Sunday, 30 August 2015

I've stopped blogging here on
You can find me on Wordpress: totally random thoughts and memories
I find it more convenient and user friendly than

Sunday, 12 July 2015

In memory of James Tate

In memory of James Tate, American poet extraordinaire. 1943-2015

It Happens Like This

I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory
smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.
It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish
brown here and there. When I started to walk away,
it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered
what the laws were on this kind of thing. There's
a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People
smiled at me and admired the goat. "It's not my goat,"
I explained. "It's the town's goat. I'm just taking
my turn caring for it." "I didn't know we had a goat,"
one of them said. "I wonder when my turn is." "Soon,"
I said. "Be patient. Your time is coming." The goat
stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked
up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew
everything essential about me. We walked on. A police-
man on his beat looked us over. "That's a mighty
fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire.
"It's the town's goat," I said. "His family goes back
three-hundred years with us," I said, "from the beginning."
The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped
and looked up at me. "Mind if I pat him?" he asked.
"Touching this goat will change your life," I said.
"It's your decision." He thought real hard for a minute,
and then stood up and said, "What's his name?" "He's
called the Prince of Peace," I said. "God! This town
is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there's mystery
and wonder. And I'm just a child playing cops and robbers
forever. Please forgive me if I cry." "We forgive you,
Officer," I said. "And we understand why you, more than
anybody, should never touch the Prince." The goat and
I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning
to wonder where we would spend the night. 

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Bone ClocksThe Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews
I really didn't want to finish this book. I found myself reading slower and slower. Now I've finished it and have tears in my eyes. I can't begin to describe how David Mitchell's work affects me.
Highly recommended although not as good as Cloud Atlas.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Walking to school

Oh, the joy of walking to school! The shady pavement and the interesting homes all along the street.
Oh, the joy of walking with the neighbour's children too; one on a bike and one on a scooter.
Oh, the joy of listening to seven-year-old girls talking.
"This is where Dr Dipstick lives" (turns out to be true, he's a clown doctor).
"Granny, the dog's name is Lollypop, not Mollypop!"
The Gabion wall where pretty coloured glass ornaments are interspersed among the stones. "Look, Gran, this one is a starfish."
Oh, the unjoy of stepping in dog pooh - but the children's laughter made up for the indignity.
Olive trees, lemon trees all along the street.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information OverloadThe Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is long book (481 pages including notes) and I'm struggling! Although I'm interested, I find my eyes closing - the same thing when I watch documentaries on TV - I'm interested but end up going to sleep and missing the choice bits. At least with this book, when I nod off it falls on me and wakes me up! To be sure, it contains some excellent ideas how to organise one's life - many of which I do anyway.

I think to myself, I'm 70 years old so it is possible that age and experience count for quite a lot. One thing I discovered is that I am a "medical minimalist" meaning that I interact with doctors and medicine as little as possible (p.261). I didn't know it had a name!

View all my reviews

Friday, 2 January 2015

Resolutions for 2015

My New Year Resolutions for 2015 are similar to the ones I set for 2014 with a couple of additions and some smoothing out of wrinkles - as I am doing in the photo!.

1) I intend to devote more time to writing - blog, novel or journal, possibly all three, each day.
2) Juggling will be attempted more often this year. Once in a while is not enough and I'd love to master the art.
3) Same as last year, the doctor is on the 'to avoid' list.
4) Same as last year, I'll turn upside down each day - I did well in 2014 and only missed a couple of days.
5) Less time on Facebook, more time in the garden.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year 2015

My message to my Facebook Friends for New Year 2015:

Hello my friends! I'll take you all into 2015 if you want to come with me? We'll have fun and I'll carry on (silently) correcting your grammar - but you can pick me out (overtly) on my errors, no problem!

We will have fun and, possibly, address some issues. I guess we'll disagree on many things - that's healthy. One of my Resolutions for 2015 is to keep my mind and heart open so I can listen and work around differences. However, I will *always* delete any comments I find obnoxious, hurtful or objectionable.

With love and joy for 2015

New Year Resolutions to follow soon ... (that's one of them - to blog more regularly)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Ten Commandments of Logic

I have been remiss in writing up the Lombok sojourn; however, here is something completely different. I hope you enjoy it. It is also on my Facebook page for those of you who don't do Facebook.

The Ten Commandments of Logic

1.     Thou shalt not attack the person’s character, but the argument. (Ad hominem)

2.     Thou shalt not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)

3.     Thou shalt not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalisation)

4.     Thou shalt not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises are true. (Begging the question)

5.     Thou shalt not claim that because something happened before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause)

6.     Thou shalt not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False dichotomy)

7.     Thou shalt not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false. (Ad ignoratum)

8.     Thou shalt not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (Burden of proof reversal)

9.     Thou shalt not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection. (Non sequitur)

10. Thou shalt not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true. (Bandwagon fallacy)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Traditional Sasak Weaver's Craft Village

Traditional Sasak Weaving
On our way back to Kuta from Senggigi, Abdul decided we would take a different route. This consisted of driving through the warren of streets that comprises Mataram, the capital of Lombok. Abdul explained that Mataram had only grown up fairly recently, probably since 2007. As always in Lombok there are many motorbikes and scooters on the road. Most have at least two people - the driver and the pillion - but many have three or even four passengers. Children and babies are squashed in between rider and pillion or stand in front of the driver so as to lean on the handlebars. I saw one little fellow fast asleep. What was unusual was that he had on a crash helmet. The pillion passengers are often women and some of them sit side-saddle. Being predominantly Muslim, the women often wear a veil, similar to that which the Roman Catholic nuns wear, or used to wear. Their posture (both women and men) is uniformly excellent. Just in passing, I was entranced at how many men had small feet. Abdul easily fitted into my Reeboks; Roland’s thongs (flip-flops for non-Aussie readers) were miles too big!

Having negotiated Mataram, we were once again on the Praya – Senggigi bypass but not for long. Abdul turned off in one of the many small villages along the way and took us down the back roads to a craft village. In this case it was a weaving village; an eye-opener for both of us.

We were able to watch the Sasak women weavers at their looms. Each one sitting more-or-less in isolation on the concrete platform. Each woman weaves a pattern traditional to her own family. Our Guide, Angie, explained that girls start learning to weave at about 9 years old. By the time they are 13 they are usually quite proficient. A girl does not marry until she is an accomplished weaver. The reason for this is practical economics. The primary source of income in Lombok is agriculture - but, due to the aridity of this area, crops are not a dependable source of income; hence, the women's weaving brings in much needed cash. The community has set up a cooperative where the women sell their beautiful woven goods to the public (tourists). To set up, the cooperative loans a woman enough money to purchase the thread and whatever else may be needed. Angie told us that each length of fabric takes up to three months to prepare and weave so the initial loan is vital. When the woven cloth is sold, the profits are shared among the women and further loans are negotiated. Angie said, "No men are involved!" (and then promptly gave the cash I paid for my purchases over to a man!)

The set-up is the only time that nylon thread is used. Each segment is separated by bamboo canes - as you can see in the photo. The patterns are complex and the colours vary from natural greens and browns to quite vivid purple and yellow. Personally, I like a bit of bling so my purchases reflected that! For the equivalent of $100 Aussie, I bought three beautiful lengths of fabric. I don't even want to think how that equates to earnings per hours worked ...

Preparing the pattern
The weaving woman sits erect on the concrete with her legs straight out in front. Her back is supported by a shaped wooden rod that fits just above the hips, below the waist. This is connected to, and helps stabalise, the loom. You can see it quite clearly in the photo below. A weight is suspended above the loom for traction. The thread is dyed and can be silk or some other natural fibre.
At the loom
There was a little girl (less than 18 months old) with one of the weaving women. She was playing with an enormous pair of scissors and I had to ask Angie to please take them away from her! In my mind's eye could see her fingers being severed - grandmother instinct takes over ...

I hope this video clip works. I was enchanted by the graceful movements and cheerful demeanour of the weaving women, so beautiful.

The Weaver's village is a dusty place. There are hens wandering about and, in a very small pen, a goat making plaintive bleating noises. There was a whelping bitch who barked at us. I don't know why these dogs disturb me so much.

More to come so hang in there.