Saturday, November 24, 2012

Big birthday party, trip of a lifetime now just memories

Image: Steep Point, as recorded on the camera of fellow blogger Lindsay.

A BIG family and dozens of friends had a fantastic lunchtime celebration this month when Cecil Pellow, of Birkdale, turned 80.
About 50 people converged on a Raby Bay restaurant on Cecil's birthday - Sunday, November 4. Cecil came from a family with six kids who grew up in the NSW grain and sheep country at West Wyalong.
All but one of his siblings – a brother who was too sick to travel from Melbourne – were there on the big day.
Another brother, Barry, applied his photographic expertise to record the celebration but almost three weeks later, the party guests are lamenting the loss of the camera.
The party ended mid afternoon, Barry and his wife Carole caught a taxi to their Cleveland motel, only a few hundred metres from the restaurant.

ABOUT half an hour after arriving, he realised he had left the Canon camera, which has a black case, in the taxi.
He has posted a reward in the Lost & Found column saying "memory card very important" but no one has responded.
"The camera can be replaced but the memories can't," Barry said from Hervey Bay, where he and Carole are staying in a van park as their new retirement home is getting finishing touches. "The card has about 1200 pictures."
The couple, formerly from Gladstone, has been among the grey nomads for almost a year, travelling around Australia.

THE lost pictures have documented their experiences during the past six months, mainly across the Top End, south to Perth and through the outback regions – from Kununurra at the edge of the Kimberley region to Perth and back to Birdsville in Queensland's far south west.
Barry considers them the most stunning images of the couple's time on the road – especially those of the most western point of the continent.
He and Carole breathed the sweet air of the Indian Ocean as they looked over the majestic cliffs of Steep Point after a tough stretch on a rough road.

THE trip has been a dream come true for the couple. "We have looked forward to this for about 25 years," Barry says.
They were well prepared with a robust 4WD and a comfortable van.
A highlight has been meeting some "lovely friends", Barry says.
He still has a slim hope that the person who found the camera will at least post the memory card to him.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ambition loses pace as horse breeder sadly calls it quits

Harness racing is exciting but it has lost some of its charm for John Guy (story below). This image from wikpedia is used to illustrate the sport but has no connection with issues raised in this post. Image: Pacers at the 2007 Interdominion Championships held at Globe Derby Park in South Australia (#2 Make Me Smile, #5 Dee Dees Dream, #4 Braeside Seel Star (number not visible), #1 Tactical Dreamer). #5 wears a yellow bit lifter.

THE soil under the dense urban mix of Victoria Point cannot tell its stories, but the legacy of rural heritage runs through the suburb, deeper than the bitumen and concrete.
Nowadays, most of us can only imagine the joyous scenes of a rural lifestyle in tranquil bushland and fields, with the glorious bay as a backdrop and maybe a group of kids fussing over a horse.
Some can remember. Such a scene is crystal clear in John Guy's mind. He was one of those kids.

THAT rural upbringing planted a seed of ambition that inspired John for decades; he can still hear the horse's snort, but times have changed. He moved away from his beloved Victoria Point to pursue his dream of breeding horses.
Now he's back, disappointed.
John still loves horses and says: "They'll virtually talk to you if you get close to them. They all have different personalities and if you give them attention they are quite happy to give it back to you."
But he says his love affair with breeding trotters is over.

ABOUT a decade ago, John achieved a milestone when he bought a property on the Logan River at Beaudesert with the space for breeding from a few mares. Now, the dream property sold, he's back in his trade as ceramic tiler and the disappointment shows in his voice: "I decided it is time to move along in life before it gets away from me."
John says the breeding operation became too difficult. "It's too expensive," he says. "The horse's feed is too dear, there's no money around to sell the foals at the yearling sales and the prizemoney's no good any more."

JOHN blames the government and the racing authorities, which he says have been fostering the gallopers while neglecting the pacers. The crowds at regular trot meeting are small, says a man who has given up hope of a revival in the industry: "Change? I honestly don't know how they could fix it."
Over the past few weeks, John sought help of the Classifieds as a step in winding up his breeding operation.
He sought agistment for two of his favourite mares, one of which punters may remember. Girl About Town won 11 races from her 40 starts and also ran 11 placings. The other mare is one of her fillies.
John received only one call with an offer he says was unsuitable, so he's still looking.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Echoes of past give new hope for future on vinyl foundation

Image: Hoarders often believe their records are worth a lot more than the real value, says Mr Vinyl.

ECHOES of an amazing mix of cultures drift among the bricks and mortar of suburbia as a Redland City man tries to rebuild his life on a foundation of vinyl records.
After suffering a work-related disability for almost a decade, the man has found hope that the records gathering dust in cupboards, boxes and grimy storage will give him a new future.
With entrepreneurial vision and a sketchy business plan in his mind, he has embarked on a mission through our Classifieds.
The entrepreneur has been advertising his appeal for vinyl records with the catchcry, "Inspire another generation or just get back space in your cupboard ... Let the music be heard again."
He doesn't want to parade his personal details in public but is happy to be dubbed as "Mr Vinyl" and talk about his plan.

"SOMETHING that happened caused me to lose the use of my arms and legs and in 2003 I was mothballed, unable to work," he says.
"I am back on my feet now but I am only 41. I was bored but I didn't think life was over yet."
This year an idea took shape, and Mr Vinyl has been growing a collection of old albums in his Capalaba home.
He came across records at the Redland "dump shop" and decided to "get in first".
"Many people just throw out old records and by the time they get to the tip they have been rained on and had things chucked on to them, and they get wrecked," he says.

IT was almost heartbreaking for Mr Vinyl to hear of hundreds of records washing up on the banks of the Brisbane River during the 2011 floods.
He hopes his hobby will eventually grow a stock that will appeal to collectors or others who simply want to enjoy the music.
"The peak for vinyl records was in the early 1980s but after CDs came on the scene in the mid-'80s the vinyl era was over," he says.
"Vinyl is an entirely different sound and I expect in years to come some people will just want to hear their favourite music in that form."

AN interesting cultural "payback" has become apparent to Mr Vinyl during his project.
He says the punk, metal and some rock records are rarer. He believes fewer have survived the decades because parents ceremoniously dumped them when their children finally left home.
Mr Vinyl has bought hundreds of records in the past few months. He says the values are not as high as many hoarders hope.
"I just want to give other people the chance to hear them again," he says.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Chiropractors busy as eyes hunt for hope in sky

Image: A typical vegetation mix creating a fire risk around homes in the peri-urban zone.

A STRANGE affliction has taken hold of a big chunk of the Queensland population. Many need a trip to the chiropractor or the physiotherapist for some serious postural adjustment. Upper back and neck problems can be very painful. You can easily spot the sufferers. They look like they have their noses in the air but actually they have their eyes on the sky.
NATURE has been failing to deliver on the weather bureau's promises, at least until yesterday. Well, we did have a few drops of rain but only enough to dampen the socks that were left on the line to dry overnight. Yes, we can certainly "do with some rain", a phrase that seems to suit the Aussie accent. Which reminds of that great Australian poem from the federation era, Said Hanrahan.
A LOVELY copy of the poem is available at the National Library of Australia website, Trove . The insight of Father Patrick Joseph Hartigan, who used the pen name 'John O'Brien' made a delightful addition to the front page of The Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser in Victoria on November 14, 1919. His character, Hanrahan, has been giving Australian society a smile for many decades as he voices his fears that "we'll all be rooned", by drought, fires or floods.
THE message seems to be that nature will never perform to the total satisfaction of humankind, and in that regard the 2012 dry spell is probably just a curtain raiser for another wet season. But don't buy umbrellas and raincoats on my predictions because if the bureau can't get it right I don't have a chance. The comparatively dry of winter and spring always gives Queenslanders a final shot at making sure their roofs are ready for the summer rain.
THE roofing specialists who advertise in The Redland Times' Trade Services pages seem to be having a busy spring. Four of them rejected my offer to feature them in this column, saying they had as much work as they could handle. If any others wish to take up the offer I'll still be happy to give some space to the subject.
The Trade Services section is a lively and colourful directory, showing how far publishing has . evolved since the image of that tattered century-old Advertiser where a poem could sit comfortably on page one. It was pleasing to see evidence of the section's success in generating work for the advertisers and providing a handy resource for the readership.

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Grim trophy shows risks that lurk in shadows of everyday life

A GRIM trophy sits beside my keyboard. It's a solemn reminder of the fine line we may walk in life: the line that defines good and bad, ability and disability, even life and death.
It's what is left of one of the screws that held up the stairs to my front door – the rusted screws, each with only a millimetre or so of metal entrusted with the safety of those who climbed an apparently safe pathway.
The stairs would have collapsed if the fault had gone undetected. The disaster may have been only minutes away.
The victims would have been my family and friends, or an innocent stranger, maybe one or two, but possibly more – maimed or killed in a mangled, bloody mess.
My discovery is a warning to householders everywhere to check the security of their buildings, particularly on the high points of older houses. See my earlier post for more.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Behind facts, figures,stats and graphs,church eases pain

Image of despair from the church website.

HIGH or low, fast or slow – the nation's economy has always created top of mind issues, but the intensity of the focus on the ups and downs seems to ever increase. Some believe in 'talking it up' as sentiment and confidence are major players in the complex web of influences. Others do their best to tell the truth without the spin, but the public faces  a quandary in what to believe. Most of us do not have the resources or ability to do our own sums in such a sea of facts and figures.
AWAY from graphs and stats, there are pointers that can help clarify the economic picture. On the ground in the bayside suburbs, Victoria Point couple Phil and Lyn Cropper have no doubt that times are tough. Pastors of the pentecostal Rhema Word of Faith Church Redlands, the Croppers have been hearing many stories of hardship. "Costs have been going through the roof and there have been job losses; there's no doubt people generally are doing it tough and finding it hard to make ends meet," Phil says. FOR the past six weeks, the Rhema op shop at Redland Bay, has sold $35 food parcels including fruit, veges and dairy and pantry items.
PHIL says the number of people using the service has increased steadily as word has spread and although some clients undoubtedly are in considerable hardship others are simply budget conscious. "We don't discriminate," he says. "Even people who may appear to be wealthy can be doing it tough as many are up to their eyeballs in debt."
NOW, the big announcement that I promised a few weeks back. Well, the magnitude has certainly dimished in the interim but that's 'all good' for those who enrolled in the Redlands Community Weight Loss Challenge (Classie Corner, July 6).
Kim Phillips and Gordon Mills, of Capalaba, organised the challenge with eight participants. Kim has advised that Greg Harrison now has the title of 'biggest loser' after shedding 8.9kg in 12 weeks. Kim and Gordon are consultants for a nutritional system to help in losing weight without gym membership but nevertheless promote a balanced program for a healthy lifestyle. Kim, a registered nurse who now has the occupation description of 'wellness coach', says Greg was amazed at the ease of his weight loss.
"Greg changed his eating habits and commenced on one of our Cellular Nutrition Programs, which we have available for people to use if they would like to," she says.
"Four people were using our products and the other four chose not to. We had lots of laughs as well as shared information to help people move towards a healthy active lifestyle, along with encouragement and support."

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

Friday, October 12, 2012

Astrology and the law: cop's story inspires study

Image from wikipedia, where many have expressed their knowledge and/or beliefs about the power in the heavens.

THE North Queensland cop who chatted with a young woman about his work more than 20 years ago could not have predicted what he would start. Wendy Smith now recalls the policeman as "courageous and pragmatic" and says she listened attentively because of his strength of character. His insight was neither particularly profound nor unique but two aspects of the conversation stuck in her memory: The cop had direct experience dealing with violence and behavioural deviations about the times of a Full Moon; he believed police were susceptible to being killed or injured during those periods.

THUS Wendy gained "a healthy respect for Moon cycles" and developed an interest in astrology, the study of which she is sharing through classes with the theme, 'Live your life by the Moon". Now an Alexandra Hills resident, Wendy promotes the classes through The Redland Times/Bayside Bulletin Training & Tuition column.

"STUDENTS learn the basics about planets, signs and houses, while seeing and experiencing how the Moon affects their lives personally," she says. "The Moon is the fastest moving planet, which rules our emotions. "People interested in astrology can learn about the subject and analyse their own personal charts, which I will draw up during a 10-week beginner course, as they know themselves better than anyone else. "I think for us to grow as humans we need to look at ourselves first, warts and all through our birth charts, which are personal maps, and learn to love and embrace who we are. "Then we can move forward and deal with all the other complications – partners, money, jobs, relatives – and use some astrology tools to see how the transiting planets may offer us opportunities or challenges to deal with it all."

ALTHOUGH Wendy's focus is on personal charts rather than general predictions such as appear in newspapers and magazines, she believes "on-going difficult aspects" between Pluto and Uranus are having a big effect on humankind. "Pluto is a planet of transformation – that is, it breaks things down before they are rebuilt – and Uranus is the great awakener, which brings change and unusual outcomes," she says. "With these two planets squaring up to each other and from time to time at an exact angle, everyone is under pressure of some kind. "The world has seen economic crisis – and is still going through massive collapses and restructuring and changes; these planets are forcing change with most of us having to downsize or re-evaluate our lives on many levels." Wendy sees no conflict between astrology, religion and science. "All are necessary parts of the whole perhaps," she says. ? Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of newspaper classified advertising. For more information and stories visit

Monday, October 08, 2012

Timber lover says it's time to 'let go' of treasured objects

Image: One of Graham Chataway's timber creations. Courtesy,

A FEW seconds of eerie silence follow the frenzied scream of a chainsaw. Then, a thundering crash announces the passing of another of nature's most gentle giants. The felling of a tree is solemn work for some but becomes enthralling entertainment for others. Even when the mood is festive a certain sadness surrounds the fallen.

GRAHAM Chataway has heard those distinctive sounds from time to time since he and his wife Teresa moved to Cleveland 23 years ago. Both have doctorates in different academic disciplines. Born in central western Queensland, Graham developed a deep connection with trees and timber early in his life. He feels the sadness every time a tree crashes to the ground, but he can also see beauty in the mangled mess. On the ranks of timber lovers, Graham must sit among the highest boughs. "I just love the feel, the colour, the smell of some woods," he says. "I love the natural appearance, the patina and the linkage with the soil."

WHEN the chainsaw has screamed around Erobin Street, Graham has joined the throng, not to celebrate a death but to honour a life. He has air dried the timber and created beautiful objects. Graham calls his works "craft" but they are also "art". His collection includes avocado, mango, olive, rose apple and Norfolk Pine from Erobin Street. Other pieces are made from Cunnamulla bloodwood, St George mulga, Gympie messmate, ironbark, redwood, cypress pine and Lamington red cedar.

THE handiwork was be on proud display on Sunday, when the Chataways held a clearance sale as they move toward completion of a major project, the demolition of the home they have occupied since 1989 and construction of a new house on part of the site. The Chataways retired about 10 years ago, Graham was a specialist in the impact of technology on corporate environments and work culture; Teresa’s research was in legal and political philosophy.

THE couple decided "to let go" of their antiques, collectables, woodcraft, and some furniture and enlisted Kalbar auctioneer Neil Goetsch. The auction notice also listed woodworker's tools, shed, landscaping materials and fishing gear. Graham says he also has a long-standing interest in agricultural machinery. Many of the auction items came from rural clearing sales in the Lockyer Valley and on the Scenic Rim and Darling Downs. He promised some surprises for the auction crowd but the big message: "See what can be done with local reclaimed timber and some imagination."

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Tales of shock, relief and another heart stopping 'near miss'

Joey the Tenterfield terrier looks a little worried
 about those screws
SHOCK that transforms into gratitude and relief etches some events into the human memory. The term 'near miss' covers a multitude of situations. We experience them on the roads, in our homes and probably anywhere we work, rest or play. Time seems to stop. A vision of a 500 millimetre wide rock, which was dislodged on a hillside, bouncing at high speed toward my then toddler daughter and missing her by only centimetres is just one of the near misses I will never forget.

ANOTHER memory, not quite so dramatic, has joined my special collection. This risk developed slowly and the accident was waiting to happen, but now it never will. Screws holding the stringers on our stairs had corroded so much they could have given way under the weight of just one heavy person. The experience underscores the need for householders to pay close attention to maintenance, and now with the vision of 12mm bolts holding up the stairs I wonder how the builder could have expected a few roofing screws to secure them over time.
BUILDING and pest inspector Jeff Gronvold of Wellington Point says he has seen many compliance issues in older houses. Jeff says building practices have tightened considerably and elements of older houses may not meet modern standards. For instance, he has found many handrail heights under the mandatory one metre on decks and stairs. Another key point is that paint can hide termite damage and wood rot in older houses. However, Jeff emphasises that although a pre-purchase building inspection will detect some such problems, the full structural compliance checks are scheduled during the stages of construction.
JEFF, who set up his Redland business in 2004 after working as a building inspector with a bigger firm, says attachments on decks and stairs are certainly on his check list that meets the relevant Australian Standard. He advertises in our Trade Services classifieds offering "complete building and timber pest reports" and says he qualified for the two licences to save his clients from the combined cost of two separate inspection visits. "It takes bit longer to do the pest inspection as well as the building inspection but it's less expensive," he says. "As a small operator, doing only two or three inspections a day I also have the time to talk to the people. "I like to have the client with me during the inspection so they know exactly what I look for and find."
BRISBANE-born Jeff, who moved to the Redlands in in 1973 when a teenager, proudly advertises as a "local family business". Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. 

Tool crazies can step aside for sake of island nation's needy

A POWERFUL question echoes around the homes and yards of Australia every weekend as householders bundle out their trash and treasure at garage sales. From the first glimmer of Saturday dawn to the Sunday sunset, blokes of all shapes and sizes surrender to an obsessive mania and rummage through mountains of offerings. Sometimes they'll shout from driveways and footpaths but more often they'll corner a householder away from the thronging bargain hunters and whisper: "Eh, mate, ya 'ave any tools?" Canny tool hunters know well that an overheard whisper can cause a stampede.
THIS Saturday, just watch the tool crazies elbow each other out of the way as they look for their holy grails of things that grab, pinch, cut, turn, drill, clamp and polish. Tool manics always believe they will be the saviours to rehabilitate injured servants. Even tools that are scarred from hard service and fully deserve a graceful retirement are hot property at garage sales.
THAT's why it was a big ask when Cleveland resident Gordon Lawrence recently advertised for donations of tools for a remote region of Vanuatu. But Gordon, sales consultant with The Redland Times and Bayside Bulletin, knows the power of the Classifieds and is now accumulating a special toolbox, bound for The Banks Islands; the consignment package is still far from full. Gordon became aware of the need for hand tools and medical equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs, on his visits to the region. "It's a third world country and these areas have no electricity; the beautiful people there badly need hand tools and basic medical aids," he says. He is working with other Redlanders as Friends of Vanuatu to supply tools for a youth training program.
RETIRED fitter and turner Clive Oldroyd, 82, of Victoria Point, saw Gordon's "wanted" notice and donated eight toolboxes of equipment. Born at Gladesville in Sydney, Clive did his apprenticeship with a firm that manufactured mainly railway rolling stock, and he later plied his trade in Queensland. He says he's happy to donate the gear to such a good cause. Clive and wife Josie have lived in the Redlands for about 40 years, and even after two decades of "retirement" Clive admits he's still not totally content without "work".
NEVERTHELESS, Clivesorted out tools that were surplus to his requirements for pick-up. Josie seems to have had a fulfilling retirement. She kept busy as a potter, now makes jewellery and is a life member of the Old Schoolhouse Gallery, Cleveland Point. Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

This column has appeared in the Redland Times.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Escape with can of kero, old toothbrush and a rusty bicycle

Image: Typical garage sale offering. Even something that looks this bad should scrub up okay as it's a good brand and the steel is high quality.

MUCH has been said and written about the spiritual experience of motorcycle maintenance. But let's drop a gear, get some dirt under our fingernails and swap petrol for sweat: we're talkin' pedal power.
The 1970s novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, came to mind this week as a bicycle purchased from a Redland City garage sale received some long overdue TLC.
Bicycle maintenance is a meditative experience, which is easy to get. Countless rusty bikes are on offer at garage sales around the country every weekend. Redland has its share; visit the addresses in this edition.

BIKES can quickly look sick after exposure to the elements. A few drenchings can cause spots of rust and without storage in a protected area the machine could present for the next council 'throw-out' campaign.
Neglectful owners are often so gripped by guilt over disrespecting their trusty old 'steeds' they end up virtually giving them away.
Many high quality bicycles, of tough materials, are offloaded just because they look a bit 'ratty'.
Experience suggests a few minutes on the pump usually makes those sadly flat tyres smile again, but a puncture repair is not the end of the world, nor is replacement of a few parts along the way.

HOSE off the dust, use a toothbrush with strong detergent in the recesses and when the bike is dry a few drops of oil should free everything up but keep it away from the brake pads and the chain.
The chain needs special attention because the links may be seized. You must remove all the sludge to get it working efficiently.
Taking off a chain to clean it in a solvent such as kero is a hassle because of the gears and tension. To avoid this, cut the bottom from a plastic bottle to make a dish/cup to keep under the chain while you scrub it with the toothbrush.
The cup holds the fluid and catches the dirty run-off. Cut grooves in the top to direct the run-off into the receptacle.

ENSURE everything is working and safe, especially the brakes. If you have any doubts, consult a qualified person.
Otherwise, climb aboard and feel the satisfaction of finding a bargain, doing something for yourself and reviving a lost magnificence.
As with its noisier cousins, the bicycle rewards with magically meditative experiences: you can escape the pressures of life while absorbed in a world of odd-sized nuts and intriguing proprietary quirks, and feel the exhilaration of exercise that can be as either gentle or vigorous as you wish.
If that's 'zen', let's have more of it. Next: Hooked on fishing reels (only joking).

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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cultural whips sting grey workhorses in new political paddock

Image: A very talented artist Virgil Serrano posted this study of the Animal Farm workhorse, Boxer.

THE concept of "age discrimination" crept into our culture over a few decades, and nowadays it's a fairly hot subject.
Many social and economic analysts and politically motivated interests, however, have latched on to a simplistic view of inequity from employers rejecting older people for no better reason than their age.
Sure, the "old and you're on the scrap heap" treatment needs correcting but is just a facet of complexities stemming from longer life expectancy and a shift in the population age scale.

FORMER Labor senator and Hawke government minister Susan Ryan, in her first year as the nation's age discrimination commissioner, has expounded on many of the issues. The 12 speeches she has posted under the Australian Human Rights Commission banner show her depth of feeling and expertise on discriminatory matters.
The recurrent theme of course relates to getting older people gainfully employed. Ms Ryan says age discrimination is driving "millions out of the workforce long before they are ready to retire".
The focus on the right to work has had politicians of all colours plotting to increase the retirement age and keep seniors working longer, but is anyone watching over the right to retire?.

SOME of us can still remember when senior workers could step aside with dignity when they had served their time in the harness. Now, many are destined never to have relief from a lifetime of toil – just like that poor old horse in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Society seems now to want to mimic that Orwellian porkine mentality and whip the workhorse until it collapses for the last time.

THIS pessimistic view is quite unlike that of Alex Petsheny, 62, a grandfather who came to Thornlands from Darwin three years ago so he and wife Jan could live closer to their family.
Alex is a workhorse looking for a harness but has been shocked by the snubs, from not only potential employers but from the same System that Ms Ryan represents.
Sure, bosses who employ older workers can receive incentive payments, but only if the workers are on Centrelink benefits for which Alex doesn't qualify.
As he says, you can look after yourself all your life and get no support, while others can jump out of one safety net and into another. The authorities need to do something about that sort of inequity.

ALEX has posted a Handyman Services notice as a multi-skilled tradesman/handyman offering general home repairs, painting, plaster repair, tiling and minor plumbing. He's fit and willing and just needs some encouragement right now.

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

Jewels shine among junk but misfortune can lurk in shadows

 Image: This delightful oil painting is a special treasure someone I know well found at a garage sale a few years ago.

LIFE can be one big treasure hunt so the reality television focus on antiques and 'jewels among junk' is bound to captivate many viewers.
The British do it with dignity, showing courteous assessment of objects presented to experts in the relevant field. Across the Atlantic, brash Americans comb through 'junk' with manic drive.

THE treasure hunt is not the invention of TV producers; it has been under way as long as humans have had hopes and dreams. An ancient Arabic parable tells of a little boy who found a jewel, put it in his bag of special things and lived in squalor, eventually dying as an old man, with the jewel that could have changed everything still tucked away at the back of a cupboard.
Recently, after seeing on TV how a UK woman found a medieval ring worth many thousands of dollars in a paddock, I heard how just a few years ago a Redland woman found a $20,000 diamond in a bag of buttons she bought from the Chandler markets.
Last week, a mate bragged about finding a pure gold trinket at a Redland op shop. He paid $1.

USERS of op shops, community markets, garage sales and classified advertising know the adrenaline hit of spying a bargain. Sometimes dreams come true but for every finder there's probably a loser, too.
After I had a garage sale a few years ago an elderly woman knocked on my door to ask if we had found a ruby that was missing from her ring; she visited about 12 sales that day – a costly treasure hunt, indeed.
A recent Lost and Found notice sought "the lady who accidentally put a box of collectables in with her donation to Save The Children Fund", which has a shop in Queen Street, Cleveland.

VOLUNTEER Marion Clarke says she was managing the shop when the woman went in to ask about the box.
When told it hadn't, the woman left without leaving contact details. "About a week later I was cleaning up and came across a box mixed up with the rubbish," Marion says. "I put it to one side to open it later."
Marion is not giving away clues about what she saw when she eventually opened the box. She has already taken a call from a woman who appeared to be 'fishing' for details.
"I simply would like to get the box back to the rightful owner," she says. Marion says the contents date from the early 1900s and are valued at probably $150.

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

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Tax refunds on way for pay-as-you-eat splurge on treats

Image courtesy of fellow blogger Life, Musings and Jill, where you'll read a fantastic ode to the cream bun. Long live the CB!
THE often-quoted adage that death and taxes are the only certainties in life dates from a seemingly simple age without the multitude of influences that crisscross the communities of interest in our modern era.
The words of Benjamin Franklin have echoed through the centuries and seem to have an eternal following through the expanse of cyberspace that is the internet.
We need a smile at this time of year as those inevitable envelopes flop on to our desks and into our letterboxes with the certificates giving good or bad news of our pay-as-you-earn tax credits and income.

A SHARP mind in the tax-talk archives offered the consoling thought that you must earn money to pay tax, so in reality the bigger the tax bill the better off you should be.
Franklin didn't bank on some other certainties. In the spending spree that comes with the influx of tax refunds each year, many of those lovely sweet dollars will buy cream buns for overweight people.
The financial and economic analysts always neglect this thread of social commentary. While most of the retail economy waits beside the counters for cashed up consumers to splurge, courtesy of Glenn Stevens and his gang at the Tax Office, the registers are ringing up sales of cream buns.

THE thronging crowds at the retail centres become a mass of swollen cheeks, white smears and bouncing jaws.
The shopping centre landscape is littered with finger-licking and hand-wiping cream bun addicts, ceremoniously dumping wrappers in the bins as their gaze turns to the next fix in their sticky habit.
But it's not funny. We are told those buns and other sweet treats are making some people sick.

HERE's another certainty Franklin didn't bank on: a fat belly bouncing around every time you turn on the telly.
At least we can be sure that big efforts are under way to trim the blubber and get our society healthier and supposedly happier.
Weight control makes a market for a lot of enterprises in Australia in 2012, with big and small players hoping to divert some of the 'tax dollars' away from the bakery.

CAPALABA couple Kim Phillips and Gordon Mills chose our Classifieds to launch their contribution toward a slimmer Australian population.
Kim, a registered nurse, and Gordon, an aircraft engineer, advertised their Community Weight Loss Challenge, saying, "The idea is to get healthier and lose weight together over a 10 week period, along with group support, information over a range of topics and also cash prizes."
Just before that pivotal date, July 1, 13 people had taken up the offer. Kim, originally from country NSW and a Redlander for the past decade, says she recently lost 19kg and feels fantastic.

KIM and Gordon have much research backing up their weight loss program. We'll count the kilos after the first 10-week program and report the results.
Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Teamwork builds as mates mature in sporting interest

THE sporting equivalent of a jackpot lands under the noses of team coaches from time to time.
The special prize in any code is a team that has the essential common spirit bonding the individuals into trophy-winning combinations.
Sometimes groups of mates rise through the junior ranks to senior level, sharing their common interest for so long the teamwork comes naturally.
The result can be a formidable force that meets its opposition with instinctive co-operation.

A TELEVISION documentary this week showed scientists measuring the brain patterns of players as they develop the empathy of teamwork.
However, plumber Vinnie Yates didn't need a brain scan to measure anything when he rejoined Cleveland Thornlands Cricket Club in 2008 after a break of a few years.
Vinnie had played with the Cougars since the under-12s, and he says the highlight of his homecoming to the senior side was taking the field his old mates.
He now looks forward to the new season with training to start in mid-August.
Vinnie says the club, based in Fitzroy St, Cleveland, and fielding teams from under-10s to senior, has been going well since it joined the Queensland Sub Districts Cricket Association five years ago.

PLAYERS are keen to hear all the administrative facts, figures and visions for the future at the annual general meeting on Wednesday, July 18, an event that has featured this week in our Public Notices.
The senior side, with Vinnie as captain, ended the last season sixth in an eight-team draw in its first campaign in the subdistrict A2 grade, after an A3 minor premiership the previous season.
He says 2011-12 was "not the best season we've had" but nevertheless the highlights included the performance of Matt Elliott, who won the club's bowling and senior player of the year awards; Matt formerly played with the Birkdale Muddies and was in his first season with the Cougars. Vinnie expects to start training for the competition start in September with a senior squad of about 15.

HE says the club's turf wicket and the 75-over match format across two Saturdays are drawcards.
"It's an all-turf competition – that's one of the biggest pluses, and having the matchs across two weekends gives everyone the opportunity to play as we can substitute for players who are not available on both days," he says.
The club gets straight to the heart of team spirit in its recruitment for the new season, aiming for any "old CTCC player" who would like to return to the club or "new players" looking to be involved.
Rest assured, no brain scan is on the agenda.

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

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Winter in Whitsundays just a memory during southern cold snap

Image: Whitehaven Beach, courtesy tourismwhitsundays.

SIX glorious winters in the relative warmth of the Whitsundays have failed to make Louise McDougal intolerant of the southern chill.
Since February Louise, her husband Ross and their teenagers Connor and Sarah have been settling into a different lifestyle on the Redland City bayside.
But this week's cold snap has not dampened their enthusiasm as they prepare to move to their new house at Cleveland after renting a unit until the purchase was finalised.

THE family has already had experience in colder winters, as they hailed from the NSW Far South Coast before their long stay on Hamilton Island.
Louise says she grew up in the Redlands and actually enjoys a little winter chill. Nevertheless, Moreton Bay is a long way from the white sand of Whitsunday Island's famous Whitehaven Beach where happy days with friends and family have given Louise some her fondest memories of life in the Whitsundays.
She says scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and snorkelling with humpback whales were other highlights of recent years.
"Ross and I have worked in the diving industry most of our lives," she said yesterday. "The schooling on Hamilton Island wasn't suitable for teenagers like Sarah and Connor so we decided it was time to get them back to the real world."

WITH the two students now at Cleveland High School and Ross working as a skipper on the Stradbroke Island waterbuses and engineer on the barges, Louise looked for her own niche.
She is the face behind the notice headed "Dog Walking Service" in the Pets & Pet Supplies column.
"I have always loved dogs and I guess the idea came up because we couldn't have a dog during our time on the island," she says.
A cute little cavoodle ڏ– that's a cross between a cavalier spaniel and a poodle – has been Louise's first client, having walks while his owner works.
He's not quite the dimensions of Louise's favourite breeds. She has tended toward bigger creatures – labrador, a golden retriever and a labradoodle.
The family had to find a foster home for their labradoodle, Monty, before they moved to Hamilton.

LOUISE tells how the dog jumped a 2.5-metre fence when she called his name as they approached his new home during a holiday about two years after they had headed north.
"People say a dog will forget their old owners but I don't think they ever do," she says.

Louise has a great slogan for her walking service: A happy pooch is a happy house. So the pitter patter of paws will soon echo around the McDougals' new address.

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

Friday, June 01, 2012

Tabbies get testy as handsome guest steals owner's heart

Image: This duo has nothing to do with the cats in the story but they are in fact my family's cats and the picture was too nice to leave hidden in the archives.

FOUR years have passed since a lovely little story about a man, a mother cat and her cute newborn kittens graced the news pages of The Redland Times. Today, here's chapter two:

ENGINEER Richard Cooke had to cut into a Capalaba factory wall to extract the feline family, after the stray cat he had been feeding found the safest spot for her nursery. Richard still has the tabby mother as his 'factory cat', while two of her offspring keep Richard and his wife Loren company at their Thornlands home. Some intense cat politics has ruled at Thornlands in recent weeks, however, since a handsome black desexed male arrived as a guest.

THE two tabbies with a family history of 'doing it tough' don't appreciate other paws on their patch. Loren has had to juggle some animal instincts with diplomacy to ensure the claws don't come out. She has fallen in love with the guest and calls him Onyx. But the tabbies are getting testy; her search for Onyx's owner is getting desperate.

"HE was wandering the neighbourhood for four weeks before my neighbour caught him in a trap; she was on her way to the pound with him but he's such a beautiful, beautiful cat; I said I would look after him and try to locate his owner," Loren says. "Even when he was in the trap you could put your fingers through the wires and stroke him."

THREE weeks later and after advertising widely, Loren is wondering when and how this cat tale will end. She says she has spent more than $200 on Onyx, who now has a microchip because Loren was worried that he might escape again. "The vet reckons he's been through a hell of a time; he's between two and four years old but probably closer to two, and he might not have lasted much longer fending for himself," Loren says. "It seems he was only just surviving around the creek near our home and raiding the garbage; his fur was matted and mud was stuck to him. He's still skin and bones but he's recovering and he's fluffing up nicely."

LOREN has seen heartbreak during her hunt for the owner: "A poor woman came all the way from Forest Lake hoping he was her cat. She was in tears because he looked so much like hers. I suggested that she could adopt him but she said her children loved their missing cat too much to present them with another."

LOREN's Lost & Found notice seeks "person willing to give him a new home urgently".

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

'Oh, no, the landlord has sold our house': cry of rental trauma

Image: Prehistoric rock art near Alta courtesy of fellow Bloggers - Bearded Blokes in Norway.

THE anthropologists translating ancient drawings and symbols on rock faces must encounter some repetitive themes and messages.
One such theme among the fading images that have survived through the millennia would have to be: "Cave for rent, front and back crevasses for easy access, fireplace, rainforest view... just one bison leg a month."
Rental accommodation has probably been around since the caveman days but those who rent can have a tough time in our modern society.
The Australian society is not generally regarded as divided by class but it certainly has two distinct sectors – those who hold title to property and those who don't.

THE division was apparent to me a few years ago after I moved into a neat, new slice of suburbia in a masterplanned estate.
There, the owners lived in fear of two types of troublesome creatures, and ripples would spread across the morning coffee when they shuddered about the appearance of lawn grubs and renters in the estate.
Many of the owners, jealously looking toward capital gains, believed the rental component could reduce their property values because "the wrong type of people" were in the estate mix.

I STILL hear this sort of garbage in my little niche of Redland City, and can only suggest that the 'let's get rid of the renters' mindset reflects selfishness and a basic lack of understanding and respect for others.
In recent years, the escalation in property prices has caused rents to go through the roof, draining the resources of struggling families and making it impossible to bridge that "deposit gap" and get their own homes.
Some choose to rent, of course, as it can be a cost-effective option, but all must be prepared to find new homes if their landlord decides to sell. This means a lot of trauma.

A FOR SALE notice for three trees growing in pots told of one Cleveland resident's preparation to move to a another rental home.
Silke Lemmert soon sold her two-metre olive tree and slightly smaller lime tree, both of which have produced little crops in the two years since she moved from Melbourne. A beautiful kafir lime was still available yesterday.
"We have had the room for them here but the house has been sold we have to move into a flat with only a small balcony; we can't take the trees," she said.
Silke migrated from Germany about 15 years ago and lived in Melbourne until heading north about two years ago.
She likes the bayside lifestyle and is delighted to have found a new home in Cleveland.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

About Australia's saxophone superstar, Leo La Spina

Image: Watercolour design by Jenny Rumney.

KIDS growing up with the diverse mix of popular music styles since the birth of rock 'n' roll in the 1950s seem often to show great distaste for their dad's favourites.
As each 'brand' has taken over the airwaves after another, anything from the past has been strange and prehistoric to young devotees of the latest offerings.
My dad drove his kids to smirking and grimacing huddles behind closed doors when every so often in a celebratory mood he ramped up the volume on our old radiogram for his Hammond organ favourites.

IN those days that now seem so long ago, Dad's love of the dulcet tones had to stack up against his son's obsession with the hard rockers like Jimi Hendrix.
The cultural clash became a family joke; sometimes it was a bit overheated.
Such a division over musical tastes seems fairly common.
The invention of the 'walkman' cassette players with headphones a decade or so later was a godsend in family politics; finally the warring parties could retreat to their private musical heaven.
However, during the 1970s and '80s, at least one boy growing up in Capalaba was saying, "Dad, turn it up, please."

THE boy was Leo La Spina now living with his wife, Melissa, daughter Chiara, 10, and son John, 14, in Alexandra Hills.
Leo fondly recalls how, from a tender age, he shared his dad's love of jazz and later pestered his Ioana College music teacher to let him play the saxophone but had to be content with the "burp, burp, burp" of a bass clarinet.
Then came some breakthroughs: the loan of an "old silver alto sax" from the school's collection, and in 1988 a special moment in father-son relations.

"DAD said he'd buy me my own tenor sax if I learnt to play Aker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore," Leo says.
"So I did, and I am still using that same sax today."
Leo also concentrated on clarinet and had his first professional gig at age 16.
With a lifetime's involvement in the Redland band scene in big and small line-ups and as a solo performer, Leo now lists a repertoire of more than 400 songs across the spectrum of styles and genres.

HE says his greatest love, however, is for the music of the sax players he first heard, courtesy of his dad.
"I love my Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Stan Getz, the sounds I grew up with; I studied those guys," Leo says.
"But I play everything from dinner music to top 40 and Lady Gaga."
Leo features at the Icon Bar, Raby Bay, from 5pm to 9pm every Saturday. He teaches clarinet and saxophone, with his Training & Tuition notice specifying students need their own instruments.

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

PS. I saw Leo's performance last night at the Icon. What a blast! He's not just a great reed player but a showman to boot! Don't miss the chance each Saturday to hear him play not only straight jazz but heaps of classics from Continental era to Sweet Alabama, giving new life and vigour to favourites, no matter from which category/era. Of course, you can see him online, eg

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My life in jazz and love for the guitar

The lists of referring URLs and search terms that show in the visitor statistics for this site make interesting reading for me.

Many visitors have searched for a name; sometimes it's mine. I can only wonder who punched "John Rumney band player" into Google recently and clicked on the link to ClassieCorner.
That someone seems to know about my passion for jazz and maybe some of my recent history playing guitar in the Moreton Bay/Redland City community.
The link took them to a page that had nothing to do with my music but simply included the key words, so I thought I should post a bit more personal info about my life in music and some of the influences (this link will tie you up for a while so crack a coldie before you click).  
This exercise has called for some serious name-dropping - jazz players, composers and personalities who have had an influence on me over many years. Some are famous and some don't even come up on an internet search. It's just a bit of fun ... Freddy Greensill, Phil Manning,Pat Hussey, Chris Sulzberger, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Ten Years After, the Beatles, the Stones, the Gonads and Patriots Nite Train, Mike Ward, Ian Neal's Music to Midnight, John Coltrane, the Red Garland Trio, Errol Garner, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Judy Bailey, Gordon Cuming, Lionel Hampton, Clare Hansson, Rick Price, Brian King, Mike Garry, Sid Hillier, the Beegees, Tommy Flanagan, Charlie Parker, Ray Sparks, Fred Young, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charlie Byrd, Stan Getz, The Crusaders, Larry Carlton, David T Walker, Lee Ritenour, Stanley Clarke, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, the Andrews Sisters, Nancy Wilson, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Mel Torme, Johnny Mercer, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Sid Bromley, Joe Pass, Mileham (Dr Jazz) Hayes, Johnny Nicol, Vince Genova, Scott Nicol, Jerome Kern, Toots Thielemans, Rick Farbach, Stan Kenton, Carol O'Rourke, Sue Gillespie, Jon Jass, Viki Carryl, Caspar Schutte, Rosco from Redlands, Curly and Col from Lamb Island, Chris Price, Mark Duffy, George Bowler, Tao, Polisi, Dave from Coffs, David Lang, DJ Vince, Gabe Phoenix, Vinicius de Moraes, Astrud Gilberto, Carmen McRae, Lionel Nadel, Tony the harp player ... and this is just for starters; I'll add to this as time permits as I have just started to try to define 'jazz and me', a way of life that began when just a pre adolescent I tuned in with a crystal set aerial clamped on my bed base to listen to Arch McKirdie's Relax with Me on ABC Radio. That was half a century ago ...

Family research can be exhausting and emotional

Image of sinking ship from microsoft.

THE death and devastation from war has been top of mind this autumn with a throng of Redlanders to Anzac Day services.
Pain and suffering from war runs through society, scarring the lives of innocent families far from the battlefields.
Theresa Meaclem, of Alexandra Hills, told this story:

"My grandfather, William Strunks, was the captain of a cargo ship and was killed when it was sunk by a German torpedo during World War II.
"My mother, Winifred, was only two years old.
"The wartime widows often became distanced from their families and after grandad's death my grandmother moved from Ireland to England and Australia.
"My mum didn't know anyone in her parents' families.
"I started some family research to find these people, and it was a very emotional experience, especially for Mum. It brought tears to her eyes to realise she had such a big family.
"With the help of the internet I managed to find 180 relatives she never knew she had."

THE experience prompted Theresa to offer help in family research. She has called her service AncestorLink.
Theresa says her fledgling enterprise has already had some appreciative clients in its first few weeks.
She tutors people on the family research websites and does the research for those who are uncomfortable using keyboard and screen.
The work can be exhausting because of the attention to the detail and the underlying emotions, she says
"I was able to find 60 to 70 members of the one generation of an elderly lady's family dating from 1836 in Wales," Theresa says.
"One of the special results was that I located one of her elder sisters who had all the family photos so now she has copies of the pictures that she didn't know about."

AS part of the AncestorLink package, Theresa creates audio-visual presentations on CDs.
The Meaclem family is new to Alexandra Hills. Theresa, her husband Ross and two of their four sons have just moved from Hervey Bay where they had a farm growing sea cucumbers.
Theresa says she and Ross were Australian pioneers of the sea cucumber trade. "We were virtually the only growers in Australia until about five years ago."
She says the sea cucumber is in big demand and the market "can't get enough of them" but she and Ross decided on a "sea change".
"We were on the farm for 20 years and felt like it was the right time to do something different so we sold the property and decided to check out life in the city," she says. While Theresa is at the computer, Ross is working as a handyman.

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

From battleship to tinny beside the bay

The Rocky Point Sugar Mill gets a mention in this article (image courtesy The Heck Group).

WAY back in the post-war years when Cleveland was "just a sleepy little village", a dairy farming family joined its community to help an elderly couple in need.
John Brownlie Henderson had retired some years earlier from his highly ranked position as Queensland Government Analyst and Chief Inspector of Explosives and was living with his wife Susan in Cross Lane.
When Mr Henderson had health problems, his son and daughter-in-law, Ian and Trixie, decided to move from their Pimpama dairy farm to Cleveland to support the elderly couple.
This meant a big change for Ian and Trixie's children – their son, also named Ian, and their daughter, Sonia.

IAN junior, then about 10 years old, now recalls he was a little nervous on his first day at Cleveland Primary School in 1950 because the town, even with farming right in what is now the CBD, was quite a contrast with Pimpama's vast spread of canefields – supplying the Heck's Rocky Point mill for generations – and the lush green pastures dotted with dairy cattle.
Young Ian later joined the Navy and served as a naval airman until 1961. Most of his service was aboard the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. He is thankful to have left the Navy before the disaster of 1964 when the Melbourne and the destroyer HMAS Voyager collided off the NSW South Coast.

BY then, Ian was on a new path in life. He had married a Redland-born girl, Florence Stacey, in 1963 and early in the marriage they headed to New Guinea, where Ian managed native co-operatives until the mid-1970s.
The couple returned to live in a new house that they had built on the site of a fibro shack behind his grandparents' retirement home.
Ian worked for many years with the paint company Dulux, then ran his own business selling and servicing airless spray equipment.

IAN and Florence still live the same home. For about 10 years, a classic tinny, a 12ft Clarke, has been parked beside it.
The boat probably won't be there much longer after Ian advertised it for sale – complete with a late model 15hp Mariner outboard, trailer and rego to December – for $3000.
Ian says the tinny has served his family well around the bay; most recently, a grandson has enjoyed loading it with camping gear and heading with his mates to Straddie.
Even though it doesn't have quite the grandeur of a battleship, Ian has made much use of the tinny, too!

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stop the bickering: teamwork brings success in business

Image courtesy Microsoft

SPOUSES bicker, siblings battle, workmates argue – everyone probably has some sort of relationship problem at some time.
We often forget, however, that our differences are painfully obvious to those 'looking in from the outside' with impartial eyes.
The spouses may divorce, siblings may refuse to speak to each other and workmates may separation. When the warring parties go into business together, the consequences can be costly.

BUSINESS broker Graeme Donaldson often sees dangerous symptoms when buyers are shopping for an enterprise.
He says the internal bickering and friction are among the main reasons some businesses have been on his books as many as half a dozen times during the 14 years that Donaldson Business Brokers has operated in the Redlands.
"I do have to say that some people are not cut out to go into business," Graeme says. "There can be clear signs they are destined not to succeed.
"In one instance two blokes going into a partnership were arguing at our initial meetings. Sure enough, the business was back on the market within 12 months."
Graeme has a special interest in the psychology that underpins business success.

FORMERLY the CEO of companies distributing car, truck, industrial and electrical parts, Graeme studied team psychology at university level.
The training which he undertook when heading a national workforce about 1500 showed the importance of teamwork in any enterprise, Graeme says.
Sydney-born Graeme qualified as an electrical fitter/mechanic and refrigeration engineer – and is proud of having worked on components for the Sydney Opera House in the 1960s before he moved into sales and management.
He says his move into business broking followed his business consultancies. "One of the companies asked me if I could sell it for them, and I did – that's how the brokerage started," he says

GRAEME says he is content to maintain his for-sale listings about 30 businesses: "I would rather provide personalised service than get too many people involved."
Donaldson Business Brokers has been part of the community of classified advertising in the Bayside Bulletin since it started trading, with an invitation to those buying, selling and testing the market.
The firm charges no marketing and advertising costs, relying totally on sales commissions. This means "no sale, no cost".
The current business climate receives a lot of attention from the economic analysts at national and state levels, and 'down on the ground' Graeme says it is the toughest he has seen in four decades.
"A lot of people are in trouble, just hanging in there, and have been for quite some time," he says.
"You only have to look around at the number of shops that have closed."
Graeme acknowledges many Redlanders resist growth of the city but warns that if it doesn't grow the only direction is backwards.

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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spider wears steelcap boots

SHUDDER, shock, horror. It's enough to turn a reasonably strong adult into a quivering nutcase. But finding a spider in your boot is better than feeling it!

This post, recording my disgusting discovery this morning and showing the benefit of stuffing one's dirty socks into boots, is just a diversion between my excursions into the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Maybe a browse through the pest exterminators is on the agenda. Watch this space.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Resumes spread word as 'secret' service assists jobseekers

RIGHT: The REPS HQ (image from

THAT fabulous four-letter word, 'free', is a fantastic eye magnet in the Classifieds, whether it comes in big block capitals or lurks modestly in the small print.
True to tradition, it has recently featured in an unexpected place with some restrained use of bold type asking, "Need a resume?" and then proclaiming, "Free Service!"
The notice closed with the words "Redland's best kept secret", but the Redlands Employer Placement Service is no secret to the many thousands of job seekers and businesses it has helped through the decades.
Free assistance with resumes is just one facet of Cleveland-based REPS, which has a long history as a jewel in the Redland community crown, having been incorporated as a non-profit organisation since 1994, after starting as a federal government program.

EXECUTIVE officer John Conley says the support of federal and state governments and the Redland Council has allowed REPS to keep up its work specialising in employment and training assistance for the mature aged, parents and carers returning to work, the unemployed and a sector that statistics often overlook, the underemployed.
By the way, the 'mature age' range, according to the REPS guidelines, starts at 40 nowadays, so the sociologists who invented the idea that "60 is the new 40" should question their logic. I don't expect to see the Sunrise team debating whether "40 is the new 20".

BACK to the subject: John says the importance of the resume continues to increase with the job market always becoming more competitive.
He says a keen focus is necessary from the instant the job seeker spots an opportunity. Many clients who engage REPS for resume support realise they can benefit from other aspects of its programs, which suit those who have: been out of the workforce and want to update their skills; recently lost their job; and have retired but want a "downsized" work role.
Clients also include people needing to top up their 'super' payments, former managers or supervisors who find they are 'overqualified' and others who have limited qualifications but heaps of experience.

JOHN says REPS, with a staff of five part-timers, has an annual government funding contract for 195 places but "we hate to turn anyone away – we try to help everyone as best we can".
In the style of a community service that does has not want to rely solely on government and council support, REPS also raises funds. For the past 14 years it has run the Thursday night bingo sessions at the Redlands RSL Club.

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