Like Sand Through My Fingers

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was checking the dates on my blog entries the other day and was amazed to find that “Strange Notations from a Laborious Life” has now existed for seven years! Yes, seven years of blogging and this is the 492nd post that I have written. Man, time flies. It really is scary. I was looking at photos from the trip Linda and I did down the Great Ocean Road a while back and was stunned to see that it is two years ago already. Time is slipping through my fingers like a wealth of fine sand.

There is a work funeral today. A former supervisor who I knew from the start of my employment nearly 31 years ago is being cremated. It’s one of those awkward things. I had a lot to do with him over the years, I mean I was only 17 years old when I started and he was one of my first direct line supervisors, but he was a fellow I never warmed to. I don’t like to denigrate someone who has passed and suffered quite a bit through illness along the way and I suppose I respected him to a point but had a number of personal differences with him in regards to his own behaviour towards the staff and his own devotion to the corporation. At times he wasn’t a particularly admirable person. That being said I know he has a family that loved him dearly and it will be a very trying and emotional day for them. I wish them the best and send my thoughts and prayers. I would feel a hypocrite going to a funeral of someone who I have said harsh words of.

Many who I work with who knew this fellow are going to the funeral and I got a few odd looks when I said I wouldn’t be attending. There are others in the same boat as me. People who didn’t like him who felt they couldn’t go and, unfortunately some harsh words have been uttered and perhaps  some hard truths have been aired.

My current supervisor visited this fellow, who retired a few years ago now, in hospital a few weeks back and was shocked at his appearance. He had been, for want of a better description, a real “man’s man” but was almost unrecognisable in his hospital bed, stricken by cancer, bloated by pain killing drugs, waiting for the inevitable end. He hadn’t wanted visitors from his past seeing him. Perhaps the visage of himself as he was near the end was not what he wanted former colleagues to see. Maybe he was just too tired to care about being nice. My current supervisor  had been to an appointment at the hospital and decided to drop in and see our stricken former workmate anyway. He seemed happy for the visit despite his earlier protestations but muttered that “life is too short”. He was only 62.

I suppose the crux of my post today is that we should try to make the best of our lives and not get too worked up about things that don’t matter or devote ourselves to causes from which we will get no thanks and only frustration and a feeling of a wasted life. This fellow had given his all to the company. A real management man and, whilst undoubtedly very good had his job, had hurt people along the way and never thought twice about it in his misguided loyalty to the company. When the leadership regime eventually changed he was marginlised and after recovering from his first bout with cancer, retired in frustration, never having been given the accolades from the business which he should have enjoyed. A salutatory lesson.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m too harsh, too cynical, too bitter. A man who was loved by his family and died a harsh enough death is being buried and I’m writing a critical opinion of him. Maybe my own mortality looms large in my consciousness as I get older. Which gets me back to my opening paragraph. Seven years of writing my blog. Originally I started it with some hope of doing a bit of professional writing to supplement my income. Of course that hasn’t happened. I’m far too lazy to devote myself to that and perhaps lack the talent. But, I wanted to leave something of myself in this world and I enjoy writing this blog although it really doesn’t amount to much. About a dozen or so views of every post on average and no great following. But I don’t care. I enjoy doing it and I seem to have got a bit of a run on again in the last week.

So, 492 posts and counting. I deleted my old blogger site this morning. It was dormant, having not been used since I moved to WordPress three years ago but all of it’s posts are archived here for all to see if you feel inclined. It was wracked by spam and really of no use but it was sad to let it go. That’s the way of life I suppose.

I face another day of work and the same old same old but, in the shadow of the funeral of an old colleague I feel positive as I settle into this last half of my life. And “Strange Notations from a Laborious Life” will continue. I hope you are all looking forward positively too.

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Ballad of the Lonesome Mailman

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Boy, I’m tired. That isn’t me in the photo at the top of the page but it could be. I’m working hard. Only eight hour days a day, nothing like some of the more proactive members of our community but work, at least the section I prowl each day, is busier than ever. Bending over into bins and trying hard leaves me exhausted and sore the next day. I work in the postal industry and I have a good little job sorting what are called “small parcels”. Small parcels, as opposed to large parcels, are packages that are small enough for  a postman to deliver as opposed to a contractor delivering larger fare although there is a blurry line between the two. Consequently, the parcel centre down the road from us sends us plenty of what I believe should be considered “large” but we sort it anyway. I have always figured that if they don’t want to get the credit for it then I am happy to take it. Getting parcels that are larger than average must drive the posties crazy.

Of course at the end of the day it’s a cost saving measure. The more parcels you can shove off to a postie means less you have to pay a contractor. I imagine the people at the parcel centre have been told to send as much as they can down to us. Unfortunately it means that life gets more hectic in my little cockpit.

I have made the job my own and I don’t think anyone minds that. My once numerically mighty shift which starts at 2pm has been whittled down to just five mail officers yet we still run on a very slight job roster although it is thinning still. Small parcels is still our responsibility at this time of the day and as it is seen as a hard job no one from later shifts is putting their hand up to do it. I like it.

The real catcher for me in sorting small parcels is that I do it by myself. I am not trying to blow my own trumpet but they tell me when I am not there that three people often have to be placed in the section to complete it. I think it has more to do with the fact that others aren’t as experienced as me rather than any special ability on my part but I do try to get it done quickly. I like to work alone. That’s why I go hard.

Company is great of course but I am use to doing things my own way and on the occasions I do need help my companions invariably are not as quick or need to ask questions or, God forbid, do things without asking me! Haha.

I have been in this job for 31 years (not doing the same duties that whole time mind you) and I used to laugh at the old timers who would covet the positions they had made their own, Priority Paid, as our express service used to be called, Airmail and other sections which, although on a job roster had quickly become specialised as those who were marked for duty that week but didn’t like it swapped off with people who did and regularly performed those required duties becoming experts. These people of course had their own methods and if you did something different when helping them out than how they did you were soon told and sent to Coventry. It was with sudden alacrity some time ago that I realised that long years with the corporation and my recent specialisation in this single job had caused me to morph into one of those I use to snigger at!

I do think the time is coming that the section will need another hand. It is busier than ever, work streams in from about 4.30pm and Mondays and Tuesdays after a public holiday are killers. The mail use to ease off as the week progressed and by Friday it use to be that you could have an easy day but no more. Whilst the product certainly still diminishes as the week progresses there is still much more of it. No rest for the wicked so it seems.

All this is on top of running a Bar Code Sorting machine for two hours at the start of the shift and often being required to drive a forklift  to unload a big truck from Sydney which may arrive anytime between 3 and 4pm. It’s work I dread but can’t dodge.

So, I’m tired. I think it’s a combination of increased workload and of course, advancing age. I’m still pretty healthy but of course you don’t bounce back as well nearing fifty as you did twenty years ago. Late nights and poor sleeping habits sure don’t help. It seems all the television shows I like to watch don’t start until after 11.30pm! I really have to force myself to turn off the television sometimes.

That’s me and my work life-for the moment. Change is in the air at though. Whispers of timetable variations and redundancies blow through the work floor but until something concrete happens such rumors are just a nuisance.  I guess I can do nothing but continue on for the present. My days of sorting small parcels by myself are numbered. But I’m just waiting to see which way the axe falls first.

Have a nice day.

Work, Cycling,University-and Other Strange Notations

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A lonely wind is rattling the blinds of the house and as I gaze out of my kitchen window and look upon the majestic Brindabella mountains standing guard over Tuggeranong I see the billowing clouds and misty rain descending like the sails of a Man O War on our town. That lengthy opening line wasn’t quite as poetic as I hoped it would be but the words don’t roll off the keyboard with as much enchantment as they use to. Fact is the day is bleak and it mirrors my mood for the day as I bide time and chew up minutes before I start work this afternoon. Apart from a few drops about a half an hour ago the rain hasn’t come in at all-and we sure could use it. I cannot remember the last period of decent, prolonged rain we had. The plight of the local fauna, kangaroos laying dead on the side of our parkways and byways, is a testament to how dry it has been as they come down from the hills and in from the parks to try to find forage further inside the city. Poor blighters.

I’m tired and sore-from work mostly but I have been sitting up past midnight watching the Criterium du Dauphine (a one week professional road cycling race) from France each night this week which surely hasn’t helped. I was lucky to see the finish last night as I nodded off several times inside the last ten kilometres. Perhaps it’s Matt Keenan’s considered tone putting me to sleep (just joking, Matt is an excellent and knowledgeable commentator) but Team Sky dominating the race as they did last night, and as they usually do, certainly doesn’t excite me to the point where I am jumping out of my skin as I watch. I find them, and their erstwhile team leader who isn’t actually racing this particular event, to be a bit of a blight on the sport but it’s a controversial opinion to be sure and there are plenty who disagree with me.

I’ve finished university for the Trimester. I am still contemplating the fact that I am a university student; it seems quite surreal yet I have completed a unit of archaeology and have stitched up a unit of a foundations course which I hope will get me into a degree program.  I went okay but I need to improve. Procrastination is a lifelong trait which impacted on my study and a lack of commitment to getting it 100% right will cost me marks on my foundation unit essay but I should scrape through that with a pass. I’ve learnt a lot about academic writing although referencing is a killer which I am yet to master and I do marvel at the intelligent people who preside over these courses, lecturers and teachers who have acquired so much knowledge. I can’t remember what I did yesterday! Much of the foundations course was focussed on critical thinking, something which I try to do often but had never really thought about as a method when interpreting information gained in this interconnected world we now live in. Of course everyone is different and character and temperament find different levels and outlooks in many of us and many people can look at the same thing and talk about it and think about it in different ways. Sometimes you wonder if we are all looking at the same thing!

I do wonder though when seeing many politicians on television talking about the latest relevant issues about how critical thinking is applied. Many of them, and this applies to both ends of the political spectrum, seem to not be able to see the forest for the trees and tightly held belief systems impact on opinion and cannot be prised away from their often belligerent holders with a jack hammer and crowbar. No wonder the average Joe in the street doesn’t know what is going on half the time. It’s why we get populist politicians. Knowledge is power. You don’t need to get a university education to have balanced and relevant point of view on issues facing us today. Just read a few books, get a grasp of an argument. Don’t necessarily believe what is written. Get a second opinion. Have an open mind and admit you might be wrong and be prepared to change your mind. Of course, I don’t think this is going to stop conflict and have a huge impact. Human kind being what it is will always be belligerent and disagreeable. Boy, I didn’t mean to get so deep and meaningful in this post. See what going to university does to a person!

For me now, all that is left for today is an eight hour slog through the mire of my work day. I’ve been unloading trucks on the forklift an hour a day and some might think that it’s a nice break from the drudgery but truth be known it’s just another chore that I could do without. It’s not necessarily difficult work, just exacting and you have to concentrate. Who wants to end up with a load of product on the floor?! But, as is the way with our organisation, nothing is particularly well organised. We are using more gas for our forklifts as we are doing more work on them and we seem to be churning through the bottles like there is no tomorrow. The gauges don’t work and you are never sure if you are about to run out of gas until the machine gives a bit of a chug and starts to hip and hop like the latest rap star. I went to exchange a bottle yesterday after my forklift gave up the ghost only to find a line of empty bottles (I could only tell they were empty by lifting them) barring my way and it was a little bit of an effort to find a full one. I should have known better but the bottle I took was right at the back of the cage and looked like it had been there for years. Caked in dust and looking worse for wear I carried it back to the forklift only to find the connections to the machine didn’t work. There is efficiency for you. The bottle must have been sitting in the back of the cage for years and never been used and is now disabled and worthless. Every day I find another thing to dislike about the job and after 31 years I think it’s time to take in some new horizons. But more on that later in the year.

So, be well and go softly. I’ve decided that life is too short to do things that bore you. It’s been nice to blog again after a few weeks of nothing but work and study and I hope to be back again soon. Take care.

The Blink of an Eye

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Blink and you miss it. In an instant it was gone. Nod off for a moment and you wonder how the hell you ended up waking up on Monday morning again. The weekend flies by in a flash and all of a sudden I am staring another week at the “Happiness Factory” right in eye again. And I broke my self imposed rule on Saturday of not sleeping in, only rising at 10am. I figure the more you sleep the more you miss and half the day is over by the time you arise. I hate losing time on weekends. However, I couldn’t help it. I was smashed from the previous night at work having hit the wall in the evening and I only just managed to scrape through to the magic minute of 9.46pm-home time!

Boy I’ve had enough of it. Work that is. Diving into the whirlpool again this week leaves me with an early Monday feeling of dread. It’s not so bad once I’m there and working although things are worse than ever in so far as the running of the place goes. And diving ever deeper. I have even more on my plate now unloading a truck from Sydney every afternoon because I’m the only forklift driver available, other than my supervisor.  Transport are supposed to provide someone to help but it has mysteriously not been available this last week-even after they made a song and dance about me going to my break instead of helping when this new run started two months ago. The hypocrisy makes me mutter then laugh. There is nothing else for it. But wait-maybe there is!

I’m going to jump ship. Well, not exactly jump ship but walk the plank and leap into the ocean of my own accord. My days of mail sorting are numbered and I’m counting down the days. Yeah I know, it’s a steady job, I’m getting older, I have no transferable skills…..blah, blah, blah. But if I don’t shake a groove and take a chance now I never will and the thought of rotting in that place for another 20 years is an unbearable load to carry. I have an iron or two in the fire. I’m not walking into the dark without a light. But I’ve made the big decision and hopefully by late this year will have activated the eject button. Scary times but exciting.

I’ve been studying. Doing a Foundations course and an archaeology unit online at the University of New England. It’s fair to say I’ve struggled. Time management was never a skill I mastered and procrastination is something I’ve made into a personal art form. I also have remembered all the reasons I failed Year 10! Not having the gift of a good memory and a penchant for making the same mistake more than once hasn’t helped. I’ve made it to the first academic break for the year and I’m not sure how I’ve gone with my latest assignments. I’m hoping to scrape through and have a better run in this next part of the trimester. All part of the program of improving myself.

So that’s it for me and my life for the moment. Moving on, planning, hoping, just like everyone else. An eye on the future and kicking the clutch in and hoping I can move forward. It’s still a great life.

Being the Grinch and Strange Christmas Notations.

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Thunderbolt Rock, Uralla NSW

Oh boy! The last week at work before Christmas and I would rather be dragged along a gravel road by a team of pack horses than attend these last few days at the “happiness factory”. Everything intensifies this close to Christmas. The work keeps coming like water off a rocky outcrop, personalities intensify and conflict is never far from the surface. Irritants that one usually lets fly through to the keeper become a bugbear, like a prickle in your undershirt and alas, being Wednesday, it’s a case of being so near yet so far. Still three days to go!

Things may improve today-a little. Average folk realize their mail has little chance of reaching it’s destination if posted so late and most have gotten in early. We will probably still have the authorities patrolling-that is those who are in charge who like to hang around and direct traffic when all others concerned would rather they just stay in their offices. They really are a nuisance on the floor. Especially when their practical experience is nought.

So, three days to the break and I can only hope it is smooth sailing. I have been partnered for the Christmas period with a rather unpleasant fellow who I normally wouldn’t volunteer to work with in a pink fit. He is however better than nothing despite wanting to do things his own way and dispatch the mail earlier than we should-among other annoyances-and I will survive the experience.

I could ramble forever about the inadequacies of the staff and management and the inefficiencies which dog our performance but I made a promise to myself a couple of years ago to refrain from such criticism so will leave my complaints there before I get myself into bother. Suffice to say many of us are not happy campers and look out from our cloistered workplace at the outside world like bugs trapped in a beer bottle, hoping and praying that one day we will climb that slippery surface and slither through the shining hole that leads to the light.

Anyway, I do not want to be the “Grinch That Stole Christmas” and drag everyone down and destroy the happiest day of the year for others. I wish you all the best.

I have however made a few positives steps in my life. I applied to University and will be starting a course in March next year. It’s a bridging course which will enable me to further my studies in the years which follow plus a course in Archaeology which should be interesting-if I can keep my motivation from waning.

So, all in all, 2018 is looking like a new start or at least the first step on a new path. Work should also be downsizing next year and I am hoping (praying) that I receive a redundancy package. Nothing like a complete break to get you motivated to find work elsewhere!

I will leave you with happy cheer from me. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all and may it be safe and you be well.  And remember, like I described my current predicament earlier, this time of year can be frustrating. Family can grate and friends can be annoying. But it is Christmas time. Time to relax and enjoy and be thankful for what we have. Take care, be safe and have fun.

Roll on 2018.

A Long Road to Hoe

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DC-3 West Wyalong NSW May 2017

There is an old maxim which most would have heard which says “be careful what you wish for-you may just get it.” This applies to me today as I was offered a place in an online pathways course at the University of New England, a pre-cursor to studying for a degree in ancient history.

How did it come to this? How did a lowly mail sorter, disinclined to any sort of higher education end up, potentially, as a university student in a prestigious institution like the University of New England which has produced such dazzling alumni as Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce? (I did mention Barnaby and “dazzling” in the same sentence with my tongue firmly in my cheek.)

Well, I made the mistake several months ago of suggesting to my lovely better half Linda that I may like to study ancient history as a university degree and, knowing my predilection for vacillation over the smallest matters and noting my famous inability to make a decision and get on with it she decided to get the ball rolling herself and enrolled me at UNE. Of course I have no previous education to back myself in for a place in university so i have to do a pathways course to gain entry which I believe counts towards a degree in any case. To quote Gregory Peck in Guns of Navarone, “we’re in it now, up to our necks!”

Realistically, this is one of the biggest decisions in my life and something I have to dig deep within myself to complete. I really don’t want to spend the rest of my working days where I am and the only way out is higher education. A long road to hoe from here.

We’ll see how it goes.

Here We Are, Here We Go!

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Canberra from Telstra Tower.

Well, I’m back! I haven’t been disposed to write for some time now and checking my blog it seems June 28 was my last entry. It did seem for a while like I would never make hay here again but I have never abandoned Strange Notations from a Laborious Life, merely put it on hiatus until further notice.

Much has happened since June 28 2017. My beloved football team, the Richmond Tigers, against all odds won the AFL Premiership. I have spent the last five weeks away from my normal job driving mail vans around southern NSW picking up loads from Young, Yass, Wallendbeen, Harden, Binalong and Yass which has been different and a bit of a release from the day to day drudgery of mail sorting. My father turned 80(!). My niece moved to Paris. And this laborious life I lead never rose to any great heights but I am thankful to still be walking around on two feet fit and healthy.

Today I return to my normal duties having handed over the reins of my trusty van to my young protege. It’s been nice to do something different for sure and it has refreshed me in many ways and prepared me for the drudgery of my normal work day position, presumably sorting small parcels.

So, where to from here? Christmas is only three weeks away and the expectant crush of product hasn’t yet started to devour us at work-but it’s coming. It should be a nice easy slide into Christmas for me. I am, believe it or not happy to be returning to the mundane today after my stint driving the van.

I’m looking forward to the new year. So much expectation, so much to see, so much to experience. I’m excited to be here.

So look out! I’m back in business trying to find some reverie in my life and jot down a few strange notations whenever the inclination takes me. Onward and upward and bring on 2018!

 

Strange Notations and Ruminations

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Milford Track, 2009. Looking out from under a long felled tree trunk I look as though I am wondering where to go or what to do next. Of course it is very much a posed photo and I knew exactly where I was, or, I hoped the guides from Ultimate Hikes Adventures  knew where we were! I found this photo today on Facebook, in the “On This Day” section that has suddenly popped up on my Timeline. It’s a metaphor for my life today as I look out from the safety of my cozy world towards the future and wonder what it will bring.

If you read my last post you may recall me mentioning I had applied for another job. Unfortunately I didn’t get it; not that I was judged on lack of perceived qualification or ability. I didn’t fill out the application form properly!! Doh! Rookie error! I was momentarily crushed and all the hope I had of swanning into the Production Manager’s office at work, swagger in my step, hoping to gaily and disingenuously  sing my regrets at having to leave the employ of his fine company, putrefied into the sprawling morass of unfulfilled promise which I seem to have been flailing in for much of my life.

No matter. The other mob didn’t deserve me! The thought of another twenty of so years in my current job did momentarily fill me with dread and a sense of foreboding. I felt suffocated and trapped, like a flailing man being dragged out to sea by a rip in the ocean, all hope abandoned, a life of tedium and the company of knaves all I could look forward to at work. However, I am nothing if not resilient nowadays and I have bounced back, ready to face the world once more on this dank and dark Monday.

I should have started perusing the job adds for something else I could do but given the disappointment of my previous failed attempt to find different work I felt something more creative to be appropriate. So I did an Australian Writers Centre course on “How to Get More Blog Readers”! It was a two hour online course with plenty of info, some of which I probably needed a teacher to explain properly but here I am today, reinvigorated, trying to get my Blog out there and recognised.

I will look at the employment pages again soon. There will be something of note to come up which will tickle my fancy I’m sure. I can at least relax now on my impending holidays without worrying about whether I would be required for a job interview or even if I was expected to start work elsewhere. Perhaps it’s time to write a book, a memoir of sorts. “The Secret Lives of Postal Workers” is what it would be called. Boy, do I have some fodder for that tome! Something to think about.

So, life goes on in with the same gentle cadence as always for me. Slow and steady, laborious yet sometimes fruitful. I hope you enjoyed this strange little notation.

Until next time, keep on smiling.

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2017-Here We Are-Here We Go!

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Photo at the Wheel of Brisbane

Greetings and salutations! 2017 is here in all it’s glory and we all should have shouldered slowly but surely into the year by now. Unfortunately and depressingly some things never change.

I’m back at work and although my mood has improved since that very first day  whence I had to return I’ve found it’s very much the same old thing, it’s just a different calendar on the wall. But, I am not going to spend 2017 whinging and whining about work. There is too much to look forward to and I have always concluded that the eight hours of monotony  we suffer every day is only a requirement for us which enables a better life to be had when we are not engaged in employment.

Some may have noticed too that my Blog has a new look. I figured it was due for a change and as  my posts have been infrequent lately I needed some inspiration and a fresh start. I was also thinking of changing the name of my Blog. “Strange Notations from a Laborious Life” has always seemed a bit silly and jarring and I am open to any reasonable suggestion for a new title. Put your thinking caps on!

I’ve also been drawing a blank when it comes to actually writing a post. This has been happening for a while but all creativity has dried up and I am hoping to get into some useful work this year, write a few short stories and perhaps get a freelance article or two published. I need to read more, be socially active, get those creative juices flowing! Again, I’m open to suggestions for topics for the Blog.

I spent Christmas/New Year in Queensland, the first time I have been in the land of the Banana-Bender for over twenty years. It was a pleasant time staying with Linda’s daughter and her fiance although it was hot! Everyone loves their air conditioning unit in Queensland and the humidity is such that you seem to be in a constant lather of sweat the whole time. My photo of the day was taken at the Wheel of Brisbane and although it is actually a green screen behind us with a view of the Brisbane River creatively inserted into shot, the wheel is on the river near the area they call Southbank  I hope Megan and Tristan don’t mind appearing in this post.

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The Brisbane River from the Wheel of Brisbane.

I also spent a couple of days in Wangaratta, the town of my birth, attending a family reunion. My mother, her two sisters and two brothers are getting on in years so they try to get together in early January every year. It is only the third time this has happened but it has quickly become a tradition. I had missed the first two reunions so I wanted to make every effort to get there this time and it was a pleasant experience. Leaving Wangaratta at two years of age I never got to spend much time with maternal cousins so I don’t know them all that well. I guess now is as good a time as any to strengthen family ties.

So-what lies ahead in 2017? For me it’s more travel. Linda and I are going to Melbourne in March to see a concert then we are hoping to get to New Zealand in May. Not the greatest time of year to be heading to the Land of the Long White Cloud but a bit of cool weather never phased me. I haven’t made much of it yet, just a thought or two coalescing in my mind but I hope to get over to Western Australia later in the year as I have never been there. That, and improving my employment status and writing more are my goals for the year. How about you? Drop me a line in comments and let me know what you would like to achieve in 2017.

It promises to be quite a year. A new President of the United States, Britain trying to extricate itself against it’s better judgement from the European Union and the continuing threat of Terrorism  will all play a major role and be the dominant features of the year no doubt. There is plenty to write about. Plenty of fun to be had. I’m up for it. You should be too.

Have a great day.

Work, Road Trips and Cycling

 

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It’s been a while between drinks but life has been busy with work and leisure and the notion of writing down some “strange notations” really hasn’t gripped me as much as I hoped it would.

I remembered the other day a quote I once read about blogging which stated most blogs end up dying and realised mine was probably on the verge of doing so. It didn’t suddenly make me want to charge out and start writing things down but the urge has taken me today so here I am-nothing profound or thought provoking-merely a check in with a hope that something more interesting will be coming down the pipeline soon in “Strange Notations from a Laborious Life”!

So-what have I been doing? The usual-working although I was lucky enough to have a few days away down on the Great Ocean Road in October which was enjoyable. Not a place I have been to before but I am certainly glad I went. The Twelve Apostles is of course the drawcard of the Shipwreck Coast but I found Loch Ard Gorge and the story behind it to be much more profound and the Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Boats to be just as spectacular as the The Twelve Apostles and possibly more so.

London Bridge was also a very interesting place and all of these remarkable formations are within a very short drive of one another with the attractive hamlet of Port Campbell a nice stopping point for accommodation.

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Linda at London Bridge (In my jacket!!)

From Port Campbell we meandered home through Colac and some of the greenest farmland I have ever seen in Australia. It’s a different country when it rains. I hadn’t been to Colac since I was boy and my father and I followed the Melbourne to Warrnambool bike race and as we turned on to the main highway just out of town heading east I remarked to Linda that Mockridge and Taylor, two legends of Australian cycling had swapped turns along this road during their famous pursuit of the leaders in the 1957 edition of the classic handicap race as it was formatted then. She sort of sighed and gave me her “that’s nice dear” look and we were soon in Colac eating Red Rooster chicken burgers for lunch.

Home through Bendigo and Albury with a stop in Cobram where my grandparent’s old house is derelict and falling down-a sad testament to the irresistible passing of time and our inability to stop it or at least hold it back.

Home again to work and to the election of a new President of the United States (!!!!) and back to the grindstone at work and we find ourselves less than a month out from Christmas.

I have been doing some riding on my bike as the picture at the top of the page shows. I made a vow several years ago that I would never again wear tight fitting lycra shirts as the idea of fat middle aged men  riding around in them is never appealing but on the day in question it was freezing so I dug out from the depths of the cupboard a long sleeve jersey and broke my vow. It hasn’t been worn since though!

I have entered the Cadel Evans’ People’s Ride which coincides with the Road Race he lends his name to at the end of January-thus my return to cycling and the quest to be fit enough to ride 111km at a reasonable clip. I have been riding for two weeks and have begun to wonder what possessed me to enter as I am so far out of shape it’s not funny. I have improved over the last couple of days from “Grovelling” to “Really Struggling” but it’s a slow process. With Christmas interfering I am doubting my ability to be fit enough to ride such a distance at the end of January but I guess I can always pull the pin. Time will tell.

So, that’s it for the moment-just a small snapshot into what I have been doing for the last couple of months. I hope to back online with something more entertaining to tell you before Christmas. Until then, take care.