Friday, September 27, 2013


We had 40 year storm yesterday afternoon - had two trees and quite a few large branches come down, and the power off until 10 this morning (the Island had half an hour, Melrose road, got the long one) So this morning was largely spent in cutting up trees and fixing things. Still, we came through the lack of power without much difficulty (we have a jenny, but didn't bother) We have a gas stove, wood heater, and plenty of torches. Water we had to get by the bucket from the tank. One day, when I have a place I own, I will set up a header tank system. That doesn't seem common in Oz - everyone just has pressure pumps. They work well, but when you have no power, there's no water. Anyway, lots of firewood for next year, and lots of debris to clear up. If that's the worst, well, we got off lightly. The hanger for the Post planes blew down - they did manage to rescue the planes, but still....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

back online

My computer is largely up and running again - of course there is still the issue of getting all the stuff off the old disk - the data appears intact, just windows that fried. I have all the writing work backed up, but there are, of course, a myriad of other things, art for book covers, photographs, some music - the music I have on CD so that's less of an issue- except for the time involved.

On other delightful news my petrol pump decide not to work anymore (we buy petrol by the drum) but otherwise, life is just a bowl of bloop-berries. So now I will have to wrestle with the makers of my hard-drive, and with the makers of the pump. Which is all just an irritating time waste. Seriously it's easy to be overwhelmed by this small stuff. To forget that the island is still the island, the garden is growing, we had asparagus from it with our tea yesterday, and the first artichoke is ready. I've also picked and hulled and turned into jam which will have to be reheated and thickened 800 grams of cape gooseberries, marking the first time in my life I've had near enough of the little paper lanterns to make jam. It's one of the best jams too. Each little berry weighs between 1 and 3 grams each, and needs to be individually picked by grovelling under the bush, and then taken out of its cape and washed. If you're a decent bloke, I'll give you wallaby or tomatoes or squid. A friend you get flathead or flake or olives or a turkey. A good friend you get abalone, or a flounder or two, garfish or a pheasant. Bacon or crayfish, you know you're up there with the chosen few I hope to have at my back if the apocalypse comes... If you ever get cape gooseberry jam, you'd better polish your halo a lot because it comes under the heading of 'you may never even be allowed to taste this unless you're up for Dave's idea of sainthood.' Sorry, but there it is :-). I think I may get 2 small jars and I'm saving them for my old age.

Writing proceedeth apace, and planting is a bit behind. And the sea is cold and unfriendly looking, about which I am glad.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The post plane didn't make it over today - torrential rain, but we did get the new bar and blade for the chainsaw, which came the day before. Man, that is overdue good value. I just will have to ease off on cutting small stuff, because it's so fast it is dangerous. I'm still waiting on the hard-drive, and weakened a bit and bought some plastic fishies from e-bay. They're much cheaper than current favorites, so we'll give them a try, and that, along with reels, rods, dive gloves etc, are consumables. Yes, I do have a stock, but if hard times strike I can always eat plastic fish. Yes, I can catch live-bait but there is something to be said for a bait you don't need to catch and don't need need to keep fresh, and will not stink the country out if you forget to take it out of the box.

I drilled out the hinges for the cooler-shed door, and that now waits on some fairly ingenious woodwork to rehang it... and then waits on the swallows to finish with their baby and bugger off from nesting inside it before I want to close it up.

Other little steps - one of my mates said I can definitely have the 35hp outboard, as soon as he gets 50 hp sorted out... hopefully by summer the Zoo will have a viable motor (she's only got a 8hp now, and that's pretty limiting)and all the bits for the trailer are nearly ready to make it street-legal. Then if we get the tow-hitch sorted out, and the roof between the cooler shed and the future container shed sorted, I can have it under cover _and_ ready to to go, which will make diving and fishing a little more flexible. Yes, I know, I have 3 good mates with boats, another who really will sort it out by summer, another who comes over time to time, and the possibility of a spot on a few other boats occasionally, and um, no hookah (and after you've used that, it's really hard to go back to tanks) but one of those has a regular job -which means siezing the day is tricky, the other is at the mercies of the vagaries of farming which can mean that calving or lambing or marking or dipping just won't wait because the sun is out ant the water flat. Peter's tinny I don't want to take off the east coast, and besides he lets us down by buggering off to America just when we need him (Just kidding, mate. You'll be back. You'd better. And the weather has been such no one would want to go to sea.) Slowly, piece by piece we get there. it would be fun to hurtle out and buy the stuff, but, all things considered we're doing well. One of the issues about doing stuff when you can find/scavenge/make/afford is that a lot of projects hang on other projects (like my workshop hangs on being able to clear garage space, which in turn has a list of other things that need to happen first. But we get there. Compared to when we arrived on the island, we've come such a long way.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Clay pigeon roast

Well, in the progress terms - trying to put the key code hasn't worked - yes, it is geniune, and thus I conclude some kind of hard-drive error. I can still access everything in safe mode. I just can't easily work in it, as it doesn't support the word processor drivers. Writing Data is all backed up, but of course there is a lot of other stuff - pictures, e-mails in my case, as I don't allow games on my machine. Anyway, new HD with windows installed is now en route to Flinders. Sitting ornamenting the PO is my new 18" bar and blade for the chainsaw, so we'll hopefully try that tomorrow. I'm going to resist trying it on the computer as that might be bad for the saw.

The weather continues fairly average. I'm getting to the stage of actually needing fish, and a little meat, so we need a let-up soon. Someone new to the island had said they'd like some wallaby and I shot two big bucks on friday. So they got one (gutted and skinned (but still intact and with the feet on.) I gather rather dismayed :-) The other really big one went for dog-tucker, as they're not best for people food at that stage.

I've got a very small tomato on one one of my plants. The other plants in the containers seem to be suffering from some lack, and not growing very fast. The old horse manure may be running out. I will add some chicken to it soon! I also detected the first artichoke of the season developing, and we're get a few asparagus.

We had a great barbeque up at Norman's place, and I drank far more wine than I
normally get through, and actually agreed to try shooting a clay pigeon. How do you cook them?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grumble. Now windows is telling me it is not geniune, and will only work in safe mode. I have had computer hassle to the back teeth

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

cutting cupboards

"I cut up furniture, I forget to eat my lunch, I go to the lava-tree... Which was more or less my day today, not so good for writing, but very good for the sawing of cupboards in two. I should have checked the insides of them for circus ladies first, but as it was an over-tall ex-hospital cupboard (from the days before chipboard - color me pleased.) with 'surgical gowns' on the outside, I wasn't expecting her in there. It's OKay she says says she's quite used to circular saws by now, and the dogs licked up most of the blood (actually the only bit of blood came from me skinning my palm moving it.) Anyway with some coarse timber-surgery, we now have one small cupboard, and one medium cupboard, and one set of drawers-low & cupboards all for $60 - which is less than some other bidder paid for one chip-board rubbish cupboard. These will still be going strong in 50 years when hers are dust. Interesting times were had (as they are mostly real hardwood not ply and chipboard) moving them into the bedroom for Barbs, as she was working at the surgery today, and I am not known for my patience, so I did it 'man aleen' as they back in the old country. And now, man, I lean. Anyway, it got done, just before the rain.

Friday, September 6, 2013


There is an auction tomorrow which I have to go to on my own, as Barbs is at the church stall at the market. I probably won't buy anything as I am terrified of auction fever (and as mean as cat's wee, too). We're looking to the future and homes and the like so the demolition proceeds from the old hospital are being sold off and I am going to have a look. Peter will be green with envy (being away), and all the my other junk-men friends will be there. I find it amusing that I've found this set of kindred spirits here. It's been, in away, much easier for me to find and make friends with similar interests - fishing, diving, shooting, growing veggies, doing our own meat, the whole self-sufficiency gig - as well friends who are much better at reviving dead bits than I am - than I ever did back in the old country. I've come to a home I never knew I had.

I must say we had one of the more fun sessions at Scottish dancing last night - two very puzzled young med students (both I think Chinese, so major culture shock) Anyway, they were good sports, got stuck in and were soon laughing and getting in a mess with the best of us. Mary (our 99 year old instructress) was AWOL with her dog being a little unwell. She did 2km in the Flinder fun walk/run challenge on Sunday, so we were all a bit more hooliganish than usual. The average age of the group is probably 60 - so it proves you don't stop being a hooligan when the teacher's away.

Barbs has come down with some nasty heel ligament thingy, which will cause her some discomfort for some time. I am still wrestling with the flu/cold. Planting is not going to plan.

But life goes on, and the island is showing little signs of spring.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We had a somewhat iffy night thanks to a smoke alarm that kept deciding to go off. I think the battery is dying so it has been replaced. My brilliant guard dogs barked at lots of shadows, occassional farm vehicles but missed the petrol delivery truck - drove in filled my tank and left. Now we have to go and find the bloke and pay him...

I mowed today (I try and put in 1 hour of garden work a day. Not more, not less.) which played havoc with the planting, but the grass was getting out of hand. I should have left it for bait for the Wallaby, which I battled to find tonight. I have a new hand-held spot, which was quite good, but possibly too bright? I saw a lot running off. And other than that I did a lot of research into the black death and some good plotting... my life.

It is James and Alana's Wedding anniversary today, and I hope they're having a great day :-)