December 27, 2011

We made it!

It's funny how having a deadline can push you to achieve what would normally be considered unworkable or unrealistic, isn't it? Sometimes just knowing you need to complete a certain task by a certain time can make all the difference. Otherwise there's no impetus or drive for you to push through and achieve your goal...

But that could just be me.

I can't tell you how many times I have done that in the past, subjecting myself to these crazy mental deadlines - I clearly have a bit of a habit of putting myself under the pump!

However, I am very happy to report that Plan: Installation Flooring and Operation Reorganise House were both successful! I swear sheer stubborn will on my part was partially responsible. Not to mention wonderful organisation and hands-on direction from The Provider to our installers, too.

I think you'll agree, the end result was well worth it:

I am so happy with how it all looks! Exactly like the picture I've had in my head all along. :)

Christmas was awesome at Chez Korol and made all the more special for a couple of reasons: the Groovy Grandma was here and summer finally arrived in Sydney - we had blue skies overhead and sun! The boys eventually roused from slumber at the positively decadent late hour of 9am - a clear sign that the occupants of this house are getting older, perhaps? However, the later start to the day was especially appreciated by me as I had only collapsed into bed at 12.30am that morning!

All my hard work of Christmas Eve doing loads of food prep paid off - the massive glazed ham went straight into the oven, new potatoes cooked on the stove leaving the large bowl of freshly shelled prawns and prepared cold salads sitting ready to serve in the fridge. Voila!

Along with a roast pork neck and baked turkey breast that other members of the family contributed to the lunch, we had MILES of food. Just the perfect build-up before the traditional 'lounging around on the couch in front of the TV' during the afternoon. Noice.

I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas festivities - did Santa treat everyone well? Now we're all looking forward to New Years Eve... I'm so incredibly relieved happy thrilled that there will be no renovating between now and then. LOL.

December 20, 2011

Nothing like Christmas to get you going...

In less than a week I'm having 14 people over to my house for Christmas dinner. We'll toast the day and the season, give thanks for family and friends. The table will be laden with lots of yummy Christmas food, our glasses will be full and afterward, there will be much relaxing on numerous couches positioned in front of the large TV screen, or enjoying the summer sun in deck chairs outside under the pergola. Sounds like the perfect day to me.

Currently though, my back two rooms (rumpus and office) are empty and without floor coverings, the requisite furniture usually in them is stacked wherever there is space in and around my dining room. Boxes of folders, office paraphenalia and toys fill the void under the dining table. DVDs and books are piled on any available flat surface, nestled beside the printer, desktop PC and their neatly coiled cords.

In short, the house looks like a bomb hit it. Twice.

Our empty rumpus room, the office just through that door

For a gal like me who has a 'thing' about having a tidy house, this is a very challenging state of affairs. It has been really difficult to ignore the mess. And the dust! OMFG. Let me just say we would NOT be passing the white glove test right now.

But seeing the concrete floors again reminded me of how life was when we first arrived here. I was pregnant with Son #3 and we'd moved in early to save some much-needed money. The kitchen hadn't been put in, the floors were bare and we'd set up camp in those same back two rooms for three months while the rest of the house was finished. I had an electric fry pan, a microwave and a little gas cooker as my kitchen. (Naturally, the thing I craved the most was a roast dinner but no oven = no roast. *sigh*) It was pretty tough.

I recall having a massive hormonal meltdown a couple of weeks before I was due, tearfully telling the Provider that I simply couldn't bring a newborn baby home to a house with no carpet. He wisely kept his cool, holding me and my burgeoning belly close and telling me not to worry, he'd fix it. We moved upstairs to newly carpeted bedrooms a week later, a mere two days before Son #3 was born. :)

And now we're on yet another renovation journey. It started with me painting over the facebrick walls and repainting the ceiling. New blinds were installed. Carpet and underlay were then removed in preparation for the new floor. And then... uh oh. The discovery of badly uneven concrete beneath the carpet put a bit of a spanner in the works. Installation of the timber floors had to be postponed... concrete had to be attended to... and much stress occurred at the thought of installer not having any time before Christmas! Gah!

However, the Provider came to my rescue yet again, levelling and grinding concrete as needed and arranging for my much-awaited timber floors to be laid this Wednesday. Hooray!

That'll leave me just three days to put my house back together before Christmas lunch. *eyes widen slightly* Crikey. I foresee a looong week ahead. But it'll get done. I'll make sure of it!

So come on, tell me: who else is stupid insane crazy enough to renovate during the silly season?

Merry Christmas all.

December 9, 2011

So... whattaya know?

'Tis the season. My life is jam-packed full of 'stuff' at present; some important, some annoying, some minor and of course, other stuff that is just downright bloody ridiculous. We all seem to have this kind of 'stuff' in our lives, don't we? Especially in December. My mind is working in bullet point form today so here a few thoughts about some of the things I know:

  • Nine days in and summer seems to have forgotten us.

What the hell is with that? Instead of gorgeous summer days we're renowned for at this time of year, Mother Nature has instead dished out torrential rain and cold winds. It's like Christmas in July but in December. FFS. Let's hope it warms up soon or my house may be overtaken by the ever-increasing piles of dirty laundry that the Blokes Wot Live Here are so dedicated in supplying. *sigh*

  •  The boys have only one more week of school.

*calculates* OMG. Which means I have little to NO time left to shop for the little buggers. I do, however, have a plan and a solid list (as you'd expect, lol) so even at this late stage I am still confident of getting it all done. I can shop the absolute bejesus out of a shopping mall if required to, let me tell ya! Not a big fan of this method but when under the pump, you do what you gotta do, right?

  • I have finally painted the rumpus ceiling.

And in the process saved a lot of money. Which is kind of helping with the muscle soreness I'm feeling in my triceps, neck and shoulders. Ceiling looks bloody awesome though and now means we can rip the carpet up and get much-wanted timber flooring installed. Lovely man at flooring shop made my day when he told me they can squeeze my job in NEXT WEEK. *dances*

  • My mother, the Groovy Grandma, arrives next Sunday, the 18th.

She's staying for almost 6 weeks (woo hoo!) so the gender balance in the house will be changed a little more in my favour. Noice. This will mean more girly lunches and coffees out and about; always a good thing. She'll be here for my two oldest boys birthday's in January. Plus she's great for lending a helping hand without being asked and provides lovely chat over a nice cuppa. What more can you ask of a house guest?

  • I have just booked a week away for the family in January.

Yay!! I was a little worried I'd left my run too late this year but was lucky enough to snag a lovely place in Fingal Bay, Port Stephens. The area has water that is the most amazing colour; the kind of place where you can do a lot, or nothing at all; it's all about whatever you fancy. I'll be the one on the beach with a book, reclining on a beach towel and looking all Audrey Hepburn with sunglasses and large sun hat. :)

Enjoy the weekend, darlings. Only 14 sleeps to go!

December 1, 2011

Aussie Chic...

Okay, I'll admit it. I was supposed to be Christmas shopping this morning. I didn't mean to go wandering through those furniture shops imagining how fabulous all those lovely things would look in my house. Really, I didn't. And I only ended up buying a table runner so the damage wasn't too bad. I can always go Christmas shopping tomorrow.

But while I'm at it, I have a question. Can anyone tell me why nearly every homewares/furniture shop I went into was packed with decorator items of a French flavour? I'm talking chock-a-block full. Everywhere. I almost expected to hear 'Non, Je Ne Regret Rien' burst forth from the stores' music speakers, it was so prevalent.

Nothing personal against the French of course, I love France and her people (especially my French friends!) but for the life of me, I can't see why shops seem to think Australians want (or need) to fill their houses with metal replicas of the Eiffel Tower, framed prints of French cafe scenes, distressed French Provincial white furniture or fleur-de-lis print decorator pillows.

I mean, do we? I didn't think so but now....

Is it because designers think we need to make ourselves feel sophisticated? Spend 'X' amount of dollars, whack a French print up on the wall and voila! Behold your instant chic! Surely we are a little more refined than that. (Ignores the invariable 'Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!' chorus going on in the background, lol). Hmmm, who knows.

At any rate, I'll stick with my (mostly) unbreakable metal sculpture pieces, picture frames and candles. In a house full of boys, that's about as sophisticated as it gets around here.

November 22, 2011

One for the girls...

I live in a male-dominated household. Three sons, one husband, one dog. It's like total bloke city here. The only splash of pink in an all-blue landscape comes from me.

Sometimes it feels like I'm trapped in one of those American frat houses; the noise level is loud, toilet humour rules, household cleaning (by them) is virtually non-existent and the television is permanently tuned to Channel Crass & Puerile.

It can be a hard row to hoe. A real tough ask. And my boys ask for plenty! Like last week, when, as much as I love them all to death, I got to the point where I simply needed to be somewhere else... anywhere other than here.

I needed a break. Away from them. So I could be myself other than Mum or The Wife. To laugh. To relax. Drink wine/gin/cider/coffee. Hell, possibly all of the above. But mostly to be around my 'girls' for a spell.

Because they 'get' me. They understand how I get tired of wiping the toilet seat before I sit down to avoid getting pee all over the backs of my thighs. They are familiar with the irritation I face seeing that empty cardboard roll on the toilet roll hanger. They empathise over the need for constant replenishment of food supplies at my house. They share and promote the belief that deodorant is designed to be sprayed under clean armpits, not all over clothes. They know all about late nights. Early mornings. Sleep depravation. Pressures and stress. The good times to be had. And occasionally, the bad.

A girly afternoon was exactly what I needed and as fortune would have it, I had the excellent luck to be invited out for one last Saturday. After a few hours I was feeling much better and a lot less cranky - group therapy the way it should be, right? Definitely won't wait so long until the next time. (Thanks JP xx)

So big cyber hugs to all my girls... know that you are loved and appreciated. Not to mention seriously kickass. *g*

November 19, 2011

Clean up in Frozen Foods...

"Can you believe it? Christmas will be here in less than 6 weeks!"

I overheard Chirpy Blonde Chick gleefully impart this little gem to Mini Skirt Mum while grocery shopping the other day. MSM's reaction was to smile serenely as she caressed the heads of her two  perfectly behaved toddlers.

"Oh, I know!" she gloated. " I only have one more present to get and I am done!"

The self-righteousness emanating from her was was like a slap in the face for my whole day. Made me almost hope her kids threw a sugar whammy in the lolly aisle out of spite. Because how dare she remind me about Christmas? I had plenty of time to get sorted. It was still ages away, wasn't it?

Reality came crashing in via a burst of mild panic. Dear God. Only SIX weeks? What the hell happened to October? My brain still hadn't wrapped around the idea of Christmas, let alone start to plan for it. And yes, this was in spite of all the decorations in the shops and the half-a-forest's worth of junk mail that has been spewing forth from our mail box for weeks.

I have been the master of ignoring it all. Too many other things to worry about, I've been all 'I'll deal with all that stuff later, much MUCH later.' But like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, I couldn't ignore any longer what was obvious to the entire planet.

Christmas, she was a-coming, whether I was ready or not. Snarky Sarah wanted to throw a massive tantrum in the middle of Frozen Foods and scream obsenities at Chirpy Blonde Chick before suggesting to Mini Skirt Mum exactly *where* she could put her organisational skills. (Oh, if only, lol.)

Fortunately, the ever-Sanguine & Sensible Sarah took over with a "FFS, Snarky. Do that and Santa will give you a lump of coal instead of a present."

That left only one other option: I grabbed a large tub of icecream before throwing in some chocolate fudge brownies for good measure and stalked out of there, head held high.

Which brings me to here. No longer in denial. 6 weeks and counting. Are you ready?

I will be. Somehow. I may not be Mini Skirt Mum who is so uber-organised she has virtually all her presents bought, wrapped, labelled and hidden away already, but I will get there. If all else fails I know I can hit the shops and get it done in a couple of days - the secret is all in the planning. It's like intense shopping on steroids. Crucial to this method is a plan, good stamina, a pair of comfy shoes and your nearest mega mall. Problem sorted.

And I'll make sure I buy a nice bottle of wine for Snarky. *g*

November 11, 2011

Simple pleasures...

I love watermelon.

Nothing says 'summer' to me more than a refreshing mouthful of its rosy pink flesh, served straight from the fridge, sliced and ready to eat. Absolutely delish!

The boys and I enjoyed a huge melon feast after arriving home from school yesterday. The weather was hot, we were all sweaty after the trip home and a serving of ice-cold watermelon was the perfect antidote for a humid afternoon. And although the watermelon was devoured within 10 minutes of being set down on the table, it was still long enough to share a conversation about their day before they inevitably drifted off to seek other diversions (PS3, TV and/or playing with action figures).  

Boys will be boys, after all.

Which is why I love watermelon. For a multitude of reasons.

November 6, 2011


I love Sunday. It's my favorite day of the week. And this morning it is especially lovely; blue skies, sunshine and a warm breeze. Hence the reason I decided to eat breakfast outside. Bliss!

Adding to the ambience, my unknown guitar-playing neighbour is practising a new piece of music this morning. It's a wonderful soundtrack for the start of my day while I relax over a coffee, a piece of toast and a long read-through of the Sunday paper. Simply perfect. 

It's warm in ol' Sydney Town today although we may get a storm later on if the odd threatening rumble up above is any indication. A spring shower would be most welcome, though - I spent most of Saturday in the garden so it will save me the job of watering this afternoon. Win/win all round.

Whilst I love being in the garden, I'm can't say that I'm keen on the after-effects though. Muscles I'd forgotten I had swiftly reminded me of their presence within seconds of waking up this morning! I don't seem to remember having this problem ten years ago. Or is that my memory going? Damn. The curse of getting older.

However today is Sunday - and we have no plans for the day - making it the perfect time to rest and relax. Rest assured, I fully intend to do lots of both while I have the chance!

November 2, 2011

It's on the list...

I'm a closet list maker. Are you? There's not a day goes by that I don't have a hastily scribbled list of things I need/want/would like to do during the day. And while I don't always get everything done on that list, I figure I'm less likely to forget it if I write it down.

I have all kinds of lists around my house. Grocery lists, home renovation project lists, work-related lists, and Christmas presents/cards/usual family letter lists. Countless notepads have met with my trusty pen. And I know I'm not the only one. I have a girlfriend who writes down lists of things she hasn't managed to get done and leaves them in the fruit bowl. Her husband knows there's always something to do if there's paper in that bowl, so he picks a list and does what's on it. You have to like her style. Clearly, she has him well-trained. Of course, this method only works if you have a husband who has the ability to realise what those bits of paper are there for. LOL. 

I'm a big advocate of lists for my kids too. Whenever they want extra money for things (which, hellooo,  is all the time!) out comes a list of things they need to do before they get it. Eliminates the need for them to think, you know? It's more a case of don't argue about it, just do it, okay? And without the attitude too, thanks.

Lists are pretty much a necessity for a multi-tasker like me. Otherwise I'm likely to get distracted by all the chitchat happening on the internet. Or by the pile of unwatched quality drama I have sitting on my hard drive. I can scan the list for the day, know what I need to get done by school pick-up time and get stuck in! After that, my time is my own.

"Mum! I need my baseball uniform washed by this afternoon!"
"Yes, love, I know... it's on the list."

"Mum? My school shoes are too tight."
"Oh God, are they? Okay, I'll put it on the list."

"Honey! I need you to buy me some more pants for work."
"No worries, darl... I've got it on my list."

"Mum! There's no more BBQ sauce in the fridge!"
"Okay, mate... on the list!"

Of course, there are times when things don't always go to plan.

"Woof! Woof woof. Woof."
"Spencer! Stop chewing my list!"

Honestly, I do try but there are only 24 hours in a day and sometimes they don't stretch far enough. And you know, by the time I did the washing, bought new school shoes, did some paperwork in the office and went to the Workwear shop, I ran out of time to go grocery shopping. We can live without BBQ sauce for another day, can't we? But don't worry.

It's on the list.

October 30, 2011

What's up, Skip?

Crikey. Who'd want to be booked on a Qantas flight right now? Thousands of people all over the globe have been caught short, unwittingly becoming casualties of a long-running industrial dispute between management of Australia's national carrier, Qantas and several of the workers unions here. Through no fault of their own, passengers have found themselves stranded at airports for an as-yet undetermined period of time after the entire Qantas fleet of planes worldwide was grounded without warning yesterday. Virgin, Jetstar and Tiger Airways must be smiling all the way to the bank.

This grounding is unprecedented in terms of industrial disputes. CEO Alan Joyce is definitely playing hardball with this escalation. The immediate cost to Qantas is $20 million per day, every day the planes stay grounded. Long term though, the damage to their name and reputation as well as compensation to passengers could make this figure seem minuscule. Already there are hundreds of disgruntled people swearing they will never fly Qantas again. Ever. Not good news for the flying kangaroo. Hardly the 'Spirit of Australia' now is it?

So what's it all about? On one hand, we have Qantas who say restructure was necessary to make their business financially viable by out-sourcing some operations overseas and ultimately protecting the commercial longevity of the company. On the other hand, we have a group of unions saying that they are only protecting the basic rights of their workers and stopping Australian jobs going overseas. And in the middle, we have the flying public who are trying to get on with their everyday lives but becoming understandably upset because THEY seem to be the only ones paying the price.

It's a tough one.

Air travel has changed a lot since I was a kid. It's a much less expensive option compared to what it used to be. I was 21 the first time I ever flew on a plane whereas my boys have flown many times already (they don't know how lucky they are!). The internet and globalization of competition has forced airlines to streamline their operations to compete for a share of the available market. It's like anything else. I mean, who hasn't shopped around for cheap flights? I know I certainly have. But you know what? I hardly ever flew Qantas because their fares were usually one of the dearest. Food for thought, right there.

I don't have a lot of personal experience with unions as I have always worked in private enterprise. And to be honest, I'm not sure that I'd want a body of people speaking for me anyway. I like being able to do what's right for ME, not what's right for most. Unions by their very nature seem to stir things up, not keep things running smoothly, at least that's my perception of them. In private enterprise, you don't get to say: "I'm going on strike until you give me what I want." You either have a conversation with your boss and come to an agreement, or you tough it out until you find something else. When you have bills to pay, there simply isn't any other option. And to think we used to treat this experience as character building!

I do wonder how this will affect Australia, in general, though. If it isn't sorted out in the very near future, the ramifications for the tourism industry alone, one that has already experienced massive hits this year, could be immense. Queensland Tourism especially, must be worried about how this will affect their livelihoods.

As you might imagine, talks to end this dispute are going on right now. Let's hope someone has the sense to come to an agreement, sooner rather than later.

The flying kangaroo might end up going walkabout if they don't.

October 25, 2011

Hello, it's Destiny calling!

Never has a game of rugby been so hotly anticipated by so many. Who would be the Rugby World Cup champions for 2011 - Les Bleus or the All Blacks?

From Auckland to Avignon, Peru to Port Elizabeth rugby fans across the globe gathered en masse, either at Eden Park or tuned in via the nearest television set. What they collectively witnessed was a heart-in-your-mouth Battle Royale that took hold and violently shook the earth, so fierce was the fight, so close was the scoreline. Minute after nerve-wracking minute the Pendulum of Victory swung back and forth, teasing the viewing audience without mercy for the entire 80 minutes. OMG, it was intense. Millions hardly dared to breathe whilst desperately hanging on to the very edge of their seats, so transfixed were they by the match unfolding before them. At least that was the case at MY house. I couldn't sit still during the game, almost driven to watch between my fingers at some stages.

All Black coach Graham Henry had commented earlier in the week about the upcoming final."This French team, we are not sure who is going to turn up, quite frankly, so we have got to prepare that they're going to be the best in the world." This statement would turn out to be one of the most astute observations printed by the media. France had not played particularly well up until now, losing twice during the earlier pool rounds (including a shock loss to Tonga) and had barely squeaked through their semi final against the Welsh, who were playing with a man short after their captain was sent off for a dangerous tackle. However unlike the majority of the press who'd written them off as the the 'worst rugby team ever' to make a RWC final, the All Blacks squad contained many who knew only too well how dangerous it was to underestimate a French team. Especially during a World Cup. Remember Cardiff, 2007? We were nervous, and rightly so.

From the very start, Les Bleus showed the world they meant business. No matter what anyone said, they were here to play. And it was during the haka, when the French joined hands and stood in a 'V' formation before defiantly striding toward the All Blacks in a shock move, that the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. The French were not only accepting the challenge but were issuing one of their own - this had the makings of one hell of a game.

And so it began. Tough, grinding rugby with no quarter given by either side. Brute force vs passion and guts; the blood bin was kept busy yet again. The All Blacks lost yet another man at No. 10, the brave Aaron Cruden hyper-extended his knee during the game, bringing on our 4th backup five-eighth, the much-maligned Steven Donald. Two weeks prior to this he'd been whitebait fishing on a river near his home, about as far away from top-level professional rugby as you can get. But now there he was, smack bang in the middle of the pressure cooker, preparing to face the heat of the World Cup final cauldron. With time ticking away, he stepped up for a penalty kick and cool as you like, slotted it over the crossbar by the right hand upright. All Blacks were in front, by ONE. The rugby-mad public cheered long and loud for their new hero - Steven will be the Duck no more!

After 80 exhausting minutes with all participants nearly out on their feet, the referee's whistle thankfully brought this almighty battle to an end. The journey was over - the All Blacks triumphant!!

All Blacks   8      France   7 

It had been close but in the end, the solidarity of belief held by our boys had been the difference. Mistakes from the past had been learned and nothing was left to chance. The French could go home with their pride intact; they had deserved their place in the final but had been denied by a team who ultimately wanted it more. This was a wonderful win for the AB's and for all the fans but as Richie McCaw pointed out, it would be held especially dear by the many thousands of people in New Zealand affected by the Christchurch earthquakes and the Pike River Mine disaster. Now there would be something to smile about.

All Black captain Richie McCaw raises the William Webb Ellis
trophy in triumph as a country rejoices with him. So very proud!

This was the moment I had been waiting for. And yes, I'll admit it, I had a few tears in my eyes watching Richie McCaw lift that cup over his head, although his aching arms must have felt like lead by then. And then there was that fantastic typically Kiwi moment during his post-match interview when he told the world that he was 'absolutely shagged' after his efforts. LOL. The crowd, naturally, roared their utmost appreciation. We loved it.

What a wonderful end to a marvellous tournament. My heartiest congratulations must go to the victorious All Blacks on finally achieving their destiny. You did us all proud and we love you for it. We'll be there to cheer you all on again in London in 2015. 

Kia Kaha.

October 19, 2011

Blood, Sweat & Tears

I can't help myself -- I'm grinning a mile wide as I type this:


All Black fans were treated to an incredible 80 minutes of rugby on Sunday night. If anyone was still unsure about the state of the All Blacks game during the singing of the national anthem, those worries should have vanished when the camera panned down the line of players. All were calm. Focussed. Steely-eyed with fierce determination.  

And that was even before they did the haka. WHOA.

Every. Single. Man in Black. Was as one.  This should have been a red flag in the minds of the opposition who were perhaps still luxuriating in the memory of their performance of the week before. The ferocity and passion of this haka was a clear standout - All Black muscles were bulging, blood was visibly pounding and the ground shook with intent. Truly something very special.   

Consequently, right from the moment Quade Cooper's first kick went out on the full, it was on. The All Black machine roared into action, sucking up Wallaby players and spitting them out in relentless fashion. It was, as one scribe wrote, like "a wave of black magic crashing relentlessly upon green and gold shores." The intensity, speed and clinical efficiency at which they took control of the game, grabbing it by the throat, was nothing short of awesome. Fans everywhere were ecstatic. This was the performance we had all yearned for.

Cory Jane - bloodied but unbowed, Man of the Match!

Friends of this blog will know I've spoken before about the type of men who proudly wear the black jersey. They are a rare breed of elite athlete, willing to subject their bodies to all manner of physicality in order to bring honour and pride to their country and its people. Men who will shed blood, sweat and tears on the way to their goal. Men who welcome the challenge and embrace it. I hope they know how much we love them because of it.

Captain Richie McCaw fends off a tackle

But our World Cup journey is not over yet - there is the not-so small matter of beating France in the Grand Final. Coach Graham Henry reminded us all about that earlier this week: "We've got to come down, get to base again, clean sheet of paper and build for this Test match on Sunday against the French." 

Quite right, Graham. Don't want to count our (French) chickens before they've hatched, do we? Been there, done that! So there'll be no celebrating from me just yet. I'll wait (nervously/excitedly) until the final whistle on Sunday night. After that, who knows! My neighbours should consider themselves warned - if I actually do get to see Richie McCaw raise the William Webb Ellis trophy in the air this weekend, it may get a little rowdy around here, lol. 


October 4, 2011

Got attitude? Good.

Winston Churchill once said: 'Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference'.

And he was right. Having the right mental attitude is virtually ALWAYS a key factor in determining how successful you are. Positive people are, by and large, far more adept at making lemonade when life gives them lemons. And you don't need to be Anthony Robbins to do that either. While it's true that success is often achieved by timing, skill, perserverance, strength or ability - these variables are invariably magnified further by the added presence of an excellent mental attitude.

Think about it. What happens when you are faced with stress or adversity? What controls the way in which you react? It's your attitude to it. How well you handle a situation when your back's to the wall, the odds seem stacked against you and the proverbial shit has hit the fan. Attitude becomes the template with which you can take stock, formulate your next course of action, muster up every ounce of courage you've got, take a deep breath and carry on.

Underwriting this concept or thinking is the other crucial element of belief. If you do nothing else, you HAVE to believe. Sports people understand this concept well. They have to ooze an attitude of inner confidence that is so rock-solid no-one can shake it. If they don't, self-conscious doubt will trip them up before the referee's first blow of the whistle even sounds.

Which leads me to what at I'm trying to say now. Our 'attitude' and what we're doing with it, is something I'd like every All Black supporter to think long and hard about today.

For those who aren't in the loop, every AB fan on the planet is currently coming to terms with the worst possible news imagineable: our maestro of magic, our architect of awesome, Dan 'The Man' Carter is OUT of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. During training yesterday he suffered a freak groin injury. News of this has been devastating for all, not the least of which, Dan himself. Coach Graham Henry has been obliged to name a replacement, a job next to impossible as no-one can hold a candle to Dan Carter's mental abilities or his brilliance on the field.

However, the bloke who's got the nod is one Colin Slade. He's a young player with solid abilities, yet a little underdone in the experience department. He has been given the monumental task of trying to fill the shoes of Dan Carter during the World Cup stage and honestly, you can't envy him the job. His previous outings at No 10 so far have not been overly impressive and there have been moments when he has faltered under the intense pressure. However, Dan Carter, to his absolute credit, has already come out and given this young man his total support saying that we need to get behind Colin; the rest of the All Black team and coaching staff have already overwhelmingly done so.

And this is what I'm getting at. We need to change this negative 'OMG, the dream is over!' attitude I keep seeing in the media and get with the programme! Yes, Dan is out and it's a tragedy for everyone; sport can be cruel mistress and the timing of this injury sucks. BUT - and here's the important bit - the All Blacks are made up of a TEAM, not just one player. We are blessed with a depth of quality in our side that other rugby nations can only dream about and every bloke on that list is simply waiting for the chance to step up finish the job they started with Dan.

As is Colin Slade. He, more than anyone, will want to do everything he can to get our boys over the line. The key here is the overall attitude - he'll be doing it with the total support from his team mates and coaching staff. As it should be. We as fans need to get behind Colin too, no matter what our own opinions are, for the good of the TEAM.

The All Blacks are still an awesome proposition for any side and as such, will be very hard to beat with or without Dan Carter. Our Men in Black are not considered the number one side in the world for nothing.

One of the main reasons for this is their attitude - they all believe.

We need to keep the faith - so should we.


September 30, 2011

Rugby Heaven

If you currently live in New Zealand, you might wonder if there is anything else happening in the world other than the Rugby World Cup at present. My spies in the Land of the Long White Cloud tell me the coverage so far has been wide and comprehensive, blanketing all forms of available media. This is hardly surprising though, seeing as rugby is the lifeblood that pumps through the hearts of every self-respecting Kiwi native. Add to this the fact that New Zealand is the country hosting this prestigious event and, well, you get the idea.

From what I've read so far though, the overall feeling has been really positive - the nation has embraced all participants with typical southern hospitality and generosity, and the players have responded by giving the world audience a magnificent display of spirited, passionate and free-flowing rugby in every game. Just how we like it!

If you live in Australia - like I do - you might find you need to search a little more diligently to get the same amount of information. Local fervour for all things rugby doesn't quite reach the same stratospheric heights as it does over the ditch. I am nothing if not a devoted follower of the Game They Play In Heaven, so this is not a problem for me, naturally. While rugby may be the lifeblood of New Zealand, ex-pats included, the All Blacks are at the very heart of her people. This fact becomes even more apparent when the national team is playing like (super)men possessed! Our Boys in Black have been in superlative form so far and I'd be lying if I said I'm not feeling the teensiest bit confident of our chances. *crosses fingers* It's been 24 years since New Zealand held the Webb Ellis trophy and we'd kinda like to do it again, especially for this guy:

Meet Richie McCaw, the (very easy-on-the-eye) captain of the New Zealand All Blacks. Self-deprecating. Humble. The epitome of class. You'll never read about him causing trouble out on the drink. An All Black since 2001, and captain since 2004, Richie is a man's man, and arguably the best No 7 in the game. If ever you wanted a role model for your kids, pick this guy. He's pretty hard to beat.

Richie and the rest of the AB's will be playing Canada this weekend, their last pool game before the quarter finals begin. From there on in, it's cut-throat rugby all the way to the Final which basically means: you lose, you're going home. End of story. Come back in 2015.

But that's what makes winning a World Cup so very special...


and why these teams keep coming back every four years...


and put their bodies on the line for the chance of Webb Ellis Cup glory...


giving millions of fans and spectators alike six whole weeks of having our hearts in our mouths...


while we inhabit the world of sheer, unadulterated rugby heaven.

Ah, bliss. Go Black!!

August 8, 2011

The joy of daring to dream...

There are many things in life that bring me joy; my wonderful family, the beautiful friendships I am blessed to have, and excellent health that happily continues as the years go by. There are, of course, a myriad of other things, only these are smaller and less obvious yet still capable of bringing a smile to my lips and a generous lift in my mood -- blue skies and sunshine on a crisp winters day, the sweet serenity of my house when there's only me in it, finding a pocket of time within the day that I am able to write in peace, and the reason for my post today, the heart-bursting pride and unmitigated elation I always feel swelling in my chest when the All Blacks score an emphatic win.

The All Blacks celebrate their win against Australia 30-14
and the securing of the Bledisloe Cup for another year!

While it's true that I've lived in Australia for more than half of my life and now have an Australian passport, I was born a New Zealander. As such, I still hold a very dear affection for the country of my birth, especially when it comes to what rugby team I barrack for. This is something that many an Australian will rib me about at length, usually with typical good humour although this hasn't always been the case! It's a tough one, you see. While I consider myself more or less Australian these days, there are some things that I simply can't bring myself to do, like cheer for the Wallabies when they're up against New Zealand. I have 'All Black Supporter' ingrained into my psyche, imprinted in my DNA, stencilled on my brain; I just CAN'T go there. Add to that almost-certain excommunication from my family in New Zealand, and you can see the continual dilemma I have, lol.

It's no surprise, however. All Kiwi children are taught right from birth that rugby is a small but very important part of life in New Zealand. It forms an integral part of the national identity, its citizens taking an immense pride - and with good reason - that their little nation of a mere 4.4 million are able to continually produce a team capable of being the world's best in the rugby arena. I think back over my childhood years and can recall many instances when I set the alarm for 1am to be in front of the TV with my Dad and my brother. We'd watch the All Blacks play in Europe or the UK in the wee small hours before stumbling back to bed when it was over, tired but glad we were part of the viewing audience. It was what we as a nation did; we supported our Men in Black, no matter what the hour.

It hasn't changed much since I was a kid, I'm sure. And with the Rugby World Cup being held in New Zealand this year, interest will be higher than ever. There'll still be young boys kicking a ball around their backyard dreaming of becoming an All Black like their heroes, Dan Carter or Richie McCaw. And like I did, more young girls will grow up learning the difference between a ruck and a maul, will be able to hold their own in any rugby conversation and will love the awesome spectacle of the pre-game Haka just as much as I do.

Ma'a Nonu in full cry during the Haka

God, I love the Haka. It's a beautiful thing. *g*

Kiwis are a special bunch. We take immense pride in the men who pull on that hallowed All Black jersey, because they represent a unique breed of man; tough, physical and determined; a man who will shed blood, sweat and tears on the paddock for All Black glory and will relish the challenge while he'd doing it. After watching our boys produce a magnificent display of class and skill that totally overwhelmed the Wallabies over the weekend, I know for sure this pride has been well-placed. The average age of the current All Blacks might be 29, but let me tell you, there's plenty of spring in their step. These boys know their stuff -- and they're not about to let anyone else tell them any different.

So it got me thinking - perhaps I can dare to dream. Could this year be the year that the awesome AB's will get to put the (ridiculously small) Webb Ellis World Cup silverware in the trophy cabinet? (You'd think a World Cup trophy would be a little bit more impressive, wouldn't you? Compared to the massive Bledisloe Cup, it's puny.)

David Kirk, captain of the victorious 1987 All Blacks, holding the Webb Ellis
trophy aloft. This was the last time we won a World Cup. I want to see
Richie McCaw doing the exact same thing this year!

The road to World Cup glory is a long and treacherous one, but we're heading in the right direction and with great momentum. For 24 obvious (years) reasons New Zealanders are a little reluctant to get ahead of themselves in the fear of jinxing the result, but I have to say I'm feeling good about our chances (albeit very quietly, lol.)

It's pretty hard not to get excited, though. The thought of a victorious Richie holding that cup up high is one that fills my heart to the BRIM with sheer, unadulterated joy. Go BLACKS. :o)

August 4, 2011

Time flies but my mind stays still...

Time flies when you’re having fun.

Everyone knows this oft-used cliché, right? It’s right up there on the list of most used phrases with plenty of other oldies but goodies like ‘Better late than never’ or ‘There’s no place like home’.

But I’d like to suggest we change it to something all parents can relate to: ‘Time flies when you’ve had children’. Because as it turns out, Time is like the ultimate gold medallist that returns every Games, competing in every single event and smashing every last record, bar none. Flying like the freaking wind.

And, even more impressively, Time does all of this before you’ve even realised you’ve swapped teething rings for Nintendo DS/PS3/XBox consoles. How’s that for over-achieving, hey?

I find myself reflecting over this notion today as we celebrate the birthday of the youngest member of our household. Number Three Son has just turned the amazing age of 11 which is great; it’s just that I’m having a little trouble adjusting. I can’t quite reconcile the fond memory of my gorgeous, chunky toddler of a little over a decade ago with the almost-taller-than-me but still gorgeous, lean young boy of today. Not to mention the world of intelligent potential sparkling in his eyes and an inner capacity to be anything he sets his mind to. He has grown infinitely overnight, it seems.

We’ve certainly travelled the road of highs and lows over the past eleven years. Lately, it’s been mostly highs, as we continue to be amazed and blown away by how far he has come since those early days. For those who don’t know, at two and a half, our beautiful boy was diagnosed with mild Autism Spectrum Disorder. At the time we were devastated, as you would be. No-one wants to hear the news that there’s a problem with your child. But later on, after we’d had time to adjust and get our heads around the whole thing, we realised we were actually a little relieved; at last we had a name for what we knew was different about him. For me that was crucial because it meant I finally had a place where I could start to look for help. As soon as I realised that, I knew the only way was up.

So you can understand why we’ve treasured the milestones a little more than most with him, and he keeps on ticking the boxes of achievements with an extremely satisfying regularity. Even tonight, I sat and watched him as he attended his twice-weekly karate class. For the very first time, it was he who led the class in their end of session Dojo Kun (Rules of the Dojo).  His deep voice rang out strong and clear, each word spoken perfectly and with confidence. It was brilliant and his delighted grin and big hug at the end of the class told me he knew it had been, too.

So while the chunky, Michelin-Man-style toddler has disappeared, and the taller, more athletic frame like his brothers has taken its place, all is not lost. In his world, it’s always perfectly okay to hug your mother even if you’re a newly aged 11 year-old boy.  

And that’s something that Time can’t and won’t ever change. Happy birthday, darling boy.

July 21, 2011

Manners... coming to a house near you!

Picture this if you will:

An adult walks into a room in a not-too large centre where children are attending a physical activity class. The back wall is lined with chairs and all of these are full with people, both young and old. About half are parents with their other children, many of them pre-schoolers; the other seats are taken up by older students waiting for the next class to start.

The lone adult looks along the wall of chairs in the slim hope of finding a spare seat; her fruitless search is noted by most of the seated spectators.

BUT... and here's the reason for my post today.

Not one of those children stood up to offer their seat. That was bad enough in my mind, but worse, not even a parent prompted their child to relinquish their seat either. Instead, their backsides all remained glued to their chairs while they pretended not to notice and eventually, the adult chose to sit on the carpet for the duration of the 45 minute class.

I saw this happen a few months back and it honestly made my blood boil. I literally had to bite my tongue to stop myself from asking the parent next to me: 'Aren't you going to tell your 3 year old to give up his seat? He's not even sitting still anyway, ffs, etc.'  You know, as you would.

But it really irked me. And I couldn't stop thinking about it on the drive home. I sound rather old-school, I know, but when I was a kid, I was taught to show respect for my elders and one way to do that was by giving up my seat; it was rude to sit if they had to stand. To this day, I can't NOT stand up. It's almost ingrained in my psyche. But people don't seem to be like this anymore.

I mean really, it's all about manners, isn't it? And it's never too young to start, in fact it's better if you DO. When I first started school - and bear in mind, this was 40 years ago! - our school day began with the class lined up at the front of our desks, hands held straight out. This was so the teacher could check our nails (to make sure they were cut short and clean) after which we would reach into our pocket to pull out the clean, daily hankerchief our mothers were to have given us. Woe betide any poor sod who turned up hankie-less! Miss Paterson was not one to mince words, let me tell you.  (Just a side note to the Groovy Grandma, I don't know HOW you managed the endless supply of clean hankies but I was never without one. You have no idea how eternally grateful I am for that!)

I know things change over a period of time; that's normal and in fact, to be welcomed and expected. But at what cost? How hard is it to say please or thank you, open a door, help an old lady with her groceries, let a driver move into the lane in front of you, or simply give up your seat?

It's not hard, of course, at all. And, in an amazing co-incidence, it costs absolutely NOTHING!  How many things in life nowadays can you say that about?

And there are plenty of 'old' tarts like me who are more than willing to lead the way (read: anal about good manners, lol).  Just ask my kids -- they will all vouch for my devotion to duty, so to speak. :o)

"Common courtesy -- Makes sense, costs nothing."

April 17, 2011

Family ties...

Anyone who knows me well will attest to the fact that I absolutely love to travel. I've noticed this love affair with travel seems to be increasing as I get older -- I'm reasonably sure that has some kind of significance -- and I've been very lucky to have racked up quite a few frequent flier miles over the last couple of years.

Only last month I enjoyed a short but fabulous 36 hours in Melbourne to see my brother and his family who were there holidaying from New Zealand. It all came about at the very last-minute but it was totally worth the effort and expense (which was small, thanks to cheap interstate flights!) 

(Just a little aside here - because of the spontaneous nature of this trip, I should make mention of The Provider, a man I'm very fortunate to be married to, who had no issue with his wife jetting off for a couple of days and leaving the Blokes Wot Live Here to their own devices. And they managed quite nicely too, thanks very much.)

Here though, is the reason for my trip -- cast your eyes over this picture of the totally edible tootsies belonging to the delicious Sweet Pea, my 10 month old niece. Gorgeous, isn't it?

She has grown so much in the months since I saw her last -- a little personality shining through -- this will be a girl who does NOT want to miss a thing, let me tell you! A credit to her parents, the Sweet Pea is truly a beautiful wee person, with the winning combination of a cheeky grin and her mother's stunning blue eyes, all framed by a riot of golden hair.

I took a mass of pictures over the weekend (as per instructions from the Groovy Grandma, naturally!) but it's this particular shot that makes me smile every time I see it. I love how her toes grip the floor. And the line of the wrinkle on her ankles. But I especially love it because she has the same chunky shape my boys did when they were little, too. *g*

March 4, 2011

With this ring, I thee wed...

The Provider & I:  March 4th, 1995

On this day sixteen years ago, I said those very words to The Provider while holding his hand - and then giggled. It was the first of many that day - the laughter bubbling to the surface over my attempts to slide the band of gold smoothly over his not-so-tiny knuckle! These are the perils of marrying a man with 'tradesmen's hands'. It was a small but memorable moment from a special day that makes me smile every time I think about it.

But wow, sixteen years. Lookit us!!

The Provider and I are not huge givers of anniversary gifts to each other. It might be a little cliche, but we try to spend some alone time together over a glass of something special. However, I was curious to know what the suggested anniversary gift was for 16 years and decided to check it out.

According to Google, there are many variations on presents - the traditionalists nominate Topaz as the gift of choice; the modern set are all about silver hollowware. However, if neither of these are your cup of tea, don't fret! There is an alternate choice offered as well (isn't there always with these things? LOL) Apparently periodot or aquamarine gemstones are for those who like to think outside the square. You heard it here first.

There was one other choice, although personally, I think this is probably more for the man who only remembers on his way home from work and dashes into the corner shop or service station to grab something quick -- it was a nice bunch of flowers (hopefully with the price sticker taken off the wrapping).

Cheers. *g*

February 26, 2011

A nation weeps :(

Oh, Christchurch. How my heart aches for you.

I was working at home that Tuesday, up to my ears in bank reconciliations and BAS forms and oblivious to what was going on outside the four walls of my office. It was early afternoon when my mobile phone suddenly beeped. The message was from a close friend saying she hoped my ‘family in New Zealand were all okay after the earthquake.’ Say what? Trying to ignore the chill that began to curl in the pit of my stomach, I immediately turned on the TV but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw on the screen.

Christchurch was haemorrhaging. Buildings had been reduced to piles of twisted metal, broken concrete and shattered glass. Direct feed live television didn’t disguise the stark violence of the carnage – whole facades of buildings reduced to rubble in the streets, dust and smoke hanging in the air, parked cars pancaked by walls of bricks falling from above. But when I saw Christ Church Cathedral minus its spire in ruins on the ground, the tears began to fall. As I struggled to comprehend what I was seeing, the images kept on coming, graphic, unrelenting and brutal in their clarity.

There’s a cliché every media outlet has used a lot this week, but only because it’s true – it did look like a war zone. People were walking past in torn and bloody clothes, shocked and/or crying, holding on to each other perhaps in an attempt to anchor themselves to something, anything. A woman stumbled by with blood streaming down her face. She looked utterly terrified. I hate to think what she went through before the camera lens caught her on film.

The unavoidable realisation stuck like a lump in my throat. Deaths - a LOT of them – would be an absolute certainty. It was impossible to come to any other conclusion after watching that footage. I felt sick.

My shaking hand reached for the phone and dialled my mother’s number within seconds. My aunt and uncle, R & P, live in Christchurch, as do many of my friends. Mum had no news. I could hear the fear of the unknown catch in her voice as she told me she’d tried to get through via email, text and phone but without any luck. I felt a million miles away and totally helpless. We both tried to put a on brave front because the alternative was simply too hard to even consider. Fortunately we were the lucky ones - a very anxious 30 hours later with not a lot of sleep, news arrived (via Facebook of all places!) that R & P were shaken, but both OKAY. The relief was palpable. The next day brought more good news I’d been praying for - all my Christchurch friends were safe and well too, thank God.

But the news won’t be good for everyone. Already there are families trying to deal with grief too awful to imagine, and more will follow in the days and weeks to come for those families of the still missing. They're living in what must be a hellish limbo, hoping against hope for another miracle to appear out of the rubble. How tough it must also be for those heroes (and they ARE heroes, in every sense of the word) who form part of the rescue and recovery teams from all over the world, the medical staff, the police force and fire brigades. Even though this is something they train for, I don’t for one moment think it makes it any easier for them when a life is unable to be saved.

The hardest part of any disaster is the loss measured in human casualties and this tragedy will be no different. Yet this one is more personal and harder-hitting for me because I know this city and its people; I’ve shopped in the Cashel Street Mall and I’ve eaten lunch in the glorious outdoor surrounds of Cathedral Square; I’ve biked along suburban streets in Riccarton where my grandmother used to live and I’ve walked along the banks of the Avon River. Christchurch is a part of me, and a part of my own history.

Which is why I mourn for Christchurch, along with so many others. We feel your pain, your loss and your unbearable sorrows. We will always remember the city of old and we’ll be there to help you rebuild and begin anew. Because you will again rise up; you will again be beautiful.

I’ll leave you with this little excerpt from New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key’s speech to the people of Christchurch. Inspiring words that speak from the hearts of us all.

Kia Kaha xx

‘Though your buildings are broken, your streets awash, and your hearts are aching, your great spirit will overcome. While nature has taken much from you, it cannot take your survivor's spirit.

This devastating event marks the beginning of a long journey for your city. It will be a journey that leads from ruins and despair to hope and new opportunities. From great hardship, will come great strength.

It will be a difficult journey, but progress is certain. Things will get better.

Christchurch will rise again.’

February 6, 2011

Music to live by...

One of my neighbours plays the guitar. Beautiful, lilting, sing-to-your-inner-soul kind of guitar. I was hanging out another basket of washing on the clothes line today (it is a rare day that I don't hang out at least TWO baskets) and had the very good fortune to be treated to the magical sound of classical guitar float over our back fence. For a second or two, I thought it was someone playing a CD but on a closer listen, I realised that it was someone simply letting the music within decide where their fingers were going.

Gosh, they were good - I could've listened to them play for ages (except by then I would have had sunburn as it was still around 35 degrees outside) - and although it possibly may have been because of the unbelievable heat, I also enjoyed the little journey my mind began to take, the music conjuring up pictures of me, relaxation and a long, cool drink, reclining on the sparkling sands of somewhere exotic. *smiles* Oh yeah.

I'm not exactly sure which particular house this talented musician lives in, and to be honest I don't actually need to know. Sometimes, a little mystery is good, right? All I know is that as long as they keep on playing, I'll be quite happy.

January 13, 2011

Have you ever seen rain?

Large parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales have. And Victoria is next in line. 

It was a deep, soaking and constant rain that literally fell within hours, quickly swamping ground already sodden from higher than usual December rains and rising to levels not seen in this country for over 100 years. The ensuing devastation and loss happens with a ferocity that surprises and shocks a nation. Journalists are left grasping for adjectives to adequately describe the growing crisis, government authorities are stretched to the absolute limit, the death toll rising to 12 and grave fears held for a number of people still missing, their whereabouts unknown.

It's been one helluva scary demonstration of the force capable from Mother Nature. I'm sure I can't be the only one who thinks she's been wreaking havoc more often than normal lately too, and on a global scale. Where are all those climate change sceptics now, hey?

My thoughts are with all those affected and I hope, for their sake, the water recedes soon so the massive clean up task can begin. It's going to be a bloody long haul to repair the damage. Let's make sure we all do what we can to help them.

January 6, 2011

YOU'RE the one who doesn't get it.

Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. *slaps him with a wet fish*

I read the news today, oh boy (points for anyone who knows the artist and the song title) and had an unrestrainable urge to reach for my laptop. Certain business CEO’s need to think twice before they open their mouths, especially when they spout off ridiculous statements in the media. Read this article and you’ll see what I mean.

Apparently Gerry Harvey (billionaire - owner of retail giant, Harvey Norman) thinks savvy shoppers ‘are un-Australian’ for buying cheaper goods overseas via the internet. Quite frankly, I am OUTRAGED by this - how dare he impune my patriotism or tell me where I should shop? Talk about a hypocrite.

Who does he think he’s kidding?

I’m not an idiot. And let me tell you, Gerry, nor are the Australian public. We have mortgages or rent, kids to house/educate/feed and household bills to pay. Every cent of our hard-earned cash counts. So why wouldn’t we be choosy about where and how we spend our almighty dollar? Wanting a better deal isn’t un-Australian, Gerry. It’s the only way most families can manage to get by nowadays. We don't have pockets as deep as yours.

Harvey Norman has gouged millions from the Australian public by selling imported goods made in China over the last two decades, destroying many small locally-owned and operated businesses in the process. Those little stores you sent to the wall weren’t big enough to buy in bulk and sell their goods cheaper. How many job losses did you cause this way, Gerry? I’ll hazard a guess that this never came up at any of your board meetings. And yet you have the nerve to tell us to spend more at Harvey Norman for the ‘good of the nation’?? Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? It’s more like for the ‘good of your bottom line’.

The thing is, Gerry, people want Quality, Service and Value For Money, three things that are sadly missing from your stores. Why would we want to pay an over-inflated price for a cheap and inferior product made in China when we can get much better quality buying the same thing online for up to 60% less? And that’s including delivery and impressive customer service. You should take note!

It’s a free market global economy, Gerry. The internet has made this world a lot smaller and consumers are quite rightly relishing the savings by letting their fingers do the shopping. This trend is not going to go away no matter how much you’d like it to. YOU need to get with the programme and realise that it’s not about tax - it’s about the excessive mark-ups big retailers like you have been slugging us with for years, while trying to convince us that we’re good Australians for keeping our money in the country.

The thing is, Gerry, we’re not ‘buying’ it anymore - if you’ll pardon the pun - because finally, thanks to some welcome competition in the retail sector, we don’t have to. The public will vote with their feet and their wallets - so stop whinging about the money you reckon you’re not making and start being dinky di – maybe then you’ll have a point.

Until that happens, you and your fellow Big Business CEO’s can bang on all you like about the playing field being 'unfair' for the big end of town.

No-one’s going to listen. Least of all ME.
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