Monday, April 30, 2007

A little ray of sunshine.

So it's an Autumn day, and the sun breaks through the clouds in the overcast sky. How can we make the most of this golden opportunity?

Now, why didn't I think of that?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


For The Fallen
Laurence Binyon, September 21, 1914

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
Australia* mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is a music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncountered:
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond Australia's* foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.

* - Binyon actually wrote England here. I have changed it to Australia. The fourth stanza that begins "They shall not grow old" has always been recited at our dawn services, when we comemmorate those brave young boys who died at Gallipoli. However this doesn't make the poem any less relevant.


This poignant tribute to the Australian serviceman hangs in the offices of the Queensland State Headquarters of the RSL.

At the going down of the sun ...

I crouched in a shallow trench on that hell of exposed beaches... steeply rising foothills bare of cover... a landscape pockmarked with war’s inevitable litter... piles of stores... equipment... ammunition... and the weird contortions of death sculptured in Australian flesh... I saw the going down of the sun on that first ANZAC Day... the chaotic maelstrom of Australia’s blooding.

I fought in the frozen mud of the Somme... in a blazing destroyer exploding on the North Sea... I fought on the perimeter at Tobruk... crashed in the flaming wreckage of a fighter in New Guinea... lived with the damned in the place cursed with the name Changi.

I was your mate... the kid across the street... the med. student at graduation... the mechanic in the corner garage... the baker who brought you bread... the gardener who cut your lawn... the clerk who sent your phone bill.

I was an Army private... a Naval commander... an Air Force bombardier. No man knows me... no name marks my tomb, for I am every Australian serviceman... I am the Unknown Soldier.

I died for a cause I held just in the service of my land... that you and yours may say in freedom... I am proud to be an Australian.

ANZAC - Australia New Zealand Army Corps.

Lest we forget.

Friday, April 20, 2007

We'll always have Paris.

Travelling on the train to the football on Saturday, there were four young people occupying the seats opposite me; two boys, two girls. The girls were obviously enamoured of that well known vacuum, Paris Hilton, as they had gone to great pains to emulate her. All that was missing was the fashion accessory handbag dog. (I think the blokes didn't fit)

A couple of stops further along, another couple got on the train and sat next to me. The girl in this duo was a little older than the first two, and she also was of the opinion that Paris Hilton was the benchmark to which all womanhood should aspire. It was interesting to watch one of the younger girls checking out the new arrival surreptitiously, and turning her nose up in disdain, as if to say "is that the best you can do?"

It's so comforting to know that the younger generation has such a grasp on the important issues in life.

One of life's little jokes.

When the hair on your head stops growing, but the hair on the back of your neck has only just begun.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Don't hold back, now. Tell us what you really think.

Beerka Promotional ImageThis is a promotional image for a new bread based snack called Beerka. The line is "Made for beer".

I went to the footy this afternoon. To save spending possibly two hours driving, and trying to find a parking spot, I catch the train in. Getting off at Richmond station, there was a bread van parked outside, and people were giving away cartons and cartons of the stuff. Obviously, from the different colours, there were all kind of flavours available. Naturally, people being what they are, they didn't turn down a free handout, and one of the handlers was employed full time flattening the empty cartons.

Beerka Rubbish
The walk from the station to the MCG is about half a kilometre. There are quite a number of rubbish bins along the way, and all of them looked like this.
My guess is the footy patrons weren't overly impressed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The Retreat was starting to feel a little musty, like an attic that hasn't been aired for years. So decided to do a little redecorating. Hope you like the new look.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The odds are even that it will be odd.

This is just one of those inconsequential observations that are generally fascinating only to the observer.

When I hang clothes on the clothesline, I take an item of clothing, and then grab a handful of pegs. I then proceed to pin articles until the handful runs out. Almost invariably, the number of pegs in my hand will be an odd one. Only on extremely rare occasions will I pick up an even number of pegs.

I'm wondering what it is that determines how many pegs I can grab in a handful. Are there other people like me who always get an odd number? Are there people out there who only pick an even amount? Maybe we could start a society. The Odd Peg Pickers Association.

Now that I've totally bored you, I'll get out of your way now.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Someone's knocking at the door.

We had this charming young female ring-tailed possum visit us the other night.

Daughter, E, was the first to spot it as it was climbing up the screen door. To start with, she thought it was a rat, but then noticed the tail.

Naturally, there was a mad scramble for cameras, which were suddenly not where they were supposed to be. Fortunately, I remembered my phone had a camera, and I knew where that was, so was able to get a few pictures of our visitor.

We're not sure why the possum felt it needed to climb our door; there's a large overhanging eave so there isn't any acess to the roof. I put it down to the rain. It was the first night in a long time that we have experienced any substantial precipitation, and it's certainly possible that miss possum had never seen any before and was thus unnerved by the experience and sought shelter.

E eventually found her camera and was also able to get some good shots before our model tired of the whole thing and stormed off.