All posts filed under: Columns

Carpet Ride

I have never been one for shopping lists or planning weekly meal menus. And nor, it seems, warehouse furniture shopping.
I have proven that I approach warehouse shopping in exactly the same way I approach food shopping: with spontaneity and according to what is on special.
Of course I will buy the sensible basics, but it’s the other miscellaneous items that often become a little blurred and spur of the moment.

Leaning Towards Christmas

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—The tree is up and our feral feline has already been seduced by its baubles and bling and attempted to climb its fake Canterbury pine branches and make off with the flashing star. He made the same ascent last year with, pardon the pun, catastrophic results. He snapped the top clean off resulting in an eternal leaning due to two taped stakes connecting the tree top to its piny nether regions. Admittedly, this leaning does give the tree a certain authentic ‘I was harvested on a particularly blustery winter morning’ appearance. Instead, it was made in China with the only real similarity being that, this one, like its genuine counterpart, has a definite shelf life. This Christmas, I fear, will be its last. The rest of the Christmas decorations have also taken on a rather forlorn air, mostly because the chief festivity officer, namely my daughter, has taken off to Europe. She’s enjoying a bracing start to a European winter while we begin the slow melt into summer. While we may not have all …

Fairy Tale Formal

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—When the uninformed see the composed, elegant, beautiful images of other people’s daughters posing at their ‘formal’, they have no idea that behind every smiling, buffed beauty in exquisite dress, heals and hairdo is a harassed mum who hasn’t had time to shave her legs. I thought I would never succumb. No-one was going to force me to bow to peer pressure, book for MAC make-up (“can’t you just do your own?”), acquire a Coach clutch and source killer heels. We weren’t going to sit for hours at the hairdressers trying to replicate a delicate ‘do’ featured by Kate Moss in Vogue. I wasn’t going to be the mum trawling tirelessly through boutiques in search of THE MOST UNIQUE FORMAL DRESS ON THE PLANET. Book a spray tan? Too artificial, darling. No, not I. How wrong I was. Have done all of the above bar Coach clutch. I’ve been unwittingly sucked into the great Year 12 formal vortex and there’s no fleeing now. How on earth did I think I’d escape? But have I learned a …

Turning 50 – ‘Elle’ of a lot of pressure

THERE’S BEEN a lot written lately about Elle turning 50 next year. I take an interest because I am almost the same vintage and so, share a certain affinity with the magnificently proportioned and ageless model known as The Body. In case you’re wondering, the aforementioned tag justifiably stuck after her five cover appearances on the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. I was born in July ‘63 – my friend Elle in March ’64 – which makes us a mere 8 months apart. We both finished school in ‘81 so could, theoretically, have been classmates. We could have enjoyed the same movies – For Your Eyes Only, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Raiders of the Lost Ark … remember those? We probably listened to the same music, boogied on the disco floor to Blondie’s Call Me, went through a phase of schoolgirl anarchy with Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall – and slow-danced to Captain and Tennille’s Do That to Me One More Time … aah, the memories. The similarity, I am sad to say, …

Happy Campers on Fraser Island

CAMPING is a bit like childbirth, you forget the pain until you go through it all again. The main problem with our family is that no matter how organised we think we are when embarking on a camping expedition, we’re very soon proved otherwise. This is a fact I have come to not only expect, but accept. Our latest mission did, however, have all the potential of a smooth operation. This lay mainly in the recent acquisition of a second hand box trailer so no-one had to endure a two hour journey enveloped in bedding and the occasional cooking pot. Yes, we were well and truly ready for Fraser Island. So we thought. The truth is, our camping is too sporadic to be truly organised. Years may lapse before we say yes to the pleas of friends and our children who are now old enough to toss around guilt-inducing comments such as: “We never do anything exciting.” So, the preparation began. Probably not soon enough, now that I think about it. I did Google a …

Liar, liar, your pants are on fire!

It’s local election time again in Queensland and politicians are out kissing babies, riding on tractors and planting trees. In other words, they’re trying to pull the wool over our eyes. They are also resorting to smear campaigns, digging up every last little nugget they can to try and convince an embattled public that they are the more deserving candidate. It’s ugly out there. And how out of touch they are. Exactly how short a memory do they think we have? When is Anna Bligh going to stop dining out on her tearful flood speech ie. “We are Queenslanders…” I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it. I’ve witnessed her poisonous vitriol in parliament  – I tend to think people show their true colours under pressure and that, she did, going as far as suggesting her opponent, Campbell Newman was destined for jail on account of his business dealings. Another thing, Anna, I ‘aks’ you with tears in my eyes … please learn how to say ask. You’ve had enough practise by now. I get that …

Royal photo opportunity missed for good

I WENT TO SEE THE QUEEN and all I saw was a flash of her mint green suit. It had been a spontaneous decision to seize the day and take all three of our children out of school to witness this historic royal visitation. It was quite plausible after all that this could be Her Majesty’s last visit to Brisbane. They would remember this occasion for years to come. The enthusiasm of missing school and seeing the queen was tangible. Everyone made sure their shoes were appropriate as I’d relayed a story about Prince Phillip snubbing a royal fan after he caught sight of their old, scuffed shoes. We would be more than ready for the prince and the queen with our neat attire and well-shod feet. We announced our decision to visit Her Majesty to friends and our neighbour and her three children together with three more eager friends took up the offer to accompany us. All were naturally delighted to take a day off school thanks to the sanctioning by our education minister. …

Superwoman of Super Waste

It’s that time of year again where my family insists I be locked up. Not that I’ve done anything wrong yet —it’s just that they know something embarrassing is imminent. It’s the annual or bi-annual council pick up, you see. That time of year when distracting piles of junk—no let me rephrase—someone else’s treasure lies on the curb for all to see. The very innards of their soul lie naked for public perusal. The last pick up was dismal. Even for a seasoned fixer-upper like myself, there was little to fix. It was already broken. Nothing to paint—it was beyond redemption. The GFC had a left a ruthless aftermath. There was nothing worth salvaging from the piles of flagrant rubbish that lay scattered forlornly on curbs. This year appears slightly more encouraging. Early sightings have been positive. Furniture appears whole and wholly salvageable. A garden pot, seen, but not taken, is unbroken. I have already helped myself to a perfectly good book case. Yet the thought that I am on the prowl is inciting sheer …

Teen Party Mania

A FRIEND RECENTLY hosted a 16th birthday party at her home. Planning was military. There would be no alcohol and she and her husband hired three burly body guards to check guests at the front entrance. Several adults were also on hand to peruse the periphery of the property checking for opportunistic gate crashers. The costume party was by invitation only and sixty young guests were expected. The hosts admit to being control freaks, so they covered every eventuality. The police were informed about the party beforehand, as were all the neighbours in the quiet, upmarket Brisbane street. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing did, for a while. The teens enjoyed dancing and enjoying each other’s company, seemingly content to enjoy the hired disc jockey’s music and act like 16-year-olds. Things turned rather suddenly. At around 10pm, the first fleet of taxis arrived and out spilled teenagers – many of them with bottles of alcohol and clearly under the influence. By now there were around 60 imposters milling around the street. Next, they began scaling the …