I'm adapting recent emails in an attempt to ease my guilt at my failure to update for 4 weeks, so apologies if some of you have read some of this before. There have been things going on that have impacted on my ability to put down on erm... screen, what's been happening chez nous. But you're not here for excuses, are you? You're here because you're bored at work, surfing the net, and thinking about your next holiday as the loooong November nights draw in...
My new job is fine, and although I was in limbo somewhat for 3 weeks, covering for another Case Manager who was on leave, before taking on my own caseload a week ago. I feel like I'm there properly now, though there's again tons to learn: how to access services, what the limits my role actually are, etc. etc... think I'm gonna like it.
It's nice to have some time out of the office, manage my own time, and stroll down Acland St, St Kilda, sunshine shining down and bronzing my beautiful but oh-so-white Pommy skin, without worrying if Patient X is about to AWOL, punch someone, or get really agitated and make my life a misery. Not that it's like that all the time on the ward but there's a lot of anticipatory stress and I'm glad to be able to... Ah! Chill... Technically, St Kilda isn't in my patch, but I sometimes get the chance to swing that way [missus].
Finally finding my way round Melbourne, as I get use of a car to go and visit clients at home [nice to say "clients" rather than patients - feels much more egalitarian, even if it isn't really that way, much of the time]. Managed to get quite lost on occasion, but it's coming to me slowly. Will have to get a car eventually, I guess, but not a big priority right now.
Saving for a deposit is our main focus, and despite having gone thru the process of furnishing our apartment from pretty much scratch, we're managing to save pretty well, and have maybe about half our deposit. There's talk of the Federal Govt. reducing or even abolishing the accursed Stamp Duty [which would be a minimum of ten grand or so, even on the cheapest property]. The economics of the situation would probably mean that house prices would be driven up by market forces anyway ["hey honey, we can afford ten grand more"]. And the stupid process of house buying here is something I hate. Auctions all over the place, and the often suggested price is usually a deliberate underestimate by a country mile to stir up interest. Hmm, something to look forward to in the New Year, eh?
Still seeing people from work [t'pub, usually] regularly, and they're a really good bunch. Haven't actually got any new friends who aren't nurses tho... in this funny place of not feeling the right age to look at ways to go out and find new ones, but there's only so much you can talk about work, but we can prattle on forever about the politics and erm... mad stuff that goes on in our odd line of business.
Saw Something for Kate again the other week [Forum], then Tim Finn in a nearly-empty Prince of Wales... and each time I went with women that weren't my wife... yep, friends from work. Good job Claud trusts me. She wasn't up to either gig as she was a) tired and a bit crook; and b) much more fan of Neil rather than Tim.
At the first gig, I got so tired with noisy spectators who were yammering on throughout the set - an irritation of Antipodean epidemic proportions at both gigs here and Aussie bands I've seen in the UK - that I did something very un-me-like. I turned to two of the more exceptional offendors and said "Excuse me. Will you just shut the F@%$ up?". They were both oblivious and incredulous - eyes wide and jaws slack: "Are you serious?!?". Yep. My friend, Pieta, appeared to find it hilarious. I found out why later. They were hitting on her at the time, and obviously thought I was acting up as the macho jealous boyfriend... Oops.
Anyway, we keep missing lots of gigs through torpor and tiredness though. Must do better. Harumph. Things may well improve along with the weather as the incentive to leave the house on warm summer evenings may kick in.
Spring is an odd time here... had days when it's been 30-odd degrees, and others when it's 15 or 16, but it's great to see the sun so regularly. We need rain, as Melbourne has had terrible rainfall over the past few years. Most of it seems to fall in Melbourne Cup season, which gives me a degree of vindictive pleasure, as I am sooooo bored by horse-racing. I just don't get it. The whole place is going Racing Crazy at the mo, with lots of tarted/glammed-up shielas and blokes in ill-fitting suits and [often] awful pale faux-snakeskin shoes [you know, the long curly ones - a bit like Sideshow Bob's] wandering round the City, drinking Rum & Coke mixers at 10 in the morning. We do get the day off on Tuesday tho, so there may be an upside. I just wouldn't bet on it [ha ha].
Went to see NZ vs Aus in the Rugby League Tri-Nations at the Telstra Dome... not paying it was an executive box junket via Claud's work which was nice, fully fed and watered throughout the match. Can't say I'm a big Rugby fan in either codes... for Grammar School boys [Union] and people from Wigan & St Helens only [League], I reckon.. I did watch the second half of Aus v GB last night, and blimey! The Poms won it! Should prefer the honest working class roots of League, of course, but the games's a bit of a funny mix of Union and American Football. Always find it funny when a player's been tackled and they do a seizure-like twitch to get the tackl-ers off them. Happy that my w/c roots don't need justifying... I used to live in a Council House, y'know. And everybody knows [prawn-sandwich munchers excepted] the identity of the one true everyman sport.
Yep, still getting my fix of round-ball footy via Melbourne Victory, and well, it's getting better and better. They've switched most of the games to the Telstra Dome and are getting crowds of 27-33,000, with a great atmosphere and I've got to admit, pretty good quality football. Victory have continued their storming start to the season - 9 wins out of 11, multiple sendings off, comebacks [on Friday "we" were losing 3-2, having played the second half with only 9 men, but equalised with 3 minutes to go. It went off, mate. I went off, mate].
In the Member's Section, where I sit, it's all very "woggy" [I should explain. It's a term used here to describe those with, roughly-speaking, mediterranean roots - Greeks, Italians, Middle Eastern. My wife's a wog due to her Maltese ancestry, so I feel pretty comfortable using the term in her company - but it can be derogatory and I'd be careful to use it in context. Not the same as Black America's reclaiming of the term "nigga", but there's been a degree of proud ownership of the term by the Southern European minorities here, often with a healthy dose of self-depracating humour in with the stereotyping], with lots of boys from the Northern suburbs with awkward be-mulleted spiky crop jobs. After the rather sanitised experience of AFL [Aussie Rules] it seems all a bit feral, in fact. So... I feel right at home, and there are quite a few English fans about too [even an Aussie QPR fan or 3 out there - said hello to one in the toilets at Flinders St on Friday – maybe not the best place to make chums, I know].
Although it's getting better, being there supporting Melbourne rather than QPR still feels a little bit like cheating on my wife. And I'm still struggling to cheer on captain Kevin Muscat [angry, yard-dog type - ex-Millwall, Palace, Glasgow Rangers and Wolves - yes, lovable, cuddly teams, one and all]. That takes it to another level entirely, like doing it with Claud's sister... Bro-in-law Stephen doesn't like the image that conjures up, for some reason... O, and he's explained what "bullying" Muscat experienced when he used to go to school with Steph... they used to beat him up in the tennis courts. And we wonder why he's got anger issues...