Travelling with a fruitcake

fruit cake MRFD

Monday was flight to Perth day, and despite a major accident on the highway we were early enough to the Brisbane Airport to have the privilege of paying $38AUS for two ham and cheese croissants (barely toasted), two flat white coffees and two bottles of water.

The day before Mr FD and I have a slight tête-à-tête about seating arrangements. Mr FD of recent years has been in more frequent need of the bathroom and was ecstatic to discover two seats right next to the toilet. However, opinion was expressed that someone did not fancy sitting next to the toilet and toilet line for 5 and a half hours, so a discussion ensured.

Mr FD saw the error of his ways and booked seats so far away from the toilet line as to be almost in the next aeroplane. And not without complaint may I add. His complaint.

I got the window seat, as Mr FD garnered the aisle seat for a free loo run. I enjoyed miles of nothing except red dirt and salt pans that is the Nullabor Plains – so very, very dry.

In economy, we stifled a moan when it was announced business class would be receiving their free alcohol. We did however get a mini weis ice-cream bar for dessert which was most enjoyable. If you can ever get your taste buds around a mango and ice cream bar, do, even if it costs top money. (One of my nieces once worked as their food technologist and never gave me one free sample and for that I have never forgiven her.)

I read Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy on the plane over. In one chapter she discusses dermatillomania (scalp picking) which the son of a colleague suffers with. I developed an even greater interest in the subject when Mr FD knocked his cup of hot coffee down his jean leg. Yep, one in every plane.

Not long after, I needed the bathroom myself, and so Mr FD had to display his wet brown leg to the masses as he stood to allow me to exit our seats. The toilet was in fact ahead of us, so maybe a third of the plane were entertained by me scratching to open the loo door until I noticed the “occupied” sign was red.  I explained to the man sitting right next to the toilet that “I am your inflight entertainment, today.” He smiled back as though I was a toilet roll short of a full pack, and I pencilled him onto the stick list for being a witness.

Back in my seat, I found Mr FD playing chess on his seat screen. I have been married to that man for 38 years and I never knew he could play chess. What else is he hiding? A second family?

Not long before arrival I turned to Mr FD and commented, “You know, you haven’t been to the bathroom once this flight?” Naturally, he immediately had to go. My revenge was complete.

Despite two suitcases checked in, we also had a small carry on bag for Mr FD’s electronics and CPAC machine, and a backpack that conveyed the Christmas Fruit cake for Daughter2. As we disembarked, Mr FD carried the backpack – the cake must weigh close to two kilos! It was a heavy backpack.

As we disembarked,  Mr FD who always makes comments with the assumption that everyone knows exactly what he is referring too, muttered all the way up the plane aisle, as those passengers unlucky enough to still be seated, ducked their heads, “It’s a fruitcake.”

Certainly was, Olly.


a storm, a blackboard and a little healthy competition.


Hello, hello. December! Can you believe it? Three days until the end of the school term. We finish with a shared lunch on  student free Friday.

Plans have changed a little, with Baby Peppercorn to be delivered next Thursday 10th. So Mr FD and I will fly over together and stay until just after Christmas unless Daughter2 or MrD2 threaten us with bodily harm and asks us to leave for-with because we are annoying them to the point of insanity. It’s quite possible, for Mr FD can have that effect on people. Not me, of course.

We’ve thrown down the challenge with our Christmas Library display. Upped the ante by adding a blackboard creation. Also plagiarised from Pinterest – a Librarian’s best friend at the moment! The trophy is an ugly wooden plaque that may well have been chopped together as an eighth grade manual arts project eons ago and was recently found in a cupboard, but we are out to win. Well, my erstwhile assistant, Minerva is out to win and I am aiding her in our co-dependency. What Minerva wants, Minerva gets. She also gets to dismantle everything in the new year, because that is her job. I have to pull rank some times!

Christmas Blackboard


A very damaging storm hit the suburb where our school is situated on the weekend and many trees were uprooted. The school had a little water damage, but mainly thousands of dollars worth of trees down. In the Library a number of laptops that had been handed in by the students for exchange next year, and were stored on a table were water damaged. It appears that the wind drove rain between the louvres and it pooled on the table.

Minerva and I have our suspicions though, for we asked an IT technician who was to be the last one to leave the area to close the windows as it was a very hot day, and as he is the laziest person in the world we suspect he didn’t do it properly. We’ve never had water come in between closed louvres before, not if they are shut correctly, and he just made such a show of saying over and over again that he had shut the windows that it made us suspicious. No sign of a roof leak either. Anything is possible, I suppose, but if it was anyone but him…it means writing off about 60 laptops. Luckily they were at the end of their life, but they were going to be used a backup laptops or hot swaps with students had their regular laptops in for repairs. Still a waste. Luckily no books were damaged, as the book shelving starts further towards the centre of the Library .

One way or another, it has been an interesting week. How’s yours?

absence makes the heart grow fonder; and would you move aside please?

morning coffee

Mr FD found his way home on Thursday night, after a three week absence.  He was so happy to be home. As I made tea for two in the kitchen I heard Mr FR declaring,”I missed you so much, you are so beautiful, so wonderful…”

Entering the room I found that he was gazing lovingly into the big brown eyes of Augie Dog, who was lapping up every second. So much so, that when Mr FD paused stroking him, Augie Dog would turn and lick what ever exposed bits of Mr FD he could reach.

I placed the mug of tea next to Mr FD and allowed them their privacy.


Another crazy week in a crazy world; or perhaps I should say, another week, another student complaint. So over students’ total self centred sense of entitlement at the cost of others. Many mothers on my stick list for making their kids so co-dependent and pathetic. Teachers are people too!

We farewelled our senior class on Friday. I was particularly fond of my home class’s group of seniorsand will miss them. One came in with her Mum before the ceremony to give me a gift and it was a tough moment. I want so much for that young lady – happiness and success and oh, everything.

It was a 38C day as we piled into an undercover area for the ceremony. Adolescent boys are smelly things at the best of times, but third day of heat in a row and the area was ripe. I always take my folding paper fan with me and this day it was used more to waft the aroma away, than to cool. At times the fanning was frantic! I don’t want to smell your sweaty hair.

Mr FD has to stay a third week with his Uncle on the Farm, who like too many old people will not cooperate when the family are trying to source support for them. Everyone is working to keep him in his own home; which is not easy when he is on a farm and a distance from services, and to maintain his dignity, but the damn fool won’t cooperate and he is aided and abetted by some very self-seeking people. Mr FD’s sister has arrived to assist now.

Missing his dog and his own home, I sent Mr FD a couple of photos to remember us by.

View from our front door

View from our front door


The one and only Augie Dog

The one and only Augie Dog

And of course…

His wife.....hahhahahahahahaha

His wife…..hahhahahahahahaha

HIs dog wrecked my night’s sleep. He woke me about three a.m. whining, so I took him out to his patch, but I think he just wanted to chase cane toads. When we went back to bed he was agitated and it was only after I sat on the side of the bed and stroked his head for awhile that he calmed down. I went back to sleep, but I don’t know what Augie did. He may have whined, he may have partied, he may have thought deep and meaningful thoughts, but he left me alone until 8am.

When I stirred from my nightmare, and it was nightmare for the Deputy Principal was in my dream, I had a headache. We were in my parents’ house and I had about 30 naughty students with me who needed to be sent to RTC but the DP was telling me how peaceful my parents’s house was, despite my protestations that we had sold my parents home. We all know that he would cut his tongue out before saying the word “peaceful” so it was total terror. Who is this monster I am with?

Today is predicted to be 39C. Yesterday was 38C. The breeze feels like a furnace. My school office is air conditioned, but not the library so it is miserable the moment I walk through my office door. Our house has many levels of cooling so I am ensconced for the day. Hand me my “orange juice” Jeeves.

On the positive side, I have been offered an interview for the TL job 9 minutes from home! Monday 4pm QLD time, so have power thoughts for me . You work out the time difference and if it is in the middle of the night your time I expect you to rise, walk to your window and face Australia. No, that is not the floor, you are down under, not us. You are behind us, unless you are a New Zealander and we won’t make the NZ  joke that is begging to be made there

10 school days until Summer Vacation! Minerva made me a little calendar to count the days, The Big Whatever Bless Her Soul. That woman can read my soul, and she guessed I had applied for another job. If I do go, she is the real regret I will have leaving that library. We are peas in a pod, but she is a better person than I. I guess, we shall see what we shall see.


My cathedral

In need of restoration from the work week, I stood on our patio and soaked in the elements of a private cathedral, our garden. Filled with scents, colours and bird song, it is more religion to me than any man made structure of bricks and mortar, or declaration of man.

Augie Dog by my side, relaxed under the influence of our garden, sank,  stretching out, as the magic of nature entwined us. Restored us.

Saturday morning, the rains have come. Mr FD is away, caring for his old Uncle who can no longer be left alone, and yet will not accept help. I feel sorry for Uncle, who is suffering the loss of his life to dementia, but also for Mr FD who has to deal with resistant, anger and denial every minute he is trying to assist Uncle.

Another tough week. School is more like a war zone these days. Students kick holes in walls, and another of our couches has been cut. Teachers with decades of experience working with children have declared this present cohort of students, particularly the years 7 and 8, as some of the most destructive and ill-behaved of their careers. Not a proud branding.

New gardens were constructed to soften and beautify the grounds and just days into the plantings, students are not only crashing through the gardens, but actively pulling the plants out. Why would they even bother? What unruly anger is within these young people? Such self centred, disrespect.

Parents who do not respect, are growing children who do not respect. Then add the ingredient of the influence of social media and young people feeling the pressure to out perform, one up, to achieve constant attention. Self absorbed is their middle name. Mobile phones in school are weapons of destruction.

My personal battle was added to this week. A male student who was asked not to enter the library as we had no space left and as he had stated he didn’t need to use the library for study or assessment, he merely wanted to “chill out”. Within minutes he was on the mobile phone to his mother declaring he was barred from the Library. Returning from class I was informed Mummy had rang to complain. Of course her precious son had told the truth!

Mothers, do not enter into every issue your child has. Let them own their own behaviour, suffer their own consequences and learn resilience. The energy that these selfish student mistruths suck from teachers, means that students who have real issues, urgent needs, sometimes life and death issues, have to wait longer for assistance. Remember the mantra, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” Well, apply it to your children and let us do our real jobs. Do your job as parent.

Then maybe I can enjoy my cathedral for its beauty and no just for its healing.

the family that stick together, shares the elephants.


My Mum suffered a fall during the week. The poor woman is doubly incontinent and can no longer walk, yet they persevere with lifting her onto the toilet. The issue is that they leave her sitting there while they make her bed. One morning this week she toppled off the loo. Such indignity.

Doctor and physiotherapist both declared no serious damage, thankfully. The poor woman must have fairly strong bones as she has taken a number of tumbles over the years and thankfully the only thing she has ever broken are toes!

At the same time, she has been suffering with a urinary tract infection and is on her third course of antibiotics. A UTI can make an older person quite confused anyway.

Today, she seemed to know me without prompting as she gave a little smile as I walked in, and her eyes followed me until I drew close to her, then she grasped my hand. Her dear right hand is curling into that claw position of the old, which is sad. All the gardening, crafting and caring those hands have done in their 88 years, now even they are forgetting what they do.

sisters 1

My sister visited Mr FD and I. As I was setting down the tea mugs in the living room, I noticed that Mr FD had placed two very ugly beige brown elephant bookends on a cabinet. He had been searching for our passports, and came across the bookends amongst the items that he had brought from his parents’ home after the sale of their house.

The elephants may have had their trunks up in the good luck position but they are ugly. I don’t know how they managed it but everything in his parents house seemed to be a sad beige colour, dulled by years of exposure to cigarette smoke as well. Depressing. I have been trying to clear our house of our own excess and Mr FD insists on bringing more into the house.

The elephants are depressing, as I said, so I moved very quietly to place them out of eyesight for now. Of course, my sister noticed and had to pipe up “Oh what beautiful elephants!”

Then she launched into a dozen different ways we could use them around the house. Naturally, Mr FD had to then take umbrage at my moving the elephants which he had not noticed until my sister spoke up. My sister thought it a great game.

I told Mr FD that I would have them turned into earrings to hang from his rather large ear lobes if he loved them so much. My sister was enjoying herself no end, despite my reminding her just whose sister she was! Well, that was until I told her I had just the perfect Christmas gift for her…

Revenge is sweet.

keeping it on ice


Mr FD wanted me to help place the ice packs around his knee. Mr FD likes to sleep naked, (don’t visualise it, it will only traumatise you), so he was lying on his back, groaning with pain as he tried to lift his leg high enough for me to slip the ice back cover straps around his leg.

And I thought, I hope I don’t drop this on his “manly bits” and for some reason that made me think about an ice block tray we had years ago that froze the water into round ice balls.

when a sausage isn’t always a sausage

hot dogs

Augie Dog turned three years of age the other day. Three human years, so does that make him 21 dog years? Should I give him the key to the door now?

Son and I forgot until about three quarters through the day, and then we both felt guilty that we didn’t have a birthday treat for him. I went through the fridge and found some frankfurter sausages that I was going to use for hotdogs and so presented one of those to Augie. He ran about the room, the frank sticking out of his mouth, like Groucho Marx with a cigar.

Later, I gave him a couple of slices of bacon too. I think it turned out to be a nice birthday for Augie.

I sent Mr FD  in hospital a text that Augie was having a birthday frank and Mr FD who adores a sausage in any form (keep it clean) texted back  “Happy Birthday, Augie. That was my frankfurter!”

“It was too!” I replied.

“I had crumbs, dried bread and water!”

“Character building!” I replied, using his mother’s reasoning for life’s sufferings.

“What a huge character I must have! texted Mr FD

A few minutes later Mr FD sent more texts:

“The footy franks played for the All Blacks” (New Zealand’s national rugby team). Owen and Glen Franks!”


Where do you go to from that?

animals 1


Next day, I cut one of the remaining frankfurters into bite size pieces, sprayed some tomato sauce over the top of the pieces and took it along with me on my daily visit to Mr FD.

“I’ve brought you a bit of Augie’s birthday cake” I declared.

Mr FD was just tucking into it when the lunch lady brought his meal tray in. “I am eating some of the dog’s birthday cake!” he shared.

She stood there blinking at him for a moment or two and then left the room. I guess she thought that Mr FD would be one patient who wouldn’t complain about the hospital food if he was happy to eat the dog’s food.

puppy love

love me

I don’t think I can keep this home nursing thing up. It has been two days and already I am totally exhausted by caring and being nice.

Mr FD is all very polite about it, and grateful for what I do, but all the needy stuff is really wearing out my small reserves of niceness.

Medication at this time and that time. And the pressure stockings are irritating the skin on his leg so I have to rub moisturiser into his leg. It doesn’t help to see that he has less hair on his legs that I do on mine either. Then again he has a hairy back and I don’t.

Augie Dog knows Mr FD is hurting to and is trying to be very gentle around Mr FD. He was out in his yard, peeing, (Augie, not Mr FD) and Mr FD said, “It is wonderful coming home to a dog like that. I am so glad we got him.” and I wondered if he thought the same about me and would I need to go pee in the yard to get him to say it.

I don’t pee in the yard. I could, because we have lots of trees for privacy, but no doubt a delivery man or meter reader would arrive at the door as I did. And it might kill the grass, because Augie’s pee does. I don’t think I have peed in the yard since I was a toddler, if I did even then. It was a civilised upbringing.

home again, home again, crutchety crutch.

home again

The pretty face wallaby waiting on the neighbouring footpath was all Mr FD needed to convince him that he had left the city behind and was finally home , two and a half weeks post knee replacement.

Son had to take Augie Dog onto the patio until Mr FD made it safely to a chair, because an excited 40 kg golden retriever dog jumping for joy around him, was not something Mr FD on crutches could cope with.

Mr FD’s “self medication” is in fact moi handing out his tablets!  Each time I do so, I call out “never marry an older man, you just end up being his nurse!” (Mr FD is eight years older than I). He ignores me, Son ignores me, even Augie ignores me. I think I am very entertaining, and that is all that matters.

I repeated the comment as I pulled Mr FD’s pressure stocking up his legs this morning. This time, Mr FD apologised for all the “trouble” he was causing.

Good to have him home and suffering guilt again.