Valentine’s Day is lurking

A scoff escaped my mouth as the sliding doors elegantly closed behind me. Stepping into the supermarket, I was greeted by a sea of rose red and blinding white, bearing nothing of the ‘home brand’ branding normally associated with retail. Ceramic coffee mugs, soft toys, cards and bloated love hearts were perched in a small display unit, the very shelves my beloved Apple and Cinnamon hot cross buns once sat. Irresistible sweet and spicy fruit bread now relegated and stacked to a less visible space of the store known as the bum end, resulting in shards of my heart piercing through every bit of offal between it and my stomach.

So, what is one to do with a highly flammable pillow anyway? Cram it in a toaster or grill? Butter wouldn’t dare melt over it and nothing would conceal the disgusting flakes of burnt chiffon. I don’t think I’m alone when I state if I were gifted any of the tacky merchandise mentioned in the previous paragraph, my pulsating libido would shut down beyond sleep mode and a night alone in a bathtub watching Paul Kelly cooking up a storm in his new video clip, ‘Firewood and Candles’ would be on the cards. A simple massage is the evident jump start for anatomy to go bonkers. Otherwise, a bottle of booze or A SIX PACK OF HOT CROSS BUNS would be the alternative ignition. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not only typing on behalf of the ladies either. Taste buds of the male species are in cahoots with their sex drive and they also might appreciate soft fluffy carbs loaded with fruit and spice, paired with a bottle of whiskey as opposed to a cute teddy.

I’ll finish this entry by repeating February 15th is the day of significance for the rest of us and not because a solar eclipse will be taking place. We Spinsters and Bachelors in every nook of the planet are eager to get our hands on the discounted credible clutter: the chocolates, beverages and we’ll also accept the vibrating power tools, massage oils and lube thank you. I’ll gather appropriately priced lingerie if the knicker collection needs updating but anything with the words ‘Be my Valentine’ weaved on it will linger in a dusty warehouse.

Sadly, hot cross buns are only available for 3-4 months of the year. Mugs, soft toys, flowers and love heart pillows (minus the cliched pickup lines) can be purchased any time.

To all the visual merchandisers, I plead with you to return those climatic consumables back to centre stage where they belong and I’ll release a heaving sigh of relief when those sliding doors usher me in on my next visit.

Unexpected Company.

Billy Idol famously plodded the dance floor on his own. Determined that he wasn’t spending his time in Tokyo hunched over sticky table covered in someone else’s liquor, he gate crashed the dance floor and never looked back. I’ve never been to Tokyo nor can I dance but after a Jerk Face was no show for a date one night, I took on Guru Idol’s example. I refused to flee the eatery humiliated, and in return, I discovered a love dining by myself. My new hobby was not met with the same amount of excitement by friends of mine or my sister when I shared this experience with them. Frozen faces of concern stared back at mine at the thought of looking lonely or desperate. They needn’t worry, because they dine regularly with their offspring and as studies have shown children view restaurants, cafes, food courts and bistros as an aerobics circuit, winding up sufficient bravery to leap from ledges of great heights rather than scooping food into their mouths! My Parenting pals rarely get that fork into their feast because their offspring has earned themselves a gash of blood, needing assistance at a dinner table. Imagine, never experiencing polishing off an entire plate of pasta before the parmesan cheese got the chance to melt into the sauce? They’ll be waiting another 34 years before they can inhale a glass of wine without escorting the heirs to the toilet and wait for bladders to get over stage fright. Will they ever realize these unfortunate mishaps were avoidable by requesting a table for one?

Accepting to be seated at a bench for four was a blunder I made recently. I’ll explain this bit further down the screen, but I’d been looking forward dining on my own from the moment a nagging phone began pleading for my attention at work. A new Dumplings restaurant had established itself within walking distance from home, conveniently right next to Mr Barista’s bakery. I couldn’t fathom returning to my favourite haunt in the city post Valentine’s Day disaster with Cameron. Bitterness remained flushing through my vascular system at the thought of returning to the interrogation booth where I was accused of polluting Cameron with the charms. Eventually, I proved my innocence, and I’m happy to report that I’m on the rebound with the new local and our connection is electric. Upgrading from the ex, the new establishment of my affections is a striking restaurant groomed with fresh paint, touch screen menus, an enhanced selection of liquid beverages and competition for Mr Barista. A young waiter named Kevin was Mr Batista’s neighbour and Kevin’s face paraded cheekbones so defined you could puncture a tin of Melbourne Bitter over them. His hazel eyes made me want to pat his neatly cropped dark hair and a cheeky grin complemented his quirky sense of humour. Kevin unashamedly flirted as he served me drinks and food and in return, I contributed regularly to his wage and superfund.

My night was travelling splendidly as my eyes wandered amongst the text of a book called ‘Jane Steele,’ by Lyndsay Faye. Jane was amid stabbing someone with a letter opener when a male’s relaxed tone distracted my attention from the page.

“When did you learn to use chopsticks?” My eyes flew upward finding Alex standing tall with his arms folded and a curious stare. He looked handsome as always a with his hair neatly groomed, a navy-blue duffle coat wrapped around his upper half, black jeans embraced his lower end, telling me too much of an effort was made for picking up takeaway and besides, his date was standing to his right. Mr Barista, ever so dapper in a leather jacket, a grey knitted jumper with red collars peaking over the top and the usual pair of navy jeans covering his legs. I silently pleaded for the ground below my chair to crumble. How long had these fine bachelors been watching me shovel dumplings into my mouth and brazenly burp aromas of shiraz around the restaurant? Oh yes, I’m aware I’m a vision of allure.

“I was blessed by a chop stick goddess.” I informed him, eager to get a dumping to its destination before any chance of drool upped my magnetism.
Alex turned to Mr Barista, “I tried teaching this one for months but she argued she was too hungry for concentration, opting for the silver cutlery.” He looked back at me “Looks like someone conquered.”
“The one Alex affectionately refers to as ‘This one’ is Jess.” I stated to Mr Barista with half a dumpling still rolling about my tongue.
Alex never missed a beat of presenting himself yet introductions of whom he was in company with wasn’t a mannerism Alex possessed.
A smirk revealed itself between Mr Barista’s moustache and beard, he reached his hand out towards me, “I’m Danny.”
I tried playing it ‘cool,’ but my prolonged gaze and handshake stated the opposite.
“And what have you two got planned tonight?” I honestly didn’t want to know but my woeful acting needed to be a thing of the past.
“Just a few quiet ones at the pub.” Alex shrugged.
I looked down at my phone checking the time.
“You better get your skates on if you’re going to make happy hour.” Hoping that pointing out time was running against them, they’d vamoose, and I’d find out if Jane’s murderous attempt was successful.
“I could go beers and satay chicken.” Danny suggested. He’d already invited himself to the touch screen menu drilled into the wall above my table.
“I’m happy to dine here.” Alex agreed looking over Mr Barista’s shoulder scanning the menu. “Grab some Spring Rolls and Green Curry for me, and rice.” Alex ordered to Danny and made his way around the table for a chair next to mine.
Danny slid into the seat opposite us without taking his eyes or finger away from electronic the menu. Alex removed his jacket, draping it over the back of his chair and settled in. Now this is where the importance of requesting a table for one is imperative. Refuse the offer of a table set for four! Extra space is enticing but also leaves one out in the wide open to the uninvited muscling their way into their domain. A swift evacuation came to mind but promptly rejected since Corey was hosting company at our house. Man company! We agreed he was going to message me when his dalliance was over and his date vacated the house.

“Beer?” Danny offered Alex.
“Yes please.” Alex tapped his index fingers on the edge of the table, a habit which remained during silent moments or thought.
I slid my book into my handbag along with the irritation of having to wait out the final wound Jane Steele would puncture into her victim.
“Jess?” Danny asked. Holy Moly this beautiful specimen said my name out loud!
My heart bounced around my chest in excitement. Well, I hope it was excitement, now was not the time to be having a heart attack.
“Shiraz thanks.” I smiled back at him.
“Jess, take these home with you?” I slightly ejected from my seat not knowing that Kevin had appeared at our table.
You see, my chest was already beyond its limit because Mr Barista had addressed me by my name instead of my coffee order and now I had a waiter showering me with prawn crackers. I forgave Kevin instantly. Alex was yet to slip his sneakers on and join the sprint to Jess.
“What’s wrong with them?” Quite the rapport flourished between Kevin and I, but we hadn’t reached the stage of exchanging gifts that didn’t involve an invoice being handed back.
“Nothing, the boss is dyslexic, and we have a shitload of them rolling around the joint.” Kevin guaranteed me.
“I’m Alex by the way.” Alex inclined across me and towards Kevin proving my previous point on he and introduction.
“Kevin.” Kevin reached towards Alex, their hands embraced one another’s bouncing right in front of my eyes.
‘You need to stop forming crushes, Jess.’ I lectured myself as claustrophobia crept in followed by Danny joining in on the introductions. Here I was surrounded by three blokes holding pieces of my mind, stomach and libido but it was the free prawn crackers that eventually trapped my gaze.
“Alright I’ll take them. Nina and I are going on a road trip tomorrow. Now we have snacks!” I huddled those bags of crackers into my arms and slid them closer to me as I’d perceived poker players do with their indigestible chips.
“Where are you and Nina off to?” Kevin asked.
“Phillip Island. Nina wants to go whale watching, so we’re jumping in the car for a girls’ weekend.”
“Isn’t ice cream, wine and whinging the staple food for girls’ weekends?” Kevin channelled every cliché of all female attended weekends and usually he’d be right but at I don’t need to remind you Nina and I aren’t ordinary women.
“Urban legend and we don’t want be dealing with dishes so, Beer and Prawn Chips will be sufficient,” I assured his gesture would go to good use.
“Call into Six Gills fish and chips shop, in Cowes, tell them I sent you. They’ll look after you.” Kevin winked.
“That’s my local too!” Alex chimed in. Bloody Alex knowing everyone!
My stupid memory forgetting Alex moved to Phillip Island. You have no idea how hard it was to stop myself from throwing my head back dramatically over how small planet earth can be.
“So, if I drop both your names, I’ll receive an abundance of potato cakes with chicken salt?” I asked them both.
“Potato cakes? You’re going to an eatery that serves best seafood in Australia and you’re hoping for potato cakes?” Alex asked horrified at my choice of deep fried treasures over scaled flesh.
“Is this the place we ate that scrumptious lemon and pepper calamari?” Danny asked Alex.
“That’s the one.” Alex nodded.
“I’m dreaming of the oysters right now.” Kevin’s vision was pointed towards a wall but clearly in his mind he was slurping muscles that once held pearls.
“This seafood shop sounds a smidge fancy for Nina and I,” I voiced my concern and looked over to Kevin. “What’s in it for you if I drop your name at this place?”

Kevin was yanked back to reality.
“Free Onion Rings.” He admitted.
Take that Alex, I’m not the only one accustomed to eating grub from newspaper or cardboard.
“Onion Rings!” I shrieked in delight, “It’s a deal. Thanks Kevin.”
“Not a problem. Now, I’ll find out what happened to your drinks?”
Lack of beverages on our table came to Kevin’s attention mid body twist and he ambled towards the bar.
“Free prawn crackers hey? Is this where I’m going wrong with women?” Danny revealed a pinch of cheekiness for the first time.
“Don’t tell Kevin but making coffee, breakfast and cakes had you a few notches higher on the favouritism list. But I’ll admit multiple bags of free prawn crackers may have given you a slight pip.” I couldn’t help playing along.
“Danny’s an artist, he should charge for his services, those were ordered premade.” Was Alex donning a wingman suit or slaying our hospitable pal?
Shoving the bags of prawn crackers under the table I meandered down memory lane.
“I recall you taking advantage of your tab at the bar, handing free beer to the ladies you had your eye on.” I teased.
“I got free beer from Alex and he never took me to bed once.” Danny pointed out.
“You got free beer because I’d get a proper hangover breakfast the next morning.”
“Yet I still make you breakfast but the beers have dried up.” Danny ran his fingers through his dark facial hair and batting his eye lashes in Alex’s direction.
How do men come in to possession of dark, curved lashes naturally? Being able to bin the need for mascara would make me one elated lady.

“Dinner is on me tonight, sweetheart.” Alex winked.
Watching these two flirting had me check my phone for communication from Corey. Nada.
“So, you’re off to Phillip Island as I get back to Melbourne?” Alex’s question sadly put a stop to their performance.
Kevin returned with drinks and the meals Alex and Danny ordered. He handed my glass of shiraz with impeccable timing.
“Poor Nina has been watching her Ex whisk his current girlfriend away to Bali while she dealt with the sale of their unit.” I explained.
“Ouch! Good old Facebook huh? What happened to gold fashion grapevine whispers?” Danny’s nose crumpled.
“The only outing Ryan took Nina on was to the local food court.”
“Why didn’t she just delete or block him? Ignore hear say.” Alex wondered shaking his head.
“Or, Ryan could have been an adult and helped her juggle the inspections, real estate agents and the bank before heading overseas.” I shot back taking a quite the gulp of wine.
“He sounds like a top-notch dickhead.” Danny agreed with a mouthful of satay chicken.

Alex remained unusually quiet making me question how many nerves I’d stomped on.
“So how did you love birds meet?” I attempted to rectify the mood.
“We did a business degree at Uni together.” Danny enlightened as scooped the last of the condiments in his bowl.
“I didn’t know you had a business degree.” I said to Alex.
“I didn’t get around to using it until I bought the landscaping business.”
“Are you enjoying being both boss and employee?”
“Hating the paper work but being outdoors getting my hands dirty and spending time on my own is better than therapy.” Alex’s last admission was a shock. I recalled the nights he spent engaging in lengthy conversation to most customers at the bar and staff he worked alongside.
“I thought you loved the social side of hospitality?”

“Sometimes I have other tradies to banter with. Otherwise I get the job done quicker on my own and I’m off to enjoy the evening, unlike this bloke who works never ending hours, seven days a week.” Alex pointed a chop stick in Danny’s direction. 
Danny reclined back in his chair cradling his full belly
“All day access to exquisite coffee easies the pain.” Danny winked.
“And those delicious cakes!” My chin rested on my fists day dreaming of being surrounded by desserts and puppies.
Danny made the bakery dog friendly and the outdoor dining area was often filled with wagging bums and tails.
“I’m a sucker for the savoury not so much the sweet stuff,” He’s eyes looked stoned. “And between us the canines are my favourite customers.”
“How do you sell the taste of your goods if you don’t eat it?” I questioned.
“Jess has a point there.” Alex agreed.
“If you ever need someone to taste test and review those for you, I’m your girl!” Three glasses of Shiraz turn out to be quite the courage enhancer.
“I’ll take you up on that,” Danny accepted my proposal. “Come in to the bakery sometime and I’ll give you some tastings. Bring your friend Nina.”
“It’s a date!” I accepted his proposal enthusiastically. “Although Nina is lactose intolerant.”
“Old School food intolerance.” Danny nodded smiling.
“She says whoever made Oreos vegan deserves a gobby,” This statement, which escaped my vocal chords before I could stop it, had Alex and Mr Barista swiftly turn their heads in my direction with adoring eyes. “I know very well neither of you invented Oreos.”
“No but you’ve got Danny brainstorming vegan desserts.” Alex laughed looking over at Danny who was unsuccessfully hiding an embarrassed expression behind his hand and fingers.

An hour later a message from Corey informing me his date had left finally made its way to my phone but by then I was enjoying my night with Alex and Mr Barista. Dread slowly turned into captivation with tales of their Uni days. I somehow managed to keep the conversation about them not wanting to reveal any embarrassing tales about myself. Unfortunately, Alex had plenty of those of me in his memory bank, but he was an absolute gentleman and didn’t pull any of it out, or it’s possible he erased them. Considering I first laid eyes on Danny at a prescription counter at our local chemist and announced I had a UTI while he was serving me coffee and breakfast the next day, I wanted to seem like I was capable of being a proper adult. 

Kevin eventually turfed us out as he was eager to get home accompanied by a meal the chef made him while it was warm. Exiting the restaurant, I wrapped my scarf around my neck and shoved my hands into the fluffy pockets of my jacket, armouring them from the crisp June chill greeting us outside.

“You’re not going to join us at the pub?” Danny asked.
As much as I wanted to give into to his Espresso eyes penetrating right through mine, I was finding it difficult to walk without a waddle or a wobble thanks to the expansion of my gut. Where did Alex and Danny obtain stamina to keep going? Alex demolished the pumpkin cakes I’d ordered because I couldn’t stuff anymore food past my neck. I often wondered where he stored all the carbs he ate or drank in that flat stomach of his. Danny and I could only fit half of what Alex managed with our rounder bellies.
“My gut is needing cuddles from pants fitted with a flexible waist band right now,” Was my articulate reasoning. “Please drink a few for me.”
“Fair enough. Thanks for letting us invade your dinner.” Danny winked at me.
“How are you getting home?” Ever so chivalrous, Alex want to know appearing from the restaurant after insisting on paying with the business credit card. 
“I’m a five-minute walk away.” I reminded him pointing towards the railway tracks and the direction of the street I live.
“It’s freezing, we’ll give you a lift.” Danny insisted.
Honestly, I should have walked off what I’d eaten but refusing a lift home from Mr Barista seemed rude, so I begrudgingly took up his offer. Alright! I gladly accepted a ride home. He was right it, was bloody freezing and my toes were already numb by that point and I was dreading the stich I felt approaching.

Sleep eluded me as I lay on my back, passing time until the feed I’d ingested crumbled. A caress of the clitoris or fiddle of the g-spot was out of the question doubting my arms could reach over my bloated belly. Instead, weakness for fellas in hospitality came to my attention but shouldn’t have been a surprise. My lust for beverages and food had been evident my entire life. I remember Mum telling me to put pieces of cake I’d brought home from every wedding I’d attended under my pillow and I’d dream about my future husband, yet I was always too impatient to do so, and the thought of eating a squashed piece cake repulsed me so, down my oesophagus it would go, before I had the chance to for see who I was pledging a life time of promises to. Every birthday candle I blew out, I wished my friends had eaten enough sweets so I had enough cake to last until my next birthday. Cake, chocolate, anything with cream or ganache were the true loves of my life. But honestly, I have quite a collection of Men I’ve formed crushes on needing a cull and this reminds me, I must make an appointment with my hairdresser.

Gingerbread House disaster.

Merry Christmas Eve! It has been a while since I published something for the 2 people who read this. I have been up to plenty, some musings and tales are almost ready to post so get ready to be bombarded. Speaking of misfortunes I thought I’d share a doozey with you. It goes like this:

Since the beginning of December I have been counting down the sleeps until boxing day. The morning after Christmas I race down to the shops and line up with the rest of the country to get my hands on the hot cross buns and Cadbury cream Eggs magically appearing on the shelves. Once I’ve got my goodies I race home where Corey has Bailey’s Espressos hot and ready and we rip into our traditional boxing day breakfast of toasted fruit and cinnamon rolls, saturated in melted butter accompanied with sweet, gooey confectionary eggs while binging episodes of ‘Becker.’ Yes, I’m drooling from every oraphas daydreaming about Boxing Day morning. Two more sleeps!

In the meantime I have to make do with Gingerbread which is fine, I love Gingerbread too but I don’t have the best history with it. You see, every third Christmas I end up with tickets on myself by getting creative with Gingerbread only this process has always ended in disaster. I have managed to burn, smash and ruin many batches of Gingerbread. I assure you I’ve followed recipes properly, I mix all the correct ingredients and preheat the oven at the correct temperature but still managed to make bricks of Gingerbread inedible. Where I am going wrong? Might have something to do with the amount of homemade Sangria (a concoction I’ve mastered for decades) with in my system but we all know the rules of the kitchen: No cooking, baking, roasting, toasting or frying with out an alcoholic beverage in the free hand, otherwise you get the feeling of being unsymmetrical or off balance and this can be hazardous in a kitchen.

So this year I opted to put together a Gingerbread house rather than bake it. All I’d have to do is mix icing sugar with water, stick all the panels together and decorate. So simple nothing could go wrong, right?

WRONG!

Construction went faultlessly. The Gingerbread walls, panels, roof and chimney attached beautifully. The decorating, well, I thought about lying by telling toy ‘I was going for the Salvador Dali look.’ But nup, I’ll admit, I am hopless with the mixture of water and icing sugar ratio! Instead an establishment in the middle of an elegant winter wonderland my Gingerbread looked it was the the unfortunate landing for a jizz piping from some Chap’s anatomy.

The doors and windows slid south, icicles looked like drops of spoodge holding on for dear life over the edge of the roof and the so called brick walls looked a sticky web of a mess.

Gingerbread disaster: 5

Jessica Spinster: 0

I can assure you this will be my last attempt creating anything Gingerbread. From now on I’ll fork out cash for something made by a professional and I think this is why the universe has gifted me the beautiful Mr Barista down at the bakery. I’ve already scripted what I am to going to say to him during Christmas 2018, if I ever get the courage to utter anything to him apart from ‘thanks,’ when he hands me my takeaway coffee.

Next Christmas I’ll return to my roots of stirring and shaking liquor and ice or Paul Kelly serenaded us with a Gingerbread recipe?

Eclipse Gifts.

Two eclipses in a fortnight! Weren’t we lucky earthlings gifted with an encore. A dual act of our scorching star and glowing satellite eloquently ‘doing doughies’ around the planet we occupy, has fascinated me since childhood. Grace and I would battle over a telescope Dad had permanently set up in the lounge room and like perverts we’d watch the unclothed moon cover itself behind a blanket of onyx and blush ruby before revealing its radiant robust self again. Sadly, the recent lunar eclipse Melbourne had front row seats for was a partial one, a dash of ruby wasn’t to be but still worth staggering into work with an unresponsive brain and bloodshot eyes.

I could give a side scrunch of my nose about the solar eclipse though, a pointless performance, we’re not supposed look at it for starters. I get the impression the sun develops a case of wrathful ego being relegated behind the moon, and if you dare to be a witness it’ll zap your eyes without a thought. Slightly uncalled for however a trick I’d like to possess at times.

Back to the Moon. Right before the lunar eclipse a satellite of my own disintegrated in a universe also known as my uterus. When it came to my attention I’d be possessed by the PMS (a pre-menstrual spirit I’ve named Oscar) on the night the eclipse was scheduled to take place, I’ll admit I shut my eyes tightly and kicked my legs with the excitement at the possibility of transforming into a temperamental Witch, Goblin or a panther, with eyes glowing chartreuse in the dark. Regrettably, I report this didn’t eventuate. Perhaps as it was only a partial eclipse or Oscar had other plans that night, but all I turned into was a tranquil woman, inactive on a couch eating pizza and watching Dr Who. No swollen boobs, no volcanic cramps, irrational mood swings never eventuated, my eyes never sparkled emerald, not a wart or whisker sprouted from my face nor did I come in possession of a broom. I’m also going to confess to you right now as I inhaled that scrumptious pizza I completely forgot the eclipse was due to take place. So memory loss was the only Premenstrual symptom I ended up with and I’m slightly hopeful Oscar trespassed into the physique of a man who berated himself for ingesting an entire packet of Tim Tams that he had hopes of soothing his bloated boozies and miffed mons pubis.

The solar recital hurled around a handful of annoying jiffies I read about on various blogs. For me, this began with half my face connecting with cold floating floor boards whilst attempting the plank. How my entire head by passed my yoga mat, with plenty of room for my face to land on, we will never know. My clumsy thud was followed by having to discard the carcass of a magpie that swooped right into the clutches of my cat, Seagull. Wrapping the deceased Maggie in a plastic bag I attempted to pay my respects by apologising for it’s final resting place being a wheelie bin and for the actions of my life thieving cat.

In the evening, an envelope from a company that agreed to letting an idiot take ownership of a credit card from them laid in the letter box. Again, met with a side scrunch of my nose, figuring I was being notified of a fee hike. My gut whispered I drop it into a bin and focus on ordering Thai food instead. My head ordered me to rip that envelope open and reward myself with Pad Thai and Curry Puffs afterwards for being so brave. A feeling of euphoria I only get when eating a bowl of Pad Thai flowed right through me when I saw the balance total finally came to $0.00. I was an exceptional guardian of running my credit card through its paces, making record breaking attempts at swiping it through as many Eftpos machines around the country as I could. Helping myself to whatever it was I wanted needed at the time and dealing with the repayments like a typical twenty something by ignoring statements arriving via mail and email. Even though I’ve rectified the actions of my twenties irrationality, the following day I was recapped of a council fine my thirty something brain had genuinely forgotten. During my time reading up on the solar eclipse I was assured seedlings planted months ago would now begin to flourish. Another envelope arrived in the mailbox with the return address of the Civic Compliance Victoria and my name printed below it. I assumed my time for jury duty finally arrived. I was about to put away bad people from the comfort of a chair rather than chasing them down alley ways and over fences. Nope, inside the envelope was a final notice for a council fine I hadn’t paid and boy that owing amount had blossomed, doubling the original total! Why did I cancel the evil credit card? Mid-twenties Jess would have blamed the entire thing on the waltzing star and satellite however my mid-thirties brain pointed out I’m only to blame and to pay the damn fine right away! But what exactly does council do for us apart from sending out invoices? Half my street is covered in rubbish because aiming a bin towards the centre of a massive truck is essential criteria the garbos don’t seem own these days. Others such as avoiding phones, admiring tree branches tangled up in electrical wires and disregarding jagged footpaths are responsibilities which rush to my mind.

Stuff it! Let us practice a smidge of self-compassion right now and blame every fine, injury, misplaced item, accidental sleep ins and crankiness squarely on those orbiting balls. Our mid-twenties would be tremendously proud.

*I should point out Melbourne is scheduled for a visit from the Super Moon December 3rd. Fingers crossed the night sky has vacuumed every bit of cloud in time. I wonder what comes with the full moon edging closer to our planet? I’m hoping Seagull might lead David Tennant back to my place but still breathing and not a scratch on him please!

Charming Chlamydia

My arrival at the Dumpling eatery was a memorable one. The overheated unit I call my body gave the scent of vinegar, soya sauce and coriander a run for its money. A shade of rosé flushed over my face and microbeads of sweat dribbled from every pore of my body, l felt like an overworked Chux cloth ready for the bin. A stubborn tram refusing to transport ungrateful and grumpy passengers was the sole culprit. Rarely does the mercury peak over the early 30’s during a Melbourne summer so if it flies past 34˚C, we Melburnians are counting on the rest of the country to send us an ambulance because heat stroke emits us to bat shit cranky so I advise calling the police and the armed artillery too.

Overanalysing a meeting I was about be in distracted me from my feet groaning in pain, slammed repeatedly against tough soles and solidified cement. Cameron, my ex capsicum, called earlier that afternoon in a tizz, insisting that we needed to talk in person. His voice hinted our date may end with my belly encasing flames and a possibility of a flare up with pieces of me ending up all over the restaurant, mistaken for food and dipped in chilli. My highly imaginative mind and I daydreamed a few scenarios to bail me out of this. Informing Cameron I’d liquefied into a puddle on a perfectly level concrete path having me unable to move until July and ‘could it be possible to catch up then, once I’d thickened’ was my favourite lie.

Forcing the door open an air conditioner whooshed over me, drying off damp crevasses instantly and in that moment I felt the sparkle and shine a vehicle feels after a pampering in those lazy car washes at the servo (minus the waxing and bubbles). Retrieving my phone to message Cameron about my arrival I saw he’d beaten me to it, in fact he let me know he’d changed tables four times. My eyes took their time to wander the restaurant and located Cameron seated in a booth at the very back corner, arms folded and hunched over his phone lying on the table waiting for my reply, I’m assuming.
“I thought you didn’t have my number anymore?” I greeted him sourcing extra crankiness from my tortured feet. He jumped at the sound of my voice. Woah! It appeared Cameron fought wild animals on his journey here, blood shot eyes looked back at mine and it was clear as day he hadn’t eaten recently. His clothes looked as though they’d been worn, thrown on a floor overnight, picked up and worn again repeatedly all week. A small crack snuck across my heart. One side of his mouth managed to curve upwards.
“Of all the dates on the calendar, I found an old birthday card my ex gave me.”

Here we go, painstakingly floating toward the abyss of guilt when I was hoping we’d go for a cannon approach.
“Happy Birthday?” I was taking a stab here since I’m certain it wasn’t Cameron’s birthday I had no idea what occasion he was alluding too.
“It’s Valentine’s Day. And you scrubbed out my ex’s name on that birthday card and scribbled your phone number.” He pulled the card out from under the table and slid it over to me but since I was determined to continue a frosty queen front, I tended to the drinks menu instead.
“I remember. Your phone died as did your affections for your ex. Or so you thought.”

Cameron always flittered back to his ex as soon as she snapped her fingers. Like watching a puppy at obedience school only Cameron wasn’t distracted by sticks and tennis balls, she was his only hindrance. Remaining silent he vacuumed a lot of air up his nostrils.
“So, what must we discuss in my favourite restaurant on Valentine’s Day?” I slashed the bullshit as neatly as I could.
“We’re not getting back together.” Cameron sniggered.
“I don’t recall us being exclusive in the first place.” I reminded up without lifting my head from the menu.

Tension rapidly boiling between us briefly simmered when a young waitress silenced our bickering, “Would you like to order starters? A drink may-.” She cheerfully began to offer before Cameron rudely cut her off.
“I’ve got chlamydia.” Was the verbal vomit that had to sprint out his mouth in that very moment and for the first time that night, surrounded by cardboard love hearts and roses attached to the merlot painted walls, the perfect surrounding for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t take our eyes off each other. A Lucky Bamboo plant sitting at the wall end of the table was evidently slacking off and I suddenly remembered the hospitable waitress, mouth opened her chin practically resting on her chest but pen and note pad still in hand.

I cleared my throat. “I’ll have a double whiskey and dry.”
“Huh-uh,” she jolted, nodding her head scribbling on the notepad and bravely turned to Cameron. “Sir?” Was all she could ask, unsure if she should be staring at a man in Cameron’s condition.

He looked up at her. “I’ll have what she’s got but on the rocks.”

The waitress nodded to him as well.
“Okay. A double Whiskey and dry and a double whiskey on the rocks.” She abruptly turned around and hastily scurried to the counter.

My face heated up after Cameron’s little dig, he ribbed me constantly for mixing whiskey however his jab wasn’t about dry ginger!
“What was that supposed to mean?” I hissed.
“I wanted to thank you in person for the Valentine’s present.” he grunted, his upper half now perfectly poised.
“Excuse me?” The vitriol in Cameron’s voice just as contagious as the STD he’d been impregnated with, a deposit that I was certain I didn’t father. “You’ve contaminated me with the charms if I’m in possession of it.”
“That old guy probably gave it to you,” Cameron suggested passively as the waitress timed serving our drinks perfectly.

My jaw tightened it, he was lucky the limbs below my neck were napping otherwise I guarantee a pair of chop sticks may have ended up jabbing out of an eyeball. “I only slept with Alex once and it was hours after you.”

I was thankful my reminiscence slapped that smirk from his face, although sculling a double whiskey wasn’t one of my most brilliant moments. My eyes burnt from forcing extra amount of whiskey down my throat in a miniscule amount of time and I had to escape before Cameron thought actual tears were sliding down my cheeks. Slamming my siphoned glass down so hard a few blocks of ice flew over the edges, my exit was going to be just as grand as my entrance. Grabbing my handbag, I figured I had every right to sidekick Cameron again with my glossary.
“Why is it single women are still having to justify our sex lives and men don’t have to explain a thing? Our libidos are just as needy.” I didn’t wait for his next facial expression by hook or crook my trembling legs hurriedly walked me out the door and it wasn’t until I boarded the tram I recalled not paying for my drink! I think it’s only fair that he shouted tonight.

Unlocking the front door, it was evident Corey was home and the memorizing wafts of chilli, salsa and cooked mince told me he’d made his signature dish of nachos and would complement the goon box of Sangria I’d been holding like a travel bag. Corey was spread on the couch carefully selecting what corn chip was headed down his gullet. He was mid chew when he looked at up me gazing lovingly at his plate of nachos through a face of thunder.
“There’s left over garnish still in the Pan, corn chips in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge.” He sighed offering me his left overs for lunch the next day. “Help yourself then come tell me what’s happened.”

I changed into my comforting pyjama pants and an old Magic Dirt t-shirt that appeared in my wardrobe. I assume I’d claimed it from an ex-boyfriend. Must have be at least 10 years old, but it fit and looked fabulous so survived eviction. The Sangria had laid about in the freezer long enough to re-chill and pour, I wondered if it was holy enough to suffocate sexually transmitted germs? Corey’s uncertain gaze followed me to the opposite end of the three-seating couch and thanks to the double whiskey and few mouthfuls of sweet sangria waltzing in my head, I decided to dive right in and tell Corey my news.
“Cameron is up the spout with the clap,” I proclaimed and promptly shovelled a pile of corn chips, cheese and avocado into my mouth.

Corey reacted by covering his plate and staring back at me. I wasn’t sure why he felt the need to shelter his lap.
I threw my head back and rolled my eyes, “You can’t contract it verbally,” I reminded him. “You can expose your groin now.”
“Cheese doesn’t need to be exposed to this sort of banter!” His eyes widened, proving he was serious.
“So you’ve got it?” He quizzed, still one hand protecting the melted cheese.
“No!” I assured him “Maybe! I don’t know?” I relinquished to confusion as the chips became limp and lifeless under the weight of garnish.
“Guess who’s off for an etching at that special place for individuals who enjoy intercourse of the unprotected kind?” He lectured me.
“I’m trying to work out when.” I grimaced at the thought of sitting in a sad waiting room full of boring pamphlets about contraception as opposed to the tabloid blasphemy that was available at the GP. By this stage I’d hoovered the plate and hardly touched the sangria.
“Um. At once would be your best bet!” Corey ordered licking his fingers. “Go Saturday.”
“Can’t. Grace’s baby shower is on Saturday.” My tongue made out with that plate, collecting left overs, it proved difficult during a conversation.
“That’s not until the afternoon.” He pushed.
“Mum needs me to decorate the house.”
“No point having decorations unless the baby has x-ray vision.” He laughed.
“Grace is far from thrilled about this.” I shook my head at the thought of my poor sister struggling not groan at the umpteenth designer item bought for a new born who’ll outgrow in no time.
“Why is she having it then?” Corey queried confused.
“Technically it’s Mum’s shindig, all about Mum needing appraisals being a pro at this Grannie Caper.”
“Are flaming wees flowing out of ya?” Corey asked tapping away at his laptop.
“Nope.” Cold Chisel lyrics began swimming about the sangria pool that filled my brain.
“Rank discharge?” Corey continued relishing in researching symptoms.
“Apart from ovum suicide, nope.” I answered in between softly humming the melody of Flame Trees and gulping sangria.
“How would you know the difference between ovulation suicide and Chlamydia?” Corey questioned with a tinge of accusation.
“I’d imagine Chlamydia discharge to smell worse than cat piss.”
“I reckon it would look similar to Jelly Fish. Those assholes look like discharge and sting.”
“Discharge with tentacles? Perfect description of Chlamydia but I’m afraid my undies haven’t trapped goo resembling Jelly Fish.”
“Your results are in and I can confirm you may or may not have a smack of chlamydia floating about your insides.” Corey confirmed.

My cervix got the pleasure of double swabbing by a gynaecologist, who reminded me I was overdue a pap smear. She offered both services while she was ‘down there.’ Once my date her dealt with. I was on a train to my parent’s place in Brighton. Brighton only got an occasional visit from me to assure the folks their youngest daughter is still alive. I was admiring the ocean through the window of the train when my message tone went off. I winced wondering what list of suspects it could be: My Mother pestering for my current location, Grace scorning me for leaving her alone with our Mother all morning, Corey making sure I didn’t avoid the gynaecologist or Cameron wanting to know if I was the co-parent of what he was terminating.
“Where are you? Mum’s wits are escalating rapidly!” Grace’s desperate SOS read. I knew I was going to be late and I’d planned on giving Grace the heads up but that plan evaporated from my do to list whilst working myself up about contracting Chlamydia! I’ve never paid extra attention to my wee, other fluids, body temperature or abdomen before.

“Typical you appear right when I put the food out.” Was my Mother’s greeting as I tip toed through their front door.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, a habit I’d taken up all the week, picturing Edina Monsoon with a champagne glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other telling me, “Just do your best, darling.”
“You once expressed to your class you wanted to be a cat when you grew up.” Mother’s voice travelled around the table like an irritating fly swanning about, pretending to fix up the table of triangle sandwiches, teeny tiny quiches, micro macaroons and more food that reduced in size. I don’t think I’ll ever grasp how pizza, pies or pasties never made it to a high tea menu.
“Where’s Grace?” I asked ignoring my Mother’s tone.
“Upstairs getting ready.” She admired her table with crossed arms. I’d left the room unnoticed.

I let myself into the bedroom Grace had confined herself to. She wasn’t getting ready. She’d stolen a plate of pin wheels from a fridge, seated upright on the humongous double bed being supported by enormous pillows. Mango had quite a growth spurt since I’d seen them last, suitcases under Graces eyes gave away that she and sleep were now strangers. This bed was where she wanted to spend her day rather than the lounge room endeavouring to be social.
“Look who finally showed up!” Grace scowled.

Oops, I was hoping the pin wheels had distracted her from me being a shit sister.
“My morning hasn’t been smooth, hell doesn’t just come in the form of our Mother.” I explained slipping my shoes off and joining her on the bed.
“Go on plead your case.” Grace forced a smile and one that told you pregnancy is hell so no sympathy is going to be granted.
“My gap has been violated twice this morning.” I moaned.
“It’s not violation of you’ve given consent.” Grace argued.
“A Gyno etched my gap. Cameron’s got the charms and convinced I gave it to him.” Grace looked mortified with my admission.
“You’ve bought chlamydia to my baby shower?” She gasped.
“No!” I replied just as horrified. “I’m certain I don’t have it!”
“Certain?” She echoed in disbelief.
“Trust me, I’ve been on guard for symptoms and nada,” I shrugged.
“I don’t understand your hostility with contraception?” Grace shook her head.

I patted her swollen stomach. “I’m married!” She laughed throwing a pin wheel at me.
“I recall you peeing on a magnitude of plastic sticks with your fingers crossed behind your back before you were married,” I brought Grace’s lack contraceptive sessions back to light on the morning of her baby shower. “Anyway, I shouldn’t be judged while in this condition.”

I curled my bottom lip hoping specks of sympathy would float my way. How wrong I was.
“You’ll earn compassion once you’ve conveyed a bowling ball inside you for months.”
“Wishing tumours on your baby sister isn’t very maternal of you.” I finally got a chortle out of her, neither of us having any inkling we’d been busted by our Mother now standing in the doorway, her fists resting on her hips her head agitating from side to side.

“Will you two get yourselves ready, our guests arrive any minute,” She huffed. “And those pin wheels were meant to be for those guests I speak of!”
“My party my pin wheels!” Grace retorted with half a pin wheel in her mouth.
“Baby showers are about the baby, otherwise they’d be called Mother’s showers and speaking of, you should consider one before everyone gets here!” Mum stationed herself under the door way perfecting a glamorous prison guard armed with a frightening glare.
“Mum!” I scoffed almost choking on the pastry wheel slamming into the wall of my throat.
“Mango is refuelling.” Grace protested biting into another pin wheel and I was wrapped that my nickname was catching on.

A saintly chime of a door bell was my cue, I’d never sprung from a bed so quickly as the combat erupting between Grace and Mum got too intense for a small room. Dad lucked out by making himself scarce attending his Saturday morning ritual of lawn bowls, snags and beer.

“I’ll end up burnt at the stake or worse in a confession booth if I skip bowls!” He reasoned with Mum.

I swung the door open and three women of perfection I recalled from Grace’s wedding greeted me with a harmonious with a “Hey, Jess.”

Flashbacks of my survival being Grace’s maid of honour and in the company of these three nearly had me lying on the couch calling for a therapist. Grace nor I had an inkling that it was a sister’s duty to be lead bridesmaid, a rule Mum made us aware of after Grace and her fiancé announced their engagement. A bridezilla and her squad of equally maddening zillas is equally debilitating as an ex infected with chlamydia! Meltdowns over outfits, accessories, hairstyles, make up colour swatches and a hen’s night was the reason my mouth ended up attached to a bottle, guzzling booze from it for a temporary taping of my shattered mind and soul every night. Meditating that lot was traumatic and I never want anyone to experience that. Thankfully when Grace became a Mum she comprehended that her son was the only one who had the right to raise her blood pressure and distanced herself from the brats she’d been friends with since high school and I was ecstatic to finally get a sister.

Being the attentive person that I am, their names fled my head, mainly because my ears and mind shut down once their mouths opened but somehow the tags Beetroot, Hummus and Tzatziki stuck and I’m baffled to why they thought it was hilarious and continue to play along. I politely let them in and hurriedly hatching an emergency escape when a choir of crickets began chirping from my bra. I’d forgotten that A) I’d stuffed my phone down my bra when I left my handbag upstairs in the spare room and B) During the Sangria and Nachos session, Corey and I found chirping crickets made a hilarious ringtone to warn that Cameron was trying to command my attention. Regrettably the dips were still walking past me during this and were fascinated by my trilling cleavage. Down my hand dove, under my top and retrieved my phone. I had a choice of talking to him or the dips. Capsicum wasn’t my favourite garnish but he won over Hummus and the gang. I excused myself and answered it hiding laundry.

“Make it quick, I’m at my sister’s baby shower.” I informed him.
“So you didn’t make it to the clinic?” He grunted.

I sighed, my eyeballs rolled back into my lids because this nonstop waltz was becoming weary. Unplanned whoopsie daisies aren’t pleasant but surely a pinch of drama was all that was needed, not the entire shaker Cameron was grinding at.
“I saw a gynaecologist this morning, did two tests and boarded a train to Brighton violated, hormonal and tender.” Last bit was a fib but it was my turn to be moody.
“It’s not my fault we’re in this!” He reminded me.
“We’re both to blame for this predicament. I’ve should have stuck to intercourse with myself!” I snapped at him.

I was on fire but interrupted by Hummus who’d been instructed by my Mother the fridge in the laundry could house a bottle of champagne gripped in her hand.

“Look I’ll be in touch,” I whispered. “I really can’t talk right now!”

I swiftly swiped the end button before he had a chance to hurl back.
“Everything okay?” Hummus cheerfully asked shutting the fridge door.
“Dandy!” I beamed.

A customary round of spit the dummy, lick the nappy and breaking through latex made the few hours in honour of Mango fly. Time came for Grace to unwrap gift hampers and for me to place the umpteenth nicotine lozenge under my tongue, sliding it all over my gums extracting chemicals to transmit me to my Zen bubble. Of all moments I couldn’t light up! A day involving scraping, an incision, pregnancies, clucky women and 12 hours with my mother. I massaged my gums like a junkie all the way back to the lounge where all eyes landed on me instead of the pregnant one who was sporting quite the beamer.
“What?” I ran my hand over my mouth and chin feeling for the crumb gaining an audience.
“You’re not smoking, talking on the phone about various symptoms, guzzling water and tea like anything, plus I’ve noticed the podge you proudly sport has grown a bit,’ Mother began and my head rotated at Hummus having my suspicions on who’s mouth had been working overtime. “Is there something you’d like to tell your Mother?”

Love and affection shone in my direction for the first time in years. I bit my lip letting them all dangle, losing control of the mischievous smile creating creases across my face.
“You’ve all figured it out.” I acted up.
“Oh my goodness!” My Mother began the chorus of excitable screams hugging me.
“I’m about 8 hours hungover and my gut is full of pin wheels!” I announced feeling fondness fade when her arms loosened round my shoulders.
“You’re not expecting?” She questioned her eyes narrowing in on Hummus.
“But I heard you on the phone talking about results and predicaments!” Hummus hushed confused.
“A bloke is accusing me of knocked him up with chlamydia.” I confessed only to teach her a thing or two on eavesdropping.

Mum leapt further away from me and Grace, bless her, let out ripper of a hoot.
“Did you?” Mum’s eyebrows were close to making out as she demanded to know if an STD was going to be her next grandchild.
“Supposedly,” I pointed out in defence, “I’m 98.99% certain Cameron’s trying to attach the blame to anyone but himself.”
“Cameron? The nice boy you brought around for my birthday?” Mum gasped in disbelief.

I’ll tell you a tale about Cameron being silly enough to think Australia would beat Fiji in the World Cup and because of this he got to spend an afternoon with my family. I surprised them with Cameron posing as a boyfriend so I didn’t have to put up with lectures about the body clock I was never blessed with. Cameron put on a Gold Logie worthy performance playing attentive partner/charming son in law my Mother ended up slightly crushing on him, enquiring how he was or what he was up to but I decided Cameron had to turn to dust when she began advising me on how to look after him. The standing ovation and applause came to an end when we split up amicably, letting another good man flutter away.
“He loved my tuna mornay and cabbage coleslaw.” Mum looked down, reminiscing of a long-lost son in law.

For the record, he didn’t love the tuna mornay but judged the coleslaw moderately digestible.
“Shall we start showering Grace with gifts?” Beetroot suggested trying to disintegrate the performance enthralling the attendees of a baby shower.
“Nah this is rivet-,“ Grace stopped herself thinking out aloud a little too late. “We should probably make a start.”

Rapidest change of heart I’ve witnessed.

Unwrapping every gift took quite the vigour out of Grace she opted staying in the same house as Mum that night. Her husband offered to race over and release her but left-over pin wheels waiting to be reheated and my parents place being child free persuaded her to hang around. I pondered staying but I’d eaten my weight in puff pastry I couldn’t look at coils of cheese anymore, nor be in the same room as the ‘the dips,’ making themselves at home. Time to haul myself and possible malady out of there and homeward bound taking a slight detour via a bottleo for discounted wine.

My eye lids lifted next morning with a view of Seagull’s bum almost touching my face. Shoulders deep in an open chip bag, he helped himself inhaling leftovers. My arms screamed at me reaching over for my phone to check the time. A drafted message waiting to be sent to Cameron forced me to spring up right ending with Seagull living up to his name sake, being airborne with chips for a few seconds. Boulders with in my head bumped into one another so I sat motionless until the rumbles came to a halt before reviewing every outbox, sent items and ‘oh shit’ folders I could think of, heaving a substantial sigh of relief when his name didn’t appear in any of them. For the odd occasion, the brain goes to sleep, stupidity clocks on and drunk dialling tops the list of tasks to complete. My hands caught my falling face, if don’t go looking for evidence it never happened.

Once the verbal rendezvous with my Doctor was over it was time to thump the final nail into the coffin with my Capsicum. We briefly exchanged words on the phone, surprisingly pleasant, to inform him my results were in but I refused to talk about it over the phone at work, with unsuspecting ears working overtime, the lessons you learn at a baby shower. By this point my temperament had cooled and thinking rationally for the first time during this ordeal. I genuinely wanted check-in to see how he was holding up. He was at home wallowing and said to swing by on the way home. Travelling along the hallway to his apartment, I was hastily partaking final rehearsals for my speech about my results, figuring out how I was going to let him down gently, when the door to his apartment flew open. Cameron looked like he’d been styled by yours truly. He stood in his doorway unusually dressed in a pair of tracksuit and t-shirt as opposed to crisp tops, smart jacket and a tidy pair of jeans he usually paraded in. His hair had been skimmed at least. I smiled at him as he wavered me into his abode and followed my stride into the lounge room separated from the kitchen by a breakfast bench. Evidently, he’d been using his time wisely with his x-box, the control lying on the sofa and game paused on the TV screen gave it away.

“Drink?” He offered leaning against the bench kitchen side.

All sorts of refreshments ran through my head, “Nah I’m fine thanks.” I just wanted to deal with the elephant strolling about in the room.
“What did your Doctor say?” He got straight to the point, the bench holding him up.
“It’s a big fat negative from me. I didn’t father your smack.” Whoops! Vastly unlike I’d rehearsed. Cameron’s upper half descended toward the bench, his forehead crashing into his folded arms. “Seems you’re going to have to make further phone calls.” I advised. He lifted his head up, looking at me expressionless before straightening himself.
“Cigarette?” He barely mustered retrieving a packet of tobacco, filters and papers from a draw he stood next to.

Cameron wasn’t a regular smoker, he inhaled tobacco twigs socially but rarely purchased them.
“Yes please.” I answered a little too eager.

We walked through the hole his sliding left letting fresh air weave its way inside, outside we took seats situated on the small rectangular balcony beholding a view of the sun lowering itself behind a silhouette of the city buildings.
“Sorry, Jess,” he bit his lip watching the sun painting the sky Fanta orange while his fingers constructed a rollie. “I’m not going try and excuse my behaviour, I shouldn’t have spoken to you the way I have been.”

He licked the glue sealing the paper wrapped around a slim line of tobacco. I thought about what I wanted to say to him and his a piss poor effort of an apology.
“I understand it was awkward seeing Alex in my bed.” I reasoned.
Cameron chuckled, “Awkward yes but I had no right to hold a grudge like that. You’re single, you have every right to see whoever you want.”

Holy hell I’d never seen this side of Cameron, considering someone else’s point of view wasn’t a skill he’d possessed. Someone had been doing some self-reflecting. I was blown away so all I could manage was “Thanks.”
“I was partly jealous too, he’s a very attractive man, I was tempted to jump his bones myself.” Cameron’s unexpected joke had me choking after taking a drag of my cigarette.
“Shit you okay?” Cameron attended to me sounding like a 70-year-old lady coughing a lung up while I located the bottle of water in my bag.
“I’m good,” I squeaked between breaths and sips of water. “I agree, he is excessively pretty to be partaking naked shenanigans with me.”
“I didn’t say that,” Cameron laughed.
“Trust me he is. Should be with some beach goddess, not a mediocre dag.” I pointed out.
“No one can argue with the dag part but you’re far from mediocre.” Cameron complimented me. Accepting a compliment was something I’d never mastered so I changed the subject.
“So, do you know who knocked you up?” I dared to ask him. He’s eyes shot to my direction without turning his head.
“My ex.” He confessed.
“Not the married one?”
“Yeah that one,” he leant towards a tomato tin in between us now filled with used slim filters. “What the hell is wrong with me?”
“There’s nothing wrong with you. We’ve all found ourselves starkers in thrust with an ex.” I assured him.
“She’s been my go to ex for 10 years.”
“10 years?” I scoffed and felt awful about it.
“Yep,” Cameron focused on the red light glowing behind the city. “The one that got away.”

My head whipped in surprise.
“The one that got away?” I echoed him, confused and horrified. “Cameron, you leapt away from a landmine! Multiple times. Stop now before she blows you to bits!” I pleaded expecting an accusation of being a kettle and pot the shade of midnight. All he did was shrug.
“She’s just got issues.” He defended her.
“She’s an ongoing war zone,” I tried to stop there but my rant continued to spill. “Cheating on her husband who is most likely polluted too. Piercing vocal venom into the women she is threatened by but for some reason you blokes fall over each other like toddlers learning how to walk once she puckers her lips and starts purring.”

Another cigarette was needed after that long-winded speech and the notion of Cameron’s evil ex effortlessly being centre of the universe. Cameron smirked back at me, resetting the cable from brain to mouth, “Wipe that smirk off your face, you know I’m making sense for once!” I warned him refusing to end the eye contact sucking back my cigarette, my multitasking abilities improved instantly.
“Why do you keep going back to Alex?” He’d arrived, the Cameron I knew, bloody know it all.
“Alex isn’t a manipulative back stabber. He’s a welcoming man who talks to anyone he stands next to and the least judgemental person I know,” I snapped. “Leading anyone one on isn’t his game and I have to point out, Alex is very attentive in and out of bed.”

Pack that in your tally-ho and suck it. Cameron face turned sulky again. “Look, Alex is-,” my brain frantically scanned for a better word than a conquest. “Sentimental.” That’ll do, although it didn’t stop Cameron raising his eyebrow in disbelief. “He also taught me a few things about myself internally and externally.” I nudged his elbow off his arm rest.
“People usually travel to India or Thailand to discover themselves.” Cameron’s forehead creased even more but the tone of his voice bellowed mockery.
“Some just need the perfect tutor to awaken.” I wished I had a better reply. I decided to head off as the sky turned charcoal. Strolling through his small apartment I asked him when he was going to brave the call to his ex.
“I don’t know,” he groaned, folding his arms as he leant against his front door. “She’s going to deny it.”
“She can’t. You’ve got evidence, surely her husband knows he’s got jellyfish swimming about.”
“Why do you kept referring to it as Jellyfish?” Cameron probed.
“Corey envisions Chlamydia looking like Jellyfish. A gathering is called a bloom or smack. I think the latter is rather descriptive of what’s going on right now,” I was partly embarrassed but surprisingly Cameron burst into laughter.
“I’ve always wondered where these musings you both share come from?”
“The jungles in our heads.” I assured him on a serious note. He opened the door to release me back out into the public. I turned to him a final time and gave him a forgiving hug, he squeezed his arms around my shoulders.
“Don’t go back to her. An astonishing woman is out there looking for you.” Although I was mortified at sounding like a soapie cliché I meant every word I said and I’m hoping his nose wasn’t crumpling as I was saying it. He loosened his grip and pulled away.
“I’m feeling distant from Prince Charming,” He smirked. “Jess, an apology isn’t good enough for the way I treated you but-.”
“You were anxious, anyone would’ve been if-.”
“Nah there’s no excuse for the way I behaved,” He explained “I wish there was a way to make it up to you but-.”
“Stay away from your ex and take some time out for yourself.” It was soul warming seeing his cheeky grin reappear.
“That I can guarantee.” He promised as I wondered towards the lift.

Calling into the supermarket on my way home I wandered down the hygiene aisle in search of bubble bath and in mid reach of it, I decided it was time to examine the contraception display. In the eye of cyclone chlamydia, I made the decision being a celibate spinster was the only option for the future. Celibate from blokes, not myself or the power tools in my bedside drawers. I can’t recall how it came about but I found myself pondering as an adult and figured condoms would keep the tampons company in my handbag, bedside draw, jacket pockets, even the pantry in the case of an emergency shag if Gabriele Byrne or Jason Mantzoukas happen to be in Thornbury. Their DNA should probably stay on their side of the latex! I’m done wiping someone else’s mess from me and it’s not particularly hard flicking off a connie.

My night ended soaking in the tub, submerged in scolding hot water untying every limb in me from my neck right down to my toes. Draughts of lavender bubble bath travelled up my nostrils, erasing events from the past week stashed in my head. A pressurised caress of the clit and sips from a cup of black tea mixed with Bailey’s did wonders for an emotion reconstruction. Following the bath and in the comfort of my pyjamas I opened the fridge door to be greeted by bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese. On top of plastic wrap protecting the contents within was a note. ‘Thought you might need some carbs for recharge. Rocky Road ice cream also fell out of the freezer and into my basket while I was at the shops and it is multi orgasms in a tub. Help yourself my darling. X’

All a girl needs in life is Corey’s wisdom in comfort food.

Dr. Purr

Snuggles with this one today. Mind you while he could probably kill, rip apart and devour a chicken, he has no idea how to make chicken noodle soup. Or coffee. Nor is he old enough to go to the bottleo and purchase whiskey. 

On the upside he doesn’t roll his eyes at me whilst I’m whining about stuffed sinuses, a shredded throat or feeling like an over saturated mop. He won’t sigh when I can’t make up my mind up on what to watch on Netflix and I scan the menu 18 times, turning my nose asking “why am I forking out a whole $7 a month for this tripe?” And he could care less that I haven’t stepped foot into a shower for two days or run a brush through my hair. All these plus the face smooshies, snuggles and purr therapy he dishes out for nothing makes him the most amazing bloke I’ve laid eyes on and I, the happiest girl in the world. Between him and the food delivery app I use, I’m looked after. 

 Objectified Cupcakes.

During this morning’s commute to work I couldn’t stop staring at this poor blokes crotch. Actually let me rephrase, I couldn’t take my eyes off the two dozen cup cakes encased in a Tupperware container sitting on his lap. Whipping them out and shoving those beautiful cups of sweet sponge into my mouth for breakfast won’t leave my thoughts. Mind you he is kind of asking for it if he intends on parading his cupcakes in public like that. 

Honestly, I hope I never end up this perverted and hungry before 7:30am again because I’m creeping myself out but I’m a sucker for a ravishing cupcake.

Life Explosions.

Ever had those moments where inspiration unexpectedly punches you in both eyes? Swollen and bruised moments like these only stop by and detonate our minds once in a blue moon. No, I’ve never seen a blue moon either and the day I see the obese pearl become the shade of a bubble gum zooper dooper, I’m dialling my favourite pizza shop for a stack of pizza and desserts to live on before we become the next Jack from Titanic. Must change that quote to ‘As often as a blood red moon,’ as I’ve witnessed the moon whirl multiple shades of red and come to think of it, the invention of the moon cups is starting to make sense. Throwing back shots of alcohol when a moon is inflamed sounds like a ritual we should part take in as it sounds majestic. Plus an additional religious long weekend added to the calendar marketing on booze and feminine hygiene products. Finally, I’ve answered the question on the invention that bamboozled us for sometime! More logical than walking around with a methadone cup resting on the entrance of the cervix or folding silicone into origami to shove it up where an ovum once shone before it jumped to its death. Ridiculous!

Neuron explosions only happen in typical places like the shower, at work, in bed at 3AM, eating a meat pie on along the edge of a cliff or wondering through a cattery. The edge of the cliff and the Cattery is where I was thumped with the notion Animals have better logic than us! Well, apart from cows silly enough to strode to their demises. Humans would run and dial 000 before letting heated steal make contact with our butts or being lured and hauled into a truck to dodgy warehouse. There’s plenty of exclamation marks going on there Cows, run!

So lets take out the mob of moos and focus on Seahorse / Dragon for a paragraph or two. Strap yourself in because I’m about to admit to you when I grow up I want to be a Seahorse! By the way, I can hear you all rolling your eyes as well as your thoughts, ‘what the hell has she been sniffing?’ but we could honestly learn a lesson or two about role reversals and equality from them. Imagine just gliding past colourful pallets of coral, moss and seaweed every day. You survived another shark attempting to make a meal of you and accidentally impregnated your boyfriend.

Huh? Boys can’t get knocked up?

Why yes they can. In the Sea Horse world.

Males of this wondrous species get to endure A) purges of the morning or B) Resolving the uninvited embryo issue. Don’t believe me? We’ll I found proof and it was not religion that authored this, it was a scientist!

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Can you imagine either sexes of the humans carrying 300 deposits? No way, get stuffed! It’s not physically possible. But I’m a female Sea Horse, therefore I’ll never worry about it! My reproductive tools ejaculate into the dude I picked up from the local and it’ll be his body adjusting to 300 little mistakes we co-created and incubate as I stress about nothing, cruise around the ocean and stuff of my face with a buffet of plankton. Let’s tail pump to living the dream ladies!

I’ll take a bow shall I? Still uninterested in converting to a Seahorsean?

Now as for cats and I know they get a lot of internet love but so they should. I mean take a gander at this god/goddess! (I couldn’t get close enough to see if it’s detail of gender was a neat gap or it dangled).

Memo I’m receiving loud and clear is stuff those dead lines, bugger the indoor chores and to hell with getting amongst the adult woes such as responsibility. In Melbourne we’ve only days left until the sun’s generosity in handing out snug, heart warming rays of light ceases because the big yellow ball is now too far away to reach us. Thanks a bunch, Earth! Sydney and the northern parts of Australia always win this round. It’s imperative every bit of us, all lumps and bumps, nooks, crannies and foliage soak up the very last drop of vitamin D to posses enough vigour and survive the misery of frost. If you can’t find yourself some dry grass to do so, a piece of carpet, rug or an expensive jacket left lying around will do! Keep a bowl of biscuits near by, enjoy and have your about of savasana in the sun until December.

 

 

 

 

My First Time.

Recently, I discovered just how painful and awkward a woman’s first time can be. I held off taking the plunge until my mid 30’s. Had it been stated how liberating it is once you get past the sting of uncertainty and sweep guilt into a dust pan to be binned, I would have attempted sooner. Hence, I’m putting it in writing so the four people who read this can raise their shoulders, charge on and shatter taboos.

Today, the day after Anzac Day, will be forever etched in my milestone of memories mostly because I’m recording this monumental event in a blog and the date comes up automatically when I hit the publish button. This time next year Facebook will be reminding me how I woke up one year to this very morning and after immense deliberation, I concluded that I don’t get paid enough to go work slaying my way through atrocity that is Pre-Menstrual Stress. (Google also advises me to give up caffeine and chocolate during PMS, didn’t say anything about wine but I’ll remind Google it’s not a real doctor and I won’t be taking its advice until it has a Diploma or Honours framed up on a wall.) In the end I finally called in PMS! Mind you I swapped volcanic cramps to sinus pain and aching boobs for a sore tooth so my boss took my symptoms seriously. Regrettably, our temperamental hormones are still alleged an urban legend by a minuscule cluster of males we work alongside but are paid less than, because, fuck knows why.

I’m not ashamed to admit that a previous bout of PMS gave me a wheelbarrow of courage to ask for a pay rise, first time ever. My inflated boozies and head stuffed of mist marched right up to my boss and told him I deserved to be paid as much as the boys if I’m rocking up to work with a demon rave going off inside me. He smiled and rotated his eyeballs north.
“We get paid more because we have to hear you girls exaggerate excuses monthly. We’re reminded about it from co-workers, girlfriends or wives and strangers in cafes while trying to read a paper and eat our breakfast! Subsequently growing up with our Mother’s menstrual tantrums!” He explained handing me a chocolate bar.

How did I not think this through properly! You idiot, Jess! Put yourself in the man’s shoes for a change. How dare his Mum whine about the very contraption that partly created him. An establishment he once called home when he was a wee embryo. His tenancy making the landlady retch for months, determining that wasn’t enough so he supplemented a pinch of re-flux, keeping her on her toes. Little embryo flourished into a fattening foetus whom thought his land lady’s bladder was nothing but a relaxing cushion, he also gifted her with haemorrhoids as her wastage exit was blocked. Fatty foetus had to swiftly announce when he wasn’t comfortable, suggesting she move to accommodate him with a kick to the stomach and finally when he was bored of all the above he vacated the landlady and tore her up while making his exit! Don’t worry, she was stitched together later, but only after the doctors had to make sure her heir was squawking loudly enough and diagnosed happy and healthy. But after the grand finale was over she looked at him, all coated by her insides and protected by her folded arms, she sighed and thought to herself: “I wish a bought that Hoover sooner and gave it a proper whirl!” At least that’s what I’d be thinking, knowing that I’d let a misogynist like him out to breathe.

I must point out I am in the company of some incredibly wonderful men at my place of employment who show constant support in the days leading up to and during our internal exfoliation.
“If I endured hormone annoyances monthly, I’d get quite vexed.” One of the coolest males I know has often told me. In return I hope is I’m just as understanding when he is having a tough time.

I confess that once upon a time I too pondered why PMS such a big deal? From the instant my ovarian tap was turned on at 12 years old and dropped ovum’s through the teens and on to my mid-twenties, the five day highlighted time of the month hardly affected me. But I used it frequently as bail to excuse myself from daunting situations like Sports Day, completing an assignment or a wild card to exterminate unwanted attention from the opposite sex. (Dudes were still getting periods and the plague mixed up during the noughties. Hopefully that train of thought has evolved today, preposterous that I had to use it to scare them off after they mistook the sentence “Thanks, but I’m not interested,” with “Harassment is such a turn on”). Yet I always thought it as a lame excuse to use for a day off work. If some guy supposedly stayed alive for a few days affixed to timber surely, we can perform tasks while leaking? Afterwards my late 20s swung by with a friend called ‘Karma’ wanting to teach me a thing or two about exhausting the ‘womb shedding a crime scene fib,’ and pummelled me right in the crotch, cleavage and cranium, disclosing PMS wasn’t an urban legend! There I was sleeping away, pheromones escaping me in clouds when BAM! I woke up in the middle of the night with a body bloated to the point of detonating tissue and offal in every direction of my bedroom. Cramps vehemently stabbed me in the pelvis and Mon pubis and a thunderstorm rolled around my head. It was worse than being hit by a train (I assume). What is more, I have dragged my possessed body out of bed, forced myself into corporate clothes and plonked down in an office smiling at my co-workers when I should have self-exiled under a blanket, eating a cup cake and supervising Dominic West using guns and tapping into bad people’s conversations. Oh, and swap the corporate garbs for pyjamas please.

So today I gave myself a day off and caught up on sleep that had been evasive, shed tears on the couch over my inflated baps, devoured half a packet of snakes, indulged in 15 minutes of savasana and I don’t feel guilty about it at all. Freedom from remorse is highly recommended.

Ladies I advise treating yourself a little PMS decadent every now and then for a recharge. Guys can cope without us, they can handle extra work load for the day because they’re paid the big bucks. Importantly sick leave we accumulate when being loyal to someone else’s business won’t be seen in our severance package when we resign or be falling to your children once you become a parent. Soak up as much leave as you can for PMS, unfortunately not contagious but bacteria of colds and flus are and must be assigned around the work place but may I suggest amongst the misogynists only.  X

Adelaide – My Spiritual trip.

I’m a spectacular daughter, so spectacular I decided Christmas holidays wasn’t the time to spend with my family. Poor Grace is still being dictated by Mango so she would’ve been rightly cranky not being allowed to spend the holidays with her preferred companion that is a glass of champagne. When Grace is drifting on bubbles, she’d hardly cares what gifts I’d bestow my niece and nephew with. Usually I’d give something useless, noisy and pulls apart into a zillion pieces but given she has to be sober nor can she see past the bump of Mango and her hormones are fairly schizophrenic, I’d be slashed and stuffed into a suitcase if she stepped on anything plastic. I take my Auntie duties very seriously but I’d rather not cop red ‘F’ in the sister stakes. My parents, well they love to berate me on still being single, yet to have a career and not gifting them with more grand kids. They already have two adorable, noisy and energetic mini homo sapiens whom they can barely keep up with now, a third is on the way. I often remind Mum that she neglected a pot plant I gifted her with last year. Orchids! Even I manage to keep those alive, but Mum let hers die a lengthy death of thirst and if she forgot to re hydrate orchids, imagine what she’d be like with grand kids? I’ve also been pointing out that Grace won’t be the only one making decisions on which retirement home they’ll end up in when I secure the proof that their selective hearing is in fact dementia. That threat didn’t shut them up, selective hearing kicked in, vocals turned up a notch and Jess was ignored yet again.

So this year I lied to them all, informing them I was housesitting out in Melton, a suburb closer to Ballarat than it is Melbourne and where neither my sister or mother would be caught dead in. However, I wasn’t stepping foot in Melton either, I secretly flew out of Melbourne. Why would I lie about that? Because I’d get berated for leaving the state during Jesus’s birthday party and my phone would continuously vibrate with half written messages from Mum, she gets so impatient with her point she forgets and gets send button happy instead of the space bar.

My bank account and I decided Adelaide would be the only option. The best wines come from Adelaide, it has an interesting history with criminals and the flight over there is short one. So come Boxing Day Corey and I sat on a plane for just under an hour and headed for the city of gigantic, reflective steel balls!

Thanks to Corey’s older brother, Louis, we saved a bundle not having to pay for accommodation and for that we shouted him lunch at one of Adelaide’s best eateries, Cafe De Villis in a suburb called Mile End which is next a suburb called Richmond but there wasn’t a footy oval, tennis court or any drunk sport fans in sight. Café DeVillis is one of Corey’s favourite places to eat and he was excited about nourishing himself up on a well-known South Australian dish called a ‘pie floater.’
“It’s a pie sitting upside down on a plate or in a bowl and covered in mushy peas.” Corey tapped his fingertips together excitedly as his plate was served to him.
“It looks like someone vomited all over that pie!” I told him, as I inspected it in disgust.
“This dish beats the pastry in France or Acland St or Hot Dogs in New York.” Corey explained, snatching up the utensils from beside his plate and began mutilating the arse up pie.
“Really?” Louis asked trying not to spit his coffee across the table.
“If a dish isn’t covered in mushy peas or tomato sauce it’s not worth biting into.” Corey reasoned shoving a piece of something questionable in his gob.

Louis and I opted for a more edible breakfast, refuelling on pancakes drowned in ice cream and maple syrup, garnished with sliced banana and berries. I love the smell of maple syrup and wish it came bottled as perfume. I’d wear it every day on the train and make those silly enough to board a train before eating breakfast so ravenous, they’d bite into their neighbouring passengers shoulder. I’d write a book about my experience titled: ‘How I created the Carriage of Carnivores.’

Our breakfasts occupied every corner of our stomachs and in between, to the point that we had to roll out of our seats. Determined to walk off our stuffed guts, Louis drove us to his local beach in a pretty suburb called Semaphore. We didn’t waddle far and ended up sitting on a patch of green grass because all the families and toned, tanned bodies of Semaphore had beaten us at getting their feet simmered walking across the sand. I was sleepy but was also half memorized by what looked like gem stones twinkling in the gentle ocean while the sea breeze did it’s best to refresh us from the motionless heat Adelaide had welcomed us with. I hardly go to the beach much as I don’t live anywhere near one, I am rather fond of Altona or Williamstown, however, Merri Creek is the closest I get to moving water these days. A gorgeous trail of water that flows alongside luscious flora and fauna beginning in the north and ending as it mixes itself into the Yarra River. But the ocean is endless and has bigger secrets like the freaky looking creatures that trawl the floors of the deep and bloody jellyfish, intriguing to look at but anxious riddled bastards of gel that get so paranoid, they figure every foot is out to kill them.

In the days before my innocence unwound, I’d regularly drag my parents down to Blackrock Beach and gaze curiously at the shipwreck of HMAS Cerberus, still wedged on a sandbar this very day. Although the angle it sits at shifts regularly, the last time I visited the top half of the wreck was poking above sea level while the rest of its body corrodes underneath the salt water. I had such a fascination with ship wrecks back then and today I still find myself utilizing Google Image from my not so comfortable my desk instead of getting off my cushy butt and heading out, looking for them or meeting deadlines. I must reconnect with the HMAS Cerberus upon my return and attempt to find that tourist map I kept, somewhere in my room illustrated with dots along the coast of Victoria.

Evening hastily came by and we proceeded into the city, I was introduced to a drinking institution called the Crown and Anchor. An endearing pub reminding me of The Tote or a bigger form of The Old Bar. Louis has been living in Adelaide for nearly 10 years, this is the first pub he was introduced to and it was love at first sight.
“I know they love their footy teams here but the real heroes of Adelaide are the Yiros House and this place!” Louis enlightened us with his local commentary.
“And George Donikian!”

Corey reminded us. Corey and I have quite the soft spot for the handsome newsreader with an instantly recognisable deep voice dishing out the news. He is the original Andy Lee. You should have seen two grown adults who could have been mistaken for giant children, high on fairy floss and creaming soda, bumping into George in Port Melbourne and he kindly let us have a selfie with him. The photo of us three takes pride on our fridge amongst the bills we ignore but I happily greet Mr Donikian every morning.

“Oh my, I’m in the same city as Eddie!” I recalled another handsome South Australian devil.

Corey rolled his eyes and sighed heartily as I got distracted by my regular day dream of running into Mr Betts, capturing him with my looks and whit.
“That Eddie is a gun! Carlton must still be kicking themselves over evicting him!” Louis agreed with me while hunching over table, leaning on his forearms as he flicked ash from his cigarette into a shiny metal ashtray in the middle of the table.

“Our Eddie is on to bigger and better things, moving on up,” I assured Louis lifting my chin out of my hands as I was segued back to reality.

Mind you if he still played for Carlton, I’d have more luck in my delusions coming true if he was back in Melbourne.

“Give me the heads up if we spot him tonight. I need plenty of time to perfect my posture, suck the gut in and raise my shoulders so the girls look perkier.” I informed my wingmen.

Regrettably I never ran into Eddie although, I found myself chatting amongst locals who were lapping up the Happy Hour specials while slightly boring me with their devastation of Melbourne winning full custody of a certain car race. Apparently the people of Adelaide really loved that Grand Prix and 20 years later they’re still traumatised about it. Being handed a brand spanking new race (Clipsal 500) to stop the tantrums and sadness has done exactly the opposite. The Clipsal 500 is loved, cherished and celebrated but won’t ever live up to its kidnapped sibling. I assured them the entire population of Melbourne never wanted the mosquito race and they’re welcome to have it back. Jeff Kennett was the only individual celebrating once he ensured the auction and the rest of us headed straight to The Espy to enjoy St Kilda / Albert Park before the smog turned the beautiful lake into apocalyptic remnants of Mad Max. Well that’s how I pictured the future of Albert Park. Turns out, the over-beefed jocks you see at Sterosonic also like car racing as do the attendees of horse racing. I was on the receiving end of a rather perplexed expression from the chap still mourning the Grand Prix when I reminded him all Darwin is in possession of are mango trees and instead of stamping their feet claiming to be forgotten about, they got on with life and learnt how to make daiquiris. When life hands you fruit, blend them with rum!

We made one more stop before heading back to Louis’s house and that was via the West End Brewery., taking in the very last moments of Christmas sparkling in an array of light displays as hot cross buns began appearing in supermarkets. I’d been warned to keep my distance from the beer that was produced in this very brewery but I figured I couldn’t visit a city and not try the local menu (apart from the retch pie, I was staying well away from that one). So I went against everyone’s best intentions and tried it. I thought it tasted just like Melbourne Bitter which is my choice of beverage back home anyway, so I continued to drink tins of West End Draught for the rest of my trip.

The display of statues, props and hundreds of fairy lights were beautifully set up along the Torrens River. Fact: A mass grave of shopping trollies was uncovered thanks to an accidental drainage of the Torrens, solving one of the oldest cold cases Adelaide had on record. I know what you’re thinking, how does a river get mistakenly emptied? When one mystery has closed another one opens.

We all gazed and sighed at the illuminated bon bons, mini Ferris wheel, a creepy looking snow man, a ballerina bravely dancing on top of a dragon but my favourite was an old English style cottage lit up amongst the greenery. It looked like the house Hansel and Gretel naively wandered towards before eating parts of it. I’d be an angry witch if human termites made structural damage to my house! Sure I’d call up the insurance company or the cops rather than capturing them or threaten to eat them. You never know what a juvenile has taken if they’ve hallucinated a house being made of lollies, actually I’m beginning to think the insurance company may also accuse me of being slightly blitzed with a claim made that bamboozles ate my house. Santa was typically plonked in a sleigh led by reindeer, I would have had him surfing a slab of draught if I was involved with the visual merchandising but it looked like I missed my calling, or perhaps they didn’t want to be responsible for injuries caused to the yet to evolve little humans attempting to ride the waves of gravity on a slab of beer just like their gift bribing hero and let’s not think about the lost tears from their parents if entire cases crashed to the ground. Tsking note of the lack of Christmas decorations in the city (unlike Melbourne that was saturated in Santa’s, tones of red and green splashed here and there, a hypnotic fragrance of gingerbread wafting from bakeries and the town hall where the gingerbread display was exhibited and drummer men and candy canes all stood tall next to entrances at most doors), Adelaide City Council saved it all for the Brewery and being that South Australia was on electricity rations, I think it a wise idea to lure everyone to the beer castle.

I couldn’t sleep that night as I was excited about the location next up on our itinerary. A Spiritual Retreat I’d discovered a few years ago laid waiting for me to gain peace, calm and wine! I first came across Wirra Wirra Scrubby Shiraz when I purchased two bottles for $25 in a bargain trolley located next to a point of sales display at the local bottleo. It was the finest tasting $15 wine I’d guzzled. I should point out that all students should be taught about the lad who built the winery that Wirra Wirra occupies. Ladies and Gentlemen may I present to you, Mr Robert Strangeways Wigley.

“Now what makes him more special than Tony Modra whom you’re yet to mention in this blog?” I hear you all ask while I point out to you I haven’t mentioned Anne Wills yet either, but I’ll get to them after this quick history lesson. Mr Wigley was busted for stealing a local pie cart and taking it out for a joyride. He was charged and for punishment he was banished to McLaren Vale, a small town is about an hour’s drive from the Adelaide CBD. Hate to imagine how long it took via horse cart but out of boredom he built a winery and created recipes of bottled majestic and liquefied grapes. If I knew of hooligans who were arrested for stealing and drag racing pie carts that lead to them becoming successful wine makers, I would have had someone to aspire to during my days as a student and who knows what I might have wound up being? Maybe soaring through the sky in a Crows Guernsey only to end my outstanding career out West about 2 hours behind but donned in a fetching uniform of purple and green as Mr Modra did or I could have won a shitload of Logies thanks to a 50 year formidable career in TV and Radio like the gorgeous Anne Wills? Nah, I’m thinking big, like a spokesperson for Four N Twenty pies. Just like those women from AAMI or The Ford ads but instead of a free car, there’d be an endless supply of pies in the freezer, ensuring future breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks.

Whizzing past the vineyards adjoining the property of Wirra Wirra my tastebuds dreamt of being bathed in treasured lotions of Savvy B, Scrubby Shiraz and a Church Block blend. As Louis’s car drove through the gates Madonna and her choir of hand claps crept through the speakers, most likely a coincidence since we were listening to Corey’s iPod but I choose to believe Mads had a message for me, I was going to leave a Wirra Wirra muse. Just like a prayer your blend can take me there. I wasn’t disappointed! The retreat was stunning. A small path led to an ancient dwelling of stone that Robert meticulously cemented together with many of windowed doors wide open welcoming us all inside. Entering what was obviously the ‘Healing Room,’ furnished with polished cider floor boards and a therapy bar with similar trimmings that was stocked with bottles of Holy Liquid. I’d already found salvation before ingesting any wine! As we approached the bar, one of the saints smiled, and queried which blend we’d like to begin with.

“We’ll start with the Sauvignon Blanc.” I smiled at her, she picked up the bottle and tipped chilled Savy into our glasses.

Corey observed the other attendees swirling their servings and getting a whiff of it up their nostrils.
“What are they doing?” He quietly asked with an eyebrow arched. Corey isn’t a wine drinker. If he isn’t imbibing beer his liquor of choice is gin and so he slammed the mouthful of wine back, gave it a nod of approval but his pursed lips gave away what he really thought.
“I don’t know.” I whispered back to him as I swirled the wine around my glass until it resembled toilet water whirling around before being sucked down the dark pipes never to be seen again. This actually put me off connecting my lips with the wine glass for a second until I mindfully shoved that image out of my head and savoured those small mouthfuls of Savvy B beginning its journey down my oesophagus and the descent to my belly and soon followed on with Moscato, Riesling, Rosé, Shiraz, Cab Sav and a few specialities. My muscles felt as though they were reclined on banana lounges as neurons leisurely floated around my mind on lilos when we exited the bar and continued to the Café. I cleansed my interiors with a Shiraz coffee and refilled my stomach, inhaling a pie full of Shiraz and lamb which met Corey’s approval, he looked as happy as a beetle crawling in dung as opposed to the cranky granny in the tasting bar. If it was legal to marry pie or coffee I would have happily entered a polygamous relationship that afternoon and I wondered why Melbourne didn’t have a Wirra Wirra Spiritual retreat of its own. More temples added to the likes Chandon, Zonzo and Rockford would be more beneficial than ridiculous high rise buildings encasing doll house sized apartments! Those woeful establishments are so tall I swear they eventually lead to beanstalks. I think I speak for the people of M-Town when I say we’d rather cheese platters, crackers, bread sticks and grapes over beanstalks. Before anyone retorts “We don’t need more places handing out liquor!” I have already resolved this issue by including a 711 in all havens for emergency bags of Burger Rings, pies and hotdogs for soakage.

Eventually it was time to leave my place of happiness, it was a moment of sadness but I staggered out feeling warm and flimsy, like I’d been kneaded by a massage therapist. So zen was I, I napped in the back seat of the car missing the scenery of Vineyards and big hills which came to my attention on our way up but too distracted to immerse in and I’ll certainly make a journey back to fix that mistake.

Before we went to dinner, Louis took us for a sneaky pint at another pub called The Austral, he figured we’d get the drinking out of the way with since Corey and I decided we wanted to eat a Yiros from the Yiros House for dinner. We’re classy like that, stuff sitting at tables with 3 different sets of cutlery when you could consume a souvie from a bag. We were also doing our bit for the environment by binning the bag full of grease instead of wasting water.

“What made you stay in Adelaide after your break up?” I quizzed Louis.
He’d moved over with his girlfriend when she got a job here and Louis wasn’t sure a move to Adelaide was the right thing to do but a long distance relationship wasn’t too appealing either.
“My Ex went back to Melbourne right away so I thought I’d stay here a bit to avoid running in to her.” He explained, sitting out the front of the pub enjoying our pints and inhaling puffs of cancer. “But once I grew accustomed to the retro hand me down buses, the laid back lifestyle and cheap rent, I decided Adelaide was home.” He shrugged lifting the half-filled pint glass to his mouth.
“You’re quick to come home when this place is swarming with Bogans,” Corey pointed out. “Car racing is all that happens in Adelaide.”
Louis shook his head, “Nonsense! There’s WomAdelaide, Semaphore Festival, Beer and Wine festival, The Crush Festival. Heaps! We keep these little secrets so they don’t get over run by tourists as the races do.” Louis laughed, letting out a few of Adelaide’s best kept secrets out of the bag.

Eventually we made our way to the Yiros House. A yiros is what the rest of Australia call Souvlakis. Something Louis learnt the hard way. He figured since he couldn’t locate a Souvie bar he had no choice but ending up at Hungry Jacks after a night of excessive alcoholic benders. I doubt anyone could settle for a city without Souvies! But it wasn’t long til a local explained it to Louis and he ate his weight in Yiros’ at the Yiros House. The Yiros I ate was divine and it didn’t need to be 3am to appreciate it. The tender meat, mixed impeccably with the tzatziki and hummus, the lettuce was fresh and the Turkish bread wrapped it beautifully. I was determined to get the whole thing into me but due to a bloated stomach nursing beer and wine I failed epically and had no choice but to bin the most incredible Souvie / Yiros I’d eaten! It broke my heart.

Due to an early flight home the next morning we decided to head back to Louis’s place for a quiet night in before retreating to bed rather than being stuck on a plane with thumping heads. Look at that, Adelaide! You have Corey and I making wise choices, something we don’t usually do!

Adelaide was a surprise. After all I heard about everything being closed during Christmas and New Year’s all Corey and I needed were the bars and food places to be open and raring to go and they didn’t fail us. Shopping we could do at home and I certainly wasn’t going to partake the nutty sales. I did that online from the cosiness of Louis’s couch and a computer. I’ve also heard this darling city referred to as the City of Churches and Murders but I hardly saw a church nor did I see any dead bodies littering the streets, not even vermin like I see scattered along the train tracks at various stations back home. I can see why Louis isn’t in any hurry to return to Melbourne. Adelaide, is a delightful little city, isn’t busy like Sydney, old dwellings are still standing in the CBD so the sunshine is constantly making contact with your skin, contrasting to the direction Melbourne is headed for with patches of high rise buildings springing up all over the place creating nothing but shade! The laid back-go at your own pace is refreshing from the vying for a spot of footpath and I fell in love with the beaches! Clean, cosmopolitan not a back packer in sight. I’ll most certainly be back Radelaide, just not when the car racing is on. I can attend one of those at home. Not that I would.