Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Things are starting to heat up here and the mild sense of panic that comes over me each summer is creeping in. I know, all of you staring at long dark winters ahead of you will be rolling your eyes,"What's she complaining about?"

I really struggle with summer and the older I get the more wussy I get. I don't want to make light of depression (because that's serious) but I think I have a slight touch of S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder). More rolling of eyes. Yes, I know that's usually associated with those long dark winters (not to set off your S.A.D by reminding you again). . . mine comes from too much light . . . and HEAT.

So to stave off the dread of the approaching furnace that is the Australian summer, I thought I'd list the pros and cons as I see them (hopefully the Pros will come out in front?!?):

  1. It's HOT, sticky, sweaty, don't want children, Historians or even clothing touching you. This is particularly horrid when small children insist on climbing all over you wailing, "it's HOT mama".
  2. I have to wax my legs . . . more frequently. OK, I'll admit that during winter my legs can get a little Hobbity and I like it. No mess, no pain, no hassles.
  3. Sleep is HARD. I remember years of summers when the only way to get through the night was to wet your top sheet in a cold shower and drape it over you Coolgardie Safe style. I've gotten soft. Aircon. is a priority for our new house. Last summer without it brought me to a very dark place!
  4. Flies! Little skinny ones that like to get up into your nostrils and big fat slow ones that square dance contemptuously around your room. Oh, and Mozzies (Mosquitoes)! Lying in bed willing sleep to come and hearing that high pitched whine as the horrible sucker that avoided the Mortein Napalm cloud you sprayed before bed circles it's prey and secretly hoping it chooses the Historian's exposed flesh over yours.
  5. Your candles, ice-creams, make-up(if you wear it) melts. Disgusting puddles of once solid stuff are everywhere.

  1.  I get to wear a Kaftan at home without any hint of embarrassment. It's the only thing that touches me nowhere but the tips of my shoulders.
  2. Washing is dry by the time you finish hanging it out. Very efficient.
  3. Goths. Watching Goths in Summer is hilarious! I admire them for their steadfast commitment to their style but 40+C days are really tough on them. There's pools of white pancake makeup and black eyeliner everywhere. There's one particular local lad with licorice thin legs who gets around in his sprayed on black denim, long sleeved black shirt, black boufant hair and a frilly black parasol. I saw him "run"(mincingly) across the street last summer. That vision still gives me the giggles.
  4.  Everyone gets more sociable. There are tons of barbecues to be hosted and attended. So that's nice.
Hmmm, the "Nays" seem to have it. I'll have to dig deeper for the positives before it heats up, or escape to cooler climes (more on that soon). 

    Monday, October 18, 2010


    Apparently I'm attracted to Fennel. Every time I'm perusing the spice aisle at the supermarket, I have to stop myself from getting more Fennel. This is how my internal dialogue goes, "No, you don't need Fennel, I'm sure you've got some already. What do you even use it for anyway? You probably need Turmeric. Turmeric is something you always use. Get the Turmeric . . . but what if I don't have Fennel? Fennel is exotic, I'll probably need some Fennel. Imagine how annoyed I'll be when I discover I have 5 jars of Turmeric and no Fennel."

    I think it's the sound of it. Fennel. It's such a pretty word, like fairies flitting through a shady glen (far prettier than Turmeric which sounds like something you need to have removed from your big toe).

    So I end up with lots of Fennel (and yes, no Turmeric in sight).

    My latest impulse buy was Fennel Tea. How can you make Fennel sound more attractive to me? Put the word Tea after it and have it made by someone called Heath & Heather. It's undoubtedly what the fairies drink. I believe they use it to flavour Absinthe too and fairies are definitely associated with Absinthe.

    Fennel Tea is however . . . horrible! Actually, Absinthe is fairly horrible too. That should have tipped me off. The packet tells me amongst other things that it's great for appetite suppression. Well they're not kidding. After a few sips of this you're turned off food for some time. Must be why fairies are so small and thin, huh?

    In other news, we have some nesting Kookaburras in the trees behind us. Here they are canoodling on the neighbour's broken basketball hoop.

    And coming down for a closer look at me. The vege-patch Chitty Chitty was NOT at all pleased.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    The Poo Man Cometh

    50 litres of sheep poo delivered to our door! LOVELY!

    We live on sand in this part of Australia. A whole city built on sand dunes. Whenever we get rain it goes straight down, schlurrrrp. And being basically dirty beach sand there's nothing at all good in it for your plants and vegetables. So the Poo Man is a bit of a super hero here: "Send up the Poo signal, we need POO MAN" . . .

    Dealing with sheep and cow manure for a living gives you an odd sense of humor I suspect (one that a five year old would appreciate). It seemed that every discussion I had with the Poo Man was fraught with double entendre and toilet jokes;

    "Hello, I'd like to order some sheep manure please."
    "Great, I can't deliver till next Thursday though as we're...ahem, fresh out of it at the moment (snicker)."
    "Out of it? You have to wait for some more to be forthcoming then (snicker)?"
    "That's right. We need to increase production, we've had a bit of a run on it (snicker)."

    "Hello. Just letting you know that we are running a little behind (snortle). We usually have a regular drop off in your area on Thursday. Is Friday too late for you?"
    "That's fine we had no urgent plans for it"

    Anyway, thanks Poo Man.  Thanks sheep's bottoms. Our garden loves you!

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Feline Decrepitude

    We seem to have evolved into a home for geriatric cats as our three slide into dotage around us. Cats are eccentrics, that's their thing. Ours are no exception and as they age their oddness is only becoming more pronounced and amusing.

    When we first moved into our house the local birds went into a frenzy of panic. They needn't have bothered. These three are no threat whatsoever! The doves now eat directly out of the cat crunchy bowl while all three are within pouncing distance. I'm not sure if that's an indictment of the doves or the cats, but there you have it.


    16 years old and with superb comic timing, turned up to her photo shoot sporting a cobweb fascinator, very Miss Havisham.

    She was brought to us by her own teenage mother when she was a tiny dot of a kitten. We had been duped into taking another older (about 6) cat a few months before by a tearful girl at the local video shop who, wasn't "allowed to keep him in (her) rental house" (in hindsight, they may have actually been crocodile tears). The cat, Mr Flibble, was a truly horrible piece of work and had some deep seated psychological issues that meant he was not always toilet trained and lived mostly under Matt's bed (on one of his rare sojourns out from under the bed he got hit by a car . . . we cried, not for joy however as we actually loved the stupid, insane cat).

    As we had him at the time, we also had cat food and Nori's mum, unable to provide for what was probably her only surviving infant carried her to our house. We got both Nori and her mum (Clawdia) "fixed" and then Clawdia eventually ran away from home. We know nothing terrible happened to her (she was very street smart), she just got fed up with Nori not weaning after about 12 months! and packed her little spotted handkerchief and went to another home.

    Nori has personal daemons (I'm sure Cat-Freud would have plenty to say about her weaning issues). Despite living the most comfortable and relaxed existence known to catkind, her neuroses mean that she thinks the world is out to get her. And with an amazing gift for self-fulfilling  prophesizing, she places herself in the road of every loud power tool, wheelbarrow or running child around here. We expect her to become the longest lived cat ever and enter Guinness Book of Record fame as she is so extraordinarily careful of herself and although always in the self perceived path of impending DOOM, is always able to dodge disaster!

    Actually, she really doesn't know her own bravery. She "tamed" our old dog while she was still a little punctuation mark of a cat. Kato had an insane hatred for cats and had once attacked a stone cat statue. Nori swiped her once across the nose and they were lifelong friends.


    14 years old. Lovely, affable, roly poly Gustav, came to us as a little impoverished waif about two months old who had been living off bugs and dew and stuff. He was scrawny and his little ears were dessicated, he really was a pitiful sight. We lured him in with tasty morsels and he has vowed never to go back to a life on the mean streets. He is ENORMOUS and spends most of his day hanging out in our kitchen expectantly waiting for more of those morsels (which, obviously he gets).

    He has an $800 pin in his leg (from 12 years ago when $800 was like . . . 10 thousand dollars) from an altercation with a car. He never, ever crosses the road since the incident (too far from the kitchen). He likes to sit with his pin leg straight out which makes him look like a big fat Greek fisherman mending his nets.


    12 years old. Scat was the only cat we actually got from a pet shop. While he's been "fixed" we suspect that they didn't "get it all" as he's still a bit (well a lot) of a Tom Cat. He's a bruiser with bits missing from his ears and nose from fisticuffs with neighbourhood cats. Fortunately he mostly leaves his own clan alone (although Nori is constantly on guard)

    He's a beautiful looking cat but also one that you don't feel 100% safe turning your back on. 

    He has to be shut out of the kids room at night as he's been known to actually push a sleeping child right out of bed!

    Strange, wonderful, entertaining members of our family they are. We love them so much, and so does the local bird population.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Dear Astrid,

    I promise that next year I will try harder to make you a nice cake. Linus suggested that this was possibly the ugliest cake in the whole world but that he was sure it would "taste great". Just for your amusement, this is what is was supposed to look like (scroll down a little to the incredible cake).

    Of course there's a story behind its ugliness; involving long car travel, family reunions in a wheat-belt town,  Historian's mum staying at our house, a family dinner amongst the renovating rubble and worries about having enough food, chairs, cutlery and lighting, falling in a slow motion and spectacular manner and spilling a whole hot bowl of Tofu Massaman Curry (thanks mum I'm sure it would have tasted wonderful) all over various guests (guess there wasn't enough lighting), half-made decks having to be made "safe" and finally pouring melted chocolate into a mould and swirling for hours (well maybe 10 minutes but swirling till chocolate sets makes watching paint dry exciting) and cursing as the stuff wouldn't leave the same mould when asked (and repeating the last 3 steps 3 times) the end it didn't matter and I had a bit on an epiphany. 

    You go to all the trouble to make a knock out cake but for whom? The parents all do "drop and run" for a couple of hours of kid-free bliss (or one-kid-less-bliss), the 5 year olds don't give a toss as long as there's the required lollies, chocolate and fact you could forget the actual cake and just have those piled on a plate and they'd be as pleased as punch (pretty much what we have here).

    Still, just for you my sweet little 5 year old, I'll make a really complicated Blog-brag-worthy triumph next year.

    Wait, that's right the epiphany, I'll pile the lollies, chocolate and icing in a more attractive manner!