Highs and lows. Blogjune 7/24



Five people on a glitzy stage singing into hand-held mics with gusto


It’s a pretty good highpoint – the final act of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala, with Mahalia Barnes leading “River Deep, Mountain High”, with Virginia Gay and Christie Whelan-Brown on backing vocals. Last year I was absolutely exhausted and could only squeeze a single week’s holiday in my (otherwise) 33 straight weeks of teaching, so I decided to stay in town and go to the Cabaret Festival instead of trying to travel. That’s when I discovered the Gala, which showcases around half the acts who will perform in the next few weeks… and added it to my annual calendar forever.


An ebike locked to a biker rack on a paved concourse at night. The front wheel is missing

E-bikes usually have two tyres and all their brakes. Mine did when I went in to the Gala. Not when I came out. It’s a bit hard to see, but I have two extremely solid bike locks on it. You can see the door to the theatre in the background, and it is under a CCTV.

I wasn’t too puzzled about why people would steal a front tyre. Theft was something that deterred me from buying an ebike, so I had read up and know that the idea is to get you to leave the bike out overnight… so the thieves can return with the tools they need to take the whole thing or strip it in the early morning.

Next time I will put the second lock through the front tyre and attach it to the other lock that is around the bike rack. I made the mistake of attaching both locks to the rack. I upped my home contents insurance to cover theft and damage to my bike and spent quite a bit on the locks. I bought it to ride it, not hide it, so still intend to use it as my main transport… just lock it smarter next time.

In the mean time, I wonder whether Choice reviewed e-bike tyres and brakes…

Fresh Borlotti Beans. Blogjune 5/24



Pink and creamy coloured fresh borlotti bean pods. One is split open showing pink-speckled beans inside.


Cooked this wonderful find for dinner.

After using dried borlotti beans all my life, I discovered the joys of the freshly shelled and cooked version in my local fruit and veg shop a couple of months before I left Fremantle. They are creamy and soft and subtle. I tried to find them in the Adelaide Central Markets, but no-one had heard of them. Then, having accepted long ago that I would not find any here, I found a huge pile at the Showgrounds Farmers Market on Sunday.


A glass bowl containing shelled frsh borlotti beans. The discarded pods are behind. In front is garlic, cherry tomatoes, two bay leaves and three sprigs of thyme.


  1. Freshly shelled borlotti beans
  2. Three bruised garlic cloves
  3. Half a tomato (I used cut up cherry tomatoes)
  4. Three sprigs of thyme
  5. Two bay leaves
A saucepan containing borlotti beans, tomato, bay leaves, thyme and garlic

Boil all together for 40 minutes or so, until the beans are creamy.

Use a slotted spoon to remove just the beans from the pot.

  • 6. Olive oil
  • 7. Balsamic vinegar
  • 8. Ground black pepper
  • 9. Sea salt
  • 10. Italian parsley leaves

Season the beans and toss in the parsley.

A rectangular glass dish containing beans and parsley.

Serve on their own. Or with freshly roasted capsium and brown rice, like I did.

Did not want… Blogjune 4/24



The top shelf of a dishwasher with a lot of glassware, including shards of a 1 litre pyrex jug that has self-destructed.


Dealt with the aftermath of a one litre Pyrex glass jug self-destructing in my 14 year old dishwasher, and the door seal tearing off in the intricate cleanup to remove shards from the filter and rubber pipes.

It took time. And money.

On the up side, I now have a three month subscription to Choice online, so if anyone wants me to look up reviews for any appliances, just let me know.

Miller’s Corner. Blogjune 3/24



Long winter shadows of trees fall on an earthy building with a circular stone chimney. There is a narrow road around it, with a two storey dwelling in the background.

ONE THING I DID TODAY (well, it will always be yesterday, but you get the drift)

Explored a small Cohousing community about 30 minute’s drive from the city, Miller’s Corner.

I was part of a group from an inner-city eco-village being hosted for the afternoon, along with residents from the even-more-rural Aldinga Arts Eco-Village. A couple of years ago, we had invited people from the other two villages for a chat about how everyone went about living so closely; kept sharing well; built with alternative materials like straw bales or hempcrete; and dealt with practicalities like cats, parking and building funds. Last year, Aldinga hosted both groups, with Miller’s Corner returning the favour today.

Aldinga, near the seaside about 45 minutes away from Adelaide, is by far the largest community with around 320 residents and 181 lots. They are very self-sufficient with their own sewage works and a shared farm with vegetable crops, orchard, chickens and goats. There are arts studios, a climbing wall that the teenagers in the community persuaded a community meeting to fund, and a project to make and sell bio-char. There is even have a Natural Earth Burial Ground, which permits them to bury people who die in the village.

Miller’s Corner was long dreamed, but only recently built. On retirement, the couple who owned the land decided to build a community, rather than just sell up and move away. First came the circular(ish) community space in the centre of the village, with circular fireplace of stones to match the masonry of the house already there. Then, with guidance of the same architect, passive solar houses were built in a circle around the community room, with no front fences and rear yards. Community members are from 8 to 80, with eventually 13 dwellings.

She Speaks and She Shanties. Blogjune 2/24



Five women with stripy shirts singing on a stage in a small pub space


Long-form improv performed by an all-female sea shanty group anyone?

Yes please!

Totally unintended.

I HAD intentionally attended a concert presented by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra of conservatorium students performing contemporary classical works by female composers at 4pm, part of the She Speaks programme. You know, something like an incredibly rapid and intricate flute piece with trills like birdsong, or a composition for cello and eight terracotta flowerpots, or a toy grand piano frentetically accompanying a pre-recorded track of static on a computer.

I did intentionally share a fabulous Greek meal with friends afterward, eating too much fried cheese with no regrets at all.

BUT, this is Adelaide. Where the Fringe has finished. And the Cabaret Festival, of course, has its own Fringe. So, two minutes before the She Shanties show, instead of walking past, I popped in for a rollicking ride where the audience suggested a profession useless on a desert island (management consultant), something you would take on a ship (parrot) and a catchphrase (“Oh, my leg!”)… and then there was much call-and-response chorusing between audience and performers amid imaginary cannon-ball fights; Madame Pachinko’s Circus drumming up business; an failed canine dental hygienist…. concluding with a lover’s ballad extolling the virtues of being unsuccessful together.

Winter out there, spring here. Blogjune 1/24


Back. Joining the decreasing gang who attempt to blog every day of June.

I’m going minimalist again this year. One pic and one thing I did today … and more if I want to.


(I am cheating and pre-writing this on Friday 31 May)

Started a six week course through work for people who support communities of scientific researchers, run through the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community . I am responsible for running an annual computational summer school and have this crazy idea that instead of people forming wonderful connections and mentorships over a three day event, then never seeing each other again…. we could build an online community around the event and .. like…. talk to each other before and after it. I love the idea of the first hour of the next summer school feeling like people who know each other finally catching up in person – rather than a room of strangers.


It’s well and truly Winter out there, but on my balcony I have flowers and fruit and feel very Springish.

Flowers in a window box with a bare tree behind them. A cityscape is behind this. Three apples growing on a tree are in the top left corner

CO2 on a plane and in a taxi and an Uber and a concert


I changed jobs in December to something where I travel a few times a year.

(And I work hard at interesting work, people are marvellously collaborative, I feel like I am working toward something meaningful… AND I get paid far more per *actual* hour worked than in academia. No more evening teaching or marking ever!!)

Preparing for my first trip interstate, I bought a CO2 meter to read air quality in different spaces. As far as I know, I have not had COVID. I want a firmer idea of when to mask up. Currently, it’s “see lots of people, especially indoors, mask up”.

An article about The COVID-safe strategies Australian scientists are using to protect themselves from ‘ the virus nudged me toward buying an Aranet4, although it had been in the back of my mind for a few years.

A small CO2 meter on a bedside table

Where there are more parts per million of CO2, there are more ppm of other airborne components, including viruses. If the air quality is clean, the meter obviously does not tell you whether you are actually sitting between two people who are actively infectious.

Here are annotated readings from a day of travel. Apart from seeing I had a very full day (which also included 2 hours test-riding a couple of e-bikes), there were a couple of surprises. Airports and aeroplanes good places to mask up? No surprise.

A couple of places, where I had thought masking was crucial, I could maybe be more relaxed. A concert hall with around 900 people? Just fine inside, although masking up in the lobby is a good idea. I previously felt nervous at theatrical events, so that was quite nice to find out.

My biggest surprise was the readings of the taxi compared to the Uber. The taxi from the airport had a driver who was masking, as was I, and who kept the windows open, unasked. The air stayed clean. In the Uber, which had another passenger plus driver the air quality spiked to a concerning level. The three of us were unmasked and the air conditioning was on. I opened a window a little. I was tired and just forgot to mask. It’s not a situation on my radar as an issue.

So – yesterday I learned I can still mask at concerts, but can be more relaxed about the air quality… and that masking up in air conditioned cars is a very good idea. And – choose taxis with their windows open. Good to know.

Broke it. Blogjune 21/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

Part of a browser window displaying the conversation with tech support. It has two screenshots of a blog commenting interface. One prompts for input. The other shows the message “Nonce verification failed”

What I did today:

Broke my blog.

Good and proper.


“Nonce verification failure”.

If you self-host WordPress and cannot comment on your own posts due to a “nonce verification failure” error, try fiddling with a setting in the Jetpack plugin. There is a parameter under settings > security > WordPress.com login. “Allow users to log into this site using WordPress.com accounts” and “Match accounts using email address “. If you turn those off and on again, it may fix it.


A nonce is a once-off token that identifies my session. My blog was getting a different session token when I tried to write to it in comments. (You said you were Jan, but this token is from Lee! Go away.)

It was caused by Jetpack presuming I was Kathryn-with-the-Wordpress-account-that-is-linked-to-Jetpack, not Kathryn-who-is-logged-onto-her-own-site. Until I reset the comments prompt, it just couldn’t stop fixating.

I came up with a solution in the end, but not until I had:

  • Cleared all my browser histories
  • Installed and configured a good-enough new theme for my blog
  • Switched off all plugins except Jetpack (because it threatened to wipe all my site stats)
  • Tried to re-set my server cache with my usual brute-force kludge… changing the default format for post permalinks to something else, then back to the original
  • Halfway through the permalink reset, lost access to the admin screen and any other screen due to redirect errors.
  • Logged in to my web hosting account and checked my wp-config file.
  • Checked my .htaccess file while I was there
  • Saw something a bit odd in the .htaccess file, so started a live session with support because it was beyond my skills
  • Spent two hours on the phone to my hosting service, who were very nice., and I am pretty sure, human not AI. They solved the immediate problem (.htaccess had gone screwy so they rewrote it), but not the nonce error problem
  • Reinstalled my WordPress content and program files
  • FINALLY disabled Jetpack in case it was the issue, so deleted all my site statistics for the last few years.
  • Discovered that the nonce error was gone.
  • Made a very small, one minute change to a parameter in Jetpack, after 4-5 hours trying to solve this.