Gathering the straws of life together

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Saying G’day and R U OK?

Saying G’day and R U OK?

Saying G’day is something we do most days as well as “how are you going” meaning R U OK? There are days at our place when we say lots of G’day’s, and all we are doing is walking around our neighbourhood! We have met people […]

Cashless society

Cashless society

More and more I see the evidence that we are moving to a cashless society. Fewer and fewer people carry cash. All we need is plastic – a plastic card! At least our plastic cards are not “single use” – we use them time and […]

Time for a siesta

Time for a siesta

When visiting Spain, you will find that this is the country of the siesta! When we were there, 16 years ago, we discovered the siesta. Everything quietens down from around 2pm – 4pm or longer. The Spanish then come alive in the evening. They eat and party late. Bedtime is around 12 midnight.

Why don’t we have the siesta as part of our Australian culture? Before we had air-conditioning, there were many limp bodies lying around in the afternoon. Work-time would slow down as everyone got drowsy. Just like we did after Christmas lunch, at Helidon, when I was growing up. Everyone found a cool spot for a siesta. Not everyone could fit on the much-loved veranda sofa and for us as children even the hallway floor was a popular space. We could catch the breeze from the front door to the back door. Then we would all awaken from our drowsy states around 4pm and enjoy cold watermelon in the shade of a tree in the backyard.

There have been proposals in Spain to change working hours and end the siesta. Maybe a good idea as people could have a shorter working day rather than a split-shift? The change is okay for those who are working inside with air-conditioning but not so good for the workers out in the olive groves. They need to find a cool, dark place and rest during the heat of the day.

When we were in Spain we adjusted to their culture and went and had a siesta too! Not like some tourists who want the shops open all day! Sign up on the door, sorry, we are closed for a siesta, does not make some visitors happy.  But, what about “when in Spain, do as the Spanish do”?

I can fully understand the need for the siesta without air-conditioning on a hot summer’s day in a European country. I think back to when we were in Assisi. The Italians also like a siesta in the mid-afternoon. We stayed in this hotel overlooking the valley. Up multiple winding stairs to our room, concrete floors, with French door opening to the view. It was spectacular. However, in the afternoon to appease the sun the wooden shutters were closed to keep out the heat and it was time to rest.

These days it is popular to “power nap”. This is a mini sleep of between 15-90 minutes. Business people do it, athletes do it, parents caring for children do it. The best “power nappers” in the world are babies and young children. They just fall asleep whenever they feel tired, regardless of the situation or expectations.

Years ago, we had an electrician who would attend to all our electrical work. One time we had a major overall of our power-board. He would work in the morning, have lunch, find a shady spot then have a nap.

Napping during the day is not a usual part of my schedule. I find I sleep better at night if I don’t nap during the day. There is nothing worse than sleep inertia – waking up and feeling groggy! But then, sometimes on a cold winter’s day while resting in front of the fire in a recliner chair, a siesta seems the right thing to do!

If you like to take a siesta during the day there is now an “app” for you! This is the smart way to take a siesta with the help of your smart phone. The app will measure your sleep pattern and then wakes you up at the perfect time so you will feel more rested and ready to take on the rest of the day! I think I’ll try having a siesta this afternoon and dream that I am on holidays in Spain!

Feliz, siesta (happy siesta)!

Waste not want not!

Waste not want not!

Waste not want not is a saying that dates back to 1772. There are two meanings. The first is “do not waste as you might need it in the future”. Secondly, the “less we waste the less we will lack in the future”. It is […]

Walk on water

Walk on water

This week when delivering the 2018-19 Queensland State Budget, the treasurer Jackie Trad took a walk on water. Nothing would deter her delivering a budget full of billions of promises. All the treasurer, premier and the Labor government must do now is to follow her […]

In your interest

In your interest

It is in your interest to know what is going on with your bank accounts. Not only bank accounts but all your financial interests. While some people trust financial advisers and accountants it is always in your interest to check any documents they give you or ask you to sign. Take your time and if necessary take them away and sign another day!

In early May I wrote a post about The Royal Commission into the Financial Services Industry. I notice that it is now called The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. This is the royal commission that almost did not happen until the Liberal National Coalition under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull changed their mind. I wondered whether Malcolm Turnbull, once a merchant banker, had a view that the banks could be trusted. If that was the case, he has had a surprise, given the bad behaviour of the banks and other parts of the financial industry that is being uncovered.

As of the 3rd May 2018 the commission had received 4501 public submissions, now there are 6320 (banking 64%; financial advice 10%; superannuation 10%). There are considerable concerns about the financial services industry, but mostly about the banks. People have entrusted their life savings with the banks and these have then disappeared into the ether. Take the couple who sold their property for $2.7m. They invested it all with Macquarie Bank who carelessly managed their money. Today, all they have left is $400,000. Where did it all go? Some of it went into the pocket of financial advisers and the rest through bad investment decisions their capital kept disappearing and disappearing. Did the bank care? Probably, the financial adviser has moved overseas or now lives in Bali and eating the cream that was skimmed off the top of each investment move.

In is in your interest to take a walk out of debt.

When you are investing money, you must make sure, it is in your interest first and foremost. It is important to diversify. Don’t put all your money into the one investment option, like the couple who had $2.7m to invest. Many of us are not sophisticated investors, including me. But as I have researched the area I may be more informed than others who blindly trust the banker or financial adviser with that nice smile or welcoming handshake. That is not enough!

I always found it annoying that it was much easier to find the minimum monthly payment amount on my credit card than the total amount due for the month. I was pleased to see this month that the ANZ Bank is providing more information on their credit card statements. They give a minimum payment warning. This is now an Australian Government requirement.

Say you have a balance of $2,500 on your credit card. The monthly minimum payment is about $51. If you no longer use your credit card and continue to pay only the minimum amount each month, it will take a very long time to pay down the debt. Yes, around 23 years and 11 months before you are out of debt! Interest charges are around $6,800. This is, NOT in your interest. That little minimum monthly payment can get you deeper and deeper into debt. If you can’t pay off the monthly amount, then maybe it is time to cut up that credit card. It is time to reshape your thinking about what is important in life. Repair instead of replacing. Reuse instead of disposing. Repurpose – for example use a 2-litre milk container to store your home-made washing detergent liquid. Think about it! We all live in a happier space if we don’t have debt hanging over our head.

If you have fallen on tough times, then talk to the bank. It is time to work out the best payment plan and reduce the amount you will pay in the long-term – it is in your interest!

Pass the word about passwords

Pass the word about passwords

With the technology of today, we all have passwords, passwords for this, passwords for that! We can end up with a hundred or more passwords and how do we keep a track of it all? Then there is the backup that google will do and […]

Cutting your own hair at home

Cutting your own hair at home

Have you ever thought about cutting your own hair at home? One of my aversion’s is going to the hairdresser. I have had some experiences that I don’t want to repeat. There are some great hairdressers but then they charge a great price! I know […]

Learn Plan Live

Learn Plan Live

Life is full of lessons as we LEARN, PLAN AND LIVE. Some lessons I have learnt quickly, others I have taken a while to learn. It has been a busy week at our small castle – our home, this week. Every home should be a castle, our place of refuge, a place where we are warm, comfortable and happy. Our home is where we learn. We learn to take our first steps, we plan our dreams and goals, we live our life. We may go out to work, we visit friends, we go on holidays, but then we always come home to our castle – our home.

This past week my One&Only and I have worked on a project to update our chicken coop – Cluckingham Palace. I will take photos once the project is complete!

This weekend it is all about the royal family and Windsor Castle with the marriage of Prince Harry & Meghan. What an extravaganza. Royal wedding fever is taking over our lives. Over two Billion people will be watching! Yes, I will be one of them! I would not like to disappoint! I got out my tiara, the one I bought years ago, the fake one, when I was designing the Princess Chickens egg carton label. The tiara was used as the focal point. Even with its fake gems it looked quite good. The image below is the one I designed when we lived in Maleny (since updated). This is how I amuse myself in retirement! However, there will be nothing fake about the tiara and jewellery that will be worn by Meghan Markle for her wedding in about seven hours time. The royal family are taking care of the wedding bill. Prince William and Kate’s wedding cost $34m. My nieces wedding, 2 weeks ago, was very elaborate but did not cost even $1m. How much will Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s wedding cost? A right royal penny!

I came across the verse below during the week. Some good advice there. I only hope Meghan does not forget to return her borrowed jewels once the wedding is over. I think her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has taken a shine to Meghan so she may even get to keep her tiara!

In the meantime, I have to get ready for the wedding. Food to prepare, flowers for the table, crystal glasses, polish the silverware! The champagne is chilled! Tonight is not the night for living beneath our means!

Thoughts for Life

Live beneath your means

Return everything you borrow

Stop blaming other people

Admit it when you make a mistake

Give clothes not worn to charity

Do something nice and try not to get caught

Listen more; talk less

Take a 30-minute walk everyday

Strive for excellence, not perfection

Be on time. Don’t make excuses

Don’t argue

Get Organised

Be kind to unkind people

Let Someone cut ahead of you in line

Take time to be alone

Cultivate good manners

Be humble

Realise and accept that life isn’t fair

Know when to keep your mouth shut

Go an entire day without criticising anyone

Learn from the past

Plan for the future

Live in the present

Don’t sweat the small stuff

It’s all small stuff!

(Thoughts for Life – author unknown)


Feeding the chooks

Feeding the chooks

Do you know the politician who referred to news conferences as “feeding the chooks”? Yes, it was Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, former Premier of Queensland (1968-1987), and the longest-serving. Sir Joh had a simple view of the world as a farmer and he took his observations […]

My Diary

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Do you know the politician who referred to news conferences as “feeding the chooks”? Yes, it was Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, former Premier of Queensland (1968-1987), and the longest-serving. Sir Joh had a simple view of the world as a farmer and he took his observations of living life on the land into the Premier’s office. Another saying was “you don’t tell the frogs anything before you drain the swamp” – the element of surprise!

Right now, after the Liberal-National Coalition handed down the 2018 budget there are news conferences happening all over Australia. In not finding the budget news conferences too thought-provoking, I went outside to feed the chooks. It is a good opportunity to deliberate life!

In the 2018 budget there are winners and losers. Older Australians are one of the “so called” winners. When I look at the $1.6b going towards older Australians it will help the most vulnerable, and that must be good. Helping 14,000 people to stay in their homes, a tick here! Then another 74,000 people, if they live another four years, can gain access to a home care package in mid-2022, another tick! More funds into mental health services is a step in the right direction as one of the most vulnerable groups is men over 85 years old, a big tick! Money to improve quality standards in nursing homes is comforting for many, but too late for others, another big tick! Oakden nursing home in Adelaide is one “stand out” example, of the government going to sleep at the wheel.

I was pleased to hear that $60 million will go towards improving the MyAged Care website. I consider myself a savvy website navigator, but when I was using it to gain services for my mother it was clumsy, with little clarity. Finally, I made a phone call!

Feeding the chooks, one of the simple pleasures of life.
My chooks out and about enjoying the sunshine on a cooler day in Toowoomba, 15 degrees celsius.

I am not so pleased to hear about the government loan scheme for older Australians to borrow against the equity in the home. There are hidden dangers in such a scheme – read the fine print! Some older people may not be aware of the pitfalls. Good independent, fee-for-service financial advice, is necessary before going down that path! Older people should not be enticed into using their home equity for that “round the world trip” or to renovate the house just because their neighbour did! If older people live a long life, which is now happening, the government may end up owning their home! Then older people will have to pay rent to the government! Could this happen? Yes, it could. The ageing person will then get a rent subsidy to help or worse be forced to sell their home to pay their debt and get shuffled off to an aged care facility – one small room!

The  2018 budget merry-go-round, is keeping the journalists busy. The politicians, when they can, continue to “feed the chooks”. I find that life is better when I am outside, living a simple life and “feeding the chooks”. Time to put the political promises aside and take control of my small municipality, my backyard garden and chooks!

Lucy is moulting. She looks a little bedraggled.
But her new feathers are growing – just in time for winter! Don’t you worry about that! 

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