a short holiday
I'm off on a short break till Friday. I'm going to Forster which is about four hours north of Sydney. Weather today is superb, so hopefully I'll even be able to swim. See you in a few days.



any takers?
This one doesn't even ask for my private bank account numbers! I am afraid I will not be telling him my "fill name," not even my fax number, let alone my phone number. It is somewhat better written and spelt than most of the Nigerian letters I receive. I once had one offering to offload his ill gotten gains to me, since he had been converted by Benny Hinn. I was amazed he didn't offer it to Hinn.

From:The Desk Of Mr.Organ Achuba
Bill And Exchange Manager,
Foreign Remittance Dept.
African Development Bank(A.D.B)

Dear Sir,

I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance
department of African Development Bank,Nigeria. I am writing, following the
impressive information about you through one of my friends who runs a
consultancy firm in my country. He assured me of your capability and
reliability to champion this business opportunity.

In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of U.S$25m (twenty five
Million US dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign
customer who died along with his entire family in November 1999 in a
plane crash. Since I got the information about his death,we have been
expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot
release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to
the deceased as indicated in our banking laws and guidelines but
unfortunately I learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died
alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.

It is therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make this
business proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or
relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since
nobody is coming for it and I don't want this money to go into the bank
treasury as unclaimed bill. The banking law and guideline here stipulates
that if such money remained unclaimed after four years, the money will
be transferred into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund.

The request of foreign as next of kin in this business is occasioned by
the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Nigerian cannot stand
as next of kin to a foreigner.

We agreed that 30% of this money will be for you as a foreign
partner,in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10% will be set aside
for expenses incurred during the business and 60% would be for me.
There after I will visit your country for disbursement according to the
percentages indicated. Therefore, to enable the immediate transfer of this
fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as a relation
or next of kin of the deceased indicating your fill name,your private
telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and
location wherein the money will be remitted.

Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or e-mail the
text of the letter of claim. I will not fail to bring to your notice that
this transaction is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any
atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the
transfer.You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter
through this e-mail address: achuba@ecpaza.net
I expect your response soon.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Organ Achuba
Bill And Exchange Department.


economic value of age
Some interesting statistics were released today here which suggests that older people are more likely to be givers of care than receivers. Just over 40% of women aged 65-74 do some unpaid work. This does not mean housework but some form of volunteer work. Even at over 75 years of age, the figure is still almost 33 %.

The value of volunteer work contributed by over 65s is $39 billion a year, and if the age group 55-64 is also included, this rises to $74.5 billion. This was worked out on valuing the work done by each woman at between $20,000-27,000 and the men at $17,000-18,000.

Some of this work is childminding, but much of it is volunteer work for many charities. I know that Scripture Union had many elderly volunteers, some weekly, some monthly. Some came for special packing occasions. All of them were determined to continue coming as long as possible. Some were well into their 80s. They saw themselves as filling a valuable role which indeed they did. Their work was much appreciated and contributed greatly to the smooth running of things.

The other side of such work was also mentioned in the study. The opportunities work gave for social contact, the flexibility of support and the sense of contibuting to something worthwhile were all mentioned.
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 27/11/03)



Here's an article about growing up in the Anglican communion. What is said resonates deeply with me. Not the bit about being the only Episcopalian in the class.... "C of E" (Church of England) was a standard copout for anyone who did not know what they were in the 60s in the days of compulsory school scripture lessons.

However, I grew up in the Anglican church. It was there I learned about Jesus and became a Christian. I loved the liturgy and have it deeply ingrained in my heart and memory. Unfortunately I stumble with it these days because the language has been updated. I love the sense of continuity through the years.

While I no longer attend an Anglican church regularly, I still deeply appreciate my Anglican heritage.


A guide book for overseas students studying in Australia has been released. Understanding Australia: a guide for international students by Sally White offers advice on customs and language.

It's OK to cuddle your other half in public, but no one wants to see your mates at the front of the house, so stay in the backyard.

Pointing at someone is fine, contrary to some other cultures. Other gestures of the fingers are unacceptable.

"Root" means somenthing different to its meaning in USA. Don't use it here. (See my post from Tuesday January 21, 2003. No permalinks available and comments have also disappeared.)

Australians make fun of everything and anyone. However, facial expression is no guide to this. We often hide the fact we are joking or satirical.



The Rugby World Cup is over and it has been announced that Sydney has again lived up to its reputation. Like the 2000 Olympics, it has been announced that this was the best ever. The minor matches were played in various fields around Australia, but all the major events were here. Sydney is being announced as the international party capital of the world. Our bi-centenary began the trend in 1988 and it has continued. Then there was the festival on New Year's Eve at the beginning of 2000 with the word Eternity emblazoned on the bridge at the closing of our massive fireworks display on the harbour. The Olympics followed soon after.

Sydney does have a vibrancy to it. We have, for the most part, a climate which allows a great deal of outdoor living. We often picnic at night in the summer at one of the many little picnic areas along the river about ten minutes' drive from home. To the west there is readily accessible bush with hiking trails. More bush borders many of the close at hand beaches. Many people have outdoor living areas and BBQs. January sees the festival of Sydney with many activities free.

I'm not sure that I really want us to have this sort of reputation. Sydney has much more to offer than being a party girl.


Summer is icumen in

At least it's supposed to be. However, the temperature here today is about 15 degrees so far and there is a chilly southerly blowing.

That hasn't deterred the local primary school. The closing days of the school year are devoted to swimming schools at the local pool. Every year for about a month from mid-November on, I hear the local primary children on their way to and from the local pool about two minutes from my place. Today they looked incongruous. Beach towels were slung over shoulders. Sou'wester cotton hats in school colours were jammed down on the heads, doing more to keep the drizzle out than the sun. And jumpers and jackets were clutched tightly around little bodies. It is definitely not a swimming day today. However, nothing stands in the way of "learn-to-swim classes. The show must go on.

I well remember this time of the year from teaching. As I was a secondary teacher, there was no relief offered in swim schools. The Higher School Certificate was over and all of Year 12 had left. Year 10 School Certificate pupils had finally been released from school. Those of us with classes in these years suddenly found we had a bit of space to breath. Teachers without classes in these examinable years looked on enviously as we had time in the school day to do such things as reports and writing up record cards. Then "end of term-itis" would strike them too. This was in the days before paid casual relief staff, so we would desperately try to be unavailable to be found when the knock came at the staffroom door with a note from the deputy who had to find staff to babysit a class.

The atmosphere affected the rest of the students too. Exams were over. Year 11 had started on the next year's work but the junior years still remaing were resentful. Year 9 tried their hardest to live up to their reputation, epitomised in the play Year 9 are animals. It was difficult to find things for them to do that were vaguely educational and yet some sort of fun.

Six weeks of summer holidays beckoned alluringly and as the breakup day drew nearer, absences became more numerous. Discipline in the heat was hard, and yet to dispense with it was dangerous. Loosening the standards only made subsequent days more difficult.

Another group has just gone past. Perhaps I'd better get my own Christmas act into gear.



just enough truth to be dangerous
There was a women's breakfast at church yesterday morning. I went because I wanted to see several there and because I actually just wanted to meet with the others. I wasn't particularly looking forward to hearing the speaker, as I had a fair idea of what she would be like. My crowded day began bright and early.

The meal was pleasant, the company good. Unfortunately my forebodings were correct. "When life throws you a lemon, make lemonade," was her title. Far from original, but that's OK. I could cope with that. Her delivery was dreadful which surprised me as she was a trained teacher. It made her very hard to listen to. But the content was worse. Quotes taken entirely out of context, little flow or progression of thought.

There was quite a lot of Word-Faith type stuff made palatable by more traditional thought. The world was created because God SPOKE out of faith. Actually, the world was created because it was GOD who spoke. As I said-"just enough truth to be dangerous." Some of those there were fairly new Christians. Some have little discernment. The rubbish slips down with the good bits. It was a bit like giving a child medicine in honey.

She took ingredients of lemonade and unfortunately I anticipated what she would say. Lemons need sugar which was praise. The liquid was supplied by the word. The fizz is the Spirit! This was what I could see coming. I really find it demeaning to speak of the work of the Spirit like this. Certainly he brings joy to a believer, but to call this "fizz?" Joy is much deeper than just an outward show. Fizz dissipates quickly. There are many other aspects to the Spirit's work, but he was reduced to froth and bubble.


the English won
The English team won the Rugby World Cup 20-17 against the Aussies. The Australians were trailing at half-time but recovered to equal the scores at full time. Extra time was given and again things were equal. In the last minute of the next lot of time, England scored again with a drop kick to take the game. We can't complain. Australia has won several important games with a goal in the last seconds of time. (not drop kicks.) It's an unusual feeling, losing to England. It certainly is an uncommon event.