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A Southern Robin on my Shoe

Saturday, 14 March 2015

IMG_9762 - Southern Robin - 270On my final day on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand I encountered a number of southern robins or bush robins. They look just like the English robin red breast, except they’re bigger and more robust looking and sport yellow breast feathers instead of red ones. The English robin likes to hang around gardeners, hoping they’ll fork up some tasty worms. In similar fashion the New Zealand robins look out for walkers, hoping they’ll stir up some insects or even bring some along, clinging to their clothes.

IMG_9755 - Southern Robin on my foot - 540Since I’d destroyed one of my walking shoes on the penultimate day of the walk I was wearing my Teva sandals (with socks, very English!) on that final stretch. On a couple of occasions these fearless robins confronted me on the trail and when I stopped came straight up to me, hopped up on my feet (first one foot, then the other) and meticulously inspected my socks for anything worth pecking.

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A Southern Robin on my Shoe

14 March 2015 | Living

On my final day on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand I encountered a number of southern robins or bush robins. They look just like the English robin red breast, except they’re bigger and more robust looking and sport yellow breast feathers instead of red ones. The En...

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A Gear Failure & a Gear Fix

13 March 2015 | Living

Just before starting out on the Routeburn Track I saw a warning about shoe failure, make sure your walking shoes are in good shape. Well I thought mine were, I’ve got a few pairs of walking shoes and the ones I chose for my New Zealand walk had done some hard miles ov...

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Walking in New Zealand – Mt Cook & the Routeburn Track

12 March 2015 | Places

I don’t have the best of luck with New Zealand walking. Walking in Nepal the weather has always been beautiful for me. In England I’ve had some miserable days between the sunny ones. In New Zealand they always seem to turn the rain on when I arrive. ▲ The final ste...

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The Old Ways

10 March 2015 | Media

I finally got around to reading Robert Macfarlane’s much acclaimed (and best selling) walking account – the ‘Book of the Year’ for many critics. Much of the The Old Ways follows the old routes of Britain, including offshore routes both by boat and on foot. That includ...

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Drone Theory

Four Books, one Movie – drugs, drones, Hitler, India & Pakistan, Snowden

24 February 2015 | Culture

Four books which have caught my attention, although I’ve only read reviews. Plus one movie, which I have seen. • Chasing the Scream, the First & Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari, a summation of why this is another war – like the War on Terror – whic...

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Australian cigarette packs

Some Numbers on Drugs & Deaths

19 February 2015 | Living

There’s lots of Australian attention focussed on the fate of two would-be drug importers caught in Bali and possibly facing death in front of a firing squad very soon. A bunch of facts and figures: • The ‘Bali 9’ had 8.3kg of heroin between them and apart from the ...

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Lorne – Cockatoos & North Korea

18 February 2015 | Places

▲ With some friends we spent a week at Lorne, a popular seaside resort on the Great Ocean Road about 140km from Melbourne. Lots of things haven’t changed at all, like the wonderful views along the road. This is the mouth of the St George River, just to the west ...

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More Tech Challenges – Grapefruit to Google

12 February 2015 | Transport

Grapefruit, Active Control Control, Google’s Self-Driving Car Yes even buying grapefruit can present you with tech challenges. My local supermarket has recently had grapefruit labelled Israeli (on the shefl) which turned out to be Australian (according to the stick...

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Indonesia etc

Indonesia Etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation

9 February 2015 | Culture

I’m a firm believer that you often learn a lot more about a place by exploring it than you ever will by sitting at a desk and reading briefings. Particularly if they come from somebody like the CIA. Indonesia Etc certainly proves that although it definitely helps that...

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Ever the Diplomat

More Political Hypocrisy, More Political Idiocy & the Badass Queen

27 January 2015 | Culture

Some days you scan the morning news and the sheer hypocrisy and idiocy of our political leaders simply stuns you. My last posting was over the gall of political leaders turning up in France to march for free speech while, back home, they were busy torturing, jailing, ...

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