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19 January 2018 @ 11:09 am
Went to see the surgeon, and yes my foot looks totally wrong. Even though I knew that the first surgery was likely just exploratory and removing bone spurs and that I may need a second round, I was shocked to learn that it is quite likely I will have to have a metal plate and screws inserted in my foot. Yikes. I may find it difficult to fit my foot into any shoe for the rest of my life, and I may have a limp. Great. We will know for sure, in about six months, then the surgery will be some time after that. In the meantime I'm still swollen and in some pain, but at least I am allowed to go to the beach, gym, ride my bike etc as I feel up to. I don't have to wear the boot and will see what shoes I can get this now extra wide foot into. I have to have continual physiotherapy for a while.

This happens the same week that I have to get extra glasses for reading, and constantly switch between the two pairs. Annoying, but I have a friend dying of cancer right now so I thank my lucky stars.

Of course my mother remembered to call and tell me all about my sister's pool in Noosa, but didn't remember to call me after I went to the hospital, as promised. This is nothing unusual.

Took a walk through Chapel Street Bazaar (my old work place) on the way home, bought a lovely blue milk glass Victorian vase as a little pick me up, came home. Took a nap and when I woke up, couldn't move my hands at all. Such is the creeping joy that is arthritis. It was 38 degrees so I went to the beach which is thankfully only a block away, which I will be doing again today as the mercury rises. My flat stays very nice and cool, but I find when it is sealed up, it feels very stuffy through the night and I open all the doors and windows when I wake up, just to change the air, then as it gets hot I'll close up and use the aircon. Its hard to keep these old places cool after the first couple of hot days heat the bricks up, and then once the cool change has come it stays oppressively humid indoors for at least another day. Taking it easy this morning just catching up online, beach for sure this evening.

17 January 2018 @ 09:17 am
Stayed indoors all day yesterday. Drawing, tv, naps. Spoke to my mum on the phone, and brought up my plans to move to Sydney, not a single positive response (predictable), instead she talked about my sister in Noosa because she was just there for a week swimming in my sister's pool. At the moment they're friends (until that changes) I don't even speak to that sister and vice versa. It never changes.
Craved cheesecake all day, so that was the only thing I went out for. My foot better get back soon so I can go to the gym, and several huge bike rides are required. Very happy to read of all the new cycleways in Sydney especially connecting Botany Bay (where Im interested in living) to the city.

Dreamed of Sydney last night, a few dreams. I was on a train with Tom, an ex, from the 90s, and he came back from Canada for Xmas, asked me if I wanted him to go and pick up my grandmother, and I cried telling him she passed away, and I hadn't told him. One of those "alternate future" dreams I keep having, and in this one we had never been seperated. Then I was on a train alone on one of those warm Sydney afternoons going through Surry Hills (not actually possible until the light rail opens). I was on my way home, though not sure exactly where that was. I was marvelling at the many homes and terraces in fantastical forms quite unlike the reality, Harry Potterish, and I burst into tears on the train, so glad that I had made the right decision to return.

Before I came to Melbourne, I had a recurring dream of walking up and down this particularly busy inner city street and then I would go to this huge shop with many cabinets, and a woman would open the cabinets with a set of keys, inside were many small sculptures, some of Star wars characters, that I had not seen before, and that in reality, do not exist. I dreamed it many times, each time a different configuration of cabinets and sculptures. When I actually moved here, I got a job in the antique market on chapel Street that was exactly like in my dream, and only recently started sculpting myself. So, I will consider the Surry Hills train dream a good omen.

Today I will go to IKEA with Tony, I want to go to Brunetti for coffee and cake afterwards, I need something with cherries on top. Hossital tomorrow morning so they can take x-rays and tell me what the fuck they have done to my now even more deformed foot, and hopefully back before it gets too hot, two days over 40 on their way. Hopefully I am allowed into the ocean now.
14 January 2018 @ 10:10 am

Woke early yesterday and needed to get out of the house. Realized I was feeling depressed, I can always see the signs coming. Caught the bus to depressing Cheltenham, did a few op shops, no joy, and then went to Southland, had something to eat and decided to have a massage, I'd been to this Chinese place before, every street has one, and he's very good, my body felt out of whack from my boot and my shoe being slightly different heights, which makes my hips sore when walking. I honestly look at my foot and think, how the hell is that an improvement? A question I'll be asking the surgeon when I see him on Friday. It looks wrong and I've no idea how I'm supposed to fit that into a shoe. Anyway I felt 100 times less depressed after the massage.

Came home and tried out my new specifically-for-reading glasses, that I bought from Bailey Nelson for $200, so cheap by standards here in expensive rip-off everything Australia. First two days they gave me headaches, but it's improved now as I get used to them. They are strictly for reading and computer and making art, I cant even see across the room with them on. Switching between glasses feels ridiculous but thats what you got at 49.

It was pouring with rain so I settled onto the couch and tucked into some reading, read for an hour or so then actually got up and went into the bedroom ( I usually only nap on the couch). I slept for about three hours, woke up hungry and walked to the fish and chip shop. Ate and then went back to my book, "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" which I was finally getting engrossed in, then read til about ten in bed with the lovely sound of the rain on my garden outside ( I wish I could hear it on the roof!). Fell asleep and slept through until about 8 this morning. A lazy Sunday is planned.

My only goal for the weekend was to get engrossed in a book without feeling lonely and depressed, so, mission accomplished. Happy to have the day to myself today, a markedly different feeling to how I woke up yesterday.
06 January 2018 @ 08:14 am
Eye test yesterday, went all the way to the optometry college to yet again have my time wasted. Each time they have quoted a price, I go back and its incorrect. Regardless, I'll get lenses put in my spare pair of frames cheap, which means I'll have my regular pair and two spare for reading. I have a nice pair to pick up from Bailey Nelson next week which were incredibly reasonable. Basically I paid a fortune for multifocals only to find they were useless for reading or computer, sculpting, drawing etc and need an extra pair. getting older.. Stopped for Japanese on the way home, then talked to Justin on the phone, looked through old photos and listened to music and enjoyed the breeze through the sliding doors. I am often heard in my own head lamenting not having gay male friends here but then I hear about the drama involved and I'm very glad to not be involved in it. It actually changed my mind about worrying about it. Some guys are intent on being a "bearlebrity" and Ive no interest in those people who have to know everyone an be popular.

Today its 20 degrees already, it will climb to 41 then back down to 20 in the evening! My foot is very annoying and swollen.

05 January 2018 @ 11:04 am
Woke yesterday at about 7 am, then once I'd organized myself went out for a walk, took the train to Hampton, stopped for a coffee with Kini. By the time I came back I was so wiped out, I had another sleep for a few hours then woke and watched a movie, "the Killing of a Sacred Deer", which was very strange kind of a psychological horror film. Ate and tried to start another movie but my concentration was off and I went and laid down on my bed again and woke hours later, around 10 pm. Stayed up then, sliding doors open, nice breeze and some Mozart opera playing quietly while I looked at things online, then went back to bed at 2 am suddenly exhausted again. I have slept right through til 11 am. I know that people say it takes a while to recover from surgery but even after a month I am completely wiped out a lot of the time. My foot has been aching a little. Today I have an eye test, and that's really all I have planned. Hoping that hobbling to the city won't wear me out too much.

Just for writing practice I'm going to try a little diary entry each day here to start my day.
29 December 2017 @ 11:26 pm
More practice with gouache
29 December 2017 @ 12:25 am
I dont believe in boredom, that's for boring people, and although I'm mostly housebound Im trying to use the time to make art. Goal for the day was to create a little childrens illustration, and bigger goal is to create a folio of it to show a publisher.This is only my 4th attempt at using gouache, and I find it very agreeable as a medium.

29 December 2017 @ 12:09 am
On 27 Aug 1810 at Liverpool, England, Susannah Brookshaw had ‘with force of arms stolen from one Jane Coleburn one box, one trunk, five gowns, seven pairs of stockings, one shirt and two shifts’ with a total value of £4/15/-. She had also allegedly stolen banknotes to the value of £22, also the property of Jane Coleburn, from the house of Jane Houghton. I can only wonder, with all those new clothes and all that money, where she thought she might have been going? Off to start a new life somewhere?

Susannah was sentenced to be hanged, but with bodies needed to work a new colony from nothing, her sentence was shortly commuted to transportation and seven years indentured servitude. First imprisoned on a convict hulk in the Thames, she travelled on the ship Minstrel for 143 days, via Rio, before landing in Sydney, the new penal colony. Though I've no proof she took the river journey up to Parramatta, it is likely, since some of the women from the Minstrel were sent to the Female Factory, and she married John Rogan of Parramatta. It is likely she took her first steps on land for some time in Parramatta, and at the Female Factory, local freed men could choose a wife, from a an orderly lineup in the grounds of the prison. For many women it was the only way out. Sex trafficking, Georgian style.

As my ferry neared Parramatta, I listened closely. As the river narrows, sound becomes more dense, less traffic and harbour noise is heard. The city is far away, though now Parra is a city unto itself. I wondered what sounds she may have heard and what fears went through her head. Parramatta was chosen for its fertile soil without which the colony would have starved. The day I was there was very hot, somewhere around 35 degrees, and my first place to head to was Hamblyn Cottage, one of the first homes built in the area, just a few minutes walk from the ferry. I was lucky that being such a hot day I was the only visitor, and the house only occupied by two volunteer guides, one of whom gave me a personalized and incredibly informative tour, as members of her family had lived in the house when she was a young girl. It is a beautiful Georgian homestead on what was then the farthest reaches of the modern world, in baking heat, English society was attempted to be recreated, unfolded upon it like a tablecloth.

From their website: "Hambledon Cottage was built by John Macarthur in 1824 as a second house on his Elizabeth Farm Estate. It has had many notable occupants in the early days, including General Sir Edward Macarthur, Archdeacon Thomas Hobbes Scott and Dr Matthew Anderson. Penelope Lucas, the former governess to John Macarthur's daughters, lived there for 9 years, naming the family "Cottage" after the township of Hambledon in Hampshire, England.

Hambledon Cottage is built of rendered sandstock brick in the Colonial Georgian style, the joinery throughout is of Australian cedar and is a splendid example of fine Georgian detailing. Some of the internal ceilings and walls are still of lath and plaster whilst one bedroom still has its original ironbark floor. An excellent example of a domed brick oven adjoins the open fireplace in the kitchen. The cottage is tastefully furnished in the style of the mid-1800s."

From here I could follow the direct path that Penelope Lucas took when walking the few minutes to my next destination, a truly eerie and magical place, Elizabeth Farm.
24 December 2017 @ 10:09 am

Well I had meant to do some catching up on livejournal of events over the time I'd not been writing. This time last year, the shop I was working in, that I had mangaed for two years, closed down and I found myself with time on my hands. I took a very spiritual trip home to Sydney, a pre-Christmas catch up with friends, and tickets to see Sheila E. I trundled Rocco off to the cat hotel, locked up the house, took myself off to the airport, and took the 45 minute flight to Sydney. I try and stay at this small hotel in a beautiful Victorian building called Challis Hotel (in Challis Avenue) but it gets more expensive every time.

I had spent the previous week reading an excellent Thomas Kenneally book on Sydney history, as it is so entwined with my own and my ancestors arrived there so long ago. One convict ancestor, Susannah Brookshaw, arrived on the ship Minstrel in 1812.

"The Minstrel arrived in Port Jackson on 25 October 1812. One woman had died on the passage out and 125 eventually arrived in Port Jackson. According to the Sydney Gazette the women were all in a fine healthy state. The convict indents give only basic information such as name, when and where convicted and sentence. No ages are recorded, nor offence committed.
On the 28th October an order was given that the few women who were permitted to be assigned to people in Sydney were to be landed that afternoon with a complete set of slops and bedding. The remainder of the women were to be taken to Parramatta Female Factory by water at sunrise the following morning. Boats were to be ready alongside the Minstrel to receive them and convey them twenty miles up the river to Parramatta. The women were probably fortunate to have made the journey when they did as the weather was probably fine and warm, however three weeks later they witnessed the first storm since their arrival in the colony. There was a torrential downpour. Crops were destroyed, pigeons killed by enormous hailstones and newly shorn sheep perished in the cold as the Parramatta River rose to an alarming height before subsiding once more."

So, my goal was to arrive and then go and catch a ferry to Parramatta and more or less trace her footsteps. I had worked in Parramatta but never caught the ferry there. I went from airport to hotel, checked in, dumpoed my bags, then caught a train from Kings Cross down to the Quay, and I did not relax or take a deep breath until I felt the Rivercat ferry pull away from the dock and smelt the seaspray hitting my face.

The journey to Parramatta, the true birthplace of both city and nation, was slow, warm and languid. Sydney turned on its best weather for me. I sat on the front of the boat the whole way, I have no fear of the harbour. My father had a small boat for a time and we spent many days on the harbour, exploring its hidden beaches and bays, when I was a child. I have a real feeling of connection to it that I dont have for other places.

The river becomes more mysterious as you move along it, from the magnificence of the harbour into narrow mangroves, and in about 45 minutes, I am arriving in Parramatta. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must have been for the women as well as the soldiers, stepping into the unknown, the furthest reaches of the known world, natives peering from the trees, two hundred years ago.

More in my next entry.
24 December 2017 @ 08:53 am

Tomorrow is Christmas. I have the tree up and presents (that I bought for myself, and one for a friend) under the tree, still wrapped up only because I like the way that looks and it wouldn't otherwise feel like Christmas. I will be cooking lunch for one friend who also keeps his family interstate. Roast lamb, roast chicken, lots of veggies, and dessert. Usually I go to the beach but it wont be warm enough and my foot isn't healed enough so I cant go anywhere near sand. I did not receive even one inquiry from anyone that I know in Melbourne regarding Christmas. I'm used to it now, because it doesn't change. They say it's hard for single people at Christmas but really, I would not want to be forced to spend Christmas day with boring in-laws and various extended family satellites, that doesn't sound relaxing or enjoyable. if you're reading this, enjoy your Chri.stmas