Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gangs of Sydney

Well, what did I predict and how right was I? No sooner do the first of our UK visitors climb on the plane at Heathrow and start slapping on the suntan lotion in preparation for their stay in Sydney than it begins to bucket down with rain. I came into the family room this morning to find the dog gazing mournfully out of the window at the waterlogged garden. His whole demeanour suggested an animal calculating potential space allocation on the ark. Actually, rain aside, Pluto is quite a sad soul at present. I took him to the vet on Monday as he was walking oddly. After a quick sniff of his ears, which was a new diagnostic tool to me, the vet diagnosed an ear infection along with a bad back. Pluto is now on numerous pills and eardrops with the promise of acupuncture if the back hasn’t cleared up by next week. Not being entirely convinced of the merits of acupuncture for humans, I am wrestling with the moral ethics of paying a fortune for someone to stick pins in the dog. Simon, needless to say, is weighing up the comparative cost of a bullet.

Sydney has been the backdrop to various acts of ‘bikie’ gang violence over the last couple of weeks, including a man battered to death in the arrivals area of Sydney airport. A couple of days later in what is known as a ‘related incident’, the murdered man’s brother was shot in his mother’s driveway. What I found absolutely amazing is that having been shot at least four times in the chest, shoulder and legs, he apparently whipped out his mobile and rang a female friend. The mind boggles at how the conversation might have gone.

In a similar vein, last month a member of one of Melbourne’s notorious underworld families was shot at in his driveway. Note to self that driveways are obviously not a good place to hang around in if you have links to any criminal factions. I listened to a radio report in which the potential victim, known as ‘Tuppence’ to his friends, was interviewed. I was fascinated to hear him start off by saying that he and a friend had come out of his house and that the friend had got into the driver’s seat because he, Tuppence, had had a beer and he doesn’t believe in drink driving. He said this with great emphasis, leaving one with the impression that drugs, guns, murder and all kinds of underworld activity were fine, but drink driving was beyond the pall.

I don’t want to create the impression that Australia is filled with marauding criminal gangs but I should also mention the very popular Australian television series Underbelly which is loosely based on a violent period of gang warfare in the 90s in Melbourne. As the series went to air last year one of the real life characters, who is currently serving 35 years, objected from his prison cell that the series made him out to be an idiot, and a ‘brain dead goose’. Difficult to argue with that one.

Anyway back to our own feral gang. On being offered a peach yesterday, Drama Queen no.2 announced very grandly, that she doesn’t eat anything with fur, so I guess hamster is off the menu again.

I am currently pondering a number of great mysteries of a mother’s life
1. Why is there a naked footprint on the inside of the car windscreen?
2. Why am I the only person in the house capable of changing the loo roll?
3. How come all the navy blue towels suddenly have bleach patches giving them a scabies like look? (Is there a connection to Drama Queen no. 1’s lotions and potions I ask myself)?
4. Why do smoke alarms and burglar alarms always fail in the middle of the night?
5. Why when I am marching along congratulating myself on looking fashionably windswept do I catch sight of myself in a shop window and realise the look is more reminiscent of a startled koala in a rain jacket?

Answers on a postcard!

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