366 unusual things: days 304 – 308

30th Oct – I’ve watched every 7 Up episode since I was 7, and today I watched the latest, 56 Up.  Michael Apted didn’t plan it this way in the beginning, but thanks to his perseverance, every 7 years I catch up with people I’ve known since I was a child.

31st Oct – There’s a Halloween party for 20 children under way next door.  This is unusual where I live.

1st Nov – Tutoring a student in a college library, we were asked to leave for recess.  The library closed for 15 minutes.  Who made up that rule?

2nd Nov – A tutoring agency asked me to fill in my details on a page entitled “Teachers Backend”.

3rd Nov – In the last two years my neighbour in the Housing flats has had two babies.  The father has taken them away to another town.  She accepts it;  she has no money to get them back or even to go and see them.  Her life is so different from mine.

366 unusual things: days 299 – 303

25th Oct – When I turn my computer on it grunts like a quietly spoken pig.

26th Oct – At the post office, the woman in front of me was paying her bills in cash.  They totalled $2,100.  It was a long wait while the clerk counted the notes.

27th Oct – Spent two hours researching and writing a blog post of about 400 words.  When I submitted it I received a ‘like’ a literal half-second later.  Not enough time to read even one word.

28th Oct – During the silent prayer time in church, a strange voice called out, ‘WHAT THE…’.  It was an irreverent ring tone on an unsilenced mobile phone.

29th Oct – One of my young students living on a large property has trouble sleeping.  Herds of kangaroos hop right up to his window and snort in the darkness.

366 unusual things: days 294 – 298

20th Oct – On someone else’s computer I saw, for the first time, an advertisement on my blog.  It’s for an expensive car.  My husband reckons the car maker chose my blog for its readers.

21st Oct – Some kangaroos love the beach as much as I do.

Kangaroos, Murramarang Resort, Murramarang National Park, NSW

22nd Oct – A man I know who was from childhood a practising atheist, and who in recent years became a Protestant, has recently been baptised as a Catholic.  A coincidence for me – I’ve just translated a story about a character who did exactly that.

23rd Oct – 30th wedding anniversary today.

24th Oct – A female politician (the PM) has loudly accused a male politician (L of the O) of being a misogynist and sexist.  Yet I heard today that he cycles long distances every year to raise buckets of money for good causes including breast cancer research, a women’s shelter and Carers Australia.

366 unusual things: days 289 – 293

15th Oct – Thought it would be easy to change my blog header, but, searching for a new photo to suit the long rectangle form, I found only one that had an interesting horizontal slice.  Still, it’s now in place and reminding me of a very good day I once spent in Collioure, France.

16th Oct – Today I was pleased to see high up in my spruce tree an adult magpie and its fluffy-chested baby.  It was some consolation to know she had one left after my dog killed her other chick last week.  Bad dog.

17th Oct – At a student’s house today, her spoodle, a good dog, was sitting in a leather armchair like a person, its elbow leaning on the arm of the chair.

18th Oct – On the ancestry site today I found photos of my great-grandparents!

19th Oct – Asked a 12-year old student, a new migrant, to invent a bug and name it with a made-up name.  She called it Justin Bieber.

Ailsa's travel photo challenge: Couples

For her photo challenge this week, Ailsa showed us some couples captured on camera:  a couple hand-in-hand on the beach and various other couples, human and non-human.  http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/10/19/travel-theme-couples/

When my father was in the Middle East he was surrounded by men and nurses.  Mostly men.  Sometimes they were soldiers in a war;  sometimes they were larrikins.  (The Australian Oxford Dictionary’s definition of larrikin is ‘a person who acts with apparent disregard for social or political conventions’.)

These soldiers look like they’re on a roof.  Don’t tell me they’re acting as Bathsheba bathing on the roof and King David wooing her with his flute!  Well, then, they’re imitating one of history’s most famous couples.  I seem to remember that Bathsheba was beautiful…

366 unusual things: days 284 – 288

10th Oct – This morning I typed for an author writing about an ancient document written in gold, emerald and purple.  Tonight I translated a passage about an ancient manuscript written in gold, azure and purple.

11th Oct – Read that almost half the population of the Pacific region is living in poverty.

12th Oct – Got locked out when I was doing some gardening.

13th Oct – Today I completed the first draft of my first book translation.  Woo hoo!

14th Oct – A Sydney teacher has just received a Guinness Book of Records award as the oldest active teacher in the world.  He’s 99.

Ailsa's travel photo challenge: On display

Ailsa has shown us some colourful displays she’s seen on her travels.  They’re worth a long look:  http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/10/12/travel-theme-on-display/

She’s asked us, too, to find a photo of a display that would be good to share.

Strolling through Paris one Sunday afternoon, heading for Place Vendôme to see where the rich do their shopping (though not on Sundays when everything’s closed, as I found), I was stopped in my tracks by this window display.  Someone with an eye for the beauty of repetition has found a new use for old Singer sewing machines, technological marvels that produced clothes faster than human hands.  Their black and gold and curvy bodies fill the windows to the ceiling on both fronts of the street corner.

When I was 5, I was taught to sew by a professional dressmaker (my sister), but I had to wait until I was 12 to get my own sewing machine, a Singer treadle.  I made clothes on it until I started work at 15 when I bought an electric one, which I still use… That Sunday, the sight of all these old machines had me believing this was a tailor’s shop, and I would have gone in if it were open.  But  a little Internet research this morning reveals it’s a clothes shop.  I’ve found photos of similar window displays in the US for the same company, All Saints Spitalfields.

Next time I’ll stroll down Rue Etienne Marcel during the week, and go in, but not to buy.  I want to look at the window display from the inside.

Window display of Singer sewing machines, All Saints Spitalfields, Paris

366 unusual things: days 279 – 283

5th Oct – Heard this morning that Rwanda has more females in parliament than any other country – about 56%.

6th Oct – At the clothing shop where my son works, several members of the Rebels bikie gang came in to buy jeans, black only.  And shirts, also black.  And long-sleeved – “Don’t wanna look like a faggot.”

7th Oct – Today I read a blog written in three languages.  http://lespetitspasdejuls.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/oh-my-god-im-a-teacher/

8th Oct – Met a girl today in the flesh.  I’d previously claimed I hadn’t met her, though we’d been introduced on Skype.  Can you say you’ve met someone if it was on Skype?

9th Oct – Asked 2 libraries to get me books from interstate; both of them charge $16.50 for 2 weeks’ borrowing.  But I’ve also found the books for sale online and can buy second-hand copies for less than the library charges, and they won’t take much longer to arrive from overseas than books from interstate.

366 unusual things: days 274 – 278

30th Sep – Listened to a beautiful voice singing ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ to the tune of Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’.  This can also be done with ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and the theme from Gilligan’s Island.  Keep the tunes, change the words.

1st Oct – Watched one of many episodes of a documentary about the Amish.  It’s unusual that so many thousands of people manage to remain separate from the rest of the Western world.  But for a safe and healthy life, the price is living with motorless transport and gas lanterns and fetching water.  Not to mention hands-off courtships.

2nd Oct – After watching several episodes about the Amish, I chose not to drive my car today because I have a perfectly functional pushbike.  I didn’t regret riding it.

3rd Oct – An author I work for always closes the door to the room where we work in her house, even though no one else is there.

4th Oct – Read about King Solomon’s 1000 women.  ‘Solomon held fast to them in love,’ the writer of 1 Kings tells us.  For a thousand nights he could hold fast to a different woman each night, then start again.  Wonder what the Amish think about him…

366 unusual things: days 269 – 273

25th Sep – My son recited pi to 81 decimal places.

26th Sep – My Chinese student gave me a box of Moon Cakes to celebrate mid-autumn (in mid-spring).  Normally they have a dried raw egg at the centre – that’s the moon.  Mine are moonless.

27th Sep – In my husband’s car, a song title, incorrectly entered by someone in the process of ripping my CD, appeared on a digital screen in the centre of the dash, in big letters, as “Chest of Draws” instead of “Chest of Drawers” by Jenny Biddle.  It’s one of my favourite songs so I looked out the window until it was over.

28th Sep – Read on a French news site that J.K. Rowling’s new novel was released in English on Thursday and in French on Friday.  That’s confidence in her writing.  And the translator’s.

29th Sep – At the National Portrait Gallery today, saw a new and amazing portrait of the Queen in a reflective mood, painted by an Australian artist, Ralph Heimans.