Wednesday, 28 January 2015

'Unbroken' 'American Sniper' and 'Wild' - Yippee for Oscars time!

'Unbroken', 'American Snipper' and 'Wild'. I have thoroughly enjoyed all 3 of 'em for different reasons, but the common thread is that they are recounts of Real People's lives or bits of 'em anyway. It could be just a phase I am going through but all my reading at the moment is also of the autobiographical kind. Yeh I am happy to admit that my taste in real life drama is not for everyone, Rob Lowe, Brooke Shields, Lauren Bacall, Joan Rivers -  I think a trend can be identified. But I am absolutely enjoying having a dirty little look into the lives of people you sort of know.

These 3 movies introduced me to hitherto unknown people and I am mighty pleased to have met 'em. I suppose as with any story told in the first person there will be some bias, perhaps Cheryl's best friend in 'Wild' might have seen things a little differently although the portrayal was pretty raw and confronting and often less than flattering.

Back when Bell was just a snip of a girl and after I had been unwell, I kept a journal for years and years. I am a ruthless thrower away of stuff, but I have kept these and I really should get 'em out and have a look. I wonder if they would be as 'real' today as they were when I was writing them. I can remember feeling pretty mortal and thinking that Bell might like to read all this shit if I were shuffle off and that it might be a chance for her to know me a bit anyway.

But I digress. I can only imagine the pride with which family members would watch these movies. The 'heroes' are wildly different but magnificent all the same.

And even though there are some very hectic, harrowing moments, I reckon they are still feel good movies and not because they fit the typical American happy ending format, but because the lead characters are so real and flawed and yet still likeable, and I for one found myself rooting for them all.

Monday, 26 January 2015

It's Australia Day!

So when I was a kid, Dad would make a BBQ lunch for all and sundry and a crowd dressed in yellow and green would eat good food and drink way too much and sing songs and play silly games. It was a  such celebration!

And for a long time after he died, my house was similarly full with smiles and good cheer.

London in the dead of winter saw makeshift BBQs and poorly cooked snags and people from everywhere, having a little taste of OZ.

But today things are much quieter. We might pop to the beach if it's not too stinking hot and I guess I will make the usual Monday night dinner out of last night's leftovers - well at least it's lamb. But it is good to spend a couple of minutes to record what it is about being Australian that is so important to me.

I like it that my accent is identifiable just about anywhere in the world - well maybe not America, they always think I am a Pom, but mostly when I travel people guess correctly. It might be that I smile and look 'em straight in the eye and laugh out loud and happily share even an unpopular opinion or that I am possibly wearing thongs too late into the autumn even though that blue on my toes is not nail polish, or it just might be my accent.

Here on the Goldie we are so far removed from all the hideous shit the world serves on a platter. We are insulated and isolated and I think consequently more carefree - maybe ignorant. I am grateful that I don't worry about bombings and terrorist attacks and when I head back to London or indeed travel just about anywhere, I am not fixated on the danger, I just 'Keep Calm and Carry On', but that might well be the Pom in me.

I am pleased that I live in a country where my vote counts and even though it is a strange thing to be forced to vote so we can preserve our democracy, I reckon making people become involved in their government is ok. I like that I can sit and write any damn thing I want in this silly post and no one would have the right to take it down.

I enjoy cheering for an Aussie team in what ever sport on the world stage, and just identifying as Australian mostly bring goose bumps of pride. I'll sing at least the first verse of Advance Australia Fair out loud and badly and then have to mime and lipsync the second. It's a good anthem. I will cheer for England anytime unless of  course they are agin us. Too often I have been a lonely voice in the crowd at Twickenham Stadium singing up an storm and shouting for the green and gold, and while Steve might be cheering for Andy Murray when he plays Nick Kyrgios in the quarter finals of the Australian Open, there will be no question where my loyalty lies.

Sure there is stuff that goes on in the 'wide brown land' that is too often cringe worthy and makes me want to join the march - I am pleased that there is a march to be joined, and that opinions matter and sometimes though perhaps not often enough, make a difference.

Well all this sounds a bit lame really. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that makes me Australian, but I do know, even though I have a British passport hidden in a drawer, that I am a proud Boxing Kangaroo.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Painting Workshop - Prue Flint

It's been a good long while since I picked up a brush and so when there was an opportunity to spend a day chucking some paint around, I thought, 'Why the hell not?' I was sent a shopping list and off I went to find some stuff I'd not heard of, well maybe somewhere in the dark recesses of the grey matter, but I sure had not ever used it. I got the Gouache - still not game to say it out loud cos I sound like someone who lives near the duelling banjo people, in the 3 prescribed colours and a beautiful thick piece of rag paper, found my charcoals and brushed and sketch block and I was ready for the off.

I did forget the art block, so I arrived like the naughty kid at school, under prepared and more than a little nervous. The other women all seemed to know what they were doing, I  knew so little that I could not even begin to fake it. In all fairness the workshop was advertised as a Masterclass, so some arrogance was in play as I parted with the cash to secure my spot.

We had a life model and we started with 4 20 minute sketches. This was to limber up... all very well if you are up to date with your practice, but for me it was like some old arthritic loon who might have stumbled into an expert guru yoga experience. It was all legs and arms and smudges and lines and pleasure at the respite during the pose changes.

Finally the embarrassment of the sketching morphed into the slapping about of paint. Now this I know, or at least I thought I did. The push for today was to produce a tonal picture of a nude in a defined context. So there was all sorts of stuff in a set designed to resemble a sexy boudoir. There were cushions and palm trees and lamps and carpets and queen anne chairs and a little chaise chair.

I imagined an abridged version of the room with more modern stuff and much less of it and got cracking. The colours were all pretty muted and I could certainly see the purpose of blocking in tonal areas. I said to Steve it was excellent to be reminded of stuff that I used to know long ago.

The paint was a bit of a pain in the bum. It dried very quickly so it was difficult to cover a big area, but it was easy to paint over mistakes, and these were many and it somehow is good to draw onto as well. Because it dries so quickly, you can paint over and over without it going all sort muddy.

I found being limited to only 3 colours and the blends that are possible rather dull and longed to stab in some yellow or green or clear red, but I did as I was old. And the outcome is ok.

It is not finished. I am yet to do a face, and Prue kept saying that we needed to, 'earn the right to put in the detail.' by blocking in the rest first. But I have never thought that the detail was a bonus. I reckon the devil is in the detail. The pain in the arse is in the detail. The talent is in the detail and that is why my stuff has always lacked the detail.

Some of the work the other women did was pretty good. Some of it was like mine - must try harder, but we all seemed to enjoy the day and I rather imagine that Prue has enjoyed herself on her little Queensland Holiday which she co-ordinated with this class.

I will give some thought to finishing the piece off, maybe with the addition of some brights, but I rather doubt it will ever warrant an expensive frame. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Love Scammers

I pay very little attention to all that bollocks that is paraded around as 'Current Affairs' on the tellie. There seems to be far too little integrity in the reporting and nearly always an ulterior motive in the big push. Shit half the time the stories are about what is coming up next, so just a glorified ad for something on the tellie, not a hard hitting news investigation. Thankfully I am usually cooking the dinner while this babble goes on, but last night, even the lure of salad making and other domestic crap could not cover the noise of yet more women scammed by love rats for huge amounts of cash.

I stopped and had a look. Fuck me, these women look normal enough. Why had they put their brains in a box and given away all their money to men they had not even met? Beggars belief!

Now most women have been on hilarious dates with somewhat suspect characters. I reckon most of us could fill a good size note book with strange and sometimes bizarre accounts. Years ago I did a stint of online dating. I'd make arrangements to meet up always in a public place and always had a 'get out of jail free card' in the form of going to pee but really sending a text to a girlfriend who would call with a pretend emergency so I could beg off quickly if things were going badly. Yes I did this a few times. No, I don't think it made me a bad person.

I have been on 'half a first date' more times than I fancy remembering. Second dates were far far fewer. Maybe I am just blessed with a finely tuned bullshit barometer and was never desperate to give away my independence to take up with some jolly old wanker who thought I wouldn't notice he was 8 inches shorted than his profile read or that his piccie was from 1962.

I happily paid for myself and I am sure there were the odd times when the fella might have, 'left his wallet at home' so I might have sprung for an extra coffee or a beer, but if a request was made for large piles of wonga, well I would have fallen off the chair laughing, and would have told 'em to fuck off as I wiped the giggle tears from my face.

I just know that there would be NOTHING in the written word from these scammers that would entice me to empty a bank account or even make an enquiry about my super funds. Well really anyone who knows me would know that I'd have been too busy looking for grammatical errors and there wouldn't have been any secrets. Friends would have all seen this shite and dissected every word, and even if, by some remarkable miracle which saw me transported to the land of crazy, I had been completely swept away, these people would have been there as voices of reason and a blockade at the banks doors.

Where were these women's friends?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Star signs - where do you stand?

Yin and Yang

Yes and No

Come here - go away.

I love to eat but don't want to cook.

I love to travel but hate flying.

I feel like a thirty year old and look ancient.

I enjoy going out but can't be bothered getting dressed.

The list is long but I can't be bothered writing it down.

If I really was still a girl I might try and explain all this away by saying I'm a Gemini. You know, the twins star sign. A body in 2 parts, but as I have aged, I have become sceptical to the point of utter disbelief so I have to imagine that we are probably all pretty similar in our disparities. I hope so anyway cos otherwise it just makes me nuts.

Staid and boring and batshit crazy.

Ho hum.

And while I was googling for a pic, I found this quote, so now after all these years I might have to rethink it all ....Shit!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Prescription glasses exchanged

I picked up my latest sunnies on Saturday. They weren't those jolly little ones that you get from Specs R Us. These were substantial and supposed to be top quality. And so they need to be cos once I have broken in a pair they are with me for years! My current pair I have had for 4 years and even though I did succumb to the hype and get 2 Pairs No Gap on my last prescription, the glasses were crap and I reverted to these old tried and tested ones.

I was not tempted to try the shitty Alex Perry ones again cos I am pretty sure it's a matter of you get what you pay for. SO out the boat was pushed and after an agonising - for Steve as he waited and waited, hour or so I decided on the perfect pair.

On collection, the girlie was not as helpful as the usual staff and I could understand that cos she had a possie of her mates waiting for her to go for lunch or whatever. Distracted much?

She fussed somehow with the frames to see if she could get them sit better on my head and though I could see from some distance, without spectacle assistance that they were very wonky, I just took 'em and got on with my day.

A while later I put 'em to the 'can I see stuff?' test, and bugger me, I JUST BLOODY COULDN'T.

I went back to the store and got the same Saturday girl.

I asked her to check the prescription, I told her I couldn't see out of them properly.

She said they were right and that I needed to give it some time to get used to them. After owning countless - literally, pairs of sunnies I thought this unlikely, but ho hum out I went. I do so love taking the advice of a child and I was especially pleased that she reminded me not to leave my expensive purchase on the dashboard of my car in the summer sun cos they might warp. Good to know!

I tried driving home wearing them and it just wasn't possible. Everything was moving around and I was beginning to feel nauseous.

Steve had a look and through some info long ago tucked into his brain he discovered that the polarising stuff was off...ah so that made the movement sense. Horizontal on one eye and vertical on the other and already a bit blind, well let's just say that my poor old brain could not adjust. Clouds romped forward and backward and I reckon if you wanted to test a bit of a 'Mushroom rush' without the calories, you could try looking through these things.

Anyway I was pleased that there was something concrete wrong with 'em so I could take 'em back.

The Saturday girl was nowhere to be seen, probably having lunch with her mates and the woman today couldn't have been more helpful. She admitted quietly that she had a pair of the same brand of sunnies and that there was a problem with them warping. We decided that I should choose new frames and get a whole new pair made and so Steve needed to wait another hour as I chose something that I thought would last me another few years.

I am pretty sure that if there was a problem with the Specs R Us specs the teenagers in there would give advice similar to the Saturday girl and I suppose people just suck it up cos the glasses were virtually free if you have private insurance. Lesson learned and all that. So I am pleased that the sunny saga will be finished in a week or so and I will have my fresh new ones. I am so excited about what extra I might be able to see especially as my current ones are from 3 prescriptions ago.

Steve has a feeling that this place might be closed any old time now, and I so hope he is wrong. The usual service offered is why we stump up the cash instead of going to the other places.

Can't wait to get my newbies.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

"Unbroken" bloody brilliant.

I thought I knew the story line but as described to Steve I got it pretty wrong from the get go. The lead was American not British.

And what a storyline. Harrowing and inspirational and left me a little hateful by the end of it, in spite of the platitudes just prior to the final credits.

This is Angelina Jolie's latest work and I reckon she has done a fab job. The cinematography is powerful and edgy and sometimes almost romantic, if 3 blokes in a life raft in the middle of the pacific could possibly be romantic. Their stench and sweat was almost palpable.

The strength of character was more than admirable, and the bad taste in my mouth left by watching the Japanese treatment of POWs was bile flavoured and very unpleasant. The movie was suspense filled and the lady behind me might have been less than thrilled with the involuntary jab of my arms into the air and my little gasps of surprise and terror.

It seems like a story about an Olympic champion turned soldier turned POW, might be a recipe for a blokey audience, but we were mostly women today. I guess that could be because blokes have other things to do at 10am on a Saturday morning, or maybe it's cos we were curious about how Ms Jolie's direction was gonna go.

I have no informed opinion about whether this movie should have been nominated for an Oscar, especially as I am yet to see most of the others, but it was definitely worth the $20 in the flash theatre.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Who gets the nod for nominations?

I really enjoy this time of the year. It is no secret that I love going to the movies and there are many fine movies released about now, so I look forward to hours spent in the dark air conditioned comfort and then wondering who I think might be most deserving of the little statue. I don't really care who wins. I like the thinking that I do.

The Oscar nominations have been announced and instead of this being the spring board to discussions about characters and acting styles and storylines etc, this morning's online coverage was a whinge about the bias towards white men and the consequent bias against , you guessed it women and black people.(I have chosen NOT to include the link here cos I wasted time enough for all of us reading it.)

Now I cannot pretend to be an expert on all these movies especially as is so often the case, some have yet to be released 'Down Under', but I am reluctant to believe yet another conspiracy theory.

It is possible that the people - I don't know who they are and am loathe to spend even half a second trying to find out, who dreamt up the nominations sat around and looked at the body of work produced in the passed year and said, 'Well by gum, that's a lot of movies. Let's make our lives easier by immediately crossing out any movie that has a predominantly black cast or was directed by women. Ah look at that, now our job is manageable.' I just don't believe this happened.

I can imagine that there was a lot of back and forth banter between self appointed experts who were prepared to negotiate on lesser category nominations so long as their favourites got a 'jersey'. I just don't believe that as a group they set out to isolate or marginalise blacks and women. Does this make me na├»ve? Possibly. Except that if this routinely was the case then I reckon a great deal of the kudos of the awards and the glamour of owning one of the little statues would have been lost a long time ago.

Really, it's like any awards. If there is a widespread acceptance that the selection process is flawed, then people would very quickly just stop bothering.

I like to think that that time back in primary school when I won the Most Improved Swimmer trophy, that it was cos I had in fact been the most improved, and that it wasn't given to me cos it was easy to spell my name or cos someone thought my father might go spastic if I didn't win something, or worse still they felt sorry for me. Shit I hope NOT.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

What is the Service Industry?

Because we live a boring old predictable life we nearly always go across to the Bay Salt cafe in the Village for my one cup of coffee a day. It's pleasant in the abstract to change things up occasionally and take a walk on the wild side and try somewhere else. Laurence and Avril know how we like things and are very good to us, and we have been going there for years, so it's quite a shock to suddenly be anonymous.

Today we wanted to take Zig on the Monorail. He could remember going on it when he was a little boy and we lived in the TALL HOUSE, (apartment), so we combined morning tea and our silly little trip.

Maddison's in Broadbeach made our coffee today and good coffee it was, but the service, well it was non-existent. There was an initial language barrier which was not helped by the flirting between staff, and once the order was made, I hopped back to that table with one bit of cake, and then went back to ask for some water. No response apart from a finger pointing and more flirting, no not with me, with the girlie who thought there would be 5 FIVE shots of coffee in a mug. I carried the 3 glasses of water back around to the table by which time the coffees were made and sitting waiting for, yeh you guessed it, me to carry them to the table. The prices are pretty steep, and so really a bit of service would not be over the top. I guess they figure they are only catering for tourists so who gives a shit, they wont be back anyway.

Before I got to the coffee shop, I returned a belt for Steve and the whole process could not have gone more smoothly. Now there was some customer service worth crowing about. The staff at Witchery Broadbeach are fabulous. Thanks very much.

As I was heading over to meet Steve and Zig for our mid-morning treaties, I came across a bloke having a chat to a parking warden. The bloke was being very polite, I am guessing he might always be so, unless he has learned to dial it back when speaking to public servants, oh dear there's that word. There's been a change in the meters I have mentioned previously, and the conversation was about the shortcomings of the new system. Beggars belief that the whinge is not about the exorbitant price-hike. Anyway Joe Public said calmly, 'You need to make the numbers clearer on the bays.' I am sure he didn't mean This warden personally, but offence was taken, and the voice was raised, ' I don't have to do anything! Write a letter!' so the warden stormed off down the street and happily Joe just picked up his pace and walked along side carrying on a calm conversation. I suppose the warden was pissed off. I wondered why they can't be trained to be more pleasant. They could at the very least carry some cards with complaint  procedures clearly outlined, and this could diffuse some angry exchanges, and would have I reckon been well received by Joe today.

The Monorail ride was OK, not full of the heightened excitement of Zig's babyhood, but a fun bit of silliness on Zig's last day at the Big House. Next week I need to share him with other Grands.

The 2 boys finding their style on the Monorail.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

'The Penguins of Madagascar'

It seemed like the day for it. Grandies galore and appalling packet crackling. As the holidays track closer to an end, and parents can be forgiven for wondering about the wisedom of breeding at all, it seems reasonable for Mas and Pas to step up and take the blighters on.

Well that's how it seemed today. I maintain that I am a lucky woman to see Zig so much over the summer and it is absolutely NOT a drag or a drama, and so when we decide to go to the piccies it's because we really want to go, not cos we want to cross off another couple of hours until the school bell tolls.

We trooped off early to Robina, and started with a fortifying coffee that had the desired effect of minimising the shitful ache in my head, and then we poked around.

I returned a belt I had given Steve for xmas, even though in the fine print it said that I only had until the 10th of January to do so. The manager read this off the docket and I just ignored her, figuring that was a better idea than going off like a rocket. As I remained calm she had no choice but to be helpful and so she tracked down a belt in the right size and made arrangements for me to exchange it tomorrow. Yippee!

We came across the shop I thought usually supplied Zig's school shoes. We went in and asked if they had him on their records. Yippee again! There it all was on the screen, so we knew what sort of shoes and then the excellent staff measured and fitted and chattered. It was a friendly lively purchase and it's all on the computer again, so if there is any problems Belly can go back to Carindale and get it sorted. Such great service from 'the ATHLETE'S FOOT'

TARGET was next as we seemed to be on a back-to-school roll. We found some shorts which were on sale and tucked them into my basket too.

We found a Woolworths I didn't know existed and picked up some sweeties in rattle proof bags to chomp on in the pictures, and I did the almost inexcusable and dragged a near 10 year old boy into a BRA shop. He took it in his stride, but I think he was pleased that I didn't try anything on - old Ma's folding titties flailing their way into even the prettiest of bras would have definitely tested the friendship.

Lunch was from the food hall, which I admit I had never visited before today, but Zig was happy being able to trot off and get his own burger. Sometimes taking the cheap and cheerful popular option is a winner.

Then it was off to the pictures.

I was pleased we had allocated seats so I knew that there wasn't going to be a bun fight, but as it happened there was. 2 dads had a set to about the seats. The guy who was there first was in the wrong seats and the guy with the tickets was not happy and the first bloke refused to move, so even though there was plenty of space the second bloke and his kid, wedged themselves right up next to the other bloke for maximum piss off effect.

Zig and I watched it all unfold feeling very smug as there was no-one in our row, until after the trailers had started and we were enjoying watching the upcoming attractions a dad and 2 kids begin to climb over us and settled right up against Zig and then they spent the whole movie, scrunching up noisy sweets' wrapping, ho hum.

Anyway, we watched and laughed out loud and I had a little squeal as a leopard seal attacked. We agreed that the animation was  well done and I personally enjoyed listening to John Malkovitch being the evil Dave.

What a lovely day out. A cuddle and a big 'Thank you Ma for taking me to the movies.' I know parents are often at their wits' end by now, but for me the summer could last a good while longer.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

It takes a village to raise a child.

Dog looking after Zig and being very brave given the farty nature of that backside.

Well bugger that! Today Zig and I trooped off to the Southport Broadwater Park. This was his choice as he fondly remembered the last time we were there and all the fun he had jumping off the Lego Man Pontoon.

A bit of rain wasn't going to deter us.

We parked up and yet again I was appalled at the slight of hand by the GCCC in raising the parking costs by nearly 25% and hiding it beneath a healthy does of, 'how the fuck does this work?' parking meters.

I held another 'how to lesson', shoved in the card and then we were off to the beach.

I did wonder whether there were any blue bottles as the wind was coming from the north east, but we didn't see anything untoward so were in in a flash.

The rain had kept normal people away, and so there was no waiting at the pontoon ladder and no traffic congestion on the run up to the launching of bodies off it.

There were 2 other small boys, I imagine younger than Zig, playing and daring each other with increasingly dangerous feats. I could see Zig wondering about joining in, but he could see the escalation and chose to entertain his Ma instead. We swam and raced and played and he bomb dived and performed for points.

The whole time these 2 kids were unsupervised.

At one point Zig ran and jumped off the far end of the pontoon and so I could not see him. I swam quickly to Lego man's head and was relieved to see Zig climbing up the ladder. Had he hit trouble on that far side I would not have been able to get to him before he drowned. This worried me and a new rule was issued and after that all jumps and dives were to be on my side of the floating fella.

I kept an eye on the 2 boys.

When enough was more than enough and we were both pooped, we headed to shore and towels and car. On our way we passed the 2 boys, still on their own, now dicing with severe injury misusing  some crazy tyre seesaw thing.

I was not thrilled to have looked after them in the water and so did not stop to chat to them on the equipment. I wondered who their parents thought were checking on 'em. I wondered what would happen if either of the  boys came to harm. I got cross that no-one seemed to think these fellas were worthy of their time and attention and care.

Over the weekend Steve and I saw a possie of young fellas in the park and the village shops. They were riding their bikes and playing and sucking on ice blocks and having a great time. They were unsupervised too. But there was more of 'em and they were older, and if help was needed help could have been found, and even with all the rain it was unlikely that they could have drowned in a puddle.

I know that kids today need time to explore, and this time to themselves is a rarity, that I took for granted when I was growing up, and I am not one to usually jump to the 'stranger danger' cry or look for danger where there is none, but I feared for these 2 boys today, and thought that their parents needed a good talking to.

There was a plea earlier from the Surf Life Savers asking parents to stay on the beach with their kids and not use the Life guards as free babysitters, while they sneak off for a beer or a bit of holiday rumpy pumpy.

It's the danger and the responsibility issues which make me wonder about the whole Village thing, should we fear the Village Idiot, or is it the Village idiots sending their kids off on their own?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Sharing - when is enough enough?

Dibley Dog was playing with her boyfriend Sam today and while she went off to swim with Zig, Sam took it upon himself to chew up her Christmas bonbon. He got stuck right into it and this was good cos up until then Dog had only nibbled around the edges and now that Sam had chomped a bloody great hole in it, Dog could enjoy the softer middle bit. Yum Yum. Now these 2 dogs have played and eaten and slept side by side for more than 5 years. They are great mates the likes of which I have never seen in dogs before, so when all of a sudden Dog got the shits up and a bruharhar erupted we were all more than a little surprised. It was clear after we broke it up that it was over the half chewed up bonbon.

So I got to wondering how generous we all need to be with our stuff.

I reckon we are mostly probably good at sharing stuff we don't care too much about. Yeh you can have some of my sanga, or a bit of cheese, but that last square of choccie, well that's something different altogether.

We can probably give away our old clothes or furniture and most of us are more than happy to 'share' out opinions and ideas, but very often not at the expense of actually listening to and absorbing someone else's.

I am not convinced that we are all naturally good at sharing. I see that mostly we are good at barter, I'll give you this if you give me that, and then the exchange depends the value everyone puts on the bartered goods. SO someone might think an exchange is extremely generous when in fact the stuff is one-sidedly unimportant or cheap or insignificant. A wealthy bloke's 20 quid to a beggar might not be as valuable as a poor person's dollar. But sharing has still gone on. 

So how much Sharing is enough? I don't hold with the 'give until it hurts' philosophy. When I share I want to do it willingly and smilingly and I want the reverse to be true. I don't want sharing to be excruciatingly  painful or even mildly miserable.

I mostly reckon that 'what goes around comes around', and for shitful mean people this seems to take longer than it should, but good deeds are often repaid quickly and with interest.

I am gonna give this 'Pay it forward' thing a go. Can't do any harm.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Open Houses and trying to sell the Big House

We were talked into an OPEN HOUSE!

I am not sure why. We had said all along that we were not gonna do it, that we were not gonna put ourselves through all the bullshit, all the tyre kickers and the pervs and the neighbours always too busy too say hello, but who now might want a nosey.

Anyway more than 2 days of cleaning and sorting and sweating and hiding stuff where I hope I can find it and now I am sitting in the park enjoying the cooling breeze and am wondering if in deed anyone at all is gonna bother trooping through.

It seems a ridiculous way to try and sell an expensive thing. How does inviting all and sundry for a poke through encourage someone to stump up a good deal of cash? It seems to devalue the place to me, but what the fuck would I know? I am not a real estate agent!

I have never thought to buy a place based on an open house walk through. In fact I have only ever walked through to get some ideas or to check out the competition. I want to be able to take my time and absorb the atmosphere of a place if I am thinking of buying it, and that's not at all possible if it's crawling with lookey lookers some of whom probably only want to steal the batteries from the remotes and hide the toothbrushes.

When we sold the tall house in London, the first agent, who had spent a few years selling in OZ, set up some open houses, and this as expected was a dismal failure. Poms don't like sharing the attention with a whole herd of people. They want their own time, their own appointment, their own look. And why not? When we listed it with another firm, one that we were not much fond of, they had no open houses. But they did have buyers on their books. They showed a couple of people through, by appointment, and bugger me the second woman through bought it. Just like that! She came she saw she liked and she stumped up the cash. All very simple and civilised.

Update: 30 minutes in and NOT ONE LOOKER THROUGH!

Update: 45 minutes in and not one looker and second agent just gave up and drove away. Shit if she feels bad, just imagine how pissed I might be after the trouble I have gone through.

So the final wash up was one bloke in a ute, on his way somewhere else, stopped by and thought he might like a shifty, but Paul vetted him at the gate and he didn't have any money so there was no point in wasting everyone's time.

An hour later and at least I can sit and enjoy my spotless house.

The none too subtle sign outside our place.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Tittie Squeezing - it's time and times have changes.

For more than a quarter of a century, shit doesn't that sound like a bloody ridiculously long time, I have been trooping off to the Wesley Breast Clinic for the annual squashing of the titties.

As little more than  a girl, after a somewhat complicated bout of fucking shit C, I would front up, firstly every 6 months and then after a while every year. This was a back in the day when you had an appointment and you lobbed in, smiled at the girl on the front desk collected your paper work, made nice with the older woman who was volunteering to show you around,  and then you got changed and left your clothes hanging alongside those of other titty squash women and had a lovely cuppa and bit of cake while you waited your turn. It was a festive sort of a wait with girl chat and gossip and often there were bus loads of women from far flung places all in the big smoke for a squeeze and then a bit of flash lunch.

It would be less than truthful to say that the squashing was a picnic, but compared to many of life's irritations it's pretty far down the list.

Anyway, there was the squeeze and sometimes an ultra sound and sometimes a the needle invasion, then the clothes were back on after a swipe of deodorant for good measure and less stink, collection of films from the wonderful volunteer and back to the front desk to settle the bill. $20.

Tradition dictated that I would then go to Park Road Shoes and I never left without a pair. Sometimes they proved toe crushingly uncomfortable and other times like little clouds on my feet. Shoe box in the car and I was outta there for another year.

Well perhaps it's because I am just morphing into a crabby old woman, but yesterday's squeeze left a great deal to be desired. Not the medical side of things. Really the medico women are outstanding. They are efficient and knowledgeable and caring and thorough. The volunteers are as pleasant too. It's all the other crap that just gets in the way.

THEY - who the fuck is THEY?,  sent 2 letters prior to the appointment and then there was the phone call reminding me of the appointment and asking for contact details which would be useful for fundraising contactability. The paper work which used to be handed to me on arrival was posted for me fill in prior to getting there, probably because it is a stat-dec saying I will happily pay for any procedures someone feels necessary, so it is dutifully signed even though there is no indication of the possible charges. The paper work that I used to complete myself  about any surgery and the location of scars etc, is now filled in by the radiographers who have to scurry around in the dim light looking for scrape marks. How this is an efficient use of their time I do not know.

The process is the same - get changed into a fetching robe, yeh mine is a bigger one now than it used to be but now you leave your clothes in a locker, that is so short that the bottom 1/3 of you top is hanging in a crumpled mess on the bottom, instead of hanging full length while chatting to someone else's top, and then it is off to the waiting room. The chairs and tables have changed very little, but now there is a flash coffee machine that I am not clever enough to use so I bring my own, and the health and safety police have insisted that the treaties and are all individually wrapped - no more open trays of deliciousness.

The machinery is kinder on  your body because digital imaging means that less pressure is needed for a good look, but the ultra sound is the same. The women always explain what they are doing and are wonderfully chatty if that's the mood and will happily reassure if that's required.

Then back to get changed and wait for the volunteer to bring you your little envelope of stuff and then out to settle up.

Yesterday it was all very simple. No needles, no second looks, no doctor's visit.

Settling up was more than $500. Medicare pays about fuck all back!

When the fuck did that happen? The account's clerk did admit that the price had gone up!

25 years, more admin staff have been employed. This does not alter one bit, the diagnostic outcomes.

25 years and a flash coffee machine has been installed. No change there either.

Clothe segregation is in place, correspondence has hit almost nuisance level, and phone calls which require stress relief breathing exercises to get through also are of no health benefit to me.

All the significant changes have not altered the medical outcomes at all.

I reckon for the price we could well and truly do without the changes, cos it seems to me that we are just paying for unnecessary stuff. Of course the person employed to make the calls I suppose would argue that if she didn't call, some people might not attend their appointments and therefore the Clinic would lose out on the $500 gap payment. But I would argue that if there were no wages paid to make the phone calls the $500 gap payment would be considerably dented.  

On the upside, yesterday's shoe shopping was a success.

Regardless of where you go, JUST GO GIRLS, it's that time of the year again.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Today it's Christmas at the Big House

Yes I know Stevie and I had Christmas last year and it was all very lovely, infact I reckon we might well have forged a fine little tradition of our own. The idea of never having to worry about cooking food, which means buying food, which means going to the stinking grocery shops, is all too appealing. So yes we had grown up Christmas, but today it's time for the 'Kids'. Yeh I have not gone on so as to forget that Bell is not a kid, but she is MY kid and so it's time for the kids' Christmas.

They have shared themselves around between families and the Woodford festival and more families, but it's finally it's MY turn! Yippee!

They are on their way so their parcels under the tree from Santa can finally get the opening they deserve. We are hoping that here is are great squeals of delight and laughter.

As a family, split, blended, divided, divorced, buggered up - ain't semantics grand, Christmas has always been just a great big compromise. And so it remains. I must admit that getting too much excitement up this far past the BIG DAY, is difficult to manage, but I am gonna give it my best shot.

There are some very big pluses though. There is absolutely no pressure about the food. Really it could be vegemite sangas and a cold glass of cordial.

We are going just a tad flasher than that, but there are no table decos or cloth or centre piece or flash cutlery, and I reckon Zig will eat his in his togs and be jumping in and out of the pool.

I got the crackers at a knock 'em out price and so afforded good ones with hopefully some great loot. I mean you can't have Christmas without crackers can you? I am not sure that the wacko hats will get an airing, but Zig does love the silly jokes.

It's an odd way to have Christmas I admit, but as I am leaving the tree up until the end of January, we might as well make best use of it.

Happy Day.


Friday, 2 January 2015

A Day of Strangers

Yesterday, Steve was having a Mexican stand-off with Dibley, who wanted to come home and go for a swim and so was sitting by the gate, while Steve sat at one of the picnic tables and waited for her to submit. He looked down and spied a very full wallet on the ground.

He brought it home and I was gonna set to finding the person using the White pages. Instead, I found a membership card for a surf club and thought they might be good for a bit of help. I rang them and whilst they rightly wouldn't give me Fred's number, they did take mine and said they'd ring him and get onto it.

Not many minutes later a relieved Fred called to say that his was well away from the park, infact he was nearly home - the very southern end of the coast. So we made plans for him to collect it tomorrow. I told him that there was a Twenty in it, cos I was worried that he might have had millions in horse winnings or xmas money and I didn't want him to think that I had nicked it. He laughed.

So today early, Fred rang to say he was close by and when he rang the gate bell I was happy to reunite him with his bum bulge, how do men sit down on that lot? He offered me the twenty and I was just happy to think that what goes around might come around.

This afternoon in that stinky filthy heat, we got it into our heads that it was time to sort the grass which has grown like topsy with all the rain. I mowed and Steve took charge of the whipper-snippering, cos I am a little afraid of that fucker. Anyway I was half in and half out of the driveway and saw a nice looking woman standing by the For Sale monolith on the footpath. When I looked again she had moved closer to the gate and was having a real good nosey inside.

Introductions were made and I invited Pam in. Indeed she is a pleasant woman. She's looking for a big place to allow combined living for her and her family. The possibility of transforming the study and the studio into a small flat just for her, separate but close by to family, was something she found exciting.

She had a thorough look-see and even hugged me goodbye. Yeh I thought that was a bit over the top.

It might come to nothing, but what it made me think is that I doubt anyone, including Paul, will be able to sell the place more honsestly or effectively than me.

It's possible I could have uttered those dreadful words, ' I reckon I could be a good estate agent, but only if I was selling houses I really liked'.

Permission is granted to slap me hard if I give that any real consideration.