RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

‘Where there’s tea there’s hope.’ Arthur Wing Pinero.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

As you might imagine, after being so ill last week I had a very, very quiet weekend.  I slept, took flu medication, sat gazing into space for long periods of time . . . and then slept some more.  And I drank tea. Pots and pots of tea . . .

These days I drink mostly green tea.  For years and years I drank ‘normal’ tea (that is black tea with milk) and wouldn’t have thought to drink anything else.  Both my parents being English, tea was a daily staple and a cure-all for everything.  (The British consume over 60 billion cups of tea per year.  That sounds a lot—around 900 cups a year for every man, woman and child in Great Britain—but when you break it down that’s only 2.465 cups each per day.  Pfffttt.  Easy peasy.  I can do that before leaving for work in the morning.)

I can’t remember now when I switched over to drinking green tea, although I probably made the switch because I became convinced green tea was going to be somehow better for me (anti-oxidants and all that jazz.  Or perhaps I just kept forgetting to buy milk to put in my regular tea . . . )  Whatever the reason, once I switched over I never went back to my ‘English Breakfast’which is a bit surprising because green tea is definitely an ‘acquired taste’ (my friend Pam says it is like drinking lawn clippings) and I remember I didn’t really like it all that much at first.

But perseverance is a wonderful thing and slowly I became accustomed to it and now am quite happy with my healthier choice.  (The same thing happened when I decided to switch from white wine to to red.  Red wine is also supposed to be a healthier option—and I was drinking far too much white.  My logic was sound.  I didn’t like red wine very much, therefore I was bound to drink less of it.  Right?  Well, that didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would, (there are some seriously nice reds out there) but, on the plus side, I am drinking a lot less white . . . )

Anyway, during one of those flu-medicated-gazing-into-space-tea-sipping moments last weekend I did stop to wonderhow much tea is too much? Seems I remembered (way way back in the fevered recesses of my mind) that I once read that drinking too much green tea can cause hallucinations?  Could that be right? Should I be worried?

Nah.  I decided I really didn’t have the energy to fret about it.  Any green-tea-inspired hallucination was going to have to duke it out with my industrial strength flu-medication . . .  and I would just sit back (cuppa in hand) and enjoy the show . . .

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

‘I reckon being ill as one of the greatest pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work until one is better.’ Samuel Butler.

I am not at all sure what Samuel Butler was thinking when he said being ill was ‘one of the greatest pleasures of life’.  What a strange thing to say.  I have been what my father used to call ‘sick as a dog’ all week and I can see absolutely no pleasure in it whatsoever . . .

(And, before I go any further, what kind of odd expression is ‘sick as a dog’ anyway?   Why do we always blame the dog?  (dog tired . . . dog in the manger . . . dog’s breakfast . . .  go to the dogs . . . )  Although I have also lately heard the expression ‘sick as a parrot’  too.  Not sure what to make of that one either.  )

As you can probably tell, I am a mite grumpy.  I don’t like being unwell and I have felt absolutely miserable for over a week now (nothing life threatening—just some flavour of miscellaneous virus that happens to be doing the rounds . . . along with a cough . . .  and a runny nose . . . and a monster headache . . . ) and at time of writing I am showing very little sign of improvement.

(I don’t get sick very often but when I do I go all in. I know they say things usually get worse before they get better but hey—give a girl a break—please!  I am well and truly over it. Well, no.  I’m not over it, as in ‘I’m feeling better’. I’m over it, as in ‘I’m fed up’.  Perhaps I should have said that to begin with. Oh dear God I’m rambling . . . )

Anyway, I think the thing that bothers me most (apart from the actual feeling like crap part of course) is that there is very little I can actually do about it.  I can take a tablet for my headache, and another to stop my nose running, and I can keep up the fluids, and rest when I can . . . blah, blah, blah (we all know the drill) . . . . but in the end I really just have to wait it out.  My body will heal itself when it is good and ready and not before.

You know, it’s so easy to sink into the mire when you feel dreadful (nobody likes me, everybody hates me, think I’ll go and eat worms . . . ) and I find I have to constantly pull myself up and remind myself—’It is only the flu, Sal!  You will get over it.  This too shall pass . . . ‘

And perhaps, in a round about sort of way, that is what Samuel Butler was getting at.  Perhaps he meant that by being ill (but not too ill) one might be forced to remember what a pleasure it was when one felt well . . . 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

‘O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?’ Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

Every year I look forward to the cooler months of autumn and winter.   As we come to the end of another long hot summer I always start to think how nice it is going to be when the temperature drops a little and I will able to get back into wearing something ‘with sleeves’ . . . and the girls and I will be able to go for longer walks again without fear of Molly ‘overheating’ (and me having to carry her home) . . . and we can spend our evenings cuddled up on the couch together, all warm and snug in front of the heater . . . 

And then the cooler weather finally does come in, and I pull all my jumpers, jackets and scarves out of the wardrobe, and the air is crisp and clean and fresh, and it’s great.  For about a week.  And then I start to remember that I never actually really liked the cold weather much.  (Or ever.)  I have even moved cities (and countries) because I didn’t like the winters.  Sigh.

But there’s always a silver lining.  Tomorrow is the winter solstice (Australian Eastern time)—the shortest day of the year.  Yay!  That means it is downhill now all the way to Spring . . .

So until then I am going to do as my Maudie does—find a cosy spot (and my own hot water bottle) and hunker down to wait for the return of the warmer months.

It’ll be nice to not have to wear ‘sleeves’ again . . .

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

‘Love me, love my umbrella.’ James Joyce.

I’ve been thinking about umbrellas a lot this week.  (Sad, but true.)  That may have had something to do with the fact that we have been absolutely deluged with rain and, consequently, I seem to have spent most of this week being poked in the head, dripped on, tripping over or dodging bloody umbrellas.  (If that is not the reason I have been thinking so much about umbrellas I obviously have entirely too much time on my hands . . . )

As you may have guessed, unlike James Joyce, I am not really a fan. For myself, I have always found umbrellas to be more trouble than they are worth.  They never seem to go up (or down) exactly when you need them to, they turn themselves inside out at the slightest breath of wind, one of the spokes will inevitably pop out of its sheath thereby threatening to poke the eye out of any unwary passerby andnot leastthe rain always seems to come in underneath them anyway and you still end up getting soaked.

That is not to say that I don’t own an umbrella, of course.  In fact, I own several.  There are two in my car, two more in the house (that I am sure about) and (I think) there is even another one hiding out in the laundry somewhere.  But, the thing is, I don’t remember ever buying any of these umbrellas (or any umbrella, ever, for that matter) nor I can tell you the last time I ever actually used one of them.  (How did five unwanted and unused umbrellas manage to survive my last major house cleanout?  No idea.)

It not the umbrellas themselves that bother me so much.  It’s that many umbrella-users don’t seem to take into account how their umbrella wielding behaviour impacts those around them.  Surely there is some kind of polite umbrella-etiquette written somewhere that should be adhered to? Like, perhaps you should wait until you step outside before opening up your umbrella.  (Apart from being just plain rude, has no-one ever told you that opening up an umbrella indoors brings bad luck?)  Or that it might be nice to shake the rain off your soaking wet umbrella before coming into the coffee shop.  And don’t get me even started on the matter of personal space . . .

Still, perhaps I am making too much of a fuss.  Perhaps I have dodged my last delinquent umbrella—for this week at least.  As I finish writing the rain clouds are starting to move away and the sun is trying to struggle through . . .

. . .  which puts me in mind of another sort of umbrella that I really don’t mind so much.  (In spite of my earlier words I am not a complete brolly-phobe.)  I am, in fact, quite partial to a lovely big parasol, which moves about only just enough to keep the sun off me, thus enabling me to sit comfortably in the shade while sipping a suitably chilled beverage (which, if I am lucky, might even contain its own teeny, tiny, umbrella . . . )

Ahhh . . . roll on summer . . .

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

‘Since I was little, this is my favourite place to come.’ Peter Pan. (J.M. Barrie)

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I can’t remember what Peter Pan’s favourite place was when he was little (the indian camp?—the mermaid lagoon?) but I remember mine was always the movie theatre.

Some things never change . . .

The Plaza Theatre
(see here for photos)

 
7 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

‘All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.’ Jane Wagner.

How old were you the first time someone asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Five?  Six?  Younger?  Do you remember what your answer was?

I don’t.  At least I remember being asked the question but I don’t remember whether I had an answer.  Rethinking that question today, some fifty-something years later, it occurred to me that nothing much has changed.   I still don’t know what my answer would be.

We often hear people state, with absolute conviction, “I knew when I was 5 years old I wanted to be a fireman / doctor / pilot / soldier / actor / writer (insert preferred career path here)” and that is what they went on to become.  They never wavered in their conviction.  These people are (rightly) admired for their dedication and passion towards their chosen careers—but where does that leave the rest of us?  What about those of us who never really wanted to ‘be’ anything in particular?

I never had any clear picture of what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I am sure when I was younger I entertained the possibility of a number of potential careers. Perhaps I would work with animals . . . or do something with my art . . . or go into journalism . . . but no.  There were too many choices and I never seemed able to pick ‘just one’ and stick with it.  Which was a problem, because we were always being encouraged to do just that.  What are you going to do?  What are you going to be?  What was once a simple little fun question full of exciting possibilities became a more serious anxiety-inducing question requiring a practical answer.

But I couldn’t do it.  And it bothered me—for a long time.  I was always so sure (because I was always being told) that flitting from job to job, place to place, interest to interest, was not the way I was supposed to be. I never felt like I quite measured up.

But you know time passes and I eventually came to accept that I was never going to be able to choose just one thing.  I’m just not built that way.  And that’s okay.  Over the last 40 year (yikes—40 years—how did that happen?) I have served in the armed forces and worked in retail, the media, health care, finance, business and education. I may not have specialised in any one thing in particular, but I learned a lot of skills and gained a lot of experience.  No regrets.

I also came to realise that, in spite of the pressure to be otherwise, there are millions of people out there just like meunableor unwillingto commit to one single choice, and instead choosing to try many different things. And guess what?  There is even a name for people like us (and not a rude one either)—Multipotentialites‘. Multi-potential-itea person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.  How cool is that?

If any of what I have said here has struck a chord and you’d like to know more, check out a fabulous Ted Talk by Emilie Wapnick where she outlines the merits . . .  and the need . . .  for people like us.

My choices and I feel totally vindicated . . .

 
9 Comments

Posted by on June 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

‘Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.’ James A. Garfield.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I love bread.  In fact, I never really met a bread I didn’t like—brown, white, rye, seeded, ciabatta, damper, focaccia, roti, soda, multigrain, pumpernickel, (banana—not sure that counts as a real bread but . . . yum)—the list goes on and on and on. . .

And, although I do agree with James Garfield that bread needs something to go with it, for me it’s not peanut butter.  For me it is cheese (any kind of cheese) and ham . . .  and chutney . . .  and  pickles . . . or . . . if it’s toasted, pâté.  I could, seriously, live on toast and pâté . . . and red wine . . .

Well—when I say I could live on it, I probably actually couldn’t.  My digestive system seems to have much more to say about what I can, and can’t, eat (and drink) these days.  Sigh.

Sometimes getting older sucks . . .

 
9 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: