When my husband ran an AirBnb from home the listing mentioned our pictures and artefacts having a tale to tell.
Before I emigrated to Australia my dear Australian friend P.M.S formerly P.M.M caught up with me in the UK. We visited one of my early boyfriend’s parents, Hazel and Bill in Solihull.
As a naive 20 year old from a working class family, north of the borough, Birmingham, I knew my place as their social inferior.
My trips to see them usually involved the upmost politeness and decorum. I felt common and clumsy in their presence. I would sit in the same place on the sculpted green draylon sofa, the same spot where I was shown to sit, the first time I met them. I was introduced as a ‘friend’ of their son.
I would not dream of wandering about the hallowed halls of their abode or handling the ornaments and family pictures on the mantle piece.
I vaguely recall P. and I dining with them. I vividly remember my anxiety levels stepping up from mildly uncomfortable to extremely stressed with each step P. took around the lounge room, picking up the objet d’arts for a closer inspection and quizzing the hosts on who the silver framed smiling faces were.
P. and I had many exciting adventures together including a few trips to Liberty of London.
It was love at first sight when I saw a dark polished timber, queen sized sleigh bed with octagonal cane infill panelled head and foot boards. We agreed it was truely a piece of furniture to aspire to.
In one of the sales, I bought two table lamps, one with a very 1980’s silhouette; wide shouldered and narrow bottom in an off-white glaze flecked with apricot and green. The other, a ginger jar shape with an orange peel texture in dark apricot. Both had lift off coolie shaped narrow pleated cream silk shades, tops and bottoms trimmed with velvet; trés glam!
We still have the latter of the two lamp bases pictured above. I refinished it with acrylic paint during my gilding phase in the early 2000s. Paired with a gold foil lined black shade it anchors the French Empire themed dining tableau.
Thursday marked cooler Autumn weather with the addition of a tee shirt layer beneath the customary short sleeved shirt, under a waffle-look long sleeved shirt to complete the commute to Brisbane.
All day I was self conscious of how less than a millimetres’ extra fabric all around made the shirt feel tight and gaped more than usual.
I inherited the fat genes from the maternal side of my family. They are a well built, big boned, stout, jolly, portly lot.
In my early twenties, I managed to work off ‘puppy fat’ through physical work and a relatively carb free diet. This successful combination was repeated in my thirties and forties supplemented by guilt induced gym membership. Dr Moseley’s fasting diet and GP prescribed slimming pills resolved the middle age spread yo-yo during my fifties.
A sedentary job, inherent laziness, and osteoarthritis have curbed my motivation for gym training and long walks as I enter the sixties.
During Thursday night’s interrupted sleep, I had a nightmare about my ever increasing girth and the need for dieting. I find it amusing, I can cradle my belly during slumber whilst realising the action during the dream.
Smaller portions was the revelation from the insight into my subconscious. Plates to be no larger than fit for a dessert. It makes sense, my mind doesn’t seem to recognise my appetite as sated until about ten minutes after finishing. I eat everything served to me as instilled in childhood.
Upon waking on Friday, I was inspired to start on the fifth of May.
As the Noom app has escaped clean-up deletions on my mobile phone, I duly entered a piccolo latte followed by tuna in water with mixed veggies for breakfast and another piccolo for mid morning snack.
Whilst working from home, I received an email from my boss about my performance thus far against KPIs for the financial year ending 30 June.
I experienced symptoms of tightness in my chest and throat just by looking at the subject line in the Outlook list. It prompted a Google search resulting in a potential panic attack turning out to be indigestion. It was resolved with a slug of Gaviscon.
Lunch consisted of left over curry sauce, tuna, mixed veggies, and a piccolo latte.
A cocktail, Kalamata olives, and roasted almonds on the terrace left me with 240 kcals for homemade pizza coleslaw and wine for dinner.
We took a rain check on the pizza until this evening substituting it with home delivery nachos and quesadias.
Having a subconscious tie tugging me to a phantom, idealised bucolic life led me to believe this was my destiny.
Because of their scale, towns and cities have the appeal of inclusivity and freedom. In reality, more residents are squashed into a smaller area.
The increasing cost of living is so high that a weekly night out on the tiles is beyond the grasp of those with modest means.
Around a decade ago, I looked into buying a block of land in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland hinterland. It was large enough to build our own home. Unfortunately, the distance from a large urban area and requisite workplace remained too far away.
We purchase the ‘swan’ chairs on a whim in 1999 from an over the top furniture shop on the fringe of Double Bay, Sydney. They have gold finished frames, Sensuede seats and Teflon coated French silk backs. Like most things in our life they have patina. Reminding us of happy gatherings of friends and family.
Instead we opted for somewhere within one hour public transport commuting distance of Brisbane. There is an added bonus of a huge nature conservation area literally across the road.
Within our humble dwelling, a long held grandiose idea of a French Empire themed dining room has miraculously manifested in a not too shabby area of the kitchen.
The table extends to seat eight to ten people. Prior to the move it stood on end sans legs for five years on the landing of the townhouse.
While searching, one of the requirements of the new house was space enough to accommodate the dining table.
The new abode’s utility/laundry room/corrider runs perpendicular to the outside area.
My architect/interior designer husband believes the plumber installed the hot water tank/immersion heater adjacent to this space for their own convenience rather than for the aesthetic of the outside area; I agree, the taupe coloured hulk is a blot.
Tomorrow, our dear friend A. judges an equestrian events in Caboolture, a town north of the new home. As A. will be dropping in after said judging, they will be the first official visitor; everything needs to be tip top Bristol fashion.
Over the last week, we have assembled racking in one of two sheds, to facilitate my husband’s clearing the area of removal boxes. Also, I have sewn pencil pleat heading tape onto outdoor curtains whilst hubby is in the process of creating a coffee table.
We are toying with moving the daybed in front of the eyesore instead of facing it. An amusing alternative would be to stand a mirror in front of it to elude the viewer.
The tin galah views the whole suggestion with the vacillation it deserves.
For the last week, my husband has been rabidly unpacking boxes. He says it’s like Christmas because of my eccentric packing method and my failure in detailing all contents, resulting in oddities appearing amongst the expected.
Since moving in day, we have mostly had unseasonably warm days and blue skies. Australia’s March temperature records has been broken amidst reports of a delayed end to Summer.
Stan, our almost thirteen year old, fur baby, foodle is thoroughly enjoying being able to play fetch in the backyard as this blurry snapshot shows.
The commute to work takes about 60 minutes door to door. As I’m able to work half the time from home, only two days this week.
April is a great month because we have three public holidays. More time to enjoy our new home.!
For me Dame Angela Lansbury was Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. 30 years ago I was living in Droitwich, a small spa town in England. The cinema was located in one of the forgotten spa buildings, grandly named the Winter Gardens. Built in the 1930’s, in its heyday it was reputed to have the best sprung dance floor in the Midlands. Rows of seats were screwed to the floor to create the picture palace. The building became a victim of redevelopment at a time of video cassettes and a general loss of interest in cinemas.
I remember with dewey-eyed nostalgia, the musty smelling space with dampness pervading the air. The chill of the place lingered in my bones long after leaving. Those were the days; buying Kia Ora, toffee apples and Cornettos from the usherette and watching cartoons before the feature film. My eyes smarted from the cigarette smoke fuelled haze caught in the oblong light stream from projector to screen. I’m sure I went to the cinema as a teenager more than twice. Yet there are only two movies that I remember seeing: Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Mad Max; significant given my interest in paganism and eventual move to Australia!
Cabot Cove’s television sleuth in Murder She Wrote passed away on 11 October 2022, aged 96.
One of my treating general practitioners remarked to me, the passing of those around us is a reminder of our mortality.