Sunday, March 08, 2015

If you don't ask, you don't get

Alys Fowler's last line in her well considered and heartfelt piece in the Guardian this morning says it all. She reflects on buildings and cities without trees , shrubs and greenery . As a personal piece it strikes a chord and means a lot. We may live predominantly in cities and suburbs but here there is no reason to ignore and exclude nature and its benefits. Yes, you have to think. Yes, you have to plan and yes, there has to be ongoing thought. In some cases it might take community involvement to sustain greenery in the suburbs and cities. Thinking and planning are critical...but so is asking for us to have liveable cities and suburbs. Concrete and bricks are harsh and in our Adelaide heat unbearbaly hot. We need respite. We have the Himeji Gardens on South Terrace which are a well planned and self contained place of peace and tranquility. The same goes for the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour. These self contained and well thought out oases are surprisingly successful in how they can bring respite and happiness in a busy place. At work, our car park has an assortment of  trees. They have put some gum trees which attract the rosellas at this time of the year. Great for nature, not so good if you are the one parked under the tree and have to come home and wash the car like I did last Thursday. I love seeing the rosellas. Washing my car is not really a huge price to pay. Those trees should have been planted elsewhere in the grounds and would have been fine. Where I live the rosellas fly out of a big shrub when I am taking the dog for a walk. We both startle even though we know it is coming. The shrub is on the side of the road. The rosellas can happily go in there and chatter away and there is no fall out from them which causes a problem. We even get koalas sometimes in the gum trees around here. All this makes people happy and keeps them in touch with nature. It is important to think of how you are going to landscape in a city or suburb. Green round abouts are attractive, the right trees provide shade for us all and then plants attract different birds and insects. Aesthetically it is more appealing, but from a daily living point of view it is just so pleasant. One of the good things about greenery around cities is you often get wall boxes and garden beds with retainer walls. These are a welcome place to sit and rest and watch life go by. If they are in a shady area they provide respite from the heat and hot sun. We cannot rip everything up again, as Alys says, but we can think about how we can colour and green our lives . Nature can be dazzling and plants and flowers can provide lovely surprises like the beds of pansies up at Hahndorf. It's not about show. We are living beings. We respond to life.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

#sabushfires

Image : abc

The fires are still raging. The commitment from Jay Weatherill, our Premier, SAPOL, CFS and countless others has been extraordinary. Normal protocol would dictate that the federal government would acknowledge and support us during these demanding , traumatic times. Mainstream media was slow to acknowledge us and the Prime Minister is in Iraq. A number of federal politicians are from SA. The silence and  lack of presence has been deafening and so the priorities of the government are clear. This bushfire is serious and it is big.12, 500 hectares. That we have lost no lives is a tribute the the excellent information and organisation from those who are managing this destructive event. ShoeBoxes of Love has mobilised itself on Facebook, countless people have offered time , paddocks and horse floats to get as many horses to safety as possible and they were onto it straight away . Down south and over the city we have been breathing in smoke and  those in the immediate area will be dealing with even more smoke along with the damage. South Australians have kept themselves rallied and in good spirits. They have shown some inspiration and ingenuity when it comes to helping each other. We have our donation areas and organisations up and running. 38 houses have been lost, a  significant number of outhouses and sheds and so many trees which are being cleared quickly for safety's sake. The number of animals saved has been impressive but so many have had to be put down and that weighs heavily on us. Canadair and the citizens of Canada have sent us a firefighting aircraft to fight our worst bushfire in 30 years. We have interstate firefighters helping us as we have helped them in the past. Today will be tough. We are dealing with fires even the best in the world could not easily put out. We are tough. We just have to hope the storms will not make it worse if they come and we get rain which would help ease the burden. Right now , we are in the thick of it. Later, it will be what so many people have to do all over the world - clearing up the mess. We are ready for it but some consideration, solidarity and human compassion  from people of import and position would not go astray. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Thank you SA Parliamentarians

Image: abc.net.au

It is a very unsettling ride in Australian politics at the moment. We have had a lot to learn and I think we are finally getting it. When the federal defence minister freely and gratuitously insulted the work and the  workers of the Australian Submarine Corporation I was as incensed as anyone in South Australia. It was uncalled for and very damaging. I storified it so that I could keep a record of it , it was just such unheard of behaviour in our country. Hardly anyone has looked at it, but that doesn't matter. What matters is it's there for me to look at. What became clear, though, at the time was we have a state where parliamentarians will act swiftly and rationally on  any matter relating to the good name of our state and the people who work in it and for it. Both our Premier , Jay Weatherill and our opposition leader , Stephen Marshall spoke up clearly and strongly on our behalf and on the behalf of the Australian Submarine Corporation. A number of other prominent people in our state spoke strongly too. It was a good feeling. Inspite of the initial copy cat nonsense straight after the election, borrowed from current Australian politics , our state politicians have actually settled into a good rhythm . Maybe the sad loss of  Bob Such  has had its impact in a helpful way because Bob Such worked hard for the electorate he represented and was so well respected and now sadly missed. Our parliamentarians get up in the morning and go to work. They work hard for the state. They do what we do. We all have long hours, demanding, complex work conditions, performance standards to meet and behavioural expectations in the work place. When we are free, we have a great state to relax in and a place where we can dream our dreams or just mooch and have a nice day. Our parliamentarians talk to us, represent us, speak on our behalf, speak up for causes and groups and generally conduct themselves in a productive , positive way. It's actually comforting to know that now that I have realised it. Most of the federal parliamentarians from this state are people we can be proud of and who work for an optimistic, burgeoning Australia which will benefit all of us. The state parliamentarians are good at what they do and are currently focussing on how to improve the future outlook for our state. We'll do it. We are creative , flexible thinkers here and we have some good research people in our universities who come and talk to us to help us along. I like that about our state. We all talk to each other and we all try and be good at what we do. Yes, there are those who are not like that, but that doesn't hold us up in any way. We are like running water. We glide over the bumps!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Adelaide in the 80s



If you missed Adelaide in the 80s, this is pretty much it. We were all very fit, mad on aerobics and it heralded the era of good fresh food and more exercise which has become a permanent feature of our South Australian lifestyle. We had the outfits, the music, the venues, the TV programmes and videos. We were alive. Speaking of Adelaide Alive - our Grand Prix also featured aerobics groups too. That is how into it we were. This love of fitness branched out into cycling, kindergym, walking, gym circuits and since then we have become adept in finding the right level of fitness activity for who we are so now you find people skateboarding, walking the dog, surfing, body boarding, swimming, canoeing , kayaking...all because aerobics got us all moving in such a fun way. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Fashion Icons Exhibition

So excited!! Adelaide is finally really getting there. After all the hoo-ha with public transport infrastructure redevelopment, the revamping of the Mall and the constant disruption to all and everything, well, my trip to town was living proof we can do it and do it well. The Mall seems empty without its coffee shops which were so popular and the beloved fruit  and fruit juice stands are gone. I am hoping that they will return to one of the side streets. Not having the Mall full of "stuff" means there is a clear and open feel to it. The Asian food area has established itself well in the Renaissance Arcade and David Jones is abuzz with its redevelopment. I have never seen their staff so positive, optimistic and just genuinely happy. The changes are still coming but today there was a complete lift in tone and atmosphere. We can feel the life being breathed into us. We can feel the style which is coming and we can feel that sense of creative endeavour which we thought was just nuisance renovation and annoying change. Whoever has their eye on this has conceived it well because it is coming together to produce a city which we are loving. We can feel it is going to be fabulous! Part of that is the Fashion Icons Exhibition opening at the Art Gallery in late October. It has linked us back into the wider world in a really great way and the shops are picking up on the theme. We have lift off.



















Sunday, September 14, 2014

Community Broadcasting

About Community Broadcasting in Australia is a very good clip with some startling information. The interesting thing is Blogger won't find the YouTube clip so I can post it straight here and if you click on the share button on the YouTube clip it just hangs. Nothing happens. So are we not meant to share this good news? 5 million Australians listen to 444 community radio stations each week. Some of my time is given over to listen to community radio or television because you can't get more local than that. It can be like having friends over. It can be really interesting and it can remind you that you live in an area where things are happening all the time. Things which you wouldn't know about necessarily because main stream media run to an agenda. Community radio creates that sense of belonging and it is growing all the time. It's an opportunity for people to practise their media skills, find an avenue to share their knowledge and information but it can just be good to know what is going on locally. I am disappointed I can't share this clip properly. Community radio is worth tuning into from time to time. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

So, who's away today

Absenteeism is starting to take hold again. People just don't turn up. Some let the workplace know. Others don't.  All sorts of reasons for it but it puts a strain on those who are there and it undermines smooth working conditions which would be less demanding on those present and more positive for all if everyone were consistently there. It seems to be a problem everywhere. Forbes outlines the costs and causes in America. There is quite a list. There is a similar list for Australia with Tuesday seeming to be popular as the day off. That can be a bit misleading as some people work through a  week and a weekend and when they get to Tuesday they might just be too tired to get up. Long shifts, long weeks interfere with the rhythm of life. How many days straight do some people work? How long are their days? Is it a case of sheer fatigue or does the absenteeism trend go back to school attendance patterns as well? Maybe it's both. Maybe we have work place conditions which do not suit a human body and then a lack of commitment from others.Why the lack of commitment? What factors influence that? Workplace info has some interesting information about absenteeism. So, do we reward those who can be relied upon or do we just keep pushing them and being sorry when they finally break? Do we need to look at this? Adelaide is a good place to look at working conditions because we are not a huge state in terms of population and we can investigate things more easily and maybe even work out how to improve things without risking huge numbers in a big company. We also have a good history of competent sociological research. Rather than let it carry on like this , it might be sensible to take a look at what is causing absenteeism and how to address it. It is not in anyone's long term interests to allow such an obvious problem go ignored.