Katherine Hayton | 2015 March

March 2015

10 Mar / Steps

There’s a competition on in the office at the moment. All in the name of good health.

Staff have signed up in groups of four to receive a free pedometer, and now record their steps each day and enter them into a website which tells them how far around the world they’ve come, and where they’re placed in relation to other teams.

The first of those is good-spirited fun; having a cold shower when you reach Loch Ness, starting the long hike up Mount Everest. But the second?

The second is causing a little bit of friction.

I’m exempt from all this excitement due to the luck of having been on holiday when the sign-up sheets went around. Therefore I’m in the perfect position to look at all the participants and judge them mercilessly.

Some people started to come to work boasting of how easy they found it to do 10,000 steps. Others turned around and started to put in some extra work so they could breeze into the office and laugh about doing 20,000. Another grimly wrecked a perfectly nice trip to Melbourne by making sure she could top 30,000.

All in the name of fun.

All in the spirit of friendly competition.

There’s one person who’s actually sitting and rocking the step counter on the end of its string. It records it as steps. It doesn’t require much effort. All in the name of fun.

I’ve heard of another strapping it onto her dog in the evenings. Keeping an eye on his exercise regimen, while she avoids her own. All in the spirit of friendly competition.

I already have a pedometer on my watch which has always recorded my steps. I never paid it much mind. It was just one of those things that came installed which I don’t use, like the remote control.

I walked home this evening. I would rather have caught the bus. My back hurts now; my feet hurt; my legs feel like someone’s bent them the wrong way.

But I clocked up 13,548 steps. Now I just need to buy a dog.

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Yesterday, on my blog, I talked about the abundance of peaches that are currently raining down from the peach tree outside.

I mentioned that I was already preserving quinces, and implied that this was the sole reason that I couldn’t therefore preserve the peaches also.

I now feel that I must come clean about this. It is in many ways true, but it also one of those truths that hide a lie behind them. A not-the-whole-truth truth, if you will.

You see, I do have the capacity and the will to preserve many jars of quince and peach. I do have the bottles to put up many more than I do. I just don’t have the will to move the bottles I need into the kitchen.

They’ve been sitting out in the garage – unused – for many years now. They’re a legacy from my mother who used to bottle copious amounts of peaches, apricots, and multiple varieties of jams every year.

Even though they’re older than me, they’re still in great condition. The metal lids that hold the seals in place are a bit battered, and some of the pale green has worn off over the years, but there’s still a lot of life left in them.

Especially since it seems that most of them will never be used again.

Here’s the problem:

And believe me, that’s to size.

While the spider occupies the same territory as my preserving jars, I never preserve any more than can fill the bottles already safely inside the house.

I can’t purchase any new ones, because the ones I have are perfectly fit for use.

I can’t use the ones I have, because the spider has claimed them for herself.

A quandary that I may never find my way out of, and the reason why I’m now attempting to eat a year’s supply of fresh peaches rather than stewing them for the middle of winter when I’ll be desperate for something sweet and tasty and raised in my own garden.

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07 Mar / Racist Peaches

Now, I want to stress from the get-go that I didn’t name them. If anybody wants to suggest a change – purple passion, maybe – then I’m happy to go with that (as long as everybody else is too).

The sole reason that I’m calling them blackboy peaches is because that’s what everybody else calls them, and the essence of communication is using similar words to refer to similar things so everybody knows the hell everybody else is talking about.


Our blackboy peaches have become ripe, all of a sudden. Since the beginning of February they’ve swelled, and forced the tree branches lower and lower, but they’ve been rock-hard every time I give them a test squeeze.

I’ve been waiting and hoping that sooner or later one would start to give a little, and the annual feast would begin.

Rather than one or two, however, there were suddenly a dozen on the ground, and another five came right off when I gave them the gentlest nudge.

That’s seventeen peaches, with more due tomorrow.

I can’t eat seventeen peaches in a day. There’s already chocolate going begging from the quince onset.

It does seem to me that blackboy peaches would go well in a recipe involving chocolate and cake. The same way that zucchini doesn’t. The only part of that worrying me, is that even though it shouldn’t zucchini does, and would that automatically mean that peaches don’t?

If I can cram them into cakes, or muffins, then I can shove them into the freezer and pull them out weekly. That’ll be something nice to look forward to, rather than the burden of quickly rotting fruit taunting me from the fruit bowl.

So if anybody out there in blogland happens to have a nice cake recipe involving racist sounding peaches, then please feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

Otherwise tomorrow it’s going to be me, a kitchen, cocoa, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, peaches and… oh wait. That’s kind of a recipe right there, isn’t it?

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06 Mar / Big fat legs

The other day I looked down during the morning to see why my legs ached, and saw that they’d ballooned up.

I prodded at them a bit, as you do, and discovered that if I pressed my fingertips into my ankles the fingertip marks lasted long after the actual digits themselves were removed.

All very amusing but I had work to do.

Conscious that they looked as thought they’d endured a five hour flight, I stretched my feet in various directions every time the ache settled, and then forgot about them the rest of the time.

It was too hot to walk home, so I jumped on the bus. It was too hot to bus home, but I was clean out of options.

At home I prodded my ankles a bit more, took some paracetomol for the nagging ache, and propped my feet up. Literally.

It’s hard to type on a computer while your feet are propped two feet higher on the back of the couch, but then we all have our crosses to bear.

The next morning I awoke to find that nothing had changed. This was slightly worrying as when edema occurs after long plane rides, the cure is most definitely to fall asleep, and then wake up.

Potentially I’ve got that a bit wrong, I thought to myself. Potentially it’s the falling asleep in tropical locations that’s the key there, and nothing at all to do with the sleep.

I soldiered on for a couple of hours before I got my entire freak-on at work, and not in the good way. I crumbled and phoned up my doctor to make an appointment.

I still have it, because the first available wasn’t until next week.

Still a bit freaked, I called up the Healthline to see if it was possible that I was being a hypochondriac, and attending a doctors appointment next week was perfectly acceptable in my unknown condition.

Hypochondrianism is a tendency I’ve noticed in myself. One that isn’t helped by the few occasions when I let things slide – lights flashing in my eyes for example – and they turn out to be symptoms necessitating all sorts of drama and operations and recovery periods.

The Healthline lady helpfully suggested I should be checked out within 24 hours, in case it wasn’t okay. I blame her for the two hour wait and the bruises inside my elbow and the substantial “emergency GP” rates charged for the visit which told me I was not suffering from anything but swollen legs and ankles, and perhaps I should put my feet up.

I’ve survived another day at work, and my legs have gradually reduced to a point where they’re no longer shiny and tight, and although I can still dimple my ankles I really have to pick my angles now.

This getting old is a real bunch of fun. Who knows what’s heading my way next?

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04 Mar / Paperclips

Sometimes you only realise how much you rely on something when it’s gone.

Today, down in the training room from air-conditioning hell, there was an item of stationery missing.

We had pens, calculators, entire computers including hard drive and the cheapest possible mice, but did we have paperclips? We did not.

When you work primarily with paper because your office is resistance to change, it’s very easy for it to get out of place. The things that need to go with the other things, all need to be attached together otherwise they won’t be in the place that you need them when you need to do the various things with which paper needs things to be done.

Staples are all very well and good, but we’re into training mode which means you don’t want things to get too attached. Too often they turn out not to be the things that should actually be attached to that.

We tried bulldog clips, but they bent the finely weighted paper that we really aren’t allowed to bend for some strange known only to god reason.

There were magnets, but they were too attracted to each other to be fully removable. We tried putting things into piles but the room is to small and the selection of piles too large.

Those little bendy suckers really do just do the job in a way that no other thing does.

Eventually we did have to give up and walk up two flights of stairs in order to retrieve a packet. Two flights. Now that’s reliance.

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03 Mar / Manflu

My darling has been struck with some sort of dread disease.

It makes his throat burn with mild soreness; occasionally even forcing him to break into a shallow cough. It makes his nose run in a torrent of hot air because there’s not a lot of mucus making an appearance. Certainly not enough for the amount of moaning going on.

Apparently I’m also suffering from a serious disease.

The disease of I-don’t-understand-how-bad-it-is that only effects the female of the species. This makes me blind to pain, and also causes me to greatly underestimate the hardship that my darling is going through, and even at times causes me to inappropriately react with inaction when I should instead be administering to him.

I must admit the disease I suffer from is taking its own toll. My throat is also sore. It isn’t easy to mock for hours at a time.

My brave soldier did attempt to make his way into the office today to put in a good solid day of work.

Oh. My mistake.

I meant a good solid hour of work.

Poor baby. If you or anyone you know would like more information on this terrible illness please take a look at the following link, it will tell you everything you need to know.

Man Flu: Fact versus Fiction

Mainly fiction.

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02 Mar / Karma

Last week (when we scarily ventured forth into the land known as Sydenham) my darling was short-changed at the bar. He handed over a $20 and received in return a plastic cup of beer and $2.50.

Now, I know that it’s been a long time since we went out for a drink together, and I realise that every time people talk about inflation the word rampant is bandied about, but even still it seemed a bit too much of a price-hike.

It was solidified by the next monetary exchange which resulted in more change, and more plastic cups.

You know the world is heading into a tailspin when a bartender can’t give you the correct change.

But on the weekend we discovered that the universe has a plan. Karma is present and correct, baby.

Whilst browsing in the meat section trying to find specially priced about-to-expire meat or meat-like products, I found this!

Rather than weighing the forty-four grams on the label it actually weighed just a tad over one and a half kilograms. At $6.50 per kilo (less the actual $0.29 charge) that comes out around about a ten dollar saving.

Or, in karmatic terms, my apologies, Sir. Here’s your extra change.

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Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice, funny, and surprising read.

I’ve never read Liane Moriarty before, and was delighted to find that she’s an Australian author (about three seconds into the Audible version) and the story was set very close to where we holiday each year.

It’s a woman’s fiction/murder mystery which not only doesn’t let you know whodunnit but doesn’t let you know whoitwasdunto either.

The main story is set around Jane – a young mother – and her entry into a close-knit neighbourhood just as her son is starting preschool, and it grows from the details of the interactions she and her son have with their new community.

Two other women share the limelight – Celeste and Madeline – as they enter into a tight friendship of three. Gradually it becomes clear that although all of Madeline’s skeletons are rattling around merrily in full view, Jane and Celeste hold their big little lies a lot tighter to their chests.

There’s a rather wonderful effect at the ends of segments where a selection of interviewees have small snippets about incidents that have occurred throughout the story. As in real life, no one’s story tallies up in the slightest with anyone else’s, and it lends lovely light refreshing intervals to a novel which in time deals with some very unlovely subjects.

A very easy and enjoyable read, and one that made me immediately purchase another of Liane Moriarty’s books for my Kindle to-be-read list.

View all my reviews

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