Saturday, December 31, 2022

Notes from the Home

I'm back in Melbourne and I'm exhausted, so it's going to be a quick post. 

Here are a few takeaways from the last week in Adelaide. 

1) I am blessed with a cat who is very good on long car trips. He complained every now and then, giving a plaintive cry. But for most of the 800 km journey he sat on his blankie and slept. He's glad to be home. 

2) Fruchocs taste the best when they are bought in South Australia. And the donuts are much better. And don't start me on the pasties. 

3) The best eggs in the world come from Mum's chooks. I've been sent home with close to a dozen of the buggers. Scored a double yolker the other morning - full on yolks. Amazing. 

4) The worst bit of ending a holiday is unpacking the car. 

5) Flavoured milk (particularly Farmers Union Iced Coffee) is to South Australians what kombucha is to Victorians. There is hardly any kombucha on the shelves of the servos. Glad I took some of my own home brewed stuff with me.

6) I bought petrol on Tuesday for 159.9 - like 30 cents a litre cheaper than what it is over here.

7) Mum's roast lamb is still my most favourite meal ever. 

8) Old friends are gold. They are even more gold when they don't insist you go swimming when it's choppy and there's a bigger swell than you like to swim in. We sat on the beach and talked to the dogs and horses.

9) Travelling with you cat is like travelling with a toddler. I was listening to a couple talk to their child in the back of the car at my stop in Bordertown. We were saying EXACTLY the same thing!

10) I have no idea how long distance truckies do this driving shite all the time - amphetamines anybody?

Anyway, I am wrecked and I need to go to bed. 

This also marks my third year of writing a blog post daily. The big question - do I keep it up? 

And my last song of the year is one of the best travelling songs ever. 

Happy new year to all.

Today's song: 

Friday, December 30, 2022

The Best of the Year

 Tomorrow will be spent driving from Adelaide to Melbourne, with the cat in the back of the car. I've started gently moving items out of the granny flat at Mum's place in order to not freak out the cat too much. We'll set off nice and early and hopefully it wont be a bad run back. 

So, in order to seal off the year, I'm giving you my best of list as a bit of a run down of what happened this year. 

So, here we go: 

Best Book of 2022

I will have read 52 books this year, if you include I'll be finished with Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children by the time I get home tomorrow (27 hours on audiobook... I'm over halfway through). 

There's been a lot of forgettable stuff, but some wonderful reads as well. 

On my list of favourites there's:

  • Damon Galgut's The Promise
  • Louis de Bernieres' Birds Without Wings
  • Maggie O'Farrell's This Must Be The Place
  • Sarah Winman's Still Life
  • Julia Baird's Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and The Things that Sustain Us
  • Bonnie Garmus's Lessons in Chemistry
  • Paddy O'Reilly's Other Houses
  • Catherine Deveny's True North
  • Holly Ringland's The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
But my book of the year goes to Jennifer Down's Bodies of Light. Stunning book. It won the Miles Franklin Award in 2022. Yes, there's a trauma porn element to it, but it was a gutsy read. 

Best Film of 2022

I've seen 41 films in cinema this year, and to be honest, I was a little underwhelmed with what was on offer. Yes, there were some great stories out there, but those films which you talk about for years to come were thin on the ground. 

The first of my two films of the year are the Irish language film, The Quiet Girl. It's stunning. 

The second of my films of the year is the sensational Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. I adore Emma Thompson - and this was very cool. It's a woman's film. There should be more of them. 

Some other films I've enjoyed, but not to the same level include: 
  • Licorice Pizza (actually, that's up there too - great fun)
  • The King's Man (Yes, mindless action in some ways, but Ralph Fiennes reciting Dulce et Decorum Est, and the inclusion of Matthew Goode - yeah...)
  • Kenneth Brannagh's Belfast was great
  • The Duke and Operation Mincemeat provided my fix of a comical, historical English films. 
  • Mothering Sunday was also excellent. 
  • I've been reminded that I loved Mrs Harris goes to Paris. That was a delight. 
  • And just for the spectacle, Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick were worth a view. 

Best Play of 2022

Where the cinema experiences felt a bit lacking, we saw some excellent theatre this year. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray was so good I saw it twice. AMAZING. I was also lucky enough to see both Eryn Jean Norvill and Nikki Shiels in the titular role. Both were incredible. 

The Melbourne Theatre Company didn't disappoint either. Girls and Boys, The Heartbreak Choir, Fun Home and Come Rain or Come Shine were fantastic. The rest of the season wasn't far behind these - it was a great season. 

I also saw Come From Away again - I adore that musical. 

Best experience of 2022

This goes to seeing The Pixies in both Melbourne and Sydney a few weeks ago. That and the two writer's retreats I went on down the Great Ocean Road. I always have a great time down there. 

This may sound strange but having my gall bladder yanked in May was actually a good experience. I feel better for it and thankfully, I had a textbook recovery. 

Best Trip of 2022

Thankfully we can travel again. 

It was lovely to see my cousins in Canberra at the start of the year. Sure, we were there for my aunt's funeral, but it was great to be with the extended family. 

The Sydney trip to see the The Pixies was also good. The Pixies are GOD. 

But I have had a wonderful time down here with the cat at my mother's place. I feel like I've had a proper holiday, even if I am home with family. 

Next year I get to use the passport again. Yay. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Take your cat on holiday, they said

It will be fun, they said. 

Actually, it is rather fun. Never thought I would be saying that, but my loyal sidekick, Lucifer is being a dream cat, mostly. 

I say mostly, because he's managed to partially destroy one of Mum's pot plants. 

Lucifer: 1 Pot Plant: 0

Other than chowing down on this pot plant, he's been a very good boy. 

He's not wrecking the furniture. He's using his litter tray. He's not behaving in an antisocial way, other than he dives under the bed if people come in into the space. Sometimes he'll come and say hello after a bit. But only sometimes. 

The rest of his holiday is being spent staring out the windows, talking to the birds and asking for food. He's not stressed, or upset, if anything, he's been a bit more affectionate than normal. 

And here I was worrying about taking him on holidays. 

As for me, I feel like I'm on my first proper holiday in years. It's nice being with the family, but also great that I've got some space to myself. It's wonderful to be fed - not that I can't look after myself, but it's great having somebody do it for me.

The change of scenery is doing me well too. I'm loving wandering down to dinner of an evening and checking out to see if the local kangaroos are grazing. You get quite close to them. It's really cool.

I've managed to avoid the cricket too. When I was a kid, this week normally involved avoid my father who was glued to the cricket for most of the Boxing Day test. I'm more of a check the scores every so often type. If I was to be caught watching the cricket, I think Mum would send me home. 

Of the downsides, if it can be seen as a downside, the internet here is crap. I'm hotspotting off my phone - down to one bar and going back and forth from 3G to 4G if I'm lucky. It means I can send an email and write a blogpost, but don't try to watch Netflix. 

And that's fine too. 

I've got another week off. It's done me the world of good. 

Here's hoping the cat feels the same. 


Victor Harbor is MENTAL

With the aim of finding a little normality - and feeling the need, I made my way to the aquatic centre at Victor Harbor to use their gym. It's been a week since I've been in the gym. I've been feeling the need to work out. 

I found out the following things at the gym:

1) When you pay $18 for a casual visit, you actually get the workout done. 
2) Grunty boys are grunty boys even when they're in their seventies - they just don't have quite as many steroids running through them. 
3) There is something pretty cool about watching a mob of seniors do their water aerobics. Hats off to them. The crew at the swimming centre were getting into it. Good on them I say. 

For those not in the know, Victor Harbor is God's waiting room of South Australia. For a similar feeling and demographic think Mount Martha in Victoria or Eden/Batemans Bay in New South Wales. Lots of cashed up retirees with a bit of disposable income and a lot of time. It's also a place people come to for their summer holidays. I remember staying at Port Elliot with my grandparents as a child. It's been the thing to do for decades. 

After my pretty decent workout, it was then into Victor Harbor proper to find a jumper. Not banking on the cooler weather, I find myself without a cardigan. Victor Harbour has a Big W and a Kmart. How hard should it be to find a cheap, zip up hoodie? Something to keep a bit of warmth in as it gets nippy here at night. 

As it goes, it was impossible. And annoying. 

Victor Harbor is filled with what my mother calls "terrorists". Most others would call them tourists. 

The car park at the shopping centre was full to the brim. Filled with the large SUVs which South Australians appear to all drive (I have a small SUV - it was dwarfed by all of these huge cars)

The shops were overrun with people - on top of the normal oldies there were heaps of families hanging around. 

I made my way to Big W, on the hunt for a hoodie. 

Nope. Nothing. 

I went to KMart at the other end of the centre. Again, nothing. I met three others looking for the same - and we came out with nothing. I could have bought a hi-vis hoodie, but I wasn't that desperate. KMart and Big W I have no problem with. Hi-vis is another matter. On talking to one of the groups looking for a cheap hoodie, they said try the surf shop. I did. I don't see a $120 hoodie with some surf branding on it as a good buy. 

The other place I had a look in was what I refer to as "The Granny Shop." This is the place where Grannies on a pension would go to shop. Pretty much everything in this shop was not to my liking. They had ugly fleece hoodies in a dreadful purple color. Again, nope. But there was a sheer cardigan in a bright blue that caught my eye. I bought it. I'll get use out of this cardigan. Sure, it's not the warmest, but my arms are covered.

Coming back home, once again braving the traffic which was not dissimilar to Melbourne peak hour, I came back with my wares. 

The cardigan got my mother's vote of approval.

I won't be doing that again in a hurry, this going into Victor Harbor, in school holidays over Christmas week. It's just too insane down there. No wonder my Mum goes down there first thing in the morning. It's nuts. 

Please don't let this blog stop you from going down to this lovely, historic town. Just avoid it like COVID around Christmas and New Year. 

And take your own hoodie. It gets nippy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022


 Driving through the streets of Adelaide, you can't help but notice the change in the place. 

Remember, I left here for good in 1991, but have returned a few times a year since 1999. 

The first big impression is the amount of road works that have taken place - some of which should have happened 20 years ago - like the Southern Expressway. But other things, that I'd not notice, like the Cross Roads overpass. I remember as a kid sitting waiting to get across that intersection on the way into town. Darlington is completely transformed with its own version of Spaghetti Junction. Routes you've been taking forever are not there anymore. New train lines go to places they really should have been going to for years. The city feels like it's booming. 

Until you go down other familiar streets, where nothing has changed. Motoring up Goodwood Road, familiar buildings are still there. The Capri Cinema, one of the few independent cinemas is still operating. It reminds me of The Astor in Melbourne. 

The Wayville Pavillion, home to many a university exam, still triggers me. I remember sitting my very last undergrad exam in there on a stinking hot November day back in 1990.

Going down Pultney Street, the changes are more noticeable. What used to be the Green Dragon pub, once a notorious gay pub, is now a Fasta Pasta. The Left Bank is gone. Where will uni students get cheap door-step sandwiches? There are a few more buildings over five storeys. As much as it's trying to feel like a big city, it still feels like Adelaide.

I parked by car in what used to be John Martins car park - a department store in which I used to work. Adelaide used to have cheaper parking. Wilson Parking has put pay to that. Three hours, $21 (on a public holiday even - arseholes.

Today's little trip, after visiting a friend in her new home, was to go to the Art Gallery. 

Things most people don't know about this gem of a place. 

Firstly, it's one of the oldest established Art Gallery in Australia, set on North Terrace in a fine sandstone building. 

Secondly, it seriously punches above its weight. Its collection is excellent and eclectic. Wandering into the first room, you're greeted by a flayed horse, a skeleton and all sorts of things. I was rather enchanted by a marble statue of a body under a tarpaulin. It's an incredible piece.

As you go further, the treasures continue. There are numerous Rodins, a number of Sidney Nolans and McCubbins. I tripped over a Francis Bacon - forever a favourite artist of mine. 

Then there was this VERY trippy exhibit by Yayoi Kasuma, which was a complete mindfuck. It's called The Spirits of the Pumpkins Descended Into the Heavens. They only let in ten people at a time. You're surrounded by a sea of yellow with black polka dots. You then look into a room and see the following. 

See. A mindfuck. 

Visiting the gallery was a great way to escape the 40-degree heat too. 

One good thing about Adelaide heat is that it's bone dry. By wearing cotton, staying in the shade and drinking a lot, you can remain comfortable. Air con and doing very little helps too. 

So, I made my way home after that, popping in on my sister to collect a few things. The cat has been in the granny flat with the air conditioning set on low. He discovered the joys of huntsman spiders today. He thinks they're fun to play with. He's a bit miffed with me as I demanded my stepdad come up and deal with it for me. He got it on the end of a broom and took it outside. Lucifer is pissed I got rid of his playmate. 

In all, a successful day. 

Today's song: 

Monday, December 26, 2022


 I turn into another person when I come down here, for one, because I become a little more aware of the flora and fauna. Gone are the strange people of Elizabeth Street, replaced with real animals. Animals I'm not used to seeing. Indigenous stock. 

The first animal I'm keeping my eyes open for is snakes. I hate snakes. Thankfully, with the amount of traffic around this place, they are rarely seen, but I'm on the lookout for them. I wear Birkenstocks everywhere. The last thing I want is the fang of a red-belly black or Eastern Brown through my foot. 

Fingers crossed they stay away.

Last night I headed down to the house for dinner. Staying in the granny flat with the cat is wonderful, but it's a trek down the hill and through the shed to get to the house. 

I was greeted by another member of the Myponga community. 


I'm not sure who was more startled. Me, or the couple of kangaroos grazing in the paddock. 

I love these guys. They're nothing to be frightened of. If you keep quiet and move slowly, they will hang around and you can commune with them for a while. Make loud noises and they run away.

This is one of the best bits of coming down here. What this photo doesn't show is the joey who went and hid in the rose bushes as I approached. The roos happily co-exist with the humans. They look you in the eye and tell you that you're on their land. By acknowledging them, saying that you for letting you stay, they continue to hang around. Long may this remain. 

There's also the bird life you see from the many windows. My step-dad's a bit of a twitcher and can identify pretty much any bird that passes by. We were treated to a flock of Rosella's eating the chooks' wheat this morning after a number of honeyeaters stopped to eat at the one of the many agapanthuses. If you're really lucky you might spot a wedged tailed eagle. They're rare, but they are magnificent. 

And the mouse like creates you see aren't mice - they're antechinuses - a small marsupial rat. The special bit is that they are marsupials. That they carry their young in pouch is pretty cool, even if they do look a bit like mice. Mum's cat, Bart, would love to eat one. Thankfully he doesn't go outside. 

Speaking of cats, this morning, as I once again went down the hill, this time with a ball of washing tucked under my arm, (Mum offered, who am I to say no? She washes most days, so it's no drama.) a cat zipped across my path. A glorious little calico arrangement, heading out from the shed, where the chooks were fossicking about, out into the bushes. It was probably dumped, unfortunately. If it doesn't meet a bullet from a local farmer, it will go feral. Which is very sad, both for the local wildlife and the cats, which are often dumped in the local bushland by people who never should have got a cat in the first place. I find out later, this one belongs to the next-door neighbour. Thankfully, their cats have been spayed. I'll leave my thoughts on people who don't do this to myself. 

My cat, Lucifer, is living the life of Riley here in the granny flat. He's happy munching on Mum's pot plants, sleeping on his mat placed in one of the lounge chairs and watching the birds and butterflies out the window. 

Tough life, eh?

Today's song: 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Thinking Back Over the Year

 It's Christmas morning. I'm over at my mother's place in South Australia in the granny flat. The cat is enjoying his new surroundings. There are a lot of birds for him to watch, which he thinks great. Before the festivities start, I'm going to get the weekly questions out of the way while my phone hotspot lets me. I'm on one bar of 4G down here - being in the country, behind a big hill. 

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

And a Happy Holidays to all. 

What did you do last year that you had not done before? 

I lead a team of people at work. I've never been in a management role, be it ever so lowly. At one stage I had six people under me. It was a good challenge. It appears I wasn't a bad team leader. Who knew?

Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?

I didn't make any resolutions last year so there were none to keep.

This coming year I'm setting a few goals. 

First up, this is going to be my year of health - whatever that looks like, I'll be working to get myself healthier. Rather than set a specific health goal, I'm just saying that by this time next year I want to be healthier. 

Secondly, it is my resolution to save my little heart out and take myself to Europe for a few weeks in October. There's a writer's retreat happening in Paris around this time. I want to go. On a cellular level, I need to go. That's the goal. 10 days on the retreat, a side trip to Normandy to see a mate and finally go to Mont St Michel (and St Malo if I can swing it), then probably a week or so in England, just because I miss the place like my left arm. 

Thirdly, it's time to get some of my words out there - and not on this blog. I want to write something and get published again. It's been too long.

My current mantra is "Do something today your future self will love you for." It's good for keeping you on the straight and narrow.            

What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?        

It's been a good reading year. By the end of the year I should have 52 books read (Sitting on 50 at the moment, according to Goodreads).

As for the best book - that is hard. It's a toss up between the following - all of which are equally great. 

  • Jennifer Down's Bodies of Light (Miles Franklin Award winner)
  • Damon Galgut's The Promise (Booker Winner)
  • Sarah Winman's Still Life
  • Bonnie Garman's Lessons in Chemistry
  • Louis de Bernieres' Birds without Wings
  • Maggie O'Farrell's This Must Be The Place

 Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?

My dear old 94-year-old aunt died in January, just before her 95th birthday. She had a good innings and in the end it was a blessed release.

 A friend is waging a pitch battle with lymphoma at the moment and thankfully appears to be coming out on top now. Along with the treatment, she's suffered multiple bouts of shingles. Thankfully, the treatment has worked and she's in remission. Long may that remain. 

What places have you visited? 

I haven't gone far this year. I went to Canberra for my Aunt's funeral. 

There was a trip back here to Adelaide for a weekend - two if you consider I'm back here now. 

And a few weeks ago, I went to Sydney to see The Pixies in concert on the Sydney Opera House forecourt. They were incredible. 

But that is about it. More travel will happen in 2023. The passport is even being used. Yay!

Any new pets? Lost a pet?

Nope - it's just me and Lucifer - and he's great. 

What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing i.e. love, job security, peace of mind...)? 

A love life would be good. 

More travel - but I'm making that happen. 

What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why? 

30 June resonates for me. After six months of working 60 hours a week and a six day working week, I left that job. Okay, my contract wasn't renewed, but I was not going stay if they wanted me to. I was burned out. Walking away from that company felt good. It took a good few months to get my mojo back. Burn out is awful and shouldn't be allowed to happen.

What was your biggest achievement last year?

Again, probably leading a successful team at work. Strangely, and even though the job was awful at the end with the long hours and stress, it was good to mentor and coach people. 

Did you get sick or injured?

Not so much sick or injured, but I had a small skin cancer taken off my face and my gall bladder removed earlier in the year. Both surgeries were successful, thank goodness. 

Oh, and I had COVID in October. it wasn't a bad bout, but the overhang was awful. Took about six weeks to get back to full strength. 

What was the best thing you bought? 

I didn't buy anything of note. Oh, I bought myself a trip to New Zealand. I head off in three weeks for a week seeing friends and going around the South Island. That counts?

Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)? 

As always, my extra money goes to the Arts - theatre, books, galleries and all the things that make life worth living. 

Today's song:

Saturday, December 24, 2022


I forget how pretty it is around these parts. The rolling hills, the aging, craggy trees which line the roads, the dappled light that gives the valley an aethereal feel as you wind your way homewards through towns you know well - Kangarilla, McLaren Vale, Willunga.... After a while you go into auto-pilot. You know your way home. It's just a matter of steering and looking out for idiots. 

The nine-and-a-half-hour drive went quickly. Three quick stops along the way. Ararat for bad coffee and a pee. Kaniva (so called because on the drive you feel like saying, "Kaniva ice cream? Kaniva wizz. Kaniva pack of chips...") Anyway, Kaniva let me have a quick stop for a pee and a sandwich. Then a stop at Coonalpyn for a quick walk and a wee. 

Breaks were kept to a minimum as I had a passenger. 

Give him his dues, other than the odd cry, he sat on his blanket and slept most of the way. My noise of choice is the audiobook of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. All 26 hours of it. Maybe that helped keep him asleep. (I love Rushdie. He's interesting and very funny.)

I'm back in South Australia for a week.

Mum's fed me a lovely dinner. My step-dad's provided a decent gin and tonic. And the cat is settling into his new digs in the granny flat. As soon as he was let out of the cage and placed inside, he made a beeline for the pot plant, ignoring the cat grass Mum had bought him. Cats - who'd have 'em? He seems to be good with the change of environment. 

For me, now, I'm going to have a shower. An Officer and a Gentleman is on the telly. I'll see if I can get my Chromecast working tomorrow - being in the country, behind a hill on one bar of hotspot wifi, it will be interesting to see if I get to bandwidth to watch Netflix. 

Regardless, I'm home and I'm exhausted. And all is well with the world. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

My Day

 9.05 a.m.

So far, I am up. the bed has been stripped and there's a load of washing in the machine. The heavenly platform, a.k.a., my bed is about to have fresh linen to encompass it. 

I'm in my gym gear. While the whites are washing I'm going to get in a mini work out. My current motto is "So something your future self will love you for." A half hour of cardio and abs will work off last night's bourbon and curly fries. 

9.14 a.m.

Time to the sweet tea for the kombucha.  I can't leave my SCOBY unattended for the week I'm away, so I'm draining the batch now and when I get back, there will be fresh kombucha. Only thing, I don't have enough sugar.

10.30 a.m. 

One load of washing done and out on the line, another in the machine. Popped in to Coles after the gym to get a few supplies - mainly the things I won't have on my first day in Adelaide - almond milk and gluten free bread being the main things. And sugar for the kombucha. 

11.30 a.m.

Shower and start to pack my bag. I hate packing. On the good side of things, Mum washes nearly every day, so I don't have to take much - I can just get it washed. After showering, I hang the second load out on the line. 

1 p.m.

Make a list of all the daft stuff that I want to take with me to Adelaide. This includes: 

  • The kindle
  • The book I'm reading
  • Far too many charging cables.
  • And too many toiletries.

Do the last of the Christmas wrapping. Easy done. 

3.30. p.m.

Go out to Blarney's to check on her cats. She called and said that Rey Rey looked miserable when they left yesterday morning - and being the good friend and cat lover, I went and had a coffee with them. They were fine. Left them some food, gave them a pat, then headed back home in the traffic. Watched an episode of Slow Horses while was out there while drinking a coffee. 

4.30 p.m. Faced the nasty traffic home. Glad I took the back way - the Westgate was cactus. Checked my tyres on the way home.

5 p.m. Went round to Jay's place for a swim. Exchanged Christmas gifts and had a very yummy Pavlova Gin -and it was lovely. 

That reminds me - what gin am I taking with me? Hmmm.

7 p.m.

Start packing the car. Get the cat crate organised with some bedding and a litter tray. Put the small stuff in the footwells before putting the seats down. 

9 p.m. 

Iron all the stuff that was on the line earlier. Do the dishes. It's nice to come home to a clean flat. 

11 p.m.

Finish off this blog. 

I've got a big drive tomorrow, 

Today's song: 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

And Yes, there was a Drag Queen

 I love that I've found a community, a posse a gang of people who actually appear to like me. And I like them, and going out with them, and I always have a great time with them, even if I think don't want to go out. 

So tonight, I was so no feeling it. At 6 pm all I wanted to do was sit at home with the cat and knit. 

The date has been in my diary for weeks. But along with knowing I have a nine-hour drive on Saturday with a cat in the back of the car, and that work is over for the year and the solstice and all that, taking myself to deepest, darkest Fitzroy to a drag bar wasn't high on my list of things to do tonight. Besides, it's not theday for it. It's too muggy...too warm... too near Christmas. And I looked at the menu before I went - my list of complaints went on. There was nothing on the menu that wasn't either deep friend or made of potato/pasta or out of a New York deli.

Nevertheless, we persisted.

But I put on some make up, made myself respectable and climbed on the tram at 6.30. 

And had a great time. 

It wasn't a big night - just about right. Nothing that some bourbon infused frozen Cherry Cokes and a lychee martini didn't fix. 

And yes, there was a Drag Queen. Skylar. I have no idea how they walked in those heels, let alone danced in those heels. One of our crew had a chat with them in the break. Allegedly they sell medical supplies in Elsternwick by day. Who knew? Evie's has drag queens on most nights. I'd be interested to go on New Year's Eve when somebody called Abril Latrine is playing. 

I'd managed to score a life home with one of the crew early in the night. She had to work tomorrow and had to be sensible. My day is huge and I didn't want to kick on.  We came up with a safe word. When one of us used it, we knew it was time to make a break for it. Her car was a few streets away. 

So, after a night of fun and laughs and many discussions about the incredible nature of Skylar the drag queen's arse, and other catching up activities, around 10 pm, I found my counterpart, looked her in the eye and said, "Crumpets."

"Crumpets?" she asked.

"Yes, crumpets."

"With lashings of butter?"

"Yes, and toasted, and with honey."

"Sounds good to me."

And after a lot of hugs and waves and a bad rendition of Mariah Carey's, "All I Want for Christmas", we walked out into the muggy Fitzroy night, both of us covered in other people's lipstick.

There was a drag queen and a mob of intelligent, fun, ripe for the picking middle-aged-women out on a school night. 

I am utterly grateful to have these amazing people in my life.

And I think I might have found a new local. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

It's Gravy Day

 The 21st of December is so many things to so many people. 

For most Australian's, it's known as Gravy Day, thanks to Paul Kelly's iconic song (See below). Because, we all need to know who's going to make the gravy on Christmas Day. (I'm in a different predicament - Blarney and Barney are now in Tasmania and they will be asking "Who's going to glaze the ham?" Because glazing the ham is my job. I'm sure somebody will get this done over there - even though I'm not in prison (Listen to the song). And strangely, in all the years my South Australian family have had a leg of lamb over Christmas, we have never glazed the ham. Ever. you don't need to. Ham glazing is all froth and bluster.

It's also the pagan festival of Litha - the summer solstice. Around Melbourne, the sun is setting at a quarter to nine. From tomorrow, it will get earlier and earlier - and this is okay. It's what life is about. The ebbs and flows of time and tide, of light and dark. 

For me, today marks the closing down of the year. I'm not working in an office again until 9 January which means I have 18 days to turn myself into back into a fledgling novelist. I've told my accountability monitor I want to have 10000 words written by the end of this. 

It's nice to have the extra day off.

I was thinking of going to Adelaide a day earlier until I worked out I'm going out tomorrow night and the thought of driving dusty, with a moaning cat in the back doesn't appeal. I'll hit the road early Saturday morning. 

But , for the moment, I'll revel in it being Gravy Day, Litha and the day I get to turn into another person.

Oh, and I got my Christmas knitting finished. On to other projects. I'm a bit proud of myself. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Daily French Lesson

 It's been 103 days, and I've kept up my daily French lesson on Duolingo

Okay, hands up, I did French all though high school until first year uni, where I hated it, then gave it up, but doing well at French at school, something always remained. Loving French cinema and having a few understanding French friends have kept some of the language skills. (Helps that I'm a bit of a polyglot too - I pick up languages like most people pick up a cold). 

When I started on the Duolingo app, they made up do a test to see what our proficiency was like. I was booted into the lessons starting in the mid 20s and was transported back into year eleven, with the joys of personal pronouns and reflexive verbs. 

What's really astounded me is how much French I've retained. 

I can distinctly remember singing along with the conditional endings for verbs (...ais, ...ais...ait, ...ions, ...iez... aient... It goes with the Mickey Mouse Club song.)

Not that we've got there yet, but I still remember the MR VAN DER STAMP verbs.  Mourir (to die), Rentrer (to return), Venir (to come), Arriver (to arrive), Naitre (to be born), Descender (to descend), Entrer (to enter), Rester (to stay), Sortir (To go out), Tomber (to fall), Aller (To come), Monter (to go up) and Partir( to depart). They're all coming and going verbs and the past participles take Etre (to be) instead of Avoir (to have). And somewhere, tucked away, is this knowledge for nearly instant recall. 

After 30 years away from French lessons, I'm remembering where to put personal pronouns. When to use qui and when to use lui. 

It's all in there - and it's a bit scary. 

103 days, I've been at it.

I'll keep going. 

The goal is to go on a writer's retreat to France in October. Five days in Paris, five days in the South of France (hopefully with a trip to Brittany to see an old university friend and visit Mont St Michel and St Malo... and also a few days in London/England before and after, as I really, really, really want to travel on the Eurostar. 

I'd love to say thank you to my old French teacher who obviously did a great job of drilling the language into me at a formative age. 

There is some talk of getting a French conversation class going nearer the date of the trip. I'd be on for that. 

I'm just enjoying learning something again. And doing something I love. 

Today's song: 

Monday, December 19, 2022


 What I wanted to do tonight: 

  • Do some fiction writing
  • Get a bit more of this jumper done (I'm sinking the neckline - it's just that and sew up the seams and it's done. 
  • Wash the dishes
  • Maybe do a bit of dusting.
  • Clean out a few emails.
  • Read a few pages of my book.
  • Get ready for tomorrow's day in the office
  • Make a list of what needs to go to Adelaide with me
What I have done tonight:
  • On the good side of things, I did go see Cleo, my trainer, and got a workout in. 
  • Filled the car with cheapish petrol before the prices go up on the weekend.
  • Had dinner.
  • And spent about half an hour sorting out some banking issues for the Masons. 
  • Talked to the cat. 
What I should do now before I go to bed. 
  • The dishes
  • Get ready for tomorrow's day in the office. 
  • Go to bed early.
What I will do before I go to bed:
  • Get ready for tomorrow's day at work.
  • A little bit more knitting.
  • Talk to the cat.  
I look at that first list of what I wanted to do tonight and I have evidence that I think I'm a over-achiever. 

I might do the dishes now. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Stealing: December Questions

 It's my 'Get Christmas organised " night, so what I'm doing is a Christmas job, then answering a question. Sound fair?

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. My plans for December 

My plans for December are to just get through it. I'm driving to Adelaide for Christmas next weekend, driving back the weekend after. I have one last Christmas function and four days left of work for the year. I don't go back to work until 9 January. 

(Blarney's slippers are wrapped - I can't believe I bought somebody slippers for Christmas)

2. How energized I feel at this point in the year 

I've not got much energy left. It's been a pretty intense year. The two weeks off will do me good. 

(Blarney's other pressie wrapped)

3. The best things about the holiday season 

Time off work. It's high summer over here so I escape to the cinema at regular intervals. 

(Two lines of the jumper for my step-dad knitted - just finishing off the second sleeve. It will be done for Christmas)

4. Something that changed my perspective on life 

Getting burnout. I was working a loopy job earlier in the year. I was working 60 hour weeks, six days a week for about six months. Never again. Burnout is not worth it. It's taken six months to get over it - but thankfully I'm pretty much back to normal now. 

(Step-sister's partner's pressie wrapped.)

5. What I seem to get the most comments about 

I don't get many comments, but that is okay - I don't comment much on other's blogs. 

(Mum's present is wrapped)

6. The changes I’ve made to my style 

I'm trying to get away from wearing black all the time. It's a very Melbourne thing to do - I'm trying to diversify. 

(One load of washing is done)

7. What gets in the way of my success 

Procrastination and self-doubt. 

(Second load of washing done)

8. News sources I trust the most 

I'm a bit discerning with my news. For local news, I read The Age, our local broadsheet. For other news, it's The Guardian and The New York Times. On television, I stick to the ABC or SBS (our local BBC or PBS) news and I do watch Channel Nine to see what the right-wingers are thinking. 

(Bathroom cleaned)

9. Fictional characters that would easily fit into my life 

I can't think of any, to be honest. Not with the stuff I read. 

10. My relationship with spirituality 

I'm spiritual, but not religious. It's a big part of my life - helps keep me grounded and sane. But it's my beliefs - nobody else's. I keep most of it to myself. 

11. How I feel when I’m being retrospective 

Next question...

12. My thoughts on AI technology 

These questions are too deep for a Sunday afternoon when you're doing jobs. 

(Stitched up another seam on my step-dad's jumper)

13. The odd/weird things I do when nobody else is around 

Some people would find it odd that I do the ironing. I like ironing. Most people don't. 

14. What I do when I can’t sleep 

If I can't sleep, I normally put a couple of drops of lavender oil on my pillow. It works a treat. Thankfully, I don't normally have trouble dropping off to sleep. 

15. The winter/holiday season tasks I enjoy 

It's not winter here. It's just going into Summer. Mind you, in my time off I'll be doing a big spring clean. The flat needs it. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Movie Review: Avatar: The Way of Water

 Movie number 41 of 2022

The Film: Avatar: The Way of Water (3D)

The Cinema: Village Cinemas, Rivoli.

Stars: 3.5 (just)

I spent the first two hours of Avatar: The Way of Water, wanting to walk out.

I didn't, and I persevered with it, but hell, it was a slog. And just think, there are three more of these films to come before 2028.

James Cameron, writer and director, has done some good things here. Visual effects. Tick. Environmental aspects. Tick. A franchise that will make a lot of money. Tick. Great action scenes. Tick. 

But that's about it. 

You don't go to this film if you want a robust script and an intricate plot. In a nutshell, according to, the plot is something like this: 

"Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their home."

Yeah, that doesn't mean much - and I'm not going to go far into the over-egged, plodding script - but as a better explanation of what goes on, in this film, Space People, or the greedy mankind if you like, are trying to rape the planet Pandora of their resources and the N'avi (indigenous) don't like it one bit and strike back. The militant mankind know that they are being led by Jake, who used to be one of them, but has gone full N'avi - he did this at the end of the last movie. Run out of their home, they go to live with the sea people, where they have to learn a new way of life. 

Yeah, confused. It's not that bad.

On the good side of things, I really enjoyed the last hour of the film, but it took a lot to get there. 

The decent cast made the best of the dire script. I can't say there were any standout performances - everybody is blue and gangly thanks to CGI? Why would they need to say meaningful words or have a plot that wasn't contrived? 

But what makes this film is the special effects. They are phenomenal. We made the decision to see this on a really big screen and in 3D - which was a very good thing. The special effects are spectacular, as are creature that inhabit the sea, land and air of Pandora. Seeing this in 3D, or at your local IMAX cinema is the best way to see it. 

It will allow you to forgive the first two hours of this 192-minute film, as it really is a predictable, plodding, badly scripted load of tosh.

The last hour and the big shoot out keep you on the end of your seat. As action sequences go, this is the film's main strength, with some comic relief thrown in for good measure. Jermaine Clement and Brendan Cowell are brilliant as 'whaler' with great comic effect.

Overall, I without the special effects and the last hour of action, I'd be giving this 2-stars. It's that dire. The last hour, however, redeems this movie.

See it in 3D, but don't expect much from the script. It's very pretty to look at. 

Today's song:

Friday, December 16, 2022


 And I was doing so well...

I also thought everyone knew about the game that is #Whamaggedon. I've had to explain it to two people. And okay, it is an online thing, but Jay had never heard of it. Strange. 

The rules are easy. You don't have to do anything.  The rules of the game is simply to go as long as possible into December without hearing the classic song. - The 'game lasts from December 1 to midnight on Christmas Eve. - Cover versions or remixes don't count, only the brilliant original.

See, simples. 

One year I got done on December 2. Not happy about that. 

I have made it through to around the 20th and beyond once or twice. Yes, I've been playing this for years. And I don't go out of my way to sabotage people. 

Today, being the 16th, I didn't do too badly. 

Today, I was transitioning from having a massage to going to see Avatar: The Way of Water. I needed a quick dinner, so I popped into Coles to grab a sandwich or sushi - something to munch on the run.  

All I will say is fuck you, Coles Radio. So, if you shop at Coles, you've been warned. Take a podcast/ your earbuds, a boom box with Skrillex playing on it out loud - anything to drown it out so you don't have to hear it. 

It's a bit of harmless fun. And I generally love Coles Radio, except in December when they play that bloody song, and you get tipped out of keeping the bragging rights to say you got through December without hearing the wretched song. 

And if only they could do something similar for Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You, which is probably the most overplayed Christmas song out there and needs to slink off and die a more dignified death. Slade's song, Here it is, Merry Christmas brings similar ire. 

My favourite Christmas song is The Pogue's Fairytale of New York. 

How can you not like a song with lyrics like these?

You're a bum

You're a punk

You're an old slut on junk

Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed

You scumbag, you maggot

You cheap lousy faggot

Happy Christmas your arse

I pray God it's our last...

Today's song: 

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Cosmic Arse Kick

 It's been overdue, this cosmic kick up the butt.

The first sign. I contacted my old tutor the other night to say that the book group had chosen her book to read next year for the book group. She was pretty chuffed about this. Then she asked me, "How's the writing going?"


What do you say? I keep a blog? But am I doing what I love? Not really. 

This is the person who coached me through Short Story class. This is the person who helped me win a short story competition. This is the person who encouraged me to enter short story competitions. 

I feel like an abject failure. I know deep down I'm not, but still. 

I've not got back to her yet. 

(But... I do write every day. I write this shite. My fingers are turning over. But I'm a good story writer when I put my mind to it). 

The second sign - since going out with my friend and mentor last week, her voice has been going round in my mind.

"Shit or get off the pot!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

I was out with a group of the Gunnas for the Pixies concert last week, where some gentle encouragement was given. Her raspy voice is going round in my head. "Pandora, do something your future self with thank you for."

I've made this my mantra - and it's having an effect on me. 

The third sign. Today, I went into the office. Needed to be done. It was the monthly engineering lunch with Phil. And I needed to collar somebody and the only way to do that was in person. 

Anyway, this morning, they were giving out swag. 

I scored a blank notebook and a pen. (And a magnetic phone charger). But it's a nice notebook and pen, as far as corporate swag goes. 

So, the first thing I've done is write on the front page,


And I've got some character notes and plot thoughts written down. 

And a couple of ideas for a short story. 

And I've the knowledge that I have five more working days before I have 15 clear days off. 

So maybe this was the cosmic arse kick I needed. 

I will get back to my old tutor. Just let me have this solidify a bit more of the fiction writing. I've got 15 days off starting next Thursday. There is time to do things. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

It Triggers

 We old dreamers go out for a Christmas catch up once a year. Sometimes there's eight of us, sometimes six of us. We normally go to a pub in the inner east as it's easiest place for everybody to get to.

It's nice to see the old dreamers. For years I sat in a dream group with these women. I don't know of any men who could handle what went down in Dream Group. I left a number of years ago, finding I'd had my run, but still liked the people and I respected the process. I've never been a big dreamer anyway. We know things about each other that nobody else knows. Dream Groups are a sacred space. 

Regardless, tonight was the annual Dreamers Dinner. 

And again, I found myself a little triggered. Not triggered badly enough not to go, but I felt the pull this evening has on me. 

Seven years ago, on Dreamers Dinner night I got the news that my niece had passed away. Her death, from leukaemia, was expected, after nine months of suffering. It had been a horror few months leading up to her passing, indeed an awful year for most concerned, but I remember that night well, It was early evening, I was getting ready to go to the dreamer's dinner, when my mother called with the news. 

Needless to say, I didn't go out that evening, preferring to have a reflective dinner at home, talking to friends who really could offer no comfort - only kind words and an ear. 

I didn't make it to Dreamer's Dinner the year after either. I was a puddle of anxiety. 

The year after that, I did make it, but stuck to my friends in the group (as it was a larger group back then) remembering now that I didn't want to be there. 

And it's got better since then.

What is it they say? Feel the pain and do it anyway?

Tonight, as I got ready to go out, I felt the pangs. Of what? Of survivor guilt? The guilt of not feeling worse about this fact. Or the guilt of the fact that seven years on, I'm not having the reactions over my niece's death - it's now a lingering sadness, not an event which triggers depression and anxiety. 

Pulling on a dress, slapping on some make up and giving the cat a kiss on his head, I went out the door and made my way down to the pub. It was a quiet, but pleasant evening. 

Maybe it's just my brain preparing for the anniversary of her death, which is on Friday. Or the fact that she would be turning 23 on Tuesday if she was still here. 

I'm not sure if I'm grieving her, or just the pure waste of her death. She made an impact. She was a great girl. Maybe this small triggering event is just my way of letting me know that I'm still feeling something. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

White Lotus

 I'm trying to get into The White Lotus - this show on Binge which is now in its second series. 

Here are some thoughts. 

1. All of the characters are awful. And I mean all of them. There's barely a redeeming feature in any of them (okay, Albie isn't too bad, but the rest of them.... yeah, nah)

2. Somebody is going to end up dead - like in the first series. But who?  Hmmm. I suppose this keeps you interested. 

3. The White Lotus chain of hotels seems too up market for its own good, if this is the clientele it's attracting.

4. The first series was funnier - and Murray Bartlett, an Australian actor, helped make it so. I loved his Emmy acceptance speech. He deserved that award. 

5. For a series which is sort of about escapism, it gets pretty intense. The Love Boat and Holiday Island were never like this. 

6. But the scenes of the hotel and around Sicily make it well worth it. 

7. But the concierge at the hotel is rather disarming.

8. And then there is Jennifer Coolidge's Tanya - who is the only crossover character from last season. Poor Tanya..... Oh dear, poor Tanya. 

Oh, there is a lot to unpack here. I need to watch it more closely (it's not a show you can go make a cup of tea while it's on)

I'll keep watching. I like its edge. 

Today's song: 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Pondering Mortality

 A part of one of the masonic rituals has you pondering your own mortality. I won't say more than that. I can't say much more, but if you've ever seen some of those cheesy movies about secret societies, some of what goes on is not far off the mark. 

I mean, unless you're a medical student, how often do you find yourself staring down a skull?

But what if you were to look at a lot of them? How would you feel?

The artist Ron Meuck puts this reality in front of you with his exhibition, Mass, which is on at the Dennis Potter Centre, Fed Square (also known as the NGV Australia) until 15 January. 

What can I say? After a wonderful time at book group, with an hour to kill, I took myself off to the near silent gallery. It was blowing a gale - Melbourne before a storm. The quiet was welcome as I made my way up to the third floor, bypassing the Australian decorative painting (still with the urge to visit the Boyds, the Drysdales and the McCubbins). 

And I found where all the people were. A lot of them appeared to be speaking loudly in Tagalog, but so be it. It would have been nice if they were using their gallery voices.

But still, as the gallery wasn't busy, I got to have a mooch around with mortality, these realistic oversized skulls, hand crafted, all slightly different and quite mesmerising.

I saw these a few years ago at the Triennieale - they've lost none of their impact. 

If anything, the things going through my mind were things like Cambodia, The Killing Fields, catacombs...things like that.

I love that every skull is slightly different. They have their own personalities. 

There's a film at the end of the exhibition which details how Meuck made this masterpiece. I'm thinking I will go back and have a look with the hope that the loud commentary in another language won't be there. 

It's a fascinating view of humanity.

Thankfully, all visits to the NGV are still free. It's worth a visit just for the building. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Book Choosing

 We've been doing this for years, my book group. I call it my book group, even though it isn't really mine, but it's my job to do the organising, which I do without complaint. 

The group has been meeting for 15 years. My friend Alice got me into this, meeting a group who were loosely connected to her. It was held at Stella's place. She had a new puppy. Unfortunately, said puppy was set to rest earlier this year - she was a great mutt. But that's how I know how long the group has been going. The book was Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin. 

Over the years, people have come and gone. We've met at various establishments around the city of Melbourne, but we settled at La Camera at Southbank, due to its friendly staff, easy menu and proximity to public transport. Since COVID, we've been meeting online on zoom, which has its benefits, especially as most of us aren't working from a central office anymore and you get to drink as much as you like from the comfort of your couch. 

Anyway, early on in the book group, we decided to change the way we chose the books we were to read. Rather than have one person dictate all the choices as was happening in the early days, we decided to put the books to the vote. 

At the last meeting of the year, each member brings along two books they think might be good to read in the group. 

The criteria are as follows:

  • It must be fiction
  • It should preferably under 500 pages - 550 is probably okay, 600, not so much - you have a month to read the book, you don't want anything too big. 
  • It should be of literary or good popular fiction standard - so, in good popular fiction - Jane Harper (Australian Crime novelist) is smiled upon. Dan Brown / Stephenie Meyer / EL James, not so much. 
  • It should be easily obtainable in bookshops, libraries etc.

Most of the time. The other thing the group are asked to do is provide the Book Bitch with their choices two days before the book choosing meeting. This does two things. It stops double ups - and you'd think of all the books out there, this would be hard, but four of our members wanted to put up Bonnie Garmus' Lessons in Chemistry. It's strictly a first in best dressed basis, so the other members were told to come back with other ideas. 

The other thing this does is allows anybody who can't make the book choosing to vote on the books. Today, Ginny couldn't make it due to illness. Although missed at the meeting, her votes were cast.

Once at the meeting, you get to tell the group why you think your books would be good to read. If you don't have a physical book, you bring along a print of the cover and a synopsis. 

Water glasses are then placed on the books. La Camera is used to this, we've been asking strange things of them for years. 

Once this is all done, you're handed a baggie which contains 25 lollies (sweets) of various shapes and sizes and a disposable rubber glove. The glove is to protect the unwrapped lollies from sticky fingers - and we pass the unwanted sweets on to the wait staff. (The different lollie sizes is a bit of a ruse on my end as it makes it a bit more difficult to work out if your book is in or out. I'm also in the doghouse because I didn't put any clinkers in the bags this year.)

Then you vote with your lollies. You can't put lollies on your own choices, and you can put as many or lollies in the glass of the chosen book as you want. If you don't want to read the book, don't put any lollies in the glass. 

Then, the votes are tallied, we decide on an order in which the books will be read over the year.

And that's it. 

You've got a Christmas wish list, a group of books to read and a good meal in your belly. 

So, what did we choose this year? 

This is our list, with the also rans at the end. 

To be honest, we've barely had a bad book to read since we've been doing this, but the best thing of all is the fellowship of the group. We've been to each other's parties, weddings, houses. We're all readers. It's just a wonderful thing. 

After today's book group a couple of women from the next table came up and asked what we were doing. Suitably impressed they took a photo of the book list and asked for recommendations. 

It was a good day. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Sunday Stealing: The Year is Ending

 I think I'll get the Sunday Questions done early today. It's a busy weekend, so I think doing them while I try and do some housework is a good thing.

As always, the questions have been provided by Bev at SundayStealing

1. Wintertime comfort foods, habits, hobbies 

This is always a bit funny asking about wintertime as we have just hit summer here in Australia. So I don't want to be thinking about roast meat and veggies and soups and casseroles. It's summer here and I am looking forward to salads and seafood. 

My habits and hobbies don't really change over the seasons, though I do tend to put on suncreen more in Summer. 

2. Favorite seasonal/holiday music and songs 

I'm really not a Christmas person, but my favourite holiday song comes from The Pogues. Nobody sings a Christas song like Shane McGowan. 

3. The people I want to spend more time with next year 

My friends. And hopefully some newer friends too. 

4. How much I could change my life in 1 year if I focused 

A hell of a lot. I'm pretty good when I get focused. I will be saving money so I can go to Europe later in the year so I will need to be very focused. My current motto is "Do something your future self will be proud of." It's keeping me on the straight and narrow. 

5. The valuable lessons I learned this year 

This year I learned that burnout is NEVER worth it. Walk away and walk away quickly if things go that far south. 

6. How I’d describe 2022 in 10 words 

Hmm, here we go:

  1. Tiring
  2. Hopeful
  3. Annoying
  4. Challenging
  5. Fun
  6. Disappointing
  7. Grumpy
  8. Healing
  9. Wanting
  10. Blessed
Take these words as you will.

7. My favorite Reads of 2022 

As of today, I've read 50 books this year. Some favourites include:

  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Grimus
  • The Promise by Damon Galgut
  • Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down
And strangely, I finished E.M.Forster's A Room with a View today and loved every second of it. 

8. Best movies I saw in 2022 

Oh, that is another hard one. I've seen 40 films so far this year. Highlights include:

  • Mrs Harris Goes to Paris
  • The Quiet Girl
  • Juniper
  • Good Luck to you, Leo Grande (Probably my favourite)
  • Operation Mincemeat
  • Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
  • Belfast
I am really glad I review each movie I see on this blog - makes keeping track of things much easier. 

9. Favorite TV shows/episodes of 2022 

Some favourites include:

  • The second season of Bridgerton
  • Wednesday
  • Ted Lasso
  • Severance
  • And I discovered A Discovery of Witches.

10. Memorable experiences from 2022 

Melbourne is limping out of COVID, still, but we are nearly there. Of 2022 some things I've loved doing:

  • I ran a team for six months - although it's bloody hard work, I did enjoy the challenge. 
  • Seeing The Pixies, twice. Love The Pixies. 
  • I saw a lot of great theatre thanks to the Melbourne Theatre Company.
  • And I started doing a little bit of travelling - Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney.
  • Oh, and two great Gunnas retreats and a knitting camp.
  • Oh,and I had my gall bladder out. This was a very good thing.

11. Three people I enjoyed spending time with this year 

I don't like singling out people, and I love spending time with my friends, but I really enjoyed seeing my cousins this year. I saw a lot more of them - they're great people. 

12. How I handled challenges this year 

I handled the challenges like I handle most challenges. Head on. 

13. What I’m leaving behind in 2022 

Self-doubt and procrastination. 

14. How I changed most from beginning to end of the year 

Strangely, I'm a bit more confident now - and I really don't compromise when it comes to my health. Some would say I'm a bit quieter. 

15. What I want to tell myself before the New Year

Adelaide is not that far to drive when you have your cat in a cage in the back of the car. I'll try and believe it. 

Today's song: 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Do something your future self with thank you for

 I've had these wise words have been reverberating around my head for the last few days. 

They're wise words?

Am I following through?

Sort of.

Today, I: 

  • Got the last of my Christmas shopping done.
  • Got my book group book nearly read (100 pages to go by Sunday afternoon)
  • Got my washing done. 
  • Did some Christmas knitting. 
  • Finished some work.
Does all of this count?

Is this what was meant by this? (Yes, I know there is a bigger picture to all this, but at the moment, I can't get enthusiastic about much).

Tomorrow is another day. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Words of the Year

 I love how the dictionaries to Word of the Year competitions. 

Love love some of these words. 

So, the Macquarie Dictionary's People Choice word is Bachelor's Handbag.

I love this. Probably because I am partial to the occasional supermarket roast chicken when I can't be bothered cooking. 

According the dictionary, it's definition is "Noun: Colloquial (Humorous) A takeaway roast chicken - from the fact that such a chicken required no further preparation before consumption, so is seen as an easy meal favoured by a single person, and that it is often packaged in a small plastic bag with a handle resembling a handbag. "

The Macqaurie takes a rather Australian-centric approach to these words, with past winners being words like Doomscrolling (reading too much news on social media), Karen (an entitled, middle-class, often racist white woman - and apologies to my friends named Karen) and Robotdebt (A scheme rolled out by the Federal Government so awful numerous people committed suicide after receiving debt letters - hopefully some of the instigators will end up in jail over this.)

The Oxford English Dictionary word of the year is "Goblin Mode". The term, which refers to “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”, 

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

I sort of get this one too. 

The other word that came second was "#Istandwith" that eponymous hashtag which shows our support for a person/situation. I've used it myself on occassion. 

Being a word nerd, I love these lists. I love how the English language morphs and changes. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Tale of Two Concerts

 The Band: The Pixies

The Concerts: Saturday, December 3 at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt and Tuesday, December 6 at The Forum in Melbourne. 

Stars: 5

Two separate gigs in two cities over four days. 

Yes, I traveled interstate to see a band. Yes, this is not the first time I've traveled interstate to see this band. They've been one of my favourite bands for the last 30 years, so of course I'll make the effort to go see them. This time around, Alice and I wanted to make up for lost time. We were supposed to see them in Sydney in March 2020. We both made it to Sydney, but then they cancelled due to COVID and yeah, that was it. And from memory, it was tipping down on that weekend, so cancelling was probably a good thing. So, we decided to go up there for this concert. 

At the same time, another group of mates knew they were playing at The Forum in Melbourne. I've seen them at Festering Hall and at Margaret Court Arena. I was keen to see them in this old, beloved theatre, which, I am told, used to be used as a Hillsong Church (thank goodness it's gone back to being a music venue.) These friends, knowing I'm a Pixies tragic, I think half wanted to see what me going "Full Panda" at a concert was like. We won't talk about that just now. 

So, what is it like seeing your favourite band twice in a week in different locations?


And thankfully, these were very different concerts. 

Sitting on the steps of the Opera House on a slightly balmy night, watching as the ferries shuffle back and forth in the background is utterly magic. 

After the support band left the stage, there was a half hour audio-visual show about the making of the Surfer Rosa cover - which if you know it, was even more fascinating. 

Then they came on, performing the songs from Come on Pilgrim, then Surfer Rosa, and finishing off with some old staples from Doolittle, Bossanova and a cover of Head On by The Jesus and Mary Chain. 

It was out of this world, helped on by the perfect night, great audiovisuals and a band that on a bad day is tighter than a goldfish's bum. 

My view of the mosh pit from the steps of the Opera House. 

The Melbourne show was different. 

First of all, no audiovisuals. Zip. Nada. 

The Forum is a more intimate venue - being an old theatre, decked out for music events. One of our party had managed to snaffle a booth, so our party of five got to watch in the relative comfort from just behind the sound deck. 

Different venue, different playlist.

Gone was Surfer Rosa/Come on Pilgrim, they blasted out Doolittle staples like Gouge Away, Wave of Mutilation and Head On, before doing some newer stuff, then returning to Doolittle and Surfer Rosa Once again, where songs like Monkey Gone to Heaven, Nimrod's Son, Here Comes Your Man and Hey. 

Wonderful, wonderful stuff. 

And whereas in Sydney, I remained rather restrained, in Melbourne, I truly went "Full Panda". 

You're only ever going to see me go Full Panda at a Pixies Concert (or maybe half cut at an 80's music trivia night.) I am unabashedly loud, screaming, clapping dancing, and rolling my eyes with reverent ecstasy. I don't get to do this too often. 

My view of the Mosh Pit in Melbourne.

So, which night was better?

Neither. Sydney provided the flashy show. Melbourne trumped them for sheer musicality - it was the edgy, so holds barred Pixies that I love, stripped back and out there (Speaking of being stripped back, they did a reprise of Wave of Mutilation later in the Melbourne show - and it was glorious). The Melbourne show was pitched with ebbs and flows, which was lacking at the Sydney show. I think they worked a bit harder on that second night. 

For me, I won't choose which was better. They were different beasts. It would be like choosing your favourite child. 

I had two night of superlative entertainment that left me hoarse, heady and wanting more. 

They're still one of the best things to ever come out of America. 

You can't ask for more than that. 

Today's song: