Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24. Day 297. One giant step

I stood there, not sure if the fact I had to take off my glasses was a good or a bad thing. It was blurry but one thing was clear, it was a long, long way down. Repeat after me all you have to do is step and  gravity - and ideally the harnesses - will do the rest.
When I signed up for this some months ago a bridge swing seemed like a totally awesome idea. Standing on the edge of the Goodwill Bridge wearing a dragon onesie and the doubts weren't only creeping they were jumping into my throat. But then I was ready. On the count of three. One. Two. Three. Go.
And there it is. Freedom. I was flying like a bird (a great big green totally lacking grace bird floating under the bridge). Awesome. Too much fun and about $700 raised for Save the Children. I'd call that a win. Listen to the audio from ABC Radio Brisbane here


Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23. Day 296. Living on the edge

Just after midnight it hit me. Jumping off a bridge even with a harness is intensely stupid. It is a bloody long way down. Some people, like the bloke water blasting the roof down the road this morning, have good reason to be perched at a great height with only a safety line for protection. My day job allows me to stay much closer to the ground. Heights are totally not an occupational hazard. Marking is my biggest occupational hazard thrill. But I volunteered for the Goodwill Bridge Swing and with hundreds of $$$$ in sponsorship for Save the Children I will have to just close my eyes and leap. In any event, falling is something I am quite accomplished at.
So as the clock ticks down to the big jump at 4pm tomorrow, the prize for the best comment goes to my neighbour Margaret who said she would come and watch but the jump clashes with The Bold and the Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22. Day 295. Standing your ground

I admit I have to admire the dignified way little kookaburra stood his or her ground despite a long and sustained attack. Knowing you are right is not always enough. A pedestrian has right of way on a pedestrian crossing but that won't stop the truck from mowing you down. Everyone has a right to be heard at a staff meeting but shutting up can reduce the length of the agony. And poor little kookaburra was totally within her rights to sit on a hot tin roof. She wasn't bothering anyone, but try telling the crows that. Two of them launched a sustained attack. Rather than engage in a chick fight, kookaburra did her best to just turn the other cheek. And full points for that. Personally I'd have been taking flight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21. Day 294. Shining light

Today's shining light good neighbour award goes to, drum roll please, me.
Okay, I invented the awards and judged them and was the only entry (possibly because I didn't actually open up entries to anyone else) but it's a voting system that has worked in many a foreign land and in any case  I stand by the results. And as there is no prize involved chances of anyone actually fighting me for it are rather slim, Besides under the terms I just invented no correspondence will be entered into.
Anyway to the citation (which I wrote) Susan takes out the good neighbour award for taking her neighbour bra shopping. I know, right. Big gold star and elephant stamp right there. Bra shopping, the most humiliating experience known to man (not, I suspect, that many men do it but still). I don't think I have yet recovered from the experience of being taken into David Jones at that sensitive age and being "fitted" for my first bra by a very stern looking bra specialist. I thought my job today was to be companion and taxi driver and hand over the fitting room business to a lady much more experienced in the fitting of 87-year-old women than I. My plan was to loiter outside in the undies department in that bored time honoured way husbands do while clothes shopping. But Margaret thought my opinion on the Size 20 D bras was necessary so into the change room I ventured. Let's just leave it at that. But you must give Margaret points for being a good sport. When I jokingly suggested she might want one of the skimpy, frilly numbers she countered "well, at least I know I won't need any padding ...."

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20. Day 293. A birdy with a yellow bill

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window sill 
Cocked his shining eye and said: 
“Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!” ...
Actually that didn't happen and not just because the birdies around here aren't great conversationalists. It's more that if they are planning on making housecalls they bypass my abode and head next door. All the feathered friends around here know Margaret's place is where you go for mince. It's a bit like a McDrive through. They arrive at the window and she dispenses their orders. Rumple prefers to eat in rather than take away. He runs through the front door and jumps on Margaret's lap to get his meal. I'm pretty sure the people at Coles must think she has an unusual passion for spag bol or beef pies given the extraordinary amount of mince one octogenarian goes through in a week, every week. Still it's an arrangement that seems to suit all of them and given Margaret is normally up and at that window at 4am (or so she tells me. I am never in a position to independently verify that information) there's no chance the birdies with the yellow bills will have to chastise her for sleeping in.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19. Day 292. I'm on fire

I love a sunburnt country. A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
 How often quoted. What a beautiful, romantic notion of the country. It's nice that Dorothea Mackellar included some of the less lovely aspects of Australia - such as the droughts and flooding rains. What a shame that isn't even the worst of it (and here I'm not even talking about the killer reptiles, aquatic creatures or arachnids)
It's the cyclones, thunder storms and bushfires that have the
potential to devastate, of which I speak (how I am not on the pay roll of the Australian Tourist Commission with such a glowing assessment of the country I will never know).
In any event, summer is party season in this part of the world but we can't let that be an excuse to let down our guard and not be ready for the other things that can strike at this time of year. This was the thought behind the Emergency Ready Community Event at South Bank today. It was a timely reminder to get the emergency kit, the non perishable foods, the batteries and the insurance ready and to have an evacuation plan sorted. You will
almost certainly never need it but it could be a lifesaver - literally - in a disaster. The day concentrated on advice and reminders but there were also information stalls, demonstrations (I was particularly taken by the bush fire simulation) and a live ABC Radio broadcast.
There was also a strong emphasis on fun children's entertainment because
1) It's important to remember who we are doing this for and
2) Generational change of attitudes comes from working with the kids
Also it made for a great family day out in the sun. Now where did I out those insurance documents, precious photos, batteries, candles ....?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18. Day 291. Neon lights

For a short while this afternoon I thought I was in the Underground Nightclub circa 1983. It is entirely possible my mind wouldo also have been transported back to a gymnasium in the Olivia Newton John Let's Get Physical period  but I never entered a gym in the days of leg warmers and flouro tights for safety reasons. But in any event I felt over-dressed or under dressed or like the only person who didn't see the fancy dress clause on the party invitation. It was a rare Saturday when I had to GO to work, as in go into the office. Many a Saturday and Sunday I am glued to a bundle of marking or a computer screen but normally I am doing so in the privacy of my own home in my PJs or sports gear. But today I was invited to be part of a panel discussion in front of a visiting Indian media delegation and while it was a relatively informal affair I rather suspected culturally and in every other way my PJs - even the good ones - might have been deemed inappropriate. So I did the whole work clothes, hair and make-up thing and went to work. The rest of the city looked far more laid back. The closer I walked to the Goodwill Bridge, the more it appeared like a giant box of highlighter pens had leaked over everyone and everything. In the end, I just had to ask. Turns out these were competitors turning up for the anti depression charity Beyond Blue fundraising twilight run. Because every charity event needs a theme, this one was the Neon Run and the participants were well and truly getting into the spirit of it. And good for them. Shining the light on depression - even if it looks like a bright disco light - has to be a good thing. For too much of the time it's an issue hidden in the shadows. I didn't stick around to see how all those colours looked with a big dose of sweat thrown in but even before the race was run I consider them all winners.