Monday, 30 November 2015

Tomatoes in and fingers firmly crossed.

My lovely Dad was good at lots of things, usually things he wanted to be good at. Consequently, when it came to getting his hands dirty in the garden, well he wasn't exactly a green thumbed fella.

However I do remember that one year he planted some tomatoes and they were bloody wonderful. The smell of home grown tomatoes instantly takes me back to those childhood moments of chomping into the tommies straight from the plants.

I had planted these stupid China Doll things in my raised garden bed and my girl just roared laughing when she saw 'em - yeh I had planted 3! My Girl knows all stuff about plants and gardens and when she recovered from her howling, she told me that I had planted bloody great tress! I persisted with 'em and kept cutting 'em back, until today when I asked Steve to give me a hand to pull the fuckers out, so I could plant - some tomatoes!

The tape roots on the trees were huge, and I am hoping that we have pulled out enough of it so that the Tommies can grow without competition. I will water them and wait and see.

I tied 'em up with a pair of left over tights from London...Sexy toms indeed.

I also decided to see if I could do better with some Basil this time, and have shoved it in between 2 of the tomato plants. Fingers crossed that it does better than the last lot, which I managed to kill off in mere hours, never once sampling a fragrant leaf.

We pulled out all the mint that had grown like topsy and I planted some Parsley. Again fingers are crossed.

But I reckon if Dad could grow some tommies then maybe I can too, and anything else will just be a bonus.

Gardening done for the next little while.

Yeh my fingers are about as green as my lovely Dad's.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Mockingjay Part 2

We decided to escape the stinking heat yesterday and catch up with the last instalment in 'The Hunger Games'

Steve read the trilogy a good while back and he, unusually, really enjoyed the Sci-fi story.

It's not my cup of tea either - aliens and space ships and weird abilities and all that. I much prefer to loose myself in the possibility of fiction and I reckon all too often Sci-fi stuff is just a leap too far.

But I had seen the first 3 movies and have been looking forward to the release of this the last one.

I know that they - being the syndicate producing the collection, wanted to make as much money as possible and I hope they have done, but the carving up of the last book into 2 chunks was a bit of a money grab too far I reckon. It could have been condensed into one longish movie, although god only knows how the young couple across from us would have coped cos as it was they were checking their phones and both ran out twice presumably to pee or poop out all that pop corn. For god's sake even my old body can control itself for 2 and half hours. Maybe they were unwell. I reckon there should be special screenings for young techies like there is for parents with screaming babies and old pensioners with bad hearing.

However I should get back to the movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I bit at my fingers and hid behind my hands and at one particular point I had a little scream - yeh out loud. The youngsters across are probably writing about some crazy old screaming bitch at the pictures.

Jennifer Lawrence was excellent and Donald Southerland continued to make a suave baddie. I reckon the Hemsworth fellas is over-rated, and I can't remember the name of the actor who played Peeta, but he was mostly convincing. Julianne Moore was wonderful and the editor cleverly cobbled in snippets of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and I was pleased to see him included one last time.

I think the big problem with chopping up the final story is that it really doesn't stand on it's own. I could certainly not recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen the first 3 and a refresher of 'em before you go, wouldn't go astray.

With my feminist hat firmly wedged at a jaunty angle I must confess to being pleased that the leads apart from the baddie were all women.

We went to Australia Fair Gold Lounge and even though it's getting a bit tired, it is such good value for money. $20 a ticket plus the booking fee which just gives me the shits. I had a quick look at the new pictures at Pac Fair this morning and they want $20.50 to sit in cattle class. I didn't venture into the Gold area there.

Really I reckon I am gonna be happy to sit in the faded velour with the occasional worn out springs, especially over the summer in this stinking heat.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Do you get around in the nudie-noo?

The blind is up and I hope the neighbours were not.

This morning at some shitful o'clock, with the heat already building, quite a lovely breeze blew in from the south. Such was it's welcome, that the blind went all a quiver and started banging about. I watched lazily as it flew up and let the light in and then dropped back down with a bit of a thud. Of course no sleep was possible with the noise.

So then here was my dilemma, I could get up and close all the louvers and keep the blind silent and suffocate from the heat, or I could wind up the blind and enjoy the breeze, all the while scaring the neighbours with boob and belly flashing - cos clothes are superfluous when sleeping, and really no-one needs to see all that early in the morning.

Well the clock said that it wasn't yet 5.30am so I took a chance and launched myself towards the chain pulley thing and tugged at the blind, figuring that if anyone was up and looking out their windows at that ungodly hour, then they would be either bleary eyed, or pleased to be shocked into action for the day.

The view from my bed is at it's best at the moment with the flowering Poinciana but my neighbours across the road, possibly were treated to a less than attractive view as I jumped around and later when I got up properly, I did try to keep my back to 'em as I dragged on some clothes, cos afterall, we all have a back so who cares about backs, right?

Not too shabby a view huh?

There doesn't seem to be a great deal of nudie-noo action here in the suburbs, but friends who live in a city high rise see more than enough to make up for it. People in the city seem to reckon they are invisible just cos they don't have a yard. So it's not uncommon to see flashes of skin and from time to time actual RUMPITY going on on the balconies, but these folk must surely be doing it for a thrill or a laugh or a dare. I reckon if I lived in a city high rise, I might just sit all day and night and watch the neighbours and make up their back-stories, but I would have to do it from some little hidden corner cos I wouldn't want anyone watching me after all.

So I am left wondering how much nudity is normal?

Is it ok to dash from the shower sans towel?

Is it ok to walk completely starkers all day anywhere on the property, cos after all your home is your castle?

Is flashing your bits in front of the kids OK or in front of the dog?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Schoolies Week

This is my year 12 photos. Might be a bit blurry like my vision today, but it's as clear as a bell in my mind.

If you are the parents of one of the few kids spirited off to the hospital for conditions undisclosed, or parents of one of the few who have been  arrested for being drunk or fighting or whatever, then maybe you will figure that this year's schoolies has been a bit shit. But as a resident living only a couple of Ks from the epicenter or the festivities, I reckon it has been going pretty well.

The local media is usually keen to hype up any of the naughtiness the kids get up to, but this year they have been pretty quiet.

My girl, who partied hard almost 15 years ago - yeah we chattered about that this week and at the ripe old age of 32, she felt like a grandmother, said this year's lot must be behaving themselves.

It made news this year, and possibly not for the first time, that undercover coppers were staking out the bottleos, and charging and fining anyone buying booze for minors. I get it. It's against the law to supply alcohol to minors. But as I heard this I drifted back to perhaps a simpler time 15 years ago.

I drove my Girl and 2 of her mates to their unit. It was right on the beach, just a few hundred yards north of Surfer's. They carried in their clothes and I carried in their cartons. We all got to and filled the fridge and they squealed like the youngsters they were, and I popped into the bedrooms and found waste baskets to place next to the beds in case of vomit misshaps. Not pleasant in the thinking but in an interest in collecting the bond, more than a little pragmatic.

I then surveyed the rest of the unit. No, I didn't care about the view, or the size of the tellie or how comfy the couch was, I was on the hunt for breakables. Yes I left 'em some glasses and some plates, but all decorative china and glassware and side lamps were stashed into cupboards so that if they stumbled after a couple, they only fell over. I left nothing expensive to break their falls.

I had been teaching seniors up to their graduations for 20 years, and knew well the shenanigans of final celebrations. I just wanted these kids to be as safe as I could make 'em.

Yes I knew they were gonna drink and get fall down drunk.

Yes I was worried sick about it.

Yes I made my girl promise to ring me every afternoon even for a second just to keep me sane.

Yes I knew I was breaking the law.

If my child was finishing school now I might be less happy about schoolies week, but only because I am an old gal now and quite removed from the reality of it all,  but I wouldn't stop 'em going. I am not sure why, but it has become a rite of passage.

For the vast majority of the kids this is just a week of letting loose. For many it's the first time away from parents and adults for an extended time and for most I bet it is a memory machine that will feed 'em til they are old enough to be thinking they are too old for all this.

When I finished school, it was all a bit anticlimactic cos some dickhead had taken it into his head to break into the science block on the night previous and do damage. Needless to say the police and the school authorities were about as happy about that as we were that our big day had been buggered up. The police investigated and the culprits were caught I think and the rest of us were marched off the school grounds - no pranks with glad wrap over the toilets, or putting bicycles on the roof, or songs from, 'To Sir With Love.' Just an unceremonious exit. Goodbye and good riddance.

We made hurried arrangements to meet up at the Wynnum foreshores after dark. A bonfire was built and 12 years' of school shit that our parents had not saved as precious mementos were used as fuel. We felt like we were being quite the rebels.

I don't think the police came along to move us on or douse the flames.

I remember it as being a burning ritual and quite cathartic as kids watched their failures burn alongside someone else's distinctions.

All life events need to be marked somehow. Of course we get to decide the HOW and the HOW for the end of 12 years of institutional marching is at the moment, a week in the sun.

I really hope that the last of their time is fun but uneventful - at least from this oldie's perspective.

Would you be happy to let your kids loose at the Goldie for a week?

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Craig from RACQ bloody brilliant.

Image result for racq logo

My lovely girl was having trouble with her car and so after some messing around we managed to call and get the angel mechanic Craig from RACQ to help us out. We met him out at the arse end of buggery where the poor old car had been abandoned. It was stinking hot, but Craig was cool as a cucumber and he got stuck straight in. He listened to the car gurgle clickity clickity click click and was like a triage doctor in his speed of diagnosis. It was only the battery. Yippee.

Steve had spent hours on the google finding auto-mechanics within 20km of the arse end of where-ever in case we needed to get an RACQ tow, because the poor old car was badly broken, so when there was an easy fix we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Craig got to and popped in a new battery and then tested to make sure that other electrical stuff, like the alternator, was working well. He checked the oil and filled up the water in the radiator as well as the windscreen wipers, and had a good look at the tyres which might need attention very soon and so he suggested that we might like to get a quote from a particular shop.

It was so refreshing me to meet someone so keen on offering excellent service. 'All in a day's work,' Craig reckoned.

So we drove home and then set to ringing RACQ to pass on our thanks and to give Craig a well deserved compliment.

5 calls and 30 minutes later, Amanda I think her name was, said in her capacity as supervisor of buggered if I know what, that she would call someone on our behalf and pass on a compliment.

Who could believe it would be so bloody difficult to say something nice, pleasant, positive, thankful?

I find it hard to believe that we were the only lucky customers impressed with the service from Craig, but I can easily forgive others for not bothering to jump through all those hoops to try to say thanks. After the first 7 or 8 minutes on hold I nearly gave it up as a bad joke. I am pleased that we persisted, though  I am still not convinced that there is any record of our efforts.

At one point I asked for confirmation that the call was being recorded for 'Training purposes', and was told that they weren't bothering this time. That's a shame, cos they really could do with some training. It must be all bullshit threats when you get that spiel about recording the calls, or at least it's only when it suits 'em - when they have so completely wound you up that you drop the 'F' bomb, so they can justify hanging up.

Perhaps no-one bothers with a 'Thank You' anymore and so companies have no capacity to accept one. What a sad sad situation huh?

Do you bother with a big THANK YOU?
How far you bother to go to give someone a pat on the back?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Toe Jam is a pain in the bum.

About a year ago, my right big toe shit itself and I dutifully sucked it up and painted claggy crap on it twice a day for literally months and months. And finally it looked good to me so out came the loud coloured nail polish and my toes twinkled again. I reckon feet are hideous things so anything you can do to tart 'em up a bit, well it's worth the effort.

But the trouble with heavily painted toes is that you never get to see what insidious shit is going on underneath. If you just paint 'em up and then wipe it all off only to paint 'em again, you don't notice the weirdness developing until all of a sudden there is some pain and it feels like the whole nail is gonna loose it's grip on your toe and you wonder how it is ever gonna be possible to wear a closed in shoe again. 

I have tried the 'head in the sand' approach before on a grander scale at my old house, when I splodged heavy enamel paint onto the termite effected skirting boards. I had no carpentry skills or cash to replace said woodwork, so where it was possible I sort of cobbled together bits of dust and hope with the paint. Behind the paint was air and possibly termites. Yes it did look terrible but it was the best I could do. I was lucky that the termites didn't continue to chomp through the timber. Yes it was more luck than good management.

You will be please to know that I have never rented myself out as a house renovator, I know my limits, and that mostly had to do with covering up shit marks or dents with furniture or artwork. Yeh I can paint up a storm and I have been know to throw a leg onto my roof and slop some tar crap up there to help with a leaky situation, but real reno stuff I leave to the experts.

But I digress.

It seems that treating only ONE nail for all those fucking months was a bit of a wasted effort cos the sneaking fucking fungus crept along onto all the nails and so this time I am taking no prisoners and ALL TEN little buggers are getting a good going over.

This new gloop only needs to be applied once a week so much less trouble than before, but it still takes a ridiculously long time cos you have to wait til the nails have grown out. I am lucky that mine seem to grow like topsy so maybe this will be quicker than expected.

The biggest bugger of it all is that I have to look at the hideous naked things - no nail polish colours until the fungus is gone.

I know that compared to all the truly shitful curve balls your body can throw at you, smudgy toe nails are pretty insignificant - irritating but not significant.

Are your toes pretty?
Have you ever taken a short cut to cover up a bit of a mess?

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Scheduling a little weep.

I like a busy calendar. I like looking at the paper page hanging on the wall - yeh old fashioned I know, and seeing it fill up with stuff that needs to be done and things that are fun to do and people's birthdays and all manner of reminders. It makes me feel that life is going on and that I am not just sliding on day closer to dead.

I do like a busy calendar.

But do you ever just have a look at your calendar and work out that it might be possible to have a little weep on Sunday fortnight between let's say 2 and 4pm, or is this just me?

When I was newly single and raising my lovely, I admit that things did sometimes become overwhelming. I mean, whinging to a mate about the crumbs in the butter or the dickhead at work should not be undervalued. And so I would somehow compartmentalize all this irritation and look for a weepy solution at sometime when it would not be necessary to explain to my girl or in deed anyone else why I was washing my face. Yep the interim days could be fraught with tension, but no tears.

I don't know why I am reluctant to cry in public. Perhaps my refusal to give in to tears so my mother would stop whipping me with the buckle end of a belt left me with this remarkable skill. She had this sort of rule that she would stop the beating when the tears started and I would not let her win - stupid bloody minded child. But she would eventually have to stop because she wasn't very fit and she would dissolve into a pool of sweat. Yeh I remember the triumph of staring her down, dry eyed. So tears are a bit of a sign of weakness for me, not for anyone else, just for me.

It's such a loss of control isn't it - all that red swollen eyes and snot. So not attractive, and it makes everyone else uncomfortable.

I reckon if evolution was this girl's friend, crying would be phased out and it would be replaced by some sort of dramatic weight loss, and if it was really friendly, maybe the site of the loss could be preempted - tummy tucking for relationship breakdowns, and arm bat wing things for frustration about bill payment and skinny ankles for dental anxiety. Just a little bit of useful magic.

It seems to me that the tears carry away a lot of the frustration and fear and just bloody sadness, so they are better out than in, but it's difficult to change the habits of a lifetime, so schedules are still planned.

Are you lucky enough to be able to burst out with the waterworks at any time or do you hide 'em away like a dirty little secret?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Road Worthy Certificate for the old body.

Yep it was time for a good going over today - a less than regular M.O.T. which I had put off prior to my Blighty get away cos I wasn't interested in getting any bad news.

So Jane and I exchanged usual sillyness and a brief analysis of the Rugby - yeh she gloated cos she is a Kiwi afterall, and then we got to it.

I had sent myself a text listing all my ailments and Jane copied them into the machine. It was a silly list and if there was only one itty-bitty symptom, then even the craziest amongst us would never pop to the doctors, but the list was long enough to bother.

Jane wasn't best pleased with the combo, she'd certainly have been happier with a supersized Maccas combo but hey ho.

I've had this pain in my ribs since I got home and Steve has put it down to a probable pulled intercostal muscle as a result of hurling suitcases around, however, when Jane popped the twinge and the shit blood pressure and the fat fat fatty woman, into the blender, she came up with a possible DVT - an embolism from my jet setting lifestyle. She sent me off for an emergency scan.

And so then I was thrown back into the medico bullshit, where no-one gives you a real answer to a specific question. Jane had explained it all but by the time I got to the Xray shop the story had changed and instead of having a little go over with a slow moving donut machine, I was reading of and then having to agree to angiogram needle and cannula action which was definitely more than I had bargained on.

I had a little melt down. I need time to get my head around all this and surely I cannot be the only one with this sort of medical anxiety. Yeh I still had a choice - I could have walked away and just gone with the belief that I had chucked one suitcase too many, but the wonder would have still nagged at me, so the pressure was on.

I quizzed the radiologist about his expertise in cannula installation, and it has to be said that Michael was very patient with the inquisition. He was patient as I baulked about getting onto the table and he was patient as I had a little cry before handing over my arm to him to do his best. He was as good as his word. He popped in the plastic on his first try and then the whole thing can have only taken a few minutes from start to finish. He pulled out the plastic tube and gave me a tissue and found a way around my allergy to adhesives and then expedited the reading of the scans and delivered the news that I am fine to me personally. Really he was such a sweetheart.

I am pleased that I don't have some miserable, unpredictable, glob of shit promenading around my veins, and I am pleased that twice today I have been stuck with a sharp in my arm and I have survived. I am less pleased that Jane has finally suggested that I do something to loose some fat but I imagine that when she gets the blood tests back it will only reinforce that I have not been kind to the only body I've got, all that ice cream has come home to roost, ho fucking hum. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

What the very fuck is going on?

I feel like I am being manipulated. Yeh like someone has got their great big hand up my whats-it and is shoving and making room for all sorts of bullshit and then someone else is pouring down hate messages like confetti, and then of course there is the media trying to be the most sensational and controversial so they can get the gong at the next awards ceremony. Fucking hell! All I know for sure is that the violence and killing is sickening and tear making, and the consequent 'make a stand, take a side' truly frightening.

I am an atheist. I cannot fathom how and why people believe what they do, anymore than a believer can understand my non-belief. But as a rational human being, I just do not believe that there is some brainwashing detergent, that is strong enough to bleach the rationality of millions of people and make them all into happy little murderers of the infidel.

I don't know any Muslims personally and that might be because I don't get out much, but if being a Mossie means preparing to execute the non-mossies then I reckon by now we'd all be dead. This just cannot be part of their beliefs. There are certainly large enough numbers of Muslims all over the world to ensure a complete wipe-out.

So the only assumption I can make is that there is a small group of miserable arsewipes carrying on some sort of vendetta and it's probably got more to do with Oil or Ben and Jerry's Ice-cream, than religion.  I just do not believe that God or Allah or whoever has left detailed instructions about killing 'the rest.'

The burqa wearing, eyes down, seemingly cowering before their men, I cannot pretend to understand, but neither do I get eating up the body and blood of Christ. I find it all curious and worthy of discussion but I can't imagine a time or circumstance where I would become a believer, and as I don't want to tell anyone else what to think or believe, then surely that's ok too.

Any text can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. We have taught kids to analyse and pick apart texts as part of their English studies for a very long time. Debates have raged about the goodness or otherwise of Hamlet or Shylock for centuries. We can all play, 'you find a quote, I'll find a longer quote,' to prove our point of view. So popping up with a Quran quote encouraging Muslims to get out a gun and shoot up a stadium of people can be countered with a dozen others saying killing is not part of Allah's remit.

The beauty of a rational mind is what allows investigation and interpretation and discussion and debate.

'Criminal Minds' profilers would have field day with the psychology of the young men who become suicide bombers or who shoot up a concert hall full of people, knowing full well that the police will kill 'em back.

Yes Someone must be in control. Someone must be training up these young guys and filling their minds with hate and custard. But that Someone  has to be preying on flawed, sad, retarded, nutsos and as this is not a description of the rational majority, we just cannot fear all Muslims.

Yes Muslims are set apart. Perhaps they set themselves apart. I am not gonna begin to pretend that I get what they believe. I don't get that the women seem to happily submit to the men. I don't get the gear the women wear and I don't know if they wear it out of choice or by demand. I don't get it, but I am not afraid of it just cos I don't get it.

This is just a long rant about how appalled I am at the violence.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Dogs don't judge.

Here is Dog sitting on her favourite poof watching me write about her. She's a clever little sausage.

2 months is a pretty long time to be away.

Just to make sure that the kids didn't forget me, I Skyped 'em every Tuesday whether they wanted me to or not. I sat with my cuppa and they had just finished their dinner and mostly Zig was sparkling shower fresh and we'd chat about the usual shit that families carry on with.

I sent them postcards every week and sometimes sent them little packages, all in a bid to remind that I was still around, even if not very close. They had known for a year in advance that I would be away so had plenty of time to get used to the idea, or celebrate depending on perspective, and they are people so they could definitely understand and chat about understanding, and could hear and appreciate it when I said, 'I'll be back'

Dog on the other hand had no clue.

Oh she knows that those bloody suitcases are not good. She gets all flighty and skittish when they are dragged out. It's like she can count 'em up. If there's only one then that's OK cos it means only one of us is going. Of course she is hoping that I am the one staying cos I am her favourite - well this is my story afterall - what else am I gonna say. But if there are so many bags that the 2 spare rooms are covered in packing then she goes all a bit mad.

Not shitty pissed off mad. She goes out of her way to be a sweetheart, figuring perhaps that if she is lovely we won't be able to bear to leave her behind and so we'll pop her into one of those bags.

If we are driving away and taking her too, she relaxes as soon as her bed is brought downstairs and she sees me packing up her little treats. She really doesn't like to be left behind.

This time however, the 2 Js moved bags in on the day we were going. She didn't know what the hell was going on. Bag in, bags out, shake 'em all about?

Off we trotted to have dinner with the Kids so they would remember us and she stood and watched us go and I had a little tear, hoping that all would be well and that she would be loved but not so much as she wouldn't want to see us come back.

The 2 Js did love her, and so did their Grandies. They took her everywhere. She became part of their furniture. They sent us photos and little stories of how she was getting on. Yep the 2 Js seemed to know that this would ease my somewhat guilty conscious.

Dog must have wondered what was going on, on Wednesday, when the 2 Js started PACKING. There were those bloody bags again. They had packed up and moved everything out and then one of the Js hopped into Steve's car and disappeared - he was picking us up from the train station which was above and beyond, but that is how they rolled. She must have thought that was odd.

When we arrived home she ran at us like a maniac. Not a second's hesitation of tail up, bum out, cat face, pissed off, where the fuck have you been, now I am gonna shit in your shoes. It was just sheer joy that we were home. She all but knocked me down. I sat on the floor with her and she snuggled in. There was such joy, from her and us.

She's not letting me get too far outta sight. Sitting all over me as soon as I am still.
Do you like the way I have colour co-ordinated my dress with Dog?
This is Dog's first selfie. Ain't she lovely? 
I haven't told her that I have to go out today to get some groceries. I am hoping that she knows somewhere in her doggie brain that I will always come back, but how do we know what they know?



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Accents - We've all got one.

Like a hole in our bums we all have an accent, (unless there has been some dire medical thing going on and if that's the case with you I apologise for being so trite). Some of our accents again like bum holes are cultured and bleached and affected and some of 'em are scarred and perhaps marred by little clingons.

Yeh I had better stop with the similes cos it could get gross.

In 2 months in London, close to town, going to all the tourist traps and enjoying a bit of the suburbs too, I have heard lots of different takes on the good old Queen's English.

I have breezed onto buses almost every day, with a cheery, 'Good Morning', mostly to be greeted with either a questioning, 'Whatevs' or a downward glance and a bus load of people thinking, 'What the fuck is wrong with her?' and as I hop off I called out a jolly, 'Thank You.' Yeh people thought I was nuts. Steve thought I was nuts. It's so very unEnglish to address people in such a manner. But it has only just dawned on me that the trouble might not have been the greeting itself, but that my accent was so foreign that no-one knew what the fuck I was saying.

Accents are hard!

Mostly I am OK with your bog standard London, barrow boy, eastender accent, which is just as well cos otherwise I would be smiling and nodding at Steve and agreeing to god knows what, but the further away from London you go, the more difficult I find it to know what's going on.

I sat in a south coast front room with a Scottish woman from Glasgow and seriously I thought I was on a different planet. I figured she was speaking English, but that was only an assumption. I just nodded and laughed and looked sad as I took my emotional cues from her face. I hope very much that she was not some neo nazi selling Auschwitz time shares.

And I got as far north as Cambridge, which is not very far north, there was a local dialect delivered by older folk in tiny stores in St Ives which, whilst pleasantly lilting was not always clear to my Strine ears either.

The sing-songy Welsh accent makes me smile especially as they do carry on about how we Aussies make a question out of every sentence we utter and the whirdy girdy of the West country is such that when I was teaching Drama, I had to get an expert in to give the kids a lesson in this very difficult to manage - for me anyway, accent.

So mates told Steve that he sounded like an Aussie - which did not much impress him, especially as when here in Oz people sometimes look at him like he is some kind of alien talking a bit of gobbly-gook, and people here often tell me I have picked up a bit of the Pommie accent, which I also don't hear at all.

But what I do notice when I get back after a couple of months away is the, up in the nose, Aussie drawl, on the tellie ads.

I reckon that to acclimatise accent wise it would be handy for this Queensland girl to migrate slowly from south to north - starting in clipped sweeter tones of Melbourne and meandering through the 'my life depends on spitting this all out in such haste that it sounds like one long multi syllable word sentence' in Sydney, and arriving back at the Goldie to the twang and the lilt and nasal drag.

Turning on the tellie after a couple of months away is always a bit of a shock. It's like arriving in London, after a good while away and watching the news. There is an adjustment period.

Perhaps the difficulty is that coming back to Oz is also doused with a great lump of jet lag so what should be easy and comforting is more like being slapped around the head with a fish. It's not what I expect and it's foreign and leaves me feeling a bit accosted.

But then again I am grateful that I do not feel like this, this lagged, slightly nauseous, the world is playing out behind a vaseline veil, while I am trying to understand some Glasgow lassie. No amount of trying would allow me to be convincing in understanding that lot today.

The Oz accent, in all it's variety, is always gonna be 'Home' for me.


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Holiday Packing - Coming and Going

The leaves have turned and it's time to go home.

It's about time to swap Blighty for the Goldie and so my thoughts have swung to what to wear on the plane that will allow some sleep - hopefully, and will disguise the usual food spillage, and will not see me expire into a puddle of sweat when I step out into the Brisvegas heat.

When I packed to come away, I was aware that I would need to buy a few things to keep me warm. I figured if push came to shove, I'd pop into a charity shop and grab an old man's cardie for a couple of quid and call it a fashion statement. So I packed things that were flexible, Shortie T shirts and Long sleeved ones and knew that I would be able to throw 'em under just about everything I owned and call that a fashion statement too. I brought one 3/4 length cardie, and my faithful old denim jacket. The rest of the stuff was straight from summer, cos let's face it, it's been a bloody long time since I lived here and there is only so much stretch a jumper can handle.

But as luck would have it, I brought the weather with me. Oh I have needed to wear the new boots a couple of times, but fewer times than I have downed a bottle of plonk and propositioned the bus driver on my sway back to the flat. Mostly I have scuffed about in my thongs, and have pretended to be oblivious to the 'bag lady' looks from the locals.

It has been unseasonably warm.

But here's my packing tip, chuck in a variety of scarves, some heavy and some light weight and try to change up the colours. I have worn a scarf of some sort almost every day - makes me feel like I have made a bit of an effort and it keeps your neck warm too - winner winner chicken dinner!

If you forget to bring any scarves with you, well the good old charity shops can help you there too. For a couple of quid you can get yourself a few and the beauty of this is that they really aren't yours so you can leave 'em behind cos you aren't all that attached to 'em.

Stupid things that I dragged half way across the world include my heated rollers. What the very fuck was I thinking? The London water is sooo hard and my hair is so abused and damaged that it is about to break off at every angle so additional bashing with heat would not be recommended. The small handful of hair combs have been very useful for grabbing up chunks of wayward stuff and plonking it on top of my head - yeh all very bag lady chic.

I did bring my sneakers which have had one little outing but proved less comfy than the thongs so they have had a lonely hol at the back of the cupboard where they have made lifelong friends with the pair of silly sandals, never worn anywhere, but dragged along, just in case. Just in case what I am not sure, but if the bag is over weight, then they will be the first thing hoofed off.

So I am taking back more than I arrived with, nothing unusual there, except that really it is just Blighty tat and bits and bobs for Belly and Zig for now and for xmas, oh and we got Dog a little silly thing from Eton too.

But the London water plays havoc with more than your hair, it also buggers up elastic and so traditionally I have left my knickers behind. Read into that what you will. I arrive with a dozen or so newish pairs and after 8 weeks they have had it. This sort of explains why knickers at M & S are so much cheaper than at Myers. There is no getting attached to pommie knickers in London.

So tomorrow the cleaning lady will come and do all my ironing and then I'll pack it and when I get home I'll shake it out and hang it up, ( is that a Taylor Swift song?) and I can imagine that I am still on holidays at least until the jet lag evapourates.

Apart from fitting in the souvenir silliness, packing to go home is so much easier. Just shove it all in, no decisions needed, no planning required, just shove it in - still scanning like a Taylor, oh dear.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

London - Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

It has long been my practice to jump on the Hop On Hop Off bus when I get to a new place just so I can get my head around the layout and choose places I would like to see up close and personal.

But until yesterday I had never ventured onto the circuit in London.

It was brilliant and irritating in rather equal measures, partially cos I had obviously been to lots of the places before and some many times, and so wanted to whip by them and get to other places of greater interest, but something odd was going on yesterday and at almost every bus stop, the driver sort of threw out the anchor and had a little ZZZZ off.

I went and asked him why all this was going on and he waved his little schedule in my face and thought that explained it. Unfortunately for me, a ten minute stop at one place, when the buses were supposed to fun every 6 minutes, just did not compute. I guess what I am saying is that if you are in a hurry, go by regular bus, they are pretty reliable and frequent and if you end up somewhere odd, well, all the better, but if you have all day and don't care about getting what it says on the pack, then  by all means go on the Tourist bus.

The fog had descended on London yesterday and after lunchtime, when the blue sky took over, it was bloody fabulous to be on the open top deck, shaking hands with the Conker trees, - yeh I don't know what they are really called. Everywhere I looked there was Autumn. The colours are better remembered than photographed on my phone but here's a little eye spy of Conkers and Hyde Park.

I initially tried to get some Monopoly board photos for Zig, but soon gave it away, cos I reckoned that the quality was gonna be pretty shit, and besides I really wanted to just sit and look at this city that I love.

Even though I had opted for the cheapest route (22 quid), and the driver was a pain in the butt, the tour went everywhere, except for The Globe Theatre and The Tate Modern - yeh that was the only stop I planned to hop OFF - oh well. I am guessing, though certainly don't know for sure, that perhaps the rules and regulations are all a bit fuddled and muddled on Sundays.

The commentary was interesting and whoever was doing the voice over often did a reasonable Dame Judy D impersonation and it made me smile thinking that perhaps she was sitting there just having a chat to us.

I am sorry that I had put away my camera cos as the day progressed and the lighting changed there really were some spectacular sights, perhaps the Shard spiking out into the mist was my favourite, but it's a memory not a pic. I was struck by how many tourists seemed to see nothing that wasn't snapped into their phones. Seriously the use of selfie sticks requires a game of fiddle sticks if you fancy changing seats, handy if you need a bit of a nose picking or you want to stab someone in the eye.

I reckon that I must have been on the bus for about 3 hours, and as I was cold and my arse had turned square, and the driver had come up to say that he was stopping AGAIN, I jumped off and walked up to Trafalgar Square, passed the lions and the National Gallery up a sort of side street and jumped onto a tube homeward bound.

This is a truly brilliant way to see this wonderful place.

Michael and Chris you should do a bit of an online reccie cos there are 3 companies and the tickets are many and the inclusions are a little confusing. I guess like all things touristy you need to use your brains and keep a hand on your wallet.