Monday, March 25, 2013

Argh Monday

Wish I was where the little geriatric dog was.  It's 9.20am Monday morning and she is still in bed!  I served up her breakfast 2 hours ago, but she does not want to get up.  Worried, I went in and patted her, she is fine, stretched out, licks my hand, wants her tummy rubbed.  Is perky and alert, just wants a sleep in. Fair enough.  She is, after all, retired.

PS: She HATES the camera.  It clicks and beeps and even though she is blind, she just knows I am taking her photo.  That's why we never get a photo of her looking anything but worried!

Friday, March 22, 2013

When Fantasy meets Reality

Pinterest for women is like a man looking at pictures of a playboy bunny and thinking that would be nice!

You look at pretty pictures of tables set in fields, or apple orchards, with linen cloths and dainty china, tiers of little cupcakes, scones and neatly cut sandwiches.  A string of pastel bunting, billowy swags of tulle, wooden table with paper lanterns strung above.

You get an idea.  What if I have a garden party for my friends?  We could all dress in floral, cotton dress's, be carefree and wallow away an entire afternoon, laughing lightly and sipping pink champagne.    I could take the dining table out onto the lawn.  I could quickly sew up some chair covers in calico and tie a pastel pink ribbon to the back, pop in some dried roses.  Cut out triangles of scrap material and string them together.  It will mean a trip to Spotlight, but it wont cost much.

You have a few 'trio's' but need a few more.  You start to watch Ebay for Royal Albert and Royal Doulton.  A few parcels arrive, you think they are a bargain at $35 a set.  You buy a silver sugar dish and polish it.  On holidays you find a pure white linen tablecloth and eight matching napkins.  The shop lady (who was twice your age, well almost) says they will take a lot of ironing.  You laugh, a little too gaily  that you love to iron.  

You attend high teas at a few places, just to get ideas of what food to serve.  You make up a menu, write it out in long hand calligraphy on sepia paper. You make invitations the same way and hand deliver them.  Sunday.  1pm.  4 weeks from now.

You let a week go by, plenty of time, it's just afternoon tea.  Three weeks to go,  you panic.  Four weeks seemed plenty of time when you planed this, but then you make the 'to do' list. It seems endless.

It's real now.  You have to follow through.  You start by going to buy material.  The natural calico ends up costing you $120 for 8 chairs.  The tulle another $40.  The parcel of material sits on the dining table for a week before you have a chance to sew it.  The chair covers are harder than they look.  You make 3, then have a go at the prettier bunting.  By 10pm Sunday night you have made 2 metres, you are pretty pleased with yourself.

The next weekend you find a perfect silver tea set in a second hand store.  You are delighted.  You rush home and spend the next 4 hours polishing it, plus all the little silver cake forks your Grandmother left to you. You now have enough fine china trios for your eight guests.  You wash them all by hand, drying them carefully.  It takes you ages, but you tell yourself that to slow down is a good thing.  The rest of the house is a shambles and don't even think of going into the laundry!

You go online and find a site that sells everything party.  You buy cupcake cases, striped straws, pastel icing, sprinkles, paper lanterns, sugared almonds, candles.  It costs $124 but you tell yourself you will have these things for years.

There is a week to go.  The garden is still a mess.  You haven't picked up the dog poo for a week now and the lawn needed mowing a month ago.  There are dead patches mixed with eye-high grass.  The roses need a good prune, and cooch has invaded the flower beds.  You work like a navvy in the garden, and cajole your husband to help by offering favours you know you will be too tired to grant.  You rush to Bunnings and buy 'potted colour' at exorbitant prices.

The weekend of the garden party.  Saturday.  You want to make everything from scratch, the old fashioned way.  A shopping trip with a toilet roll for a shopping list, which includes a visit to the kitchen shop to get specialised tart trays and a 3 tiered platter.  You get home, exhausted and not at all feeling like cooking.  You poach chicken breasts in tarragon to make sandwiches.  You make cupcake batter and set out 2 dozen pink pokerdot cupcake cases (you want to send everyone home from the party with their own, beautifully decorated cupcake to remind them how wonderful you are). 

You bake and ice and decorate.  Piping bags were never your friend.  At 7pm your husband casually wanders in and wants to know whats for dinner.  You snap at him, 'fucking cupcakes!'  At 8.30pm you are eating Maccers from the kitchen bench as you stir custard.

By 11pm you are exhausted, you have been in the kitchen all day.  You feel a little panicked that you haven't yet cleaned the house or scrubbed the toilet.    But you go to bed satisfied that you have made all the cupcakes, have made the filling for the three sandwiches - smoked salmon mouse, chicken and celery in creme freche and cucumber and sour-cream  there are 10 individual chocolate mouses in shot glasses (2 extra as you broke your deal with the husband and this may get you off the hook), miniature lemon meringue pies, fruit custard pies - you even made the tiny pastry cases and glazed the strawberries with apricot jam.  You sleep, but not well - a to do list for tomorrow running through your head.

Midnight.  You wake with fright as you just remembered that you left the fruit custard tarts to cool on the bench and they have custard in them and need to go in the fridge.  You debate if they will be ok, have visions of your lovely lady guests with food poisoning, and get out of bed to find a container they can be stored in and wedge a place in your overflowing fridge.  Its 2am before you finally get to sleep.

8.30am.  You have slept in!  You start yelling at your husband to stop being a lazy bastard and help you.  You make him clean the toilet while you start cutting crusts off two loaves of white and wholemeal bread. He comes back 2 minutes later and says he is done.  You know damn well it wont be done properly and have to do it yourself.  You hate him.  You tell him so.  He takes off to the shed.

You know your hair needs washing, but no time now. You need to get the table set.  Your sister-in-law phones you and asks if you need some help?  You try and keep the panic out of your voice as you casually say no love, all under control, I just want you to come and enjoy yourself.  

You have to go and apologise to your husband, you need him to help you move the dining table onto the lawn.  He helpfully asks if you cant just use the outdoor table?  No you say through clenched and stubborn jaw - the vision is for an extravagant dining table on the lawn.  It's the whole POINT!  He just silently carries one end as you struggle and heave it past door frames.  You take a chunk of plaster out of the wall.  You swear.  He disappears into his shed again.

The linen table cloth, that has been ironed once, still looks like its been slept on by the dog.  You set up the ironing board and try and fix it.  The bloody old bitch at the shop was right.  You hate her too.  You reason that when its covered in plates, glasses, napkins and food, and you have sprinkled rose petals all over you wont notice the wrinkles.  You are wrong.

It's now 11.30am.  The table is set.  It looks pretty.  Now to move all the chairs outside and cover with the calico.  You don't dare ask the husband, you can hear him hitting something pretty hard in his shed.  The covers are fiddly, the bows on the back even more so.  You only got around to making 6 covers, too bad!  You think to hell with dried roses.  

The 2 metres of bunting only goes on one side of the fence.  You had visions of it all the way round.  It looks a bit naff.  The paper lanterns keep falling down from where you have strung them.  It's 12.45 and you still are not showered or dressed and you have scones to make and pots of tea to prepare.  You stuff the very expensive tulle back into your laundry.

You just get in the shower and you hear the door bell.  Shit.  You husband comes to the rescue and starts telling your 8 lady friends what a bad mood you are in, and laughs that you will need a lot of champagne to calm you down.  You get out of the shower, still half wet and throw on the floral dress, that you just remembered you needed to iron. Makeup and hair are forgotten.

Damn them all for being on time  and damn your husband for not taking them straight out into the garden.  Now all the ladies are assembled in your kitchen, which looks like a teenagers bedroom, you look like a bedraggled,  crumpled teenager to suit.  Smile.  Open a bottle of pink champagne and get them to follow you out to the garden.

The oos and ahhs at your elegant, garden, Pinterestque table setting don't take away the exhaustion and despair you are feeling.  You gulp down your champers and fill up the glass again.  A kind friend follows you into the kitchen so you mercilessly put her to work arranging food onto platters.  She asks a million questions of how you want the cakes placed, which platter for the sandwiches, do you want the scones on the top tier or the bottom.  You don't freaking care anymore because the scones are burning.  

It all goes off pretty well considering   The ladies have a great time, you are glad however when it all ends earlier than you fantasied about.  Your husband ventures out of his shed when he hears you have got drunk.  He flirts with your friends, and tells them stories about how much of a bitch you have been preparing for this day and you don't care.  Only your sister-in-law stays to help clean up. You feel bad.  Every Royal Doulton, every silver fork, every crystal platter has to be washed by hand. You can't do it in the dishwasher.  You tell her you will do it all tomorrow.  She tries to insist she will help.  You get cross and tell her to go the hell home.

There is lipstick on most of the linen napkins and pink icing and rose petal stains on the tablecloth. They never come out.

You and your husband have cupcakes for dinner, you were too drunk to give them out to the ladies as they left.  The kitchen stays like this til morning.

Nope.  The fantasy never lives up to the reality.  Any playboy reading man will tell you that.

Footnote : Pinterest did not have any pictures of the reality ... I wonder why?

Markets, Germs and healthy?

Went to the Subi markets this Sunday.  It was humid, noisy, crowded and well, not very pleasant. Perhaps it's just me, I have become a bit of a recluse of late.  One thing struck me, and I am probably very slow in this, I know my Mum would have cottoned on, is how unhygienic open food in this environment can be.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am no clean freak, I don't mind 'clean' dirt, I can tolerate camping and flies quite happily.  I will eat food and share it with my horse/dog/child.  I don't sterilise my kitchen.

But.  I do have an aversion to 'people' germs.  So back to the markets.  All this fruit and vege, on open display, hundreds of people poking and pinching and prodding it while they make their selection.  Fine for things like potatoes that will get peeled, or a rock-melon   I bought grapes and plums, they looked delicious, and I sat with friends and we picked at them.  

But they weren't washed and I wonder how many hands touched them.  What germs those hands had on them.

Is this why I have had a stomach upset for days now?  

Then there was the open containers of rice, nuts, grains.  People stood over them, scooping out contents into bags.  One sneeze and there are body fluids in droplets all over the exposed food.  The thing I wondered, after years of hell with them, was weevils?  This place was a hot bed for the little critters.

I will still drop my bread on the floor at home and claim the 15 second rule, I will still eat yogurt that is 5 days over its use-by date, but I will always just wonder about open food at markets.  If there was ever a epidemic, some super virus, then these are the places they would spread.  

One more reason to grow my own!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dogs, cats and interuptions

Cat : "That dogs just a suckhole"

It used to be my kids that would stop me working/reading/crafting/being quiet.  Now its the three amigo's - Tommy the border collie, Minty the Maltese poodle and Tyler the mongrel cat.  I swear they get together and plan this out..

I sit down to write.  It's morning, I have an hour to write before I have to start work.  I have fed all three of them.  I have a coffee.  Mr K is still asleep, the neighbours are quiet.  

And it starts.  Cat starts to meow, loudly like he wants to be fed (I am sure he has developed Alzheimer's).  He comes into my office, jumps on my desk and proceeds to walk across my papers, books, keyboard, behind the monitor.  Me telling him off and his backchat just cause Tommy to rush to my office window, jump up on the window sill, scratch his paws down the fly screen and yip.  

Now I am telling off both the cat and Tommy.  They both think they are self appointed police animals and tell each other off as well.  This starts up the geriatric old girl Minty.  She starts yapping and running about in circles.

My once peaceful, quiet morning is now a cacophony of meow, yap and yip with the occasional well timed bark from the baritone.  This is the point I give up, go outside with them all following and bestow attention.

Just like I used to do when my kids were little and I was studying and they wanted my attention.  

Do I have to wait until the animals leave home until I get my own quiet time, free of interruptions?  Or by then will Mr K be retired and wanting me to find his glasses or make him lunch?

I have 4 blog posts, ones that need to be written carefully and thought about, to finish, and every day this performance goes on!! 

"I tell you, its all lies - silly human, I have been in bed the whole time"

"Don't make me get off the lounge to tell you lot off!"

"I am the good boy, yes I am!"

Monday, March 18, 2013

The problem with learning

The problem with learning things, is that it teaches you what you don't know!  There I was tonking along thinking that writing is easy - well sort of.  The hardest part, I thought, was making yourself sit down and pump out 2000 words a day.  The discipline of writing.  Once you had that nailed, you were on the home stretch.   


Turns out that is only one of many things that can stump you.

We are studying ethics at the moment, and what a can of worms it has opened up. As a writer, you have so much to think about.  Here is a quote made by Margaret Atwood when a member of the public asked her about basing characters on people you know.  This is a direct quote from my lecturer ...

I'll share a comment from the wonderful Margaret Atwood, whose interview on stage a couple of weeks ago was a highlight of the Perth Writers' Festival. A member of the audience asked about the ethics of basing characters on people you know and Atwood answered, and I paraphrase: 'Change their names and your relatives probably won't recognise themselves'.  She went on to say that she had received letters from readers, people she had never met, accusing her of putting them in her books. Both comments brought big laughs from the audience.

The characters I am writing about are composites of people I know, myself included.  So how can I avoid this issue of people thinking you are writing about them?  Because as a writer, you do write what you know, I do watch people and how they act and talk to get ideas about a character   And if I only write about myself, then its inevitable that I will encounter people, and therefore be writing about my interactions with them.  Am I destined to only ever write about characters that are wonderful and amazing in case someone I know reads what I write and recognises (or think they do) themselves?  


Maybe this is why SciFi and Fantasy writers went into those genres, they could really make things up.  

Or, maybe, writing under a pseudonym is the answer?

Its all interesting stuff - I am SO loving this study.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Family - a story from my Mum

Had to send this picture of the maned duck family. The parents stole the chicks from other ducks, even though there was a few days difference in ages. It was hard to count them but I think 32 or 33.  I would see them  on the mothers back and they took turns under her like penguins do in their huddles. The dad doesn't cover them but stands guard and would even attack me if I got too close 

Love Mum xxx

My mum and dad have the joy and privilege to live in the south west, where the soil is black and rainfall plenty.  This picture was taken in their backyard.  They have a little dam that they look after so that the ducks come to breed and raise their young.  I am sure there is a story in this picture, one day I will write it.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Housework - how to trick myself into it

Each week, I have to come up with a way to trick myself into doing the housework.  It's like I am a perpetual Peter Pan when it comes to the very normal (and necessary) job of cleaning my house.  There are WAY better and more fun things to be doing with my precious days off.  I was so successful the last few weekends that I manged to do very little, not even a proper vacuum, just a run around with the handheld vac.  I don't know whats wrong with me? Other (grown-up) women seem to manage it.  It's not that I am lazy (or am I?), or don't love a clean house (I do).  I just resent wasting good time on such a non-productive activity.  How come I have no housework discipline Mum?

I have run out of excuses - its too hot, I have an assignment due, I don't feel very well, I deserve a day off, I have a new book to read - and today I HAVE to clean the house.

So, I am going to do some method acting.  I will be the very sexy and volumptious (well I have that one nailed) house cleaner for Hank Moody (aka David-drool-Duchovny) in a upcoming episode of Californication.  Of course he will notice me, as I go about washing toilets and dusting the furniture.  I will give this role my all, pretend that I am just a regular suburban house cleaner, really get into the grove of it.  That's what method actors do isn't it?  

Bonus will be a clean house, and a nice little daydream.


I could just go play another re-run of episodes 1 to 5 and hang the housework!  Hank seems to like dirty women :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Anxiety ... and depression ... don't bring me down man

Yes, I know, not a very upbeat subject header!  It's OK, don't run away, I am not going to be all down man, or anything.  It has just been on my mind since a panic attack (hate that term will have to try and rephrase it) since last week.  I wonder how many people really understand this, and how many are inflicted with this condition?  In the spirit of education, I will try and explain what happens.

This panic attack was a bit of out the blue (most of them are), set off by a not very pleasant, tardy client not paying his bills and then getting upset when we asked him to pay before we would do anymore work for him (I know we are SO unreasonable).  I had to get a bit cross and firm, nothing really out of the ordinary, its my job to chase debtors for money.  I do it all the time, it doesn't really worry me as I am in the right to ask for money I am owed.

But somehow, halfway through this phone conversation I started to get very breathless, dizzy, shakey, sweaty, out-of-body - all classic signs I was heading for, or indeed in, a panic.  I had to just try and get enough breath to end the conversation, hang up the phone, then let it go.  For anyone not ever experienced this, its scary - you fight for air, you shake and sweat, you are so dizzy it feels like you have drunk a bottle of cheap wine and now have the head spins. I get an added bonus of feeling I have left my body and am floating above it (disassociation) which many people actually pay their drug dealer a great deal of money for.  

It lasts about 10 minutes, for me crying seems to bring me back, seems to be a release.  If I am in a public place and/or around people and can't cry and let go, the panic phase will last longer.  Adrenalin is pumping through my body, I can feel it as if someone has injected me with hot water.  I sweat profusely.   It's the classic fight-or-flight reaction.

Afterwards, I get extraordinarily sleepy, but can't sleep as my mind will be racing and my stomach feels like its on fire.  I do have medication for this, but I try hard not to take it as it makes me sleep for a solid 6 to 8 hours, with the next day spent in a Xanax hangover.  Sometimes I have to take it as its the only escape.

The Xanax stays in my body for the next few days, making me feel very depleted, depressed in a everything-is-shite (fatalistic) way and a total shift from everything is ok, to doom and gloom.  Its all chemical, and completely unavoidable.  

I try hard to learn what is really going on, it helps a lot, especially when you are in the middle of a panic.  The first one I ever had was when I was 16.  I thought, and I am sure my parents did too, that I was actually going to die.  Today I have a much better handle on the warning signs (but still sometimes there isn't one, like this time), what will happen, how long it will last and how to deal with the aftermath.  The internet has been invaluable in this regard.

One thing I do know is, the medical profession as a whole are useless at dealing with this situation.  It is very often misdiagnosed as epilepsy, drug overdose, depression, attention seeking, heart problems.    They think cognitive therapy can fix it, they think you get it as you are depressed, they think anti-depressants work, they think you have control over it.  All wrong.  What I have learnt is that you have to take your own responsibility for this, learn as much as you can, for knowing is the antidote to panic.  It won't stop it happening, but knowledge means you can ride the wave.  Xanax is the only drug I have found to work, but its still not perfect.  

Today is day 8 since my last attack.  Today I feel better, more upbeat, positive, almost back to normal.  So no, I am not 'depressed' and I am not a pessimist,  I am not just weird.  I don't do drugs (other than caffeine  chocolate and gin) which all actually help, despite the health professionals warnings.

I try and manage this condition, keep as many triggers out of my life, avoid conflict, avoid highly strung people, make sure I have a connection to a natural way of living.  This is why I crave living in the country, away from too much hyper-activity, stressful, fast paced living.  Its for my health - for panic that causes great floods of adrenalin to be released is a health risk.  This triggers all sorts of nasties, cortisol being one of the worst.  Cortisol is the hormone (steroid) that tells your body to release glucose, store fat, especially around your vital organs, to protect them as the adrenalin has told your body its under siege   The classic 'apple' shape is often a symptom of too much cortisol.

I will keep searching for answers, but one vital thing I have learnt is - trust what your body tells you, listen to it carefully and take responsibility for your own health.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

People Watching

People watching is, surprisingly, one of my favourite pastimes.  This is surprising as I am quite an introvert and really like my own company rather than be with people.  But this is the point - when I watch I am not being.  I am in another world, a voyeur, a fly on the wall, what they call in writing terms 'omnipresent' which is also a bit god like.  And like a god I find I get very judgmental of people and what I see.  I don't do a lot of smiting tho.  No, I just write it all down.

I make assumptions based on what they wear, how they talk, their action. I make up their stories - but isn't that what writing fiction is all about?  Here are a few notes from my day out in Freo:

  • Older women, cargos, airwalker shoes, floppy hat, wanders into the restaurant  uses the loo and then walks out.  Bit cheeky, although I don't blame her, the public loos are disgusting .... and whats with that?  When you have to do a quick tinkle and you are out in public and have no choice but use a public loo (that always stink and you just want to pee and get out) and you use those thigh muscles to hover over the seat without touching and very proud of yourself, when the wee goes on and on and on.  Your muscles get wobbly, you grit your teeth, you become your own personal trainer and say (to yourself, to say it out loud would just be weird) ..come on, you can do it, just hold on a little longer, feel the burn ... and still the trickle goes on.  You try and recall what you have drunk since the last one, so you can gauge how much liquid is actually in your bladder, you come to the conclusion that it was just a cup of coffee and surely you have peed that out by now ... and oh god how much longer, your thigh muscles are burning now, you start to speculate just how dirty that toilet seat really is, discount that and keep your pose.  Finally, you think you have emptied your bladder, and then the pathetic little trickle starts, too much to blot with some loo paper, but annoying and painful in your present state.  Too bad you think, as you grab wads of toilet paper ... at last you can stand up .. except you cant ... your thigh muscles have locked in place and you are stuck, poised over a dirty loo seat.  Or is that just me?

  • A chubby mother, carrying a chubby child.  Her dress, or skirt or some kind of material is wrapped around her body, covering most bits except her thighs, bum and boobs.  A young man, father/boyfriend/husband trails behind her pushing an empty, expensive pram.  Later I see them - he has gone into a t-shirt shop (Metallica t-shirt anyone?) while she stands in the doorway, boob even more exposed and popped into the plump and content child's mouth.  I am a bit perplexed by this scene, I applaud her for breast feeding her baby but I wish she had arranged the wrap-around haute couture a little more discretely.  But  I am guessing they are a couple not on the hipster scale, but right at home in boganville.

  • A foreign speaking (French?) skinny, deadlocked, bike rider in the central square, like a child is aimlessly cycling about, round and round, not even going anywhere.  Does he not work?  He looks about 30-35.  Even a tourist would be doing something more productive.  He reminds me of a bored 7 year old.  There seems to be an awful lot of men and women this age doing not much at all.  Does nobody work anymore?
See, its very hard not to be judgmental!   A few stories for me there.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Day in Freo bags me 4 books and a new journal

I needed a day to myself, to get my head clear, write, read and walk.  It was a bit of a bleak time at work last week, and the long weekend did not completely clear the decks.  I felt cheated of three days off work, that I could have been writing, spent with a panic-attack hangover caused by the job.  So I took a 'sickie' today.  And I have never felt better.

Mr K had an all day conference in the second city of Freo.  We got up early, left early and after an hour and a bloody three quarters, arrived at our destination.  Sure made me feel like I had gone away on a holiday, I wanted my in-flight meal and drink.  As the crow flies it is less than 20kms, we had traveled about 25 as we are not crows.  This took us 1.45hrs.  Eat your heart out West Sydney!

It was early for Freo, 9am.  Not many people were up and about, stark contrast to Perth CBD where 9am is practically lunchtime.  First stop for me was one of the two Elizabeth's Bookshops - a treasure trove of pre-loved books (or maybe some were only one night stands) stacked on floor to ceiling bookshelves, on the floor, on tables in every nook and cranny.  There is a vague organisation, but the fun part is trawling for a treasure.  Found one book here - 

Breakfast next.  Not feeling very brave or bohemian, and the fact that a lot of the hipper places looked closed, I went for the safe and sure Dome Coffee.  With a foccacia, pineapple juice, skinny cap, newspaper, journal and book, before me I had a little private chuckle at the sheer indulgence of it all.  Took me an hour and a half to eat breakfast.

A walk drew me to the second purveyor of books, New Edition. A tall elegant building housing a book shop and a cafe, and bizarrely, as only Freo can do, at the back of the bookstore, a hippy dress/bead/incense shop.  It was bizarre, as the book shop was rather posh, a bit Sydney.  I found two treasures here -

I will do some book reviews on all these at a later date. Anyone have a cold/flu/plague that they can come and sneeze on me so I can stay in bed and read for a few days?

Spent the next  hours just walking, observing, absorbing.  Found the public library and did a bit of reading which inspired me to sit down to write for a while.  Wasn't really hungry by 1pm but felt compelled to leave the library after it got overrun by kids, people with too few shoes and too much (matted) hair and a permeating sound of furious clacking on keyboards on the public computers.  

On 'the strip' I found most eatery's had now opened, again going to for the known, I chose Benny's - a quiet table up the back with a book, journal and Caesar salad.  Does it get any better than this!  I moved on when the staff seemed to be moving tables around me, perhaps I had outstayed my welcome.  Another stroll back to the library, the kids should have gone home for naps by now, and the shoe-less, matted hair lot surely cant concentrate that long.

Found yet another bookshop, Dymocks, and of course another book -

Nice little haul.  A good days gathering.  I spent the rest of the afternoon, waiting for Mr K in the library until I was joined at the writing table by the Bachelor Of the Year - a man whose body and clothes looked (and sadly, for me, and every person within 100 metres, smelt) like they had never seen soap, let alone water.  He wore three hats, each grubbier than the next, and .. get this ... HE tied a handkerchief, well grey rag, over this nose/mouth.  Was he being kind to me as he hadn't brushed his teeth that decade, or was it me who smelt?  Guess its all a matter of perspective!

Moved into the fresh air, and had a very nice and critical time writing about the comings and goings of Freo.

Day rating : 8/10