Monthly Archives: January 2020

between the madness


The tents are still there, and they’ll soon be replaced by others in readiness for Festival and Fringe frolics

TDU is over, so Victoria Square is beginning to resume something closer to its normal appearance. Soon, however, Fringe and Festival madness will see it disappear again.

Great view from the window, though. Almost makes it worthwhile going to work!

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Posted by on January 30, 2020 in Musing


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a headachey week, and TDU

rainbow in progress.jpg

These are not in final order, or any order at all. But aren’t they cheerful, even though the lighting is so dim?

When a colleague asks sympathetically if your day’s absence from work was because you had a “real headache” or a “husband headache”, you know the world isn’t entirely devoid of goodness and good humour.

The headache having been real, if occasionally exacerbated by the husband, I decided to reduce my small-screen time when away from work. This enabled me to make a few more starburst granny squares, and sit with Dr B occasionally to watch the day’s replay of Tour Down Under stages on our “we need it that large so we can read the subtitles” TV.

Dr B rode his motorbike to a couple of the stages, for the buzz and the solidarity. The days of family involvement in the community challenge are behind us for mostly practical reasons, but we remain strong supporters. However, as we’ve long agreed, the best way to see the race is to view it on a big screen. If that’s in the comfort of your own lounge room rather than the sporting bar of some local hostelry then, while you might miss the camaraderie, you certainly don’t have to queue for anything.

I should admit that the crochet hasn’t been without its moments of exacerbating the headache. I strayed from the matrix for one square – too tired or too inattentive or both – and ended up having to unpick a round; but just one round, on a granny square, so no big deal. A couple of other squares required mid-round unpicking – again, no big deal – and the one I’m trying to do now simply doesn’t want to cooperate. So I’ve stopped for a while and started to sew in some ends. A change of pace is always helpful.

The colours are, as you would expect, rainbow-cheerful, and different people like different squares. When I took my crochet to our fortnightly craft corner at work, one square that doesn’t do much for me was pronounced as the firm favourite by a couple of others. So there you are. Rainbows have something for everyone.

The Lincraft 8-ply cotton that I’m using is lovely to work with. It’s soft, but has good definition and doesn’t split. The range of colours is not bad. Because I work in the city and there’s a nearby store, I can bob in after work and grab more if I run out. I’m trying not to buy more than my calculations suggest I need, but it would be frustrating to lose the game of yarn chicken half a round, or less, from the end.

That would create a headache of its own, wouldn’t it?



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food to share and enjoy


Perhaps not many would be lining up for this exotic dish; but Dr B enjoyed every morsel of his cucumber soup 🙂

During 2019, we did a lot of rushing about for various reasons. Along the way, we investigated some new, and some new-to-us, eateries, recommended by friends, colleagues, and fellow foodies. I investigated a few myself during lunchtime walks, sometimes so that I could assess them with an eye to future meetings or catch-ups of the coffee variety.

There’s no shortage of food options on Victoria Square, which is a short walk from my office. Some offerings I’ve tried, some I’ve yet to try. Walking in a different direction, and a little farther afield, sees deluxe sandwich and slow service territory with little likelihood of managing lunch in my allocated 30 minutes. I shared a long business lunch somewhere closer and more expensive; but in that case I’d already organised extra time off, so I wouldn’t have to rush.

Over the end-of-year break, we were able to continue investigating culinary options. Not only was it too hot to cook, but nobody really had the energy to do it. More tellingly, when you’re on holiday, you have the luxury of sufficient time to sit about for hours over lunch. We certainly can’t do that during the working week. I say this as one who felt guilty about even the sanctioned morning tea, and couple of long lunches prior to Christmas. I returned to work after all of them, and put in genuine work back at the office. There are plenty who notice, and make note of, when contractors come and go. It’s a horrid way to work, and you have to justify every extra minute you claim; but I’m not here today to gripe about the system.

Maintaining the foodie theme, I note that we wound up 2019 with cocktails and snacks at YoungB’s old workplace, then plunged into 2020 by having a long, wondrous lunch underneath the shade of old trees and away from the noise of main roads. This is not a new or new-to-us eatery, but one we thoroughly enjoy.

Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2020 🙂


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Posted by on January 18, 2020 in Food


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royg bits of rainbow


It’s a bit sloppy, but I love the way the colours work together

The sample square turned out well, despite having been done quite late last night. Now I can’t make up my mind whether I want to do another 29 precisely like that, or continue with my original plan of cycling through the rainbow. Decisions, decisions!

Yarn is all Llincraft 8-ply cotton, the crochet hook I’m using is an F / 4.5mm, and the starburst granny square pattern comes from here. I believe I followed the instructions, but am not entirely convinced about a couple of spots. Never mind. I’ve almost finished the second square and will probably do a few more before I either pull the plug on the cycling rainbow or decide it’s working as I’d hoped.

May all your yarny decisions be equally fun 🙂


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a somewhat weird first week


This time the mist hiding the hills is the usual sort, thank goodness. The tents are already going up for the TDU Village.

My first full week back at work was a time of discovery: first, that my colleagues are Very Funny people. Some of them – I have my suspicions as to the identity of the ringleader! – decided to put my name front and centre in a training-session slide… heading an email I’d sent them from my previous job (as recently as April last year). Hahaha. Thanks for the hilarity. It was funny, but it was also a, “Wow, hasn’t life changed in that short space of time?” moment.

Second, that complete strangers can be very kind. One morning, as I was enjoying my stroll in the sunshine en route from the bus to the office building, a woman a little younger than I said, “Excuse me, lovely lady,” and tucked in my protruding label… which is meant to be one of Dr B’s jobs, but plainly one he’d not done well that morning. I thanked her sincerely, then we laughed and shared chit-chat and comments about the hot weather and the hazards of icily airconditioned buildings.

Third, that I’m not nearly as tough as I thought I was when it comes to weird drinks. After having often managed to down some extremely bitter Italian drinks, I didn’t think a mere cup of tea would defeat me. But it did. I couldn’t even finish it!

Fourth, that the general shenanigans of various armed forces on the world stage could bring me to decide that, what the heck? I’d jolly well go and have a coffee and a cupcake during my lunch break. The cafe was charming, the iced latte acceptable, but on the whole the cupcake was somewhat disappointing. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing to have been eating, had I ended up blown to smithereens, but not optimal.

Fifth, although this is not a new discovery, that the weather is capable of anything! I found myself electing to have a sandwich and coffee indoors one day because, despite its being January and appallingly hot most of the time, that day it was actually cold and wet. I know. The view from the office window was distinctly damp, but also a reminder that the TDU will soon be kicking off.

Sixth, that my crojo is so absent at the moment that I couldn’t bring myself to join the fortnightly craft corner that’s part of our office’s wellbeing efforts. I have rather less than zero energy and about the same amount of enthusiasm for any of the patterns I’m trying. This is not a good place to be when two little cousins are going to need rugs in March. Granny squares look like being a solution I can manage.

Seventh, although this was more a reminder, that it is delightful to meet up with the Bs after work on Friday for a leisurely evening meal at the Market. Since YoungB started full-time work, we’ve struggled to get our calendars in synch. Last week, after we’d all rushed about for this, that and the next meeting, we finally managed it. That was an unquestionably nice way to end a decidedly odd week.

They weren’t all on separate days, but I appear to have come up with something that could be allocated individually to each day of the whole week, not simply my working week.

If your work week is also weird, I do hope that it’s in nice ways 🙂

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Posted by on January 11, 2020 in Crochet, Food


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we made it to 2020


A good way to usher in the New Year: surrounded by greenery and family, while enjoying good food – the Skilly valley

Lately it seems that I reach year’s end wondering how the coming one could possibly be worse than its predecessor, and being optimistic about the new one turning out well. Yeah. You really have to commend my optimism and enthusiasm, but note that they have often been mightily misplaced.

Of course, no year is entirely bad, but one that commences with the sort of workplace upheaval attendant upon the CEO’s sudden and unexpected departure – in effect, his simply never returning from annual leave then being replaced by a far less experienced person – is unlikely to progress well; nor did it. Long before the redundancies were announced, staff were already leaving and others of us, of whom I was one, already seeking alternative employment, with all the attendant stress that that entails.

The amount of mistrust, distrust and general ill-will and ill-feeling you deal with in such a workplace climate rapidly wears you down physically and emotionally. I know I’ve said previously how grateful I was to Youngest Aunt for her unfailing support, and I reiterate it now: I wouldn’t have survived without her.

But I did survive, and I survived the job-hunt merry-go-round. It’s true that my new job is a short-term contract position but also true that it is probably likely to be renewed. Reassuring, but really not reassuring at all until I receive confirmation. I know my work ethic and eye for detail are appreciated by my fellow team-members and the section managers, and that they were partly responsible for my being offered the job in the first place. So I’ll blow my own trumpet and say that I have good, high-level skills and – all things considered – I remain a reasonably fast learner so I know I’m pulling my weight in the team.

The funding areas in which I work have the capacity to generate truly positive outcomes, and it’s rewarding to read some of the final reports that come my way. Otherwise? It’s totally disheartening and demoralising to be associated with a government department whose broad umbrella covers some of the most unfair and draconian social programs ever seen in this country. For this dyed-in-the-wool unionist, let me simply say that there are days I feel like the worst sort of class traitor, simply by virtue of that loose association.

YoungB is still enjoying his job, whose intensity will increase in the next week or so as comparison cases start rolling in. When his contract expires next December, there might be some opportunities in another department. He has so far proved himself to be an asset because of his Italian language skills, pleasant manner and his general ability to communicate clearly to a lay audience, the last of which saw him invited to return for one of next year’s annual fundraising gigs. We have to hope that these other skills will be seen as too valuable to lose. We also laugh that they effectively give the lie to a wry comment from YoungB’s Year 12 home group teacher that he would need more than charm and good looks to get on in the world. Ya think?! 😉

We said final farewells to a few elderly friends this year, but all the OS cousins are still with us, so in that respect 2019 wasn’t such a painful year as the few before it. We are all in reasonable health and there have been no medial dramas elsewhere in the family.

In sum, how was 2019? Pretty much the same as every other year: a mix of good and bad; and losing my job was perhaps the real downlight (if that’s the opposite of highlight). If I had to pick one overwhelming positive feature that helped to counter the negativity, it would be the security provided by all sorts of support and assistance from my family and friends. I anticipate that 2020 will have similar ups and downs, but family and friends will remain a constant. Also, there will be some new babies in the family, which will alter the family landscape again in the loveliest way. Christmas 2020 will be a very different experience.

Very best wishes to all of you for 2020, and may it hold lovely new experiences for you, too 🙂


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Posted by on January 2, 2020 in Family history, Food


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