Category Archives: weather

And so, the story never really ends …

An attempt to have a crack at a peaceful holiday in Cairns last February ended up being a six week invasion of Roo’s apartment complete with ambulances, paramedics and finally a trip to Townsville for the Hunter Gatherer to succumb to a heart operation – after which the rest of the year continued to deteriorate miserably as the HG lost both parents in quick succession and chaos descended on what hadn’t ever been a particularly peaceful existence in the first place.

Towards the middle of the year, Rocco decided to leave home and move to Melbourne for work. Being the final chicken to leave the nest, one would think Rocco’s mother would have wept and gnashed teeth – and that might certainly have been the case had there not been so much other stuff going down. There was certainly no time for Rocco’s mother to blog or write or even think straight – so it is with a certain amount of surprise she finds herself thinking reasonably straightish  once again, though astounded to find herself relocated halfway across the country in a partially renovated beach shack located within a flood’n’cyclone belt (but that’s another story), and far, far away from the softcock option of New South Wales’ idyllic south coast where she had become ensconced in arse-inflating comfort in a cosy room overlooking a nice garden, contemplating chocolate cake and the HG’s impending retirement and not thinking of weather conditions in every waking moment and having one foot permanently poised to flee.

How did all this happen?  Who knows – but it did. In July, after a harrowing few months of disarray, the HG and Rocco’s mother decided to take a short break to visit Flygirl in Darwin, returning via Cairns to re-visit Roo and get it right this time. The idea was to not have a medical emergency for a change, but to check out real estate with a view to maybe relocating ho-hum soonish whenever. Rocco’s mother didn’t at any stage imagine they would really be relocating. She and the HG were not, and are not particularly to this day, renowned for snap decisions, change or risk taking. Rocco’s mother is, however, a sucker for old Queenslanders (the houses, not the geriatrics), and spent many happy hours looking through the real estate liftout of the Cairns paper and even attending Open Houses. After a few of these, where various ‘renovator’s delights’ and ‘handyman’s dreams’ were offered for twice the price the present home in NSW would be worth, the HG informed her he wasn’t a fan of Queenslanders anyway and that there was too much work involved. In a way, this came as a relief to Rocco’s mother, who was already contemplating going home and resuming her arse-expanding sofa activities and not having to worry about termites, woodrot or, indeed, having to spend every waking moment of every available day wandering around Bunnings. Which is what eventually happened. It turned out the HG’s lack of enthusiasm for old Queenslanders was merely a matter of location. He didn’t want to live in the city – he wanted to live by the beach.

And so it was, on the final day of the holiday, Roo took the HG and Rocco’s mother to a northern beaches suburb where they phoned a real estate agent on a whim, and inspected what could only be described as a shack. Rocco’s mother wasn’t even taking much notice. There was plenty of termite damage, woodrot galore – one bedroom and a small alcove which didn’t have any business being called a bedroom but optimistically had been – and an outdoor dunny located on the back verandah, which tilted away at a crazy angle and felt as if it were about to collapse into the ground. Rocco’s mother was surprised to hear the HG asking animated questions of the real estate lad – and mildly alarmed when the RE lad informed them he’d had a quote for ‘around $10,000 to have the roof replaced’ – which would, of course, be immediately necessary for the unlucky purchaser to undertake prior to habitation. Alarm bells gave a distant jangle when the HG whipped a tape measure from his pocket – but Rocco’s mother knew their flight was booked for the next morning.

Imagine then, how fate intervenes and changes the course of people’s lives. At the airport the next morning, Rocco’s mother and the HG were bumped from their flight, and the afternoon saw them returning to the beach shack with an even more rigid tape measure and … whatever.

So it came to pass. The termite infested shack was duly purchased, the cosy home in NSW disposed of, and nothing will ever be the same again. As we speak, Rocco’s mother is sitting in the small room which could never possibly be considered big enough for a bedroom and which is, surprisingly, just perfect for a computer and not unlike the small office she had ‘back home’. Maybe things will be written here.

But that’s another story …



Sorry, but madness doesn’t need an apology …

            There are two things which make a difference – the weather and age.

            How you feel depends very much on what’s going down with the seasons and the magnetic pull of the whatnot. Ask anyone. Every teacher knows kids go berserk if it’s windy. Policemen are aware they’re going to have their work cut out for them on the night of a full moon. The crazies will be out there howling, the cells will be full and, dammit, there won’t be any Iced Vovos left in the station biscuit tin.

            But take a look at age. As the years roll by, you can almost feel your attitude changing. You can hear it clicking over like a tachometer every time you draw breath. I’m reasonably sure I didn’t purposely ram people in the back of the knees with supermarket trolleys 20 years ago, just because they were thick enough to try it on with 11 items in the 8-items-or-less queue. I didn’t swear at hoons in cars who got away from the lights faster than I. Nor did I ever, ever have the bravado to take faulty goods back to the shop. Whatever was going down inside, from outward appearance hardly anybody could tell.

            But the older you get, the less you need care what people think. That goes for appearance as well as attitude in general. The time comes when you have every right to look as crazy as a madwoman’s breakfast.

            When you’re a teenager, everything matters. You’d never leave the house without checking to make sure you were cool. Nor would you be seen dead in a public place with your mother, who has a perm, a twinset and Bonds Cottontails. It’s absolutely vital you’re part of some kind of tribe.

            By the time 40-and-more rolls around, there’s no tribe which will accept you as a member. This is a very liberating thing indeed. It’s therefore possible to fulfill a hankering for wandering blissfully through Food-o-rama in your smelly sheepskin slippers. Without a bra. If anyone looks sideways, you can say, ‘Sod YOU.’ It’s very satisfying altogether. You are now free to be an individual and can choose your own style without having to bow to any convention whatsoever.

            Furthermore, you can tell your kids you wouldn’t be seen dead with them. You can say you’re embarrassed about their purple hair, metallic appendages and the fact their bodies have more illustration than the Readers’ Digest World Atlas (Millennium Edition).

            You no longer have to live in a ‘family estate’ in a three bedroom brick veneer, drop the kiddies to school in a 4X4 which wouldn’t recognise the bush if you stuck a photograph of Kakadu on the pristine windscreen, or light up the barbeque every Sunday afternoon and invite the crappy neighbours around with their disgusting organic potato salad.

            You are now free to be naff as hell. You can let the garden go to pot (literally) and drive around in a weird old car they don’t make parts for anymore. You can stay in the same underwear for months. When kids start throwing rocks on your roof and insinuating you’re batty, you can peer out of the window and say, ‘Sod YOU.’

            You will find for the first time in your life you are honestly and truly happy. Your sink is full of dirty dishes, you’ve read War and Peace cover to cover and people are staying away from you in droves. Your humpy is full of cats and cockroaches, your unmade bed is full of library books and half-chewed Sara Lee danishes in foil pie pans and you’re feeling extremely frivolous indeed. What the hell – treat yourself to a couple of ferrets!

            Age means never having to say you’re one of the crowd again. Never having to keep up with the Jones’s, or the Smiths, or even Kerry Packer. You can choose your friends because you genuinely like them – not because they belong to the right network.

            Feel free to get out there in the darkness on the next full moon with the rest of the crazies, doin’ what feels right! Whoooaaaa!

            I’ll be out there in my smelly sheepskin slippers with my ferrets running up and down around my vile undergarments. And count on it – we’ll all be howling …