Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Finally a Little Wet Relief

It certainly has been dry. The grass is crunchie and the mandatory water tank is full of only air. I have been watering the new trees and trying to be as conservative with the drops as I can because of the ridiculous cost of water.

The heat and the wind have meant that the pond and the pool need topping up and I reckon filling the pond with tap water has been the cause of the demise of a couple of ‘the girls’. I took a sample to be tested and the PH is off the charts and so now I have placed a whopping great bit of drift wood in there in the perhaps rather silly belief that things will right themselves. The girls seem to like swimming through it so all is not lost even if it becomes an expensive bit of playground equipment for them.

I am not too sentimental about the passing of a fish. I reckon if they are not tough enough to survive, then, oh well never mind. I usually scoop out the deaden with a slotted spoon and splodge it over the fence into the park, but I must have been preoccupied during the latest ‘ceremony’ and before I knew it I had gone the big hooook over the fence. As my arm was still in motion I realised that there could easily be someone there getting a face full of dead fish! I waited for a reaction.... I heard it land I think. No damage done. Wheww!

All day the news had been full of storm warnings. I waited, and waited. 2 o’clock it rained a bit and it was a bit windy, with a bit of lightning and thunder, but not enough to really send Dog over the nervy edge. And then at about 6 it started again. This was a little more fierce. I had to turn the tellie up so I could hear the news and I spent time giving the old sooky girl a cuddle on the floor. The noise and rain soon passed and it just seemed a disappointment to me that there was not more of the wet stuff.

The memory of the smell of impending summer storms is strong and pleasant. I hope this storm season is long and wet. The grass is crying out for it.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Girlie Lunch

There’s nothing quite like a girlie lunch in the village cafe.

A bottle of bubbles and roars of laughter, some serious bits of conversation, some good food, and the somewhat tedious company of an older couple either on their second date or a hiding away from the spouse assignation, made for a fine afternoon.

The couple in question really should have just, ‘got a room’. I think young people in the blush of romance who just cannot keep their hands off each other, whilst a little sick making, is forgivable. We all can remember when lust won out over propriety. But these 2 were older and should have known better. They were in public, mauling each other, in the middle of the day AND they were sober! They could have sat in the park and been at least a little more inconspicuous. Really it put me off my food, and we all know it is never wise to get between me and a meal.

A business woman from the village we all know, was working and unable to join us, though the waft of bubbles certainly tempted her.

She penned this little verse for us.

A ‘POME’ from My Desk

I LOVE the idea that you asked me

To sit and join in the fun with you three!

The sound of your laughter,

And the sparkle in your eyes,

Make me leave the table with masses of sighs!

One redhead, one blonde and one of brown,

If it was night-time you’d be really painting the town.


It was recited loudly in a very ‘strine’ accent and we laughed some more and waved when she emerged from her office for air.

We righted the world and remedied strained relationships, and laughed and enjoyed the silliness of Christmas drinks in October.

It is stomping its way towards us, that Christmas. Better drag out the tinsel and tree and dust off the Santa hats. It won’t be long now.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A Little bit of Peace and Quiet

The roar of the V8s does nothing for me, in fact after 2 days of the incessant background hum of ‘em and the associated buzz of the bloody helicopters – seriously a Vietnam vet would have been hiding under the bed! I had had more than enough so a little road trip was in order.

Not far down the motorway is a sleepy little place called Tumbulgum, strange name, sweet place. We took dog and sat with a takeaway coffee and cake right by the river and enjoyed, you guessed the SILENCE. Ah how lovely!

It is just a strip of bugger all right on the river and even tho it is completely dog unfriendly we have been a few times. It is very popular. The pub is packed out – yes kids are allowed but you can’t even tie dogs to the road posts. I am not sure how that is illegal, but there are signs up so we didn’t.

There is a little cafe / restaurant with a lot of outside seating and again kids but no dogs allowed. The takeaways are fine.

There are signs up showing where you can take the dog for a walk – not sure who authorised or paid for the signs. We sat well away from said signs and Dog had a lovely little romp on the grass, took a dump in the leaf litter, (which Steve scooped up) and licked her first cappuccino.

We all had a lovely silent time. Ahhhhh

Who won that bloody race...... who cares.... Ok I know Carol cares.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Dish Pig by any other name still reeks of bleach.

Centacare Brisbane


Well the catholic do gooders from Centacare – a misnomer if ever there was one, have conned and lied to Belly and she has taken a job as a dish pig in a food prep factory.

They told her – remember I was sitting there, that the job was gonna be a forklift and delivery driver.

But here is the reality.

There is some no name food factory in Salisbury where Belly has fronted now for a week. She is yet to find a car park and she took 3 days to find the loo. She has found the front room where she was interviewed, 2 cold rooms and the kitchen where she spends her hours sloughing out buckets and bins with caustic bleach, with no safety equipment or supervision or explanation.

On day 3 or 4 she spied a hand operated lifter thing.

At the ‘all female concern’ she has spotted 2 women and the rest – 5 or 6 that she has seen but not met are all blokes.

She has worked until everything is clean, for minimum wage which she should see sometime next week.

She arrives early and does not eat or drink, yes she has a fag break!

She and I fronted the lying, self serving, pious, sanctimonious, looking down his nose at both of us, manager on Wednesday.

Tom or tony or some T name, stared at his computer for more than a minute while we sat and waited. Finally he turned and said to me, ‘You cannot talk’, no introduction, no how’s it going, no pleasantries at all, just, ‘You cannot talk’

He started in on Belly. She was crying. She had worked hard for 3 days without even basic equipment like gum boots and gloves, the skin was peeling off her hands and her feet were wrinkled and clammy from hours in bleach and water. And she would not have cared about any of this had she seen even the slightest glimpse of what she had been promised.

I stared at T person and played the game. I spoke to Belly and she spoke to him. He heard it all twice.

He berated Belly and told her how important it was that her child not grow up to be another generation on welfare.

I didn’t punch him!

I told Belly to mention Health and Safety and the agency’s responsibility to have completed some sort of recognisance to ratify the work place as safe.

I told her to say that she had been conned and lied to. That she was now stuck in this place because the dole office had been told she was now employed and that if she quit, she would not receive any benifits at all for at least 6 weeks.

She described the work environment and mentioned that in her previous roles as manager where she hired and fired and trained, she had never seen anything like it.

T person did not give a shit. He kept rolling out the religious right winged propaganda designed to make any woman - slutty enough to find themself raising a child on their own outside of marriage, feel like shit.

What a shitful place it is. Yes Belly left with a voucher for a pair of gum boots, but everyone knew that there were no small sized boots at the place she was being sent. That's because this place deals with MALE ex cons and deros. So she was sent off to get a pair of boots at taxpayers’ expense that were  always going to be too big and blister causing. Yes Belly was provided with some work pants ( initially a men’s size 97!! – she is a tiny size 10 ) Again at the taxpayers’ expense. The Centacare people are more than happy to spend public money on ineffectual gear and then pretend they are literally god’s gift.

T person said they would try to find Belly something else , but first they had to find someone to take her job....I suppose it is possible that they will be able to bullshit some other poor bastard but I dont’ know how long that will take!! Clearly they are not working for Belly, they are just providing slave stupids to the unnamed factory, whilst spending taxpayer funds to provide that which the factory aught  have to hand.

The factory has given her a 5 page contract to sign!! All about their rights!!

I am yet to see where they mention providing a safe work environment, but I haven’t finished yet.

No wonder people get jaded and manage to find ways to rort the system, god knows Centacare seem to have done just that!
If you are not an ex-con or a dero, avoid this place like the plague!



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Homework, now it’s a Multi Generational Game.

I don’t believe in homework, certainly now for littlies. I reckon they are at school long enough and home time should be fun time.

Kids are often dropped at before school care at 7am, just in time for a breakfast that is nearly always better than the one they had at home, well they are left to their own devices and have some choice and they have some mates there too, even if there is no honey for the weetbix so they have to have toast.

They are at school sometimes until 5.30. I am not sure whether there is homework supervision at after school care, I hope not!

They are collected and so starts the afternoon / evening routine, of  homework, dinner and shower and organise swimming bag for tomorrow and find that bit of homework from yesterday or that library book, read a bit and if everyone is really lucky there might be time for a cuddle for mummy.

How does this sound like FUN.

There must be time for kids to play and wonder and just sit still doing nothing if that’s what they fancy. Their little lives are soo bloody crowded.

The inclusion of the homework task, regardless of whether it is a big job set at the start of the week due on Friday, or little bits due every morning just adds a cause for irritation and argument.

‘Have you done your homework’

‘Yes Mum’

‘Show me please’

‘I’m looking for my bathing cap’

‘Where’s the homework!!’

‘I can’t seem to get my laces untied, my shoe won’t come off, and Highlander is on the tellie soon I think and oh look at Kittie she is doing a big pooh and .....’

‘Where’s your bloody homework. Don’t lie to me! I know you haven’t done it. Sit down now and do it while I make the dinner.’

‘Ooops sorry Mum, the milk has gone all over my book.’

Kids and Mums need some time just to be a family, they don’t need all this bollocks EVERY night.

Those lucky bastard weekend fathers get off scott free I reckon, they get all the play time. Good time dads....ho bloody hum.

So anyway last night saw numerous text messages and 3 phone calls and some text messages after that. Zig needed help with some science project about something to do with heat. He needed to identify and then grade the heat generated by things at home....and because he is a little smartie pants he wanted to do the microwave. A conference call between Belly, Zig, Ma and thankfully Pa decided that the science behind the nuker was really just a step too far for Zig and possible Belly and definitely Ma, so after much tooing and froing we all settled on the BBQ and THE BLOODY SUN.

I was set the task of finding good pictures on the internet and printing them out cos there is no printer at their place – just as well cos Zig might have wanted to study the heat generated by a printer, and Belly was left to supervise the collection of data and the compilation of a report.

I am sure that there is no fun to be had by the teacher marking this either, so all up it is not a win win situation.

I would like to see playing Downhill Skiing on the Xbox set as homework. That would be FUN!

Monday, 21 October 2013

A Boy and His Dog

There really is just nothing quite like the bond between the little fella and Dibley Dog.

Zig came out to the pound with us more than 4 years ago and he picked out Dibley. The people there let us ‘test drive’ the dog and after a few minutes we were gone. We were parents to this lovely girl. Or so we thought. We had to go through a rigorous adoption interview and then had to be approved after an investigation into whether or not our place was suitable for a dog.

The next day after getting our confirmation phone call we went out to collect her and she has been Zig’s dog ever since.

She runs herself and him ragged whenever Zig visits. They are great chums and one is never far from the other.

Yesterday Belly dropped Zig down for a sleep over because of a ‘pupil free’ day at school. How lucky I thought that we got to play. And play we or really I should say THEY did. In an out of the pool running like maniacs the pair of them. Drying off then a shared roast dinner courtesy of PA and then to bed, both of ‘em completely pooped. Dibley kept on going AWOL. She wasn’t to be found asleep on my feet on the couch, or sleeping on the cool floor or chasing away burglars in the park. She came when she was called, but then she silently mooched off again into Zig’s room where she ended up sleeping the night, on his bed.

5.30 am was a bit of a rude awakening but dog was up, boy was up so MA was up too.

We 3 have been in the pool and romping all day. I am pleasantly sunburned and ready for a sleep. When I dropped Zig off he was dead on his feet and the dog has been asleep all afternoon.

What a lovely visit we have all had.


Saturday, 19 October 2013


I don’t reckon there could be a more thankless way of spending a Saturday than IRONING.

It is no secret that there are few domestic jobs that I actually like. Well none in fact if you don’t count the fact that I quite enjoy polishing the kitchen granite, which is a strange admission I know, but the ironing really does just take the biscuit, well not just the biscuit, the whole bloody bakery!

I hate it! It is tedious and boring and actually quite hot work. My knees ache and there is no amount of daydreaming or tellie watching that can fool the brain into believing that this is a worthwhile pursuit.

I wish I could con myself into believing that ironing was not necessary, but I do love sleeping on just ironed pillow cases and there can be no doubt that clothes just feel better when the fibres have been relaxed by being squashed between the hot pressure of the iron and the spongy ironing board.

There is only one part of it that is any good at all and that is when I get to look into the empty bloody basket.

What a pisser that it is a never ending story.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Nanna's ways and means.

My Nanna was a lovely woman. She lived in an era of simplicity and good manners. If she were still chowing down her Ford Pills and smiling at her flying ducks, I am not at all sure she would be thrilled to be rocketing along at today’s fast pace and I am bloody certain she would be mourning the loss of the humble, simple things in life.

She used to wake me with a good strong cup of tea and a couple of buttered wheatmeal biscuits. I felt loved and special – in the old fashioned sense of the word. We lived together for more than a year after Pop died. We’d sit together and talk bollocks and laugh and laugh. I would borrow her clothes and be literally walking out in vintage gear.

She was perhaps the worst dinner cook in the world, but she sure could cook a christmas pudding from scratch and they could be found hanging in the laundry, in their calico skirts 2 months before the big day.

My GP Dr Jane who is but a young woman herself, transported me back to this simple time this week.

Late last week I was besieged by calls from the specialists – firstly the office manager – not the silly cows on the phones and then the next day, the doctor herself rang, full of apologies and explanations and justifications. I did not pull up short of telling her how shitful the treatment had been and she was less than flattered when I told her that I got better after-sales service on my car. It was all pretty fraught but I finally made arrangements to see yet another fucking doctor at the arse end of somewhere in Brisbane next week.

It didn’t dawn on me until I walked into see Jane, that she might have had anything to do with the remarkable turnaround. I asked her and she quickly copped to having rung them and she said that she gave ‘em a bit of a what-for! She said that not often but sometimes she does this cos she sees the specialists getting away with less than she thinks her patients deserve. It was such a reminder of those childhood ‘quacks’ who seemed to know everything about you. Well they did in fact know everything cos they had been seeing you since before you were born.

I reckon this type of doctoring would have pleased my Nanna. Simple and caring and basic and human.

She is a good woman our Dr Jane, my Nanna would have liked her.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Job Hunting - oh Dear.

Ok, Hands up if you have ever been unemployed. I remember the days of looking for a vacancy in the paper, making a call from the pay phone down the road, making an appointment, typing up a resume, tarting myself up and heading off for the interview.

I remember applying for jobs online and following a the self same old style pattern, leading to an interview similarly tarted up, sometimes I even wore closed in shoes and remembered to spit out the gum.

But now, now the government has become heavily invested in the gallant art of empowering people into work.

Now you go to ‘sign on’ and are allocated to an agency which will help you to write a CV, apply for appropriate jobs, tell you what to wear, coach you on how to lie to prospective employers, insist that you jump through all the hoops that have been designed for them to prove they have met their KPIs ( no idea either, it is government speak for Key Performance Indicators) so they can keep their jobs but in reality will not help you find a job at all.

These agencies also seem to vary. Some I guess are aimed at helping bright able people find work after redundancy has reared its ugly head. The vacancies listed would most certainly match the expected clientele. However some agencies are aiming to place all manner of parolee, jail jumpers, and deros. The vacancies they drum up also seem to reflect their clientele.

Now wouldn’t it be a bugger if the dick at the sign on office sent you to the wrong agency. Imagine trying to find a job after your 2 year contract was cancelled, when you are sent off to the jail folk agency. The jobs are things like dish pig or car washer, things where the worker cannot access anything worth stealing and where if they don’t show up on time or indeed at all, there are no major ramifications. Noone is gonna die cos the cars aren’t washed after all.

And still you are so keen to get a job so you can afford to pay the bills that you jump through all the hoops, suck it up when idiots tell you what to do, try not to be too judgemental at ‘JOB CLUB’ when you are surrounded by said parolees, though you do admit to keeping a close eye on your handbag and mobile phone.

The first contact between you and the prospective employer is through the agency staff who are barely literate and do not seem to have a clue about how to best present you. Their letters of introduction are at best poorly worded and at worst outline all your ’problems’. It seems that contrary to legislation the staff find it necessary to divulge marital status etc and point out that this is consider to be part of your problem.

Now I imagine that it would make sense that the ‘good job’ agencies are staffed by better people, tho I don’t know if this is true. But I do know that the staff at the agency for jail birds are RUBBISH.

I have been lucky enough today to sit in with Belly as she tried to organise a job interview for tomorrow. The staff were either sweet and ineffectual – Hopeless Hannah or just bloody aggressive mean spirited and inarticulate - cruel Christine. The bully Christine was not amused when I pointed out just how aggressive she was and the effect it was having on Bell. She just continued to rant on and on and was even less than happy when I pointed out that Bell’s marital status was of no one’s business and that her role of mother was hardly a ‘problem’, and in any case perhaps best not mentioned in an initial contact. She simply ignored the references to the shit wording of the email introduction.

I hope that it is not the reality, but maybe the people offering these shit jobs to deros do not put too much store in the written word and just want a warm body to do the grunt work.

Anyway it took all day - 4 visits! Both Hannah and cruel Christine seemed thrilled that they had organised an interview for tomorrow – that is 2 in 8 weeks!! Belly has used the old fashioned approach and has been on many interviews in this time but the agency has been good for 1 so far and another tomorrow. And whilst it is possible to change to another agency, the move would be tainted because it would appear the jail bird place has had enough of her and given her the finger!

I fail to see how anyone thinks this is a useful approach to unemployment. It is expensive and appallingly ineffective. It is demoralising especially when you think that this place is staffed by fools and bullies. How is it possible for these people to have a cushie government job and Belly is applying for dish pig jobs.

I know I sound like a grumpy old woman, but I just cannot work it out.

Monday, 14 October 2013

It's TIME!!!

I need to get my roots done! It always surprises me that one day you are happy enough with the coiffure such as it might be and then the next minute it is a desperate shambles that must be sorted immediate!

And thus it has always been for me. Steve seems to be able to carry on regardless for weeks after making the announcement. Maybe that’s just a boy thing.

I have always spent far too much time and money and healthy disregard for chemical poisoning getting my hair done. I reckon that money spent on a ‘DO’ is better than a new dress cos you can wear the hair everyday and let’s face it, the new gear gets a little tired after the first couple of  outings.

After trawling through the old photos yesterday, looking for the pic of Dad, I spent a lovely while reminiscing today. I realised that I have been excellent in terms of keeping the cogs of the economy clicking over. I have spent a shit load of cash at the hairdressers!  I have had every colour, shape length and curliness. I barely recognised some of that hair!!

All that change and phaffing and today I have the same colour hair as I had when I was a girl, straight from the sun and the surf, or the swimming pool. Of course the whiteness is only achieved today through the efforts of AnnBrit and shed loads of bleach and hours of patience on the part of all in the salon. Yeh I do get edgy after about the first 2 hours of sitting reading all that shit in the gossip mags.

Looking at all those colourful years flashing by in the albums I am tempted to go for a change except that any more abuse might just be a step too far. The whole bloody lot might just fall out and who could blame it.

White might just have to do or maybe not.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

I do love the WIND

It’s  all blue skies and blowing a gale today.

I do love the wind. It gives an excellent excuse, if you need one that is, why your hair is just a big old mess. I am aware that in reality I look like shit, but in my mind I have the deluded image of some wind swept babe on a beach chomping up some choccie and slurping down a gallon of champers, all of course with the utmost grace and decorum.

I have been letting my hair grow, for no other reason than it has been easier to manage through all the shit of the last 6 months. Pull it back into a band and call it done. I reckon blow drying might well be a thing of the past. The wind today will be a good substitute! It will whip hair around to caress my neck and the rise and fall of it will be all very sensual. (I know the reality..... whipped into a frenzie, hair slapping my eyes, getting caught in my mouth and those shitful knots will be a killer....I know. I am just enjoying the delusion.)

But I do love the wind.

When it is running from the north as it is today, the traffic noise is taken off to the fairies and the water in the canal and the pool sparkles and moves. The sand at the beach is hurled around at warp speed, licking off skin and the blue bottles arrive for a stinging visit.

I do love the wind.

It sort of slows everything down a bit and so it feels almost like holidays. Oh I know, everyday is a holiday here, but it reminds me of childhood hols with my dad, fishing (I always hated fishing!) or better still sailing ( I did love sailing that old wooden tubbed boat, TIKU) I loved being there with him in the wind.

I really think Dad and I were the only ones that loved her. The old woman would go into melt down at the thought of going out for the day, far worse if a weekend was planned. She would sit in the airless cabin and complain of stomach upset or other such illness. The brother was always nervous about anytime in close proximity to Dad and the sister couldn’t swim so was terrified of being on the water.

Dad and I loved the adventure! On one particularly auspicious afternoon we were travelling home across Moreton Bay and the wind had really picked up. The motor was once again kaput so we were under sail. The others were in the cabin and Dad and I were enjoying the wind in our hair. The old girl leaned and leaned and leaned and then without a life jacket in sight I clearly heard Dad yell above the noise and the madness, ‘Oh we are gone this time!!’

Well we didn’t go. That little boat was like the Little Engine that Could, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.’ We made it home in one piece, Dad and I exhilarated and the others shattered. I am not sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the last time the old woman ever stepped foot on old TIKU.

I think the wind always makes me feel like an adventure is possible.



Thursday, 10 October 2013

NAPLAN testing Ho Hum

The results are out!! Those pesky tests which every kid in certain year levels in Australia are meant to sit have been marked and calibrated and the results have been sent to schools and teachers and now parents.

I guess the Principals had a good hard look and worked out which teachers were to blame for shit results and which teachers they were gonna hang onto by hook or by crook.

The teachers will have had a look and decided which kids need extra help and how they need to moderate their curriculum so that results can be improved next year. They might also have spent time looking at how much ‘value adding’ has been achieved even if the results in their group were less than FABBO! This all in preparation for the ‘chat’ with the principal for a little ‘Please explain.’

What a shitful existence for these teachers, lurching from one statistic to another and trying to justify their methods and results based on a pretty perfunctory little exam. I mean the exam doesn’t measure joy or pleasure or anxiety or wonder or creative thinking. ( Is this a good time to admit that I haven’t seen the test so I am only surmising). It doesn’t take into account how well the teacher knows the kids’ circumstances and how the kids’ interests are met and explored. It doesn’t measure how happy the kids are in the room.

So I have always questioned the validity of these results and the testing. I have been long concerned that teaching will be targeted towards these tests rather than a more creative curriculum.

Now having said all this it’s time to boast!! Yeah to Ziggy!! He aced his test across the board with the highest possible results in every category except spelling... Bloody brilliant little man!! Ma is so PROUD.

In a utopian world his teachers would now take these results and cater learning tasks to his interests and abilities, so that his school results would reflect his capabilities, but we all know that the truth is that instead things will be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator and he will continue to be bored and always in strife.

His mum and I are pleased as punch....he’s not fallen far from his mother tree! I only hope that the insistent use of these bloody tests don’t become the impetus behind his whole education. I reckon I would not want to be teaching him in high school if that is the case.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Finally some real Customer Service


What a difference it makes talking to an actual person!!

The lovely Belly’s phone contract was out of control, and there had been all sorts of interference and best intentioned advice all of which had combined to make making a choice virtually impossible. Confusion was reigning supreme, so here’s some advice about how to deal with the nasty necessary bureaucracy.

Always have an ‘End Game’. There is no point being undecided about what you want to achieve. The staff are gonna appreciate knowing where they are headed, even if they don’t want to go there.

Always ask politely to speak to the manager. The person out the front of the Optus store is almost certainly some underling who almost certainly will not be of much help. There will nearly always be an excuse why the manager is not available, but they magically become available when you politely say that you understand they are busy and that you are happy to wait. You must of course then just stand your ground - Don’t speak or move.

When the manager comes out, direct the meeting by choosing where to sit and outline your ‘end game’. This is often more than a little tricky which explains why customers are shrugged off with glossy brochures or tales of ridiculous additional charges and penalties.

Make it very clear that you have all day and that you are going nowhere until you get what you want.

Belly just wanted to be on a plan that she could afford. The manager soon realised that we were going nowhere so she had no choice but to ‘work in’

She accessed bills, reset passwords, printed out bills from the last 4 or 5 months, analysed useage and determined the best plan. She was patient and efficient and we left feeling all sorted. And we had her business card which she was happy for Belly to use in the future if more help is required.

I said to Bell later that it is important to limit what you say. You should not apologise for needing help. That’s what these people are paid for!

Natalie – the manager, initially wanted us to ring the customer services number that she had circled on the brochure and I told her that we weren’t going to do that, that we wanted to talk to a real person, to look them in the face. The brush off is the first attempt to get problem customers out of the shop, and had already been successful on at least 2 occasions. It should probably not be necessary to quietly demand more, but it seems to be the case today.

The folk in the shop probably work on a commission basis and so are only interested in ‘signing people up’. Anything else is too much trouble for no return.

I wonder when customer service became the barely intelligible drone on the end of a long distance line. Well done Natalie from Optus at Carindale, you have allowed us to cross something off Bell’s  long list of ‘To Dos’ , and have actually provided some customer SERVICE.

Saturday, 5 October 2013


There’s a gum tree outside the side gate into the park and it is truly majestic. It soars perhaps a more than  a hundred feet high and sways and dances in the breeze. If you lay down under it and just stare up, I reckon the  melody and the contrast with the blue blue sky would be plenty to hypnotise.

That’s the poetic view of it. The reality of living next door to this girl is that the pool is always full of long spindly leaves that require specialty vacuuming and once every year or 2 it grows too big for its breeches and it bursts out of its bark!! Bits of bark come lose and fly high for a while, before landing, – yeah you guessed it, in the pool. Some of these bits are tiny and so are sucked up easily enough but some of them are big enough to knock out a small child and so need to be individually scooped up.

We go from AHH to ARGH to Ahh in a moment.

The tree trunk beneath the shedding is smooth and beautiful and all the scars from its growth and lovers’s etchings are for a little while at least rubbed out.

It is such a curious thing watching this tree shrug off the bark. I have stood a picked off large chunks just to give it a bit of a hand. It has become something of an addiction. I do so enjoy testing myself to see what size of chunk I can remove in one go. It’s like picking off bits of skin when you are peeling only this is far more satisfying. Sadly I have done all I can without the use of a ladder or climbing onto Steve’s shoulders and that would be too obsessive and more than a little dangerous for me and for him!!

So now I get to watch the old girl’s arms slough off the dead stuff and wait for the whole tree to be smooth and lovely. Reckon this must mean there is still hope for my withered old feet and barnacled hands.






Thursday, 3 October 2013

This is NOT a Merry Rant

So less of the merry and more of a rant!!!

Fucking doctors and their front of house staff, need a big lesson in honesty and humility.

I am completely fucked if I can work out what makes them so fucking smug and self righteous!

I fail to see how it is possible for a specialist, Selena Young to see me more than 2 weeks ago and identify that I have lymphoedema in my right breast and for her to tell other doctors about this but then tell me that, ‘It’s nothing, it’s ok, it will go away, It’s nothing to worry about.’ She all but patted me on the head and condescendingly sent me on my way. That’ll be a $100 , thanks!

More than a month ago when I first started to feel pain in my boob and noticed it swelling up, watermelon size!! I rang to get an appointment with the surgeon Kate Stringer. I spoke to the girlie on the desk – Stacey - on 2 different occasions and told her I had pain in my boob and needed an appointment. The best she could do was have me wait for more than a month. I asked her directly if she had told Kate about the pain and even though she said she had the hesitation in her voice led me to believe otherwise.

So since then I have had the ‘laying on of hands’ by my GP Jane and the useless Selena. I have had a course of super sized antibiotics, - courtesy of Jane cos, ‘It might help and can do no harm’. I have been out and bought bigger and bigger boob control equipment and have endured severely interrupted sleep because of the pain. Yeh I am grouchy alright!!

Yesterday I drove the hour plus to Brisbane for my 4 o’clock appointment with Kate and arrived early cos god forbid a doctor is ever kept waiting. At 5 o’clock it was finally my turn. Kate turned to the right page on the screen and read the report from Selena in which she had diagnosed lymphoedema. Kate had a look and agreed. She said that treatment was possible and when she tried to find the name of someone on the Goldie who could help me she was stymied because they had all gone home because it was so fucking late!! She said her staff would look into it and give me a call today.

Then Stacey took over, and tried to make appointments and take money. I told her that I was not inclined to come back as ordered as I have another option and the other doctor had not kept me waiting even ONCE is more than 20 years. She harped on in her girl voice about my need to be seen for 7 years, even though she appeared to know nothing of my history ( she started by asking me if I had had any surgery). I do not know what made her think that she was an expert, or indeed even better placed to know my body and my needs than I am, but thus was the case.

Stacey who had, I believe, been instructed to find the name of someone to help treat the lymphoedema had done precisely NOTHING by 11 am this morning, so now I have found someone myself. Stacey refused to come to the phone when I rang. The girlie who answered the phone put me on hold twice and only finally gave ME the name of someone I could ring for helpful hints after I insisted that she did so. This number went straight to answer phone.

As I have now delayed the start of treatment for more than a month, because Stacey, with all her medical training and knowledge, didn’t deem it important to make an emergency appointment, there was for me, an urgency to get started. Quite apart from the pain, I am very very keen to avoid the swelling  continuing down my arm. This situation has filled me with fear for the last 20 years on my left side!! I did some sleuthing on my own and have an appointment for tomorrow morning. The people calling me back now from all sources that have already fleeced thousands from me, are just confirming what I have already discovered.

It might be possible to be more sanguine about all this had I been treated at the behest of the government, but this has all been private care, and I use the term very loosely, at enormous expense.

Just who the fuck do these people think they are.



Tuesday, 1 October 2013

An exercise in Patience.


The Girls – AKA as my little fishies have become increasingly more difficult to see. The green sludge has definitely taken over and the smell has begun wafting into the house, so it is TIME.

The instructions were to empty the pond by 80% and then re-fill it using the chemicals I bought yesterday.
I don’t know why my logical brain deserted me this morning, but I went about the usual routine of setting up the hose to siphon out the water and thought I will just be patient. I kept popping out to see the progress and scoop out some of the sludge but progress was stupidly slow. It wasn’t until about 3 and a half hours in that it dawned on me that I could have been using 2 hoses and better still 3 hoses. Progress was hastened and after about 5 hours I was ready to fill it up again. The slim buster goes in last!

The poor fish have been a bit nuts and I am hoping that they will survive. Some of them may well be too skittish but if that’s the case they might as well close up shop now cos I rather doubt that this will be the last of the fishie upsets.

There seems to be as many bits of advice as there are holes in the Governments ‘Turn back the boats’ policy, so I am not at all sure of the efficacy of my plan. Fill it up, slop in the chemicals, continue to slop more in until there is a miracle of science and the pond turns from green to clear, and all the while crossing fingers that The Girls survive. I am gonna get some more plants and see if I can kill them too, cos I reckon reducing the sunshine into the water sounds like good advice, but I have not been privy to any science education since I was 15 and yes, that’s some time ago, so who knows.

At least the pong should be gone for a now and the filter thing might not need to be rung out 2 times a day, and I should be able to see The Girls swim by.

If I was a Christian woman I would send up a prayer cos I recall that there was some affinity there with fishes, but as an atheist all I can do is be patient and see how it goes.