Well, the temperature in Sydney is 29 and it’s beautifully sunny with a soft breeze. But I’m in bed! With a cold! Caught it on the plane coming home from Melbourne I think… in 24 hours my mucus has gone from clear to green to yellow to clear again… but it was worth it, going to Melbourne that is. Caught up with both of my Nannas. The 89-year-old, Ida, is currently having a holiday with one of her sons, my favourite Uncle Rod, who lives in leafy Mt Evelyn. It was so great to spend an afternoon with them, admiring Rod’s BMW motorbike, getting all the family goss from Nanna, seeing my Auntie Leonie and cousin Josh… Josh’s partner Helen was there too, she does things with bodies at the Coroner’s Office, so that was really interesting. We had a good talk about skin tissue harvesting and the shaving/planing tool you do it with, etc. Heh.
The other Nanna, 90-year-old Evelyn, went into assisted care recently. At her new home she has a largish room that overlooks a garden and a big bathroom to herself… and use of various pleasantly furnished reception/dining/lounge areas around the place. There was a group of ‘inmates’ (as Nanna calls them!) doing ‘exercises’ in one of the lounges (as far as I could discern, from walking past the open door twice, there was no actual movement going on). I’d taken the train out there, to Sandringham, and we strolled out for lunch at a nearby cafe. Then Nanna surprised me by suggesting a walk to the nearby beach; she reached the cliff edge quite easily with her walking frame on wheels. She seemed relieved, and was even a little bit giggly, about giving up most of her possessions. Strange how they weigh us down and yet we love them so (have you seen Up in the Air yet?). She asked if I could visit her unit one more time before it’s sold, and go through the cupboards to get anything I wanted. Most of the stuff has already been sent to various relatives, including me, but I climbed on a chair to look in some high cupboards and found three gorgeous & enormous cut-glass bowls. Salads at my place will be fully classy from now on.
I stayed in Melbourne with little Griff and his beautiful mums… check him out on the phone to Richard…
Other news: I’m managing my big pile of work… I got an extension on one of the papers: the one about Orlan and Leora Farber. The UK grant application has been pretty much finished and the ARC (Australian) one is looking good. I had some very generous advice about it from a former UTS Dean of Humanities. I don’t expect to actually get either of the grants, but going through the writing/editing process is very good for me! Today I’m reading through five exegeses plans & drafts (they’re the written component, 30,000 words, of the Doctor of Creative Arts) before running a workshop for the artist/writers on Thursday. Work is wonderful.
SO my dear readers, Happy Australia Day, or Orstraya Day as we say with our funny accents, or Invasion Day as we say if we’re being politically correct, or Bogan Day if we’re being terribly grumpy. If I start to feel less snotty and coughy and wheezy then Richard and I are going out for dinner later on, probably to Greenacre to one of our Lebanese favourites, Al Aseel, which I think is quite fitting for today.