The Sunday Post will be a weekly short, casual chat about trivial matters. (Perhaps that’s no different to my normal posts??!!)
I recently (and about 5 years after the rest of the world) discovered the historical bodice ripper, Poldark. I binge-watched Season 1 on a long haul flight, interweaving it with another British series Line of Duty. Both series were recommended to me by the hosts of a podcast, Chat 10 Looks 3.
I am now racing through the Poldark catalogue. It ends at Season 5.
It got me reminiscing about the shows I used to love to watch.
St Elsewhere? I am still really, really careful about cleaning out the bath after one of the main characters died by hitting their head on the bottom of the tub. Stars a very young Denzel Washington.
A Country Practice… An Australian favourite – people, well people my age, still talk about the scene where Molly died.
The Bill – the original series – it got a bit weird after a while.
ER – George Clooney….swoon….
NYPD Blue – Bobby and Andy with a sweet spot for John Kelly!
LA Law – think shoulder pads.
Law and Order before the splinter shows.
More recent favourites have been
Offspring– Nina Proudman’s brain is as noisy as mine.
Grace and Frankie – perfect demographic for old chooks
The Handmaid’s Tale – will Aunt Lydia turn? That’s the big question!
Virgin River – when IS Season 2 coming!!!!
Sex Education – thank goodness it’s made by the British and not the US.
I didn’t get into Game of Thrones – I have not watched one single episode. I might yet crumble on that one. One day.
I got bored with Outlanders after staying up ALL night watching Season 1. The staying up all night part didn’t bore me. Season 1 was great, but the next season did not hold my interest.
The Good Wife! How could I forget! I never understood how she had time to be so well put together! You NEVER saw her go shopping. How could she have such fabulous hair and clothes?
Sea Change! Another great Aussie show. Now the memories are pouring out. Sigrid Thorton and David Wenham. I’m still waiting for my Diver Dan. This was a 1990’s show but they resurrected it in 2019 with a spin-off featuring the now grown-up children…I don’t think I will watch that.
The Sopranos – so much of that watched through fingers half-covering my eyes or my fingers in my ears blocking out the scary bits.
Way, way back when I was still at school, I remember waiting till my dad had gone to bed so I could watch Banacek with George Peppard.
What are your favourite shows from the past? Let me know in the comments below.
Gosh, the First Friday sure does come around quickly bringing another chance to enter Furious Fiction, the AWC’s monthly competition. As I’ve said before this is a fun activity with a terrific prize. You can read about it on their website.
Basically it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.
The criteria for March were:
Your story must include a PERSON IN DISGUISE.
Your story must take place in a PARK.
Your story must include a MIRROR.
I made three starts to this story. The first attempt was about a private eye trying to catch a wandering spouse, then it morphed into an internet dating story before I finally decided to run with the same story arc as last month’s story. It had to stand alone and not rely on the previous episode to make sense. I have already hatched out the next episode and hope I can bend April’s criteria to suit.
Here is this month’s Furious Fiction entry, submitted at 9:55 PM Saturday night. 488 words.
Clark in the Dark
Miriam was swinging her legs under the park bench.
“Stop fidgeting! You’ll blow our cover!”
She sighed deeply and went back to pulling at the fringing on her poncho.
“How long do we have to sit here?”
Clark ignored her.
Miriam shuffled along the bench, tapped her feet on the ground, stood up, sat down, adjusted her mohawk wig, looked at her watch and sighed again.
“Gov, this is ridiculous. We’ve already hit our quota for the month. Anyway, don’t you think THIS is dangerously bordering on entrapment?”
Miriam waved her hands over the “this”. An orange and white crocheted poncho made from acrylic yarn, white lace-up boots and tight orange velour pants.
“Miriam…” he said “It’s not about the quota. It’s about the law. We don’t just stop upholding the law because we hit our quota! We don’t just let the fifty-first murderer off the hook because we only needed fifty for the quota!”
Specks of white saliva were gathering in the creases of his lips.
“No, Miriam, we seek out those poxy crims wherever they are! ”
When DCI Clark Weston was working up to a full spitty episode, DC Miriam Hensen knew it was time to take a backward step.
“We have a duty to society! We have to stop these scum corrupting our youth with their grooming. If you can’t stand the heat Miriam, get out of the sweatshop!”
“Gov, I joined the Unit so I could create change! I expected undercover work to be more than sitting in Hyde Park in a clumsy disguise trapping lost souls. I didn’t think I’d be using a bag full of second-hand clothes from Double Bay Vinnies to entrap the disadvantaged.”
“Don’t come the liberal social justice disadvantaged angle with me, Miriam! These people DO have choices! They can look in the mirror before they leave home you …”
He stopped mid-sentence, “Look! There, case in point!”
There, coming towards them was a travesty of colour. A man in a blue shirt, green pants and no belt.
“A Code 10! Bet you’ve never seen THAT before!“ Clark whispered excitedly “Blue and green with nothing in between!”
Miriam was shocked. The man’s eyes were bulging like a junkie craving a fix. Clark pushed her towards him.
“Remember, he has to agree to buy!”
She sashayed up to Mr Blue-Green, “Wanna look at my stash fella,” she cooed, swishing her fringing and holding the bag out provocatively.
“Yeah babe, if you’ve got any sequins, I’ll buy the lot!”
And just then, just as he committed to the sale, DCI Weston of the Fashion Police, lept up and cuffed him.
“You’re under arrest for a Code 10 Violation – Catastrophic Colour Clash.” Clarke shouted, “You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say may be used as evidence.”
Clark looked across at Miriam with smug satisfaction. “Never forget our motto, Miriam. Dress Proud. THAT’S what you signed up for.”
Edited to Add 22/3/20: I wrote this post in early-February when things were a little less dire than they are now. Australia was yet to be placed in lock-down due to the Corona Virus. Last night our Government announced Stage 1 of the process, with most public venues being closed down. I feel like an oracle or at least the start of a conspiracy theory. Here I was thinking I was doing something novel when a novel virus comes along and means EVERYONE is having a Year of Zero forced upon them. Hope you are all OK.
Stay safe, stay away and wash your hands!
At the end of last year, I announced my big project for 2020, The Year of Zero. My aim is to spend as little as possible, save up plenty of zero’s and try to live a less wasteful lifestyle.
Three months are up and here is my first-quarter report.
1. No Overseas Travel
Tick! Nope, no international travel! I have been nowhere!
I bought a handbag. It satisfied the rules for purchases as it was replacing a worn-out item and was second hand. It’s a stylish leather backpack that fits my zero waste kit in it (more on that later). I did get a few NEW new things for my grandson including two train sets. I bought some glass jars to make kombucha kits. I am hoping to sell these on.
A major expense in this quarter has been getting my dining chairs reupholstered as the crappy vinyl was peeling off and shedding everywhere. Kudos needed though! I repaired rather than replaced even though it was cheaper to buy new!
4. Reduction in Expenditure on Groceries.
I decided to cut my fortnightly budget by 40%. I thought I would struggle. For the last three months I have been:
Carefully planning meals and batch cooking after checking what’s in season and cheap.
Following a frugal flexitarian diet – Plenty of lentils and no fresh salmon fillets!
Shopping from my cupboard – and it’s still not empty!
Making use of the chest freezer that has been sitting empty in my garage for the last 6 years.
Buying in bulk.
Not shopping at Woolworths.
Tracking my expenditure using an app.
These strategies have meant that most fortnights I actually have money left over even after the 40% cut. I have an inkling that a large proportion of the saved money would have previously been spent on booze as “booze-drunk-at-home” came out of the grocery allocation.
I am no longer buying the treats I used to buy, only having meat if I eat out and I’m making nearly everything from scratch. Comment: Pasta is not worth making at home. Preserved lemons, on the other hand, are totally worth it! (A post about that soon)
5. Side hustle happenings
This is coming along slowly. I launched a photography business – OCE Photography – but have no bookings yet. I ran a couple of courses at the local community college and I sold all my 2020 calendars!! That’s good news because last year, I had 20 left over and lost money. I have listed some greeting cards on my Etsy site
The most exciting news though is that I have had my first freelance article for money accepted.
I’m heading in the right direction but not about to replace the day job just yet!
The flyers I had made for OCE Photogrpahy are very luxe!
6. Only sign up for Free Courses
In 2019, I spent a lot of money on courses and I have vowed to do only free courses in 2020. I have discovered Future Learn which has great courses. It has a paid option as well, but the free version is working for me. I don’t want a certificate. So far, I have completed a course on Upcycling and Humanism. There are enough courses to keep me busy forever!
7. Sell some of my stuff
With the double aim of getting rid of clutter and making money, I plan to hold another garage sale. This has not happened yet.
8. Concentrate on free activities
Not sure what to report here. I didn’t spend much in the most recent school holiday period as I was assisting with fires. I generally go out with a group of friends once a week to trivia and since I’m not drinking, it’s a very cheap night out.
9. Rewrite my 60 for 60
My revised 60 for 60 plan includes many expensive activities, mainly travel-related, which are now in conflict with my new goals. I have not rewritten them yet. I have completed 22 of the items on the original list.
10. Zero-waste eco-warrior.
I have been doing lots of reading and signed up to some blogs, newsletters and podcasts. However, I am still struggling with getting rid of plastic packaging. My worm farm is already at maximum capacity in terms of dealing with my food scraps. I need to get a compost bin too.
Wins on this front are much less food waste and creating a zero-waste kit which I am carrying around in the “new” backpack. This consists of a reusable coffee mug, cutlery kit, reusable bags and metal water bottle.
I feel I can do much better in the eco-warrior princess department.
11. Year of Zero Booze
Although not declared as an aim at the Year of Zero launch, I decided to stop drinking alcohol as a way of saving money and looking after my health. So far no booze since December 29th, 2019. I am aiming to do the full 12 months.
My overall score on a very arbitrary scale is 67%.
I’ll report back at the end of June for the half-yearly review.
Let’s hope the curve is flattened by then! And I think pasta has now become worth making at home!
Looking for my regular Sunday Post? Last week I announced that sadly, I was abandoning my Mini-doc of the Week project. It has defeated me. During school terms, I don’t have the time to get out and make new content, let alone the time it takes to edit it.
This has caused me some anxiety. I was brought up with the mantra “if you start something finish it”. I started a yearly challenge of one mini-doc a week, and now after only eight weeks, I’m walking away from it very unfinished. You may have noticed that I am very goal orientated.
You can see the evidence in my 60 for 60 project, the Year of Zero. Etc etc. I have immense respect for Matt Jonowsky, who completed a 52 Week video challenge a few years ago! He made 52 simple, short movies that are inspiring.
What will I post on Sundays instead? I have had a few ideas.
Review of the week – a review of another blog, website, podcast, book etc
Recipe of the week – a healthy gut-friendly remix of old favourites. This also gives me the opportunity to tune up my food photography.
Photo of the week continued?
A news story of the week
Eco Tip of the week
Short story of the week (might land me in the same trouble as the mini-doc!)
Occasional mini-doc of the week.
Crafternoon project of the week.
App of the week?
Money saving tip of the week
The list could go on and on. And I have to get cracking on my A-Z of Wollongong posts too!! Oh dear, so many ideas so little time! By next week I’ll have Sundays sorted!
Prelude: I don’t know about you, but I need a break from the Corona Virus! I contemplated writing a piece about it and maybe I will later, but for now, I thought I would share a bit of family history. It’s longer than my usual posts, but since some of you are in self-isolation, you’ve got more time!
My mum (Hi MUM!) has been working on the family tree for many years. My cousin, Jenny, is the resident genealogist in our family (Hi Jenny!!) and has put together lots of facts and dates etc. In 2017, I started working on a fictionalised version of one of my ancestors. I didn’t get far. It’s not finished, and one day I will get back to it.
The long-story-short is that my great-great-great(?) Aunty Eliza had a baby when she was very young, and the family passed it off as her mum’s. Sarah Anne was a business woman and had a thriving company in Sydney that made embroidered regalia for military uniforms.
Firstly, I include an email sent to my mum to get more information. It was written when I was in transit to Israel. It sets the scene and then follows “Chapter 1” of the story. It needs a lot of work and is definitely a draft. I hope it makes sense!
When I was sitting on the plane, I re-read the history you had written about Sarah Usher. I thought there were some good angles for a few stories there, but the one that stood out for me was William, Eliza’s illegitimate son born in 1874 and “adopted” by Sarah and Charles. Do we know any more about him? When did he die? Did he have any kids of his own? What happened to Eliza? Did she go on to have any more kids?
It’s a fascinating angle coming from it with 2017 eyes. I wonder if they just pretended it was Sarah’s baby or was Eliza acknowledged as the mother? From what you wrote it would appear not. You’d think people would work it out. Frank was born in the same year…did they try and pass them off as twins?? Wow! I wonder where you would find out this stuff from. Sarah also had her last baby at 45! Old even by today’s standards but I guess in the absence of contraceptives, not unusual.
I wonder what sort of relationship William and Eliza had? I wonder if Wilhelm (who presumably skulked back to Germany) knew him. I wonder if he had other children? Children that perhaps could fight William in WW1. Do they not know who impregnated Eliza or did they just try and cover it up. Was Wilhelm a sexual predator or was Eliza a saucy young minx?
In the absence of facts, I am just going to make up a story! BUT I would like it to be “based on a true story” story. Any extra info you have would be greatly appreciated!
I wrote this on the plane and sent it once I arrived in Israel. Feeling creative at 11000 metres over the Himalayas!
Chapter 1: Eliza’s Baby
On 1874, two babies appeared in the Hund* household. Only one of them was welcome. At forty-five, Sarah Anne Hund (née Usher) gave birth to what would be her last child – Frank. Her oldest daughter, Eliza gave birth to a bastard called William. An illegitimate child. An embarrassment. A poorly kept secret. William Hund became his grandmother’s son.
This is William’s story.
By the time Eliza was 16, she knew she was clever. Not just clever-for-a-girl but clever. She helped her mum in the regalia workshop, ordering notions and materials. Organised and meticulous, great lists of mental arithmetic didn’t phase her. Writing work orders for the seamstresses was a doddle. It wasn’t hard. It was, in fact, boring.
So boring, she longed for some excitement. Of course, as things turn out even back in the 1870s, a girl looking for excitement doesn’t usually have to go too far to find it.
In the summer of 1873, when Uncle Wilhelm came to visit, things perked up for Eliza. Wilhelm, her father’s youngest brother, was handsome and dashing, his clipped German-tainted English so refined and intoxicating to a clever young woman looking for more out of life.
It turns out she was not as clever as she thought because by April she had missed two of her monthlies and she was pregnant. Marrying her Uncle was not really an option. By May, her mum asked her directly. In the days of washing out menstrual rags, there was no hiding anything in a household as crowded as the Hund’s on Cleveland Street.
Wilhelm was sent home. Eliza was banished to an old friend of Sarah’s in Braidwood for her confinement. VOILA, in December 1874, Sarah magically had another baby. A delayed twin to her own Frank. Of course, no-one was fooled. All the family and neighbours knew who the baby really belonged to, but officially it was Sarah and Charles’ baby. Baby number 13.
William should have been the lucky first child, but he ended up at 13th. His mother’s search for adventure had led him up the garden path.
Frank and William grew up as brothers. The tension between their sister and their mum did not go unnoticed. The fiery glances, the cold shoulders, the unsaid words kept everyone on edge.
William was clever too, although most of the time he stood in Frank’s shadow. Frank was always first. First to get the best bit of the lamb leg. First to get the juiciest part of the pineapple. Frank never realised, but William always noticed.
Frank was Mama’s favourite. William didn’t know why or what he had done, but as the years progressed, he learned to live with it.
Frank and William grew up. They married. They lived their lives as best they could. And in 1907 their whole world turned upside down.
Frank was appointed as executor to Sarah’s will. As they were going through all the papers, things started to get a bit complicated. Frank found his birth certificate.
Mother: Sarah Anne Hund
Father: Charles Friedrich Hund
Other children: There were his brothers and sisters, all listed but not William.
And then he found William’s certificate. He had to look at it twice.
Mother: Elizabeth Hund.
Other Children: None
At thirty-three, William discovered Frank was not his brother but his Uncle. His sister was his mother and his mother, his grandmother. His world fell apart.
In my mind, the story will end up with William fighting his German half brothers in World War 1. There will be tension between William and Frank. Not sure what else will happen… yet….
* My mother’s maiden name has had a few iterations. Originally it was spelt HUND, then Hundt. Then it was changed (unofficially) to HUNT by some of the family to make it more respectably British. Then sometime after WW2 it was changed back to Hundt.
This week’s short clip about the return of the Light Rail System (aka trams) to Sydney.
George Street is back in order and the new routes between Circular Quay and Central and Central out to Randwick are up and running as of the end of January 2020. The line going out to the Inner West suburbs has been operating since 1997, although the final extension to Dulwich Hill was not completed until 2014. This line follows the old goods line route.
The last of Sydney’s old trams ran to Kingsford in February 1961. They were closed down as the popularity of cars increased. In hindsight, not a great decision as traffic has become such a huge problem.
Thankfully, the ugly Monorail which operated from 1988 – 2013 has been pulled down.
The next step in Sydney’s transport system is the completion of the now under construction Metro System. If you’re interested in the old-style trams, visit the Tram Museum in southern Sydney near the Royal National Park.
The footage was filmed in March 2020, on my iPhone and edited using iMovie on my phone. In the voiceover, I mispronounce Circular Quay but I wasn’t going to do it again!!!!
PS: This may well be the last Mini Doc of the Week for a while! As I have said in previous posts the challenge is becoming too much of a challenge and causing me some unexpected anxiety. It may become Mini doc of the Month with some other things thrown in in the intervening weeks.
I don’t believe in an all-powerful god sitting somewhere looking down on us and letting bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it. As an 11-year-old, I couldn’t figure out why, if god made everything, did (he) make the devil. The scripture teacher smacked me on the bottom in front of the class for that question.
At the same time, I felt a strange sense of jealousy when my best friend, Annette, would go to church on Sunday. When she had something special to believe in, and I had nothing. When her family had elaborate rituals, and my family had nothing. The sense of community it gave her.
Later as an adult, I went on to describe myself as agnostic. I believed there must have been “something” to believe in, I just wasn’t sure what. I couldn’t say for certain there was NO god. I couldn’t prove that god didn’t exist. But neither could I prove god does exist. That feeling of disquiet I felt as a kid remained. I wanted to believe in something; to give me “purpose” and focus.
When my daughter converted to Judaism and lived as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, I was in awe of her strength of passion, and again jealous of her sense of commitment and surety. I was jealous that she was so sure of what she believed that she was willing to turn her life upside down for it. That she had a way of ordering her life that made sense to her. I struggled. Why was I here? What was my purpose? What was the purpose of the Universe?
I reflected on my jealousy and realised part of it stemmed from the fact that if there was no god and if I did not follow a religion, then everything was up to me, and I had to be responsible for all my own actions. That burden sometimes felt too heavy. I wanted someone to tell me how to live my life and how I should act.
I have changed my mind again and now I feel liberated and free. I have discovered there are people like me and we are called humanists. Why did it take nearly 60 years to find this out?
Humanists believe in science. They do not believe in God, gods or supernatural beings. They do not believe in an afterlife. They believe we live one life and we have a moral obligation to live that one life well. To not damage others or the universe. To exist in harmony and peace.
Humanists understand that life is uncertain and we can not know everything. We can, however, use rational thought, experimentation and our senses to learn about and then explain our universe and the amazing things in it.
That describes what I think and believe. There are people out there who feel the same way and hold conferences, have debates and write books I never knew existed. I have found my tribe! My lack of religion is not a calamity, it is not a shortfall in my character or upbringing. It is sensible, rational and true.
I came from nothing, I will become nothing. I have no memories of life before I was born because there was no consciousness. When I die, I will again have no capacity to feel or think and I will be nothing but a pile of saggy flesh and bones hopefully nourishing a tree.
I will be gone, and maybe I will be remembered kindly by those who knew me. That is up to me, and how well I live my one life.
A big part of the experience is a cruise up river to view the falls close-up. The ticket price includes a plastic poncho.
I’m left wondering exactly what do they do with all those ponchos? While I am sure some get kept as souvenirs, the majority would end up in the bins at the end of the gangway.
Are there other options? I don’t know what the answer is beyond getting wet. What did they do before plastic ponchos were invented? I guess people brought their own raincoats. Could Maid in the Mist (on the US side) or Hornblower (on the Canadian side) have reusable ponchos? Or sell heavier duty ones which were not single-use? Perhaps there could be a discount for people who don’t use the poncho and bring their own?
The footage was shot in 2016 and repurposed for this clip in March, 2020. Shot with a Panasonic FZ1000 and edited using iMovie on my iMac. Music from Purple Planet.
Canada was a spectacular place to visit and I could happily go back again. I have shared other stories about my time in Canada in these posts:
Recent bush fires in Australia have had me thinking down some very black roads. Some related to politics, capitalism and how the world could have been better if we had taken advantage of different “sliding door” moments.
I have reflected on climate change, sustainability, the death of native animals, destruction of houses and communities. I thought about the moments in history which have led us here to this time and place.
…And then I got to thinking about thermodynamics. About available energy and matter. The fact that there is a finite number of atoms on this Earth.
The big question in my mind then became “How many people could live on this planet without ruining it?”
As a chemist, I have studied closed system reactions. Our earth is essentially a closed system. A closed system only has a certain number of atoms available so once you use them up the reactions have to stop. Rearranging atoms usually uses up energy. Energy is also limited.
These limited atoms are used to make up allthe things on Earth including humans. There are an estimated 7,656 million people on the planet. Let’s say the average mass of a human is around 80kg. That’s 612,480 million kilograms of humans. (1 kilo = 2.2 lbs)
If we wind back the clock just 300 years to the 1700s, the estimated upper limit of the human population was 680 million. That means there is an extra 558,080 million (558,080,000,000) kg of human flesh on the planet now compared to then.
Most of those extra kilograms have come from other living things in our closed system because we eat them. There has to be a time when we simply run out of atoms and energy to keep making more humans. The majority of the energy we are using now has come from the stored energy of ancient living things – a.k.a fossil fuel.
While some of the atoms in current humans may have come from recycled humans (i.e. the return of nutrients to the soil through decomposition) most of the time we don’t generally “recycle” humans. We put them in sealed boxes in burial grounds off-limits to agriculture where the nutrients can not be returned to the system. Cremation adds to the carbon in the air.
We waste and misuse so many resources. As consumers, we salve our conscious with the catch-cry, reduce-reuse-recycle, but that is unlikely to be enough to stop or reverse climate change.
Is it time to stop being humans who recycle to humans who are recycled?
Is it time to start thinking about burial practices so the nutrients in humans are available for other uses? I’m of course not the only one thinking about this sort of thing; burial trees pods have been mooted for a while.
It’s all sounding like Soylent Green may not be such a bad idea after all! By the way, that movie, where people were recycled to make food for other humans was set in 2022.
I also believe that those of us in developed economies, who use a lot of resources, have a moral imperative to reduce the number of children we have. We need to seriously consider limiting our population through natural attrition so that some of the atoms can be returned to make other things.