I’ve spent a lot of time in front of the TV over Christmas and the New Year watching cricket. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that but the downside has been sitting through never-ending promos for upcoming shows on local free to air stations. As I remarked to Hubby, seeing the promos for the latest crop of Reality shows reminds me again of why I don’t watch them.
So what do we have to look forward to?
My Kitchen Rules – Twin girls with ghastly, too bright lipstick and in their words one brain between them and a couple with a cheese obsession. Give me Wallace and Gromit.
The Biggest Loser – How will the bitchy Michelle manage to bully a whole town? I’m sorry but I saw one promo featuring her last year and ever since then I feel violent whenever I see her face. One day someone will die on one of these quick fix weight loss shows.
The Voice and Voice Kids – Plainly it is all about the judges. Joel Madden I know who you are now. Kylie Minogue appears in this. I agree she is a great performer but I’ve never thought she has a good singing voice. So shoot me!
So You Think You Can Dance – I’m not familiar with the format of this one but no doubt there will be the usual “Good Cop, Bad Cop “ judges, some drama amongst the contestants who will have some deep, dark tragedy in their lives and someone will fall over and break a leg attempting some dance move.
The Block – So this time they have to build walls and ceilings as well as decorate. Not to mention find time to fight with each other. I would be frightened to live in a house built by a Reality Show contestant.
Big Brother – Please can we just stop!
When Love Comes To Town – I haven’t read a run-down of this yet but it appears to be a cross between “The Bachelor” and “The Farmer Wants A Wife”.
People who have read this blog before will know that I hate Reality TV so much that I’m probably not even rational about it. I’m sure many people find it entertaining but to me it is lazy television. I don’t feel it promotes good values. It showcases bad behaviour, bad manners and bullying. The people who make these shows want the audience to tune in to see how awful some of these people can be.
I would far rather that Australian TV stations spent their money on good quality dramas with realistic characters that you can like and admire. Please give us another Sea Change or even “A Country Practice, Sullivan’s or Carson’s Law. Of course making Australian drama is expensive and Reality TV is cheap so guess what we’ll get?
I know the answer. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Well don’t worry I won’t but it’s hard to avoid seeing the ads. One only needs so many cups of coffee and trips to the bathroom.
I’ve written before about our cat in my post “Along Came Polly“. I have often wondered how she came to be where we found her, was she dumped, did she wander away from home? We’ll never know.
Today is the first anniversary of her arrival and to mark it I’ve written the story from a cat’s point of view.
My story begins a year ago. I was a kitten and the first few weeks of my life had passed uneventfully. My mother took care of me and my siblings and while we stayed safely in our bed in the garage our mother would go to the house where the humans lived to get food; when she came back there would be milk for us. The young humans from the house would sometimes come and look for us and sometimes mother would allow them to hold us.
Then things changed, one day the humans all got into their car and drove away. They left a bowl of water and a bowl of food for mother. She ate some and as there was plenty we had some too. The humans didn’t come back though and after a while there was no more food in the bowl. Mother started leaving us to hunt for food.
I don’t know how long this went on but soon we were hungry most of the time. There wasn’t much milk anymore and it was a long time to wait for mother to come back with whatever she had caught. None of us felt very well, we started to cough and sneeze and our eyes were sore.
One morning I was so hungry I decided to find mother so I could get a drink of milk. I left the garage and set off to look for her.
I looked and looked but I couldn’t find her anywhere. I hadn’t realised that Outside was so big. It was hot too and I was getting tired and thirsty. After a while I saw a big house. Humans live in houses and humans have food so I decided I would go and look there. Before I could find any food I was frightened by some huge angry birds. They were black and had sharp beaks and cruel eyes. I thought they might peck me so I hid in some bushes.
The sun seemed to be hotter than ever and I stayed hidden in the bushes where I felt safer. I wished that I had stayed with my brothers and sisters after all. After a while I heard the sound of a car and then humans talking.
“Please help me!” I cried “I’m hot and thirsty and I want my mother.”
The humans seemed to understand and called out “Kitty, kitty, kitty!”
Slowly I crept out from under the bushes so that they could see me. I couldn’t see them very well because one of my sore eyes was stuck shut.
I was picked up and carried inside the building. One of the humans gave me a bowl of cool water. I drank it thirstily.
Soon another human arrived and took me to a house. There was a dog there; as soon as she saw me she washed me with her great big tongue. I didn’t mind, I could tell that she wouldn’t hurt me. I was given food too, it tasted so good.
The humans took good care of me. Whenever I cried they fed me or held me and after a few days I wasn’t frightened anymore. They took me to the vet to get medicine for my cold and they put stuff in my eyes to make them better. I soon let them know when I’d had enough of that though. When I was tired I would curl up with Cindy the dog. After a while the humans started to call me Polly and I knew then that they would let me stay. I started to think of them as my humans.
Today I’m grown up and I am very happy with my life. I have a nice home with plenty to eat and lots of toys to play with. Sometimes I go Outside and lie on the warm ground in the sun but soon my humans chase me back inside. They don’t like me to go out there. They are probably afraid that the birds will get me.
You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?
I spend a good deal of my daydreaming time thinking about that elusive lottery win. Here in Australia we don’t pay tax on lottery wins, we don’t usually have prizes as high as $1 billion dollars either but as it’s all fantasy anyway we’ll say that there is and that I won it, not me and a syndicate of 19 other people, just me.
I cannot even begin to imagine what a billion dollars is like. It’s too big a sum to imagine. When Hubby and I talk about what we would do if we won lotto he always starts talking about investments and being able to live off the interest for the rest of our lives. Well that certainly makes sense but it’s boring so I’ll skip over that and say that we are debt free and Hubby has made all the arrangements for our financial security that he wants. I want to think about the fun stuff, spending some of it!
I’ve always said that if we were to become fabulously rich I wouldn’t necessarily want to start living like one of the jet set. I don’t want a garage full of fast cars a private jet or designer clothes. I certainly wouldn’t start trying to live life in the fast lane going to nightclubs and hanging out with the rich and famous because I really don’t care about that.
After we have taken care of the needs of our closest family members the first money I would spend on ourselves would be on our house. It’s an old house and it needs work. Yes, I know we could buy a much better house and maybe in time we would but I like this one. I have spent a long time thinking about how nice it could be repaired and redecorated and I would do that even if we didn’t stay because I want to see how it would look and because I would have a lot of fun choosing all the colour schemes and picking out what furniture we wanted. We have a big 3 car garage where Hubby keeps some of his hobby stuff. I’d have two-thirds of it turned into a proper man cave with proper walls and a ceiling, good lighting and heat in winter. I’d have storage shelves put up so he’d have all of his bits and pieces at hand.
I’d treat myself to custom-made shelving to display all my dolls and hold my craft supplies. Our pets would get their own play areas too. There would be a cat enclosure outside with access to the house through a cat flap. Polly would be able to come and go as she pleased and I’d never have to worry about her getting lost, run over or hunting the local wildlife. Cindy, our fence climbing dog, would also get a secure area in the back yard with a kennel so that she could spend unsupervised time outside without me worrying that she’d gone off to chase wallabies, strayed into the farm or wandered onto the road.
If we had decided that we didn’t want to move I’d like to buy the land behind us. When we first moved here there were four empty blocks of land at the back of us and behind that a farm. A neighbour used to graze her horse there and we’d often see it near our back fence. Later a developer came, bought the land, put up transportable houses, went broke and left. Well, once the land was mine I would wait for each tenant’s lease to be up and when they had moved I’d have the houses taken away because they are really ugly. I don’t really have any plans for the land. I’d just let it go back to nature. Maybe I’d offer it to anyone who wanted agistment for their horse. I don’t want a horse myself but I liked seeing one there.
I expect we’d buy a new car too, not a luxury car, just a car that nobody else has ever owned and that we picked for its features ahead of its price. A practical car that you can put a dog in the back of. I don’t drive and I don’t see myself learning but I would be able to afford taxi’s or a car and a driver for a day if I wanted to go somewhere alone.
There are some organisations that I’d want to support too. Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Red Cross, the Salvos and various animal charities would get regular contributions from me and I would no longer have to suffer the embarrassment of telling a charity collector that I couldn’t afford to give. I’d like to support our community in some way perhaps by some kind of fund to enable small businesses to grow and employ more people. I’d do this anonymously if possible because I wouldn’t want it to be a big deal.
With a cat enclosure and a totally secure back yard we could foster rescued cats or dogs waiting for permanent homes.
Travel is probably the one area where I would be very self-indulgent. There are so many places that I want to see and experiences I’d like. My billionaire status would mean that I could travel regularly and I would for as long as my health was good. Having money would mean being able to fly first class on long haul flights and not arriving stiff and sore from a cramped seat. Every few months I’d set off with or without travel companions to see something new within Australia or overseas. I’d have such fun ticking items off the travel bucket list. Recently I read a great article about crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. My sister and I would love to do that so that would be the top of the list I think.
If I wanted to go to see a concert or a play I could buy a ticket, hop on a plane and go. If I wanted to see a sporting event I could go. If I wanted to visit friends or family in another state or another country I could go. I could have the pleasure of living quietly in the country but still enjoy what big cities have to offer.
That’s how I would use my billion dollars, to have a more fulfilled life.
I think that I have liked Carousels and Merry Go Rounds since mum first put me on one on Clacton Pier when I was around four or five years old.
However, as far as I can remember I’ve never ridden on a carousel horse because I always feel a little uncomfortable about climbing onto and balancing on a horse when it is moving because of my fear of falling.
I read that the difference between a carousel and a merry-go-round is that a merry-go-round has a variety of animals and vehicles while a true carousel has only horses. Most people seem to use the terms interchangeably though.
There are a few carousels still operating in Australia. I have seen a few of them but not all. I hope to rectify that one day. I love the colourful horses, the artwork on the carousel itself and I especially like the ones that are still steam-driven. Sometimes the operator will also have a steam-powered organ as well. The following photos are mine except where credited otherwise.
Hobart is the home of “The Gallopers” a carousel built in 1882 in Norfolk, England and brought to Australia in 1990 virtually as a wreck. It was restored in Kingston, Tasmania and I first made its acquaintance on the Hobart waterfront where it was a regular visitor to summer events. It spends most of its time now at the Botanical Gardens but I was able to photograph it on the waterfront recently during the Tall Ships Festival. The portraits on the upper part of the carousel are of famous people including Australian Prime Ministers. I must say that it gave me a bit of a turn to encounter Paul Keating as well as Malcolm Fraser and Robert Menzies to mention a few.
New South Wales
Sydney has two carousels that I know of. One is at Luna Park on the harbour. I haven’t been to Luna Park for 25 years so I don’t know if the carousel they have now is the same one as they had then as the video I found shows installation of a new carousel and there is nothing about history.
The other one is at Darling Harbour and I saw and rode on it last year when my sister and I were on holiday. As we are too old and fat to climb on to carousel horses we got into a car which was much more convenient for taking pictures. We laughed when we heard the music being played. The Wiggles “Big Red Car” and my sister commented that it was a good thing that her movie camera was not recording sound. Well the laugh was on us. It was!
This carousel is another English built one. The steam engine was built in 1892 and the horses date back to around 1885. They were carved by the company of G & J Lines and Co. of London. I think this is the same company that went on to become Lines Bros. the famous toy making company.
The carousel came to Australia in 1894 and travelled around to country agricultural shows all over New South Wales. It was at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, was a permanent part of the fun fair at Manly and made its home at The Rocks for a while. Now it is owned by the NSW Government. It has been at Darling Harbour since 1988.
Semaphore is the home of another historic carousel which I saw many times during the time I lived in South Australia. This carousel is believed to be the largest operating carousel in Australia with 40 horses. Apparently 36 is the more usual number. The carousel recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.
Melbourne has a carousel at Luna Park which has just celebrated its centenary. It has spent 90 of its 100 years at Luna Park, before that it was in Sydney. The carousel is an American made one from the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen this carousel.
An hour away from Melbourne Geelong also has a carousel on the waterfront. This is one I still have to visit.
Perth Zoo is the home of another vintage carousel. It has been there since 1947 and originally had 20 horses and 2 boats but in 1968 the boats were removed and replaced by 4 more horses. This carousel is the only known working one in Western Australia and another one on my list to visit.
The only carousel I have read about in Queensland is one known as The Grand Carousel which has been a permanent feature of the Brisbane Exhibition or “Ekka” as they say up there.
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra has a carousel too and I’m rather cross that we ran out of time to see it when we were there a few years ago. I will try to get back there one day as there are a lot of other things I want to see in Canberra. This one has both horses and elephants so technically it is a merry go round. It was installed on the St Kilda esplanade near Melbourne in 1914 and has been in Petrie Plaza, Canberra since 1974. It was designed and built in Victoria but the animals were imported from Germany and the poles came from Scotland.
These are some of the sites I found information on
Boxing Day means the start of two important sporting events in Australia, the Boxing Day Test at the MCG and the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race. When I lived in Adelaide I used to think it would be interesting to visit Sydney at Christmas and see the start of the race but for the past 11 years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see many of the yachts arrive in Hobart. Every year I try to get into the city so I can visit the waterfront and see the yachts. I’ve not yet been able to be present when the first one arrives but there are yachts arriving right up until New Year’s Eve so there is always something to see.
The most successful yacht in recent years has been Wild Oats XI. Wild Oats, built in 2005 is a maxi yacht and it is hard to believe just how big this type of yacht is. Hobart is a fairly low-rise city, no skyscrapers, so the maxi’s tower above many of the buildings.