Shop till you Drop (Gold Medal Result)

Janet and TomO
Janet and TomO

The jet-setters, Janet and TomO arrived back home from London this morning and for sure it is about time we got something to smile about into our lives once again.

And you’ll be pleased to know that Janet stood at the top of the podium…

You remember – the big event.  The dash to spend cash down The Stand, suitcases under one arm, credit card in the other, you know, shop till you drop.

Okay for sure, I did say give it your best shot Janet, you deserve a great win.

But let me tell you – she’s won the gold, hell, a world record…

And I know the little rooster, TomO, would have been cheering her on, but just how did she manage so much, in such a fast time?

Strewth, I’ve had to take a Bex and I’m now heading to the couch for a lie down after lugging all those suitcases from the baggage carousel to the car.

Um, welcome home, darling…and TomO,

And by the way, where’s my present, I did get one didn’t I?


I stole someone’s dog (Yes someone’s pet!)

The other day I was relating a story about the early days of living with Janet, my partner, in a small cottage with two sofa chairs, one bed, and a Great Dane Dog. 

It was a lovely cottage set in a suburb not too far from the centre of Brisbane.

We loved that cottage, our first place together, which was nestled away in a small street, surrounded by plenty of greenery and flowering trees.

A real little love nest…


Anyway, the subject line is true, but possibly I’m being a little harsh on myself, although Janet has just called out that I did kidnap the dog,

pure and simple Baz…”

But let me explain.

Firstly, I love Great Dane’s they are so majestic looking and all the ones I have met have been very well natured.  Mind you, a suburban back-yard is probably not big enough for them to run around in and perhaps the reason you don’t tend to see them in the city.

Back in those days we had little money to spare, not that we needed it, crikey, sitting in those two sofa chairs, gazing into each other’s eyes, before retiring to the only other piece of furniture we owned, the bed, popping jellybeans into that jar like rabbits on a mission…

Mind you, we’re still happy to do that these days, but a 12 year old son, who is on the cusp of puberty, usually walks in just at the inopportune time.


So what about the dog…yes, the Great Dane, let’s call him Barney, because we never really got around to giving him a proper name.

We didn’t own any white goods back then, you know, a washing machine to clean our clothes, so this was done at the local shops where there was a Laundromat. Now I can say that is a place I haven’t been in a very long time, a Laundromat…

Every few days we’d make the trip together, happily sitting there watching the dryer spin around until it was time to head home and sit in the sofa chairs, well you know, until it was time to put another jelly bean in the jar retire again…

Anyway, on one particular evening Barney, the Great Dane turns up, he looked lost and was hanging around. And even if I say so myself he took an instant liking to me.

A Great Dane, my favourite!

It didn’t take long to convince myself that he was an orphan, after all he had no tag and he was rummaging around the bins seemingly looking for a feed.

September 1959 Ford Anglia 105E in Wales

So I quickly dashed home in Janet’s little Ford Anglia, a Harry Potter car, to get him a feed of mince. It didn’t take long, but by the time I returned Janet broke the news. He’d left.

“How could that happen” I asked?

This dog loved me.

Concerned for his well being I hopped in the little Ford Anglia and headed down the back streets to find him, to give Barney a good meal, to kidnap him, and a good home. After all he was neglected, clearly, surely?

My heart raced, there he was, looking forlorn, standing dejectedly outside a large home with a large wooden gate.

Yes, he recognised me.

Okay, in hindsight it might have been the mince I had in my hand that I was offering up, but strewth, I was as happy as a pig in shit mud.

Now this was the tricky bit, but I did get Barney inside that little Ford Anglia, eventually. It was a bit squashy, especially once Janet hopped in with a basket of clean washing.

We I was excited as a new dad bringing the family home for the very first time. And Barney settled in well, those first couple of nights he just sat back and lapped up all that attention. But geez, have you seen what these things can eat?

Bloody hell, this was at a time in our lives that we managed baked beans on toast every couple of days if we were frugal. We didn’t even have two brass razoo’s to rub together.  And a good night out was spent in the sofa chairs starring lovingly into each other’s eyes…

A few days later, as inevitable as the sun rising in the east, there it was, a lost notice in the window of the local shops.

“Much loved pet, a Great Dane, lost a few days ago in the local area. Brown in colour.”

Whoops, the description sounded just like Barney.

The person at the other end of the phone sounded  lovely, distraught, and anxious for any news.

She didn’t live too far away so we decided to walk Barney “home.”

And home was behind a large wooden gate, yep, the one in which I had coaxed Barney away from with my offering of mince only a few days earlier. His owner was elated, and Barney reunited himself in a scene reminiscent of Fred and Dino straight out of the Flinstones…

She couldn’t thanks us enough for looking after her best friend while we tried to track her down.


Yes, we loved Barney, and still think of him fondly, but I’m sure he would have sent us broke before heading back home.

Yep, I think he had us me sussed from the outset, live it up for a few days and then move back home!

Thanks Barney, we loved your visit…


Three Girls and their Credit Cards – It’s all a matter of perspective

Leura Galleries

Okay, there are many pursuits that could be classed as risky, dangerous, some more so than others, but really, it still comes down to one’s perspective, doesn’t it?

So Janet, my partner, and I were having a bit of a debate about this earlier today ahead of a trip we are making to the Blue Mountains, just to the west of Sydney this weekend.

And I will set the scene here, Janet is no wallflower, together we have flown aeroplanes, jumped out of them, abseiled off the side of the AMP building in Sydney side-by-side, and even rafted down some wild rivers in Papua New Guinea – so there’s no doubting she’s up for adventure and happy to balance risk against outcomes.

So when I said to her that a weekend of shopping in the Blue Mountains with her two girlfriends, we’ll just call them Kimbalee and Lisa to protect their identities, is risky and dangerous it seemingly fired her up a touch. It actually made me chuckle a bit, because it was a bit like when you were a teenager, you know, when you got sprung by your parents, as though they were mind readers, before you did whatever it was that you weren’t supposed to, and left you with no option but to go on the defensive…

“How’s that she asked? And besides, aren’t you climbing and abseiling off some rock walls isn’t that a little risky?” was the retort…

And true, I will be doing that, thankfully spared from being dragged from boutique to boutique, art gallery to art gallery, mind you, some of the art galleries are very nice, and the prospect of being in the company of these three attractive young ladies was pleasing, but I was looking forward to the outdoor activities I had planned.

I thought I’d better choose my words carefully here because as lovely natured as Janet is, she could stare down a stampede of cattle at a hundred paces.

Well I suggested these girls, Kimbalee and Lisa, were seasoned shoppers, fearless and old-school who live to the creed “if you can’t decide which one you like, buy the lot”. In the right setting that might be okay, our bank balance might just scrap through relatively unscathed, but these boutiques were high fashion, and that’s before we get to the galleries…

Sensing she had me on the ropes, of which there was a certain amount of irony, and with a glint in her eye she said…

“But haven’t you always said that if you are going to do something, learn to do it properly, and then go out and practice it until you are an expert?”

True I thought, and about this time I was wishing I hadn’t tried to be so smart, and had just gone about my daily routine without throwing out the bait, so to speak.

I should have seen it coming…

“So how much did you say those climbing boots are, you know the ones you’ll need for New Zealand, $700, $800, I’ve never bought a pair of shoes that have cost anywhere near that amount”. Was that a smile I detected, a cheeky little grin, as she turned away slightly?

I was looking for that big hole to swallow me up, and started to understand just how a stampede of cattle might just be feeling right now, stared down by Janet.

Yes risk and danger, it’s there wherever we look, in whatever we do, and as I climb and descend tomorrow, I’m sure that the klinking sound of carabineers on carabineers will be equalled by the ringing sound of a cash register playing the tune of three wonderful lady’s having fun, and of course, giving their cards a workout…