My first post since … June! Actually thought it had been longer, but there you go. Amazing how much you can pack into five months. To say it’s been busy is an epic understatement, but still — only three posts this year? Unforgivable. While I make no excuses, and am infamously short on apologies, maybe an explanation is in order.

First and foremost, I became a grandfather! My clever daughter home-birthed a handsome little man who, being our first grandchild, is the apple of my eye and the vessel for all my hopes and dreams. A bit unfair (given he hasn’t even worked out what colour his eyes or hair is going to be) that I’m already ghost-writing his acceptance speech for the Booker Prize. No pressure, little champ! But seeing as I will probably refer to him often, yet want to keep his privacy sacrosanct, I’ll need a suitable pseudonym. Hmmm. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on for that. So, that explains my absence from the webz for the month of July. I would love to post a picture of the little elf, but I’ll seek permission from my daughter first. Instead, here’s a picture of Harry, the more fur-brained of our cats!

Aww, he’s so sleepy. Anyway, in August I discovered gold prospecting. That’s right, I caught the fever. It began (as all sudden changes in the lives of middle-aged men do) with a confession. “I want to try gold prospecting” I said, bracing myself for the inevitable barrage of derision, scorn and savage piss-taking I expected from my family. “You’re doing WHAT?” they all cried, especially when my first couple of trips to Mitchell’s Creek in Sunny Corner, right on the edge of the world-famous Bathurst goldfields, only yielded what prospector’s call ‘micro-dots’. But I am made of stern stuff, and knew the difference between good gold and crap gold is only a matter of perseverence and skill, so I honed mine by returning to the river, doing my research, and beginning a YouTube channel! You too can watch, breath bated, as I pan for gold in my favourite flannelette shirt! You’ll never be bored again! Follow my riverine adventures here. WARNING! Once seen, there are some things you cannot unsee — prepare to succumb to the fever too!

The first video is a bit crap, but they get better I promise. September was consumed by work, and not in a good way. A cultural survey of my workplace yielded the worst possible result, and our #1 was ‘relieved’ of his position. I took no joy in this, but when push came to shove I found myself aligned with his detractors. While the phrase ‘better the devil you know’ kept coming to mind, the treacherous cabal probably did the right thing by precipitating his demise. As the boss himself once warned, sometimes the only answer is a head on a stick, though he was too much the arrogant narcissist to ever imagine the head might be his own. The good news: the republic is better off without Caesar.

October was subsequently the dawn of a New World Order. Dramatic changes in the workplace, a realignment of corporate goals and values, and the beginning here in New South Wales of the dreaded bushfire danger period. I also took two weeks leave, holidaying at Noosa with my lovely wife. Those hoping for holiday snaps of a well-filled bikini and cocktails by the pool will have to use your imagination because I have ’em, but you ain’t getting ’em! Instead, here’s an example of the littoral edge we Aussies inhabit while at play. Sucks to live on an island, eh?

That brings me to November. I had planned a fossicking trip to the river, but the catastrophic fire-danger rating today put the kybosh on that. The Premier has declared a state of emergency, all the parks are shut, and there is a total fireban. Not that I was visiting a National Park with any intention of lighting a fire, but it seemed prudent and responsible to defer. So I spent the day at home doing housework, and visited the little tacker instead. Yes, I am officially the perfect human male. Little mate is learning to blow raspberries, a fact interesting to absolutely nobody except his grandparents!

Anyway, I guess this makes me up to date. I’ll be back at my cantankerous best soon enough. Poems? I have a big bucket overflowing with them. Reviews? A slightly smaller bucket, but also filled to the brim. Sardonic observations about the human condition? I have sydharbs (yes that’s a real word) of them, as you’ll see soon enough.

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