Tuesday, January 31, 2023

And MAFS is Back

 "Oh, my God, she's a star sign chick." And the balloon is popped. Awesome. 

This is five minutes after the said groom saying his new, previously unmet bride. Picky much. 

Married at First Sight is my guilty pleasure. I know it's confected rubbish. I know that it's so far from reality that they really shouldn't be branding it as such.

And I've never missed an episode. 

So, of the two night's we've seen so far, a little of my faith in humanity and the producers has been restored.

The chippy from the Northern Territory seems like a good bloke. He's been partnered with a woman, an accountant, who has cystic fibrosis, but has been given a new lease of life due to a new drug. They seem to have their head screwed on. 

There's the Gujerati woman who's always struggled with being between two cultures, now married to somebody who also seems to be a really nice bloke - a guy with a sixteen year old daughter - and he too seems to have his head screwed on. 

These two couples seem pretty normal and may be relegated to the "we never see them because they are boring" pile. I wish them luck. Both couples, from the outset, seem to be going about this with their eyes open. 

Then there's the hot chippy and the make up influencer - who are already going for the drama. He's pretty hot. She's very wary. 

Oh, and tonight, they introduced us to a marriage celebrant in a pink suit who's standards are impossibly high. He shushed his bride, a rather exuberant kindy teacher, on their honeymoon. 

There are two man buns on the show already. 

Oh, such fun. 

I'm not sure why I watch this crap. Maybe it's the sense of awe I get from watching people do something I'd never have the guts to do. 

It's Novocain for the mind. 

Today's song:

Monday, January 30, 2023

Movie Review: What's Love Got To Do With It

 Movie Number 6 of 2023

The Film: What's Love Got To Do With It (2022)

The Theatre: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75

This is not to be confused with the 1993 Tina Turner biopic of the same name. This film ticked my boxes because, from the trailers, ticked a lot of my preferred film boxes, those being a romantic comedy, set in England with Emma Thompson. This also had an Indian subcultural slant to it, which interested me. 

So, what's this about? 

Zoe (Lily James) is a documentary film maker looking for her next project. Her childhood friend from next door, Kaz (Shazim Latif) announces to her that he is entering an arranged marriage. Looking for a new project, Zoe offers to make a documentary about the process - and a bit of hilarity, as well as some moral lessons ensue. Kaz makes the statement that there is a continent between the two next door neighbours. And he's right. 

Having seen a few friends go through arranged, or assisted marriages over the years, I was curious to see where this was going as most of the film was filmed in North London, and the family involved were British citizens of Pakistani extraction. What the film did well was look at some of the cultural differences between older members of the family and the younger generations. And yes, most of this was fairly stock, but it did show some of the interesting family dynamics of embarking on the process.

The film also showed a couple of interesting perspectives from Kaz's point of view on the process. 

Ostensibly, this is a romantic comedy, and we watch as Kaz embarks on his marital journey, while Zoe tries to find happiness is some pretty woeful ways. Of course, you're wondering whether Kaz and Zoe end up together. I won't say... but it is reasonably predictable. 

What I really liked about this was that it's great to look at. Other than it shows London, and bits of Lahore in their colourful best. 

Another interesting fact about the film, the screenwriter is Jemima Khan, Imran Khan's ex-wife, who is very aware of the cultural divide and its challenges. 

Some other stand-outs in the film were Emma Thompson, who was Zoe's Mum and next-door neighbour to the family. Mo the Match Maker was a cracker too. I also loved the sub-plot concerning what happened to Kaz's older sister, who nobody talks about. 

This is a good diversion. As a lover of romantic comedies and English films it ticked enough boxes to keep me happy. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday Stealing: Saturday 9

 Hmm, this is a different set of questions, based on a Judy Garland song. Hmm. 

Here is the song:

It's not one I know of. 

I'll give these a bash.

Actually, I've just looked back at the Sunday Stealing sight and something strange was going on and a new set of questions is on the page. I've done both. To the questions that are on the like now, they start at question 10. 

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

1) In this song, Judy Garland sings about the train whistle and wheels. What sounds make you happy?

Cats purring. The Pixies. Saxaphones. The sound of somebody's heartbeat when you're cuddled up to them. 

2) She tells us that, since she loves dreaming of train travel, she must have "a little gypsy in her heart." How about you? Do you often dream of visiting faraway places?

Funny, I've just got back from a week in New Zealand, which has wet my whistle for travel again. I'm aways dreaming of travelling. I love travelling. 

3) Judy sings about a future when she's "old and gray and settled down." At what age do you consider a person is old?

Depends on the person. You can have old three-year-olds and young 90 years olds. I do think you're getting old when you're in your 80s. I've seen a lot of people slow down at this again. But not everybody.

4) This song is from the movie, The Harvey Girls. Filming was a time of stress for Judy. She was appearing before the cameras by day (she sprained her ankle in a scene where slips down a hill), recording the soundtrack by night, and dealing with lawyers regarding her divorce from composer David Rose. Yet watching the movie, none of the tension shows. Do you work well under pressure?

Normally, yes, but the pressure valve needs to be let off regularly if I am under great stress. 

5) Judy relaxed on the set by knitting and would make blankets and caps for the children of crew members. Do you knit?

Yes, and I knit well. 

6) Judy admitted she had a problem with tardiness. Do you strive to be prompt?

I strive for it - doesn't mean I'm always on time. I try. I'm on time when others are relying in me. 

7) In 1946, when this song was on the radio, cigarette cases were very popular. Since these metal cases were standard issue in the Army during WWII, many soldiers got into the habit of using them and continued to after the war ended. Women often carried fabric or leather cigarette cases that closed with a clasp like a coin purse. In the 1940s, elegant cigarette cases were a fashionable gift but today, they are largely forgotten. Did you ever carry one? Do you know anyone who did?

Although I smoked (and gave up around 15 years ago) I never had a cigarette case, but I had a friend in London who used one. They said it kept their ciggies in a better state than in the cardboard packets. 

8) Also in 1946, bikinis appeared for the first time on runways in Paris. How often did you don swimwear during 2022?

I wear swimwear every couple of weeks. I was wearing my bathers today. I've never, however worn a two-piece swimsuit. I try and swim every few weeks. I have a few friends who have pools. 

9) Random question: Thinking of your past romantic involvements, were you truly in love with one of them, some of them, or all of them? 

I'm not sure if I've ever really been in love. I've loved a few people, but in love - jury is out on that one. 

10. When did you last sing to yourself? 

Today. I'm always singing to myself. There is always a song in my head. 

11. If you’re male, would you ever rock black nail polish? if you’re female, would you ever rock really really short hair?

I've never had short, short hair. I got down to a long bob once - I'm just not a short hair person. I do wear black nail polish a lot though. 

12. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? 

Other than surviving? Probably getting my Masters. 

13. What is the first happy memory that comes to mind, recent or otherwise? 

I've just spent a few days with my friend Geetangeli and her husband in Christchurch, New Zealand. I cherish that friendship. We've been friends for over 35 years. 

14. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?

If my health was holding up, I'd probably say stuff money and go travelling. Strangely, this is sort of what the novel I'm writing is about. 

15. Do you have a bucket list? if so, what are the top three things?

1. Walk the Camino de Compostella de Santiago in Spain. 

2. Live in Paris for six months and become fluent in French. 

3. Learn the piano. 

16. How do you feel about tattoos and piercings?

I like them on other people. I have a small, out of sight tattoo and my ears pierced. Boring, but that's good for me.

17. Do you feel you had a happy childhood? 

Not really. Too much going on. There were moments when I was content. I've spent a lot of time in therapy over this. 

18. When did you last cry in front of another person? 

A few weeks ago at a movie. I will cry in front of people. I see no shame in that. 

19. Who in the world would you most like to receive a letter from and what would you want it to say?

I can't think of anybody, although there is somebody I wish would explain himself - but you can't read his handwriting. 

20. What is your night-time routine? 

I try and get myself into a quieter space around 11 pm. I try not to talk to people after 9 pm as it sets everything back. I'll watch some gentle telly for a while. At midnight, I do the following puzzles on the phone - Framed, Heardle, Worldle, Worlde and WordHurdle (6 character Wordle). 

21. When was your last 3am conversation with someone, and who were they to you? 

From memory, a few years ago. The one that sticks out was after a flight from Varanasi to Delhi - I got to the accommodation in Delhi around 3 pm. It wasn't fun. 

22. If you were about to die, and you could only say one more sentence to one person, what would you say and to whom?

I have no idea who might be with me when do die, but I hope I say something kind to them, like "Be kind to one another. 

23. What is your opinion on brown eyes?

Brown eyes can be very soulful. I'm a sucker for bright blue eyes, I tend to go out with guys who have hazel eyes, but brown eyes can be lovely. 

24. Pick a quote and describe what it means to you personally.

It's Shakespeare. From Hamlet. It's Polonius who says this. "This above all - to thine own self be true". Never truer words were written or spoken. 

25. What would you title the autobiography of your life so far? 

Nevertheless, She Persisted. 

Today's song:

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Movie Review: Tar

 Movie Number 5 of 2023

The Movie: Tár

The Cinema: The Kino, Collins Street

Stars: 4.5

It's great to see something different now and then - and Tár is different. Really different. And absorbing. And strange. And thrilling. And a bit bonkers. All at once. Imdb.com provides the blurb, "Set in the international world of Western classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors and the very first female director of a major German orchestra." 

It sounds fairly simple. It's not. And it's earned all the Oscars hype. 

The film circles around the life of Lydia Tár, a conductor at the top of her game. Lydia Tar is abrasive. A perfectionist. And she doesn't take bullshit from anybody. He long suffering assistant, Francesca (Noemie Merlant) looks like she's on the road to unravelling.  Tar's about to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the last cycle of Mahler's symphonies. Tar, herself, is a bit of an enigma. A woman outshining the men. She's exacting and takes no prisoners. Away from the orchestra, she and her partner, Sharon (Nina Hoss) have a slightly strained relationship. As with all good movies, things get interesting when things start to unravel. Tar lives a charmed life - it is up to the audience to see where life takes her. Mark Strong has a small but impacting role. I love seeing him with hair. 

This isn't a film for everybody. Haters may see this movie as a narcissist imploding. I've also seen criticisms that the first hour of this two-and-a-half-hour film is a bit on the slow side - and to an extent, I agree, but it does take off and become engrossing. I loved the last twenty minutes most of all, just for Tár's comeuppance of sorts. 

As somebody who loves music, I loved looking inside the workings of the orchestra, with its politics and intrigues. It also has a bit to say about the hierarchical nature of these institutions. But I won't say more than that. You can't really describe the plot - this film demonstrates what life is like inside a privileged pressure cooker. The movie's soundscape is extraordinary. 

Todd Feild's direction is flawless. The setting and cinematography are sublime. The music, which is one of the major themes, is divine. 

The film also poses the questions of whether art survive without the artist, or the artist without the art? This film also has some cracking one liners and quotes. ("Unfortunately, the architect of your soul appears to be social media," being one of them.)

This is Cate Blanchett's movie. She's in pretty much every scene. She's incendiary - and has earned the Oscar buzz. 

If you're into Art House films, you'll probably like this. It's not an easy film. It's not a flawless film. I'm glad I saw it, mainly because it poses more questions than answers. 

Today's song: 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Things to do when I get home

 I'm doing what I do best - waiting for a plane to go home. I'm through customs and immigration. The plane is leaving for Melbourne in an hour or so - I think they said it was running a bit late. I've spent the last of the coin on my travel money card - worked that out well. And I'm on my way. 

Finally, the air conditioning in the Christchurch terminal is kicking in. With the influx of people this is good - especially as it's a rather warm, fairly muggy 30 here in Christchurch today. I'm feeling a bit hot and sweaty. 

As I'm going home, I'm using this holiday as a line in the sand. As soon as I set foot back in Australia it's time to kick goals. I'm out of the post-COVID funk. It's my time to get on with things. 

So, as I'm making 2023 my year of heath and wealth, this is the plan. 

1) I'm back on the naturopath's plan to get back on track. 

A few years ago, I went on a naturopath assisted diet. Gone were the following: Gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. 

Sure, I drink very little alcohol and my caffeine intake has been minimal until this holiday. It's back on the plan. Keep the carbs down, keep the gluten, dairy and sugar out. It makes me feel good. As I'm going through a phase where I am hating how my body looks, it's time to get on with this. It's about accountablilty. I know how to do this. It also means the three blocks of Whittakers chocolate sitting in my suitcase is going to be wrapped up and placed in the freezer. 

Not so strangely, after a week, I start to feel great. 

2) Exercise daily.

I do some exercise most days, I just want to amp it up a bit. Again. Makes me feel good. 

3) Save money

I have a want for this. There's a writer's retreat in France in October I want to be on. This means airfares and accommodation costs and spending money. I need to save bigtime. But some away each week. I've got back my cellular need to travel. Better get saving. 

4) Get back onto the novel

I've been making notes. Needs to be done. 

That's enough for the moment.

My blog is done for the day, and they are calling my flight. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Notes from the Road

I'm back in Christchurch after a LONG day of driving. Tomorrow, I head back to Melbourne.

I'm also a couple of glasses of Mumm down, which went well with a delightful meal at a local Burmese restaurant which Geetangeli and Rob rate highly (and rightly so). 

So, here's a few notes from the road. 

1) The road out of Queenstown, although a bit hairy, is gorgeous. 

The problem with driving around Queenstown is the views are too spectacular. Mountain after mountain after mountain. The stunning vistas make it hard to concentrate at times. 

2) Audiobooks make good companions. 

I listen to audiobooks in the car. They can be great. I've nearly finished Florence Given's Girl Crush, and I've been shouting at Eartha, the main character, to stop being such an idiot at time. Eartha and her crew have been the perfect companion for the LONG drive back. 

3) Sometimes there are too many tourists

The great thing about the route South on Sunday, and then again on Monday, was that there were few tourists on the road. Today, taking the main road back from Queenstown to Christchurch, at every stop, there were bloody tourists.

I was hoping to get some good photos at Lake Tekapo - but the place was overun by tourists. Lake Tekapo is glorious, and there is this iconic photo you can take with this small stone church in the foreground - but not when it's overrun with tourists.

Geetangeli tipped me off, telling me I should stop at Lake Pukaki, overlooking Mount Cook. I'm glad I did. The blue of the water was incredible. Mount Cook was slightly obscured by cloud. It didn't matter. 

And that will do. I've been on the road most of the day, I've just been out to dinner, and I am absolutely knackered. Back to Melbourne tomorrow. 

I've really liked it here. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


 If you've been to one high end tourist town, you've been to them all. They all smell the same - an all-pervading scent of hot-chips, sun cream and melting ice cream. Tourist towns bustle along. Everybody either looks lost or too cool for school. There's no in-between. These places tend to be physically stunning but lacking in a bit of soul. And everything is bloody expensive. 

So, if you were going by your senses, you could be mistaking one place, say Mykonos, or Torquay or Victor Harbor, Byron Bay or Noosa, for anywhere else. 

And on first appearances, Queenstown is just another tourist trap with all the same scents, the same people and the same ice cream. Just instead of the sun cream, which it turns out you need, the gale blowing off Lake Wakatipu rids the place of the tourist town scents. 

And yes, I'm being a bit critical. I've got a lot of friends who love it here, but they come for the skiing, the snowboarding, and some for the watersports and hiking - none of which interests me. 

I got in at lunchtime, parked the car at the hotel, then walked down the big hill to find some lunch. 

Half a dozen oysters, a small bowl of chips and a Bloody Mary. I wasn't driving for the rest of the day - why not. I chose a pub like place for lunch and was basically ignored by the waiting stuff for five minutes. When will the younger wait staff work out that we single middle-aged women have both money and clout? The oysters were okay, the chips good and the Bloody Mary, bloody awesome - but the lousy service left a bad taste. When paying, I was asked to give a tip. I refused. Sorry, things were okay, but the wait staff were surly. They'd lost me. The girl on the desk apologised,but the damage was done. 

To try cheer myself up, I went and found an ice cream at a recommended ice cream shop - Patagonia. The ice cream was stunning, but being a warm day, the place was heaving. A cone with a scoop of coffee ice cream, and one called Tramontana, which was a caramel and chocolate chip swirl arrangement. It helped. It was a good ice cream. 

After a walk around the foreshore, I went back to the hotel, after having a look at the eponymous Fergburger, which was lined with queuing people taking selfies. I don't queue for food. I don't need another burger. By that time, I just wanted a cool shower and make myself ready to see an old workmate, Dee, who's recently moved over here. 

Dee turned up on time. It was great to see her. 

And my view of Queenstown was tempered.

A little local knowledge is a great thing. 

Dee and I wandered into town caught up over a couple of gin and tonics, some oysters and seafood chowder, while looking over the lake. The bar, Eichardt's, was quiet. The staff were wonderful, attentive, without being fussy. The gins were locally sourced. I had one from Broken Hearts distilled in Christchurch, the other from Roots from Marlborough (which Geetangeli and I sampled the other day). 

On the way out I had a chat with the barman, another gin freak. We started talking about gin. The question came again, "Do you know about Never Never?". Do I know about Never Never?... Gin is a good thing to help you bond with people. And it's better than smoking and you don't smell bad afterwards. 

It was great to catch up with Dee. We haven't seen each other since lock down started, so there was a bit to talk about. In all, a great evening. 

And my faith in Queenstown was restored. 

I still don't have any real reason to be here. I'm not going skiing or hiking. I've been jet boating in a past life. At $47 a pop, I don't feel the need to ride the gondola to the top of the hill. It's very pretty here. Lake Wakutipu is glorious. Stunning. But it's a tourist town. (Give me Dunedin any day). 

Tomorrow, I make my way back to Christchurch. Geetangeli's asked that I stop in at a place to pick up a box or two of stone fruit. Dee has given me explicit directions - it's all good. It's going to be a long drive. 

Then Friday, I head back to Australia. 

I've forgotten how much I love travel. This trip, although short, has been most wonderful. There should be more of it. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Milford Sound

 Sometimes, you have to be reminded about how small, tiny, minute, miniscule, you really are. 

And if you're going to be reminded of this, a trip to Milford Sound is a spectacular way to go about this. 

This was my second trip to Milford Sound. The first occurred when I was 17, and to be honest, I don't remember much about it. I remember it was pretty. I remember there was a boat trip. And that is about it. 

Arriving at Te Anau last night, it was always on the agenda to have a day off from driving and let somebody take me somewhere. I'd booked well in advance the day trip to this majestic place. The location for many of Peter Jackson's sets in The Lord of the Rings. The scenes around Rivendell were filmed here. 

For me, it's being surrounded by some of the most incredible feats of nature was enough. 

The tour was booked through Viator, but Cheeky Kiwi Travel picked us up, on time, and in a new, clean minibus. There were ten of us on the tour. Pretty much a perfect number. Two Germans, three Americans (and good Americans, not the ugly ones) and five Australians. Our driver, Dave, was brilliant. Informative and funny, he was the perfect mix of a caring leader, while showing us the best of the Kiwi sense of humour. 

I'm glad I didn't drive myself. This would have meant driving the 120 kilometres, through steep and winding roads, as well as through a kilometre long tunnel with a 10% gradient, the drive takes around two to three hours. It would also have meant not getting the commentary about the Fjiordland National Park, the local flora and fauna and the ability to hop out, take a few pictures and have a look about. Driving this wouldn't be fun. Leave it to the experts.

This has been my favourite day of the trip so far. It's money very well spent. 

For me, just being in this amazing part of the world was more than enough. The German girl and I bonded, both of us single women with the same feelings about the landscape. It's gobsmackingly beautiful. There's no other words for it. 

Oh, and even better, we were fed on this tour. What I loved most about this is we were given a lunch pack. A home-made chicken sandwich, an apple, some cheese and bikkies, a packet of chips and a small chocolate bar. The sandwich, wrapped in cling film, looked like Dave's missus had packed our school lunch. It was most awesome. We ate on the boat, while it took us out to the mouth of Milford Sound, out to the Pacific, and back again. Two and a half hours, or 35 kilometres - depending on which measurement you want to take. We saw bottle nosed dolphins and fur seals. This made me very happy. 

I had a good natter with one of the deck hands - a lovely bloke. 

"I've been to Australia. Australian's are racist, eh?" he said. I could see him gently bating me - it was in the twinkle in his eye. 

"Yes, Australians are racist. Okay, we're probably one of the most racist countries about. But not everybody is," I responded.

He was taken aback. "You're agreeing with me?"

"Yep. Not all Australians are racists. But there are a lot who give us a bad name."

"You're right."

"Education and travel are the best way to kill racism," I told him. "The more education, the more you travel, the less frightened you are by other cultures. New Zealand is just a kinder, more environmentally aware Australia with better ice cream. We're pretty much the same - we just have flora and fauna that want to kill you."

He had a laugh at this. 

Another Aussie couple and I then went on to tell him about how your footy code and the team you support can define you more than anything. 

We arrived back at the dock. I wish it went on longer. 

Then we drove home to Te Anau. We were out for the better part of nine hours. We were all somewhat stunned by the abundance of natural beauty. Dave, being Dave, shoved Enya, Dire Straits, Keith Urban and Phil Collins on the stereo and tried to bore us to sleep. 

Being home, I'm still reeling from the assault on the senses this trip provided. The air is so fresh. We drank water from the glacier. We saw nature at its best. 

It really was the best day. 

And now I'm back. Instead of finding a noisy restaurant in which to have dinner, I got myself Subway - I was craving the vegetables. I wanted to eat my dinner in my motel room and enjoy the quiet while eating my sandwich and the ice cream procured at the local supermarket. This was washed down with the last of my feijoa soda. 

Tomorrow, I'm driving to Queenstown and catching up with an old colleague for a coffee. We'll see what else the day brings. 

I'm a little wind and sunburned. I'm pretty tired. I have Phil Collins playing in my head. 

But I'm happy. 

Monday, January 23, 2023


  stunning, but after a day of driving, the small pizza hit the spot.  Looking over the selection, Speights seemed like a good choice. Bugger the Peroni and Budweiser.  Bugger the can of XXXX. I won't drink that. Don't they say when it comes to beer, drink local? Bintang in Bali. Chang in Thailand. When in the South of New Zealand, you drink Speights. Besides, I'd been told years ago that Speights was a pnemonic.

  • Superior
  • Piss 
  • Enjoyed
  • In
  • Great
  • Hotels
  • Throughout
  • Southland....
I was told this years ago. Pnemonics seem to stick. 

It's been a long day of driving. I made it down to Invercargill, and Bluff the lowest populated area on the Mainland. (There is Stewart Island, but I don't have the time or inclination to go there)

Leaving Dunedin around eleven, after a quick stop at the University of Otago. I remember being blown away by these buildings as a seventeen-year-old. They're still pretty amazing. As we discussed the other day, there are some good things to come out of colonialism. 

Dunedin is just Scotland, transported. I left the hotel early to have a good walk around. I found the two main churches - the glorious Presbyterian or First Church, and the Anglican Cathedral at the top of the Octagon - the central area, resplendent with Robbie Burns sitting on his plinth. The latter had an unfinished feel about it. Talking to a verger, it seems they run out of money doing up the impressive front. 

The thing which has struck me about the cities of the South Island - the visible homelessness. Maybe it's because I've been in city areas - or maybe in the smaller cities, it's not swallowed up as much. 

But now, I'm in Te Anau. No driving tomorrow - somebody else - a small bus, will be taking me to Milford Sound for the day. Then on Wednesday, on to Queenstown. 

I'll write about Te Anua tomorrow night. It's a tourist town. You've seen one, you've seen them all...

Right, off to bed. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday Stealing: High School

 Greetings from Christchurch, New Zealand, where it is a glorious Summer day. I'm about to hit the road and head South to a place called Dunedin for the night (Yes, everything around here is named after Scottish places). As I'm leaving fairly soon to pick up my hire car, I best get on with this. 

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

1. You are back in high school... what are you doing after school lately?

Homework or watching telly. I lived out of town. My teenage years were boring. 

2. Do you do homework early or late? Do you really study?

I did my homework early and I did study. I was the perennial swot. 

3. a, Do you go to the games? Football? Basketball.. what is your favorite to attend?

I'm Australian. We didn't have that American stuff. It's not part of our school culture. 

 b. Do you go to the dances? Prom? (what'd you wear?)

I'm Australian. We didn't have that American stuff. It's becoming more of a thing now, but it wasn't back then. 

4. Lunch!  What are we having today?   What is your favorite lunch?

Oh, my favourite was Mrs Reid's double cut cheese and salad rolls. This is very much a South Australian thing - a large, white crispy roll, double cut with lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, gherkin, some onion and beetroot, with a slice or two of cheddar cheese. They were wonderful. 

5. What kind of music do you like the best?

As always, rock, whether it be British, American or Australian. 

6. Does the radio play in your car and if so what station or kind of music plays?  Does music play in your home often?

At school, the radio was set to 107.1 SAFM. It used to be the best for non-poppy popular music. There was music at home, but Mum used to have talk back on most of the time. She still does. 

7. What do you think of the music played in restaurants or stores? Do you find it relaxing or annoying?

I tend to ignore the muzak in shops - with the exception of Coles Radio, which plays in all Coles Supermarkets - and they play some absolute bangers from the 80s and 90s. Love Coles Radio - you hear stuff you haven't heard in decades. 

8. What part has music played in your life? What kind of music played at your wedding or at parties you have been to?

Music is a big part of my life. It's always in my head - always. There is always a song ready to jump out. Never been married - but the parties I go to tend to have a gentle rock going on in the background - occasionally classical or jazz - depending on the mood and the people involved.

9. Is the farm for you? How about a ranch, a village or a city? Which is your choice and why?

Although I prefer to live in the middle of the city, I'm really comfortable in the country. What I can't do is the suburbs. I think I'd do well in an English village as well. Think that would be very nice indeed.

10. A short auto trip for the weekend with friends or a long vacation? Where would you go?

I do both. I love short trips, like the one I'm on now (8 days is really too short to do the South Island of New Zealand any justice). But I'm hankering for about a month away later in the year, where I can do Europe for a bit. Well, France, then see a bit of England again.

11. The quiet life at home with a cuppa and TV or a good book or a night out with friends? Which sounds good today?

I'm about to embark on half a day of driving, so at the end of this, a cuppa and a book will be just splendid. 

12. You have a choice of dinner and a movie or a game of cards and snacks at the neighbors. Where are you going tonight?

Dinner. I cheat at cards. Not worth the trouble. Unless it's Cards Against Humanity. Love that game. 

13. Is there a hero or character on TV, in a book or a movie .. or even on all three, that you are especially like? What do you find attractive about them?

I've just finished the book Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I adore Elizabeth Zott, the book's protagonist. She's a trailblazer. If only more women were like her in the 50s and 60s. If you haven't read this, get a copy. It's a wonderful book. Apple TV are making a series of it at the moment.

14.  Was there a book that was better in movie form? How about a movie you thought didn't live up to the book?

This is a controversial call - and I love both the film and the book equally - but Ian MacEwan's Atonement was fantastic as a film. I thought, in places, the film was a bit better. 

15. When you choose a book, program or movie which subject it is most likely to be: science fiction, mystery, romance, comedy, documentary, etc.?     What draws you to a particular book or movie?

I love literary fiction for books. For films, well-made drama or comedy, and documentaries are great too. It's more what I don't like, which is horror or messed up psychological drama - like Breaking Bad was too violent for me. 

Right, I have to go find this hire car and hit the road. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

First Pie

I ate a pie. 

I'm not sure if I'm proud or will end up hating myself for this, but I ate a pie. 

Which is not to say that this was any ordinary footy pie. This pie was bought at a Farmer's Market. It had a star on it, so how bad could it be? People rave about them, these pie things. I've never been convinced. 

So, yes, this is the first pie I have ever eaten. Ever.

And why now? 

Well, I think as a young child I was told that pies were filled with horse meat, and the lips and bumholes of every other animal. Then you'd hear people complaining about the gristle, or the runny gravy. They've always seemed really unappetising to me. Like, no thank you. 

I will eat sausage rolls. And I love me a good pasty, particularly Cornish pasties from Adelaide bakeries. But I've always had a mental block with pies. 

So, why today? 

Just because. 

Maybe it's because I'm in another country, no matter how familiar it feels. I mean, in New Zealand, they drive on the left, the power outlets are the same as Australia, and the food is similar. 

Maybe it's because I'm in a country that prides itself on its pies.

Yesterday, Geetangeli offered me a glass of feijoa soda. I said why not. 

Turns out, I really like feijoa soda. It's a sharp, tangy taste - just up my alley. I bought a few cans for the road at the supermarket. We went to New World - which is basically Kiwi iteration of Coles - even the self-checkouts have the same voice. (The other supermarket, Countdown is just like Woolies).


Last night, we went out for a cheap and cheerful Chinese, that did good dim sum / yum cha. When asked if we were having Chicken Feet, I said why not. Turns out, I like yum cha chicken feet too. As it's Chinese New Year today, the place was heaving. And the Chicken Feet were great. 

This morning, on getting up, still on Melbourne time and all, Geetangeli and I went to the Riccaton House Farmers Markets. She's here most weekend picking put little things. We found some croissants for breakfast tomorrow morning - and had a look around. I was in love with the settings. Being a mild, overcast day, people were out in droves. The setting is stunning. 

So, I bought the pies for lunch. For me, it was a steak, caramelised onion and vintage cheddar arrangement. For Bob, a bacon, leek and something else. And a sausage roll for Geetangeli. 

What got me to try this was the man at the stall promised me they were fresh baked - and he knew what was in them. Both things won me over. They also looked tasty. Good pastry. Crisp and brown. In other words, it looked like if I was going to pop my pie cherry, these were the ones to do it with. If you're going to do it, do it well. All my Kiwi friends say that they make the best pies in the world here. 

And yes, this pie was lovely. No need to slather it with tomato sauce - in fact, that would ruin it. 

But would I rush into it again?

No. I think I'll return to being pie averse. But I've done it, and will leave it at that. 

I have Geetangeli to thank for turning me into an adventurous eater. We've known each other since 1986. She's Malaysian. She got me eating more spice. She taught me how to make her chicken curry, which I now find out is called Portuguese Chicken, a sort of alternative Adobo. I've never been without a bottle of kecap manis in the cupboard (sweet, thick soy sauce) ever since.  Because of her, I'm very willing to try things. Just not pies. 

It's good having friends like this.

Friday, January 20, 2023

The Joys of Being Late

 There's a lot to be said for being late. Especially when you have no control over the lateness. 

I'm writing this from Geetangeli's kitchen table. And I made it. My suitcase made it. All is well. 

Even if everything was a bit late. 

Strangely, Melbourne Airport was bonkers. Making it worse, I was stuck in the bag queue behind a total Karen with her subservient husband and their five precocious kids. 

The flight from Melbourne to Brisbane was a bit over an hour late. Yes, it seems counterintuitive to fly two hours North to fly what is normally a three-hour flight from Melbourne to Christchurch. Then this route costs you $500 less than the OneStar red-eye, you take it. There were about 25 of us who took up this deal as we were to find out at the other end. 

Arriving in Brisbane, we were hurried off the plane. It is a short bus ride from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. As a group, we travelled together, knowing that the plane to Christchurch was about to board. 

We made that flight - somehow, I managed to pick up a bottle of gin for Geetangeli duty free, grabbing a bottle of Never Never Triple Juniper while running through the shops. After a quick pee, I took my seat. Even better, I had the row to myself. 

The flight over to Christchurch was thankfully smooth and uneventful... until we landed. 

By this time, it was about ten minutes to midnight. The pilots parked the plane. The people on the other end tried to get the aerobridge working. Hmm - no go. There was talk of getting a push back to use another gate. The man who does the push backs had gone home hours before it seems. There was more talking about the aerobridge. There was more talking about getting a push back to use another gate. An hour and a half later, at about 1 am local time, we finally deplaned. 

For me, it was a bit heart wrenching as the neon sign for the hotel was visible from the plane window.

Going through immigrations is nowhere near as fun as it used to be. All you have to do now is lie your passport down on a sensor, walk through a metal gate and stare at a pole, then move on. It's nowhere near as fun as being interrogated, like you used to. It used to be nice to be greeted by the unsmiling person in the uniform. No, now it's start at a screen. How millennial.

Customs was a different matter. At 1 a.m. there was still a queue to face the guy questioning you about what you have in your bags. Thankfully the line moved quickly.

The Customs Officer was friendly. He also had a touch of sciatica, as he told me as the stool on which he was sitting was irritating his rump.

I'd declared that I had some food on me on the form. 

"And what do food do you have on you?"

"A packet of Haigh's Chocolate frogs for my friend and some mints."

"Woman of good taste, I see. Do you have any uncooked spices, honey, ...." He relayed a long list of banned substances. 

"Absolutely not."

"Kia Ora, welcome to Aotearoa. Line Three for you. "

Line three was the quick way out. 

New Zealand are trying to keep foot and mouth out of the country (and fair enough) so if you've been to Indonesia, including Bali, it appears you're in for a bit of a grilling. 

Two minutes later, I arrived at the hotel. For somewhere, where you rock up at 1.30 a.m., the staff were lovely, the room just right and the bed was one of the better hotel beds I've stayed in. 

Geetangeli picked me up the airport pick up spot at 10 a.m. 

What never fails to strike me about Christchurch is now similar it feels to Adelaide. Driving out of the airport feels like driving down Donald Bradman Drive into the city. Sure, things are at a slower pace, even compared to Adelaide. The traffic is minimal. People are friendly. Petrol isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, $2.40 a litre. Geetangeli tells me that's it's being subsidised at the moment.

So far, we've been to the venue for tomorrow's party - which, as the manager of the place said, there are some good things about colonialism - this place is one of them (report tomorrow about this. ) We've had a trip to the supermarket, where I got to drool over the hokey pokey ice cream and various other things. And we had a wonderful lunch at a place called Mosiac - Moroccan food. The boccadilloes at this place are to die for. I remembered them from the last time I was here. Like a less greasy, much tastier kebab with a better range of sauces. 

There is so much to love about New Zealand. That everything is familiar, that you drive on the left, that the money is similar, that the power outlets are the same - it all makes for easy travel.

That I arrived the day that Jacinda Ardern resigned, well that is another matter. I'm sorry to see her go. What a leader.

I'm just happy to be here with my friends. 

This is what we've missed over the last few years. 

We're heading into town to have a look now. I'm wondering what we'll find. 

Today's song:

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Off we go

 Bag packed and in the car. Tick. 

Gate opener left on the kitchen counter for Teddie. Tick. 

Washing done and drying in the spare room. Tick. 

Toiletries stowed in the hand luggage in a clear plastic bag. Tick.

Cat being very clingy. Tick. 

Passport in my money belt attached to hand luggage. Tick. 

Floors done. Tick. 

Hairbrush placed in hand luggage. Tick. (This one is important)

Fresh towels and linen set out for Teddie. Tick.

Ignoring the news that there was an aircraft emergency over the Tasman last night. Tick. 

The cat has had his head kissed within an inch of his life. Tick. (Gonna miss the little prick. Hope he behaves). 

I think I'm ready to go to the airport. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Strange Place

I want to go to Invercargill.

Invercargill, you ask? 

Yes, Invercargill. It's this little town at the bottom of New Zealand's South Island. Literally, right at the bottom of the South Island. Like any further South and you hit the South Pole. 

I've always wanted to go to Invercargill. I really don't know why, other than most people speak with a Scottish accent of sorts. My old colleague told me that she had her son-in-law, who came from down that way, say "Dirty purple work shirt" as often as she can get him to say it just for the amusement factor. Think about it. Roll your Rs. It's fun.

But I like the thought of going to the bottom most town in a country - it's a bit like going to Byron Bay or Cape Tribulation, or Lizard Point or Wilson's Promontory - none of which I have been to. 

Looking at the driving I have to do on that second day of my road trip, I think it might be doable. I rather like the thought of going somewhere just for the hell of it. I'll ignore the fact that petrol is $3.50 a litre. 

I'm also told that Bluff oysters, which are local to Invercargill, are incredible. 

Anyway, I'm packed. The work laptop is switched off. The cat is going a bit mental - he knows something is up - but Teddie will look after him well. I've cleaned up a bit. 

I get to use my passport tomorrow. 

It's all good. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Things I could be writing about

 The things I could be writing about. 

I could be writing about the book group book we are about to start talking about - but book group is literally starting in ten minutes. The book is Bonnie Garmus's Lessons in Chemistry, and it is phenomenal. Awesome book. Read it if you haven't already. For quality popular fiction, it is grouse. 

I could be writing about the very large Baileys and Mr Blacks coffee liquer over a lot of ice that is sitting next to me. The two blend well together. Mr Blacks is just awesome,

I could write about the thunderstorm that is just hitting here as I type. It has taken the temperature down around five degrees in ten minutes, which is good as it was stinking hot here today. Tomorrow is going to be a much more palatable 23 degrees. Good I say. 

I could write about the fact that I'm going into work tomorrow, which feels a bit stupid as I have about zero drive to do anything, seeing I take off on at Thursday lunchtime. I'm only going in to have lunch with my engineer friend. We've been having lunch together once a month for over 12 years. This is the only time we spend together. I love my engineering lunches. 

I could write about the fact that the end came of my knitting needle came off and now my hands are covered in superglue. Mind you, soaking your hands in nail polish remover gets rid of most of it - and the head of the knitting needle is back on it again. 

I could write about the sad fact that Renee Geyer passed away. It's not been a great week for celebrity deaths., Lisa Marie Presley got me as she was only six months older than me. Renee Geyer was on the record player and on Countdown when I was a kid. If she was on Countdown, she had to be good. 

I could write about the fact that I've just started listening to Prince Harry's book, Spare. I've downloaded it, and will try to listen without judgement, knowing that once I've finished it, it will more than likely be returned to Audible for a credit. This is not something I do often, returning books I've listened to (or read). We will see. I was not going to listen to this, but I've been swayed. 

But I don't feel like writing. I have things to do tonight. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Why the angst around lost bags

 Having a chat with a friend tonight, we both relayed our fear of having our bags lost in transit.

It's a sizin-g issue. 

I'm a size 18-20 depending on the brand, the day and the cut. 

My friend is smaller that me - more a size 12-14, but she has an unusual bra size for which she needs to go to specialist shops. 

The thought of lost bags to me means living in the clothes that you're wearing for however many days on end until your bags turn up is bad enough. Knowing that finding clothes in your size, with ease, is a bit of a nightmare is enough to make you feel a bit of anxiety. Often, when you're on the bigger size of things, if you're stuck for something to wear, it's Kmart menswear t-shirts and trakkie dacks. It's knowing you cant fit into your friend's clothes at a push, it's the fear that there's going to be nothing for your to buy in the days you're away, and if you do manage to find something it's either exorbitantly priced, badly made or both. Or you can have something made, but that can take a while. 

Sure, there are some places you can go where plus sized clothes are easier to find - the UK and America come to mind. But in Bali, you're struggling to find clothes if you over a size 14. And I'm fronting up to New Zealand on a Friday. Are the shops open there on a weekend?

Anyway, that's what's stressing me out at the moment, and why. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, January 15, 2023


 The pandemic has killed any ability I once had to pack a suitcase. 


This should not be a hard task., I'm only going for eight days, and to the South Island of New Zealand, but it's doing my head in. 

These are my considerations. 

1) Qantas

Yes, I'm flying Qantas. I'm also getting to Christchurch indirectly, as when I booked it was $500 less return to fly through Brisbane than take the Jetstar red-eye, leaving at 1 a.m and getting in at 5.30 a.m.  I hate the red-eye already. I'd rather sit on a plane and read for the trip over. This puts me in a bit of a quandary. I've got to get a flight to Brisbane, get to the international airport, and then get a plane to Christchurch. Here's hoping the connections are okay and the bag turns up. I've bought at Bluetooth tile to keep an eye on my bag. If the bag gets lost, at least it can be located. 

Being an old hand at lost bags, I need to put some fundamental toiletries, a pair of clean knickers, a toothbrush and two days of meds in my day pack just in case. This also goes for the way back with the meds. It's just a blood pressure pill, but it's needed. If I'm stuck in Brisbane it's not so bad. At least I can fill a repeat script. 

Fingers crossed all goes to plan. 

2) Southland in Summer

I'm off to the South Island of New Zealand for eight days in January. It's going to be a bit cooler than here in Melbourne. But over the pandemic I appear to have lost my ability to pack. 

So it's eight days.

I'll need:

  • 8 pairs of knickers
  • A couple of bras
  • A couple of t-shirts
  • A couple of pairs of light trousers
  • Maybe a pair of jeans
  • Socks (even though I live in Birkenstocks
  • A dress or two for going out (I know of at least one dinner and a party on the itinerary
  • A hoody
  • A light cardy
  • Running shoes, a pair of sandals, some thongs, walking shoes. 
  • Bathers - just in case
  • My big camera (as opposed to my trusty iPhone camera, which does a lot of heavy lifting. 
  • My travel laptop and mouse - that goes in the daypack. 
  • The Kindle
It's 8 days, Pandora - it can't be that hard. I still think I've forgotten something.

3) The Spares

Other than shoving a paper copy of my itinerary in both bags, because I'm that anal, there are some spares which I'll pack - again, just in case, but if I get stuck, I'll need them, especially as I've got five days of driving ahead of me. These things are:
  • Spare cables for chargers, including the Apple Watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Normal glasses
I've looked over this list five times. 

What am I missing? 

Today's song:

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Sunday Stealing: Favourites

I'm quite proud of myself. I'm just back from town where I donated plasma for the first time. You get hooked up to a machine that goes ping. The machine takes in your blood, spins it about, strips out the plasma, then returns the red cells to you. It's amazing what man can do, and thankfully, this was a really good experience.  But I've been told to take it a little easy for a bit, especially as it's 37 degrees Celsius outside. I'll keep drinking the water. All is well.

Me, at the back end of giving plasma. 

Anyway, on with the questions, supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing, as always.

1. What is your favorite accent?

Oh, I have a few of them. Give me a cultivated Welsh accent, like that of Tom Ellis or Michael Sheen  - I love that. English dosed with a French accent is wonderful too. But mainly, any well -spoken Englishman will make my toes curl.

2. What is your favorite animal?

The common house cat. What else is it going to be? 

3. What is your favorite band?

Again, who else is it going to be but The Pixies. They are God. I love me some alternative hard rock and The Pixies provide. I've loved them from over thirty years. 

On my also ran list is:

  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • The Hoodoo Gurus
  • Portishead
  • The Beatles
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Alt-J

4. What is your favorite childhood book?

I remember loving Enid Blyton growing up. The Majic Faraway Tree was a big favourite. 

5. What is your favorite color?

One of the following:

Pillarbox Red:  

Cobalt Blue: 
And Peacock Green:

I love bright colours. 

6. What is your favorite drink?

Alcoholic drink? Gin and tonic. I'm also very fond of Bloody Marys. I don't mind not having vodka in the Bloody Mary - tomato juice is great with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce. 

7. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Must there be just one? My go to cinema choc-top is the humble boysenberry one. My supermarket go to is the gold Magnums or Ben and Jerry's Tiramisu ice cream. When I'm out and can find it, I'm rather fond of Green Tea ice cream in Japanese restaurants. One of the best ice creams I've ever had was White Chocolate and Wasabi - that was amazing. 

Ice cream is the sixth food group - it would be bad to deny it. 

8. What is your favorite place on the planet?

London. Just because. 

9. What is your favorite sandwich?

Give me a proper Rueben sandwich, with finely shaved pastrami, with a decent helping of sauerkraut, pink Marie Rose sauce on toasted rye, with a pickle, and I am happy. Cafe D'Lish in Caulfield does a great one. And I would love to try one in a Jewish Deli in New York. 

10. What is your favorite swear word?

I use F*ck a lot. It's sort of replaced 'Bloody" as the national Australian adjective. 

11. What is your favorite thing to wear?

Natural fibres please. Give me a long tunic top and a pair of baggy linen trousers and I'm happy. And whatever is on my feet needs to be comfortable. I live in Birkenstocks over summer. 

12. What is your favorite food to eat on a rainy day?

Oh, that would be a baked potato with cheese and coleslaw. That or a decent curry with rice and some mango chutney. 

13. What is your favorite food to eat on a sunny day?

Fresh salad. Salad is good. Or a decent Australian barbeque (which is very different to American Barbeque) with lots of good, fresh, interesting salad. 

14. What is your favorite number?

I'm not sure I have one - but I do like 7, 19 and 64. The last one is because I love The Beatle's song. 

15. What is your favorite snack?

My current go to snack is is rice cakes, smeared with cream cheese and daubed with sweet chilli sauce. It's that or Burger Rings - another Australian delicacy. 

Today's song:

Friday, January 13, 2023

Movie Review: The Fabelmans

 Movie Number 4 of 2023

The Movie: The Fabelmans

Cinema: The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 5

People are talking about The Fabelmans. Is all the Oscars hype worth it you may ask. This little passion project of Steven Spielberg, loosely based on his family life. 

The answer is yes.

This is a movie lover's movie, a love song to both Spielberg's family and to movie making and it is gorgeous. 

In this film, Spielberg, with the help of Tony Kuchner, the noted screenwriter, provides a fictionalised account of his youth, from his childhood in New Jersey, to growing up in Arizona until his later youth in California. It also documents Spielberg's first forays into movie making, using his father's family movie camera, then moving up to bigger and better things. 

Just as Hugo was Martin Scorcese's passion project about movie making, this is Spielberg' story, relation live with his fact-based, engineer father and arty mother (His father worked for IBM, his mother was a restauranteur and concert pianist). The eldest son, he was also there to be a brother to his three younger sisters, who got to appear in his early movies. 

What got me about this was the subtleties if the story telling. From Bert Fabelman's (The ever-excellent Paul Dano) and his encouragement of his son Sam (Gabriel LaBelle, who's going to be somebody to watch). Then there's Mitzy, his mother. Michelle Williams is luminous - the bohemian arty type, the perfect foil to Bert's scientific mind. There is reason there is an Oscar buzz around Williams portrayal of this complex woman. She's outstanding. Rounding off the well-known actors, is Seth Rogan, who plays Benny, Burt's best friend. He's perfect in this role. 

This is not only a homage to Spielberg's family, and from a quick google search, there are a lot of one for one similarities from Spielberg's life, but it's a love song to the late fifties and sixties. The Fablemans, being Jewish, appear a little out of place in Middle America. The anti-semitism Sam endures in high school is obnoxios, but his talent behind the camera comes through. 

Another nice touch was Spielberg's short introduction at the start of the film, thanking the audience for coming out and witnessing this on the big screen. This probable doesn't need to be seen on the big screen, like the new Avatar movie, but it's good to be there to share in Spielberg's passion. 

I loved this. I hope you do too. Watch out for it at the Oscars, it should do very well. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Prince Harry's Ghost Writer

 Who would be Harry's ghost writer? 

I mean, you spend what's got to be the better part of the year writing this tome along with the ex-Prince (Is he an ex-prince, or still a prince? I can't keep up, and basically, I don't care - oh, hang on, it says the book is by Prince Harry - must be a prince.)

Like, this book is all over the place at the moment. Turn on a terrestrial station and there's Harry talking to some telly host. 

Please tell me why I would want to read a 410 page book that somebody else has written. I'm sure Harry was calling the shots, but somebody else would have done the physical writing. 

I mean, Harry's blurb on GoodReads.com says that he's "...The Duke of Sussex, is a husband, father, humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate, and environmentalist. He resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his family and three dogs."  He has three dogs. He's gone up in my estimation.

I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but this screams Entitled Ginger Git. 

It's been published by Penguin/Random House. Well, that says a lot. Goes to show that this has been done for the money. Penguin/Random House are a reputable publishers - it goes to show that they need money too. According to the media, this is one of the best selling non-fiction books ever. UIm.. spare me. 

Oh, that's the other thing - this is out in hard cover. Where are you going to put it? And at $60, why are you going to buy it, although it seems to be discounted all around the place - $45 at Dymocks. $35 at Amazon and Target. 

I keep going back to the ghost writer. I really do home they are in on the profits. I know that they'd have to be NDA'd up to the max - but I really do hope they got paid well for this job. They deserve it. Possibly, if their name got out, they may need danger money. 

Will I be reading this. Umm, no. Not my thing. Allegedly he and his wife left for America to get away from the media. I'm going to let sleeping dogs lie by not subscribing. (although I can pick up the audiobook for a song, I'm choosing not to. )

Today's song:

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Bye, George

Somebody named Clarence Darrow once said, 'I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.' This is often attributed to Mark Twain. 

It's that odd feeling you get when a pariah dies. 

As a good ex-Methodist, I don't like to speak ill of the dead - it's how I was raised, but as a human being with eyes and ears and a heart, I can't and won't mourn George Pell. There's too much to put him in the band of people you can't mourn. Not that I would have any reason to give it extra thought. I'm not a practicing Roman Catholic. I didn't grow up in the Catholic Church in the seventies and eighties. I truly believe the church should be paying tax on their assets in some form - actually, I think unless they can prove what they're spending on alms to help the community, everything else should be taxed. 

I remember an old colleague told me that they'd been baptised by George Pell. Their family knew him as the local priest at the time. Part of me wanted to ask them what they thought of this, what their parents thought of what was going on as at the time, all of the details were coming out about the institutionalised child abuse in the media - this was in the mid-noughties. They had no problem with him, but would then speak no further. You don't ask more questions. 

Another old colleague related how he'd gone to a school reunion at a Catholic Boys school in rural Victoria. They were a boarder at one of the schools where one of the better-known paedophile priests was located. A number of their classmates had attempted suicide over the years. A number had succeeded in taking their lives. According to this friend, who had not been subjected to any abuse, the schoolmates gathered around those who had abuse inflicted on them and supplied what support they could. What sort if support can you give to people who've ostensibly had their lives taken away from them?

It's interesting watching the media commentary on the matter. The press is trying, and failing to be balanced., There is an interesting article in The Age, the first paragraph reading, "Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has called George Pell’s overturned child sex conviction a “modern-day political persecution”, saying the Andrews government should reflect on how Victoria’s legal institutions gave rise to the former cardinal’s 404-day imprisonment." Other than you wonder why they are giving Peter Dutton oxygen, you have to dislike the man more for making all of this a political beat up. The full article can be found here

He's always been a polarising figure. When his prison sentence was overturned, the doors of the Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral were vandalised. At the time of his trial, the Cathedral and many churches around Australia were bedecked with green and yellow ribbons. His name rarely invokes joy. 

For me, it's pretty cut and dry. A man who was supposed to be in charge of one of the biggest churches in to flat out deny that he didn't know about the institutionalised abuse and refusing to do anything other than to move the offenders to other parishes - well, it doesn't hold water for me. That his Melbourne protocols which capped any financial payouts to victims - this from one of the richest organisations in Australia. 

George Pell worked to protect the Catholic Church - nothing else. 

I have no reason to mourn him. I'm hoping he won't be afforded a state funeral, although we know there will be fanfare at the Cathedrals of Australia over the next week.  And my heart goes out to those who have been affected by his actions. With his death, may you find peace. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023


 I ended up working late after there was a small glitch to the day. 

One of the joys of working from home is being able to take breaks when you want, doing things you want to do. It's good for getting jobs done. And in my case, getting my book group book read. You'll set yourself a 5–10-minute break, go do your job, then go back to work. 

Which is what I did. Set myself off for a 10-minute read. We're doing the delightful Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I read this last year, but it's just as wonderful the second time around.

So, I took myself into the spare room, snuggled up on my reading chair and started to read.

Then I fell asleep.

And woke up two hours later. 

Thankfully I had no meetings, but there was a bit to get done. Hence working late.

I must have needed the sleep. 

Today's song: