Sunday, October 31, 2004

Family Day

My brother and sis-in-law picked Dad and I up this morning for a trip to Rockingham to visit my auntie. We had lunch, fish (shark) and chips, on the foreshore in Rockingham and then spent some time with Auntie Marion and her son and family.

Below is a photo I took in what used to be the Reading Room in the Brit Museum. Each time I visit I explore a different part of the Museum as there's so much to look at one visit doesn't do it justice. There were a couple of guides with touch tables trying to get kids interested in fossils.

The British Museum Reading Room - now a hands on experience. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Another photo.

A building made from Meccano, or so it seems, near Victoria Station, London. Posted by Hello

Photo - the Sherlock Holmes Museum

I visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum on the morning of September 19. Baker Street has the loveliest Art Deco buildings. The Museum appears to be run by Russians and it's rather odd hearing a Russian accent coming from a security guard/doorman dressed as a Bobby.

There are three floors of interesting bric a brac and a couple of rooms of souvenirs for sale (of course). Also lots of Japanese and Russians taking photos of everything. I'd seen an item on the telly a couple of days before which reported that Britain is the destination of choice for a lot of Russians - it seems that they are an Anglophilic people. They either want to travel to the UK for a holiday or settle there and make a lot of money. Gotta love capitalism.

After spending my hard earned on SH stuff, I caught the tube to Tottenham Court Rd and wandered around the British Museum. I shall post a pic of what has become of the Reading Room - it's become a hands on experience and looks lovely. The Reading Room has moved to the The Great Court and is stunning.

And the wander around the Brit. Mus. was followed by a wander around Charing Cross Rd and a few of the resident bookshops.

Sherlock Holmes's study in the Museum at 221B Baker Street. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 29, 2004

Happy Birthday Godzilla

Who was 50 yesterday. A conference to discuss the movies is being held this weekend at the University of Kansas. "The KU conference will focus on academic lectures, panel discussions, exhibits, children's activities and screenings of Godzilla movies. Many sessions will explore the idea of Godzilla as the crucial trailblazer of the globalization and mass marketing of East Asian pop culture. All conference events are free and take place in Lawrence." Apparently there are a lot of people who relate to Godzilla, which I guess means they have some affinity with men in rubber suits.

An inexpensive day today. I was expecting to have to get new glasses however my eyesight hasn't deteriorated enough to warrant them. And I'm getting $315 back from the Tax Office.

I now have 116,000 Qantas frequent flyer points which will get me to a number of exotic locations free. Lord knows when I'll get to use them.


I'd like to be able to post some photos however it appears that Blogger is again acting up.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Like a summer's day.

Mutterings continued.

It was 18c at 7am, very warm on the roads and then a welcoming sea breeze came in.

Had fish and chips with Leece and Rob at Peter's in Scarb last night. After dinner we stood and watched the sea for a while - and followed the exploits of a seagull with a chip and its attempts to eat it in peace. It didn't and the chip was stolen by another gull. Meanwhile, another seagull was chasing, catching and eating moths. The clouds were lowering (insert Richard III quote here) but I don't think anything came from them.

Today I took Dad shopping at Bunnings for potting mix and flowers. He's keeping himself occupied by pottering in the garden, looking after his vegie garden and planting seedlings. This Sunday we're off to Rockingham to visit his sister and sister in law.

And tomorrow I'm getting my eyes checked and, finally, my taxes. I think I'll get some money back from the Tax Office; lord knows I've spent enough on medical/dental bills in the last financial year.

From yesterday

Mutterings continued.

Blogger appeared to have chucked a wobbly yesterday and I couldn't post the following:

Humid today, tomorrow looks worse.

I went shopping this morning; bought some summer clothes and throws for the lounge room. And four place mats. Not very exciting really. And then I had lunch with Kim at the Dux in South Perth. We had the very yummy penne with chicken, mustard, asparagus. V. nice indeed.

And tonight it's fish and chips at Scarborough with TUS. It feels like weeks since I've been.....hmm, it has been weeks. Having had cod and chips in a number of chippies around the UK, I've decided that I prefer our shark. In Scotland we had haddock, not cod, and it was a I'm afraid I like to fish to taste of nothing much at all (except smoked cod) and haddock was a touch strong. The fish at the Magpie cafe in Whitby was lovely, however. Pity about the horrid child sharing our table.

It seems that ponchos are back, at least in the UK. All the shops seem to carry them and some are pretty pricey. Will we follow next winter, I wonder.

Green Wing - can't remember if I've mentioned this tv series before. Very funny, surreal, hard to describe, has the wonderful Tamsin "Black Books", "The Archers" Greig as Dr Caroline Todd.

And from today - the counter on the Possblog has hit 5000. Thanks all for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Silly quizzes

Mutterings continued.

You are .dll You are dynamic.  You are constantly in danger of bringing down the house, because you don't play well with others.
Which File Extension are You?

Thanks to Leece for this one:

You are Princess Agbani. You are a student at the University of Nigeria, Lagos.  You got my name through the chember of comerse.  You have $21,350,000 to share, which your father, the king, left you. You have trouble spelling.
Which Nigerian spammer are You?

I missed my blog's anniversary.

Mutterings continued.

September 15 last year I decided to set this thing up and I'm surprised that it's still going.

I got my photos back this morning and I will have to rearrange all the PC plugs to get my scanner up and running (I only have two USB ports in the tower and one of them is for the mouse so I'm sharing a port between the printer and the scanner.) so I can inflict the evidence of my trip upon a waiting world. I only had four films developed and one of those was a disposable camera that I bought in Ostia Antico, Italy a couple of years ago when I ran out of film. I'd forgotten what was on it - turns out it was mostly pics of Ostia and some lovely 2000 year old mosaics.

I went into my holiday very half hearted as up until the day I left I wasn't sure if I was actually going. I didn't plan it very well and ending up packing stuff I didn't use (two polo neck skivvies and a jumper) and not enough socks. And one glove. I think deep down I knew that I wouldn't be going to Paris, which is why I didn't actually do any planning. I took my Lonely Planet guide and that was about it.

I got some nice shots of Loch Ness and will get the magnifying glass out later to see if I can see anything cryptozooic (thank you Leece!) in the waters.

I'm having a declutter and revamp of the flat. As I'm renting there's not that much I can do but I've bought new curtains and throws for the lounge chairs and the room has a distinctly maroon and cream look to it. I keep promising myself that I'll get to the spare room and have a clear out as it's full of books, props, prop making materials, etc, but I'm scared that if I start I'll never get to the end of it.

It was Mum's funeral yesterday morning. The service was read by an officer from the Salvation Army and he did a lovely job - no embelishments or hyperbole, just some thoughtful words and Psalm 23. We had three pieces of music - Danny Boy, which she and Dad both love, the second movement from Dvorak's From the New World Symphony (it had been put to words and sung by Paul Robeson and called, appropriately, Going Home) and Amazing Grace sung by Harry Secombe.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thank you

to everyone who has emailed me about Mum. I'm still not up to phoning people yet but I will.

The funeral is on Monday morning and that is going to be so hard. That's the acknowledgment that she really has gone - she'd been in and out of hospital for so long that she hadn't physically been with us for a while but we could visit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Mum died this morning. It was peaceful and gentle and pain free. For most of the night my father, brother, sister in law and I sat with her and the nurses who cared for her came in every few hours to turn her, brush her hair and talk to her. This morning, with Dad sitting on one side of her and me on the other, she breathed out one final time.

I love her very much and my heart is breaking but I wanted to post this message as there are people who care for her and care for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Home - other concerns.

Mutterings continued.

Things are not going well with Mum. She left hospital a couple of weeks ago for a nursing home in Armadale. Dad and I went to see her on Friday morning and she was unconscious. She was taken by Ambulance to Armadale Kelmscott Hospital where she is currently in palliative care.

She has pneumonia and the cancer has advanced in both lungs. This morning she recognised me however I'm not sure in what context - she recognised my brother yesterday but told him off for something he did as a kid.

She's not on life support and they are treating her as an acute patient, which means they haven't given up on treating her - she's getting antibiotics for the pneumonia as well as other therapies.

I spent Friday night at Dad's as my brother was worried about the stress of the day on him - good thing I did as he had another pulmonary embolism, his fourth this month. I got a call about 1.30am from the EC doctor to advise that he wasn't responding to treatment and I should go in. I rang my brother and we sat with Dad for about 3 hours while he did finally to respond to treatment.

I went to visit them both yesterday and could hear his voice from down the corridor. He's exhausted but on the mend. A couple of the doctors during his last stay in hospital told him he wouldn't survive the next attack and tried to get him to sign a form to say that he doesn't want to be revived - NFR. He refused. At the time Dad was in a ward with three other men who all suffered from the same thing and who were asked to sign the NFR form. They also refused and took to calling the doctors 'The Undertakers" and one asked the doctor where his tape measure was.

I visited this morning and Mum was a little more alert, had eaten some breakfast with assistance and sort of knew me. Dad is sleeping in her room in a fancy recliner rocker he wants to take home.

None of us can say enough about the professionalism, dedication and sheer wonderfulness of the staff in Emergency and Palliative care.


Mutterings continued.

Let's last post still had me in Stratford.

On the Monday at breakfast at the B and B I got talking to a chap from London who was down for a few days for a break. A few years ago he had made himself a promise that he would see the entire canon on Shakespeare's play in 10 years - he did it in four! Having the RSC play all of The Histories in 2000 helped - he said that he saw all the Henry VIs in the one day and could quite happily have seen the sequal, Richard III, that night. Apparently the RSC is doing the complete canon next year in Stratford. I'd loved to have spoken to him for longer as he had attended a workshop the RSC ran where acting families discussed what it was like to have siblings, parents, children etc all in the same profession and David Troughton and his son Sam took part.

I dropped the hire car back at the Hertz office next to the railway station (where the poor woman who single handedly runs the place was trying to clean and check in what looked like a dozen cars! She took my keys, had a quick look at the outside of it, checked the petrol gauge and said "Thanks." and that was it.). I was about an hour and a half early for my train to London but was befriended by an elderly lady from Edinburgh who told me her life story, bought me a cup of tea and helped make the time pass most pleasantly.

On the train I sat next to a chap from Stratford who lives in Twickenham who was down visiting his family. He's had glandular fever and is off work on sick leave. That was another pleasant couple of hours. The things strangers tell you.

Got off at Paddington and immediately got on the Heathrow Express. I had to have my air ticket amended at the BA office in Terminal 1. I then got a cab to the Sheraton Skyline Hotel. As I was flying out at 6.20am the next day and had to be at the airport a couple of hours before then, I’d booked a room, a very expensive room (it was the cheapest they had!) to try and get some sleep before the next horrendous couple of days. There was a bit of confusion at the front desk as the confirmation number I’d been given by the Heathrow hotel room finder was wrong, however he managed to dig out a fax that confirmed that I had actually booked a room.

<>The room was wonderful! King sized bed, bath, huuuuge fluffy towels (which I had to ring down for), telly with lots of channels. I had a bath and went to bed about 7pm, with a wakeup call for 3.15am. <>

It turned out that I didn’t need to be at the airport until 5am. Caught the plane to Paris, wandered around the poorly serviced Terminal 2A for 5 and a bit hours before boarding QF18, one of the Longreach planes. I think I dozed on the plane as I seem to have seen Harry Potter 3 about four times but never in its entirety. 11 hours and 55 minutes it was off the plane at Singers for an hour while they changed the cargo and got a different crew. I dozed but didn’t really sleep during the flight to Perth. <>

As I had handed my luggage over to Qantas at Heathrow and wasn’t catching one of the scheduled connecting flights, I was concerned that my suitcase could end up anywhere, but after about 15 minutes it came tootling around the baggage conveyor. I had nothing to declare, except a nearly empty packet of Mark and Spencer’s Chocolate Digestive biscuits, which after consultation with Customs, I waved in the face of the AQIS officer. <>The wonderful Robandleece met me, plied me with water and Leece took me to Dad’s where I spent the night not sleeping very well.

So, that’s the trip – I shall post more in the future when I get my souvenirs, which are heading this way by sea, and photos.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Last day in Stratters

Mutterings continued.

Penultimate (sort of) day in the UK. I'm sitting in the Stratford Library using one of their very fast, very new computers. The last time we visited here the library was very small and had one computer, which was booked out for days. The place has become a Tardis - deceptively small on the outside and huge on the inside.

And net use is free.

Yesterday I visited Warwick Castle, once ancestral home to the Earl of Warwick; the latest incumbent sold it to the Madame Taussaud's groups in 1979 and it's now a theme park, of sorts, with lots of rather good wax models.

I thought I would be brave and take the Ramparts Walk, 503 steps ending in a fabulous view of Warwickshire. I didn't count on Guy's Tower, a winding, very narrow, very dark stone staircase that seemed to go up forever. Half way up I became very claustrophobic and had to walk back down. This isn't easy, given it's One Way traffic only and other people had to climb down to let me through. I didn't run screaming but I got close.

Tomorrow I take the car back to Hertz at the Stratford train station ( a day early), get on the 11.48 to London and then the Heathrow Express to Terminal 1 to have my ticket changed. I've booked a room in one of the hotels close to to the airport - unfortunately the only one close to Terminal 4, from where I depart, is charging £195 a night. That's nigh on $600!

I'll be up at 3am, hoping to get a cab at 3.30am to get me to Terminal 4 in time to book in at 4.30. My flight is at 6.20am and they like you there at least 2 hours prior. Arrive in Paris at 8.30am and fly out again at 2.30pm. A 19 hour flight I'm not looking forward to. Still, it beats 13 to Singapore, 6 hours in Singers and then 5 to Perth as in the old days.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Stratford, day 3 (well, 2 and a half)

Mutterings continued.

The morning broke rather cold all around the country, with fog causing headaches for drivers on the various motorways. The sun is now out and the sky very blue.

Yesterday I drove to Portmeirion in Wales, a journey that took a little (ok, a lot) longer than anticipated. Portmeirion is on that little bit of northern Wales that sort of hooks over. The scenery on the way was jawdroppingly beautiful - mountains, waterfalls, red bits, green bits..... Gorgeous!

The Village (and it IS called The Village) is amazing and just as colourful as it appears in The Prisoner. Busloads of pensioners eating icecream in the gardens, and me trawling through The Prisoner shop (the only manifestation, BTW, of the tv series) grabbing buttons, postcards and other ephemera.

This morning was spent in the Nuffield Library in the Shakespeare Centre watching the RSC's 1995 production of Richard III. Very funny stuff from David Troughton. I had lunch at Bensons (an institution for Ash and myself) - Earl Grey Tea (which comes with more pots etc than the table can comfortably hold) and roast turkey with bacon, lettuce and tomato salad sandwich. The waitstaff give people dining alone magazines to read without being asked. It's that kind of place.

Dunno what this afternoon brings - probably spending more money.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Mutterings continued.

It's been a while - a lot has happened and some things won't now happen. Mum is very sick and I'm heading home early. I managed to change my flight from the 21st to the 12th, the earliest Qantas can get me home without charging me $6000. I won't have the extra days in London, nor will I be going to Paris, except to sit in the airport for 6 hours waiting for a connecting flight.

Derek Jacobi in Don Carlos was brilliant, of course. The Crucible theatre was only half full, unlike the Tempest a couple of years ago that was sold out. Sir Del plays a baddie so well.

I will never, never, ever drive into Sheffield ever, ever again. Unlike last time, we got into the city ok, found the hotel, found the car park. This time we couldn't get out and ended up driving where no cars are meant to drive - the tram tracks. We were rescued by a lovely man from Supertram who said consolingly, ''You're not the first, you won't be the last. Trucks have done it, buses have done it. Don't worry about it.'' After realising that I was was heading towards the abyss (ie oncoming trams) I ended up on the footpath outside a bank. Ash went for help, I sat in the car looking for all the world like a getaway driver trying not to look suspicious.

We did a search on the net afterwards, using the keywords 'trams' 'cars' 'Sheffield' and 'accidents' - seems there are a lot of people who go astray on the tramtracks, mostly they skid on the metal and plow into the pylons. At least I didn't do that.

Yesterday I visited the Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford with Nick. Fascinating stuff, though the Photography section, with its old photos of long dead people, really creeped me out. Not sure why.

Today was spent driving from Huddersfield down to Stratford and having a bit of a wander. Tomorrow I think I'll go to Portmeirion.