Smell city

smellI’m into smells.

No, not the bad smells that waft from my bathroom occasionally or from my son’s running socks – I’m talking about the pleasant smells of home-made soy candles laced with essential oils of every brand and variety known to woman.

I consider myself a soy candle connoisseur of sorts.  I have been known to visit a market or five in my time and bravely go forth, seeking out new olfactory experiences to heighten my senses, bring me peace, relax my mind or perk me up when I need to concentrate on one thing at a time.

The better the ingredients, the better the experience.  I’m pretty much hooked.  I’ve tapped into the local market to get the best quick fix when I’m running low, I know the best sites to purchase the premium grade mix for long-term burns and I’m always searching for that new, elusive smell ‘high’ on the web.

My husband, while not a fan and could probably do without the aromatic barrage that assails his nostrils as soon as he walks through the front door, grins and bears it and even accompanies me to the markets when he is in a good mood.  As long as there is an offering of food, a quick beer and no driving he is good for a return trip once a week if the timing suits and he is not away working.

My mother thinks I’m a pyromaniac.  I don’t blame her.  She still hasn’t gotten over me nearly burning my doll house down and blowing up the back shed a few years after that.  She even bought me a set of battery-operated candles that flicker ‘like the real thing’ when you turn them on to save me a future insurance claim.  But there’s nothing more mesmerising than a flickering flame or a scented candle or two to create a bit of ambience after the 6 o’clock freak show in the evenings.

I have different scents for different moments.  My flavour of the week is a vanilla and ylang ylang combination that I am currently burning every evening on the bookshelf.  It’s doing wonders for my head and getting rid of the doggy smells out of the lounge room.

My husband is definitely not a fan of some of my more decadent combinations any more, however, after I accused him, in a fit of pique, of hoarding that delicious chocolate cake that I couldn’t find anywhere when I arrived home late one evening.  After I finished berating him about his weight he pointed out my latest acquisition, a chocolate-pudding-and-cream candle chugging away on the kitchen table.  He had lit if for me so I would have a ‘smell’ to come home to.

While I had to give it an 11 out of 10 for authenticity, I only burn this baby when my husband is out of town for a while and the smell has been replaced by the time he walks in the door again.

Smells are very good at creating memories and sadly, the chocolate-pudding ambience is not one that I care to recreate any time in the near future.


MT trenches revisited, again.

Another week in the MT trenches is now over and done with and I can hear the collective sigh of relief from various family members as I toss my leg over the armrest of my favourite TV-viewing armchair.escape

It was a rabid week of ranting, swearing, head-banging and turning blue as I threw a few tanties over a succession of misdirected English-second-language medical experts trying to twist an English phrase or two to suit themselves and the diagnosis at hand.

I have seen more new, unexplained and non-existent medical materialisations in the last 5 days than in my 10 years in the medical industry and there were times when I had to restrain myself from adding a few creative phrases of my own to the comments box regarding the sufferings of the end user – me – in this instance.

One mumbling, stumbling so-called expert got so fed up with himself, he shouted the ‘f’ word into the microphone, and my ear, four times in quick succession as he tried to reformat one sentence three times and then gave up, berating himself for his stupidity.  On the entertain-o-meter,  however, I did give him an 11 out of 10, despite his shortcomings, with a 100% rating for inspired personality insight.

My ire, unfortunately, increased towards the end of that same day after tapping away furiously at my keyboard for what had been a marathon episode of stuttering only to have the transcribee stop in mid-stutter to take a phone call of even more epic proportions without stopping the recording.  It was just as well I was not being paid by the minute and it was also just as well I was discreet, as the content of the now stutter-free conversation was worthy of a pornographic link of it’s own on another blog.

I could go into the epic meanderings of a recent Scottish addition and the tight-fisted abbreviator who won’t pay for any more than what is said, even if it doesn’t make sense – but I won’t.  I will say, however, I am looking forward to next week when my favourite long-winded, previously frustrating, yet understandable regulars come back from their summer breaks.


me angus and rubyWell the day finally came recently for our photo shoot.

I’d had this organised for ages and my husband wasn’t getting out of it, despite his aversion to any type of recording or digital photographic device.  I hadn’t had any decent photos done since our wedding and even those weren’t done by professionals – just family members who were pretty slick with a camera click.

I was determined I was getting a few nice shots before I got too old and wrinkly to have something nice to look back on when I was too old and wrinkly, so the date was set in stone for when I could organise the photographer around my husband’s work schedule.

He grumbled a bit about it all but he grumbled even more when I told him that our dogs were going to be included in the shots, as I had missed getting my last two much-loved dogs in any good photos and I wasn’t prepared to let this happen again.

A bit of preparation was involved in getting myself ready for the photo shoot, ie, makeup, hair, the right clothes and clean teeth but that was nothing compared to the preparation that was involved in getting my precious dogs ready.  My husband ‘volunteered’ for the grooming  job, as I was working  but he was ready to spit more than dog hair out of his mouth by the time they were finished.  I decided to keep a low profile, as the stakes were high and I just wanted us to make it to the photographer’s looking like we all loved each other to create a bit of ambiance.  I could come out swinging later.

I was feeling very pleased with our presentation despite the hair-raising, teeth-grinding ride into hell with my cranky man.  He’d even spruced himself up with a clean, buttoned shirt and a shave which was a good sign, so I let it go.  Just after we got through the studio door Ruby, my Bichon female, threw up all over the floor – no doubt the result of her hair-raising roll in the back seat on the way here.  We were off to a great start.

We got a few good shots in with us and the dogs, me and the dogs, my husband and the dogs and the dogs on their own before my husband began to get a bit twitchy.  He doesn’t like to stray too far away from his environment when he is home from sea and this was a foreign country as far as he was concerned.  I had paid for a two-hour session but he managed to get back out of the photographer’s door to the car in under 68 minutes with the dogs in hot pursuit.

Thankfully, the photographer was fantastic and she had actually managed to fit in some great shots in that frenetic time period – enough to get a few favourites to frame for our walls.

We made the ferry in record time and I dropped him and the dogs off and left him to it.  I wasn’t speaking to him and I was up for a bit of retail therapy to pacify myself.

He’s not off the hook yet though.  I liked the photos so much I am booking in another session with the photographer in a few months’ time with my whole family, including my husband and the dogs.  Let him throw a time-tantrum in front of my mother and see what happens to him.

Holiday fun

holidayWell, the Easter break has come and gone for another year and I can start going about my business as usual.

I’ve managed to notch up another successful yearly mission in keeping a low profile amidst what feels like thousands of tourists as they descend – en masse – upon our sleepy little island hideaway to fish, swim, jet ski, party, make noise, make mess  and become general nuisances in as many places as possible.

My quiet little concrete street winding through the canopies of native trees, wildlife, funny little birds and alternative-style housing has become quite an attraction and sightseers can wander around all day long drinking it all in and having loud conversations outside my house about the merits of moving here and absconding from the rat race altogether.

While I’m all for dropping out of society and becoming a hermit, it’s a bit hard to keep the faith with the menagerie of  families, old folk and groups of tag-along adolescents meandering past our home at ten-minute intervals oohing and ahhing while scanning for some hapless alternative-home dweller who is willing to impart some local knowledge on the pros and cons of island living.

If I manage to find myself in the unfortunate position of being cornered in my front yard in the above-mentioned scenario, I try to manoeuvre my now barking dogs behind a bush and pretend I haven’t seen them.  If plan A proves unsuccessful because my still-barking dogs have worked themselves into a frenzy and have drawn too much attention, plan B will be to tell them about the mosquitoes, sand flies, eccentric nutters and general weirdos – of which I am one – and those funny little birds that wander the island at night in packs and emit a horrible screech not unlike a minion from hell.

If they can get past that helpful advice, I then point them in the direction of the local real estate agent and information queen for any other questions that they might like to ask about the economic viability of living on an island and having to commute to the mainland for work, food, and any other essentials that may be required for the duration of their residency.

Don’t get me wrong, island living has its bonuses.  As I said, I get to escape the rat race.  I also work on the island from home so it’s even less important for me to mingle with the mainlanders, but it’s a different way of life and I like to weed out the foolhardy from the fair dinkum from the word go.

Colour me with whatever brush you want but I have been here after many tourists have departed and seen the after effects of their bad behaviour and disrespect for our environment.  Some people just aren’t worth having as neighbours and I’m providing a valuable community service in regard to the natural selection processes of potential future island habitation.

I can’t wait for Christmas.