Wednesday, 27 January 2016


I kinda like maths. I was okay at it at school and even now am fond of some decent data and stats.

I'm also aware of the tragic stat that says 47% of Australian don't have the literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills to get through everyday life. (My spelling might just put me in the category, so I'm not judging!!) There was also a news article recently that employers are fed up with appalling maths and literacy skills leading to work littered with errors.

But is it any wonder when popular TV programs like Sunrise, serve up numbers like these??

Frankly, I was horrified.

Is there anyone there at a presenter or producer level who looked at those numbers and yelled WTF???

By my reckoning, once you've saved 100% it's free - so how the heck can you save up to 5714%??

Did they have the Year 10 work experience kid doing the sums? Even then I'd expect a kid above Grade 6 to know better.

Shame Sunrise, shame.

(BTW, FYI the savings are, from top to bottom: 83%, 70%, 80% and 98%)

The person working out these equations clearly sees maths like this:

Monday, 18 January 2016

Need a laugh? Pop into the vet.

When I say 'laugh', I don't mean that slightly hysterical, nervous laugh you involuntarily emit when they tell you how much you owe them - because if you have a pet, that's axiomatic.

I seriously believe the veterinary clinic has been overlooked as a sitcom opportunity, evidenced by one of my pre-Christmas stints in the waiting room. Picture this:

A heavily decaled station wagon, with palm trees, tropical flowers, blue skies and a Paradise Pet Resort branding rolls into the car park. An extremely large man dressed in black pants and a black shirt with the resort's logo embroidered on the pocket heaves himself out of the car and lumbers in. It would have been so much funnier if he'd talked in  Little Britain-type camp voice - he didn't but you can pretend.

Good morning, he says to the girl behind the desk. I'm John from the Paradise Pet Resort.... I have a booking for Tipsy and Mr Pickles.
Ah! she replied. Yes, Tipsy is here but I haven't seen Mr Pickles this morning. Let me give his owner a call and see where he is.

She catches one of the nurses as she goes past. Could you get Tipsy ready to go to the resort, please?

She then makes the call and it's clear she has to leave a message: Hi, it's Chrissy from the vet, just wondering if Mr Pickles will be here shortly? His transfer to the resort has arrived and will be leaving in about 15 minutes. If you could give us a call that'd be great. If he doesn't make it this morning, there's another transfer on Wednesday. Thank you.

As Tipsy was brought to reception in a cage and unceremoniously slid into the back of the car, no one was laughing, everyone was very serious and business-like. You'd think they were transferring guests at The Mirage in Fiji.

Is this what they do at a cat resort??

There does seem to be an unspoken competition for who can give their cat the silliest name (and surely 'Gary' is up there) but I don't think I could have those kinds of conversations without at least a little giggle. Perhaps they're all immune.

As I was leaving, a lady came in with a small child; We're here to collect Sizzle.  Of course they were!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Essential Summer Reading

How's your summer reading going?

I've ticked two must-reads off my list so far; my car's manual and Jane Austen's Persuasion.

The first was quite the revelation! I didn't even know I had fog lights, but now, should I ever find myself in fog, I know I have them... and how to switch them on! I've also resolved the pesky issue of a side mirror that's always on the wrong angle - apparently I'd inadvertently set it like that as part of my seating preference. Who'd have thought? Anyway, if you get time, it may not be well crafted and there's certainly no great use of language but reading about all the buttons in your car can turn out to be a pretty good use of reading time.

Just to break things up, I also read Persuasion. Elle's doing English Literature this year so I said I'd read the books too, because as you know, I have an opinion!

The first 20 or so pages were heavy going, I concede, but much like watching a Shakespearean film, after the first bit your brain seems to miraculously adapt and you're away! I actually quite enjoyed it, but not having 'studied' a book since I was at school, it'll be interesting to see if I can answer any questions other than who ended up with who! (It's okay - no spoilers here just in case you're chomping at the bit to read it!)

Next on the list is Richard Flanagan's Wanting. I've only just started and it's already harrowing.

But... I am already feeling very smug as I've spotted the connection! They both have one-word titles. Surely that's it??

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Old dog.

I'm so sick of that cat Gary, I'm moving on to another topic for now; old dogs. And by that, naturally, I mean me!

So can you teach an old dog new tricks?

If I was a dog, this really could be me!!!

I was contemplating exactly this as I practised my tennis serve last week.

Elle and I had 10 lessons over a few months late last year and even the coach said that what would really help was not more lessons, but more practice putting what we'd learnt into practice. Let's see how that goes in 2016! But while I was trying to serve with a grip that felt very unfamiliar, I did wonder how much you're expected to take out of lessons. I was told a lot of things over the 10 hours and I'm not convinced I retained that much at all.

We had a ski guide for half a day in Japan a couple of years ago. I'd previously avoided ski lessons. I know I'm pretty crap and about as stylish as baked beans on toast, but I'm also okay with that. I'm 'comfortable'. So it was a bit of a surprise when the guide turned out to be much more instructor than expected. Still, it did make me think a bit harder about technique although again, I'm not sure I retained a hell of a lot.

Last year I had my running technique reviewed in the hope I could lift my pace. I'm now quite the expert on the theory - but sadly, my practise isn't much improved. I know what I need to do and frankly, being a heck of lot fitter would probably be a good start!!

And finally there's rowing. Not exactly the kind of sport you can pop out and practice on your own, but with an hours intense coaching every week or two, I think that's the one activity that I have shown some significant improvement - or maybe it was just relative to where I started?!

Have you had lessons for anything? How much did you take away? Please share!

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...