YackaYacka is the name of the property where John Sexton resides in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.
It is a home, a retreat, a place to think, a place to travel from and a place to return to.


Something I always find interesting and stimulating is Seth Godin's Blog. Always thoughtful, it provides new insights into thinking about things and I find that it deals with a world that some people are already living in, some people are about to enter (willingly and unwillingly) and a world that is inevitiable.   

For some time time I have been lucky enough to see some Tawny Frogmouths on the property where I live in Littlehampton. Sometimes in summer and sometimes in Spring. Their camouflage, especially in summer is amazing.
Tawny Frogmouths are often confused with owls but are actually more closely related to the nightjars.
Masters of disguise, during the day they can be perched on a tree limb and stay incredibly still. In summer they appear almost robotic in appearance. As nocturnal birds they will hunt at night.
First photo was taken  in summer some years ago. Second photo was taken in spring 2010. Third & Fourth photos were taken in October 2011.

A book I have always skimmed through is 'Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' published by Bison Books Ltd in 1979 and again in 1990 & 1993.
In chapter 2 'Of the union and internal prosperity of the Roman Empire in the Age of the Antonines' there is a paragraph that has always stuck in my mind.
 ''... it was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption.
This slow peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was exstinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. The natives of Europe were brave and robust, Spain, Gaul, Britain and and Illyricum supplied the legions with excellent soldiers, and constituted the real strength of the monarchy. Their personal valour remained, but they no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command.....................................................'''''
And then in chapter 7 'The elevation and tyranny of Maximin' (AD 235 - 248) (2011 - reflect on the Middle East)
''.....The dark and sanguinary soul of the tyrant was open to every suspicion against those amongst his subjects who were the most distinguished by their birth or merit. Whenever he was alarmed with the sound of treason, his cruelty was unbounded and unrelenting.
As long as the cruelty of Maximin was confined to the illustrious senators, or even to bold adventurers.........the body of people viewed their sufferings with indifference, or perhaps with pleasure. But the tyrants avarice, stimulated by the insatiate desires of the soldiers, at length attacked the the public property.....
...... throughout the Roman world a general cry of indignation was heard, imploring vengeance on the common property of human kind; and at length, by an act of private oppression, a peaceful and unarmed province was driven into rebellion............''

A book I have enjoyed very much is 'The Cape Horn Breed' which was written by William H. S. Jones and first published in 1956 and then re published in 1999 by Australian Print Group. It relates the experiences of Mr Jones as an apprentice in sail on a Full-rigged sailing ship.
Extract from 'The Roaring Forties'
''....the gale increased to a veritable hurricane. It was now dark, and the dense masses of storm-cloud encompassed the ship like an impenetrable wall, which rose from the horizon, seemingly quite close. Every few minutes the darkness was rent asunder by vivid streaks of dazzling white, as the crests of the great combers curled over and broke in a smother of foam.
Torrents of rain and blinding sea spray, driven by the wind, slashed at our faces like whips     ''
 Following are extracts from the chapter 'Towards the Ice'
'' ..the scream of the wind, the crashing of the seas, and the sickening lurches of the ship as she slid down the backs of the mountainous water, fortold that each watch would be a repetition of previous watches.
 Reluctantly, I would put on the wet clothes, oilskins and saturated sea-boots hanging on the bunk-side and adjust the 'Soul-and-Body Lashings'.
These were rope-yarns lashed around the legs of the oilskin trousers in the vain hope of preventing water from getting into one's boots, with rope yarns also around each wrist to keep the water from running up ones arms, and another around the waist to prevent the oilskin coat from being blown over one's head.
The constant chafing of the oilskin cuffs, on wrists wet and salt-grimed, caused every man, after a week or two, to develop ........''
''..... at other times we had to wade waist-deep along the decks, holding onto the lifelines with our sea-boots full of icy water, to coil ropes which were being washed about and tangled, or to do other emergency tasks. The further south we went, the colder was the air and water. Snow lay eight inches deep on the dech-houses and other parts of the ship not awash. The snowstorms and hailstorms blotted out visibility for hours on end .........''