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Sunday, July 19, 2020

How to Relax on the Weekend

Original by Pinky!

Four legs good, two legs bad. 

I ponder Orwell’s chant as I begin my weekend wind-down from a hectic week.

A warm, convivial sun prickles my arms, and sighing with joy at the quietude, mandatory coffee in hand, I gratefully pick up my dog-eared copy of Animal Farm.

I hear my chihuahua down the side garden barking at the neighbour’s labrador for the tenth time this morning. It is blind, the labrador, and must wonder what it did to deserve the bitter diatribe spewing from the chihuahua’s foaming snout. My dachshund and fox terrier join the fracas, one deep, throaty bark alongside the tenor tones of the smaller dogs. They harmonise like an enraged boy band. Should I get up and yell at them or will they just think I am adding impetus to the acapella trio? I am saved the trouble by my neighbour, who stomps out, wild-eyed and manic, and threatens the innocent labrador with a rolled-up newspaper.

The three recalcitrant amigos hurtle back to me, ears back and tongues lolling. The dachshund alights on my lap with the grace of a baby hippopotamus. Animal Farm slides to the floor, newspaper broadsheets scatter and my coffee slurps over the rim of my mug, the mug bearing the slogan, Relax, Replenish, Revive.

From my patio couch, I spy one of my chickens pecking at the Lobelia seedlings I planted last weekend and then I remember why we stopped growing flowers in the chook yard. Pity. I’d been looking forward to their blue petals contrasted against the greenery. Gathering my weary body, I limp down to chase them way from the planter boxes, wincing against prickles and sharp stones under my bare feet.

My idle, non-laying chickens are on thin ice. Only one of them manages to produce the odd egg, which is usually snaffled up in the dachshund’s velveted jaws, carried delicately into the house, smashed on my kitchen tiles and promptly licked up, leaving only shards of shell and a few yolky streaks behind. She has a very glossy coat, my dachshund. I stroke her now, breathing in the spicy scent of the curry plants she has been rolling in. A curried sausage… that is what I tell her she is.

With its tail pointing stiffly skywards, the cat meanders through the cane legs of the patio chairs, eyeing the chihuahua with cold, blunt defiance. Old enemies since the spirited and bloody Battle of the Doona, the chihuahua’s whiskers tremble ominously. It is at once apparent that all animals are not equal in this house. A sudden flurry of scrabbling claws, vociferous snarling and a sense of urgency ensues, resulting in finding myself with a mouthful of dog hair, a palpitating heart and coffee splattered over my lap.

Retiring my hopes of a peaceful, agrarian morning in the natural surroundings of my backyard, I withdraw inside, choking on dander and bitterly questioning whether I might have had more peace and tranquillity in my classroom surrounded by a cacophony of eight year olds.

Sometimes four legs not so good.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Ode to a Sick Eagle Turning Sixty

Like a sick Eagle looking at the sky. Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

 Keats wrote that. 

I know that fact as I have been reading a lot of classic literature lately because, just like that sick eagle staring at the sky, I too am imagining all the things I failed to do in my life that I could have done except I was too busy being shallow and low brow.

In three short months (or normal months really), I turn sixty, and if I rated myself on all of the high-brow things I’ve completed in my life thus far from one to ten, I’d get a minus seventeen bajillion.

Will two weeks of school holidays be long enough to turn myself into the type of person who can pick up a guitar and play like Jose Feliciano, quote the Romantic poets, drop my knowledge of the Great Masters into a conversation and open a world famous gallery of my own hand-painted rock collection? 

One can only try.

I am teaching myself to play the guitar and my aim is to master the chords to The Gambler by next Christmas. I realise The Gambler is not traditionally a Christmas song. It is however, of religious significance in our family… looking at you, Uncle Pedro… along with other classics such as, Seven Spanish Angels, Folsom Prison Blues and Ring of Fire.

One thing, however, has put a dampener on my musical excitement... Scotto.

He’s bought a violin online.

As I’m currently at home on school holidays, I get to greet the postman every day and today the severely stressed out postie delivered a violin. Either that or Scotto is secretly a gangster and the box contains a machine gun. 

I'm furious.

Years ago, whilst sitting in an Irish pub sculling wine, I casually mentioned I wanted to learn the tin whistle and what do you think arrived in the mail for Scotto within a week?

 A tin whistle. 

He didn’t tell me at the time but he had it for ages and was planning on learning to play it on the sly and then SHOW OFF by randomly picking it up and playing it like a long lost brother of the Corrs or something.

Well, he never practised it once.

Neither of us even so much as brushed our lips against its metallic piping actually and it’s currently ensconced in my underwear drawer probably whistling songs of the Emerald Isle to itself amongst my knickers.

The reason I’m so upset about the violin is that I know Scotto will NEVER practise and if I see HIM not practising, I might stop practising the guitar, and that will be disappointing as I’ve been very keen up until now.

Not only that, I think Scotto’s trying to one-up me again. Violins are much classier than guitars and much easier to stash away in an underwear drawer when you get sick of them too.

As mentioned above, I’ve also begun rock painting. These are my first creations. 

You know about Van Gogh’s Blue Period? Well this is my Lady Bug period.

Later this week will be my Hedgehog Period.

Scotto displayed great interest in my artwork and has already pinched one as a decoration for his office. 

Next thing you know the postie will be trudging up the driveway with giant canvasses and oil paints that Scotto has ordered online just to be one step ahead of me. 

He says I'm his inspiration.