Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ...

2013 was a busy year ...

It started off with the Scout Jamboree ...

We had multiple visits to potential high schools for Miss 12 .. ended up enrolling her in one that we hadn't planned on, but we think it's the right choice.

We've decided to move Miss 10 from her current school too, to the local public one.  It's in walking distance and again we think this is the right decision for her.

Both girls have had a great year - Miss 10 has done really well with both her horse riding and squash.  She will continue with both these passions in the coming year.

Miss 12 tried out many new things and did well in them.  Moving forward she'll stick to Fire Cadets and Fire Running as her main activities.

Work for me has been pretty quiet, but the upside to this was that I got to work from home a lot - with the occasional trip over east.  I have enjoyed what I have done this year but am looking forward to more client contact in the coming year.

I also started a Diploma in Project Management as a distance education student.  I am enjoying the challenge and am looking forward to finishing it in the near future.

There have been other challenges and changes through out the year but all-in-all I have to say that it has been a good one.

And I'm looking forward to the new challenges that 2014 will bring.

Wishing all my blog readers a safe NYE and a great 2014!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

We're spending Christmas at Carnamah with Shooting Buddy.  On Christmas Eve the temperature hit 39.7C outside (and I'm guessing today is about the same).

So rather than a hot Chrissy day lunch we did a cooked meal for Christmas Eve Dinner and a cold spread for Chrissy Day itself.


Miss 10 & Hubby
(Yes she always pulls funny faces)

Shooting Buddy & Miss 12

Tucking into Mains

Modeling Christmas Presents 

Then on Christmas Day the excitement continues

Miss 10 with her presents  

And Miss 12 with hers

Christmas Day Lunch

I hope all my blog readers had a wonderful Christmas Day too with their friends and family!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Photos ...

Miss 12 receiving the coach's award for effort at Fire Running

With the perpetual trophy and the one she gets to keep.

Wind up for Fire Cadets:

And Miss 12 trying out a helicopter flight simulator ...

Yep life has been busy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Congratulations to Miss 12

Today was the Graduation and Awards Ceremony at my daughters' primary school.

Miss 12 was awarded the Scitech Science Prize:

Congratulations!  We are very proud of her.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Normally I'm not a fan of "participation medals" ...

as that is because that is normally ALL that is awarded.

However, at Miss 12's fire running junior state championships this weekend they gave out awards and medals to those who came first, second and third.  In addition to those they gave all the other kids "participation medals" AND I think each and every kid earned them!

We needed to be at Fremantle at 7.30am on Saturday.  It took about an hour for everyone to get organised.  The competition started with a march past and then speeches from a few dignitaries.

The first event started at 8:45am and Miss 12's team was first up!  There are a range of events over the two days.  Some of them are for teams of 4, others for teams of 2 and then there are individual events.

Miss 12 competes in the Junior category for the team events and as a Sub-Junior for the individual events.

The events involves some combination of fire hoses and hydrants.  There is also just a hydrant race, where they run like anything with the hydrant and connect it into a hole in the ground.

The initial events were all "dry" events, but by the afternoon they were using water and spraying it at targets.

Saturday finished around 4pm.

Sunday was pretty much the same, down there at 7.30am and the events finished around noon.  Then there was the presentations etc.

I didn't go down to watch on Sunday - hubby did -  I was helping Miss 10 with her homework and caught up on the washing.

On the Saturday we also had Shooting Buddy come along and OldNfo - which was a special treat.

I was very proud of Miss 12 and her team.  All of their runs were "clear" (if you don't do a connection correctly or move the elements out of the markings on the ground etc you will have a non-clear round and no points will be awarded for it).

Here are a couple of photos -
Connecting the nozzle to the hose

Picking up the hose

Putting the hydrant in


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Road Trip

Well I have just been on one of the best road trips since I was married (and that was a long time ago).

The first leg of the trip was from home to Shooting Buddy's place in Carnamah.  As this is a 3.5hr drive we stayed overnight there before heading to the property which is East of Paynes Find - see "A" on the map.

The property is in what is known as "Station Country".  It is approximately 551,300 acres in size and covers some of the most spectacular country I've ever seen.

Here's some photos:

There were also a lot of animals - can you spot the two kangaroos in this picture?
Or the three in this one?
Then there were the emus:
In addition to the animals there were lots of lizards -
This is one of the bigger ones we saw.  Unfortunately the smaller ones didn't hang around for photos.

The scenery during the day was spectacular and at night the sunsets were also fantastic -

Although it wasn't wildflower season there were a few flowers around, this one was my favourite
There were also a number of old structures on the property:

This is a well -
And this is called the "Camel Camp", where the camels used to be broken in -

We self-catered and the food was good :)  Here's breakfast day 1:
Lunch -
And for a yummy snack - Yabbies -

We didn't end up doing much hunting - but we got four rabbits that I'm looking forward to eating!

All in all a GREAT holiday and the place we stayed (Narndee Station) is highly recommended.  The station managers (John & Judy) are lovely, generous people and we had a great time with them.

One of the most amazing things about the trip is that between the time we left Paynes Find (Friday lunchtime) until we returned there (Monday mid-afternoon) we did not see another vehicle on the roads.  We must have traveled over 500kms between these two events and there was not another vehicle at all.  That was a bit of an eye-opener to the remoteness of the place.

Oh, and if you're looking for a good feed, you can't go past the Steak Burger at the Paynes Find roadhouse.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Buying your first car in Western Australia (based on the system for buying a handgun).

Got the idea from this post which is definitely worth a read and thanks to Sendarius for his input!

Step 1.  Join a recognised car club.  Be a financial member for 6 months, do a safety training course and undergo (and pass) a safety test.

Step 2.  At the end of the six months, find a car that you want.  Ensure that it is a car which has a use at the club of which you are a member, and which:

a)      is no shorter than 3 metres,

b)      is no wider than 1.2 metres,

c)       has no silencer on the exhaust,

d)      has a fuel tank no larger than 10 litres,

e)      has a manual gear-box (no fully automatics allowed),

f)       has an engine capacity of less than 3.8 litres

g)      is not used by the police or military.

Step 3. Pay the vendor/dealer the full amount, and (for an additional fee) receive a copy of the serviceability certificate which contains the VIN number.  (Note, you can only purchase one car in the first six months).

Step 4. Apply to your car club for support of your purchase of the car, providing all details of the car, and specifying your intended use within the club’s activities.

Step 5. Ensure that your garage meets the requirements regarding construction material, and number of locks.  Fill in a Statutory Declaration to this fact and take supporting photographs.

Step 6. Ensure that you have acceptable separate storage for both the fuel and fuel tank.

Step 7.  Once you have passed the safety test, have the serviceability certificate and the club support letter, statutory declaration and photographs fill in the online form.  Detail your medical and mental health, genuine need for owning the car, intended use, and other miscellaneous information.

Step 8.  Print out the completed form.

Step 9.  Sign the form and take the signed form, supporting documentation and photographs along with 100 points of ID to a participating Post Office.

Step 10.  Hand form, supporting documentation, $246.30 and ID to the Post Office worker (after waiting in Post Office queue).  Wait while they take your photograph and lodge the form.

Step 11.  Wait approximately 6 – 12 weeks for the paperwork to be processed and a letter, your licence and your "extract of licence" card to be sent to you.

Step 12.  Take the licence to the seller (with the receipt) and collect your car.  Being sure to drive it directly home.

Remember cars can only be driven between your place and an approved club activity; your place and the police station and your place and mechanic.  

At all other times they must remain in the locked garage that no one else but you has access to, with the fuel tank, and fuel stored separately.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Congratulations to my two clever girls ...

The girls entered some of their sewing in the local show.

Miss 12 picked up a first prize and "best in group" for her cross-stitch:

Miss 10 picked up first prize for her a sewing bag she made and embroidered:

She received a second prize for her cross-stitch:

And a "highly commended" for her pin cushion

Both girls received $5 as prize money and Miss 10 also received a voucher for $20 at a sewing shop for having the most points.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A message to all Facebook users ...

I found an article over at Bayou Renaissance Man which highlighted some of the dangers with Facebook.

I suggest you read the article but basically Facebook allows you to download the data that they have on you.  The risk the article highlights is that anyone hacking your account could also download this data and use it.

This can be done by clicking on the cog (top right hand of the screen), choosing Account Settings, choosing General and clicking on the Download a copy of your Facebook data link.

After clicking on this I was prompted for my password.  An email was then generated and sent to me which said I was downloading the information and I received another email with the link to actually download it.

I then had to provide my password again and finally could download everything.

I have had a look through it and couldn't find anything particularly incriminating.  However, I do have a slight feeling that deleted messages are retained in this data.

I'm currently testing this theory and will update this post when I've got an answer.

[UPDATE: No, deleted messages aren't retained in the data downloaded.  So if you have messaged something to someone that you don't want others knowing, delete your messages! /UPDATE]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Miss 10 strikes again

Miss 10:  "I'm hungry"

Me: "Have a carrot or an apple."

Miss 10: "I'm not a guinea pig."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Am I the only one ...

Who enjoys entering the wrong numbers in those CAPTCHA thingies?

As they don't actually CHECK that you're written the correct numbers (only the letters) I really do take extraordinary delight in entering them incorrectly - it even makes up for having to go through those hoops.

However every time I do it, I am half expecting that they will start verifying them too and then all my fun will be gone!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Overheard in the car

Driving back from "up north" yesterday I was was thinking about whether or not we could afford a trip to the US and if so what could we fit into the available time.

Me: "Girls, if you had a choice would you prefer to do a machine gun shoot or go to Disneyworld"
Miss 12: "Machine gun shoot!!! Wait! Full Auto?'
Me: "Yes"
Miss 12: "Awesome"

Miss 10: "How noisy?"
Me: "Well if we use .22s it will be as loud as your rifle"
Miss 10: "That's okay.  More fun than a theme park"

Miss 12: "Actually my idea of a great holiday will be going to the States and shooting all the guns that are illegal in Australia"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Latest pictures

Here is a picture of the girls.

On the left we have Miss-recently-turned-10 and on the right we have Miss-recently-turned-12.

Life has been busy, what with birthdays and getting things organised for the new schools next year.  Miss 10 is moving to the local public school (walking distance) and Miss 12 starts High School at a local Catholic school.  This isn't until February next year (school year runs Feb to Dec here), but for Miss 12 we have had three interviews and a mountain of paperwork and a uniform fitting appointment.  Miss 10's enrollment was only one form and a quick school tour (non-compulsory) - we do still have to visit the uniform shop for her sometime before the end of the year.

Work has also been keeping me busy and I've got a quick trip to Brisbane this coming week (fly out of Perth on Sunday, fly back in on Tuesday night).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I did like #7

Found this while having a look around the internet today. The whole article is worth a read but here's an extract:

Here are Courtley's 10 ways to think and act like a Seal and survive, as told to ABC News:

1. Early Preparation

"Survival is all about preparation," he said. "You start in your mind, start getting mentally tougher. You start rehearsing mentally situations you might find yourself in, so that when you find yourself in that situation, you're able to deal with it."

2. Practice "battle proofing"

Both mentally and physically rehearsing for a dangerous situation is what the military calls "battle proofing". "Imagine closing your eyes and getting your seatbelt on and off, or closing your eyes and rolling your window up and down," he said. "If you do it enough times you can do it without even looking down. It just happens."

3. Confidence is Key

"If you feel like you know how to handle a situation, whether it be a boss at work who is a pain in the butt or now I'm upside down in a car and water's coming in, if you feel confident, this thing is going work a lot better," Courtley said.

4. Practice "Combat Breathing'

"You breathe in for four seconds, you breathe out for four seconds, and it's something as simple as that," he said. "Not only are you getting oxygen but you're giving this thing a chance to like, okay, bring it down. I use combat breathing when I'm driving and I get cut off."

5. Have a Will to Live

If you find yourself in a dire situation, it helps to focus on something to motivate you to live. "Create a trigger. What is the most important thing in your life? It could be a family member. I want to see my son tonight. I'm going do whatever it takes, whether it's crawling out of a burning car, fighting a guy twice your size in a back alley, you flip that trigger."

6. "Rule of 3"

"You think of three options that you will have to get out of that situation … option 1, option 2, option 3. Do a quick pro and con of those three, and then just pick one and go with it."

7. Do Something

The worst thing you can do is nothing at all, and don't wait for someone to come and rescue you. "You can't wait for somebody to help you out. You can't expect somebody will be there to assist."

8. Don't Be Paranoid

"I would never preach being hyper-vigilant, being paranoid, because that's no way to live," Courtley said. "That goes back to the confidence of knowing, 'OK, I'm ready, I've thought about it, I prepared for it, now I'm going to live my life because I know if this happens, I will know how to handle it.'"

9. Have a Survival "go bag" in the Car

Have a "go bag" in your vehicle. Items can include a water filtration system, a multi-tool, water resistant pouches for documents and electronics, three days worth of prescriptions, first aid items and a poncho.

10. What If You're in the Car During a Disaster?

"Do you abandon the vehicle or stay put?" Courtley said. "It depends on the situation. What is the first thing that's going to kill you?" In an avalanche, the best thing to do is stay in the car, but if the car is on fire, then you will want to get out as fast as possible.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Science Fair Day

Today was the girls' science fair. They have both spent a lot of time working on their projects and they enjoyed the challenge.

I was very impressed at the range, quality and standard of the projects on display (kids from years 4 to 7 took part).  I was also very impressed at how articulate the children where when asked about their projects.

Well done all!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Catch up ...

I know it's been a long time since I wrote anything here (and I'm not sure if you've all given up waiting and have left the room).  However, it's not because nothing has been happening!

The first bit of news I have is that Miss 11 is all sorted for High School next year.  I finally got all of the paperwork that I needed to confirm her acceptance of the scholarship and place at the local catholic high school (blogged about here).

She did end up getting an offer of a place in the Gifted and Talented Extension program offered through the state school system and while she was happy about this, she (like us) felt that the other school had more to offer her.

So that is sorted!  Bit weird to have my daughter going to high school next year!!! EEKKK!!! (Yes, they do grow up fast).

Other than that I've not managed to get out shooting for a couple of weeks.  BUT I did get a new scope (um, is a Bushnell .. more than that I don't remember) and it's FANTASTIC - I can actually see what I'm aiming at rather than a brownish blur somewhere in the general vicinity.  With the new scope I managed to get a goat and a couple of foxes - so very happy and hopefully I'll get up to the farm to do some more shooting in the near future.

Work has been busy - ended up going to Melbourne for a couple of days a fortnight ago to do a requirements gathering exercise and since then I've been working from home head down in Excel VBA.  Part 1 of the project is completed and awaiting customer feedback and then I'll start on part 2.  I like working from home, but I'm not as keen on the coding as I am on training.  But it is very nice not having to deal with city traffic every day.

The girls are going well.  Both have been up to lots of things.  I'll try and sort out some photos to put up in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Overheard in the car

Me to Miss 9:  "Shall we go and play squash tomorrow morning?"

Miss 9:  "No, I will be too tired, I'm going to my cousin's and you know how young she is!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Rifle - Out and About

Well I finally got to take the new rifle out.

The first day was spent getting it sighted in (ended up trying two different scopes and I will have to buy another one).  Here is a photo of it with its first scope.

That night it was cleaned and put to bed in its very special case ...

And the next night ... time for work

It shoots beautifully.  The bolt is totally smooth.  It's nice and light I guess the only thing I'm not 100% comfortable with yet is how the magazine locks in.  I'm thinking that I will get comfortable with it soon enough.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bring back the death penalty?

When I read stories like this one I begin to think that the death penalty is the only option.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

mmmmm .....


Just read this: DHS Insider - It's about to get very ugly

Followed by this: Betrayal by Those Who Should Know Better

... worth reading folks.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Rifle Purchase Process - Stage 3 complete!!!!

I go to the letterbox this morning and remove the letters.

I'm flicking through the various letters while walking back to the house and notice the distinctive colouring of my firearms licence through the envelope's window.  And I think to myself "Firearms licence .. that isn't due for renewal until July."


<<Julie does happy dance>>

Rip open envelope and there is the additional page (to add to my firearms licence) showing my new rifle and the co-licence for Shooting Buddy's !!!!!

Woo hooooooooooooooooooo

Now to go pick up guns ... not sure when I can get away ....

[Update:  That's a new record - less than a month since the paperwork went in (April 17th) to piece of paper in hand!!! Makes me want to go buy something else to see if it will be even quicker!]

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Great High School Hunt Maybe Over ... Maybe ....

My regular readers may recall my post recently about trying to find a high school for Miss 11 (refresh your memories here, I'll wait).

Towards the end of that post I write:

"She’s sitting a trial exam next Saturday to give her an idea of what the GATE exam (and those for the Specialist Programs) would be like."

This "trial exam" was actually a Scholarship exam for a local Catholic High School - a very nice local Catholic High School - however, as they only award two academic scholarships (based on this exam) we were treating it as a trial for the GATE exam (this coming Saturday) rather than anything she had a real chance of getting.

WRONG ... but in a good way.  As a result of this exam Miss 11 was offered a scholarship to this Catholic School which covers half her fees for the next 4 years (she will need to start there next year).

After a bit of a discussion we decided to accept the offer of the scholarship ("bird in hand" and all that) and that's where the fun started.

Putting in the paperwork for the acceptance was no problem.  Putting in the paperwork for her enrollment is proving to be somewhat of an issue.  (She still has to go through the standard enrollment process).

There are a number of "pieces of paper" that we need to submit with the enrollment form:
* Her birth certificate
* My naturalisation certificate 
* Her immunisation record

Her birth certificate was no problem - that was in the safe.

However, my naturalisation certificate has disappeared.  It actually disappeared a number of years back and I've never gotten around to getting a copy.

The immunisation record that I had was pretty old, so I rang the .gov department here that manages them and while on hold they suggest that I might like to do this via the net.  So while waiting on hold I hop on the webpage to find out yes, I can obtain a copy of her immunisation certificate via the net as long as I have a password which they SNAIL MAIL!

So I applied for a password.  And then spoke to the lady when I finally got off hold and requested a copy posted (let's cover all bases here).  I was told that would take 10 days to come to me.

So anyway, minus my naturalisation certificate and Miss 11's immunisation record I trek down to the school to hand in the acceptance of scholarship letter and the enrollment form. 

Nope, they won't accept the enrollment form without those two bits of paper.

So back home again to determine the process for getting a copy of my naturalisation certificate.  According to the web it's a pretty easy process all you need is your birth certificate and a few other pieces of ID and you're set.  Problem is, I don't have a copy of my birth certificate either.  (That disappeared a very long time ago).  Second problem is that I was born in Nigeria (however, my birth was registered with the British Consulate as my dad was British).

So phone call after phone call - firstly to the .gov department that handles naturalisation certificates.  I can obtain a certificate without my birth certificate (probably anyway) if I have a statutory declaration from an "approved" person who has known me from before I was married (yes, naturalisation certificate is in maiden name all other forms of ID I have are in my married name).  I also need a copy of a my marriage certificate (Did I mention that that had disappeared as well?).

Rang an "approved" person who meets these requirements only to find that they're currently out of the country (but will be returning this week).

Rang the British Embassy to find out if there was any chance of getting a copy of my birth certificate.  The very helpful lady on the other end of the phone gave me two email address to start with.  One of the emails bounced back, so I rang her again to check that I had it correct (I did), so she ended up directing me to a website where apparently I can apply on-line for a copy of my birth certificate.  So I've done that.  However once you order the copy there's no way of knowing what's happening until it does / doesn't turn up in your mail box.

Organised the paperwork for a copy of my marriage certificate - the request had to be actually done by hubby as I have no ID in my maiden name (which, of course, is the name on the certificate).

Pretty much satisfied that I had put all the appropriate wheels in motion I sat back and waited.

Yesterday the snail-mailed password arrived for me to access the site to get an up to date copy of Miss 11's immunisation record.  So I logged on, downloaded her record only to find that it didn't show all her immunisations!!!!  The last entry on the form was 2003 and I knew that she had had other injections after that.  So I then had to ring the Doctor's surgery where the injections were done and leave a message for someone to check and get back to me.

The nurse rang me a couple of hours later and yes, the .gov immunisation record was incomplete.  The surgery had records of all her immunisations.  However, as Miss 11 is older than 7 the .gov department will no accept any additional records for her so I can't get the immunisation record updated.  The best I can do is to get a letter from the Doctor's surgery and attach that to the immunisation record and hope the school accepts that.

So now I'm waiting for:

* Marriage certificate
* Birth certificate (if it turns up)
* Friend to return from overseas to do a stat dec for me (if the birth certificate doesn't turn up first)
* Letter from Doctor's surgery to attach to incomplete immunisation record

Is it any wonder that that I drink?!?!?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ice Cream Bread is possible

Yes, it's true, you can make "bread" from just two ingredients -

2 cups ice-cream (in our case the girls decided that "Hokey Pokey" would be fun to try)
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

All you do is mix them together.  I would suggest letting the ice-cream melt a bit first.  We did it straight out of the freezer with a wooden spoon and it was pretty hard work.

Then you put it in a suitable baking container (we used silicone cup-cake molds)  in the oven at 180C (350F) and cook until toothpick/skewer comes out clean.  With the mixture split among the 15 cup cake molds this took 13 minutes of cooking time.

Allow to cool and then turn out.

Another easy "kid-friendly" recipe.

Yummy Food ...

The girls have been doing some cooking lately:

Miss 9 is becoming a master of this recipe:

Brownies (First found on Facebook)

(note, Miss 9 always make double this)

Dry Ingredients

(these can be mixed in advanced and stored in clip lock bags / jars)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients

(add these to the dry mixture at cooking time)
2 Eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Mix all ingredients together, place into a lined 8x8 or 9x8 pan.
Bake at 180C (350F) for 20-25 minutes.  Brownies are cooked when a skewer comes out clean.

Miss 11 tried a recipe of DaddyBear's last night.
(As we didn't have the whole wheat flour this is what she did, follow the link above for the original recipe).

Banana Bread Recipe

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each of cloves, ginger, and nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

1 egg
3 bananas, thoroughly mashed
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/4 cup of cooking oil.  Less if you add an extra banana
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Mix all of the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Scrape the side of the bowl as necessary.  Once the mixture is even and lump free, pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake in a 180C (350F) oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
(She used the same pan that Miss 9 uses for the Brownies - as I didn't know where the loaf pan was - so cooking time was only 20mins).

Both these recipes are easy for kids to do.  I only help Miss 9 with the final mixing as it is pretty stiff and Miss 11 had never mashed bananas before so a bit of guidance was required (cut them before attacking with fork).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Rifle Purchase Process - Stage 3 Update

I received a phone call from Firearms Branch today - well actually I missed a phone call from them and then by the time I rang them back (direct number and name left on my messages!?!) the lady had figured out that she didn't need to talk to me after all.

She did say however that everything looked fine and when asked how long before I could expect the paperwork to come through, she indicated that it should be around a week or so!!!

Getting excited!!!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Send a message to our troops this ANZAC Day - 25th April

ANZAC was the name given to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey early on the morning of 25 April 1915 during the First World War (1914-1918). 

While ANZAC day still remembers these brave men, the meaning has been widened to be a rememberence for all those who served and who gave their lives serving.

As a result, this one day in the year involves the whole of Australia in solemn ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride for all our men and women who have fought and died in all wars.

Last year I linked to news.com.au's memories page; this year they have invited members of the public to post messages which will be forwarded to currently serving members here.

It is interesting to read the messages posted.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Rifle Purchase Process - Stage 2 Complete

Shooting Buddy arrived down from "up north" yesterday so this morning we decided to attack the paperwork for the new rifles.

The forms have to be completed on-line and then you take them to the Post Office for them to be sent to Firearms Branch.

I logged into the online forms process on one of my computers and the form didn't display - not to be discouraged I woke up one of my other computers and tried again and this time it worked.

We decided to do Shooting Buddy's application first.  The form is interactive, so depending on how you answer questions additional ones come up. I am sure there are questions on there that weren't on the form last time I did it, that or I've blanked it out of my mind!  You have to answer questions about names / previous names / addresses / previous addresses (sure, list all previous addresses with dates!) / criminal convictions / medication / VROs etc, etc.

Once you get through these type of questions you actually get to the bit to do with the firearms.  To be honest this bit was quite simple - as you require a Firearms Serviceability Certificate for each firearm which contains all the relevant details (make, model, serial number, calibre) you don't actually have to fill this in on the form - only the Serviceability Certificate Number (and attach it to your application).

I only ended up having to ring the Firearms Branch twice during the process.  Once was regarding how to put the 'other licencee' information (i.e. my information) in and the other time was at the end of the process as the guy on the phone (blogged about here) had mentioned an additional form (Co-Users Permission Form) to me but the application process did not refer to this form at all.  (Yes, you do need to submit it).

After filling in the six pages of information for Shooting Buddy we went to print it, which requires it to contact via the Internet to Firearms Branch and get a unique barcode - and for some reason this didn't work and we lost all of the entries and had to start again.  Filling it in the second time was a bit quicker!

Validated and printed and then it was time to repeat the whole process for me.

No problems this time and once that paperwork was also printed and supporting documentation photocopied, we headed off down to the Post Office.

So for my application I had a five page printed form, a Firearms Serviceability Certificate for my firearm, a copy of Shooting Buddy's Firearms Serviceability Certificate, the Property Letter and the Co-Users Permission Form signed by Shooting Buddy.

Shooting Buddy's collection of paper was similar but he had a six page printed form as he had different answers to some of the questions than I did.

At the Post Office we had a short wait in the queue (apparently we were in the wrong queue but given that there was no signage showing two queues I didn't worry about that too much).  Then the lady behind the counter had a look through my Firearms Application form and attachments (slight change from the last time I did this process where the initial response was "Do we process these?") and then she asked me for 100 points proof of identification.  No where in the online forms or documentation do I recall reading that I needed to supply this, however, luckily I did have enough cards in my wallet to prove that yes, I am who I say I am.  (Interestingly enough the "Working with Children" Card does not count (even though it has photo, address and signature and itself was obtained with a 100 points ID check).  My Medicare card - First Name & Surname only - and Credit Card - full name only - were taken in preference.

Once she had scanned the form's barcode, entered the reference numbers off each of the identification cards, asked for $72.50 and printed me a receipt it was Shooting Buddy's turn.  He was more organised than me and actually had his 100 points worth of cards out of his wallet.

That done she assured us that they would be scanned and then posted by registered mail to Firearms Branch for processing.

So Stage 2 is now complete.  It will be interesting to see how long Stage 3 (Firearm's processing) takes.  In the past I have not have any firearm approved in less than 90 days.  I am hoping it will be quicker this time! Stay tuned.

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Rifle Purchase Process - Stage 1 Complete

Recently I posted that I had ordered a new rifle. Well today I received the phone call I had been waiting for! It had arrived in the gun store and was awaiting my attention!

After checking the state of my bank account I headed down the hill to the gun shop and after eventually finding a parking spot I went in. Now I am not sure why but it looks like gun-buying season has hit! There were people everywhere. One of the employees was even complaining that he was having to work too hard selling all these guns.

I waited (im)patiently - there are at least lots of pretty things to look at while waiting - and eventually the owner (Barry) was free and when he saw me he smiled and asked one of the other employees to go get the two rifles for me to look at.

So out came two large, white boxes - Shooting Buddy's and mine - and we opened mine first! It is beautiful!!! Comes up onto the shoulder really easily and the bolt is as smooth as butter! After fondling it for awhile we packed it away and opened Shooting Buddy's. There really was no need for this - his has been in the store all along and he has already checked it out but why turn down the opportunity to handle a firearm? The gun is almost as nice as mine ... :)

Anyway after the guns were put away it was time for the paperwork. Firstly the exchange of large amounts of electrons for two receipts. Unfortunately my gun was more expensive than Shooting Buddy's and while Barry did (jokingly) offer to switch the amounts on the receipts I declined.

Electrons processed ... Receipts given; it was time for the Serviceability Certificates. Basically a (registered and individually numbered) piece of paper from an authorised person saying that the gun is serviceable. All guns that are being licensed require one.

That done and serial numbers doubled checked. The next step in the process was a "property letter". When you licence a firearm here you have to prove "genuine need". Vermin control on a farm is an acceptable reason and this is done by way of a thing called a property letter. Barry had found a property that was happy for us to help control vermin on - and with a range of vermin suitable for the two calibers that we were licensing. My rifle is a .223 and Shooting Buddy's is a .308, so we needed a property of appropriate size with a range of vermin.

Letters were handed over and that, my friends, is the end of phase 1.

The next step in the process is for Shooting Buddy and me to complete the online forearms licence application form, then print it out and take it with ID to the Post Office.

Now unfortunately Shooting Buddy won't be down in Perth until the 17th so it will have to wait until then. Once we have done that it is then a matter of being patient and waiting for the Firearms Branch to process the application. Apparently applications are being processed quite quickly through Firearms Branch currently - so fingers crossed that we won't have to wait too long.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The most annoying thing about mobile phones

I guess that it's pretty normal that after 40 years (happy birthday mobile phones!) we're still complaining about them!

My biggest complaint (other than the fact that I have two to tote around) is that they are always running out of charge.  So when I saw this comment I was quite interested:

THREE: Get an Everpurse bag
No more panicking when your smartphone's battery is low. These small but stylish bags recharge your phone wherever you are and make sure you'll never miss that life-changing Facebook comment again.

(Full article here in case you'ld like the other 19 points on ways to Improve Your Life Right Now!).

I followed the link (ref:"small but stylish bags") to a site called Everpurse.com which markets a clutch purse with an inbuilt smartphone charger.  IF you remember to charge the purse you can apparently keep your phone charged all day (up to two full recharges in the day).

The prices range from $189 to $319 depending on colour / style.  You do get the charging mat included for that price and additional ones can be purchased for $59.  You can also get your current handbag retrofitted with the charging device for a cost of $600.

Now while I think it's not a bad idea I have a number of hesitations:

  1. This only works with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, or Samsung Galaxy S III - which means that it won't work with one of my current phones.  Also what happens when the next version of the iPhone / Galaxy comes out?
  2. Most women I know have a range of handbags to suit different outfits -  I actually have only two but I think I'm on the unusual side.  Shelling out $200 for a couple of new small clutch purses seems a quite expensive way to go.  I know you can put them in larger purses but then you'll have to remember to take them out to recharge them (which seems about as much work as remembering to take your phone out to charge it in the first place).
  3. You still have to remember to recharge the purse every day.  Now I know that there are some super-organised people who always put their things in the exact same place all the time and then there is the rest of us who go through the "where are my keys?" hunt a couple of times a week (or more).  I think this concept MIGHT work for the first group of people, not sure about the second!
So while I get frustrated with myself for not remembering to charge my phones I don't think I'll be buying one of these just yet!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Proud of Miss 11

Yesterday Miss 11 went abseiling!  She tried it at Jamboree earlier this year but it didn't go so well so I suggested that she goes on a proper course and gives it another try.

She was a bit nervous but agreed and we signed up with Adventure Out for a 1/2 day (well 7am to 2pm) course for yesterday.

The course was run out at Boya Quarry and it was a perfect day weather-wise for it.  It was initially quite cold at the quarry but then warmed up nicely when the sun finally hit.  There were 9 other people on the course and two (fantastic) instructors.

Miss 11 was still a bit nervous but put it behind her (and with the support of her "partner") did the first cliff face (about 20m?) three times.

They had also set up a climbing area and she went about 15m up the climb before deciding that that was far enough.

Then she did the second cliff - which was an overhang - once.  After some lunch they all attempted the "BIG" one - 58 metres.

She did enjoy it, but only wanted to do it once.

However, she does want to go back and do the climbing course they run and also do the abseiling one again!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Should there be sensible 'gun control'

Following a discussion on this topic - over at Mr Cranky's (initial discussion here) then via email. Mr Cranky left this comment on my last post and I thought it would be good to pull it out and put it in it's own post for (polite & respectful) discussion:

Julie, I lost your email address, I think I owe you some answers re gun control in the US.

According to my friend a semi-expert I could buy an AK47 today in less than an hour (except currently there has been a run on them and the supply is very low). A pistol might take me 2 weeks.

My expert once worked at a sports store that sold guns. One day a person came in wanting to buy a gun. He was very upset and clearly looking for revenge on someone who had beat him up. My friend could not talk him out of buyung a gun and could not turn him down legally. He informed me that he was able to sell him a gun with the wrong ammunition and thinks he saved someones life by doing so.

Personally, living in a country with very strict "gun control" and seeing that it really doesn't make a shred of difference - there are shootings here weekly across the country - I do not see the benefit of it.  Other than it makes it harder for those who choose to follow the law.

Would I be concerned that someone could buy a fully automatic gun over the counter?  Not really.
Would I be concerned that a gun shop employee HAD to sell a gun to someone that was obviously going to use it to kill someone?  Yes, because AFAIK no one HAS to sell anything to anyone.  Shop owners / employees always have the right to refuse a sale.

Maybe that's different in the US?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Technology ...

Miss 9 and Miss 11 are watching Gilligan's Island - the apeman episode.  On the show the tape recorder he used was described as ...

... miniature.

The girls were amused!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Finding a high school for Miss 11

I know I’ve been neglecting my blog over the last couple of months.  This is mainly due to “life” – and in particular most of my spare time has been taken up with a hunt for a suitable high school for Miss 11.

She is currently in year 6.  Our schools in this state are structured as year 1 – 7 is primary school (yes there is pre-school / kindergarten before that) and then year 8 – 12 is high school.

From 2015, year 7 will change to being “high school”.  Well actually it will be mandatory for year 7 to be part of high school from 2015, many of the private schools have already made the change and are now structured as year 7 – 9 being middle school and 10 – 12 being upper school.

But state (public) schools aren’t doing this yet.  They won’t have be taking year 7 children into the high schools until 2015.

Miss 11 is in a private school and from latest rumours no other students in year 6 will be going into year 7 at the school, they’re all going into year 7 at private high schools.

We could do the same for Miss 11.  HOWEVER, in our public high school system there are a number of specialist programs that sound interesting.

The first is the “Gifted and Talented Program” (referred to as “GATE”).  There is a possibility that she could get into this and undertake the program at one of the local high schools.  We visited the school last week and she really like it and the Principal.  It’s a BIG school – current school population of 1500 but it didn’t feel crowded.  In fact, we were wondering where all the kids were (the Principal said he thought that they were all playing truant!).

Entrance to the GATE program is via a series of tests held on one day (May), with offers for places in August / September.  Last year there were 850 places across the state with 2400 children sitting the exam.

As this program is relatively difficult to get into, and comes down the child’s performance on the day we have also looked at alternatives.  The other programs offered by the public school system are known as “Specialist Programs

There are three that interest Miss 11:

  • Lesmurdie – Maths and Science
  • Kalamunda – Outdoor Adventure
  • Kelmscott – Specialist Agriculture

All of these programs are offered to the students in the school district first (we aren’t in any of these districts) and then if there are places available out of area students can apply.

For two of these (Lesmurdie & Kelmscott) entrance is via an exam and the third (Kalamunda) entrance is via a written application and portfolio.

For Lesmurdie the exam will be held around September, for the other two schools applications will be processed in March next year.

And this is where the difficultly lays.

If she doesn’t get into any of these four programs (GATE & the Specialist ones) then we will not know this until mid-next year, by which time all of the private schools (we would not consider sending her to a public school outside of these programs) would have commenced their “middle school” structure.

Now we have found one private school – that Miss 11 liked a lot - that was happy to take her in year 8 if she wanted to stay at her current school until then, IF there are places available once the year 7 intake has been finalised.

So basically now it’s “wait and see”.  She’s sitting a trial exam next Saturday to give her an idea of what the GATE exam (and those for the Specialist Programs) would be like.  But realistically we may not know the outcome until mid-next year.

The other issue we face is that she might be the only year 7 in her current school next year.  Currently there are 13 children in year 6 and only 5 in year 7 (they’re all in a combined year 6/7 class).  I am not sure how well this structure will work (and even if it’s possible) if she is the only year 7 (the current year 5s are in a mixed 4/5 class).


Sunday, February 24, 2013

I have ordered a rifle

After many (many) months of hesitation I have bitten the bullet, so to speak, and have ordered myself a Tikka T3 .223 rifle (synthetic stock, stainless barrel).

Shooting Buddy is getting the same rifle (wood stock, blued barrel) in .308.  His rifle is in the shop and I'm hoping mine will be there in a week or two.

I spoke to Firearms Branch on Friday to see what was required so that we could co-licence the guns (otherwise storage and transportation could be an issue).  The guy at Firearms Branch was very helpful and, after putting me on hold to double check his information, said the best way to proceed was the following:

1. Put both applications in for firearm additions at the same time. (It's called a firearm's addition as we both currently hold firearms licences).
2. Put both firearms on each application.
- on mine put the .223 down as 'owner'
- and put the .308 down as 'co-licensed' (apparently there's a drop down on the online form for this option).
(reverse this on Shooting Buddy's)
3. Along with each application the following would be needed:
- property letter (with both calibres listed)
- co-users permission form (this is a new one on me - but apparently needs to be submitted now if the guns are to be co-licenced).  I will need to have one from Shooting Buddy and he needs one from me
- the serviceability certificate for the gun we're 'owning'
- a copy of the serviceability certificate for the gun we're 'co-licensing'

So once I have the serial number of my firearm we will be able to proceed with this process.  He did say it might take a bit longer than usual for the applications to be processed but it shouldn't be too much of an issue.  So here's hoping!

I will let you know how I go.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Overheard in the lounge

Miss 11 (as she walks out the room):"I'm off to get my computer to see what's good on ebay!"

Um, okay then ....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Does this make up for me not posting for ages?

The Grim Reaper came for me last night , and I beat him off with a vacuum
cleaner. Talk about Dyson with death.

I was at an ATM yesterday when a little old lady asked if I could check her
balance , so I pushed her over.

I start a new job in Seoul next week. I thought it was a good Korea move.

I was driving this morning when I saw an RAC van parked up. The driver was
sobbing uncontrollably and looked very miserable. I thought to myself that
guy's heading for a breakdown..

Statistically , 6 out of 7 dwarves are not Happy.

My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning , can you believe
that , 2:30am?!  Luckily for him I was still up playing my Bagpipes.

I saw a poor old lady fall over today on the ice!!  At least I presume she
was poor - she only had $1.20 in her purse.

My girlfriend thinks that I'm a stalker. Well, she's not exactly my
girlfriend yet.

A wife says to her husband you're always pushing me around and talking
behind my back.  He says what do you expect? You're in a wheelchair.

I was explaining to my wife last night that when you die you get
reincarnated but must come back as a different creature.  She said I would
like to come back as a cow. I said you're obviously not listening.

The wife has been missing a week now. Police said to prepare for the worst.
So I have been to the charity shop to get all her clothes back.

Local Police hunting the 'knitting needle nutter' , who has stabbed six
people in the arse in the last 48 hours , believe the attacker could be
following some kind of pattern..

Bought some 'rocket salad' yesterday but it went off before I could eat it!

A teddy bear is working on a building site. He goes for a tea break and
when he returns he notices his pick has been stolen. The bear is angry and
reports the theft to the foreman. The foreman grins at the bear and says
"Oh , I forgot to tell you , today's the day the teddy bears have their
pick nicked."

Murphy says to Paddy "What ya talkin to an envelope for?" "I'm sending a
voicemail ya thick sod!"

Just got back from my mate's funeral. He died after being hit on the head
with a tennis ball. It was a lovely service.

An Asian fellow has moved in next door. He has travelled the world , swum
with sharks , wrestled bears and climbed the highest mountain. It came as
no surprise to learn his name was Bindair Dundat.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Hi All

We're back from Jamboree - Miss 11 had a blast!  Here she is during the early stages of "Challenge It!" by the end of the activity she was head-to-toe in mud!

And this is what she thought of Jamboree ...
And yes, she's saving for the next one :)