While in Australia at Chez Mothership, we came across a bulging folder of all the "stories" I'd written in kindergarten.
It was clear as a five year old I was already disgruntled with my appearance. I had very short red hair and hated it so much. As if my inability to hold a pencil properly wasn't already holding me back, but cropped ginger hair too? Dude.
I was spewingly jealous of my follically-blessed classmates. There were at least a dozen stories about my long blonde friend Marnie. This is Marnie, I would write. Marnie has long blonde hair. Marnie is very pretty. I like Marnie. I love Marnie.
Holy crap, run for your life Marnie!
In this story I daydreamed on an Ideal Me, all flaxen locks and pretty bows.
Sometimes I would attempt a more honest depiction of my appearance, as in the April 1983 masterwork, "The world is big and we live on it".
Although if you look closely you can see the madness in the eyes.
Another highlight of our Australian jaunt was the consumption of this here chocolate thickshake at Gus' Cafe in Canberra. There must be half a pound of ice cream in there! Just wrapping your paws around that frosty metal cup feels like home.
I'd already had a thickshake at the magnificent Paragon Cafe in Goulburn but I had to squeeze in one more in before heading to the airport. It tasted all the sweeter because The Mothership, Rhiannon and Gareth were there too… the first time the four of us had been in the same place since I introduced the future son-in-law on Mum's 2004 Scottish tour. I think she can actually understand what he's saying now.
Do you ever go through a phase were everything suddenly feels old or stale or just plain wrong? Your favourite foods give you no joy, your favourite exercise class holds no appeal, not even a Grand Designs marathon on the telly gets your heart racing. You're twitchy and cranky and toying with the urge to stand up in a middle of an important meeting and bellow Homer Simpson style, BORRRRRRRING! before stalking off into the sunset?
There's been a stinky little pot of discontent brewing on my stove for a long while, but I don't think I really acknowledged it until I was away in Australia. The distance from the everyday grind helped me look back with more clarity. Spending time with lovely friends old and new and hearing them talk so passionately about their work and lives made me see that things aren't quite right.
I need new purpose and meaning and direction. I had some big ass dreams this last almost-decade – lose a little lard, go overseas, write a book that I felt such urgency to write. I never thought I'd actually do any of those things so it's bewildering to be here. It often feels like an accident, a series of fortunate coincidences that I didn't really deserve and after that really cool diversion I'm back with the real me, the same confused twerp of my teens and twenties.
Then there is a small and hopeful part that believes I must have more to offer to the world, that I can feel alive and engaged and passionate again instead of barely there with the annoying black dog humping my leg and licking my face.
I don't have the answers yet so can't tie this entry up in a neat little package but I do feel hopeful after my trip Down Under. I'm ready to do stuff to help clear my mind and move forward, instead of just dozing on the train to Tedium Town.
Right now I am shaking things up in small ways; throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. I am going out into the (limited) sunshine. I am reading a book called I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, how sad does that sound? (Thanks LBTEPA 🙂 I'm looking at my neglected 43 Things list to remember things I want to do and reflect on things I've done to remind me I am capable of being bold and digging myself out of holes.
Just wanted to say again, thank you everyone for reading and writing all these years. It means an awful lot.
The internet is BROKE! Our ISP insists it's not their problem but we can't figure out what's wrong; we even bought a new modem router thingo in case that was it but nooo. We're moving house in just over a week so there's little point in Getting A Man In since we have to switch over all the utilities anyway. Which took ages last time we moved, so we're looking at a month or so without the world at our fingertips. Nooooo!
Dr G works from home, so this is almost as inconvenient for him as it is for me not being able to catch up on missed episodes of The Don Draper Hour on BBC iPlayer. So the poor Doctor is having to commute to his folks place to use their connection. The evil part of me says, "Ha ha, SUCKA, welcome to the REAL WORLD" coz I've had five years of him still curled up in his scratcher as I rush out the door to office-based slavery. I'm sure he'll survive – his Mum bought him a fresh donut from the bakery yesterday. Next thing he'll be dictating memos to her.
Anyway, apologies in advance for shoddy communication. Hope to sneak online here and there and keep the drivel coming. There's a new episode of Friday Link Feast below. Bon weekend, comrades!
Greetings comrades! How have you been? The jet is lagging today, so I am just going to jibber incoherently for a few paras. I got back to Scotland on Saturday afternoon after 36 hours of travel including 4 hours of fitful sleep and 2.5 hours of 'Australia' on the inflight entertainment thingy. Australia The Movie = Bollocks. But Australia The Country = Brilliant. I didn't want to leave! It was good times, people. Good times. At the departure gate I turned back for one last mournful glance at the wee newsagents, soaking up the tidy racks of Australian magazines and confectionary. I could stay, I thought. I'm totally allowed! I have the appropriate paperwork!
But I came back and it's all good. Spring sprung in our absence which made re-entry more pleasant than our last trip to Australia when we cleverly timed our return with the end of daylight saving for maximum darkness and despair. This time the garden was full of flowers and bumble bees and Eating Disorder Pigeon waiting expectantly by the empty bird feeder. Benito the Robin was nowhere to be seen however, leaving Gareth with a crushing case of Empty Nest Syndrome. "How could you leave me; I fed and nurtured you!" etc etc etc. Anyway. Oz. It's crazy trying to squeeze three years of absence into less than three weeks. You line up appointments with family and friends like you're the freaking Queen and just when we gets comfy it's all, "Must DASH, one has an afternoon tea to attend". It's impossible to get round everyone especially with the sprawling nature of the country. It's all very well for the likes of Metallica, having thousands of people wanting to see them. They just say, "If you want to see me, give me $200 and get your butt to Madison Square Garden". Whereas I would barely fill a quarter of Cowra Greyhound track with my pulling power. So the trip consisted of dashing from from house to house, guzzling loved ones tea and trying not to sob all over their shoulders because it had been too, too long.
Oh man now I'm going to blub again. Next subject! Weight Report: I gained 2.4 kilos on the trip. Don't gasp! I gained 6 kilos last time round so… result. Food Report: I'd been looking forward to gnawing the ears off a Red Tulip Easter Bunny but they didn't taste quite as orgasmic as I remembered. Same with the Red Tulip Mini Eggs. Of course I had to test FIVE mini eggs to make sure, before palming them off to my friend Row for her kidlets. Then I bought some Darrell Lea ones in case THEY were the tasty ones I'd longed for but they were unremarkable too. Maybe I've been spoiled by the Green & Blacks? But don't despair, I've not become a chocolate ponce. My favourite choccie in the universe remains Cadbury's Top Deck – a block of chocolate with milk choc on the bottom and creamy white upstairs. Rhi, Gareth and I shared a 250g block. Well Gareth didn't get that much of a look-in. Hehe. Best newcomer: Wacky salad leaves. I loved the leaves before I left in 2003 but there's even better ones now. Tiny delicate little fellas in all shades and shapes. "I wish you could live in two places at once," I said to Rhi during the never-ending flight to Dubai, "There's so much to love about living in Australia, but then Scotland has stuff I can't imagine being without now." "Yep. It's just like supermarkets," said Rhi, "You can never get everything you need in just one."
I'm here in Oz enjoying long lost friends and watching long lost freckles reappear on my nose. I'll be back in a wee while; feel free to talk amongst yerselves 🙂