Sunday, 28 September 2014

Spring sprung on steroids in Brisveags

In London, acres of daffodils popping up in round-abouts and median strips, herald the end of the cold and announce the hope of a long warm summer, but in Brisbane, Spring does not come pogoing along until after Riverfire.

There really is no spring when you live in the near tropics. You just go from carrying a bit of a cardie at night, 'just in case' to sweating up a storm wearing as little as possible. My thongs never get relegated, neither do my shorts or shortie T-shirts. The transition is often measured in hours, certainly it's not a gradual 3 month slip.

I suppose things start to grow more rampantly and it's a pretty good time to chuck some seeds and stuff in the dirt if you fancy some flowers, and it's necessary to check out the state of the pool water to make sure it's ready for the season opener.

The Warana Festival  in Brissie started in 1966 and was pleasant, if a little twee by today's standards. There was a fence painting competition and a street parade and other areas of the Arts were showcased. It grew a bit like topsy until the late 1990s when there was a cracker of an idea and the rest as they say is history.

The Arts are highlighted and people brush off the cobwebs accumulated in the short sharp winter and spend time, day and night, outdoors.

The crackers are a mad, loud, vibrant, smokey, kick up the bum to anyone who needs to be reminded that  summer is on its way. The day / night is family friendly and entertaining and fun and well, just bloody wonderful. The Planes and the helicopters and the little bit of nautical craziness on the river are FAB. And then when the fireworks start I am in a magical playground of colour and noise and smoke.

Last night's crackers were the best I have seen anywhere in the world in my whole life. Gobsmackingly great!

I am not too thrilled about the onset of the stinky sweaty season but I do like the Town Crier that makes the announcement.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Howard's Storage - surprising little space for customer service.

A while back I finally fitted out my dream laundry. We were introduced to Howard's Storage and Helen came to the house and designed some stuff which we revised and then went in and ordered and collected stuff to make laundry day more pleasant.

While I was there I spied a little rubbish bin that goes on the back of one of your kitchen cupboard doors. I am a second generation hang a placcie bag up somewhere in the kitchen and take it out everyday gal. And so Steve and I have had said placcie bag hanging off a chair in the big house all these years. I liked the idea of this little compact unit hanging off the inside of a door.

I asked Helen if there was any trouble hanging it and she boasted that she had one and that someone - might have been her son? installed it easy as pie.

Steve, my Civil Engineer, took one look at it and said that the screws were too long and so back we went to get some smaller ones.

So this is the crossroads in the story telling.

Choose your own ending.

Ending A is Howard's Storage's Camila-of-the-no-surname-but-tag-said-Manager story.

" I have been told that my staff told you that they did indeed have some smaller screws and offered them to you, and he said, 'NO THANKS, I'LL USE THESE"

Ending B - Sue's story.

We went in and spoke to Helen and she said they didn't have any other screws so Steve shortened the supplied ones but unfortunately still managed to crack the 2-Pac finish on the doors.

Sue made comment on Howard's Storage Facie Page and instantly it was pulled down and Camila rang to see if she could sort things. Camila offered a full refund of the cost of the bin and also gave the name of the general manager in case we wanted to take the damage to the door further.

Final encounter.

Sue and Camila.

Camila said that she had never agreed to a refund without the return of the bin. When Sue pointed out that that would leave even further damage to the door evident, Camila said, 'Well that's just our policy. I explained this to you when I spoke to you on the phone.'

Sue said, 'You did not at anytime mention that I needed to return the item for a refund. Your staff's account of the exchange is incorrect.'

Camila refused to comment on the likelihood of her 'story' about Steve REFUSING to take the appropriate screws. She kept hedging with repetition of, 'That is what my staff said.'

The final wash-up

If you believe Howard's Storage story then you will agree that all their products need to come with a dickhead disclaimer, something like, if you are a complete moron, who refuses to take advice or are too stupid to read basic instructions or are so lacking in rudimentary comprehension skills, PLEASE SHOP ELSEWHERE.

If you think that Sue's Story might be closer to the mark, then be very very mindful of ever shopping at Howard's Storage. Some of their products are NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE, and their aftersales service is none existent and their customer service is a misnomer.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Dinner 'Disaster' what a giggle!

We went off to dinner last night to Kurrawa Surf Club. I had booked a table on the verandah so we were guaranteed a view of the surf. Yeh I know it's dark but some of the surf is flood lit and lovely and you can see the shine of sweat on all the loons as they work out.

Bell and Steve got the view and the pushing and shoving of the large herd of kids at the table behind us and Zig and I got the view of said kids and the safety of the glass wall and the plastic roller blind. There are always pluses and minuses.

We read through the menu and for once we all ordered something different.
Steak for Bell, Chicken Parmie for Zig, Seafood Basket for me and Steve went for a huge burger with Beef and Pulled Pork. Drinks were got and we settled in. Bell was excited cos there was a help yourself buffet of cutlery and tooth picks and serviettes and sauces and stuff.

Food arrived promptly enough and it must be said that Zig's Parmie was almost bigger than his head! It was a walloper. Bell's Steak was yummie, though there was a tiny weeny jug of 'red wine jus' instead of the ordered mushroom sauce. Steve's burger was like a house built on sand, all very fine but a bit falling-aparty. Once he'd decided on a plan of attack it was smooth sailing. My Seafood basket was the only disappointment. It was pretty mean and as I was sitting right on the water, frozen seafood hardly seemed necessary, but frozen it was. We are lucky to live next to perhaps one of the best fish and chips shops on the coast -Sorrento Seafoods, so I know I am spoilt but unless you are in the middle of the GAFA (Great Australian Fuck All) I just don't see any excuses for serving up shit seafood.

Anyway the company was good and the conversation lively and the others were happy which leaves me content, so no complaints.

We finished up and even though Zig left everything on his plate except the Parmie, we had done a pretty good job of clearing our plates. The debris was cleared, Bell went off to find the leaper's corner, Steve got in more drinks and Zig and I cleaned up and set up ready to play Monopoly the CARD game. If you haven't played this, I recommend it highly. It takes only about 20 minutes to play and all the remembered tactics and properties of the board game make it familiar without the recalled boredom of it lasting 3 days.

After we had cleared the table as much as possible, we played and the winning spot changed often. Bell Nearly won, Steve nearly won, I really nearly won, but Zig scarpered me at the final moment, and then yes Zig Won!

As he was high fiving and I suppose as we all became a bit boisterous - well not as loud as the herd of kids next to us, the wind picked up.

In our attempt to make enough room to play, I had popped the water jug - full, thanks to Steve's thoughtfulness, and a couple of glasses on the window sill. As the wind blew it rocked the plastic blind and all of a sudden the full jug of water went for a ride across Zig's shoulder and spewed forth all the water down the front of me and down the back of him. Then it crashed onto the floor. I grabbed up the glasses quickly before the Elf and Safety police arrested me. The jug was plastic so it bounced.

I had made a neat little pile of our stuff on the floor between Zig and me: my bag, Bell's bag, Steve's hat and grannie glasses, Zig's other pack of cards and on top  of all this I perched Dog's special treat of some leftover burger wrapped carefully in a paper serviette.

It was all a bit like a slow-mo movie. People stopped and stared and Zig thought he was in trouble. I grabbed stuff off the floor and became useless as I realised that I was soaking so there was no point putting it all my lap. Our priority soon became saving the cards. We all attacked this with military precision. Someone held up the cards, Bell ran for serviettes - after all she knew where they were, and then we started the somewhat arduous job of drying each card separately along with the rules sheet, which if I am honest is pretty unlikely to survive.

As we busied ourselves Steve whispered, 'Apologise to that woman.' I looked around and behind Steve, who was perfectly dry save a couple of errant drops OF WATER, there was a woman fussing like she was on a time schedule to deactivate a nuclear bomb. I had heard Steve apologise to her immediately after the jug oppsied and knew there had been no response. I shot a sidewards glance and thought no number of apologies would make a difference so continued to clean up. The woman fussed some more and then left.

Zig and I had been pleased that we only had to watch the kids, not endure their rough house play with our chairs, but the moral to the story is, 'Don't get too smug about having the best seat in the house, cos there is always someone wearing a great big hat about to sit down right in front of you.'

Monday, 22 September 2014

Drugs passed their use by dates.

For as long as I can remember, as an adult, I have had a drugs' drawer or spot, and it's pretty big, not because I am some sort of over the counter addict but because I see no point in being sick if there is something that can make you feel better, as a mother and teacher I just didn't have the time to be unwell. So at any time I have a collection of regular and sometimes strange stuff for all sorts of ailments.

Well after my mammoth gardening effort last week, I managed to do some disastrous damage to my hip and back - sciatic nerve was mentioned by the Physio, but I don't want to think about that. I have done the odd bit of crying as I hobble around on fucked knee and now the opposite leg which I have been counting on for reasonable mobility has gone out in sympathy. Shit shit shit. The chewing up of pain meds was the only choice, but nothing seemed to make the slightest bit of difference. Ibuprofen, aspirin, allsorts of forte, nothing helped. I drew the line at the ENDONE that has sat untouched in the drawer since the titty slice. It reads as scary stuff 'controlled drug - possession without authority illegal' and I reckon Greggory House was addicted to oxycodone which is another name for this stuff, and as it is unlikely that anyone is ever gonna make a TV series about a middle aged fat woman addicted to pain killers, I saw little point in giving this shit a go. Why I do not throw the stuff out is a mystery. Just an aside, who calls a pill END  ONE? End one what I wonder?

By sheer  serendipity, the use-by date of one of the stripe of pills jumped out. Bugger me, JUNE 2012. The drug stash was tipped out and inspected. So much of this bloody stuff was passed it. The pills were yellow instead of bright virginal white and some of the packets were positively crispy. Shit no wonder that my bloody back was still sore and my pillow was streaked with tears.

So now I have a collection of stuff that is good for a few years yet and the new humble Panadol seem to be helping.

Off to the Physio again this morning and then perhaps a second culling of the drug drawer is in order. Endone and anything else that I can't identify must go, even if it's not passed the usedby.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What to wear in hospital?

Off to get the other knee done in a few weeks and I am getting sorted, bit at a time cos that's all this crippled appendage will allow.

So last week I went off to Myer at Carindale looking for the big girls' PJ section. Last time, 5 years ago I walked in there and they had a reasonable range of cotton nighties for larger birds and I picked out the ones I liked that I thought would do the job - mostly MaggieTs

I don't routinely wear nighties. Even back in 1979 when I got married and my darling Nanna outfitted me in all sorts of floaty, sexy of sorts I suppose, nylony numbers, I didn't bother. I should have taken all that stuff back for cash, but I am sure Nanna enjoyed the idea that she had helped protect my virginal dignity, so it lived a decade at the back of a drawer.

Hospital nighties have some very specific requirements. They need to be cotton or at least a cotton blend. They need to be long enough to save everyone's horror or embarrassment as one leaps on and off the bed- not much leaping involved this time, more like a slow slide so ride up factor needs to be considered, and they need to not remind me of visiting an ailing relative in the 80s.

Back to Myer. A buxom woman served me and was sad and more than a little cross to admit that her store no longer caters for bigger women. Yeh they did, but not anymore. Shit!! Seems like Myer has gone the same way as David Jones in that they are too snobby to think fat women shop there. I know that Myer does have a big girls' department, but I guess they figure if you are big you don't need sleep wear.....the implications here I will leave to your imagination.

Target was next on the list and they had shortie bits which would not be the done thing in hospital.

Today I headed off to Australia Fair. There are lots of fatty shops here. KMart was first and I got NOTHING in the sleepwear spot, but did pick up a dress that looks like I could sleep in it especially if I teamed it with a little T shirt of complimentary colour. Yippee! One down, a couple more to go.

I was on a roll now. This dress idea was a good one. I'd be able to wear 'em around the house later and if someone pops in I wouldn't look like I was in my PJs. Goodo! also useful in camouflaging the walloper scar until I have become accustomed to it.

So off to Autograph and the dresses were too expensive and not really sleepwear suitable. Katies had stuff that had never come in contact with cotton.

Crossroads had a couple on sale. Yippee. I reckon that might do. Steve'll have to do some washing but I am sure he will cope.

I am really hoping this lot does not look like sick old woman.

Hair appointment made. Pedicure appointment made. Xray appointment made. Blood tests just roll up. Hospital orientation appointment made.

All this and still I have time to entertain Zig and Bell for a couple of happy days.

Roll on 9th Oct, and keep on rolling all the way to Christmas.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Teacher Sues the Government. Yippee!

Did you hear about the teacher who after a long battle has managed to win their suit against a school in Melbourne, for insisting that he try to manage too many under-achieving classes, even though he kept telling the Head Teacher that he was not coping.. The teacher has been awarded 1.27 million.

The school had a very strict streaming policy where kids of similar abilities were banded together, so there were, smarty pants classes and classes of fools and nuisances.

The teacher in question was given an over abundance of the latter classes.

Now this has always been the stuff of philosophical  debate. Should the best teachers be allocated to the brightest kids, where the most progress is possible, or do we believe that bright kids will achieve well regardless of teacher input,  and should the worst teachers be thrown to the wolves cos there they can do no damage. And before any of these questions are asked we should consider whether indeed classes should be streamed at all. Maybe loafers and problem kids would do better if diluted in number in mainstream classes.

I do not pretend to know what the answer is.

After 30 years I know that my biggest joy came from teaching bright kids, but I certainly enjoyed soothing the raging beasts in the oopsy classes too. I was lucky that I never felt intimidated by bright kids. I loved the challenge that came from kids who thought outside the square, but I know teachers who worried about not knowing all the answers.

Difficult classes and kids definitely got my blood pressure racing. I have been punched in the head and had chairs thrown at me and I've been pushed and shoved and sworn at and one afternoon on bus duty, an unruly mob marched me onto the bus and I had a great deal of trouble getting out. Shitty kids are painful. Sometimes I just felt like they needed a bloody good shake. I thought that about bright kids too from time to time.

So again I do not pretend to know the answers.

What I do know is that if the Head Teacher did nothing after being told that the teacher was not coping then the Head Teacher was not too smart.

I imagine that if the teacher had gone and made it clear that he was not coping and he did this over a period of 6 years, then the school was not making any effort to provide the best for the kids. The teacher was not coping and sliding into a mess over a long period of time and I can only imagine that the kids' behaviour and achievement levels also took a nose dive. Not addressing this teacher's issues must have certainly meant that the kids in his room were well and truly short changed.

Suing the government is a brave move and if this motivates school systems to address the needs and abilities and areas of expertise of it's teachers, then goodo!

For far too long school head teachers and deputies have played that shitful game of 'Shaft the new teacher'. The longer a teacher stays at a school the more perks they are likely to get. The newbies are given the shit timetables, the shit classes, the shit room, the shit yard duties, buckets of shit,  while long timers can whistle their own tunes. It seems that the newbies have to prove themselves and sometimes this can take years.

If a teacher rocks the boat then the Head Teacher and their team can and do make professional life difficult and sometimes impossible for any subversives. I have been proudly guilty of swamping the boats of a number schools, but I  have finally  worked out the I cannot beat the system. The banging of my head just got too useless and painful.

So I do not know what has gone at Werribee College, but I am pleased that someone has had the guts to take on the system. Small changes, baby steps, little bits of chipping away, can only be a good thing.

Any time the system is questioned, I smile.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Put your hand up if you go a little nuts at an auction.

Home > My Bids
Go to page Go |<   <   1   of 1   >   >| Items per page
 LotDescriptionAuction Date & TimeBidding
2393 Outdoor setting, 3pce, round top, white iron frame, inspection recommended (SH)Super Sunday Online Auction (A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $30
Current Bid: $66

2269 Lamp table, curved clear glass, inspection recommended (SH) (sold per each)Super Sunday Online Auction (A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $10
Current Bid: $37

1117 Wall art, pottery, 'Villa Ambience', qty 3 piece, inspection recommendedAppliances,Electronics,Sporting & Leisure(A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $9
Current Bid: $10

1430 Pedestal fan, Omega Altise, 40cm, RRP$75, untested, inspection recommended (7 day return to store warranty)Appliances,Electronics,Sporting & Leisure(A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $8
Current Bid: $9

1139 Camping lanterns, LED, sold per each, inspection recommendedAppliances,Electronics,Sporting & Leisure(A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $6
Current Bid: $5

1097 Wall art, qty 3 pieces, approx 2 x 40cm x 50cm, 1 x 60cm x 76cm, inspection recommended (SH)Appliances,Electronics,Sporting & Leisure(A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $5
Current Bid: $6

1175 Crayon sets, NRMA road safety, box of 48 packs, sold per box, inspection recommendedAppliances,Electronics,Sporting & Leisure(A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 14:00PM
Your Bid: $5
Current Bid: $5

214 Pedestal fan, 46cm, Omega Altise, 3 speed white colour, untested, inspection recommended (S) (7 day return to store warranty) (sold per each)Home Builders & Renovators Online Auction (A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 09:00AM
Your Bid: $11
Current Bid: $10

278 Crepe maker, 'Lumina' approx 32cm diameter, non-stick cooking plate, thermostat control, crepe spreader, model AWA430 (inspection recommended)(7 day return to store warranty)Home Builders & Renovators Online Auction (A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 09:00AM
Your Bid: $11
Current Bid: $11

207 Wine, Sauvignon Blanc JC Le Roux Brut sparkling, 2010 - 187 ml bottles (Sold price per Bottle, must take Qty 24)Inspection recommendedHome Builders & Renovators Online Auction (A403)
Sun, 14 Sep at 09:00AM
Your Bid: $1
Current Bid: $1

I love a bargain. I rather like poking through other people's junk, though there is a time limit to this and the old claustrophobia kicks in if I am in a big shed and there is some shitting maze between me and the door.

We were out and about on Friday looking for plants and other things garden and stumbled across Lloyds Auction House at Cararra. I don't really know what possessed us to go on in, but in we did go. The stuff in this big shed was unbelieveably diverse and some of it more than a little sad when you consider that it had probably been repossessed and now would leap outta there for some silly price, while the previous owners no longer had a washer or a fridge. I wonder if they are allowed to bid to get their stuff back.

Anyway, Steve and I both like an auction. We have bought all sorts of junk and some very cool art work at auctions. I felt the walls coming together not long after we arrived so had to do a bit of a bolt to within leaping distance of the door, and while I stood there ear-wigging I discovered that this auction was all ONLINE. Well that seemed a bit exciting and a good way to while away some time between gardening and waiting for Steve to return after the marathon that was the golf all weekender.

I trolled through the catalogue and picked out a couple of things that took my fancy and set about making some bids.

It's all pretty silly really - Bidding good money on shit you didn't even realise you might have wanted. But every time I had a little win I had a little smile too.

The auction happens live online and if you are a saddo or have a shit knee which needs to be up more than down, you can watch. I was amazed about the utter crap some people chased. Not much money was spent on it but the punters fought valiantly. There was a mad dash for a 6 pack of sticky tape!! the first bid I saw was 4 bucks and there were a number of packs up for grabs. So through a frantic couple of minutes  the price crept up to 9 dollars and the bidders changed according to how many packs they wanted and how much they were prepared to pay. It was edge of your seat stuff!! Well not really. I wondered who all these bidders were. I mean, who could get all worked up about 6 rolls of sticky tape on a Sunday afternoon?

People must be cracking open a beer by now congratulating themselves on their bargains. If you want timber decking for less than a fiver per linear metre this is the place. If you want name brand cookers or fridges or dishers, still in the boxes but without the guarantees, this is your place. If you want Bi-fold doors or tools or a nearly new couch, this could be your wonderland.

Me? I am happy to have bought a crate of mini sav-blanc bubbles, a couple of camping lights for Bell, a crepe maker - don't ask me why, I just bid like a crazy woman when I saw it, and one, though it might be 2, pedestal fans. When we were in Stanthorpe and Crazy Clarks was closing down they were chucking out all their fans for some silly money, and even though Steve said he could do with one, he was too snobby to go in and get one. I told him that he was never allowed to pay more than a tenner for one in the future.  So I am not sure how much this / they were but I think it is probably more than Crazies closing down chuck out prices.

Now I just have to explain all this to Steve when he gets in from the 19th hole, and hope that he has so thoroughly enjoyed himself chasing that little white ball, that the endorphin rush carries him all the way to the collection point tomorrow.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Assault begins.

No I am not a no longer secret junkie! For years my brother who liked to pretend that everyone else in the world was a complete fuckwit, wore long sleeves to hide the tracks and the tats, but this shitty bruise heralds the beginning of the knee parade.

Stevie and I went off for his and her blood tests this morning. We took dog cos I was worried about her digging up my new half done garden.

Steve was kindly whisked away by a young girl which meant that I was left with this bloke who didn't look like he could find his arse with both hands and a torch.

He asked all sorts of banal questions and I dutifully answered them as politely as any good old woman might.

He got stuck in and instantly popped the vein while he swung on the canular thing in a bid to fill up four little bottles. 'Little sting now....oops sorry!' How very fucking ho hum is that, and all before breakfast too!!

I told him when I sat down that I am allergic to all tapes and adhesives. He said to remind him of this later.... seriously you only expect to be in the there for a couple of minutes, it's not like you are moving in and writing him into your will!

So he finishes his gymnastics on the needle and gets out a bandaid and I tell him I am allergic. So he gets a bit of cottonwool and says,'Press down on this.' He fiddles about with my little red bottles and then before I could blink or think to remind him for a third time, he whips out a long bit of tape and sticks the blob of wool down.

I am not sure he had finished with his paper work but I was done so I leapt out of the chair, ripped off the tape and was outta there.

I didn't tell him to fuck off or call him a dickhead or question his qualifications, so in my mind I was very well behaved. I am gonna try my best this time round NOT to piss off the help. But I sure as shit do not fancy going back to this fella again. I mean I have good veins but they are gonna get a work out over the next month so some care is in order.

Steve's girlie was just lovely, not even a pin prick mark and faster than a speeding bullet. I do wonder what qualifications are necessary to draw blood. Good aim should be a pre-requisite at least and maybe a steady hand.

Ham and cheese omelette for breakfast, so I could pretend that it was a delicious fun start to the day.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Time to get the other knee done

So here we go again!! In about a month I am gonna be off to become bionic in both legs. So I will be symmetrically scarred and hopefully after a while of rehab, pain free.

I went to see Angus again today, armed with a long list of questions and blown up photos of the mess of weeping shit blisters - photos courtesy of Carol from round One.. I had hoped to shock him into believing that I am indeed allergic to all things adhesive. He barely blinked but did put 'em down pretty lickerty split and when I offered for him to keep 'em, he folded 'em over and smiled as he handed 'em back.

Part of the reason I like Angus is because he happily answered all my questions and he was happy to go with the idea that all this was open to negotiation. Of course there are some things that are immutable like the chopping off of the leg bones and the shoving up of metal bits and naturally, Angus has some preferred methods and personnel. But some bits like additional injections, and stiches versus staples and time lines for driving and walking and stair climbing are all up for discussion.

A degree of arrogance and a good bit of tunnel vision are probably necessary armaments for specialist surgeons, so it is very satisfying to meet one who is happy to see me as more than a swollen sore buggered knee. That old song, the knee bone's connected to..... well I reckon most surgeons don't see too much of anything apart from the bit they have business with.

Certainly last year's cancer crap leaves this rather bitter taste. I very much doubt Kate the surgeon would recognise me in the street, but I am sure she could pick out her titty work in a line up, and Selena the radiation oncologist has in fact failed to recognise me in the street.

Angus looked me in the face and had a chuckle and did not fall over in shock when I swore and suggested that he might bring his kids for a visit when he pops in to see me over the weekend while I am lounging around eating up hospital food. How bad can it be if I don't have cook it?

I would like to do a Bewitched and wrinkle my nose and time leap to November, but as that is unlikely I am gonna suck it up and look forward to Christmas.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sundays in the Burbs and it's Father's Day too.

When I was a kid, I reckon I could smell Sundays.

My parents for a long time used to dispatch the 3 of us kids to church, I am guessing so they could have some 'time to themselves'. We'd rip open the offertory envelope and buy some sweeties from the one shop in the world open on Sundays and sit at the back of the church, stuffing lollies down our gobs, while old Father Miles yammered on about stuff. I wondered how come it could be so important that kids needed to hear it but the parentals did not.

Church bored me stupid, but I did like the smell of the smokey thing someone would sporadically swing about and the odd old stale cool of the place. I felt like the building might well collapse if anyone actually dared to laugh out loud. I wondered for a long time why being Godly meant being stern and strict and humourless.

When it was done and we had chattered to other similarly dispatched kids, we'd walk the 2 kilometres home. In the summer time it was HOT HOT HOT.

You could smell the heat coming off the bitumen mixing with the just cut grass smells and sometimes the sweetness of car shampoo.

There was a quiet slow slither through the day. There were few cars on the road and there were people in the usually empty yards. There was no chance that a kid could nick any flowers out of someone's garden on a Sunday.

The shops were closed and there was bugger all to do except entertain yourself.

But Sundays had a smell. The twilight brought that wonderful greasy smell of almost burnt cheese on toast and the smell of freshly ironed synthetics ready for the week ahead.

Dad had a stubbly face which was his weapon of choice in all games of tickle and rough house. He just smelled of Dad, no aftershave, cos there had been no shave.

It was and is still, a time to seek out favoured rellies and friends and head out for a picnic. Food just smells and tastes better outdoors. People tend not to bother with their Sunday best anymore but my Poppy bothered, always, right down to his hat, even in his declining years, when bloody Parkinsons was eating away at him. When I was a girl, Poppy used to call in on weekends, with lollies in every pocket, and so time rolled into these moments before he died when he allowed baby Bell to feed him marshmallows.  Ah Sundays and Dads and Poppys.

Today in the burbs, the smells are similar if more than a little diluted. There are definitely fewer cars on the roads and people do walk more. The park is a magnet for folk and their dogs and children and parties and the canal is the road for well off kids in their dinghies and even better off adults in their flash looking boats. The parade is lovely to watch.

So today was poached eggs and toast and homemade coffee and gardening and weed killing and planting. My old cheesey toast has long since been replaced by Steve's roast dinner. The smell is different but it heralds Sunday evening just as loudly.

Happy Father's day.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

School Awards - Zig's triumph.

Other people's little kids more often than not give me the screaming irrits. I can make nice for a little while, a very little while, but then I loose interest, cos I want them to be able to laugh at my jokes and carry on a grown up conversation about something that interests me, yeh not very PC I know, but that's why I opted to be a secondary teacher. Small kids are just small.

Being stuck in a school hall overflowing with small kids whose fingers have just been extracted from their own bums or noses, and their parents who almost always find their offspring to be delightful, is the stuff of my nightmares.

At least in a plane or any other public place, if one of the little darlings is kicking the shit out of your chair you can mention it to the kid or the parent and there is a small chance that the chair abuse will cease. But for some reason in this day and age where it is not the done thing to reprimand small ones, such complaints are out of order because kids RULE.

Last night Bell and I sat in Zig's school hall waiting for the moment when his name was announced as this year's Technology medallion winner. We waited until we could clap like maniacs and I could take a photo and we could watch as the little fella swelled with pride as he collected his medal and certificate and stood centre stage with a confidence we barely knew he had.

This magical moment lasted approximately 4 seconds. We had sat there in possibly less than quiet anticipation for more than an hour and half before it happened. About 70 other clever clogs had trooped up to get their reward and that was cool. The band played and that was cool. The choir sang and jigged along and that was cool too.

However the kids who were mostly award free and more than a little bored cartwheeled up the aisle and played hairdresser up the aisle and hugged each other up the aisle and threw tantrums up the aisle. Yeh I was sitting on the aisle. I suppose I should be pleased that the 'Elf and Safety police were not there adding to the chaos.

I am very pleased that Holland Park State School still bothers with all this. The teachers set tasks across the different study areas and the kids choose to complete some or none of them in their own time over about 3 months, and then their efforts are judged and winners are announced. The whole PC thing about everyone being a winner is forgotten at least momentarily as the most talented kids are celebrated. It's a great idea.

It was a long couple of hours, but I would not have wanted to be anywhere else.

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Barter system of old, works a treat.

Some time back I acquired a couple of plant stands which we have since used as bedside tables. A bit of a compromise for sure, but I was just sick and tired of looking everywhere for exactly the right thing so settled on these things cos they were the right height. I used to walk around with one of those paper tape measures from Ikea - yeh I had tried there too, and would whip it out at any furniture shop just to see. I had become obsessed, bedside table nutso, a furniture freak.

When we stumbled into the just opened Matt Blatt shop here on the Goldie, we found a much better solution and measured it and thought bugger the expense, lets just get em'. A week later when they were delivered I was very pleased to be able to say goodbye to the planters.

I wondered if the village florists might have use of them as they matched the ones they had and Alicia jumped at 'em. Steve walked 'em across the park and was offered 2 bunches of flowers in exchange. Well that's why you have to love the barter system.

Today I went in to Flowers on Sorrento and made my first selection. Perhaps it was the cynic in me, but I waited to be pointed to the somewhat lesser bunches, but NO, I was told just to take my pick!! I could have anything at all.  I know about as much about flowers as I know about the inside of engines, which is bugger all and so I had a good sniff around and picked a bunch in a box.

They look just lovely in my kitchen, and they smell good too.

When they pass away, I am gonna go back for my second bunch. How lucky is that!!

And so to the second bit of bartering for the day. I want to change things up a bit in the garden and so a few trees, well shrubs really are in the way. I was just gonna dig 'em up and chuck 'em, but Nik said she would like to have 'em. So Steve dug away and this afternoon we are going to swap the unwanted shrubs for some of Nik's freshly harvested bamboo.

I hope to make some bird distractors for the pontoon. I am very sick of those bloody Ibis shitting all over it.

I know Nik would have been happy to give her bamboo away and I would have been pleased to know that these shrubs will be in her very capable hands rather than the old wheelie, no exchange necessary, but the idea of going around, coming around, is comforting.
I am not sure how the Barter card works, but I have to imagine that there are loop holes galore and that there is nothing as simple and satisfying as my little trades today.