Flamingo Files

garden life

Watching the romance of American Republicans and Donald Trump reminds me of the times when our daughters would be dating someone we knew were totally wrong for them, but were equally aware that we could do nothing except help pick up the pieces when it was over. A slow motion train wreck.

Son in law dropped D1 off to a ladies party on one side of the city, then dropped our Son off at a Bachelor’s party on the other side of the city. After they all had left home I discovered that both D1 and Son had left their phones at homes, so I had to play phone tag as D1 and Son phoned home of borrowed phones to coordinate pick up times with SIL, who drove back and forth across the city. I opened a bottle of white.

HE Who Never Shuts Up at work has resigned as his Daddy got him a new job – he realised that he was expected to do actually work each day. I wonder if he senses we are all pretending to be sad that he is leaving. Everyone is silently dancing in the aisles.

Been overdosing on The House of Cards. It’s like watching the evil brother of The West Wing and I love it.

I just ate the last of the cookies and cream ice-cream and didn’t share it with Mr FD. I was the one who spent the day with 3 year old Petite Fille while her mother (D1) partied, and her father drove across the city playing chauffeur. Some things Grannies earn.

Did anyone tell Jerry Hall that Rupert Murdoch’s mother lived to be 103? I hope Jerry doesn’t plan on a short wait for the inheritance. His kids must be glad that at least with this wife their shouldn’t be any more kids to add to the will. Yes, cynical is my second name.

I have a sinus headache. Has anyone ever died of a sinus headache? Could I die from a sinus headache? I am going to die from a sinus headache aren’t I? Remember me.

Do we really have to have an opinion about everything today?

Teachers aren’t allowed to staple students heads are they?

Apparently some kid solved the Rubik’s cube in 4.9 seconds. I haven’t been able to solve it in 40 years, even with the cheat sheet. Damn kids these days, got to ruin everything.

It’s autumn but autumn doesn’t appear to know that. It was 33C today. I want some chill. I need to chill out. This hot, summer gig has grown old.

And I have already had two colds this summer. I hate summer colds. Everyone treats to as though you are some freak of nature, getting a cold in summer. Like I chose it or something. I suspect that I am going to continue catching cold germs as long as Petite Fille is in the house as she is on two week cold rotation herself. I am too old for this.

Nine days of term one left. Yay. Then right after the Easter weekend I am flying to Western Australia to spend time with Peppercorn who is three months old already! She started swimming lessons this week. She is three months old. She cried half way through but I think that is a pretty good effort for 12 weeks on earth! We are giving the Rio Olympics a miss, but Tokyo 2020, be there or be square! Oh hang on, I think you have to be 16 years old to be eligible for the Olympics. Yeah, well, we will get back to you.

I had to make a swimming pool for Petite Fille this afternoon. We made it out of two purple shawls. It was a hard landing, but damn it looked good. Especially as one shawl had embroidered flowers . Tres belle.

Why does the first two thirds of the toothpaste tube disappear in two weeks and the last third take three months to use?

My son in law purchased under arm deodorant for me today. Have we now crossed some boundary that we don’t want to know about? He’s a good son in law but perhaps now I have to kill him.

Do you think it is time I decided what I want to be when I grow up?










the daily wonder


  • Are dogs playing us for fools?
  • Are wristwatches on the way to redundancy?
  • How do you know if someone is  a “sandwich short of a picnic”? Is there a legislated number of sandwiches required to make it a picnic?
  • Daughter1’s husband and her brother, Son both have dark hair and beards. Acquaintance was of the opinion that they look alike, but what made her think “You must really love your brother to marry someone who looks like him!”? Does anyone else think that is weird too?
  • Why do so many of us only get comfortable in our own skins when we are over fifty?
  • How am I going to get the Giggle and Hoot children’s show theme out of my head?
  • I wish I had invented velcro, then I could have retired long ago.
  • There is no such thing as too much sleep.
  • Tomorrow is never another day, it is today. Not debatable.
  • The greatest wisdom comes from day to day living.
  • If I could read one person’s mind today, it would be… Sir Ken Robinson.

bubbles say

G20 or how to empty a city in one day.


It is so hot today that when I walked outside moments ago the heat felt as though it was burning my nostrils as I inhaled. 12 noon and just over 40C already. Tomorrow is predicted to be even hotter.

Welcome to Australia, G20!

I think the delegates and their advance sherpas will be quite impressed by Brisbane. We emptied the entire central business district for them. Yes, almost the entire city got into their cars and drove the the beach for the weekend. If you were a terrorist looking for a crowd to hide in, you would be mighty lonely.

I feel sorry for the police and other security personnel in their full uniforms standing out in the heat. It is such a dry heat, it burns. I have been singing, “only mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun” a lot today.

Not only have we emptied a city for the G20 crowd, but they actually brought a freeway to a standstill at peak hour on Thursday afternoon to drive Obama’s EMPTY limos to his hotel.  They are called the “beast” the media reports and the request was made to demolish some road round about intersections to allow the car to pass. It was declined.

As I write, Obama is at the University of Queensland delivering a speech to 2000 invited guests. I was not invited, big mistake, big, big mistake. It has become quite fashionable for some local politicians to announce that they declined their invitation. I suspect as a cover for not being invited.

Earlier the man so many of us love to hate, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, delivered a rambling speech about domestic issues which had Putin not even pretending to listen.

The Russians have a couple of war ships off the Queensland coast in international waters. The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! declared all the conspiracy theorists this week. My personal theory is that a. it is so their communications people can tap into all the buzz happening and b. if a catastrophic event did take place, they would have Putin back on his own ship faster than the rest of us could take our last breath.

The majority of the event is taking place at the Brisbane Convention Centre where I have been for a couple of conferences this year, so Obama and Putin are in fact walking in my footprints. It doesn’t get much better than that, for them!


Now 41C= 105 Fahrenheit.

met a duck, should have eaten pâté

The author ran a little late and seemed a little brittle and our students were rambunctious. We almost lost them when one student made a slightly “smart” remark and she treated him like a heckler, but I do think they got something from the presentation. There were three or four girls amongst the group who had a ready series of questions and tracked said author between sessions to ask her more questions, so I suspect maybe one or two may have had a life changing moment and that is more than what a TL can ever hope for, so I was well pleased.

Second session was  goal setting with a group of our senior indigenous students and that went really well. It was a group of about 20 and so more one to one. They impressed her as they had firm goals in mind.

The teacher session was attended by about a dozen, many sadly not English or History teachers who would have gained the most from it, but the Principal did attend and I made sure he got his photo taken with the author. Never one to miss an opportunity he hit the author up for a quote to use in a grant application. She was wary and asked to be emailed details. I admire his Irish chutzpah.

She is a very confident and intelligent woman, but I don’t think she liked being with us. I don’t think we are her area of interest and maybe she is just on the tour for money, well, of course she would be, but I found myself disliking her as the day wore on. Not that she may have liked me all that much either. Neither opinion means much in the scheme of things as I am sure our paths won’t cross again, but isn’t it funny how you can form an opinion of someone from one impression, much like a first date, only to have more exposure erode that opinion? Third date, you’re out!

For next year I am in negotiations to get an author that our students actually study, but as she lives in another state we will have to pay flights and accommodation, so I am trying to find a couple other schools to join in sharing the costs. Yes, already planning 2014! Scared me too…


“There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine — “Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.”
―     Margaret Atwood,     Negotiating with the Dead

Flamingo Files

Do you ever get those days when you have a sniffly runny nose and wonder if it is in fact the fluid leaking from your brain? Me either.

Living in the country does make you different. How many other people get to complain at work that they are tired because a cow kept them up all night? She bellowed all night and my only guess is that her calf was taken from her and she was calling for it.

Flamingo Files

I am tired of parents who change the spelling of traditional names or combine two or three parts of various names to make an “original” and even more tired of students who roll their eyes and act as though you are so stupid because you mispronounce their name due to the fact that their parents couldn’t spell it correctly to start with! (Remember Monty Python’s  Raymond Luxury-Yacht (pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove?)

I realise that trying to get a group of teachers to agree on anything is harder than herding cats. There is always someone complaining about something, which always means yet another meeting, to disagree again.  If only we would disagree on holding another meeting!

It’s Saturday night, the rain is pouring down outside, and I am lying on my bed. My idea of a perfect night. Mr FD is downstairs watching football on TV, so it is even more perfect!

We had to go back to the ballot boxes this weekend to vote for Mayor and city councillors.  The way Federal politics is going we may have an early election this year also. I am so over Australian politics with its  sniping, back stabbing and negativity that I really could move far, far away. The fact that it was raining made it even less palatable. If only they realised that I am the answer to all the world’s problems. I have the answer for everything, just let me get on with the job.

The school is holding an Open Day tomorrow (Sunday) to market to prospective students and their parents. The library, being the gem in the crown, is central to all activities, so we had to make the place shine. I found a number of articles, such as old photographs and early uniforms which I used to create a display. I have to admit that I did advertise that I was open to bribes from teachers so that they could avoid embarrassment due to unflattering photos. Not only as staff, but many of the teachers are former students, so there are more than a few of them in school uniform. Oh what fun!

Speaking of bribes, I am seriously considering introducing a tribute system.  I am worth it, after all. Additionally, for a large number of gold coins I shall drive past a pleb’s (your)  house, toot the car horn and wave, so that the neighbours think the pleb (you) are almost important. For even more gold coins and a few of those polymer notes I will even slow down and call out “Oh hello!” before planting my foot and accelerating away before pleb germs settle on my vehicle (I can’t risk becoming ordinary).  I know it will be the highlight of your little existence, not to mention my rightful due. Stay tuned for advertised dues,  rates and services; it is the least I can do for the little people.

Thinking about my Mum last night led me to consuming a box of cheezels and half a block of turkish dellight chocolate. I love cheezels, but my tongue always feels as though it has been chemically burnt after I eat any, well usually it is  the whole box. Not that it stops me from eating them, I just look upon it more as a scientific experiment now than comfort eating.

Have you noticed that now days, when someone says they painted  a room, and you ask “oh what colour?” that they answer “scarecrow”, “misty wind” or “scallywag”. What the hell description is that? What happened to the good old days when we just had red, green, pink, blue, yellow? Same with clothing, a pair of black trousers can be anything from “midnight”  to “burnt wood”. Why can’t we just call it as we see it?

Our bookclub is reading The Great Gatsby. Can anyone tell me why it is a classic? A group of shallow, self indulgent unhappy rich people, who pretend it is a classless society when it so definitely is.  It is such a chore to read and as hard as I try, I can not see the genius in it.  To make it worse I am the one who suggested it for this month, and now I have to admit that I am fallible. Just as some bad teachers mark according to a student’s reputation, I think Fitzgerald got a get out of the reject pile free card on the Great Gatsby. This month’s meeting shall need cocktails to start and finish!

We have decided to sell our house, which means that I have to actually unpack the boxes in the garage that have remained unpacked since our move to this house in 2002. We think we know what is in them, but obviously we don’t know anymore, and even more obviously we don’t appear to need it, so logically we need to get rid of it. However, that means we really should go through it just to make sure we haven’t left some piece of family treasure in one of the boxes (yeah like that is a real possibility!) but one really has to do it, because wouldn’t I be really angry if I saw someone selling a rejected macaroni necklace one of our children made in kindergarten  on ebay for a fortune and setting a new fashion trend that makes them the fourth richest person in the world? Slothfulness always comes back to bite you, eventually.

I need to move on to more important things, like finishing the remaining turkish delight chocolate. Amuse yourself with the mistaken belief I care about you.


In the last week I have three times come across the George Eliot quote above, and then this afternoon I stumbled across a documentary on the life of the famous writer.

The author Henry James called George Eliot; or Mary Anne Evans as she was christened, “hideously ugly”.

She had a low forehead, a dull grey eye, a vast pendulous nose, a huge mouth full of uneven teeth and a chin and jawbone ‘qui n’en finissent pas’… Now in this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes, steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end, as I ended, in falling in love with her. Yes, behold me in love with this great horse-faced bluestocking.

  Henry James, in a letter to his father, published in Edel, Leon (ed.) Henry James: Selected Letters (1990).

A former lover, the biologist and philosopher Herbert Spences wrote an essay on the repugnancy of ugly women that was a veiled description of Eliot.

George Eliot Aged 30 by the Swiss artist Alexandre Louis François d'Albert Durade

Why do people feel that they have the right to comment on another’s appearance in such a manner? To wound another defenceless human being who can alter nothing in the face of that criticism?  Let us be honest, the practice still continues in this twenty first century that we consider so civilised. All those women’s gossip magazine and celebrity web sites would not exist if it did not!

Here was a woman, repeatedly told she was ugly and unlovable. Those who did develop relationships with her often made the point of telling her that they only loved her for her brain. How could any individual flourish on a personal, or career level when they are diminished in such a cruel manner?

The only quotes I could find relating to Eliot’s appearance where made by men, most that were suppose to be friends or lovers,  but I hazard more than a fair guess that such observations were also made by other women. They just did not use the pen to record and wound.

It is more than coincidence that Mary Anne Evans only developed into George Eliot when she was in a stable relationship with a man who cared for her, and did not use her physical appearance as an excuse for his own behaviour. George Lewis was a philosopher, psychologist and literary critic and they were together some twenty five years, until his death.

Indeed, it is never too late to be what you might have been. Mary Anne was 38 years old when her first short story was published. The life expectancy for a member of the English upper class was 52 years in the nineteenth century, so she was considered to be well into middle age.

My point is that we should not allow anyone to define us as a person, and we should not allow society to define when we can and cannot do something. We have the innate right to set out own life agendas and we should never allow anyone to dissuade us from that path.

I cannot imagine what a loss the world of literature and philosophy may have suffered if Mary Anne Evans had not battled against the flood of public opinion to become George Eliot. Something to remember the next time someone offers an “opinion” for “your own good”, perhaps?

Be courteous, be obliging, but don’t give yourself over to be melted down for the benefit of the tallow trade.

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

I’m proof against that word failure. I’ve seen behind it. The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.

The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us.

George Eliot