May 7thThe power company are on top of the mountain again, replacing more power lines. So the power is off from 8.00 to 4.00. We head off for a drive to get some stock and finally get the replacement control box for the central heating. It's been weeks without it. Our house has been more of an ice house instead of a crowded house. Thank god for the fires and heaters. Miss Banshee will be happy she can warm her cat bum on the heating grates again.
Bongo emails me some more contact details for the charity, maybe I'm putting all my sadness into this. I have dug around and found some cool raffle prizes for them. After this the cupboards will indeed be empty, so I hope no other charities ask for stuff.
May 8thHappy Birthday Rebekah... she's home from the USA so we will catch up soon.
I show off the very cool SteriPen, what an amazing invention, if I'm lost in the bush i can even stick it in a puddle and remove most of the harmful bacteria and drink the water. Fantastic when you are visiting the poorer countries and are concerned about the water. Plus you can use it 4000 times. It has a rather Star Trek feel to it too.
American Horror Story is on again tonight, and the 2nd episode is as equally brilliant as the first. I have to say whoever picked the cast for this show was spot on. Jessica Lange truly amazing, she is so underrated sometimes, she shines as Constance Langdon and Dylan McDermott - exceptional. I find him incredibly sexy too-possibly the sexiest man on TV.. "yes a real man" and he's not young either... he is the perfect choice for Ben Harmon. When Mark first said he recorded it I have to admit i was rather flippant, oh yeah another average American Horror Show. Which it's NOTHING like , it's like LOST meets subtle Horror & Evil has been locked in the house by accident... we love it. I can't get enough of this show. Why isn't Season One on Blu Ray yet? American Horror Story my favourite show for 2012-a wonderful surprise.
We hear from Nat & Nick, will be good to see them in a few days. Hope they don't nod off from jet-lag.
Paypal crashed our account today, annoying of all the days to do this. They were nice about it all but it looks like one part of paypal does not know what the other part is doing. They say one thing and it doesn't happen. I just roll my eyes.
I am in the art room for an hour and hand screen some crowdies style wrapping paper for some of the raffle items. I even sign and number one piece and pop it in a tube as an extra small prize. It would look great framed. Well I think so.
May 9thI'm up at 7.00 and expecting our electrician friends apprentice but they don't show, so call and an hour later our central heating is working again (Yey-thanks Jason).
I do the drive and get the raffle drawn. Traffic is crazy. I'm waiting while they are doing road works and the cars are building up behind me. No music so I put on the radio and the Enz "Strait Ol' Line" is playing, fitting music while stuck in traffic.
I send out a tweet and send info to the digest with the winning number. I actually get to call the person and they are so excited, love how they say "I have never won anything in my life" - they are almost in tears, I felt guilty that they were that happy. Oh well someone was stoked to get the parcel. II find a perfect box for it all, loads of bubble wrap. A few items are wrapped in the special paper, they look so great like christmas wrapping. All ready for Mr Courier.
Purple 93 is the winner. I have to stress its not Lilac. The tickets have the colour printed on them too so it says PURPLE. I always think Lilac tickets should have some nice smell around them.
May 10thWell my day started rather bizarrely. At 8.00 my mother calls, wakes me up..and is singing "Happy Birthday" (very passionately I might add). She thought today was the 11th..... "It's the 10th Mum".... tomorrow I take the phone off in the morning *GRIN*. God bless her though, it did make me laugh. her friend Mick had convinced her it was the 11th.
Pissed off at a friend of ours, maybe ex friend. Always an excuse when it comes to birthdays and christmas, so just thought I'd tell them I think it sucks. I really don't need anymore email friends, if someone can't turn up at your birthday dinner well it's time to wave goodbye. Sounds harsh in print but truly over it. Mark agrees... GRRRR. Sometimes tough love has to be the thing you use to help them.
Going through paypal red tape, the staff are nice but the main section of paypal is so slow. Speak to one of the main people, she is now looking after us direct, so the wheels will pick up speed. Just updating company stuff and some paperwork. Hopefully that will be the last of it, when it's done.
Australia's unemployment figures are in today. It's good news for PM Gillard. Unemployment drops to 4.9%. That's pretty good- USA and UK are at 8.3 and Europe at 10.9. I think i know one unemployed person, seems all our mates are working. Now if Gillard would just support gay marriage she may score a vote or three.
I just looked at the advanced weather report- 27 days of rain this month! That is crazy. I'll need to build an ark soon.
May 11thHappy Birthday to me. Mum sings "Happy REAL Birthday to me" she got it right, after yesterdays boo-boo! Wake up feeling fine... look for extra wrinkles-none (Hey is the bio therm working or what!). Marky and Banshee climb in for a birthday cuddle and presents. I am so lucky to have these two. It's Cathys birthday too, hope she is celebrating with style in sunny Queensland...we haven't heard from her for awhile, her turn to make the effort to call.
With the sad news around our mate, I decided not to have any big birthday bash this year, intimate a handful of mates, will do nicely.
The "3 Little Ducks" are opening specially for our lot - so feeling pretty spoilt- the restaurant for just us-how Elton Johnish I tell Neil.
Nick and Nat from the States arrive at our place and I'll drive us all. They are a bit early so we can catch up. Of course Mark isn't ready, actually neither am I. I'm on the kitchen floor polishing some very pointy winklepickers. They are originals so I'd say 1950's. So they have lasted, good quality craftmanship. The steel heel piece has worn off so they are as slippery as a politician! Nick and I have have decided brown hats are most certainly back in favour- so wear them. It's great to see these guys, I know our friends will enjoy their company.
The mountain isn't as fogbound as it has been so I wont worry that people will end up off the edge. We arrive 5 minutes late and a few people have already gathered inside. As we approach a few more people materialise outside the door. We head in and a chorus of "Happy Birthday" rings out. The 3 Duck girls have decorated the place, party poppers (no not those type) and the ceiling filled with balloons. We have a chuckle as the balloons are rather suspect, I keep saying Mickey Mouse with a very long nose but in reality it's 2 balls and a very long well..you know! Of course they think "x rated" when it comes to my birthday- where does that image come from. (I heard that comment dear reader!!!).
It's a fun night, about 18 of us. I brought the Steri-pen along as my show and tell on how it gets rid of 99.9% of all harmful bacteria. At one stage Rosemaree laughs and spills some water down her cleavage ...so I pop in the steri-pen, after all we don't want harmful bacteria on her boobs do we! Yieks.
It's so nice to see everyone, even Allison turns up which was a nice present as it's been awhile since we have all seen her. I'm am spoilt, lots of Bunnings vouchers too, I've been saving for a third water tank which can be used for all the toilets at Ailsa Craig. We have so much water run off from the roof it seems a waste & lets face it-toilets use quite a bit of water, all that flushing. So thank you guys- I felt the love.
One of my presents was a bag of jigsaw pieces and a scroll from Jen & Merl. I find out it's one of the mythical creatures jigsaws and yes The Gryphon. The scroll says: This majestic being has the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle. It is very ancient (and with todays birthday I AM!! *PG*), first appearing in art of the bronze age. It was often regarded as king of all creatures (Just my out of control ego maybe?-*PG*) and responsible for guarding priceless treasure (Our archives & art? *PG*). In medieval legend the noble Griffin mated only once and for life (You lucky thing Marky *PG*).
After dinner we drive back to Ailsa Craig, it's about 3 degree's outside and probably 5 degrees inside. Our friends feel the cold- ya wimps I joke. We get the central heating on, light the fire got to stop the little darhlings from freezing to death. *GRIN*. I ask how any of them could possibly head to Antarctica with us when they can't even deal with a Kalorama autumn! I've been thinking about climbing Mt Erebus for some time now, it's situated at Ross Island in Antarctica. Reading the Mawson book recently lit my fuse all over again. Mt Erebus is a intraplate volcano , you know it's a a hotspot volcano. It's been active since 1972, and probably more famous for the Air NZ flight that crashed into it killing all 257 people. December to March is the best time to climb, being Summer so the sun is above the horizon, so it's about minus 3 ( almost a heatwave). The Environmental Protocol the Antarctic Treaty protects the area so you must secure a permit too. So some red tape. I guess it's a thing to do before you get too old. So it's something that has to be done over the next few years I guess. or before it has a massive eruption!!!
By midnight the fire is really roaring in the pool room and people are chatting, playing pinball, the odd joint is being passed around. Such a nice chilled out night. I open some presents , feels just like christmas.
I keep a promise to a few friends and the Tarot card table is cleared in my room and I succumb to a doing a few tarot card readings. (I slip on my gypsy outfit with gold coins and tussles and of course I really do not have such an outfit but I bet you believe I do!). Interesting card layouts, on some I give the book reading simply because one or two people think "I know them already" and their cards are really really obvious but denial can be a powerful mind trip. After 5 people I am a bit worn and my voice has gone from yapping all night.
I think i like the house the best when the fire is burning down, it's snug and not bright and you can sit with a few mates around the dying embers digging the afterglow. Warwick sensibly crashes and departs at 7.00 in the morning when the sun is rising. A really nice night and wow spoilt, I think I have a new water tank thanks to the generosity of our friends. I guess a Bunnings card is so easy to get, so many stores around now, and the perfect gift. I was just happy with people turning up but still nice they made the effort to get these cool presents. I am touched by their kindness.
May 12thA lazy recovering day. Mark makes his world famous homemade sausage rolls and I have to say it was the highlight of the day. It was a late one for Banshee cat too, she climbs into Marks big coat and sleeps the day away.
May 13thIt's mothers day here so I call mum , and she sounds great. Think she's going through a good patch so that is always welcome. Her two kids don't have to worry about her. (I do anyway). She is a good mum, salt of the earth would do anything for anyone and she has these skinny arms with the strongest hands, i think she should take up karate as a pensioner!
Aunt Trudi visits today-she really isn't our Aunt, its from Headwig & The Angry Inch. A great visit, lots of laughter. Tells me that a lot of her friends have now received their bowel cancer test kits, she makes sure they all do their test, I can see her going door to door. How funny, that's why she is a scientist, she knows that life is too short and one must act. Delay these days and you could be dead.
May 14thFantastic to hear that Tasmania will be the first state to remove battery hen cages. Hopefully more states will follow. I can't believe people still won't make the effort to purchase free range eggs, I still think there is loads of bad karma around buying eggs laid by chickens in such shitty conditions. If people stopped buying battery caged chicken eggs it would soon shut them down.
It's nothing many of us didn't expect but talk of Greece being broke in 6 weeks. I wouldn't like to be a government worker in Greece at the moment, you probably won't get paid. I'm more concerned that the Golden Dawn -neo facist party has 21 seats in their parliament!
I chat with Peter Jones sister Christine on the phone, lovely woman, I need to visit him again very soon. I don't think there is long left. I know in my head what to expect, but knowing in ones head and seeing someone in such a state is damn hard and many don't deal with it. I remind myself what a sweet man Peter Jones is and for that reason alone I want to visit and just see if there is more we can do. We seemed to hit it off from day one, even our fleeting moments of seeing each other in the street meant a quick coffee-nice guy.
May 15thI call into see Dr Chiro today, my first visit since the kidney stone operations , but not for lower back stuff- as it seems pretty good now that the stones have gone (well hopefully). Just a few corrections and neck stuff, too long working on the computer- I have breaks and stretch and do the old neck turns etc but still the hours we work a chiro correction is the best thing. They have given me a gift certificate for my birthday so I get some very cool organic shampoo and conditioner -thanks guys!
American Horror Story continues to be the best show on TV (well cable).. the quality still continues in both script and actors. I can't believe people in Australia have cable and miss this amazing show, oh well their loss for not taking a chance and watching crap. I love when I obsess over a show. 5/5 on the Gryphon-meter.
May 16thI order my new backpack and work bag. I do have an Enz reunion tour computer bag but I think if I use it i will destroy it.... I'll see how the new one works out. It has some cool Rolling Stones European Tour design on it, so still a rock and roll bag. If it proves to not be what I want I'll go with my Enz tour bag.
We are having breakfast at the "3 Ducks" and "It's Only Natural" is playing in the background- I say "Good morning Boss" to Neil and his cool vocals.
The chickens have all their beautiful new feathers on so I'm hoping they will start laying again. Hey presto , Joan Frances walks by me and lays an egg. I return it to our neighbours as I had to borrow an egg from them. I don't like being in debt not even with an egg.
Fantastic that Cuban president Raul Castro is now backing greater gay rights in Cuba. All due I'm sure to his marvellous daughter Mariela Castro who has been incredibly supportive of the gay community. It gets weirder as suddenly Mr Obama is now supporting the gay community (he always has but it seems more front page now)..... a good sign. Watch certain USA states show their homophobia, odds on they will. Now Australia has to pull it's finger out and make marriage equality a reality. More and more people are speaking up and supporting gay marriage, it will happen.
May 17thSpeak to Benny and we plan to have some dinner tonight. At this stage my schedule for the evening is clear as is his.
We head to radiology first I need to get the all clear on the kidney stones, and I am thinking of visiting Peter Jones who's nurses home isn't too far away. For some reason I am nervous about seeing him, I do know how bad it will be (but thats just the shell that is carrying all his good parts like humour and such). Mark will stay in the car, he doesn't know him and prefers not to have that as the final image of him. So I do have to be brave and I am chickening out just a small bit. I'm not an open-casket sort of guy, you know, no need or desire to see someones dead body at a funeral, like Mark prefer to have the good image and memory. Seeing someone dead is just seeing the vehicle they were in, the spirit and soul have long gone. But Peter is still with us & I'm hoping his humour and kind heart are intact. So I say to Mark, I hope the old Gods give me an omen, which was partially me kidding.
So we are at radiology and find 2 seats in the packed room. We sit and the Doctor walks out to call in the next patient for scanning. He says "Peter Jones you are next"! Mark and myself just look at each other- "No way- he said Peter Jones"! I know it's a common name but what are the chances of the millions of names....he says Peter Jones. In this case Peter Jones is an 80 year old man, not our Peter J reincarnated. Still I take that as a pretty magnificent omen and I will be happy to see the "real" Peter Jones and hopefully today.
But first my scan, the doctor is great and I'm in the machine, pants down, boxers on and following the breathing instructions of the computer. They tell me my scans are overall looking good, maybe 1 piece that hasn't been removed so will have to check with my specialist. So I lock that in and they tell me there will be follow up stuff today.
We put Peters nursing home address into the GPS and arrive within 10 minutes. Mark reads the latest National geographic magazine on the Titanic and some sun burst through so it's nice to sit in the car and read.
I bravely head in, and ask the main nurse if he is ok to have visitors. There have been a few bad days in a row, so I am careful not to invade. I'm sent down to his room. This lovely woman comes out and I jus know she is Peters sister. So nice to see her and it's just us three. The Jones kids and myself. He looks like I thought but i can still see him in that aching body, and the time I am with them is both wonderful and so sad. My eyes swell up with tears but i refuse to cry, he grips my hand. All that drumming they have a tight grip eh! We do laugh, and he talks, which must be painful, sounds painful. Christine tells me that Neil just called, and both of them just sounded so happy that he did that. The room has so many photos from people in his life and I want to wave my fist at God (if there is such a creator) and ask why would you take this lovely man and why is he suffering. His last words to me were just fun and I know that is how I will remember him. I owe his sister a big thank you for letting me in, I know that the whole damn music industry have been in (which also says how much this man is respected), I love how Ross Hannaford from Daddy Cool came along and brought his guitar and played. A part of me just doesn't want to let his hand go, and he has this steal grip. I tell him if they have a saw I could chop it off and leave it with him *GRIN*. His sister says only a few days left, she is remarkable, I think of my own amazing sister and prey she never has to be this brave for me. I head towards the security doors and finally I start to breath again. The short walk to the car, some sadness rolls over me and just want any pain to be short and his journey onwards to be easy. We all leave it too long sometimes to see people, the pissy emails and sms and crappy Sheepbook can never replace or even come close to human contact. Technology just gives people an excuse and they live in this fake world, I'll vomit next time someone tells me how many 'friends' they have on Facebook. Human contact it's what we are. It's what makes us human. I vow to see more people and at least telephone. I'll never be a couch potato addicted to Facebook.
I get in the car and Mark looks at me with his protective "are you ok" eyes. You know "I am" I answer before he asks the questions. We drive to visit my doctor for the next part of my day. By the time all of this is over we get home at 7.00. I've already called Benny and had to blow out dinner. A friend drove us home and meant to take it easy for 24 hours. But looking like finally all stones have gone. Mark has remade my bed and added some really warm flannel sheets so I snuggle in and think about the day.
May 18thI decide to call our ex Crowdies manager Grant Thomas to let him know about Peter Jones. His phone rings out at the office so I'll have to find his mobile and call later. As I hang up, the phone rings so I grab it. Its about 4.30 and it's Peter's sister. He passed away today around 4.00. It seems too soon too fast. You see someone at 4.00 one day and they have gone by 4.00 the next. So the rest of the evening is a blur. I call Neil first, I hate emails around this stuff. Mark Hart isn't answering the number so I have to email him, which never feels right. Thankfully Neil will call Nick so I am let off the hook. I am so happy Nick saw Peter a few times very recently, so he has said his goodbyes.
The internet stuff is hard, I almost didn't send his passing out, but I know that it will find ways of creeping out so what the hell. Debbie Levitt just wonderful, I sent a snap that I have loved that Jenni H took outside the Hannover Grand fanclub show in London-it has such warmth (thanks Jenni)- just Nick Neil and Peter J walking to the show. So Deb has that and it goes on the main page of www.frenz.com/crowdedhouse/ as a tribute -it felt so right when I saw it.
People call, people email, people tweet it has it's natural momentum. Mark tells me someone has added his death to Wikipedia that night. Some friends called and worry that I am sad, I am but this is expected so I'm just happy he isn't in pain anymore.
I chat to Jane for an hour tonight, which was nice that she called. Quite a few of our friends have which is great.
May 19thThis week has just gone by at some mad speed. The weather seems to be getting colder, so I put on the old sheep skin underlay today. You just want to curl up inside of it. Nick and Nat must be back home by now, tucked away in their own bed.
I have a coffee at the general store and spend some time on some writing. The human parade wander in, quite a few see me with coffee and order one. A few are old grumps though.
The Herald Sun call and check some facts on Peter Jones, so I run through those. Their paper links to their sister newspapers in other states. I hope The Age run something decent.
May 20thTomorrow would mark the 18th year since Peter Jones played his first gig with the Crowdies at Rock Am Riem (Munich Germany), Almost 2 decades have gone by, incredible. Nick sends a really nice piece that he penned and says all fine to put it up on FrenzCom so we do- lots of cool comments about it-so obviously straight from the heart.
So thats it for now, another mate gone. It happens I know but always crappy when it does. So i guess I'll be attending a funeral this coming week.
All the best and thank you for the amazing emails & tweets especially this week.