Sunday, March 31, 2024

Such a bad mother

 I am a terrible cat mother. 

I left him at 11.30 this morning, returning at 8.30 in the evening, after a day out, a lot of driving, a quick dinner with Blarney, Barney and Barney's parents. I could have been home an hour and a half earlier, but I don't get to see Barney's folks very often, and they are, after all, family. Just as Geetangeli and Rich are family. 

Walking in the door, I was greeted by a cat's bum. On running to the loo, because I'd been in the car and had drunk a cup of tea in the hour before. He was not happy. 

Dinner time was at 6.00 pm. Two and a half hours is a lot of time in cat time. Especially when you're hungry. Which, when you're a cat, is most of the time. 

He was fed within five minutes of walking in the door. 

And he's been telling me off ever since. 

I'm the worst mother in the world because I was late home. 

I'm terrible because I won't let him in the spare room after dark (because he uses it like a parkour route and keeps me awake.)

He shouted at me when I was in the shower. I think that might be more because I won't open the spare room door. 

He's also mugged my ankles. Just because. 

He then got into a strop because I wanted to use this chair to use the computer. 

And yeah, I think I'm just a bad cat mother. 

Well, that's what he's telling me. 

Today's song:

Saturday, March 30, 2024

This Easter. The Dream Easter

 I am having a lovely Easter, even if my Protestant work ethic is telling me I should be doing some work. That isn't happening. Still, I am having a great time. 

Yesterday - also known as Good Friday, also known as the only other day in Australia where most of the shops are closed and you're stuck with what you can get at the servo for snacks if you're lucky. I donated plasma in the early afternoon, getting my community service activity for the month out of the way. After arriving home, I did some housework. 

In the evening a friend came around for Chinese takeaway (the Loi Loi is always open on public holidays) and a movie on Netflix. Okay, it was Disney. It was lovely. Desert was Turkish Delight from the servo. 

Today: Blarney and I went and saw a movie out her way in the morning. I enjoyed this. Then it was home, went for a swim with Jay, before doing a quick change and going into town to meet Geetangeli and Rich for a drink at a favourite bar in town (1806) for a couple of cocktails. They're over from New Zealand. Dinner was at Nandos as they were off to a fancy dinner at Grossi Florentino (Lucky them). We don't get to see each other very often. 

Tomorrow: Geetangeli, Rich, Anney (Rich's sister) and I are heading off to Healesville to the Four Pillars Gin Distillery for the afternoon. After, there might be some Indian food after I drop them off out the other side of town. (Sunday rail services are crap at the best of times. 

Monday: I'm finally off to the Trienniale with a friend in the morning, and probably meeting Geetangeli and Rich after that. I might even take them back to the art gallery because that is how I roll. 

And all of this is great. I love that I'm busy. I love that I get to see friends both old and new. I love that the experiences are wonderful (including the two cocktails I had tonight - a Treacle (which was just an Old Fashioned made of rum) and something called a Den of Vice, which was pink and sparkly and girlie and had hits of vanilla and violet. Again, well nice. 

But how do I see my perfect Easter? 

Well, I see myself having Easter over a week. I book myself out a little place near the beach. Maybe somewhere like this. And there I will write, and sleep and take long baths, and write a bit more, and maybe have the odd gin and tonic. And turn off my phone. And not talk to anybody for four whole days. 

For those reading this, I do not begrudge a minute I'm spending with my friends this Easter. But next weekend, my time is going to be all mine. 

Today's song:

Friday, March 29, 2024

Sunday Stealing on Friday

 There is lot to be said for a night in with a friend, some Chinese takeaway and a movie. There should be more of it. Even better, the Australian Chinese standards, which haven't changed since we were kids. Sweet and sour pork - complete with tinned pineapple. Beef in Black Bean Sauce. And some steamed rice and cold rolls (also known as rice paper rolls). Good company, a great movie (Poor Things - what a film. Maeve hadn't seen it) and a retro dinner. 

It's the best way to spend Good Friday, especially as everything is closed. However, the blood bank was open, so I gave plasma today. Done my community service for the month. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Do you believe in the unknown and Mystics?

To a point, yes. It's tempered with a lot of science and pragmatism, but some things should remain unknown. 

2. How do you tell time? Do you use a watch or your phone and why?

I use the phone, my watch, the computer clock and intuition. It depends on what I have on me at the time. 

3. How do you stay cool in the summer?

The air conditioner. And if I can, I like to jump into a body of water for a bit. That's how I stay cool in Darwin. 

4. Egg yolk or white?

Both. I love the yolk, but the white is good too if it's not overcooked. 

5. What is your current on-repeat song?


Love me some Alabama Shakes. 

6. What is your favorite sound in the world?

I adore hearing the bellbirds along the river when I go for a walk. They're so relaxing. I've got the video of their call. It's marvellous. 

7. What's the must-have-items in your bag?

I have a  small green Uniqlo banana bag which goes everywhere with me, in which you will find:

  • My wallet
  • My phone
  • A couple of lipsticks
  • The lip balm I bought in Paris
  • Some ear buds
  • Sometimes my Myki (travel card)
  • Often my keys
  • Occasionally my hair brush.

8. When you're dressing up, which one you put on first: pants or tops?

Pants. The pants always go on first. I have no idea why. 

9. What is the one thing you wish you could take back?

No. Regret is wasted emotion. 

10. What is your pet peeve?

People who are rude to waiting stuff. 

And people who won't separate out their recycling. 

11. Have you ever been ashamed after buying something frivolous? what?

I love my silk duster jacket I bought from a designer in Darwin. I don't regret spending money on it, but it is a bit frivolous, and it was a lot of money. 

12. What dessert would you eat even if you were beyond full?

Creme brulee. I love that stuff. Or just get me a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Love that too. 

13. Sweet or spicy?

Both. Sweet earlier in the day. Spicy later at night. 

14. Which website do you visit most often?

It's a toss up between the Autralian Bureau of Meterology ( or Facebook. 

15. Which countries/states have you visited and which one did you like the most?

Countries I've visited: 

  • New Zealand
  • Indonesia (Bali)
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Hong Kong
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Germany
  • The United States of America
  • Finland (but just through the airport)
  • United Arab Emirates (but just through the airport)
I would happily live in England again, or in France. 

I love New Zealand for its people and its natural beauty. 
I felt at one in Hong Kong and Thailand
Bali is good for a quick break. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Divide

 Jay and I went to see Wicked Little Letters tonight. For me, it was a good diversion after a long day. 

We talked about the film on the way out to the car. 

"It wasn't what I thought it was going to be," said Jay. "It wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. It was sort of sad."

"Yeah, that's what I liked about it."

"And the casting..."

"What about it, I thought it was quite perfect."

"Oh no. Why did she have to have a black boyfriend?"

She was talking of Rose Gooding's partner, played by Malachi Kirby. "If she was living with a black man, in Littlehampton in 1920, that would have been the news."

"But the point was there were other indicators that made her the target - loud, a bit loose, a bit lippy. Her black partner was never mentioned. And does it matter?"

"But they cast a black guy in the part. I found it distracting."

"I didn't. Sure, there's in the time and the like, but it's also a story that's been fictionalised. Does it really matter?"

"And the policewoman (Anjana Varun). I'm sure she wouldn't have been a little Indian woman."

"Again, does it matter?"

"But an Indian woman wouldn't be a policewoman in Littlehampton in 1920."

"But in this fictionalised work, she is."

It was a bit of a circular conversation. And knowing Jay, sometimes it's easier to let things lie. 

"I found it distracting," she countered. 

And rather than say that this is more a reflection of you and how you see the world, I let it go. 

For in a fictionalised world does it matter what colour is the skin of various characters? 

Does it matter what anybody's ethnicity is in the world of film and television? A character is a character and the more diversity we see on the screen, the better. For if you can't see it you can't be it. 

I'll let it go. Maybe our brains are wired a little differently. I can't see the problem of having people of colour play characters in the 1920s England. Inclusion is a good thing. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Attempt Number One

On Sunday, I went to my monthly Freemason's meeting. As usual, a part of me resented having some of my Sunday taken away, but like most things which require a bit of work and a sacrifice, I felt a lot better after attending. 

As always, I'm not going to tell you about what goes on in the meeting. 

But I will say that I spent a lot of the meeting in a peaceful meditative state, most of which involved staring at the candle and the column in front of me. 

And looking at an empty chair in front of me. It's known as the visitor's chair, having a conversation an old mason friend who passed away a few years ago. I could hear her voice. If I shut my eyes, I could see her. 

And I'm not going to do this subject any justice tonight, so I will make another attempt at this on another day. This was a spiritual awakening. I have photos. They're not playing ball either. Not a good technology day. 

I want to tell people about this experience.

Just not tonight. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

You Will Be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile.

We moved to a new co-working office today. Gone is our lovely group of desks amongst the treetops of King Street, with its access to Leroy the barista and a short walk to Southern Cross Station. Gone is my quick trip on the train. 

Instead, I now take the tram to Spring Street and walk the few minutes to our new office on Exhibition Street, at the Paris End of town. 

It may only be two kilometres away from the old office, but this new building may as well be on the moon. 

I should say that this building houses one of the big four accounting firms. You know the ones - they charge exorbitant amounts to tell your big business what you're doing wrong. They often send in young kids, who dress well, in packs. They seem to work every hour God gives them. 

This office building appears to be their mothership. The workers are like battery hen clones of each other. The men are in either RM Williams straight-legged trousers, ironed Paul Smith or Charles Tyrwhitt shirts, slim-fitting showing off gym-honed physiques. The women are a uniform of grey, black or navy trousers, with a fitted pale t-shirt, covered over with a navy or grey jacket or duster coat. Their hair is universally long and straight, the keratin treatments doing their thing. 

I spotted, while waiting for my coffee, bags from Prada, Coach and Louis Vuitton. (No need to tell people about my utilitarian backpack that's been around the world a couple of times, nor my Uniqlo banana bag for essentials). 

Two colleagues and I had gone downstairs from our perch with the view of the back of the Sofitel to find some caffeine. 

"Oh, here we go. We're in the realms of The Borg," said one colleague. 

(Who said employees of the big four accounting firms don't know how to have fun?)

I cracked up laughing. "Oh, I like that."

Our other colleague looked perplexed. "The Borg?"

"Star Trek reference," we told her. 

"I'm too young for that."

"You're never too young for Star Trek."

We explained about the Borg, and how they takeover places and mess them up. (Sounding familiar?) They are termites. Catfish. Bottom feeders. They are there to royally screw you up then run away. 

So, we stood around in our Darwin best, underdressed, waiting for our beverages. It did feel strange listening as Angus, Lachlan, Cassandra, Emelia and Nathalie had their names called to get their coffees. The blokes all looked like they came from the top-flight private schools, the girl's names were fresh off a ballet class roll call.

It was quite surreal. 

It is amazing how a couple of city blocks can change everything. 

And I will continue to wear my red dress and white leather runners to work with my messy hair and not give a toss. Assimilation be damned. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

The Alternative

There is nothing worse than having a favourite product, on that you've used for many years, suddenly become unavailable.

Case in point, for me, is my deodorant. 

For years, I've bought my deodorant online from America. I buy it in job lots and I like it. You ask why and I will say that for all the natural deodorants out there, this is the best I've found. I've not used supermarket deodorants for well over ten years - I don't like that they're full of aluminium. The leave white marks on your clothes. They can sting. They have a chemically smell not for me. And yes, there are natural deodorants at the supermarket, but I've tried them all and they either don't work, sting my skin or I don't like the smell. (Okay, I do have a stick of Body Crystal Botanica roll on - I use that for the gym). 

Anyway, my favourite deodorant, which I buy in from America, is no longer shipping to Australia. 

I'm livid. 

I feel like my hairdresser has moved to Germany once again. And my leg waxer retired. And my dentist has moved to Queensland all at once. 

On the good side of things there are a few things I could do. 

I could ask Reindert if he could Fed X me some over. He lives in Boulder, Colorado - home to many natural deodorants - and the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory as I found out on the weekend. 

I would suck it up and buy it on Amazon, but there is no way I'm paying $35 for a stick of armpit slather. 

There are Australian owned companies that do natural deodorants. 

The's the well-known Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste. I've tried this and my armpits come out splotchy and red (it might be the bicarb soda in the mix.) Also, it's not as easy as a roll on being in a paste. Same goes for NoPong deodorants, which another friend has recommended. 

The spray on one from Sukin and the one from Akin, from memory, made me itch as well. Maybe I'm a bit sensitive. 

There's one by a company called MooGoo that might be worth trying - it's also cost effective. 

I've looked at a lot of websites - Aveda, Clarins and a lot of other premium brands do natural deodorant, but they're all more than $30 for a tube. No thanks. 

Anyway, I'm going to give this company called WooHooBody a go. They're Australian, natural, have a stick form of their armpit de-smeller, are reasonably priced and have great reviews. 

And who knows, the old company might just start shipping stuff to Australia again - it's that or I go visit Reindert in Colorado. I've always wanted to see where Mork and Mindy lived.

Today's song:

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Movie Review: Wicked Little Letters

 Movie Number 9 of 2024

The Movie: Wicked Little Letters

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4.5

More British fare is this film, and Wicked Little Letters is an absolute cracker. I mean it has one of the best British casts on the planet and it's based on a true story in the early 1920s, which has been buried until now. This is absolutely fabulous. And there is a hell of a lot of swearing. Even better. 

The story starts in Littlehampton on the South Coast of England. Edith Swan (the inimitable Olivia Colman) has been receiving awful poison pen letters. From a seemingly good family, the spinster, who lives at home with her parents, menacing father Edward (Timothy Spall at his finest) and meek mother, Victoria (Gemma Jones) and it is after the 19th nasty letter that her father goes to the police. 

The blame falls on the Swan's next-door neighbour, Rose Gooding, played by the spectacular Jessie Buckley. Rose is everything Edith is not. Loud, a little loose in her morals, lippy, Irish, outspoken and shacked up with a black man with her daughter Nancy (played by Alisha Weir of Matilda fame). Despite her apparent failings, Rose is trying... in many types of ways. As Edith says, they share a privy and a bath - and she wished she didn't. 

Rose in taken in for questioning by the rather incompetent cops. It is only Female Police Officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) who sees the humungous holes in the case and starts to investigate the case against her superiors' wishes, because, of course, how could a woman work out what was going on. 

Remember, this is taking place against a backdrop of the end of World War One where women got their first taste of freedom and the Suffragette movement. Edith has to pick her battles with the letters. And Rose ends up on remand for a while, before some of the locals (Joanna Scanlan, Eileen Atkins and Lolly Adefope) spring her and start to look at what really is going on. 

I'll say no more so not to ruin the plot. 

This is a glorious, riotous film. If you don't like swearing, don't go. But it's all in context. 

Jonny Sweet's script is hilarious as much as it captures the times. In particular, Timothy Spall's character is brilliant as a man in charge of his family, ruling with an iron rod. Anjuna Varun's long-suffering policewoman, ("Make the tea, love..,") is a joy, but as always, Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley steal the show. 

Thea Sharrock's direction is wonderful as well, allowing the nuances of the story to shine through without leading the story into crassness - and sure, there is a bit of the rude and the expletives fly - you just don't expect them from crusty spinsters under the thumb of her father in 1920. 

I think what I loved most about this film was the fact that everybody on set seems to be having the time of their lives. 

Today's song:

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Hodge Podge

 It's an interesting collection of questions this week, and I don't know how I'm feeling. I've just lopped off six inches of my hair, so I'm feeling a bit naked already. Answering questions may be a little beyond me. 

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

1. If you could witness any event from history, what would it be?

This might sound a bit random, but I would love to be in London on the night that World War II was proclaimed as over (8 May 1945) The atmosphere would have been incredible. 

2. What do you think about conspiracy theories?

I generally don't think about conspiracy theories, especially after COVID turned the most rational people into idiots. If you can't back things up, don't go on about them. Some of them are quite funny. Most are just sad. 

3. Do you like cartoons? Do you have /had a favorite one?

I like cartoons, but rarely watch them. I loved them as a kid. Some favourites include:

  • Wacky Races
  • Scooby Doo
  • Rugrats
  • The original X-Men series from the '90s. 

4. What did you most dislike in school times?

Other than being a complete outcast? Probably physics. I didn't mind working hard at school and I excelled at science, but I hated my physics teacher and I hated physics. The only subject I failed. 

5. What sounds are in your opinion relaxing? The sound of the sea? Traffic? Vacuum cleaner? Combine harvester on the field? Some kind of music? Birds singing? ...

I love the sound of the sea, in particular waves. That's always relaxing. 

6. What was the last thing you read?

On paper, the last thing I read was KF Kuang's Yellowface. I liked it but didn't love it. On audiobook, I listened to James Clear's Atomic Habits - which was enlightening. 

7. What is one thing that has stumped you so hard you won't ever forget it?

Okay, why is it that the British press is so absolutely awful to the Royal Family. I'm not a Monarchist, I don't think here of there about them, but the British press is absolutely awful to them. It's horrible. I'd never want to be a Royal, but the press make it worse. 

8. What are you interested in that most people aren’t?

Lots of things. I have an eclectic lot of likes and some are seen as strange, and that is okay. These things include:

  • What is happening on Married at First Sight. 
  • English History
  • The Pixies (the band)
  •  South Australian history
  • The novels of Louis de Bernieres
There are lots of other things that interest me, but these are front of mind. 

9. What’s something you really resent paying for?

Up until a few years ago there was general sales tax (GST) applied to women's sanitary products (Pads, tampons, moon cups et al.) When the GST came into being in the early noughties these essentials were seen by the then government as luxury items! I resented paying that tax more than anything. Luxury items my arse. The tax, after years of fighting, has now been rescinded, and this is yet another reason why men should not be making legislation over anything to do with women's bodies. (See what John Howard did with Senator Keith Harradine in the 90s, firming his vote for the part sale of our national telephone company by outlawing the abortion pill, RU486 - this was overturned ten years later). Just don't get me started. 

10. If you could choose a different time period and place to be born, when and where would it be?

Actually, I think I'm good being born in the late 60s. Despite being of Generation X, knowing that we practically brought ourselves up, have had to buy our music four times over, there is a resilience to us born in the time. We are damaged, but we know we can survive anything. 

11. What's one question you would ask Superman?

What is it like to be able to fly. I'd love to fly. 

12. What's your favorite smell? What's your least favorite smell?

Favourite smell: Dogs paws in the morning. Don't knock it until you try it. It's musky. I think of my dog who used to sleep with me who came up for a cuddle first thing in the morning. 

Least favourite smell: One of these: 

  • Boiled cauliflower
  • Stale urine
  • Clothes that have been left in the machine too long before hanging them out to dry and really should have been washed again. 
  • Corned beef cooking. 
  • Lynx body spray in abundance (a little bit is okay)

13. How do you feel about cars becoming fully autonomous and having no steering wheel, breaks, or accelerators?

No. Humans are stupid. Too much could go wrong. 

14. What are your favorite books and authors?

Favourite books: 

  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnygut
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Too Many Men by Lily Brett
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de St Exupery
  • The Other Hand by Chris Cleeve
  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
  • Wifedom by Anna Funder
Favorite Authors:
  • Louis de Bernieres
  • Ian McEwan
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Carrie Tiffany
  • Margaret Atwood
  • William Shakespeare
  • TS Eliot
  • Anna Funder

15. Have you had a reading or palm reading done?

Simple answer, yes. I read tarot to a professional level, and while training, I had many, many readings. I've had my palms looked at a few times over the years. I'm also very skeptic of psychics. Comes with the territory - like how physiotherapists are very skeptic of osteopaths and chiropractors and vice versa. 

Today's song: 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Theatre Review: 37

 The Play: 37

The Theatre: The Southbank Theatre

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

Stars: 5

Until 5 April

A play about football, in Melbourne. Who knew?

Well, I walked into this play blind, only knowing that it had something to do about football, and that was it. I left the theatre thoroughly entertained, my mind-blown and heart full. 37 is going to go down as one of the stars of the 2024 Melbourne Theatre Company season. 

I loved this play. It brought back elements of my childhood, hanging out at the footy club and the wonder of our national game. Overlaying this is some of the not so good elements football can bring - in particular racism. 

What's it really about, you ask. Well, the local footy team in a coastal town haven't won a premiership ever. They're coming up the ladder and have enlisted two Marngrook men, Jayma (Ngali Shaw) and his cousin Sonny (Tibian Wyles), the best aboriginal players from the next town to play with them for the year. In joining the team, The guys experience very different things, from being part of a team, to systemic racism, to working out where their boundaries lie. The men have very different experiences, Jayma being the young buck, while Sonny is older, with family responsibilities, is looking for some stability to provide for his family. 

In the background, there's the General (Sid Brisbane) who's just trying to get a premiership, Joe (Ben O'Toole), the team captain, who takes the boys under his wing, Woodsy (Eddie Orton) the very conservative player whose parents are financially supporting the team, and Dazza (Anthony Standish) the player who should be superannuated, but is still playing, as well as being on the board. 

Set in 2015, this play brings in the treatment of Adam Goodes and his stand against racism which was all over the papers at the time. I still remember being horrified at public's treatment of him at the time. the title of the play relates back to Adam Goodes. I won't say any more. 

What brings this play together is the choreographed football scene, which Isaac Drandic and Waagenga Blanco have set up brilliantly. The cast act as a team in all ways - and the choreography is an integral part of this. Nathan Maynard's script is fantastic and Isaac Drandic's direction in brilliant. 

I can't recommend this play enough. It has about a week to run. Unexpectedly good, I was tempted to get to my feet. It's what good theatre is about - thought provoking, funny, fast-paced and very entertaining. 

I've very glad I got to see this wonderful production. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Happy Gotcha Day

 Four years. 

We've been with each other for four years today. 

You're a bit of a prick. 

You're a lot of a dork. 

You always throw up ON the mats and not on the tile or floorboards. 

When it's cold, you sleep between my knees. 

And you like having your head kissed. 

And you're rather antisocial. 

And sometimes you give me this face.

And sometimes you jump up on me and give me a cuddle.

And I know I am the worst cat mother taking you to the vet on your gotcha day, but it had to be done, and you were a good boy - nobody lost an eye. 

But just know, I love you to the moon and back, and I am very lucky that the cat distribution system let me have you as my cat. 

Lots of love,


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Atomic Habits

 This week's audiobook is Atomic Habits by James Clear. 

Yes, I do occasionally read non-fiction books, and this one is really good. It looks, in a very digestible form, how to make and keep good habits while evicting your not so good ones, and looking at the theories behind them. It's not a long book, but it is very interesting - and hopefully useful. 

I'm pretty good once I get into a good habit. at keeping good habits. 

My bed is made every morning. I started that habit around fifteen years ago. I make my bed once I'm up. I never get into an unmade bed at night. As I was once told many years ago when I was getting on top of depression, if you make your bed, you've achieved something for the day. It was the advice I needed. I've made my bed every day ever since. 

This blog is a habit. I have a pact with myself that I have something written and published by midnight every day. I've set an accountability factor into this, stating that I've published the post on Facebook. I don't care if anybody reads the post, but I've kept the contract with myself. 

I'm now looking to create a few more good habits. The two I'm looking at incorporating into my life are to moisturise my feet every day and to spend more time by water.  

I know the first one seems a bit silly, but I'm sick of having crusty feet. I also set a New Year's resolution many years ago, which was to put on hand cream daily. This was one of the best New Year's resolutions - it was specific, timely (hand cream once a day - hardly a chore) achievable, measured and time bound. 

In his book, Clear says you also have to look at what you're getting out of these activities. For the feet moisturising, it's just a sense that my feet look and feel better. As for the being near water., I find it helps to soothe me. Thankfully the river is only five minutes' walk away and I can take a bahn mi and eat my lunch by the banks of the Yarra if I'm working from home. I've been thinking about my time on retreat last month - I loved spending time by the sea. It was like a balm and I want more of it. 

So, I'm looking at how I can cajole myself into getting these things done regularly. The moisturing I'd like to do daily - after my shower at night. The being by water I think is more an every second day thing. Enough to have benefit, but not to much that I feel bad if I let myself down.

Let's see if I can get going on forming these habits. 

This may leave to more changes. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Warning

I fished two speeding fine notifications on the same day out of my post box back in January. 

There was no way I was getting out of one of them. I was stopped by the cops doing 75 in a 60 zone the other side of Coonalpyn in South Australia. $541 and three demerit points. This stung a bit as I hadn't had a speeding ticket in well over 15 years. I took the fine, was polite to the cop, stated that I was in the wrong and sucked it up. You're not going to get out of a mid-range speeding fine when a cop picks you up. 

The other one was from a speed and re-light camera up the road outside of MLC. It was dated the 18th of December. It said I was doing 47 in a 40 zone. But this was:

  • In a school zone
  • And the school was closed. 
My cousin, who's knows a thing or two about this, told me to contest the fine on the grounds of a near perfect driving record and the fact that the school was shut. I mean, Methodist Ladies College the week before Christmas is not going to be open. 

The forms were submitted, the contention raised. The fine was put on hold until the fine contest was reviewed. 

I cleared the mailbox tonight. The decision came in. 

They've expunged the fine and given me back my demerit point and let me off with a warning. I have to keep my nose clean, driving wise for two years before I can contest a fine again, but I'm off the hook financially and my demerit points don't look as bad. 

I promise to be good. I'm a safe driver. I do obey the speed limits (in South Australia I thought I was out of the 60 zone. Coonalpyn is a very long town.)

This made my day. 

And the law has seen a bit of sense. 

Today's song:

Monday, March 18, 2024

Today's Earworm

 I'm working out in my underwear in the lounge room. The underwear is really just long-legged knickers, but they look like bike shorts, and when your trainer is in Barcelona on a phone, it doesn't matter. Saves on washing. 

We were talking about Cleo's pending trip to Morocco, when her daughters join her in Spain in a few months. She's got a start and an end point, landing in Tangiers and leaving from Marrakesh and what goes on in between is up for discussion. 

"We might go on a tour, camp in the Sahara," she was saying.

Well, that sounds fun. Cleo has been to Morocco before. Jay, who was on the other window of the call, has also been. I'm just doing my back lunges and feeling a bit jealous. 

"And we'll spend time in Casablanca..." she went on.  

Oh, Casablanca. I so want to go to Casablanca, just as much as I want to go to Zanzibar. Yes, I know, one is in Morocco, the other in Tanzania. But Casablanca conjures up a different time, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and a throng of French extras singing the Marseilles. (The story is amazing - at the time this was filled, France and Germany were at war, the tears and the feeling were unscripted.)

And no, the Marseilles is not my earworm. I wish it was. 

Cleo went on as we continued to sweat it out in the lounge. 

"And then we might go down to Agadir," she said. 

"Agadir!" exclaimed Jay, "Agadir's a shit hole. Agadir's the place the British go to play golf and complain."

It could be said that most of Europe which has a bit of sunshine is where Britains go to play golf and whinge, but year. 

I'd remained quiet, happily doing my pushups and Russian Twists and couch slams. 

"You know, something that came out of Agadir was the song Agadoo."

There, I said it. 

The genie was out of the bottle. 

The song firmly planted in my head. 

And I know this is an awful song, but I have good memories of singing it to our dog, as she was Sheba-Do and she loved it. 

Still, I have this stupid song going round in my head, all because of a conversation about Cleo's holiday plans.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagadoo doo doo....

Today's song: 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Sunday Stealing:

 It's Saturday night and I'm getting the weekly questions out of the way. It's been a nicely chilled day and now it's time to get some admin done - and the Sunday questions, which have been provided, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing. They are good questions, this week. 

1. What ONE thing would you change about your life? How would your life be different?

I would love a metabolism which was a lot faster. I love to eat. Menopause has taken what was an already sluggish metabolism and made it even slower. It sucks badly. I have to be very careful about what I eat. If I didn't keep track of things, I'd be the size of an even bigger house. 

2.  What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Why was it hard for you? What did you learn?

I remember taking part in my first half marathon. I wasn't prepared for it, but my mate Reindert helped me along the 21 kilometre track. It was hard because I am not a natural runner, nor was I fully prepared for this (I've run five of these events, and they did get easier, especially when I'd trained for them properly). I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to that day. It was even more important to me  as I was always the fat, slow, unfit kid at school - this undid years of negative self-talk. 

3. Write about the most glorious moment in your life so far.

I'm a history nerd. As I was about to leave England in 1999, I went to Westminster Abbey to say goodbye. I got chatting to one of the vergers, who took me up to the tomb of Edward the Confessor, something you can see from a distance. I got the area to myself. It was glorious. 

I've been lucky - I've had lots of little moments like this. 

4. Write about a moment you felt brave.

I feel brave every time I start a new job. Seeing I do this regularly, I'm getting used to it, I do have to summon up some courage each time I walk into a new company. You never know what it is going to be like. 

5. What made you happy today?

I had two lots of meditation today - my normal Kabbalah meditation in the morning, and Drone Sound meditation at lunchtime. For the latter session I found a park easily and a cricket joined in the action. I was very good for me, mind, body and spirit. 

6. What did you dislike most about growing up?

A lot of it. My childhood wasn't the easiest. But looking back the think I don't like most about growing up is that you have to be an adult. I don't like being an adult that much. 

7. Write about five activities you love the most and why you love them.

Things I love to do:

  1. I love swimming, because I feel completely myself in the water. 
  2. I love writing, because that is my vocation
  3. I love going to cinema and the theatre, because I love being immersed in somebody else's story. 
  4. I love being around animal, because we get each other. 
  5. I love traveling, because I love learning about new places and cultures and people. 

8. Do you have an embarrassing moment that still makes you cringe?

Yes, but I don't feel like talking about them here. There are many of them. I'm just thankful I've grown up a bit. 

9. What has been your best trip so far?

I think my trip to England and France late last year will go down as the best trip ever. Loved every minute of my three weeks away. 

10. What traits (physical or personal) do people notice when they meet you for the first time?

I really couldn't tell you. Some people notice my eyes or the fact that I have long curly hair. Some notice that I'm big. May people look at me and think that I'm approachable - this probably has something to do with the fact that I have an open face. Charity muggers think I'm wonderful as I rarely tell them where to go. 

11.  Is social media a blessing or a curse?

25% blessing, 75% curse. Depends on the day and who you're fighting with over Twitter. 

12. What is your greatest hope for your future? What steps can you take to make it happen?

I hope that I stay happy and healthy and gainfully employed and that I can participate in everything I like doing for years to come. 

13.  What did you struggle most with today?

Procrastination, even though I got a lot done today, could have done more. That was about it. Had a few shifts in what I was going to do - Jonella cancelled, which was fine. I went to see a movie only to find out I'd booked a ticket for Tuesday. Ah well. I did some writing and a lot of housework. 

14.  Name the biggest priority in your life right now.

I'm getting started on the second draft of a book I'm writing. This is a big deal as I've never done anything of length to a second draft. And it is doing my head in. But I really want to do this to prove to myself that I can. 

15. What are 5 things you wish others knew about you.

I'm pretty open about myself but here are some useless things about me that you might want to know: 

  • I can't do cross stitch, but I can do tapestry. I love handicrafts. 
  • I would eat potatoes every day if I could. 
  • I prefer vanilla over chocolate 99 times out of 100. 
  • I take a size nine (Euro 40) shoe. I used to be an 8.5 (39) for most of my adult life, but menopause and age does that to you. 
  • I love the smell of cat's and dog's paws, preferably in the morning. 

Today's song:

Saturday, March 16, 2024

The Cricket

 I followed my instincts, and went into deepest, darkest Brunswick around lunchtime. I didn't want to, but something in me said it was necessary for my wellbeing. 

Brunswick and I have a strange relationship. I'm told that I belong there, but I don't think so. I do like that you can normally find a park there if you know what you're doing, unlike Carlton, which has the tendency to shit me to tears. Brunswick is filled with hipsters and delicatessens with food from hundreds of ethnicities. Brunswick feels like the Melbourne of the sixties. The shopfronts go unpainted, the citizenry doused in patchouli and whatever scent in in their vapes.  Brunswick is filled with hipsters. But these are the hipsters of all hipsters. I live in Richmond, at the North end, where the more moderate hipsters rub shoulders with the Vietnamese restaurants and the heroin dealers. Brunswick and Richmond both vote Green federally. The Brunswick mob are a little more militant. Richmond voters still hold a small candle to the Labor Party. Both areas are gentrified, just is different ways. Both are laid back. If anything, Richmond is a little less pretentious. 

Regardless of my trepidation, I followed my heart and pointed the car North, praying to the parking and traffic fairies to get me to my destination on time and with a safe place to plonk the car. If I wasn't coming from Caulfield I would have taken the train. 

I arrived with fifteen minutes to spare. My destination, Tempo Rubato for the monthly session of Drone, a sound meditation session. These are held monthly, hosted by my friend Anthony Artmann. One hour. One note, often with other instruments adding to the sound cloud. Today, there was a five-stringed bass guitar and the occasional note from the grand piano on stage.

And the cricket. 

After paying for my entry, and a quick bathroom stop. I took my place in an easy chair at the back corner of the room, finding another chair on which to place my feet. 

My view during Drone at Tempo Rubato, not that my eyes were open during the session. 

This was my hour to lie back and let the sound take me away. I closed my eyes and listen to the freeform music.

And the cricket. 

Georgie on the door gave the Acknowledgement of Country, and then an apology was made for the said cricket's constant chirping.

There was no need for this. It's intermittent twittering was a perfect foil for the synthesizer's modulations. It came and went as it pleased, at times providing a natural answer to a melodic question. 

Over the sessions, Anthony is known to mix it up, adding magpie calls, waterfalls and other sounds into the soundscape. He had no control over this tiny slice of nature. 

It also added to the intimacy of the set. Normally around fifteen to twenty people who attend these monthly sessions. Today, there was five of us. It was a glorious Indian Summer day - I blame nobody for doing something outside. 

My hour went quickly as the drone let my mind and spirit soar, finding myself walking in forests, along sandy beaches, in a maelstrom of blue light, and in bed with a man I should know better than to be with. Crises were averted and the world was put to right. 

And then it was over. 

I resonate with sound meditation. I have done for years after discovering Shervin Boolorian in Bali. Shervin is an earthbound angel with an incredible talent for healing. 

There's a huge difference between the natural instruments Shervin uses in his sessions and the electronic bent that Anthony takes at Drone, but they have a similar effect. 

Today, I came out refreshed and strangely replete. 

In my opinion, this was the best session I've attended. I loved the stripped back nature of the sound, mixed in with the occasional call from nature. It was just perfect. 

I told this to Georgie on the way out. 

"Oh, I caught the cricket," she said. 
"But it was helping."
"It won't be appreciated at tonight's classical recital."
"But this was just magical. You should have come in."
"One day."
"The cricket made it very special indeed."

She looked me up and down. "He's better off in the garden."

"Okay. Alright then. Anyway, I had better fuck off back to Richmond."

She smiled at this. Every time I turn up for turn up for Drone, she knows I'm not in my natural environment. 

I wanted a drink, only to find the Sydney Road IGA shut after a fire. I'd find my kombucha elsewhere. And off I stalked to find my car in the side street where I'd left it. 

Thankfully, in a sound bath, there are no territorial borders, no suburb biases or worries about where to park. It's just you and the singular tone. 

And the cricket. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Another day to the weekend

I want another day to the weekend. 

I want a day where I don't feel obligated to do anything. Not that I am obligated to do anything, but I want to feel unincumbered. 

And I look at what I've got on this weekend. 

Tonight, I'm chilling. I've been to IKEA to buy a big glass. I washed the car, because it was filthy and it was doing my head in.

Tomorrow, I have meditation. After that, there’s nothing really on, but I know that I want to start going through this novel, and I’ve got some other paperwork to do, not that I really want to be spending the weekend in front of the computer, but it needs to be done.

And Sunday, I will go to the gym in the morning as I always do, and then maybe meet up with Jonella in the afternoon.

But I would love a day for myself. With nobody to talk to, I could be left alone with my thoughts.

It’s been a full-on week. Maybe an early night will do the trick.

In the meantime, I will continue to Wage War with my cat, who has decided that I cannot sit at my computer chair. He’s been at me for an hour to get off it, so he can go to sleep.

I’m having to write this on my phone.

Today’s song: 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Audition

 Jay and I are auditioning for a new personal trainer, seeing our darling, Twelve, has up and left us. We could have gone with him to the other gym, but we already fork out money to go to this one, and we do classes there, it seems silly to go to another gym to see a trainer. We were supposed to see Twelve tonight, but he was off having his arm tattooed today. 

Anyway, we're looking for a new trainer. 

Twelve has recommended this young fellow, who is younger than he is, but reckons we'll get on well with him. I'm meeting him tomorrow morning, but he's not off to a good start. Jay met with him today. Twelve told him we were there for the social. Also, he's 21 and has a really dodgy moustache. According to Jay, he's into lots of fist bumps, and "awesomes!". I'll let you know how I get on. 

The other person recommended to us by Cleo, our Monday trainer, is Chuck. 

Chuck's a bit older - as in over thirty. He's also been at the gym for years. 

I approached him in the gym tonight.

"Hey, mate. Are you taking new clients at the moment?"


"You up for a chat when you're finished."


Twelve reckoned he wasn't taking anybody on. He was wrong. 

So,we've had the chat. 

Chuck appears to be imminently sensible. I told him I liked the fact he's been around for years - so you get some stability. 

I let him know that both Jay and I wanted to keep moving - challenge us without breaking us. 

Yes, he could do that. I've watched him train others - including our semi-regular training buddy Giles. I like what he's doing. 

Secondly, he appears to know how to listen. In our ten-minute chat I found out he has a fiancĂ© who's a writer. She's knocked him into shape. So, if we tell him we don't jump or do burpees, he will listen. 

Thirdly, I think he likes that we are the sorts of clients who turn up and pay on time. That's one of the hard things about being a PT in a big gym. 

He asked why I liked his training style. 

"Well, firstly, you're not a child."

He liked that. 

We'll see where things go. It will mean changing my gym night from Thursday to Wednesday - but I also reckon we'd get more out of him. 

I hate this auditioning phase. You just get a PT house-trained and they leave you.

Today's song: 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Down to the River

 The one thing COVID taught me was that a daily walk is a good thing for everything and everybody. 

I've let this slide. 

And working long hours, and being at home all day, it's good to get out, stretch the legs, say hello to a few dogs (because there are lots of dogs that walk along the towpaths) and drink in the scent of eucalyptus and listen out for the bellbirds and enjoy the swish of the running water. Nature is our best medicine, and I've been neglecting this necessary part of life. 

Tonight I took a different route. Turning left at the pub, I walked down to this little parked and joined the river there. This has only recently opened up. Then past the new blocks, and the foot bridge, past the landing where I used to take my lunch, around the bend then back into Victoria Gardens to get some almond milk, before heading home to an episode of MAFS.

I need to do this more often. 

It's good for the soul. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Second Draft

 Before I go on, please, tell me, how is it the cat can tread on the keyboard and upset all of the settings? How is it he can turn the screen to portrait view or turn off the second monitor? How does he have these talents when I don't know any of these keyboard functions? What sort of trickery is this? How can he do this all the time? 

Regardless, I'm not here to talk about the cat. I'm here to talk about this thing called a second draft. 

It's all a bit mythical to me. 

Me, get to a second draft? 

Well, yes. 

Second drafts, to me, are a bit of a mythical thing. I mean, I have don't second drafts - but strangely, I write fairly cleanly, and structure is something I've always done quite well. Maybe call it my Virgoan nature, or maybe it's a touch of the OCDs in me. I like to know where I'm going and I normally have the structure in my head. 

But after the retreat the other weekend, and a bit of a kick up the bum from some friends, I've got out the first draft I wrote five years ago. It's working title is The Work Husband. I wrote it in 2019, pre COVID, when I had the job from hell, where I was underutilised and over paid. I managed to do the whole of a NANOWRIMO 50,000 words during November. 

There's now 90,000 words in a document waiting to be dealt with. 

So, I'm doing the brave thing and starting on the second draft of this. 

Believe me, it's brave. 

I've got myself a Scrivener license so I can keep track of things. I know the gist of what is in this manuscript - a reworked memoir of my time in Britain, but I've thrown in a bit of a mystery and a love story for good measure. 

And to be honest, I'm not unhappy with what I'm reading. It's not magnificent, but it's not bad either. 

I showed some working to a friend at the retreat - somebody I trust to tell me if it is truly awful. She liked what she was reading - I don't think she was being just nice. 

So yeah, I'm going into second draft mode. Or what is also known as the "Up Draft". According to Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, there are three drafts. The Down Draft, where you puke up your book, the Up Draft, where you refine it, and the Dental Draft, where you go through it with a nit comb. 

With Scrivener, with the chapter cards, I can see where this book has been and gone. 

I also know that the manuscript is unfinished. I'm probably about 20,000 words away from getting this finished, but I can't remember what is in here. I have to reacquaint myself with the story and what I've written. 

At least I'm reading this and not wanting to vomit. The writing, even for a first draft, is not too bad - yes, it needs work, but it's okay. It's my story. It's getting there. 

I got another kick up the bum today. I received a book in the mail - the prize for a short fiction sponsored by Allen and Unwin. I put in my little story. I won a book out of it. 

This was my story:

"You only have one chance to ponder how small and how big you can be all at once. Try standing on the seashore, allowing the water to lap over your feet. Then consider the sea, then consider the sand, then consider that you are a part of everything large and small, and that life will always be like this. Fluid. Ephemeral."

And there was a little note from

Fun what you can do with 60 words. It won me a book. 

This jogged my memory. I did the Faber Novel Writing Course in 2020. I was happy. I've got some inroads into the publishing arena, not that it means anything, but Faber Graduates get put to the top of the slush pile (even if one of your tutors says you're better suited to Hachette...)

The fire in my belly is lit. 

I revise a chapter a night, putting a card into Scrivener to remind me what's going on. 

And I keep reminding myself that this is what I want and that I can do this. 

Today's song: 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Movie Review: The Great Escaper

 Movie Number 8 of 2024

The Movie: The Great Escaper

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

There are many sad things about this movie which leave me grieving, the biggest being that this will probably be one of Michael Caine's last movies. At 91, his days of acting are nearly beyond him. His co-star, Glenda Jackson passed away six months ago.

Regardless, this is a glorious British tale and definitely worth a look. It falls very much into the take your parents category - especially, if like me, your step-dad is ex-forces and your mum is the spitting image of Glenda Jackson. And that your parents are aging. You'll get it.

The Great Escaper is one of those quintessential English tales, where a plucky bloke won't be told no. 

Bernie Jordan (Michael Caine) and his wife Rene (Glenda Jackson) are in aged care in the South of England. Although their bodies are failing them, their minds are still sharp. When Bernie is told that he's missed his chance to go on a guided visit, he ups the anti and "escapes" from the home, taking a taxi and a ferry across to France. At the time this made the papers, with people trying to find Bernie, who just wanted to get over to France and fulfill one last task from the war - that being to say goodbye to a fallen comrade. 

The film moves between Bernie's travels to France, Rene's current health issues in the aged care home and Bernie and Rene's love story during the Second World War, where the young couple have to courageously face the future, not knowing if Bernie will come back. Bernie has his own issues, feeling the guilt for letting his mate drive a tank onto the beach. 

The film is very well done. Oliver Parker's direction is sensitive, but at times funny. We get to meet Arthur (John Standing) an Air Force Flyer on the trip to see his brother, buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery. And the nurse Adele (Danielle Vitalis) shows the wonderful people that work in aged care, looking after the ailing Rene as they wait for news on Bernie. 

This isn't a block buster, more a look at ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The thing I loved most was Bernie's inherent goodness. There is a scene where he and Arthur meet a group of Germans, over for exactly the same reason. It's a beautifully poignant scene. 

The other thing for me which resonated was after taking a visit to Northern France last year, paying a visit to Omaha Beach, among other places, I felt the feelings behind all of this. We visited Bayeux, but not the war cemetery (opting instead, to pay a visit to the war cemetery at Villers Bretonneux.) You can't help but feel something in these places. In Bernie's words, it was all a bloody waste. 

My one, very small reservation about the film is why would they put Bernie and Rene on the top floor of the nursing home. Both were pretty infirm. That didn't ring true. 

The Great Escaper is definitely worth a look. It's not just me being in one of my British Film phases. It's just a great story about an ordinary man doing extraordinary things. Take a tissue if you do go. It tugs at the heartstrings. 

For those interested, read Bernie Jordan's story here. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Too Hot to Write

 The cat is spread out on the bed in front of the fan. He's doing his best flat cat impersonation. 

I have the leaking air conditioner on, a bucket on the floor to collect the drips. 

My massive pile of ironing is down to my last duvet cover and a dress. 

The day was spent like this: 

  • Went to the gym.
  • I read the leading article about the infighting in the United Grand Lodge of Victoria
  • I fielded a number of questions about if I had anything do to with the United Grand Lodge of Victoria (and no, my lodge has nothing to do with them - different orders, no alliances). 
  • Opened the work laptop to do some necessary admin work
  • Went to see a movie to escape the heat. Review tomorrow. 
  • Had some dinner.
  • And continued the admin work so I have a clean slate on Tuesday. There was a lot of admin to do. 
  • Continued to iron. 
I'll review the movie tomorrow. It was most wonderful, but the mix of ironing and doing work on a Sunday night has left me depleted. 

At least I've not finished the boring admin, and can have a free day tomorrow. 

I just have to finish the ironing. Two more pieces to go. 

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Sunday Stealing: From Friday Five

 I find it funny that we are going through the hottest days of the year to date. Today and for the next two days, we're expecting it to get up to around 40 degrees celcius - or 104 in the old language. I've just spent a week in Darwin, where the temperature doesn't get much below 32 C (90 F) with 80-90 percent humidity. I can only dream of winter at the moment. It will cool down from Tuesday, but the house will remain hot for a bit. 

Also. as I've been away for a week, my ironing pile is huge, so it's my old thing of doing a question, then ironing a piece of clothing. And don't tell me not to iron my duvet cover. It feels better. I will always iron the duvet cover and pillowcases. 

I best get on with this - there is a lot of ironing to do.

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1) What is your favorite thing about winter?

Everything. Winter is my favorite season. I love that you get to stay in bed longer and you can snuggle up under the covers. I love not being hot. I love the rain and the occasional storm. I love that you can eat heartier warm meals. There is so much to love about Winter. Pity it's three months away. 

2) What is your favorite winter sport?

Australian Rules Football. It's played from March to September. Great game. For those who aren't from Australia, here's a quick explainer. And yes, I live about 30 minutes walk away from the MCG where 100,000 people will turn up to the Grand Final. 

I also like cricket. And I can explain that too. 

3) What is the best winter treat?

I love winter foods. Nothing is better than a roast dinner on a cold night, with a hot pudding to follow. Just think Christmastime in cold countries. We do Christmas in July over here so we can eat winter foods when the weather is better suited for it. 

4) What is the earliest time in the year it ever snowed where you live?

It doesn't snow in Melbourne, but it does snow in the mountains inland. I think May is the earliest it's snowed up there. Sometimes there will be a dusting of snow in the hills around Melbourne, but it doesn't settle. 

5) What is the best way to stay warm in the winter?

I love open fires. Can't get enough of them in winter. Unfortunately, I don't have one in my place, but I enjoy them when I can. 

6) What are your favorite things that are paper?

I have lots of notebooks that I've collected over the years. 

7) What are your favorite things that are cotton?

My favourite cotton are my bed linen. All of it is 100% cotton and very soft to the touch.

I also like my Darwin wardrobe, which if it isn't 100% cotton, is bamboo or linen. It's nice and cool.

8) What are your favorite things that are leather?

Favourite leather items - oh, that's my Doc Martens. I've had them for nearly 30 years. I've looked after them. My wallet (purse) is made of Italian leather too. It's an Israeli brand called MyWalit. I love their stuff. 

9) What are your favorite things that are floral?

I don't do many florals, but I have a light cotton dressing gown with big flowers on it. It's great to wear. I wore it while I was on the writer's retreat as another layer (I left my jacket behind) and was told I looked like a benevolent cult leader. 

10) What are your favorite things that are wood?

Trees. Trees are great. 

11) If you think your house is haunted, what should you do?

Call a ghostbuster. Who else are you going to call? Oh, and try talking to it. You never know what they might tell you. 

12) When should you investigate a strange noise in your basement?

Probably, but I'd find a big, strong, hairy bloke to do that for me. 

13) How do you know if an abandoned building is safe to visit?

I have no idea. We don't have many of those around here. 

14) How do you decide whether to solve a problem as a team, or split up and go it alone?

That depends on the problem. Mind you, it's asking you to decide this, so surely it's telling you to go it alone. Nothing ever gets solved by a committee. 

15) Where do you store your knives and where would you look if one was missing?

My knives are kept either in the cutlery drawer or in the knife block on top of the microwave. If I can't find one, I look in the sink or on the draining board. 

Today's song:

Friday, March 8, 2024

One Day

I've just finished binge watching One Day, a series on Netflix. 

And I am destroyed. Particularly by the last episode, which I bawled through without stopping. 

One Day tells the story of Emma and Dexter, who meet on St Swithins Day 1988. The pair spend the night together but "nothing happens" and they agree to become friends. The 14 episode series looks at their lives together every St Swithins Day for the next 20 years.

I will not put any spoilers in this post. 

Regardless, this show, adapted from David Phillip's book of the same name is excellent. This was made into a movie with Anne Hathaway as Emma and Tom Jim Sturgess in 2011. The series craps all over the movie. The book has always been good. Ambika Mod is wonderful as the pernickety Emma and Leo Woodall is perfect as the pretty man-boy, Dexter. 

What really got me about this show was how it got the times so right. From that first meeting at a party in Edinburgh, to their life and times in London. From the crappy flats and bad boyfriends to the wide boy acts, to the being in your twenties and not having a clue... this show is absolutely on point. 

The soundtrack is also incredible, using staples from then late eighties through the nineties and into the early noughties, it's just perfect. 

And I've been left destroyed. 

For me, having lived most of my 20s in London at that time, it brought everything back. From the fast friends to the bad flats, to the nights out. 

But most of all, it brought back my Dexter. The eternal one that got away, the one that you know, if things were different, and if either of you had a spine, that you might just have been that one person in their life. We didn't meet at a party on the last day of university. We never did sleep together, but there were a lot of those longing looks. For many years we were never out of each other's lives, not that we are now, or have been for a few years. One Day bought all of this back. The joys of deep platonic friendships are some of the most memorable that you will have. 

This is worth a watch. It's so well done, even if the last episode will have you going through the tissues. 

Today's song:

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Death by Spreadsheet

 Today I was subjected to Death by Spreadsheet.

It had to be done. 

I've had four days of this. I'm over it. 

I'm seeing little boxes all over the place. 

I have told many people over the years that I am very good at reconciling shit. Call it my Virgoan nature. (What, you say, but you're a Leo! I have five planets in Virgo and a Capricorn rising. I'm Virgoan when it comes to lists and reconciliations). 

I am very good at reconciling things. 

But I hate it. 

Death by spreadsheet is one of the most insidious things in the modern corporate world. 

There are some sadistic bastards who think spreadsheets are fun. 

I, for example, thing spreadsheets are fun. I love things like v-lookups and pivot tables and all the funny things you can do in excel.

Just not for four days straight.

So, I've had my will to love depleted and, in direct correlation to the want to curl up in the foetal position on the couch, rise exponentially. 

However, I'm due at the airport in an hour and a half, and I'm hoping I'll be able to sleep on the plane. I'm at least getting better than that. I'll be home by 11 am tomorrrow, all going well. 

But I'm sure I will be pressing Ctrl-V and Ctrl-X in my dreams. 

And I must remember my Chromecast. 

Thank goodness for the long weekend. 

I will write the post I really want to write (and publish on Substack) soon. 

Today's song:


Not the post I want to write

I have had a blog post in mind all day, but because I'm not in my writing happy place, I'll save it for tomorrow when time and impetus might be available. 

So here is my front of mind. 

  • Tonight is my last full night in Darwin.
  • I've started gently packing. Thank goodness for packing cubes. Dirty clothes in one, clean clothes in the other. 
  • My Darwin bag is on the kitchen table. I need to take it into the office tomorrow morning - it's al.l about logistics. 
  • When I get home, I will be on a salad and lean meat diet for a week. I don't need to go out to dinner for a while. 
  • Or eat garlic. I'm thankful I'm sleeping alone tonight. My breath would scare the cat. 
  • Driving out to the depot in tropical rain this morning was fun. 
  • So was being woken up by thunderstorms. 
  • And the big ships in Darwin Harbour. 
  • I also can't wait to get back to the gym.  
  • Or back to my pussycat, who has taken to Aunty Kat very well. Kat took a photo of him standing on her lap - this is a big result. They're getting on well. 
  • And I had a glass of pinot gris with my dinner and I filled the glass up with ice because I am a bogan - and I needed the fluids. It was hydrating. 
  • I've finished the little beanie I was knitting for Jay. 
  • And started another beanie in the same wool. 
  • And Man Bun One on MAFS shits me to tears. 
  • And they've made a limited series of A Gentleman in Moscow (With Ewan McGregor). Unfortunately, it's on Paramount Plus. Maybe it will come out on Qantas and I'll get to watch it at the end of the year, nearer the end of the project. 
  • I'm not really looking forward to the red-eye tomorrow night 

And I must remember to pack my Fire Stick. It lets me watch Netflix while I'm up here, I must not leave it behind.

And maybe tomorrow I'll get the time and gumption to write about what I really wanted to write about. 

And I might get a final swim in after work tomorrow. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Unpublished Critics

 We have a debrief in the pool. We've found it's the best place to wash off the day. 

And it had been a funny day. Nothing bad. For me, it started in one office, a couple of big meetings before making my way across town to the other site. After half an hour at the other site, I packed up and when back to the other office - it was too noisy and there I was getting too many interruptions.

The second-best thing to happen, after the nightly swim was getting caught in the rain on the way back to the other site. I'd left my work thongs and umbrella in my room - great use they were there. 

The rain is different up here during the wet. Heavy, sheets of rain that bombard you, flatten you while crossing the streets. Rain that brings streams flowing across the streets in minutes, only to disappear the second the sun comes out. It also significantly cools the area until the sun comes out. It's probably why I'm tolerating the heat so much better now than I did a year ago, when I thought the weather was going to kill me.

Thankfully the main drags of Darwin have verandahs and other permanent awnings to keep both the sun and rain at bay. You only have to face the weather when you're crossing the streets. 

My respite from the noise lasted about an hour, when my team returned to the other office where I'd decamped. 

Regardless, after work, we went and had a swim and after the chatter about work, we talked about the singer from last night. 

We're both music lovers. 

"His choice of Australian Crawl songs was a bit left of centre," said my colleague. 

"You'd expect him to play Reckless."

"That's my favourite song," I told them. 

"It's one of mine too."

"I thought "Oh, no, not you again" was quite an inspired choice."

"It took me a while to work out who it was."

Being a youth of the eighties, there are many of us who have an encyclopedic knowledge of  Australian 80s music. 

"So, what would you have him play if you wanted him to play another song of theirs?"

"Easy," I told them. "Unpublished Critics."

This is one of those quintessential Australian Crawl songs which many people know, but which nobody knows the lyrics, or the title for that matter. 

"You'd know it."

"I don't think I do."

"It's one of those songs which nobody can quite understand the lyrics."

"It's Australian Crawl. Nobody knows what James Reyne is singing about. He's unintelligible."

"Unless he's doing a cover version of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights - then you can understand every word."

It's true - look it up on Youtube. 

I'll continue to love Unpublished Critics. I wonder what 13-year-old me would be writing down as I stopped and started the tape deck, trying to write down the lyrics. Kids today don't know what they're missing. All they have to do is look yup the lyrics. 

Despite the dodgy vocal stylings of this so very Australian band, I'm going to say that this is my second favourite song of Australian Crawl. It reminds me of summer and driving along the beach. It reminds me of Adidas Romes and Farrah Fawcett flicks. It reminds me of how good Australian music can be.

It also provides the perfect song to encapsulate Darwin. It shows the mood here. It's the chorus that does it.

"I.... just want to get away...."

Today's Song: 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Just back from the Pub

It's 10.30 and I'm just back from the pub. 

I was going to go for a quick dinner and a quick drink. After the last two weeks, and the weekend down at the retreat, I was ready to crash at five p.m.. but a quick dip in next door's pool and I was ready to at least get dinner. As nothing is open in Darwin City on a Monday, it was back down the Cavanagh Hotel for dinner. 

They really do the best steak. A small piece of eye fillet, cooked rare, with chimmichuri sauce and some salad. Bliss. They also have these alcoholic slushies - a couple of Dark and Stormies (Rum, bitters and ginger beer) and I could have gone home. 

 But a rogue work colleague had said there was live music out in the Cav's courtyard and they'd gone out for a listen. We weren't aware of the music. According to them, this was a bit of the real Darwin. In the courtyard you find the great unwashed congregating beneath ceiling fans, showing off their tattoos while their packets of Winfield Blue sit on a waiting coaster. They warned us that it wasn't as sanitised as the Cav's restaurant area. 

What we discovered was a bit of the real Darwin. 

Something about Darwin that not many people know - it's the one place in Australia where you can find live music every night. Including Monday night, where Darwin is normally deader than Stuart Highway roadkill. 

What we found was a wonderful fellow on a guitar singing pub standards. 

It was great. 

I'm out with the team and I'm happily singing along. 
I'm with a team where I'm comfortable enough to sing along with the talent. And yes, he was playing from the great Australian song book. He asked for requests. Hunters and Collectors. Oasis. Pete Murray, The Verve. 

He sang it, we kept up with him. 

It was a great night. 

And here is a picture of my beer. 

But best of all, I have a team with whom I can go out and have some fun.

I also found out that the three of us can vaguely sing in tune.