Here’s Something Infuriating…

Our lovely local member Rebekha Sharkie asked a question at Question Time yesterday. That’s not the infuriating thing. Enough nice things cannot be said about Rebekha, who lives just a few towns over from me and who attended every single one of the community meetings we had in January about the blackout in December. In fact, those community meetings are where she was “commissioned” to ask this very question.

Here’s her question:

And here’s the PM’s… well, I’m not going to call it an “answer”:

Okay, so

(a) the question wasn’t even about the blackout, let alone the renewable power problem about which the blackout had nothing to do. The one in September, perhaps, but the December one was entirely down to trees (and Stobie poles!) falling on the lines, and repair crews taking up to five days to respond. (Which also meant that the CFS couldn’t clear the trees, which they’re capable of, because they hadn’t been told if there was a current in the lines or not, but that’s another matter). Yes, the PM makes a reasonable point about there maybe being some hypocrisy in drawing increasing non-renewable power from Victoria while saying that we’re entirely “green”, but if he knew even Thing One about either of the blackouts, he would know that wasn’t even relevant.

(b) who cares about what Labour did several years ago? The question is what are you, the current national leader, going to do to make things better now? How are you going to safeguard our telecommunications during bushfire season? Don’t deflect the blame. We’re not looking to place blame. We’re looking to fix it, but apparently you’re not willing to help with that.

(c) the question wasn’t about mobile phone black-spots, although that’s closer than his first reply. The fact is, most of the Hills does have mobile phone access. A little dodgy at times in valleys, but it’s there. Just, you know, not when the power’s been out for several days and the relay towers only have battery back-up for between four and eight hours. Something Rebekha was cut off from saying was that, when the NBN rolls out (and supercedes the current coverage, becoming the only telecommunications network in the area), their back-up lasts for only three hours. What we need is LONGER battery back-up, perhaps even generators on the relay towers, not SHORTER.

(d) it’s not a matter of “the lights going out in Mayo”. As I’ve said, we don’t care if the lights go out. Not in summer, when we have sixteen or more hours of really quite decent light every day. What we do care about is not having any water or sewage. And what we really, really worry about is not having any contact with the outside world at a time of year when a bushfire could run through the area and burn everything to the ground – including us, if we don’t have any way of knowing that it’s there and we have to evacuate.

So, what can I say? Not much more, really, except “poor Rebekha”. I wish there was some way of posting over all the comforting hugs her constituents want to give her right now.

Also… I didn’t mind the PM, inasmuch as I didn’t really think he was either good or bad, just as ineffective as the last dozen we’ve had since I finished primary school. But now… now I really don’t like him.

The Sheep Are Here!

Thor and Beamo 02

The sheep-goats finally arrived! While we were at church, which was a bit disappointing, but nevertheless, they are here.

They were meant to arrive yesterday morning, but never mind, they made it.

Thor and Beamo 01

The brown one is Thor, and the beige one is Beamo. I think they were named by the eight-year-old boy in the Sheep Share.

Yes, these sheep-goat-things are part of a Sheep Share with two other families just down the road. None of us has enough land to warrant full-time sheep, so we pass them on once the grass is gone.

This is the first time they’ve been at our place, and as you can see, we really need something to eat some grass.

They’re some form of African sheep, which is why they look more like goats, no doubt, but that also means they moult or something so we don’t have to worry about shearing.

Thor 01

Thor is the more timid, so it was easy to get a good photo of him.

Beamo is much friendlier, so I had a pit of a harder time getting a decent photo of him…

Beamo 01

Beamo 02

Gnoming

Feasgar math a h-uile duine!

Uill, gabhibh sinn “òraid beag” gach seachdain anns a’ chlas Ghàidhlig agus bha an topaic an-diugh “A bheil mòran a’ tachairt an-dràsta far a bheil thu-fhèin a’ fuireach?” Seo mo freagairt:

Hmm… Chan eil mòran a’ tachairt an-dràsda an-seo. Tha ‘n geamhradh ann a-nis far a bheil mise a’ fuireach.

Ach… Tha mo bhaile a’ deanamh “gnoming” a-nis. ‘N uair a rinn duine sam bith an “gnoming”, chaidh e a-mach air an oidhche agus thug e mòran garden gnomes air an ceann nan taighean agus nam bùithean anns a’ bhaile.

Nì mo bhaile “gnoming” gach còig no sia bliadhna, ach thuirt na Gnome Rangers nach d’ rinn iad an “gnoming” am bliadhna seo. Tha gang eile ann!!!!

Ach tha am council ag radh gu bheil “gnoming” nas fheàrr na “graffiti-tagging”.

Seo cùplan dealbhan. A bheil thusa a’ sealltainn air gnomes?

The barber

The barber

Blackwood Sound

Blackwood Sound

The cafe

The cafe

Hungry Jack's

Hungry Jack’s

The hardware shop

The hardware shop

The Fish Bowl

The Fish Bowl

This story is too good to just stay in Gaelic (mostly because I don’t think anyone reads what I write in Gaelic), so I’ll give something of a translation in English. For those who didn’t understand the above, basically we have to give a one-minute “monologue” most weeks in the Gaelic class from three or four prompts, and the prompt I chose this week was “Is much going on where you are at the moment?”

Basically, despite it being winter and not much happening… yes.

You see, my locality does this thing called “gnoming”, which means that people (usually the Gnome Rangers) go out under cover of darkness and place garden gnomes precariously on the roof-edges of various shops around the local area. This happens every five or six years or so, but this time, the Gnome Rangers have said that it’s not them. There’s another gang in town!

Nevertheless, despite the threat of another gang (or just a particularly unruly Year 12 class), the local council have said that they’d much prefer “gnoming” over graffiti-tagging, as long as it’s performed safely.

Here are some news articles about the developing story:

18th of August

18th of August

20th of August

26th of August

29th of August

What’s Happened?

Well, I haven’t been on in a while for one reason or another, but here is a little bit about what has been happening (not necessarily to me).

While the rest of the world was distracted by the soccer, some of us have been watching the other news. For those of you who missed it due to being inundated by soccer-related news and Google doodles, here are a few highlights.

– The hockey world cup (which Australia won, again)

– The Tour de France (and its requisite epic crash)

– Escalating hatred and violence towards cyclists on Australian roads

– The asylum seekers who got deported to Sri Lanka… maybe… if they ever existed at all (which they did, but not officially)

– Wimbledon (and the Australian teenager who beat Rafael Nadal)

– and the swiftly-approaching Commonwealth Games.

Speaking of which, it seems as though a new sport has been added to this year’s repertoire (and I don’t mean something silly, like Gridiron. Or wintersports, since we can’t, after all, give Canada an unfair advantage such as Australia already enjoys – being both a very large nation [once you eliminate the US and break the UK up into separate countries] and great at watersports).

Anyway, back on track. This new sport of which I speak, what is it? Well, it’s the ‘Worst Uniform Competition’.

I’m serious. I mean, it was painful enough when Australia revealed its uniform… in five clashing shades of green and a couple of shades of peuce-y grey.

(Even the athletes weren’t particularly pleased with it, unlike those of some of the other nations which will be mentioned shortly.)

Then Malaysia came along with their tiger-inspired uniforms.

The Malaysian uniforms are sharp, like a Tiger's claw or glass of 100 per cent orange juice.

And then Scotland revealed theirs.

The parade uniform for Team Scotland

Okay, it’s got to be said that Scotland’s uniform doesn’t actually look too bad from a distance. But then you get up close, and you can see that a spider has come along and puked cobalt-blue web all over their shirts and dresses.

Apparently this pattern is flag-inspired, which I don’t quite understand, since surely a ‘flag-inspired’ pattern would be white checks on a royal blue background? Either way, up close, the tartan – in ‘turquoise’, ‘fuscia’, and ‘caramel’, apparently – clashes with the shirts.

So, what about Canada? They’re close enough to stern, war-mongering America that they shouldn’t get caught up in Commonwealth joviality (and, if we’re being honest, colourblind silliness), right?

Well, at first glance, their uniforms seem pretty sensible, a tried-and-true flag-themed ski suit.

Even if they do look rather like Team England’s uniforms.

But you can’t blame the Canadians for that, after all, because everyone knows that red and white are their colours. They don’t really have any other colours to fall back on, unlike English, who seem apparently to think that St George’s red cross on a white background gives them a right to the colours.

That aside, it’s on closer inspection that Canada’s uniforms fall into the realms of Commonwealth craziness with all the rest. Like Scotland, they’ve got a tartan theme going. Unlike Scotland, however, they’ve kept it to a pre-existing national tartan in readily-accepted national colours: the red, black, and white Maple Leaf tartan. (Scotland has more national tartans that you can poke a stick at, quite a few of them in national colours… why invent a new tartan in such an unlikely combination of colours that the athletes are never going to be able to match to a sensible shirt and kilthose?). Bmf6P8nCcAAvP59Also unlike Scotland, they’ve turned the tartan into “track-suit” parts. But let’s be honest, when was the last time you saw tartan track pants? The potential for the Canadians to be running around Glasgow in what basically amounts to pajama pants places them firmly in the running for the Worst Uniform Competition.

Well, that covers Australia, Malaysia, Scotland, England, and Canada. I can’t find anything on India’s uniform, but I think we can all agree that as long as they don’t turn up in tartan saris, they’ll be all right. (If they do, they might be mistaken for the Scottish team. Tell me I’m not the only one who’s noticed the similarity between a sari and a feileadh mòr/ great kilt?).

So what about New Zealand? Any chance they’ll be wearing something as disgusting as Australia? Perhaps with styalised kiwis and sheep? (as an aside, I don’t get the sheep thing. Seriously, if anything, New Zealand should be known for its deer. They’re everywhere over there. And you can buy venison in the supermarket. I reckon we have more sheep in Australia.)

Somewhat disappointingly, New Zealand has one of the most sensible uniforms so far. They seem to be going with an All-Blacks theme.

Members of the New Zealand hockey team model the team uniform for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with coach Mark Hagar (centre), NZ Olympic Committee secretary Kereyn Smith (second from right) and president Mike Stanley.
And yes, that’s what I’m disappointed about. Aside from being all black, they look like air stewardesses or a school uniform. Not Air New Zealand air stewardesses, though.
With the truly awesome way stewardesses on Air New Zealand dress, you’d think they could go with something a little more exciting than all black.

Ah, well, I shouldn’t complain. Or make fun of New Zealand, since they seem convinced that’s all we do. (It’s not true, by the way. Perhaps the eastern states make fun of New Zealand, but we in South Australia just make fun of the eastern states, and feel a certain sense of camaraderie with New Zealand. Possibly because we’re small and ignored compared to the noisy eastern states. Possibly because our school holidays synch up. Possibly because we have a lot of sheep.)

So, there you go. While everyone else was busy watching the soccer, and that whole Rolf Harris fiasco which I won’t get into, some other things happened. Hockey. Cycling. Cyclist-hating. More asylum seekers. More covering-up with regards to asylum seekers by the government. Tennis. Cricket. Commonwealth Games. And snow.

I’m not kidding, it actually snowed in South Australia. Would you believe it? Actually, it’s been freezing here recently.

Don’t laugh, Canadian and Scottish people. I’m serious. Our thermometer read -13* the other morning.

(Admittedly, that was the thermometer out the back, and the one out the front said +3*, but let’s not quibble, that’s still rediculously cold).

It’s foggy, and frosty, and it hailed once or twice before it got really cold and started hitting 0*. We weren’t sure why it never snows here, since it’s usually warmer than that if you go skiing (in Australia, anyway) and there’s snow there overnight. But we’ve come to the conclusion that the problem lies in that it only gets really truly freezing here at night, because it’s clear skies and nothing to trap the heat in, particularly up north where there are no trees like here in the Hills. So all the heat just disappears and your fingers turn blue in your sleep. As soon as you get a few decently-sized storm clouds that might constain snow, all our heat gets trapped in and its too warm.

Even as I sit here, I can see my breath. Hmm… perhaps it would be warmer in Scotland.