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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Damaged Goods

It was last Sunday morning when I sashayed into the vacuum cleaner selling place bearing a strong resolve NOT to be rude to the salesman. 

I usually find vacuum salesman to be of a highly irritating disposition and considering the fact I was about to purchase one of the most troublesome of household appliances, I knew in my heart that it would take all my strength to keep a civil tongue in my head.

I’d spent Sunday morning violently sneezing and after surmising my aggressive allergic reaction was the result of the twenty million, billion dust mites overrunning every crevice of my house, I’d dragged out my three year old, seventy dollar vacuum cleaner and begun the dreaded task of cleaning.

Naturally, the cheap piece of crap decided to cark it at the crucial moment and I exploded in a violent fury and marched out to Scotto, who was outside building the deck, and emotionally declared that we had to proceed at once to the vacuum cleaner selling place.

“I’m not spending more than two hundred dollars,” I wheezed and snuffled into a tissue on the drive down the mountain. “And I don’t want one with bags or a fudging cord. Don't let them talk me into it!”

How many wasted years of my life I’ve spent untangling cords, tripping over cords and ripping electric sockets out of the wall by cords, I couldn’t tell you.

“I have four dogs,” was my initial petulant reply to Derry (the vacuum cleaner salesman) on Sunday morning when he politely asked if he could ‘help me’.

“I need something cheap but effective,” I ranted. “I want something strong enough to suck a German Shepherd through a straw.”

I emphasised the word ‘cheap’.

I must admit, he was not at all pushy. He informed us that bags were preferable to bagless because of the ‘cleaning of the filter’ issue and that cordless vacuum cleaners only hold their charge for EIGHT MINUTES.

It takes me at least an hour to vacuum my house. Can you imagine the frustration, the utter rage, the bitter hostility which would arise if I was forced to stop proceedings every eight minutes in order to recharge the useless machine.

I walked out of there $500 poorer with a vacuum cleaner that had a very long cord and needed a constant supply of bags.

After I finished cleaning the house, my cautious review of the said appliance was a cool 6/10.

It was acceptable. I won’t say I liked it, but I didn’t hate its guts. I didn’t feel the need to bash it against the wall or fling it down the driveway and that’s quite promising.

You’re not allowed to use it,” I said to Scotto pointedly, suspecting the last vacuum had died because of his rampant use of it when vacuuming up bits of plaster.

He assumed a downcast expression.

“What about if I just want to vacuum my office?” he enquired pitifully.

“I suppose that will be alright,” I agreed reluctantly, knowing in my heart he NEVER vacuumed his office, “as long as you don’t go vacuuming up all your little screws with it.”

Someone else using my brand new vacuum cleaner would defile it. It would be rendered corrupt, tarnished, sullied.

I just couldn’t bear the thought.

As I drove home on Monday afternoon, I suddenly had a horrible premonition that Scotto had used my new vacuum cleaner while I was at work... but I brushed the menacing vision away. Surely he wouldn’t have dared to use it so soon… surely?

Well… he had used it.

Of course.

Scotto can’t resist using anything new.

And now I feel as though my beautiful, new vacuum cleaner has been besmirched, its virginity has been spoiled, it’s a ruined woman.

I don’t think I like it at all now.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pinky Goes Outlander Style

Dad on his steed

Scotto and I like to do something novel on weekends, apart from drinking, so lately we’ve been going horse riding.

This silly idea was entirely inspired by watching ‘War Horse’ one night (when we were drinking) and I lavishly pronounced that we should go and ride horses at once.

“That horse is so lovely.” I exclaimed to Scotto whilst observing the handsome and gallant War Horse. “I want to ride a horse just like him and have my hair flying in the wind with the rain on my face.”

Scotto never needs a second hint and before I knew it, we were booked for a two hour trail ride in the Gold Coast hinterland.

It was all right. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I enjoyed it… but it was all right.

Unfortunately, about four weeks later, we (were again drinking) watching Outlander on the telly, where there are quite a lot of very good looking, heroic people riding valiant horses...

 and I once again made the mistake of mentioning to Scotto that I should like a bit of equine activity.

“We should take Dad!” I enthused. “He loves horses.”

Dad is eighty two years of age and even though he is very fit and still has a four pack (which is quite extraordinary for a man his age), his usually dutiful daughter should not encourage him to put himself in treacherous and uncertain circumstances.

I sort of forgot about this whole discussion, but Scotto remembered (most inconveniently) and brought the subject up at our regular Sunday get together with my parents.

My mother was against my father’s engagement in this reckless scheme from the start, but after some earnest assurances to her that the horses were extremely gentle and that we barely get beyond a trot, she eventually acquiesced to the adventure.

I still felt a great deal of guilt however and hovered around my father like a bird over a chick until I saw him (dressed in his drizabone and proper riding boots) hoik himself onto the horse with all the physical fitness of the Man from Snowy River. He rode like the old school horseman he is and suffered no ill effects.

In the meantime, it took me three goes at mounting my flea-bitten nag even though I was standing on a milk crate.

However, apart from my horse scratching its entire body against a tree forcing me to lift my foot out of the stirrup and elevate my leg up in the air, most unbecomingly, in order to prevent its instant pulverisation, I suppose the ride was… all right.

One thing is certain however, Scotto and I really MUST stop watching movies starring horses.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Who Knocked Over the Water Bowl Again?

Last Sunday, Scotto and I strolled through the aisles of the IGA in a leisurely fashion when I abruptly stopped in front of a stand holding a stuffed, rainbow coloured, unicorn.

“I would buy this for Pablo the Chihuahua, however I know the little b#stard would rip it to pieces and then I’d have to pick up fluff for the next week,” I sighed, picturing in my mind the unfortunate “stuffed reindeer” incident last Christmas.

Pablo destroys every stuffed animal we buy for him. Firstly he blinds the creature by gnawing out its eyes, then he lovingly maims it in a slow, torturous manner, one ear/limb at a time. 

Finally the blameless effigy is disembowelled, beheaded and at last quartered, just as William Wallace was so violently executed by King Edward’s loyal soldiers.

“We should buy this for Celine,” Scotto announced, picking up a quite large rubber ball.

Celine eschews baby toys of the stuffed variety but adores anything bouncy.

I felt a bit guilty arriving home with only one present for one dog, but that’s what happens when you are a brutal, homicidal slayer of innocent, stuffed toys; you miss out.

To mention that Celine has been taking pleasure from her gift would be a gross understatement. I'm beginning to think the unicorn might have been a better option.

This is what we have had to put up with each and every evening…

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Why Jumping Castles should be Banned from Existence

An event took place at school yesterday and I spent my Saturday afternoon and evening on crowd control duty in a rather small room, with 200 buoyant children who were in more than avid attendance. 

After it all finished, I endured a long drive, swerving around indiscriminate marsupials, who appeared to be on a suicidal mission, in the dark and ominous dampness. I recalled Wolf Creek and its antagonist many times during the journey. 

 I arrived home at 10 pm in a quite exhausted state. 

All I wished to do today was to relax… sans over-excited, screaming children. I’d had enough of under elevens.

After much passionate dialogue, Scotto and I eventually resolved we’d give Mel Gibson’s pub another go for lunch because the view is so attractive and we thus set off.

It was pleasing to see that the establishment had removed the offensive smoked chicken from the menu and I hoped my passive protest had not a small influence on that decision and looked forward to a decent meal.

What was not so pleasing, however, was largely influenced by this malevolent, foreboding structure set up in the middle of the fucking beer garden.

Fucking Jumping Castle

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING sets off exuberant shrieks, anguished laments resulting from two toddlers inopportunely smashing their heads together, or outraged tantrums with kids running off bawling in ear-piercing howls that communicate threats such as, ‘I’m telling on you to my mother, Corey!!!’ than a jumping castle.

A jumping castle in a beer garden is an abomination of the highest of highest orders.

Nevertheless, we had a table and we were settled.

Meanwhile, settled at the table beside us, were two mothers and three children who were thoroughly enjoying their plates of chicken nuggets and chips.

The three children, stimulated by the unnatural additives in their soft drinks, began to chant in raucous voices, “Yum, yum, eat my bum!”

I have no answer as to why they began this chant but suspect they liked the sound of the word ‘bum’ as well as the fact that ‘bum’ is rhymed with ‘yum’.

This was at first amusing I suppose but it went on for a quite some time, relentlessly actually, until one of the mothers finally intervened. “That is enough of the ‘bum’ word," she entreated the group gently. "Stop."

Silence ensued for about ten seconds until one of the more creative little boys began to chant, “Yum, yum, eat my doodle!”

Naturally, this threw me into a fit of immature, hysterical laughter. Scotto was dissolved in an infantile paroxysm of giggles. The mother, however, who was understandably mortified, began to scold the small boy who then began to inconsolably bawl his heart out while I was attempting to eat my bruschetta with some semblance of placidity.

I do love children but I also hope my own grown up children are practising safe sex for the time being.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Mulberries

My father gave me a large bowl of home grown mulberries last week and I took a handful to school as a snack.

I was thrilled as I haven’t eaten mulberries since I was ten years of age and I love to receive free, organic produce.

I nibbled on them as I strolled around the playground whilst on duty.

“Mrs Poinker, your teeth are pink,” a well-meaning little grade one student, hanging upside down on the monkey bars, stoically informed me.

“Your teeth are blue,” I countered, observing the stain from a blue icy pole encircling the cheeky inverted mouth.

“But your teeth look scary,” the small creature replied, dropping to the soft fall and moving in for a closer inspection.

A collection of inquisitive, tiny children gathered around me, staring at my teeth in horrified fascination.

As soon as the bell went I raced into the bathroom to inspect the damage. All my teeth were indeed heavily stained but one particular tooth, my fake front tooth, looked as if it had been soaking in concentrated, heavy duty Red Dye 40 for at least a few decades.

I was terrified. What if the material the fake tooth was made of had absorbed the juice and I was destined to live the rest of my life with one bright magenta-coloured front tooth.

I swished water in a passionate and relentless manner for the rest of the day and by the time I arrived home it had faded to a rose pink.

By evening it had diminished to a romantic pastel.

Only a vestige of pink tinge remained in the morning.

That is the last time I ever eat mulberries.

But what else can I do with them? Tie dye t-shirts? Batik Printing?

P.S. Of late I have become utterly obsessed with Jane Austen. I have begun a separate blog site called Jane Aussie Austen where I intend to write Austenesque posts about my every day life. Dear Reader, I would never inflict this on you without your permission, however if you would like to follow it here is the link...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happy Birthday Mother!

It’s my mother’s birthday on Tuesday so Scotto and I called in before taking her and Dad out for lunch today.

“Here’s your present,” I announced, handing over a card/voucher with an accompanying scented candle.

“Oh I can’t use scented candles,” she replied. “They aggravate my sinuses, but I’ll put this in the cupboard and you can have the one you gave me for last Christmas back. It’s in the same cupboard.”

“But it’s a special soy candle,” I persevered. “I bought it especially with your sinuses in mind.”

She went off to swap the candles.

So now I have a new candle and it’s not my birthday

We arrived at the café of my dear mother’s choice and I was in a bit of a bad mood because the café was facing a car park and I hate eating in places with no atmosphere. I like a bit of beach… or at least a water feature.

There WAS the atmosphere of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and other hazardous greenhouse gases, I suppose, and also Mum insisted the food was top notch so I decided to be accepting of the fact that it was her birthday not mine and to stop being a selfish biartch.

My mother is strange with her choice of eateries. Once, when we were visiting, she suggested Sunday breakfast at a certain café. When we arrived via the GPS we discovered the café was inside a major shopping centre. Nothing else was open; just a sad little café with no other patrons but ourselves and a view of the roller door of a closed Sportsgirl store.

Another time she suggested lunch at a restaurant attached to a theatre in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at the restaurant and as there was no theatrical production going on and it was completely vacated, we were the only ones there. It too, faced a car park.

So, in great disappointment, but with a hopeful demeanour, I walked to the counter to order a calming, alcoholic, revitalising round of drinks in order to save me from this new affront to my sensibilities.

“I’m sorry,” said the lady serving, “you can’t order alcoholic drinks without ordering food.”

I was perplexed in the extreme. “But we ARE going to order food,” I stammered. “We just want a drink while we’re looking at the menu.”

She shook her head gravely. “You have to order the drink WITH the food.”

I felt my blood pressure edge up and I’m sure my ears went red.

I’m ashamed of myself because I’m sorry to say I gave her a decidedly fake smile when I said, “Allllllllrighty then,” and strutted off in a shit.

When we’d finally ordered and had our beverages in front of us, Dad began talking about how they’d had to purchase water for their empty rainwater tanks the previous week. The mountain hadn’t had rain for ages and everyone was running out of water.

“Why didn’t you just fill up the tanks with the hose?” I asked.

Dad just stared at me... then he got the joke. Either that or he was humouring me, I'm not sure.

To tell the truth, my mother has always asserted, most strenuously, that my father is eccentric, but I am now suspecting they are both quite peculiar.

Thank God it doesn’t run in the family.

On a cheerier note, we gave two of our chickens a warm bath today due to their poo-encrusted bottoms.



They are walking with a much easier gait now!

So tell me, do you have any eccentric people in your family?

It was definitely an occasion for surgical gloves.

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Don't Wanna Be a Pirate!

I finally bit the bullet and signed up to Ancestry DNA historical records and wow… just wow.

I traced all my dad’s great grandfathers back to the 1500s and came to a dead end at Nicholas De Venoix, who was born in Normandy, France, so that explains my penchant for cheese and wine and stripey t-shirts.

Scotto has declared since learning of this marital affiliation, 

"I shall be taunting people a second time and I shall cease to take showers and continue to speak in an outraaaageous accent."

My mother’s ancestral side is a much more mysterious and delightfully scandalous story of which I have made a quite insanely titillating and intriguing discovery… but I can’t tell you about it or not only will I be disinherited but I may wake up in my bed with the head of a Chihuahua on my pillow case.

Let’s just say that DNA reveals all.

Speaking of insane things, one of my great, great grannies died in an insane asylum in London, poor thing.

What… ? Runs in the family?

One of my great, great, great grandfathers was sentenced to 6 months hard labour at the Old Bailey for fraud and his name was Silas.

Finally there is someone exciting in the family history.

I’m calling my next pet, Silas.

I also had a great grandfather named, Solomon Catt and naturally my next cat will be called Solomon.

My great, great grandfather, John, was “heavily tattooed, wore an earring and a large beard, had worked on ships sailing the world, was very grumpy and scared all the children silly” and we suspect he was a pirate which, even though it’s no claim to fame, is thrilling all the same.

It was a relief to note that the majority of the grandparents lived to a ripe old age, even though one set spawned twenty children. One grandfather lived to one hundred so the good news is I’ll hopefully be around to annoy you for a little while yet.

 Unless of course, one of my ancestors decides they don't like my blog and tries to kill me from the 'other side' which I fear might be actually happening.

I walked out to feed the chickens today and saw this impaled on the chair I usually sit in.

I know... glamorous photo...

Seems a bit pointed (no pun intended).

So until we meet again… au revoir monsieurs and madames.
But tell me... got any family secrets?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Why I'm Going to Lie About My Age!

It’s my birthday on Monday and I’ve noticed that lately, when I tell people I’m almost 57 years old, there are no gasps of, “Oh no! You couldn’t possibly be! You don’t look anywhere near that old, Pinky.”
I wait for it. But the shock and astonishment never seems to fall upon their visage.

I stare at the people in question in concentrated silence until they begin to shuffle their feet in discomfort.

I fix them with my beady eyes, searching their face for some kind of bewildered admiration.

After a while, I realise with a stunned and disappointed insight, they think I actually look my age.

So it's been decided, I'm going to start telling people I’m 67. 

Surely that should get me some compliments?

I bought my own birthday present yesterday. Scotto will reimburse me and it will be his present to me. He’s not allowed to know what it is because one of us has to be surprised on the day.

“I hope I like what you got me for my birthday,” I excitedly whispered in his ear as we snuggled in front of the telly last night. “I hope you didn’t spend too much money on me, darling.”

He looked confused for a few minutes but then light dawned on his face. He played along.

"Is it something I can wear or something I can eat?" I enquired coquettishly. "Can I shake the box? Pleassse?"

“Don’t look at the other white package on the table,” he cautioned, wagging his finger at me. “There’s another birthday surprise in it.”

“Do you mean the present from the kids?” I scoffed. “But I already know what that is, silly! I told you to tell them what I wanted!”
A weary expression spread over his face. I could see he wasn’t going to play my game anymore.

To be truthful, I have a strong suspicion Scotto is attempting to kill me before I reach my next milestone.

Remember the mountain’s Scarecrow Festival I wrote about last year? Well this year Scotto entered his own scarecrow to promote his computer business in the community.

I was leaving for work last week and as I opened the front door, I caught this in my peripheral vision.

I jumped out of my skin, swearing loudly. 

I’d thought it was a big yellow carrot-creature come to slit my throat.

Cursing Scotto under my breath, I bent down to pour Whiskers in the cat bowl and endured a second coronary event when I stood up and spotted the behemoth five seconds later; then again, as I pulled out of the driveway and glimpsed the malevolent monster, towering menacingly at the front door.

I was very glad when Scotto took the terrifying thing away for display.

Yesterday, as I was taking a box of wine bottles out to the bin, I rounded the corner and swiftly dropped said box, smashing glass everywhere when I sighted this freak hanging over the fence leering at me.

I swear Scotto is planting the evil stuffed thing in odd places in an ill-disguised endeavour to murder me via a devastating cardiac arrest. 

If I am found dead in bed with this thing next to me on Monday morning then you will know who caused my sudden demise.

But you’ll be pleased to hear I am still alive at the moment and getting very excited about the impending B day even though I will be turning the magic 67.
I know! How the years fly by.

Feel free to comment on how you can't believe I'm 67.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What the Dickens? It's School Holidays!

It was with carrying a not desolate and bleak, destitute heart in which I departed my dear place of industrious labour yesterday and set afoot on my extensive and arduous journey back to my soothing and familiar home where my dear husband sat in the dewy, green, back garden, anxiously awaiting my appearance and wearing a ponderous and expectant visage with many a gentle sigh forthcoming from his broad chest; but with a happy one.

If you haven’t guessed, I’ve been listening to Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield on audio all week.
NB: the Dickens' character NOT the magician.
I shall carry on with a similar style of rubbish for the remainder of my post.

My dear reader, I can not for the life of me, express what an immense relief it is to be finally freed of the stifling and oppressive establishment that is school life. Not only shall I be liberated from the dreadful clamour of the beseeching and regimented bleating of the alarm clock at a time before the cock crows every morn, but I shall be enabled to slumber to my heart’s content on each and every morning for the next thirteen days plus one.

No more will one such self be mandated to travel out of one’s way to visit Aldi to shop for nourishing substances for one’s pets on an already gruelling and toilsome excursion on return to one’s abode, but one shall be able to visit the said store on a whimsy, a mere whimsy, my dear fellow.

There shall be joy and merriment celebrated on every minute ticked by the clock, on every whisper in the breeze as I sup on my port wine in the fire lit parlour; on every glittering view I glimpse from my chaise lounge as I repose in a reflective introspect whilst gathering my weary thoughts, cupping my steaming mug in my withered hands.

The long forgotten night terrors revitalising hideous recollections of the tedious marking of badly spelled persuasive essays, the horrors of an all-day soccer gala day, the utter dreadfulness of a disconcerting and strenuous school camp… will slowly dissolve into a faded and indistinct memory.

In short, my dear reader, the school term has at last come to a hasty and propitious end and my future lies like a glittering jewel in the crown of a great monarch with all the promise of a something one might only dream of on the sweetest and most headiest of nights whilst drowning in the aromas of all the night flowers blooming in the most intoxicating and reckless of manner.

And so I leave you, perhaps perplexed as to what you just read, perhaps quietly snickering at the jumbled and disorderly mind that is Pinky Poinker, perhaps quietly nodding in mournful pity at the wonders of a truly mad and tangled mind. Whatever, sir, I wish you a good and happy life and a very nice school holiday.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pinky's Restaurant Review!

I look forward to Saturday because Scotto takes me out for lunch.

It’s like ‘date night’, except we call it, ‘date day’.

Today, we decided on Mel Gibson’s pub on the mountain for our weekly romantic assignation.

We’d just hiked for an hour down to a waterfall and back and we were both starving to death.

I sat down with my piccolo of champagne in peckish anticipation and excitedly ordered a smoked chicken salad. I normally don’t eat chicken (or any meat, except fish) but I’ve had the flu for the last four weeks and thought some iron might be good for me.

When the waiter eventually placed my plate down in front of me, I scrutinised it with bleak suspicion.

I prudently picked around the plate with my fork, like a surgeon inspecting an inflamed intestine for obstructive, malignant tumours.

“What’s wrong, Pinky?” asked Scotto, ravenously slicing his medium rare rump with a razor-sharp steak knife and licking his lips.

“The chicken is pink!” I whined. “I don’t trust pink chicken, Scotto. I could get food poisoning.”

“I think it’s just the juice from the red onion,” he reassured me, a bit too casually for my liking to be honest.

I cautiously took a tiny nibble.

“It’s ham!” I shrieked, spitting it back on to my plate.

The people at the next table paused and gaped, forks halfway to their mouths.

The strange flesh had the texture and taste of ham. It even had ham rind on it. I was appalled.

Scotto, examining fake chicken/ham.

If there’s one thing I don’t eat, it is pig.


1. Pigs have similar DNA to humans. Would you eat a child?

2. When humans burn, they apparently smell like pork cooking. Would you eat a burning child?

3. Pigs are very cute and one day I will have one as a pet. It will be called, Babe or perhaps Wilbur.

4. Pigs have worms.

Scotto, highly frustrated and mildly vexed at this turn of events, miserably carried my meal back up to the kitchen, glancing back at his steak with yearning as it sat, neglected and cooling on his plate.

He returned triumphantly, announcing that the ‘manager’ had it all under control and was sorting it all out.

Within twenty seconds, I spotted the ‘manager’ heading our way, balancing my plate in one hand as he careened through the beer garden, his face a blood red, the shade of a slaughtered pig.

“It’s not ham,” he wheezed triumphantly. “It’s smoked chicken. Apparently it just looks like ham. We can get you something else if you prefer…”

I smiled sweetly. “S’ok,” I simpered. “Thank you very much, sir. Of course it’s chicken, silly me. Sorry to have inconvenienced you.”

I watched him walk back up to the kitchen. No doubt, back to the chef where the two of them would laugh at the stupid woman customer who couldn’t tell the difference between ham and chicken.

“I’m. Not. Fudging. Eating. One. Disgusting. Bite,” I snarled savagely as soon as the alleged ‘manager’ was out of sight.

“Why not?” Scotto queried, chomping on some juicy steak, blood trickling, Viking-like, down his chin.

“Because they probably fudging spat on my fudging meal!” I hissed, pushing the plate away in a hangry fit of temper. “Or they pooped in it more likely.”

“Pinky. They wouldn’t spit or poo in your food or they’d lose their licence,” Scotto half-heartedly cajoled, popping a delectable chip in his gob and smacking his lips.

“Bullshit!” I sulked, pulling all the slices of artificial chicken out of the salad and making a huge pile on the side of the plate, just to make a point.

“Mind you,” I conceded, “they probably wouldn’t have had time to squeeze out a poo. It’s probably just spit and phlegm.”
I sat there, eating nothing, mouth dribbling copiously as I watched Scotto sop up his steak juice with crunchy chips and slurp them into his mouth with rapture.

When the waiter came to collect my uneaten meal I made a point of asking for a ‘chicken bag’ not a doggy bag.

“I’m going to feed it ALL to my chickens,” I announced meaningfully, my gimlet eye fixed on the poor youth, in spiteful retribution for my failed date-day.

I hoped the waiter would notice that I’d eaten nothing of the fake chicken food and show the fudging ‘chef ‘what I thought of his fudging crap cooking, but he was too busy laughing at my request of a ‘chicken bag’ and started telling me stories about his own chickens.

So guys, we won’t be going back to Mel Gibson’s pub ever. Sorry Mel, but your chef doesn’t know his livestock.

My cannibal chickens enjoyed eating the fake chicken/pig, and I’m still very hangry.

Scotto probably has indigestion from his steak which probably serves him right. I don’t know if he does or not. I’m too cranky with him to ask because, in some obscure small way, I’m sure it’s all his fault.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

One Smart Fellow, He Felt Smart.

The line in the title of this post is the beginning of a tongue twister the PE instructors taught our classes on school camp last week at Lake Moggelydoogelly. I was there for two nights and three days with my buddy teacher and the two school principals.

There were expert instructors who ran our activities over the three days and two nights and they, in their youthful exuberance, heightened my self-awareness, that I have indeed developed into an elderly, decrepit and whinging old crone.

“What fresh hell is this?” I’d mutter to myself, grimacing in deep suspicion at the commencement of every new physical challenge.

There was the three and half hour hike over a rocky hill and up to the top of a lofty, snake infested gorge.

 There was the three hour canoeing expedition where (with aching arms) I steered two frightened little boys clad in life jackets on an inexorable journey across an icy and sinister lake. 

There was the two hour mountain biking activity where I may have shouted an expletive within range of several children’s earshot as I death-defyingly plummeted down a jagged slope towards a broad eucalyptus trunk, legs flailing and grasping desperately for the elusive brake.

After each daring trial, my principal would spot me limping piteously up the path and ask chirpily, “Did you have a good time, Pinky?” To which I would stare at him through bloodshot eyes and reply tersely, “No. Not really. Not at all actually, but thanks for asking.”

I sat beside him tugging off my runner one morning, “I think there’s something biting my toe,” I complained bitterly. “But don’t worry about it, it’s probably just a red-back spider.”
I turned out to be just some sock cotton wound tightly around my toe.

Then there was the whole ‘feeding the children thing’ three times a day.

One little student refused to eat anything except bread and cake for three days. “Oh well,” commented my buddy. “He will probably have trouble going to the toilet after this. Not that any of us here will be going to the toilet while we’re here, of course.” She added pointedly.

I turned to stare at her with a renewed sense of admiration.

She too, was a ‘never poo away from home’ girl.

All my colleagues back in Townsville teased me no end because I could never stay on girl’s weekends for more than one night and here I was finally buddied up with a like-minded poo girl. Unless, of course, she was merely attempting to warn me off pooping in our shared toilet for the duration of the camp.

I think the worst thing was that I was sick. I had a relapse of the flu I’d had a couple of weeks ago and woke up every morning with a deep, rattling cough and a drag queen voice.

Not that there was much sleep to be had what with homesick children, children with weak, but urgent bladders and squabbling, rambunctious possums and eerie, werewolf-like howls emanating from the surrounding bushland.

I tried to pretend I was on that show, Survivor and at night I would pretend I was in rehab.

It would have been so much more manageable with a cheeky red wine around the bonfire every night.

But it’s all part of being a teacher. The kids loved every second of the camp and even though every muscle in my body is screaming and after the bike riding I’m walking like a King’s Cross hooker, I managed to get through it.

Two smart fellows, they felt smart.

Three smart fellows, they all felt smart.

And they all smelt fart together.

Damn, I’ll never get it right.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Horn Birds

To pass time on my 75 minute commute to work (other than gasping at the gloriously, bucolic scenery at every turn), I’ve been listening to audio books. I’ve exhausted the entire works of Bill Bryson and, filled to the eye sockets with history and science, I thought I’d switch to fiction.

I’ve been meaning to read The Thorn Birds for the last thirty years and despite having it on my bookshelf, never got round to it. It seemed a bit thick and small-printed for an intellectual pygmy such as myself.

At the first ten minutes of the audio version, I was hypnotised. 

It’s rivetting. 

I was vaguely aware the plot had something to do with a priest and an illicit affair because I saw previews of the mini-series but never fancied the gaunt and slightly effeminate Richard Chamberlain so didn’t bother watching it.

Clearly one of the females in the book gets raunchy with the priest and I’m still unsure which one at this stage.

I began investigating the matter on Wikipedia but quickly snapped the computer closed with a great deal of willpower and restraint before I could spoil the story for myself.

I asked one of my colleagues, Deb, if there were any ‘passion scenes’ in the novel.

She raised one eyebrow at me and an enigmatic smile passed her lips. “Yes, Pinky, there are some ‘passion scenes’ in it, I suppose,” then she seemed to go off in a bit of a reverie, staring into the distance, her cheeks glowing with a rosy hue.

I must add that Deb told me she reads the book every six weeks or so.

The reason I asked her though, is that I tend to drive with my audio turned up so high it would make most people’s eardrums bleed out. Scotto can hear me coming from five kilometres down the road. Whilst reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’, people at traffic lights were laughing along with me at the jokes.

There are at least three sets of roadworks on my journey to work where I’m mandated to pull over beside a jaded, high-vis-jacket-wearing traffic controller. I’d hate to be sitting in my car, wantonly enjoying a particularly titillating, bodice-ripping scene whilst a burly, bearded traffic controller stares at me curiously through my windscreen.

It would be … awkward.

There was one scene in the book where the priest was dancing around naked in the rain and the word ‘flaccid’ was mentioned but that’s as bawdy as it’s been so far which is disappointing. And also the narrator is American so they pronounce 'flaccid' in a very non-sexy manner. She said it like, 'flak-sid'. That's not how it's pronounced is it? I've never been 'flaccid' so it's never been important before. Not that I think being 'flaccid' is in the slightest a sexy thing... but, anyway I seem to be getting off topic.

The truth is, I’m really looking forward to the passion scenes more than I should be but I might have to get some ear plugs to protect the traffic controllers and random livestock dotting the fields.

Have you read the Thorn Birds and did you love it?

P.S. Just to ease your mind I looked it up and you can pronounce 'flaccid' both ways.

  1. (of part of the body) soft and hanging loosely or limply, especially so as to look or feel unpleasant.

Who knew?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Advice to my Daughter on her 21st Birthday

#1 Don’t be like your mother

Last Friday it was Grandparents’ Day at school. Grandparents are honoured with a special assembly and get to visit the classrooms where each grandchild has fashioned a little gift depending on the whims, fancies and creative prowess of the classroom teacher.

We grade four teachers had decided on cardboard teapots which the students would laboriously, but lovingly, colour in and cut out. It was up to me to merely purchase the teabags to plop into the completed articles.

Five minutes after the kids had left for the day on Thursday, I poked my head into my buddy teacher’s classroom. There were beautifully decorated teapots littering the desks and it suddenly hit me like a metre ruler to the face that I had failed to remember to get my kids to do their teapots.

“Please tell me Grandparent’s Day isn’t tomorrow!” I screeched desperately to my buddy.

She just looked confused for a moment, doubting herself, so strong was my panicked conviction that she’d been the one to get the date wrong, not me.

So I lugged home the stencilled sheets and a handful of colouring pencils and that evening I fastidiously cut out the fiddly things while Scotto sat, tongue sticking out the side of his mouth, happily colouring in like an eight year old.

“These pencils aren’t very good, Pinky! They keep breaking and I need more pretty colours!” he complained, going off in search of my eye liner sharpener.

He was very slow. I think he was having trouble staying in the lines. I fought back an urge to rap him over the knuckles.

In the end I told him to stop colouring because it was taking too long and I found a Better Homes and Gardens magazine and pasted flowers and cakes all over the teapots instead.

I managed to get them all finished and the students presented them to their grandparents with an air of unwarranted pride.

My beautiful daughter turns 21 today. She is in her third year of an education degree and in about 12 months, she will be a primary teacher.

Imagine how proud that makes me feel.

Hopefully, she will more aware of her surroundings than I am.

I have no other advice for her because… well… she’s perfect.

Happy birthday gorgeous Tweetie-Bird xxx