Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Sleeping Through Australia Day

I was looking forward to an Australia Day lie-in followed by some outdoor celebrations on Monday.

Instead I woke at 6am with a searing pain in my neck which made it almost impossible to lift my head off the pillow. After much yelping and writhing around, I decided to go to hospital so I could get some drugs for the pain.

Only I could injure myself whilst sleeping.

We decided to walk up through Surry Hills and along Oxford Street to St. Vincent's in Darlinghurst. We'd never ventured that way before or that early and it was, shall we say, interesting seeing another part of town. It's a leafy area and full of cafes in independent shops but a lot more smelly and grubby too and being 7am on a public holiday, the streets were strewn with gurning pill-heads, drunks who had passed out in doorways and empty bottles and rubbish form the night before. A&E was struggling to cope with the influx of party goers and I was told to try the medical centre down the road if I wanted to avoid a four hour wait.

Within 15 minutes, I was being prescribed copious quantities of Valium, Mersyndol and Voltaren by a lovely lady doctor of Greek/English origin who told us all about her upcoming trip to London, growing up there and playing on bomb sites during the Second World War. She also told me to go home and go to bed for the day. I've pulled a muscle apparently.

Dubious that I'd manage a full day of bed rest I nonetheless popped the pills, wrapped a hot wheat bag round my neck and went to bed with a trashy magazine. Within ten minutes I was out and experiencing the best sleep I'd had for weeks. These drugs are good.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


When I moaned to my colleagues back in December that it wasn't hot enough, not what I expected from Australian weather, they told me to just wait until after Christmas. Sure enough, as January has progressed, the temperatures have been soaring and today was our hottest day in Sydney yet: 41°C. Even the breeze feels like a hairdryer on full power.

The flat is like a kiln, in the shade but holding in heat, and we are beginning to wish we'd got one with Air-Con. It was fine when we could open a window for a cool breeze in the evening. Now I can't get to sleep because the air is so hot and humid. But here's me complaining - I'd rather this any day than being frozen to the bone back in London.

When the weather's like this there's only one thing worth doing. No, not sitting on our backsides in the nearest air-conditioned flat, shop or arcade we can find. This is beach weather (for insane foreigners) and so today, with the masses, we caught and train down to Bondi where we enjoyed our first Bondi swim! The beach was predictably packed and blisteringly hot but the water was beautiful - so cold it was a shock when the waves smashed against our chests for the first time but after that a perfect antidote to the heat. The sunbathers, Calippo sellers and life-guards were out in force and scores of swimmers formed a line as they waited waist deep in the water, for the waves to crash in.

As I swam out to see I couldn't help thinking about the last time I swam there, some 17 years ago, when I was 10. We only came out for a week then. Long enough to see the relatives, get burnt, go for a swim and suffer jet lag. Flying here in a jumbo jet with the Queen was a pretty memorable experience too.

As we approach our departure date, I sweat the small and irrational stuff. I fear and hate those things which seem final, like leaving this flat, and leaving the office for the last time. Once we're gone though there's no turning back. Or at least, that is what I tell myself.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

a look behind the ego

A friend of Ric's who lives in Japan and who has had his fair share of trauma and emotional difficulties reached out and gave me some thoughts to chew on recently. It so reassuring to discover that you aren't alone in feeling like you're going crazy sometimes. It moves and amuses me that such profound ideas can be conveyed so charmingly in a small pop up window when you least expect it. These are a few fragments from our facebook chat:

'haha. we're special people...we are all here to help each other.

anyway- i just wanted you to know that i have the same problems as you. - I see random signs on walls that apparently have no connection to me and I follow their advice. Or I get the urge to suddenly sign in to facebook and speak to someone and I think "this must be fate" etc.. and, its fine. and if i'm in a bad mood its terrible and I panic...

but now i have a refuge in meditation and mantra. so every time it happens I bring my attention down to a very fine point. i sit in a quiet room and i repeat the mantra to drown out my egotistical thinking. and in time, it passes. because any sensation that arises will pass, as long as you just watch, acknowledge, and let go.

Don't let thoughts define you. think of them as bubbles arising- they are not yours and they will not remain,

is what i do anyway,

but i'm not qualified to give advice, but i always give in and rant... sorry

by the way- i think all this superhuman feeling comes from having a great sensitivity to the universe, but an untamed ego, which thinks it is "special" because of the sensitivity.

look behind the ego! is what i'm doing...

yeah, take care

have a sexy weekend'

Monday, 12 January 2009

January again

I've managed to delete a whole blog. It's taken me three days to start it again. Perhaps I'm losing faith in writing this. I'm not sure what I ever expected to achieve by doing it anyway. I suppose I'll be glad of having a 'record' of my year away. I hasn't made me happier though or set me on my way to becoming a writer.

Is it really the 20t
h January already?! Time is flying by now and soon, as we embark on yet more foreign adventures, Sydney will be just a cluster of memories. Most good, some less so. Just don't ask me if I am ready to leave!

Christmas seems a long time ago now - We've said goodbye to Ric's parents and I've been back at work for a fortnight already. I suspect the next three will fly by too. The first few days were so slow as most of the rest of Sydney seemed to be on their summer holidays still. It did afford me the opportunity to spend one whole afternoon chatting to Virginia, my office manager, about a wide range of subjects including American poetry, politics, women's roles in society, mental health, men and plenty more besides. I will never understand why people warm to me so much as my colleagues have and why I feel I can pour out my heart and soul to those who let me in to their lives just a little bit.

Virginia has been such a huge support to me over the past few months showing such solidarity, patience, good humour, care and even love and I'm going to miss her enormously when I go.
She has told me I can come back to them after New Zealand if I like which is very kind and to be honest, a very tempting offer.

Now the boss is back I hardly have time for a loo break let alone chit chat, so I'm back to my usual frantic paced days, which I actually prefer. I do feel very lucky to have a job now when soon I wont and can't say when I next will! I'm hearing a lot of bleak tales from the UK at the moment.

I met up with Ric in Melbourne last weekend at the end of his middle Australia trip, and saw a couple of old friends who live there. I like the place. It's very different from Sydney; smaller, cooler (in both a fashion and climate sense), more arts focused, alternative, grungy, dirty, plus I've never seen so many cafes! Dear Ebony collected me from the airport very early on Saturday and spent the whole weekend showing us round town. I also met up with an old university friend who is living out here for a couple of years. She made the point that I filled the time gap by writing this blog.

Ric is learning to be a great house husband and often has my dinner ready when I get back from work. He's filling his days by building games, rearranging furniture, killing cockroaches and working on new film ideas, including a possible adaptation of an interesting
Kurt Vonnegut short story which was written in 1950 called EPICAC and which my friend Georgie told Ric she is trying to adapt. His idea is to bring this robot meets girl-falls in love-realises he can't ever be loved like a human-dies of a broken heart story to the 21st century where we have avatars, msn, facebook and other internet wonders at our fingertips. Think my friend's a bit miffed that Ric has gazumped her idea and come up with a slicker, more contemporary take on the plot. He has a tendency to do that, albeit unintentionally. I just wish I had more of a film-orientated mind to work on these ideas with him. I feel constantly inadequate and at the moment, uninspired.

I'm excited about seeing New Zealand though and then my mum and friends in London again but also so worried about the future. When will I have the opportunity to come back here? Where will I live? Should I be embarking on fresh travels instead of focusing on thrashing out my OCD and eating problems which I've battled with for so long? Am pretty sick of talking about change now, just need to do it.

Can't believe that I spent a whole morning worrying about the fact that I threw a tissue down the loo the 'wrong way'. People often ask me what I think will happen if I don't act on my intrusive thoughts. Well at the moment my fear is of losing Ric, of him dying because of something I have or haven't done. At this rate I'll lose him not because of cocking up in an OCD sense but because the OCD behaviour will drive him away.

And I think perhaps I need to stop including these gritty personal details on my blog. My friend Dave has some interesting thoughts on the subject of my obsessions and crazy thoughts...see the next instalment.

Right. Back to work.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy 2009!

So here I am on the first day of 2009 sitting by myself in my flat in Sydney. It's about 34 degrees Celsius outside and the flies are hovering around the balcony, apparently waiting for a chance to get in. The $12 fan we both the other week in Bunnings works a treat - good thing as we've got no Air Con. I wake up feeling groggy a lot at the moment.

Shingles boy Ric is at Uluru on his camping tour. Says it's very hot, swarming with weird bugs and flies and that there aren't any other English people in the group, just lots of nit-picky Germans and Swiss.

I had a great time last night at Charlotte's flat over-looking the harbour bridge. It was a bit strange (although lovely) being there with Ric's family and not him. The fireworks were the best I'd ever seen and we could hear the crowds shouting the count down from the other side of the harbour. Unfortunately my blasted camera has managed to delete all the photos and video footage I took of the occasion. A guy in Dick Smith electricals has said they might be able to do something...

Naturally, as one does at this time of year I have been reflecting on the busy year just gone and the one that lies ahead. Yes I am struggling as ever and enter 2009, like every year before it, with an enormous sense of trepidation, anxiety, fatigue and some regrets but also hope for positive things. Ric will leave me in the end if I don't manage to sort myself out - that's one hell of an incentive but also a lot of pressure. Feeling incredibly confused about what I want, how to achieve it and where I want to be, physically and mentally.

We are due to leave Sydney on the 12th February but I don't feel ready to travel again (plan is to go to New Zealand for 8 weeks and then USA for 2) or return to cold credit-crunch London. Traveling does seem to fire up all my irrational thoughts and bad behaviours and Ric wont put up with it any more. I'm so desperate for things to work. I can do it!