It’s The #PRINCEWEDSWATTS Wee Waa Wedding Extravaganza! Part 1: The Road Trip

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Over the Easter long weekend we went to Wee Waa for the long-awaited wedding of Alex and Mary. If you have the Internet, you probably heard about it, I know I had several people contact me to say their entire social media was being clogged with the freshest of content.

Alex and Mary are one of those couples everyone knows, one of those couples everyone knows are going to get married, one of those couples you refer to almost in one word: alexandmary. Alex and Mary have had you and ten other people over for an impromptu roast dinner, or drinks around a fire pit and after a while you realise you can trace the beginnings of most of your friendships to their backyard.

Alex and Mary are the people you’ll travel 600kms for, to a town of less than 2,000 people, just to see them get married.

We traveled with Josh and Annie. I met Josh in Alex’s backyard several years ago and made a complete fool of myself. Suffice to say, I’m not the person who should give pep talks to newly single men. It amazes me Josh still speaks to me, and Josh wasn’t even the man in question, just an innocent bystander to my well-intended motivational talk.

Months later, I found myself sitting next to Josh at a work training course and we hit it off. Eventually I poached him to work for my department, or at least convinced him to allow himself to be poached and then spent the next six months playing practical jokes on him, which mostly involved creating collages of him stealing over-sized office goods, which I then emailed to people. I’ve also spent more time than I care to admit trying to convince him that I am serious about marrying his father just so I can be his stepmother.

Annie is Josh’s girlfriend and she looks like a 1940s Hollywood bombshell, and I love her because she worries about stuff like whether she put too much hip hop on the travel mix (never!) and pretends (or at least I think she pretends) that her last name is Broccoli. Also, she raps. At weddings. Bless her heart.

We headed off early on the Friday and I immediately knew we’d chosen excellent road trip buddies, mostly because I couldn’t see them for the mountain of snacks they had packed and because they were as enthusiastic as I was for McDonald’s breakfast. A road trip isn’t a road trip unless you spend half of it regretting getting the hotcakes because your hands are stuck to the wheel with maple syrup.

It’s a long drive to Wee Waa from Sydney, about six-and-a-half hours, but we had an invaluable resource at our fingertips: Facebook chat. Alex had thoughtfully set up a couple of group chats, meaning everyone travelling that day could share information, like: Singleton is great if you like having to hold public toilet doors shut with your foot, or police are targeting people who stay in the overtaking lane too long, or our contribution: definitely stop in Murrurundi because Cafe Telegraph is serving baked Camembert with figs and there are horses to feed carrots to!

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lunch

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I love horses. I love how big their heads are. When you hug a horse, you’re basically just hugging a giant head.

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At this point we were about half way and I’ll admit it: I was feeling smug. The Facebook chat was going crazy with talk of hours-long traffic jams before the Pacific Highway turnoff and people still stuck in Sydney. Sure, they’d had more sleep than us the night before, but here we were, sitting under the willows, the back of the trip already broken.

I shouldn’t have thought it, let alone said it. But I did: “I’m really glad we left early! It’s been such a great trip for us!”.

In a few hundred kilometres, I’d regret cursing our little caravan …

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So we made it to Bathurst, all five of us.

It was a stressful move, but only comparatively so: No-one crashed a car! No-one ended up in hospital!

The first couple of days I kinda floated around happily. I love the new house, it gets so much sunlight and it’s the perfect size and the dogs are really happy here. It was sunny and warm and I set about unpacking and unwrapping things I’d bought especially for this house.

Friday and Saturday I hit a low, which I’d been expecting, it happens every time I move. I started to worry about stuff: What if the inertia I’d felt in Sydney wasn’t solved by this move? What if I can’t find a job? Was it stupid to move to a cold climate just before winter? What if I have no friends here?

I really should’ve just gone for a few long walks and shaken it off, but my body resorted to a tried and tested, but ultimately not very helpful, strategy: It put me to sleep. I’d go to the bedroom to check my phone and wake up four hours later, I’d unpack a couple of boxes and need to nap for two or three hours.

In turn, that threw out my bedtime routine and I stopped sleeping past about 4:00am.

Luckily I know all the signs and that it’s just delayed anxiety, and today was much better and I’ve made plans to catch up with a bunch of lady friends this week and set myself a list of goals (I finished one today, which I’d been putting off since September) and tomorrow I’m going to start the C25K program again.

One of the reasons we moved here was to give me more time: More time for writing and more time for photography, so I’ve packed my camera and my bag and they’re both ready to go tomorrow.

I plan to use this space much more often because I want to document the results of this huge change, which I think are going to be excellent.

Orange, March 2016

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A few weeks ago I planned a few days in Orange at the farm, with the idea of catching up in some much needed sleep. Then we decided to move, so instead I decided to spend the time at the farm writing a job application.

It’s almost a shame, the weather has been incredible, perfect for sitting outdoors with a book (and some bourbon).

I did manage to spend some time wandering around with my Leica.

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Eating Peaches.

Yesterday I resigned from my job.

I moved to Sydney in March 2006 to be with my then-boyfriend. It was a horrible two-stage move, where all our stuff was in storage in Bathurst for a few months and then we lugged it all the way to Sydney on the back of trailers with the help of my parents, if I remember correctly. I was armed with nothing but an ambiguous arts degree and the sense that the move was right because leaving the Central West for Sydney was a thing that people my age did.

Like generation after generation of our townsfolk before us, we migrated towards the Inner West. We lived in Marrickville, on the cusp of the then more desirable Newtown. We rented a series of fairly dank, incredibly hot, cockroach-infested apartments over the next few years.

Sydney wasn’t fun, it was sweaty and expensive.

I went on to live alone for the first time in a sunny space, before moving into a share-house in Newtown, where I was when I met B and we deciding to throw our lot in together and shift to the suburbs, where we currently pay too much rent for a house on an artery road to the M5.

I’ve never liked Sydney. I’ve actively hated Sydney. It’s too humid, too expensive, too crowded, too difficult to get anywhere. Every summer since I moved here, I have promised myself it would be the last, and for the time being, it is.

I want to really dig my teeth into my psychology study, so one evening recently B and I sat down and tried to work out how that could happen. B doesn’t mind Sydney and his career has really blossomed here, so his ideal scenario would be staying. Mine was moving back to Bathurst, one of my favourite cities, to live close to my uni and indulge in starry nights and a relaxed pace.

In typical me fashion (the me who didn’t realise you don’t need to save up for an entire holiday and only then book it, which is why I didn’t travel to America until my late-20s), we had a conversation that went a little like this:

Me: “If we had a time machine, I could go back in time and study and then go forward in time and meet back up with you.”

B: “There’s another way.”

Me: “You’re right. First I should research if someone has created a time machine and what it costs.”

B: “No, it’s simpler than that.”

Me: “… I never study? You quit your job and I quit my job and we lose everything and I still don’t study?”

B: “Nope. Fairly simple. Does not end in time travel or disaster.”

Me: “Does not end in disaster? Everything can end in disaster! I live every day knowing disaster could strike at any moment and ruin everything!”

B: “Nope.”

We decided to do both. Over the next little while, we’ll pack up our house and put it into storage (oh, the dreaded two-stage move). I’m going to stay with my parents and B will visit on weekends. Once I have a job, we’ll find a house to rent in Bathurst and I’ll live there full-time, B part-time. When he’s not there, I’ll study. On the weekends we’ll do what we haven’t done in a long time: Relax.

Both of us are feeling very calm for a huge decision made only a few days ago. Well, B is very calm, I have become incredibly invested in the Alicia Florrick/Will Gardner love affair and I doubt my heart will ever recover. I’ve already stockpiled tissues in preparation.

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Out With The Old, In With The New.

B and I have been discussing simplifying our home recently.

Our home. As an aside, I would suggest never living in a house on an artery road. You’ll get about as much sleep as you would just pitching tent on the road. Also, don’t live in a house where someone’s done their own wiring at some point. Don’t do that. Don’t try and budge a stuck window with a hammer either.

B and I are both pack rats and the circumstances of our last move meant we didn’t really think things through and have ended up with far more stuff than we need and not necessarily the stuff we would like to own. Then we got more stuff and put it on stuff until there was no space for the other stuff we bought, so storage stuff seemed the solution.

My mood is affected by my surroundings quite dramatically and I find our current setup distracting and a bit suffocating.

A few nights ago, with the aid of the latest IKEA catalogue and some sticky notes, I showed B how I would do things next time around.

Dining

There are two of us. Our current dining room table seats six, and while the idea of dinner parties and a feast-laden table is lovely, we’ve never gotten around to organising one and the extra space has become a dumping ground for shopping and receipts and dog leads and hygiene and Wuz’s bowl and most of the time Wuz.

I want to go small, with the option to extend. I love the INGATORP table,

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I really like dark wood and IKEA usually set it up with the ÄLMSTA chairs, which makes for a very eye-catching set.

We also have three sets of dinnerware in various shades of grey, which I like to mix and match, which I can see working with the table.

Complete wankery aside, practically, having just the centre leg on the table would work well in preventing the scratch marks of a certain short dog who uses the corner legs of our current table to hold herself up when looking for cat food and in her excitement, has managed to shred almost every leg.

Lounge

Currently we have three bookcases, two lounges, three guitars, an amp and a TV all stuffed in one room.

The lounges are much loved by the pets, but neither one is particularly endearing to humans. One is slightly lighter this week, after a certain beagle dug a hole in a certain foam cushion while its cover was being washed after a certain cat threw up on it.

Next house, I don’t want a lounge, I want two armchairs instead (sorry imaginary guests). Obviously next house will have also have wooden floorboards, and all I want in the room is a single bookcase, the TV, and the armchairs.

Initially I was drawn to the STORSELE chairs, which with a cushion I think could be quite comfortable, but maybe not for long periods of time.

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So with comfort and the pursuit of reading (and all seasons of The Good Wife) in mind, how could I go past a wing-backed armchair? I’m not sure what colour I prefer. Initial instinct tells me grey, but I always choose the darker colours, so maybe I would like some yellow amongst it? I’d also like a rug to put under the chairs, both to protect the hypothetical floorboards and to make it all look cozy. I don’t mind the GÅSER, though B points out that a certain feline seems to manically shed on anything soft and comfortable.

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Porch

As well as floorboards, our next house is obviously going to have a porch, which I intent to relax on. Relaxing! What a novel concept!

We have a porch at our current house. It’s called the M5.

I think I lost B a bit when I got to the porch part of my plan for our imaginary house, he certainly looked at me like I’d had some sort of regrettable brain transgression. My plan is to have Friday afternoon, end of the working week G&Ts on our porch and I am going to serve them in teawear. When I said this, B’s face suggested I’ll be drinking alone a lot.

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(clockwise from top left: Moroccan Tealeidoscope Green Teapot / Mr Fish Blue Cup & Saucer / Moroccan Tealeidoscope Tall Pale Aqua Cup & Saucer / Oriental Crane Blue Origami Cup & Saucer)

So far all of this is hypothetical, but I have a good feeling about this.

 

When I Wake Up, In My Makeup.

I was very excited when Sephora opened an Australian store, but I’ve only shopped there a few times. It’s usually packed and humid, and doesn’t really lend itself to browsing without feeling you’re in someone’s way, so I decided to buy a few things online instead.

I’d had my eye on a matte crème lipstick by Bite Beauty in Rosebud.

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I’ve worn matte lipstick ever since the days of the now-defunct Mode magazine, which ran a profile of Poppy King in her first foray into the lipstick market.

I like my mattes matte, I don’t care if it feels like dried mud caked on my lips, I don’t like it to budge. Turns out matte crème is a little moist for my liking and when I wear it, the colour is less rosebud and a much brighter pink instead. It’s not a complete loss, just not what I was expecting!

I ended up needing to pay $10 for shipping or $11 on another product to get free shipping, so I added the Rebels Refinery passion fruit lip balm to my already over-the-top collection.

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Skulls and lip balm, how could I not?

It’s nothing particularly different to any basic lip balm and the passion fruit is very subtle, but it’s cute and pretty much paid for itself in shipping.

An Update on Snoopy

Snoopy has been living with us for six months now and I figured it was time for an update, both on him and what it’s been like having a rescue dog, and an older one at that.

Snoopy is well, which is excellent and vaguely unexpected news. He had been to the vet just before we adopted him and was given a clean bill of health, but he didn’t look well to me: his joints were stiff and his eyes cloudy, he’d been roughly clipped so his fur was hard to the touch and there’s no other way to describe his butt other than to say it was very exposed. I suspect maybe he’d been fly-bitten or had sores from concrete, because the groomer had really gone to town back there.

We took him to the vet recently, when Sydney had an influx of biting flies and he needed ointment for his ears. The vet said he’s actually in excellent health for a 12-year-old. His vision isn’t too bad, his joints just need a little fish oil and his weight was surprisingly healthy for a beagle.

After we were told that, I felt a great weight lifted and realised I’d subconsciously prepared myself for not having him around for long. Maybe six months or a year at most, and that had prevented me from really bonding with him.

Suddenly, I could see the absolute joy in Snoopy. He runs like a giddy foal when he’s happy to see you (or when he’s being fed), he loves sleeping near Barry on the lounge and unlike Delilah who is still squirmy and excited, he enjoys being hugged for long periods of time.

One of my favourite things we have been able to give him is trips to my parent’s farm. He comes alive out there. A typical visit involves them both jumping out of the car and going crazy when they realise where they are and almost immediately they disappear for a few hours and come back soaking wet. We’ve yet to figure out exactly where they go for a swim, whether it’s one of the dams or the river, but they come back, together, with smiles a mile wide.

I honestly can’t get over how sweet it is that they go off and enjoy something together.

Owning a rescue dog hasn’t been all fun and games. Games is literally one of the issues. Snoopy doesn’t know how to play, toys don’t seem to interest him at all, and this is totally me projecting, but it makes me sad that he seems to have never developed an interest in them.

He is also terrified of men. Initially it was all men and slowly it’s becoming some men, but his fear was at a level where we had my cousin over and we found Snoopy violently shaking in a corner, at just the sound of an unfamiliar voice. This behaviour and his lack of play skills makes me wonder about his previous home life. And judge it. Harshly.

He is getting better though, he’s fine with my dad and usually slowly warms to people once they’ve been in the house for a while and I think he’s getting pretty good at taking cues from Delilah. We also get visitors to feed him a treat, which usually works.

He was also not totally house-trained when he arrived. He peed inside a lot and we could never catch him in the act and direct him outside. He was like a pee ninja (thank god for wooden floors). However, whether it was watching Delilah, who is house-trained, or the fact that B thought to move Wuz’s water dish where Snoopy can’t reach it, he finally got the idea and now only pee ninjas, at most, once every six weeks or so and it’s usually when it’s super rainy outside, so we know to enforce outside time.

He’s really become part of the family in the last few months and we adore him.

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Happy New Year!

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We saw in the new year with wine and cheese and video games and smoke and firecrackers and the sound of traffic sliding by and fitful sleep.

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My resolutions this year are, somewhat cryptically:

Fitter Happier – Radiohead |These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra There She Goes, My Beautiful World – Nick Cave | Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen | A Sorta Fairytale – Tori Amos Travelling Woman – Bat For Lashes | Carnival – Natalie Merchant | Rosebud – Ryan Adams Blue Jeans – Lana Del Ray Monsoons – Puscifer 

Year In Review: 2015

1.What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I was proposed to on a dark and stormy night and I accepted!

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2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I probably did, but I don’t remember what they were. If I think about the most obvious resolutions I could’ve made, I definitely didn’t keep them. I was a total flake on a lot of things this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Anne and Gleb welcomed baby Aurora, who is gorgeous and who already has a selfie pout to die for!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

None, I took a huge pay cut when I switched jobs and spent a lot of the year housebound as a result.

We did have an excellent holiday in Queensland and a lovely long weekend in the Blue Mountains.

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6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Good deeds, not just good intentions.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June 25th. B and I went up to a lookout after a heavy storm and he proposed and I refused to let him get down on one knee because the ground was sopping wet!

Afterwards we called all our loved ones and went home to his parents’ place and I got to see his dad in a sleeping cap, tehehe!

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July 21st. We went on an epic date night that culminated in a surprise Ryan Adams gig. The show was so good that I did something I’d never done before and scoured Gumtree until I found tickets for his gig the next night as well, which was just as amazing!

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October 5th. We spend the morning of my birthday watching the sun rise over Waverley Cemetary, one of my favourite places.

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8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

It wasn’t a really big year for achievements. I spent a lot of the year running at about 60% energy and feel like I probably spent more time stressing about what I wasn’t achieving than I did actually doing anything about it.

did pass my first psychology subject though. I’m kinda amazed I had the time and energy.

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9. What was your biggest failure?

Knowing there were lifestyle choices affecting my mood and productivity and not doing anything about them.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Uh, I have, count ’em, three chronic illnesses so…(interesting point my GP cheerfully told me: with that many chronic illnesses you can get all kinds of mental and diet plan rebates, so yay, I guess?)

I also fell in a hole this horse dug:

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11. What was the best thing you bought?

Hehe! Snoopy!

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12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My bud, Stevie, who’s life changed incredibly this year on so many fronts and they handled all of it with such calm and dignity.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled?

We live in violent times. In homes, in acts of terror or war. It was hard to escape tragedy this year.

14. Where did most of your money go?

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It’s been a long time since I’ve owned a car and apparently I have a thing for small, blue second-hand cars.

It’s been excellent for my weird work shifts and catching up on podcasts.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The second night of Ryan Adams!

(I may have even dressed like him)

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16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Oh god. Ok, it’s Harley and Rose by the Black Sorrows, shut up.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

(a) Probably about the same. I’m stressed, but not anxious.

(b) Fatter.

(c) Richer! Thank you new role at work!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Celebrating the wins.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Social media. That’s probably a rant for another day, but nothing affected my mood more, negatively, than social media.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We went to my parents’ farm with all my siblings and their husbands and kids!

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I didn’t, because I already loved a man.

My ideas about love changed in 2015.

It’s not about overwhelming passion all the time, it’s about kindness and being a supportive partner and making a decision together that this is something we would like to turn into a marriage. It’s a considered decision to choose a person and work to make them comfortable and secure in your life.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

It definitely was not Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Yes, it definitely was.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No-one. I actually reestablished a relationship recently that I thought was irretrievable and it was quite a powerful thing to do and I actually look forward to having aspects of that relationship back in my life.

How can I not like a person who refers to me as Morticia Addams?

24. What was the best book you read?

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25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Jason Isbell, hands down.

I was driving home from work at about 2:00am a few weeks ago and I heard one of his songs and had to pull over, it was so emotional.

And this never happens to me, but it turns out he’s touring soon and I got us excellent tickets.

26. What did you want and get?

A car.

A second dog.

A new job!

27. What did you want and not get?

A house. I really, really wanted to buy a house this year and it didn’t happen.

Then I wanted to rent a new house and that didn’t happen either.

2016, maybe we will move!

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

Black Mass! It ticked all my movie boxes: mob, Boston accents, scary dudes.

29. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

B.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Epic Kollection of Klothes With Kim Kardashian’s Face on Them.

31. What kept you sane? 

All of my medication? No, it was B. He’s very good at being like, “Whoa. Nope, reel it in and see how small the problem really is”.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don’t think I had any great celebrity crushes this year, which is very unusual for me.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The plight of refugees.

34. Who did you miss? 

All my friends. I was really, really absent this year and I really regret not being able to spend more time with people I was super close to.     

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Drop dead weights. And never skip your meds.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year

“So cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good…”

Cover Me Up – Jason Isbell.

Tap All Over This Big World.

Tonight I rang a woman called Megan. When she looked at her phone, perhaps when it was ringing or maybe later on, she would’ve seen a number she didn’t know.

When I reached her voicemail, I was slightly startled and hung up without leaving a message. I don’t know Megan, I thought the number I dialed was for someone else, a number I have called so many times I was shocked I had made a mistake.

I had to search through the depths of my email to find the number I needed, eventually uncovering an old resume I had proofed.

I didn’t know what reaction to anticipate, but I wasn’t nervous. So many years of history with someone inevitably means you’ve experienced them all at some point.

It was, more than anything, a relief. Intense, but a relief.

I spent seven years of my life with a person and it didn’t work out and neither of us were grown up enough to be able to make it work and when it ended, it did so with a bang, not a whimper.

There was an easy, familiar shorthand still there, a little patchy, some details fuzzy, but it was there.

He climbed a literal mountain and figured some stuff out, climbed back down and started to work on being happy. Being a better person, to himself and to others.

And I cried when he told me this, because when it went so wrong, it hurt because every time I looked at him, there was a small part there that was a confused, sweet kid, not a bad guy doing all of this on purpose and because I was so combative and determined to salvage whatever stakes I thought were at play and we fought more against each other than for the relationship.

Tonight we exchanged kind words and meant it and I realised I felt genuine happiness for him.

I didn’t set out today to close this chapter. I’d been thinking about his mother, who used to call me Gert and who’d seemed sincere about wanting to stay in touch, but I’d let it slide, it seemed too much and too invasive back then.

I wanted to send her a Christmas card this year and couldn’t find her address.

I didn’t mean to unpack this box of memories tonight, but I’m sincerely glad I did.