Fading Memories

Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, August 24, 2020

"Bitter".
Monday 24th August

 

screenshot from abc.net.au news feed

Crikey it's cold!

Even our Premier is imploring those with the slightest hint that they may be symptoms to go out in the near blizzard to get Covid tests done.   To be fair to us, we live in a place where temperatures are normally such that we don't actually possess the means to heat our houses, and today inside ours made it as far as the high teens, so things aren't entirely toasty.

We've had enough.  A curse on those westerlies and the Covid-symptom sinus infections and hay fever that the dust they carry brings!

We're heading a few hundred kilometres north for a bit, to a place where the climate is expected to be… well exactly the same actually, but being in the company of good friends should warm the cockles!

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Gardening Leave.
Monday 24th August

 




We've been wondering how to describe what we've been up to these past few months, locked as we are in quasi-isolation in on our admittedly very large prison island.   

There's been no a lack of motivation to work on our little projects, but we've certainly suffered, if that's the word, from a lack of urgency brought on by the feeling that perhaps we should pace ourselves lest we get to the end of our respective lists before a reliable Covid vaccine is discovered.   

During the past decade while lounging on the deck of our boat, or wandering aimlessly down a winding cobbled alleyway or along some exotic beach in a far flung corner of the globe, we've often been asked whether we were "retired".  Invariably we'd reply "Oh no, this is what we do for a living".  Therein perhaps lies a clue to the challenge that we have in describing our present state.   After a decade leading a gloriously peripatetic life, it dawned on us that perhaps we should consider this halt in proceedings to be a well deserved long service leave.  lf that were the case though, the implication is that on the completion of our leave, we would take up our former life where we left off, albeit suitably refreshed, and in the current world circumstance that seems to be in unlikely probability.

It is increasingly common practice for employers to direct an employee to take so called “gardening leave” after an employee has given notice of termination of employment.  This is a time when in order to protect proprietary information, said employee is bound to his or her former employer, before being allowed another position which is often required to be in some entirely different field of endeavour.   Perhaps that's it.  When the new normal is found, perhaps we too will have to invent our new career path, rather than face "retirement". 

That's it!  We're on gardening leave. 

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Becoming Industrious.
Saturday 2nd- Australia - 6783 cases 901 Active - 266 per million population


Desperation takes one down all sorts of tracks to get to one's destination, and in truth with a little over a week left for the miraculous production of Matt's cabinet it was time for a re-think.

This is a cupboard that's going to spend it's life being peppered by errant darts after all, so trying for a piano finish is quite possibly not a sensible approach which is why my original thought was to attempt one of those trendy pre-distressed finished vintage effects, using cheap ply and multiple coats of paint.  The reality of that is that it's harder to achieve something believable than it looks and time was no longer on my side.  

A bit of a shuffle through my slow-moving stock shelf turned up enough engineered ply flooring offcuts to cobble up some door skins and a backing, so I assembled the bits and took the rest of the morning off while the glue dried, ostensibly to consider what my next move may be.

As it turns out, fiddling with some of my old industry photographs turned into a happy distraction, to the extent that by the time I'd exactly matched the blue of the acid tanks with that of the sky to my complete satisfaction, I'd not really made progress on the actual task in hand and had one day fewer left to complete it. 

I'd made a nice print though.
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Work almost begins.
Friday 1st May- Australia - 6766 cases 934 Active - 265 per million population



I have a list.

Every time I look at it my mind goes blank and  "COVID 19 CLOSED" flashes before my eyes and I retreat to not doing whatever it was I wasn't doing before I got the urge to not do something else.   

The trouble is that Matt's birthday is a week and a bit away, and  right there on the top of the list it says "Dartboard Cabinet for Matt".  If I don't make a start on his present soon there may very well be some explaining to do at management level.  

In order to avoid that particular confrontation I began to sort through that pile of timber I'd brought out last week, only to discover that many of the pieces I'd thought might make a nice cabinet were too short on one end and therefore unusable.

Plan B involved (shudder) buying some plywood to use in the carcass, and with the virus now receding to the point where we have just two cases active in our region, we thought it safe enough to risk a late evening visit to the large building supply company nearby.  After two months absence it came as a shock to discover that its shelves, while not entirely bare were greatly depleted of stock, and in the case of the few items on my list, entirely depleted.  This appears to be as a result of difficulties in the supply chain, particularly with imported products which according to the nice man in the red shirt are not likely to be resolved before tomorrow.

Clearly it was time for a new plan, perhaps a good sleep will help.
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Us and Them.
Thursday 30th April - Australia - 6752 cases 946 Active - 265 per million population



As the first wave of the virus infection continues to subside, restrictions on our movement have been announced.

From the coming weekend we'll be allowed to move up to fifty kilometres from our home, and meet someone else in a park.   Perhaps we are reading too much into it, or perhaps it's one of those perverse traits of human nature bubbling to the surface once again, but for now that recently discovered need among the community to "exercise" has evaporated, at least on our beach.  

Of course they may have been supervising their kids struggling with online lessons, or they  might have just had better things to do than to go out in weather which has taken a turn for the different, making conditions less pleasant in the great outdoors than it has been of late.  It was so bad out there that that one of us even wore a light jumper round her waist "in case".  Perhaps they were washing their dogs, or doing their hair, or stuck on hold making their claims with a Government agency.

Whatever the reason for this turn of events, we wandered smug in the knowledge that we were not such fair weather sailors, that we were there for the long haul, this was our turf and we were going to keep on doing what we do come hell or high water.  It would take more than a slightly grey sky or a splash of bureaucracy to keep us away.  It's all about self-discipline and determination and making time to do these things.

Had we known that his would be our last beach walk for some time too, for reasons equally various and valid as the accusations we were flinging at the absent throng, perhaps we might have cut them some slack.
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Monday, May 11, 2020

Naturally disappointing.
Wednesday 29th April - Australia - 6746 cases 990 Active - 265 per million population


My parents had a pot plant in their little bush house that had spotted leaves and always looked as though the old bloke had been painting and had forgotten to cover it beforehand.  Somewhere along the line I came to be its custodian, which if you are a potted plant, given our usually peripatetic lifestyle is not necessarily a sign that you will live long and prosper.  My usual solution to this dilemma is to rid the poor thing of its pot, stick it in the ground to fend for itself and more or less forgot about it.

This works to varying degrees it must be said, but the little Spotted Dracena (Dracaena surculosa if you insist) was nothing if not a survivor, and has sat there presumably happily for a few years, not doing too much at all until a month or two ago, when it produced an entirely new stem.  This was followed this week by a cluster of flower buds on another stem.  Yesterday evening one of them emerged and I grabbed my camera to have a practice for the spectacle that would come today when another dozen or so would join their solitary mate.

"Disappointment" does not describe the feeling one has when one rises on the morrow morn excited and intent on photographing nature in all its wonder, to find that some other miscreant part of that natural wonder had risen earlier and chomped off the head of every bud.

Yesterday's photo will therefore have to suffice.  However, if you squint at it, and poke yourself in the eye ten or twelve times with a pencil, you may see enough duplicates of the solitary flower to gain a fair impression of how the thing in full bloom may have appeared, and at the same time, will feel some of my pain. 

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What's done is done.
Tuesday 28th April - Australia - 6731 cases 1021 Active - 264 per million population



That little pattern book that has spent thirteen years travelling the world with us, and when it was closed  today for perhaps the last time, so did a particularly colourful chapter of our life.  Twenty-four colours to be exact now knitted into six little jumpers and six little funny hats that match, each with a story to tell.

For someone who lays no claim to being "a knitter" but who likes things "just so", the first five-and-a-half weren't that easy, and perhaps to illustrate just how far things have come in that respect, the last bit of this one was only unpicked once.  The book was not written in French but in the beginning at least it may as well have been, and it's true that the occasional words muttered during the process might have been French but almost certainly weren't.   

The words spoken in the wool shops as we tracked down supplies over the years often were (French) although in the early years it could have been Mongolian for all we knew, but we always managed through a combination of giggles and hand signals and the enthusiasm of all around us to find a colour that looked as though it would suit whichever baby was at the time growing more rapidly than the jumper.

This one went quite well comparatively no doubt aided by an absence of rushing for trains or waiting in airports during its construction, and went off today with Great-Grandma's buttons attached, in a post bag optimistically marked "Priority".  We are somewhat confident that even given the struggles of our presently overloaded mail system, that a hundred kilometres or so should not be a stretch, and that she won't have outgrown it by the time it arrives. 
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