All posts filed under: adventures

6 nights in a row, but who’s counting? Well me, obviously.

I love my space so much. On the fortnights that my son ’17’ is with his Dad, step-mum, and 2 little brothers, I LOVE having my home to myself. Sometimes I don’t wash up for 3 days, piling the dishes without shame on the counter top. I’ll write or read all day if I’m not working, and quite happily just have crackers & humous for dinner . Or else I’ll clear the chairs and rug out of the way, and have a wild 5Rhythms dance session in the kitchen/living room, to the amusement of the cat. I particularly love my bed space. Not only do I sleep like a starfish, but a diagonal one at that. In summer, I love to dangle one heel off the mattress edge, sticking it out sideways into the cooler air. Sometimes I toss and turn, especially now that I’m a bit ‘warm-flushy’ as I move through menopause, and will throw off the covers then re-burrow myself at erratic intervals. And more than anything, I hate being woken up. By an …

‘You have such a three-year pattern! Look at yourself, for god’s sake!’

The door slams. It’s 1994, in a hot Sydney summer, when even the fat cockroaches in our slummy student house look a bit sweaty. My friend R has left the living room, but her dark mood and comment lingers. I frown back, staring down her words. Am I really a 3-year addict? Does it matter? Obviously it does to her, but I’m not feeling that distressed. The sink pipe knocks as usual while I pour myself a glass of water; is our hopeless landlord ever going to fix that? Well, it won’t matter anyway, if I move out… I’ve lived here for a while now, and it feels like time for a change… to the beach maybe, over at Bondi. How long has it been, this inner city dwelling? Nearly 3 years of hot pavements, squashed terrace houses with fragrant frangipanis, the endless hum of cars and their exhaust fumes. Before that, it was a scruffy flat in Coffs Harbour, with greasy carpets, and peeling paint on all the weatherboards and windows. Did I live …

Soggy not Bloggy 

It’s been hard being flooded. Not as hard as for folk in the 2 big towns either side of me, who have been devastated by rivers more than 11 meters over their banks. But still very stressful. Not as stressful as being bombed in the streets of Syria of course, but still pretty shit. It came up so fast. Rainfalls of between 500 & 950mm in 24hrs. An entire month’s rainfall in one dreadful night, thanks to Cyclone Debbie. I’ve had a delightful & significant blog post about Episode 7 in my online dating story drafted for days, but it felt too superficial to post it, when so many of my dear friends, neighbours, & community have been coping with up to 2.5mtrs of brown smelly muddy shitty river water through their homes. People have died, including a mother and her children. Houses have literally been swept away downstream. Business stock has been ruined, and flood insurance is incredibly expensive round here, so not many people have it; there are rumours it’s going to be …

Prepare to lie. Prepare to buy. Prepare to die. Part Two

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (yet) in Australia, nor do we have Black Friday. This year, more than 154 million Americans shopped either online or in store, according to a National Retail federation survey from CNN, Nov 27 2016. They spent $1.9 billion online on Thanksgiving Day and another $3.3 billion on Friday, according to Adobe. In 2014, total spending for the 4-day Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday weekend was over $50 billion. In 1994, I went travelling through Indonesia with a flatmate from Sydney. We went to Sumatra, way off the beaten track then, and got terrible ‘Bali belly’ the day after we landed. It was the morning of an all-day bus ride up the island, and my period arrived too. So there I was, losing all my bodily fluids explosively from all holes, sitting on a crammed bus where we were the only white faces, driving further and further off into the unknown. We literally staggered off the bus that night and collapsed into a small family guesthouse, both of us thinking we may die. Of …

Ugh. Jetlag. Who needs it? #firstworldproblemsIknow

We’re back in Oz safely. ‘15’ was SO ready to leave Europe, and had become obsessed with Instagram surfing videos, dreaming of his first dive into our warm, welcoming ocean. I had to practice patient acceptance of his daily mantra ‘I just want to go home and be with my friends…’ So now we’re back. We landed early in Brisbane, and high-fived each other. I hadn’t seen such a big grin on his face for a while, and it was delightful to see him hugging his Dad (he and I broke up when ’15’ was about 3; I wouldn’t define us as ‘good friends’, but it’s been a long, rocky road, and this is probably the best it’s going to get, which is fine). They dropped me at my place on the way home (we live 20 mins apart), and ‘15’ ran in quickly to say hello to our beloved cat, plus comment that ‘the house smells different’, then got back into the car saying ‘I’ll probably see you in January some time Mum…’ I …

How to never end up at Shit Creek

Our journey back to London from Barcelona Wednesday 4 November 2015 started OK, got really Good, then went Pear-Shaped, and fell out the bottom of Shit Creek with the most expensive non-existent paddles I ever bought. It begins with the flight time. I thought it was 10am. That’s OK. We would have to get up very early, but we’d be fine, we’re both good at that. I checked the e-ticket: it was actually 13.50. That’s really Good. Lots more time to negotiate the metro system to the airport, and save wasting Euros on a taxi [insert ironic, manic laughter here, and repeat phrase ‘save wasting Euros’ while frothing at mouth. Oops sorry, *spoiler alert*]. I looked it all up on Journey Planner. Took screen shots of the connections we had to make (walk, metro, change metro, walk, train, shuttle bus). Timed it so we’d be at the airport by 12.30 at the latest, with the Gate closing at 13.30: Packed the night before. Agreed we’d get up at 8.30, to leave by 10.30. Slept quite …

Mum vs Teenager & Teenager vs Mum

Let me start by saying son ‘15’ is awesome. 90% of the time, he’s smart, funny, pretty thoughtful. But oh boy, that other 10% is so stubborn, so critical, so dismissive! And of course, that’s his job: he’s being a Teenager, which involves the rejection of, and rebellion against, parental control, advice, and even experience. I get that. I did that. I did that massively, and my Mum (who turns 80 next year) would probably add that I still do. But when we’re in Barcelona, a place neither of us has ever been before, and a place I’m pretty certain I’ll never come to again, and it’s our first full day here, and I’ve bought tickets online worth $80 to get into the Gaudi-designed ‘Park Guell’, and we need to be there by 10.15am for our entry in the 10.30-11 time slot, and you, dearest ‘15’, want to watch surf movie clips on Instagram while dawdling over getting ready to go (me having been up for nearly 2 hours already, and gone to get the necessary …

With his tail tucked down

So we’re getting on the train at St Astier, ready to cross France for 8 hours to visit with an old family friend, and there’s some kind of problem on board with one of the other passengers. A young man, perhaps 25, dressed in black hoodie jacket, loose black pants, with a big, scruffy black suitcase. He’s white-skinned, sunken eyes, sweating slightly. He reminds me of a nervous dog, who got that way by being beaten. The conductor is standing in front of him, arms folded, legs wide apart, telling him he needs a ticket to travel, and where is it? A younger conductor is standing further along, in exactly the same pose, blocking the exit down the carriage. There’s only the door to get off, and the tight corridor surrounding us. Other passengers are looking over and away, then over again. Son ‘15’ and I are each lugging big suitcases, a small backpack, a bag of food, and my handbag, plus a 5 litre bottle of water. We are now in the middle of …

I seem to have packed my routines as well

Ah yes, the freedom of Travel with a capital T: being ready for anything, meeting anyone, changing plans in an instant. No work commitments, no diary appointments, no regular routines getting in the way of spontaneous adventure… When we first arrived in the Barn, I was finishing a 2-month ‘cleanse’ of no sugar, almost no wheat, minimal carbs, and various herb concoctions before and after eating (on the advice of both a doctor and naturopath, trying to deal with a water-borne parasite I’d picked up somewhere- Hello Blasto 😦 ). Within a week I was having fresh bread spread with unsalted butter and homemade jam for breakfast, or croissants and pain au chocolat; incredibly rich and varied omelets for lunch followed by more cheese and bread; chicken or fish with garlic potatoes for dinner, finished with more cheese of course. The other day I even drank a glass of champagne in the afternoon, which honestly for me is the equivalent of Keith Richards going on a three-week bender. So we can say I’m letting loose …

Périgueux- home to perhaps the dodgiest Airbnb listing you’ve ever seen

Glorious day last week, with blue skies to rival Australia’s. Time to visit the mediaeval town of Périguèux, 40 minutes drive away, including its cathedral, built in the 6th, 12th, and 16th century: Time to be enchanted by the surrounding laneways, leading to the marketplace where son ‘15’ ate “…The best ribs of my whole life, even better than Dad’s, I’m sorry to say…” (no pics allowed, but let me assure you, there was Grease Chin, sticky fingers, and complete carnivorous delight): Time to take my favourite picture of the trip so far: Time to marvel at the unwelcome front doors they make round here: A chance to picture Juliet, calling down to her love: And then, walking along the river, we saw this- The Place You Don’t Want To Stay: We were flabbergasted. ‘15’ kept giggling, and imagining having parties inside, and getting everyone to run from one side to the other to rock it [Oh the way teenagers’ minds work huh?!]. Let’s look at it one more time shall we? Imagine turning up …