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.
Some say numerology is bunkum. My approach is to treat it with cautious respect. I don’t live my life by it however, I’m fascinated by numeric occurrences that appear to reinforce something.
According to numerology.com adding all of the digits of one’s date of birth together (year digits, month digits and day digits) until a value between 1 and 9 reveals one’s life plan number.
For example, my husband and I share a life plan number of one. Apparently, an auspicious number, ‘People with a Numerology Life Path 1 are born to act quickly and have no problem changing course and starting down a new path. A secret fear of failure makes them ultra-driven in every endeavor they pursue and will often make them victorious. As soon as one finish line is reached, they are already running toward another.’ This is reasonably accurate of the two of us.
Taking the concept a step further, the date my partner and I became husband and husband is 24.10.2014. Maybe it’s coincidence that 2+4=6, 1+0=1 totals 7 and 2+0+1+4=7, does this balance equate to balance?
Assuming a shared life plan is a thing, the date of our wedding in numerology is 7+7=14, 1+4=5. If our combined life plan is five, ‘People with a 5 Life Path number are on a lifelong adventure. They are ready for anything and want to soak up every experience this world has to offer. Life Path number 5 people tend to learn by living and don’t allow themselves to get stuck in any situation that has outworn its interest. The moment things start to get humdrum, a person with this Life Path will move on to something more fascinating.’ Our life together is indeed a shared adventure and we seem to be constantly moving house. My husband wants us to become grey nomads.
On Friday 28/10/2022, we had a delightful belated eighth anniversary lunch at the Manly Boathouse. As we were leaving, I noticed we were seated at table eight. This just happens to be my favourite number and wait for it, ‘go down the stairs and shut the front door!’, on the day of our wedding we wore matching silver cuff links with the symbol for infinity, eight. Oh, and the date is also eight.
My husband stated he thought the whole week had been slightly off. I tried not to dwell on the comment while patiently awaiting the arrival of our late night Campari spritzes.
Upon reflection, from leaving the house, to awaiting the arrival of the delayed 232 bus that subsequently caught a telegraph pole and lost a wing mirror; the odds did seem to be stacked against a fun filled evening.
Prior to hearing the graunching noise of metal against timber, I was considering the logistics of our bus, ferry, and walk journey; would we run out of time to be able to get something to eat.
We made up time by going against our frugal endeavours, taking an Uber X. Of course the roadworks on Grey Street led to us being dropped off way past our South Bank destination. After attempting a fast walk hobble with my dickie right leg while negotiating phone wielding zombie pedestrians we were embraced by the familiar surroundings of Julius Pizzeria.
We gladly snuggled into our spots in the worst seats in the bar while the maître d’ apologetically explained the lack of tables was due to school holidays, the ballet, and the show we were going to see.
Thoroughly enjoying perfectly prepared shaved mortadella with crumbed stuffed olives followed by a shared mixed mushroom pizza and rocket, Parmesan salad, we had sufficient time for a bottle of Soave, ricotta dumplings with Nutella and fiore de latte gelato and espresso martinis.
A ten minute walk delivered us to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Purchasing a bottle of water over sauv blanc being the solitary white wine choice, we headed for our seats via the furthest door into the auditorium.
To my left an Amazonian sized person wearing black top and knee flesh revealing faded jeans was reading a book. They appeared to be with others to their left. The two seats to my husband’s right were unoccupied until moments before the performance commenced when a scantily clad wisp of a girl accompanied by a Nebuchadnezzar like blond bearded chap took their seats.
In keeping with the ‘imaginary living room Olympian theme’, a rainbow sequinned leotard wearing Jonathan van Ness thrilled us with somersaults, splits, and jetes across a gigantic rainbow flag coloured gymnast mat. We were hooked!
While Jonathan exited to loosen their genitalia and change costume, we were left in the hands of an English person whose content included jokes about their gran’s dementia that poured icy water on our elated spirits.
We had lost interest by the time Jonathan reappeared in a short black sequinned dress and matching capelet. The side view we had of the stage was okay however, I had difficulty following the mostly US focussed monologue. It may have helped if the screen above the stage had been used to display closeups of Jonathan speaking.
My husband’s interest was piqued by the righthand waif’s apparent cerebral connection to Jonathan as she reacted to their every movement and punchline. Predictably they gave a standing ovation at the end of the show.
Meanwhile the lefthand Amazonian spent the performance scrunching their soft drink bottle. Once empty they bounced it bonk, bonk, bonk on their knees. Would it have been rude of me to grab it from their hand to discard it?
We did not need to rush home to Stan as he was having a sleepover, so we headed across Victoria Bridge, picked up bags of cashews and roasted almonds, and strolled to Burnett Lane for a few roadies at Death and Taxes.
After queuing for what felt like an eternity we were seated by the window. A Malvern born (what a small World) waitperson took our order and suggested we should check with fellow patrons before tucking into our snacks as there maybe someone with a high intolerance to nuts in the vicinity. We cautiously opened only the cashews, aren’t they legumes? We were vigilant, no adverse reactions were observed.
The evening wrapped up with an Uber X journey home around 1:00 am.
I have no idea how Stan feels when he is suffering. Our dog whisperer friend said they deal with pain differently.
He squeaks when impatient to do something, usually as the humans are holding him up. Stan snorts when he is excited. He has no volume control when greeting people he trusts. And utters a high pitched screech when you tread on his tail; who wouldn’t!
On Thursday morning, Stan’s face was so swollen we could barely see his dark brown right eye. The vet prescribed pain killers and antibiotics to treat an abscess under his back molar.
Over the past days the swelling has gone down. Stan seems a little subdued, seeking us out to sit close to us. Even between us on the sofa. I feel double as much love for him when he is off his game.
We are going to get another opinion about the need to extract the tooth. We want to do the right thing for our twelve year-young fur kid who brings us so much joy.
Stan has been an important member of our family since 2010. We prefer for Stan to accompany us when going out for long lunches rather than leaving him alone at home.
In Australia, rules about pets attending eating establishments are created and monitored by local councils.
Being creatures of habit we have favoured venues that welcome us with Stan including, Capriccio Osteria, Leichhardt, New South Wales; Marinara Ristorante Cafe, Hawthorne, Queensland; Julius Pizzeria, South Brisbane, Queensland; Patina at Customs House, Brisbane, Queensland.
Occasionally we try out a new place. Mostly we check online or call ahead to find out if our party will be welcomed.
There is a shared excitement about going for lunch. An anticipation about the potential delightful delicacies we may well devour.
Nothing pours cold water on our enthusiasm more than comments about ‘the dog’, especially when we have previously been to the eatery.
‘You will have to sit to the right of the opening (into the restaurant) in case the dog’s hairs fly in’. Mamma’s Redcliffe, Queensland.
Or a new place
‘You have to sit at a table on the footpath. The dog has to be on the ground. Please take the dog off your lap, it has to be on the ground. The council come around and check. I will get into trouble’. La Dolce Vita, Milton, Queensland.
‘You can have the table at the end. You cannot sit under the canopy’. Cafe Gioia, Norton Street, Leichhardt, New South Wales.
The pedestrianised part of Queen Street in Brisbane, a.k.a Queens Street Mall does not allow dogs even on a lead.
Similarly if we were to take Stan on public transport (buses, trains) in Brisbane he has to be in a carry case.
Fortunately, we can now sit outside on the river ferries providing Stan wears a muzzle.
After state border closures and COVID lockdowns, a couple of weeks ago we enjoyed a weekend reunion with three longtime friends from Sydney.
My husband relished the process of planning logistics and implementing the three day itinerary. Food, drinks, laughter, reminiscing, and fun buoyed up the Winter weekend.
On Sunday night we all joined Brisbane based friends for dinner in a restaurant and bar converted from a American World War II aircraft hangar.
Following dinner most of us headed southwest on Ann Street from Newstead to Fortitude Valley, stopping off for roof top cocktails at Maya Mexican.
After this, we continued along Ann Street to Fluffy at Cloudland for drag shows and dancing. As can be seen in the picture above the staircase is a perfect feature for performers to access and exit the ground floor stage.
Apart from a minor hiccup with not being able to pay for ferry travel with a credit card, the sojourn in Brisbane was heralded a resounding success.