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    winston @winston

    @pedant  It took me a few minutes after watching to post because of the swell of emotions this brought. I miss my Mom and Dad so much but I was so lucky to have had them for parents and to have known them as people. Love is a gift. Thanks.

    syzygy @thane16

    @pedant. That. Is. Gorgeous.

    And so obviously true.


    syzygy @thane16

    Thane is 17 tomorrow!! Whoo-hoo. Not sure what kind of a day he’ll have -because after 5 days at home he’s actually required to attend school. After a bit of a difficult year (and a day, today, of 38 degrees!) he made it.


    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane16 (17)

    Happy birthday Thane. Enjoy the day, even if it does include school. 🙂

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @thane16 (17) Happy birthday!

    winston @winston

    @thane16     Have a happy birthday!  So when are we going to see @thane17 ? You know you are young when you are willing to put your age in your name. Advice from an old Grannie : enjoy every day of 17. In the words of ol’ blue eyes “it was a very good year”

    syzygy @thane16

    Thankyou to all! Muuum. You should have said nothing! 🙂

    I came home for lunch but as there’s no cake yet I’m going back to school where it is really hot.

    Lots of discussions have occurred over the night. For me, I tend to say (I know I didn’t last week but ) very little when the dweebs or twoobs come out. Generally, on Instagram and snapchat I type “okay” and they get pretty upset -and then they disappear. They probably think i’m special or something.

    These are strange times …..

    Thane16 and Puro

    winston @winston

    @thane16   I wish I could send you some nice cold snow and you could send me a wee bit of heat.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @thane16  Happy birthday!

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @thane16 happy birthday! (thane17!)

    LionHeart564 @lionheart564

    @thane16 happy birthday! 生日快乐🎂!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Happy Birthday! 🎈 🎂

    janetteB @janetteb

    @thane16 Happy Birthday…

    Sorry I’m a little late to the party..

    Hope you have a fantastic day, despite school. R.3 had to go back today too after a week off. Thought he was done then found out Monday that he has two days orientation for yr 12. How to ruin the holidays, remind you before they start of the work load next year… I’m guessing you are doing the same.



    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Happy birthday. Hope it’s a good ‘un!

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    A couple of viewing suggestions for a newly minted 17.

    First: Alfred Hitchcock’s “Number 17”

    Second: Billy Wilder’s “Stalag 17”



    @thane16 (while you be changing to Thane17? Inquiring minds need to know).

    Welcome to being almost-but-not-quite legally an adult!

    May I introduce your new theme song:

    Rob @rob



    Happy Birthday

    Hope you’ve had a great day


    Ps it’s still your birthday here

    Anonymous @

    @thane16 – Let me be the latest belated well-wisher!  Have a very happy one indeed!!

    Rob @rob

    Just completed a long and rambling  intellectual post on the latest blog……

    And the damn thing disappeared

    So popped in for a pint or two of calm down


    syzygy @thane16

    @rob me too! Last week and lost the whole hog. Luckily, a mate had brought me a new (very small, mind) coffee plunger with a sweet bean. I had just come home and fancied a good brew. So, rob it calmed me down. We have merlo coffee here? And if you purchase a large tin of it (as I did about 3 months ago) they give you a free coffee AND a $5 voucher which my mate used to buy the plunger. And was it<i> delicious. </i> I could imagine the actual coffee bean and where it had grown….

    <i></i>But a pint at the pub would work just as well.


    @rob @craig @jimthefish @blenkinsopthebrave (they were amazing! Dadn & I had seen some before of ’17’ but not for ages) @pedant (that was a interesting song. I have not known of that group before) @bluesqueakpip @mudlark @nerys @kevinwho @arbutus  @janetteb @lionheart564 (amazing characters! That’s what we call them here? For either Japanese or Chinese and it’s so hard! YOu must be a very clever person and your English is very very good) @whisht  @miapatrick @winston (I wish we could exchange heat for snow!)

    Thank you for your birthday songs and wishes and vids and also a blog about important issues @pedant.

    Who has moved into new times. Many of my mates feel there isn’t much to watch for. I’m trying to change their minds. It’s hard. People are hard to change 🙂 And dad says we cannot be the same. If we were what would we discuss. Maybe Hair -Styles? Toenail polish? 😉

    On that topic mum has decided she is now too old to wear bright red toenails. I prefer no polish but I am a guy but I have never understood the allure of makeup (thankyou for spell-check on allure). The gals at school pile it on every day. I once said to a chick at a party (my 1st ever party at 16) ‘you look better without it’ and she nearly thru my drink back at me. It was only lemonade. I won’t make that mistake again I always comment on how awesome their shoes are even if they can’t walk properly. 🙂

    Loved the last Who. Took me awhile to understand the satire and the ‘camp’ dude. I didn’t know what ‘camp’ meant. At school people say “gay” except it’s not the same ,  is it?

    Sorry, I do not want to offend. Also at school we say LGBT not LGBQT and I know what ‘Q’ stands for but I don’t get an answer at to why we can’t use that term (‘Queer’) – I am not even sure if putting it in ‘    ‘ is correct either!

    Thank you to all.

    Thane16. (Timey whimey)

    syzygy @thane16

    AH, @pedant in my ‘recommended for you’  I saw “bowel streak” and left a post. I believe I used Pustulant sore on the arsehole… I couldn’t come up with a better insult. I’m pretty certain he and his ilk have already visited the site.

    They seem to favour only one Doctor Woman: Doctor Donna and 868 people agree -there.

    Sad, aint it?

    Puro 🙁



    that was a interesting song. I have not known of that group before

    Fun fact: Heaven 17 were formed by members Human League who wanted to go in a different and more explicitly political direction that Phil Oakey. But the split was entirely amicable, and Heaven 17 are entitled to 1% of all Human League royalties since the split. Don’t You Want Me Baby alone would have made them a friggin’ fortune.

    When Fascist Groove Thang was first played on BBC Radio 1 by John Peel he said: “Have a listen to this while you can. I think it’s going to get banned”.

    I don’t think it ever was, but student discos featured it a lot. I mean, A LOT for a fat chunk of the 80s.

    syzygy @thane16


    I’ll be sure to let him know of this: have to say I hadn’t heard of Heaven 17 (red with embarrassment) but Human League -that makes perfect tonal sense. Something was nagging at me: kept grabbing my head, asking “what is THIS?”  I remember fondly, “Don’t you want me?”  More than fondly. Early ’80s spawning SO many groups and songs in the next 3 years. The musical plan, alone, is insanely simple, but it’s still a superb example of pure pop: mixolydian mode moments, imperfect scansion at times which works nicely, clarity, Q&A style verses in line with what Cat Stevens had done/was doing. Oakey was pretty pissed with Virgin about it -Wikipedia doesn’t quite paint the correct picture.  Bowie was very interested in League’s image/style. They favoured Truffaut’s filmic preferences & there’s a couple of those in the vid track as well as a cryptic point to The Hundred Club (‘100’) in: Sheffield 🙂   Timey whimey, Doctor Who-ey.

    I love their riff;  whenever people cry “oh no, the best riff, ever is: ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ” I have to shake my head. Sure, it’s popsicle, but you’ve got good ingredients with pedal points and, deliciously (you know it’s coming), dominant, subdominant transpositions & key changes which just make you feel damn good! It fixed in the musical minds of Bonnie Tyler & that comprehensive group of singer song-writers thereafter.

    Thane is, at the mo, on youtube, madly trying to figure out helicopters! He’s having an instructional lesson as a birthday present. Since the age of 1 Thane has received two sets of things. Generally one or the other (can’t spoil the spawn!): an album of one of the top 50: My Generation, Pet Sounds, Mike Oldfield, the 2 best Beatles albums. It was always a ‘thing’ whether Revolver or Sgt Pepper’s made the ‘top.’

    The other thing =experiences, rather than things. This is why he buys clothes from Vinnies for $4 so last year, in Adelaide, Thane and dad hopped on lovely catamaran and swam with the dolphins for 4 hours. Terrifying but one of his best memories. Rock climbing once & Snuba  (TM) diving, feeding coral fish. These days they supply people with a USB of their ‘experience’. Thane’s worried about the veritable nervous pee ‘experience.’


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @thane16 experiences are great presents! a friend of ours bought my boyfriend one with birds of prey, and added me on to it (carer’s perk!), so we get to have falcons etc on our arms.

    Craig @craig

    I think I may have posted this before – but it’s worth it to post it again – nice to see my Dad, Tommy Murray, is still fondly remembered. He’s still around, just a bit more fragile.

    syzygy @thane16

    @craig! Man that IS AWESOME!  I know this story. I thought I did, I mean. I heard of this

    I’m telling Dad.




    I believe such shenanigans have now been outlawed by the sporting killjoys under the Unsporting Behaviour (or possibly Obstruction) law, along with such things as donkey kicks.

    Craig @craig

    @thane16 I hope your Dad enjoys it.

    @pedant Yes, it was (in Scotland at least) after my Dad did it. The story goes that one of the Rangers’ players had done it the year before against Hearts. So my Dad thought “If I ever get the chance to do the same…”

    But then it lead to a winning goal – against Rangers no less, the biggest team in Scotland – and so the suits got together and decided it was “unsporting”.

    So, in Scotland, he is the last player to sit on the ball.

    Donald Ford (who scored the goal – we lived in the same town and I went to school with his son) jokes – well, half jokes – that nobody remembers he scored the winner against Rangers with a fantastic header – all they remember is my Dad sitting on the ball.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Oh, happy birthday, @thane16 (now 17)! Have you done the helicopter yet? I would never do a thing like that myself, I’m terrified of heights whenever you can actually feel them. But yes, definitely, to experiences rather than things. Puro mentioned albums as things, but I would argue that music is an experience as well! Mr. Arbutus bought a fancy turntable in the summer, so we are collecting vinyl now. Some of my old ones still sound remarkably good, others are just a mess. But you can buy a lot of stuff new, and it’s an entirely different listening experience when you have to hop up every 15 minutes and flip the album over!

    syzygy @thane16


    I did! Thank you for your wishes. It was so great!  It was an hour and not like the $300 for 8 to 11 minutes which is pretty expensive for the time. This was $67 (I found the receipt because Mum has to get better at hiding things) and the hour also involved walking around the copter and learning what all the different pieces of instrumentation did -so, what the inside did and how it was connected to the outside? If that makes sense.

    He didn’t let me take off because there was some turbulence and the whole thing was glass. I started to feel sick straightaway and he said “look at the horizon and match up the gimble with it so the machine always flies straight unless you’re turning” so I did that and any sickness disappeared.

    We flew to a small island and landed there which was fantastic. We flew over the city as well and there I was actually flying within the first 15 minutes. Turning and flying over the skyscrapers.

    Naturally at one point he turned off ‘my side’ and said that my parents would kill me if I didn’t at least “feel like you are going to poo your pants” and suddenly he was zooming up and I was flung tight back to my seat. He then did a few 360s and then flew STRAIGHT DOWN  and hitched up and suddenly said “you have control” at which point a pilot would say “I have control” or “I don’t have  control” to answer. I answered the first way and got the craft stabilised on the gimble. It was a terrific thing to do. And, sad, to say, I don’t actually even have my driver’s license yet.

    Priorities.  @miapatrick That is SO cool! I am pretty scared of some birds. Birds of prey though are amazing to look at. Mum is on the site that is the Wales one -birds. Yeah, that’s embarrassing as I forgot the name of the place/location and the bird’s names 🙂 Wearing a glove protects your arms?  A falcon is a beautiful creature.

    We have magpies which are very clever. People scream when they wooz by your head & naturally they do it again. We have two in our tree because they know us they never attack. If they attack someone & we’re outside (mum’s always in garden: she wants a rock-garden built up & last month she wanted a stream. She’s worse than me!) we tell them to glare them down & act firm  (@mudlark would have an awesome garden)

    Then they walk beside you & don’t attack. They’ll protect you. Eagles are cool too. I’ve never seen one up close.

    But I did see a long harmless brown snake under the house when I was made to clean it. It scared the hell out of me. I’ve realised that I don’t like snakes. In North QLD, they can hide in and around the top of the toilet bowel. 😉


    janetteB @janetteb

    @thane16 the helicopter ride sounds wonderful. I have never been in a “chopper”. I have flown in two seaters, fixed wings gliders and a hang glider but never a “chopper” so that is on my “must do” list.  My S/O got to fly in a Blackhawk from Kunungra?? to Townsville or Cairns, two weeks before the bad accident on that route. That was “unsettling” to say the least.

    We had a magpie visit last year. I tried feeding him/her bits of sausage. Apparently they have very long memories and can be befriended but once someone scars them they never forgive. Mostly we just have honeyeaters and shrikes which resemble magpies but are smaller. Unfortunately we have far too many pigeons. I can hear them cooing now. They are about the only living creature that make me want to pick up a projectile weapon and take aim.

    Snakes don’t really bother me, spiders on the other hand. We live in the redback capital of the world I am convinced. Last year we had a scary spider incident. The boys encountered a funnelweb at the top of the stairs. I did not realise that they are found all over Australia. There are 39 different species (known) but only those in a small radios of Sydney are deadly. They all have a toxic bit however. It gave Arachnids in the U.K a bit of an edge for us. (those were scary beasts.)







    So I made another vid. Contains horrific crash footage (not really) and considers how hard it can be to stay on topic.

    nerys @nerys

    @thane16 I apologize for being very late to the party. Happy birthday!

    On another topic (and I hope this is the right place to post it): I find myself in need of a musical balm these days. Just in time, this new Carpenters album has been released. I find myself missing Karen Carpenter all over again. Such a beautiful, timeless voice … now framed by a full orchestra: Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    Craig @craig

    You just have to see this. Andy Serkis as Theresa May channelling Gollum. It’s great.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    So, while waiting for the New Years Day episode (and dreading the approaching Who-less year that will follow. And hoping the BBC/Netflixs keep the old episodes on their platforms for the duration) I’ve been thinking a lot about Ryan.

    Graham was, rightly, for many people the stand out character and people have noted how his relationship with Ryan was the emotional heart of this series. Ryan as a character has attracted more criticism. Not here, so much, but he has.

    And I’ve read a lot of criticism of his character falling mostly into two camps: that the actor was wooden, and that dyspraxia was mentioned but hardly featured.

    This amuses me because the actors expression and tone of voice were, for me, always convincing. And yes I have noticed moments when his delivery of lines seemed a little miss timed. That happens to me, because I’m dyspraxic, and sometimes translating my thoughts into words comes off a little awkwardly.

    Other than that, ‘we haven’t really seen Ryan overcome his dyspraxia’ (yes I’m mostly talking about The Other Place and Facebook). Well, no, if by ‘overcome’ they mean magically re-wire his brain. It’s a permanent neurological condition. Yes we have, if by ‘overcome’ you mean see someone who starts out a bit prickly, self-conscious, and defensive become more confident in their abilities and worth.

    Two things were guaranteed, that if he had mentioned his condition more than the three times he did, the cry would be ‘why hit us over the head with it every episode’. And that all the additional times his dyspraxia did feature but without being named would go over many people’s heads if they don’t have direct experience with it. His garbled memory of Rosa Parks, his interaction with the girl in It Takes You Away, and his innovative thinking in the Spiders episode along with his idea of essentially (unknowingly) replicating The Doctor’s eventual solution in the Time War.

    Now of course, this is Doctor Who. Maybe the Doctor could ‘magically rewire his brain’. But that would be a terrible path for the show to take.

    Anonymous @


    Maybe the Doctor could ‘magically rewire his brain’. But that would be a terrible path for the show to take.

    I agree completely.  I have to remember Vincent and the Doctor, and how the show is more special for letting us see what the Doctor can’t do, too.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I emailed that link to my brother in France and his response this morning was. ‘Nice one! But isn’t there a worrying bit at the end where she falls off a cliff holding it, into an all-consuming fire, and the whole country comes crashing down?’

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Reports are coming in that there are an unheard-of twenty-seven gazebos on College Green, where the press hang out during political crises. They haven’t quite reached the stage of having fist fights over the available electrical outlets, but it’s only a matter of time. If a mobile burger van turns up, the poor driver is going to be stripped to the bone a la the Simm Master. 🙂

    Given that we’ve also got Sir John Curtice giving TV interviews, today is clearly political DEFCON 1.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    We are getting close to the festive season where we become warm and fuzzy, and in that spirit I offer the following clip.

    Heart on sleeve, I find this incredibly inspirational:


    Craig @craig

    @idiotsavon Following up on our conversation a while back, I thought you might find this interesting. ‘Wings’ is a very pro-independence website but it’s pretty factual, providing links to all his sources. So while it is partisan, it’s also quite reliable.

    Craig @craig

    @idiotsavon (and cc. @jimthefish – see above post too)

    I came across this today too. Just some proof that Scotland really doesn’t effect UK elections. It’s from the same source but the facts can be checked.

    Why Labour doesn’t need Scotland

    Scottish votes and UK Elections

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    No, there aren’t that many occasions when 5.3 million people are going to provide the tipping point that swings 66 million people. His argument is a bit like saying Wales doesn’t control UK-wide elections – which is why Devolution happened in both countries.

    The most populous country in the UK (England) currently tends to be slightly more Conservative than the less populous countries – 37% rather than 27% in Scotland and Wales. This represents a change that’s been developing since about the 1970’s – before that, there was much more convergence (and you’d have found more than one Scottish Tory MP). The gap, I think, is currently much less than it was at its peak – whether voting patterns will converge again, or whether Scotland will continue developing a Nationalist/Unionist pattern remains to be seen. 🙂

    There’s an open source article here that looks at Holyrood and General elections over the last twenty years. The argument is that 2015 represents the first time Scotland voted almost exactly the same way in a General Election as they did in the Holyrood Elections.

    Craig @craig

    @bluesqueakpip That was the point. Upstream @idiotsavon wondered, if Scotland left the UK, would that condemn England to a lifetime of Tories. To which I said no – Scotland has little impact on the UK Government. So don’t worry if we go independent, it won’t effect you much!

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    Thanks for that @craig, yes that’s really interesting. I was convinced the Scottish vote made a big difference just because I’d heard it said so many times. I would add that I was joking and I don’t believe for a second there should be any onus on Scottish voters to take the English into consideration at the ballot box. In fact I think the idea is preposterous and rather takes the mickey, and I’m surprised anyone would have the brass neck to put it forward as a serious argument.

    I suppose I also thought that, with a couple of prominent exceptions, the bulk of Scottish Labour MPs would be from a more Old-Labour, left-wing tradition and a thorn in the side of the Blairites. It was a comforting thought and I’m sad to learn it’s not the case.

    In terms of the day-to-day democracy in parliamentary debates and scrutiny committees and the rest, I think the SNP voice (and there are some fantastic speakers) massively enriches parliament. If (*puts 50p in swear box*) Brexit is the catalyst for Scotland’s departure, Westminster will be the poorer for it in my opinion – even if as a nation we’re not entirely doomed to constant Tory rule.

    Btw, I began reading your script, and while I’m not learned enough in the craft to say anything clever, I can say I’m thoroughly enjoying reading. I’m gripped to the point where, spoilers be damned, I want to finish your version before I check out the BBC’s effort. So please accept this doff of my cap. *Doffs cap.*

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    It will affect me loads, and you loads. Untangling ourselves from the EU is proving a nightmare after a mere forty odd years; how do you think untangling Scotland and rUK is going to be after three hundred?

    The idea that anything would result in a life time of Tory government is unrealistic, frankly, because the UK pattern (in ALL the UK countries) is that political parties who think they ‘own’ a particular segment of the country find themselves the proud owners of a vote collapse as soon as there’s a viable alternative. In Scotland the viable alternative was the SNP, and to some extent the Conservatives.

    The problem at the moment is that the most popular choice for UK Prime Minister appears to be Ms or Mr ‘None of The Above’. 😀

    Craig @craig

    @bluesqueakpip Untangling Scotland from the UK basically means parting from one country (no offence meant towards Wales or Northern Ireland – but you know what I mean). Untangling from the EU means splitting from 27 countries (or is it 26, I lose count?)

    Anyway, one seems much easier than the other.

    Craig @craig

    @idiotsavon Thank you for taking the time to read my script. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I may post another one soon.

    The TV version was really good – but it was interesting in that it almost completely focused on the second half of the story. There is little of Billy and Cathy. So, I hate to say it, but I think my version is more complex and interesting. The TV version may be more atmospheric though. Each has its own virtues.

    I sent a message to the actress who plays Beth – I hope this works.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane16 (puro)

    (Moving the horticultural advice column to the pub, which seems a more appropriate place than the sofa for such a topic. Anyway I feel I need a drink).

    I looked up potential problems with lavender and it seems that the most likely cause of yellowing leaves is a fungal disease which attacks the roots, leaving them black and mushy, and ultimately kills the plant. Susceptibility to the disease is much greater if the drainage is poor or the humidity is particularly high.  Lavender is tolerant of soils anywhere between pH 6.5 – 8.2, so that is unlikely to be a problem, but since it really needs a free-draining soil the clay soil could be.

    As with all shrubs, newly planted lavender should be watered regularly until it is well established – say for the first three months, but not too frequently. It is much better to give any newly planted shrub a really thorough soaking at intervals of up to a week rather than give them a little water every day. Once established lavender is drought tolerant, as I said, and shouldn’t need watering unless conditions are very dry indeed for prolonged periods.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    My Mum is Welsh, and has now retired back there. Just saying.

    Craig @craig

    @bluesqueakpip Cool. I hope she’ll be voting for Plaid Cymru. 🙂

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