Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18. Day 230. Oh sh*t!

 As a general rule, I find looking at the world through the lens of a camera heightens my attention to detail and my focus, if you like.
But not always. Every rule is made to be broken. So it was when taking pics of a little pied cormorant sunning itself in the city botanic gardens today. I was attracted by its wings which it was flapping about. It was only when I got home that I noticed that there was action happening at the other end. It seems I interrupted a private moment. Oh sh*t. And it was quite impressive given the size of the little thing. It was clearly deeply satisfying too. We were all bad attitude up to that point and after that far more contented with the world. It just goes to show that some things are the same no matter which species you are.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 17. Day 229. Laugh, kookaburra laugh

As an Australian (and I am a true blue, ridgee didge, electable to Federal parliament Australian) it is essential that I love kookaburras. Kookas are beautiful birds with laughs that bring a smile to your face even when they wake you before dawn. But my love has limits. Let's face it, Kookaburras are  a little bit intimidating especially when up close and personal. Their beaks are serious instruments designed to catch and kill snakes and rodents. This does not seem to worry my neighbour Margaret. She actually hand feeds them. Today during my visit, not one but two kookas were at Margaret's fly through restaurant. Margaret told me one was male - it had blue markings - and the one with the white markings was female. She had mince on the window sill but also let the birds - see prefers the Aussie slang term jackies  - take bits from her hand. I'd be afraid they'd take a finger or two. There's nothing about a kookaburra that appears in any way malicious but the mere power can not be ignored. What was unmistakable was just how pleased Margaret was at the return of all her beloved birds to her window.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 16. Day 228. Home sweet home

Look who's back where she belongs. After 10 days in hospital, my neighbour Margaret was allowed home today. In her own words she was as pleased as punch. As soon as she was she back in her favourite chair, she was up for visitors - of the four-legged kind. The truth is she would have been hard pressed to keep them away. The dogs heard my car come in. They heard our voices and they were kicking up quite a stink about the injustice of not being allowed a visit. The joy of both parties was unmistakable. This really shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Margaret insisted on having a copy of Winkle Did a Wee with her in hospital to show the nurses ... and the physios ... and the other patients ... and their visitors. She loves those dogs. They love her. Life is back as it should be.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15. Day 227. It's a dog's life

My dogs are the rulers of this roost.  Mostly the biggest boss is four kilos of white fluff. Small dog, big attitude. Rumple lets her get away with it.
But every now and again, the ever-calm, ever patient Rumple decides enough is enough. Rumple decides to assert his authority. Often this is on our walk.
 Rumple decides where we are going and he leaves non-one in any doubt where that will be.
He either digs his paws in and refuses to walk until we are facing the right or simply points his body and pulls.
Today I thought we were going to the University of Queensland.Rumple thought otherwise. Rumple thought we were going to the dog park. Rumple thought right. Winkle and I just followed on. As always Rumple was right. That's the important thing about being a boss - knowing when to intervene for a better outcome.

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14. Day 226. Foaming at the mouth

There is a reason banker rhymes with wanker. I try to avoid all human contact with banks (and let's be honest they try even harder to avoid contact with us mere mortals) but today I had no choice. My neighbour Margaret lives in a world where bank books with a signature in the back are a thing. She does not trust plastic. She certainly does not trust Internet banking. Normally she can just about survive in a cash economy but when your term deposit falls due and you are in hospital there are issues. She was stressing. I went to the Commonwealth Bank to see what could be achieved. Easy, I was told. It can be done over the phone. Except it couldn't. Without a Netbank authorisation number you are not a person. So after a very long wait in a phone queue and an even longer argument with a thoroughly "unhelpful"human I gave up. I was furious. If anything Margaret was more angry especially since she's been banking with the Commonwealth for more than 80 years. Of course upsetting an old lady in hospital didn't seem to bother the bank. Rules are rules even if you are just wanting to put your money from your account into the same account again. Sigh. Tomorrow we try again.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 13. Day 225. Careful, he might hear you

Like just about everyone my age Get Smart was compulsory viewing in my childhood. I didn't know it at the time, but it was my introduction to the genius of Mel Brooks. It was also my introduction to fashion and style thanks to the wonderful Barbara Feldon. Anyway, Get Smart fans will know immediately what I'm talking about when I mention the Cone of Silence. When there was information that should not be overheard Max Smart always insisted the Chief enter the cone. It was always an epic failure. Either everyone could hear or no-one. As often as not they would get stuck in the cone. Anyway, during my visits to my neighbour Margaret in hospital I rather wish I'd had an operational cone. It's as though she thinks the thin curtains between the four beds in the ward absorb all sound. If that's her plan well she "missed it by that much" (another Get Smart reference where that in this context mean a huge margin). She talks about the other patients, their visitors, their ailments, their moods, their showering routine, their meals and even the volume of their televisions as though they somehow can't hear her.
"Would you believe that woman only ate a spoonful of Weetbix this morning," she'll say. But on the upside she's looking well, she's enjoying the attention and she may be allowed home this week. Hospital is treating her well ... and she's loving it (another Get Smart reference).

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 12.Day 224. Have I got a story to tell

Winners are grinners: Karl Stuifzand accepts  Jennifer Blocksidge Memorial Award

 After the final bows of tonight's performance of Breaking The Code at QUT's Gardens Theatre, a most respectable looking lady sitting next to me stood up and unleashed a tirade.
Her F Bomb-laden outburst was about homophobia and how angry she was at the prosecution and persecution of gay people.
It was a quite reasonable response to the story of Alan Turing. While the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game told the story of Turing's work in cracking the Enigma Code this play is about the man.
In many ways it is far more interesting unless you happened to be a Maths nerd which I am most definitely not. Turing was convicted of gross indecency for having sex with a man which set of a chain of events that ultimately lead to his suicide. It was a tragically sad story so beautifully told.  I may or may not have cried (I did.)
Jonathan Blocksidge who presented the award on behalf of the family
Breaking the Code was one of two plays performed by the final year QUT Fine Arts Acting students this month. Half he graduating students performed in Blackrock at La Boite with the remainder in this production. Both finished today and after the production the annual Jennifer Blocksidge Memorial Award was presented. The award is presented to an outstanding final year student and comes with a sizable cheque to be used for personal professional development.  Karl Stuifzand, who played Ricko in Blackrock, took out the prize. In his speech, Karl said that Blackrock and Breaking the Code both tackled important issues that needed to be exposed. His plan is to use his bursary to create theatre that shines a light on issues such as domestic violence, misogyny, racism and homophobia. I can't wait to see what he comes up with. Theatre has a unique power to expose these issues. It can move people (not just me) to tears and in that way change minds, hearts and votes. Here's hoping
You can hear our review of Breaking the Code here
And because you can never get enough theatre talk, the podcast review of Blackrock is here