Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Steptember starts tomorrow

 In my desire to give back to the community, I've signed up for the annual STEPtember Challenge, a fundraising intitiative on behalf of the Cerebral Palsy association. I've signed up to do a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, which sounds a lot, but a trip to the coffee shop, a walk down to the supermarket and an hour in the gym with some cardio pretty much covers these steps, but doing it every day for a month gets a bit hard (especially if you end up with covid, or spraining your ankle or something like that - and that has happened before). Working from home makes this a bit more of a challenge. On the days where I don't leave the house, I struggle to do 5000 steps.

So this feels like a worthwhile challenge. 

Anyway, this will keep me out of trouble for the month of September. Mostly working from home, it means I'll be getting up early to go for a walk to make sure I get my steps in. It feels good to do something like this. With it being Spring tomorrow, just the thought of having a good reason to get outside is also a great thing. 

And if you would like to sponsor me, the other reason we're doing this, you can find the link to my fundraising page here

I'll update my step count at the end of the blog over the next few weeks. 

Wish me luck. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

I am so in the doghouse

 I was given a guilt trip when I left for work this morning. Cats, they know when you're going to go into the office for the day. They're going to wrap around your legs, demand treats, stare at you while you're in the shower... you name it they will pile on the ire, trying their best to make your feel guilty. It works, even if I do try and explain to the beast that I'm going to work so I can pay for his food. 

This is what was poured on me this morning. Lucifer is king of the guilt trip. 

Then, on arriving back home this evening, I was greeted with disdain. I'd offered to drive a colleague home, as they're on a train line which is out of action - and they're a friend - it's what you do. Also, I'd contacted Bernie and Gaz, who live a few streets away from my colleague, said I'd be in the area and were they up for a visit. All good. It killed two birds with one stone. 

So, my colleague and I got to mine, I fed Lucifer, because I'm a good cat mother. Of course, he was rather perterbed about another person being in the flat, even if was for the five minutes it took to lay out a packet of Whiskas for him. 

My colleague was deposited home. I made my way to Bernie and Gaz's place a few streets away, where I was treated to dinner with the family - which was lovely. 

And I was also treated to masses of cuddled from their Jack Russell Terrier, Piper. Loads of cuddles and licks. She's a tripper. 

And I've come home smelling like a Jack Russell. 

Something they don't tell you about cats. They're jealous little critters. 

I've been home an hour. Normally, when I get home from work, or just being out, I'll be greeted with a big smooch and a cuddle. 

Tonight - nothing. I'm being ignored. I've been sniffed over, but not greeted. Treats have been demanded, but then ignored. 

I think you can say that I'm in the doghouse.

I'm wondering if he's decamp to the couch tonight instead of sleeping between my knees like he normally does. 

It's not my fault Bernie and Gaz's dog is similar to Eddie on Frasier - there is no getting around her. 

Today's song: 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Movie Review: Juniper

Movie Number 31 of 2022

Movie: Juniper

Theatre: Village Cinemas - The Rivoli in Camberwell

Stars: 4

There's so much to like about this quiet, direct little movie which comes out of New Zealand. It got my attention when I saw it was partly about a woman who drinks quite a bit of gin. But it's so much more than that. 

Sam (newcomer George Ferrier) is a troubled teen, acting out after the death of his mother. When he's suspended from school, his father, Robert (Marton Csokas) sends him to the family home to help look after his cantankerous grandmother, Ruth (played by the wonderful Charlotte Rampling) while he goes to England to sort out the family affairs. 

This is partly a coming of age film, as Sam faces his demons, he also has to develop a functional relationship with the chairbound, alcoholic Ruth, who gets through a case of gin in a fortnight as she treats everybody with the disdain that only the elderly can summon. It's only when the two of them learn that they need to rely on one another does their bond grow. It's also an end-of-life tale, as Ruth comes to terms with her lot and decides to go out with as much dignity and fun as she can

A film about families and their nuances, their highlights and their blindspots. 

Yes, it's a little predictable, as just as Sam comes to grips with his amazing grandmother and her iconoclastic life, the movie turns into what is really going on with Ruth, and how the family come to terms with this. The pair move through this beautifully, with some assistance from Nurse Sarah (Edith Poor). It's her presence which makes you feel a bit better about their predicament. 

There is a lot to love here. Charlotte Rampling is superb as the crotchetty Ruth, a woman who's used to living on her own terms. She gives an added poignancy to a role which could have gone in many other directions. Sam's father, Robert, is also played with an understated angst, showing a man riddled with grief trying to make the best of things. But it's George Ferrier's Sam that steal the show. Okay, yes, he's easy on the eye, but he plays the 16-year-old Sam with a sensitivity I was not expecting. 

Set in the mid-mid eighties, there's plenty to enjoy about the setting and the area around Auckland where this was filmed. Matthew J. Saville's script and direction are on point. One certain scene, with a horse, is incredible - some of the most moving cinema I've seen in a while. 

This is a little film which few people will have heard of and fewer will see - which is a pity. It's a film which will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. A film, which though a little predictable, navigates the emotions of loss, grief and dying with a hell of a lot of grace. 

Unfortunately Juniper has nearly finished its run in the cinemas, but look out for it on the art house channels and streaming services. It's well worth a look. 

Today's song:

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Upstream Life

 It's a glorious day here in Melbourne - far too glorious to be spent sitting at a computer, so I will be brief today. 

Questions, as always, have bene supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Your favorite sport.

To watch, that would have to be Australian Rules Football, or Cricket in the summer. It's easier to ask me what sports I don't like. I'm not really a sporty person, but I will jump in and have a watch when required. 

2. A quote to live by.

" Two roads  two diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference." (Robert Frost)

I say that to myself all the time. Make your own way in life - it's good advice. 

3. A city in the US you would like to move to.

Having visited Boston, I know I could happily live in the Cambridge area of that city. I love Boston - but I have a feeling I'd also do well in San Francisco, Seattle or New York. Must get back to the States at some stage. 

4. 3 beautiful little things in your life.

  1. My cat
  2. My friends
  3. My fitness level - I got through pump this morning and I even put my weights up a bit. 

5. What made you laugh today?

I was watching Frasier this morning. I like to watch an episode of Frasier before I go to bed. It's pretty innocuous, and rather funny. I like going to bed happy. 

6. A good deed you did today

I haven't been around people much today to do a good deed. I have got all of my washing done and it dried on the line - a benefit of this glorious day. Not sure if that is a good deed or now, but it feels good. 

Oh, hang on, I donated $50 towards the Crikey legal fund. Freedom comes from free media, and anything I can do to stick it to Newscorpse is a good thing. 

7. Activities you like to do when you are bored.

Same as always, read, write, clean, torment the cat...I don't get bored very often. 

8. Are you a procrastinator?

I can be. I procrastinate about writing, which is a bad thing - but then again, I'm good at deadlines. 

9. Your thoughts about dying

We're all going to do it - and if we can go through it with some dignity, surrounded by friends, then that's a good result. Nobody gets out of this life alive. A lot of us seem to forget this. 

10. What super power would like to have?

I would love to be able to fly. Seeing I am a middle aged woman, I already have the super power of invisibility. It appears to be given to you when you hit about 45. 

11. Top 3 Netflix series

Oh, on Netflix, I'm currently on an Outlander binge. 

I also love the following shows: 

  • Schitt's Creek (Ew, David!)
  • Lucifer
  • A Very British Scandal
  • Stranger Things
  • Suits
  • Bridgerton
  • Emily in Paris
  • Brooklyn 99
Yes, I like light and fluffy. 

12.  Things you want to do before you die

Some of the following:

  • Go back and live in England
  • Walk the Camino de Santiago di Compostella
  • Get married
  • Write a number or books and get them published and make lots of money
  • Travel a lot more.
  • Own another cat and a dog.

13. Your biggest fears

According to my family, that would be commitment. I would say that it's intimacy. And snakes and huntsman spiders. 

14. What makes you angry?

People who are rude to waiting staff. Willful ignorance. The Australian Liberal National Party. Pretty much every action every taken my Scott Morrison. Daft bureaucracy. 

15. Do you listen to podcasts?

Sometimes, but not often. I'm more an audiobook person. Rather loving my current audiobook, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki. When I do listen to podcasts, it's normally about a topic which really interests me - that or it's My Dad Wrote a Porno, which is one of the funniest things I've ever listened to. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

We Paint Again

As a part of my birthday celebrations, I arranged for a couple of us to get together to do a painting class - mainly because they are fun. but they're also a chance to get together, have some wine and snacks and do something different of an evening. I did one of these earlier in the year and greatly enjoyed it. You pay around $60, roch up on the night where you're provided with a canvas, easel, paints and brushes, and a teacher to tell you what to do.

Jonella and Norty joined me last night, all of us bringing our bodyweight in cheese, dips and other nibblies. Jonella brough along some red wine - I bought along some gin and a bottle of dry ginger ale (as this gin you drink with dry ginger - it's lovely). 

And we got down to it. 

I will never be a painter. I'm not good at it. But I loved every minute of the evening as we were taken throught the steps of painting a Picasso-like portrait. We mapped out our plans in chalk, using a dice and a chart to find ideas of hair, ears, eyes, a mouth and the like. 

Then you get on with the background, then blocking out the face, then getting down to the detail. 

What I love about these evening is that it challenges my addiction to perfection. It's a time to not be perfect, to try something different, and to allow yourself to break some rules. We were told to use and orange/pink background. I used a blue. There were all sorts of necklaces and ties on the list of accessories. I thought a purple polka-dotted bow tie would just be the business. And nobody said anything about putting a cat in the frame. Oh well, there sits Lucifer in this person's shoulder, happily looking out over the horizon. (I put a cat in the last painting I did, and he looks just as happy there as well).

What also gets me is how different everybody's painting turned out at the end of the night. There were 12 people at the studio last night - everybody's was different - and wonderful in their own right. 

Here's my finished product. I'm pretty happy with it. I'd love to get some better brush technique - I'm better at painting walls than painting pictures. I wish I'd discovered the turquoise paint earlier as well - I love that colour and it would have been great 

It can go straight to the pool room. 

Today's song:

Friday, August 26, 2022

Skin Check

Some bloke saw me nearly naked today, poor lamb. 

Okay, he was a doctor, and this skin check is probably ten years later than it  should have been initially done.  

There's nothing like a skin cancer scare to get you doing the right thing, and after this year's little operation to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from my temple earlier this year, and half a lecture from the plastic surgeon, I made sure I arranged what will now be an annual event. Besides, I'm in my 50s now. This is just another annual test to go with the mammogram, the "poo" test (for bowel cancer, which the Federal Government sends you in the post every two years just after your birthday) and a two yearly pelvic ultrasound to rule out ovarian cancer. Along with the eye test, hearing tests... Fuck, I hate getting old. 

Stripping off for a doctor once a year is just another thing which will need to be done. 

Part of me shirks at this. I'm not moley. I've stayed out of the sun for most of my life - although as a kid I saw a bit more sun. Living in London for eight years in my twenties meant I rarely had a tan. And my own doctor loves cutting the cysts that blight my scalp at regular intervals. Thankfully, I tan easily when I do get outside, but I'm also pretty good with sunscreen. And I'm a writer - work is inside at a desk

But the rational side of me also knows there's all sorts of skin cancers popping up on Mum's side of the family, and as nobody looks at my skin in a detailed way, it's probably best to have a medical professional do this. Even if it is rather embarrassing. 

It was over in ten minutes. 

He pointed at my top lip.

"Pimple. Too old for them, but this sprouted up yesterday, god love it. "

He looked at the faint scar on my temple.

"The surgeon did a great job."

"He did. You only see it if you're really looking." I've very pleased about this. 

Of the spot on my neck.

"Keratoma - know about that."

The scratches down my arm.

"My cat is a prick. An adorable prick, but a prick."

He asked if there were any spots under my bra or knickers that needed looking at. 

"No. You don't need to see my tattoo." (The last person to see that tried to rub it off).

He checked between my fingers and toes. He went over my back, down both arms and legs.

"Nice birthmark."

"Nobody notices it. Some of my cousins have the same one. I think my niece has one in the same place too."

"Strange, but not uncommon."

He checked my scalp, behind my ear, the soles of my feet. 

It was over in ten minutes.No issues to write home about. Nothing that needs seeing to (other than a skin tag on my side which my bra catches and it gives me the shits. 

It felt a bit pointless - but I know I've done the right thing. 

It's going to be my birthday present to myself for years to come. 

Such fun!

Today's song:

Thursday, August 25, 2022

It's all about the beat

The personal training gym is up two pokey flights of stairs in a second story warehouse on Glenferrie Road. The trudge up the stairs is seen as part of the warm up. Not being a fan of stairs at the best of times and having blown out my knee coming down them one night, the fear factor only brings my heart rate up further. But we persist. It does me good to pump weights and run about the place. 

Tonight, on entering the gym, I noticed the music. Cleo normally plays a mix of 80s rock, 90's R&B and a lot of eclectic stuff that has no resemblance to the incessant pop they play at the big gym where I go on the weekend. 

Today, over the stereo, Beethoven was playing. 

"What is this?" I asked, thinking how am I going to raise a sweat to these soporific tones. 

"Pen's choice," she told me. Pen trains in the session before Jay and myself. 

"Umm... can we change it?"

"Don't you like it? 

"Not to work out to."

"That's fair."

Music and the gym are a very personal thing. If you're doing a cardio session, Beethoven is not the way to go. (Pen, bless her, has funny tastes).

If I was to name some bands to work out to I'd happily work out to any day of the week, I'd mention bands like:

  • The Pixies for their loud-soft-loud intervals
  • Blondie for her unrelenting bass
  • Destiny's Child is a bit poppy, but gets your heart rate up
  • Imagine Dragons are good for something different
  • And of course, The Rolling Stones with some of their classic tunes are fantastic. 
So, after a bit of chat, the music was changed. If I'm ever asked what to put on the stereo, I just say, "ROCK". 

We got eighties rock today. 

And I'd forgotten about this song which came on the early in the playlist. 

How could I forget about the Hoodoo Gurus? 

The best of upbeat 80s tunes, with catchy lyrics and unrelenting guitars?

How indeed?

So I've been singing this for most of the night since hearing it at the gym. 

And maybe it's not the world's best workout song, but it's good for keeping time when you're doing step ups. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Things I don't understand: Eyebrows

As a teenager, I remember spending many an hour trying to weed my eyebrows. Coming from the same lineage as Frida Kahlo and John Howard, and being a teenager of the 80's, weeding out the monobrow was a necessity. I'm also all for anybody wanting to keep their monobrow, doing just that. It's not for me, but you have to admire a person just being themselves.


Around me, back in the day, people would pluck their eyebrows to find lines. And then find years on, when trends change, the bloody things won't grow back. Again, thankfully, after years of weeding my momobrow, the hair got scared to come back. But they still need weeding. 

I have no idea how much I've spent on having my eyebrows tended to,  not that I started doing this early on. For the last ten years or so I've had my eyebrows professionally waxed, and trimmed (the latter has to be done so I don't end up looking like John Howard). They keep their shape for the most part. I have a dig at them inbetween services.

But now, eyebrows are a HUGE business. 

But what I'm not getting is this obsession with highly defined eyebrows - the microblade and tattoo culture. Sure, if I let my eyebrows grow it would be like I was related to the band members of Oasis - I've got no need for this service. And I don't have nearly invisible eyebrows like some of my friends. Nor did I over pluck them in the 80s. I was more a Brooke Sheilds type of eyebrow girl. Thicker, but tidy. 

There is also the argument that you don't know who you're going to see when you these sorts of cosmetic procedures done. Scarification, wounding, dented egos, extreme pain - why would you trust your face to somebody in a shopping mall to tattoo your face? How do you know what training they have had? How do you know their eyebrow aesthetics match yours.

You could end up looking like this...

Or this...

Or this...

Call me a wuss with decent natural eyebrows, but I just don't get it. Good luck to those who take up these options, but I can't get my head around it. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Cull and the Cook

My vow to myself to shed those things which do not serve me continues. There's a bit of consideration as to what to chuck out. 

Yesterday, I went through the bathroom cupboards and ridded myself of all of the lotions and potions that were out of date, never used and would never be used. I now have two half-empty cupboards. And it feels good. 

The day before, one of the dresser drawers was cleaned out. Why I had five pairs of black opaque tights, I have no idea. I've kept three - two of which are decent Snag tights which last forever, the rest were binned - as the elastic was fraying in some of the pairs. Done. it feels good. 

Today's foray into ridding myself of extraneous stuff was looking at the printer situation. Jay gave me an old laser printer about a year ago. It's been sitting in the boot of my car. In my cupboard, another laser printer sat, which by hook or crook, I could not get working. I gave the one in the cupboard one last try at working. Didn't happen. I finally collected the laser printer in the car boot, brought it up, tried installing the drivers and voila!, a working printer. The one which refuses to operate will be taken down to the council with some other items in a day or so (paint cans being one of those things). 

It feels good to have that sorted. I'll keep going with this. I'm dreading going through the spare room - although, I've made a start on that already. Some regalia from a lodge which no long operates was returned on the weekend. That also felt good to do. It only took me two years to return it. 

Another aim this year is to cook more - and cooking I am doing. 

Easy is good - and this recipe for Chicken and Miso soup with Chilli poached eggs is incredible - even if I've changed a few things round. 

Yes, the broth of white miso, grated ginger, soy sauce and mirin remains, which poaches the chicken breast. Instead of fresh udon noodles, I used the packet ones, cooking them up as the chicken poached. The the chilli oil was added, which goes down as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. But I soft poach in egg in another small pan, rather than cooking them in the broth. 

Okay, so the method has changed, it's still incredibly yummy, even if my lips are still tingling from the chilli oil - and I have left overs for lunch tomorrow. 

Tomorrow for dinner I might make poke bowls, with lots of blanched green veggies. Yum. 

Small things that keep me happy. 

Today's song:

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Myponga Music Festival Returns

Some fifty-one years ago, there was a pop festival in my home town of Myponga, South Australia

Yes, Australia's answer to Woodstock occured at the place where my mother now lives, literally a couple of kilometres down the road. The lineup was great. Black Sabbath, complete with Ozzy Osborne (like Ozzy Osborne has been to my home town!), Daddy Cool, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, and Spectrum to name the headline acts. 

Allegedly they messed up a cow paddock pretty good, and then for the next couple of decades, this Festival dove back into the depths of obscurity. 

Mention Myponga to most people and they snigger at the name and ask where it is. 

My normal reply comes as, "Seventy kilometres South of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula on the road to Victor Harbor." It's about as accurate as you get for a town without a pub - and from what I know now, without a General Store or post office, or bank - but it does have a good bakery, a brewery and Sunday Markets now. If you're lucky the little servo will be open at the end of the town. 

Anyway, listening to the news this morning, they were reporting that the Myponga Festival might be making a return. With some of the original line up coming down for the show. 

LIKE MYPONGA WILL GO MENTAL! How are they going to fit all of these people in a down that barely contains 300 on a good day? And will a decent knowledge of the back paddocks mean I can sneak in?

Anyway, a did a bit of interwebbing and it was verified that the Mayor of Yankalilla (the local council - Myponga is too small to have it's own shire) was working with people to get this up and running. 

Not so strangely, the Mayor of Yankalilla also happens to be a Facebook friend of mine - and my sister's ex, and we are the same age and went to high school together. 

I dropped him a note - as you do - asking if this was true. And if locals could get tickets? 

He came back. Yes to the former. Nay to the latter at the moment, and I have a funny feeling he's probably had a few of his old school mates contacting him asking the same question.  (Mind you, the last time I saw him was at my niece's funeral - before that, I'd run into him at the family big barbeque. It's not like I haven't seen him since the mid-eighties). 

But we might have to get tickets to this - maybe get a couple of us over from Melbourne - maybe pitch a tent on Mum's lawn - and watch Black Sabbath come on out their zimmer frames and Ross Wilson and Daddy Cool jump around the stage threatening to do a hip.

It might be a fun weekend. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Friday Fill-in

 It's birthday weekend - and I'm home alone on a Saturday night. What's new? (At least I had a great night Friday and a nice weekend on the whole).

Now for this week's questions, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.   I am currently obsessed with_____   clearing out extraneous things from my life. I'm having a big clean out this year. It will take time, but if something is not serving be, it's being let go of, with love, or course. 

2.  Today I am happy because _____  I had a sleep in and spoke to some overseas friends this morning for my birthday. 

3.  The age I am is 54 and the age I feel is  probably around 38-42. I like those ages. 

4.  My favorite place is probably London and if in London, my favourite place is Westminster Abbey - I love being surrounded by history. If I have to name a place in Australia, I think the Great Hall with its stained glass ceiling in the National Gallery, Victoria has to be one of those places. 

5.  Something I have been procrastinating is _____ Getting back into my novel. I've given myself a year and a day to complete the full first draft. I CAN do this. 

6.  The last thing I purchased was _____ this week's groceries. Actually, scrap that, I bought a coffee after I bought the groceries. 

7.  The thing I love most about my home is _____ my reading chair in the spare room - and the fact that I feel safe and secure in here. 

8.  My most prized possession _____ Look, I'm not really into possessions, but I do love that reading chair. I also have a copy of Lady Cottington's Book of Pressed Fairies, signed by it's author, Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame. I love my Harley Davidson Motorcycle boots too. 

9.  If I could be one age for the rest of my life, I would want to be _____ probably about 42. Old enough to have fun, but old enough to know better and not get into too much trouble. 

10.  My outlook on life _____ is generally positive. 

11.  If you want to annoy me, _____ be rude, particularly be rude to service staff. Or try and tell me that Adele and Ed Sheeran are the best musicians ever. Or play Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell album. 

12.  I am completely defenseless when it comes _____ to dark haired, light eyed Englishmen - e.g. Clive Owen, Matthew Goode...  (or George Clooney at a push, but he has brown eyes). 

13. The bravest thing I’ve ever done was _____ probably move to England at the age of 23. Somehow it all worked out. 

14. Something that keeps me awake at night is ____ the neighbour'd dog. I really should call the council on that one. It's annoying on too many nights of the week. The next door neighbours parties can get a bit loud too. Generally, I'm a good sleeper. 

15. My favorite meal in the entire world is _____ Mum's roast lamb, with roast veggies and mint sauce. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Welding Gloves

I did well this birthday - not that it was wanted, warranted or expected. 

Jonella took me to see a film today, and paid for my choctop and lemonade - I love receiving gifts like this - they don't take up space and we both get the enjoyment out of the experience. We had a marvellous afternoon. 

And last night, unexpectedly, I received a lovely bunch of native flowers from Gloria and Gaynor. Stunning flowers. Also gratefully received, especially as I can't remember the last time I received flowers. They're sitting in a vase on the bookcase in front of me and I'm admiring the proteas. I'll get a lot of enjoyment out of these. 

There were some other small gifts. And insulated take away coffee mug - that will never go astray. 

But the strangest gift I received was from Blarney and Barney. A pair of blue, suede, armpit length welding gloves.

Welding gloves?

Yes, welding gloves.

Am I about to take up metal sculputure?


Am I about to retrain as a mechanic, electrician or panel beater?


The use of these rather dashing gauntlets are to assist when catching Lucifer. 

Yep. If you're going to deal with a hissing, snarling, six kilo moggie, apparently you need welding gloves, apparently. 

I got a good laugh over receiving these. 

The thing is I can pick up my cat. He doesn't like it much for the most part, but he lets me pick him up before dinner.  He's not the snuggliest of cats. He's not like Maow Maow, who loved a cuddle. Also, if I sneak up on him I can get him in the carrier to go to the vet, or to Blarney's place when I go away for a few days. Sometimes he catches on and evades capture by diving under the bed. I always give myself half an hour to catch him on these occassions. After ten or so minutes he comes out and does the cat equivalent of thumbing his nose at me before I try again. He's a bit of a prick like that. 

But get the vet, or anybody else try to snatch him up and he turns into the Tasmanian Devil. 

The vet has said he's not too bad as cantankerous moggies go. He doesn't go for the eyes, more he's just a snarling, hissing ball of fluff. He's just letting the world know he's monumentally pissed off. He's a sweetheart. 

Blarney and Barney think he's the devil incarnate, even though he's never really hurt them. He likes to hiss at them when they come into the room. I call that a sign of affection. 

Ah well. 

He's not a bad boy. He's just a bit misunderstood. 

And the welding gloves are now sitting in his carrier waiting the next time I have to take him out of the flat. 

As presents go, this was one of the best of all. 

Today's song:

Friday, August 19, 2022

It's my birthday and I'll write if I want to

 And I don't want to, so I'm giving myself the day off bloggings. 

Even though I'll get the obligatory post in to keep up the numbers. 

"It's my birthday and I'll write if I want to...''

Yeah.... nah....

Happy birthday to me. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

My Year Without Chips and other Follies

 I always get to the night before my birthday and wonder just what I've done this year. 

And I think yeah, not a great year, not a bad year. 

I mean:

  • I survived the job from hell
  • I'm 5 kgs lighter than I was this time last year
  • I've had a skin cancer removed and my gall bladder out - within two weeks of each other
  • I got another, better job after the job from hell
  • I've been the Canberra and Adelaide
  • I've kept up my commitment to the gym
  • And I've got a lot more money in the bank - although some of that is leaving me soon because I've put a deposit on that car. 
And the calendar kicks over another year tomorrow. 

I'm a little bit down about this one. Not sure why. Maybe it's because I still don't feel like I've achieved anything over the last year. 

But I'm putting in some goals now. 

First up, no chips. Hot or cold, sweet potato or otherwise, for the next eyar. This is a big general healthy eating goal, but no chips is a good way to clear out some carbs. I also want to have a designated vegetarian day each week. Not vegan - not that silly, but an ovo-lacto vegetarian I can do once a week - you nver know, I might like it. 

I also want to get my steps up. Again, I'm pretty good with this, but I'd like to be a bit more active. We've got a stepathon at work in September. 10,000 steps a day. I should be good for this. 

There's lots of things I want to do in the coming year, but I'm not going to go into them now. 

Half of me wishes I dream of being bitten by a snake in my dreams tonight. At least then I'll know what I have to do in a year and a day. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Done it again

 So here's the deal. 

I normally sell my car on after 6-7 years, mostly because after that time they start costing money to run, and partly because they keep some of their resale value at 6-7 years. I spent a bit of time working at a car dealership. I remember a few things. 

I picked up my current car, Clive, on 20 August 2016. I love Clive. He's red. He's sexy. He runs well. 

I'm also a careful lady driver who does limited milage. 

And Clive has been giving me the odd clunk and warning light of late - which is why he got sent to the doctor (service centre) today. 

He had a nice time getting serviced. He needed a new battery. He'll need new tyres in the next couple of months. 

Returning to the dealership later in the afternoon, he wasn't quite ready to be collected, so I went for a walk around the lot as there was nothing in the showroom. Also, another thing - I tend to get my cars as ex-demos or very young second hand cars from dealers. I'm not into private sales. With dealers, they come with warrantees and the like. 

Anyway, I got talking to Uday, the used car guy. Oh, I should say, my last two cars have been bought at this dealership from the guy who used to be this fellow's boss. I've referred a number of people to these guys - they're great to deal with, particularly if you're a woman on your own.

We got chatting. 

I know what I want, I told him. Something not much more than a year old. Something economical. I would love to get some sort of hybrid, but they are are rare as rocking horse poo. As for an electric vehicle - I don't have the infrastructure to run one of those, as much as I would love to. Maybe the car after this one. 

I drove around in a Mazda 2 sedan for a loaner today. It felt tinny. I like the bit of extra size of the CX-3. I don't need to go larger than that.  

There was a nice red Mustang in the yard. Don't need that either. 

But our conversation continued. 

Just like the last time I had this conversation, I explained that I was sort of looking. I've been sort of looking around for a couple of months, seeing what's about, spending tea breaks looking at various car websites, but I'm just being curious. And I'm fully aware of what the wait times on new cars are like. I'm also aware of the price second hand cars are fetching at the moment. 

We talked bit more. The only CX3 in the yard was six months older than mine. Pass. 

But then he says he's got some more cars coming in. He has a Genki coming in. I don't need a Genki - a Maxx will do. Happy with the Maxx.(Mid-range CX-3 - it's got enough bells and whistles, but not all of them which the Genki has in buckets. As long as it has airconditioning, electric windows, a reversing camera and handsfree comms, I'm good).

Another trip into the office and he tells me he has some ex-demos coming in soon. He gives me a price. And an age. And a colour. 2021 CX-3 Maxx. Soul Red. Basically, my car, just five years younger. 

We then go price up my car. Yes, it's six years old with only 41,000 on the clock. 

He said he could give me a trade-in price which is $5000 less than what I paid for it six years ago. 

It would be rude not to trade him in, semi-bald tyres an all. 

So I'm doing a bit of number crunching, knowing that my tax cheque will be here soon. 

And I think I might be making the call tomorrow morning. 

A girl needs a reliable car. A girl needs a birthday present. 

And in my tiny mind, this is an investment and it makes sense. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Destination Southland

Some things that have made me happy today. 

1. Watching Brett Sutton Bhangra dance - Brett Sutton can do no wrong normally on a bad day, but Brett Sutton Bhangra dancing is about as hot as the All Blacks doing the Haka. 

2. I finished the book  group book with an hour to spare and I really liked it. (Madeleine Ryan's  A Room Called Earth)

3. Scott Morrison made even more of a plonker of himself. Schadenfreude is a taste best enjoyed cold. 

4. And I've finished the back of my new jumper that I've been knitting. Knocked that off during book group. 

5. I got thinking about a holiday I will hopefully be taking in January. I love considering holiday plans. 

So, where did I arrive at my holiday plans?

Well, my friend Geetangeli is having a party for her 30th wedding anniversary in January. The event will be held in Christchurch on the third weekend in January, where she lives. As I didn't make her wedding, I think it prudent that I turn up to this shindig. Geetangeli and I have been good friends since 1987. 

Then I look at the calendar and see there is a public holiday around this time, so it will be a four day work week after then party. 

And I looked at the ticket prices and trips to Christchurch aren't as cheap as they used to be. And I do have a passport now, which is a good thing, and as I haven't had a proper holiday in 3 years (the last time I went away was in November 2019, and that was to India, and that wasn't really relaxing). 

So I'm looking at this trip. Get to Christchurch the day or so before the party. Need to talk to Geetangeli. Like me, she's a planner. We'll work our what her requirements are going to be.

And as I'm out of contract at that stage, I don't have to negotiate with work for the time off (though I'll mention it to my boss as soon as they look to extending, if that happens).

And do I need to wear my salwaar kameez to this shindig, or is it going to be a more Western Cocktail dress. And will she have room at the inn at her place or will I need to find nearby accommodation - no worries either way. But it's a consideration. 

And then there is the plan. What next?

Well, I love to drive. 

Well, I want to go to Dunedin. I was there in 1986 - I want to go again and see if it is remarkable as I remember it. There are places on the way down I can visit in my trusty hire car (about $500 for 8 days - though the price of petrol in New Zealand is pretty awful). The Moeraki Boulders is high on the list.

A day in Dunedin to have a look around is on the cards. 

Then I have to look at the driving and the what I want to see and find a route around which has me driving not much more than four hours a day.

Invercargill has some draw, just because it's the most Southern tip of New Zealand and it's fun to say that you've been to the bottom of a country. When I get back to Cornwall, I want to go to Lizard Point, just to say I've been there. 

There's Te Anau - and Milford Sound. I'm not sure I appreciated it as well as I would now than when I was a teenager. 

And of course - a day or two in in Queenstown - because I want to have a Fergberger, which everybody talks about. It's also one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been to - and I have an old colleague who lives there - I can probably have dinner with her one night at a push. 

Then back to Christchurch and home.

There's so many places I could go. Up the West Coast - which is an amazing place. I took the train from Christchuch to Greymouth last time I was there, but I've never driven it. Up the top around Marlborough and Nelson, there are some great wineries to explore. So many places, so little time. 

But we've got a loose plan. And yes, I expect I'll be doing this alone - but I'm used to that too. I'm good with travelling by myself. You meet people on the journey

And the cat sitter is tentatively booked. Rather than going to Blarney and Barney's place, I've asked Teddie if she is available to come and stay with his Lordship. He'll be happier in his own home seeing I'll be gone for over a week. 

It's so nice to get excited about travelling again. 

Today's song:

Monday, August 15, 2022

Book group - ARGH

 So it's book group tomorrow night. 

I thought it was next Tuesday. 

The book is Madelaine Ryan's A Room Called Earth. 

As of last night I hadn't started it, thinking I had another week to get it read. 

So yeah.

I'm 100 pages into it now, and quite enjoying it. It's different, unusual, and very truthful. Can't ask for much more than thank. 

Today was spent at work, doing the work, and sneaking off to read the odd chapter - which are all mercifully short. 

But I will do my darndest to get this read by 8 pm tomorro night. All 288 pages of it. 

It's a challenge. 

I'm just thankful I have a job where I can read for five minutes each hour. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Magical Journal

The neighbours can't decide if they are having a doof-doof party or not. Sometimes we get doof-doof, sometimes not. Oh well. Keeps me awake and lets me do my weekly questions, which were provided, as always by Bev at Sunday Stealing. Interestingly enough, this comes from something Elizabeth Gilbert has produced. Her book, Big Magic, is wonderful. 

1. What’s the best beach or lake day you can remember?

I remember as a child going down to the beach late in the afternoon - Silver Sands beach. We'd often go down when it was still hot, then play beach cricket, using the esky lid (think cooler box, Americans) as the wicket and and old tennis ball. If you hit the ball into the sea, it's six and out. It would have still been around 30 degrees centigrade as the sun went down. And thinking about this, the rules of cricket will make no sense to the Americans, but think of it as what we play rather than your American Football (which makes absolutely no sense to me.)

2. Describe your ideal picnic lunch

One with no flies or ants. Decend provisions. Lots of wet wipes. Using the local parks barbeques is always good. 

3. What flowers are in your bouquet?

Roses. I love roses. Not that I've ever had a bouquet made for any occasions. I don't think about flowers. 

4. Silly ways to pass the time during a snowstorm

As it doesn't snow here, this is a very moot point. But I've been known to ride out rain events  by putting on gumboots and dancing in the rain. 

5. The most beautiful house you’ve ever visited.

Alnwick Castle in England. Not only is it a castle, but it's also a working household. It's an incredible place - find below JWM Turner's view of it. It's an amazing place. Hampton Court Palace was pretty incredible too. 

6. Best place you ever dined.

High end, that would be Vue de Monde. It's an amazing restaurant in Melbourne that sits on top of one of the tallest buildings in the city, and their degustation menu is incredible.

But there are some great good places that I love:

  • the bagel bakery down West End Lane in West Hampstead was fantastic. 
  • Street vendor samosas in Varanasi
  • Oh, the Persian Fairy Floss sundaes at this South African restaurant in Glen Huntly.
  • Bahn Mi from down the road on Victoria Street
  • the Dry Chilli Beef in spicy sauce at the Vinh Ky down the road on Victoria Street (Ambrosial)
Food is about experience. The good stuff doesn't have to be high end. 

7. How many layers to your ice cream sandwich

Just the one. Do they come in any other way?

8. Pretty things which are faux patent leather

Shoes. I don't own anything in patent leather. Scratch that, I have a cool pair of shoes made of fake patent leather. They're pret

ty cool. 

9. What is the best way to eat chocolate.

At night and slowly. I also love good hot chocolates. The ones they make at Damon Bradley are legendary. 

10. Describe your unicorn’s special magic

My unicorn's special magic - this questions is beyond me... sorry. 

11. All the fruits in your fruit salad

I love making fruit salad - it's my go to summer dessert. I like putting in the following fruits. Lychees, dried apricots and cranberries, peaches, mangoes, strawberries, apples and oranges. The only thing I never put in my fruit salads are bananas. I don't like bananas. 

12. Describe the soil, grass, trees, flowers and rocks in your magical forest.

Another question I don't really get - or maybe I'm just not in the mood to get. Next. 

13. The lyrics which move you the most are:

Unexpected soppy ones always get me. My Funny Valentine moves me to tears every time I hear it. 

14. What are the best sauces in the world?

I'm going through a Chilli Oil patch at the moment. Glorious stuff. But I'm also a slave to Tomato Sauce (Ketchup to you Americans) and decent barbeque sauce.

15. Write a haiku about nature

Tell me of the wind

Where does it come from, and why

Must it ruin your hair?

Today's song: 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Theatre Review: Laurinda

The Play: Laurinda

The Theatre: The Sumner Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company

Until: 10 September

Stars: 3

It's been a cracker of a season at the Melbourne Theatre Company. So much good theatre to enjoy, so many pieces of solid entertainment to provoke thought and feeling. 

Unfortunately, Laurinda was not one of those plays. This is not to say that this was a bad play - it just wasn't quite up to the standard we've come to expect this year. And it's also not a play I'd walk out on. It's just that this one felt a little amateurish. 

So hear me out. 

Alice Pung's novel of the same name is well loved, telling the story of Lucy Lam, of Vietnamese extraction, a smart kid from a not-so-great suburb who wins a scholarship to an exclusive private girls school. Lucy sticks out for lots of reasons - the scholarship kid has to face off with the rich, entitled kids in her year. She faces racism and classism along with the horrendous nature of 15-year-old girls.

I really enjoyed the novel, which I read in preparation for this. I went along with Jay, who hadn't done the prepatory reading, and she said she was getting a bit lost at times - and I can get why. Jay put it well - this production did feel a bit like a high school production - and she's right - it did feel at times as if it were being put on as a part of a Year 12 final production - sometimes it felt a overacted and twee - other times there were flashes of brilliance. 

And then you have to balance it up that this with the fact that this is a play about teenage girls - and as we all know, they have few, if any, redeeming features. 

It's also early days for this production, as it opened this week. The cast are fresh out. They don't have the regular nightly notes yet - so I'll give them some slack for that. 

But what this misses from the book is the nuanced relationships Lucy has with the school, her family and her local community, which is so beautifully drawn in the book, but doesn't translate to the stage. Petra Kalive and Diana Nguyen's script is fun and fast paced, but it misses out on the heart which is found in the book. Kalive's direction is adequate and mostly on point. The minimalist set was put to good use, but the audiovisuals were a little disappointing. 

What was most irritating was what was kept from the book versus what was left out. The two teachers in the book were amalgamated into one - which at times, didn't make sense. Lucy's home life was only touched on, where it's an integral part of the book. And Mrs Grey, a menacing figure in the book wasn't that scary. 

What I did like, however, was the mostly Asian cast. Where in the book, the characters are mainly Anglo-Australians, in this rendition, all of the characters were played by Asian actors. As it is blatantly stated early in the play, "What, an Asian playing a white Aussie? Get over it!" And that I did. This gave the play a really interesting overlay. It was, at times, thought provoking. 

So a mixed bag for this one. I think lovers of the book will be a bit disappointed, but it certainly wasn't the worst play I've seen. Maybe if I'd seen it a few more weeks into the run the experience would have been different. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

I got a new cat

 Meet Encanta. 

She came via courier yesterday. 

I think she's gorgeous. 

My friend Reindert sent her over for my birthday present. 

Reindert is a cat person too. He has two new kittens after the last once got skittled. He's promised to keep these two inside. 

Regardless, Reindert and his wife were on holiday in Oaxaca, Mexico and they sent me this. 

Things I have found out about Oaxaca.

1) It's pronounced Wah-ha-kah. 

2) It's down in the South of Mexico. 

3) This sort of Mexican wooden art is known as Alebrijes and it's main centre of production is found in Oaxaca. These whimsical wooden figurines are called Alebrijes, which are fantasical creatures often made of wood or paper mache.

This little fellow is wood. She got through customs without a hitch.

I just think she's gorgeous and she's now got pride of place on my bookshelf with other trinkets bought in other countries, like my Saraswatis, and Ganeshas, and little wooden elephants. My friends often bring me back things like this - and it's another thing to cherish.

Reindert is off to the Netherlands to see his folks soon after this few weeks in Mexico. He's using his time well before starting a new job. His travel tales are making me salivate at the thought of traveling to strange and different places. And yes, New Zealand in January is technically overseas, but it's not the same as going somewhere exotic, like Mexico (and probably a bit safer).

Anyway, I have a new cat, even if it is wood. It makes me happy.

Today's song:

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Movie Review: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

 Movie Number 30 of 2022

Movie: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Cinema: Village Cinemas Gold Class, The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 5

It was a good night last night. I made Chicken and Miso soup with chilli poached eggs, which was out of this world. 

And I saw Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

If I wasn't in Gold Class, I'd have stood up and applauded. 

It's a most wonderful film. I like films which tell the truth. This has the truth in spades. 

It's an easy premise. Nancy (Emma Thompson), a fifty-something, widowed, buttoned up, repressed, retired teacher, hires the services of Leo Grande (Daryl MacCormack) to induce her sexual awakening. Leo, confident, fit, a business man, is bloody good at his job as he initially gently leads Nancy to where she wants to go - not that Nancy has much of a clue about what's on offer. Leo is the perfect gentleman to help Nancy. Leo would the the perfect man to help any woman in this predicament. 

Over a number of sessions, we learn a lot about Nancy, her life, her marriage, her hopes and fears, as we also get to know more about Leo, who comes across as super-confident until some chinks show up in his armour. You're never quite sure where this film is going - something I love in a film. By the start of the third act you're wondering if Nancy will find her orgasm. Does she or doesn't she? I won't say. 

There is so much to love about this film. The once taboo subject of older women and sexuality is broached head on. Being one of those older women who knows what it is to feel invisible, Thompson is a woman of her time, showing, what many of us are feeling in our own ways. The fact that every emotion registers on her face helps. That Katy Brand's script is laugh out loud funny, yet poignant and very human is another. We all want a connection. This film just dares to show it. 

Daryl McCormack is perfect as sex worker Leo, giving just the right mix of forthrightness and vulnerability. He's also bloody good to look at and I dare anybody to not want to drown in his green eyes and be taken on a journey with his lovely Irish accent. 

Sophie Hyde's direction is assured. 95% of the film is set in an anonymous hotel room where Nancy and Daryl's arrangement takes place. The laughs are plentiful, yet nuanced. She doesn't flinch from highlighting Nancy's prickliness or Leo's failings. It's also sex positive and body positive - including some full frontal nudity - and good on that, I say. 

As what is ostensibly a two hander, this shortish film (97 minutes) is gold. Bold, brave, bloody funny and raw. 

Take your friends. Take your boyfriend. Take your mum. This is wonderful. Better than I though it would be. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hero Worship

 "Hero worship... He deserves it..."  The B'52s.   

I'm off too see Good Luck to You, Leo Grande tonight at a preview session. I've been itching to see this ans 1) it's an English film and 2) the subject matter is relevant to a woman of my age and situation and 3) it stars one of my favourite performers - Emma Thompson. 

When it comes to Emma Thompson, I've been in for the long haul. 

She was Miss Money-Stirling in my most favourite episode of The Young Ones. I've been quoting her for nearly forty years. 

Then there were the Ken and Em years, when she was married to Kenneth Branagh and was in all of his films. She was a perfect Katherine de Valois in Henry V, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Of course, she wrote the screenplay and starred in Sense and Sensibility, for which she won the Oscar. She also won a best actress Oscar for her role in Howard's End.

Over the years, she keeps going from strength to strength. She was in the Harry Potter films. She appeared in one of my favourite mini-series, Angels in America.

Then there was her devastating portrayal of Karen in Love Actually. You can only adore her in that - she made me dislike Alan Rickman for five minutes - never saw that happening. 

And she keeps on going. I love that she's a real woman. Aging gracefully, she's just gorgeous in an unexpected, English way - she's not somebody who'd gone through heaps of work - or if she has, it's subtle, as many English celebrities have the sense to do. 

I love that she doesn't dumb herself down. Yes, there's been the odd dodgy role, but for the most part, she embodies her characters with charm and grace. She was the perfect Baroness in Cruella, a wonderfully flaky Sybill Trellawney in the Harry Potter films and she's soon to be playing the Trunchbull in Matilda. 

Yes, I love this woman. 

So tonight I'm off to see her new film about a woman who hires a sex worked to help her find out what she's been missing. It looks great. 

There were two sessions at the cinema this evening. The first had a Q&A with the film's director, Thomson and her co-star Daryl McCormack. I booked the later session. 

When the cinema called me to ask if I wanted to go to the session with the Q&A, after some chat, I decided to keep my current ticket. Other than it being in the comfort of Gold Class, the only seats available were right on the edge up the front. I'll keep my spot with the optimal viewing pleasure. 

And besides, if I go to the Q&A I could find myself going all fan girl and making a complete goose of myself (Like I did with Richard Flanagan, where when asked who I was I  decried, "I'm not worthy."). 

I could see myself shouting out, "Ra-ra-ra, we're going to smash the oiks!" or "I've got a Porsche. It's not an automatic. Daddy sends hugs..."

I'd rather not risk it. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

They come in threes

I'm waiting to see who's next. 

First Judith Durham of The Seekers Fame.

Today, we woke to the news that Olivia Newton John had passed. 

Like most children of the seventies, both of these women were a part of our lives from our conception. 

Judith Durham and the Seekers were all over the radio when I was a kid. Of course I know the words to Georgie Girl, The Carnival is Over and Morningtown Ride. These songs all came out around the time I was born. Knowledge of these songs are cellular. It's unAustralian to not know Seekers songs. 

Olivia Newton John was something else. She was the person who you sang along with when she was on the telly, your hairbrush was your microphone. She seemed like such a happy soul. Then she was in Grease - and you wanted to be Sandy (Okay, I wanted to be Frenchie or Rizzo because I've always been a brunette). And I never rated Xanadu - silly film. 

But you have to give her credit for her staying power. Her catchy pop tunes were never pretentious - they were what they were. I remember singing The Banks of the Ohio driving home from Ambulance Cadets with the girl from next door. Physical came out when I was in my first year at high school, driving every young girl to want to wear lycra - and yeah, some things should still not be done. 

Her songs are in our bones - if you're a child of the 70s. Is what it is. 

Olivia Newton John became a national icon. She was always around the place. And we were okay with that. She always appeared to be nice and positive and just a good egg. 

Her work and advocacy for Breast Cancer wellness and research has aided thousands of people. She was incredible. 

And now she's gone. She faught a bloody good battle. May she now rest in joy. Nobody has a bad word to say with her (although the New York Times obituary is pretty snarky - that's about the worst of it.) She had a good life. She did good deeds. She's universally loved. 

And we're going to hear a lot of her songs for the next few weeks. And like The Seekers songs, I can cope with that. They had her on Coles Radio today when I popped in at lunch time. 

However, my question now is who is next? Celebrity deaths come in threes - always. I'm still recovering from 2016 when David Bowie and Alan Rickman died within days of eachother. 

Judith Durham and Olivia Newton John's passings are sad. They remind us of a more innocent time when we danced in front of the telly with our hairbrush microphones, wishing we too could be on Countdown.

Anyway, Grease is on the telly tonight. Quelle surprise. May as well get out my hairbrush and sing along....

"Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee.."

But here is the song that's been going around in my head today. Bless her. Not her best known song, but one I really like. 

Today's song: 

Monday, August 8, 2022

Customer Service


Fucking cheques. 

They're the bane of my life. 

So it's 10.30 on a Monday evening. I've been to the gym and now I'm sitting here in my Harvard jumper trying to unravel the Property Association books and get them ready for the auditor, because I am that sort of masochist and I really need them to be out of the way so that I don't have to think about doing free dodgy admin for a while longer. 

But this is not my gripe. My complaint is about cheques. 

Hate the fuckers. And yes, I have asked the people giving me the cheques to bank them themselves, but due to a few extenuating factors, this time round I said, "Give them here, I'll deal with them," hoping to take out some other bits of angst I won't go into. 

So last week, I made a special trip to the Commonwealth Bank to bank some cheques for the Property Association. Go to the branch which has out of hours access. Tick. And said branch has a machine which can bank cheques without a Commonwealth bank card. (I think they call  it cardless deposits - not all ATMs will do this) Tick.

I had three cheques to bank. 

The machine only accepted two. The third cheque was deemed invalid form some reason which only the computer knows about, was spat back at me. No idea why - it just was. I tried to get this thing into the bank three times. On the second and third attempts it was spat out quicker than a dog spits out lemon rind. 

So, it's now Saturday. I have fun things to do on Saturday, but as I want to get this bloody banking out the way I make a plan to go to a Commonwealth Bank branch which is open on a Saturday - which is the one in the city - open from 10 am til 2 pm. Great, she cries - the branch is opposite where my mailbox is kept. 

I make the effort to catch the tram into town, on a Saturday. I arrive at the bank within the required branch opening hours. 

As all physical banks now days, they have somebody at the door directing traffic. Need loan advice - this way madam. Need to roll over a term deposit - that way madam.

So think about what it's like when you've made this special trip into the bank to bank a cheque to be told by the person at the front of the branch directing traffic,"Sorry, we don't do that on a Saturday - you'll have to come back during the week."


Rather than raise my voice at the person, who told me twice I couldn't bank a cheque in a bank, after looking at her like she'd grown another head, that I'd deal with it during the week - and I went on my way. 



God, give me strength.

I collected my mail and went home. 

And went to the local branch of the Commonwealth Bank in Richmond, where I banked this errant cheque and told the lovely teller my tale of woe. She was sympathic and nice enough to add a reference of the cheque to make it easier for whoever is doing these books next year, because I, for one, sure as shit won't be doing them. I've let it be known I'm going to be off this committee at the AGM in November. 

I'm told I should go and complaint to the Commonwealth Bank about the fact that I was put out - there might be some money in it to shut me up. Because, you know, banks are all about shareholders' dividents and not customer service (Says she who is currently working in a bank and knows how they really do try to get things right most of the time. )

That feels better. Got that off my chest now. 


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Personal History

Another dull Saturday night at home - though at least I'm getting a bit of knitting done. And I went out last night, so at least I've been out this weekend. 

I'm not sure how I feel about answering all of these really personal questions, but I'll give it a crack. 

Questions, as always, have been provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.  What would you like people to know about your mother?

Things about my mother: (Who reads this so I have to be nice)

  • She lives in a place called Myponga
  • Currently, she's in great health for an 81-year-old - she even goes to the gym. 
  • She's not too bad with computers
  • She loves cats as much as I do
  • She makes the best roast lamb ever
  • She has a bit of a lead foot - well she used to
  • She used to be a theatre sister - and was a nurse for nearly 40 years.
  • She and my step-dad built a straw bale cottage and ran a Bed and Breakfast for a couple of years
  • Her house is busier than Paddington Station
  • She drinks far more than I do - but most people do that - and not to excess. 
  • She's got a lot shorter as she has got older
  • She's left-handed for writing, but does most other things with her right-hand. My grandfather was supposed to be left-handed but it was beaten out of him. Not so strangely, I'm ambidextrous - I can only use scissors with my left hand. 

2.  What would you like people to know about your father?

  • My father died 25 years ago
  • He was 55` when he died
  • He was a fast runner and nearly made the state squad for football, until a medical found he had a heart murmur. 
  • He loved Bond films
  • e.e. cummings' poem Nobody loses all the time always reminds me of him

3.  What was your childhood bedroom like?

I had the sleepout - an enclosed verandah - so it was about 22 feet long by six feet wide. It was painted white. It had a door to the rest of the house and it was a thoroughfare from the main house into the laundry and toilet. The house had major extensions done after I went to university, but I never had a real designated bedroom in that house after I left. 

4.  What was your favorite activity as a child?

Reading, writing, talking to the animals and playing my flute when I was older. 

5.  What was high school like for you?

Bloody awful - but wasn't that the case for most people? I was the fat, weird, brainy kid. Not much has changed, but I celebrate my weirdness. I like being a bit odd. 

6.  Write about your cousins.

I have fifteen of them. Ten on Mum's side, five on Dad's side. The ones on Mum's side are all older than me, the ones on Dad's side are all younger than me. I'm in contact with a lot of them. From what I know, most of them are good people even if we are very different in our religious and political views. As a family, we don't fight. 

7.  What was your favorite food as a child?

Mum's roast lamb. I was also fond of sausages in onion gravy and spaghetti bolognese. 

8.  What was your most memorable birthday?

I had a wonderful 50th birthday. I was in Bali. I got woken by an earth tremor (after a reasonably significant earthquake the night before) and I got my lunch stolen by a monkey. It was fun. 

9.  What world events were significant to you as a child?

I remember when Gough Whitlam was sacked by the Attorney General and my parents yelling at the telly. And Cyclone Tracey freaked me out.

10. What did a typical day look like as a child?

As a kid in the country, I used to get up, feed the calves, have a shower, and then go to the front gate to get on the bus to go to school - the bus picked us up and dropped us off every day. At night, repeat the calf feeding, then chores, dinner, telly and bed. Pretty normal really. 

11. Write about your grandparents.

I knew all of them as a child. My paternal grandfather was very brusque and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. He died when I was eight. My paternal grandmother had a heart of gold but she lived a very sad life - and you could feel that in the house. I adored my maternal grandfather, who was born in 1899 and worked for the post office all of his life. He was your atypical grandfather. And my maternal grandmother lived until 104 - and she was hysterical in her own way. My cousins tell me that I was one of her favourites because I gave as good as she gave out. She taught me to knit and crochet and I use a lot of her recipes when I bake. 

12. Did you move as a child?

Once. From the city to the country when I was eight. A lot of me wished we stayed in town. 

13. Who taught you to drive?

My father, but I've been driving since I was about ten. I learned to drive on a tractor. 

14. Which job has been your favorite?

Strangely, I liked working at a telecommunications company around 2007-2010. Great people, good fun and I ran the beer club for a while. How can you not be happy when you run a beer club?

15. What was the best part of your 30s?

Probably getting therapy and sorting myself out at last. Though I started my thirties in London. I liked living in London. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Theatre Review: The Portrait of Dorian Gray

The Play: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Where: Arts Centre, Playhouse

Until: 7 August

Stars: 6/5 - I'd give it more if I could.

I saw this twice. Once a couple of months ago from seat in the stalls with a restricted view, and again last night, from a seat in the dress circle with an unobstructed view. 

On both nights, there were multiple standing ovations. On both nights, flawless performances were given my the actresses on stage - I had the honour of seeing both Nikki Shields and Eryn Jean Norvill in in the titular roles. There was no difference. They were both superb. On both nights, the two hour performance felt like it went in a heartbeat. 

These actresses managed to portray over 26 characters over the two hours of the play. Some on stage, some pre-recorded, some with the help of digital filters...

It was just astounding. 

The following clip gives a bit more information about the concept by the writer and director - who's going to be up for every award under the sun after this. 

For those who don't know the story of Oscar Wilde's seminal book, Dorian Gray, a pretty youth, sells his soul for eternal youth - while his portrait, which remains in the attic, takes on every one of his excesses and sins. As Dorian's behaviour becomes more and more excessive, the portrait becomes more hideous. If you haven't read to book, it comes highly recommended. 

The stagecraft for this production is exemplary. With our wily actress is a crew of ten, who man steadycams, provide props, interact with the actress as she delivers the play. Some of the brilliance of this performance comes from the use of technology and audiovisuals - projecting the actress onto big screens, using various filters and props to change the characters. 

You know you're in for something special when you watch on a big screen the actress play both Basil the artist (with a paint brush in one hand) and Henry Wooton with a cigarette in the other. One person - two different people. 

The dinner party scene, where Dorian acts with six pre recorded random people is seemless. 

Everything in this production is choreographed down to the milisecond. 

Which makes this the most incredible theatre I've ever had the blessing to see. 

There was a small technical glitch last night - after a few minutes, they were back on track without missing a beat - testament to an experienced, professional crew. 

Eryn Jean Norvill and Nikki Sheilds are actresses of their time - both extraordinary in their capabilities. They embody each of the 26 characters equally. 

And Oscar Wilde's words and story are still as relevant today as they were a hundred and thirty years ago - Kip Williams script is mindblowingly good. 

This production is finishing tomorrow afternoon, but I'm very glad I got to see this twice. I loved having the different perspectives, from below, where you could appreciate the stagecraft as the crew and the actor bring this to life, the the view from above, where the audio visual excellence could be appreciated at its best.

For those who will miss this, I feel sorry for you. Theatre like this comes around once in a decade. I put this production up there with the MTC's Richard III, A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Brendan Fraser and Ned Beatty and Aiden Fennessy's The Architect

Utterly brilliant. You won't see better for many years to come.