Does Your Kid Wannabe a Youtube Superstar?

Guess what my six year old son said to me the other day?

“Dad. I want to be a Youtube superstar.”

Yes; he meant it. At least for a short while. And whenever I bring it up again actually. This is how kids are today. Totally influenced by things like Youtube and Instagram (whatever that is) and who knows what else.

Teenage Aspirations

I have heard of teenagers in their final years of school who really think that is what they can do when they leave school. This genuinely is the limit of their aspirations in more than a few cases. ‘I want to be a youtuber’…. ‘I want to be an Instagram Influencer’ (whatever the f*ck that is!)
Really? Well why the hell aren’t you already doing it now? would be my argument. They can already operate a PC and they know how to record videos on their phones; so what is stopping them? The truth is that they really cannot be bothered. And they will not be bothered doing anything with their lives in the immediate future. At least for a few years. Most will eventually wake up to reality. Sadly quite a few will not. Many will drift through some form of higher education until they realise they have wasted another 3 or 4 years of their lives. 

Anyway, when did real career aspirations disappear? Whatever happened to “I want to be a nurse” or “I want to be a carpenter”, or even “I want to work for the council”?

Back in the Day…

When I was his age we used to play outside as much as we could. Football, cricket, fishing or on our bikes. Although we also tried to watch the TV as much as possible even though there were only three channels and one of those was rubbish. That used to annoy our parents back in the day. We never ended up with square eyes though did we? So we must have got out a fair bit then?

Definitely Worse Today…

I guess using the iPad watching Youtube “stars” videos is not much worse than watching crap on TV. Or is it? I guess my grandparents would have said the same thing about that one-eyed box invention the television. ..

Sometimes I think it really is much worse. He watches all sorts now. Even though there are control settings etc… He can now read and write well enough to search for videos online. Before you know it he has watched them and comes to ask about them.

“Where the hell did you know about that from?”
“A youtube video (laughs)”

And then we have to take it off him. It shouldn’t be like that but in these days of (anti) social media it is a bit of a mine-field out there.

True Story to put this Coronavirus thing into Context.

Here’s a true story to put all this coronavirus rubbish into context.

My Dad’s Uncle

My grandmother’s brother was called Ernest Hughes. He was my dad’s uncle. My great-uncle. Dani’s great-great-uncle.

In 1989 he was consulted about events towards the end of the second world war in which he was one of 1300 prisoners being shipped to Japan to work as slave labour for the ailing Japanese war effort. On the way to Japan the ship was sunk by an American submarine and only 104 made it off the ship. Even then the ordeal was not over as the Japanese refused to pickup any of the Allied forces. He spent five days in a tiny boat being baked by the sun and with sharks ever present, looking for an easy meal.

The Film

The reason he was consulted about all this is because in that year they made a film called “Return from the River Kwai.” I remember my dad telling me about this many years ago. Then my sister dug up the newspaper article (see below) while doing some family tree research. You can read the article in full below. I had never seen it until now but I found the whole film available on Youtube – link here. Please watch it. It is not a sequel to the fantastic “Bridge over the River Kwai” but it is related to the events that followed, specifically the shipping of slave labour to Japan.

He had nightmares about his ordeal and the treatment he and many others received at the hands of their Japanese captors. As a result he never had anything of Japanese origin in his house. Not an easy thing for many post war years – as Japan was much like China is now producing much of the cheap stuff that we don’t really need but buy anyway because it so cheap. I can actually remember that his sister – my grandmother – was the same, and would not tolerate Japanese products in her house.

So what’s the link with today?

Well, there are three things that spring immediately to mind for me when reading this true story:

  1. The anti Japanese sentiment in the newspaper article would never be printed today. It would simply be edited out. Leaving the story largely incomplete.
  2. We should all being doing something similar now and avoiding anything made in China  in the aftermath of this coronavirus nonsense. It is not just because of the origin of the virus or even that they covered it up. It is more to do with being self-reliant and not being economically controlled – and bullied – by China; something that is only going to get worse unless we become more independent. We really do not need most of the things made there, and there are alternatives. This is something we can all do without leaving it to the useless politicians.
  3. Finally, and this one really struck me the moment I read the article: This really shows what a bunch of pathetic bed-wetters people have become. While people like my great-uncle went through serious ordeals and saw fellow soldiers starved and tortured to death, so many people today are hiding behind the sofa frightened of catching a glorified cold. For me that really puts this current situation into perspective.

The Article

The Book

The film is based on the book of the same name written by Ex-US submariner Clay Blair Jr and his wife Joan. They travelled to the UK and Australia to interview survivors. The book is a true account of the prisoner’s lives under the Japanese while the film is a suitably sanitised Hollywood version of events. The film was OK, but I feel I must now read the book.


Palm Beach – aka Summer Bay

Today’s trip took us to a place that more people probably know of by its TV name. This is Palm Beach also known as Summer Bay – to fans of the TV soap opera ‘Home and Away’.

Palm Beach and the TV Soap Opera

This is a beautiful spot. Although very crowded today being a Sunday. The amount of ‘essential travel’ never ceases to amaze me around Sydney. The roads were full of them. How do these roads cope without a virus lockdown?

There are probably more people in the UK that watch Home and Away than there are Australians. Now there’s a scary thought eh? I have seen it a couple of times but that would have been many years ago. I knew it was filmed somewhere near Sydney but have never been a fan of the show so not particularly interested in this place for the TV show. This is just a really nice little area with a real village feel. And of course the beaches and scenery are fantastic.

Palm Beach (south)

Palm Beach (north)

About an hour drive north of the city centre (traffic allowing) this time past Narrabeen beach to the tip of Barrenjoey Head. If you stay on the east coast from Sydney this is as far north a you can go. Then you hit the Hawkesbury River and series of bays and headlands. Geographically similar in some ways to Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour). They do Hawkesbury river cruises/trips. At least when allowed to. I would like to take one of those.

Station Beach (aka Summer Bay)

The Boathouse. Aka Alf’s place (apparently)

Pittwater  and Palm Beach 

The actual bay on the TV soap opera is Pittwater. Calm waters with Station beach and Barrenjoey beach sitting either side of The Boathouse cafe/restaurant (Alf’s in the TV show).

Pittwater – aka ‘Summer Bay’

Palm Beach is the ocean side of this headland. Rust coloured sand almost like Narrabeen beach. Popular with surfers and busy enough.

Dani evened the score with the Pacific Ocean – or so he says. This time he was a lot more wary… Basically staying well away from any big waves. All waves!

Long Reef Point

On the way back we stopped at Long Reef Point where Dani was in awe of a para-glider who was swooping up and down like a bird on the cliffs overlooking Dee Why beach and beyond.

All in all, another interesting exploration in to the northern beach areas of Sydney. The only downside was that the Barrenjoey lighthouse was closed off. We were not even allowed to walk up to it. The views from there would have been fantastic.

Dani at Long Reef Point

Overlooking Dee Why Beach


Dani vs Pacific Ocean: Who wins?

Today is this old dad’s birthday so we went for a quick (half) day trip to the North Shore. Narrabeen Beach to be exact. Our first time in this northern part of Sydney. Very nice I must say.


It was only a quick look at this part of Sydney but we will be back again soon. We did manage to have our first meal inside a restaurant (more like a café) for eight weeks. Eight weeks !!!! Where did that time go?

After seeing the waves from the promenade, Dani insisted on going on the beach even though we didn’t have the right gear. There was no way he was leaving before he had faced the ocean waves. And there were some big ones…


Who would win a fight between Dani and the Pacific Ocean?

Let’s see…

He came up laughing and it certainly made me laugh. Best birthday present ever!

Virtual Beggar – A Crazy Video Game

Virtual Beggar? What the f#*k?

Apparently this low resolution video game has been around over a year. Who knew? Not me.  But recently I caught my son playing it. I wasn’t shocked but it is one of those things that at least makes you roll your eyes to the sky. As if to say ‘whatever will they think of next?’

Actually I think it quite funny. But only because I can see through it and clearly can see that it was made by people who clearly knew they were just taking the piss.

It goes something like this…

You play some unshaven street beggar hanging around on the street, outside a motel or whatever.  Passers-by throw money your way and you try to collect as much as possible. When you have enough money (don’t ask for details) you then move on to the next step – Investing your begged money.

You invest in buying hotels etc and then make more money. Then you spend it all. Yes, the aim is to spend it all! Then you need to go back to begging on the street. Hilarious. Right?

It even gives you option to move towns. Presumably when you have exhausted the good nature of the original town’s bleeding heart citizens. Crazy. Have begging bowl, will travel.

The Game

The graphics are deliberately retro. Old fashioned pixelated figures, like that mine-craft rubbish kids seem to love.

The game is advertised as having four simple steps:
Step 1: Make Money (meaning, beg for it on the streets)
Step 2: Invest it.
Step 3: Spend it all (really ALL)
Step 4: Repeat (i.e. go back to begging, because you have spent all your money)

You can even spend some of the money you make begging to buy things like a puppy. Because beggars with a cute little puppy get more money thrown at them. How mad is that? The whole thing turns into a rags to riches story until you spend (waste) all your money on private jets, mansions – you name it – and end up back where you started. Totally insane. You have to laugh; or you would cry.

What do you think?

Frivolous? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Setting a bad example? Yes. It ticks all those wrong boxes but still made me laugh. It is just the crazy fact that you can do almost anything now and it can become popular and make money. Especially where these bloody video games are concerned.

Unsurprisingly, the attraction of this stupid but simple game is easy to see. Dani loves it. But he does realise that it is only a daft game.

We Are All in this Together. Really?

There’s a storm. A coronavirus storm. A shit-storm you might say. The politicians keep telling us, “We are all in this together”. Really?

Then let’s get people back to work. Let’s open the bars so people can go to the pub – which should be a human right in places like the UK and Australia!

Easing Restrictions in NSW

In New South Wales this week they are “easing the restrictions”. But this is what they are doing:

Religious gatherings and places of worship can now welcome up to 10 people while restaurants and cafes are allowed to have up to 10 patrons at a time as long as they maintain social distancing.
A total of 10 guests are allowed at weddings and up to 20 people at indoor funerals and up to 30 at outdoor funerals.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet confirmed this week pubs and clubs will join cafes and restaurants in being able to open for dining from Friday as part of the state government’s push to boost the economy.
The NSW announcement came after the national cabinet recommended excluding pubs and clubs.
Bars and gaming facilities will remain closed but table service for alcohol with a meal will be allowed so long as businesses adhere to social distancing requirements and stick to a limit of 10 patrons.
Takeaway services will continue as before.

Takeaway services eh? If there was ever a way to spread a disease (if it really was rampant) then this would be it. I have mentioned this one before – with reference to ‘Typhoid Mary’ (click here) – but something struck me the other day. Pizzas and pies may be OK. Piping hot out of the oven and not even handled as they are dropped into packaging to take away. But around Sydney there are just as many (maybe more) places selling sushi. Yes sushi! It is hand rolled, uncooked and passed on to the consumer. As far as I could tell none of them have ever closed during this plannedemic.

Workers representatives stopping people working?

Meanwhile back in the UK unions are trying to prevent a return to work for teachers. (And other groups.)

These days Many can do their jobs from home but if their kids are there it really isn’t an option. Working at home with kids in the house is virtually impossible. So why the hell aren’t the schools opening? Why should the unions, who are supposed to stand up for “working” people, be allowed to stop people “working”? Of course these union ‘leaders’ will not be losing a penny in all this shutdown crap. They are alright.

Not only that but the kids need to get back to school for all the obvious reasons. Otherwise why not just shut them forever more? At least in Australia they have tried to do the right thing with the schools.

All in this together?

There has not been a pandemic in Australia. Nor even an epidemic. Now it is (normal) flu season so any deaths will probably be counted as the second coming of the coronavirus. Yet the politicians are loving being in the spotlight. As if they are saving the earth form an alien invasion. Lapping it up while their jobs are safe. Their pensions are guaranteed. Their expenses will still be getting paid. Meanwhile other workers will lose their jobs and many private businesses will close.

We may all be in the same storm, but we are definitely not all in the same boat.

Saint Corona Day – How Will You Celebrate?

Tomorrow – 14th of May – is Saint Corona day. 

A big thanks to Mike still in partial lockdown in Milan, Italy for pointing this one out to me.

Saint Corona is not well known. But thanks to this recent “pandemic” of coronavirus her name is being talked about again. All we know is that she was a martyr killed for her christian faith, probably in the year 177 A.D. But nobody seems sure of where she lived.

What do we know?

She is mostly revered in Germany and Austria with a chapel dedicated to her in Sauerlach near Munich. There is an ancient relic of St. Corona that has been stored in a vault in Aachen cathedral. Now, with this virus thing going on, experts have taken it out to clean and conserve.

‘Corona’ of course is Latin for crown. The virus being named due to its crown-like structure. Her name is meant to symbolise being given the ‘crown of eternal life’ for her strength of faith.

It gets bloody!

Most of what we can find is the stuff of myth and legend. Like, at the age of sixteen,  being made to watch her husband being brutally killed. Her husband is Saint Victor. Tomorrow is more accurately known as St. Victor and St. Corona day.

Legend has it that Corona herself was killed in an even more gruesome manner. Tied between two palm trees that had been bent to the ground. When they were released she was torn apart. Horrible eh?

Money, Myth and Economy

Saint Corona was is associated with superstitions involving money, such as gambling and treasure hunting. ‘Coronae’ (or crowns) was a word given to coins in many countries. Some currencies in Scandinavia still use crowns.  It is sad that treasure hunters invoke this saint in an effort to find a haul. In March this year the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh suggested invoking her in order to  support the world economy which looks likely to collapse during the coronavirus “pandemic”.

There is an easier way, and one which will definitely save the economy of any country without the need for faith or divine intervention. Just get the people back to work. I and many others have been saying that all along…

How will you celebrate?

Like me probably not at all eh? Personally I will probably have a beer or two – which was the plan anyway. And because today is the beinganolddad anniversary (hardly worth celebrating eh?)

Is it just a coincidence that this saints day is coming when there is light at the end of the (virus) tunnel? We shall see…

LEGO Quiz. Movies and Music.

This coronavirus crap must be really getting to me. I was playing Lego with my son and realised there were some interesting bits and pieces to some of the Lego people. So I decided to make this little quiz. OK, I know. I clearly have too much time on my hands. Like most people these days eh….

LEGO Quiz – Movies

OK, here is a little fun game. We all know Lego already make a lot of sets based on movies, so it is pointless using anything like this one…

Too obvious right? Darth and R2 hanging out. Dani also has a load of superheros and villains so they will not be in this quiz either. Although part of them probably will be. So the quiz below will be made, as close as possible, with the very limited Lego pieces we had available. Get it?

There are 10 movies and 4 bands/singers. See if you can get all 14 correct. Plus right at the end there is a bonus one .

Movies in Lego

First for some films. Can you guess which films these are?

  1. An easy one to begin.

2. This one really was scraping for parts. But probably the most obvious to you all…

3.   OK, some idiot will probably try to say something about this one.

But this really was a classic movie…

4.   This one may be a little more tricky… Not an easy film to show with the parts we have.

So here’s a couple of clues: That purple was as close to the colour I wanted. Plus for the guy at the front it’s more about his hair.

5.  A classic. Say no more…

6. Another very famous movie

7.   Not great but I think you will get it.

8.   Even if you have not seen the film you will probably get this next one…

9.   Not so much a superhero as an anti-hero maybe?…

10. I struggled with this one but definitely wanted to do the movie.

Hair styles as close as I could get with the bits we have. But it is all Lego. Clue: The two characters in the foreground were never in the background scene.

Music – Name the Bands or Singers

Now for a few musical ones. Four groups/bands or solo artists…

  1.  A well known group.

2.   Struggled with this one but had to do it. It needed the clue in the background though…

3.   Name the person or his band…

4.  From a similar era. I thought we had a Lego snake somewhere but I was wrong.

Still he doesn’t always need one…

And a bonus one…

A famous painting…

How did you do?

Please send your answers directly to this blog site by clicking on “LEAVE A COMMENT”, just below the title. Anyone getting them all correct will receive a (virtual) pat on the back. If you did get them all correct, well done!

Mother’s Day Australia

Today was Mother’s Day in Australia. Last weekend it was Mother’s Day in Spain (día de la Madre) and Dani forgot. More to the point, so did I. Dani’s mum never got a card, present or flowers.

Too Many?

The thing is this: I got confused. With all the talk about Mother’s Day coming soon here  in Australia, I just thought that was the only one.

Should we celebrate Mother’s Day twice in one week? I suppose there is an argument for celebrating it every week. Right now we have three dates. The one for UK, one for Spain and now Mother’s day Australia. I would struggle to remember just one, but at least the Aussie day has been advertised enough here. And of course the schools make sure the kids know about it.

Anyway; we came up to this weekend with Dani already having made a card in school. (They weren’t going to make one for last week’s Spanish día de la Madre now were they?) So, all we needed to do was buy a present.

Present Ideas

Trying to get Dani to even think of an idea for a present is hard work. But it can be fun. I finally got him to come up with an idea. Lego !! Yes he came up with that one all by himself. Clever kid eh? So after school on Friday we went to the shops to look for something suitable. Yes you can still buy Lego from certain shops that are still open. Essential items didn’t you know? As essential as toilet rolls anyway.

I had to rack my brains to come up with an alternative as the Lego was ultimately going to be for only one person. And that was not Dani’s mum. Book? Flowers? Erm… hmm…

Actually, it turns out that there are a few Lego sets Dani’s mum would like. This is the one Dani chose for his mum… And this is also how she built it…

Lego Ice-cream Van

He did also give her some chocolates so quite a good boy really…

Mother’s Day in Sydney

With the travel restrictions not quite lifted we stayed in Sydney this weekend – see previous post. So we celebrated Mother’s Day locally. Just like yesterday we explored the coast of the South Head. It was sunnier than yesterday but cooler. This southern hemisphere autumn is taking some getting used to. Anyway, here are some photos from today.

CBD Viewed from Camp Cove Beach

Hornby Lighthouse

Lighthouse View over Harbour Mouth

The Hornby lighthouse is the third oldest in Australia. Not as striking as the Macquarie lighthouse we saw yesterday but the location is better. It lies on the southern tip of the entry into Sydney harbour with some great views.

Lady Bay Beach – very close to the Hornby lighthouse – is one of only five beaches in New South Wales that allows nude bating. Needless to say today was a little too cold. Or was it? We didn’t go down the steps to find out…

Little Lighthouse-Keeper

Beautiful Watsons Bay

More Lego?

For more Lego stay tuned for tomorrow’s Lego Quiz. Movies and pop music made from what little Lego we have here. Not brilliant in some cases but still funny…

A More Local Day Out at South Head

After reading about the Parrot Fever (see previous post) but mostly after looking into possible closures in the Blue  Mountains, we decided to stay in Sydney. So we headed for South Head peninsula; the bit that sticks out at the mouth of Port Jackson (probably better known as Sydney Harbour).

The Heads

The Sydney Heads (also simply known as the Heads) are a series of headlands that form the 2 km (1.2 mi) wide entrance to Sydney Harbour. North Head and Quarantine Head are to the north; South Head and Dunbar Head to the south; and Middle Head, Georges Head and Chowder Head are to the west (further into the harbour).

This South Head peninsula starts at the suburb (and bay) of Rose Bay and includes Vaucluse and Watsons Bay suburbs. There are some great old buildings in the area. (Old for Australia at least.) Like the vintage Doyles restaurant in Watsons Bay; sadly temporarily closed at the moment due to this virus thing.

Doyles on the Beach at Watsons Bay.

Cliff Walk

View to CBD

On the Pacific facing side South Head is mostly sheer cliffs. The coastal walk takes you right to the edge, but there are fences in place so even those scared of heights can get a good view. For obvious reasons, South Head peninsula is home to the Hornby Lighthouse, Australia’s third-oldest lighthouse; and Macquarie Lighthouse, Australia’s first lighthouse. It is also the location for a Royal Australian Navy training base.

Macquarie Lighthouse

The Macquarie lighthouse and associated buildings were designed by James Barnet and built between 1881 and 1883. It was the first, and is the longest serving, lighthouse site in Australia.

Just north of the lighthouse and equally important is the Marine Rescue Port Jackson base.

Interestingly, in these covid-times…

Quarantine Head was so called for exactly what its name suggests. An old quarantine station specifically built to keep the (former) colony safe form the spread of diseases. Those who might have an infectious disease would be kept in quarantine until it was considered safe to release them. The area operated as a quarantine station from 14 August 1832 to 29 February 1984.

The importance of the Northern Heads was highlighted by the Quarantine Act of 1832, which set aside the whole of North Head for quarantine purposes in response to the 1829–51 cholera pandemic in Europe. Which just goes to show eh? People never, ever learn from history.

In any case that was all  across the mouth of the harbour and we will visit that place some time soon.