This happens to me often. I hear a song and it takes me back to another time. Particularly with songs from the from when I was much younger. This song never fails to take me back to the late 70s. The cars, the people’s clothing and hairstyles remind me of when I was a teenager.
I was eighteen in 1975 when this song was released and Hubby and I had just met that year. Over the next couple of years we made a couple of visits to Melbourne where the video was made and Swanston Street looked just the way it does here. I think we have walked from one end of Swanston Street to the other so the route is very familiar to me. On our first couple of visits we stayed at a hotel called “The Victoria” which was on nearby Little Collins Street. We often used to go to a cafe there called the ” Chat and Chew” for breakfast or dinner. We liked it because the meals there were cheap and good and because they had juke box selectors on every table, something we hadn’t seen before. We put a lot of coins into those machines :).
I can still remember riding on the old trams, we’d catch a tram in Swanston Street to go to St Kilda. Trams still had conductors then, not ticket machines. We did a lot of riding around on trams and electric trains visiting places like Frankston, Brighton, St Kilda, there was a train service then and Belgrave to ride on “Puffing Billy” of course. We loved Flinders Street Station on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets and even spent some time exploring Princes Bridge Station which was just across the road on the opposite corner. I can’t remember if we visited Young and Jackson’s , the famous old pub opposite the station. We probably did but I remember it better from more recent visits.
Now of course Swanston Street is a very different place. The trams are still there but the cars are gone. The “Chat and Chew” is long gone, its owners probably retired or forced out by higher rents. The (to me) hideous Federation Square dominates the Flinders Street end of the road. But when I hear AC/DC I can forget that and I’m a young woman visiting Melbourne for the first time again. We both still love seeing the video on TV and will usually stop what we are doing to watch it if it comes on. I still think it’s a great song too and I love the bagpipes, bagpipes in a rock song, what a great idea!
Don’t sweat the small stuff should be my motto but I’m afraid that it’s the small stuff that drives me crazy. Especially the small stuff that Hubby does, or in some cases doesn’t do.
The toilet – OK most men are guilty of leaving the seat up and Hubby is no exception but he never cleans the toilet after he’s messed it up and that does annoy me.
The bathroom – In our old house the bathroom sink was beneath a window. For the 25 years we lived there Hubby would leave used cotton buds on the window sill no matter how I asked him not to, nagged him or threatened to stick one up his nose. We finally solved the problem. Our present house does not have a window above the sink.
The car – He keeps mistaking it for the rubbish bin.
The kitchen – Is it really normal to eat a late night snack of a bowl of instant mashed potatoes? Not leftovers, he actually makes it especially.
No doubt Hubby could write a list of things that annoy him about me, parading his shortcomings on my blog would no doubt be one of them, but I won’t be asking him to exchange lists. Still if you ever hear that I’ve committed mariticide it will be because of the small stuff.
I had to think carefully about this one because I know that people I know will probably read it. For most of my life I’ve lived in the suburbs and I would say that they have fallen firmly into the “somewhere in between bracket”. I have tended to judge them on the attractiveness of the environment rather than the incomes of the people who lived there.
Now I live in the country and that is different. The area where I live is an interesting mix of old-established families who have always lived in the district, Tasmanians who have left the state to work or travel and come back and more recent arrivals from mainland Australia like myself. I have been here nearly twelve years but by local standards that is not long.
This area, the Huon Valley, has been home to farmers, orchardists, forestry workers and fishermen but in recent times the first three have hit hard times. Tourism has become more important and many of the people who have moved here are “Tree Changers” who came to Tasmania on holidays and fell in love with the place. I was one of them and I’ve spoken to others who have said the same thing when I’ve asked how they came to be here. I wrote about my home town on this blog some time ago as I’ve always been impressed by the friendliness and sense of community here. If we go to a community meeting about any issue there will always be a good turn out of both the old and the new residents. What is noticeable though is the number of grey heads.
I used to volunteer at the local community radio station and during the time I was there I became aware of the diversity of people in our local area. I had not realised there were so many musicians, writers and artists in the district. I’ve met the people who are trying to preserve the town’s history and the people who have lived it and have its stories inside them. I’ve met newcomers who are starting businesses of their own and long time residents who don’t want to see their town die.
This is not a wealthy community, I’d say we range from moderately comfortable to “battlers” who are just getting by but I don’t believe there is an upper and lower class and that’s something I like about living here.
You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?
I spend a good deal of my daydreaming time thinking about that elusive lottery win. Here in Australia we don’t pay tax on lottery wins, we don’t usually have prizes as high as $1 billion dollars either but as it’s all fantasy anyway we’ll say that there is and that I won it, not me and a syndicate of 19 other people, just me.
I cannot even begin to imagine what a billion dollars is like. It’s too big a sum to imagine. When Hubby and I talk about what we would do if we won lotto he always starts talking about investments and being able to live off the interest for the rest of our lives. Well that certainly makes sense but it’s boring so I’ll skip over that and say that we are debt free and Hubby has made all the arrangements for our financial security that he wants. I want to think about the fun stuff, spending some of it!
I’ve always said that if we were to become fabulously rich I wouldn’t necessarily want to start living like one of the jet set. I don’t want a garage full of fast cars a private jet or designer clothes. I certainly wouldn’t start trying to live life in the fast lane going to nightclubs and hanging out with the rich and famous because I really don’t care about that.
After we have taken care of the needs of our closest family members the first money I would spend on ourselves would be on our house. It’s an old house and it needs work. Yes, I know we could buy a much better house and maybe in time we would but I like this one. I have spent a long time thinking about how nice it could be repaired and redecorated and I would do that even if we didn’t stay because I want to see how it would look and because I would have a lot of fun choosing all the colour schemes and picking out what furniture we wanted. We have a big 3 car garage where Hubby keeps some of his hobby stuff. I’d have two-thirds of it turned into a proper man cave with proper walls and a ceiling, good lighting and heat in winter. I’d have storage shelves put up so he’d have all of his bits and pieces at hand.
I’d treat myself to custom-made shelving to display all my dolls and hold my craft supplies. Our pets would get their own play areas too. There would be a cat enclosure outside with access to the house through a cat flap. Polly would be able to come and go as she pleased and I’d never have to worry about her getting lost, run over or hunting the local wildlife. Cindy, our fence climbing dog, would also get a secure area in the back yard with a kennel so that she could spend unsupervised time outside without me worrying that she’d gone off to chase wallabies, strayed into the farm or wandered onto the road.
If we had decided that we didn’t want to move I’d like to buy the land behind us. When we first moved here there were four empty blocks of land at the back of us and behind that a farm. A neighbour used to graze her horse there and we’d often see it near our back fence. Later a developer came, bought the land, put up transportable houses, went broke and left. Well, once the land was mine I would wait for each tenant’s lease to be up and when they had moved I’d have the houses taken away because they are really ugly. I don’t really have any plans for the land. I’d just let it go back to nature. Maybe I’d offer it to anyone who wanted agistment for their horse. I don’t want a horse myself but I liked seeing one there.
I expect we’d buy a new car too, not a luxury car, just a car that nobody else has ever owned and that we picked for its features ahead of its price. A practical car that you can put a dog in the back of. I don’t drive and I don’t see myself learning but I would be able to afford taxi’s or a car and a driver for a day if I wanted to go somewhere alone.
There are some organisations that I’d want to support too. Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Red Cross, the Salvos and various animal charities would get regular contributions from me and I would no longer have to suffer the embarrassment of telling a charity collector that I couldn’t afford to give. I’d like to support our community in some way perhaps by some kind of fund to enable small businesses to grow and employ more people. I’d do this anonymously if possible because I wouldn’t want it to be a big deal.
With a cat enclosure and a totally secure back yard we could foster rescued cats or dogs waiting for permanent homes.
Travel is probably the one area where I would be very self-indulgent. There are so many places that I want to see and experiences I’d like. My billionaire status would mean that I could travel regularly and I would for as long as my health was good. Having money would mean being able to fly first class on long haul flights and not arriving stiff and sore from a cramped seat. Every few months I’d set off with or without travel companions to see something new within Australia or overseas. I’d have such fun ticking items off the travel bucket list. Recently I read a great article about crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. My sister and I would love to do that so that would be the top of the list I think.
If I wanted to go to see a concert or a play I could buy a ticket, hop on a plane and go. If I wanted to see a sporting event I could go. If I wanted to visit friends or family in another state or another country I could go. I could have the pleasure of living quietly in the country but still enjoy what big cities have to offer.
That’s how I would use my billion dollars, to have a more fulfilled life.
Every month I go and spend a weekend with my sister. We generally sit up way too late talking and laughing about all sorts of things. On several occasions we started hearing a woman’s voice even though we were the only ones in the house.
At first we thought that it must be someone passing by on their way home from the nearby pub. Then we thought it was rather late for that. At 2am everyone in this quiet little country town would have long ago gone to bed.
This happened on two or three consecutive visits and both of us were starting to get a bit uneasy about it. The house is an old one and my sister had a couple of unusual experiences there when she first moved in ten years ago but she’d never heard voices before.
We grew up listening to mum’s stories of spirits that she had seen and my sister also seems to be sensitive to such things so we were really starting to believe that something out of the ordinary was happening in the house.
Finally one night as we were about to go to bed we heard the voice again but this time my sister was a bit closer to where the sound was coming from and could hear the words more distinctly. It turned out that it was the anti-virus program she had installed on her computer announcing that it was doing a scan.
We were immensely relieved and had a good laugh at ourselves for being so suggestible.
I often daydream about what I would spend my money on if I were to win big on the lottery, the only way I’m ever likely to get rich. I’m not as mundane as Hubby, who, when asked the “What would you do?” question starts talking about investments. I like to think about the fun stuff that we would do after our finances were taken care of.However, I don’t daydream about having a sports car, a luxury mansion or my own private jet. I am happy with my ordinary life and so is Hubby so although I would like to have a nice home I don’t see us living ostentatiously. It’s not our style.
Travel is one luxury I would enjoy spending my newfound wealth on though. I make the most of any trip I make and I don’t have to go first class but I dream of one trip where money is no object. One thing I would dearly love to do is to sail from Australia to the UK or vice versa as I did as a child but this time I would do it in style.
If I were sailing to the UK I would start my journey by travelling to Sydney a few days before my ship sailed and would stay in a 5 star hotel close to the harbour with a view of the water. A bit of shopping and sightseeing would put me in the holiday mood. Naturally I would already have bought new clothes for the trip as the jeans and trackies I usually wear are hardly suitable for wearing to formal dinners on board ship.
My first choice would be to travel on one of the Cunard or Holland America line ships or possibly one of the smaller cruise ships. I like a ship to feel like a ship. If I wanted to go to a resort I’d go to one. I would have a suite of my own so that I would be sure of having plenty of room to move and a view from my window. My suite would have a balcony where I could relax by myself with a good book. I would disembark to explore at every port of call along the way.
I would love to travel the Suez Canal route as I did when we emigrated. I would visit Cairo and the Pyramids and maybe try to find out where my grandfather was stationed when he was in the army there in the 1920s. However, I’d be equally happy to take the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope and visit Capetown, South Africa.
After a relaxing voyage I’d arrive in Southampton ready for more travels around the UK and Ireland before flying home to Australia.
I used to think that I had a fear of heights but what I really have is a fear of falling. I am not worried about flying, well not much, and I can enjoy the view from the top of a tall building providing there is a comforting wall all around me but ask me to climb a ladder and I turn into a quivering mass.
I don’t think that I was always afraid but certainly by the time I went to school I was. At my first school in England we had to do gym. One of the things they would make us do was to walk on a plank suspended between two large stools. I don’t suppose they were very high but they seemed so to a five year old. I was terrified to do it but too shy to tell my teacher. I’d just try to make myself invisible and keep going to the back of the line. In those days they would probably have made me do it even if I had said something.
If we went to the playground I wouldn’t go on the big slide because I didn’t want to climb up the ladder. I do wonder if I had an early experience that made me afraid. Mum did tell me that once when I was very small my father brought me home from the playground covered in blood after a fall. I don’t remember this incident at all but maybe that was the start of it.
Fear of falling has continued to be a nuisance all my life. Occasionally on outings I’ve missed out on doing things because they involved ladders. Last summer at the Maritime Museum in Sydney I found that I could not tour most of the ships on display because doing so would have involved climbing down ladders.I would love to sail on a tall ship but even before I became too unfit to be much use I would not have been able to pull my weight because there was no way I was ever going to climb the rigging. I’ve never been to the top of a lighthouse for the same reason even though I would love to do that too.
When I was younger I could sometimes overcome my fears if the motivation to do so was great enough. When I was a Steamranger volunteer I was for a short time able to climb onto the roof of a train carriage. My greatest achievement I think was to climb Ayers Rock. It’s not the done thing to climb the rock these days, it’s considered disrespectful to the indigenous people who consider Uluru to be a sacred site. However, in the 1980s a lot of people did it. Hubby and I were there with an American pen friend of mine and although she and I were both a bit anxious we decided that we would try it. Hubby elected to remain on the ground. I really expected that I would be too scared to go on once we got past the first section where there was a chain link railing to hold. Surprisingly I wasn’t; it felt firm underfoot, not slippery and although we resorted to some undignified sliding on our bottoms on the way down we both made it to the top. I could never do that now.