Republic of Moreland

April 23, 2007

Midnight mayhem in Moreland

Two nights ago I awoke to the sound of screaming.

No, I didn’t copy that from my grade 4 creative writing “opening lines” exercise. I actually did awake to the sound of screaming.

It was coming from my back yard. Out of sleep’s fug, it dawned on me that the alarming sounds were coming from the chook pen. I grabbed the torch and raced outside to hear the delicate tinkle of a cat-collar bell. My chickens were all out of the coop, clearly agitated.

I didn’t see the cat, but yesterday a tabby, wearing said bell, was casing the joint. I threw stones at it, as one does. But it kept returning all day, eventually terrorising the baby chooks. In broad daylight!

Despite my stone-throwing, word of larks at Number xx got around, and before long a tortoise-shell cat was stalking the back yard, And then you, spooky.

My chicken-coop, being of open plan (Eames era) design, is a drop-in facility for all class of creature. It’s not maximum security, but it looks like I’ll have to work on upgrading it today.

Unless anyone has suggestions as to how to keep them there kitties away. I’ve heard of pepper to deter dogs: is there any non-structural deterrent for cats?

April 16, 2007

Backyard experiment #3: cheap green roof

I’ve started a garden on my rooftop: a very simple and cheap one. I picked up some large rectangular plastic containers from the hardware ($12 each) and drilled holes in the bottom. I chucked them on the north-facing lean-to roof and then lay Hydrocell in the bottom of the containers and cow poo (from Andrew’s Stock Feed in Sydney Rd) and soil up the sides. Inside the north side of the containers, where the sun hits the black plastic, I put more Hydrocell to act as an insulator. Then I planted a fruit vine in each: passionfruit and kiwi-fruit. I’ll lay some lightweight weldmesh on the roof at some stage: by summer I’m hoping the roof will be a facade of green. Not just beautiful, but a great thermal insulator, and good for the city environment, too, as it reduces the heat-island effect. I shouldn’t need to water them over winter, and the hydrocell should allow for minimal watering in other seasons. Fingers crossed.

That’s not my green roof pictured above: that’s a living wall. You can find out much more about living walls and green roofs in Australia by joining Green Roofs for Healthy Australian Cities. One of its board members, the lovely Sidonie Carpenter (who took this picture), is on a travelling fellowship to study green roofs and living walls around SE Asia and north America. Here are some of her pics:

Getty Centre, LA

Botanic Gardens, Singapore:

School of Art and Design, Singapore:

You can see more of Sidonie’s pics here, and find out more about Green Roofs in Australia here.

April 12, 2007

Kevin Rudd sells out

Filed under: environment,politics — Kath @ 6:20 pm

The Ruddster is looking very shabby today. This morning we learned he’ll still appear on Alan Jones after The Parrot’s racist and violent Cronulla bile. It’s one thing for Rudd to disabuse us of his conviction-politican credentials; it’s another to reveal himself as a boneless scaredy-cat. And there are no realpolitik excuses: Jones weilds far less power than politicians fear. The evidence shows he preaches only to the converted, and his ratings are less than those of Gardening Australia. You’d have more influence appearing with Peter Cundall. But by consenting to appear on Jones, John Howard and Kevin Rudd bestow power to a bigotted megalomaniac. Here’s just one of Jones’ on-air rants about Lebanese, pre-Cronulla:

Caller: If the police can’t do the job, the next tier is us

Alan Jones: Yeah, good on you, J…

Caller: Now, my grandfather was an old digger and he used to say to me when we were growing up, ‘Listen, shoot one, the rest will run’.

Alan Jones: [laughing]

Caller: Right?

Alan Jones: … yes [laughing]

(source: crikey)

But wait, there’s more. Just now, I learned that the Ruddster drives a big fat 4WD Toorak Tractor. That’s right. As Crikey reported:

Even Malcolm Turnbull has the wit to drive a hybrid… the Opposition Leader’s publicly paraded Greenhouse piety is at odds with his level of personal environmental commitment.

It’s also more indicative of a certain intellectually sloppy hypocrisy than any amount of faultily recalled family history. If not a bridge too far, it might well be testing the waters for the last straw.

I wouldn’t normally write about federal politics here, but I feel so goddam disappointed. I always thought it was after elections that disillusion with Labor set in. Not before. Kevin Rudd, I’d like to unleash Catherine Deveney on you.

UPDATE: What the Ruddster drives is a Ford Territory (one is pictured, left.) Not quite the Toowong Tank, but still.

April 11, 2007

Extreme lawn bowls

Filed under: Brunswick,Coburg,op shops,Sydney Road — Kath @ 12:20 am

Today at the Salvo’s in Coburg, I bought some lawn bowl trophies that were really just liquor glasses with gold trim. Each had “trophy” embossed underneath a gold emblem with ‘Moreland Bowls Club’, ‘Coburg West Bowling Club’ and so on.

I bought a dozen or so, all from Moreland suburbs, but the store has plenty still from Elsternwick bowls and elsewhere. Must be from an enthusiast’s deceased estate, and I couldn’t help picturing the whole set (around 40 glasses) having pride of place in a glass cabinet next to the gas heater in a geezer’s lounge-room.

To end up sitting on the bargain shelf of an op-shop. I paid a handsome 50 cents for each, but felt I was pilfering someone’s title.

There’s a supposed resurgence in lawn bowling (naffy George Negus, without irony, has said “suddenly the game has become groovy — so groovy…”). Particularly since 2001, when the lawn bowling community took the radical, visionary step of permitting women to compete on a Saturday, with the blokes. More radically, now there are extreme lawn bowl sports. But I haven’t yet drummed up enough interest to go.

Still, I’ve got a kind of theme happening. Out of nowhere, an accidental collection emerged: our household boasts two vintage bowls bags, a bowls mug, a bowls cup-and-saucer, and now bowls liquor glasses.

Like campervan interiors, lawn bowls has a peculiar aesthetic that resonates with my inner retired geezer. In many other scenarios, lawns are objectionable (you know: the class values they represent, the petrol they waste) but stroll me past a green like The Grove’s Moreland Bowls Club, and I’m anybody’s it makes me irrationally content. The decadent expanse, the chalk, the measuring instruments and paraphernalia, the scoreboards, the quiet clacking of balls, the behatted nods and murmurs and squints, the ‘Madam President’ parking sign, the uniforms, the club rules and repressed competitive tension… so civilised. So Coburg. I feel privy to another era.

Unlike other lawn sports that evolved from the great estates, participation in lawn bowls seems more egalitarian. (Yet what would happen, I wonder, if nearby churchgoers were to park in front of the ‘Seceratary’ or ‘Madam President’ sign in The Grove?)

These are the reasons it worries me that The Grove club will sooner or later be under great pressure to succumb to real estate development. Or so a reliable colleague (involved in such things) reckons. And they ain’t building new ones nowdays. Bloke on The Avenue also thinks it’s only a matter of time before lawn bowls suffers the fate of Melbourne’s own trugo.

April 5, 2007

Terry Hicks to speak out

Filed under: crime,events,politics — Kath @ 10:27 am

They’ve silenced David Hicks, but they can’t silence Terry. Hear him speak on how the government forced his son to plead guilty and why Guantanamo must be closed. 1pm Saturday 21st April State Library. Speakers include Terry Hicks and  Bob Brown. For info call: 0407856628.

Endorsed by Civil Rights Defence, Liberty Victoria, Victorian Trades Hall.

April 4, 2007

Bring it on

Filed under: Coburg,crime,environment,Fawkner — Kath @ 10:13 am

Watch out, Moreland.

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