Sick In The Midst Of Sickess

I am crook. I think it was a leftover cauliflower dish that did it and the effects took several days make themselves known. I’ve reviewed the professional advice re Covid 19 and have dismissed that possibility.

It’s a great comfort, but not as great as you would think. Belly pain, borborismus, and the risk of not being on the toilet when you really should be made for a poor Mother’s Day.

I’m well aware that I have no-one to blame but myself…however it makes for a damp blanket when we should be celebrating.

At least there was food in the house and we got the MD presents, cards, and flowers purchased in time.

And yes, we do have TP. Not a hoard of rolls but enough for the occasion.

I Sit Aghast

No point in standing aghast if you can be comfortable. Ghasting takes a lot out of you.

I went for a shop run today to buy essential supplies – no-one can fault me for that. The essential supplies were Easter eggs and petrol. We do an exciting annual ritual with chocolate molotov cocktails here in Bull Creek and this year will be no exception. Won’t the neighbours be surprised!

Well, no more surprised than I was when I called in to the local BP petrol station. 91 octane unleaded petrol is now 89 cents per litre. Two months ago it was at $ 1.49 for that same measure. I topped up the tank for less than $ 15.00. ( The petrol actually cost me nothing – I am running out a free gift voucher from my former bank and haven’t spent cash for two months. )

I was delighted, but it does make me think that we are being run through the wringer in normal times – if the station can deal in 89 cent petrol now.

It wasn’t all frugal joy, however. There were plenty of chocolate eggs in the shop but from the prices, it looks like Cadbury has joined OPEC.

The Long Weekend

This weekend in Western Australia is a long one – the workers are to be unchained for a day on Monday to celebrate the fact that they will be chained up again on Tuesday.

Monday is a non-labouring Labour Day.

I would leap in celebration were it not for the fact that I am retired from business and am too busy to waste time relaxing. I need every waking hour to do things that I want to do – as opposed to things that other people want me to do. I am a hard taskmaster, driving myself constantly. I would put in a complaint about me except that the only person who would read it is me and I would dismiss it out of hand. You get a lot of whining these days from old folks like me.

In truth, public festivals are so much flannel to a retired person. We set our routine by our own clocks – and even the people who while away hours watching television can order time to suit themselves with the on-demand channels. No more waiting a week for the next episode of your pot-boiler.

My various hobbies are the routines I follow. As I type this a coat of paint is drying on a model airplane. Or I might put in a couple of hours at the keyboard or image editing tablet. Or read a book. I need no day release chit from the state government to do it.

When you’re retired…every weekend is a long weekend. And if you schedule it right, you can travel with no crowds on the roads or in the airports.

Rituals, Rites, And Rat Shit

Being a worder, I can get hours of pleasure out of chasing through a dictionary or encyclopedia to find the connections and differences in our language. Did I speak French or German or any other language I would be lost for days.

Thus my digging into ” rite ” and ” ritual “. The former seems to be defined as customary act that can be secular or religious. The latter as a series of these acts in defined order. I suspect it is all just a matter of ceremonial degree. And as I got my degree rolled up in a cardboard tube through the post with no ceremony whatsoever, it has instilled in me a lifelong loathing of ritual, rite, and ceremonials. Can I decently avoid them, I do.

When compelled by social or legal pressure, I can conform and bob, nod, sit, stand, and mumble as well as anyone else…and I would never seek to cause distress to others by a churlish attitude. But my avoidance of church, temple, parade ground, or assembly is deliberate.  And I do not think I have shortchanged myself in doing so.

The theatre of ritual can be amusing if one is merely a spectator – go see the guard changed or the colours trooped in London and it is a fine show. Goggle at royal weddings whenever they are in town. But do not feel obliged to stand at rigid attention to salute past, present, or future shows. They all finish the same way.

This aversion to social show also affects me on trips. I will pay to see a comedy in a theatre but will not enter the various local houses of worship to see either the worshipers nor the pews in which they sit. The artwork inside is sometimes pretty, but more often florid and foolish. The actions of the faithful even more so. I prefer them out on a civil footpath rather than inside on the religious warpath,

This also affects the interest or pleasure I might get from popular entertainment that depends upon ritual scenes to tell a story. I frequently find that when the story is requited to become fabulous and/or religious that I really want to leave and find a bar or a book of engineering tables.

How Did You Know?

At the local post office I fell into conversation with the lady behind the counter as she clerked through a power bill. We have arrangements here in Australia to pay a lot of our things through the local Post Office and it’s a real time-saver, I can tell you.

Well, being the 2nd of January at the time, we wished each other a Happy New Year and agreed that we had survived the holiday season. We both looked tired. But then I told her not to get too comfortable, as Chinese New Year was coming at the end of the month – the 25th.

She is of Chinese ancestry so I reminded her that it’ll be two more weeks of family celebrations, preparations, food, expense, parties, having to stay up late wishing that everyone would just go home…while smiling brightly. And that she doesn’t qualify for the red envelopes any more because she’s too old – now she has to hand them out…

She laughed, but then looked concerned. How did I know all this? I’m not even vaguely Chinese…

Kid, we all have this sort  of thing – no matter what our ethnicity or culture. 8 days of Hanukkah, 10 days of Rosh Hoshanah, 12 days of Christmas, Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Christmas and New Years slightly offset from all the rest of the country…The poor old Mussies have to go hungry all day for a month and the Hindus and Buddhists probably have something similar somewhere in their own calendars. We all get a season to be ever so jolly and I suspect we all enjoy the first couple of days but then sit smiling grimly until the thing finishes.

One thing to brighten our day, though. You might be sleep-deprived at the end of the fortnight here in Australia, but you’re not stuck on the platform of a Chinese railway station waiting to get home after it.

Planning For The New Year’s Resolutions

No good cobbling these things together at the last moment…people see through that in an instant. Far better to sit and sensibly plan promises that you intend to break as soon as the hangover eases up. The new decade will be a good opportunity to clear the old cobwebs of questionable behaviour and establish new and worse habits. I fully intend to:

a. Avoid passive-aggresive behaviour. It never works. Pick one and go with that.

b. Eat more greens and fruit. I have a cocktail book with an entire section of fruit drinks. I should be legless about 80% of the time but there’ll be no danger of scurvy.

c. Be positive. Mind you, I’m not sure whether that means I should be given doses of antibiotic or just settle down to be more bloody-minded about things.

d. Save more money. This is an easy resolution to keep as I do not save anything at all now. 5 cents saved would see this done. I shall go mug someone for 5 cents.

e. Broaden my mind. Everyone says this is desirable but no-one knows why. And the proposed formulae for doing it differ widely. One says travel, one says study, one says mingle with the mob. I am going to canvas more opinions until I find someone who wants me to eat and drink to excess.

f. Exercise more. This seems a good idea until you find out that the exercise involves turning off your mind for hours at a time just to burn calories. I plan to take fewer calories in and to make the most of the ones that are in there already. If this sounds like work, that is precisely what it is…work to accomplish things while exercising.

g. Be more mindful but carefree and seriously joyful at the same time. Now this is just getting to sound like bullshit. A few more lines of it and I’ll have my memes for the year. Should be able to sell a book of them, if I make it sound scientific and mysterious at the same time. I need a vaguely biblical name to sell it, but.

The Annual Family Traffic Jam

Today we motor south to eat lunch with the wife’s family. It is an annual event occasioned by Christmas and is generally quite pleasant once we reach our destination. It’s some 60 Km from our house and can be accessed by a modern freeway.

This freeway is under permanent reconstruction – it has been incomplete for the last 6 years to my certain knowledge – and the traffic restrictions will reduce the flow of holiday-makers to a trickle at several points. Bumper-to-bumper 60 Km there and B-T-B back again at the end of the afternoon.

There is an electric train service to the town where the relatives live but no effective connection between the train station and their district – and it is a spread-out town. No taxis to speak of and precious few Ubers operating on Christmas day.

I’ll be driving, so not drinking. The relatives will be in a reverse position so the day should deteriorate nicely.

‘Tis The Season…

To be nervous.

Falalalala La la la la.

Think I’ll phone the septic service.

Falalalala La la la la.

Liquid sounds are surely growin’.

Falalalalala La la la.

Christmas cheer is over flowin’.

Falalala Don’t get it on your shoes.

If you have a family tradition for the holidays that no-one else in the street seems to follow, are you in the right street? This is particularly poignant for those of us who live in a mixed bag. Our street hosts people from identifiably different ethnicities and many different religions. Only some would consider this part of the year to be a holiday season requiring traditional food and activities – for the rest it is just another week or so, but with fruitcake.

I myself live in a mixed household and if any of us were fanatics we could rub each other the wrong way something chronic. We do not, however, and the treble holiday season passes pretty cheerfully – except as we get older the calendar New Year’s Eve has toned down considerably. Ageing livers and dodgy eyesight mean driving home after midnight from some riotous nightclub is out of the question and we like to hit the hay earlier in the evening anyway.

But I do like the holidays – as much for the forced cheer as for the real stuff. Watching relatives who would normally bite at one another playing nice and kissy is amusing no end. If the festive event is held at someone else’s quagmire, so much the better. You can always offer to help with the dishes but leave early.




Off With The New – On With The Old

I am currently shopping for a white, flowing robe with long sleeves. I’m not an expert at fabrics so I’m not entirely sure if it should be linen, cotton, or muslin. But it has to have a lot of folds and flow smoothly.

I’ll also need a belt or rope of some sort to gird it round me – a gold colour would be best.

The third article needed is a trumpet. Not the valve sort like Louis Armstrong played – the long thin version you see in renaissance paintings. Long and thin and bright brass.

I’m going to become a herald angel. I plan to adopt the name of Hark. On Christmas Eve I will go from door to door announcing two things:

  1. The birth of an important religious figure.
  2. The idea that I will keep on playing the trumpet until they give me gold, frankincense, or myrrh. I have located a woman who says she can resell the spices on eBay, and I can deal with the gold myself.

As this is just the first year of operation for the racket, I will keep it to Christmas and see if the returns cover the equipment and costume outlay. Then I can expand it to cover other religions and the birthdays of their major figures. I may need to have multi-lingual signs made for the more obscure ones.

Let’s face it…no matter how much reverence you have toward the founder of your particular faith, it rarely extends to listening to trumpet fanfares at 2:00AM. You’d pay to have that cease.

Note: I do not know how to play a trumpet, which should make it perfect…

Thanksgiving Outrage In Britain, Europe, and Australasia

Facebook commenters all around the world are gearing up to be outraged at people in the United States this coming November 28th as the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Special scorn memes are being written for use whenever the poster’s attention score drops.

Of course there will be lots of them that target the American President for calumny, but that is pretty well a constant throughout the year. There will be any number of sneering and pious ones that mention pilgrims and the native tribes, but funnily enough the pilgrims will be the only ones held up to ridicule. The day will draw fire from the religiously-inclined as well as the opposite camp. One thing you can be sure of – if it is American, it’s going to be judged wrong…


Yet Canada – that other North American plot of land – also celebrated a Thanksgiving day on October 14th. And no-one raised a peep about it – perhaps the crafty Canucks sneaked it in while people were looking the other way or were preparing to be culturally outraged about Halloween and Trick Or Treat… maybe people were just sympathetic to Canada for suffering another Trudeau Election and decided to give them a bye this time.

I’m thankful all the time – I go to sleep in warm bed and wake up each morning. I eat and drink my fill. I read whatever I like and build toy airplanes every day. The only part of this that makes me nervous is the thought that Facebook commentators will batten upon me and become outraged. I can’t decide whether I should pay more attention to them…or less.