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The Paltry Haul

In a reflection on the sad songs of Frank Sinatra, Paul Kelly composes a beautiful soliloquy on the losses in life. In part he says: “You reflect on all you’ve missed – how much of your life you’ve forgotten, how much has streamed by you, how paltry the haul in your little net.” What a…

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The perfect skimmer

I was stunned to learn recently that the world record for the number of impacts made by a skimming stone was eighty-eight. I think that I may have achieved seven or eight with a good skimmer on a good day at the beach, but eighty-eight is ridiculous. All I can say is that it must…

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Curling 101

I never thought I’d admit it, but curling is an exciting sport. On a recent holiday we managed to try our hand at the old game of broomsticks-on-ice. And what a surprise. An ice rink that is smooth and clear. Heavy polished stones that need to be carefully launched and with a subtle twist. Brooms…

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An eternal sigh

I overheard a lady at a coffee shop telling the barista about her recent experience of shifting house. “Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” she said with a sigh. All those waiting for their coffees pursed their lips with a smile that was all too knowing. What a vexatious experience to endure, and…

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Yesterday I was reading William Ernest Henley’s famous poem ‘Invictus’. The final verse sent a chill through my bones: ‘It matters not how strait the gate / How charged with punishments the scroll / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.’ I thought to myself, “William Henley,…

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Storming Area 51

Area 51 is a military base in the Nevada Desert which, according to some, holds many intriguing secrets from far-away worlds. Conspiracy-theorists have always held that the 1969 moon landing was filmed in one of the hangers, while others swear that alien corpses lie encased in military-morgues. Residents who live in the vicinity are preparing…

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From Patience to Poker

Colin Duriez, in his book on the Oxford Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien and Their Circle), describes the conversion of C S Lewis in terms of a card game. For Lewis, the avowed atheist, life was like a game of Solitaire. It was just him and the cards. Nothing else. No One else. All materialistic. Nothing supernatural….

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Made with love

I didn’t get to see the recent Tolkien film, but thought I’d quickly read his famous book again to mark the occasion. What a great story! To destroy the ruling ring before the Lord of the Rings can get it back on his finger and conquer Middle-Earth. At present the small hobbit Frodo has it…

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Not just the royal wave

I remember during one of the Queen’s visits to Australia, that I actually saw her royal person drive by in her special royal car, and that she waved….. at me! Well, I think it was me that she waved to, but I can’t say exactly for sure. (That’s actually the extent of my brush with…

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Flawed but not shredded

There are some red faces at the moment at the Australian Mint, for not spell-checking the new $50 note before going to print. I’m not sure who has taken personal responsibilty. Ooops. There it is. The offending word. Responsibility sans an ‘i’ three places from the end. And yet, according to the Mint, the note…

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