Wednesday, May 31, 2017


An acrylic painting done by me for a little friend

In these times of sorrow – so much sorrow we’re drowning in it – valiantly, we must try to keep our spirits high, no matter how difficult a feat that can be; no matter how overwhelmed we may feel. 

I know I’m not alone when I say I’m tired of the never-ending violence, hate, envy, stupidity and everything else connected with those emotions and behaviours.  Often I feel drained. Often I feel as if I’ve been kicked in the guts.  There are times I feel as my heart has been ripped out and there is only emptiness left inside. 

So often I’m at a loss for words....(but not today by the looks of it, I hear you thinking!)

And, now today, on top of all the bullshit, we have so-called “comedians” like Kathy Griffin who believed her sick joke...her sick image was funny!   

Give me strength!!   

Wrong, very, very wrong!   

Her false, insincere, whining apologies don't make it right!  It pleases me Griffin has been fired from CNN.  I hope no one else picks her up!  She’s a disgrace to herself and to her country.

I’m fed-up with cynicism.  I despise cynicism; I always have.

 I can't stand hypocrisy, either.

I’m sick and tired of sarcasm, too. With some it seems to be second nature.  

None are signs of cleverness.

I’m weary of the willingness of some humans have to tear each other down.  Some glean much pleasure out of doing so. They’re too foolish to recognise the folly of their ways; or to realise they’re making more of a fool out of themselves. 

Is it fun to make fun of another?  I don’t believe it is.  Is it enjoyable to hurt the feelings of another?   I don’t believe it is - yet too many believe otherwise.  

Sarcasm, tinged with pathos and good humour shared face to face between good friends can be harmless, light-hearted fun, lacking venom. (I’ve only just now completed a phone chat with a good mate of mine.  She and I always tease each other – have a friendly “go” at each other.  Nastiness is never our intention. I even mentioned during our laughter-filled conversation what I was in the middle of writing this post).

Sarcasm, when done without malice, but with carefree, upbeat wit – when it’s treated and responded to accordingly -  is non-toxic, innocuous humour shared and enjoyed in the cheerful spirit intended - but that’s not the sarcasm to which I refer.

What purpose does toxicity in its many guises serve in the grander scheme of life?
Too much energy is expended – too much thought wasted. Energy and thought that could be put to far better uses...towards goodwill, love, caring and sharing...consideration. 

Time is a-wasting; and time is wasted on pointless pursuits such as making fun of others. Not being aware of the feelings of others; not acknowledging their sensitivities...not giving a damn about them...are signs of weakness...signs of a lack of confidence within the offender.

Our modern technology is wonderful - of course it is.  For instance, I love my computer and having constant internet access.  I feel lost when I’m without either. Much of my time is spent on my computer – writing, researching, reading, learning, listening to music, etc., etc.

For many years when I was working long shifts, and more than often, seven days and nights a week I rarely, sometimes never, had time to watch television, but now those years have passed. At this time in my life, I enjoy watching television; watching shows of my own choosing.  

However, I’m feeling bloated - from being inundated 24/7 by news feeds from all forms of the media - its never-ending repetitiveness.  The constant deluge makes one feel like the geese or ducks that are force fed corn for the purpose of fattening their livers to satisfy the appetites of “discerning” humans to feast upon the French delicacy, foie gras,  

I guess I must have been “discerning” a few times during my life because I did indulge in foie gras years ago when I was working in a French Brisbane, Queensland...not in“Gay Paree”, France.  I also ate other delicacies offered on the menu such as frogs’ legs and escargot – and I enjoyed both.  It’s better to know and understand the taste of the food one is offering to the dining public.

After an entree or three or more of the above, and also having the opportunity to prepare same, I didn’t continue along that path.  None became regulars only my own personal menu.  None made me sick.

But, I am sick of what we’re being fed all the time on the news front.  I’m constantly tired of and annoyed by the many self-righteous, self-indulgent, mocking media persons, too.

I believe I’ve keen insight and good judgment, the majority of times, anyway, but enough is enough, already. I’m sick of being repetitively force-fed news, most of which is bad news. 

And, I’m fed-up with the evil losers, as President Trump correctly named them.  

I want to be force-fed good news – happy news - instead!

Better still, instead of listening to the news bulletins I’ll listen to the music I enjoy, which now includes Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” (my taste in music is what is often referred to as a “catholic taste in music”).   

Along with listening to more music, I’ll also watch more re-runs of re-runs of  re-runs of “Sex and the City”, “Cheers”, “Becker”, “Frasier”, "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Seinfeld".  

Perhaps, too, I’ll take a stroll back to times of the time when the following reigned supreme.....Tom & Jerry, Mr. Magoo, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Mighty Mouse, Donald Duck and his mischievous nephews, Woody Woodpecker, Felix and Sylvester, Tweetie Pie, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, cheeky Bugs Bunny, Heckle & Jeckle, and the rest of their mates.  

The words of Thumper's father still ring true today ...

                               "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all!"
Another acrylic painting done by me for another little friend

Thursday, May 25, 2017


The small bar on Newry Island...and me in full swing
Me driving the Trogjan DeHavilland...and in the water between Newry and Outer Newry.  I moored the boat in the channel (out in the darker blue water ..closer to Outer Newry Island.
DeHavilland Trojan...similar to the island boat (mine didn't have the canopy)
Seascape by me, painted in acrylics a few years ago
A couple of yachties who were part of those who participated in the Hinchinbrook Island yacht race. held in 1986.  The fellow on the left had also been a member of the crew on the winning yacht of the 1983 America's Cup...Australia's "Australia ll"
Dame Nellie Melba's House

I mustn’t grin much because I’ve never won much; and I never win much, other than a pittance every now and then in the Lotto – in the lowest divisions.  

However, being forever hopeful, I live by the mantra – “You gotta be in it, to win it!”

Foot races on school sports’ days were not my forte, so I never won one those.  Actually, Dawn Taylor, a school mate of mine and I used to purposely hide in the girl’s locker room on sports’ days until the races were over – that is until the day our sports teacher cottoned on to what we were up to! 

That put paid to that!  

The ball games I enjoyed.  I never shied away from them, and always participated, but I couldn’t see any point in running from one point to another.  Nowadays, of course, it’s a different matter – no, I not yet compete in the hobbling races - but I do enjoy watching the athletic events at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and similar.  

When I was a kid I did win two Charlie Chuckles’ badges, though.  One was for a poem and another was for a drawing I’d submitted to the “Chucklers’ Weekly” – a kids’ magazine that was published – hint, hint - weekly.  I more than grinned at my two wins - I chuckled and clapped my hands with glee. 

In 1990 when I was running the now-defunct little holiday haven on Newry Island, north-east of the coastal town of Seaforth in the Mackay region I had a brilliant idea (one of many). This particular cogitation was a beauty.  My light-bulb moment, my illuminating idea; my flash of genius was – drum roll please - I’d orchestrate the Inaugural Airlie Beach to Newry Island Yacht Race. 

Happily, I’d play hostess with the mostest to the exhausted, but exhilarated competitors, and to the excited spectators who would flock to the island.

The fuel tank that held diesel for my generator was filled to capacity.  I had enough fuel to power the lights, fridges, freezer etc., in the kitchen, bar, dining area, and the guest cabins.  No one would be kept in the dark! 

My boat’s 175hp Johnson outboard motor was serviced and in top-notch condition.  I had enough fuel to cover the numerous trips I expected to make in the DeHavilland Trojan across to Victor Creek to pick up guests and ferry them to the island.

I’d cater for ocean-weary, knackered yachties, their crew, and the resort’s visitors, who I expected would descend in droves upon the island to take up residence at the tiny resort for a weekend like no other ever seen or experienced previously.  My cabins would be full to overflowing with ardent devotees of seafaring, sleek yachts.
For the event the camping area would be packed with contented campers in their tents.  
Striking while the iron, or my idea, was hot, I rang the Whitsunday Sailing Club at Airlie Beach, and spoke with the commodore, who was immediately receptive to my brainwave.  Being an avid sailor, I think he was halfway out the door to check the keel on his boat before I’d finished my spiel. 

The Airlie Beach to Newry Island Yacht Race may not have had the notoriety (or distance) of the Sydney to Hobart, or Brisbane to Gladstone, but the planning etc., was just as exciting, for me, anyway. 

The big weekend dawned. 

With enough food and bar stock to satisfy the madding crowd for days/weeks on end, if need be, I was ready.

I took my boat across to the ramp at Victor Creek to pick up the commodore and his girlfriend.  Out of character, instead of sailing from Airlie to Newry, they came by road, which I thought was a bit odd, but I kept my thoughts to myself.  As it is with some people the three of us struck an immediate accord.  It felt as if we’d been mates for years.

Friends of mine from Mirani, a sugar cane growing area a little west of Mackay, came to the island for the weekend to witness the culmination of the big race.  They also had a holiday home at Seaforth...the little township about four kilometres from the Victor Creek boat ramp.  Doris and Ivan kindly stored most of my possessions at their home in Seaforth, rather than me having to transport all my worldly possessions across to the island.  It was an easy and welcome solution.

As an aside...the late, great, world-renowned Australian soprano/opera singer - Dame Nellie Melba spent the first year of her married life in the house pictured above.  It is situated at Marian, in Mackay's Pioneer area just before Miran, where Ivan and Doris had their cane farm.  The home is open to the public for tours.  I drove past it a few times when I managed a motel on Nebo Road, Mackay, in the early part of 1998.   I'd steal a couple of hours to escape to Eungella (up on the range) on a Sunday, when possible...but I never had the extra time to take a look inside the house.

Race fever was rife.  Preparations were completed....ready, we go!

Intense excitement heightened as the winner crossed the line late afternoon.

There was only one winner.  The result could not have been any other way.

His boat was the sole boat in the “race”! 

Even with only one winning boat and skipper celebrate we did. Champagne and Margaritas flowed. Jimmy Buffett would’ve been thrilled.  I’m sure he would have joined us in person if he’d known about the festivities.  His songs and a load of other music filled the air. We partied like it was 1999!
Eat your heart out Sydney to Hobart!   

What a memorable night it was - the night I crowned the Inaugural Airlie Beach to Newry Island Yacht Race winner. The losers were the yachties who’d not entered. 

I learned later the reason for the lack of entries. The sailing fraternity who annually spend winter in the northern waters had already left.  En masse, they were homeward bound, and long past the waters surrounding Newry Island. Summer and the cyclone season loomed.  I should’ve organised the race a month or so earlier, but the idea hadn’t hit me at that stage.

However, we on the island that weekend, few though we may have been, were the winners....we had ball!  The stereo was pumped up to the limit...the bongo drums came out to play, as did the guitar...and, as there was no stopping did the tambourine!

In my defence...four years previously when I was managing the Cape Richards’ resort on Hinchinbrook Island I did host a hugely successful yacht race between Townsville and the resort.  Well over 300 people and myriad yachts descended upon the resort that great, memorable, fun weekend.

Prawns with Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Heat wok; add 1kg large green prawns, deveined, unshelled, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1c undrained, sun-dried tomatoes in oil.  Toss over high heat until prawns are beginning to turn pink. Add 1tbs Szechwan peppercorns, 8 sliced shallots, 100g snow peas and 1 red capsicum, sliced lengthwise; toss, 1min, over high heat; add juice of 4 limes, julienned zest and 1/2c dry white wine. Toss 2mins; serve with rice/noodles.

Coral Trout with Kumquat Sauce: Grab 500g fresh kumquats, reserve a few for garnish; peel rest and lightly crush, removing seeds. Place 100g sugar in heavy-based pan with 2tbs water; dissolve over med-heat; boil to a light caramel.  Add crushed kumquats as soon as caramel forms. Mix 25g cornflour with a little water or juice; add to mixture. Bring to boil; add 1/2tsp five spice powder; strain; keep warm. Season 200g coral trout fillet per person; cook quickly; don’t overcook. Pour sauce onto plate; place fish on top; garnish with reserved kumquats.

Champagne Salmon: Place 4 salmon fillets in pan in a single layer; add 2c champagne, 1/4c lemon juice, 1tbs zest and water to just cover fillets; remove fish; bring liquid to boil. Lay fillets skin side down back in pan; top with thinly sliced onion, 1tbs capers, 1tbs sliced olives, 4 sprigs tarragon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low simmer; poach 4-6mins; remove fish etc., from liquid; drain; serve.

Margarita Pie: Add 6tbs melted butter to 1-1/2c biscuit crumbs (as you do for cheesecakes); press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie dish. Combine 240g room-temp cream cheese and 1/3c sugar; mix until smooth; add 1/3c fresh lime juice, 2tbs tequila, 1tbs orange liqueur and 2tsp lime zest; mix until completely combined; fold in 240g whipped cream and 1-2 drops green food colour. Spread evenly into crust; chill several hours until firm.  Serve topped with whipped cream and lime zest.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I rarely post music videos, but after seeing Harry Styles' performance on “The Graham Norton Show” a couple of weeks seen here...not a day has gone by since I’ve not played this song/video...more than once daily.  I love this song...and his performance. 

What a good-looking young man Styles is, too!!  Wow!

Of course, over the years I’ve read all the hype/gossip etc., about the boy band “One Direction”, but never paid them much attention, believing they more suited the younger generations...but Harry Styles, now gone his own way, as have others in the group, really made me sit up and take notice with this performance.   This song has really "grabbed me".

From his “on the couch” segment with Norton and his other guests that evening Harry Styles came across as a very nice young fellow, too.

I’m hooked!   There is life left in this old bird, after all!   (I knew it, but others might have been prepared to argue the point)!

In my extremely humble opinion, this song is one of the best around at present, if not the best...and it’s one of the best, if not the best, I’ve heard for a long time.

Thumbs up from me, Harry!  You can add me to your list of fans!

 Unashamedly, I’m now in style!!

In the words of "Molly Meldrum"....'Do yourselves a favour...." 

The song...the lyrics resonate with me.....I don't know why...but they do....

"Sign of the Times"

[Verse 1]

Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times
Welcome to the final show
Hope you're wearing your best clothes
You can't bribe the door on your way to the sky

You look pretty good down here
But you ain't really good

We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?
We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?

Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times
We gotta get away from here
We gotta get away from here
Just stop your crying, it'll be alright
They told me that the end is near
We gotta get away from here

[Verse 2]
Just stop your crying, have the time of your life
Breaking through the atmosphere
And things are pretty good from here

Remember everything will be alright
We can meet again somewhere
Somewhere far away from here

We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?
We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?

Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times
We gotta get away from here
We gotta get away from here
Stop your crying, baby, it'll be alright
They told me that the end is near
We gotta get away from here

We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?
We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?

We don't talk enough, we should open up
Before it's all too much

Will we ever learn? We've been here before
It's just what we know

Stop your crying, baby, it's a sign of the times
We gotta get away, we got to get away
We got to get away, we got to get away
We got to get away
We got to, we got to run
We got to, we got to run
We got to, we got to run......