66 shades of grey

66 shades of grey
66 shades of grey ... this pic of me was shot by Kim, of Kim Thomsen's Photography at Daly Waters in the Northern Territory. Kim just wandered over and asked whether it was OK to get some character shots.


The cross is in front of the church in Karumba and it seems TV antennas have a greater reach for the sky.


I went fishing out of Nhulunbuy on the Gulf of Carpentaria. We anchored in a bay about 10 hours from Nhulunbuy and went ashore. This poor fella had been snared in the locals' overnight net and then had a run-in with the resident 14-foot saltwater croc - named Nike by the local indigenous fellas - and came off second best.

the rock

the rock

oodnadatta track

oodnadatta track
What a tough place to live ... this is out on the Oodnadatta Track


My photo
G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I reckon recently that I discovered the true meaning of the expression “sinking feeling”. And I’ve had a few over the years. There I was walking from my morning job at Crikey, bound for a tram stop outside the casino, nursing a hangover after catching up with my best mate and several bottles of good wine and a few shots of whatever … well it had been a while and he was keen to talk about his new job and catch up on my news, whatever that was. Yep, the night lingered on a tad too late for my liking for a school night, but best mates do that without a thought of the consequences. I’ll admit to doing the same thing with people I’m really not friends with, but that’s another story.
Anyway, back to the walking. There I was walking past the aquarium, across the bridge until I got to the footbridge that leads down to Crown. The rain played a part. As I stepped onto the footbridge, there was some slippery stuff on the bridge, so I did what any sensible person would do. I slipped. My left foot went forward at what for me was an alarming rate of knots. I almost broke into a gallop. In a bid to halt this sudden propulsion forward, I reached out for the handrail on the side of the bridge. It was an instant reaction, ably demonstrating that my reflexes were still working well, hangover notwithstanding. What I didn’t take into account was … now I’ve already said it was a quick reaction … my bloody mobile phone was in my left hand. Contact with the handrail was exactly as it was meant to be, other than the jarring of the phone from my hand and propelling it out above the murky waters that are the Yarra. It was kind of like slow motion ... the phone seemingly hovering for what seemed like almost a second before I heard the fateful plop noise. Shit, shit, shit. Well that’s what I tweeted later in the day.
I didn’t realise just how much I relied on the bloody thing. Thank God there are numbers that are still accessible in my head … THE One, my eldest son in Vanuatu, my ex-wife’s house, The Age (why? I ask myself) … OK, that was it. Four numbers … but I still have a land line at home.
I immediately got onto the phone company, which assured me that, no, I didn’t have insurance. Shit, shit, shit. No worry, the Very Helpful Girl (VHG) at the phone company said that as my contract was up in a month or so, they would waive that and I could have a new phone.
What’s this them? Service from a phone company. They are five words not normally seen in the one sentence. Take a bow 3.
The problem though was a new phone would take seven working days to find its way into my letterbox.
“You’re kidding,” was my exclamation, which was countered by the VHG at the phone company with “No, sorry, but that’s the best we can do.” Shit, shit shit. Oh, and I did something I swore (I actually swear quite a bit sometimes) I would never do. I opted for a phone of the perpendicular pronoun persuasion. That's an iPhone in case you were wondering.
I managed to organise a borrowed phone (my ex-wife’s husband is a good man) and I was back in town. Well back on the air (with the same number) but not able to call anyone other than the four mentioned above.
Life went on, as did work the next day. And yes, I did manage to get across the footbridge without mishap, although I did stuff the borrowed phone into my pocket before I got above any kind of water.
A tram ride later and I was soon having a coffee with two friends who were having lunch around the corner from my house. Yes, they kindly offered me some wine, but I opted for a coffee. That should reassure any doubting Thomases that, yes, there are times when a drink doesn’t seem appropriate. Second time this year. We solved a few of the world’s problems and ordered two cases of wine from Randall’s (a delicious chianti and a pinot nois), which were to be shared between four people so it wasn’t excessive.
I bade the boys farewell and headed home to get things in order … OK, that’s cleaning and straightening the place up. I was having dinner with THE One the next night at Nobu, so I didn’t want to seem like a total slack arse.
I cleared the letterbox and, surprise surprise, there was a note saying that there was a parcel at the post office.
Could it be? Surely not. Not the phone the day after I reported the drowning of the old one. I’d had a parcel earlier in the week … I’d ordered a Deepak Chopra meditation CD (and one for THE One, which had lobbed at her house) … I thought maybe there was some kind of hiccup with that.
Anyway, I braved a post office queue that stretched about 10 or 12 people outside the place. Why is it that with three counter staff that all of them were dealing with new passport applications … photocopying, wandering off to check things with supervisors, generally moving in almost robotic motion. Finally someone twigged that it was starting to look like a queue for Kylie tickets (OK, I wouldn’t buy one but you get the drift) and organised for someone to deal with parcel pick-ups.
Bugger me, I thought, this is my new phone and it’s a week early.
Seriously, service from a phone company twice in two days. Bless you, VHG at the phone company. I mean, I had to buy a Tattslotto ticket.

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