Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 22, 2011

Monday, 21st November 2011 – old jobs, music relaxation, mining taxes, and cricket wins

Caught the 7.38 train to the city this morning –  room to breath, not over crowded, and 40 minutes of reading time, plus a bit extra on the 30 minute tram trip out to Northcote. Why am I going back to the VPTA?  My replacement has started work, and Jackie wanted a bit of a handover, and to tidy up a few things.  The new ‘accountant’ is a Chinese lady, named Jing [or thereabouts], reasonably experienced in most of the areas the job required, but as with any new role in a different organisation,  a ‘new’ set of procedures, and ways of doing things need to undertaken and learnt to some degree initially, and then, like myself, go off and do things the way you want. I’m certainly hoping that I won’t need to return, would like to put all of ‘those ways of doing things’ [in my mind anyway] behind me – at present, I don’t seem to have let go completely, and still have concerns about certain little tasks  getting finished, etc. I suppose the best approach for me would be to simply disappear for a month, but as expected of this personage, I’ve made myself available to answer questions and queries from Jing per phone or email should she have any concerns from time to time. I am honestly hoping however that won’t happen often, and that life at the VPTA will move on very quickly without Bill, who will soon be forgotten!!Strangely, a couple of the tenants I ran into during my 6 hours at the place today hadn’t forgotten me, yet – ‘you are missed, Bill’!  Thankyou!

Anyway, Jing was quickly learning one aspect of the job – that she will be constantly alone in that office – Mark was away sick today [he seems to be looking for any excuse these days not to be in the office], whilst Jackie herself was still unwell, as she had been when I was here 10 days ago. So despite the above indications that I was finding it hard to ‘pull away’ from my former workplace, I really am pleased that this is just a one-off visit!!

Returned to Sunbury a little earlier than planned – Susie didn’t appear to have been out anywhere, and was in fact asleep late this afternoon. However, that didn’t stop her from heading out this evening, after advising me, whilst I was halfway through preparing the evening meal that she would not be eating at home!!!  Almost like a stranger passing through the home at the moment –  flitters in and out, and when in, seldom leaves her room[s], friendly greetings on arrival or departure, but little other communication unless I ‘almost force’ a conversation, and one has to be careful to ‘pick the right’ moments for that also!!  Ahhh well, another meal cooked for two or more, but eaten alone.  I will in fact be out two or three nights this week, which will probably be the nights someone will be looking for a meal!  Bad luck my dear!

In view of all the foregoing, I was looking forward to my three hours on the radio tonight, and while during the program, I didn’t get any feedback in the form of phone calls, etc, I thought I presented a very entertaining and varied program of music from the various genres of folk, blues, world, country, pop, band, oldies, and of course, a bit of relaxing last 30 minutes of ‘cool’ late night jazz!! Was tempted to keep going beyond midnight this week with no commitments tomorrow morning, but when that hour came along, decided it was time to pull the plug and call it a night. At one stage during the night, I even read a short poem to the listeners, with the music of a harp & the sounds of the Australian bush playing soothingly away in the background.  A poem called ‘The Land Where I Was Born’ by Shaw Neilson, the Australian poet I quoted from the other day in these pages. Meanwhile, a couple of tonight’s folk songs were beautiful pieces of music –  The Quail by a duo named ‘Laneway’, the sad story of the death of a little bird, and the beautiful ‘The Black Tree’ performed by the duo of Stu Larsen & Lydia Cole.  Later in the evening, during a brief ‘international’ segment, I played a song by the British folk singer Jackie Oates called the ‘Isle of France’, a little story about a French convict rescued by the coastguard. Also began a new feature tonight – music from the ‘Bakelight Express’ –  a marvellous 2CD set of music and songs put together in part of ABC Classic FM presenter and personality, Christopher Lawrence – a collection of classic nostalgic music from the 1920s through to the 1950s, some jazz, some from musicals, and some just plain whacky, packed with many favourites, and hidden gems, hopefully something to please both old and young.  Tonight’s selection –  Jitterbug featuring Cab Calloway & his Orchestra, recorded back in 1934!

Meanwhile, on the ‘national scene’, Federal Parliament today finally passed the controversial ‘mining tax’ proposals, which of course generated both praise and ridicule, depending upon your political side of the fence. As reported through various media sources this evening, miners have accused Julia Gillard of risking the future of the coal and coal-seam gas industries after she secured parliamentary support for her new mining tax by promising to impose new environmental conditions on projects.   And the opposition has accused the Prime Minister of damaging the burgeoning CSG sector to placate independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, who face pressure over gas expansion in their own electorates  The claims came after Ms Gillard yesterday revealed the independents had agreed to vote in favour of her minerals resource rent tax in return for the commonwealth forcing states to confront concerns about damage from drilling to underground water supplies. The Prime Minister announced she would create a special body of experts – the Independent Expert Scientific Committee – to work with state governments on “best practice” for coal and CSG projects. If the states refused to co-operate, she would legislate to empower the commonwealth to block new CSG projects not subject to proper environmental scrutiny by requiring approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act While Labor MPs saw the outcome as a major parliamentary victory for Ms Gillard – and Mr Windsor hailed the start of “a new ball game” for the mining sector – the Minerals Council of Australian said it was worried about red tape and duplication.  This is the last sitting week of Parliament for 2011, and I think this was the last piece of ‘major’ legislation that Gillard wanted to get through parliament. Looking back over the year, I think people would be shocked at just how ‘few’ days, our Federal politicians actually sit in Parliament. I must try and find out the exact sitting days for 2011, and I think we will find that the percentage of 365 days is very small!!

At the same time interesting [a concern for Tony Abbott I would think] to note that the most recent polls are revealing that Julia Gillard’s personal standing has risen, putting her in front of Tony Abbott as preferred Prime Minister for the first time in six months. I personally put that down as more of Abbott’s doing, than any particular extra favour for the current PM. He doesn’t ‘help himself’ so often with many of his responses and ideas!

Of course, it was well after midnight by the time I returned home last night – not in the mood for sleeping, but surprisingly, Susie was in bed [rare for her ‘this’ early] [an early departure in the morning, I would discover, was the reason!]. Anyway, I watched the replay of Question Time from the House of Representatives, until I remembered that the 2nd Cricket Test between Australia and South Africa was in it’s concluding stages. Over to ABC radio, and until around 2am, I listened to a very tense and exciting last hour of play, with the Australians struggling to score the required 310 runs for victory, and of course, South Africa trying to get our wickets!!

Australia have pulled off a remarkable two-wicket victory over South Africa to square the two Test series.y Images Australia won by 2 wickets. Captain, Michael Clarke described Australia’s two-wicket win as the greatest of his career. Pat Cummins, 18 year old first game Test player, was named man of the match after a thrilling win over South Africa in Johannesburg. Following his six wicket haul in South Africa’s 2nd innings, and his match saving innings with fast bowler Mitchell Johnson at the end of the game. No side had ever scored more than 294 to win in the fourth innings at the Wanderers, but this team that could only manage 47 last week in Cape Town finished on 8-310. While Cummins hit the winning runs and won a man of the match award in his maiden Test, it was Australia’s most maligned senior players who pulled off one of the most remarkable victories to beat South Africa and level the two Test series one-all. The win was engineered by a trio who many believed may have been playing their last Test innings. Brad Haddin, public enemy number one after his awful slog in the first Test, scored an invaluable 55 from 106 balls. Mitchell Johnson, who has taken just three wickets for the entire series, then came to the crease and crafted a magnificent 40no. “After a horrible batting performance in Cape Town, something we certainly weren’t proud of, we managed a record run chase today in tough conditions.Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin, they stood up and they deserve a lot of credit for that.” Clarke, in stark contrast to his emotions after Cape Town, could not stop smiling last night.

Final scores were:  Australia: 296 and 8 for 310 defeated South Africa 266 and 339, levelling the series at one win each.

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