April 29, 2011

ANZAC Pin competition... reminder

Hey Everyone  - if you want to be part of the ANZAC pin competition (see details here) you need to make a comment on that blog post by this Monday midnight.

Rules are simple

Leave a comment - include your name if you don't have a blogger account that shows your contact details.

You can be from anywhere in the world!

You do NOT have to be a follower of my blog to enter (but you do have to be contactable if you win so watch for "X is the winner" post next week)

So what will you win you ask?

This (somewhat) rare hat pin of an Australian ANZAC slouch hat.  (I say rare because only 1 of the 6 veteran pin sellers I approached had even one of these in the stick-pin variation.)

So Enter today - and join the potentially lucky Gang-of-Five already in the draw

April 25, 2011

Lest we Forget

It is ANZAC day here in Australia (25th April) - where the citizens of Australia and New Zealand stop and remember those that have fought for us in the wars; and those that will never return.

The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzac's [wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day]

For more details on the origin of the day please go read the blog of Major Pain (One Marine's View) who has written a great blog entry "The ANZAC Day tradition - Lest we forget" - you can read it HERE 

And every year just before ANZAC day our veterans and military can be seen selling Poppy pins and commemorative badges; and our stores sell ANZAC biscuits (check the link for the recipe). I try to get at least a poppy pin and one other to wear on my blazer.  This year my parents gave me the Rising Sun badge below that I will treasure.

I have two slightly smaller slouch hat pins that I will be sending to my Downrange USA adoptee's. I am hoping they will value them (sending the smaller ones via the post means - I hope - that it won't freak the USA/Military mail people out too much.  Seems metal in the mail = EEEK!!!)

And I have the Slouch Hat Badge above (stick pin version) that I would love to give away to a reader of this blog.

Contest rules - you need to make a comment in this blog saying you would like to be in the draw.  In a week's time I will write every one's names on a strip of paper and have a friend draw one from a hat.

Entrants can be ANYWHERE in the world (Downrange, Australia, New Zealand, USA etc) - the winner will be announced on my Blog and they will be required to supply me with a contact email so I can obtain their mail address.  They will have 1 week to contact me or a redraw will occur.

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"
- Eric Bogle

Now when I was a young man, I carried me pack, and I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback, well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said son, It's time you stopped rambling, there's work to be done.
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun, and they marched me away to the war.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda, as the ship pulled away from the quay
And amidst all the cheers, the flag-waving and tears, we sailed off for Gallipoli
And how well I remember that terrible day, how our blood stained the sand and the water
And of how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay, we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was waiting, he'd primed himself well. He shower'd us with bullets,
And he rained us with shell. And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, when we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs, then we started all over again.
And those that were left, well we tried to survive, in that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks, I kept myself alive, though around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head, and when I woke up in my hospital bed,
And saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead. Never knew there was worse things than dyin'.

For I'll go no more waltzing Matilda, all around the green bush far and free
To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs-no more waltzing Matilda for me.
So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed, and they shipped us back home to Australia.
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane, those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay, I looked at the place where me legs used to be.
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me, to grieve, to mourn, and to pity.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, as they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared, then they turned all their faces away
And so now every April, I sit on me porch, and I watch the parades pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march, reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore. They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear. Someday no one will march there at all.
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong, who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

April 20, 2011

Pax the Plumber (?)

Last weekend saw some urgently required home renovations occuring here in Villa-de-Pax.

How desperate I hear you ask?  well.. the water gushing from the rusted-out pipe on to the laundry floor made it a somewhat urgent "better fix me fast" project

Luckily I am armed with a Handy-Dandy DIY Dad, and once we managed to unscrew the 40+ year old solid metal pipe from under the laundry tubs we were (sort of) in business.

it's like alien microbes have had a happy munch attack!

One quick-ish trip to the Local hardware store later and we were in possession of a new plastic sink trap and a few other bits and pieces (Dad had raided his store of plastic plumber bits so we didn't need to spend too much $$ thankfully)

And as you can see from the above pics the other two downpipes are in need of some TLC too.  So following Dad's rather precise written instructions, I have applied Rust converter to the affected bits and will paint on Metal Primer to the exposed pipe bits (and that rather nasty looking grill there) on the weekend.  After that it's a few coats of gloss paint for metal, and some flat paint on the concrete drain bit and it will look all sparkly.

All achieved without any bodily injuries* GO ME!

*I'm not sure where my Dad got the idea that I was a DIY Klutz - I mean... one little incident with a dropped saw and my trying to catch it mid-air [cause I didn't want it damaged by hitting the ground] and the man seems to think I'm a walking disaster just waiting to occur - how unfair is that!.  It's not like my fingers didn't recover or anything!

April 17, 2011

And the camel is Named!

Thank you for all the camel-icious name suggestions.

I really loved the inventiveness and it was a tough decision to make (I did attempt the scientific process of "call to camel using each name and see if he responded" - which strangely enough failed to work.  The CAT, however, quite enjoyed batting him about the room as "punishment" for me paying more attention to a stuffed toy than her)

So I would like to introduce you to

Boonie the camel

Prize winner is Charlie Sherpa (from Red Bull Rising Blog ) for the name suggestion.  Charlie I will organise something suitable after payday (bwhahahahah!!)

Wadi was a close runner up (thanks el Chupacabra). 

I was also exceptionally taken with the name "Sopwith" (thanks Stephen) but decided that I may be obsessing a little too Bigglesworthy when I began hunting online for a teeny tiny leather flying helmet. And if you ever happen to find one let me KNOW :D

Same with "Fargo" (thanks Momma) - I began to wonder how to get him a cute little Stetson

(Oh.. this obsession with dressing stuffed animals? I blame that on my old friend Kathy for giving me a Bunny Rabbit complete with Camo smudges, a bandoleer and a gun... My favourite toy for years!)

Thank you all for playing :)

April 7, 2011

Name that Camel!

It's been a busy few days here Downunder.

I have managed to catch up with most of my correspondence and bill paying; and have organised the final parcel for my adopted soldier JJ.

JJ goes "stop mail" at the end of April so I wanted to get one more small parcel of Aussie munchies off to him so he can remember me with fondness (... and in years to come he'll join the ranks of those few - those rare few - that can begin a beer-infused conversation with "There was this goofy Aussie Angel...").  I'm hoping my weekly witty written ramblings (ooh I love Alliteration!) and occasional parcels made the time Downrange a little less glum for him.

And every now and then one of my adoptees sends me something in return and I get all gobsmacked at their kindness and thoughtfulness and get a wee bit teary-eyed - because it's not something you ever expect (the guys are downrange - in the sun & sand and drama and everyday shelling attacks - they're generally too busy to even drop notes on facebook let alone plot surprises for the unwitting Aussies)

So in today's post there came a parcel.. and within the parcel was

artistically posed on the wall-hanging that Izzy sent me. Trying to
keep the "Iraq" flavour here.

I've promised my Adoptee that I will think of a suitable name for my newest plush companion but I'm coming up a little blank ("Joe" seems too lacking in originality; and "Sir Humps-a-lot" will probably offend someone).  So my loyal gang of followers (Looking pointedly at the Lurkers from Downrange) can you suggest a clever and/or witty name for my Camel of Iraq'y'ness?

I can probably come up with a small prize for the winning entrant - however it won't be Timtams until the weather grows colder.