The Squatter

I was cleaning out some folders in our filing cabinet the other day and came across a pile of faded old poems I had written about 20 or so years ago. Some I still quite like and so I thought I would post them here over time to ensure they are not lost altogether. The first – and the one I love most as I still recall elements of that fated day, is one written about our move into our first house. Being our first home it was not endowed with great ease of reaching, being up the top of a driveway too steep for vehicles! Anyway, the poem is modelled after the style of early Aussie poets, Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson (and probably even pinches from them a little ūüôā ) …


The boxes some and plenty were in number at least twenty
And each a trip required from the truck that we had hired
To our new house on the hill. I can see the path there still
Where we trod with steps a-weary, though our hearts were light and merry
‘Cause the movers have some pleasures that the squatters never know

With twenty of the bludgers there were twenty uphill drudges
And I swear this to my Keeper, that there blasted hill got steeper
And the house moved f’er away.

I had half a mind to chuck it in, with only half the boxes in
When up behind me missus came and said that this here weren’t no game
And should I wish to miss her pain I should move them boxes before the rain.

So I tooks a chance and steeled me nerves and there up in the sky observes
Storm clouds fit to make me jump, darker than that old Black Stump.
With them near up and her around, I dug inside until I found
A grunt or two not yet dispersed and climbed that hill and swore and cursed.

Now all those things once dear to heart, no longer filled that hallowed part
And inside a detachment grew to all them boxes except the few
I’d lugged already up that hill; I guess I’d fairly had my fill.

But me missus paid no attention to my thinking and intention
And sent me down that hill again to fetch some more before the rain.
So up and down I heaves me load and cursed that truck down on the road.

Lugging boxes ain’t my sense of fun but by and by they all got done
And me luck had held and then by some ’cause not a drop of rain had come.
So I sits me down to have a drink, while me missus had a little think.

You know peace don’t last long now-a-days ’cause its not too long before she says
“First things first, we must unpack!” Now I know her well, I know her knack
Of saying “We” and meaning “Me”, so I’m back at all this drudgery
Before me whistle’s fully wet.

Well “First things first” is what she says, so I unpack a giant mess
And leave her on her own to find a place for all and sundry kind
Of thing and kitchen implement. You know she really must be heaven sent
Because its soon all gone and out of sight. But when I check if its done right
I’m taken by complete surprise;
‘Cause half the stuff that I lugged in is in the bloody rubbish bin!

Well now we’ve been here quite a while
I look back on that day and smile
But on one thing sure you can depend
I’m squatting here until THE END!

(March 18, 1992)


A Word A Week Photo Challenge: Zoom

40 259-26 extruded

I have been playing around with the Extrude filter on Photoshop to create a pseudo zoom affect and so figured that would be a good fit for this weeks challenge “Zoom”.

This challenge is led by¬†‚ÄúA Word In Your Ear‚ÄĚ ( Check out her blog, great photos and stories.

This Blog Has Moved


If you are one of¬†the¬†few people that read or follow this blog then you obviously are amongst the¬†world’s¬†most erudite and wonderful people. Welcome aboard!

This¬†blog has just been relocated to here at or you can use for simplicity and robustness. Unfortunately that has caused the loss of all previous “Likes” – and obviously there were thousands of them! ūüôā

So – I suggest you start off by¬†liking¬†a few of¬†the¬†existing posts just to get your monika re-established here. I’d really like it as well, as it feels a¬†little¬†bleak and naked here without them all.

Thanks heaps,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward


The world is an amazing place with so many bizarre things. To me, one of them is Lake George near Canberra. Looking “normal” in this photo, complete with sheep, it does from time to time fill up with water. For me this picture really draws the eyes forward. The frame of the picnic shelter acts a little like blinkers and helps to focus the eyes immediately forward on the distant “lake”. Does it work for you?

Privacy – A Paradise Lost

Who’s watching you?
Image courtesy of:

Lets just get it out there – these days there is nowhere to hide, no privacy.

This¬†is a story of¬†the¬†21st century. We don’t need 20th century ideas like Kim Jong-il¬†and Big Brother. All we need is our friends and neighbours. Or perhaps ex-friends.

Here’s the first scenario: you are careful to¬†protect¬†your identity when on-line. You read Terms and Conditions closely. You make a decision NOT to join Facebook because you feel that their T&C’s are just wrong and don’t like the morality of their founder and the way they seem to do business and not look after your privacy.

With those web services you do join you are careful and circumspect with the personal information you give. While not being deceitful when real personal information is required, you take care to limit what is provided so that tracking you, or finding out who you are in the real world is not as easy as it might otherwise be. For example, when a photo of you is required you use one that your friends would recognise as you but would make it difficult for a stranger to spot you on the street.

You know that in the world of Facebook  there are 1 billion users and of those some will be crooks on the prowl. This is not being paranoid, this is just adopting a sensible 21st century mindset.

But then the defences crumble. And they crumble quite innocently and non malevolently. Someone has posted a picture of you on Facebook (or possibly some other web facility). The photo is not of you exactly Рrather a group photo at some function or event but with a clear and full frontal view of you Рand tagged your name to it.

In one short moment so much of your caution and care has been blown and put to waste. There are also other important issues such as with Facebook, they now claim ownership of the photo and you may never be irretrievably untagged. It is possible (although agreed, unlikely) that it could be used for widespread advertising or whatever else Facebook wishes.

But what if the photo was yours to begin with and a copy given to others at the function – the unspoken intent being for personal use. You still own it, but anything like group photos are quite likely to be passed on sooner or later, even if it is a breach of copyright. As a digital file you have no idea of where it could be sent and therefore who might end up posting it on the web, or for what reason – even if innocent. Once someone posts it onto Facebook their T&C’s say that¬†they, Facebook, now own it, even though it wasn’t the poster’s to give away.

I understand that Facebook allows one to force a third party to untag you from photos, but to do so requires you having a Facebook account in the first place, and presumably in a version of your name identical to the tagging.

If you do not know the photo has been posted and do not know the person who posted it, or for relationship reasons do not wish to contact that person, then the only option is to live with the privacy breach.

Welcome to the modern world.

The second scenario is this: you are in your backyard, sunbathing scantily clad, or perhaps doing a bit of gardening without your designer trackkies on. Although you are surrounded by solid, high fences, you notice that there is a camera pointed at you from the side of your neighbours house.

Based on a radio program I have just heard, here in NSW Australia at least, it is not a crime to erect a “security” camera and direct it into a neighbours backyard.

Similarly, even if there are rules regarding the flying of drones there are apparently no controls on the use of it by someone to observe what is going on in your backyard, if operated by an individual. This has actually happened recently in Mollymook.

Needless to say I think anyone would count either of these as invasive. Certainly it is inconsistent as I believe that here in NSW it is¬†actually¬†illegal to use a camera on a beach –¬†or at least there are laws covering how a camera can be used on a beach – just to protect people’s privacy.

Image courtesy of:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home


Being born in New Zealand, a part of me will always belong there, but I have lived in Australia now for more than half my life, so that is where I call home.

I still remember an eerie, uncanny sense of un-ease for months, actually years, after I first moved here. I always felt somewhat unsettled when outside and wanted to go inside or under trees or something. It took a long time before I recognised that I even had this feeling and longer still until I realised what it was.

It was caused by a sense of vulnerability or exposure to something. Yes, part of that was my pale, freckly Nordic skin panicking at the harsh Australian sun, but there was much more to it than that. The feelings were caused by the sky. There is a reason this is called Big Sky country.

I’d grown up in a young, folded land, where shade and hills¬† were never out of sight; where a primal sense of available shelter was always with you. Where the sun was your friend, not a seering foe to be reckoned with.

The photo above was taken on one of my road trips in Australia and captures the sense of a big sky – for me at least, which is my sense of what distinguishes Australia. This may not be the only place with big sky, but big sky is Australia.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique


0989   Norway 2003 - 1782

It is ironic that with a theme of “Unique” I should have a picture so similar to the one Michele used as a stimulus for this theme. I give myself latitude in using it as it was taken in 2003¬†– about 9 years before Michele’s, and in Bergen, Norway, not the USA. When I saw this small flower bed with the super high, different coloured¬†Tulip it¬†did indeed stimulate all the emotions and thoughts that were aroused in Michele –¬†which is also why I took the photo!

However it also provided me with further thought. In Australia we have this thing, or at least we often beat ourselves up thinking we have this thing, that we call the “Tall Poppy Syndrome”. I am not sure if this exists anywhere else, but it is where the masses desire the successful standouts to be brought down, for no apparent reason other than they dare to standout.

Mind you, there may be a reason for this sentiment, with so many of the successful businessmen of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s being crooks, shonks or at least exploitative and unpleasant people. But then, maybe that is what it takes to get ahead in business in the first place…


Mixed Messages

Why can’t everyone be more like me? I’m rational (mostly), somewhat intelligent, and simply ooze good taste. Surely I make a good template for everyone else.
It seems that no-one has ever told anyone what everyone should know. And do.
Some things happen automatically. Like when I talk to you in English, you reply in English. Not German. Not French. And certainly not in Mandarin, even if it is spoken by nearly half the world’s population.
So why do people have so much trouble with this concept in the modern media?

When it comes to organising events, I speak Outlook invite. Now whatever you may think of Microsoft, in Outlook they have made a great tool for managing events and people’s attendance thereat. If there should be an issue understanding the invite “dialect”, then surely the obvious response is to revert to the mother tongue – email.

Sure there always has been and probably always will be those that just don’t respond, simply because they are the centre of the Universe. We work with these. They require our special attention until the whitecoats catch up with them.

But what is it that prompts others to respond via SMS, phone call, or, shock horror, in person. Maybe a couple of decades ago I might have been capable of keeping all that information in my head, but now…
Give me Outlook, please.