Monday, May 28, 2007

Oh, Bunnies!

I hope that I never lose the sense of enjoyment in, or become bored with the quirkiness that makes up everyday life.

Yesterday afternoon as I waited on the platform at the newly refurbished Spencer Street Southern Cross station after the football, young Gabby became entranced with a fellow potential passenger. Not sure whether it was my poor eyesight or not, but the man appeared to be carrying a small, tan, furry bundle. It looked very similar to a recent scarf purchase, but as it moved I realised that the man wasn't holding a scarf, or a puppy, but a rabbit!

Rabbits must be the 'pet du jour' (no Fatal Attraction puns meant) as my friend's daughter has a smoky gray rabbit called (not surprisingly) Smoky.

Train rabbit was 8 months old, and as a seasoned train traveller (as informed by Mr Bunny once we boarded and he sat next to us) train rabbit sat contentedly on Mr Bunny's shoulder for the entire trip.

What a huge difference from our most memorable after footy train trip last season, when Mummy J, young Gabby and I were trapped, sardine like, between two groups of very loud and rude youths. The volume made their shouts difficult to ignore, but I had trouble keeping up with the topic of conversation, interspersed as they were with more swear words that I've heard on a union picket line.

It was clear that these young men had definitely NOT been to my father's school of appropriate language. My father was raised in a very strict methodist household, where liquor shall not pass thy lips, nor language not contained in the bible, or at least the Queen's Christmas message. Whenever my father wanted to express his anger or displeasure in front of his impressionable daughters, the worst word he used was 'bunnies'. When 'bunnies' came out, we knew there was trouble. He didn't need to say anything else, or even raise his voice. Dad never hit one of his 4 daughters during our upbringing. 'Bunnies' was enough for us to know to keep quiet and lay low.

Very different 'bunny' train trips indeed ... and I'm glad that my grandmother didn't survive to hear the Queen's annus horibilis.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Name Dropper

While is was in London recently, wandering through the steets of Mayfair, I happened upon Claridges. As I perused the restaurant menu of foie gras, duck and venison, who should stride around the corner, disatracted by a very important mobile phone call but the epynomous owner of said restaurant - Gordon Ramsay.

As I wandered further to Oxford Street and into Selfridges, I gravitated to the Foyles bookstore and the cookery books. I find that if I'm not in the cookery books, I'm in the biographies. Well, 20% off Gordon Ramsay's Secrets cookbook - it was an omen I couldn't pass up!

What did I find so appealing about this gruff, wrinkled and often rude chef? I still can't isolate a single element other than to acknowledge that it continues a theme for men of note that I find attractive: Johnny Depp, Robert Downey jnr ... they all have just a bit of 'mongrel' about them. All very talented, all very passionate about and dedicated to their chosen path, often seen as arrogant and all just a bit bad!

Even my heroes of literature are 'bad' in some way, at least in the beginning: Fitzwilliam Darcy - proud (or is that prejudiced?); Prof Friedrich Baer - arrogant; Atticus Finch - just a tad supercilious.

However it is with my passion - sportsmen that I seem to break this mould. All of my favourite sportsmen have talent, passion, dedication and yes, arrogance, but bad? - Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, Mats Wilander, Craig Bradley, Mark Taylor, Ricky Ponting - aha I've found a cross over!

Let's face it, at least in make believe, I like bad boys!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Is THIS how the other half live?

How will I ever return to everyday life after living in the clouds ... literally?

I recently had my first experience of travelling 1st class with Australia's national (well at the moment) airline - Qantas. It was the longest haul in the books - Melbourne - London (via Hong Kong) (see below) and well worth every penny (especially as my corporate master paid).

The uncomfortably superior treatment began at customs when I was informed that our national airline would provide me (as a 1st class passenger) with accompanied support from check-in, through customs, to the first-class lounge ... who me? I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself, thanks anyway.

In this instance I was able to reach the first class lounge under my own steam while only indulging my 'elevated rank' once in purchasing new designer sunglasses (in my defence I will say that I did need a new pair).

During the 1st leg I observed the seasoned superior travellers go about their well rehearsed routines
'would you like pyjamas, ma'am?' Unsure of how I was expected to reply mine was 'no thanks'. The more experienced traveller immediately changed into the soft cotton khaki Qantas PJs (perhaps a homage to ANZAC Day?) and as soon as the 'fasten seatbelt' sign was extinguished, they begun to turn their comfortable chairs into a full length bed, complete with assistance from attendants armed with blanket, doona and any wanted extra pillows.
Me? I tried to adapt to UK time by watching 'the Holiday' followed by exercising the 'movies on demand' option to watch my 547th viewing of the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.

Yes, I can relate to Goldilocks - while I enjoyed the benefits of first class travel, and I know that I dislike long-haul economy travel. I think that business class is ju-u-ust right.

Monday, May 7, 2007

if it's Sunday this must be ...

I continue to be amazed at just how big the world is, while it continues to prove how small it is becoming (forgive me, I'm a Libran)

Recently I travelled to London at the behest (and cost) of the great corporate master. It was a wonderful opportunity to contribute to a (possibly) significant project, meet some notable names, and while the travel is tiring, I felt it was worthwhile. The results will, of course, be measured by the great master at some stage in the future (the wheels of business do turn slowly).

I had no sooner left home, arrived 24 hours later, met the appropriate people, walked around as though in the middle of a game of Monopoly (none of this new fangled stuff for me - give me Mayfair, Picadilly & Oxford Street) than I was due to return home.

My return flight left Heathrow just after midday, approximately an hour before the World Cup (of cricket) final was due to begin. As I was seated in business class (again at the generousity of the great master) I felt bold enough to ask if there was the possibility of a score update during the course of the flight. We immediately had the attention of every male in the top deck. (shame I can't boast that in my social life, but oh well!)

A short 13 hours later, a message from the flight deck advised us that Australia had scored 281 from 38 overs and that Sri Lanka were chasing in the 32nd over. Hmm, thought my jetlagged brain - that can't be right, there must have been rain. But wait, one more thought is coming ... it must be night time in Barbados, the flight deck must have had an old score - quick, where's a TV and can I turn on my mobile phone to call for a score?

There I was in an airport international transit lounge (in Hong Kong), watching CNN (from Atlanta), about a cricket match (in Barbados) between the finalists (Sri Lanka and Australia). Then the familiar beep beep of my mobile phone gave me the answer via a text message form my bm in Melbourne - yes, Australia had won an unprecedented and thoroughly impressive 3rd World Cup.

If I have to travel the world in such a hurry, the least it can do is keep up with me!