xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: 2018

Thursday, 20 December 2018

The Bourke Christmas Chronicle: 2018

Bourke Christmas Newsletter
Last Christmas Eve I celebrated my 80th birthday. They say that as you age your memory goes. It must be true, because I cannot remember a year going by so fast as this year, 2018. In fact, I can hardly remember the year at all. I’ll have to refer to my notes.

What is  happening? It seems like only a few months ago that we celebrated Christmas and here it is again, whizzing by once more. Fortunately, as you start to think about things, memories start creeping back into the old memory bank  I must first give thanks for good health. Not just for me, but for Lesley, our three daughters, Jane, Sarah and Emily and their delightful families. Apart from a few colds and incidental aches and pains, Lesley and I are luckily free from more serious ailments and we thank God for that. During the year we lost some good friends.

Well, you can't everybody looking beautiful at the same time.
My 80th birthday had Christmas getting off to a great start. Many thanks to family and friends for making it such a great day. I mean, turning 80 is not an occasion that fills one with the joy of living. My family and friends made it a wonderful, happy day for me. 

Early in January, Lesley and I attended the first ever One Day International cricket match at our brand-new Perth Stadium. It is a magnificent venue but, unfortunately, our cricketers were well beaten by South Africa. In fact, they made a habit of getting beaten for most of the year and disgraced themselves, and us , by blatantly cheating by ball tampering in South Africa. It was a sad episode in Australian cricket, but at least the players involved were severely punished. In every other cricketing country ball tamperers get a one or two match penalty. Ours were rubbed out for nine months and one year.

In March, Lesley and enjoyed a couple of days at the Burswood Resort. On the first day we chose to walk across to the new stadium. It is actually about a kilometre more than a pleasant stroll and we did it on what was the hottest day of the summer (OK, March is in Autumn, but it was the hottest day in 12 months). As we slowly strolled and sweated our way around the perimeter of this marvellous coliseum, we were greeted by a stadium employee who told us the Riverview Café was open for business on Level One. We quickly moved up to Level One and entered The Riverview Café on its Opening Day. Another first! We enjoyed some cold fruit drinks as we gazed on workmen finishing of the Matagarup Bridge, across the Swan River to East Perth. Of course, we made many visits to the stadium in the football season to watch our Mighty Eagles play mighty football in their mighty premiership year.

Lesley's 80th. We are all looking good.
Two major, major landmark celebrations took place in August. Lesley celebrated her 80th birthday on August 11 and we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on August 26. Lesley convinced everyone that she was 80, though she looks like a fifty-year-old and carries on like a teenager. Once again, this was a warm and wonderful occasion made special by our family and friends.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with our family at the Crown Metropol. The next day we took the opportunity to visit Perth Stadium. Local knowledge came into play and this time we drove to and from this mighty venue. We explored the Camfield Arms Hotel, reported to have the longest bar in Australia. We also made a return trip to the Riverview Café. To our great surprise, the young and bubbly staff had no recollection of our previous visit on their auspicious opening day in March. Obviously, failing memory is not just a fault of the old…er, the elderly.

New Norcia Hotel.
In September we embarked on our BIG adventure for the year. Though both in our 80s, Lesley and I thought it would be nice to travel up along the Great Northern Highway looking at wildflowers and marvelling at the splendour of Karijini and Millstream.  On September 4th set off in our two-wheel drive, 2 litre Cerato sedan. We had a great sense of adventure. We felt like eighty-year-old teenagers. After all it was a bit like trying to fly across the Pacific Ocean in a Tiger Moth.

We intended to be away about ten nights, I had suggested to Lesley that, as we did back in the 1960s, we could just throw a tarpaulin down at night and sleep under the stars. She said that was OK when she was in her twenties and thirties but, now that she was in her eighties, she insisted on motel accommodation.                             I am so glad that she did.
Lesley at the Point Samson lookout.
We drove as far as Point Samson (yes, we enjoyed the fish and chips and the view from the Bistro) and covered 4750 trouble free kilometres altogether. We had a wonderful time. Saw some amazing gorges and rugged ranges scenery. We also saw a lot of Western Australia’s famous wildflowers, including the wreath flowers near Pindar, outside Mullewa. It is the only place in the world  that they grow. Best of all, when we drove home, we were still friends and speaking to each other. Now that really is True Love after  4750 kms in a small sedan.

 Apart from Eagles football matches, we were regular concert goers to the Morning Symphonies at The Concert Hall and Morning Melodies at His Majesty’s Theatre. Plus, we  enjoyed many happy social occasions in our new home at Ocean Reef Country Club where Lesley is the voluntary Librarian and Noel produces a  newsletter.

Our girls and their families are all thriving. Our grandchildren are growing up far too fast. They all received very pleasing reports. Sophie will be in Year 11 next year and now has her Learner’s Driving Permit. Luc has graduated to year 7 High School at Prendiville College. Jack is moving into Year 9 at Sacred Heart. Sari will be in her final year at primary school in 2019 and Kai will move into the top end of the lower primary, Year 3. Cisco will also be in his final year of primary school at Marmion PS and Havana will be in Year Five.  Havana has many interests but has recently proved a dab hand in the cooking department. Chocolate chip cookies  and butterscotch puddings are her specialities. Yum!

During the winter months Lesley and Noel enjoyed watching Sari and Sophie playing netball  and Kai, Luc and Jack playing football playing football. What could be described as very full, action packed weekends.

Just to finish the year off in style, Lesley and I went to the first day of the very first Test Match ever played at Perth Stadium. Another first! And we won! Yoo hoo.

So, it was a very happy and eventful year. We look forward to enjoying Christmas and the beautiful  summer days with our family and friends.

Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New year to you and your family
Noel and Lesley

Our first sleepover. Old Convent Motel, Dalwallinu.

Beautiful bushes like these lined the roadways in the mid west.

The beautiful Dale's Gorge, Karijini National Park.

The beautiful Lesley at Joffre's Gorge, Karijini.

It's not The Rockies, but Mount Bruce, near Karijini, is our second tallest landmark.

Lesley at The Python Pool, Millstream National Park.

Lesley at the Point Samson lookout.

Garden cafe at Cossack, a quaint historical townsite near Point Samson.

Luxury at the splendid Point Samson Resort. Highly recommended.

A wreath flower near the ghost town of Pindar, 30 kms east of Mullewa.

For about a kilometre along either side of the road are wreath flowers.


Tuesday, 20 November 2018

A lithium battery industry for Western Australia.Why not?

Western Australia, like the rest of the world,  is experiencing a lithium boom. Lithium is an essential ingredient in battery production,  Renewable energy requires battery storage. The price of petrol is causing a surge in the production of electric cars that require lithium storage batteries. Anyone who bought an Apple product this year is using a lithium battery. Lithium has been called the petroleum of the future.

Western Australia has about 50% of the world’s known reserves of lithium. Imagine how happy we all would be if we had fifty per cent of the world's petroleum reserves. We are sitting on a treasure chest. Two years ago, WA had one lithium mine, at Greenbushes. It is the biggest lithium mine in the world. Earlier this month WA’s seventh lithium mine was opened, just south of Port Hedland.

Economists are predicting a billion-dollar windfall for Western Australia as a lithium exporter. Canberra correspondent, Nick Evans, (The West Australian, October 2) quotes Mark Scully, Chief Economist of the Department of Industry, saying that at present “Lithium exports for about $1100/tonne and processed lithium concentrate exports for about $23 000/tonne”. Quite a mark-up. No wonder that the state government is exploring ways of processing lithium and other energy materials. In 2017 lithium sales were worth $780 million with a workforce of 1200. These numbers will escalate exponentially as lithium processing develops. Some commentators forecast a $58 billion shot in the arm tot he WA economy from lithium mining by the mid 2020s.

Perhaps the government should also pursue ways of establishing a battery manufacturing industry in WA. For fifty odd years we have blown up our mountains of iron ore and sold it overseas for around $100 /tonne. The countries who bought our iron ore  turned it into steel and sold back to us as motor vehicles and various manufactured goods for about $1000/tonne. Again, quite a mark up.

About forty years ago some intrepid, risk taking individuals started up a ship building industry at Henderson, south of Fremantle. Henderson is a huge success story, building ships for the Australian Defence Force and selling ships to many overseas counties.

Do we not have people with the wit, the will, the expertise and the energy to establish a storage battery industry in WA. We not only have half of the world’s lithium, we also have good supplies of every other metal required for battery production; cobalt, manganese, vanadium, nickel, copper, tin and rare earth.

I am sure there will be those who say it cannot be done. Just as they told C.Y.O’Connor that he could not pump water 350 miles uphill. It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “Some people see things as they are and ask why? I see things that never were and ask why not?

A storage battery industry in WA. Why not?

Monday, 22 October 2018

Getting a reality check.

Australian TV  is awash with reality shows. Perhaps, that should read Australian TV is stained with reality shows. It seems that, in reality,  these reality shows are heavily scripted and are, indeed, very far from reality. I do not need to name the reality TV shows. You know them. People pitted against each other, and or the threatening environment, to impress the flamboyant, extroverted judges as they perform tasks, such as cooking, renovating a slum, surviving in the jungle or a houseful of hunks  and bimbos or even choosing the love of a lifetime.

People watching a reality show would expect it to be unscripted and actually happening, as in real life. Sadly, this is not really true. A good example of a reality show being structured in unreal situations was the last series of The Bachelor.

Now, I do not watch reality TV but I do know that in The Batchelor a bevy of beauteous redheads, blondes and brunettes  ( OK, mainly blondes) work their way through a filtering interview process until reaching an emotionally charged finale where only two  lovely ladies are left. The Grand Finale results in the hunky bachelor choosing one these luscious looking girls to be his ever loving lifetime partner. Cue violins, flashing lights, fireworks, love hearts, hugs, kisses, lustful looks and heaps of commercials. Not to mention massive sales for the glossy magazines which do follow up stories on the “lovebirds”.

But No! Not in this year’s finale at any rate. The bachelor in this series was a well known rugby player with a quirky turn of phrase, named  Neil “Honey Badger” Cummins. On the final night, the Honey Badger threw the reality show into chaos when he rejected both of the finalists .Oh, no! The cad.

Naturally, both girls were devasted. Millions(?) of viewers were stunned and the show’s producers went ballistic. Social media went into meltdown as people expressed their shock, horror, amusement, disbelief and total cynicism at the “reality” of it all.

The problem was that Neil ‘Honey Badger” Cummins had not followed the script. What should happen in the reality show which is The Bachelor is that on the final night, the handsome bachelor chooses a lucky girl, they vow their undying love for each other, have their photos plastered all over glossy magazines and then, about a month later, they “break up” and link up with their respective real partners. Again, the “break up” is accompanied by massive media coverage.

The problem, this time, was that bachelor, Neil “Honey Badger” Cummins, could not follow the script. He did not want to tell a lie and say he loved someone until death we do part when, in all reality, he did not. So, he told the truth. He let both finalists know  that he was not going to choose either of them. Pandemonium! A slice of reality crept into a reality show and the reality show just could not handle it.

The message is clear. Successful reality TV show must be based on liesypocrisy and manufactured situations that are far, far removed from actual reality. How sad. Even sadder, however, is the fact that most viewers of reality TV shows are well aware that it is all a charade based on lies. They just love the manufactured emotions, the stressful scenes, the joys, the disappointments and the lies that flow from the participants scripted responses.

Maybe, that explains why national politics is becoming a real blood sport.