Moscow, Paris….Rochester

A spot of Saturday opportunity shopping never goes astray. I’ve inherited the gene from ma mere, although I’m certain she’ll attest to the fact that I simply loathed op-shopping growing up. It was the smell, and the endless racks of creepy early 90’s lingerie that I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting EVER. I still shudder at the thought.
But I can think of at least three experiences where I pointed and laughed at items that would now be hugely desirable and uber-cool-retro-vintage. I pointed and laughed and walked the hell away. I wasn’t ready for that jelly. Oh how times have changed. I give you, my latest spoils:
Heaven is Russian literature and French lessons on vinyl! I haven’t read Anna Karenina before, but I’ll be proud to while away the bus journey holding this sumptuous edition. Look at it! Doesn’t it whisper sweet literary nothings in thine ears?
I definitely pranced home holding these beauties in my hot little hands. I had visions of perfecting my shamefully rusty French, or at the very least getting a number of satisfactorily vintage sayings under one’s precisely pinned hat. There was the slight fear that it would be another well-intentioned purchase that sits, unhappy and neglected (although absurdly attractively) atop one’s bookcase, but non. This time was to be different, amis, this time I would rise to the occasion and LEARN something, dammit.
Everything was right with the world…..UNTIL…quelle horreur mes amis! QUELLE. The records are 78s. I have as 33/45 player so the distinguished chap on the recording sounds like he’s taking the piss “FRrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaancaiseeeeeeeer”. Quel dommage, but not to worry, I’m sure there’s beaucoup de 78 players lurking in the shops of Kent. There must be, dammit, or I really have recommitted the mortal sin of buying something romantically useless. This I cannot abide.
But not to worry, amis, this is just one more reason to continue on the charity shop prowl, non?

Home Alone XXIV

I can’t be trusted. Things get so out of hand when I’m left home alone!
Not only am I at home on my own on a Friday night (yay me), I got excited enough about making a chickpea curry as per this River Cottage recipe that I started taking pictures OF TINNED GOODS.
I was excited. Don’t judge me.
That onion is gonna get it reeeal good.
I may look harmless, but when there’s curry involved, it’s serious
There may or may not have been a little leftover birthday fizz involved, but let’s not dwell. The fact of the matter is that the BF is working at the restaurant, and we’ve had a weird old week of not seeing much of each other. His latest mistress is his music, and has been playing gigs like you wouldn’t believe. I certainly wouldn’t believe it if, y’know, it wasn’t true….but instead of letting myself feel bummed out, I decided to sing hallelujah and get happy and have some luxurious time to myself.
I’ve Downton Abbey-ed myself, fed myself and leftover-birthday-fizzed myself, so now it’s time for writing silly blog posts, emailing old friends and being tempted to email new ones, settling in to a bath and then perhaps a film.  Then playing Rumours on repeat, because OF COURSE my BFF Stevie Nicks is making an appearance tonight.
We’re moving out of our lovely flat into somewhere nearby, but it means the dreaded tidying up must happen soon – I’m completely relishing the idea of that, as those of you who’ve met me will know. I’m like the tidiest person in tout le monde. Also tomorrow brings potential new flat-renters, and that makes my skin crawl ever so slightly. I’ve always hated rent inspections, and having people go into my house when I’ve not exactly invited them. It’s not hard to get an invite out of me, but there’s something about the idea of having people poke around your house that makes me want to sit on the edge of the bed and weep bitterly. I may have to leftover-birthday-fizz myself tomorrow simply to get through it. It’s a real struggle sometimes.

Fuck Yeah Julia

I’ve watched this about six times. It’s 15 minutes long. I’ll keep watching this at least once a day for the next week. I’m astounded, and even wept a little bit – I’ll own that.
This isn’t about Peter Slipper. This isn’t about Tony Abbott. To me it’s not even about playing political games. To me this speech represented a woman in power choosing the right moment to stand up for herself, and therefore the women of the country she represents, to demand respect. She’s not actually even demanding. She finally doesn’t need to. She stood up and shone the spotlight on sexism and misogyny in Australia, and more so in Australian Parliament, and that was enough. Our Prime Minister just showed us How To Be A Woman In Australian Politics.
I think this speech is a game changer. I think this is her legacy.
It’s been a somewhat disappointing government so far, but if this is any indication of what’s to come, I’m staying tuned.

Autumn Reflections

 The last few weeks have been some of the strangest in all my 24 years and I’m still not quite sure how I’m feeling. My grandfather died recently, and whilst not unexpected, it’s been  both a bit of a fundamental shock to the system and something so far away from me that I’m not exactly sure that I am feeling anything yet.

I can’t remember The Last Time I Saw Him. It was at least two years ago, maybe a couple of weeks before I left Australia? I’m not sure. All I can remember now is a series of memories throughout my life where he was there. Like the time he lifted me on top of his shoulders and walked me around my my home town, when he and my Grandma were visiting.

I also remember his EXTREMELY LOUD VOICE. He would do a completely out of the blue shouty thing, if he could see we were about to hurt ourselves. It was more of a shock than hurting ourselves would have been. He’d incorporate it into his laugh as well, so that if he found something humorous it would be a hahah HAHAHAHA! sort of affair.
Deeply unsettling for the young’uns.

I also remember him as someone who had to do things properly. He despaired of me many times, not least when he witnessed my shameful card-shuffling skills. I could see him positively quivering in his seat, longing to snatch them from my incompetent child like hands and deal the round. Card games. I really remember the card games. You had to know the etiquette of playing cards. No touching before the dealer had finished, no bending the cards, and if you showed your hand to your neighbour it was your own damn fault. He made me the pedantic card player I am today.

He also taught me how to write an essay. I was frightened of it, as I’d made a special trip up to Perth to get some wisdom, and lo! it was all over in half an hour. That was surprising. He wasn’t really a surprising person, but I was surprised at the time that he was both so gentle on the teaching front, and didn’t whip out the LOUD voice on me. It was very civilised. I was grateful.

I’m trying to find out what I’m feeling right now, and it doesn’t feel the way I thought grief would feel. He’s just always been there, and now he’s not. He’s left a Max-shaped hole behind him.