Your luggage, your laptop, your lunchbox, your loved ones and your litter!

March 14, 2009

Catching the District Line yesterday from Ealing to central London I had a lovely commentary from the train driver which made a lot of the passengers smile. In addition to the ‘please take all your belongings with you when you leave the train’ announcements, he told us that we wouldn’t believe the kinds of things that get left behind on the tube. And he said ‘Don’t forget to take your luggage, your laptop, your lunchbox, your loved ones and your litter. That’s lovely.’ In addition to the ‘the next station is..’ announcements, we had ‘The next station is Chiswick Park. How many parks are there on the District Line?’ After the station he announced ‘There are six parks on the district line.’ Then there was ‘The next station is Turnham Green. How many greens are there on the District Line?’ After the station: ‘There are three greens on the District Line. With six parks, three greens and a common, it is small wonder the District Line is colour-coded green.’ He also told us that the District Line is 140 years old but he wasn’t a train driver back then, the Bakerloo Line turned 103 last week, the Northern Line is 101 years old and the Victoria Line is only 40 years old and he remembers when it opened.

I was actually heading to the Strand to vote in the Queensland election. I tried the other day but after waiting for half an hour while they restarted their computer twice, I gave up. And today it turned out I wasn’t on the electoral role! I had emailed the Australian Electoral Commission to keep my enrollment updated while I’m overseas and they had replied saying they would pass it on to the Electoral Commission of Queensland. Doesn’t look like they did. Anyway, I still got to vote but as I’m enrolled in quite a safe seat I don’t feel like my vote will make much difference. I don’t think I’ve ever voted in a marginal electorate! I was supposed to have dinner last weekend with a friend from back home and I was really looking forward to discussing the Queensland election with him. Alas, he was too hungover. I don’t really have anyone else here that is as interested in the nitty gritty of elections as I am (and is also from Queensland). We did get an email from Paul’s mum with her commentary on it and I really liked that (thanks, Paul’s mum!). I remember last year when I found out the Liberals had won in Western Australia so the states (in Australia) were no longer all Labor governments – as they’d been for a little while. I turned to the Australians I worked with and I really wanted to comment on it but I knew none of them really cared about that stuff! Where are my fellow politics nerds?

Last night I went to Helen’s house and I met a really friendly guy called Stephen and we talked about politics and art: two things I love. It was great!

I am working all of next week – sounds like a boring admin job (a lot of filing) and the pay is not much but it’s better than not earning any money! Hopefully it will lead to something else.

Today Paul has an exam for his Microsoft Certification.


Book Clubs

July 21, 2008

A week ago, Paul and I hosted our second bookclub. This month’s book was Spud by the South African John van der Ruit. It was a funny, very easy-to-read book set in an elite boys boarding school in South Africa in 1990 – the year that Nelson Mandela was let out of jail and that apartheid was ended. It wasn’t very political or deep but it made me laugh a lot and I even cried. Next month we’re reading Y: the Last Man, a comic set on Earth where all the male humans and mammals have died except for one man (and his male pet monkey). I have read the first two volumes and wasn’t that impressed – it was interesting but I got the feeling that the writers thought they were being feminist but I wasn’t all that convinced that they knew what they were doing.
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London Pride 2008

July 6, 2008

Helen and Jess: still excited after the parade has finished.
Yesterday Paul and I went into town for London Pride. We met up with Jess and Helen (above) who were very excited about it! Below are some of the photos I took but there are more on Flickr. Paul took photos too which you can see on his Flickr page (including one of the newly elected mayor of London, Boris Johnson, leading the parade.
Unions at London Pride 2008.
Marching Unions. ‘Unite, the Union, Campaigning against homophobic bullying and harassment’.
Unions at London Pride 2008.
Unison Union members.
Unions at London Pride 2008.
More unionists.
Unions at London Pride 2008.
Unite Union. Campainging for Equality with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.
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I'm sorry too

February 14, 2008

On Tuesday night (UK time) I watched live ABC coverage of the apology made in the Australian parliament to the stolen generations. It was very moving – I cried quite a bit. I really liked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s speech. Unfortunately, I think Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson’s speech wasn’t so good – he started ok but then he talked about things that were irrelevant (war veterans?) and he talked about some of the appalling social problems in some Indigenous communities – I think it was his way of justifying the previous government’s ‘intervention’ in the Northern Territory – which I think wasn’t necessary. Surely he didn’t need to rub salt into the wounds of the stolen generations. The day should have been apologising for the hurts caused to them, not bringing up horrible repercussions of that.

Anyway, I’m really glad the apology happened.


I’m sorry too

February 14, 2008

On Tuesday night (UK time) I watched live ABC coverage of the apology made in the Australian parliament to the stolen generations. It was very moving – I cried quite a bit. I really liked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s speech. Unfortunately, I think Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson’s speech wasn’t so good – he started ok but then he talked about things that were irrelevant (war veterans?) and he talked about some of the appalling social problems in some Indigenous communities – I think it was his way of justifying the previous government’s ‘intervention’ in the Northern Territory – which I think wasn’t necessary. Surely he didn’t need to rub salt into the wounds of the stolen generations. The day should have been apologising for the hurts caused to them, not bringing up horrible repercussions of that.

Anyway, I’m really glad the apology happened.


Private schools (in Australia) getting 'disproportionate' share of funding

January 28, 2008

From ABC News Online:

A new report on how schools are funded looks set to reopen the debate on where taxpayer money goes in the education system.

The Australian Council on Educational Research report says private schools are getting a “disproportionate” share of the state funding pie, while public schools are having to shoulder extra burdens.

The report’s author, Andrew Dowling, explains the system.

“The Commonwealth funds non-government schools as well as government schools based on the average cost of educating a kid in a government school,” he said.

“So if the costs of teaching kids in government schools increase, then that’s flowed on into the funding that the Commonwealth gives… to all schools in Australia, as more kids move out of government schools into non-government schools.

“It seems apparent that a lot of those kids are the least expensive to teach, in a sense, they’re the ones that are easiest to teach and are less expensive to teach.

“As they move into non-government schools, the residualisation in the government schools, ie, the more expensive kids who are harder to teach, who stay in government schools, increases the average cost of teaching a kid in government schools, and that flows in to the Commonwealth funding for all schools.”


Private schools (in Australia) getting ‘disproportionate’ share of funding

January 28, 2008

From ABC News Online:

A new report on how schools are funded looks set to reopen the debate on where taxpayer money goes in the education system.

The Australian Council on Educational Research report says private schools are getting a “disproportionate” share of the state funding pie, while public schools are having to shoulder extra burdens.

The report’s author, Andrew Dowling, explains the system.

“The Commonwealth funds non-government schools as well as government schools based on the average cost of educating a kid in a government school,” he said.

“So if the costs of teaching kids in government schools increase, then that’s flowed on into the funding that the Commonwealth gives… to all schools in Australia, as more kids move out of government schools into non-government schools.

“It seems apparent that a lot of those kids are the least expensive to teach, in a sense, they’re the ones that are easiest to teach and are less expensive to teach.

“As they move into non-government schools, the residualisation in the government schools, ie, the more expensive kids who are harder to teach, who stay in government schools, increases the average cost of teaching a kid in government schools, and that flows in to the Commonwealth funding for all schools.”