Last Updated: December 19, 2014

Weather: Canberra 10°C - 26°C . Mostly sunny.

Back Paddock

Birthday bash a splash with cool pool

Homemade: Pool time.

Homemade: Pool time. Source: Supplied

WHY spend thousands of dollars on a backyard swimming pool when you can make one for next to nothing?

Lew and Felicity McDonald from Mitta Mitta threw a 21st birthday party for their daughter, Caitlin, a couple of weekends ago in the middle of a heatwave. So what better way to celebrate than to have a pool party with a homemade pool?

Lew and Felicity levelled some ground, plonked around some round and square hay bales (below left), lined the whole thing with black plastic borrowed from a neighbour and filled the pool from the Mitta Mitta River. They also made a plastic slip ’n side (below right), which ran down the slope into the pool.

“It was the best fun and perfect for the hot night,” Felicity said. “It was very well used.”

Felicity reckons she should win a prize for sustainability: the plastic can be recycled, the pool’s walls can be fed to livestock in winter and the water will end up on the garden.

Don’t tell anyone — if it catches on, the pool builders will be out of business.

Mirabella still in the frame

SOPHIE Mirabella may be down, but she’s not out, according to the latest betting.

Sportsbet still has Mirabella, Tony Abbott’s former lieutenant who lost her seat of Indi at last year’s federal election, as an outsider to lead the Coalition to the next federal poll.

Mirabella lost Indi to a high-profile grassroots independent challenge from Cathy McGowan. Despite this, Sportsbet is paying $101 for a $1 bet on Mirabella leading the Coalition to the next election.

Tony Abbott is, of course, the favourite at $1.07, followed by Malcolm Turnbull ($6.50), Joe Hockey ($13), Scott Morrison ($15) and Julie Bishop ($17). Rounding out the list are Christopher Pyne ($21), Greg Hunt ($26), Peter Dutton ($34), Andrew Robb ($41), Tony Smith ($51), Mirabella ($101) and Bronwyn Bishop ($201).

While it’s agreed there are no certainties in politics, this one’s a doozy.

Locals’ defining moment

TED Domeney from Flowerpot in Tasmania reckons that on the Apple Isle you have to have been around since it was known as Van Diemen’ s Land to be called a local.

“Most people around here reckon my family is local, but the real locals reckon that we’re ring-ins, as my antecedents came here from elsewhere in Tassie 106 years ago, whereas their antecedents came to this district much earlier,” Ted said.

You wouldn’t credit it

WHAT’s that saying about credit where credit is due? Victorian agriculture minister Peter Walsh was trumpeting the results of his department’s research on canola this week, which had uncovered a potential $18.4 million boost to productivity if canola growers changed varieties. Wow.

Thing is the press release did not make it quite clear that the $18 million boost was shared by four states, including Tasmania, South Australia and NSW. And the research was part of a joint effort jointly funded by growers and the Federal government and done by boffins in the four states — not strictly Victorian Government research. Bad luck Walshy, nice try.

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