Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red, Red Whine

It was a great day for smart ‘ranga chicks.

Julia showed everyone didn’t she? That you could be a Deputy for a bit and then stab your boss in the back and … well… become Prime Minister. Just like that.

There’s plenty of conjecture of course. Should she? Shouldn’t she? Can she? Will she? Who the hell IS she? The whole nation started whining. Fair suck of the sav! What’s happened to democracy? Facebook was filled with nothing else but Julia. I myself promised to bake pointy-nosed gingerbread women dressed in pinstripes. It’s the least I could do.

Up until now all we’ve known is that she likes to win. Fair enough. Don’t we all? And really, she did it the easy way. No election for our girly. Bugger that for a joke. And why not? It’s kind of like skipping the queue at Myer on Boxing Day to get to the on-sale Sheridan sheets. Or being given a gift membership to a box at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. When given half a chance, I’d take the easy road too.

I’m not that fussed that she’s a ‘rangarette. Or a woman. Or smart. There’s plenty of those around and quite frankly, with the state of men in this country I’m surprised we didn’t elect one to the top job before now. I mean really. With names like Kevin and Wayne, how are our blokes taken seriously on a world stage? (“ohhh hi mate.. I mean Barry. Name’s Wayne, you can call me… Swannie.”)

What I am fascinated about is that our Julia… Jool-ya, JOOLS… is… a Bogan.

She likes Chinese takeaway, jeans, leather minis and footy. She don’t shop for those black shoes anywhere posh. My guess? They’re from Target and anyway, she'd probably prefer to wear thongs. But apparently Parliament has a bloody dress-code.  And Jools’ next short-term goal? To find time to go see Sex & the City 2. In between cracking a deal with the mining industry bosses and that carbon emissions thing. Oh and those tricky asylum seekers. What to do? Put them to work cutting out pantsuit patterns? Get them to shell prawns at the Local?

I kinda thought that I’d be the first Bogan chick to lead our great nay-shon.

Blossy for PM! I’m not that keen on the hard work aspect of course, and quite frankly, on the few occasions I’ve watched Question Time in Parliament it’s bored me to distraction. But instead it’s Jools. I’ve read a few articles lately and it appears that Jools has a few Bogan skeletons in her Toyota Corolla. Her partner/lover is a hairdresser (who can knock back a cheap home dye job? I’ve been known myself to pass BtT the Garnier box and tell him to cut sick with it!) Tim cracked onto Jools by ringing the local electoral office and asking her out. Jools’ BFF sees her role as ‘supporting my friend and doing normal stuff with her’. Noice. Maybe they can go see SATC2 together. Get on the red wine in Manuka, dance to Cold Chisel flashbacks and then crash at Julia’s crappy flat. What would it be like to be mates with Tim ‘n’ Jools? Do you reckon they’re the ones that swing past Uncle Dan’s to pick up a bottle of ten dollar Merlot to bring to the Barbie?

I have friends who met Ms Gillard as Education Minister and think that she hasn’t had kids because, well, she doesn’t particularly like them. Reports as to whether Jools puts children in the juicer whole or spreads them with vegemite are still unconfirmed. Maybe Jools won’t have to deal with many kids now that she’s PM. I saw her on the news awkwardly kissing a baby in a local shopping centre and the kids didn’t seem to shrivel upon contact, but then… babies are a bit cuter than a class full of feral public school nine year olds wielding ugly gifts and who still can’t read despite living in the luckiest country in the world. I can kind of understand her  hesistation.

Official word is that Jools doesn’t want to move into The Lodge until she’s ‘like…totally elected’.

I reckon the real story is that the nation’s top residence is a bit posh for our Jools. Like moi, the new PM buys her rugs from Bunnings and her wine glasses from Kmart. Having high tea with the Governor General isn’t really Jools’ style so the posh Canberra official homes and all their breakables might be a challenge. And the GG probably wouldn’t serve Tim Tams so what’s the point? (Note to self: check whether the Governor General can get her staff to make a decent extra-hot-skim-chai-latte just in case am ever invited there for arvo tea… I know it’s a long shot, but it's good to be prepared…)

So what to do about the nay-shon’s whining?

If it’s anything like Jools’ first press conference as PM, she’ll just tell us all to shut our cake-holes and ask questions in an orderly fashion. More importantly, what will the Labor Party put on the election shirts this time around? Jules Rules 2010? My dad reckons he doesn't care much for the election ("I'm a bit ambidextrous on that Bloss, don't like either of 'em!")

So let’s see what happens now that Kevin ’07 has been sent to the sin bin. Go hard Jools, you bogan ‘ranga. I don’t think I can handle the alternative, Tony Abbott flaunting around the beach in his budgie smugglers.

My personal bogan message to the new PM? Jools, I dare ya to wear your bulldogs footy scarf in Parliament darl!

'Red, Red Wine' - Neil Diamond 1968, but more famously UB40 in 1983.

It's Not Easy Being Green

I am a woman of conscience.

Uhuh. I have values. Yep. I know what I stand for. Always have. When I was twelve I wrote to several politicians asking them to … stop… something or other. It was possibly crucial at the time. Anyway, the important thing is that I stood for something and took action. Or, I’m just anally retentive and bossy. We all have our character flaws.

Bossy Blossy. That’s me. Because, quite frankly, I’m right. Generally. Actually, I'm being modest there. I’m actually never wrong and everyone has the right to my opinion. Life is full of grey areas where the only thing we know for sure anymore is that we have a right to our own opinion.

One thing I know for sure is that oil and water don’t mix.

Kind of. Well, they can mix a little, but then they separate again, a bit like thirteen year olds at a blue light disco. Interesting things happen when a person’s beliefs operate like oil and water.

I have two such beliefs.

Let’s call Belief One 'Environmental Protection'. I’ve always been a bit of a greenie. Tree-hugging, recycling, bamboo-undie wearing greenie. Faithfully tossing my scraps into a Bokashi bucket to ferment with micro-organisms ready to be sent back to Mother Earth. Don’t even talk me into using parabens and sulphates in my body butter… it ain’t gonna happen sista!

Now then, let’s call Belief Two 'Capitalism'. It can be ‘oil’ where Belief One was clear, fresh running water. I’m a Capitalist, through and through. Brad the Tradie and I wrote it as our religion on the last census (yeah, we also wrote Jedi on the census before that, it’s because we’re actually agnostic and we’re waiting to see if some higher power is watching us fake the census…) I lurrrrve money. I love making it, spending it, smelling it, reading about it, all of it. I like to temper my addiction with ‘socially ethical capitalism’ but we all know that quite frankly, my life would be complete if only I was rich. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but that doesn’t matter in my opinion because I’ve had PLENTY of happy in my life and you can buy medications that fake it anyway. Sprinkle chemical ‘happy’ all over my gold-plated wheaties whilst I call my stockbroker.

So then, novice chemists and the couple of Science nerds amongst you. Tell me this. If oil and water don’t mix, then do Environmental Protection and Capitalism? BtT and I are giving it a whirl. An environmentally responsible landscaper who likes to make STACKS of cash. Bring it.

Which brings me to today’s conundrum. Greenie Group.

It all started when BtT and I, being new to Beachville, dutifully visited the local Sustainable Display Home. Network with the greenies. Suss the local eco scene. Join Coastcare or something. Discuss the harvesting of rain and the sculpting of earth. Say, give them heaps of soy-ink recycled business cards and the like in case other greenies want to syphon some money to our business by employing BtT's talents. Here was I, noting with interest that the green throw rug in the master display bedroom wasn’t bamboo or even organic cotton, whilst BtT smoozed the tour guides. Turns out their subsurface irrigation wasn’t really up to par (Ruh Roh!), their rain tank wasn’t NEARLY big enough and really… the whole landscaping of the display home was a bit below par quite frankly. Ohhhh, and yes, Brad the Tradie, the newest East Coast Expert, would LOVE to talk at the Week 4 workshop of the local sustainability course. What a coup!

So then of course we had to bloody well enrol in the stupid course. Every Monday for eight weeks, two fecking hours. Didn’t seem that big a deal until we WENT.

I did the right thing and took a bag of locally grown orchard apples, free from all sorts of … apple nasty things. We got our nametags (I'm surprised they were allowed to have paper there quite frankly) and then the merriment started. TWO hours of a powerpoint presentation about reducing water use in your home. TWO HOURS! With quite average graphics. I mean… please. You turn the bloody tap off and have shorter showers.

Ahhh, and (naturally) you get a waterwise landscaper in… and off and running goes BtT. The greenie chick operating the show was pleasant a few times when he interjected. The first few times. Then other participants started asking HIM questions. Then a few noted his level of expertise and charm. THEN greenie chick became greenie bitch. Green Shrek smoke coming out of her ears.

Anyhoo, back to me. I won the lucky door prize.

I got an extra ticket for bringing organic apples to share. I am now the proud owner of a plastic wrapped collapsible bucket for my shower. You could feel the tension in the room as I collected my bucket from the front. Greenie chick really wanted the man who learned to recycle this week to win (“Oh congrats to Bill for learning to separate plastic this week!!"). Or Gladys who stays to wash up (“Yay Gladys for only half filling the sink!”). Not me, the capitalist attached to the knowledgeable, threatening, charismatic eco-landscaper. None the less, I took my bucket (for re-gifting obviously) and … left. Oh, well I got my two free native seedlings as well. Then left. OH OK, I might taken a free cuppa for the drive home…

So. The dilemma. I don’t like Greenie Group. It annoyed me.

Furthermore, I suspect that I may offend people with my mimicry and sarcasm.  Will we be relegated to the naughty step to wear a recycled muzzle? We can’t help it if we’re not you’re averagely humble, hessian wearing greenies parking their bike outside the venue. Eco comes in all shapes and sizes and green can be a grey area sometimes.

Brad the Tradie is going to persevere, for the sake of Capitalism. 

He went without me yesterday, eco bag full of organic pears to swap with Coryn, the lady with a heavily cropping lemon tree. News of the day was that Greg from Table Two just installed solar panels and he can now SELL electricity back to the grid. Ooo!! A fellow eco-capitalist! Apparently a newly emigrated couple came today and might want BtT to install a water tank. Score! There might be money to be made from the greenies after all.

Let's just hope that BtT can continue giving back (in forms other than all the right answers) so he doesnt get kicked out. Being amongst other greenies is a bit like going to AA:
“I’m sooooo sorry I brought the organic fruit to share in a plastic bag… it’s just… I dunno… I didn’t think…”
 “Yes, I AM wearing polyester… dammit….”
 “Who was it that was heard flushing the loo hmmm??? You know the rule: if it’s yellow let it mellow, when it’s brown, flush it down!”
You’d feel less guilty going to Catholic Confession (I suppose… I’m actually an agnostic eco-capitalist, but I’ve seen Confession on telly and it looks scary…)

At the end of the day, you’ve got to give it to Brad the Tradie and his persistence. It’s not easy being green. Especially when you’re a capitalist smart-ass as well.


'It's Not Easy Being Green' - Kermit the Frog, 1970.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Video Killed the Radio Star

A bad thing has happened. We have no TV.

I should clarify. We have TV’s. Plenty. A variety of sizes. Lovely tellies they are. The problem is that we have no reception in the new house. BAD. Ten grand worth of tellies and NO bloody reception. Totally unexpected crisis.

Brad the Tradie undertook research on this matter the minute we realised that there was no reception in Beachville. A neighbourhood walk tallying different types of massive antennae. Hurrumphing, phone calls, furrowing of the brows.

We met the neighbours to the left of us the day we moved in, partially to be nice, but mostly to figure out how to get telly. After some initial greetings, name confirmations and mutual approval of render and roof colours ("oooo, noice, I loike your colourbond colour...ooooo"), the conversation soon graduated towards the main concern of our household… TV:

BtT: So, I notice you don’t have a mast antenna.
New neighbour Bloke: Nope. Don’t do it mate. Birds sit on ‘em and crap on ya roof.
BtT: Good point. Especially with a dark colour. What do you use to get telly then?
NnB: E-wire.
Us (collectively): Huh?
NnB: New suburb thing. See that bit o’ conjute sticking out of the ground there near the green dome thing? That’s where your e-wire is. Don’t run over it in the car. Hang on, I'll get you their number.
BtT: Ahhh. (mutter, bloke noises, touching of conjute…) Hey, you guys got Foxtel?
NnB: Nah… got a boat. You gettin' a jetski?

Once I’d acquired a translation, I learned that our telly reception happens from the thing in the front yard in the white pipe and that we magically should’ve known this THREE WEEKS in advance of moving in. Yes, that’s how long it takes to get the people to come and make the wire thingy turn into my favourite shows. THREE WEEKS.

Once my anger, shock and denial wore off, reality set in.

We would have no telly for three weeks. What on EARTH would we do? OK, so the first five days were OK. We emptied boxes, revelled in the luxury of indoor ablutions and built flat-packed cheap furniture from Vietnam sold to us by a nasty chain store. Then, the Better Homes and Gardens child (BHG) discovered the family box of DVD’s and suddenly we had SOMETHING to stare at whilst enjoying our lounge chairs. We only own a couple of dozen DVD’s, so the movie marathon wore off pretty quick. BtT caved and bought Season 2 of the Big Bang Theory to remind us of what we generally watch on TV (Yes, copious amounts of American crap), but the lack of advertisements is really quite disconcerting and doesn’t substitute for actual telly. As BHG dramatically stated, we may as well just shrivel up and die.

Then there’s the problem of sport. From Friday evening through to … well… the next Friday evening, BtT watches sport on telly. And it’s footy season. What to do??? No internet yet except for the trip to Macca's or the library (yes, also has something to do with the conjute-covered wire in the front yard), so can’t stream the games on the computer. Could go next door to the new people and beg to take over their house. Hmmm. OR….

We could listen to the ABC radio.

I know. It’s an embarrassing admission and one best reserved for emergencies like this. We have… tuned our radio to the ABC. When the sport’s not on we’ve been engrossed by the evening trivia quiz, talk shows about bauxite, the news (love that music that heralds the ABC news bulletin… dah dah dah dah dah dah ….) and many songs from the pre-WW2 era. On the upside, the ABC does put you to sleep at night. That's why old people like it.

But today I cracked.

Up till now I’d been trying to model TV-free parenting to the adolescent. Trying to prove that life without television is not only possible, it’s desirable. Sure… it’ll be FUN. Some families don't have TV at all you know. ("No darling, not because they're poor, because they choose to...")

We’ve read. We’ve joined the library even. We’ve walked the dogs (and searched for them for hours the day they ran away…) It was all going swimmingly in parent-land. Until she wanted to play Scattergories. I hate board games. I don't even know why we've kept the three board games we own.  I grew up with a TV in my room (as did my brother) and lacked social interaction with my parents… just the way we all liked it. We gathered for family occasions. Sometimes I’d take pity on a Saturday evening and watch The Bill with them. That counted as ‘family together time’. We didn’t ride bikes to the park and have picnics. We did NOT play board games. My family watched telly. And no one got hurt.

But it’s been ten days. TEN days.

I’m getting to the point where I could go to Harvey Norman and pull up a chair in the electronics section, you know? I haven’t seen The View. I haven’t seen Ellen. I can’t flick Mel and Kochie on each morning to provide background noise as I have my morning cuppa in bed. I haven’t seen the multitude of shows I watch between 7 and 10 each evening. God knows how the finale of Brothers and Sisters panned out. I’ve had to ring my VGF (very good friend) Smurfette for Masterchef updates (she’s taken to summarising it in quite succinct texts each few days). This week I’ll miss Glee again (AHHH!!!) and several Law and Orders. Life as we know it is about to end.

The man comes on Wednesday to look at the wire in the white pipe out the front (havent run over it in the car...excellent news...) I got all excited thinking that I’d be watching Lie to Me this week until he explained that it takes another ‘four or five days’ to process the paperwork. GEEZ! What are we meant to DO? Watch more bloody videos? Listen to the radio? Go for walks?

Which leads me to the question… if video killed the radio star, what will ever kill telly?

Not board games that’s for bloody sure.

Video Killed the Radio Star, The Buggles, 1979

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Chicken Dance

Once upon a time, when I was a young teenage bogan (just before I became a vegetarian interestingly...), a very exciting event occured in our rather isolated country area. Circa 1985, Kentucky Fried Chicken came to town.

This was SERIOUSLY exciting. We’d never seen anything as posh. This chicken shop had inside toilets, little red plastic spoons, moist towelettes and … eleven secret herbs and spices. Up until then, I didn't even know what herbs and spices were. We all lined up for a two-piece feed and marvelled at the creative spirit behind this wondrous tasty poultry. Before long the townsfolk shortened the rather long title of Kentucky Fried Chicken to ‘Tucky Chuck’ and alternated the fortnightly fish ‘n’ chips night or a hamburger with the lot from the Greek cafĂ© with the boxed and bucketed offerings of Colonel Sanders (no one knew where Kentucky was or who this Colonel might be, but it was VERY exotic…)

One of my school friends landed the holy grail of part-time work at Tucky Chuck (I know! Score! I ended up at Woolies on a checkout for my 14 hours a week). Elevated in social status, Craig used to bring cold chicken to school and our group would all have a little picnic. Sometimes we wondered why the chicken pieces were so … solid… and so… white and funny looking when cold, but then the group’s Science nerd suggested we put the pieces in the sun to warm up, so that was that.

We didn’t know what was really in Tucky Chuck. We didn’t particularly care. We were sixteen and HUNGRY. Nutrition consisted of not being hungry. None of us were fat, possibly because we all walked to and from school and played a dozen different sports and climbed trees or went bushwalking for fun.

I think the year that Tucky Chuck came to town heralded a change in our little bogan microcosm. Not that I overtly noticed at the time, but I was told years later that in some families people used to go get fried chicken more than once a fortnight. Some went every week. SOME went SEVERAL times a week. Apparently townsfolk developed an addiction to the stuff. And suddenly… people got … FAT.Out of the blue, locals even took the liberty of having Chinese food, usually reserved for a birthday or anniversary, for no apparent reason at all. The Chinese restaurant started doing takeaway, in little plastic boxes. Then a pizza shop opened and eventually…. Yep. The Golden Arches. All over Red Rover (or Rooster…) Fast Food Anarchy had begun.

I counted the fast food ‘restaurants’ at our new local shops in Beachville yesterday.
Nine chain stores, two fish ‘n’ chips, something to do with Fasta Pasta and a Chinese Restaurant. Not including cafes. Or the greasy spoon. I mean… really. Does Subway need DRIVE-THROUGH? If you want a sambo, can you not take leave of the car to collect it?

Brad the Tradie has the metabolism of a sixteen year old, so he can actually eat KFC (when did it stop being Tucky Chuck?) and not wobble too badly. He likes the skin the best. He rips that crispy, greasy skin off and eats a handful of it (try to not vomit as you read this…). As a result, we, in our Bogan family call this delightful meal ‘Bucket of Skin’. We usually try to limit it to once in a blue moon. Because these days of course, we know about nutrition and … SHOCK HORROR, fried chicken isn’t terribly good for you.

Living in a Trailer Park for a couple of weeks, I’ve had some hands-on observation time of this Phast Phood Phenomenon.
Call it an ethnographic study if you will (see? Master's degree came in handy after all!). I’ve been partaking of the free wi-fi at Macca’s. Sometimes I just stop and observe the bogans as they order their ‘fix’. Watch those teenage servers churn out the paper-wrapped Value Meals. Watch the mummies as they come in to have a cheap coffee and feed their kids a ‘Healthy Happy Meal’ (yeah, those apple slices and water bottles are SO popular with the kids!)then eventually succumb to a packet of fries. Watch the little group of nuns as they come in every couple of days for a soft serve cone (and a serviette). Watch the tradies order Upsized Everything as they drive-through in their work utes.

Of course, there are other places to eat, like cafes and restaurants with actual menus rather than backlit screens. Of particular interest is one called The Jolly Frog. Not sure if it serves deep-fried frog pieces, or a McFrog burger value meal though because I haven't actually found the entrance yet. One gets to ‘the Frog’ via one’s speedboat. We, living in the slums of Beachville rather than the luxury canal areas (where a speedboat is included with purchase of your block) or one of the moated communities (yes, seriously, moated communities with a MOAT and a gate to keep out riffraff), don’t actually have a speedboat to transport us to get a snack. We, as yet, are unable to throw our left-overs over the side to the dolphins. Naturally, BtT has been told to pull his finger out and get to work pronto. And get his Skipper's License. In case I want to go to the Frog.

Whilst visiting Beachville, my Dad and Patient Partner decided to fly to Broome for a coupla days to see my Uncle Mick, the sometimes-reformed-but-not-really Druggie and his lovely stable family.

All good. I went to Macca’s with the laptop to use the free wi-fi where I booked the tickets, wrote down the confirmation number and… job done. Until… Dad mentioned that he’d promised Uncle Mick a bucket of skin. Apparently, there’s no Tucky Chuck in Broome. Poor Uncle Mick the Druggie. What’s a man to do when he has the munchies? So here’s my dad, going through security at the airport when his chilled bucket of chicken. All twenty one pieces. Bless him. God I hope Uncle Mick doesn’t feed it to the dog.

Still, it shows how entrenched chain store Fast Food has become in just one generation. Gen Y can’t remember a time without it. People my age (Gen X) can only just remember when it first arrived. Now, within thirty years, we somehow couldn’t imagine life without it.

I read Fast Food Nation and watched Supersize Me and I was suitably appalled.
Oh, the horror of all that trans-fat, cheap meat and fillers. And then the next Friday evening, I probably ordered Home Delivery or brought home takeaway or something. You see, I can be appalled and still eat Fast Food. I’m what we call an ‘informed hypocrite’. I know the risks and I partake anyway. I used to work with people who’d eat tuna on Ryvita for lunch and then get a drive-through Big Mac on the way home. It’s the convenience you see. And did you notice the nutritional information on all this Fast Food crap now? Even on the KFC box. Out of interest I read it the other day. Kind of. Not really. Best not to know. But that lunch tuna is VERY good for you, so no harm, no foul.

If only these damn places did a pomegranate and watermelon slushie with a box of cucumber sticks and hommus. We could call it Healthies (instead of Hungries). We could mandate grilled fish and salad on the menu and call it McVegequarian. Yes, a happy meal for your heart.

It just doesn’t have the same ring to it though, does it? Probably needs a speedboat to get to as well. Speed-through? Splash-through? Nah. And who wants to buy a bottle of water anyway? Or a sliced apple? I can get that at home.

Best stick to chicken. Once a bogan, always a bogan. Bwark!!!


The Chicken Dance, composed by Werner Thomas, a Swiss accordion player, 1950.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Midnight Special

Let the Midnight Special
Shine her light on me.
Let the Midnight Special
Shine her ever lovin’ light on me…

Ahhh, the lengths I go to researching for the Blossy Bogan Blog. I’m not only unemployed, but now I’m homeless as well. Kind of.

Those who keep up with the adventures of Blossy Bogan will know about The Move. Summary – we sold our house in Boganvillea over East, packed everything we own into a storage container and took a flight to The West. The guard dog-come-garbage-disposal is in boarding school learning to play nicely with other dogs (interestingly she has a ‘day’ run of her own because she keeps having a go at other dogs… FAIL.) The rest of us are… well… in a caravan.

Having mooched off rello’s, we thought it high time we moved into our new house. Except it isn’t ready on time. Here in The West nothing happens quickly. Move in dates are kind of HAZY. Yes, we moved over here to be casual and relaxed. But SERIOUSLY. Our site supervisor is on holiday in Thailand. The tiler’s M.I.A. and well… we’re living in a rented caravan 5 kilometres from the new house. Until the 15th when Tasha the savage guard dog is released from her ‘learn to play nicely with others’ boarding school. Then we’ll all be living in the back yard.

Oh I know… I know. Woe is me. Poor me. People travel around Australia all the time in caravans. My dad and his very patient partner are Grey Nomads. As are Brad the Tradie’s (BtT’s) parents who drive north for the winter. We have friends our age who have driven a damn van around the country to be with nature… blah blah blah. Treat it like a holiday. Blah. Blah. Our adolescent, BHG (for her addiction to the TV show Better Homes and Gardens) is loving it. She sees the hunk of aluminium and lino as an overgrown Barbie Campervan. My dad bought her a Flannie, and she even has a little table on which to do ‘home school’ in her thongs, which, btw (and this one’s for you Nancy…) actually seems to pack more into her brain than ‘real school’. Mind you, I’m fairly over it and she’s definitely enrolling ASAP after we move into the house.

I don’t camp. You know that.

So. Here I am. Blossy’s dad has driven (with Patient Partner) all the way across Australia to be with nature and do various things like attend weddings in Adelaide as well as check out our new digs. They’re in the caravan park too. THEY have a posh caravan with … STUFF in it. “Don’t worry Bloss!” said Dad. “She’ll be right!” My dad is the person who nicknamed me Blossy. It’s short for Blossom. I think he uses it because, at times, because he can’t remember my actual name.

Oh good God. Traumatic childhood flashbacks.

When I was a child we used to camp. My parents would pack the EH Holden with the tent and other camping crap and off we’d go for ‘an adventure’. My older-by-five-years brother loves the great outdoors. We’d turn up at some grotty river. He used to fish, have his own little tent, make rafts for pleasure, pee behind bushes… you get the drift. Dad would get the guitar out and we’d have family singalongs after the evening BBQ. I used to pack five books and any leftover homework. That was obviously before I discovered alcohol.

So, imagine my delight when Dad and Patient Partner offered to stay next to us in the local trailer park. For about two weeks. Yes, I know, ‘harden up princess!’, but I don’t fish. I don’t do laundry in a caravan sink. And I HATE ablutions blocks. Brad the Tradie ‘doesn’t mind’ the ablutions. He can use as much hot water as he wants. He tromps off after Happy Hour, comes back in time for MASH and hangs his towel on the makeshift line. Noice. Then pops into the van (yes, he can stand up, barely) and flops down to watch the 32 inch flat screen TV he’s rigged up. BHG calls it ‘family time’.

Squillions of school camps taught me to COPE with ablutions blocks. Actually, as most teachers know, the shower and toilet are about the only place you get a moment to yourself on school camp. And it’s better than having a wash with a KFC refresher towel. One ablution block is pretty much the same as another. The little bench. The hook on the back of the door. Wear a pair of thongs so you don’t catch ‘fungal infections of the feet’. Don’t lean on the walls or lose the key. Plastic container for the soap. And YES. I like to take a bathmat.

It’s funny the goals you set when staying in a trailer park.

The success of my current aim is sitting at 20% after five nights. I’ve achieved it once so far. Yes…my goal is to avoid the Midnight Special. That’s my nickname for the toilets. We’re in the ‘tourist section’ of the rather large and spread out park, so it’s quicker to walk to the public toilets than the ablutions block. Especially in the middle of the night.

I hate the Midnight Special. Crawl out of bed. Put on the outdoor ugg boots. Throw on a hoodie. Tromp over to the toilet block in the dark. Remember, in daze, to use the Disabled Toilet because it’s the one with a seat (not that I care to sit on it). Use the quite unabsorbent paper that comes from the metal box. Pump the half flush button twice to remind the full-flush button to work. Then tromp back. IN. THE. DARK. Thank God for the fecking moon. The Midnight Special doesn’t even shine a light on me. Inside the cubicle it’s pitch black.

Yes, I DO realise I could take a torch. And I KNOW that dunnies used be outside the house once upon a time. And I COULD take my own toilet roll. But I’m resisting. You see, the more unpleasant the Midnight Special is, the more I think I can train my bladder to ‘hold’ until morning. It’s a very sound psychological strategy. I’ve implemented a ‘no fluids after 7pm’ policy also as well as a one Pepsi Max per day rule. I’m serious about this. I’ve even pushed Happy Hour back from 5:30 to 3:30 each afternoon in order to allow for extra ‘drainage’ time before bed. Bring on the new ensuite. I don’t even care what colour tiles BtT chose anymore. As long as the loo is indoors I’m good.

Thank God for the flat screen telly, free Wi-Fi at Macca's and the decision to stockpile the duty-free grog from the last O.S. trip. Oh and the Mastercard. Ahhh… the serenity.

Carrie-Van rental - $300
Minimum chips at the shops - $2.50 (enough for five people! Bargain!)
Being able to pee during daylight hours … priceless.
Midnight Special - Credence Clearwater Revival, 1969.