Feeling at home

We recently spent a delightful evening, dining at a new Italian restaurant, Sasso in Woolloongabba.

From arrival and being shown to our table, I instantly felt at home. The staff were attentive, friendly, approachable, funny, and cheerful.

Upon reflection, I wonder if I felt so comfortable because there were similarities in the way I’m described at work; caring, cheerful, empathetic, funny, helpful, supportive.

Excerpt 3

This is the last one until I have written significantly more.

Unable to sleep, Altair mulled over the strange evening of hushed conversations, and nervous glances between worried faces. Hannah and a stout lady with a mousey brown bob and oversized glasses, introduced herself as Angela sat in the bay window. A tired drop leaf table between them held steaming mugs of tea.

The woman wrote ceaselessly in a spiral bound lined page notebook with a biro topped by a spring mounted bobbing pig.

Angela wore a beige pleated knee length skirt, American tan tights, olive green acrylic sweater and brown sensible lace ups.

Excerpt 2

After breakfast, Sax turned the bedrooms upside down, doors and drawers could be heard banging, the beachball was nowhere to be found. He cornered Altair and Cam in the bathroom while they were brushing their teeth. Slamming the door made the panes in the sash window rattle defiantly.

Altair jumped, heart racing, they turned around, fingers of both hands tightly clinging to the edge of the pedestal basin behind them. Altair closed down like a crocus at night, withdrawing into themselves. They knew the tirade would end eventually. Cam hauled himself up onto the toilet lid, head down turned slightly toward the window, smirking.

Early schooling

Happiest around water

I romantically assume, the purpose of schooling in 1960’s and 1970’s UK was to provide a general introduction to topics. A catalyst to inspire fresh minds to develop skills and assist in identifying one’s career path.

Primary school was all about singing, maypole dancing, being statues, playing percussion instruments, needlework, beanbags, art, decimalisation, decorating walls with forest gauging paper collages, playing ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf?’, free milk, and carbolic soap.

Streaming in secondary school labelled the ‘brightest’ two groups as ‘A’s destined for G.C.E ‘O’ and ‘A’ level study* whilst the three groups of ‘B’s were setup for C.S.E.s**. The remaining ‘R’ group of remedial students were segregated from the rest. It was rumoured they were consigned to a single room, secreted away somewhere to avoid sullying the reputation of the school and tainting the achievers.

In the first halcyon year, I realised my passions in art, pottery, drama, music, the Dewey decimal system organised library, history, English, French, and German. Dislikes included, P.E. (physical education), R.E. (religious education), geography, and science. Also, boys only, woodwork, metalwork, and technical drawing.

Girls only, typing, sewing, and domestic science were more preferable to me, sadly out of reach.

When electing a program of certificated study from the second year onwards, English language, mathematics, sports (cringe) and one science subject were compulsory. I elected courses in history, French, German, music (violin then oboe), pottery, and English literature.

As biology turned my stomach, chemistry was smelly and required an in-depth knowledge of the periodic table, physics was the only option left.

Even though as a youth and now, I had a terribly disorganised and random mind, I found solace in algebra and measuring objects.

For decades, I held onto the dog eared, pale peach gloss coloured logarithmic and other tables booklet. The cover retained an archive of finger prints, biro marks, food stains and liquid spill marks.

Unfortunately, my final year of secondary studies and fifth year examinations took place 30 kms south in a high school local to our new council house assigned to our family as part of the ‘Birmingham overspill’.

Somehow, I scraped by with four ‘O’ levels in English language, mathematics, history, and ceramics plus C.S.Es physics, German, and music (oral). Sufficient enough to commence an ordinary national diploma in hospitality.

In hindsight, we would have benefitted from courses in cooking, cleaning, laundry, personal hygiene, budgeting, safety, tolerance, respect, and communication skills.

I didn’t give up on French, gaining a high distinction in language and culture at university level in Australia.

*General Certificate of Education at Ordinary and Advanced level provided access to tertiary level technical and polytechnic colleges, and universities.

**Certificate of Secondary Education gained access to tertiary level technical colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships.

Bauble reflections

Harrods, or H. A. Rods, Victorian-esque decaying decadence from my twenties full of naivety, hope, bon vivre, and pretensions. Sanguine to the point of oblivion.

Leather clad, muscled, merman purchased in my gay abandon forties. Discovered, I was part of the watery feelings clan with body issues; lacking self discipline to change. Hopes and dreams are mostly possible.

Rainbow bauble, bought this year. A fully formed fairy, not far off sixty; should have, could have, would have. Accepting my authentic self and life’s reality.

Happy holiday, warmest {{{HUGS}}, and a joyous 2022.

Day three of the birthday festival

I had a joyful birthday lunch last year at Patina, Customs House. Unfortunately, my mood beforehand was decidedly maudlin, resulting in the following self reflective poem.

Expectations, unheard, unwritten, not agreed, lead to disappointment. Frustration from despondency could result in an outpouring or inner turmoil. Assumptions can conflict create or do secrets forge, limiting authenticity. Living as a liar may rebellion incite or self-loathing and self-destruction result.

This year, I decided to take control of myself; to celebrate the end and beginning of a new birth year with close my husband and close friends.

We turned up at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to see the European Masters exhibition on loan from the Met, New York on Thursday. The thought of queuing for one hour did not rock my boat so we headed for a great lunch at Julius Pizzeria followed by sundowner drinks at the Terrace Rooftop Bar.

The photograph above shows the view of the city looking northeast from the Terrace towards the city, across the Brisbane River.

On Friday our tastebuds were treated to an exquisite six course degustation lunch including, seven amuse bouches and matching wines. Next we went to Maya Mexican rooftop restaurant and bar for cocktails, gorgeous nibbles, socialising and dancing.

The picture above taken from Maya shows the city on the right and a neon looking outline of the Storey Bridge left of centre.

Today we rest. Plans will form or not, as the day progresses.

Tomorrow I will enter my 58th year.

Spring 2021

Spring has so far been a joy to experience. The suburban streetscape is budding with the promise of growth, encouraged by warmer daytime temperatures. Today’s blue sky and sunshine is forecasted to achieve 29oC.

While southeast Queensland’s Winter temperatures could not be described as harsh, we have limited our time sitting rugged up in the courtyard.

Our modest tropical resort themed outdoor area is slowly evolving. It now boasts a three person spa heated to 35oC. To the left golden cane palms, mother-in-law tongues, and agaves provide a focal point to rest our eyes. Behind stands a stylised skateboarder panel, supporting variegated jasmine. The almost daily post workday dip was well worth braving the cooler temperatures, over the last few weeks.

This moment’s easy Sunday feeling is enhanced by a powder puff aroma from lemongrass and lavender incense sticks. Pale grey smoke lazily floats around our feet and ankles before wafting up; nostril tickling.

CMW

Our Contemporary Mobile Workfore (CMW) policy allows employees to work from home five days out of ten.

One of the conditions for lockdown week two not happening, wearing of masks at work for two weeks even if one can socially distance. My role includes a reasonable amount of time on the telephone.

The CMW rules have been relaxed for two weeks. I have opted to continue to work from home. One week down, one to go.

The above picture is a memory from a lunch time walk last month. Shadows at play from the glass porch at the north eastern doorway of the gothic revival Cathedral of St. Stephen.

Not in lockdown

I awoke knowing I had to attend a local pathology lab before working from home. Google maps to confirmed an opening time of 6:30 am.

The hot shower resulted in a centrally heated glow emananating through my body. Do I need a coat? Surely I will be okay in shorts and tee. Unknowing if I needed to be fasting or not, I headed out without a coffee.

The cooling 13oC air enveloped my body on exiting. After a couple of minutes, I had to head back for my face mask.

Upon arriving at the clinic, a man was on his way out, four people were seated, and there were four chairs to spare. I sat nearest the entrance. At this point I was far from awake. Why then had I sat next to a source of blasting music? First thought was, a television, no a radio. For a fraction of a second I considered moving seat. After all it would have gone unnoticed to my peers; absorbed by their phones.

The bespectacled used head stowage and push forward methods to escape the irritation of fogged up lenses. While playing word puzzles, solitaire, and Woodoku, I chose to do the on and off, repeat motion.

I made a mental note of the people in front of me. An unnecessary waste of brain power as we all had handed over referral forms to the mufti clad nurse. She was keeping them and us in strict chronological order.

Between patients, the waiting room was treated to melodious stereo as the nurse sang along.

Eventually, I allowed myself to be pointed into the collection room. Robotically settling into the wide throne like chair with wide arm caps. The identity checking and arm choice over, I ‘scooted’ over to the left. The tourniquet attached, fist clenched, ‘you’ll feel a sharp sting’.

A few minutes passed, gaze averted, lulled by the occasional soft popping and scraping noises of the tubes being swapped over. I was jolted from trying not to think about the ache developing in my arm by the nurse. ‘Oh, are you okay? I drifted off there. A mini meditation’, she said.

Commencing the five minutes walk home, I reflected on the sparse number of cars, the sunshine delivering tepid warmth, and how fortunate we are not being in lockdown.

Embrace the kink

Two years ago, I started this post with just the title.

As a toddler, I was endowed with platinum blonde curly locks. By the time I started infant school they had morphed into straight plain brown.

When the barnet began to feather flick from my ears and extended well beyond collar length, my three years younger brother, and I were marched to a tonsorial parlour at the junction of Northfield Road and Fellows Lane, Harborne.

There in a bay windowed, cream gloss painted room, containing two adjustable chairs, upholstered in deep brown cracked leather, facing mirrors, we were shorn.

The stout balding, cleanly shaved barber, wearing a white jacket, seemed so very old. I enjoyed sitting high up on a plank across the arms of the chair while my mother reminded him, I had a double crown. I have since learned the unruliness of the left side of my head is due to a cowlick.

Each time we went, my brother and I had the same cut. I discovered today, it is called a mop top, although ours was short at the back. The style did not change until I was old enough to go to the barbers alone.

In my late teens, I admired my brother’s long wavy hair, emphasising his bikie, hard rock, and heavy metal persona. Being the eldest, my lot was one of self imposed responsibility. As previously posted, societal conformity was the order of the day. To hide in plain sight, I chose to wear mine off my face in a quasi Simon Templar fashion.

For forty years, I yearned for curly hair, although never enough to try a perm. Instead, I relied on clipped cuts, gels, mousses, waxes, and creams to achieve straight uniformity.

In 2014, hairdresser, James Burrows was the first to talk to me about my fine flyaway strands. He used sea salt spray, comb, dryer, and powder to create the tidal wave like cut in the picture above.

Brisbane or ageing, combined with inclusion of non usual humans have proved to be the catalyst for realising my dream of wavy hair. The current barber introduced me to scrunch drying, reinforced the use of hair powder, and suggested using balm left over from taming my beard to achieve separation of tresses. A day or two after washing, I am now able to embrace the kink.