Signs of the Corona Times

Coping with Coronavirus and its various restrictions is very much at the front of our minds.

This week’s Sunday Post is a return to the Photo(s) of the Week theme. Here are three images which I think sum up what’s happening in the urban first world.

1. Social Distancing

Sure you might have to order from the pavement, but heh!!! you can still get your coffee!

A woman ordering coffee from the pavement
Stay there, please!

2. Working from Home

You might be working from home but at least you’re working! And, if you do have to catch a train, it won’t be crowded!

a train station with empty platforms
Wollongong Train Station: 6:57 AM – on a weekday!

 

3. I can’t go to the gym!

No, you can’t! Or the beautician or the pub or a cafe (unless you order from the pavement!) But there is a good reason for that! “Curve flattening”, people, curve flattening. A flat curve is a good curve!

a picture through the window of a gym it its empty
Oh no, you’re not! Not any more!

 

One thing though as a population, we are much better at reading exponential graphs!


Of course, there are many much more serious impacts. People dying, hospitals being overrun, domestic violence increasing due to lockdown restrictions, hoarding, etc. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of being vigilant and careful. I do mean to emphasise that we should be grateful for what we do have and do our best to help flatten that curve.

Stay at home! Wash your hands!

 

 

The Sunday Post

My Favourite Television Shows.

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.

  • Thirty Something… does anyone remember that?
  • 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!
  • Alias Grace
  • The Crown
  • 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.

PS: Re Poldark. I have now watched every available episode of Poldark. The internet is screaming out for Season 6.  Spoiler alert! In Season 4, there is a bare-chested-getting-out-the-cold-water-scene to rival Mr Darcy’s in Pride and Prejudice.

 

 

The Sunday Post.

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.

  1. Review of the week – a review of another blog, website, podcast, book etc
  2. Recipe of the week – a healthy gut-friendly remix of old favourites. This also gives me the opportunity to tune up my food photography.
  3. Photo of the week continued?
  4. A news story of the week
  5. Eco Tip of the week
  6. Short story of the week (might land me in the same trouble as the mini-doc!)
  7. Occasional mini-doc of the week.
  8. Crafternoon project of the week.
  9. App of the week?
  10. 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!

Mini-doc of the Week 2

Early Morning in Narooma

Continuing on the theme of fires on the NSW South Coast. Once again this clip is from Narooma, a village about 4 hours drive from Sydney. I used to spend holidays there in my early 20’s. I have plenty of fond memories.

These areas rely on tourism, especially in our summer school holiday period so they will be doing it tough. The main crisis has passed now, but the people in this area need to put their lives back in order.

Support them if you can.

 

All footage on iPhone SMAX edited using iMovie on my phone.

Launching Mini-Doc of the Week

Photo of the Week Challenge

Last week I finished up a full year of a Photo of the Week challenge. In the spirit of adventure, I am going to morph this into a video challenge. I am challenging myself to create a short (1 – 5 minute) mini-documentary each week. Or as I like to call them Chookumentaries! (It makes me laugh!)

To get a head start I will use some archival footage I have shot “on location”. Some clips will have already appeared on my Facebook page, so apologies to those who have already seen them!

I will most likely knock them together with my iPhone and iMovie so they may be rough and ready. I’ll use it as an excuse to experiment with a few other video creation apps as well.

Wish me luck! The theory is that I’ll get better with practice! Oh and I’ll make a new graphic for Week 2, I wanted to use the same one for this week before heralding the change in format.

Week 1: Ashes in the Sand. Smoke in the Sky

This clip was filmed in Narooma while I was on deployment for the State Emergency Service to support the local Rural Fire Service. This area, the Eurobadalla Shire, had been badly hit by fires on New Year’s Eve and was facing ongoing issues from falling trees.

Active fires were still burning in some areas.

 

 

Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da: bringing up memories

It’s funny how your memory gets sparked and where that memory will take you. Down rabbits holes of forgotten actions, people and secrets.

When I saw words Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da tattooed on the arm of a colleague, it made me fly back to 1969 when I was in Year 3, eight years old, blond and tiny. It took me back to the time when eighty students crowded around a  TV borrowed from the local department store to watch the moon landing. It took me back to playing elastics and jacks. To skipping ropes and sour milk.

roby n on a scooter
Scans of a scanned 35mm slide – terrible quality – but heh! It’s a pump-up scooter!!

Those particular words from that jaunty little Beatles tune brought back a mix of fun, embarrassment and guilt

The Fun Bit.

My class was preparing to sing Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da for the weekly assembly. This was a BIG deal! We had been rehearsing with our hip and gorgeous teacher Mr Chinner for weeks and weeks. Our class, 3A, were doing a new song! A chart-topper! Not a choir of screeching descant recorders, but a grooooovy Beatles hit! It was a top-secret mission. We were not allowed to tell anyone! We were asked to bring a towel to wear around our shoulders like a Mexican poncho.

The Embarrassing bit.

Because I was small, I was scheduled to be in the front row. Because we were sworn to secrecy, I didn’t tell my mum why we needed the towel. Thinking it was for art clean-ups, and without a better explanation from me, she gave me a faded tatter of a towel. When Groovy Mr Chinner saw my faded rag, I got relegated to the back row. I couldn’t see over the tops of the bigger kids. My bubble was well and truly burst. I felt humiliated by my family’s lack of bright Mexican-like towels.

The Guilty Bit

In the same class, but in a different episode, I am simultaneously ashamed and amused to confess that I committed a fraudulent act. Our class had been chosen to go on an excursion to the Herald’s newspaper printing factory. Only 25 could go although our class had 43 students. In the spirit of fairness, Mr Chinner decided to pull the names out of a hat.  As the names were called out, the lucky ones were clapping their little hands with glee. In the middle of all the excitement, the end of the day bell rang and the draw was not completed. It was declared that it would continue the next school day – Monday. I was heartbroken that my name had not yet been called out and even back then I realised the odds were not looking good.

When we returned after the weekend, Mr Chinner admitted he had forgotten to write down the names of the children who had been pulled out and no longer had the strips of paper. He asked us to raise our hands if we had been selected.

A few classmates put their hands up confidently. As I looked around at the remaining faces of my peers and saw them faltering.  They either couldn’t remember or they didn’t seem too fussed about whether they went or not. I took my chance, I shot my hand in the air. Mr Chinner wrote my name on the list.

robyn on water
Again a scanned scan – from around 1969

For the next few days, I expected to be challenged. For someone to remember that my name had never been called out and that I was a fraud, that I had lied. No one did. I went on the excursion and had a fabulous time. This is only the second time I have revealed this story! The first time was to the tattoo owner! (Sorry mum another thing you didn’t know!)


I guess Mr Chinner could still be out there. I have never forgotten him. He was young in 1969. Perhaps he’s out there, somewhere between 80-100 years old, thinking about his time as a teacher. I know he won’t remember me. There are too many children that pass through a teacher’s life. Even so, Mr Chinner, I apologize for my deceit.

As I look back on him and the lessons he taught us, I realize I don’t remember the specifics of one single scrap of the maths or spelling or grammar he may have taught us.

But I do remember the moon landing.

I do remember his laugh.

And I remember being a faded Mexican con man.

How to reduce your reliance on fossil fuel.

People Power, not Petrol Power!

An off-schedule post today to add to the theme of reducing your reliance on fossil fuel. It might become a regular feature; it might not! I am very mindful of being that annoying blogger who is always pushing things into your inbox. It might just morph into my regular Friday posts, but I felt the need to share this today.


A few months ago, I found a video from Liziqi Art of Cooking in my Facebook feed.  After five minutes of being mesmerised by the process of making silk by hand, I hit that follow button. Today another came into my feed about making cotton doonas.

Amazing!

It’s worth watching for the hand-driven technology. This is the way we need to go to save the planet. Use people power, not petrol power. Except for the fact it has been videoed and subsequently uploaded to social media, not one bit of fossil fuel can be seen in use.  Of course, there is a lot of wood-burning happening. Perhaps you could replace that with solar or wind-generated electricity?

Her cooking videos are amazing. Her life hacks and kitchen tips are great too.

I could, unfortunately, watch for hours and hours! I’d love to spend a couple of weeks living like this! Without a radical change to my existing life, it would be impossible for me to replicate, but it is absorbing. I can dream about such a simple life filled with hard and satisfying manual labour. I bet Liziqi doesn’t have to worry about counting calories and scheduling gym sessions!

The mix of excellent camera work, social media presence and traditional lifestyle show that these people are not living in the past, but savvy entrepreneurs. She has an online shop and fashion brand as well.

She has a huge following, and I am sure many of you know of her already. Even if it is only 50% “real” and 50% marketing it’s still a delight!

If you have an hour to spare dive in!

 

See my other posts about planet-saving!

The smell of coffee in the morning

A cappuccino in a green cup.

When I first started writing, I was part of a Writers’ Group. We would get together once a month for a “meeting” hosted by members in turn. We would discuss our own projects, give some constructive criticism to each other and generally give support and encouragement.

At the end of each two-hour meeting we would have a fifteen-minute creative writing challenge based on a prompt suggested by the host.  I wrote this short fictional piece in response to the prompt to write something from  the point of view of a single sense. This one is based in the sense of smell. I have only done a light edit. Not bad for a fifteen-minute burst in my opinion! I might go back and have a go at the other senses as well.

The coffee welled up inside my head. Deep, rich earthy and warm. It smelt like a morning. A late morning, but a morning no less. It was time to get up. Time to start the day.

I pulled back the sheets and the raw aroma of the previous night’s sex wafted up from the linen. Sweaty, slightly fishy, not yet unpleasant. I thought about the time we had spent entwined in each other’s arms. Hesitant at first, then with reckless abandon that seemed embarrassing now in the coffee rich morning. He had smelt of rum. Rum with coke. Sweet, spicy and heady. The very thought of it made me quiver again.

The hot water took a long time to emerge from the tap. The chlorine, pungent and clean, drowned out the fresh citrusy bursts from the soap. It was like this in the winter. The chlorine did not have the energy to evaporate and clung to the water like a silver coat; lazy and slow.

I washed the sex away reluctantly. It had been a long time. A long time since I had smelt a man on me and in me. I lingered a little longer than necessary on the folds of my body and began to relive the passion.

The knock on the bathroom door snapped me back to the now.

Oh, that’s right! I wasn’t alone this morning. Not like the years of mornings that strung together in an endless stream before this morning. That’s why it smelt like coffee! There was another somebody in the house and he was making the coffee. Deep, rich and earthy.

How would it be now that the beer goggles were smashed by sobriety and the harsh winter light.

In my mind, I always saw myself as 27. That was a good year. Slim, tanned, lithe and strong.  But 27 was 27 years ago. A marriage ago.

What would I say? How would I act? This was worse than the first time! At 15 I had all the confidence of a goddess who bestowed precious gifts on the lucky. Now it was I who felt lucky – that this rum-soaked man had seen me despite the invisibility cloak of menopause and maturity.

I slid the door open a crack. There he was, coffee in hand, in trousers but no shirt. He was older than I had thought. Grey speckled hair, his skin half a size too big for the muscles underneath. But he smiled and his eyes shone. He handed me the coffee. He looked awkward and shy.

“Have you finished? He asked pulling a face “I have to pee!”

That’s how it was going to be – relaxed and friendly. I remember this. It was a start. Perhaps there’d be more coffee in the mornings.