Monday, December 31

balanced view

Since I got some bliss counselling to help me deal with the approaching hordes from Australia, I've been able to reframe the whole thing in my mind. Forget feeling guilty and indebted. In fact, they should be grateful to me for accepting their hospitality for all those months. They live in the most isolated city on earth, and I brought some unique weirdness and Scottishness into their lives. Who do they think they are? Trying to make me feel bad. When they phone, I'll tell them to piss off!

I feel better already.

They phoned just now, and it's all worked out fine. I'm going to their hotel at 7 on Wednesday morning, for a morning constitutional with the head pict. Then we'll meet the others and go somewhere for breakfast and I can pick up the tab without breaking the bank. And because it's early in the day most of them will be sober. Such good fortune! What was I so concerned about? If only I was a proletarian I would never have worried in the first place.

PS - must remember to double the bliss pillage on Wednesday.

Saturday, December 29

here they come

There's half a dozen Scots folk arriving in town today, to experience the New South Caledonian New Year celebrations. Fortunately the house is like a building site and I can't ask them to stay, so I should escape the worst of the alcoholic poisoning. But I'll need to spend some time with them. I'll try to arrange it for early in the day - as far as I remember, as a rule the never drink before breakfast.

These are dear people and I love them, but it's complicated. A long time ago when I was at a low ebb following the loss of my cats, my home and my partner, I landed on them in Perth, Australia, where they live in the suburbs. They are the classic working class Scots who escaped to build new lives in the colonies. Though they didn't know me from a bar of soap, I was Scottish and they took me in and looked after me for several months. I think they could tell I was a bit of a basket case. I felt touched yet embarrassed at their generosity. And they didn't ask anything in return! The most selfless thing that I did in return was to keep my hands off their 17-year-old daughter. In the daytime I was free to go for a jog, sometimes in 40 ° of heat, before grazing through their fridge and lying by their pool. In the evening when the adults came home, I was forced against my will to drink beer and watch videos.

The main couple were like a big brother and sister to me, or maybe a mum and dad. It was a regression for me. To be looked after, in some ways better than I ever was as a child. And in such a comfortable and permissive environment.

These folk are salt-of-the-earth types, which is lovely, but a slightly uneasy combination with a former minor aristocrat like myself. I've never felt comfortable with their non-stop proletarian digs (not just at me, but also at each other and the world in general). And maybe they're not 100% relaxed around me and my sensitive new man reserve.

Maybe another problem is that they're a large and happy clan, and I come from an insular and troubled nuclear family. I used to feel overwhelmed when I had to go for dinner with the Edinburgh jewish princess's extended family. Doctor Robert would probably diagnose it as a weakly differentiated ego or something, but what does he know?

When I left the Perth clan, and went to live in the UnHeard Of group of islands, I missed them, though it was also a relief to be away. How can I now show them I love them, without embarrassing any of us? Probably the most acceptable way to return their kindness is to pay their drinks bill when we meet, but to do that properly I'd need to sink a lot of beer myself. Either that, or stay on sodas and watch them from the outside as they get shit-faced, loud and obnoxious.

I'm hoping my bliss partner will come along, unlike me she's very good in company and can charm them while I pass around photos and keep the drinks coming. Maybe it won't be so bad after all. I'll just open a bottle of homemade Freedom Ale now, to limber up the liver.

Thursday, December 20

3 wishes HNT

  1. I wish for a worldwide end to all horribleness.

  2. I wish there was a chance of wish number 1 ever coming true.

  3. I wish I had more time to blog and read blogs. I've got a huge backlog of things to show and tell, but no time to do it. But one thing's for sure - early next year I'll be posting the world's first 3-D HNT. Get your red-and-blue glasses ready.


Thursday, December 13

christmas tree HNT

This week's HNT theme is Christmas Trees.

On my last trip to Sydney, I visited the Sculpture By The Sea outdoor exhibition. This sculpture is a tree made out of giant pea pods. Maybe it's a beanstalk.


Tuesday, December 11

tradesman tourette's

The kitchen project continues - 40,000 dollars down and two months out of my life so far. The last tradesman finished today, and the remaining work is down to me now, so I'll have no-one to blame but myself. But still, in idle moments I still find myself thinking about that plasterer and swearing out loud. I think I'm suffering from that new syndrome, Tradesman-related Tourette's Syndrome (TTS).

The plumber today was from Larkhall. He's been here in New South Caledonia for three years, and has had enough, heading home for New Year. I can't see that Scottish New Year drunks are any better than the ones we have here. When I asked why he can't stand it here, he said he misses his family. Aha! Everything balances up - I'm a Scot who came to this godforsaken country precisely because it's as far away as possible from my family. I never have to worry about homesickness and missing people. What a fortunate creature I am!

When I assumed the plumber supported Motherwell, he explained that there's only one football team for someone from Larkhall - "the boys in blue", i.e. Glasgow Rangers.

That was my lame attempt to appear to know something about football. At the moment I seem to be waking at 4 a.m. every night. Instead of just lying there for a couple of hours, I get up and do 10 minutes' yoga, then I get straight back to sleep. What a fortunate creature I am!

For no reason at all, here's a photo I found while browsing (browsing for what, I forget). The place where I found it was mocking this person, but I think they're quite brave.

after 30

Tuesday, December 4

trade balance

The only thing wrong with project-managing the building of your new kitchen is that you have to deal with tradesmen. I shouldn't say that, because it's not quite fair - I've had some wonderful tradesmen too. But I've had one or two shockers, people who really need the services of a good psychiatrist.

You might say that when half the tradesmen are great, and half of them a disaster, it's a fair balance. But it's not. The bad ones bring grief, sorrow and lamentations into your life, whereas the good ones are conflict-neutral: they just get on and do the job you're paying them for.

Last week I had the plasterers from hell. If the universe was properly balanced, the good plumbers for example would be beautiful Thai whores, dancing naked in their tea-break before finishing off your pipework. That would be fair compensation.