Monthly Archives: February 2014

physically here but mentally elsewhere

We waved YoungB off this morning, en route to state championship competition. It’s a big regatta and the line-up of competitors contains some Olympic luminaries. This will be competition at a level YoungB hasn’t hitherto encountered on quite this scale and at a fantastic venue. Of course he competed at national championships when they were held here a few years ago and you might expect that he’ll be up against some of the same competitors again this time (because they’ll still be in the same age category as he is). Of course he rowed at Uni Games last year, and the competition there was one of those unpredictable and exciting things that comes from knowing that, in any of your races, you could be up against an Olympian. Gulp.

He’s a touch tense, he admitted, but like all the athletes who get to this level, he’s put in a lot of hours of hard work to win his seat in the boat. He’s fit and his technique is good, thanks to the combination of dedication and excellent coaching. We’re keeping our fnigres corsesd for him so if I don’t get back to posting for a day or so, well, you won’t be surprised – in the sense that I know I’m erratic at the best of times! – but for once you might reckon that I have other, perhaps more important things, on my mind.

As to jungles and big cats? Yeah, I haven’t given up on that but time is ticking away. I’ll have some uninterrupted time tomorrow and that’s when I plan to put my head down and whip up something for the party. I’ll let you know about that in due course.

In the meantime, if you’re anywhere near any of the flooding and extreme weather anywhere in the world, do take care, won’t you? I could keep my fnigres corsesd for you on that account, but I doubt if would be any more effective than it’s likely to be on YoungB’s behalf.


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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Rowing, Sewing


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We had an unwontedly social weekend, Dr B and I. He went to a school reunion on Saturday, I to a reunion with some old workmates on Sunday. Perhaps a common theme might be cycling. Dr B and Mate E are both motorcyclists and Mate E was a cyclist back in the day. Dr B, as you would know, still is.

Precisely. copyright remains with Mike Flanagan

My group of former workmates also have cycling fixations. We’re of an age where health considerations are more prominent than they might have been when we first met each other a very long time ago indeed, so fitness is also a large theme in our conversations.

One is married to a former professional cyclist and cycles a lot herself. Others of the group cycle for pleasure – pleasure, they say; and they don’t, at first blush, appear to be masochists – and generally can’t understand why everyone else isn’t the same; indeed, how anyone could not enjoy cycling. Most of the others – notice I say most but not all – are of the view, “How could you fall off a bike?” When that comment was made to the other member of the group who’s like me, my immediate response in her defence – and my own, of course – was, “How could you not?”

Even professional cyclists fall off occasionally (just think of some of the spectacular spills we see annually in any of the Tours). How many kilometres of road have they travelled? How vastly more than simply competent are they? How experienced? How careful and clever? And still they have accidents. So, please, just leave us poor non-cyclists to our walking and running pursuits. We have enough falls in those arenas without adding the element of greater speed to the equation!

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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Cycling, Musing




It could be me, really. Copyright remains with Ingo Arndt.

I was at Spotlight the other day. It’s right by where I do my grocery shopping, so I thought I’d just bob in and have a look at some of their homewares (with birthday gifts in mind) and, although I’d quite decided that mine is an urban jungle and therefore a business suit with high heels and a few silly accoutrements would do the job for the jungle theme, I actually found myself irresistibly drawn to the remnants table and looking around on it for a piece of jungley fabric! And, wouldn’t you know it, I found some. At least, it might not be jungley, just “reminiscent of big cat and not all big cats are jungle cats but you’ll get the idea” fabric. I think it’s something like the markings on an ocelot, most of which are to be found in northern South America; that is, the Amazon. Surely that’s jungle enough for anyone.

In any case, although I reckoned I only needed a couple of metres, I bought what was left on the bolt because it seemed wasteful not to (it was a reduced-to-half-price remnant and the shop assistant threw in the balance for free)! I could probably make a little summer top out of the remaining almost a metre. It’s a stretch polyester, which is not such a brilliant idea for our summertime but it drapes beautifully and should make a reasonably flattering dress. If I make a top as well, it would still leave me the option of urban jungle because it would probably be all right with a business jacket and skirt. The trick now is to pick a pattern that won’t be time-consumingly difficult: either something I’ve made before or a very simple new pattern. I’m scratching my head about that at the moment.

Now that our own rowing state championships are pretty much over – thanks to the cancellation of the second day’s racing, YoungB still has to compete in a couple of events that, I gather, the officials are hoping to slot into a regatta in the near future – his training and all sorts of other things really start ramping up prior to the interstate regattas. Although I’m not directly involved in preparations for the interstate stuff, I’ll certainly have things to do that are beyond my ordinary daily domestica. Therefore, time for extracurricular activities – and, alas, at this time of year, sewing probably does fall into that category because it’s not portable enough to be carted off to rowing, unlike the knitted mitts which certainly are – is going to be limited. I’m scratching my head about that, too, because you might recall the party coincides with the interstate regatta.

Another bit of head-scratching relates to my lack of qualifications for employment. I’m supposed to apply for three jobs a week – and I negotiated that down from the original suggestion of five which was clearly silly – but, you know, it’s still a case of applying for what are obviously junior positions and putting my name down for information nights for jobs I’ve no hope of getting just so I can say I’ve done my bit. The lunacy of it all. It’s not as if you can really just trot out a pro forma letter for anything. You have to make at least an attempt to address the selection criteria. Nobody is going to employ me in a “starting” position and I feel stupid even sending off the application just to keep some bureaucrat happy. Attitude? Mine is not a good one at the moment, I admit.

YoungB is more sanguine about it, although he advised me against even bothering to apply for one job that he reckoned I’d find too physically taxing (he was probably right; one of his hefty mates holds such a position and finds it demanding). Both he and Dr B tell me to just keep sending off the applications. Don’t work too hard at them, don’t get too stressed about the whole procedure, don’t take it personally – I’ve had that advice from others; but sometimes it’s hard to take it any other way – and don’t let it get you down. Right. That’s all good advice but it’s such a waste of time and, you have to think, not just mine: someone at the other end has to make some sort of attempt to read the application and make a decision as to whether I’m remotely suitable.

I do transcription work from home. A couple of my erstwhile colleagues have agreed with me that we’re never going to earn a decent wage doing it, unless we’re prepared to work for a lot of hours and juggle multiple contracts. Some people do (for example, a couple of even more erstwhile colleagues – that is, those who left before jobs were targeted; what one incumbent described as escapees rather than redundants!). I think I have to balance health and family considerations against the possibility of what a negative impact it might have were I to stay up all night typing (even though I do frequently start work early so that I can make the most of the morning tranquility). I might once have reckoned that feasible but by my present age, and with my life experience, I know perfectly well that doing those sorts of things is a shortcut to disaster. So I’m just going to keep scratching out those applications and hoping for the best.

Whatever you’re scratching around at, I hope you’re finding your creative mojo. Of if you’re also on the job-hunting treadmill, just keep right on scratching away at that, too, and you might come up with the goods. But if you don’t, just remember to take your knitting to the dole office, will you? Perhaps it will keep you from scratching!

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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Musing, Rowing, Sewing


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turning, turning

It’s the case that the weather is still scorching, although not so hot today as it was yesterday, but daylight in the mornings? Ah, yes, that’s lessening. Mornings are definitely darker. YoungB said it’s almost at the stage where they need their regulation boat lights for training sessions and he’s right. The blackness at 4.15 is more intense and doesn’t dissipate as quickly. I know this is the way the world turns and that we’re heading into winter, despite the soaring mercury, but it’s always a sad recognition. Expect little but gloom from hereon in!

The upside, I suppose, is that somewhere else in the world has mornings that are now appreciably lighter. If that’s you, I’m sure you’re cheering loudly! And that’s just the way it should be.


Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Musing


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wussy or wise?

Long ago we used to play outdoor sports in high temperatures. We were mad.

Pleased the race is over

Pleased the race is over

Today’s rowing regatta, the second day of our state championships, was cancelled at about 10.30 this morning, after only a few of the day’s races had been won. The photo was taken yesterday when the temperatures were lower and there was a cool breeze to keep them that way but today was only going to keep getting hotter. The regatta program had already excluded certain competitors and classes but extreme heat wreaks havoc.

When the announcement was made, there were a few comments about how rowing must be a wussy sport. Most of us recognised that the decision was not merely in line with national policy but also plain sensible. I told YoungB he should take a photo of me – he didn’t – because he was looking at something he’d probably never seen before and might never see again: me being hot. Yep, I was. And all I’d been doing was walking not terribly energetically for a couple of hours, then sitting about at the start line for a while taking photos from a different angle. I’d kept hydrated, I’d found shade where possible and I was wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunnies. If with all those precautions and doing not much I was hot and bothered, athletes working hard would be seriously affected.

We went and had early lunch by the seaside then came home and, to a person, collapsed in the airconditioned lounge room. Even I, who hate sleeping with the aircon? Yep. I had told Dr B and YoungB that my plan was to sew myself a summer dress when I came home – some shirred sundress that would take no time at all – because I really don’t have any for just bumming about the place; but it wasn’t happening.

If you’re also in a heat-afflicted area, I hope you’re able to keep cool. If you’re enduring below-zero temperatures, it’s a pity we can’t combine our extremes to come up with a workable middle ground, isn’t it? Take care, everyone, whatever your weather.


Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Rowing, Sewing


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