Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Glamping....Really???





We went OFF ROAD yesterday. Yep we took the monster where it was designed to go and it was bloody marvellous.

We found the beach road at Bribie Island and let some air out of the tyres like professionals and leapt into the unknown. There is a very long lead in to the beach at Bribie and this is maybe the funest part of the ride. We were rocked all around the place and Steve cursed and concentrated on speed and direction and tried not to become airborne more than a couple of times. Bumpy would be an understatement.

The beach opened up like a movie set and it was really beautiful, even on a grey old day. We had done a bit  of a reccie about the tides and so were aware that time was a bit limited so Steve put his foot down and we were off. What a wonderful way to spend time.

It felt just a little naughty cos we weren't driving on the road and there were no line markings or signals or lights or instructions or directions. Just us and the beach and the other folk who were similarly inclined.

As we zipped past camped groups I was led to wondering if I might actually be able to manage to CAMP. The folk looked calm and comfortable and the view was just so serene. We talked about camping gear and what we would need, and we discussed getting a mattress custom made for the Monster.  I managed to par down requirements to an esky and a tarp held up by a couple of sticks. I do believe it was at this point that reality slapped me in the face and I realised that what would be fab would be to drive out all day, swim and eat and enjoy and then go back and stay somewhere with a bath.

I believe in the romantic idea of camping but the absolute knowledge of sand and salt and storms and other people, and the tree over there being the loo, well all that is a reality that is just not for me.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Dinner out!

lamb_roast_lrg.jpg


Last night we went off for a much anticipated dinner date at a place called PONY. Our greatest hope is that we were in fact NOT eating HORSE. I got dressed up and blow dried my hair and even put a face on and Steve wore long pants and a long sleeved shirt - very dapper and for the first time on our 'city break' we looked like maybe we lived here.

It had been disgustingly hot all day, the sort of heat that sees sweat dribble down the back and land in a pool where you know it is just rotting your clothes. A little while before we were due to head off, it started pissing down with a wonderful lightning display. It didn't cool things down but it did mean that the blow dry was complete waste of fucking time! Oh well..

I had booked an outside table, but imagined given the weather that they would have moved us inside automatically, but when we got there the manager tried to foist us out into the rain telling us that it had stopped even though we were the ones walking in with the wet umbrella. We had a quick look and saw that the tables were indeed wet and waited patiently for him to see if he could find us somewhere dry. I reckon the place was about half full and could see no reserved signs so really wondered what the problem was. It can't have been that we were unpresentable, I know this cos I had even bothered to wear 'real shoes' not my tired old thongs.

He selected an empty table and we plonked ourselves down. This place does shared roast dinner plates with side dishes of veg. The way it is served really suits me cos I can eat everything separately and nothing needs to touch on my plate - yeh I know it's a bit nuts but it's just the way it is. The roast was lamb so that's what we had.... YUMMO

A couple of beers and all the yumminess saw us having a lovely time. The storm had passed and we decided to sit outside for dessert. More beers and the poshest lamington I have ever seen were downed as we watched the lightning play about over the bridge. The breeze was blowing up and at one point I had to put my handbag on to keep my dress from flying up over my head. I reckon it was my civic duty to save the other customers from that sight.

Anyway it was all very lovely til we asked for the bill. While Steve was grabbing for his glasses I had a quick look and saw that they had charged an extra 10% because it was sunday. Now that didn't amount to a lot of money, but it was the tip we had planned to leave our lovely waitress from Cornwall. When the manager came to collect the card, I had a little go and said that perhaps that info needed to be noted somewhere and Steve suggested that they print up some sunday menus. Anyway I told him that it was a shame because that was our girl's tip and now she would be going without.

He came back soon enough and graciously told us that he had removed the sunday surcharge because he thought it right that we left a tip.

He had of course added a 1% surcharge for the use of a credit card, but hadn't bothered to mentioned that either.

Venue - excellent
Food - excellent
Service - excellent
Pissing us around - yes
Possibility of returning - not at all sure.




Sunday, 29 December 2013

Would a Million be enough?



There's a couple of stories doing the rounds about lucky folk who have won a million bucks in the lottery. Some bloke in the States was sweeping up some leaves and found a ticket and took it home and dried it and it was a winner for 1 million dollars. Now the cynic in me wonders how and why all this happened and the lottery company took a year to investigate it before giving him the cash, but eventually, give it to him they did.

What I wonder is would a million be enough. I remember as a kid thinking that that amount of money would allow you to do ANYTHING you wanted to do. It was the stuff of self indulgent, selfish, extravagant dreams. But today I am not so sure. I imagined that there would be no work, only joyous recreation and of course flash eating and drinking and endless chocolate.

If you responsibly spent it on a house instead of sweeties, the house I would choose would come with silly rates and appalling insurance charges and would cost a fortune to maintain, so maybe a house would not be the answer for me anyway.

If Belly won a million, I imagine she would be thrilled. I am not sure how she would spend it, but what I am certain of is that it would definitely not last her a lifetime. She would need to continue to work and pay the bills and cook and care for Zig. It would make life easier for sure but not forever.

How ridiculous it is to be thinking that a million dollars is just not enough.

If I did the lotto thing I can see being thrilled if I won a tenner, cos that little bit of a bonus would be lovely, like finding some folding money in your coat pocket from last winter. If I won a thousand that would be excellent and it would be gone in a spending frenzy of smiles and silly excess - gone in a heartbeat. But the million comes with expectations that you will be grownup and smart. It's too much money to squander and not enough to put your feet up permanently.

It is no surprise to me that stories about winners all too often show them right back where they started. I only hope that they have had a hell of a time along the way on the big shopping excursion.

What would I spend a million on today if it fell from the sky and hit me on the head? I am old fashioned so I reckon bricks and mortar is always a good idea so I reckon a house for Belly and Zig and then I would have to pay the insurance in advance for decades cos I wouldn't want to give her a pain in the future pocket.

And maybe if there was enough leftover I would take Steve off on one of those boat trips down the Danube, but first I would like to see how much it would cost to buy out the whole boat cos I don't travel well with others.

There you see, it's a problem! Will I get a house or go on a boat ride.

I just don't know how much would be enough.








Saturday, 28 December 2013

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back To Earth


The G.O.M.A is currently hosting this beautiful exhibition, and after sometime in the planning, yesterday we went off to have a look.

The tickets are $15 each which is not for nothing, but as I had seen some pics, I really wanted to be in there and apart of it.

We wandered into the room housing 'Heritage' and instantly I was struck by the calm peaceful quiet. Even though there were plenty of people, there was a comfortable ease and serenity. Steve read about the artist's intention but I have long thought that that stuff is written to shut the organizers up and am more interested in what I feel or think about the art.

It was intriguing that the animals were all made to different scales, and I am pretty sure that Cia Gul-Qiang would have done this deliberately. I was interested to learn a little about how the animal sculptures had been made, and I did notice that there was an occasional drip of water into the pond. I wasn't really interested in WHY this happened, I just liked that it did. All too often the impact of the artwork is diminished for me by all the rhetoric.

Next we looked at the exhibit that had drawn me in, 'Head On'. 99 wolves all running and leaping and flying into a wall and falling back and bouncing off and recovering and running back to have another go. The futility was disturbing, and then I spent time looking at the individual wolves. Some were determined and some were all but defeated. Every one was different in mood and manner. The sense of movement was wonderful.

There was a huge uprooted tree in another room and we spent time trying to working out how it might have been dragged into the place. It was a very tight fit, the meaning of it was of no interest to me, though I did enjoy sitting under it for a little while.

I reckon it's vital that viewers of artworks bring something to the party. We should think and imagine and question and revel and appreciate, not be empty receptacles for curator bullshit.



Friday, 27 December 2013

Life in the big city

Brisbane city


I am clearly a city girl...I do so love being here, up high in the sky, watching the world go by. I can hear the bin men and the ambos rushing by and am enjoying watching a big old yacht manoeuvre itself into position perhaps for the cracker night on New Years. There is a constant drone of traffic across the Story Bridge and I find comfort in the movement and noise.

Of course it would mean that Dog would have to go, and that would be a very big shame. I would certainly miss her doggy smell and cuddles on the couch and her lopsided little face as she stares intently trying so so hard to understand English. And Zig might be a less willing visitor, cos I reckon the view would run out of steam for a growing boy after about 2 minutes and then what would I do with him for the rest of the time.

Steve's golf paraphernalia would be difficult to house and I am not sure where he would practice his swing and I certainly can see being more than a little pissed off with him scrubbing the clubs in the kitchen.

It's too flash to spill paint all over the floors and walls so painting might be a no no, and I would miss Avril's coffee and the leisurely walk across the park to get it.

The Big House has fully ducted aircon which we almost never use cos I don't like the dry air - plays havoc with my careful coiffure and fastidious makeup, he he he. I much prefer to open all the windows and move anything the might blow over. I enjoy the smells that waft in and have planted stinky things so they will do just that.

The aircon in the apartment is excellent, especially after you have walked from town in the 33 degree heat. It is like walking back into a fridge. It's very pleasant indeed, but all too soon I am opening windows and doors and getting a breeze through.

It's bit like the Princess and the Pea, never completely happy. What a pain in the arse she was!!

So never mind a few hundred mattresses, this is what I reckon would be close to perfect:
  • A big house in the middle of the city on a hill so I can watch my minions wander.
  • A park next door for Dog.
  • A Golf Club across the way for Steve
  • A outdoor pool just for me and Zig and Steve and Dog
  • A coffee shop close by with a loyalty programme so every 8th cuppa is free.
  • An art gallery and a theatre with an easy walk.
  • Restaurants that deliver
  • Restaurants to get dressed up for but that don't insist on it.
  • The smell of Star Jasmine and Mock Orange blossoms.
It's not a really big big big list is it?

Alright, I know it is, I am not delusional, but perhaps our little look at houses in New Farm will prove fruitful, who knows what 2014 is gonna bring.



Thursday, 26 December 2013

Santa is done and dusted.


 

We are staying in the city and yesterday watched the madness of strangers’ festivities, up close and personal, without the use of binoculars or telephoto lenses. People were up at silly o’clocks scrubbing outdoor furniture and setting places. They dressed in their best casual gear as befits some shitty hot temps and then greeted friends and family who all crowded around the too small table. They ate their lunch and then disappeared sometime in the late afternoon leaving the hosts to clean up and wash and put away.

Steve and I on the other hand, dragged out of bed at about 8 and did the HO HO HO and paper rip dance, had a leisurely breakfast of ham and eggs, played a long time with our pressies and then wandered off to the ferry for a little ride on the river which was followed by a fruitless search for a beer. It beggars belief in this day and age, that the only way you can buy a beer in Brisbane on the 25th of Dec, is if you also buy a SUBSTANTIAL MEAL, and not one between us but one each if we both wanted a beer. Steve was doing the xmas roast so we didn’t want a meal, just a beer, so we sat and drank water and whinged for a while about the craziness of it all and then caught a ferry home and had a beer.

Our special meal was at night, cos it is just too hot to eat during the day and Steve doesn’t like to eat lunch anyway. I set the table with a couple of crackers / bonbons and we ate exactly what we like, the way we like it, drank some beer and wine, laughed at the silly jokes. No we didn’t wear the silly paper hats, and we didn’t have matching serviettes. It was all so uncomplicated compared to hustle and hassle we noted across the way.

In the abstract I sometimes envy large families, but the reality of the heat and the work and the tension and fights kicks back in and then I am happy that I can please myself, well Steve and myself. When Bell and Zig come down to the big house for ‘christmas’ on the 5th of Jan all the pressure will be off so we can have a celebration but again, not of the for the traditional kind.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Shopping tension



I can smugly say that I had finished my shopping about a week ago and so yesterday when Steve wanted, and I use the term loosely, to go ‘up town’ to finish his, I tagged along and spent some time just enjoying the hustle. Actually I don’t reckon it was nearly as busy as I had expected it to be. Maybe all those suburban centres really have drained off the city customers.

People were dragging their children around and sometimes carrying them. I decided that these people were tourists and just out to see as much of the city as they could in the shortest amount of time, otherwise they would have left their kids at home with Ma or the neighbour or tied to the old  Hills hoist. If there was any other option you wouldn’t be carrying a person who is quite capable of putting one foot in front of the other...surely not. So people with little ones were tourists.

Stress heads in suits...yeh, it was stinking hot, but still they wore the suit, these guys must be newly married and trying to prove they know what their woman wants. No secretary shopping for them. They are hustling along, on a mission, probably have rung ahead to make the transaction smooth and painless and the parcel is small enough to fit in their pocket....jewellery is my guess.

There’s the young ones who are trying to ekk out their cash so that everyone gets a little something. They carry many many bags and are enjoying the triumph of the day. They are wearing shorts and sneakers and clearly mean business, all the while smiling with the cheer of the season – or maybe that’s the smile of a long beery lunch.

There are middle aged women with lists and sensible handbags big enough to hold most of the parcels. They are not ‘dressed up for town’ like my Nanna would have been, but they are more carefully put together. Their eyes dart about working out the next plan of attack and then they are off, letting no one or nothing impede their progress.

And then there were the 3 rather sad Irish Dancers who were busking in the top end of the mall. They had no music. They had no group routine. One of them had very little will to be there. They had a sign saying ‘Please help us get to the Irish Dancing world championships’. They took turns flinging their legs around and occasionally someone put some money- silver coins- into a big old Tupperware bowl they had borrowed out of the back of a cupboard. At one stage a young family put a fiver into the bin and I thought the kids were gonna shut up shop and head off to Maccas just like in the ads, but continue to fling they did. I can only imagine that the competition is being held at Woodridge and they needed train fare cos I can’t see how they are ever ever gonna make one plane fare, let alone 3.

On the hunt for some cherries today and then the shopping is DONE at least until Thursday when the sales start... Yippee!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Can you ever really go BACK


 

About a dozen years ago I left Brisvegas for the lights of London and lived there for 7 years. Oh I know it was only meant to be for a quick look and a bit of a lark but things change don’t they and one thing lead to another and another lead to Steve and so London was home for a long time.

When we decided that OZ was calling we settled at the Goldie and even now we are not really sure why. Neither of us knew the place at all, we knew no-one and maybe that was the common ground. We both ploughed head first into the unknown.

When I go back to London I feel like I am going home. I get off the plane at Heathrow and feel comfortable and at home and familiar. The same shops greet me and the smell and the chill welcome me back. The streets are the same the traffic is nuts and whilst there is sometimes a little new construction, really the place is the same as I left it. It’s like that well worn coat in the back of the cupboard, comfortable and reliable and just a little frayed around the edges.

But Brisbane is not like that. Coming home to the town I spent most of my life in is not really coming home anymore. It doesn’t instantly envelope me with that familiar, all knowing welcome. Instead I feel quite like the tourist, which means I get extra bang for my buck, but it is also more than a little disturbing.

There are new buildings and the road directions seem to change daily. I know roughly where I am going but am never absolutely sure how to get there. Derelict areas have become bright spanking new and flash areas a little jaded. Nightclubs which grabbed my cash in my 30s are now swanky restaurants and bars and a bottle of wine is no longer a just few bucks.

I drove Zig passed my old house last week so he could see where his mum grew up, and even that is hardly recognisable. It’s some strange beige colour instead of the wonderful green I had painted it and there is a flash car port out the front. The front garden has been tarted up and from the back it looks like they have built on a huge verandah. I suppose they have put in a new kitchen and bathroom too. Oddly though what hasn’t changed is the walloping trees I planted in the front garden. There is the 50 foot Gum tree and the Frangipani tree I grew from a cutting and the big old Poinciana still shades the footpath. I reckon with the summer storms which ARE a constant I might have gotten rid of a couple of those trees before they take out the roof.

Brisbane is such a young girl, so I suppose it is right that she is developing and stretching and pushing boundaries. London is like a grandma, reliable and soft and welcoming.

 

 

 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Back in Brisvegas


 

It always amazes me just how much you might need a holiday by the time you get sorted to actually BE on holiday.

This week has been more than a little bit of madness, what with entertaining the little bloke, and getting the house spick and span for our swappers and of course doing all that last minute xmas prep. I could feel myself getting well and truly wound up, and by Friday when we were meant to be on our way, I had not packed a thing and there were still 2 bathrooms to be scrubbed and 3 beds to be made and oh well the washing just never got a look in.

But on our way we were by about 1pm. I had no idea what I had packed and have to admit that if it meant I was unfit to walk out in polite company in my home town, I really didn’t give a shit.

We fancied a beer and a steak so headed to the ferry to try the Regatta pub steaks, but the place was frenetic and I wasn’t up for it, so on advice we walked to the ‘close by’ Park Road. (I am a local girl or at least WAS, so I should have known better, but by this stage the migraine fuzz had set in and I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other for the trek, and just got there in one piece but when we were seated next to a bunch of very rowdy men I got all tearful, asked to be moved and then had the added humiliation of having to ask for a bigger chair....TWICE! I know my arse is bigger than it aught to be, but really those carver chairs are designed for the 'man of the house' whose arse has spread through inactivity and too much wine. The chair sides touched my sides and that made me cry....what can I say, the migraine makes me nuts!

The steaks were good but I really wasn’t paying any attention and so we cabbed it home where I hit the bed, until it was time for my steak to hit the loo... oh it wasn’t pretty. Sleep was not easy to come by and yesterday passed in a bit of a blurr.

 Yippee to being on holidays today, I am BACK.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Ma, Pa, Ziggy and Dog


 

 

Zig is getting a bit interested in this silly blog and so this title is HIS.

It amazes me how time just simply slips away when you’re in the pool playing around. For nearly 2 hours yesterday the 3 of us teased Dog mercilessly throwing the ball and then hiding the ball and playing ‘piggy in the middle’ and hiding the ball. She was just completely buggered by the end of it and then later spent the night utterly flat out on the rug, too tired even to climb onto the couch with me.

Steve reckons Dog might never talk to him again after a summer with the little fella. There is no doubt at all that where Zig is, Dog is. They are excellent company for each other.

So that is the Dog pecking order. First there’s Zig, then me and then Steve. Beggars belief really when it is Steve that feeds her every night.

We are off home to Brisvegas this afternoon so that Zig can see Santa tomorrow before he heads off to Melbourne with his father. Really his little life is very full, so floating around in the pool for a few days is no hardship whatsoever.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Life is simple when you are 8


 

Zig is down for the summer. Well I am very lucky really because I get to play and listen and tease and feed and spoil and thoroughly enjoy him. His life might be a little more complicated than other  kids because he needs to manoeuvre between households, but really it’s all pretty simple.

He just wants to be loved and that is a very simple task for me.

So today we were up at some silly o’clock and then we chewed up some cereal and took Dog out because it was ‘her turn’, then it was into the pool where Zig did his 10 lengths and played and played and wore out Dog.

Yesterday Zig asked if we might be able to paint a picture of him eating a doughnut so that was the impetus for morning tea – well not really. We always have morning tea in the village but I did take some pics of him eating the treat!

The village houses a number of those bloody machines which entice kids to throw good money after bad and he looked longingly as we passed by them. He decided that a reasonable charge for scrubbing the park picnic table where Nik and I often sit, would be 2 dollars.

He scrubbed and cleaned and I inspected and paid up.

I am nervous about anything bad happening on my watch, but I reckon that it is pretty safe for him to trot over through the park to the village shops, so for the first time ever he went on his own and came back with some ghostly slime – courtesy of his toil. This goop kept him entertained for far longer than I would have thought possible and I was pleased that very early on I deemed it an ‘outside toy’

We shared some grapes for lunch and then we had a little cuddle while we watched the end of ‘The Grinch’, he read his ‘Captain Underpants’ book and I put away all the ironing.

Now he is splashing in the pool very patiently waiting for me to join him. It’s not a big ask really.

Life is just so simple isn’t it when you are 8.

A shame it is not always thus.

 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Top news stories.


 

China lands probe on moon

ninemsn staff with AFP

9:23am December 15, 2013

 

Well bugger me!! The Chinese have made a soft landing on the moon, the first in nearly 4 decades and that gives ‘em a ticket to the rather strange cocktail party with the States and Russia. What a funny old party that would be.

But if you just rely on the ‘Top Ten Stories’ part of the online news, well I’m sorry to say that you might have missed it.

Swans swimming, snow in Cairo and some bloke falling down the escalators, these made the top 10, and so did a bit of cow madness, coppers hitting someone and polar bears eating.

I guess the Chinese have every right to be pissed that their news is not the favourite of the day.

I am left wondering though, who in the cyber newsland decides what stories are the favourites, and how is it possible for a story that doesn’t get much coverage to ever become popular.

Good on the Chinese I reckon. I hope that everyone in China is pleased with the government spending all that money in an attempt to become the man in the moon.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Silly little online tests.

 

Twice this week, probably because I have so little to do, ha ha ha, I have been tempted to try out these little tests to see where I sit politically. Yes of course that is because I am so completely unaware.

Well really the results were no surprise to me, or at least they weren’t after I looked up what Nihilism was.

·        the general rejection of established social conventions and beliefs, especially of morality and religion

·        a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless

·        the belief that there is no objective basis for truth

·        the belief that all established authority is corrupt and must be destroyed in order to rebuild a just society

Well that is quite a lot isn’t it? And when I see all that together I reckon the tests must be rubbish, except that a lot of that stuff does sit well with me. I don’t like to do as I am told, anytime and certainly not, ‘just because’, and I do believe that we are ridiculously over governed, and don’t even get me started on religion!

The second one was more of the same, but instead of name calling ( I was also labelled an anarchist and an existentialist) it told me notable people who shared my political bent. Ayn Rand I was happy with and then I had to look up Milton Friedman and the Libertarian Party ( a fusion of Darwinian right wing economics and liberal positions on social issues. )

Anyway at the risk further boring anyone, I just thought it was interesting.

I wondered if anyone has every done one of these tests and gone, ‘ Well BUGGER ME!!! Really is that ME. I am not at all like that.’

I like to think that even if we don’t shout our beliefs from the rafters, we would all at least be happy to admit what we think in the privacy of our own minds, so we would not be shocked to learn some flash titles for ‘em. It makes sense that some academics have spent time defining and describing, and good for them. I only hope that perhaps said academics did not qualify for a government grant to cover their efforts.

Of course even a feeble minded person could probably fudge some of the answers, especially second time around, if they don’t like the results.

 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

When it rains it really pisses down.


 

There is nothing quite like a summer storm in Queensland. The sky darkens rather quickly, sometimes turning that odd alien green colour and then there is a stillness before all hell breaks loose. Yesterday it was stinky hot, I don’t know how Steve managed to even think about golf. The humidity and heat built up and later than usual the rain came. What a blessed relief!

I say it was late yesterday because typically the storms attack just as school lets out. I have very clear memories of slopping home through the rain and the puddles and the swollen gutters. If we were lucky and that was generally early in the season there’d be a bit of slime in the gutters to help gutter surf some of the way home – no I don’t think skate boards were invented then. I remember the old woman going completely spastic about sodden shoes and lining ‘em up on the open door of the oven trying to dry ‘em out for the next day, when it would happen all over again. Oh what fun it was.

When I was teaching it was less fun. The drama spaces at schools were generally an after thought, a closed-in breeze way or a converted cupboard, and nearly always poorly ventilated and certainly no airconditioning, heaven forbid! By lunchtime everyone was fed up. Year 9 boys who had yet to discover the joys of deodorant, were so pongy that my mother would have been rejoicing over the damp shoe smell in comparision. My studios were generally carpeted and shoe free zones. It was physical hard work teaching drama and it was hot!! Those summer afternoons before the storms hit would find kids huddled, betting which stream of sweat running down my legs would hit the carpet first. Yeh it was sweat, not pee, I was younger then. On a side note spend a second imagining the smell of the studio every morning after all that sweaty carpet had had time to ferment in the evening. OOOH YUM. If a window afforded any view of the sky, kids would slowly melt over and watch the clouds race. It didn’t matter that they had seen it all before, because I reckon the cloud dance of summer storms is mesmerising. I find it so, still.

Yesterday’s downpour was a whopper, it overflowed the pool and I discovered a dead fish which I reckon might have died of shock, in the pond this morning. Poor old Dog goes nuts and hides under furniture. The wind was so fierce that it marched the BBQ across the deck. Now that had not happened before! Water blew in under the doors and big puddles formed on the floor – thankfully concrete. So no damage was done if we discount the fish, and Steve and I were in the pool not long after the storm had passed, enjoying the strangeness of swimming almost ontop of the pool deck.

Little bits of water continued to fall overnight, but that sort of wetness is just a bit irritating. Nothing beats the fury of the summer rain.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Families



How bloody difficult aught it be to have a little meal with a couple of people with whom you share DNA.

Well in days gone it was pretty simple. The matriarch set a date and everyone would comply. I remember Christmas dinner at my Nanna’s place. In the stinking summer heat she would pile the whole family, her three daughters and all their families sometimes more than 20 people into the dining room set up with an adults’ table and a kids’ table. There were fabric table cloths and serviettes, and silly hats and xmas crackers with those tired old jokes that are still around today. The ‘Tree’ was real and had sometime hence lost too many needles to still be at all attractive. It was decorated with homemade decos and tired tinsel which had seen many years’ work. We would have already exchanged gifts – none of this secret santa stuff so that there is only one each, but such a pile that all the wrapping would just never fit in the then silly small bin.

There was noise and movement and more than a little madness. Nanna would bring out all the meats and stuff and food would flow, but only ever as a prelude to the grand finale which was her pudding. Nanna would have hidden some silver sixpences in it and unlike today where everyone would need to be ‘lucky’, only a few of the hoards were rewarded.

It was not fancy or flash but it was wonderful. It might be that I am remembering with rose coloured brain cells, but it all seemed pretty fabulous and simple and festive and jolly. We would sing and jig around and as the day wore on the flash Christmas outfits became crinkled or grubby or removed.

It was quite the event, even just considering the sheer numbers involved.

As an adult my Christmases have been much more sedate, and once divorced even quieter still. I have often celebrated Christmas on the wrong date for more than 2 decades in a bid to be ‘easy to get along with’,  with separated families and blended families and families 1000s of miles apart it is altogether tougher to organise. Children are divided between parents and grandies are tugged at in all directions.

I hate the idea of battling over visits at any time but especially at Christmas. My greatest hope is that both Belly and Zig know how much they are loved and wanted and that my not fighting for them was and is my gift to them.

 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Parcels Parcels Everywhere




It must be more than a little shitful to have a birthday close to christmas. The shops are full of stocking stuffers and who wants their stockings stuffed for their birthdays. The birthday cards take a back seat – quite literally in some shops, to the gaudy snowy Santa ones. And surely I am not on my own in that I just barely have the will and the energy to fill the Santa lists, without having to rack the old grey matter to find something birthdayified and not remotely christmasy so it is clear that you have made an effort worthy of another year. So folk who have birthdays in December are at a bit of a disadvantage I reckon.

I used to have a present cupboard where I would store things that I’d buy on speck thinking that they would be good as a parcel for someone, at sometime, but that storage facility closed up shop years ago, after I looked in and found watches and expensive stuff that I didn’t like at all, so how was I ever gonna give it away to anyone else.

I reckon the best parcel buying is done under pressure. It’s amazing just what fabulous stuff you can find when your feet are aching and your eyesight is failing and if one more chipper salesperson glances in your direction you might hit ‘em with your handie.

A couple of parcel hunting hints.

1.      Get an early start so you can find a good parking spot.

2.      Go to a Mall where there is airconditioning and coffee shops at reasonable intervals.

3.      Begin with coffee and maybe some carbs.

4.      Wear comfortable shoes and remember your glasses.

5.      Look for inspiration in odd places.

6.      Avoid ‘up-sellers’ like the plague.

7.      When your hands are full, GO HOME.

 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Simple things.


 

It’s Sunday and that means up early to wash the sheets with strong detergent and a good dose of bleach so that when they are dry all those wonderful cotton counts are crisp and cool. It also means a good long soak in the bath and a scrape of the legs so that the slipping into bed becomes a wonderful sensual experience. Oh I do love that, new sheet on truly bare leg, feeling. I might be tempted to shave my legs other than on clean sheet day, but new sheets definitely require new legs. Ahhh.

Last night we went to a party which I must admit to not being too thrilled about. I knew precisely no one. I had met a couple of ‘em once but that was it. Well about midway through the evening a woman sat next to me. She looked pretty conservative and polite and we chatted about family and careers and death as you do, and then out of nowhere she shocks me with a comment about the neighbour. Well I just roared laughing. I laughed because what she said was funny and I laughed because it was such an unexpected surprise, and I laughed because it felt so good to laugh out loud.

I might have mentioned that Zig is at the Big House here for the holidays. Now he is a real little boy. He is loud and rough and rarely anticipates accurately outcomes of actions. He runs when walking would do and shouts when a whisper would suffice. I love all that about him but when he climbs up onto my lap with a book to read, which is becoming a less and less frequent occurrence, I just wanna have a little tear up with joy. When we are out and he is not sure where to go, he grabs my hand and I love that too. What a sweet lovely little fella he is. I reckon that the useby date for all this sooky behaviour is not far away so I am planning on enjoying it while it lasts.

An empty ironing basket and a just washed floor, watching Dog run like a maniac after her bloody ball, sparkling clean and polished granite, dancing like a fool to some silly song, and singing completely out of tune to the radio in the car with the windows up and then noticing the looks of strangers in passing cars and trucks, well all this makes me smile.

I am really just a simple girl at heart.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Cards and letters are really not passé.



I reckon Christmas is about the only time I feel the need to venture into a Post Office. I do enjoy getting out my little black book – yes it actually is all that. I have had it for years and there is so much crossing out and going overs and additions of names and scratching out of names that it is definitely passed its best, but I just can’t seem to get rid of it. I could transfer all the info onto a computer file and that would make life cleaner and smarter and more organised, but then I would miss out on the pleasure of going through it every year and having a little chuckle about events and people almost forgotten. The cold face of the computer will never bring that joy. And as I sit to write my cards, I want to feel that joy.

I don’t send out hundreds of cards, just a couple of handsful, but as I write them I imagine them flying off to their destinations and then sitting on a shelf or mantle watching over the festivities. I enjoy the thinking about where they are going and the people who will rip ‘em open. I sometimes am pretty sure that the people have moved, but I send the cards anyway, in the hope that some kind soul will pass it on, if not it doesn’t matter cos I have already enjoyed the sending.

Gone are the days when this little gesture an inexpensive. It is now just stupid money to send a tiny something anywhere let alone to the other side of the world, but I reckon that as there is pleasure in the sending and I hope in the receiving that at least I am getting double bunger for my bucks.

This year I included an ‘Annual Epistle’. A lot has happened and I didn’t really fancy writing the same dreary shit out more than once so I succumbed to the temptation to use that cold computer to make my life just that bit easier.

Years ago as a young woman I had a cousin who would send a ledger of annual events to everyone she could think of at Christmas time. I stopped reading the shit very early on. I couldn’t imagine why she thought anyone would be interested in how she broke a nail or why the paint was peeling off the front gate. The letter would go on for page after bloody page of boring irrelevant tedious yes even MUNDANE shit. The memory of how the family laughed at her behind her back is strong. Even my lovely old Nanna would get a fit of the giggles (not in a good way) as she read it and she knew most of the people who were mentioned. It seemed like an attempt to get the last word in on any dispute and disguise it amid all the other banality.

Anyway I think I have been loath to include this sort of thing because this memory is so strong.

I hope that the silly cards make up for the computer geekiness.

Off now to mortgage something to pay for the stamps.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Competition’s not a dirty word.



 

Zig’s swimming ‘Carnival’ was on today. Well that’s what I would have called it. But in the modern style of let there not be any winners and therefore no losers, now it’s called a Swimming Fun Day.

Yeh there are Races, the guy on the loud speaker slipped a couple of times and called ‘em such, and if you have a race then everyone knows that someone wins and someone loses. The kids are 8 years old and that is not a euphemism for stupid. The winners high fived and the losers were consoled. Winners are grinners but the parents who came to watch were encouraged to cheer loudest for the losers. The winners were not named and famed, nor were the losers named and shamed. They were all treated the same.

Well how bloody tedious! The kids all know who won, the parents all know who won. Why those kids can’t be congratulated is beyond me. Why we have to bow down and praise the almighty mediocre is beyond me. When shit performances are praised as wonderful and average performances are called ‘Awesome’, how we inspire kids to true greatness is beyond me.

Except that it doesn’t matter how adults describe this stuff, kids just know. Winners know they won and their mates know who won, and kids who come last know that the bloody ‘Fun Day’ will be over soon enough and they can move on to something else that they might be good at.

I have bragged about Zig being a clever little bloke before. I do not brag about him being a terrific swimmer. But he is smart enough to know that if he goes in the last couple of races for each event he will in all likelihood win or come second, so I can send photos and videos and say he came first in the backstroke and be proud that he has worked out the system.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Censorship sucks





 

There’s a very left wing women’ magazine online that I have been reading and commenting on since it started some years ago. I reckon the addition of the occasional right winged argument is good for a bit of balance, but I don’t write as often as I have opinions, cos really that would be boring for the other women who seem to want their views reproduced as often as possible, by as many hairy armpitted  feministos as possible.

But recently there was an article about apologies. The crux of it was agitating for a long list of things that the current government has done which require an admission of guilt and a big red face. They ran pictures of people who had wronged ‘us all’ and the readership went to town adding to the list of woes.

I was in the midst of the shit with Belly and Centacare so I wrote that I wanted an apology from the people there. I named the office at Stones Corner Brisbane and as Centacare is a Catholic driven enterprise  I had a little go about the do gooder christians as well.
I'd like to hear more than just bloody 'sorry' from Centacare at Stones Corner for their bullying and lying and shouting at my daughter all the while telling a tertiary educated woman that she should feel lucky to be sloughing out bins with bleach and industrial hoses. I'd like them to take their catholic care package which seems to entitle them to cast all manner of aspersions on the parenting ways of a single woman and shove it where the don't shine.
I clicked on the post button and my message became the latest banner remark looping across the page. It was definitely published.

A day or so later I checked in to see if I had finally got on board with the lefties, but I found that my message had been deleted. This was very strange. I thought I had joined the throng of government haters and that there would have been women lined up to agree with me and encourage me in my fight. Instead there was just silence.

I wrote a quick note to Wendy Harmer the owner / editor and asked why the message had been deleted, but I have not heard back.

It strikes me as very odd that this magazine, touted to give women a voice would so openly censor its readers’ comments. I mean some of what I have read has made me cringe, but I would never suggest that the comments be removed, freedom of thought and opinion and expression and all that. I am left wondering if mine is not the lone righty shout. Maybe there are many who share with me a sense that the government does not owe me a living, but their comments have been similarly wiped away.

In any case, censorship sucks!! I’m just saying.

 

 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Ahead of his time.



Well I really needed to crack on with Zig’s  little Santa list. It appears that the thing he wants is not available in Oz yet.... Begs the question really about how he even knows it exits.

Anyway there are a number of sites in OZ which will facilitate the delivery of the ‘things’, after sourcing it from either the USA or the UK, but they would not give any indication that it would be here in time, instead they were positively pessimistic about it getting a seat on Santa’s sleigh.

So I went back to John Lewis online where I have been known to do the odd bit of shopping while in London and bugger me, there it was in their toy section. It is all ordered and paid for and on its way, and even after paying them 25 pounds to deliver it, and working out the exchange rate – yeh Steve was working the calculator over my shoulder, it was just a little cheaper than going with the local company.

I am always surprised that buying online here is so much more difficult. We bought everything online in London, appliances, lights, clothes, groceries, even literally the kitchen sink. Often there was no overt delivery charge, I imagine it was just sort of tagged onto the total before a price was given. John Lewis would deliver for nothing to your house or the closest Waitrose store, as they had really embraced the online shopping thing. In fact they had gone so far as to have their department stores set up as displays for what was possible online. I went in once to buy a couple of coffee mugs that were online and I thought that as I was passing I would just go in and grab ‘em, but they were ONLY available online.

I reckon Aussies might be a bit cynical about buying that thing in the brown paper bag. We like to see things and feel and smell ‘em, and let’s face it, it is a pain in the bum thinking about sending stuff back that doesn’t fit of is just plain ugly in the flesh. I have bought lots of stuff online and only ever have I sent one thing back, and that was mostly cos it was expensive and the people I spoke to were a bit shitful. Generally if the stuff is no good, I just hide it away or give it away. And it’s easy here to shop, generally the parking is no trouble and there is so little traffic and when you get home you just park in your garage and walk the stuff straight into your house. In London I would drive through the shitful traffic and spend ages looking for a park, pay an exorbitant fee and then rush in grab the stuff and drive home to park god knows how far from my front door. Instead I could tap away and wait for somebody to troop the stuff up my stairs while I watched the tellie. Lovely!

It’s all about the local culture I guess.

Anyway combining the Aussie ‘never say die spirit’ and the online tapping to Blighty, means that Ziggy is sorted!!

One down and it was a tricky one. Yippee.

 

 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.



 

December 1 and there is just no more escaping it, it’s time to get a bit sorted for the ‘season’. We are home this summer so that means we are lucky enough to spend time with the delightful Zig while his Mum is off toiling at the mines, no not literally, and then we get to watch him and her open up some parcels in person, so much better than by skype.

But first of course it is necessary to buy said parcels and that means heading out to the shops into the tinsel and plastic and the cues for Santa photos. I did a quick little reccie yesterday and was disappointed to come away empty handed. The beauty of kids writing their wish list to Santa, especially these days, is that the requests are pretty specific, so if you can find it then it’s YIPPEE, but if not then you are bollocksed.

Thanks to Carol I now have a website which might very well mean that I truly do not leave this office.

We are house swapping with Carol and Richard over the holidays. They are coming to enjoy the thrills of suburbia, with pool skimming and garden hosing and dog walking and fish feeding, and we are going to do nothing except enjoy being tourists in the big smoke. Sounds like a fair exchange to me!

So this week I am going to christmasify  the house for Zig and Carol and Richard. This means that all the bits and pieces we have bought over the years get an outing. I reckon it might be Steve’s favourite time of the year cos he really does like a bit of kitsch and I let him go nuts for Santa. We have stuff we found in Prague last xmas that will be seeing its very first noel. I am having trouble remembering what we picked from those wonderful markets, but I know where the box is.

So I am feeling a little more glee than grouch, and just in time too, cos there is a great deal to do and organise before I get to put my pretty painted toes up on my city break.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Crackers or gunfire, you decide.


 

It is no secret that I just love love love crackers. It might be the colours or the smell or the noise or the anticipation or the excitement or all of the above, but I do love ‘em.

So on Thursday night, quite late, while we veged in front of the tellie in our little bit of the suburbs, like a good old pair of sit-ins, we heard a round of blasts, which I immediately assumed were crackers. There weren’t many, maybe only half a dozen, but I figured some kids had got a hold of some illegal bungers and these bungs was left over from schoolies. The park next door has become quite the little meeting place for young folk after dark. I reckon it takes the kids a while to realise that school is over and now they are expected to act like adults and I am happy to give ‘em a few weeks to get their shit together.

Steve was less convinced about the crackers.

Friday morning I was up early and off to Brisvegas.

Sometime later when Steve tumbled out of bed and did the usual and then took Dog for a play, he was confronted by a large possie of police, some in scuba gear down on the beach. They had put out marker buoys and were using some sort of underwater metal detector as 2 of them dived. They were there for a long time. It was quite a spectacle.

Bloody typical I say, just when something interesting happens in the burbs, I am away and miss it. Bloody typical!

I wonder if they found any crackers.

 

 

Friday, 29 November 2013

‘Good fences make good neighbours’


 
 

When Robert Frost wrote ‘Mending Walls’,  he was being facetious saying that good fences make good neighbours. He was trying to point out how unnecessary they are, and all they do is keep people apart.

Well about now I wouldn’t mind being kept apart from the bloody neighbour building a car port. This has been going on for a long time. Their tradies are neither quick, nor reliable and certainly do not give a shit about pissing off the neighbours at 6.30am, by running all manner of power tools and shouting loudly up the street as they make a plan for the next five minutes before they head off to their proper jobs.

As soon as they roll up in their zooped up fucking utes, the dog gets ready for a full frontal attack, so that means I am and waiting too. Then the noise starts. I am pretty sure they are not permitted by law to start til 7am, but what’s 30 little minutes early between friends huh.

6 days a week and they are gone well before lunchtime. How long can it possibly take to build a bloody carport.

I would like someone to shove a drill or a mallet or a hammer or any one of the myriad of tools they are crashing about with, up their builders’ cracks. I’d do it myself but that would be a very pongy job indeed, ooooh YUK.

Bastards!!

Oh and Belly got herself a job, team leader at a nursery...propagating plants all day, she’s in heaven. What a clever persistent woman she is.

 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What goes around comes around.


 

Dibley dog is quite the demanding dog. Every morning she squeaks and slinks around and generally gets in my way until I relent and take her and her ball into the park. Today while we were playing an old bloke, a pom I think, not so much because of his accent as the fact that he was proudly sporting socks and sandals, and yeah the socks were pulled up high – yum!, told me to be wary of the area near the beach cos there was a lot of broken glass down there.

It always surprises me that people leave their shit all around when there are plenty of regularly emptied bins, but it gives me the irrits when they go out of their way to leave broken glass. Kids and dogs are in danger of cutting themselves up good and proper as they run madly around. They don’t pick their way across the grass, bit at a time, making sure to miss all the hazards and the ants’ nests and the dog shit. They don’t make their way with eyes cast downwards, so unlike me this morning they would have missed out on finding a tenner and then shortly after that a fiver. Yippee!!

I took my broom down to the paved area near the beach and swept up the glass and pocketed the 15 bucks thinking that it was reasonable recompense for the cleaning we do. Tough shit to the pocket from which it flew. I reckon that it could have flown out as the owner sprayed glass all over or played cricket with their sushi rubbish.  

 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Surely it's all in the delivery.


 
Political correctness is just a business in its own right these days. It seems that if someone finds a word objectionable or offensive and they jump up and down about it enough, these words can be outlawed and anyone not ‘on trend’ can be castigated for falling behind.

This week’s story about the small demo outside a clothing shop brought this to mind.


Saying someone is retarded is now and possibly has been for sometime pejorative. So I had a little look at the history of the word.

We are talking about folk who are less able mentally. Nowadays someone with an IQ between 50 and 75 is called Educable, i.e. able to learn something. Someone with an IQ less than 50 is called Trainable if it is felt they might be able to learn personal hygiene. There was no descriptor of someone less able than Trainable.

In times past Cretin was used, surpassed by Retard, Idiot, Imbecile, and Moron, each of these taking their place in common parlance and then discarded presumably because some do-gooder thought them to insulting.

Now with political correctness we are meant to say developmentally disabled, or developmentally delayed. Or maybe I am already behind the times and there is something new.

How can a T-shirt with Retarde be offensive. The folk who were protesting put Retarde in the same category as Nigger and as the derivation of Nigger started out innocently enough as a noun describing a black person, I can see the argument. But Nigger has certainly since been bandied as an inflamatory insult. If shouted out, it is meant as a disgusting slur. If whispered, it is meant as some sort of insulting warning. There is a long history of abuse and neglect and mistreatment that is associated with the word and so I can readily see how putting it on a T-shirt would not be the done thing.

But Retarde is different. Words describing mentally less able people have changed probably as a result of able people feeling a little guilty of being able and not really knowing how to deal with less able others.

What I am saying is that I am certain that a black person would prefer to be called Black than the N word. I can see how a black person could and would become more than a little agitated if refered to as the N word. There is no misunderstanding the meaning and the venom attached to that word. But I am not at all certain that a less able person would care if they were called Retarded or Developmentally Disabled.

I if shout and sneer ‘Retard or developmentally disabled or fat or ugly or yellow or girl or boy’ and follow that with a rude finger gesture, then people would be right to take offense, but otherwise I don’t see the problem.

Surely it’s all in the delivery.