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In Sicily we hired a Jeep to get from Palermo around the island.

I had my doubts about this steed. Our two big bags wouldn't fit in the boot. One had to be strapped in on the back seat - a bit disappointing.

At above 130, the speed limit, there's something odd about the steering – so much so that I stopped quite soon to check the tyre pressures. I was regretting my choice.

Reassured about the tyres we set off again.

On the plus side the fuel consumption seemed OK and the zoned climate control worked well.

After two days of me complaining about the odd steering we got to Toarmina.

On entering we discovered that there was no parking in the old town, with roads one car wide and unbelievable traffic snarls – cars and tourist coaches moving around each other like tiles in a puzzle. We wound up and up then down and down, when at last a big blue P appeared. Hooray! - maybe we could actually stop and get out and maybe get something to eat!

Down a narrow street we went. Then up a one-way ally. Mistake! Someone's driveway. Jeep's GPS is suggesting the way. Then suddenly we are on dirt - but still a named road on the GPS.We pass two old codgers who look surprised to see us but don't offer any warning.  More like sharing a sly grin. We are climbing upwards again. This time out of town in the countryside. The dirt road begins winding crazily between tall gum trees. But GPS insists that this' the way.  Now along the cliffside 2.5 metres of width, Bushes scraping the side. No way to turn around now. Then a potholed and eroded 30 degree incline appeared.  A car wrecking drop to one side. This is the back of nowhere but there is some kind of dwelling up ahead.  Even Jeep needs to take a run at it. I doubt my car could do this!

Thank goodness we have a Jeep.

Back on proper roads again we have completely by-passed the tourist road blocks.  We get out and admire the view.

 

Jeep

Wendy n Jeep

 

Still in one piece.  Shaken but not stirred. But Jeep is unconcerned.

As we recover it starts to pour - big rain drops. Spectacular lightening streaks in the distance.

 

 

Storm aproaches

Town

 

On the slippy winding roads Jeep's traction control comes into play.

Now we're back on the expressway. The rain is getting heavier. Soon there is running water on the road and some big puddles. Now it's a shallow river. Cars ahead throw water high up to their sides.  So do we. Some slow to a crawl. Jeep doesn't mind. No need to slow below 100. No aquaplaning for us and the steering is rock solid. Jeep is teaching me a lesson. It's OK! I should never have doubted it.

Say sorry:  "Sorry!"

 


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Travel

Turkey

 

 

 

 

In August 2019 we returned to Turkey, after fourteen years, for a more encompassing holiday in the part that's variously called Western Asia or the Middle East.  There were iconic tourist places we had not seen so with a combination of flights and a rental car we hopped about the map in this very large country. 

We began, as one does, in Istanbul. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Recollections of 1963

 

 

 

A Pivotal Year

 

1963 was a pivotal year for me.  It was the year I completed High School and matriculated to University;  the year Bob Dylan became big in my life; and Beatlemania began; the year JFK was assassinated. 

The year had started with a mystery the Bogle-Chandler deaths in Lane Cove National Park in Sydney that confounded Australia. Then came Buddhist immolations and a CIA supported coup and regime change in South Vietnam that was both the beginning and the begining of the end for the US effort there. 

Suddenly the Great Train Robbery in Britain was headline news there and in Australia. One of the ringleaders, Ronnie Biggs was subsequently found in Australia but stayed one step of the authorities for many years.

The 'Space Race' was well underway with the USSR still holding their lead by putting Cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova into orbit for almost three days and returning her safely. The US was riven with inter-racial hostility and rioting. But the first nuclear test ban treaties were signed and Vatican 2 made early progress, the reforming Pope John 23 unfortunately dying midyear.

Towards year's end, on the 22nd of November, came the Kennedy assassination, the same day the terminally ill Aldous Huxley elected to put an end to it.

But for sex and scandal that year the Profumo Affair was unrivalled.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Gambling – an Australian way of life

 

 

The stereotypical Australian is a sports lover and a gambler.  Social analysis supports this stereotype.  In Australia most forms of gambling are legal; including gambling on sport.  Australians are said to lose more money (around $1,000 per person per year) at gambling than any other society.  In addition we, in common with other societies, gamble in many less obvious ways.

In recent weeks the Australian preoccupation with gambling has been in the headlines in Australia on more than one level. 

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