Cold, Wet People In Towels

The Guild member who lives with family members is never at a loss for something to do.

Whether it is salinating the sugar bowl or coating the cat in something, there is always an amusement close at hand. None more so than with the valves.

Valves?

The water valves dotted about the house. ” Gaslighting ” has a bad psychological name amongst the neurotic, but it has nothing on the correct use of water valves.

a. Person gets into shower. Turns on the hot water and lathers up. You turn on the washing machine and then get in the car and drive to Bunnings. Buy a sausage in a bun and come back in an hour.

Ask if the washing is done yet.

b. Person gets into shower. Turns on hot water and lathers up. You turn off the gas valve and blow out the pilot light. Then you turn the gas back on. It will not light.

The next five minutes of bumping and cursing will be epic. You need not do anything else as the showeree will provide all the action.

c. Person gets into shower. Turns on hot water, but is wary of what might happen. Comes out of bathroom wrapped in a towel and stares meaningfully at you. You are sitting reading a magazine.

They go back into the shower, turn on the hot water and lather up. You go out into the front yard and turn the water off. For just 45 seconds, and then you turn it on again. And go and sit down with the magazine again.

The cold, wet, angry individual in the towel who steams up the hall yelling and glaring at you can be silenced by going to the kitchen tap and turning it on – demonstrating that the water is running just fine.

After their shower they will have to cope with a towel that is already cold and wet.

 

The Loveless Boat

Cruise liners are not happy vessels these days – the Wuhan Plague having got aboard them  means they are floating pest ships. As they try to call at ports to get help for their passengers they are turned away or impounded. They’re not all Dutchmen but a lot of them are flying.

The only saving grace is that there can only be so many still out there. Severe movement restrictions for the world having started, surely no more cruises are starting – and ships that are clear of passengers and crew can be laid up in ordinary or parked in mothballs up some quarantine creek. It’s a hot potato game for whoever off-loads the people from them, but some states of Australia are staying firm about it all. In Western Australia we have a quarantine island and on-shore self-isolation hotels to bottle people up for a fortnight.

But what do you do about the industry? This plague is hellishly unusual now but it warns us that what happens once can happen again. And if there is a restart to the cruise-about business the mechanism is all set to fire when more ammunition is mutated or made.

I can think of what to do. Repatriate excess entertainment crew and all passengers after either quarantining them or curing them. Do it at government expense – and invite the ships to retain enough operational crew to sail away unmolested right now – with full bunkers at government expense. Not to another Australian port – away from mainland and island Australia. Home, if they have one.

If they refuse, remove the crew entirely and repatriate them via air immediately. Tow the vessels out to a suitable deep, burn them to the waterline, and sink the wrecks by gunfire or torpedoes. They are enemy warships in a biological war.

 

Is the Washing Done?

I’m pleased to be able to say that my wife and I do not stink. It’s safe to stand next to us in lifts and bus shelters. Sometimes we are even fragrant, in a good sense – if the bath soap is fresh or if we have been dusting with Mr. Sheen. In any case we could be retailed in the flowers section of the nursery, rather than with the fertiliser.

Such doesn’t seem to be the case with some I meet. I’m not sure if my own olfactory senses are highly tuned or just adjusted to our house…but there are folks in shops and on public transport that would set gas gongs ringing in the trenches. And not all are knights of the road, either.

I’ll forgive the harried mum with the incontinent toddler – we’ve all been there when someone’s done that and we’ve been unable to escape. The only thing to be grateful for, besides an open window, is that the infant is not a small elephant.

I’ll forgive the down and out bum – the street hobo who can barely survive, let alone keep clean. There, but for the grace of God, go any of us…

But I’m red-hot incensed at the twenty or thirty-something who just doesn’t bother to wash, shave, or change clothing before they come out. Their choice if they want to be passed by, but if they want to do it as a stink, they can stay home and stew there.

 

 

The Full Bins

Interesting.

I had a fit of the clean-ups last week and decided to toss out all the old clothes that were not giving me any joy or beauty any more – like the Japanese lady  who advocates simplifying life. It was less of a wrench than I thought – once I started to be critical about the stuff it was easy to send a lot of it away.

I was surprised at myself because I am not the snappiest dresser and a lot of the clothes still fit pretty well. But you do recognise that even if you change clothes twice a day you still have ten times the number of garments that you need and 1/10th of the space needed to store them.

So it was into boxes and out to the Goodwill bins at the local shopping centre. Once it was in the bin, it was out of sight and mind. Now, I missed a shelf of old jumpers, and caught up with it today – and sacrificed a couple that I can no longer pull over my head. I called past the bins…but found that all five of them were stuffed to the gills with bags of other people’s discards. Hardly any room at all.

Has there been a television show on decluttering recently? Is it a cultural tradition to ditch  clothes at the start of summer? Are we a suburb full of fashion trendies?

Whatever – my next ambition is not to rush to the shopping centre and get more clothes – I want to see if I can wear out and abandon the ones that survived the first cull. Every undergarment discarded is another piece of laundry that need not be done. I doubt the Goodwill wants my old undies, but surely there is a roof somewhere in the suburb upon which they can be flung in the dark.

 

And You Thought Tetris Was Just an Idle And Worthless Pastime…

Yesterday we emptied and washed out 36 rectangular plastic plant pots. Big buggers, that had served as a movable garden while we planned the permanent beds. I finished the morning soaking wet and dead chuffed with myself.

Then I took a picture of the array of pots and put it on the free website Gumtree. We didn’t want money for the pots – we just wanted them gone.

” Free Stuff ” is a powerful tool. It keeps a Democratic Party Congress and a shoe-polished  Canadian Prime Minister going. It draws flies and their children from all points of the compass. It gets an instant …I mean in 38 seconds…response from a Gumtree advertisement.

I’m smart now: I don’t give out the home address until someone agrees to come to the sale. I only allow the address out to those who promise to rock up within an half hour.

In the case of the 36 tubs I got a keen palm tree propagator who was prepared to leap into her car and arrive in 15 minutes – and she was as good as her word. But her car was a VW Polo. About the size of a box of Kleenex – no bigger than my Suzuki Swift.

What followed was the 3-D version of Tetris. She pushed, shoved, upended, rotated, and squeezed. And we eventually filled up the entire interior volume of the Polo with plastic pots.

She was grateful. Which is silly. Because we gave her a car full of dirt and a week of work. But I cannot stand wasting resources and the pots went to a good home.

Adopt A Granny

Or adopt a Mum. Or a Wife. Or a Girlfriend. And none of them need to be your own, either.

What you are looking for is skill and talent. Cooking, sewing, gardening…whatever you lack in your life right now that someone else knows how to do is the thing to aim for. You are looking for the best.

It may be a long and difficult search, but you can make it a little easier by making it more scientific. To start with, identify what it is you need. If your icebox contains nothing but an empty pizza box and a carton of green and black spotted yoghurt, it is a cook you need. If your sock drawer has more holes than socks, you need a clothing specialist. Look at the garden critically – if it stares back, it’s the gardening enthusiast for you.

Trial the candidates with a standard test – if you are a spaghetti fan, get all the possibles for adoption to cook spaghetti. If it is curry – have them submit pots of vindaloo then compare and contrast. Note: calls for spaghetti may attract Italian grannies and they are fierce. Be careful.

Do not be ashamed to admit your faults. All the rest of us see them and we’ll admit them for you at the drop of a hat. And do not feel that you are doing a bad thing – you will be filling out formal adoption papers and lodging them with the Department, so it will all be legal. After all, there is a lot of responsibility to adopting a child, and they are small, so how much more will there be if you go for a full-sized grandmother.

Of course this is not the Ivory Coast. There’ll be no kidnapping or chains. You will be providing a granny flat to whomever you adopt and as much food, coal, and candles as they need throughout the year. You’ll have to provide a full wardrobe, though if it’s a cooking granny  that you get, a lot of this will consist of aprons and oven mittens. There will be a salary, days off, and remember that grannies can drink a lot more rum than you’d think. It don’t all go into the fruitcakes…

Will this make you a better person? No, but it will make you a better-fed one and that is a start. Once you have gotten past the hangry stage you may find that you are holding skeins of wool for knitting and taking her out to tea shoppes on Sunday afternoon.

 

Yup. It’s A Car Wash.

And not just any car wash. A hand car wash. As opposed to the ones that they operate with their feet or ears…

Our local shopping centre has used up one of their limited car parks for the hand car wash. The building’s being finished and the signage is going up. Soon employees in rubber boots will be standing in the winter rain washing cars. Or not, if the state of the other hand car wash facilities in the area are any indication…

The proliferation of car washes has been an interesting phenomenon here in Perth. I remember the establishment of one of the first ones on the site of an old petrol station. It straddles a major highway and a busy feeder road and stands opposite a 24 Hr McDonalds. ( for our North American readers, McDonalds is a franchised fast-food restaurant. ) It was probably a good choice of location as it gives the people who leave their cars to be cleaned a place to go during the process. Interestingly, the owners of the car wash also put up a café on their site. This, and the stated prices on the signage, indicates that they would like each post to be a winner…

I suspect this is the case, as well, for the owners of the shopping centre. They have already leased out a great deal of their land to a tavern, Asian restaurants, and…a McDonalds…but would seem to want to cram more on the area. I’m betting that the rent they demand from the car wash owners will make the washing fees pretty remarkable.

I mourn the loss of adequate parking, but as I own a bucket, a sponge, and my own hands, I am not too frightened by the car wash.

 

Mickey Mouse Has A Sweet Tooth

A few days ago I caught Mickey Mouse in a rubbish bin in my computer room. Or rather, I think he caught himself – he fell into the bin and couldn’t get out. I took him to the front yard, pointed him toward the neighbour’s house and tapped on the bottom of the bin. Away he flew.

Today we noticed a little scrap paper in the dining room near the sideboard. And then we opened the door…

That was a spare chocolate Advent calendar we had stored in the sideboard. Every date container save one was nibbled open and the chocolate mysteriously made to vanish. I suspect a miracle…

To his credit, he did not poo in the sideboard.

The cat was unavailable for comment.

The Brew

I have friends who are brave, courageous, and bold…like Robin Hood they wear tights and shoot arrows into things. In many cases intentionally. But they harbour a dark secret…they all want to be moonshiners.

Not necessarily with corn liquor stills, shotguns, and rusty old trucks…they set their sights lower – they try to make booze from whatever is available and they try to do it in medieval ways. Sometimes they succeed.

I can’t tell you whether this is illegal, as our state has a welter of alcohol laws that have developed over time and so many people who cheerfully disregard them. It may be perfectly correct to make liqueur out of chicken feet provided you are a member of a religion that wears feather suits and clucks. And certainly there are beer stores that sell you the ingredients for home-brew beer quite legitimately and the only consequence you suffer is gas.

However, that’s commercial ingredients and known formulae…it gets more dangerous when people take recipes off the internet, consult someone’s Uncle Marko, or just look at a pile of vegetables about to rot and decide to wing it. The temptation to mash them up, add yeast, and bottle the result is satisfying to start with but becomes increasingly less so as the bottles detonate in the pantry.

It is generally a case of over-egging the pudding…or over filling and over nourishing the yeast. There is a reason distilling is done in big metal containers and far away from valuables…the same reason that they make gunpowder in small batches in wooden buildings.

The danger of fermentation and bottling over, the next hurdle is storage. Storage space for homemade booze falls into two categories; too cold or too hot. You are either going to end up with a bottled version of the city compost digester or Picatinny arsenal in a lightning storm. If you have bottled in glass the shrapnel damage will be spectacular, but even a PTFE bottle going off will get the neighbours out of their houses and the dogs barking.

Finally you will get to the day when you can taste the results. There may be far fewer bottles than when you started, and the economic results may make each one the equivalent of Dom Perignon ’22, but don’t expect to win gold medals. Most home-made liquor is best cut with fruit juice, soft drink, or motor oil. A good 20-40 weight should do it…I always liked to use Bardahl if the homebrew was particularly new.

The Sucker Man

You see a new hell every day – the hatch opens and the creatures slither out. Sometimes you get to see the demons at work, as well.

Today at 9:30 our local infernal manifestation occurred. No pentangle, no candles, no sulphurous smoke. In fact the truck that arrived was quite clean and had a sign from the Melville City Council on the side. The driver hopped out of it, grabbed a metal hook, and summoned Beelzebub.

The truck was fitted with a vacuum cleaner and a big tank of water – I assume it was a holy water – and the chap proceeded to wash down the storm water drains in our street. Then when the things were awash with political promises and other horrors he used a giant hose from the back of the truck to suck the drain dry. I can only assume that there is a market for the sorts of things that went into that hose – I just pry that it is not in the fast food industry.

Noise? I assume we were hearing doomed screams of tortured souls. And it went on for an hour as he did all the drains in the street. I was crossing myself, lighting incense and candles, and making holy signs all the while, and I’m not religious…

As compensation, we now have the cleanest drains in the city. Just in time for the autumn rains and the next load of gunk.