Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moonlit nights and the hippobottomus

It is suddenly showing signs of being spring in Sydney. The magnolia bush in the back garden is starting to put out huge waxy buds and there has been the most wonderful full moon floating in the sky. However before I wax too lyrical on the beauties of the Australian life I should just bring things down to earth by pointing out that at about 3am this morning whilst the moon was creating an unearthly white lit wonderland in the garden, I was searching for a sick bowl to thrust at Drama Queen No.3. She had appeared in our bedroom like a small hobbit clutching her stomach, and as I fumbled my way to the kitchen I stood in something wet, never a good thing in an indoor room. When I turned on the overhead light it transpired the dog had also had a stomach upset. It’s hard to see the romance of a moonlit night when you are standing barefoot in a pool of dog effluent!

I love the way Australians tell it as it is. All our local municipal rubbish bins are adorned with a sign reading in big letters “Don’t be a Tosser”. Yesterday I spotted an advert for a fitness club on the side of a bus that read - “Got a hippobottomus?” with appropriate photo. Am now nervously casting glances over my shoulder in case a hippobottomus is creeping up on me.

Drama Queen no.3 has now resorted to calling me Catriona as she realises that after approximately 14 years of small squeaky voices shrieking “Mummy” at me that I have developed a strategic, selective, deafness and she has a much better chance of getting my attention if she hollers “Catriona”. I’m trying to train her up to the notion that were she to shout, “Gorgeous, glamorous woman” the response time would be even shorter.

Following the sick in the night episode, DQ no.3 is now off school and lying on the sofa. I realise it was a good job that I never followed up on any Florence Nightingale fantasies as I am absolutely hopeless on the nursing front. Like the rest of the family she is a complete hypochondriac and in fact over the last couple of weeks has started taking her temperature most mornings with the beep of the electronic thermometer becoming a regular accompaniment to breakfast. In the interests of sanity I have now redefined normal temperature as anything between 30oC and 40oC.

The next drama looming on the horizon – I hesitate to prejudge and call it a crisis, is the school fundraiser. As with all good fundraising dances it has a theme, the 80’s and an expectation of fancy dress. Theoretically I should have an advantage on this one as I was alive and in fact at university during the 80’s, so a) I should recognise the music and b) I should remember what I wore and be able to recreate the look. The problem with this positive approach is that I looked like a dog’s breakfast in the 80’s – I have memories of wearing camouflage trousers a lot of the time and a leopard skin cord dress was a particular favourite which gives you an idea of my sartorial student style. At the back of my mind I also have my mother’s advice to my teenage self when trialling fancy dress outfits, which was, “It’s always a good idea to look attractive too.” After a quick trawl of the online fancy dress outfits, I’ve got a sinking feeling that I could look less like a spring lamb in my potential outfit of fluoro colours, leg warmers and lashings of fishnet gloves and tights and more like a mutton cutlet. Any useful suggestions gratefully received – but will point out with two weeks to go, unlikely to have time to buff myself up to appear as Madonna in her bondage phase.

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