Weekend Coffee Share…4th August, 2020.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Well, this week I celebrated another birthday. I don’t know whether I’ve become any wiser, or even if I feel any older. However, I can’t kid myself that staying away from the hairdresser is doing me any favours. Stick my head in her door, and I’ll be transformed. I’d love to take Geoff with me as well. He’s in DESPERATE need of a haircut and beard trim and is looking like Moses after being in lock down and isolation at home for a few months. The trouble is he seems to like his new look. I’ve been giving him not too subtle hints, and then a work colleague of his who does photography on the side, asked him if he could take his portrait. Well, that was something having my husband approached to be a photo model, especially when you think the kids would be much more likely targets. Well, the downside of all of this, is that he’s been told not to change anything. Yikes! They had their first go at it today and I swear the beard was transmitting some weird kind of pulsating signal which interfers with technology, because all of his equipment miraculously failed and the connections between his camera and computer failed. Now, this is usually what happens when technology and I cross paths, and Geoff being an IT guru usually has the reverse effect. The computers know he’s in the office and behave themselves  when he’s around but muck up and go on strike when he’s on leave. Indeed, one of his former managers, was thinking about sticking a photo of him near the server to keep it happy. There was one particular Summer, where the air-conditioning failed and the server fried over the Christmas break while we were driving in between Hay and Adelaide in some of the most remote country in the world. I’ll never forget that call. Technology!!

Birthday Cake

Meanwhile, there’s covid, which seems to be like that annoying English backpacker who says they’re only going to stay for a week and is still glued to your couch six months later and showing no signs of moving on.

I don’t know whether you’ve been hearing about what’s been going on with Covid here in Australia? Well, just when I was starting to think we could even become covid free like New Zealand, things went pear-shaped in Victoria and I was back in isolation and second-guessing everyone I meet. There are a few outbreaks in Sydney, which are a concern, although not of immediate threat to us here. However, our situation has been challenged by my husband’s manager who has insisted that all IT staff return to the university to work on campus, despite NSW Health putting out a directive that anyone who can work from home should be working from home. The trains are virtually empty and he has no trouble parking at the station. So, it’s clear that many people are either working from home or have lost their jobs. So, I don’t understand why his manager has to be a trail blazer leading the way from common sense, but I guess we might just attribute that to “management”.


In addition to our frustrations with what’s happening at work, if what we see on TV is any indication, Covid seems to be bringing out the idiot in droves.  Here in Australia, we have “Bunning’s Karen” who refused to wear a face mask into the hardware store as requested and went troppo. However, that’s nothing compared to three Queensland girls who went down to Melbourne on a high-end handbag shoplifting spree in Melbourne and were fined in Melbourne for being at a party and flouting covid restrictions. Then, when they returned to Queensland, they lied about being in Melbourne and two of the three are currently in hospital with Covid. Meanwhile, with a bit of a humorous take on increased cases in Victoria, a map of Australia with Victoria missing, is doing the rounds.  This is a bit of blessed relief for the Tasmanians who are traditionally left off the map, mostly by accident. This, however, is much more intentional.

Map of Australia Without Victoria

Meanwhile, my research into Australian soldiers who served in WWI is continuing. You’d think I’d be ready to put pen to paper and start writing this massive epic. However, while my research is uncovering some brilliant stories and insights into the soldiers experiences, as well as efforts from the home front to support their efforts, it also uncovers my ignorance and I still don’t feel I’m in a position of knowing or understanding yet. Of course, that takes years and I’ve only been focused on this for one year so far, which really makes me a beginner. That said, I do have an honours degree in history under my belt and I’ve maintained an interest in history, especially Australian and Irish cultural history through my family history research. So, I’m not a rank beginner and I’m not completely untrained either. I just need to work out where I’m going to position myself on that continuum between storyteller and historian. I really do enjoy a good story, but I’m also a stickler for the truth and I’m not one to bend the facts to tell the tale unless I’m wearing my marketing/publicity hats. At the moment, I’m just going to keep “head down, bum up” and expect that I’ll find my voice when the timing’s right, and that will determine which way I go and this way, I’ll sort of grow into my spot instead of a fixed point determining who I am (if that makes any sense). This process might not be so structured, but is more organic.

The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, Pocket Editions for the Trenches ...

Well, I think about does me for this week. Have you been watching any good movies lately? Or reading any books? I read C.J. Dennis’s: The Songs of the Sentimental Bloke during the week. This is a great Australian tale of romance and family life set just before the outbreak of WWI. The entire thing is written in verse, and uses the Australian vernacular of the day, which is harder to understand than Shakespeare. However, there’s a dictionary at the back if you need it. The book was very popular with the troops at the trench, and he’s been called Australia’s answer to Robbie  Burns. If you’re interested in checking it our, it’s available for free online  Here

Anyway, it’s getting late here so I’d better head off. I hope you’ve had a great week and I hope you and yours are well and staying Covid safe.

This is another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Eclectic Ali.

Best wishes,


17 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share…4th August, 2020.

  1. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Fabio. The cake come from a French chocolate shop near my parents’s place. The current shop is called Otello. However, his mother who was genuine French and the real McCoy had a chocolate shop called Du Plessy Praline. Every Easter they made Easter bunnies, ducks etc out of the traditional French molds and I remember going into that shop as a child and feeling like I’d arrive in Wonderland. After my son got his first haircut, we took him to Du Plessy as it was Easter time to look at the special eggs. The French mother must’ve been in her 80’s and was quite enchanted by our son and gave him a free chocolate. I think he might’ve reminded her of her own son when he was small. Here’s a link: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/le-petit-chocolat/
    Best wishes,

  2. Fabio

    You and your son have beautiful memories of a fantastic confiserie, especially at Easter. I will check the link that you made available. Are you in Victoria? Our nephew and his family live in Melbourne. I know that Australia is very different of the U.S. in terms of prevention of the virus. You and your family stay safe! Best wishes,

  3. Tails Around the Ranch

    Sadly there are numerous ‘Karen’s here too. I’m so over these “free-dumb” loving COVIDIOTS. They are prolonging the pandemic. If you want to jeopardize yourself, that’s one thing, but they are jeopardizing others. So much for Christian values. 😕

    Meanwhile, Norman, Elsa and I send our best birthday wishes. That cake looked amazing! Stay safe, sane, and keep smiling.

  4. Gary A Wilson

    I think covid is more than making people crazy. Here in the states, we deal with it by electing the worse offenders to public office.
    Or so it seems to me anyway.

  5. Rowena Post author

    Gary, I shouldn’t laugh, because this is so serious and so many Americans are needlessly dying at his hands. Well, maybe that’s going too far. However, our Victorian Premier who has locked Melbourne into stage 4 restrictions, has accepted responsibility. I really admire him for that.
    BTW traditionally there’s been pretty intense rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne and I think Melbournians can have a smug sense of superiority as they view themselves as the cultural epicentre of Australia which somehow trumps our inimitable harbour. So, lets just say that I don’t think that I’m the only Australian who isn’t exactly disappointed that Melbourne’s gone down for the count while Sydney’s still in the clear (even if we’re going down the gurgler in its wake thanks to a few stray Victorians who crossed the border). Victorians have become the plague, and we’re probably moe likely to have sympathy for the people of Lenanon that those South of the border. That sounds pretty heartless but it wouldn’t surprise me if its true. I have a some family in Melbourne and their excused. I am actually thinking of sending something down, especially for the ones with kids.
    Meanwhile, my niece sent me another hamper style gift for my birthday which arrived with a knock on the door this morning. I was abused trying to park at the school two days ago and that has really amplified my sense of fragmentation and stress. Fortunately, Geoff’s manager took on the powers that be at the university and he’ll be able to work from home. However, it’s been a battle and his CIO seems to have got in trouble over it. We shouldn’t have to fight at every turn but that’s what it’s like and we barely have any cases here, just enough and a few scattered ones of no known origin to set the cat among the pigeons.
    Hope you’e having a great week.
    Best wishes,

  6. Rowena Post author

    Hi Fabio.
    No I don’t live in Melbourne. We live at Umina Beach which is just North of Sydney. I’m sorry to hear your nephew and family are caught up in lock down in Melbourne. It’s very strict down there and it sounds very much like a Police state but they’re in trouble and people haven’t been doing the right thing. Many people who were diagnosed with the virus didn’t quarantine themselves and weren’t home when officials checked in on them. I can’t believe it. However, I’m now 51 and with my health issues am more accustomed to being at home and have my writing, research and family at home. I’m not living alone or young and wanting to hang out with my friends.
    It’s quite usual for me to pull back in Winter and stay home for a few months to avoid the cold and flu season. HOwever, I’m finding this covid situation much more difficult to deal with because everything around me is different as well and there is no normal. I was avoiding shops altogether but my husband had to go back to work and that left me masking up and hand sanitizing and my hands are quite damaged. Hand sanitizer is rugged stuff, especially for anyone with a dermatological condition like me. They were looking like red lizard skin a few days ago. This week I spotted some fancy black gloves with silver glitter and they were just perfect. Much better than the white cotton surgical gloves I’ve worn in the past when my hands flare up.
    How are things at your end? I hope you are okay. Please stay safe and sane.
    Best wishes,

  7. Fabio

    Hi Rowena,
    Thanks so much for your message! Glad that you and your family live far from Melbourne and therefore away from the Australian Covid-19 hotspot. People need to understand about the danger of the virus and the consequences that are brought to many lives. I had a chance to watch an interview with your PM and I thought he was much more intellectually prepared than our president in Washington. Strong and rational leadership is so important during these trying times. Unfortunately, we have a president that kicks the bucket to the states and does not assume any responsibility. We have a son who lives in Christchurch NZ with his wife and daughter. He frequently tells my wife about the fast actions from the NZ prime-minister against the virus.
    We are lucky to be able to work from home. California had a great initial response from the lockdown, and then things started to deteriorate, with the opening of bars and restaurants. I leave home only to buy groceries or to go to the office to collect the mail. Internet shopping helps a lot, as you can also attest. For leisure and enrichment, I try to browse German newspapers sites and to learn about Judaism, which provides me great support.
    Hope you and your family stay strong!
    Best wishes, my friend!

  8. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Fabio. It wouldn’t surprise me if NZ”s Prime Minister , Jacinta Ardern is one of the most loved politicians of our time. She’s such a beautiful person and so astute. Really shows Trump up as a block head and many others too. Trump comes across very badly here and I don’t know whether it’s that bad in reality but he doesn’t seem to be following science and has some very strange ideas.
    Faith is very importnt during these times. I’m Christian and that comforts me. I also find I am comforted and encouraged by the research I am doing into WWI soldiers and the home front and how people got through. It’s a reminder that they as a community got through, but also that many didn’t either. It’s all very well to celebrate how the collective “we” survives, but we also need to include the personal cost.
    Here in Australia Covid itself isn’t a huge problem. However, prevention strategies and people’s need to social distance and stay away, along with fear, is have a huge impact all of it’s own. That’s not to say these policies aren’t important, but we also need to acknowledge this. I hear about the impact on people’s mental health but that’s only glossing over it. I see what I call a “cognitive load” where the brain is getting overloaded by having to think through everything. I’ve spent extended periods at home due to flu season or having a chest infection or years ago a flare. However, when I returned to the fold, it was business as usual. Nothing had changed. Whereas now, I step out there and everything is different. Weird. There are different ways of doing things and I have to think about so many things. It makes it much, much easier to simply stay home and I think a lot of people are in the same boat here, even though the covid numbers here are very small.
    Well, Fabio. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that. Need to write a post about it.
    Hope you are keeping well.
    Best wishes,

  9. Fabio

    Hi Rowena! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts during this pandemic! In regard to the President, we can guarantee that he is very bad! Very dangerously, he dismisses science, the Constitution, the Congress, etc. I cannot imagine how hard will be if he gets four more years. He is a danger for the US and for the world. Glad that you follow a religion! We need that resource in terms of compass. hope, and goals. We are under a heat wave in California. Wildfires are popping up in the north of Los Angeles. It is not good at all. Another problem is the risk of blackouts – we are receiving conservation messages from the power utility each day. In regard to Covid-19, schools are trying to reopen for face-to-face classes and soon they close again due to new cases. People, like the President, are not following what the science says. Tonight will be the third night of the National Democratic Convention. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and vice-president candidate Kamala Harris will speak. Thinking about what they will say, I end this message with some hope. All the best to you, husband, and children! Stay safe and take care! Fabio

  10. Rowena Post author

    Hi Fabio,
    I think people of all faiths around the world should be praying that Trump doesn’t get back in and I hope the people of America take this election seriously and vote him out. They’re quick to judge other countries for the politics but they need to look deep at their own.
    I will pray that you don’t get bush fires spreading over there, especially at this time. I think they planted Australian eucalypts in California. They’re great because they thrive in hostile environments, but they’re highly flammable.
    O an up note, it’s almost Spring here and our heighbour has a beautiful port wine magnolia which I can see through the window in front of my desk. We don’t have a lot of luck with gardening ourselves so it’s great that the neighbour blesses me with flowers.
    Take care and stay safe.
    Best wishes,

  11. Rowena Post author

    How did I not see this message? I blame Covid for that too.
    We’ve had a real battle on our hands trying to get Geoff to be able to work from home. The NSW Health Dept has said that where practicable, people are to work from home. There’s clearly a big reduction in people travelling on the trains and parked at the station. Yet, the Chief Information Officer at the university and one of his director’s decided ot get everyone back in the office just as the numbers started to climb again and Melbourne’s gone into lock down. In other words, there’s a Karen in charge within a university making stupid decisions. The irony of that was very disheartening. In all the talk you hear about leadership, you rarely hear about responsibility, credibility and how they actually need followers. If no one is following you, except through coersion, you’re not a leader but a dictator.
    Humph! I’ve been getting quite vocal, as you can see. Fortunately, my husband’s manager took them on and made a stand. He feels like going on stress leave, which is clearly not a joke and I really appreciate him going in to bat for us.
    Anyway, I hope you’re having a great day over there. It’s still a bit nippy here but the sun is shining and and it’s quite glorious even here at home, especially now the dogs are asleep and sunning themselves outside.
    Best wishes,

  12. Fabio

    Hi Rowena,
    I will start saying that you are a great writer. Thank you for your wonderful message covering Trump, wildfires, and finishing with the start of the spring and flowers from your neighbor. It shows that, despite the tragedies happening in the world now, you rightly prefer to end with hope.
    We had the Democratic National Convention this week with great speeches by the Bidens, Harris, the Obamas, the Clintons, etc. Next week we will have the Republican version. Hope Biden will win. If he doesn’t, it will be a catastrophe for this country.
    In regard to the fires, they are happening more in the north of the state and in the north of Los Angeles. It is something that is happening now during the entire year. Are your children going to school during the pandemic? Education will be online only in the fall for the students of San Diego County.
    Thanks so much for your prayers during this fire season and I will also pray for much health and happiness in your home.
    Hope the magnolias will keep giving you good vibes. We need such beauty in our lives!
    Best to you and your family, dear Rowena.
    Take care, my friend!

  13. Tails Around the Ranch

    You’re so right, it IS baffling how people keep glossing over the science of this virus. And with the flu season on the horizon, let’s just add a little more drama to it. Sadly there’s too much stupid to go around but this has some very real and deadly consequences. Stay safe, sane and keep smiling.

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