366 unusual things: days 264 – 268

20th Sep – Looked at a lagoon and a lizard on a log.

Frill-necked lizard, Korora Bay, NSW

21st Sep – Saw four dead gum trees on the clifftop boardwalk in front of a mansion with million-dollar views.  A huge Council sign says:  “These trees have been POISONED”.

22nd Sep – After 14 months of searching for an out-of-print book, I’ve obtained an 1867 edition, its spine broken, back cover torn, but entire.

23rd Sep – Heard on a documentary that enough sunlight falls on Australia in two days to power the whole world for a year.

24th Sep – An author sent me a manuscript to read and is eager to know if I’ll translate it.  Oh yeah!

366 unusual things: days 259 – 263

15th Sep – At a chocolate shop/café my cup of coffee came with melted chocolate dribbled, apparently decoratively, down the outside of the cup.  It ended up on my fingers in a great mess.

16th Sep – Went to a church in this seaside town where we are holidaying.  It looked conservative from the outside but the music was hypnotic, the last song line repeated 16 times, and the preacher didn’t preach;  he prayed for troubled souls until they fell on the floor.  I’ve heard of this but never seen it before.

17th Sep – Walking to the beach we passed a refugee and his sons.  We smiled and said Hi;  he hesitated, nodded ever so slightly, but didn’t smile.  I wondered what he was thinking.

18th Sep – Found out that a short piece I submitted to a magazine has been published, including two photos which I had taken for this blog.  Only, they attributed the writing to another Trish!  The editor promised to place a correction in the next issue.

19th Sep – Went to the porpoise pool and got kissed by a dolphin and a seal.

366 unusual things: days 254 – 258

10th Sep – Early in the afternoon, went to a beach where there were 4 people on the sand and 3 in the water.  Late in the afternoon, went to a Point recommended for its sunset, where 4 people were watching it and 3 were gutting fish.

Zenith Beach, Port Stephens, NSW.  The figure on the sand is me.
Sunset, Soldiers Point, Port Stephens, NSW.  The figure on the rocks is a stranger.

11 Sep – In a park, beside a sign declaring it an alcohol-free zone, a group of people were drinking tallies under an old fig tree.

12 Sep – Currently reading or listening to 4 novels:  The Brothers Karamazov;  The Pickwick Papers;  Spiridion;  Le Bouclier rouge.  Sometimes I confuse the plots.

13 Sep – Had coffee in a converted church called ‘The Flying Nun’.  The woman behind the counter looked like a man and the man looked like a woman.

14 Sep – On a small truck with ‘Outback Queensland’ plates:  Bugger this. I’m goin piggin.

366 unusual things: days 249 – 253

5th Sep – When the door of my student’s house opened to me, I saw her waiting, her long blond hair plaited down her back.  Her mother, also with long blond hair plaited down her back, was standing behind her brother, plaiting his long blond hair.

6th Sep – In 2 books in 2 days I’ve read that I should take my time when reading, don’t go too fast, have the time to read, ask why the author chose one word over another.

7th Sep – Went to a jazz concert with my son.  Never done that before.

8th Sep – At a professional development session about Aboriginal English I had a long conversation in French.

9th Sep – Today we drove to our holiday destination.  Arrived at the moment of a wide, horizontal orange sunset identical to the one in the ad for this place.

366 unusual things: days 244-248

31st Aug – In a café I had a choice of sitting inside with people, heating, loud music, louder voices, coffee grinding and crockery washing, or of sitting  alone in a cold, outer room.  Which I did.  Like a hermit.  It was quiet.

1st Sep – Watched  a young neighbour skip rope vigorously, a cigarette firmly held between her lips.  Without removing it she dropped the rope and flipped into a  handstand.

2nd Sep – A violent movie is playing in this room;  I have my back to it.  Earlier, when I approached the armchair to watch it, my young adult son cautioned me, ‘Oh, Mum …’, and I took the hint and walked away.  Not many years ago it was me warning him!  Perhaps the censors should create a rating for parents like me:  FG – Filial guidance recommended.

3rd Sep – Outside the library while I was waiting for someone another woman was waiting for someone;  she was red black red black in a brief red top, black trousers, red socks and black thongs.  After a long while she gave in to the cool air and put on a cardigan, pulling it up over the right shoulder but not the left, which was tattooed.

4th Sep – Sticker on a small tradesman’s truck in front of me:  A work horse, not a show pony.

366 unusual things: days 234-238

21st Aug – A Year 12 student arrived for a lesson today dressed in gym clothes with her cleavage pushed up and out like a French Madame from the 1800s.

22nd Aug – Received a letter from Germany with a Queen Victoria half penny stamp stuck on the envelope.

23rd Aug – One of my students wants to become an accountant and travel to the Mediterranean and beyond, using her accounting skills.

24th Aug – Noticed that when I shop at a shopping mall and run into someone, they are always in a hurry to get away.  But if I run into someone at the fruit and vegetable markets, they are free to chat and are never rushing to be somewhere else.

25th Aug – Today I emailed a guy in Heliopolis, Cairo about some photos I have of his suburb;  he was stoked and asked me to send them.  This is the first time I’ve ever communicated with someone in Egypt.

366 unusual things: days 229-233

16th August – Received a request to translate a very interesting children’s book, unpaid.  (This is not as unusual as I wish it was.)

17th August – Snowed for half an hour.  This is the first time I’ve seen snow in this city for more than 10 years.

18th August – Someone who ‘liked’ one of my blog posts was looking for postgraduates to do a survey on career prospectives.  So I did it.

19th August – Spoke to an Alpaca farmer who had nails painted in a leopard pattern.

20th August – Driving home tonight I heard a meditation therapist interviewed on radio.  He gave a few minutes of instruction in meditation and  I did everything he said, except close my eyes.  I wondered if the other drivers around me were listening to the same station.

366 unusual things: days 224-228

11th August – My oldest son is composing a piece of piano music.  I’ve never known a composer before.  He’s posted it on his blog:  http://lukeworth.wordpress.com/

12th August – Saw a tiny finch digging in a planter box hanging from my porch. I looked in and found a slanting tunnel dug out beside the pansies.

13th August – When we read in a grammar exercise that King Charles Spaniels are named after Charles II, my ten year-old student told me that King Charles II liked to party.  She learnt it on Horrible Histories.

14th August – A male and female finch are sitting on the winter-bare branches by my window.  Now and then the female flits over to the planter box and scrapes a few more grains of soil out while the male stands guard on the branch just above.  Now I have an unusual problem:  how can I water my pansies without the tunnel collapsing?

Male and female finches nest-building in a planter box

15th August – Researched a holiday resort online and found many variations in prices for the same room, same dates.  Rang the resort and told the owner we’ve stayed there several times over the past 25 years;  he gave me a $200/week discount.

366 unusual things: days 219-223

6th August – Currently watching the documentary Shoah by Claude Lanzmann, all 9 hours of it, for an hour and a half each night.  Each night I’m also learning German online.

7th August – This morning I woke when it was dark and looked at my clock’s glow-in-the-dark hands:  6 o’clock.  After a long time waiting for the sun to rise, I looked at the clock again:  2 o’clock.  The clock hands, the first time, must have actually said 12.30 am.

8th August – Through my window I watched a man arrive in a black car wearing a black suit and very black glasses. He had a quiet conversation with two guys in hoodies, then opened his car door and invited them to get in, gently touching one on the back, a reluctant passenger.  The car moved away slowly.

9th August – A Superb Fairy-wren just landed on my windowsill.  Never seen this in the 15 years I’ve been here.  It’s female and looks like a fat flying mouse with a vertical tail.

10th August – Heard a story on the news about a Dalmatian breeder who also owns a newborn Dorper lamb which has black spots on a white-based coat (normally they have a black head on a white body).  The lamb’s mother has rejected it, but a female Dalmatian has adopted it, licking it every now and then.  The lamb has tried to nuzzle up to her udder.

Julie Bolton's dalmation has taken on the mothering duties of this lamb that was born with black spots

366 unusual things: days 214-218

1st August – Two people in my house eat apples every day.  One likes Pink Lady, the other likes Gala.  Whichever type is in the fridge, someone’s not happy.  If I buy Fuji or Red Delicious, no one eats them.

2nd August – The mother who wanted to get her daughter ‘moving forward’ (see my unusual thing of 27th July) forgot to send her daughter to me for her first lesson.  She was flat out, she said, and simply forgot.  Too busy moving forward.

3rd August – Some new face cream I bought says it ‘Prolongs youthful appearance with age-defying AHA’s’.  Aha!

4th August – At the local café there are two widescreen TVs on the walls of a small space, both set to a sporting match, not the same one, and loudish rock music plays through the sound system.

5th August – Watched The Diary of Anne Frank. (I’ve never been able to get through the book.)  I learnt that she wrote prolifically in her diary because she wanted to be a writer.  Indeed, she unwittingly became one.