Saturday, 25 March 2017

the young and the restless

It seems like such a long time ago that I last blogged, I hardly know where to begin. So much has happened. Some of it literally soap opera, like the new world of laundry-related problems I have created for myself via recent sartorial experiments along the lines mapped out by Ono & Lennon c 1969. I shall spare you. Another thing that happened since Wednesday is I showed that pony-in-Carlton photograph to a few people who I knew would appreciate it, and one of them actually extended an invitation to go to a Canning St median strip party this very evening.

I shall not be attending, alas, though I'm sure Diane Arbus would have gone and taken some very creepy photographs. Joan Didion wrote that she went everywhere, high life and low life, in a black leotard and a wrap skirt. But I'm already in my pyjamas.

What I am doing in my pyjamas is sitting next to Leonard's bed waiting for him to go to sleep. I read him a storybook which made him very upset, and not surprising, because it's about the sudden death of a parent. He'd borrowed it, all on his own, from the school library - the first time he's ever done this - they have a huge pile of books in the prep classroom that the kids borrow from every day, but this one came from the library. As soon as he got it out I felt misgivings, but honestly, this is going to happen. By 'this' I mean he's going to encounter sad stories. Best I can do is show him that sadness doesn't destroy you. (This is the child who wept in the car when we listened to a recent Sufjan Stevens track with lyrics that go "Five red hens, you'll never see us again.") So I'm sitting here till he sleeps, and before he can stop fighting off sleep, he will need to feel a bit better. A classic parenting experience: simultaneously intense and tedious.

The median strip party inviter is the same person who invited me and another friend to see a movie with her earlier in the week; afterwards we were discussing the film and when they asked for my opinion I tried not to be unnecessarily detailed about it. (I really did.) Nevertheless she said, I'm beginning to see what you must have been like when you were a university lecturer. Ouch. It's a fair cop.

What really was a long time ago was my last appointment with my doctor. It's been three quite difficult weeks (or one and a half quite difficult fortnights.) If craft camp hadn't been there for mindlessly enjoying in the middle of that stretch of time, I think I'd be in pretty nasty shape by now. Nevertheless I've understood a few things with unusual clarity. By the time I see her on Monday I will be absolutely fucked, because Monday is the first really big day so far this year and we're going to have 700+ kids through the building. But, rather than just doing what I normally do with the doctor and recapping the awfullest thing I've done since the last session, I'll try to have a conversation about something she keeps asking me to explore: why is it that I'm all whatever this is now, when I wasn't all whatever this is before. Why am I restless? Why (not 'what') am I yearning?

Tentative answers have been put forward on both sides: it's because I've got through a very bad patch and am newly conscious of what it is to feel capable and of value; it's because my child is entering a world of greater independence and a wider horizon, and I'm (re)living what he's living; it's because of unfinished business from infancy. None of these theories are right. And, to be honest, I resent the second two. They downplay the significance of my everyday experience and the degree to which it is impossible to live the life I lead and *not* want it to be different. Sitting with a child for over an hour while he settles down to sleep, well, let's just say it gives you plenty of time to think about what else you could be doing in this hour, one of the dwindling supply of hours left to be lived. A book I'm reading says that for Buddhists, desire is a curse. I go along with that, but only up to a point, Lord Copper.

Whatever its cause, I will acknowledge to the doctor that I do sometimes recognise that this restlessness does indeed have the generic quality she's suggested it has. Like last night, I had committed myself to baking a shitload of cake stall goods to raise some money for the chook group, and after a frantic day at work, after a week struggling to get the better of a cold and on top of a chaotic logjam of work, after riding to school and collecting Len, bathing and playing with him until Dorian got home and took him to the pub for tea, I went to the supermarket to get ingredients. Driving back I saw too many people strolling the streets in the mellow glow of Friday afternoon's fading light, and I had a moment of wishing for the freedom they seemed to be enjoying. I'm ready to acknowledge that the wish for freedom was there all along, latent and content-free, and the second I saw something I could attach it to, is when it crystallised into a specific form. So that's how I sometimes feel, and I accept that it would be useful to better understand the nature of this latent wish so as to not be misled by the fleeting and changing forms it takes as it appears and reappears in me.

But in other aspects, the yearning and the restlessness is specific and feels like it has integrity, if I can put it that way. It feels like it would be a betrayal of myself to write it off as opportunistic or incidental.  And again, if I'm honest, I don't want to reason such feelings away. I'd rather live with them in all their spiky glory, and open myself up to the changes they might bring.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Canning St

My habitual route home takes me down Canning St. If you are not from around here you might not know that Canning St is a street in Carlton which has been deliberately set up to frustrate everyone except cyclists. It works really well at this and so it is alluded to with exciting words like "bicycle superhighway" "bike boulevard" etc. I have pretty mixed feelings about these descriptors and also about the street itself*.  Sometimes, as I ride northwards of an afternoon, shouting along with Cold Chisel's Greatest Hits in my headphones, I ponder whether to abuse my blogging privileges by expounding these feels, at whatever confusing and overwrought length it takes to get my point "across". Such a tempting prospect, but realistically I have enough on my plate already without taking on another responsibility.

It's a tough decision to mkae, or alternatively, to make, but two things tipped me over the affirmative edge.


1. This afternoon I saw this:


And in the split second before I pulled over to the side of the road and dug my phone out of my pocket, I had already seen what it is that I need to do. 

I have stopped and investigated median strip happenings before, but now I'm also going to document them. I asked the woman if I could take a photo and she said I could, but only if I patted the pony first. The pony's name is Sugar. I don't know anyone else's name, or how they got Sugar there, or why. Something about the lot of them made me feel quite keen to hop back on my bike and get the fuck out of there as quick as possible. 

I am now a literary journalist and street photographer, but only of Canning St, and only of the things that go on in the median strip. I am almost exactly the same as Joan Didion combined with Diane Arbus, who was described in a recent LRB as a "little minx", which I thought was a bit off until I realised it was Colm Toibin calling her that, and then it seemed fine. Perhaps my sojourns among the demimonde of the Canning St median strip will eventually result in me producing images like this one. Although I have most likely missed my chance for a while because the days are starting to get shorter and colder now.



2. I also asked Yes/No Tarot if I should start this project and it gave me the green light. Y/N T, always such a great support and comfort as long as I keep choosing another card till the proper one comes up. Ain't nobody gonna steal this heart away!








* Aren't you just staggeringly astonished to learn that I - I - have mixed feelings about something? Just about all that I'm capable of having an unmixed feeling about is this. Well, this too I guess. But that's all.

Monday, 20 March 2017

These boots were made for walking: footwear log

Went to work today hoping my cold was over while knowing it actually isn't, but the boss heard me coughing and politely but firmly suggested I had better go home. Viruses rip through this workplace like, well, like something highly contagious, so I can see the point, although there is at least one other person in another department who is infested with the same plague so even though I can see the point I also think I can only see it via some sort of mass delusion. 

It me, hello! sick/not sick
There should be a word for this: the complicated feeling when you get an unexpected half-day's liberty from the salt mines, because you are too sick to work, but you know you're going to have to find time do the work anyway so the feeling of freedom has a bit of a shadow cast over it already, plus it's time taken from your precious sick leave, which you had decided not to call upon in this instance, and then the lift to the spirits induced by escaping four hours earlier than expected makes you feel almost well again anyway. Maybe with an undertone of, oh right! now I've got this unexpected bit of time up my sleeve, I will use it to do everything I never get time to do, and in no way will I become paralysed with indecision about how to use this time and end up just sitting on the couch, writing some more nonsense to slap up onto the internet. A word for that would be moderately handy. I think I'd have occasion to use it at least three times a year, maybe more, which would make it a more useful word in my vocabulary than, say, bingo which I used yesterday for the first time ever in the twelve year and 844 posts history of this blog, or defunct, shitfight, meringue, prerogative (also just one use each) or indecipherable, talentless, goatee, pilates (no uses ever). 

Among the special class of words that I use far too often whilst knowing that I do and being exasperated myself for continuing to use them anyway (anyway, anyhow, actually, really, incredibly, why? obviously, bewildering, stupid, rubbish, ridiculous, gross, weird plus all the swear words except for cunt, which I am making a conscious effort to use as much as I can where I think I can get away with it, it needs to have the edge taken off of it, there is nothing specially apocalyptic about cunts, it would be good to see this word bandied about with the same gay abandon as dick and all of its derivatives) there is one that I will use to describe my new boots, depicted here encasing my feet which had just carried me out the door and into the free but strangely humid air of a Melbourne Monday morning: 



new boots = "awesome"

Shortly after the US election I was really horrified to read that "awesome" is a word associated with Trump because of his overuse of it, and because of what it represents about the lack of subtlety with which his mind works and in how he expresses himself. Nevertheless these boots are awesome and there is no getting away from that fact. 


Gonna lie on the couch, grinding my teeth about how on this Monday there is nobody sitting by the couch listening to me free-associate, and listen to podcasts for the rest of the afternoon. Bye!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Bingo

Took the offspring to a 6th birthday today: and what do you know? the question came up! Yes it did! It really did! I trotted out my remark, and got an uncomfortable silence with facial expressions, followed by a question about whether I have yet discharged the mandatory parental responsibility of making my child watch Star Wars. (I have not done this, because Lenny is five, and moreover Star Wars is pallid, reactionary rubbish, although I didn't bother explaining this to the interlocutor.) So that's that.

I need to get a bingo card going. Just got to consider whether to make it entirely real estate-themed, or to somehow nest the real estate questions within one square of a broader grid of birthday party happenings. The latter option would also include:

- blue cake
- generalised negativity about pass the parcel and whether or not there should be a prize concealed inside each layer of wrapping. The only acceptable attitude to this question is to not give a shit either way.
- Only boys invited
- conversation about Lego storage solutions
- sugar and weapons distributed to children, coupled with half-hearted and ineffectual riot policing

All these kids today, all of them boys (this is the first time we've been to a single-sex party, and I hope it will be the last) were given some chocolate to eat, then shortly afterwards a small number of light sabres and swords were handed out. The inevitable ensued. Those four or five children who could not properly join in the battle because they did not have weapons turned to pinning the oldest child against a fence and trying to choke him. My kid was helping with the choking, and as he often does, shouting instructions to the others at the same time. He has very sophisticated communication skills!

As you know, I work in a war memorial. There, around the topic of mass violence, there is no awkwardness or embarrassment. It's discussed incessantly, and among the people who are involved in that discussion are people who have killed human beings, people whose friends have been killed in front of them, anti-war activists, peace campaigners, people who have been shot, stabbed, bombed, and lost limbs, people with PTSD, career servicemen and women, conscripts and volunteer enlisters, war nuts, ex-military peacekeepers, people bereaved by war, refugees from war, and offspring and family members of people in those categories too. This is in stark contrast to the world where I live and where Lenny goes to school, where I think there is almost nothing but awkwardness and embarrassment about discussing fighting, especially the fighting that is done by kids. (I'm not talking about breakdance fighting, obviously that is totally ok.)

When I see children fighting, and using toys that adults have given them to fight with, I'm not shy about intervening. This morning I gave the kids rules about how to play so that they would not actually hit and hurt each other, and I enforced them. Add to the bingo card a bullshit conversation about how boys are innately interested in fighting so what can you do?



Tangentially related, at least in my mind:  this is very good news.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Statuary Friday, vol 2 no 1 (Autumn 2017)

Ok here's my project or perhaps it's a meme: though I doubt if anything qualifies as a meme if only one person is onto it. Well, anyway, every Friday I do a different piece of sculpture selected from the vast numbers littered around lovely Melbourne. My only criteria are: it must be outdoors, it must be more or less permanent, and it must be in a publicly accessible location.

# 2.1 fiction

Corner of Brunswick & Bell Sts, Fitzroy



This little sculpture is almost certainly one of Will Coles's. It's a cast concrete bible with the word 'fiction' engraved into the front cover. It's glued to the ground, at the base of an antique cast-iron lamp post, on a bluestone corner island at the intersection of chi Brunswick St with the street of the most very expensivest real estate that money can buy in the inner north. (Yeah yeah, the corner that Gorman is on. No comment on what I was doing hanging around there.)



So far, so very familiar the constellation of cliched self-satisfaction. You don't need me to spell it out for you.

By the look of things, this unauthorised bit of street sculpture has been there for quite a while. There's a bit of moss growing in the intersection of the sculpture with the ground. The moss is oily, dirty, grey, stunted and harassed-looking but it will probably outlive all of us. The corners are bumped and knocked in a way that quite nicely echoes what happens to real books that get lots of use and handling and not much shelf time. At some point a sticker was stuck on the top - no doubt something displaying one of the pearls of right-on wisdom drawn from the back cover of the Anarchists' Readers Digest which are splattered all over the nearby lamp post: "CHALLENGE your PREJUDICES" etc. The sticker on the sculpture has mostly washed off leaving a slightly furry white papery rectangle which emphasises that single word of commentary, 'fiction'.

'fiction'

lol.

You say that like it's a bad thing.



Pointing out that the bible is 'fiction' does two things, neither of them helpful it must be said, but both kind of interesting.

First, it's just redundant. An ahistorical category error. The concept of fiction, as a contract between reader and text structuring assumptions about whether the text does or doesn't contain facts and actualities, postdates the writing, compilation and dissemination of the bible by about a thousand years. I would think that only a tiny, fringe minority of those who read the bible now would read it as a factual narrative (in those places where it is narrative). The categories that matter to reading the bible are different:

In earlier times, when we divided narrative into the secular and the sacred, factuality and invention were both considered to be properties of the former, and Truth the quality of the latter. With the decline of a consensus opinion concerning Truth, the difference between fact and fiction began to take on more importance, and we took to dividing narrative into fiction and nonfiction.
Right, so that's Ursula Le Guin, in an essay written in 1982. (from The Wave in the Mind) One of the essential thinkers of our time on this issue, imo. At the time of that writing, and since, most recently just a few weeks ago, she's spoken out broadly against the erosion in our culture of a clear sense that words like truth, facts, real, lies, false, invented have precise and consequential meanings, and more specifically, against the notion that "alt-facts" and other recent descriptors for political lying have any overlap with fiction, which is invented, which does not pretend to be real, but nevertheless is "a way of trying to describe what is in fact going on." That's my second problem with this sculpture. Fiction is a scapegoat word, and it doesn't work.

Dear reader, perhaps you are thinking, Laura, why u lay such a heavy on this little bit of art? Well, dear reader, this is what Statuary Friday is all about: taking nice things that brighten everyone's day, and interpreting them to slow, agonising, drawn-out death. Also, I stubbed my toe on that fricking thing.










Thursday, 16 March 2017

In the bin

It's a good thing that this is a four day week, because I am utterly wiped out. I'm always a bit confused in the aftermath of public holidays but this week is extra disjointed because Monday head-shrinking didn't happen, and then Wednesday yoga was also cancelled, which is most unfortunate, as my spine is now too stiff for me to do a full twist and check to see whether I do in fact have a big sign on my back that says "Be rude to me" as a string of otherwise baffling episodes occurring during the day would appear to suggest. I'm coming down with a cold and I need to get some good solid resting time in, over the next day or two, to stop it becoming an epic three-week affair. Good things have been happening to me but I don't think I shall describe them here, except to say that I have a new pair of boots and they are pleasing me greatly, and the editor appears to like the piece I wrote in such a frenzy over the last few days, which is a great relief.

 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Love is a murderer, love is a murderer, but if she calls you tonight, everything is all right

When I got home this afternoon there was a letter waiting for me. From La Trobe. I felt sick opening it. I was thinking, hey what kind of fuckery is this? what more could they possibly want from me? What pissy little pound of flesh have they scrabbled up a demand for now?

But what the envelope contained was a letter, actually quite nicely and politely written for La Trobe, noting that my affiliation as an honorary fellow had lapsed at some point in the confusion created by the recent unpleasantness, and inviting me to complete the enclosed paperwork to have it activated again for the next three years.

I loved La Trobe. So much. The campus is what I loved, but over time the campus meant what it meant because of the library, the lecture theatres, the tutorial rooms, the explorations I made there, the shared imaginations, the stories people told, the meandering conversations, the friendships, the fights, the laughter, the power struggles, the gossip, the work, the frustrations, the deepening of all these things with the passing of time. The Leonard French glass at the bus stop and Inge King in the moat. Menzies. The tall windows open to the setting sun and the birds in the trees. And the Agora, the brown bricks, the ducks.  It felt like home, and it was. More than home in some ways. I loved it from the first, 1993, to the last, 2015. Belonging there always invited a confusion between reality and dreams. It was the easiest place in the world to fall into a reverie and stay in it all day (yes, even through several hours of teaching, once you got good at it.)

The last time I was on the campus it was a weekend. I was there, alone, to clear out the last few bits of my stuff (I'd worked there for fourteen years - there was a lot of stuff) and to push my office key under the Dean's door. I did what I needed to do, and went for a walk outside before getting in the car and driving away. I remember looking at the sky through the trees around the Dante sculpture and feeling dazed with pain. I'd cried so much in the days leading up to this one that the tears leaked out any time I thought about what was happening. I still couldn't believe this was the end of the road for me and the university. I couldn't think about what it would be to not come here and work any more. I'd seen enough people go, after good and even great careers, in grief and bitterness, to know that being thrown away happens to lots of academics and it doesn't say anything about the value and meaning of what they'd spent all those years of their lives in doing. But this felt orders of magnitude more cruel, not just because it was happening to me this time, but also because my departure was just one insignificant garbage bag in the vast and incomparably ugly rubbish tip of a restructure that was going down. It lacked even the dignity of a personalised insult.

I felt like I'd lost everything. Doesn't that sound melodramatic? I was over-invested in the place, this is the truth. Also, I should acknowledge that La Trobe paid me a shitload of money to fuck off, and if I'd resisted that and fought harder, maybe I could have stayed. I also want to remember that the life I led as an academic entailed poisonous levels of stress and anxiety, especially after I became a mother, and I am still amazed at how much nicer life is on the outside of that cycle of abuse. But, I left, and for a long time afterwards, this was incredibly hard to come to terms with.

I think opening that letter this afternoon might have drawn a line underneath something, namely a long phase of feeling betrayed and rejected by La Trobe tailing off into not thinking or caring about it any more. The letter itself just seemed so free of angst and loadedness. So pleasantly neutral, so civil, so unheated. I'd known for ages that my honorary status had broken down somehow, and it has been very inconvenient not having easy access to a research library, but I'd assumed that it was withdrawn deliberately as part of some sort of baroque strategy for putting honoraries into their places. (This is in fact how honoraries were treated while I was working there, so not as paranoid an assumption as it might sound.) And I thought I would have to grovel and beg, and moreover have to trundle figuratively around the university grovelling and begging to many different people, to have it reactivated. Turns out not to be so. It feels pretty OK to have received a letter from La Trobe and not to have to hate the place after reading it, it really does. Maybe I'll even go out there one day.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Le huge sigh, le massive fricking eyeroll

I missed a deadline last Thursday afternoon, through absolutely no fault of my own I have to say, and got an extension till Wednesday morning (ie tomorrow.) Then there was craft camp, and I took my writing with me knowing I wouldn't do it, and I didn't.

Then I worked on it today at work, but today was like every day at work - one full-time job dealing with the day as it unfolds, plus another full-time job running full steam alongside the first one, in managing the bigger picture. So I got some of it done, but not enough.

Then I got home and there was about four hours of family and household work to do. Now I'm having to finish this thing, and I'm remembering exactly how much I could not deal with this aspect of academic work. The aspect of it's 10 pm the night before, and I just want to sleep, but I still have too much thinking and writing to do, and the worst bit is I would like to do it justice but I only have time to do a very average job. That one.

I also remember that when it got to this sort of point, scrawling down the aaarrrgh and flinging it up on the blog, exactly like a message in a bottle chucked into the ocean, sometimes used to help. Fingers crossed it helps still.

Monday, 13 March 2017

footwear log, apres craft camp edition

I said I wouldn't stoop to shoeblogging my horrible Birkenstocks so post ergo propter hoc



So unspeakably ugly

shudder


Pictures from Lancefield

Tried hard to find a way to post photographs while in Lancefield, like really really hard.  (I don't have the Blogger app on my phone.) Here's a great swathe of the pictures I took that I wanted to publish. 




I'm fully aware that nobody will be very interested in looking much at them, not even me really. Taking pictures like these is as easy as breathing. Consequently we are all awash in them. These are kind of crappy, certainly in comparison to the actual living scenes, and in even in comparison to phone camera photos taken by someone with a more purposeful approach to making a picture that actually conveys something. 


Why did I take them? Why did I want so much to put them here? 

(I wrote 'put' because I couldn't decide between 'share' or 'post' - words that close down the question of whether this blog is me talking to myself or whether I'm talking to other people, and I want to keep that open.) 

You need to keep in mind that when I ask questions like that, I know they are plonker questions, but I have whacked a great big orange inflatable pair of parentheses around that issue for the time being. Also, my curiosity about these things is real, but on the whole fairly mild. Not 'urgent', 'pressing' etc.


Perhaps also worth keeping in mind that today is Monday and my doctor is away doing god knows what god knows where with god knows whom. So the conversation with myself is no doubt getting a bit loaded. If I really was as smart as all that I would be making better use of this opportunity to commandeer my own analysis and really get some solid work done. On the trip home I suddenly thought, I should have used some of the time away from everything that has just ended to think quietly about what I really want. Oh shit, and oops. Too late for that now.


Ahem, as I was saying, about these ok but not that interesting pictures. Around about the time digital cameras got good memory capacity I had a bit of a revelation: I didn't actually need to take home all the amazing bizarro crap and tat I would see in op shops and garage sales, I could just photograph it and enjoy it that way. 



Working this out about taking pictures of things instead of physically acquiring them probably saved me from a life where all the rooms in the house are full and there is a two-foot gap at the top of each doorway where you sort of slide through from one roiling seething morass of hoarded things to the next. It's actually pretty bad in this house with the weird old crap as it is.

Photographing a place where you've been and you've felt something is a bit the same way. The photo is a standin for the practice of consumption of one sort of another. In Lancefield I felt what I am always feeling these days: 


when there's a bit of psychic space - a break from work, family, just dealing, whoosh!, in it floods, the yearning, yearning, yearning. Your basic, generic desire. Wanting something, I don't know what. Well, I sort of do, but I think the yearning is primal and the surface content to some extent is incidental. Which in itself is a little bit sad. There are lots of ways of describing this need, or urge or whatever it is. In one register, it's FOMO; in another really annoying register, which after all this time I still don't really want to accept as valid because it's so bloody dispiriting, it's the infant needing the breast. Whatever it's called, it hurts and it's real, and it is always waiting for a chance to get into me and be felt, felt, felt, felt, felt. 

That's what these pictures are of.


So, when you look at this sunset, or these gum leaves, if you have made it this far which I rather doubt, you may wish to view it as not just an innocuously pretty scene, perhaps you might also think about what was happening inside to person holding the phone. Or you may not. 


Entirely up to you. Enjoy your day. x

The sign on the door says stay away fools

Not a lot to say this evening but in the interests of giving Lancefield the credit it's due, the crazy noisy racket of planes and cars that marred Friday night is almost all gone now what I can hear is crickets, lots of them, a magpie singing softly to itself, and a single dog barking. There, it's stopped now. The moon is still hidden behind clouds and I am disappointed about that, but otherwise, the evening air out here in the dark paddock is so delicate and seductive that I can almost - almost - understand why people leave the city and come out to live in places like this. I lay I the yard for an hour this afternoon, watching the colours change in the sky and on the inside of my eyelids, and I thought, I don't want to leave here. I felt peaceful. It's a state of mind, of course, but intimately connected to the place. Lancefield is on the way to nowhere,unless you
Consider Puckapunyal to be somewhere, but it used to be the centre of the known world. Turns out the largest of the hills across the plain actually is Mt William, where the first people quarried greenstone for axe heads and met to trade and conduct politics. Sometimes when I think about how badly we white people have fucked everything up I feel that it's for the best that most of this country's ancient centres and sites of power are quiet now. Their time will come again, and soon perhaps. Meanwhile the thought of a shack in a quiet country place is intensely appealing. Home tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

It's still really beautiful here

Not much moonlight tonight owing to cloud cover. I had such a good day today. Began with unplanned and unselfconscious yoga in my pyjamas in a paddock. I don't think I have ever actually saluted the sun before.  I had a cup of coffee with me and drank in between asanas. Yoga is one of those things, like eating tofu and like not dyeing my hair, that I like best when it can be indulged or practiced in a manner or context which is pleasantly balanced between its innate wholesomeness and a thoroughly unwholesome variation or adaptation of my own devising. This morning I left my glasses there on the ground in the paddock and forgot about them, eventually remembered though and retrieved them before they were snaffled by a large crow which was standing beside them when I went back. Much of the rest of the day has been spent leaning forward over needlework and getting nicely drunk, so to round it off I will finish sewing the fastenings on the very pretty 1940s dress I have been working on today, have another quiet gin and tonic in the abandoned sewing studio(everyone else is in bed, I think) then go outside and do some drunk yoga in the paddock in the dark. Back bends are go.....