Thursday, March 22, 2012

I've moved...

... to here
Hope you'll come across and have a look.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Well, I said I'd be back after Christmas...

...I just didn't expect it would be Christmas 2011.
I imagine no-one looks at this blog anymore but if you HAVE happened to drop by, you'll now find me posting at a new blog.
Its called "What's in a Name? How Nigella, Rick and Elvis Got Me Through the Menopause" and you'll find it at:
It's written for my granddaughter, Amelia (yes, I'm a nanna!), involves food and is hopefully still capable of giving people a few laughs.
I've only just started it up with the help of my husband, Leith, who recovered from his stroke and is going great guns.
Anyway, I hope to see you over there.
It's great to have discovered the urge to write again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taking the good with the bad

Well, the bad news is that my husband had a stroke on December 4.
The good news is that it was a mild one - he can walk and talk, just not as well as he used to be able to.
It was one of the more terrifying experiences of our lives, far worse for him of course because he's the one who's had to cope with the consequences of a rogue blood clot that decided it wanted to have a holiday in the left side of his brain.
At least, the doctors are assuming that's what it was. They won't know for sure until he has an MRI in Perth on Thursday but there's a family history of clots (in the blood sense, not the other one as far as I'm aware, although one of his uncles was a bit dim) and his grandma had a stroke when, like him, she was in her mid-50s.
Which is far too young but from what I've read on the internet (the equivalent of War and Peace, basically) not uncommon.
The whole thing was very sneaky.
There was no pain, no falling over and thrashing around.
He just felt dizzy and unwell and "weird" and went to lie down. And when he got up he couldn't talk or walk properly.
It's been a lousy couple of weeks punctuated by those incredibly uplifting moments when you're reminded how much you love each other, how lovely your friends and family are and how it's possible to still be attracted to someone who wears long white pressure socks to bed.
It certainly hasn't been all doom and gloom. We realise how incredibly lucky he was that it wasn't any worse and are amazed by the remarkable progress he's made in the last couple of weeks.
We've just got back from the OT (which stands for Occupational Therapy - think the OC but slower, with no bling, histrionics or bad acting and transplanted to outpatients at Albany Regional Hospital).
His right hand is now as strong and as his left, if still not as dextrous. Two weeks ago it had about one-fifth of the strength and he couldn't do basic things like cross his fingers or hold a pen.
We've also been walking the dog nearly every morning since he left hospital, and each day we're managing to go a bit further and a bit more quickly, which is brilliant.
Speaking of hospital, Albany Regional is as old and crappy facility-wise as everyone says it is but the staff are generally wonderful - God knows how they cope.
Another thing: if you have school-age children who are undecided about what they want to do when they grow up, I would strongly recommend you guide them towards becoming a Consulting Physician (sort of a super GP).
My husband had a visit from one on the last day he was in hospital. It lasted for five minutes precisely, during which time the physician and his registrar talked among themselves and the registrar did an echocardiogram. Then they both buggered off.
As I wasn't there at the time, my husband had to get out of bed and pursue the physician down the corridor in order to ask a couple of questions - not easy considering he was walking like My Little Pony on crack and couldn't string more than three words together when he was stressed.
We got the physician's bill a couple of days ago and learned that this tour de force of modern medicine cost $445.90.
If you factor in an additonal five minutes for the corridor pursuit, that works out to $44.59 per minute.
So, take my advice people. Get thee - or at least thy children - to the nearest med school. It's almost as good as winning Lotto.
I have to go now and try to get this house into some sort of Christmas order. The tree's up and the shopping's done but the bathroom is an absolute pit - ain't it always the way?
I hope you and yours have a very happy and safe Christmas.
If time permits, I'll be making La Nigella's horrifically kitsch Christmas Puddini Bonbons for the big day and will regale you with photos of same on my return.
Joy to the world...

Friday, November 27, 2009

I can't believe Callan's dead

We used to watch him religiously every week when we first lived here in Albany 35 years ago. This is what his death made me remember:
Changing into long, wrap-around Indian skirts and tight little tops after work (trackies hadn't been invented).
Thinking prawn cocktails were sophisticated.
Learning how to cook spaghetti bolognese and veal cordon bleu (very flash) from the Women's Weekly Cookbok.
Being given a waterbed by a friend. It was awful - always damp.
Building bookcases out of bricks and planks.
Being terrified of the bats in the garage under the house.
Smoking a joint while we were waiting for Monty Python, Callan and New Scotland Yard to come on the telly (yes, all on the same night).
Ditto, but listening to Poco's Crazy Eyes.
Being persona non grata with the old couple next door because we were living in sin.
My now husband buying a wedding ring with my first (and only) dole cheque. You could buy a band of 9 carat gold for $22 in 1974.
Becoming friendly with the couple next door after the nuptials. She showed me her doll collection and he told me he was so short because a tree fell on his head.
Taping council meetings (which were broadcast on the radio) for my husband, who was a reporter on the local paper. The only councillor I remember is Herb Wanke, for obvious reasons.
Watching The Winners on the ABC on Sunday nights and deciding I'd follow Carlton because they had the best uniforms.
Having a cat called Snooks whose tail later fell off due to an abscess.
Eating a liver and bacon counter lunch at the Premier hotel once a week (it was THE best).
Going to the Sunday session at the London Hotel and listening to Dot (I think that was her name) play the piano.
Above all, I remember feeling very happy and carefree.
We can only hope Callan's feeling the same way now he's shuffled off this mortal coil and is equipped with a halo as well as a gun.

We've also...

...been going to Perth a lot.
I took this pic of a bloke in a cowboy hat while my husband nipped into the Kojonup bakery to buy some lunch.
What follows is the sort of photo you can take out of the car window when your husband's driving at 110kmh, eating a pie and steering with his knees.

In case you're wondering, it's of canola fields.

Feet of Clay

It's a good thing I'm not a war correspondent - the hostilities would be well and truly over before I'd filed the first report.
The trouble with writing to deadlines for 25 years is that when it stops, so do you (at least, I did).
For those who are still around besides my Mum and Boothy and Halfpint this is what's been happening for the past couple of months: house stuff.
To be honest, it's been bliss. It's almost two years since we bought this house and for some reason - the moon being in the seventh house, Jupiter aligning with Mars or whatever - shit, as they say, has finally started to happen.
It started with Garry Butler, the landscaping Eric Close look-alike, who along with Luke the Magic Concreter got the paths sorted out and turned the top garden from a miniature version of the Somme into somewhere you actually wanted to be.
We've got two types of clay in this garden: clay that looks like little turds when you dig into it (brown clay) and clay that looks and SMELLS like little turds when you dig into it (yellow clay).
The gumboots were useless in the face of it, mainly because I couldn't find a pair small enough to fit my feet and every time I took a step the boot would get stuck and my whole leg would pop out.
Crocs and socks were much better so I've spent much of Spring wandering around the garden looking like a menopausal Minnie Mouse with filthy shoes.

Anyway, to give you an idea of all the work involved, here's a pic of me in the top garden when we first looked at the house in September 2007:

Here's one when we had the ground terraced in July 2008 (that's my husband taking a picture of me taking a picture of him). The entire fence fell over in a storm shortly afterwards - what a barrel of laughs that was.

And here's what it looks like now. All that's left to do is put a grey wash on the pine terracing and add some more plants.

Since we last spoke, I also got a new clothesline. This was a really big deal because I'd been without one for 9 months. I celebrated with a new pinny - not tailor-made but it could've been.

We've also got stuck into the "lower 40": Removed some crappy old colorbond fencing and this concrete block wall (that stylish orange stuff is to keep the dog in - only 20 bucks a roll at Bunnings)...

...and built a picket fence to match the existing one up the top.

OK, that's a pic of the pickets being delivered. The fence was actually finished yesterday but still needs to be painted, which I can't do until next week, and I'm waiting until then to take another photo.
The bloke to the left of the pic is Saint Laurie, builder and carpenter extraordinaire, if I could bottle him I'd make a fortune. He's brilliant.
We've also had a driveway removed (we had three) so that the three lower levels of the block will be linked by gardens (one of them for veggies - yay!).
Unsurprisingly, we're knackered and a lot poorer, but over the moon about what has been achieved in just a couple of months.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Well, we lost and - worse - St Christopher has been suspended for the first three games of next season for playing dirty.
My husband, who's really on a roll this week, has suggested we spend the next few days deciding on the AFL's Dimmest and Toughest Awards.
It sounds a lot more fun than picking Best and Fairest, so I'd like to start the ball rolling by nominating Barry Hall, Jonathon Brown and Stephen Milne.