2012 November

Thursday 29th: Brian Leveson used to be a Porsche driving criminal law lecturer and barrister  when I studied at Liverpool University. This week a whole nation was waiting to hear his views on media  freedom and censorship in the UK. A stellar career in the law by someone who was already on top of his game forty years ago, let us hope the politicians dont cherry-pick from his recommendations, for that is always a recipe for a sour tasting fudge cake.

Saturday 24th: An illustrious day indeed. On 24 November 1642, yes folks, fifty years before Columbus discovered America, Abel Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after the governor-general of the Dutch East Indies and claimed formal possession of the land on 3 December 1642. Yet we are not a Dutch-speaking island, although an independent Tasmania full of tulips and windmills of the old fashioned variety not those horrific turbines, does have a certain appeal.

Friday 23rd:  Yesterday a law professor from Sydney University was spouting forth (I am sorry but that really was what it sounded like) over the sympathetic ABC airwaves on the subject of those seeking to enter Australia illegally. Of course, as she pointed out, it is not illegal to arrive if you are a genuine asylum seeker but how many of those arrive directly on Australian shores by boat without first going via a third country? In my view as soon as someone decides Malaysia, Indonesia etc, etc. isn’t good enough for them and their families and hop on a boat again to reach Australia then they cease to be asylum seekers and become economic and therefore, illegal arrivals. 

Thursday 22nd: Having moved home 20 or so times in the last 40 years it came as a surprise to me to realise that this, hopefully our last move, has taken the longest to be complete, well, almost. What with renovations to the house and holiday cottage/shack it has been eighteen months before I can really see much empty space on the garage floor. We still have some way to go and it has certainly interrupted my wrting plans but at least I can now see the wood for the trees. I just wish the grass didn’t grow so quickly so I could spend more time on this beach and less time in the garden!

A beach for all occasions

Tuesday 20th: When I was young and at school in England a PE outing might, at its most exciting, be a visit to the local swimming pool. Today I witnessed the Australian equivalent – a  class visit to the beach for a surfing lesson. What a fantastic way to develop a kid’s awareness of their maritime environment not to mention the physical coordination skills required in this invigorating sport. Wish I had been the kid of  ‘ten pound poms’. Why, I might even have ended up as Prime Minister!

Friday 16th: “Close enough for government work” An idiom often heard in offices and work spaces around the world. Guilty myself many times of using the same expression, now that I am a civilian suddenly I dont think its an acceptable or appropriate expression when used by those who work ‘for the government’ if it simply means ‘it’ll do’. In fact they aren’t working for the government but for you and me, for all of us. If its ‘close enough for government work’ it really should be accurate, timely, within budget and the best job that a good worker can achieve. All of us deserve nothing less and when I used that expression I hope I really was doing my best, not putting up with second best.   

Tuesday 13th: Never let anyone tell you retirement is a quiet life. My writing has suffered lately and today is not untypical in finding reasons: Prepared a kitchen for decorating; launched boat; went boating; short trip skate searching on SUPB; mowed lawn; moved trailer; went to cinema; going to quiz night. The film? ‘Seven Psychopaths’ and no doubt there will be a couple of Oscar nominations from that. Christopher Walken brilliant as usual in a black comedy that is worth going to see as the dog and rabbit come through unscathed, although there is almost as much human blood spilt as in ‘Kill Bill’.

Saturday 10th: “Never ever assume anything” is perhaps the best advice I have ever had. I was reminded of this again today when I was introduced to Brian Winspear. Brian was playing bowls. Unassuming and quite a spry chap in his late sixties or so I assumed. Brian is 92. He was a World War Two airman present when Darwin was bombed and a gentleman (as so many Tasmanians are) of the first order. He was kind enough to give me a copy of his book about his fellow brave aviators all hailing from Tassie. They fought a war, often half a world away, to guarantee us the freedom to be thrashed by nonogenarian bowlers  some seventy years later.    

Friday 9th: Another planet or ‘super-earth’ which should be able to support life as we know it has been discovered 42 light years away. Without warp drive however the only thing such knowledge can bring when Homo Sapiens eventually faces extinction on earth is a sense of very real off-world frustration. 

Tuesday 6th: Another Melbourne Cup and more losers. Once in a Green Moon will the Duchess of Cornwall present the trophy. I waited weeks to see a roo on my arrival in Oz but she gets to cuddle a little Joey within minutes. Rank, even when attained through rank infidelity and later marriage, certainly has still has its privileges.

Monday 5th: Spring has truly sprung in Tasmania as the grass reminds me, seemingly growing 2 inches every day. I wish I could afford a gardener! The flowers along the road home are looking absolutely magnificent although if you blinked you would have missed the glory of our cherry blossom. Now I no longer live in Japan our cherry blossom reminded me of how much those islands revere the movement of the blossom northward over a period of several weeks.

Friday 2nd: Common sense and perhaps a faith in basic human decency suggests most of us will grow up in a loving and protected world. For those who do not I doubt many will match the courage and bravery of pianist James Rhodes. In Thursday’s UK Daily Telegraph he bares his soul to expose society’s continuing hypocrisy over the continuing abomination of child abuse. I felt very humble and very, very lucky after


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