Friday, May 31, 2024

Film Review:The Three Musketeers: Part I: D'Artagnan

Movie Number 16 of 2024

The Movie: The Three Musketeers: Part 1:  D'Argtagnan

The Cinema: Palace Cinema, Balwyn. 

Stars: 4

And now for something a little different.  With all of the decent looking new films coming out in the next few weeks, Jay and I were looking for something to watch. Jay wasn't interested in the John Galliano documentary, but we found this. A French action film. Who knew?

And yes, the film is in French, with subtitles, but, as a lover of French cinema, it was a change to see an action film, in French, with elite French actors, having a lot of fun. And of course, it was set in the 1600s. 

Such fun. 

The story starts with D'Artagnan (Francois Civil) on his way to Paris to become a musketeer. On the way he gets into a skirmish, is buried for dead - but he's really okay. He finally gets to Paris to find out that all is not as it seems. Becoming a musketeer is a process, and in this process he managed to piss of Athos (Vincent Cassel), Portos (Pio Marmai) and Aramis (Romain Duris) who are after his blood, but he manages to save, so D'Artangnan is taken on as their mascot. 

In the background, the Queen (Vicky Kreips) is having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham, the King (Louis Garrel) is suspecting something, and the Cardinal de Richelieu wants to take over the country by bringing the king to decide on war.

Oh, yes, and there is some romance as D'Artagnan fall for the queen's maid, Constance (Lyna Khouri), which doesn't make much sense as the maid is always found in places she shouldn't be seen, but hey,. it's the 1600s - maybe maids got to go all over the place. Okay, this bit didn't ring true, but the actress is so pretty, she'll be forgiven anything. 

And then there's the mysterious Milady, played by Eva Green

This is a really enjoyable film. The action scenes, which involve lots of things blowing up and sword fights are wonderfully done. Martin Bourboulon's direction is fast paced, fun and on the mark. I also loved the cinematography and settings, showing a very different Paris to what we are used to seeing. Although sumptuous, it's dirty and grimy and rough around the edges - probably a lot more like it actually was in the day. 

In all, this is a fast paced, well-acted, enjoyable film, and as Jay pointed out, the subtitles were clear and easy, and as a fledgling French speaker, I could understand a good proportion of the dialogue. 

And even better - there's a second part to this entitled The Three Musketeers: Milady, which is also out, you just have to find it. I'll ignore the fact that Milady did a swan dive from the White Cliffs at Dover near the end of the film. 

This is great fun. Comes recommended.

Admin Night

 I'm doing admin. 


It's not my favourite thing to do, but it I'm powering through it, answering queries about joining Freemasonry, getting some insurance docs up to date.... you name it, I've done it tonight. 

But I've come to the end of it, as always, breaking up the drudgery with the odd chore, some tormenting of the cat and the odd line of knitting. 

And I'm sitting here wondering how it was, years ago, I used to do a tenfold of what I am doing at the moment, and it seemed easy. 

Is this because work is pretty full on at the moment? Or because I'd lost some interest in doing other people's admin. (Big yes)

But I used to be able to sit and do this until the cows come home. Now, I'm really not that interested. 

Yet I've done it, and I feel better for it. 

Okay, I'm meeting a friend for breakfast. Best stop admining before I got even more loopy.

I've had this song in my head all day. Grrr. Maybe I needed the admin to settle it down. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Gig Review: Angie McMahon with Ruby Gill

The Gig: Angie McMahon supported by Ruby Gill

 At The Forum 28-30 May (Sold out so good luck getting a ticket)

4.5 stars

I went to this on spec after being introduced to Angie McMahon through friends a while back. I love her song Slow Mover. I love her voice. I love that she’s a woman singing about all sorts of stuff – often feminine issues, other times, more universal themes such as the environment, Palestine and other things. 

And though they be little, they be fierce. 

I was lucky to score a ticket to this, buying the tickets off a friend who was laid up with COVID, so I was able to join my friend El in going along.  I wanted to get tickets earlier, but she had sold out all three nights – which is saying something for an artist who thought she’d never fill the Forum. 

The crowd was mellow – wonderfully chill. I mentioned to El that I’d never been in a room with so many wolf cuts in my life. Wolf cut? This haircut. Billie Eilish wears it well. As seen on Sydney Road in Brunswick. It was like somebody had transported the population of Brunswick into the 2000 person capacity auditorium. 

A wolf cut, as worn by Fitzroy and Brunswick's finest. 

El and I made it in to see Ruby Gill play - I was keen to see her having looked her up online. 

She didn't disappoint. That wonderful fun, slightly melancholic, rather folky music from this young woman with the heart of a poet. I really enjoyed her set and would hunt her out again. Her song about a room full of white male politicians was particularly apt. I really enjoyed her sense of humour. 

After a short break between sets, Angie McMahon came on.

She was brilliant. 

Starting with her song about Fireball Whisky, it was clear to see she way playing to an adoring crowd who knew her work. 

As a novice, I just loved her sound. If I'm honest I was there because I love her song Slow Mover, but she is SOOOOOOOO much more. 

She played for an hour and half and wonderfully nuanced set of alternative, folk and rock, with intelligent, thoughtful lyric with her soulful voice, it was just magic. El and I had different experiences. Feeling rather claustrophobic on the floor, I moved to the back of the auditorium and listened in the comfort of a bit of space. El stayed near the stage and loved being in with the crowd.

The highlights for me were two moments where she did covers. 

Firstly, she reworked Australian Crawl's Reckless, giving it an environmental bent. It was brilliant. (See link) (Those who know me well know that Reckless has been my favourite song for forty years). 

She then called Ruby Gill back to the stage where they did a stripped back duet of Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind. I had tears streaming down my face. It was sublime. 

More songs were play to her adoring audience before finishing off with El's favourite song, Pasta. (See  Today's Song.)

I would happily go and see her again. Angie McMahon is a living treasure. 

It was worth the aches and tiredness that came the next day from going out on a school night. 

Utter magic. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Out on a School Night (Part 2)

 This being sensible thing is strange. 

We made arrangements to meet at 6.30 p.m. This gave me time to put my face on, change my clothes and pack my banana bag ready for tonight after work. 

Then the text came in, "Can I meet you later? I'm starving. Meet at the venue at say 7.45."

Suits me. 

I've had dinner. 

I've done my face. 

Packed my bag to go into the office tomorrow. 

Put out clothes to wear to the office tomorrow.

I've done another odd job or two, including this blog. 

It's strange. We used to go out on a weeknight regularly, now it feels foreign. 

I had a similar conversation with Dave the tradie this morning at the temple - he comes over every six months to check the fire extinguishers. I told him I was going out tonight. I told him who I was seeing. 

"Off to the Forum to see Angie McMahon."


"Look her up. Alternative rock. Melodic. Edgy. You might enjoy her."

"At The Forum, you say. I'm going to see the Hoodoo Gurus there in November."

"I'll be there too."

"On a Thursday night."

"Not looking forward to the next day," he said. 

"Me either. The trick is to pace yourself. And remember if you dance too hard you might do a hip."

"At least tonight will be a bit more mellow."

"But it's a school night."

"When did we get old?" asked Dave.

"I don't know, Dave."

"But it's the Hoodoo Gurus. It has to be done."

"I know, Dave."

We bid each other farewell, knowing that we may meet up in the general admission section at the Forum in November. 

It's a Gen-X thing. 

Today's song:

Monday, May 27, 2024

Out on a School Night

 Tomorrow night I'm off to see Angie McMahon at The Forum. On a school night. 

She's being supported by somebody called Rubie Gill, who listening to her music on Youtube this afternoon, is just up my alley. 

This is all happening on a school night. 

I'm 55-year-old and I'm going to a gig at The Forum, and I'm thinking about what will I put on my feet, and how am I going to get home (easy - Uber/cab or tram, depending on the timing) and what am I going to feel like after standing for two hours in a crowded hall (She's sold out over three nights at the Forum) and will I have more than one drink and... and... and...

Why is it such a big deal to be going out on a school night? I used to be second nature. 

It's going to be a long day. I'm letting in a tradie at the temple at 8 a.m. Then there's a full day's work, then I'll leave around 6, meet El, have a drink before we get to the Forum for around eight, as I'd really like to see Rubie Gill - I've been looking her up on YouTube, and she's great too. 

But as much as I'm looking forward to this jaunt tomorrow night, and as much as my work colleagues rib me for being out a lot during the week, there is also something in me which thinks that being at home, talking to the cat having a cup of tea. 

Wish me luck. It will be fine. 

Today's song:

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Movie Review: IF

 Movie Number 15 of 2024

The Movie: IF

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4.5

This film is being reviewed by an adult who went to a kid's film. Stupidly, she who went early on a Saturday night. The 6 p.m. session of a kid's film on a Saturday means one of two things. It's Dad's weekend and he's at the end of his tether, or Dad has custody of the kids because Mum is out with her mother's group slurping prosecco and munching on antipasto. And with Dad being in charge of the kids, all hell is bound to break loose. 

So, the cinema was full of energetic kids, many of them young girls turning cartwheels and walk overs at the front of the screen. Could somebody please tell me why young girls feel the need to cartwheel everywhere, at any opportunity?

Thankfully after the trailers, the kids settled down until the final credits played. 

Anyway, I'm an adult, and I took myself along to see IF because the premise had tickled my fancy. It's a film about imaginary friends. 

As a young child, I had an imaginary friend. His name was Sparky. We got into all kinds of mischief. There's still a story in our family lore about how I lost Sparky at John Martins when I was about four - and I wouldn't stop screaming until my grandparent's took me back inside Marion Shopping Centre to get him. 

And like most imaginary friends, Sparky disappeared into the ether when I started at kindergarten or school. 

I brought my imaginary friend up with a hypnotherapist years ago. He was adamant that imaginary friends were real. They were there to give sensitive kids the support they needed.  I liked his way of thinking. 

Anyway, back to the film. 

In IF, we find Bea (Cailey Fleming) not having the best of times. Through a montage we find out that her mother has passed, and her beloved father (John Krasinski) is in hospital awaiting surgery. Bea is sent to her Grandmother's (Fiona Shaw) place while her father is incapacitated. Cailey Fleming is particularly good, encapsulating the child who's had to grow up well before her time.

While she's with her grandmother, she discovers the IFs in an upstairs flat, all wanting to get back to their children. It's Bea's task to assist the IFs in finding their kids, with the help of Cal (Ryan Reynolds) who's somehow chief in charge of the IFs. 

There's a lot to love about this film. Firstly, the mix of live action and animation is flawless. The characters look like they're out of the Pixar stable and are voiced by actors including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Steve Carrell, Awkwafina and Matt Damon, just to name a few. 

John Krasinski's screenplay is excellent. He's pitched this perfectly, allowing kids to enjoy the film for its big, animated characters while the adults can bond with the film on an emotional level. His direction is also good, even if the start is a bit disjointed, but by the middle of the film, even if you see what is coming fairly early, everything comes together well and you'll forgive him. 

Krasinski knows how to relate to kids - which is a good thing considering he has two children with Emily Blunt. 

The soundtrack is good too. Subtle, and the songs they used are there for good effect. The Tina Turner scenes are wonderful, and I loved the inclusion of the Faces song, Oh La La.

I have to admit, I cried buckets in the second-half of the film. And it's not like the five-minute cry you have to have when you watch Up. I was sniffing along for the last half hour of the film. It got me where it hurts. 

I really enjoyed this film. It's perfect for families with young kids - there's no swearing or violence and the emotional stuff will wash right over them. It's also fun, colourful, full of humour both adults and kids will love. And being the adult in the auditorium, there was enough in the story to keep me happy. 

Find a kid and take them along to this while it's at the cinemas - and if you're taking a young girl, let her do the cartwheels out the front if you're not prepared to buy her a pony. Take tissues.

If not, hunt it out when it comes out on the streaming services. 

Lastly, Sparky, if you're reading this, thank you for being my friend as a kid. I'm not sure why we parted company and I wish you were still in my life. 

Today's song:

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Sunday Stealing: More SwapBot Questions

 It's Saturday and it's jobs day. I huge ironing pile to get through. Dinner to be made. Floors to be done. You name it. And nowhere to be or go, so I think I'll do my normal do a job, do a question thing and feel like I've achieved something at the end of it.

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Have you ever been stung or bitten by an animal?

Both. Thankfully nothing too bad. 

I got a bee sting as a teenager when a swarm flew over our house. A bee flew down my top and stung me on the nipple. I was a 16C one side and a 16DD on the other for a few days. It was horrible. The last bee sting I had made me feel horrible for a few days. I avoid bee stings at all costs. 

My cat. Lucifer, nibbles at me regularly, but they are love bites. I got more of a bite from a dog when I was a teenager, trying to separate my dog from another when they were fighting. It didn't draw blood, but I was badly bruised. Generally, animals like me, so I don't get bitten. 

Job: Write out shopping list for later

2. Do you have a favorite bird? Do you feed the birds at your house or park?

Not really. I'm not fond of birds. They flap and squark and generally make a nuisance of themselves. I don't mind feeding the ducks when I'm around a duck pond. I like watching the swans. I love listening to the bell birds when I walk along the river, but that is about it. 

Job: Ironed the duvet cover. Yes, I iron my quilt covers. 

3. What is the last thing you said to somebody before replying to this email?

I had a chat to my sister on the phone. Had a bit to catch up on. I did this while I was driving back from meditation. 

Job: Did the dishes. 

4. How do you get yourself ready to sleep at night?

I don't go to bed until just after midnight. Normally I have a shower at some stage in the evening, do my face care routine, turn down the lights and relax a bit. At midnight I have a couple of small games I like to do - Framed, the Wordle, Connections and a block puzzle. They normally take me about ten minutes. Then I clean my teeth and go to bed. Lucifer joins me as soon as I've turned off the light. 

Job: Iron the other quilt cover. 

5. When was the last time you wrote a proper letter?

To be honest, I can't remember. It would have been years ago. I did write a stroppy letter email for a friend who needed to get their point across to a company a few weeks back. I am the queen of the assertive letter to corporations. I have great success getting people what they want or need. 

Job: Ironed a dress. 

6. What is the worst injury you have ever sustained?

That's Bruce the bum bruise. I tripped over at a friend's place, and my left butt cheek connected with a star dropper at ground level. Had a lump the size of an orange in my left butt cheek. It took a full 18 months to get my body properly right. In hindsight, I should have gone to the hospital and had the hematoma drained. It wrecked my gluteus maximus for months, plus all the other muscles around it had to compensate causing leg, knee and foot pain. 

Job: Cleaned the toilet. 

7. If you could choose your career based strictly on what you think would be fun instead of your qualifications/salary/etc., what would it be?

Possibly a small animal vet or a travel guide. The former has a lot of drawbacks (nasty animals, even nastier owners and when you have to put the animals down, but I could handle playing with kittens and puppies and day, every day). I would love to be a Parisian travel guide. That would be very excellent. 

Job: Ironed another dress. (Note: The ironing pile is large because I was away last week and it's taken an age to get all the washing dry)

8. You can live on another planet, which one and why?

Possibly Saturn. With those rings and numerous moons, the sunsets would be amazing. 

Job: Ironed a couple of pillowcases - and yes, I am that person. 

9. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Oh, this is a loaded question. 

  • At Johnn Johnn's in Darwin that would be either rum and raisin, Snickers or Black Sesame. 
  • At Cups and Cones it's their coconut ice cream. 
  • At Messina Gelati, I love the Hot Cross Bun or Smashed Biscotti and Fig Jam (Messina Gelato is the bomb)
  • From the supermarket, it's Maggie Beer's Caramel and Burnt Fig Jam
  • Or a good vanilla ice cream
Don't get me started on ice cream. 

Job: Ironed a pair of jeans - just to get the last of the moisture out of them - no creases., 

10. What do you think of tattoos? Do you have any?

I have one small tattoo on my hip. The Chinese symbol for love. You only get to see it if I show it too you. I love hearing the story about people's tattoos - but for me, if I was to get another, I'd keep it small and discrete. They're fine on other people. 

Job: Iron the last of the pillowcases. 

11. Are you very active or do you prefer to just relax in your free time?

I'm a bit of both. Depends on the day. 

Job: Cleaned the sink in the bathroom. 

12. If you could bring back one TV show that was cancelled, which one would you bring back?

The Hour. It was a BBC production. There were two series. I am desperate to know what happened to Freddie. 

Job: Put away the dishes. 

13. Do you prefer to watch movies in the theater or in the comfort of your own home?

Definitely in a theatre. In fact, once I've finished this blog post and the last of the incidental jobs, I'm off to the cinema to see IF. Something light. Just up my alley. I had an imaginary friend when I was a child. I wonder what happened to Sparky. 

Job: Pack my gym bag for tomorrow morning. 

14. If you opened a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?

British or Modern Australian comfort food. That's what I'm good at. Or maybe a dessert bar. I love making desserts and puddings too.

Job. Iron the last item in the ironing pile. 

15. If money were no object what would you do for your next birthday?? 

I would take a couple of friends to France. Business class of course. There I'd stay for a few weeks all over the place, eating butter, sniffing around all sorts of places, drinking champagne and having a whale of a time - and giving my French a bit more practice. Nice thought. 

Job. Put the iron and ironing board away. 

Today's song:

Friday, May 24, 2024

Movie Review: The Taste of Things

 Movie Number 15 of 2024

The Movie: The Taste of Things (Original Title: La passion de Dodin Bouffant)

The Cinema: Village Cinemas, The Rivoli

Stars: 4

Je reve de la France. J'adore la France. Franchement, j'aimerais etre Francaise....

I'll stop writing in French now. I'm just showing off what 623 days on Duolingo will do for you.

This film made me want to go back even more. Yes, it's in French with English subtitles. Suck it up. 

This film is stunning to look at, not only with the inclusion of Juliette Binoche in one of the main roles. Juliette Binoche is my hall pass actor (or the actor you'd turn gay for). She's awesome. 

This is also a foodie's delight of a film, along the lines of films like Big Night (1996), Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994), Mostly Martha (2001), and Chocolat (2000). Just watching Eugenie (Binoche) and her boss / lover / husband, Dodin (Benoit Magimel) cook for two hours in an entirely French way is utter bliss. 

This is a very gentle film. You meet Dodin, a master chef and his cook, Eugenie in their middle age. Dodin is obsessed with food; Eugenie helps him get to the lofty places of French Gastronomy. Dodin comes up with the ideas. Eugenie executes them. There are a lot of characters that come over and eat, as the films teases out this central relationship and their love of fine food and wine. 

And really, that is about it. The film looks at this couple, their relationship, and their relationship to food. 

The thing that impressed me about this little film, where not very much happens, is that so much is going on while not much is happening. For one, there is next to no soundtrack, so instead of hearing music, you listen to the sizzling of meat, the flicks of the knife as vegetables are prepare, the simmering of sauces, the clattering of plates. 

The cinematography is sublime, although you barely see out of the walls of the chateau in which the action takes place - the bulk if this is found within the walls of the large kitchen, where we watch Eugenie, her housemaid, Violette (Galatea Bellugi) and the child who will soon be apprenticed, Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire, who looks like a young Anya Taylor-Joy) prepare these sumptuous meals. 

Anh Hung Tran's direction is flawless as he takes you on this journey of love, loss, obsession and redemption, with food being used as a metaphor for obsession and love. 

Piqued you interest? Well, there's next to no swearing (unless you speak French, then you get the odd 'Damn and Blast'). Nothing blows up. And you'll come out of this film salivating. 

Simply stunning. 

And my 623 days of Duolingo helped me ignore the subtitles for some of the film. 

And Juliette Binoche, at sixty, is still one of the most beautiful women in the world. Always has been, always will be. 

Go see this if you want to be transported to another time where things were just as complex, but much more simple. Mind you, any film that takes you to the Loire Valley for two hours can't be bad. 

Today's song:

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sometimes she dreams of distant places

 A friend of mine is currently swanning around Bali - Ubud, to be precise. She's swimming and writing and eating wonderful Balinese food and looking after herself and I am very, very envious. 

She deserves the break. She's making big adjustments to her life. Two weeks in Bali sounds like a great circuit breaker. 

Ah, Bali - warm, calming, lush Bali - well the bit I go to is anyway. 

Then I think that I'm probably not going to see a holiday for a good few months. Sure, I have a writer's retreat and a weekend in Sydney to see a play to look forward to, but no holiday to go on. 

Currently Jonella is in Morocco and Norty has gone to Japan. Blarney and Barney take off for Tokyo in a few weeks. My current manager is heading over to Tassie for a few days. 

I want something to look forward to. 

Maybe that something might be a housesitting a garret room somewhere in Paris - around the Marais would be good, maybe Montmartre - or Belleville. Go discover more of Paris. There is so much to find in that city. 

Or maybe tackle a bit of the Camino - go for a long walk along the top of Spain - but that would take a bit of training. 

Or even get a holiday house for a few days and go away and write. Somewhere close by which has a wood fire and I could take the cat with me. He likes a holiday. 

Or go for a drive through America and visit Reindert in Colorado. 

Sometimes she dreams of distant places. 

Darwin, unfortunately, is not far enough. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Cheque

 I received a cheque in the mail today. 

A physical cheque.

For $11.68. 

This from an insurance company who made a slight error on my premiums between May 2017 and June 2019. 


And it's not so much that it's a dilemma, but...

Where can you bank a cheque now seeing that so many branches have closed? Where there used to be three ANZ branches in Richmond, they have been consolidated into one, on Bridge Road. There used to be one on Victoria Street, but that closed years ago. There was one on Swan Street, but that's not gone too. 

I would put the cheque in at a cash machine, but they're nearly all gone too. Like there used to be a cash machine on every street. Now, you almost have to go to a branch to find one. The cash machines which dispense money for all banks don't do deposits. I know that nobody uses cash anymore, but this is a bit ridiculous. 

And why did it take five years for this clerical error to come to light? (Okay, I know this one - I've worked in banks for long enough)

And do they take into consideration the utter inconvenience of sending a cheque for only to have to find a way to bank it. It's really not worth my time to go and bank it. 

Even though I will. It's the principle of it all.

Today's song: 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

They're selling the Loi Loi

 Imagine my surprise, when walking home from the post office, on my way to get a coffee from my local coffee shop to find a big for sale sign on the window of the Loi Loi?

The Loi Loi? 

Well, I live just off of Victoria Street, on which there are numerous Vietnamese restaurants including: 

  • The Min Tan
  • The Vihn Ky (Favourite for one dish)
  • The Tho Tho
  • The Thy Thy
  • The Thy Thy II
  • The Co Do
  • The Thahn Ma
  • The Tran Tran
  • The Mihn Mihn
  • The Vihn Vihn
  • I Heart Pho
  • The Pacific Barbeque, complete with roast ducks in the window
  • And a number of Vietnamese bakeries. 
The Loi Loi has been there as long as I've been in the neighbourhood. 

Like all good Vietnamese restaurants, the place has rickety chairs, formica tables, various Chinese idolatry, a box of tissues on the table for serviettes, a look of utter despair - and in early days, a child at the back table doing their homework in between serving customer. 

This is what a good Vietnamese restaurant looks like. 

One thing about the Loi Loi is that it seemed to attract the Anglo crowd, unlike the "meat on sticks" place three doors down, which is always heaving with Chinese students, no matter the day. 

The Loi Loi has been a standard for many years. 

It's the place when I really can't be bothered cooking that I go for a cheeky takeaway. 

The neighbourhood won't be the same without it. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Five things from out of my head - with music

 Still being tired from yesterday's adventures with the Fuck Up Fairies - also known as Qantas, here are a few things that have been front of mind - with music. 

1) I got my flu shot today. Had a meeting, got out of the meeting, then went down the chemist to get jabbed. 

But I got jabbed twice. 

I've been getting flu jabs after getting a noxious dose of it about twenty years ago. It makes sense. If you get your vaccination and you get the flu, it's hopefully going to be a lot milder version of it. 

While I was there, I asked about COVID jabs

According to the pharmacist who was doing the sticking, it seems healthy people between 18-70 are due a COVID booster annually, unless they're immuno-compromised or doing a lot of travel. 

I asked if by a lot of travel, a trip a month to Darwin would count as lots of travel. I last had a COVID shot in August. 

I walked away with a shot in both arms. I might be radioactive, but hopefully I won't get massively sick. 

2) Baked beans on toast for dinner tonight. I haven't been food shopping today as I had a full day at work, then saw Cleo for a training session. 

Why are baked beans some of the best food in the world? Simple, easy, comforting on a cold winter's night. The only thing maybe better would be canned tomato soup - and it must be canned, with cheese savouries - or savoury toast as it is known in Tasmania. I think Barney and I need to have another savory toast off again. He puts the bacon in his mixture, I put it on top. 

I'd also like to know why Lou Reed was in my head while making this delightful dinner. And why to the coloured girls go doo, de doo.?

3) I should stop watching Bridgerton

Bridgerton is one of my guilty pleasures, and this season it cutting things a little close. 

For I am Penelope Featherington, and I so get Penelope Featherington. This season is all about her. And Colin, the Bridgerton she's been in love with forever. 

But there was one scene in the second episode, where Penelope asks Colin to kiss her, as she doesn't want to die without knowing what it is to be kissed. Instantaneously, my heart went out to her. 

Know exactly how you're feeling, love. Not that I have never been kissed, but it has been sooooooo bloody long. I think I've reclaimed my virginity.

Penelope and I have a few more things in common: 

  • We're both the black sheep of the family
  • We're a bit on the chubby side
  • We like writing
I say good luck to her for asking for what she wants. It's very courageous. I mean, she tells Colin to kiss her so if she dies she'll know what it feels like. Colin then tells her that she won't know anything because she'll be dead. Such a bloke thing to say. 

Oh, to even have somebody like that in your life. 

I'm not sure I could be that brave. 

(This is the best song James Blunt has penned - it's incredible). 

4) While I was away, my cat got very spoiled. 

I came back to a very spoiled, slightly petulant cat. 

Aunty Kat spoiled him big time. 

He also nearly destroyed the curtains in the spare room - mostly my fault as the big chair was pressing them against the wall, and they were crumbling, but still. 

And Aunty Cat bought him some other treats. I'm not sure where she got them from, but he loves them. 

Daft critter.

5) I have not watched Baby Reindeer yet. 

I'm wondering if it really is worth the hype. 

I like the actress who plays Martha too much in Pride - she was fantastic as Sian. 

We'll see. 

If you haven't seen Pride, it's on ABC iView at the moment. Fantastic film. How can it be bad? It's got Andrew Scott in it!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Bass in the Grass

 "Come on, where are you?"


"Get your arse down here, you should see King Stingray - they're on at three."

I had been summoned. And it was okay. When my old colleague, Drew says I need to listen to somebody, I take heed. His taste in music is impeccable. And despite a little reticence, I slopped on some sunscreen, shoved on my trusty green baseball cap, shoved on my runners and went along with my colleagues to Bass in the Grass, Darwin's premiere music festival. 

Bass in the Grass is a young person's festival, yet it caters for all. The group of us did the sensible thing when buying tickets and bought a premium package that gave us access to a couple of drinks (excellent), some seating (never a bad thing) and shade (absolutely critical). Oh, and toilets that weren't going to be used by every man, his dog, crocodile, drug dealer and wine merchant. Best $220 I've spent, just to have a bit of comfort away from the big noise, crowds and general rabble.

A quick Uber ride to Mindil Beach and we were there.  

I've not been to many music festivals. There were becoming popular when I left England. Glastonbury was the big one, but the thought of camping, rolling around in the mud and being stoned among 100,000 of my nearest and dearest never sat well with me. Besides, I didn't have friends who were into that sort of thing while I was over there - more the Michael Buble crowd. 

I went to the V-Festival in the Gold Coast in the mid-noughties, mainly to see The Pixies, but I also got to see some great acts. 

But as a purveyor of music, I'm better off going to see acts one or two at a time as I find festivals are overwhelming.

Regardless, a short Uber ride to Mindil Beach, a very thorough course through security and we had arrived, just in time to see King Stingray on the main stage. 

They were excellent. (See today's song)

But this was under the full Darwin sun, at 3 p.m. on a Saturday. 

Once the band went off, one of my colleagues and I went to find our special area. The place with drinks and shade and toilets with running water, away from the big noise. The space we'd spent good money on - and it was worth every dollar. Being out of the sun, and a way away from the main speakers and dancing was a good thing. You could hear everything, just as you could hear yourself talk. (Also, in my defense, I was struck down with laryngitis most of the week and wasn't up for racing around in the heat. Besides, we found a possie which suited my purposes - a place to congregate, meet. drink and eat without being overrun by the revelers. 

My colleagues, chilling at Bass in the Grass.

There were two main stages where the big acts played - the set up allowing for one act to be on while the other one was being set up. There was also what I call the doof doof stage out the front, where various DJ's plied their trade.

Me, I was happy the back on my covered milk crate, drinking hard Solo and eating fresh cinnamon donuts. 

And I got to listen to Middle Kids (enjoyable), Northlane (a bit like a harder Metallica without the heart) Bag Raiders (wonderful dance music which I could identify) and Ziggy Alberts (an artist I've got a lot of time for). 

Did I go back out to the main area - no - but I didn't have to. 

And yes, I could have stayed around for Jet, and Macklemore, or gone and seen some more dance music, but after a day in the sun, knowing that drinking too much while you're still on antibiotics is not a good thing, but as the sun had gone down and my energy was depleted, I made my way out, walking down to the Casino with a nice random bloke chatting all the way, where I found a cab back to the city. 

Did I enjoy myself - absolutely. 

Being a person who hates crowds and noise, I knew what I was getting into. I also know my limits, and at 7 pm, it was time to go, but I'm very glad I went. 

Drew did say it was a young person's event. Good for those with the energy and stamina to last well into the night. 

I was just happy, in the end, to arrive back at the hotel, get in Uber Eats, do the worst of my packing and watch Bridgerton

But if King Stingray ever come to Melbourne again, I'd happily go along. I know they're touring America with King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard in the near future. And yes, that doesn't mean that much to me either...

It was a good experience.   

Today's song:

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Inspiration

 Note to self. Even if offered, don't eat duck. I like duck. Duck does not like me. And okay, if it's duck breast, I can get away with it, but roast duck, or duck confit, or anything else, avoid at all costs. After a lovely breakfast with my friend (and old P.E. teacher from 40 years ago) I had to race home. And I only had had a little bit. Two small pieces. 

Regardless of the runny tummy (which has abated - just have to get some fluids into me) I will have a good day. And I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow. It will be good to be back in the cool, rather than the tropics. It will be nice to be sleeping with the cat again - if he still loves me, that is. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What inspires you the most?

Lots of things. Art. Kindness. Courage. Joy. Perseverance. Happiness. The human condition. You can find inspiration anywhere. You just have to look for it with open eyes and an open heart. 

2. How do you think the world will change in 20 years?

Considering how much the world has changed in the last 20 years I hate to think. I'd love to imagine a kinder, more peaceful, less antagonistic, more environmentally aware world, but would that ever happen? I can only hope. 

3. Cats or dogs and why?

I love both dogs and cats, but as the servant of one black cat named Lucifer, I have to say cats. I love their independence, their quirky personalities and their ability to empathise, even if they don't show that very often. Dogs are absolutely wonderful, but far more needy. 

4. What is the funniest memory from your childhood?

I can't really think of anything - I suppose driving a tractor into creek was pretty funny. I had a funny childhood, but more funny-peculiar than funny-humorous. But that is also indicative of being a child of the seventies. 

5. Where do you not mind waiting?

In the Qantas Club lounge at the airport. It's nice to be away from the rabble. A comfortable chair. A Bloody Mary. Liquorice Allsorts - it's a good place to wait for your plane. 

For those not in Australia, these are liquorice allsorts. 

6. What was the best thing before sliced bread?

The flushing toilet? Underground plumbing? The mangle?  No idea.

7. What product would you stockpile if you found out they weren’t going to sell it anymore?

Oh, I discovered this a few weeks ago. It's not that they don't sell it anymore, but the company doesn't ship my natural deodorant to Australia anymore (bastards). I love Native deodorant. I used to put in an order a year. So, if I have friends going to America, I ask them to bring back a few sticks. But I have found an Australian alternative, which I like a lot. Woohoo is about the best I've found that really works all day. 

8. What do you get every time you go grocery shopping?

Fresh fruit, bread and almond milk are on my shopping list most weeks. 

9. What do people do too much of today?

Doom scrolling. Get off your bloody phones and stop complaining you have no time. 

10. Are you a GoodWill, or any second-hand store customer?

Not really. The difficulty I find with second-hand stores is that they're not good for bigger sizes. However, at my writer's retreats, we have a trading table where people bring along their pre-loved clothes which we sell on and all proceeds go to charity. It feels good knowing the money is going somewhere where it will do good. And I've got a number of bargains there. 

11. How do you feel about the death penalty?

I don't believe in it at all. In Australia, we haven't had the death penalty on the federal statutes since 1972 - the last person to be executed in Australia was back in 1967. Looking outside of Australia, I think it's barbaric. It's not a deterrent, and it's too open to failure. Too many innocent people have been killed by the state. It's not for me. 

12. Are there brands of certain items that you will ONLY buy that brand? Ie paper towels, ketchup etc.

Yes. I will only buy:

  • Heinz Baked Beans
  • Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
  • Coke (never Pepsi)
  • Farmer's Union Iced Coffee (I come from the one place in the world where a milk drink outsells Coca Cola)
There are a few other things, but these come to mind. 

13. What are some things that you will buy the Store brand, and find the quality to be great?

Aldi chocolate is fantastic. Actually, Aldi has some quality brands. Not sure if you Aldi is in America, bit it is a lot cheaper than our two major supermarkets. But they put the chocolate in the first aisle as you enter the shop and I find this far too dangerous. (My local Aldi is in a dodgy part of the suburb too - another reason to avoid it.)

14. What is a Name brand item that really disappointed you recently?

Sheridan bed linen is not as good as it used to be. It doesn't last as long as it used to. 

15. Do you wear glasses or contacts?

I wear glasses for distance - have done for many years. I have to take them off to read anything on a page or screen. This is called getting old. 

Today's song:

There are things I had forgotten

 There are things I'd forgotten, but have been reminded of tonight. 

It's been a long week, and in many ways, a hard week. This morning, for a few minutes, I was thinking "Why don't you resign." I was a fleeting feeling, and it left, and I looked and the monumental pile of impossible work myself and my colleague have to do, the breathed in, stood up, and went and got a coffee, and felt better. Why fret? It's just work. 

And just because the work feels like it has one of those Harry Potter doubling charms on it, doesn't mean it's impossible - just hard. You touch one thing, three other things spring up to join them. It's great. Not. 

Regardless, I finished something this afternoon, which for this week, was a bonus. I was the last one in the call centre. I took my bags and walked the 200 metres to the new hotel on the esplanade and checked in. 

After a short lie down, I found my bathers and went down to the pool, where I'd arranged to meet my  colleague. 

This job is very different to any other I've had. For one, giving the day a post-mortem in the pool is a necessary evil. It's the only role I can remember where I've seen most of my colleagues in their bathers. And I have no shame in putting on my swimmers and joining people - bugger the body image. I've always been the first in/last out of the pool person. Nothing changes. I get out when I start to prune. That's the rules. 

Making things even easier, my colleague and I have been mates for a couple of years. 

And the pool here is good. 

We got the stories of a hard week out of our systems. We both needed a bit of a vent. But once that was done, we settled in to being human. Even did the 'Hey, watch me do freestyle!" and I bobbed under the water and did a lap of the pool. Stupidly, I'd left my goggles in the room, but I'd forgotten how much I love swimming freestyle - doing laps. I'm not a fast swimmer, but I am competent. But as an adult, when was the last time you told somebody to watch you swim?

After a quick change, and a quick look at the sunset from Bicentennial Park, we went out for a drink at a local bar, where they serve a local Kakadu Plum gin. I rate it. 

After this, a lovely dinner at a local restaurant. 

Another beer was had. The conversation flowed easily. We know enough of each other's stories to not have to explain things to each other. We're both from the country. Both a little nerdy in an arty sort of way. Our politics align for the most part. Easy company. 

Then he walked me back to my hotel, stopping for an ice cream on the way. (Cold Rock Rum and Raisin, with a Caramello Koala mashed in for good measure in a kiddie cup - who knew?). 

And I had forgotten home much an easy night with good company can be for the soul. 

Today's song:

Thursday, May 16, 2024

It’s Bridgerton Night

 Four episodes have dropped. No blog tonight

Besides, I have to pack…

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


 I serenaded a friend this afternoon for her birthday. It was a bit of a dare. 

You see, you can't really sing when you have laryngitis. She thought it was scary. And hilarious. 

Currently, I'm sounding like Darth Vader's kid sister. I truly sound awful, but the stupid thing is I don't feel too bad. Sure, I'm not 100%, but I'm also up to do a day in the office.

Making things a little worse, I'm up in Darwin on a work trip and there's a music festival to go to on Saturday, which, if I'm honest, at present, I have no desire to go to - but that's three days away. 

On the good side of things, I'm not coughing, spluttering, blowing my nose, feverish. Even my throat, which is a little sore, is not really giving me grief. And sure, I'm not feeling one hundred percent, but I can think and write and get on with things. But as I'm travelling and have another two flights to get me home on Sunday, I thought it best to see a doctor and see what they thought. 

"You've lost your voice," said the doctor. 

"No shit, Sherlock," I thought, "Minister for the Bleeding Obvious, this one."

Five minutes later I walked out with a prescription for antibiotics, more out of prevention, possibly for a cure. 

It's fun, this having no voice. 

I got to use hand gestures in a meeting today. 

I'm scaring people. 

And worst of all, I can't swim at the moment. I was looking forward to going to the Parap pool after work and doing some laps. The thought of getting wet, getting dry, and then going in and out of air conditioning did not sit well. Hopefully the drugs will kick in and I'll be able to go for a swim on the weekend. 

And Darwin is about to kick off with this festival over the weekend. 

I'm just glad it's not COVID. Or RSV. Or something worse. 

And if all goes to seed, I could go work for one of those phone sex lines. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Rock Hudson

 I’ve been watching a documentary about Rock Hudson while waiting for my washing to finish. I can only feel incredibly sad. In many ways, his is a sad story. 

He’s always been one of my favourite actors. I have a little bit of a penchant for Doris Day and her silly movies of the 50s and sixties. He was so handsome, but he had this daft side that I found charming - a bit like my cat. 

I’m seeing all of these news clips which I saw for the first time when I was a teenager. It’s so scary to see the views portrayed here. The people who betrayed him. And those who stuck by him. And the lack of understanding. And the horribly homophobic ideals of the age. 

I wonder he might have been like if you’ve been born 20 years later. Maybe he would have got out of the closet. Possibly the drugs would have allowed him to leave a normal, long life. 

It’s just sad.

It’s been a pretty good day here in D-Town. It’s been a day out at the depot, what we are referring to his family dinner when my colleagues came and we had a barbecue chicken and salad on the balcony for dinner, rather than frequent a local restaurant.

I went to book group over zoom where we read a really good book this month. I can highly recommend Edenglassie by Melissa Lukaschenko. Eye opening. Educational in many ways. As there was only four of us there, the conversation was great. 

Oh, and my cousin got in contact and asked about places to eat in Darwin. She and her daughter were going to be up for a couple of days before catching the Ghan back down to Adelaide. We're going out for dinner on Thursday. 

And now I’m just waiting for this bloody washing machine, so I can hang out the washing and go to bed. I'd pop down to take out the recycling, which is banking up, but I'm in my pyjamas, and nobody needs to see me in a lift without a bra. (I'm on the 18th floor, the recycling bins are on the 4th...)

Sorry, it’s not much of a blog. I’m just not feeling it at the moment. Blame the croaky voice. 

Today's song. 

Monday, May 13, 2024


I am too tired to write. Get into your hotel at 1:45 a.m. will do that for you.

So instead of writing this blog, I’m going to go to bed.

I will say that yuzu is the best thing ever.


It’s a Japanese citrus fruit Which tastes something like a mix between a lemon and and a mandarin. It is utterly delicious. Everything you do with a lemon you can do with a yuzu. I’ve had some wonderful yuzu cheesecake. There are more and more yuzu drinks coming out in the market. Today, at Woolworths, I found my favourite brand of sugar-free soda, in a Yuzu flavour. I’m stoked.

But today, I met Jay in town for lunch. She’s up here for the football and is going home this evening. We went to my favourite cafe, The Rabbit Hole, one of their signature menu items is yuzu lemonade. It is extraordinary. 

So, lots of yuzu made my day today. 

And now it’s time for bed. I can't stay awake much longer. 

Today’s song.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sunday Stealing live from Sydney

 Sydney. Hotel room with a big bath. Check out in two hours and have to be on the Manly Ferry soon after that. I will be quick.

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.    Write about the best decision you ever made. How did you make it? Was it reasoning or gut instinct?

That would be going on the writer's retreat to France last year. It was more expensive that I would have liked, but I loved every minute of it. Did me the world of good. The decision was heartfelt - if I was make a decision fiscally, it never would have happened. 

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

I wish I had a body that didn't love putting on weight so much. I think my doctor wouldn't rag me as much if it worked like that. 

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

Learning to run was the hardest thing I ever did. I was told from a young age that I couldn't run because of my 'weak ankles'. Turns out they weren't weak at all. Running is all about conditioning and mind over matter. I learned a lot when I was running. 

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

I want to get that book published. I can do this. But I need to sit down and bloody do it. And find the time and energy to do it. Maybe I should have taken up the offer to see what Ritalin is really like. 

5.    If you can time travel, what will you tell your teenage self?

I would tell my younger self the following things: 

  • You are not as fat, ugly or stupid as you are told you are or you think you are
  • Things are going to get better
  • When you're offered therapy at uni, take up the offer
  • Start exercising daily - you are going to love it. 

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

I've been lucky, I've had lots of glorious moments. I remember getting something published for the first time. That was awesome. 

7.    What did you struggle most with today?

It's only early - I've only been up for a little while. But I'm thinking, do I go up to the shoe store and go find a new pair of white runners and leave my old soggy ones there, or do I just persevere?

8.    What made you happy today?

I bought some really good, really interesting fruit salad for breakfast yesterday. It was AWESOME. Simple things are good. Better than McDonalds any day (the other easy option from this hotel room as I'm not paying $35 for runny poached eggs).

9.    What did you dislike most about growing up?

I remember working out from an early age that women were treated as second class citizens a lot of the time. I hate that. I still hate that. Hopefully the ship is righting itself. 

10.    Write about 3 activities you love the most and why you love them.

  1. I love writing, because it is my vocation. It's not an easy vocation, but it is what it is. 
  2. I love reading, because it makes me realise that I'm not alone in the world. 
  3. I love playing with animals, particularly my cat, because even though I annoy the hell out of him, he loves me anyway. 

11.    What has been your best trip so far?

Again, I've had many great trips, but that Writer's Retreat in France last year was just incredible. I also won two tickets anywhere in the world fifteen years ago - five weeks, 7 countries. Loved that too. 

12.    Write a list of 3 things (physical or personality-wise) you love about yourself, and why they make you unique.

  • I am kind, almost unfailingly. 
  • I love all animals (okay, I will give chickens and rabbits a wide berth, but otherwise animals are great).
  • I have a body which is strong and healthy, which at my age is a very good thing. 

13.    Discuss 3 things you wish others knew about you.

I am on my own most of the time. It's 90% solitude, 10% loneliness. And this is okay. 

I have great difficulty asking for help. Just asking friends to come cat sit nearly kills me, but I know it's best for the lad - he would hate it in a cattery, particularly as he's a rescue and spent a lot of time in a cage before we found each other. (It was at a very good rescue centre, they looked after him, but still, I don't want him back living in a cage - he's my dorky boy, can't have that.)

I wish I knew about neurodiversity earlier. It's making such a difference to my life knowing that it's not just me - I'm wired up differently and this is okay. 

14.    Write about your top 3 personal strengths.

  1. In my astrological chart I have Saturn in Aries - it's basically a bullshit meter. I can sniff out crap a mile away. 
  2. I can do anything I put my mind to. But most Gen-X women can do this. It's ingrained. 
  3. I like to think I can see the good in almost everything. It makes life a lot easier being positive. 

15.    Is social media a blessing or a curse?

A bit of both. Probably more of a curse, but it can be fun. 

Today's song:

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Turnip for the boots

 Today has not gone as planned.

 My original flight was cancelled. No big drama as they put me on the next plane a half an hour later.

This morning before I went to the airport, the smoke detector near my kitchen was going berserk. There was no smoke. Not even an errant toaster.

I got to the airport, only to find that my flight has been delayed. Not by much, but enough.On the good side of things, on a full flight, there was an empty seat next to me. 

Arriving in Sydney I had to wait a full half an hour for my bags to come off the plane. Nothing works in the rain in Sydney. 

I walked down to the train station to find that I had just missed a train and had to wait another 15 minutes. And the trains were only going as far as Central.

At Central Station, I found that there were no trains going through to Wynyard and that I had to take the light rail to get to the hotel. I was hoping to be there by midday. I rocked up at 1:30.

It was here I discovered my trusty white runners were leaking badly. Didn’t even step in a puddle. They are dead.

Had a perfectly lovely lunch with a friend, after which I had a bit of a relax before going to the theatre. 

I’ve been looking forward to this performance for a while. I mean, Hugo Weaving on stage. It had to be done, not that the play has great reviews. 

After walking to the theatre down in The Rocks, I got myself settled in the auditorium. I got 20 minutes of the play – then somebody decided to have a heart attack in the third row of the stalls. I was sitting up in the dress circle so I got a bird eye view of this.

After half an hour of watching people mess about, and probably six or seven doctors offer their expertise (Joy of going to a large theatre company play, there has to be a few doctors there on any given night) one of the stage managers came on stage and said that they were going to an interval. I saw 20 minutes of the play, and didn’t see Hugo Weaving. He was busy coughing backstage as a part of the performance.

By the time they loaded the poor man into an ambulance, they called us back in, it was 8:45 and I wasn’t feeling it. I will try to exchange my ticket for a performance of something later in the year. I hopped in a cab because it was tipping down came back to my hotel and got room service.

Despite nothing going to plan, I’ve had a lovely day.

Today’s song:

Friday, May 10, 2024


Tomorrow's flight has been cancelled, and I've been bumped.

Thankfully, this is the Sydney leg of my trip, and there's planes every half an hour between Sydney and Melbourne. It's one of the busiest airline routes in the world. Not that I have anything that can't be moved until 7.30 pm, when I'll be at a play, it's still a little disconcerting. 

Even worse when the Qantas app won't let you accept your new flight... the anxiety starts to spiral. 

A mercifully quick phone call later and I'm all checked in and sorted and thinking that the extra half an hour at home will good for doing the last bits for my house sitter - make the bed. Give the bathroom and loo a final going over. Clean out the cat litter tray. Do all the fun jobs before 8 am when I'll need to get myself to the airport. 

I'm also dithering about what book to take. 

And should my knitting come with me. 

And just what am I going to wear to Bass in the Grass next weekend. 

This travelling thing has its pitfalls. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Pet Peeves: Delivery Drivers on Electric Bikes

 They come out of nowhere. They don't signal. They rarely use headlights. They park in inconvenient places. They drive in the middle of the road when you're trying to get places. They park their bikes in front of shops making it difficult to get in. As they are all but silent, they sneak up on you as you're walking on the footpath scaring the loving bejeezus out of you. And they're often rude. And cut in front of you like a kamikaze pilot in 1945. And there is that look in their eye which screams at you "get the fuck out of my way."

Sure, in this gig economy, everybody is entitled to earn a wage, and since we office workers are at home, ordering in can be seen as the done thing to do. I have friends who order in bubble tea for heaven's sake. 

I see one of those electronic bikes with their overzealous drivers and I think target practice. 

20 points for a Hungry Panda driver.

Seriously, is it that hard to go pick up your take out? 

The walk will do you good. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Darwin Prep

 I'm starting to pack already, and yes, it's early, but I've got a little stop off on the way, spending a night in Sydney seeing a play and visiting friends before making my up North. 

The Darwin office wear is packed in a cube. I'll need to do some washing while I'm up there. Being away from home for over a week, there's no need to pack that much underwear when you have a washing machine in your room. 

I need to work out what I'm going to wear in Sydney for the day - as what you wear in Sydney in late Autumn is a bit different to what wear in Darwin in the dry. 

Then there's festival clothes - as myself and a couple of workmates are heading off to the Bass in the Grass festival at the end of the week. Do I take my docs and go all Mosh Pit Panda or risk it in my runners?

There's also a few more items that I'll keep in a desk drawer while I'm up there. A bottle of gin. A fold up yoga mat. Some resistance bands. These can go into my Darwin bag while I'm up there. If found the yoga mat at K-Mart tonight while I was looking for swimming goggles - also required and will live up in the Darwin bag.

Of course, I've got my cereal for the week I'm up there. And decaffeinated coffee bags - again, may as well take them up with me. Having a cup of coffee and some cereal to hand when your plane gets in at 1 a.m. and you're due at work in seven hours is a good thing. Anything to help you running. A pack of muesli bars in going in the bag too. 

Oh, and my knitting. And the Fire Stick - which means I can stream Netflix onto the telly at the hotel. 

It's all part of this FIFO life. Getting things organised early means less stress when I leave for the airport on Saturday morning. 

And I've checked the airport parking booking. 

It's all arranged. We've got this. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Theatre Review: RBG: Of Many, One

 The Performance: RBG: Of Many, One by Suzie Miller

The Theatre: The Playhouse, The Arts Centre

Stars: 5

Until 12 May

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Supreme Court Judge. Woman. Monumental Brain. Mother. Shit Stirer. Wife. Opera fanatic. Iconoclast. Jewish girl from Brooklyn. All round inspiration. 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, or Kicky to her family, or the Notorious RBG to the zeitgeist is one of those people who was kicking down doors from a young age - and she forgot to stop. Her dissenting voice in the Supreme Court has become legendary. 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died during the last days of Donald Trump's presidency, only to be replaced by Amy Coney Barrett.

In Ruth Bader Ginsberg you have a woman of intelligence, warmth, humour and a sense of justice - a woman who has done more for American civil rights than almost anybody. 

And yes, I've been a fan for years. 

In Suzie Miller's (of Prima Facie fame) play RBG: Of Many, One, Heather Mitchell embodies Ginsberg, from her early days in Brooklyn, to her time at Cornell, Harvard and Columbia Universities, her long and happy marriage to her husband, Marty,  to her time in front of the courts, to her time waiting to hear from various presidents - Clinton who nominated her to the bench, to Obama, who spoke to her about the possibility of resigning, to her dissing of Donald Trump. 

All of this is covered in this one woman play. 

Under Priscilla Jackman's direction, Heather Mitchell embodies RBG with seeming ease. This is a virtuoso performance - an actor in their prime. Out of Miller's wordy script, she lets us see into RBG's life, holding conversations with the people in her life, explaining herself, her decisions and actions. Her impression of Donald Trump is impeccable.

Heather Mitchell is extraordinary. The four curtain calls with standing ovations are testament to this performance. It's second to none. 

This only has a week to run in Melbourne. Beg, borrow, steal or buy a ticket. It's phenomenal, not only as a representation of an enigma, but for the performance on stage. It goes to show what woman on a stage can do. 

And yes, maybe I'm biased. RBG has been a hero of mine for years. God bless her. 

Today's Song: 

Monday, May 6, 2024

Two Friends Gone

 I learned of the passing of two friends today - feline friends. Feline friends of friends.

And I felt the fear that every pet owner faces at times. What are you going to feel when your little mate goes. 

I still think regularly about Maow Maow, Blarney and Barney's cat, who crossed to the other side in 2020. He was my best mate. We loved each other, even if he belonged to my friends. I got to see him the day before he went, a shadow of his former self - riddled with kidney disease, he'd lost over half his body weight. He was no longer my fat boy. But I got to say goodbye, give him a cuddle, tell him all the things I wanted to tell him, and to wish him well. 

As sad as it was, I got a little bit of closure. 

My friends weren't quite as lucky. 

The first fellow to go was Jack, my friends old white boy. They found each other about six years ago. When my friend took him in, she was told he didn't have long. Indeed, six years on, he saw her through many trying times. 

My friend went out for a bit in the afternoon and came back to find him dead on the bed. In many ways, a perfect ending. He wasn't sick, he wasn't suffering. He just went. 

An hour later, I was reading about the demise of my friend Shadow. My friend adopted two black kittens during COVID. One had one eye (Wink). The other kitten had two perfectly good eyes. That was Shadow. They were wonderful. Hilarious. Spunky, funny slinky black cats. 

Unfortunately, cats don't have much road sense and Shadow fell victim to a hit and run. Thankfully, despite best efforts, he didn't suffer either. 

My friends are devastated. 

I'm grieving with my friends, as I hate to think what it will be like if Lucifer was to go quickly, like that, particularly like Shadow, who went well before his time. 

Needless to say, somebody is getting a bit more attention than usual. He needs to be cherished. 

We don't get them for long, and we don't know for how long we have our little friends. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Comfort Dinner

 What is the dinner you have when you have done your food shopping but you don't want to have anything you've bought? 

You're not feeling the microwave dinners, as they are reserved for quick lunches during the week. 

You don't want to cook the chicken breasts in the fridge. They are for later in the week. Maybe tomorrow. 

You don't want pasta. The only pasta in the cupboard is chick pea pasta, the only jar of sauce possibly has an expiry date of a few years back - but the jar hasn't been opened, so it should be good to go. 

I don't want takeaway. I had a meal out last night, and Jay and I had our normal breakfast at a local cafe, where the service was crappy, but the zucchini and corn fritters were very good. 

And I don't want to get much in because I'm heading interstate next Saturday and there's no point in getting too much in. 

But I want comfort food. 

If there was more than me and the cat home, I'd make Sausages in Onion Gravy with Mashed Potatoes - it still is one of my favourite things to both eat and make. But I haven't made that for years, instead, going for the freezer meal version which isn't too bad - but it's not the same as my onion gravy, which is then pimped up with tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce - and lots of onions. (Oh,I wish I had somebody to make sausages and onions for - mashed potatoes for one just isn't a thing - and they are the best.)

I wanted something easy tonight. 

So, I went down the supermarket. I found a large potato; some cheese and some coleslaw. 

I baked the potato in the oven, grated the cheese, smeared a bit of butter inside the spud once it was cooked, and plonked the coleslaw on top. 

And it was magnificent. 

Today's song:

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Miscellaneous

I'm just back after a day of roaming around the bayside suburbs of Melbourne. My hair colour around my temples has been freshened up and I'm waiting for a mate to come over for dinner. In many ways, a successful day. 

And now, I'll get the Sunday questions done and out of the way for the week, while I wait for my friend to turn up. I'm looking forward to a meal at my favourite Chinese/Vietmamese place down the road. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing.   

1. Who is your best friend and why? What do you like to do together?

I can't say that I have a best friend, but I do have a close circle of friends - Jonella and Blarney being the main two - they're listed as my In Case of Emergency people. We drink a lot of tea together while putting the world to rights. 

2. What is your town like? What are your favorite places to go?

What is Melbourne, Australia like. Well, it's a multicultural city of about five million people, with great coffee and food, trams, cultural events and Australian Rules Football. I love going to the National Gallery of Victoria - which is excellent, any of the many theatres, and one of so many restaurants it's not funny. Oh, and drive an hour of the city and you're in picturesque hills and forests. It's a great place. 

3. What is your favorite meal? Where and when do you eat it?

Mum's roast lamb with all the trimmings - but I only ever get it at Mum's place. 

4. What is your job like? What do you like about it?

My job, at the moment, is very busy and pretty stressful. I write for a living, working for big companies. I've done it for a long time, but it's when the projects get like this that things get a bit hairy. It is always interesting and I'm doing a lot of travel at the moment, which I am also enjoying. Great people, interesting work. What more do you need. 

5. What is your favorite place to go on vacation?

I love going to Europe. I like hanging about with old stuff. The only thing it does do is makes me want to stay though. For a toes up holiday where I do nothing, then it's Bali or Thailand, places not too far away. And I really want to go to Japan and Cambodia in the not-too-distant future. For a driving holiday, nothing beats the South Island of New Zealand. 

6. What country would you like to visit one day?

In no apparent order: 

  • Japan
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Belgium
  • The Scandinavian Countries
  • Tanzania (or more to the point, Zanzibar)

7. What bores you the most?

Umm, that would be tennis. I've got no interest in it at all in the game. Melbourne hosts the Australian Open every year. Sorry, no interest at all. 

8. What are you looking forward to this summer?

I'm in Australia. Summer is not for another seven months. I'm just loving autumn (fall) and looking forward to Winter, which is my favourite season. I love rugging up and open fires and rain. 

9. What is your favorite film?

I haven't seen it for a while, but I adore Three Colours: Blue - a French film which was made in the nineties. French cinema at its best. 

For something more mainstream, I still get a kick out of When Harry Met Sally, Atonement and The Shawshank Redemption

And what is my favourite movies I've seen in the last twelve months. Take your pick from Monkey Man, 

Poor Things and Past Lives. 

10. Do you sing in the shower?

Sometimes. If I do, it's normally songs from the seventies and eighties. 

11. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

I'm always grateful when I receive a gift. Of late, I've had a couple of mates buy me dinner at some lovely establishments. Feed me and I am very happy. 

12. Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors? 

I like both. When I'm inside, I want to be outside, and vice versa. It depends on what the weather is doing. 

13. When was the last time you cried, and why?

I was watching a movie, The Great Escaper a few weeks ago. It was a very touching movie. What got me more is knowing that it's probably going to be one of Michael Caine's last movies. After all, he is in his 90s. (Glenda Jackson was in this as well - it was her last film - she was very frail in this - it's life, but it cut to the core.)

14. What do you keep in your bag or handbag?

In my green Uniqlo banana bag you will find: 

  • My phone
  • My wallet
  • A lipstick or three
  • A lip balm
  • My house keys
  • Often a phone charger
  • Sometimes my ear buds
  • And occasionally my Myki (Melbourne public transport card)
  • Oh, and a map of the Paris Metro and some Parisian business cards. 

15. Can you play a musical instrument?

Sort of. I learned the flute at school. I haven't played it in years, but I'm sure I can get a tune out of it. 

Today's Song:

Friday, May 3, 2024

I knit, therefore I am

 I've picked up the cable scarf that has been sitting on the back of the couch for the last year, waiting to be finished. It's now well over a meter long and really should be finished. 

Knitting it is a joy. Bendigo Woollen Mills 12 ply wool. It's lovely to knit with. I've also got my pattern, which I remember taking a photocopy of in a wool shop in town, then typed it out. The paper is now grotty and torn, but as this is a cable pattern you have to keep your eye on what you're doing. As I've only got another two balls to knit up, it's nearly there.

And it's lovely.

So, I'm going to go back to the couch, and sit next to the cat, and do a bit more knitting. 

I've had a massage tonight so I'm all floppy. I don't have the brain power to write. 

Today's song:

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Theatre Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream

 The Play: A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Company: Bell Shakespeare

The Space: The Fairfax Studio at the Arts Centre

Stars: 4.5 (the point five is for The Wall.)

Until 11 May

Tonight was one of those nights where I can truly say I love my life. Great company, a quick dinner at Movida Next Door, patatas bravas, a gin and tonic and some Shakespeare. It does not get better than this. 

Add to this a day at work where we talked about the music of Icehouse, popping home quickly to feed the cat and dump my backpack - and then, a definitive win by the Crows, the day - how much better can a day get? 

(If you could feed me patatas bravas regularly and I would marry you. Add Shakespeare to the mix and I am yours forever.)

My friend Millie, who was at a loose end, agreed to join me in this school night jaunt to the theatre. She said that she hadn't exposure to Shakespeare but was willing to give it a go. As an entry point to Shakespeare, this silly little play about fairies, Athenian lovers and a troupe of incompetent actors is perfect. Light, silly, fun and really, if you're a bit worried about the language, you shouldn't be. 

What I love about Bell Shakespeare is they take what can be seen as banal and they bring it to life in an inventive way. They've been doing this for over a quarter of a century. 

This troupe of eight players played multiple roles across the play as they fairly divided the Athenians from the Fairy Folk to the players. Peter Evans direction is near flawless as he brings a menace to Oberon (Richard Pyros), a sense of hopelessness and agro in Hermia (Ahunim Abebe) a languid air to Titania, who doubled as a very sensible Peter Quince (Imogen Sage), and one of the best Bottoms I've seen in a long time. (Matu Ngaropo). Please take that as read. Bottom is a character. Not a lifestyle preference. 

I also enjoyed the androgynous Puck, played by non-binary actor, Ella Prince. In the last few theatre-based Midsummer Night's Dreams I've seen; Puck has often been portrayed by a gender-neutral/non-binary actor. The role lends itself to this, and Prince's otherworldly appearance and fluid physicality lend bring the role to life. 

Set in what looks like a derelict attic, the actors came in and out, happily moving between characters with the change of a coat. The set is climbed over, used as a bower, tree branches and a climbing frame, which keeps the audience on their toes.  

As always, the Bell Shakespeare as some of the best footwear found on the Australian stage. 

And the most wonderful thing about this production? It has to be the play within a play, where the hapless players bring out the story of Pyramus and Thisbe to the Athenians. I heard somebody behind me say that in 400 years, nothing funnier has been written. They've done this so well. That good that dear Bottom, once dead as Pyramus, was quietly choking on his own laughter. Yes, it's silly. But that's why you go to see this. And of course, there is the Wall. The Wall is perfect. 

If you know, you know. 

This cast is taking this to Canberra and Darwin after they finish up here in Melbourne. 

Bell Shakespeare has done what they do best. Bring thought-provoking, fun, interesting Shakespeare to the masses. 

For me, it was a part of a very enjoyable night out. 

Today's song: