Saturday, April 10, 2021

Chinese Owner's 'Catastrophic Failure' drives Australia's Biggest Dairy Farm into the Ground

 So says the newspaper The Age.

A controversial act by Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he was then Federal Treasurer in 2016 was to approve the sale of Australia's largest dairy farm in north west Tasmania to a Chinese company known as Moon Lake Investments. I am never sure why we allow foreigners to own land in Australia, and especially so when they don't respect our regulations. It has been an animal welfare, staff and environmental disaster. 

Morrison did impose some conditions on the sale but of course these were ignored and enforcement not followed through by the various responsible authorities. What were Morrison's penalties if the conditions  were not met? What an utter disgrace. Well, we shall just sit back and wait, as we sit back and wait for the next live animal export disaster.

I'll just post some linked headlines. The Age has a good summary to start with and tells you all you really need to know.

https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/chinese-owner-s-catastrophic-failure-drives-australia-s-biggest-dairy-farm-into-the-ground-20210406-p57gts.html

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-09/van-dairy-group-sued-by-former-owners-over-milk-price-crash/12962292

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-06-27/vdl-dairy-in-mutiny-amid-animal-welfare-concerns/11243876

https://www.afr.com/street-talk/rabobank-asks-cbre-to-value-van-diemen-s-land-company-20191002-p52wt2

https://farmtable.com.au/eye-gouging-broken-tails-among-cruelty-allegations-probed-at-chinese-dairy-giant/

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/25/mass-resignations-at-chinese-owner-of-australias-largest-dairy-farm-cast-doubt-on-investment

The man behind the Moon Lake company is Xianfeng Lu. Photo from Farmtable.com.au

Friday, April 09, 2021

Food Intake

I don't really have a weight problem. I have weight distribution problem. Little M is chubby. She is not obese. Her genes from her maternal side forecast her chubbiness and given her food intake, I am not surprised she is chubby.

For the full day here the seven year old began with three Weet Bix, I only ever have two, plus two slices of toast with butter and Nutella. I don't have toast as well. 

10.30 she had a cup of hot chocolate. 11.45 a McDonalds cheese burger, chips and a fruit drink. 3.00 cheese and biscuits. 4.00, caramel ice cream with chocolate topping, 5.00 a slice of left over slice of pizza. 6.00 my Easter chocolate bilby. I did snap the ears off first for myself. 6.50, two and a half pieces of home made chicken schnitzel with chips and vegetables. R and I had one and a half pieces each.

Andrew and R, is there dessert? NO!

Some kulcha

I had an hour to fill in town and so I headed the Ian Potter Gallery at Fed Square. I took a few photos of works I liked.

Gippsland, Sunday Night, February 20th, 1898.


Lost.


Arrival of Burke, Wills and King at the deserted camp at Cooper's Creek, Sunday evening 21st April 1861.


Some cups awarded to various horse owners who have won The Melbourne Cup.



I like all of the below.




Thursday, April 08, 2021

Easter Sunday Outing

Oldest Niece invited us to the huge animal petting farm known as the The Big Goose. Ex Sis in Law, her husband, Oldest Niece, her partner and their three children, Little M, Little Em and Little L the boy were with us. 

It was an 8.30 departure time from home for us on a Sunday morning to be lined up at opening time of 10. We immediately grabbed tables in the shade of huge cypress trees for our picnic lunch. 

The animal petting farm was very good with a large variety of native and exotic animals and included reptiles. Although numbers were limited because of you know what, it was very busy. There was a water 'splash' area for kids to play and get saturating wet, which is exactly what the great nieces did. 

We had taken a picnic lunch which we ate early and we were pretty well done by then, in more ways than one. We went back to Ex Sis in Law's house to see Hippie Niece and her cafe latte coloured twins for a hour and then headed home. 

Today, Wednesday,  we picked up seven year old Little M for a two night stay as it is school holidays. A terrible accident on the freeway delayed us twenty minutes with R pointlessly fuming. Little M has already had a swim in the pool with R and a shower and is now watching YouTube Kids. Boy can she can talk and ask questions! I assured her she would die if she fell from our balcony and the balcony rule of two feet on the balcony paving must be followed. What about the bottom apartment? There isn't a balcony.  What about level one? You would probably break a bone if you didn't land on your head. Dearest Little M, would you like to connect up your iPad to our Wi-Fi.

Tomorrow it will be lunch at the 'Scottish restaurant' and a visit to ACMI and another swim. Home made pizza tonight. Chicken schnitzel tomorrow night.

Here are a few photos from The Big Goose starting with an American style barn.


A tractor ride around the perimeter of the farm. 


Among the many different critters, there were camels. 


And llamas. 

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

No post for today

 The time I would normally spend composing a blog post, and it could be forty five minutes, was occupied by changing my Westpac credit card deductions details at various sites. Westpac told me I must have a new credit card with a new number and warned me to change my auto deductions. I think I have completed them all but it wouldn't surprise me if I missed one.

A few years after living here we sold our investment flat and that enabled us to clear our mortgage for The Highrise and then I could focus on credit card debt, which wasn't that much. I moved my ANZ Mastercard debt from a annual fee credit card with interest to a fee free and twelve month interest free period Virgin credit card and paid it off. I have always been able to pay off my credit card monthly since.

Virgin CC went on to be taken over by Westpac but aside from cards, nothing changed and it is still fee free.

ANZ Bank closed down their Master Card connection, insisting customers changed to a Visa CC with an annual charge. I told them I would close the card if it didn't waive the fee for me. After some back and forth, the bank said no and I closed the card.

I also like having an MC CC for international travel where my Visa debit card was so often not acceptable. It looks so likely now that we will not travel internationally again. Aside from you know what, R is getting too old and I don't have the drive to do so. 

Why do I have a credit card at all? With a debit card your own money is whisked out of your account. With a credit card, it is the banks money until you pay the credit card debt and you can dispute the transaction. I think I have disputed half a dozen transactions in the past and I've always won.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Tram Tuesday

Without an extensive train system as was developed early in Melbourne, Sydney's tram system grew to be one of the largest in the world. The numbers of passengers that used the system, the extent of the network and efficiency with which it moved huge numbers of people is truly amazing. Melbourne's present tram system is arguably the largest in the world with our largest tram depot running out over 80 tram for the morning peak travel. Sydney's largest tram depot at Moore Park used to run out over 200 trams, often double sets and at times connected and disconnected outside the depot. 

As was the case in many cities post WWII neglected and underfunded tram systems needed renewal and then oil companies got into the ears of politicians and by 1961 Sydney trams had gone for good until 'light rail' returned in 1990s and later expanded in the 2020s. Here are a few historic photos. It may look badly congested but it worked and worked fast.






I've managed to embed this video before but I can't now, so just click on this link to see Sydney trams moving crowds from its Randwick Racecourse. While it is a bit of a public safety nightmare, it worked. 

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/sydney-tramways-randwick-racecourse-crowds-c1928

Monday, April 05, 2021

The little things

I can't change the world but I can protest against something ridiculous from Our ABC. 

In a worthy story about domestic violence ABC described Launceston in our island state of Tasmania as a small town, that is to quote 'in the small town of Launceston...' Ok, Lonny is a good bit smaller than New York City, but it is the second largest city in Tasmania. 

It would be better that I wrote something about appalling domestic violence, but I am so distracted by the second largest city in Tasmania being described as a small town by ABC. 

I was wrong

I often enough get things wrong when writing online. Thankfully there is so often someone to correct me. In real life, if my blogging is not real life, I normally keep my gob shut unless I am sure of my facts, and I normally am, which is one reason why R calls me a smart arse and I have an answer for everything. 

Walking on Saturday I stopped off at one of the number of cafes that gave me succour during our lockdown and I bought a take away coffee to take to a nice seating area. The coffee is is dearer than most places at $4.20 but this day it was $4.85. I queried the price with staff who said it was a public holiday surcharge. That means prices are higher because staff are paid penalty rates for working on a public holiday. I approve of this.

The staff member said it is public holiday and prices are higher. No, I said. Easter Saturday is not a public holiday.

As soon as I was home I checked and lo and behold, Easter Saturday is a declared public holiday and so wait staff are paid penalty rates. 

I was very cross with myself for my ignorance and speaking out, especially as I now remember being paid public holiday rates when I was working on an Easter Saturday. Should I see the same staff person again, I will profusely apologise. 

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Highrise Holiday Stash

So, what did last year's, and probably the same this year, overseas holiday funds get spent on? Well we did make it to Tasmania for about ten days with the car on a ferry and that was very nice, no matter the slight panic that the ferry might stop running because of you know what breaking out. It was a nice break and then came Lockdown Mark I. 

Things began to return to normal and we had a few days at the seaside town of Barwon Heads in a caravan park cabin. Then Lockdown Mark II, which eased I think in about November after about 13 weeks of severe restrictions. We had a few days away then in another cabin in a caravan in Torquay. Early March we had a few days in Echuca, again in a caravan park. We have some time away booked in May and three nights in August for Sister's birthday and to see Jo appear in Mary Poppins.

Back to the money.

Our clothes dryer broke so we bought a combined washer dryer and we are generally happy with it. Extensive repairs had to be done to the wall where the dryer was mounted and then repainted. Essential spending.

I think we have owed four or five Topfield digital recorders. We did also once get a free box from our then phone company to encourage us to watch and of course pay for movies. We didn't like it. The lounge room digital recorder had died a while a ago and then R's bedroom recorder began to give trouble. We bought a Fetch Mighty for the lounge room and R was so impressed he bought one for his bedroom. Never mind Topfield dual channel recording, this does six channels. We love them, not that I use it a lot, mostly to watch Youtube on tv, which I used to do with the tv but Fetch does it better. We also subscribed to Britbox tv service for $9 a month and R gets his money worth from it.



R repainted his bedroom feature wall and for the life of me I can't recall what it was. While that may look like a blank canvas hanging, it is an oil painting of his that he painted white and all the paint contours come through. It looks quite good.


Remember R's new bedside lamp/clock radio?


You can buy air fryers for perhaps $70 but the one we bought is large and considerably better in spite of the old fashioned dial control rather than flashy lights, and it cost a good bit more. R says it is the best thing we have ever bought. It gets a lot of use and the oven stays clean. As I type it is cooking roast lamb. The rip off Smeg toaster blew up so we replaced both the toaster and kettle with Russel Hobbs models for about a third of the cost of Smeg and they work much better. No room for the toaster on the bench now, so it goes away in the cupboard.


TV advertising works. Andrew, can you have a look at this deal I saw on tv. I looked and I approved. For $100 we received these three razor sharp knives, the magnetic block, a good pair of kitchen scissors and a knife sharpener that really grips the bench top. R has decided he doesn't like the knife block so the knives are in the old stainless steel knife block.

As I said they are razor sharp and R warned me. It is years since I have cut myself with a knife. As we were working out the positioning of the knife block, I pushed it back against the and the knives fell off. Now, if there are falling knives, the right thing to do is jump back out of the way in case they fall to the floor and stab your foot. Only a fool would try to catch the knives as they fell. Yes only a fool, and guess what I did and I got nicked. But don't worry, the first time R actually used the knives, he nicked himself too.


I was never pleased with our HP printer. In spite of all the print head cleaning and other maintenance, the colour had gone very wrong after just buying new cartridges. A lot of ink was used trying to fix the problem. Early in the piece it kept losing the Wi-Fi connection to the computer so I connected it with a cable. The final straw was the scanner would not work. I am over it. So we went to the big blue shed and bought a new one and so far I am happy with it and it is more economical with ink. It is a bit flimsily made but hey, it works and faultlessly with Wi-Fi.


R spotted a desk chair he liked in the same store. While ours isn't very old, the arm is damaged because of  poor design. The new one is smaller and neater, weighs much less which is easier on the carpet. 


Oh yes, the scissors and the sharpener. 


My goodness, what a mess.


Note the spare Band Aid. The knife set arrived that morning when I received my obviously non fatal wounding. A spare Band Aid was nearby in case I began bleeding again.


I kept telling R how old fashioned his phone is and I offered to pay half the price of new one in advance for his birthday, and so he now has the most recent Samsung S21 and he loves it. NB It doesn't come with earphone jack.


R bought new Bluetooth headphones for his bedroom tv. They needed to work with the Fetch Box and they didn't work satisfactorily. JB HIFI took them back and we tried another brand. These were also not compatible and JB took them back. Good service by JB. He then tried these Bluetooth earbuds, and they weren't compatible. Rather than take them back, he generously gave them to me and I love them for my tablet and podcasts when I am out walking.


I love consumerism.