Dear Scotland, YES

Dear Scotland, whit-a-week for makin’ an historic choice

Am sure your letter box is full as politicians try to beguile;

I’m jealous as migrated so have lost my right for voice

So this is just a wee note from a distant kins exile.


By now you’re gettin’ sick of movie reruns, wi’ blue faced folk that yell

Oil debates, bagpipe breakfasts and 100 things to do with a tattie scone;

Don’t lose sight of the end prize in all the patriotic hard-sell

Yes towards a future bright, take the chance before its gone.


And it’s not about the Queenie and tis not about the crown

Nothing against the Englanders, in fact have married two;

Not crazy, was just doing my bit to whittle their numbers down

And it worked, now both converted to the splendid land of Roo.


If you stay, it will just get worse and on your dreams they’ll trample

Worried about the money to fund the freedom cravin’?

Look across the water for a Celtic cousin example

Copy Southern Ireland and become renowned tax haven!





Carbuncles can swim

Bruiser has a carbuncle, but it doesn’t seem to have stopped his swimming gymnastics. As fish go, he is pretty agile; despite the bulbous lump near his tail that is about a fifth of his body weight. Still, he was never delicate (hence the name!), and at 20cm in length still manages to dominate the tank. Indeed he seems to proudly flash his gross pink lump at visitors; not one for the squeamish!

Over it

Frankly I have been ‘over’ the fish for some time, and when the carbuncle appeared, was  hopeful that it would take bruiser off to fishy heaven. But that was over a year ago, and since I mentioned (to the universe at large) that I wasnt going to replace any fish and would get rid of the tank, not one fish has died! Bruiser is 4 years old and showing every sign  getting a lot older.


The nurse in me wants to do a quick lancing with a sharp knife and a nice clean cut-off; but have never been convinced by the argument that fish don’t feel anything…, thus far have chickened out.I could of course numb the area for Bruiser before the mini-operation, but so far the best  idea for a fish anaesthetic that I have come up with is ice……freeze it off in a kind of crio procedure, or just numbing it and lopping it off with knife. But I would have to hold his head under the water, so he could do the weird fishy breathing thing, and have his rear out the water and hold an ice-cube to the lump…..but he is a slippery little sucker’ and on the one (brief) experiment; he wouldn’t oblige by staying still and I didn’t have enough hands. Besides, if I used too much ice he could have turned into a very strange fish finger.

Carbuncle 1, Wimp 0

So the carbuncle stays, and if it gets any bigger will need its own postcode. There is of course the option of a full-scale assault (sorry re. pun….they just pop out unannounced like a non-swearing form of Tourette’s; I have Pun-ettes!)…and flush him off to the great oceans to swim free. I know, I know, there are many reasons why he wouldn’t get from loo to sea uninjured; but my conscience prefers to think of it that way. Besides, he is too big to flush and may block the loo; and I wouldn’t like to explain that one to the plumber!

*Mindful I don’t have the stomach for fish dispatching, so will take “learn to fly fish” off the ‘to do’ list for retirement.

IT Tribulations

New Laptop has lots of twiddly bits,
Like facial recognition;
And I’m thankful “Himself’s” doing set-up
As DIY not ambition

‘What if it doesn’t know me without Lippy on?’
Drew looks of disbelief;
Put ‘face on’ first his helpful tip
‘Controlled by machine!, Good Grief!’

And if it still won’t open?
And I’ve held it up like mirror;
‘Turn off and on’, (IT guy’s default setting);
‘Or could be “common user error”

I’m not common says I, and please just
Set to take a normal password;
‘And if you forget?’ had him on thin ice
‘As if!’, wont happen, don’t be so absurd

And if I need help when you’re not here?
‘Just download guidebook, advice is sound’;
Ok, download you say, where’s
The guidebook to do that to be found?

I seem to have made him speechless
And maybe used up all his time;
Not sure I got the ‘last word’ though,
Was that a single digit mime?

*Mindful I am spoiled having a live-in tech person, even if we don’t talk the same language 🙂


The 21 delusion—a Poem

springschicken white










The knees make creaky noises

As they take on flights of stairs;

And the eyes need arms that lengthen

To make glasses see in pairs.


Jogging is now  power walking

With a sometimes gentle stroll;

Heart-pumping runs to hill-tops passed,

Keep breathing more the goal!


Fit’s not for want of trying

But the gym’s just too much trouble;

Time excuses found, so not to blame, besides

They’ve lengthened miles to double!


House and garden are my fitness school

Weights?.. a heavy vacuum cleaner;

Mulch spreading, weeding, bend and stretch

If only I was keener.


Groans on rising from comfy chair

Bone crunching, body’s way to cope;

What do you mean  not 21 anymore?

Go wash mouth out with soap!


*Mindful that the brain and body don’t always agree about the number of years that have passed.


‘Journey’ of a rant

If I hear one more person saying “its been  a journey” I wont be responsible for my actions! I get it, I really do understand that folks are trying to convey some form of experience that has taken them from go-to-woe but PLEASE can we think of some other ways of saying it?  The journey word is so overused it should come with a health warning as terminally boring.
Journeys Journeys everywhere and not a trip was taken

From TV cooks to school kids taking exams, its all you hear; cant folks just accept multiple events will happen?; that its life  (the rich tapestry and all that.),  just please please don’t give it the journey label. We breath in, we breath out, we do stuff, not every blooming thing has to be described with the ‘J’ word; to me ‘J’ has become the new ‘F’.

The assistant in the pharmacy yesterday was the straw’ that prompted this camels rant, I only went in for lozenges  and came out with a headache.

She was explaining at length to her colleague why she had a small bandage on her wrist, and I was quite happy to wait until they were all ‘up to date’ with the fascinating tale of a slight sprain…..right up until she said “yes, the healing has been quite a journey”.

Well; I didn’t know I could make quite such a loud scoffing noise, but it certainly got me served quick smart, and I was off home on my own journey (sojourn, hike, wander, travel, quest…yadda yadda…..), nope, really I just went home, plain and simple. I am probably on some cranky shopper black list now but I will cope , and do so without an adjustment that indicates  I took  some form of a trip!

Phew, rant over

Now that I have got that off my chest (and thanks for reading/listening) I will share the other objection I have to the ‘J’ thing.

You see it indicates people are always going somewhere. Well of course we sort of are, its just that the very  word perpetuates the striving to be somewhere else.  The main point is that if you are always focussed on getting somewhere, you tend to forget to appreciate where you ARE.

Each moment is precious and important (even the bad ones), and many even transform us, but how many moments do you miss as you focus on getting somewhere else?  You may already be AT your destination, and that destination is now….in this moment and this moment.

*Mindful to breathe in, breathe out, and be present;  and if you are going on an exploration or perchance an expedition, I hope you have a wonderful time. And if you are just living your life  moment to moment and savouring each one, I hope that is also splendid.


Dear Tax Man….a poem

Dear Tax man, kind exalted one; please excuse this slight intrusion,

I know your busy counting wads from others wealth profusion.

First let me say thanks! for  great website and helpful online forms,

Your endless lists of what can’t be claimed  keep us usefully within norms.


I’ve hit a snag am sure was error /oversight and not deliberate making;

Asked accountant George, who’s puzzled too, as set his head a shaking.

It’s not the boxes I see that are a problem, as they are really of clear help;

To the Supplementary section question I put “Yes, I supplement with Kelp”.


New ‘Edna Everage’ specs in “other work expenses” bit, and claims for slip-slap-slops

were certainly for protection as I am always outside Lots.

No extravagant items from me; am more Gum-Boot wearer than Jimmy Choo’s

But just in case, please be so kind , which box for expensive claims for shoes?


 *Mindful …..that attention to detail both takes time and saves time…….Learned that the shoe-box filing system has its limitations; or maybe I need more boxes?……that’s it!…more shopping 🙂



Beanie Hunting in Tasmania

Beanie hunting is not for the faint-hearted and should be approached with caution. It can be exhausting (stalking just the right one may take some considerable time), irksome (if your bag carriers don’t share your enthusiasm for the sport) and indeed affect your sight (as the vast array of colours and shapes can give you spots before your eyes); and yet…….> off I go to chilly Tasmania, full of enthusiasm for the thrill of the chase.

Indeed, my hunt started in the wee small hours of this morning as I searched the house for my favourite Possum beanie…(note to self: you shouldn’t leave your packing till the last-minute!). Luckily I found it hiding on top of the wardrobe because  the annual trek in the Tassie mountains just wouldn’t be the same without it; and frankly I would freeze without my  wee possums thermal protection.

Hat hunt

Maybe I should mention that a beanie is what Australians call a type of  hat, usually wool or similar but can be made of a multitude of things and comes in all shapes and sizes. In UK it would be a wooly bunnet, or pompom hat I guess and I have no idea what it would be called in America (so if you are from there perhaps you will let me know?). I try to find new beanie’s on most of my travels and I know that Tasmania is ‘fertile ground’ for new creative treasures. Lots of wacky crafty people keeping their hands warm, making stuff. Cant wait to see what I find on this hunt.


Now before you get all ‘animal rights or righteous’ on me, yes, my hat  is made from real Possum but no, it does NOT look like a pelt!. I am pretty sure it lead a long and  fulfilling life / died of natural causes and donated its cosy fluff for the benefit of human kind. I got this particular wooly treasure in New Zealand, where the making of such things is common and they do some great process that incorporates the downy fluff with wool.

It is the warmest thing ever and leaves Marino and Alpaca wool in the cool shade when it comes to the thermals. Besides, alpaca wool always has that slight residual smell of Yack about it  when it gets wet, not sure why; perhaps they are relatives?…I digress……

Wilderness Wonders

So here I am at the airport, having my last ‘fix’ of electronics before going off-line in the hills, hiking in the rain and hoping for snow. It’s good to have some contrast weather-wise when you live in a warm country like Oz and Tassie delivers it. With a spectacular backdrop of rain forests and awesome mountains; cosy log cabins, roaring fires, enough hot chocolate to induce diabetes and not too many folk………Bliss.

Favourite features

Before I go, I will share the best three things about my favourite possum beanie (apart from its warmth):

1. It has coloured bright red and yellow stripes, so if I get lost in the hills it will be easier to find me

2. It has a rolled up cuff that can be pulled over your face, balaclava style in case it snows……no scary eye holes that would make it look like you were going to do an armed hold-up’ or anything… you can’t quite see where you are going, so best to avoid using this function near cliff edges

3. Possum beanie actually helps keep you walking, even when the legs are weary;  because you don’t want to sit still too long when wearing it in the wilderness, or the wildlife start mating with your head!

Cheeri-Bye for now, am away to do some happy wandering

*Mindful of the restful recharge communing with nature brings.

pompom beanie 2






Mint Murder, the Pongy Evolution

As the  Mints fell from the packet, bouncing briefly on the table in a random pattern before heading south, there was no prospect of them hitting the floor.  Two lurking Labrador’s moved with the agility and speed of a starved cobra  and inhaled the full packet in a nano-second and were looking for more. On the bright side, maybe it will help their breath (and other gaseous emissions) as so far I have failed to improve Aggi’s aroma by adding mint leaves to her food.

Early minty moments

This was the Menagerie’s first (accidental due to my clumsiness) introduction to the sweet lollies, however I have had a long and evolving relationship with the Mint family in general.  From the early years, when I couldn’t  stand anything even faintly tainted with what I viewed as yucky poison, to today when I have a mild addiction to peppermint tea; it has been an interesting transition, probably borne of necessity.

Mint Imperials, the king of mints

The real power of mint came into its own in my ‘smoking years’ , sadly I don’t mean I was irresistible!! I am referring to the imbibing of the nasty nicotine (now thankfully a past habit). In my Community Midwife years I used to teach pregnant mums pre-natal relaxation classes and it was at this time that I adopted the Mint Imperial as a close ally. You see I was very good at the ‘getting them relaxed’ bit and  talking the would be mamma’s into sleepy submission.  I would get them into a snoozy position on their individual foam mats towards the end of the session, dim the lights, turn on the urn and nip out the back of the health centre for a ciggie. In fact I got it down to a fine art and could fit in 2 ciggies followed by 2 mint imperials  in the time it took the urn to boil.

Pong delusion

Like most smokers I was convinced I had covered up the smell with my minty buddy and nobody knew. I would pop back into the relaxed expectant ones; talk them round from their snooze with my voice intonations increasing in tune to the bubbling urn and we would all have the obligatory cuppa that marked the end of a session. Thus, over time I grew to like mints and gave up the ciggies.

Minty Irony

Now mints feature in every handbag and pocket. I even have different sized containers for the things, based on said handbags size so you see it is not just the tea I am addicted to! The real irony though comes from my lack of green thumbs when it comes to the mint genus. You will be familiar with what they say about mint plants “they grow like weeds”, “they pop up everywhere and spread”…etc etc…. and I consider myself a bit of a gardener; but not when it comes to mint.

Yes, its official: I can kill mint!….and I don’t even need to do anything to it, just my presence in its general vicinity seems to makes it shrivel up and vanish. To date we have 5 varieties in the garden, now all safely in an isolated exclusion zone (from which I am verboten ) and under the care of ‘Himself”…….. I will stick with growing the easy stuff, like Orchids and Bok Choy.

*Mindful of the power of habit persuasion and its effects on  taste buds….and learned how hyper dogs get when you feed them sugar!

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Posh Nosh

With her half strength soy latte perched in elegantly manicured talons, my posh pal ‘Beryl’ decided there was nothing on the A la carte menu of 40 items that she wanted to eat. Beryl isn’t her real name but am calling her that because she will hate it; a small revenge on her just because she managed to look so fabulous at an 7.30am breakfast meeting. I did suggest she must be sleeping with her hairdresser to have been blow dried so early, when the salon clearly can’t have been open; and she leaned forward with the earnestness of confessing a sin and said ‘I do it myself!’, like I was going to be shocked she knew where the ON button was on an appliance. Well, I was a little.

Pristine Posh

When I say she is posh, I mean she is one of those blessed folk that seems to drift through life untouched; as if somehow their pedestal cushion allows them to float over the top of the everyday effluent that sticks to  the rest of us and leaves its mark. But that said, she is gorgeously oblivious to her airs and graces, and frankly wouldn’t give a damn. She is a terrific laugh, doesn’t mind at all when I ‘send-her-up’ and make fun of her outrageous ways; she gives as good as she gets does Beryl, which I am sure is one of the main reasons we are mates… she calls a spade a long-handled digging implement!

Nosh with numbers

‘Is it wrong to eat a semi-freddo for breakfast?’ she muses, not if you are hot says I, and you only want a bit of it. {in case you are not a foodie, it is a half-frozen dessert made with cream}. Which got us onto the fractions and multiples that are fashionable in food language: semi-boneless ham, double cooked chips, twice cooked pork belly, 60 degree eggs, double brie, twice cooked goat cheese soufflé, multi-meat pie (yuck…doesn’t bear thinking about!),triple cooked roast potatoes, four cheese pizza, five or six food groups( they don’t count chocolate as its own section), seven-fish stew, one sandwich short of a picnic, half-baked… (food and people)…….

I know what will be ideal for breaky, how about some twice cooked bread I suggest?, ‘Oh, I must have missed that’ she says and re examines the menu…….
TOAST says me.

*Mindful that covers can mask the book, and learned not to write about food coz it makes me hungry.


Automating Numpties

Being ‘busy ‘ has become the ‘new black’ , it is trotted off the tongue of all you meet, like a proud panacea for not doing this, that or the next thing.  I am as guilty as the next, indeed I used to say that ‘busy is my starting position’;  and so as a reminder that there IS only ever 24 hours in a day, nominated a full day to being determinedly NOT busy and to practice the art of ambling and generally having no real plan for each minute of the day. Of course this was fairly easy in the confines of the menagerie but I did need to do two main things on the appointed day, but decided that was fine, as long as there was no rush. The first stop, the bank.

Busy Banking

My local branch is not large, so you can imagine my surprise when I was greeted inside by a flash new fit out, complete with a ticket machine just inside the front door, with a large sign inviting me to “Take appropriate ticket”, ok, I will play.  Let me see….three choices A,B or C. A was unhelpfully labelled ‘Transactions’, isn’t everything you do in a bank a transaction thought I? but as B and C seemed to be two forms of enquiry I followed the herd and pressed the already worn A and was rewarded with a small bit of paper bearing a giant number A93, hmm time to look up and survey the queue. Apart from the new paint job, the branch had a new teller counter with four slots , two of which had actual bums on seats; and six small cubicles had been popped around the side walls. The middle contained a small square of brightly coloured cube seats, covered in fidgeting people and a long queue of about 25 fellow ticket holders, whose faces showed varying degrees of agitation.


My musings were interrupted by the booming of a disembodied electronic voice saying “Ticket B 103 to counter 2″…> good thought I, we will nip through this queue in no time (completely forgetting that I had all the time in the world today). But nope, nobody moved……slight pause and another two numbers got no ‘winners’ in the crowd; then an A number found a matching pair of feet that shuffled to the counter.  This carried on, with roughly every seventh number called actually having a person attached; clearly the machine needed adjusting or folk were more impatient than myself and left before being granted a conversation with a person; but with each wrong number the crowd tutting  got louder and the queue was growing. The stoic two tellers seemed oblivious, and barely looked up between people; as did the three employees in the cubicles, nil of which were serving people, and all intent on the screens in front of them….I am guessing they were the B and C numbers that folk don’t press. The woman behind me said ” whatever happened to just calling ‘Next’ ?”…quite, I nodded in queue camaraderie.

Taking Root

Just as I was taking root in the carpet tiles, my lottery ticket matched the robot voice and I won an audience with teller one; a helpful , grey faced young  chap with well chewed nails apologised that I had to wait “8.22 minutes”, he gestured to his small screen linked to the robot voice, and its recording of my initial button press. No problem says I, I just want to pay in this cheque [I know! an actual cheque in this day and age, but some kind soul had taken the time to write on it and put it in the snail mail to me; so the least I could do was hand deliver it back to its bank of origin and complete a two week loop!] Teller one is saying ‘do you know you could have deposited that in the machine at the front, beside the ticket machine?’, no, well I had seen it but thought I would only be here a moment or two; ‘I will show you’ he offers helpfully and starts to get up (to the horror of the queue behind me), no, I will be fine protests I’………but then appears a cubicle inhabitant to his rescue; a prepubescent vision in fuchsia polyester, ‘let me help her Tom, you are far too busy” she says and flutters her lash extensions at  Tom, the obvious object of a crush. The queue heaves a collective sigh of relief and my crowd eviction moment passes.

ATM input

I will be fine from here says I, as Miss fuchsia points out the cheque eating machine, ‘NO’ she says firmly, I will wait and show you…….(obviously my invisibility cloak of gardening cardigan and no makeup was nicely disguising my IQ); with her new found authority she showed me the slot to put the cheque in ‘oh, so I just put it in there?, how clever quips I’, ‘NOT until the machine tells you’ says she, I wouldn’t dare! laughs I, “press the button marked deposit cheque’ I am instructed, what now? are you sure? says I, attempting sarcasm , but Miss fuchsia doesn’t seem to mind as she is zoned out and inspecting her glitter tipped acrylic nails and, finding a gap in the glitter she inspects it closer. I resisted the urge to tell her she would find the missing glitter lodged in her keyboard under the F  shortcut key to her facebook page; which is what she was looking at when I was taking root next to her cubicle.


‘Do you want a receipt?’ she asks, as a final act of kindness to the numpty in the cardi; ‘ohh yes please’, I have been here for so long now I feel I should have a memento of the occasion and of this 20 minutes of my life that I wont get back. Having reached the end of the glittery ones attention span she reached over me and pressed the receipt button for me and presented me with the wee slip of paper with a flourish of achievement. Now she can get back to her online friends and talk about how busy they all are.

So am now a fully trained operator of the input part of an ATM machine (incidentally, I am convinced that stands for Automate The Masses), and if they add a wee TING noise to the ticket machine at the door I am sure I will respond with a time saving woof like a good little Pavlov.

* Mindful of sarcasm being the lowest form of wit, and learned that my boredom threshold is somewhere between zero and 8.22 minutes.