27 Jul 2010

My Nan is Awesome.

While in limbo prior to skipping the country, I am living covertly, deep in suburbia's quietest cul-de-sac with my grandmother - if I was Mr Bin-Laden I think this would be the spot I would choose...far more discreet than a cave in the hills of Afghanistan and much more comfortable! While we have our differences in age, lifestyle and most certainly opinion, we make it work and I couldn’t be more grateful to her for her generosity and tolerance of me living under her roof.

The other day she arrives home looking suitably frazzled only to impart, after a distressed questioning from me as to what she had been up to, that she had been at Zumba. ZUMBA?! She has just celebrated her 73rd birthday for goodness sake. She is secretary of her Probus Club – which is kinda like scouts for the elderly I guess, plays several rounds of golf a week without a cart, as well as twice weekly walking group, has more social engagements than Brangelina and even knows how to use skype!

As much as I adore my grandmother and as I am currently living under her roof, being fed, watered and have my clothes washed, dried and folded for me I am not entitled to even the tiniest complaint…so consider this more of an observation.

I have given up trying to do anything for myself as I am deemed completely incapable. There are also a number of rules which have taken me some time to come to terms with;

  • If, for example I do a load of washing and peg it out on the line, I will go out to collect it and it has been taken down and re-hung in obsessive compulsive order for size and colour. So I have given up attempting this difficult task for fear of wasting my time.
  • We are only allowed to use one light in the house at a time and heating is only allowed for the months of June and July, after 7pm and only if you are visibly blue.
  • There are dishes which despite having “microwave and dishwasher safe” printed on the bottom, are not allowed to be used in the microwave or dishwasher which gets me in trouble every time.
  • Clothes must be line-dried then spend at least 2 days in the hot water cupboard prior to wearing to ensure they are restored to Sahara-like dryness levels, as if a tiny bit of dampness is a fate worse then death.
  • You haven’t lived unless you have seen the news and in particular the weather report. This is vital in elderly world. And the only fashion crime you can commit is to fail to dress for the appropriate weather conditions. Surprise is your enemy. Every time I depart for the bus stop in a light shower I spend a solid 10 minutes talking her out of dressing me in hurricane-proof gear including bright yellow over pants and a matching Paddington-bear jacket.
  • When I first moved in I couldn’t bring myself to watch all the doom and gloom, a million crime shows and poignant documentaries on the latest medical and societal maladies. Elderly widows of police officers who have a suspicious view of the world should be banned from watching this largely fictional fear-inducing crime programming. Security conscious is an understatement.
  • Cooking entails half a pound of butter per dish. And unlike our throw-away generation there is no such thing as waste, and if it doesn’t get eaten it is reconstituted a hundred times over until it’s finished.
  • While pinching pennies at every opportunity, everything goes into decadent spreads hosting our family and the most well endowed Christmas tree you’ll ever see.
  • Lastly, what is it with old people and clutter…particularly garden art. There are more hideous ceramic adornments than there are plants in her garden (read; dolphins, tacky faux-Michelangelo sculptures, mosaics, gnomes, wire yachts, swans made of tyre-retreads and various coloured pots).

But I am not one to complain being catered for, cared about and also am taking the time to learn as much about my sole surviving grandparent while I have the opportunity. So many lessons to learn from her and stories to extract!


26 Jul 2010

My New Deskmate.

I have just experienced an unwelcome new arrival.

Yet another class conscious, rotund middle aged English import with a receeder. Great. At least my last deskmate had a dry wit to rival Ricky Gervais. Meet Duncan.

I have always been lucky enough to have such a wide range of responsibilities in my work that my job description is suitably vague and no-one really knows what I do. I’d like to say it’s because I am so flexible and versatile…but perhaps it’s a subconscious desire to stay autonomous and retain an air of mystique in my huge office where everyone is a boffin at some technical discipline and eager to jump in a box for easy clarification. So I am finally sitting next to someone who is actually in my own line of work – and worse, is more senior than me. He knows exactly what I do and/or should be doing and is full of new-job enthusiasm, ever keen to watch me like a hawk, engage me in deep conversation/lecture and beat me to work in the morning and stay later just for the upper hand.

Grinds my gears.

Like a new pet, your new deskmate must be carefully and meticulously trained. Thus far Duncan is performing well. He has made me chocolate brownie twice now, and is even beginning to grasp the art of sarcasm!

Fortunately, I am off on my next adventure soon and won’t have to put up with Duncan (he is probably breathing a sigh of relief too at seeing the end of me) or see the results of my training, but hopefully his next victim will benefit from my hard work molding him into the perfect deskmate.


16 Jul 2010


Wow. So I haven’t written since APRIL. Disgraceful. And so much for my resolution to write twice weekly – clearly flushed that one down the giant white porcelain telephone. Anyway, I was trying to think of exciting excuses to the lack of material and here are some I came up with;

I made it into a reality tv show (insert Masterchef, Top Model, Mitre 10 Dream home here) and have been away filming and cant reveal any details as I have signed my soul away.

I am secretly a member of Daftpunk and have been away preparing for a new tour.

I am the anonymous modern street artist Banksy, and have been super busy doing some crazy political voyeur art in the Gaza strip.

I was ice skating and fell over and both hands were cut off in a horrific freak accident by an Olympian speed skater in training (a recurring dream I had as a teenager).

I have been away doing something virtuous like volunteering at a leper colony or chaining myself to a tree and throwing myself in front of diggers.

But in reality I just ran out of inspiration. Have been in a bit of a limbo phase, a friend of mine tells me she is having a “reflection year”, and I would say that kinda describes what I am currently experiencing. This is about to end with uprooting my life and moving across the Tasman to be with a human of the male species (*shock, horror, gasp*). But now these decisions have been made I seem to be compelled to write again and the dreaded writers block has vanished in the last few days! Hurrah.

So hopefully back into it in a big way and this wee blog which makes me feel like my life has substance will be enjoyed by someone out there on the interweb!