Monthly Archives: June 2019

all change!


SAHMRI on North Terrace, Adelaide. Copyright SAHMRI.

You know how YoungB has been working as a bartender for almost two years? Well, he’s finally found a full-time job in his professional field. He’ll be working in that fabulous building, known locally as the Cheese Grater (we’re an obvious lot, as I’m sure I’ve said before). He starts work the day I start my long holiday. We’re all excited for him.

Though I say holiday, it’s actually unemployment. Of course I’m still looking for work. Equally of course, my age is more against me this time; and it was a definite deterrent last time. Realistically, however, I do need a holiday before I commence any new position, because I am physically and mentally exhausted. It’s almost five years since I started the job from which I’ve just been retrenched, one that was described by my predecessor as a nice little “roll into retirement” job.

Yeah, not so much. It was busy when I started. I put that down to end-of-financial year reporting requirements, which did play a part. But it not only never stopped being busy, it became even busier, and the obligatory two-week break over Christmas is more about exhausted collapse than genuine R&R. The last year has been a nightmare by anybody’s standards.

As mistaken as my predecessor’s comment proved, I didn’t think that I would finish, a week short of five years later, thinking, “Good riddance,” but that has proved to be the case. So, after the doors shut on Friday, we had a wake at a nearby watering hole. It’s an end, and a very sad one, but also a beginning. What sort of beginning is yet to be determined in my case.

First up, though, is some genealogy homework arising from a short course that I’m presently doing. This week it’s tracking down missing or collaborative information for some yet-to-be selected ancestor from a not-too-distant generation. I’m only looking as far back as my great grandparents for this exercise, meaning there’s hope for me to find the information without too much head-scratching. In any case, it will be a distraction from constantly rewording my resume to capture all the subtle nuances attaching to “excellent”. Yeah.

May all your beginnings reach successful conclusions, and may change be always a positive thing for you 🙂



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luckily, I don’t need to breathe – much

Lunchtime concert.jpg

YoungB performing at a school concert in 2006.

Days like today are entirely too few.

Dr B has been practising his classical guitar quite religiously for weeks now, because he has a hand condition that improves with precisely the sorts of exercising involved in playing guitar. YoungB has commented upon the audible improvement to Dr B’s playing.

Today, we were all sitting about feeling various stages of unwell – Dr B is almost over the URTI he passed on to me, and I’m probably about halfway but with a twist he didn’t manage (namely raging sinusitis, so my head still feels like it’s going to explode if I lean over too far), and YoungB, despite his considerable dedication to not breathing near us more than he absolutely has to, is probably coming down with it.

What do you do on a day like that? Well, if you’re Dr B you call me in to help with a couple of piano questions (easily sorted once I realised I couldn’t actually read the bar numbers and Dr B pointed out which bar he wanted me to play). If you’re YoungB, you dose up on anything you can find – Vitamin C, garlic, ginger, lemon, whatever tea with honey – and haul out your flute so you can practise up some of that fun music from primary school. And if you’re me, because you’re there you stay at the piano and grab the accompaniment so you can play along with YoungB.

Although I’m not in that photo – it’s an old one, taken in poor lighting from much too far a distance for the camera’s capacity, so please forgive its graininess – on that occasion, I accompanied YoungB. He thought his schoolmates would laugh at him, but he got up there and performed anyway. So did I, on a piano even less up to the task than the camera! In fact, YoungB’s mates actually thought it was pretty cool and probably only Dr B and the music teacher were as disconcerted as I by how bad the piano was. YoungB has forgotten all of that. I haven’t.

Today, I don’t care what housework didn’t get done. To be fair, I’m too sick to do much but laundry, and the menfolk aren’t much better. We’re getting by on the occasional supermarket dash and perhaps too many pre-prepared meals, but we are in no danger of starving or dying of malnutrition, and we are resting. All of that aside, the main thing is that we had an afternoon of making music together. Money can’t buy that sort of pleasure and fulfilment.

Then, in light of the news of Franco Zeffirelli’s death, of course we’ve spent this evening sitting upright on the sofa and rewatching – for the I couldn’t tell you how-many-eth time – our old and somewhat dodgy recording of his fabulous La Traviata with Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo. Yeah. I can sit there and gasp, and nobody cares whether it’s because I’m trying to breathe or just gasping in awe.

Vale, Franco, and thank you for all the pleasure your artistic vision has given to so many of us for such a long time. The world is a lesser place.

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Posted by on June 16, 2019 in Musing


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what goes round

Image may contain: sky, grass, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

Photo by missfarmerjojo |#ABCmyphoto

In Australia, what goes round is often a Hills Hoist – ie, rotary clothesline – in the backyard. Speaking from the experience of having close, personal contact with other methodologies in various part of the world and a variety of climates, I can say with some conviction that I see no reason to change my childhood view: the rotary clothes hoist was one of the most useful domestic inventions of all time!

The above image popped up in my newsfeed this morning, as part of a discussion as to whether people starting again would instal such a thing. The majority of commenters were overwhelmingly in favour. Sometimes modern homes lack sufficient space, so you’re left to deal with something pull-out or pull-up. The biggest criticism of those, which I share, is that air circulation is often not as effective, and therefore drying time is longer.

When we moved here, there was a pull-out retractable line installed so that’s what I used for years. YoungB snapped it a couple of times, the trailer-cage got tangled up in it when – ahem – Someone Else forgot to retract it before… well, you get the idea. Around the time of that lot of repair and replacement, I broached the notion of a rotary hoist but was told, “No.” For other reasons, such as space for the trampoline and fruit trees, it would have been tricky, so I shut up and continued to do my best.

Move on a few years: with YoungB wanting to do maintenance on his motorbike and slide in and out under the car to help mates with matters mechanical, the discussion arose again. Someone asked – hesitantly, as if I might be against the idea! – if I would consider a rotary hoist? So, after a 20-year hiatus, I once again have a good clothesline.

You wait long enough. Right? 🙂

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Posted by on June 15, 2019 in Musing


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amidst the gloom

Tropical paradise – imagine being there 🙂

Life, of course, is never all entirely one thing, so there have been some joyful events, chief amongst them Eldest Nephew’s recent wedding in a faraway tropical beachside paradise (which probably looked nothing at all like the one in the picture). There’s to be a very large housewarming party when they return from honeymoon.

And, as silly as this sounds, it gave me great pleasure to see YoungB swearing a beautifully laundered-by-him but ironed-by-me shirt, as he set off for a day of work and jollity! Yes, I know. Sad, innit? I iron only when I absolutely have to. But I agree that a lovely cotton shirt always looks better for such treatment, so hen he asked me if I would iron a couple of his shirts, I did so willingly.

Oh, and while I had the iron out, I pressed a couple of my own work blouses. No point wasting all that input if you’re not going to ensure maximum output Right?!

I hope you’re also managing to maximise your outputs 🙂


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yeah, that specific bit of DNA

On balance, Life hasn’t improved greatly! I will admit, however, that in 2019 there is more government assistance for the redundant than there was in 2013. This may be as much a cynical statement about government policy with regard to employment – that is, ensuring there’s low real employment, via the means of a massively casualised and underemployed workforce – as it is a grateful nod to the various agencies providing us with so much assistance, but it is heartening to have the help.

Some of our number have already gone, others are going in fits and starts, still others have secured new employment but will work till the doors close. We swear a lot. Honestly, we do; it’s not just me! Some of us sit in a corner and weep every now and then. I have been unwell in a way that I can say categorically arises from stress and exhaustion (my GP agrees). Most of us are experiencing that, as we battle with the realities of having to update resumes to match each job application.

It seems that there is no longer such a thing as a one size fits all resume, although there clearly is a place for a general resume that you can provide to an agency. These are the sorts of contradictions that make many of us grind our teeth.

There are days when we hug each other and generally try to behave positively albeit half-swamped by the many negative things that are taking place around us. There was another day that turned into one of angry phonecalls from a range of people. Surprisingly, a few of them ended up with me. I rarely get calls, and I’m generally not much help to callers in the sense that my role is administrative not hands-on with service placement. Even so, I’m sensible enough to try to calm people down if they’re audibly irate and threatening to drive down the hill to stage a sit-in!

The cherry on the cake, however, was someone from a noisy call centre who wanted to update some information, actually hanging up on me because she plainly thought I was being deliberately unhelpful. Not so. I tried to convince her there was no point in my providing information that might be accurate for five minutes today but would certainly be outdated and wildly inaccurate tomorrow. I advised her to call back in July – when all sorts of numbers might become more meaningful –  but that can’t have been on her list of appropriate responses.

There is a place for optimism but, as deeply engrained in my genetic make-up as optimism is – second only, perhaps, to my looking after people gene – I think it’s lost its messenger RNA.

May all your phone calls be much friendlier 🙂 😉

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Posted by on June 9, 2019 in Health


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sisters are the best

Work got so bad on Friday that I didn’t see how I was going to get through it. I sent an SOS to Youngest Aunt. She rolled down the hill and we had a long lunch together. I was inordinately grateful for her support.

As I said, who needs a knight on a white charger when you can have a wonderful sister in a white Commodore (not such a swish, new one as these, but a Commodore)?

And I have to admit to absolute failure on the KAL/CAL mitts. I didn’t even start any!


Posted by on June 1, 2019 in Food, Musing


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