Archive for October, 2010

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A women’s thing

October 21, 2010

I got suddenly, horribly, gastrointestinally sick yesterday. Got to work and had to turn straight around and go home again by taxi. My taxi driver, as well as having a magnificent, black and glossy mullet, was quite kind and understanding (so long as I didn’t hurl in his cab.)

“Did you eat something bad?” he asked, “or is it a women’s thing? I have a wife and two daughters and I know they suffer some pains.”

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I’m just mad about…

October 17, 2010

Thanks to re-runs of Absolutely Fabulous on Sunday nights, it suddenly dawned on me who all these Northcote kids in ugly 90s clothes are drawing inspiration from.

Saffron Monsoon. What a style icon.

OK, here’s a drinking-game-question for you… if you had to dress like Saffron, Edina or Patsy every day for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

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More? Of them?

October 12, 2010

I’m loath to promote anything to do with any bank but I like Barbara. I’d much rather be friends with her than the insipid smiley blonde lady at the end. Wouldn’t you?

Plus, it just seems like a far more honest transaction when the bank doesn’t conceal its disdain.

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“…I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

October 10, 2010

Rather splendid day, yesterday, wasn’t it? That springy weather has banished Winter who is – according to this Minton(?) tile, Sullen and Sad.

This tile lies in the fireplace of an incredible mansion we went and snooped at yesterday before its auction. (The paper tells me it sold for over four million bucks. I trust that adequately describes its mansionness for you.) I’ve passed this place for years and always hoped the Catholic Church would overlook the fact that I’m an utter atheist and a mortal sinner and just hand me the keys one day because I’m an alright sort of a person who would plant a lovely garden on its huge block. Not to be, sadly.

It was built by someone famous then inhabited by nuns for decades. The conversions for nunneryness were amazing. The bathroom had been tiled with pistachio green lino but then sectioned off into cubicles with showers, baths and toilets. The toilets themselves had charming latches with a vertical barrel that flicked between VACANT and ENGAGED. (I would argue that the two states are not mutually exclusive, given a couple of diamond-dazzled afianced I have met, but perhaps this was not always the case.)

Chopping up and sectioning seemed to be the nuns’ ouevre. The grand room at the front of the house at the top – a veritable ballroom – had been sliced into three or four monastic little quarters.

The servants’ stairs were about a foot wide and outrageously steep and I couldn’t help but think of the feet that trod them every day, lighting fires, cleaning rooms, keeping the place running yet remaining virtually invisible. I’m so glad I got to poke around. It was tremendous fun. Reminds me of when my Ma and I would go and snoop at ramshackle houses for shits and giggles (and I still remember a place in Hawthorn with hundred-year-old wallpaper and external electrical wiring and servant bells). You have to do it when you can because as soon as someone buys the house, all the good stuff is torn out, and they’ll certainly never let you in again anyway.

Thereafter we went for lunch at the house of some long-lost friends who now have three children which perhaps explains in part the long-lostness. (I have friends with THREE children now. Did I mention THREE?) Feasting and chatting in the sun for three hours. Lovely. However shortly after arriving, their five-year-old pointed at my rather sturdy calf at the top of my boot and said, “Your leg gets really big there.” Kids. The darndest things, eh?

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The brown stain

October 7, 2010

Behind the couch, across the unsealed plaster, and just below the unfinished join to the windowsill, there is a large brown smear.

This smear has been there for years, possibly decades. It’s not poo or earwax; it’s adhesive. But it might explain why we don’t get many visitors.

The brown stain illustrates the, ahem, unfinished nature of the house. I’ve lived here nearly five years, looking at that stain, explaining to people that it’s not poo or earwax. I’m starting to think that it has outlived its conversation-starting potential. (Clearly, it’s still good blog fodder.)

The half-baked scheme: I reckon I might take a week off work and find myself a reliable handyperson to do all the bits I can’t (eg: mitring architraves) while I do all the dumb grunt work. And maybe, maybe, the fifth anniversary of dwelling here might be marked by the windows being the only place where you can see through the walls to the outside.

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All grown up

October 1, 2010

Giving a conference presentation at the very university where I spent a number of years moping around in flared cords and doc martens makes me feel a bit grown up. But also a leetle bit fraudulent. I suffer terribly from proximity regression… the condition where, when placed in old environments and surrounded by people from the past, I regress to the person I was at that time, in that place. So to be on the other side of the lectern felt bizarre.

The conference was pretty good. Some dreary stuff, some inspirational stuff, and lots inbetween. And, I learned about a poo machine called ‘Cloaca’!

Just between you and me, I’m still wearing doc martens and I wore them today.