Archive for January, 2012


A Stitch In Time

10 January 2012

A clock that knits you a scarf over the course of a year!    Though I’m not sure how you know what time it is.


Your Help, Please.

7 January 2012

By sheer coincidence, a few days after I wrote here about my recent routine eye test, the sight in my right eye went extremely blurry.  I spent four hours at the optometrists (when I should have been packing to fly off to Vanuatu that afternoon) while she performed every test she could to ensure that I hadn’t got something as serious as a detached retina.  She decided I could go on holiday and arranged  an appointment for me with an opthalmic surgeon on my return.

The upshot of this is that I have a cataract but unfortunately not any old cataract.  It’s called a Posterior Polar cataract (unheard of by me before this). Apparently, it’s congenital (Thanks, Mum! – I inherited her dreadful eyesight and she had cataracts on both eyes removed but to my knowledge didn’t suffer from this problem). As you all know, cataract operations have become so routine, easy to perform and fairly cheap.  The ‘mishap’ rate is about 0.5%.  On the other hand . . . . Posterior Polar cataract operations are described both by my consultant and every website I’ve come across as “a challenge to the surgeon” with a 25% chance of going wrong. 

Now I’m not going to ask for medical advice from unqualified friends and strangers.  I have every confidence I’m pretty well covered there with an excellent surgeon.  But I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who has been through this surgery and would be willing to share their experience with me. I haven’t been able to find anyone with a similar problem so I feeling I’m going into the unknown here.

Just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.   

And thank you.    


Proud To Be Australian?

6 January 2012

Yes, it seems that Australia – the land of the outdoor ‘lifestyle’, an obsessional love of sport, Bondi Beach and bronzed Sheilas – is (with New Zealand) the region of the world with the highest levels of marijuana and amphetamine use.  Story here.

The Australian Tourist Board keeps this one quiet.   Maybe they could include it in their next campaign.  Images of Paul Hogan smoking a spliff as he encourages the world to “put another shrimp on the barbie” and head Downunder spring into my mind.


Things I Don’t Understand . . . No. 3

5 January 2012

When you retire from your 40 hour, five days a week job, with 4 weeks’ paid holiday plus public holidays are you intending in your ‘retirement’ to work18 hours a day, 365 days a year?  Were you planning on sinking your life savings into a business for which you have absolutely no training or experience? 

No?  Me neither? So why do so many people do this?

In Australia, in the UK and in a number of other countries I’ve visited, I come across people who’ve done just that.  “After a lifetime working on the railways, I think I’m going to buy a hotel or a pub. I’ve always liked staying in hotels and I LOVE pubs.” 

I really don’t understand why this is considered a retirement option.  It’s incredibly hard work, it’s a very heavy commitment, it can eat up a huge amount of money. 

And I know.  My parents were hotel managers and I lived in pubs and hotels until I was about 18.  They rarely took a holiday together, they could never both attend school functions.  They couldn’t even attend a family funeral together. 

One hotel they managed was privately owned by a retired wealthy man with two small children.  He told my father that he’d bought the hotel to give to one of his sons when he was older and would buy another one for the other son because “I don’t think they’re going to be very bright” !!!  After that insult, we didn’t stay very long, surprisingly.  My parents were both very bright, my mother (who had herself been brought up in a pub) was trained in administration and bookkeeping, and my father who was a qualified chef had trained in hotel and bar management. 

Why is it considered a suitable job for amateurs?   Because I’ve stayed in an hotel, it doesn’t mean I can RUN one (though in my case I probably could with my background and work experience).  I’ve had my car fixed but that doesn’t make me a car mechanic. 

I think some people feel that as they’re sociable types that’s the only requirement they need.  But I don’t want “sociable” (though a surly recluse probably wouldn’t quite fit in).  I want “efficient”.  I even heard in one hotel a guest say “Isn’t it wonderful here?  It’s so amateur” so apparently some people do like that style. 

If I want amateur, I’ll go and stay with a friend who probably won’t charge me an arm and a leg for the privilege. 



I Won’t Be Knitting This … No. 1

3 January 2012

Rather crazy armchair cover.  (Courtesy of BiscuitScout on Etsy).


Wonderful piece of knitting but the bobbles would be a bit uncomfortable, me thinks.


I Resolve …..

2 January 2012

Over the last couple of years, so many of the blogs I used to read have fallen by the wayside.  Maybe the blogger’s circumstances have changed, they’ve just lost interest, or perhaps they’ve run out of things to say.  No idea – but it’s sad to see them go.

I really enjoy my blog.  I’m self-opinionated, I know, and I always say that it’s like owning my own newspaper where I get to write the editorial page.  Except that I don’t have to pander to my readers.  My ability to pay my mortgage doesn’t depend on my readership (for which I’m grateful!).  If you don’t like what I say, feel free to tell me or just go elsewhere. 

So I’m a bit sad that I devoted less time to it last year than in previous years, as my annual statistics have proved to me.  I suppose life got in the way.  They also showed that I’d had visitors from as far apart as Peru, Lithuania and Madagascar.   

As well as giving me an outlet for my thoughts and opinions, I’ve made “real life” friends through my blog over the last 5 years (Hello to Emily, Lynne and Denise just to name three) and very good online friends too (Quick wave to Pat and Virginia in the USA – maybe I’ll meet them some day).  I’ve had wonderful messages of support during hard times (my accident, my mother’s death) some of which have really moved me. 

I therefore resolve this year to put in more effort.  I refuse to be a blogger who disappeared into the ether.  Oh no, you can’t get rid of me.  Where else can I have a rant?

So Happy New Year to you all.  I look forward to “meeting up” with you more frequently in 2012.