Monday, March 31, 2008

Man Sentenced over Wombat Rape Claim

I kid you not . . .

A Miotueka man who claimed to have been left speaking 'Australian' after being raped by a wombat has been sentenced to 75 hours' community work for his trouble.

Arthur Ross Cradock, a 48-year-old orchard worker, admitted in the Nelson District Court in New Zealand yesterday to the charge of using a phone for a fictitious purpose, after calling police with the message, 'I've been raped by a wombat'.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stringer told the court that on the afternoon of February 11 Cradock called the police communications centre, threatening to "smash the filth" if they arrived at his home that night.

When asked if he had an emergency, he replied "yes", Mr Stringer said.

On a second subsequent call to the communications centre, Cradock told police he was being raped by a wombat at his Motueka address, and sought their immediate help.

He called police again soon after, and gave his full name, saying he wanted to withdraw the complaint.

"I'll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because he's pulled out,'' Cradock told the operator at the communications centre, who had no idea what he was talking about, Mr Stringer said.

"Apart from speaking Australian now, I'm pretty all right you know, I didn't hurt my bum at all,'' Cradock then told the operator.

Prosecutors said alcohol played a large part in Cradock's life, although his defence lawyer said he was not drunk on the afternoon of the phone calls.

Well now! We all know that a wombat is an Australian marsupial that eats shoots, roots and leaves right?Does he look happy to you?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Orphans and Boarders

There was something slightly ironic about watching a musical about a workhouse boy with no education whilst seated in the private theatre of one of Australia’s most exclusive boys schools! Settle down now children! Nothing untoward here!.

Thursday night I went with friends to watch a bloody good school theatrical rendition of Lionel Bart’s “Oliver” performed by The Kings School in Sydney and female members of their sister school, Tara Church of England School for Girls.

I was very pleasantly surprised, not least by the professionalism of the troupe who were better than some professionals I’ve seen quite frankly . . incredible! But also the school Theatre! Unbelievable! Seating about 200, there was a suspended gallery for the orchestra, hydrolic sets and scenes, rotating panels in the floor, complete and permanent stage light sound and mixing. Sets professionally made, costuming impeccable. It was like sitting in a miniature version of Star City’s Lyric Theatre complete with pre-theatre Pizza in the science lab (only for those in the know) beforehand and champers at interval for the price of a gold coin! (That’d set you back about $11 at the Opera House!)

I think I became curious about this school after sitting next to a couple of youg boarders in their full regalia . . apparently they have to wear school uniform whenever they mix with the public whether it’s after normal school hours or not. I felt a little sorry that they couldn’t sit like everyone else in their civvies. Instead, they wore the oldest military uniform in Australia. Navy long pants with a red side stripe and a grey marle blazer with epilets and distinctive red trim, white shirt and school tie underneath.

The King's School is the oldest independent (read private) school in Australia. It was founded when the victorious Duke of Wellington dispatched his his protege, Archdeacon Broughton to introduce a "superior description" of education into New South Wales in 1831.

Sited at Parramatta which at the time was the second NSW settlement and the site of the first real agriculture in the colony; it was the gateway to the interior and at the head of the navigable Parramatta river. (Their annual regatta is still called ' Head of the River' even though it's now run at the Penrith Olympic site). The patronage of King William IV was to remind the school of its history and purpose - both of which were at risk in a colonial Parramatta that boasted over 20 pubs, more than 1000 convicts, a female factory and jail (still does) compounded by the prevalence of scarlet fever still in a recovery period from the times of a rum currency.

The injection of both public and private money into schools of this calibre is glaringly obvious – Generally, Private or Independent Schools receive the same Government funding as State Schools then supplement their income either through a combination of higher fees, diocesan donation and private fund raising. Kings is an Anglican school and also ‘private’ so it costs a fortune to send your kid there and there is a strict selection criteria. To ‘register interest’ in just sending your kid to kings, you pay $250! Non refundable. If you are fortunate, you may then complete an application form. Priority of course is given to practising Anglicans, prep school boys and the sons of wealthy politicians, farmers and diplomats or indeed Malaysian or Thai princes. Then your suitability will be assessed and if you cut the mustard, can afford the fees and have the ‘right’ connections . . you’re in whether you’re kid is bright or dumb as dogshit. There is then an acceptance fee of $3,600. Heaven knows what the annual tuition fees are . . .around the $5,000 per term mark I believe.

Little wonder then that the facilities are amazing. This school is big. It has country boarders in motel style dorms and is also open to day boys from years 7-12. It has a preparatory school for children 6-12. It has some serious infrastructure, from a brand new hall and sports centre to the usual labs and classrooms, a full Auditorium and another Assembly hall. It has a cricket pitch currently under refurbishment and 10 purpose built playing fields . .

Finally, that leaves me with the concept of boarding . . Many of the Kings boarders are the sons of wealthy farming families, diplomats, Canberra bound politicians, even foreign princes so boarding is a necessity but some are just there because it's convenient. My neighbour for instance, boards her children 24/7 and the school is only 20 minutes away. I always thought that a little cruel knowing that mum and dad are 20 minutes away and you're stuck in boarding school while they play golf and go to the Hunter Valley to watch the likes of Rod Stewart on the Green at Draytons. She feels it's good for character and dad was an 'old boy' so the prestige is huge. Then again, when they were little, Clare earned plenty babysitting the little brats over the weekend when mum and dad were hardly home.

The Full-time Boarder is a boy who resides at the School 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (7 days a week? That’s cruel and unusual punishment)

A Weekly Boarder is a boy who boards during weekdays but returns to his normal residence generally following his sporting commitments each Saturday. (at least he gets a hug from mum and

The Flexi Boarder is not usually a boarder but due to family circumstances will join the boarding community on a short term secondment or for a regular one or two nights a week (so that mummy and daddy can have a couple of evenings of respite and pop along to the ballet)

A Day Boarder will use the boarding facilities during the day and early evening, but does not stay overnight in a boarding house. (sort of long day care for big kids)

I have friends who loved being boarders (not at Kings but other schools), others who despised it but none who were ambivalent. There's a little bit of Oliver in them all! And if you want to send your kids to this school, you'll have to pick a pocket or two!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cruising


Today I received two tickets, travel tags and an Itinerary for a Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor (Exotic Western Caymans). I was thrilled! Whilst I'm not in exactly swimsuit condition a carefully chosen, slimming black number and a GrannyMar style spray tan might disguise the fact that we've had an arctic summer. A quick water diet for the next couple of weeks might even disguise the cellulite and cut off a few kilos. I began the cucumber diet.

I was a little concerned that I haven't yet put in my passport application but nevertheless began thinking about who I could invite to accompany me on this great adventure full of Spring Break revellers. Unfortunately, the tickets are in the names of ClareBear and Toots. Bugga.

I have actually been freaking out a little as I think they thought they were going to pick their tickets up in Miami on April 10th . . in readiness for an April 13th Departure on the Love Boat. Sadly no . . the tickets are sitting on my kitchen bench and the timezones are playing havoc with my attempts to contact the Carnival Cruise organisers. Their Toll Free number is obviously for the US only and I haven't been able to contact them via phone. This was made even more difficult by the fact that the booking was made through Cruise Web in Maryland!

Hopefully someone will answer the many emails marked with little red flags and displaying the word URGENT DESPERATE MUMMY NEEDS HELP. I need to know where I should return the tickets or whether they can be reissued in time for the exhausted travellers to experience the cruise of a lifetime. South America isn't an option as they are never in the same place for more than three days, internet access is limited and experience has taught me that it takes 7-10 days for parcel mail to hit the US so they need to be returned to someone soon!

Failing that, anyone up for some quick impersonation of two nubile 23 year olds and wanna share a cruise during the US spring break on the party boat?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bloggyphobia

I have created a monster. I started blogging about personal stuff. Something my kids could involve themselves in and find some level of engagement with me long after I'm gone. I wanted them to say "Oh that's so typical of mum . . " or "I didn't know that about her . ." but once you create a public blog and comments flow, the nature of the beast changes considerably. I can't write personal things which is what I want to do, so I've now established a private blog, just for those really close to me so they know how I tick. My Opus Dei however so pathetic.

Needless to say, I haven't actually written an entry on it yet but I will. The other conundrum is the balance between the trivial, the interesting, the politica, the social - humerous vs seriousl . . .I've actually really annoyed some people by stating my political leanings although I don't consider myself a political animal. The only post I ever removed was one about DrummerBoy to which he took offense and now I'm struggling to make things even mildly interesting.

This is not an unusual phenomenon. Gaye has gone AWOL although I know why, Vanilla is absorbed and quite rightly so in writing and focusing on being published. Daz has left the blogosphere for ever. Wordnerd rarely posts, Is that All There Is has lost the plot and Kahler is just plain lazy. Then Grandad manages to post every day. I am depressed but angsty about Steph's blog as she is a lone voice but so erudite and strong that I'm drawn to her analysis. Jefferson, I have the pleasure of talking to offline and adore his photography. Bird Anonymous has managed to escape the difficulty with an amazing photo blog. Red Mojo is just fascinating because I have never met anyone like her and ThriftCriminal is a delight. I love K8, no really, we're chalk and cheese, Laurel and Hardy but I will never visit Ireland without plonking on her mad family with armfuls of silly TShirts and stuffed koalas. Benchwarmer has other priorities these days but I see him occasionally. Moo Dog is a relative newbie, fresh and funny and Quickroute . . hey, he's my South American connection. Ryan is sweet but really not a man of the blogosphere. Ian is my total inspiration and just one of the many I would dearly like to meet - the athiest and the vicar . . .imagine that. Nonny is hilarious but rarely present and the others are polite readers and rare commenters. But to you all, you have brought a diversity into my life that has been really, seriously, interesting and wonderful. *has a little wipe with a tissue*. There are are many others but they either don't comment or have no idea of the impact their blogs make on me.

I'm at sixes and sevens tonight. I'm not sure what direction to take this in. I want a 'piece of me' to be extended to all of you which sounds completely hedonistic but it wasn't my intention to entertain a crowd although I love your comments and really enjoy the diversity and feel priviledged to have been in personal contact with most of you. Many of you I have come to know privately and I feel very blessed by that. But tonight as I struggle with blogophobia, TV looks more appealing . . that book that I've barely touched on my bedside table seems more attractive. Although I just can't draw myself away. Addiction . .almost but if I have nothing worthy to say . . what's the point?

I guess a blog by it's pure nature is short and sharp. I want a l-o-n-g dinner-time conversation about libertarianism in the wider context, religion life the universe and everything, life without partners, health problems, the trials of being published, dogs and grandchildren, memories of the past and your struggles, the difficulty of expressing love, life in your part of the world, Tibet and the Olympic games, Zimbabwe elections, wine and chocolate, why you're a vegetarian yet wear leather shoes, how you managed to capture that shot . . . blogging is great and it has filled a space in many a lonely night but . . . now I find I want to expand on my theories, argue my points but feel self censored. So what better place than my dinner table to fight it out, with a starter of GrannyMar's soup, an Absolute Vanilla chocolate dessert and . . . .well again, I have nothing yet feel compelled to write something. You're all welcome for dinner at chez Fairway any time! (But hurry . . this offer is limited! the bulldozers will be moving in next year)

No I'm not giving up, it's writer's block. I'll get over it. I actually rather like that I have this clandestine life that half my family and friends don't even know about. I am under no delusion that if I disappeared tomorrow life would go on without a problem but thank you my virtual friends . .whenever I'm down . . .


Now, I'm off to watch a documentary on Execution in the US . . .post forthcoming!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

It's Easter Monday. Yesterday was a blast even with our diminishing family (JimmyD in London, Red in Melbourne, ClareBear in Peru, Hannabananna in Townsville)

Still, we had Easter Egg hunts, poker, BabyBro's famous chili prawns and one of my best lasagne's yet, loads of good red and sparkling white and a lunch that lasted until 9:30pm, then a quick game of Need for Speed at which I suck intensely (yet even a vodka ridden DrummerBoy excels) before bouncing off the walls on my way to bed!

This morning after two cups of tea I'm feeling decidedly thick headed and seedy so I went searching for something funny, silly, light-hearted and vacuous to post that was remotely connected to the Easter weekend. Then, I found out what you probably already know:

Easter eggs! Not the chocolate kind but hidden features placed by programmers in software applications, operating systems, and even some hardware. When the hidden command sequence is found, an Easter-egged product will perform an action, such as displaying a message, a small animation or playing a sound. In Halo for instance, it inserts characters doing funny things, random monkey men or in Code of Conduct 4 you can hear oddball comments such as 'this is Sparta!" Here's one hidden inside Final Fantasy:


Slightly off topic, I had a discussion with a young Irish bloke the other day and he was horrified that I alluded to him as a Geek but confessed he was slightly Nerdy which he considered a more favourable label. Weird. Being a nerd down here means you're a bit of a sociopath, pale and uninteresting, with an aversion to fresh air and a penchant for playing Warhammer or chess. A geek on the other hand, has kudos, good IT knowledge, is similarly pale but interesting.

Nerds have above-average IQ and no gift for small talk and ordinary social rituals. They place little importance on their appearance. Nerds are often aware of their status, but they don't mind. In fact, many take pride in the putdown, as it means they're smart and not wrapped up in superficial worries.

Geek is a more specific term. Back in the day, geeks worked at carnivals, and (according to the dictionary) "bit the heads off live chickens." Thankfully, the term now has a different connotation. Geeks have chosen concentration rather than conformity; they pursue skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance. Geeks usually have a strong case of neophilia. These are the people you make fun of in high school and later work for as an adult.

Being called a dork however is the biggest insult of the three. There's no way you can spin it into something positive. After all, even the dictionary writes that dorks are "stupid" people. And to make matters worse, dorks assume they're cool. Oh, and they smell, too.

So, to sum things up, if someone calls you a geek or a nerd, thank them. If someone calls you a dork, consider going back to school and investing in some new deodorant.

There, that wasn't too hard really . . . hope you all had a happy and safe Easter break . . . now . . . coffee time!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's Showtime

It's Royal Easter Show time in Sydney. One of the last great Agricultural shows. I guess something like the Young Farmers on speed or an imitation version of US State Fairs. Agriculturally, it's wonderful. Beautiful produce displays, animal enclosures sporting every domesticated creature from Alpacas to literally Flying Pigs, Cows and horses etc. Smelly poultry, arts and crafts, cake decorating, painting and sculpture, knitwear and handicrafts, wine and cheese.

I never had any great burn to go to the "Show" but pushed by children who were keen to enjoy the crowds, we've been for the past few years on and off. Now as adults, I am liberated from the experience. The good? Introducing city kids to life in the country and getting close up and personal with the farming ethic. It's possible to poke a piglet, goad a goat, chase a chicken and follow the big animal footprints on the concrete which mark a path amongst the animal exhibits. You can attend everything from cross-stitch and flower pruning demonstrations to cows being milked and lambs being delivered, chicks hatching and cows being milked. Which is a good thing for kids who think that milk comes from a plastic container in a supermarket. Believe me . . most kids do!

It's become a little more commercialised over the years with manufacturers spruiking non agricultural products but it's essence remains bringing the country to the city and for the exhibitors an incredible source of pride if you win that blue ribbon for your boiled fruit cake . . yes folks, Australians make boiled fruit cake. There are more chambray shirts, Akubra hats and moleskin pants than you can poke a stick at . . the uniform that marks the country folk from those in the burbs.

At night, if you can get a seat in the grandstand, there's polo, precision driving, some novelty act, usually an unbelievably unemployable clown and a donkey that manage to get this one gig a year and something exciting like a high wire act, Rocket Man or a robot that breathes fire (told you, it's a class act) - I believe it's freestyle motocross this year. It closes with 20 minutes of pretty damn good fireworks.

The downside . . Sideshow alley and it's array of over-priced dodgy rides and showbags and an inundation of young teens in silly hats and wigs. It's alcohol controlled so no shenanigins although I can always smell weed, perhaps it's luscerne hay?

Then there are showbags. Once upon a time, showbags were various manufacturers' way of providing samples to the public. They were free. You could browse around an enormous hall of stalls and grab a free showbag with chocolate, toys, skin care, garden products for nicks, nada, nothin'. These days, they range between $5 and $20 are largely full of shit and it's the most crowded exhibition in the showground as people clamour to get their little plastic bag full of . . .well . . rubbish. My kids would be given $10 and ushered into the seething crowd, only to look at every damn bag in this massive steaming hot hall to emerge with the biggest bag full of revolting sticky lollies. There were times when the gluck had to be removed with something akin to paint stripper from DrummerBoy's face. Show bags always contained something
to help the kids spew in the car on the way home.

Other downsides . . exasperated parents pushing over tired toddlers in the pouring rain or stinking heat (Easter is always extreme), screechy teenage girls with stupid things on their heads or in their hair, the food . . dagwood dog anyone? Yuk. I was the tight arse parent that packed a rucksack with sandwiches and juice and the only luxury maybe an ice cream or a tub of chips later in the evening. After last 2006's Good Friday effort at the show where 2 million people attended on a 30C day, I called it quits. Never again! Not never, no how! I'm done with the mingled essence of poo, frying fat and sticky lollies!

But it is an institution and at $30 a head per adult, it isn't cheap. After 16 years of dragging my lazy arse through the muck and the mire, I'm quite happy to watch it reported on telly but if you have littlies who aren't afraid of fireworks, (I spent many a year cuddling my niece or nephew who were terrified of the things), it's a good day and night out and I think fondly remembered by the younglings whilst abhorred by the parents!










There, just a tastelet. . . time for Monopoly!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ta-da, tadata ta-da!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have nothin'. It's cold, it's Good Friday so everything except the Indian Quickie Mart is closed, it's raining, my son is hungover and no company at all. I on the other hand have decided to raise the bar of DVD intellectualism and endure a Star Wars marathon by attempting to watch all six movies consecutively. It's now 1:34 so I reckon given meal and toilet breaks, I can nail this bastard by about 1:30am! So it's grab a doona, curl up on the couch and let the endurance test begin. This little trilogy on the other hand will bring a smile to your dial and take about six minutes of your viewing pleasure!






Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stan the Man

I had an email from Stan today. I don’t get them very often. He’s busy, happy and living the ordinary life in Aotearoa. Yet there is nothing ordinary about this bloke.

I first met him in 1995 when we were hiring freelance Graphic Designers. We were in a meeting when the receptionist rang through on speaker phone and said “I should probably just warn you that your next interviewee only has one hand!” . . . amid a flurry of giggles and ‘Oooh aaahs’ we wondered how on earth someone with only one hand could drive a mouse and a keyboard, let alone a vehicle to photo shoots and art direction . . still these were the days of equal opportunity and it was time to see what he was made of.

Whilst pretending to work, a very tall, surfie type with white blonde, scruffy hair, was lead towards the light box to show off his portfolio which had been captured on 35mm slides. I swivelled in my chair All I could see was the back of his head, his broad shoulders, tanned ‘arm’ fabulous bottom and long legs wrapped in well fitting dark green Benneton . We all looked approvingly at each other and were encouraging our Creative Director to hire this guy without even knowing the quality of his work. He did . . he was a sucker for the girls and so Stan was hired for a three month contract. He was a Jersey boy . . on a 12 month visa travelling the antipodes with a couple of friends but needed work before reuniting with them on the Queensland coast. He was/is a champion kneeboarder, choosing this because paddling with one hand is difficult, and he can use fins, but he’s also a fine surfer!

We became great pals at work and mucked around on the email. We had a similar sense of humour and family values and developed a long and lasting friendship that I have since discovered wasn't dependent upon constantly being in contact.

Stan had a Van . . he lived in his van which was at the time being parked behind the local pub. In the burbs this is considered highly suspicious and he was being moved on with great regularity. He spent 5 days a week working, living on five minute noodles and peas and then headed north to the beach on the weekend where he could meet up with pals and bludge a decent meal. After feeling sorry for the lad, I invited him in . . he could park in my front garden and sleep in peace. And so began a lovely and lasting friendship. It was a time when my house was seemingly full of party people. We had another freelancer from England who was a regular visitor having lived with us for a few months prior, and another lonely heart who my cousin had just deserted . . .We socialised in the evening, went to the movies, local and distant pubs, had Friday drinkies that went well into the night with the work crew and partied hard. Even with two kids in tow, we had amazing fun.

He is handsome, bright, intelligent and funny and his one arm is no impediment to anything other than cutting his fingernails! He tells the girls he’s been attacked by a shark! In reality, it’s a birth defect that he’s become so used to, there’s nothing he can’t do. Seriously, he’s fixed my wobbly fridge, the toilet seat (you try being a bloke peeing with one hand and the toilet seat keeps falling down), repaired my arial, rustproofed my car, even chopped onions, cooked meals, decorated Easter eggs and made a little horse out of the wire from a champagne cork. He’s just a lovely lad, a quality designer, a slow typist but a great friend. Luck follows him everywhere and despite a few surprisingly failed relationships, he seems to have found his niche.

Over the years, Clare and I have stayed with him in beautiful Jersey, met his family and his favourite haunts and he with us on several occasions in Oz, alone, with girls and even with his mum but it’s been 4 years since I’ve seen him. I haven't hugged the man for a very long time and I miss him much. He now lives in New Zealand his not so new love and nstant family who he’s embraced big time. He’s built a beautiful house on the beach, has great job and is thoroughly enjoying teaching his girls to surf and rising to the challenges of instant fatherhood. As he approaches his 40th birthday, he's happy, settled, calm, in love and living the normal life . . it suits him!Lovely to hear from you Stan and your little brood! If I was 12 years younger . . Tena koutou ehara koei aia Stan!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Hopeful Gardener

Well the long summer break for Universities is over, the Thai holiday is behind him and we're 2 weeks into the first Semester so DrummerBoy is officially 'unemployed'. Poor possum is still waiting for formal notification of his degree and results which makes proving you've got a degree a little difficult when you're job hunting. People he's seen so far are in retail and he'd rather be slugging it out in the heat digging ditches and designing gardens.

Never fear, mother's here . . We're on the campaign trail with a vengeance. Mummy made pretty resumes and cover letters, he put in the words and now the landscaping industry in Sydney is being inundated with a letter and resume drop. Short of printing 5,000 and dropping them from a helicopter, he's got the city covered. (Would they drop from a helicopter or get sucked up into the rotors and resemble ticker tape rain?) Damn you Ian for making me think about physics!

In retrospect, perhaps an apprenticeship rather than a high falutin' degree might have been more practical. He's got the theory, knows his soils and roses, can identify a load of plants with their botanical names and knows at least 100 pests (we had them all pinned to a piece of styrofoam on my dining table for months!). He's a big boy and a hard worker, not afraid of lugging heavy stuff or putting his back into hard work. The ultimate goal is his own business but to get that, he needs the practical experience. Three months working for a landscape gardener in your three year Uni career doesn't quite cut the mustard. Employers of landscape designers are not so impressed with three years as a casual pool shop attendant!

It's tough for a new graduate with little practical experience, in a saturated employment market, seeking a position in a landscape design company during a five year drought! So would somebody please give my little horticulturalist a job . . . he's ready, willing, able, eating me out of house and home and his car needs registering and insuring . . .!


Monday, March 17, 2008

أنا لست ارهابيا

Ahh . .it's blogger heaven this week and it's only Monday! So much ammunition. They found The Sydney, we're buying Lockheed F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) from the US even though they're duds, the Dalai Llama won't recommend a boycott of the Beijing Olympics and Mercy Ministries have been performing exorcisms on bulimics and anorexics . . . but I'm in my own private Idaho and concerned with paperwork!

I am not a terrorist, and I don't need to launder money acquired by ill begotten means so why does the Federal Government insist that I provide a primary photo ID document and secondary ID document in order to deposit, switch or withdraw my money from my fund manager?

It seems we are following in the biometric paranoia of the American Government and tarring everyone with the same brush. We are all potential terrorists and mafioso hit men so we must all justify who we are before depositing, transferring or redeeming our own bloody money!

In November 2007, the Federal Government very cunningly passed Anti Terrorist and Money Laundering Legislation that has given financial institutions the excuse to create even more forms and red tape (and anyone who knows me knows how fucked up I am at doing forms!) What part of 'broad brush, creative, marketing, conceptual, project management, no eye for detail, logical and pragmatic' don't you understand. I HATE FILLING OUT FORMS. Yet 30% of my job depends on me doing it. Lately, it's been a nightmare because I didn't tick the right box to say we'd sighted ID or I didn't present the right ID, or as a Justice of the Peace, I didn't certify copies of a person's ID. For fuck's sake. I feel like I'm in a Douglas Adams novel pushing pen and paper around with the rest of the Accountants and Telephone Hygienists!

So how do I help little old Widow Moffatt withdraw funds from her fund manager? She is 89 years old. She has never driven a car so there goes her licence as a source of photo ID. Her passport hasn't been renewed since 1938 so that's no good, the near sepia picture is a semblance of its former self and bears no resemblance to our lovely silver haired lady. She is financially self sufficient so she has no Social Security number or need of a pension. No Seniors Card . . in fact nothing with photo ID. But apparently, she is a potential terrorist, a money laundering granny from hell who is bent on the destruction of democracy and not entitled to her own savings without jumping through the proverbial flaming hoop!

Eventually, we can get Edna's money for her after presenting a rates notice, a letter from her doctor, her last 12 months of phone bills, letting the Government know her shoe size, parading her and her zimmer frame in front of a panel of experts and having her teeth x-ray'd!

Mr High Net Worth is filthy rich and deservedly so, he is a highly successful engineer and businessman . . . has a bank account with Macquarie Bank. . .big bank . . very big bank. He's had his account for 20 years, they've been more than happy to do business with him and he gets a VIP Christmas Card and party invitation every year. They are constantly telling him what a 'valued' client he is. But, this week, when we want to put a goodly some of his cash into not one, but three Term Deposits . . he, read me, (All he has to do is sign the fuckers but has trouble doing that in the right place!) has to fill out a mountain of forms AND provide ID to the point where I thought he was going to withdraw the lot and stick it in a tin under the bed!

If it wasn't for the good cash rate return on Term Deposits at the moment I think he may well have done that!

I have often had arguments with libertarians and those of the right wing persuasion about my socialist leanings and I stick to my moderately leftist politics, I do believe in subsidised health and education and the wealthy looking after the poor but . . . when we virtually accuse an entire nation of being potential criminals, create even more bureaucracy and red tape, and respond to a problem that barely exists here . . . it's time to rise up and tell your politicians to stick their ridiculous accusations up their proverbial bottoms and to get on with governing the country!

I am not a terrorist! And the only laundering my money has been through is in the bottom of a washing machine!

Please, Mrs Moffat and Mr High Net Worth look nothing like a terrorist:


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Outback, The Back o Beyond and the Bush

Poor Nick is now cross-eyed with confusion over what might be the Australian outback, beyond the black stump or the bush . . so by way of explanation (completely subjective, unresearched and highly opinionated) here's a cooks tour of what's out the back! Now pay attention, there will be an exam!

Going Bush
Stop giggling you silly young things. It's perfectly clean. Basically you can 'go bush' in any enclave of national park, or wild preserve beyond the immediate boundaries of a town. Now this is a difficult concept because Sydney for instance, is a sprawling urban metropolis of the American model. Small CBD . . big suburban breakout. Yet within the burbs are lovely little spots where one can 'go bush'. For me, it's probably through Windsor and Richmond along the Kurrajoing Road or Catai National Park . . actually a quick visit to Glenorie is close enough! Count the fingers on that lot for starters! For others it Might be Kuringai National Park which encompasses a huge tract of land from Sydney's northern suburbs to the central coast. It' s flora and fauna preserve well worth exploring . . or even the Bue Mountains, now there are some serious bushwalks if you're inclined or you can just marvel at the Megalong valley from a range of lovely lookouts before you plonk in a pub for a Devonshire Tea! . . all as my pal Anony mentioned within little more than an hour or so from the CBD. Oh she has wonderful shots of the bush just a spit from the centre of town. So to go bush, you really don't need to go that far . . for the real bush experience, you need to go beyond the black stump.

Govetts Leap Waterfall in Blackheath .
just over an hour from my place in the Blue Mountains


The Black Stump

This phrase basically describes a place which early in the piece was simply indescribable.
Endless plains of inland Australia under a massive sky (yes the sky is bigger here). Is there a black stump? In my travels I've found there are several but the 'acknowledged' one is actually in Blackall in central Queensland over 1000 kilometres west of Brisbane - no that really is in the 'never never'.

Surveyors on Astro station near Blackall, in 1887 used a blackened tree stump as the base for their measuring equipment. The equipment was so large the tree stump was the most secure base around. Before long people considered anything west of Blackall to be - beyond the black stump although I believe using stumps as survey markers was widespread so there could be hundreds of the buggas.

The real McCoy at Blackall near Winton in Queensland

The Far North
Now this is where many tourists like to play . . they think it's quite a long way from Sydney . . .they're right. The far north refers to far north Queensland. The lower portion of which provides access to the Whitsunday Islands and the resorts within that archipelago but the real far north means you have to have a plane or a four wheel drive. This stretch of our trans Australian highway is not paved. It encompasses the lush and ancient Daintree Rainforest, where the mountains meet the sea, pristine forest and arid inland stations and mining communities. This is no exaggeration . . the Far North . . .is as far north as you can get in Australia, right up there on the pointy bit, in gulf country. Don't camp on the beach, there are big saltys and they're always hungry. Don't swim on unprotected beaches without your panty-hose on between November and March, there are Box Jellyfish and they're always deadly.

Cape Tribulation - Far North Queensland

The Outback, The Back of Burke, The Back of Beyond
Well to reach the outback, you have to go beyond the bush . . .To reach the Back of Bourke, you need to go beyond that western inland country town in NSW. The back of beyond . . well that's further than your eye can see . . . The outback is a little further than the bush but not as far as the never never. Unless of course you go to the far outback in which case you are the back of beyond. Generally, the outback is extreme rural . . .at least a day's drive inland. Anywhere the Dingo or Rabbit Proof Fence surrounds, anywhere that Emu and Red Kangaroo dwell. Anywhere you can't swim because there are crocodiles. Anywhere that Opal petrol is sold . . . anywhere you can't get a Chardonnay unless it comes from a cardboard cask . . The outback is arguably the 'real' country . . red dust, hard men and even harder women. Aboriginal communities and massive farms, mining communities and open cut mines . . .where camels are feral and termites build condominiums. This is where children go to school via the School of the Air and your groceries are delivered once a week by plane or road train and you don't even bother to round up your cattle except for the annual muster involving trackers, helicopters and motocross bikes . . .

This could be anywhere . . .within a day's drive of pretty much any capital city!

The Never Never
Phrase coined by Mrs Aeneas Gunn "Jeannie" when she wrote her book about a station manager's wife in the far outback, "We of the Never Never". At first I thought it was an English translation of some Aboriginal word or explanation but no . . the Never Never is in fact the area around Elsey Station in far north Western Australia on the Northern Territory Border where Jeannie Gunn described the landscape as "A land that bewitches her people with strange spells and mysteries until they call sweet bitter and bitter sweet. We who have lived in it and loved it know that our hearts can never rest away from it." I've never been to the NT or Katherine but from what I've seen, the scenery is unique and very bewitching! I daren't go for fear I may never never leave the never never.


So there it is. I still call Australia Home, I am an Australian and I understand the meaning of Waltzing Matilda . . not bad for a one-time pommie!



Not quite what you thought?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oh . . .This and That . . .

A few days ago Terence McDanger tagged me again with the seven little known fact meme which I said I'd post on a rainy day but today was hot and dry so I've taken another piece of inspiration from his blog to talk about things I really like. Self indulgent, absolutely so take it or leave it:

Talking to People I Have Never Met
If two years ago, someone had asked me about what I do early on a Saturday and Sunday morning, I would have said . . .'watch television' . . . 'clean' . . . 'read a book' . . these days . .thanks to the timezones I chat to people whom I have never met! Seriously . . I get onto Skype and either IM or literally whack on the headphones and have conversations with people in America, Ireland, New Zealand, South America . . it's amazing. I'm not some idiotic internet dater or desperate housewife, the timezone suits the technology is there and it's fantastic. Hopefully I will get to meet those who want to be met and remain friends with those who value their anonymity but I really, really, enjoy it. I'm an early riser so my habit is to make a cuppa, check the blogs and if anyone's online, I'm up for a conversation. It's a truly great way to start the day!

Destinations
Terrence started with Barcelona, never been there but for me one particularly memorable experience was Bivio. Where? In Switzerland, on the Italian border, before things get scruffy and anyone who has crossed the borders from alpine Europe into Italy knows what I mean. We had great digs in a miniscule village. It was cold, September so no snow on the ground but we were surrounded by massive mountains iced with snow. We took a pre dinner walk, saw red squirrels which don't exist in the antipodes and that wonderful smell of stabled horses. We walked narrow streets enclosed by neat white houses with geranium window boxes, cows wearing bells, distinctive hafflinger ponies, tidy red barns and one of the nicest traditions I've ever seen. When a baby is born to a Swiss family, a massive pole is erected in their front garden adorned with blue baby stuff for boys and pink for girls. It's so lovely - ribbons and teddy bears, flags and silver . . . our American travellers never walked before breakfast or dinner and never saw the joys of rural Switzerland, they were too busy buying Swarosvki Crystal (Polish I might add), cuckoo clocks and Tag Hauer Watches. Bivio also had the best food, after a diet of mashed potato, pork and carrots, we had fish and greens and the plushest doonas on the beds ever! Mixed with a nice bottle of something French . . magnifique!

Possums
Our possums aren't like the long snouted American possums, they're a cross between a bush baby and a large cat. Cute as buttons. Noisy and if they're in you're roof quite destructive but gorgeous little fur balls nonetheless. Introduced to New Zealand they have become a feral pest but in urbanised Castle Hill, it's a rare delight to actually see one that hasn't been macerated by a speeding vehicle. Ours are still very shy. I suspect their native habitat is Castle Hill Country Club where there's plenty to forage and a fairly safe haven. The're not fed and unused to the encroaching urbanisation but we hear them fight and an hour with a Maglight at 8:00 at night you're bound to see one pretending it's invisible in the bamboo! I really must get the night settings on my camera right! I remember staying with friends in the Hunter Valley, their possums were super tame and ate their vegie peelings dropped beneath a tree and would take tasty morsels from your hands. We even had one on holiday in Hawks Nest which stayed up for breakfast, perched on the timber fence waiting to be fed. Beautiful, cheeky and incredibly tame. I imagine the equivalent to the American raccoon.

The Bush
I don't know why Australians call it the bush and it can range from that arid range beyond the black stump to lush Queensland Rainforest,. Victorian tallwoods or Tasmanian Oak. The Bush is out there, beyond the city, in the country and it doesn't really matter whether it's lush dairy farm or tough beef country, it's away from civilisation, a place where people and the lifestyle are so far removed. It can also be as close as Kuringai State Forest and the Blue Mountains or as far away as Mount Gambier and Daintree. I love the bush in all it's incarnations.

Bums
I'm with Terrence on this. Only I prefer the masculine kind. My parents in law live by the sea and close to their home is a popular surfing spot. Driving past their parked cars, it's not unusual to see a golden god of a youngling drying off after a day in the drink. They are not prudes. Drop the dacks dry the cracks if you catch my drift. Fabulous little tight white bottoms that could bounce off the walls surrounded by golden tans and surfie tresses . . .hey, a cat can look at a king!
Sorry Stan, but you were hired by virtue of your absolutely, earth shattering arse!

Fine Wine
OK I'm no sommalier but fortunately TheBoss is! Having dinner at his house is an exploration of what a true vigneron can achieve. For my 50th birthday , he brought out the big guns, Penfolds Grange Hermitage and a bottle of vintage Billie Ca rte & Salmon Champagne . . .seventh heaven. What most feel about chocolate, I enjoy in a fine wine. Happy to drink plonk on a daily basis but for a special occasion, bring out Margaret River's best and a bottle of French schparkly (not Moet) and I am a millionaire for a night!

Warm Nights
Warm spring, summer, autumn evenings with friends and/or family. Sitting in a garden, listening to the plethora of crickets and frogs, swatting the mozzies and sharing the Aerogard. The smell of gardenias and chlorine, dogs sitting on your feet because three acres is just not big enough to go and sit somewhere else. Drinking Mango Daquiries, blithering about politics and children, the life and universe and everything. Magic! Coming inside at 10:30 and realising that you haven't eaten anything more solid than that bug that flew into your drink uninvited, and that you simply don't care . . priceless!

I'm sure there's more but I'll ponder life's little pleasures for a future post. It's hot in Sydney, the outside thermometer says 27 and it's 7:30 at night so I might go for a dangle in my soon-to-be-demolished pool with my desperately-wanting-a-swim dog . . . and hope the bloody March flies don't carry me away!.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hunny is Yummy

Well Friday rolled round surprisingly quickly this week and apart from several bouts of insomnia it's been a whirlwind of work, house offers, ClareBear contact, solicitors, DrummerBoy resume construction and job hunting, stolen for sale signs and buzz. Managed to finally get the chardy lunch in with Thommo today. We're in for a hot and sunny weekend but pity those in Adelaide and Melbourne coping with 40 degrees! So some Friday trivia to bring a smile to your dial:

A Macedonian court convicted a bear of theft and damage for stealing honey from a beekeeper who fought off the attacks with thumping "turbo-folk" music. Now don't laugh, this is a serious story I read on ninemsn today.

"I tried to distract the bear with lights and music because I heard bears are afraid of that," Zoran Kiseloski told top-selling daily Dnevnik. After the year-long case of the bear vs the beekeeper ended in the beekeeper's favour.

"So I bought a generator, lit up the area and put on songs of (Serbian 'turbo-folk' star) Ceca." (and I thought a Seca was a little hatch back!)

The bear stayed away for a few weeks, but came back when the generator ran out of power and the music fell silent, Kiseloski said, adding, "it attacked the beehives again".

A court in the city of Bitola found the bear guilty, and since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, ordered the state to pay the 140,000 denars ($A3,766) damage it caused to the hives. There was no information on the whereabouts of the bear!

Damian? Where are you? Been very quiet lately? Not knocking off honeypots in the homeland are you?



Haha . . no wonder she kept the bear away!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Home Sweet Home

With the exchange of contracts growing closer, I've been contemplating whether to buy another house next year or build. I've been watching a little English TV show which is on before the news called Great Designs or something (c'mon I'm pottering around the kitchen I didn't pay attention). Basically it's a weekly show from 1999-2000 that follows people designing their own homes from turning warehouses into palaces or greenfield builds of environmentally friendly homes.

I like the idea of a 'green' home. Mostly because I have an affection for the environment and want to reduce my impact but also because conserving water and energy reduces bills significantly. We have a recycled water treatment system at home now . . we pay no sewage fees, it's all treated and then channelled through sprinklers onto the garden. We have water saving features on our taps and showers, a broad verandah around the entire house which keeps it cool most of the time but it's not exactly environmentally sustainable. I just watched a couple in England build a home with double glazed windows, solar panelling, composting toiled (don't go euuww it looks like a normal one) and reed filtering sewage system with no smell. They bought recycled door and floor timbers and built with a Scandinavian timber of compressed pine. Lovely. The result was a warm, energy efficient and cosy abode with power bills of sixty pounds a year! A year! I pay $300 a month for electricity . . . $1000 a quarter for council rates (rubbish removal and whatever else rates finance). OK our water bills are fairly cheap at $120 a quarter but that's because we're careful with consumption and the impact of restrictions.

So, buy or build. The sort of house I'm looking at is suburban . . older because the blocks are bigger but boy are they energy guzzlers.

I've only ever had one build and I mucked that up pretty well but hey, it was emotional, I was inexperienced with the distraction of young children . . .could I do it a second time?

When ClareBear was at Uni one of her practical projects was sustainable design and she worked closely with the Macarthur centre for sustainable design. I became absorbed in it . . how to maximise light and energy, what materials to use, how to irrigate and recylce water and sewage . . I'm actually warming to the idea . .

Nah . .too little house on the prairie!

One word . . .cleaning!

Never get planning position for this, looks like half a pide


Getting warmer . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spicks and Specks, Gravel and Velvet

Wednesday night is Spicks and Specks . . a meld of comedy, music, quiz and I'm addicted. Seriously, it's my 'almost-stay-in-at-all-costs" TV show. Tonight they had Barry McGuire as one of the panel guests and it took me back to seeing him in my University days when he was considered an ageing sage at that time . . .Loads of fun, plenty of laughs, me sitting on the couch trying to remember the names and artists who sang songs I used to know. Lots of "Waaahhh . . I knew that" and "I know that song but what's it called" and the odd coup when I beat Miff to the draw . . the woman is an encyclopedia of music . . then old Barry looking much like a walrus, finished with a gravelly rendition of "Eve of Destruction" true today as it was in the 60's. I'm not being preachy, just an observation that this little folk protest song works across many levels:



Call me naive but why are people so horrible to each other.

Then this brings me total peace, seriously, it's a love song, a separation song, a song for the world:



The poet in action . . Jeff, KD, you did a good job but nothing like the original! A hymn for the common man (plus he has a voice like liquid chocolate!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

White Rabbit Syndrome

I'm late . . . I'm late . . . For a very important date. No time to say "Hello." Goodbye. I'm late, I'm late, I'm late. . . . so things that were GREAT about today:

Had a long conversation via Skype with ClareBear who is living a fast and furious life now in Peru having Carnivale'd in Rio, toured with camans in the Pantenal, jet boated at Iguaza falls, perused La Paz, stayed with native Indians on the outskirts of Titicaca, walked on salt flats, done a level 4 rapids white water rafting trip, been horse riding in the Andes, has a couple of days to explore the city of Cusco, parcel up her Bolivian Llama gifts and post them before being off to the Inca trail. She's happy, healthy and having a ball so I feel good. Drop her a line, she has hot tips for what not to do at 4000m altitude. It will be the last post for a week or so. If you're on Facebook, she's loaded some photos.


Got home to DrummerBoy pouring an ICY glass of champagne and a surprisingly clean house - he needs help with his resume for a real job so had a really nice exchange, a serious chat and a giggle before he was busted out by Ocky to go to band practice and realised that in every photograph he takes an awful picture. When the police come after his abduction and ask for a photograph of my son for publication, I am left with nothing. Bless . . . (I bought the T shirt, very irresponsible)


Thank goodness at least the Fringelet can wear a kookaburra like bling! Yep, he's wild hand feeding has made him a regular visitor to this particular Fingal Bay property.



Finished the best part of an enormous custom mail-out telling clients that we're raising their fees, cleverly signed by moi so that TheBoss still looks like an innocent and managed to get through a share deal for Mr Whyte which is always a challenge.

My dog didn't run away like yesterday when she spent the day just 500m from home with two very spunky but incredibly concerned builders. My only excursions from work were to visit the solicitor and pick up her royal muddiness! (she has since been incarcerated in the dog house). Do fluoro vests count as uniform - they were hot!)

Spoke twice to my flirt of the month Rattie Mattie who as usual solved my IT problems. He's so sweet!

Found I had $34 in my bank account which allowed me to buy some nice bread and ingredients for GrannyMar's super soup - go visit it's delicious even without the addition of alcohol (I'm not about to splosh me bubbly in a soup!).

Cleared our letter of offer from a developer with our Solicitor . . yep . . we're on the downhill slope hopefully and contracts are being drawn up but we're sworn to secrecy, my neighbour is not impressed but I threw my socialist tendencies out the window and looked after number 1. I do feel a little guilt . . .well a nanospec . . actually none! I just want to go 'weeeeeeee'.

Finally got Overall, Yummy Mummy and BikerGirl together for a lunch at the end of the month which is harder than organising a world tour for Madonna!

All in all, an interesting day . . sorry I haven't visited everyone but had no internet this morning and it's my habit to visit early our time which is tomorrow your time if you catch my drift.

Phew . . time for another chotapeg (Is that word part of your vocab yet?)

And Ryan . .I saw what you got up to . . .'resh in the gesh' indeeeeeeeed! Please never show me your gesh!

Crispy where are you?

As Jeff Fenech would say "I loves yous all!"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Larrikin or Loser


After finding the remains of Ned Kelly in the grounds of Pentridge Prison this weekend, once again Australia's larrikin bushranger has been in the news 127 years after his hanging, decapitation and burial in a mixed grave at Old Melbourne Gaol, then subsequent exhumation and reburial at Pentridge.

Ned Kelly was the son of a convict, an outlaw, a horse thief, a bank robber a rabble rouser and a convicted police killer. Why does he loom so large in Australian history?

Mind you, our Ned has barely left the news. His life has inspired artworks, (Sydney Nolan's collection comes to mind), movie renditions, plays, poems and novels. Recent efforts included a movie starring Heath Ledger and Peter Carey's 2001 Booker Prize for his novel The True History of the Kelly Gang (which was of course a brilliant piece of fiction)

Ned Kelly's story can been seen as one of a poor boy of great skill, devoted to his family, wronged by the police and the legal system and - following a tragic series of events - executed at the age of 25. Or is it the story of a thug, born of an Irish convict who despised any form of authority. A common horse thief and bank robber who's only claim to fame was that silly iron suit! And a stunning death mask!

Some feel it is a strongly Australian story with Kelly as the archetypal Australian challenging authority. Some see him as a Freedom Fighter . . the Chez Guevara of the Victorian bush . Was he attempting to spark an uprising?

According to some he was a murderer and a cattle thief elevated to hero status by a public looking for a hero. He was a killer. He used the innocent for his own ends, taking hostages in shoot-outs. Four townspeople were killed in the Glenrowan shootout when he was captured.

The story of Ned Kelly has become a source of myth, and sometimes the narrative leaves out important facts. The stories and films that focus on his life build on the myth. In his book, Peter Carey imagines a daughter Kelly never had; the film featuring Heath Ledger invents a romantic interest.

Other interpretations use facts to paint a different picture. One view suggests there was sympathy for Kelly at the time of his trial and execution: a petition for clemency gained 32,000 signatures in Melbourne from a population of 300,000.

Some commentators say that we need to consider the Kelly story in a broader context. They claim that Ned Kelly was a victim of his circumstances. He lived in a society of inequality between rich and poor, country and city, Irish Catholics and English Protestants. In the Jerilderie Letter Ned Kelly described himself as a defender of the oppressed and a "widow's son outlawed".

My mind's made up. The Jerilderie letter certainly reeks of uprising and political Agenda . .but then he was Irish in a British colony so that's to be expected. Either way he came to a sticky end after just 25 years of life, was decapitated, a death mask made and buried unceremoniously only be be exhumed twice. . .poor old Ned. . I hope he likes his next resting place in the 'memorial rose garden' adjacent to the shopping precinct about to be built on his last!

Of course, if Ned Kelly rose today . . he might look something like this . . .

Get out of denial you parents of younglings . . this is what they grow into!
The reason for the mask is probably fodder for another post!
Let's say it involves alcohol and playing cards

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Alone vs Lonely


I am often alone but very rarely lonely . . . in fact over the past 4 days I have spoken to no-one other than my sister for our Saturday morning coffeefest. DrummerBoy has been away for the weekend, behaving badly in Fingal Bay no doubt. ClareBear is staying with native Bolivians then onto the Inca Trail so no communication with her this week. BabyBro and Stressany are on a short break so it has been me . . five acres, a few bottles of champers, three dogs and a computer. My house is spotless, the washing done (even the dog!), some photos taken and uploaded and a couple of long distance IM conversations with bloggy pals. I've eaten what I like, watched a couple of distinctly unmemorable DVD's except for Jessie James with Brad Pitt which is a crap movie but beautifully photographed. Hello! . . it's BRAD PITT!

If I ever did feel lonely I could easily pop over to any one of a number of friends for a chat and a chotapeg but I can't be bothered. I could ask The Merry Widow to come to the movies with me or dinner . . but I can't be arsed . . . I could reconnect with a number of those friends that you don't see too often but no water has passed under the bridge when you do . . .but it's all too hard .

I don't mind doing things on my own. Sure company is wonderful and I'd be lying if I didn't say I would rather be in a loving relationship but you don't need company to go to an art gallery or craft market. To take a drive to Colo and paddle with your dog. To wonder aimlessly with a camera and snap uninterrupted. Some things simply have to be done solo - shaving your legs, picking your nose and eating barbeque ribs to name a few! *Who mentioned the unmentionable?*

I do however, miss the social company of men. Not in a romantic way although I'm an outrageous flirt but I've always had a decent connection with men. (Outside the workplace that is . . I am too 'assertive' for the tastes of many men!) *Who just said 'that's boardroomspeak for bolshy biatch'?*

I'm not one to sit and talk about shoes and handbags, kids schools and cappuccinos. I like politicising with men, I like learning about how they tick, what they think. I like challenging their politics and sexual attitudes. I'm even up for some education on football etiquette if they must talk about sport and thanks to a strong connection with golfers in the family (I have been a grass widow for many years) I can hold my own in golfspeak! And of course I am a much better barbequer than ANY man . . being a single parent has a certain androgynous character to it which allows me to hold my own when talking about pool filters, power tools and petrol mixes!
*Who just challenged me to explain the 'off side' rule in soccer?*

Sure I work with and for men but that relationship is very different. Only two are in junior positions to me, the rest are women . . all the men in my work life are controllers and me the subjugate peon doing their bidding so 'conversation' is restricted to the goings on at the workplace. One partner is rarely there and only speaks to me to castigate me for some wrong doing or to fix a problem with his PC. The other prefers to email me rather than eyeball and speak even though his office is less than 10 feet away from my little corner of the workiverse. Even TheBoss who I love dearly, is different at work. He puts on his professional demeanour and is rarely jovial or the same person I socialise with. So, short of joining a mechanics course or polishing up on quantum physics, I think my contact with men over the next few years is going to be few and far between and at my age, they start to become less interesting. Out come the cardigans and slippers or they begin to drop off the tree or develop an interest in trophy wives . . .

So, it's the 'alone' life for me and that's just fine and dandy. *Who just shouted 'be careful what you wish for'?*

The harsh reality is that I have NEVER truly lived alone. I've either been with parents and siblings, married or back with parents and siblings. Sure I have my own home but it's physically attached to another and whilst we respect each other's privacy, shared facilities mean notifying each other of events and use and of course we get on and often share these areas together . . .I really want to be beholden to only me . . *Who just yelled out 'control freak'?* . . just for once and probably just for a short while . . . if Mr Wonderful is thinking of crossing my path, he'd better pull his finger out and get a wriggle on . .

Of course I want my children and their children to treat my home as their own over the coming years and the thought of a perpetually empty house is daunting. I won't be downsizing because in my experience, they all come back at one time or another. Who knows, I might even take on a boarder!

The reality is that it's taken a long time for me to really 'like' myself. To feel confident in my ability, comfortable in my own skin. On many occasions, I've bitten my tongue because I have been so dependent on an income that I've shut up and put up. I've lost sleep over clients due to a mistake (not necessarily mine but ones I am ultimately responsible for). I am just a wage slip to them but, once I'm financially free, I'll be more accepting of the trials of the workforce because I will be there because I want to be, not because I need to be. I can let go of the very last of my insecurity issues (fear of losing my job/income) and begin to focus on me! Selfish? Probably . . About time? Definitely!

Although when I finally get rid of this Albatross around my neck and am financially viable . . .I would like a traveling companion. Any volunteers?