Looking back: August 2015

The Friday random memories continued:

Random Friday memory 26: naked in The Shire

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Neil

Oh yes. Well, once at least when I was maybe ten years old…


It was all down to my classmate CT who was a bit of a junior nudist…  There is/was a creek running from the cemetery through Sutherland Park, then gathering to make a decent waterfall into the Woronora Valley just off the road that then ran on to Woronora Bridge. There has been a lot of change since 1953…

See also Random Friday memory 25 – bushfire smell takes me back, Random Friday memory 24: riding the red rattler, Random Friday memory 23: wireless.


Twerps to the right of me…

Posted on August 2, 2015 by Neil

And indeed there are twerps to the left as well, but lately one side has been absolutely fabulous in form! I think particularly of Bones and Jolt and their respective lucubrations on the matter of Adam Goodes. See Jim Belshaw’s post Adam Goodes, sporting behaviour, stereotyping and the importance of manners and respect – Jim is much more polite than I might have been.


Moult and Cones

Meanwhile we have the saga of Bronwyn Bishop and the long-delayed apology. That she is now a running sore in the government’s standing is obvious. Her days are well and truly numbered. It is a fact, rather than an opinion, that she has been a bloody awful Speaker of the House of Representatives: see Australia needs a truly independent Speaker.

Of course BB’s recent sins have generated quite a deal of internet and social media fun too:


Lately people have been dragging up all sorts of little gems about BB. Peter FitzSimons today:

There is a wonderful yarn in Stephen Loosley’s latest book Machine Rules, highlighted by Laurie Oakes​ yesterday, about a dinner attended by Loosley, Peter Costello and Bronwyn Bishop in the late ’80s, just as Bishop’s star was on the rise.

“I bet your thinking,” Costello reportedly said to Loosley, leaning over the table to him, “it would take you only 10 minutes to demolish Bronwyn as Liberal leader. Well, you’re not going to get the chance. It will take me only five minutes.”

Let the record show, John Howard also spotted the flaws early. Circa 1993, I was MC-ing a function at the then Regent Hotel, at which Mr Howard – then in the very depth of his wilderness years – was the guest speaker. Over pre-dinner drinks I asked him whether he thought Ms Bishop – then at the height of her popularity – would take the Liberal leadership. He looked at me, leaned in close, and said out of the side of his mouth, with great emphasis: “Over … my … dead … body.”

And The Gadfly in The Saturday Paper reminds me that BB started at Sydney University the same year I did – not that I ever knew her…

Finally, just to note that Chris T, Persian Danny and I will be indulging in absolutely delicious halal food again next Saturday. Cory Bernadi: the folks at the Australian Institute of Sport should be so lucky! But then Cory is a dead-set twerp, eh!


Well the twerps never stop, do they? See the latest on Dolt: Andrew Bolt’s claim Stolen Generations a ‘myth’ spurs Press Council complaint. Of course Volt can then indulge his long-standing love of being persecuted, and does: A sinister attempt to gag debate on the “stolen generations”.

Update 2

And today Bronwyn Bishop fell on her sword: Bronwyn Bishop resigns as Speaker.

The endgame for BB foreshadowed the following month’s dumping of Tony Abbott.

On being my own great-grandpa, and Shiraz again

Posted on August 9, 2015 by Neil

My beard has been feral lately.


Much like my own great-grandpa, William Joseph John Whitfield (1836-1925):


At lunch yesterday I showed Persian Danny and Chris T another picture of WJJ: they found the resemblance quite frightening I suspect. So I have shorn:


The lunch was at Shiraz again, even better than last time:


Saturday lunch in Stanwell Park

Posted on August 16, 2015 by Neil

Persian Danny suggested last week that we drive up to Wollongong’s north as Chris T had never crossed the famous Sea Cliff Bridge!


So we met at Steelers yesterday – more on the changes there in another post—and Persian D drove us north. We decided Stanwell Park was the place to lunch. In April 2014 I had been there on a family history quest, you may recall: To Stanwell Park: 1; To Stanwell Park: 2; To Stanwell Park: 3 – and amazing events in NSW! – and that last one begins: “Bussing it over the Sea Cliff Bridge. Wonderful!…” Go there for more pictures and an account of this rather amazing structure.

We settled on this place to eat:


The Palms.

Ian and Jo Draper own The Palms Cafe. Ian is an international chef whose signature dishes use only the best local produce. The menu features daily specials, hearty dishes as well as light meals, and all day breakfast. Dine indoors or al fresco in the sunny courtyard against the magnificent Illawarra escarpment. Drop in for devonshire tea and cake baked fresh on the premises.

Our choices included slow cooked lamb shoulder and meat loaf. Chris T, a chef himself, soon picked up on the fact this was no ordinary chef’s place. He took away two jars of Ian’s special tomato jam, which had been used to garnish his meat loaf dish.

Afterwards we visited John and Frances Vander’s “Articles” gallery in the same buildings as the cafe.

articles-fine-art-gallery-001.jpg w=238&h=238

There were truly beautiful things in there: some Robert Dickerson, some marvellous glasswork and pottery, and some evocative seascapes by Cronulla artist Nicole Southworth. Frances Vander was most welcoming to us mere lookers, one a pensioner who can only look! But Chris T plans to go back to buy a framed print or two by John Vander – very affordable. His original works are really rather beautiful, and also interesting as he is a very careful realist painter with a strong sense of history. As his site says:

When John Vander paints a town he paints it as a portrait painter would paint his subject.

Every building is accurate. He sketches every building in the street before he starts his final work.

John says, ‘My paintings are sparked by my feeling for the subject. I want others to view my work and catch the same impression of light, colour and form that inspired my original impulse!’

Here is an example, a place both Chris T and I have visited. In fact Chris T worked in Sofala at one time.

Storm Approaching Sofala oil 33x48.5cm $3000

Storm Approaching Sofala

John Vander was born in Belgium. It’s an interesting story.