The Price of Paradise


Anson Bay

Just back from a week on Norfolk Island, lovely. A local custom when driving on the island is to wave at every vehicle that comes your way. I tried this when I got back into the car in Sydney – apart from getting RSI of the wrist, by the time I got onto Southern Cross Drive I’m sure I nearly caused several accidents.

The islanders, the Pitcairners and later settlers alike, are friendly and welcome visitors to help boost their struggling economy. The Australian federal government, against the wishes of the majority of Norfolk Islanders, passed the “Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015”.

You can read more here:

In the nutshell of my brain, it appears that the Government of Australia has given the territory, without consultation, Medicare and Centrelink, with the cost being the imposition of income tax and the dissolution of the island’s legislative assembly. Pay up and shut up. We were told many times that the island is broke. The current drought, on top of the issues of governance, is not helping.

Anyway, no animosity was shown to us Australian tourists.

The island is spectacular and the history, which has been shaped by its difficult sea access and four waves of human settlement, is well worth putting on your bucket list (if you subscribe to that sort of thinking).

Now, several hundred emails to deal with and a book launch to prepare for.

In the meantime, some holiday snaps:


Sunrise bursting through the pines and the old prison wall – Kingston, Norfolk Island


St Barnabas Chapel


St Barnabas Chapel – interior

desk at anson

A place to do some paperwork is provided on the beach at Anson Bay

old boat

Old lighter down by Kingston pier


Ships anchored off the west coast of Norfolk Island



Some Enchanted February


We, are heading off to Norfolk Island in two days. We, is me and the missus. You might immediately be put off by my use of the term ‘missus’, and how I wrote me before her. Another sexist male, you could be thinking. But today, I don’t care. To be honest, I’m a little bit over how careful you have to be every time you open your mouth, or put words down on paper, or in a text, or out there into the virtual clouds. If you want, you can tell me how ‘missus’ is derogatory and misogynistic, I don’t care – just like Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. What a breath of fresh air is he.

I borrowed a book from the library about the history of Norfolk Island. I wanted to check out if my knowledge of the place, which I have gained by osmosis over many years through hearsay, opinion and news items, was accurate or not. Like, for example, was this island really uninhabited when the English claimed it? And, did they ever catch the murderer of that girl, what, was it back in the naughties? She was a pretty girl, I remember that. It made the whole sad affair so much more newsworthy. Sick isn’t it?

And didn’t Colleen McCullough end up living there? And was that for tax avoidance reasons? I’m thinking the island might be a nice place to write from. You know, the sub-tropical South Pacific island setting, the isolation, the slow pace, the quiet – all good conditions for a writer – typing away all day, not a worry in the world.

But I’ve heard other things as well. I’ve heard that the descendants of the Pitcairn Islanders, who are the descendants of those who mutinied on the Bounty and found (abducted?) Tahitian women for wives, that that mob are pretentious egoists who think they own the place and look down upon the other settlers and of course the tourists – like me and the missus will be. And I’ve heard that the island has an unusually high per capita number of car accidents. But you hear lots of things about all sorts of stuff. In the end you have to go and have a look for yourself. We’re getting a car as part of our package, I’ll be careful.

We’re flying Air New Zealand. I’ve got no idea what size plane it will be. A part of me thinks that it would have to be some small propeller driven thing. I had a peek in the book I borrowed from the library and noted how tiny the island is. Surely large passenger jets could not be accommodated on that little speck in the ocean. But I don’t know.

I did hear on ABC radio not so long ago how the people of Norfolk want to be taken over by New Zealand because the Australian government is slowly eroding their territorial autonomy. There is suspicion that well connected LNP donors are eventually going to be allowed to buy up all the best land on Norfolk for the purpose of developing exclusive resorts. So, perhaps the airstrip facilities are already of sufficient landing and take-off capacity. Or, perhaps, just like everyone else in this crazy world, the Norfolkers just want Jacinda Ardern for their leader.

Aren’t we all yearning for a better world?

It’s raining cats and dogs here (no offence to animals intended). It’s so needed, but I need to do a clothes wash before our holiday. And we don’t have a dryer. Might have to find a coin operated laundromat.

“Hey Darls, do you need any washing done before we head off to Norfolk?”

On Your Marks



Late January, water fills the air.

Bugs swimming on human skin, grazing, nipping at dead epidermal cells, probing deeper for summer blood.

Overnight minimums equal fair weather maximums. Sound sleep, a psychotic dream.

The busyness of another year ramps up. Minors getting ready for term one of the prescribed curriculum, majors plotting a win on the economic battlefield, if they’re lucky enough to be enlisted. Every minute counts now we’re paid by the minute. Every minute accountable.

Be productive, economic growth depends upon it. Economic growth trumps everything.

The sweat on your brow, on your collar and between your thighs, the lubricant for having a go.


Get set.


Home is a person


When he’s away, the days are so long. What to do with all this time?

When he’s here, there’s walks to walk, gardens to tend, and dinners to prepare.

And then, there’s those intimate times, times of connection. Hours occupied.

She goes to the shopping centre, not for the social interaction, just to kill time. She walks slowly through the aisles, spotting goods from any nation you could name.

She will try to remember that ingredient in the Eastern European section in aisle four. What could that be used for? Google that later, if I remember, she thinks.

She spends time in cleaning products. Normally, it’s a quick stroll through here. Grab some laundry liquid, perhaps some dishwashing detergent, and do I need more Gumption? Hey, they still make Ajax, oh the memories. And look here, Sard Wonder Soap now comes in a stick, well they’re you go. She spots a three pack of Pear’s Soap, he loves that, just one of his idiosyncrasies that simultaneously annoys and delights.

He’ll be home soon. He’ll appreciate the soap and the Hungarian pomegranate juice. And she’ll smell his neck and armpits, and she’ll relax. Home is a person, she has worked out.

‘Stories From Bondi’

I’m waiting on Ginninderra Press for the final proofs of my collection Dead People Don’t Make Jam. Thought I’d reblog this post from Libby Sommer which explains the process.

Libby Sommer, Author

painting of girl lying on beach in torquoise bikini reading a book

Woohoo. I finished correcting first proofs of my new collection STORIES FROM BONDI due for publication by Ginninderra Press in September. A big job. Final proofs are the next step in the publishing process.

So what are first proofs?

Initial proofs of the book from the typesetter, sometimes still delivered in galley format.

For the author, this first set of author proofs can be a challenge because often what is delivered is the raw typesetting output. Text will have been formatted and a key task for the author is to check that no text corruptions occurred at the file conversion stage of typesetting.

However, because tables, illustrations, etc. may not yet have been added, what these first proofs still lack are the real page breaks and an indication of the book’s final extent. For this reason, careful scrutiny still needs to be given to the final proofs

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A reasonable and positive forecast

last post chair

This will be my last post for 2019.

Today we drive up to the Hunter Valley for my daughter’s wedding. I have written a speech. I would love to be able to deliver it without reading it, but I doubt that will happen.

We won’t get back until January 1, it will be 2020, a new decade. I could, like when I turned fifty, express a reasonable and positive forecast for the years ahead. (When fifty I said to myself – there is no reason why the next twenty years can’t be the best years of my life. And, though I can’t fully explain why, this forecast is manifesting into reality.)

So what can I forecast for the 2020s? How about, there is no reason why the next decade can’t be the time in which humanity changes its current course and once again heads in a direction of true progress?

What do I mean by true progress? Good question. In this case it may be best to answer with what true progress is not. True progress is not economic growth or more jobs. It is not the destruction of the biosphere. It is not the increasing division between the genders, or races, or sexualities, or nationalities, or whatever identity (tribe) to which an individual may subscribe. It is not political extremism, and it is not blaming something or someone else for all the wrongs of this world. True progress is not a race, a competition or a game. True progress does not have winners and losers.

And why do I call true progress a reasonable forecast? Because the world is whimpering and more and more of us are hearing it. Deep down we know there is a better way, and I for one, believe that humans have the capacity to do better.

There are those who argue that humans are flawed and fated to fail. These voices want us to accept the collapse of civilisation, and extinction, as inevitable. On the other hand, there are those who continue to spruik that capitalism and technological advancement and consumer confidence will come to the rescue. These voices want us to ignore reality and submit to the status quo.

More and more of us are speaking out and taking to the streets. The lies of those who want the current system to continue (because of the individual benefit to themselves) are becoming more and more intolerable. The invented fears these voices engender to keep the masses in their place are evaporating, we are gaining courage as we have everything to lose.

I want to thank all my readers for their encouragement and support and look forward to the decade ahead, the new roaring twenties!

I heard the news today, oh boy!

nature payback

Australia is burning and the POTUS has been impeached. It doesn’t matter what our PM says about reaching our Paris Commitments in a canter, or what the President says about witch hunts, Mother Nature has switched into pay-back mode.

We are being punished for listening to, or ignoring, the psychopaths. They’re mainly men, they’re mainly white, they’re mainly religious, and they’re all damaged. But, we the enablers, the ones who have let them get their way, are of all different genders, skin colours and beliefs. We are the frightened masses and we vote them in, and it’s hard not to feel at times that we deserve everything we get.

China did an experiment with population control, the one child policy. It was a failure, and now any talk of population control is taboo. And while we’re at it, because we here in the West can’t even begin to comprehend the mind of China, we rule out collectivism and thus any left leaning ideas and political policies. ‘It’s a slippery slope to communism,’ the psychopaths scream when any murmurs of equality manage to gain some traction among the normally compliant enablers. Individualism facilitated by capitalism rages out of control.

Have you heard this: ‘Climate change is an opportunity for jobs and growth.’ Did you bang your head against a wall when you heard it? Or, did you just shrug and think, yes, I guess it could be?

It’s predicted that the human population on Earth will hit 8 billion in the next decade: The Roaring Twenties? China won’t do another experiment with population control. And here in Australia, population growth is essential for economic growth and prosperity, unquestioned. As is foreign investment. So while we recoil at the dictatorial authoritarianism and the atrocities against human rights being committed by our communist neighbour to the north, we squabble about the tricky negotiations and balancing act required to maintain our trade with China and our unquestioned alliance with the USA where they just impeached their psychopath president.

But all of this is human noise, pointless chatter. We don’t need a human population control policy, or new emission targets to limit global warming to whatever number of degrees Celsius are agreed upon in Kyoto, Paris, or Madrid. Mother Nature is getting on with the job, restoring balance – we won’t have to lift a finger.