Thursday, May 29, 2008

A surprise

Picture the scene, the great outback of Australia. Miles of empty track behind and in front of you. Suddenly you feel the urge, the next roadhouse is a long way off.

Where's the harm, no-one will see you. You stop at the side of the track and hop out of your truck to relieve yourself.

As you settle in a strange sensation and sudden pain.

A lonely traveller North East of Cairns was relieving himself by the roadside when he got bit on the , um , personal area, by a Brown Snake. Remember from my previous post if it's a brown snake run away! The poor fellow had to be airlifted to Cooktown hospital, where luckily for him, they realised the snake had not injected any venom.

A brief but highly embarassing overnight stay later he was on his way, but he now carries a torch for those late night, um , rest stops.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Teenage boys eat A LOT

Son number one is seventeen . I can honestly say I not seen him in the last six months and he has not been eating, looking for food, or complaining that he has eaten the entire food output of a medium sized country ( say China) and is still hungry.

Its ten o'clock in the morning and he has eaten a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs (thank goddess we have chickens), a bag of fun sized chocolate (for the smaller children), a box of muesli bars, two pounds of bacon and a small child ( oh no sorry the small child is hiding in his room). Now he's looking at the chickens with a glint in his eye.

I get his attention by carefully placing myself between him and the fridge. ( I wear protective gear.) When challenged about this he states he does not eat much.

I commented on his capacity for food to his boss , who was stunned. He thought we didn't feed him at home. Apparently he buys two lunches at lunch time, and had been known to leave work during his breaks for a burger meal, or two.

We both stood back and looked at the boy. No he is only one boy, and not a fat one.

I am going to have to get a second job to pay for food when son#3 and #4 reach this the same time!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And still they come......

Well we had another couple of doozies today.

#1 A phone call. Does farting hurt a baby? Huh? Apparently this lady has a two week old baby that is holding its farts in, and then when she does fart she is having a reaction to them. ( I'm sorry I didn't get the rest of this one, I had my head under a cushion in the tea room whilst a far more mature minded pharmacist than I dealt with the said phone call)

#2 The man and his three year old both have a cold. We got all the medications together and at the till the man wanted some throat sweets. He chose some (very strong) eucalyptus sweets. Obviously they will be ok for him, but he wonders can a three year old use them. Well....yes they are safe, it states on the packaging that they are safe from two years and up. The child will definitely not be poisoned by them, any three year old worth its salt will immediately spit one at least three hundred feet , these particular ones are disgusting in the extreme.

#3 Lady the till, Do you need anything else. Well yes she says. Her naturopath gives her some tablets for her blood pressure. Ok says I, do you know what they are? Yes she says, they are blood pressure tablets, from her naturopath. Any more clues? please? color of bottle, wild guess at the name? anything? please? No sorry, they are tablets.

She looked at me hopefully, I looked back hopelessly, I mean tablets, you're in a chemist shop..we have a lot of tablets.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Other people have mmmm moments too...

We had a public holiay at the beginning of the month, and this being North Queensland, it means that there were more men on the reef fishing in small tin boats than in the towns.

(Notes on the above: Women and children stay at home, it's not a holiday for THEM. When I say small tin boat think of something slightly larger than a canoe made of sheet metal filled with at least four men in short shorts, all their fishing tackle and food supplies for three days, and probably a large dog.)

The coastguard are understandably busy on these weekends. This year they were touring the reefs watching out for boats in trouble. They were also spot checking for where people were fishing (large areas are now protected), and whether they had taken appropriate safety measures and had the appropriate gear. They also check for licenses and drunkeness.

Today's newspaper reported the worrying results of their tour of duty. As they chatted to the fishermen they became aware that a lot, I mean a LOT, of the men on the various reefs had no idea where they were.


"Hi, We're from the coastguard, just doing a spot check."

"Hi, We've followed all the safety advice before we left. We told our wives where we were going and left the coastguard number with them in case we don't get back on time. We have enough life jackets, and a mobile phone with us. We have plenty of fresh water and have the radio on in the background in case of weather warnings. There is no alcohol on board, three of the four of us have a boat license, and look we've got a first aid kit." ( Can you sense the pride of the men as they recounted their preparations and safety precautions.)

After eyeing off the small plastic tub containing one soggy aspirin tablet, a bandage (used), a roll of sellotape and a tube of what may once have been sunscreen, or possibly toothpaste, the coastguard asked the question of the day. "And exactly where did you tell your wives you were going?"

"Arlington reef"

"So, you know where you are now?"

"Arlington reef of course."

"Afraid not gentlemen, you are on Jorgenson patch, a small reef that is twenty miles from Arlington reef, if you had got into trouble we would have been looking in the wrong place. By the way do you know which way land is?"

Four men all point in different directions at once, look at each other, and promptly change the direction of their pointing, once again in four different directions.

"So....any plans to maybe buy some navigation aid or other before you come out again? Maybe a small compass so you can at least head West and find land? Eh?"

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today we had a couple of ummmm moments at work.

#1 A lady comes up to me at the counter with an empty container of a (highly expensive) natural product.
"I'd like another of these please"
"Is it for you?"
"I can see you've used it before, is it working well for you?" A natural assumption as she has the empty container in her hand.
" Oh no, my husband used it, and it worked for him so I though that I'd try it."
"Have you got the same symptoms?
(Ummm let me see would you take his tablet for high blood pressure even though you don't have high blood pressure?)

#2 The phone rings.
"Hello, my baby has a temperature and a rash." Alarm bells start to ring.
"How high is the temperature?"
ummm..."That's pretty normal"
"I had him to the doctor and he said he was alright."
"Has he got any other symptoms?"
"You mentioned a rash?"
"Oh no he hasn't got a rash, I just thought he might get one."
"Really 37 C is pretty normal, if you are worried take him back to the doctor."
"The ambulance just left and they said he was all right."
ummmmm....I really don't know what this lady wants from me. The child has seen a doctor and a paramedic in the last hour. I don't know the child and can't see it, is she expecting me to diagnose meningitis over the phone? Then what's she going to do?
" Keep an eye on him and if you get worried go and see the doctor."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sympathy...why can't I have some?

I had to go into hospital for a minor procedure today, but it involved "prep work" the day before.

So #1 son wanted to know if he could have some of the laxatives to put in the tea urn at work..............NO

Son #2 wants to know if he can watch, obviously sounded interesting to him when I told him what I was going for........NO

Son#3 wants to know if I'll bring him back a present, if you remember from Christmas and his birthday, he still wants a motorbike, a snake or a chain saw ( he's eight)..........NO

Husband wants to know if they do DVD's. He cracks himself up he really does. He says its alright, whatever format they do because our DVD player is multi format...NO

Daughter wants to know if we'll leave the Internet on while we're out...NO

After said procedure I was in the patient lounge, you don't get a bed just a very comfortable chair. In the lounge are the pre op patients, looking worried at the post op patients who are sat drooling in various states of consciousness and the recovered patients waiting to go home.

The nurse tells me that I can't go home until I eat and drink something. Fine, I'll have a cup of black tea and a piece of fruit.....NO.

Apparently they provide sandwiches. I explain I can't eat wheat or dairy, so anything else, anything at all? I'm there for tests for celiac disease, I don't eat wheat. Wheat makes me ill. a cheese sandwich or stay. Eventually I agreed to eat said sandwich,after all its only twelve hours of pain, and she agreed to ring my husband. He didn't answer. I rang said husband, he didn't answer. I rang husband again, he was asleep, and promised to come immediately.

Phone call from husband, he's in the stop and drop zone, can I hurry up, GRRRRR. Mind one of the other patient's husbands had gone concreting and would be there by maybe five? ( this was at ten am.)

We stopped on the way home to buy a wood chipper, as that what he had planned for the day. But then I got to rest in a bed, while he chipped wood outside the bedroom window. Clearly he was sulking because I hadn't got him the DVD.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This might make you cry....

Rose grasped Jack's hand in her own. They had been together for sixty years now, ever since she was a fresh faced fourteen year old starting her first job at the local grocery store. She had thought him a brash young man, but somehow they had ended up together, and stayed that way.

She could see the pain killing drugs starting to take an effect. His breathing became more regular, less of a fight against the world. His face relaxed and his eyes flickered open. He glanced towards their hands and gently smiled.

Rose couldn't see .....

Feel like making love, by bad Company

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hygiene, or lack thereof.

As I sat staring mutely at the old lady sorting her prescriptions opposite me I wondered how she would feel if I went to her house and licked my fingers before pawing each and every page of her newspaper, then handed it to her.

She had a sheaf of about sixty prescriptions that I could have sorted through in a jiffy, being an expert dontcha know. No, she laboriously licked her finger and picked the next one up, " What's this one, are these the pink ones? I had my last pink one this morning so I know I need the pink ones."

She carefully replaced that prescription, re-lubricated her finger,and picked up the next one, " No, these are the pink ones, I can't sleep without my pink ones." She carefully refiled the prescription in the wad she carries, spat on her finger and handed me the next one before spitting once again on her finger and returning to her ponderings.

One, You took your last pink one this MORNING, why can't you sleep without it?

Two, If they help you sleep , did you drive here?

Three, I know I just heard you say the piece of paper you re-filed was for the "pink ones", do you want the pink ones or not?

Four, If you let me see the writing on the bleeding piece of paper BEFORE refiling it I could TELL you if they are PINK!


Of course that was all silent, I'm not supposed to shout at the customers. Well not often anyway.

the funniest blog I have read in a long time.

Possibly the funniest blog I have read so far.

It may not be the funniest out there but it's the funniest I've found. If any-one knows of other good ones please leave me a link.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


We run a weight loss program at work which involves meal replacement drinks. The idea is that customers replace two or three meals a day with drinks, and eat recommended meals for the third meal of the day where appropriate.

It's a very good programme and we have a lot of customers that have lost a lot of weight on it. The shop girls sell it every day and explain it fully, that's why it works.

I was aware of one of the shop ladies counselling some-one and signing them up for the programme. This is a long process as we have to explain clearly what the customer needs to do as well as taking baseline measurements, but it did seem to be going on bit. They seemed to be going over the explanation of how it works and what to do A LOT.

Eventually they got to the till and were doing the final chat , see you soon, good luck bit. At the final moment as the lady was leaving the shop she turned back and said, " This is meal replacement?"

"Yes." said the shop girl. (I could see her mentally bracing.)

"So," said the customer, " in the morning I have one of these to drink."
"Then I have my breakfast."

............errrrrr......they had been discussing the programme for over three quarters of an hour and still .......maybe that was why the lady had found no other diet programmes that worked for her.

P.S. We also had an unfortunate looking teenager in, you know spots, not quite sure what to do with his arms, legs and body, greasy looking. He was wearing a t-shirt that said " I F@@ck on a first date" , only without the @@. Quick as a flash one of the girls said."Only if you get a date".
Well he shouldn't wear a shirt like that in public in a shop full of women if he can't take the traffic.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A plea......

Today as the day was wearing down a man came in the shop who had decided to get fit by riding his bike ( pedal) to and from work. Very good, this saves the planet and increases his fitness levels very effectively.

As with many men taking up a hobby he has equipped himself fully with all the gear before starting. He was wearing professional cycling shorts, you know, lycra, no imagination required. He is not a small man in height or girth, and the shorts are most definitely a size too small. The shorts are pale pink.

An older member of staff quickly shuffled the junior behind her to protect her eye sight and innocence and got his prescription off him, offering him a seat to hide the offensive nature of his , er, underwear, or lack thereof. (She then ran away and I could distinctly hear choking noises from the tea room.)

The prescription was passed to me and I sat in my chair to start work. On raising my eyes I saw directly in my eye-line the said gentleman sat with his legs akimbo.

AHHHHHHHHH! my eyesight, save me. I have been married for a long time and I have never been willfully exposed to anything quite like that. I have children and still I was aghast. What in the name of heaven possesses this man to go out in public like this, and then display himself in that way. I am sure if any police had been present he would have been arrested. He, of course, sat there completely oblivious.

The plea......... Please, Please look carefully in the mirror before leaving the house. And if the government could ban these shorts, in this man's case in particular?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Old cars ....2

The Reliant Robin eventually went to fibre glass heaven. It was forcibly retired. Every time we went over a bumpy road the horn went off in time to the bumps, and we lived on a cobbled street. When we disconnected the horn the bonnet started flying up in time to the bumps, the local policeman was unimpressed.

We then inherited an old Bedford Transit van that had been a fruit and veg van. The legend A..ns still faintly visible, helpfully filled in with mud to Ann is a fat dag by a local child. This was a diesel van that had issues with the whole idea of starting. We could fit a lot of hairy bikers in the back though so it soon became the favoured form of transport to far away booze ups.

It was better than the Robin for this as it still had the convenient hole (yuck) but had bench seats in the back. Actually it had four piles of bricks and two planks and taking corners could be an adventure but hey ho.

One cold night we had gone some way to a party that had, as these things do, gone on for some time and in fact dawn was creeping over the chimneys when a bright spark suggested that it was time to go home. Out to the car park we went. We all piled into the van , evicting some poor party goer that had fallen asleep in the back. (we didn't know him.)

Clunk Clunk went the engine. No go. Far too cold. When I say cold I'm talking about so bone achingly cold that your breath doesn't even come out of your mouth, not in clouds, not no how. So cold that trees are cracking with it.

After a few more feeble attempts we decided to address the cause of the issue and all exited the van. The bonnet(hood) was opened and a cigarette lighter was applied to the engine as we tried to get the engine to turn over. Still no go. By now the milkman, the newspaperman, the postman and two early morning dog walkers were watching.

Hurried huddled discussions by group of men. The smallest of the group was dispatched to the newspaperman in search of some paper. Obviously a little intrigued about what was going on the paper was provided by the newspaperman.

A small pile of newspaper was settled under the engine and lit, much to the confusion of the crowd. It kept going out so a few sticks were added. By now a merry blaze was going on under the van. Much muttering from the crowd about vandals abandoning cars and burning them out.

The heat had the desired effect and the diesel warmed sufficiently to start the engine and off we went, dispatching some one back to stamp out the fire. Unfortunately he set his boots on fire so every one had to pile back out of the van and shout helpful comments like " Your boots are on fire," and " Put your boots out", and " Here, stand still so we can get warm off that fire."

Eventually the boots went out, after the application of a small puddle (well large actually). The crowd were more appreciative of this. Clearly the whole thing had been some sort of pagan ritual for transport involving the symbolic sacrifice of the transport and a traveller.

After that we took to keeping a fire lighter in the van as an emergency starting mechanism.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our old cars...

Something on the television made me think of the old cars that me and my husband have owned.

When I first met him he had a Reliant Robin, for those unfamiliar with them it is a little three wheeler car that I seriously doubt they make any more. The picture is of one in very much better condition than ours was, and ours was a van so no back windows. Their main popularity lay in the fact that you only needed a bike licence to drive one.

We used to transport a large gang about in the back. When they were all drunk at the end of the night we would all pile in and set off on the road home. There was a handy hole in the floor of the van that allowed for some air circulation and the evacuation of occasional fluids by the passengers. (yuck!!!!!)

I remember one night we were on the way home packed to the ceiling with large hairy bikers who had had a few bevies...and then a few more. The night was cold and icy, the crowd in the back was rowdy, and we came down a steep hill with little in the way of brakes.

At the bottom there was a sharp bend that we just made, ooh , woops, we didn't. We skiddded across the road on the roof onto a pub car park, in which a crowd soon gathered. ( Making various helpful drunken late night comments.) My husband wriggled out the car ( for those that don't know him he is very large, and was wrapped in large army great coat, making him even larger)...a feat that brought on oohs and ahhs from the crowd. I imagine he took bow.

Making his way to the back of the van he undid the bungee rope that kept the back door shut and shouted that he needed a hand. Four large hairy people emerged from the back, also wrapped in army great coats, and stood observing the problem. The sight of all those people emerging from the tiny van brought on more oohs from the crowd. Little did they know there were still more inside.

By this time the girlfriend (me) in the front seat was getting quite cross, as I was strapped upside down in the passenger seat AND I had lost my cigarette. I could hear another girlfriend complaining the chippy would be shut if they didn't hurry up.

Hoy! I shouted...get a move on. My husband came to the side of the van and aided by his attractive assistants turned the poor little car back onto its wheels, everyone got back into the van, to cheers from the crowd, (who by now had ordered pizzas and sat down for a show), and off we went to the chippy.

My oldest boy now wants to know why I ring him every thirty minutes if he goes out with his mates in their car.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Goals for May

I had a goal for May of doing a job for Elance, I did it. So should I sit back and wait for June? No, I have decided to set a goal that I will get one marketplace article accepted on Helium.

For this I know I will have to up my game as I have failed miserably in every attempt so far. In part this is because you get no feed back on whether it was style, grammar or content that let you down but I am sure that if I re-write (more than once) I will come up with some better writing, even if it isn't bought.

I'm also going to have a go at a few creative pieces. I wrote my first one for a challenge on helium last week, and honestly I think it is pretty poor in some areas so I'll have to do a leap-frog when I have thought about it a bit more. I based it on the song Hotel Califonia by The Eagles, and now I can't get the song out of my head.

I may be going over the top with this link inside the post thing now I finally found out how to do it!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Being a foreigner in this country has led to accusations by others that I have an "accent" . I imagine I do, but obviously I can't hear it.

The city I live in has a lot of foreign inhabitants, many of whom have far more impenetrable accents than me. They usually know it though, and slow down. I am famous as the only person several families that originate from Glasgow will talk to in the shop because I can understand them (Glaswegian father).

The West country folks come to me because I don't laugh at their accent , and in fact can speak the lingo ( I'm Cornish/ Devonian).

The Italians and Greeks rattle on and we get there in the end, and the Chinese usually bring a small child to translate...another story.

The point is most of us with unusual accents realise we have them and make adjustments, which leads me to my experience today.

I had to do a label for a lady who wanted some strong pain killers. " What name is that for?" I enquired.

" Peterson"

"Ah ha!" I think, there are so many ways of spelling that , I will check. " How do you spell that? "

" P- E- T-T"

I typed P-E-T-T.... "NO"...she said..." P-E-T-"

I looked at my screen and showed her, PETT, " NO," she said "P-E-T-T"....she gave me an "are you stupid?" look. ( I was a little uncomfortable, this is a look I use, not one I get..)

Very slowly she repeated, "P-E-T-"

I sat looking at my screen dumbfounded, I had typed P-E-T. I sat and stared at her. What did she mean? What was she trying to tell me?

By now she was getting annoyed, slowly she repeated herself yet again, "P-E-T"

"But, that's what I've put. " I said.

"Can you not spell? are you deaf?" she shouted " E...E...E for epple",

This will mean nothing to some-one who isn't familiar with the Kiwi habit of using the wrong vowel in words, such as "fesh und chops" for fish and chips and "sex-pock" for a six pack.

For those familiar with the accent imagine my dismay and embarrassment, but I have to say she must have had the problem before, it was a very thick accent ( unlike mine?)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Woo Hoo.... for sure

I just got paid for my first job on Elance, I worked hard and after a few false starts due to communication snafoos the buyer seemed pleased with what I had done.

I have to say that I was a touch worried when I didn't hear from him for a few days and some of what I had written was already on his website but I think that was a timing thing as I now have the money in my hot little hand, or rather my hot little Elance account.

It was the first job I had bid on so when I got it my heart was in my mouth but I did it...woo hoo... I did it. Now to bid on some more stuff and see where life takes me.
See My Elance Profile

Monday, May 5, 2008

An invasion

We've been invaded from next door. This pumpkin plant has grown through the fence, I assume from their compost heap. I hope they don't cut it off as it will save me planting my pumpkins this year.

The flower is very similar to the cucumber flowers that I hope to be seeing on my cucumber trellis in a few weeks time, as it should be, they're in the same family.

The vegetable patch is in the early stages yet but everything is springing to life. It's weird living here. You can grow most vegetables in winter, which is summer in the northern hemisphere. When it's summer here it's too hot for a lot of things. I end up growing vegetables in the same months that I would have in England, but in the winter.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What people know about health matters

I just read a post on the traveling midwife that left me with a few thoughts. The writer is a midwife and she had a minor brain fart (as I call them) and her client got upset. The situation was smoothed out and all is well. What it summoned to my mind was how little some people understand their body's and what happens to them. Working in the health field I assume most people have a level of general knowledge that they clearly don't.

Example: I was counselling a lady about a change in her brand of contraceptive pill. I emphasised that because it was a mini-pill she had to take it at the same time each day, or it could fail. She replied that that was ok. She had changed brands because she had two boys and wanted to get pregnant with a girl this time. Her friend told her brand X was better to get a girl.

Stand back now, which question should I address first? Where do you start with some one who knows so little about what's going on that she thinks changing her brand of contraceptive pill will change the sex of her baby.

I suspect her "friend" had told her this to stop her breeding.

Wooo Hoooo.......I think!

I got that writing job I went after. I am so excited and writing like a fiend to get it done.

It's been a steep learning curve to get what the buyer wants, and I hope he doesn't lose faith but I'm endeavouring to make all the changes he asks for as I go along. The only problem really is that he is in America and I'm in Oz, so we're on totally different time lines. Having said that we seem to be answering each other's queries promptly so one of us is keeping a weird schedule.

I think it's me...I work my day job then come home and launch into this, at which time he is just getting up.

It's kind of like having a baby again, no sleep, psychotic breaks, but an underlying joy in what I'm doing. I really hope it's the start of something good and if it comes off I'll post a link to the site when I'm done. You'll have to guess which bits I wrote as there's already some stuff there.