Wasteage and Recycling

I’ve just watched the first episode of Craig Reucassel’s “War on Waste”, and it’s got me thinking… about how complacent I’ve become with not.

When I first arrived in Melbourne, in halls of residence, I was shocked at not having a separate bin for food-scraps. Quite a few of us were, actually. “Why can’t we compost it? There’s a garden – why not?”

An OH&S issue, apparently, but that was three and a half months ago and somehow, over those three and a half months, I’ve become okay with the idea of putting food-scraps in the same bin as all the non-recyclables. I don’t have to think about it anymore. In the first few weeks, I had to pause every time in front of the bins and work out where to put things. Now it’s just automatic.

At home, most of the food scraps were fed to the chooks; and anything that wasn’t was composted. Here, they just go to non-recyclable landfill where, according to Craig, they produce more methane than cows (or some similar statistic).

Two weeks after arriving, I had a slight meltdown on FaceBook about plastic bags. That’s definitely a state thing, because in South Australia, we haven’t had plastic bags since 2009. Yes, you can still pay 10c and get a biodegradable plastic bag, but we’ve been using cloth “green bags” since I was 13. My entire adult grocery-shopping life as involved green bags, brought along with you and filled to the brim by the checkout chick.

Then I arrived in Melbourne, and not only were the bags plastic, but only one or two things was put in each bag. My brain boggled. My brain couldn’t handle it. My quieter, less hurried South Australian mouth couldn’t speak fast enough or loud enough to ask the cashiers to do something different.

Bolstered by the assurances and suggestions of my new friends in Melbourne, I started taking me green bags along with me and asking the checkout chicks to fill those instead. I still have to repack them myself, because they still don’t know how, but at least I’m not getting any more plastic bags. I only got them for two weeks, and I’m still working through the pile of them as bin liners.

Two weeks’ worth of plastic bags. Three months later.

There are other things. I’m throwing out paper. I never did that at home. It all went on the fire, in one form or another, to keep us warm.

I have a box full of plastic containers and glass jars under my bed, because my brain can’t compute throwing them out.

Watching “War on Waste” has knocked some sense back into me. I don’t know how long it will last, because nothing’s going to change here, and my new environment will no doubt desensitise me again soon enough.

But watching the show has reminded me about just how shocked I was by all the waste when I first arrived her. It’s given me back, once again, just a little bit of the shock I had three months ago at the food-scraps going to landfill and the plastic bags carrying the shopping…

… and all the perfectly-shaped, perfectly ripe fruit and veg that means I don’t get the choice I’m used to having about the size of the fresh produce I buy because, at Foodland, all that “special” food that Coles and Woollies won’t sell is just in with all the rest of it.



Latha na #Gàidhlig sona dhaibh uile!

Bidh mi ag innsidh dhaibh cùplan rud mu dheidhinn Gàidhlig agus mise an-diugh.

Is mise Raghnaid NicGaraidh. Tha mi aon bliadhn’ ‘us fichead d’ aois agus tha mi às Astràilia-a-Deas. Agus – mar tha fios agaibh an-nis, tha mi cinnteach – tha Gàidhlig agam.

Chan eil Gàidhlig aig mo mhathair agus chan eil ach cùplan facal aig m’ athair. Tha sinn a’ smaoineachadh gun robh Gàidhlig aig mo sheanmhair, ach thàinig mo phàrantan air ais a dh’Astràilia an-uair a bha mi dà bhliadhn’ d’ aois, agus bha mo sheanmhair a’ fuireach ann an Sassainn.

An-uair a bha mi aig àrd-sgoil tromh meadhan Gearmailtis, bha mi airson Gàidhlig a dh’ionnsachadh. Chan eil ach còig no sia daoine le Gàidhlig ann an Astràilia-a-Deas agus rinn mi cùrsa le SMO. Ach cha robh àm no airgead gu leòr agam airson an cùrsa an-uair a thòisich mi aig an oilthigh.

‘S ann bho chionn tri bliadhna an-nis agus tha mi a’ fuireach ann am Meall Bùirn an-nis. Tha mòran Gàidhlig an-seo! Tha mi a’ seinn leis a’ Choisir Ghàidhlig Bhioctoiria gach seachdain agus, ged nach fhaod mi do ‘m Baile Mòr a dhol airson clàsaichean Gàidhlig, tha cùplan daoine eile an-seo le Gàidhlig agus faodaidh mi riutha a bhridhinn an-nis ‘s a-rithist.

Tha daoine le ùidh air Gàidhlig ann an Adelaide cuideachd, agus an-uair a tha mi an-siud, tha mi a’ teagasg clàsaichean na Gàidhlig. Bha barrachd air fichead daoine ‘s a chlàs an-uiridh! Tha aiteas agam gu bheil Gaidhlig cho mòr-chordte an-nis. An-uair a thòisich mi Gàidhlig a dh’ionnsachadh, dh’innis h-uile duine dhomh, “Don’t do that. It’s a dead language and it’s too difficult anyway.”

Chan eil sin ceart! ‘S e beò-cànan a th’ innte agus ‘s caomh leam i. ‘S Beurla mo chiad chànan ach is Gàidhlig cànan mo chridh’. Ach ‘s e cànan glè bheag a th’ innte cuideachd. Tha nas lugha na millean daoine le Gàidhlig anns an saoghal mòr. Seo comas: tha ceithir millean daoine is leth ann am Meall Bùirn fhèin.

Mur a tha sibh ann am Meall Bùirn, nise, tha Gàidhlig an-seo bho chionn fhada. Bidh sinn a’ seinn an 7mh Giblean aig eaglais far an robh daoine le Gàidhlig bho chionn ceud bliadhna ‘us leth!

Agus carson a tha mi a’ sgrìobhadh sin an-nis?

Latha na #Gàidhlig sona dhaibh uile!

The Road from Adelaide to Melbourne

I’ve been meaning to do a post on the Adelaide-Melbourne run for a while, since I find myself making the trip reasonably often.


It’s about 800km, all on the one road, so it’s a pretty easy trip. Except for the stretch of road between Horsham and the border. Actually, any part of the road in Victoria further away from Melbourne than Beaufort at a stretch. But never mind that.

There are a couple of good places to stop for a meal along the road:


Jager’s BP, Tailem Bend

Where: on the left, just before the town (from Melbourne) or on the right, just after the town (from Adelaide)

Eat-in: fully air-conditioned, with complementary chilled water and couches; menu is very tasty, varied, healthy and reasonably-priced

Take-away: all the usual suspects, all the usual prices

Service: cannot be faulted; staff are friendly, welcoming, and prompt

Toilets: a little scrungey

Other Attractions: the balcony is literally over the river, so it’s a good view


BP Roadhouse, Keith

Where: on the right, very shortly after “commodore on a pole” (from Adelaide) or on the left, just before the down (from Melbourne)

Eat-in: air-conditioned, but fairly basic dining facilities; menu is reasonably good, with lamb rump steaks with chips and vegetables currently going for around $13 each

Take-away: all the usual suspects, all the usual prices

Service: practical and utilitarian; not rude, but they don’t go out of their way to be welcoming

Toilets: unpleasant, but mostly tolerable

Other Attractions: um… it’s near a commodore on a pole?


Olivia Rose Café, Nhill

Where: on the left, just before the round-about (from Adelaide; or take a slip-road across the median strip to approach it from the same direction when coming from Melbourne)

Eat-in: air-conditioned, a varied and healthy menu at reasonable prices; gluten- and dairy-free options

Take-away: I don’t think they do take-away

Service: friendly; it’s a café, not a roadhouse

Toilets: just across the road, on the median strip; public toilets are basic but clean

Other Attractions: Nhill


Koala Kitchen, Dadswells Bridge

Where: on the left (from Melbourne) or right (from Adelaide), just behind the giant koala

Eat-in: air-conditioned, a varied menu at reasonable prices, but mostly featuring lots of turkey; turkey sausages with chips and salad goes at $12.30

Take-away: all the usual suspects (pies, pasties, sausage roles) at the usual prices

Service: a mother and son, not overly friendly but polite and prompt

Toilets: very good

Other Attractions: there’s a three-storey-tall fibreglass koala, a native animals petting enclosure ($5 for adults, free for children with an adult; entry includes the price of feed), and a turkey farm across the road



A Quick Weekend Jaunt

Abair turas mor! What a long journey!

Sorry for the delay in another post (I know you’re all waiting with bated breath to see whether I actually got home or whether the ‘plane crashed somewhere perhaps over Mount Gambier), but for much of the latter half of last week I was completely incoherent with jet-lag, and for the last fifty hours, I’ve been in a car.

Well, I haven’t been in a car for all of it, but I have been for about twenty hours of it, which means I’ve spent just as long in a car this weekend as I did in an aeroplane last weekend. And didn’t get nearly as far.

It was entirely my fault, of course, as I didn’t have to go and I chose to.

And, unfortunately, I left my camera at home (again – this is becoming a habit) so I don’t have any pictures to share with you of the trip (the scenery isn’t nearly as exciting or rapidly-changing as in Israel). However, I may or may not be making the trip again in two or three weeks, so there may be pictures then.

What’s happening is that my sister is going to uni interstate (nearish Melbourne) this year, which is probably an 8-hour trip if you speed and don’t stop for food or the toilet. With the academic year starting in a few weeks, we went over this weekend to sus out student housing for her. And found a rather good houseshare, it has to be said, for all of the five daytime hours we spent at our destination.

That’s enough of cars for a while, I think.

Funnily enough, Adelaideans travelling to Melbourne for the weekend isn’t particularly remarkable. And I mean, it’s not like you live in Jerusalem and you’re going to Tel Aviv or Ber Sheva for the weekend (yes, I’m still comparing everything to Israel, as in Israel I was comparing everything to Australia). After all, the trip from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv is probably about forty-five minutes in rush hour. It’s not even like you live in Glasgow and you’re going to London for the weekend – although it would probably take about as long by car, it’s not neatly as far.

I’ve been telling myself for a few years now that Australians drive distances, and no Australians bat an eyelid at it. We drove from Dallas to Iowa City and barely thought anything of it as we did it over three days – but the locals we mentioned it to were amazed! Then again, I had a conversation with a lady in a shop in Tiberia who was amazed that we’d come “all the way” from En Gev to visit her shop. That was about 16km as the bird flies (about 30km by road). Yeah, I literally go that far by road to do the weekly shopping. Although admittedly it would be only about 16km to my nearest supermarket.

But one of the people we spoke to near Melbourne thought we were crazy for driving that far for the weekend (it’s ten hours one way). “I’d fly!” he said. But flying’s more expensive. And more difficult to do at the last minute.

“We wouldn’t drive to Sydney for the weekend,” we told him, “That’s two days. But Melbourne – no-one thinks anything of it.”

Which is true. If you mention a weekend jaunt to Melbourne to someone in Adelaide, the most involved response you’ll get is, “Stop every two hours for a rest and don’t leave at 4am to get there at lunch time.”

The truth is, whenever there’s a football game involving one of our teams in Melbourne, thousands of Adelaideans leave on Friday night to drive to Melbourne for a Saturday night game and then drive back on a Sunday. The trip simply isn’t remarkable. The road is dead straight. You don’t even have to turn off at any point – just slow down now and then to go through the odd town.

That doesn’t make it any less wearing, though – although I do think I’ve conquered my jet-lag. That’s what I was hoping would happen with going along on the trip – exhausting days in the car and early mornings at motels near major freeways with thin curtains and no soundproofing. Eastward jetlag always hits me harder and the four nights I’d already had at home hadn’t seemed to have done anything to help it.

So, there you have it. Yes, I got home safely. Then I left again. Now I’m back. At some point, I’ll have to get myself sorted for uni.

The First Leg – Adelaide to Bangkok

Via Melbourne.

Well, I left a number of essentials at home: the power adaptor, the camera, and devotionals. Fortunately,

  1. Power adaptors are easily purchased and I now have a double power-adaptor
  2. I bought an SD card and borrowed another tour member’s spare camera
  3. The Bible verses for the places are all stored on my computer, and I found the lectionary online – although the best I could find was the Anglican Church of New Zealand lectionary. It can’t be too different, can it?

I worked out why, too – you see, normally before going on a major travel, we stop for a moment in the car before leaving and pray for safety and remembering of left things before getting to the end of the street. We didn’t do that this morning! That’s why!

Anyway, we flew Virgin to Melbourne – nothing much to report there except that a muesli bar was handed out, which was odd, because Virgin purports to be non-food-serving.

The second flight was Thai Air. On a scale from Ryanair to Air New Zealand, it’s about level with Cathay Pacific – better than British Airways but worse than Singapore Airlines. On some good points, the blankets were excellent (fluffy and purple, my sister might like to know) and boarding and deplaning was extremely efficient. On some bad points, there were no air-vents (so it was warm and stuffy) and the crew were brusque and seemed to dislike dealing with passengers.

Food was reasonable. Somehow I was registered for Hindu meals, which I managed to sidestep for lunch…

01 - Lunch

my lunch – green curry and rice


01 - Lunch B

Diane’s lunch – beef stew and mash


… but not for dinner…

02 - Dinner A

my dinner – some sort of tofu fried rice


02 - Dinner B

Diane’s dinner – vegetable stir-fry


… although I think I’m getting Hindu meals because they’re dairy-free, which was a relief after the cheese I didn’t eat for lunch – I got a little sachet of soy milk.

03 - Tea



I watched three movies – The Martian, Ender’s Game, and Brave (although I’d already seen that last) – and we had a spectacular view of the city as we approached – including two different lots of fireworks!

04 - Bangkok



The next update, all going well, will be from Tel Aviv.

Mu Dheidhinn Mise

‘N uair a chaidh mi a-mach air an doras an-diugh anns a’ mhadainn, chunnaic mi air na cearcan agus na tunnagan anns a’ ghàradh – ach bha madadh ruadh ann cuideachd! Thug mi mo chasan leam dhan ghàradh agus dh’èigh mi uabhasach àrd! ‘N uair a chuala am madadh ruadh mi, thug e a chasan leis a-mach a’ ghàradh, ach bha an coileach marbh.

Tha mise a’ fuireach ann am baile glè bheag faisg air Sruighlea ann an Astràilia-a-Deas. Cha chì mi air taighean eile ‘n uair a bidh mi a’ dol a-mach air an doras, ach chì mi air a’ mhonadh. Cha bhi an rathad trang idir.

Chunnaic mi mòran caora ‘n uair a chaidh mi a-mach anns a’ mhadainn an-diugh, ach uaireannan chì mi air cangarù no air èmiù. Tha còala a’ fuirich anns a’ chraobh anns a’ ghàradh. Cluinnidh mi an còala ag èigheach àrd anns an fheasgar.

Chan eil mòran Ghàidhlig ann Astràilia-a-Deas ach tha mòran Ghearmailtis ann. ‘N uair a thuirt mi ri daoine gun robh mi a’ dol a dh’ionnsachadh Gìadhlig, thuirt iad rium, “Oh, like Gaylic, you mean?” no “Is that like Celtic?”. Ach tha beagan clas Ghàidhlig ann an Rèidio Albannaich di-màirt h-uile seachdain. Tha iad ceithir anns a’ chlas – còig ‘n uair a dol mise dhan chlas. Cha thèid mi dhan chlas am bliadhn – ionnsach mi ann an oilthigh a-nis.

Tha mòran clasachan Ghàidhlig anns na stàitean-an-ear, anns a’ bhaile Sidni agus ann am Meall Bhùirn. Tha Comunn Ghàidhlig Astràilia an-sin agus anns an t-Samhain h-uile bliadhna bidh Sgoil Ghàidhlig Nàiseanta ann ann am Meall Bhùirn. Bha mise a’ dol dhan Sgoil an-uiridh.

Di-hAoine madainn bha sinn ag èirigh tràth. Bha sinn a’ draibhadh a Mheall Bùirn air an càr. Bha mi a’ dol còmhla ri Mairead agus Seonaid às a’ chlas Ghàidhlig Adelaide. Bha sinn a’ draibhadh mu ochd no deach uairean a Mheall Bùirn.

‘S e baile glè mhòr a th’ ann am Meall Bùirn agus bidh an sgoil anns an Oilthigh LaTrobe. Bidh mòran daoine ann à Sidni, Meall Bùirn, Brìs Beinn, agus àiteachan eile anns a’ Chuimrigh-a-Deas-Nuaidh agus Bhictoria agus Tasmania. Bidh clasachan again di-Sathairne agus di-Dòmhnaich. Bidh tri clasachan agus ceithir tìdsearan: Raoghall, Ruaridh, Seonag, agus Seannaidh. Bha mise anns a’ Chlas Trì.

Di-Sàthairne feasgar bha dùis ann air dinnear agus bidh ceilidh ann cuideachd. Bidh sinn a’ seinn “Suas leis a Ghàidhlig” h-uile madainn, ach di-Sàthairne feasgar bha sinn a’ seinn òrain eile agus bha mise ‘is mo charaid Eden a’ cluicheann fidheal cuideachd.

Bidh clasachan eile ann di-Dòmhnaich madainn agus falbhaidh sinn anns an fheasgar. Bha Mairead, Seonaid, agus mise a’ draibhaidh dhachaidh. Bha sinn anns a’ Bhodertown di-Dòmhnaich oidhche agus thàinig sinn dhachaidh di-Luain.

Tha mise a’ deanamh an Cùrsa Inntrigidh le Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, an colaisde Ghàidhlig, agus tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gu bheil mi a’ fàs nas fheàrr air Ghàidhlig. Dè tha sibhse a’ smaoineachadh?

Gaelic Placenames for ANZ

Astràilia (us-TRAA-li-a) – Australia

Astràilia-a-Deas (us-traa-lya uh jyuss) – South Australia

Astràilia-an-Iar (us-traa-lya un yar) – Western Australia

Baile Shidni (bullya hidny) – Sydney

Bhictoria – Victoria

Bris Beinn (brish beyn) – Brisbane

Cuan Sèimh (coo-un sheyv) – Pacific Ocean

Cuimrigh-a-Deas Nuadh (coomree uh jyuss noo-ag) – New South Wales

Dùn Èideann (doon ey-jun) – Dunedin

Eaglais na Crìosd (egg-lish na kreest) – Christchurch

Eilean Siùbhairt (ellen styoo-wisht) – Stewart Island

Eilean-a-Deas (ellen uh jyuss) – the South Island

Eilean-a-Tuath (ellen uh too-a) – the North Island

Meall Bùirn (myull boo-urn) – Melbourne

na Beanntan Gorm (na byowntan gorrum) – the Blue Mountains

na Beanntan Sneachdach (na byowntan shnuck-kuck) – the Snowy Mountains

Peairt (pyarsht) – Perth

Roinn-a-Tuath (rwine uh too-a) – the Northern Territory

Sealainn Nuadh (shelling noo-ug) – New Zealand

Talamh na Banrighinn (tallav na bun ree-un) – Queensland