Sunday, December 13, 2015

That little old train: the week in review

It's been a messy old week. At times, I felt like the little old train that thought that it could faced by an apparently impossible hill. Except that the hill seemed just too great.

The week began with loss of internet connection. This reminded me (again!) just how dependent we have all become on the damn technology. The internet encourages us (among other things)  to live in a just in time world because its so bloody convenient. No need to carry cash. You can transfer some and then get it from an ATM. Pay that account at the last moment? That's fine. Then things go wrong!

My local St George Bank, a ten minute walk away, has just closed because of reduced demand. The nearest branch now is at Maroubra, a half hour walk. Walk? Who walks? Well, earlier in the year I had a minor accident in a parking lot. Silly thing really. My accelerator had been sticking. I was backing out of the bay. To overcome the sticking accelerator I pushed down hard. The car went backwards at pace, in so doing smashing the front against a pillar, damaging the tire. I was bloody lucky really. If another car had been coming or a shopper with a trolley, I could have done some serious damage!

Anyway, the accident damaged the suspension. I didn't realise this immediately. The car was still driveable once the tire was replaced. However, I can't re-register until the the damage is fixed and I need to accumulate some funds first. Half inclined to stay car-less in the short term. All this walking is doing wonders for my fitness. At the same time, it means that I can't just pop out to do things.

One useful side-effect of the whole affair is that I finally got round to joining the library in Maroubra. I used to take eldest there sometimes when she was at school and knew that it was quite a good library. Importantly, it has computers with free access for members, meaning that I could get some things done if not as conveniently as I might from the home office.

It was quite interesting watching the library at work. It's a remarkably busy place with many activities.

Now that my internet is back on, the immediate need to visit has vanished. However, I do plan to check out properly the library services  and especially the on-line data bases since many of these require subscriptions.

If loss of internet access marked the start of the week, the week was book-ended by the closure of my long-standing storage shed. I had been meaning to do this for some time, in part to save money, more because I actually wanted to sort out the books, papers and household kit stored there.

While the intent was there, the shear physical labour involved was not attractive. A few years back, I did do a clean out and then shifted and stacked the remaining boxes to the ceiling in a smaller shed. I did not enjoy the experience, putting my back out in the process! However, this time it had to be done.

Actually, the experience was not as bad as I had expected. Storage King Alexandria kindly lent me their small van, I could not have done it without that, while youngest and two of her friends came to help. Between us, we filled the van three times, unloading at the house.

My own small storage area at the back took over half the load, with the rest going into the spare bedroom, kitchen and lounge. Now I am sitting here with a bemused expression working out what to sort first. It's actually a bit like an archaeological expedition.

The box I started unpacking last night was full of crockery all wrapped in newspapers dating to 1994. Even though the box itself was newer, I must have repacked it when I shifted storage sheds, the crockery itself comes from Marsh Street and was packed when we moved out in 1994. It's a useful find given the current state of my day to day crockery. As an aside, I did manage to discipline myself not to read the crumpled newspapers!

The boxes include three sets of family papers that really should go to the archives, as well as the remnants of my book collection. Now that they are at Astrolabe, I can at least sort them properly.

While I have been otherwise preoccupied, the rest of the world has continued without me. Mr Turnbull has released his innovation statement, the somewhat strangely entitled National Innovation and Science Agenda Report. As it happened, the boxes include some of my personal papers from equivalent exercises in the 1980s. It's not clear to me that the world has changed much. I have a part completed post here.

More importantly, the agreement reached at Paris has been released. I have read it, but these international agreements are not reader friendly. More effort is required to work out what it all means.

And so the week ends. Next week back to normal activities.


Sue said...

Hi Jim

What's that saying in French - the more things change, the more they remain the same?

There is a Tom Roberts exhibition at the ANG, as you would know, I can't wait to see it. A friend just rang to say we must go.

Much sympathy with your car problems, but impressed you can walk so far...



Jim Belshaw said...

You are dead right, Sue, on the first sentence. Sympathies on car accepted! On walking, I'm reasonably fit. I don't walk with Prof's fervour, but I average an hour plus per day. I can walk long distances quite easily. Now that I am fitter, working to build upper body strength.

Would absolutely love to see the Tom Roberts exhibition. Well done your friend!

Anonymous said...

The car went backwards at pace, in so doing smashing the front against a pillar

This has kept me awake since reading; a diagram might be helpful :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Hi kvd, I really should have said front left wheel.I was backing out with the steering set so that I would pull to the left, then drive forward. So when I hit the accelerator and the car screamed out backwards, I really lost control, the front side wheel hit the pillar before the car spun out into the passage way

2 tanners said...

If good intentions pave the way to hell, then the devil owns a majority stake in Storage King. :)

Car and internet things happen, but it takes really bravery to take on your storage unit. Having done so once, I hope to never have one again! Congratulations on your bravery.

Tip from the sadly experienced: There is no right way, so take the first box that comes to hand and deal with it.

Jim Belshaw said...

Wise advice, 2t. I am onto the second box!

Anonymous said...


Sounds a miserable week, especially the storage shed bit. Storage sheds are a trap, really, aren't they? Still, great that you were able to enlist the help of your daughters et al to take the task on, and serendipitous to unearth the old crockery.

The car is more worrying not because of the accident but because of the impending registration and the bind you are in right now. In my opinion a car is a marginal investment for a single person in the city provided public transport is within reach (as it is for you), but without one it will be harder to maintain links with your rural roots.

As for public libraries - like all public goods they are under siege financially but they are a great resource, especially for those whose ratio of available time to available funds is higher (or do I mean lower? - you know what I mean, I'm sure).

I recently joined City of Sydney Library (or more accurately rejoined: they had forgotten me in the intervening almost 40 years) when I realised I could borrow from them a book which I had considered buying but never found in-store. They have a great service for ordering books from any of their nominated branches to be delivered to the pick-up branch of your choice. That makes the whole collection available. Because of the size of the Sydney collection that adds up to quite a resource.

On reflection, cars and books both raise similar questions about the need for ownership and the benefits of public services or shared ownership.

Jim Belshaw said...

It wasn't the best week marcellous.

The car is indeed an issue because of the country connection. That was one key reason for its acquisition. However, public transport is pretty good at least in the main city. Libraries really are good - as Andrew Carnegie noted so long ago and for some of the same reasons.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic but last night's ABC "Back Yards" program was brilliant. Recommend a catchup watch if you missed it.


Jim Belshaw said...

Back Roads?

Anonymous said...

A minor quibble :)