Monday, December 31

Benefits of Hindsight.

There are benefits in hindsight.
Not always a lot, because, obviously, if it is after the fact, you have already trodden in the dog doo, or slipped on the banana skin, or even had all the hair you carefully grew, for agonising hot months, literally balded from your very head.

We recently watched a movie wherein one of the characters had a great gouge taken out of the back of his head, & the hair was completely denuded. It was a stupid movie, - 'Mr Woodcock', I have just asked Gom- but that made me laugh. Out of horror I think, because I have had so many hideous experiences with haircuts.

That is for other posts though, & I have already blogged about the hair dilemma previously.

A list might be the way to go, for some of the Hindsight Benefits.

* Sitting on your behind watching videos can make you glad you don't have actual 'hindsight' to see the increasing item in question.

* When Salesmen mumble, cough vaguely, & turn their face away, after you have asked a pertinent question, it will pay to thrust yourself squarely in front of the face, with full eye contact, & repeat the question, loudly, so the whole shop can hear. Keep repeating the procedure until you get some sort of reasonable, sane, honest, response.

* Some people are always going to be @rseho!es, & there is nothing you can do to change this. Your best ploy is to recognise them, & move on.

* Never buy a Used Car manufactured in some small Asian country, wherein there is a North & a South, with the 2 halves of itself warring, against each other. It will lead to costly agony & much gnashing of teeth & emptying of bank accounts. To say nothing of vaguely implied thoughts that it 'wasn't my idea to buy it'. And carlessness. Never forget the weeks while they pretend they 'can't get the part'.
An aside here, is the Dealer who told us they had been informed they were now the Nominated Dealers for some obscure Asian brand of car. When I commented that that must have made them as happy as being told they had Genital Warts, the salesman almost choked to death.
A timely warning to me, for my hindsight list. Wait until the salesman has stopped drinking his coffee, or say nothing.

* It really does pay to be careful what you wish for. You surely might get it. Sometimes the price will be far higher than you would have wished to pay.

* Never pass a chance to take a photo. No matter how twittish you might feel at the time, you will never get the opportunity again.

* Never pass a chance to hug or kiss those you love. Or tell them, how much you do love them. One day, you, or they, will be gone. Forever.

* If you are a woman, never presume the male you are speaking to is listening to you! I cannot emphasise this strongly enough.

* If you are a male, never assume you understand the female you are speaking to.

* If you are a dog or a cat, never assume the human you have contact with, is going to automatically love you! On the other side of that, never assume they are total enemies, either!

* Never make New Year Resolutions. They are an utter waste of time & energy. Just live the best you can, on any given day. Remembering there will always be the snags, sent to try your patience.

* Dance at every opportuntity. One day your legs, knees or feet may not permit further dancing.

* Do not sing at every opportunity. Please remember your fellow travellers, & be aware that your voice may be so flat, or out of tune, it can only bring misery may not be the melodious instrument you hear in your head.


The New Year is almost upon us. This Eve business has long lost it's charm or appeal to me. The once upon a time scary prospect of being alone or lonely on New Year's Eve doesn't really mean anything now.
I read an excellent post at Ian's Or so I thought on this subject. He expresses my sentiments exactly.



I do, however wish I could see my family who live overseas.
My Beloved Brother & my SIL are on an Waiheke Island to celebrate New Year, so I wont be speaking to them until they return. We have traditionally wished each other NY greetings by phone.

This was the last time I saw them in the flesh, at the Airport, before I winged my way home. It seems hard to believe it was 2006.

Happy New Year to Everyone.
I see my country list tells me that I have had visitors from 96 countries! I would love to hear from some of those readers, who sometimes visit.


The Pogues, The Ultimate Collection, which was a thoughtful gift from Gom!

Sunday, December 30

Gripes & Grizzles.

Before I get to the gripes & grizzles, here is a sunny picture of SG taken around Novemeber at his Pre School. He had lost both of his lower, front, baby teeth, & now has 2 new teeth growing beautifully sharp & new! His hair is much lighter in real life, so I am not sure why it looks so dark in this photo.
He is fascinated with skeletons, so I got him this shirt last year, when I was in New Zealand, & it is one of his favourites. Would not be my choice!

************************

What is it about Carpet Salesmen?
I have discovered they rate somewhere between Used Car Salesmen & Lawyers in my List of Beware!

As you may remember, we recently had a mishap with our drains, which caused a flooding into our passage of sewagey waste water. This caused us to have to replace the carpet, which luckily was insured.

We also had a ceiling & roof repair as a result of storm damage, & it was just coincidental that these things happened at almost the same time. The roof was repaired, the ceilings repainted, & the fact that a patch of paint in the lounge is now cracking, will need to be addressed.

The carpet was a different claim, & a different story. The original carpet had been in the house for approximately 24 years. It had worn a little in patches, but on the whole was not really in bad condition, considering it's age. Which would seem to indicate to us that the carpet had been reasonably good quality, to have withstood much traffic & wear & tear over the course of 24 years.

We duly went & looked at carpets, & hummed & hahed over what we would like to replace the carpet. We consulted with cunning carpet salesmen, whose eyes would gleam with joy once they heard it was to be an Insurance claim. A couple even rubbed their hands together with glee. One rushed off into the office & did a little tap dance!

We were quoted approximate prices of the range we could expect to choose from. We even got quotes done for replacement, & were told exactly what price we could expect to have an acceptance of, from the Insurance Company.

We tried to ask all the right questions as to durability & stain resistance etc. We brought home samples, & 'test drove' them on our floors to see how we liked the colours. I would say here that there were wild variations on the replacement price for supposedly & apparently, similar or equal quality to the original carpet. I couldn't see why they varied so much, really, but we went with the one who allowed us the better quality - ie higher priced- carpet, including a better quality of underlay.

The carpet we chose is a creamy goldy colour. A Neutral, just as the old one had been, but much fresher of course. We were assured it was stainresistant, durable, & ideal for heavy traffic, dogs, etc.

It has been laid since July. We have had the edges refastened twice, & still it is lifting from the edge at the wall, in places. There is a huge bulge in one spot in the lounge.

As to the look of it... well, it has stains which seem to be solidly permanant! I have tried the stain remover that never fails me... to no avail. To say I am bitterly disappointed would be to understate the matter. If it looks so shabby after only approximately 6 months of wear & use, what will it look like in 24 years? I just cannot believe it is of the same quality in any way, as the old carpet!

I like to think I take action instead of just whining about things. I am not sure what to do about this. Is it buyer beware? The shabby laying should be addressed better than it has. The layer -is that the term?- told us it had been cut a little 'meanly' in the lounge, hence the lifting. He got out the 'stretcher the second time he came... now there is the bulge.

Another complication is the fact that we have since changed our Insurance Company. They are essentially the same company, but we were insured under a different company name before. I suppose this is all something we will have to deal with in the New Year.

***********************

I never sleep in. I sometimes have a snooze in the afternoon, when it is hot.
I went back to bed yesterday morning, after getting up at 6am. At 8am, I felt deathly tired. I slep until 10am, & still did not really want to wake, even then. I did feel better later, but still went off to bed fairly early last night.


************************
I have been having very vivid dreams that haunt me all day. It is over 10 years since my Mother died. I have recently started seeing her in all my dreams.

When she was first gone, I wished I could see her in my dreams. I never seemed to see her at all. The idea of her was there, but never her person. Now I see her smiling face, & small figure almost every night. It is very curious.

I miss her just as much, after 10+ years, as I ever did. The scars just get a little thicker, but the wound of losing her, remains. A sort of psychic umbilical cord.


Crowded House, Time On Earth, the whole double CD.






Thursday, December 27

Yuletide Treats, & Surprises.

Well, all the painted ponies have danced their dances, & perhaps given their dances, or rides. We are told an Elephant, Arna, has crushed her trainer in Adelaide.
We actually took our Granddaughter to see this Elephant in a Circus. It was years since we had been to a Circus, & I dislike the idea of them, entirely.
It was a 40 + degree day, & we cooked in the Big Top. But, I was amazed at the animals, the acts, & the whole show, which did seem magical. The animals did seem happy. But how does one judge happiness with an animal.??

There had been a lot of controversy about Arna, being on her own, & how she was suspected of having gone insane. So they got her a companion. I dont know how that worked out, but apparently it was deemed to be a success.

I do find the whole concept of animals in captivity against my basic believes, & instincts.

The Tiger story has upset me. I dont believe she did any thing unprovoked.

I find often these news stories leave more questions unanswered than they pose?? Or is this just me??

*************************

Moving right along. Wonderful friends knew just what was required in the Christmas Gift line.

This is the label of one of the 'Perfect Gifts'. I mean, could anything be more perfect??

And here, is a picture of ther Perfect Gift'. some tool guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of Meggie!!

Meggie's present was guaranteed to bring delight, & raptures!

Herbs!!! in wonderful Terracotta pots. With huge invisible signs of DONT F%$&ing TOUCH!!!! all over them.
Who can resist that Basil? those Chives? or the Orgeno? Parsley?Thank You, my Wonderful, Thoughtful Friends!!
Such a perfect present only comes from perfect friends, who think about what we love, & what goes on in our lives.
Thankyou, thankyou, Great Friends!!


**********************************
This was my Christmas Day visitor.
A beautiful Moth came to visit at our Daughter' house. SG was really not happy to welcome the 'moth'- we think- into our gathering. Son B & I loved it, & so did Daughter J. Everyone else seemed to think it should be elsewhere. But when we photographed it, sitting on a dark speaker, we were amazed at the beauty. And the warning!
See the fierce 'eyes' displayed on the top of the wing markings? And, when we took enlarged pics, we were suriprised at how brilliant the colourings were.


A truly beautiful creature. How lovely.
We dont know where it ended up. I suspect it hid itself behind DJ's wall unit. I hope it finds it's light.
We had a wonderful day with Daughter & Family.
We have had a love following days of pleasure, & family enjoyment. Our son has gone home to his city life.
Our little dogs have sunk back into 'home mode'.
Overseas calls to family & friends would seem to be complete.
Now I wish you all a Joyous New Year!

Sunday, December 23

Please Enjoy




I hope you all have a Joyous & Merry Christmas.
A safe happy New Year.

Saturday, December 22

HELP

OK. I need some help here.
I must be getting senile.
I have been trying to add a You Tube video of some music I wished to share with you.

I have signed up, done all the things I thought I needed to do....
How do I actually get the clip onto the blog??

You know I am just procrastinating from having to think about Christmas. haha.

Friday, December 21

Dancing in the Shadows of the Past.

This is a blast from the past. It is a quilt I made for my son SB. I have posted it before... here, Lights of Home.

Our son is coming home to celebrate Chirstmas with the family. It will be lovely to see him, & spend time together.
***
We had a pleasant evening .. or do I slightly fib... at the Xmas Party for SG.
I have decided I am allergic to small boys around the age of 7-8!
The littlies who were still to 'graduate' from the Pre School were lovely. They danced, sang, & were lovely.
The larger, boys- in particular, who had already joined the ranks of Big School, were something else.!! I could scarcely believe the level of parent 'ignore' when it came to watching the activities of those 'older' siblings.
I watched as icing on Carrot Cakes was massaged in young hands. Small hands reached out, grabbed an item, ...licked it, ...put it back. We decided early on, the sandwiches were unlikely to be touched by small hands... Any item that looked vaguely healthy, was left alone, - so we could have small snack.
Gom did his part - he made Asparagus Rolls, Not everyone is familiar with those, so we had a head start. Someone else discovered their deliciousness, & ate them all!
I watched SG as Santa arrived. I watched him freeze, in terrror. He came racing around to his mother, & then my arms. " I dont want to see Santa!!" When we tried to assure him he was to recieve a 'pressie' from Santa, loud protests followed. "I dont want a pressie. I dont care, I dont like Santa!!!"
His name was called. He suffered. He went with his mother. He thrust the present into his Grandfather's hands & said, "Let's go home!! It is getting dark!"
Little boy, You are not so far from your roots. Your Great Grandmother remained averse to Santa for her whole life! Your Grandmother can understand your fear. We love you, so much. We want you to feel safe, & very happy.
We have been out in the Market Place today, buying sh!t loads of meaty goodies for the "Xmas Day Orgy", as I have come to think of it!
Gom had the hearing aids checked out. They are, apparently, fine.He has several settings. He is remarkably inconsiderate for a deaf man- he keeps talking to me once have left the room. I swear this is a deliberate ploy, to
a) make me believe I am also deaf.
b) make me believe I am a f0ckwit of the first order.
His new spectacles were not in evidence. A hitch in the process. Bugger DAMN & all those enraged expletives. On the strength of it, I got my new nose-piece for my spectacles gratis, in lieu of an apology. I suppose you win some, & you lose some!
I have been checking my posts for a year ago. It seems I displayed a more cheery disposition. Was I lying?? HaHa!
I almost forgot....
the day's preoccupation with
The Pogues, with Kirsty MacColl, singing A Fairytale In New York.
What a great REAL song.

Thursday, December 20

Challenges

Do you ever get that nebulous feeling that something is about to come down on your head? Some hidden disaster about to leap out of the shadows of your life?

I get that feeling every now & then. My daughter is much the same, in that regard. We often know who is on the phone, or when we are about to call each other.

Not that I have any premonitions at present. But we both had a similar feeling about someone's reaction to an event. It was not exactly a good reaction. It was odd to us, but, somehow predictable.

This premonition feeling became more & more urgent when it was SG's birthday. I kept saying I had the feeling we would get the same thing for his birthday. My daughter scoffed, & said she was sure we wouldn't. We got our gift early, & the feeling persisted. Daughter bought their gift, & the feeling got worse. Finally I told her I felt so strongly, that we had got the same gift. She likes surprises too, & so I usually don't tell her what we have got for any of the family.

Finally I told her what we had got... & bingo! She had got the exact same gift. From the same shop. She went to the trouble of changing hers.

I didn't want to risk it over Christmas gifts, so there are few surprises for the children this time!

******

We had a visit from the Groom. I swear he has reduced in stature since the Bride died. He looks a lot more tired, his shoulders sag a little more, & he admitted he has had a hard time of it.

Of course it is still raw, & too soon for him to be over the many stages of grieving. He is working, & has that to occupy his time. He must be almost 80 I think, but says he can't imagine not working, as he doesn't have hobbies, & though he suffers aches & pains, he is healthy in the main. Certainly all the marbles are present!!

I cannot imagine spending 50+ years married, & then my husband being gone. I know there are times when Gom drives me nuts. But he is a habit, & I do still love the old GOM.

****
Dogs to the vet today. Both have ear problems. One is an infection, one is a fungal condition. The Vet said it is very common at this time of year, & particularly this year, since it is soooo humid every day, & so hot.


****
I am using the asterisks because %&*@# blogger will not always publish them in the paragraph format I typed.

We have purchased a new computer. I have the feeling I am about to embark on a steep learning curve! I will wait for friends to help with the setting up, & the saving of data.

Haha, I hope I don't lose my blog!

We are off to a Christmas party/farewell for our Grandson this evening. Next year he is off to 'Big School'. He will miss his lovely teachers from Pre School. He has loved them all, & they have been wonderful.

Joni Mitchell, Little Green.

Wednesday, December 19

Are You a Peeper?


This is a picture of Gina. One of the few dolls which I have dressed for Christmas. She was sculpted by a friend, & was one of the dolls my Mother liked the best, for her pretty face. She has a full porcelain body, & was nice to dress because of this. Her little black boots cannot be seen, but I made those for her too.

The lower 2 photos are very dark, but I took her outside thinking to get a lighter picture, but somehow the day is rather grey, & the flash didn't seem to work.
The top photo, I took inside, but she looks washed out. Not very good pics.
My question for the day is, do you peep & pry at your presents?
Or do you leave them alone, & wait for the surprise?
When I was a child I seem to have learnt, or known instinctively, that to peep would spoil the surprise, & I never ever remember trying to find out what might be in the parcel.
If I did guess, I was always sad to think I had spoilt the surprise for myself. I must have learnt early on, that anticipation is sometimes the best part of anything.
Gom is terrible. Apparently when he was a kid he used to hunt through his mother's wardrobe until he found everything. He is still one to guess, if he sees the parcel, & I remember how the children would hide his presents until the last possible minute to put them under the tree, lest he shake them or feel them to guess what they were.
Our Granddaughter seems to be like me, she is content to wait & see. Little SG is the same, & he is very excited this year, pointing out all the parcels with his name on them, under their tree. He seems content to wait too, & has not been caught trying to open anything.
I often wonder about the Santa 'Myth' & the trust of childhood.
When I was young, I would often walk home across farm paddocks on a shortcut home from school. We lived across the road from a farm, where a family of 6 children lived, & I often walked with those children.
One day, close to Christmas, they told me Santa was not real. I was totally shattered inside, but somehow knew that what they said was true. I didn't say anything to them, but ran off home.
When I got home, I burst into tears, & hurled myself at my mother accusing her of lying to me, & I remember sobbing & saying that she lied to me, & everything was a lie, including God. There was no Easter Bunny- but I don't think I was ever really convinced about that one. I barely remember the Tooth Fairy. Yet some small part of me still wanted to believe in the myth of Santa.
I can't remember how old I was, & I can't remember my mother's exact reaction. Since she didn't believe in God either, it must have been very hard for her, to try to convince me otherwise, & I don't suppose she did.
My mother later worked with a woman whose husband did not believe in any sort of Religion, & would not let them celebrate, or acknowledge Christmas in any way. The woman was always sorry for their children. While other children had a great time around Christmas, hers had no such thing to look forward to, & my mother felt that that was taking his disbelief too far. I agree with that, it is not always fair to force our beliefs on our children. I feel they should have the right to make their own choices, but later, when they are capable of deciding for themselves.
We went along with the Christmas myth. I don't remember our children being particularly traumatised about it, when they found out the Jolly Fat Man was a lie. I think they had worked it all out long before they admitted it.
When we lived in the Hotel, we used to have a staff party on Christmas Eve, & I would go down to join in, once the children were in bed asleep.
After the party, we would be Mother & Father Christmas, & our son says he can remember seeing his father swaying about at the end of the bed, pretending to be "Just checking to see if Santa has been yet"
As children we always put a pillow slip at the end of the bed ready for Santa. Our children did the same. We always got an orange, which I think is an older English custom. We also always got a small bag of lollies. Though times were hard when I was a child, we always seemed to get a lot of presents, & were always happy with our lot.
As I got older all I craved were books, & would often spend time away by myself reading. If we had cousins come to stay, I could hardly wait to have the chance to read my new books. I remember getting Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, & the Secret Seven series.
Los Indios Tabaharas, Send in The Clowns.




Tuesday, December 18

I Just Want to Cry...

I heard a 'news' item, that made me want to cry.
A policeman was convicted over the death of a colleague's Sniffer Dog. He had been asked to check the lame dog into the kennel, as the handler was going on leave.
"Yes", he promised.

The dog died a terrible, lonely, painful, death, shut in a vehicle, where the temperature reached 50 degrees Centigrade. The dog had tried to dig it's way out of the vehicle.

I just want that man to fry in Hell for his neglect.

I can hear you all saying, "If she doesnt believe in Religion, how come she believes in Hell?"

I agree.

I just hope there is some accounting somewhere in the universe, or whatever.


How can a human be so uncaring - so unaware- about an animal?

Here is a pic of our Leo. He is such a naughty boy, sometimes. We could never hurt him. He is so loyal, so loving.
Here he is, out on the arm of Gom's chair. Safe. Secure. Knowing he is adored, I would suspect.

Here is my little girl, Honey. She is so small & sweet, & anassuming.
She has a dislocated kneecap on one of her back legs. A fault of her breed, the vet tells us. She is dearer to me than life. I could not bear to think of her in pain.
I would walk over hot coals for her. Or spend my last few cents, to see that she was comfortable.

***************************


We have had major garden upheavals.
Some of the removal of plants was a protest. My protest. I really think it was a waste of time. Gom seemed delighted. He likes to just see bare earth, sans vegetation. He just doesn't know how lucky he is.

Had I been born of murderous stock, he would have been dispatched, one way or another.

We were given a quite rare, & lovely vine, by a friend. A friend, primarily, of Gom. The vine had died down over the winter, but sprang back to life, with vigour, & soon-to-be-realised, glory. I was thrilled, as I get over 'mere plants'.

Imagine my shock, when I went out to peg clothes on the line, to see slaughtered, & hacked, vine leaves. In fact the whole vine had been decimated. Not a trace remained, apart from the slashed & withered remains.

So, I determined he would murder no further. I did it for him! I ripped every remaining green plant from the garden bed. As I say, it back fired. He thinks it is lovely.

It is the 6th precious plant he has killed on that very site. I can only conclude he suffers some madness, or disease, that compels him to return, time & again, with no regard, or sense of reality, to the scene of the mulptiple crimes.

There is a sea of weeds, available for his ruinous advances. But NO. He never even looks in their direction.


We watched a very good DVD called the Strong One. Jodi Foster. Very powerful. I dont know the lead male's name, but OMG. To die for! Almost as gorgeous as Denzel Washington.

I hope all your Chrissy plans are proceeding as planned...











Ben E King, This Magic Moment.

Monday, December 17

As I trundle on, paving the road to hell....

Don't be fooled by the long sunny shadows, lying across the balcony.
Look up, & see the gathering storm/rain clouds, coming from the South, bearing rain, again!

It is 5pm here, & now the rain has started. I took these photos about 10 minutes ago.
Just lately, this is often the pattern of our days. We are forecast to have rain, but that doesn't mean much. Some days it arrives, some days it bypasses us.
As this is such a dry continent, & we have been having a 12+ year drought here on the Central Coast, & worse elsewhere, we are not knocking the rain. We are very glad of every drop. Some of it has actually gone into the catchment areas for our Dams. We rely on Dam water for our daily water supplies, or it has to be pumped in from the Hunter Valley, so rain is essential.
I washed laundry today, but forgot to get it hung on the line. Shame on me!
Gom is so obliging, he pegs it out for me, but he didn't realise I had washed. He tore out & tortured the remaining grass roots. I am not sure why. Perhaps a couple of dandelion heads had popped up!
I had begun to doze off, when I heard furtive noises in the kitchen, then thumps. I went out to see what the hell he was meddling with he was doing this time! He was once more going through tinned goodies, & rearranging the pantry. I was waiting for the gleeful shout of triumph, when he found an out-of-date can of something... or packet. He decided to quit while he was ahead, & he put it all back.
Mind you, his suspicious mind is not altogether unfounded.
I am still suffering with the mystery itches. We have eliminated the medications.
My blood pressure sky-rocketed, which I knew it would.
"Get straight back on your medication!!"
It remains a mystery, with promise of Skin Specialists, if the condition persists. I am wary. As my GP warns me, 50% of the time they cost a semiload of money, & they don't find the answer! He should know, - his father was a Skin Specialist!
I had some commercial Alcohol Rub which I thought may relieve the itch. So I applied it liberally. It smells nice, & is cooling, so I figured it wouldn't hurt.
We discovered it is 10 years- yes folks TEN YEARS -out of date! I laughed & laughed. It still smelt ok, & seemed to do no harm. The cap has been tightly closed. We debated about it, with friends. After all, you can keep wine for years??!!
Do you have things like that? That sit in the back of your bathroom cupboard, or on some forgotten shelf, but you know in your mind it is there, should you need it?
I thought of Bren, & her Tackle it Tuesdays. I am sure she would never have Out Of Date goods in her cupboards!
Yes! I am paving the Road to Hell with all my Good Intentions.
I had good intentions of getting some Christmas stockings made. I have not even drawn the shape! How slothful of me.
The table runner lies in blocks, waiting to be trimmed to size. Scratch scratch. I had thought to get the blocks together today.
I played about installing new music on the blog. Incidentally, if you find it irritating you can turn it right down, or hit the play button to pause it.
I love Ode to Joy, & it is for BFJ.
Other worries include checking Gom's dishabille.
If we are going out, to, say, the Hardware Store, he is likely to have the most unusual raiment about his person. Often quite badly stained, with various days 'events' in evidence on the shirt, or the trouser garment.
I read a post today about learning not to eat chocolate whilst ironing. Well, I would add a warning about Goms eating chocolate coated icecreams! Or biscuits, or Chocolate blocks. They tend to drop lumps of the brown deliciousness, unseen by themselves, upon their shirts. If said shirts are light cream, the evidence later resembles leakage from slit throats, or at least bloodied noses.
Oh Hell! I am enraged! The "Cheery" fecking voice of the pre-news announcement, says "Five members of one family were killed in a road smash today!"
Why doesn't someone teach them how gross this is????
WTF is wrong with Bloody TV Channels? Who do I contact to scream about this hideous custom!!
Now, it is the delighted lead story of the news.
I want to vomit.
Don McLean, Respectable.


Saturday, December 15

The Christmas Letter.

There has been some talk about writing 'generic' Newsletters to send out to all the rellies & friends at Christmas time.

I have never actually done this, though I used to try to send out letters or at least a note to go with cards, for people I was not in contact with more than once or twice a year.

I have read a witty one, full of fun. I thought to do my own version, with a sort of Colonial twist.


Hi Everybody,
I just thought I would take this opportunity to write to you all, to let you know what sort of a year we have had here Down Under this year.

I will include some of the wider family news in this, as I know the Cousins are feeling miffed at not getting their share of old Uncle Malachi's loot, when he popped his clogs, so they are not likley to be writing any type of greetings, good or bad, this year.

In fact Ry-Dell was talking of saving his money to go over to Ireland to, as he put it, "Kick the Crap out of that old Biddy, Aunt Bernadette for not forcing 'the old Malarky bugger' as he calls him, to rewrite his will. We pointed out that Aunty Bern is dead, so he changed his mind. Besides he has to pay his speeding fines, or they are going to send him off to jail this time. Telling the judge to "Get stuffed you old fart, you judges think you should get off- look at old Einfeld!!" almost got him rearrested.
Leeandra, his mother, was really upset, & his 'partner' Kyarra cried in the court. She had just given birth to their daughter a week before the court case.

She said it was family tradition in their family to always use the surnames of the women, for the children's names, & it seemed very unfortunate to us, that the 2 names she had to choose from were Barker & Harp. We tried to suggest other names but she insisted, so their daughter is Harp Barker Reilly. She says if they have a son she is going to call him Throssby, & we are all hoping they don't have any more children. The way Ry-Dell drives, we are thinking he might still go to jail. It will be sad for Leeandra if he does, as her husband Allox is doing a small stint in Long Bay for fraud.
We hadn't told anyone in the family about that, but he had started up in business with a friend, & they were manufacturing Velevet Lined Crotch Trusses. It seemed a good investment as they got a big order from The House of Slinky Ladies of the Night, in Kings Cross, & began manufacturing the trusses, when Allox was told his partner had gone to Lebanon with the funds, & Allox was left holding the trusses. Poor Leeandra didn't know what to do & she even tried to sell some on Oxford Street to defray costs. The police kept her in the cells for the night until she sobered up, & they let her off with a warning.

Our other Cousins Clarrion & her brother Pancko have not had a very good year either. Clarrion is jealous because Kyarra had her baby, & Clarrion has had 4 different partners trying to get pregnant. She says they must all be firing blanks, as she is sure there is nothing wrong with her.
Pancko had a girlfriend until October, when she left, as she came home to find their son Gazza setting fire to the lounge room curtains, while Gazza had some tart from up the street in the garage. He said they were just admiring his motorbike, which is in parts on the old sofa, but Kylie swore & said he couldn't fool her that the tart's knickers were being used to polish the headlamp. She took Gazza & left, & now Pancko has to pay damages to the Housing Commission for the fire damage. They are taking it out of his dole money though, so he will take forever to pay for it. He is blacklisted as a tennant now, & has to sleep out in the shed over at Uncle Felix's place. He made some joke about Uncle Felix & his pink frilly dresses, but Felix threw the phone at his head, & it broke his nose, so he shut up, & wouldn't share the joke.
I think Kylie has gone back to live with her Mum, Iris.
Iris has had her share of troubles too. She got caught skating at the local shopping centre, where she was terrorising little old ladies, & mugging the teenagers for cigarette money. She was let off with a warning & they confiscated her skates. They are not sure, but they think Gazza has been left scarred by the incident with the tart, & the fire, as they have found scorch marks on the skates, & little piles of paper fires that seem to have gone out around Iris's house, & his bedroom.
Our daughter Desney thought she might go to University, but she missed out by 4 points, even on the recount, so she is working at Mc Donald's now. We are just glad that she has a steady job.
Berto, our son has a good job, but we don't see him very often. He has changed his name now, as he didn't want to be associated with his Uncle Allox, after his shame on the family.
Our other son Darkrid does not get mentioned around here now.He has always been the quiet thoughtful one, but the Juvie judge said he didnt regard stuffing exhaust pipes full of old wrappers, to be the correct method of 'disposing of rubbish thoughtfully'. Tucking them in old people's pockets, or letterboxes, was not a good alternative either, but he did appreciate the fact that at least Darkrid had taken the message to not be a litterbug to heart. He just needed to give the matter more careful thought.
Bert Senior & I seem to be ok. We can still take the car out once a week, as long as we dont go too far, & I still get to do a bit of my wrought iron mongering. I seem to be slowing down a bit though, & dont have as much stamina for it now.

Well I hope you all have a nice Christmas over there in the cold. We are thinking of just going to the beach & sitting in our tent for the day. We will take our Esky, & fill it with ice & beer, & take a few prawns to peel at the beach. We can always bury the shells in the sand, & they can all eventually return to the sea, so we are recycling conscious.

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes for the New Year.
Bert & Gladdy.

Awards.




I was given this award, & I have been thinking about recipients.

It is something I hate to do, limit myself to only a certain number of people.

It is like choosing a favourite child. It is the "Sophie's Choice" of blogging.


After much thought, & with reluctance, because of having to choose only those few, I have come up with the following;
Pauline, of Writing Down the Words. The words Pauline writes so often seem to say all the things I would like to say, & I find much recongnition when I read her 'words'.
Ian, of Or So I Thought. I find much recognition when I read Ian's thoughts, too, & often wish I had said it first! Ian is a 'real' writer, though, so I am just grateful I get the opportunity to read his writing!
Tanya The Art Butcher. As you may already know, Tanya has almost choked me to death several times. Her posts are wonderful, & often so funny they hurt!
Tanya, of Taniwa. Tanya lives in Japan, & writes so well of her life, & the customs there, I never fail to find an interesting post.
Mike, of Tongue in Check. Mike never fails to make me laugh. He is perhaps, not for the easily shocked, & PC is sometimes a foriegn concept, but he has many words of wisdom, & he is a wonderful host, in that he always tries to answer every comment.
The idea is, if you receive one of these, you are supposed to pass it along to 5 other recipients.
I am known to like breaking rules, so feel free to please yourselves!
Janis Ian, Aftertones.

Thursday, December 13

Seriously Strapped for Time!!

My Gosh! I seem to have been inundated with Good Wishes, & Good Fortune, from wonderful Blogging friends!

It has all been while I seem to have been rushed off my feet, as far as finding enough hours in the day, to attend to all the things I want to do!

Bren, from Pieces From Me, gave me this award. I was amazed to receive this, as I just putter along. Bren & I have many differences in our ideas, but we each respect the other, & though we stand for differing beliefs our aim is the same in the end, & as she says, we are very very alike in a lot of ways.

Thankyou Bren. I will have to think about awardees.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Tuesday's visit to the Coalface of Christmas, was rewarded in a way I find very hard to describe.

When we arrived home, I noticed a square cardboard box on the doormat. I could see it had a Customs declaration, & was so excited to find it was a package from Wanda, of Exuberant Colour, who had sent me the most wonderful collection of scraps of some of her wondrous stash!!

Wanda has been one of my first calls each day, ever since I first discovered her wonderful Blog, to check up on what lovely colourful creations she has posted. I love her quilts & her wonderful fabric stash, & her sense of colour, so vibrant, & varied.

Blog Friends have to be the most wonderful, generous people on the planet.

Feast your eyes on some of the fabrics Wanda sent me.

I have gone through them over & over, & have got all excited, dreaming up ideas of how to use them.
I spread them out on the carpet, & flexed the arthritic knees, to get down & really enjoy them!!


I feel I have displayed them poorly here, & have not done them all justice, so I will have to get sewing & show them in all their glory!
Of all the fabrics in the huge package, there are only 2 I have seen before, or have, & they are different colours, to the ones Wanda sent me.
I guess only another quilter or Fabriholic could understand the almost orgasmic thrill I got from all these wonderful bits & pieces!!

Gom sat in his chair, watching me happily playing about with them, & even he was impressed, as he loves colour, - the brighter the better!
Here is a Wandaful Block that Wanda has already constructed, which is lovely as it gives me direction on how to do those blocks. I have never tried them before...

Give me space & time!!
XXXXXXXX
I thought I had a day to spare, as it were, yesterday. Gom was taken out & away by our Daughter J, & I had 'time on my hands'.
Be sure the Cosmic Conspiracy To Piss People OffCCTPPO came out to play with me, & before I knew it the day had gone, & I was greeting the bleeding but happy happy shoppers home again.
Best laid plans & all that!
"A Day Well Spent" they said! Well goody for them!! haha.
I did manage to approach the sewing machine. I did manage to sew a little.
I did manage to fondle & admire Wanda's gifts.
I did rather enjoy the solitude, & the peace, & the music of my choice. So, not really a day wasted.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Today has been another Allsorts Mixture.
We were to have SG, & we did.
A Sister, in NZ phoned me, - we spent literally hours! on the phone, catching up with each other's lives.
SG entertained Gom, whilst washing the outdoor setting. I think they may have quarrelled, judging by the body language, as a small boy hurtled past the computer room!! Huffy shoulders could be seen, washing hands, in very hostile mode!! Body language is sooo telling!!
*******************
We had visitors, another phone call, a meal to organise..
Where did this day go???
Now. We are having thunderstorm activity again! Leo has come to lie at my feet.
The chorus of cicadas is quite deafening, as they seem to be hatching & singing? playing? roaring? croaking?.... what does that noise sound like??
Summer in Austalia?
Chris Isaak, Think of Tomorrow.






Wednesday, December 12

In other News

Please go & visit the little baby Gorilla at this site .

It seems a little happy news would be nice.

Even a baby Gorilla can have charm.


Mozart's Lullaby

Tuesday, December 11

Medals

Victory Medal, both faces.

A Cousin has been doing research into our family history, & has sent me photos of several historical items he has in his possession. I have never seen these items before & was very interested to recieve these photos.


Our Grandmother's youngest brother, Frank, went to war for the British army, in the 1914-1915 War. He was crushed in an accident involving a truck, whilst in Egypt, & as a result, he suffered broken ribs which resulted in his getting pneumonia & dying.



I know our Grandmother was heartbroken at the loss of her youngest, & perhaps favourite little brother. She named her first born son after her brother, & the Cousin who has the medals, is his son.



This is the back of one medal, & I see it has NZER on it.

The front of the medal.



This next medal is a British War medal. I am a little unclear whether these were given to all soldiers who served.

The 'front' of the same medal.


This next picture is what is called a Blood Penny. These were given to families of men who'fell'- died, in fact.


This is Frank's Blood Penny, given to his parents, after his death. A terrible thing, it seems to me.

****

Today we went out to the hard slog at the Coalface of Christmas shopping!
At least the weather was cooler, & though sullen looking & grey, it did keep the temperature down.
As it happened we had a rather successful day, & have just about knocked it all on the head.
We parted ways for various seaches, & I siezed every opportunity for people watching, & resting, seeing I am off all anti inflammatories.
Some prizes for ludicrousness should be awarded. One man, standing in a booth type affair. I could not take my eyes off his twattish hat! I felt like asking him if he was perfectly happy, & did they pay him enough, to stand there looking like some giant TWIT, all day! The wretched thing had some huge goat-like ears hanging off the sides of it! What the hell it represented, I have no idea, but it made him look like some lecherous large lunatic Elf, or Saytr!!
The saddest sight of the day, for me, was a very elderly looking man, who looked as if he very seldom ventures out these days. He had got out his little old grey wig, & carefully positioned it, combed it, & wore it selfconsciously perched atop his small head. Giving it little pats, now & then. It was almost too much for me. I almost offered to straighten it up. I bit my tongue & resisted. I had tears in my eyes, I swear.
I sat & watched the many men & women who appeared to be smuggling watermelons & pumpkins about their persons. The had them stuffed under T Shirts, bulging out from chests, & armpits! They literally staggered under the weight of them. Some of them rested them on their shopping trollies. I carefully avoided any glass or mirror areas, where I might catch sight of my own smuggling crimes!!
The prize for the grossest crime of the day went to a young mother. She had a small child in a stroller, & she was transferring him from the stroller, into a shopping trolley so she could gather items, & keep her eye on the little chap. As she bent to lift the child, her skirt, & pink knickers, rode down, & her top rode up.
There for all the world to see, in full horror was a very ugly 2 & a half inches of bum crack!! Two very portly cheeks bulging above the skirt! The Horror!
I was not the only person to reel at the sight!
Translations might be in order for some of the above mentioned items. I believe some countries call shopping trollies, Carts.
As to 'Strollers' - we in the North Island of N Z called them 'Pushchairs'. When I went to live in the South Island I was surprised to find they were known as 'Sulkies', as in the sulky that is driven in horse racing! Then, on moving to Australia we learnt they call them Strollers. I have also heard them referred to as a 'Buggy'.
So I wonder what they are called in your particular part of the world?
***
How are the House Decorators in your neighbourhood?
We have a longterm neighbour who goes for the huge show every year. Now his next door neighbour seems to be competing, & another next to him, has joined in.
Of course all this show of lights, & various other decorator items all over the houses & yards, results in a huge increase in traffic flow. We happen to live on a corner, which is ideal to turn around on.
I can tell our dogs will be insane from all the traffic & foot traffic by the end of the 'Festery Season' in our little corner of the Coast!
Janis Ian, Bigger Than Real.




Monday, December 10

Bird On a Wire

After last evening's huge noisy thunderstorms, with the lightning, & hail & torential rain, this was the sunset sky. Amazing. I tried to capture the rays of the sun, coming up through the clouds, & though friends lent me their camera, that they gave me last year, I couldnt get it to take these pictures in more detail.

This is the Bird on the Wire I managed to get, using my small camera, & I dont know that the rays can be seen in the pic. The Bird can, & I hate to admit, I am uaware what sort of bird it is!! I was not brave enough to do the Letter to my 13 year old self! I find that prospect could be quite frightening.


I found this following Meme on Days Go By, from the lovely Jess.


THE UNCREDITED GOOGLE IMAGE MEME(type the answer to the following questions into Google Image, then pick from the first page.)

1.Age at my next birthday: These are all cryptic, & Jess chose not to disclose.





2. Place I'd like to travel:


3. Places I have been :




4. Favourite food:


5. Place I was born:


6. Place I live:



7. Name of past pet:


8. Best Friend's nickname:



9. My first name:




10, My first job:


******
This is the evening pic here tonight. Rain & bloody grey skies, which we have had all day.
We had Small Grandson with us for the day, & he was very good really. We took him shopping. An expedition to Bunnings, the huge Warehouse chain for Hardware! He loves that huge barn-ike edifice, & he loves all the tools & wheelbarrows, & pesticide sprays, & hoses, & paints. Garden furniture, a huge garden section, though he didnt get a chance to inspect the plants today. His Grandfather said lots of "Dont touch!" & his Nan said lots of giggles, & side whispers. We had some fun. We sat on the 'rest seat'. SG declared it "OLD" & cracked. It was, but I assured him, it was not cracked enough to break, when we sat on it, for some rest. how large does he percieve me??.
I am quite often shocked, when looking at old photographs of a family group, to see how small my Grandmother looks beside a young adult me! She was always the large woman in our family, as our mother was short & very small of stature, & skeletal structure. I often felt similar to a Great Dane, when standing next to our mother. She, of course, being the small boned, & delicate Chihuahua!
I know that cannot have been always true, as we often shared clothes as I matured, & both seemed to fit them equally as well.
Well, as you can see, I have chickened out on the 13 year old meme. For some reason, I find it oddly challengeing! Well done, those who have been brave enough to face it.
Chopin, Nocturne in F.








Sunday, December 9

Little things..

It is so hot & humid, I am tired of complaining about it. I have given in, & turned on the airconditioner.

Gom in his infinite madness & perhaps as a legacy of his mad or crazy English forbears has gone out to MOW the lawn. Perhaps he is hoping to drop dead of heatstroke, or something. Who knows, & it is useless to try & reason with him. Even our daughter told him he is insane to want to go out in this. All to no avail.

We have had our various checkups. Who wants to realise they are getting old? Not us. He has finally gone off to have his eyes tested, after months of me begging him to have them checked out. His mother went legally blind from macular degeneration, plus some other condition. I certainly dont want Gom going blind, if it can be avoided. He has early stage macular degeneration, it was discovered, & badly needed a new prescription. He is also getting Transitional lenses to help with his light to dark problem. So he really was overdue new glasses. He has been given a little chart to use to check his eyes regularly for any changes.

My tale of skin problems is depressing. Now I am off all my medications to try to see if that is the problem, & I am taking dreaded Prednisone for 3 days to try to stop the itching. Day 2, & no relief.

We had the night from hell last night. It was so hot, & neighbours had a party. It was not particularly noisy, as regards to music, but laughter & voices kept waking the dogs, & us, & so I was up & down many times. Slathering myself in more & more cream to try to stop the incessant itching.

Hissing at the dogs to shut up. Trying to sleep. In the end I got up at 4am, & tried reading, with the fan going flat out. It seemed to work, & the final voices seemed to stop chattering next door around 4.30am.

I have a headache, which is probably due to the heat, & perhaps lack of sleep.

I have been vainly trying to get a table runner done, using Finn's pattern she shared with us. Because of the heat & running about, & babysitting, I have not spent much time on the sewing machine. I ran out of one of the fabrics, but have used another the same colour to fill in, so who knows how it will look in the end. It is just stash fabrics & seemed an easy little project to kick start the sewing again. I am not fussed about Christmassy things, so I dont mind if it is not quite the classy item I envisaged in the beginning. haha.


Waiting to be cut into sections to sew together.


One good side effect of coming off my blood pressure medication is the fact that I can see my ankles again!! There are no huge swollen Hippo legs! Yay. I can even see the ankle bones. I won't like the headache which will eventually kick in, but hopefully the itch might stop.
I go back next week to see how the blood pressure is, & what the next step might be.

I have been searching about for a meme I might like to do, & was fascinated with the letters to the 13 year old self. Mike of Tongue in Check did a very good version, & so did Catalyst.
I have been thinking about it, but not sure I am ready for something so indepth.

The day has slipped away. We had visitors, heavy thunderstorms, hail, much lightning, & very heavy rainfall.

Time for bed. Good night, & good wishes for the new week about to begin.

Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman.



Friday, December 7

Major Meltdown...

This is the Mystery Object!
We wil come to these, later in the post!

The weather here has been so humid, it is impossible to move, without breaking into a pool of perspiration. Horrible!

We had a day of running about today. Gom got his new set of ears- Yay! (I think!)


Hopefully we wont have any further televisual loudness/deafness, with me cringing from the noise, & him, straining to hear.


I am still in desperation about my itching problem, having tried all sorts of measures, so I am off to see the Dr in the morning. Gom is having his eyes tested tomorrow too, so it will be another busy day.


We had Small Grandson here yesterday. He really does keep us amused with his little ways. I love the way his mind works.


He had not been feeling well, when I collected him from his father. His father said he complained of a sore throat & wanted to go to the Dr. SIL told him that Nanna would look after him. Then SIL proceeded to tell me that his Nan was a ferocious old woman, who dosed them with Cod Liver Oil, & told them they were perfectly ok, & sent them off to school, or bed!


I was really lucky, my Grandmother was never like that, & she would fuss over me if I was sick, & would make me scrambled eggs, which seemed to be the Ultimate Comfort Food, when I was sick. I did suffer from Tonsilitis in endless, dilerious bouts, of vomitting, ghastly, sickness when I was a child, so her kindness meant a great deal to a frightened little girl.


I had a night light, with a little blue glass shade, & I remember waking to vomit in the night. I think it was a little kerosene lamp, as it had a wick. The huge grey clouds that would envelope me, were really very frightening. I was probably very lucky I didnt develop Meningitis & die like my infant Aunt had done.


My kids were always amused by what a soft pushover I was, if they were sick. They would get the "24 Minute Flu" & I would let them stay home. Once the school bell had gone, they would miraculously recover, & be happy for the day. My philosophy was always, 'better safe than sorry'! Plus, who doesnt like a nice day off school now & then.!! Plus the feeling you have 'hoodwinked Mum'!
Here is a pic of SG. The photo at the beginning of this post, is of some Grevillea leaves, as they appear when they are brown, & have dropped from the shrub. SG saw them, & said "Look Nanna, they are reindeer antlers!!"

He insisted on posing for a photo.
His mother had come to collect him, & we were laughing about all his bruises, on his legs & arms. He gave us a rundown on who had caused them! He really does have a strange little sense of humour. We dont know where the scratch on his cheek came from, but we suspect a prickly plant, as he looked for leaves.
As we were having morning tea, he asked me what sort of jobs I had when I worked. I began to tell him about some of them, & he wanted to know if I was 'New, like me, Nanna, or were you already old?' I told him I wasnt as 'new' as he is, but I was as 'new' as his 18 year old sister, for some of the jobs.
How do you explain 'age' to a child? I love the way he thinks of himself as "New"!
When he got home, his mother heard him chatting away to someone. So she asked him who he was talking to? He came out with the phone, & said "I found the Pizza pamphlet Mum, so I thought we could ring them up!" He had carefully dialled the number on the leaflet, & so his mother had to apologise for a mistaken call. The young man was laughing, & told her they get calls all the time!
We are having further thunder & lightning. Further rain. Some of it is going into the dam!! Hooray!!
Rod Stewart, Fool For You.


Wednesday, December 5

Looking UP!

Ok. If all about you looks dark, look up!
I did for the afternoon's display. I sat & watched as the play of the weather pattern displayed itself in the skies.

Yesterday, we had about 6 season's worth of 'weather'! We had fine blue skies, cloudy skies, with hot temperatures, & high humidity. It seemed very tropical, for our *degree* on the planet.

We had a lot of growly thunder, striking fear of a deep & primitive nature, into the heart of Leo. He really does get upset at the sound of the thunder, & shakes like a very bad case of 'the palsy', as Blackadder might say.

I sat & watched as the panoply of ominous clouds passed. I finally caved in, & went & got the camera, hoping to capture some of the spectacular sights on display.

This appeared to me, as a Flying Dragon, with puffs of smoke! This was taken between bouts of thunder, lightning, hail, & torrential rainfalls.
In between all these extremes of nature, this is what passed overhead. Here, I could see some large dog, tail bobbed, perhaps, & a hunger for the blue patch. A crack into the next, bone filled world?

Deep down on the view of the horizon, was a glimpse of what was to come. We had gathering thunderheads, more torrential rain, hail, thunder, lightning of course, & wild winds, whipping the trees into bows, & frenzied leaf storms.
Today has yielded no such interesting sky scapes. It has remained sullen, & steadily grey, & solidly overcast all day. Amid heavy downpours, & humid showers, with sun shining through the cloud cover to steam it all unbearably!
My lovely Daughter J, came to take me out for fabric treats!! We were also looking at bed linen, but didn't find what we wanted. I did reel, drool, & bemoan the lovely new fabrics I saw. I patted & fondled, & wished. I weakened, & did make a few purchases.
We met a favourite shop assistant, & began to chat. She told us of insults, & rudeness we were shocked about. Customers had been extremely rude, swearing at staff, & abusing them. We could not believe the customers could be so rude!
Please spare a thought for hard working staff in shops of all types, over the "Silly Season". Bear in mind, they are under stress, & pressure too. They dont make the staffing policies of the chain concerned. Or the shop they represent. They are there to serve, with dignity, & politeness, & they don't deserve to be abused, if you have to queue, or wait a little while, it is never their choice, or fault!
Please be kind, & polite, to everyone you are served by, in this Season of Joy, & Peace.

Tuesday, December 4

Couples

Before I get onto my topic for the day, I would urge you to go & visit She of Little Brain, at One Acre Blogspot. (If you click on the red, it should take you there) There is a wonderful post with a series of photos of a mother & baby Moose.

Having recently posted about my travels with BFJ, (Best Friend J) I was reminded of our single days, & how we viewed the couples we met.

Our Fate was still to overtake us, & we went to a lot of parties, & sporting events, involving married, or almost married, couples.

It was so interesting to study these couples, & watch the play of their relationships. There was one couple known as "The Happy Couple". They were deemed to be the perfect couple, by all their friends. They were not Mr & Mrs Raving Handsome or Beautiful. In fact they were rather the opposite, & Mr & Mrs Clodhopper Rather Plain, or even Mr & Mrs Slightly Lumpy, might have sufficed as description. Don't forget, BFJ & I were young, & somewhat judgemental about such things in those days!

"Look at her!" we would say. "How could anyone choose to marry her!"
Then we would add, "Yes, but look at him, who would want him!" We would conclude that they perhaps were the perfect match, after all.

Mr & Mrs Happy Couple seemed the most boring people we knew. Imagine our surprise when they later split up, Mrs running off with some stranger, & the Mr having wild affairs with anything that moved!

Then there was the Alcoholic Couple, who lived from drink to drink. The wife, I will call Stevie, was never without a cigarette hanging from her drunken mouth, ash would cascade down the front of her clothes, her red eyes often filled with tears over some imagined, or perhaps real, cause for sadness. Her face would melt & sag as her drunkenness progressed, & she seemed the ulimate warning of what could happen if alcohol got you into it's clutches. He, Jimmy, held down a job, I am not sure what it was, but he seemed to earn enough to feed their enormous appetite for the hops, or the whisky. They lived in a rented flat, above some shops, in a main street, & would hold noisy drunken parties, at the weekend, when no shops were open. Bear in mind, this was in the days before Sunday Trading, or even full Saturdays, in New Zealand. It is true, it used to be 'closed for the weekend', back in those distant days.

Stevie was actually a rather gifted dressmaker, & she would make herself some nice outfits for various social outings. The fact that they usually ended up beer stained, & perhaps cigarette burnt didn't seem to stop her from creating them.

We looked at them with a kind of shocked horror, & felt they were on a path of no redemption. However, Stevie fell in love with a very wealthy man, -or it may have been that he fell in love with her,- she left Jimmy, she married the man of money & became a reformed character of charm & taste, who was kept in a manner which it seemed should have always been her custom. I don't think she ever drank again. I don't remember what became of Jimmy.


As a teenager, I had watched in fascination, a couple who were part of the Hunting scene. They both rode in the hunts, & would always be at the after Hunt parties, & social gatherings. She was slight, fluffy & blonde, with a little girl voice. I will call her Fay. He was a large darkhaired, ruddy man, rather in the mold of George Clooney, in the facial features, so he can be George. They both rode rather large horses, & Fay looked extremely fragile on her huge horse. They had one thin, extremely unhappy, spoilt, little girl-child, who was never not whining or crying. We young ones never cared for her, & she was always on the fringe whining, poor thing.

George was insanely jealous of his fluffy wife. She was well aware of his jealousy, & she used to flirt madly with every man she could see. Including the young teenagers who were just joining the Hunt, for perhaps their first time.

George would watch her every move, & Fay would dance about in her jodhpurs & shirt, drinking all the wine she could get. George would steadily sock back the whiskies. Assembled friends would try to intervene. They all knew what was coming.

It was like some ritual dance they did, which always followed the same pattern. George would finally snap, rush over & grab Fay by the arm, & sometimes by the hair. He would drag her off to the car, the poor little crying child slipping along behind. George would roar off in the car, with a laughing defiant Fay sitting in the front seat, taunting him.

There would be reports of Fay's black eyes. Her bruised arms. It seems extraordinary now, to realise that everyone knew what went on, but no one did anything to intervene.

From the distance of time & perhaps wisdom, I can see why some felt Fay got what she deserved. She knew what the result was going to be, if she behaved in such a way, flaunting her body, & thrusting herself at every man she caught. She knew that George was jealous, & that she was driving him crazy with her actions. It seemed, from my young vantage point, that she loved the effect she had on George.

It was almost as if Fay despised herself to such an extent that she would drive George to punish her, & perhaps she felt she deserved it. Why else would she have deliberately provoked it week after week. Why did George attend such gatherings, where he must have known as well as Fay did, what the outcome would be.

I do believe she finally left him. I often think about the poor child, & wonder what became of her. Would she choose a man like her father?

Who can say what dynamics drive relationships?

Gom does some very odd things, which leave me either stressed or angry.
One such action, is taking silly risks with ladders, & flimsy fence tops. I plead with him not to be so foolish. He then asks me to fetch him this or that.

I have learnt the best way to deal with this is to come inside, & just pretend it is not happening. Then, when he accuses me of leaving him- "What if I fell?" "What if I had an accident?"
I calmly reply, I would deal with it if & when, & I dont need the added stress of worrying about what if!



Randy Crawford, One Day I'll Fly Away.

Monday, December 3

Happy Birthday SIL.

We have had SG here for half our day. He arrived early, with his mother, all ready for his day, & his breakfast. He was greeting by an enthusiastic Leo, & a not quite so enthusiastic Honey.
He watched some of the new Santa movie, that his Grandfather got for him, & then decided to go out to help in the garden with Gom. Hm, least said the better about that little jaunt.

It is very hot & the sun was streaming relentlessly down, around the time they were in the garden. I dont understand why Gom chooses the hottest of days to 'do the garden'.

It is SG's father's birthday today. He is 39. He had to work, so he was away at 6am, & wont be home until after 6pm. I made him a Chocolate Souffle Roll, which he had hinted broadly & loudly that he would really like, for his birthday. SG supervised the making of the cake, then we went to the shop to get some cream to fill it, & so SG had to supervise that, then the making of the icing, & he was so excited, he felt it needed wrapping, but I managed to convince him that is not an option.

After the cake production there was some hanging out in the Cubby in the lounge, & quilts were draped everywhere. He has got very good about putting them all away when he has finished. Though Gom found his undies left in the toilet after he had gone home! He forgets to put them on again, sometimes!




We had visitors yesterday, & it was a nice afternoon, sitting out in the green garden, even if the green was from weeds! At least they give the illusion of cool! Most of them have been uprooted & now there is bare earth, & it will just dry out, & go hard, I suppose.

SG planted some seeds, & gave them some water, so I hope they grow.

This was the sky's little promise this morning, at 5.20am. It is amazing how quickly the colour changes.

Yesterday looked quite different, & had a mellow pink glow, & the small smudge higher up.

The mist was a forewarning of the humidity to come, though it cleared for a little & I think the wind changed. The mist lies across the valley.

****
I will be glad when Gom gets his new hearing aids. At present we have some loud Televisual experiences. Not to mention the slightly frustrated repeated remarks of conversation.
We have just watched American Gangster & for entertainment I rate it high. I dont care what opinions are about Russell Crowe, I think he is a really good actor, & of course, I am secretly in love with Denzel Washington.
We also watched Rescue Dawn, & though it had aspects which spoilt it, to our Kiwi eyes, I did find most of it engrossing.
Hairspray... what were they thinking?? We didnt bother to watch it all the way through.
Now we are having rolling thunder. Leo was very frightened earlier, & would not leave my side, but now he is keeping close to Gom. I dont think we are going to get any rain out of the black thunderheads, it is all roar & no rain.
Joe Cocker, Dear Landlord