Ashton’s President’s Prattle for September, 2021


Yes, it’s already September. And the elephant in the room is that September is likely to be more of the same for the majority of us, so my thoughts are with you all.

This month’s column is therefore more of a musing than usual, as we continue to learn how to navigate uncertain waters individually and collectively.

This is so much an individual thing – everyone is in different circumstances and situations, and everyone’s reactions to those circumstances is different. But I do believe (and have observed) that one of the most powerful forms of support in these sort of situations is the people around you who are sharing the experience (even if their experience is different to yours). So I would ask all of you to make sure you are taking care of yourselves first and foremost, and then those closest to you.

From a practical point of view, obviously NSW (and now most recently Victoria) have decided that suppressing the delta strain is no longer a viable option, and hence vaccination is the principle way that we can achieve some degree of normality anytime soon. I’m making a conscious effort to be “glass half full” about this, and I am seeing a light now at the end of the tunnel (if the current modelling proves accurate, we should start to see restrictions in NSW at least eased in November) so am starting to plan for at least some sort of activities over summer.

Mrs R and I were early vaccinees (if that’s a word) as a) we’re over 50 and b) Mrs R works in healthcare. So we were fully vaccinated in June. If it helps anyone trying to decide whether to get the jab, it is like most jabs – a bit unpleasant at the time, but ultimately worthwhile, if only psychologically, in that it gives you a little more feeling of personal safety to you and those immediately around you.

And I’m pleased to see increasing numbers of incentives for people to do so, both pecuniary and behavioural. For example, my employer (Telstra) has offered all employees and customers an incentive to get vaccinated so if you are a Telstra customer, you can get T points for being vaccinated, and I know of several other companies doing likewise – Qantas and CommBank as two. And I suspect we will see more incentives from the state and federal governments over the coming months for those who can demonstrate that they are protecting themselves and others.

And Qantas has opened up flight bookings, so if you are planning a trip, tickets are pretty good value at the moment – just sayin’.

So long version short, we will keep planning for Christmas! So, the AGM and possibly a picnic (I know, I am eternally optimistic!) will be on Sunday 12th December. If you are vaccinated by then, there’s a good chance we might be able to get together in person. Now isn’t that an incentive?

Ahead of that, I have two projects to complete this weekend. The first is to replace the door hinge adjusters on the Elan, which are worn out, and the doors drop when opened. The second is to replace the locking tabs on the Land Rover’s front axle swivels as the nuts are no longer locked and the wheels could literally come off! Oh, and I might take the dog clippers to my hair, as it is a bit out of control!

While I was digging around in the garage, I found these letters cut out of a shiny black material. I reckon they do a great job…

So with that, I will leave you alone for another month. Please stay safe and well, look after yourselves and your loved ones, and I very much look forward to seeing you soon.

Pip pip


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