I have manila folders sitting in a box, full of tax returns. Some years are a couple of centimetres thick, chock full of receipts, print outs and bits of paper. Each piece of paper would have had some information on it that would have been copied in to a spreadsheet, then those figure moved to other bits of paper.
I’ve just finished my tax for this year. I have three pieces of paper to file, and next year there should be only one. It took me all of five minutes to print off the reports that my accountant needs and email them to him. I don’t even have to make the trip to his office any more. Hours and hours of work have literally been reduced to a few mouse clicks.
And the days it use to take to get my finished return; within an hour I had a phone call back to say everything was done and it looks like it’s my shout tonight.
This year was a year of music for me. I went to more gigs this year than the previous decade combined and found some fantastic new artists.
My favourite gig. Wow, this one was tough. Peter Hook and the Light played an absolute 3 hour blinder at The Corner, just thinking of that version of Perfect Kiss brings a smile to my face. It was an almost religious experience and put the New Order gig of a couple of years ago to shame. My ears were ringing for days afterwards.
Then there was the awesomeness of seeing Public Service Broadcasting in a tiny room with a couple of hundred other fans. I wish that performance could have gone on forever. The only disappointment was they didn’t have any merch so I still don’t have a PSB t-shirt. One day, one day…
But the winner had to be Frank Turner at The Corner. I’ve already blogged about the gig so won’t rehash here. All I will add is that he didn’t disappoint a few days later when I saw him again at The Barwon Club in Geelong. Rae and I have already agreed it’s tickets to every show he does in Melbourne next time he’s here.
My favourite new artist would have to be Hyde and Beast with their laid back 70s inspired sounds. They played an amazing set at 6:00am on BBC 6 Music. Any band that can sound that good at that hour has to be worth listening to, and they certainly are. Stand out track – Keep Moving. Love that groove.
And favourite album? No contest on this one. I loved Frank’s new album, indeed it inspired my first tattoo, but Public Service Service Broadcasting’s Race For Space is a work of art. I must have listened to this album 100s of times this year and it never, ever, gets tired. So many brilliant tracks and there are two I just can’t split as the stand outs. The Other Side makes me hold my breath every time I hear it (and was beyond words live) and Go is everything I love about this band.
The thing that all three favourites have in common – I was introduced to each by Chris Hawkins on BBC 6 Music. So, Chris, if you read this, thanks for making this a great year.
It’s been a few years now since Mick transformed our back yard from wilderness to a place we actually like to spend time in. One of the things we did back then was to plant some jasmine between the pittosporum and it’s finally grown enough to do what we had hoped. Sitting in our lounge tonight with the windows open the scent is wafting in on the breeze. Nothing says summer more than jasmine.
Argh, another Tuesday night I’m not going to running group and I’m getting very, very frustrated.
A few months ago I popped my hip flexor and had to take a couple of months off running. Recovery went well, even better than expected, and I eased my way back. I managed one running group and a few 5k’s before what I thought was just a shoe rubbing on my toe turned out to be an infection and that side lined me for a couple of weeks.
Now my toe is back to normal but my doctor has pointed out I have plantar fascia. Looking back I realise I’ve had it for a while, only it was hidden by the hip and toe. So now I’m back to not running while I try to get the stage where I can walk without pain. I’m seeing a podiatrist this weekend and will no doubt end up with ridiculously expensive orthotics to help me out. I know that as long as I keep up my stretching and do what the professionals tell me to I’ll be back running before too long but looking out the window on a day like today, thinking how magnificent it would be to out running, is beginning to get me down.
I pick up the kids from school each afternoon. We’re just far enough away to make it quicker to drive so I normally drive there a bit earlier and have a few minutes reading time.
Today I was insanely busy and with weird weather in the morning I missed my jog. I was pondering how to make up the exercise when it hit me – make better use of reading time. I left a few minutes earlier than I normally do, parked the car and went for my 5k run. It was a bit slower than normal thanks to cyclonic (well, strong) headwinds but I had plenty of time to do my normal circuit and get back to the car before the bell went.
I’m thinking on cooler days this would be a good thing to do again. Exercise in and only a few minutes of lost work time instead of 25.
When I was young, I think it must have been when I was around five, we were on holidays in Bright. I’ve been told that one day we were at the shops, or maybe getting fish and chips, and a man walked in and he was covered in tattoos. This was the early 70s so a sight like that was like seeing a Martian appear before me. Apparently I turned to mum in awe and said “One day I’m going to be like him!”.
That story never got old, re-told so many times that to this day I can hear mum’s voice and the laugh that would come after its telling.
I was never a fan of tattoos, never quite ‘got’ them. Rae had a tattoo when I met her and now has the most glorious art work on her back and shoulder but I was still not sold on the idea.
One night we were out to dinner together talking about Rae wanting a new tattoo. I’m pretty sure it was me who came up with the idea for the Freddie Mercury that is now on her forearm and then talk turned to what I would have on mine if I was to get one. Rae came up with the idea of band logos. The New Order from Low Life, Billy Bragg’s ‘BB’ symbol, Pet Shop Boys was too tricky and Frank Turner’s F/T/H/C logo were the go and then it was forgotten about.
But a seed has been planted and the damn thing grew.
Then Frank Turner went and released a new album and the first song, Get Better, had a lyrics video.
I loved the lyrics and ‘things can get better, because we’re not dead yet’ seemed to stick in my mind. It wouldn’t budge and the appeal of no matter what’s going on, things can get better became a motivating mantra for me. Injured? Not dead yet. Too much work to get done? Not dead yet. Still 1k to run? Not dead yet.
So I decided to get a tattoo.
Lucy perfectly copied the text in his hand writing from a video grab and one rainy Saturday morning I got my first tattoo.
When we first moved in to our house it was in the middle of a drought. You weren’t allowed to water so we didn’t do much in the front. Planted some shrubs, threw down some lawn seed and hoped. This worked for a little while but for the past couple of years we’ve been saying we really have to do something to make our house look presentable again.
Over the past couple of months this reached tipping point. There were weeds everywhere, one shrub had died, others had grown unchecked and, to put it bluntly, our house was looking like an embarrassment. So on Sunday we began. Out came all but two shrubs, and those were trimmed right back. Weeds were pulled, others poisoned and we came up with a firm plan of what we are going to do.
Tonight we started on the plan. Rae saw a guy offering yukka plants for free and we’ve planted six of them. We have some sleepers left over from when we did the back yard and they are going to be turned in to a flower bed for out the front of window. Stones are being moved to under the yukkas and we’ll be turning over the lawn to start again.
It feels great to have begun this after such procrastination. Hopefully it won’t be long until once more we have a front yard we can be proud of.