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Monday, June 26, 2017

Another early night at "Riverbend"


These days, my idea of 'roughing it' is when I have to have an extension cord for my electric blanket which is still a Linda, despite their former slogan "sleep wonderfully warm with Linda" having been killed off by the Thought Police.

Before the Thought Police began to strut their stuff, even Sydney buses would exhort us to "hide the sausage tonight" and have bangers and mash for dinner, washed down, of course, with the kind of beer that "helped ugly people have sex since 1862".

Not too much beer for me these days as I now prefer classical music to sex - and even there I don't go to a concert from one year to the next.

Anyway, little Rover knows I've already switched on the electric blanket and now looks at me as if to say, "Come on, it's time to hit the cot".

And he's right, of course, because it's already dark outside and cold. I just wished it was a little bit colder so that I could really appreciate Linda but I think I will anyway. Come on, Rover! Bedtime!



We were so poor


Why is it that these days every phone call I make to old friends ends up sounding like a Monty Python sketch? Who would've thought forty years ago we'd all be sitting here talking like that?

While war never came to Australia, rationing went on for quite a while after the war had ended. Weekly rations were limited to 900 grams of meat, 225 grams of butter, 450 grams of sugar, and 90 grams of tea.

What luxury! In post-war Germany there was nothing to ration! I grew up on bread and dripping, treacle, oatmeal, the occasional savoury mince (which I still love today), and a surfeit of potatoes.

The rest of my growing-up I did in Australia - on mixed grill, silverside and lamb chops at Canberra's Barton House. There the only rationing was the portion control exercised by the fat Yugoslav cook who always took just one pitying look at me before adding another lamb chop.

I still have the occasional cup of cold tea today without milk or sugar; in fact, without tea itself! It's called Perrier! Try telling that to the young people of today!



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Never go to sleep at night until the debits equal the credits

Ian Paterson, AASA, ACIS, AAIM, grand-daddy of all accountants,
used to say, "If the debits don't equal the credits - make 'em!"


The accountant of a large business had the same daily routine: on arriving at work, he would unlock the bottom drawer of his desk, peer at something inside, then close and lock the drawer. He had been doing this for thirty years.

The entire staff was intrigued but no-one was game to ask him what was in the drawer. Finally the time came for him to retire. There was a farewell party with speeches and a presentation. As soon as he had left the building, some of the staff rushed into his office, unlocked the bottom drawer and peered inside. Taped to the bottom of the drawer was a sheet of paper. It read, "Debit on the left, credit on the right".
This joke isn't funny with Arabs - well, nothing is - whose debits and credits are vice versa.

I wonder if this joke made the rounds of accountants who in 1994 had gathered in the small Italian town of San Sepulcro to celebrate the publication five hundred years earlier of the first book on double-entry accounting by the Italian monk Luca Pacioli (pronounced pot-CHEE-oh-lee), who was born there circa 1445.

While Pacioli is often called the "Father of Accounting", he did not invent the system. Instead, he simply described a method used by merchants in Venice during the Italian Renaissance period. His system included most of the accounting routines as we know them today. For example, he described the use journals and ledgers, and he warned that "a person should not go to sleep at night until the debits equalled the credits!" His ledger included assets (including receivables and inventories), liabilities, capital, income, and expense accounts. He demonstrated year-end closing entries and proposed that a trial balance be used to prove a balanced ledger. Also, his treatise alludes to a wide range of topics from accounting ethics to cost accounting -- see translation by J.B. Geijsbeek, Ancient Double-Entry Bookkeeping).

Practising Pacioli's teachings afforded me a comfortable living, and although my personal life was not always perfectly balanced, I never went to sleep at night until all the debits had equalled the credits (or, to get an early night, by adding the difference to a suspense account, as my friend Ganesh Sharma Krishna in Singapore shrewdly observed).



Nelligen's Sistine Chapel


Michelangelo began painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508. In 1510, he took a year-long break, before completing his famous work in 1512.

What a rushed job! I started painting the ceiling in the kitchen in late 2014 and, like Michelangelo, I took a break to wipe sweat and paint from my eyes, but, unlike Michelangelo, I never got started again.

Now that the incomplete job is already into its third year, I might as well "do a Michelangelo" and leave its completion until next year.

I know the wife doesn't like surprises, so I don't want to upset her with a completely painted kitchen ceiling when she returns in five weeks.

Michelangelo is said to have been lying on his back doing the job. I've been lying on my back and not doing the job. How cool is that?



Saturday, June 24, 2017

The results are in


A couple of days ago, I conducted an online survey among my friends which, unlike this study, was not taxpayer-funded.

I posited the following: "After two months of continuous batching, I've come to regard the daily washing-up in the kitchen as quite relaxing and meditative. All that whooshing-about in those warm soap suds is a welcome antidote to all the bad news in the world", and asked, "Any comments from you that would be fit to print?"

Shown below are the replies which are fit to print, however, without naming names in order to protect them (mainly from their wives):

From one of the longest-serving 'inmates': "I am not batching but have a label on my forehead that says dishwasher! Not meditative at all; I think punitive is more apt."

And this one is from a Steptoe & Son aficionado: "I still prefer the bath. It must be a bit cramped your way; still, each to his own."

Here's the reply from someone who'd give you his full medical history, starting from the time they cut his umbilical cord, if you asked him "how are you?": "You need practice; one paper plate kept in the deep freeze; when finished, rinse and put back in the deep freeze; should last a week before replacing. Scrape scraps onto newspaper you're reading while eating; then roll up and in the rubbish; only need to wash knife, fork and spoon."

In marked contract, someone else simply replied, "Deep!", without even knowing the size of our kitchen sink.

And the final reply came from someone lying on the floor repairing a leaking dishwasher. Alas, his words, while memorable, are unprintable.

To add your late entry, email me at riverbendnelligen{AT]mail.com.