Need to stop thinking about…

I’m wishing tonight, after having a pleasant dinner out, that I could stop thinking about things that touch me too deeply. Tears are welling in my eyes and threatening to fall down my cheeks as I can’t do anything to help. I’ll try to concentrate on something I COULD do last weekend.

I managed to help my young friend Olu “Climate” Idowu from Nigeria raise the last couple of hundred dollars that enabled him to attend an important meeting in Ethiopia. He has been running a program to teach youth to sustainably work the land so they can become employed and feed themselves and their families. By flocking to urban areas, rural people in developing countries have lost the skills they thought would be useless in the city. As Olu and I were chatting on Facebook I also got a message from Thalini who is training to be a surgeon in NSW, Australia, wondering how to do something that I know all about, and I thought !! Bingo!!

Maybe Thalini would have some of the cash Olu needed for his conference and I could in turn help Thalini with her problem! It worked and didn’t cost me a cent of the money I haven’t got!

So this week I became an international online entrepreneur! That must be an achievement I can be happy with.

What techniques can I use in the future to stop myself becoming too sad and emotional about problems that other people are in a much better position to fix? Genuine help needed!

Positive post script:

The rescue cat pictured below was adopted and neutered. She was previously on death row at Manhattan Animal Rescue in New York City because she was found roaming the streets. She was approximately 5 years old, and as you can see, not the most attractive-looking animal you might expect to take home.

Kitty's got the blues

Kitty’s got the blues

I contacted a heap of people who lived in or near NYC to try to get her a kind, warm home. Someone responded and I am so very relieved.



Topical Popocatapetl
Clever & amusing poem about a volcano that is becoming topical at the moment

words hanging out to dry


This a sound poem which plays with the sound of words and revels in the responses and rhythms they stir up. At the end it features actions which only work in live performance, rather than on the printed page.

NB Popocatépetl is the second highest mountain in Mexico, and an active volcano

Popo cate petl
Poppa cata petal
Pot a cat a petal
Pot a cap a petal
Pot a cup a petal
Pot a cup a petrol
Pick a pocket or two?

Pop a pack a kettle
Pop a plaque a kettle
Pop a plaque – and pedal!
Pitter patter?
Pluck a pepperoni Nazi?

Hippo pota ricotta pepper
Stock a flock a mocha chocca
Tic a tac a picker nicker
Not a battered tipple
Blot n scat n stipple
A cat!
A petal …

22 July 2009

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Another whale stranding

Upon opening the lappy this morning, top of the news list was this: Rescue efforts continue for beached whales

Basically, a pod of sperm whales became stranded on some huge sandbars at the entrance to Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s wild west coast. You can see how narrow the harbour entrance is, plus sandbars are visible even on the Google map! The sandbars exist because this is the outlet of the mighty Franklin River– the one conservationists have fought so hard to save from the hydroelectricity schemes. Ironically, one piece of conservation is contributing to another species’ bad fortune. Nature does not choose it’s champions nor victims using logic or reason.

Macquarie Harbour showing narrow entrance

If you look on Google Maps, you’ll see that the Franklin River is huge and deep, ending in the monstrous Macquarie Harbourwhich has various deep, navigable channels. I imagine that the current pod of sperm whales was planning on steering themselves up a nice channel and investigating the nooks in the deep harbour.

The mighty Franklin River

Other whale pods had probably taken some great excursions here and reported to the whale-folk back home. This time, not so lucky and some of the family became beached. The reporter said the whales were in good condition and will probably be refloated in 24 hours. I’m not so sure, looking at their mouths, but we’ll see.

The strandings on adjacent Ocean Beach (north of entrance) are quite frequent. It is a huge long, straight beach, continually facing the Roaring Forties, blowing in unfettered by any land after Madagascar.

Ocean Beach & the Roaring Forties

It is pretty much continuous and I imagine that whales could easily be pulled out of their intended route and into the mass of waves running towards shore. I’ve notice the torrent of waves building up more than a kilometre from shore.

When I visited Ocean Beach in 2009, the wind was blowing hard as usual, there was a certain stench of rotting mutton birds and fish, but no whales or their carcasses. However, people who live in surrounding towns and villages are used to strandings so I think they probably happened long before humans arrived.

Why do whales strand? Zoologists and other scientists concerned with currents and climate change have many theories, none of which are easy to prove in the short term. Some say that whales’ navigation system is disturbed by an illness, pollution or the earth’s changeable magnetic field, causing them to go off course or miscalculate the position of a dimly remembered shoreline.

Tasmania, pimple in the Southern Ocean

Others say that Ocean Beach, on the “tiny” island of Tasmania within a vast Southern Ocean, is only a blip iin a big space, so sometimes the whales hit the island merely by chance. I don’t know what is believable about any theory on this , but as a soft-hearted human and conservationist, I find it worrying when these wonderful, lumbering animals meet their end during the prime of life.

A ScoopIt show integrates this blog post with other news about whales and conservation:

Dreams of beach compounds…

There was a crumbling and rusty large gravestone in my dream and a long epitaph written there, which contained phrases like:
“He saw red enamel…
He spoke of beach compounds…
He dreamed of Antarctica’s health…”

There was a whole lot more that I desperately tried to remember in the dream so I would remember when I woke up! This is all I can recall at the moment, but hoping there is more…

The dream was long and involved the story of a doctor and his speech and language expert wife who had three sons, one of whom was quite autistic. The dream followed them from a time when the kids were quite young and playing on a beach, riding bikes and running around the house screaming and laughing, to when the sons and wife were dead and the old doctor was old, grey-bearded and rather tottery. Somehow I was in the dream at various stages of this family’s life. I remember going for a long walk with the father and the two non-disabled sons. We were chatting about all sorts of things, including listening to the sounds our joints made quietly as we walked! The autistic son was mainly educated at home and I can’t recall the details of how he was managed on the days when both his parents worked. Anyway, he wore a helmet to prevent him doing too much damage to himself and ran about saying weird things, squealing and flapping. He could read a bit, made up odd stories that did not make much sense and found it impossible to ride a bike like his brothers, even though he tried for years. When he died- and I think the epitaph may have been for him- there was a reporter from a large newspaper at the family home to do a story on him. While they were discussing what should go in the story, the doctor brought out some old films and videos of things happening with the autistic boy.
The doctor and his wife also put the helmet on and imitated some of the antics the boy went through- they were hilarious! There were some crazy things on the films and videos that had the journalist cacking himself!
I could see the house as a whole in its setting at the end, with some small industrial city in the distance a few kms away. The house was a modern, multi-roofed house on a small hill overlooking the city. The grave with the epitaph was in a field next to the house covered in golden dry grass.
I remember speaking with the doctor on the occasion of his farewell dinner from the local community when he retired at 65 or so. I was talking to him about what it had been like for him to be a patient for the first time when he had suffered a small prostate cancer [this must be related to one of my former jobs where I did interview several older doctors who had recovered from it]. He was philosophical and explained he’d been a bit embarrassed, hadn’t approved of some of the things that had happened to him, but decided he had been treated OK overall and wasn’t complaining!
There was a bit about the sons not receiving some awards from their church youth group because a crotchetty old pastor had blown some incidents with the autistic boy out of all proportion, and blamed the other two boys. [weird!!!]
The house I can see as a rambling house with plenty of yard and not much garden- it appears to be in a sepia print! I could sketch it, or find a similar photo to illustrate how it looked.
The image of the old doctor left on his own at the end, shuffling around the house with no other occupants is warm and only slightly lonely. The doctor had a grey beard, trimmed but a little longer than when he was young, and his hair was thick and white and growing over his collar. His clothes were a bit crumpled- with a broadly checked shirt and a brown cardigan! Perhaps we have the beginnings of a movie script or at least a short story here!
It’s also probably relevant that I have known many families with autistic and Asperger’s syndrome kids and have spent a lot of time in their homes- but none of them match this particular family in the dream! And none of them lived where this dream is set- in a dry part of the US interior with rolling, grassy slopes and fields of corn and wheat stalks!
Well- maybe more to this if it comes back to me, maybe not…

The house was like this with multiple roofs, but modern large windows.