Category Archives: News from at home

What is happening at home

Merlin Aurelius Maximus

I do think mice are quite cute, clever and athletic. But they do not belong in a house.

Merlin Day 1Hence The Phenlry’s new addition, Merlin Aurelius Maximus, who arrived today and is already making himself very much at home. Hopefully, he will prove even cuter, cleverer and more athletic than the mice. He is just a kitten, but Continue reading


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Soaring High

flying kneesWe grow older, but a part of us never grows up. I had a brilliant time yesterday gliding with a friend above the Barossa Valley.

It is many years since I last went up in a glider. That was a very brief flight in Oxfordshire, and I just sat there. This time, we were up for an hour and a half, and could easily have passed the regulation-imposed 10,000 feet limit imposed in Australia (it is 14,00 feet elsewhere, apparently. The air starts to get a bit thin up there).

prepI flew the plane for about half the time, but not of course when we did the loop-the-loop or the stall-and-dive aerobatic stuff – that was my very competent pilot Simon Holding. It is however a source a continuing and burning pride that I was able without Simon’s intervention to gain about 1,000 feet in a single thermal. It might not seem that hard – you just flight around and around in tight circles while the rising air takes you up, but it trickier than you might think. You have to keep the airspeed at around 50 knots, maintaining a constant bank using stick and rudder. Continue reading

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A Petition for Freedom

petitionI delivered the Freedom for Fleurieu Dogs petition to the District Council of Yankalilla today; in the end it attracted over 1,000 signatures, not only from locals, but from people all over the world.

Will the Council take any notice? The track record for the short term is not good. It ignored another, traditional, petition to the same effect last month, which was signed by over 1,000 locals.  And when a proposal to ease the restrictions was moved at the last Council meeting, it was voted down. And, demonstrating the sort of mean-mindedness that is prevalent among dog-haters, they also voted down an acknowledgement of the efforts of those who had consulted with the community on the issue.

A number of locals have come to the view that the way to fix this is to get the errant Councillors voted out of office in the elections due later in the year. A new Council will simply be able to repeal the offending by-law. These locals may well be right.  The Councillors get elected with tiny numbers of votes cast, and this issue seems to be by far the most important in the minds of the local electorate. The total numbers of petitions in the two petitions is some 40% of the electorate (although of course there are bound to be a few duplicates, and some petitioners live outside the area), and so one would have thought that the prospects for getting a dog-friendly Council elected would be quite good.  It is quite extraordinary that the present Council should be insisting on these dog restrictions when they know full well that they run counter to the strong feelings of the great majority of ratepayers, particularly since the restrictions are causing real damage to the health of residents, our dogs and to the local economy.

The petition went in with a covering letter which read:

Please find herewith a hard copy of the on-line petition Freedom For Fleurieu Dogs.

As you will see, this has been signed by over 1,000 people, both locals and those from further afield, who seek a rolling back of the recent laws restricting the exercise of dogs.

As such, this on-line petition compliments last month’s petition of locals, which also attracted over 1,000 signatures.

It is a regrettable reflection of these new laws that they are offensive, not only to locals, but also to friends from all around the world.

There is a long way to go in this saga…


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Filed under Myponga Beach, News from at home, Uncategorized, Yankalilla

My vegetable love

WP_20180108_001Normally, I am not really, really keen on too many vegetables. That said, I am warming, quite a bit, to my new vegetable garden.

Never having had such a thing before, I am something of an amateur. But it turns out to be rather good. Chard, freshly picked and wilted with fried onion, turns out to be surprisingly good to eat – like spinach only more subtle. As do the beetroots: pull ‘em out, wash ‘em and chop ‘em and then straight into the oven for baking. Courgettes have been appearing in abundance. And the tomatoes will be red soon – they are already smelling good.

Still wary of lettuce. But overall, Continue reading

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Water, Water, Everywhere, and But a Drop to Drink

A neighbour put his drone up the morning after the fire last week. This picture from 400 feet shows how close the fire got to my property.


There is a striking contrast between the scotched earth below my house and the blue reservoir above it.

Viewed from this angle, it is all the more bizarre that neither I nor my neighbours have access to any of the mains water from the reservoir. Then again, we get no post, no rubbish collection and no access to the beach just down the road for our dogs to exercise. The reputation of the local council, around here, is Continue reading

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ThermometerIn Numbers, in the Bible, Jehovah was really quite mean to the poor Jews. Eg Chapter 21:

6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

It is a wonder that they put up with Him.

Anyway, my numbers are:

31oC by 5.00 am this morning, with a stiff Northerly breeze. It is going to be warm today.

So far, I have lost 2½ kilos since Christmas. I was starting to get decidedly overweight.

40,222 is the number of litres of rainwater I have left in my tanks. Unless it rains soon Continue reading

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Sprechen Sie Deutsch

ColossusMy builder and my garden designer have now each discovered that the other is originally German.

It is like that moment in Colossus: The Forbin Project when Colossus and Guardian start talking to each other.

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There is no Accounting for Google Tastes

Google accountsEither Windows has recently done something really tedious to stop Gmail working in Outlook. Just to annoy Google? Or Google has recently done something to the same effect. Just to annoy Microsoft?

I have four main email accounts. My personal one, which is a Microsoft-hosted one, which works fine and is easy. My chambers one for work, which involves a weird and wonderful exchange system which is German and therefore requires a degree in computer science and a certificate from the EU to do anything useful with. A Gmail account, to which all my exchange server stuff gets automatically sent so I can actually read it, even if I am using my tablet or my phone.  And finally, a groovy family one, set up by my son Charlie, which ends in “io” instead of “com”. That is supposed to be for “Indian Ocean” apparently, but since there is relatively little demand for localised email addresses in the Indian Ocean, it has been adopted somehow by clever people on dry land with a quirky sense of style.

Anyway, after a considerable amount of faffing around, I eventually worked out how to fix the Gmail one. It turns out that buried within Google there is another password regime. Not your normal Google password.  Oh no. A specially annoying second one. With 16 letters. I found the following advice. After five very annoying steps, here is the key to whole Continue reading

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The Solar Panels on Climate Change

It is seriously worrying that the South Australian government is currently spending $2.6 million of taxpayers money on an advertising campaign about energy. It now says that it is “taking control” of the situation.  That is bad. Very bad.

Electricity here is already 3 times as expensive as in the US, and I have had many power cuts this year. So a bad situation looks like it is going to get much worse before it gets better.

dashboardSo I have installed a solar system on the roof. This is not because I think solar is great. It is because I think the grid supply is really bad, and getting worse. It comes with an internet based dashboard, so I can see what it going on. Right now, for example, my panels are generating 5kW. Most of that is powering the house. Some is charging up the battery which provides power at night. And I am exporting a bit of it to the grid. It is surprisingly compelling, watching the dashboard as the sun comes out and then dives back behind a cloud.

Daft ideas from the State government here Continue reading

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Electric soup

invertersI have been installing a lot of solar panels on my roof. And in the garage, inverters and battery etc.

This is not because I am a fan of solar power, or this State’s Government’s obsession with renewables. Just the opposite. I think that that obsession will lead to yet more massive increases in mains electricity prices here, and even more power cuts. The home battery bit is expensive, but one needs it, apparently, to maintain power during the power cuts (you would have thought that you could use the electricity coming from the panels. But you can’t.  That has to go into the grid, and if the grid is off, it’s thank you and goodnight.)

Already, my taxes do not lead to much return. I have

  • No mains water (I collect my water from the roof);
  • No rubbish collection (I burn as much as possible);
  • No mail deliveries (I have to collect from the post office in the local township of Myponga);
  • No sewerage (I have my own Envirocycle system);
  • No mains gas (I use bottled gas for cooking on the hob);
  • A very poor telephone line, incapable of carrying an internet connection;
  • Very poor mobile telephone reception (I had to put in an 8 metre high antenna);
  • No road surface (the road I live on is just a strip of dirt).

So, with my own electricity generation, I will be even further off grid. I bake Continue reading

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