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.

New beginnings   :)

So. My new life has started. Here I am, living in South Yarra again. As my very old friend The Black Bastard said “You’re right back when we first met !”; because I was living in Rockley Road back in 1972. Malcolm Street isn’t frightfully close to there – like, not the next street or anything – but if I screamed very loudly they’d possibly hear me. [grin]

It’s quite extraordinary, to me. I go out to the Post Office and I’m walking past café after café, lunch place after lunch place, bar after bar .. It’s not fair ! – I mean, the temptation levels are stupendously high ..

You should see (a) the backs of my hands and my forearms and (b) my ankles and lower legs (actually, I wouldn’t make you suffer by having to regard those – I have the very worst there are !) .. the dragging about of cartons and things while packing and then unpacking, together with those fucking blood-thinners, have covered thes areas in quite appalling bruises. Some of them are sort of lumpy – ACK !!!

The worst move I’ve ever had, and that’s saying quite something. If you’re feeling masochistic, I shall make available the email I sent to the boss of the moving company (of course one I had never used before – the only one I’ve ever had that I would use again is down in Geelong) and you will grasp the reasons for my .. ahh .. dissatisfaction pretty bloody quickly ! However, it’s done and dealt with and I have now put it out of my head forever.

This little ‘studio’ is SUPER. I shan’t describe it until it’s really over the unpacking and putting away, so that I can add some images (pity I can’t add smells – some residents are having a barbecue down in the garden !).

Boodie is in heaven, much as I am: he found, the moment I let him out onto the balcony, that the divisions between apartments don’t reach the ground. He is the most adventurous little moggy, and off he went – right down to the far end. I wasn’t worried: he knows where his home is; and sho’ nuff he was back in ten minutes telling me all about it.   :D

Can hardly wait to show you the tennis court and the garden; and you’ll know why when you see the images. [grin]

I have yet to finish unpacking one carton, into which the arseholes who call themselves packers had chucked a whole shitload of STUFF that rolled about and became entangled and squashed and generally turned into shapes they aren’t meant to be. And when that’s done I will be able to take the flattened empty cartons down to the  industrial waste area in the basement – no more having to pay to have it taken away !

Yee-ha !!

The place has a pool  and a tennis-court and a gym. Other things too  but I don’t recall ’em off the top of my head. I mean to utilise the first and the third once I have something appropriate I can wear.

I’ve made friends with the delightful couple next-door, which started with my sticking my head around the balcony division and warning them they’d be seeing a small two-tone cat zooming by, ere long. They were both ecstatic, both being cat-lovers ! We are going out for coffee next week.   :)

I – sorry about always seeming to be talking about myself .. dunno how to avoid that – am pretty well exhausted: I got tenser and tenser as the move neared, and the day itself was just hell, morning to night. I’m sleeping well, but it don’t seem to  be enough, dunno why. “M-R sleeps well, but she could sleep better. B minus.”

For now, over and out from this happy old fart.

No Living for (or even in) the City for me

Did me best; and the place I liked most – studio on the ground floor in La Trobe Street – had forty applicants and they came down to two, of which I was one. The Property Manager was sure the owner would pick me but no, the other bastard got it.   :(

So I persevered with looking, and have ended up with another studio – but in South Yarra, not the city. And what a terrific little studio it is !! There’s a division between the living-room and the bedroom which is created by a quarter-wall; and the side facing into the bedroom is a set of shelves and a nifty clothes-hanging little cupboard ! The living area occupies almost half the space, longitudinally so to speak, and its glass doors open out onto the full-width balcony that the Boodster is going to LOVE !! – as will I, because it faces south and looks over low buildings to the left and greenery to the right. I shall sit out there with him and crochet. He will regard the world, as is his wont.

This little place is almost in the middle of the Chapel Street|Toorak Road nexus – not quite – and is shops, shops and more shops. I couldn’t be happier !

 Moving next Tuesday. All the usual horrible stuff going on with regard to it; but I have to say that this time it isn’t the removalists but that changes to casual labour have meant Aunty Grace wasn’t able to find people to do my packing – which means the removalists will have to and that’s thrown all the plans for the day into chaos. Doing my best to sort it ..

I would so dearly love this delightful little studio to be my ‘forever home’ (as is said so often in YouTube videos of rescue animals); but of course it will depend entirely upon its owner. I wonder who is the patron saint of tenants of rented premises ? – anyone know ? [grin]

Hokayyy .. Off to do some planning of what (if anything !) I can do on Monday to speed up the packing on Tuesday morning. We’re starting at 0700 – we’re tigers for punishment ..

Moving on up the line

I moved in here in Essendon in mid-April, and was happy. I still am. It’s the smallest apartment I’ve inhabited, but the Boodsta and I manage very well, and exist in mutual satisfaction. My wonderful helper, Luz, comes every second Thursday and cleans and cleans – easily the best ever ! – and that arvo Boodie commences spreading as much beige-coloured litter granule thingies around as poss. Sighhh ..

But. A family member here in Melbourne is not at all well, and in fact needs fairly constant attention. She lives in Kew East: I live in Essendon:

We are not close – in any sense. And yet I must make that trip more than a couple of times a week. Woe !!!

The problem is that tram seats are appallingly uncomfortable – especially the ones in the newer trams ! I now suffer chronic sacroiliitis (horrid word) and am obliged to off-set my daily fibre intake by throwing down Panadeine Forte so as to be able to move freely. What my unhappy gut will make of this remains to be seen.     :(

It can’t go on. You know what this means. I wrote to my favourite man a few weeks back —

(As you see, I managed to turn it into a whinge – I’m good at that.)

Seems logical to see if I can find an apartment in the CBD. Having ascertained (to my astonishment !) that Melbourne has my heart and always did have from the time I lived here for nearly ten years, back in my sinful youth – cf. And then like my dreams – I have also had to accept that Melbourne city proper is co-owner of it. It is, of course, remotely possible that it might have to do with coming into town every so often to morning-coffee with one or other or both of my two gorgeous men .. I s’pose .. [grin]

I went to a viewing of what seemed a delightful little apartment on Friday morning:

It was very far from delightful. That was the entire width, side to side ! The bottom cupboard on the left housed the “European laundry” – meaning there were taps for a very small washing-machine, but no space at all for a dryer; and as the balcony is about one pace wide (Boodie would hate it !), the concept of drying one’s clothes out there was to me ungraspable. The tenants being still in occupation, the bedroom housed a double (only) mattress on the floor, which occupied the space virtually from side to side – no wonder they didn’t put an actual bed in it ! The bathroom storage wasn’t. In fact the word ‘storage’ must have been considered a swear-word by the architects .. I can’t imagine who they had in mind when drawing up their plans. And for this kingdom the landlord wanted $320 a week.

So now you know that it’s true, everything they’re telling you about Melbourne rents.

But although I’ve had to tell my property manager that I’ve given up the search – for I did on Friday – I just came across another CBD apartment, which is a real one, I think. One doesn’t know until one lays eyes.

This is not an enjoyable process. To begin with, it’s one that’s been thrust upon me; and then the expenses are horrific. I guess I have to try to think positively and tell myself that if a CBD apartment that I like comes out of this, it will cut my travelling time in just over half and sacroiliitis will be a thing of the past.

And it might be super, living in the city ..

So much BLOOD ! :\

The other night the fire alarms went off AGAIN – it was just over a week since the last time,

I knew it would be a false alarm, but one has to do the right thing (I suppose). So I sighed heavily, switched off the split system, opened the door to the balcony, turned off the Breville Barista Express (on which I had just made a coffee !), and went into the bedroom to fetch the Boodsta and put him into his carry-basket.

For reasons of which I had and still have ZERO understanding, he decided he was terrified. I will admit that the doleful yelling of “EMERGENCY ! – evacuate NOW !!” was not conducive to rest as it went on and on and on; but we’d done this several times when we were living in Maribyrnong, and just last week, and he’d had no problems at all. So ..?

Whose nose ?, as Stringer liked so much to ask.    :D

I realised immediately that Boodie was distinctly lacking in cooperation, and had to struggle with him right away. The little bugger’s claws came into their own, and as he was absolutely determined not to be put into the soft carrier, they made contact with my right hand. I shouted an imprecation and re-doubled my efforts.

No dice. He escaped and rushed out onto the balcony, from whence he simply walked along the railing into the next unit’s balcony and thumbed his moggy nose at me.

I gave up. Went around to the lifts – yes, wicked me ! I knew it was another false alarm and so couldn’t be bothered going down the concrete stairs – and it was only when I pressed the button that I saw the gore. I see-ed the bleed !! [grin]

In fact I’d bled all down the corridor, and there was a smallish pool of it on the lift floor. My hand was wonderfully dramatic with blood trailing excitingly all down my fingers and dripping off ! When I emerged onto the footpath outside the front door there were gasps of horror. “OMG ! – have you got a big wound ?” – followed by disbelief when I showed what Boodie had done: one small claw-hole !

The firies had already turned up – quiet Saturday arvo – and one of them was delegated to attend to me and my cascading blug, which he did with admirable speed and efficiency. But I was obliged, after we’d all been let back in, to get some paper towels and my Koh spray and clean up after meself.

Blood thinners, of course. I’d forgotten I’m taking ’em. They turned an otherwise boring event into a delightfully awful one.