Saturday, October 24, 2009

Time and the party

Feel as if I am caught in endless war between dog and husband. The lawn has been looking relatively good following week of heavy rain in Sydney whilst we were on holiday and no dog. Dog celebrated today and dug two medium sized holes – having just received telephone call to announce husband’s imminent arrival hastily scooped earth back in and pulled up tufts of grass from other parts of the garden to create a turf like surface over ravaged patches. As I pressed bits of grass into place with agonised care I felt like some kind of deranged flower arranger. The dog of course watched this activity with interest and I could see plans for the next excavation forming in his fertile brain. I cursed longer evenings which means that I will have to keep husband captive in kitchen until darkness falls and distract him from any thoughts of going for a soothing wander in the back garden. To put things in perspective, given the size of our garden he only has to step outside the back door to have the whole vista, complete with suspicious grass covered mounds, in front of him.

Pluto is actually straying into dangerous territory at the moment, for whilst I am relatively tolerant of his mole like activities in the back garden, he has recently developed a unacceptable tendency to roll in dead slugs – the slime is a bit of a giveaway on this one.

I have just heard a discussion on the BBC radio 4 Today programme about whether Daylight Saving should be dropped in the UK. I regret to say such was my level of concentration that I couldn’t decide which way the argument was going but I did get the gist that one of the proposals was that Scotland should operate on a different time zone ‘tundra time’ as it was termed. John Humpries was pointing out how confusing it would be. My advice to him is not to move to Australia where at this time of year with various states opting in or out of Daylight Savings, they have to run a time round up before the ABC radio News. This round up of the time slot takes a fair amount of time in itself as basically if it is 7am in Sydney it is 6am in Brisbane, 6.30am in Adelaide, 5.30am in Darwin and 4am in Western Australia. I think the half hour time differences between states adds a particular frisson of interest – I have a vivid memory of Simon and I early on in married life getting stranded in the outback mining town of Broken Hill for New Year’s Eve. We hit the local hot spot, which was the one of the Miners’ Clubs which was having a Tarts and Vicars party – being pansy Poms in our camping gear we rather stood out, but we did put the final clincher on it by embracing passionately at midnight, only to break apart to find various tarts and vicars with stubble eying us incredulously for we had failed to realise the particularly tricky time teaser that despite the fact Broken Hill is in New South Wales, it actually takes its time from South Australia so the time rather than being midnight was actually 11.30pm.

On a party theme – being of a sentimental strain I decided that as it is 20 years since Simon and I who were ‘Just good friends” as the saying goes at the time, decided to throw a party in London with another friend Louise. During this far off party in 1989 we proved amongst other things that loud music, lots of good friends and lashings of drink leads to all kinds of complications, including 18 years of marriage, 3 daughters, 1 slime covered dog, soon to be ex if behaviour doesn’t improve, and 3 goldfish (no complaints on the behaviour front); so I decided we should do it all again. As a result owing to a blanket invitation policy we now have approximately 80 people rocking up next Saturday night. In my typical “It’ll be all right on the night” style I haven’t actually focused on that fact up to now but as we are now into count down stage in terms of catering wild panic is setting in. Saving grace is that Aussies are very generous at saying things like “Can I bring a salad?” and I am throwing pride to the winds and saying “YES!” and focusing on more important questions like how can I get rid of the dog for the night and can I still fit into my black dress.

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