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Within the lifetime of many of us work required boring, repetitious, manual labour with little demand on the mind once the routine was established. It was bad that people used their hands rather than their minds!
Then, about 50 years ago, automation began a rapid expansion of industrial output. Hordes of manual workers were no longer needed! This had little impact as they were absorbed by the vast expansion of office work. It was good that people used their minds rather than their hands!

However, once computers became part of the office these hordes of office workers were no longer needed! Computers do Man’s mental work and machines do Man’s physical work. Though work needs no people, people still need work. It is demanded! Find work or starve! And the solution is ever so simple. Just do mindless work using your hands - sweep up leaves - clean tall buildings - ‘wipe’ at the checkout - data-punch 60 words per minute (despite RSI). It is good that people use their hands rather than their minds!

Ever since Man's first arrival
He had to work for his survival.
His brawn was put to slave employment,
His brain to waste without enjoyment.
And so Man sought, by his invention,
Machines to do each manual action,
And named his labour-free solution
'The Industrial Revolution'.

Thus, with Man's work done in his absence
His office skills grew to importance.
And triplicates of clerks and papers
Flew desk to desk in ceaseless capers.

But when Man used his first computer
The Information Age took over
And, with Man's mind no longer needed,
Dismissing clerks quite soon proceeded.

These idle minds without a future
Need build their bodies close to Nature.
It's brawn, not brains, that's now demanded
So look for jobs that say "Hands Wanted."

Of countless streets that need a-sweeping
Just do your bit and cease your weeping
And you will see the prospect pleasant
To realise you're now a peasant.

A vacuum cleaner with plastic piping!
Only men would invent such a thing.
Those plastic pipes just love to bend,
Then the suction bit falls off the end.
They split and crack and come apart,
Just goes to show, men aren't so smart.
Is it any wonder my hair's turned grey?
When things like springs spring the wrong way.
To keep it in place was a plastic clip,
But that snapped off, and gave me the 'pip'.
The stretching hose has a nice big tear,
And out of it is blowing all the air.
I glued all the pipes together, today,
Now I can't pack the damn thing away.

PC or not PC

Acronyms are bad enough
When the meaning is quite clear.
Faced with a triple choice it's tough
To make sense of what we hear.
Take the common term PC –
'Allo 'allo I say –
To a simple soul like me
It means Old Bill is on the way!
But the Californian Sisterhood
Gave a new twist to the word;
A word containing "man" they would
Insist should not be heard.
Then, of course, the other one,
As produced by IBM.
For use at work. At home, for fun,
The world is full of them!
This all confuses me I own!
It is far too much for me!
I need some tea, a good lie down,
And that well-known APC!

Fethiye is a beautiful Turkish seaside town with a majestic mountain backdrop and lots of little cruise boats, so pretty at the busy waterfront. Having done several of these very cheap and excellent trips on the blue, blue Mediterranean, it was time to move on. We, decided, my daughter Lisa, myself and friend Faye, decided to go to the famed area of Capghpadocia in central Turkey, where people lived in cave houses. We had booked into a cave house pension in the small village of Goreme and would be met at the bus by our host, Yuksel. After packing our bags once more we headed for the otogar to board our bus for the next phase of our trip.
We climbed aboard the bus which left at 4.30 pm and were looking forward to a truly amazing experience in Cappadocia. However the bus trip was something else. It started out o.k., though I wasn't keen on the back seat, with Lisa, Faye and me in a row but the seats were wrap around and quite comfortable. A young Turkish woman with a 4 month old baby girl sat next to Faye and we were happy to hold her to give Mum a rest from time to time.

As the trip progressed we drove through varied country, beautiful white-capped mountains and plains where the wheat crops had been recently harvested. The farmers live in small square houses with outside stairs to the rooftops and there they sit in the coolness of evening, chatting and drinking cai.

We stopped at several towns to pick up more passengers and the bus was now almost full. The conductor came around with cool drinks and scented spray for our hands. He also moved passengers around from time to time as the Turkish women will not sit next a man unless he is family. At Konya, a large industrial town, we picked up eight more people and this group included a fundamentalist family with the mother covered from head to toe in black robes, two young girls and two boys. The Mum and Dad and two daughters were crammed into two seats and the two boys sat on the floor in the aisle, but a young woman was told to sit on a pillow which placed between Faye and my seats, a space of eight inches. Needless to say she overlapped both of us and as it was very hot we were all uncomfortable, except for Lisa who slept at the window seat.

We couldn't believe it they had done this. "Oh my God," we all said in unison. Even the Turks said this, which surprised us. Two young men were left standing in the aisle, 'disgraceful, unsafe', we said, but this is Turkey, mostly wonderful, sometimes bloody awful. It was difficult for all of us and there were some arguments between the conductor and passengers but gradually everyone began to relax and fall asleep. This eventually caused a disaster as the young mother had the baby on her lap and when she fell asleep the baby fell on the floor under the seat in front of her. She was screaming and so was the mother "Ma bebe, ma bebe," she cried in anguish. We all became upset and were down on our hands and knees looking for the baby, with the mother still crying, "Ma bebe." She finally located the baby who was fortunately unharmed, but very upset. But with petting from two or three of us she soon quietened while Mum resumed her place on the floor, looking for the baby's dummy. Faye and I continued to tolerate the young woman's bottom on our knees. Peace was restored and unbelievably Lisa slept through it all.

Our next stop was for the promised dinner. It was almost midnight and we were glad to get off the bus, happily anticipating a nice meal. The cafeteria was huge, and like an army mess with steel tables and chairs and weird Russian sounding music tormenting us. The food was o.k. . . just, but the toilets were revolting and we paid a young man L250, A25c and he handed us one serviette (I got two).

Back to the bus, but alas it wouldn't start. Off we got again and sat on the veranda of the cafeteria chatting to a charming French couple, so it was not all bad, but we were well behind schedule. It was 1 a.m. by the time about 10 men combined efforts & finally fixed the bus. The trip was meant to take 11 hrs and they amended that to 12 hours but it actually took 14½ hours. What a bugger of a trip! The famous bus trip from hell! But as we cruised down the mountainsides of Cappadocia, the first half-dozen cave houses came into view. I woke Lisa and we gazed enraptured and incredulous at what we saw. It was like something from a fantastic movie set. Our minds could not absorb it, and on it went, more and more of this amazing 2000 years old, fabled, biblical land. Was it real?

Soon our host Yuksel arrived in his Mazda to pick us up. His pension 'Gumas' was delightful and he showed us to our lovely cave, with marble ensuite and large stone balcony overlooking the town. This place had once been a church, all dug out of the living rock, we loved it on sight. He then escorted us to the dining room for delicious Turkish breakfast and wonderful! cups of tea. Our host was so kind and charming, but we could barely wait to get to the comfort of our beds for a much needed sleep. Yes, it was the bus trip from hell but the time spent in Cappadocia was a great experience and one of the best things I've ever done.

The bus story has been the cause of much laughter among friends and family.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
Moving over the Western Plain
With aching back and eyes dust-browed
I searched the sky for sign of rain.
For three years now we've suffered drought.
What meagre grass there was soon went.
My neighbours all are pulling out-
Their funds of cash and patience spent.
The long paddock's now our only hope-
For months my mob’s been on the go.
The feed is just enough to cope
For perhaps another month or so.
El Nino's gone the experts say,
And heavy rains will start ere long.
A major trough is on its way.
I watch, and pray that they're not wrong.
The sky pours down torrential rain.
The land drinks deep and creeks all run
Wildly across the thirsty plain.
I look skywards for a sight of sun!
And so the cycle swings once more-
The beasts grow fat on grass waist high.
Life is back as it was before.
Yet still I always watch the sky!

In 1963 the Crown Mine was like a mini-United Nations. The mine had been closed and flooded for a number of years and the workforce had long since moved on or retired. When it was re-opened skilled underground miners were recruited from all over Australia - and what a mixed bunch they were! There were Finns, Germans, Poles, Yugoslavs, Czechs, a small handful of Poms and Australians from all States - men who had worked on the hydro schemes of the Snowy and Poatina, "bushies" from Mount Isa, Broken Hill and Tennant Creek, Tasmanians from Rosebery, Rossarden and Zeehan as well as a few local Mount Lyell hands.
Simon was Hungarian. He was not very tall but he was built like a solid brick dunny. He wasn't the smartest or most skilled miner in the pack, but for those "hard yakka" tasks requiring lots of "applied BFI" - (brute force and ignorance) - he was the man for the job. Give him a number two "banjo" and a barrow and he would hand-muck as much dirt in a day as a gun operator with a pneumatic rocker-shovel, loco and rake of Granby trucks!

Simon's command of English wasn't great, but, like all of the "New Aussies", he was fluent in Australian swear words although his pronunciation was somewhat suspect. You could hear Simon from the next level swearing at his "blutty shoffel"! His frequent use of a mispronounced four-letter word earned him the nickname "Fik-Fik". Apart from his shovel and barrow, Simon's other great love was booze - cheap Australian vodka in particular, since he wasn't able to find whatever he used to anaesthetise himself in Hungary. Anyone who worked with Simon after one of his heavy nights was at risk of intoxication on the vapours given off when he sweated!

The Shift Crew would turn up at the Tunnel Office about half an hour before the shift started. They would change into work gear, collect their cap lamps and gather outside the foreman's office to get their instructions. They would then stand around chin-wagging until it was time to board the "Man Rake" - (two or three man-cars pulled by an electric locomotive) - which transported the crew for about a mile along the North Lyell Tunnel to the Crown Shaft where they would be hoisted to the different working levels.

One Pay Friday afternoon, Simon rolled up to get his plod from Hughie, the Foreman. He looked a bit the worse for wear and may well have had an advance on his pay from the publican. Then again, he was no oil painting at the best of times so it was a bit hard to judge. The Underground manager, known as Barry the Boy Bastard, was hovering in the background. Barry was one of those bouncy little blokes. He was round-faced, wore horn-rimmed glasses and stood about five feet four in gumboots. He used to arrive at work in the morning and scatter barely legible written orders about like confetti. (It was rumoured that these memos were written while he was sitting on the throne in the morning and could have been put to better use)! He was fairly new to the position, keen as mustard but had yet to learn that it was often better to leave man-management to his Foremen. They were invariably experienced old lags who knew all of the tricks. He was a terrible busybody and always hung about earwigging while Hughie gave his instructions. This day he took one look at Simon, stepped up to the stable door and asked, "Simon, have you been drinking?"
"No, Boss," said Simon.
"Well I think you have," said Bruce, "and you know that it is against Mines Regulations. You'll have to go home."
Simon was indignant and answered loudly "Not drink, Boss. Today Friday - today work; tomorrow Saturday - then drink!"

Things were at a stalemate and Barry did not know how to get out of the situation. Suddenly his face lit up like one of those cartoon characters when struck by a brilliant idea.
'I'll tell you what Simon; we'll put it to the test! See that railway track in front of the office? You walk along one rail; I'll walk on the other. If you can stay on the rail longer than I can, I'll let you go to work!"

Barry bounced out of the office and across to the tracks, his glasses glinting in the afternoon sunlight. Simon shambled along behind, carrying his Gladstone bag. (All Mount Lyell miners carried Gladstone bags. I think it was more for what was carried out of the mine rather than in to it)! Barry stood confidently on one rail; Simon climbed unsteadily onto the other. They set off. Barry was going great guns until he struck a set of points. He developed the wobbles, staggered a couple more paces then went base over apex into the mud beside the tracks. By the time Barry had found his glasses and looked up, he could see Simon still upright and now moving with a full head of steam, disappearing through the tunnel portal. Red-faced and shaking his head, Barry retreated to his office through the middle of the shift crew who were just about splitting their sides!

Legend has it that Simon walked the rail for the full mile into the mine. Certainly he beat the Man Rake in by a good margin. By the time the rest of the crew arrived at the shaft plat he had smoked four cigarettes and was champing at the bit to get to work.

And Barry? After a few days he was back to his bouncy annoying self, but he never did include that particular safety test in the Safety Manual he was compiling!

I thought it was about time; time to join the 21st century, it's no good trying to ignore these things and get left behind.
So there was the package, $100 for the Phone and $100 worth of free calls. I looked at it the other way around, because eventually I would have to pay for the calls if I made them from my home phone. I decided it was now or never, so in I jump feet first.
The next step is to set it up; I read the User Guide through twice, and nothing makes any sense, but it's obvious to me I will never use half of it. I think I'd better enlist a friend's help, but he's none the wiser. Ok, so I'll get some help tomorrow.
Later that night I think to myself, I'm not going to be beaten, so get it out and take it step by step.
I turn to Getting Started, - Quick and easy it says.

Step 1: Ensure your phone is fully charged. Hold on! I haven't put the battery or chip in yet. Obviously that should be the first step. Shouldn't there be a diagram for that? I flick through the book, no, there isn't.
Step 2: Insert the SIM card, if you're uncertain how to do that, see your User Guide that came with the phone. What the hell am I holding in my hands? I turn to the cover - User Guide. Well it looks like I'm going around in circles here.
What are all these buttons for? There just has to be a diagram somewhere to explain all this. Get out the box, and take out every piece, of everything once again. Haha! Hidden in the bottom, you guessed it, another User Guide.

Start all over again.
Step 1: Charge your phone overnight - that can't be right, surely the battery has to go in first, and what about the chip? Are these people for real? Ok, so now I have the battery and the chip in. Charge phone overnight, a normal person would assume, a brand new battery would be charged and ready to go.

Ok, so I've charged it over night; now phone the given number to give details. Voice replies, We need a password; this is your pin number, and leave for ten minutes before you phone anyone. Ok, she's gone, darn, when she said leave it for ten minutes, did she also say, "Don't switch it off". I think she did, but too late now.
What's that picture on the screen? Is it off or is it on? How the hell do I know? Ok, so press the on/off button and see what happens? Screen lights up with menu on the right and something on the left. What now? Hold on there, the date and time are at the bottom, both incorrect. Should be able to fix that, I find the clock in the book, that was easy, didn't even have to look in the second User Guide, it reads Edit to set time. Ok, so I press to scroll through the menu for Edit. What the hell is all that? Your Text Message has been received. What text message? I was just looking for Edit. Maybe they sent me a message. How do I find and read a message? Forget it, I'll ask my niece on Thursday. Hold on! There's ducks walking across the screen! Are they trying to tell me I'm an idiot? I guess I must be, but this is really unfair. Now I have a clock face on the screen? With the wrong time of cause, and I haven't even touched a button in the last few minutes. I think I'll just ignore it and hope it all goes away.
The clock face is still there; Let's hope for some freakish reason, I'm not using up that $100. Maybe I'll switch the on/off button again, and see what happens this time.
I think it's off?
All I wanted was a phone that I could ring out on or receive a call. What I have here is a full-blown computer; it would probably print out a book for me if I only knew how to ask it.
Enough is enough, into the car and into town, up to the 'Telstra' shop. "Please show me how to make and receive a call."
"Thank you."
"Anything else?"
"Yes, could you set the clock for me, please?"
"Anything else?"
"Yes, what about this menu bit?"
"See these two dots on this key? Well this is the one to scroll through the menu, not that one."
"Anything else?"
"Don't overload me, but thanks"
The big moment has arrived; time to make the call.
I switch on, the screen lights up with Please confirm switch on. Fair dinkum, how the hell could it be asking me this question if it wasn't switched on?
The 0k icon is on the left, and Cancel on the right.
I press 0k, and those ducks are walking across the screen again, next thing it appears to have switched itself off.
Have I tried again?
Will I? Well maybe, after all my arms have been twisted, there's $100 worth of calls waiting to be used up.
Or is there?

A hush falls o'er the gamblers as the swinging doors swing in,
For Ranger Joe has come to town to rid the place of sin.
There's hustling in the corner where Black Pete, the outlaw, stands,
And Ranger Joe turns round and sees the outlaw's gun-filled hands.

"The game is up," says Ranger Joe. "Put down those forty-fours.
For if you don't I know that I shall square some dead men's scores."
"You won't get me," replies Black Pete, in voice so hard and coarse.
"'Coz after I have shot you dead I'm on my rangy horse."

Black Pete then thumbs the hammers back and aims his guns at Joe,
When in a flash Joe draws and shoots his coward outlaw foe.
Then toasts are drunk to Ranger Joe and cowboys drink their fill,
While Ranger Joe rides on his way, Pete's buried in Boot Hill.

U3A members who come into class late,
People who park wrong, and drivers who tailgate,
Demands for payment the post always brings,
These are a few of my least favoured things.

When the sun shines, when I don't ache,
When I'm feeling glad,
Then one of the several least favoured things
Will go and get me mad.

Skateboards on pavements, spam in my e-mails,
Phone calls at teatime, whittering females,
The nasally, dull songs a hillbilly sings.
These are some more of my least favoured things.

Then the kids phone, and the rose blooms,
And I feel less sad,
Then I can see that my least favoured things
Are really not so bad.

Jimmy was born with a disfigured arm,
And a lame leg, that he dragged as he walked.
He was part-Aboriginal and had long fair hair,
That he wore in dreadlocks.
He was adopted by a woman who cared for him,
And loved him.
She made him an outgoing and friendly little boy.
Who laughed easily and was happy.
Jimmy moved about without hang-ups,
And you didn't notice his bad arm and leg.
He's left his mum's home in Sydney.
And moved to live in Franklin,
Where he lived in the bush in a shanty
Where he grows his marihuana.
Maybe he smokes and drinks too much
But he's making the most of his life.
He's happy and he'll stay happy always,
As that’s the way he is.