Wednesday, 31 December 2008

2008 in Review

Administrative stuff

I have tried to put in a few hyperlinks to other pages, but they do not seem to function too well at the moment, so bear with me while I try to figure out why!! The same applies to the weather table that appears below.

As it has been reported to me that some spammers have tried to use these pages to contact people (dobriden gospodini) I have declined to put our email addresses in this. So, anyone that wishes to comment – and who doesn’t already know our addresses – should post a comment to the page.

Summary

The year was essentially one of continuing on from 2007. I was going on to say “with no major shifts in our lifestyle” when a small terrier walked in the room, so that has been revised to the title of the next section.

A few major shifts in life style

The first of these was Frances’ mum having to move, from her house in Brighton to a nearby residential care facility. The major consequence of this for us was the move of the small terrier from Brighton to Carwoola. We have all three now adjusted to this, so we (now) rarely have to offer thanks that we have no carpet!

On the totally positive side of things we have joined the Australian Native Plants Society and go on their walks each Wednesday. What makes this a major shift is the amount of added pleasure we get from our morning walks, as Frances (in particular) is able to identify a whole bunch of plants. There are many pages scattered through the year with photos of various flowers – possibly the highlight was the first sun-orchid on the block.

Occupations

Martin has continued to be ‘sort of retired’ doing some contract work for the Secretariat to the Pacific Community. In 2008 this involved 1 visit to the Solomon Islands and 2 to Vanuatu, thus adding two entries to his country list (which now stands at 49). He has also continued to be the Coordinator of the Garden Bird Survey for the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG).
Frances is still officially ‘retired’ but is formally contributing to society by volunteering as a guide at the
National Gallery of Australia.

Gardening


This continues to take up as much time as we are able (temporally, physically and mentally) to put in to it. Since one gets out of it what one puts in we are greatly enjoying the outcome. We have something in bloom most of the year and are self sufficient in fruit and vegetables for about 5 months of the year (and in some cases – spuds, onions and apples - nearly all year). Again, there are many pages about this. The highlight has been the amount of strawberries and raspberries we have picked this year. Yum!

Personal Statistics


These relate to Martin as Frances is not afflicted with the need to reduce the broad tapestry of her life to a few numbers.

Exercise: while my efforts to keep fit are, overall, a little down on last year they are still in front of the years in Tanzania. The most difficult month was October when I scored a really foul cold and just couldn’t force myself out for a jog for several days.
Birds: I added several new species to my life list on the overseas trips mentioned above. Several others were added on a midyear trip involving Queensland - thanks Mat! This boosted the list from 1572 to 1595. The year’s summary is:











ACT155

NSW166

VIC12

QLD159

SA73
Australia
266
New Caledonia
22
Solomon Islands
14
Vanuatu
18


The best birding experience of the year is difficult to nominate as (apart from the lifers) there are 2 very strong contenders. Both are nesting events and I have ended up deciding that as this is a personal tale I will put the Tawny Frogmouths in front of the Royal Spoonbills since the former were in our garden at Carwoola.

Other Statistics

Weather: It has basically been another dry year, although not as bad as 2005/06 (which we missed as we were in New York).



Month 2007 2008 Diff Ave

(mm)(mm)

Jan 70 64 -6 67
Feb 127 54 -73 91
Mar 41 44 3 43
Apr 42 24 -18 33
May 43 8 -35 26
Jun 129 32 -97 81
Jul 25 43 18 34
Aug 10 46 36 28
Sep 16 41 25 29
Oct 43 38 -5 41
Nov 109 117 8 113
Dec 91 104 13 98
Total 746 615 -131 681
Days >5mm 41 42 1 42


GFC: this is apparently the official acronym for the cause of everything bad, the Global Financial Crisis. Personally I’d shorten it to one letter , pronounced Dubya, and thank Deity that he is getting his sorry backside kicked outtathere.

We also thank Deity for the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme not being directly linked to the performance of the dweets who manipulate the stock market.

The other aspect of the GFC that has been notable for us is the cost of petrol. For this one I’ll allocate the blame next door to the White House and give two erect fingers to Cheney: I am actually sorry he has got his sorry backside outtathere, because he seems to be going home with his billions rather than going, with nothing, to the place Damon Runyon used to refer to as Ossining College. The most interesting aspect of petrol pricing is how it has dropped in the last 6 months.
The Chart shows our fuel consumption as cents per kilometre.

The July and December spikes are country trips, where the higher prices in rural areas more than balance out the better fuel consumption that we usually get on long runs.

That’s all folks: on to 2009.

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