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‘No colour will ever be brighter for me than black and white.’ Allessandro Del Piero.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines colour as ‘the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light’.

The human eye can only see light within specific wavelengths so, by this definition, colour is the range of visible light that humans can actually see.  For us, the visible spectrum begins with the wavelengths we call violet.  This then moves on to blue, green, yellow, orange, and ends with what we call red.  The trouble with this approach is that there are some very noticeable exceptionslike black and white. In science black and white are not considered colours because they do not have specific wavelengths. White light contains all wavelengths of visible light while black is the absence of visible light.

But you know what?  That doesn’t really work for me.  I need to see black and white as colours because, in spite of my love of all the other colours of the rainbow, my day-to-day life is a vision in monochrome.

My home decor is mostly black and white.  I admit  there are a few (quite a few actually) vibrant pops of colour here and there, but the fact remainsI have white walls, white cupboards, black lounge, black chairs, black and white rugs, black and white prints and black and white quilts and pillows.  (All serving to beautifully accentuate all those other lovely colours I might add).

I also have three little dogs, two black-and-white, and one all black.  Now, I hasten to add that I absolutely did not choose these little dogs so they would match my furniture.  That was more of a happy accident . . .

Many of my clothes are black and whitejust because I really like wearing black and white It works in any season, it’s easy to mix and match (and add to—no more vacillating about whether it is quite the right shade when buying something new for my already far too substantial wardrobe) and I can also easily pep it up with any other colour on a whim (fuschia pink shoes!!) while still looking tidy and presentable when out and about in the world.

(Wearing mostly black and white is also exceedingly helpful when you are the owner of aforesaid three hairy (and prone to frequent shedding) little dogs.  The ever-constant dog-hairs on my clothes are at least evenly distributed . . . )

So, scientific or not, I think I need to continue to see black and white as colours—otherwise I might be forced to rethink my whole take on my world and everything in it.

I’m not sure I’m entirely ready for that . . .

Just as well Mabel had her red collar on or she might have gone completely unnoticed on the black and white quilt.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘What do dogs do on their day off? Can’t lie around—that’s their job.’ George Carlin.

I have just finished my first full week back at work after 3 week’s holiday.  I rocked up to the office on Monday morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed feeling well rested and ready for the start of a whole new year . . .

By 10.30am the glow was seriously starting to wear off.  The phone lines kept dropping in and out.  I discovered that although I was receiving emails into the office, the emails I had been sending out since 7.30 that morning had, in fact, not left the building.  My printer wouldn’t connect.  I was beginning to wish I was back at home spending just one more slow lazy summer day with my girls . . .

In one of my last posts of 2017 I said I was going to spend my Christmas holidays doing as little as humanely possible.  I joked that I might even take lessons from my dogs as they seemed to have taken the notion of rest and relaxation and developed it to high art.  Well, one particularly lazy daywhen I had no particular plans and even less inclination to make any, I decided it might be fun to catalogue their comings and goings, and see what they really did do all day . . .

5:00am
Rise and shine.  Leg stretches (preferably one leg at a time), back stretches (complete with the ‘oh-that’s-so-good’ face), tail wags (just to make sure they are all still working), fitful grumbles, quick kiss and a cuddle with mum and then all rush outside for a pee.  Before I have even boiled the kettle they are all back inside and lined up in the kitchen waiting for breakfast (a half a chicken neck each for them and a cup of tea for me.)

5:15am
All settle down for a post-breakfast nap while mum watches the early morning news.

5:45am
Walkies!!  Morning walks have been a bit of a lottery lately.  This time only Maudie was interested.  Maudie can be relied upon to go for a walk at any time of day, in any weather.  Mabel prefers to choose her days and times.  She is more likely to go if the wind is not blowing . . . or it is not too hot . . . or too cold . . . or the scary magpies are not already out and about.  Molly hardly ever goes on a morning walk.   She’s really not a morning person . . .

6:30am
All worn out.  (Even the two who didn’t go for a walk.)  Time for another nap.

8.00am
Molly roused herself and went to get a drink of water—and then went straight outside to pee the water away again.  Mabel stood up, shook herself, turned around three times and lay back down to sleep.  Molly quickly returned to her favourite spot and immediately fell unconscious.  Maudie never stirred.

9.15am
The next door neighbour’s dog Harry barked, which brought all my girls immediately to their feet and hurtling out into the back yard to see what he was barking at.  A couple of minutes of (loud) conversation, followed by a might-just-have-a-quick-wander-around-the-garden-and-a-pee-while-I’m-out-here and they were all back inside, on the couch and dozing again.

(Sometimes it seriously pisses me off that I can spend hours trying to get to sleep and the girls can go spark-out as soon as they close their eyes . . . )

10.30am
Still sleeping.

11.52am
OMG!  Was that the postman???  They all lift from a dead sleep as one in a frantic dash to the front window to bark maniacally at him until he’s out of sight. (While they do that I wash off the cup of tea I just threw all over myself after being thoroughly startled by the sudden avalanche of noise and movement. )  Once they have successfully seen the postman out of their street they huff and puff and jostle each other for a couple of minutes, and then, you guessed it, time for another nap.

And so the day progressed.  There was more napping.  The odd raised head, cocked ear, tail wag, a bit of scratch and yawn—and then more sleep.  I won’t bore you with the details.  If ‘lying around’ is actually their day job they’re damn good at it.

But I’m not buying it.  They think I actually believe this is how they spend all their days.  They think they’ve got me fooled.  They’re wrong.  I’ve seen videos of the shenanigans some people’s pets get up to when they’re not around.   Knowing the cheeky personalities of my three little girls perhaps ignorance is bliss . . .

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘A good beginning makes a good end.’ English Proverb.

So here’s a good beginningin Chinese Astronomy 2018 is the ‘Year of the Dog’.  (HA—Like it isn’t always ‘year-of-the-dog’ in my household every year anyway . . . )

I have never been one for making New Year resolutions but in the spirit of a brand new doggie-year I found a few listed below that really seem to work for my girls, so I think I am going to give some of them a try.  (I especially like points 1, 4 ,7 and 8 . . . )

Perhaps if you haven’t already made your own list you might like to share some of ours . . .

A very Happy New Year to you all!!

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘What do monkeys sing at Christmas? Jungle Bells, Jungle Bells . . . ‘

To all my family, friends and fellow bloggers –

A Very Merry Christmas to you all!  Hope you all have a fabulous day.  Eat, drink and be merry!

Sally, Mabel, Maude and Molly . . .
(and Maudie’s new Christmas monkey . . . )
XX

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Something feels funny. I must be thinking too hard.’ Winnie the Pooh.

Soas I am sure you are all excruciatingly aware—the end of this year is upon us and the start of a brand new year is fast approaching.  I am not quite sure how that happened again so soon (it feels like I have just gotten over last Christmas and New year) but nevertheless here it is and so it seems like a fitting time for a little self-reflection. (You have my permission to run screaming from the building . . . )

When I started this blog in 2015, I admit, it was on a bit of a whim.  I didn’t know anything about the mechanics of blogging, and in fact, I don’t think I even read any kind of blog on a regular basis.  I can only imagine that it ‘seemed a good idea at the time’.  I was doing a bit of writing for the college brochure (just a paragraph a term) and perhaps thought it might be fun to see if I had anything to say on more a regular basis.

(Well—that’s the party line.  In all honesty I was probably bored rigid and looking for a new ‘project’.  I think I probably fully expected that I would give it a go for a couple of months and then it would all fizzle out, like so many other of my pet projects—’Cure for an obsession: get another one’—Mason Cooley . . . )

Anyhoooo—imagine my surprise then when last week I realised that I have actually been posting my scribbles and sketches for over two years now!  Two years!  That seems incredible to me and I was immediately prompted to ask myself a couple of questions.  Onewhat did I do with my ‘spare’ time before I started blogging? . . . and Two: what on earth did I find to write about during those last two years?

I have no idea what the answer is to question number one (slept more, probably) but the answer to question number two seems to be anything and everything . . . and (often) nothing of consequence at all.  Taking some time to go back and re-read some of my much earlier posts has been a weird experience.  Some of it I remember writing and some of it not at all.  Some of the writing seems quite readable (trying to look at it objectively) but at other times I wonder what on earth I was thinking.  Very strange.

I have never considered myself a natural writer and I have never found writing easy (you know those people that say ‘the writing just flows out of me . . .’?  Well, bully for them.  Personally, I just want to poke their eyes out with a sharp stick) but I do think I assumed it would get easier the more I wrote.  It seems like I was kidding myself for, in fact, I found almost the exact opposite to be the case.  I am not even sure whether this is a good thing or a bad.  Is the writing getting more difficult because I am trying harder—or am I just running out of things to blather about?

So, here’s the thing.  Here’s what I have been asking myself.  Should I continue?  Should I continue to write my weekly missives or have I run my course?  Seriously.  I’m asking.  I don’t think I am ready to stop writing entirely (although there are certainly days . . . ) but then perhaps I have already passed my ‘use-by-date’ and you lovely people who regularly drop in to catch up with me are just all too polite to tell me.

I have been going back and forth about it in my mind for a couple of months now and I have decided I need to clear my head.   I am therefore going to give myself a couple of weeks off.  I mean really ‘off’.  The college closes next week and I will be away from the office for three whole weeks!!!  During that time I have determined I am going to do as little as humanely possible (perhaps I should say as little as ‘doggily’ possible.  My girls have it down to a very fine art and I am going to observe them closely . . . ) and that includes taking some time off from writing this blog too.  (Was that a collective sigh of relief I just heard?)

So dear readers, I am going to now take this opportunity to thank you all for following me thus far and for your much valued friendship and support.  I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve made some fabulous new friends and I’ve even reconnected with some very old friends again too.  It’s been great.

But for right now Winnie and I need to take a bit of a break from thinking so hard, so I want to wish you all a very happy and safe and carefree Christmas (eat, drink and be (really, really) merry!) and a fabulous start to the New Year and, with a bit of luck, a much clearer head (and I’m hoping a vastly renewed enthusiasm) I look forward to seeing you all again in early 2018 . . .

Sally and ‘the girls’ XXX

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘It is necessary to relax your muscles when you can. Relaxing your brain is fatal.’ Stirling Moss.

As I am sure you all realise we are fast coming up to the end of another year.  Yay!  But alsoYikes!  I’m not at all ready for it.  Well—yes I am, but also, no, I’m not, if you know what I mean.  I am really looking forward to the Christmas break when I know I can take a couple of weeks off and just lie around the house and veg out (no phones, no computers, no students!) and play with my girls, go to the movies, do some sketching and catch up on my reading (and sleep)—but I am also very aware there is still so much I have to do before then.

To tell you the truth my brain aches.  I have never had any trouble relaxing my musclesin fact you could say I am a bit of an expert at it (sloth is my favourite deadly sin)—but my brain is a whole other story.  Although I can see Stirling Moss’s point about not relaxing your brain totally, it would be kind of nice to at least be able to switch it down a notchor three.  I like to think I am pretty good at dropping into relaxation mode when I need to and I can’t say I consciously feel overly stressed about anythingbut every now and again my brain likes to kick in and and remind me that I am obviously not as good at switching off as I think I am.

This past week I have woken every morning around 2.00am (wide awake—bam!) to find my mind running through lists of things that really (really, really) have to be done this week.  Because once they are donethere are all these other things that need to be done the week after that . . .  and the week after that . . .

‘. . . the festive season is thundering towards me and I have barely given it a moment’s thought . . . the car has to go to the garage on Friday for its MOT . . . got to think about the new term timetable now  ‘cos if it’s left until the New Year all hell will break loose . . . I have a house inspection this week, I’d better get go over it once more to keep the rental people happy . . . did I actually transfer those last course results on to that other database, or just think I did?  . . . I’ve got to get the brochure away to the printers at the end of next week . . . Marg’s puppy is coming to stay with us for the weekend  (shhhh, I haven’t told the girls yet) . . . what the hell am I going to write for this week’s blog . . . ‘

You know, that kind of thing.  Sigh.

Of course I am no different to anyone else and, if I am perfectly honest, my life is undoubtedly much less complicated and a lot less busy than many othersbut there you are.  It’s not their brains keeping me up at night, it’s mine.  It’s not as if I can do all that much about it either (short of getting really really good at meditation in a hurry and  that seems unlikely) and I do know that all these ‘things-that-need-to-be-done-right-now’ will eventually resolve themselves in due course.  They always do.  (In other words, suck it up and ride it out Sal.)

But you know, in spite of knowing all thatsometimes . . . just sometimes . . . it does a body a world of good just to have a bloody good grumble about it anyway . . .

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Simply because the nanny-state wants to hug you doesn’t mean it’s not tyrannical if you don’t want to be hugged.’ Jonah Goldberg

Australia has always been known as a relaxed, laid back sort of place.  A country that praises character, individuality and celebrates the weird and the wonderful.  People are known to be easy-going, generous and generally hard to ruffle and any slight indiscretions are more likely to be met with a ‘No worries, mate, she’ll be right’ attitude rather than a standup argument or a psychotic rant on social media.  Well, that certainly used to be the case but lately I fear our live-and-let-live attitude is being sorely tested on a daily basis . . .

I absolutely understand the need for rules and regulations.  People need to feel safe, comfortable and deserve not to have their individual rights stomped on by those of a less considerate nature and although I may not agree with them all I have never considered myself to be a rule-breaker.  (A rule-bender, perhaps—it would be kind of un-Australian not to be—but not a rule breaker.)   At least I thought that was the case butwowit seems I was mistaken.  Looking around at the multitude of do-not-must-not-absolutely-definitely-prohibited signage I see these days it is quite possible that I (and probably everyone else I know) have been easily breaking at least one law every day without even realising it, just by quietly going about my humdrum life.  And it is really beginning to bother me.  Maybe it is my age (ahem) but I suddenly find myself becoming very, very tired of seeing ‘not allowed’ every time I turn around . . .

I can’t quite remember what prompted the conversation but earlier this week we spent a very funny morning-tea happily reminiscing and relating tales (and hilarious consequences) of some of the games we used to play as kids.  Among them were British Bulldog, Red Rover, Dodgeball, Freeze Tag and Scrag.  (That last one I hadn’t heard of but the college manager (who is a Kiwi) assured us that dropping a rag into a rain puddle (of which there were always plenty) until it was saturated and then hurling it at your friends, was an absolute hoot . . . )  

None of the games we loved best would ever be allowed in today’s school yards of course (although how a person is ever expected to get through life without learning how to  ‘duck’ is beyond me).  Even seemingly simple pursuits like running, jumping or cartwheeling are now frowned upon at some schools, and in NSW and Victoria swings, see-saws, flying foxes and roundabouts have already been banned.  The once staple of our playgrounds, the monkey bars, have also been removed from many schools.  (I know I have never had children of my own and am therefore not allowed an opinion but—really?)  

Of course, children now will grow up dealing with the laws that are in place today and they know no different, so I guess this does set them up well for when they eventually become adults and have to deal with the morass of (ever-increasing) rules they will have to learn to live by.

Still, it seems a shame to me that many children today will never grow up to knowing the pleasures of playing frisbee or sand volleyball on the beach (so dangerous!) or riding a bicycle without a helmet (how all those Europeans manage to stay alive is a miracle) or, when older, having a quiet beer or glass of wine sitting in the sun while watching their own kids play in the local park while celebrating Grandma Alice’s 95th birthday.  (Good luck finding a park that will allow you to bring beer or wine and please also remember, if Grandma’s family revellers number over 20 people you’ll need a special permit to use the park for your picnic . . . and don’t you dare bring the dog!)

Ohand by then of course, everyone in their family will probably, by law, have to be wear a hat, and protective eyewear and ankle-to wrist-coverings before being allowed to venture out into the lovely Australian sunshine because, naturally, your average Australian obviously cannot be trusted to decide for themselves whether they are likely to get sunburnt or not.

Do I sound like I am over-exaggerating?  GodI hope so.

Now look what’s happened.  Writing about this has made me all bad-tempered and cross.  Still, hopefully, sooner or later, a lot of other people are going to become bad-tempered and cross about it too and decide enough is enough with the silly minutae (perhaps we should start teaching the concept of personal responsibility again—there’s a thought) and maybe we can persuade the government to spend their time and energy (and our money) on more pressing issues and leave some of us lesser mortals to work out some of the smaller details ourselves.  I guess time will tell.

So anywaythat’s my rant for this week and now I find I have only one more thing to say on the subject of our burgeoning nanny-state. . .

(. . . but don’t get caught doing this either.  The Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences) Act of 2016 bans mooning (and streaking).  First time offenders face up to 2 months in jail . . . )

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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