Sunday, September 30, 2012

I've just got the Copy edits for Steam Mole.

Can I have it done by Monday? In the meanwhile I flew up to Shepparton today with Barbs - (she's going to a Scottish Country Dancing course with the wife of one of the local pilots. I was there to be company for the flight back and to feed him en route.)

Port Welshpool entrance from the air

Deal Island cliffs

Gippsland looks like the Natal midlands but starts from the coast, goes on for a long way and has wind farms

And after 200 km... 1000s of km of flatland

Saturday, September 29, 2012

More Internet Hassles

Well, James spent 6 hours fighting bigpuddle - the world's worst internet provider - into doing 3 minute job last night. We're online again as a result. Sadly that - and telstra are what we have to have here. I just don't get this company - surely hiring half a dozen competent techs would be a lot cheaper than outsourcing to somewhere - where I suspect they pay peanuts - but the job takes 200 times as long as need be?

Pads and Clare flew back to the UK yesterday - should nearly be there by now. It was a close run thing as the plane was delayed in Lonnie, and they only had two and half hours... before the delay. Anyway, they scraped in, and all is well that ends well. We miss them already.

The wind is really roaring and howling and shrieking today (just as well they're not flying now) and we - Barbs and I fly tomorrow. Barbs is going to a Scottish Dancing workshop/course near Shepparton tomorrow, along with the wife of one of the local pilots. I'm going for the ride, and to keep the pilot company flying back... weather permitting. Right now, it isn't. This morning it REALLY wasn't. We had hail - enough to make a white shroud across the ground. It dropped the temperature by about 5 degrees in five minutes - I am very glad I wasn't fish farming any more, or keeping angora goats.

I've rigged an old infra-red light to try and warm the potting soil so I can get some melons and watermelon to germinate - with a short warm growing season here, getting them up, big and going fast is vital. I'll transplant them into my hot-boxes - via Jody-suggestion I have made some small portable 'cold-frames' which I can move very easily. I hope this way I can get them to a reasonable size before summer starts. I've also filled our next planting tank with old sheep manure and soil from the shearing yards. If the hot-system works the capsicums will be next.

Oh, we have had our first artichoke, and first few asparagus (I'm only cropping off our 3 year old crowns - but the rest are growing vigorously.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

T he cliff

The view from them

step a little wider...

And if you fall not only will you die, but get spiked too...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When I was going to be writing about our adventure into cow-wrangling (with added calves - which makes it a whole new ball game - I was up to my elbows in icy water fixing a pipe the dear cowses and even dearer calveses had wrecked in their moo-town rendition. And then the kinds took me climbing at Killicrankie -seeing as it may be years before they're able to come back, it seems time well spent. But I'm really tired now...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The not-so-faraway cows and the big fisherfolk...

Tomorrow I write about the not-so-faraway cows... tired now. :-) Today's fishing expotition to the North East River if not pole....

I got one!!!!
Anything you can do, I can do better...
I can do better (and bigger) than you
The catch

Taking Tea, North East River
The view,

And Emita, coming home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I've been having trouble with bigpond (Internet service provider, part of Telstra, the company most Australians seem to love to hate, with good reason), which has had me offline. This is a company to avoid. Anyway we had - despite the rain and wind, a great barbi up at Norman's place, and we went out with him on his new little red 4x4 thing that is not a quad in the night (you can -if you're skinny and prepared to be very close friends) sit three on the front seat. It went through places where even a quad was doomed - it's boggy at the moment. Counted 19 wombats, and very few wallaby. Paddy spotted a whole flock of woollaby though!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

more Bolg

After a really exhausting day of wrestling with Corel Paint shop I've done a cover for Bolg, PI: Away with the fairies. It will never be as hard again, and I'll do a better one, but I've put it up on Smashwords for now - and it says there are autovettor errors... more wrestling tomorrow - but the thing with all these is they bring me a small amount of cash, reliably (which publishers are not) regularly (which once again, doesn't happen) and I am more or less in control (once again, to be desired, and not usual). They continue to find readers for me and not vanish from the shelf after 4 weeks, but stay available. By now I have quite a lot of shorter work up on Amazon and Smashwords, and the Bolg stories are Novella length. I'll make them all into a book one day.

I've put in carrots and beet seed today, and also got our first asparagus in - our fist plants are now 3 years old. It was too windy to put a roof on the wood-shed, but I did make my mini-greenhouse, which now has tomato seeds out in it. My first tomato seedlings are up indoors. We're still in for a lean time with veg for a month or so, although there is a little lettuce, and silver beet, carrots, and spring onions and a last bit of broccoli. The caulies are getting bigger, but not there yet. I must say the onions and garlic are growing well. My Italian parsley however is all going to seed, and I will need to plant more :-(

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Never wear dark glasses while climbing

This is tough one, Indiana Jones :-)

Today we cut wood, concreted in posts for woodshed, and climbed some bouldery rocks.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Barbs is now down with the lurgy, and very sorry for herself. I am trying to do covers for the next two Bolg stories, feed the 5000 (well, Paddy. Same thing really. When you add James, it's 5000+4000.) and move forward. I have -I hope - a miniture coldframe/greenhouse system evolvd from scraps from the abalone factory. I need to do SOMETHING because the tomatoes just aren't coming up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Or it came from underground...

And too much contact with the monster can cause this

(Paddy doing (I think)eye of the tiger on his brother's singstar. It took us 15 minutes to get him into the wetsuit, and he wasn't getting out before he went in the water.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

What the ancient mariner missed.

Someone has to baste this thing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Firewood and other thoughts

Oh dear, still coughing gunk. I have had to do a steady 20 minutes of kow-tow (to let this sinus stuff penetrate - not so I can spend 20 minutes with my head flat on the floor, and my bum up in the air - a situation which causes much hilariarity. I have made sure not to cause religious offense by facing carefully to pot-boil shoal. This means I face directly away from the Arabian peninsula, with my face, anyway.)

I've just re-read an old Neville Shute favorite -The Far Country. It contains some very accurate observations about refugees and those who are far from the place they came from, which are as true now (for me, anyway) as then, as well as some things which make it very very dated. The characters all smoke. Our Heroine feels Australia is not so far... because ten days will see a letter to-and-fro from England. The UK is still on rationing. Food is available but meat isn't really. Coal is rationed, everywhere is cold. And on the farms in Australia mutton is threepence a pound as much as you want to those who work there. Wood - for cooking or heat - was plentiful and even if you bought it, cheap. It was kind the difference between poverty with as much food and warmth as you needed, and poverty where those -not other goods or entertainment - were hard to come by. The former can be tough, but the latter... Anyway, I was amused (because the rest of Australia is not like this) that we were still here in that situation. We have, realistically, a surfeit of fish or meat. And there is more wood - available for the labour of cutting it up and hauling it in, than we can ever possibly use. With the cheap chainsaws of today, cutting a few weeks firewood in an hour is not even a challenge for anyone who can afford to buy a load of wood (basically to BUY wood is pricy -well to me - around $120-$150 a load. It's all nicely split and cut to length. But you can buy a Chinese chainsaw for that. And even a rubbish saw will give you more than one load... if you have some way of transporting it. This in a way is the poverty trap. If you don't have internet access and a credit card, you can't buy a chainsaw on-island for less than about $650 - which will pay for itself quite fast, but it's a capital outlay. If you don't have something to transport wood, you have to get it delivered. And thus - for a small amount of capital - your cost living increases many-fold). And 1 tank will more or less give me a 1 ton load, if the saw is good and sharp. We may have many other problems but freezing and starving are low on the list. And yet in the UK people die every year of fuel poverty.

Monday, September 10, 2012

In the busy life of authors living on small remote islands with nothing to do but write, moan about the weather and feed themselves off the land... my older son and his wife have just come home for a visit from the UK. My cold/flu has somewhat receded, but I'd love them to have come next week (and to stay for just as long, or longer. I'm just really tired.)

Anyway, we're not too sure when next we'll get to see them, with Clare not getting much time off in her next few years, and us not having a lot of spare cash for the traveling thing, so it is something to be very grateful for. That and wedding leftovers, which is what they got for supper tonight :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

James, where's yer trew-sers?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Will someone find that horse and confine it?

I've been slightly sicker than the average horse, which appears to have been sneaking in and kicking me in the ribs in the bits of sleep I have managed to get (it's that or coughing rather a lot). James has managed after an hour and a half on the mobile to get half way with winning with Telstra. (to the extent that my internet is up again, at the price they originally quoted for the extra cap - it turns out the issue with my cap is NOT that I am prodigal and spend my life watching streaming video. It's that we have days when packet loss is 80% - that problem and the telephone which is 'working' but with such crackle you can only hear one in three remain unresolved. Most things in Australia - even including govt. departments, work and seem to do so quite or very well and fast. Telstra are the big stand out). Honesty forces me to admit they're the company I would most like to send to Somalia, for achieving the rare distinction of being less able than a Zimbabwean government department. Somalia would achieve a marginal internet and telephone improvement, and Australia a great one, as something -- almost anything else -- has to be better.

With James's new wife on her way back to Zimbabwe,(the kids are in for a tough few months) he needed a distraction. He has more patience and politeness than I do. They just don't seem to have any technicians available at all.

Anyway, we have a Scottish dancing class (among a weekend of dancing of various sorts - swing? - that I'll pass on) later today. I'm hoping for my wife's sake that I'll be able to manage without coughing too much. I'm going to put up some pics and the story of the wedding (some of which is quite funny given our ability to find disaster in the mundane and overcome it) - probably tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We've been through a wedding, reception, a day of power failures, and a great deal of difficulty getting onto the net. I have come down with a cold and a chest infection, and dealing with visitors, which have all left me somewhat battered and tired. Hopefully normal service will resume soon. Alana and her mum fly out today, the new Mr Mrs Freer having had a short but much enjoyed honeymoon.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Beach Wedding

Let us gather together, here at Trousers point.

The happy couple leaving barefoot prints together on the sand.

May love, happiness, and each other, go with my children.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Letting the cat out of the bag

My son James marries his fiance Alana tomorrow.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The days have been frantically busy which has made posting tricky. We did a trip with the kids and Alana's mum to Fotheringate, Strezleki, Walker's lookout, later into town, and back to cook muttonbirds and play cranium last night. Not a lot of writing work got done.