Monday, February 28, 2022

Movie Review: Death on the Nile

Movie Number 8 of 2022. (Technically it's Number 9 because I saw Belfast again)

Movie: Death on the Nile

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3

The Kenneth Branagh festival continues with his next foray into Agatha Christie-land with his big budget production of Death on the Nile

Is it as good as Belfast? Hells no - but Belfast might win a few Oscars. This wont be doing that, although the costumes were spectacular.

Is it as good as Murder on the Orient Express? No. It's far more vacuous than that. 

Is it watchable? Absolutely. 

This is a Branagh movie, complete with the Patrick Doyle music and the 65 mm film stock. And it is BEAUTIFUL to look at. 

The crux of the story, ten people end up on a boat on the Nile for a wedding party. 

The party includes: 

  • the bride (Gal Gadot)
  • the groom (Armie Hammer)
  • the maid (Rose Leslie)
  • the jilted lover (Emma Mackey)
  • the lawyer (Ali Fazal)
  • the doctor (Russell Brand)
  • the singer (Sophie Okenedo)
  • And her manager/daughter (Letitica Wright)
  • And her boyfriend and Poirot's mate (Tom Bateman)
  • Oh, and French and Saunders and a set of closeted lovers. 
And of course, Kenneth Branagh as Poirot, that stuffy, sweet-obsessed, OCD-suffering Belgian. 

We get a bit of back story about why Poirot has his moustache. Then the movie gets into the action. 

Somebody ends up murdered on this big boat on the River Nile. Who did it? Everybody has a motive. Everybody has a reason for wanting this person deat. 

By the end of the film, five of the passengers have been placed in the boat's freezer waiting to be carted off and buried. 

Look, it's based on the Agatha Christie novel. It's going to be a bit silly.

But this is very pretty to look at even if the script lacks in places. Yes, it's a bit hammy, but it's Agatha Christie. Branagh brings some weight to Poirot, the unlucky in love, but too smart by half detective. 

The rest of the film is just fluff. 

As I said earlier, it may not be the best film in the world, but it is very pretty to look at. And that is saying something.

Today's song: 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Luna Nina

 I do like these word association questions. I can get through them quickly, as I'm sick of sitting in front of a computer.

Questions supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing, as always.

 I say,......and you think... 

  You say Casino :: I think Royale. 

I also think a big waste of money. 

 You say Bone :: I think Machine.

A great Pixies song.

You say Painting :: I think The Wilton Diptych. Love this so much. Need to get to London to see it again. 

 You say Shocked :: I think Electricity. 

  You say Quieter :: I think Libraries.

I love our reading room at the State Library in Melbourne. See above. 

   You say Feed :: I think Me - and The Little Shop of Horrors. 

You say Song , I think 2. Song 2 by Blur. YEAH.

You say Glass, I think Philip.

You say Boat, I think travel.... and I get very excited. 

 You say Junk and I think Hong Kong. 

You say  Sheet and I think Music. 

 You say Knit and I think meetings. I knit and crochet when I'm working from home and have boring meetings to attend. 

You say Gift and I think horse. Still no idea what if gift horse is, but you must never look one in the mouth. 

Interestingly, I found this on  "Proverbs are 'short and expressive sayings, in common use, which are recognized as conveying some accepted truth or useful advice'. This example, also often expressed as 'never look a gift horse in the mouth', is as pertinent today as it ever was.

As horses develop they grow more teeth and their existing teeth begin to change shape and project further forward. Determining a horse's age from its teeth is a specialist task, but it can be done. This incidentally is also the source of another teeth/age related phrase - long in the tooth."

You say Small and think Mercies. 

Another strange old saying. 

 You say Title and I think Case.

Because half of my day is spent changing people's Titles on documents into the company standard title case. Joys of having some editing skills. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Theatre Review: Fun Home

 The Play: Fun Home

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: The Playhouse at the Arts Centre

Stars: 4.5

Playing until 5 March

Last night was the first night where Melbourne felt like Melbourne again. People were out. The Arts Centre Car Park was full, thanks to the Ballet, the MSO and a play being on at the Playhouse. People were dressed up and out and about. It was great. I was feeling it. I'd also donned a dress and put on a bit of makeup to go out for the night. Things are feeling good (despite everything which is going on in the world.)

Tonight, after a quick dinner, we made our way to the Playhouse to see Fun House. 

I loved every minute of it. 

According to Wikipedia, "Fun Home is a musical adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same name. The story concerns Bechdel's discovery of her own sexuality, her relationship with her gay father, and her attempts to unlock the mysteries surrounding his life."

I walked in not knowing what to expect, other than it was a musical. And it's a bloody good musical. The production first came out for the Sydney Theatre Company - and now it's here in Melbourne in conjunction with the Midsumma Festival. 

This is an exceptional show, which relates the struggles of an adult Alison (Lucy Maunder) as she unpacks her life as a child in the family's Funeral Home, while being witness to her parents difficult marriage. You see, her father, Bruce (Adam Murphy) is a closeted homosexual, but also a loving father and stalwart member of the community. Her mother, Helen (Silvie Paladino - and here I was thinking her only gig was Carols by Candlelight) tries her best to turn a blind eyes. As the play progresses, you find out that her father committed suicide while Alison was at college. Alison came out while she was at college, and having and inkling her father was also gay, wanted to connect with him - something that never happened. 

There are some top song in this show. I loved I'm Changing my Major to Joan in particular, a rallying cry for the burgeoning baby lesbian was just great, delivered with aplomb by College Years Alison (Ursula Searle). 

The staging is also incredible, using the Playhouse's circular stage to great effect. 

As an ensemble, everything ticks the boxes here. The kids who play small Alison and her brother's are great too. 

This is running for another week. I can't recommend this highly enough. It's sweet and funny, but thought provoking and emotional. 

This is the second really good show we've seen at the MTC in consecutive weeks. Here's hoping the rest of the season is just as good. 

Today's song: 

Friday, February 25, 2022

The T-Shirt

 It was a banal day at work. They are at the moment. Too long hours, too much too do. Sometimes you just have to say fuckit and do some online shopping. 

And as we are heading towards and election in the very near future, I decided to buy myself a t-shirt. 

This t-shirt. 

Because when you look at it, Pedro would make a better PM than the one we have at the moment. 

And after the week I've had, finding something like this was needed. 

Mind you, I went out tonight. Dinner and a play. I'll review the play in tomorrow's blog, as there is a bit to unpack and it was excellent. 

And for the first time in a long time - after putting on a dress and a little make up and wandering down St Kilda Road on the way to the cinema, Melbourne, felt like Melbourne again. 

There is a bit to celebrate. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022


 They're an eyesore. They're dangerous. They end up in the river. They're a nuisance. 

What are they? Change Managers? Magpies? European carp? Vladimir Putin? 

Nope, it's those bloody scooter things that are plagueing the streets of Melbourne. Or more to the point, inner Melbourne. They seem to be in every laneway, outside every McDonalds and they're just a bloody nuisance. 

Allegedly they are only available in the councils of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip, but they seem to be everywhere. 

And the riders are tormenting pedestrians and drivers alike. On the way home from the gym tonight, three guys on tow scooters passed me by - one of them had the helmet provided on they bike on their heads. They're even more fear-bringing than bicycles, which, as a driver, I'm not ovelry fond of, not because they're a pain, more I fear running into them if things go awry. These scooter things feel even more exposed than bikes - plus the riders are less experienced than cyclists. 

On the good side of things, ride one of them on a footpath and get caught - you're up for a $845 fine. I believe the fine is the same for not wearing a helmet if you're on a bike. 

And from anectodal comments, if you're looking for one to get you somewhere, it costs $1.00 to start your journey, then 45 cents a minute - or you can rent the unit for the day for $15. That's if you can find one with the battery charged...

I don't know - like the e-bikes that plagued our streets a few years ago, I fear this scheme will go down the same path

Today's song: 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Calm

The office is fairly quiet. It's a test run day - come in, see it's not that bad a place, have a coffee with a couple of my team members. You know, remember what life was like back  before March 2020, when they sent us home, only to return every now and then over the last two years.

So from Saturday, there's no masks inside - shopping centres, offices and the like. Which will be a bit strange, because after two years of wearing them, they've become second nature. I do like that they've kept the mask mandate for public transport. Long may it remain. I'm sure that's where you pick up most of the bugs you'll catch in your lifetime. 

There are a few more people in today. There's a feeling of anticipation in the air as we prepare to go back in to the office. Things aren't back to normal. The bananas in the fruit bowl are black, giving a sad feeling to the kitchen, as if Miss Havisham is about to come through. Things have gone walkabout - missing in action. Keyboards, monitors, you name it, it disappear into the void of the empty office if you don't lock them away. The dishwasher isn't working. The coffee machine, which wasn't, is now operational - showing the priorities of the office. 

It takes a bit to be around people now. It's not like it used to be. Even thought the restrictions are lifting it still doesn't feel right

But for the most part, all is calm.

I wonder what it will be like when I go in next week when half the office is in. 

Today's song: 


Tuesday, February 22, 2022


So I was at the gym last night, which is a normal occurrence. I'm still a little bit reticent to do things like lie on my stomach on hard surfaces, but the rest of me is fine. 

Anyway, trawling around he gym, I pick up a five kilogram dumbbell. 

Five kilogram dumbbells are de rigeur for me. The get used for all sorts of things - triceps, biceps, lunges, occasionally for core exercises. They're a gym standard. 

Today was a bit different. See, I've lost five kilograms in the last few weeks. Yes, I'm trying, and yes, I have a hell of a lot more to lose, but there is something tangible about carting around a five kilogram dumbbell and knowing that this is no longer a part of your body. Walking around the gym floor with the dumbbell in hand let this sink in. 

I know once before, when I lost a lot more weight I'd go to the supermarket and shove the corresponding weight amount in flour or sugar into a hand basket and walk around the store, just to get some perspective. 

My cat weights about six kilograms. I've nearly lost a Lucifer. And he's a big unit. 

Sure, it's only a small step, and I have to keep moving forward, one kilo at a time, but it was good to give myself a little bit of validation last night. 

Strangely, it felt pretty good. 


Today's song:

Monday, February 21, 2022

Nap Time?

 Can I please go have a nap now? 

I've had a day where I've been putting on my supportive voice for most of the morning, making sure everybody else is okay, but none of my own work has been getting done. One of those days. 

And now I want a nap. 

Or a walk. 

Or both. 

I think this gall bladder episode was the universe's way of telling me to slow down and get a bit of perspective. 

Because I've been working six days a week for months now and I'm just a bit over it. 

So I want a nap. 

Or a walk. 

Or both. 

Instead of writing about corporate hardship arrangements and payment plans. 

Ho hum. 

Time to turn The Pogues up to eleven. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Friday 5

 After a week of crappy stuff, like doctors appointments and ultrasounds and blood tests (which have proven I have something which needs fixing, but is not life threatening or unfixable, but it will need seeing to in the fairly near future.) I'm sitting here at work, on a Sunday, trying to catch up on some work that didn't get done during the week. 

Anyway, here are this weeks questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1) What one event from your lifetime would you change if you could, and why?

Oh there is one moment I wish I'd dealt with differently. It involves a man and a kiss - well, a non-kiss. I've been kicking myself about that one for 25 years. Ah well, things happen for a reason. 

2) If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be and how old would your younger self be when they got it? Do you think your younger self would listen?

I would love to get hold of myself at around 14 and mentor her - hell, she needed it. I'd get her exercising, because exercise is the best thing ever. I'd let her know she's not as fat or ugly as she thinks she is. And I'd tell her to start trusting her gut, because she has very good instincts. She wouldn't listen, she's far too broken for that at the time, but I wish I could talk to her and maybe start the healing. 

3) If you could have a conversation with the historical figure of your choosing, whom would you pick and why? What would you talk about?

I'd love to talk to William Shakespeare. I'd love to be a part of his theatre troupe - and we could talk about EVERYTHING. 

4) What's a safety rule that's very important to you?

Wear your seat belt when you're in the car. Just wear he bloody thing. It takes a second and it will save your life if you are in an accident. 

5) What would you like to say to people in the future?

Be kind to each other and look after the planet. 

6) What's your favorite dish to bring to a summer cookout?

A summer cook out? Oh, you mean a barbeque. I'm the one who brings either the green salad (I do a good one with rocket (arugala) figs, goats cheese, and a balsamic dressing. If not that, then I bring the sweets - a decadent fruit salad or some sort of pudding like tiramisu or lemon pudding. 

7) How much time have you spent outdoors this week?

Nowhere near enough. I've spent most of the week on the couch feeling like crap. I'll head out for a walk soon. 

8) Where do you set your thermostat?

Living in Australia we don't have central heating. We do, however, have air conditioning. I was in Canberra with my folks last weekend staying in a hotel. In my room it was set down to 16 degrees Celcius (60 F) I like it cold. I sleep better when it's cold. 

9) How did you learn to swim?

I was taken to swimming lessons when I was 5-years-old. A lady called Mrs Brown, who once swam the English Channel, taught me how to swim in her backyard pool. I still love swimming. 

10) How do you avoid overheating?

I get naked. Or find air conditioning (like going to the movies) or take off my jumper. Or eat an ice blocl (Ice lolly / icy pole).

11). What are you going to do this weekend?

Unfortunately, I'm working today - and getting quite a bit done. I need to go see Blarney and Barney in a bit and do my food shopping too. 

Yesterday I went to meditation, had my hair cut and coloured and met up friends for a quick dinner and a movie. 

Friday night I went out for dinner and saw a play.

In all, a successful weekend. 

12) What’s your favorite way to spend time?

One of the following: (In no real order)

  • Reading
  • Watching movies
  • Spending time with friends
  • Swimming
  • Making love
  • Playing with kittens and puppies
  • Walking

13) What’s the most useless thing you own that you would never get rid of?

Probably Lucifer, my cat. He is wonderful, but he is bit useless. 

14) Have you started planning your next vacation?

In my head I have. I want to get on a plane and go to England for a few weeks. If not that, I might even look into taking myself on the Camino in France/Spain. To be honest, anywhere away from work at the moment would be a good thing. 

15) Are you very active, or do you prefer to just relax in your free time or is it one and the same to you?

I'm more active than the normal 53 year old. I need to exercise as it helps keep me sane. And I enjoy it. 

Today's song:

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Theatre Review: Touching the Void

The Play: Touching to Void

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: Southbank Theatre

Stars: 4

Until: 19 February.

Why is it you find a play you want to tell everybody about and it's closing the following night? 

Touching the Void is such a play.

Based on a true story, it relates the tale of two climbers who come into a bit of misadventure  on top of a peak in the Andes, it relates how Simon is able to get off the mountain, while Joe is left for dead in the bottom of the cravasse. And as Joe says, if he was in the same boat, we would have left Simon for if he was in the same situation. 

Going into the play knowing the story having seen the film of the same name nearly 20 years ago, I was blown away by this. 

Firstly, the staging is inventive and incredible as Simon (Kevin Hofbauer) and Joe ( Joe Klocek) scale a virtual mountain, then have to make their way back down it in their own ways. At the base of the mountain, looking after their stuff is the hapless Richard (Karl Richmond) who provides comic relief for what is a tense hour and forty minutes. Lucy Durack plays Sarah, Joe's sister, who is the moral compass of the play. 

The company manages to take the audience up the mountain, and down again in an inventive and affecting play, adapted from Joe Simpson's book by David Greig. There were some other great touches, like the jukebox, which was playing 80s standards. You can't go wrong with this. 

I knew the story after seeing the film. Many going to the play didn't have that luxury and there were many gasps from the audience, who thought they were going to Joe's wake at a remote bar in Scotland.

Thankfully, no, this was not the case. 

The play closed this evening, which is a pity, because a lot more people could have enjoyed this play. The MTC have got off to a great start this year. Here's hoping they keep at this incredible level of production. 

Today's song: 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Sod this

 I went to the doctor to get my stomach checked out today. Not my beloved normal doctor - it takes weeks to get an appointment with her. Instead, I went to the doctors at the shopping centre who I normally bother when I have trifling things to deal with. 

So I walked in, waited the required 15 minutes, saw the lovely doctor and told her of my woes. Said outright I reckoned this was something to do with my gall bladder - and she readily agreed. 

I should say that having your gall bladder out is a rite of passage in my family. Most of us when we hit around 50 get these problems. Mum still has hers, but she has to be careful. Me, I've known this has been brewing for years - and I avoid cheese, red wine and really fatty foods for the most part, or suffer with the sweats, palpitations and stomach pains. It's been like that for years. 

After prodding and poking my stomach for a bit she passed me some papers. Blood tests to be done immediately. She arranged an ultrasound for later in the day. She also gave me a sick certificate for the day - not that I used it, but it was nice to have. Another thing she said - if the excruciating pain comes back I'm to go straight to a hospital. Fun. I hope this doesn't happen. 

The bloods were interesting. My veins are shy at the best of times and the nice phlebotanist stuck me a couple of times before I confessed I'd had next to nothing to drink, not expecting to have to come and get a blood test. I was told to go home, drink a litre of water and come back in an hour. If he could get the blood draw done, I'd make the 12.30 courier and my results would be in for tomorrow, when I'm seeing another doctor t get the results. 

On going back, my veins were no more forthcoming. The nice phlebotanist said that he was going for one last draw before he would have to send me elsewhere. He finally found a vein. In my hand. It freaking hurt. But at least the tests were done and I didn't have to find another vampire around Richmond. Needless to say, the crooks of my arms look like those of a junkie. 

I went back to work, grumpy due to the belly ache, made narkier by the fact I had to fast until 4 pm when the ultrasound was scheduled. 

I shut down my work computer at 3.30, drove to the ultrasound place and waited my turn. Another round of prodding and poking, again, an uncomfortable experience, but at least needles were not involved. I chatted with the girl who was waving the gel-covered wand about. 

"I think they think I have gallstones."

"You do have gallstones," she told me.


I got home, had a quick shower, put on some makeup and went out for dinner and a play. 

And I told Jay about all of this. 

"You know the person doing the ultrasound isn't supposed to diagnose you."Jay is a G.P. She's also a stickler for the rules.

"I could recognise the bloody things. They were very clear on the telly screen in front of me. Your tummy should have what looks like a bag of marbles sitting above your liver. "

"You have a point."

So where to next? Back to the doctor tomorrow to get the results. And from there, we will see. It's more than likely I'm going to have this erroneous organ taken out. Blah. Keyhole surgery. A week off. Blah.

On the good side of things: 

  • The 9/10 pain I felt the other night has stopped, I'm just uncomfortable and can't lie on my stomach
  • I'm in otherwise very good health. 
  • I've lost 5 kgs since the start of the year
  • Starting early with the anti-spasmodics (buscopan) is keeping the pain levels down
  • I've had a quiet week at work (even if little got done)
  • Other than the doctors appointment, everything else has been bulk billed 
  • And I'm grateful for Medicare - because they do look after you when needed. 

I'll get a way forward tomorrow when all the test results are in. 

Wish me luck. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Yeah, right

On the good side of things, I don't have COVID. 

And the parents, who have both been diagnosed with COVID, are doing very well. They're all but healthy - Mum has the sniffles, my step-dad is basically well. 

And it's been suggested that the stomach ache I had the other night might have been a gall bladder attack. Hmm, excruciating pain in the upper stomach - check. Nausea and vomiting - check. Jaundice - well the whites of my eyes are a bit yellow - check. Hmm. Saying this, things are settling down now, but still. Not what's needed. But I've contained this in the past, I'll get in in check again (Rest, buscopan, clean the diet up even more - but it's pretty good at the moment so I don't know what's to clean up). 

My  "yeah, right" moment came this afternoon. So, I go onto the web to book a hire car for a trip I'm taking to Adelaide in April - just getting the car booked is a good thing - get it out the way. One of those odd jobs that needs to be done. 

So I go onto my favourite car hire webside ( - they compare all the car hire places so you can get the best deal.)

I need the car for three days - Saturday til Monday. Last time I hired a car that cost be about $150-$200. 

This time around - $500!!!


Anyway, I looked a bit further. That was the going rate for a little rattler. A tinderbox. 

$500 used to get you a top of the range Audi or something like that. 

But no, $500 for a Suzuki Swift or some other buzz box of that ilk - something that would struggle to get up Willunga Hill without a tail wind. No thanks. 


Anyway, I called my mother soon after this - told her she's going to have to come and collect me from the airport - then asked if I could drive my step-dad's ute around for the weekend. This is what you get when you're an adult child living interstate - occassionally you have to borrow the ute. I'll have to remember how to drive a manual again. I'm from the country - that will be fine. 

It's that or find a friend to take me down there. There's no public transport to Myponga. Getting a pick up sounds like a grand plan to me. 

Anyway, as things are improving I give you one of the best things to come out of Adelaide, other than me and Hills Hoists and Kitchener Buns - the Hilltop Hoods...

Today's song:

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Well this is fun

What a difference 24 hours can make. 

24 hours ago I was quite happily working away at my desk here at home. 

Then last night we had book group and I felt rather meh. I fell asleep in front of zoom on the couch during book group. I don't do this very often, but I'm told I wasn't snoring. 

Book group ended about 9.30. Soon after my stomach was racked with pain the likes I've never felt. I could barely move. It was a strange pain - not like normal gastro, but it sat high up under my diaphragm and bloody awful. It went on for well over an hour during which time I managed to shower and get myself to bed. After throwing up and trying to get some anti-spasmodics and a bit of Mylanta down me I was hoping for a gentle night. 

Woke this morning, tummy a little tender, but feeling just dodgy. Headachy and a bit of a sore throat. 

Then the phone call came in. My parents went and got COVID tested after getting a notification from a place they were at over the weekend. 

Turns out both have COVID. 

Mum said they had gone for official testing yesterday after getting an inconclusive result on RATs. Straight away I went and got a couple of rapid antigen tests and gave myself one. It was negative. 

Thankfully, both have very mild symptoms. Mum's a bit stuffed up and my step-dad, who had a rotten cough while we were in Canberra, is now feeling normal. But both have COVID. Thankfully both are triple vaccinated and in good health in general.  May this be as bad as it gets for them. 

But now, with a headache and scratchy throat, best to get proper tested. 

So I'm having a sick day - because I feel dodgy and I can't cope with idiots. I've been to the PCR testing place - thankfully there was nobody in the queue so it was in and out in five minutes for the mandatory nose fucking. A trip through the McDonald's drive through for a large almond decaf latte and I'm now waiting for my results. 

I spend three days with my parents over the weekend - as well as half my cousins. 

Like this is fun. 

Here's hoping for the best. At the moment I have the following things on this weekend:
  • A play on Friday night
  • Dinner on Friday night
  • Meditation (mind you, that's on zoom)
  • Getting a bit of laser done
  • A massage
  • My hair is getting cut and coloured
  • A film in the evening
  • And a full day's work on Sunday
Yeah - COVID. That's just what I need at the moment.

Here's hoping the test comes back negative.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

My Summer Song

 There's only two official weeks left of Summer - and there was much rejoicing, not that it's been an overly hot summer - muggy yes, but not hot. So far, I don't think we've made it over 40  - or if we have, it's only been for a day.

Anyway, play this and I think of summer.

I have to go to bed now.

Today's song: 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Not much to say tonight

 It's been a long day at work, in the office - and I have no idea how we got any work done at all in there. 

I got in at 8 am. I left at 6 pm. For once, I got a lunch break, goiing out with the girls from Training and having a sit down lunch in a cafe. It was great to meet the rest of the team. Even better, one of them appreciated that my eclectic reading tastes ran from Vampire romance to a classic psychological texts (currently reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and listening to Victor E Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning - Non-fiction about his time in a Concentration Camp. From the ridiculous to the sublime I say.)

Anyway, my colleague and I left at 6 pm and I have absolutely nothing to show for the day. 

I know I did some coaching. I also had my performance review, and did a bit of work on the performance reviews for my team. And put out a few fires. 

But being in the office with people, just a few people - means  you talk to people - and consequently get nothing done. 

I'm working from home tomorrow. I've got no meetings, so hopefully I'll be left alone to get some real work done. The cat isn't anywhere as chatty as my colleagues. 

But I'm still wondering how we ever got anything done in the office environment.

Today's song: 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Stolen from the New York Times

 Well, I'm back from Canberra and I'm sitting here doing some work. How much fun is that? I came back to just over 300 emails. Thankfully 275 of them could be deleted immediately, but still..

Anyway, I'll write this while I get some other stuff done over the afternoon, so I can go in with a clean state tomorrow. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

At the moment, I'd like Jacinda Ardern to come to dinner. She's the Prime Minister of New Zealand and she is SOOOOOOO much better than our Prime Minister. She comes across as good fun and really down to earth.

If not her, then of course Clive Owen could come over for dinner. That would be great. 

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

Me, famous. No thank you. I like getting up to mischief and nobody being interested in it. 

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Sometimes. But that's only when I really have a big point to get across or there is something I need to say which will be uncomfortable to say (like when I have occasionally had to admonish my boss - that sort of thing.)

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

A perfect day - hmm. Well, that would be waking up in the arms of somebody wonderful. A spot of breakfast and some good coffee. Maybe get some exercise in. Then a lovely lunch at a good cafe following be a great movie. There will be dinner - something casual with friends. Maybe a soak in a hot tub - outside of course, because the best hot tub experiences are always outside and at night. Then a read, a cuddle and off to sleep. 

It's either that or I get to spend a whole day with puppies and kittens. That would be grouse too. 

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sing to myself ALL the time. Today I was singing in the supermarket along with Coles inhouse radio (which is great) I was singing this:

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Oh could I have a 30-year-old's body - please. No hot flushes, no galacially slow metabolism, you don't get hangovers, you have energy to burn.... should I go on?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

No - and it's best kept like that. I just hope I go quietly in my sleep one day in many years to come. We live in hope. 

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

I don't have a partner so I have nothing to be in common with them. The last person I was was with, well we had a few things in common. We both write for a living. We're both left-leaning moderates politically and we were the same age. We both liked blue cheese. We both couldn't stand our current Federal Government. We both had Masters degrees. 

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My friends and my health. 

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I wish my parents had been more academic. It's not that they aren't smart, but they were/aren't academic. It might have made things easier. 

That's the diplomatic answer. My mother reads my blog. 

11. Describe your life in one paragraph.

Once upon a time there was a girl who was a complete weirdo. She tried to fit in, but no matter how hard she tried, that just didn't happen. Then one day, she decided that she should embrace herself for who she was, which was a pretty great person when it all came down to it - and things really picked up and she was happy. Then she took custody of a cat and her life felt very good indeed. 

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would love to be able to play the piano to a really, really good level. I wish I had piano lessons as a kid. 

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

I would love to know without a shadow of a doubt, when we will stop being plagued by the current Federal Government and we get some really good people in - not the Liberal/National Parties (for the Americans reading this, think of the Republicans - that's who they are - we too are being guided by the religious Right - and this does not fit comfortably with me at all.)

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I've dreamed about walking the Camino de Compostella di Santiago in Spain. COVID has made travel next to impossible. Hopefully I'll get to do it in a year or two. 

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Other than staying alive and out of trouble? Probably my Masters Degree - and getting some stories published. 

Today's Song: 

Saturday, February 12, 2022


 I'm waiting at Canberra airport for them to call my flight. Of course I got here early, you do that. It's really busy... not. 

My little suitcase is on the way to being stowed in the belly of the plane. My overstuffed handbag is sitting next to me. And next to that is half an egg carton filled filled with six eggs. 

My mother insisted I take the eggs back to Melbourne with me. They've come all the way over from Myponga and she's buggered if she's taking them back with her. I'm sure the next door neighbour has been making sure her chooks are fine, gathering more eggs and keeping a general eye on the place. 

But I've now sitting in an airport with four uncooked eggs in my hand luggage. 

I feel like a bit of a hick. Then again, in some countries you can find yourself on internal flights sitting on planes with people nursing chickens. This is better than that. And with any luck, the seat next to me will be free. It's also very sweet that my mother insists I take the eggs back with me - because her chooks really do lay the best eggs - none of this alleged free-range business you buy in the supermarkets. These chooks have run of four acres of lawn and they wait on the verandah at night for my step-dad to go and put them to bed. 

It's been a lovely few days hanging out with the family. Today, after a trip to the gym, we found some lunch, had a drive around, mostly avoiding the large, seemingly peaceful and mostly daft demonstration outside of Parliament House (the air horns started up around 8 am). We went up to the Arboretum to have a look at the view. We went back to Queanbeyan for my cousin's 60th birthday party - and now I'm here - and the folks are going to have a quiet night before they start the long drive back to Adelaide. 

But I sit here, with my precious four eggs bestowed on me by my mother, wondering if I am the only person who has this sort of thing happen to them - whether it be eggs, jam or some other family treasure that must be taken home with you, back to distant shores, where you allegedly can't get these things.

Raw eggs - well yes, they're not as good as mum's chook's eggs, but still. Especially as there are a few demonstrators around the place, they might think I'm one of those anti-mandate, anti-vaxxer, anti-everything mob and I'm about to egg something on someone (where is Scomo when you need him?)

I find this one of the strange little juxtapositions of my life. 

They are calling my flight. 

Today's song:

Friday, February 11, 2022

Alpha and Omega

 The day started well. Mum's chooks delivered the most delightful yellow-yolked eggs scrambled over white bread toast. I always know that I am around family when the only bread available is Baker's Delight toast-sliced white bread. Dreadful stuff says she who has some gluten-free seedy bread in the freezer. I'm used to being questioned over my brick of almond milk sitting in the fridge, my decaffeinated coffee capsules. Everything about me screams "Melbourne Wanker." 

So be it. 

We got ready for the day. I slipped a pair of Pandora Tree of Life earrings in my ears. It felt fitting. We are born. We live. We eventually die. I am Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God. I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come - the Almighty One.  And yes, I can spout Revelations when I have to. I'm around my family. It's good to have a few of these things up your sleeve. The service is familiar, even if walking into a church makes me wonder if the place will erupt in flames of fall down around me. It seems that the church admits heathens now. I shouldn't have worried.

My mother's phone rang as we were getting ready. It was my cousin Jeannie asking if my mother could do something in the service. Mum obliged. Being on speaker, I had to ask, "So this is going to be all smells and bells today?"

"Yes, Dory."

I wouldn't expect anything else. Jeannie's husband is an Anglican priest. My family does High Anglican very, very well. My aunt would be pleased. Mind you, she was in the box out front of the church and really didn't have a say about anything, but I'm sure she would have been floating about today in her old place of worship taking away the love which was there as we celebrated her life. 

We arrived at the Church a little while later. It was good to be with the family. There was a lovely turnout to see my beloved aunt of to her next port of call, wherever that may be. 

My cousin's husband came out in his cassock. He was in charge of the smoking frankincense for part of the ceremony.

"Nice dress, mate." I told him. 

"It's one of my favorites," he replied. 

It's what you get when you send a heathen into a church. They know me well. Maybe it was wrong to recommend they watch Fleabag - that cassock shopping scene from the second series. Somehow I think they will love Fleabag. It will play well to their sense of humour. 

So we said goodbye to my dear old aunt in a way that she would have loved - even though I suspect she'd be a little overwhelmed by the fuss that was made. There is something comforting in the rites of the Anglican Church - the dousing with Holy Water, the tilt of the censer and it sprays its smoke around the place. The hymns which have been branded into my brain so that you can spout them out without thinking. (Damn you photographic memory).

Mum sat at the end of the pew. She whispered to me, "I don't want anything like this when I go," looking at the vestments and candles and religious paraphernalia in full flight.

"It's fine, Mum. You won't. But you should tell us what you want." Thankfully my mother is a very fit, active, sharp-minded 81-years-old. Hopefully we don't have to worry about this for a long while. We'll get her to commit on paper what she might like so there's no arguments at the time. 

Then it was over. My cousins walked my aunt down the aisle to the hearse, the fellow with the thurible walked in front of the hearse as it drove off, and she was on her way. This is the second time we've seen the coffin off down this road. It's what they do. It's a good thing to do. It completes the sense of an ending. Like seeing off a friend at the end of the night after a good party. 

I went back into the church after to sit and enjoy the peace for a bit, watch the angels in the architecture and to connect with the memory of the stones. All Saints, Ainslie used to be the receiving station for Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney - the end of the line. The huge arches would fit a train carriage which carried the departed as they made their way to their final resting place. I find all this quite fitting. It's a lovely church. 

Sitting in this quiet space, watching the angels in the architecture, taking in the last of the frankincense, looking through the stained glass, remembering the awesome vocal power of the Tenor Cantor who sang both Handel and Mendelsohn from the pulpit (he used to sing with my Uncle Pete in the choir) I felt a sense of peace. Can you ask for any more than that after a funeral?

After the wake, at which we, the cousins, all reconnected, I asked the folks to drop me off at the National Gallery of Australia. I had a hankering to see Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles again. And take in the Geoffrey Smart exhibition. And get a bit of time on my own. I'd walk the four kilometres back to the hotel after. That would be my exercise for the day. 

I got my hour and a half at the gallery, taking in the eclectic mix of indigenous art, with modern and experiment art, with High Australian standards like Drysdale, McCubbin, Nolan and Margaret Olley and the like. The Jeffrey Smart exhibition was excellent. There was a Francis Bacon triptych which held me in it's thrall, as only Francis Bacon can do. And I must make a point of stating that the National Gallery is full of images of vaginas - which seems apt for a town full of cunts. (I shouldn't be crass. Besides, you need warmth and depth to be one of those - most of the pollies around here lack those traits.)

And I got some time alone with Blue Poles - a  painting which caused such controversy when it was bought back in 1973. Gough Whitlam did the country a favour. I left as the gallery was closing, happy, replete and wanting to come back one day. 

The hour's walk back to the hotel was also needed. A good head clearer. Some time in the sun on a glorious summer's afternoon. Some thinking time. Time to shake off the day. Time to just be. Time to mentally judge the public servants in ill-fitting suits riding their bikes home in the barely there peak-ten-minute traffic. 

I don't know when I'll get back to Canberra. I've been coming here to see my aunt for many years - now she's gone, it may be a while before I return. I do like it here. I find it a strangely comforting

And now it's time for bed. Mum's asleep on the couch in front of Midsummer Murders. My stepdad is working on his sudoku. And I'm having a write. 

And all is right with the world. 

I will leave you with a song of the day which I would be perfectly happy to have played at my funeral. Maybe it's time we looked for some new modern standards for devotional music. This one stands the test of time. 

Today's song:

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Canberra bound

 I'm getting on a plane this afternoon for the first time in 23 months.

What used to be a monthly occurrence is now a special treat, not that going to Canberra for a funeral can be seen as that special. It will be the first time I've seen my folk in over a year - the last time I was home was in January last year when I had to drive over to collect my cat (and yes, I've driven a 1600 kilometre round trip over a long weekend to collect my second-hand cat after an extended stay with Nanny - my mother cried when he left - think she likes her adopted grandson).

The bag is packed. My handbag, which I haven't used for nearly two years is overflowing. I now carry a small canvas shopper containing my purse and phone that can be slung over my shoulder. It feels strange having a large handbag, complete with my travelling laptop, hair stuff, cables (oh so many cables) my mouse, sunglasses - all the things you need to go away, but do you really? Oh yes, there's extra N95 masks in there too - not that I'm really aware of what the mask rules are in the ACT and NSW (the wake is being held at a pub in Queanbeyan after the morning service). 

In the check in bag, of course there's my gym gear. I need that. And heels. I have to remember how to walk in heels and not look like a bad drag queen. And coffee pods - hoping that the coffee machine in the hotel takes the small round pods and not the flat ones. They never give you decaf pods for the coffee machines in hotels. 

My mother is wandering what food she should get in, a but worried about getting food in Canberra for some reason. They've driven over from Adelaide for this. Mum's packed eggs that her chooks have laid over the last few days. Proper eggs from happy chooks. Gotta love parents (I often go home with half a dozen eggs if I've driven over to Adelaide.)

The check in is done. I've just got a couple of small things to do for work and I will get going. 

Despite the fact I'm heading up for a funeral, I'm really looking forward to seeing the family again. The two days off feels like a bit of an extravagance considering my work is so bananas. I'm quite scared about what state my inbox will be in on Sunday, when yes, I will be working. 

The couple of days off will do me good. 

That's all I know. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Little Shit

The little shit is safely ensconsed in Blarney and Barney's bedroom. 

It took a bit to get him there. 

The little shit was under the bed sulking. I needed to get him out to Blarney and Barney's place, but no, he's under the bed, doing the cat equivalent of that, knowing I'm about to shove him in a cage to go who knows where. It took half an hour to get him out from under the bed. The little shit teased me. Came out, gave my knee a pat, then fled under the bed again. He did this twice before I finally caught him, shoved him in the cage and drove him, and his blanket, over to the other side of the Westgate Bridge, where he will be staying for a few days. 

I've tried to explain to him that Auntie Blarney and Uncle Barney just want to love him. 

I've told him that they are going through renos at the moment and there will be a bit of noise.

I've told him that the other cats wont hurt him - he's much bigger than Kylo and Rey Rey so he's the one that would do some damage. 

I've told him that I'm only gone for three days, and this is far better than a cat jail, or even worse, being home alone with the neighbour feeding him. 

But did he listen? No. He's a cat. And he's a little shit. 

We got him out of the cage when we arrived at Blarneys. 

He hissed at her when ever she came near. 

Well, he's stuck with them for the next three days. He's got his blanket. They've made a nest for him. We left him alone, had a chat then went back in and he was on the bed, so he's made himself comfortable. 

And I bit him goodbye and the little shit laid the biggest guilt trip on me - got out his headlight eyes as if to say, "You're leaving me here, you bitch."

And I fell for it. 

But it's only three days, and they will look after him well. 

I just feel very guilty. I now know what mother guilt is all about. 

Mind you, it makes a change not to feel guilty about hoovering the floors. Not having him about means he doesn't get fractious when I pull the bloody thing out. He gives me a guilt trip over that one too. Little shit. 

Seriously, cats. Who'd have 'em?

Today's song: 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Things to know about today

I'm technically still at work. 

It's 7.30 pm. 

It's okay. I've worked out I can slack off a bit in the afternoon and work a bit later and things get done far more quickly and far better when I'm not getting interrupted every fifteen minutes. 

Anyway, things to know about today. 

1)  I don't feel like writing. 

2)  Having six people beneath you at work really sucks. 

3)  I'm sad that I'll be taking Lucifer to Blarney and Barney's tomorrow night in preparation for me going to Canberra. 

4)  I'm still thinking about the movie I watched last night on SBS online. Something called Burning Man - Australian fare from a few years ago. It was great. Possibly greater from the inclusion of Matthew Goode's bum ('tis a very good bum, it is).

5)  Being up to your eyeballs in Hardship payment arrangements is not fun. I must have been a terrible person in a former life. 

6)  I need to call somebody who is helping us with the paperwork for the property association. 

7)  My sweet tooth is being a bastard at the moment. I want a Magnum - but I will resist. I've made do with a smooshed up lychee and passionfruit home made ice block. But I still want a Magnum. 

8)  I'm a bit bemused about my Aunt's funeral notice. All of my life, she was known as Auntie Marg. When she was 65, she went to get her birth certificate so she could get her passport. It was then she found out she was registered on her birth certificate as Marjorie, much to her chagrin. It seems grandpa stuffed up. Anyway, her memorial announcement comes out as Marjorie. 

She always answered the phone "Margaret speaking." Hmph. I think she would be turning in her ash pot (she's been cremated already - not liking the cold, the family thought it better than leaving her on ice until we got together for the funeral.)

9)  As much as I a looking forward to seeing my family and saying goodbye to my aunt on Friday, I'm scared about what my inbox is going to look like on Monday (or technically Sunday - I'll be working again. 

10)  MAFS?! Where do they find these people. 

That will do. 

Today's song: 

Monday, February 7, 2022

The Fear of the Drip

The latest COVID cock-block happened this weekend. 

My beloved hairdresser, Lee, cancelled on me because she is isolating due to both her children picking up COVID. Thankfully her kids are all but asymptomatic and she and husband are so far fine. 

But it means my hair didn't get the cut and colour it so badly needs. The cut and colour I was banking on to look respectable for my aunt's funeral on Friday. 

The cut and colour which would take the greys away - not that I have many greys, but the ones on the hairline get me down are there, sticking out like a pimple on a pumpkin.

And yes, I know I'm a vain cow and yes I know I'm trying to deny that I'm aging, but these are my foibles and I will own them. 

Anyway, I had a chat with Lee on the weekend as we rebooked my appointment for a fortnight's time. I asked about what I could do about those pesky grey's  - and she said to go into Hairhouse Warehouse and get some of that spray on colour which would do the job and make me feel a bit better about my hair in general. 

So I got some. It's easy to use. You don't need much of it, and thankfully, this is just for my temples. But still. 

I have a bit of a fear of this happening:

Thankfully I only need a little bit of this stuff to cover up these pesky greys. 

Let's hope it's not too hot in Canberra this weekend. 

And no, I'm not going to do the going grey elegantly thing - that's no going to work for me. Nope. I admire anybody who does that. Most of my mates who have embraced the grey look great - and they have a lot more grey hair than I do. And they have the contrast - darker hair than mine which looks great with the grey in there. If I let my hair go without colouring it would just look mousey and dirty. And though I have very little self-awareness when it comes to things like this, I am a Leo and I need to keep my mane in order. So, ner.

Anyway, if this is the biggest drama in my life at the moment, I am a very lucky woman. 

Today's song:

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Colbert's Questions

I do love me some Stephen Colbert, one of the great late night talk show hosts in America. I mean, he even loves the Violent Femmes, so he can't be bad - and these can't be bad questions. 

As usual, Bev at Sunday Stealing sourced the questions. 

 1. The Best sandwich

One of two. Give me a really good Reuben - like they do at Cafe D'Lish - Toasted rye bread, lots of pastrami, some sauerkraut, pickles, pink/Russian dressing - to die for! Then again, a good chicken schnitzel and coleslaw sandwich is great too. 

And yes, Hector's Deli's Mushie Melts are the absolute BOMB. 

Oh - and give me egg and mayonnaise, egg and lettuce or curried egg sandwiches any day. 

Or my friend Ruth's asparagus rolls - crustless white bread with a spear of tinned asparagus, mayonnaise and a bit of pepper - bliss. 

2.  Something you own that you really should throw out.

No so much throw out as sell on. I have a flute in my cupboard - have not played it in 30 years. It really should find a new loving home. 

3.  The scariest animal

Snakes - any snakes. They scare the hell out of me. 

4.  Apples or oranges


5.  Have you ever tried to get an autograph from someone?

No, I'm too shy for that. 

6.  What happens when you die?

Well first of all your body breaks down, you stop breathing, everything shuts off and somebody else has to clean up your mess. 

Oh, what happens with your soul? I subscribe to the Jewish/Hindu point of view that you're reabsorbed back into the ether only to come down again at some stage, whenever that may be. If you want to call the ether heaven, so be it. I like the thought of reincarnation. 

7.  Favorite Action movie

Okay, I like Bond films, but don't make me choose one. I love Marvel films, but don't make me choose just one. I like Tarantino, but which one? I love most of the Star Wars films - but again, don't make me say which one. 

So my favourite action films are:

  • Die Hard
  • V is for Vendetta
  • Fight Club

8.  Window or Aisle?

Window for the most part. Depends on where I am on the plane or if I'm in a rush. 

9.  Favorite smell

Dogs paws first thing in the morning. 

10.  Your most popular app on your phone.

Probably Instagram or Facebook, but there are a couple of games which get a bashing regularly. Oh, and the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) app - I live in Melbourne. If you don't like the weather, wait half an hour. It keeps you ahead of the curve. 

11.  Least favorite smell.

One of the following: 

  • Corned beef cooking
  • Vomit
  • Obsession perfume (Gets right up my nose)
  • Urine soaked bums (and I know they can't help it but their stench is woeful)

12.  Cats or dogs?

Both - love them all. 

13.  If you can only listen to one song over and over for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This: (The Pixies, Where is my Mind)

14.  What number am I thinking of? (I will answer honestly)


15.  The rest of your life in 5 words.

  • Loved
  • Happy
  • Surprising
  • Fun
  • Exciting
Well, we can wish. ...

The Long Walk Home

 I walked home from town today, in the glorious sunshine. Against my better judgement I took the tram into town so I could get my eyebrows sorted. Thankfully there were only a handful of people on the tram and a N95 mask was firmly attached to my face. 

At Myer, I was transformed from a John Howard lookalike to my normal self, thanks to the Benefit Brow Bar  - I can't recommend them highly enough, even though I still can remember when or why eyebrows became such a thing. But they are important. 

I was also mortified a few minutes later when I went to buy some face soap at the Clinique counter. MORTIFIED. I've been using their ultra mild facial soap for many years - and now they bloody gone and discontinued it. MORTIFIED I am! I hate when that happens - your favourite brands no longer being available (think Stella McCartney perfume, Poppy lipstick, Benefit Roller Eyeliner...). I'll try their liquid soap, but I'm still not impressed. 

Being such a nice day, I decided to walk home through town. 

The place has changed. It's not as busy. A lot of shops which used to be open on the weekend. Target has gone in the city. Like really gone. There's a Kmart where Target used to be. It's not the same. 

Some of the old restaurants are gone, but many remain. My old favourite haunt, China Red is still there. The Nitrogen bar gone. The Paramount Shopping Centre at the top of Bourke Street, that beacon of chintz near the Elephant and Wheelbarrow looked very sad indeed. If anything, that strange patch of Bourke Street feels even weirder. 

I got to the corner of Spring Street where a group of a couple of hundred protesters stood waiting to go on a march. Dickheads. I'm not sure what they were protesting, but it feels like waste of police time and money. It was a hotch potch group of conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, Dan Haters and people touting the Eureka flag. Go figure. 

I stopped at the the Grocer on Spring Street for a coffee - and was delighted to see that they still have their pistachio and cardamom ice cream on the ice cream board - that stuff is phenomenal.

And then down Albert Street. Something told me to go into St Patrick's cathedral, just on a whim. The pandemic has taken away our sacred spaces. On walking in, the security guard said they were closing in ten minutes. I didn't need much more time than that, and I pretty much got the place to myself. It's been years since I've been in there. It's a newer cathedral, it doesn't have the history of the English ones I used to frequent. Touching the nave columns, I couldn't feel the reverberation of prayers in the aging stone. If anything, all I could feel was sadness. I persisted. I did a lap of the place, just enjoying the solitude, and wishing, without hope, that I was in a more ancient place. I know that the cathedral is on sacred ground of sorts, but the feelings were different.

And then I walked the three kilometers home. Happy for the day out. Pleased for the sunshine. Grateful for doing something that was once so normal. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Movie Review: Belfast

Movie Number 7 of 2022.

Movie: Belfast

The Cinema: Village Cinemas  Rivoli, Camberwell. 

Stars: 5

First up, I have to say up front that I've been a Kenneth Branagh fan for over 30 years. Love him to death, always have, always will. He's one of my favourite actors and directors. And yes, even if he is a lovey, I hold him very dear. Belfast is his passion project. 

It is fantastic. 

I would be saying this even if it wasn't a Ken Branagh film. 

It's just wonderful. 

Mirroring Branagh's own life, growing up on the streets of Belfast in the late sixties when "The Troubles" began, this is the simple story of Buddy (Jude Hill), a kid who loves his family, football and getting into the odd bit of trouble as little kids like to do. He loves his mum (Catriona Balfe of Outlander fame) and his dad (Jamie Dornan, using his own accent for a change) who spends a lot of time working in England,  and his Grandma (Judi Dench) and his Grandpa (Keiran Hinds) and doesn't really understand what all this trouble is about, until it all gets a bit close and the tensions land in his street, the barricades go up and the family are in the thick of it. 

The film takes place over the six month period from when The Troubles land on the doorstep until the family make the move to England in the early part of 1970 to a safer life free from Molotov cocktails, barbed wire and the insidious nature of religious persecution.

There is so much good in this film. The performances are all first rate. Jude Hill carries the film as Buddy, the little kid trying to make sense of all that's going on around him. He can't understand why the Catholics are so bad - the street he's lived on, everybody got on well, even if the Catholics have some strange rituals (and they appear to have more fun than they do in the local Protestant Church where it's all fire and brimstone). 

Dad just tries to keep out of it all with a great deal of difficulty while wanting to protect his family. Mum tries to hang on to the life that was, as the inevitable becomes more apparent. There are threats from the local standover men, as well as family tragedies. There are also some wonderfully funny moments in this as well - mostly around some of Buddy's antics.

Filmed, for the most part in black and white, this helps to give a more nostalgic feel - and Branagh has always worked well in black and white (In the Bleak Midwinter also known as A Midwinter's Tale is one of my favourite Christmas movies ever - even if it is about Hamlet). It's also makes the back streets of the Belfast suburbs intrinsically beautiful, in a scary, harsh fortified way. 

The music is 90% Van Morrison - again, something to relish and love. 

The direction is seemless too. Charming, funny in place, incredibly tense and frightening in others, beautifully moving in others. 

Okay, I've stated by Branagh bias, but this is a most excellent film, it deserves all of the Oscar talk. It's just wonderful. 

I'll be seeing it again. 

Today's song:

Thursday, February 3, 2022

The Shopping List

 I have had the the same four items on my shopping list for the last two weeks. 

  • Toilet paper (and kitchen towel)
  • Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • Celery sticks
  • Tea Tree Oil
For the last two weeks, each time I've passed by the supermarket these items have not been on the shelves. It's annoying - and quite disturbing how priveleged we've become. It's also strange to see what is left on the shelves and what is missing. 

Of the list, only the bog roll was getting to be on the urgent side of things. Last weekend I gained a spare roll from Blarney to tide me over until I could get more. I've also been a bit pissed off because I can't find MY loo paper - the unbleached, recycled eco stuff that sometimes has green frogs on it. I don't like the shiny white, bleached, triple ply stuff. The bleach makes my bits sting. No thank you. 

So tonight, getting to the end of my tether, wondering if I'd have to move a tissue box into the toilet, I went online to and bought 24 rolls. I'll find a place for some of them in the spare room. I wont have to buy loo paper for the rest of the year. And my conscience is clear because it's recycled. I also found 12 generic rolls at the shop tonight - as there is a good chance this other lot won't turn up for two weeks or so. 

The Kewpie mayo is something that always appears to be in stock in other times, but these pandemic times be strange. Maybe everybody is getting into poke bowls and sushi. Regardless, the local Coles has been out of it for weeks. I found some there tonight. I bought two bottles if it. I love me some poke bowls. 

Celery sticks is another thing I wish I could get. The pandemic appears to have got Coles processing plant out of whack. I don't want a whole head of celery. I just want a few sticks so I can have them for afternoon tea with a little bit of peanut paste (peanut butter). I like the pre-cut packs. But they haven't been around for weeks. Yes, I could cut my own from a head of celery, but I don't want that much. It all gets horrid and I end out chucking it out, and I hate food waste. 

And the tea tree oil? Good for ingrown toenails. Again - none on the shelves. 

It's all seemingly random what you can and can't find at the moment. Looking at this list, I know it reeks of a first world problem. Like what did people do for loo paper before loo paper was invented. 


Today's song: 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Things that make me happy: The Shakespearean Insult calendar

 Things that make me smile include the news that Scott Morrison got called out for being a "horrible, horrible person," (Like we didn't know that...).

And I really enjoy doing the Wordle puzzle at a minute past midnight - as this is the last thing I do before I turn out the light to go to sleep. Love today's word, just love it. 

The thing I like doing most in the morning is turning over the page on my Shakespearean Insult calendar. Jonella got me this for Christmas, and it sparks much joy. 

As a Shakespeare boffin, this tickles my Bard bone. He has such a way with words. 

And there are times where you wish, and hope that you can work into a conversation. 

You really, really want to work it into a conversation. 

Please can I work this into a conversation. Please.....

Today's song: 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Return of MAFS

 Thank goodness I say too. Hooray. MAFS (Married at First Sight) is back on the telly - and I have something to look forward to in the evenings. 

Yes. My life is that sad. 

But if you looked at my work calender and been through the days I've been having - most hours taken up with training or meetings, plas putting out fires... and today, I was in the office - got in about 7.45 am, left at 5.45 pm, didn't get a proper lunch break - heated up something in the microwave and ate it at my desk while I was tuned into a meeting - then trained up two team members...among other things.

And tomorrow looks just as hideous. Back to back meetings all day. At least I'm working from home so I don't have to drive in. gives me another 20 minutes back in my day. 

So I'm going to watch MAFS if I want to. It's mindless drivel. It's train wreck telly. Just what I need and about all I can absorb. 

And my team can pay me out in the stand up at  9 am.

So I'm watching MAFS, while doing the ironing. And going into the bedroom to give the cat a kiss on the head every half an hour. 

It's about all I'm capable of doing at the moment. 

Today's song: