Tuesday, 8 December 2009

An Evening of Devastation, or How My Boyfriend Ate my Last Three Haigh's

Last night, when I got home from work and had removed my weary feet from my boots, I wanted chocolate. Just one. Just one awesome, good-quality, delicious, dark Haigh's chocolate.

So imagine my surprise when I went to my Haigh's chocolate hiding place (and don't ask me why I bother hiding it from myself when I know perfectly well where it is)...

...opened the drawer...

...took out the box...

and discovered that it was completely empty!!!

My first thought was "Grr. Grant ate my last three chocolates! And he left the box! WHO LEAVES AN EMPTY BOX BEHIND?!?!?" (Time will tell whether he's one of these folk who leave an empty milk carton in the fridge...) (Although, in his defence, I told him he could eat the third-from-last one... but not the other two!)

My second thought was "hmm, I was told that I sleeptalked last night, and also that I sat up in my sleep for no apparent reason. It is entirely possible that I actually ate those last two chocolates in my sleep, too..." (Sometimes I do some weird stuff in my sleep. What can I say - I'm a freak!)

My third thought was "If it wasn't me, then Grr to Grant for making me question whether I had eaten chocolate in my sleep. Seriously! He looks all sweet and charming and stuff (ahem. Possibly a slightly biased take on the situation...), but inside lurks a diabolical mastermind designed to question my very essence of being..."

And then I noticed something.

This is the bean bag where Grant sat, all sweet and charming and stuff, watching TV the previous evening.

And what's this, to the right of the bean bag (from the bean bag's perspective)???

A Haigh's wrapper!!!


HAH. It WAS him. I'm NOT a crazy sleep-eater after all!

"Sleep eating is a very serious, and delicious, medical condition." - Marshall Erkison, How I Met Your Mother.


Friday, 13 November 2009

Mrs Tall and her Two Daughters Do Thailand.

Wow, I can't believe how slack I've been and how long this has taken me to post - things have just been hectic the last few weeks (but more on that another time)! Living life just gets in the way sometimes...
I haven't had many nicknames in my time. Generally they're variations on my name - Ness, Nessa, Essna, Big V, Evilness, Loch Ness Monster, and most recently, Stretch. One friend calls me Pants (but that's another story for another day). But upon visiting Thailand, I discovered that there are at least two more nickname options out there for me.
Option Number One: Mrs Tall. I'm not entirely sure why the stallholder felt that communicating with me on a first-name basis (as Mrs Tall is, of course...) would improve his chance of selling something to me, more than simply calling out "You buy! You buy some-sing-some-sing! You want another dress/hat/pants/bag/shoes? (erm, but I'm already wearing one... why would I want another??) Cheaper than Best and Less!" would. Or why implying that I was my friends' mother would flatter me into whipping out my wallet. Oh yes, apparently Mrs Tall has two daughters. You heard it here first - Kirsti and Kat are apparently my kith and kin (good alliteration, huh?). In fact, not only are they my kith and kin, but I'm apparently old enough to have borne them both. And they look exactly like sisters, too...

L-R: Kat, Kirsti, Me. See? Must be sisters. Did everyone else notice the striking resemblance? And also how I'm clearly old enough to be their mother?

Option Number Two: Beautiful Cowboy (aka Wanessa the Beautiful Cowboy). The one day I'm chanelling Keith Urban...

...and the sea kayak guide decides to take a shining to me. Dude, cooing "beautiful cowboy" to me as we paddle through sea-caves IS BOTH CREEPY AND WRONG!!! I think it's because I knew that I couldn't wrestle the little bugger into the ocean and then take off in the kayak, because I couldn't paddle it for peanuts. Incidentally, though, the cowboy hat (purchased on our first day at Patong beach for reasons of sun protection rather than fashion) drew a lot of attention, and usually positive attention. Either they really like cowboys in Thailand, or the hat works for me... or the hat really doesn't work for me. That's an option too.

So, I just realised I haven't told you anything about my trip.

The plane ride from KL to Phuket gave us a taste for what Thailand would be like...

... hot and colourful! (Seriously. I don't think they had the air con on.)

This is me looking remarkably chipper upon our arrival at the Mecure in Patong beach (even the spectacular upholstery on the plane couldn't keep me awake for long).

See, told you I looked chipper.

This is our room - see Kat waving from the bathroom! After a minor initial freak-out we realised there was a curtain in there. Whew!

This is the pool, where we spent quite a bit of time swanning about drinking cocktails.

This is also the location where I realised that of all the hotels in all the world, the three people I would least want to see on a holiday (or anywhere, for that matter) had decided to stay in MY HOTEL!!! I find it unlikely that they shared the sentiment, given that I was probably barely a blip on their radar nearly ten years ago, which is why it perplexed me that two out of the three of them didn't seem to be able to handle more than a sarcastic lip-stretch. I wasn't asking for friendship, or to share a holiday, I just thought that a polite conversation would be nice. After all, the Traveller's Code explicitly states that when you see someone you know overseas, you should exhibit both joy and excitement to see them. Clearly they didn't get the memo. The third of them made more of an effort, but she was always the nicer one of the three. I don't understand people sometimes.


So, what did we do while we were there? Oh, the things we did!

For starters, we lay on banana lounges at the beach allllll of the Thursday ($5 for all of us for the whole day) and freaked out a little when we realised that the parasailing guide dude wasn't actually harnessed in, and could in fact come crashing down at any point. We also marvelled at the hand-holding service offered by the local girls (generally utilized by 50-something Western men), and at the number of fat Westerners who seemed to think string bikinis are okay (by the way, I'm not separating ourselves from that category, but honestly, I don't think we were anywhere near as bad as a lot of them. Made me feel quite good about myself, actually!).

We ate Haagen Dazs for lunch/afternoon tea (not my idea, by the way - I was still full from the buffet breakfast - but who am I to turn down icecream on a hot day?? And in Thailand, EVERY day is a hot day!)

and chased it with a beer when it began to rain and we needed shelter.

Incidentally, those who were actually there would recognise that this is not actually a photo from this particular day, but it aptly demonstrates that that a) Connect Four is difficult, and that b) there was beer consumed, and it was whilst sheltering from rain. But the sheltering from the rain thing fell through when we got impatient, so we got wet. Very wet. Oh what the heck, I'll share that with you too...

On Friday, besides bumming around and shopping at markets and getting Thai massages (who'd have thought having a small Thai woman stand on your hamstrings and manipulate your back could feel so good??!), we saw the lady-boys at Simon Caberet in the evening (put your hand up if you spent most of the show thinking about getting a breast augmentation). I was a little saddened to see the lack of enthusiasm in some of the performers because it really hammered home that this is something they do for Westerners, because Westerners want it. One lady-boy (who was more boy than lady, and who had more of a keg than a six-pack) did a cracker of an impersonation of Tina Turner, which was great!!!

We went out to Phi Phi island on the Saturday, and saw The Beach (from the movie, based on the novel by Alex Garland), aka Phi Phi Lei, swarming with more fat Westerners, just like every other beach in Phuket (obviously I'm generalising because I actually only went to one beach and drove through another two).

We found Nemo.

(obviously that's not actually Nemo, or even the Nemo(s) we saw, because a) he's a cartoon character, and b) we don't have underwater cameras. And can I just take this opportunity to express how FRICKIN' AWESOME the snorkelling was there!!! The colours! The fish! The weird, freaky, unidentifiable things! It was coooool)

We saw monkeys on Phi Phi Don.

(which actually turned out to be greedy, evil monkeys that attack tourists)

We ate an appalling Western-geared lunch there, and were also marooned on an island on the way home that consisted of deck chairs and a bar for an hour and a half. Would so much have preferred to go back to where we found Nemo, cos the snorkelling was soooooooo much better there, but not convinced that Kat and Kirsti shared the sentiment cos I think they were a bit over snorkelling by then.

Wow, all that in just one day.

Sunday... well the first half of Sunday was spent reading in our hotel room, because the monsoonal rain pretty much put paid to all other activities. In the afternoon we headed into Patong Town in a tuk-tuk and checked out the Vegetarian Festival, which was probably at least 500m of the main road out of town lined either side with food stalls and makeshift restaurants. It was incredible, as was the food.

Can I just say yummmmmmm. I'd become a vegetarian immediately if the streets were all lined with yummy food like this!!!

Who am I kidding. I like steak too much.
Sorry, buddy.

We caught one of the local buses back to Patong beach and I was amused to realise that the paired bus seats are actually intended to seat three passengers, as evidenced by the number tags (just above the Jesus bars, if you were having trouble seeing them)...

... and yet, this is how much room there was left between Kirsti and I...

... which I feel has more to do with the fact that the seats were actually designed for two Western bums and not three Thai ones, and has no relationship whatsoever on our respective girths!

Monday we rode elephants

(Obviously we're not actually riding the elephants in this picture, we're just standing next to them - and, in Kirsti's case, looking slightly ill at ease. But we did ride them, it's just that all the photos of that kind of look like us sitting on a park bench set in a hairy grey rock, cos they were taken by the manhout from point blank range.)

and watched a rubber tapping demonstration (the guide was suprised that I figured out the answer to the question "why do they only use the bottom 1.5m of the tree?" so quickly - the answer being "because they're too short to reach higher - and then she said that I would have a very profitable rubber plantation if I did the rubber tapping myself. Sure, I'll keep that in mind as a possible career option...). And then we ate some Thai orange curry *drools* (which, by the way, wasn't orange at all), and saw an Evil Monkey get coconuts out of a tree, and rode a water buffalo.

By rode, I meant sat on. He wasn't as comfy as a horse on account of his spine being fairly prominent, but he was pretty comfy.

I'm pretty sure we spent Tuesday spending money and doing a Thai cooking course ...

...OOH and having the tan eaten off my legs by scores of teensy, tiny fish.

It was awesome once you got over the freakiness of it all :) (for photos of me killing myself laughing when I first put my feet in the tank, check out photos of me on Facebook)

Wednesday we went out to Phang Nga Bay,

which was pretty, and to James Bond Island, which was a little smaller than first imagined (perhaps I was thinking of the wrong James Bond movie) and slightly disappointing

but we had a killer lunch at a local fishing village. It was above and beyond what they gave us on our trip out to Phi Phi island, anyway, because it potentially actually resembled what the locals themselves would have eaten. That's where I held a monkey

(ever so glad it was wearing a nappy).

Now, I know we went out drinking two nights on Bangla Road, but I have no idea which nights. Meh.

This is Kat and I drinking from lady-shaped glasses at the Butterfly Bar (not to be confused with a Lady Drink, which is a prominent feature on bar menus and more or less means that you buy the lady a drink, and she sits there and lets you paw her)...

and this is me becoming the Jenga Champion of Cartoon Bar.

I don't remember whether this was taken before or after Kat and I danced on a podium with a go-go girl and a creepy old American from Florida... Good times...

And on Thursday we flew home :( This involved lurking in Jakarta for a few hours whilst they fixed the engine on our plane. I'm glad I didn't tell mum we were flying via Jakarta, cos she would have freaked enough about that, let alone about being stuck there! Surrendering one's boarding pass in order to use the bathroom takes one slightly out of one's comfort zone...

But on the plus side, a lot of people were happy to see me when I got back, which was a nice ending to a great trip.

In summary, if you can handle large numbers of Western men making creepy jackasses of themselves, and being hassled by people trying to sell you things (from dresses and suits to dinner, DVDs and ping-pong shows), give Phuket a crack. Patong Beach is reputably the Gold Coast of Phuket (not that I've even been to the Gold Coast of Australia), and all that stuff is annoying, but if you can get out to the other beaches, or into town, it's a lot, lot nicer. Patong is very tourist-friendly. User-friendly, even. And cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. It was a little sad in some ways, because it affords ignorant people to experience what they mistakenly believe to be Thai culture, but if you're after an easy no-brainer of a holiday (I have literally never felt safer walking the streets at night anywhere overseas, and have possibly felt less safe at times in Australia), and you want somewhere cheaper than Australia but with more to do than Fiji, Patong Beach would be a good choice.

Patong Beach is also a good choice if you want to see things like powerlines that can't possibly be safe (although I get the impression that being post-Tsunami, they're actually all freshly rewired)...

...petrol sold in glass bottles that sit in the sun all day...

...and occasionally inexplicable and amusing signage.

If, however, you want some culture, a challenge, and some food that isn't geared to Westerners (seriously - whose idea was it to put burgers, pasta and pizza at the front of the menu in EVERY SINGLE DAMNED RESTAURANT IN TOWN???!!!), go somewhere else. I've heard that other parts of Thailand are awesome. I have no doubt the Thai people would be every bit as lovely and accomodating, and you'd just have to learn some Thai to get by, but I suspect your efforts would be well-rewarded.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

O Packing Day, O Packing Day

This morning I woke up and decided that packing for Thailand immediately would probably be a better idea than leaving it until, oh, I don't know, say, Monday night? This puppy

was lookin' a bit lonesome and unloved, anyhow, so it was high time to fill it with things. As it turns out, though, my suitcase has a twin. Yes, Kirsti and I went shopping for our holiday, independantly of one another, this time in different states, and yet again came back with exactly the same thing. Spooky. Last time it was this t-shirt

which also had a bleach stain in the exact same spot. I intended to post photos of us both wearing that t-shirt in South America, but the only one of me wearing it is on the Inca Trail and it's sooooooo unflattering so I'll give it a miss. Just imagine it. I mean, imagine it, only flattering. So once more we will be showing up for a joint holiday looking like the freakin' Bobbsy Twins . At least the logic behind it all was sound, though, because the suitcase it red, and it's awesome. Most red things are.

Interestingly, I just Wikied the Bobbsy Twins and they didn't actually dress anything like each other. How's THAT for trivia!

So, obviously the first step of packing is having clean clothes. I thought I'd wash the pants I bought for the plane (my others are gravitationally challenged) last weekend at Harbour Town, amongst other things

which were scattered across my room with other bits and pieces

(obviously it's still cold at night cos the sleeping bag's still on my bed. Please pretend the bed is made. Again.) just to make 'em all soft and comfy instead of crispy and scratchy and smelling like dye. Crispy and scratchy has its place, but it sure as heck ain't on an international flight!

All my clothes were piled up, ready to rock 'n' roll, when I realised that my slothful rising this morning had allowed Bron to bogart the washing machine. Raspberries. Not just the machine, though - the entire laundry.

(Or at least it felt like the entire laundry at the time. Looking back on the photo now, though... meh *shrugs*) I think the washing may have to wait a couple of hours... in the meantime, I'm going to get on the elliptical trainer in a vain attempt to work off the delicious organic pizza, glass of Rockford Alicante Bouchet and glass of Bailey's from last night. Yep, my Weekly Culinary Misdemeanour is well and truly under my belt. No pun intended.

And here it all is on the line. Much better *sighs with relief*

Packing: Take Two.

I have this incredible fantasy about... now, now, settle down!... arriving home from a holiday to a perfectly spotless house. To date, I have not achieved it. I suspect it's part laziness, part last-minute packing and a whoooooole lot of sharing a space with other people. I came close to realising my fantasy last Christmas (giggle) when I went back to Melbourne and left my room in Adelaide in pretty good nick, but it's as close as I've gotten. Huh, having said that, I just realised how long it's been since I dusted my TV/DVD player/TV cabinet... oops... um, anyway, hopefully my room will look more like this than this when I get back!

What to bring, what to bring... okay, in order of importance (obviously, cos that's the order they've come to mind in):

1. Bathers. Two pairs. I like to mix things up a bit. Aren't they pretty??

2. Boardies and rashie. I hear the Thais are a bit thingy about flashing your rack about the place, plus I don't want to get sunburnt.
3. Sunscreen. Three tubes - one for face, two for body. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find sunscreen for sensitive skin in tubes less than 100mL?? I need enough for the whole trip as I heard that Thai sunscreen often contains the things that I'm allergic to. Daniel from work came home from Thailand last year covered head to toe (at least, I assume it was head to toe... actually I assume it wasn't, because that would mean that he.... okay, never mind!!!) in a mystery rash, which I was well aware was from sunscreen having suffered the same rash myself, but which earnt him the name "rash rooter" from his colleagues. I feel that it's prudent to NOT show up at work with rash in two weeks' time, after having paid Dan out about it so badly...
4. Undies and socks. Slightly concerned they're this far down my list of priorities... also, am planning to bring one pair of undies that I really, really hate, but they've been to Europe and to South America (I hate them so much I haven't worn them much since I bought them in late 2005, so they're still alive and well) and I felt it only fair to include them on a trip to Asia, too.
5. Gym clothes. Yes, really. If the beer is safer than the water I'll be needing these!
6. Shirts that cover my shoulders. Dual purpose - sunburn prevention, and cultural sensitivity.
7. Skirts and shorts. Cooler than pants.
8. PJ's. It may be hot in Phuket, but I'm sharing a room. 'Nuff said.
9. Singlets. They're handy to have.
10. Pants and cardi for the plane. Suspect will wear 'em there and back, and nowhere else. This, by the way, is one of the best-travelled cardies EVER!

There it is on the Eiffel Tower, seeing the sights. It's been to England, Scotland, Ireland (Nth and Sth), France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru. I'm not sure whether it made it to Monaco or Liechtenstein. I suspect it did make it to Liechtenstein cos we went skiing and my outer jumper was a thin fleece, so I certainly HOPE I was wearing it underneath! Monaco, maybe not. No, definately not. I wore my pink turtleneck jumper under a denim jacket that day. Ahh, clothing memory - something that boys neither possess nor understand!
11. Camera, chargers and adaptors, plus an international iPod charger that I'm bringing for Kirsti but which I won't personally use because SOME BASTARD STOLE MY iPOD!!! *mutters and cusses under breath*
12. Toiletries, including a mini version of my moisturiser that I ordered from Strawberry Net so I can a) bring it carry-on, and b) not have to lug the larger bottle about. Can't believe I put that much effort into moisturiser. Repeat after me, Vanessa: they have shops in Thailand. They have shops in Thailand... did it work? Nope.
13. Footwear - sensible closed toe (my HiTecs - on their way out, but comfy and still intact, but won't be the end of the world if an elephant swallows them), my purple Havs (don't want to bring my Brazilian ones in case I lose them) and flat black sandals that are nice enough to wear out but comfy enough to traipse about the place in.
14. Reading material. Critical for poolside lounging.
15. Dress. You never know when you'll need one.

Look at all that space left for shopping. Makes a gal's heart warm to see it!

Look out PHUKET!!! I'm on my way!!! (in a couple of days)

PS - Cammo won't be there. I checked. Nice guy but kinda glad I don't have to share my holiday with him...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Hooray! I'm not homeless!

It's been a tense month or two. Despite all of us having remembered both reading and hearing from the real estate agent that we were applying for a one year lease, with an option to extend for another six months or year, it would appear that it was not actually written into the lease (mind you, this is the very same real estate agent who couldn't bring herself to arrive on time for inspections, even though her office was three minutes up the road. This is also the same agent who somehow managed to not only get the sole key to the house jammed in an internal lock a couple of days before we were due to move in, and therefore had to lock the house without a copy of the key being in her posession, but also took something in the order of a week and a half to find a locksmith who could solve the problem for us). This is why it came as a surprise to hear that our landlord expected us out at the end of the one year lease, with no negotiation about a second year or even six months.

I had been looking at houses in the area (c'mon, you've seen the view out my front window - it's hard to give up! Also, I knew we wouldn't find another place big enough for all of us, so I'd be out on my Paddy Malone, so it might as well be in a nice area!) and was all but ready to start inspecting them, when we got the BRILLIANT news that we will not be evicted until around April next year *sighs with relief* That means I don't have to think about finding another place in Adelaide to live right now, or possibly ever (they may ship me out before that). WHOOOHOOOOOOOO!!! (Also, I kind of don't want to leave my adopted family. I hope they don't mind having me here...)
So, I thought that to celebrate, I would take you on a guided tour of our house by the sea. Note that there are no pictures of the publically-visible exterior, nor have I mentioned the suburb in which I live. I have no-hooooo intention of attracting stalkers!

This is what you see when you come in the front door:

My room is to the right...

...which then backs on to the garage.

This is the inside of the garage, and that back door goes out to the courtyard with the clothes line in it. That's a motorbike under the sheet, not a ghost. No need to be frightened.

This is the wall that Kev, uhm, kind of nudged a wee hole into with the Prado. I was in the car at the time, and I was thinking "hmm, that wall's getting close... well I won't say anything. Men HATE it when you comment on their driving... umm, is he going to brake??... oh, he's not braking..." ...crunch.

I brought it up last night. He didn't appreciate it. I think he's still a bit sensitive about it :) (although, I do know somebody who once ran over his parents' BBQ, and he's still a bit sensitive about that several years after the event. Like how I didn't name names?)

Like me, Kev had obviously thought that it was made of concrete, like the rest of the garage. Apparently this was not the case.

Because this is what plaster looks like...

And this is what concrete looks like.

Did you spot the difference? It's MASSIVE! Okay, so you can see the difference when I take a macro shot from 50mm away, but from a couple of metres the distinction isn't so clear.

I'll tell you what though, it's the weirdest-shaped garage in the history of mankind, kind of like the rest of the house is, actually. Check out how many corners it has on the wall that runs behind my room. Go on, count 'em...

That's right, there's THREE corners where there ought to be one (and while you were counting, did you happen to notice that you can't tell the difference between the plaster bit and the concrete bit from a distance?). I can explain one of those corners away - that cut-off corner is the back of my shower. Yes, I have a triangular shower (more on that later). But it doesn't explain the corner half way along the wall. NOTHING EXPLAINS THE CORNERS IN THIS HOUSE!!! The garage alone has six corners plus a curved wall. The architect was clearly an effin' weirdo who was on some serious hallucinogens. This will become increasingly apparent to you as I guide you through this house, apparently designed on feng-shui principles. Nothing would surprise me. Although feng-shui could possibly explain the lack of regular corners in this house (so perhaps I was hasty in stating that nothing could explain the corners).

Except for my room.

I was blessed with the only square room in the ENTIRE HOUSE. The only other thing that is square is the front end of Kev and Bron's room, and that's only because it used to be a balcony.

*looks at photo* Damnit, I should have made my bed. That looks terrible! Okay, pretend that the yellow sleeping bag (it's been cold at night - I needed an extra layer on the bed) isn't there, and that the doona cover - white with a latte coloured embroidered stripe - is spread out neatly. Ahh, much better.

Anyway, that's my bachelorette pad. Between the white linen, the vase (bought specifically with holding lillies in mind - preferably white or pink, but I like the other colours too), and the fact that I have a fit-ball instead of a couch, it suits this bachelorette to a tee.

And this

is this bachelorette's triangular shower (the highly reflective white thing is the bath mat).

You didn't believe me before, did you.

About the triangular shower, I mean.

It has a super-crappy shower head/unit/whatever you want to call it - it's one of those electric instant hot water thingies. The pressure is appalling, it's far too low for me (washing my hair means leaning over backwards like I'm doing the limbo), and it's taken me nearly a year to master adjusting the temperature. It was broken when we moved in, so I had to have either scalding hot or freezing cold showers. This generally meant angling the head away from me and splashing about in hot water (not at all satisfying, and probably not very safe either - kind of like the showers in Verona, Nessa? Although, at least there's only one person in this one...), and when I wanted to wash my hair (which luckily for me is only a couple of times a week), I had to use cold water. There was noooooo WAY I was going to stand under cold water, except on the very warmest of evenings, so I'd stand outside of the shower and tip my head upside down. Not a very satisfying hair-washing or showering experience in general. Ever so glad it's fixed now!

(Please forgive me if that gave you any disturbing visuals. It was not my intention.)
Oh, and to the final important feature of my room...

... the next-door neighbour's sensor light.

(I hope you like the photo - I risked life and limb climbing up on my beadhead to take it.)

As you may have noted in the photo of my room, the triangular (huh, more triangles) bank of windows above my bed lacks curtains. And the neighbours lack the nouse to trim back whatever the hell shrub it is that blows about in the breeze, activates the sensor light and makes it very, very difficult for me to sleep!!! Of course, I haven't actually asked them to trim their shrub (heh, sounds like a euphamism to me... was I the only one??), and I'm sure they would if I asked, but it seems a bit weird knocking on the door of somebody I don't know and asking them to be more dilligent gardeners.

This is the lawn my room looks out onto.

I use the term loosely. I feel our lawn is more of an ant-infested sandpit, sparsely vegetated by weeds, than an actual lawn. Bindis are the prominent vegetative feature. Stupid spiky little bastards. Between them and the ants, it makes it impossible to actually use the lawn for such relaxing pursuits as pleasant evenings spent eating dinner outside, or lazing away your Sundays reading in the back yard, away from the wind and passers-by on the beach. Although sometimes the passers-by are a bit of alright. Like the surf lifesavers (6-pack is an understatement). Or the footy players. Sigh.
The ants haven't really started invading for the summer yet. I really hope they don't this year, but I won't pin my hopes on it. We do, after all, live on a sand dune. Literally. In an odd-shaped house on a dune. The best description you can give it is "hexagon set into an oblong" but even that doesn't come close. I suppose, though that for such an effin' weird house, it is quite pleasing to the eye.
This is the water feature in our little... I suppose you could call it a foyer?

I had to get down on the floor to take that photo. Tania (daugher of the family, and my ever-willing and enthusiastic Shopping (and other miscellaneous activity) Partner in Crime), wanted to take a photo of me lying on my back, camera in hand, looking like a total minda (pronounced Min-da. It's a delightfully politically incorrect Adelaide-ism). Luckily there was no camera within reach. Mischeivous little wench for considering it *shakes fist*

I am making the assumption that the same effing weirdo that designed our house also threw in that water feature for fun, possibly to enhance the energy flow of the house, or some other such feng-shui principle. As you can tell by the shoes around the base, we don't actually use it as a water feature. It just sort of sits there and looks... well pretty probably isn't an appropriate description! So, it just sort of sits there. And that is all.

The decking in that first photo brings you into the landing between the top and the bottom storeys. I won't take you downstairs, but as you can see there's a TV down there. Basically, the idea is that the "kids" (and again, I use the term loosely, given that one is 17 and the other is 19) can stay down there in their own little world with a fridge and some food, the TV and computer, their rooms and the bathroom. The spare room is down there, too. It's a funny shape just like the other rooms down there, with pokey little windows. Just ask Em - she's stayed in there. All the rooms down there are the sort of shape where there's no clear-cut way that your furniture **should** be arranged. So you put it where it fits, and that don't look right, so you move it, and it still doesn't look right. So you give up.

So here's the kitchen (see Labour Day post for more photos)...

.... and here's the sitting bit.

The master bedroom is to the right. I thought taking pics of that would be a bit weird and invasive, even though the ensuite is SPECTACULAR - super-bright, tiny little aqua tiles from floor to ceiling, including in the shower. Their shower puts my li'l triangular shower to shame. And there's no curtain on it, only a kind of wall setup that reminds me a little of a caravan park, but it's thick and it's tiled with the tiny, bright aqua tiles *shakes head* I wonder if the same effin' weirdo that designed the house also did the interior decorating...

And this is the Mystery Room.

We choose to use it as the fridge/gym room, because the space allocated for a fridge in the kitchen was far too pokey for a fridge big enough for five people. We had a cupboard made up to fit in the gap instead, which works nicely. It's especially good as the kitchen is hard enough to move around in, without a teenager standing with the fridge door open, staring into its depths, hoping something tasty will materialise. This way, if the bar fridge downstairs doesn't deliver the goods, here's a whollllllle other room for Matty to do that in!

We seriously have no idea what this room was built for, though. The best we can come up with is a study, but there's no phone jack in there (unlike my room, which has two phone jacks, six sets of powerpoints AND NO FRICKIN' TV AERIAL!!! I've had to buy one of those crappy digital receivers from Dick Smith, and what channels you can pick up depends on the weather. We are, after all, on the lee side of a sand dune; TV (and sometimes phone) reception can be a little dodgy at times. But, get this - I got sick of standing with the receiver in my hand, stretched out to the left, on a 45 degree angle from the TV, in order to get channel 7 to be anything less than blocky (ABC, nine and ten were all pretty good), so I cracked it and decided that re-tuning was probably a good idea... WRONG! I now only pick up SBS. But I pick it up with perfect clarity. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF ALTERNATE UNIVERSE DO I LIVE IN HERE??!). I think the Mystery Room will remain a mystery, along with why they thought it was a good idea to build a house in such a manner that allows it to leak when it rains for more than forty minutes. But not every time. And not always in the same place. Nope, our house definately likes to keep you guessing!

And this is one of the reasons I stay in Adelaide (besides my workmates, who are like family). It's pretty, even in less than perfect weather.

I hope you understand.