Monday, June 25, 2018

May 25. Day 176. The face of my ABC

Kelly Higgins-Devine in the studio tonight

The people who you meet - former QUT journalism student Lily Nothling leaves the ABC building after a shift
Ten cents a day or $36 a year. That's what the ABC costs you, me and every Australian. That's almost exactly what I pay every time I get my toe nails polished. I know which is the better investment. (Hint, as much as I enjoy having the dead skin scraped from the soles of my feet, the pedicure loses). Yet there seems to be a growing movement  of people who consider publicly funding the national broadcaster to be on the nose. 
Actually, I don't buy it. The Liberal Party Federal Council may have passed a motion to that effect but no side of government will act on it. The figures don't lie. According to to Media Watch tonight 12 million Australians will watch ABC TV this week, five million will listen to ABC Radio and this month 13 million podcasts will be downloaded. While no-one can never say never, I believe we need the ABC now more than ever. With so much media being thrown at us from all directions, a reliable credible national broadcaster is an investment in an informed public. But of course I would say that, wouldn't I? I'm a journalist and an academic - that puts me in the looney left basket not once but twice, according to popular perception. And, of course, I've been visiting the ABC Brisbane studios every week for 17 years including tonight. Yeah, I've consumed a great big dose of ABC Kool-Aid. But I've also consumed thousands of hours of ABC TV, radio and online content. I've been doing so since the days of Play School and I'm proud of that - I'd even give up pedicures for the privilege.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

June 24. Day 175. Fifty and Fabulous

To borrow from Skyhooks "All my friends are turning 50". Actually, if I'm honest, for most of us it's been there, done that. My friend Megan is the spring chicken but today we gathered at the Albert River Winery to mark an occasion 50 years in the making. And what a wonderful afternoon it was. In glorious winter sunshine we sat on the deck,  looked out over the vineyard and mountains beyond and ate, drank and were merry. Personally I find it hard to believe that 1) Megan is 50. That can not be a thing and 2) It is a decade since I made a Devo hat to wear to her 80s-inspired 40th birthday. How time flies. Oh how much has changed since then. But what hasn't changed is that Megan is a great human being and one of my best buddies. The inscription on the cake had it right "fifty and fabulous".

Saturday, June 23, 2018

June 23. Day 174. Food for thought

It was something like a scene from the 1990s Kan Tong commercials. The word had got around. Margaret was home. The fly-by mince distribution window was open for business. The birds were lining up for a feed. I'm not sure where the saying "bird brained"came from but these are smart little cookies. It took almost zero time from when Margaret arrived home for the first birds to fly in. I know kookaburras are carnivorous but I'm pretty sure the native diet of kookaburras is not Coles mince. Try telling Margaret that. She has never been swayed by that in the past and I doubt she's about to start now. Anyway, I reckon mince as about as similar to the "normal" kookaburra diet as Kan Tong is to authentic Asian cuisine.....

Friday, June 22, 2018

June 22. Day 173. It's a dog's life

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I'm sure Charles Dickens was having a premonition about my day today when he wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. The case for the negative. A wake up phone call some time after 5am from my mother in Rome. She had been robbed probably on a crowded bus. I spoke to her about cancelling credit cards and went back to finding another lung to cough up. I finished my antibiotics today. I'm still coughing, the sort of cough that Charles Dickens wrote about in such works as Dombey and Son. But then the day improved. Three weeks after being sent to hospital, I brought my neighbour Margaret home today. She was delighted. So were my dogs. And then because it was international Take Your Dogs to Work Day, Rumple and Winkle accompanied me into the city to meet Charles at his office. They took their place at the boardroom table overlooking the Story Bridge. Happy Days.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

June 21. Day 172. Barking mad

 The English language is barking mad. Seriously I'd hate to be an alien or a person learning English as second language. I was at the playground today with my little friend Elliott. He was selling me volcanoes and lava at the shop (cost three sticks and a leaf) and after that he started playing in the park. No matter how good the playground equipment park, dirt, sticks and leaves always hold a particular attraction. As he was making it rain bark, a dog just over the fence started to bark. So we started talking about bark and how the word can mean both the noise a dog makes and the stuff on a tree or processed to make ground cover. We laughed that the dog might actually be spitting out ground cover. Weird things words, especially when you get to the business of homophones. And then Elliott's mum and little brother Owen arrived. Owen doesn't have much in the way of actual words yet but is most proficient at getting his meaning across and today that was he wanted to do pretty much everything his big brother was up to, especially the bits involving bark and sticks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June 20. Day 171. Orange is the new black

 Yesterday was something of a dark day where dark was the colour of the room.
Today started much of the same but around lunch time I felt as though I had, perhaps, turned a corner.
I made a decision. The dogs deserved a walk and a walk they would get - as soon as I'd had a nap just to make sure.
I decided that we would take it easy which around my place means driving to the walk. The downside of living in a suburb with the words high and hill in the name is that there are high hills. The dogs would totally have been up for it but my lungs perhaps not.
So we drove to South Bank and walked across the Goodwill Bridge to the Botanic Gardens. After the dogs gave their warm regards to the birds we walked back again. The timing was perfect in terms of catching the orange setting sky over South Bank. The weather gods really laid on the colour this afternoon. It was a pleasant change after too much self-imposed time in an isolation ward.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 19. Day 170. When you lie down with dogs

I started the day in bed and by 7.30pm had moved about 100 metres to the couch.My mother started the day in Venice and was in Florence by lunch.
I received an email from both locations, the second one saying "Mum says slow down". Message received. Even from the other side of the world mother knows best.
Yesterday I followed the health advice of a television commercial and soldiered on with the help of drugs. Today I took the advice of an actual medical professional and stayed in bed. Also, I didn't have the energy to move plus is was cold and I like to hibernate when it's cold.
I have bronchitis. Again. Should anyone need the sound of a cough for a movie or play about someone dying of a chest infection come on round. Bring ear plugs.
My family went out. I don't blame them. I would have closed the door and painted a big red cross on it as it slammed shut. That was the tradition in London during the times of the Black Death.
So it was just the dogs and I. They stayed close - Winkle, being Winkle, had a tendency to be a bit too close. She also stole my tissues regularly. I didn't have the energy to stop her.
I didn't find any literature that being licked by a dog would help bronchitis - but nor was there anything saying it would hurt either of us so Nurses Winkle and Rumple got to do what they do best - provide unconditional love in the most trying of circumstances.