must learn to empower our leaders to make strong, quick decisions to protect our communities and our country and leave them to get on with the job!


The media driven issue creation and the potential for social media frenzied reactions based on headline information brings knee-jerk reaction from politicians with hasty attempts to quell criticism.

Twitter debate legislation degrades the quality of government.

Blue blood?

You are unlikely to believe me when I tell you that I am directly descended from English kings through both my father and my mother.

Through my Irish grandfather I am possibly descended from the Emperor Charlemagne and the Baron of Loughmoe in County Tipperary (the Poms destroyed our castle and removed the title in the 17 th Century..)

We are sure that you (or some of you) instinctively knew that we were special, not quite hoi polloi. There is proof – all will be revealed soon!

As you will see, We (that is me) are double blue blooded, through Her Majesty my mother and His Majesty my father…. so you won’t mind if we sit above you at dinner?

Lineage to Kings of England: *

my father 23 generations (mostly Scots)

John Lackland, King of England 1166

Henry III of England his son

Edward I “Longshanks”, King of England his son

Edward II of England his son → 19 generations, mostly Dutch

my Grandmother

With royal blessings and good wishes

Malachy of Mbabane
Duke of Queensland.

P.S. Please do not stand on ceremony, no more than a bow/curtsy once a day will suffice …

Perhaps an Induna’s headring would be more appropriate, to signify our family’s extensive sojourn in Africa….?

Genealogy can be of great interest. My daughter (she denies she wishes to be recognised as a Princess) gave me an Ancestry spit test kit for Christmas. So the evidence will soon be in.

Timing is everything of course – is it serendipity that Prince Harry had decided to go and hide in Canada with his dusky Duchess? – There is now a glaring hole in the line-up… I hope they hurry up with my spit test, so I can send it on to Cousin Lilibet.


(* as reported by

Nostalgia and sentiment

Heaven knows that I, and at least one of my brothers and two of my daughters, are blubbers. Partings and reunions, happy endings and the triumph of love are all guaranteed to start the drip, sniff, drip of tears.

In our part of the world, fortunately some miles away, forests are burning with a natural vigour and lethal beauty, filling our screens with orange and our skies with smoke. People are reluctantly forced to flee, leaving their all behind. Their faces filled with conflicting elation at escaping, wonder at the awful consumption of the fire and despair at having lost everything; grubby survivors express their gratitude and resilience. Such a wonder in dire times. They thicken one’s throat every time.

A local animal carer posted an appeal for soft toys for orphaned koalas to cling to. We responded that we had a bear or two which had been ignored for some time who were willing to serve.

Herself offered up Oswald, who was a bear she had asked to accompany her on a long road trip when moving from the North Island to join me on the unknown, distant South island. I didn’t know him very well. He is quite a big fella, able to see over the dashboard so he could keep an eye on the road as they drove.

I gave a sigh of relief as that meant that I didn’t have to give up Hadley Alexander, who had been my bear for about the last 30 years. He has a tartan ribbon, but I am unable to discern which clan it represents.

A few days before collection, a dinosaur, moose and a chimp were added to the volunteer crew. They were anonymous soft toys, selected to entertain and be ripped up by a young chewy puppy, but who had escaped that ordeal.

I noticed that Oswald had been withdrawn from the group; parting had been too hard.

After a delay in collection over Christmas, a new date was set. Bravely, I asked Hadley if he was willing, and he unhesitatingly raised his paw and growled his assent. So I wrote his name on a label and took him to the collection point.

As I walked out the door, I found that my feet were sticking and a tear trickled … I couldn’t let him go!

Oswald and Hadley

How do we sophisticated beings explain this sentimental attachment to things? Doug Larsen said Nostalgia is what takes the rough edges off the good old days – maybe that’s what it is.

Could you give away your teddy bear?

Random New Year’s Day thoughts

I am being serenaded by a friendly magpie lark. His/her shrill calls piercing my hearing aided ears.

Lulu came limping in just after dark last night. She wouldn’t tell us what happened and we feared it may have been a snake…

We loaded her up and took her to a vet hospital in Manly, where she hopped out the car and started snuffling about hardly limping at all. We went home unvetted – she’s good.

Si and Mags arrived and made their big announcement: they were doing a Dry January. I was miffed – I would have joined them, but I had just opened my first beer of the day, year and decade. I feel better now; more like a pioneer.

Reviewing the decade, our move to Australia dominates; it was a good decision. Our little cameo stay in Oamaru holds bright if not many warm memories.

I suppose the next ten years will be about downsizing. We will get a few trips and jols in before we move into wheelchairs, so the kids still have a few years of freedom.

We have been very lucky.

My crystal ball gazing suggests:

  • Africans will get poorer as their rulers fail to provide for other than themselves
  • The primacy of individual rights will subside as surveillance becomes ubiquitous.
  • Liberal governments will remain hampered by populist demands for attention to every little individual need. Autocratic governments will grow stronger.
  • Government processes will become digitised and more efficient.
  • There will be no cash money. Cryptocurrency may lead to a universal currency and a basic income may become available for all.
  • Individual car ownership will diminish under shared ownership; petrol will disappear.
  • Water will become highly valued. Unproductive land will be uneconomical (i.e. lawns and gardens)
  • Waste management and plastic eradication will be of paramount importance
  • Air transport will come to your door.

That’s enough thumbsucking. Make a note to check my predictions in 2030 – you won’t remember but Google will!

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
Vincent Van Gogh

Childhood fantasies

’tis the season to be merry… and mindful.

I have been listening to Christmas Carols and the like (parts of The Messiah and a fairytale of New York) and sentimental memories had my eyes watering.

Some days I sing quite well and can hold a tune; other days I creak and squeak, so I only sing in brief bursts, when my heart lifts and my lungs fill spontaneously.

My memory played a strange trick on me recently. The First Noel has an ascending chorus line which can be drawn out …. My children do not like it, but I find the long drawn out Noel Nooooweeeeell irresistible. Inevitably I am the only one doing this and it attracts attention from others. They get embarrassed and cringe and these days walk out if it happens to start playing…

My memory is of having them around me at the carol singing evening at Havelock Mine, where I lived in the ’60’s and early ’70’s. We were up on the balcony and they were all looking at me with great apprehension as the song progressed… it is a clear picture in my mind.

The trick is that it wasn’t my children, it was my brother and I and it was my father who was stretching out for the chorus… my children were not born yet.

Carols at Christmas are tied up with many of my own childhood family memories. Away in a manger is mawkish and sentimental but it always prompts a memory of the amphitheatre in Mbabane, candles in cardboard holders and even a real donkey in the Nativity scene and Daddy singing No-owell, No-owell, No-owelll, No-oweeell and all eyes turning. What a strange mixture of embarrassment and pride! No-one could sing as loudly or as bravely as my Dad; he had a fine voice. Mark my footsteps good my page, treadst thou in them boldly!

Now that I am older than I once was, I am ticking off items on my bucket list. I did that today – I cooked a Gingerbread Man!

As you may recall, I have made a number of culinary endeavours and some have been almost successful.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a rolling pin, so used a bottle which didn’t work; nor did the cookie cutter for which I had scoured the town.

Not a work of art, but I can tick it off!

Phone addiction – bike rides in the ‘burbs iii

As an aging adult in my late sixties, I believe my life experiences and observations allow me the freedom to offer my humble opinion of modern behavioural trends.

One such trend which is topical and irksomely pervasive is the compulsion to pay more attention to a mobile phone than the surrounding people and environment.

I find it quite offensive that people keep their phones within eyesight and reach and scrutinise it for new surprises almost every minute, notwithstanding participation in the conversation of company.

The terrifying sight of primary school cyclists pedalling along main roads while eyes-down and thumbing text messages is not uncommon.

App allure is clearly mesmerising !

I have muttered criticism and spouted off my horror and concerns frequently.

It is embarrassing to fall victim of that behaviour which I have so soundly castigated!

On my return from a fishing trip to Fraser Island with some gabbas* and a young son of one, I was determined to work on reducing my girth which had been subject of some very pointed comments.

So I arose before sunrise and dressed, pumped up my tyre (which was nearly enough to exhaust me) and prepared to launch on my first daily exercise.

As a techno savvy modern man, I had downloaded a cycling computer app onto my phone which tracked speed, distance, time, route, pulse rate and many other such things. I had even acquired a special mount on my bike for it.

I switched it on and coasted down the drive, but had to return for my spiky helmet (protection against swooping magpies). Now fully equipped I started on my familiar route through the suburb to the creek…

With mild concern I noticed that it seemed that the computer display was not showing distance travelled.

Fortunately it was a familiar road and no travellers were about at 5 a.m., so I could closely scrutinise the screen.

Concentrating and pedalling I rounded the corner and rode Whap! into the back of a parked car. I hit the road after my handle bar thumped my ribs. The same ones I whacked before…!

Looking around, I saw no-one was about and the car was unmarked. I picked myself up, got back on and my gears worked after a few creaks, so I rode off quickly.

My wonderful computer worked for another minute then the screen died. My battery was flat.

A bruise on the ribs serves to remind me that I must learn not to throw stones at people in glass houses or better still: leave my phone at home!

Some of you may detect a cycle of suburban tumbles: others are related in the links below.

*gabbas: Afrikaans slang for mates