Sunday 11 February 2024

In praise of noodle dogs

Someone recently said to me that they didn't know I had a greyhound and it got me to recalling the first grey I ever met.
It was 1992. I was going to night school, studying Biological Techniques at technical college and I was unemployed at the time. When I went to start classes in the new year, one of my teachers offered me a six month position preparing resources for practical classes. As a student my activities were limited to the lower 3 or 4 floors of the building but when I was working there I sometimes had reason to go up to the roof.
As an aside, I went to the roof to get cane toads for classes. The toads were in a large glass tank and i would have to put my hand in the tank and grab the requisite number of toads while the others jumped everywhere. I still can't believe I did it.

The top level was used by the vet nursing course. The woman who worked there had long plaits and wore overalls and I don't remember her name.  She had three rescue greyhounds who lived in the building. I'm not sure if they ever went home with her or anything like that but they roamed freely around the area. In those days there were no schemes for rehoming retired racers and most were shot or killed in other brutal ways when their racing career finished. Nobody ever saw a greyhound except on the track. Anyway, one of these dogs on the 8th floor of a city building was a fawn brindle girl who followed the woman everywhere. I was enchanted with her gentle nature and never forgot how special she was.

When greyhounds became more widely available, I hoped I might have one but it took time before it was possible. We had a labrador mix at the time and after he died we fostered a "spoodle" for a good long time while his owner was locked up.

Eventually, we were a household in need of a dog and Liam went and got Harry. Harry was a huge 39kg sweetheart who went straight from racing kennels to the RSPCA kennels and then to us. He hadn't been a pet before and we hadn't cared for a dog like him. It was stressful at the start but we trained him and he trained us and though he was always officially Liam's dog he was deeply loved by us all until his death in 2022. 

A few months after Harry died, Milly (racing name Midnight Minueva) was in need of a home and at almost 11 years old, it wasn't going to be easy for her to find one so I went and picked her up. My first greyhound. She's a sweet old thing, gentle and quiet and just a little bit quirky. She is arthritic and she has a tremor when she stands up for more than a couple of minutes so she doesn't follow me around like the one I fell in love with so long ago but she is just as lovely. 

I think every dog breed has it's own following but greyhounds inspire a cult like devotion and they are so very deserving of it.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

January round-up


Well, it's all been happening in the last few days. After many years with a broken shower screen I decided to replace it.

The screen broke one day when I was home alone, there was a bang and the glass shattered. I organised to get a new one but the man of the house refused to let me get it fixed and we all got used to it. Anyway, that is coming.

A few days after I ordered the shower screen, the washing machine died. In an amazing bit of luck, it didn't stop mid-cycle but quietly died after completing a load. The power board is fried and at $400 for a new board, it made more sense to get a new machine. So that's coming. I put it on Paypal's 4 payments scheme, which will spread the cost a bit and make the whole process a bit less painful to the wallet. It's fee free and interest free. Hopefully the machine will come soon but nobody has called me about delivery yet. I ordered it just last night so there's time for that.

I went to see "The Holdovers" on Sunday. It was a wonderful film with a compelling story and the fashions depicted were the styles buried in my very early memories so I also enjoyed the little nostalgia hit.

Last night, Liam and I went to Marrickville Town Hall, a lovely old building, to hear Derek Gripper, who plays the music of Africa on classical guitar. I've never heard of the guy but he came up on my instagram and for $33 I didn't think we could lose. It was a great concert. The night was muggy but it was an early finish and we all poured onto the street while there was still light and there was a refreshing breeze. 

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Bread and circuses

 I don't even know how to start with this post but I'll have a go.

So, for the benefit of people outside of Australia, let me remind you of the growing movement to change our national day from the day white settlement (or colonisation) started in this country to some other day in the 365 day year.

"Australia Day" is becoming controversial.

So, last week sometime, our biggest grocery retailer (Woolworths) announced that there would be no Australia Day merchandise in Woolworths supermarkets or in the associated discount store, Big W.

Woolworths said "there had been a gradual decline for Australia Day merchandise, in part due to the “broader discussion” around changing the date of the January 26 public holiday."

And then Australia went mad.

The opposition leader called for a boycott of Woolworths, the Prime Minister bizarrely chose to respond. I like the PM but who gives any energy to the ramblings of a maniac?

Woolworths stores have been vandalised.

People plan to "protest" by walking around stores without buying a thing.

All this, over some Australian flag merchandise, made in China and destined for landfill within hours.

All this when there is still another supermarket and every $2 junk shop in the country, happily filling the gap with meaningless, flag stamped, knick knacks tchotkes rubbish.

Who can see the flag on your thongs/ flip flops when your feet are on top of it?

Why are our politicians talking about the loss of novelty sunglasses?

How long is this announcement, which said nothing of any significance, going to dominate people's thinking?

I'm sure other Australians can recall some national stupidities of the past so remind me, what was more ridiculous than this?