This may be a bit blurry now as crossing the hemisphere means time travel and brain screwing and it doesn’t help when you do it twice in a fortnight.

It all started fine in Wellington – had checked in online, it’s all marvellously easy to do these days, even bag checks, you can do most of it without speaking to a soul – and through customs we went. No problems there and we got to our gate nice and early.

When it came to boarding time and there were no staff present, we did think there might be a slight delay. I wasn’t too worried, we had a LONG wait in Melbourne so it would shorten that, my only concern was that we didn’t end up sitting next to the chap I could smell from five feet away. And it wasn’t cologne.

Eventually, staff appeared and after some informal chats with each other, told us that our flight was late coming in and was now being cleaned, boarding should be in 10 minutes.

They lied.

We weren’t that bothered, we had that Melbourne wait and we knew we had aisle seats the whole way back.

When we got on the ‘plane all was fine, it was a bit old and noisy but still did the business. I was HUGELY grateful that after a very ear painful trip from the UK, they were happy to just block and unblock without the accompanying ache.

However, the ‘plane was bloody hot – even with the air whatsits on full – so we were really relieved to get to Melbourne and get off into some air conditioned wonder.

Except we couldn’t – there was a power outage at the international terminal and they couldn’t open their doors, ie, they were stuck inside their building, we were stuck on the runway.

The captain was great and gave us updates as he got them – mainly from watching from the cockpit and calls from the terminal – “ah ladies and gentlemen, it’s the captain again, they’ve got through the first door and I can see them in the air lock now but… yes… they need an access code so once they have that, things should improve.”

“ladies and gentlemen, captain again, they have the code!”

“hello ladies and gentlemen, it’s the captain, the code doesn’t appear to be working. There are two people in the airport who can bypass the code so they’re off to find them. But you know, even if they get through there, they still need power to get the tunnel over to the ‘plane so…”

(before you start asking why they didn’t just go back to manual things, like the old days, with humans pushing wheeled stairs and stuff, they had to get out of the building first and I think with each step they got more hopeful that the power would come back on.)

Anyway, after nearly an hour we got out of there and luckily, were the first ‘plane to land since the power went out. There were lots of people connecting to Adelaide and Sydney I think it was, they were ALL going to miss their flights but international customs gave them the option of leaving their bags on our ‘plane and going to their domestic connections, which they all took up. They all left the ‘plane first and their flights were waiting for them, which I was impressed by.

For us though, it was just as long a wait as before because the power outage was affecting everyone. Our original flight to dubai was meant to be 11.55pm and had been shunted to 1.20am. KD had downloaded season 2 of ‘outlander’ and when we’d been comfortably in Oldest Sister’s living room, watching that during this break seemed like a great idea but now that it was 9pm NZ time, nothing was open at the airport because of the power outage and we were hot and tired, not so much.

Still, you’d be amazed how time can pass when you find a socket and have wifi!

The only other really annoying thing that happened there was that this bloke, who was wandering around having facetime with someone, loudly, being a dick, decided to come and sit beside us. I was so tired I couldn’t even be professionally civil so when he missed a call and thought it was our flight and was asking me if it was, etc, I just stared at him. Well, glared really. In fact, it might’ve been out and out DeathStare. Which he couldn’t understand because he was pissed and loud and sometimes irish and sometimes not. And calling one woman after another to tell them that no one knew he was coming home but he was and not to tell everyone (tell everyone) and there was going to be a party that he didn’t want anyone to go to (you better be there!) – by the time he got to the fourth woman and was demanding kisses I nearly grabbed his mobile and said YOU’RE FOURTH IN LINE!! But I didn’t. I just channelled my fury and hate towards him (and KD reassured him it wasn’t our flight).

I also saw Man of Stench so now there were two opportunities for awful fellow passengers.

Melbourne also lied to us about boarding and more severely than NZ but we EVENTUALLY got onto our flight and lo and behold, not only aisle seats BUT THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ ROW OF FOUR!! 😀 We held our breath as IrishNotIrish walked down the aisle but went right past us and I didn’t even see Man of Stench but we couldn’t believe our luck. The ‘plane had looked really busy when we were checking in so it probably meant some people were stuck on a ‘plane somewhere else, which sucked for them…

That flight was comparatively blissful. We took turns lying down and because I got some proper sleep I can’t really remember much. Also, being a much larger ‘plane it was more comfortable anyway, the air whatsits worked, life was good, etc.

Got to dubai after 13 something hours and went to the loos to freshen up a bit – it’s AMAZING the difference brushing your teeth, putting on some deodorant and slathering yourself in moisturiser can do. I also solved a disagreement I’d had with someone – maybe at work – about the toilets – they said the toilets in the airport were floor squats, I said they were normal – they’re both, side by side – I couldn’t face trying to balance after over 13 hours on a flight so took the normal option.

Went through security and KD set the alarm off – I could see a man being summoned to frisk her as they didn’t realise she was a woman but a woman was then called and she was taken into a booth off the side. I wasn’t that bothered, she’d set them off in Sydney as well but when I was repacking my luggage, I looked at the booth and she was no longer there – it was only a few seconds before I realised she was in my sight but for those few seconds I was panicky. I know this sounds ridiculous but remember, long flight, etc.

She told me later that she was sure one of the men was making obscene comments to the woman about her as she was taken into the room and it might be that I caught a look or feeling, I don’t know.

Anyway, when we went to the gate, it was my turn! First I was called aside and asked to confirm who I was then when we got to the next bit I was taken into my own wee cubicle. I was expecting a frisk, like KD, but no, I had to take my ipad and iphone out of the bag and everything, including me, was swabbed for explosives.

I AM BADASS!

I asked what was wrong but she wouldn’t speak to me, just kept giving me this unsettling smile.

Now, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but I have to tell you, since fucking brexit and tories and trump and dubai anyway, I really did NOT like it. I felt it was homophobic at the least, it certainly didn’t seem like a random call. A few days later, I wondered if it was because I had my keyring confiscated at dubai two years ago and maybe they keep passport numbers on record?

Whatever, we were really glad to get out of there and onto the ‘plane, where, lo and behold again, not only did we have another row to ourselves, there were LOADS of spare seats, because the problem at Melbourne was still impacting on flights coming in. so on that journey, we had a row each to sleep in – as in – we got to stretch our legs out and I fell asleep immediately I did that – so, bloody, blissful!

But, before we got to that point, the ‘flight was delayed. Because we were waiting for someone. Guess who?

Yep, IrishNotIrish, who sauntered on grinning like a fucking loon – I don’t know whether he found a drink somewhere (dubai? Not so likely) or a smoking area but you could feel the passengers glaring at him as he smirked his way down the aisle.

After 13 hours, this last jaunt felt like it would be easy – and it was – till we got to the uk. Everyone was standing up, ready to get off the ‘plane, I was feeling giddy with the thought of no more flying – then an announcement came on, could we please all take our seats as we were being met by the police.

I said it was probably someone smoking in the toilets, KD said she had smelled smoke on the flight to dubai and we laughed and said it was probably IrishNotIrish.

AND IT WAS!

As he was being led off the ‘plane, he was looking at the passengers on either side with a little boy lost look. KD has now decided that as his accent changed depending on who he spoke to, he probably had a warrant out for his arrest already and he HAD to leave Melbourne but I’m sticking with the smoking theory.

Got through electronic passport control no bother (and I hope KD is proud about that as she managed to cock it up at least twice in other places), got our luggage, got the tube and GOT HOME. Where there was red wine, beer and gluten free lasagne waiting 😀

You know, reading this back I know I’ve forgotten stuff because it doesn’t seem like that big a deal but… 39 hours. Never again.

 

at some point in february, KD  bought three tickets to see ‘romeo and juliet’ via screen arts.

I only realised this week that it wasn’t ballet, but theatre.

one of the tickets was up for grabs as the holdee was in Toronto (twit), another was up for grabs as KD had to work late and was knackered and NO ONE WANTED TO COME WITH ME

(wankers)

so I went on my tod.

now, I’m not overly fussed on shakespeare. if it’s done well, then it can be amazing, yes, but if not, well, no.

however! we’d already seen “a winter’s tale” via screen arts a few months back and been blown away so I decided i’d go it alone and there it was. I left the other two tickets at the box office, bought a large white wine and went in.

the screening was sold out but sadly, a lot of folk clearly treat a very expensive cinema/cheap theatre ticket as not worth bothering about – a LOT of empty seats, including two on either side of me.

before the show started, there was a short group of voxpops with teenagers, discussing topics relevant to the play, that was inspired!

then the play started.

in black and white.

now, normally i’d love that, we all look better in black and white but for this, all it did was leave me wondering what colours I was missing out on. it was meant to be a homage to the films of yesteryear – but it just didn’t work.

I was thinking about leaving at intermission, I was tired, I wanted to see KD but when Juliet was on screen, it was gelling – there were also some lovely comedic moments and I knew if I left I might miss something special – so at intermission, I did the fastest pee of my week, bought another wine and came back to my seat.

I also asked the woman two seats to my right what she thought, we had very similar reactions to what we’d seen so far so she was clearly an intelligent being.

anyway, not TOO long into the second half, the screen went dead.

I found this quite exciting as it meant the chance of a refund.

as we all sat and waited, nothing happened.

then we got some sound.

(and a particularly good line about what the character could see, when we could see NOWT.)

then a flash of vision!

then, finally, we were rejoined with the rest of the world. or maybe all the world except greenwich had been offline, who knows?

the thing is, we were now watching it through an entirely different filter! it was now utterly bette davis, soft focus, SMUDGE! and it worked! it made so much more sense like that so what I want to know is:

before the blip happened, were we watching what we were meant to watch?
was the blip on purpose?
did someone slip me something and actually there was no visual change at all?

if anyone knows anyone at the garrick, do let me know.

so first there was this morning.

KD texted me, when she was halfway to work and I was still on our couch, drinking my juice, to remind me I was to go to new cross gate and activate my new annual travel card. of  COURSE i’d forgotten so of COURSE I tried to rush and got myself into a right old tizz. however, I eventually got out of the flat, onto the street and on my way to new cross gate station.

got there, feeling smug as pish because I didn’t have to mess with the slightly-after-rush-hour crowd but could just gently touch my darling  beryl-pass to the daffodil yellow reader and begone. and even at that hour, there were lots of folk. and it was humid.

so I touched.

and touched.

I flipped and touched.

I separated my flaps and touched.

nothing.

then I had a memory, a big, booming memory of KD’s voice saying “…as part of a journey”

and I remembered.

I had to actually USE the tube.

in the morning.

during slightly-after-rush-hour.

OH the heavy sigh…

anyway, checked the board, london bridge trains left from platform 4 so off to platform 4 I went.

and pretty much after I stood on the platform they announced the next train leaving from platform 5 would be for london bridge.

I looked at all the people on the other side of the tracks. they ignored me.

I looked at the departures board, I had less than two minutes to get up, down, across, right and down. I didn’t think i’d make it but there was another one in 10 minutes, also from platform 5 so it was worth it.

off I toddled.

younger people were arriving from the street and running – i’m ashamed to say that despite my ernest mocking, they did in fact make the train, whereas I was still pondering the meaning of life on the crossway.

got to the platform, swanned off to the far right as if it was still the old days of three platforms, looked at the departures board – delays. 10 minute delays. delays so long I could be on a bus and halfway to dunton road.

back up the stairs I went.

I only got to the landing where I was dazzled by the thought of a train to victoria instead – it was only one stop from there to london bridge* so turned left rather than right and tripped gaily down to platform 1, or 2. I don’t think it really matters.

arrived just in time to see the train leaving.

I hissed my way back up the stairs, DE-TER-MINED not to be dissuaded from the buses and got back out onto the street. stood at the lights watching all my buses go past, wishing a small child could be fanning me with huge palm fronds. alas, it was not to be.

 

*yes I know that’s wrong NOW

I’ve mentioned more than once in the last week that I acknowledge I live in a bubble. it’s one of my own  choosing – arseholes get popped at the first sign – this bubble is more precious than the one john travolta lived in, in that movie.

however, today it was really apparent and also really – hopeful.

today I had a crazybusy day planned but it wasn’t to be, instead my mind was fixated on anxiety so I opted to  cross out most of my plans, relax, sleep, relax some more and then get to a 60th birthday celebration. if it hadn’t been a 60th, or if it hadn’t been someone I really loved, I would’ve blown that off too.

as it was, I made it.

but dammit, I was early.

The Wife was good deeding elsewhere so she knew she wasn’t going to be able to get there early, she also knew I was struggling mentally so I managed to put her in a worse place than she needed to be BUT! I had a bankcard and beryl, I could buy myself a drink and play beryl games till folks arrived, all would  be well.

as it turned out, I arrived at the venue, explained that I was there for the party but would go find a drink elsewhere and they said, no! I could have a drink there! could I have it outside, I asked? sure! so I went from feeling horribly anxious to very grateful and took on the role of meet and greet.  I was SO good that I had perfect strangers smiling back at me who were nothing to do with our party!

the thing is, it was so beautiful. the end of a summer day, a glass of wine, the smell of freshly cooked pizza, lots of people arriving who I’ve got to know over the last eight years, every one a gem, the love, the laughter, the relaxation – this is what the whole world could be like, if only…

today I had drinks and dinner with The Senior Niece, The Boy, The Wife and The Oldest Brother.

(immediately  before meeting them I went to the Riverside Bar and wrote to The Mother, accompanied by possibly The Most Expensive Glass of Malbec in London. I didn’t mind, the wine is my weekly treat for being dutiful daughter and writing to mum and it’s not like I don’t enjoy writing about me but – IT WAS NEARLY £10!!)

I’d  been looking forward to this catch up for weeks – I LOVE spending time with these people and knowing they’re related to me just makes it all the more smug.

in my letter to mum i’d said I was determined not to dwell on ‘why’ we were meeting (the younger generation’s impending departure from the UK) and just enjoy the time we had.

and I did.

but it was very hard as talk of future holidays/visits came up and I admitted that I wished The Wife and I had enough money to make two trips a year (right now, we can make one every two years!) so that one trip could be a “friends and see the country” visit and one could be devoted to family.

for me, leaving the country I was born in and the family I grew up with means that I feel a constant sense of loss. when the opportunity  comes to go to my birth home

(I say that, despite how wanky it sounds, because now, home really IS where The Wife is but you can never deny where you grew up)

I want to grab it with both hands and immediately after that, the conflict starts: do we spend all time with family? do we take some time for ourselves? do we see any other part of new zealand and the friends who live there?

we’re not made of money and neither of us can take more than three weeks maximum at a time off work. The Wife can only take two really. it is very, very difficult to keep everyone happy and we risk not making ourselves happy as a result. it’s one of the few times I genuinely wish we had pots of money so we could please everyone, including us – because aside from the family and friends, i’d love to have new experiences in new zealand with The Wife and her alone – so far, all my memories there don’t include her, not real ones, not ones I can talk to her about.

anyway, I feel bereft.

I acknowledge that these feelings are borne out of love and that’s a good thing, and compared to others in the world it’s a whoopdeshit situation and how lucky am I to have that as a problem, but it IS emotional turmoil and so I blogged.

 

I often get called a hippie.

I’m not a hippie.

I can see why some people would go there:

I have long hair
I like wearing flowing garments
I like trees
I like nature
I like animals
I prefer love and peace to war and hate
My earrings often dangle
Flowers make me happy and yes, I’ve put them in my hair (more than once)
I did say last weekend that I’d like to dance to the sun rising on the west hill in hastings  1 May 2017
I am simply not happy if I can’t see the sea or a lake or really good pool of oil on a weekly basis
I like using complementary therapies and natural remedies
I learned to meditate
I avoid gluten and processed food
I like the smell of my own body
I hang crystals in windows and smile at prisms
Singing around a fire is fab
My marriage is open
I wouldn’t mind living communally
Eating stuff I’ve grown myself makes me very happy
I have been to many festivals
Other stuff

HOWEVER

I do not use patchouli
I am not vegetarian
My outfits are colour co-ordinated
I don’t get naked at the drop of a hat
I do not walk around with lit incense sticks
I am not permanently stoned
I cannot create my own house out of sticks and moss
I give DeathStare, not VacantStare

HOWEVER

Today I look like I got out of a delorean in 1972.

And I realised – because obviously I’m in the thoughts of strangers walking past me on the street – that everyone probably thought I was a hippie. And I’m not. I’m simply a child of the 70s, who suits clothes from that era. And they all serve a purpose today:

brown, cord flares. I walked to waterloo from russell square yesterday (didn’t mean to, no buses going my way) and my poor inner thighs were so horribly chafed and sore I had to wear something very soft and protective today.

paisley, flowing, top. I’m either much fatter than before or mensturally bloated 24/7 or something but I can only wear forgiving tops. This top is WELL forgiving and moves beautifully AND it matches the cords.

blue, long, sleeveless over-top thing. flows with abandon. absolutely put me in the delorean and yet yesterday, was worn over a black top and geometric skirt that made me look super 2016. goes with pretty much everything. love it.

long necklace. made out of small white and small brown shells. it’s pretty and it matches the cords.

turquoise ring. chunky, big, in yer face, matches the blue in the paisley top.

earrings. I don’t want to discuss. (I FORGOT TO PUT ANY ON AND I FEEL NAKED. IN A NON-HIPPIE WAY.)

shades. black, simple, match everything else because they are shades.

trainers. old skool. only they’re new and comfortable. and very 70s. and very practical when it’s going to be a lot colder coming back from hastings than it is going there (otherwise, birkies). matches my blue flowing over-top thing.

hair. Oh my god the hair! washed this morning, light, clean, fragrant, FLOWING. people are talking about it at work.

In fact, my entire outfit gained compliments as soon as I got through the door at work.

Because there is a DIFFERENCE between being a child of the 70s and a hippie and my colleagues know it. YAY colleagues. YAY!

I got off the bus one stop early on my way home this evening so I could take a photo of some graffiti that annoys me every time I see it. someone’s written “queers hate cops” on an empty poster site and it just makes me glare.

first off, it’s a massive generalisation and there’s no room for those in my life.

second, i’m a queer and I don’t hate cops.

I get SO irritated when people, often loud and annoying people, decide to speak on my behalf, without permission, checking whether it’s accurate, anything like that.

I remember on gingerbeer one time, some young, stupid kiwi lesbian came along and – and this happened a LOT – the youngsters would find the site, come in with their amazing new ideas (none of them new of course) and I wanted to post a bunch of laminated signs so they’d realise that yes, THEY were learning but a lot of us had already been down that road and come out with our own findings s0 while we wished them well, don’t fucking shove it down our throats when we just wanted to talk about plants and poo and other stuff. anyway, one year, this one came along and got all feisty and – do you know, I can’t even remember what it was about now – but she said that her very strong views were representative of new zealanders.

…I think my response was less than polite. she was being so stupid. she wasn’t representing me nor my views, she couldn’t possibly know my views or those of the entire population of new zealand let alone the ones who no longer lived there AND! she was bringing shame on kiwis by being a git.

and that’s generally how I feel about generalisations.

…what I should do is go and amend that graffiti with ‘some’ before ‘queers’ and ‘some’ before ‘cops’ and then at the bottom ‘GENERALISATIONS ARE STUPID’. in bordello pink.

anyway, I’ve been thinking about the person who did the shit graffiti – and it is shit graffiti, nothing artistic going on there at all – and I’ve decided that they’re probably a young, stupid person who is trying to impress older, less stupid people and maybe doesn’t hate cops at all. or even knows one. maybe they’re related to one! goddammit I wanted to be one – until I went to the police station to find out more about it and discovered i’d have to do a first aid thing using those horrible old dummies they brought into primary schools whose tummies bloated up with a groan if you blew too hard bringing them back to life – god, the hygiene risks when I think about that now… all those germy kids in all those schools all trying to resuscitate the same, rubbery, creepy dead man thing.

I also think they have piercings, uprofessionally done. and wear too many colours. and they’re almost definitely vegan.

anyway, none of this is me generalising. this is me being very specifically annoyed and deciding on a very specific voodoo doll.

because generalisations are WRONG and STUPID.

…unless you’re talking about the tories or trump. then you can say what you like and I will be right there, painting flowers and butterflies around your words.