Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September Check October Goals

Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Nine

Mood: Grumpy - it's been a long day

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Thirty

It's been a long work day. They happen, they're frustrating and make for a long day - bit it's nothing that a session in the park hauling weights does't partly fix.

So, it's monthly check in day. I'm not going to mess around tonight. Too tired. 

My September goals were: 

Walk 100 kilometres over the month.

Though not perfectly attained, exercise was maintained over the month. I'm good with this. Still exercising 4-6 times a week. 

Read fifty pages a day

This was done - no perfectly, but I read four books over September. I read:

  • Below Deck by Sophie Hardcastle
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Black Rock, White City by AS Patric
  • Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeild

Write three chapters of the novel

This got done. Wish I'd done more. Unfortunately a lot of this will need to be scrapped. Ah well. 

Clean out the spare room

Yeah, didn't happen. Mind you, I have a virtual flat inspection that needs to be done by the end of next week - oh what fun. So some cleaning will be done this weekend. 

Take a black and white photo a day

Did this. Loved this. I really enjoy taking photos. What made this harder was not being able to go out of a 5 km radius. I've posted the photos every day, It's been fun. 

And get the mason's books done

Yeah - still haven't finished these, but they are on the way. Again, not being able to go out of a 5 km radius means I can't get the books to where they need to go. On the good side of things, I had my tax done today - this is a big win. 

And my goals for October:

Continue reading 50 pages a day.

This is good for me. I like this challenge.

Exercise for an hour a day.

Again, this one keeps me sane. And doable. One day a week can be a stretch class / Pilates or something along those lines. 

Get the mason's books done. 

This is getting a bit silly. It just needs to be done. 

Write 500 words of the novel each day

I have to get serious with this novel. The Faber Course is over and I really, really want this. 

Keep discretionary spending down to an absolute minimum.

Time to get saving. So let's see what can be done. I know I have a big bill in November, so I need to save some cash. 

Get a hug from somebody who isn't a cat

I get my cuddles from cats at the moment. I want a hug from a human. Hoping after 19 October, or sometime this month I can get a surrepticious hug of somebody. What Dan don't know don't hurt him.

Goals done. Now to bed. 

Today's Song: 

Vale Helen Reddy. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Last Day

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Eighy

Mood:   Sad

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Nine

Today marked the last day of the Faber Writing a Novel course. 

And I'm sad. Really sad. 

We had to say goodbye to our wonderful teachers and our weekly classes. Gone are the weekly story tellings, the camaraderie, the listening to what everybody is reading. 

And the class are all amazing writers - stunning writers, with wonderful stories to tell. 

We now have a month to get our submissions for the Faber Anthology ready - I think there will be some workshopping done over that, but it's over, and it's been wonderful. 

And we were all suitably emotional about leaving this behind.

It's been a truly wonderful six months.

And now I'm going to sook in the corner. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Food for Thought

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Seven

Curfew. Lifted 5 a.m. this morning. 

Mood:   Better now I know what this bloody song is about. 

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Eight

'I'm a prima donna...'

I love a good malapropism and this one takes the cake.

I've had today's song of the day in my head most of the weekend. For the life of me, yesterday afternoon I could not give you the name of the song, let along the name of the band. I really only thought I knew the first line of the song, which I've always sung as "I'm a prima donna..."

I love the saxaphone in this. I rather like reggae - not all reggae all the time, but a little bit of it goes down well. But the mix of the sax and the bass and the drums and the strange lyrics make it great. 

So last night, earworm throbbing, I went online. What was this mysterious song? Who sings it. Will it make my seventies inspired song of the day listing?

Well, not quite. It was released in February 1980. I was 12 when then happened. But as it's two months out I'll let it through. 

Into google goes the first line.... 'I'm a prima donna...".

And the first thing to come up - UB40's Lost and Found

The song I've had stuck in my head for the last three days. It's a sax riff I've loved since I first heard it as a teenager, back before I loved the Pixies - indeed before the Pixies even existed. 

I just love that everybody else appears to have been singing the first line incorrectly. It isn't 'I'm a prima donna, diving in the dust", it's 'Ivory Madonna dying in the dust."

I really don't care. As earworms go, this is a good one. 

I'm singing the sax solo in my head. 

Today's song:

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Life Entirely

Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Six  

Curfew. 9 p.m  (And they're lifting the curfew from tomorrow morning - YAY!)

Mood:   Calm and Fine - waiting to see what restrictions are loosening 

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Seven

It's been eight weeks. We've been locked down for eight long weeks - unable to travel outside of a 5 kilometre (3 mile) bubble, with a curfew, able to leave home for only limited reasons. Today we find out what they're going to let us do - which still won't be much - but it's something. I'm hoping I can start working out with my trainer in the park. Maybe a few more shops will be open. I'm not betting that the gym will be open or I can go to the cinema just yet. But we're doing well. Numbers are down into the teens (that's the new cases). It is what it is. I'm over the political bickering and the angsty teenage media. 

Like everything, this too shall pass. 

Right I had better get these questions done as I'm going for a walk at 2 pm.

Questions, as always, supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Something someone told you about yourself that you never forgot

I had a wonderful therapist who gave me my current mantra. I am stronger than I think I am and smart enough to do anything I want. Good words to live by. 

2. What are your 3 top pet peeves

In no order:

  • Rude people
  • Whingers, whiners and complainers
  • Ignorance in all forms.
Unfortunately, this COVID crisis is bringing out all of these people n droves. 

3. List five places you want to visit

At the moment I'm not allowed 5 km away from my front door, so anywhere would be nice. But here are some places I'd love to go at the moment:

  • I want to go back to Ubud in Bali
  • I'd love to do the Camino do Compostela de Santiago in Spain
  • I'd love to go back to the Northern Territory and explore
  • I want to go to Japan
  • And I'd love to spend a month in New York.
But if you ask me where I really want to go to now, here is my list:
  • The gym
  • The cinema
  • To visit Jonella down at her place at the beach
  • The Art Gallery
  • A cafe, where I can sit down with friends and have a meal

4. Share something you struggle with

My weight. Always have struggled with this.

I also struggle with people's selfishness and lack of compassion. 

5. Post words of wisdom that speak to you.

Gandhi said it. "Be the change you want to see." Words to live by. 

6. Something you always think “what if....?” about

Oh, I always ask myself what would have happened if Lachlan and I got together back in England. It didn't happen. It's not worth dwelling on, but it's something that crosses my mind every so often. 

7. Five blessings in your life.

  • My health
  • My friends
  • My brain
  • My sense of humour
  • My cat

8. Something that you miss.

I miss a lot at the moment, especially as we are locked down, but I miss getting on a plane. I miss travelling. I miss seeing my friends. I miss going to the shops for more than food shopping. I miss having my book group at a cafe... I rather miss my old life, pre-COVID.

9. Post about your zodiac sign and whether or not it fits you.

I'm a Leo/Virgo - which basically means I'm a loyal, slightly loud, occasionally fierce, who is a bit of a cuddler who makes lists. 

10. Think of a word. Search for it on Google images.  Write something inspired by the 11th image.

The word is neophyte.:

I like it. (this wasn't the eleventh image, but some MMA fighter is known as neophyte and that wasn't what I was going for. It's a fabulous painting. I love the trepidation and hope in the neophyte's eyes. 

11. Write about an area of your life that you’d like to improve.

My love life. COVID has taken mine away, I would like it back thank you very much. Though maybe have it occur in Melbourne and not Sydney, that might be nice. 

12. What made you laugh out loud today.

Lucifer was doing zoomies around the house at 7 am. He's really cute when he does zoomies. He's just a funny beast.

13. What are your goals for the next 30 days.

They're quite simple. Loose 2 kgs (5 lbs) in weight, keep active and don't go mad. Oh and get my tax done and submit my piece for the Faber anthology. That will do. 

14. Your highs and lows for the month

Highs: The Faber Academy, lots of lovely walks along the river, catching up with friends  - even if it is on Zoom. I saw Raj in the park last weekend and it was lovely. 

Lows: Listening to whining people and indeed our corrupt Federal Government. The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg was gutting too. 

15. Favorite movies that you never get tired of watching.

In no apparent order:

  • The Princess Bride
  • Bull Durham
  • Three Colours: Blue
  • Logan Lucky
  • V is for Vendetta
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
  • Henry V (1988)
  • Deadpool
  • Most of the Marvel Movies
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
There are lots that could be added to this list. Love movies.

16. Books you have read more than once.

  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Signature of All Things
  • Most of Shakespeare
  • All of the Harry Potter books
  • All of the Lemony Snicket Books
And I appear to read most of our book group books twice as I've often read them in the months before and I want to refresh my memory before the night. 

17. Something about which you feel strongly.

Rupert Murdoch's news empire is evil and probably half the reason the world is in such a state. 

18. Five things that make you really happy.

  • Ice cream
  • The smell of dogs paws in the morning
  • Swimming
  • Walking in the sunshine
  • Cuddles

19. What are you excited about?

I'm going around to see Blarney and her cats this afternoon. I'm also going for a walk with a friend in a bit. Looking forward to that too. 

20. Three celebrity crushes

Oh, really. 

Clive Owen has been my celebrity squeeze for years. He's awesome. 

I've got a think for Tom Ellis, as soon on Lucifer. The big brown eyes and the melifluous voice is just wonderful. He's also got a lovely bum - Lucifer is testament to this. 

I've also had a big soft spot for Cary Grant. He's been dead for decades, but he's just glorious. 

Right, better go get ready for this walk. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Writing with Dev - Part Fifteen

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Five

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:   Calm and Fine

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Six

Writing with Dev - and we're doing Cards Against Humanity - Yay - my favourite. 

A strong horse and enough rations for 30 days. That's what you need in Melbourne to get around all of the whingers. The horse can get you where you need to go, the rations will make sure you don't need to go to the shops - but in saying that, it can be nice when you go to the shops. 

I'm just back from going to get my one takeaway meal for the week. I took the car down the road to the Vinh Ky, my favourite Vietnamese place. Ordered my normal - Spicy Crispy Beef and a side of steamed rice. 

I had a 20 minute wait, so I popped across the road to Aldi - never a good move. I'd have extremely tight pants if I shopped their regularly - and you always end up with crap when you shop at Aldi. Almond spread, some white chocolate and frozen dinner. But I was gratifited to find that where the Korean Place used to be, there was now a French Bistro. The door was open and the proprieter was selling some of her wares. French cheese. French wine. Canard. Fois Gras. We had a chat. In French. I admire her fortitude setting up a glorious looking place amongst the junkies, but gee, it's lovely to see it there. I'll be back. Walked out with a wheel of French Camembert. In a pinch, this shop can be a substitute for a visit to France. It is great to see some variety, even in these lockdown contitions. 

Dinner was sublime. The cheese is in the fridge. I am happy.

Maybe I'm the strong horse - able to just get on with the lockdown. Half the people I know are complaining as if they have been subjected to ten hours of German Dungeon porn ever day, such is the veracity of their whinging. I won't tolerate it. I've got my rations. I'm got a bit of fortitude. It's okay. 

That my favourite Vietnamese takeaway is still open - even better. That I don't have to share my spicy crispy beef, even better. I'm as happy as a bear catching a live salmon in my mouth. This stuff is ambrosial.

But it will be nice when we can go back the shops and restaurants, break bread with people. For the moment, meeting people in the park will have to do. I can see when we go back to normal we'll all be like 10,000 shrieking teenage girls at a 21 Pilots concert, such the excitement.

To be honest, I'd just like a hug that wasn't provided by a cat. The last hug I gave when to Blarney when Maow Maow died back in May. I had to break the social distancing ban for that. 

In the distant future, historians will agree that COVID-19 and the Federal response brought about Australia's decline. Personally, I think it was John Howard who started all this,but this COVID is really bringing out the worst in many people. In some, yes, we're seeing the good, but the whinging. When did we become such a nation of pampered princesses? A slowly encroaching circle of wolves would be greeted with complaints. Rather than looking at things rationally and finding better solutions, the media (and the Federal Government) are going on the attack. It reeks of hypocrisy and spinelessnesss. As far as I'm concerned, the lot of them are a mob of gormless, self-serving fucks.

Maybe I have the heart of a child. I'm an idealist. But if we're going to get out of this mess - and we are doing this so much better than many nations, we have to really pull together. There's no roadmap. We've been unlucky. Sure, it's not sunshine and rainbows, but it takes time and effort to turn the Titanic. We've done this. Now its a matter of not making the same mistakes again. We've ceased control of the means of production, cut this virus off at the knees. Hopefully we don't need to do this again. 

As for those who want Dan Andrews to resign? Have you seen the alternative - Michael O'Brian is some weird guy who says weird things and weirds me out. Matthew Guy was worse. I hate to think where we'd be if this was left to the Liberals to sort out on a state level. 

Oh, I've talked enough.

But I got Dev's prompts in here and I've written something, so I can get on with my night. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Happy Birthday, Mum

Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Four

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:  Middling - it's nearly the weekend.

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Five

My Mum turned 80 today. She's currently down the Coonawarra with friends, drinking wine and eating at fancy restaurants and enjoying herself to the hilt, which is a good thing. As I'm in lockdown in Melbourne, there is no chance of going over to see her. There were some plans of having a party earlier in the year, but that's been scuppered.

I don't talk about my family much on this blog - mainly because they all live in South Australia and I don't see much of them. It's not a bad thing. We're not one of those families who live out of each other's pockets. We're not overly demonstrative, but I blame the Cornish Methodist influence for this. We're not overly close, but we still talk once a week, even if it is only for ten minutes.

I haven't lived in the same city as my mother for over 30 years - this probably has something to do with it.

I talked to her this morning. She reckons she'll make 90. I warned her if she lost her marbles in the meantime we'd dong her on the head. Again - a family trait. 

Anyway, as Mum is turning 80 today, I'll tell you a few things about her. Nothing bad - Mum doesn't have bad things about her. 

So let me see. She was an unplanned child. My aunt and uncle are 12 and 14 years older than her. Born during the war, Grandpa was working for the Post Office up in Gawler. He and Grandma had a fight. He didn't come home for a few weeks. When he did return, well, you know, Mum was born 9 months later. At first, he didn't believe she was his, until she came out, the spitting image of him (and my aunt). Grandma was 40 when she gave birth to Mum.

She was a nurse for thirty years, specialising as a theatre sister. What this means is that as a kid, I got no sympathy at all. As any child with a nurse for a mother. The standard reply when you're ill is, 'take a panadol, have a glass of water and a lie down. You'll be fine.' It's a nurse thing. 

She's left handed. Like my grandfather, but he had it beaten out of him. She missed that. However, she uses scissors with her right hand. I can only use them with my left. Bloody kack-handed family traits. 

At 80 she can still rock a pair of fishnets. Thankfully, I got her legs. My sister didn't.

She looks a bit like Judi Dench.  

She loves fishing and loves going up the Murray to go fishing. 

She's a gun cake decorator. When she was young her cake decorating won prizes at the Royal Adelaide Show. She's decorated many a wedding cake over the years. 

Like me, she still uses her grandmother's recipes - especially for biscuits and sweets. 

She's good at rhyming and writing silly poems and songs, as a testament, the hymn sheet at the annual barbeque. I think I got my ability to rhyme from her. 

She has two titanium knees. Best thing she ever did was get her knees replaced. 

She's an avid reader and movie goer. We talk about movies and books a lot. 

She's cat mad, but she doesn't have a cat. We keep threatening to get her another one. 

She's allergic to horses - actually she's allergic to most animals, but not cats.

She worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia for a year when I was at uni. A big move. I won't go into the family history, but she got to see some of the world then. Did her good. 

She's a great cook. But she's not fond of vegetarians. 

She always listens to talkback radio, not so she can listen to the idiots who call in, but to give her some company in the house. There is a transistor radio on the kitchen bench. 

She drinks a lot of tea, with milk and a pill. They drink a lot of tea down there at Myponga.

At times she has very little patience with people, but then again, she'll give you the shirt off her back if she likes you. 

She always falls asleep in front of the telly of an evening - then again, she's up at six most mornings. She's been like this since I was a kid. Will sleep anywhere. (My family have this thing, you want to talk to mum or my sister, call at 7 am, odds on, they'll be up - much to their partner's chagrin).

I like that in her kitchen, the only thing she has on her kitchen bench, a small, ceramic box which I bought for her in Seville while on holiday. She likes little things. There is also a silly statue I made in woodwork when I was 12 that sits on top of the cupboard. Parents are strange.

Anyway, I'm sure she'll be having a most excellent birthday with her mates.

I'm just grateful she's happy and healthy and able to celebrate in style. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Petty Grievances

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Three

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:  Frustrated

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Four

I think I need a whinge. I haven't had one for a while and I've got nothing else to talk about today.

And I know that my petty grievances are a mix of  too long in lockdown and firts world problems, but I'll put them out there. 

I have ten minutes to write these down, to stop this list getting too big.

  1. It's going to be 12 tomorrow. Last weekend it was 25. I've had to get my ugg boots out again. 
  2. The cat scratched me today. I was stirring him up so I spose it serves me right. 
  3. The system I used most at work has been an utter bastard and I had to do everything I did today three times as it kept losing my changes.
  4. I need a few days off to do some writing. 
  5. I really want to go out with my friends for a fancy dinner. 
  6. I really wish I could get my legs waxed. I look like a tarantula - not that anybody is seeing them, it's for me.
  7. The internet has been really slow today - made doing pump this evening really hard. 
  8. Everything the Federal Government lays its hands on at the moment. 
  9. I need another two hours in the day so I can read and write for an hour more (and exercise, and clean)
  10. I still haven't done the mason's books - and I really don't want to.

I look at this list (ten minutes it took to write) and I can see how utterly blessed I am.

Still, you need to have a whine every now and then.

That feels better. Tomorrow morning I'll get up, go for a walk, get in a few groceries and a coffee on the way home and life will be back to normal. 

Today's Song:

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ten films that get me

Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-Two

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:  Nice and level - the walk helped

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Three

I was talking to a new friend the other night and we got onto many topics, one of them being film. 

I'm missing going to the cinema like I'd miss my right arm if it was gone. Those wonderful stories, the dialogue, the pretty places (and not so pretty places you get to go), the choc tops. Oh all of it. I just miss it all. 

But my friend and I then got onto our favourite films. Those films that just get you - or you get them. Unfortunately, my friend hadn't heard of some of these films. As we're in lockdown, I can't get many of them over to him from the DVD collection (though most can be found on streaming services). But I'm having him compile a list of films, that if I was to get to know him better, these films would represent me. I'm a bit screwed if he puts down films like The Godfather, Blade Runner or Braveheart - still haven't seen them. 

In return, here's a list of films which get me at a cellular level. Films which I love and cherish because I just get them. And they get me.

And hopefully I'll get my beloved cinema back soon - because, hell, I miss it. 

1. Garden State (2004)

Zach Braff's writing and directing about a man going back to New Jersey for his mother's funeral after many years away. Life isn't going that well for Andrew. Coming home, things start to look up. This is quirky, funny and bittersweet all at once. Natalie Portman is sensational. The scene with the wallpaper, memorable. It's a very human film showing people at their best and their worst. 

2. Bull Durham (1988)

Little known fact, but I'm a huge fan of Kevin Costner baseball films. But forget Field of Dreams - if you want the best of them, then I go for Bull Durham. Stellar cast - Costner as Crash Davis, a washed up catcher brought in to babysit Tim Robbins rather dim Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' Le Loosh. Susan Sarandon plays Annie Savoy, a baseball tragic, teacher and Nuke's bit on the side. It's fun, it's funny. It's very human and this is my go to movie when I need leveling out or cheering up. Just seeing Costner paint Sarandon's toenails is enough to make me melt.

3. Donnie Darko (2001)

This love song to the eighties is a complete headspin. The blurb on doesn't do it justice. 

'After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes."  

Warning, the crimes are really mild. But it is so much more than this. Jake Gyllenhaal in his first starring role is brilliant as Donnie. 

'The bunny still freaks me out. But it's one of those cult films that you either love or hate. I love it. It's brilliant. Patrick Swayze's cameo is part of the perfection. You'll be thinking about it for weeks after. 

4. Pride (2014)

An English film had to sneak its way into this list. There are plenty to choose from - Their Finest, Brassed Off, Kinky Boots, What We Did on Our Holiday, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Calvary, Truly. Madly, Deeply, The Life of Brian, Brazil, Brief Encounter, Trainspotting among many others. But I'm givng this to Pride - a film about a group of LGBTIQ folk who go all out to help the striking miners in Wales. Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Ben Schnetzer and George McKay are a part of this sleeper hit. It's got a killer soundtrack and a gorgeous heart. Like most British films. (and Today's seventies song shows it in the context of the movie)

5. Closer (2004)

A film of one of my favourite plays. It also has Clive Owen in it. Killer script. Set in London. What more do I need?

6. The Boys are Back (2009)

If you want to know where I come from, this is the film. Other than it has Clive Owen in it, it was filmed around Myponga, where I grew up and Sellicks Beach, my most favourite beach in the world. It just reminds me of home.

7. Henry V  (Branagh's Version) (1989)

A good Shakespeare had to find its way into this list. I saw this eight times in the cinema. It's fabulous - mind you, any of Branagh's Shakespeare films are wonderful, especially his four hour Hamlet. But tis one has a special place in my heart. I know it nearly by rote. 

8. Three Colours: Blue (1993)

Exquisite film. An allegory on grief. My favourite of the Three Colours Trilogy and probably one of my most cherished films ever. It's French. It makes you feel deeply. The music is sublime. It has Juliette Binoche. It is just wonderful.

9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It's a near perfect film. Sad, violent, surprising. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell deserved their Oscars for their work on this film. Sublime script. Pretty to look at. Dreadfully sad in many ways. If you haven't seen it, give it a go. it's incredible. My only criticism of the film comes with Abbie Cornish's accent, which is all over the place. And I will never look at ABBA in the same way again. 

10. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

I love anything Taika Waititi puts out - and this is glorious. And very, very funny. New Zealand produces some extraordinary cinema. This is one of those films. Because they couldn't get the rights to Happy Birthday, which wasn't public domain at the time, they do their own version. It's brilliant.

And some also rans:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • What we do in the Shadows
  • Calvary
  • The Secret in Their Eyes (The Argentinian original)
  • Monsters Inc
  • Drowning by Numbers
  • Searching for Sugarman
  • Superman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • After the Wedding (the Danish version)
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • The English Patient
  • Casablanca
  • The Lobster
And the list could go on...

Today's song:

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Random stuff I say at work

Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty-One

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:   Too busy to think about mood

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-Two

It's one of those days where I haven't left my desk and I've been plugging away all day doing updates to rather dull documents. 

I am in editor mode - something I have problems with as I'm not a natural editor. I can do it, but I have to be in the mood. And with editor mood comes editor sass. 

I'm not saying I turn into J. Jonah Jameson, but being an editor requires attitude.

Things I've caught myself saying include:

  • I have my editor pants on. Be scared. 
  • I don't want to sound like a bitch but... (then make some comment about grammar)
  • Do you know how to use a storyboard? (asked nicely)
  • This flows like the Darling in the middle of a drought. 
  • You have to remember who's using these docs (I say that every day).
  • Are you allergic to apostrophes?
  • Exclamation marks have no right to be found in business documentation. 
  • Do you know how to use an Oxford Comma. I do not think they do what you think they do. 
  • Get off the keyboard, Lucifer.
  • Lucifer, you get fed at 6 pm.
  • Lucifer, put your murder mittens away. 
  • If he's a vegan by choice, I'm the Dalai Lama
  • Quoted Hogan's Heroes. ('I know nussssink!')
  • Quotoed The Young Ones ('Have we got a video?')
  • Quoted Monty Python (Oh look, Howard's being eaten)
  • My bum hurts.(Been sitting all day)
And with that, I will leave it, as I now have to go to school. It's our penultimate class at Faber and I am very sad about this. It's been the best experience.

Just have to keep going. 

And finish my crits before 6.30.

Today's Song: 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Crossing the Westgate

Level Four Lockdown: Day Fifty

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:   Fair to Middling

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty-One

Last night, for the first time in fifty days, I crossed the Westgate Bridge. 

It was a strange feeling as it's been such a long time since I've been able to lawfully cross the Westgate Bridge to go see Blarney. It's a trip I make most weekends, normally on a Sunday afternoon, all for the sake of having a cup of tea or a bottle of beer, a chat and a cuddle of a couple of kittens.

The car knows the way there. Down Swan Street, over the Yarra, down City Road, stay in the left hand lane, onto the West, get into the third lane, then back into the first near the bridge so I can get off at Williamstown Road, then wind around the streets to Blarney's place. 

But it felt strange. There was next to no traffic on the roads. A few cars, but about a tenth of the traffic that there would normally be. There's no shuffling into the lanes, no waiting for red lights, not pedestrians playing chicken across City Road. 

But it did feel strange. Even though it was perfectly legal for me to go over to see my bubble mate, it was odd. 

Then again, you see people holding hands, not wearing masks, having their noses hanging out from over their masks, or just people sitting on public transport - and it all feels a bit weird.

But it was very, very nice to make a break for it last night and cut across the Westgate.

Something so small, so normal insignificant at the end of the day felt like such a freedom.

I wonder what it will feel like when we can go where we please. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, September 20, 2020


 Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Nine

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:   Good - I got to see some friends today, in the flesh. Yay. 

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Twenty

Seven weeks into this lockdown and things are looking up. 14 new cases today (and remember we have a population of about 6 million here in Victoria). They've also relaxed the restrictions, so I was able to meet my kid brother in the park and was able to go out to see Blarney, who is well out of my 5 km radius. There is still no traffic on the roads. It's very peaceful - may as well enjoy it while it lasts. 

Today was a good day.

Questions, as always, brought to you by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. A person I’m glad to have in my life.

Jonella and Blarney, for different reasons. Both are good friends, but they have very different functions in my life. Oh, and all of my writing group from the Faber course. they're all awesome. 

2. Something I find comfort in.

Ice cream. Always have done, always will do. And my cat. He's awesome too. 

3. My favorite part of the morning

When I go get my coffee. Preferably at a coffee shop. But my mornings start with a shower. That's when I really wake up.

4. My favorite memory

Stepping foot in England in 1991. I felt like I has arrived home. 

5. An accomplishment I’m proud of

Obtaining my Masters degree. That was a lot of work, but I did well in it. Never thought I was smart enough to get a Masters. 

6. An opportunity I’m grateful for

Taking up the spot at the Faber Academy. It has been a brilliant six months of writing. Now to keep it going.

7. My favorite song (and why)

Australian Crawl's Reckless. It reminds me of so many good times - and it is a great song. 

8. A future event I’m excited about.

Any time in the future when I get to hop on a plane and travel somewhere - anywhere! I miss travelling. I hope we will be able to do this soon. 

9. My favorite area in my home.

My bed, in my bedroom. I share the bed with the cat. It's comfortable and quiet in there. 

10. Something beautiful I saw today.

It was great just to be on the Tan Track today (the Tan Track is the running track around the Botanical Gardens). I haven't been there due to the lockdown restrictions for a few months. There were lots of very cute dogs there too. 

11. My guilty pleasure.

Binge watching any one of the following: Suits, Fleabag, Lucifer, The Good Wife, The West Wing. 

12. Something I love about a family member

My sister is incredibly strong. How anybody gets through losing a child, I have no idea. 

13. A compliment that made me feel good

Somebody once said I was like a steam train - no not full of hot air and rather awkward, but I was strong, a little old fashioned and strangely beautiful. 

14. The item I treasure the most.

Sounds strange, but I have some of my grandmother's pots and pans, her collander and egg beater. I love them all, and they get used regularly. 

15. My favorite part about nature

Just being outside - rare at the moment. I love being near water. 

16. A book I loved reading

I adored Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North so much that when I finished it, I went straight back to the first page. That never happens. 

17. A freedom I’m grateful for

This will sound strange, but I am so happy I'm Australian and we have compulsory voting (well it is compulsory to turn up) and it is done on paper and we don't have people trying to take away our vote or an electoral college which can overturn the popular thought. This may not be seen as a freedom, but I think it is. You are impelled to have your say. 

18. My favorite part of the evening.

I love watching sunsets. Love them. 

19. One good thing that happened today.

I got to leave my 5 km radius and go see Blarney. As we now have bubbles, and we can leave the 5 km radius to see your bubble buddy, this was brilliant. We had a beer on the front porch. It was wonderful. I also saw my Punjabi kid brother too. And we had an author talk this afternoon. It's been a really social day - first one in months. 

20. How I show gratitude for my friends.

I will always say thank you, but I will make yo-yo biscuits, my grandmother's recipe, when I want to go above and beyond. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Vale Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Eight

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:  A touch sad

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Nineteen

I'm not sure what saddens me more - that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is no longer with us, or the political sniping which has already started across the Pacific. 

That the woman has passed is immensely sad, but then again, she was 85, she was ill-pancreatic cancer and she'd been working non-stop for the last 70 odd years of her life. An intellectual giant, who allegedly needed little sleep, she was placed on the Supreme Court bench by Bill Clinton, where she stayed, a paragon of decency for the last 27 years. She was a patron of the arts, instrumental in advancing civil and women's rights, and generally, just a bloody good egg. A Jewish girl from South Brooklyn, she kicked down doors, kept her head high and never lost her dignity. 

That's she's gone is scary. Her dissenting votes and their corresponding papers are as legendary as her jabots. That she was a pocket rocket who in her eighties could plank like a soldier, even better.

But her death is starting to bring out all of the not jobs, wing nuts and conspiracy theorists. The knowledge that Trump may push through another Conservative judge on the bench is so frighting, knowing this will set back the American judicial system back decades. It could also see the overturning of many Civil and Women's rights precedencts - including the pivotal Roe vs Wade.

But why am I so upset about this, seeing this octogenarian was a Supreme Court judge in a county on the other side of the world? Well, other than she's been a personal hero to me for many years, I just feel for the women and minorities of the US who've lost an ally. And with all that is going on over there at the moment, they need every ally they can get. 

She's certainly made her mark on the world. We need more like her. 

Today's Song:

Friday, September 18, 2020

Absurdism vs Dystopia

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Seven

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood: Better for the realisation of what I'm writing

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Eighteen

The penny dropped this morning as Katie and I went for our Friday morning constitutional walk. We were near the river. I was explaining some point or other about my novel, I think I was whining about the re-writes I have to do. And then I say it.

'Oh, it's all absurd.'

And the penny made a big noise down Victoria Street, clamoring on the tram tracks, hitting me like a bolt from the blue.

I'm not writing a dystopian novel. I'm writing an absurdist one.


I've been trying to shoehorn my novel into the dystopian framework .

Hear me out. 

Here is a general description of Dystopian Literature. What Is Dystopian Fiction?

Dystopian literature is a form of speculative fiction that began as a response to utopian literature. A dystopia is an imagined community or society that is dehumanizing and frightening. A dystopia is an antonym of a utopia, which is a perfect society.

Whereas Absurdism is - to quote Wikipedia: 

"Absurdist fiction takes form most commonly in a novel, play, poem, or film, that focuses on the experiences of characters in situations where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life, most often represented by ultimately meaningless actions and events that call into question the certainty of existential concepts such as truth or value. Common elements in absurdist fiction include satire, dark humor, incongruity, the abasement of reason, and controversy regarding the philosophical condition of being "nothing.""

And though I have elements of dystopian literature, I'm writing something which is also pretty much absurdist.

And everything fell into place as I crossed the road to go down to the river at 7 am this morning.

And strangely it all feels quite comfortable. Okay, I'm not Vonnegut, Kafka, Murakami, Albee or Sartre - actually, it's strange how few absurdists are women. 

But think of it this way. The construct of the novel is if you hit 55 years of age and you can't support yourself, you die. They go easier on you if you arrange your own death. 

It's absurd (and yes, it's a bit dystopian)

It was put to me that what I was writing was a bit like The Lobster - which if you haven't seen it, I can't recommend it enough.

An absurdist film.

It's all fitting into place.

Not sure whether to be happy or scared.

Ah well. This is what happens when you go walking in the morning. 

Now to start the rewrites.

Today's song:

Thursday, September 17, 2020


Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Six

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood: Middling - better for a Baileys

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Seventeen

They opened the playgrounds on Monday and Melbourne breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

Going for a walk on Monday, it was a joy to hear the giggling and screams of kids as I passed the play equipment. The number of photos friends have posted photos of ecstatic children on swings and slippery dips is incredible. 

The looks of joy on the faces of the parents even more palpable. The family have somewhere to go. In Melbourne, we are given two hours a day to exercise, or meet one other in the park,or heaven forbid, take your kids to the playground where they can run around with other kids for a bit. 

Friends are bemoaning their children have suffered from lack of stimulation and socialisation over this period. The older the child, the better it seems to be for them - at least the older kids can use the internet. The little ones have a harder time of it. 

I wonder what it will be like when the adults' playgrounds start opening up again. The bars and the restaurants and the theatres and the cinemas.

From Monday week, Cleo, Jay and I should be able to exercise outside in the park once again, which means different equipment from the pump bar and the 30 kgs of weigh plates we've borrowed from the gym. I am looking forward to using kettle bells again. Never thought I would be saying that. 

There is a hope that one day, we will get back to 'normal'. The kids have bounced back on their play equipment. They're happy. Here's hoping when we are given back our freedoms, we can appreciate them in the same way. With a smile on our face, the wind in our hair and in no way taking any of this for granted. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Novel Issues

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Five

Curfew. 9 p.m 


Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Sixteen

Last night's school was bittersweet for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are only two more classes left - okay two and a half if you count the session we have on Sunday where we get to listen to Carrie talk to Lloyd Jones on Sunday as a special session (In Melbourne, we didn't get to talk to Mark Haddon of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night fame, like the Sydney mob)

We also got to pitch our novels to the chief publisher of Queensland University Press - which was incredibly daunting. But it was done. We're pitching to a literary agent next week, so we have to do it all again.  Well, we've done it once, the worst is over.  

But what was really good last night was the workshopping we did after the pitches. I'd handed over 2000 words to the class on Sunday, apologising for the first draft nature of the piece. It was a critical scene. The first time my protagonist has an appointment with her end of life provider. 

Remembering that I'm writing about Melbourne in 2025, where the government are authoritarian and things are a bit different, like they're converting the Scot's Church into appartments and the Regent Theatre into a casino, it's a real flight of fancy.

But my piece got my classmates questioning me about the world I was building - and it's stuff that I need to get out there, but how is it is done is the problem. 

So I walked away from class with the following dilemmas:

  1. My end of life facilitation company is possibly too low end. How do I show a mid-level company - or do I make them really low rent. 
  2. My end-of- life consultant is too young. Been told to stop youth bashing (I wasn't - honest). And okay, I was channelling Uriah Heep, but yeah, I get the point. 
  3. The office needs other posters. I have to temper the place. 
  4. I have to get rid of the tacky poster on the wall which reads, "Slavery: It gets shit done."
  5. I have to put in more about what is going on in the early days - my classmates can't fathom how we would let an authoritarian goverment take over like this . Mind you, we've let the government let refugees rot on Manus and Nauru for seven years - I say we do this already. 
  6. How do you get the fact that death is mandated if you don't have the money to keep yourself?
  7. And why is my protagonist being so compliant about this?
They're big questions which I have to answer. I'm not sure how this will be done. 

Things I do know:
  • I've got a heap of rewriting to do. 
  • I need a scene showing what happened - but it can't be too info-dumpy. 
  • I need to age up the Uriah Heep character - who's name is Zeke De Costa - maybe he should be a Trevor or a Russell.
  • I have to work on the end-of-life place, work out where it really is - and flesh out the whole scenario more.
  • And rewrite the first part of the novel to make all of this fit in.
Fun, she says. Fun. 

This novel writing lark is a marathon, I tell you. A marathon.

Right, back to it. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Twenty Years Ago

Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Four

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:  Fair - a bit headachy - nothing a couple of panadol won't sort out. 

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Fifteen

Twenty years ago I was in Greece. I was staying at the Hotel Vencia on Mykonos. I remember this because today, of all days, they were remembering the opening of the Sydney Olympics, and I had taken myself over to Greece and England for a few weeks to avoid the palaver. Mind you, this was all happening in Sydney, not Melbourne and I knew I wanted to get away from the palaver of the Olympic. So I missed Roy and HG, I missed the Awesome Foursome, Andrew Gaze and Cathy Freeman. 

I took myself to Greece after being back in Australia for a year because I was homesick. Homesick for England and I fell in love with Greece the year before. I missed the life, missed travelling, missed all sorts of things.

But that was twenty years ago, and I see the re-runs of the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony and I know I was on Mykonos, lapping up the sun, enjoying the infinity pool, meeting the other nice people at the hotel, traipsing down the hill to get dinner on the waterfront, ordering my yiros from the stall near the windmills, getting lost amongst the laneways.

Little did I know I'd return three years later to Mykonos, this time for a few months. I'd learn a lot more on that trip, things like how to be resourcful, how to get around in a strange land with a strange language, how to dance the night away and how to make first name friends, who you love for a season and never see again. I got to see the best of island life, which I will always cherish - for islands, off season, are strange and formidable places full of characters and compromises. They are wondrous strange. 

I was made for island life. Something I'd forgotten. 

Today's Song: 

Monday, September 14, 2020

I miss the gym

  Level Four Lockdown: Day Forty-Three

Curfew. 9 p.m 

Mood:  A touch grumpy

Black and White Photo Challenge: Day Fourteen

I miss the gym. I miss racing to class at various times. I miss having a chat with the guys on the desk. I miss using the cross trainers. I miss having a giggle with Jay and Cleo at the grunty boys. I miss using their facilities when my bathroom is on the blink (only happened once this lockdown). I miss having somewhere to go after work. I miss using different equipment. I miss doing cables. I miss the TRX bands. I miss the mats which are probably not that hygenic, but I miss miss them. I miss about whining about the slow running water fountains. I miss the spiky rollers. I miss chatting to various people. I miss having the choice to go, or not go. 

I just miss the gym. Hopefully we might get it back in November.  

I'm missing the gym so much I think I might go listen to some Blondie - my favourite work out music. 

It will come back one day. 

Today's Song: