Sunday, September 24, 2006

Not remotely interested

I just realised that the poet and I do not have a single remote control in our house. We don't have a television - we watch DVDs on my pc, and the tv's usually on when we visit his family, so we don't totally escape - and our several stereos are all remote-free. I'm not sure what other appliances even have remote controls.

And just to make us seem too completely out of touch with the modern world to be real, neither of us have mobile phones either. This was a choice, we don't actually need them, and someone's got to keep BT's payphones in business. Also, I am slightly paranoid about the whole radiation-brain thing.

The no television though, that was a bone of contention when the poet first asked me to move in with him. I didn't think I could handle not having a television, even just for 'company' when I was reading or writing, and I did miss Buffy intensely for about the first year. My mother encouraged me to buy a small set and keep it hidden in a cupboard when he was around. My mother! The women who rationed my siblings' and my viewing so fiercely when we were youngsters and wouldn't let us watch The Goodies.

Since then, though, I love not having a television in the house. I love that the focal points in our living room are (a) the aquarium and (b) a well-stocked bookcase. I really enjoy reading rather than sinking in front of the set and turning my brain off. Also, and this is probably the reason for the ban in the first place - the poet is a bit of a television junkie in that his eyes glaze over and he becomes deaf if he's watching it. I like him better when he's not like that. Actually, we can thank his choice of profession for our lack of domestic television - he said that when you put down a book and start writing, you're coming from a completely different, and more useful for his kind of writing, place than if you've just switched off the box after a hard session of Eastenders or Coronation Street. Speaking of which, what is it about British soaps that they have to be so grim and dreary and everyone is so unattractive? Learn from Australia, chaps, Neighbours and Home & Away might have the same crappy storylines, but the characters are young (mostly)! And good looking (mostly)! And there are beaches! They leave you with a good feeling, whereas a dose of British soap, leaves me wondering why I ever thought I could be happy in the UK when clearly no one else is.

Besides, watching television series on DVD is far more satisfying. When everyone else was complaining that Lost was boring and frustrating because nothing ever happens, I was quite content because if you're watching one episode after another in a short space of time, LOTS of things happen.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fall, so called

If you happen to be in North London and you see a female someone in pigtails (or not) meandering crazily but with purpose down the footpath, it's probably me. Not drunk, not stoned, not having balance issues, just indulging my love of stomping on dry brown crunchy autumn leaves. Set me free to run down the Mall to dear old Buckingham Palace on a sunny day in October and I am in heaven.

And the drunken yet purposeful look? Autumn leaves don't tend to fall in straight lines where I live.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Not falling on my head

England, I am liking you at the moment.

This new thing you're doing with the weather, where it rains hard and thunderstorms at night, and then doesn't rain during the daytime? Is kind of warm and sometimes
even sunny during the daytime? In autumn?

Why haven't you thought of this before?


I've spent about four days with the poet in the last month. All but one was a work day, so that would be four brief mornings while I scrambled to get ready for work and he tried to pretend it wasn't time to get up, and three evenings (me being otherwise engaged in therapeutic matters on Thursdays). Ah, and the sleeping time - remind me not to get too used to having the bed to myself next time he goes away. All those elbows and knees in my space, dammit!

Add to these brief interludes the fact that his usual poet workaholic-busyness was at a peak due to the time away from his desk (I should mention that the poet doesn't only write poetry, he also writes articles and essays and does a lot of teaching, so a desk is necessary for some of those activities), and you get a slightly disgruntled new wife who misses her new husband. It is of course completely irrelevant that we lived together for 6 years before we got married...

His mercy dash to Italy where his mum was taken ill (she's fine now after surgery for a hernia) took him away for two weeks and a day, not that I was counting, and then a few days later he headed off to Spain for seven days, teaching on a residential creative writing workshop. To be fair, it's harder on him than on me, he's putting the finishing touches to his latest book and it all keeps getting delayed further. Poor thing, and now he's having to put up with all that sun and sangria.

I have rediscovered the wimpy, unreconstructed needy chick in me though. Seriously, two days of not hearing from him due to phones not being available at the right time, my calling just after he left for somewhere etc etc and I am verging on weepy. One little call, one dose of his voice, and things are rosy again. I am so ashamed.

Still, there have been laughs. Like the time I called his aunt's house (the poet's family's house does not have a phone as it's only occupied a couple of weeks a year) to speak with him and the only person home was his (curiously attractive) 70-odd-year-old uncle. Who does not speak English. Not one word. And while I did do a night course in Italian a while back, it didn't really take. Thank goodness 'ok' seems to be universally understood.

And I did love the way the poet answered the phone (when he knew it was me) with 'hello'. In an Italian accent.

Come home soon poet. And stay a while. I promise not to kick you too many times when I'm trying to get comfortable and you are taking up the entire bed...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


We Western types may find more than enough to gripe and moan about on our little internet soapboxes, but I'll be so bold as to venture that we're not likely to see a headline reading
Torture fear for blogger
about an American, British or Commonwealth web writer any time soon.

Unlike the poor souls in Syria.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

You learn something new every day

Found outside Tesco today. I wasn't aware there was a precious metals aisle?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The tabloid press in this country disgust me.

Yesterday's Daily Mirror headline: Living Dead: Ian Huntley looks out at the world, dazed and drugged but still with evil in his eyes.

[Ian Huntley is the killer of two little girls in the 'Soham murders', who recently made a second suicide bid in jail]

Evil in his eyes? Oh yeah? If he was evil, why would he try to kill himself - surely he'd just be sitting in his cell going Mu-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, My evil shall not be foiled by mere prison walls... He did a terrible thing, and I'm all for his incarceration for life, but I don't purport to be able to see evil in someone's eyes, particularly in a photograph. Yet the Daily Mirror does. I find it insulting that readers are meant to look at this picture, read the headline and go ooh, yeah, look how evil. And that so many of them will.

It's beyond frightening that so many people buy these papers as an actual source of news, and seem incapable of thinking for themselves. Witness: this and of course the ever-growing Islamophobia.

And where was The Sun in all of this, I hear you ask. Far more civilised, of course. Short and sweet: Better Luck Next Time.


One London Underground employee to another:

That's what I'm trying to tell you - no two trains are the same. Not even the same train stays the same.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big up my biscuit!

We take snacks to their limit! boasts Pimp That Snack. Take your average everyday chocolate bar or biscuit and pump up the volume. Not to mention the heart disease.

Current pimping projects include the Scone Fit for Elton John (take the ingredients for 160 normal scones..... add jam and cream), and The Mother of All [blue] Smarties, weighing in at 2kg.

Or maybe you're more of an Oreo type?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


It’s not often that the death of a public figure really hits me. I remember where I was when I heard about River Phoenix, and Kurt Cobain (the bathroom, both times). And of course Princess Diana (at a picnic at Brisbane's Southbank). Somehow, when it’s an Australian, it hits harder. This morning I received an email from my mother saying that Steve Irwin died today.

Steve found fame as the Crocodile Hunter, in the television series of the same name, and ran Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where the poet and I shared an enormous ‘Crikey’ sundae and patted wallabies three years ago

I thought he was great, not afraid to be a bit of a dag (caring more about what he did than how he looked), passionate about the animals he helped, and totally in love with his wife and kids. A really decent guy. And bloody funny on television.

And the irony of the way he died, not wrestling a crocodile or teasing a snake, but a freak accident while snorkelling - he got a bit too close to a normally docile stingray and its barb went straight into his heart. He was apparently taking a break from his own filming to get some footage for his little daughter’s show.

Maybe he shouldn’t have taken the kinds of risks he did when he had small children, and maybe he has toned it down since he became a father. That’s his and his wife’s business. He could have retired from the hands-on conservation work and died in a car accident.

Someone else from Brisbane said it all: It's very sad and we are very upset. Australia just lost a bloody good bloke.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Kids these days

I forgot to mention that one of my nephews also has a webpage.

In case you were wondering, it’s the five year old.

Visual evidence

The poet took my adaptor for my (Australian) battery recharger to use with his electric razor in Italy. The power in my digital camera is running scarily low, but I’ve managed to eke out a few more pictures.

(the apples in our garden are almost ready)

(and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bad birdie!

Autumn is edging ever closer here in the UK, and the chill in the air will no doubt remind the media to start panicking us again about avian influenza.

The autumn migration period, during which wild birds move from their northerly breeding grounds to wintering sites, will soon begin and migratory birds are expected in mainland Europe any time now. Experts advise that during the autumn migration period there will be a greater likelihood of avian influenza (H5N1) in wild birds in Europe.

The international alert level for pandemic influenza, advised by the World Health Organisation, remains at alert level 3: human infections with a new sub-type but no new human-to-human spread, or at most rare instances of spread to a close contact, but anyone want to place bets as to the first ‘It’s on its way, prepare to die’ tabloid headline?

London would have to be the worst place to be if a pandemic hits the UK. We’re crammed together on tubes, buses and trains, too many people somehow think it’s ok to spit in the streets, sneeze and cough without attempting to cover their nose/mouth and, my personal favourite, sneeze into their hand (1/2 a point for effort) and then grab the pole they were holding on to with their snotty infectious hand.

We are doomed.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Listening to James Whale on TalkSport last night – rather a bizarre choice of radio station for the poet and I to have as our default nighttime listening I always think, given our lack of interest (mostly) in sport, but we do love the Whale. His show often has interesting topics, and amusing callers – I was struck by the thought that radio talk shows and blogs have a lot in common.

Both tend to have a mix of current events mixed with the opinion of the presenter/blogger, which can make for controversial listening/reading. Radio shows and blogs both tend to attract more attention the more controversial they are. Both give a mouthpiece to the presenter/blogger, with a relatively unlimited audience – although radio probably has the edge in terms of the number of shows/blogs with a large audience, given the thousands of blogs that exist, and blogs have the potential to reach far more people (live) than a radio broadcast (as opposed to listening to the radio via the web).

Radio shows have callers, blogs have comments. Hosts can hang up on or ban callers, bloggers can delete comments and ban commenters. Some people become serial callers, some commenters comment on every blog post (well, I’m hoping….) Radio hosts have a 5 second delay before anything goes to air, bloggers can delay hitting the publish button as long as they like.

Have I missed anything?

So, welcome to MarriedtoaPoet, the radio show. Do call in, but it might take me a minute to get to the microphone as I'll be in bed listening to James Whale. I think it's aliens tonight. Hope Phil the trucker calls in.