February 15thIn lockdown but perfect weather, we will keep ourselves entertained. I'm off to Olinda which is within my 5km zone- some groceries and to pay the yearly rates. Not a fan of giving the Council $3171.00 but all over in one big hit for another year. I was shocked at how little traffic there was, not a single car between Kalorama and Olinda, IGA empty, first at the post office and the only person in The Deli. My mate Pete spotted me as we were both heading to the bakery. Drove me home in his new cool Mini Cooper! The roads are still empty, and it's such a nice drive.
Loving that we are revisiting the "Bates Motel" tv series, someone managed to get it on bluray. Thanks Marky.
Lots of phone chat with mates tonight- which was nice during this mini shutdown. After that we watched the 4th chapter of the "Heavens Gate- The Cult of Cults" documentary. Loved it. I didn't know that Nichelle Nichols-yes Uhura from Star Trek , her brother was in the Heavens Gate cult and he was one of the cult members that died.
February 16thA lovely morning so we give Banshee a bit of a bath. She does love water and she gets a wash twice a year. Still shocked that under all that fur is such a skinny critter, it always freaks us just how skinny she is. She spends the afternoon drying herself off and grooming her fine pelt in the sun.
Indian Butter Chicken for dinner, one of my better efforts.
February 17thEveryone at Olinda is excited that the lockdown finishes at 12.00 tonight. A huge sigh of relief. I'm standing near Kellys on the Hill and the outside speakers have Bowie blaring away - no cars on the Tourist Road so I do some rather sexy dancing to Bowie's "Heroes"! Our friend and owner says I'm being way too camp with my dancing! See i thought I was HOT! HA!
February 18thNice to wake up to this story on the ABC. Aussie grandfather Barry- is 88 years young and blind. Taught himself to play the guitar at 84 years. Penned this little tune "Isolation Blues" during Lockdown. It's become abit of a cult hit and I think it will give Crowded House "To the island" a run for it's money. Onya Bazza!!!! Lets make it a YouTube hit for him. Give Barry his extra minute of fame too.
I head to Monbulk with my friend Pete in his Fiat. The perfect day for a drive. Monbulk now has a petrol station , so a chance to grab some mower fuel too as we have a few days of mowing coming up.
We call into Woolworths and they have a few things that my Bayswater store doesn't, which is weird. I have some of those container points on my loyalty card and amazed that I score these 2 large glass storage/cooking containers, for free. I'm so happy they are glass and not evil plastic. The checkout girl tells me I have 10% off from our house insurance so I'll save that for a big shop. Plus a free mini vegetable kit. Wow, thank you Woolies. We cross the car park and enjoy a coffee at Empire Beans Roastery. The owner Grant is a fun bloke and the coffee magnificent. I'm tempted to buy a bag of their Peruvian mix. A fun afternoon.
February 19thMy mate Brian from the USA mails Maddison a few cool stamps for her little stamp album. She's enjoying her little collecting moment, good to see. I love that she explores where every stamp is from .
Nice to see Woolworths have their "Discovery Garden" giveaway vegie, herb and flower sets. Great for kids and we older kids to grow a few things. I'm still picking peas from the Woolworths pots from 2 years ago. Today we received Swan River Daisys, Salvia, Phacelia, lettuce and carrots.
February 20thI'm really enjoying THE MIX on the ABC. "Stories from the archives". A great piece on an art flight you can do from William Creek, into the outback to 3 galleries. One, the Mimil Maku gallery where one of my favourites- Vincent Namatjira has his pieces up. Vincent won the Archibald prize last year which was so good to see. Yes he is the great grandson of acclaimed artist Albert Namatjira. I hear the Mix will be going because of Morrisons cutbacks to the ABC budget-sad as it's a great show.
We've fallen in love with Linda McCartneys outrageously succulent vegie burgers. Who would of thought. They look like cardboard when they first come out of the box but the end result is that they taste so nice. What a shock.
February 21stSunday is my day for baking bread, my one moment of normality I guess. Not sure if it is the smell that I like or the creation of the perfect loaf. Todays is close to perfect, sometimes I add too much yeast and it is like a wild volcano!
We are loving the second season of Lost In Space on Bluray. A big thank you to Mark, I am SO happy. Sci Fi, I can never get enough.
February 22ndI find this rather awesome Chocolate Platypus at Olinda. It's made locally in Victoria so that is fantastic. Out in time for Easter. So bloody cool- a Chocolate PLATYPUS! It also has Platypus information on the back which is great for kids-and us big kids. I'll have to pull my Covid mask up over my eyes if he shares this chocky mammal, feel guilty biting into it. If you are on the mountain and after these for a unique Easter Present. Go visit THE DELI PLATTER . 514 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda. (*Note they have now all sold out).
Steve Millers "The Joker" is floating around in my head today. It just won't go away.
We mow the lawns a huge job. The local Kookaburra's love it, they land looking for worms.
February 23rdWe take today off, just hang out and do very little, except an afternoon escape up to Montage where we both have their rather awesome hamburgers.
Not too long till the Western Australian State Election. This will be a blood bath for the Liberals. Their conservative base has evaporated, most conservatives are old dinosaurs and to be blunt, many have passed away. The Young Liberals have now become a joke and their membership in decline. The question is, will WA Liberal voters . vote for Labor. Apparently a lot will. The Liberals and Nationals in WA are not united together like in other States. The Shooters, Fishers ,Farmers Party may well grab some of their votes. But they are preferencing Labor so labor will out either way. I could be wrong as there is no such thing as a guaranteed election win (just ask Donald Chump).
February 24thI head to my office today, a long list of fiddly things that need to get done. I surprise myself by finishing all 33 things on the list. At least I got to play a lot of music.
February 25thI feel so vague at the moment, sleeping too much, not sure as to why. Maybe it's the grey old weather.
I remember (just) that I do need a travel permit when I go to NSW. I was so close to forgetting now that borders are all open.
February 26thThe suns out so I am on the east lawn with Banshee, an Indian umbrella, and adding some blackberry's into passionfruit yoghurt. I have a few files from the archives, so wading through those , the archive work is never ending. It's a nice way to go through ancient files. So beautiful to have some sun on skin.
February 27thDon't you hate those days where you head to your office determined to do some work and all you want is the Neil Young "Greatest Hits" cd and his brilliant "WAR" album and can not find either in our library. You'd think I'd have both on my iPod but no, filled it before I got to "Y"! So I'm working in silence. yes i know i have ten zillion other amazing albums, maybe I'm sulking?
My mate Caz got banned on Facebook because she called some jerk a Fucknuckle- she likes using "my" fave word. The guy WAS a fucknuckle, which was ok as I went to the same page and said that too but i added a * and no ban. How weird is Sheepbook. I promise to all of you on the diary , you can say Fucknuckle here, if nothing else it will make me smile. I notice the Aussie word Dickhead is now back in flavour in America!
February 28thLast day of Summer and boy a mild one. I know we will still have some hot days but this year we've managed to be Bushfire free up in this neck of the forest. Such a relief.
March 1stA sad moment for the Australian Music Industry, Michael Gudinski died in his sleep tonight. So many thoughts rattle around in my head. A day of endless phone calls, hard letting a few of our band members know.
I have this fun bit of footage of Michael at the Skyhook Farewell show in 1976-before they left for America. The crowd going nuts, the concert stopped as they feared the balcony was about to collapse. Michael runs out onstage and tries to get the audience to sit down. Shirl and Red so funny with their comments. Anyway it's about half way through this bit of YouTube footage. Michael would be chuckling at this footage, glad we saved it. Enjoy!
March 2ndMichaels death is all over the news, so many calls and emails, and of course this ignites little memories in our heads. I find the first picture I took of Michael on the Skyhooks "Brats are Back" tour in 1976. I was such a young teenager way back then. Mark says he looked like a werewolf in the shot and he does. The news is going into overdrive as it does. The Public Memorial will be at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena March 24th.
I start work on my Ukulele project. I spotted this cool yellow Uke in the hard rubbish and adding paint and gold leaf and of all things, tiny feathered wings. I think I have a frame for it too. I find solace in Art!
March 3rdI pack my carry on bag so I can head home tomorrow to glorious Wollongong. I hate leaving Mark, even for a few days. It is a lightening fast trip. I even make a little homemade lasagne for one of Marks dinners. I know he is capable of feeding himself but it's good to do such things.
March 4thUp at 5.00 AM. I didn't sleep at all. Too wired. I have everything laid out so i go into some robo-mode and between food, green tea, a shower, shave, hug and feed cat and say goodbye to Marky, I am out the door, into the Kalorama darkness with my trusty torch. It's kind of an experiment as I decided a week ago to attempt Public Transport to the airport, never done it before. I've have my private driver waiting for me when i come home but thought I'd give this a go- I have allowed heaps of time for stuff ups too. The Bus arrives out of the darkness, no cars the entire time, I find a semi lit bus at such times to be rather evil. Like the PT system to hell! Made stranger by the bus drivers entire face covered up except for his eyes!!!!!!! Equally weird 2 other people on the bus. I said "Good Morning" they said nothing. The entire trip to Croydon station- they never blinked!
I scampered onto the platform, next train 6 minutes, semi express and I am delighted, it goes via Southern Cross station. Lots of space on the train, every single person wearing a Covid mask and I could smell that the carriage had just been cleaned. The sun still isn't out of it's bed when we arrive. I stare in wonder at Southern Cross station and how different it has become since our original arrival in Melbourne. It was Spencer Street station way back in the late seventies, named after Skyhooks Bob Spencer (no not really). In 2021 it looks nothing like that station. For a short while a kind security guy let us "live" and sleep (did we ever sleep?) upstairs in the station till we eventually got the flat at Toorak. I smile at the memory as I walk up the stairs and across , in awe of the beautiful ceiling. I follow the well marked signs to the Airport Sky Bus terminal (also at the station). I grab a one way ticket out of the machine, head to gate 76 and walk straight onto the bus & sit upstairs. It leaves 2 minutes later. The airport run i can't recall, it seemed to be very fast. Plus i could use my iPad on the bus, just checking that Gladys hasn't closed the NSW border on me. So far the entire trip has cost me $17.50. How good is that!
Grab my flight ticket using my frequent flyer card, security line 5 people , so extra fast and into the Frequent Flyer lounge. Now the Lounge has changed; you get to do nothing yourself due to Covid restrictions, which is great! My favourite coffee lady is on, so nice to see her. Her friend asks i I am the drummer for Crowded House, all i could do was muster a strange grin. It must of been my old tour luggage tag on my backpack, I look like none of our drummers. They have a cool chef cooking in the kitchen who makes me breakfast. I rarely ever eat breakfast but it was SO NICE i came back for seconds, also aware that the flight "food" would be shit. The public transport journey was so fast I've got a lot of time to spare , so I leave the FF (not Fantastic Four) and go shopping and buy Sis a few presents.
My flight departs on time, all of us have an empty seat between us which is Covid wonderful. A gaggle of Melbourne Drag Queens are on board, heading to Sydney Sin City for the Mardi Gra. Bless them, they keep me entertained. We arrive Sydney 10 minutes EARLY, it's been a long time since a flight has landed in Sydney early. Door problems so we depart via the back door. A woman on ground staff is so rude to people, in the end I tell her to get stuffed. A dozen others give her the bird. Hey welcome to Sydney. Fuck you very much! As I look up a skywriter has drawn a giant heart with "LOVE S...". Hmmm Love Sex? Love Split Enz and Skyhooks? Love Slinky Stockings? I'm guessing Love Sydney Mardi Gra? I wonder why he/she didn't finish it?
Just carry on baggage so no waiting, out the door and grab my hire car and on the way. Traffic is good, weather is beautiful . I flick between radio stations and sing sing sing. I arrive at the 'Gong and head down Bulli Pass instead and call into my sisters company. I sneak in the delivery entrance and surprise her, so great. It's like i only saw her yesterday - I have the best sister in the Universe. We make plans for her to pick me up at Mums in the afternoon so i can surprise Maddison when she is leaving school for the day. I head into the heart of the city and park at Wollongong Central. I'm trying to find the David Jones store to buy Mum a birthday present. I'm in awe how Wollongong Central (Previously Crown Central) has changed since the seventies. I'm standing on a spot where a young Shirley of Skyhooks got thousands of screaming teenagers during a quick promo visit. It was at Christmas and poor Santa down the other end of the floor with no one. Oh the good ol' days. It makes me smile as I wander through the shops. Very few Covid masks. I decide to wear mine. I find a very cool hat at David Jones for my Mum. I was hoping for Aussie wool but none in sight, so went for a magnificent Milana Italian wool hat. With Mums diminishing eye sight it's good for her to wear this outside to help against the glare. I also spot some great easter eggs so buy them for the family, early I know but it means I don't have to mail them & risk breakage.
I'm back in the car, parked next to a guard rail , high on the roof, the exact spot where several of us Skyhook fans protested a Sherbet gig at the theatre below. File under "the things we did". I look at the clock and realise it is still early and Mum is probably having a Nana Nap , so I drive to our old surf beach. North Beach. Home of the Surf Crew. It is so nice outside, so I go in for a swim. Strip to my boxers. A bit cold and not many people in the water. On the way out I realise my boxers are totally see through. Oh well pays to advertise!!!!!!! I stack my wet clothes on the car windscreen and they dry quickly-and off I go-home. Mum is awake and it is SO good to see her. I go grocery shopping for her and the next few hours are spent fixing things around the house and yard. Sis arrives in the afternoon and I head with her to pick MIM up. I hide outside the school gate and Maddie walks out spots me, screams "Uncleeeeee Peterrrrr" , runs at me, launches herself into the air and into my arms. She is SO excited. We all head to Maccas for a berry smoothie. MIM asks if she can use my camera and I say yes as she is so careful with it. She takes a few photos, one of myself which is one of my favourite shots. We drive back to Mums and hang out for awhile . Really lovely evening. Great to be home.
March 5thHappy Birthday Mum!
I get so little sleep when I am home, no stillnox so can't even bomb myself out. I'm up early help Mum with a few chores. I clip some roses from the front of Mums and drive to the crematorium. I clean Pop, Nan and my Uncles grave stone and add flowers. Next i go to Dads and add some flowers and just sit on the grass in front. As I'm sitting there a huge windstorm hits and flowers and dust are blowing all around the Cremo! I think about talking to Dad and just say a few things, mostly around Mum. I find when I say them that's when the tears appear. In my head , no tears, but verbally they start. Still emotional around death after all this time. I call in home and see my Uncle briefly, and a quick drive for some birthday supplies for Mums family get together. Some giant Happy Birthday balloons. I also visit Marks step dad which is great, so happy I did that. I miss out on seeing my cousin David.
Home to Mums and we just hang out and I get a few things ready for her birthday dinner. I suggest she have a little nap, that way i can secretly blow up the giant alphabet balloons! Sis, her husband and Mim turn up and we spend a few hours together celebrating Mums 83rd birthday. We finally get to take our freaked out family portrait,my Mum in her racoon mask, I'm in the horses head , Mim in the worst wig-ever and Sis in some twisted up mask. Ok we are ridiculous but lots of fun. My sisters husband just shakes his head. Many hours later it's time for everyone to depart. I hear Maddison calling out "I Love You Uncle Peter" all the way down the street. Jennifer tells me that the entire way home she looked in the rear vision mirror and saw Maddison sobbing with little 7 year old tears running down her face. I head inside and I have forgotten to give them their Easter Eggs, so I grab the car keys and chase them down the route 31. I run into their house and Maddison is so happy to see me, it's only been 15 minutes, all smiles. She grabs my hand and makes me sit on the couch while she plays me a song on the piano. Now i'm finding it hard to say goodbye and the tough old Uncle is close to a few tears too. I also find it hard to sleep . Watch TV on and off. Eventually at 3.30 am I drift into dream land.
March 6thMum mistakes the time, she is after all mostly blind and wakes me at 4.30 not 5.30! So an hour sleep. I'm now awake so have some toast and a shower and wave goodbye. The sun isn't up but I'm on the way. A nice ride to Sydney airport and they send me to the Business First Frequent Flyer so that was nice. The flight arrives 15 minutes early and my private driver from the hills is waiting. A nice smooth trip. I arrive home early and Mark has just made sausage rolls. How good is that!
We watch the Sydney Mardi Gra on SBS, I spot a few of the Drag Queens that are on the plane. We are both obsessed with Pan Sexual at the moment. Too complicated to even explain why.
March 7thI thought I would sleep in but awake fairly early and full of energy. It's been a busy few days but still so happy that i did it. Life is too short and each day spent with my Mum is a bonus and I promise to my self that i will try and go and see her (them) more often.
Happy Mardi Gras