Pure Imagination

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Housing policy is on my mind this week. The two main political parties vying to form the next national government of Australia have made their pitch to voters. One has offered to bend the superannuation rules so that first home buyers can access their retirement savings to help raise a deposit for their first home. The other is offering a government/purchaser shared equity scheme. Those are interesting ideas, both with their pros and cons, but as some commentators have asked, where are the additional houses needed to offset inflationary pressures? Hence, some have said that supply, not demand, is the main issue.

In a perfectly competitive market, supply and demand are apparently equal at the optimum price point. That’s capitalism, right? That optimum price is far too high for low to middle income earners. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t rising property prices and higher interest rates meant to benefit investors under Australia’s current taxation rules? Is this the real aim of the election commitments? Australia has the most generous housing investment incentives in the Western world. The current promises seem likely to increase residential property prices further and if the price of residential property goes up, so do rents. It is a zero sum game.

Lack of supply is, of course, someone else’s problem. For example, the cost of land is enormous. Land releases are normally the jurisdiction of state and local governments. Once a metropolitan problem, land prices have skyrocketed across many parts of Australia. Some have suggested that local governments should be forced to release more land for development and that red tape be cut (a familiar refrain). Deregulation could encompass, for example, lifting height and density restrictions, and doing away with community consultation on development proposals, etc. Some jurisdictions require developers to fully or part fund public infrastructure in the new suburbs adding to the price of house and land packages. I am equally as frustrated by simplistic land supply arguments as I am with demand side house price pump priming.

Meanwhile, good luck getting a qualified trades person, especially in this day and age of house burning or flooding climate catastrophe. Then there is the shortage of building materials also driving up costs and slowing construction. Both of the major parties are keen on boosting trade apprenticeships to help overcome labour shortages. Great, but I wonder if they realise there is a shortage of qualified trade teachers in the vocational education sector?

Many important sectors of our economy rely on temporary workers from overseas to fill skilled and unskllled jobs, including in bustling tourism towns in the regions. Even a tent is hot property in the peak tourism season. Are these workers going to want to come here if they can’t secure a roof over their heads? Last time I travelled up the coast of eastern Australia, I met fruit pickers who lived in their cars. It is a trend that has caught on. If low paid care workers can’t afford to rent or buy, we surely cannot be surprised that they are leaving that sector in droves. Our community suffers as a result.

From my perspective, the availability of affordable housing for all is an important indicator of good economic management and a good business-friendly policy, while its lack is a constraint on economic growth. How large must the ranks of the economically vulnerable, housing-insecure grow before housing affordability is genuinely addressed by Australian governments? Maybe nothing of substance will happen until affected businesses – and I don’t include property developers in this group – demand action. The voice of businesses, of commerce, seems to have more impact than the pleas of the vulnerable. If voters care about which political party can manage the Australian economy best, they should care about what’s on offer to improve housing affordability. Sadly, the answer appears to be not much. We are now in the land of pure imagination.

Tomorrow, Australia elects its next national government. Is writing this a good use of my time? Probably not. I’m just a quietish Australian. If you get a kick from champagne and (un)reality TV, this whole fruitless exercise should be a real turn-off. That’s okay.

So, back to the Friday song. Today, I’ve chosen a clip of Josh Groban singing Pure Imagination. I am particularly fond of this verse.

We’ll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation.
What we’ll see
Will defy
Explanation.

[Songwriters – Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse]

Sounds like the election campaign to me.

Enjoy.

For those reading because they are interested in my True Love’s adventures in hospital, rest assured that he is still with us. He’ll be in hospital for at least a week. For the moment, there is pain but hopefully in a few weeks, he won’t be so crook in the guts (Aussie technical term).

Take care, everyone. Stay safe and be your most compassionate self.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Follow That Man

Some hospitals have a bit of kit that allows friends and family to track the whereabouts of their loved ones that have been admitted to hospital. I’m not sure whether I like it. For example, when your True Love is in theatre, the app indicates this. However, it doesn’t tell you what is taking so long. Of course, as the anxiety builds and the hours stretch out, the tracker is prone to wondering what happens if the patient (the tracked) dies In Theatre? Fortunately, people come out of theatre sooner or later and when they do, the app indicates that the patient has Exited Theatre. It is left to the tracker to imagine in what condition the patient exited the theatre. When the last update occurs late in the evening, the tracker may have a certain reluctance to call the hospital for information given the hour.

Information provided to families with loved ones in a particular hospital advises that due to the Covid situation, visitors should consider the need to visit and encourages calling loved ones instead. The few times that I have been to hospital to be spliced open to remove wrigglers, I was groggy for days afterward so I do not think it would be at all wise to ring the tracked directly after surgery because clearly that person would be in recovery and not taking calls or back on ward and potentially indisposed, or worse. Having discussed this situation with the wrigglers, we can only presume that someone from the hospital would ring us if the patient was in a bad way or worse. There must be some limits to this app. Surely? Presumably?

All will be revealed. I guess. Tomorrow.

I need a song. I can’t think of a better one than Katie Melua singing If You Were A Sailboat.

I have turned off comments so that I can freak out.

Take care, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Ravenous

Ravenous is a great word, don’t you think? There is something quite primal, urgent and debased about it. Or at least, that was its historical context but, at least outside of the bedroom, it is a word that has now attained some respectability and simply means very hungry. According to Mirriam-Webster, the noun “raven” (black bird) and the verb “raven” (from which the adjective “ravenous” is derived) are unrelated. They are homographs, which is a shame because I have a ravenous raven story. This is your chance, squeamish readers, to skip this story.

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One Way Or Another

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

This week, I had the great pleasure to attend Jo Shevchenko’s launch of her poetry chap book, Journey – A Cancer Story. Jo blogs at http://www.outofthecave.blog. What a talented poet and all round nice person Jo is. Not only did I meet Jo for the first time in person, but I also met her friends and family. They made me feel so welcome. I also want to make mention of one of Jo’s friends who has faced her own journey with cancer. She told me about a seven day, 25 kilometres per day trek she was planning. Awesome.

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It Is Our Turn Now

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Goodness, I almost forgot about Friday song day this week. Is it possible that I haven’t thought about anything this week? I shy away from thoughts of the future these days. What does that make me? Sensible? Foolish? Scared? I can’t control my future but I can vote for the candidate or party that I want to represent me over the next three years.

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Something Fun

I recently decided that I would create a new native garden under my gum tree on the nature strip by the road, so I got to it by planting a multitude of tiny tubestock plants. Unfortunately the seedlings weren’t very easy to see and the kids passing by had a tendency to walk on them. My friends and I joked that I should install some stakes to deter the less observant. Before you all report to me to Child Services, I would like to reassure you that within moments of that thought, I began thinking of what I could put in the garden to make it more fun for the kiddies.

My son was going to throw out a couple of weird looking figurines that his grandmother had given him. Shhh, don’t tell grandma. So I rescued them and stuck them in the garden. Here’s one. I call it Gargoyle felis catus sp. I plopped it in next to a Poa sp. (an alpine grass).

I also found this neglected mosaic butterfly mosaic (not one of mine),
complete with spider egg sac. Further information on spider egg sacs can be found here.

I then found an old dragonfly mosaic (one of mine) lying around so I put it on the other side of the tree until I can organise a stand for it.

It is coming together slowly. Hopefully it will look better when the grasses get a little bigger.

I am quite enjoying this preoccupation. I hope you are keeping busy too.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

The Changing Seasons – April 2022

Canberra (Australia) – Autumn delivers and April visitors.

I haven’t contributed to The Changing Seasons since December 2021. A lot has happened over the past four months, including health issues, poetry, completion of a major mosaic project and the start of a new front garden. Apart from the health matters, the garden has taken priority because we have to get it in now ahead of the next, inevitable, drought. In the regular garden, we had to abandon the tomatoes and beans to the rodents this year. They have been very hungry (we caught three and Makea, our dog, caught one). Nevertheless, we still managed to harvest three pumpkins from vines we did not plant. The fig tree went bonkers and produced two huge bumper crops. The rodents got stuck into the first crop but we managed to score some figs from the second batch by securing Elizabethan collars around the trunk of the tree to prevent the rats from climbing up the tree. I also collected a small tub of feijoa today, our first ever crop in more than two decades that we have lived at our house in Canberra.

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Hidden In the Rushes

I am posting this again in memory of my mum’s dog, Ashie.  He died today from a serious illness.  There is only one line and photo in this poem-ish photo-essay that relates to him, but it sums up this beautiful dog so well, at least in my opinion.  Farewell, lovely boy.  You will be missed.

***

When our family ventures out to our beautiful natural areas, we go slowly, for it is only then that nature’s hidden treasures are revealed.  We take out, what we carry in.  We tread lightly and with care.  There may be no houses, but we are nevertheless going into someone else’s home.  This is what we taught our children from a very young age.

Let’s see who is home today – in the rushes.

moorhen2

The little family is well camouflaged.  It is a Dusky Moorhen with her chick.  

moorhenchick

The chick leaves the safety of its nest, but mum is not too far away.

swan2

The black swan and her signets weren’t expecting visitors.

swanb

But all is calm, so peace is soon restored.

Ashy

Come out of there, Ash, and leave those ducks alone.  Ash is a farm dog.  He knows to not hurt the wildlife.

No comments necessary.

First published in 2018

Ho Hum Election Comes

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you. But first, a poem about the Australian Federal election campaign.

The less I say I about the election campaign,
the better. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi. oi.
Three word slogan, “You’re gonna die.”
That’s four, but who’s countin’?
Stick that up your Pine Gap.

It’s excruciating, ladies and gentlemen, but at least we get to vote and afterwards, whinge about the result. Let’s listen to Flogging Molly performing The Worst Day Since Yesterday. Sing it with me.

Stay well, everyone, and sift your oats from your blarney.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

NaPoWriMo #28
RDP Interlace