Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunday Stealing: The Friday 5

 Another Sunday, another Sunday's worth of questions, supplied, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing. 

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

One defining moment was back when I was at university. It was recommended that I went in for counselling. I didn't . Not that I was ready to hear it at the time, but it might have got me on my journey a hell of a lot quicker. 

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'd get my younger self, sit her down and have her repeat daily - maybe a few times a day, "You are kind, you are smart and you are important." Again, working on the negative-self talk early may have helped me along the way eariler.

3) Would you be any good on Survivor?

No, I'd be crap on Survivor. I love my running water, I'm not overly agile (fit and strong, but not agile) but I am pretty crafty. Unfortunately my first two failings would completely stifle the fact I can out-think a lot of people. 

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

Wear your seatbelt when you're in the car. It's pretty much been ingrained in my brain since I was a young child, but I could never drive in Australia without a seatbelt. India and Greece not so much. 

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?

It's my job to bring sweets, if I'm not asked to make a salad (Rocket (arugula), pear, cranberries, feta, walnut and balsamic vinegar is the go to.) I make a cracking tiramisu and my chocolate cake is renown. 

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

Not enough. As it's the middle of winter, I'm not getting out as much as I'd like, but I'm trying to go out for a half hour walk each day. 

8) Where do you set your thermostat?

My split system heating is set to 20 degrees (celcius) which does the job nicely. 

9) How did you learn to swim?

I learned to swim when I was five-years-old at Mrs Brown' swimming pool. Mrs Brown took swimming lessons there. Allegedly, Mrs Brown had swum the English Channel when she was younger. They were the only swimming lessons I ever had, but she did a good job with them. I love swimming. 

10) How do you avoid overheating?

Like most people, I take off my clothes, drink cold drinks and crank up the airconditioning. 

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

The weekend is almost over. Yesterday I donated blood and went for a Trivia night. Our team won the night - came away with a $25 voucher and bragging rights. Today I went to the gym, had a mason's meeting and now I'm about to go off and see Blarney, once the cat is fed. 

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

Reading, writing, swimming, seeing film or theatre or hanging out with friends. 

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

My cat, Lucifer, is pretty useless, but I love him to bits and would never get rid of him. He's the best cat. But he is useless. 

14) Have you started planning your next vacation?

I'm always planning my next trip in my head. I've only got small trips planned at the moment, but I was talking to a friend last night - maybe Japan... or a few weeks in Europe next year. My new passport came in the mail on Friday, so at least I'm free to travel now. 

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 generally pretty active. I need to keep active as it keeps the depression at bay. 

Today's song:

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Donation

 I wasn't expecting to feel so emotional after donating blood for the first time in nearly 22 years. 

Emotional, hopeful and rather proud of myself for doing this as soon as I could after the mad cow ban was lifted.

For 22 years I've had to give my apologies when the blood drives happened at work. "Sorry, I'm a mad cow," was my normal response. 

I ached when my niece was diagnosed with leukaemia. She had numerous transfusions. I couldn't help stock the blood banks. I wasn't allowed to be tested to see if I could give blood to see if I could give her stem cells. It's not that I didn't want to, but the TGA deemed me to be a mad cow. 

So today, I gave blood. 

The blood bank was decked out in Union Jacks in celebration. It appears there are a lot of people like me out there who have missed doing this critical act of public service. if I'm honest, it's my only true act of civil service. And it feels like such a small thing. And an act of good karma. You give, you get back. Simples. 

There was a bit of waiting around. The blood bank is busy on Saturdays. Also, with the mad cow ban being lifted there were a lot of people my age group sitting waiting around. 

The donation itself took all of about eight minutes. 

The staff at the blood bank are fantastic. Thorough, caring and knowledgeable. 

As somebody with shy veins, my phlebotanist took the time to make this as comfortable as it could be. To be honest, the finger prick to check your haemoglobin hurts more than the needle and the blood draw. 

Then eight minutes later. It was over. 

A sit down, a juice box and some biscuits and it was back out to Collins Street to catch the tram home.

I'm still feeling a bit emotional about this all. 

It feels good to give something back, knowing that I'm helping somebody in a time of need. 

I'm glad I can do this again. 

Donate if you can.

In loving memory of Lauren Goodwin (1999-2015). I'll keep doing this in your memory, Loll. 

Today's song: 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Movie Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

 Movie Number 29 of 2022

Movie: Where the Crawdads Sing

Theatre: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3 and a little bit. 

Confession number one. I didn't really rate Delia Owens' book, Where the Crawdads Sing when we read it in book group. There were a number of things that grated on me, just didn't ring true, although I know many people who loved it. 

So why go see the film? I was curious about the hype. I'm also a fan of David Strathairn and will watch him in pretty much anything he puts out (He was glorious in Nomadland, and then there's Good Night, and Good Luck. He's an actor's actor.) Plus, it's Friday night. I like getting out for a bit on Friday night. 

So, what's this about?

Kya Clark (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a.k.a. The Marsh Girl, is basically abandoned by her family and then the town in the South Carolina marshes on which she lives. Over they years she's kept in grits and matches by Jumpin' and his wife (Sterling Macer Jr. and Michael Hyatt) where young Kya trades freshly caught mussels for goods. She is ostracised by the local town, dodges social services and lives a hermit's life in the marsh (Don't call it a swamp). 

But there are some saving graces. She befriends Tate (Taylor John-Smith) who teaches her to read and write, but their burgeoning romance is cut short when he goes off to collage. She also catches the eye of the local entitled rich boy (Harris Dickinson) who sleazes his way into her life. 

When scuzzbucket turns up dead, it is up to retired lawyer and all round good guy, Tom Milton (David Strathairn - like who else would you want representing you?) to help get her out of a death penalty. 

So, what's good about the film? 

It's pretty to watch. Filmed on the Louisiana Bayou, the scenery and setting are fabulous and shows the Deep South with great effect. 

The performances are all solid. Daisy Edgar-Jones is incandescent, but that's her job. The rest of the players give respectable performances. 

Olivia Newman's direction is good enough, though it's nothing we haven't seem before. The film moves at a decent pace and is very true to the book. Hello Sunshine, Reece Witherspoon's production company have backed a winner. They know it. This will draw in the book group crowd. 

Lucy Alibar's script probably could have been better. Considering she was responsible for the incredible Beasts of the Southern Wilds, this film is a bit of a let down. In places I found the script lacklustre at best. There's nothing new here. 

And of course, there's the much hyped song that was penned and performed by Taylor Swift. Big woops. 

Interestingly, RottenTomatoes is split on this one. The critics have almost universally panned it, but audiences love it. I'm going more with the critics on this one. Although technically there's nothing wrong with this, I found it a little lacklustre - but then again, I didn't love the book. Those who did will probably feel the same about the film.

Personally, I say read the book over seeing the film. You'll get more out of it. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, July 28, 2022


 Confession time. 

I have barely written any fiction for well over six months. And I've been berating myself for this. 

I want to write a book - I've always wanted to write a book. 

And the last six months have been hard - torturous in some ways, what with work being as it was - 6 days a week, sixty hours a week - there was no time. 

Well, I think I'm ready to get started again. 

I know, some of you would say that this blog is fiction. I'm rather proud of myself that I get a post out every day. I know it's crap. It's now a fully entrenched part of my process. My fingers turn over every day. I know it's crap. But I'm writing. 

Now, now that I have a job which takes up normal  hours and isn't currenly endentured with massive egos and mega-stress, means I have some time, and emotional capacity to actually write something of note. 

For the last eons, I've been berating myself for getting nothing published. I've not had a short story published in years. I haven't written a short story in years. 

Yet on the good side of things, I feel like I'm about to return. With a vengeance.

I've got Catherine Deveny's voice running through my head. Get in a daily practice. Write for 10/15/20 minutes a day on your project. Write in the gaps. If you're not pissing get off the pot... all of her wonderful arse-kicking tid bits. 

My sparkly pink gumboots (which used to belong to Dev, now mine) and the big scarf that I just finished knitting - these will make up my writing garb. My alarm is set for 6.50. I plan to write between 7.15 and 7.30 am each day.

Writing is like a muscles - if you don't exercise them, they wither. (Another Dev-ism - also a reason I write this blog daily - good my my self-worth, even if it is crap).

It's time. It's time I became a completer, a novelist, not just a writer.

It's time. 

Today's song: 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Tickets on the Fridge

 My fridge door is a testament to my life. There's lots of magnets on the door, a lot of them arty, some of them sassy, some of the gorgeous, some of them gifts. 

There's also one which I bought at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art which allows for pieces of paper to be easily kept beneath it. Under this magnet, I found these old tickets. 

I love keeping ticket stubs. They are like a paper proof you've had a life. 

But these four tickets have a lot of meaning. 

The most recent one is that of the MTC's performance of The Heartbreak Choir. Aiden Fennessy was a superlative playwright who passed away too soon. I used to keep a ticket from this play, The Architect in my old wallet. Unfortunately that went when my handbag, complete with my phone and wallet, was stolen, but this ticket is it's replacment.  I think about both plays a lot, particularly The Architect. Brilliant plays. A brilliant playwright taken too soon. 

The next ticket which sits on the fridge is my MONA entry ticket, dated five years ago. I'd gone down to Hobart to see my cousin and to visit this most amazing gallery. I was supposed to be going with my cousin, but on that day, she had to babysit her grandkids, so I went alone. I had an awesome time. That my cousin still hasn't been to MONA is a travesty - that she lives a mile away from this illustrious gallery even more so. And strangely, I'm heading off to Hobart in September, almost five years to the day, to try again to take my cousin to MONA. As she lives in Tassie she gets in for free. I'll have to pay. I don't care - it's an incredible place, even if you don't like art. It's worth the price of the ticket to see the architecture. 

Then there's the eponymous ticket to see The Pixies at Festering Hall. I remember it being a hot night and this, my favourite band played their second best album, Doolittle, end to end, with some stalwards from Bossanova and Surfer Rosa at the end for good measure - because it isn't a Pixies concert if they don't sing "Where is my Mind". I remember going with Alice and Dougall. I met up with another friend and her partner on the tram on the way back. I could barely speak from screaming. Another strange thing, I'm seeing The Pixies in Sydney and at the Forum in December. I'm over the moon. The only difference is that Paz Lechantin has replaced Kim Deal as the bassist. She's great - but she's not Kim. Ah well. La la love you...

And the oldest ticket of the lot is the Jeff Beck concert from 2009. I remember going with a friend, who introduced me to Jeff Beck. When I once questioned him about what song reminded him of me, he instantly said "Jeff Beck's Brush with the Blues". It was another hot night, and after smoking a spliff on St Kilda beach, we went into the Palais and were royally entertained. The night introduced me to Tal Wilkenfeld, an extraordinary Australian bassist. It was also the night where I disappeared into ether wtih the music. It was an out of body experience - and not because of the weed. It went to the transformative nature of Beck's guitar playing. I just remember it being one of my favourite concerts. 

I look at these tickets and I think of the mementoes I'm missing out on. Sure, I collect fridge magnets from galleries, but I'm not a fan of concert merch. And plays generally don't give you little things to remember them by. Programmes just sit around in a box until you throw them out. But ticket stubs are the perfect size and shape to keep. You don't get to keep tickets on your email. Your phone doesn't get the same sweat and beer stains on them. It's not a physical representation of your night out. 

Of tickets I wish I still had in my possession: 

  • David Byrne at the Bristol Academy in 1992. 
  • David Byrne's American Utopia tour (but that might be found on the microwave. I didn't want to throw that paper out - I wouldn't have thrown it out)
  • A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London in 1992 - Ned Beatty, Brendon Frazer and Frances O'Connor in London's West End. Superlative theater. 
  • Jason Mraz and Billy Bragg at the Prince of Wales. 
  • Hunters and Collectors at the Tivoli in Adelaide in 1988. 
  • The MTC's most wonderful Richard III back around 2010 - that was incredible. Paid top dollar for a late ticket. I've subscribed to the MTC ever since. 
  • And of course, my wonderful ticket for The Architect from 2018. 

I like the little things. As I said before, ticket stubs are a proof you've had a life. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Give Blood. Save Lives

My mother used to take me with her to the blood bank when I was a child. I remember this well. The blood bank used to be upstairs in a building on North Terrace. We used to make an afternoon of it, going shopping in the newly opened Rundle Mall, with a visit to the David Jones cafe for lunch where she would always have a cappucino and a slice of almond torte. Giving blood was always a normal thing to do for me. The blood bank also did great milkshakes in tin cups (the only way milkshakes should be made) and sausage rolls from memory, for those that gave blood. 

Mum always explained it that it was a good thing to do. The rationale was that you might need blood one day, and this was your way of paying it forward - and hopefully somebody will have given you the pint of blood you may need if and when you need it. 

Then, of course, my father had a couple of open heart surgeries in the seventies. Heaven knows how much blood they went through during those operations.

So giving blood has always felt like something you do to keep your karma up - and pay back the universe. 

When I reached 18-years-old, I started donating blood regularly, having to take a break after I got glandular fever when I was at university. 

Then I went to England. I wasn't allowed to donate blood over there becuase I'd had an African boyfriend - the fact he was a white South African who lived in London now didn't matter. I was procluded. 

When I got back to Australia in 1999, I donating blood again. Partly for the decent milkshakes in tin cups, partly becuase it's what you do. 

About a year later they announced that they were banning people who had lived in Britain betweent 1980 and 1996 for more than six months from donating blood. We were deemed as a risk for people getting CJD - Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - known as Mad Cow disease. Not knowing the effect our blood would have on others, we were instantly banned from giving blood.

I remember going with a friend to donate blood the day before the ban came into place. 

That was 20 December 2000.

And from that time, I've felt personally victimised by the blood bank. 

I felt awful about this when my niece was diagnosed with leukaemia. Because of my mad cow status, I couldn't give blood to help stem the flow after she went through transfusion after transfusion. I wasn't allowed to offer up my blood to see if I could be a stem cell donor, not that I probably would have been a match, but it would have been good to at least be tested. 

I've felt bad about the fact I haven't been able to donate over the last 21 years. It was my one community service activity and I did this with pride. 

Well, as of yesterday, I'm allowed to donate blood again. 

I'm booked in to go on Saturday. They only need three days break between the time the COVID vaccination and the donation. They have cleared me from the surgeries of a few months ago. I'm good to go. 

And my friend who came with me all those years ago - I'm hoping she's coming with me - because she's no longer a mad cow, and for similar reasons, she likes the fact she can donate again. We've talked about it already. 

I had to call the blood bank to ask about my status becuase of the surgery. The woman on the other end of the phone was lovely. Helpful. And she said there had been an influx of people like myself, who after 21 years in the wilderness, were very happy to stick out an arm and have a vein drained. 

It's a good thing. It's not a little thing. It saves lives. And they love my garden variety O+ blood as much as anybody elses. They love everybody equally. 

And when it gets used, I'll then receive a text saying what , and where, the blood was used. 

I don't feel victimised by the blood bank any more. The natural way of things has been restored. 

Donate blood, if you can. It's a good thing. 

Go to for more details. 

Today's song: 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Four Shots Down

 I had my fourth COVID vaccination today, some seven months after the last one. 

I booked in for a Moderna shot at the local pharmacy. I got there early, the pharmacist saw me immediately and it was all over in five minutes. Easy. Basically painless. 

As I haven't had COVID yet, I got called a unicorn - it seems we who haven't had this horrid disease are a rare breed. I just say I hope it stays like that. From friends who have had a bad dose of it to one or two who have long COVID to people like my Mum, who had it and just had the sniffles - I just don't want it and I'm doing everything in my power not to get it. Yes, I'm the person wearing the N95 mask at the supermarket and in the cinema. 

Anyway, eight hours on and one rather intense gym session later, I have a sore left arm and I'm feeling a bit squiffy. Not so horrible that I feel ill - I'm just a bit out of sorts. My face feels flushed and I'm happier lying down. I hope this is the end of the reaction to the bloody thing. 

So with that, I'm going to take myself off to bed now sleep this off - hoping that all will be fine in the morning. 

Anecdotally, from my similarly aged workmates, this one shot might have a bit of a kick to it. Jay thinks I'm talking bollocks, but I only know what I've been told (and what the pharmacist told me - expect the worse and hope for the best. A couple of panadol and lots of water and rest). 

We'll see. 

Night night. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Hodgepodge

 Another Sunday afternoon doing the ironing and getting some knitting done. It's was a cold, wet day here yesterday here, but today was wonderful. And now I'm getting this done. 

Questions, as always, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What's something you've recently accomplished solo

I pretty much live my life alone - I live alone (okay, with a cat, but he doesn't count), I got a new job, alone - I pretty much do everything solo, so this is just run of the mill for me. 

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails?

I've got a list of things I use which I wouldn't trade. Bega Super Crunchy Peanut butter comes to mind - nothing else tastes the same.

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

Yes. right here. I'm pretty good where I am now. 

4.  Worst movie you ever saw?

This might be a bit contentious, but I really didn't like Sin City. I walked out on it even though it had Clive Owen in it. King Arthur, another Clive Owen film, was pretty awful too. And I really didn't like Morbius, a created of Marvel's which came out last year. That was pretty terrible. 

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

I saw a film yesterday. Fun enough for you? Went to the gym this morning and did a pretty good workout. That was fun too. 

6. What's your favorite Italian dish?

Probably tiramisu. As for pasta sauce, I really like Arrabiata - a spicy tomoto based sauce which is full of peppers. It's lovely. 

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see?

I've been to Paris  - twice. Some would argue that going to Paris is not really going to France. And I would love to see a lot more of France. Particularly Chartres, Lyon, Marseille and down around the Pyranees. Oh yes, and I'd love to go to Brittany and visit Mont St Michel. It's been a long held wish of mine since I studied French in school. 

8. Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip?

Never been to any Disneyland - not in the States, nor in France (EuroDisney) nor the one in Hong Kong, though I'm interested in how long the Chinese will allow that one to stay open. If given a ticket I'd go along willingly. 

I enjoy Disney, but don't watch it often, though I did recently like Encanto. I do stream the Disney Channel and I have a subscription I share with Blarney's boys. 

9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse?

Strangely, if I want a bit of piece and quiet around town, I'll often go sit in a church. I'm more the church mouse type, but I'm open to opinions. 

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread?

I don' bake my own break - I did when I was a teenager and it always came out like house bricks. I love a good sourdough bread. There are a lot of artisan bakers around the place here, why would you bake your own?

11. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread'?

Bahn Mi - Vietnamese filled rolls - you take a crusty, fresh white roll, give it a lick of butter and some pate, then fill it with pickled vegetables and barbequed pork or chicken. Then, top it with some coriander (cilantro) and fresh red chilli and a lick of hoi sin sauce. AMAZING. Better than sliced bread. 

12.  Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T.

  • The sunshine
  • The fact my washing dried mostly on the line
  • The fact I made it to the gym and did some cardio
  • That my cat gave me a nice purry cuddle this morning
  • And that my food shopping is all done for the week.
The and that start with T. 

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

I was in Adelaide and I was miserable working in the sub-basement of a department store and finishing off my degree during my lunchtimes. It wasn't fun. 

14. What's on the menu at your house this week?

Of the ingredients I bought this week, there will be a lot of pumpkin curry and brown rice eaten and home made pizzas on pitta bread. Well that is the plan. 

15.Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons?

Coupons aren't a big thing here in Australia, although I am a member of this group called which gives you money back on purchases. I've got nearly $80 cash back this year. An old colleague put me onto it. Great website. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Movie Review: Falling for Figaro

 Movie Number 28 of 2022

The Movie: Falling for Figaro

The Cinema: Village Cinemas Rivoli

Stars: 3.5

Regular readers know that I will go to every English film I can get my hands on, and I was looking forward to this one for a while. It looked cute. It was cute. It was also just what was needed for a wet Saturday morning when there is very little on over the weekend. Call it a lovely diversion. 

There's something comforting about an English RomCom too and Falling for Figaro has all of these features. Set in the country: check. A fish out of water: check. A grumpy leading man with a heart of gold: check. Great scenery: check. Eccentric locals: check. The one has the added appeal that opera provides. Yep, opera.

So what is this about?

Millie (Australian actor, Danielle Macdonald) is a fund manager with a dream. She wants to be an opera singer. Rather than taking a promotion, Millie jacks in her job and goes to the Scottish Highlands to study with Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop, an obstreperous hermit of an opera teacher who's allegedly can whip the novice Millie into shape. Meghan is played with aplomb by Joanna Lumley, who's really just doing another Patsy from Ab Fab, just without the Stolichnaya and the Bollinger to hand. 

As the village is a one-horse town, Millie stays at the local pub, the Filthy Pig, where she meets up with Max (Hugh Skinner, or Fleabag fame) , the town's odd job man, pub chef and Meghan's other pupil. 

Of course, this puts Max and Millie at odds with each other, with the requisite mutual attraction as they both prepare for the Singer of Renown competition, which is where the film finishes. 

Included in this is the also required snarky boyfriend Charlie, who sees Millie's dream as a folly, as wel as the eccentric locals, lead by Gary Lewis, in a kilt, as the local publican, Ramsay. 

This is a fluffy piece, but very watchable. Not only the is the setting of the Scottish Highlands, complete with herry coos divine, but the opera, and the processes opera singers go through is fun to watch. Of course, training to be an opera singer takes years - but this is a fluffy Rom Com and you can do anything here. Australian director Ben Lewin does an evenhanded job of this. 

Okay, as English films go, this isn't British cinema at its best, but it is a lovely diversion, with wonderful music and it was a great way to pass a Saturday afternoon. 

Take your Mum. She'll love it. 

Today's song: 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Movie Review: Thor: Love and Thunder

 Movie Number 27 of 2022

Movie: Thor: Love and Thunder

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.5

I'm really conflicted about reviewing this film. Half of me loved it, the other half wasn't that engaged. And though there is more good than bad, and it did redeem itself in the end, there's elements which grated on me - which is unusual for a Marvel film. 

So, the plot, according to, goes like ths:

"Thor: Love and Thunder finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he's ever faced -- a quest for inner peace. But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who -- to Thor's surprise -- inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher's vengeance and stop him before it's too late."

Sounds a bit silly?

It is.

So, the good bits about this: 

  • Christian Bale is a great baddie. Soulfull and sadistic. But he's always great. 
  • Chris Hemsworth is the old Thor of Ragnarok - and Taika Waititi's direction gives more of the same - maybe a little too much of his humour - the point gets laboured a bit.
  • The effects are great. 
  • You get to see Chris Hemsworh's unpixilated bum. Never a bad thing. 
  • It was great seeing the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy involved in the first 15 minutes of the film - I've missed them. 
  • There's also a couple of cameos which will have you chuckling. But I won't say anything more on this. 
  • If you're up on your MCU, you'll be up with most of the jokes. 
  • There's some really nice easter eggs within the film.
  • I liked Natalie Portman's comeback to the MCU - and sod the detractors who said that her CGU enhanced body isn't in the spirit of the piece. She's great. Enhanced or not, she played her part well.
  • And I cried at the end. 
But this was a movie of two halves. The first half grated on me - I found it slow with jokes that were even slower getting off the ground. The second half is where the bulk of the action takes place and I really enjoyed that. 

Oh, the other two great things about this. Russell Crowe as Zeus, complete with a Con the Fruiterer accent. He was hysterical. 

And Hercules. Hercules is only in the movie in the first trailer for a couple of seconds, but that was enough to have my doing a fist pump. You can look up more on that spoiler on the interwebs, but its inculsion made my night. 

The soundtrack is almost exclusively made up of Guns 'n' Roses tracks, which fits with the spirit of the film. 

I also love any movie where it looks like the cast are having a ball. Here, you know they're having fun. 

Yet I'm still marking it down for the slow start and the laboured jokes. I'm also not sure how you'd go if you're not up with your Marvel Comic Universe characters as there are many, many in jokes. 

I'm also going to really look forward to the next installment of Thor when it looks like he'll be up againt Hercules. Hercules will be worth the ticket price alone. 

Although this isn't my favourite Marvel movie, it still rates, and I'll continue to go to Marvel movies because they're great entertainment - even if this next generation isn't quite as solid as it's predecessors. 

Also, seeing who's playing Hercules in the next film - which I only found out about in the cinema - well that was the best bit of all. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Discovery: Butterscotch Tim Tams

 I'm struggling to find things to write about at the moment, although I am getting back into my novel - which is a very good thing. And I'm doing a lot of knitting. 

But my discovery for the week is ButterScotch Tim Tams. 

I don't buy Tim Tams very often (think Penguin biscuits if you're in England). Tim Tams are dangerous. If I buy a pack, they tend to get inhaled very quickly - within a day. They are too moreish. I'm also a fan of the plain or white ones - that's about it. You don't mess too much with what is good.

That was, until I discovered these babies.

Oh, Mama!

See, butterscotch is one of my favourite things. It reminds me of my grandfather, who used to feed me butterscotch lollies as a kid. I'll go the dessert with butterscotch sauce over most other things. Werther's Originals lollies make me happy.

And now there are Butterscotch Tim Tams.


In my defence, I did well with these. The packet lasted me three days. 

They're great. Not too sweet, nice and butterscotchy - taking me back and serving my sweet tooth.

I hope they stay around, unlike the Chocolate Chilli and the white chocolate and coconut flavoured ones, which were special editions. 

There's also a Murray River Salted Caramel flavoured one out too - and I wonder if this is a nod to the desalination attempts of our major waterway, or just a groovy name for another salted caramel product. 

But there you go - the things you find in the supermarket. 

I'm off to the gym to work these bad boys off my thighs.

Today's song

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Notes from a cold morning

 Waking this morning, I found my companion was nowhere to be found. Lucifer normally spends the night sleeping between my knees. Late in the evening he came up to me with a quizzical look. I held up the quilt, indicating if he wanted to get under the covers he could - but no. A bit later, after I'd turned off the light and turned onto my stomach, he made his normal nest between my knees.

I woke at 6 a.m. to no cat. He'd decided to camp out on the couch, in the cold lounge room. 


I thought cats liked to seek out the warmth. 

Despite the cat being a bit of a prick, and the fact it was one degree celcius when I woke, it looked amazing outside. 

The sky was as clear as I've ever seen it. I've never noticed the steam coming out of the brewery chimneys before. 

And sure it was cold as I made my way to the tram stop - but under my coat and scarf, with a decent layer of clothes underneath, and my mask on - it was fine. Brisk, crisp, sharp are what the Brits would call it. That sharp biting cold which because of the lack of moisture doesn't go into your bones if you keep moving. It's a morning which would have me running - until my lungs seized up with the cold - but that was many years ago. 

I love cold weather like this. It reminds me of England - which had it's hottest day ever recorded today. And sure, we Australians ridicule the poms for not being able to tolerate the heat - but at least we're equipped for it - the poor Brits mostly don't have air conditioning. 

The trip to the office was uneventful. I've done it hundreds of times before, although there is a pleasure in taking public transport at the moment. You don't end up stuck under somebody's armpit at peak hour at the moment. That 80% of people were wearing masks, even better - sure it would be better if it was everybody, but people will be people. 

I found a quiet room to work in - helping to cut the infection risk down again. We talked about the fact that we may be made to work from home for a few weeks, the way the COVID numbers are going. 

Lunch with my friend, the only reason I went into the office, was lovely. 

The change of scenery was appreciated. 

It was still cold outside, but it barely registered. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

What to read next?

 It was book group tonight, which is always a good thing, because book group makes me happy. 

This month's book was great too - Lisa Harding's Bright Burning Things - which meant there was a lot to talk about.  It's the story of a single mum and her struggles with alocholism. Set in Ireland, it's a more literary version of Marion Keyes' Rachel's Holiday. The characters are fantastic, even if you want to slap half of them every chance you get. I loved it and I'm interested in what the rest of the group think.

But now I have the next problem to endure - what to read next?

The pile is large and weighty. There are classics to read and re-read. There's the modern books that needs a viewing and the Booker Shortlist to attempt. 

I don't have next month's book yet - Blarney has a copy of Madeleine Ryan's A Room Called Earth. Besides, I like to read to book group book in the week of the next meeting. It's a fairly short book from memory, so when I finally get to read it, it won't take up too much time. 

Of the too many books I have around here to read a couple which come to mind are the following:

Bonnie Grimus's Lessons in Chemistry - a book which has been lauded by The Plot Thickens, an online book club of which I am a part. It looks interesting - set in the sixties about uppity women. I like the sound of that. 

Another one I'd like to have a crack at is Christos Tsiolkas's 7 1/2. I love the brutality of Tsiolkas - The Slap, Damascus and Dead Europe were all fantastic - why shouldn't this be the same?

There are some other Australian authors I could tip into. Sophie Laguna's lastest, journalist Jacqueline Maley's first foray into fiction and Emily Bitto's tome are all sitting there waiting to be read. 

In our team meeting, Louis de Bernieres came up in conversation. I've got copies of Birds Without Wings and Notwithstanding on the shelves which require reading - the former comes with a recommendation from one of my colleagues - I love Louis de Bernieres, so I should give him more of a priority. 

Other books that come to mind - I started Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain earlier this year, but I couldn't get into it, especially as I was working too hard at the time. James Joyce's Ulysses has been sitting by my bed for years. I dip into it now and then, but it would be good to read the whole thing. 

One day.

And of course, Hanya Yanigahara's To Paradise is on the shelves, but the author herself said in a talk I should read Henry James' Washington Square before dipping into that. And I'd like to re-read DH Lawrence again - like so many books, I seem to enjoy them more now I'm a proper adult. 

And there's the Franzens which need reading. 

And the latest Lisa Taddeo....and ... and...

At least it's a good problem to have, not knowing what to read next. And at least I have access to books. 

It'll be a problem which is sorted shortly. 

Today's song:

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Pasty Test

 My never-ending quest to find a decent pasty in Victoria continues. 

Yesterday, on my trip to Bendigo, I made a stop at a little town called Malmsbury, about fifty kilometres south of Bendigo, with the desire to try one of their pasties. 

A couple of my colleagues had said that the pasties weren't too bad there. What "not too bad" means was up for debate. As a South Australians, we have the monopoly on good Cornish Pasties. They're the best. Finely diced vegetables, flaky pastry, piping hot - best obtained in proper bakeries rather than bought at the servo. They're a staple, which every time I go back to South Australia, I have one or two for lunch. I'll even bring a couple of frozen ones back with me in my luggage - they are that good. 

On my trip to this little, pictureseque town, which reminds me of an English village, the car was parked near the very pretty botanical gardens. I didn't get too freaked out by the large geese roaming around the back of the public toilets. And after a pit stop, I went around to the bakery - of which my two colleagues are fans. 

Two pasties and a coffee scroll were purchased. I bought the pasties cold so I could have them for lunch over the next couple of days. The coffee scroll was eaten for lunch and that was good. 

Today, I heated up one of the pasties for lunch, which according to one colleague, was supposed to be great, the other saying they were good. 

My verdict?

I give it a six. 

In all, as Victorian pasties go, it was fine - but they wouldn't pass muster back in Adelaide. The pastry was too thick and not flaky enough, the veggies were a bit soggy (and I'll give this the benefit of the doubt becuase I'd reheated this.) The spices were a bit too muted. And who puts corn in Cornish Pasties? Eh? And it was a bit too big.

In all, it was a reasonable effort, but still not like the pasties from home. 

I was a bit disappointed after the hype. Would I return to the bakery? Yes. Would I try the pasties again? Maybe. 

But my hunt for a good Cornish Pasty in the states outside of South Australia continues. 

Ah the joys of being a parochial whinger.


Today's Song

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Travel Questions

 I'm back from my jaunt into the country - had a wonderful day doing a lot of driving, visiting a bakery in Malmsbury, the Bendigo Woollen Mills and the Elvis Exhibition (with pieces straight out of Graceland). It was a great day.

Now to get on with this week's questions (talking about something I adore - travel), thanks to Bev at Sunday Stealing. 

    To which countries have you been?

Now, let me see. I've been to the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Indonesia (just Bali), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Ireland,  France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece and The Netherlands. 

    Which countries would you love to visit one day?

On my current hit list are the following:

  • Japan
  • Portugal
  • Denmark and all of the Scandinavian Countries
  • Iceland
  • Canada
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Cuba
  • Georgia
  • Fiji
  • Argentina and Uruguay
  • Chile and the Galapagos
Well, that is the wish list. 

    Have been on a trip this year or have one planned for later?

COVID is still making me ponder the travel question. This year I've been on short trips to Adelaide and Canberra and I have trips to Hobart and Sydney planned for later in the year (and I might have to add Brisbane to the list after a friend showed me an amazing exhibiton up there. I keep thinking about where (and when) my next big trip will be. Mind you, I have to wait until my passport comes back from renewal - I put it the application a few months ago. 

    What kinds of transport do you prefer to travel by? (train, car, plane,...)

I love most travel. Living in Australia planes are the only way to go. In Europe, it's trains - the trains are great over there. I love a good road trip and I adore being on ferries.

    Do you get yourself a souvenir to take home? If yes, what do you like to buy?

Tea towels and fridge magnets. 

    Do you like to try local food? Can you recommend anything or advise not to try something?

Of course I try the local food - why else to you travel? Satays in Malaysia and Thailand from street vendors. Kadai Paneer in Northern India (and the samosas off the street are to die for), Philly Cheese Steak in Philadelphia - and all the strange parochial food they have in the States has to be tried - lobster in Boston, for example. I love going to the local places and trying different things. It's one of the best parts of travelling.

If you're in Adelaide, try Fru Chocs, Cornish Pasties and visit the wine regions - they're amazing.  

    Do you book your travel online or classical in a travel agency?

I generally book online, unless it's a big, important trip that I'm not too sure about. I booked India through a travel agent. It was a good move. 

    Name three things that you can not go anywhere without and have in your suitcase.

  • Phone charger
  • Kindle
  • Clean underwear

    Tell about a funny travel experience you had.

I think I laughed more when I was travelling in India than I have in any other country - I think it's how I coped with the onslaught of experiences, sights and the poverty. It's an amazing country. 

    Tell about a bad travel experience your had.

Never travel with people who are on a vastly different budget to you. It's all too hard - and never again. 

    What kind of accommodation do you usually stay in when you go on trips?

It depends. I'm not a camper and I don't like doing it rough. City breaks I go 4 star (5 if I can find a good deal) In the country - as long as it's clean. In Europe, AirBNB is a great way to go - depends on the trip. 

    Have you ever traveled alone by yourself? Did you like it? If not, would you want to try it?

Over the last 30 years I've pretty much travelled alone exclusively - and I love it. You meet people on the way, get to do things on your own terms. I love it. 

    What is the first thing you do when you arrive at your destination?

Find my hotel and test the bed. If I'm in the tropics, I go for a swim or find something to eat and drink. All depends on when you get in. But testing the bed is important. 

    What kinds of activities do you like to do when you are traveling?

I'm a cathedrals, castles, temples, museums and galleries person - and long drives along pretty roads. In Bali, I take myself up to the hills and do a lot of yoga in between swimming and drinking Bintang Radlers. If I'm in Europe, I love mooching around old cities. In America, just walking the streets is a great thing to do as it's all so different. 

    How do you like to spend your vacation? (on a cruise, backpacking, etc)

Depends on the holiday. See above. I've never been on a cruise. I can say, hand on heart, I never want to go on a cruise. And I did the backpacking think when I was younger. 

    Do you like to travel in your own country? If yes, can you recommend a place?

Traveling around Australia is fantastic. Some places I can recommend: 

  • Melbourne is very cool - great place for coffee, laneways, museums and galleries - very multi-cultural. 
  • Sydney is stunning (but soulless) Get on the Manly Ferry - it's an iconic ride.
  • Adelaide has a lot on offer with its wineries - the food is amazing
  • Kangaroo Island is very cool - it's a trip out of Adelaide, but there's lots to do.
  • Regional Australia, all over, has some great spots - you just have to find them - like the oysters in Coffin Bay, or the Limestone Coast, or the Rutherglen region, or the Snowy Mountains... too many to list. 
  • Lots of people like Queensland - I'm not a fan, too humid.
  • I loved the Northern Territory - Darwin - for it's completely different side to Australia - it's also near to Kakadu, Katherine (Nitmiluk) Gorge, Litchfield and  Arnhem land. 

I've also been promising myself a trip to Uluru and Kata Tjuta (what used to be known as Ayres Rock and the Olgas) - just need to find myself somebody to go with because accommodation is so expensive.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Say its name.

I'm calling it out, and I'm calling it now. Once it's done, things get better. 


Really, I shouldn't be surprised. It's July - and whether it be the weather, or the time of year, or the lack of sunshine or the fact that the sun is in Cancer, I've got my annual case of the seasonal sads. 

It is okay. That's the first thing. I'm functioning. I'm eating, drinking, looking after the cat, going to work - it's just a lot of this is a struggle. 

Looking at this from the inside out, it's like somebody's put some veils over my face and everything is tinted in grey. Food tastes a bit like cardboard. Colours aren't as bright. My tolerance for noise, already pretty low, is diminished. My patience is stretched. 

It is what it is. 

The realisation came last night when I was out to the theatre. And yes, at the moment, going out to the theatre feels like it's an extreme act as you don't know who has what disease in the room, when this is one of your favourite things to do and all you want to do is escape, you know something is not right. 

Dinner at one of my favourite dumpling bars wasn't cutting it for me - though a good feed of chilli wantons did help a bit. Once inside the theatre, the overwhelming feeling of dread came over me. It was a struggle to get to my seat. Once in the seat, it felt claustrophobic. Having to wear a mask through the performance - a practice I don't normally mind and frankly agree with, was stifling in the heat of the auditorium. My dodgy hip seized up causing a sciatic flare up, sending my quads into spasm. Hamilton, a show I love, was wrecked - though I enjoyed what I saw through the pain in my leg, the claustrophobic feeling, the overwhelming heat, the need to breath freely and the sense of pending doom. 

I gave my apologies and left at interval. 

It took some time to normalise. My new scarf, the one I'm so proud of, remained in my handbag - the cool night air needed to come in contact with my throat. 

At home, I curled up on the couch, a hot water bottle on my lower back, a hot chocolate in hand and my chest stopped pounding. 

That I only get the minor morbs as I like to refer to them, is a godsend. That I know how to sort them out is a wonder. That I'm not clinical or medicated  - I'm truly grateful. 

It's a matter of calling it out early and dealing with it quickly.

This weekend is a busy one - and I'm pushing through, rather than retreating. Thankfully, it's a contained weekend. The haircut and colour with brighten me up. Christmas in July should be lovely - there's only four of us going. I can take my hot water bag to keep on my errant glute and nobody will think the worse of me. Good food will do me good. If I'm honest, when I feel like this, I only want to eat McDonalds - and we all know how bad that makes you feel when you're already in a rut. 

Tomorrow's trip to Bendigo is still going ahead. Some country air will do me the world of good. 

And going forward I'll be doing everything in my power to break this cycle. I've got the tools down. Good clean food, lots of exercise, no alcohol, lots of sleep. And maube a bit of Jane Austen, Jane Austen helps a lot. And doing the things that make you feel good. Little things like making the bed in the morning. Even writing these daily blog posts help. 

Time and care and calling it out. I'm doing this. It's the first stop back to normality. 

This too shall pass. 

Today's song: 

Friday, July 15, 2022

How did I live without heating?

Okay, maybe that should read how did  I live without better heating? 

A new split system was installed in my flat today, a week after letting the landlord know that the current heater in the lounge was about as effective as a chocolate teapot. Credit where credit is due, the landlord, who I've never had a problem with, turned this one around quickly. 

Thankfully, the tradies doing the installation were quick, polite and cleaned up after themselves. 

And after a very, very long time, I have a warm lounge room. It's amazing. Who knew I could be warm without an oodie, a blanket and ugg boots. And sure, I don't really feel the cold, thanks to extra padding and menopause, but it is nice to be really comfortable roaming around the place without dressing like and eskimo. 

Who know?

I'm doubly happy as I had a good feed of chilli wantons and xiao long bao for dinner before the theatre. 

Life is good. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, July 14, 2022


I'm going to Bendigo on Sunday. What is already a big weekend is getting even bigger as I make the two hour drive up the Calder Freeway. 

Going to this regional town brings a lot of discussion. 

Colleague: Why are you going to Bendigo?

Pand: I've got a ticket to the Elvis exhibition and I want to go to the Wool mills. 

Colleague: Why don't you take the train? 

Pand: I want to go to the Wool Mills - and Bendigo is a big place - and my Elvis ticket is on the late side. 

Colleague: You should make a weekend of it. 

Pand: Too much on this weekend already. Going to Bendigo will be enough. 

Colleague: You should stop off in Malmsbury - it has a great bakery. 

Pand: Sounds like a good idea.

I've noted the Malmsbury element. I might leave half an hour earlier than I was going to - country bakeries are the best. 

At the gym tonight I discussed the weekend with Jay and Cleo. 

Jay: Why do you want to go to Bendigo?

Pand: I've got a ticket to the Elvis exhibition and I want to go to the Woollen Mills. 

Jay: Can't you do that in Melbourne? 

Pand: The Elvis Exhibition is at the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Wool Mills are in Bendigo. 

Jay: Can't you get wool in Melbourne?

Pand: I want this Bendigo Wool, they sell it at the woollen mills. 

By this time I'm getting a bit sick of this conversation. 

Jay: Can't you order it online? 

Pand: I'd rather go to the shop door and get what I need there. I want to see and feel the wool, select the colours. Like shopping for clothes. 

Jay: It's a long way to go for wool. 

Pand: It's a long way to go for an exhibition. At least this way I'm killing two birds with one stone. 

Jay: Still, it's a long way to go for wool...

I'm not sure what beef Jay has with Bendigo. I'm rather looking forward to a drive, cranking up the stereo, maybe picking up a pasty at Malmsbury, seeing this exhibition, on it's last day, at its last session and driving home. With a stop at the wool mills for a good dose of yarn porn. I won't mention the Sheep Show that everybody is telling me to go too - Australia's biggest wool, yarn and sheep show. Sounds a bit dangerous if you ask me. 

Oh, and here is my nearly finished handiwork. At least I can say I knit and crochet quite well. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Knitting Related Injury

Tonight's myotherapy session had a bit more swearing in it than normal. Then again, I normally spend my myotherapy sessions swearing at my lovely muscle guy as he sorts out the aches and pains. With my shoulder pretty much fixed. tonight it was time to get to work on my right hip, which has been playing up for a while. 

Kabbalistic theory tells me that something is out with my Hod - the intellect part of my life. Is it getting exercised enough?  Sort of have a new job - I'm learning a lot - but it's not brain surgery. Is my intellect out of whack with everything else? No more than usual. 

It must be something else. 

I rocked up this afternoon and discussed the discomfort. It's an ache. It's not limiting any movement. It wants to be stretched out regularly, but it's not cutting it and it's not my hip flexors - thanks to years of anatomy training, I get what is what.  I often wake up with it and it's just on my right hip - I'm over it. I've been dousing it in tiger balm and voltaren for yonks. 

My trousers were lost and put myself on the slab - the word many therapists use for their massage table. 

Spence came back to start work on me.

"So, why is your hip hurting?" he asks, sticking his elbow into the top of my butt cheek. "Did you trip or something?"

"FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKK. I've not injured myself. PRICK!"

"Okay, so that hurts. That's a good sing it's not your hip flexors."

"I could have told yout that. " 

He continues to manipulate the area. My language and expletives go up and down depending on the pain level. A gentle ouch means nothing. When I call him a prick, it hurts a bit. When the C word comes out, he's really getting in there. My language is peppered with various, regular, loud expletives over the 30 minute appointment. 

"So what it is, what have you been doing to make your hip hurt?"

I had a think about this. 

"I sleep on my stomach with the cat between my knees. He makes a nest there as soon as I turn off the light and roll onto my tummy."

"Yeah, that won't help."

"And I've been knitting a lot."


"Yeah. Protest knitting, boredom knitting, just knitting in front of the telly. And when I knit I tuck my right foot under my bum."

"And ther we have it. You've got a knitting related injury."


I will say that Spence takes no offence in my bad language. He says that the worse the language the better the results. He's also had his consulting rooms moved out the back of the practice so the other clients don't have to listen to his clientel swearing. I'm not the only one, it seems, who calls him names, loudly, and often.

I swear by him as much as I swear at him. 

So there you have it. My gammy hip is all about how I sit when I knit. At least it can be remediated. Though I don't know how I can stop the cat from using me as bedding. 

Oh well. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Choices, choices

 I'm booked in for my fourth COVID shot in two weeks. 

This is being done willingly - if anything, I was hoping to get an appointment sooner, but you need to fly the gamut of finding somewhere to get your your vaccination - whether that be at your doctors, the pharmacy, a clinic, a hospital... Then, it's making the appointment, making sure you can get to the appointment and pondering if you're getting the right vaccine...

Mind you, I tend to run some of these decisions through Jay - who's a GP, and at least gets to read a bit more about this. They don't give out Astra Zeneca any more, so it's a choice between Pfizer, Moderna and Novovax . From what I've read around, it seems Pfizer and Moderna are the way to go for this shot - and other knowing that I want it - as I've not had COVID yet and anything to minimize the disease if or when I get it. 

It's a bit of a badge of honour not to have had it. And sure, I wear a mask when I'm in crowded areas, at the movies, certainly on public transport and whenever there feels like there's too many people around.

And besides, after not being sick with respitory diseases for the last two years, getting one is the last thing I want. I hate having colds. They go to my chest and I cough for weeks. I've not missed getting sick. 

But enough on that. My other choice for today was what to do about exercise. Tuesday nights are my 'dead' night for exercise. Monday and Thursday I train with Jay and Cleo. Sunday has me at Pump. I'm making an effort to go to ParkRun every second Saturday - Friday is my day off - or I get a walk in. But Tuesdays. What are the choices? 

There's BodyCombat at the gym at 5.45 pm. Combat is a non-contact aerobic boxing class, filled with punches, kicks and jumping about . It's also cold outside and it's at the gym. There's a 6.30 core class - half an hour of brutal core work - not sure if I am ready for that yet as I've lost a bit of core strength when they yanked my gall bladder. It's getting there, but not yet. 

The last option was BodyJam online. 

It's pretty much the only dance class I'll take part in - and that is online and at home where nobody can see me. And besides - the cat, in the past, has judged me when I have done Zumba - and I look like a fridge when I dance, and I can sort of do this and not feel too uncoordinated. I've even learned how to pop and lock. Anni, who runs the online studio at Move Culture, is awesome, and inclusive, and doesn't laugh at my dodgy moves. 

So I went the BodyJam tonight. It was better than getting out of the flat, in the cold, into the car then out to the gym. Here I just had to clear the living room, change into my gym gear and say a silent apology to my downstairs neighbour who must think that there's a rehearsal for Fantasia going on upstairs.

A bit warmer, 300 calories down and feeling a little bit virtuous, I left the class happy with my choice to stay in and dance. 

If only it was only as easy to make such a choice with the vaccines. Not that I'm vaccine hesisitant, but a few more definitive choices and less misinformation would make it a bit easier. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

The New Old Place

I love this building. I love it's sparseness, the way the angles come at your from all around, and that looking up makes you think you're in Superman's bunker, only it's warm - and the colours are all wrong. I worked in this building for three years, finishing up there about five years ago. I've been back in between times, but this time round, it felt a bit like coming home. 

The security guy is still there - we recognised each other. I've remembered how to use the lifts. I know where to find everything, from the loos to the stationery cupboards to the IT help desk.

It's a lot like coming home. 

Mind you, a lot has also changed. Before COVID, you were struggling to find a desk, let along a locker. The bathrooms would often fester by midday, depending on what floor you were on. The queue for the coffee cart was long - and there were three of them. The place hummed, droned with the noise of a small city keeping the wheels of the organisation running. 

Now, there's about 20% of the people in the building. If that. What was often a lengthy process to get the computers working, has now been streamlined. By 1 pm I had a working laptop, email, security pass and ID - all done. I remember starting at this place at one time and I had to use my own computer for about three weeks. The laptop is new - with a touch screen. It's lightweight. It's rather amazing really. 

While I waited for my profile to load up at the IT support desk, I went to make a cup of tea. Where there used to be a packet of Arnott's assorted biscuits in the biscuit barrel, dutifully replenished every morning at 8 am (when there would be a fight for the chocolate ripple and Nice biscuits - too late and you were stuck with the Marie or Milk Arrowroots) there were none. COVID has meant that all of the coffee and tea comes in individually wrapped packets. I've been told that in the thick of the lockdowns they took away the cutlery and crockery. 

Yet amongst all the familiarity this is a new role, doing what I do, with new people. The team are lovely, my boss is great and the work should be interesting - and able to be done in a professional 38 hour working week. 

As much as I love being back with this company, I'm more excited about getting my life back. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Would you rather

 I'm just back from the football. My team lost. Oh well. If I wasn't starting a new job tomorrow I'd be down the pub - but this is not the case. Besides, I've broken the seal. After driing mid-strength beer all afternoon, I'm running to the loo every ten minutes - well that's what it feels like. 

Anyway, I need a quiet night in, getting my stuff ready for tomorrow while doing the Sunday questions, which have been brought to you by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Would you rather eat pizza every day or never eat pizza again?

See this is a hard one as I often make my own pizzas at home. I can't remember the last time I bought a pizza. A friend is supposed to be coming over and we're supposed to be getting a couple of pizzas in. Okay, I could live without bought pizza, but I think I'd like to make my own from time to time. 

2. Would you rather stay forever at your current age or be 10 years younger?

I'd love to be ten years younger. I enjoyed my early 40s.  

3. Would you rather have too many friends or too few?

I'm of the opinion having fewer good friends is a good thing - but it's good having too many friends. You can't have too many friends. 

4. Would you rather have no taste buds or be blind?

I'd rather have no taste buds - though having lost my sense of taste for a few months a time ago, it's not a fun thing. But I do like my reading and you need your eyesight for that. 

5. Would you rather never hear music again or lose the ability to read?

This is another hard one as both reading and music are very important to me - but I'll give up music if it means I can still read. Hard call though. 

6. Would you rather speak “whale” or read babies’ minds?

Eww to both of these. I think being a baby whisperer might be a bit more useful a skill.

7. Would you rather be the richest person or the smartest?

Err, another hard one as I've got no desire to be either. But I think I'd rather be smart than rich - but yea, it's not something I think about. As long as I'm comfortable and not stupid I'm okay. 

8. Would you rather create history or delete it?

Definitely create it. Deleting history is a very bad thing. 

9. Would you rather create a great piece of art and not get credit or get credit for a piece of art you didn’t create?

I love creating and I'd love to create something wonderful. Besides taking credit for other people's work is wrong. I don't like it when I see that happen, why would I take credit for something I didn't do?

10. Would you rather age from the neck up, or from the neck down.

Err, neither. Aging is hard at the best of time. 

11. Would you rather see the world but live in poverty or stay in one place and live rich?

Again, this is a hard one for me as I love to travel - and I'm quite good at travelling on the cheap, but poverty does not interest me in the slightest. I'll taking having money - but I'd still want to travel...

12. Would you rather become famous or powerful?

I'll take power over fame. I don't lust for either, but fame is all to awful. It takes your life away. 

13. Would you rather be a creative person or a technical person?

Why can't I be both. But I know about being a creative, so I'll stick with that. 

14. Would you rather get a paper cut whenever you touch paper or bit your tongue whenever you eat something?

These are really stupid questions. It's a neither to both of these. I hate both paper cuts and biting my tongue. 

15. Would you rather wake up in the morning looking like a giraffe or a kangaroo?

I'd like to wake up looking like an Easter Grey Kangaroo - they are very cute. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Theatre Review: Come Rain or Come Shine

 The Play: Come Rain or Come Shine

Where: The Melbourne Theatre Company - Southbank Theatre

Until: 23 July

Stars: 4

So, here is my quandry. Do you read the book before you go see the play of the book? Or in this case, the short story. Written by an author you admire, and it's only 50 pages long, and does this enhance or diminish your experience?

Jay and I read Kazou Ishiguro's nuanced masterpiece of a story of the same name before going to see this fantastic adaptation by Tim Finn. Jay wished she went in raw, I rather appreciated that I knew what was going to happen in this little gem of a musical. Even more so because, being raised on the Great American Songbook as a child, I got why the music was so important to Emily and Charlie. (For those not familiar with The Great American Songbook, thing of the songs of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald... just watch any movie from the 50s and 60s - Amy Winehouse covered a lot of standards in her time.)

This is another gem from the Melbourne Theatre Company. 

The MTC's website describes the story as such:

"Ray (Angus Grant), Emily (Gillian Cosgriff) and Charlie (Chris Ryan) have been the best of friends since university. As students, Ray and Emily bonded over their mutual adoration of the Great American Songbook, while Emily fell in love with Ray’s roommate, Charlie – despite his terrible taste in music. Nearly thirty years later, Emily and Charlie are happily married and there’s always a bed for Ray at their place when he visits from overseas. But on Ray's latest sojourn, Charlie has a favour to ask that could change everything."

And one must remember that Ishiguru is the master of understatement - just look at The Remains of the Day for that. But this little story about friends, and the lengths we go for friendship is just wonderful, and this play takes every detail of the short story and incorporates it into this hour and 45 minute production, where no question is really answered, though we can surmise. The open questions left at the end of the short story are there. Small details found in the text - the purple notebook, the recipe made by Ray, Charlie's reasons why he's gone abroad - everything is in there. And I loved it. Would I have found this even funnier if I didn't know what happened - possibly - but this is very well done. 

Tim Finn's music and lyrics fit seemless with the music intrinsically found here - as the standards are discussed and dissected by Emily and Ray over the play. These two get each other through their love of this music - and you have to half wonder why Emily went off with Charlie at the end of university - but thems the breaks. Carolyn Burns is faithful to a faunt to the short story. I was wondering how they could turn a 50 page short story into a play, but this has been done with finesse. 

And it is funny. Very funny. And sweet. And inciteful. 

And it's definitely worth a view. 

I have to say, I left the theatre wishing I had somebody to talk about music like Ray and Emily talk music. I want somebody to dance with to the old Great American Songbook standards. I loved this play about old friends and new times and the truths, and lies we tell. 

This is definitely worth a look. It wonderfully done. 

The MTC are having a great year. 

Today's song:

Friday, July 8, 2022

Reflections on an Exhibition

 Exhibition: The Picasso Century

Where: The National Gallery Victoria

Until: 9 October

Tickets: $30 (plus a fiver if you want the audio tour)

There are too many people and nobody is wearing a mask. This was my first  thought as I wandered into the Picasso Exhibition. There's too many people and I've still not had COVID and I'm itching to get my fourth dose of vaccine as the one I had in January has probably worn off and I really don't want to get it (or get it badly). 

There are too many people and I want to have this exhibition to myself. This was my second thought. But as this is Melbourne and we're starved for culture at the best of times and it is the middle of the school holidays, it serves me right for coming along to this. Nevertheless, I persisted through this most excellent exhibition, gritting my teeth at the pusher-inners, the noisy kids and those who have to photograph EVERYTHING while never stopping to take anything in.</rant> 

Of course, I'm taking myself back to the time I was in the Picasso Museum in Malaga - when I finally got Picasso. Finally. It look a retrospective of all of his work for me to 'get' him. I got to the museam, the house in which he was born, later in the afternoon. The place was half empty and because of this, I could consider the paintings in my own time, alone, quietly, considering the works individually, and as a whole. 

Instead, I'm wheedled and jostled as the great, maskless unwashed push in front of you to take that picture, before moving on. This isn't an exhibition to do quickly. There's almost too much here. Also, it probably should be called Picasso and Friends, as it's not just Piccasso's works on display. Miro, Dali, Dora Maar, Matisse, Georges Breton are just a few of the artist displaying against a backdrop of the major events of the last century.

The exhibition looks at his early days in Paris, specifically his time in Montmartre. The then ambles into cubism, surrealism, his views on World War II and his later years, juxtaposing his works, including sketches, sculptures, paintings and ceramics, intermingling these with some short videos on his life and his influence on various schools. I liked the video presentations. Gave me a chance to have a bit of a sit and a ponder. 

Being on my own today, I downloaded the audio tour on my phone and received a lot of information through the curator of the exhibition which greatly added to the experience. 

What got to me most was Picasso's ability to adapt, his quick wit and sly humour. A story around his master work, Guernica was related. It goes like this. (Thanks to

"History remembers Pablo Picasso first as an innovative painter, and second as an uninhibited personality. The latter especially generated many an anecdote in his long life, some surely apocryphal but most probably true. A short Guardian editorial on one of his most famous canvases begins with the story of when, “in occupied Paris, a Gestapo officer who had barged his way into Picasso’s apartment pointed at a photo of the mural, Guernica, asking: ‘Did you do that?’ ‘No,’ Picasso replied, ‘you did’, his wit fizzing with the anger that animates the piece” — a piece that took no small amount of boldness to paint in the first place."

I love this story. And although Guernica is not displayed here, one of the videos shows it's progress through Dora Maar's photographs. Conservatives often find little place for modern art. (Gawd, I can still remember the stick Gough Whitlam received for buying Jackson Pollack's "Blue Poles" - fucking wowsers). 

The icing on the cake for me was a couple of Francis Bacon paintings right near the end of the exhibition. Bacon and I hunt each other out. I love his visceral works. He speaks to me more than Picasso - but it's a personal thing. 

And I left, an hour and a half later, peopled out, but happy. It was worth every cent to see - better that I came during the week, getting away from the weekend crowds - but saying this, it's a very popular exhibition. Booking tickets on the rather woeful NGV website is recommended. I'll back track a bit - the NGV website is fine - their booking system is something only the public service could come up with. 

So I left to enter the burgeoning twilight on this rainy Melbourne afternoon, and pondered why it is I always feel most at home in these streets when they feel like the streets of Montmartre, where much of this beauty and awe began. And the hankering to return to Europe for a while has been reignited. I want to be around more of this. Here, on the other side of the world, such exhibitions are few and far between. 

All of this happened before going off to the theatre to see the MTC's Come Rain or Come Shine. But that is another topic for another post. 

Let's just say I'm all cultured out now, and better for the experience. 

Block Arcade, Wet Afternoon, July 2022.

Today's song:   (This is the original, but David Bowie does a great cover of it.)

Thursday, July 7, 2022


I hate adulting, but that's what I'm finding myself doing today. Some of me thinks it's punishment. Another part of me is telling myself it's good for me. Another worrying part starts berating myself for past choices and decisions which make me want to throw up. 

And then I calm down, take a deep breath and look at the matters to hand. 

And then I remember that I can't leave the house until the postie comes - knowing also that the postie will more than likely circumvent the house and leave the parcel at the local post office. Living in a flat, they do that with monotonous regularity. 

Regardless, today is "Sort it out" Day. 

I've completed the paperwork for my new job. Tick. 

For the first time in ages, I've looked at my superannuation balance. It's nearly doubled in the last five years, which is a good thing. 

After two years of living on a fixed income, I've split my salary. 10% is going into an account I almost never use - out of sight, out of mind and all that. See, adulting!

I've hoovered. I've cleaned my desk off - which is a task in itself. It needed to be photographed to prove there's an adequate work environment here. 

I've booked a ticket to Hobart to see my cousin in September. Despite living 20 minutes walk away, she's never been to MONA. It has to be done. It also gives me something to look forward to. 

And now it is time to start putting that clothing I rarely wear onto Facebook Marketplace - I like the thought of shifting it on rather than taking it straight to the Salvos. 

I remember a friend once telling me that she wished there was somebody out there to tell them that they were doing a good job as an adult. They were very obsessed with things such as your super balance (often asking what it as dinner conversation - along with questions about your stock portfolio and other completely inappropriate questsions). 

What nobody tells you is that nobody is going to tell you that you're doing a good job with your life. You just have to get on with it. What's right for one person is wrong for another. And you have to do what's best for you. And pat yourself on the back for being alive, getting the bills paid and placing one foot in front of the other and getting through it like everybody else. 

Oh, and the parcel was delivered straight to the post office. Who knew...

Today's song: