Dear Tax Man….a poem

Dear Tax man, kind exalted one; please excuse this slight intrusion,

I know your busy counting wads from others wealth profusion.

First let me say thanks! for  great website and helpful online forms,

Your endless lists of what can’t be claimed  keep us usefully within norms.

 

I’ve hit a snag am sure was error /oversight and not deliberate making;

Asked accountant George, who’s puzzled too, as set his head a shaking.

It’s not the boxes I see that are a problem, as they are really of clear help;

To the Supplementary section question I put “Yes, I supplement with Kelp”.

 

New ‘Edna Everage’ specs in “other work expenses” bit, and claims for slip-slap-slops

were certainly for protection as I am always outside Lots.

No extravagant items from me; am more Gum-Boot wearer than Jimmy Choo’s

But just in case, please be so kind , which box for expensive claims for shoes?

 

 *Mindful …..that attention to detail both takes time and saves time…….Learned that the shoe-box filing system has its limitations; or maybe I need more boxes?……that’s it!…more shopping 🙂

 

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Beanie Hunting in Tasmania

Beanie hunting is not for the faint-hearted and should be approached with caution. It can be exhausting (stalking just the right one may take some considerable time), irksome (if your bag carriers don’t share your enthusiasm for the sport) and indeed affect your sight (as the vast array of colours and shapes can give you spots before your eyes); and yet…….> off I go to chilly Tasmania, full of enthusiasm for the thrill of the chase.

Indeed, my hunt started in the wee small hours of this morning as I searched the house for my favourite Possum beanie…(note to self: you shouldn’t leave your packing till the last-minute!). Luckily I found it hiding on top of the wardrobe because  the annual trek in the Tassie mountains just wouldn’t be the same without it; and frankly I would freeze without my  wee possums thermal protection.

Hat hunt

Maybe I should mention that a beanie is what Australians call a type of  hat, usually wool or similar but can be made of a multitude of things and comes in all shapes and sizes. In UK it would be a wooly bunnet, or pompom hat I guess and I have no idea what it would be called in America (so if you are from there perhaps you will let me know?). I try to find new beanie’s on most of my travels and I know that Tasmania is ‘fertile ground’ for new creative treasures. Lots of wacky crafty people keeping their hands warm, making stuff. Cant wait to see what I find on this hunt.

Possum

Now before you get all ‘animal rights or righteous’ on me, yes, my hat  is made from real Possum but no, it does NOT look like a pelt!. I am pretty sure it lead a long and  fulfilling life / died of natural causes and donated its cosy fluff for the benefit of human kind. I got this particular wooly treasure in New Zealand, where the making of such things is common and they do some great process that incorporates the downy fluff with wool.

It is the warmest thing ever and leaves Marino and Alpaca wool in the cool shade when it comes to the thermals. Besides, alpaca wool always has that slight residual smell of Yack about it  when it gets wet, not sure why; perhaps they are relatives?…I digress……

Wilderness Wonders

So here I am at the airport, having my last ‘fix’ of electronics before going off-line in the hills, hiking in the rain and hoping for snow. It’s good to have some contrast weather-wise when you live in a warm country like Oz and Tassie delivers it. With a spectacular backdrop of rain forests and awesome mountains; cosy log cabins, roaring fires, enough hot chocolate to induce diabetes and not too many folk………Bliss.

Favourite features

Before I go, I will share the best three things about my favourite possum beanie (apart from its warmth):

1. It has coloured bright red and yellow stripes, so if I get lost in the hills it will be easier to find me

2. It has a rolled up cuff that can be pulled over your face, balaclava style in case it snows……no scary eye holes that would make it look like you were going to do an armed hold-up’ or anything…..so you can’t quite see where you are going, so best to avoid using this function near cliff edges

3. Possum beanie actually helps keep you walking, even when the legs are weary;  because you don’t want to sit still too long when wearing it in the wilderness, or the wildlife start mating with your head!

Cheeri-Bye for now, am away to do some happy wandering

*Mindful of the restful recharge communing with nature brings.

pompom beanie 2

 

 

 

 

Mint Murder, the Pongy Evolution

As the  Mints fell from the packet, bouncing briefly on the table in a random pattern before heading south, there was no prospect of them hitting the floor.  Two lurking Labrador’s moved with the agility and speed of a starved cobra  and inhaled the full packet in a nano-second and were looking for more. On the bright side, maybe it will help their breath (and other gaseous emissions) as so far I have failed to improve Aggi’s aroma by adding mint leaves to her food.

Early minty moments

This was the Menagerie’s first (accidental due to my clumsiness) introduction to the sweet lollies, however I have had a long and evolving relationship with the Mint family in general.  From the early years, when I couldn’t  stand anything even faintly tainted with what I viewed as yucky poison, to today when I have a mild addiction to peppermint tea; it has been an interesting transition, probably borne of necessity.

Mint Imperials, the king of mints

The real power of mint came into its own in my ‘smoking years’ , sadly I don’t mean I was irresistible!! I am referring to the imbibing of the nasty nicotine (now thankfully a past habit). In my Community Midwife years I used to teach pregnant mums pre-natal relaxation classes and it was at this time that I adopted the Mint Imperial as a close ally. You see I was very good at the ‘getting them relaxed’ bit and  talking the would be mamma’s into sleepy submission.  I would get them into a snoozy position on their individual foam mats towards the end of the session, dim the lights, turn on the urn and nip out the back of the health centre for a ciggie. In fact I got it down to a fine art and could fit in 2 ciggies followed by 2 mint imperials  in the time it took the urn to boil.

Pong delusion

Like most smokers I was convinced I had covered up the smell with my minty buddy and nobody knew. I would pop back into the relaxed expectant ones; talk them round from their snooze with my voice intonations increasing in tune to the bubbling urn and we would all have the obligatory cuppa that marked the end of a session. Thus, over time I grew to like mints and gave up the ciggies.

Minty Irony

Now mints feature in every handbag and pocket. I even have different sized containers for the things, based on said handbags size so you see it is not just the tea I am addicted to! The real irony though comes from my lack of green thumbs when it comes to the mint genus. You will be familiar with what they say about mint plants “they grow like weeds”, “they pop up everywhere and spread”…etc etc…. and I consider myself a bit of a gardener; but not when it comes to mint.

Yes, its official: I can kill mint!….and I don’t even need to do anything to it, just my presence in its general vicinity seems to makes it shrivel up and vanish. To date we have 5 varieties in the garden, now all safely in an isolated exclusion zone (from which I am verboten ) and under the care of ‘Himself”…….. I will stick with growing the easy stuff, like Orchids and Bok Choy.

*Mindful of the power of habit persuasion and its effects on  taste buds….and learned how hyper dogs get when you feed them sugar!

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D-Day 70 years on.

Excuse this brief deviation from my usual light-hearted nonsense, but as it is such a special commemorative date, I didn’t feel I could let it go unmentioned here.
D-Day
The handsome chap in the front of the picture above is my Dad, a member of No 4 Commando, on his way to the D-Day landings at Sword Beach, 6th of June 1944; 70 years ago today. He was 22 years old.
If you are in the UK you may be familiar with the picture, as the BBC seemed to use it a lot whenever D-Day has been mentioned over the years. Probably because there is a lack of film footage of the crossing that day. The image has even been captured in the D-Day tapestry on display in Portsmouth in Hampshire.

Luck
Our Dad was one of the lucky ones that made it off that beach and through the war; going on to raise a large brood of 6 children.  Finally succumbing to several strokes and passing away at 62.
Like most Veterans of war, my Dad rarely mentioned anything about that period and indeed became an expert in deflecting any questions about it. If there were remaining ‘demons’ of that terrible conflict, he kept them to himself, and we would never have known. That ‘time’ was not one of counselling or being encouraged to talk about such things as post-traumatic-stress-disorder.
We grew up with many ‘sort of cousin’s ‘, extra people, treated like relatives in our already large family. They were children of other No 4 Commando’s, both living and dead that were enveloped and supported in the fellowship of my Dad’s Commando  mates  and himself.

Lessons

He taught me many things, such as the importance of laughter (he was always having a belly laugh about something!); perseverance (giving up on anything was never an option) and  how to grow things: flowers, vegetables, people.  I remember when I was about 9, during a D-Day commemoration the BBC were using the above picture and movie clip . I asked my Dad “why is your  picture was on the telly, what are you doing?” he replied   “oh, that’s just me going to work in a boat”.

*Mindful of the sacrifice of many and forever grateful. Lest We Forget.