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Yarrawonga

Yarrawonga is a modest-sized hamlet close to the Murray River, the border between two states whose capital cities remain Covid locked. After longer than a quarter of a year on a road trip around (sort of) Australia, spending time in five states, a final four nights in Yarrawonga have accorded me two days of “work.” Of course I’ve found the town’s best cafe, Hard Luck Coffee Co., and I spend seven…

A strange time

At a time most of my family is locked down due to the pandemic, a fortuitous road trip lands me in Covid-free Cairns. At Brother Jenkins Cafe, amidst the clatter of plates, the sigh of a cool breeze on my bare arms, I find myself not only out of my usual world, not only out of sync with driving and camping, but also not here at all. I’m deep in the Suez Crisis of 1956, when Israel took advantage…

Dumb pleasures

A core joy in life is my review site Read Listen Watch. It consumes a huge chunk of my life: reading a book, watching a film/series, or listening to an album, every two days or so; writing a review; marketing the reviews on social media. Why do I do it? Well, I certainly see it as my gift to the world, an act of generosity. But to be honest, if I’m anything in this world, I’m a reader, a book…

Parkrun goal

In my fourth Nightcliff Parkrun over three years, I ranked 151 out of 186. I part walked the final kilometer out of five.

It felt pathetic (five years ago I regarded Parkrun as a doddle) but also, let me tell you, magnificent! Screw ageing! I aim to run the whole route without stopping. I have three saturdays left.

Am I up to it?

This extended trip away comprises a week to drive to Darwin, time in Darwin, then five weeks of birding and driving through four states. I have a month in Darwin and am selfishly commandeering time most days to write up an especially demanding chapter, that of India and Israel pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of obtaining nuclear energy. The problem with tackling the early Indian story is…

A culture passing me by

I often crow to myself, hidden from others, that I retain a thirst for culture, at an age when most of my friends and acquaintances seem to shrink from immersion. But one cultural phenomenon leaves me cold: the podcast. It’s not that I don’t hanker to partake of this global phenomenon. Whenever anyone tells me of this stunning new podcast, or that beguiling one, I write it down on my…

One square of chocolate

This is Hunted + Gathered Dark Organic Chocolate, Dominican Republic, 70% Cacao. It melts slowly in the mouth, is astringently bitter, yet is just sweet enough. A square of this while reading a book after dinner … bliss!

Jatbula off again

Five years ago, I hiked often and hiked hard. Now, for a variety of reasons, all I let myself undertake is regular day walks and occasional, none-too-tough pack carry hikes. In 2020, the hiking lynchpin was the five-day Jatbula Trail from Katharine, apparently gorgeous and not too onerous. Well, Covid-19 put paid to that, and now a 2021 reprise attempt has also been scuppered by Melbourne’s…

Nadir

After jogging, with little flair or speed but with consistency, for half a century, I’m in a pit right now. I can do 3½ kilometers at a pace of 7¼ minutes/kilometer, feeling uncomfortable in terms of breathing the entire journey. At age 60, I could jog 10 kilometers four times a week, at a pace of 6¾ mins/km; I was sore and tired when finishing but in a much healthier way. I’ve never…

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