Friday, 15 February 2019


I never get tired of flying over Sydney, or anywhere really. The landscape below is endlessly interesting and of course in my home city I try to pick out landmarks I know.
This shot was taken this week when I went to the Melbourne campus of the college I work for. It was quite an occasion with all employees required to attend. There were a number from Sydney, one travelled from Brisbane, one from Port Macquarie and of course the local Melbournites were there in force.
I picked up a very large rental car and drove a couple of colleagues across Melbourne, once making the mistake of not stopping behind a stopping tram. The tram driver was not best pleased but I managed not to kill her passenger and I won't get confused that way again!
In these situations I am always interested in the people and I wasn't disappointed. The prison chaplain was under pressure with an extraordinarily difficult schedule in the days leading up to the trip but he remained calm and civilised even after a 3.30 am start. The right person to have in a prison, I'd think.
The colleague who is blunt and brash and seemingly self assured described her life with crippling anxiety and the one who is quite obviously a bundle of nervous energy raced ahead all the time, leaving me to straggle behind.
I was in a position to meet my Melbourne based line manager (whatever happened to the old name "boss"?) but she was quite distracted. I guess I can surmise that I'm trusted......
I had been a little nervous of the travel but in the end I realised that my creaky body is in some ways less of a hindrance than the shyness, anxiety or low self belief that others carry with them.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Canine Enrichment

sometimes I buy a bag of bones for Harry to chew on, canine enrichment is what they call it. I usually give him one every day until the remaining ones are stinky and throw the rest away. If only there were just a few less in the bag, it would work out better....

Yesterday i pulled the biggest bone from the bag and went to the door. The door tends to jam so there I was, excited hound, bone and stuck door. That was when I made my first fateful mistake. My last dog, Taffy would have stood at the door with the bone until he could get out but i forgot it was not Taffy. I handed Harry the bone to free my hand to jiggle the door. Harry (not Taffy) grabbed the bone (can i remind you that it was the biggest in the bag) and ran to his bed. His indoor bed. 
Harry is a different dog to the one who first came here two years ago but he still has huge teeth and he still likes his bones to be his. 
I dared not try to take it and he wouldn't be distracted.
His bed became a murder scene. In the loungeroom. Then a fly magnet. In the loungeroom.

The bone took a lot of chewing and he was still gnawing away when I left for work so I didn't give him his kibble breakfast.

When it was dinner time I remembered the missed breakfast and gave him extra kibble. He ate most of it and left a little, they regulate their eating better than a lot of people do....don't they?

Soon it was bedtime and he was allowed out for his (hopefully) last pee and a sniff around. He decided to finish the kibble.

At 2am I woke to the sound which can drag anybody out of bed in a microsecond: gagging dog. By the time my feet hit the floor I was looking at dog-eating-his-own-vomit. He looked at me with mild interest as he considered which tasty morsel to eat next.

Of course, a fast waking precipitates a previously non existent need to pee so I had to ignore the whole vomit situation for a moment and the delay allowed me to see that Harry had every intention of cleaning up his own mess.

So there I was, at 2am, playing word games and waiting for an errant hound to eat, drink and pee.

At 5am I was woken again, this time to a pony sized dog turning frantic circles on  my bed. I hustled him out the door to do whatever he was going to do and blearily allowed him back in.

After all the night time activity I had a wee sleep in and then was having a leisurely coffee when Harry bolted to his freshly washed bed, flopping dramatically down and panting. I smiled dotingly for a very brief moment. Bone and bile spewed all over the freshly washed floor.

Harry is fine now, sleeping the sleep of the righteous (or exhausted) but I'm not sure if I want to enrich him, ever again!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Wild Ones

I have probably mentioned here at some point that my maiden name was Jurd. I've heard it said ( I can't remember where) that the Jurds were Judds until there was a spelling error in a registry somewhere and so a new family was born. These registry error stories can be interesting and I'm pretty sure most families would have one, after all it's not so many generations ago that the majority of us were illiterate. 

My mother-in-law was born to Chinese immigrants in Malaysia 12 months after the Japanese invasion which of course was the beginning of the Pacific War. Her father went to register her birth and when asked the name of the child he stumbled and replied with her gender. Her official name has forever more been "a girl" although of course she is known by the name her family intended, which is Sophia to me and Xiu Zhen for Chinese speakers.
Anyways, I only added that story because I like it and it might be of interest to my children and grandchildren at some point.

Funnily enough, an interesting story from my Jurd history has been passed on by my mum (who was not a Jurd but a Keane). 

Mum's dentist told her that as a young boy growing up in country New South Wales, he attended boarding school with a boy by the name of something-or-other Jurd. The Jurd boy and the dentist would catch the train to their respective towns for weekends but the early train didn't actually stop where  young Jurd needed to alight and not wanting to wait for a later train he had devised a system...

The guard would be asked if the train could slow at the appropriate station and young Jurd would throw his suitcase out the door. It would start sliding along the gravel platform and our protagonist hero would leap from the train to land on the suitcase. The last our dentist friend would see of his mate each holiday was a gravel surfing wild thing!

My best guess puts this story at about 100 years old or up to about 110 years, the same approximate point in history when my own great- grandfather Jurd was becoming a minister in the Salvation Army. 

In those days Australia was a brand new nation and the Salvation Army was  full of newly Christian "wild colonial boys". I have always imagined my great-grandfather to be a staid and respectable "man of the cloth" but on reflection I realise that someone, somewhere probably has a story to tell about that wild young Jurd who went off and inexplicably joined the Sally Army!