Katherine Hayton | BLOG

23 Sep / Goodbye b**ches

The time is nearly upon me. Sorrow fills my heart and unnecessarily wakes me up at five to one in the morning. My last full day at Mission Beach is nearly at an end, and tomorrow I must drive for two hours and fly for seven and a half hours with a two hour stopover in order to return to Christchurch.

Oh well. All good things must come to an end. Perhaps there’ll be a beautiful frost on Thursday morning to bring a smile to my face, and chillblains to my feet.


Goodbye beautiful beaches xoxoxo

Goodbye beautiful rain forest xoxoxo

Goodbye beach seen through rain forest xoxoxo

Goodbye pool – you’ve served me well xoxoxo

Goodbye… whatever you are xoxoxo

Goodbye, my love, goodbye.

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22 Sep / Self-harm

Oh, the pain. The pain.

I stubbed my toe this morning on the side of the lounger. For long moments my entire body tensed; I gripped the side of the chair tight and concentrated very hard on not yelling loud swear-words in consideration of the family next door with three little children.

The pain was all-consuming. When I looked down to check that my toe was still in some form of relationship with the remainder of my foot, the visual appearance of injury was under-whelming. It was a touch red.

When I was finally able to speak (other than suppressed swears) I looked up to see my darling waiting to find out what was wrong with his eyebrows raised.

This isn’t from callousness, more’s the pity. No – it’s from routine. I have managed to injure myself at least once, and often several times per day since arriving in Australia. It’s not the venomous snakes or indecently large spiders – no. It’s some sort of inbuilt clumsiness that has decided to kick into high gear to help celebrate my time off.

I have stubbed my toe, twisted my ankle, managed to get a stick embedded in my heel, and this morning I gouged a new slit in the tip of my nose with my thumbnail while putting on a top.

Don’t ask.

My darling has given up yelling in panic, ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong?’ Now he just waits calmly for me to inform him, or makes a casual guess. ‘Toe?’ I nod. He nods back in sympathy. ‘Looks like it hurts.’

Son of a b**** that’s an understatement. I hope when I return to New Zealand my co-ordination returns. My guess is that the excessively high temperatures and long hours of sunshine have somehow thrown off my brain chemistry and resulted in this spate of injury.

If it’s not, then farewell my friends. I’ll be lucky to last out the year.

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Today I looked out over the view out of our balcony…

… and I started to get that sad feeling. That feeling that says ‘You remember how when you went out to the airport you thought your holiday would last forever, well I’ve got news for you!’

I’ve pushed it away before today; laughed in its face and counted down exactly how many days I had left here. Many, many, many, many, many days stretched out in front of me. Now I have Monday and Tuesday… and sort-of Wednesday if you count the drive out to Cairns which I do (no I don’t) and then it’s all over.

‘You’re going to have to go back to your day job,’ my mind teases me. ‘You’re going to have to fit into your uniform.’

It’s a statement to my fit and relaxed mental health that the second phrase has me closer to tears than the first. Oh well, maybe I can get away with wearing my own clothes for a week or two while I downsize (or order new uniform.)

Still, tomorrow’s Monday and I’ll still be here. I’ll deal with Wednesday later. And next Monday – I might be dead by then!

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Today instead of actual writing I thought about writing. Thought hard. There was a big gap between the middle of my story and the end of my story. I knew there were things she should be doing, and things that had to happen, and things that had to be revealed, but no real idea of how those things were going to transfer from vague ideas in my head onto the page.

But now I’ve cracked it.

Coincidentally I’ve also decided that it’s just as important to take long walks on the beach as it is to do actual writing. They obviously help. And since I’m soon coming back to Christchurch where walking on the beach is inconvenient and cold, I should make the most of the beach that I currently have.

I may have sorted out my storyline, but I’m obviously not going to get much time to actually write for the rest of my holiday. Not now I have a task-list.

Until I fly back on Wednesday feel free to interpret #amwriting as #ambeachwalking – in my mind they’re now the same thing.

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19 Sep / The gasman rules

Halfway through my darling cooking his breakfast he came out to join me on the balcony with a forlorn look on his face. ‘The gas is gone,’ he announced, and stared down into his half-way to boiling water. ‘I can’t cook my egg.’

I walked him back into the kitchen and performed an inspection myself. In my defence this wasn’t automatic disbelief, it was based on the memory of our first day here where my darling decided his failure to light the stove was proof positive that it didn’t work. It was proof positive of something, but as I managed to have it lit and running a minute later it wasn’t of the stove being broken.

But this time it turned out he was correct. I recovered from my shock, and tried to work out what to do.

‘I know where the gas tanks are,’ he announced, and led me downstairs to the cupboard with the hot water cylinder in it. I let him go back to his half-breakfast (at least the toaster doesn’t require gas to cook) while I decided to mount a full inspection of the property.

I’ve just realised that the title of this blog could be taken the wrong way. Especially if I’m referring to eggs in the first sentence. I’m too lazy to go back and change it now though, this piece is half-written and if I change the title then this whole paragraph will have to go. That means the already-typed-but-then-deleted word count would be added onto the word count for my novel, but I’ve already spent the time writing it out. Just a moment…


There, that should do the trick. Now readers will refer to the blog title, find the possibility of a double entendre, then their eyes will be drawn to the capital letters above, and they’ll be reassured that it doesn’t exist. Problem solved, now where were we…

Right. I walked around the entire property. I thought they might be located in the shed next to the garage, but aside from the ventilation fans for the air-conditioning there was only a few lawn chairs. I thought they might be beside the pool, or under the cushion on top of the built in cabinet that was three meters by two metres – solely for the reason that I didn’t know what was in it. That lid was heavy. But I proved that they were not located there and that was the main thing.

Next I tried around the side where there was a hose and a short clothing line. There turned out to be a hose, and a short clothing line.

So I wandered back to my starting point and tried again. Shed – no. Pool – no. Clothing line – no. Shed – no. Wait a minute.

There is a large group of trees and bushes next to the fence-line on the right-hand side of the property. For some landscaping-type reason (maybe a drunk landscaper for example) they’re grown in stones. Sharp red stones.

I did not have shoes on. I was so confident that they would be located in the obvious place for them to be – the shed – that I hadn’t worried about putting on shoes. Or even shoe-like things such as jandals. Bare feet. That’s what I had on.

Those stones were sharp. They were sharp when I stepped on them. They were sharp when I stood in confused silence on them. They were sharp when I finally figured out the complicated structure of the gas tanks and that in order to get gas flowing again I needed to turn a switch so it was pointing at the second tank and walked back to the driveway.

But at least I was victorious!

I returned to the kitchen and tested the stove. There was the lovely sweet smell of gas, the lovely buzz of it emerging from the burners, and the lovely woomph as the flame caught hold.

The gasman rules.

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Today I woke up at midnight. That’s 2.00am by Christchurch standards, so not quite as bad as it may sound, but still midnight by Mission Beach standards so bad enough.

I tried very hard to sleep. Very hard indeed. Unfortunately sleep appears to be one of those things which requires effortlessness to work. Like dance moves. Concentrating, screwing my eyelids shut, and trying really hard did not do a jot of good. When my darling started to exercise his nostrils in his nightly snore, I decided that for me it was now morning.

Welcome World.

It is pitch black in Far North Queensland when it is night-time. I shouldn’t complain because there is beautiful sun all day long (at least the last couple of days) but when the light goes out – it goes out. Ten minutes of sunset if you’re lucky, and then pitch until 5.45am when the sun rises in equal time. That’s a lot better than the other end.

So I sat in the dark (with the light on – if you want to cut down on the melodrama) and typed away at my computer attempting to make sense of information that just requires a few more hours sleep to make sense of. In other words, I stared blankly at the screen for three and a half hours, and then went back to bed.

My darling did briefly wake up when I did so, but then he fell back asleep to taunt me with how easy it was. He also began to snore again to ram my feeble attempts home.

I have been very restrained since being on holiday, I haven’t kicked him once, and I was good once again. I calmly waited with my eyes closed tight until he woke naturally a couple of hours later and then I finally managed to fall back to sleep.

When I woke the second time the sun was full in the sky, and the wind was non-existent; the glorious beginning of our finest day yet (if you believe in judging days by hotness and availability of swimming pools which I do.) But with my broken sleep I couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

Luckily it’s holiday time, so that doesn’t actually put much of a cramp on my style. I did coax myself into a nice walk along the beach, I did get my 10,000 steps by mid-morning, and I did have a couple of lengths of the very short pool, but aside from that the only time I left the house was to walk to lunch, and then walk back replete.

And this is the thing I want to know. Using Mission Beach time I woke up at 2.00am and ate breakfast within the hour. I then had a mid-morning snack at 5.00am shortly after which I decided that I could definitely sleep now, and returned to bed. When I woke up at 8.30am I was starving again, so I ate a second breakfast. I then needed a snack for morning tea, and when we went to lunch at midday and it took more than half an hour to receive our order (of pizza and sliders – health conscious to the last) I felt like chewing my arm off to stop my stomach grumbling.

I had a milkshake with ice-cream at mid-afternoon, and then ate another couple of magnums to round off the meal. That would usually be the last time I ate for the day, as we’re going to bed on the dot of 7.00pm because we can’t keep our eyes open, but tonight I was once again starving after an hour and so ate some cereal and some salami. And no that’s not as bad as it sounds.

So what I’d like to know is how on earth is my central digestive system getting these messages to pig on out on food. Yes, I am walking about a little bit more, but seriously? Three extra meals more? There is just no way. I’d also like to go off on a small tangential rant about why Australia seems to have missed out on the Sugar-Free revolution but I’ll put that aside for the moment because it’s currently 13 minutes past my bedtime and I can’t think straight.

I can always go to bed tonight thinking that perhaps tomorrow I’ll wake up not wanting to eat the house of its food, and the world of its ice-creams, but I’ve thought that before.

I no longer believe it’s going to happen.

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I have been experiencing beautiful sunshine the last two days at Mission Beach. (oh yes, I’m on holiday – did I not mention that?) The first couple of days there were numerous overcast periods (really putting the rain back into rain-forest) although the bright yellow disc has been making an experience for a few hours here and there nevertheless. But yesterday and today there was sun from the moment we got up (after waiting for four hours for it to rise due to some inability of Australia to keep to NZ time) until the moment we go to bed (making the assumption that the next hour or two will continue to be glorious.)

However, I’ve discovered the drawback that I discover each year due to my reckless disregard for learning lessons from history. The warm glow I had after my swim and consequential lie in the sun to dry my swimsuit (because I’m all into solar power at the moment) has subsequently turned into a burny red glow. Ah yes. Hello sunburn my old friend, it’s not good to meet with you again.

So with the temperature edging up around 29 degrees outside I have now stupidly added a few more degrees virtue of my skin.

It will teach me to be more careful with the sunscreen over the next couple of days, but I do wonder if there’s something in the back of my mind screaming out “But it looks so awesome when you get a tan. Just a little one. Just this once!”

And it’s true that a tan – a real one not an orange one thanks – does still look pretty damn awesome. Especially when you spend most of the year pale blue where the only tinge of colour comes from occasional bursts of high blood pressure. I just need to keep in mind that my tan won’t look so awesome when grotesque moles and melanomas start popping up all over it.

Example of Grotesque Mole

Actually – that doesn’t look too bad. Hmmmmmm.

(ps if you’re a burglar and you know where I live I can assure you I’m most definitely NOT on holiday. Nope. I’m sitting in my lounge right now. With a knife. In the dark. Waiting for you. Well, do you feel lucky punk?)

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Today I saw a real cassowary. In the flesh. And feathers. And the funny knobby thing on top of its head so it won’t knock itself out if it runs straight into a tree at speed.

We came to an intersection after going on a trip to the Supermarket (I know, I know – our holidays are packed full of super-exciting stuff) and we wondered what the hell the dicks in the blue car were up to as they were sitting in the middle of their lane about twenty metres away from the intersection. It’s not like we’re in Italy where that sort of parking is acceptable.

What they turned out to be doing was watching a cassowary. They drove off and we subsequently pulled to a stop so we could have our own moment to act like Italians while tracing the journey of an almost mythical creature (by FNQ standards.)

Here it is…

And yes I do realise I have terrible photo skills thank you very much for asking. I was just lucky to have my phone on me at all because in holiday mode I forget that I have it, and even if I have it I’ve also often forgotten that it also needs to be charged occasionally. I’m on a break from Farm Heroes too.

We came over to Cairns and Mission Beach for seven years before we saw our first cassowary, and now we’ve seen two in two years. Or one twice. I’m not familiar enough with the birds, and have no photographic record of the first (see I told you I was lucky to have my phone) so I can’t compare.

Splendid days! Now I just need to see a few kangaroos and we’ll be set for our annual zoological target.

(and that stuff about Italian parking is not like racist or stereotyping you know. That’s based on keen observation from the viewpoint of a tourist bus over an extended seven day period. Over twelve years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s still accurate. Quite sure. A bit sure?)

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Taking a break from long walks on the beach, investigating randomly shaped pieces of driftwood that look rude if you pretend you’re a three-year old and eating, I actually produced something of value today.

First up, a logo, because something something brand something blah blah need one.

Just wait till I get that plastered on a t-shirt! Or a business-card. Or something else printable and stuff. I quite like the idea of wandering around the office with my own brand emblazoned across my fabulous chest. I hope I have the choice of princess-cut to hide my equally fabulous ice-cream filled belly.

My website is not quite finished. There’s a page missing, now what was it? That’s right – the homepage. But there’s a blog with one post on it (because I haven’t got around to sending the others yet) and a reviews page with one review (because I haven’t got around to sending the others yet.)

But you can still see all the ideas and thought that’s gone into it, in one morning. Yeah, alright, there may be a few changes coming in the next couple of weeks. But still – website, domain name, social media stuff – I might even confuse myself for a business if I’m not careful. Yeah, write that one off against the profit column Doris. What do you mean what profit column? Are you having a laugh? Oh, I see. We are far from breaking even let alone…

I have a new website!!!

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