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.

HH is being rested

While it’s not like me to liken this blog to the preparedness or otherwise of, say, an AFL footballer heading into finals season, nonetheless I’ve decided to give Hegemony Heights a rest for a while.

I have some busy months coming up, to the point that if I’m posting here it’ll mean I’m neglecting far more important things (probably including my children).

I keep thinking of Hegemony Heights as being a bit like Malcolm Turnbull: lovely to look at with something to say – and contribute, dammit – underneath all that other stuff, but not quite being able to ‘cut through’ the way he wanted. So I’m going to give HH a relevance check, a thematic review, and let it take a long hard look at itself. Perhaps Malcolm can do the same!

I’m well aware that a blog suffers from infrequent and inconsistent posts, and it’s for this very reason that it’s easier to completely stop at this stage. But when I come back, you’ll know about it!

Thanks to all those who have read along from time to time, and even come back occasionally.


ps – okay, I’ll probably update Brownie/Blondie Talk and Bumper Edition every now and then because I can’t help myself, and they’re easy to do. Righto, then.

RIP John Gill – a man who left a great signature on the sheet music of life

I was saddened to discover yesterday, accidentally, that local  busker-around-Perth and ragtime piano virtuoso John Gill had died in April. I obviously missed the news, because there was significant coverage at the time, and deservedly so.

John was one of those people who had been on the scene in Perth for so long that he was no longer a novelty when you saw him in Murray Street or Fremantle, or any shopping centre, but rather a comforting, familiar and friendly reminder of the warmth that comes when a stranger shares his or her talent with other strangers. It didn’t matter where I saw him, I always stopped for a minute and marvelled at his dexterity.

I remember years ago taking the time to read the loosely framed note he had attached to the side of his piano, the details of which I don’t recall exactly, other than they let the reader know that he was a world-renowned ragtime player, and he was raising money for yet another trip to the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, or some other get together of like-minded musicians.

More recently, the boys and I watched him perform a couple of times in the city and also, memorably, at the Royal Show in 2009 (we just missed his performance in 2010, much to our disappointment).  When he finished his set, based at the exit of the Agricultural Pavillion, the boys went up to him with our donation and Blondie asked him how long he’d been playing. With a smile John told him he’d started when he was 7, which Blondie told him was how old he was when he’d started. John encouraged him to keep practising. I remember saying to Blondie afterwards, “see, keep up the practice and you could play like that one day.” Blondie was inspired.

While I was looking for further coverage of the news of John’s death, I found this lovely piece from Lee-Ann Khoh who had written a piece about busking including John, just before he died, and she has two great video links on her post which will bring it all back if you would like a reminder of his talent.

I’d like to think that in some small, ongoing way through my donations, I helped John, along with thousands of others, to pursue his passion and no doubt inspire many others to keep at it, while bringing such simple joy to those passers-by who took a moment to enjoy the sound, that glorious sound.

And now I reckon he and Scott Joplin are banging out some fantastic duets somewhere. Oh, to be able to hear them.

The Lexicons of Blondie and Brownie

Being the only mother in the world to think her children are incredibly talented, insightful and amusing, I feel it’s my public duty to share some of their stuff, thereby ruining my determination to not be a mummy blog.  Just temporarily, mind you, and only when the genius of my loins produce the goods, like this:

Brownie: “Mummy, you need a new memory card for your brain so you can remember more things.”

You can visit the Brownie talk and Blondie talk tabs to get individual serves from both.

Blondie is 9 years old; Brownie is his 6 year old brother.


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The long learning line of language

Pity young children learning the English language:

Seven Year Old, reading from book: “.. and Pelican jumped the q – what’s that word?”

JB: “Yeah, it’s a funny one. After going through all those letters q-u-e-u-e you just say ‘q’.”

Seven Year Old: “That’s the most stupidest, idiotist word I’ve ever heard.”

Ha! Take THAT, English!

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