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.

Walking to school

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)

New Year 2015

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.

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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)
The Ten Commandments of Logic

Roads, Rocks and Buffalo

Water Buffalo on the road

The road to Tanjung Aan Beach is not the best we’ve ever travelled. Roland immediately named it The Binga Highway after the road between Binga and Kamativi in Zimbabwe (the worst road we’ve ever travelled). Water buffalo on their way to the beach keep the pace slow. Their skin looks like it is made from thick grey canvas with bright pink underneath, especially the males’ testicles. What do the buffalo do on the beach? I don’t know – they just seem to roam around and then go back from whence they came. There are many children with buckets on the road. I thought they were begging – which they are but also filling in the potholes with dirt! So tourists are invited to give them money for fixing up the road! Abdul (our driver) took the road slowly, dodging water buffalo, children, tourists on motorbikes with surfboards on the side, and potholes. In fact, the road was more potholes than road. This southern end of Lombok has a similar climate to Northern Australia. At this time of year (August/September) the rains have not yet arrived and the landscape is dry. Hence, the crops on the side of the road are similar to Zimbabwe – tobacco, maize, fodder for the cattle.

Tanjung Aan Beach is a beautiful spot. The day we went, there were few people and not many hawkers. Abdul told us to ignore the hawkers – he really looked out out for us wherever we went. but even he had to pay to park the car in the shade!

Building a shelter for the tourists

Beach dogs scavenge along the water line. I heard that the bitches whelp up in the dunes behind Warung Turtle. Some beach dogs die because of eating blowies (toad-fish) which are deadly poisonous.

We climbed to the top of a huge rock. Going up was easy enough but coming down was a different story. I had to slide down on my bottom. There were a few other people on top of the rock including an old woman with a bale of sarongs. She was sitting right on the edge of the rock over the breaking surf. When she stood up she hefted the sarongs on to her head and gracefully made her way down the rock … standing up!
The sand at this end of the beach is not crystals but round grains. I believe quick sand is similar and it is difficult to walk through – dry or wet. I can only compare it to tiny ball bearings.

View from the top of the rock

There were a few surfers; from where we were standing they looked to be children. The surf was enormous. Since returning to Australia we’ve heard of three surfers going missing off Bali and Lombok.

More to come. Watch this space

Roads, Rocks and Buffalo

10 Days without newspapers

Coconut time on Kuta Beach, Lombok

One of the questions that Roland asked me after we decided to visit Lombok was, “Will I be able to get The Australian?”
After I stopped laughing I said, “You may get one somewhere but there’s no guarantee that it will be today’s or even this week’s.”
“Oh well, I’ll be able to watch the news on TV.” I said I doubted we would have TV where we were staying (we didn’t).
At the end of our holiday I asked him, “Did you miss the newspaper and TV?” After a pause Roland agreed that he had not; well not really.

Our first night in Kuta we spent at Heavenly Homestay, which is right next door to Yuli’s Homestay – where we stayed for the rest of the time. There is a Mosque very close by. The first morning the Muezzin sounded as though he was standing right in the room. The loudspeakers on top of the Mosque are pointed directly at Heavenly Homestay. There is more to this story. Sometimes they use a recording and sometimes the Muezzin is ‘live’. The current Imam just happens to be a bit deaf so he turns up the sound. By the time we left, we were more-or-less used to the early morning Call to Prayer and on the final morning, Roland even slept through it.

One night we were awoken by a strange call. I thought it may be a monkey. Roland thought it was an owl. In the event it turned out to be a gecko – this is the best sound recording I could find. The call is loud, much louder than you’d think a small reptile could make. Other night noises were mainly dogs squealing, barking and fighting. Lombok dogs are legion, many more in Kuta (South coast) than in Senggigi (more tourists – less dogs). Some of the dogs look much like dingoes but the big difference is that dingoes don’t bark. I found them to be aggressive. They are covered in sarcoptic and/or demodectic mange and riddled with parasites. As far as I could see, very few are looked after or owned by anyone. Many of these dogs live on the beach and shelter from the sun under the fishing boats. I understand that they eat almost anything – including coconuts. I believe rabies is not common in Lombok.

We only see two cats, both small, multi-coloured (torties) with the funny little curly tail similar to Bali cats. The cats are timid and only visit in the early morning. I watch them as I do my asana practice on the verandah of our room.

Each morning, I greet the staff as they pass by to start work for the day, “Salamat pagi!” and their response, “Pagi!” The exchange of greetings lifts my spirits even as I think about it.

10 Days without newspapers

Finally … the tree-lopper

This is the last Lombok post.

On our last day in Senggigi, tree-loppers arrived to remove some branches that were overhanging the Spa. Their vehicle was an extremely ancient VW ute (pick-up) that parked right near my room. There was much crashing and banging as the team off-loaded ladders and so on before tracking across the gardens.

After breakfast, I went to have a look at the proceedings … no hard-hats (not that they would have been much use), perky straw hats were the order of the day. No safety equipment, the only safety harness was attached to the chainsaw.

Three ladders were opened out and tied to the tree, not very securely as it turned out as when one branch fell, it pulled one of the ladders away and the Lopper was stuck up there for quite a long time. No worries, he had a smoke!

 Here he is, climbing the tree, can you spot him in the yellow shirt about two ladders up. Quite a few guests from the hotel were spectators and we weren’t kept away from the area.

 Here he is at the top of the ladder.

 He’s left the ladder!

 Even further

Spot the Lopper!

Using a chainsaw and an axe at that height with no safety harness, just the thought of it makes my blood run cold. I guess you work with what you’ve got. None of the locals thought anything of it.

On the trip to the airport our driver was asking questions about Australia. He wanted to know about the Aussie use of swear words, were they meant to be insulting? Were they just a figure of speech? I can’t remember which one he singled out, it could have been bloody. Interesting when you start to analyse these words in speech to people who are not used to the Australian manner. This particular driver was political; that does not happen often in my experience. He showed us the Chinese Cemetery. I was ignorant of the issues surrounding the Chinese population in Indonesia, let alone Lombok, so I found his comments interesting.

So, our holiday came to an end. It was an interesting week, I spent a lot of time with Lily and enjoyed her company. The journey home was uneventful. Roland, Rosie and Simon were at the airport to greet us. As always, good to be home.

Finally … the tree-lopper

Stormy Weather, Massage and more

Early one evening, stormy weather brings back memories of holidays at Kariba. The warm humidity, torrential rain, massive lightning strikes and crackling thunder bring the past into the present. The gecko and frog population are on the move. The frogs in the hotel lobby make a strange noise, not like any I’ve heard before and the geckos also squeak and grunt. The power stays on although the lights do flicker occasionally. On my way back to the room I hear monkeys in the forest above the hotel. I can’t help the frisson of excitement. I wish I could share this time with Roland.

Kath and I have been trying out different massage spas. The one in the hotel is consistently better than the others although more expensive. The setting is glorious with the spa overlooking the beach. The masseuses here vary in ability but generally good to very good. I always settle for ‘medium’ pressure because I bruise easily. The spa we visit in Senggigi village is ok but the setting isn’t much – facing on to the main street through town.

Big orange ants are everywhere in the gardens. One bit me on the foot – not in malice or hunger but because it was caught in the strap of my sandal. It stung like mad. Lily also got bitten a couple of times. I am slightly paranoid about insect stings and bites. The correct name is Oecophylla smaragdina, so how about that!

After dinner at a local restaurant, we walk back along the beach to find a Gamelan Orchestra and Bali dancers at the pool. We sit and watch for a while as the graceful dancers bend and sway on the island platform. The beat is hypnotic, the fiery chimneys all around set the scene as the mystical story unfolds. Lily is fascinated by the small boy in the Gamelan orchestra who is being bossed around by a slightly older boy – much more interesting than the dancing!

There is one more post for this Lombok holiday and I will write it, I really, really will.

Stormy Weather, Massage and more

Senggigi, Lombok holiday

Waiting to fly!

A different kind of holiday (for me)!

Kath, Dean, Lily and I fly from Perth to Praya (Lombok) on Jetstar, an Airbus A320 – packed to the last seat. The flight takes just over 3 hours. I think Roland and Rosie may be regretting not coming with us. I am enjoying reading Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Quest and have to limit myself to a couple of chapters at a time so as to savour the tale. This fits in well with the flight time to Lombok.

My first impression of Lombok is the similarity to Bali, but not nearly so busy. The weather is warm and humid – delightful after the cool weather in Perth. I took this screen shot to post on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

Our driver, Jamie, collects us at Praya and we travel to Senggigi in just over an hour. The countryside is lush and now I can see many differences to Bali. There are many Mosques and the sound of the call to prayer is everywhere. On the car radio we listen to the Rolling Stones (Angie) while the voice of the Muezzin rings from the minarets. I am immediately in love with Lombok! I notice there are not as many dogs on the roads as in Bali but Jamie assures me there are many dogs on the island.

There are many pony carts. Single, small ponies pull this traditional form of transport along the highways and byways. These are called cidomo. Most of the ponies I see during the week in Lombok seem well cared for but a couple look thin and wretched.

Lombok has not yet been discovered by the tourist hoards. I only spot one fast food outlet on the trip.

The Sheraton, Senggigi, is a lovely place to stay. The gardens are beautiful and the staff are friendly and courteous.  The power supply is a bit dicey. The lights flicker and go out fairly frequently! The air-conditioner is turned up to the max so I have to figure out how to turn it down. I am loving the warmth and humidity.

 The gardens abut the Senggigi beach. Colourful fishing boats often draw up on the sand. The sea is quite dirty and the incoming tide brings in a variety of rubbish – such as plastic bags.

There are some mosquitoes, we are well prepared with insect repellent. Early each morning I anoint myself with repellent before beginning Yoga practice on the balcony. The warm, humid climate allows me to bend and flex easily. Each day, after Yoga, I swim for a while and then breakfast at the buffet.

More to follow … including airport stories; searching for the perfect massage and a tropical thunder storm.

Senggigi, Lombok holiday

Clover Cottage Sojourn

Lower Dam, looking back toward the cottages
No mobile phone reception here – let alone Internet. No dramas getting here either: first, a comfort stop in Donnybrook – and to buy fruit and veges, then lunch in Bridgetown. It isn’t far from Bridgetown to Manjimup, less than 50kms on the South West Highway. The route continues down Muir Highway for a short distance (approx 17kms) before turning into Wheatley Coast Road. The road is sealed right up to the turn-off to Clover Cottage Country Retreat.


There is a low stone wall and wooden gate at the front of our picture-book cottage. Sapphire-blue fairy wrens (and the pale grey females) come right up onto the verandah and inspect our every move – in case we drop a crumb or two, so of course we do! Willie Wagtails chase behind and under the sheep that munch on the pasture on the other side of the wall. I watch as they swoop on any flying insect (of which there are many) So far we haven’t had any mosquitoes but the bush flies are friendly. Two dams on the other side of the pasture curve into the contours and further on the Warren River is flowing strongly. Roland can’t wait to wet his line and, even though there is a light drizzle, he is soon out on the water. I’m so happy to see he hasn’t lost his fly-fishing skills. He is a catch-and-release angler so I know I won’t be cooking fish tonight.


In the event, Roland caught and released two decent size rainbows. He told me that there are plenty of fish in both dams but they are difficult to catch having been ‘pricked’ so many times. Chironomidsseemed to be the main insect diet and quite a few of these diminutive insects also enjoyed a sip of red wine from my glass! The trout also feed on galaxiids, the minnows that we used to call gillaminkies in Africa.
Paul Thomsett, the owner of Clover Cottages, has known Roland for many years and has given him a day on the Trophy Lake for a birthday gift. Roland takes this up and drives to the Trophy Lake which is some distance away. I choose to stay at the cottage. After early morning Yoga practice and breakfast, I go for a walk down to the Warren River. On the way, I take some carrots to feed to Edith and Plonkey. Edith is a beautiful brown French donkey and Plonkey is light grey with darker markings; he is an old fellow. The donkeys see me coming up the track and greet me with their mournful donkey song. There a couple of alpacas sharing the paddock with Edith and Plonkey but they don’t get a look-in when there are carrots being handed out. I’ve brought a broccoli stalk for the chooks but Edith catches sight of it and tells me in no uncertain terms that she loves broccoli stalk! The chooks will have to make do with the few left-over leaves. I was going to give them my apple core but Edith says she’ll have that as well, thank you. Five fat hens clucking, “Hurry up, hurry up” and then turning up their beaks at my paltry offering.

Edith & Plonkey
This morning I met Floyd, a truly gorgeous golden retriever; he is also known as ‘The Blond Bombshell’. He actually came to bury a bone in the garden of the cottage but, when he saw me, changed his mind and went next door.
I practice asana on the verandah with the blue wrens, willie wagtails and other birdlife flitting past me as I stretch and bend. It is warm in the sun, the perfumed wild flowers make me sneeze and I finish off my practice with Yoga Mudra.


I continued reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Now I’ve finished except for rereading parts that particularly drew me in. I am sorting out the story in my head; analysing and critiquing a (good) book is a habit that dies hard. It is a marvellous story and well told – once I learned how to read it. Thanks to Kim for recommending the book to me.

Tomorrow we head off to Albany via Walpole and Denmark. I’m looking forward to catching up with some good friends on the way through.

Clover Cottage Sojourn