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Going long on whiskers.

For all those fans of the “bearded market analysist”. Tom Piotrowski.

Going long on whiskers

“It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas”. The latest creepy crawly in my back yard. Too cool.


Christmas Beetle



Inspired on the Aussie road.

We traveled north through the Adelaide hills, with a Eucalypt guard of honour opening our eyes to the paradise within.

Travelling in Between


IMG_1182I had a phone call the other night on our home phone, which could only mean one of two things. My mum is calling, or it’s a canvasser or scammer.  In my usual manner to ward off “cold callers”, I answered the phone with “Bon jour, ca va”.  Answering in another language works most of the time. I just get a delay and then they hang up. Not sure that all my friends are aware of my habit, but hey, it keeps the call centres and scammers at bay, so I’m stickin with it.

This particular caller however, either ignored my greeting in french, or was so nervous that he didn’t even hear what I said. He must have been concentrating so hard on what he was supposed to say, he was not remotely aware of my apparent “Parisian” background. So, he ignored my french fluency and got straight to the point of his call. It was if he could not contain himself any longer and with the briefest of greetings, got down to business.

So, this young gentleman, whom I will call “John”,  identified the candidate he was representing right off the bat, and asked if I had any concerns regarding local issues. Our previous long standing member (Bob Such) was very much dedicated to the local community and much loved. A decent fellow (RIP).  Anyway, “John”, represents Nat Cook, a brand new Labor candidate, who stands on an anti violence platform. “John”, then went on to ask what were my concerns in the local or wider community. Well, I felt like asking him if he had enough time this fine evening, because I had much to say, but knowing full well, he probably would not be too interested in my slightly right leaning/Libertarian views, I picked just a couple of issues to niggle at his socialist heart.

“Not so much local issues” I said, “but more macro issues are my concern”, sounding very knowledgeable with my politico economic speak. “The recent bungle with our soon to be moth balled Desal plant and water rates hike, as well as electricity prices, (which incidentally here in SA are among the highest in the developed world) are my biggest bug bear!  These two, along with our emergency services levy which has increased this year, up to 400 odd percent (average is supposed to be 62%), is sapping all of our “hard earned” before we have the chance to support the local economy by spending it at the businesses that employ our kids etc.

I then could not help my self but have a dig about extra costs associated with renewables of which we all end up paying more for, with absolutely no benefit at all!  John, I have to say stayed composed throughout our conversation, however, he did still appear quite nervous and unsure of how to answer my questions. His standard response to many of my comments was, ” I will pass on your concerns to Nat”.  His nervousness was more obvious by now, (was it me?) and feeling his awkwardness, I helped him finish up the conversation. ” I have a pressing engagement and have to go now”, I said. He seemed happy to leave the conversation there and proceeded to make his two closing statements.  “You can call Nat any time to discuss any of your concerns”, and, then he asked whether I had decided who I was going to vote for. I am sure if he had considered any part of what I had just said (mostly issues with labor policy) he would have realized that it would not be in Nat’s favor. We parted company cordially, and I am sure he was thankful that this call was over.

I do wonder now whether I had been just one more non Labor supporter (Labor are not strong in this electorate) he had rung that night, and was nervous about the possibility of being abused or being asked difficult questions “again”.

I do have to add though in spite of the fact that I probably will not vote for Labor, at least they made the time to call. I have not heard anything from any other candidate as yet. I may have to harangue the other candidates at the local shopping centre over the coming weeks.

Not sure who to vote for though.  Is the Marijuana Party running in this election?


Seems there is not much regulation regarding fireworks in Thailand. While holidaying in Phuket, we were entertained  each night to a fireworks display, until…..   Here is what happens when things do not go exactly to plan.


Colors of Afghanistan


Wonderful images from Afganistan

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

  “A landscape might be denuded, a human settlement abandoned or lost,
but always, just beneath the ground lies history of preposterous grandeur. . .
They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind,
irrepressibly optimistic and proud.
– The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer

AFGHN-12074NF Band-e-Amir

AFGHN-10149 Kabul

If my heart trembles
for Kabul,
it’s for the slow step of summer noons,
siestas in my father’s house which,
heavy with mid-day sleep,
still weighs on my ribs…

It’s for the hawker’s cry
of the vegetable seller doing his rounds,
lost in my neighbours’ troubled dreams,
that my heart’s trembling.
– Shakila Azizzda

AFGHN-12772 Bamiyan


 Yet even at their most turbulent, the Afghans have tended to impress
travellers with
their dignity and hospitality as much as their fierce independence.
– William Dalrymple,  author of Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839–42

AFGHN-10135 Kabul



AFGHN-12883Afghanistan/Pakistan border

AFGHN-12819, Qala-e-Sabzi, Afghanistan, 2007. Donkeys grazing in fields. Qala-e-Sabzi


In Afghanistan, you…

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Your Inner Lotus



The Lotus flower is a prominent symbol in Budhism. Here is my take on that connection. Photo is from Phuket, Thailand. Taken in April 2013.

Inner Lotus

Losing Sight

Specs on your head? All ok

50s specsTime to bust an old wives tale, or should that be, an old Opticians tale?

Many of my colleagues in the Optical industry tell me that wearing your specs on top of your head stretches them. Well I am here to tell you that this is absolute bollocks!

Optical Fallacy #1.

“Your glasses will stretch if you wear them on top of your head.”

Most people’s heads are actually the same width from above the ears and further up.  If any individual  has a wider head above their ears it is minimal.

Now ultimately, the best place for your specs when not on your face, is in your case, however there are far worse places to store your glasses (than on your head) when not in use.  For example on the bed side table where the dog can get to them and chew them into oblivion ( had one customer whose dog actually swallowed a lens),  or in your top pocket or hooked in your shirt. Both of these situations can result in damage, either falling out (usually face down on the bitumen or gravel), or being crushed by an over affectionate friend (bear hugs and kisses). Even worse, I have had customers put them in their pants pockets, bending them almost in half when sitting down, or scratching the lenses with their keys which happen to occupy the same space. Then there is ladies hand bags. Now I have to say that most of my customers are sensible, however, when they fess up that they just put their eye-wear in the handbag (with no case) with their keys, and other paraphernalia bouncing around, again scratching their lenses, you just have to wonder what they were thinking!

So the next time an Optician tells you “Dont put them on your head because you will stretch them”, I challenge you to ask the question, “is my head any wider near the top of my head than at my ears?”.  I’d love to see their reaction.


Seeing the world as it truly is.



Middle Class Poverty



Middle Class Poverty



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