Another load, but a small one !

How to be Old and Silly


“Hm. Not sure I’m all that keen.”

“Well fuck you then ! I could scarcely guarantee to write stuff that tickled your fancy, could I ?!”

Lofty ignoring of my heated response and a thoughtful countenance ..

“There’s something missing.”

“There’s ninety-nine point nine per cent missing, dickhead !”

Pained expression.

“No need to sink to that level of vulgarity. This has to be sorted out.”

A silence fell during which one of us looked intelligent but puzzled and the other looked offended but guilty. It lasted so long that I was thinking of just wandering away, when ..

“AH !! – THAT’S IT !!”

“Is it ? What ?”

“Your title isn’t being supported – isn’t being .. umm .. followed up.”

I cocked my head at a slight angle (ignoring the hideous cracking noises that always follow any neck movement, these days) and did my best to appear quizzical without saying anything: I raised what remains of my eyebrows.

“You’ve called it HOW TO, remember ?”

“I do, difficult and all as that is ..”

“Well, there should be some aspect of the development that teaches a kind of lesson. Hang on, let me think of an example .. Yes ! – pretend it’s that alphabet book !”

O joy ! – an opportunity to show off ..

“I suppose you’re referring to A Moral Alphabet by Hilaire Belloc ..?

T for the Genial Tourist, who resides
In Peckham, where he writes Italian Guides.
Learn from this information not to cavil
At slight mistakes in books on foreign travel.

I recited, smugly, adding “But I can hardly copy that !”

The expression became pained, as did the response:

“What I have in mind is not copying, my dear ! – rather, learning from. Let us say, studying then utilising in your own way.”

Scales fell from my once short-sighted eyes, soundlessly.

Second load of stuff ..

How to be Old and Silly


Well .. Seems there’s no fool like an old fool, don’t it ?; but I stepped onto the path to ancient silliness at an almost tender age.

It was around the time of leaving what had been my home of 18 years – Pyrmont, in Sydney. I’d lost Chic ten years before; and in fact my staying in Emerald City for ten more years might be said to comprise the first paving stones: Sydney and I without him were never going to get along. Alas ! – that departure did not see me make my way back to my spiritual home: I went, instead, to live in Geelong, down on the south-west coast of Port Phillip Bay.

There was a reason: a very dear friend, next-door to whose family I had grown up, over in Perth, was now living down there with his own extended family; and I knew all of them, so thought it to be a sensible idea. But then, every decision I’ve ever made I’ve thought of in that light, initially ..

I started out renting a unit in a suburb with the odd name of Manifold Heights. (Being already very adept at using Google Maps with all their street views and satellite views, I was aware it wasn’t a suburb full of car repair premises or the like; but I never did ascertain the background of its name.) I lived in it for around seven months before breaking my lease to move on.

Note that fact: it marks the beginning of my somewhat astoundingly peripatetic renting history ! I recall very clearly having three dear friends to dinner, one evening many years later, who were amusing themselves and me very greatly by deciding that I should become a contestant on the ABC’s quiz show, “The Hard Quiz”. The programme’s angle was that contestants had to come prepared to answer questions on a topic chosen by themselves; and M, L and J made us all fall over laughing by nominating my topic as “Places I have rented — and why they were no good” ..

So on to the edge of Geelong proper – referred to as the CBD by some – I went, moving into a newly-constructed ‘residential’ block that wasn’t, actually. In fact it ended up being a kind of off-campus ward of the Geelong Hospital; and only we on the top (fourth) floor were residents. This was a very silly situation indeed: we found ourselves being told to remember where we were: that there were sick people around us: that we were not to let doors slam or drop anything. I lasted here for almost the same length of time, then begged my way out and at least didn’t have to pay horrendous lease-break fees.

My very old friend had fallen victim to Alzheimer’s. It was horrible: he was so gentle and sweet a man, and so little deserved such a fate. I proved utterly useless at helping to look after him: the fact is that people with dementia need help that involves things like going to the loo, so that only his family were able to be useful in looking after him. I just kind of floated about on the periphery being an anxious waste of time. They all managed very well without me; and my reason for going down to Geelong was done away with in about a week.

But there I was; and I could at least afford to live in that burg, on my own. So I set about unintentionally finding out almost everything about that: in my first three years there I moved no less than six times ! Manifold Heights, Geelong CBD, St Albans Park, Herne Hill, St Albans Park (yes, again – I liked it !) and finally North Geelong. And there was one prime reason for it all: DOGS.

Not all dogs: just big dogs left at home to be bored SHITLESS by their selfish and careless owners all day. Yep, you’re right: the fuckers barked and barked and barked and barked and .. get the picture ?

And there was I, who wanted nothing more than to be left alone in peace and quiet, preferably with my feet in the sun, to crochet. After all, I had discovered that there were people in the crochet world who could crochet garments, and I wished to join that blessed league. But could I ? – I could not. All I could do was fulminate ragingly about the dog currently rendering my life hell: there was at least one in every single place I lived in. Every. Single. Place. They didn’t need to be next-door to make my life a misery: they could be as far away as in, say, the next street; or the block behind. Because wherever they were, with their great hairy balls and their huge mouths wide open (they were always male dogs), they were heard for a very, very long way. And as for why it seemed that only I suffered, it was because it was only one old broad who was home all day: all the rest were much younger and still working: I couldn’t afford to rent in the classier suburb, so was always living where this was the situation.

Had I done my research better – including rental costs – I might not have thought that I could probably do OK down in Geelong. But, being already silly, I had not. Sighh ..

Enough whingeing, d’you think ? Or want more (I can always accommodate that) ? Be of good cheer: I shall attempt less than you’ve had so far in the next episode.

Well, here goes nuthin’ ..

How to be Old and Silly


“Ridiculous !” I said firmly: “yer off yer face !!” – there you go: nipped in the bud.

I added a little gilding to the lily: “I mean – another one ?! No way !! – I only ever had that single story in my head.”

Silence. A vague gazing out the window.

“And it wasn’t exactly a best-seller ..” I pursued, defensively (and accurately); “in fact, this year I’m not even getting a brass razoo for library usage !”

My interlocutor came back to life: “All the more reason for you to write another one.”

I sighed dramatically, and cast about for something sensible.

“It’s all very well saying that people would want to read about how to manage getting old,” I said, “but honestly – how many books about that have been written alrea—”

“Find a way to write about it differently then ! How about with humour ? Are there any out there written from experience but with humour ?”

And, with glee: “Actually, how many oldies could even write a publishable book, for starters ?”

“Probably thousands” I muttered darkly.


“Well, lots ..”

More silence. The cumulous clouds of pressure coming together under the ceiling began to multiply, showing ominous signs of turning into the eye of a hurricane.

I sighed again. This time my shoulders were bowed.

“Oh alRIGHT ! I’ll tell you what .. I’ll give it some thought and see if I can come up with any ideas – or maybe some kind of storyline, OK ?”

Slow nod and the conversation was over.

How in the names of all the gods did I manage to let myself be rolled like that ?!


How much do you know about the Voice ?

I’ve made it a link, as well, because as it is it’s kinda teeny.

Here I am being disagreeable, right ? – wrong.

My first reaction when the Voice issue started being topical was that I was very pro. But I’ve changed my mind after reading a shitload of information like this piece that comes from the Financial Review.

I suggest you click on the small version up there of the article, and go read the legible version.

It ought to open your eyes.

The Guardian‘s Perth reporting shows laziness

I was appalled to read an article in today’s The Guardian about a shark attack – and not just to note the awful tragedy ..

Growing up living on the Swan River, we did, from time to time, see sharks – one noted with dread that dorsal that stayed steady above the water, and not coming and going as it was with the fun-loving dolphins. But I have no memory at all of hearing that anyone had been killed, or even wounded, by a shark in the river.

So the photo in the article AND the text are shameful, indicating a total lack of knowledge regarding Perth’s layout and an unwillingness to simply check facts.

Check the locations of North Fremantle and The Guardian’s photo !

North Freo was known as dangerous for sharks, as it’s so close to the Indian Ocean’s exit point for the Swan River: why the young women were riding jetskis there is fairly questionable.

Be that as it may, I did a measurement of the distance between it and the Perth foreshore, finding it to be nineteen kilometres, allowing for the Point Walter spit in Freshwater Bay.

19km is an irresponsible distance for a respectable newspaper to raise terror about the likelihood of sharks, imnsho ..


The same newspaper edition includes this super short article by one of my heroine writers, the wonderful Helen Garner.

Same age (almost – she’s half a year or so older ‘n me) and same search: what is happiness ? I wrote a poem on the subject in 1970: she wrote this article. I’m a total failure at most everything, and she’s a roaring success. See ? – we’re soulmates. [grin]

Wonderful writing, WONDERFUL narration

It’s rarely that I come across both in audio books; often find impressive writing and good narration, and equally often find OK writing with terrific narration.

But of late I discovered the writings of a bloke called Peter Grainger; an English writer of my favourite genre, British police detective stories. I never tire of them, for some reason .. There are already many favourites in my audiobook library from Audible: Nick Louth, Angela Marsons, Anthony Horowitz, Robert Bryndza, Dylan Young and the totally excellent Tim Sullivan – which is not to mention Richard Osman’s superb series about The Thursday Murder Club !

(I wish I could understand why I am so keen on detective stories – really good ones ! – but I’ve thought and thought about it and not come up with a reason.)

Anyway, back to Peter Grainger and his narrator, an actor with the improbable name of Gildart Jackson. There are many actors doing audiobook narrations, and they are mostly very good at it; but Jackson is much better than that – he is simply superb at taking Grainger’s words and putting into them .. well, feeling. Not corny ham-fisted ‘acting’ feeling – just the feeling that the words want to express. I am in love with his reading.

And, of course, I am also in love with Grainger’s plots, character development, series development and – EVERYTHING !

Three series, and I’m on the fourth and currently final one of the Kingslake series. Before it came the DC Smith series (it’s his name, the “DC”; so you will comprehend my partiality for him) and now there is another which I’ve bought but have yet to read (hooray !), the Willows & Lane series.

I can only hope that this writer and this narrator will continue on, hand in hand so to speak, into my future – what remains of it – as do Jodi Taylor and Zara Ramm, or JD Kirk and Angus King.

Waxing philosophical

Whenever I visit one of my favourite songs – and boy, there are lots of ’em ! – I have cause to reflect upon .. well, Life, I guess.

Here’s one I never tire of (but then, I never tire of any of said favourites): it’s from 1978 as you will guess from the outfit. Alicia Bridges was a knockout !

I look at her while I’m listening and think how terrific she looks: what fantastic shape she’s in – those legs ! – those arms ! And, of course, she sounds equally good, imnsho. What a time she must have had when that song was doing the hit parades and the discos ! How fêted she must have been ! She would’ve been referenced world-wide for the movie “Love at First Bite”, too – which was rendered madly popular by this song (and possibly also by the rather yummy George Hamilton).

And then there is — now ..

What must it be like to have had a life like that and to find yourself suddenly – because age always comes suddenly – on the cusp of 70 ..?

I have to be grateful for never having been beautiful or talented; for the come-down that ageing brings must be almost infinitely worse for those thus blessed ..



The famous Sydney fireworks

You’ve heard of them, yes ?

So this is what they’re like ..

Frankly, I had long since grown bored by fireworks during my 41 years in Tinseltown there: Stringer and I spent about 15 of them living in Pyrmont, right under several of the central points of ‘delivery’.

Even now it seems to me just more of the same.  But them wot’s never seen these fireworks will think more of them than do I ..

Again ? – another year already ??!

Not fair: the older I become the faster time goes. It should be the other way ’round. Sighhh .. Oh well, I shall be accepting of this more than somewhat dismaying tendency.

Happy Noo Yurr to anyone and everyone who passes this way: be of good cheer and welcome in 2023 with optimism. It’s no good grumbling “Why ? for heaven’s sake !!! – there ain’t nuthin’ to be optimistic about ..” because One Never Knows.

And besides, I LOVE YOUS ALL, channelling Our Jeff. There can be little better than that, surely ?    [grin]

OK, so I was pulling your leg ..

Sorry about that.

For me, mostly. Another move had to follow; and that’s two inside three weeks. Do you want to know the whole ghastly story ? .. What, you don’t ?! — too bad. Coz I’m going to tell it.

I had three nights and three days of joy and happiness in my South Yarra abode. And then it was Friday night .. That’s when I found out: the whole complex at Martin Street – both no.s 31 (5 storeys) and 35 (somewhere around 30 storeys) – seems to have been given over to the young. And NOISY. And, of course, completely uncaring about anyone but themselves. Many, many short-term stay apartments, it transpired, occupied by people under 30 who’d come up to town to party.

I realised, eventually, after managing not to go mad during the 17½ days I was there, that that entire part of South Yarra – meaning a block of two in all directions from the Toorak Rd and Chapel St intersection – was a kind of ongoing entertainment area. Everyone seemed over-dressed to me, as if on their way to or from a celebration of some kind, regardless of the hour. Young people shouted to each other and burst into song from time to time; people of both sexes walked decorated dogs on leads in numbers I hadn’t seen since Paris in 2005. Delivery trucks spent lengthy periods trying to park in impossibly small spaces (and ended double-parked while delivering, holding up trams, the drivers of which parped their tram horns endlessly and fruitlessly); and ambos were omni-present with sirens wailing and lights flashing as they zipped between vehicles and pedestrians. Some blokes must have thought they were in Muscle Beach: gays in weeny shorts that showed as much as legal of their oiled  bodies, with many silver bangles up their arms, always seemingly in a hurry and screaming into their phones .. It was a fucking MADHOUSE.

But all that was not my problem; in fact that was huge fun.

It was the people staying the the Vogue – for that was the name of the complex of the two buildings – who were intolerable. My studio was one of many in a long row on the fifth floor of both buildings (they joined somehow or other above a huge Woolies and Big W between them) with balcony separators that didn’t reach the ground – Boodie was in heaven and rushed madly from one end to the other, squeezing his delectable little bod under each one – and the walls were .. not thick enough is all I can say. Not that they would’ve helped a lot had they been so; for each studio opened out via glass doors onto the balcony and all the tenants kept their doors wide open. In keeping with the laws of the young they all screamed rather than talked, they entertained their friends in these tiny little studios, and they gave not a second’s thought to anyone but themselves. I may well have been just the same when I was their age – except for not having had a phone to shriek into whenever there was a gap in the conversation.

Not exactly my scene once the clock had ticked its way past ten pm or so. I wanted to go to bed and sleep.

And then there were the outdoor activities – OMG ..

I’d never dwelt in a complex that provides outdoor entertainment places, and I shall certainly never do so again. A tennis court in the middle distance and a sort of greensward with trees dotted here and there between it and the Vogue building; and in the middle a barbecue area. These are facilities and there to be booked by residents. During the week they’re delightful: during the weekends they’re hellish.

I have suddenly lost interest in this miserable whingeing and shall cease forthwith. I think you have the picture, right ? – a place for young people into which I, an ancient, did not fit. My Property Manager had only just taken over #512 and had no idea of its .. ahh .. site use. When I told him I couldn’t stay without needing to be hospitalised ere long he was deeply upset that I would need to spend yet more moolah on another move; and the only money I lost was 12 days of my first month’s rent, when the owner refused to refund it (scarcely surprisingly !).

So I moved AGAIN. Had to. Absolutely no choice.

I am now in another studio under the rental ægis of the same Property Manager ! He is a really cute Hong Kong Chinese man whose name is Vince, but the key point is that he is a very nice bloke. He wanted to keep me as a tenant, and I wanted to keep him as a Property Manager, and now we are both happy.    :)   It’s grossly overpriced, being $340 pw – and that was chasing its dragon-lady owner down from $350, too. No dishwasher, just for starters ! Still, I can’t pretend that’s a major obstacle to a woman who’s called quits on cooking.

I always had a suspicion that having one’s bed in the loungeroom would be delightful, and it bloody is ! – a studio life for me !

What ..?

Oh, where am I now ..?

Back in Carlton, one of the many, many suburbs I lived in during the decade comprising my palmy days. But nowhere near University Street – on the cusp of the CBD, with the Queen Victoria Markets over the road !

And yes, I absolutely love it !!! I love waking up to being surrounded by skyscrapers. I love walking a couple of blocks to Aldi, and drooling in the window of a ‘Breadtop’ shop wherein they are constantly baking the most delicious goodies. I love lane-hopping across Leicester Street and Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street (but quite often I do wait for the lights). I love getting into any tram at QVM tram-stop and not having to use my Myki. I love watching Boodie out on the 12th storey balcony – except that I do NOT love watching him jump up onto it from the floor .. I mean, I know better than anyone that he will not fall off it; but I can’t help wincing as he jumps, and closing my eyes .. What is he was too enthusiastic in the jump ..?

Oh, mothers ! [grin]

A dear friend up in NSW sent me an SMS saying she wonders how many times I’m going to move in 2023. If I have me druthers, there will be no.more.moves.EVER.