Ten 'Famous' People I Have Spoken to at Work.
1. Jackie Chan.
2. John Burgess.
3. Robert Redtford.
4. Delta Goodram.
5. Jesus Christ.
6. Dolly PBarton.
7. Alexander Bell (middle name not known!).
8. Morgan Freeman.
Ten Non-Standard (To Me) Names Used in Two Books On My Reading Pile At The Same Time.
1. Hiro: Japanese in origin, it usually means something along the lines of large, abundant or generous. Protagonist in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash; the little thief king on the island in Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things.
* This list is inspired, as usual, by something I read. (Reading possibly keeps me from doing some of the rest of life, but it does give me a good scrabble vocabulary). Someone was talking about the Bluebird of Death. This is what this list is for—rethinking the staid, upping the metaphor, breathing life into the cannon. (Good luck with it!)
1. Using a large wad of paper towel as a plug for the kitchen sink.
Reasons this is odd:
There is a plug in the bathroom—just ask.
You know you are not allowed to do dishes in someone else's house—offering is lovely but the offer has to be hollow (but not sound it).
You know about the wet paper phobia I have and the possible reaction that will ensue when I rush in to stop you washing the dishes and touch the aforementioned wad. Eeuouw. That is so gross.
2. Being a 'Large Load' outside a person's window.
Reasons this is odd:
People are not large loads.
Walking up and down outside someone's window at about four am, when it's dark and you are not actually expected for quite a few minutes more is a guaranteed way to scare the majority of their wits away for an extended time.
Ten Proofs-Positive That They are Making it All Up.
* There is a theory about my work that is very complicated. Try to stay with me here. We get paid by incoming call. To raise revenue, there are a group of people, hardly ever seen, who work from a back room in our building, whose job it is to make 'calls' to us that are basically just too ridiculous to be real. The jobs are so ridiculous that when they get to the people at the frontline they just cancel them and so 'real' jobs are not jeopardised. To justify themselves to management, thi group also performs a sort of training role. For this purpose there are microphones and cameras hidden in the backs of the white phones on our desks, thus pointing to the next desk around the pod. When you exacerbate about doing something wrong, they send you calls over and over for the same thing until you get it right, Also, they use these for inspiration for the jobs they have to make up: it is this latter influence that proves their existence and is catalogued forthwith. This is not a paranoid fantasy: It is too real for words. Here are the words anyway.
1. One day we were ridiculising about a white fluffy car called a Holden Merino. On a call close by I then heard someone saying 'There is no such car as a Holden Merino'. See?
2. We were talking about Max Brenner's hot chocolates in South Melbourne. My next job was on the corner of Clarendon and Dorset in South Melbourne. 'Outside Max Brenner's?' I asked. 'Exactly!' said the caller. Ha, ha, see?
3. After a discussion of the correct spelling of 'graffiti', my job list ran like this. Sus loiter, graffitiing something. Domestic, one party making rude graffiti about the other. Erratic driver, graffiti on his car. My house got graffitied last night. And so on. Are you getting this?
1. RIP Bodhi—you were the Best!
2. Bouncy Bodhi Boing! I will never forget you. D.
3. Bodhi was a beautiful dog as are all dogs. 'Dogs are the best people'.
4. 2010: Clean Slate. (Now 20101)
5. And Beyond
6. And they called her Lolli-pop.
7. Kellogs Corn Flakes and Milk. 'Yummy'.
8. Sore Back, Eek! }Play the violin for V——.
9. EEK equals Estonian Kroon.
10. B——, Charlie and Lolli are lovely ladies.
Ten Bruises Sustained in the Pursuit of the Perfect Kayak Outing.
1. Large back of the knee bruise from the attempt to perfect mounting the vessel.
2. This will sound rude, but in the pursuit of the above, a bruise to the hoo-haa. The boat moved at an inopportune moment.
3. A very small upper arm bruise: God only knows how it was sustained. It may be a sensitive spot as a similar bruise has subsequently appeared after a no-reason for it outing to a water slide park.
4. An extraordinarily large and incessantly painful and restricting bruise to the backside sustained when falling over in the tumultuous waters and landing on an exposed rock.
5. A twice-knocked killer to the shin. Technically you could possibly say this bruise if the result of an inability to learn a lesson. It was twice done as twice I stood on the shore side of a wave carried boat. I can say that lesson is now well learned.
Ten Books That Refer to Other Books That I Am, or Recently Did, or Soon Will Read.
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon) refers to James Gleick's Chaos: Making a New Science.
2. Peter Robinson's A Necessary End, refers to another book in my reading pile, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.
3. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson makes a reference to Tolstoy's War and Peace.
4. Ripper by Isabel Allende references my recently finished read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Great book(s).
Ten Time Random People are Singing the Theme for the Odd Couple—What is Going on?
1. Someone was singing about it at B——'s work. This was the catalyst.
2. Someone at a bus stop was humming it.
3. A guy at work was singing it on the phones.
4. A trainer at work was humming it on the couch.
5. They were whistling it on Will and Grace.
1. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk: This is not so much a plot error as a mistake (and unfortunately my copy of this text does seem to have quite a few editing errors of the sort that in film we would call continuity). Madison gets lifted up from a desert of finger and toe nail parings by a monster, with that monster's hope of eating her. She has her arms pinned against her body, but when she reaches the monster's mouth she is able to brace herself with hands against top lip and feet against bottom. This is a King Kong kind of grip the monster has. How did she free her arms?
Ten People I Could Be Next Year if I Do an Obsession a Month Blog.
1. A Goth.
2. A Cowboy.
3. A Mod.
4. A Burlesque Girl (a la mode de Dita von Teese).
5. Fringe Cool. This is a mode d'etre that I developed for being cool in a way that wasn't. It was what I considered myself and my friends to be. We were into knitting and clothing that was so old that it was almost new again. Problem was, we were also so old that we were new again and now everyone is Fringe Cool. Fringe Cool is environmental, it is op-shop, it is daggy, it is literary. now to be Fringe Cool, we just have to be actual cool. This was the closest I came to an identity based obsession without a blog project. Now to be Fringe Cool I will have to be something that is weirdly alien to me even though I was it before. It's all a little odd.
6. A Beatnik Poet.
Ten Groups of Road Names on a Theme Found in the Melways.
1. In Avondale Heights there is an enclave of famous beach locations: Cannes, San Remo, Capri, Venice, Monte Carlo. Sounds nice. Avondale Heights is a tab away from the beach.
2. In Gowenbrae we have a forest of English flowers: bluebells and daffodils, irises, roses, lilac and primroses, even some clover. 16 D2
3. In Melton there are the race horses, and not just any—Melbourne Cup winners: Kingston Rule, Black Knight, Wodalla, Light Fingers, Jeune and Tawriffic. The last is always fun to spell when you're trying to find someone's emergency! 336 K5
4. Doncaster has a range of Australia trees. It's a biological learning expedition to drive around there. 33 A10
5. On the other hand Doncaster has gone for some Mythological characters. It's all a bit cerebral in that 'burb. 33 A10
6. I'm thinking they like themes. And all that learning needs a relief, so Doncaster also comes with a range of wines. 33 A10 (ish)
7. In Mont Albert you can literally walk the ways of the Saints. 75A F5
8. In a postmodern move, the street names in the town of Craigieburn are named ofter towns in South West England which all have a street named Craigieburn in them. Just kidding, any links appear tenuous. 386 G11
Ten Things I Have Learned About myself from Free Internet Quizzes.
* Courtesy of http://quizfarm.com/ (but beware, these are crazy people—again! Crazy people seem to surround me. Its a little odd.)
1. My name is most likely to be Kelton, Sam, Peyton, Bill or Laura.
2. My heart is Blue.
3. I am likely to die in Middle Age—forty plus actually, so anytime now. Better make the most.
4. To the Cullens I smell like spearmint.
5. I am an above average Buffy fanatic. Duh! Everyone knows that.
Ten 'Guesses' That Come Up in the Drop-Down Box When You Put an 's' for 'Stasis' in the Dictionary.com Toolbar Search Box.
1. Scooby Doo: Curse of the Lake Monster. I suppose the dynamic forces between Shaggy and Scooby Doo don't change. Stasis.
2. Sarah Butler. Who? Oh, okay, thanks Google. An actress. Seems like she likes horror movies. Can't see the stasis here.
1. Fix cars/bikes. Then I wouldn't have to go to the mechanics. I would think semi-seriously about getting back on the station wagon. Or at least either my Vespa, or a diesel mini coupe.
2. Make shoes. I think it would be the end of my academic career. At this point in time I don't a thing in the world wrong with that.
3. Self-diagnose and self-treat all my own illnesses and surgeries. I am getting there with Dr Google. Worked out I have gall bladder issues, and B— doesn't have appendicitis. I am thinking of removing my cancerous moles next weekend.
4. Speak French. Of course, if I make shoes this will not be needed. But if I go ahead with the PhD, then French will be helpful for the project I have in mind. (Secrecy maintained for upcoming list regarding possible PhD topics.)
Ten Things The Media Has Ruined By Telling Everyone About It.
* Luckily I have only a handful of readers. Otherwise, I would ironically be doing the same thing as the media by further advertising these secret fabulous things that I don't want to be one of a hundred million people attending.
* See the options at My Wishlist on http://shop.irregularchoice.com/shop/wishlist/43596/?seal=2c45471b2dbf8bddbf3f447d65cbf34c
1. Little Fish: Orange/Red. Votes: I
2. Sweet As: Gold. Votes: I
3. Sweet Tatties: Black. Votes: I (Update: Have replaced these with the outrageous Shoes Special! They're Out of Stock and price TBC—they are from the Sadlers Wells stage show, in the 'Violently Come Dancing' scene. IC are currently taking votes to see if they will produce them for consumers. I've voted.)
4. Magic Pony: Red. Votes: IIIII
5. Hopscotch Heave: Navy and Pink. Votes: I
6. You're a Star: Metallic Green. Votes: I
7. Tickling Loris: Blue. Votes: I (Update: Size 37 Out of Stock. Disaster. Although no-one is voting for them, this pair is high on my own list. I have added Size 36 to the wishlist, but will need to bug them for measurements. Hopefully they fall in the too big 37s and a 36 will work better anyway. Fingers crossed.)
8. Ball and Chain: Blue. Votes: IIII
9. I'm in Vegas: Metallic Green. Votes: III
10. Country Bumpkin: Blue. Votes: III
* I have a cold, I'm at the computer doing this $%#@ thesis, I've got an email full of capital letter comments about how bad this %$#^ thesis is, I am fulled with the essence of futility, and I don't even have time to feel futile. Could the day have been worse? I dare say so.
* For the next few days you will notice initials besides the titles. At work, when, or more likely if but don't start me on this track because I will fill the blog on the inequities of this system, you are granted a holiday over and above the alloted allowance, you get the initial of the team leader or centre manager who has granted you this reprieve. The reprieve granted by my initialled work colleagues is from coming up with a top ten list title for the day. Thank you to all my (happy, willing, eager?) contributors.
1. September 9th: Showers, 11-18. Actual weather: Showers, 9.1-18.3.
2. September 10th: Rain and Thunder, 10-16. Actual weather: Little rain, no thunder (damn), 9.4-14.4.
3. September 11th: Cloudy and Showers, 9-17. Actual weather: Cloudy, no Showers, 8.5-18.5.
4. September 12th: Cloudy and Showers, 8-19. Actual weather: Cloudy and Showers, 10.5-16.5.
5. September 13th: Showers, 9-14. Actual weather: Cloudy, No Showers, 10.9-15.5.
6. September 14th: Possible Showers, 7-16. Actual weather: Sunny with Occasional Cloud, 6.4-15.6.
7. September 15th: Showers, 9-17. Actual weather: No Showers, 9.4-16.5.
8. September 16th: Cloudy, 8-18. Actual weather: Cloudy, 8.4-14.9.
9. September 17th: Partly Cloudy, Building, 8-17. Actual weather: Cloudy, 8.7-14.9.
10. September 18th: Possible Showers, Partly Cloudy, 8-17. Actual weather: Showers, Cloudy 10.1-17.
The Weather Bureau doesn't altogether suck after all. Maybe it is not that they get it wrong, maybe it's just that we don't like what they have to say.
* Have you ever just kept clicking the 'Next Blog' button? You have to do it on different days because otherwise you would think that every other blog in the universe is about someone's child. They seem to be in thematic order. It makes me wonder what my blog comes up amongst. This 'Next Blog' adventure started in South America until the 'Next Blog' disappeared, then went back to families. Are these kids going to appreciate their parents hard work when they are older and nothing can be removed form the infinite memory of cyberspace?
Ten Cocktails-of-the-Week From The Age M Magazine; When I Made Them; and How They Tasted.
1. Wrong Island Iced Tea; Pause Bar; Kalhua, Cachaca, Drambuie, Franjelico, dark rum, fresh lime and orange zest, topped with ginger beer. (Wrong Island is the right island for me!). Not yet tested.
2. Passionate Kiss; High Society Cocktail Bar; Sparkling wine, passionfruit, raspberries, Chambord. Not yet tested.
3. Blood Orange Mojito; The Collective; z60mls of Bacardi, muddled lime, blood orange, mint and sugar syrup over ice. Yum. Not yet tasted.
Ten Places I Would Like to be After Seeing Inception.
1. Back in Gold Class. I could live in Gold Class. All they need is a shower, but all other necessities of life are there. I could possibly even plug in my laptop and write my thesis in the space between movies.
2. Tokyo. The wide lens pans of the cities in this movie were extraordinary. They made me want to go. Somehow they looked whiter, and cleaner as well. They should do all tourism ads like that. Although then there would be so many places that I would want to go that I would never get anywhere.
Ten of my Sartorial Mentors.
1. The entity that is both Sarah Jessica Parker and Carrie Bradshaw. I love them both and they think they feed from each other. I love her quirky style. She is the one-of-the-four I want to be!
* This list suggestion and the next were kindly donated by A——. Thanks, it is certainly starting to get difficult to come up with something new everyday. A different perspective reminds me it doesn't have to be so obtuse—and I'll probably be able to get ten things down here!
Ten Pros and Cons of Having no Discernible Prime Minister.
1. It's like being at home when your parents have gone out. No body is running the joint! Anarchy! Yay!
2. It's a nice break to have nobody to dislike on the highest level. Seems to filter down to the layers below—you can like everyone for a while, until you have to take a phone call at work. Then it's 'bloody people'. Then 'bloody managers'. And then 'their bloody managers'; 'the government'; then ... Which takes me to:
3. It's not so good to have no one to blame on the highest level. You are left hanging with no discernable link between government and 'God'.
4. It's good to have nobody embarrasing us on a global scale. As I get older, the PM's seem to get younger and they seem to look very silly next to more serious and important seeming Heads of State from other places. And this is when I think I am getting to the place where I don't care what other people think.
1. Schuh 'Max Cleat' Lace Boot.
2. Iron Fist 'Love Fast Die Young' Platform Mary-Jane.
3. Doc Martens Lilac '1460' Boot.
4. Iron Fist 'Oh No Eyeball' Peeptoe Platform.
5. Hush Puppies (Eek, I can't believe I just said that) 'Lola Shoeperstar' T-Bar Heel.
6. Red or Dead Patent 'Cha Cha', Red (of course).
7. Converse All Star XX Hi.
8. Catepillar 'Jodie' Boot.
9. Iron Fist Limited Edition 'Zombie Stomper' Platform.
10 Louboutin (from ICL site: do not believe they are real from the very bad english, but they are cheap) Pique 140 Platform Sandals.
1. Because I won't commit to it.
2. Because I choose not to exercise my most important muscle, will power.
3. Because I like fake food more than real food: sour peaches rather than peaches with a pip, salami rather than a lean chicken breast, raspberry cheesecake yoghurt rather than low fat greek yoghurt with raspberries.
4. Because I have lovely, generous, amazing friends who shower me with sweet gifts (and then I eat them).
5. Because I shower myself with sweet gifts (and don't hesitate to eat them).
6. Because I haven't found an exercise I like (beside walking through England with a backpack, which is both a great exercise because you can still eat, and unsustainable).
7. Because I still think that eating makes me feel happy.
8. Because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. I don't actually know if I do, but I do have a relative with it, a family history of diabetes, a fat tummy and hairs (two) on my big toes. I think I am clutching at straws.
9. Because tomorrow doesn't ever come—they were right about that.
10. Because I have high and mighty opinions about why its bad to eat low fat and sugar free things. I think I will maintain those forever though—I just have to avoid the other, high fact, high sugar extreme.
Ten People I Would Have Preferred to See on My Ballot Paper Today at Pre-Voting Voting.
1. Richard Branson. I'd like to see some entrepreneurial business men up there instead of the staid ones—imagine what creative concepts he could come up with. Yes, he has had some massive failures, but its also what makes him successful. Yes, he offers an opposition to the 'big guys', that's a good thing. The only concern someone raised when we were chatting about this was what would happen to all the ugly people?
1. I love socks with high-heels. I am so looking forward to trying it. I wore some socks with my Nolita Honeys one day but was too nervous and so it didn't work. Fashion working is a psychological thing—to a point.
2. Shorts and stockings. Yes, maybe it's an excuse to wear shorts when you have, shall we say, 'older' legs. But, who cares. They just have to be funky stockings.
1. The Northern or Southern Lights (again). Good chance with the recent sun explosions at the moment—have to keep my eyes peeled.
2.Australian Roll Cloud. Port Douglas did not deliver as I hoped she would. Means I will have to visit FNQ again—damn!
3. Water in Lake Eyre and hundreds of millions of birds visiting.
4. An Ice Storm—or its after effects.
5. Tierra Del Fuego—just coz it's so far away.
6. The fjords of Scandanavia—top to bottom.
7. The deserts of the United States: Mojave, Painted, Death Valley, to name a couple.
8. Mt Kilimanjaro and the migration.
9. Monarch butterflies, big Sur and Californian Redwoods.
10. Hot springs in Japan in the middle of winter.
Ten Reasons Methinks I am an Over-achiever—or an Over-aimer at Least.
1. I was seriously unhappy when I received a ‘Good’ for ‘Appearance’ in my annual review. The reason that was given was that someone who wears gumboots to work can’t be seen as professionally ‘Excellent’. But now I think about it, I only wear them on free dress day, when others wear sneakers and items of clothing far less funky … ultimately, I’m still not happy with that ‘Good’.
2. I still, to this day get sad when I look at my University transcript and see that one C. It mars all the other D’s (not overly happy) and HD’s (okay).
3. I was upset when there was criticism over my semi-colon use in the editing of my final draft of my thesis. I seemed oblivious to the fact that there was hardly any criticism of the actually things being said. I like semi-colons.
1. Gramma. I really like this but it isn't meeting with possible consensus. There is debate whether is sounds too formal for a puppster who may be a bit 'bogan-y'; too much like Grandma. My theory is that I love punctuation, but that is a silly name, and although Bodhi was the perfect comma, maybe this lass won't lie down in a punctuation mark.
2. Paisley. I still like it. She has funny back legs that look like paisleys—they also look like inverted commas come to think of it.
3. Tuesday. This along with September are the names I would have given my girls if I ever had children. There is no reason why they should go to waste.
4. Cydney. I like the shortening to Cyd. It has an old Hollywood feel. It is also the heroine of the best romantic comedy of all time. The association with my home city's rival is a little bit of a stickler though.
5. Summa. She is sunshiny. She also has a warm, reddish coat.
6. Augusta (aka Augie). August for her time to come to us, also possibly her birthday seeing as she is described as one year old. There is something nice about the sound of Augie. It also means there is an A, B, C to Four P——.
7. Olive. I like it when dogs have ordinary people's names. She seems quite like an Olive to me.
8. Persia. Another aurally pleasing word—I love the 'sja' sound. Exotic too.
9. Helen. I know you made fun of it, but in a way Helen is a great name for a beautiful lady, a lady whose face launched a thousand ships.
10. Tree. My first cat's name was Tail. It has a lovely simplicity, an intrinsic connection, and an alluring abstraction about it.
The final decision: Via a dog named Sandwiches, in a book about Staffordshire: Lollipop.
Ten Alternate Modes of Travel/Commuting—Food for Thought.
1. Roller skating or blading. I saw a man doing it up a mountain in Switzerland but I don’t trust my stopping abilities. I think old-style carhop skating in the States would be a good option—especially all kitted up. In fact I like the idea a lot.
2. Canoeing. Seeing as I am a tad bad at getting back in if I can’t touch the bottom, skirting around islands, countries or continents may be the way to go here.
3. Pogo Stick. I am not one hundred per cent convinced this will ever happen, but I see myself doing it a more mountainous type of an area. Also somewhere wacky. The Netherlands and Belgium would score on one of those criterions, Japan on both.
4. Random, next available public transport option. Seeing as this is random and unplanable, there is no geographical boundary. Start at home, and hope you don’t come across visa issues.
5. Uni-cycle. I think this mode of transport would work well for countries where Circus is big: Australia, Canada, Russia.
6. Thematically. Follow a story, an author or an obsession. It’s not a new idea; the key is to just come up with a new not-a-new-idea to follow.
7. Alphabetically. Travel to a country and then go to all the towns that start with the letter it starts with; a letter of your own choosing; alphabetically; whose first letters spell your name; whose third letters spell out War and Peace—make up your own alphabetical rules.
1. Angels and Demons; Dan Brown.
2. Auto de Fay; Fay Weldon.
3. Deadly Decisions; Kathy Reichs.
4. Fairyland; Sumner Locke Elliot.
5. Gallows View; Peter Robinson.
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Steig Larsson.
7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; JK Rowling.
8. House of Sand and Fog; Andre Dubus III.
1. Her honesty
2. Her Beautiful soul
3. Her humour
4. Her wackiness
5. Her shoe collection
6. Her book collection
7. Her scopa playing ability
8. Her cooking ability
9. Her analytical skills
10. Her compassion and understanding.
Ten Monologues a Certain Person Starting With V is Mildly Obsessed With Performing.
1. The infinity of space, the immense size of space and it unfathomable emptiness.
2. The importance of living for the Now.
3. Part-less particles—do not start, don’t ask, don’t even look vaguely interested.
4. Why young girls smoke. Ask him to do his smoking imitation—it’s uncanny for someone who doesn’t smoke. Someone has been awfully vigilant in their awareness of the habits of others.
5. ‘I was waiting at the lights on a one way street and this woman turns into the street the wrong way. She had to mount the curb to get past me. I rolled the window down: I just wanted to tell her in case she didn’t realise. I said, “Did you realise that this is a one-way street?” I wasn’t shouting; I wasn’t rude. And you know what she said, and she said it like this, “Fuck off” (normal volume, slowly enunciated, upward inflection on the end). “Fuck off.” Just like that, and she carries on driving. Just like that: “Fuck off.”’
6. ‘When he started working we all called him X, that’s what it said on his application form. Then one day I am speaking to him and he’s ignoring me. Eventually he turns around and says: “My name’s Y not X”. It was always X; where did Y come from? One day he was X and now he is Y. I don’t understand.
1. Put everything behind three glass sliding doors which work in such a way that when someone opens one door, it blocks access for the other two and slows down the whole breakfast Congo line.
2. Make him a very weak latte.
3. Have breakfast with other people who hog, selfishly and without merit, the whole six slice toaster for two slices of toast.
* I'll leave it up to your semantic interpretation as to whether it is the ice-cream flavours or the ice-cream factories that don't exist.
1. Carrot Cake. With carrot, cream cheese, lemon and walnuts.
2. Jam Donut. Not what you think, this isnt a matter of going to the South Melbourne Market, getting a couple of donuts, dunking them in cream and freezing them. Rather this is Baileys and Chambord swirls in a vanilla ice-cream. Named after the shooter (the drink not the gunman).
3. Bouquet. Mix vanilla ice-cream with you favourite edible flowers. I rather fancy rose, impatiens and fuchsia ice-cream.
4. Beer and beer nut ice cream.
5. Tequila, lime and the tequila worm.
6. Red bull gelato.
7. Beetroot. Great colour.
8. Caramel popcorn—although probably need to eat it quickly so it doesn’t lose its texture.
9. Sherbet bombs. The sherbet in little crackling parcels so there is a little explosion when you chew (if you can chew ice cream that is)—like that magic fizzing, crackling stuff you used to have as a child.
10. Fudge and rock salt. Make the ice cream sweet and fudgey and then have the salt as solid pieces so there is the shock of the salty crunch that offsets any sickly sweetness.
2. Sand castles made with household appliances.
3. Writing in the sand.
4. iSpy—written in the current penchant for the little ‘i’ and large next letter to make it seem like a funky new version of an age-old game.
5. Making up stories about other beach users.
6. Making seaweed daisy-chains.
7. Sorting starfish into colour-coded pools, only to come out the next day and find the poor things have wandered slowly back to their original pools.
8. Waterside theatre: bring your Shakespeare or your Byron or your own prosings or poetings and entertain your fellow beachgoers. I am sure they will be appreciative.
9. Try to emulate the sand sculptures at Docklands or Franger. We used to do a fairly good racing car in our days, a sort-of Herbie-like vehicle with number in a round disk that you could climb into and drive. It would take hours.
10. Message Frisbee, or, Tell-a-Tale Frisbee. People write a note or a message or the next line of a story on a piece of paper taped inside a Frisbee, and then throw it on down the beach.
1. The weather—perpetual warmth will drive me crazy.
2. The moisture—my clothes and shoes and books and furniture and bread with get mouldy.
3. Can I take police calls from up there?
4. Why is it SO cheap? Built on a marsh? In the migration flight path of Dengue Fever carrying mosquitoes? Have to hand the lease back in three years’ time?
5. Good entry point into the market—unless, of course, any of the options in number four are true.
6. Can I live in such a small space?
7. Do they allow dogs?
8. Queensland politics, culture, coffee. Not sure if I can cope. It’s just not Melbourne.
9. Tourists. Pro: Rent it out. Cons: They’re there.
10. Technically, you would be closer to the rest of the world; practically, you’d be further away.
1. Shop for perfumes at Duty Free.
2. Facilitate a quick escape from Immigration.
3. Clean my teeth.
4. Use a loo that doesn’t have undefined or undefinable spills on the floor.
5. Try to locate where my poles will come out in the luggage area.
6. Hope my boy is out there—otherwise surprise him in our room.
8. Stretch and hope that a clot doesn’t come off the feeling in my leg and travel to my heart of brain—and if it has to do one could it please go to my heart because I would rather go out gracefully with a heart attack.
9. Shower off the plane fug.
1. There are eighty-eight rows—just on the bottom level.
2. Unlike every other Emirates flight I have taken on this holiday, I could put my feet flat on the floor instead of just balancing one foot precariously on top of the other in its tippy-toe position.
3. Thousands (nearly) of movies.
4. The cool factor. How much street cred’ have I received from airplane aficionados over my flight on this plane?
5. The wow factor. How on earth can this thing ever take off from the ground?
6. It is all new and shiny—and not the shiny you get when too many heads have rubbed against a surface.
7. A modicum of extra leg room.
8. If you want to stretch your legs, you can walk for miles.
9. There is a thrill, as the plane thunders down the runway, as to whether we will ever actually get off the ground.
10. The time taken to reach cruising altitude is forever, you can have the feeling of climbing and climbing ‘til infinity.
Ten London Shops I Had to Run Screaming From Due to Extreme Busyness.
1. … and most scaringly, Irregular Choice. I didn’t, to my eternal disappointment, really get to properly try on my shoes in leisure. It was a combination of too busy and too excited. Now I don’t fit into them all. This is a lesson both well and hard learnt.
2. Primark. I seem to have this reaction every time in Primark. I really cannot get out of there fast enough. It’s a combination of too many people and too much stuff—an assault of the senses.
3. Schuh. Wow. I wish I could have attended on a day when there was no-one there. They had a million fabulous brands on schuh on display, including Irregular Choice. I actually did try on—properly—and buy a pair of IC’s from there.
4. Zara. The normally sedate and stylish(ish) store, in Sale Time, is no different from any other place of insanity along Oxford Street. Too busy to look at anything if you are not a die-hard shopper with a suit of emotional shopping armour.
5. Accessorize. It’s hard when the store is busy, but what about when it is three meters by one meter with a staircase into a basement. And I think it had a comparable number of people in it, regardless.
6. Waterstone’s. This was an unexpectedly quieter (by comparison) shopping experience and I even bought something (a Marquis de Sade, which in turn I was too nervous to actually take on the plane—not sure why).
7. John Lewis Department Store. Eek. Although the anonymousness of the department store is always an easier experience.
1. Sun dog. That is so-o-ooo-oo exiting.
2. A thousand stunning cumuli.
3. Stratocumulus—of course, when don’t you when on holiday in summer in Europe.
4. Beautiful fishbone cirrus.
6. Duplicatus: not surprising with all the different winds whipping things up.
7. Contrails to and from one of the world’s busiest airports.
8. Crepuscular rays.
10. Fibratus. (Should have photographed, it’s missing from the collection—same applied for the sun dog, but that requires having camera at the ready twenty-four/seven).
* For more details of any given memory on this list, you could check out my other blog, ‘LeJog’, but in the spirit of my blogs, the one you actually want to look into may be ‘Under Construction’.
1. Lots and lots of cute dogs and their fanatical owners.
2. Saving the sheep from the Montgomery Canal.
3. Walking along the Ridge. Amazing to be up over the rest of the world in a country of fifty-odd million people and feel (almost) alone.
4. The canals. I am a canal and a canal boat kind-a girl. Plus, on the walking side, it’s lovely and flat.
5. Lots of fabulous and mad road trips with A——.
6. Chatting to people along the way. One, it gets me out of my comfort zone, and two, it is a little empowering to explain your exploits. It makes you feel a little good about yourself.
7. Walking around the city walls of Chester and rhino-spotting. It was a great walk although having a little more fuel would have been a good idea.
8. The Another Place artwork. The space made it so amazing. I would have loved to be able to see the emergence of the figures from the water but I didn’t have/make time. To me the wind farm in the background and the busy shipping channel between the two made it a complete work. The farm and the ships—inorganic forms—moved while the human, organic forms stayed still and watched. It was moving.
9. Getting happy at the Cavern Club. I did have a momentary eek moment when I troddled out onto the street in a tipsy condition and couldn’t quite work out what direction the hotel was in. It was tipsy enough to require pizza.
10. Pushing myself up some of those crazy hills, with an arguably heavier pack, a no-need-to-argue worse ankle, a million and three horsefly bites, to get to four hundred and one point five kilometers.
Ten 'Another Place' Men, Their Stories, and How They Ended Up On Crosby Beach.
1. Shawn: One morning, very early, Shawn’s neighbours started pouring concrete. The trucks beeped as they backed up, the workman chatted and laughed over their Styrofoam lattes, a car radio played the Bangle’s ‘Manic Monday’. There was no reason to stay in bed—sleep was long gone—and so Shawn walked down to the Esplanade and stood in the sand looking out to the windmills and the freighters sliding into the river mouth, Liverpool-bound. His tiredness seeped from his body into the sand and sleep came forever.
2. John: John is eighty-three. He used to live around here somewhere—it is just really difficult to put his finger on where exactly. He remembers his mother walking with him across the sands to reach the water so it must be one of the houses he can see through the dunes: candy-coloured, gingerbread houses that all seem to miss just one memory that would otherwise make it his own. Today, when Nurse got distracted by Yvonne’s complaints about haemorrhoids or bed-sores or gout or whatever her ailment-de-jour was, John walked quietly through the door and made his way to the beach. Now he turns his back on the not-quite-right houses and stares out to see instead. Eventually they will find him and take him back, but for the minute he has the breeze in his face and his mother’s laugh in the lapping waves.
1. The accents.
2. People are so nice. They are everywhere else in the UK, but for some reason (like the people who warn you to not take your eyes off your shoes in Liverpool, or you’ll lose them) you don’t expect them to be here.
3. The Cavern Club. It is so, so kewl. Great atmosphere, music, history, and you even feel okay to be there on my own-some.
4. The Tate. They had a couple of great exhibits at the time I visited: a sculpture exhibition put on in these vibrantly colourful rooms and a media artwork where a group of scouser(check) kids were being filmed in their reaction to Picasso’s Weeping Woman. They were both quite awesome.
5. The breadth of architecture—especially along the waterfront where amazing Victorian buildings with outlandish statuary mixed with modern architecture and juxtaposed with the Act Deco tunnel buildings.
6. The docks. I love boat-y areas of the world, and Liverpool’s has lots of charm (in town at any rate—walking out the next day along the river was a mix of sparkles and not). It beats our very own Docklands with its utilisation of existing buildings rather than all new. It has personality.
7. By extension—the river. Oh, fer-ry, ‘cross the Mer-sey … It’s a living legend in a way.
8. My room. Jury’s Inn down by the docks. This is personal but it made the stay even more fun. It was fancy, funky, huge and had an amazing view where I could lie on my bed and watch the Liverpool Eye out of my window. Hopefully they couldn’t watch me back.
9. Cains FA. The FA stands for Formidable Ale. It was. I had two at the Cavern Club—went down a treat.
10. The Lambananas. Eh? Apparently a Japanese artist made one to commemorate the cross trading between Japan and Liverpool—bananas for lamb. It is in effect a banana with a lamb’s head and legs. Liverpool did the same as Bath with its lions and Chester with its rhinos and had decorated Lambananas all around town. The city bought a few and they decorate parts of town permanently now.
1. They park on either side of the road, all higgledy-piggledy.
2. They memorise who arrived at the bus stop and in what order and then they board the bus accordingly.
3. They universally all own terrible shoes—and, unfortunately, they wear them.
4. They actively train their landlords (of pubs not rental properties). There is a strange importance to the customer being right that usurps the ownership of a business. This is exacerbated by the landlord often being from somewhere else. The work required for a landlord to be accepted in the countryside seems monumental.
5. They almost all seem to have some sort of obsession that occupies their leisure time: dogs, trains, Roman History, tanning, canals …
6. They still believe they are the head of a mighty empire. Look at their recent offer to absorb Ireland back into the fold because \of the latter’s financial crisis.
7. They chat to everyone—EVERYONE—on trains, buses, sidewalks, walking paths, hotels, public bathrooms, public spaces—everywhere.
8. They have the same relationship with dentists as I do. And teeth to match.
9. They are ever so nice, civil and wonderfully polite. Well, just some of them. It’s more noticeable in the country because the country has been washed over by the grey wave or retirees. Rudeness still occurs in cities—or London at least.
10. They need a license to have a TV. Can you imagine the test? Is there a written and a practical test? Does the guy from the license issuing centre come down and sit beside you on the couch while you try to operate the remote control?
1. Climbing Stairs outside of Hergen, just after getting lost in a field that, unlike fields are supposed to be (ie. flat), was on a forty-five degree angle to the earth. Hence the forced smile.
2. Scaring sheep in Forden I. As opposed to scared sheep everywhere else in the country. The wearing of rain gear was a great way to keep the rain from actually falling from the sky.
3. Communing with cattle along the Severn River. I was actually petrified because the cattle were on the bull side of cow.
4. Amongst giant leaves along the Montgomery Canal. I was running late and the real ‘where I was’ was actually in a lovely backyard of a café eating cakes and drinking coffee—that would have been a nice photo. This one is an example of the politician chin extension.
5. Relieved after trying to get out of a farm near Halghton Lodge. It was one of those things where the path disappears and you end up alongside someone’s bathroom window unable to work out how on earth you will get out of their property. It is nerve wracking. Can you tell it from my fuzzy face?
6. Lazing in the grass beside the River Dee. This was a lovely walking day. The walking was enjoyable, the scenery lovely, the track off road for the most part, and I was looking forward to being able to have the afternoon off. A break in the walk involved having a lie in the grass. I can’t complain.
7. Cup of tea at Ellesmere Port. (Re-enactment) No one could contemplate the idea that I was walking to Liverpool. It was at least ten or fourteen miles to go! Okay, may not make it then seeing as I have already come three hundred odd.
8. Eating lemon brulee in a café in Liverpool. (Re-enactment) Lucky I could eventually get someone to serve me!
9. Amongst the crowd at the Highton pub. (Re-enactment) This was weird. One minute I was waiting at the pub for it to open; the next there were eight hundred other people also waiting. The food was not that good!
10. Waiting for a train at Liverpool Railway Station. (Re-enactment) I’m done. Wow. That was hard work. Need to check what is happening with my ankle and make sure my pack is a lot, lot lighter next time.
4. 12. (Can you tell this is the day I got off the Offa's Dyke Path?)
10. 1. (Kissing gate to nowhere on the outside of Liverpool Lime Street Station).
1. Fearful (for 93 per cent of sheep this is the naturally occurring expressions).
2. Regurgitative (but always in a polite manner—they chew, or re-chew, with their mouths closed).
3. Alien bug-eyed (they do have odd bug irised eyes, admit it).
4. Angelic (it may be a need to burp).
5. Ungrateful (there is one main rescued sheep I have in mind here).
6. Demonic (sometimes they just look mean).
7. Surprised (that’s not surprising).
8. Indifferent (hmmm).
9. Bored (although it is easy to get this and number eight confused).
10. Inbred (is that even an expression?).
1. George and Dragon—sounds like they kissed and made up, and then went for a beer.
2. Slug and Lettuce—another pair of adversaries, although in this case the odds seem a little one-sided.
3. The Spread Eagle—um, are you guys for real, or is it a notoriously bad pick-up-joint which coined a term for something else?
1. Kissing gate.
2. Latch gate.
3. Gate in a gate gate.
4. Fabulous old cast iron gate.
5. Farmer’s swing gate: where you imagine farmers in gumboots shepherding herds from field to field, dogs in tow.
6. Wooden two-step stile.
7. Stone step stile.
8. V-stone, step-through stile.
9. A gate you open from a horse.
10. The old gate with no fence trick. It is more common than you would think. There is something about this that makes you want to go through the actual gate instead of around—unless it is more impractical to go around, in which case you can’t help but go the hard way.
Ten Profound Thoughts That Bubble Up Uncalled For on a Long Distance Walk.
1. Caterpillars have no grander purpose in mind in their ambling than now.
2. Cows have better personalities than sheep, and I think it is because they have smaller ears. I wrote this, probably, in an end-of-day stupor, and am now not sure if the they with the smaller ears is the cows or the sheep? I will let you make your own mind up on that.
3. It's a holiday—for goodness sake stop panicking and stressing about kilometers and about your guilt at not sleeping (not sleeping is right) out in a bush.
4. Life is short. Today I was walking along a road. Up ahead I could see a tiny little creature walking slowly across the road. In my rear I heard a too-fast car approach. I yelled for the creature to run, but it wasn't my place. Then it was dead. All I could do was take its tiny warm body off the road so that it didn't suffer the indignity of being squashed. That is life. If you don't take advantage of it now, it will be too late for regrets later—in an instant.
Ten Truly Awful Outfits Spotted on English Lassies and Laddies.
1. Blue cargos; horrible red hiking sandals; brown, orange, blue and white flowered tunic top—oh, sorry, just saw myself in a shop window.
2. There seems to be two immediate problems with the majority of women's outfits in this place: pattern clashing and ugly, old-people's shoes. This outfit (Female; approx. 45 yo) had an ankle length navy skirt with small florals all over it, teamed with a mint twin set and a delft china patterned jacket, all set off with skin coloured tights and open toed sandals that used to live in a nursing home. Sorry if I sound cruel, but I just don't understand what I keep seeing here.
3. (Male; approx. 60 yo) in an Emerald green suit jacket. he was just at the pub. this was worn with a hairdo like a monks tonsure that he had been growing out. This truly is Little Britain. We think it is funny; it actually is true—almost documentary.
4. (Female, approx. 35 yo), who had enormous fake boobs and no bra, wearing a red and white floral dress—in two patterns, one for the form of the dress and one for the weird wing like extensions on the front and back—silver lame three-quarter leggings and white and silver slip on sandals with the heel that is one piece of plastic folded under itself. I don't understand. People kept telling her how lovely she looked. She also has a cow hide bag with a tiny Italian greyhound in it.
5. The denim tracksuit is a no-no in any country, but this one was jeans and a full length denim coat. (Female; approx. 50 yo)
1. Download i-tunes. Takes a bit and download credit
2. Download Italian Lessons onto an i-pod. Ditto.
3. Download porn. That’s just wrong.
4. Researching somewhere to go for a cake. You are in a café for goodness sake: have one of theirs.
5. Purchase a coffee shop online—or at least research it. Especially if it is in the same area. Although, maybe the reason you are even considering buying a coffee shop is the bad standard of the one you are in. Either way, it is a conflict of interest.
6. Download The Shawshank Redemption over four hours while sitting on just one (arguably giant) mocha latte. The specificities included here give the appearance that these events may have occurred. This may be an illusion and all inappropriate actions may be mixed and matched to make it sound, well, more interesting than life.
7. Skype—loudly and annoyingly. It’s a level up from talking on your mobile.
8. And a level up again—have internet sexual relations.
9. Email the sanitation department about the bug you just saw scuttling past the kitchen door. Again there is an argument that this is deserved misuse. This is why ethics is such an irresolvable life question.
10. Walk out at the point where they are subtly hinting at closing by sweeping around you and placing chairs on tables, and stand outside finishing what you are doing while they faff around forgetting to disconnect from the web—that can take a while.
Ten Journeys That Take an Inordinate Number of Changes to Get There.
1. Melbourne to Cheltenham (UK): Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur-Dubai-London Heathrow Terminal Three-Hayes-Terminal Four-Terminal Three-Cheltenham.
2. Hay-on-Wye to Cheltenham: Hay-Ross-on-Wye-Hereford-Gloucester-Cheltenham.
3. Port Melbourne to Chadstone to Port Melbourne. On a particular day a few years ago this is the process that I had to follow to get from my home to Escape Travel in Chadstone and back: it made a five and a half hour working day into an eleven hour journey. Port Melbourne-taxi-bus stop outside MacDonalds in St Kilda for the bus that normally goes to Chadstone-realising the bus didn’t go on a Saturday-tram-Balaclava Rail Station (thought I would catch train to city again)-taxi (realised I didn’t have time)-Chadstone Flight Centre for the key-Chadstone Escape Travel (other side of Chaddy)(where the first client had a daughter in England who had been unable to get into her hotel an while walking around town had had a dead man fall from a bus onto her and was over her overseas trip already)-Bank Vault (near Flight Centre)(where there was a bag from a previous depositor stuck in the night vault and I had to call and wait for security to try and fix it, and then be recommended not to use it)-Escape Travel (leave the banking there)-Flight Centre-Bus Stop (for the world’s longest bus trip)-Box Hill Rail Station(where the train was thirty minutes away)-Box Hill Tram Stop-tram-Station Pier-home. OMG!
1. People going to the toilet in the open.
2. People sneak-sleeping. That is, people using sheepy type field to get a free nights sleep.
3. People picking their noses. Not me; other people.
4. People pulling fern fronds from out of their underwear that may or may not have got stuck there accidentally in number one.
5. People spitting out the accumulate snot caused by hayfever. again, sheep just told me about this, i haven't witnessed it first hand.
6. People singing Marilyn Monroe songs that are irretrievably stuck in their heads. Luckily, because Marilyn could not sing, most people tend to actually sound better and don't scare the sheep any more than they already are.
7. People scaring other sheep; they rationalise that they should be scared too.
8. People swearing and being blasphemous as they trip over holes on the field—and it's the nicest looking fields that usually have the worst holes.
9. Amazing views from the tops and treacherous sides of hills.
10. People who look like turtles with two fake front legs, grunting across their field 'for fun'. they think: 'Silly people. People really are quite silly.'
1. Where do sesame seeds come from? You can't plant them and grow a sesame, can you? You don't pick them out or de-seed them when you eat a sesame? There isn't a big droopy flower called a Sesameflower?
2. Why is my compass upside down in England? Surely North is north no matter what hemisphere you are in?
3. Why are there different blood types? Do different dogs have different types of blood? It seems a little odd. It can’t be a survival of the fittest thing as we are all surviving regardless. Is it a way to protect some of us in case one of the types goes funny? Odd.
1. I thought that eggs grew on egg-plants. The semantics worked for me.
2. I thought that if I held a stick tight, horizontally, with both hands, then I would be able to climb up on it and hold myself in the air. It did hurt my knuckles a lot when I worked out that this wasn't true.
3. I thought that when I had yet another bout of tonsillitis, my parents were so over it that when we got to the hospital, they just told me to get out and go in there: 'You'll be right?'. They were just going to leave me there. they weren't really—I was delirious and dreaming it apparently.
4. We had to have our dog put down because it ran into the street and bit someone, and then on the day my parents took it to the vet, another family said they would take it instead. I thought my parents were telling the truth. We all wept in the car one day when my poor mother eventually told us the real, true truth.
5. I thought that I could break my arm with a brick—deliberatly. I felt hard done by that I never got to go to hospital while all my siblings did. Self-arm-breaking takes an ability to negate the instict of the other arm to slow down on its swing with the brick. i don't apparently possess that ability. This thought is genetic. My mum tried to freeze her arm in the freezer to make it more shatterable. That apparently doesn't work either.
6. Remeber those roller skates that you could adjuct to any size, and you clipped to your normal shoes. I wish I still had mine. There was also another time when I wished I still had mine. I thought they had irretrievably been lost. It turned out to be one of those 'Put your stuff away or I am throwing it away moments.' I don't know if it works when the parent then hides the stuff in the pretense of it being thrown away, but the child just thinks it's missing. The lesson may not be learned. Ages later we found them again and celebrated our good luck. I dare say they got left lying around again. Maybe one day I will find them again. I promise this time I will put them away after playing with them.
7. I thought I was going to be watching a movie about a VW Beetle called Herbie at a nine year old's birthday party I was attending. Turned out to be a movie called Bug about cockroaches that set things on fire—like your head, when a bug gets onto the reciever of the phone and you answer a call. What were our parents doing? Probably drinking and putting their car keys in a large bowl, I'd say.
Ten Perfect Places From My Walk to Dance Naked for the Summer Solstice.
1. Cairn on the ridge between Pandy and Hay-on-Wye. There is every chance I is actually a sheepcote but up on a ridge above the rest of the world with views for ever, made of rustic stones in the beauty of nature, it is custom made.
2. In the ruins of the Tintern Abbey, with its amazing multiple views through windowless windows.
1. Slow Painting. It may be a play on a Polish or similar surname of the painter, but it's a bad idea for a job that charges by the hour.
2. Fear Electricity. Will they allay your fears? Wouldn't it be No-Fear Electricity then? I'm really reluctant to call these guys in—they sound a little like mavericks.
3. Furphy Media Group. When you sell something with words (is that what a Media Group does?), do you really want to tell the word you’re fond of the odd little lie.
Ten People Who Are the Biggest Fan in Their Own Fan Club.
1. Wesley. He wears a badge of himself for goodness sake. Some people think that he is just postmodern and it's irony, but you should have seen how vain he was the other night when we slept out in a field and he unfortunately got squashed slug on his coat. He was in the bathroom of the cafe we stopped at for an hour cleaning it out. . If you want to read a fine example of ‘me, me, me’, read his twitters.
Ten Amazingly Rude People and Why Do They Think It Will Make a Difference.
1. The man on the seat near me on EK005, Dubai to Kuala Lumpur, who thought that yelling at a stewardess would get the plane off the ground faster. It just got everyone thinking what an arse he was.
2. Oh dear! I am writing this at work and so there is ample opportunity for people to be ‘exceptionally and unreasonably’ rude—although I struggle daily to work out why, regardless of stressful situations, people think that utter rudeness is conducive to asking for help. Situations relayed here are changed to protect the rude people involved. Told to me in a raised and hysterical voice, the caller will be calling back when her partner who is driving alcohol affected in a blue Nissan somewhere in the vicinity between here and there crashes and kills someone and it will be my fault as she wants police to search only on those criteria and without her giving any details that can allow police to get a location he would be going to, a name, or a registration number. Blue Nissans are probably not as numerous as this actual make/model and colour actually are.
3. A general work related rudeness comes from the verbally abusive who give incorrect names of the roads they are on, blaming the call taker for them failing to intersect with other roads and who are them flippantly dismissive of their own rudeness when they realise they were WRONG! Do I seem angry?
Ten Really Quite Bad Excuses for a Plane Not Taking Off.
1. They are doing emergency repairs to the runaway. What kind of a repair requires planes to be stopped for only a couple of hours? I think anything that requires fixing on a runway takes longer than that to set—no?
2. They have to unload excess cargo because it is too hot for the plane to take off. It’s not a hot air balloon. Does flight depend on cold updrafts? Please don’t let it just be dependent on cold updrafts. I have a mystical belief in flight that I really don’t need to have de-mystified.
3. A staff member slept in. It must be the driver. Surely any other staff member is replaceable.
4. Security are attempting to remove a man who has drunk his duty free allowance between the gate and his seat. It’s always funnest in the US as the Marshals come on in force. But when it happens in New York, it can be hours before a take-off window opens up again.
5. The Cargo handlers are having to take extra time loading—with care, and possibly fear—a wild cat. A flight from Adelaide was apparently delayed due to cheetah loading issues. I think I would probably just say ‘yep, okay, I get that’, if I was to be told that was the reason for my delay.
1. Shutter Island: I am getting a greater appreciation of Leonardo, even though he is still short. This was one of those twisting tales where it is impossible to know what reality is, where there are levels of believability on which everyone has a different truth. Suspenseful and interesting.
2. The Men Who Stare at Goats: George Clooney played a really strange role. It is reminiscent of the Cohen(?) Brothers movie he was in Oh Brother Something (?)—an exaggerated caricature. It is meant to be based on a true story (more ?) about training tactics of the US government. It was quite bizarre—actually, ridiculous. But I enjoyed it. Clooney seems to like roles where he gets to have bigger teeth.
3. Wall-E: Wonderful movie with no discernable dialogue. Not having dialogue makes for an extended use of imagination: there is an amazing forth series Buffy episode which does the same thing. There may have been tears. There may have been an environmental subplot.
4. Alice in Wonderland: Great costumes, especially Alice’s which seem to get puffier and puffier as the show goes on. In Burton fashion this is a darker visit to Wonderland. Alice is older and it is her second visit. The Mad Hatter is sadder, the Red Queen is madder. Fabulous.
5. The Box: Horror movie where couples receive a box from a stranger and are offered a lot of money if they open it, but if they do someone will die. I don’t want to give away the plot but ultimately what goes around comes around and it is spooky because there is nothing that anyone can do to change fate. It does therefore make an interesting exploration of the idea of fate.
6. It’s Complicated: Love story: chick flick. I can’t even quite remember the plot—because it was complicated maybe. I think that she has an affair with her ex-husband. It was nice to see a movie about older people instead of young beautiful things. It had its moments.
7. The Lovely Bones: Watched partly on the way there and partly on the way back, this was a strange sort of movie and quite sad. The lives of her family fall slowly apart as the protagonist watches from the other side of death. I was pleasantly surprised by the story which was richer and more interesting than I imagined an ‘Oprah’s Book Club’ book to be.
8. The Tooth Fairy: A relatively funny/silly movie about a man who doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy and so has to become one for a while. Funny moments and a denouement meant he becomes a nicer person. Bit arghhh (my phonetic for the vomiting motion).
9. Date Night: Steve Corell(check) and Tina Fey go for date in the city and steal someone’s reservation. They spend the rest of the night trying to get out of the trouble they get into because of their false identities. There were some funny moments that only these two could have carried out—they are serious comedians.
10. The Last Station: Although this was recommended by a work colleague, I didn’t really feel like watching this: I am glad I did. Helen Mirren is a miracle. This was really about her and her trying to cope with the quiet madness of Tolstoyism. Brilliant and probably the best movie of all the ones I watched on my trip.
1. The guy in 39A. He's flying back to the UK after a weekend trip back to Midura for his Dad's sixtieth birthday. He decided last minute to do it and hasn't slept for days. This was great because it meant he slept the whole way on the plane and I was able to ease into this talking with people malarky at a slow pace. He is a civil engineer. Living in London on a high-skill visa. He lives in Kilburn—ah, remember those great Kilburn High Street op-shops. Has lived there for three years, but possible that his expiry date is coming to an end. May go live somewhere else though rather than going home. Name: not known.
2. A guy in the train—across the train-table from me—on the way to Bath. He was in a running club. Their moniker was a cross of some sort—I couldn’t really work out what he was talking about. He was embarrassed to wear it because it looked too much like a Nazi symbol. His friends got on the train later and he got all aloof. They were already wearing their shirts. I can see why he was embarrassed.
3. Couples who Holiday in Scotland and Montgomery I: Sitting in the bar I having dinner and my favourite pint of blackcurrant juice and lemonade, I spoke for a while for this odd little couple who holiday in both Scotland and Montgomery. She was statuesquely tall and quiet an imposing woman; he was small and quiet dotty. Very odd couple. They were here instead of there because Scotland is having a really rainy year and the midges are out of control. Stop scaring me about my next trip people! It sounded like all they do is go between. I must be missing something about the attraction of Montgomery.
4. Couples who Holiday in Scotland and Montgomery II: This couple caught me on the way out of the bar area and back to my room. They had a wacky little wiry dog that accosted every passer-by. This hotel is famous for allowing people to bring their dogs. Spoke to them for a while. They were also here because there was too thripy and wet. He had spent a bit of time in the merchant navy and so in Melbourne—he raved about St Kilda.
5. A lady also travelling OD solo. I had seen her days before when I stopped along the side of the road for a drink and an attempt at stilling the chaos of hayfever in my head. No one has as much stuff as me. She was doing really well with a tiny pack and a fast pace. But she wasn’t even sending her gear ahead—her tiny pack was all she had. I suppose if I have no bivvy, sleeping bag or roll mat my pack would be so much smaller or so much more filled with other stuff. She was at the hotel in Montgomery. That was a busy night. I chatted to her there too. She had decided that this was too much unlike a holiday for her and so the rest of her holiday was going to be going around Welshpool on the side of leisure. The next day I found her on the side of the road in Forden II waiting for the bus: it wasn’t even worth the walk in the rain (it was a hard slog, but also quite an amazing space she missed out on).
6. The guy with the two dogs along the Canal who recommended the Red Lion in Ellesmere. I would also have recommended it from just the views of the downstairs areas. Upstairs was a different matter. It was the most ickey hotel I stayed in for the whole trip.
7. In Llangattock Lingoed I pushed myself onto a table for breakfast with a male who is out to run up a mountain. There was nowhere else to sit. He spoke about forest fires a lot and said the word gorse about three million times in ten sentences.
8. Man offering eighty-five pence coffee and biscuits along the Severn to OD walkers. It was such a great idea and such a wacky place. You rang a bell and either the owner or his wife came out and offered you tea or coffee. While you waited his mad chickens pecked you for tit-bits. He was mad about statistics and turning them around: if eight per cent of accidents are caused by drunk drivers, then ninety-two per cent are caused by sober drivers—it would be better if all drivers were drunk. He had gone to a lot of trouble for walkers, converting a sun room into a bathroom and sitting area so people could sit in when it rained and had somewhere to use the bathroom (nice). He had had someone early on, when they first moved in, that he found with a blown-out knee and who wouldn’t stop for help. They also had other people stopping in for water. It did them no damage to put out the sign and so if they were home they did: they figured it would help people either way and the eighty-five pence covered their costs.
9. Neil. I was desperately trying to find somewhere to stay but couldn’t find any ‘centers of civilisation’. I ended up finding a pub and going in to ask them if they knew of any B&Bs. The landlord was getting shirty with his staff member trying to assist. Neil took over. There was a B&B back at the start of town. He went outside and called the B&B and then ran me downtown. I had to walk back the same way the next day but it was a great room in a nunnery and I had a roof over my head.
Ten Things Possibly More Annoying Than a Vuvuzela.
* Vuvuzela: an annoying stadium trumpet played at World events such as the FIFA World Cup; producing a continual and tuneless drone.
1. Getting on the train going the wrong way from Heathrow after a twenty-four hour flight and ending up in Hayes and Harlington at midnight, necessitating a taxi ride back to the hotel I had booked so that I wouldn’t have to faff around when I got there. Hmmm!
2. Having a male standing so close behind you, in a very long immigration queue, that you can feel his stomach in the small of your back. I was livid. I ended up having words and having to drag my bag behind me in the queue so he wouldn’t come closer. It wasn’t like he wasn’t with his girlfriend. It was a cultural thing—but that was just out of line and it still makes me mad now!
3. Work—plainly and simply. People: take some responsibility for your own actions and stupidity, and, think! You are a travesty. (Written on a day when the public is particularly atrocious!!!)
4. Balinese horn tooters and purveyors of timeshare; Balinese sellers of watches, t-shirts and massages; Balinese organisers of transport, tours and taxis.
5. The ‘Budget, Budget’ ad. I can’t help repeating myself with this one. They won’t stop playing it and it ‘does my head in’. I was reading my French-English dictionary the other day (as you do) and saw ‘bouche’ (pronounced ‘Budget’ as in ‘Budget, Budget’. I sing that now instead as it is the French word for ‘mouth’.
* SJP=Sara Jessica Parker.
** SATC=Sex and The City.
*** Possibly the majority of them will come from the last few episodes of the last series. This is for two reasons: they are the least dated and they are the most funded. There is no way that a real person could afford all of those outfits—apparently she wore the same outfit only once, but that may have been a myth.
1. The red and black spotty dress she wears in the café in Paris where she turns and finds herself facing a dog.
1. Give all staff at Maccas, 7/11, or any petrol station a small card that lists the address and telephone number of the business, their name if necessary, and the situations under which it is justifiable to hit the Hold-Up Alarm button (a hold-up for example).
2. Get all drivers to pre-pay for their petrol, and all taxi passengers to pre-pay for their fare. End of story, that's it, no exception.
3. Charge for the services of the police. When tax time comes around, and if your complaint was genuine, you get your money back. I know—fraught with danger,but a brilliant idea nonetheless.
4. Equip mobile phones with a GPS device that tells the caller where they are in large, readable type that comes up on the screen every time 000 is called.
5. If you don't have credit and you don't have a sim card—your phone doesn't work. We actually did survive quite well before we were all too cheap to get a land line and too lazy to go to the public phone.
6. Get some balls for judges. They have those fake ones for dogs—maybe they can use those. They are probably a lot like breast implants. If people have to actually pay for their crimes, maybe they will not commit them and then fewer calls would come through to 000, the people who called would be more respectful, and the police would be able to attend to all the jobs which would all be worthwhile and worthy requests for police.
7. Somehow, I am not sure how, but somehow, if we could get people to take ownership of their own s#!t, then people wouldn’t need to call the police to wade through it.
8. Educate the public as to what an ‘emergency’ actually is. An emergency is not that you need the phone number for the police station, or, that a bird pooped on your bed and you need to call a vet because you did what? to it, or, that you need a lift home.
9. Make sure the name of the exit road on any given freeway, highway or road longer than a block is on a sign—this would reduce job times by about half.
10. Have a non-emergency emergency line for thefts and other over the phone handling kind of things that are not-urgent urgent.
* Thanks be to F—— who inspired this list with the eighty-three hairpins found in her black-tie outfit's hairdo.
1. Make fine and filigreed jewelery.
2. Make a delicate and intricate sculpture.
3. Pot stands and coasters ... This is beginning to sound a lot like another list pertaining to used bicycle chains.
4. Sell the set on e-bay—see how much you can get for it.You could sell it like this: 'Set of eighty-five hairpins: Incomplete.'
5. Chain-mail. If it is not enough for a vest or doublet type garment, you could make a nice chain-mail tea cosy.
6. Measuring tape. Hi, I'm after a heater that can fit into a 75x50x10 hairpin space please.
7. Decorative picket fences in the little tiny pots of cacti that almost everyone in the known universe has in their kitchen window.
8. Re-usable skewers for hors d'oeuvres: one mini pickled onion, one cube cheese, one slice kabana; one cherry tomato, one folded piece of salami, one piece pickled pepper; one cherry, one strawberry, one slice sponge finger.
9. Pins for sewing that doesn’t make holes in your delicate fabrics.
10. A very complicated hair-do.
1. The dodgy milk from the dodgy milk fridge has turned my tummy.
2. My ears are blocked. This isn’t that dodgy when your whole working life depends on listening.
3. I’m feeling ‘emotional’. Workplaces don’t put enough emphasis on mental health—I think occasionally going ‘sick’ for emotional reasons is a way to help everyone’s mental health through a program of awareness.
4. I’ve got a headache from my sore tooth. No, I am not going to the dentist.
5. I’m running out of days to pick up my shoes from the post office before they send them back to IC.
6. I really need to burp. Why are you all so judgmental? I can hear what you are thinking. Burping, or the need to burp, is a painful experience for me. It’s not dodgy, it just sounds dodgy.
7. Dodgy tuna sandwich. I am afraid of sandwich day at work now.
8. I think I’m getting a cold. (It’s probably hay fever.)
9. There is a lump on my hand and it hurts to use the mouse. If I don’t leave now, I’ll end up with carpel tunnel.
10. My bad attitude is transferring itself onto the clients—it is my civic duty to go home because bad attitude on both ends of the phone does no one any good.
1. Huff, The World according to Garp and mothers.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer—I know it is done to a non-dying, zombie-like death, but I could have found a new way to look at it.
3. Angels and Demons and another science/religious text along the lines of Gut Symmetry (I’ve done that too many times even though I love it) about the co-existence of scientific and religious beginnings and explanations of the way of the world.
1. House on a truck.
2. Large boats on trucks.
3. Things that look like a car battery on steroids.
4. Huge cogs and wheels.
5. Bell shaped silo thingys.
6. Enormous cranes that need driving on the wrong side to get around the corner.
7. Super long girders that require a truck being split in half so each end can hold one end of the girder.
8. Story high rolls of wrist thick black cable.
9. I saw a load the other night that was so large, so amazingly enormous, that it was pulled by two truck engines and pushed by another, required all the road hardware to be removed prior to its arrival (a noisy project at three am), and, went so slow that it was accompanied by road crew that were able to walk beside it. It was an extremely large tractor. It was the most exciting large load I ever did see.
10. Swimming pools—empty of course, and usually sideways so you can see their interesting contours.
1. Wesley. You may wander why he is an icon. Why not? He has traveled the world (well England and the States), he exudes beaverness, he is proud and loud to be a beaver—he even has his own website. He's a legend.
2. Norbert and Daggett Beaver, also known as the Angry Beavers. Two brothers leave the nest when their mother's next litter is born, and face all sorts of troubles in their dam. They've got some great lines: Desperate times call for desperate desperateness (I agree); Where in the name of deus ex machina did that T-Rex come from? (I love references to deus ex machinas in films: parody, like Dodgeball—very funny).
3. Leave it to Beaver. I never really watched it, but he is definitely famous for being cheesy and getting away with it with just a small fable-like word of discipline. It would be an interesting study though in the way it incorporates anti-Russian feeling. Who needs history book to study history?
Ten Puppies I Have Fallen Love With on the RSPCA Website.
* When they take that photo from above with a lovely puppy face full of expectation looking up at you, how can you ever be able to walk away with just one—I am judging all these lovelies by their covers and I bet I wont be wrong.
1. Rabbit. Rabbit was a shy little man with the most silly face in the universe. I would have jumped in a taxi to go out and get him the minute I saw him, but it was only a few days before going to Europe—why am I even looking? Someone adopted him and he will be having a lovely life I just know it. He was a Jack Russell cross.
2. Lexie, Ruskie and Saxon. These are three little pale and sun weary American Bulldogs with the sweetest faces and all deaf.It breaks my heart to look at these lovely little people on this site and the horrible predicament they find themselves in. Thank god (and I don't believe in him or her) that there are enough people in the world who, despite obvious evidence to the contrary, will rescue these amazingly lovely anials rather than spending the big bucks on supporting the evil puppy farms. You guys would be the bee's knees of love wouldn't you.
1. This is a repeat idea, but obviously good enough to repeat—if I do say so myself. Get people to pay for using police. I know you bleeding hearts will go on about civic rights and soon and so forth, but what about the civic rights of police, and what about respect. Treat ‘em mean and keep ‘em keen. People will appreciate and respect the police more if they are not so ‘customer service’ orientated. This is, of course, my opinion only. P.s: where police is legitimately required, clients can claim the costs back on their tax.
2. Polluting companies could pay for the fact that they pollute. Hear me out. I heard a great idea where a company that both extracts water from a river and outputs waste into the same river should have their output pipes above river from their extraction pipes. That way they are the direct recipients of any thing they do wrong. It is the most magnificent idea ever. I may have also written about this one elsewhere. Good ideas are hard to keep down. They also seem hard to implement.
1. They do horrible things to each other.
2. They are selfish.
3. They are incapable of empathising, of putting themselves in anybody elses shoes.
4. They are impatient.
5. They are stupid—even some of the smarter ones.
6. They have a warped sense of entitlement.
7. They are narrow minded.
8. They are scared of how everything affectes them.
9. They are rude.
10. They get a sense of enjoyment out of others being less fortunate than they.
P.s: This is just a normal day at work; I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to cope with it.
1. Welcome to crispy mornings.
2. Welcome to fogs on the footy ground when I walk to or from work.
3. Welcome back to my doona and lots of extra blankets: that heavy feeling holding you tightly to your bed at night.
4. Welcome to cold noses and ears.
5. Welcome to white breaths on morning walks.
6. Welcome to empty beaches and welcome back to doggies.
7. Welcome to rugging up in coats and scarfs and hats and wooly jumpers and gloves and gumboots.
8. Welcome to soups and stews and hot chocolates with marshmallows.
9. Welcome back to people being too cold to get into trouble and call 000.
10. Welcome to nights of foggy beauty where street lights are islands and cars are moving lighthouses, sweeping the streets with their beams, and you're all alone in a magical world of your own making.
* These are placed in order of appearance and do not reflect a judgemental order of craziness.
1. Me of Australia: Ranking on the final tally - N/A. As usual, Eurovision night means dressing-up night for 4 P—— St. B—— emulated Russia's grunge-rock-band-at-a-gig look, including scarf, and that was without actually changing outfits. My outfit (above) channels the UK channelling Eastern Europe. A double channel.
2. Safura of Azerbaijan: 5th. I believe that Eurovision was inspired this year by my hiking gear of last year—ballgown with a short train at front (mine had none) and long train at back, fluffy tu-tu style. Safura has a dress inspired by the sea on colour; vertical ruching; hiking gear skirt. Her piece-de-resistance was her one sparkly blue glove which was fingerless on the first three fingers and full-fingered on the last two. A tribute to Michael I think. The beauty of the hiking style skirt is undoubtedly its compatibility with the Eurovision wind-machine. Just Nice. Nice.
3. Daniel Diges of Spain: 15th. While Daniel was a little tame in a silver suit with white shirt, he did have a Leo Sayer hair-do, a circus in silver, white and magenta as back-up, and a guerrilla Eurovision performer who gatecrashed the party, necessitating Spain having to sing again (oh no!) at the end of the show.
4. Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira of Moldova: 22nd. A vision in budgie. Shoulder pads are in this year, and a very piratesque Finland won a couple of years ago so this outfit may be a combination of the two inspirations, combined with a homage to the humble budgerigar. The song started with a violinist on a lazy susan, and progressed to a Pink-like singer with a space age corset and tu-tu ensemble, budgie make-up mask across her eyes and thigh high budgie trimmed boots. I know there is no winner in this list, but if there were, this would be it!
5. Milan Stankovic of Serbia: 13th. The Fringe of Eurovision 2010. There was, this year, a penchant for costumes carrying the colours of the national flag. Milan wore blue tails over white pants and shirt and a big red flower on his jacket. His back up was in white with touches of red. Without that fringe though Milan was unlikely to make this list. He was quoted as saying that it was a fringe made for the stage, not your everyday hair-do.
6. 3+2 of Belarus: 24th. It all seemed sedate: two boys in suits, three ladies in long, sparkly, gold, silver and bronze ball dresses. Like a conservative committee handing out medals at the Olympic games. First sign something was amiss was the ladies 'Charlies Angels' hair-dos. And then the big reveal as gold, silver and bronze butterfly wings popped up from behind the backs of the ladies as the song, 'Butterflies' reached its crescendo. It was beautiful. That was sarcasm.
7. maNga of Turkey: 2nd. The best part of this sculptural-leather-rock outfitted band was the cyborg welder back-up dancer who slowly stripped off her codpieces and other armoural paraphernalia to reveal her almost butterfly like metamorphosis in leather and organza. Nice.
8. Alyosha of the Ukraine: 10th. Her eco messaged song with its 'End of the World is Nigh' mood was lovingly teamed with Death's cape and a flowery, windblown, possibly post-apocalyptic summer frock. 'Strange' may be overused but it works perfectly here.
9. Eva Rivas of Armenia: 7th. She was stunningly lovely; the tallest competitor; relaxed in an apricot hiking frock over white sparkly jeans and bare feet, but her back-up consisted of a ghoulish looking 'family' and a giant apricot. This was rock opera, with characters and narrative. It filled its three minute spot abundantly.
10. HarelSkaat of Israel: 14th. It disappoints me to put a man in a black suit on the list of craziest Eurovision outfits. I think Eurovision is losing sight of why we like it. We don't like it for the songs or the international camaraderie. We like it for its camped up craziness, bad outfits, bad hair, white suits. There were people with jeans and guitars this year! That is not kosher. Harel makes it only because he looked like a Hebrew Tom Cruise circa Days of Thunder. As long as he didn't open his mouth.
* I am going to load a podcast to learn a language for my walk—I just can't decide which one so I need your help. Please vote for the language you think I should learn. Voting closes eight pm, Eastern Standard Time on the Tenth of June, 2010. The winner will be announced at some time after that. I will not be adding any commentary such as I am getting the hang of Spanish and so it would be sensible to carry on, or, I was Russian in another life, or, I am walking along the Welsh border, because that may influence votes. I just want people to vote with their instict and their sense of right and wrong.
* Thanks to http://www.fakenamegenerator.com, and, no, I don't know why either.
1. Ellie Marie is a fifty-two year old Media Director from Glanville, South Australia. She is a Libran who likes 'pina coladas and getting caught in the rain'. If you get her pop culture reference, are into donating B+ blood and shorty chubby women (5'4" and between 85 and 95 kgs—to be coy), call her on (08) 8219 5283.
2. Alannah Devine changed her name by deed poll in 1976 after deciding to do it at a drunken party the night before. She has this part of her that feels she has to follow through when she says she will do something—it's the Capricorn nature. It's the same nature that has seen her celebrate, on her fifty-sixth birthday last year, her thirty-fifth year of nursing—although now she is more on the admin' side of things because of the resulting bad back and knee joints. She doesn't believe in all that star sign malarky though. It doesn't get you though each day and back home to make dinner for her husband and kids on their farmlet in Oombulgurri, Western Australia, clean up, do the chores and back again in the morning. For that, all you need is practicality and boring sensibility and chocolate teddy-bear biscuits. No wonder her tiny 5'3" frame has 'blossomed' recently to over two hundred pounds. It's embarrassing, but if she says she has to do something about it, she'll have to follow through, and some days its seems it is only the biscuits that keep her sane.
3. Alice Bowhay feels like she wanted to be an engineer from the day in February when she emerged from her mother's womb into view of the silver stirrups on the birthing table. This was the humour she used to ensure working with the 'boys' never became a gender issue—which it always did anyway. It was a struggle all through her career. Women have it easy now, she mumbles to herself; making herself cross for thinking it. In my day, she cliches, it was practically unheard of to be a female and an engineer, and she worked three times as hard as any of her male,good-for-nothing colleagues to get half as far. At seventy-four though, they (the 'industry') still consult her occasionally. Teaching was always easier in the end. And now they realise how much she did. At home in Wattle Ponds, she often lets the phone ring out. It's not family. She doesn't want to hear about bad news from friends. And if its about work, well, they had me then and didn't want to hear from me—work it out yourself, she mumbles.
4. Bang, bang! Kaitlyn Weingarth jabs the air with a left and a right: 'When the house came up for rent on Punches Creek Rd in Watsons Crossing I knew it would be mine. I've only been boxing for a year, but I know it's right. You know how you know when something is just right?' The gym where Kaitlyn trains is back in town but cars are Kaitlyn's demoted second love and the thirty-five minute drive in and out, even after she already went home after work finished at three, doesn't phase her at all. It allows her to feel out the engine and make sure it's running at its best twenty-four/seven. She started her apprenticeship at sixteen at Ted's—four years ago. It was hard with all the others being men, but now people ask for her specifically when their 'baby's' come in dented and damaged and in need of tender loving care. The boxing keeps them off her back too. Not that it would matter to much if Darryl wanted to be on her back, but how do you let the wall come down for one of them and still maintain the respect with the others—they talk about their conquests every Monday morning and damned if anyone will ever talk about her like that!
5. There is something about Rachel Fairthorne that immediately puts people on edge. She is too loud for her small frame, but her loudness has a quiet quality—she could deny it if confronted, and you'd find you couldn't argue with her about it. It's social ineptitude with a don't-car attitude, and it has been like that for fifty-one years. But she gets by. Arguably on the fringe. Macksville, luckily, is a poorer kind of town—farmers and fishermen—because city people 'don't bother about trying to fix something, they just buy a new one'. And all these appliances nowadays are so badly made even Rachel despairs of repairing them. But out here people have to make do, and so she is kept in clothes and food and a roof over her head regardless what she calls the 'never-ending flood of crap'. Her 'partner', Jill, is an 'oyster catcher'. Rachel always uses inverted commas, punched into the air like an old typewriter, to describe Jill—after all these years together there is a part of her mind that still believes Jill is 'full of shit'. Last year, when Jill visited her kids in Sydney she found two badges at Smiggle: the sixty-six opening quotation marks, and the ninety-nine closing. She made them into earrings. Occasionally, she'll swap ears and then Rachel knows not to cause trouble because at that time Jill won't take it. They get by.
6. Alicia O'Leary; Banksia Beach, Queensland—that's all she'll give out (don't want some 'nutter' showing up on my doorstep unannounced; at work they are patients, at home they are 'nutters'—born the day after Christmas (great, that's one pressie a year from everyone—and don't try to tell me it is worth twice as much!). Alicia works at the Bribie Island State High School as the school psychologist. At four-thirty every afternoon she goes to her home and she doesn't come out again until she has to do it all over again. She can't work out if she hates the world because of what she has to see at school, or, if she sees what she sees at work because she hates the world. Either way, she gets unhappier every day.
7. Charlotte Tyrrell says everyone in the suburb calls her Chuffy from Duffy because, truth be known, she can count on one hand the number of times she has had to leave Duffy. There was the time the supermarket distributors went on strike for nearly two weeks and you just couldn't get bread and milk. Then there was the time that her maiden aunt in Queensland died. She is Charlotte's namesake, and stayed with her everytime she had to come to Canberra. They got on well. She had to go three times: in the last few days, for the funeral, and, surprisingly, to see the lawyers in Brisbane who told her that Aunt Charlotte had actually left her a large tract of land in Eastern Queensland. She has someone caretaking it now. She had felt so odd being away from home those last three times that she swore she would never do it again. If the supermarket ever runs out of bread again, the neighbour's daughter has a car now and tolerates the odd conversation with Chuffy—she'll just ask her to go.
8. Isabelle Nixon, 12 Meyer rd, Sandleton SA, Jan 23, 44, 67yo, Copy marker, 80kgs, 160cms: For forty-seven years Isabelle marked copy. From the day she turned twenty, the January after she finished her two year TAFE course, until a few weeks ago when someone in the HR department realised she had gone two years beyond retirement, she had sat over text with a red pencil and made corrections, licking at its tip before each corrective stroke. A few years ago they had tried to get her to stop using red. ‘It gives the impression that you are being judgemental’, someone tried to tell her. ‘I am being judgemental’ she replied. ‘Tell them that if they don’t like red all over their copy, they can just send it to me without any mistakes.’ She feels lost now. It was so sudden, even though she knew she was on borrowed time. ‘I’ve got hundreds of years to live Jeannie’, she tells her housemate and best friend of forty-nine years, ‘what on earth will I do with them now?’ She sits on her couch and strokes the cat. Beside her are a box of red pencils and a stack of magazines and books. If she finds more than ten mistakes in any given publication, she walks down to the public library, tackles the photocopy machine and dispatches a letter of complaint to the given publisher. It has made her a little more optimistic about the future—there is nary a day which doesn’t involve a walk down to the library.
9. Anna Leehy, 25 Normans rd, Bringalbert, vic, dec 3, 1971, 39yo, apt house manager, 49kgs, 5’7: It’s like a dream. Anna started working as the house manager at the apartments about a year ago. If you have a mobile and don’t go too far away from town, there is no reason why you can’t do whatever you like, whenever you like. They pay me to water-ski she tells her friends. And she is always on the water. After being brought up on a farm about fifty kilometres from Bringalbert, the little town seems enormous in comparison. There is always someone new to meet. Imagine never having the sensation of the person in front of you being an absolute stranger—that is what life was like. You just always knew everybody around you since time began. Now she strikes up conversations and searches for novelties in strangers whenever she can. It’s her new hobby, and everyone in town seems enlivened by the fact that they, in turn, are seen as something new and exciting for a change. It is like a cool breeze is blowing through town, and the usually still lake is lapping at the shore for the first time in no-one-knows how long.
10. Isabel Reimann, 34 Shirley st, Russell Island, QLD, October 20, 1973, 37yo, Labor Trainer, 86kgs, 5’5: Isabel is in a catch-twenty-two. She moved onto Russell Island to get away, but there is no work and now she can’t get away. What was she thinking? The answer is she wasn’t. It was a matter of move now, get away, go to where he will never find her again. She got there but will it ever get better? She gets by with bartering. Slowly the other people who live on the island are letting her do chores and jobs in exchange for food and items for the house. There is even one seemingly nice lady who stops by Isabel’s fence occasionally and chats. The good thing about having no money is she can’t buy alcohol. It was hard at the start, but now it is like she feels a little stronger and a little further away with each day. Baby steps Izzy. That’s what her mum always used to say. When you have run a thousand miles, it takes a while before you can slow your heart down again, before you can breathe into life again. When her heart beats wildly in her chest, she walks to the end of the island and looks out into the grey Pacific Ocean, and it calms her because she knows that there is nowhere further to run and from here it all baby steps.
Me? I like Pina Colada (but mainly if its made from white rum and strawberries) and getting caught in the rain (yeah, I just like that). I like lists, Scrabble and puppies, and semi-colons are my favourite punctuation (em dashes are a close second). You? I guess you just need to like hearing me waffle on!