Sunday, December 18, 2011

Don't let pool tragedy leave you with life of blame

Image courtesy of fellow bloggers producing the Best Nanny Newsletter in the US. A visit there will show that pool safety is a concern in other countries, too.

THE summer sizzle – or call it a "stew" because of the recent rain – has brought a timely warning from the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).
The message is to take extra care in and around pools over the Christmas and summer holiday period.
We have heard it all before, so many times in fact, that some owners may simply shrug and not give another thought to the importance of the message.
But such an attitude of indifference has been a factor in an horrific statistic that can make any Queenslander cringe.

THE State Government says 41 children aged under five years drowned in Queensland pools between January 2004 and June 2010.
Every case would have its peculiarities, and the last thing any parent who has lost a child in this way would deserve is to suffer forever in self blame.
However, something has been going seriously wrong and the State Government has finally acted with the introduction of new pool fencing laws.
It has given pool owners until 2015 to comply with a new pool safety standard, but earlier compliance is required if the property is sold or leased.
Pool owners have just passed the first deadline of the safety package; the Government required registration of swimming pool details by November 4, and has threatened fines up to $2000 for an unregistered pool.

LICENSED pool fencing inspector Noel Whittington, who advertises in our Trade Services section, has been busy.
Noel, a former Sydney pool builder who has specialised in fencing for about 30 years, believes the tightening of the law is overdue.
"Some owners whinge about 'another government thing' but I can only say, 'Come on, the fact is kids are drowning – this law is aimed at saving lives'," Noel says.
"The other tragedy is that many children whose lives are saved carry lifelong
disabilities from the experience."
Noel, admitting he is not a youngster, says he pushed himself to attend a series of seminars and get accreditation as an inspector.
He says maintenance-conscious owners benefit because regular attention minimises costs, which is important with inspections now required every two years.

NOEL came to live in Queensland in 1981 and now splits his time between his Gold Coast home and that of his sister, Gloria O'Brien, at Redland Bay, so he says he is well placed to service Redland City.
The QAS emphasises that fencing is not the complete solution to stop drownings and vigilance is important: Drowning is "a silent killer" – someone can drown in seconds, without making a sound.
The service urges pool owners to remove objects from around the pool fence to reduce the risk of children climbing to access the pool area or gate.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified
advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrate curve with verve: flash those pearly whites

Image of a fantastic toothless smile courtesy of fellow blogger Tim Oestmann.

HERE'S one for the trivia quiz buffs and a prize for readers who get it right: What are the four words that complete the song title, "All I Want for Christmas Is ..."?
No, the answer isn't "A Nice New Car". It has been the same since the song was written in the US about two generations ago: "My Two Front Teeth."
Now, the prize for every correct answer: a smile.

IN case you haven't noticed during the early December rush, it's the season of the smile, which must be one of the most intriguing aspects of human behaviour.
We can read all sorts of things into that simple expression. On the good side, the wide range of interpretations may include empathy, love, respect and fun, but a smile can also be a very cutting put-down and a partner for aggression and cruelty.
The line between 'smile' and 'smirk' is thin.

OF the many published quotations about the smile, those from comedians can keep the pearly whites flashing. US comedian Phyllis Diller reportedly summed it up as "a curve that sets everything straight".
While smiles are evident in such a time of goodwill, an army of highly trained professionals is at work to create them.
The dental clinics are busy at this time of year. Dental prosthetist David Dixon offers an option for those who need dentures or repairs; early this year he started a mobile service, based at his home laboratory at Robertson.
He gives free consultations and home visits.

DAVID graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dental technology from Griffith University in 2007 and qualified with a masters in dental prosthetics in 2009.
He has continued teaching at the university's Gold Coast campus while he has worked at Brisbane laboratories and set up his own business.
After reviewing demographic trends, David now aims to open a clinic at Victoria Point to service its rapidly increasing population of retirees.
David often sees the depth of emotion that underlies a smile.

"PEOPLE who lose their natural teeth or damage their dentures often say they don't 'feel like themselves'," he says.
"They don't feel comfortable smiling and this can make them feel vulnerable and bit insecure.
"A lot of patients get teary when they look into the mirror and see their own smile, with their new dentures.
"Some say they have felt uncomfortable smiling for as long as 15 or 20 years."
Dentists and the associated professions deserve a special toast on Christmas Day. As David says, everyone wants to look their best when the cameras come out.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in
The Redland Times.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Merv 's love of Moreton Island keeps growing

IMAGE of the Cape Moreton lighthouse courtesy DERM.
IMAGINE being up there in a cyclone as described below.

THE old term, "green thumb", referring to plant-growing skills, can fit comfortably in the new vocabulary of environmental awareness.
Gardeners must be mindful of propagating the right plants as some nasty pests have gained a toehold on the continent in someone's backyard and spread to threaten nature's balance.
Merv Tyler, of Birkdale, can wear the two-leafed title of "green thumb" as a badge of honour. He has devoted about 30 years of voluntary service to the subtropical wonderland of Moreton Island.
A boilermaker at the Evans Deakin shipyard before it closed in 1976, Brisbane-born Merv started a new career, qualifying with diplomas in horticulture, conservation skills and coastal land management.
In 1980 he answered a newspaper notice seeking volunteers for roadworks on Moreton Island.
"As soon as I saw the island I just loved it," he says. After the road project, Merv applied his growing and gardening skills, working with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

FOR the past four years he has run a nursery at North Point to grow endangered native species for planting where needed. He also looks after the camping grounds and other public areas.
Three years ago Merv received an Arbor Day Award for his plantings on a 500m sand blow where the Cape Moreton lighthouse keepers had thrown their rubbish for about 150 years.
Merv has been propagating pony-tailed casuarinas. He goes to the island often and stays in one of three cottages that formerly accommodated the lighthouse keepers.
With the cyclone season near, Merv recalls wild winds in the cottage high on the northern cliffs: "I have been through two cyclones up there; the winds were 130km an hour; I couldn't walk out the door." He makes a whistling noise to emphasise the point.
Merv says residents' plantings of pest species including cocos palms and umbrella trees continue to threaten the island's ecology, with the seeds spreading into sensitive areas, especially around the southern town of Kooringal and Bulwer in the north.
"The Brisbane City Council is always going over there to try to get people to remove these sorts of trees, but they can only ask," he says.
"The area is very sensitive; it's not good."

MERV's interest in native plants doesn't stay on Moreton Island. Many years ago during a stint in his old trade in the Central Queensland coalfields he developed a liking for the bottle trees of the region.
He has grown some from seed in his backyard and has offered 700mm bottle trees for sale to Redland home gardeners.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, November 21, 2011

'Kwacker' roars in cultural journey

Image of the 'Kwacker' model discussed below, courtesy of fellow blogger FloridaSteve.

SOME powerful engines have run sweetly through the decades in tribute to the 1974 Australian movie Stone.
The movie about a Sydney cop's undercover mission in an outlaw motorcycle gang seems to be one of those classic "love it or hate it" productions.
The staunchest critics would cringe at notes about Stone at the national audiovisual heritage website, Australian Screen.
"An instant box-office smash, it connected powerfully with audiences as the first true depiction of life among Australian ‘bikies’, and not American ‘bikers’," curator Richard Kuipers says.
"More than three decades later, Stone commands a cult following like no other Australian film."

ALLAN Baggs, of Victoria Point, is proud to be a member of that cult. Allan's love of motorcycles started on his family's vineyard at Berry, South Australia.
As he grew into a teenager,he cut the bodywork off an old DKW scooter and rode it around the farm. After he saw Stone he dreamed of owning a Kawasaki Z900, the bike that had a star role.
About three years ago he swapped a Honda that he had restored for his dream bike that had been in a garage for years and had only 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometres) on the clock.
"The Z900 was the first of the real superbikes and went from 1973 to 1976; mine was the last of the model," Allan says, adding that riding it is "a real buzz: it takes me back to when I was a young bloke".
Allan qualified as a chef and escaped the southern cold to move to Queensland about 30 years ago. He worked at some prestigious eateries including "the old Oscars" on the Gold Coast.

OVER the years he has built up several businesses cleaning and maintaining specialist equipment in the food industry and now is the proprietor of Precision Powder Coating, Underwood.
He and wife Cynthia, who have two daughters, built a house at Victoria Point in 1997. They are now putting the finishing touches on a new home in the same suburb.
That's why Allan advertised his beloved Kawasaki as a swap for concreting on the drive and paths. He estimates the project totals more than 200 square metres.
Allan is sad about the impending loss of the Kawasaki, which the ad described as awesome,but he is keen to get the work done before the wet season.
Cynthia learned about the Queensland climate a lot earlier than Allan as her family moved from Herberton to the Redlands.
After three keen inquiries for the bike valued between $10,000 and $12,000, the couple appears likely to get the work done before the storms.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Business irons out budget wrinkles

Image courtesy of fellow blogger Susan Dewitt.

ENTREPRENEUR is a big word that evokes images of big money and big talk but each edition of the Classifieds unveils many quiet achievers who don't need to wear titles like 'CEO', even when they can.
The steady stream of entrepreneurs creating new businesses fuels the economy and enriches the culture, locally and wider.
Those with ideas and drive can have the supreme satisfaction of building their own business, without fancy titles and expense accounts.
The Classifieds are a showcase for what used to be known as the "self-made man" but now should the "self-made person".

I HAVE had the pleasure of talking with a true "self-made woman", a mother-of-four who created an income stream, firstly for her family, then grew it to employ 12 people.
Speedy Ironing Service's brightly coloured notice with artwork stands out under the 'services – domestic' heading. About two decades ago, Marita Neville started the business with a two-line classified.
Marita looks back on her business as a journey of learning and discovery that has allowed her to "grow personally".
"Ironing was something I could do at home; I started with a friend but then kept doing it as my own business," she says.
At the time, the Victoria Point 'commercial hub' was just a corner store on Colburn Avenue. Marita lived nearby in a new estate. She needed to travel to Canon Hill and Mt Gravatt to shop.

GRADUALLY, over the years, Marita gave up ironing, but kept up the driving for pick-up and delivery.
Now she has two drivers and concentrates on managing the business.
The drivers have computers showing the necessary client details. Marita, in fact, lists the use of such IT as a highlight of her business development.
"I have learnt so much – about management, how to run the business more efficiently, dealing with people, computers and IT," she says.
"It's not just an ironing service."
She has streamlined the accounting and business practices.

SPEEDY Ironing Service has clients throughout Redland City. Marita has thought about servicing a wider area but says she is comfortable with the geographic limit at this stage of her life.
"Ten years ago I may have wanted to keep expanding the business but I now have 14 grandchildren and they are a big part of my life," she says.
She talks about her business achievements with humility: "I am a Christian and believe that you don't do something like this all by yourself but get help from God."
Marita is part of the congregation at Redland City Church, Thornlands

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.This article has appeared in The Redland Times.

Image magic: from daguerreotype to digital culture

Wow, now the world can see it! Here are scenes from beautiful Moreton Bay, protected from the Pacific Ocean by two huge sand islands, dotted with other smaller islands and with the vibrant urban culture of Redland City on its southern shores. These images by internationally renowned Redland photographer Julie Geldard certainly show why we are proud to call ourselves "Redlanders". Long live the Redlands!

THE Frenchman who is credited with taking photography out of the laboratory and into the world's mainstream culture would grin and grimace at the explosion of digital imaging almost two decades later.
Photography is now at society's fingertips, probably to a degree that Louis Daguerre would never have imagined.
Louis developed the camera with the most intriguing name, the daguerreotype (it's always a buzz to tap out a word like that).
At the time and for many decades, photography was a specialist skill and the property of highly trained practitioners.

NOWADAYS anyone can happily snap and show their handiwork to the world on the web.
The true professionals – remember how we used to call them 'shutterbugs' – are still clicking away, however.
Their work still carries the stamp of authority that says, "This is my work and my art," and it stands out in the proliferation of images like stars in the digital imaging universe.
Such professionals could be expected to look down their noses at the legions of amateurs but Wellington Point photographer Julie Geldard is delighted so many are recording the things that mean something to them.
"It's wonderful to have more and more people experiencing this magical world and capturing beauty; it makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy," she says.

JULIE, a highly accredited and awarded photographer with about 15 years' experience, advertises her "Master your Camera" classes in the training and tuition column.
She says use of just the programmed automatic camera settings gives control to the camera, rather than the operator; she shows how an understanding of camera functions can improve the images.
"I encourage the photographer to see magic moments, how to enhance their subject with many techniques such as leading lines, and how to not distract from their subject," Julie says.

SHE holds "ongoing and affordable practical workshops" weekly for participants to maintain their skills and advanced half-day workshops in specialist areas.
Weekend and overseas "photographic extravaganzas" to destinations including Thailand, the Greek islands and Africa are also on the agenda.
“One develops a second sense for that fleeting fantastic moment when a great shot is enhanced by light or a captured emotion to take it from good to breath-taking,” Julie says.
"My aim is to teach the technical skills, then enhance the creative skills to give each participant a life-long pathway to photographic growth and enjoyment," Julie says.
“One is never alone in the world with your camera.”

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this article has appeared in The Redland Times.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unofficial anthem echoes through time, space

Image of giant log at the genuine Pub With No Beer.

THE song that country music superstar Slim Dusty took to the top of the charts more than half a century ago was destined to get ingrained in Aussie culture. However, the popularity of the catchy tune and lyrics of The Pub With No Beer spread far past our borders and to other countries.
The song had already echoed around the world for more than a decade when a boy, barely into his teens, started learning guitar in Durban, South Africa.
The Pub With No Beer was in fact the first song that Glen Stuart learnt to play. He wondered what life was really like in Australia, and in 1979 he migrated here.

GLEN now lives at Thornlands and works as a sales representative in the fibreglass/composites industry. That's his day job, of course, because he is still a keen rhythm guitarist, picks up his instrument at every opportunity, enjoys jamming and has played in bands.
A few years ago he joined his lead guitarist-uncle Brian Jones in a band called Sneaky Pete, with Brian's son Warren on drums.
Brian and Warren also came from South Africa to make the Redlands their home.
Glen has a musical project on the boil and has used the Classifieds to recruit a bass player for his new band, which will play blues, rock and rock 'n' roll.

OVER about the past year, Glen has been playing with a lead guitarist, Aiden Battenally, drummer Rob Greatrex and singer Amanda Reynolds and they now need the right bass player to hold it all together.
"Basically we all have day jobs and we get together because we simply love playing music; it's our passion," he says.
"At this stage we are looking to get a CD together by the end of the year then starting into gigs.
"We are looking for someone (on bass) who is willing to grow with the band."
The first applicant auditioned last Monday and another will have a try-out next week.

AFTER mastering The Pub With No Beer, Glen's gaze actually turned 180 degrees to North America and rockabilly became his favourite style.
However, the new band will play everything from rockabilly to Led Zeppelin, he says. Unfortunately, it's too early to give a band name for advance notice of the debut in 2012. About all I can say is: watch this space.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in
The Redland Times.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Stopping to smell the roses, soak up the art

Images clockwise from immediate right: sculpture in Qld beech, cast aluminium tile honouring the creatures of Moreton Bay; Australian flora motifs carved in Qld beech and cast in aluminium; bronze of the late Bill Branch, commissioned by the southern bay islands RSL sub branch.

SOMETIMES everyone has to take a step back, look at how they expend their energies and ask themselves, "Why am I doing this?"
Today I must be on a bit of a 'downer'. That question opened up some old scars and relatively new wounds.
My expeditions into the real world of the marvellous community of classified advertising have been branded over the years as "trivia".
Yes, you read it right - the good old six-letter putdown, in a media culture driven by self-righteous sensationalism.
I am no stranger to the curled lip, smug shrug and blithe indifference to my monument for the heritage of publishing.
Whether the expression is outright disrespect or stony silence, I can handle it because I've had a good few decades dealing with it.
The people who trust me to tell their stories more than make up for the lack of courtesies that seem inevitably to confront me in my calling.

TODAY, when I looked at my world and stopped to smell the roses I realised that I do devote a lot of effort to this while neglecting beauty around me.
So just to get on an upbeat I thought I'd share with you some of the marvellous artworks by my wife, Jenny.
By the way, she gets a mention in
an earlier post. Visitors to the site may already have seen the wasp man.

Jenny's work is also on exhibition at her own current site, with more in the archives of cyberspace - some character studies, cast metal tiles and more 'special person sculptures'.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Carl Barron beware: cockatoos watch your walk

IMAGE: No, it's not Carl with a crest. Cockatoo picture by courtesy of a fellow blogger with the site, Little Australia, which is well worth a visit.

REDLAND seems more like a rainforest than a city in the recent Lost & Found columns. Our feathered friends of many breeds are on the move.
Lost: a green ringneck parrot at Birkdale and a rosella and a rainbow lorikeet at Alexandra Hills.
Found: a grey cockatiel and a "pretty parrot", both at Capalaba.
And that was just in Tuesday's paper. Bird watchers undoubtedly have looked forward to today's chapter of Lost & Found with bated breath, keen anticipation and sweaty palms.

A LOT of emotion runs through this soapie but there's also some good old belly-shaking slapstick comedy, which comes free with each bird.
If comedian Carl Barron ever needs a stand-in, a sulphur-crested cockie could imitate that famous walk and probably get a few more laughs.
Alexandra Hills carpenter Chris Shumack managed to smile yesterday even as he counted the cost of advertising for his rosella – and rewarding the finders – three times in about two years.
"He has become a very expensive bird," Chris said. But he was thankful the tactic previously worked, and this time he was optimistic of a reunion soon with Fatso.
"He's the biggest, heaviest, overweight bird I have ever seen – he's totally food driven," Chris said.
"We bought him from a bird show at Cleveland a few years ago and we had him inside the house.
"We had hoped to domesticate him and get him trained, but he would attack you for food and then again after he got the food.
"He was very, very aggressive and never very friendly but he could talk a bit: if you turned up with food he would say 'hello'."

FATSO escaped from the cage he shares with a rainbow lorikeet, after the installation of a new perch caused a momentary lapse in security.
He is no stranger to doing it tough on the streets and has been accused of bullying innocent householders, demanding food.
Chris said the yellow and blue bird had a distinctive red spot on his neck.
Nearby at Birkdale, Steve Speechley was also hanging onto hope that his green ringneck, Arthur, would turn up, about a fortnight after his escape. He said the bird, which could say 'Arthur', meant a lot to him.

STEVE, who works in property maintenance, said there was a simple explanation for the spate of lost birds: "It's the breeding season – they go missing about September every year."

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising – and their feathered friends; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Welcome to a new partner

This week's column, as it appears in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia. Click on the image to enlarge it and take a trip down memory lane with me.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge all the international visitors to this site. The site statics indicate the migrants who have come from the UK and featured in this column have generated some of the traffic, and other visitors have been in countries including Poland, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, Russia, Canada, South Korea and Latvia. My posts on US sites some years ago - which now have generally drifted into the mists of the archives of cyberspace - may have been part of the reason for traffic from North America.

Of course, spammers would be among them but the referral and search details show a significant number of genuine visits. The stats must have been available on blogger for some time but I opened my eyes to the facility only recently and didn't pay much attention, other than to check the traffic volume.

This is also an opportunity to thanks the many hundreds of people who over the past 15 years have trusted me to write their stories. Again, I invite all and any to write to me with any updates they would like published. Thanks again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smiles weave magic while sun sets

Image from

THE dedicated carers of the aged deserve as much gratitude and support that the rest of us can spare during our busy lives.
The jobs require a lot of skills and professional discipline mixed with genuine compassion and empathy.
Anyone who has ventured among the dementia sufferers and other high-care patients in a nursing home can feel the weight of emotion that everyone – staff, patients and visitors – must handle with dignity.
The atmosphere can be heart wrenching but there's also a lot of joy, and that's what Rosevale Court manager Ben Cox focuses on when talking about his two decades' work in aged care.

ROSEVALE Court, a high-care facility, was built about 10 years ago on the site of a former rose nursery at Victoria Point. It is home for almost 140 residents and employs 180 staff.
A Thank You notice appeared in the Classifieds this week from the families of three deceased Rosevale Court residents.
The families thanked "the staff and administration ... for the care, respect and care shown to our loved ones".
Ben says the centre staff certainly appreciate the public expression but another group also plays a big part in the lives of everyone at Rosevale Court.
"Smiles are catching," he says. "And that's what all of us get from the many volunteers who come here.
"The more volunteers, the better service we can give.

BEN jokes that some volunteers "come in just to stop anyone cheating at bingo" but then clarifies that the residents with sight problems need some help.
"We have volunteers that just sit and talk to the residents about their lives and others who go shopping for those nicknacks that are needed; we have many residents who do not have family to do that for them.
"A group of men comes in to spend time with the male residents, and the poetry society comes in to read poetry.
"Several volunteers just help the staff and take out the morning tea; one volunteer folds laundry.
"Most of the volunteers want to have some form of contact.
"This week we had the Russell Island Singers, a group of eight, to entertain."

THE benefit of music to those in such care is widely acknowledged. Ben said there were occasions when residents who did not speak would suddenly sing along, surprising their carers and fellow patients.
The federal government agency Aged Care Australia says volunteers play an important part in the health care system and "form the community’s most valuable hidden asset".
Ben says the biggest benefits are the smiles, and Rosevale Court values them above all else.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Hairdresser prepares for tiny client

Image from

HAIRDRESSER Sahra Danes advertises a seven-day-a-week mobile service but she has declined any bookings for September 4, 2011.
Just one major project will be enough for Sahra this Sunday. The award-winning hairdresser expects to be in Redland Hospital giving birth to a son.
He will be the first baby for Sahra and her partner Benjamin Ferguson, who have chosen to start their family in Wellington Point where Sarah grew up with her sister Jessica and brother Nathan.
Sahra, daughter of author Kay Danes, says she always wanted to become a hairdresser, all through her years at Birkdale South State School and Sheldon College.

AFTER Sahra left the college in 2004 she qualified at the Brisbane School of Hairdressing then completed an apprenticeship at a Chermside salon.
In the tradition of the trade she says she then "made my way around the salons" and had a job in the Brisbane CBD before starting the mobile service about three months ago.
The business strategy aims to fit with the demands of motherhood. "I decided I needed something that was more convenient and flexible," Sahra says.
Sahra was having a busy week leading up to the big day; she even plans to work tomorrow. She says she will have about a fortnight break before resuming the mobile hair services.

SEVERAL honours including a catwalk award at a major hairdressing show and a business award for her city salon appear on Sahra's career summary.
She says she had no major worries when starting her own business.
"It wasn't too difficult," she says. "I had done a training and assessing course that covered how to manage yourself – it was pretty useful."
Sahra Danes Mobile Hair Services specialises in colouring and cutting. The hairdresser says curls are in fashion in a "back to the '70s" style.

40 years on, Whitlam 'splash' remembered
IT wouldn't be spring without a mention of that fantastic smell of chlorine before an 'ice-breaking' plunge into the pool.
Cleveland Penguins Amateur Swimming Club, which uses the pool at Cleveland State Primary School, will have its sign-on sessions tomorrow from 10am to 2pm and on Wednesday from 3pm to 6pm.
The club already has about 100 full members and the same number in its learners' programs, says president Cassie Sinnett.
Cassie says the club has operated since the pool was built in 1971 and opened by Labor leader Gough Whitlam who became prime minister in 1972. Club officials are considering an event to mark the 40th anniversary.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column appeared in The Redland Times on Friday, September 2.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

They're 'running examples' of healthy eating

Image from Go for 2&5.

THE dark look on a kid's face in response to the direction "Eat your spinach" is one of the indelible images of parenthood.
Mums and dads throughout history have happily tortured their kids at meal time; it's probably a payback that has come through many generations.
The public health officials who spend money promoting good dietary habits must also have suffered this acceptable form of child abuse when they wanted jellybeans and received a celery stick.
The connection of a good diet with health and fitness, however, is not the invention of an advertising executive plotting a million-dollar campaign.

CONSIDER this case history: About 30 years ago a newlywed couple chose the Redlands as the place to have their family.
He had a background in horticulture in the Lockyer Valley; she was from a family of growers in Rockhampton.
The couple opened a fruit and vege shop, and the Cleveland business served them well as they raised their two sons and daughter.
The business moved to Victoria Point about a decade ago, then into bright new premises as the retail development gained pace.
Burgo's Fruit Barn in Victoria Point Lakeside is now one of the 'iconic businesses' in the retail precinct, and Gaye and Glen Burgess have kept all their enthusiasm for their enterprise.
Their children, Scott, Nathan and Katie, are now in their twenties. Gaye is proud of their health and fitness focus and that they all absorbed her message about a good diet.

NATHAN, aged 21 and 198cm tall, is the full forward for the Redland Bombers AFL side. Scott, 23 and 200cm, is in the Queensland volleyball team.
Gaye says Katie is not in competitive sport at present but is "very much into gym and fitness".
The trio, in fact, are running examples of a good diet.
About seven years ago the Burgesses installed a juice bar and for several years have offered 'performance-based' smoothies suiting health and fitness programs.
"We can make special smoothies for people who want to bulk up and others that can help in weight reduction," Gaye says.
"All the juice is fresh from the shop and squeezed at the time. That makes us different from the juice bars where it comes out of a bottle."

BURGO's recently advertised for a juice bar operator and received about 30 applications. The appointment is important; a big event is set for Saturday, September 3.
In partnership with the neighbouring fitness centre, Legal Muscle, Burgo's will launch a new smoothie, Real Results, with free product samples and advice from a personal trainer.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We're growing, not just going

Here's a column that missed my posting duties after it appeared in The Redland Times some weeks ago:

A FUNDAMENTALIST minister and author is credited with creating some inspiring phrases about self development.
"Don't go through life, grow through life" – a quotation attributed to the late Eric Butterworth – must be one of the most profound seven-word collections in the history of the language.
It appears here today because the progression of life reflects through every edition of the Classifieds. A browse on any page reveals the many ways people are in fact "growing", rather than just “going”.
We have all heard quite enough of the "moving forward" philosophy thanks to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, but the mantra at least cut through the mist of everyday life and reflected some deeper thinking.

THE Classified pages are full of people who are "growing" and "moving forward" – they are doing things and making some cash, which always helps in any journey: like that of the Ormiston widower who realised he wasn't giving any attention to the greenhouse in the corner of his yard and listed it for sale.
"I am on my own now and I didn't have much interest in it," he said. "It needed some TLC."
The greenhouse – with his wife's plant collection, including orchids, making a package – sold to the first caller for $500.

AT VICTORIA POINT, grandmother-of-seven Lesley Coey was still waiting for a buyer for the double tubular bunks and innerspring mattresses she advertised for $400. Lesley said she had bought the bunks only about one year ago for more than $700.
Lesley and husband Rod came to the Redlands from Townsville in 1988 after Rod was transferred in his job with tyre firm Goodyear, with which he worked for 32 years before retiring about four years ago.
The Coeys spend a lot of time with their grandchildren and are selling the bunks in a rearrangement for a granddaughter who will live with them.

AT CLEVELAND, mother-of-two Sue Fitzgerald has been especially busy since the birth of her second daughter Amy, five months old. Sue sorted out a collection of baby goods that were surplus to their needs and placed a for-sale notice.
Sue and her husband Jason moved from Canberra seven years ago.
"We thought we would try something different and come to live in the Sunshine State, and we have never looked back," Sue said.

ALL THIS shows the proud heritage of classified advertising – helping people "grow through life".
The Classifieds have been around a long time and will keep doing their job for a lot longer. Nowadays you can also browse the Classifieds online (follow the prompts at And jobseekers can visit the new employment network

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

Seedlings grow a business and an industry

Image from Highsun Express.

SOME leading-edge innovation has been ensuring the Redlands' horticultural traditions do not become just memories of the older generations and words in the pages of history.
The sector certainly has been shrinking as urban development has grown on the fertile red soil but growers who have adapted have not simply survived the challenges but prospered.

IN the new order, the Skinner family has stood out among the quiet achievers. Brad Skinner is the head of Highsun Express, which has been supplying wholesale nurseries with flower seedlings for the past quarter of a century.
He represents the third generation of the family business but it's a far cry from the small crop operation that his grandfather, the late Charles Skinner, set up on the Ormiston site after moving from Biloela in Central Queensland.
Charles' two sons, Bob (Brad's dad) and Geoff, stayed with the small crops for many years after Charles died.

AS the urban development increased, the family's land holding reduced but the concentration led to a new focus on flowers and the development of a new niche in the supply chain.
Brad says Highsun picked up from a US trend for specialist propagators to supply the flower seedlings to wholesalers who traditionally had done their own seed-to-seedling operations.
"For the wholesalers, it means basically outsourcing the hard stuff," Brad says. "We were the first to go commercial and develop this sort of business in Australia."

THE system targets "long growing-time, high-failure and difficult-to-grow crops".
In the industry, the single seedlings are known as "plugs", and Highsun has certainly been plugging hard, now producing between 30 million and 40 million seedlings a year.
Highsun opened a second nursery at Cabarlah, near Toowoomba, in 2004.
The company has a workforce of about 70, including about 15 at Carbarlah.
The company has advertised for casual workers; the busiest season of peak production runs until late November.
The ad has emphasised the fast-paced environment and the need for a keen eye for detail but said experience was not necessary as successful applicants would receive training.

FROM time to time, Brad gets to see how his 'babies' have grown into television stars as the plants have featured on the gardening shows.
Last year the nursery joined a spring promotion for the Big Red geranium, after its release by European seed giant Syngenta. This spring, the feature product is Garvinea, a gerbera from Dutch group, Florist.
Highsun also supplies cutflowers, annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs but solely to wholesalers and does not make direct sales to the public.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Brewery plan bubbles along

Image from

BEER lovers in some swank eateries – as well as pubs and clubs – will soon toast Redland City as the home of a range of premium brews, if all goes to plan for pastry chef-turned-brewer Jeffrey Fleck.
Jeffrey has applied to the authorities to increase production at the Shore Street West, Cleveland, “micro-brewery” he set up last year.
Approval would be a step toward putting Red Bay Brewery products on tap beside the 'big name' brews.
The brewery's annual production limit would rise, allowing product delivery in commercial kegs.
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation placed a Public Notice advertising the licence application.

JEFFREY is already known as a pastry chef who took his knowledge of yeast to a new level after he developed a trade in more than 200 beer styles.
He says a love of beer runs in his family; when he was a boy he helped his dad brew in the family home at Bankstown in south-west Sydney. Naturally, when Jeffrey got old enough, he also helped drink it.
An apprenticeship at East Sydney Technical College as a pastry chef almost 30 years ago started his first career which took him into retail management and resorts but he tired of overnight shifts and hot ovens.
Living at Mount Gravatt with his wife Saori, Jeffrey looked at his options and found a North Queensland boutique brewery for sale.
"We gutted it of all the equipment and set it up here (in Cleveland)," he says. "But it was a long hard process of jumping through hoops to get all the approvals and the work done."

RED Bay Brewery's current licence allows it to sell 50-litre batches, the equivalent of six cartons, in each order, Jeffrey says.
He estimates a $20 a carton saving for customers who seek an equivalent to popular premium brews.
But Jeffrey says he can even cater for customers with a taste for lesser known upmarket beers.
He counts among his achievements the development of his own brews, including a Japanese-style full malt lager, a "big flavoured" pale ale and a gluten-free brew, for which he is seeking endorsement from the Coeliac Society of Australia.
For the latter, Jeffrey says he sourced a US malt with a maximum gluten content of 20 grams per million.
"I've had the beer independently tested and it has less than 3 grams gluten per million," he says.
Watch for the launch of the brand name that Jeffrey hopes to announce soon.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Elkhorns, staghorns hold happy memories

Image courtesy fellow Blogger, AfricanAussie.

A BLISSFUL bayside retirement reflects in the glorious green foliage of the giant staghorns that have grown in a certain Victoria Point greenhouse.
The plants represent many happy years during which a couple in their senior years could relax in a comfortable home near their family and favourite fishing spots in Moreton Bay.
A For Sale notice offering the plants said "cheap" but they have been treasures for the 77-year-old woman who has nurtured them.
"My husband bought them from the roadside when we moved here 22 or 23 years ago," she says. "They were only tiny then, but now they are beautiful big ones. They're the largest I have ever seen."

FINDING a new home for beloved elkhorns and staghorns is just one item on her busy agenda this week.
At the weekend she will move from her house and into a Cleveland unit, which is too small for the giant epyphytes.
She will tell her husband about the move but he will not understand. That is the sadness that surrounds the tragedy of dementia.
"My husband started to suffer from dementia about 10 years ago and has had a stroke," the woman says.
"I have settled him into a nursing home at Wellington Point. When I visit him, I have to travel 16 kilometres each way from here.
"I have no alternative but to move closer, and this house is too big for me alone."
The bay fishing was one of the main reasons the couple retired to Victoria Point rather than the Brisbane suburbs but that ended for them soon after the onset of the disease.
"He came to me one day and said he couldn't go out in the boat anymore because he couldn't remember how to come back in," the woman says.

DESPITE all the suffering, she remains stoic and is thankful for all the support from her daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, who she says have been marvellous during the stress of the past few years.
She knows they will all rally around to help with the heavy work tomorrow.
The woman says her family is grateful to know her husband has the security of a home where the staff care about their patients.
She also thanks the Wynnum and Cleveland respite centres for their support.
Alzheimer's Australia says an estimated 269,000 Australians have dementia.

"WITHOUT a significant medical breakthrough, that is expected to soar to about 981,000 by 2050," the organisation says.
"Each week, there are 1500 new cases of dementia in Australia. That is expected to grow to 7400 new diagnoses each week by 2050."

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Concrete and glass lifestyle crumbles

BEN Johnson's mind was far from the inner-city concrete and glass during the three and a half years he spent as an office worker in the Brisbane CBD.
He was thinking maybe of his childhood in a farming district near Wagga Wagga, NSW, where he had grown up in a big family with seven brothers and sisters.
Until he had headed north to experience Queensland life, Ben had always worked in outdoor jobs such as tree lopping, agricultural machinery maintenance and some general farm work.
He now admits he felt totally out of place among the business suits in the big city and realised he had to get back into work that would get him out in the fresh air and sunshine, and give him more control over his life.

IMPETUS for change came when he met Michelle Brush on June 12, 2006. The couple married on the same date in 2009 and have settled in Birkdale.
The husband is now the owner of a business with a rather catchy name, Hard Yards Landscaping Services and Property Maintenance, and he says he's enjoying life a lot more.
The business harks back to the many happy days when Ben joined his eldest brother Troy, working on farms near their Forest Hill home.
Ben also recalls how the brothers hunted rabbits and caught yabbies and fish.
Troy was the first to move to Queensland about 13 years ago as an air force engineer at Amberley; Ben followed him about six years later.

THE pair now share the "Hard Yards" tag, with separate businesses, Troy operating in the Ipswich district and Ben mainly in the Redland City suburbs.
A regular advertiser in the Classifieds, Ben has been busy during the fine weather this week handling a rush on quotes as householders have set their winter maintenance schedules.
Nothing – well, almost nothing – is as exhilarating as the whiff of dirt as the spade turns on a sunny winter morning but even the keenest home gardeners find some jobs too big or nasty, and seek help from someone like Ben, toughened by a life on the land and able to do the "hard yards".
His business specialises in fencing, lawn mowing, building retaining walls, trimming trees and other any other chores that need a strong back and an experienced hand.

TROY has added a Dingo to his machinery inventory but Ben still does his own digging.
As he digs his mind is now far from the city and focusing on the months ahead and a very important coming event. In September, Ben and Michelle will celebrate the birth of their first child.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in
The Redland Times.

Tragedy ends Moreton Bay dream

Image of Wellington Point jetty courtesy BayJournal.

HALF a century ago, a family from Brisbane's southside would cram into their car for weekend trips to the bayside.
They would stop at the farms to buy fruit and veges for the week ahead and often ended up at Wellington Point to enjoy the fresh air and salt water, have a picnic and catch a few fish.
The kids would sleep soundly in their landlocked suburb after such idyllic seaside experiences, dreaming about one day living on the bayside.
The dream came true for Terry Nixon. One of his fondest memories is walking out to King Island at low tide with his brothers and sisters; nowadays he lives just a few streets away.

IT is about 15 years since Terry realised his Wellington Point dream. For the past 10 years his mowing run has paid his bills.
However, a tragedy is bringing his bayside lifestyle to a shuddering halt. Terry's elderly dad is ill with cancer and the son is winding up his affairs and packing his belongings to move to northern NSW.
"I want to spend some time with him before he passes on," Terry said yesterday. "The doctors have told him he has only between two and six months to live."
Terry advertised his mowing run for sale in The Redland Times. The response in less than one week astounded him.
"I must have had about 10 or 12 calls; it was a hell of a response; the first guy who called looks like buying the business," Terry said. Negotiations continued at time of writing.

TERRY said the response had confirmed his long-held belief in local businesses and markets supporting each other.
Terry the mowing man is known throughout the Redland suburbs, including Cleveland, Ormiston, Alexandra Hills, Victoria Point and Wellington Point, of course.
The news of his father's illness has made Terry uncertain about his own future and whether he will move back to the Redlands.
He said he had enjoyed his decade in the mowing business, which he had established, and it had helped to keep him fit, but he doubted he would have the energy to start another.
"I am getting too old," he said. "I am in my sixties and I have just about had enough."

THOSE seaside trips of long ago have had some lovely sequels as Terry has watched his own kids and their kids splash in the Moreton Bay shallows.
With about half of his nine grandchildren living in Redland City, Terry will be a frequent visitor to the region he loves.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mortgage stress? Lodger may offer financial solution

IMAGES: The sort of lodger who would make you call the bank and say, "You can have the house." He featured in a classic Hitchcock thriller (courtesy British Film Institute). Right: The 2001 report on how classified advertising helped an unusual business.

THROUGHOUT a long history of service to readers and advertisers, classified advertising has always offered ways to raise or save cash, whether for spending on luxuries or meeting bills.
After last week's article about the Redlanders suffering mortgage stress, I looked for ways the Classifieds could help ease their pain.
Many such families undoubtedly are placing notices in the Accommodation columns, with about 40 listings from the Rural Press bayside newspapers featuring at

TAKING in a "boarder" or a "lodger" to share the expenses has probably been around as long as mortgages and rent.
Nowadays, people usually refer to their "house mates" but the result can be the same: the regular weekly income that will keep the bank or the rental managers off your case.
Not all the advertisers are in any state of desperation, of course, but sharing accommodation obviously is a common financial solution.
The notices represent the spread of Redland suburbs, with the exception of the southern bay islands, which were in the mortgage stress zones listed in last week's Classie Corner.

THE most notices have come from Wellington Point, but Capalaba and Cleveland both have a substantial presence, with addresses at Alexandra Hills, Birkdale, Raby Bay, Mt Cotton, Sheldon, Thorneside, Thornlands, Victoria Point and Redland Bay also available.
The cheapest option was $130 a week to share a three-bedroom house at Cleveland, and the most expensive, $220 in a four-bedroom house at Wellington Point.
But share accommodation is not the only "house saving" option in the Classifieds. A browse through any edition will show the enterprise that plays an important part in people's lives.

IT is 10 years since a poignant story of resourcefulness featured in Classie Corner: that of "the manure man".
He was aged in his seventies and advertised from time to time, offering bags of horse manure to home gardeners.
"I have never been short of a quid," he told me. "Whenever I need money I go around the horse properties and bag manure, and take it to the markets. I put the ads in, so my regular customers will know I have a supply."
He said he had started the enterprise when just a boy growing up in an inner Sydney suburb; back then, horses were still common transport.
How's that? Seven decades of survival, transforming waste into a product and using classified advertising to grow the business.

IF you need ideas, just browse classified advertising. You will see what enterprising people are up to and you may find your own financial solution.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Footnote: It looks as though anyone wanting to read the 2001 story will have to print it as my editing gear has limited the quality.

Why the nation has an interest in interest

THE metropolitan news hounds sleep easily every time a page on their desk calendar turns. They know they'll fill their bulletins and news pages easily because a powerful gang is just about to get together for coffee and bikkies in their capital-city boardroom.
Like clockwork, on the first Tuesday each month, Glenn Stevens and the gang chew the fat and pick the bones of the economic ups and downs.
The nation gets ready for the Reserve Bank board meeting with more reported forecasts than the average weather bulletin as analysts ponder what Governor Stevens and his lieutenants will decide to do with the nation's official interest rate.

ANY slight move behind that decimal point will provoke choruses of anguish or delight throughout the nation, just like a ripple from the breeze across Moreton Bay.
And in our bayside suburbs, many households are anxiously awaiting those 'terrible Tuesdays'. With the standard variable mortgage rate at 7.9 per cent, any rise can be a step closer to defaulting on repayments and 'losing the house'.
Lisa Johnston, of Alexandra Hills, is a keen interest-rate watcher. She has made a business of it.
Lisa Buys Your House offers options to mortgagors who cannot repay their their bank loans.

Using a system that is marketed nationally, Lisa has built a database of people who can take over payments on their way to finalising the deal and owning the title.
She said the system did not charge vendors fees or commissions and could save time because they did not need to search for buyers; deals could be finalised quickly if needed.
"I am like a matchmaker; I am not a real estate agent," she said. "I buy houses from people who can't sell them and find people who want them."
The buyers included investors and others who did not meet normal lending conditions or have the required deposit but could meet repayments, she said.
Lisa said her recent clients had included an Alexandra Hills woman whose marriage had broken up because of mortgage stress and who had a $380,000 debt, which was more than the property valuation.

A FAMILY with building skills had made improvements that increased the property value and gave them the equity to buy it.
Lisa said she received about 10 calls a week from householders suffering mortgage stress and about to lose their houses 'to the banks'; this week she had calls from Russell and Macleay Islands, Birkdale, Alexandra Hills and Cleveland.
Typically, such people had bought property at peak prices and had lost their equity as valuations dropped.
Lisa said her clients usually had debts between $400,000 and $500,000 but some owed a lot more.
Anyone with a $400,000 debt faced repayments of $700 a week at the current variable rate.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Here's 'hot rock' that spares eardrums

THE words "hot rock" must have caught the eyes of music lovers browsing the Classifieds recently, but the notice has promoted a different type of sensory experience.
Hot-rock massage is a new service for Redlands Really Relaxing Massage, the business that Thea Baker set up last year.
The technique has now joined the list of therapeutic massage services that Thea, of Redland Bay, has studied.

THEA is a dedicated member of our marvellous community of classified advertising. She moved to the Redlands from Coffs Harbour about 10 years ago.
About five years ago and with two young children, she looked for an occupation giving the flexibility to meet family needs.
She saw a notice in our Classifieds for massage courses with the Australian Institute of Applied Sciences and attended its Cleveland classes for two days a week.
"I was a stay-at-home mum but circumstances changed and I needed to find something to make ends meet," Thea says.

AFTER qualifying through the course, Thea practised her skills on family and friends. Meanwhile, her children, Jaki and Cade, have grown into teenagers and the demands of motherhood have eased a little.
Thea finally took the step into her own business in September, offering massage for relaxation and remedial treatments, including the deep-tissue technique, which she says can help long-term pain sufferers.
"When people have had pain for a long time the massage needs to go a lot deeper into the muscles and tissues to get the tightness and the knots out," she says.

THE hot-rock treatment, for which rocks are heated in water and used in the massage instead of the hands, is still to build a solid following in the massage market. "Most people prefer a traditional massage," Thea says.
The clients of Redlands Really Relaxing Massage have included stress sufferers carrying the tensions in their neck and shoulders and building workers with lower-back pain.
Thea has also found that lower-back problems are common among people who drive a lot, including sales representatives.

THE flexibility of a massage business has helped Thea keep up her volunteer work with The Rock Christian Church at Capalaba, where she helps provide food parcels for needy families.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Image courtesy wikipedia

Armpit medicine finds sweat solution

COMEDIANS like the great John Cleese must get great inspiration from everyday activities like browsing the Classifieds. Just imagine Cleese, with dead parrot on his shoulder, fronting up to Bayside Cosmetic Medicine Clinic at Victoria Point and demanding: "The headline on your ad says 'armpit sweating' and I'd like an economy-sized packet, thank you."
But that's where the joke ends. The clinic's Find Us First notice, in fact, offered an "effective solution" for excessive armpit sweating, which consulting physician Gertrude Behan says carries the medical name, axillary hyperhydrosis.
It's not funny to the many sufferers.

DR BEHAN Behan says the causes are multifactorial but the major contributor is parasympathetic overdrive, which is related to the body's nervous systems.
"We all get a bit more sweaty in our underarm region when we are nervous and a bit more sweaty when we are hot, but sufferers of underarm sweatiness will tell you that though their sweatiness is more acute when they are stressed or hot it is a problem for them all the time," she says.
"The people who suffer the most are genetically predisposed to sweaty underarms and it bothers them the most when they are different from the people they are with."

GLANDS in the armpits empty because tiny muscles contract, Dr Behan says; the solution involves superficial injection of botulinum into the dermal muscles so they do not contract.
"Botulinum has been used since the 1940s for treating cerebral palsy," she says. "It has also been used in treating ocular squints.
"It is a recently adopted treatment for hyperhydrosis. Previously a spinal operation which severed the parasympathetic nerve supply to the axilla was advocated. However, in my experience very few people proceeded with this treatment."
Dr Behan has advertised the treatment option because "it is both so little known and an effective treatment which has been almost life changing in the confidence and happiness it brings hyperhydrosis sufferers; the treatment is on the NHS in the UK but unfortunately does not have a Medicare rebate here".

GERTRUDE Behan was born in Chinchilla, attended school in Brisbane and studied medicine at Queensland University. She has a background in general practice and has worked in the Redlands for 20 years.
"When I was in my thirties I had my first skin cancer excised from my face," she says. "Beautiful skin is healthy skin and Queenslanders are so fortunate that so much research has been devoted to improving skin health in recent years.
"I am passionate about skin health and have a blog attached to my website ( area I find very exciting and hope more research is directed towards is how diet may affect one's susceptibility to burn in the sun."

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Image courtesy

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Visit inner universe and paradise planet called Art

THE feeling of timelessness makes browsing artworks one of the most relaxing pastimes. Stepping into a public or private gallery seems to free up pathways in the mind.
On the other side of the art equation, the creation also can be a marvellously meditative experience and an escape from the humdrum of everyday existence to a special place where there are no pressures other than those you want to accept.
An invitation to this paradise has been posted on the Classifieds' Find Us First page, where renowned Birkdale sculptor Georgette Schwantes, trading as Georgette's Art, has promised "therapeutic and relaxing" art classes.

GEORGETTE is one of Redland's most accomplished artists, with her stunning creations featuring at times in our news pages.
One of her commissions, a life-size fibreglass sculpture of Jesus, for Sacred Heart School, Sandgate, appeared on The Redland Times front page in 2009, and last year crosses that she created for Carmel College featured in the Bayside Bulletin.
Georgette has had much experience in teaching, both privately and at TAFE level. She was born in Egypt but grew up in England, where she obtained a degree in fine arts.
She has practised in the Redlands for about three decades. Georgette has an intriguing answer to that age-old question, What is art?

"I STRONGLY believe that art is an experience, and it has to be experienced," she says. "Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed creating art.
"The pleasure ... is not from finishing a piece, but rather the journey in creating it.
"I am always reluctant to sign a piece off, as that is acknowledging that it is finished. Then sadness comes over me, similar to the sadness at the end of a love affair.
"For me, there is no better way to express myself, my feelings, dealing with a three-dimensional form, one I can feel, not only with my hands but with my very soul.
"When I am working with my clay, I lose myself in it, time stands still, five hours can fly by and it can feel like five minutes.
"I am no longer in control of it, it has a soul all of its own, the presence of pure energy is running through me. I can feel it directing my hands. Oh, what joy, what ecstasy; I am flying; I am out of this world."

GETTING her feet back on the ground Georgette is also developing a specialty in sculptural restorations and has completed several major projects on sculptures that have been damaged in transport from overseas.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Image courtesy

Retail stouch brings out hammers, saws

GUNS and bombs are the standard weapons of war but hammers and saws can be handy when the retail giants battle for supremacy.
The retail power game, which has been one of the nation's most discussed subjects in recent years, is erupting into outright commercial warfare, as Woolworths advances toward the opening of its first home improvement stores.
Woolies is recruiting staff for a Tingalpa store, which is under construction. Positions that the group has listed on the new Fairfax Media network,, include department managers and assistants, receiving associate and training coordinator.

A WOOLIES spokeswoman in Sydney yesterday confirmed the store was scheduled to open in the second half of 2011. She understood about 120 staff would be needed.
The job notice lists the departments as gardening/outdoor living; paint, flooring and home d├ęcor; kitchens and appliances; building supplies and trade sales; plumbing, electrical and tools; stockroom; and administration.
The criteria include ability to work across the seven days of the week, evenings, late nights and some public holidays; retail management experience; experience in one of the categories; a strong customer focus; liking for a fast-paced team environment; communication and interpersonal skills; an eye for detail and a sense of urgency; ability to drive sales; and a passion for home improvement.

THE details are likely to be well read by generals of the opposing 'army', the Wesfarmers group, which operates the Bunnings chain. They have had to chew their nails while Woolies has plotted its hardware campaign, which retail watchers dubbed as "top secret".
The Sydney Morning Herald last month reported Woolworth would spend about $400 million on the first 12 stores in its joint venture with US partner Lowe's as they targeted the $6 billion a year Bunnings business.
Bunnings reportedly has lodged a development application to build a store at Wynnum West, about one minute's drive from the Woolies site.
The name of the new chain is still a whisper in the Woolworths corridors but retail analysts expect an announcement soon.
The spokeswoman would not reveal whether the company planned any hardware stores in Redland City.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column appeared in The Redland Times in April. Image courtesy

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Colourful language of politics and business

Image: Tearout of this column from The Redland Times.

AUSTRALIA can probably thank a prime minister for legitimising the word "boxhead", which has found a new life promoting a Redland business.
Labor's Paul Keating has his place in history as a verbal artist who turned the nation's political debate into a fabulous collection of comic-book one-liners, and his reference to Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey as a “boxhead” is still celebrated as classic Keating-speak.
“Boxhead” apparently started as a reference to German soldiers during or after the two world wars because of the shape of their helmets; at least, that's the view on

VARIOUS online dictionaries say the slang term later came to mean “a stupid person”, the Oxford, claiming to produce “the world's most trusted dictionaries”, still doesn't recognise Keating's authority in using it and seems to consider it unworthy of a definition.
All this was of no concern to Bayside Removals' Steve Rae when he wrote his Trade Services notice, saying: “Don't be a boxhead. Call Bayside Removals instead. We'll do it all for you.”
The artwork with a photograph of a couple wearing cartons over their heads backs up the theme.
Steve didn't need to consult Paul Keating or any dictionary when choosing the wording to get his message across and promise “no gimmicks – just the best rate and quality service”.

STEVE was relaxing on a houseboat on the Gold Coast yesterday during a welcome break from his demanding occupation as Bayside Removals manager.
He has left the management of the firm's fleet of five trucks in the capable hands of sales manager Craig Iselin.
Craig said the exceptional work by three Bayside Removals staff members during the January floods had been a talking point.
The trio had used their semi-trailer to get through the flood at Sherwood and Graceville to evacuate residents and save some property.
A metropolitan newspaper had reported how they had rescued an elderly man who had been swept into the fast-moving current and had clung to a post to save himself from drowning.

CRAIG said the efforts of the three, identified just as Andrew, Wazza and Justin, would be long remembered in the company history.
Bayside Removals not only services the greater Brisbane region but also operates interstate and to other parts of Queensland.

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