Diary entry 26th August

5 09 2009

Wednesday 26th

Aurore and I have decided that Matt does not respond to texts or emails above a PG-13 rating. To test this theory I send him an email containing the word ‘cunnilingus’ to which I receive no reply. I then follow this up a couple of hours later with a missive that includes the term ‘fuck buddy’ and then in the evening with a text that refers to handcuffs but in a non-police custodial context. Nothing.

I’m so excited. This must be how Einstein felt when his Theory of Relativity was proven.

Sign-up a really fantastic author (my first signing!), a Cambridge Professor who circumnavigated the Americas 40 years ago. Book is an account of his voyage filled with his own photographs and sketches. He’s truly delightful and by coincidence, I have travelled to some of the places he visited on his voyage searching for whales, so we talk about the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.

His wife Pia, is equally charming, Italian, and wearing a rust coloured Thai silk pant suit which I instantly covet. She tells me of how they met a Japanese Princess on an Antarctic ice shelf who came to stay with them in Cambridge prior to going off to Highgrove to stay with Chaz and Cams. The Princess it appears had a liking for single malt and kept them up until three am drinking. ‘You must come over,’ she enthuses. ‘There’s still plenty of Scotch left!’ From a Japanese Princess to an Australian one. Not much difference, really.

Friday 28th

Austin is back looking like I feel – which is not a good sign. He tells me it was 45 degrees in Nice and then blames a combination of weather and air conditioning for the lurgy he’s brought back with him as if this will invoke any pity on my part. I’m busy at the computer when suddenly I get this feeling like decompressing too fast with a ringing in my ears and I blackout. I knew work was bad for you and this merely confirms it. Michelle who has the office next to mine tells me she had the same thing happen to her on Thursday which is why she went home early. I find Jill in the kitchen with Jezz and when I explain I’m going home as I’m not feeling well and Jezz, all sympathy, tells me to get out in case I have swine flu. In which case Aurore and Michelle also have swine flu as our symptoms are identical. Or else we’re all Daughters of Satan which is the explanation I prefer.

Sunday 30th

I have introduced Aurore to X-Men. She now announces that her mutant power is telekinesis and her mutant name is Chunky Monkey – she fully intends to become a couch potato and use her telekinetic powers to summon tubs of Ben & Jerry’s to her direct from the village shop without leaving the comfort of her sofa. She’s also joining Magneto because he will need a right-hand mutant with the demise of Mystique. I am quick to point out the flaws in this plan. For one thing, Magneto is cool. He will lose all street cred if he’s accompanied by a size 60 mutant Godzillaing her way alongside him in banana ice-cream stained clothes when the X-Men have those sexy butt-hugging uniforms.

Just a thought.

I think my mutant name is Manolo.

Monday 31st

Disaster. Can’t open the Wadhams file as its corrupted. Edit is therefore going to be late.

Tuesday 1st

Jesse’s first day – taking over from me in my old position. He admires the She Ra Princess of Power sign on my door. Since we may end up sharing the office when Austin leaves, I ask him if he wants to be Skeletor or He-Man. Sensibly he opts for Skeletor.

I’m sure any of my authors reading this can rest easy knowing that their career is in the hands of mature professionals.

Entire evening spent on Wadhams edit. Page 86.

Wednesday 2nd

A popular subject of conjecture amongst myself and my fellow Aussie compatriots who have found ourselves stranded here is the odd behaviour of the Poms. Firstly, why are there so many of them considering that their doctors are mostly idiots and the vast majority of them that you run across in a dating situation don’t seem to want sex? But there they all are – seventy million of them and counting despite the best efforts of the NHS to cull their numbers and a ‘No sex please, we’re British’ attitude the act of reproduction. (None of this applies if you are a Tory MP or if your last name is Mosley).

Seeing as they always need more numbers in order to fuel their bureaucracies my theory is perhaps they just absorb others into their collective like the Borg? Maybe that’s that the NHS is doing – recycling. When you need the doctor here you have to go through many, many stages of pointless paper-pushing before you actually get to see someone whose paper collection may just include a medical degree. And then they will do their very best to fob you off with the ‘Nurse Practitioner’. First you have to come in and get some registration papers. Then you make an appointment to come back with your registration papers. Then make yet another appointment for a registration appointment. It doesn’t matter if you’re haemorrhaging over the surgery carpet at this point. They have rules. They have systems.

If your symptoms persist after all this hoop jumping, you may at that point be allowed access into that holy of holies – the consulting room. I had access to the consulting room once. This was for my ‘Registration Appointment’. The first thing that had me worried was I was asked what my ethnicity was when I walked in. Let’s see – red hair, pale skin, freckles – let’s take a wild stab at this one and say African American. I told the doctor I’d contracted Dengue in South America. She promptly wrote up that I’d had Ebola Zaire in Central Africa. I was then told I couldn’t have the medication I’d spent the last twelve years of my life on in Australia because they are ‘dangerous’. Because I am now over 40 I should not be taking them and her confident prognosis was that I will not be bothered with any more nasty attacks or acne which it one of my diseases more self-confidence eroding side-effects as soon I will be peri-menopausal. Yipee! I’m so glad I have something to look forward to! And of course, this is also why ever since I have been plagued by attacks and that right now my face resembles a Big Day Out for dermatologists.

Then there’s the sex thing. When faced with a trip to Boogie Wonderland the average British bloke generally behaves like a recalcitrant steeplechaser confronting Beecher’s Brook. In other words, much rolling of eyes and a refusal. Or maybe they are just waiting for our chaperones to formally introduce us. Earlier this year I ended up having four dates with a very nice Cambridge professor. He was excellent company but during the course of three dates there was not so much as a peck on the cheek or even an attempt to hold my hand. On the fourth he invited me back to his place to look at his plans for an environmentally sustainable home. This was not the ecologically sound equivalent of ‘etchings’. We looked at his house plans. I went chastely home after which I told him that he was a nice guy but I didn’t feel there was any chemistry there. His response was one of surprise at my reaction. He thought sex was ‘something we would get around to eventually’. My ironing, which is at the present moment trying to escape the confines of its basket in the porch and make an incursion into the kitchen, is something I will get around to ‘eventually’. In the meantime one is searching for passion.

A fellow cetacean researcher told me about a group of three sperm whales he spotted from a helicopter off the coast of New Zealand. One female was being penetrated by two males simultaneously. That’s it. They ban whaling next lifetime I’m coming back as a non-British sperm whale.

Wadhams edit on page 173.

Thursday 3rd

Finish Wadhams edit on bus on way to work. It’s a great read and chronicles a fantastic voyage and I’m flagging it as an ‘A’ list book. However, cannot help but ponder on the changes to marine biology that have taken place over the past 40 years. On the Hudson voyage they put into port at Rio where their marine biologist goes in search of an extremely rare species of dolphin that is only found in that area. He then kills one to study it more closely. Upon their arrival in the Arctic, the ship is surrounded by a school of pilot whales and once again, their on-board marine biologist decides he needs to study a baby pilot whale and comes up on deck with a rifle to try to shoot one. Fortunately, he turns out to be a lousy shot. In a separate incident, he decides to tag a fin whale which is done by shooting an explosive charge into the blubber and then rests easy knowing that this will be returned to him by the kindly whalers once the whale has been slaughtered, so he will know exactly what that whale has been up to prior to its encounter with a factory ship. We’ve still got a long way to go but thankfully, this underscores the fact that things have changed for the better – just not enough.

Have to put in an application to crew a research vessel next year myself. If I get the place I then have to come up with the sponsorship. You have all been warned.

Friday 4th

Austin has given me his lurgy. It’s bad enough having to share an office with a rock star whose persona is permanently cloaked in a fug of existential angst and quite another when that fug turns out to be germ-laden when I had put it down to nihilistic ennui. Require comfort food as a result. Sausages, Yorkshire pudding and mushy peas – Ben & Jerry’s for dessert.

Saturday 5th

Annette is calling her cookie baking company The Empire Bites Back. Maybe she should change her name to Anzac Skywalker.




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