2012 April

Monday 30th: Surely the prize for the most ironic headline in 2012 must go to: “Wind Farms can cause climate change”. Article details at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9234715/Wind-farms-can-cause-climate-change-finds-new-study.html

Saturday 28th: Dedication, dedication, dedication. I am in the house of an olympic rower. At the crack of dawn the day begins for SH when others of her age will enjoy the usual  Saturday morning lie-in for several hours yet. Another day of training and single-minded determination after years of heading to the top and winning medals in teams, pairs and singles. This July will see the ultimate challenge. Fingers crossed the dedication will bring a golden reward.

Friday 27th: Happy Birthday to Pat L-T today. In the last week our chihuahuas have become most agitated listening to my reading the news from the UK. First there was an obscure reference to kissing hirsute Tasmanians, then a requirement to lick, not savage, burglars and now danger from the air in the form of red kites and eagles keen to feed small dogs to their young.  Despite my reassurances that our local sea eagles prefer fish and that Tasmanian burglars are generally reputed to be clean shaven, they are still looking discomfited.

Thursday 26th: Talk about April showers! Well they probably will in the UK when the drought resumes after one of the wettest April’s on record, most of which has/is/will fall this week.  Every drop reminds me why I am an Australian and that is before we get around to mentioning double-dip recessions. I read today this is the worst economic slump ever in the UK but there is no sign of a soup kitchen and the new Jarrow marchers gave up early last year, so, come on, is it really? There really is little better than catching up with old friends and it was my pleasure yesterday to see two great mates who twenty years ago shared the joys of living in Gibraltar in a very different Royal Navy.

Tuesday 24th: What a difference a day, never mind a week, makes in Politics. The Machiavellian Julia Gillard our upstanding if unmarried and ex-Welsh Prime Minister has lost her slippers, well an odd one at least. Peter Slipper, the Speaker who eased her majority worries and let her loose on the pokies (slot machines) cannot exercise his vote until and if he is cleared of various questionable acts, or is it the potential charges that are questionable… oh Julia, not so Machiavellian after all.

Monday 23rd: The city of Manchester will be on tenterhooks until next Monday waiting for the clash of their footballing titans. My money is on City but with United to cling on and win the Premiership.

Sunday 22nd: Some have questioned whether the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain should go ahead today.  I have no interest in F1 as a sport but having lived in Bahrain and witnessed what a peaceful, friendly nation it is I have no hesitation in saying nothing should stop the race, not even a spectator throwing themselves a la Emily Davison/Trenton Oldfield under the wheels of  a Ferrari. Democracy is not a ‘right’ nor is Western democracy anything like perfect. Remember all those Chads strung up in Florida in 2000? Besides, a Shia versus Sunni religious dispute hiding behind the skirts of democracy when the results of the Arab Spring to date are nothing like democractic resembles a 21st century Northern Ireland.

Friday 20th: Junket is a great word and wow, is our esteemed Aussie Foreign minister on one of those! He is in Malta today and yet there are more Maltese in Oz than in Malta. Best go home Bob Carr where your Maltese voters are and stop wasting my tax dollars! Meanwhile I trust those Aussie citizens of Maltese extraction, taken in wholeheartedly by the ‘lucky country’ think of themselves first and foremost as Aussies, not ‘Maltesers’.

Thursday 19th: It is over twenty years since I visited the awe inspiring Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in what was then Leningrad. On over sixteen trips I rarely failed to visit and was always moved by the spectacular effects of the creators to the glory of the Creator. Whether my KGB minders felt the same is another question.  Until I entered St John’s Cathedral in Valetta, Malta today I had seen no equal to Saint Isaac’s but how the wealth of the church contrasts with the relative poverty of many among the Maltese population.

Wednesday 18th: From the ridiculous to the sublime: Lunch in Rabat, Malta, in a dull, unenterprising restaurant with dull, unenterprising staff.  Dinner in Zeri’s at Portomaso Marina.  Mark Zerafa certainly knows his seafood as well as his onions.  Faultless presentation from a quality team and delicious fish to order from soup to shellfish through Tuna and Grouper. Zeri’s definitely rates a Tom Frederick star!

Tuesday 17th: Yet again I write to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph to confound the Myth so regularly propagated that it is compulsory to vote in Australian Elections. On this occasion Tim Ross, who as their Political Correspondent really should know better, is at it again (“Adults who dont register…” 16 April). Australians will be fined if they do not turn up at the polling station to vote. Once inside they are free to fail to vote, spoil their vote, even use their ballot paper to clean their backsides with the ballot paper as a protest (although they are not very absorbent) and they will not be subject to any penalty. The effect of course is that once inside almost all citizens do exercise their right to vote which, in our young democracy, is seen as a public duty.

Monday 16th: Societies in general and organisations in particular are quick to condemn those whose behaviour is outside what is the accepted norm, even if that behaviour is not technically illegal. Of course societies are collections of individuals.  Such a lack of acceptance is so human, so tribal. Though understandable, perhaps at times seemingly appropriate and sympathetically received, it is quite often more a statement about the people who condemn than those they condemn. Our first sense of someone acting outside the expected norm is usually visual or aural. The nicest people may have facial piercings and unsightly tattoos.  Those who offend our ears may have Tourets.  Before we condemn them perhaps we should mentally count to ten and reassess our own perspective before jumping on a recognised bandwagon.

Saturday 14th: As forty horses thunder toward the first fence in the world’s greatest steeplechase a good friend will be just married and experiencing the first day thrill of marital hurdles which hopefully she will succeed in clearing for the rest of her life. Two great institutions, neither of which are easy to complete successfully but bring wonderful rewards when successful. My tip for today’s Grand National is BecauseICouldntSee.

Thursday 12th: Unbelievable! Only that word will do to sum up the decision by Gillingham council in the UK to ban supporters from a programmed football league match based on police intelligence about the possibility of trouble from fans. Like drink-driving and airport security legislation the well behaved majority are being ‘punished’ by an over reaction. If the police are unwilling to police a legal sports event in the UK what price the Olympics?

Wednesday 11th: Perhaps it is a sign of the times when you have to do your own laundry and nobody is there to iron your smalls. Pondering this made me wonder if you could tell much about a person from their underwear. Tom Jones may already have accurate views about this having had enough thrown at him during his career. I suspect there is a book waiting to be written about this but how do you ask celebrities to send a photo of their favourite knickers or underpants?!

Monday 9th: What is it about sheep and humans? So easily led are both. Natural leadership is a gene yet to be identified. I know I do not have it but sometimes I wish I had.  Why is one  pastor or cleric charismatic and another dull as ditchwater? When they are both gathered together in the same church on an Easter Sunday it makes you realise how subjective religion can be.  Mitt Romney is not your average Mormon but a leader of his church and his charisma may yet affect all our lives for the next four or eight years.

Saturday 7th: