Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I should have been born a Taswegian

Just ask Wanna!!! I had a marvellous time hanging out with this chick on Saturday night (not linking as she's considering going private). I picked her up from her tram stop in St Kilda Road in the Cab I was in & we jumped out in down town St Kilda. After looking for gluten free options, we ended up at the Espy Kitchen & found something suitable.

Some Pad Thai noodles for Wanna

& the old standard (Chicken Parma) for me. I didn't quite finish it & only just refrained from eating all the chips. Yes, the slaw was soggy & not real flash.

After dinner, we checked out the various bars within the Espy. I'd not been there for 10 years. Man that place is like a rabbit warren! In one door & out another is an understatement! You can walk into the ladies through one door & out another to find yourself at the pool tables (so long as you don't mistake the men's toilets for a corridor to get to there without going through the ladies!!!). Still haven't figured out what the "tardis" was for upstairs, although there was rumination about nekid dancers.

We did manage 1 game of pool - Wanna can attest to my shite playing. I think I only sunk 1 ball, but managed to snooker the opposition on a number of occasions! They were getting quite sick of our game, as they were obviously better players than we were (or should I say I am); but it came down to 1 ball of ours, 1 of theirs & the black before they potted out. We didn't do too bad me thinks.

We left in search of 80's music around 11.30pm, nothing to be found on our walk up Fitzroy street & decided to call it a night before A: there were no taxi's to be had & B: before we managed to give ourselves hangovers that would spoil Sunday :0)

Sunday was a hoot meeting up with lots of lovely bloggers, most I'd not met before. In particular I finally met Beckie who is just as lovely in person as she is in blog land & Chris H & her Mum Maude, who the blogger meet was orignally arranged for & I've only started reading. There are plenty of pic's on everyone's Facebook pages, so won't put any up here except for this one....

Thank you miss Wanna for hanging out with me Saturday night - it was an absolute pleasure spending time with you!!! Can't wait to do it again.

PS Wanna, this his KTM

Friday, June 20, 2008

There Be Pirates..................

The skull & cross bones flag is surely evidence of pirates.................

This is the door into our bathroom. It's a slilding door. Another artistic friend of ours, Chris, painted the door for us. Bathing boxes on entry.............

(the flag flying on top of the bathing boxes is a skull & cross bone)

This is the door on the inside of the bathroom, again with the flag flying. The door handle is a plumbing fitting, an old gate valve handle. The handle on the otherside (entry) is a garden tap handle.

We bought this boat back from the Boracay one year. Hawkers wander along the beach selling them. Plumbing Boy hopes that one day, when he has time, to put lights inside it, so at night we can turn them on, & the boat will be illuminated from within. The fishy underneath, Mum & Dad found somewhere in South Australia last year when they were on holidays. It is made out of rusty tin - the artist had a range of different animals made out of the same materials.

This mirror came of an old dressing table. I can't remember where the dressing table came from, only that it was butt ugly, however I really liked the mirror so saved it. It's really solid & you can fit 2 people in front of it!

This is the actual tub, we used old fence pailings on the hob like you put weather boards on a house. Well, Plumbing Boy did. I probably got to hold the nail gun while he leveled them.

Lastly, this is my wall of crazy slate tiling. I did the whole wall myself, from choosing my pattern, breaking up the slate, glueing the pieces on to the wall, grouting, then applying a waterproofing product over the top.

Plumbing Boy is pretty much the "creative director" when it comes to building/rennovation. It is very satisfying being able to create your own space! I think the only thing we didn't do ourselves was tile the floor. The bathroom, laundry & toilet are adjacent each other & tiled in the same granite tiles, but as plumbing boy wanted the floor graded to the floor waste grate in the bathroom floor (drain point so if you flood the water has somewhere to drain) & we were short on time, he got a tiler in to do it for us. The only thing we have left to do is the ceiling, which still looks like this.......

Non Bathroom...............
  • My washing machine decided to croak this morning - I think the belt which makes the barrell spin has come off (again!!!) - it's a front loader. & of course it is now full of wet towels. sigh.

  • One more sleep til I meet Wanna, 2 more sleeps til I meet Beckie (amoungst others)! I'm getting a tad excited :0)

  • Have a great Friday all & a fabulous weekend what ever you are doing.
  • Go Cats.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Singing in the Shower, turn the water power........

title of post, care of singing & listening, circa late 70's

I love my bathroom. It is pretty much my favourite room in the house. I love nothing better than a nice hot bath at the end of a long day at my desk, with a glass of good red (or a vodka tonic, I'm not that fussy) & a good book. Sometimes I light candles, but it's a little hard to read then. Bubbles of course, at the moment I'm into the Radox Relax (purple one) with a few drops of Bio Oil - I am too slack to actually put it on my scars/stretch marks, so hopefully it can work it's magic while I soak.

We built our abode, with fewer constrictions than usual, as it is inside another building. As Plumbing Boy is very creative, we have a wavey wall & a curved wall, amoungst other building feats.

This painting is 3D & is recessed into the wall. It was done by a friend (& artist) Timothy James Webb. The "seaman" on the right is not part of the original painting, but a gift plumbing boy received one birthday. As the painting is titled "the wreck of the lochard on mutton bird island" we figured the captain figure, who's actually standing on a piece of his own broken up ship would be at home perched inside this peice.

We have hydronic heating, our panels are painted in hammertone magenta. I recon they look well cool against the zinc mini orb (skinny profile of corrugated wall sheet we used). My sneakers really do have flourescent strips don't they!

This is my tub. We pulled it out of a house that was being demolished, along with our kitchen & a few stained glass windows. The tiling on the walls is from roofing slate plumbing boy inherited from somewhere. We "crazy" tiled. This is his wall, it was harder as he had to cut holes for the tapware in it. I've accidentally deleted the picture of my wall.........tomorrow.

We also got the pedastal basin done in the hammertone magenta. People who know me well, know I've got a bit of a thing for purple. Please excuse the pot mit on the floor that seems to have missed the washing basket (& any other dirt or grot you can spot in the pics!). The timber cabinet is one my grandfather restored & gave to me. I still miss him even though he's been gone for 15 odd years now.

We don't have much storage space, so this hanging basket is where I keep all my hair stuff & my makeup bag.

This is me this morning in the bathroom, I was trying to take some cool self portraits, not very sucessfully.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To Market To Market To Buy A Fat Pig............

Home again home again, dancing a jig.........

I lurve the Vic Market. Well, actually, I love food & cooking. I used to go to the market weekly. Now I probably make it fortnightly. I like to go at the crack of dawn+, mainly so I don’t get rammed or my feet run over by impatiently pushy people with their jeeps.

Not that there is anything wrong with jeeps, I have my own.

At the crack of dawn, the Market is still bustling, but not crowded. You have time to develop a relationship with the stall holders. I also like going at the crack of dawn because it feels like I am on a secret mission – it's dark, there hardly any cars on the road or people out & about, only me & my fellow secret mission comrade’s.

First stop is always the Bratwurst Shop, not for sausages mind you, for the coffee. The barista aint bad, but the owner, in my opinion makes the perfect coffee; the owner isn’t always on coffee duty, actually, he’s often not there: but I get by. I always get a large café latte, no sugar, to go. I did experiment with skinny lattes, but they just don’t cut the mustard. And I only have them once a week or so.

They do make fabulous bratwurst's, but I'm usually not up for sausage at that hour.

Next stop is Alfredo’s. Fred is a mad Carlton supporter, so while he slices my ham, bacon & chunks of Romano, we talk footy. If the Cat’s have lost, he bags me out for not wearing my scarf; if we’ve won he wants to know why I’m not wearing my scarf. Dianne who also works there has taught me plenty about small goods: like when you order your feta, you can ask for some brine to keep it in, at no extra charge. I even bring my own container when I remember. I’ve also learned about cooking artichokes from her; & that Milk Cherries are the best mozzarella for your pizza.

To market to market to buy a fat hog..........

After this I “chuck a lap” around the meat hall; before stopping in at Jim McGuarian’s (sp?) for my red meat. He doesn’t spruik, just has good cuts of lean meat. I love the way the younger girls parrot what the butchers say, & call you “love” at the end of every sentence: with their accents, it is really sweet & not at all offensive (usually I hate being called love).

Then I wander down to Prossers for my fish or seafood: I am enamored of the boss here, as he always sends his staff to serve the “girl” (meaning me) instead of the “lady”. Vanity??? Plus I recon they have great seafood. It’s really really fresh. If you come here on Christmas Eve Morning or the day before Good Friday, the queue is 20 across x 20 deep!!!! They will always scale &/or fillet whole fish for you & give you tips on cooking your purchase.

Now I pop back out to the Deli hall as I don’t want Fred to see me buying my olives from another deli – but these olives are just the best! Kalamata’s pitted & marinated in garlic, herbs & chili. Fred doesn’t sell them anyway, so I don’t know why I feel so sneaky!

Home again home again jiggety jog..............

On to Ferguson Plairre for Plumbing Boy’s Chocolate Éclair (he has one a week); then to the Chicken Pantry, where they have the bestest eggs – they are free range, but have a really high turnover so are always fresh (must be fresh to poach!). They sell mainly free range poultry & game here. I don’t always get all my chook here, as it can get expensive. Sometimes I have to go to my 2nd favourite chicken shop back in the meat hall (can’t remember the name of it, but it’s opposite Prossers on the Victoria St side). Plus my second fave will chop me 2kg’s of wingettes on request. Does anyone else not like drummettes or is it just us???

Fruit & veg is next. I always go to Stall 83 for my tomatoes. Mr Tran's. They are from Murray Bridge South Australia & taste like tomatoes. In fact, they taste like the tomatoes my Grandpa used to grow in his veggie patch. They are not cheap, but they are awesome!!!!!

I often get my apples, roquette & baby spinach from here too. I tend to roam the sheds (organic & regular) next to the deli for the rest of my fruit & veg. John’s stall from the 3RRR Eat It’s Sunday arvo market report is pretty good (can’t remember it’s name).

I am extremely LOATHE to buy fruit n veg from my local supermarket – generally it is bruised, flavorless & often out of season.

To market to market to buy a plum bun.............

2nd last is the Asian Grocery in Therry street for spices, asian cooking supplies, tofu, noodles, rice etc. Sometimes I get lost for an hour or so checking everything out. My fave at the moment is chili in soya bean oil. It is a flavoursome paste that works with chicken, beef, or pork & I wok it up with a heap of veg.

Lastly I stop in at the Florist stall opposite the asian grocery; his brother in law is a plumber, so we talk plumbing & business in general before I usually settle on some Orientals & a bunch of gum. Although I did surprise him a couple of weeks ago when I chose a bunch each of iris & tulips instead. They were beautiful. Orientals are still my absolute favourite.

Back to the car & unload my jeep; munching on a banana, or an apple or what ever looked good for the return journey.

Home again Home again Market is done............

+ “crack of dawn” usually means before sunrise. Last week I’d finished my shopping by 7am & only struck daylight as I was getting home!

PS I do like the "other" shopping at the market too, but don't tend to peruse on a food shopping day, as a lot of the stalls are not yet open. Mr silver Jewellery Man has cool stuff; hand made soaps & pure essential oils can be had for a reasonable price; clothing, bags, you name it, it can be found. Except the woollen socks plumbing boy bought that were synthetic & took them back.

PSS there are loads of other specialities, food shopping wise, I've just commented on my usual weekly shop!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scar Tissue

Scar Tissue – Where do I start? This is the biography of Anthony Keddis (Red Hot Chili Peppers). I’ve had this book sitting in my bookshelf since the week it was released in Australia. The Chili’s are pretty much my fave band of all time; so why have I taken so long to read this book? I don’t usually fantasize about blokes (wink, wink……..any Dave Grohl fans reading??) but have been asked about my fantasy “guy type”. I don’t actually have a type, but if I had to choose one fella out there, it would be Anthony.

I guess I had the feeling that if I read the book it would spoil that fantasy. I knew already that he’d had major problems with drugs. I took it with me on holidays, putting off reading it til last. Plumbing boy decided to do a bit of random reading while it was waiting for me on the trip & would open a page here & there & read.

When I finally started to read it, he challenged me to find a page without drugs on it. There certainly has been serious drug addictions in this man’s life & I hope that since the end of the book he’s managed to stay clean. I really enjoyed the book. It put together all the bits & pieces I’ve read or heard in the media about the Chili Peppers & Anthony Keddis.

Sometimes when I write in this blog I worry about offending people with my opinions; I guess I shouldn’t, as that is all they are; opinions. Perhaps I fear the challenge that may follow; mostly I worry that I have not articulated all the shades of grey surrounding the topic. I am a Libran you know & the Scales Must Be Balanced.

The book for me reinforced my belief that people are (mostly) the product of their upbringing & that a stable environment for a child is of the utmost importance in that physical, emotional & psycological growth. Well Duh, you might say, isn’t that stating the obvious? Yes, mostly I believe so, but sometimes you’d be surprised at some people’s attitudes towards their kids (dare I mention the word un-educated here?).

You'd have to read the book, but one example is of his father blowing the exhalation of his joint into his face at the age of 7; another is offering him his 1st joint at the age of 13; another is giving the kid cab money to get to school in the mornings (as well as getting himself out of bed, fed, dressed & to school because his old man was passed out) & find his own way home at night. I could go on & on, but like I said, read the book & draw your own conclusions.

I was not disappointed in Anthony Keddis, although I wish some of the influences in his life had been different. That said, but where would songs like “under the bridge” & “scar tissue” come from without the life experiences of this man? I felt compassion for his at times tortured soul & attempts to overcome an addiction; I felt joy at his compassion not only when clean (his behavior when he was using could be pretty awful) & generosity for his family & friends. I read with interest about his relationships with other famous dudes like Kurt Cobain & of course the night he was baby sat by Cher & slept (not shagged) in her bed with her naked (can’t quite remember what age, but must have been early teens). Anyhoo. Like I said, hopefully he has remained clean. Loved it.

5 stars

**I’d offer to loan this one out to read but it has gone back with Kezza to Hong Kong.

Also read while away........

Compulsion – Johnathon Kellerman. Series with child psychologist Alex Delaware & Detective Milo Sturgis. I love these characters, but the book was quite ho hum for me. I wasn’t engaged until half way through. A number of times I thought “I wish the author hadn’t published just because he could/should & waited until he was ready with a great story”. 2 Stars

In the Woods, Tana French – the prologue was so wordy I almost didn’t bother reading the book! Luckily for me I persevered with the prologue & then started the book. Set in Ireland, murder mystery with a twist. I was hooked, line & sinker after the 1st chapter & didn’t put it down til I finished it. 4 Stars

Did I tell you about one of our co-divers on safari? He travelled with something like 14kgs of books. He was away from home for 3 weeks & packed a book for each day!!! I am not sure if he read them all, but am sure he came close.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Have been trying to complete this post for weeks now, but was getting to long! Have tried to condence it a bit……………………

  • Airport: Spent a shit load at the “chemist” – unbelievable!!! Plumbing boy was still snot infested so I got him some Sudafed & cold & flu’s, plus tissues as I accidentally packed the ones I’d got for the trip in the check in luggage; some Fess specially for flying (a saline solution that you squirt up your sinuses which also had titree oil & lavender & something else to combat dry sinuses from the plane & the germs that circulate through the aircon) um & not sure what else for an exorbitant price. Did the trick though as he was able to dive on Sunday arvo.

  • Flight: Uneventful

  • Arrived Manila: late due to a passenger running late in Sydney. My mate Kerryn was waiting for us in the hotel room: we decided to all share a room as we’d be sleeping next to each other on the boat for the rest of the week anyway. Ordered some room service (food), word processed 2 quotes while having had a couple of bevies then crashed as we had to be up at 4.30am.

  • Departed Manila: Emailed off my quotes first, checked out & cabbed it to the domestic terminal to catch our flight to Basuanga, an island in the Palawan group of islands, approximately 1 hours flight south of Manila (was 1 hour late departing).

  • We landed in a paddock: I watched cows out the window. 45 minutes on a Jeepney & we were in Coron. Jeepneys are a very popular mode of transport in the Philippines; they are left over WW2 US military jeeps that have been colorfully decorated. Pictures Here.

  • The Jeepney was so packed: that 2 of the airline workers sat on the roof til some paying passengers alighted. The journey was though some very lush country side, over logged cattle grates & gravel tracks before we finally hit some bitumen/concrete road just out of town.

  • Our friend Carlos spied us on the Jeepney & jumped on board, travelling the final couple of minutes to the port (jetty).

  • The new dive boat: “Maruja” pronounced Maruka, is named after Carlos’ mum, is slightly bigger that the Marcelina, but the layout is pretty much the same. We unpacked, stowed some gear & headed off for a dive.

  • Cat V Maruja: I am bloody uncoordinated at the best of times & especially on boats. Always end up with some sort of injury. 3 days in I slipped on a ladder between the upper & lower decks. If I'd not managed to wrap one of my legs around the bloody ladder (pole dancing style) I'd have landed on my bloody head! Zac thought I'd busted my leg for sure. I had an extremely spectacular bruise as big as 2 hands put side by side on the inner & back of my thigh just above my knee where I'd "gripped" onto the ladder, plus a few smaller ones on my hip, lower back & legs where I slammed into the ladder on the way down. Nothing broke so all good.

  • Diving in Coron: is diving Japanese warships. 20 odd(?) ships were bombed by the Americans more info here. Without my log book handy I’ve forgotten a lot of the names, but we dived all the biggest ones & a couple of smaller ones, probably 8 in all.

  • We couldn’t find the bulldozer: one of the ships was sent to construct an aiport & was sunk with a bulldozer, a cement mixer & fencing wire inside. Carlos missed this dive due to snot (cold) & his offsider hadn’t dived this site before. We couldn’t find the cement mixer either, but we found the fencing wire – maybe 100 rolls or more!!!

  • Weather Week 1: was overcast but still hot. The water temperature was 31 degrees. I didn’t get sun burned (plumbing boy did).

  • We dived in a cave on the way back: Carlos hadn’t been to this site before either, the last time they’d looked for it, they couldn’t find it. We got some GPS co-ordinates & when we arrived some other divers had just completed their dive. We jumped into the ocean, then swam to the opening (already 5 metres depth) which travelled down & inwards perhaps another 5 metres, then sloped back up & into the cave. The top half was fresh water & a lot colder that the ocean. We surfaced inside the cave & shone our torches around to see beautiful stalactites & stalacmites. We could see some blue sky through some cavities way up high & a rather large tree branch had fallen into the cave through one of these openings.

  • Panagatan: another fave site on the way home was cool but I missed seeing the 1 & only manta ray for the trip! Boo Hoo! Zac grabbed me to spin me around so I could see it, but it had gone by then.

  • Hammerhead sharks: another non event. Not one to be found.

  • Whale Sharks: again, non existant. The week before was the first time Carlos hadn’t seen them in the area in the past 2 months.

  • Dolphins: didn’t see any of these either!

  • Typhoons: perhaps marine life had disappeared due to impending typhoons. Our journey back to Boracay was smooth, bar the last ½ hour where the wind really sprung up & we surfed into shore in the rubber dingy holding our bags on our head so as to not get everything wet! There was a typhoon on either side of the philiphines for the 2nd week of hour holiday which created havoc with the weather.

  • Roofs: lots of new ones due to the 2006 typhoon (see earlier post). Was really good & sad listening to the locals stories of that night. You could feel the fear as the wind got stronger through the second week that the island may get hit hard again.

  • Weather 2: week 2 was shite. Windy (gale force at times); lots of rain – the island was ankle deep in water for 3 days; but still warm. I did need sleeves at night.

  • Forced relaxation: was good. As we couldn’t dive at all in the last few days as we couldn’t get to the sites due to the wind/weather we spent more time sleeping & lazing in our hammock & reading.

  • Sun tan: has all but departed due to shite weather.

  • Food: still awesome. The quality of the food is still amazing: you can find almost any cuisine you can think of here & is all done very, very well.

  • Mango Daiquiris: only had one! Our fave bar was blown away in the typhoon (2006) & the new bar they opened ( in a new location) does not make cocktails. Sob.

  • Vodka Calamanzi’s did the trick: calamanzi’s are a local lime & with a smidge of sugar syrup are deliciously tangy, sweet & oh so good after a couple of really cold san mig’s (local beer).

  • Exit: is the name of the new bar which is very conveniently located in front of our accommodation. There is a tattoo/henna tattoo shop at the front of our accommodation & the bar has taken up some of this space.

  • Music: one of the tattoo artists (Kim) also plays guitar, so we had our own, personal accoustic musician every night. Spent a few nights at the bar having a sing along. Kim was in love with Nirvana & could play almost any Nirvana tune. He also played a selection of top 40 (but more on the grungy side) & of course lots & lots of Filipino folk & love songs. He said that he had a recording contract when he was 16 years old, but his dad wouldn’t sign.

  • Laughs: Kerryn, Zac & I had a lot of laughs catching up & sharing each others trials & tribulations over the past year or so. Kerryn lives in Hong Kong, & although she comes home at Christmas (& sometimes more often for work), she shares her time amongst her family & other friends. This one on one time is very special for us all. She is such a great mate: couldn’t ask for a better girlfriend, that’s for sure! Love you Kezza!!!!

  • Return Journey: Long. 24 hours door to door.