Saturday, August 28, 2010

Operation Kitty Cat

The last two days have been absolutely TRAUMATIC. Late Thursday night we discovered we were to have a property inspection on Saturday. Apart from having to do a massive clean up, there was the little matter of cats. We're not supposed to have pets here and we, of course, have three of the critters. The ban was so complete that I had previously been threatened with eviction and had to fight the matter with the help of the Tenants' Union. So I was in a complete PANIC about the inspection. We had to hide three cats, plus the neighbour's cat we're babysitting. And we only have one cat cage. And Kim would be at work so I'd have to sort it myself. EEEEEEEKKK!!!

So at 8.30 this morning I found myself packing cats into archive boxes and sticky taping the lids shut. Miss Goody Two Shoes kindly came over to offer her cat relocation services and we took the beasties to a friend's place. The apartment was looking pretty good but I was so nervous I couldn't sit still.

Eventually the real estate agent came around. Now this man is famous for being very grumpy, gruff and rude. But he takes one look at me and says 'You look like Katharine Hepburn'. 'Why I love Katharine Hepburn', says I. And we proceed to spend the next 20 minutes talking about Joan Crawford, Betty Grable's legs, big bands and the dreadful state of modern music. Then the bastard asks me how my cat is. Bugger. Apparently the matter is now at rest and it's ok for me to have a cat (one cat, so the poor deluded devil thinks). I'm not supposed to tell the neighbours in case they want cats (though they're already pretty well supplied in that direction).

So yippee yi yay!!! Property inspection over. He loves us as tenants. He loves the apartment. He loves my (lone) cat. Now I can relax and wait for Kim to liberate the cats.

Like a good librarian, I store my cats in neatly labelled archive boxes, displayed here with Miss Goody Two Shoes.

Freakin' hilarious.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The worst statistic of WWII

Well it was looking like the tea situation was pretty drastic: 8g of tea per day, a teabag these days containing 20g... Except it doesn't. A teabag holds 2g of tea! So that still only leaves you with 4 cups of tea a day, clearly nowhere near enough.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeling like a crazy stressed out person

Ok, first up, there are no photos because Mr C has taken the laptop to a bike launch and I don't have any photos on the iPad. I promise you, once I've managed to survive the next few days I'll give you a whole series of blog posts consisting only of photos. In the meantime here's Doris on a bike. What more could you ask for?

Everything in my life seems to be happening at once and while, taken individually, they are all good and positive things, taken in one dose they are rather headache inducing.

Item 1: baby shower
Done! Donna got lots of loot, guests got lots of food, I got out of talking to anyone by making pots of tea and handing round the egg sandwiches. Winners all round! See Miss Donna's blog for pics sorry don't know how to put a link in with this app. Will fix it later.

Item 2: interview for secondment position
Thought it was today, turns out it's tomorrow. I'm dreadfully keen but keep having to remind myself that a) I'll be up against external applicants who have most likely done the job before, and b) I've actually got one of the best jobs in the world already.

Item 3: interview for leadership program at state library
I really really really want this. Source of much anxiety.

Item 4: my dad's wedding
Sigh. Perth family really not behaving themselves at the moment. Have asked them why they think I should visit if they can't treat each other nicely. Silence so far. Not the least frustrating thing is that it turns out to be a god damn outside cocktail party - in winter! - so I can't wear my tea dress. If they're going to make me hike all the way across the country they can at least let me look good when I get there. Currently no Plan B.

So I'm not sure why I thought this a good time to watch a Nazi propaganda film.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I was wrong...

I was moaning today about the wartime episode of Supersizers. And you know what happens when you pass judgement before you've seen the whole of it? You get it wrong, that's what. I finished the episode tonight and it was great. The VE Day party at the end made me cry. So there you go, I am an idiot.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

One for my brother in the army

When the biscuit tin circulated you could always get extra rations from my grandad if you asked for 'one for my brother in the army'. Finding out what the actual rations were in Australia during the war is not so easy. By all accounts we were far better off than Britain. At that time a good deal of British land lay fallow as it was simply cheaper and easier to import goods from the Empire. With shipping lanes closed or limited, Britain had to convert vast swathes of countryside to agriculture and many non-essential crops were converted to wheat and potato production (for example, this included land for nurseries, with the bulb industry taking years to recover). Harsh rationing came into effect to counter these shortages. Australia had a role as Britain's breadbasket, and exported much of its food to Britain, as well as providing food for troops.

So what were the rations like in Australia? The most gruesome statistic is that for tea: originally half a pound for five weeks, then eased late in 1942 to half a pound for four weeks. This is about 227g a month, or 56g a week, or 8g a day! A standard Twinnings tea bag these days contains 20g of tea. I think I should die. Kate Darian Smith in On the Home Front - Melbourne in Wartime claims that this ration is enough for three cups a day. I'm guessing she's not a tea drinker...

Sugar was rationed at 1 pound a week (about 450g). This seems like a tremendous amount to me but it seemed that folks in those days liked their pudding. You will find heaps of recipes for using carrots as a natural sweetener, something I'm pegging satisfied no one. The sugar shortage was most crucially felt in jam making, which made government moves to promote preserving doomed to failure.

Most of our dairy products were exported to Britain, leading to rationing of supplies at home: 8 ounces of butter in 43, 6oz in 44. This is about 170g a week, about 24g a day. Remember, you don't have oil to cook with so this has to cover that as well. Influenced by her mother, my mum used to keep a dish of dripping in the fridge, which she used for roasting potatoes.

It was the meat ration that caused the most resentment. At around two pounds, this works out to about 900g a week, 130g a day. This was also affected by a complicated classification scheme where better cuts of meat used more coupons than the cheaper cuts. Things that weren't rationed included: sausages, canned meats, offal (oh goodie!), bacon, ham, poultry, fish and rabbits.

Apart from the tea, this is all looking fairly manageable. But it's not the rationing that's going to get you, it's the shortages. More about that (and how I used an entire week's meat ration in one night) next time. Still don't have my new spectacles.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010


Sorry for taking an unexplained leave of absence but I've been plagued by beastly headaches and just haven't been feeling terribly sociable. With eye strain I've not done much reading or film viewing as usual - which has been an absolute bore.

Here's Tex Avery's 1945 Swing Shift Cinderella to raise the spirits!

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010!

We have a new camera. Which means that every post is now going to come with a picture of me in it. Or at least a cat.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blind as a bat

Ok, here's what I'm thinking of buying...

Going to Specsavers because they're cheap. Not sure why I need two pairs but that's what they want to sell me so who's to say no to a two-for-one deal? Not very retro but it turns out I don't look very good in other shaped frames. Hell, I don't even know if I look good in these ones because you have to take your glasses off to try them on and then of course you can't see anything...

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