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

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

 

 

 

A living will is a dying wish

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die and you to live. Which of these two is better, only God knows.”

-Socrates

Such clarity of mind and absence of fear, when faced with imminent death, is remarkable and unusual. His last words were a reminder to Crito to pay a debt for him.

I am not dying, nor do I intend to do so for a number of years yet. However, I suspect when that Spectre is nigh, that I might not be possessed of the coolth and clarity of Socrates. So I will tell you now about how I would not like my dying to occur.

My intention is to inform my kith and kin and doctors to avoid the involvement of lawyers, who insist on making simple statements complex in order to guarantee certainty … and fees, no doubt.

In accordance with our will, my estate and all my possessions are to become my wife’s property and in the event of her death, before or after me, will be divided equally amongst our five children.

A simple concept was developed in Florida, USA to encapsulate the how I want to die / don’t want to die situation, called the Five Wishes, which met the approval of even Mother Theresa :

  •  My wife is the person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t. If she can’t, then I wish one or two of my children to do so.
  • I do not wish to receive Medical Treatment that will prolong my life, unless I would be able to enjoy a good quality of life thereafter. Don’t keep me alive as a vegetable, don’t resuscitate me unless I could go swimming unaided and sing songs thereafter.unplug me.jpg
  • I like the idea of pain relief and maintaining dignity, even if it might not be good for continued breathing.
  • I do not wish to be a burden on my family, especially if /when I become demented. Place me in care and only come to see me if I will recognise you.
    • There is a Catch 22 here which you will need to resolve: the cost of care will come from our estate, which may diminish your inheritance. Let your own quality of life be the guiding principle.
  • I would like a memorial gathering where people can offer prayers, tell stories, laugh and cry.
    • Above all I would like to hear the singing from wherever I may be;
    • I wouldn’t mind a wake – in any event, I would like people to have a bit of a hooleyd'ya tink Im dead
    • I would like my ashes to be the growth medium for an umVovovo tree (huilende boerboon / tree fuschia).

tree burial

Bollemakiesie

The young can make us young again too.

beer and braai

As is our habit we braaied at the weekend, well on Easter Monday. It was our usual family gathering with dear friends and some visiting rellies from across the ocean.

Somehow there was a slightly more festive spirit than the norm which seemed to make the beer and fizz go down easier.

We were a somewhat eclectic crowd with some in their sixties, fifties, forties, thirties, three dogs and a four year old sprite.

Normally a fairly shy child, on this day, she was filled with the energy of a March hare and the command of a Ringmaster. While we chatted and kept up the level of our liquids in the early stages, she inspected the toys and her dolls house, engaging the dogs in a number of role plays. A bit later, I noticed the dogs had gone missing. I found them in the dolls’ house, waiting patiently to resume the game.

However, the young queen bee had moved on and was engaging the adults, commanding their participation in a number of exercises and role plays, including  catch-the-grasshopper and a tea party.

Her timing was impeccable and her enthusiasm and commands were charmingly irresistible. The new activity at Playschool was yoga so all were instructed to participate in yoga exercises. Peer pressure enforced participation, which should have been more wisely considered in some cases.

Head over heels (bollemakiesies in Afrikaans) were the exercise for men and all surrendered their dignity to roll around on the grass in pairs. The last pair included a grandfather who was proud to have been in his primary school gymnastics team and remembered well his star turn of a somersault over a wooden horse…

His bollemakiesie was very well executed, symmetrical and straight. However, the total effect was spoilt by the unfamiliar pressures on reasonably airtight gaskets. The resultant lapse of the system was quite a blast.

dogrofl.jpg

A nervous glance sideways revealed that it had not gone undetected.. two people were crying and the dogs were trying to run away…

Growing old does not prevent infection by the rashness of youth, it merely impairs the ability to maintain dignity and integrity while under its spell.

My granddaughter is quite a lot older and wiser now.

finger pull fart

Just another day*

Awakened by the crowing of my Bantam rooster, I lay thinking of the day ahead.

It is my son’s 95th birthday! I must catch the 15h00 rocket to London. I’ll be there by 18h00 – in time to have a beer and watch him blow the candles out on his cake carrot. I should be back home by midnight, even though Brisbane is almost the furthest Earth journey from London.

I got up and listened to the good news while taking my shower massage. The shaver mask really left one’s face feeling fresh and zingy. The body scanner gave a ping of good health as usual. I haven’t had a problem since replacing all my teeth back in 2048.

I dressed as I scanned the vertical garden on the wall screen. There are some ripe tomatoes, peppers and radishes to harvest; the peaches and strawberries are ready too. Sometimes I miss the lawn but the space is better utilized by the three tower houses I had built. This was easily possible as private lawns were banned and  garages are no longer needed – no-one has owned a motor car for sixty years. With the world population now over 50 billion, living space is at a premium. Global Rule preserved the last 25% of the world’s forests and jungles just before they were consumed. The universal carbon tax saved us from melting down with global warming in the 2020’s. Well done Elon Musk (see blue link above) – he made it abundantly clear for us all, so voting for it wasn’t an issue. He also pioneered the colonisation of New Australia (Mars).

It is startling to think that next year I will reach Euthanasia Day –  I accepted mandatory death and cremation at 133 years of age, long ago. Since the rebellion of the middle-agers, refusing to serve the mandatory 30 years on New Australia (NA), finding more living space on Earth has become impossible. Global Rule has eliminated conflict: wars are no more and the Global Surveillance Judicial system has made crime almost impossible – so our numbers are no longer reduced by the death sentences on major criminals or banishment to NA.

instant justice

Of great satisfaction to me is the fact that politics and legislation, in fact the whole of government is e-based. All the corruption, errors, bias and partisanship of party politics was eradicated by the establishment of RexRegina, the e-Parliament system. Instantaneous referenda and decisions, laws promulgated and updated based on the latest intelligence make life clear and easy.

With the universal availability of free energy and water, every household produces their own food and the drone system enables barter exchange for more exotic needs. In order to avoid the overweight penalty tax, exercise is compulsory but you can take your dog for a run in the virtualpark and program your route to meet as many other people as you prefer. The PoopScoop drones take care of the messy bits.

The only major problems in the world now everyone had a home and education were the continuous tinkering with the gene pool and the lemming-like mass movements of people. Bored out of their skulls by the repetitive agricultural cycle of maintaining their own houses, growing and bartering their own food and ensuring the education and exercise of their child; thousands frequently transgress the virtual barriers of their suburban playgrounds to trash their neighbours’.

Nihilist and mass suicide cults are proliferating as the search for meaningful creativity becomes more difficult.

Enough negative thinking or I will have to have a chat with my Wobot to put me back on the happy track. Hmmm! I think a good old egg and bacon fry-up with boerewors and mushrooms is called for.

boerie and egg

(At least the meat tastes like the real thing, which I haven’t tasted since 2024, even if it is earthworm protein).

 

Maybe I will take a virtual visit to the Louvre to see the Renoir exhibition…

Just another day in 2083.

Happy Day

Its already a year on since I wrote my appreciation of Australia Day.

It seems that my opinion is not shared by all. There are some that say gday mate

celebrating  the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales is not OK – that ultimate New Age condemnation.

 

 

So sadly, there will be some people who will say that celebration of the arrival of a different culture is in fact a celebration of the subjugation of the Aboriginal people who were already in Australia and apparently owned all the land and resources thereon.

This is a common theme of native populations who were affected by the arrival of more technologically advanced and powerful colonists. It is a sad fact that in Australia and the Americas, by and large, the people who were there were defeated and subjugated and those who were not successfully incorporated into the new societies still suffer diminished and pathetic lifestyles and the disappearance of traditional cultural practices.

In Africa and Asia, the colonists were expelled after a century or two of domination and exploitation, leaving modern technology, knowledge and infrastructure and some vicious struggles to achieve power and the benefits that flow from the dispensation of favours. The eventual collapse of economies and reversion to tribal conflicts is frequently blamed on the historic, invasion of the colonists.

That is a digression which may make some people hot under the collar – we don’t really need that as the southern part of the continent is stricken by a heatwave, leading to the cancellation of many functions. But let me hasten to add -NOT THE CRICKET!! australia day cricket

(On second thoughts, given the success of the Australians against the Poms, maybe it should be cancelled as a threat to national morale.)

No doubt this viewpoint of the mainly left wing and some indigenous people will  gather momentum, like the #Me Too movement, notwithstanding Germaine Greer‘s opposition. (Who would have thought of her on the right side of the spectrum…?) .

Me? I am not an Aussie mate, but I love the country. I thought the day was meant to celebrate Australia, not some ancient event invested with political significance.

Pick a day which doesn’t create too many bleats and change it. Celebrate the day like the popular song says:

Australians all let us rejoice 
For we are young and free 
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil 
Our home is girt by sea…

Look forward, not backwards!

A day in the life … sometime soon

As I eased myself into the seat already moulded to my preferred posture, I replied to the pleasant Good morning to ye I received, grinning to myself because I was talking to a machine. Oh well, a mother’s training endures!

I was on my way to Bunnings to collect the customised shovel I had ordered this morning – a glitch had caused a drone jam, so it couldn’t be delivered immediately.

Amazing really – all I had to do is think about what I needed and tell Siri who placed the order, giving my specifications. Bunnings would have it printed by the time I got there and offered me a complimentary coffee as they could not deliver immediately.

whizz carThe self-drive car whizzed off, covering the 10 km distance in 8 minutes, while I flipped through my voting preferences on the issues before e-Parliament.

Amazing that the trip only cost me 5 zillBits – back in the day, factoring in motor vehicle purchase cost, petrol, rego, tolls and insurance, it had cost 20 times as much.

My shovel was loaded at the drive-through and my coffee was handed to me – exactly as I like it. Siri had already paid Bunnings.

I told the car to return via the Protein Bar so I could pick up some fillet vege fillet.jpgsteak – the new worm algae protein meat barbequed magnificently and gave me a perfect medium rare. The Bar took a box of my tamarillos, pawpaws and apple chives in exchange.

 

The rump would be accompanied by fresh salad from my own vertical garden and home-made sauerkraut. I was also going to toast some crickets as they were now juicy and plump. That was why I needed the new shovel – to be able to transfer compost from the waste processing output to the garden rows.

I was really proud of the fact that my home is self-sustainable and produfuture house gardences sufficient to supply the sixty-five families that now shared the Bahr Place precinct.

 

Overcrowding wasn’t such a problem if one used the wonderwall barriers which muffled noise and projected scenic view holograms but didn’t affect birds or rain – I even had a rooster which crowed the dawn every morning! No complaints either when I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody at max volume.

(I revert to my old naturally deaf ears…)

 

The chickens give me eggs and meat and are happy scratching through my vertical gardens on all the walls and the roof. The water tanks give me prawns, mussels and trout. Admittedly my fruit trees need to be pruned regularly as the basement area iss under 3 metres high. The arnica did exceptionally well and was great for aches and pains from a hard day’s gardening, as did the marijuana I grew under licence for pain relief of the few remaining cancer victims not cured by gene therapy.

 

Mind you, who am I to complain – I am only 95 and Siri told me my body indicators showed I was in perfect health and can expect to live another 30 years at least, before I get treed. I am proud of the fact that I have reversed cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s and still have one of my original knees, eyes and hips!

become a tree

(I  have refused my great grandchild’s request to clone me for her next child –  I believe we are all unique and special in our own way and should stay that way).