Monday, July 24, 2017

Musical Monday

I love the eighties. I have showed this clip before but it was a few years ago. I just so much enjoyed seeing it again but I cannot decide which clip I prefer, so here are both to take your pick from, or if you are a glutton, watch both.

Divine died in his sleep as a result of an enlarged heart in 1988 at the age of 42.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Anakie Fairy Park

I scrambled through my drawers for warm clothing. I found a jumper, a very pilled beanie but could not find my slightly more stylish beret, and an unworn scarf that I bought in a department store in Wursburg, Germany in 2014 and still with the label. I paid €10 for the scarf! It is quite nice. I remember combining a little bit of gay with a lot of smiling friendliness to the obvious gay male staff member behind the counter. I failed to move his grumpy countenance. R had bought a couple of polo shirts and had some unkind words to say about said staff member. I replied, it is the German way of service. It is not personally directed at you.

Saying danke went a long way if someone held a door for you or similar, although R got caught out when after saying danke at some point, and was then spoken to in German.

Well, two paragraphs and you don't even know this is about Little Jo's 10th birthday. I needed cold weather gear as we were going to be outside in the cold for hours.

We went to Anakie Fairy Park to celebrate Little Jo's birthday. As I said to Ex Sis in Law on the day, I will slap the first person who makes a fairy joke at my expense. I slapped myself as I made a joke and no one else did. Just warning you though.

When driving there I had my usual fight with Madame GPS (a name stolen from Gattina), and consequently R telling me off for not following her directions. Ultimately her directions weren't so bad, but I preferred Google Maps directions and I thought I had memorised the directions, but I had not. After Madame GPS pronouncing umpteen times, recalculating route, I pulled over and reset the Madame. I really don't know what to do with Madame GPS. She recently got it so wrong and made a drive much more complicated than it needed to be, but this time she made an uncomplicated route and I did not listen. Perhaps I should revert to paper maps.

We were only ten minutes late arriving and Sister and birthday girl Little Jo were already there. Bone Doctor was on call this day and stayed at home, and probably enjoyed the solitude. Soon after Oldest Niece and her partner with Little M and Little Em arrived, and then Tradie Brother and his beloved dog Cobber, then his former wife, Ex Sis in Law with Firefighting Nephew and Hippie Niece. It would have been four hours of driving there and back for ABI Brother and Mother, so they did not come and the paths are too steep to even push Mother around in a wheelchair.

Sister told me there are quite a number of negative reviews of the park online. I don't know why. I thought it was fantastic. Yes, at times phones were out, but mostly for taking photos and only by adults. Kids forgot all the technology they have at home or carry with them and enjoyed the park immensely.

It was a great family get together in the freezing cold of maybe 12 degrees and with a cold wind blowing.

The day before Hippie Niece had a bit of a meltdown and called her care team, CAT maybe. They told her that as she had called them, they would need to visit her the next day. Ex Sis in Law called them back and said no, make it Monday. She is going on a family outing tomorrow and it will be good for her, and I think it was. There were shadows of her former self appearing, as well they might when she is not caring for her two twin daughters. Even her care team is putting pressure on her to get into routines. Her mother makes sure she goes out for a walk shortly after she gets up in the morning.

The easiest to care for one was with her father and she had diarrhea and Ex Sis in Law's husband was caring for the other who had bronchitis. We gave Ex Sis in Law $500 to share with Hippie Niece's father for expenses. It was going to be $1000, but the Scottish blooded me pulled it back. We may give them a bit more money down the track. Apparently baby formula is very expensive. Finally the rich gay uncle's came through. Ex Sis in Law's reaction was almost like they were expecting it. Well, I thought, they should get up at 4 in the morning or be out working until 3am in a crap job, and just do that for 38 years and they might have some money of their own. Ok, I am being unfair, Ex Sis in Law has always worked hard, but I do get annoyed at times at people's assumptions that we are rich. Even the much more sympathetic R has become a little cross with Hippie Niece for neglecting her daughters, only mentioning it to me. Yes, I am sure it is difficult looking after newborn twins, perhaps boring and stultifying at times. Loss of sleep must make you cranky and constantly tired, but you know, women have been doing this for a long time, and HN's partner is struggling too, but doing his bit with one child to care for. But, as I said to R, she does really have mental health problems. One of the drugs she is taking has a side effect of being an appetite stimulant, so she has put on weight too.

Anyway, the Fairy Park was just brilliant and we had a lovely day. Sister brought along a lot of sausages which went on the barbeque to be served with bread or rolls with lots of tomato sauce. As usual, the plain beef supermarket sausages were favoured by all over the lamb and rosemary and chicken. There were plenty of nibbles and sandwiches and soft drink.

We met at 10.30, another reason for Mother to not come (she likes to arrive at about 1pm), and it meant we finished early and were home not long after 3.00.

It used to be that the animated displayed operated by coin in the slot and there wasn't an entrance fee. Now there is an entrance fee and no coin in the slot operation.

These taps, about six of them, operate different water jets in the fountain above.

On a warmer day the place must get packed. It was the last day of school holidays and the park was then closing for maintenance for a couple of months.

It was lovely to see the surrounding countryside.

There were so many animated fairy story telling displays that operated at the push of buttons.

That would be Jack up the beanstalk.

The site is very hilly and unsuitable for even wheelchairs. Because you only walk a short distance from one display to another, it is not tiring at all.

I am not sure which fairy tale this is about, with the ugly man hanging over the balcony.

Kids over 50 years old tried to splash each other with water by throwing into the wishing well twenty cent pieces with great force. The kids would be Sister and Tradie Brother. They are of a close age and get along well.

I said Puff, the Magic Dragon, not poof.

Hansel and Gretel.

They complain about wind farms spoiling views but not about telecommunication towers. Everyone on the land wants a nearby telecommunication tower.

A beauty asleep.

Very Australian.

Of course kids can get on these critters. I'm not at all saying the park is unsafe but in these safety conscious days, there were plenty of ways for kids to injure themselves, if they so desired. It was good to see and I don't believe I heard one child crying that day, not even the ones I kicked out of the way to take photos.

One very funny thing was a rock looking tower about three metres tall and about a metre diameter at the base. On it was a button with a notice that said "Do not press". Oldest Niece went up and pressed the button and proclaimed that nothing happened. What she didn't see was fine jet of water come out the side of the tower and wet someone, who looked around to see where the water came from, expecting it came from an elevated castle wall above where kids were. Later we passed by again and I positioned myself so that a couple of us, not me of course, would be where the water jet came from. I told Oldest Niece to try the button again. She said, nothing will happen, and as she pressed, a water jet shot at her, not the people at the side. Very funny and it was only a little spray.

The arched shelter with many tables and chairs and a barbeque.

The birthday girl's cake. Automan ninjas or something like that.

A visitor after crumbs.

We could spot the sea some distance away. At the highest point there was a viewing telescope.

Some of the best photos of course had people in them, laughing and smiling happy people. It was a great day.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Learn with me

I won't do anything too big or detailed but there are some things I want to know about.

Firstly, do you remember me mentioning that on the various hop on hop off buses we used in Europe, the recorded announcements had various language options, two of which Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. I want to know how different these same languages are. Can they understand each other?

Let me look. As a last resort I will ask Sami. Yep, easy to find out. Yes, it is a bit like British English and American English, differences and accents, but mostly understandable. I guess for ease for the listener they use the two different forms of Portuguese on the buses.

Next, I understand how air conditioners cool. They are like your 'fridge. A gas is compressed and becomes cold and air is blown through a grill where the gas circulates. Easy, but how do they heat. They take warm air from outside and pump it inside. Really? What warm air? It is freezing outside. How can they find warm air outside? I am sure there is an electric heating element somewhere. Maybe you can tell me how it works. I have given up after reading too many times about how an air conditioner heats. And are heat pumps the same as air conditioner heating?

Back to Portugal. I have been reading a biography of Dame Daphne Park on my electric reading machine, she being one of the first women in Britain's MI6 or SIS as it was known. I haven't finished the book but I expect she becomes head of MI6. There was a reference to communist uprising in Portugal in the 1970s, and naturally enough, British spooks interfered so that there would be a good outcome for the the west. I know nothing of this uprising. Let me look. Right, that is all to do with Carnation Day, celebrated on Australia's Anzac Day, also the day we arrived in Lisbon. Why did I not connect the two? Sami wrote about it back here.

I haven't finished with air conditioners yet. You may remember our air con evaporative tray, with the steam off the water heating element that failed. I was extracting about five litres of water a week by sucking up the water with a soft plastic bottle and a car wash sponge (thanks River) , but the amount of water slowly reduced and now the tray has dried out altogether. Why do they produce water and why has it dried out? Another easy one. While I don't know the process, when the air inside your home is damp, that is humid, the air conditioner takes the humidity out of the air and turns it into water, which is what fills our tray. This makes sense and the evaporating tray problem happened just after we returned from our four week holiday and there must have been a lot of moist air inside and it took time to dry it out. Our air con heating has been running from about 6am to 11pm, and so the air in our apartment is now very dry, as are the surfaces and fabrics, including of course the carpet. So, no more water production in the tray.  Wrong. The tray as I typed that had filled with water. At times when it is cooling in summer, it makes a lot of water. I suppose it is for the same reason, but why in winter? I'll leave that for another day. (Some rainwater has gone into the tray over the last couple of days.)

The Greens??? They are toppling out of our Federal Parliament at quite a rate because they are dual nationals. I agree with the principle that you should only be citizen of Australia and do not have an allegiance to another country, and therefore will only govern in Australia's interest.

Having said that, it is most unfortunate that two Greens Senators have had to resign. That they did not know they were dual citizens is beyond belief and they are suffering the consequences of their 'ignorance' and have had to resign from Parliament. In the case of Larissa Waters, how did she not know she was born in Canada and was also a citizen of that country? (Later, she was an unfortunate victim of a change of Canadian law when she was one week old, but still, she should have known) How can she get rid of Canadian citizenship? Google answers me satisfactorily again, yet it won't tell me the meaning of life. Apparently it is quite simple. You fill in a form.

R is more up to speed about such matters for a change, and tells me the Liberal and Labor Party members have already been put through a machine and come up clean on the citizenship front. How unfortunate. I hoped we might be rid of conservative party Mathias Cormann. Apparently his Australian citizenship killed his Belgian citizenship. Not so in the case of Larissa Waters and Canada. Even the idealistic Greens Party disappoints.

Back to the Dame Daphne Park biography, of course she was in MI6 during the time of the unmasking of the English spooks who were double agents, serving Russia. It was a field day for the British tabloids, with tales of sex, naked pool parties, homosexuality and spies.  I was very amused to read a learned American back then offering his opinion that while his country understood sex and understood spying, it could not understand how the British had managed to combine the two.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Funny Friday

A couple of things I have saved as they amused me at the time.

This one from the blog of John Gray of Wales.

A couple is two, so that is your bloomin' lot.

Sunday Teaser

Here is the story of Anakie Fairy Park, where last Sunday we celebrated Little Jo's tenth birthday. Park photos on Sunday, hopefully. I hope these are readable for you.