Sweary Schiller

My knowledge of German literature is close to nothing. But I’m pretty sure Schiller didn’t use cock, fuck and cunt in his works, didn’t litter them through his plays.

I went to see Sydney Theatre Company’s version of Mary Stuart. I hadn’t done any reading before I saw it, didn’t even know it was an adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s play – not that would have meant much to me.

The staging, the acting, and the balance between the two queens, all were great.

The playing of Elizabeth reminded me of Blackadder’s ditzy, spoiled, self-centred, nasty, small-minded Elizabeth. Not sure if Schiller’s Elizabeth is thus and Blackadder was inspired by Schiller or if STC’s Elizabeth was inspired by Blackadder.

What didn’t gel, what struck me as discordant, was the repeated swearing among more formal language structures. Now, I’m not anti-swearing. I swear frequently and with zest. Here the swearing was inapposite, inapt and ill-judged. It was as if someone had popped frequent obscene words in Shakespeare to make it modern, hip and full of passion.

When I read this was an adaption of Schiller, the discordant nature made sense. I am sure Schiller was able to capture emotion, passion, pain without swearing.

It just doesn’t work.

I get the desire to take a feminist angle, to overlay modern sensibilities, but the swearing didn’t fit.

Structurally, I think the play could be edited a bit more. And not just take out most of the swearing. Ninety minutes in and I was like, “Get on with it already. Chop her head off.”

Now I want to see a different adaption of Schiller’s work, in English.

PS: as we walked in, Mr S wondered aloud, whether the dog that was famed to have come out when Mary Stuart was beheaded would appear on stage. The dog was in several scenes. Such a cute and happy dog. Her tail was wagging as she was walked off.

Got a position on offensive language in live theatre?

(Adding to say, just watched Tim Minchin on YouTube and he sung a song with swear words. It fits. I laughed at the song. Not at the use of the swear word. They, on their own, don’t make me laugh. I don’t find bunging in a swear word funny. But I don cringe, if it fits.)


The sea was angry that day, my friend

What’s more iconic about being a Sydneysider than going to the beach?

It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours – a swim, a walk, a laze on the sand with a book. I don’t like to stay for too long – my fair skin doesn’t like it. Sometimes I think the drive just isn’t worth it.

And what to do when the beach is closed?

North Curl Curl can be pretty rough at the best of the times. Deep currents and wild surf last weekend meant the beach was closed.

No point sitting in the sun on the sand if you can’t cool off in the waves!

So we walked up the track on the headland. Despite coming to this beach several times every year for ages, I can’t recall the last time I walked up the headland to the ocean pool. If ever.

On seeing the obelisk, I asked Mr S if he knew what it was – after all he surfed at this beach almost daily as a youngster. Nup. Further on there was a sign. Great, that’ll stop Mr S exploring too close to the edge of the cliff.

Cobber = Old Australian slang for mate

Down the stairs, we found a great spot in the shade of the cliff. The photo doesn’t give depth, but it was as if we were in the midst of the waves. We could see the surfers take off.

The ocean pool was so refreshing – and quite thrilling when big waves hit the side of the pool. I didn’t capture some of the biggest ones, but you can see the spray tower over the people.

I did hope we wouldn’t face a repeat of the Tassie incident! That’s always in the back of my mind when I’m near big waves with only one way out.

It was definitely worth the drive – even if the beach was closed. The fresh scent of the ocean. The clean and tingly skin after a swim.


It’s too hot: Let’s invade New Zealand.

It is unbearably hot here in south east Australia.

Last week, it was 29° at 7.30am on my way to work.

38° at 4pm.

Today was so hot it singed my body hair.

January and February are unliveable in Sydney. It is not just me. I admit, I’m a delicate petal, but others, like The Occasional Nomad agrees.

And the heat is increasing.

Yes, climate change deniers, it was so hot in Sydney 40 years ago, in my youth, that the asphalt on the street bubbled up, but you can deny away – it is definitely hotter for longer and with an increasing number of increasing hot days, with an increasing higher average now.

While we were sweltering in the high thirties for days, nay weeks, on end, Auckland had one day with a maximum of 32°, followed by days with a maximum of between 23° and 25°. This sounds perfect.

And they don’t have snakes or bugs or spiders or as many mozzies. The mozzies they have, are so limp you can swat them in the air by giving them a slap.

Whilst most of New Zealand goes to their family bach, maybe we could turn their homes into our baches?

Failing that, we could just invade and take over the country.

They don’t have an airforce or navy, so it should be easy. OK, not so easy. They’re known as fearsome soldiers.

Or maybe, as they are kinder than Australians [see, for example, how they would welcome the refugees locked on Manus Island] they might take pity on us in this heat, and let us summer on the North Island? They could put us up in a spare room for a couple of months. Please?

My usual walk

I have a “lap around the block” that I like to do about four times a week. It’s about a 45 minutes walk – longer in the heat. The family call it “my usual walk.” Such as, “when will dinner be?” or “are you ready to eat?” “After my usual walk.”

My usual walk makes for a great divider between work and home, so on work days I do it of an afternoon or evening. On holidays and weekends, I do it whenever the mood strikes or the weather allows. Not that the wet stops me. There’s an added beauty of walking through the Bush in the wet. (It’s not bush walking, given there’s a wide concrete path, but the path skirts through the edge of some bushland. And most is on suburb streets.)

On my usual walk I daydream and let my mind wander; it’s good for both de-stressing and reducing my flabdomen.

Even while I let my mind wander, lots of things catch my eye. Animals. Flowering plants. Birds. Lizards. Eels. Trees.

One of my favourite gardens always has different flowers in bloom. Even in the heat.

Look: parasols for plants. A novel way to protect a flowering plant in 38° heat.

I rarely walk with headphones on – I like to listen to the birds as I walk through a bit of the local bush.

This bridge crosses a little creek. I’ve seen eels in there – but not since a big flood washed them away. There used to be a family of ducks, but not for several years. They probably were killed by cats or foxes.

There’s often little kids with their parents investigating around the creek, or throwing sticks in and watching them float away. It’s also dog heaven, running across the ford.

I know the river dragon thinks it is his creek. When he jumps out from his camouflaged position on a rock, scatters across my path and plops into the creek, I squeal. Always.

One day I heard some scratching in the leaf litter next to the path. And there, right on the path was an echidna. I look for him all the time. But have only had one other sighting. (I did see a family of three deeper in the bush.) I am sure the little fellow is OK – his thorns would protect him from predators.

There’s always parrots or cockatoos or kookaburras. My favourite are the crimson rosellas.

I love the little finches that scatter and hop about through the low shrubs. Less common is the lyrebird that I have seen a couple of times. Being a ground dweller, I do worry he will be victim to cats and foxes.

Recently I heard an Eastern Whipbird. I actually saw him while he was making the unique call. At the end, he flicked his head back. (Worth listening to.)

I was excited to see what I thought was a new bird. Turns out it is the juvenile Eastern Koel. Not rare at all. (Apologies for the poor photos. I am walking with a phone and not camping out with a camera with a zoom lens after all.)

Of course, the dreaded brush turkey has made it to Sydney. They make a huge pile for their eggs. The male tends to nest to keep the eggs warm. I say dreaded as once they invade your garden, you’ll never get rid of them. And their size protects them against all predators. Here’s one roosting near his nest. A photo of the nest doesn’t show how truely huge the nest is – about three metres across. So I haven’t bothered with a photo. It’s just a pile of leaves anyway.

I also love looking at the trees. The changing texture as the gums drop their bark. While the trees are ever green, they are sort of deciduous – dropping their bark every year, revealing a smooth tree trunk. I’m not sure if I prefer the red trunks or the white of the ghost gums!

Either way, I do like how the bark sits around the base of a trunk like the tree has stepped out of its pants and left them on the ground.

Then there’s my favourite tree. It is hanging on despite most of the soil around its roots having been washed away. It looks as if a few little rocks are all that are left under one root. Bits of the tree have fallen off. Yet it lives on.

Coming back into the suburban street, one garden ornament often catches me out. I forget it is there and every so often, I notice it. I think I miss it as I am often looking elsewhere – at the nearby brush turkey, at kids on bikes, at an occasional car – or struggling up the hill. When I do notice it, I always smile.

I’m always pleased when the flowering gum I pass is in bloom.

Likewise I love when the hedge of gardenias are in bloom. The scent always reminds me of summer.

Pink bottlebrushes sing to me in a way the red ones don’t.

In other seasons, there’ll be a carpet of cherry blossoms confetti.

I don’t do the walk as much as I’d like when it gets dark early. It is a bit creepy walking down the track that crosses the creek. A young girl was abducted there one afternoon – so it doesn’t have to be dark, I suppose. Luckily she escaped when someone else walked by.

Mr Sans and I like walking with a torch in the dark along the path as it has no street lights. Despite evidence of an excessive number of possums living in our suburb – think jackboots on our roof – I haven’t spotted any when we wave the torch up the trees.

I also haven’t seen any wallabies – though Mr Sans says he has. Reason enough to keep walking this route. I may see one someday.

If I time my walk right, I can come up the last hill, just as the sun is setting and get these views:

But is it really reading?

Last year, I discovered that I quite enjoyed audiobooks. Since July, I have listened to 17.

I started with memoirs, read by the author. Hearing the author pronounce names, put accents on family and friends, sing bits, brings the memoir to life.

Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Boy and Magda Suzbanski’s Reckoning hooked me. Listening to comedians Kitty Flanagan and John Cleese read their memoirs was like being in a stand-up gig. I moved onto non-fiction and fiction.

I spend a large part of my morning in traffic. A trip that takes 12 minutes without traffic, normally takes 35 minutes and can regularly take 40 minutes. I was sick of trying to avoid ads and find songs I liked on the radio. Listening to dumb comments by commercial radio presenters and talk-back made me angry and tense.

With the audiobook on not only do I not care about the traffic, I actually want the lights to go red and the highway to be crowded. I get to hear more of my audiobook.

But there’s the rub! Audiobook. Is it really a book? Can I really count it as reading?

Mr Sans says no, it is not reading. And I haven’t read the books.

I feel like a fraud adding these to my Goodreads account.

What do you think?

(Unnecessary) Clothes I bought in January

Currently Mr Sans and I are on 80% of our income, saving for a full year off in 2021. We are also planning a trip to Germany in October this year.

I have wardrobes full of clothes.

I have these two paragraphs as preface to let you know that the word “unnecessary” in the title is unnecessary. All clothes I buy are unnecessary and not really in my budget.

So what and why did I buy?

When we stopped in Noumea, a window display of a clothes shop caught my eye. Clothes for Mr Sans. Really! Not for me.

Except when we went in the shirts we saw weren’t really suitable for him. But hey, look! T-shirts for me. With New Caledonia on them. Not garish tourist T-shirts. What better way to remember our trip?

The other T-shirt has a rose on it. Links to my current obsession – more on must later.

Well, add in two pairs of sandals. So tropical island-y. No matter that they’re made in China. We probably can’t get the same ones back home.

Then my hairdresser alerted me to the bargains on Peter Alexander”s summer pyjamas. I went online. They had THE cutest little shorts at $15 each, down from $49. So I got three. Luckily, they didn’t have the matching tops in my size and those that they did were not as heavily reduced. So I didn’t buy any. I know I don’t really need three, but one pair is suitable for lounging around st home. Not that I like lounging in shorts. I much prefer dresses as they’re cooler. And in winter, I need long pants. Oh but on they are so cute. I have a matching pink top for the ones with the Paris print. Sooo cute. And the upside of a two piece PJ is, unlike a nightie, they don’t twist up at night.

Then, when buying some necessary items (undies as my existing pairs were all wearing out at the same time), I picked up a pair of track pants. I’ve been looking for a pair that have no writing on them, are cotton, not synthetic, and are the right cut for me. And not overpriced. So I had to get them while there was a discount. Ready for winter. If it ever comes. Can’t even remember what I spent here – it was a lot as I bought my son, The Dreamer, socks and track pants too.

Well, then, when I went to Queensland, I had to visit my favourite dress shop. They stock Jacob Ribkoff. How could I refuse a heavily discounted dress and a lovely, likewise discounted, jacket. The jacket was $85 and the dress was, actually, I can’t remember, but it was half price.

But oh dear, I received an email from an online stockist of Jacob Ribkoff that had end of summer dresses reduced to $85 each. So I bought two.

Three Joseph Ribkoff dresses! The one on the left is sky blue. The colour hasn’t co me out in my dreadful photography.

When I went to Aldi, I had to run next door to Rebel to buy a pair of sneakers. (The Dreamer’s girlfriend tells me Sydney stores have been sold out of this style.) These are not actually unnecessary- “At last,” I hear you exhale. My walking sneakers have worn out – no grip, no springiness. I do like these ones. Strange how you don’t realise you have no cushioning until you buy a new pair. Walking in these feels like I am bouncing on a trampoline.

Also while in Queensland I called into the large outlet mall, Harbourside. I had been looking for walking shorts to replace my well-worn ones that are on their last legs. Again, I’d been looking for a while. Most are synthetic, too expensive or have writing on them. Canterbury had exactly what I was looking for. Identical to my current shorts. And st the right price, $25, so I got two pairs. I love the little logo – kiwis in the brand name.

And finally, I went to an op shop and picked up a white cotton-linen look 3/4 pants and white linen-look shorts. They fit perfectly. And we’re only $3 each. I don’t think they’ve ever been worn. The pants look so Gold Coast-y on me, especially with bling-y sandals.

God almighty! I officially ban myself from even looking at emails, catalogues or in stores.

I will go on a wardrobe diet until winter.

Wasteful, wasteful me!!! But I will look good!

Aldi: the perfect holiday souvenir but can I fly with that?

My step-father loves Aldi. Not as much as he loves doing jobs around the house.

Given Aldi’s propensity to stock tools for around the house, his two loves are often combined to form a greater love.

He was overjoyed when, on my recent visit, I said I wanted the newly advertised product – a battery operated pressure cleaner.

So overjoyed that he offered to drive me to his nearest Aldi (a round trip of about an hour) and pay for it. (His language of love is to do jobs for people, but given we live 12 hours drive apart, he can’t do any repairs or renos or tidying up for me. Buying the product is the next best thing.)

After immediately agreeing, I had second thoughts.

“We do have Aldis in Sydney, you know. I can walk to two of them from my house.”

“It will be too late when you go home. They will have sold out.”

Then my next thought, “How will I fit this in my luggage? Will it take me overweight.”

“We will take it out of the box.”

And then, “I wonder if I can take the battery pack on the plane?”

“If not, I will post it to you.” (He really wants me to have the Aldi pressure cleaner.)

So we trooped down the mountain to Aldi. Like true Aldi aficionados, we arrived before opening time.

Opa was so happy that we got the second last one – with the last one being taken minutes after we took ours. So happy, he did a little jig.

I couldn’t help but imagine the conversation with the hand baggage security as I took the battery in my hand luggage.

“You have a rechargeable battery pack?”

“Yes, an Aldi one for a pressure cleaner. That’s in my checked luggage”

“They have Aldis in Sydney, you know?”

“Yes, but this was my holiday souvenir.”

And what did the checked luggage X-ray operator see and say?

“I think we have something here. Looks likes parts of a weapon.”

“No. I recognise that. It was in the latest Aldi catalogue. It’s their pressure cleaner.”

“Who flies between the Gold Coast and Sydney with a pressure cleaner?”

“Oh man, totally get it. If you don’t buy it when you see it, you miss out. Would have been too late when the passenger got back to Sydney.”

Of course, over the next few days of my visit, the pressure cleaner formed the topic of many conversations between Opa and me.

“You tell Mr Sans to … You keep the receipt for Mr Sans…” (Opa is old-fashioned in his division of labour. Outdoors work must be for the man.)

“Opa, Mr Sans won’t be using it. He doesn’t see mess and dirt. This’ll be my toy.”

This is generally followed by a look of incomprehension.

Footnote: we didn’t just get the pressure cleaner. You can’t go to Aldi and buy ONE thing. We also got the rechargeable night light and torch, which was actually something Mr Sans wanted and we’re so impressed with it. It comes on at night when you walk into the bathroom, gives enough light and then goes off after 25 seconds on no movement.

Footnote 2: I broke a new pair of sandals while I was in Qld. Opa repaired them. He’s such a handy man. (By the way, my language of love is to let people do things for me so they feel useful and needed. I’m good like that.)