Sunday, January 31, 2021


I have other writing to do today - I also have a recalcitrant cat wanting my attention, so no preamble, other than the heat has gone away and been replaced with humidity. Joy. 

Questions, as always, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

 1.   What is your favorite animal and why?

My favourite animal is my cat, Lucifer - because he is my cat, and despite all of his foibles, we love each other very much. He's a treasure.

2.   Are people animals? What separates humans from animals?

Yes, I believe humans are animals. Unfortunately, humans have the need to self-destruct - most animals don't have that. 

3.   Which animal is the most dangerous?

After the human being? Probably the average house cat. They would rule the world if we let them. 

4.   What should you do if a bear approaches you?

No idea. Probably stand completely still, close your eyes and pray. We don't have bears in Australia. 

5.   Do you like dogs? Why do people call the dog, man’s best friend?

I love dogs. You can't get a friend more loyal or loving than a dog. I'd have a dog if I had the room and the time. 

6.   Do you enjoy going to the zoo? Some people consider zoos to be cruel environments for animals. What do you think?

I like well designed, animal sensitive zoos, where the animals welfare is paramount. Thankfully the zoos in Australia are like this - lots of open range zoos, education and what appear to be well tended, happy animals. If the animals' welfare is not the first thought, the animal shouldn't be there. 

7.   Where is the best place to see animals in your country? In the world?

I hate to say this, but I love seeing the kangaroos from my mother's kitchen window. I never get tired of this. For a more commercial venture, if you want to see Australian animals, Healesville sanctuary on the outskirts of Melbourne is great. I could spend hours in the platypus house.  

8.   Are you a vegetarian? What makes some people give up eating meat?

Not a vegetarian, but I do like to ensure my meat is ethically sourced. The ethics around eating meat are fraught. I get why people go vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons. Doesn't mean I'm going to do it. 

9.   Which animal is most helpful to humans?

Dogs. So many tasks they take on. Companionship, service animals, friendship, burgular alarm, ball collector, drug sniffer, quarantine officer... the list is endless. And they like belly rubs which is good for humans as they take away stress. 

10  If you could be any animal (besides human), which animal would you like to be?

A well loved house cat. I think they have great lives. Get fed on demand and sleep all day. What more could you want?

11.  Who would win in a fight between a tiger and a lion?

I don't know and I don't want to think about it. 

12.  What do you think about hunting animals? Would you like to try it?

Hunting animals? This comes down to two camps. I think hunting big game animals should be completely outlawed and those who participate should be sent out into the veldt and hunted themselves.  (A la Trump's sons - like to see them last more than five minutes without their guns) When it comes to pest control, do it with a clean kill. If the beast can be used for meat, even better. 

13.   Books like “Watership Down” and “Animal Farm” give animals human characteristics like human thoughts or language. Is this how you think animals really are? Or are those really just stories about people?

You can do university courses on anthropomorphy and it's uses. These are really stories about people. 

14.  Some animals are endangered due to illegal poaching. How do you feel about this issue?

See question 12. It makes me very, very angry. Poach the poachers I say. 

15.  If we can bring an extinct animal from the past back with genetic engineering, should we do it? Which animals should we bring back?

I don't think we should bring back animals as what's done is done, and genetic engineering. If one animal could come back, I'd like to see the thylacine come back. Thylacine - the Tasmanian tiger. There is so much we don't now about them - they've always fascinated me. 

Unfortunately, I think we humans have wreaked more destruction on the world than any other creature. It's tragic. 

Today's Song: 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984

 Film: Wonder Woman 1984

Stars: 3.5

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

I was told this wasn't worth viewing. I was told it was a bit crap. I knew that this had been slammed by the critics. I know I could have paid Amazon $30 to view it on my television. 

In need of some light entertainment and being able to get cheap tickets to the local Hoyts, and not in the mood for a movie about a magpie, I took myself along to this last night.

And was pleasantly surprised. Okay, my expectations were low, but this was not as bad as people were saying. I mean it was definitely better than say Aquaman or the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Okay, it's not up there with the Marvel stalwarts, but I quite liked this. 

So there. 

Yes, there isn't much of a plot past an oily, corrupt snakeoil salesman gets possession of a powerful crystal which grants wishes and attempts to take over the world. It's up to Diana Prince (Wonder Woman / Gal Gadot) to help save the world. Thrown into this is a sulky Kristin Wiig, a reincarnated Chris Pine and a cameo by Linda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, at the very end of the movie. In the role of Maxwell Lord, Wonder Woman's nemesis, Pedro Pascal shines in his awful eighties suits and dreadful long flick haircut. Cinematic gold. Did we really dress that badly back then?

That's about as complicated as it gets - a good movie for a Friday night decompression session and easy to take in. For somebody who doesn't like too much bloody violence, this ticked my boxes. 

And what did I like? 

Well, the eighties fashions were superb. Brilliant even. Down to the exercise gear and the bad perms and the shoulder pads and everything the 80s had to offer. 

My other joy from this film - women were allowed to have lines on their face. There's not skinny minnies, women are strong, vital and athletic - and they are allowed to age with grace. This is a great thing. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are testement to this. 

And it's a clear cut good versus evil type story. It's not that hard to understand. The action builds to a nice crescendo. Everything you'd expect from a DC film.

Standouts for me were Kristin Wiig as Barbara, Diana's downtrodden colleague. Pedro Pascal as Max was over the top as a good baddie should be. Chris Pine and Gal Gadot were as expected in their roles as Diana Prince and Steve Trevor - good - fine - on form - but not outstanding. And that's okay too.

Maybe, after the spate of excellent Marvel films we've grown to expect too much of our action films. I went to this hoping to be entertained. I was. Job done.  As somebody who's not a real action aficionado, it provided enough of a story to keep me interested, even if it was a bit twee.

Also, I think seeing it on the very big screen was a good move. I think it may have lots a bit translating onto the telly. All the little things from the eighties that stood out here could be missed, and they were part of the film's charm. 

Today's Song:

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Quiet Weekend

The weekend looks wonderful.  

Things I am looking forward to:

  • Going to the library to write for a few hours tomorrow
  • Having my eyebrows sorted to I no longer look like John Howard
  • Seeing Blarney and Barney and the Units and the cattus-bagguses
  • Going for a walk tomorrow by the river, which should be flowing well after all this rain we had. 
  • Finishing Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe - which is currently blowing my mind
  • Having dinner with Ginny and her cattus-bagguses (Shadow and Chip)
  • Pump Class
  • Having some cuddles with Lucifer while reading a book
  • Maybe watching one of those films on my list of must watch films
  • Not having to drive to Adelaide
  • Not having to drive back from Adelaide
  • Maybe painting those doors and architraves and painting a few patches on the celiling that could use a going over. 
I've been wrecked this week. Thankfully I got a better sleep last night and felt good today, but yesterday was a bit tragic. 

Just glad that normality is returning. 

Heavens, we might even be in the office next week. 

Today's Song: 

Thursday, January 28, 2021


 The postie came later this afternooon with a box in which was two bottles of gin (Original Gin Company Blood Orange and Yuzu plus two special glasses). 

And then I look in the cupboard where I keep my gin and there is very little room. 

So, I've got a goal. I am not to buy any more gin for six months. I can buy more gin after June has passed and some of this has been drunk. As the person I used to drink gin with is no longer in my life, I think I also need to find somebody to help me. 

But it's time I took stock of what I have. 

So, here we go:

3 x 500 ml Original Gin Co Blood Orange and Yuzu gin. All full bottles. LOVE this stuff. My Friday drinks tipple neat over ice. 

1 x 500 ml Original Gin Co Summer Peach and Passionfruit (2/3 full) Not as god as the blood orange one, but still good for summer. 

1 x Squealing Pig Rose Gin 500 ml -(2/3 full) An interesting one, again best drunk with ice and a splash of soda. Very dry. 

1 x 1 litre bottle of Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (Two fingers left in the bottle) This has been what I've been using to make negronis over the last year. It's good for negronis. Next to the bottle is the Campari and Vermouth. They don't count here. 

1 x 250 ml Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin (Full) Bought as part of a three pack. 

1 x 250 ml Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin (Full) Also part of the three pack. 

1 x 250 ml Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin (Full) Also part of the three pack, and why this pack was bought. Have heard too many good things about it. 

1 x 700 ml Beefeater Pink Strawberry gin (3/4 full) Given to me as a gift. Good for hot days. Good for peope who don't like gin. Fruity. 

1 x 500 ml Never Never Triple Juniper Gin (Full) Given as a gift to me this Christmas - a favourite of my friend  Sarey. (She received a bottle of Mr Black Coffee Liqueur from me in return)

1 x 700 ml McHenry's Sloe Gin - (1/3 full)  - found two years ago at a market - ambrosial stuff. Leaked all over my car on the way back from Apollo Bay. Good memories attached here. 

1 x 700 ml Four Pillars Christmas Gin (2017 batch) (1/3 full) Good memories with this too from my graduation party. Nice and spicy. 

1 x 700 mls 78 Degrees Small Batch Gin (1/2 Full) A favourite out of Adelaide. Smooth as silk. Once finished it will be replaced. Lovely stuff. 

1 x 500 mls Mountain Gin (Full)  - another favourite from Mount Macedon. Great pub gin if you can get it. 

1 x 700 mls Jinzu Gin (Full) Leaving gift from my second to last job. Heard good things about it. 

3 x 700 mls Bombay Sapphire (2 x Full, 1 x half full) Gifts from friends for my 50th. Good standard staple gin. The decent gin you give friends who don't really drink gin, but are willing to give it a try. It's inoffensive. 

1 x 1 litre botte of Bombay Sapphire (Full) See about. Bought duty free, back when you could get duty free. 

1 x 1 litre Hendricks (Almost full) - This is my tippler. Love this stuff. Soft as a baby's arse. Drunk with cucumber. If you haven't tried it, do. 

1 x 1 litre Aviation Gin (2/3 full)  - The pride of Ryan Reynolds. For American gin it is awesome. Bought partly for the ad, partly because my brother in law recommended it. 

1 x 700 ml Santamania Premium Madrid Dry Gin (Full)  - Special, special, special stuff sourced at a bespoke bottle shop down Bridge Road. The woman in the shop got me on to Poor Toms Gin that trip. This is also excellent. Different palate to the more traditional gins I drink. 

1 x 700 ml Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin (1/3 full) Have been drinking this over summer. Awesome with Fevertree Elderflower Tonic. Nice and soft. Just like Poor Toms. 

1 x 700 ml Ink Dry Gin. (Full) It's purple. What can I say? 

1 x 500 ml Pot & Still Fig Gin (Full) Got this for Christmas this year off my stepsisters. Can't wait to try it. 

1 x 500 ml Applewood Gin (Full) Keeping the SA theme going. Bought duty free. Allegedly lovely stuff out of Adelaide. 

1 x 250 mls Manly Gin Barrel Aged Gin (Full) - Came out of a taster box. Yet to taste it. 

1 x 250 mls Manly Gin Australian Dry Gin (Full) - see above. 

1 x 1 litre Plymouth Gin (Full) I adore this stuff. It's as smooth as silk. One friend keeps this especially for martinis. I have an empty bottle filled with fairy lights which I use as my Christmas tree. It's special.

1 x 700 ml Melbourne Gin (Full) In a nice box. Not Melbourne Gin Company (MGC) Gin, something else. Intrigued, I bought it. 

And no Gordons - because as I keep saying - life is too short to drink Gordon's Gin. 

And this is why I won't be buying any more gin for a while. 

And if anybody wants to come help me drink this, please shout. 

Today's Song:

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Writing with Dev - Part Nineteen

Five Minutes - Write about "People don't remember what you do or what you said, but they remember how you made them feel."

I was talking to my friend in Adelaide at lunch the other day. We've known each other for over ten years - we contracted at Tin Can, String and Whistle together on the same project. We used to be smoking buddies, this is back when I was a social smoker, back when he was coming out of his first real relationship with a man. 

Ten years on, I love catching up with hime. Lots has happened for both of us. There have been psycho exes, university courses, many, many contracts, travels, friends, re-locations - he moved to Adelaide for love, lots of stuff.

He's a glorious beast. And I think we've always meant to be friends. But the thing which always gets me about him, despite our very different backgrounds and minimal shared history, is that he makes me laugh - and for this I appreciate him all the more. '

He also said something lovely to me as we were parting - "You remind me of Bill (his current partner) You're nutty and weird but very loveable." Can you see why I have him in my life?

A Sentence a Day:

What was the last adventure you went on?

That would be Monday and that would be driving back to Melbourne with the cat in the back of the car. I think that is an adventure. Some would call it folly. It was okay. My cat is a trooper. 

Before that, the trip to India in November 2019 was an absolute mindfuck. God, I miss travel. 

Prompts: Rubik's Cube

We tried to do the Rubik's cube. 

He never had the patience. 

I did. 

He never saw the point. 

I did.

He couldn't see the point. 

I did. 

He never was tactile. 

I was. 

He wanted to strip off the stickers and start afresh. 

I wanted to take the time to sort things out. 

He could never see the point of the puzzle.

His loss.

Prompt Two: Toothbrush

He had to hang his toothbrush on the holder. 

It was his law. The day would not start until he cleaned his teeth,

Shaved, (leaving stubble in the basin of course)

Did his hair (Which took him 20 minutes)

Had a LOOOOOOOONG shower.

I never knew what he did in there. 

Prompt Three: Fan

They could see that things were going nowhere, 

But they chose to hind behind their fans, 

Flipping away the situation

As if a swarm of flies were invading their space.

Gave them something to look at, something to do,

Something, anything other than taking me in hand

And telling the tiuth.

But that is what these friends did. Not their problem.

Prompt Four: Scissors

She, being brand new and consequently...

If e e cummings were alive today, 

Would he take a pair of scissors to his work?

For who knew what this very stable genius would do

With the internet and such - for brevity being the soul of wit, 

How would he see the world. What would be his allegory. 

Prompt Five: Dice

You never know when the dice is going to roll

And they fall, but not in your favour, 

And you must take the consequences,

And move forward, with a grimace,

And a shrug,

All in the knowing,

That if you never threw those dice, never played,

Life would be just the same. 

And then you know that this was maybe not a bad thing at all

Prompt Six: Tinsel (but don't say Christmas)

I saw her, from across the room. Tinsel Tits was my name for her. 

Preened and primped for the world to see.

Her top so low cut, the areolae were nearly visible,

Begging to be rouged, sucked and tormented, 

According to her put and leer.

The beer in her hand screamed cheap, whether she was or not. 

She stayed silent, waiting in the corner,

For the man in the flannel shirt who paid her no heed.

My biggest acheivement?

Oh hell - I keep thinking that I have done nothing in my life, I look at what I have done - two degrees, managed to stay solvent, got on with things, survived on my own two feet.

But my biggest acheivement was living illegally in London for six of the eight years I was there. OKay, yes, it was wrong and not great and bad, and there were a lot of psychological elements which needed sorting when I got back, but this took some chutzpah (I love that word) It took a lot of guts and a lot of stupidity and a lot of wanting more than I thought I needed or deserved. But I took the chance and I made the arrangements and yeah, I did all of this off my own back. 

And I give myself a lot of credit for taking those risks, as they helped shape me more than anything else I've ever done. 

 Today's Song:

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Where there is smoke

The differences in the days couldn't be more pointed. Sunday started off overcast. By the time I reached the beach it was over 30 degrees. The sea was dead flat. Horses roamed the beach, reined in by their handlers after a quick swim. There was a magic in going into the water which was cooler than air. It took a few minutes to submerge, but once we were in, the calm came. 

By lunchtime, people were hiding from the heat. The roads were deserted. When it gets to that sort of heat, all you can do is hide. Shopping centres, swimming pools, the beach, the movies. Thankfully the high temperatures were only going to stay for a day or so. Adelaide is known for it's hot stretches that last for weeks. 

That night, after a run in with some roast duck, and having trouble sleeping, the first whiffs of smoke came. The fires were not close enough put us in danger, but there presence was unnerving. Making it a little more urgent, family friends staying in a caravan on the front lawn had their son living near the fire front. Thankfully all are fine now, but it was somewhat scary last night. 

So I tossed and turned and waited for sleep to come. 

Yesterday, I drove down to Adelaide, grateful for the change which took the temperature from early forties to the mid-twenties. As I made my way over Sellicks Hill, things changed. The thermometer on the car dashboard rose, setting around 35 degrees. I thanked the god of car manufacturers for standard air condidtioning. 

But what became apparent was the smoke. It wasn't the smoke of last year when half the country was on fire, but it was smoke. My eyes began to itch, my chest began to tighten, and the memories of last year and the horrors of the big fires came back. These fires are now part of the zeitgeist - a whiff of smoke and we're set on edge, hoping whatever is happening will pass quickly. 

By the time I'd met my friend and had lunch, the change had come, rain was gently cooling the streets. The ambient heat stored in the wet asphalt was releasing, making the atmosphere steamy. By the time I reached my sister's place in the hills, it was pelting down. Adelaide receive over an inch of rain in the hour, drowning the fires and getting them contained. 

And life felt a little better again. 

The fires altered my route home, no longer taking the hills route through picturesque towns like Meadows, Echunga and Kuitpo. Instead I travelled through Strathalbyn and joined the freeway at Callington. Easy driving, but not as pretty. At least there were no road closures that way. It's a flat and boring drive. The cat was in his travel cage. I think he preferred straighter route.

I'm back home now. No smoke, thank goodness, but I'm trying to get the heat out of the flat. The cat is back on the windowsill. He seems to have forgiven me for the 10 hours in the car. 

Today's song:

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Lunch

 I got to mark something off the bucket list yesterday. It wasn't a big bucket list item, like walk the Camino in Spain or get married, but it was something lovely and as good as I thought it would be.

It was lunch at The Salopian Inn, a McLaren Vale stalwart, it's been there since I was a teenager and it's always had a hankering to go there. The reputation is great, with a penchant for using local, seasonal ingredients, a lot of them grown in their garden.

Over Christmas, I was talking to my mate Sarey who is more of a foodie than I am. Knowing I had to come back this weekend, she instantly booked a table and the reservation was made. As with many things, I often find I don't have somebody to do things with. Having a multi-course meal at a restaurant is something you really don't want to do alone. Also, with COVID restrictions, bookings were limited, so we were lucky to get the table for the three of us - as Sarey's husband joined us. 

What can I say about this lunch? The reputation  It was magnificent - and worth every penny ($324 for the three of us, which included a round of gin and tonics.) We went for the option called Feed Me. They bring the food You eat the food. And at $85 without wine, how can you say no?

And what did we have?


Course One: 

Well not really a course, but the bread and butter.

The bread was fresh baked, the butter hand churned and sprinkled with Himalayan salt. Good butter is everything.

Then came course two:

Hiramasa Kingfish Sashimi with Salsa Verde, Lime Yoghurt, Spring Onion Oil and Tortilla Crisps. This was a favourite of mine. Small, yet flavourful, it just popped. Kingfish sashimi has always been a favourite.

The next course - oh my. A high end version of an old favourite of mine. 

Wild Caught Prawn Dumplings, with Roasted Chilli oil, coriander  and pickled ginger. As a prawn dumpling lover, these were amazing. 

This is also not a place to come if you don't like coriander (weirdos that you are :) )

The fourth course came out soon after. 

Steamed Buns with garlic and chilli sauce, red braised Free Range Pork, ginger and Hoisin.

This was Sarey's favourite - the sambal gave it all an interesting twist.

Next up, an Australian twist on an Asian staple. 

Red Braised Paroo Kangaroo tail, chilli caramel jam and pickled daikon.

In Melbourne, Red Spice Road does a pork belly version of this dish - I loved the kangaroo done this way. Genius.

And that was the end of the small plates. The palate cleanser came next:

A perfectly formed quennelle of fenugreek, curry leaf and ginger sorbet. On the hot day, it was perfect. Balanced, yet spicy, the curryleaf ofsetting the fenugreek. I could have had more of this for dessert. 

Then came the big dishes - and by this time we were half stuffed:

Spencer Gulf Sand Whiting, buckwheat, zucchini, truss tomatoes with almond cream. This was bliss. Thte almond cream amazing. Food of joy, served with a big green salad.

The came the duck.

Adelaide Hills Pasture raised duck, eggplant & pomegranate salad and a pistachio & saffron pilaf rice.

This appears to have been our undoing as half the duck and most of the pilaf came home with me in a doggie bag. Duck and I have an interesting relationship. I think confit of duck even more so. But we don't need to talk about that now. Let's say I should have brought the gall bladder meds and some Imodium with me.

And of course, the was dessert. 

Salopian Icecream Sandwich , nectarine & vanilla parfait with coconut & almond meringue and  nectarine caramel - like what can I say? Thankfully the dessert stomach is still there. 

This was all washed down with a gin and tonic. There's about 70 gins on the wine list. I settled for an Ableside Kifaru gin, wiht dried orange and cranberries for the botanicals, and watered down with Strangelove Dirty Tonic. I could sit there and sample a lot more of these treats, but driving made me settle for just the one. 

The staff at the Salopian Inn are fantastic, attentive without being in your face, the ambience subtle, glorious, with local artists.

This was a fantastic afternoon. It's just a pity that my gall bladder has had a major hissy fit this evening - I blame the duck. I always blame the duck. It's the same as what happened in Bali with duck. Maybe I should just stay away from the buggers. 

Today's Song: 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Misc Questions

What a day. It's about 41 degrees Celcius outside (106 in the old money for the Americans), but I am in my airconditioned shed, I've been down the beach for a swim, got there before the worst of the heat came in, which was utterly glorious - the skies overcast, the water refreshing - and life feels utterly awesome. Thankfully the cool change is coming through tomorrow.

I'm about to go out to lunch at a restaurant I've wanted to go to for years with some friends. 

It's a good day.

Questions, as always, supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing. 

1. Which is more romantic: an expensive, glittering bouquet OR flowers that were hand picked as they grew beside the parkway?

I'm not sure what a parkway is, but I like the idea of hand-picked flowers. Who am I kidding? I just like receiving flowers however they come (just not lilies and they stain and they make cats sick when they eat them.)

2. Do you know yourself well enough to understand why you feel the way you do?

Yes. It has taken many years, but yes. 

3.Which do you do more often: let movies, songs and books put your feelings into words for you or put your feelings into words by yourself?

I'm a writer. I write my own words, but songs, movies and books are a good place to unpack your feelings. 

4. Do you believe celebrities when they are endorsing a product?

No. Next. 

5. What kind of movies do you wish were made more often?

I wish they would make more independent films with fantastic stories. I love interesting films that are character driven.  

6. Does fashion matter to you?

Not really. I have my own style. Too old to worry about fashion - just what suits me. 

7. Should politicians be held to the same legal standards as everyone else?

Abso-bloody-lutely - if not a greater standard. If you can't do right, why are you leading people to do what you're doing?

8. If you became president, whom would you invite to sing at your inauguration?

Probably Rage Against the Machine... Never going to happen, but Killing in the Name has some merit as an inauguration song.

9. Do you try to write/say what you are feeling in a true and simple way?

 Yes. I'm good at plain English.

10. What is your worst daily habit?

Procrastinating. Saying I'm going for a walk in the morning, then staying in bed playing Words with Friends. 

11. If you had your choice which one TV show would you have canceled?

Anything on Channel Nine which claims to be a documentary, but is really right-wing propaganda. 

12. Do you like the taste of sweet or salt?

I like both. I have a really dreadful sweet tooth, but I like savoury stuff too - my problem is that I have to keep my salt intake to a minimum due to health issues. Ah well. I like my popcorn with a mix of sweet and salty. 

13. Are you very precise about what words you use to describe your feelings and thoughts?

Yes. Well I can be precise when I need to be, often to my detriment. 

14. What do you feel the most guilty about?

Leaving my cat with my mother for a month. I've had very bad Mummy Guilt for the last month. Thing is, he's fine - happy to see me, but fine. 

15. Do you meditate?

Yes, regularly. And I see my walks outside as a form of meditation too - just as when I used to run, I found that to be a form of meditation. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, January 23, 2021

I made it

 I made it to Myponga in about 9.5 hours. I left Melbourne at 9.30 am after a rotten night's sleep.

An audio book kept me company - listened to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall - it's 24 hours long and I've been consuming it over the last few weeks. There's now about 45 minute to go of the book. I have Tim Robbins reading Farenheit 451 for the way back. Looking for respectable podcasts for when I drive around Adelaide. 

I made five stops on the way. 

Ararat for a pee break at the service. 

Kaniva for five minutes to take a photo of the silos.

Bordertown for petrol and lunch - a decent longer break. 

Coonalpyn to take a photo of the silos. 

Tailem Bend for a pee, a drink and a donut (because they do the BEST donuts at the servos there).

Then rolled into my mother's place at 6.30, to find that my cat hadn't forgotten me, though he gave me a bite to tell me that he was a bit miffed. He also hung around a lot, coming out, coming up for pats and generally being a sook. So it seems he still loves me - sort of. 

Mum also had a house full of people, so after a 9.5 hour drive I had to sit down and talk for a few hours.

Needless to say, I'm knackered. 

And I'll do all this in reverse on Tuesday. 


Today's song:

Friday, January 22, 2021

Movie Review: Music

Film: Music

Stars: 3.5

Cinema: Village Rivoli

I've not been so conflicted about a film for a while, hence giving this a 3.5 stars. There were parts I loved about this film, parts I really didn't gel with. And that's okay, I was half expecting to come out of this in a few minds, and that is okay too. 

The film follows the story of Music (Maddie Ziegler), a girl deep on the spectrum who lives with her grandmother and is supported by the community at large. Music is pretty much non-verbal, a pair of headphones on her head to minimise the noise around her and with a very set schedule. When her grandmother dies, her troubled sister, Zu (Kate Hudson),  comes to look after her, trying all the while to straighten herself out, get on with the neighbours Ebu (Leslie Odom Jr,) and George (Hector Elizondo) and stay on the right side of her drug dealer (Ben Schwartz aka John-Ralphio Sapperstein from Parks and Recreation).

Simple story? Yes. Problematic? Absolutely. Good film? Not bad - though I wasn't completely comfortable with some of it. 

So let's unpack this. 

Sia, global pop start and Adelaide girl wrote the script and music for this. As a first movie this is great. She also has a cameo as herself as one of Zu's clients. The musical numbers and the dancing are fabulous, of which there are many numbers, most from Music's perspective. Stylistically, the film is flawless, from the ratty tenement building in which they live to the uptown scenes to the musical numbers - it's great. 

Kate Hudson iswonderful as Zu, a conflicted woman forever on the wrong side of the law who has to come and look after her autistic sister. She puts a lot of gravitas and grit to the role. With her number 2 haircut and grungy clothes, she spends the movie conflicted and then happily reconciled to caring for Music. 

Leslie Odom Jr is also great as Ebu, the next door neighbour who comes to Zu and Music's assistance, becoming close to the former over the movie. A somewhat contrived relationship, Ebu has his own crosses to bear.

Maddie Ziegler, best known as a dancer in most of Sia's videos, is very, very good as Music. Her dancing, for which this movie is a platform, is extraordinary. And her performance as a barely verbal austistic teenager is good, strong even. 

So what's wrong with the film?

Is the film a far representation of people on the autism spectrum? Probably not. Is this autism porn? Some might think so. Is it realistic? No. That Music is supported by the community at large as she goes about the neighbourhood is a wonderful ideal, and it may happen in places, but in a dodgy suburb in L.A? Probably not.

There are some cliche bits to the film. The budding love story between Zu and Ebu grates a bit. I spent a lot of time wanting to throttle Zu as she tries, mostly unsuccessfully, to sort herself out. This annoyed me to the point where I was considering walking out - but I'm glad I didn't.

This isn't a perfect film, but I'm glad I saw it. It provides an interesting perspective on autism, even if it isn't realistic, the ticket price is more than earned by the musical and dancing numbers. 

The film also has a great heart to it - and for this I give it a lot of kudos too. 

Today's Song:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Finished (Nearly)

Today at lunchtime I was up a ladder again. It was time to crack open the ceiling white and finish off the job - which was a meter of cornicing and a few bits which needed another coat. 

It was all over in an hour. 

And it feels wonderful. 

Yes, there are some doors to paint, but the back of this bugger is broken.

And in celebration, I'm going to give myself a night off (and do my ironing and start packing for Adelaide and put the curtains back up in the lounge room)

Today's song:

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Celebration

 Norty turned 50 today. 

50 is a big deal. It should be a big deal. It's a huge milestone. It's a big thing to get your head around the fact you've been on the planet for half a century, and Norty has not been having a good time of this. She's not been having a good time of it at all - I think she's been in a bit of denial about the whole thing. I used the other approach when I turned 50 - faced it head on, took some friends to Bali and had a ball. 

Waking this morning, I posted on her Facebook page the following:

It needed the Sandra Boynton comic because she is god and the 'Hippo Birdie Two Ewe' version of Happy Birthday is gold. 

This evening I drove down to the beachside suburb where she lives for her birthday dinner with her brother, his kids and some friends. It was lovely. 

Walking in a bit late (no surprises) I handed over a bottle of French champagne, as now, being a bit older, it is always good to have a bottle of decent French champagne in the fridge. It was given to help her get over the shock of this large occassion.

For me, fifty has been great. I tried to remember I was 50 this morning when Cleo put me through my paces. We did something different today - hip thrusters with a 40 kilo bar across my hips (I've been doing them unweighted for years). I managed 12 of the sods, before admitting that 30 kilos would probably be better for me (it was) Mind you, Cleo was doing these with 80 kilos on the bar - but she's been doing these forever. 

The thing that gets me is that I don't feel like I've done anything with my life.

I know I have.

But sometimes I don't think I've done enough.

There are things I want to do, but have no idea how to do them.

Maybe it's about time I worked on some of these things.

Just as funerals tend to make you ponder your own mortality, more and more, I'm feeling that birthdays are making me see the holes in my life, think about what's yet to be done.

I didn't tell Norty this. 

But she will be fine. She had a good day. She's got a big weekend planned. And all is well with the world. 

French champagne always helps too.

Today's song:

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Dead Pool

It's Dead Pool time. 

Dead Pool? 

No, not the cartoon character.

The Dead Pool, the rather wrong game which I've played for many years, which is yes, somewhat grim, but also gives you something to ponder. Serves me right for hanging out with recalcitrant journalists. 

The rules are simple. Each player provides a list of ten people they think will not be here at midnight on 31 December 2021. These people need to be celebrities and public figures. Ther passings need to be of public record. If you're playing game I've been playing you need to provide two nationally sourced references of the persons death. 

The people on the list have to be well know. This is not about knocking off  your nanna.

It's also to be done with a pure heart. I wish none of these people dead, but I'm not sure they will make it out of 2021 alive. COVID has upped the anti too.

If I was playing for real, $10 would be going into the pot and those I was playing would do the same. on 1 January would see who had predicted the most celebrity passings - and they get the pot. 

In our game we received two points for anybody selected who was under 40. 

Anyway, I've been thinking about my list. 

Be advised, that with all but one of this list, I wish none of them dead - I just don't know what their time lines are like. With any luck they will all be here at the end ofthe year - but you never know.

Anyway, here is my Dead Pool list for 2021 (with rationales)

1. Prince Phillip

The old bugger is 99 and looks like he has formalahyde in his veins already. (Passed 9/4/2021)

2. Betty White

She turned 99 on Sunday and and she's still sprightly, but the age is a factor. 

3. Olivia Newton-John

I hope not for this one, but she's not had a good run with cancer over the last ten years. I hope she keeps going, but you never know.

4. Neale Daniher

He's an absolute legend and has done more for Motor Neurone Disease than anybody else - unfortunately it also cuts your timeline short. 

5.  Donald Trump

Okay, this is a bit of wishful thinking, but have you seen him? He doesn't look healthy at all. If he does go, I hope he's not made into some Q-Anon martyr. 

6.   Rupert Murdoch

Also wishful thinking - but he's nearly 90 - also looks like he's running on embalming fluid and a car battery. 

7.  Shane McGowan (lead singer of The Pogues)

Very unsure how he is still alive now, he drunk his liver (and teeth) away years ago. 

8. Patrick Dempsey

He does a lot of motor racing - not the safest sport. 

9. Pop Benedict XVI

He's 93. He's pottering round a  monastery. Not the 'new' Pope. Pope Benedict (the last one) is on here because of his advanced years. 

10. Shannen Doherty

One of the younger ones (49), but has a well documented struggle with cancer. 

As I said straight up, I wish none of these people gone from the planet - just not sure how much time they have left. 

Today's song:

Monday, January 18, 2021

When the cat gets mail

Too tired from all the painting to write so I will write about my cat. 

 I came home to find this in the letterbox.

The cat got a letter. Okay, I got a letter reminding me that the cat needed his annual checkup and shots - thing is, the cat got a letter addressed to him, and he's in South Australia until the weekend when I go over and pick him up. Suppose I should make an appointment for him to see the vet.I don't think he'd like this letter. 

Speaking of vets, my mother called on the weekend. Said his lordship was out of sorts. He'd snarled at her and bit her (not hard, just a warning nip) the day before, and he was still not being himself - they were planning on taking him to the vet the day after if he was still not quite right. She said he was walking a bit funny.

I held down every urge to jump in the car and drive to South Australia there and then, and said of course I'd pay the vet bills, but give him a day - it might just be the ham fat my stepdad fed him the day before. The walking thing was a bit bad, but he's a cat. They're hard to kill - and I know Mum's been looking after him very well. He's been giving her cuddles and everything. 

15 minutes later, I get another call. It's Mum. They found the problem. He's managed to get tangled up in his collar, the bloody thing was under his arm.(Black cat, black collar - it happens) They'd managed to get the collar off him (after he jumped up on their bed and went under the covers) and he was fine. I called again today and was told he was back to normal. Much more comfortable. 

Part of me is miffed they didn't take him to the vet, as I asked, if they did, could they get his shots done while they were there. But I'm glad all is well and not tangled up.

I miss the critter. 

We'll be reunited on Saturday. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, January 17, 2021

A-Z Meme

 I'm over painting - but it's nearly over. One big room and a ceiling, and a few doors, and we're done. It's been a huge job - bigger with the sorting, moving and throwing out of stuff. But this too is nearly there - and the book shelve have been moved into the kitchen, and there they will stay until the floorboards go down, whenever that may be. Jonella and Stav helped me do the move - I am truly grateful for their help.

Anyway, on with this week's questions, supplied, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing.

A - Annoyance:

People who can't learn their words properly. One of my colleagues keeps going on about having prostrate cancer. I'm not sure how you give cancer to the action of lying on the floor...

B - Bestest Friend[s]:

I have a few. Blarney, Jonella, Jay, Geetangeli and Mariah spring to mind - all have different functions, but all are wonderful and have been round for years. 

C - Car:

Currently driving a 2016 Mazda CX-3 in Soul Red. Love my car.


D - Day or night:

As much as I like nights, I get more done during the day. 

E- Easiest person to talk to?:

I get on very well with my colleague, who's also my one up. We can talk for hours. It's cool, though I will say that he can out talk me. 

F - Favorite Month:

I quite like April - not too hot, not too cold, lots of public holidays. 

G - Gummy Bears or Worms:

I'll take sour worms if I can (or jelly snakes, or even better, jelly snakes covered in chocolate). Gummy bears aren't as big over here. 

H - Hair Color:

Currently a mid-brown with a bit of grey around the temples. 

I - Ice Cream:

Yes, please. Absolute favourite flavours are rum and raisin, white chocolate, hokey pokey (New Zealand flavour, vanilla with pieces of honeycomb) and Maggie Beer's burnt fig jam and caramel ice cream - it is astounding. 

J - Jewelry

I don't wear much of it, but I normally have studs in my ears and I love my Pandora bracelets. 

K - Kindergarten:

I went to kindergarden way back when God was a boy. I don't remember much about it other than I used to like it. 

L - Longest Car Ride:

I remember as a kid driving from Adelaide to Brisbane and back. It took a few days to get there. I'm driving to Adelaide next weekend  - that's a nine hour drive. Won't that be fun. Need to go collect the cat from my mother. 

M - Most missed person:

I miss a few people, but I really miss my cat. Lucifer is with my Mum while I paint out the flat. I miss him terribly. 

N - Number of Siblings:

One and a half - one sister, one step-sister. 

O - One regret:

Not travelling more when I lived in Europe. There are others, but this is the one I will share.

P- Part of your appearance you like least?:

My stomach. I can put up with the rest of me, but I would love to know what it feels like to have a flat stomach. 

Q- Quote:

‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind." Shakespeare.

R - Reality TV Show:

Not that I watch reality telly very often, but I do have a guilty pleasure in Married at First Sight. It's so bad, its good. Mind you, it's going over and above now so I'm not sure if I'll watch this next series. 

S - Shoe:

I love my Birkenstocks. Wear them eight months of the year. The rest of the time I'm normally in my runners. I also have a great pair of black leather brogues which I love.

T - Time you woke up:

This morning - about 7.30 am. Weekdays I wake up around 6.30 or whenever the cat demands breakfast.

U - Unpredictable?:

Me? Never... okay, sometimes I'm unpredictable - and that's okay. 

V - Vegetable you hate:

I'm not a fan of green beans - be it string beans, runner beans or broad beans. Other beans are fine, but not green ones. Think it comes from having them over-cooked as a kid. 

W- Worst Habits:

Scroling through my phone when bored. I have lots of bad habits, but that one irritates friends. 

X - X-Rays:

Haven't had one in a while. Reminds me, I need to book myself for a mammogram and an ovary scan. Fun. Thankful I'm in Australia where screening is available. 

Y - Year you were born:

I was born the year Martin Luther King was assassinated, Czechoslovakia went through upheaval and the Beatles White Album came out. 

Z - Zoom:

I'm a bit over it - but I have a big zoom week this week - because of a few uncertainties, book group is on Zoom this week as it a Faber workshopping group. It's been great during this pandemic for keeping in touch with people. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Why do I still have this?

 Some found things - which are now either in the bin or on their way to the charity shop.

  • A Lonely Planet for Greece dated 1999 - prices all in drachma. (Bin)
  • A couple of other Lonely Plantet guides for European countries - at least they are in priced in Euros (Recycle)
  • A Lonely Planet guide of Hong Kong - alas, probably won't be going back there again, unfortunately.
  • Reflexology and aromatherapy course notes - dated 1997. They were in a storage crate in the wardrobe. (Bin)
  • A copy of A Guide to Old English - saved from uni 1987 - I withdrew from the course. (Recycle)
  • A solar powered calculator - used at work in London 1995-1999 (Market)
  • A laptop which was retired in 2015 (Being sent for recycling)
  • A storage container of 'skinny clothes'. Mostly suits and corporate wear. Even when I work in corporate entities I don't wear suits anymore (Market)
  • Three instances of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (One original text, one in modern translation (Nevel Coghill version in rhyming couplets, and a Peter Acroyd version..) (Keeping)
  • One decorative wooden red cat - a present from a friend in London (Keeping - I like it, sits on top of the bookshelves)
  • One spear carrier looking candle holder - present from a friend in London (Keeping)
  • One Lava Lamp. (Keeping - it still gets used)
  • One blue green wooden CD holder shaped like a fish - a present from many years ago (Market)
  • Christmas cards from 2015 (Shredded)
  • An old letter dated 8/12/1987 (Keeping)
  • Far too many half used tubs of red tiger balm (Bin)
  • Far too many tubes of body moisturiser (Keep some, bin some)
  • One ceramic vase - I think it used to leak. Goes to show how often I get flowers. (Keep)
  • One wooden bowl with a Chinese figure on it (Market)
It is the randomness of all of this stuff which has me perplexed. 

My mother has asked I bring over any black dresses when I drive over next weekend - she needs a new funeral dress and my skinny clothes should fit her. 

There's a couple of art books I'm taking over for my step sister. 

As always, the prep always takes longer than the actual painting. Have spent the day washing walls, taping things up, hoovering, sorting, dusting. It's been a big day. tomorrow morning I'll start painting properluy - I ran out of light tonight,, and to be honest, I sleep better on the cooler nights so I want to take this for granted. But I think I might have to take another afternoon off to get the ceiling done. Thankfully I have a lot of holiday up my sleeve and it's not that busy at work. 

Anyway, back to it.

Today's Song:

Friday, January 15, 2021

Getting there

This weekend is all about getting the painting done. Which means clearing the lounge room first of all.

Jonella and Stav came over for dinner then helped me move the three book cases out of the living room. They're going to stay out until the floorboards go down, which will hopefully happen in the next few weeks.

It's getting there. 

The two tall book cases are now in the kitchen. Stav did a bit of mending. '

The smaller one is in the spare room. The books behind my table will go there early tomorrow. 

For the associated crap, we had three bags. Rubbish. Stuff for the Camberwell Market. Toiletries. Stationery. A lot of the stationery will end up in a box for Camberwell Market. 

I'm also going to have a cull of books - first to go were the Lonely Planets. I love them, but they have to go. Looking at all the books, there are some that will find their way to the Salvos and Camberwell market.

There's a box of Masons stuff as well - into the spare room. 

I will need to change the hoover bag soon.

And get up early, start sugar soaping, spakfilla-ing and painting.

Won't that be fun. It's getting there. 

Today's song:

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Why am I watching Bridgerton?

 I am the first to put up my hand and say that Bridgerton, that abomination of a show which is currently starring on Netflix, is many things to many people. Words that come to mind include not great, vapid, weird, fun, up its own arse, timely and timeless - all at once. It's been described as a sexed-up Pride and Prejudice or a raunchy Downton Abbey. I think I see more in the first descriptor, as in the latter you see what's going on downstairs, and there is little of that here unless you count Simon's bum as a good bit of downstairs action. 

Bridgerton is fairy floss telly at its best. And like fairy floss, you can only have so much if it before you don't feel so good. 

I'm just a bit lost as to how deep I've fallen down the Bridgerton rabbit hole. 

As a big fan of Shonda Rhimes, show runner for Grey's Anatomy, I was always going to watch this. I just wasn't expecting to feel quite as conflicted, enraged, overjoyed and perplexed by it all. 

Something a friend mentioned to me was that they couldn't get over the colourblind casting of the shol. Their comment was that there were no people of colour in the court of George III, why should it be there now? For me, I have no issue with this - in fact I quite like it. You get to concentrate on the characters - and how pretty they all are, skin colour be damned. Being truthful, I find it rather refreshing. And anyway, this is fairy floss tell, not real life. We can dream. 

The series is based on the series by Julia Quinn, each book looking at one of the Bridgerton children, Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth ( with it). the novels have titles like, The Duke and I, the Viscount who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman and When He Was Wicked  - titles straight out of Mills and Boon. If the books are like the series, they are light, raunchy and pure escapism. Maybe the calibre of the novels is slightly better than Mills and Boon, maybe not. I'm not rushing out to read the books, but I do want to know what happens with Eloise - and her friend Penelope Featherington. Oh, and Colin, you can't forget Colin. 

This series deals with the first book, The Duke and I, where Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), belle of the season, is looking for a husband. In walks the brooding Simon Basset (Rege-Jean Page), Duke of Hastings - a rich and seemingly emotionally unreachable man, who's a friend of Daph's brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey). Daphne's soon over men tryihng to take her for a bride, preferring love to staus. Simon is over being fawned over by every debutante's mother - and of course, these two pretend to fall for each other to get everybody off their backs. And drama ensues. 

In the background there is the stories of the Featheringtons. There are three plainish daughers, Phillipa, Prudence and Penelope (who steals the show as the downtrodden, lovelorn younger sister, played by Nicola Coughlan) Penelope and Eloise Bridgerton are the best of friends. In the Featherington house, a distant cousin, Marina Thompson, comes to stay for the season. She too has a secret which will bring the Featheringtons to their knees. 

This is souped up confection. We know from Austen about the fripperies and ennui of the women and the allowed bad behaviour of the men, especially as they 'sow their wild oats' before marriage. Everything, for these poor women is about finding a good husband, and then keeping them - any woman with a shred of ambition beyond marriage is knocked back into place really quickly. 

Oh, and then there is the mysterious Lady Whistledown, who narrates the whole show. Voiced by Julie Andrews, she's fun. She's exposed at the very end of the show, somewhat predictably. Lady Whistledown's gossip pages are the impetus for much of the show. 

But I persevered with Bridgerton. It's only got eight episodes. Part of me cant quite believe I've watched this drivel, then again, part of me knows I'm a sucker for a bodice ripper - and good bums - there are lots of decent bums to be seen. Love a good bum.

Oh, and the last big beef with this show - can somebody please tell Simon that the withdrawal method is really, really, really not a reliable form of contraception. 

That's all I'll say. I think I might turn on The West Wing or Mad Men to get a bit of quality telly back in my life. 

Today's Song: 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


I had the list. It's all that I needed and that was all that I would buy. Tacks, 1/4 inch x 50 mm bolts, velcro tape and a powerboard. 

That was it. 

It's very important to go to Bunnings with a list, just as it's very important to call my stepdad and let him know that I'm going to Bunnings. If I was back in South Australia, instead of going to Bunnings I'd go and raid his shed, as he has an abundance of these things. 

Arriving at the Hammerbarn, as it is called in Bluey, I made my way to the information desk. (If you haven't watched Bluey, do - and watch the one about the Hammerbarn quickly. Bluey is awesome - ABC iView has it). 

Anyway, I went to the man, I asked where I would find tacks and bolts and velcro and a powerboard - for which he told me without blinking. There is nothing worse than wandering around Bunnings for hours, because you'll never find what you need without the help from the person on the desk. That's when you end up buying shit you don't need. They're very good there. They know their aisles. 

I was in and out in ten minutes.

Back home, I set to doing the task. Fixing my aged bed frame. 

Part of me has always held this bedframe in contempt. I've had it for 20 years. I bought it when I was living in Ashburton. Instead of getting a queen-sized bed, I stuck with a standard double, partly through the space in the room at the time, partly because all my bedlinen brought over from England as in the double size, It seemed like an economy. 20 years, eight house moves and two mattresses on, the poor old thing is a bit worse for wear. The strapping on the slats was coming away, the velcro stays perished and it was missing a couple of bolts. 

It seems to have done the trick. Ten minutes it took. The tacks have sured up the strapping, the bolts and velcro tape are keeping the slats in place. It's only taken me ten years or so to fix.

There's a part of me that loves the fact I own a hammer, a spanner and a screwdriver which has interchangeable heads - which can either do Philips head or flat head screws. I've also got some pliers, a tape measure and a few other odds and sods. You'd never guess I'm half-capable. 

But it's time to look at this bed with contempt any more. It's been deserving of love for far too long. Tomorrow night, Barney is coming over to help me move the mattress back in the room - it's a two person job. He's also being tasked with helping me with half the couch, which will reside in the spare room for a while - also a two person job if I don't want to bugger up the fresh paint work on the lounge room door. 

It's strange, I know I rent, and I know that painting out a place which isn't yours is an odd thing to do - other than it keeps me rent down and I get to paint the place as I wish. But it's a feeling of pride doing all of this. It's a foreign feeling. I'm not sure what to do with all of this. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

I need a man

I'm on this mission to paint my flat out, and I've got to the stage where I need a man.

Thing is, 'til now, I've done all of this stuff myself. I haven't needed one. They'd be a nuisance.

Of the painting - I went to Bunnings, got all the materials and the right amount of paint (though I might have to get another pot of ceiling white seeing Jonella and Stav gifted me what I have and I might run a bit short)

The prep work, all done, I've sugar soaped, sanded, unscrewed, masked, spakfilla-ed everything that needed soaping, sanding, unscrewing, masking and spakfilla-ing (I love spakfilla - brilliant stuff is spakfilla - best applied with the fingers, but don't say that to too many people)

I've done a good job with the painting. The rooms look a lot better. 

There is a part of me which loves weilding the power tools - in this case it's just a small sander, which makes life so much easier. I haven't used the wooden block my stepdad cut for me in the shed the other week. Power tools give you a sense of power. I can see why men love to collect them. 

But now I need a man. 

Not that I've ever really needed a man until now. They have their uses. Killing spiders and opening those jars which I can't open (theres a mgjic doohickey you can use which makes this easy - besides, I'm normally okay opening my own jars). Occasionally they're useful for retrieving things off high shelves. Really, that's about all they are good for.

But now I need a man for two jobs. The first is to help me move my mattress back in my room and place half the couch in the spare room ready for this weekend's painting lark. 

The second, to 'snap' some screws, which are allegedly snapable, so I can put new handles on the cupboards. I can't manage to snap these things, maybe a man can.

Barney's coming over on Thursday night to help with the furniture stuff. the rest of it I've done myself - mantled and dismantling the bed is easy. Hung the curtains. Shifted all sorts of stuff - but the mattress and the couch are two people jobs. And I'm good with this. I'm admitting my limitations. 

As for the snapping of the screws - that one has got me. I can't see how most women would be able to do this. I have strong hands - I know this - and I can't manage this, and I don't like it.  What am I doing wrong. Maybe I'll take the screws home to my stepdad and he can shorten the bloody things for me. He's got every tool in Christendom in his shed.

Or maybe I should just admit that there are some things you need a man for. 

This does not sit that well.

Nevermind. Back up the ladder I go. 

Today's Song: 

Monday, January 11, 2021

The To-Do List

 I should not be watching Bridgerton, I really shouldn't. My To-Do list is long and awkward and I should not let myself be overtaken by such follies, even if they are lovely looking follies (and there is a blog post in this, but for the moment, I will keep my thoughts to myself and gently ogle Simon's abs. 

There is much to be done. I'm taking tomorrow afternoon off to continue painting. I no have ten days to get the work done. Ten days before I hopefullyhope in the car, drive to Adelaide and pick up the cat. Fun.

So what is on the To-Do list:

  • Take half a day off - that's tomorrow
  • Pain the bedroom ceiling
  • Sand off the wardrobe and bedroom doors.
  • Paint said doors
  • Reassemble the bedroom
Currently the bed is in pieces in the kitchen, the mattress is in the spare room, on which I am sleeping. The bedside tables are in the lounge room. All this painting needs to be done by Wednesday night. On Thursday, Barney is popping over to help me with the mattress - it's not as easy to manovre as the last one I had. 

To continu, once the bedroom is finished:
  • Start sorting, picking and dusting the book shelves
  • See the myptherapist about by shoulder again on Thursday
  • Reschedule a much needed hairdressing appointment that was to be Thursday
  • Go to training Wednesday night
  • Walk for 45 minute to and hour on the other days
  • Get on with that novel
  • Maybe see a film
  • Go to dinner with Jonella and Stav after they help me shift the book case
  • Oh, and paint out the living room, including the ceiling over the weekend.
At least it's going to be a cooler week after Thursday.

And I have no cats to trip over...

Back to ogling Simon's bum (and abs, oh and everything, even though he's not a big believer in foreplay, but that is the topic for another blog post.

Today's song:

Sunday, January 10, 2021

January Meme

I'm supposed to be painting. I've done all the prep. But my shoulder is sore - it's not my painting arm, but still, it's making the thought of going up and down a ladder not all that enticing.

Never to mind. 

As I should be painting, I will keep the answers short today. 

Questions, as alway, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What are your plans for January?

 At the moment it's painting out the flat, exercising and driving to Adelaide in two weeks time to collect my cat. That's more than enough.

2. What do you want to see happen in 2021?

 Other than seeing Trump thrown in jail and a nicer, more compassionate, more rational world. I hope they get coronavirus in check. And I know I'm very lucky to be in Australia where the community transmission is very, very low. Long may that remain. 

3.  What would you give a 5 star rating?

 Bernadine Evaristo's Girl. Woman, Other. That book is extraordinary. 

4. Do you have writing goals for 2021?

 Yes - I really want to finish the first draft of this novel I'm writing - and it will take that long. 

5. How do you feel about memoirs?

 I don't mind the odd one - the well written ones are gerat - loved Michelle Obama's Becoming and Alan Cummings Not My Father's Son

6. If you could join any musical group who would you choose?

 I'd love to in musical theatre a la Randy Rainbow - but please do not tell anybody. If not, I could always play the triangle for a rock band sometime.

7. What are your favorite genres across all media?

 Books and movies - hands down. I watch far too much television too. 

8. What candle scents are your favorite?

 I have an Arbonne Spiced Vanilla Chai candle on my desk. It's very yummy. There's a local candle company which does a great coffee scented candle too. I desire one of those. 

9. How well can you mimic other accents or voices?

 Depends on what it is. I don't do a bad New Zealand and Cockney accent. I also have a terrible Southern American drawl which gets wheeled out now and then.

10. What books are on your TBR list in 2021?

 Lots of things, including:

  • The Yield by Tara June Winch
  • Mayflies by Andrew O'Hagan
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
  • All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton
  • And lots more.

11. When do you decide it’s time to upgrade/buy something new?

 Normally when it shows signs of aging. Cars get replaced at seven-years-old as by that time things are starting to cost money to fix. Other stuff I tend to leave until it's a bit ragged - like clothes - then I get new ones. Same with shoes - but I replace my runners every 4-6 months - they are flat on the bottom by then.

12. Why is your favorite color your favorite color?

 Red - and it just is. Always loved it. 

13. Who understands you the best?

 Hmmm, I'm not sure I can answer that question. There are a few people who know aspects of me really well, but they they don't know about other bits. The dream groupers used to know me very well. 

14. Do you write letters?

 Not very often any more. I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter. 

15. How do you keep going when times are hard?

One foot in front of the other, I just keep going. I also tell myself that this too shall pass - even if it is passing like a kidney stone, it will pass. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Movie Review: Promising Young Woman

 Movie: Promising Young Woman

Stars: 4

Theatre: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Promising Young Woman is touted as a comedy around the traps.

It's not. 

I was just a little bit excited when I saw this was coming out, being a fan of both Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell. Mulligan, who I've loved since she was in An Education, and in other great films like The Great Gatsby and Shame, is fantastic in this. 

The other thing which drew me to this film was that it was written and directed by Emerald Fennell - who you might ask? Well she used to be Patsy on Call the Midwife and played Camilla Parker-Bowles in The Crown, but she also has writing credits on shows like Killing Eve

In many ways, Promising Young Woman is more Killing Eve than some light hearted comedy. If I was to put it in genre, it's more a well made light thriller/black comedy. To be perfectly frank, this is a film that a lot of young men should see. The message of the film - don't fuck with women - they'll just fuck you back with the wrath of Hades. 

The general story is that of Cassie, who has a bit of a bone to pick. She's known for going out, acting very drunk, then letting some 'nice guy' take her home, only to magically become sober before anything too gnarly happens - generally freaking the guy out entirely, because, you know, he's a nice guy.

Through the film, you get to see Cassie on her mission to avenge the death of her friend in some pretty incredible ways. Exlained over these two hours, you find out what happened to Cassie's friend, and to Cassie, such a promising young woman who was in Medical School. but has dropped out and is living at home with her parents. You find out what is making her so unhinged. And it's great.

Another thing which the film brings into focus is the double standards that we still have around behaviour and blame. It's still there, it has been there for centuries - but with the Me Too movement and general education, more of a spotlight has been put on this (remember that Stanford rapist? The one who let him of with no more than a slap on the wrist, because he had such a future. Yeah, that sort of stuff).

I'll say no more than this about the plot, but I left the movie both fulfilled and rather pleased that Cassie did get heralbeit tragic revenge in the end. 

Carey Mulligan is wonderful as the very unhinged Cassie, but she's great in everything she's in. Other notable standouts include Laverne Cox as her boss, Jennifer Coolidge, playing it relatively straight as her mother and Bo Burnham as Neil, a nice guy paediatrician who appears to be an actual nice guy, and not one of the losers who try take her home. You feel a bit sorry for Neil. 

Fennell's direction is great too, mixing pastiche, pathos and a humour. She wrote the script, which is also flawless. The set design and cinematography are stylish and great on the eye.. 

I highly recommend this. It's a bit different, it's got a  message, and for any woman who's been through university or been in a workplace with a drinking culture and witnessed, or suffered under the general outcomes, you may, like me, recognised some of the behaviours - or at least witnessed the behaviours - you may find yourself cheering for the almost tragic Cassie. 

It's a pity more young men won't see this as it makes for a great cautionary tale too.

Today's Song:

Friday, January 8, 2021

All Alone

They've gone and I am all alone, and it feels strange. 

Barney came and picked up Kylo and Rey this afternoon. Renamed Shitty-Bum and Sooky-Puss, I really loved having them for the ten days they were here. 

Okay, so Kylo has a bit of an issue using the little tray for big jobs - not a great thing to wake up to turds in places they are not supposed to be. Rey, on the other hand, is a delightful young lady who gets her ablutions right. Both are very sweet, rather cuddly and good to have around even they do like walking over the keyboard when you're trying to get work done. How is it one small cat can do far more damage to a document than any moves a human can make? And why is it they can simultaneously turn on your camera, reduce your font size, put on the caps lock and turn your screen orientation to portrait in under a second. All of these things happened multiple time over the last ten days.

But now they have gone home and I'm left to my own devices - which means I'm doing painting prep. 

So far I've dismantled my bed. Half if it in the kitchen, the mattress is in the spare room made up on the floor. That's my bedroom for the next few days. On the good side of things - no cat hair for at least two weeks - most of it has been hoovered up. 

Most of the crap in the bedroom has been put up the back of the mattress. Some stuff needs to go to the Camberwell market in a few weeks, other stuff to the charity bin, other stuff just purely thrown out. 

The hoovering is done - also good - so the carpet is no longer crunchy in places with stray bits of kitty litter. 

I have deadlines. Tomorrow I need to have the walls done by 6 pm - I'm off to a dinner and a movie a 7 pm. On Sunday, I may also have deadlines as Jonella is threatening to come over and help me reassemble the bed in the afternoon - I have the ceilings to do - fun!

Not helping all this is the trapped nerve in my left arm. I went to see Spencer the myptherapist last night. He had me squealing, shouting and crying. He said, "I forgot that you were a noisy one." Half an hour later after working on the upper half of the left hand side of my back, I felt a bit looser, but the jolts and sparks are still there. More voltaren, hot water bottles and moving I say. 

But all this busyness doesn't make up for the fact that I'm here on my own. The little cats have gone home and I miss them. I'll be collecting Lucifer from my mother in a fortnight. He appears to be having a grand old time over there. My stepdad said that he jumped up and gave him a cuddle this morning, unprovoked. The parents have started shutting the door on him at night to stop him coming up in the middle of the night, getting between them and purring (and kicking my stepdad out of bed) He's good at taking over the bed. I'm just glad he's happy. Mum's over the moon, she's now getting daily lovings. I just hope he remembers me when I go to pick him up...

Maybe that's the problem of not having one of these creatures roaming the place - I don't have anybody to love and look after for the next fortnight. And here I was thinking I was a bit of a sociopath. Who knew?

Today's Song:

Thursday, January 7, 2021

How to lose a day

 How do I lose a day?

Easy. Shove me in front of a screen with American Politics playing, especially on a day where things are really happening - and today was one of those days.

Just as the conclave which brings in a new Pope or our own elections here in Australia, today's final confirmation by Congress of Joseph Biden as the President incumbent was fascinating, made even scarier by the disruption to parliament by the insurgents - I'm not going to call them protesters - they're not. 

I woke early as I saw Cleo the trainer at 7.15 this morning - at this stage they'd just cleared the Houses and the riff raff were walking through the chambers, raiding podiums, sitting at peoples desks and imitating Jamiroquai - I don't get this one. 

That four people have died (one was shot in the house, the rest succoumbed to other riot-induced trauma bringing on things like heart attacks et al) is terrible. That they died for this - you have to wonder. 

They had brought Congress to order a few hours later and resumed confiming the results. This too was fascinating. Just watching the process, seeing what should be a given at times argued over, stopping play and finally shot down. At times it was very painful. At times funny - and knowing it was getting into the early hour when they finished, even better. 

But there are so many questions from today. Things like: 

  • How come white dudes storming Congress are insurgents and are welcome in by the police, but the Black Lives Matter people were greeted with the national guard, tear gas and batons?
  • Why did the cops let the insurgents in in the first place?
  • Why isn't Trump up on treason or sedition charges?
  • Where do these peopple get their news from?
There are so many anomilies to all of this - but violence is never the answer - and as the insurgents I saw interviewed could barely provide a reason as to why they were there. 

It's scary stuff.

Later in the afternoon, as the certifying was taking place, the objections came in. A number of objections were flat out denied at the first post because they weren't ratified by a senator. But the  Arizona and Pennsylvania ones held and then needed to be discussed.

As an Australian, I just don't get it. We have an independent, national electoral commission. We vote on paper. There are scrutineers from all sides ensuring the validity of the election. Turning up at the polls is compulsory, so you get the vast marjority having their say. And if the side you voted for didn't get in, you can have a whinge, but you get on with it, accepting of the outcome (even if you don't like it). How can this be happening in America. 

I went for a trip to the myotherapist to get a shoulder tweak sorted. When I came back, it was still going. 

I find it all fascinating.

But I got nothing done. 

Today's Song:

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Five Minute Rituals

Going out at night is still something of an enigma. It really doesn't feel that right yet. 

Tonight, I made an effort, and it was a matter of remembering the rituals. 

After a quick walk after work, I hit the shower, washed my hair as it was in need of a wash. Cleanse, tone and moisturise the face. Some body lotion for the rest of me, paying attention to my feet - they need it, Fine for working from home, but not for meeting friends.

I put on a dress - a comfortable dress, but still, a dress. I changed my underwear, not for any reason other than I wanted to feel fresh.

Then there's the makeup. Foundation - I have four bottles of foundation in the bathroom cupboard - Marc Jacobs, Dior, a slightly darker one I picked up in India (okay for summer) and a Thin Lizzy one, which is good for a cheaper brand. Using the foundation brush, I applied the stuff, feeling the mask go up as my complexion smoothed out. 

A bit of bronzer, doubling as blush goes on next.  The I start work on the eyes. Nothing dramatic, neutral tones applied with a brush. Three colours, beige, a deeper brown and a cream - all blended and put on with a measured ease after years of application. 

I spend a bit more time on my eyeliner, pulling the wings out - not too far, not too think, but just right. The texta like brush is easy to use. Then two coats of mascara - a layer of primer and a layer of Benefit Bad Girl Bang.

And finally lipstick, a muted brown. No red lipstick tonight - we're out with friends - it's not the daily war paint.

Bit it struck me as I was getting ready, I used to to this every morning as I got ready for work. A five minute ritual, normally the last thing I did before leaving for work.

I can't imagine going back to this, every morning, slathering on the war paint, wearing structured clothes - putting on the armour to go out and defent the day. It's been that long. It feels strange. 

Allegedly, we're going back into the office part time in February. We will see. 

Today's Song: