Saturday, October 27, 2007

Classy classie writer makes mark

THE Australian Newspaper History Group has reported: "The Bendigo Advertiser's ‘Strictly Classified’ column won an award for its marketing initiative in a field attracting entries from prestigious metropolitan titles, including the Age and South China Morning Post, to smaller regional dailies and free weekly papers across the entire Pacific region.
"Even before recognition of the column by the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association, the novel column concept had been picked up by others papers in the Rural Press network.
"Judges described the column by Sarah Harris as ‘effective and interesting’ because it delved into the personal and emotional motives behind advertisements appearing in the newspaper's classified section."
More on the Advertiser’s site, which ran the interesting picture, showing the paper has not only great writing but also impressive photographic talent.
Congratulations, Sarah, but please put your columns online to share them with the world.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Londoner prickles knees on Aussie weeds

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of Mill Field, part of the 849ha of "green spaces" in the London Borough of Barnet, from

THE prickly problem of the weed, bindii, has been so bad this spring that just about everyone and anyone has been yelling, "Ouch".
Even Redland Council, in its weekly column, has had a whinge about the bindii plague it said was gripping south-east Queensland lawns.
Although the council advised householders to seek counsel on suitable elimination, a Gardening Australia Online Forum appears to give "knife and bucket’ the vote as the best organic way to tackle bindii.
One forum blogger has recommended an early morning attack while the dew-drenched weeds stretch in the rising sun.
CAPALABA’s Dave Franklin certainly exercised his north London vocal cords on the dreaded bindii the other day.
"They prickled me knees, didn’t they," he said, with the thick brogue of the Borough of Barnet, after a gardening job at Ormiston.
With a business called Redrose Garden Services brandishing that frightfully British flower as its logo in our Gardening Services column, Dave is accustomed to a prickle or two after 20 years of gardening in two countries.
But the bindii is well worth complaining about. A Londoner apparently would not miss this plague for the world.
In fact, Dave could have been waiting for this moment after migrating about seven years ago as the husband of the former Vanessa Chalk, who grew up amid the then undoubtedly bindii-infested lawns of Capalaba but lived prickle free with her family in Barnet for some years.

THE couple already had a toddler when they moved to the Redlands and eldest son, Thomas, is now nine years old, with two brothers -- Alex, 4, and Nicholas, 3.
Dave not only is a career gardener offering a full range of services from "soft landscaping" to, you guessed it, "weed control" but also carries on a proud family tradition.
He says his dad, Tony, was a gardener for about 45 years, mainly in the "posh areas like Kensington and Chelsea", before an early retirement about six years ago.
The son admits his Redland client list lacks at least some of the status of dad’s customers, who included the Duke of Bedford, actor Ralph Fiennes, singer Leo Sayer and the odd business tycoon or two.
Dave says his parents travel to many countries, including Canada and the United States, where their two daughters now live. They get to Capalaba every 18 months to two years.

LET’s hope Tony is on the way. Dave says the boys have been complaining about the bindiis in the Franklins’ own lawn.
But Dave is resolute: "I’m not going to come home to work on my own place after taking care of everybody else’s weeds every damned day, am I?"
Maybe it’s because he’s a Londoner. When Tony’s here, they can sing that famous chorus in stereo with the lawn as their stage.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Talk replaces tackles in RL double header

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of Titans logo from wikipedia.

THE 2007 rugby league season is well and truly over but at least two more bursts of energy will come next month at Pinklands Sports Ground.
Redlands league fans will have two great events back to back on the evening of Wednesday, November 7, but with lots of talk replacing the tackles and tries.
The annual general meeting of the Redlands Junior Rugby League Club at 6pm will be a curtain raiser to the Redlands Leagues Club’s AGM at 7.15.
Both meetings are set to draw big crowds, with the sports arm in particular experiencing a huge increase in numbers.

JUNIORS registrar and secretary Sue Smith says the club, now the third largest junior league club in south-east Queensland, fielded 29 teams last season.
"We have had an influx of about 200 players in the past three years, making probably about 10 more teams," Sue says.
The club, now with about 580 players, failed this year to win a premiership for the first season in some years but Sue says achievements included grand final berths for three division-three sides – the under 13s, 15s and 18s -- and a runner-up trophy for the masters.
Sue says the State selection of under-14 lock forward Chris Gronvould for the second year in a row has also been a season highlight and the club’s players have benefited from special training sessions, as part of their club’s relationship with NRL newcomers, the Gold Coast Titans.
"We have a lot of talent and are really looking forward to Chris and the others moving up an age division with us next season," Sue says.

RUGBY league is a consuming interest at the Smith family’s Thornlands home.
Sue’s husband, Peter, plays wing with the masters and last season coached the under-12As, including son Justin in the forwards.
Justin’s brother, Daniel, was under-10s five-eighth.
Sue says she enjoys her work with the club, after three years as registrar, and has accepted nomination for her second term as secretary.
"Many of the people who have joined the club over the past few years have commented how friendly it is," she says.
"The grounds are spectacular."
Redlands Juniors have had their base at Pinklands since 1971.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people of the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nissan Bluebird awaits truth after smash

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of 1986 Nissan Bluebird from wikipedia.

A TEENAGER’s first car always has a special place right near the heart.
Apprentice butcher Jason Gardiner was only 18 when he bought a 1985 Nissan Bluebird for $2000.
"We got it cheap from one of my aunty’s workmates," Jason says. "It’s old but it means a lot to me. It’s my means of entertainment, I guess."
The car now sits in the yard of Jason’s Nelson Street, Ormiston, home. He cannot drive it because a damaged guard on the rear passenger side rubs on the tyre.
Jason nursed the Bluebird home slowly, with his friends’ parents acting as escorts and providing flashing emergency lights, after an accident on Finucane Road, Alexandra Hills.
He says he had a green arrow to make a righthand turn to drop off the friend when a car coming in the opposite direction came through a red light and hit the Bluebird.

JASON says he was confused after the accident -- "I didn’t really know what happened."
But he says the other driver, a young man of ethnic appearance, said he was sorry, before police arrived and took notes.
Jason believes the other driver, who was "pretty shaken up too", showed some sort of international licence to the police.
"A woman who was following him stopped and told me she would be a witness for me," Jason says.
It seemed straightforward for Jason to claim his repairs against the other driver’s car insurance.
"His insurance company has told me he told them that I was in the wrong," Jason says.
"I thought I’d be able to get the witness’s name from the police but they told me at Cleveland station they don’t have any written report of police being there on the night."

THAT is why a notice has appeared in our classifieds, "Witness sought," appealing for "the lady that witnessed the accident" near the Alexandra Hills Hotel about 10pm on September 9.
Jason says his grandmother, Patrica Gardiner, also of Ormiston, placed the ad for him and also has loaned him her Mitsubishi sedan, which was getting him to his job at Victoria Point.
He says the emergency vehicle is a better car than his old Nissan but he would rather drive the Bluebird, which a panel-beater friend may repair, cheaply but still with some costs.
"I was in the right so I don’t think I should have to pay anything," Jason says.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rugby back runs with pizza

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from More on Redlands rugby on

OPPONENTS of the accomplished rugby club, the Redland Muddies, may spend the off-season worrying about what is in store next autumn when the 2008 season starts.
Some bright talent has been graduating from the under-19 colts grade to join the club’s senior ranks.
Amid the throng of the graduates, one bunch of players knows each other probably better than some know their own family.
They should be a coach’s dream come true, after they have played together for most of the past decade,
and they are itching to get together again to help the Muddies toward the 2008 senior premiership, after a late try by Ashgrove meant a grand final loss this season.

THE half-dozen or so rugby mates – former Ormiston College students -- know what it is like to perform in a climate of intense community interest and feel the big-game pressure.
Just imagine the electric atmosphere at Ormiston College in 2004, when its senior side won the TAS championship, and in 2005 when it was runner-up.
George Allison, of Cleveland, was a flanker in 04 and a winger in 05. He took a season off rugby in 2006 because of ankle tendon injuries but returned to the field this year with the Muddies colts, mainly as a winger but for the last two games in the halfback’s jersey.
George, now 19, brought his great love of rugby to the bayside in 1998 when his family – dad George, mum Estelle and their other son, Kenneth, now 17 -- migrated from South Africa.
After starting rugby training in their old home town, Port Shepstone, near Durban, George started at Ormiston College in Year 5 and went straight into its rugby program.

THAT is basically the group that has stuck together. Some, a little older, are already playing senior rugby, waiting for their mates to catch up.
George is modest about his rugby skills.
"I used to be quick – I was at my peak in grades 8, 9 and 10," he says. "The Muddies have some good players I’ll have to work my way up."
Nevertheless, customers of the Cleveland pizza shop Domino’s may have noticed some fancy footwork from George since he joined the group in January.
He does five shifts a week as he works toward a career in graphic design, after first studying construction management.
Domino’s is recruiting drivers. It says it pays above award wages, additional delivery fees and offers flexible hours to suit students, parents and people with diverse lifestyles.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.