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Thursday, December 17, 2009

KILL DEVIL HILLS: “Here kitty kitty!” a gravity defying P.L. Inkletter called, lest the fur fly due the hawk nearby, surely a Wright mess would result

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

17th December 2009:

Thursday: Yet another night of little sleep, the second in a row when I had to resort to putting the headphones on and lay listening for hours to my favourite talking book while I lay waiting for Mistress Nodette to entice me into her blissful embrace, listening also to Missus Inkletter slumbering beside me (she invariably contests my observations the following day that she spends the vast majority of my sleepless stints asleep, maintaining that she was awake too; she certainly, if this be the case, does a very good imitation of soft sleep breathing.)

I in fact had come to bed at midnight, hoping to be more rested for today’s Walk through History at Guildford, but almost an hour later I arose realising the futility of my undertaking, and wrote and computed for two hours, as well as posted another picture, to The Abecedarian Project, the fifth in the indefinitely long series of the Lateline RESTRICTED interview that I started the other day, before trying to join the world of the sleeping again, yet it took several hours of my talking book again to finally slip into delta.

Somehow the quivering quail and I were ready when a little after eleven Reeve Chocson arrived, with The Dear Leader already picked up and loaded on board his Rodeo, and we were soon sailing along Marshall Road, past Whiteman Park, heading for Guildford. We are still functional vehicleless, with two crippled vehicles gracing our front patio, the venerable old Sigma GK – its manufacturing date being lost in the mists of time – being recently joined by the upstartish 17 year old Suzuki Swift.

The temperature was balmy to almost warm, and the sunny sky made it an ideal day to be shown the history of Guildford. Reeve began his Outabout Guided Walk just for us three at the Old Courthouse and Gaol in Meadow Street, on to Taylor’s Cottage and the Mechanics Institute Hall, the Post Office, then the Town Hall, Council Chamber, and Wesley Chapel, before the Commissariat (now the Garrick Theatre) and Fire Station, then on to the Guildford Hotel and Old Village Markets, back over the railway line to St Matthew’s Church and the War Memorial in Stirling Square, the grand old Riversleigh house, Padbury’s Colonial Stores then the Rose & Crown Hotel, St Charles Seminary, before ending at Moulton’s Landing on the Swan. We couldn’t have had a more delightful, informative, and professional guide, whose history and story telling skills left nothing to be desired. I have visited my disabled friend Bob every week in Guildford for the last ten years since he moved there from Ashford, and it turns out that I knew essentially nothing about the rich and fascinating history of the place.

Reeve then put double cream on an already iced cake by taking us to meet the astonishingly talented Michael Buzza of the Academy of Taxidermy in the Museum of Natural History on James Street, and to me it was a revelation seeing the cornucopia of taxidermed animals, insects, and beasts of mysterious kinds. Michael generously answered at length some probably unusual technical questions about the process of taxidermy from me, as well as being a stikingly deep well of information about the animals themselves, their endangered status, and so on; he was a completely generous host, having stopped his current taxidermic project, popped it into the freezer, and showed us around, despite being an incredibly busy man with an enormous waiting list of work. I cannot recommend this amazing place enough, and the fee? A princely $2 a head! I’ve driven along James Street times almost without number, and did not know the place existed – there must be many other Perth citizens who have not experienced the magic of this incredible place: it hits you before you’ve barely stepped into the old building when you behold the amazing sleeping dog

This chauffeur driven day concluded when Reeve drove us home, a bit of it through the snarl that is Reid Highway these days, and then had to rush off about half four to his little green bagChocci – who had phoned him earlier and read him the riot act concerning chores waiting for him at home in The Vines, including setting up the Christmas tree, stashed somewhere in the bowels of their garage.

The Dear Leader was first to be delivered home, us second, and after a quick ‘lunch’ at almost five, we both hit the sack for we could barely keep our eyes open. Janny got up after an hour or so, but I couldn’t surface till about ten.

It was soon time for some current affairs courtesy of Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: looking very smartly attired, Ms Sales conducted one long interview tonight with none other than Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard, also very smartly turned out (is it my imagination, or is Ms Gillard changing her style lately? Particularly hair style?)

(As an aside, poor old Aunty clearly needs more resources, so that it can get it’s transcripts up as soon as an interview is aired, and it would certainly help the likes of squares like me, who, if trying to do a review quickly, like to read them after watching the particular interview on screen.) Ms Sales valiantly tried to get Ms Gillard to answer her question on what the cost to families would be of the Government’s proposed ETS would be, even a general averaged range, by repeatedly angling the question differently, dumbing it down as far as politely she could, and Ms Gillard just as deftly tried to avoid giving any distinct answer, finally using a vague reference to ‘in the hundreds of dollars’. Of course this is one of the perennial activities of politics, that is, the avoiding of answering questions that are electorally fraught, and Ms Gillard showed she is about as skilled as the best of them at it; in general, today’s politicians win these on-air battles almost invariably, but do they win the war? I think the voter calibre is gradually increasing to the point where most of us expect the obfuscation we get, know when we’re getting it, and keep these things in mind somewhat when we vote.

I note that Ms Gillard has absorbed a phraseology mistake that Kevin Rudd regularly makes, for she said in speaking about the woes at the moment of the rapidly coming to an end Copenhagen Conference, of the need to strike an agreement: “But we’re not trying to gild the lily here, this is tough, it’s tough work”; I’m sure that ‘sugar coat the problem/challenge/job/…’ is what she means, for I understand gilding the lily to mean adding unnecessary or superfluous enhancement to something already splendid.

I liked Ms Gillard's line: “The challenge for Mr Abbott isn't to come up with a one-liner here; it's to give some content to the policy he now says the Opposition has.” The trouble is, that habit is shared more or less equally by both sides when it suits them, but yes, it happens to be a valid criticism of the Opposition at the moment.

The two interlocutors covered other things, namely national literacy standards, threatened strike action by Qantus and N.S.W. bus drivers, and Ms Gillard's recent past assessments of the character and colourful idiosyncracies of new Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, which she managed to handle to her advantage in the end, under a bit of pressure from Ms Sales.

Overall, Ms Sales did not act overly generously towards Ms Gillard in this interview, and that was good, for our Acting Prime Minister was doing a fine job of mainly talking a lot and saying very little.

Characteristically of Ms Sales, she ended the interview with her distinguished guest most graciously, with sincere thanks for Ms Gillard's interviews over the past year and best wishes were exchanged for the Christmas sabbatical for their respective families; this was a most fragrant and suitable reciprocated note to end upon. In fact, it hardly matters at times what they talk about, when you put two high calibre people together like tonight's dynamic - the experience is edifying to all who appreciate civilised and polite exchange.

I set to in the back room writing and researching after this, and attending to a backlog of emailing, while being treated to Clare Bowditch performing on Live at the Basement.

I created my sixth photo for the Lateline RESTRICTED interview series and uploaded it to my Abecedarian Project, before later going for a three a.m. walk.

A major kitchen clean up took a lot of time through until the sun rose, and I managed to water the back garden by hand. I phoned Mum to learn that she thinks she suffered a mini stroke last Wednesday, but didn't tell me in my subsequent phone calls to her. She has had numerous of these over the past five or six years, fortunately not affecting motor skills; my mother has had the lives of a cat, brushing with death so many times and defying odds that claim most people much sooner in life or leave them incapacitated mentally or physically or both.

This morning I have been solicitous for my sister Mary, who was undergoing day surgery at St John of God Subiaco, and Mum phoned me again to let me know her daughter, my dear niece Elizabeth, had picked her up to drive her home, so all was proceeding smoothly, thank God. We four siblings of course are now well and truly in the age group where everything will begin falling off, apart, or stop working.

A third phone call about midday from Mum gave me the very happy news that our transport problem was close to being solved, which was very happy news indeed, and a major blessing for Janny and me. In fact, this current waking stretch has another wonderful thing being done for me personally over in Osborne Park, due the generosity of Mum and the advocacy of my sister Helena, with the result probably being ready early next week; stay tuned. I have been blessed with two very loving sisters, and one very loving mother, who have been very good to me my whole life.

I was in the throes of one of those marathon awake sessions where I didn't sleep all night, nor the following morning, nor half the next afternoon, and in fact it wasn't till well after two in the afternoon that I finally got to bed, officially on Friday. Poor Janny had developed a severe migraine during the morning and returned to bed at midday, so I let her have the bedroom for the couple of hours during which she slept off the worst of it. She got up and I then claimed the bed for my shift.


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