Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Marriage Secrets



So Queen Bessie and ol' Phillip have been hitched for 70 years. Longer than I have been alive. And that is amazing to me!

I reckon the secret might be that they live in a 100 room palace and that limits the amount of time they have to be looking at each other's face and presumably they have their own bathroom so there is no time spent smelling the other's shit - yeh I reckon even royalty shit is a bit on the nose. But they do seem to happily rock along together. They seem to share private jokes and there is a certain whiff of leaning into each other that implies to me at least that they are happy and that's important.

I reckon that there are belly laughs a plenty after Bess has gently roused on 'Ol Phil for yet another of his famous UN PC gaffs. Yeh I reckon Bess is a belly laugher. She looks like she might, not often but certainly sometimes laugh til she wees herself ever so slightly.

And I reckon that they'd have their own private signals to let each other know when they are bored out of their gourd, or a sign to say, 'For fuck sake don't put that ridiculous dead skunk hat on' and another to ask for a walloping sherry top up. Yeh after 70 years, I rather doubt they need to actually speak out loud too much to make themselves understood.

I met a fella this week who over coffee regaled Stevie and me with the woes of his marriage. And they weren't even woes really, he was just matter of fact telling us stuff. Maybe he was just filling in the silences? I don't know what prompted his sharing.

'The Wife' sleeps somewhere else. She's a Born Again Christian. They never eat dinner together. He only ever watches sport on the tellie and she watches 'all the reality TV shit', - not on the same tellie obviously. Occasionally they go for lunch together, if there is someone else eating too.

Well this doesn't sound blissful to me. If I spent my days trying to avoid being in the same room as Stevie, then I reckon it would be time to piss off or at least pitch a tent and learn how to cook over an open fire and  shit in a bucket in the front yard. I don't reckon my belly could stand the stress of turning a corner and running into the person you are doing your level best to avoid.

And I suppose it's possible that he and she have played this avoid each other game long enough to be very good at it, but that's not a skill I want to cultivate.

Can you imagine the early days of this arrangement, when irritations are major and raw and hurting and I imagine shouting is reverberating around the rooms. One person heads for a shower and the other, knowing the cleansing habits of their lifetime partner, knows just when to 'accidentally' use the hot water in the kitchen so that cold water shrinks bollocks or maybe for variation, the cold water is stolen so that third degree burns means a trip to the hospital. I mean it all seems like that movie, 'War of the Roses' and I reckon it could get brutal. The mind games alone would be exhausting.

But perhaps these 2 people have played it all to the end game and have popped out the other side with a tacit understanding of how best to rub along without killing each other and maybe even providing for the possibility of occasional joy, even it is with other people.

That's not for me, but horses and course and all that I guess.

But compared to this, Bessie and 'Ol Phil have got it all sorted huh?

I have long thought 'Ol Phil was a bit nuts, but maybe he has just become so worn in to the royal life, like an old pair of cords, with the saggy smooth fabriced bum and stretched out knees and the holes in the pockets, that he can now get away with anything at all.

And the photos of 'em both this week are rather lovely. Good on 'em.

Oh and if you thought this was gonna be one of those advice posts, well think again. I sure as shit am not an expert.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Integrity




The Painters are still in, but now they are inside, so Stevie's stress is really ramped up. He does not like people in his house, Sometimes I think he only just manages to put up with me in his house. But these fellas wore out their welcome sometime last week and now he's projecting his hatred of change onto Dog. 'She really hates change doesn't she?' But we are all sucking it and playing as nice as frayed tempers allow.

It was all agreed on a gentlemen's handshake. The boss sent a quote, we agreed it and I don't think any cash has passed between parties yet, but coffees have been drunk and silly stories exchange and there is no worry about being diddled and Stevie is pretty sure he'll get the job he wants cos he's on 'em like shit on an army blanket.

So we are all just cracking on, and hopefully by the end of the week the walls will be painted, no-one will have a flat nose and we'll have the house back to ourselves, blessed be. Ahh.

But yesterday our Sunday was disturbed, our loose schedule of doing fuck all turned upside down. Because a couple of real estate folk wandered on in - ok I knew they were coming because they had harangued me most of Saturday. The house is NOT on the market but if you give an agent a sniff, even only one nostril's worth, then there is just no getting rid of 'em.

So they trooped in with a bunch of people and then as they were all leaving a young fella said loudly that he was gonna make an offer? Really? He went off to their office and then I did what I do almost every Sunday afternoon and that is sank into the bath. I didn't expect anyone to be coming back with paper work to buy The Bug House after a 15 minute inspection on a Sunday afternoon. I know people have all sorts of cash stuffed into their pillow cases and frozen in ice cream tubs in the second freezer, along with some whole fishes and an assortment of body parts from thumbs to scalps, but I just didn't think any of this sounded likely.

The money on offer was too little by a good long way and the story about the contract and the finance and the time frame wandered around like a drunk fella at the end of a long night at the B and S Ball.

I was in the bath and felt bad that I had left Stevie to it, nah not really the bubbles were lovely and the book exciting,  and he is more patient with the bullshit, until he isn't then he really isn't patient at all. Finally he flung 'em outta the place and set to cooking his roast dinner - all part of the Sunday ritual.

Predictably there was a call back offering more money but still not enough and the conditions had wavered about like the arms of a faulty windmill in a cyclone. He was watching Saturday's rugby game and wanted rid of 'em so was Pommie rude not Aussie girl rude, but they did not call back.

What did give me the shits, was that they told us to stop the painting, that it was no longer necessary, except that no contracts were agreed and in any case, WE HAD AN AGREEMENT WITH THE PAINTERS.. How easy was it for the agents just to fuck over the painters?

I mean what did they really expect? That we'd cut the painters loose and stiff 'em for their cash all on the off chance that we believed that they were being truthful?

I don't know how anyone who would suggest that could ever be trusted.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Falling down the Rabbit Hole



I'm Late, I'm Late for a very important date.... Hardly it's NOVEMBER!

It's the middle of November. Nah I am not sure of the date cos it doesn't matter, but after more than a week of playing find a room where there is no painter perving in the window I needed to get out yesterday. Oh and I know the painters are too busy cutting in and slopping paint about to care who is inside, but I feel like a fish in a bowl. Heaven help me next week when they set to changing the inside of the place. Breathe Breathe breathe.....

So I popped out to the shops yesterday.

Shopping is something I used to treat as an Olympic event. I could go all day and it didn't matter how obscure an item I was looking for, I could always find it, and them some other stuff too of course. No point going home until you literally could not carry another shopping bag.

But now I can hardly be bothered.

Well for a start, I need to pop on a bra, ugh! and make sure that my hair looks OK coming and going and sometimes even pop on a bit of lippy. Yeh that's the effort I make to go out in public these days, bra, spit flick the hair and some lippy, my lovely Nanna would be appalled. Going to town when I was a kid was all about the good shoes and pretty dress and it was planned like a military operation. Now so long as I have got my thongs on I am good to go.

So off I went. I wanted to get a couple of those pool chair lounge things that seem to blow up by whipping them around your head. Yeh they are probably not as efficient as I think, but I figured they'd be fun around the pool over Christmas with the kids. Ahh and so down the Rabbit hole I went.

The middle of November and already with the decos up and the santa shirts and the ho ho fucking ho.

I am not baahumbug about chrissie. I like it. But it's in fucking December.

So after a bit of crowd pushing, I settled in for a snack over looking Santa's grotto. It was about 11am I guess and the big red coated fella wasn't there yet, must have been caught up in all that sleigh traffic in the sky, but there was a line up out the door of people wanting to get their santa photos done, I guess so they could have 'em up on the fridge curling away until what June next year? Or maybe this is a new way of getting kids to behave. Stick that Santa pic on the fridge and every time it looks like there is gonna be a melt down, the parent just points and says ''Naughty kids get coal'

The kids were all getting grumpy and I could understand that. The kids who are employed to take the money and make the kids smile were all too busy to give a shit about the kids waiting. There was fluffing to be done and phones to be checked after all.

And then I saw the jolly old soul dash out of a Myer and head for the lift. I waited for the Ho Ho Hos. NOTHING! Some elf must have been holding the lift for him so he was on a mission. And then I watched his GRAND ARRIVAL. Well it was more a push and a shove through the crowd of kids. There was still no HO HO HOs. He got to his seat and the first person in line dumped their baby on his lap and so the flashing of the credit cards began.

And had it been the 24th of December and this poor Santa had been peed on and spewed on and sneezed on and roused at by parents of kids who won't smile cos they are literally scared out of their wits, well I could understand him being a bit shirty. But this is only the beginning. I can only imagine what he's gonna be like in a month and half. Shit I am glad not to have to go anywhere near him.

Online shopping is looking better and better. Bare feet, messy hair and boobs swinging in the breeze.... bloody marvellous.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Goodbye to Colour




I don't reckon anyone coming to the house would be surprised to hear that I like a bit of colour. And blessed be so does Stevie.

When we were building this Big House, cos all the rooms are big and the ceilings are really tall we decided to be brave about the colour. We wanted to have just exactly what we wanted to have, and why not, it's unlikely we are ever gonna build anothery. So I set about designing the colours for the painters. They were thankfully very patient fellas, cos I decided just to make things tricky to use 3 different shades of the one colour for most of the walls, the brightest walls getting the darkest paint and the darkest rooms like the bathroom the lightest. It took a long time to decide and draw up the schedule and then they dutifully set about it.

And then I set my mind to adding some splashes. This is what really excited both of us. Stevie is colour blind, so I got paint pots and painted squares until he saw one that he liked. You see noone can tell what colour he thinks something is so we just kept changing things up until he found one he liked. They are pretty bold, and I like it.

This whole painting places all white just doesn't sit well with me. I reckon it lacks courage and imagination and effort.

However, as we have tried to sell the Big House for a month or 2 every year for the passed 3 years and we might try again next year, we got an Estate agent in for some advice. We told her to tell us why she thinks the house has not sold before and to be blunt.

Well all I can say is be careful what you wish for.

'You've got the colours all wrong, and people hate polished concrete floors and the carpet in the bedrooms is hideous.' and she nearly passed out in horror as she looked in the family bathroom, 'That is just sooo very wrong.' and she clung to the door jambs to steady herself.

Well fuck it. She also went on about how useless the kitchen was and how the pool needs to be 'softened'.

Fuck it indeed.

Well as luck would have it we have the painters in doing the outside of the place. I have probably gone wrong again and have picked dark grey and white. Oh well.

But after some consideration and that old definition of insanity - doing the same thing time and again and expecting a different outcome, we have bitten the bullet and decided to paint out all of my favourite coloured walls inside. Not to white, cos I just couldn't stand that but to the palest of the Ice colours on the rest of the walls. Goodbye teal, goodbye sea blue, goodbye Bell's purple, yep goodbye all the lovely. Oh well. Let's wait and see how it looks - just like every other house here on the Goldie I reckon but maybe that's what it takes to sell a house here. Oh well.

She did like my garden so I guess I did something right. Oh well. But the painters are going a bit hard at that too cos, yeh I know, they've got to get to the walls.

I'd have liked to have disappeared and come back when it's all done. It's a bit like cooking up a storm and leaving all the shit about. I really fancy just coming in for a feed, except that she critisised the kitchen too so it'd be a shocker to know that any food preparation is possible in there.

Oh well. Change is hard for us old gals.

 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Mussels



Mussels, mmmm you either love or hate 'em.

Or else you could be like me and just need to be in the mood for 'em.

Very often at cafes and restaurants they are served with a tomato and chili broth and that doesn't suit me, but when we see 'em with a cream and white wine sauce, if the mood is grabbing me, then we dig in.

I love to eat 'em with lashings of fresh crunchy bread dipped, ok sometimes double dipped into the broth. Stevie doesn't mind. I like knowing that if they are closed they are probably gonna make you sick so don't force 'em open cos there will be repercussions - all those men in Hollywood take note! So they are sort of foolproof.

I found a recipe and have set to occasionally cooking up a pot full.

It always causes some stress, cos I don't remember the recipe, except that it's pretty easy and very quick, so rather than look it up again and save the rising bile, I just make it up anew every time.

But essentially it's a very good knob of butter in a big pot and saute off some leeks or onions, finely chopped, then add a clove of crushed garlic and a generous splodge of nice white wine. Let that simmer til most of the smell of the wine is gone - just a minute or 2, add some chicken stock some cream and the de-bearded mussels. Pop the lid on and occasionally pick up the whole pot and give it a good swish around until the shells open - only a few minutes, and as the shells open they release all their sea water yumminess so no extra salt is needed. As soon as the shells open sit and eat.

Over cooked mussels are just plain nasty.

We had a hankering for my mussels last night.

Finding the bloody things took an age popping into different shops, but finally we sourced some, even though I admit to being a little suspicious about 'em, cos instead of fresh closed up jobbies I had always bought in the passed, these were vacuum packed pasteurised fellas. Now pasteurised means heated doesn't it? And I knew that it didn't take much heat to cook these guys, so I was concerned about dishing up overcooked lumps in a fine broth, but we pushed on, well actually we settled on 'em cos we were over trawling around looking for the usual stuff.

The broth was a winner and the dipping of the bread was yummo, but as I expected these 'elf and safety' pasteurised green lip mussels were rubbery hard lumps that were so unpalatable that even Dog rejected 'em.

Bugger!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Weddings

No this is not what I am wearing. Breathe a sigh of relief NOW


Yippee. I am off to the wedding of a fabulous young woman this weekend. She is one of my girl's nearest and dearest and they have gotten up to a great deal of mischief and adventure in their years together.

She's had a baby and was in a big confuddle about what to do with him after the ceremony cos everyone had been told 'no babies or children', the expense was all getting out of hand. Anyway she figured she needed to lead by example but she wanted her little fella there for some of the pics. I have spent time wondering why she needed to worry so, even on her big day, but she has been on the receiving end of all sorts of shit about who's been invited and who hasn't and why kids can't come, and is she gonna organise babysitting - what a fucking cheek that one was huh? It should be just about what the couple want and everyone else can go suck a big one, but it is not turning out to be that way.

In any case, now I am the lucky one. Cos I get to go and watch this lovely woman who has grown up almost before my eyes, and her fella, get married and then after the photos, I am being entrusted with their precious boy, so the big people can go about having a damn fine knees up.

The little fella and I are gonna keep each other company and maybe share a pizza - he's only 6 months old so I guess he won't be tucking in too hard, and then I imagine he will have a bit of a sleep. But if he doesn't sleep and even if he throws a big old wobbly cos he's got the shits up with being dragged away from the festivities it'll be ok, cos I am happy to give him a cuddle and go for a bush walkabout and keep him as entertained as a 6 month old can be.

My Girl is pleased that she is all frocked up and organised right down to her accessories and has her 'Plus 1' promising to be on time.

2 years ago when we were back in the UK, I was so pleased to be invited to another lovely woman's big day, and big it certainly was. Poms do this early afternoon start, and then food and then kick on until the wee hours, exactly like 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. They have staying power those Poms. People get mullered and dance, and I am only guessing now, but mischief is probably made under the tables close to knock off time. 

And lots of guests stayed overnight at the reception place and it just made me feel old feeling like shit the next morning at breakfast, looking at all these fresh faced things tucking into their bacon and eggs. Of course they could well have still been a little maggoty and I had jumped forward to hungover. Anyway spending a couple of days celebrating the nuptials was fab, and in the modern day when there are fewer fewer people bothering with the rings, I reckon that a celebration is in order.

Wish me luck on babysitting duty cos it has been a bloody long time since I held a little one, or changed a nappy, but I am betting that it's like riding a bike. Finger's crossed.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

To Fire or Be Fired, That's my question.

There are just never enough holes in the road especially when you can bill the tax payer for the use of a machine and a shift full of union workers. Let's have another hole whether the project needs one or not. More than a year in and the initial due date is just a distant memory, but still holes are being dug. Maybe they really are digging for diamonds. 


I have been fired twice in my life. Once when I was maybe 15, working at Coles or Woolies, I don't remember which. I was a checkout chick, and this was back in the day when every price had to be crunched into the register and all the groceries had to be pulled towards you by dragging a timber frame thing along the counter. Yeh I am that fucking old. So one day a clever clogs loaded her shit in so that I ended up with meat blood on my fingers and rather than transfer all that onto her new tea towels, I just asked her how much they were. Well bugger me, she lied, I believed her, and she got away with it, but my manager was not happy so I was sent to the deli where I spent time with my arms up the elbows in coleslaw until I was sacked for not coming in one Easter, when I just assumed they would have been closed. Fair enough, they had given me a chance and I buggered up again so offskie it was.

The other time I was at a Tyre shop. It was fucking filthy with a sawdust outhouse for a dunny. It flooded every time a dog peed too hard and the forecourt where the fellas fitted the tyres was a dirt track. So my job was to answer the phone, deal with customers, take the money, check inventories, and clean the place up. I set to it with all the energy of a 20 year old recent graduate who couldn't get a job teaching cos she wasn't a single man. Soon enough the office and the serving area was sparkling clean and I learned a lot about tyres. To the day, 6 months later, I was sacked, no reason given. It turned out that they had taken money from the government in some sort of employment scam and after 6 months the government money dried up so I was offskie again. Yeh this doesn't sound honest to me either, but whenever there is government money involved, I don't reckon corruption is far away. Ho hum.

I sucked it up after the deli sacking and I admit that I was pissed about the tyre place, but in comparison to sacking someone, being sacked is a skate.

I was responsible for a fella failing in his last year's teaching prac session. He was an older guy, who didn't take kindly to female instruction from a younger person. He was doing teaching cos he wanted the money and the holidays and those are good reasons, but for the money and the holidays there is an expectation that you work hard, you know your shit, you arrive on time and you comply with the usual procedural paper work even if it's banal and a little pointless. This guy knew NOTHING and refused to learn anything, he arrived late and never showed his lesson preparation. He had no interest in the kids or any ability to engage them. He refused to attempt any of the strategies I suggested. He just sat there with these kids and was an oxygen thief in the room. He'd done this for 3 years - no problem!

He was with me for 6 weeks. It was my job to teach him how to teach, but he just never showed any willing. In the end I failed him and that meant he failed the whole course. He was not happy. The Uni was not happy. I was not happy, but do you know who would have been happy? All the kids he never got to teach, they'd have been happy.

It was a nightmare failing him. I was scrutinised and made to justify myself. It was a very awkward time and I guess the awkward shitty time might have been what sometimes prompted conceded passes to be awarded rather failures. It would have been a lot easier. Not right but easier.

A lovely woman was falling apart in front of her classes. I was her faculty head. The Principal decided that I needed to do the dirty and I was told to record and gather data and notes of her failings in order for the school to sack her.

I sat in on her classes and noted that she was often late, sometimes didn't arrive at all, she taught the year 9s the year 8 course and the year 8s completed the same unit again and again on a loop. I tried to help. She and I were friends. But it all came to nought because it became very clear very quickly that she was failing the kids.

She was sacked. And soon after we heard that she had early onset galloping (I made that up - it's not a medical term) Alzheimer's. She was not well. We should have helped her more, but we did the right thing getting her out of the classroom. It was a terrible time, cos I felt guilty cos I knew her and liked her, but the kids deserved better.

I think it's very hard to sack someone today, what with 3 written warnings and the unions carrying on. And I reckon that's why there are so few jobs and so many contracts. It has to be at least in part because at the end of the contract, the worker can legally be waved goodbye.

But sackings are necessary. If a job is not being done well shouldn't someone be held responsible? Unless of course the fuck up is a part of the government quagmire, in which case it is all about sliding blame and hiding responsibility and camouflaging corruption and playing dumb. Accountability requires integrity and neither of those attributes seem to be part of government job criteria or tenders. If the government used the money they spent covering their arses and making good government funded fuck ups, we would all be far better off.