Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last day of July..

FIRST: I've been fiddling with dates and times, to try to get the posts back in order. So you might find peerless prose below you haven't seen, underneath p/p you HAVE. Happy untangling!

Last day of July, and we are having a major excavation of all our belongings, aiming to post a big heavy bundle home, the first boxed set of accumulations since we departed our home shores..

I am somewhat better today, although once again it is a late start. But we've achieved a lot without leaving the room - eaten, coffee-ed, pilled, washed, laundered, folded, fossicked, sorted, packed and re-packed. Determined that THREE purrfumes can go home. I would almost sob, except it's not really going to take me very long to acquire more, is it. No, not even a question.

There is a good feeling, to see the huge piles of meds slowly reducing as we guzzle them down every day. And I like knowing that we can ditch all the cold weather stuff at Helsinki, that should leave LOTS more room for spontaneous souvenir sampling.

I do hope I can find a wi-fi Net cafe soon, so I can get these various bits onto the blog. I'll get all out of kilter and you won'ts know where I is at!

Today brought to you by Lotte Lenya singing Kurt Weill on the darling iPod, the previously unidentified purrfume (Gucci, by Gucci!), and a rising sense of excitement about the boat trip. Yippee! T and S goes coastal!


Those dang Viking gods have been at again. We achieved great things and very sore feet today - major post office operations (look out for small parcels and postcards, my dear ones), money exchanging (and we found a place that doesn't charge a fee! - I now have a zillion Norwegian kroner but I don't really know what they're worth, M keeps changing his mind about the maths and I haven't bothered to check have I..), found a laundry, found (after a PROLONGED STOMP AROUND A LOTTA COBBLESTONES) one of the two liquor stores here, only to discover it had closed 10 mins earlier buggerbuggerbugger ... went past the wool shop for some knitting needles and wool but it had closed- this northern summer midnight sun fools us easily into thinking it's been 4pm for half the day, only to find the good Burghers of Bergen have the gall to close up shop at 7pm!. How slack is that... where was I??...

Oh yes, M was fading fast so he came back to the room for a bit of non-B time. I stopped at the 'Bazaar' dress shop [where I was investigating cruise-ship formal wear the other day] and managed to bend my Visa card most successfully. I am now kitted up for anything short of a royal visitation, in which case I shall retreat to my room and knit.

Returning to our room, thinking happily of Netting and having some coffee, I find M looking hot and cross.. he needs some time out and is planning a Net fix over the road, via the pub. But oh bloodybotheringshit he suddenly grabs his jaw, and out comes a crown from a back tooth. Baaaaaaad news. We take deep breaths (the better to swear, my dear); then I stomp up to reception while he has his nervous breakdown in private. Jarle, the very helpful young man at the desk, searches for a dentist which is still open. No luck, and no luck finding an after-hours clinic either. Eventually we agree that we'll front up at 8am tomorrow, when someone can ring around and make an appointment for us. I hope we can get in somewhere quickly, it will be very VERY anxious-making for M to go on a boat trip for 6 days with a busted tooth. And who wouldn't be? The chance of it suddenly getting very painful is a nasty risk.

HOWEVER one good thing that comes from this is that Jarle confirms that this hotel does have wireless internet, so when I've typed this last bit I can load up several days worth of peerless prose, and gets myself back into date order.

Today brought to you by ow-de-cobblethrobbers, coffee, and a strong longing for chocolate.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Short report from Bergen

Short report from Wednesday in Bergen:

An ordinary start. Madame le Princesse wakes feeling horrid. Monsieur le Hero Husband delivers breakfast filched from the hotel breakfast room, across the street. MLP slugs down her roids and returns to slumber on't until lunch time.

After a light but restorative meal, we both repair to Interwebs cafe, Tourist Information Centre, Galleriat shopping centre, and do our various tasks. M finds out so much about the cultural life in Bergen we are now racing to touch even the surface of what we'd like to see. I discover that MY size in leggings or gym shorts is 'Buffalo Bum', only sold up a dark alley on the fat-mamma side of town. The hefty side. I galumph my way out of the H&M store [the non-slim-teenager-with-waistline version of this store, for bigger but not bigger enough sizes] feeling like Godzilla's mother. Again. Like I did the entire time we lived in China, in 1998. And I was rather slimmer then! Just hugely western, tall and the proud owner of a ginormous nose. Oh well.. now my bum appears to match.

M met me just as I was about to nip into a Telefon store and try to buy us two cheapo mobiles. 'Quick quick we have only 30 minutes to dash back to the hotel, get changed, and dash back down to the Fish Market to get on the free bus up to Troldhaugen [where Edvard Grieg lived every summer, and did most of his composing]'. We rush cautiously up the hill (wheezes still evident) and manage to get back to the bus in time. It takes us up a very steep hill, right on the edge of the city and the harbour, to the beautiful hilltop location of Grieg's house, composition hut, and now the Museum/Gallery and a concert hall. We have time to collect a few postcards, grab a cool drink, and look around. M goes down to the water-line to see the cliff-side grave of Grieg and his wife Nina. I eschew the steps, going up for a short walk through their house. It's so small, but was very modern for its time. The rooms that the public are allowed to enter are only three: the entry way, a room with no clear purpose (perhaps an open space used as combined cloakroom, welcome parlour, and access to the kitchen?). This leads into an open area with a dining room on one side opening to the main parlour or lounge. The style is very simple - scrubbed wooden floors and wood panelling on the wall. The furnishings echo traditional Norwegian textile patterning and folk themes. The window ledges are full of summer flowers. The very beautiful young woman at the door follows me suspiciously around, because I am rummaging in my bag and I think she suspects I will try to take photos.

The concert, a performance of a soprano and an excellent accompanist, is a delight. The tall windows behind the stage lead the eye 'above' the music to a view down to the harbour, echoing the view Grieg had from his composition hut. It's extremely peaceful but dramatic, with the steep hills rising quicky from the sea's surface. The view now is full of homes peeking out from the firs, but in Grieg's day it would have been essentially native forest overlooking the water.

We return just in time for a supermarket run ('Rimi', which is very like Audi stores - low price goods and you have to buy or supply your own bags). Neither of us really wants dinner, but a snack of Roddebrott (a very nutty black bread), ham and cheese, and some fruit, is just the ticket. M disappears downstairs to have a beer, because at the supermarket we discovered that they aren't allowed to sell the beer on the shelves after 8pm; 6pm on Saturdays! AND in this entire city of 280,000 people, there are TWO liquor stores. [Do the Bergenese - this is the correct word for locals - have a problem with the demon drinkk??)] We are trying to buy some supplies to take on the boat, as we have been informed that booze on board costs a bomb. As the entire cruise costs several bombs we are trying to save on fuses, so to speak. I must haves my gin! Apart from any practical reasons, it is the only alcohol I can even attempt to drink when my asthma is unstable. And a bit of a tipple now and then can turn gwumps into smiles very effectively.

I am about to go to sleep, while M is having a major rummage through all his luggage, intent on getting us to a post office at the crack of the midnight dawn, to post our first parcel of goodies/unwanted bits and pieces home. Mostly goodies. but M accumulates brochures, newspaper cuttings and booklets almost as effectively as I sense a coffee shop in a 2 km radius, or find a purrfume sale in a fish market. Which I did, last night, but I didn't tell M!

Today brought to you by an audible sense of relief, eau de rain on Bergen cobblestones, and the aroma of the shampoo I had to use to wash the yoghurt off my trousers. And a great big happy heart because I had a fabbo email from my darling dorter, AND my dad.

PS: and WHOM is Dr Wombat, writing to my blog? Is it someone I know and should be able to identify? OR might it be the excitement of a second unknown blog-reader actually replying???? Btw, all you lot out there who I DO know, where are my replies? My witty responses??? C'mon, give me a reason to feel homesick!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Temporary outage

We had a very crap day getting to Bergen - an early start, a VERY hot train - the conductor just laughed when a fellow passenger asked about airconditioning, saying 'these trains were built in the 1980s'. Thanks, mate.

The train couldn't go all the way to Oslo cos of work on the line, so we were all offloaded onto buses. This was actually a merciful move, cos the bus had aircon. LOVELY. AND it meant we could move away from two loud, boring, opinionated Amurricans who spent the 5 hours on the train patronising the passengers they were seated with, by knowing more about Wimbledon than anyone else.

At the VERY DANG hot Oslo railway station we had an hour before the next train. I downed a pint of water, a pint of full-strength Pilsener, a pint of lemonade, and a latte. The second train trip was 6 hours, but kind of felt not as long because the northern summer light doesn't fade until after 10pm. We arrived in Bergen at 11pm or so, and had to wait in a line of desperate smokers waiting for a taxi. Our hotel room was up 4 flights of stairs, SO...

... not long after, the asthma stressors listed above (mainly beer, smoke and climbing) hit and I had a violent attack. I'm now full of nice life-saving drugs and feeling much more stable, but of course it is worrying, especially for M who has to keep an eye out for wheezes, research ambulances etc, and generally take over everything including nursing duties until I feel a bit stronger. However the wonders of modern pharmacology are being wondrous, and apart from feeling a bit fragile I am doing well...well,,, a bit teary because we've only been on the road for 9 days. Fark.

Please send me some encouraging thoughts, words, oxygen-loaded crossed-fingers, and anything else you fancy in the way of a miracle cure. Proper touristing should start again tomorrow! When, tank de lawds, it should be cooler. By Saturday it should be only 18 degrees and I CAN'T WAIT.

Today brought to you by eau de latte, courage mon vieux, and a goodly dose of 'Ange ou Demon' cos that is what roid-based mood swings do to the princess. And here are some Norwegian keyboard symbols: å¨^øƤ§¨¨. I have no idea what they mean of course!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting to Bergen, a second view..

The end of the trip was peaceful enough. We got a taxi easily, got to the hotel, discovered we were at the wrong hotel, but the right one was just across the road. M went over to register, leaving me sitting on cases. A good move, because the hotel is in two parts, and the part our room is in is right next door to the wrong hotel. Got that?

A strapping young Viking called 'Peer' came along to help with the bags. He amused me by running up the three high flights of stairs with all our bags. I stomped up, feeling somewhat odd, developing an ache in my chest. At the top I dropped my backpack, thinking it must be muscle spasm.

Our room is hot, small, and is really a loft, with one window in a sloping wall, so M's side of the bed is a bit dangerous. I hate it. But it's now 1am and too late to start fussing. I try to hold it in, but M says rather bitterly 'this is the cheapo hotel I booked instead of the much more expensive one our travel agent found', so I say 'well if we need to move [for which read: if *I* can't stand it] I'll pay the difference for a posher hotel'. Hmf says M.

I have a shower, unpack the minimum and fall onto the bed. But I can't get to sleep, because no matter how many puffs of Ventolin I have, I can't seem to catch my breathe. Suddenly I erupt into a major, violent attack. M sits helplessly holding my hand while I fight for breath between coughing and trying to hold the puffs of Ventolin in my lungs long enough to do some good. M has dug out his spacer, so at least I can use the 'rebreathing' technique, which is a life-saver. We look at each other, both thinking 'how the fuck are we going to find an ambulance and/or a hospital this time of night in a completely unknown city???'. Not a happy situation.

The attack settles in about half an hour, a very long half an hour, especially for M, who has to watch me go through it. I have always thought that one of the worst things about asthma is how awful it must be for people to have to witness it, people who care about you and want to make it better, NOW.

When things are calmer, and I can get a peak flow reading which isn't in the danger zone, we discuss our next move. It's a toss-up between finding a hospital, and taking a big dose of oral steroid. The tablets, at nearly 2am, win. I chuck them down the hatch, crying a bit, have another shower to wash off the sweat from the attack, and fall somewhat hysterically into bed.

I wake feeling pretty frail, but not wheezing. I take the next dose of tablets, fill up on my puffers, and lie around thinking FUK IT'S HOT IN THIS HORRIBLE ROOM until M wakes. He, the saint, goes out for coffee, because I really don't feel well enough to move.

After the coffee [and the muffins and doughnuts he thoughtfully adds to his shopping], I try another shower. Then we totter over to the other bit of hotel to the reception. I tell them quietly that I have very bad asthma and is there any chance of a room lower down? Three flights of stairs being a major challenge right now. And, hurray, there is. With very little fuss we stuff our bags with the few things we'd managed to unpack, and M lugs it all down two flights. This room is MUCH nicer, has three huge windows and less sun (because the window upstairs was sloping up the roof, and therefore is exposed to more of the sun). It also has a kettle, so I have unpacked the plunger I bought in Stockholm (for rather too much, my maths was wrong, dammit), and the ground coffee I bought in Bangkok. Tomorrow morning, multicultural coffee!

We've been out for an excellent fish dinner, to a restaurant attached to a major pub complex. The restaurant is named 'Wesser Steigl' and claims to be the most famous restaurant in Bergen. It was certainly a lot cheaper than other restaurants nearby. Our meal is slightly spoiled by an American woman sitting at the next table, who whinges about the heat 'My, it was hot in the States, and now it's hot here' (DER!!! It's norther summer in both places!!!!), the slow service (it wasn't), 'do they call this CHICKEN??' she said, etc etc. I was glad when they left, and I hope they heard my remarks about 'lard-asses' and UNDERSTOOD THEM.

We walked slowly through the main 'square' - part closed-in street, part grass and sculpture area - down to the fish market at the harbour. The fisherman are hard at it selling their catch. At 8pm! The Bergers (Bergenese? Bergen-meisters?) are out in force, walking the children, showing off their purrfect '16-years old and lookin' good in shorts' tanned legs, taking the air with a few fags to improve the texture. The setting of this city is nothing less than spectacular - a shining harbour, beautiful Scandinavian architecture - all of the old buildings kept in excellent condition - and very close by, a mountain range rising a lot further than Mount Ainslie! We can see a funicular rail running up to a castle or perhaps resort of some kind. We'll investigate tomorrow when we go to the Information Centre.

The city is incredibly clean (see below for why!) and orderly. I love this orderliness, it means that a bit of logic applied to our general Australian/Western understanding of what you find where in a city, will have quick results. M always needs a newsagent, I always want lots of cafes and the odd 'shopping oppurrtunity'. Although I am trying to contain myself to small examples of local textiles or crafts, or little prints of typical artwork. Ahem. Failed that challenge in Stockholm and Bangkok ... Bangkok, says she defensively, WAS a planned spend-up at the tailor, but. As for Stockholm, I am delighted with my Viking t-shirt, which has gone straight into service as an extra pyjama top for M; my Svensk national colours of bright blue and yellow boxer shorts which are very airy (ahem, sorry dad, TMI); our new teddy bear to be Sophie's friend, and the doo-dads which I am posting home tomorrow, some for us, most for friends. So there.

I am happily settled back in the room now, grateful for the extra comfort, the lack of wheezing, and the very good news that the daily temperatures will go down by 10 degrees in the next few days. The forecast is that by Saturday, when we sail off to the fiords, it is expected to be 18 degrees and raining. Yeah! M told me earlier today that Bergen is famous for, among other things, the highest rainfall per annum in these parts. I looked askance at the hot blue skies above us and thought a few evil thoughts about bloody amusing Viking gods toying with my equilibrium.

And so to a good book (a psychological thriller), some vanilla yoghurt, a few more drugs, and the happy end to a rather anxious day. M has tootled off, re-energised by dinner and two huge tins of Aass beer (heh), to a department store called 'Galleriet' which is only a block away. To buy a fan. I will lug it, uncomplaining, however unwieldy, however heavy, around the rest of the world if necessary. Smiling as I shove it into my bags, gleaming with pleasure as I tote it on my back and pay extra double excess baggage for it on every bus, train, camel, Vespa, whatever. I will even offload purrfume to make room for it.

He is my HERO. He returns with a fan. LUVLUVLUV!

PS: I bought a German patchwork magazine because M said he could 'easily' translate it for me. We'll see!

Leaving, on a jet train...

Har Har.

The gods have been at it again.

We packed up our bags last night, finding that somehow our possessions had expanded beyond our zippers' capacity to close the cases. Eh? I only bought... well, 3 t-shirts, several small souvenirs, a shawl, several tubes of face cream, an umbrella (a very fetching umbrella with Swedish cats on it, couldn't be left behind!), stationery, postcards, a coffee plunger and a tin of coffee, a teddy bear, several magazines and some coat hangers. Hardly anything.

We ended up with our 4 small cases, a backpack each, my small handbag, and two plastic bags (tied up with my new head-scarf). It was fine getting out of the hotel, just lugged it all into the lift. Fine getting to the station, just shoved it all into a taxi. Fine getting through the station to the information board, just made like pack-horses. But then we discovered that platform 11 was down a level, and the lift was mysteriously hidden in the chaos of shops, seats, info terminals, peoples by the hundred, and lots of shiny lights FAR too early in the morning. Some of the shiny lights were not without charm because they said "coffee", but it was not to be. M walked the station looking for a lift. He said there was one (somewhere) but it didn't go down to the level we wanted. I speculated that if we tried it, we might get half-way and then be able to find another lift going down the extra floor.

Good thinking B! Only trouble was, where WAS the damn lift? We circumnavigated the innards of the station, but couldn't find a "HISS" sign. M found several sets of stairs but my leggies said NOOOOOO. I was lucky to then find a railway staff member who pointed me to the area in the main hall where a lift was to be found. Hurray!

We lugged again, but once in the lift it wouldn't go down to the second level, where we thought we needed to go. Just as we were about to get out anyway, at Level 1, the lift started ascending again. A woman with a mobility 'chair' was waiting to use the lift. M, swearing, got out. I wasn't fast enough and I disappeared down to Level 1 again! Pressing the"2" button and swearing wasn't doing the trick. At level 1 a woman got in, and I asked her why the lift refused to go any further down. She said 'but this is the lowest level you can go' which explained a lot. So up we went to the main hall again, where a red-faced M was waiting with the disabled woman. M leapt on board again (there was no room in the lift for that poor, patient woman and her chair). We chugged out at Level 1 and followed the sign for Platform 11.

Oh Har Har. To get to Platform 11, we had to climb a full flight of stairs. Har Har Har. M started up, managing quite well with his pack plus two cases. He'd only gone about 6 steps up when a gleaming, healthy young Swedish woman offered to help with his cases. Angel number one for the day. Meantime I was lugging, carefully but knowing my back would protest, my two bloody lead-weight pieces of over-laden travel bags. I made it up about 12 steps before our helpful Swedish angel re-appeared to help me. I didn't even manage to make eye contact with her when I said thank you, she was so fast hoicking my case up the rest of the stairs.

Once on the platform, we were able to stop and wait to read the notice-board about the imminent arrival of our train. I made a rather large crowd-blocking station, surrounded by all cases and bags while M did a recce up and down the platform trying to find a map of the train so we could see where to wait. Turns out Svensk railways doesn't purrvide such things, but a helpful young gent explained where out first carriage would be and we were able to shove our way through the crowd to about the right place.

M also leapt on board as soon as the train arrived, to find our seats and dump a preliminary bag or two. Then we got those four dang cases on board, and found enough room for one of them in the luggage-shelves near the door. The rest had to be lifted by us up into the luggage racks. I hope they stay put - any one of them falling on a head would do a lot of damage!

I was very sad that there was no time in all this for me to grab a coffee. But as soon as the train got started, M went looking for the dining car. He returned with coffee and lovely fresh prawn, egg and mayonnaise rolls, the only choice! They were cool and delicious. The coffee went down just in time to prevent a wifely loss of intestinal fortitude. We have 6 hours on this trip to Oslo (in a non-airconditioned train), then a wait of about an hour, and another 5 or so hours to Bergen.

I hope the hotel room is cooler than our Stockholm room. We *could* see that our room in Stockholm was on the less sunny side of the building, but even with a fan on and a chair propping the door open, to let some of the cooler passage-way air into our room, we were pretty hot and stuffy. Enough with the heat waves!!

Today brought to you (so far) by Lacoste purrfume, eau de railway station, coffee, and boiled egg with mayo squished lavishly into the prawns on the bun. Nom.


Part two.

An hour into the trip to Oslo, an announcement came of the PA - due to work on the line, the train would be stopping in K..., and we would proceed to Oslo by bus. Consternation. An extra two lots of hoicking our bloody bags around.

But in the end, we were grateful. There was no airconditioning on the train, and only one window per carriage to allow some (hot) air in. I fell asleep but was really only dozing; I was aware that sweat was dripping off my face and running down various bits... uncomfortable. The bus to Oslo was airconditioned; you could hear the sighs of relief from all the passengers when the driver started the engine and immediately overhead air thingies (like on planes) started blasting out cool air. The drive to Oslo took about 2.5 hours, during which I spent about half the time appreciating the beautiful farmland, and about half snoozing. This time I didn't drip, I just bit my tongue.

Oslo railway station gets the thumbs up from us - no steps at any stage. There was a small moment of conniption when we saw an OUT OF ORDER sign on the lift going from the platform to the main station, but there were escalators, which are a fine substitute. And our plan of taking two small cases each, plus backpack, works well in such situations, because no individual piece of luggage is hard to manage. Mine all seem to be bloody heavy though..

We had about an hour before the train for Bergen departed. We spent it doing two useful things - M exchanged some money, and I found a pizza cafe which had beer on tap. Without quite noticing, I drank a pint of cold water, a pint of beer and a pint of lemonade, before downing a huge latte. These fluids were all good, giving me various types of inner strength. And, for once, I think the beer was more necessary than the coffee. Shows you how HOT I am. Yes yes yes, I know it's summer. But don't they have summer every year here? How come no aircon? Hmm?????

M has left me tapping away at this, while he walks up and down the train to cool off. And I don't mean temperature cooling... he asked a helpful Information Desk person about this train, wanting to know which platform and also which end of the platform our carriage would be. Unfortunately the info was correct as to platform number, but wrong as to carriage position - M was told our (first class) carriage would be the first one behind the engine.


We had to schlep all the way along in the bloody hot sun and across the unhelpfully textured platform pavers, bout 16 carriages to the other end of the train, to find our comfy spot. There was much husbandly head-shaking, vehement use of good old anglo-saxon language, and quite a bit of arm-waving. When I suggested that it didn't matter cos here we were on the dang train, before it left, et etc, I got TOLD. I expect I deserved it for being Pollyanna-ish. I don't really care. M's first act was to go for a walk to find the dining car, and bring me back another coffee. I KNEW it was a good idea to marry this man.

So, with luck (and I am saying this VERY QUIETLY so any pesky gods with contra-suggestable senses of humour won't hear), we will get to stay on this train all the way to Bergen. We will also be able to easily wheel our stuff out of the station and into a nice cool taxi which will take us extremely quickly and cheaply to a nice cool hotel. Where we will collapse in a heap, needing only to pop out to the smorgasbord pub next door to get dinner, before showering off quite a lot of Svensk and Norsk sweat and then hitting the sack.

This part of today brought to you by Pilsener, double-strength under-arm charm, and the blissful scent of a cup of coffee.....moderated slightly by the taste of Ventolin, because for some reason I can't breathe properly, It's been 3 days since the wheezes started and don't ask ME why. It's certainly not cold, or polluted, or infested with cigarette smoke anywhere near me, and I don't have any infections (it was hard to type that last bit with all my fingers crossed but I find the point of my nose helpful in such situations)... anyway, bugger.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A letter from Stockholm

We had only three full days here. The first we spent in a heap, recovering from the long journey from Bangkok. We did manage to get up (on Friday morning) and have breakfast - I ate in silence, wearing my sunglasses, only just keeping my face out of the bowl.. we went straight back to bed afterwards. M was up again at about 2pm, but I slept on.. I think we went for a walk around the local streets, before finding somewhere to have dinner. I can't remember, two days later, where or what it was. That's exhaustion for you!

It seems Stockholm is having a bit of a heat wave - that'd be right! I am doomed to bring heat waves with me wherever I go. It's because I get too hot very easily, and obviously the gods are funny bastards and enjoy watching me melt. And get sore bits on my face from wiping gallons of sweat off with tissues. And wearing through several changes of clothes each day so I am also doomed to lashings of hand-washing. And having horribly hot, tender feet. For heaven's sake you lot up there, hot and tender are words usually found in recipes!!!


On Saturday, we should have been feeling much refreshed, but we both had a bit of traveller's tum. I flaked out after breakfast, actually falling asleep in the big chair in our room while the maid cleaned the room. She woke me gently to say "you can go to bed now" and patted me kindly. We were due to go at 1.30 to meet a dear friend of M's, one of his early Chinese professors at the ANU. [When we were here two years ago, Goran spent parts of several days with us, showing us around the best of the 84 museums in this city. I recall spending quite a bit of time falling back from Goran and M walking together, so I could let my jaw drop in private. Damask silk panelling on the palace walls! Hand-painted "wallpaper"! Gilt on the legs of the furniture used for arranging flowers and serving food. Amazing.] I didn't think I'd make it through the afternoon, but you just can't let ppl down .. can you. I spoke severely to myself and dragged my ass into some kind of vertical arrangement, and off we went.

Goran has since re-married, and he had arranged for us to meet him and his wife at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. Unfortunately the museum's administrators have removed the guts of the collection, leaving only a few rooms of rather ordinary items, but have spent a lot of money building a very fake Chinese garden. We had to leave after only a short visit, because Goran was getting visibly upset.

We repaired to the nearby Museum of Modern Art - I'm always keen on Modern Art exhibitions. On entry, Goran led us all firmly to the cafe, stating most determinedly that 'this is the best coffee in Stockholm, it's famous'. Rightio! The chairs were very strange, low and small of seat, almost children's chairs. But the coffee was indeed very very good. I was very self-controlled and only had one.

The exhibition was full of fairly brutal modern canvasses by an American painter, who echoed Dali in some of her attitudes to flesh - faces pierced and pulled by hooks, blood-stained cloths covering bits of bodies, that sort of thing. And a very strange and repellent animation involving two naked people, who give birth to a hippo and a whale. Odd.

We were happy after this to retreat to mere consumerism (having farewelled our friends), visiting the H and M store to try to find the bookshop/cafe we recalled from last time. We didn't find it (wrong shop, it turns out) but we fell into the H n M cafe anyway. M was looking very keen on his wine by then - we'd been speaking about 3.5* languages all afternoon and even for M it was getting a bit wearing.

Today we decided to head for the water. First stopping to buy an iPod recharger, because we left ours at home. We ended up stamping around through four different shopping malls before finding a place that hadn't sold out. After that we were free to go down to the quay - M suggested we take the boat to the castle and have a look around there. But by the time we got on the boat it was after 2pm, and the trip one way is an hour. The castle closes at 4... we decided to spend only half an hour looking through the grounds, and then enjoy the water views and cool(ish) breeze on the return trip. There were a lot of ppl on every possible bit of 'beach' sunbathing like mad. Apparently it's still very much the rage here. I find it almost shocking to see people with dark tans, or obvious sunburn. Tut tut!

M decided his feeties were falling off so he took the train back to the hotel. I opted to walk, feeling guilty about lollies I ate last night and an icecream that fell into my gob at the quay. By the time I'd investigated a few shoppies and sprayed my arms with six different new purrfumes, MY feeties were falling off, and I still had the uphill bit of Drottinggattan to go, to get back to the hotel. So I am lying on the bed, with the fan playing on my throbbing tooties, while I write this up ready to post when I next have Net access. Tomorrow we leave here at 7,30am to catch the train to Bergen, via Oslo. I'm looking forward to a day of no walking, of watching beautiful Swedish (and I daresay Norwegian) countryside passing by, and perhaps starting my first sewing project.

And no, I didn't buy any purrfume. But only just!

*English, Swedish, Mandarin (because Goran's wife is Taiwanese) and a bit of German and French to fill in a few linguistic gaps. I don't have any Swedish except "Tack" which is 'thank you". My Mandarin is pretty non-existent, although I can still understand a great deal more than I speak. I have the remnants of schoolgirl French, and M, clever clogs, speaks German like a native. So we had a very multi-cultural conversation!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Helsinki Airport brain-dump, 24th July

My body clock is in an uproar. I've been in two time zones already today (and in the first one I was still suffering a bit of jet lag), and I'm about to get on a plane to enter a third. I *think* in my real body time it's currently 2am tomorrow! So in today's time it's 11pm in Bangkok, and in the Helsinki airport it's 7pm, and I lose another hour when we fly to Stockholm so we'll arrive just as we leave at 8pm. Hmm... by the time we get to the hotel it will be tomorrow, yesterday!

On another note.. BUSINESS CLASS ROCKS! The uber-reclining/footrest/pillow and blankie/privacy screen/personal air-blower thingie and very fetching blue socks sent me rapidly into the land of nod, altho I was aided by a pre-flight champagne (I love how the 'Other Half' can't be expected to wait for take-off without a nice drinkie, god furbid!), and two very nice gin and tonics while I nommed my three-course lunch. M said 'you'd better stop or you won't be able to walk'. And??? Walking wasn't exactly on my agenda, unless you count ambling up to the dunny, or down to the exit door bit where there's a bit of room for in-flight yoga. I think I slept very comfortably for about 3 hours, waking to find that M's flight socks (better than mine cos they are knee socks, mine are only ankles and not adequate, I discovered on the flight to Bangkok).. had stopped my legs swelling any further than the little bit caused by the Bangkok heat. Another triumph for computer socks.

It's bright daylight here, and there are tanned people with ice-blue eyes everywhere. They all look very healthy and tall and fit and Norsk. I feel somewhat dumpy by comparison, but I blame my woollen trousers for that. They add at least 20 kilos to the look of me ;-)

Earlier today, in another airport far, far away, I succumbed (again) to the lure of the Duty Free goodies. A long and careful inspection of the specials induced me to add a Chanel lipstick to my stash (that only makes two lipsticks, one for each lip ya know ...). Then (you know I'm going to say this) I succumbed to the lure of the pong, again. This time it's something a bit different, instead of a girlie floral I chose a spicy almost men's cologne-type scent. And when I get to Stockholm and unpack my backpack I will tell you what it is. At the moment the bottle is in a clear plastic bag with my other 'fluids', buried underneath my shawl, several books, a banana, a flight comfort pack, the computer bag, and ... oh you know, random junk which must be carried around but which seems pointless most of the time. Crucial, but pointless. Maybe next trip overseas we can confine ourselves to one weather zone, so we don't have to pack clothes which cater for weather ranging from ice floes to egg-frying pavements! Or, shock horror, travel in Australia. At least we could be sure we'd understand the locals....

I should mention that my sinuses are pretty outraged by the prolonged periods in pressurised cabins and very long descents from heavenly heights. I suffered quite badly in Bangkok, not least because our room was on the 38th floor of the hotel, and the breakfast room and restaurants on floors 76, 78 and 85. And the lifts going past the 40th floor were rapid-fire, so the ears were poppin' and the guts were droppin' and I was half-deaf and the left side of my face was MOST unhappy. I spent some time applying hot facewashers, in our room, cos heat helps. It was difficult lying on that side of my face when I had my wonderful Thai massage, but I think the masseur could feel that I was tense lying that way, cos when I turned my head the other way she said 'yes' and attacked my right shoulder. Something to do with which muscles were being stretched by which side of my head I was lying on. I think.

I am looking forward to a Swedish massage, and to the ministrations of masseurs all around the Baltic states. I could be in for some interesting experiences! And yes, mum, if I get interesting bruises I'll take photos. [My mother had a fall onto her face one time, and bruised herself quite badly. For some reason, she insisted on having herself photographed while the bruises were at maximum colour. She sent this photo to her father, who wrote to me saying "I've put the photo of your mother on the mantlepiece. From a distance she looks a bit like a purple fuchsia.". Immortal words.]

M has gone off to hunter-gather a sandwich. His stomach seems to adjust to the time zone changes with instant precision. So he feels that it's dinner time. And because the flight to Stockholm is only an hour, he's worried that we'll only be served a snack. I, otoh, can't think about food unless it's something very small and light, like fruit salad. We had two excellent meals on the flight here - the 3-course extravaganza lunch, and a dinner meal of [only] two courses. The warm cinnamon buns were wonderful, such a tempting scent. AND the in-flight coffee was very nice indeed. The menu even offered cappuccino! I didn't think it was possible to froth milk in a pressurised environment, I thought that's why coffee on planes is always so awful, cos the water can't boil propurry and then the coffee sits around on a hotpad - that's what it tastes like to me, anyway. Maybe Finnair knows something I don't about these things. Whatever it is, I completely approve.

Today brought to you, in this order, by eau de Asian city drain, melange de Duty Free purrfume tester counters, Avgas fumes, lime juice on my smoked salmon, cinnamon buns, and a faint, faint hint of the Mark Jacobs I put on this morning. Yesterday. In Asia. A squillion miles and quite a lot of tablets ago.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

T and S hits the road!

Hey this wireless interwebs is just miraculous. You pays your little bit of money, gets the card, types in the funny numbers, and heres you are, sending peerless words of wisdom all the way from busy downtown Bangkok.

As you know, we got exhausted leaving, and it's taken about 48 hours of 'holiday' to start feeling like it IS a holiday. But today we found the tailor and ordered clothes lavishly. It's so cheap it's almost embarrassing. I say 'can you make me two of these?' and the tailor says 'yes I give you a special price for two the same' and then I realise it's only about $10 in the first place! Even M, the least sartorial person in the world, saw that it was easy and fun to look at fabrix, go 'hmm' a bit, and order an extra pair of daks. In the end we left an order for 12 garments, which will all be ready in 27 hours!! Amazing. I'd still be winding the bobbin...

After that bit of major fun we walked along to a nearby hotel for some air-conditioning, and found we were sitting in a VERY posh cafe overlooking the river, which was teeming with an assortment of boats, barges, crud and tourists. Note placement of the word 'tourist' lower in the word chain than 'crud'. Hefty lard-ass Amurricans infest everywhere, altho less so on the streets around our hotel (INTERESTING TRAVEL FACT: this hotel - the Baihoke Sky -is the tallest building in Thailand. It's as tall as 182 ppl standing on top of each other. Ow!). The streets are a mass of stalls - a standard chaotic Asian market - and the lard-asses don't seem to do bargaining, cruddy roads, or mingling with the locals (as far as I can see). I, otoh, plan to get amongst it!

I booked into the hotel beauty salon at 9pm (yes, it's a 24 hour place) and a very nice, strong, happy masseur got to grrrrrips with me. It was a very interesting massage - face down on a fairly hard mat on the floor, and the masseur used her forearms, elbows, knees and bum (yes!) to push, stretch, prod, dig, wiggle and squish me from the top of my head to nearly my knees. I found it a bit hard to get up afterwards, but now, 2 hours (and a very nice pedicure) later, I feel very loose and comfy. I'm glad I brought my trusty heat pad with me, tho. It was a life-saver after the long flight.

Tomorrow we'll take a river cruise to see three temples and maybe the grand palace. And I think I need to investigate a few silk shops, you know, just in case giant moths eat my workroom while no-one's looking and my stash gets munched down to critically low levels....and, as a friend reminded me, I need to stay in the moment. And when moments involve sorting through hundreds of rolls of silk and imagining an entire new travel wardrobe of fabulously flattering, lush and lovely garments, I can do that! Again and again and again, for as many silk shops - erm, I mean moments - as necessary. Commitment, fortitude and a healthy excess baggage allowance, that's all it takes...

I'd better go, M wants a turn at the webs. I won't bore you with details of the tropical fruit extravaganza breakfast special will I? or mention that the breakfast rom is in fact an entire floor of the hotel, with counters for 7 different cuisines, dozens of eager staff, and bottomless coffee? No, I wouldn't be that cruel.

Today purrfumed by eau de traffic, paw-paw, jasmine and orchid displays, and the exotic sandalwood-based scented oil massaged into my feeties. Yeah!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Nearly gone...


Dear father (mother, daughter, husband, friend..),

I have sinned.

I tried.

I struggled, I did.

I even lay me down on a row of airport departure lounge chairs and went to sleep.

But it was not to be.

Forgive me.

I have proved that, even before leaving the country, even though I am bound for Bangkok, city of many, many appealing consumables, I can't walk past a sign saying DUTY FREE, with an acre or so of shiny things [sparkly things, things wrapped in cellophane, SMELLY things], and not buybuyBUY!

Yes, dear readers, I failed at the first hurdle, balked at the first fence. Hit the ground running and fell over a cat. I bought purrfume. Oooooooh yes. The boxed set, of course, with bonus hand cream and shower gel. You know, so I can layer the scent. It was on special, I tell you. How could I resist? There was a moment when common sense nearly prevailed, yes, I nearly got out alive, but a nice assistant came to assist me, and I was gone. Shop assistance in Australia? We're in miracle territory here!

And, worst (or best) of all, I had room for it in my backpack. For those of you who know my struggles with form vs. content when it comes to packing, this is beyond miracles and into some kind of heavenly karmic force territory.


Prada hand cream was on double-discount special (yes Shirley, cheaper than Strawberry!) at the register. Naturally I bought that too.

Happy sigh. I have two sets of travelling pong, to layer myself into purrfumed purrfection, brought to you by Prada and Marc Jacob.

I trotted happily back to a waiting M, who eyed my Duty Free bag uneasily. I could tell from the look on his face that he was worried about where I'd put it, and how much I'd spent. I said "I only bought these things to help get rid of my Australian money".

I love this man.

He even smiled!


Thanks to our chauffering friends, we were able to arrive at the airport very early. This allowed us to line up the very minute Qantas opened the check-in for our flight. We asked for exit row seats, knowing that it's very difficult to get these. No promises the person said, but ask at the departure gate. And lo, we did, and lo, we were moved to exit row seats. M still found himself a bit squished as to shoulder room (he was saintly enough to offer me the window seat, and I was selfish enough to accept it), but the leg room is brilliant. It's also just a bit chilly, cos of the emergency exit door I spose, but that doesn't matter when there are plenty of blankies and my fiord-strength polar fleece to keep me toasty.

I got some sleep after an extremely ordinary meal (forgot to ask for veggo meals, must remember to fix that, I contend that special request meals are generally a bit better than the standard economy warm anonymous meat thing). I slept quite well with my leggies all spread out, and my pillow half on M's shoulder. Then I watched the Martin Scorcese film of The Rolling Stones, which caused me to sing along a bit and bop around with my knees. When the spirit moves you... I think M was talking to me at one stage but I was deep in Brown Sugar and Gettin' No Satisfaction. Yeah!

We didn't have too much trouble getting through customs in Bangkok, altho the walk from the arrival lounge TO customs was a pretty fair distance, perhaps nearly a kilometre. But there are moving walkway thingies so we were able to sort of loll on them in a state of semi-collapse (it being about 3am in our personal time). We were not only checked and stamped at customs, but photographed as well. I hope it was a better shot than my passport snap, which was produced by a special 'ugly and old' lense. [As is the set of scales in the bathroom here - add 'fat' to its undesirable properties.]

Our travel agent had arranged a 'transfer' to our hotel, which was a large comfy car and driver. He piled us and all our stuff in and took off at high speed down a huge freeway. It took about 30 minutes to get to the hotel, including an exciting 'short cut' through a building site complete with muddy puddles, rubble and bits of strange equipment half over the track. Once we arrived, down a very narrow alley, all was suddenly marble and gold and huge echoing foyers and maroon velvet everywhere. Very posh.

I was amused to see that a fellow sitting at a desk marked 'CONCIERGE' was surfing the Net, collecting some information for his Biology class the next day I guess... he was scrolling through some close-up photos of images which explained how the father's seed managed to find the egg. Some of the women were being very helpful about where to look for the egg, in case the fathers were a bit confused.

Then we were escorted to our room on the eleventy-fifth floor. A HUGE room, with a HUGE bed, and a HUGE marble bathroom. and lights all over the place but no central, bright light, which is a PAIN. We stumbled around trying to unpack enough to have a shower and go to bed. It was probably about 4.30am in our body clock time when we finally fell into bed. Into one of these hard, kapok Asian beds, so I hurt myself. Bugger.

Then nothing at all happened for about 9 hours. Fabbo.

Then we tried room service bacon, egg and tomato sammos (ok) and fresh coffee (hmm). Then nothing happened again for about 4 more hours.

Our remains managed to collect themselves into human form in time to go up to the Sky Seafood Grill Lounge. This is up a special high-speed rocket lift, the type that makes your ears pop and your feet nervous (cos of all the nothing underneath them). The buffet/grill was a ginormous spread of everything with everything. My favourite thing was the gin.

Now I am bravely going downstairs to the 7-11 in the foyer to get some milk for cuppa teas in the morning. See my snort - coming soon - about milk, for detailed observations on the unnecessary and (mostly) unpalatable extremes the production of this simple substance has reached.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tank you all karmic lawds and forces...

... cos I been wrangling my new puter via Perth and Bombay since 11.30pm yesterday, and in spite of much scuttling between my study and his, inventions of 10 digit numbers, a cold cuppa coffee and some muttering, it seemed that I would not be able to get Net access on my shiny new Airport.

Anguish. Sobgnashmuttermuttermutter...

Then, miwacles!!!! It just decided that if I asked it very nicely to connect to the Net (as if I hadn't just spent about eleventy-hundred grey hairs and almost a whole nervous system on failing to do just that) natch, Net access, why not?

So now, at last, yesterday is over.

Brought to you by a number of godly forces, such as the purrfect dorter, Diorissimo, Mal, a crucial bottle of champagne, and the wonders of the interwebs. And not forgetting Wendy, who let me pat her for once. My baby ... but I is hysterical.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I gots me some wonderful new trousers!! Thank you Mr. Tailor. They are worth every kilometre of nerve-endings shredded in the process. Ppls, you will be delighted to know that I can now swan off around the world in colour coordinated, long enough, wide enough, pocketed, placketed and elastic-waisteded daks, fit for a queen, or better still, a woman thrice-crowned. Yippee!

I even got a discount of nearly a fifth of the price cos two things I specifically ordered didn't get done - the wool trousers weren't lined, and the other wool trousers didn't have the silverfish holes in the bum mended. Mr Tailor offered to fix them on the spot for a mere !!!! $35 dollars, but dorter and I exchanged swift glances and I said no. She/I/we can mend them for about 30 cents, if we get to it, or as my ever-practical darling girl said "just wear black undies and no-one will notice". True. Cos they are dark grey daks. So that part of the precision-packing process is in my opinion finito. Phew.

I also decided that trying to find time to go to pick up ultrasound films of both my hips, for future reference, was fairly low in the pecking order. The radiology business which made them neither delivers to my gp, nor agrees to post anything. So they can have the pleasure of being able to look at my ball-joints for the next three months, til I return and make the effort to give a stuff about retrieving them. And, for the record, the jury is still out on the overall effectiveness of the shots of steroid. I am not perhaps as stiff or sore in the hips, but as my daily routine is highly disordered atm, it's not a level data-recording playing field. I think the real test will be how easy it is to walk/manage luggage when we get off the plane in Bangkok after 8 or so hours of high-altitude sardinery.

We had a big family dinner tonight, several branches of us converging on an unsuspecting Italian restaurant. Parents, two sibs plus offspring, plus husband's sis and her husband. It went well in spite of the rather slow production of food from the kitchen. The youngest member of the party was was getting a bit crunchy, but the waitress spotted the restless girl and came over to reassure her that tucker was only minutes away. Unfortunately the gwown-ups had to wait a bit longer.

This makes me wonder (a lot) about rituals - the farewells. It seems to me that we all need to touch base with important people to say our farewells, and the bigger the reason for the absence, and the longer period it covers, the greater the need to invest the farewell with meaning. Meaning which is often (somehow) gathered through sharing a meal, exchanging gifts, pressing messages of goodwill and hope onto the leaver and the leavee, elaborate assurances of the possibility of communication upheld, and a sort of 'final requests' conversation about items, deeds, events and plans. All in all, as if one were about to die.

I'm not very good at farewells, especially when combined with airports. Too many occasions of real wrenchings of the heart, like when my kids were flying off to their interstate home... and once, knifing into my heart, my son point-blank refusing to get on the plane and sobbing as if HE were about to die. Such a dilemma, and going totally against my instinct, which was to say 'of course you can stay with me darling'. I won't forget that. He did agree to fly, but walked down the hallway to the plane with the flight attendant, his little back shuddering with sobs.. no amount of gin and tonics or chocolate fixed me after that experience. Since then I've been even more hopeless at airports. I start getting homesick for myself before I get into the carpark! Meeting ppl at airports is marginally less worrying, altho the mind can always summon up a quick cartwheeling aircraft hitting a cow on the runway, a mis-timed bolt of lightening, or a missing-the-plane disaster at the other end. Sigh. An imagination is a terrible burden sometimes isn't it?

Getting myself onto a plane, with so many good wishes and heartfelt farewells and promises of things to come - it all makes me uneasy. It CAN'T be so simple!!! I don't think I have a death wish, or any kind of determination to be pessimistic about the trip. I just hate all the noting of my departure. The absoluteness of it. Too much like 'here ya go, just wiggle ya hips and the coffin will fit nicely. Now, can I get you a neck pillow or a pre-flight champagne???'. Nup. I want to creep away, waving a very little wave at my cats, and leave my natural orders happily, quietly, naturally ordering themselves around in their informal way without me, so it's all just waiting here for me when I return. So that the BIGNESS of it stops feeling so bloody big! So that rather than carrying the burdensome 'my gosh aren't you lucky WHAT a huge trip how will your health stand up where will you be for your birthday did you have a typhoid shot as well you WILL send photos and cards to us all did you remember the iPod" thoughts of the umpteen ppl I leave behind, I can just sort of be around on email; be just as impossible to ring up before lunchtime; and can ease my way back into physical contact with as little fanfare as possible. Why, ppls go away all the time. They do. And do we spend months worrying about their welfare and being aware of their physical absence and thinking what a hole they leave behind and goodness won't their hair have grown? Well, I hope not. I know that the more you care for the ppls, the more you think of them and want them to be here for hugs and such. And I do like it that ppls care for me, really I do.

I think I just want the uber-crazy fare-thee-well take care HERE I AM HAMMERING IT IN THAT YOU WILL BE GONE stuff to stop. I know I'll be gone. But I has a secret - I know I'll be BACK. I pwomised the cats.

Today brought to you by a strong feeling that the catbox needs changing, a good application of Prada shower gel, and for tonight, a two-generational wrist and cleavage-ful of Enjoy. Yes, dorter and I wearing matching purrfume. Dags R Us!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

.... speechless exhaustion ....

... brought to you, late in the day, by a squirt of 'Enjoy'. This after it was pointed out to me by numbers of ppl that I should be EXCITED about going away. I'm too tired to be excited ferfuxake. A squirt of purrfume with an encouraging name is the best I can manage.

Someone please send me awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tra-la, tra-la...

My mate reminded me of singing four-part harmony on the deck, champagne to hand, a warm sea current waiting to wash any cares away, and the company of good friends... summer holidays, no stress, excellent coffee.... cake, even!

Our weekend hasn't been ANYTHING like that. In fact the only four-part harmony was probably when we were all whinging for dinner at once - a whimper, a request, a mrow and a biff (in LMW-speak biff counts as a complete vocabulary, and I might say is remarkably effective, especially when it draws blood). The cats got the better of it, they got fed. M had to resort to yet another tin of tuna, and I probably ate either muesli or toast. Yes, when in doubt, have breakfast again. I *have* been trying to 'eat the freezer' (defrosting interesting lumps of icy stuff to see what they are), and we've had some fun - the lump labelled "M's potato bolognaise" defrosted into some roast chicken with herbs. Who knows where that mutant bog got to? Bread is easy to identify, and the smaller lumps are invariably yet another packet of gourmet coffee beans. There's a bit of a gap in the fresh veggies and herbs department though..

My crisper is empty. Most of the open packets of pasta, rice, weirdo curry pastes, pickles, rubs, mustards and that bit of wedding-cake icing I forget buying, have gone either down the hatch or in the compost. The bottom of the fridge is so clear of food, all you can see is a row of bottles of grog (now THAT'S an organised fridge, a fridge with its priorities straight).

The linen cupboard got tidied, folded, culled and labelled in a huge Virgo attack some months ago. I've washed all the cotton rugs. I've arranged for new paths around the house to be made while we're away. I've left a life-time supply of cow manure for Alice the Garden. I've mended the washing line, put away all the knitting, piled up all the important papers I have ignored for weeks into a really tidy bundle, thrown out my old sneakers, and looked behind the bed.

I've written CLOTHES HORSE on my right wrist three days in a row, to try to remember to buy one before we leave, because clearly if I don't I will fret all the way around the Baltic States that our house-sitter won't be able to get her stuff dry on our crappy little old one.

We went out this afternoon to have a meeting - a strange marital habit leftover from the days when a step-dorter was involved in the household mix. We used to go out (neutral space) and thrash out any co-existence problems over coffee and cake. There was an agenda, a chair, and a scribe. It took hours. Then the step-dorter would happily announce 'but ya know, cos I'm a teenager, I reserve the right to forget all these agreements sometimes'. Step-mother used to gnash and wail.... anyway, as I said, we had a meeting. We drew up very competent lists of days, items, appointments, chores, memos, reminders and must-dos.
After some pages, I saw that nowhere on my list does it say "PACK". So apparently I am going away for 12 weeks to exciting northern hemisphere destinations with no luggage. Meh. But think what I'll leave behind! - the most incredibly well-organised household, cats, parents, house-sitter, extended staff (gardener, builder, plumber and cleaners), workroom and study.

OK, OK, I lied about the study. I'm going to continue putting things in piles to look efficient and hope-to-fuck nothing important gets forgotten, or rears up as a narstly problem for someone else to fix while I'm gorn. And I'm going to put all the purrfume away in a nice dark place so it doesn't go off while I'm gone. Except for what I take with me. Last time I believe I started out with only two bottles, succumbed to the fun of buying some in mid-air with my shiny new Visa card, and picked up at least one more along the way in a Duty Free shop. My bathroom bag probably weighed about 7kgs. Fortunately it was in those long-gone days when one could carry liquids on board big silver birds. Now I am in a pickle - how to either decide which one to take (one? ONE!!!! I can't survive 12 weeks smelling the same kind of gorgeous every day!!!), or what to leave out from the rest of the packing so I can wrap up lots more in socks n stuff. You see the trials I am faced with?

And, just for fun, tomorrow I must have another shot into my hip, and on Tuesday I must be attacked by a dentist to have a permanent crown stuck in me gob. So the medical habit continues, right down to the line....

Today brought to you by the aroma of Segafredo lattes (thanks to Tilleys), and a strong reminder of yesterday's 'Ange ou Demon' via my bra. From the over-active squirts I applied last night before going out to an extremely spiffo dinner. Nom!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Well, as you can see, the magical mystery text from yesterday's post has completely disappeared. But the links list kind of says it all, and I really CAN'T be stuffed trying to work out how to find it.

It was a long, loopy rant. It was kind of wild and weird.

Oh well.

Today is purrfumed by 'Ange ou Demon' by Givenchy. And I bought an Airbook! New toys, yes!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reaching SILENT SCREAM status..!!


I've been trying to make bookings through the Tiger Airlines (domestic) site, and not only have I failed, but the b@st@rds have LOCKED my credit card.  Because I kept trying to make the payment by pressing AUTHORISE and it kept going boinnngg! and going "ner-ner we won't let you.."....

Which means that A) purrfect dorter doesn't have flights booked for next week, when she's bravely offered to visit us to help with our pre-overseas trip nervous breakdowns, and B) I have to wrangle my credit union tomorrow morning AS WELL AS the eleventy other things I need to do.


And, waaah, I had three jabs today, so I have three sore limbs.  That leaves one hip to lie on, but not the matching arm.  Could be interesting finding the correct painless pretzel-position in bed tonight!  I had a shot of cortisone into my right hip, which has bursitis or somesuch ow-ey joint problem.  Couldn't be identified on the ultrasound, but as the pressure of the ultrasound thingy was making me yip and leap about on the bed, they observed that it was 'fairly tender' and agreed to do the deed.  Then we charged off to the gp for typhoid shots (going to Bangkok first), and a HepB booster for me cos my immune system (which is usually a very dodgy opurration) seems to have eaten up those antibodies and doc says I needs more.  The practice nurse offered to give us tetanus boosters as well, and was quite keen to give M a pneumovax jab, but fortunately she checked with the doc and he said a very firm no.  Thankyou Saint Steve!

Yesterday our plans for the doing of things was thrown right out of the window when a friend, who came to have lunch, was so ill with side-effects of new and vital medication, that I insisted on driving her home.  She could hardly walk, hardly speak, but on a very wet and dingy day seemed to think she'd be orright driving quite a long way home.  Nope.  I couldn't let her go.

We got a few things achieved, but it was so upsetting to see her in such distress that we kind of found ourselves in Tilleys on the way home, having nice comforting (large) glasses of wine and gins and tonics.  That wrote off the evening quite nicely!  Today's attempt was kind of scuttled by the jabs, which left me needing a nanna nap, zzzzzzzz.  And wrangling airlines is really not very much fun.  Growl growl.  And yes, I am still composing the letter to Mr Branson about our Cairns-Brisbane-Canberra debacle.  Mostly I'm removing adjectives.  It's not safe to send yet.

The purrfume of the day is just the Prada I put in my hair last night.  I was too crumpled and dribbly, when getting ready at the cracked dawn to get to a 9am appointment to have something sharp and nasty done to me.  Perhaps I'll sleep in some Chanel No. 5 Huile Sensual, yes that's a good idea.

Tomorrow I have to look at pavers and pick up my other new specs (which I hope might be the style my father finally approves of.  He's my style guru but I rarely get the paternal nod of approval).  And we must get to the tailor and the chemist and the bra shop and the backpack shop and shit I forget what else.  I think I'll have to change the physio appt for the third time this week, which is probably driving them mad.  Oh yes, because I made the physio time too close to the end of gym.  Heh - do you know how alien that sentence is to my real life??  


Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Week That Was...

... was busy.  An understatement.

... was full of many small but important achievements - fittings for walking shoes; anti-blister socks; after 3 tries, managing to get to the tailor with the right fabrics AND the right trousers to be copied (and suffer the brutal honesty of measurements); further consultations with the travel agent; a loooooooong consultation with the doc to get a three-month supply of the eleventy meds I need to keep body and soul together on a daily basis; physio; M to the dentist (it's my turn for that tomorrow); cleaners; path-making/paving person initial consultation (doesn't EVERYone decide to re-pave and beautify their entire garden 13 days before leaving on a three-month trip??); some craft-work; some cooking; cat-walking; two visits to the gym, and more.... (creak, pant, whimper..) ... lunch with sainted parents (and yes I managed to forget to bring their present.  Mum, otoh, presented me with some amazingly dubious summer pedal-pushers, white with large hot pink blobs, I think I'll frighten the horses in those - what on earth was she channelling when she bought them I wonder??? ... purrhaps best not to know, if my mother has suddenly developed a penchant for disco-daks I think I'd rather not know).

... was icy cold after the beauty of a week in Cairns.

... was strangely bereft of purrfume, especially over the last two days.  But I have a cold or purrhaps a small throat lurgy, so my sense of smell is gone again.  It's ephemeral at best, dammit.  I do recall trying Dolce and Gabbana "Ice Blue" on Friday and wondering if in fact it has any smell.  Didn't put two and two together and get' dodgy nose attack imminent'.  All these years and I am still naive about it.  That is either wonderful, or kinda sad...

... required me to fall into a large heap as of last night and have an uber-sleep followed by a Sunday afternoon of lolling about with newspapers, cups of coffee, phone calls to friends, a spot of Netting (check my blog list for a wonderfully-named new craft site), and a firm decision to stay inside.  Checking the breeze at the front door was enough to make that decision very easy. M got to be the Mr. Goody-FourPaws and take Maccy for his walk.  Maccy wasn't very obliging, he sauntered over to say howdy to the neighbours, did a bit of desultory tree-scratching, and then firmly sat down on the job and had to be carried home.  Hopeless.  Otoh on Saturday we managed to go all around the block, with him purring (and dwibbling) all the way, awwwww.. 

I have applied some 'Enjoy' to get me through the night.  This, combined with a nearly maximum quantity of pain-relievers, should do the trick.  Any kind of stress on my respiratory system, especially a virus, means almost instant umpty-fold pain in the left sinus.  That poxy left sinus which demands so much attention and which refuses to lie down and be quiet, even thougt the professorial uber-doc has pronounced it 'patent and healthy'.  Hear that, oh troublesome one??


Am wafting off to the bedroom raspberry wall leaning against which are the purple, sage green and cerise pillows.  Pillows lying about on the sage and maroon covers keeping a slumbering M warm, and providing colour-contrast for one fuzz-buzz black scruff-bucket.  Enjoy, I say.  Enjoy, I smell.  

Sort of.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gnash etc #2

... AND I didn't have any purrfume in my bag!  Because of the poxy hand-luggage rules about liquids.

It has taken me four days to calm down enough to a) realise this, and b) think that if I'd had a quick squirt of Prada or Enjoy it might have made me feel a LOT better.