The Rugby World Cup has been absolutely amazing. So far 47 games have been played and I’m pretty sure I watched at least some of every game (unlike the rest of the rugby world I just can’t bear watching Argentina play so I zoned out of those games. The Argentina-Scotland game would have driven me to drink if I hadn’t driven myself there).
So it’s less than 4 hours til the final featuring the All Blacks and France. I think I’m holding it together pretty well – I woke up in tears feeling like someone was sitting on my chest but the sense of impending doom has passed somewhat.
There are really only two teams I feared going into this world cup – Australia and France. We played Australia last Sunday (and won) but the lead-up to that game was just brutal. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat (by which I mean ‘couldn’t eat actual meals but scoffed my own body-weight in potato chips’) and couldn’t read any rugby coverage. So winning that game and moving on the final was a huge relief.
Now I have France to worry about – and they have form at spoiling our world cup parties! – and I’m all of a dither. I think I shall have to go and do something repetitive and meditative, like ironing.
I was re-reading Fever Pitch yesterday and some of the phrases were straight out of my brain. When it comes to rugby I am superstitious beyond belief, and incredibly fearful that something I did or didn’t do will lose the All Blacks the game. The power is all with me, you see. Unlike, you know, the actual players on the field.
It’s hard work people, really hard work, but these are the lengths I will go to in order to win the RWC for the first time since 1987. 1987.
The AB’s are the bookies choice for the win and apparently 83% of NZers polled expect to win the game. But there will be no counting chicken before the hatching in this house! I remember back in 2000 I’d bought a bottle of champers before watching a Bledisloe Cup game, so that if we won I could have a celebratory tipple. Time was up, the AB’s were ahead and just as I was easing the cork out of the bottle John Eales went and kicked an almost impossible conversion, giving the Wallabies a 1 point win. Irritating. So there’s no champagne here, just in case.
In news utterly unrelated to the RWC I have been a bit stressed lately about the state of my fabric stash. There are 17 different places where the fabric stash lives and finding the exact thing I want was taking too much time, so sewing projects have been abandoned on the flimsiest of pretexts.
Here is some of the stash – and this is just the fabric that is stored downstairs:
This is about the point where I gave up and moved to Thailand just to escape the mess.
But no, I soldiered on and now everything related to the making of clothes has a place to live (even the patterns!) and hopefully in the fullness of time some of this fabric might actually be turned into clothes, let’s hope.
And after all that work, and vowing and declaring that I would never buy any more fabric again EVER I found myself outside a fabric shop the very next day. And I bought some leopard-print cotton and some gorgeous black silk velvet and I only felt a little bit embarrassed.
This is why it’s so hard to sort out the fabrics:
Because the needs of Mr Puss will always come first!
Oh hell. Less than three hours now. GO ALL BLACKS!!
This week has been brutal. David’s grandad passed away last week (he had been ill for some time and while his passing was expected it was still very sad) and his funeral was held on David’s birthday. It’s hard to marry two such occasions together successfully.
I feel dreadful for David. Tomorrow night we are going out to dinner with friends to celebrate his birthday, and I hope that makes up for the funeral/birthday a little.
How fantastic to wake up on such a lovely spring day and know you have three games of rugby to watch today!
The Rugby World Cup is finally here after four years of praying and dreading. The All Blacks haven’t won the RWC since the inaugural tournament in 1987, and we haven’t been to the finals since 1995 (as cruelly documented in Invictus). Bloody hell, I’ve got clothes older than that!
The RWC is being held in New Zealand this year. I was in NZ a few weeks ago, and RWC bunting was everywhere. Many people I spoke to were “completely over” the RWC – they were sick of hearing about it, sick of the hype, sick of waiting for the inevitable All Black choke – but since the tournament started last week there seems to have been a real up-swing in public support. I guess once something actually starts, rather than hearing about it in the abstract, it becomes easier to get behind it.
I’m loving the RWC so far. I’m particularly enjoying the way the ‘minnows’ have really stood up to the next-tier nations – we’re not seeing the 145+ point blow-outs we saw ten years ago. I have my favourites (apart from the All Blacks of course) – the USA team have come on really well, and I’ll always love Samoa. And Wales. And pretty much anybody apart from Australia.
The crowds have been amazing, the way various communities have gotten behind the visiting teams. I really loved the USA/Ireland game in New Plymouth, where the locals dressed up and cheered for their adopted team. And all the anthems have been done really well. Oh, and now I’m gushing.
Today has been one of those days. The final straw was when the stabiliser-thingies in the washing machine broke? gave up? got tired? and the washing machine shimmied across the laundry floor and wedged the door shut. I had to climb in through the bathroom window just to retrieve my washing.
Blarg. Enough of today, let’s have a look at what Mzz Clara is wearing:
I see she’s wearing her xmas bow – certainly not something I’d ever leave the house wearing.
So far I’ve made at least six variations on this pattern – either as a full frock or just a skirt – and it’s now at the stage where I could probably make it blindfolded. Which is useful as I still have another couple of versions to make.
I absolutely adore this fabric – it’s pink and red and burgundy and it clashes so beautifully with itself. It’s also quite loosely woven and is very cooling to wear.
And yes, of course Mr Puss is in the picture. He needs to show his disdain for the process by being a part of the process.
We’ve all been there – one day you’re just pottering along, making a lap-blanket here, adjusting the odd website there – when BLAM! you are totally pole-axed by a hideous case of the flu.
For the past fortnight I’ve been been as weak as a kitten, albeit a kitten with some rather alarmingly neon-coloured mucus. I’ve had no energy, no focus, and just walking up the stairs was cause for [muted] celebration.
I’m slowly coming right. I’ve tried to stay on top of the laundry, the dishes and my paid work but everything else has been abandoned. Today I tried to do a shift of charity retail, but couldn’t really concentrate fully (and I didn’t even really care about the money! This is how we know I’m still not well) so came home after a couple of hours.
Lap-blankets probably aren’t the sexiest thing in the world, but they kept me from dying of the cold for the past few weeks (and seriously, anything to keep the power bill down a tad). Here’s a lap-blanket I made a few weeks ago:
and you can see that Mr. Puss loves his lap-blanket and had made it his own. We struggle over it sometimes.
I made some cushions to go with the lap-blanket:
The fabric for the blanket and the cushions is exactly the same but it does look different according to the light and the angles, and I don’t think my photographs are doing either of them any favours.
Honestly it doesn’t seem fair that someone who has a documented inability to cope with summer should also be unable to cope with winter. Especially in Sydney, where the high temps of summer and low temps of winter aren’t really that far apart.
You can tell it’s winter because Mr Puss has foregone his usual nesting places and is sitting near the heater. If it’s possible to sit any closer to the heater please let him know:
Thankfully he has finally abandoned his efforts to sleep on top of the heater.
Ceecee’s main goal on our trip to Cairns was to see and hold a koala, and in the cafe we found this little sweetie:
The zoo has a strict policy that koalas may only work (eg, hang out in the cafe and pose for photos) half an hour a day for no more than two consecutive days at any point. Obviously this punishing schedule does take it out of them:
I think Ceecee was quite disappointed the koala didn’t pee on her, as we’d told her they often to that to tourists.
My main goal at the zoo was to see the crocodiles. I find crocodiles fascinating in that killing-machine, dinosaur-DNA, please-don’t-let-them-eat-me kind of way. Look, they’re hanging out and smiling!
I particularly love it when the crocodile lies there with his mouth open, waiting for something to hop or slither in there:
See? Nothing to be frightened of there.
It was a very hot day, so the kangaroos lounged:
It was actually quite sad to see the kids running around trying to feed the kangaroos, and the ‘roos just going ‘nah, too hot’. Prima donna kangaroos.
I saw a cassowary!
SUCH strange creatures.
Also there was a red panda:
and after we all died of the cute we had lunch and were revived.
I volunteer at a local op-shop for a few hours a week. I started volunteering three years ago when I was recovering from a long illness – I was feeling better than I had for a while but still not ready to go back to work. The op-shop I volunteer for is attached to a shelter aimed at re-homing cats.
I thought I had heard all the annoying things people say to op-shop workers:
Do you want to buy this dress from me – it’s only $35!! [NO. We are an op-shop and are totally reliant on donations. Also I wouldn’t buy that raggedy pink satin dress for $2, let alone $35.]
If I buy it and then I don’t like it can I get my money back? [NO. Have you even been into an op-shop before? Sure you can bring it back but we won’t be giving you any money for it.]
Can you order me this item in a different size/colour? [NO. Again really, you’ve never been into an op-shop before? We are totally reliant on donations, and while it sucks that you can’t find that item in the size/colour you need, we can’t help you there.]
Can you check out the back to see if there’s anything else like this? I can watch the till while you’re gone! [NO, and I am NOT STUPID!]
Are you just charging me this much because you think I’ve got money? [NO, I was charging you $10 for a full dinner-set because that is a fantastic price – would you say that to the folks at KMart who would charge you four times as much? I find this whole conversation very confusing.]
And I thought this was the full list until yesterday when I was asked:
“Why are you following me around? Do you think I’m going to steal from you or something?”
To which my honest [albeit unspoken] reply was “Dude, I’m just futzing with the scarves and didn’t even really register you were there. But with the unprompted reference to stealing? Yeah, I’m going to be watching you now.”
Until I started volunteering I had no idea that people would steal from an op-shop. But they do! Blanket statement: IF YOU SHOPLIFT FROM MY OP-SHOP YOU ARE A SCUM-SUCKING PIECE OF SHIT. Also? You are taking food from the mouthes of tiny, tiny kittens.
Volunteering at this op-shop is awesome and boring and irritating and rewarding, sometimes all in the same hour. Before I started volunteering I assumed that the customers would be students and hipsters looking for cheap vintage clothes – oh and actually me, because I’ve been an op-shop customer since I was 7 (my nanna used to work at an op-shop). But in reality we have people who can’t afford to shop anywhere else, people looking for bargains, people who are ethically opposed to buying new things – a huge cross-section of the inner west.
I know some of our customers are in dire financial straits. Many of our customers suffer from addiction problems and/or mental health and/or social problems. Seriously, for some of them the contact they make with an op-shop worker might be their only social interaction for the day. Yesterday a woman started chatting with me about various things – teapots, indoor plants – and because I was in the middle of doing something else my side of the conversation was pretty much limited to the “uh huh, oh really!” type of comments. When she left she said “thanks for letting me talk”.
Sometimes I find it hard to strike the balance between working on behalf of the charity (ie, getting the best price possible) and doing my best for the customer’s needs (which might have nothing to do with a commercial transaction).
Here Mr Puss sleeps in a most uncomfortable manner:
He wanted to sleep in the sideboard. It meant nothing to him that the sideboard was covered in piles of junk, perhaps that was part of the appeal.
So we went to the SFS to watch the Highlanders play the Waratahs on Saturday night. It was freezing cold and raining, and sadly we had seats in row A – right down the front and not under cover. We did the traditional “sit on some covered seats and hope the rightful ticket-holders have decided it’s too cold to come out” manoeuvre and that worked out well in the end. Luckily the Waratahs aren’t exactly a hot ticket item at the moment.
For the past decade the Highlanders have been at the back of the NZ teams – last year they won only three games - and nobody was expecting anything much from them this year. Nobody, that is, apart from me and David – we keep on supporting them, season after season, in the hope that this year will be different.
And they got off to a surprisingly good start, winning games against much better opposition, so we were mentally booking our tickets to the final and in my case planning a celebratory tattoo. Then the wheels fell off, they lost a couple of must-win games and our chances going into Saturday’s game were mathematical at best.
The Highlanders chose Saturday night to showcase their inability to pass a ball, inability to catch a ball and inability to make up their damned minds what to do with the ball when by some miracle they actually had it. So not the glorious victory we’d hoped for, but hell, they’ll probably finish 8th on the table, so it’s one of their best years in ages.
And once the Super 15 is over it’s the international season, and this year it’s the Rugby World Cup in NZ. Can the All Blacks finally win another Cup? Or are we doomed to choke yet again? [please don’t choke, please don’t choke]