General chat December with Bobi

Over to our chat director, Bobi, with thanks…

Bear with me. I’m feeling maudlin this week.
It’s that Christmas week where you start getting nostalgic for Christmas past: all of those
lovely and real Christmas trees, snow when I was much younger, carol singers, Santa Claus, wrapping home-made presents in newspaper, and a huge amount of excitement and anticipation.
There’s not much to look forward to this year: bushfires, heat, it is my second Christmas without my mother, her dog is showing signs that the end is nigh (he is 17 so it is not unexpected but still sad) and I bought a jar of Vegimite that is too large for the space in the cupboard.

It’s funny, isn’t it. When I mention that my aunt died (3 days before her 99th birthday and a little bit by choice), people take a step back and awkwardly pat me on my shoulder. And yet when I mention that the dog has a cough, they throw themselves into my arms sobbing with empathy and sympathy.

He is a beautiful boy and my heart will be broken when he’s gone but I won’t miss the vet bills. He has a pill-pie for dinner every night and I reckon that I have paid for an entire new west wing on the vet clinic.

I tend to think of both my mother and aunt as remarkable people but they were probably just typical of their time. They had to leave school at 14 because there were no other options, and my aunt never moved more than 50 ks from where she was born. And yet they were both more than capable of respecting and having compassion for those that thought fundamentally differently from them. The world doesn’t need to be so polarised. Still, I never actually asked if they voted for Pauline Hanson – that would be a step too far.

So feeling overly sentimental, I mired myself in sad movies about death and destruction. Mainly children’s movies. Tell me, why do all children’s stories kill off one or both of the parents? Why do authors want to make children cry? But also biographies of people long dead and some uplifting stories. The story about the rescue of the Thai boys in the cave is pretty amazing. I hope that Elon Musk has to pay millions of dollars in damages.

I was sad to hear that Clive James died. He wrote one of my favourite books – An Unreliable Memoir. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it. He has a wonderful turn of phrase without it feeling contrived or forced. My favourite is “ A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing”. Okay, there are lots of favourites but that is my favourite favourite.

I watched both the tributes to Clive on the ABC. Clive James: A Tribute was fairly ordinary but Clive James: The Kid from Kogarah was worth 50 minutes of my time – more of his life in his own words. It suspect that it was a difficult interview for him because he knew he was dying and his life was falling apart.

I don’t want to end on a really sad note, and I promise to be more cheerful next week, so I will end with a link to one of his poems, The Book of my Enemy has just been Remaindered.


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Bobi, it’s always so hard to let go of a good dog, and the older the dog is, the harder it is. Is this the wiry boy, or a different dog? Little bastards that they are, we break the bank to keep them around, then are prostrate with grief when we no longer have to buy all those pills, or make vet visits part of the weekly budget.

My mother has been gone for many years, but I still miss her, maybe more so at Christmas. She always made a special little pie for me because I didn’t like the dessert that everyone else loved. It makes me smile that she went to that effort for me.

Damn, now I’m getting all tearful. 🙂


This is a photo. He was the best of companions to my mother. We bought him for her just after my Dad died. He was her favourite child.
I have tried to tell him that he is too old to jump up onto the bed but he won’t be told. My brother built him a ramp.
If we are discussing dessert, Mum used to make golden syrup dumplings. With home made custard. Yum. I feel 5 kilos heavier just at the thought.


Von, Bobi, how wonderful that you have loving mother’s. How lovely that you have hearts with room for so much love.


I thought that was the boyo you meant. He’s a gorgeous old fellow, still bright-eyed at 17.

If he makes the effort to get on the bed, that’s where he is meant to be. Dog hair on the sheets and dog farts in the night are probably bearable at this stage, because old dogs tend to not listen to you anymore, and just set their own rules. Bless their hearts, they know exactly what they’re doing.


I have added to the smoke haze hovering over my house.
I blame the heat making my head vague and not my cooking skills.


Btw, in case you don’t recognise it …. chicken.




You know under-cooked chicken would get you kicked off MasterChef. I think you’re safe.

If you want to try to salvage that pan, I found, after a similar mishap, that soaking the inside of the pan in Worcestershire sauce for 24 hours made it easy to scrub off the burnt bits. Can’t remember why such an odd solution was tried, but it worked.


I confess, I threw it in the bin.
It was stinky, as is the house even now, 3 days later. The smell of “burnt” seems to have sunk into the woodwork.
I am going to boil vinegar and that white stuff on the stove but I am not hopeful.


I took a (free) train trip down to Brisbane, yesterday, and checked out the Gallery Of Modern Art. The art gallery next door (and the museum further along the street) are soothingly cultural, but GOMA is always full of the weirdest crap and I love it.

They’ve opened a few new exhibits for the summer holidays, and I really enjoyed the water-themed exhibit. They had a room full of hanging gynmast rings, and you had to cross the room without touching the ground (it was hard. Some people did it. I made it halfway before getting tangled and falling flat on my face), but they also had a room full of nothing more than granite and river stones, with a stream flowing through the middle (this is inside the building. It was super-cool). There was also a wall of nothing but ticking metronome clocks, all keeping different times, and I shut my eyes for a while and just enjoyed listening to them.

But my favourite exhibit in the whole building was this short film, that was playing on the second floor. It featured a man and a woman, wearing beautiful ceremonial robes, engaging in this complicated and well-choreographed back-and-forth. I loved that I couldn’t tell if they were fighting, dancing, or flirting (or maybe it was a mix of all three?). It was visually extraordinary, I thought it was brilliant.

I also spent too much money on comics and enjoyed a lunch catch-up with my best friend in a funky Japanese restaurant (I inhaled, like, a kilo of fresh and delicious Japanese food).

I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks, in terms of appointments and medical tests and Centrelink yanking my chain, so it’s nice to be coming to the end of that (although I’ve got somewhere to be today, and tomorrow).


The art gallery tends to get more sombre, art-type things. Whereas GOMA gets the weird, unusual stuff. But it’s always a lot of fun, and I really like to wander through every few months just to see what’s in there.

I’ve only ever had terrible experiences with Centrelink. This time, my initial meeting was with a woman who was just horrible. I made the mistake of asking her a very simple question. “I haven’t worked in more than 12 months, do I need to fill out a tax return, for the ATO? What should I do?” But she got really aggressive and weirdly hostile, and I cannot think why. All she really needed to say was, “I’m not sure, you should check with a tax accountant or something, they know more about tax law than we do” but she got super aggressive. It was a bizarre. They exist to help us, don’t they?


Windsong, the ATO has a decision tool which you may find helpful.
Even if you don’t need to to do a return, you should do a non-lodgement advice so the ATO has a ‘complete’ record of lodgements. This will save you some hassle in future years.

You can use e-tax to complete your return through mygov if you are disinclined to go to an accountant.


I’m a fan of the myGov tax tool. It pre-loads almost everything. Saves thinking.
And I am a CPA, and still not so fond of accountants doing your tax.
78% of people don’t need an accountant these days. I don’t understand why many of them are still in business.


Just casually, WS, you sound well. All good?
Apart from the Centrelink s**t.
Truthfully, I can’t complain. My dealings with them were good. I’m guessing if you get the right person, things can go well.
My worst was with Veterans Affairs. I remember being on the phone to one chickie-babe telling me that she was tired of rorters trying to scam the system while my mother was on the phone at the exact same time to a lovely gentleman who arranged to give us exactly what we needed to nurse my father in his final weeks.
What can I say.


Yeah, I’ve just had all my two year check-ups and scans, and I’m all good. Both my oncologist and my surgeon said to, using almost these exact words, “Whatever you’re doing? Keep doing it.” But it’s all very tiring. Tomorrow, all I have to worry about is groceries and a hair-cut, and I can deal with that.

Someone has invited me out, Saturday-night. There’s a lot of Christmas lights shows on, this weekend, and I think it’ll be kind of like a date. But he didn’t give me any hints as to what he actually has planned for us, so I’m looking forward to it either way.




I don’t know. It was on FB.

I just thought it was apt for the 2019 that was.


Maybe Les Miserables?


Not Les Mis. The cigarette has a filter.
But I would like to know.


The fag threw me, too. But she was a smoker for a long time, so I thought she’s in Les Mis make-up, but on a break, fagging away.


my search says it’s a film called Ready or Not. . .not that I have seen it.

brain dead dave



Just listening to In a Gadda da Vida, Iron Butterfly.
I googled its meaning and derivative. Funny story.