Australian conversations: Remembrance and remembering

“I’m sorry we keep walking past in front of you,” I say to the old woman sharing the ward, while standing outside the bathroom door right alongside her bed, “but my grandmother takes tablets that make her wee – she’s 98 and doesn’t mean to be rude.”

“Oh that’s okay, I’m 80 … 80 something …. I think. I’m pretty sure I’m in my eighties,” she says with an nervous chuckle. She’s had no visitors since her grandson left two days ago, soon after she’d come in after a fall at home, and I had arrived. She’s been mainly cold, continually disoriented and occasionally anxious since.

“I think all this war stuff with the thing in town last week is what’s got me down. My friend said he’d take me down, you know, to the Forts, because I didn’t have any family. But it was so crowded.

I lost three brothers in the war, you know. One was killed by the Americans. He was on a Japanese POW ship but the Japanese didn’t have the flag up and it was bombed. So he drowned, but we got him back because he was one of those men that could never stay down under the water. So we got Walter back, but we didn’t get Alan and the other one back.

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And then my husband signed up – had his sixteenth birthday on the Queen Mary on the way to the Middle East. We weren’t married then of course. They all thought it was such a game. And he came home silly as a wet weak. He was an idiot by the time he came back. A 16-year-old boy. They had no right.”

“I’m sorry,” I say sheepishly, “but I really have to check on my grandmother.”

“That’s okay,” she smiles, “thank you for listening. You’re a lovely nurse.”

Juggler or Clown? Are you too busy to be taken seriously?

Rampant Rapture

Originally published in Bahrain this Week 14 September 2014

Early in my career I prided myself on my ability to competently do several tasks at once, juggling many balls and seeming doing what others found at best difficult or at worse impossible. I loved the variation this afforded me in what may have otherwise been a dull position with the Australian Government. The more I was asked, the more I did. It was like a game, a test of endurance I knew I would win at all costs. Then guess what? I realized the cost and decided it was too high; I wasn’t a juggler I was a clown.

Even though I was young, in my 20s and full of energy, weekends were just spent recovering from exhaustion to prepare myself to do it all again next week. Relationships and personal pursuits suffered, so at 28, I decided to focus…

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Magnanimous musical moments 2: “Holy shitballs, mom!”

Hello 2014!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling …. good!

Following the loveliness of Billy Joel’s magnanimous moment in 2013, let’s head to number two, which fulfils all the criteria – which, if you’ve forgotten, are:

  1. the fan, who couldn’t be happier – either that night, for a week, a month or maybe the rest of his or her life;
  2. the audience, who, through the fan, enjoy the experience vicariously while still enjoying the performer, and so take an extra-special memory home with them;
  3. the performer, who, through his or her action, has consciously or subconsciously given the most wonderful gift, the willing ‘transfer of the baton’ not just of their own music – the highest honour – but acknowledging that everyone starts somewhere. And sometimes you’ve just gotta give someone a chance.

And who are we talking about?  A round of applause please for Mr Michael Bublé:

He’s like an excited puppy – Bublé, that is, not 15-year-old Sam!

Australian conversations: the washing machine repair man

So the washing machine repair man arrived to sort out the clunking and scraping that mysteriously began during a wash yesterday – which wasn’t coins or rocks or marbles on the inside of the drum. Five minutes later he was out of the laundry and at the kitchen bench:

bra wireWMRM: “Done. It was a bra wire. I’ll get the receipt book from the car. $80 thanks.”

Off he went to the car.

Blondie: “Ooh, bra wire, how embarrassing!”
JB: “No, not at all – I bet it happens all the time and he’s seen it before. I’m just glad I can finish my washing.”

Back comes Mr WMRM to write his receipt on one side of the bench, while I write a cheque from the other.

He is around 45 with piercing pale eyes and a no-nonsense kind of Germanic attitude punctuated at odd moments with a half smile. Odd.

WMRM: “So I was lucky, the end of the wire was just poking out through one of the holes, and it was out quickly.”
JB: o O (yeah, nice 80 bucks).
JB: “I didn’t even think of that. And I felt across the drum too, to see if it was a coin or rock or marble or something.”
WMRM: “It was right up the front. Most people reach in towards the back.”


WMRM: “It’s not a bad idea to keep bras in a special bag.”
JB: “I do usually. It’s just this is an old bra, so I was cheating.”
WMRM: “Well, there was only one wire, so you might want to keep a look out for the other one.”
JB: “Um, it only had one wire *wince* that’s why it’s an old bra.”


JB: “And that’s probably enough information, isn’t it.”

WMRM: *odd smile*

How embarrassing.

Haiku weather: 29 August 2013

city lights bwWho needs la bella
luna tonight, when I have
the safe light of home;

the light that is in
equal measure past, present
and future within.

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