The wonderful world of barets………….and coffee.

baret = drainage ditch  (in Melanesian Tok Pisin)

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baret2

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Ask my daughter and she’ll tell you in quite colourful language that I have an obsession with digging and maintaining barets. It’s my spade and shovel physical workout. Popeye biceps and barrel chests do not maintain themselves just with spinach you know.

So what’s with all the barets?  We live close to Australia’s wettest meteorological station which is located on top of Mt Bellenden Ker. (It’s records include 5.3 metres of rain during January 1979, and 12.4 metres total for the year 2000.)

I have around 200 metres of barets on this farm. They prevent my gravel roads, marijuana plantations, buried bullion, plant nurseries and buildings from being washed down the mountain and ending up in the hands of some undeserving layabout mooching around on the coastal plain at Innisfail.

The road barets are very important to prevent scouring of my steep 300 metre gravel driveway. The following pictures illustrate why the local Council should be employing me at the rate of K100 per annum to oversee maintenance of it’s road network instead of the incumbent indolent and incompetent slackarse.

GOF road after 100 inches of rain in 100 days

GOF road after 100 inches of rain in 100 days

Council road after 100 inches of rain in 100 days

Council road after 100 inches of rain in 100 days

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Council have NO functional barets, whereas I have seven magnificent ones.
Seven!
Number 1 is at the top of the hill. Next one down is Number 3, then Number 7 followed by Number 2, (I maintain a conscientious objection to numerical order) and then, right near the steep corner is my pride and joy. An engineering masterpiece. The mother of all road barets…    NUMBER FIVE….one foot deep and two feet wide.

Baret Number 5 doing nothing

Baret Number 5 doing nothing

Baret number 5 midway through recent 12" rainfall in one day

Baret number 5 midway through recent 12″ rainfall in one day

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Baret Number 5 has two purposes;
1.  To capture and redirect floodwater.
2.  To trap and/or deter door-to-door salesmen and other unwanted visitors, including Katerina and Katya the Russian twins who keep sending emails twice every week saying they want to do some things that my mother never told me about.

Every few weeks I need to shovel silt and leaves out of my barets and collect any other miscellaneous debris which might have accumulated.

I found the following objects in, or adjacent to, baret No 5 during the first quarter of this year. If any of them belong to you, please contact me so I can arrange their safe return.

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1 only Volkswagon towbar with a cutoff tennis ball protecting the towball.
1 only sump plug and four litres of used engine oil. (now gritty)
6 only assorted exhaust systems complete with mufflers …..probably suit small Mazdas or Hyundais.
1 only Honda Civic plastic bumper bar with a “Bonk a smallholder farmer now before they’re all gone” sticker attached.
(I didn’t have these stickers printed for bloody city slickers to whack on their woosy toy-plastic bumper bars. They’re for proper 4WD bull bars.)
1 complete Volvo station wagon (white) with fluffy dice hanging from the rear vision mirror, and a “Jesus loves you” message on the rear window. There are two large boxes filled with “Watchtower” magazines on the back seat.

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Thank you.
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Oh yes, and I’ve just discovered a new coffee shop in Cairns.
Why was it not there 40 years ago when I was in the mood for this sort of thing?
Sadly, in the wake of my senescence, I no longer have a passion for caffeine.
Bang and Grind3

 

Cyclone Ita report………..and thank you.

Cyclone Ita track prediction.

Cyclone Ita track prediction.

It is with profound thankfulness and appreciation that I write these words today…..at 2 am in the calm which always follows a departing tropical storm.

Firstly I thank YOU for your concern and thoughtfulness. Especially those who took the time to leave comments here or call me on the phone. This is the second cyclone Mrs GOF and I have weathered with the support of my WordPress friends. Apart from a little flood and wind damage to shade houses we have come through Cyclone Ita unscathed.

Last night Mrs GOF and I enjoyed a 34th wedding anniversary dinner to the accompaniment of rain pounding on the tin roof, (giving thanks that it was still attached to the walls) the whistle of wind gusting through the rafters and the roar of the West Mulgrave waterfall four kilometres away as it disgorged the 12 inches of rain which fell in it’s catchment during the day .

Now….I’d like to get some more thankfulness and thoughts about cyclones off my chest before this blog deteriorates into it’s normal programming.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is often the subject of much ridicule, but it’s record of cyclone track prediction during the last decade has been impeccable. The complex movement of Cyclone Ita was predicted with astonishing accuracy two days in advance of landfall. These days only fools ignore the cyclone warnings and predictions.

In today’s world of television, mobile phones, Facebook and Twitter it is worth remembering that 100 years ago advice about imminent cyclones consisted of ships ‘accidentally’ discovering the storms in the Coral Sea then relaying messages to the Cairns Telegraph Office. The Post Office would then raise a red flag on the roof. Whenever the residents of Cairns felt an abnormally strong wind they would travel into the Post Office to check if there was a red flag flying.

Another thankfulness; Cairns has the WORLD’S MOST WONDERFUL radio station. ABC Far North. During every cyclone the local announcers sacrifice their own sleep and comfort to provide 24-hour talkback radio including regular weather updates, connections to emergency services, companionship for the lonely and words of comfort for the isolated, frightened and distressed.

No matter how many cyclones you survive they always remain terrifying reminders of the fragility of life and the vulnerability of the structures which we build.

Most people never get to experience the other-worldliness of being in the ‘eye’ of a cyclone. In a strange way I feel privileged to have done so on two occasions during cyclones Winifred and Larry. There is absolute stillness and silence while looking up at a clear sky for ten or fifteen minutes before all hell breaks loose again unleashing several more hours of destruction.

Mother Nature is toying with us. She will be the ultimate winner on this planet.

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P.S.  It will take me a couple of days to undo all the pre-cyclone preparations which we made, so please cut me a little blogging slack….I will catch up with you all again soon.  Thank you my friends.

 

Cyclone Ita


Posted GMT 2100 April 10. 7am local time Friday April 11.

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The numbers and predictions for severe tropical Cyclone Ita are quite frightening.

Central wind gusts; 300km per hour
Gales extending 200km from the centre.

Predicted landfall 6 pm today local time near Cooktown, Far North Queensland, before being captured by an upper level trough directing it southwards to the Atherton Tablelands where it will arrive during early morning darkness tomorrow with embedded thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Bugger! Would someone like to send me some pestilence as well?

Rainfall predictions; Up to 12 inches of rain every 6 hours for the next 2 days.

There is still an element of uncertainty with this cyclone track.  An earlier-than-predicted capture by the trough will see it impact directly on Port Douglas, Cairns and those areas destroyed by Cyclone Yasi three years ago. Regardless of track variation this storm will leave a swathe of destruction hundreds of kilometres wide.

Special thoughts at the moment to Brad  who is directly in the line of fire. We hope he finds safe refuge.

I expect to lose my tenuous internet connection shortly. We will not be evacuating this time.  Inga will post updates on her blog (here) after the event has passed.  It may be a while before I am back here.

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“Cyclone season, when the outcome can never be known”
(song lyrics from ‘Cyclone season’ by Graeme Connors)

The Flintstones Investigation

(Any similarity to what is occurring with the Cairns City Place is purely intentional)
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Bedrock City Place before they dug it up.

Bedrock City Place before they dug it up.

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Silurian, Magma, GOF & Curtis.
Construction, archaeological and engineering investigators.

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7th April 2014.

 

Mrs Elizabeth Rubble,
c/- Post Office
BEDROCK

Dear Betty,
We are in receipt of your recent slate requesting an investigation into why the Bedrock City Council is taking so long to destroy your serene City Place and open it up again to cars, trucks and sauropod dinosaurs. We are appalled that 200 small businesses on Lake Street such as your Bamm-Bamm’s Boutique Babywear shop have been barricaded off from customers for several months and as a result are facing bankruptcy.

We initially sought an independent professional opinion from the Chairman of the Australian Civil Works and Engineering Guild, Sir Moses Gantry on why the project is taking an entire year to complete. He said “The Council is an unrepresentative mob of empire-building wankers who have over-engineered this project to buggery and if they’d contracted the job out to some Chinese outfit instead of overpaid Australian bureaucrats with all their bloody workplace health and safety bullshit the whole frigging job would have been finished in seven days flat.”

We consider this statement by Sir Moses, whilst substantially correct, to be inflammatory and offensive so we sent our own Mr GOF, an experienced undercover agent to investigate. He left behind the company Mercedes and replaced his Julius Marlowe shoes with Dunlop KT26 rubber soles, then disguised himself as a bearded old country yokel before visiting a City Place cafe to conduct clandestine sleuthing and surveillance operations.

This company has a policy of circumspection when it comes to the presentation of reports but we are nevertheless now in a position to reveal why this project will take donkey’s years to complete.
The following video evidence collected during last Tuesday’s frenetic construction phase would suggest that work practices on-site are probably not achieving the highest levels of efficiency and urgency which you should reasonably expect from the Bedrock City Council.

Please accept these findings with our compliments.

Yours Faithfully,

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Clay Silurian
Senior Partner

 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U7DFVD42n0
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Things up with which I must put.

1.   A wife whose breakfast-time summaries of TV programs she watched last night take longer than the actual programs.

2.   The only two-legged grandsomething I’m ever going to get from my daughter will most likely be a foul-mouthed kleptomaniac cockatoo or an unbalanced double-amputee wombat which she has adopted from Animal Welfare.

3.   Timmy the new kitten and Kebba our dysfunctional pig dog are shamelessly flouting the laws of nature.

It’s very fortunate that at least one person in this family is devoid of peculiarity. You may consider me to be like an electronic room deodoriser…… spurting out fragrant poofs of wisdom and sensibility ad libitum all over my fiefdom to overpower the foul absurdities which surround me.

It is hard being normal.

Now if you don’t mind I’d like to go now and finish writing my current academic gift to mankind; “Digital procedures for estimating core temperature and determining textural anomalies in fresh cassowary faecal deposits.”

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Type 72 textured cassowary poop

Type 72 textured cassowary poop

KebTim1

KebTim2

KebTim3

Musical extravaganza at GOF’s Place

(A hint for new bloggers; What follows is an example of how NOT to conduct yourself within blogging communities because it’s a sure-fire way to piss off at least 50% of your readers who will have had their prodigious talents and reputations ignored and/or misrepresented.
Fortunately my few remaining friends have low expectations of The Bucket and once again they will not be disappointed .)
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The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a colder-than-normal winter in the Australian tropics.

SO
You are cordially invited to GOF’s Place on the Winter Solstice to enjoy 24 hours of non-stop entertainment and frivolity after you’ve weeded 10,000 of my potted bromeliads.

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DAY PROGRAM

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The highlight of this shindig will be a World Record attempt by the WordPress Ice Skating Orchestra to perform The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss Jr…………….. whilst skating one complete circuit of my farm dam which might be frozen to…….oh I dunno, maybe one and a half inches at least.
I’m hoping that’s enough ice to support the complete ensemble including Elton John’s special red grand piano which I am borrowing and mounting on top of the three landing skis that I hacksawed and souvenired off an Air Inuit Twin Otter last time I was in Canada.
I’ll happily defer to the wisdom and technical experience of my Northern Hemisphere friends in regards to the ice-thickness business. It’s quite possible that mine is slightly deficient.

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Skating Musicians;

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Lauri……………………………………………………Conductor.
Snowy ………………………………………………..First violin.
GOM …………………………………………………. Trombone.
Mike ………………………………………………….. The Red Piano.
Lily …………………………………………………….. Ukelele.
Lance …………………………………………………..Bagpipes.
PeterMc………………………………………………..Bassoon.
Inga ……………………………………………………. Triangle.
Lauowolf ………………………………………………Trumpet.
Emmy ………………………………………………… Kettle drums.
Emjay …………………………………………………. Tuba.
Ninja ……………………………………………………Cymbals
Drude …………………………………………………..French horn.
AuntieB …………………………………………………Saxophone.
Brad ……………………………………………………..Second violin.
Judy ………………………………………………………Harp.
Beth ………………………………………………………Clarinet.
(Please don’t complain to me about the allocated instruments. I know you’re all sufficiently gifted to play anything you’re given. If however as a result of my cantering senility I’ve forgotten about you altogether, please let me know ‘cos I’ve got some double basses, piccolos, rambutans and oboes moulderin’ down in my back shed.)

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Professional Staff

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Catering (sausages); Ginger FB.
Costumes, elocution and ensemble discipline; Flamingo Dancer.
Skating coach and choreography; Kimkiminy.
Bartender, photographer and rescue co-ordinator….. GOF.

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NIGHT PROGRAM
In order to ease my predicted winter misery and take my mind off all the irresponsible muddying and pollution you lot caused in my dam/drinking water supply during the day there will be a raging all-night party featuring local disco band M.C. Screwdriver and the Ring Spanners.

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Dress Code; Eskimo chic
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DT01

. . . . . …………..The Winter of my Disco-Tent

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Activ8 satellite internet is S***.

Update; 24 March 2014.  Activ8 satellite internet unworkable. No improvement likely for 20 months when new NBN satellite launched. No other satellite company is accepting new customers until then.  I’m searching for a trace of wireless internet signal by climbing a rainforest tree at the top of the hill 100 yards from my house.  Tree not tall enough. Fertilising it to make the bastard grow quicker.  Probably have to settle for one day per week internet when we travel to town. I’m missing all my blog friends.  Please pray for rapid growth of my internet tree.

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This is an exercise in restraint, therefore S*** = Slow.

Activ8 is Australia’s largest provider of rural satellite internet services. It is also expensive at $30 for a 2GB month. For the last 10 days it has been even slower than the worst dialup speeds I suffered through last century.  It is effectively unusable and until they fix it or I can find an alternate provider I’ve had to stop blogging.  Thank you to all my blog friends for understanding my predicament.  Meanwhile, in the spirit of restraint, a little note to the company;
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Dear Mr 8,         
You’ve given me cause to deliber8 and remonstr8 against your use of the prefix ‘Activ’. I need to ber8 and castig8 you for allowing your service to deterior8 and depreci8 until I can no longer toler8 it. Unless you amelior8, mitig8 or compens8 it will culmin8 with me needing to medic8 and litig8, before I flagell8, strangul8 and decapit8 you.
Fix the bastard internet Mr 8,

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Reprob8GOF

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Suffer the little children ……..

It reflects rather poorly upon me that in more than five hundred blog stories I have failed to present a single literary bouquet of love and gratitude to the children of the world:  the fruit of our collective loins without whom Homo sapiens would become extinct.
(I have a plausible argument in favour of that possibility too, but let’s deal with one catastrophe at a time.)

Human offspring are annoying and ingratiating little people with disgusting habits and unsavoury bodily functions.  Additionally, the antiquated birthing process is a ghastly atrocity which should no longer be necessary in these modern days of genetic engineering and medical manipulation.
childbirth
Let’s face it, to a large extent we’ve cleaned up the unpalatable mechanics leading up to conception by using bright and shiny autoclaved in-vitro flasks and sterile shrink-wrapped turkey basters but parturition remains an extremely ugly, unpleasant and (I’m told) painful business.

A few years ago some obsequious male came up with the idea of ‘sympathy pain’ as a last-ditch attempt to ease the copulative guilt of his gender.   Good try, but it’s absurd.

The entire reproductive shambles needs to be overhauled.  Anyone would think we are just animals.

The Bucket is honored to be called upon for technical guidance;
764
1. Reproduction from the year 2035 onwards will be done exclusively by genetically and surgically created self-inseminating hermaphrodites. 
  
Why the need for change?
Surely it is the height of insensitivity and bad manners to inflict upon another person the disruptive emotional roller-coaster of pregnancy, and an unconscionable abuse of friendship expecting an innocent life-partner to witness the horrendous collateral damage concomitant with childbirth.

Michael, a ruminative local lad, concluded that watching the trauma of his wife giving birth to their first child was “like watching my favourite pub burn down.”  Michael may well require counseling for the remainder of his life. Indeed it is entirely possible that he may never enter another hotel during the term of his natural life in fear of the appalling consequences.

Next comes the vexed question of what to do with (please forgive my use of the agricultural livestock terminology with which I am most familiar) the progeny once they are on the ground.

Well fortunately The Bucket’s Legislative Drafting Service has come to our rescue. Please feel free to suggest any minor changes that you think might be required before we send it off to the Secretary-General for presentation to the General Assembly of the U.N.

2.  In compliance with United Nations Laws of Reproductive Procedures 2035 (Section 23, subsection 4b)  all children will be sent to the Global Obedience Factory at Tombouctou in Mali to be raised by an International corps of wet nurses and benevolent disciplinarian educators.  Neither breast nor rod shall be spared.  At the age of 30, when they might finally begin to exhibit a modicum of maturity, usefulness and responsibility they will be evaluated for possible release and re-introduction into civilised adult society.

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William Wordsworth wrote in 1807;  “Dear child of Nature, let them rail.”

Indeed Bill.  Let them rail ……and ship and truck and fly…. to Tombouctou.

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(With apologies to Elaine, …. and all the devoted midwives everywhere, …Oh yes, and then there’s the mothers of the world too, and…..Oh shit, I think I just did something really bad here.)

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