Nimbin – The Real Hippy Spot

Back to the holidays a month ago…
While we were in Byron Bay we paid a visit inland to the small town of Nimbin.  Nimbin was the real site of the birth of the hippy culture in Australia – not Byron Bay on the coast. 

Nimbin – A Little History…

Nimbin was the site of the Aquarius music festival in 1973.Situated about 50km inland from Byron Bay it takes an hour to drive there through the often winding roads. There are obvious similarities to Woodstock – the 1969 music festival – that put the small town of Woodstock, in upstate New York, on the map.
I have been to Woodstock in America and there other definite similarities. Most notably that both places are still inhabited by ageing hippies who seem to think the concert is still going. But I am sure they are happy enough.

Surrounding area

Plenty of Interesting and Colourful Shop Fronts


Nimbin Main Street
The main street through Nimbin is called Cullen Street and contains many multi-coloured shop fronts and buildings. The most famous of which is the HEMP Embassy. In this case “HEMP” is used not only to reference the plant and seed but also as an acronym: H.E.M.P. = Help End Marijuana Prohibition.

The Famous H.E.M.P. Embassy

Inside the Hemp Embassy there are plenty of hemp seed related products on sale. Including a bar area where you can order hemp seed products and other stuff. As well as a simple coffee or eggs breakfast.

Inside the HEMP Embassy Bar

Where the owners are legally permitted to sell marijuana…

More Main Street Photos

A Little Irony in this Official Sign

‘Mardi Grass’ in Nimbin
Every May in Nimbin they hold something called Mardi Grass and Cannabis Reform Rally. (Nice play on the French word ‘Gras’ there eh?) This year’s event was cancelled due to the coronavirus thing (as if you needed to be told) but there were still plenty of colourful posters available advertising the event.

Mardi Grass Poster
Another Mardi Grass Poster
This Year’s Poster

Overall Nimbin is an interesting place to visit whether you support the drug reforms the locals seek or not. Plenty of interesting shops and cafes for anyone to spend a day out there. And if you are interested and have time there are several communes that sprouted up around Nimbin. 


How Cinema Smoking Areas Were Good For Us – Sort Of

Having gone to the cinema a few times recently it got me thinking. How much my enjoyment of the cinema experience has changed over the years. But there is a bit more to it than that…

Modern Cinema

Now, the most recent post-coronavirus lockdown cinema experience is fantastic. Basically you get the cinema to yourself. I seem to anyway. But that is not what I am talking about here.

Usually going to the cinema means plenty of people in an enclosed space. OK, I admit it; that alone puts me off. But the real problem is that cinemas these days offer all kinds of food, sweets and drinks. So sitting in a cinema watching a popular movie means the sound of people crunching and slurping. It is not my idea of trying to watch a film. Especially if it is one with dialogue that you need to concentrate on.

Back in the day…

OK. Back in the day means a long time ago for anyone around my age. But stay with me. Back in the day was different. They still sold food and sweets but mostly this used to happen during an ‘intermission’. Ask you parents or even grandparents if you don’t understand that one. In reality though people used to go to watch the film rather than scoff non-stop. These days the movie is almost secondary to some kind of unhealthy meal or plain grazing…

Also of course way back in the day I was a kid too. (Yes I really was!) So, I just got as excited as any other kid (now or then) about going to the cinema.

Smoking Area?

Way back then the cinemas used to have smoking areas. It seems incredible now but here is a lesson for all those who are too young to remember that. One side of the cinema would be designated as the smoking area. ‘But this was a small enclosed space!’ – Shock! Horror! I hear you cry. Correct. But here is where the lesson begins.

Naturally the smoke would rise and could be seen drifting upwards and moving over the top of the room and kind of dropping on the other side of the theatre. Almost forming a frame around the screen. The more smokers there were in the cinema the worse and more dense that ‘frame’ would be. But it never seemed to bother anyone. And it really never spoiled any movie for the film watchers. Ever. In fact we all thought it was a bit funny. Looking back with people old enough to remember that old cinema smoke always makes people laugh.

Today it’s just too much…

These days of course smoking is banned pretty much everywhere for people’s health and nobody would really argue against that. However, there was something back then that is seriously missing from today’s world. I wish I could take today’s kids back in time to show them that smokey cinema. They are so over-protected these days. For their own good of course. At least that is the story. It means that they are now more or less told when and how much to worry.

I wonder; is that why so many people ran and hid behind the sofa when the authorities ran their coronavirus scare stories? I am sure it is a big part of it.

I am not saying we should bring back smoking in cinemas or anything of the sort. But there is definitely something missing in the lives of the younger generations, and it is not good. I do believe they no longer have a real grasp on what is and what is not a real threat to them. Life is a very risky business. There are things to be aware of and things to be cautious of. There are also times when we just need to get on with life. A bit like those old World War 2 slogans that oddly seem quite popular these days on cushions, pictures etc… “Keep Calm and Carry On”. How can those be so popular when people seem to be so unable to take that simple advice these days.

Lesson over…And now…

And there ends the lesson for today folks. Now I am off with my son to teach him how to play hopscotch on the main road. It’s a great game, you should try it. But it’s no fun if there is no traffic… Take care!

Covid-1984. How Orwellian!

Have you ever read George Orwell’s ‘1984’? If not then you really should, especially now with the current covid-19(84) panic and government lockdowns going on.

Slogans

In Orwell’s book ‘1984’, the party keeps its citizens under constant watch and brainwashes them with some party slogans so ridiculous that people actually seem to fall for them. Here are the three main party slogans:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Read them. Then read them all again and again. They are complete garbage right? Yet here in Australia – the state of Victoria to be exact – they are using the following phrase during the coronavirus panic-demic:  “Staying Apart Keeps Us Together”.

They really are using that one! Incredible isn’t it? Yeah right! So getting drunk keeps you sober?

So, yes. I guess War really is Peace. Because in these coronavirus days Freedom is definitely Slavery when they are locking people up in their own homes. Especially in Melbourne right now.

What total wanker came up with that one? I do not know the answer to that one but here are some of the morons running the show in Victoria and Melbourne where they have gone full on mental, nuts, bonkers, totally cuckoo on locking up their own citizens just recently.

Some of those ‘in charge’…

There’s this fella’ who acts for the whole country as some kind of chief medical officer / deputy chief medical adviser / whatever! (Who cares?) There seem to be so many of them these days eh? Who would have thought there were so many on the pay roll? (Your taxes!)

You can tell what he’s thinking…’If only I had thought of that great slogan’.

Oops! Sorry. Wrong photograph. Easy mistake though wouldn’t you say? There is a little bit of a resemblance. Mind you, this old German would have been very proud of Victoria state’s slogan eh? Imagine him and his henchmen separating men from women and children on their arrival at the camps. “Don’t cry kids. Remember, ‘Staying Apart Keeps Us Together’ “

Here we go… This is the guy. He does some sort of job for the whole of Australia. I have seen this little weasel speaking on TV and just managed to turn him off before my foot went through the screen.

Paul Kelly – Apparently ‘acting chief medical officer for Australia’

Then there is this woman. Is that the correct description? You never know these days and let’s face it this one does look a bit scary.

Lisa Neville MP. Who the hell put this woman in charge of the police?

This is Lisa Neville, a member of the Victoria state parliament or assembly (is that right?) whose job description is something like ‘Minister for Police and Minister for Water’. So this minister for police is responsible for people being herded into their apartment blocks by the police and totally locked up for no real reason. I am sure you would agree that this fraulein would have worked well with that German bloke above.

Victoria State PM

This bloke is the prime minister of the state of Victoria. He is a socialist of some kind and is currently presiding over a huge shit-show in his state.

Victoria state Prime Minister Daniel Andrews – so under-paid!

This clown earns $441,000 per year (plus a load of expenses probably). Last year he awarded himself an 11.8% salary increase. He sits in front of that hilarious slogan every day on TV and manages to keep a straight face. For that alone I think this man is massively underpaid! What do you think?

I wouldn’t mind meeting this moron and kicking him in the balls. Then I can give him a new slogan. “A kick in the nuts is pain relief mate”.

And why?

Apparently there has been a rise in covid cases in Victoria and the Melbourne area in particular. While the numbers are tiny this does not seem to matter. Also of course it is now cold and flu season – Helloooooooo!!! So anyone with a cold or a touch of will probably go to the doctor where they are probably being tested for coronavirus. They may well have had it so the anti bodies will be in their system. Hey presto! Another one to add the the mythical “second wave” figures. Of course they have been testing people anyway so of course they will find people with anti-bodies to the virus. It does not mean there is another outbreak though. And so it goes on…

Victoria entered something they called “A State of Disaster” recently. Bloody hell that really is taking the piss. Talk about frightening your voters to death! This is the real crime gong on. Take a look a this one (below) doing the rounds on social media. A little out of date for coronavirus deaths etc – maybe. But this tells the real story of this Covid-1984 hoax.

Last year’s flu season versus this year’s Coronavirus – Australia

My main question in all this is; Who the hell votes for these politicians?  They are not fit to run a bath never mind a country or state.

Cinema Again – ‘Unhinged’ (Sort of) Review

I saw the trailer for this one the when I went to see ‘The Gentlemen’ film the other week. I was not keen but decided to give it a go anyway. So here goes. A review – of sorts – for “Unhinged”.

I was right

Well in a nutshell my gut instinct was right. I gave the film the benefit of the doubt however and I suppose it was just about watchable. It is basically a movie about road rage. Although it goes a step further by including a main character – played by Russell Crowe – who is clearly seriously depressed and on some sort of medication.  You see him taking the pills regularly and it is clear that they are not doing him any good whatsoever. Is this a dig at the big pharma game or what? It seemed so to me but the movie never really explored why this guy was so “unhinged” nor how these pills made him worse. It hardly went into it at all which was a shame.

But it seems that this guy lost his job just shy of getting his pension and his wife left him. It was not clear if he got depressed and that is why his wife left him although he hints that she was having an affair. But that may have been because he had become hard to live with… Etc… etc… you get the point?

Crowe’s character is a very unhinged individual however. Yet he seems to be very methodical and premeditated when he plans his moves. I am no expert in mental health but he did seem a bit too composed at times to be so mentally disturbed.

Spoiler Alert: And I mean very disturbed enough to;  break into his (ex) wife’s new home, beat them all to death with a sledgehammer and burn the house down. Yes that level of disturbed.

Alert Over

Basically a woman pisses him off at a traffic jam and road rage ensues. IT gets worse as he decides to “teach her a lesson”. It becomes more like that old movie ‘The Hitcher’. The sort of thing that might scare some people but make others – me being one of them – laugh at times.

There is violence and lots of car chases with pile ups. If they had not filmed those I guess it would have been a fairly low budget movie. But then it is based – loosely – around a spot of road rage. The scariest thing about this film is that in reality there are a lot of people out there on medication who are not the most mentally stable. It would have been a much better production if they had at least gone into that a little bit.

Conclusion

Not one of Crowe’s finest films for me. Those being – in no particular order – L.A. Confidential, Gladiator, The Next Three Days, Romper Stomper, Cinderella Man, The Nice Guys and American Gangster. Those are my picks anyway. But he probably needs the money. As for other actors/actresses?  – Nobody worth mentioning really.

Oh one more thing – not a spoiler alert more of an alert to a spoil! At the end of the movie they play ‘Dont Fear the Reaper’, but not the excellent version (and original) by Blue Oyster Cult. No, they messed up by playing some far crappier cover version by some duo called ‘Keep Shelly in Athens’. I wish they would have!

In short I would recommend that you save your money for another film. Wait for this one to hit the TV screen.

Empty Cinemas

The place was empty again. If this carries on I wonder what impact it will have on Hollywood (and the rest)? So thinking back to a previous post where I mentioned the cinema offering you a private showing for $500… (see that here)

Cinema to myself again. Not all this coronavirus bullshit is bad eh?

It occurred to me that I had just saved myself $486. If I go to the cinema a lot more maybe I can save enough money to buy a nice boat. Then again…

 

 

In Search of Koalas

Back to our Holidays…

Just an hour drive inland from Byron Bay is the university town of Lismore. The area is known as a good place to spot koalas. If you don’t see them in the wild there is also a kind of ‘hospital’ for rescued koalas in the area. We thought that Dani would at least see some behind bars. Not ideal, but he has never seen one apart from on TV and in books.

Koala Trail

We headed off armed with a pamphlet from the tourist information in Byron Bay that suggested a few places to spot the furry creatures. After two of the recommended sites – and no luck – we headed for the koala rescue centre. And would you believe it? The place was closed to visitors due to that bloody virus! Will it never end? But I digress…

Next to the rescue centre was a small park area with plenty of trees. Just the sort of trees that koalas like to eat and sleep in. So, we walked around the immediate area, seemingly only guaranteed a stiff neck. Then out of nowhere a couple turned up, one of them pointing up into a tree. Amazingly she had spotted a koala in a tree while driving past. With eyesight that good she should be working for the CIA or some similar organisation. I was very impressed.

When your neck gets tired of looking up things like the roots of a tree can even catch your eye. The way some of these trees take root around here never ceases to amaze me.

Hard to spot in all the leaves and branches eh?

Goin’ back to my roots

Sure enough there was a koala just waking from a sleep and about to start eating.

 Can you spot the koala?

After a little more walking around looking up at the tree tops Dani’s mum spotted another one. By this time I had run back to the car for the camera with a telephoto lens. Photos with the phone camera just aren’t good enough. Look at this as an example. Can you spot the koala?

Try to spot the koala in this ‘human’s eye view’ photo

There is one there. The classic silhouette just about visible on the mobile phone photo…

Here he is. Or is it a she? Now that would be good eyesight!

That classic koala side on pose

Getting to the leaves

Koala showing their useful claw skills

Look! No Hands

Koala Numbers?

Probably the last two koalas in the wild? That is if you believe half of the rubbish spouted by news outlets in Europe during the fires in Australia last summer. They would have had you believe that the koala population was almost wiped out by fires. They may be hard to spot but it seems they are not exactly in danger of extinction. Just yet. All around this area there are warning signs on the roads advising drivers that there may be koalas crossing. There is so much natural habitat with huge forest areas almost everywhere. It seems there may be more than two of these funny creatures left in their natural habitat. That’s not to say we should take them for granted of course…

Another successful day of wildlife spotting and the little boy was happy. I wonder if this kid realises how lucky he is?

More pictures…

Here are a couple more photos of the koalas we spotted. (03 July 2020)

 

Yulefest Evening

After the toy museum it was time for a quick walk in the mountains before getting ready for a Christmas celebration. “Yulefest” they have called it. Well they could have called it Mule-fest as far as I am concerned because it did not live up to expectations. Still, I should have sen it coming.

Hotel – the Birth of “Yulefest”

Apparently this celebrating Christmas in July thing started in 1980 when a group of homesick Irish people sat by the hotel fire on a cold and frosty July day. One of them said something along the lines of how spending Christmas in the southern hemisphere’s December heat just didn’t seem right. While they talked about it the then owner of the hotel listened carefully. He thought it would be good to offer them a similar experience of a cold day for celebrating Christmas in July and they made plans for such a day. Hanging Christmas decorations etc… Soon the word spread and other interested groups got in touch and the rest (as they say) is history. Christmas in July became a bit of a thing… They now do it in many different hotels in the area.

Then along came Covid19(84)

So this year there was no choir singing carols by the hotel fire and alongside the piano player  in the restaurant. Apparently the covid19(84) restrictions prevent that. Can’t have people wailing away their breath in the general direction of others now can we?

There was no solo singer for the same reasons. They usually have a guy playing guitar and singing popular songs etc…

Not even an appearance by Santa FFS! Now it comes to something when some place can stage an event like this then not have Santa turn up. We were not told this when we booked it. Otherwise we may have had second thoughts. Still we booked and went along in good faith. It would be a bit of fun. Santa will turn up etc…. And just in case, we bought a couple of little presents, wrapped them up so Dani would have something if Santa never handed out presents. Well, not only did he not hand out any presents, he never even bloody turned up…

Posing with the reindeer in the bar area

At least they made a bit of an effort with the decor

Looking for positives…

There were other kids there although it was mostly adults. The piano player was a nice touch and the food was actually good. Very good. As was the wine – although that cost extra. Usually they only do it in July but this year they have had so many extra enquiries that they had set an extra evening on August 1st. Also I think Dani still enjoyed it, even of he felt a little ‘short-changed’.

The man on the front desk actually tried to explain to Dani why Santa couldn’t come because of this Covid19(84) crap! That was more surreal than trying to celebrate Christmas in the  middle of the year.

“Ah well” I said, “you never know he may be able to make it to our room”
“Really?”
“Well just because he can’t come where there is a big crowd doesn’t mean he can’t come to one room at a time does it?”

Dani is still a ‘believer,’ in case you didn’t know… And I think he bought it. At least we had a nice time at the toy museum followed by some time in the mountains. Any excuse to get to see that wonderful scenery.

Garden opposite the toy museum…and then the mountain range

Who could get tired of these views?

Santa turned up, Kind of, Later…

So when he went to sleep I put the presents on his bed so he would find them when he woke up. He was actually very excited. “Santa’s been” he shouted, a little too early for my liking. So that part went well in the end. He still believes.

Overall the whole thing was just about OK. However, I would advise when booking anything during this covid crap to check if everything they say in their websites is actually still current. I should have known better

But… now there is another problem

The problem now is that he may mention it to his classmates in school. Some of them have older brothers and sisters so I am a bit worried that his little heart will be temporarily broken. If he mentions a visit from Santa some of them are sure to laugh at him. And, well, you can guess the rest.

A similar thing happened recently when he was in a group in class with two girls and the teacher talking about diamonds being the hardest thing on earth. Dani insisted it was vibranium because that is what Captain America’s shield was made from. And his dad had told him so. Which of course I did. What else could I say? I love the Marvel comics as much as anyone.

He asked me about it one day after school and was upset. Why did I not tell him that it wasn’t real? He had a point. He had been made to look  bit of a fool. I just fear a similar thing is coming soon. With Santa being the topic. What should we do? Tell him? Or just let it happen?

Nah! I think I will let it happen. It is all part of growing up isn’t it? Que será será as they say in Spain.. What will be will be…

While we are on that subject… I wonder if the runners on Santa’s sleigh are made of vibranium? Anybody know? Best not bring that one up when the time comes.

Best Toy Museum I Have Seen

This weekend we headed up to the Blue Mountains for a “Yulefest” celebration in Katoomba. Before that however we visited a toy museum in the next-door town of Leura and I think it definitely deserves its own post.

Leura Toy and Train Museum

In as picturesque a setting as you could wish for the Leuralla Toy and Train Museum is in a beautiful house (called Leuralla), first completed around 1909 and was burned down in bush fires. It was rebuilt just before the start of World War One in 1914.

The house is built on the outskirts of the village of Leura very close to some of the many famous, steep Blue Mountains cliffs.

Old Favourites

There are heaps of toys of all the old favourites from Popeye, Barbie, Tin-Tin, Dr. Who and James Bond, right through to more recent characters like Harry Potter.

It was nice to see Enid Blyton being well represented. One of her character’s Noddy made a few notable appearances.

Classic Noddy literature

Noddy Theatre: Noddy and all his mates.

The boy himself. Noddy in his iconic car.

1980s Singer Jimmy Somerville with a white dog? Not sure what he was doing in a toy museum…. Or was it Tin Tin? I never could tell.

Enough Trains for Everyone

There were plenty of model trains. Enough to keep any train enthusiast happy. This included parts of real old station buildings and some working model sets in the gardens.  The operational sets only work when you put money in a slot. Typical! But of course we did… Still a bargain excursion and well worth the money.

It will be hard telling Dani to tidy his room after seeing this place…

So many toys…

Some toys more creepy than others…. What do people see in these life-like dolls?

Full size train in gardens?

A Surprising Collection of Soldiers…

My brother and I used to buy boxes of plastic soldiers and a few tiny tins of paint to make them look more realistic. Then we would play war – as all  boys used to do back in the day. We had armies of German, Japanese, British and American troops and regularly battled it out like some second world war movie set. But I had never seen anything like what they had in this museum.

Fantastically preserved German/Nazi army and political figures from the time. All set up against realistic backdrops. I was amazed they even had these, never mind had the balls to display them. I have been to quite a few toy museums in the past and never seen anything like this. A truly amazing collection and incredible displays. But…they did have to do this…

Same scene as above with the Disclaimer

I guess in these modern times where people are over sensitive to anything, they had to do this. Personally I think these things are historical and should be seen by anyone with an interest in history. Do they really need to produce and display this full disclaimer?  – (see below and zoom in if interested). It’s a museum for crying out loud! There will be things that we no longer make or have. There will be displays of things that happened or existed that are not considered OK these days. It’s called “history” folks! But I do understand that these places need to do such things because there are some idiots out there who just take offence for a living (or hobby)…

Full Disclaimer

Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler?

I thought it was a little bit funny. After all, we won. Didn’t we? Full battle scenes set up with some key characters for all to see…

Battle reenactment. Hitler is seen bottom centre, just before we kicked his arse.

And it wasn’t just toy soldiers that were being sold to kids in Germany at that time. I thought that these dolls were just spooky. And that was before I noticed the Nazi insignia armbands.

Creepy looking “Nazi” dolls

Historical and very detailed toys.

Missed Displays

We did miss out on a couple of things I later read about. It seems they had toys re-enacting other historical scenes. Like one that supposedly led to the start of the first world war.  Models of that Serbian guy – Gavrilo Princip – shooting Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Who says you can’t get a quick history lesson on an Old Dad blog?

The other one that we missed was a set of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  There are so many things to look at it, believe me, it is easy to miss a few toy-soldier-sized scenes. Shame really, as I may have been able to see who was at the grassy knoll when Kennedy was shot… Maybe next time.

For various reasons this is the best toy museum I have seen and I thoroughly recommend it.

Here is a link to their website: https://www.toyandrailwaymuseum.com.au/

 

A Day North of the Hawkesbury with a Reminder of a 1980s Band

Yeah. Long title for a blog post, I know. But couldn’t think what to call it so that’s it.

Last weekend we took the relatively short trip up the coast to the start of what is called ‘The Central Coast’. Basically north of Sydney but south of Newcastle. We stopped in a place called Umina Beach which is part of quite a large urban residential area that just seems to have grown in the middle of nowhere with no real industry or major sources of employment around. Yet thousands of houses. Look at it on google maps and you will see what I mean.

Will be nice when the weather picks up…

It is only about 40 kilometres from Sydney as the crow flies. But to get there by road takes about an hour and a half as there is no straight run. Fortunately almost all the buildings are no more than two storeys high so it is quite a pleasant little area. There are other little places not far from the urban sprawl that is Woy Woy, Blackwall, Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach. (Basically all one stretch of residential housing with a few high streets thrown in here and there.) Like Pearl Beach and Patonga Beach for example. Again look them up on google maps.

View from inland

Umina Beach to the left…

This area is built on the north side of the mouth of the Hawkesbury River inlet. On the south side of the inlet is the Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Palm Beach area that we visited a while back (the setting for the Aussie soap opera ‘Home and Away’). This whole area is not unlike Sydney Harbour (or Port Jackson, to give it its proper name) in its geographical layout. Plenty of little coves, some off of other coves and green lush hillsides. Of course most of Sydney is built up so not so lush any more. It is quite a pleasant little enclave, although the weather was fairly bleak. Grey mostly and plenty of rain over the weekend.

The quay at Patonga Beach

Pelicans relaxing in the bay

Patonga Beach

Great little hotel and restaurant in Patonga Beach

I definitely want to take a boat ride up the Hawkesbury River when the weather gets a little better and the days longer.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse is on that hilltop near centre of picture

Highlight – The Teardrop Explodes in Umina

While walking around Umina Beach town centre I spotted an interesting shop on a side street. The sign read: Shop 55 Vintage Clothing Boutique. So I walked in and there was indeed some interesting looking clobber on display.

No sooner had I started rummaging through the racks of clothes than the guy behind the counter asked me to use the hand sanitiser before touching anything. I detected a familiar accent. Well, at least more familiar than I was used to hearing this past six months. I asked him where he was from and he told me. London. So we had a good old chat.

It turns out that he is a well known bass guitarist and former member of (among others) a band from the early 80s called ‘The Teardrop Explodes’. I remember them well and have their most famous album ‘Kilimanjaro’ – almost certainly in my mum’s attic still. But I did not know his name. Probably because most people – me included- only recall the band’s front-man, Julian Cope; so often the way with these things. Also he was not a founder member.
Note: Actually I think The Teardrop Explodes started off in the (very) late 70s but hey…

Anyway, just to set the record straight, his name is Ronnie François. He has been in Australia for some 20 years having toured all over the world with various bands. We had a good old chin-wag – about a few things including the old music scene – and it kind of made my day.

$500 for the Whole Cinema? Just turn up instead.

When I went to the cinema the other day (to see The Gentlemen – see my review here) I signed up to one of those online cinema club things. It meant that I got a cheaper ticket. But now they also send me emails – which can be a little bit annoying.

This email I received today, I thought was quite funny. After advertising a few upcoming movies they had an advert saying this:

A WHOLE CINEMA JUST FOR YOU.
OFFER EXTENDED UNTIL 14th AUGUST.

Plus 19 friends that is. For a limited time only, you can book your own cinema for just $500*, with our special private booking package, which includes:
• A private cinema for up to 20 people.

Who are they kidding?

It made me laugh. Why pay $500? Just turn up and watch a film. Any film. And the chances are that you will have the whole theatre to yourself. I did!
Thanks to this coronavirus thing scaring the shit out of people, NOBODY is going to the cinema. But hurry. This won’t last. Before too long some people might just wake up and smell the coffee. i.e. Realise that all this coronavirus stuff is one big hoax.

I bet there’s a great film in all this though in the near future. For any film-maker brave enough to make it…

Susana’s Seventh Birthday.

Today it is Dani’s cousin’s birthday. Susana is seven years old and I think that Dani is a little upset that he can not be there to celebrate with her.

Birthdays and mid-year “Christmas”

I think Dani will miss being there. Especially after we have made a video call to say happy birthday. He has already said that he doesn’t want to spend his own birthday down in Australia with nobody to celebrate it with him. So much for his mum and me then eh? But I understand what he means. It will probably hit him harder after speaking to his cousin and wishing her a happy birthday.

Hopefully this weekend will soften the blow a little. We are off to the Blue Mountains (again) for a mid-year “Yulefest”. As it is winter here in Australia various places in the mountains put on a kind of Christmas celebration. Usually in July but they had so many bookings the one we booked on runs into August. Of course the real Christmas is in the height of the southern hemisphere summer and is well known for being celebrated with a dip in the ocean and a day at the beach. So to get that winter wonderland Christmas feeling they have Christmas meals complete with entertainment and carol singing – but in the Aussie winter.

They call it a “Yulefest” and depending how cold the winter is they can even have snow. But not this coming weekend. At least not according to the weather forecast. Still, it should be fun.

Letter from Madrid – Great Timing

Yesterday we arrived back from school to find a letter in the post box from Madrid. The post mark said 1st July, so it took our full weeks to get here but at least arrived just before her birthday. Along with a hand written letter from Susana were some photographs of the birthday girl and her little brother Roberto plus a couple of us holding Roberto not long after he was born.

In the letter Susana says that when this coronavirus thing is over she wants to make a film. Ambition is a great thing eh? Let’s hope she does it. If we can help, then we will.

Even in this age of easy computer and mobile phone video calls it is always nice to receive a handwritten letter. Perhaps even more so now than it used to be…

Old phone

Coincidentally I managed to get some old photos off an old phone today. Dani and Susana appeared on most of them as you might expect. Here are a couple…

Piano Duet, April 2015.

Susana working on a movie script? (26th Dec. 2014)