Story Blog

Codine's off for the moment, but if you haven't read 'Turning Stones' it's still up there - free read!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday 30th May 2011

“Dad, I can't find Edward.”
“Or Woolly Mammoth. Come and help me look for them.”

We're in the very first grey glimmers of dawn, and sleepy birds are just getting up. Edward (the small stuffed lion) is missing in action – in Lara's bed.

If it's not one damn thing it's another, with that child. Absolutely no respect for the REM cycle.

For diversion yesterday we hit the Derby Street so-called Chocolate and Coffee festival. Barely a stick of chocolate or a cup of coffee anywhere. There was one chocolate fountain (at which Lara got something dipped but relinquished in sticky disgust). Somewhere they might have been one stall that sold coffee. The rest was the usual tat-junk-food medley. Minor excitements were sightings of a paella pan with a three foot diameter and a Great Dane puppy of such gorgeous Weinmerana grey pelt that he formed quite an obstruction in the traffic wherever he went with people thronging round. Also Lara did get a free balloon (pink) but it was relatively short lived as it made a break for freedom in the park later on.

Ah, heaters. Well I'm off to find them in the lock-up right after this, but they're pretty much useless in this house. It's so badly insulated they have no effect whatsoever, it's much easier to sit with hot-water bottles and extra clothing. The house is cunningly designed to be colder than the outside in winter and hotter than the outside in summer. It does admittedly keep one dry but that's about the extent of it. Ian will no doubt want to take one in to work, though – I believe his office is of somewhat better construct.

And Pie, DON'T get any ideas about buying books. The whole point of the exercise is that I'm meant to be able to get hold of fresh books either for free or virtually nothing, because of the whole reviewing thing. Postage to Australia is prohibitive, but with Kindle they should some whizzing down the ether on gratis wings, eager to be read. (He, he, he, evil cackle, come here little bookies, nothing to fear...)

For dinner last night, Ian made us a lovely roast pork dinner with the CRISSSSPIEST CRUNchy CracklinG ever. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the Crackle scale it was about 50. Incredible. No salt involved, no vinegar, just baked off the meat to start with and crisped up afterwards.

Dinner was also served with 'Balloon Stew' prepared by Lara. Consists of a shrivelled purple balloon, a twig, a home-made paper bag constructed from two sides of A4, and a tomato. Eating instructions were:

“Eat the tomato, leave the stick and pop the balloon – THAT's how you eat Balloon Stew!”

She really is completely off her rocker. We complied. Quite tasty, actually.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday 29th May 2011

My Kindle is great. All those e-books I downloaded months ago are now finally readable! It's so book-like that I sometimes make the mistake of putting my hand up to turn the page rather than press the button. And it's BRILLIANT for reviews: you can mark, dog-ear, make comments and notes at will, search the text for words and jump straight to passages without having to leaf endlessly. Happiness. Now I just have to finish up a couple of books, review them, and see what new releases I can get from the publishers. Ooooh.

Meanwhile, Blogger. Dear me. Now I can't post comments on any other blogs because it refuses to log me in for comments. So I can post my own stuff but am utterly silenced on anything else. Where does it all come from?

Yesterday we ended up doing remarkably little. It was a pretty drizzly day and all we did was get out to the library. Mind you we did see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, which was quite good. Spent some time catching up on Lara's reading, some (of course) the two of them spent on the DS and in the evening we watched “Where the Wild Things Are” - the film, that is. I didn't really catch it properly as I was mostly watching while cooking, but it didn't seem like a film that was particularly accessible to children. Well, I don't know, maybe that's not fair – she was interested all the way through, which is quite an achievement in itself. Maybe a few more years would make all the difference. The imagery and parallels are quite difficult for a six year old, though. Maybe it doesn't matter.

Talking of DS, Ian has finally beaten the last Bowser on SuperMario. The Non was rocketing around the place in an utter frenzy of excitement and anxiety: the sofas took a real pounding. I think there are still a couple of 'hidden' levels which they haven't even seen, but hey, they've finished the game. Now he's cooking porridge. (Ian, that is, not Super Mario).

No idea what we'll be doing today, but at least it's not bucketing down. Jolly cold though. The whole family's going to bed with hot water bottles. I have a jolly good mind to go and get Lara a full-sized one, because she's getting up at the dead of night, waking us up too, and demanding a refill. 3 am is not a lively time for me.

Right, porridge time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday 27th May 2011

Hurrah! Blogger’s got its arse in gear and I can sign in and out (fingers crossed, it wasn’t just a one off). One less annoyance.

We had a very nice evening last night at Pete’s. The kids disappeared and were doing weird dressing-up (pillowcases and shawls like makeshift yashmaks, and then appearing and not saying anything. I think the intention was to be scary). There was someone visiting from Brisbane as well (a Swiss Iranian – I think another ‘it’s complicated’ person), and all in all very nice.

I think Lara was a little tired this morning but she did her work nicely anyway and got to school on time. Phew. She found it hilarious when I groaned and muttered under my breath when her maths questions were ridiculously easy. I use a random generator so she might have 99+99 or 0+1. She did in fact have a 0+1 today and the amusement caused a strawberry milk eruption.

In any case, Friday again, somehow. Where does the time go? I desperately need to go to yoga but what’s the betting that my Special Delivery Kindle will come while I’m out? 100%, I’d say. Then I’ll have to go someplace weird to pick it up, no doubt. I’m torn.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

There’s always one damn thing or another wrong with Blogger. Now one can’t sign in or out without first deleting all the cookies and internet browsing. Great. So each time I want to post something on the other blogs I have to re-type all the information on everything else I do in the world. Fantastic. Guess who’s thinking about using Wordpress for the next instalment of Upside Downs once the storage on this one runs out… Meanwhile of course as usual there’s a string of people leaving messages for Blogger saying they can’t do this, and any response? Nope. Ignored for about a week, no doubt it’ll continue. Love it.

And another thing. If I read once more than someone grins 'wolfishly' I'm going to burn the book on the spot. Hit delete. Whatever. What is it with people? I'd like to see anyone see a wolf grin in the first place, and even if they did surely one could think of other predatory creatures to describe an expression. Tigerish? Moray eels I always find very menacing, or perhaps octopus. Lobsters even. How about earwigs? Very menacing pincers, ominous colour. Just leave the damn wolves alone, think of something.

Not in the best of moods. Three kids on Incandescent Noise form, and a tantrum from Lara in the morning (yes, the checklist was short-lived indeed). It's all so uphill.

Oh what the hell.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

For the Quiet Readers

  Yes, you. (No, not you, sit down.)  Curiosity killed the cat but I can’t help being intrigued. WHO are all these people visiting this blog? I don’t mind – I know it’s public, after all. All those visits from all round the Veneto area from people who come back scores of times, and multiple addresses from Zagreb… they can’t all be the parents: even they don’t have that many computers.

I’m most intrigued by my regular from Newcastle University, though. Leave a note, say Hi… though you should really come for a glass of wine because you must know every minute detail of our lives by now. I’d love to know who it is. Go on, I’ll buy you a drink.

Tuesday 24th May 2011

I wonder if ‘uninspiration’ has a colour. I’d say it would probably be about the colour of a lamb sandwich. With white bread. Not that I can’t think of anything – just can’t be bothered. Yawn. Someone stick a pin in me.

Reading groups at the school this morning. Those kids are coming on quite nicely (makes them sound like a batch of gingerbread men… mind you not far off the mark in some respects.) I’ve just started on Lisa Unger’s ‘Sliver of Truth’ with high expectations, and feel quite let down. Still keep reading it in the vain hope it’ll stop being so sloppy and repetitive. Maybe that’s at the root of not getting on and typing out the next story. (Excellent, I feel better already now that I’ve laid hold of someone to blame other than myself).

Yeterday it was Neve for playtime. She rushed into the house, stood all agog in the middle of the sitting-room and demanded: “Is it true that there are face paints in this house?” So out came the paints and on went the disco lights. They ended up playing a curious game called ‘lost boyfriend’. (For the uninitiated, you get a sort of Barbie Ken doll, and one of the girls – plus four or five ‘helper’ stuffed animals, secrete him somewhere obscure. The other girl then looks for him with wild ineptitude. All to the tune of Blondie.)

Today it’s Drama, and tomorrow it’s Ruby and Sophie again for their Wednesday afternoon stint. Seeing as Sophie’s coming over I asked them round to dinner again in the hope that this would ensure they got through less than a kilo of sugar per child. I can stuff ‘em up on pizza and salad and they’ll be happy as Riley. Then Thursday it’s the new dance class and Friday gym, of course, so all in all the weeks are pretty full for Lara these days.

Talking of which… Ah, breakthrough! Yesterday I finally had enough of nagging and nagging to get her ready for school, and told her if she wasn’t getting ready herself she could just stay there and never get to school at all. Told her I was going to have my shower NOW and if she wasn’t there she’d have to have it on her own. (We’ve taken to having showers at the same time ever since I got her a shower cap. It’s quicker and kinder on water usage, and she rather likes it. She puts the cap on and dances around the place naked singing ‘I’m a baby Pollock, I’m a baby Pollock’, presumably referring to the folically challenged aspect the vinyl covering gives her. But to continue… ) I finished the shower and she burst in, full of distress: how could I finish without her? Etc. I ended up writing a list for her, so she could cross things off: Breakfast, Shower, Teeth, Pack Bag, Get Dressed, etc. MAGIC! She ended up running around the place checking things off while I sat and read my book! Success, thy name is empowerment. ‘Course, don’t know how long it’ll last but every little step is another bonus. Plus there was the added threat I’d made: every day she doesn’t manage to cross everything off the list, without anyone’s help, she looses another toy. Puts a bit of an edge on things. Still, the result was good, and she went to school very pleased with herself.

The Mr now has a full complement of employees at work, and at the end of June he might even have a lab! Things are looking up. All we need to do now is find a house…

Talking of which, just as I was typing this a notification came up in my mailbox with something new in Merewether Heights, at last. Looked in…. and it’s next door! Gugh. The one place we REALLY don’t want to be moving to. Next door, being sold by the estate agent who lives next-next door. It’s all very incestuous, not to mention undesirable.

Oh, by the way Woofie thanks for wanting to read the stories (heroic of you, not even been requested!). The only recent semi-finalist (well, runner-up technically) was for Global Writers, and not only do they not publish the dross of the short-list but even the link to my mention on there is now defunct, it seems... all their archives have gone Phutt. The story itself has already been recycled elsewhere, so under wraps for the moment. The two stories I had accepted for the anothology are not in print yet, but when they are wey hey! I shall of course be encouraging everyone to buy the book (all in a worthy cause, you know) so hang fire there!
Ugh, long blog. See yah.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday 21st May 2011

“Oh, it's the rotating flames of doom,” she mumbles through a mouthfull of apple.
“Yeah, they're a bit of a pain,” he agrees laconically.

Lara and Daddy are playing Super Mario. They've been playing it all morning, and look set to play it all afternoon, too. I've not been much of an impediment to it all, either, doing nothing more useful than mooch around, checking websites and rubbing sore bits. Yoga yesterday took my arse from sitting-induced stiffness to a posture-induced petrification. … Oh, hang on. As I type they've finally abandoned the DS and have disappeared upstairs, no doubt for 'Moose Den'.

Don't know what happened since yesterday – in fact I don't know what happened to yesterday full stop. Took Lara to gym in the evening, did other stuff OK but the beam is still a bugbear. Evenings really drawing in: it's quite dark now when we come come home at quarter to six.

If we end up doing something interesting, I'll check in later. If not, you'll know we've spent the day in mindless squalor. (Tempting...)

OK the squalor remains but we did go out. Turned into a stunner of an afternoon and after a brief stop-off at a new look-out point on the Hill (and by the way I want a glass cabin there with a desk and a cup of tea for writing in... or rather the cain for the writing in and the tea for - oh screw it) we went down to bar beach, and spent several hours tootling slowly down from there to Merewether and back again.

It was supposed to be too cold to swim but the Littles eventually stripped down to her knickers and went into the ‘little baths’ – just a shallow pool in the rocks that was in use about 50 years ago but it now just au naturalle. After that she just ran around in lilac pants until we went home. Gorgeous afternoon. As usual, I fell asleep on the beach, the others ran races and built sandcastles. It was so warm I took my fleece off, and so sunny that freckles came out on my insteps. Insane, unreasonable quantities of Blue about the place. Have no idea why it makes one grin so much.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday 19th May 2011

I’ve just learned, via a blog I subscribe to (“The Feckless Goblin”) that apparently Christ is coming to earth on Saturday. Perhaps I should bake a teacake.

Maybe he can do something about my bottom. It’s sore from sitting stuck in this chair. I’ve been typing out thousands of words of drivel and I’m not even sure what genre it is. Meant to be for a ‘speculative fiction’ competition so I went for horror as the seemingly most attainable category… I think I’ve ended up with 3.5K of something like comic quasi-mystery with a touch of gore. Don’t really know what to do with it now. Yoga tomorrow, that’s for sure.

Lara’s taken up yet another extra-curricular activity as of today. Dance classes. Oh, apparently it’s ‘Jazz’ – sort of mini-musical performance stuff. It’s held at the school in the evening, and Ruby and Indiah are there too. It was quite sweet, she came in and the teacher said “Oh hello, well it looks like we’ve got a new person today. Anyone know Lara? Oh, everyone,” as a sea of hands shot up. She did have a very good time and is keen to continue, but some of her enthusiasm might have been from the fact that she needed the toilet quite badly and couldn’t stop bouncing anyway.

God I’m stiff and fat. Someone prise me off this chair.

Monday, May 16, 2011


That’s it, I’m going to rip the phone out. Anybody who wants to get in touch will just have to use telepathy. Rip the phone out and shove a stake where its cord used to be, perhaps smear it with garlic, too.

The “Computer Maintenance Department” has been blissfully absent from my life for probably over a week now, so I HAD to get some new moron telling me that the Australian Government was going to “give me $5,230 dollars because my bank was involved in some unlawful transactions and this is my hard-earned money.” PISS OFF! Where do they come up with these ideas? No, wait. I don’t want to know. Sod the war on terrorism, I want to see a war on telemarketers. It’s not even telemarketing, is sodding Telescammers. Anyone got some missiles handy? A few of those Navy Seals wouldn’t go amiss letting rip in one of those call centres. But reserve the main torture for the ring-leaders: the ones who think these things up. Nothing is too good. Dust off your Inquisition books. Learn and apply.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday 15th May 2011

Just call me Sleeping Beauty. 9:30, last night, could no longer keep eyes open. Something's screwy here, that's just not natural.

Haven't been blogging, partly because Blogger's been down regularly this past week and partly because I'm jigggered if I know where the week's gone. Been sitting at the computer madly typing and sending stuff off, looking up intermittently to notice what a state the house is in and then turning straight back. Can't remember how many stories I've written but it's at least four this week, and I've subbed off ten pieces so far this month. Thankfully I keep a spreadsheet of what goes out or I wouldn't have a clue.

The rate of return on these things is rising nicely. The last big push some months ago gave a rate of one in ten. (Of having something accepted of getting some sort of placing in a competition). This morning I just heard from the “New Sun Rising” anthology for Japan and they've taken two of my three subs for that one, bringing the recent submissions strike-rate up to about one in five. Which is pretty damn good, by any standards – by MY standards it's insane. Have noticed, however, that one gets 'short story burnout' much more quickly than when typing out a novel... it's much more labour-intensive to produce 1k words of flash fiction 500 words long each than 1k words of novel narrative. Really must get away from this competition mania and get to EDITING, been putting it off for six years, it's truly time.

Face Painting of an Evening Play (Sophie got the gold medal for finishing dinner first)

Between this, there have been endless streams of kids trooping in and out of the house. Well that's a bit unfair, we just had Sophie and Ruby on Wednesday and Nieve on Thursday, but with one thing and another the only day we didn't do something after school was Monday. Plus Ruby and Sophie stayed to dinner so it was a little longer playdate than usual... they only left at about 7:30. Had a lovely time, ate stuff really nicely (I'd asked what they wanted and they all said Spaghetti and Meatballs! So spaghetti and meatballs it was – oh the culinary exertions). I was glad they stayed on longer because the Littles started out the date by being a bit over-excited and loud, but after a while calmed down nicely and the last few hours were markedly better than the first, which is always encouraging. Compared to that the Thursday play with Neive was so easy-peasy... I just hung around and did my ironing in the background. Oh, and the Littles had asked for 'carrot cake with pink icing' for treat time, and I didn't have any bananas for the usual recipe I had to look up a new one. This turned out to be a great find,and everyone loves it, so rather fortuitous. (Random internet search, first thing that popped up).

Yesterday was a beautiful blue day, as indeed it has been all week. We packed a lunch and went to Blackbutt for a few hours. All the usual stuff, plus we took the new tennis-on-a-pole scenario and they did tennis and soccer for a while. And we had sausage sandwiches but no kookaburras stole them (though they did look on rather closely).

Beady-eyed Birds, and bouncy tennis at Blackbutt


The new monitor lizards are feeling the chill: one of them's actually climbing into the heating element


Blue skies it may be but it's COLD these days. Ugh, SO wish we had moved by now, but what can one do. We go to bed with hot water bottles on a regular basis, and the Littles has two duvets and two blankets: she's going to be locating peas in her bead any day now. I sit and freeze all day in front of the screen, wrapped in blankets like a keyboard-bound Arctic explorer, shifting the hot water bottle from knees to feet and back to knees again.

Oh, and the landlord has said that no, they don't want a snake in the house so no pythons. Both the Non and I really would prefer a snake so it's a bit of a downer, but if there's a nice lizard available it's still a possibility: a beardie, blue-tongue or a shingleback. I'd got for the beardie myself because they're super-hardy and don't bite. Well, don't have killer jaws, put it that way. We'll see. Another reason to move.

(I think this was the 15th... at the farmer's market of a Sunday. Random pony rides.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday 10th May 2011

Just managed to post the last entry (at last) but they won't let me post pics yet. They'll just have to wait. Digital incompetencies.

Was going to write something, but am far too distracted by the Mr's rendition of Dobby the House Elf while the Non is eating dinner. Have no idea what I was going to say.

To tell the truth, I'm just relieved that Blogger's up again. It's disturbing how easily these little aberrations of pixels can disrupt one's day.

After a pretty dry week (undoubtedly due to idleness) in the writing field, sat down today and tapped out, quite frankly, a winner. Just under 400 words, and more than a bit off the wall but in the right field, will easily blow the shoes and socks off the judges. (In the wrong field they'll shake their heads and wonder what the hell they've been drinking, but I'm talking about the right field.) Not only that, but after that I got another one done, not quite so good but OK in its own way. There's nothing quite like it. I know that one's a winner – maybe not the first competition I send it out to but eventually it'll blow the lid off something. Wonderful to sit back and just know that.

Dobby the House Elf is still up to his antics. I'll remember what I was on about sometime.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday 9th May 2011

Cerulean skies in the morning and Armageddon for the afternoon. Nothing like autumn for changeability.

Littles had a “pupil-free” day at school: which meant she was at home today. We were still lounging about in the morning, occupied in our separate ways and unwashed states (Littles playing her DS in our bed, me ogling pythons on the net), when Sophie's mum called up and asked whether she'd like to come and play. Would she? Is the Pope Catholic? So into the shower presto to get her scrubbed, and a short while later delivered duly to Sophie's.

Ah. Sigh. With this surprise influx of unlooked-for time, I set to and penned (typed) a short story for a competition that's closing TODAY – almost abandoned it but hey fortune favours the bold. TALKING OF WHICH, in case anyone hasn't heard I got runner-ups in TWO comps last week! One was for a prose piece in the Global Short Stories comp and the other was a poetry one with Writelink. The Global one has no link (it's just my name in a list of runner-ups) but the Writelink one is here if anyone feels inclined. Notch, notch, click. I know they're only runner-ups but they all go on the list! Pleased or what.

That was today, but I haven't told you about the weekend. Should be a few piccies to upload for you from Sunday, when we decided at the last minute to go the Australian Reptile Park – which is sort of half-way to Sydney. We've been there before but the Littles didn't have a very clear recollection of it. It's not a huge collection but they've got an enormous asset in an intensely vigorous 'presenter' who relentlessly holds talks on Tassie devils, snakes, crocs, and whatever you want talking on as long as it raises money for the Tasmanian Devil breeding programme they've got running there. Day was gorgeous, and it being Mother's Day over here they even let me in for free! Stingy to my marrow, this was pleasing in an icing-the-cake sort of way.

Can't exactly remember what we did on Saturday but it wasn't much. There was a trip to the library which ended in something including a joke book. 'Knock knock' jokes were floating around for the rest of the day. Oh yes, we also went to a sort of Aboriginal sherbang at the Foreshore. A hilarious presenter (who as the Littles put is 'wasn't wearing anything') did an amazing coordination of random kids in an aboriginal dance and they pranced and strutted as emus and kangaroos till I was quite blue with laughter.

I'd better just post this because we need to swap computers... will post pics tomorrow if all goes well.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday 6th May 2011

What is Blogger doing. I just logged in to find the charming message: ‘You are not following any blogs. Click here to add some!’ Well I was bloody well following a whole load last time I looked, where did they go?

It has done this once before… I think I ignored it and it remembered where it was after a while. Makes you wonder though. Could one’s whole blog just disappear in a puff of pixels too? Like one’s finances?

Sandwich news. Saw a newly-packaged six-tomato set at Coles last shop round, displaying themselves as the ‘no mess’ tomato perfect for sandwiches. No more soggy sarnies, they claimed. Humph, think I, tomatoes are messy by nature, that’s wh you have them in sarnies in the first place. I also notice they’ve worded the blurb cunningly so that ‘no mess’ will also appeal to those who like to buy ‘simple, unadulterated’ food. Turns out these tomatoes have been messed with in a MAJOR way, because on slicing them open it’s evident that the pulp has been engineered to be a smooth and consistent solid mass all the way through, with the pips being so reduced in size as to be negligible. No more scooping out the pips and juice. Just cut and go. Can you imagine the amount of work that must have gone into that? Oh well, GM here we come.

Can’t believe it’s Friday already. The Mr is off on some talk today (at least it’s in Newcastle, he doesn’t have to drive off to Sydney) so who knows when he’ll be back. If they put on many more of those Free Drinks things I’m not sure he’ll hold together one of these nights. Talking of Free Drinks… unfortunately had to pass up on an excellent-sounding wine tour organised by the Biology department, because we couldn’t come up with a solution for the Littles. The childcare centre doesn’t open on Saturdays, and it was far too long a time to leave her wither with friends or with a babysitter. We even asked whether she might come along, but they said no. So there we are. Shame.

Must post up a link to one of those blogs I don’t follow: marvellous exhibition twinned with floristry in Frisco that was quite arresting. Remind me if you don’t see the link here shortly.
Ah.. here they are, back again. Check it out at

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday May 5th 2011

Unbelievably, there is a continuation to the ‘computer maintenance department’ story. Despite the other day’s debacle, today they phoned AGAIN. After listening for a second in amazement to the woman’s patter, and opining wonderment at receiving communication after threatening to report them to the police, the caller started screeching ‘Oh my god’ and wavered away to a cut-off. I looked up the symptoms on the net and found that as early as September 2010 the Queensland police had already issued an official scam warning on them, but obviously it still seems to be going. Really, I don’t care any more, I just don’t want them calling again. Short of pulling the phone out of the socket I’m not sure what’s going to stop it, though.

Events. Hm. Don’t know and not been very productive in the last few days, don’t know why. No excuse, seem to be meandering from random task to the next and not focused on anything. Bit crap really. The Non however seems very pleased with herself in general and comes home every day with a big satisfied grin plastered all over her chops. When relaxing at home she will, in recounting the day’s events (which are never very detailed) sometimes stretch out on a brown bed of mooses and exclaim luxuriantly: “I HATE school,” which is quite the most unconvincing delivery I’ve ever beheld.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I think I mentioned, a while back, about my most-hated telemarketing calls. Someone calls from the “computer maintenance department” and wants to ask you details about your computer, because you might be “open to virus attacks”. They’re trying to get access to your hard drive.

Well, they keep on calling, and each time I hear the little intro patter I get so angry I just slam down the phone, either yelling something first or not, as the mood takes me. They called again yesterday, and I managed to control myself enough to immediately grab some writing implements and get the caller’s name, their company name (which had changed since last time), the supervisor’s name and the company address. The guy didn’t get the chance to say a thing, and as the questions kept coming he got smaller and smaller, you could barely hear him speaking by the end. He desperately wanted to swap for his supervisor but I insisted he stay on the line and give me the details instead. When I’d got the info I told him I’d be reporting his company to the police for harassment and fraud. Strangely enough, he didn’t seem to find this surprising, unreasonable or unbelievable in any way, and just whimpered out “OK.” So I said thank you for your call, goodbye. I wonder if I’ll ever be hearing from them again?

Sophie and Ruby round today after school, and they all had a damn good playdate. I'm not sure what they were doing but it sure involved a hell of a lot of uncotrollable laughter. then you catch phrases like: "Let's go and play Mooses." "No, let's do some cooking." "We should tickle Lara." "Ok, well how about we do some cooking, then tickle Lara, then play Mooses." "Ok. You make the sandwiches." (All with the background of such chortling that one really suspects Lara doesn't need any tickling at all.) By about 5 Sophie is inevitably so hungry she's raiding everything in sight, despite the free availability of fresh cookies and fruit, so I've asked them over for an early dinner next Wednesday instead, to try and be a bit healthier at least than endless dolling out of toffies. Or sneaking up on unsispecting toffees and snarfing them, as was the case today.

Saw one of those little headlines on MSN as I clicked into Hotmail today, and at a careless galnce seemed to read  "Welding moments you might have missed." Hmm? Quite interesting, and looked again. Oh no, misread. Actually "Wedding moments." Sod that.

4th May 2011 (Wednesday)

Always bake your coconuts.

That’s going to be my motto from now on. All that hacking away at the flesh? (The coconut’s, I mean. Any other problems are none of my concern). Forget it. Put the thing in a 200 degree oven and leave it for 15 minutes or so. The whole thing will come away like a dream.

It does make them slightly rubbery, and it’s not exactly the same as totally fresh, but it’s a fair deal. Plus, I was a bit indecisive and split the coconut before putting it in the oven: you should really just drain it first through the holes and then split it when it’s cooked.

By the way, in case anyone still has trouble opening a coconut, you do it by tapping it round the equator with a hammer, all the way round (reasonably gently will do, hold it in your hand and just pop pop pop it) and then some. It’ll split naturally along the tap-line.

Well unorthodox for a blog entry perhaps but it was a revelation last night, thought I’d share.

Been pretty quiet here recently. I don’t know what happened to yesterday, all seemed to vanish in chores. Lara started up her drama classes again (enjoying them as ever). Today we have Ruby round, and I think the next day Sophie. Had to scrub Lara extra-thoroughly and wash her hair this morning because she had come home with a load of what looked like tree-bark mulch on her scalp. She denied all knowledge of how it got there until I promised not to be mad if she told me. Her amnesia cleared all of a sudden and she mentioned that she might have stuck her head in the dirt. Oh? Quoth I, how come? ‘I stuck my head in the dirt at gym.’ ‘Did you have to do that as part of gym?’ ‘No!’ (As in, how daft would THAT be, tone.) Oh well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Post-Easter Stuff

I know. Nothing's happening, they're just playing Lara's DS. They were so sweet though I just had to take a couple of snaps, and thought I'd share them. By the way, Auntie Pie, your fantastic DS card is MASSIVELY appreciated. Appreciated so much, in fact, that the DS now has to be confiscated on a reasonably regular basis due to excessive use.


Wednesday was an extraordinary day. The Littles was back at school, and Ian was officially off work. Just the two of us! Jaws on floor. We tried to use the time to do things that are generally impossible when infant-laden.

So after dropping her off at school, we set out for a Long Walk in Glenrock. Littles is perfectly capable of Long Walks but isn't very amenable to them. We found a map on the net (of sorts) and decided to start off from home and walk pretty much to Kahiba and back round through Burwood Beach ('Ash') up to Merewether and back. Unfortunately, the map was very indistinct and there was absolutely no indication where we were walking, and we eventually popped out at the water treatment plant (the sewage works, in more prosaic terms). Well it was a little unfocused but nevertheless a beautiful walk on a great day. About 1.5 hours of wonderful random eucalypt tracking, followed by beachy tracking.

Might have been only a 1.5 hour walk (by Australian standards, that's barely waking up: most walks have times like '4 days') but we did require a shower apiece afterwards. Subsequently ran out to trawl Derby Street for some suitable lunch venue, and lighted on a Japanese one we'd never seen before. All very simple fare, but delicious: unagi don and some tempura, with edamame and Sapporo. We could barely move for the rest of the day.

By the time we got back, it was almost time to pick up the Littles and I hadn't even got round to making the beds. Good day had by all.

Here's a marvellous waspy nest or some sort.. turns out the place is full of them, they're hanging off the trunks of trees like overgrown testicles everywhere. And here's the Mr, with a View.



Unidentified and Curious Fungi.

The next day, Lara had arranged a playdate with Ruby (after much antici..... PATion). As a bonus, it just so happened that Sophie dropped by on the way home – was going to invite Lara over to hers but instead came over to join in the playdate. They seemed to have a marvellous time dancing and dressing up and having weird tea-party games, so all ensued very happily.

Some day over the weekend we put up the new tennis funny-pole thing we'd acquire a while back. Great success. Aim is to get hand-eye coordination up a bit, which I think may have been attained to a modest degree, and hope is out for further improvement down the line.

Easter is now officially over, and alas this means that the supermarkets are no longer stocking hot cross buns. These have been a breakfast staple for the Littles for the past two months, and she was simply not about to accept defeat lying down. So we made some. Here she is piping on the crosses....

And here we are with the finished product, duely glazed with the stickiest milk-and-sugar glaze known to man (which needless to say found its way liberally onto all other surfaces).


the buggers!

“Seething” would hardly be the term for it. I feel like grinding bones. Had submitted three pieces (stories) for a story anthology for the Japan disaster. (These things get the work donated by the authors, and the proceeds of the sales go in perpetuity to relief aid). Been waiting patiently to hear back. Just found out that there's been a PODCAST of selected stories read out. Site up with author bios and pics.

Now, I'm pretty immured to rejections. No problem. Wasn't holding out much hope for inclusion here, but it was one that I'd rather set my heart on anyway and I was keen to hear results, one way or another. To let the authors know they're not included by way of a blogged podcast is, by any standards, a pretty despicable way of getting things done. How hard is it to send off a group email to the people who aren't picked, just a quick 'thanks but no thanks' two-liner? For crying out loud. Never been treated so shoddily in all my writing career so far, and that's pretty damn shoddy. Teeth clenched and spitting.

Talking of grinding teeth, I now have to find a dentist because a bizarre little corner of a molar has disappeared overnight. Very back molar, and not at the top but at the bottom, by the gum. On the inside. Why? It hardly seems like a high-stress area. Not looking forward to opening up my mouth and my wallet again, after a good number of years of dentist-free life. However this one's not like the front tooth I chipped while heading downwards into the toilet bowl a few days before we emigrated. Really needs seeing to or it'll... go south, as the phrase is.

…. So seething that I can't actually remember what's been going on. I'll get rid of this and download our more recent photos, so that I can tell you about those. See you soon, hopefully.