Or online grocery shopping in the era of Covid-19.
This all goes back to my need in our lockdown since 24 June to supply myself with life’s necessities while going to the supermarket as little as possible, given that in these last months our supermarkets have regularly cropped up on lists of exposure sites for Delta Variant. Nor having a car myself, contactless delivery and online shopping were the way to go.
1 September for example, from NSW Health:
Anyone who visited the following places at the specified times must get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.
If they are tested within four days of exposure, they must get tested again on the fifth day.
Illawarra Mixed Business, 1/44 Steel Street, Cringila, on Wednesday, August 25 between 2.45pm and 3.15pm
ALDI Fairy Meadow, Princes Highway, on Saturday, August 28 between 11am and 11.50am
Coles Fairy Meadow, New Ambience building, Elliotts Road, on Saturday, August 28 between 12.05pm and 12.55pm, and Monday, August 23 between 4.25pm and 4.55pm
Coles Figtree, Princes Highway and The Avenue, on Sunday, August 29 between 10.30am and noon
Bunnings Kembla Grange, Northcliffe Drive, on Sunday, August 29 between 12.55pm and 2pm
Mitchells Market, Warilla Grove shopping centre, on Friday, August 27 between 3.30pm and 4pm
Xtra Newsagency, 53 Wentworth Street, Port Kembla, on Saturday, August 28 between 7am and 7.05am; on Friday, August 27, between 7.05am and 7.10am; and Thursday, August 26, between 6.55am and 7am
Coles Wollongong, Wollongong Central, on Wednesday, August 25 between 9.25am and 9.40am, and on Saturday, August 21 between 12.55pm and 1.10pm
That went fine until it didn’t! That happened 12 September:
LATER: Looks as if this was real!
SMS timed at 5pm from Coles: “Unfortunately due to operational issues affecting our Warrawong store, your order for tomorrow morning cannot be fulfilled and has been cancelled…”
I NOW SUSPECT THIS SMS IS SPOOFED.
But email also just arrived: “We’re currently preparing your order a127967081 which is booked for the 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM, Monday 13 September, delivery window. We’re planning to arrive between 6:20 AM and 7:20 AM, but you won’t need to be there as you’ve chosen to have your order left unattended. We’ll send you an SMS to let you know once your order has been delivered.”
If the first is the final word then that is more than inconvenient….
Only too real. The order never arrived, and all customer service did about it was an email reply:
Unfortunately due to operational issues affecting our Warrawong store, your order for tomorrow cannot be fulfilled and has been cancelled. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. If your bank card / PayPal was charged at Checkout due to pre-authorisation, this will be refunded back to you automatically – wait times depend on your issuer.
Thank you for your email,
So I switched to the other principal supermarket chain, Woolworths. And the first order went really well. And then came the second order.
Which is where the kangabangas come in:
Given snags are the best bet for me because 1) they are bloody tasty! 2) they are easy to cook! 3) they are cheap 4) they have a long shelf life in the refrigerator — the problem of what is in them remains. Take salt for example.Nice to see though that eating our national animal is an exception. Also low fat! What is not to love? Yes, I have had them in the past — and they are good.
So in my latest Woolies order are KANGAROO SAUSAGES — Kangabangas! Coles did not have them. Let’s hope they are in stock — in theory they are. Looking forward to them!
Well! Guess what? My Woolies order “disappeared”! No, not delivered to the wrong place or something. never loaded on the truck from Woolies in Burelli Street! However Woolies Online messaged me and rang me and spoke to me — a real person and not in India! The order will be replaced and delivered tomorrow instead. And the delivery fee will be waived. And I get a cash voucher to spend next time.
Lady was very apologetic and thorough — says it is a mystery, not happened very often if at all. Promised it would not happen again, especially when I told her why I left Coles and started with Woolies after Coles had stuffed up.I do have enough at hand btw — so I won’t starve….
And the email responses arrived instantly.
But this online ordering/contactless delivery stuff is not glitch-free, is it? Have to say though that Woolies customer service is miles ahead of Coles.
Hence on FB last night I posted: The kanga bangas have landed. That is to say, my Woolies order has arrived at last!
And there was one extra pack of Anzac biscuits as well!
So yesterday’s post led to my visiting the rest of 2001 — November and December. I am just going to cherry-pick bits to republish here. I do notice that I made a determined effort to give up my 50-a-day smoking habit! At the end of December I boasted “Oh yes: one month and four days without smoking!” Sadly I crashed soon after, only finally giving up in March 2011 in the cardiac ward at Wollongong Hospital! Yes, that worked!
One December entry relates very much to smoking, and to my brother Ian — who passed away in 2017.
14 December A long partnership over
An hour ago, Australian Eastern time, in East Devonport, Tasmania Norma, my brother’s partner of 30 years, passed away after a long battle with emphysema.
15 December: My brother.
My brother and his partner have been living in Tasmania for many years now; I am not quite sure how many, but certainly more than five. Before that they lived in various parts of Queensland.
One of the ironies of their life together was that they were both married on the same day in Sutherland, way back in 1955, but in two different churches and to two different people. My brother’s first marriage lasted ten years, and it was after the end of that that he and Norma got together. I remember once saying to them that they could have saved a lot of trouble by getting it right on that day back in 1955, to which my brother replied, “Oh well, we still celebrate our wedding anniversary.”
While my brother and I have been in regular contact by phone, especially since our mother died 1n 1996, I have not seen him for many years, and Norma even longer. Unfortunately there is no way I can go down to Tasmania either, not that I could do much.
Ian and Norma were together for over thirty years. A second attempt at partnership suited both of them. They were kindred spirits, and were very lucky to have found each other. In the past few years Norma was basically bedridden, constantly on oxygen for her emphysema. My brother could not have been more loving and more devoted. He certainly had more peace and happiness with Norma over the greater part of thirty years than he had ever had before.
He’s not a young man now; neither of us is. I am not sure what he will do eventually–stay in Tasmania or move back up north. At one time he said he might move back to Queensland, should anything happen to Norma.
My brother had four children by his first marriage, some of whom I see from time to time. Norma had at least one daughter, whom I met, by her first marriage. Ian and Norma had no children by their relationship.
And yes, I won’t harp on it, but Benson and Hedges had a hand in Norma’s suffering and death.
The deep blue skies wax dusky and the tall green trees grow dim The sward beneath me seems to heave and fall And sickly, smoky shadows through the sleepy sunlight swim And on the very sun’s face weave their pall
Let me slumber in the hollow where the wattle blossoms wave With never stone or rail to fence my bed Should the sturdy station children pull the bush flowers on my grave I may chance to hear them romping overhead.
–Adam Lindsay Gordon
Back to November
November 18: Wettish Sunday..but yesterday was fine
Now when you are reduced to talking about the weather…
But it was quite lovely yesterday, although I spent a bit of it working. At lunch I ran into a colleague, M.S., who was attending a Teachers’ Federation Council Meeting. After work (coaching in Chinatown) at the Midnight Shift (a venue I am not normally all that fond of) I saw Clive and a few others, and had a very interesting conversation with someone I had seen around for ages but rarely talked to. It concerned family dynamics among other things. It is nice when people talk about their lives with honesty and seriousness.
The warm weather brought out some pleasing sights for such as I. Out in the suburbs they were washing their cars and going swimming, I am told, and I am sure that would be just as pleasing.
November 19: Life changes for some…and another web page
You may recall my nephew, Warren, who is an “exhibit” at the State Library of NSW as part of the Flinders Exhibition; he is there in virtual form as a lineal descendent of the family of Bungaree, the Guringai Aborigine who sailed with Flinders in his voyages of exploration about 200 years ago. I had a call from Warren at the weekend.
He has moved, with his partner, down to the Sydney region from Queensland and is now living on Guringai traditional land, as his mother’s family has continuously since settlement. Since it is Warren’s historical research that demonstrated the continuity of the descendents of the Guringai in that area, he is about to play a rather significant political role. There is a chance you may read about him in next weekend’s Australian. You can certainly see a lot of him now in the Cadigal Room at the Museum of Sydney.
I wonder if he would like yum cha.
Father John rang also with the sad but not unexpected news that his 98 years old mother recently died. I met her years ago when she was holidaying from Bellingen, where she lived until recently, and a very feisty old lady she was. She rather enjoyed the Albury!
On this diary a little while ago I celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Neos, a magazine for young writers with which I was associated. I have now put the poems, with a few more details, on my Angelfire site*. I think I am getting better at design 😉 What do you think?
Beware of a man giving up smoking, especially in the first week or two thereof. Do not confront him with sudden change or with anything that might tip his delicate balance. The result can be messy.
Friends need to be especially tolerant of aberrant behaviour. If they have supported the man in his project of giving up, they may be regretting their decison right now. They may be tempted to say “Please, start smoking again! We can’t stand this!” Do not give in to the temptation, but think of your friend’s better moments or track record over time, and remember that before long your friend will reappear as you remember him, and not as the writhing obsessive you see right now.
Yes, a good night’s sleep has helped. But I still need to be treated with delicacy… And on the subject of sleep, I blamed the 3-4 hours only I had on Tuesday night on two things: racing thoughts and leaving a patch on. Quitnet offers this on the latter: “Sleep disturbance almost always occurs in people who use the twenty four hour patch. Since your mind is unaccustomed to receiving nicotine while asleep, it can cause strange effects, including vivid, colorful dreams and difficulty sleeping.”
My best wishes to you all 🙂
18 December: Ninglun is loved after all…and some links for you
It is Day 21 and the cravings still come, but apparently that is normal. The body/mind has learned addiction and does not easily unlearn it. So one just insists: “Hey, I am a non-smoker!” and the cravings eventually pass.
It is nice to have one’s efforts appreciated, so a card from Michael Harmey (ESL/Multicultural Consultant at our Department of Education District Office) received today was very welcome: “Many thanks for your great work this year… You are doing a fantastic job for ESL and Multicultural Education, and it is a great pleasure to work with you.” 🙂
In the current climate where, overwhelmed by a tide of jingoism and a reactionary triumphalism even the modest progressive tends to be vilified as a member of some “elite” or “chattering class”, it is salutary to turn to a site that gives an alternative, non-Eurocentric, non-USA-centred view of the world, if only for balance. Such an alternative is New Internationalist which I commend as a means to keep your views balanced in our unbalanced age.
For fun, on the other hand, try Bad English. Just look 😉
20 December. Christmas thoughts…of a naked Ninglun
Yes, it is very warm in Sydney tonight and you should be glad I don’t have web cam. Looking at myself I can have few illusions about being no longer young, despite rather nice remarks today from some female colleagues, who expressed amazement at the concept that I turn 59 next year (God willing, of course.) I told them it must be my healthy lifestyle 😉
It is that time of year, school having ended, Christmas and New Year, just around the corner; a time to take stock. So I am naked in another sense, trying here to be unpretentious and honest with myself and my readers, some of whom I know and are dear to me, others of whom are total strangers. I so love the web diary–it has helped me so many times since I started, simply in the fact that I can say and do things here in total privacy and yet I am sharing it with the world. It is quite amazing, as happens from time to time, when someone suddenly pops up from, say, Denmark or Texas, and tells me: “Thanks for that” or “Yes, I love what you said…”
A year ago I made a list which is now on on my Home Page of ten beautiful things in life. I still stand by that. But this year I will put in ascending order the year’s six greatest blessings, bearing in mind what a horrible year it has been in some ways. This is a very personal list, and are the things I thank God/fate/circumstance for in 2001.
6. Some good things professionally, targets achieved in some areas at least, and students whose difficulties I have been able to make easier.
5. The blessing of reading and our local library.
4. Being able at my age to still think new thoughts and learn new things, and to take an imprudent decision when I knew it was what I had to do.
3. My friends at yum cha and around the pubs/coffee shops for their fellowship and confirmation of one’s worth and existence.
2. Becoming a non-smoker at last.
1. Finding one is loveable after all, and seeing another find that too about themselves.
Yes, I know the grammar is not quite right in number 1, but the thought is wonderful 🙂
23 December: Almost Christmas
Yes, so close, but I still haven’t done my cards! Looks like I will be making a few phone calls, sending email or ICQ, visiting some (hopefully) and, a last resort, sending late cards.
Yesterday I went to the Green Park Hotel with Sirdan; in time PK, James, Sailor A, and a number of others, joined us. PK gave me a very nice bottle of whisky.
Today is another Christmas gathering at the Forresters Hotel, and it would appear quite a few are coming to that. The gathering there a couple of weeks ago was very pleasant indeed.
I received a lovely card from “Master Fu”, an ex-student (class of 2000) who has been doing well in Advanced Mathematics at Sydney University. He has a delightful way of expressing himself:
There are many thanks for many things, none of them comes easily with words, for gratitude is the heart’s memory: thank you for everything you have done. Yours, Xiang
If yours is a family Christmas today, have a really good one; treasure those times, as they do pass.
The Forresters offered T-bone and mash as their $5 grill today, and it is so long since I have indulged in something so decadently Western; it was delicious. Company comprised Sirdan, James, Malcolm, the Empress, Bruce, Sailor A, Dark Cloud (a rare manifestation) and myself. The cuteness index at the Forresters was definitely near 9/10 today as well. (Elki, a very attractive ex-student who must be about 22 now, was there with his girlfriend; his noticing me was noted by the assembly and brought credit on my white beard!) So a good time was had. The Crown Prince had requested his greetings be passed on and it was done.
Meanwhile I have been reading an absolutely fascinating book on a cross-cultural phenomenon very few of us would have known of before: Martin Palmer, The Jesus Sutras (2001), about a thriving Christian movement in China during the 7th and 8th centuries AD. Have a look at that review and you will get the gist.
An interruption to the COVID-19 and lockdown series, but definitely related.
It has in the past week been impossible not to have seen this here in Oz:
But this has not escaped the malevolent attention of the nutters and bastards on social media, as last night’s excellent Media Watch on our ABC showed.
Footage of those patients, identified only by their first names, was recorded by Dr Lucy Morgan and released by New South Wales Health. And it made it onto all the major networks including ABC News, Ten News First and Seven News.
But soon people on social media were wondering if the New South Wales Health video was actually a fake.
And among the sceptics was former One Nation senator Rod Culleton, whose post received thousands of likes, and another former senator, David Leyonhjelm.
And one intrepid TikToker who went digging was able to reveal:
I found all 3 actors. Now how can this be coincidental?
– TikTok, @loiannecapone, 27 August, 2021
Yes, all three, including Ramona, were supposedly paid crisis actors, who did not have COVID at all.
And another internet sleuth then set out to prove it, ringing Concord Hospital to show that Ramona Khoury was not a patient there…
So, is Ramona a crisis actor pretending to have COVID for New South Wales Health? No, of course she’s not.
As New South Wales Health made clear, the patient’s name is not Ramona Khoury but Ramona El-Nachar, who is a pharmacy worker.
And as you can clearly see they are two different people, despite the fact that both are women and both have dark hair.
And as for the two male patients, well, we’re happy to tell you they are not crisis actors either.
As actor and comedian Mitch Garling — who was ‘outed’ online as COVID patient Osama Ahmad — said on Instagram:
MITCH GARLING: … turns out that people are using my photo and my StarNow profile saying that I am an actor sitting in a hospital pretending to have COVID. Look, I am an actor …
But not pretending to have COVID. Not that. Just, doesn’t even look like me. Has a beard. That’s it.
– Instagram, @mitchgarling, 27 August, 2021
It is amazing what people will believe, isn’t it?…
But it’s not just fun and games for the COVID conspiracists. Because the hospital told Media Watch:
It has been highly distressing for Dr Morgan and the patients to see their powerful messages undermined by these baseless and dangerous accusations, and to have their credibility questioned. Staff in Concord Hospital’s intensive care unit have also received multiple intimidating phone calls from members of the public over this matter.
– Email, Dr Teresa Anderson, Chief Executive, Sydney Local Health District, 3 September, 2021
It is the last thing our exhausted health workers need.
And it’s not much better for the rest of us, relying on people to take COVID seriously and get the jab if we’re ever to win back our freedoms.
And now a disgusting local example that has been playing out here in Wollongong in the past 24 hours. But first, meet an angel — or a family of angels…
In July I rather cryptically noted — and I think I must have forgotten to include the video from WIN News! “But in fact it is from our local Wollongong news, and is a marvellous example of human kindness and also of Australian multiculturalism at its best.” That is Omar Nemer from Samaras Middle Eastern Restaurants in Fairy Meadow and Wollongong, also with a food truck that has been out and about during lockdown. And the toys?
Omar from Samaras Food Truck and Catering here. I have organised a massive collaboration for this coming week. The Samaras Food Truck pop-ups will be switching to drive thru for the remainder of the lockdown and do we have a suprise for you! Each drive thru next week we will have $200 worth of toys to give away!! Every kid that is in the car during the drive thru will get something from a BRAND NEW BIKE with helmet, Scooter with Helmet, Soccer Ball, Lego, a Foam Plane, Bubble Stick and much much more. It’s all thanks to these sponsors who have each Sponsored $200 worth of toys for each day.
In the past 24 hours on Facebook Omar has made two major posts. This is the first:
Our community & staff are our number 1 priority which is why, for the first time in 13 years effective immediately Samaras Woonona, Wollongong & Food Truck are closing its doors for 2 weeks.
One of our Food Truck staff members has tested positive to Covid. The staff member worked Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd in the evening at the Food Truck Drive thru.
The staff member fell symptomatic on Saturday 4th & was not symptomatic previous to this date. The staff member was directed to get tested and self isolate immediately by the Samaras management team. The staff member was not aware of any direct contact with anyone that was Covid Positive. We followed NSW Health regualtions which states the individual has to isolate until results come back and no further action is required up until that point.
All Samaras staff have conducted a covid test and are now in isolation until results come out as a precaution taken by the Samaras Management Team. All direct contacts (which are very minimal) are now in quarantine as directed by NSW Health.
NSW health has advised us that due to the fact that it is a drive thru, they are not concerned about the risk of community transmission and therefore this is not being listed as a hotspot. Please do get tested if you have any concern. They are also not concerned of any community transmission at any of the Samaras Woonona or Wollongong venues.
We have been advised that we have to close until our staff test negative (approx 24-48hrs) & to deep clean our shops & then reopen. We ourselves have decided to close as a precaution for 2 weeks as you can get covid & not have any symptoms or test positive up to 12 days after any possible transmission date.
The health & safety of our staff & customers is our number one priority & we feel it is best for our community. We look forward to seeing you all soon.
This can happen to anyone at any time. Wishing our staff member a speedy recovery. Take care out there people.
Thank you, Much love, Samaras team
Of course that was accompanied by many comments expressing concern and goodwill.
But then the grubs and bastards started, just as they did with the Concord Hospital patients.
It has come to our attention that there have been several people writing comments, spreading rumours that the Samaras family hosted a party in Berkeley with members from Bankstown attending, and we would like to address these harmful allegations.
The Samaras family have NEVER held or attended a party in lockdown.
This is false information and the Samaras family have nothing to do with these hurtful rumours. We do not live in Berkeley, nor do we have kids in a Mangerton daycare. If spiteful members of the community continue to make defamatory claims against Samaras, we will have no choice but to pursue legal action.
The people of the Illawarra that truly know who we are as a family know that we would never do such a thing. We pride our selves in being a core part of the Illawarra trying to bring unity.
We have always worked very hard to support our community and this is very upsetting and distressing for us to hear. We have never failed our community and this is no time to be divided. We have dedicated the last 13 years to the Wollongong community and have always been on the front line when the community needs us. Let’s stay united during these troubling times.
Kind regards, Samaras family
So far over 250 people have indicated love and concern, and 22 have commented. One example is typical:
Cant believe one of our community pillars is being attacked again. Just gonna say it, the not so subtle racism that Samaras is and has experienced is disgusting.
Gonna save up my poverty dolleriedoos for a mezze plate with a side of dolmades to support ya’ll when you reopen
I commented last night:
I am utterly disgusted by this. Whoever is responsible is an absolute grub and can never be on the same human level as you and your family, whose generosity is well known and whose service is exemplary. Not to mention the food!
Let me share another story of angels in our Gong community — the local mosque:
Staff from NSW Health along with medical practitioners were at the mosque in Gwynneville to administer the vaccination.
An Arabic interpreter was also on hand to assist those who could not speak English.
Muhammad Rafique, one of the first people to get jabbed at the mosque, welcomed the experience.
“I’m so glad the mosque has chosen to run a vaccination clinic. It definitely played a major part in me deciding to get the jab,” the 24-year-old said.
“I had reservations about getting the AstraZeneca because of all of the misinformation around but my fears were allayed by the wonderful medical staff.”
Mr Rafique, who owns Bams, Burgers and Wraps in Gwynneville, urged his fellow Muslims to get jabbed as a matter of urgency.
“Do not delay, this is too important,” he said.
“I’m so glad the mosque opened this clinic because I’m sure a lot of people in the Muslim community have some reservations about getting vaccinated.
“Hopefully getting a jab in the mosque, where they feel comfortable, will encourage them to bite the bullet and book in to get vaccinated.
“I was always going to get a jab but the fact the mosque was offering jabs definitely sped things up for me.
“I’m now pleading with my fellow Muslims to do the same and get vaccinated sooner rather than later.”
That story you can believe, people! But do be very critical about what you believe on social media There are so many loose cannons, dingbats and just plain skunks tapping away on keyboards out there…. So much disinformation and just plain lies. Be very careful what you share.
It’s common sense by now that social media allows us to exist in bubbles of perception. If you see many people doing something online, clogging up your social-media feeds with videos and messages, it’s easy to assume that the behavior is happening everywhere—and is therefore O.K. to do. What the Milk Crate Challenge and ivermectin have in common is that they are hazardous undertakings given more credence by their online ubiquity. In a slower, more cautious digital-media environment, perhaps the F.D.A.’s own warnings would supersede viral videos or misinformation on these platforms. But, when platforms are made up mostly of user-generated content and that content is served to viewers as quickly and as often as possible in order to drive engagement and advertising sales, content moderation is always playing a Sisyphean game of catch-up. As with the pandemic itself, problems are only identified and confronted after they have already spread.
Late-night dining, heart-warming hospitality and the freshest of seafood are what we’ll remember about Sydney Chinatown’s most celebrated eatery, Golden Century, which went into administration this week after 30 years of service.
It comes as Sydney marks nearly two months of lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease, which requires restaurants to pause their dine-in service.
Over the years, owners Eric and Linda Wong have been revered for the traditional Cantonese cuisine they served to families, city hustlers and overseas notables alike. Their restaurant was known as much for its encyclopaedic menu as it was for its list of high-profile guests, including Australian prime ministers, Lady Gaga, former US president George HW Bush and the Princess of Tonga.
Zilver is one Micheal Xu has favoured in recent years — and we have been here quite often. Way back in Sydney’s Olympic Year of 2000 the crew around Ian Smith (the late Dowager Empress of Hong Kong) also gathered here more than once — though I seem to recall it was “Silver” then.
The Gong does not have a full-on yum cha restaurant — that needs a much greater turnover of customers than Wollongong has to offer. But we do have the nearest thing — and sometimes the offerings more than match Chinatown’s — in Ziggy’s House of Nomms! They are struggling on through lockdown with take-aways and a very active presence on Facebook.
Why not? After all, this series is called “hacks and escapes”… This time I trawled this present blog.
And I am taking my own advice from the last post — as you may see from this photo from yesterday morning.
The result: The marinade helped tenderise the meat… There are two meals in this! Carrot, snow peas, onion, a bit of tomato, a touch of ginger, small amounts black pepper and Himalayan rock salt, soy sauce, a dash of oyster sauce. Canola oil.
Now meet the wok! I am fairly sure Michael Xu and I bought it around 1991 from Paddy’s Market, when it was still in Redfern.
Now some lunches at clubs and other venues over recent years…
#Strongwomen. "I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful - for all of it." Kristin Armstrong