Uta’s Diary

So, today is the 23rd of November 2021. In one month we are going to be very close to Christmas. But even before Christmas we are going to have a few parties with family and friends. This is what I assume. I can’t wait! 🙂 It is such a good feeling that soon I may be surrounded by a lot of people I can relate too and talk to! And we can hug each other, and share nice food and drinks, and listen to enjoyable music, and maybe even do a bit of dancing! 🙂

I also hope that soon I can do a little bit of travelling again; that I can pend a beautiful little holiday somewhere, and preferably in a bit of company! 🙂

Last week I had lost my vaccination certificate. I have no idea, how this could have happened! Such a bugger! But I had a good idea yesterday. Summah, my home help was me yesterday from 10 am to 12 am. So I asked her to drive me to the pharmacy where they had done my vaccination. The people at the pharmacy were very friendly and helped me out by printing out another certificate for me. I was so relieved! We went to a little cafe afterwards, where they promptly asked for my certificate! So good, that I could produce it then and there. By the time we left the cafe it was already a bit after 11. But ALDI was not far away, so we could still do some shopping there. I like having Summah around. She is really good to me. 🙂

DIARY, Wednesday, 11th December 2013

Here is another reblog of one of my posts from nearly eight years ago! It was interesting for me, to have a look at this blog because it mentioned the same kind of problem with blood pressure that I experienced quite recently again. The difference is, that this time I was put on permanent blood pressure medication. But the medication I am on now, seems to agree with me. 🙂

AuntyUta

I am  off the Hook!

I do not need blood pressure tablets anymore!

Well, this is a long story. It actually started the day I had my Carpal Tunnel Release operation.  On that day at six o’clock in the morning I was allowed a cup of tea and a very light breakfast. Then I had to wait for more than twelve hours before I could have as much as a glass of water or a cup of tea. I was told ‘nil by mouth’ before the operation, which was to last for only a short time, maybe twenty minutes. Unfortunately I was the last one on the list. Which would have been all right, if everything had gone to plan. However there were some unforeseen delays during the day, which meant my operation was postponed for many hours. I sat in the hospital waiting room, waiting, waiting, waiting.

Finally, well into…

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The Rain has stopped

I just love looking at old posts of mine from a time when I still took lots of pictures on my walks. This post that I reblog here, is nearly eight years old!

AuntyUta

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The rain has stopped. This morning I had another beautiful walk along Cambridge Road. I took the same walk yesterday morning too and also the day before that! That means I’ve been walking the same route for three days in a row.

Yesterday I did not take my camera along. But today I did. I’ve been taking pics on these morning walks so often! However, I always spy something else I want to capture. I hope I don’t make it too boring for you to show you some more of the pics I took.

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The area along this fence  is meant to be a public access to the creek. The area along this fence is meant to be a public access to the creek.

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This is what I see looking down from the bridge where the creek should be! This is what I see looking down from the bridge where the creek should be!

More and more stuff grows where supposedly some time ago a creek was happily flowing along. More and more stuff grows where supposedly some time ago a creek was happily flowing along.

When I reached Lakelands Park the sun had come out a bit. When I reached Lakelands Park the sun had come out…

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Uta’s Diary, July 2015

I found the following in this blog:
. . . I found out something about the ‘anti-monopolist’ Landlord’s Game by BY LIZZIE J MAGIE. I did publish some of the rules. I would be interested in finding out exactly how it works. As I understand it, it is kind of based on a single tax system which Henry George had been writing about. In this Landlord’s Game with some anti-monopolist rules apparently no player ends up as a monopolist, also all players can play right to the end, only that the players end up with different amounts of money and this determines who the winner is. Maybe the players are allowed to cooperate with each other and no player is allowed to fall below subsistence level.

We are all familiar with Parker Brothers MONOPOLY Game. This works out quite differently, doesn’t it?

AuntyUta

DIGITAL CAMERA DIGITAL CAMERA

I took this picture this morning. It is the first picture I have taken in a long time. I think all through June I never took a picture because my camera did not work anymore. Then I started using an older, smaller camera. This must have been in May. I loved walking around with this smaller camera taking pictures. All of a sudden this did not work any more either. It just would not open up, even though the battery was still full. So I gave up and just did not take any more pictures.

This morning Peter checked the little camera. Surprise, surprise, it opened up for him! Peter said, it was all right, I could used it for taking picture. When I took the above trial picture, it actually worked all right. So wish me luck, that my next pictures are going to be all right…

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This was published in HARPERS Magazine in October 2012 about the “Landlord’s Game” versus “Monopoly

I published this blog in June 30, 2015. So what I publish here is a copy of that old blog. I do want to publish it again, so people that like to play Monopoly in its present form, may perhaps start thinking about it, that one could say that:

Monopoly Is Theft

Anyhow, as a game it is quite interesting and to this day a lot of people do like playing it. I did not have this game anymore for a number of years. Recently I had the opportunity to buy this game in a department store. I quickly decided to purchase it for myself in the hope that maybe in future I might have some visitors who might like to play it with me. Playing it again would bring lots of memories for me!

I just hope, some people might be interested enough to play it with me in the near future! Maybe around Christmas time? We’ll see.

So here is the copy now of my post from June 30, 2015:

http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1

The antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game

By Christopher Ketcham

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe was taken by a goateed toxic-tort litigator named Eric, who periodically distracted himself from the game on a BlackBerry so that he “could get billable hours out of this.” The dog was taken by a doughy computer technician named Trevis, who had driven from Canton, Ohio, as a “good deed” to help the National Kidney Foundation, sponsor of the 25th Annual Corporate Monopoly Tournament, which is held each year in the lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. On hand for the event, which had attracted 112 players, divided into twenty-eight tables of four, were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, who hopped around the lobby grunting and huzzahing with a giant foam I beam under his arm; three referees dressed in stripes, with whistles around their necks; and a sleepy-looking man, attired in a long judges’ robe and carrying a two-foot-long oaken gavel, who was in fact a civil-court judge for Allegheny County donating his time “to make sure these people follow the rules.”

I had spoken the night before with Doug, who won the previous year’s tournament, about his strategy for victory. “Well, last year I managed to get Boardwalk and Park Place, and then everybody landed on them,” he explained, chalking his success up to dumb luck. “What you have to do,” he said, “is get a monopoly, any monopoly, as quickly as you can.” I asked him if he knew the secret history of the game. He confessed that he did not.

The official history of Monopoly, as told by Hasbro, which owns the brand, states that the board game was invented in 1933 by an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow. Darrow had dreamed up what he described as a real estate trading game whose property names were taken from Atlantic City, the resort town where he’d summered as a child. Patented in 1935 by Darrow and the corporate game maker Parker Brothers, Monopoly sold just over 2 million copies in its first two years of production, making Darrow a rich man and likely saving Parker Brothers from bankruptcy. It would go on to become the world’s best-selling proprietary board game. At least 1 billion people in 111 countries speaking forty-three languages have played it, with an estimated 6 billion little green houses manufactured to date. Monopoly boards have been created using the streets of almost every major American city; they’ve been branded around financiers (Berkshire Hathaway Monopoly), sports teams (Chicago Bears Monopoly), television shows (The Simpsons Monopoly), automobiles (Corvette Monopoly), and farm equipment (John Deere Monopoly).

The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

The Landlord's Game, 1906

Magie called her invention The Landlord’s Game, and when it was released in 1906 it looked remarkably similar to what we know today as Monopoly. It featured a continuous track along each side of a square board; the track was divided into blocks, each marked with the name of a property, its purchase price, and its rental value. The game was played with dice and scrip cash, and players moved pawns around the track. It had railroads and public utilities—the Soakum Lighting System, the Slambang Trolley—and a “luxury tax” of $75. It also had Chance cards with quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson (“The earth belongs in usufruct to the living”), John Ruskin (“It begins to be asked on many sides how the possessors of the land became possessed of it”), and Andrew Carnegie (“The greatest astonishment of my life was the discovery that the man who does the work is not the man who gets rich”). The game’s most expensive properties to buy, and those most remunerative to own, were New York City’s Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Wall Street. In place of Monopoly’s “Go!” was a box marked “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.” The Landlord Game’s chief entertainment was the same as in Monopoly: competitors were to be saddled with debt and ultimately reduced to financial ruin, and only one person, the supermonopolist, would stand tall in the end. The players could, however, vote to do something not officially allowed in Monopoly: cooperate. Under this alternative rule set, they would pay land rent not to a property’s title holder but into a common pot—the rent effectively socialized so that, as Magie later wrote, “Prosperity is achieved.”

For close to thirty years after Magie fashioned her first board on an old piece of pressed wood, The Landlord’s Game was played in various forms and under different names—“Monopoly,” “Finance,” “Auction.” It was especially popular among Quaker communities in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, as well as among economics professors and university students who’d taken an interest in socialism. Shared freely as an invention in the public domain, as much a part of the cultural commons as chess or checkers, The Landlord’s Game was, in effect, the property of anyone who learned how to play it.

Thousands of Monopoly tournaments are held in the United States each year: county tournaments, school tournaments, church tournaments, corporate tournaments, tournaments in basements, in boardrooms, in lunchrooms, in public libraries, and online. Every four or five years there are the big officiated tournaments—the U.S. Championship and the World Championship—sponsored by Hasbro, which hands out $20,580 pots to the winners of each. I missed the big tournaments—both were last held in 2009—and instead ended up in the lobby of U.S. Steel. I thought the venue fitting, as the corporation was the brainchild of supermonopolists Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan, the latter being the inspiration for Monopoly’s top-hatted, monocled, tails-wearing mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags.

The emcee called the lobby to order, shouting into his microphone, “You have ninety minutes. Let’s play Monopoly!” Immediately, the men at Table 25 began rolling dice and frantically buying property as they rounded the board. Doug snagged Pacific Avenue (an expensive investment at $300), two yellow parcels, and several slummier properties. Trevis’s portfolio included two railroads and Marvin Gardens, the most expensive property in the yellow group. Billy held the ultrachic Boardwalk ($400). Eric got Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place ($180 each). These last are among the properties most coveted by competitors, because they are relatively cheap and frequently landed on, along with the other properties that sit directly downboard of the jail, where odds are the players will spend a lot of time.

Sixteen minutes into the game Doug offered Billy a trade. (“The propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” writes Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, “is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”) Land was already growing scarce, and as land becomes scarce in Monopoly—as in the real world—its market value rises, often beyond its nominal value. “This,” said Doug, holding up one of his yellow deeds, “for that,” pointing at one of Billy’s slum deeds, “plus three hundred bucks.”

Billy was unimpressed. “No, you give me three hundred bucks.”

“Give you three hundred bucks?”

“Cash is king!”

This in turn inspired Trevis and Eric to start haggling, with Billy and Doug interjecting to gum up the talks when their own interests were threatened. The table got loud. The parties offered, counteroffered, rejected all offers, sweetened the original offers, rejected the sweetened deals with greater aplomb. Doug heaved a great sigh. “We’re just gonna go around the board and around the board,” he said, “and collect our little money.”

“It’s gotta make sense for me,” said Trevis.

“This guy wants my left testicle,” Doug replied.

In what amounted to open conspiracy, Billy then told Eric that if they made a trade and each received a monopoly as a result, they’d share a “free ride”—no rent would be charged—when they landed on one another’s monopolies: a corrupt duopoly, in effect, targeting Doug and Trevis.

Doug shrugged as Eric pondered the deal, but Trevis was aghast. “You can’t do that—it’s against the rules.”

“Rules!” said Billy. “I’m gonna set my price.”

“Bullshit!”

“Ref!”

A referee, whistle around his neck, hurried over—the judge with the gavel had disappeared—to decide on the matter as the players barked at each other. “You can’t do that,” he said finally.

A few weeks before the tournament, I’d had a conversation with Richard Marinaccio, the 2009 U.S. national Monopoly champion. “Monopoly players around the kitchen table”—which is to say, most people—“think the game is all about accumulation,” he said. “You know, making a lot of money. But the real object is to bankrupt your opponents as quickly as possible. To have just enough so that everybody else has nothing.” In this view, Monopoly is not about unleashing creativity and innovation among many competing parties, nor is it about opening markets and expanding trade or creating wealth through hard work and enlightened self-interest, the virtues Adam Smith thought of as the invisible hands that would produce a dynamic and prosperous society. It’s about shutting down the marketplace. All the players have to do is sit on their land and wait for the suckers to roll the dice.

Smith described such monopolist rent-seekers, who in his day were typified by the landed gentry of England, as the great parasites in the capitalist order. They avoided productive labor, innovated nothing, created nothing—the land was already there—and made a great deal of money while bleeding those who had to pay rent. The initial phase of competition in Monopoly, the free-trade phase that happens to be the most exciting part of the game to watch, is really about ending free trade and nixing competition in order to replace it with rent-seeking.

Henry George was not formally trained in economics. At age sixteen, he shipped out of his native Philadelphia as a mast boy on the freighter Hindoo,bound for Australia and India, where he watched the crew threaten mutiny over their miserable working conditions. By the age of twenty, transplanted to California, he was working as a printer’s apprentice, a rice weigher, and a tramp farmworker. George was soon married and broke, caught up in a wave of unemployment on the West Coast, and by the winter of 1865 his pregnant wife was starving. “Don’t stop to wash the child,” the doctor told George upon the birth of a son that January. “Feed him.” Poverty turned his mind to economics, to the question of why poverty proliferated in a land of plentiful resources. Economics turned him to newspapers, where he imagined he might get paid for his ideas. Eventually, journalism brought him to live in New York City.

What puzzled George was that wherever he saw advanced means of production arise in the United States—wherever industry was built up and capital accumulated—more poor people could be found, and in more desperate conditions. It was for him a stunning paradox. “It is the riddle which the Sphinx of Fate puts to our civilization, and which not to answer is to be destroyed,” wrote George. “So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes . . . progress is not real and cannot be permanent.” In 1879, he published the book that made him famous, Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth—The Remedy, which provided a sweeping answer to the riddle: land monopoly was the reason progress brought greater poverty. As American civilization advanced, as populations grew and aggregated in and around cities, land became scarce, prices soared, and the majority who had to live and work on the land paid those prices to the minority who owned it. For the laboring classes, rent slavery was the result. “To see human beings in the most abject, the most helpless and hopeless condition,” George wrote, “you must go, not to the unfenced prairies and the log cabins of new clearings in the backwoods, where man singlehanded is commencing the struggle with nature, and land is yet worth nothing, but to the great cities where the ownership of a little patch of ground is a fortune.”

From those little patches, primarily in New York City, had arisen the dynasties of the American nouveau riche: the Astors, the Beekmans, the Phippses, the Stuyvesants, the Roosevelts, and, later, the Tishmans, the Rudins, the Roses, the Minskoffs, the Dursts, and the Fisher and Tisch brothers. According to George, the sequestering of valuable land assets in private hands was itself the product of a system of property “as artificial and as baseless as the divine right of kings.” “Historically, as ethically,” he wrote, “private property in land is robbery. . . . It has everywhere had its birth in war and conquest.” This was, in fact, the original sin of Western civilization:

In California our land titles go back to the Supreme Government of Mexico, who took from the Spanish King, who took from the Pope, when he by a stroke of the pen divided lands yet to be discovered between the Spanish or Portuguese—or if you please they rest upon conquest. In the eastern states they go back to treaties with Indians and grants from English kings; in Louisiana to the government of France; in Florida to the government of Spain; while in England they go back to the Norman conquerors. Everywhere, not to a right which obliges, but to a force which compels.

George noted that many premodern tribes recognized no right of land ownership; the tribesman’s property was the bow and arrow he built with his hands, not the land he hunted on. Nor was such a right recognized under the laws of the Old Testament, in which land was “treated as the gift of the Creator to his common creatures.” Moses had, after all, instituted the jubilee, under which land was redistributed every fifty years, and the debts incurred against land were canceled—a tradition ended by Roman rule. Everywhere George reviewed the annals of the precapitalist world, he saw the “struggle between this idea of equal rights to the soil and the tendency to monopolize it in individual possession.”

By the nineteenth century, however, the “superstition” of “absolute individual property in land,” represented by the complex array of state-sanctioned deeds and titles, had become fundamental to the American legal system. It could not be crushed—nor should it be, said George. Land seizure and nationalization, he believed, would lead to tyranny. “Let the individuals who now hold it still retain, if they want to, possession of what they are pleased to call their land.” George would not revoke the right to buy and sell property or to will land to one’s descendants. Instead he argued that society might leave landowners “the shell” of their holdings if it could “take the kernel.” As George wrote, “It is not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary to confiscate rent. . . . In this way the State may become the universal landlord without calling herself so.”

Rent was the key. In line with classical economics from the time of Adam Smith, George defined rent as the unearned income owners derived from the rising value of land, meaning it was distinct from the labor that went into property in the form of improvements, the construction of homes and offices and factories, and the cultivation of fields. A community’s productivity was the invisible hand that caused land values to increase. The cabin in the woods became a prize when a mine opened up across the field, a road linked the cabin to the mine, a country store opened to supply the miners, more homes were built, a railroad came in, a town was born. The land under the cabin derived its worth from what society built around it. Its increase in value therefore belonged to society, and George said this value was to be assessed and taxed at market rates. This “single tax” on land and natural resources offered a reform of capitalism—whose self-destruction George believed it was his task to prevent—that “open[ed] the way to a realization of the noble dreams of socialism.” [1]

Georgism, as it came to be known, was denounced by wealthy landowners as the most radically lunatic notion of its time, and the single tax as more insidious than all the writings of Karl Marx put together. The Catholic Church ruled George’s thought “worthy of condemnation.” Yet within five years of the publication of Progress and Poverty, hundreds of thousands of Americans would come to believe in the gospel of the single tax. In New York City, the populist priest Father Edward McGlynn referred to George simply as “this prophet . . . this messenger from God.” Mark Twain proselytized as a Georgist, as did the philosopher John Dewey. “It would require less than the fingers of the two hands,” wrote Dewey, “to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world’s social philosophers.”

Leo Tolstoy proclaimed that George would “usher in an epoch.” “The method of solving the land problem has been elaborated by Henry George to such a degree of perfection that, under the existing State organization and compulsory taxation, it is impossible to invent any other better, more just, practical, and peaceful solution,” wrote Tolstoy. “The only thing that would pacify the people now is the introduction of the system of Henry George.”

In 1886, the United Labor Party, fresh from the battles and boycotts of the first May Day, nominated George as its candidate for mayor of New York. His campaign offered a radical vision for the time: wherever railroads, telegraphs, telephones, and gas, water, electric, and heating utilities could be operated more efficiently at scale, as “natural monopolies,” the public would own them; transit in New York would be made free for all; city government would be responsible for social services; he would end child labor and mandate an eight-hour workday. The land-value tax would pay for his programs.

Though not a single major newspaper endorsed him, clubs were founded in George’s name in twenty-four districts across the city. Members financed his campaign, each contributing twenty-five cents, and George, in between sixteen-hour days of speeches and rallies, sat at headquarters rolling coins for distribution to his workers. The coalition he built with the ULP was big-tent, crossing lines of class, ethnicity, and religion that had long divided New York. Three days before the election, his supporters—merchants, lawyers, doctors, tailors, plumbers, cigar makers, brassworkers, Germans, Irish, Russians, Poles, Italians, Jews—gathered by the tens of thousands in lower Manhattan. They carried banners reading HONEST LABOR AGAINST THIEVING LANDLORDS, and at Tompkins Square, in driving rain, they chanted, “Hi! Ho! The leeches must go!” But George was defeated, amid allegations that Tammany Hall had engineered massive voter fraud to ensure his loss.

George returned to journalism, went on the lecture circuit, wrote five more books, and dedicated himself to spreading the word of the single tax. He has been credited with inspiring a generation of progressive reformers. William Jennings Bryan said thatProgress and Poverty “ought to be read by every thinking man and woman.” Samuel Gompers, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, and Ida Tarbell read him and sang his praises. But George showed little interest in reform beyond the single tax. A believer to the end in Adam Smith, he denounced the socialists and labor organizers who were his strongest supporters, and, as one critic wrote, came to lead single-tax supporters “of intolerably dogmatic and doctrinaire spirit.” He refused to accept that unearned income might be gleaned from investments other than land, and thus he was accused of failing to confront the rising power of finance capitalism, which made money off of the socially created value behind stocks and bonds. By the time of his death in 1897, when 100,000 New Yorkers lined up to view his body in state, George’s “great idea” was already, as Tolstoy would lament in 1908, on the long road to being forgotten.

About a month before the Pittsburgh tournament, an amateur Monopoly historian and game collector named Richard Biddle invited me to the village of Arden, Delaware, to have a look at the first Landlord’s Game ever fashioned. Arden had been founded as a Georgist experiment in 1900, four years after a failed attempt to implement the single-tax system across the state. It was envisioned as a self-sufficient utopia on 160 acres of woodland, and it soon attracted artists, poets, actors, anarchists, and freethinkers. Upton Sinclair had a cottage there, dubbed the Jungalow. Ardenites were barred from “owning” their plots, instead purchasing ninety-nine-year leases on cooperatively held land. It didn’t matter whether the residents built mansions or shacks: they were taxed only on the underlying value of the land, often at very high rates. This revenue paid for roads, parks, a commons, playgrounds, and utilities.

Lizzie Magie visited the village not long after its founding, and brought with her an oilcloth mock-up of her Landlord’s Game, which soon became a pastime among residents. While at Arden, she built a board for the game with the help of a resident carpenter. Biddle spoke solemnly of this alpha board; he estimated that it could be worth a million dollars.

We met at the village green and walked a few blocks, where we found the owner of the board, an eighty-year-old retired autoworker named Ronald Jarrell, standing outside his cottage looking nervous. Apprised of our visit, Jarrell had earlier in the day gone to his safe-deposit box at the local bank to retrieve the board. We entered his living room, where, amid a collection of antique china, jade statues, and old dolls, he laid out the prized artifact on his coffee table. Jarrell’s three yapping poodles made it difficult to talk.

“It was the summer of 1903,” he said. “A woman was down visiting here—”

“Lizzie Magie,” said Biddle.

“I don’t remember the name,” said Jarrell, “but she had an idea for a game.” He told us his stepgrandfather, a Georgist carpenter named Robert Woolery, had grown tired of playing checkers at the general store and needed new entertainment. Woolery looked over the plans drawn up by Magie on the oilcloth and immediately set about making the board.

Arden Board, 1904

Biddle held it up and nodded his head approvingly. It was hand-painted and hand-carved out of the backside of a reclaimed pressed-wood crokinole board, and it smelled like an old shoe.

I had earlier looked up Magie’s 1904 rule set, which she produced several months before she and Woolery completed the original board. Oddly, it contained no rule about forming monopolies out of the property groups, nor did it mention charging players higher fees after they’d built houses or hotels (constructions that also didn’t exist in Magie’s original rules). Nor was there anything about Henry George, land-value taxation, or the evil of rent. If the game was designed to teach Georgism, it seemed Magie hadn’t quite thought out the lesson. Two years later, when the game was officially published,the rules had evolved: the business principle of monopoly was fully established, as was the Georgist alternative of cooperation. Theories abound as to how the changes arose; one holds that someone in Arden had pushed The Landlord’s Game in the direction of Henry George, and also in the direction of the Monopoly we know today.

I asked Biddle about the discrepancy. “Ask the Monopoly monopolist,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“Patrice McFarland. The Monopoly monopolist. She’d have all the answers because she is now the possessor of Lizzie Magie’s diaries. And a lot of other key stuff. But she isn’t talking.”

McFarland, I later learned, was a former exhibit specialist at the New York State Museum who in 1992 had received $25,000 from a Georgist organization, the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, to produce a biography of Magie. In the ensuing years, Biddle said, she had acquired, along with Magie’s diaries, a trove of early Landlord’s Game prototypes handcrafted by players in Arden and elsewhere. But she had never produced her book, nor, according to Biddle, had she been willing to share the information or documents she’d amassed. “She’s a tough player,” he said. “I once bid against her on eBay for my 1939 Landlord’s Game. Bid almost $10,000.” (I called and emailed McFarland several times to ask about her alleged Monopoly monopolism, but she never responded.)

With us in Jarrell’s cottage was Mike Curtis, an Ardenite who twenty years earlier had played a round of Magie’s original 1906 Landlord’s Game (one of his opponents, as it happened, was Patrice McFarland). The Georgist rules by which Curtis had played were known as the Single Tax set, and they went beyond having players simply pay rent into Magie’s “Public Treasury.” They also aimed to teach the shared ownership of public goods. Under Single Tax rules, when the amount in the treasury reached fifty dollars, the player who owned the lighting utility was forced to sell it, and thereafter the utility cost no money to land on, as it was now publicly owned. This process repeated itself with the Slambang Trolley, then with the railroads, then with the Go to Jail space, which became a public college that, instead of sending players to jail, provided extra wages at the end of the game. After that, each fifty-dollar deposit in the treasury raised players’ wages by ten dollars. A “win” in Single Tax, which Magie later dubbed Prosperity Game, occurred when the player with the least amount of money had doubled his original capital. “The Landlord’s Game,” said Magie, “shows why our national housekeeping has gone wrong and Prosperity Game shows how to start it right and keep it going right.” Curtis admitted that he didn’t think much of the game, pronouncing it “kind of boring after a while.” [2]

In the summer of 1971, Ralph Anspach, a game inventor and retired economics professor who lives in San Francisco, emerged from a crushing Monopoly defeat in his living room—his eight-year-old son had bankrupted him—and found himself considering the salability of a board game that was explicitly antimonopolistic. “My game would have to start,” he wrote in a self-published memoir, The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle, “where Monopoly ends, when the board is full of monopolies.” The goal of play would be to break them up, with monopolists fighting off trustbusters. The game Anspach created, Anti-Monopoly, sold 200,000 copies in 1973, its first year of production, and was on pace to top 1 million sales by Christmas of 1974. Parker Brothers, at that time a subsidiary of General Mills, was not pleased. The company threatened to sue Anspach for trademark infringement. Instead, he preemptively sued Parker Brothers—“a sort of buckshot maneuver,” his lawyer called it—on the theory that he could show the company’s Monopoly trademark was invalid.

One of Anspach’s first discoveries as he built his case was the existence of The Landlord’s Game. But he could not explain how Magie’s invention, with its promotion of socialized land and shared wealth, had been transformed into the proprietary commodity that made billions of dollars for Parker Brothers. The key to the mystery, he learned, was a radical socialist professor of economics named Scott Nearing, who taught at the Wharton School of Finance from 1906 to 1915. Anspach spoke to Nearing in 1974, when Nearing was ninety-one years old. The professor said he had learned to play the game around 1910, while living in Arden, then taught it to his students at Wharton in order that they might learn, in his words, “the antisocial nature of monopoly,” and in particular “the wickedness of land monopoly.” The students apparently taught it to their friends. It was around this time that the game became known as “monopoly”—denoted in lowercase, like checkers, chess, or dominoes. The game spread widely over the next several years, to the hometowns of Nearing’s students and to other universities. It would slowly lose its antimonopolistic message, however, as players came to the conclusion that Magie’s vision of Georgist redistribution was not nearly as entertaining as ruining one another.

By 1913, monopoly had made its way to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and four years later it arrived in Philadelphia. The economist Rexford Tugwell, a future member of FDR’s “kitchen cabinet,” remembered having played it in 1915. By the 1920s, camp counselors in the Poconos were playing it, as were students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, Haverford, Princeton, and Swarthmore. During the early stages of the Depression, the game reached Indianapolis, where a Quaker schoolteacher-in-training named Ruth Hoskins played it. Hoskins soon traveled to Atlantic City and taught the game to two fellow Quakers, Jesse and Eugene Raiford.

The brothers were so taken with the game that they worked to improve it. Along with other members of the Quaker community, they changed the pawns to household objects: tie clips, hairpins, keys, thimbles. They changed the names and property values to reflect those of Atlantic City. Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, slums in the Raifords’ hometown, became slums on the board; Boardwalk and Park Place, the carrefour of chic, became the most expensive deeds to purchase. The rules related by Ruth Hoskins stipulated that properties were to be auctioned when players landed on them; Jesse Raiford instead set the prices on the board. (This change later made the game marketable to children, who had difficulty understanding how auctions worked.)

The Raifords taught the game to a friend of theirs, Charles Todd, who taught it to its putative inventor, Charles Darrow. Sometime in 1932, Darrow copied the layout of the board, the rules of play, the property names, the deed values, and the Chance cards, and made his own version of the game. His only innovation seems to have been to claim the mantle of sole inventor. He would soon be assumed into the pantheon of American heroes of commerce.

The irony was not lost on Anspach. Before being monopolized by a single person working in tandem with a corporation, Monopoly had in fact been “invented” by many people—not just Magie and the Raifords but also the unknown player who gave the game its moniker and the unsung Ardenite who had perhaps aided Magie in advancing its rules. The game that today stresses the ruthlessness of the individual and defines victory as the impoverishment of others was the product of communal labor.

None of the information Anspach uncovered helped his case when it went to trial in 1976. The widows of Eugene and Jesse Raiford testified, as did seven other witnesses who claimed to have played monopoly as many as twenty years before Darrow marketed his game. Anspach even put Robert Barton, the former president of Parker Brothers, on the stand. Barton, who was pivotal in helping Darrow secure a patent for his “invention,” admitted under oath that he was fully aware of the game’s history and that he knew Darrow had not in fact invented it. The judge was unmoved. He dismissed Anspach’s complaint, ordering all unsold copies of Anti-Monopoly to be “deliver[ed] up for destruction.” Seven thousand of the games were bulldozed into a garbage dump in rural Minnesota, where officials from Parker Brothers oversaw the interment. [3]

After forty minutes of play, the game at Table 25 had stalled—or, depending on your view, was going along just fine, because no one had a monopoly and no one could raise rents. So Billy paid rent to Eric, who paid about the same rent to Doug, who paid to Billy, who paid to Trevis, who paid to Eric, who made a bad roll and briefly went to jail. Then Doug Herold landed on his third lucrative green property, allowing him to form a monopoly. He had enough cash on hand to build several houses, and one after another the players fell afoul of his outrageous rent hikes. Billy and Trevis handed over several properties in lieu of cash, giving Doug three monopolies. “You see,” he said, turning to me, “I don’t have to deal with these knuckleheads anymore.” There was no further need for trading, no need for the dynamism of the marketplace. He had done the work, built the houses, invested in the properties. Now he did no work, took no risks, made no investments. And yet wealth moved inexorably in his direction. When after ninety minutes time was called, Doug oversaw five monopolies and a wad of $10,293 in cash, more than half the money in the Monopoly bank. He was declared not only the victor at Table 25, but the all-around winner of the U.S. Steel tournament for the second year in a row.

I’d invited Richard Biddle to the tournament, and as Doug had started his run Biddle wandered off to watch the other tables. Every so often I could see him peering over the shoulders of the players, a pinched look on his face. He did not like what had become of Lizzie Magie’s invention. “My brother taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five,” he had told me. “It was pivotal in helping me understand the importance of lying, cheating, and stealing.” I’d asked him to bring along his reproduction of The Landlord’s Game, which he carried in a backpack. Earlier in the evening he had gingerly taken it out to share with whomever he could waylay. “This is the real Monopoly,” Biddle would tell the players, before attempting a sort of CliffsNotes explanation of what Lizzie Magie had in mind. The players nodded politely, their smiles freezing into nervous masks. “That’s very nice, thank you so much,” they said, and then they walked away.


[1] University of Missouri–Kansas City economics professor Michael Hudson has noted that property tax today functions in exactly the opposite fashion from George’s proposed single tax. The Federal Reserve Board is responsible for assessing the total market value of real estate in the United States, Hudson says, yet it routinely produces “nonsensical undervaluations of land.” In fact, the FRB mostly ignores land itself; instead, it considers buildings and capital improvements as the chief markers of value, basing its calculations on the historical cost of original construction and the replacement cost of structures. Land value is an afterthought. The amateur in the real estate marketplace need not read Henry George to know this flies in the face of common sense, the mantra being “location, location, location,” not “replacement cost, replacement cost, replacement cost.” Hudson has conducted some of the few authoritative analyses of the FRB’s sleight of hand, the tax losses that result, and how it benefits the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors, which together have lobbied the FRB to maintain its approach.   [2] Curtis also didn’t think much of Arden’s Georgist experiment, saying it had degenerated into something of a failure. The leaseholders, he told me, had learned to game the system by electing land assessors who based their assessments on the town’s budget needs rather than the land’s real market value, and so they avoided paying taxes at appropriate rates. “To be frank,” he said, “the people in Arden today don’t give a damn about Henry George.”   [3] Anspach twice appealed the decision, and in 1982 a California appellate court ruled in his favor, concluding that Parker Brothers had in fact committed fraud in the Darrow patent, and was thus under threat of losing its trademark. General Mills Fun Group appealed to the Supreme Court in 1982, backed by amicus briefs from nearly every major American industry group, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Trademark Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Committee on Trademarks of the Bar of the City of New York. The Court declined to hear the appeal. Anspach was nearly bankrupted, his house thrice mortgaged, his game business on the edge of ruin, his distributors unwilling to work with him because of a ten-year legal cloud. He was free, however, to continue selling Anti-Monopoly. In the past four years, he has sold 454,000 copies in European markets. Domestic sales, he says, have been comparatively small because Hasbro has used “its monopoly power to monopolize the Monopoly market” in the United State

Diary: What I like to watch on Television

I used to like reading a lot of books. To my regret, with deteriorating eyesight this has become less and less. Recently I lost my strong reading glasses, However, I do get some new even stronger ones. I can pick them up tomorrow. Hopefully, having new glasses is going to encourage me, to take up some book reading again.

So, instead of reading books, I seem to have been watching quite a bit additional TV. During the week I like to watch Afternoon Briefing on the ABC News Channel, and then I switch over to ABC TV and watch Grand Designs and The DRUM.

Yesterday, Sunday, November 14, I watched a bit of Insiders and Songs of Praise and Landline and Gardening Australia, as well as Rick Stein’s Secret France.

In the evening I caught a bit of Death in Paradise and then I wanted to watch Total Control. But unfortunately I was so tired that I soon went to sleep saw not much of that program yet. I have to catch up on it sometime on IView.

I would like to read up a lot on the following items about the COP 26 Summit on Climate Change:

COP26 & Climate Change

Stories from ABC News

A beautiful Day at BERKELOUW’s Book Barn, 22nd January 2016

auntyutaDiaryLife in AustraliaOld Age  January 22, 2016 1 Minute

Today we had another look at Berkelouw’s Book Barn after we had not visited it for many years. It was a very good place to meet up again with Gerard and Helvi.

In one of Berkelouw’s pamphlets it says:

WE BUY BOOKS AND PRINTS IN LARGE LOTS OR SMALL

The Book Barn at Berrima is the first of its kind in Australia and responds to the demand of the reading public for inexpensive fine quality secondhand books . . . . ”

After not having visited the Book Barn for a number of years, we were astounded, how the facilities have improved. There is a huge restaurant area as well as a well established winery and a magnificent place for wine tasting!

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I very much liked the pizza and the salad with flowers for lunch and later on a glass of wine at the cellar door.

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The poplars that lead to the book barn look as healthy as ever!

bookbarn@berkelouw.com.au

On the way home we had a quick stop at Robertson Pie Shop.

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And then we had to drive down MacQuarie Pass in dense fog and rain!

All the way home it rained steadily. Luckily the rain was not as heavy as it had been the day before. Last night we had some flooding in our home. When we arrived home today, there was still a bit of rain but thankfully no more flooding. Also after yesterday’s heat-wave with temperatures well over 35C, it is very much cooler today. Australia Day is coming up next Tuesday. Already today, Friday, a lot of traffic was building up for people going South to have a long holiday weekend.

The End of the Year 2012December 28, 2012In “Diary”

Tuesday, 9/11/2021November 9, 2021In “Diary”

This is a Blog Peter published on 12/10/2017October 8, 2021In “Life in Australia”

Edit”A beautiful Day at BERKELOUW’s Book Barn, 22nd January 2016″

8 thoughts on “A beautiful Day at BERKELOUW’s Book Barn, 22nd January 2016”

  1. The C-Sweet EditThe salad looks delicious – what a nice little surprise to find all the upgrades to the little bookshop, including of course, the wine bar!!! It’s hard to believe the fog/rain photo was taken the same day.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditThanks for commenting, C. Berkelouw Books are well established. They still have about eight book stores in NSW, and one in Queensland. Apart from secondhand books they also sell a few newly published books..To us it is a well known fact that towards the top of the pass a lot of fog can develop. Luckily the pass is well signed all the way. Peter, my husband, is 80, but he has long practice negotiating along the pass, that is, there were times when his work required that he drove up and down the pass on a daily basis. So I am proud to say, that he hasn’t lost his touch yet and drove confidently around all the bends in fog and rain! Reply
      1. The C-Sweet Editawesome! how was the wine?
      2. auntyuta EditI did choose Riesling. They served it beautifully chilled. The grapes for this wine came from their own estate.
        I was very happy with this drink. 
  2. gerard oosterman EditWe enjoyed sharing food and wine too at Berkelouw’s. Uta. We drank some of their Semillon Blanc last night. We had a great day and pleased Peter still manages all those S bends down the Pass.Reply
    1. auntyuta Editeply
  3. Debra EditOh my goodness! I would love the Book Barn. This is my kind of place for sure. I have very little self-control when given an excellent used book shop, and this one really appeals to me. It’s probably good I don’t live nearby. LOL!Reply
    1. auntyuta EditWe’ve been collecting books for over 60 years, Debra. To keep too many books if the space is limited, can be overwhelming. Right now, we are in the process of throwing some books out. In future we want to resist the temptation to buy more and more books. Some books we simply cannot let go, and eventually we’ll probably buy a few more books that we think are of special value. You are right, the Book Barn is the place to go to, to look for excellent used books.

Uta’s Site

Everyone knew already in March 2020 that Peter’s cancer was well advanced. So, it was only a matter of time, when his bladder cancer would spread into other areas.

By June 2020 the head oncologist at the hospital advised Peter, to bring his affairs in order. It looked to him, that the cancer had already spread to his bones. A few months later a nuclear test was done, that showed without doubt that the cancer had well and truly spread to his bones, which meant then, that in all probability Peter would have only a very short time to live anymore. It was obvious, that he was in the last stages of cancer and so was in need of some palliative care. . . . Soon, it was organised to give him palliative care at home with adequate pain reducing medication administered by Hospital staff who came to our home at scheduled times. To make the total care possible, quite a few family members were involved in helping to give this, plus we did get some subsidised respite care.

I would say, very often it was very difficult work for all the family. For sure it took a lot out of them, whereas overall I, the 86 year old wife, had not to do all that much physical work in looking after Peter. It was so amazing, how all the children did very lovingly look after their Dad! Also there was a constant stream of visitors by other family members, and a lot of friends were showing that they cared for him very much.

Somehow, all of us had finally to be prepared that is was highly unlikely that Peter would still be alive by Christmas. This prediction was close enough: Peter died on the 12th of the 12th 2020 and was cremated on the 21st of December 2020, our 64th Wedding Anniversary!

But now back to March 2020. By that time, Peter had enormous kidney pain. A solution was found, to drain the liquid around the kidney and his heart: A stent was inserted by an urology team. The stent went from the kidney to the bladder. The stent did its job quite well for a while. However we knew, the stent would have to be renewed after a few months. Finally this was done in August 2020.

On my birthday, on the 21st of September, Peter could hardly walk. I think he realised then that he probably would not last much longer. But somehow he may still have been in a state of denial. And I believe, one of our daughters and her husband were both in a state of denial too. The way they acted and looked after him once he did get palliative care showed to me a denial of very closely impending death.

I, on the other hand, I was already in 2018 convinced, that either his bad heart or his cancer would be the cause of his death. For instance, once the BCG treatment (Bladder cancer: What to know about BCG treatment)

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324385#about

was stopped, there was not much left, that could be done. It was said, that because of his heart trouble, it was not possible for Peter to survive a five hour bladder operation!

So Peter’s cancerous bladder could not be removed. That meant, Peter’s cancer would sooner or later be spreading outside. . . .There was just no denying it!

I think my sadness started already in 2016, when Peter first found out about the tumour in his bladder. I did not want him to die before me: He would have been able to cope without me so much better than I can cope now without him!

I was sad, that Peter developed a terminal sickness, of course I was sad. But for sure I was not in denial that eventually the sickness turned out to be terminal. I was just grateful, that we could still have a few good years together, for Peter was most of the time still pretty active and not in severe pain since he was always well medicated.

Yes, there was sadness, but we were also grateful that we were still able to enjoy a lot of togetherness! Really, most of the time life seemed to be still quite enjoyable . . . .

Come to think of it, the five stages of grief somehow may not have effected my life so utterly, since we had such an early warning, and I was never in denial of the situation and learned to accept it early on. The grief may have effected our children much more. So, I would like to know, how I can help my children!

Very recently I found out, that as early as March 2020 our son was extremely depressed and in tears about the condition of his Dad. This was the time when his wife decided she did not want to see him anymore. I think she had not seen his tears, but she saw his neighbour who had recently moved into the house next door. This neighbour is a very compassionate woman and willing to be a good friend to Martin, however she is due for some rehabilitation for she drinks too much. She keeps telling over and over again, that she had quite a lot of bad experiences and suffering, partly because of her mother.

This neighbour is divorced. However she has a very lovely daughter from an earlier relationship. The daughter is divorced too and has a new partner, she also has a very good job. The neighbour’s 27 year old daughter has a sweet little four year old daughter and shares that little girl with her ex-husband. And when she is feeling well enough, dear grandma can look after the little one for a couple of nights as well. I met the whole family. They are all very nice.

My son lives in Victoria and is already retired, whereas my two daughters still work full-time. The daughters live in NSW both of them close enough for fairly regular visits, and one of the granddaughters comes to help too, whenever her work schedule allows for it.

So, the son lives some 600km away in Victoria. But he’s come to visit quite often whenever he was needed for something or other and when it was possible to visit without having to go into quarantine!auntyutaArticleCopyDiaryLife in AustraliaOld Age10 Comments 5 MinutesEdit”About Grieving”

DIARY

We are in the midst of HOLY WEEK 2021. So tomorrow is GOOD FRIDAY, a holiday. Sitting in front of my house in the early morning sun – this is what I am looking forward to for tomorrow.

I am not looking forward to asking someone for a lift to the MEDICAL CENTRE. Do I really need a change of the dressing on my lower leg? We’ll see.

Sitting in the sun. This is all I am longing for . . . .

Last Sunday I returned from my two weeks holiday at my son’s place in Victoria. With the help of one daughter and one granddaughter I was able to go to the MEDICAL CENTRE on Monday and on Wednesday. I was able to use the ROLLATOR, which was really a great help. Right now, I do not feel confident to walk with my walking stick!

And anyway, I get some more visitors on EASTER SUNDAY. This is in only two more days!

I wonder whether I can adjust to be living totally on my own. My brother reckons, I sound alert on the phone, Then what about my mobility? Has it become better or worse? I would say unfortunately at present it is a lot of the time quite bad. But maybe this has to do with this terrible infection I had in my leg. And this infection may also have to do with my constant tiredness.

Yes, always feeling tired. However when my brother rang from Berlin, my tiredness soon became less and less. After a while it felt good talking to him and his wife.

I like living in my own home. Every Thursday I get two hours home help. There are a lot of plans, that I should get some more help in. Strangely, this makes me feel even more dependent!

Is this kind of dependency really better than living in an AGE CARE HOME? Living in such a home, how would that make me feel?

Maybe I should look into some kind of HOSTEL type accommodation? What a HOSTEL is like, I described in a blog I wrote many years ago.

I had a friend, who lived in a HOSTEL for many years. She died before she needed to be transferred to a NURSING HOME. I think, she was very lucky in this regard. She was 93 when she died.

Well, this was 17 years ago. Maybe what used to be called HOSTEL is now being called AGE CARE HOME. Why then do I have such a horror of ending up in an AGE CARE HOME?

It was acknowledged some time ago. that the house I live in needs a lot of changes and renovations, especially the outside area. I think it would be increasingly difficult for me to look after it even with some extra home help.

Why can’t I just organise everything myself? The two weeks away from home were good for me. I discussed with my son and his friendly neighbour that it would be good for me to join a SENIOR’S CITIZENS CLUB that organises outings and trips to holiday destinations. But since we are not out of the woods yet with COVID 19 maybe this is not such a good idea. Should I just stay as much as possible totally on my own?

What can I still do? I can still shower and dress myself, even if it takes a long time. I can still go for slow walks with my rollator. I have often trouble with my eyesight. However, I can still do some things on the computer and I enjoy some TV programs and listening to music. When I can get hold of a shopping trolley, I can still do my own shopping. I love cooking (mainly vegetarian meals), I have a good appetite and I do not mind doing the dishes. I definitely can do the dishes. I can do my personal washing. The home help on Thursdays hangs out the bigger washing for me and does a lot of the cleaning and sometimes drives me to the shops.

Recently some friends gave me a lift to go to Mass. But I have not contacted them yet since my return from Victoria. A while ago I took up joining my friends again for our Friday afternoon games: Scrabble and Rummy Cub. Well, of course for the last two weeks I was away, and this week on GGOD FRIDAY there won’t be any games.

For the next few days I’ll be sitting as much as possible outside to enjoy some sun, and maybe I can do a bit of walking too with my rollator. If I get sick of being by myself for every meal, I can walk with my rollator across the road to the bowling Club for some lunch. I do like their prawn cutlets!

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My Life with Peter and without PeterAugust 31, 2021In “Diary”

About GrievingApril 2, 2021In “Articles”

Diary, End of February 2021February 22, 2021In “Diary”Posted byauntyutaPosted incopyDiaryLife in AustraliaMemoryOld AgeEdit

Published by auntyuta

Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Widowed Wife of German Descent. I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We had four children, eight grandchildren and now six great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too, as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, used to publish some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View more posts

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Bowral – December 2012 (continued)

On the 21st of December 2012 we had our 56th wedding anniversary. On that day we went up to the highlands for a visit to Bowral. As I remember it, Peter and I had an excellent time  up in Bowral on the day of our anniversary . Looking at these old photos brings back memories. So here they are:

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Here we had our Lunch
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These pictures were taken in a Bowral shopping centre .

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In the morning we had visited the Bradman Oval:

At the Bradman Centre there was a nice cafe where we had had some morning tea:

https://www.bradman.com.au/visit/stumps-cafe-at-the-international-cricket-hall-of-fame

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Bowral in December 2012

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Peter took this picture on the 21st December 2012, our Wedding Anniversary. The Corbett Gardens are in Bowral. This day in 2012 was the last time we went to see the Gardens. Over the years we did go a few times to have a look at the tulips there in spring time during the tulip festival. This year we missed out again on seeing the tulips there.

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Two years ago in December we quite liked to walk through Corbett Gardens on a summer day. There were no tulips there, but the gardens looked lovely none the less.

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On the way to the Gardens we had stopped at the Bradman Museum.

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Some refreshments were very welcome.

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21st of December 2012 in Bowral