by Catriona Mills

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Eighteen

Posted 2547 days ago in by Catriona

(Conversational silence.)

NICK: Ah, woman as an object of exchange in homosocial relations.
ME: Pardon?
NICK: This song. [“Jessie’s Girl,” for the record.]
ME: But she’s not an object of exchange. There’s no exchange.
NICK: I guess it’s pre-text.
ME: You know, I’m really just trying to mark, here.
NICK: Oh, sorry, babe.

(Conversational silence.)

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Seventeen

Posted 2549 days ago in by Catriona

NICK (standing up and stretching): Creaking. Creaking but not yet leaking.
ME: Pardon?
NICK: Hee.
ME: Okay, two questions. Firstly, do you often leak in the study?
NICK: No.
ME: Good. Secondly, is there a high chance that you’ll leak in the near future?
NICK: Probably not.
ME: Then why the “not yet leaking”?
NICK: It’s my way of saying I’m old but I’m not yet out of the game.
ME: You’re 33.
NICK: True.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Sixteen

Posted 2550 days ago in by Catriona

NICK: Will you stop laughing?
ME: No. You tried to get your pants on, missed, and fell over. What’s not to laugh at?
NICK: I also hurt my finger a bit.

Secondhand Books

Posted 2554 days ago in by Catriona

Down in Sydney and back up in Brisbane, I did—naturally enough—a little rummaging for secondhand books. I’ve been meaning to post on them for a while, but I became trapped in a nightmarish maelstrom of uncharged rechargeable batteries and the villains (namely me) who keep forgetting to recharge them, and then thought, “Sod it. I’m just going to use my camera phone.”

(Wasn’t that a story worth waiting for? It had everything! Fierce weather! A villainous protagonist! An unreliable narrator! Batteries!)

So the images are a little fuzzier than usual. Fuzzier, but somehow atmospheric (she tells herself hopefully).

These ones weren’t Sydney purchases at all:

Poor Bettina! I found her in a local secondhand bookshop. I only hope she hadn’t been blundering around in there too long.

And the book under Blundering Bettina is The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, which is an old volume of mine that I rescued from my parents’ house before they could send it to Lifeline. Short stories rather than a novel, it’s perhaps my favourite Pimpernel book: much more rescuing aristos from the guillotine and much less agonising about his marriage. Oh, and the assassination of Marat, without which no lazy Sunday afternoon reading is ever going to reach its full potential.

The bottom book is The Daisy Chain, one of Victorian moralist Charlotte M. Yonge’s 160 works (“chiefly novels,” adds Wikipedia blandly, as though writing 160 novels in the days when “novel” meant “no fewer than two volumes, thanks” were no mean feat).

My favourite thing about this volume is the illustrations:

In this one, the child has been accidentally poisoned (by its nurse, obviously) with opium, which I guess makes this picture some form of Victorian necro-lithography.

Then there was the Berkelouw’s haul. This year, I took more photos of the inside of Berkelouw’s than I actually bought books, but I did snag these:

One would have to have a heart of stone not to buy a book called English Dialogues of the Dead, especially when it’s subtitled “A Critical History, An Anthology, and A Checklist.” How can my bookshelves be complete without that?

And The English Common Reader may actually have caused me to exclaim, “Score!” a little too loudly for the liking of all the ladies-who-lunch browsing around me.

Then there was the rummaging in Narellan Lifeline, which was punctuated by my over-excited younger nephew (he turned four that day) saying, “Auntie Treena, spin me round on this chair!” and (after I refused on the grounds of safety) adding, “I fell off, but I’m okay!”

Goodness knows what would have happened if I had spun him.

This is the fuzziest photo of the lot . . .

. . . but rest assured, almost every title includes one or more of the following: “castle,” “bone,” “time traveller,” “haunted,” or “mountain.” The exception is the top one, and since that’s called Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, I think any mention of haunted, time-travelling, mountainous bone-castles would have been over-kill, no?

But my real joy is in the last pile:

E. Nesbit’s Tales of Terror. I’m pretty sure the scariest thing she comes up with is the protagonist finding out that he really is as middle-class as he’s always been brought up to believe.

Spring Cleaning: Part One of a Series I Might Forget About Later

Posted 2556 days ago in by Catriona

I’m not nuts for spring cleaning, but it is a good time to take a look at the house and see what little bits and pieces could do with a sprucing up for the new season. I’m feeling more enthusiastic about spring cleaning this year, too, because we tossed an enormous pile of books and clothes thanks to a fortuitous jumble sale, so we can breathe a little more easily in the house.

(The books, for the record, were pre-stacked in a corner of the wardrobe and had been for a year, so their absence makes no difference to my sorely abused bookshelves.)

But today’s task was my armchairs:

I love almost everything about these chairs: their solidity (they’re hardwood and weigh a tonne), the scalloped backs, the little wooden feet at the front, the wide armrests, the way they slope back, and the fact that they cost me $50 for the two.

Bargain!

Of course, they cost me $50 because they need re-springing, and re-springing just isn’t on the budget. That’s why they have those European pillows shoved down under the seat cushion: it stops us from losing guests down the back of the armchair.

But the orange just isn’t doing it for me any more. And neither is the upholstery, which is the one thing I hate about these chairs.

See?

My mother says it’s fine, but I think they look like they’re crawling with veins. The upholstery also shows dirt a bit too readily, which isn’t great in sweltering summers.

Still, if re-upholstering isn’t in the budget (and it isn’t), at least I can take some preventative measures and get rid of those orange cushion covers.

Viola!

Nice warm brown cushion covers, anti-maccassars that are actually chiffon table-runners (picked up in Sydney for pennies at a bargain basement: I only wish I’d been foresighted enough to pick up another couple to make arm covers from), and my favourite cushions (which look like ex-Muppets), and already the living room looks a little brighter and a little less orange.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fifteen

Posted 2556 days ago in by Catriona

ME: Are you playing a Zerg character?
NICK: Well, yes.
ME: This is shameful!
NICK: What is?
ME: First you never manage to keep up an adequate supply of minerals, which, frankly, is not something I look for in a man. And now you’re a Zerg!
NICK: That needs to be a strange conversation.
ME: As though I’d share my shame with the world.

When you’ve been grass-widowed by Starcraft 2, you need to make your own fun.

A Dog's Life (Holiday Photo Essay)

Posted 2561 days ago in by Catriona

Home (Holiday Photo Essay)

Posted 2562 days ago in by Catriona

Southern Highlands (Holiday Photo Essay)

Posted 2562 days ago in by Catriona

Bookshop Porn (Holiday Photo Essay)

Posted 2565 days ago in by Catriona

Forget Disneyland: Berkelouw’s Book Barn (in Berrima) is the happiest (and most alliterative) place on Earth.

Reflecting Pool (Holiday Photo Essay)

Posted 2565 days ago in by Catriona

Fogbound (Holiday Photo Essay)

Posted 2566 days ago in by Catriona

We stopped to take these photographs in deep, deep fog in the heart of serial-killer territory.

We weren’t killed.

I know you were worrying about that.

Back in Brisbane

Posted 2566 days ago in by Catriona

Normally, when I’m taking a break from blogging, I let you know in advance. But this time, I was lazy. Or neglectful. Or harassed.

Pick whichever one seems most plausible to you.

(Psst. I suggest “lazy.”)

So I’ve been down in Sydney for a week, and I didn’t blog, and I didn’t even tell you I was going.

But I’m back now, and I’ve lined up a whole series of photo posts for your viewing pleasure. (Or not, depending on how fussy you are about your photos actually being good.)

I’ll start with the strange atmospheric conditions of the Southern Highlands, shall I?

Me and The Mechanic

Posted 2575 days ago in by Catriona

So I took my car in for a service and I said to the mechanic, “If you find anything extravagantly wrong with it, give me a ring before you fix it, okay?”

He said he would.

One courtesy bus, one ordinary bus, and an hour later, I get home, make myself a cup of coffee, and settle down to check my e-mails when the phone rings.

It’s the mechanic.

He says to me, “We were checking over the car and we found mumble, mumble, mumble. Would you like us to fix that?”

And I think, “Oh, no. I wasn’t actually listening to him; I was checking my e-mails.”

But I don’t want to admit that I wasn’t listening, so I come up with a cunning plan. This way, I’ll find out what he was saying before I commit to expensive car repairs, but I won’t have to admit that I wasn’t listening to him.

So I say, “Can you just remind me what that part does?”

And he says, “Those are the things that clean your windshield off when it rains.”

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fourteen

Posted 2575 days ago in by Catriona

ME: I seem to spend a lot of time worrying. I think it’s because I’m not very bright.
NICK: You’re plenty bright. I’ve seen your brain.
ME: No, I’m a moron.
NICK: Treen, if that was true, you wouldn’t spend so much time worrying about your intellect.
ME: The Internet? I hardly spend any time worrying about the Internet.

I guess that answers that question.

Categories

Blogroll

Recent comments

Monthly Archive

2012
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
2011
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
August
October
November
December
2010
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
October
December
2009
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2008
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December