Monday, August 31, 2009


Right - well this is the harvest of the accidental vege patch (aka - look what happens when you throw out stuff the guinea pigs haven't eaten). All of you what have good recipes for pumpkins please pass them on - pumpkin scones, pumpkin pickle or jam. Bring it on. Can you spot the real pumpkins? The fake is courtesy of Great Aunt Alice - a wedding gift to Robbie and me - isn't it special? The tablecloth is courtesy of my grandmother - Ethel. I wonder how long it took her to embroider that....

Life is very full - of movies!!! The AFI has sent me a stack of screeners to watch before the judging commences 1 October. On Saturday I raced to the Schonell at UQ to see "Disgrace" starring John Malkovitch and "The Last Ride" (starring my all time favourite actor Hugo Weaving). Both fairly bleak films I have to say. Of the two (and it is so unfair to compare I know)...I probably preferred Disgrace but because it was set somewhere about which I know very little i.e. South Africa and it had something really interesting to say which made me think ... a lot. Beautiful cinematography in "the Last Ride" and some great performances. Also watched "Lionel" last week which was about Lionel Rose - I was too young to be aware of that particular phenomenon so very interesting viewing. Hoping to see "Beautiful Kate" today.

How's everyone going finance wise? I always seem to struggle to save but maybe it's a time of life thing...housing two kids who are almost adults. I'd appreciate any tips you might have. And I know that finance is a very touchy subject but without revealing too much I'd be interested to compare how much we all spent on particular items...e.g. in the past twelve months to date this is how ours was divvied up - tax of course being the biggest expense, followed swiftly by groceries at 16%, 10% on school fees (and yes I realise that is absolutely discretionary spending which will end this year - hallelujah), 8% kids allowances (this is their clothing, bus money, pocket money etc), 4% health insurance (discretionary again I know). Petrol, meals out, gifts and home maintenance come in at 3% each. Rates, Hobbies, Doctor, Electricity and Entertainment come in at 2% each and pets, hair/makeup and my clothes come in at 1% each. The only saving I seem to be able to do is Super - and that's because it's taken out of my pay packet before I can touch it!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It was such a beautiful day yesterday. Almost summer. A good day for going to the beach. The jasmine is out and I have picked bunches for each room and am revelling in the aroma. Would there be a storm? Robbie came home from work after 2. He sat on the sofa and shared the minutiae of the day with me. Troops are thin on the ground at all his various jobs. Everyone is suffering from a lurgy of one sort or another. I am at the sniffling stage of a cold. Thankfully over the horrid sore throat stage. Jessie sits on her sofa listening attentively to him. She wags her tail furiously when he acknowledges her presence by fake smiling/snarling. It's a little game they play. Dirk comes home from TAFE. I go to pick up Cas from Indro after I post my second Ebay sale at the lovely little post office in Marshall Lane run by two gentleman whose blood is worth bottling, as my Mum would say. I buy Express Post envelopes for Dad's mail and stand there hesitantly - will I post the mail today or should I send the birthday presents for Friday as well? I dither. I decide. They are philosophical about the indecision. It is a village post office where nothing can go wrong. Almost a toy post office. I love it. Jessie greets us enthusiastically at the door when we get home. She is without fail always so genuinely pleased to see us. Bless her. What can we make for dinner? I'm now up to dinner number 48 since going on long service leave and clutching at straws. Cas manages to get me somewhat excited about spag bog. What about a bit of salt he suggests? I'm sure they said that brings out the flavour on Master Chef. Before I know it I'm adding red wine, sugar, bacon and parsely. I put garlic bread in the oven. I've got it all under control. I can go out on the porch and be a good wife with my husband and share a glass of vino. The guinea pigs need to be brought in. Dirk and Bel take Jess for her evening soiree at the dog park. Robbie spots a beautiful carpet snake in the garden. He's only young. And so mesmeric. We know he's eyeing off the guinea pigs. But they'll be safe. Cas makes a little shelter for him in the coming storm. A bit of masonite leaning against the fence. A clutch of straw. I vocalise the deep contentment I am feeling at watching my two blokes communing with nature. Robert suspects the wine's influence. I defer. The storm advances rapidly. We are glad because the earth is parched. Bring it on!!! The phone rings. It will be "Woosy Bel", we agree, ringing from the dog park. "Come and get me!". Her voice is stressed but she hangs up - someone is calling her. I think nothing of it. This is normal. The phone rings again half an hour later. Robbie answers. "She'll come home." he says reassuringly. Jessie has run off from the reservoir. Why are they at the reservoir? Oh well, it's not too far from home. We stand in the front yard and call for her. I wait some more. How much should you chase up a teenager for dinner? I decide to chill. I have wasted so much time worrying as a parent for no good reason. I read my very good book from the library. The phone rings. It's the local vet. Your dog has been run over by a car. She's still alive. Can you come down? Cas, ring your sister and tell her Jessie's been found. Robert rings shortly after. While I was reading he'd walked up to the reservoir. But it's the wrong one. We have two reservoirs and they were at the other one. The one on the busy road with no fence. I get to the Vet's. Some poor woman is trying to pay her bill with three declining credit cards. I wait patiently. Jessie is in a back room looking like a dead dog. Bel is with her helpless with grief. She has a badly broken back leg. They don't know what internal injuries she has sustained. The vet is marvellous. Professional. Compassionate. Her vital signs are improving but....we go home. Robert is furious. He can barely speak. A needle he says is what is required. So, we go back. This time with Caspar in tow to say goodbye. How do you say goodbye to someone who only ever greets you with unabashed enthusiasm. Who has trusted you implicitly? Who smells like a wet dog and yet ...At least we got to say goodbye and know what happened. How can a day of deep contentment turn so bad? Dear Jessie. Did I even feed you today? We were always conscious of your figure and giving you too many treats. All your gentleman admirers keep turning up. Jackson turned up tonight and I swear he knew exactly what I was saying when I blubbered to him that you were no longer with us. He hung around for a while to keep us company and obligingly licked my drippy nose. I have spent the day in bed with a suitably maudlin book to make myself cry as I come from stiff upper lip stock. Everyone was out walking their dogs this morning as we drove along the road to school where you were run over - exquisite torture. I hear whistling and know that I won't be whistling for you anymore. I lay on the sofa last night desperately thinking of who I could call who would understand and then realised that only you would be able to come up and nudge me with your wet nose as if to say "There'll be allright." Such a good dog. The only one who ever knew when I was depressed beyond belief. And such a magnaminous host. Other dogs would come to stay for weeks and you wouldn't chuck a tantie. Every bloke that came to our house melted at the sight of you and turned to goo when they chucked you under the chin. What do we do with your sofa? It will be your altar for ever more. Enough. Enough. You were the best. Say no more. Rest in peace.