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


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