Start here

Unique House of Gifts

Unless you are new to my blogs you may recollect that Brian and I have previously run a couple of small businesses, albeit with no success. That does not mean I have lost the will to run a business, in fact it means the very opposite, I need to prove to myself that I can run a business, a successful business.

There are innumerable small businesses operating worldwide, and many times I have asked myself how, may of those I have had experience with appear to be successful in spite of themselves. Indeed a number of the small businesses I have worked for have made many questionable decisions in my humble opinion, and yet they are in business and I am not.

I now have the bug again, and so does Brian, enter Unique House of Gifts, the online gift store we are currently working on. What will make this gift store different to the others, not much I suspect but we are going to give it a try anyway.

We hope that the eclectic array of gifts on offer will be enough to give us that edge. I am keen to offer a personalised range of gifts, Brian would like to offer an alternative, non politically correct range. The choices are endless, we could have an adults only section, a section for collectibles where we can sell old vinyl records, my vast collection of theatre programs, sheet music, pianola scrolls, and whatever else I happen to see in the odd garage sale or second hand store. You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It could be fun.

It has now been a couple of weeks since we started out on this venture, and I have to admit it is not as simple as I thought. Use Shopify we were told, it is dead simple we were told, well guess what it’s not. At the moment it is doing our heads in. This afternoon we will give it another go and then decide whether to call in an expert.

Will Unique House of Gifts be a success, who knows, will it provide me and then possibly Brian the opportunity to retire and run the business full time, who knows. What I do know is if we don’t try we will never know, so watch this space, as soon as we are ready to launch the business you will be the first to know.

In the meantime follow this link and support our good friends Jo and Kate as they launch their new business. Best of luck girls.

English as a foreign language

Having just returned from holidaying in China, Vietnam and Cambodia, and listening to what seem very convoluted languages, it has made think of the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

Rain, reign, rein – Though, through, rough, bough – Court, caught, sought, sort – Boy, buoy – Soon, look – Time, thyme – Lead, led – Search, lurch – Stair, stare. The list goes on.

Then there are the works that don’t even look the same but are pronounced alike. Fought, caught, rort.

What about words that are spelt the same but pronounced differently depending on which way they are used. For example, “Have you read any good books lately”, ” Can you read“. If English is not your first language good luck to you.

By the way the holiday was great, or was that grate?

Back to work

Back to work tomorrow, oh how I wish I could walk in and announce my retirement, I am so sick of what I do. People keep telling me to look for something else, if only it was that easy. I will be 60 this year and I have a very limited skill set, no-one is going to employ me for the same money I am on now if they have to retrain me from scratch. I have little to offer an employer other than life experience. There are plenty of much younger people out there with more to offer.

At the moment the worst case scenario is that I will retire at 65, the thought of doing what I do for another five plus years makes me want to throw up. It is not so much the actual job itself, but the way I am treated by some of my clients. I am so very tired of being sworn at and spoken to like a piece of trash, and all because people don’t understand, nor do they wish to know, the limitations on what I am allowed to do. The general opinion is that if they want it I should drop everything and do it, regardless of the consequences and the other 1200 or so clients I have, and whether what they are asking is compliant with the relevant governing Act. I am told I am gutless and unhelpful, and that is when things get personal, and I am expected to take it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a number of clients that think I am wonderful and understand the limitations I must work to, but it is the arrogant and rude clients that unfortunately stick with you and can ruin the rest of your day or week.

What is it that I do I hear you ask, I am a Body Corporate Manager. If you own a Strata or Community Title property think about what I have written before you next spew forth your venom on your hard working strata manager. I know I am not alone in this, strata managers all over are being subjected to the same vilification that I am. Please remember we are people to, we have feelings and like everyone one else we are not infallible. Please give us the respect that you expect, and know that the we have your best interest, and the best interest of all owners in your corporation, at heart.

Holiday Time

Just another five working days and then two weeks off, I cannot wait. Two weeks where I will not be abused by clients, two weeks where I do not have to clean up the mess of former co-workers, two weeks when I don’t have to wear shoes or trousers, two weeks of peace and quiet with Brian and my family.

Then just a few months later we will be off to China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I really can’t wait for that. What a way to celebrate my sixtieth birthday, which is actually in November but we are holidaying early. I’m not sure that I will do anything else for the big “six o”, definitely not a party, maybe just dinner with my immediate family.

I don’t know why people get so upset about birthdays and getting older, it is far better than the alternative, and for me each birthday brings me one year closer to retirement, a big holiday. I would retire tomorrow if I could but we have a mortgage to pay off first. I am aiming for 65, I think that’s achievable.

In the meantime back I will go to the daily grind in 2018, more of other people’s messes to clean up, more abuse from bad tempered clients, and I suppose I will have to go back to shoes and trousers.

Marriage Equality

Its been a long time since I put finger to keyboard but I could not let this opportunity pass me by. For those of you who do not know the Australian Senate has passed the Marriage Equality Bill in Australia, I believe it goes before the House of Representatives this coming week. This has come about as a result of the money wasting census Australia has just held, I am sure the millions spent could have been better utilised elsewhere if only our federal politicians had the intestinal fortitude to make a decision that they already knew the majority of Australians supported.

A number of people have already asked whether Brian and I will get married once this bill becomes law, the short answer is No. Getting married will not change our relationship or our lives. We have shared the same Medicare card for at least fifteen years, we have joint private health cover, we declare our incomes on each other’s tax, that’s right the Federal government may not yet recognise us as a couple but the Taxation Department does. We have joint property, joint bank accounts, we are the executors and beneficiaries of our wills, and we are each other’s next of kin in all areas. Brian is the only one that can make the decision to switch off my life support, something I am sure he has dreamed of at least once. Why on earth would we want to get married, we already celebrate the anniversary of the date we met, why muddy that with a wedding.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be very happy to see this bill passed for those who do wish to get married, particularly for the young people like my son who still have their whole lives ahead of them. Everyone should have the opportunity to marry the person they love, and what a boon it will be for the economy.

While I am on my soap box I would also like to see all the “labels” removed from our day to day language, I do not like words such as homosexual, lesbian, poofter, fag, or gay. We are simply normal everyday people who just happen to fall in love with and choose to spend our lives with someone of the same gender, why should it have a label.

I am a good person, Brian is a good person, we do not intentionally hurt anyone. I love my children and my grandchildren with all my heart, I am very proud of all of them. All I really want in this life is to be happy, surrounded by those I love and that love me. Even more that that I want my children and my grandchildren to be happy. Vent over.

The Big “C”

Call it what you will cancer of any kind is a terrible disease, I would not wish it in any form on my worst enemy.

I have just found out that one of my oldest and dearest friends is now battling a form of this horrible disease. My former sister-in-law and a friend I have known for some years are also fighting the good fight. I trust that all three will come through relatively unscathed.

I don’t think there would be many of us who have not been touched by cancer is some way, we would all know someone, or know of someone, who has  had their body ravaged by this most indiscriminate of diseases, not to mention the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

None of us know what is going on inside our bodies, it makes you wonder whether we would be better not knowing. I suppose we at least then have the option to fight, or at the very least say our goodbyes, but there is little dignity either way.

To the three very brave ladies in my life, keep fighting, we have many wonderful memories that we are yet to make.



Model for an Australian monarchy

The subject of Australia becoming a republic rather than having Queen Elizabeth II and her descendants as our head of state is never far from the headlines, it rears its ugly head with monotonous regularity, particularly when a federal election is pending. I make no bones about the fact that I have a passion for all things royal, so why not  create our own monarchial system, a model unique to Australia.

A Royal Family could help unify the nation as they would be above politics, as are other modern royal families. Look at the way the crowds flock whenever Queen Elizabeth or any of her immediate family make a public appearance, and what wonderful ambassadors they are for Great Britain when travelling abroad. What of the Danish Royal Family and our own Crown Princess Mary, crowds flock to see her and Crown Prince Frederick at every opportunity……..I know, I am a crackpot! 🙂

Other than the selection of our first monarch the infrastructure is already in place. The monarch could reside in Yarralumla, the current residence of the Governor-General, whose position would become redundant. There are residences in every capital city for our current state Governors, these would become royal residences and the position of Governor would also become redundant.

The Prime Minster does not require two official residences so Kirribilli House could be sold, and when travelling interstate the Prime Minister could stay in one of the previous state Governor “royal” residences.

As for the Civil List or wages for the monarch, wages previously paid to the Governor-General would suffice, and for the Heir Apparent, wages equal to one of the former Governors, so no additional expense, in fact there would be a considerable saving.

What of the extended royal family, only the Heir Apparent and their immediate family would be funded by the Civil List, all other members of the Royal Family, including the siblings of the Heir Apparent,  would have to earn their own way, although grace and favour residences in the various royal residences may be provided for the monarch’s children, for which they would contribute a nominal amount. These residences are already fully staffed so no additional expense.

All other grandchildren of the monarch would need to find their own way in the world once they become adults, no civil list and no additional “royal” residences.

As for royal security, the Governor General and the state governors already have security so no additional expense.

I am not talking about instituting a new “Honors” system, we already have one so why change it. No Knight or Dames, no aristocracy. The children of a monarch would be styled Prince or Princess, but not their children, only those of each consecutive Heir Apparent, and their children.

Should an Heir predecease the monarch and have no children, the next in line would become Heir with all the privilege and title that came with it. Naturally their children would also be elevated to Prince or Princess.

What about interstate and overseas travel, yes the federal government would have to meet the bill for that, but it’s not like they would be travelling overseas every week, and accommodation, again a minimal expense.

Royal ceremonies? No coronation just the swearing of an oath, royal weddings would be at the monarch’s own expense, official opening of parliament, come on we do need a little razzle dazzle. What about state banquets for overseas heads of state, we already have them. Crown jewels, back to the razzle dazzle, but nothing over the top.

Day to day travel, all state Governors have official cars and chauffeurs so nothing would change. There, I think I have everything covered, the only thing left is to order my straight jacket and private suite in the penitentiary.

I have had a lot of fun coming up with all this, quite harmless and not too serious. Have a laugh if you like, I have.

Published the Royal House of Mitchell

A new world order

Watching the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics and the various news bulletins from Rio of late has really highlighted to me the void between the rich and poor. Add to that our recent cruise through Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, where we found the extreme poverty of the local people very confrontational, and it makes you think. You realise how truly blessed we are to be Australian.

But what can we do, our means are limited, and while we are comparatively rich compared to these people, the reality is that we are not rich, we wonder whether we will have enough money to retire comfortably. Will we have to rely on an aged pension, or have we done enough. How every selfish, even those thoughts are a privilege denied to many.

So what can we do, we can do as much as our means permits, but that will never be enough, but what of the rich and famous. Look at the lifestyles and fortunes of the rich and famous, movie stars, television personalities, sportsmen, musicians, these people are worth millions, hundreds of millions some of them.

Imagine what these people could do, what a difference they could make to the world if each one donated just a small percentage of their fortune to creating a new world order. Build a school, put a roof over a families’ head, teach them how to fend for themselves and build a future for their families, the possibilities are endless. We could wipe our poverty and create a new world where everyone has an opportunity to have an education and contribute in a positive way to their community.

I have always said if I was lucky enough to win a significant amount of money I would give something back, whether it be a much-needed piece of equipment to a hospital, or school books for children in a third world country, I would do something. I would make a difference to someone somewhere.

I am not having a shot at the rich and famous, I am sure that many of them are already philanthropists and it goes unreported, but imagine if they all did something. What a better place this world would be.



Feral neighbours Part 3

I am thrilled to say that my feral neighbours have moved on. It looks strangely like they have done a runner, leaving behind the things they did not want  in the back yard. With any luck the landlord will fill in the holes their dog dug through to our place

When we drove out today we could see some of the most disgusting graffiti on the walls in the front room. I feel very sorry for the landlords who now have to clean their filth up. I certainly hope that the next tenants are nicer, one would think that the property manager and landlord will be a little more discerning next time around. Surely we can’t finish up any worse off.

Oh well not much we can do about it, we will find out when we get back from our holiday one way or another. I just hope the new tenants take a little more care of the place so we can maximise our return when we put our own home on the market.


Cruise Time

Getting a wee little bit excited at the moment, just four days away from our next cruise. We both started three weeks annual leave last night and Wednesday morning we fly to Sydney before boarding the Sun Princess for a 14 day cruise to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. Cannot wait.

This is the same cruise ship we went to New Zealand on so we know our way around, it would be great to see some of the same crew as they were all very friendly.

We have promised ourselves to be a little more responsible this time around, yes we are still going to eat, drink and be merry, but we are also going to do a couple of revolutions around the deck each day to help ward off that holiday fat. Hopefully I will be a little more relaxed about the whole experience second time around, and just enjoy myself.

Last time we didn’t get involved with any on board activities, and to be honest we probably won’t do this time either, but we do intend to make the most of all the amenities on board. The casino, the theatre, movies under the stars, maybe even the pool.

The festivities don’t end when we get back to Sydney as we are having an extra couple of days there before flying home to Adelaide. Brian and I have not spent any real time in Sydney together so we are looking forward to that as well.

The excitement will continue for Brian as he furthers his career in retirement living with a new job the day we go back to work. This year is our year, a holiday and hopefully a new house, and with a new house comes my racing pigeons.