As part of the Great Ikea Marathon a few weeks ago, I bought a new armchair. Usually the Ikea furniture is hard and unyielding, like the Swedes who make it. However this armchair is squashy and oversized, and comfortable to stretch out on sideways (very important). Anyway, early the other night I was on the armchair playing on the laptop, musing on what I would do. The night was young, it stretched ahead of me, I had infinite possibilities. And then I scrabbled around to find a better position and upended my bottle of Coke. And by ‘upended’, I mean I somehow turned the bottle upside down and wedged the neck down the side of the armchair, between the cushions. Like I’d planned it. It was so perfectly positioned it was hard to believe I hadn’t done it on purpose. Did I mention the armchair is white? The armchair is white.

And the funny thing is, I actually sat there for a minute, listening to the ‘gurk-gurk-gurk’ of the Coke as it poured out of the bottle into the depths of the armchair. I didn’t flounder for the bottle or race for towels. I just sat there and breathed out heavily through my nose and watched my night slip away from me. I played in my head how it would go: getting up, yanking off the cushions, mopping up the Coke, pulling the recalcitrant, wet slipcovers off the armchair, washing them, drying them, ironing them and finally, struggling to get them back on to the chair like a mutinous child who needs to have its arms forced into its winter coat. I could see it all happening. But I didn’t want it to start just yet. I wanted to think about that other night, the one where I didn’t spill an entire bottle of brown liquid down the middle of a white chair, the one where I could do whatever I wanted rather than whatever I had to. It was very depressing.

And then I floundered for the bottle and raced for towels.

But on the plus side: the armchair is fully recovered. Turns out that Ikea tucks all of the springy metal parts under a sort of water-resistant cover and should you pour Coke into the bowels of the chair, it just pools on the cover, meaning you can mop it up without sustaining internal chair damage. And you can wash the slipcovers, obviously. I knew about the slipcovers when I bought the armchair; it was just that I wasn’t planning on testing it out QUITE so soon.

(“Eh de pour de cola down de ormchair … do de do de do!”)

secret squirrel

I got a voicemail from my mum the other day and instead of listening to it I just rang her back. (The joy of Skype.) Turns out I should have just listened to the message, as it was easily as long as the phone call. Anyway, family friends have just bought a house, about 5 houses up from my parents. (Small world.) And this house was originally owned by other family friends whose kids were the same age, and we all used to run between both houses tirelessly all day. The older kids, me and Z; the smaller kids, our younger sisters M and E. However this was a good 25 years ago, and there’s been at least 4 owners of the house since then. But the new owners were cleaning the upstairs bedroom, where there is a little cupboard set into the eaves of the house, and for some reason they were half inside it cleaning and… there was writing on the wall. “This is Jacqueline and Z’s secret hiding place. M and E keep out.”

Written, at the very least, 25 years ago, and still there. I have no memory of it; I sincerely doubt that Z does. But I know I wrote it. For a start, my name is first in the first clause, and my sister’s name is first in the second. (Hi, confusing much?) And the second thing is that we used to do this sort of stuff ALL THE TIME. We were always forming secret clubs with rules and clubhouses and meetings and stuff. And when I say ‘we’, I mean ‘I’ because it was totally my obsession. And thirdly? Identifying our secret hiding place by WRITING IT ON THE WALL. Rookie mistake. I hardly ever do that with my evil lairs these days.

the bowels of the earth

Watching TV late on Sunday night I heard a plane fly overhead, low and long and rumbling. “Odd,” I thought to myself, considering the house is not in any sort of flight path. But it was far too loud and steady to be a truck going by, so I called it a plane and ignored it. A few minutes later I heard another one. “Huh,” I thought to myself (you can see the great depth of my intellectual curiosity, right there).

Then I woke up this morning and read that Melbourne had experienced a small earthquake. “Oh, that makes sense,” I thought to myself … then thought no more about it. I don’t know what it would take to get me really excited: an erupting volcano in the CBD? The Yarra rising and parting in a huge, muddy wave? A plague of locusts? I don’t appear to be that skittish.

Although speaking of, the aircon turned on behind me last night and the cat, who had been hogging the armchair beside me, woke up, flared his ears, then flung himself clear across the room using my leg and his claws as a convenient fulcrum point. And yet he MADE NO NOISE when the plane/earthquake went by. Animals and their secret senses? Not convinced. Maybe my animal is broken.


Do you know what’s cool? Surfing eBay while watching TV in the corner of the laptop. SO COOL. So I got one of those TV tuner things because I’m not going to bother to buy an actual TV, what with my total sum TV watching being “Grey’s Anatomy” and … no, that’s it. So, I mean, I like “Grey’s Anatomy” and all, but not enough to drop a grand or so on a TV. (Yes, I know I could buy a TV cheaper, but work with me here.)

So now I’m looking at eBay crap and watching “Countdown to the Most Inspiring Movie of All Time” on 7, which is … OK, not overly inspiring. Hey I can take screenshots! Wait and I’ll take one … what movie do you want me to screenshot? Or maybe an ad … Oh, “National Velvet”. I’ve wanted to see that movie forever and I’ve never found it anywhere. This one’s “The Shawshank Redemption” … yep, knew it. Intersperse with boring stars telling crap stories … MY GOD I’M LIVEBLOGGING. I’m so embarrassed. This is a misuse of technology! I could get the tuner card taken off me, I’m sure of it.

Ann Frank never had a TV tuner card.

I can’t be sure of the horse, though.

in which the word ‘pustulent’ was considered, but rejected

So I have this rash.

And frankly I think that opening tops out “It was a dark and stormy night” any day of the week. For anyone still reading [hi, please don’t email me about your own rash] you can be assured that indeed I do have a rash. All up the inside of my arm, no less. I repotted my Christmas tree from last year (yes, it’s still alive – I’m as surprised as you are) into a large Ikea self-watering plant pot. I can’t remember its Ikea name: SKORNFUL maybe, or HYMEN. And in the process I had to get up close and personal with the tree (turns out when you leave a tree in a small plastic pot for a year, it’s all over the pot like a fat kid at a buffet). Wrestling with a pine tree is not half as much fun as it sounds. And it sounds like no fun at all. Anyway, my tree-rasslin’ arm is now covered in tiny red raised dots, some of which threaten to ooze. I KNOW. You come here for the imagery, just like a food blog. I know I do.

So I was sitting in a meeting the other day, hangin’ out, scratchin’ ma rash (must… not… link… pictureohnotoolate) — OK I wasn’t really scratchin’ ma rash, I was scratchin’ ma ear. And I realised the earring in it was half hanging out, because it had no butterfly, which … you know what? This story isn’t really going anywhere, and I’ve completely lost interest because I’ve grossed myself out with the rash thing. Let’s wrap this thing up. Lost butterfly, carefully remove earring and store in a safe place, forget location of safe place, panic ensues, found earring, found butterfly, all is right with the world.

Apart from the rash.


Well the cat is a bit more settled, and he has now taken to exploring his perimeter. This includes a building site which he seems overly interested in, and I’m not too pleased with his choice of playground, but what can you do. Well, I suppose you can keep him locked inside and put up with his incessant, piercing yowls, but I recommend you not do that. It is hard to block that out. Part of his route involves a nimble walk across a brick wall which, from my viewpoint, is only about 8 feet above the ground. I didn’t actually realise that on the other side of that wall is a terrifying 20 foot drop to a below-ground basement level. Nice. Still, to a cat, a brick wall is like an eight-lane freeway, so I’m confident he can navigate his way around. He is locked inside at present during the day until I am sure he knows where he is and how to get back into the house. I’m hopeful tomorrow he can roam free, free like the wind blows. And maybe then he’ll stop yowling. Free like the grass grows … la la somethingsomething LAAAAA.

Sadly, a work trip to North Queensland was cancelled today, which is unfortunate. For me, anyway. It’s probably quite fortunate for the denizens of North Queensland, who have been narrowly spared the sight of my blinding, incandescent whiteness on their lovely beaches. Do you know, there are quite a lot of English people where I work, and I am whiter than they. MORE PALE THAN THE ENGLISH. I have no words.

… no wait, I’ve found some more words. I got a fridge & washing machine delivered on Sunday, and as I directed the delivery guy up into the house, he said, “So what part of New Zealand are you from?” I swear I had said seven words: “Hey, I’ll get the door for you.” None of which have traditional New Zealand inflections. Funnily enough, several hours earlier I was asked, “What’s your accent? Is it English?” I blame the blinding whiteness of my skin. And my habit of calling people “guvnor”.