Before we had modern laundry detergents with optical brighteners, there was a mysterious little blue bag which was stirred around in the final rinse water on washday. This was laundry bluing or blue. A factory-produced block was the "modern" (mid-19th century onwards), … [Read more...] about The Laundry Blues
Every year when Summer Time kicks in, I miss out on an hour of sleep. Every year when Summer Time ends, I wake up an hour early. I still feel that an hour has been stolen from me. Imagine the confusion and ire when thirteen days were removed from the … [Read more...] about Where are my missing hours?
I nearly fell of my kitchen chair when I saw the headline Japanese town suffering a Ninja shortage, will pay $85,000 to anyone who wants to be one Anyone who wants to be one? Would they take me? Apparently the little town of Iga is the birthplace of the ninjas … [Read more...] about I want to be a Ninja
My Collingwood is rapidly changing. I don't want to see a return to the old days when the area was populated by the very desperate, but I don't like to see my tiny suburb transformed into a playground of the very rich. Surely there's a compromise somewhere? Perhaps … [Read more...] about Down the Street
In the waning months of World War II, as the likelihood of a land invasion of the Japanese home islands loomed, the United States’ Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA) instituted a new psychological warfare unit under the command of Colonel Dana … [Read more...] about The Allied Plot to Dye Mt Fuji black
It's a long time since I've been to the Zoo. We went every month and more when I was a kid, a picnic park only a few tramstops away, with live animals, frightening animals, and a minimal entrance fee. Costs more to get in now, a fair whack when you're on a Senior … [Read more...] about Stung at the Zoo
Golly if you remember pounds, shillings and pence you're as old as I am! The decimal currency is definitely an improvement over the old system but I still know my 12 times table. A bit hard to forget, the 12 times table, it was one of those things drummed into our … [Read more...] about Happy Birthday Dollar Bill
This year I'm reviving my musical career with another recording, this time something completely different - Hip Hop ! Yes, a dramatic change from my customary crooning but you have to move with the times. And you know me, when I'm able to move, I move with the … [Read more...] about My new Music Release
Yes, it's true. The latest fad is drinking beer made from elephant poo. Seriously, what is wrong with people? The trendy young things who like coffee from civet shit are now embracing the new beer and, while discussing the head, the fullness, the colour and the … [Read more...] about Elephant Poo Beer
This happy snap is of Alexander Gauge who played Friar Tuck in the 1950s English television series, The Adventures of Robin Hood. (I can still sing the theme song). Fond as I am of the fat friar who ate a tad too much, it's not Friar Tuck I want to talk about, but … [Read more...] about Fat and Wealthy Monk Found
It was one of those mornings when I hadn't tried very hard with myself. I only wanted to pop up to the local shop to pick up some fresh bread, so I didn't obsess over my wardrobe. There's nothing wrong with old track suit pants and running shoes although the antiques … [Read more...] about Be Prepared to Meet your Past
Will we all look like this next year? Google is now showing off the augmented reality glasses project, "Project Glass" The glasses have some sort of connection by wireless, you can stay online, wired in all day, if you want to chat to people as you go about your … [Read more...] about Give me Google Glasses
If a picture can speak a thousand words, some faces tell a thousand stories - like the face of Jack Charles. Jack Charles is a member of the stolen generation, taken from his mother in 1943 when he was four months old and raised in the Box Hill Boys School, growing … [Read more...] about National Photographic Portrait Prize
How can you lose a whole day? Easy when your government decides to change the dates. I lose track of time occasionally, but the Samoans beat me hands down, they will lose an entire day and celebrate the new year early. Samoa will set its date forward on 30 … [Read more...] about Samoa loses 30 December
By pure luck I found this incredible stall in Queens Parade, Clifton Hill. It was late in the evening and the last bus home was due, so I couldn't hang around long. Apparently, the Jam Lady from Healesville, sells her produce from a little homewares shop in the … [Read more...] about There’s Nothing Better than Real Homemade Jam
My mother had a great display of hibiscus along a wall of her house. She took great care in the feeding and watering of her plants, as much care as she took in the feeding and watering of me. I never liked for her hibiscus. They were always full of ants. Which … [Read more...] about Where are the ants of yesteryear?
Have you noticed all the advertisements for cloth nappies lately? Maybe you haven't. Usually any ad for nappies, infant formula or sexy low-cut red brassieres doesn't draw a ping from my conscious mind, but the message about cloth nappies finally struck a small grey … [Read more...] about The Diaper Dilemna
Not so secret really, apart from the lemonade as an ingredient (I got that from my own grandmother) but, with these days of packaged afternoon tea, hardly anyone bakes a scone anymore. They're cheap, they make your house smell good and visitors are overwhelmed by … [Read more...] about My Secret Scone Recipe
Some people are naturally generous. Or naturally naive. You know the type. Anyone rattles a tin at them on the street, they’ll fork over their spare change. The rattle produces a pure Pavlovian response in me. My blood pressure rises 10 points, my vision clouds with … [Read more...] about Get your freaking tin out of my face!
Personally I can go without XXXX beer for an indefinite amount of time, like twenty years, but I may revise my opinion. A couple of stubbies of the Queensland beer brought a horse back from the dead which, you must admit, seems to denote a valuable quality in the … [Read more...] about Beer brings you back from the dead