Dear it's hard to build up a coherent picture of developments in New England when the place does not even exist in a formal sense. Talk about divide and rule!
I know that there are many New England blogs that I am missing, too many of those that I have listed also drop out with time, but I am slowly building a base that shows both the diversity and unity of New England life.
Starting with two new blogs on my list.
Over on Jenny's Blog, the news of the Lake Keepit Soaring Club keeps coming. I don't understand all the jargon, but Jenny's writing is enough to want to make one go gliding! Just to quote an excerpt:
Ian Barraclough turned up in PPH the supercup from Warnervale. I said to him quick, get a glider I'll tow you up. He said no get yours I'll tow you. I gave in and got the Mosquito out, but it was 3 o'clock before I got airborne. There was good streeting and I was able to follow one down to abeam Mullalley. I turned back, and got some more lift on the way back late in the day, and managed a glide to Manilla before gliding back to Lake Keepit in perfectly still air at the end of the day. Ian was thoughtful enough to clear the kangaroos off the strip for me. 170 km - could have been much further with an earlier start.
And all this without an engine!
On the UNE senior management blog, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic) Eve Woodberry discusses the Rudd Government's 40/20 vision for higher education. That is that 40% of Australians will hold a Bachelor qualification by 2025 and to increase the proportion of students from low SES backgrounds to 20% by 2020.
A key thing that I had not fully realised is that the achievement of the 40% part will require older students to go back to university.
There is a dreadful irony here. Many more older students used to study and to UNE's benefit. Many of those students had very little money, but because of low fee structures they were able to re-charge their minds. Changes to Commonwealth policies on university fees effectively squeezed many of this group out. Older people simply cannot recover the cost of a university education from extra life time earnings.
Still in Armidale, Bronwyn Parry romance writer extraordinaire, has bought an iPhone! The blog is interesting because this is a working academic who morphed into a romance writer.
The photo shows the scenic route home for Bronwyn. I see that Bronwyn shares a love of late afternoon light with partner and fellow blogger Gordon Smith.
Sticking with Armidale, Peter Rohde worries that the new Australian Government broad band plan will simply be a waste of money. I, too, have some reservations. However, I do not think that use of the extra band width will be limited to movies, music and porn! The first two will be important if my daughters are any guide, but you don't need high bandwidth for porn. Unless, of course, it involves music and video! I suspect that, as as happened before, demand will evolve but in ways we cannot see now.
Moving south from Armidale towards Tamworth, I had begun to think that Leannes World had entered the non-post blogging limbo. Then, finally, a new post appeared, a multiple month update. I felt for Leanne's garden failure. I, too, have experienced this.
Moving east and north to North Coast Voices, New England's most prolific blog measured by number of posts, I was about to chide the group because there was so little local content. But this blog, while it carries a lot of local material, is not just about the North Coast. It is a left of centre political blog written by people who come from the North Coast.
It actually still occupies, I think, a very particular place in the Australian blogging spectrum. There are group blogs and there are left of centre blogs, but this one is the only one that is located in regional Australia and combines both.
Moving far south, newcastle city photos continues to be a great way of getting a feel for life in Newcastle and surrounds. I have been neglecting this blog. This photo shows wheel tracks on a Newcastle city beach.
One of the things to remember about New England is that with a geographic area larger than that of England, it has great geographic diversity. This affects every aspect of life.
I am running out of time. I will finish by wishing Lynne Sanders-Braithwaite every success in her move to Ulmarra.
For the benefit of non-New England readers, this is an old river port that has, in some ways, been caught in a time capsule. I look forward to Lynne's reactions.