Well, I’m back.
Not that I’ve actually been anywhere mind you. I just haven’t had the inclination or energy to write for the past few weeks. I’ve been coming home from work and just watching TV. Or playing Spider Solitaire. Or reading. Or sleeping. Or analysing the Oh Alexander I see you standing beneath the archway of aerodynamics bit of Little Eiffel by the Pixies (it sounds so weird because it defies the base four nature of western music even at a sub-phrase level – Go Black Francis!).
So yeah, I haven’t written anything. But I’m writing now, which has to count for something, even if I don’t have a whole lot to say 🙂
Hmmm, yes, so what’s been happening? Not a lot. Rebecca stayed for a few days as I mentioned which was great because it allowed me to get a really big shop done (no, it was great because Rebecca’s cool, the shopping was just a bonus ;). In addition to driving myself and large amounts of groceries around in a very unreliable motor vehicle, she also demonstrated the fundamental honesty of my neighbours here at The Gables by leaving the door to the unit wide open before going out one morning, after I’d departed for work. This turned out to be no problem at all, nothing was missing, and it gave me ample opportunity to tease the living daylights out of her, until only minutes later I locked us out of the building by leaving my keys inside. Talk about irony. We had to hike down to the hospital to find a payphone to call my parents for the spare keys 🙂
It wasn’t all irony and spring onions though, Rebecca did have a bit of a rough time of it getting horribly lost on her way back to the flat one afternoon, and discovering (care of the extras on my Fellowship of the Ring DVD) that out of his Aragorn costume Vigo Mortensen looks like an aging Californian surfer-dude. Quite broke her heart it did, and I shouldn’t joke about it because it’ll just upset her. Sorry 🙂
To change subject completely, my backside is killing me. Yes, yes, I’ll pause here for off-colour remarks and suggestions from anyone reading this who is insufficiently mature enough to let such an obvious opportunity pass <-- PAUSE -->. OK, the actual reason my buttocks are so sore is because I took my bike out last night for the first time since I was struck down with labyrinthitis. Before that I hadn’t taken it out in months anyway, so understandably mine body protesteth most mightily. The occasion was a dinner at my parent’s place with Elvine, who is… OK I’m going to have to go into some family history here.
There are three branches of my Dad’s family. One branch consists of his sisters Faye and Beverly, and Faye’s sons Greg and Michael (my aunts and cousins, obviously). We’ll call them Branch A. Branch B is my immediate family, Mum, Dad and my brother. We’re Branch B. Finally there’s Branch C, who I know almost nothing about because we have nothing to do with them as the result of a long running feud that makes the Capulets and Montagues look like amateurs.
(This is of course an exaggeration – to the best of my knowledge we’ve never taken part in running street battles or drawn swords on each other. Some Great Uncle or other got shot in the foot, but that doesn’t really count because he did it himself to get out of the services.)
By the way Branch C are the rich branch. Did I fall to the wrong side of the family tree or what? 🙂
Anyway, Branch A hate Branch C. Branch C hate Branch A. We of Branch B don’t bear any particular animosity towards Branch C, but when the battle lines were drawn up Dad of course had to side with Branch A, they being his sisters and all. So Branch C, while not actually hating us, like to pretend that we don’t exist, and we thus never hear or see them at all.
Well not strictly never, they do occasionally descend from their financial utopia to mingle with the rest of the family. Like at my Nanna’s funeral for instance. It should be noted however about this solemn event that the wake had to be held at our house, because Branch A wouldn’t set foot in any home owned by Branch C, and Branch C refused to enter any house owned by a member of Branch A. That’s the level of enmity we’re talking about here.
And the cause of this feud? Well to be honest, I’m not entirely sure…
You see, it’s not the kind of thing that’s really talked about in the family. But I do know one thing that if not the original cause, certainly made matters a lot worse. Grandad and Nanna’s divorce. Grandad and Nanna’s divorce precipitated by Grandad’s affair. Ouch.
From what little I’ve gathered (it’s another subject that isn’t really discussed) Grandad had been seeing another woman for quite a while, and then one day came home from work to find all his possessions out on the verge, Nanna having found out about it. Being a particularly practical (and one must suspect somewhat cold) man, he collected it all and left, to all intents and purposes vanishing off the face of the earth, and leaving Nanna to raise their three children by herself. No one had any idea what happened to him.
That is until the mid-eighties when Dad asked a friend of his in the military records office to look up his (that is Dad’s) service records for some reason (Dad used to be in the Air Force Reserve). He came back with two sets of records for Western Australia under the same name. This anomaly was quickly sorted out when Dad explained that his father had the same name as him, so the older set of records were Grandad’s. What was completely unexpected was that the records not only indicated that Grandad was alive and well but that he was living on a military pension in a country town only five or so hours drive south from the city.
There was a fair bit of backing and forthing but eventually Dad decided to contact him, and we all headed down to visit. It turned out that he’d re-married a woman named Elvine, the same Elvine who came to dinner last night.
Grandad passed away probably close on ten years ago, and Elvine had been living in their house down south even since. But in the last few months she’s sold up, and moved up to the city. So it was only polite to invite her to dinner.
Things went pretty well over all. Faye and Beverly actually came as well, which was surprising because they (Bev in particular) have always taken a rather dim view of their father and everything he got up to from the affair onwards (not surprising really). Dad isn’t too fond of Elvine either, since she gave Grandad’s war medals to a museum rather than handing them on to him as standard protocol demands, but he managed to remain polite all evening.
Two things about her did annoy me though. The first was that she repeated things over and over again. I don’t know if this is just because she’s old, or if it’s a personality trait she’s had all her life, but it’s very annoying. For instance she was talking about a man who left his wife to raise their seven children, then came back once they’d all got married, and she took him back (slightly rich, given the circumstances, but still). The thing is every second sentence she said for a good five minutes was “it’s the worst case I’ve ever heard of!”. I don’t mean she said things like “As I said, that’s the worst case I’ve known” or “It’s a very bad case”, she literally just kept saying “it’s the worst case I’ve ever heard of!”, occasionally varying the stress, so “it’s the worst case I’ve ever heard of!” or “it’s the worst case I’ve ever heard of!”. And she kept doing it all evening. I honestly felt like grabbing her around the neck and shouting “ENGLISH HAS MORE WORDS THAN ANY OTHER LANGUAGE ON EARTH!! USE SOME DIFFERENT ONES!!!”. I didn’t of course 🙂
The second annoyance was when we got onto the subject of the recent devastating bushfires around the country. She made a point of saying (several times) that back in her day the Government didn’t give “handouts” to people who’s houses burnt down and “I think we were better for it”. Yes. Well.
Anyway, apart from that it wasn’t a bad evening. Even if I did have to grit my teeth from time to time 🙂
OK, I’ve written more than enough. I’m off to watch Mysterious Ways. They’ve gone to repeats now, but I don’t mind because this is the episode where Miranda gets dragged against her will into the office of a money obsessed investment banker who suddenly realises that this annoying woman investigating him is Miranda Fiegelsteen of the Seattle Fiegelsteens. It’s quite amusing…
Hey, it could be worse. At least I haven’t set up a website about her 😉
PS: That could be taken as a jibe at either Helen or Ali who run websites devoted to Christopher Judge (Teal’c from Stargate) and Peter Deluise (any number of characters in any number of things) repectively. It’s not. Christopher Judge and Peter Deluise are real people who indisputably exist. If they were setting up sites devoted to Teal’c and oh… Tom Piccolo (from Seaquest DSV) for instance, then it’d be a gibe 🙂
PPS: No comparison is intended or should be implied by the proceeding post script between my intentions vis-