There’s so much to write about, I’ll do it in bullet points.
• we made it to Australia three days late. The fear and dread of taking H on a plane for the first time was overrun by the relief we were on a plane and going. Big thanks to Ash and Paul for letting us stay at theirs though, as I don’t know what we’d have done otherwise.
• Australia was hot, hot, hot. Toodyay was the same, except for the areas which were affected by the bush fires of 2009, you’d see the tops of trees looking normal, with the bottoms charred black. There’d be empty spaces where people used to live “there was a house there once” said Shaun. That was sad. Lots of ‘For Sale’ signs out in the bush, people moving away or leaving because they’ve nothing left. We caught up with the in-laws and H was spoilt rotten, and loved it.
• so it was kind of depressing getting back to Gatwick on the 29th December to our cold house (car abandoned by Shaun somewhere in the ‘get to the airport by train’ drama, which we did – with four suitcases, one stroller, one toddler, two shoulder bags and one car seat. People are amazing, they helped us so much, and thank god they did!), though I think we missed the worst of the weather.
• Then it was back to work, after using up all my accrued leave and finishing in mid-November, going back after almost two months off was kind of weird. I felt a bit forgotten – not that I’m one of those “me! me! me!” people who wants attention, mind. I’m sure that’ll change. I’ve changed, so there’s every reason to expect that everything else has too. It’s normal. I’m settled.
• not long after this the old abandoned car started rattling, and I refused to drive it any more. Success! New car bought, and old car sold, we now have one where the screen de-mists in about five minutes (and doesn’t seem to freeze on the inside, bonus), and it’s really quiet and doesn’t rattle when you drive over the bazillion speed bumps on the roads around here. It’s also bigger.
• I have a breadmaker. Inspired by Ash and how easy it all was to do, I asked for one for Christmas, and got one, and oh, how did I live for so long without one? I love the smell of fresh bread in the kitchen, I love that I can make a loaf and it’s ready two hours later, I love that I’m not buying those ‘fresh for a week’ loaves I used to, and just bake what I need. I will get more adventurous soon, but for now this will do.
• Music. I’m finding music again. Kristin Hersh played a ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ show last month, and Alistair had a spare ticket, which he offered me because he’s a kind and good person. I have to admit, I was sort of dreading it, as last time the venue had been huge, the show itself quite a sleepy thing – I lost myself in the music and missed the words. Fortunately the background music was gone, and it was a straightforward Kristin reading – from the book Paradoxical Undressing, and playing a song after each segment. It was great, it was funny (though I didn’t laugh as much as the man to my left hand side – I did start to wonder if I had no sense of humour, or whether he just laughed at anything) and entertaining. I rushed back home but got to say hi to Billy O, and got a copy of ‘Crooked’ which I had no idea was out (shame on me). The Throwing Muses Anthology is coming along nicely, I think. I’m slightly involved, which makes me happy. More music? I like the first two tracks on the new Kurt Vile album – they have those kind of guitar chords I really like. (the rest is okay, the first two tracks really great) I bought ‘Leader Of The Starry Skies’ a tribute to Tim Smith of The Cardiacs. The reason this exists? Well, as the article says “(Bic) Hayes has watched the recent high-profile recovery from a severe stroke of Edwyn Collins, but wryly notes that his circumstances differ: “Edwyn had family around him, and sold a lot of records, so he had money to pay for treatment. Tim’s situation is not like that.
“Tim can’t talk except, on his good days, via a letter board, but when I play him these covers of his songs, he wells up. He loves hearing his music given this new lease of life.”
It’s a damn good tribute too. I don’t like many tribute albums, but this one? Worth every penny. Buy it please. (unless you really don’t like The Cardiacs). There’s more, but I can’t remember right now.
• H. Ohh H. Almost a year and a half old, and she’s quite the little lady now. She’s a good talker (apart from if she’s around others) does lots of quite cute things which make me laugh (not good when you’re trying to tell her what she’s just done is naughty), and is still being regularly (not as much as before) logged over at the blog.
• The online world. I’ve got myself out of so many online communities now. It makes everything less cluttered, there was always too much to keep up with. I have trouble keeping up with everything. Just in case I needed to make even less time for myself I’ve started doing online surveys, but only the kind which make it worth my while. We’ll see how that goes… though having said that, I started another forum over here which is low-key, and pretty quiet. We’ll see how it ticks over. I’m happy for low key and quiet too – it makes everything much more straightforward. Now to give that old Pale Saints site a bit of a spring clean…