Random is a wonderful word. Once, when we were staying at Wellington Forest Cottages in the Ferguson Valley, a large white rooster came out of the forest. His name was Random and he was a pest. Bloody thing started crowing at any hour of the early morning. The cottages were (probably still are) fairly basic and, at night, the kangaroos kept trying to get into the kitchen to raid the rubbish bin. It is quite frightening to be greeted by a large ‘roo in the dark while on your way to dunny (lavatory for non-Aussie speakers). The dunny is situated out-the-back so the ‘roos are just another obstacle to be avoided.
The old timber cottages are picturesque. They are also extremely cold in winter. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t go there is summer because of the fire hazard. The forest is extremely dense and the maze of roads would make a quick getaway nigh impossible. In the advertising blurb it is stressed the GPS are ‘notoriously unreliable in this area’.
Most of the cottages were built in the 1920s to house the timber workers.
Back to Random the rooster. His days were numbered but he was still there when we left. I think he would’ve seen off a fox quite easily, but it wasn’t a fox that was going to get him.
I am not a dedicated blogger. Every now-and-again I think of something interesting to say – but I don’t often follow through. Usually I think to myself, “more research needed before I post this”. Of course, this is a hangover from working for six-plus years on my doctoral thesis. Indeed, after my Scholarship finished, I had to work as well as complete the thesis. I have written about this before. My GP picked up on my listlessness/ennui and, without being patronising or mansplaining, suggested I take a look at the stages of chess. He pointed out that it seemed I was stuck in the Middle Game. I am not a chess player of any skill whatsoever, so he alerted me to the final step – the End Game. The comfort zone of ‘research’ must be concluded.
I considered his advice when I returned home. Among other things associated with research, I counted that I had 27 books from the University Library. OK! I decided to return all the books to the library – bar the two that I was actually using.
The next step was to consolidate all the chapters that were in separate documents on the computer. The Bibliography took more time and I was grateful for the Endnote referencing program. I was pleased that I had religiously listed every resource in the program so tidying up the Bibliography was not too arduous. Editing the thesis took time, I couldn’t believe how many times I repeated myself! Even so, one of the examiners pulled me up on repetitive phrases.
So, after six years of being fairly isolated from ‘real life’, I completed the final draft in six weeks. It was not all clear sailing after that. There are always a few glitches to contend with. One of them nearly broke my heart – but I’m over it now. Maybe I’ll write about that one day? Maybe not.
Submitting the work was a huge relief. Waiting for the examiners reports was deadly; like waiting for a bus that never arrives. Eventually the three reports came in. As is usual with my work the reports ranged from ‘excellent, no changes needed’ (I really liked that one) through to, ‘what a terrible thesis’. One of my mentors at Murdoch University defended my thesis to the examiner (who shall be nameless) and after some rewriting it was accepted.
I received notification that I had passed three days before my 60th birthday. I was now a fully fledged ‘Doctor of Philosophy’. Fat lot of good it did me. I never use my honorific – Aussies aren’t too taken with such things plus I’m always wary of being taken for a medical doctor.
One of the joys of being a grandmother is spending time with one or other of my grand daughters – or both of them together.
Yesterday Lily and I went to that temple of consumerism, the magnificent shopping mall, Garden City. So many people, so many glum faces. After stopping for lunch (sushi) we made our way to the Apple Store. On the way we decided to count how many people were smiling. I’d like to say we lost count but that is not what happened. We eventually toted up our score and reached the pathetic sum of fourteen! I guess we walked toward at least a few hundred people but only fourteen had a smile on their dial. We didn’t count the delightful assistant in the Apple Store – she was most taken with Lily’s style – and so was I. Lily is original in her manner and her dress; a non-conformist like her granny! Nevertheless, she always looks lovely and carries off her choice of outfit with panache.
So, when I was younger I often looked at older women and wondered why they were wearing whatever it was they were wearing. Yes, I admit to a fair amount of judgement there. What I have discovered over the years is that they probably didn’t care. And they certainly didn’t care what some impudent young person thought anyway. How do I know? Because that is where I am now. I wear what I like, when I like and don’t really care what anyone else thinks.
I must’ve been hiding somewhere when the skill of ‘dresses tastefully’ was handed out. As an adult I generally took the easy option, wearing black skirt, white shirt and black jacket with maybe a colourful scarf (if I remembered), or the fallback of blue jeans and white tee.
I have more than a couple of memories of outfits I’d rather forget (especially the frilly, see-through purple top) – in the days when it seemed to matter to me. Nowadays it is just not a stress factor. Kath chooses most of my ‘good’ clothes and she has got excellent taste. The dress in the photo I did choose for myself and it is one of my wins, and I don’t even have to iron it.
Sitting here in my study, I watch the misty rain drift across the valley from the estuary. There is no wind today and intermittent sunshine; enough to persuade me to do the laundry. The laundry is now on a rack in the dining room and the rest is hanging in the garage!
Random thought: if I was typing this on a Remington, I would have used about three pieces of paper by now. Perhaps, in those days, we chose our words more carefully before setting them down? I have just inserted commas and that would’ve been a major operation in the old days! But, in those days, nobody else would’ve read my meanderings and now they lie exposed for any eyes that choose to see them.
Last evening for absolutely no reason, I thought of Lena Zavaroni. Do you remember her? She was born in 1963 and died in 1999 – a victim of child stardom. I didn’t know she battled anorexia and that was probably the cause of her early death from bronchial pneumonia. How sad. She had such a loud voice and I can remember people saying she would lose her voice early because she put it under such strain. “Ma, he’s making eyes at me!” was her first big hit. I’ve cut and copied the following from this URL.
“During the late 1990s, living alone in her flat, receiving disability and help from the show business charity “The Water Rats”, Lena was convinced that her last hope was to have neurosurgery to deal with her long time depression and anorexia. In Wales, at a Cardiff hospital, she underwent a psychosurgical operation. The operation involved inserting a probe into the brain to sever nerve pathways that control emotion. Lena was just 4′ 10″ tall and had battled anorexia nervosa since age 13, and felt she could not live with the increasing suffering. She felt depersonalized, with no future. On 7 September 1999, she underwent the surgery, but only three weeks later developed a chest infection and died from bronchial pneumonia. Dr. Lawrence Addicott recorded a verdict of death by “natural causes”.
Now I feel sad, such a little girl with so much hope in the beginning.