We decided that lunch in Paynesville seemed like a nice idea, we enjoy Paynesville there is always something happening on the water, and it’s a great place for a relaxing walk.
We usually go to a particular place, which I won’t name for fear of embarrassing them, because we know the fish is always well cooked and fresh, and they seem to be one of the few places that can get a “serve for 2” just right. And the coffee is always the best!
So into the shop we go, speak to the lovely lady behind the counter and she takes our order. She tells us it will be about 15 minutes, so we say we’ll go for a walk and come back. As we approach the door to leave, I overhear the same lovely lady say to someone else behind the counter “That’s for the older man and the girl in the long skirt”
Since we were the only two in the shop fitting that description, guessing she was talking about us! “Older man” and “girl” – I like that lady!!
It’s 8:30am on a Wednesday morning. I awake and immediately know that something good is in store for today. A moment to think – Oh yes! It’s Wednesday my day in town with “the girls” of the Knit for Charity group. This is always a fun afternoon, filled with deep discussions, some disagreements, some agreements, but always in the spirit of good friendship. We meet at the club, where the staff go out of their way to make us welcome, and we feel comfortable and “at home” there. So, looking forward to all that, I get out of bed, and head for the kitchen for my first coffee of the day. Incidentally, I’ve been cutting down on coffee, so this is my first of two coffees I allow myself for the day. Too much of a good thing and all that!
In happy anticipation I continue through my usual morning routine, having already chosen the outfit I plan to wear for the day, and looking forward to going out in my nice swishy long skirt and matching blue top. Must try to find a matching blue mask, I think as I look at the clothes. A navy one would go well, but I only have my butterfly ones or black ones, so choosing the butterfly one, I lay it with the rest of the outfit. Masks are here to stay I think to myself, not unhappily.
At the appointed time, I put on my lovely outfit, feeling feminine and nice, and hoping that it covers what a dear friend calls “the jiggly bits” which women my age seem to end up with no matter how hard we try! The mirror says I look fine, no jiggly bits in sight, so I smooth down the skirt and “swish” out of my room, feeling confident and content.
I am ready to leave, so I locate my husband who is working in the yard somewhere. I find him and present myself with the question “Does this look alright?” “What?” he replies squinting at me in the bright sunlight. “The outfit!” I say, not without a touch of frustration. “It’s perfect” he states, and I know for the umpteenth time, why I love him so much!
So having gained my husband’s critical approval, I get in the Ranger and head off to town.
I arrive early at the club, so I sit in the air conditioned comfort of the Ranger for a while, waiting to see any of the familiar cars arriving. I can see one of the girls are here already, and I see another driving into the car park, so I hop out and go through the hoops to get into the club. Val greets me cheerily at the front desk, and Christine takes my card and “swipes” me in. It’s nice to be known I think to myself, to feel that you belong.
As predicted one of the girls is already there, sitting at “our” traditional table. I stand chatting to her for a bit, then order my coffee and sit down at the table. The other girls arrive and gather round. Pleasant chit chat and catching up on news. We start our knitting, and sit comfortable together, other ladies in the club smile, or pass a comment, and we are all feeling really good.
I walk around to chat to some other friends sitting nearby, greet “our” waitress and stand chatting to her for a few seconds, before returning to the table,
As I sit down, I notice something! I am appalled! I am stunned! I have no idea what to do next!!
I have both my T Shirt AND my skirt on inside out! What to do?! Should I just point it out and laugh it off, try to sneak away to the bathroom and hope no one has noticed? I’ve been parading around the club with my clothes on inside out! How will I ever live it down.
I decide, based on that thought, not to alert the girls to my mistake, and so, hoping I can make it to the ladies room without anyone noticing, I excuse myself from the table and make a bee line for the ladies room. This entails walking across the whole club and through the café, eyes down hoping there is no one I know around that corner! Oh no! Things just got a whole lot worse!!
As I come around the corner, intent on getting to the bathroom as soon as possible, there, at the very last table, right before the corridor to the ladies room, is an ex-boyfriend whom I have not seen in a zillion years!
Now, a whole new dilemma! Should I pretend I don’t see him? Pretend I don’t recognise him? Press on past as though my life depends on getting to the ladies room?
So, here I am, clothes on inside out, feeling awfully flustered, and probably looking red and embarrassed, I decide to simply put my head down and not “see” anything but the floor. This plan works perfectly, right up until I am passing his table. “Hey Wendy” a familiar voice says “I knew you were living here, didn’t expect to see you though, what a nice surprise”
Well I think to myself, not quite the way one wants an ex-boyfriend to see one after all these years!!
With no other choice, I look up and smile weakly, feeling even more stupid than before, and even more embarrassed!
“Oh” I say “Hello” feeling silly that I cannot say more than that, but my brain has gone numb and has nothing to give me! We look at each other in silence, there seems nothing else to say at this point.
“Please excuse me” I blurt out and rush towards the saving door of the ladies room. It closes comfortably behind me, and I begin to breathe again, hanging onto the basin and telling myself it’s OK! He probably thinks I have some awful disease that makes me rush to the ladies room! I am covered in embarrassment and wonder how to deal with the situation from here on. Visions of how I looked when last he would remember seeing me – young, slim – hair down to my waist, jeans, shirt, leather jacket and boots is the vision that comes to mind! Bit different these days I think wryly!
I catch sight of myself in the mirror, clothes on inside out, hair all over the place (another dear friend says “boat hair, don’t care” when her hair is a mess, so that’s what I say to the woman starting back at me in the mirror. She agrees wholeheartedly!
I right my clothes, taking extra care to make sure I have it right this time! Yes seams to the inside now, should be all good! I survey the end result in the unforgiving mirror. “Well, that will have to do” I tell myself. “No leather, no jeans, no boots, and no hair down to my waist, but you got what you got”.
“Now walk out of here like nothing in this world can stop you, with all the confidence of a club manager. Hold your head up, tell him it was so nice to see him again, and go back to the safety of the circle of your friends. You are not the person he knew then, you are a grown woman, a grandmother now, so be proud.
As I finish admonishing myself in the mirror, a lady appears from one of the stalls, smiles at me as says “You go girl, you got this” I am again covered with embarrassment. I mutter thanks and head for the door, big deep breath and open! And there he is, still handsome after nearly 30 years! He looks up as I once again approach, since there is only one way to go and that is passed his table.
“We should have coffee sometimes” he says cheerily, and I fervently hope he didn’t notice my clothes the first time! “You look good” he adds. In that instant I wonder if he did notice?
I smile in return, say “thanks, yes we should” and move towards my friends, now happily knitting and chatting, with bursts of laughter as I approach. Are they laughing at me? No, someone has told a joke and they are all laughing heartily! How I enjoy their company, I think as I resume my seat at the table, hoping I look calm and confident and in control when I am feeling none of those things!
One of the girls leans across the table and says quietly to me “see you fixed your clothes” with an understanding smile, and I again think how blessed I am to have friends who don’t point out my faults and mistakes, but who “fix my crown without telling me it’s crooked”
Everyone should have such a circle of friends.
I pick up my knitting, smile and relax!
(This story is based partly on truth and largely on fiction. Sentiments with regard to friends is real. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Love Wendy)
So, as those of you who know me well, I’m not a cook. I don’t like cooking particularly, but I am fond of the “gadgets” that can make the task easier. Enter subject #1
Now maybe I am slow, but for weeks I could not get how this gadget was supposed to work! I would go to the marvelous YouTube and locate an instructional video, watch it carefully, and go “Oh yes, I see” and open whatever can I was endeavoring to open without spilling all over myself!
Come the next time I wanted to use this same gadget, I would fuss and fret over it, and eventually in sheer frustration that I could not get how to use it yet again, I would go back to YouTube and watch again. As soon as I saw it, “Ah Yes, I remember now” and away I would go again.
Rinse and repeat many times!
Today, a breakthrough!! I got the gadget out of the drawer, opened the can, and I didn’t have to check how to use it!
Perseverance pays off it would seem!
Enter Subject #2
Now, everyone knows that Beetroot will spill! It does not matter how careful you are, or how much you take care NOT to spill it, it will spill. It’s just a fact of nature!
Well this marvelous little device SHOULD solve the problem! Alas, my “expertise” comes into play yet again.
I had, as you see, placed it carefully in the sink (so that if nature should strike I was well prepared) and upended the can (opened with Subject #1 with enormous success!) into the container. All good!! Feeling very pleased with myself that I had accomplished this feat of endurance, and confident that now the beetroot was safely contained, all was well.
HOW WRONG I WAS!!!
With all the confidence in the world, I grabbed the handle and lifted the now full container out of the sink!
Beetroot in all directions! The handle is apparently NOT for lifting the entire container (as you can see from the picture) it is so you can raise the beetroot and take some out! Now, for those of us who have this continued love/hate relationship with beetroot, you KNOW that beetroot juice will spread faster than a mouse plague, and will get itself into every little nook and cranny within a country mile of the spill. You will be finding it for months to come, even though you clean up the mess immediately. You WILL find tiny splashes of beetroot juice in the most extraordinary places! And I speak from multiple experiences in this regard!
So the conclusion? Gadgets are great, but won’t necessarily make your job any easier!
The following has been written by the late Douglas Adams of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” fame.
“Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge into the girting sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology, but they still call it the “Great Australian Bight”, proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory but they can’t spell either.
The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other landmasses and sovereign lands are classified as continent, island or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.
The second confusing thing about Australia is the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep. It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them.
Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on), under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.
The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants. A short history: Sometime around 40,000 years ago some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and a lot of them died. The ones who survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man’s proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories. They also discovered a stick that kept coming back.
Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north. More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons), ate all their food, and a lot of them died.
About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since. It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say), whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert – equipped with a stick.
Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on ‘extended holiday’ and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside their boots every morning for fatal surprises. They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and the Aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.
There is also the matter of the beaches. Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the world, although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders. However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk.
As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a sour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger. Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string and mud.
Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the ‘Grass is greener on the other side of the fence’ syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land “Oz” or “Godzone” (a verbal contraction of “God’s Own Country”). The irritating thing about this is… they may be right.
TIPS TO SURVIVING AUSTRALIA
Don’t ever put your hand down a hole for any reason – WHATSOEVER.
The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.
Always carry a stick.
Air-conditioning is imperative.
Do not attempt to use Australian slang unless you are a trained linguist and extremely good in a fist fight.
Wear thick socks.
Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.
If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die. And don’t forget a stick.
Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.
HOW TO IDENTIFY AUSTRALIANS
They pronounce Melbourne as “Mel-bin”.
They think it makes perfect sense to decorate highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep.
They think “Woolloomooloo” is a perfectly reasonable name for a place, that “Wagga Wagga” can be abbreviated to “Wagga”, but “Woy Woy” can’t be called “Woy”.
Their hamburgers will contain beetroot. Apparently it’s a must-have.
How else do you get a stain on your shirt?
They don’t think it’s summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle.
They believe that all train timetables are works of fiction.