Ratbags and Rogues


Step into working-class Sydney in the 60’s through to the 90’s. These ‘ratbags and rogues’ saved public spaces, historic buildings and homes. They even took over the building of the Sydney Opera House, at one stage! This is a story about the union movement, and what it takes to stand up to powerful figures, whose deepest desire is to squash you underfoot. Told with humour and wistfulness, it also has it’s share of tragedy. Given the current climate, it is also a call to arms. To purchase from Apple iBooks, here.
To purchase the paperback, click here.  For the Kindle version, click here.
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Happy 12th Birthday!


On the occasion of your 12th birthday, I wanted to share a little of the many lessons I’ve learnt from you, my precious daughter.

  •  There is no point of comparison, as we are all so very different, achieving in our own allotted timeline. There is no room for envy, nor hankering after what someone else has. You celebrate your friend’s wins more than anyone I know. I have never seen you covet another’s fortune.
  • You have taught me to not fear death. Loved ones have died in front of you, and you have reached for their hands. You have insisted on attending more than one viewing  and have then celebrated their precious lives, whilst comforting the grieving.
  • You aren’t afraid to be seen, whether that be via acting in a production, dancing or singing. You stand on stage and proudly declare that you are here, staking your place in this world. You know that there is enough room for everyone.
  • Criticism doesn’t bother you. You humbly take on board constructive feedback, but discard nastiness in all its forms. It takes many people a lifetime to learn the difference.
  • You have a keen appreciation of the ridiculous, and a wonderful sense of humour. Remember when we were trying to find the hotel room I had booked? We wearily walked several blocks, because I couldn’t figure out which way was north when Google Maps told me to go that direction? I finally saw the appropriate signage on a motel building and remarked to you that it was pretty grand for a budget motel, what with its marble reception and pianist. The nice lady at the counter informed us that the budget arm of their chain was in fact a few blocks away. “Just head west,” she said, which saw you collapse into peals of laughter. We laughed some more when we read on the copious instructions in the dodgy room that if we showered, we would surely set off the nervy smoke alarm and the whole place may have to be evacuated. Being able to laugh in the face of delays, problems and a directionally-challenged mother, will hold you in good stead.
  • You have a healthy relationship with social media, with no interest in most of the platforms. You don’t need likes nor to have your worth affirmed by other people. Sensitive, you are acutely aware of the pain of exclusion, and see no need to highlight what you are doing and with whom, every day.
  • You are a loyal friend, and make no demands of those whom you love. You may not see a good friend for six months, but when you do, you simply pick up where you left off.
  • You bound out of bed of a morning, and give every activity 100%. Your enthusiasm inspires me.
  • Before you came along, I was a hermit. This world had been a dangerous, unpredictable launching pad, and I put away my rocket ship, and closed the blinds. When I started IVF, I had to travel to the clinic most days, and my engagement with life began anew. Now, I look forward to adventures and the world is no longer terrifying. This is largely due to your love of travel and new experiences.
  • You have built yourself up, and played to your strengths, letting nothing stop you. I have seen the way you deflect negativity and refuse to play small to help naysayers play large.
  • You are a savvy shopper, and hate waste. You already have a healthy relationship with money, and prioritize accordingly.
  • Life, when seen through your eyes, is blissfully clear. You have taught me to simplify rather than catastrophize. You have the gift of being able to break a problem down into workable pieces, and look to hopeful outcomes rather present calamity.
  • You are grateful for every kind action, and for our home. You are grateful for the trill of birds, the trees in the yard, the food in the pantry and for the clothes in your wardrobe. I am lovingly reprimanded whenever I have bought you something that you simply don’t need.
  • Careful with money, you proudly brought back a large portion of the spending money I had given you when you went away with a friend a year or so ago. You have a budget and stick to it.
  • You aren’t afraid of your voice, and not only do you stick up for yourself, but for those around you. You wont let certain things happen on your watch, no way. You live with integrity and won’t say anything, unless it is true. You are unafraid of confrontation, and saying what is on your mind, even if it’s a hard conversation to have.
  • You have borne witness to my surgeries, and have seen the scars. You have experienced the aftermath on a daily basis, and have the heart of a social justice warrior. You have anger at the plight of the homeless, and demand to know why resources aren’t freely available for youth, whether that be in the way of long-term housing or counselling. You find so many things unacceptable, and by this, you can help promote change.
  • You adore all things vintage! You love petti skirts and A-line dresses, record players and vintage shoes. To you, everything old is new again, apart from old attitudes (which needed to be put into mothballs). Little girls can now be seen and heard, and that aside, they demand to be respected.

From the time you were born (four weeks early), you have always had your own timetable. Walking before you crawled, climbing structures before you had ever played in a sandpit. I could only watch with admiration. I am doing the same now, as you cartwheel into your teenage years. I love you, sweetheart.

Yours Always and ever,

Mum xxx

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Word Play and Giggles


I adore plays on words, and am also fond of the whimsical and absurd. As I lay in bed with an appalling migraine, recovering from my occipital nerve blocks, I discovered the following bouncing around the internet. It probably wasn’t the wisest of times to imbibe in such hilarity, as boy, did my head hurt! Without further ado, may I present, the following:

In Australia, our National Anthem is Advance Australia Fair. We know the first verse by heart, but begin humming by the second. The majority of us also have no idea what the line, ‘Our home is girt by sea’ means, until now!

Mystery solved! You are welcome!

Irony


Two of our four baby guinea pigs have been getting “inspired” by Spring fever, despite being three weeks old. We were advised that we wouldn’t have to worry about them reproducing until they were six weeks. Looking in at them trying to shag anything animate or otherwise, we started laughing. How ridiculous to have pets that are so very fertile, whilst we are infertile. To have to take these tiny little balls of fur to have their sex decided (you press their tummy and a willy pops out if a boy). We had to give the little boys away, and hope that the others weren’t already pregnant. Quite a ridiculous pet to have when one is infertile. To see the ease of pregnancy and new life… We had to laugh.

I have given up alcohol and am trying to limit caffeine in an attempt to curb my hot flushes, which are continuous, day and night. The GP wants to try me on a blood pressure medication to try and limit them, but I would have to lie down after taking the tablet twice a day, as I could get dizzy. I already have low blood pressure, so am in two minds about it. I went to the gym this morning, and had a celery and beetroot juice in the café, rather than coffee. Feeling smug after taking the healthy option, I got up, felt off-balance, and walked straight into the glass window, which I took as a door. Maybe I should have a glass of wine and an espresso chaser to wash down the blood pressure medicine? I love being given opportunities to laugh at the ridiculous and ponder delicious irony. Fortunately, life provides us all with many such opportunities!

A budgie called Cuddles who refuses any overture of affection, a front door with the key stuck in the lock… A canary named Setrena by my daughter,(huh?) A loo which only stops flushing after performing a fancy ritual. Despite our desperate need for control, there are so many things that are out of it. To appreciate the quirkiness and humour of life, is to celebrate it.