Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It has 400 holes

A few nights ago we started to watch the new season of Game of Thrones. Halfway through the first episode we realized that we had no idea what was going on and could not remember any of the characters. So we decided to go back and watch from the beginning of series 1.

We were doing this on Friday night and it was getting late so we stopped watching but we still had wine left in our glasses. We consider it a criminal act to leave wine undrunk so I started flicking through some of the 375 TV channels we have and discovered a shopping channel that was selling Rowena irons. You know – those things with which you iron clothes.

I was absolutely enthralled at the efficacy of this iron. It glided over any and all fabrics leaving them smooth and wrinkle free. This is important in our house because Cate has a lot of frilly girlie things that are hell to iron.

Admittedly I had drunk a bit of wine by the time I got to this infomercial – but it did look damn good – and like something I just had to have.

I did not discount the fact that the wool was being pulled over my eyes. You know – like those stain removers that will get any stains out of any thing – but when you buy them you discover that you have been well and truly gulled.

But the iron had a money back guarantee so I chose a suitable model – based on user recommendations - and placed an order with Amazon. The iron arrived on Sunday and I took it for a run yesterday.

It is all it is advertised to be and is everything I wanted in an iron. It is German made and has 400 holes (yes 400 – count them) – with a turbo steam blast that would take paint off a barn door at a distance of 100 yards.

I could not be happier with this purchase and am looking forward to the next battle with Cate’s frillies.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dry as a bird's bum

The NRA convention was a great success and people who were interviewed said they would like to come back to Indianapolis again. There were no gun incidents which proves that having a convention center full of guns does not encourage violence.

Sarah Palin gave a rousing speech – of which I saw a brief part – and said that they were not going to take her guns away. She did not say who ‘they’ were but I imagine it might be someone who lives in the White House and is known to sneak around at night and steal guns while law abiding citizens sleep.

Meanwhile – any doubts about Hillary Clinton running for President can be put to rest. On the weekend she spoke about how her faith sustains her and guides her life. This is a sure fire indicator – and is a requirement for anyone who runs for any office in America.

Deckman and Son removed our old deck on Friday and they were supposed to start building the new one today - but it is raining. This is good because our garden is as dry as a bird’s bum and we really need lots of rain to bring our plants properly to life.

Except for the Yews. I am sure the yews are dying. I wax and wane a bit about this but had a really close look and there are more brown and crispy bits than I have seen before.  I smothered them in fertilizer on the weekend but think it is probably too late.

The rain does not stop the squirrels and when they are out in the rain they put their tails over their heads and use them like umbrellas.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


25 April is ANZAC day.

This was the day in 1915 when Australian, New Zealand and British forces landed on the Turkish coast at Gallipoli. It apparently seemed like a good idea at the time.

They stayed for a while, were massacred in their droves and eventually left.

The Australians and the Kiwis were so upset by the whole shemozzle that we initiated ANZAC day which is the day each year when we remember the fallen.

On 25 April our veterans march, play two-up and possibly get hammered. There are no WW1 veterans left alive but fortunately there have been lots more wars since then so the tradition continues.

Boldly planned by some British nincompoops sitting in London drinking tea and eating scones – the landing at Gallipoli was a complete, absolute and gold-plated fiasco. 

The combined forces were driven off the peninsula by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was then the relatively junior commander of the Turkish forces at Gallipoli and who later became the founder of the Republic of Turkey – and its first President.

He took the whole Gallipoli thing rather well considering the number of his ‘Mehmets’ that the invaders killed - and later built the above memorial at Anzac Cove.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

She seemed to know a lot about paint

Towards the end of winter our Hicks Yews starting looking
a bit worse for wear – and brown and crispy bits started to appear.

This became quite alarming and we started fretting about losing them – and there are 20 of them. I put in an emergency call to our gardening person and she came this morning to have a look at them. She said they suffered during winter but expects them to make a full recovery.

We are waiting on Deckman to tell us when he is going to install our new deck. This is the one with privacy screens so that we can sit outside naked and read the New York Times.

Deckman said that we should paint the deck as soon as it has been installed – using diluted oil stain. He is the Deckman so we assume that he knows what he was doing. He knows a lot about wood and has built hundreds of decks.

Today I went to the paint store to buy the stain and the young lady – who seemed to know a lot about paint – said we should let it weather for some months before painting it. She gave me what seemed to be some compelling reasons for this.

So I did not buy the paint and instead came home and started researching painting decks. It seems that young paint lady is right – we should let it weather. So I need to have a more detailed discussion with Deckman and work through the issues.

In the meantime I have downloaded ‘How to stain a deck’ from the Amazon Kindle store – at a cost of $3.75 plus tax. This has received rave reviews so I am really looking forward to immersing myself in it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Show me the bullet

At the end of this week the NRA is holding its annual convention in Indianapolis. My favorite female country singer – Sara Evans is appearing – along with  Sarah Palin – so it is an all star cast.

I don’t think I will be able to convince Cate to go because she does not like guns, country music or Sarah Palin. This will be a shame because we would be able to see the Midwest in full cry.

Cate is horrified that almost all of her staff are licensed gun owners. She has not been able to come to grips with the gun culture.

Many Americans like to kill each other – and God’s furry creatures – in droves – and using guns is the most effective way of doing it.

We are not supposed to understand it.

It is what it is – and will never change.

Yesterday while everyone else was at church we painted our back fence – or at least the inside of it. God punished us by giving us both crippling backaches and today I can barely walk.

We are going to paint the outside of the fence – but only the part we can see. Our neighbors can make their own arrangements. Given the condition in which they keep their backyards and trash bins I don’t think they will be too worried.

Today I saw our first yellow bellied sapsucker. At least I am almost sure it was a yellow bellied sapsucker. It did not stay long so I could not get a picture.

The birds have found the bird bath and I now have to fill it five times a day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What can I say?

Ready to fight the government
America has far more than its fair share of lunatics – and nothing at all surprises me  - but I must admit that this caught my attention.

The Bureau of Land Management allows 18,000 grazing permits on 157 million acres of land.

17,999 of the farmers who use the land pay grazing fees.

A rancher named Cliven Bundy in Nevada has been grazing his cattle on public land for 20 years and has amassed unpaid fees of about $1,000,000. He says he will not pay the fees because “I don’t recognize the United States government as existing”. 

Last Saturday the government moved in to enforce a court order to confiscate his cattle.

Hundreds of heavily armed and camouflaged supporters of  Mr. Bundy turned out to prevent this from happening.

Protecting Cliven from the Government
They surrounded the government employees and trained their guns on them. One of these militia-styled honking plonkers said:

“I knew we would have to fight the government one day – I guess today’s the day”

One of the rancher’s supporters, Richard Mack, a Tea Party leader who is in the National Rifle Association’s Hall of Fame, said he planned to use women as human shields in a violent showdown with law enforcement.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up front,” Mack said in a radio interview. “If they were going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot.”

The government employees wisely withdrew. 

Fox has been shouting all week about this ‘victory’ over the government by the downtrodden masses. 

Mr. Bundy – when interviewed by Fox said that the recent ‘blood moon’ was part of the vast government plot against him.

What can I say?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It will of course include key lime pie

We finally got our bird bath and eagerly awaited the arrival of hundreds of thirsty birds. None so far – although one perched on the edge of the bird bath and peered at the water. Still – it took a while for our feeders to attract attention so we are not concerned at this stage.

Our air conditioners started making a clacking noise a while ago so our AC man Dave took a look at it. He said it was a loose flange and that he would fix it as soon as he could get parts – and we had our six monthly service.

Much more ghastly noises became apparent last week so Dave came back yesterday and spent an hour or two ferreting about in the gizzards. The good news is that he knows exactly what it is – the other flange motor is cactus.

The bad news is that he can see no way of getting to it as it is up inside the housing on the top floor – and is surrounded by solid walls with no access. It looks like he will have to cut a hole in the wall to get at it.

He said I should not worry and that he will talk to John – who renovated the house – to see what they can come up with. I personally have no doubt that we will end up with a complete shambles – and more repair work.

Cate has organised another dinner for colleagues who are arriving in May from Europe - so I have to think about another menu. Of course it will include key lime pie and Bourbon glazed carrots – but the rest is open for discussion.

I am thinking about Australian lamb – which abounds in Indianapolis – but cooking lamb to everyone’s preferred degree of doneness is tricky.