Friday, December 30, 2011

And more and more...

So the cats, so far, have been no hassle. Puggle found a wombat hole in the fence and so I have spent what time not hefting furniture... putting up an electric fence. Anyway tomorrow I will move my computer... we do not know how well it will take to that. And the chickens and Chookabago, and a lot more boxes... but I've run out of big stuff.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moving cats and dogs

So now the nervous part - cat and dog moves. Wish us luck with the cats...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We've moved the rock

And the best part is having friends to do it with, who consider moving it a natural and sensible and perfectly understandable thing to do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fallen from grace... fallen

Well, the roof, anyway. It was one of those the gutter gave way, the ladder top step has one one side attached, ladder did a dance and gravity won. No harm done, even to the gutter.I have a few scrapes on my arm, but landed on my feet, bent knees, fine. It's the kind of thing that reminds climbers that they too can fall from the simplest of places.

Anyway, the gutters are done -- just as well only now, the one was totally blocked and had a recently ex-rat in it. My life seems full of ex-rats at the moment.

The floors are now as varnished as they will be. Look much better.

I've dug over a bit more garden...

And I'm a tired little bloke.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dead Rat morning.

There is something about the delightful feel of a disembowled headless rat under your bare foot first thing in the morning to really set you up for the day. You should try it. I can offer the cat-headless-rat-provider, free! Okay, not really. I am very fond of my kitties... but the... shall we say vari-colored 1970's carpet in shades of yellow, brown, and orange is wonderful camo for ex-rats and is almost the precise shade kitty-kibble vomit. You may wonder how I know these things. It must be my infinite wisdom or something.

We had a morning thunderstorm this morning, which was rather odd, but did prevent me taking any more boxes out there. My back says that was good.

We finished cleaning and sanding the floor and put the first layer of varnish on to it. I cut more grass, and dug over more garden (in both cases only 99.8% to go. Don't knock, it, it's a start, and if there is one thing you can't teach a novelist, it's being in it for the long-haul.)

Peter arrived with Helen, Jock, maiw-maiw and the kitchen sink. Well, quite a lot of 'stuff' - including two really nice spears and some handlines for moi.

So all in all maybe dead rat morning has something going for it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

It's been the first Christmas since 1988 we've had without kids at home and the first Christmas since I was in the army without family. Anyway, the level of chaos is partially matched by moving house... we did get together with friends for a Christmas dinner. I took one of my tree-plucked turkeys with two different stuffings, and a crayfish. Christmas dinner off the land (and sea). A most delicious dinner - Alas poor Yoric, I knew him well... before he ate Christmas pud with brandy butter... made with brandy essence.

Then we went up here to visit Jamie and family - the view
With the rain and shadows playing across the land and sea exceeds my capabilities as a photographer. It doesn't help that they have a 270 degree view.

And rain about to devour the flats - where we will be living soon.

May the peace and joy of Christmas go to all our friends and family scattered across the world.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Well, finished cleaning and sanding one floor of the Augean Stable (Ok, no dung... Ah more like Sisyphean but with hard scrubbing and sanding, not rocks) and have 4 planks - of 38 to go on the second, and 18 on the third. We're at the point where things cannot really go anywhere into the carport-garage and one room we'd done, and now we need to finish the floors to move. We've varnished one floor (didn't need sanding), and now need to finish the three interlocking front rooms that desperately needed floor work.

Dead tired I was fast asleep when some dear kind sweet souls drove up to our gate along the golf course (aka the 100 metre driveway, with sufficient holes) hooting and yelling like bull-calves in distress. Dave - dressed as usual in bed (ie. not) leaps up to see if there is a fire or disaster. His wife puts the light on. Terrified by the apparition (or perhaps it was my nether end as I reached for a pair of trousers) the dear folk drove off, hooting on their merry way, having got the dogs, Barbs and me out onto the front lawn to wish them a merry Christmas.

Today we're going fishing. Need some more Flathead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More loading scrubbing carrying loading... It was Barb's Birthday so I did some crayfish in a cheese and mustard sauce. Wondered why people eat it plain...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Galway bay

So there I was out Nangetty scrubbing the varnish off the floors making sure I'd never need those firearms. I've discovered the the wonder big empty houses. I have a fine voice, for the frightening of sea-gulls anyway, and I was working my way through the Corries, Clancy's and the Dubliners while working at the varnish. I found 'She rubs the sunlight soap around by Claddaugh, just to watch the suds roll down by Galway Bay' carried best.

There isn't anything left alive for a three mile radius.

I put on the new second hand cistern. The @#$#$$ leaks down into the pan just as badly. Serve me right for terrorizing the wildlife.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No more nipping out for a quick one...

Squid on the jetty at Whitemark, that is, when we move out to Nangetty. Well, the pub will be just as far, but to very un-Australian, I'm not a big habitue of same. It's the Scots blood. I resent paying half a month's rent for a beer...

I've been writing a little, and scrubbing floors and moving stuff a lot. I took most of the rest of my collection of lumber - a flatbed ute-load (not bad for a bloke who had to leave it all behind when he came out here) over today.

I'm sure that the east coast will have squid and there will be other temptations there... but I'll miss the convenience of the jetty just here, and my mates calling (or me calling them) if the squid are in.

Took Molly for a walk today... My k9 bit on the side, as her dad is away. Poor little big dog. She sat on my foot all forlorn, when I came to take her out.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scrub that.

Today was possibly not a gifted choice of days to use Peter's ute - with a roof-rack to transport my beehive planks and a workbench top. It is, as you may possibly have gathered, sometimes just a little breezy here on Flinders Island. Driving into a half-gale (and later, worse, across it) with a lovely big wing on the ute roof... I was wondering if I'd see King Island from the air before blowing half way back to Africa. It was not one of my fast trips, with the ute hopping like a demented rabbit.

Now, Nangetty has huge North Facing windows... well, huge windows, but the entire North wall is glass from mid calf to over head height, with little bitsa wall between. Lovely for winter... not very good for the varnish on the wooden floors, or the rubber seals on the windows. We've tried to get the only guy on the island with a floor sander, to no avail so far (Piet-promises - to use an expression the South Africans will recognize, and the rest of you can guess at.) So while Barbs was painting walls (and making the white turn blue with her comments about the paint the salesman had talked her into getting as 'just as good as' the one she wanted, yours truly was having a go at the stains on the floor with some Pledge and a scrubbing brush. I had zero expectation of any success, assuming only major sanding would work. I was taken aback to find it was working... because I was scrubbing off the varnish. Anyway, some hard scrubbing and several square meters are back to unvarnished wood. Unfortunately there are a LOT more square meters to go, and my hands are feeling quite raw and sore.I'm wondering about the wisdom of an orbital sander with a scrubbing brush attached by cable-ties... Need to keep it well clear of any water tho'

Page proofs for DOG AND DRAGON have arrived. Just what I need to help the writing and moving along! Ah well.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


My word... it's Saturday and I haven't posted for days. OK Thursday was one LONG day, moving the heavy stuff, with various friends doing a lot of helping. We're over half way with the big stuff almost all gone - we still need to move a big freezer and the sideboard. But the back of the move(and mine) are dented if not broken.

Yesterday I went out with Puggles and Wednesday, and let them run around the hayfield garden while I worked on the plumbing. The kitchen sink is now declared FIXED. The second loo... It's a cheap plastic (obviously replacement for the original) cistern. I've spent more time trying to fix it than I think it is worth, but I can't find one online.

In the field of the gun-license I now have my photograph taken, and will undoubtedly receive a card in due time.

Today B did some painting and I planted more plants, and dug out more grass, and wrestled a doggy fence into place around what is principally the herb bed, cut up fallen gum tree until I was majorly dehydrated, and then came home to find the final FINAL edits for CUTTLEFISH waiting. Rush-rush as Lou is off on holiday (and I need it out the way)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On an unprescedented scale

Well, yesterday I spent several hours with my hands down the 'clean' end of the leaking cistern at Nangetty. I say 'clean' because it may not have have the sewage but it wasn't clean, not by anyone's vivid imagination. The 'loo plainly runs off bore water, and that is full of calcium at a guess and iron - the layer of scale was only rivaled by the layer of red rusty goo. Now the idea was to stop the trickle of water into the bowl which has left a very ugly red-brown stain (that looks... vile) down the back wall of the bowl... basically the calcium and iron forming a layer...

Says Dave - "I reckon a bit of the scale is stopping it sealing properly. A good clean and Bob is your Auntie, a perfect seal..."



A good clean... and I realized that scale was all that was STOPPING it leaking much worse! The washer has gone so hard it just isn't sealing. And the needle and seat arrangement on the inflow is in much the same state... Calling Dr Silicone...

Today was the CWA annual lunch, at our place, with the major part of our move tomorrow... So two of us CWA widowers (I had to get out of the house, and another newcomer has wrecked one car on a roo, and lives far out, and is also part of our writer's group, which had its monthly get-together today - 2 hours after CWA) went off to fish for an hour at Salmon rock. No salmon, but our newb, who had never fished before was delighted by his catch of wrasse. To people who don't live here, the idea that you might get a fish every cast is exciting.

We have the big truck here, so will load some of the heavier bits tomorrow. It's a piecemeal move, as we still have a month's lease here, and a LOT of work to do there. I went up to my friend Peter's place and collected some things with wheels to make life easier... blessing every wheel. So we have a few extra people here helping tomorrow, and I'll just have to see what can get moved.

Not the family rock, just yet...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Well, the stove is un-wired, (We now have that modern invention - the wireless stove, good for sending news hot off the baking tray). The greasy object will have to be carried out and put in storage, and have its place taken by our gas stove. I've taken out the extra bits of makeshift wood that someone had extended the counter with to fit the much smaller standard electric stove, so we're ready to go. The fridge is in, the stove-space ready. The plumbing fiddling has been done to the best of my ability -the one 'loo cistern will no longer fall off the wall, and I've stopped the one overflowing in one way - but I think the seal at the bottom is less than perfect so it is slowly dribbling water into the 'loo. The U bend under the sink is missing a rubber gasket, and was also plumbed to take a dishwasher (we don't have one either) and the little inlet was simply left open when the last dishwasher owner (quite some time back, I'd guess) took it out... so in both cases the water has done the chipboard of the MDF bottom of cupboard beneath the sink no good. Nangetty was certainly a very lovely home once, but time and a sequence of bachelor farm workers living there have done it no good.

I've done some more cutting of the hayfield.... um lawn, and walked out beyond the water tank and discovered several holes big enough for errant Volkwagens, and what I think may be part of the grey water soak... open. Also some some firewood cutting... of the dead fallen trees. Add all this to some lawn-cutting here.

In between this some writing has also occurred.

Life is a bit stretched, although the weather looks good for diving or fishing tomorrow, it probably won't happen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Waiting for 3...

Well now it's said that disasters come in threes so I wonder what's next? First off some friends of ours kindly came over to help us clean up the house at Nangetty... and left after us and locked the yale... to which we don't have a key. Then I noticed the brake light wasn't working so I had it unbolted - it's the kind that bolts through the bin, and discovered that it was full of water, and the globe had blown. Now, in order not to lose the nuts I put them and the blown globe down on a pair of crocs that were in the back. In the heel, perfect can't roll off and get lost cup. I dried out the light fitting and left it open to dry as best as possible. Barbs decided while I was mowing grass to tidy out the back of the ute, saw the globe, picked that up, and didn't notice the nuts and picked up the shoes... They're black and somewhere in 25 yards of grass and gravel.

Anyway, I have a collection of bolts I got from Peter, and in among them there were 6 nuts... two of which fitted... (blink). So, that's fixed. And tomorrow I go a burglaring our new home -- fortunately I think I've got an answer to that too, although after the swearing I did about it deserves a few hours of penance struggle.

Let's hope 3 is minor...

for our tea I made some zucchini flower fritters with ragi flour (finger millet), with spring onion and chilli in them, and served with a spicy tomato chutney. Not brilliant, but quite edible for a gluten free thing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hay, hay, it's Saturday

Well, we got in at midnight last night having helped Jamie with getting in his year's hay, 320 bales loaded, unloaded, and packed. My fingers are killing me today. It's an interesting process loading in the dark - clanky-cranky rusty machinery and trundling along the rows of square bales in the misty moonlight, the smell of new hay, the itch of new hay, the prickles of new hay, the new hay in your eyes, and shirt and socks and hair. I can see why the Footrot flats Dog is is the only one who likes getting the hay in. Still if someone claims to be your friend and can't see their way clear to giving you a hand one day a year... you need better friends. It went faster with more bad jokes with 4 of us.

Barbs banged her head on the shower soap-dish as she was cleaning the new house - on the same spot as she bashed it the other day on the car door, and then today got it bumped again at on the same spot at the car boot sale. I'm thinking of fitting her with a foam helmet. She's in bed with a sore head.

I'm really struggling to write with the upheaval going on. Anyway, Paddy is now safe in the UK, and James is in the queue crossing the border into Zimbabwe as I write, and hopefully all of the upheaval will be sorted by mid Jan.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The licensed motor boat operator

Well, I'm a licensed motor boat operator now. All we need is a MAST registration and an engine and I can take us to sea. But a step at a time. We went out to Nangetty today, scrubbing, cutting, planting. I'm going to lose a lot of tomatoes and some zucchini etc, moving house. I'm going to lose more working time too :-( But still I think it will be a good move, I like the place and it will save us a bunch

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We'll be moving out onto a farm near Memana (on the east side of the Island, quite near Patriarch's Inlet). It's a bit further from the beach, and 20km from town (mostly tar)and will save us a small fortune in rent - we do have to fix a rather nice old farmhouse up as part of the bargain. I have been told it is out beyond Whoop-whoop :-) Well, that works for me.

As you can see the garden is... a little overgrown! The house itself was a rather neglected and grubby but I think could clean up nicely. It's a bit bigger than our present one, although I lose a little shed-space.

The Leprechaun and the Bootlace

You might say this is Flinders short story - seeing as it was inspired by my friend Bill's tale about his grandfather and the Leprechaun, and written for my writer's group.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Well, Barbs is a survivor type because she's been married to me for 30 years today

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Well my Amazon associates links to my books haves earned me 88 cents. At this rate I will retire. The wind is pumping again, and it's chilly, and guess what... I'm working furiouso. At 88 cents I have put in hours... :-)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More Kindle...

Life has been a bit full and hectic at the moment. Various developments I can't really talk about yet. I've also been trying to get more shorts up on Kindle and Smashwords as training for the novels, and also to improve the cash trickle. The next

is up. It's a sort of romantic ghost story...

I have another 3 to go, and some that need work first. I'm interested to see how they get on.

I also did a session - and I mean a session, at the dentists today,with Alan trying to fix a rather ineptly done root canal, in which there was quite a lot root dead and left there to make me sick from years back. Well, hopefully that's over. We had two visitors who wanted me to pose as Father Christmas for their letter. Yes, I believe they're adult - at least if compared to me. We mocked the universe for a while and argued about everything ethics to allergies and several subjects not related to either.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

bang bang

Today I did the gun safety course, and the practical. It appears my Old Man was wrong and I can hit a barn door from inside, because I passed. And then we had about 30 people at Scottish dancing - very bouncy after too much sticky date pudding.