Sunday, August 28, 2011

You say Voluptuous - I say ??

By now you are probably as bored as I am on the dress saga – but am happy to report that we had a fabulous night and an amazing number of our female friends are still able to slink around looking seductive and stunning in their original 90’s wedding outfits. My chintz dress just about held its own – which given the amount of stiff petticoats incorporated in the design it can do in all but the strongest winds. One of the gentlemen (and I use that term loosely) at the party remarked that I was looking voluptuous in it, possibly a fair comment in terms of all the billowing going on in the way of fabric and flesh. I have always felt voluptuous was polite speak for fat but I have decided to charitably interpret the remark as voluptuous in a Renoir type of way rather than Rubens or horror of horrors, a Lucien Freud rendering of the female form.

The magnolia outside our bedroom window is out and I came across a large sulphur crested cockatoo enlarging a hole for a nest this morning. It was in fact throwing out wood chippings which such vigour that the surrounding pavement looked as if we were into ‘how much wood can a woodchuck chuck?’ territory.

There is nothing like the feel of Spring to bring a smirk to the face and my mood has also been improved by listening to the ongoing saga of the travails of an Australian politician who in a previous existence as a union boss reportedly had his official union credit card used by someone else (obviously) to order room service in the various hotels in which he was staying, from a variety of busty blondes and ravishing red heads. Use of one’s credit card by another person whose name cannot be revealed strikes me as either out of sight loyalty of a touching degree to friend or alternatively a ‘dog ate my homework’ type excuse taken to the limit, but I am storing it up as an explanation for when Husband demands to know the origin of various frivolous charges on the credit card.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Whose doom is it anyway?

“My doom has come upon me.” For the last twenty odd years this has been one of my stock standard quotes that I mutter at all the normal times of stress in a woman’s life including obviously childbirth, parent teacher interviews and bikini waxes. However such is the power of internet that I have just discovered that whilst I thought I was quoting the lines of Tennyson’s romantic and doomed Lady of Shalott I was in fact quoting Hector from the Illiad, setting off for a kill or be killed moment with the Greek army – ho hum. Well never mind I can absolutely guarantee that if Hector was going to have to face his friends clad in a chintz frilly outfit he would have had no doubt that doom, not to mention ritual humiliation was on its way and death in front of a pack of Trojans would look an attractive alternative that would allow him to end his days with at least his reputation intact.

My mood was not improved by trying on wretched dress this morning in the vain hope that the dry cleaning process might have wreaked some miracle on the attractiveness front. I particularly liked the way the lady at the dry cleaners took one look and said firmly, “All we can guarantee is that it will be hygienically clean”, small comfort in the circumstances. Drama Queen No. 3 gazed at me in my now hygienically clean outfit and in a confidence boosting move asked why I didn’t go as a nun. I must admit the idea is beginning to have some appeal apart from the fact that a nun’s outfit seems a particularly inappropriate way to celebrate 20 years of married bliss.

One of my challenges for the day is to gently hint to the manager of the bar where we are having the joint celebrations that many of the guests may be dressed a little unusually. I’m not sure he’s mentally ready for having the place flooded with inebriated 40 and 50 year olds clad in their 90’s wedding best, and I must say I am beginning to have concerns about how many Princess Di fancy frills you can fit in one small bar.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Builders and Brides

There are tantalising glimpses of Spring in Sydney, great wafts of jasmine as I walk the dog in the morning and blossom appearing, however it is still feeling wet, cold and windy a significant proportion of the time. I tell you this not just to give the online weather report for this particular Australian outpost but so that you can visualise the continuing devastation of the former garden now known as the stalled building project. There is a large heap of earth that has been there so long that grass is beginning to grow on it and a giant metal beam has become such a permanent feature that I am expecting the dog to work up a gymnastics routine upon it.

I rang the builder last week to try and ascertain what his thoughts on the next step were – polite code for “Where the bloody hell are you?” as it had been over a week since brawny men had last been spotted on site. His wife picked up his mobile and rather cagily announced he was ill and unable to speak to me. Being a nasty cynic I had a vision of him sitting on the sofa making get rid of her faces at this point. However it now transpires that ill is actually an understatement, he has a badly fractured skull and is going to be in hospital until at least Monday.
I am of course appalled by this news as I know what a nightmare it will be for him – however the self-centred side of me is shrieking ‘But what about my kitchen and garden?” However I have managed to keep my selfish side, that I don’t like to own up to, under control to the extent that I have added “Get well card “ to my ‘To Do’ list and am contemplating sending him a copy of what I regard as the Hearty Male classic, “Don’t tell Mum I work on The Rigs, She thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse” as his recovery reading.

I am still on the hunt for a wedding dress to wear to the 90’s nuptial revival evening. True to form it’s just my luck I throw a party with a couple of friends who in terms of figure, could only be described finest quality racing snakes who can zip into their original 1991 wedding dresses with a shrug of their shoulders as opposed to industrial strength reinforcement and tugging. I have drawn the line at appearing in my original meringue outfit although my mother is sending over my veil so I can at least make a token effort to appear in the original garb. I have also made a couple of forays into Vinnies, the Australian charity shop where I did find a couple of wedding dresses in my size (2011 rather than 1991 that is) but if I say they had sparkles, twinkles and lace in places even Barbie doesn’t go, it gives you an idea of the full horror of the situation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hip Hip Hippo-suction

Wet and cold in Sydney, and the back garden in its mid construction stage is looking particularly unattractive. The general charm of the scene is enhanced enormously by the washing on the line drifting sadly round on the Hills Hoist. The clothes are now wetter than they were emerging from the machine and are destined to hang like sad ghosts until we get a bit of sunshine. The builder is very disapproving of my habit of leaving things on the line through rain and shine until they eventually dry, even if it takes days. He was actually being quite charitable in his criticism of my approach to housekeeping as I am sure if he really wanted to let rip he must have gathered quite an accurate idea of my normal domestic standards, however I did feel somewhat annoyed as he is the man who has reduced the back garden to a pile of rubble and then in a move I should have anticipated, has disappeared to finish another job elsewhere, presumably for someone with higher standards on the wet washing front.

Excitements this week have included filling in the Australian Census. I took the executive decision that I should fill it in for everyone in the household, as I felt the question of how much childcare and housework each adult did might lead to heated argument if I invited other parties to join me in the form filling process. I was very tempted to tick yes for the question ‘Does the person ever need someone to help with or be with them for, communication activities? For example: understanding or being understood by, others.’ There seems to be a strong case for ticking this box for each of the Drama Queens as we often get to the point where I feel I need a full time translator of speech and mood.

Non-novel production time wasting activities this week include the stress of trying to decide what to wear to drinks that call for 90’s wedding garb. I have been gazing sadly at my 90’s ball dress and wondering a) did I ever look attractive in it b) is there any way short of radical options like liposuction – or perhaps this should be accurately named Hippo-suction, of my actually getting back into it for night of 90’s reverie, and c) what are the chances of my being able to remove the interesting stains it has gathered over the intervening 20 years of intensive partying and many an outing from the dressing up box – it last starred as a Japanese Wedding Dress in a year 6 project.

In a vain attempt to deal with point c) it is currently soaking in the laundry but that of course still leaves points a) and b) unresolved. The sole point in my favour is that it was a lace up dress so at least there is some give as it were – though I am not sure laces stretched horizontally with the strain across my back is going to be a good look – however given the whole thing is made out of a beautiful chintz fabric, good on sofas and curtains but less flattering for those cruising through 45 perhaps the lacing is the least of my worries and perhaps the answer to the whole dilemma is an exuberant hat – I can at least be pretty certain my head is roughly the same circumference it was in 1991.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Not now - I'm supposed to be writing a novel - 101 ways to waste time

I feel this might be the point to confide in you all that I am trying to write a novel – which of course explains why I spend so much of my time procrastinating and fiddling aound with a vigour that would put Nero to shame. In an attempt to create a sense of urgency along the lines of ‘let’s get the damned thing finished’ I am trying to write 1,000 words a day and half the time it flows with a speed that would make treacle look like a Speedy Gonzales type of matter.

Today’s creative ways to waste the idle hour that should be used to crank out the sparkling prose include
a) teaching the dog to use the new dog door that the builders have just created for him. Up to this point his method of entering and exiting the house has been to march up to the glass back door and claw vigorously on it until one of his loyal handmaidens opens it for him. Apart from the generally detrimental effect on my nerves the clawing has given the glass in the back door a rather psychotic frosted look. The dog door lessons have included such highlights as sticking my head through small opening and making enticing noises whilst simultaneously wondering if I can reach my mobile phone to summon fire brigade if I manage to get stuck.
b) Boiling 7 eggs to make into egg and cress sandwiches for an art show at school. Have lost faith in my culinary skills to such an extent that I found myself googling “how to make an egg sandwich” which used up at least quarter of an hour. I am sure this loss of confidence in the face of school catering challenges dates in part back to the mince pies I provided for Drama Queen No. 2’s Kindergarten Christmas party in America. The plate of tastefully icing sugar sprinkled mince pies remained untouched to my embarrassment. I subsequently discovered the rumour had gone round that they were made of sheep’s head, a perfectly understandable confusion between haggis and mince pie here and this factor may have gone some way to explain the other parents’ plague like avoidance as I waved the plate in their direction
c) Having a go at sorting the sock basket, a soothing type of occupation that involves lining up the 30 or so spare socks lurking at the bottom of the clean washing basket - and then discovering that none of them match and chucking them back into the basket. Husband is not helping the situation, in that despairing of ever finding a matching pair of socks, he has taken to just pairing approximate matches thus perpetuating the problem big time.
d) And that of course is all before you get to all those wonderful internet linked timewasters – today’s top treat was having a look at You Tube clips of Isabella Rossellini’s nature films where she dresses up as various insects and animals and re enacts their mating habits. I particularly like the spider one but after 20 minutes of idleness – sorry dedicated watching of these art movies, I have to say, you couldn’t make it up.
e) Making endless cups of tea and opening the fridge to gaze aimlessly at the contents as if some miracle has occurred and the motley selection within has been transformed into some tempting type of treat. On which note have just made myself another cuppa only to discover bits of cress floating in it - cue bad pun I guess I might be feeling cress-fallen!