The Archives

Spotty and blotchy archives are coming in. Just popping this here in case you’re thinking “Why is there stuff from 2006 but nothing from 2007?”. I don’t have them in a format that lets me shift the lot over at once, so it’s manual. Because i CARE.

I had them over in a side blog, but fuck it, let’s get everything happening on the one page. It’ll be a party.

37

Mmkay, easier time uploading it this year. A few changes too, not to the sewing because seriously there’s so much fucking sewing in this video. Also dogs, again. Sewing and dogs, ukulele. More people in this years because I just went ahead and recorded people, and also myself. If you’re wondering how to get the nifty “from above” shots of the uke or crochet or whatever, the secret is to push a selfie stick down your bra. Use this knowledge wisely, it’s freely given.

Thanks to my beloved PHUCers for letting me post them on the internet, and for shouting “Thirty Eight!” on command last night just to round off the year.

I Went, I Saw, I Wuthered

..and then I remembered I have a blog. So here’s a blog post!

Myself, Marjan and Helen as convincing Kates

That’s myself, Marjan and Helen being excellent Kates. I don’t remember when or how I heard about The Most Wuthering Heights Day ever, and I have to confess I’m not actually a Kate Bush fan.  I am, however, a fan of a red frock and a fan of Noel Fielding who did a rendition of Wuthering Heights for the Comic Relief Dance thingy whatsit. I quite like the song itself, which is good because it’s in my brain for the next seven years I reckon.

It was a bit surreal and a bit magical driving into the city (well, being driven into the city) and starting to spot all the red dresses heading to Kings Domain.  The day was going to involve three things I tend to avoid if I can – crowds, dancing in public and wrap dresses. The last of those is the easiest to avoid, if you’re wondering. I have yet to be pounced upon by a feral wrap dress, but I think it’s a valid fear.

Rehearsal

After a pretty dismal week, weather wise, it was lucky we had brilliant sunshine on the day. It was visually fabulous, the contrast of all the red on green under a deep blue sky. We spent a couple of hours learning moves such as “serve the plates”, “ice skating”, “more bush” and my personal favourite “backwards pterodactyl”. I don’t know how many times we ran through it, but it was just enough times for me to be about 3 beats behind at any given moment.

Once more with feeling

I wish the photos could convey a sense of the scale of this thing, it was so much red. Red being my favourite colour, it was like an explosion of glee for me. Gleeburst.

Once we’d “learned” the dance (haha), we all moved over to the park behind the Music Bowl to record the moment. Three run throughs, and I managed to nail the chorus routine I think. Once. On the last run through. It’s fine, we were up the back. No one will notice. Right? Right. Thought not.

Predance

There’s official video to come, apparently. Which will be fun, even the clips uploaded by audience people have been good to watch. Something very pleasing about a sea of waving arms, all in red.  I’ll try to remember i have a blog, and update with the video. That’s something to look forward to for you there.

Of course, when everyone is wearing the same thing, and you slip off for a cigarette, it’s quite tricky finding your people. Thankfully, Marjan works with small children and has experience rounding up the wayward…

Lots more photos, videos and glee on the Facebook event page. It was a genuinely fabulous day. The organisers did a perfect job of it, and everyone was just there for some silly fun so the atmosphere was excited and joyful.

J is for Joy

Rainbow made of patchwork squares cut up but not sewn

Not being able to think of anything good for the letter J, I asked the Facebook hivemind. Thanks to Angie and Sue for “Joy” and no thanks to the rest of you for being ridiculous. 

The timing of this post is interesting. To me, anyway. Not that long ago I realised I struggle with happiness and enjoyment as these things are strongly linked in my mind with shame and embarrassment. Which is not to say I’m never happy, or never enjoy anything. I do, many things, but there’s always the underlying feeling of wrongness. I don’t feel that I deserve joy or pleasure, so when I experience them I get a burst of shame and self consciousness.  This is probably better explored somewhere that isn’t my blog, but it’s been an interesting realisation and explains why I try so hard to remove myself from things I really love to do. Funny old things, brains.

The past year has been quite confronting on the “having a nice time” front. Can you confront a front? I just did, rules be damned. The almost literal explosion in my social life, the fact I can almost play a proper chord on a uke now if you don’t look too closely, travel, crafting – it’s been a good year and yet I still sit around and think “I don’t deserve this”. Shut UP, brain. So, while I poke my brain with a pointy stick and shout at it, here’s some things that bring me a lot of pleasure in life. Some of these will become, or already are, posts in the Alphabet thing. Consider this both a best of, and a preview.

Dogs
I’ve already written about my beloved and slightly odd dogs, but all dogs are pretty much my favourite dogs. Mostly. I’m not a huge fan of Pugs, but it’s not their fault they happened I suppose. Dogs are awesome. They’re so dog like, it’s wonderful. The hound just walked in, stared at me, blinked and wandered off and I was delighted. When a dog likes me, I feel like I’ve won at life.

Sewing
I sew a lot. Mostly I make Morsbags – free reusable shopping bags made out of scrap and recycled fabric. These are a joy to make, hugely satisfying. They’re even more fun to give away, I like a random act of kindness. I also make soft toys for funsies and occasionally skirts. I’m not a brilliant seamstress (not even in the Discworld sense), but dammit I’m enthusiastic. Just don’t ask me to set a sleeve because you’ll end up with three sleeves and none of them will come off the shoulders. The image at the top of this post, because I needed an image for this post, is the patchwork squares I cut for a skirt I’m making. I have a craft blog if you’re interested.  Yes, that’s two blogs I barely update…

PHUC
I started taking ukulele lessons in January 2015, thinking it was about bloody time I did the thing I’d been thinking of doing. Turned out to be quite a good life choice as I get to spend a couple of hours on a Tuesday night with the most marvelous bunch of nutters I ever did meet. I knew a few of them before, sort of a bit. Considering I only really left the house for festivals I didn’t get to know anyone much. Now I have all these people to love, it’s brilliant. And I do love them, dearly. Still feels like a bit of an admin error that I’m allowed to hang out with them though. I am, btw, terrible at the uke and do more flailing than strumming. If I ever get a chance to practice outside class, I’ll be unstoppable. Ish. Maybe.

Critters and creatures.
If I’m ever alone in a room and saying “Oh hello!”, it’s probably a spider. I mean I’m talking to a spider, not a spider is doing a Lyn impression. My car is full of creatures with varying amounts of legs. I’ll stop everything to watch a mantis, or a spider, or a magpie eating figs (this years fig crop is entirely inside magpies at this point). White Winged Choughs fill me with glee, those scrappy, untidy, chaotic birds. Frogs are a special favourite and the local population has to put up with being peered at and exclaimed over and told how handsome they are. Have you ever seen a frog give someone the side eye? I have.

Gaming
I am a poor quality gamer. I am terrible at almost everything I play. As an example, I was playing Assassin’s Creed last night (the first one, I’ve only just replaced my 360 and am doing catch up). After an assassination, I was supposed to dash away, hide and then return to the base. I did manage this, but only after several minutes of falling off buildings, landing on guards, hiding but then unhiding, falling off another roof, getting distracted by the view long enough to get stabbed in the spine… but I had a brilliant time. I can never remember the controls in the heat of battle, so I flail wildly and sometimes it works. I love games though. I love exploring in them, and that feeling when you’ve failed a boss 96 times but then you finally kill the fucker. The Assassin’s Creed series is as good as I’d hoped, and so gorgeous to look at. Which is probably why I get stabbed a lot. “Ooh, view! Oh I’m dead now”.

Writing
Another thing I am not so great at, but love to do. I’ve come to accept I will never be published, which in a way is a bit of a relief because it means I don’t have to worry about how good I am. I can call every character Bananaface and it doesn’t matter. I’ve never done that, but I might for the next Nanowrimo. Or camp Nano is coming up, hrm…

I’ve a million other things to add, but I can’t express them very well, or they’re just bloody private keep your nose out you. So I’ll leave it there with the addition that the previous year has been the most laughter filled of my life, for which I need to thank (in no particular order) Sue, Sharon, Suzie, Craig, Aitch, Helen, Marjan, Bron, Lizzie, Frances, David, Gillian, Angie, and Mark and probably people I’ve forgotten because I’m an awful person.

I is for Internet

Boob. Let’s finish our A-Zs! – Lizzie

The above comment came after I posted my Jetpack stats for 2015 on Facebook. I wrote 12 entire posts last year, am I not amazing? Lizzie has a point, this A-Z thing has been almost two years in the finishing, not bad for something that was only going to take 13 weeks. She suggested we finish our A-Zs at the New Year, and now it’s basically March already. Clearly I ran at this with the speed of a thousand gazelles.

Anyoldway, the Internet. Or, more exactly, the World Wide Web, but that would be W and lord knows we might not make it to W. I’m going to refer to the web as the internet throughout this post, so if that’s going to make your teeth all grindy you might want to back out now.

I saw a comment on Tumblr or somewhere like that which was “What did people even do on the net in the 90s??”. Thankfully, there’s a picture to illustrate the ‘net of the 90s.

That’s exactly how it was, you can trust me, I was there. I was there too, not for the whole 1990s but for most of it. My first online experiences were actually on a BBS in late 1993. A BBS was like a mini internet. You’d dial directly into the BBS server and chat or play text based games or whatever you felt like doing. I still think about the people I met on there because we broke all the rules and exchanged contact details, met in real life and gave our real names. Rebels, all of us. I actually met my first boyfriend through this BBS, but as it turned out he was a complete arsehole and therefore will not get a second mention.

I moved on to the ‘net proper in 1995 when I was able to luxuriate in an amazing 10 hours a month of internet time. Can you imagine? Can you? It sucked, because even then I was pretty into this whole deal. I used to use the net with an egg timer to break it up into half hour chunks. Additionally, I could only use it after 8pm as it tied up the phone line. I hope some of you are having memories right now. Eventually, because I burned through those 10 hours in about a week, we did upgrade.

But what did we do online in the 1990s? Oh, man. So much stuff. We updated our Geocities websites for one. Once we’d done that, we’d surf some webrings or comment in some guestbooks – the whole commenty thing wasn’t a thing, it was guestbooks or emails. Comedian Alan Davies signed my guestbook once and I almost died. Then I had an email from Richard Curtis and I almost died again. It was an exciting time. I was running a British Comedy based site, which is why those things happened.  We’d play some games, I was partial to teeny little flash games. Then we’d check out the new discussions in our email lists. After a while we could update our Livejournals (I’ve been blogging since 2001, not that you’d notice these days), play MMOs, order books and videos. My first ever internet purchase? The Labyrinth soundtrack. I couldn’t believe how easy and awesome it was to get. They mailed it! To me! Amazing. I also remember ordering stuff from shops so small  that you had to email your credit card number, over two emails, with the expiry date and billing info in a third email. Adorable.

Does anyone remember Beenz? I mention them from time to time and people look at me like maybe I’ve gone a bit mad. Basically, Beenz were a currency you’d earn by completing tasks on websites. Maybe just finding and clicking the Beenz icon, or joining mailing lists etc. Once you’d earned enough Beenz you could trade them for stuff. I traded all mine in for a couple of CDs which never arrived so it was pretty much a waste of time all round and folded in the end.

Some of my early ‘net memories include chatting on ICQ, chatting on the Geocities chat rooms, leaving the internet connected all night to download a 72MB game, spending too much money on eBay. That was fun, because pre-paypal it was a pain in the arse to get money to someone overseas. You’d have to go to the bank and draw a bank cheque and mail it.

All of the stuff that we use like breathing these days just wasn’t there and you know I’m going to sound like an ancient old crone but I kind of miss the pre-facebooktwitteryoutube days. You had to work a lot harder to be an arsehole, for one. Also you could get a site online with a basic grasp of HTML, which is all I ever managed. I do just about everything with WordPress now, saves on all that thinking.

We also, with the arrival of social media, threw all our privacy rules out the window. I remember signing up for Facebook at the request of a friend and being horrified that they expected my actual real name. It took me a long time to get over the “Never use your real name” thing. I still kind of don’t, but that’s because I had me a most lovely internet stalker who creeped me right the fuck out in the early 2000’s and I am pretty firm on making sure that doesn’t happen again thank you. I’ve just had a shower, but thinking about him makes me want another one.

I moderate for a living these days, and sometimes I have to remind myself that the internet really is a great and wonderful thing. For sheer resources, socialisation and entertainment it’s incredible. I don’t randomly surf like I used to though, so there’s a lot I’m missing out on these days. I used to spend literally hours following links around tiny websites people had set up to talk about their favourite movie, or beanie babies, or shoes. You could bop about the net and find all sorts of random treasures.

When my anxiety was untreated, the internet was a genuine lifeline. It meant I could talk to people, meet new ones, and experience new ideas even when I was unable to leave the house. I know my parents worried I spent too much time online, but if I hadn’t I think I’d have just wasted away in my bedroom. Now that my anxiety is treated and kind-of-under-control, it’s still a bit of a lifeline but it’s entirely a social lifeline. I’m usually more comfortable shooting someone a Facebook message than calling them, for example. I’m way more open in text too, which is kind of a problem sometimes as I press enter and think “That… was not a thing that person needed to know”. Actually,  that’s happening right now. How did we get on to this?

For people like me, especially like Me In My 20s Me, being able to converse with others who have the same issues – wow. I can’t even express how important that is. Not just for anxiety, but for anything that needs emotional support. Being able to wander into a forum or FB page and hear a resounding chorus of “Me too!” is a huge help for some people. It’s not the be all and end all, it’s not the only thing a person can and should do, but it’s a huge help.

I love the internet. It’s broken as all hell, and needs some serious repairs in a lot of places (Looking at you, Social Media), but it’s wonderous. It’s exciting, it’s intoxicating. Also, people tend to post pictures of their dogs and that is truly something to be thankful for.

I won the hell out of NaNoWriMo

Stats from Nanowrimo

I won NaNoWriMo for the second time ever this year. It’s an epic tale of vampires, demons and throats being slowly chewed through until you can see the spinal cord. I forgot to put a love sub plot in it. Too busy with spinal cords, sorry. I didn’t even finish the story, once I’d broken the 50k goal I wandered off, leaving my characters wondering what to do about their current situation.

Since there’s not a lot more to say other than “Whoo hoo I won the hell out of Nano!” (beat my last win by two days too, go me), I’ll now share with you the opening passage. It’s unedited, and it’s probably the only bit of this mish mash of a novel that will ever see the light of day, so go ahead and read it twice. You’re welcome.

“Absolutely not,” Amelia said. She was standing beside a pile of worn cardboard boxes, each of which contained a potential treasure. First, she had to find the treasures.

“Please? Just one more time,” Essence said. Essence was sitting gingerly on the edge of the bench, watching Amelia work but not offering a hand to help.

“You said that last time,” Amelia reminded her. She returned to her boxes, slitting the packing tape with a small stanley knife and opening the flaps. “And the time before that, too. Oh. More National Geographics. Disappointing”. Amelia began lifting the magazines out of the box in small bundles, flipping through them for rare or interesting editions before casting the magazines to the side where a pile of the bright yellow covers had grown. “This person must have never missed an issue”.
“Worth anything?”
“I’ll check properly later against the trade list, but I would say… no.” Amelia collapsed the now empty box and opened the next one. “Early 2000s Women’s Weeklys. Hardly worth unpacking”

“Might be something under them”

“True, I hate when you point that out. Any chance of getting your hands grubby today your majesty?”

“Not until you answer me and my one simple request”.
Amelia sighed and dropped a stack of Women’s Weekly into the recycle basket. She wiped the dust off her hands on the seat of her jeans and retied her pony tail which had been letting wisps of hair drop. “I did answer you” she said. Taking a long step over a collection of boxes she reached the bench Essence was sitting on and turned on the kettle.

“I can’t just keep fixing your problems forever.”

“But this is a big, big problem and it needs a big, big fix”. Essence opened her handbag and began to rummage for her cigarettes.

“No smoking in here”.

“It’s cold outside”

“So don’t smoke.”

“You’re in a mood today”. Essence slipped off the bench and made her way tentatively through the maze of boxes filling the small storeroom. The door to the courtyard opened outwards, saving her the effort of moving anything to get outside.

“I’ll bring your tea out, because I’m lovely and not in a mood at all” Amelia told her as the door slammed.

Then spinal cords happened. All over the place. Also? Ribs. Picked clean. Bodies in apartments, there was a lot of blood. In fact, I’d say a good 4,000 of the 50,000 words are “blood”. Every time someone writes a vampire story full of blood and gore, it desparkles a Twilight vampire. It’s a cause I’m invested in.

Think I’ll do Camp Nano next year, I’m getting the hang of this “writing a ton of terrible words in a stupid deadline” thing.

On Par For NaNoWriMo 2015

I was actually going to call this post “Fucking finally” but thought that might be a bit much.  Having said that – fucking finally. It’s the 15th of November, which means par for today is 25,000 words. With the exception of day one, I have not made par this month. Most days I have not even been within touching distance of par. Par has been off on the horizon, riding off into the sunset with a good looking chap while I stand around at the bus station waiting for the bus that will catch me up. That was delightful, I wonder if I can get it into the novel somehow? Anyway, check this out with your eyes.

Nanowrimo stats page screengrab

Look at that last bar on the graph, reaching for the sky. Going for gold! Uh.. being.. tall.  You can also see the flatlines there, from the days I didn’t write at all. What happened? Simple – I got the blues. I was just really bloody miserable and couldn’t get myself to open the file let alone add anything to it.  That’s all gone now though and I’m emotionally boosted by the simple act of catching the hell up to par.

Fucking finally.

My story is a chaotic pile of scenes and words and I don’t think I have enough characters for all the things I need people to be doing. Also one of my main characters – Amelia – has a dog named Melon and I don’t know why. Who calls a dog Melon? I ask you.  Then again, another character is called Essence, so it’s all just plain nuts up in there.

Side note, I use the name Amelia every year for my female main, and in the alarming event I ever actually revisit a draft and tidy it up and try to get it published, I’m going to have to pick a new name to use. Which is annoying enough to not go back and edit I reckon.

Video

Coconut Woman

I did mention there’d be videos a’coming, and here’s one of the rehearsal at Norah Head.  The Mutley chuckle you hear is, sadly, me as Chris and I suddenly realised we were looking at the wrong music. Don’t be accusing me of being unprofessional.

Central Coast Got PHUCed Up

I’m not usually one to have to hunt for words, but oof – where do I begin on this one? The fact this has taken me days to do should give you an idea of the trouble here (pity me).  I’ve just had the most brilliant, hilarious time with a bunch of brilliant, hilarious people. Sadly most of the jokes will not translate to the written word, or to people who weren’t there so this account might be light on the belly laughs. This is not my fault, you should have been there.

Basically, the thing that happened was the uke group I’m part of zoomed up to the Central Coast for the Central Coast Ukulele Festival. That’s the short version, the long version includes the phrase “Please stop making me laugh, my stomach hurts”.  This is in brief to omit the whole “I can’t go, I’ll go, nope I can’t go, yes I’ll go, NOPE” cycle inside my head. Thankfully Sue (aka Miss Wattle, who has managed to teach me some ukulele – well done her) knows how to poke a person in the spine on these things, so I went.

Did you know there’s a 4 in the morning these days? It was news to me too. Other than that piece of interesting information, the flight up was a flight. Sue, Suzie, Craig and I got on a plane, the plane went somewhere else and we got off again. The coffee was poor. Once we were off the plane, we met up with H and Gillian and grabbed a train to Tuggerah which is a huge amount of fun to say. Go on, give it a burl. Tuggerah.

As always, click photos to embiggen and click off the picture to.. well, unembiggen I suppose.

H, Gillian and Sue playing something I don't know yet.

H, Gillian and Sue playing something I don’t know yet.

Sydney trains have quiet carriages. We weren’t in one, although the announcement says you can’t use your phone or chat. It says nothing about playing the ukulele. We could have got them on a loophole there, had we been in a quiet carriage.

Suzie and Craig playing something else I don't know.

Suzie and Craig playing something else I don’t know.

It’s a gorgeous trip from Central to Tuggerah, with the Hawkesbury River all over the place. I have no photographs of that which is unlike me. Instead of photos, just imagine me waving my hands around looking blissed out and muttering “gorgeous, gorgeous”. It’s just as good.

I’m trying to make this not incredibly long winded and wordy, but it’s tricky because so much fun stuff happened I want to shove it in your face and be all “Look, look at this fun thing that happened!”. At which point you’d say “Yeah that sounds okay” and I’d roll my eyes and say “You had to be there”.

Once we’d arrived at the accommodation and walked around a little bit shell shocked (Pro tip: If you’re staying at El Lago in the Entrance, don’t pack a blacklight. It just doesn’t bear thinking about), we polished up and headed to the dinner and show. There wasn’t room at the PHUC table for everyone, so Craig got to be picked on the whole night by me on the next table. I bet this was a genuine thrill. I didn’t take as many photos as I should have, and those I did take didn’t really come out so great, but here’s one for your eyeballs.

The Nukes just prior to making me fall over laughing.

The Nukes just prior to making me fall over laughing.

Of course The Nukes were brilliant, and Rose Turtle Ertler was captivating. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember the names of the other performers as I’d been awake for 9 years at this point. I’ll take notes next time. The smokers balcony was a good networking place, where Suzie and I met Anne from the Central Coast Ukulele Club. Anne was beyond lovely, even offering her hotel room shower to us once we mentioned our villas didn’t come with hot water (long story).  We didn’t take her up on this, but it was a sweet offer.

I don’t mean to brag, but my mattress was pretty comfortable. So was Sue’s. We clearly got the VIP room. Everyone else was sleeping on springs, rocks and “hard people”. With a spare bed in our room, I handed Suzie a spare blanket. She came back 30 seconds later and knocked plaintively on the door for another one. You can’t say no to Suzie, she does excellent sad puppy eyes.

Pelican Interlude

Pelican Interlude

After a fucking massive breakfast of pancakes and a coffee slightly smaller than my head, we wandered off to Norah Head to rehearse for our set on Sunday (wait for the dramatic twist there). Chris had been away from the group for a few months and I generally have no idea what I’m doing, so rehearsing was a most excellent idea. We found a wonderful park overlooking the water on a beautiful not-too-hot day. Not too shabby, as a rehearsal space.

Left to right in the above photo: Frances, Sue, Kate, H, Gillian, Marjan, Suzie with her back to you (rude), Helen, Chris and David.  On a personal note, this was really fun as my anxiety had been left on a bus somewhere and I was feeling pretty good about the whole playing in public thing. After a lunch stop, we headed for the festival.

Sadly, due to a recent cyclone, the venue for the festival wasn’t the waterside parks. The whole thing was shifted to the local RSL, which must have been bitterly disappointing for the organisers. It’s an okay venue for an RSL, but a bit hot and closed in for me. As you’re fully aware by now, all Ukulele Festivals should be designed for my comfort and no one elses. I’m actually, now I think about it, unsure about the order of events for Saturday as I’d been up early and therefore my brain was a bit spongy. I’m sure someone will correct me though.

Aaaaanyway, we passed a fun afternoon at the Diggers and I passed out a pile of felt moustaches I’d made for the World Record Attempt. People seemed to enjoy those which is good as I’d had fun making them. Remember the dramatic twist from before? Yeah here it comes – Sue had snagged us a slot for the Saturday night. “Oh yay!” I said, as all the feeling ran out of my legs, my anxiety got off a bus and jumped on my face and I wondered if it was too late to grab the train back to the airport. It was, so I hardened the fuck up and prepared. That is a complete lie, I was a jelly for hours.

David, Me, H, Craig, Marjan, Helen, Chris, Sue, Frances and Kate.

David, Me, H, Craig, Marjan, Helen, Chris, Sue, Frances and Kate.

One of the moustaches ended up on David from the Nukes. You can touch my hand if you like. You might also want to touch Craig’s hand as he shook hands with the one and only (thank god) Lucky Starr, who was a better MC than my pet leech would have been, but not by much. After 4 rounds of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, the record was recorded and we could scuttle back to the villas to shine up.

My absent legs were not helped by the fact we were playing a song called Cape Reinga Way in front of the people who originally wrote and recorded it. That, as a newbie uke person, still makes me say “Wait, what?”. Mind you, so many things make me say that. The only other bit I fully remember properly is Sue saying “You’re not a virgin anymore!” as we departed the stage. The rest of it is a bit of a blur, but I am 90% sure I was playing the same songs as everyone else at the same time. There’s video to come, so we’ll find out later. Okay, 85% sure then.

Sunday morning dawned rainy, but the day fined up later. You care. Since we’d done our setlist the night before, there was a new one for Sunday. We ran through these on one of the smoker’s balcony because our time was shifted around a lot and friends of some of the group had arrived to watch. Being a newbie, I didn’t know most of the songs (and, in fact, still don’t). Although I’d air-uked on a couple the night before, I think there’s only so much fudging you can get away with. I planned to not go on at all, but Sue said I could slip off stage after the one I knew if I liked so I did that instead. I’m actually really glad I did because I haven’t had a chance to watch the PHUCers since the Melbourne Ukulele Festival and they’re awesome. Can you believe I’m allowed to hang out with these guys? I can’t! I’m a lucky lady (but not a lucky starr…). The last song was “Stay a Little Longer” which was so good I teared up.

I heart these PHUCers.

I heart these PHUCers.

Then it was pretty much done. David had to shoot off, as did Frances. The rest of us ended up at the pub for dinner with Liz from Central Coast Ukulele Club, her husband, the Nukes and Rose. I had planned to just nip to the cafe thing near the villas but I’m glad I went to the pub. Which is probably not a statement I’ll ever make again, but there you go.

After the meal, we wandered back to the villas where I slipped out for a smoke and then found my keycard wasn’t working. Sue had gone to bed and so I couldn’t get in to the villa. This lead to a whole chain of events which isn’t even clear to me now, and was no clearer when Suzie was explaining it to random old women on the bus the next day. Suffice to say, I couldn’t have grabbed a spare bed in Craig’s room as Suzie was in there which she wasn’t but she should have been because H had stolen her pillows by then anyway, but it’s lucky H was up to call reception for me because otherwise I’d have grabbed Suzie’s bed, on the basis she was in Craig’s room, which she wasn’t, but that would have got crowded. Then again, I’m quite pillowy and it would have made up for the whole H being a pillow thief thing.

We trundled back to Melbourne on the Monday, a bit worn out and scuffed at the edges but I think we all had fun. I know I did.

Things I learned travelling with PHUC:
It’s a fine line between a giggle and a guffaw.
If you walk your dog past a group of dog owners who are missing their dogs, you will be swamped by said dog owners.
It takes a lot of surgeries to look like Justin Bieber.
Baristas will decline marriage proposals, no matter how fervent.
There are few things funnier than an elegant lady with grey hair saying “PHUC” loudly on a crowded bus.
It’s easier to live a rock and roll lifestyle if your hotel rooms come pre-trashed.
Worms in the ground make a shuffling sound.
If you end up laughing till you can’t breathe, expect no mercy. This is especially true if two people are keeping score as to how often they make you laugh.
There’s always grant money available.
Even a picnic table that’s hard on the arse can be a good time.

Thanks for letting me come and play, PHUCers!

I want to ride my tricycle

Sorry about putting that song in your head for the rest of your life. A few years ago I bought a second hand Greenspeed GTO Recumbent Trike (and not, as Matt calls it, “a hippy bike”). I don’t know how many years ago. I can’t remember. I was still working at the library, so that puts it at around 2007? 2006 maybe.  If I’m completely honest with you, it doesn’t matter and I’m going to move on to the next bit.

Tis a lovely red trike

I wanted and bought a trike for a couple of reasons, the main one being they’re very good for bad backs. You know how some people have a recurring football/basketball/curling/lawn bowls injury? I have a recurring Library Injury as a result of a slipped disc. There’s a lot of hauling boxes of crap at libraries, and it caught up with me suddenly and painfully. I’ve never had a great back anyway, this has just cemented the whole “Your spinal column never liked you” thing. It’s not a constant pain, but it flares up and upright bikes tend to be a bit hard on the old back because there’s no spinal support.

The second reason is hills. I live at the tippy top of a steep hill. On an upright, you have to stand up and maintain speed so you don’t fall over. On a trike, you can stop for a rest and have a cup of tea if you’ve remembered your thermos. When you’re ready you can just set off again, easy peasy.

So, then came My Brain. Which meant I didn’t ride the trike for years.  I do not have the bravery required for road riding, especially not on my road which is narrow. It’s narrow, hilly and full of blind corners. Oh, and according to most of the traffic on it, the speed limit is “Floor it”. Being a wuss, I did not wish to end up splatted on the bullbar of a shiny 4WD.

This is not a huge issue – there’s extensive parklands around the place with nice tracks for wombling about on. The issue is getting the trike to the parks. My father owns a ute, but My Brain doesn’t like to be a fuss, so I never got around to asking for a lift. The other week I thought “Hey, I own a hatchback!”. Sadly the trike didn’t fit, so I bought a bike rack, which was a complete failure. Not wanting to spend US$400 + shipping on a proper trike rack, this afternoon I stomped my little foot and gave it another bash. Through the careful removal of attached internal car bits, the trike goes in. The hatch doesn’t close, but if I was 2 inches shorter and therefore had the leg boom shorter it would. Damn you genetics! It’s solved with a bit of rope though.

Trundling about

What does this mean? This means I can, at will, chuck my trike in the back of my car and go for a trundle about. Which I did this afternoon, needing to clear my head a bit.  It was not a long trundle as I didn’t put on a jumper and it was kind of chilly out there. Also I got rained on. Also I got a lot of attention from walkers and cyclists. The thing about trikes is they’re still rare enough to be interesting, and sat up on my little seat with my belly forming a tray table I confess I probably look like a complete dag, but it’s okay because it’s so incredibly fun to zoom around on a little cart and look at stuff. My practice with the gears has paid off and I no longer rupture myself on hills. Well, not as much.

“Trundle” is the best word for what I do on the trike. I potter, I womble, I do whatever strolling is when there’s wheels instead of feet. I stop to let ducks cross, and peer at rosellas and give evil glares at rabbits. I’m not breaking any land speed records. Which is not my aim, so pfft on that. I ride for fun, not sport. Though maybe it counts as sport anyway? That’d be alarming, no one tell me if it does.