Water theft a sign of crumbling civilisation

As communities across drought-paralysed Australia patiently wait for rain, reports of water theft, ranging from relatively trivial incidents to a 25,000-litre heist, are troubling. Can we be far from outright anarchy when dishonest (and sometimes honest but desperate), people help themselves to other people’s water? There are precedents for this – just think back to Cape Town‘s ‘Day Zero’ crisis in 2018 when a city of 3.74 million was set to run out of reticulated…

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Water shortages – here and there

When visiting friends in the water starved towns of Warwick and Stanthorpe, it does not take long for the local message to sink in – ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down’. This is a water-saving tip for times of drought – seemingly a more or less a permanent state of affairs in south-east Queensland. Southern Downs residents are currently on a per capita water limit of 120 litres per…

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A cold snap, firewood and a short history of chimney sweeps

Almost on schedule, a cold snap arrived, coinciding nicely with our completely running out of firewood. Oh you too, eh? I thought as much, queuing up on Saturday at the fill-your-own-boot firewood supplier. It took a while. Chatting to a friend on the same mission, I mentioned that the fire was not drawing very well. He then told me about an organic solvent you could buy from the hardware store. “You just get a good…

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Whipping up a dust storm in D

While innocently vacuuming never-ending dust this week, I accidently sucked up the D harmonica which was lying on the coffee table. Said harmonica emitted a plaintive sound, closely resembling the wheezy noise of a piper warming up (think, You’re the Voice, Eric Burden’s Sky Pilot and that AC/DC song about it being a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll). Alarmed (these little blues harps cost $45 a piece), I managed…

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