Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Windows hasn't completely beaten me.

Ok, at best it's a bloody pest and at worst the cause for machines to be flung wildly from balconies. The photos I took yesterday appear as teeny weeny specs so I pulled these ones out at random and  I am pretty sure that they would never make their way onto commercial postcards. But there can't be too much wrong with a different perspective.

The little pods set out all in a row at the BARRIER.

This looks like it might be the Walkie-Talkie building, it was new to me.

Pick a landmark...Eye, The Wobbly Bridge, Ben.

Tower Bridge

The Onion....London City Hall

Blue Sky in September

Blackfriars Bridges

The Shard 

Boat Grafitti for Carol 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

I fucking LOVE London

Yep I wedged my tourist hat on firmly today and took off on my absolute favourite daggy tourist thing to do and caught the ferry from Westminster Pier to Greenwich and on to the Thames Barrier.

It might have been helpful, that Steve struck up a convo with the ticket seller about an online discount that I had found cos even though we only had our ordinary Oyster cards, she charged us each about 11 quid instead of 17 ( still a bargain I reckon ) for 3 hours on the water. Bloody brilliant bargain! I reckon it helps to ask, especially if you are smiling and pleasant.

The ferry to be fair was a bit clapped out and some of the bench seats were not too firmly attached to the floor, but fuck, who cares? The sun was shining and the wind was blowing my hair from arsehole to breakfast and off we shot.

All the major London sites can be seen from the river and it is really helpful to get a sense of where everything is. What we found absolutely remarkable was the amount of development along the length of the river. There was just so much to notice.

Now if you haven't been to London before, it's cool to listen to the patter of the boat boy cos he knows some interesting stuff, but the script has not been changed fro at least a decade so I zoned out and ignored him as best as I could.

Greenwich was as it always is, bloody marvellous. We grabbed a bit of lunch and had a bit of a wander until it was time to get on board for the ride up to the BARRIER.

Now I am happy to admit that I am a bit nuts and so what I like is not everyone's cup of English Breakfast tea, but I love everything about the BARRIER. I love the idea of being able to hold back the North Sea, and protecting all of the low lying areas of London - and that's a lot of area, and I love that this is possible because of the brilliant minds of engineers who set about designing this wonderful thing. But what I love most is that unusually, the designers looked further than just to something effective, they made something truly beautiful. The little - well not so little really, pod things are just fantastic sculptures perched across the river. Their cutesy appearance belies the power and the guts of the mechanism, a bit like the hidden workings of a transvestite's outfit - all smooth and classy on the outside and all tape and booby pins and tight knickers underneath. No trip up the Thames would be complete without a little look-see at the BARRIER and if this makes me a sad old git, well then so be it.

There is no banter from the boat boy on the way back so it was lovely to just play, 'Oh wow, look at that.' So many new buildings have sprung up and if cranes on the horizon are an indication of prosperity, then it might be true that the streets of London really are lined with gold. Some of the developments are stunning and some are a bit more hit and miss, but I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder, cos sometimes Steve and I disagreed on what was good design.

I am not gonna bang on about all the sights that the ferry ride has in store. You can google it. But I will say that unless being on a boat makes you so green that you need to carry your own bucket, then this is a must-do. There are fast ferries and slow poke ferries and if little metal pods all lined up in a row don't excite you, then just pop off to Greenwich and give the BARRIER a miss.

If you live in this wonderful place, get out on a ferry cos it's just a bloody marvellous thing to do, and if you are lucky enough to be visiting, ferries are a great way to see a lot without the mad human crush.

I have all sorts of fab photos, but I have just downloaded WINDOWS 10 onto my little machine and the whole thing has gone pear shaped. Potty mouth would barely describe what the neighbours have been putting up with. Will try again another time with pics, cos for now I am FUCKED.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Watch out at Tourist Hot Spots

It shouldn't surprise me that in touristy places there is a big chance that you are gonna get ripped off badly, or at least the locals will give it a red hot try. Australia's tourist Mecca, the Goldie is quite a bit like that, especially if you head into Surfer's Paradise.

No there aren't touts on the beaches trying to sell you a foot massage and a drink made from dubious ingredients as happens in Bali, and neither are there prices for locals and prices for idiot visitors as there are in South Korea. But there is definitely not always good value for money and if I was looking to buy a T shirt or a sex aid, Surfers Paradise would not be on my list of places to go.

So last night I was off up town to the theatre and popped up out of the tube at Piccadilly Circus. Yes there are places in London as recognisable but not too many more so. As ever I was early so thought I might like a little soft serve ice cream to fill in time. There was some rather slimy looking bloke in an ice cream van parked right by the tube exit. Seeing it didn't fill me with the same sort of thrill as hearing that tuneless music from the Mr Whippy truck when I was a kid, when all the kids in the street would hassle the parentals for a few pennies for a cone, - not one of those cones, we didn't have a clue about any of that until many years later. I loved those sloppy ice creams! So it wasn't as thrilling but I fronted up anyway. There was a family ahead of me who didn't speak much English so there was a lot of pointing and smiling and kids eating up sugar. Then the fella told Dad how much he owed and Dad had to get the wife to dig into their reserves to find enough cash. That should have been a warning to me, but no, I wanted an ice cream.

So I smiled and greeted the guy in good friendly English, hoping he might NOT try to take the piss. I had spied in a little corner, a hand written note which included some prices, and whilst 3 quid ($6) for a soft serve seemed pretty steep, I thought, ' Bugger it, I'm in Piccadilly Circus, let's have some sugar.' There were 3 prices - 1,3 and 5 pounds. I thought the middle one would satisfy my craving. So I ordered a 3 quid softy, and he grabbed a big cone and muttered something about a fiver. Now pretending not to speak English should have rung alarm bells, but instead, I just shook my head and told him again I wanted a 3er. He dropped the cone like it was diseased and grabbed perhaps the smallest cone I have ever seen and squirted in just the tiniest bit of splodge, he went to hand it to me, which obviously is a sign that you have accepted the deal.

I put my hand up using the universal STOP signal. I looked at him and said, '3 quid for that? Are you kidding me? That's the smallest ice cream I have ever seen.' In his very best English he then proceeded to tell me that it was very expensive to run the ice cream machine and the goods are priced accordingly. I told him I wasn't going to pay him and walked away, sadly sans cone. As I was walking away, I saw him dump the meagre bit of splodge back into the machine.

Then Chris and I found a delightful little pub and popped in for a cheeky bevvie before the show. There was a deal on cocktails for a fiver so Chris had a mojito, but I fancied a wine. Drinks were delivered and I suppose we should have guessed that there was something up, cos the delivery was made much aplomb. I was presented with a medicinal amount of white wine and Chris' glass was mostly filled with ice.

The bill came to I think about 14 pounds, even though the wine was priced at 4.5 and the mojito just 5. An argument  was had but the bill was paid and all up it left a very sour taste in my mouth. 

I know these places don't give a rat's arse about repeat business, but the rip off factor just gets right up my nose.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Charity Shops Uk Bloody brilliant!

The view from the front windows of the flat.

There are 6 charity shops within a very easy walk of the flat. Twickenham is a middle of the road sort of place as far as charity shops go. There are cheaper places with shittier stuff in poorer condition, but all of 'em are still better than OP shops in Oz, and there are much flasher charity shops where designer labels at designer prices are displayed as professionally as any exclusive boutique. The flasher the suburb, the flasher the charity shops.

I love a bargain. And I reckon if I lived in London full time, I would just never be able to go into a retail shop again, cos there is just about nothing you can't get in a charity shop, for almost nothing. I furnished houses and clothed myself for fuck all while I lived here and the habit has not died. I do enjoy a good root around in the charity world.

So I am off to the theatre tonight with Chris. We are seeing something which googled up as being a little off beat, and as is the case in town, there is no dress code. Really you can just wear any damn thing at all. I reckon that's courtesy of all the backpackers who drag around in the same clothes they have been wearing for a year, so anything is ok. But I am a quickly aging old thing and so some decorum is surely in order? Except that I packed badly and anyway I have shit feet, so I have a choice of thongs - 3 fashion colours or sneakers or my red flats, which proved a bit uncomfy the other day, so I am reluctant to give 'em another long outing. So Thongs it is.

I have red ones, purple ones and now after a bargain hunt in Richmond, a pair of white ones with pink soles. Yeh they are not flash, but I figured if I had a cute bag to match with 'em, it would tart 'em up a bit.

So I fell over this little fella in one of the charity shops in Twickenham this morning.

It's a Furla.

There is barely a mark on it.

It matches all 3 pairs of thongs perfectly.

It cost, wait for it....6 QUID. Change from $12. Hard to bloody believe.

And now when I pop into town wearing my thongs, I reckon people will be too busy checking out my new bag, to notice the less than flash footwear. And if I am honest, I don't really give a shit anyway, any excuse to get a new handie huh?

It's meant to be getting chilly tonight and as winter sneaks up on us here in the northern hemisphere, I suppose pretty soon I will have to find something more appropriate to walk in.

But in the meantime, the thongs will do.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Old Bailey.

My hair is in need of a bit of TLC cos the re-growth has appeared, and the Pommie water is playing havoc with the condition, so up or down or round and round it all too often is looking pretty shit, but when I popped into The Old Bailey to have a little look see at some court proceedings, I took solace cos one of the QC wigs was in such an appalling state that it made my mane look positively luxuriant

The Old Bailey has long been on my 'To-Do' List for London. So I took off and a bus ride and 3 tube connections later I walked up to this dark little alley and followed the signs to the public gallery. There are a lot of rules to be adhered to before you can go in, but the major one is NO PHONES. Well that's a bugger, cos who goes anywhere without their phones these days?

But as luck or fine enterprise would have it, down the rickety stairs and around the corner there is Capable Travel, who for a small sum will mind your shit for the day. I gave 'em a pound and my phone and then read the small print and then realised that my kindle probably was illegal too so because of the wrong order of delivery I needed to pay another fiver, but ho hum and there was no entry charge at the courts, so all up it was gonna be a cheap day's entertainment. I kept hold of my 2 raffle tickets and wondered if the tax man had been let into this little venture, or if the Looker-afterer CEO might at sometime in the future end up exactly where I was heading.

So back up the rickety dark stairs to face the security department located on the narrow stairs' half landing, where the young fella opened every zipper of my handie and felt it up like it was a girlie prisoner before her first shower. His offsider let me through the metal detector and of course it buzzed like a bitch and then he went over me with his beeping wand and eventually I had to lift my skirt and show him the metal knee scars. No it wasn't as exciting as it sounds and I was left fondly reminiscing about the security fella in Cairns whose feel-up search was far more romantic.

But then I was IN. I didn't know what was showing so I took pot luck. Court 16 was a murder trial.

The Jury was sitting there and it must have been early days cos there was a lot of explaining about times and technology related to the CCTV footage which was gonna form the crux of the evidence. From my lofty spot in the gallery, with no knowledge of the Law and not having heard all the evidence or a word from the defence, I would imagine that these 3 fellas could very well swing. However, evidence aside, I was also struck by just how little privacy any of us really have. The footage was a compilation of private CCTV and Council CCTV and Main roads CCTV and shops and traffic lights and Train station footage. The Jury was presented with and almost second to second visual of the fellas leading up to the crime. How could there be any doubt?

I'm not too concerned with this Big Brother invasion into our lives, though maybe that's cos I am naïve, or maybe it's cos I am, generally speaking law abiding and do not live in fear of 'being found out'. Instead I am pleased that such technology can be used to lock up the baddies and maybe even act as a deterrent.

The equipment overheated and so a little recess was called and I popped into another court.

Here there was no Jury. The battle was on for whether or not some evidence should be shown to the Jury when it was selected. It seemed a bit more casual. At one point I laughed out loud. I discovered that it was NOT that casual, the Judge's cross and somewhat surprised look was a timely education.

Some newspaper bloke had been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Misconduct in Public Office and I understand the case is about money that had been paid to coppers and prison officers in cash for information that had made it's way into the hands of various journalists and subsequently into Newspaper stories. I thought the proceedings were interesting even if the issues seemed not too important to me.

The prosecutor's wig was in the most appalling state. There is I think supposed to be 3 rows of curls and 2 funny little piggy tails hanging down the back, but his looked like it had been  through the heavy duty cycle of an industrial washer and then dried in a wind tunnel. Maybe 'them what's in the public service', are just so badly paid that they share the wee wigs and to avoid the transference of nits, they always give 'em a good old shake out before donning 'em, but whatever had happened to this poor thing I can only say that it's time for  a new one. The defence fella was sartorially elegant even if he appeared a little Rumpole of the Bailey squiffy, if you know what I mean.

If there is ever a Legal Eagle thing on the tellie or in a movie or a Grisham novel, then I am in. I love 'em. I love the puzzle solving and the argument making, although it must be said that justice moves far more quickly on the large or small screens than it does in real life.

I will be pleased to go back another day for another look.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

St Paul's Cathedral


I am determined to be quite the tourist on this visit to London cos even though I lived here for a long time, I have managed to ignore some iconic places that must surely be worth a visit. And thanks to Brissie Carol I have a book full of lesser known places to navigate as well, so I expect to wear a bit of a hole in my feet and put my metal knees to good use.
So yesterday I took off to town to have a gander at some legal action at The Old Bailey, and that is a story in itself, but afterwards, as I was so close and I had never been there before, I thought I'd pop into St Paul's for a bit of absolution and to see if it looked like it did when Princess Di got married.

There are plenty of stairs to get to the front door and the red carpet of course was gone, but up I trudged cos I figured it'd be pretty and perhaps atmospheric and maybe even eventful if the lightning attacking atheists is true. There was a long line of people which sort of surprised me, cos the building looked voluminous on the tellie and Di's dress was pretty flash and fitted in so I guessed there had to be plenty of room for everyone to fit in, even if people were stopping every once in a while for a little chat to gods.

But as it turned out the line up was so everyone could part with their cash to get closer to god. Ho bloody hum. And not just a little donation in the tiny brown envelope of my childhood, no, the entry fee was 18 POUNDS. Now that's a lot of wonga!

For 18 quid I could buy 4 pints at the pub, or 2 fair bottles of Sav Blanc. For 18 quid I could go to the pictures 1 and a half times, so about 3 hours of viewing pleasure. 18 quid pays for 12 bus rides of unlimited distance and a shed load of good chocolate. Yep it's a lot of cash. And there was a long line up of folk ready and willing to part with it.

But not me.

There was a little codicil on the pricing banner, that invited prayers in free of charge, but I had a look at the space of offer for them and really it would have crushed Di's dress.

I couldn't in all consciousness feign a religious intent just to get a free look see and anyway it didn't seem like I was gonna get in to where I wanted to go even if I did leave my integrity at the door.

So I took a picture of the banner which outlines all the conditions of entry as well as perhaps exchanging blessing for bucks from the dead. Yeh I wasn't supposed to take any photos although I didn't see any signs about that. I did see the box office set up in the middle of the church and I was reminded of the Old Testament story about when Jesus went spare about the traders in the church and wondered how this could be seen as any different - just saying.

It's a pretty big building and no doubt requires a great deal of maintenance and all that has to be paid for somehow. I just can't reconcile the cash grab by the church.

Have you visited St Paul's?
When have you parted with cash just for a little look - see?


Sunday, 20 September 2015

What kind of Drunk are you?

Twickenham in the Rugby season is an excellent place to do a bit of random research into the antics of pissed people. From inside the little flat even through the double glazing, you can hear the festivities begin, rise to a crescendo and then at about 3am dwindle to an incoherent argument.

I popped over the road last night to pick up an Indian Takeaway for dinner. It was just before the France V Italian game was due to start, and this end of town was like a holocaust zone, probably because there are fewer pubs here playing the games on large screens.

Because I haven't worked out how to 'buzz someone in', I waited while they cooked my food. The restaurant was completely empty, on a Saturday night! While I waited I chattered to the fellas there and asked if the World Cup was good for business. The consensus was that they could take slightly more cash, but when they considered the hours and the cleaning, well really they would rather have their ordinary trade. Now the hours I understood. I imagined that customers would pull on their feed bags straight after the game - So sort of 10 ish, I certainly would be tonguing for food by then, but they told me that they are pretty empty til after 1am when the pubs kick out! Shit who eats at 1am?  I would suffer such appalling reflux that sleep would be impossible unless I was standing tall. Ok so the wages bill must rocket cos they have punters in there til after 3am. Whew! what a shift huh? Hope the tips are good.

The cleaning issue took more of an explanation. As can be imagined if people have been on the piss since mid afternoon, by 1am they are bound to be a bit quiffy. When I walked passed a big Rugby pub at about 2pm they were playing yesterday's game on the large screen and the place was heaving, people were drinking and singing and arguing the ref's calls. It sounded pretty friendly and festive, but the fellas across the road reckon by 1am quite a lot of joviality has evapourated and what is left is hungry, pissed, sometimes angry, sometimes joyful - depending on the result, but almost uniformly poorly co-ordinated folk, looking for more drink and some food. They don't care about the quality of the food so long as there is more beer.

Well I gave thought to all this as I trooped home with my Lamb Korma and rice and Naan bread to mop up all the sauce. Unusually I used a plate and poured a glass of wine, and whilst the food was tasty, I was disappointed that it was pretty dry. To quote Manu, 'Where's the sauce?'

And then I wondered if they had tried to reduce the drippage onto their fabric table cloths and so to reduce the cleaning bills, by having less to fall from the fork to the face.

Anyway it I got to thinking about drunks. There are probably as many types as there are drunks.

Life of the party, story tellers and joksters.
Silent slide off the sofa onto the floorers.
Nanoo Nanooers who can't remember which part of their body is used to sit, so they end up with their heads stuck firmly into the seat cushions.
Light on their feet dancers, who can romance and sweep folk away with their Pavlovian waltzes.
Aggressive arguers hell bent on getting up into people's faces - these are the spitters that the fellas across the road really dislike.
Stumble and fallers who stay put until some sense of sobriety returns, even if it means that others need to do a chicken high step around 'em to get to the loo. Have you ever been to a party when someone passes out on the loo? A girlfriend did it one night out on the town and when finally the door was wacked in to get her out, it slammed right into her nose and smeared said nose all over her face, ouchie.

I can hear all of these out on the streets until at about 3 am there is blessed silence, except for the odd hollerer and singer and stumbler.

Do you fit into any of these categories?
Have I missed some out?

House Boats

I was sitting by the Thames yesterday watching the day unfold and across the water there was a line up of House Boats. Given the appalling rents in London I reckon that living on a boat could be an excellent opportunity for folk on basic wages to make ends meet. And as an added bonus, it might be a bit of a romantic interlude.

For more than 20 years I rocked myself to sleep on a very wobbly waterbed, and I found it soothing and comfortable and occasionally very exciting, like when Steve popped over to Oz for his first visit and without going into too many lurid detail, the fucking bed fell apart, cos in my girl's haste to put it together, she had missed some integral steps and there was that legendary heap of unused fixings in a little plastic bag which I had ignored and she had not found it necessary to explain.

Anyway it seems pretty clear that sleeping on a waterbed is quite a polarising proposition, so too it must be for folk considering living on a river boat. For me I reckon at least in the abstract, it would be lovely to be rocked to sleep every night.

But the abstract is rarely the reality.

I remember fondly going for weekends on the old wooden hulled girl, The Tiku. Dad and I were the only ones out of 5 who enjoyed it. I slept on a converted bench seat outside and I could hear the water slapping away on the hull. Yeh it was lovely, except for the constant stink of the diesel, and the rather shitful food and the overwhelming aggravation which spilled out of the others and then perhaps the piece de resistence was the bucket toilet facilities. It was not always ideal, but it was only for a few days - not for the foreseeable future as for the folk on the riverboats at Kingston.

The reality here is that sound travels across the water so as the boats are all tethered together, either the residents are all very friendly or they are church mouse quiet.

It gets pretty chilly in London during the winter and I rather doubt that there is effective central heating, so Ugg boots and doonas would be a necessary expense and not just for the permanent residents. There must surely be a little basket of 'to be borrowed' stuff for visitors, or maybe visitors are limited to the summer when Pimms on the deck is the way to go.

I reckon damp would be an issue again specially in the rainy old winter and the smell of that would be all pervading, which is ok for fisher people but not so good for the suited and booted city workers.

So as I sat and watched the swans and the ducks I could almost buy into the romance, and then reality came and smacked some sense into me. Just no fucking way! Glamping, camping NO THANK YOU, but a couple of days on a boat would be ok so long as there was no hint that a few days might morph into anything more permanent.

So who are the folk living on these boats?
How do they manage?
Could you do it?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Rugby World Cup

You could be forgiven for thinking that the reason for popping over to Blighty this time, was to go to a wedding or to catch-up with folk, or go shopping or use up frequent flier points or maybe I just really wanted to see if it was possible to get on a plane without having a panic attack. But none of this explains what we are doing here. Nope, it's the footy, not soccer and not the NRL - although the finals will be watched if I can find 'em on the tellie here, but the Rugby Union, and it started today. The rest is just happy serendipity.

From the funny little kitchen window, I can see the smoke from the crackers at Twickenham Stadium which is a bit odd cos I am also watching it on the tellie. Steve of course is with the fellas at the Grasshoppers Rugby Club which also rather strangely featured heavily on the news tonight. It is like being caught in some sort of parallel universe seeing stuff on the tellie that you know so well, or maybe not, if you are used to the paps and media attention, but that sure as shit is not me.

There was some Opening ceremony pomp which I must say the Poms do pretty well, and now the opening game England V Fiji is on. In typical fashion the rain has started and it seems that this is suiting the Poms, after all it does rain here A LOT.

I always root for the Poms if they are playing anyone in any game, except if they are playing the Aussies. Yeh I am that parochial. Steve is similar. He likes the Aussies to beat everyone except his beloved England.

We will be the odd couple for the England V Aussie game, which we are lucky enough to have tickets for, so no looking through the silly window and no watching it on tellie, no, we will be with the 85000 other people in fine voice at Twickenham. One of us will be disappointed, but if it is Steve the disappointment will last longer. He will replay every move and all that will be stored in the brain along with every other important or not so important moments over the last 40 years. Me, I will have forgotten it before I leave the stadium. I reckon there is only so much room in the brain and so I like to save space for things like appointments and birthdays and useful day to day stuff.

Tonight's game looks like a bit of a doddle for England, but just as I type this, Fiji seems to have scored, of nope they didn't, he dropped it over the line. Oops!

So I will continue to watch and wash up and hang the washing, and then put my feet up cos I spent a good few hours being a fly half at Kingston shopping today.  Yeh I know, more fat Popo than anything else but in my mind I was fleet of foot and sharp as a tack.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Plumbing Dilemma

Steve the plumber

Plunger for a pound.

There are some things that we in the western world take for granted and the flush of a toilet and the draining of water from the kitchen sink are 2 of 'em, unless of course you are in Greece, where if you are lucky enough to be short enough of cash that you have gone on a cheap and cheerful holiday to the beautiful island of Paros, you might be able to, as I did to sit and pee and number 2 and then watch it all disappear through the open drain in the loo floor. It's an odd thing to remember I admit, given how idyllic the place is, but the loo situation was pretty extreme, and possibly a purposeful reminder not to throw other stuff down the loo. Of course if you happened to accidentally flush something away and were pretty quick and good with a fishing rod or similar, the hole in the floor could have proved quite useful. I am pleased to say that I did not have to put that to the test. 
When we built the Big House, Steve became the plumbing Nazi. He gave minute and specific detailed instructions to our darling plumber who was, I am pretty sure, suffering a grande depression after the recent breakdown of his marriage. The plumber was a ham fisted bloke not known for his finesse and so Steve watched him like a hawk and measured degrees and heights and noticed plumbing pipe circumferences and falls of floors and all stuff necessary to ensure that all 5 loos flush gaily away and that all the bathrooms as well as the laundry and the kitchen run like well oiled machines, without the oil cos I understand that too much oil is not a good thing for the pipes, but I could have just made that up. 
Anyway, as a result of Steve's fastidiousness and possibly because he might be ever so slightly OCD, all the plumbing works perfectly.
This is not the case in the little London flat we are renting for the next 2 months.
The kitchen sink just does not drain away.
We are renting from a colleague of a friend so there is at least a thin thread of 'Howdy do'. We paid all up in advance before we moved in.
So when we noticed the problem - about a minute and a half after we got in, cos you know I wanted to do something pretty extreme like wash my hands, well Steve mentioned to our landlord, and he copped a bit of a frosty response something like, 'Well what does it matter? The dishwasher works.'
Neither of us like fundamental things which don't work. If we were here for a couple of days then maybe I could find joy in the silliness of running down the stairs to rinse a cloth in the bathroom or wash some vegetables in loo, but 2 months is looming quite long into the distance and I imagine my smile will wane sometime soon. Steve's already has.
We went to the POUND SHOP, a UK institution where, you guessed it, everything costs a pound. Yeh it's a shit shop of rather epic proportions but today for less than a fiver we came out with what Steve imagined might clear the blockage. In my very best Strine accent I talked the manager out of a long strip of plastic that is used to display cheap shit, and that combined with the curtain wire stuff and some draino were the plumber's - Steve's tools of the trade. McGyvering is not something that sits well with Steve, whereas for me after years of fixing stuff in my house myself cos I had no cash to pay a tradie, well it's something I am pretty good at. I tied a couple of bits of plastic together with a bit of ribbon I found in the back of a drawer and Steve set about his task.
Here's the TOOLS, or maybe that's us?
To say there was shit everywhere is something of an understatement. No water, and no damage just big chunks of shit fished out of what Steve imagines are very poorly plumbed pipes.
Anyway, there is some improvement. The sink smells cleaner and now it drains away, even if as slowly as a bunch of old people gumming their way through very tough steak while their dentures are being cleaned.
I found a pommie style bucket thing that I have seen used in kitchens over here to wash up in, instead of the sink. Yeh it sits in the sink and the idea has never really hit home for me. but I reckon it might be ok to your wash hands and then as and when is needed tip the bucket into the plants on the balcony or if I am feeling energetic I can run it down the steps to the loo. Yeh that's not gonna happen. 
So here's the dilemma. Should we make a fuss of this with the landlord? If we didn't know him from Adam, we certainly would, and Steve wouldn't have spent hours today, up to his armpits in drain blockage shit. Or maybe we should just imagine that we are in some third world place and enjoy it's rustic nature.
Would YOU make a song and dance until it is fixed? 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Richmond London

The distances in miles belie the metrication of the UK.

Even though it felt like the first chill of autumn today, the flowers are in full bloom - bloody lovely
Punting on the Themes - spoiled for choice as to which boat you might like.
Back in the day, you know when cavemen ruled and dinosaurs were not registered, and when I was thinner and frivolously spent every penny I earned on stuff and nonsense including appallingly expensive clothes and shoes that hurt just looking at 'em, Richmond was my favourite place to go for a good shop and a look around. It was also an excellent place to go for last drinks away from the prying eyes of local school kids who caught out more than their fair share of rather pissed teachers. It is a shopping, eating, partying place.
So I ventured back today to have a good look see and I am pleased to say that it is very little changed. Only a couple of the shops have closed and morphed into another designer jobbie and some of the cafes and eateries have changed signage but it all feels pretty much the same. There are lovely little cobblestone pathways with expensive shops whose opening hours speak of lux and privilege - yeh that means the bloody places were still closed when I was there wanting to have a bit of a gander, which might have been just as well, cos how many lavender lace and net hats does a girl really need?
But perhaps my favourite part of Richmond is the Hill. No it ain't like the old HILL at the GABBA where men drank beer till they were puking and women got their tits out to the loud appreciation of the crowds. No the Hill is full of disparate galleries and designers' store fronts and cafes and the odd little pub.
I found a Dog heaven place which required an engineering degree to enter as there were a series of doggie gates which I suppose even the cleverest canine would wonder about. Anyway, I was too far in to politely retreat, when the smell of wet shaggie dog hit me. It was quite the stink. Through an open door I could have, had I lost all olfactory sense, watched while a large pooch was clipped. There was a vast array of doggie collars and leads - not the rude kind, but even for Dibley Dog, I could not stay there for long enough to select a new flash one. 
Somewhere up the hill and a bit around the corner, if you are lucky, you might run into Mick Jagger. I say this like I am his best friend and have often popped in for a cup of sugar and a wrinkle face mask, but in truth I am only spreading gossip, even if it does come from a reasonable source - Not THE SUN, but that which I just can't remember at the moment. It's a pretty walk even if you don't run into anyone famous.
Then back to the river, The River Thames. It always sounds so much grander than it is in person. The tides rise and fall rapidly here at Richmond and I have been caught out having a squiffy long lunch at the Swan only to stumble out into a foot of water. The Tow Path was pretty hairy today covered in mud-slim from a recent high tide. It's always useful to either wear or pack a pair of thongs in your handie if you are going to a session on the river at Richmond.
Yep Richmond is definitely worth a visit if you are just popping over to Blighty for a little R & R or in deed if you are lucky enough to live near by.

Battle of the Beaches.

Doesn't seem to matter where I am in the world, I always manage to find a stretch of beach to visit and look at and sniff and enjoy.

Brighton Beach here in the UK has always held great allure. It's only about an hour away from London and I can't count the number of times I have hopped into my car and taken off to get some sea air and a bit of breakfast. The parking is more often than not a pain in the arse, but once sorted the place` is just magical. On an ordinary day the water is just a calm lapping on the stoney beach. There is a fine Pier that is very English and there are quaint old fashioned foodie places along the water's edge and then when you head into the built up area you can find yourself getting gloriously lost in The Lanes. There are all sorts of eateries and little shops that are not part of some boring chain.

But yesterday's visit was even more fabulous, cos the weather was bloody wild and wonderful. It was blowing a gale and intermittently pissing rain. All this whipped up the water to a damn fine surf, but there was a lack of nutcases ready to take it on, which was just as well cos I reckon any loon having a go would have lost their board and then probably their teeth as they got slammed straight into the rocks.Walking back to find the car was a windy battle and my hair and clothes and as hard as it might be to believe even my fat old body were whipped and bent about. I laughed and laughed. It was very exciting, perhaps more so cos I had not seen it like this before.

Brighton Beach in all it's wild glory
So to the Aussie beaches. Well I do love 'em, everything about 'em. They too can go from calm peaceful places to weather ripped up bits of chaos, but it doesn't matter to me, cos I am always happy there.

Aussie bold colours and white squeaky sand and vast emptiness.

Oh and of course I must remember that Dog loves the Oz connection.
So I guess this is not like the Rugby World Cup.
In this instance there doesn't have to be an absolute winner.   

Monday, 14 September 2015

Sunday Roast

It's no secret that Stevie loves his roast dinner on a Sunday, loves it so much that in deed he cooks it himself cos I am a cheese on toast kinda girl on Sundays. And just because we are on holidays I see no reason to change the habits of a lifetime.

He remembered the name a of a pub in Teddington where he had been to for some famous roast last time he was here, so I said it wasn't too far and that we should walk. Winter is coming but at the moment the temps are still warm enough for shirt sleeves and yesterday there was no rain, so we made hay while the sun shone. I remembered walking to Teddington when we lived on the other side of Twickenham years ago, but as time would have it, the distance seemed to have stretched like worn elastic. It was quite a hike, but good for those of us who had spent 3 days pickled.

The Builders Arms is a pub tucked away in a side street and it was heaving, just lucky that we had booked.

Orange lemonade and a diet coke and an order of roast beef with a side of cheesey cauliflower. I had done a bit of a reccie and it looked bloody fine.

The pub is pretty small and traditional. There is a wee garden out the back and as it was crowded inside we considered sitting out there, but then I spotted the ashtrays and asked if this was the smokers spot. She said that everyone just popped out the front door onto the street with their drinks if they wanted a fag and that no-one smoked out there, but I reckoned where there is an ashtray there is bound to be someone puffing away so we trooped back inside, to a table near the door and watched the parade of smokers move out the door and onto the street.

It's an odd arrangement that would just not be allowed in Oz. Firstly they take their drinks with 'em and there are a few tables and chairs set up outside to perch their drinks on. No-one seems to sit down, but it is a very jolly little area, except of course if you are a local and trying to walk home. Then I reckon walking through the cloud would not be too pleasant.

I noticed that the streets were really crowded with cars. There just wasn't room to park another bobby pin anywhere. When the pub's governor pulled up he inched closer and closer to the blue car in front until he nudged it forward enough to make a little space for himself. Again I reckon this sort of nudge it parking would be frowned on in Oz. It seems to me that there are just more people and therefore more cars in the suburbs now, perhaps as a result of converting homes to little flats and cramming more folk in. The price of real-estate is huge and I am very pleased NOT to be finding rent here anymore. A 1 bed 1 bath goes for about 1200 pounds a month, where as when I was renting it was about 1000 quid a month for a whole house! Yeh I know it was years ago, but still.

But to the ROAST.

Bloody brilliant! Real gravy! Superb spuds, and those wonderful Yorkshire Puds, which if I was a cook I'd learn to make cos I reckon a plate of 'em with some gravy could be dinner, Cauliflower good enough to almost convert to vegie and Beef so rare and tender I wondered where the rest of the cow was, cos I fancied taking some home for the rest of the week. Perhaps one of the best bits was that there was no pumpkin to be seen, no pumpkin contaminating the rest of the scrumptiousness. There were some carrots for colour and Steve found some leeks and some homemade horse radish.

It was soooo yum, that there was just no room left for pudding, which was a shame, cos that looked pretty fab too.

Home on the bus and a timely purchase of the London Times and into the bath - it was Sunday after all.

Reckon this weekend was the calm before the storm that is bound to be the Rugby World Cup, which starts on Friday.

Pretty sure that Twickers is gonna go a bit mental.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Double Decker, Chiswick, Girlie natter

Chiswick is where we used to live and it's a great spot for walking the high street and window shopping and buying just about anything from shoes to steaks and screwdrivers, and there is an over-supply of mobile phone shops. People in these parts must change up their devices A LOT. There are more than enough pubs and the atmosphere is a bit of a cross between mad festival and yummy mummies meet bankers on the sly. It's possible to sit all day and just watch the passers-by. It's 3 suburbs away from Twickenham, so a plan to meet up with a girlfriend meant - Oh Yippee, a Double Decker Ride.

With Oyster card sorted and primed I waited across the road for the 267. It was a long wait, 2 minutes! not in the same league as the wait wait wait, Are they on strike? wait for a bus down Bundall Road. I jumped on after a quick reccie to establish that the upstairs front seats were free, swiped my card, only 1and a half quid, and headed for the top. Saturday night traffic through the suburbs made the going slow, but for me this allowed time to reacquaint myself with the once very familiar. ( I am reading this horror novel about a woman who got killed and so when a bloke sat down in the seat behind me, it was a bit freaky.)

I hopped off in Chiswick High Road, my once familiar stomping ground. Yep it was just the same. Oh sure, some of the stores had been replaced, but the crinkled pavers and the hustle of people was just the same. I felt like I had come home.

I headed for the Old Packhorse pub. In my memory, this has been an old dero place, then a yummy mummy place where I once saw women changing shitty nappies on the cloth sofas. The gaggle had taken over the entire back end of the pub and stayed all day gossiping and trying to retain some sanity over one or extravagantly perhaps 2 cappuccinos. I reckon the Mummy clientele was just not sufficient to make a profit so now it's morphed into a friendly pub with a decent Thai restaurant.

The thing about London pubs is that they are not trying to be oldie worldie. They just bloody are. The furniture is authentic and the floor boards could speak volumes. And I know this sounds a bit romantic especially to Aussies whose pubs are new and slick and plastic and shiney bright. I do warn however that oldie worldie very often means worn out springs and chairs and table height mismatch, so a little game of Goldilocks is needed as you try out various settings looking for the one that is 'just right'. I got there early and played the game and then found a winner.

A couple of bottles of pinot and a Thai curry and through the tears and the giggles we put the world to rights. Well sometimes that is not possible even over a very fine chicken massamo but we gave it a red hot go. Ta Chris, I am so glad we caught up.

Off to the bus stop and home again. 3 quid for all that travel. I guess it's a tightrope walk in London, trying to compare public transport costs with the price of parking, and even if you can afford the parking, there is no guarantee that you'll be able to find one. And if you factor in the drinkies, then taking the car is just not an option.

I do love popping off to the pub on the double decker.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Off to the Market

Food - a necessary evil.

It is not a secret that trawling through the supermarket aisles, chucking necessary shit into the trolley and then parting with a large thickness of wonga gives me the irrits. But in a different country with different brands and let's be honest, perhaps the best sweetie selection around, well that could sound like fun.... for about a second and a half.

The car park for the flat is tucked away more securely than a trannie's bits and bobs, so the first order of the day was to get the car out of the said spot. Did you know that directions given to miss a fucking great concrete post come in at least 2 different language? Male and Female. So Steve is driving and I am saying shit like, 'Whhooooaa, there's the post, go a bit that way, ( accompanied by wild pointing) oh for fuck's sake just leave it there and let's get a bus.' Steve is waiting to hear, ' left hand up my bum and stop'. Well suffice to say that a row erupted, much to the joy of the delivery blokes who the whole time were dodging around us with large sheets of plaster board, you know, just to make the whole process more interesting.

Apart from the thinning hair and the expanding waistline and the blinder eyes and the lack of patience, another age defined problem seems to be a serious loss of spatial awareness. When I lived here I zipped around everywhere, playing no contact dodgems and learned the gentle art of waving a thank you, when what you really said under your breath with the windows up was, 'Fuck that was close.' But my ability to tell how far away that bus is or the car, or in deed the biker or the kid, seems to have evapourated. I am blaming the wide open spaces of Oz, and a significant lack of practice. As Steve headed towards the supermarket, I spent time analysing the inside of my eyelids.

I had forgotten about large UK supermarkets. Seriously you buy ANYTHING there. Tellies and tweezers, formal frocks and furniture. And yes there is food too.

Now when I shop in OZ I have a process so that the stuff is not all mashed up in the trolley. Drinks aisle first and then canned stuff and then other shit. But as we didn't know where anything was we started at one end and made our way.

We ended up having to do a trolley renovation at the beer spot and then I ran out of steam.

So to the checkout.

This is the pile of baggies from yesterday carefully tied in knots so I can forget 'em next time and do it all again.

I didn't think it possible to miss the Oz folk who shovel your shit through the beepy beepy beepy, but yep I do.  Here you are made to feel like some very ungreenie crim when you admit that you will be needing large numbers of those murderous plastic bags and when you are passed a wedge of 'em and the shovelling of stuff starts, you have to bag it all up yourself! And this really should be an Olympic event cos you have to move like Usain Bolt to get it all stacked away in back into the trolley before it becomes suitable only for landfill. There is no finesse in the shopping packing.

All the miss-mash into the boot and it fitted perfectly. Yippee.

Then home to get all those dreadful bags through a security door, into a lift, through another security door and then into the flat and up a flight of stairs to get to the kitchen. Whew!

The docket came with an ONLINE shopping voucher, which is looking pretty good to me for next time.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Spot the difference.

This is the very pommie view from the balcony of our flat.

More than 20 years ago when Belly and I first landed in Blighty, we knew we had arrived and were sorted cos we managed to get through immigration and my cousins were at the airport with their car to take us back to their place....Yeh a very Aussie visit in deed. We unpacked and ate, and spoke to Greg and Margaret about a little plan for the few weeks we were gonna be with 'em. We had POUNDS in our pockets and a little credit card for just in case, and we were off.

Yesterday when we pulled into Heathrow, Steve and I both pulled out our Red Passports - yeh his was real and mine though real too is more like his Blue one. We had pre-paid car hire and so caught the shuttle bus to the pick up office, not too far away. Manoeuvring all that luggage was a damn site easier than picking up the car which had been paid for in advance. Seriously the car hire place needs a little lesson from Greg and Margaret in how to get people sorted and on their way.

More than an hour later we were off and you guessed it, hunting for a place we could get a UK sim card for the phone...(only a landline the first time around - lucky or what!) Did you know that 'pay-as-you-go' sim cards come in 3 different sizes to fit all phones? Well they do and so once one was sourced and stuck in we rang our landlord, Will, who said he was on his way to show us in and around.

Maybe it's an age thing, but I began to sway and feel a little nauseous about 7 o'clock as I started unpacking. Steve had no such problem as he was off on a bus to meet a mate for drinks - now that's what I call staying power. I thought the fact that I managed to log into the flat's WiFi was a remarkable feat.

I ran across the road to M&S for some tea bags, bread and milk and then threw myself into a shower, but as I hadn't found the wash stuff, I managed to get all a bit unnecessary as I scrubbed away with my peppermint shampoo...maybe I should recommend this to the ladies of the night?

I fixed some toast  and settled on the couch, where I promptly feel asleep and finally took myself off to bed at 8.30 like a real old Granny. Of course I have been awake since 2.12am, ho fucking hum...Will do better tonight. 

So today I need to get my phone sorted and grab an OYSTER card so I can get around on the buses and train etc and I need to go to the bank to activate my pommie cards, cos usually they let me have a go once and then cancel the bloody things cos they can't work out how come all of a sudden someone is using 'em to buy a coffee - hardly the most common purchase of a fraudster. But as we are in a flat just above my bank, this should be a doddle.

I haven't been out of the flat yet so I have not negotiated the re-entry procedure - 2 different security coded pads and 2 different locks, but I am sure that I will get it sorted today. Before Steve went out last night I suggested that he write down the 2 codes on his hand and he got all offended cos it was only 8 little numbers, but I know I would have been bollocksed - pommie parlance for buggered.

Buses tootling past

The double deckers are trundling passed the flat and I do love 'em. The urban noise is far different from the rural nature of Bagshot, where Belly and I stayed the first time. But the biggest difference this time compare to 20 years ago is that I feel like I am home. The place is so familiar. Steve and I even managed a disagreement about the best route from airport to Twickenham so I sure do know my way around.

It is lovely to be back. Another day and I will be good to go.

Look out London!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

No more sleeps!

Yippee, today we are off. or if you want to be pedantic, tomorrow we are off at 12.50am but as we are heading to the airport today, via dinner with the Belly and Zig I reckon today is close enough, although again not accurate if you consider that possibility of plane sleeping, cos that might be another one...but fuck it it's close!

So I slept well last night which is most unusual. I thought I'd be stressing about getting up and washing sheets and shit, but no I must have been pretty calm, and I will tell you why I think this.

My before waking dream went like this.

I was in Paris. I'd entered a cooking contest and the preliminary stuff was people cooking up banquets for the other contestants, to show off or intimidate.  I'd dutifully attended a couple and then decided that it all really wasn't for me....what a revelation! even in a dream I don't want to cook.

So I hired a pushie and took off into the peak hour traffic. It was exciting. The cars and trucks and buses were frantic and I just tootled along trying to mind my own business, but when I came to a 'Time's Square' type intersection I was in the wrong lane and so really upset the locals. Luckily for all, the lights turned red to match the colour of the faces all around, and I stopped and waved and laughed and shouted gleefully, 'It's ok I am a foreigner.'

This did not go down too well so I pulled over into a side street and momentarily lamented that I was going the wrong way for coffee.

But I rode along this little side street and enjoyed looking at the close packed strange looking houses until I came to one where the front door was open. Never being shy about things like this, in I strode. There was a package in the mail box so I picked it up and opened it - yeh definitely not too shy, and inside was some strange wooden sculpture like a long pipe with a number of bowls except that the bowls had not been carved out so more like spheres on a branch. Anyway, as I stood in the  lounge room I became aware of very loud snoring. Too nervous about getting caught or smacked over the head with a shovel by an angry old bloke, pissed cos I opened his pressie, I legged it outta there and flew onto my bike and went looking for a loo.

How often are really cool dreams interrupted by the very real need to pee?

If this all means that the plane is gonna crash, well please just don't tell me. Advanced warnings of those sorts are not welcome. But if it predicts a long lovely adventure with no cooking then I will be a happy girl.

London here we come.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Bachelor and Now the Bachelorette Reality Bullshit.

I am very pleased to say that I have avoided like the plague, watching even the promos for The Bachelor. On the rare occasions when I have just not been fast enough to ferret out the remote and when someone has popped up on The Project or similar, I have all but thrown shit at the tellie. The whole premise of pitting all these heavily made-up women against each other in a bid to win the attention of some bloke, well it just gives me the screaming irrits. The bloke is all powerful and the women are just too often directed to look like idiots or bitches, flouncing around in frocks left over from Dancing With The Stars. And maybe they are both but more likely some sponsor has said they would like to so and so to do such and such and so some embarrassment makes it's way onto our screens.

For an example of REALITY, it's piss poor. It is in deed so piss poor that if the dating scene was anything even remotely like this, I would fear for the future, cos no women I know would entertain the idea of it and so no more babies. Building designs would be limited to single person dwellings designed to collapse in a little over 50 years as the human environments just crumbled to dust.

Yep it is truly shitful, in my opinion.

So of course what do I see being advertised now? Oh how Fabulous! The Bachelorette. Not The Spinster or The Old Maid. And it appears that some young bird from the tellie, who got thrown over last year by some bloke, has overcome her psychological denting and dyed her hair and now is gonna get to choose a bloke from a herd of fellas again all in front of the cameras.

At a glance it might make feminists everywhere thrilled that the power will swing from the girlie hips instead of the fella's bits, but I rather doubt that is gonna be the case.

Currently the fella chooses and the women do their best to be appealing. The fella has the power, but the way this new thing is being touted, the fellas still have all the power cos they are fighting to win the girl. It seems the girl is still expected to be a passive receptacle who awaits filling.

I could be wrong about this. It is possible that the sponsors are different and the bosses at Channel 10 might have been involved in a tag team relay, swapping in people interested in showing men to be fools and freaks and giving one woman all the power, but I so very much doubt it.

The most exciting thing about this new show, as well as the EVENT FINALE or whatever other trite title will be bandied about for the current series, is that it will all happen while we are away, so it will just appear as periodic updates in the entertainment section of my online news, and I can very easily choose not to open that.

I am pleased however that I will get to see the final of Dancing with the Stars tonight. This I have thoroughly enjoyed and it does seem mostly REAL, even if the scoring sometimes seems a little contrived and I don't understand how the viewer votes get added in and I wonder what ever happened to Bruno.

How much Reality TV is too much?
Do you know where Bruno went?

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Books V Kindle 'The Girl on the Train'

I have nearly always got my nose in some book or other. I'll read just about anything.

I like a paper back over a hard cover cos the heavy ones are just too easily dropped into the bath and are not easy to squash around for ergonomic bedtime reading.

However mostly I read on the Kindle. I used to have a Sony e reader, but I never really got on with it and then someone bought 'em out or some other business bullshit and the little thing might have blown a fuse or whatever, anyway my Pink Kindle replaced it. It is back lit or side shiny or moon faced or otherwise lit up so that you can read in any light, and I have adjusted the print so that it's small enough to have sufficient words on the page to make it worthwhile, and big enough so that glasses are not necessary. Win win I reckon.

I reckon the contents on a kindle might say quite a lot about the owner, a bit like what you have on your I pod.

Mine has got more than a fair share of Autobiographies and crime thrillers. So I must be a fame chasing psycho.

The latest one I read was, 'The Girl On The Train' This is a bloody good read.

However, as has not happened before, I found myself wanting a paperback. I have not suffered paper longing since I first charged up my little pink machine. It has kept me company in the bath and the hospital, every night in bed, and at leisurely coffees and I have never found it wanting, it's always been perfectly satisfying, BUT can I suggest that if you are gonna read this book, that you might think about borrowing it from a library - how about that for a very old fashioned idea, cos in the first half of the book I really wanted to be able to flip back to the title page of the previous chapters to notice Name and dates and on the Kindle this is just too much trouble, well it is for me at least, but then I am one of those saddos who still think about going to a library for reasons other than Carrie's wedding to Big.

Sorry if you thought this was gonna be a proper review. I will say this, 'the Girl on the Train' is fast moving - pun intended, a little disturbing and full of enough twists to keep you guessing til the end.

What are you reading at the moment?
Do you have a Kindle?

Saturday, 5 September 2015

These Vacuum Baggies are Crap

So the spare room has become a dumping ground for those weird bits and pieces you just can't live without, but will routinely forget to pack when you are in the final flurry. When I walked in there this morning, I saw an explosion that might well be what is disturbing Dog.
The carefully packed and suckered out topper had marshmallowed out of the bloody suitcase and when I tried sucking it out again, I heard a whizzy noise and discovered that there was in deed a leak not in the zipper bit but in the flat part away from corners...Not a bad effort for a $20 bit of plastic.
Steve got up me cos I had been bloody minded and refused to get a bag from Howards Storage after the bullshit service over the kitchen rubbish bin, but that's another story. He rather naively suggested that if I had spent 20 bucks there the baggie would have been a good one. Lucky he wasn't standing by the stairs when I told him that I HAD paid 20 bucks for this piece of shit from Target. He'd have taken a tumble and we haven't got insurance to cover that. I reckon his silence might well have been covering his calculation of the cost at Howard's if Target are charging 20 bucks.
So I have had to reconsider the taking of the topper and I know this saga has been ridiculously long and on going, but instead of thinking of me, imagine the Princess and the Pea story, except that it is not lumps that worry me as much as the concrete type lack of lumps.
I'm gonna try inverting the bedding and will pop the doona on the bottom and sleep on top of it all. Not sure how the sheets will fit, so the logistics of this will need some practical investigation, but the really exciting thing about this revelation is that I can take another 5 KILOS of stuff, perhaps another handie and definitely another pair of shoes or 2, and some extra boredom fighting clothes. Yippee!
So there is the silver lining... there nearly always is one.
But I am left wondering if I can be arsed trying to return the faulty piece of poo. I would have to take the topper out and then try to fold the plastic as it was before. Yeh that'd be like trying to re-fold a large map sheet, something untested by the Sat-Nav generation, and then take it back and have the 12 year old stare at me like I am some sort of devious retard who purposefully misused the baggie, or maybe I have swapped it for an old brittle one, which could well resemble my demeanour.
I haven't read the small print on the box but I would not be the least bit surprised to find that you are in fact prohibited from putting something soft into the bag and vacuuming out the air with an electronic device. Perhaps I was meant to suck it out with a straw? Or maybe I was not supposed to pop the baggie into a suitcase because it is claustrophobic and has a fear of flying so it shit itself on purpose to avoid travelling further than to the linen cupboard. 
Anyway I am guessing that it might be pretty obvious that a return is not on the cards.
It's a good thing that I am more flexible than the 'Original Space Bag'

Friday, 4 September 2015

How clever are dogs?

Only 5 more Sleeps!

And things are getting a bit manic.

I started the day shoving the mattress topper into the big plastic bag and  then stuffed the walloper thing into my suitcase and then suckered the shit out of it. Yep it fits even if it takes up all the space. I am re-considering the whole idea.

However, as soon as I was phaffing with shit instead of taking her out to play with her bally, then Dog knew something was up. She definitely knows something is going on as soon as the cases are taken out of the cupboard and popped onto the spare bed. Yep, Dog knows something is up.

If I believed she spoke doglish then I reckon she might have a better than fair idea that she is being left behind. Or maybe that's just my mummy guilt speaking.

Steve has spent the day doing all things plumbing, fixing the dripping rain catcher gauge pump thing which was buggered and dripping and driving him a bit nuts. He was just gonna turn it all off, but then discovered that none of the loos would work and neither would the washing machine. Don't reckon the 2 Js - our sitters, would have been best pleased.

Just as an aside, isn't it interesting - read shitful, irritating, that a few years ago the government insisted that we put in a water tank and that it be permanently plumbed into the loos and the washing machine, cos god knows everyone wants their new loos to be grubby brown and they want to wash their clothes in less than clean water, yeh that's really smart. So dutifully that's what we did at stupid expense and now just a few years later it is no longer necessary. What sort of a dick comes up with these regulations?

So that's done and dusted and he's also fixed the leaking loo up stairs, and McGyvered a plumbing tube to carry his beloved golf sticks across the miles.

Sheets have been washed and I have sorted 2 bathrooms, and I have packed away all the sewing bits and pieces strewn all over the studio, and the deck area has been given a bit of a lick and polish. Yep there has been quite a bit of activity and Dog notices things like this. She is used to a quiet slothful existence, so when there is enough movement to register on one of those FITBIT things, and the radio has been blaring and her parents have been bursting into intermittent song, you know when you only really know 2 or 3 words from a song and you wait around for that bit so you can belt it out, well she definitely notices. She has not been too far away all day.

It'd be very cool if we could just sit her down and explain that we are going away but that we love her and that we will be back. I hope she has enough faith to believe it even if our dogspeak is not what it should be.