When the Sign says Sanitise…

Are people beginning to become desensitised to sanitising?

I’m only asking because more and more often now I am seeing people walk straight past the table in front of them in shop doorways, either no longer registering the sign asking them to please use the hand sanitiser provided, or just opting not to use it because the threat of contracting COVID-19 has diminished for them and they no longer see the need.

This is not okay, as far as the business/shops are concerned, as they provide that sanitiser because they want people to use it. It is a requirement for entering the premises and I cannot see why some people have such an issue with that.

Well, it’s like this…it’s not just your safety they have in mind, it’s also the safety of every other customer who enters the premises and therefore it is your responsibility to use the hand sanitiser provided regardless of what you may or may not believe about The Bug. This request is not a biggie.

Nor is it a threat to your rights as an individual or a judgement on you personally. It is simply a requirement for entering the premises and your hands will not drop off as a result of following the directive and using it! Why are people having such an issue with this?

The same applies to face masks. At present they are not exactly mandatory in Australia but some shops and businesses are asking customers to wear one if they wish to enter the premises, and that is the store’s right and again, it’s not a biggie, so just carry one in your bag or whatever and don it when asked.  No one is stepping on your rights by asking you to wear a mask, but you are violating theirs if you refuse.  Ditto the hand sanitiser.

So why are some members of the community who have to make an issue out of it? It’s not a big ask. It’s not difficult to do. It’s not going to ruin your life (if anything, it just might save it one day!). So why the song and dance about following those directives?

But more and more people are. Possibly because some are still of the belief that COVID-19 is “fake news” or some other covert government plot to “control” them, or they are of the other bunch who truly believe if it’s out there it will only infect others, it will not happen to them. Neither is a wise belief and the high number of people who have caught the virus, and the number who have died from it, should be enough to convince us all that there is a virulent nasty making the rounds of the planet and every single one of us is at risk. Unless, of course, we follow the directives put in place to lessen the chances. That’s why they have been put in place! I don’t understand why some people are failing to follow what, to me at least, are very simple requests designed to help us to keep The Bug at bay, and hopefully remain at much less risk of falling prey to it.

In a way it’s just general hygiene. Things like washing your hands should be a given anyway, but while you’re out and about (and hopefully social distancing when you are) sanitising your hands is a good idea because they are coming into contact with doors, with cash and a myriad of other surfaces with which you have no idea about who else has had contact…and whether they were sick when they touched.

And that’s the thing. You have no idea who previously touched the surfaces you touch and that alone should be enough to make you take the precaution of using the hand sanitiser provided for your convenience at the door of the next shop you enter.

It’s not difficult.

Artificial Intelligence. Yes or No?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is certainly making more inroads into everyday life, to the point where we don’t necessarily have to push a button any more, because all we have to do is speak to the compact little unit that makes it all happen and it all happens! Interesting.

So we no longer have to get off the couch if we don’t want to, just speak a command and the TV will come on (could this be the end of losing the remote?), music will play, the phone will call whoever we wish to speak to and the home AI system will even lock doors, turn on lights and send footage from our home security cameras to our phones so we can check what goes on when we’re not there.

It almost rules out having to think too much, doesn’t it? Let alone having to physically do something, and while this may make those who use it (and more people are now) the envy of those who want to but can’t afford the setup yet, I sometimes wonder just how good an idea it really is. Do I really want a little gadget running my life for me? Sure, they look cute and everything, but…is this what I really want?

Okay, so it’s fun and it’s really convenient. Via an AI home system you can send the little vacuuming robot on a whiz around the house while you check the recipe the system has brought up on your kitchen device, or set the kettle to boil while you spend some downtime with a downloaded novel. It can’t bring your coffee to you yet, but give it a couple of years and there will be something that will. It will probably make it for you first!

Hang on, aren’t there coffee machines that already make it for you, from go to whoa, now? Whatever, they still can’t bring it to you at this point. Anyway…

So then, your house is now the coolest one on your block because it does everything for you and all you have to do after a hard day’s slog is come home, walk in and drop into the massage chair. Well sure, that sounds all very nice, but what will you do in regards to general physical activity? You know, as in when you used to move about from A to B to C around the house doing actual things for yourself? Oh that’s right, your AI gadget probably talks to your exercise machines (it definitely will if you have a Google Nest Audio) and all you need to do is verbally direct it and it will set them in motion for you. Heaven forbid you should have to flick a switch or press a button.

Okay, fine! That’s why you went all AI in the first place so that you don’t have to do any flicking or pressing! Whatever!

But the big question for me is this…what happens should your system develop a glitch? Or gets hacked? Like, it cuts off your phone, sets the exercise bike to manic and tells your car not the start? Then it prevents you from initiating the manual override, locks you all inside or worse, locks you all out of your house altogether? You are probably thinking that is just ridiculous but if it’s smart enough to run everything in your house, run your phone and your car, it just might be smart enough to play silly buggers with you, or worse, your AI system decides it doesn’t like you anymore and goes all Twilight Zone on you.

Or the hacker does. Either way, it’s not good.

Personally, I like perusing the old recipe books, the physical ones, when I’m in the mood to create magic in the kitchen.  I don’t have issues with pressing buttons or flicking switches, with walking over to the bookshelves and physically selecting a real book to read. I am not put out by having to turn a key in a lock or trot around with the vacuum cleaner and feel comfortable with not wanting or needing to speak to a gadget to make things happen.

Perhaps I’m just too smart for AI.




What’s the thing with Cashless?


So Woolworths is going to do the cashless thing. Not at all their stores as yet, but I’m guessing it’s heading that way and while they are calling it a trial period at present, it’s my guess the length of the trial period will be equivalent to what is deemed the length of time it will take for people to get so used to it as to accept it as the norm. And then it will be set in stone.

That’s how anything bound to be unpopular with the masses is introduced. It’s just a “trial period”. Except that it isn’t. Trial periods have an end date and this move by Woolworths doesn’t.

Okay sure, many of us use our cards for transactions much of the time but that doesn’t mean we have lost touch with cash. We haven’t, and despite the tendency to use our cards often, many of us still like to deal in cash too, especially for smaller purchases. Many still like to use cash at the checkout. Cash or card? We like to have the option.

Thing is, people tend to vote with their feet and if their local Woolworths, where they usually shop, does the cashless thingy and they decide they aren’t happy about it, they will spend their money elsewhere. Woolies are no doubt aware of that but anticipate that a) people will get over it and come back, b) they will have no choice but to shop at Woolies if there are no local alternatives, or c)  the number of customers who will permanently boycott them will be too small to make any real difference.

They’re possibly right on all counts, except that times have changed, and rather dramatically this year, and people will no longer accept that there are some things that can’t be stopped so they may as well accept it. They don’t accept it anymore. They make very determined moves against being forced into something they don’t want and it would appear that a lot of people do not want a cashless society. They want to see actual cash, touch it, and spend the stuff when and where they want and they will go elsewhere to do that if Woolworths stops cash use in their stores.

If Coles and Aldi follow suit, we could see the re-emergence of the smaller independent supermarkets that were killed off as the big guys moved into towns across the country, and local food markets could be set to become even more popular, way beyond their usual expectations, as anti-cashless shoppers flock to their stalls to buy local…and pay with real money.

Which would not be a bad thing. Local markets are a great place to buy fresh local produce. Vegetables and fruits, local honey and dairy, even local meat. Find a local food market and you will find good quality food at a good quality price. And the stallholders don’t have an aversion to actual money!

But I don’t think the big supermarkets are aware of the potential threat that local markets could become. Big companies which have a monopoly on something usually don’t.  They are so big, the local weekend market is so small in comparison, it just won’t happen. But I think it might, especially in the light of the present day push to buy Australian, buy local, support the local community etc.  People angry at being told they can no longer use cash in their local supermarket will find an alternative, and in time it could have an impact on Woolworths.

Maybe sooner that they think.


The Thing With Conspiracists…

Conspiracy theorists have probably been around since the Year Dot. Sometimes, admittedly, they are actually on to something, but more often than not they develop a theory based on zilch and, despite a lack of substance to back it up, manage to acquire a voice and accumulate followers at an alarming rate. And then they feed on people’s fears.

The Internet has been a boon for conspiracy theorists as it has allowed them to access a platform, find a voice and get their “message” out to a much wider audience than ever before. They often rely on infiltration by their followers to keep the ball rolling and right now the wellness community has become one of the unwilling access points for far right conspiracy network, QAnon.

Why the wellness community? Well they aren’t the first to be used as a vehicle by agenda groups. Extinction Rebellion, aka XR, began life as Rising Up!, a group who strongly support the idea of a holocracy (anti hierarchy). They are all about decentralising world governments, are anti authority in general, and specifically against any form of structured society, advocating the world order needs to be disrupted and sent in chaos in order to save it. Rising Up! rebranded and relaunched itself in 2018 as Extinction Rebellion, attaching themselves to the climate movement, which was gaining momentum, leading people to believe they are all about saving the environment which is not their real agenda at all. They launched XR Youth in 2019 to recruit Children to their disruptive cause.

But we are talking about QAnon right now. This is the group who fervently believe Donald Trump is the saviour of the World because he will defeat the satanic forces of the “deep state” who are currently running everything worldwide. Uh huh, like, narcissistic hedonists do that all the time.

Whatever, QAnon is a fringe phenomenon of the dark web and came into being on controversial forum sites such as 4chan and 8chan, both of which initially were discussion platforms on a variety of ordinary topics. Over time, however, these sites began to develop a more political bent which made them really attractive to a number of political activist groups. The hacking group called Anonymous found their way there, so I suppose it was inevitable that someone calling themselves Q Clearance Patriot, aka Q, should find their way there too. Once established, and attracting a formidable following, orchestrating a move into mainstream media would have been a shoo-in.

QAnon are heavily into conspiracy theories, it’s their bread and butter. They are also anti vaccination, anti 5G, anti lockdown restrictions and support people refusing to wear face masks in public because QAnon also believe that COVID-19 does not exist because COVID is a “government conspiracy”. Okay, so their popularity on the dark web I understand, but how did they become so popular on mainstream media?

Influencers, that’s how.

Influencers have an annoying tendency to spout misinformation based on their personal beliefs (and whatever they believe makes them look and sound good) rather than on factual information. And because of their online profile, their followers eat it up. Like those supporting the anti vaccination movement for instance, who would be better off educating themselves about such nasties as whooping cough, polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis and tetanus and then asking themselves why they would encourage people not to vaccinate their children against these horrors.

Anyway, QAnon found the wellness industry to be an ideal vehicle because of the number of it’s followers, many of whom are influencers, being able to infiltrate various industry sites, where they began “spreading the word” via sharing posts that support QAnon dogma . Hence QAnon has attached itself like a parasite, feeding off those exploring health and wellbeing alternatives to deal with stress and/or to just makeover their general health routines, and they are being lead astray, as QAnon misinformation does nothing more than tap into their fears.  This is so very wrong.

Right now, the world is ripe for the picking by conspiracy groups because everything has been tipped on it’s head and those looking to find answers are finding the wrong ones…and then they share the misinformation with their friends because they believe it without question.

Meanwhile, people are dying in large numbers worldwide from something. If it’s not COVID, as QAnon insist there is no such thing, then what is it? Is 5G destroying our immune systems while moonlighting as a population tracking device? Well the jury’s still out on that one. But to deliberately spread misinformation during a global pandemic is dangerously irresponsible, yet that is what’s happening. Why do people listen to this? And why do they believe it?

Just use some common sense.



What’s happened to resilience?

Are people getting wimpier with each generation? I’m only asking because once upon a time people had meltdowns when there was a really good reason to do so, but if the contestants on the 2020 season of The Block are anything to go by, the answer is yes, people may be getting wimpier.

I am not a reality TV fan of a general rule but I do love The Block because I am interested in renovations and I like to see what contestants do with their wrecks of spaces, because some of them have really clever ideas. Inevitably most of them understandably end up in tears at some stage because it’s a lot of pressure and a really hard, exhausting slog, but until this season, I don’t think any of them have done the tearful on Day One.

They wait at least until Day Three or Four but this season has got off to a bit of a soggy start. (In the interests of fair play though, one couple did receive some sad news just a few days in, which was very upsetting for them and that’s completely different).

Anyway, generally speaking, I’m starting to ask… why participate in something like this if you’re going to cry at the drop of a hat? Apparently it’s a common thing on reality TV though; you cry over next to nothing and that’s that. Something that may rule me out should I ever opt to participate in one (heaven forbid!) because I’m not a crier. I can cuss with the best of them but I need a biggie to do the tearful.

Meanwhile we have contestants with a brief explaining what they need to do, which is to adhere, wherever possible, to the era of the house they are renovating.  Simple right? The couple on the winning streak are doing just that, and not crying. The rest of them? Can’t decide on the wall colour for the guest bedroom? Cry. Not sure which tile to choose for the guest bathroom? Cry. Have no idea of the decor for the era they have been asked to recognise? Cry. Plumber does not turn up? Okay, definitely cry-worthy, so that particular couple get a pass on that occasion.

But they all have access to the Internet, right? So Google the era for goodness sake and take it from there.  Or talk to the people in place to help with these sort of questions. So why aren’t they doing this? Okay, so maybe they are but if that’s the case they should have it sorted, yes?

So why are they crying???

As I mentioned, there is a (so far) non-crying couple who appear to have their era down pat. They are comfortable with Google, have already had a few wins (of which they were definitely deserving) and have done all this without succumbing to tears. Which makes them pretty unique! Who knows, they might even win this season.

But look, just to be clear, I see nothing wrong with expressing emotion and/or having a cry when there is a genuine reason, so surely these guys can save the tears for the week they smash a digit with a hammer, nail-gun a foot to a floor joist, break a fingernail, or the newly-installed stunningly-detailed plaster ceiling (or whatever) has a moment and it’s not good. These are all valid reasons to cry, even loudly, and a few choice cuss words coming into play would be considered normal too under those circumstances, but going down in a flood of misery over decor choices is not. They have a brief. They have Google. They have informed sources to fall back on. Tears at every turn is just…just…there’s a word for it but I can’t think of it right now.  I’m not going to cry about it though.

I won’t even cuss.


What’s Spring without the Clean?

Spring is just around the corner (oh thank goodness!) but I’m wondering how we’ll welcome it this year, seeing as 2020 has turned all of our usual traditions upside down.

Before COVID, the coming of spring was ushered in via the Big Spring Clean. Curtains were washed, the house was thoroughly dusted and polished from floor to ceiling, windows got cleaned, rugs were shampooed and aired and all in all, the entire house got the kind of clean and polish that far exceeded the usual weekly whiz-over and it felt good. But that’s what a waft of warmer weather and the fragrance of blossoms in the air will do to you.

Post COVID however, and we are standing in our sparkling, spotless abodes, looking around and wondering what to do next because the Big Spring Clean began back in March, which is the beginning of autumn here, when we all went into lockdown. That’s right, suddenly armed with a lot of time on our hands we decided to get stuck into the cleaning in a very big way.  Like, I had friends working built-up dust out of tiny crevasses and joints on the furniture with make-up brushes and that was just the beginning!

Anyway, following the mega-clean, came the odd jobs. All those things that we’d been forever putting off suddenly became  must-do. Things got mended, painted, polished, constructed and generally seen to because it was a natural progression from the Big Clean.

And then we all moved outside because once the house was cleaned to within an inch of its life and all the odd jobs had been seen to, moving on to the yard was a given. The grass got mowed, re-mowed, and then mowed again. The gardens got weeded, turned replanted, fertilised, mulched and generally neatened up to the level of “showpiece” and it all happened between March and August because we were all at home and at a loss to find some way to fill all the free time we suddenly had at our fingertips.

But these are all the things we usually do come springtime, so what are we going to do now? We are going to be all hyped and energised with the return of the longer days and the lovely warmer temperatures we’d been longing for all winter…but with no spring clean to expel it on because we started doing all of that back in March and were done by April!

Okay, so we spent the rest of lockdown with puzzles, board games,  TV, movies and social media but that was okay because who wants to be outside in winter anyway, but now that things are warming up and we want to be out there doing things (while not going out anywhere specific and adhering to the social distancing directives still in place) we are all going to be at a bit of a loose end.  Any of us who are really desperate could get stuck into doing it all over again, but it just wouldn’t be the same, if you know what I mean.

Maybe we could just give ourselves a makeover instead, in preparation for summer, just on the off-chance we might be able to go out more and want to look good. We could dig out the cleansing face masks and the exfoliators, the nail polish and the fake tans, and get stuck into the fitness thingies we didn’t do over autumn/winter because we were too busy with the spring cleaning and the gardening. Surely there must be something we can do to mark the change of season… or maybe we could all just flop down in the sunshine and catch our breath after all that activity of the last few months.

That could work…


Real Book vs eBook

Thank goodness for books. Real, physical books, with covers and pages and that lovely smell that only comes from within the pages of a real book.

You may have guessed from those two sentences that I am a dyed-in-the-wool reader and have been since I was very young. I escaped into a literary adventure whenever I could. I enjoy a good scary book, love crime fiction and a good mystery and once I have finished reading a book, I tend to keep it because I can pick it up and read it again a few years down the track and enjoy it as much as I did the first time around. So yes, I’m a book person.

Which is why I have far more books than I do shelves to put them on. This could create an issue with my tendency towards neat-freakness but a book lover can always find a way around something like that. I have. I have learned to make neat stacks and place them at points around my living space where they can be on hand, but unobtrusively so. And they are very, very neat stacks, in no danger of toppling over. It works. But why am I bothering to talk about it?

Because some person, obviously not a true Book Person, suggested I should toss most of my collection into the recycling bin and move onto ebooks. You know, get a tablet and just download a new book whenever I need one. Well that would be quite often as I’m onto a new book every week or so, which is why the two dozen unread books in my lounge room are stacked neatly in four piles on the coffee table, because it puts them close to the lounge where I curl up to devour them. And they look good just sitting there. Enough to raise the pulse of an ardent reader like me.

Which is why I am relieved that physical books haven’t vanished altogether with the advent of ebooks. It’s something I am hoping will never happen, because a screen read has nothing on holding a real book in your hands, feeling the weight of it, hearing the pages turn and inhaling that book smell.

Going by the look on their face, I’m guessing the non-book person was having trouble relating to all the things I claimed to enjoy from reading an actual book and I could tell we were not on the same page when it came down to it. But I could have all these books in the one place, they countered, on something the size of ONE book!!!

Well where’s the fun in that? I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling from seeing all my books! I like to go along the shelf and choose a title, or run a finger down the stacks I have around the place. What I don’t think I’d get a single kick out of would be picking up a device and scrolling through titles. There are no jackets, no colours and no cover design with an outline on the back to set the scene. It is just a list of titles. Okay, maybe there’s an outline beneath the title of an ebook but I don’t believe for a moment that swiping a screen is in any way comparable to turning a page.

Which is why I like real books. It is also why I need to look for a bigger place, preferably one with plenty of wall space for bookshelves because, eventually, no matter how neatly I stack them as I get them, a lounge room with more books than furniture and floorspace is going to be a challenge to live with.

Unless I get rid of some of the furniture.


And Now for Something Different!

With all the doom and gloom surrounding us at the moment, it’s nice to come across something positive for a change. Something that reminds us that it’s not all bad at the moment, that good things are still happening, yes?

Like the fate of our iconic grass trees. All up, there are 28 species of grass tree, which range in size from one metre to six metres tall, and they are native only to Australia. Grass trees, which in truth are neither grass nor tree, began diversifying somewhere around 24 to 35 million years ago. They are a very slow-growing perennial, very-long-lived and at present are in danger of being pushed to extinction. Okay, so this is not the  good thing I was talking about…

Also called as the Yacca, and formally known as Blackboys, the genus Xanthorrhoea are monocots, meaning they only have one cotyledon (which is the leaf attached to the embryo within the seed). They are unique, have an amazing ability to survive a bushfire and an added bonus is, they also flower! The trees send up an impressive spear-like spike which can be up to four metres long, adorned with nectar-rich flowers which attract a wide variety of insects, birds and mammals. They are a starkly beautiful, sculptural tree, essential to the bush ecology, that can live for up to 600 years and they are among the oldest living plants on the planet, which makes it all the more concerning that urban developers see them as nothing more than an obstacle to be razed to the ground as more land is cleared to make way for new suburbs and building projects. Okay, so this definitely isn’t the good thing either.

Here is the good thing, however;  Western Australian company, Margaret River Grass Trees, has come out on the side of the iconic Xanthorrhoea and are doing a remarkable job of rescuing them, literally from the path of the bulldozers, and then propagating them in nurseries all around Australia, thus ensuring their future survival and raising their profile with gardeners and landscape designers around the country. Being such an ancient plant, that has endured and thrived all over the country for millennia, the grass tree makes an excellent choice as a specimen tree for the home gardener, for schools, public parks and the commercial sector, as it has adapted perfectly to all the various conditions that make up our Australian landscape.

Like almost all Australian natives, grass trees can be traumatised by a removal from the ground and the entire operation needs to be handled with extreme care. Fortunately, the team at Margaret River Grass Trees know their stuff and have been successfully removing the trees and relocating them to their nurseries, where the trees are carefully tended for around 18 months, to ensure their health and survival following the move.  This is vitally important, as the company wants to ensure the trees will do well when sold on to their customers. But their survival is tantamount anyway.

And why not? It would be devastating if these remarkable trees met with extinction.

Grass trees can flourish in poor, sandy soils, are drought and fire resistant and once established, are a low maintenance, inexpensive plant to look after. They love sun, there is no need to use fertiliser and climate wise, they will live happily under almost any seasonal conditions. So it is so nice to know that someone appreciates their unique beauty and is doing something concrete to ensure the grass tree does not vanish from our landscape, because that would be tragic. You can visit www.margaretrivergrasstrees.com (who operate Australia wide) to find out more about their operation, view their impressive gallery, discover more about these amazing trees and maybe even find the perfect specimen for your garden.

See? I said this was about something nice.




It’s Not Rocket Science!

I know I’ve talked about this before but people are still not getting it and I am trying to define what it is that people are failing to understand about social distancing, self isolation and staying home when the health authorities says you must.

Is it that they do not understand what a world pandemic is? Is it that they are still of the belief that COVID-19 is “just the flu”?  Or is it entitlement gone off the scale?

We have all been asked to be socially responsible right now in order to stay safe, health-wise, and not contribute to the spread of a very dangerous and highly contagious virus. We have been asked to keep our distance from each other, not congregate in groups, avoid dining out (although grabbing a takeaway is okay), not hang out in cafes and generally not get together in groups outdoors, indoors, or have large gatherings in our own homes and to avoid protests like the…well I was going to say like the plague, which is appropriate I suppose, but anyway…

Maybe it’s because we haven’t experienced something like this in our lifetime, the last biggie being the flu that went global after the First World War and just about all of us here today were not here then. Things like plagues and pandemics tend to happen in countries where much of the population is crowded into  substandard housing, poverty is rife, sanitation is nonexistent, where there is no access to fresh water, starvation rules and there is limited medical care. These countries are a breeding ground for infectious diseases and while those lucky enough to live in first world countries hear about the misfortunes of third world nations, it doesn’t touch them personally.

Until COVID-19. Suddenly the whole world is staring a deadly health threat in the face, yet there are many out there who are still of the misguided belief that it won’t touch them, they won’t catch it, and therefore the government and health directives do not apply to them. We live in a first world country and it just doesn’t happen to us. Except that it has. And because it has, there are a number of preventative measures that have been put in place in an effort to contain the spread.

So why then is it spreading like wildfire?

Because an entitled minority out there are flatly refusing to stay home, to avoid eating out, going to the pub, to stay in their own state, wear a mask, sanitise before entering a shop or business, are lying about their movements or where they have really come from, and ignoring the self-isolation rules if they have come in from overseas, are awaiting test results or have actually tested positive to the virus.

The threat of a large fine doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for these people so I’m hoping the threat of a gaol term is, and I really hope the authorities follow through with that one because these dipsticks are potentially killing people by their stubborn refusal to do the right thing under the current circumstances.

It’s not difficult. Yet it appears to be those in a position to do it in style and comfort are the ones who aren’t. But if you think about it, most of us aren’t really doing it all that hard by doing what we’ve been asked, and those who believe they are should take a closer look at what’s happening in countries a lot less fortunate than ours. True, some people are experiencing financial hardship to varying degrees but government financial assistance is available and going some way toward easing the pressure. Going out for dinner though, or going out daily for takeaway coffee, hanging out with drinks at the local pub, shopping for non essentials or touring the country (and possibly taking the virus with you) is not the way to go if your available funds have plummeted. But if you think you are being badly done by because you can no longer afford the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed and some of the things you’ve always enjoyed doing have been momentarily curtailed, ask yourself this; would you prefer to be in an intensive care unit fighting for your life? Would dying be preferable to cutting back on your usual social activities and/or wearing a mask when asked?

No one has the right to ignore the current preventative measures simply because they’re “inconvenient”. No one has the right to spread the virus via petulant, selfishly entitled behaviour because they stubbornly insist on clinging to their pre-coronavirus lifestyle, no matter what.

No one is exempt.




Revive This Old Faithful

You can’t beat the good old hot water bottle, can you?

It’s winter here in Australia and while I do live in a fairly temperate coastal part of the country, it does have it’s coldish moments. Thankfully they aren’t long moments or I’d be heading far, far north where winter doesn’t get so much as a look in.

But we’re talking hot water bottles here and there’s nothing like them to beat the chill. Unless you are running an electric or gas heating device which, under the current uncertain financial times a lot of people aren’t. Give me a log fire anytime but right now I don’t have one and have decided I can do without running up my power bills by using one of the above-mentioned alternatives.

Having had a couple of chilly nights though, I delved into the cupboard to find the hot water bottle I knew was somewhere in there and having found it, I rediscovered just how warming they could be. Curled up on the couch with the telly or a book? Hot water bottle. Tucked up under the quilt for sleep? Hot water bottle. Am I warm enough? Oh yes, as warm as if I was using a heater and all it’s costing me is the short burst of electricity to boil the kettle.

I love these things. I remember using one sometimes as a child and during a spell of inland living where the winters were so cold I don’t know how I survived them, I would walk around the house cuddling my trusty hot water bottle until it was time to light the wood burner and it was wonderful.

Thankfully they’re still around because my old faithful had begun to perish and I had to toss it, which meant buying a new one.

But not everyone is convinced that hot water bottles are the best thing since sliced bread. They swear by heaters and electric quilts and blankets and yes, I would swear by them too, but they are expensive to run at the best of times and these are not the best of times by a long shot. We are dealing with a virus that is not going away anytime soon, and trying not to catch it. Many of us have been home from work and large swathes of the population are out of work altogether, hence incomes and savings have dropped through the floor. The last thing any of us need then is a power bill that’s through the ceiling! Electric and gas heaters, reverse cycle air conditioners and electric quilts and blankets feast greedily on gas and electricity, thus driving power bills way, way up and comfortable as they are, you have to cough up for the joy down the track when the next bill arrives and this is something I decided I did not want to have to deal with. Hence the old trusty in the linen cupboard.

Cuddle it and it warms me from top to toe. For hours! Toss it into my bed and it spreads its blissful warmth in preparation for me diving under the covers a short while later. I am warm, I am comfortable and I don’t have to fret over how much those hours of being a nice warm me have cost me, because boiling the kettle is negligible and if I make a cuppa at the same time, Ive killed two birds with the one stone. Absolutely can’t complain about that, so that’s why I’m putting it out there; in these very uncertain times, hot water bottles rule.

We need to start a movement!