No Such Thing as Invincible Netting

We go through so much equipment at this club, it’s ridiculous. This is why no one wanted the inventory job, clearly; it’s such a pain getting a list of things ruined each week and trying to stretch the budget to get them all replaced. Often they aren’t replaced and we’re getting people to make do with old rackets, or nets with holes in them. I keep telling them: tennis netting is actually pretty important to playing tennis. If you don’t have it, the ball goes right through. Just…whoosh. Right through the net, making it really hard to tell sometimes if it was supposed to bounce off and end the rally.

But the people here are so very set in their ways, it’s a wonder they hired me at all. And them being set in their ways is the reason they keep losing, which is also the reason they get so frustrated, and…well, I’m working at a club full of people with anger management issues. Of course, the innocent netting is the one that pays the price, followed shortly by me. At least I don’t have to pay the monetary prices, because good quality nets aren’t dirt cheap. As you’d expect from good quality nets.

What would be really good is if someone came out with the anger-proof net, for use in all types of sports. Perfect for cricketers who get a bit frustrated. Just the best thing for indoor tennis players who need to work out their frustrations. Totally unbreakable, totally resistant to slamming rackets and bats. Then they could bring out an entire range of equipment that services the same purpose, and my job is done, because never again would I have to explain to an angry loser that he’s going to have to use a racket from the 1970s for today’s practice game.

Doesn’t matter anyway…the club will never go for it. Invincible equipment would be expensive equipment, and they won’t go for that. They just keep losing, getting angry, taking out their frustrations on the club and I keep stretching the budget for sports netting that doesn’t deserve all this abuse. It’s not the only one.


I Don’t Trust Myself To Pruned A Single Leaf

I’m really looking forward to gardening…is something you’ll never hear me say! Tending to green things isn’t really in my list of talents, or my genes. I’ll sit at the window and watch how Vince next door is able to grow things seemingly just by talking to them in a tender tone, and I appreciate that, I really do. The way our properties are joined up sort of makes it look like our front gardens are one, so I’m more than happy to take all of that credit. And then people can’t see my back garden, so that works out just fine. I can feel my neighbour Vince judging me. He’s elderly and spends all of his time at home; I don’t have that kind of free time every day!

It’s getting a bit dire out there in the front garden. My sister says I need to get in touch with an actual tree trimming service, Melbourne has many fine arborists. Every time I try to cut the grass it ends up as a deadly game of avoid running over the massive branches littering the ground. Running over large tree branches will ruin both your day, your inherited lawn mower and possibly your eyesight as the blades fling wood chips into your face’. As party games go, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Maybe for my 25th.

As nice as this place is (compared to my previous home), the garden is a bit of a mess. It’s not even that big, but it wasn’t left in a good state and I’ve been tentative about going out there to clean it up. It just seems like you’d need some heavy equipment, which I don’t have. It’s not like I’m going to rip up the offending tree stumps with my bare hands like that one Scottish strongman I saw on the news. I don’t have that level of zen, and I’m too precious about my nails. So I guess I’m calling some of the lovely tree removal contractors in Armadale. It’s their speciality so I’m confident they’ll do a fine job. One day I’ll learn to do things by myself, I swear.

Ball Pit Fear No More

We shall always remember January 2018 as the time I finally conquered my deadly phobia. Of ball pits.

It’s funny, the things that suddenly don’t matter when your child needs you. Mothers throughout history have suddenly gained the power to lift fallen trees off their offspring, when it is required. Fathers have worked 100-hour weeks to keep their families going. That sort of thing.

Play centres were different back when I was young, you know. They were very new, people didn’t really know much about them, and the safety regulations so stringently followed in every single kids party venue for hire in Brisbane. People say it’s a cotton-wool culture, but I’ve never really had a problem with it. Better cotton wool coating everything than your child falling from a great height, or almost getting lost forever in a pit of balls.

Which, of course, happened to me. The very first indoor play centre ever established in Brisbane, and my parents were the forward thinking sort, so they took me along with all the other hippy children. I dived right into the ball pit, which was about twenty feet deep and filled to the brim…and there I was for the next two hours, while my parents debated the various downsides of war and free love with all the other parents. They may have also been overly honest about…things. Anyway, ever since then, phobia to the extreme.

But when my son began to panic during HIS first foray into the ball pit, it was time for me to spring into action. I jumped from my seat, all fears forgotten.

He was fine by the time I got there, but flesh was willing, and the spirit was also willing. Also, it was only about two feet deep. Apparently, across all indoor play centres operating in Brisbane, that’s pretty standard.

So that’s good. Things are better and all.


Call The Experts at Driveway Toppings

Everyone is making their own reality TV show nowadays. Ten years ago…an even balance between reality and normal. Now? It’s like all people want to see on TV is something that you can get in your everyday life, except with more dramatic music in the background.

I could do that. Anyone could come up with an idea for a show, and all you’d need is a few people who can cope with a camera being shoved in their face at the same time as something else. It’s easy; see, I’ll do it right now. ‘Landscaping…Dreams’. No, ‘Landscaping Wars’. ‘Australia’s Top Landscaper.’

No, strike all that: my show will be called ‘The Landscaper’. It will feature a driveway topping expert from Cranbourne (which, as everyone knows, is the premium location for that sort of thing), and he’ll be absolutely terrifying. Really nice guy (or lady, whatever) in real life, but on-camera they will be a terrifying force of nature, criticising every single pebble out of place. Then we just add some contestants who know nothing about exposed aggregate or tree planting formations, slap some edgy music over the top of the challenges and let the audience vote people off like we’re back in an ancient Roman gladiatorial arena. Maybe we could make a big mystery over the identity of the Landscaper. They can operate from the shadows, or as a letter on a computer screen, just like the Banker from ‘Steal or Don’t Steal’.

Now, you see, you might not THINK you were interested in driveway toppings and aggregate, but that’s the magic of reality TV. You WILL be, because the characters on the show are laying driveways, and you’re invested in *them*. Yes. Perfect. Flawless. I just need to find the right network to pitch my idea. Which would be ‘every single network’. The Landscaper, coming soon to a small screen near you!

Children, Science, Child-Science

Everything is science. Even science is science. Have you ever looked into the science of science? It’s very scientific. For example, 80% of scientific results are skewed in one direction to a pre-existing bias; personal beliefs, funding or other factors. That’s psychology, which is a science even if some people think that it isn’t. Mostly biology snobs. I could dig up a few scientific facts about THOSE clowns.

So it stands to reason that when it comes to crafting quality children’s entertainment, science could very well show us the way to perfection. I’ve studied every kids play centre in and around Perth, and there are traits shared by most of those that could be considered successful. Themed play equipment is a must, it seems, It allows the children to engage with their imaginations and then also physically. Case in point: a pirate ship. Adults have no need of pirate stimulus to ‘have fun’, as is the common phrase, but a child atop a climbing frame with elements of a pirate ship is guided into the realm of fun by the visual stimuli. Of course, in an ordinary set of play equipment, as one may find in your average play park, the same effect CAN be achieved. Often, children with a link to piracy will create the scenario themselves, even with opposite or competing stimuli. But still, it’s the theme that seems to create the difference. Most play centres seem to have completed this requirement.

There is also a set of requirements for crafting a birthday party venue, many of which seem to revolve around crafting a dedicated birthday ‘space’. This separates the event in the attendee’s mind, allowing it to be more deely stored in their memory banks. Of course, animal-themed apparatus help as well. Along with a general feeling of safety via handrails and netting. I should just collate all my findings on birthday party venues in Perth and make it into a research paper, honestly…


Following a beauty dream

Tilly sat patiently at the door, knowing that at any minute Mrs Pearson would call her inside for an assessment. For over a year Tilly had thought about this day and what it meant for her future. She so desperately wanted to do well. She had paid attention at all the beautician courses and watched countless hours of laser hair removal videos. All she has ever dreamed of is being a licensed beautician and Mrs Pearson held the keys to her dream. While Tilly was going over and over her planned responses, Mrs Pearson poked her head around and called her in to take a seat.

Tilly was nervous, sweaty palms held down her involuntarily trembling legs. Mrs Pearson asked her some basic questions about the beauty course, she wanted to know Till’s least favourite subject, which was anything to do with feet. She also wanted to know Tilly’s most favourite unit, which was easily laser leg hair removal. Melbourne ladies have always been diligent about hair removal, which is something Tilly always had a passion for.

All together the conversation lasted about fifteen minutes but Tilly felt as if she had been in there for hours. There was some concern over how she had answered questions pertaining to permanent eyebrow makeup offered in Melbourne beauty clinics. The correct terminology was eyebrow tattooing but Tilly had drawn a blank. Mrs Pearson rounded off by saying she had enjoyed having Tilly be a part of the beauty therapy courses and she wished her the best of luck in her beautician career.

When the door closed behind her Tilly was unsure of her next move. She couldn’t quite process what had just happened. She had expected a war and been met by a party. She sat down on a bench and smiled. Tilly was now a beautician. Not a student, or a trainee, or a beauty school intern but an actual qualified beautician. She had worked hard for this for so long that now it was here she was unsure how to handle it. Once at home, Tilly told her parents who promptly ordered pizza, cake and wine. A celebration was in order.

The Old Conveyancing Game…

I was conveyancing before it was cool, as the kids are saying nowadays. Sixty years in the business, to be precise. True, things were a lot simpler back in the days, but also a lot busier. People were buying houses left, right and center, and sometimes in other directions as well. You could sometimes turn eighteen, and then poof…you get yourself a house, using the deposit from your paper round. That’s how my first husband got his first job, whereas the second inherited his family’s summer mansion when he turned 25. I forget…it’s been a while.

Anyway, the old and well-established game of conveyancing solicitors. Melbourne had only a few of us to begin with, back in the olden days. People didn’t really know what they were doing, to be honest; only that it was important. My third husband used to say that it was 90% intuition, and I’m inclined to believe him. But over the years we managed to establish a conveyancing empire that Melbourne can truly be proud of, and now whenever I walk past a ‘SOLD’ sign, I feel a warm glow. I made that happen. Me and my team, and whichever husband I had at the time.

I still think of properties in that way, and I’m proud of it. Even when I’m off on my holidays with my ninth husband, I still look at beach apartments and such and think about how they’d look on a conveyancing form. And of course, the job really helped me and my sixth husband find our dream home in Eaglemont. Exclusive properties around there, you know! I did conveyancing for a few properties there myself…and surrounding, affluent areas. People mostly left those to me. They always seemed a little bit intimidated, which is probably because I was the premier conveyancer in Melbourne. Rich, powerful, feared, confident…the industry just isn’t the same without me, really.


Retro Kitchen Be Gone!

Our kitchen had served us well since the seventies. It was a rustic looking kitchen with dark wood panels and bright yellow tiles. The main problems, aside from how it looked, couldn’t be ignored any more, and we decided to look into options for kitchen renovations. Melbourne had been our home since we married in the early sixties, and we’d only renovated once. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at designing, but I never got the ball rolling.

We’d had enough of the dated look in the kitchen. At least, I’d had enough of it, and I wanted our home to better suit the changes in our lifestyles. As it turns out, anyone looking for  kitchen renovations in Melbourne can expect to be met with a whole lot of choice. It’s a big world out there.

Most of our requirements related directly to being easy to clean and simple to care for. I have arthritis and this makes it difficult for me to turn taps, open cans, do things that are most likely taken for granted by most people. It would be nice to have a space that I can use without having to ‘improvise’ in, or a space that I need to make exceptions for.

When I started looking,  I expected to run into some serious distractions, but I found a company who specialised in kitchen renovation. Melbourne is lucky to have them too, they’re all about personalised kitchen designs, and making sure people like us feel looked after. They were very direct about matching us with the perfect kitchen, which for us meant a good solid design that had minimal tricks, good warm light, and maximum function.

We’ve enjoyed our new design for almost 6 months now. and since deciding to go ahead with our kitchen renovation, Melbourne weather has warmed up. It’s lovely to have the light filter into what is now my favourite space and to have friends over to see the new space. The company we used made it so easy for us that we’re considering having them renovate two of our bedrooms as well!


The ideal pet name doesn’t exi-

‘You need to be careful of calicivirus,’ said Steph, who loves all animals, hates animal ownership and tends to be more alarmist than anyone I knew. You see, I bought a rabbit. A wee baby dwarf bunny, the colour of charcoal. She’s the sweetest thing you ever saw.

‘Seriously? Steph, I’ve lived here my whole life and never heard of calicivirus hitting Bayside. Animal Hospital sites all over Australia will have information on it, so if I have to worry about it, I’ll know where to look first.’

‘Look, I’m not trying to scare you,’ he widens his eyes, “You really do need to know who to call if things go wrong! You can’t be a dopey companion to your animal. Listen. Write this down: Emergency vet care, in the Bayside area. You got a pen?’

I write down the number as Steph reads it out twice to me.

‘Look at her little bell collar!’ I jingle the bright red leather strip in front of the computer screen.

Steph pauses, and frowns.

‘That’s too small! She’ll feel claustrophobic! And why do you have to call her Pepper? What’s wrong with  real actual name?’

‘Like what? Diana? Or Beverley?’

‘Beverley is a great name for a rabbit. As a child my parents had a large greyhound named rocket. Pet names are a very personal thing, don’t worry about what other are going to think. I’m not saying anything except…just try and think of something respectful please?’

‘Steph, some human kids are called Apple. That’s a thing that some parents have done. That kid has to live that name down for the the rest of their life! No one is called Beverley any more, not even animals. Stop trying to give my rabbit an ironic label, it’s upsetting.’

The phone call between us finishes on a friendly loving note, with Steph saying he can’t wait to meet Beverley in person and hanging up before I can correct him.

Sandcastles: No Fun, Just Profit

Sandcastles are not ‘fun’.

Sandcastles are a serious matter for serious people. In fact, whenever I’m on the beach, and I see some total AMATEUR making a stupid castle using a bucket and maybe a few shells, I have to resist the urge to go and kick it into their faces, obliterating their foolish playtime mockery. I never have, although when I’m all geared up and in the middle of a serious practice session, it’s tempting. Such…amateurs.

Obviously I’m already looking in Lorne for luxury beach apartments, for me and the team. We’re lean, we’re mean, and we can make practically anything out of sand. All the other kids at school thought I was crazy, but I was just following the sandcastle greats. My family went on holiday to Lorne, and they thought I was being antisocial by not wanting to associate with them while I honed my sandcastle skills.

Never mind…I was always better than them. At least I’ve kept going back to the family beach apartment, mostly because of its proximity to the beach. Nothing quite like waking up and heading straight out for a 5am castle-crafting practice, before the tourists get there and ruin all the sand by WALKING on it. Has no one heard of sand-shoes, to preserve our nation’s natural shorelines? Apparently not.

It’s a good thing we booked our accommodation early, as well. That beach apartment is hot property for sandcastle enthusiasts, as well as rival teams. I’ve seen it every year: the great and terrible rush, as spectators and competitors alike descend upon the beaches to view great works of art, crafted by artisans, artistically. Except now, WE have the edge. Now they’ll have to find a hotel in Lorne, and they have walk to the beach, and that gives us the tiny edge we need in this incredibly cutthroat competition. Seriously, people in this league can play dirty as flip.