Saturday, 31 October 2015

First Migraine of the Season.

It's been a migraine free zone for the last 7 weeks, and honestly, that leaves me well and truly out of practice.

My little routine is a well worn path at home, but here, today, I have had to machetti myself a new road and it has not been easy.

Spoilt little princess alert!!

At home I have a choice of  5 loos to hurl into, but my receptacle of choice is the kitchen sink with the scrunchie munchable, cos I can lean and aim rather than get down on all fours where I still run the risk of missing. Here there is but one loo and due to shared need of it, it's possible to get caught short....messy in the extreme, thankfully not today cos as I came careering down the stairs waving a plastic bag, Steve was coming out and I just waved frantically for him to get out of the way and blessed be, he did so in a timely fashion. The kitchen sink as has been noted before does not drain water, so I imagine it would completely shit itself if faced with an Aussie style migraine hurl.

At home I have an automatic ice maker and more importantly a ready supply of zip-lock baggies for ice bath head pillows and I also have a drawer full of carefully ironed tea towels just perfect for wrapping those icey bags in before applying to the hot head. Here I have a couple of ice trays which luckily held some ice today and Steve found a strange looking plastic bag, akin to doggie shit bags in the park and he shovelled the ice into one and I secured it with a handie hair tie. No tea towel so I might now be suffering ice burn to my forehead, but better that than the headache I reckon.

At home I have 3 baths, though honestly there is one that is my dedicated Migraine Bath. It is just the right length and has little arm rest things so I can fill it scalding hot and slide into it with my zip-bags of ice and I don't need to move. It is the perfect migraine bath. Here the bath is long and skinny, probably like it's owner, but as I am short and stout, we are not a good fit. The water is scalding hot, but the bath is fitted with an overflow, so you can't fill the fucking thing up anyway. As I am far too short to pop head on one end and feet on the other, I kept sliding about less than elegantly and as stillness is paramount in migraine management, I finally McGuivered a bath shortening technique, by using the owner's rubber duckie that has amused me all these weeks as a foot rest. The duckie's head proved exactly the right size to take up the slack so I could lie perfectly still.  

I am predictably fuzzy now but the worst seems to be over and thank fuck for that cos I reckon I am just too spoilt to spend 3 days managing a migraine in this little flat.

As a complete BING, we went off to see 'SPECTRE' on Wednesday and I reckon it is the best 007 Daniel Craig has made. It's a long one, too long it seemed for teenage bladders and attention spans, but perfect for us oldies.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Does your Mortality cause you anxiety?

On one of our jaunts this visit, we whipped passed Kensal Green Cemetery and Steve said it was huge and he thought there were some majorly famous folk buried there. I do love a bit of a wander around the grave stones and I have never been fearful of the rising spirit world, so yesterday when serendippity found us on a bus going right passed it on our way to somewhere else, we jumped off for a bit of a look see.

Now I have spent many hours trolling around Aussie graveyards and they are very often  full of blunt yarns of death. I guess that's the way with us Aussies. 'Derek died in the mine collapse of '62.'  'Lucas fell to his death as he leapt from his mistress' window upon the untimely return of her husband' 'Ingrid died delivering baby number 11' If you wander around country cemeteries in Oz, it's possible to get a real good idea of the history of the place.

But in typical Pommie fashion the brash causes of deaths are washed over. 'Gertrude fell asleep' 'Nigel fell asleep' 'Paul fell asleep'. Seriously if you went into Kensal Green and saw how many of the dead folk 'fell asleep' well let's just say insomnia might be the norm. Who would want to risk ending up under a pile of granite by going night night?

The money splashed about on the gravestones and the sculptures and the mausoleums got me to thinking. Of course people can spend their money on whatever tat they like and I suppose there is some consolation to those left behind if they spend a whack of wonga at the stone masons so that everyone in the town knows how much they loved or admired or feared the dead fella, but I just reckon it's a terrible waste. Better to burn the bod and sprinkle the ashes and then instead use the cash for a good old booze up or a new pair of shoes.

In the long run, what becomes of the money questionably spent? The head stones fall over and some vagrant moves into the mausoleum and the angel sculpture loses an arm. The area almost certainly falls into disrepair and as it is a public space, you have no control over the poor taste of the neighbours which manifests itself into faded shit ugly plastic flowers. Oh sure for perhaps a generation the grave may be well kept but after that it just becomes another place for a yobbo yomping Aussie to troop past snapping piccies for her blog.


Monday, 26 October 2015

Bloody Brilliant Wedding

There are some pretty impressive differences between what goes on in Australia and what happens in England. Even though the language is the same, forgetting the accent differences which sometimes leave me standing like a gormless fool unable to even guess an understanding, some customs are delightfully different.

It might be due to the heat, or it might just be that Aussies are lightweights when it comes to partying, but when I got married, a million years ago, it was late in the afternoon and so too have been the weddings I have attended at home. There is the ceremony in whatever form it takes, in a church, or cathedral, under a tree, on a beach, or in your own back yard, and sometimes costumes are worn for added interest. Once the groom wore a chainmail suit he had made himself by linking hand made metal rings. It was a heavy sucker and his wife wore a beautiful frock, era-matched and I reckon the Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane might not have seen the like before or since. The ceremonies are performed by Priests or celebrants and sometimes there is singing and cheering and there are lots of photos. Then after the formalities there is a party, sometimes formal, sometimes not, and typically there is a lot of booze and a cake and dancing. It is usually all very jolly.

My familiarity with Pommie weddings is firmly based on '4 Weddings and a Funeral'. I love that movie! I wondered if there was any exaggeration or artistic licence taken about the staying power of the Bride and Groom and all their guests, but after Jess and Phil's wedding on the weekend, I am here to tell you that Hugh Grant's little film is close to the mark, and Poms really are the PARTY ANIMALS of fictional fame, and they left me for dead.

The ceremony began at 1pm. Of course Jess looked beautiful and the fellas were all decked out in ... I think they are called morning suits, they looked bloody fab and formal. The dialogue could have been delivered by Mr Bean from 4 Weddings, but thankfully that the celebrant got all the words right except for a little slip up with the Groom's name. Yeh could have happened to anyone.

Anyway, it was lovely and after all the paperwork was done and dusted, we all popped out for a group piccie and some drinks and then there was some more photos. There was a sort of a field outside the reception place and the field was next to a canal which was next to another really big field and it was filled with sheep - really cute ones with black faces. Yep it was a rural setting to die for.

A late lunch of fantastic carvery was served up, and generous does not begin to describe it. Drinks and more drinks and everyone meeting up and being very friendly. There were speeches and more drinks and then there was a sweets trolley, Yummo!

There were children everywhere. At home, kiddies are not invited, well at least that's my experience, maybe cos the folk getting married didn't have any and Jess and Phil have 3 and it seems that all people of ovary popping age either have some or a soon gonna have some, so there were kids. They played and drew and crafted and then had some sweeties from the Sweetie Shop. This was an excellent addition. A mate of Jess' had made the façade of the shop and she had stuffed it full of all sorts of foreign-to-me lollies and the old fashioned lolly bags, that were an enormous hit with the kids, but more so with the adults. We managed to hoover up tonnes of the stuff - molded sugar goes very well with grog of all sorts. Reckon this should be mandatory at all wedding functions.

I sloped off for a little lie down cos we were staying where the wedding was. A 20 minute Nanna-nap and I was good to go again. What a light weight!

There was a bit of a glitch with the music man, but Phil in his calm and capable Fix-It mode got it all sorted lickity-spilt and pretty soon there was dancing and cake cutting and more drink and more dancing and then even more guests arrived for even more food.

There were Jager(?) bombs at 3am and more dancing and more other booze. This I know from hearsay, cos yep, I was horizontal by this time, and thank god for that too.

It was the end of daylight savings, so there was a whole extra hour to party and I wondered whether Jess and Phil had done this all on purpose. I believe that the party wound up at about 4.30am - really 5.30 am - yeh I can't get my head around that either, and then everyone fronted up looking a little more casual for breakfast sometime between 7.30 and 9.30am. What a bunch of troopers!

It was the first Pommie wedding for me, and the first country wedding for Steve, and bloody marvellous it was.

Ta so much Jess and Phil for including us in your very special day.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

I am soo not very Chanel.

The quintessential Chanel

I did a  very Pommie thing yesterday - I saw a que and I hopped right on the end of it.

Last week during an adventure, we stumbled upon the Saatchi Gallery at Sloane Square. I think it used to be in the Council building next to the London Eye and I tried to go in there once, but it was a silly price so I didn't and so last week when we found it I noticed that there was a FREE ENTRY and so I was determined to pop back. Yesterday was pop back day.

Well actually it was I failed at Harrods cos I got duped by some odd ball social media prank, into believing that the wicked witch's shoes were pointing out of the front door of Harrods and I thought
I 'd pop in to get a pic to send to Zig for Halloween. Big Fail, which had obviously kept the security guard on duty very busy. It was pissing rain and I wanted to be able to put a tick on Wednesday in my diary, so I fiddle farted on the tube and popped up at Sloane Square to toddle off to the Saatchi.

The line was a long winding array of colourful umbrellas often held precariously by women dripping money from head to toe. Well mostly I was looking down so I could avoid getting those spikey bits of the umberding in the face, but the shoes were a real feast. I reckon if I had a tenner for every hundred covering those toes, well I could afford to buy a few pairs myself.

Their hair was 'done' and most had a full face of sometimes a little strange makeup. They were a 'good to go' group of women, who could have been auditioning for extras in Sex and the City. I didn't know what had brought them all to this place in the rain, but I wondered if like me they had all had a bit of a failure in the morning and were looking to right their day.

The line seemed to be moving reasonably well towards what I mistakenly thought was the front door, but instead, it was just the entrance to a somewhat straggely garden which finally lead to a security zone and then a windy line that would not have been out of place at Heathrow Airport during a terrorist alert.

I was gonna give it up as a bad job, cos I heard someone say that they had done the maths and it would take an hour to meander through the 8 or 10 lines to get to the umbrella wrapping station, before being allowed in, and as I was still not sure what 'IN' was gonna show I debated about staying. As is often the case however, I soon got too far into the line to easily get out. My very unfashionable hair do was attacked by the twit behind me's umbrella and my thongs were a constant source of amusement, amazement and disgust in equal measures.

It was the Chanel Show, no wonder there were so many little knock offs over the ladies' arms.

These dresses are beautiful, even if not for me, but I must be getting old cos the room was so dark, just wished they'd stump up the cash for more lighting.

The exhibition was ok, and might have even been a little bit fabulous if not for being herded around like sheep, 'move along please'. I reckon I have heard the same dialogue in prison shows. There were some interesting bits and people who had downloaded the app were playing the tape rather too loudly. There was quite the frenzy inside, but as I was carrying my charity shop handie and my thongs were wet, I suppose a lot of it was lost on me.

What was cool was the gallery itself. I enjoyed making my way around it. There are hidden corners and the ebb and flow of the space would make for a great display of stuff, especially if you were keen on it all.

As it was, I sometimes felt more than a little claustrophobic and in deed, one room was just so dark and full of gaggle that I just didn't venture in. There was a trail of rooms strung with metres of fabric just hanging down and I got the idea that Chanel was into monochrome fabrics of black and white in different textures, but as I wandered through, watching everyone finger all this fabric, I worried about the spread of germs and felt a little sick thinking about the state of the material when all the lights were turned on.

This vast display of fabric textures is a Flu outbreak just waiting to happen.

On the top floor there were practical workshops for folk interested in gluing up a bit of bling with sequins and feathers and stuff. This looked interesting. and there was a perfume making workshop where I imagine you could whip up a bit of your own Number 5.

I asked if it was OK to take the photo and clearly no one cared cos it was so dark they are unrecogniseble anyway

Then not so much because I was tired but because it was empty, I grabbed the lift and was outta there.

There were a couple of these sculptural pieces scattered around and they were by far my favourite things,

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Seeking out the Queen.

Off on another train trip this time to Windsor. Last time we went and mooched around Eton and had a bit of 'tuck' by the river, but this time we wanted to visit Bessy.

Her little country pile is pretty impressive.

I hadn't visited before cos I have always balked at the price and Steve hadn't been invited in either. We parted with the cash, went through the security sensors, grabbed the headphones - very irritating and were returned almost immediately, and the little info speaker. We were off.

The stone work everywhere is just so impressive. I can only imagine the exhaustion of the builders as they dragged and chiseled the rock slabs. Today of course it would all be besser blocks and concrete and there would be no consideration for arrow defences down the cliff face, but the design and the materials are worth a good look see.

We were not allowed to photograph just about anything inside, yeh I did have a little sneaky click click, or in deed the outside private garden which was quite something. I guessed that the Queen was having a little lie in and that maybe she was planning on taking the doggies out for a walk in her private garden later cos there was plenty of security provided by those fellas with the big tall black hats  marching up a storm and looking terribly glamorous. I was thinking that just standing there with that walloper on my head would use up enough calories to  allow for multiple Mars consumption.

They do a little march around on their patch and then stand stock still. I reckon they must have wonderful imaginations cos while they stand there eyeballing an odd bunch of tourists, many of whom are doing their level best to make 'em laugh or at least have a little smirk, their minds must surely being going like crazy. I like to think that at the end of their shift they sit around having a pint, sharing silly stories about the folk  they 'entertained' that day. And if you spend even a few minutes just perving on the others poking around, well , I reckon there must be plenty of stories for the Big Hat fellas to share. 

The 'Apartment' areas are spectacular, from the embossed wallpaper to the sparkle-arkle of the chandeliers. The rooms that are perhaps still very occasionally in use have beautiful rugs but the other more museum styled rooms could do with a bit of a carpet spruce up. I am hoping that our entry fee of not much change from a 20, could find its way onto the floor.

Oops, my finger just accidentally tapped this one.

If you have a china obsession or an attraction to old portraiture, then you could spend literally hours mooching around, but I whipped through these bits and I admit that Queen Mary's Doll's House was more than a little claustrophobic for me. 

The indoors is definitely worth a nosey, but for me I enjoyed the sheer scale of the buildings from the outside. 

If you've got a good few hours to spare, I reckon a good romp around the castle is a must. The people who visited the day before us got to have a gander at the Queen with the doggies, and that would have been the cherry on my visit. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Boooing at the Quarter Finals?

Image result for braveheart

Booo Boooooooo BOOOOOOO
Scolan Scolan Scolan
Australians are fucking cocks! Australians are fucking cocks! - could have been cunts but I prefer to think not, given that he was sitting next to an old Aussie woman wearing a yellow scarf and singing up a storm in the National anthem.

It was a big game there is no doubt about it, win or go home - for the players that is, the fans well they just go about their normal business making sure that there is some milk for the tea and plenty of loo paper, and for a great many of the Scotland fans at Twickenham yesterday, I suppose there might be a need for intravenous aspirin, a cold cloth over their eyes and a throat salve.

I am very pleased that the Aussie boys won, firstly because THE AUSSIE BOYS WON, and secondly and perhaps more significantly, it thoroughly pissed off the Scottish fella sitting, jumping, fist pumping, elbow thrusting very nearly into my face, and Aussie abusing, next to me. To say he was a pig of man would be offensive to pigs and men. It was very unpleasant. It has tainted my joy of the game and the thrill of going to Twickers.

I know that unruly crowds sometimes follow sports. I am guessing that the pissed as maggot folk who get out at the Story Bridge Hotel on Australia Day who bet on the cockie races, well I bet they get quite boisterous, and if they call each other fucking cunt, then it will normally be in that aussie banter good humoured way, which requires a retort about the first fella's mother and the size of his bits. If there is any rough stuff, it'll be swings and misses and falling downs on the follow throughs cos the beer has addled everything.

Yeh we Aussies love to cheer our sides on from the big games to the cockie races. We are mostly good humoured, though I am not foolish enough to say ALL, just mostly. We are the never say die lot who don't like to lose but who'll buy the others a beer after the game. Pretty much like every other nationality here in this World Cup but there is no way this fella was buying an Aussie a beer after the game yesterday.

The boooing that went around throughout the game also troubled me. Booing Stephen Moore, the Aussie captain also seemed very poor form to me. Booing at all is not my experience at the Rugby, and apart from the aggressive nasty delivery it reminded me of the churlish childhood chant of Boooey Booey chewy on your boot.

The Yellows were far outnumbered yesterday. They made no attempt to boo or hiss the Scottish players, perhaps out of fear of being smashed in the face or more likely cos we just don't usually do that.

The Poms sing, the Welsh sing and the Irish sing, it's bloody marvellous. Perhaps it's time the Scots joined them in some choral activities.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Martian and Suffragette all in one afternoon.

On first glance this may well be an odd combo for a movie marathon, but it worked especially in terms of contrast.

Martians was really bloody brilliant and there is no spoiler alert needed, given that it is an American film so the ending was never gonna be a secret, but the way it was put together courtesy of Mr Scott was exciting and breathtaking and suspenseful to the point of finding me hiding behind my hands and nearly falling off the chair.

The panoramic shots were spectacular and I will have a little google to see where it was filmed, stark and fierce and empty.

Matt Damon who seems like a very friendly pleasant bloke, does a great job in allowing suspension of disbelief and there is so much science going on that I did believe that it was all possible, but I am a science fool so could be convinced that I am a tall thin fella, if I was flooded by theory.

Image result for martian movie

I thoroughly enjoyed the Martian Landscapes.

Image result for suffragette film

The crowd scenes are powerful if a little choreographed.

Suffragette on the other hand was a harrowing presentation of that which we all know to be true.

There are no complaints about the acting and the script and the location, but I didn't enjoy all the super closeups and the swaying sort of camera work. It could have helped develop the tension, except that for me at least, the tension is already there is spades.

I liked the micro look into particular women's lives and the story moves along well. I am just sorry that I didn't come out wanting to smack a politician or a copper. The treatment of these women as we know was diabolical and so I reckon making audiences angry would have been no bad thing. The reporting of stats at the end of the movie only helped to encourage the audience to feel lucky not cross.

So both movies take a close look at people in adversity and how they used their brains and tenacity to prevail. This is not a bad mantra for audiences to take away.

Oh shit it must be Sunday and I am on my pulpit. It's ok to go along just for a look see and to enjoy yourself. I'll pop back into my box.

Friday, 16 October 2015

House of Commons

Silly pic of ol' Ben

I have been around the old Houses lots of times but had never ventured in. It was time - District line tube to Westminster and you are there. How easy is that? But it must have been free day at the chinese brothel nearby cos the place was heaving! When we got close by, I saw a Bobby and in my very best Strine twang I told him I wanted to have a gander at the House of Commons cos I had read it was sitting. He was a kindly bloke and he gave me a lamenated green card which we used to circumvent the fucking long cue which seemed to stretch forever. The Green card cue was teeny weeny and we waited a couple of minutes to get zapped in the metal detectors and then we were off and running towards the debate chamber. We did have to stop at take a look and some illegal photos at the tiles on the floor, which really were the biggest draw cards for me, cos they appear so often in the Pommie tellie I watch. 

Silly pic of Old Ben.
Flash little ID things to show you have been through security.supposed to give 'em back but being a convict I nicked 'em  

You have to turn the flash off and the sound of the clickety click off so you can get some pics. The thong is just to show that it was me. There was writing in the tiles but the philistine in me didn't allow any clue what they were saying - possible fuck off Aussie in the most polite Pommie slang?

Beautiful right?

These are the tiles on the way to the House of Lords. I was singing, '3 Lions On my Chest da de da' and Steve kept telling me I was getting it wrong and then the supercilious jobsworth twat had a fit about the photos ha ha I had 'em anyway!

And so to the House of Commons for the great Debate - NOT

Be warned there are about a million stairs to get to the public gallery and when you get there, it is OK to be a little underwhelmed.

There was some debate about Government Devolution - what the fuck does that even mean? Yeh I know ho hum. The bloke making the point spoke and there were a handful of folk on either side NOT listening to him. They read the paper, played with their phones rattled other paper work. I reckon for the money they are paid, attendance by the MPs  should be compulsory. Where the fuck were they all? If it was important enough for the bloke to stand and deliver, then they ALL should have been there to catch it.

We didn't stay too long cos to be honest it was pretty boring once you had checked out how the huge glass wall that separated the gallery from the members had been exquisitely cut to accommodate all the mouldings and furniture. Bloody careful work that, reckon they would definitely have needed a template.

So I managed to get through the day without getting arrested or even pissing too many folk off. 

The place is amazing and I reckon you could do it in a morning, but it might be wise to arrive after the opening rush hour to avoid the crush and if you can manage a twangy accent then that couldn't hurt either.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Autumn V Fall

This is a view from Richmond Hill. It always surprises me that there is this much RURAL so close to town.

Yep the summer is folding itself away for another year and people are dragging out their winter woolies. The colours up the street might be going quickly from the brights of summer to the typical black, that goes with everything, but the trees are putting on quite the colour show.

There of course is no such seasonal change at the Goldie. For me there is the long lament as the little light cardie worn only in the evenings is washed and tucked away for another year. This happens in a single 24 hour period. One day it's ever so slightly chilly and the next day you are sweating buckets and looking to take off as many clothes as is possible in polite company.

The closest thing to a seasonal change that we get is when I see that the bindis are about to flower and I call the Council to put the weed killers to action.

There really is so little change. Oddly though, people, well actually it is mostly women, do pull on seasonal clothes more out of boredom I reckon than anything else, cos why else would they endure the resultant toe rot caused by sweating in long boots? Just because people call it winter, does not make it cold.

So nothing actually FALLS at the Goldie, unless you count my spirit as the temperatures rise and that is not at all what FALL is supposed to herald. It's the stripping naked of the trees and the closing down of the grasses and the bushes.

Yep FALL is lovely. It is a real thing here in the UK. The colours and the wind whipping the leaves, well it's all very romantic, unless of course you are hurrying somewhere and the leaves have slimed themselves together and you tumble arse over and break a hip. I guess, for the locals who are rightly ever vigilant about such perils, FALL might mean 'Watch out, Don't fall.' and 'Why the fuck has the Council not cleared the leaves?' and trains are delayed because of 'Leaves on the tracks'.

Richmond Park is huge and even when it is crowded, it is still pretty empty, and it puts on an excellent FALL show. The mist and the colours don't translate too well onto my old Nokia phone, but the images are in my mind so I am smiling.

There has been a local story of a park being closed to the public because a stag has been making a right royal randy pest of himself in this the rutting season, so I wanted to again see some of these wild animals in a public place not a zoo. We did the ring road of Richmond Park. There are so many Bambis now that it's like being in a David Attenborough documentary - bloody marvellous. 

Richmond Park is definitely worth a visit if time permits. It's huge and reasonably central at least if you are in West London, and it's free. But do wear your yomping shoes.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Columbia Road is terrific but the traffic gives me the screaming irrits

Travelling from one place to another, whether it's hundreds of kilometres or just going across town, is something that Aussies take for granted. Get in the car and go and get there and yippee, no problem. We often get up and think oh a coffee at Byron Bay would be good, so in the car and drive for an hour and voila there is coffee. If I want to visit Belly, it's in the car and go, 50 minutes later I am having a cuppa and a cuddle.

Distance is considered and sometimes the weather, cos god knows it's no fun driving through cricket ball sized hail or worse still, cyclonic winds where dodging falling branches and trees requires a skill that I just don't have. But if google says it's gonna take 50 minutes to get drive 80 kms then that's usually pretty right.

No so however in London.

Twice no we have set off on a book adventure courtesy of Carol. And the London traffic is 2 from 2. We imagined that yesterday, being Sunday, would be a good day to go to Columbia Road. There's a flower market there and lots of wonderfully quirky little stores. The flowers are only there on Sundays.

It's not very far as the crow flies, maybe 20 kms

We set off at 11.30am.

We got there at 1.30pm!

Parking was ridiculous! Except that we had pulled up and parked on a single yellow line which by all accounts is legal on Sundays, and a friendly bloke walked by and warned us off. Very helpful he was too. He had pulled up in the private parking spot of a council house dweller, and as he was a decent friendly sort of bloke he told us to take his spot and just say that we know the Real Estate agent. He said that the tenants don't drive. I wondered about the irritation factor of having strangers just pulling up right outside your front door and parking in the spot you are paying rent on, but the frustration of 2 HOURS  in the bloody car led to a serious delousing of ethics. We parked up and did a runner.

2 hours in the car also led to a serious peeing issue, so I ran - well not literally you understand - into the first pub and there were signs up saying 'For Customers Only'. Ethics shredded again - Ahhhh.

The Birdcage is the Peeing spot, but do please have a pint there too.

One of the many quirky little stores.

And then we wandered. Often times it was a bit of a jostle which is not pleasant and people's bad manners driving them to push and shove gave me the shits - yeh I know this from the car park stealer and the illegal loo user.

The place is lovely. There are the most quaint little stores selling all sorts of stuff which you may not want to buy but that are cool to look at and sometimes laugh at. We picked up a couple of pieces of silliness but mostly we just looked and chattered.

Then, like Phantoms we flew into the car and took off before the residents came out and vented their spleens.

3.30 to 5.30pm to get home! On a Sunday!

It took the glamour out of the equation.

We inched our way along streets where there was nothing to see, but along The Bayswater Road, where the artists display their wares on a Sunday, where if we had inched along I would have happily had a look see, well along here, as you might gather we flew! No traffic hold up until we were painting free and then it all snarled up again. How the bloody hell does that happen?

At least if you are on the tube, there is no traffic, nothing to see but no traffic, and if you go by bus, the traffic is still shit, but you sit up high like royalty and the views are excellent, and there is no bile build up because of cars shoving their way in and idiot tourist not having a clue where they are going.

So, I am very pleased to have been to the Columbia Road Flower Markets, but I am less pleased that we spent twice as long on the roads getting there as we did wandering.

Next time it's gotta be public transport, which in London is excellent.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sidmouth - bloody brilliant

It's been a Bolly kinda  few days.

I don't mean the Ab Fab crazy, pissed as newts, frenzied madness of the tellie fame, but I do mean the sort of days that need to be savoured and sipped and repeated as often as you can when 2 households are on opposite sides of the planet.

Amid the boysiness of beer and the RWC, in the middle of one of the biggest loudest crowdiest - yeh I made that up,  I escaped for a few days to the country seaside, and to say that I feel a little in love with it is an understatement.

My friend Ally lives in Sidmouth. It's a tiny spec on the Devon Coast. I have been there before. It's just bloody beautiful.

There is no train into Sidmouth, so if you want to go there and you are not driving, you catch a train to Honiton, about 3 hours of checking out the English country side or sitting comfortably reading your book,  and then a bus or a cab into the village. There are more B and Bs than you can poke a stick at, but Ally was putting me up - lucky girl that I am.

There was the expected natter of catching up after 3 years and then the kids tumbled home. I really need to put a brick on their heads cos they are growing so fast. The school uniforms are so flash! Blazers and ties and the kids are happy to wear it all. It's not like the tracky - dack crap of the city. yeh the kids are still delightfully cheeky in the country but not perhaps as downright bloody rude as the city slickers who are trying to make a name for themselves and stand out from the many thousands of other rude little sods.

The big one is charming and the middle one drew me a picture in school - not sure what he missed but it made me smile and the little on let me plait her hair to take me back to when Belly was a girl. We all sat around and ate a yummo dinner made by Mum and then got a bit of a Katherine Tate after dinner mint of 'Am I bovered?'

All up and sorted for school the next day. Ally is so calm about getting 3 little people ready, but ready they were. The big one trooped off on his own, he's 12 after all and at upper school and then the middle one bolted to meet up with a mate on the way and the little one luckily still allows Mum to walk with her.

Then as it was 'weekend at dads' it was girlie time for us girls.

We phaffed a little and then wandered into town.

Coffee and toast at the Chatterly and then a wander through the shops.

Now there are chain stores that just cannot entice me in cos I know what crap they sell or I know that they are a 'skinny person' shop or a place to buy tapwear and hammers. But here in Sidmouth, every shop is worth a look see and if you want a Master Thatcher for your new roof then the village is good place to start.


We wandered the cobblestone streets and peeked in and finally I have a couple of bits to take home for Belly and Zig.

Lunch was a languid process right on the water's edge, and it wasn't until I got home and was throwing myself through the shower that I realised had made a rookie mistake of thinking there is no way you can sunburnt in England in October! Arms and chest are Sidmouth sunny!

The cliffs come right down to the water and it seems that some parts are tumbling into the sea. That's a frightening thought, if as some were, you are bonkers enough to be going walking right along the edge of it poking it with a stick, but looking on it is quite majestic.

And then we wandered some more.

We did the girlie trip to the hairdressers for a bit of jujz up and then took our hair-dos back into town.

We met up with friends and then wandered back home in the bright sort of twilight. Well actually we didn't wander, after all day on the cobbles, my legs were buggered so we grabbed a bus up that bloody hill. No way was I gonna be able to carry my little prizes home up the cliff face.

Unlike the big smoke people look you right in the eye in Sidmouth. The bus driver spoke to us and when one of our party decided to catch a different bus, even though the driver was part way through printing her ticket, She just smiled and cancelled it and was chatty and replied when we thanked her for the ride.

People on the narrow footpaths are happy to wait for you to pass and smile and say hello. It is just so bloody friendly! I reckon Londoners on the tube would do well to tellieported to Sidmouth for a bit of a 'look up and smile ' lesson, but that would take a little while, cos at first they would be completely out of their comfort zone.

If you have time in your England visit then I can highly recommend Sidmouth as a little getaway, but please don't tell everyone cos I want to be able to go back everytime I am here and I don't want to find the Gold Coast Glitz next time cos the Oldie Worldie suits me just fine.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Holidays are hard work

Yeh I know, get out the violins.

A whole month in London and it's been bloody marvelous.

About the first thing I did, after I found my feet and popped onto the wifi and got a phone card and a supply of toilet paper,  was buy a calendar / diary so I could make a bit of a plan. Yeh I know I could use the calendar on my phone, but I need to see at least a week at once, cos I am so old fashioned.

At home I've got a London Calendar that has people's birthdays circled and that's about it. I dutifully write some appointments on it but I can usually manage to remember all that is going on.

But here I am going like a whirlie-gig flitting from one tourist destination to another and having a wonderful time catching up with friends and revisiting favourite cafes and restaurants.

I have given the metal knees an excellent work out and have given the booze a bit of a nudge, so I suppose my poor old liver is getting workout too.

Unless you are on a lazing on a beach holiday, where the only activity needed is to roll over and turn the page on your magazine, most people really cram in as much as possible so they don't miss out on anything. All too often at the end of the holiday we need a holiday.

Another whole month and I plan to continue as I've started.

It's only to be expected I suppose, but the more you do the more you find to do. So I arrived with a pretty long list and even though I have crossed some things off, at the same time I am adding to the list and I reckon it is longer now than before I trundled off the plane.

If I allow myself to become sanguine about missing stuff, then that would give me an excuse to slow down, but bugger that! There's plenty of time to sleep when I get home.

But that's not to say that I am unhappy to have spent today with my feet up, popping on some washing, fighting with the bloody washing machine and useless combined drier, so that I can pack a little bag so I can head off south tomorrow on another little adventure.

Where's my wee bag and a clean pair of knickers then? Let's go!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Teaching ?

I reckon all too often teaching is a thankless task.

You front up each day and try your best to get through the set work with as much joy and discipline as you can manage, all the while agonising about keeping the kids' histories in mind and making as sure as you can that they are all OK, well fed and loved at least a little.

Yeh yeh yeh, people bang on about the holidays and the short hours and I am not at all interested in defending that part of the job, except to say that if I had a dollar for every day I worked from 9 to 3, well I'd be fucking living on the streets with Dog and a plastic cup for begged change.

Each year there'd be at least 200 new kids sometimes many more if the Drama option in lower year levels brought every kid in years 7 8 and 9 to my studio. That's a lot of kids.

And over 30 years well that is just a shed load of kids. And of course they grow up to be big people who all too often look nothing like they did when they were youngsters. On the other hand, I look the same only creased and wider, like an image on a perishing rubber mat stretched tight width ways, probably recognisable but maybe not at first glance.

When we decided to stay in Twickenham, I worried about running into 'kids' I taught way back when.  My unexpected, speedy exit from the school would possibly have been wrongly explained by people who were no longer allies - understatement of all times! and so I wondered if I ran into kids/adults they would be smiling or wanting to avoid me.

I needed not have worried really.

When I popped into the hair dressers to get coloured up, the colourist immediately identified herself as an ex-student and we had a lovely time catching up. Then another of the hairdressers popped over to say that she had been in my class too. She was full of praise and mentioned that she was sad when I left. I didn't go on with any bile filled vitriol. It's too long ago and these now adults would have been unaware of the politics and bullshit of the time.

The 2 women made me proud to have been apart of their education.

They are lively, confident, competent professional women and their drama classes could not have hurt in this regard.

So it's gratifying to randomly run into exes and NOT have them pull a newspaper over their faces and hide, or reach into their handies for something rotten to throw.

Yeh it makes me feel like some good was done.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

What to wear to the RWC at Twickenham

Ok, I admit it, I would be the very last person to listen to about 'What to wear'. I am not a style guru, or a fashion diva, I am just a fat old woman who last night was lucky enough to have a ticket to the Rugby World Cup, England Vs Australia, so I figured I might have had a little look see if someone was offering advice, and because I hadn't seen any such I advice, I thought I'd just tell ya what I wore.

We are staying a few kilometres from the ground, and feet are the only transport possible, although I dare say if we wanted to splash some cash we could have found a helicopter to take us there, but that would have required a whole other outfit.

It is still THONG weather here - no not little whispers of bum irritation, good old Aussie footwear, and as I have trouble with my feet, I started at the ground - up, for my attire selection. I choose the red birks cos they are well worn in and I know that I can go yomping in them for miles. I did wonder about some big fat popo type smashing his size 16s onto my toes, but as I was walking and as I have no other shoes suitable for distance, there was really no choice, but caution is advised.

I tossed up for a while about what would be good to cover the arse end. A dress could get stuck between the fold down chairs and a skirt would probably drag in the spilt beer, so pants it is, but did I want to wear jeans, linen or leopard print jobbies? I am not much fond of jeans, even though I know they are a necessary evil in everyone's wardrobe, I just find 'em tight and restrictive - yeh perhaps I should buy a bigger pair, ho fucking hum. So the Leopard print it was!

Black tops go with everything so black it was. I had a black T shirt, under a silly black top and a black jumper and for good measure a black faux leather coat I bought last week from the charity shop for 7 pounds. I agree that all that seemed excessive, especially when the thongs are considered, but I have been to stadiums before and know that sometimes a breeze blows in that can freeze your tits off, and that's a lot of breeze, so better to be safe than titless.

The hair doesn't really matter, unless you plan to push your way onto the tellie by doing something quite mad like sticking your painted tongue in some B grade TV personality's ear, and makeup is not essential, but do pop a lib balm stick into your smaller, over the chest handie.

But the piece de resistance is the scarf, for warmth and waving and identification. This has nothing to do with style or colour co-ordination cos god knows really no-one looks good in that gaudy yellow gold, and that much acrylic is likely to spontaneously combust with the addition of the slightest bit of friction. No the scarf is just cos.

So here's the whole ensemble laid out - what? you didn't really expect that I was gonna include a self wearing it all did you? How long do you think my arms are? No self sticks allowed in the grounds and I don't have one anyway. This is as good as it gets.

Except to say Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi, What a win!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Exploring the unexplored

Thanks to my Brissie Carol, we set off yesterday in search of some little style nooks hitherto unexplored. Well that should come as no surprise cos I am not stylish, but I have read the book from cover to cover and have turned down page corners and am keen to have a little look see.

Wouldn't you think that as I lived here for 7 years I would A. possibly have seen these places before, and B. be capable of driving around the old town to find 'em. But the truth is a big, fat as my arse, NO to both. I hadn't visited and I don't reckon I can drive here anymore.

It is not the weight of the traffic or even the need to reverse park. Neither of these things worry me. It's the fact that since I last drove here the streets must have been on Jenny Craig, cos they are now so skinny that I just do not believe there is enough space for driving. Yes there is enough space for cars to park either side of the roads, but then there is no room for traffic to go through, and there certainly is not enough room for a big fuck off double decker bus to trundle along. I just cannot work out how my cute little sporty number ever fitted. I hate to think it, but it seems my eyes now see things as wider than they used to, perhaps as an adjustment to looking at my arse?

Steve on the other hand has just returned like a duck to water. He was happy to have a driving adventure, whereas I would have gone, all day every day, by tube and bus. He picked himself up an A to Z - (Referdex or Greggories - spell check here has been useless so I am guessing they really are made up Aussie words) and I had the maps up on my phone and off we went.

Well I spent quite a lot of time pretending I was watching some horror movie, ie sitting with my eyes closed or hiding behind my hands.

We missed the turns to the little backwaters where we were heading, but we did find a number of really lovely spots and I have now started a list in the front of my book of places I want to go back to, but next time I reckon I will go by tube.

The roses in Regents Park are worth the risk of a bee sting. Go ahead, stick your face right into 'em. Ahhh!

We pulled up at Regents Park. There was ooodles of cheap parking. We trooped in and grabbed a sort of picnic style lunch and enjoyed the sunshine. I hadn't been to this park before, and bloody fabulous it is. The whole place wafted with the scent of old fashioned roses, like the ones we used to steal and destroy on the walk to school when I was a kid. It's oldie worldie, except that it's new today, cos mostly roses don't smell of anything at all anymore - cue whinging grumpy old woman.

In the Queen Mary gardens there are deck chairs set up, yep I said deck chairs! They are set in pairs in the sunshine and there eventually is a little fella who comes along and points out that there is a charge for sitting on them. It was pretty and twee and all very English.

Finally I found where the London Zoo is and yep I have written that in the front of my book, along with the Kensal Green Cemetery which is supposed to be the resting place of some flash folk. It might be a bit odd, but I do like a wander through the head stones - wandering is however where my strangeness ends.

We got gridlocked amid 4 wheel drive monsters at school pick up time and this just confirmed my thoughts that it would never be wise to come between a mother and her cubs. It was fucking frantic.

So I haven't made it to the places of interest in The Book, but we came very close, close enough to know that we want to go back another time via public transport, so there will be no worries about parking, driving, or nutso school mothers.

Ta Carol for the book, it's definitely taking me out of my comfort zone.