Thursday, December 27, 2012

He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice

The ABC seems to have dusted off rather a lot of Louis Theroux for the Christmas holidays.  And isn't he a funny little sausage?

The other night, Louis brought together some very different people in New York in the lead-up to Christmas 1997.  He set them some group activities and individual challenges.  Not surprisingly the very innocent looking porn star and fundamentalist Christian nutcase bully did not see eye-to-eye.

The fundamentalist Christian nutcase bully (amusingly, called Randy) took particular exception to dressing up in Santa costumes and collecting money for charity, arguing Santa was more Satan.  Which does not agree with the generally accepted history of Saint Nicholas, but that's an argument for another day.

He blustered about Satan Claus (ho, ho, ho, ahem) and complained that children, when presented with a choice between Santa and Jesus, would choose Santa.

Well, no wonder, thought Prudence.  With Jesus, the only way one finds out whether one's efforts were worthwhile is when one dies.  With Santa, there's reliable feedback every year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Things one sees on the way home

Prudence got off the train to carollers, a barbershop quartet and Santa in most ill-advised shorts.

But that was no more absurd than the Hyundai Getz pulling a full tradie's trailer complete with air-compressor.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On missing the point

Prudence wrote a memo the other week.  As one does - in the public service, memos are like blood.  They circulate, new ones being made, old ones being excreted, and they make things happen.  One hopes.

This one argued strongly against awarding a grant.  Laws had been broken, policies disregarded, integrity was entirely absent.

The first time it came back, there was a righteously indignant admonishment on its lack of block justification.  Apparently a non-block-justified memo is poison to the eyes of the executive.

So Prudence grumbled and re-justified the stinking memo and sent it back up.

Not altogether surprisingly, it came back down, this time accompanied by a gormless young man.

"I think you should include a procurement option," he mumbled, not meeting Prudence's eye.

"No, you've missed the point," said Prudence with not a little incredulity.  "Under no circumstances should we give this lot any money."

"But I'd like you to include the option."

The conversation, if one could stretch the truth sufficiently to compliment it so, went back and forth in a similar vein for nearly half an hour, Prudence's patience wearing dangerously thin.

The upshot:  another memo.  Explaining again the extreme dodginess of the applicant, and putting forward a whole different suite of arguments on why said applicant should be sent away with a flea in his ear.

Life is ever so.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On middle age

It being three weeks from Prudence's 43rd birthday, she was most amused to be called "Girl" this morning.

But it was a fairly grizzled farmer describing her thus, so one supposes that's all right.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Not what one was expecting. An occasional series.

Prudence did not know what to say

when Beloved said:

"Try this, it's lamb curry."

And it turned out to be

a piece of cauliflower.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

One wonders why one bothers

Of course Prudence said yes when asked to give a speech on kitchen gardens. (One of her favourite topics.)

So she read and researched all over the internets, thought hard about themes and attention spans.

Fully prepared and a little nervous, she arrived to find...

... one person in the hall.  This swelled (eventually) to 12 people.  There were a lot of empty seats.

By the time it was Prudence's time to speak, one gentleman in the back was asleep.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On its own

If, as reported, Iran is setting up its own walled-in internet, what, Prudence wonders, will the LOLcats think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Under the influence

Prudence merrily tingled her bicycle bell to signal her arrival home.

Several hours later, Beloved found himself possessed of (or by) an earworm.

Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In the dead of night...

Goodness, but it has been a long time.

All sorts of things have happened.

There's been a trip to Melbourne, which ended up with severe flu and delayed flights home.

There's been angst about one's employment - yet to be resolved.

There's been all sorts of busyness around a sustainability initiative.

There's been a dawning realisation that one of the surviving chicks is a rooster, then crowing confirmation of same, followed by arranging an adoption.

There's been car troubles of the sizeable-repair-bill kind.

And last night there was weirdness.

At 2.30am, Beloved leapt out of bed, Prudence struggled slowly through the layers of sleep.

There was kerfuffling and Beloved came back into the bedroom.

"What's going on?" asked Prudence.

"The TV was on," said Beloved, "and the dog's missing."

Not what one expects to hear at such an ungodly hour.

It turned out the dog, who knows better, but is determinedly naughty, had decided to sleep on the couch, rather than her own bed.  In getting settled, she'd trod or lain or something on the remote control, thus turning on the television.

Having freaked herself out, she'd sought refuge in bed with Beloved's 12-year-son who happened to be staying over.

Which was a much nicer outcome than the original hypothesis which involved dog-napping, television-controlling ghosts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sweet thing

Yesterday was Beloved's birthday.  Inconvenient, it is, having a birthday on a Monday, so most of the celebrating happened on Sunday.  It being winter, Prudence eschewed a traditional birthday cake, opting for a crumble.

Which was most enthusiastically received by Birthday Boy and guests. 

To Monday night and dinner has been dispensed.

Prudence: Would you like some dessert?

Beloved: No, I'm so full I might pop.

Prudence: OK. (and moves to put the leftover crumble back in the fridge)

Beloved: Oh! No! If it's crumble, I'm not full.

Prudence:  (dissolving into giggles) Is that so?

Beloved:  No.  I'm never too full for crumble.

It is nice to have one's culinary skills so roundly appreciated.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The train to Midland attracts all sorts.

This afternoon Prudence could not block out a pair of first year uni students, both desperately trying to be alternative.

Said the boy (self-consciously camp voice) to the girl (deliberately bored tones): "I've, like,  culled a lot of people from facebook".

Girl: "Like, how many friends do you have now?"

Boy: "Only about 400."

Girl: "Oh, like, that's not very many."

Prudence couldn't tell whether that was sarcastic.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On the road

Whatever, Prudence wonders, could inspire a person to:
  1. purchase a white, bog-standard, bottom-of-the-range Hyundai;
  2. stick a decal of Casper the Friendly Ghost on its bonnet;
  3. pay good money for a personalised number plate saying CA5P3R?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A certain kind of discernment

Prudence was more than unimpressed to get back to her very recently purchased car, left hopefully in the station car park that morning, much later that night to find the front passenger window smashed.

The thieves (and that's the nicest word Prudence can think of) took a leatherman tool from the glovebox.  They either didn't find or didn't want the brand new GPS.  Small mercies, one supposes.

Turns out it's $100 cheaper to just pay for a new window than to make an insurance claim.  At least the bloke who replaced the window vacuumed up the broken glass.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The inevitable

Prudence, along with two friends has started up a community group to spread the word about kitchen gardens. 

With a bare minimum of marketing, the group is growing beyond all expectations - kitchen gardens are very, very now.

Inevitably, their activities have attracted the attention of a nutcase.

It turns out, in the world of poultry (for the next meet is all about chooks in the backyard) the politics is nasty.

Prudence does hope this one-eyed chook fancier - who had a number of concerns but was prepared to articulate only his worries about the cholesterol content of eggs - goes away, and others are discouraged.  But she's not at all confident.

With meets planned on preserving the harvest, building a backyard pizza oven, planting out the spring garden and so on, there's much to inspire further nutcasery.

(If you're in the eastern suburbs of Perth and are interested, see here)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On gritting one's teeth

Prudence has long been a student of human nature - fascinating if frustrating and occasionally completely mad.

However there are some things that are quite clear and logical and - above all - obvious. 

This truth one knows to be self-evident: if a person looks pale and wan and is struggling with the day, jollying her along is only going cause offence.

So the two colleagues (two!) who felt that saying "smile!" to Prudence yesterday, as she struggled with the day, really deserved the snappy telling-off they copped.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On taking chances

In a fit of feminism and empowerment and other words usually associated with shouting slogans and marching with banners, Prudence has applied for a very blokey job.

Having done a bit of research lately, it seems that if a job has 10 criteria and a bloke feels he meets two or three, he'll apply, whereas a woman won't put her hand up unless she meets eight or nine of them.

Prudence looked at the five criteria of said job and figured she had a decent go at about three and a half.  So she put her mind in a blokey frame (ie embroidered skills and experience) and threw in her metaphorical hat.

It will be interesting to see whether having a go works out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Missed opportunity to make the world a better place

The scenario:  Prudence had stopped at a fishmonger van to buy a kilo of silver cobbler.  Selling the fish was a man d'un certain age who wasn't having a good day.

Prudence had handed over her cash, politely declined a plastic bag and was waiting for change.

Fishmonger: Have you had a good afternoon?

Prudence: Yes, thank you, I have.

Fishmonger: Then why aren't you smiling?

Prudence is quite proud she managed not to growl through her gritted teeth, but in hindsight wishes she'd said what she was thinking:  that serve of condescension has just ensured I will never buy fish from you again and I will tell everyone I know that you are a patronising git.


Sometimes it is better to set aside good manners for the greater good.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rather missing the point

Beloved has a sticker on his ute, of which he is particularly fond:

God is just pretend

Yesterday he found a postcard under his wiper.

From the Mormons, the handwritten message (very childish script, printing with large circles rather than dots above the i s) read:

      "If God is just pretend, then so are you, my brother."

Prudence thinks, well, that just goes to show.

Monday, May 7, 2012


It is quite usual for Prudence to find,

in the washing machine filter,

money - coins and notes.

The discovery of two pieces of spiral pasta

has Prudence


Saturday, May 5, 2012


Prudence has a problem employee at work.

Along with lovely boss, she has been managing this problem employee, who is 50, misogynistic and really quite stupid.

He has, apparently, a PhD, but Prudence has no idea how this happened as this man can barely string a sentence together, has no concept of anyone other than himself and is quite incapable of any work involving initiative or imagination.

There have been stern conversations.  There have unpleasant reports.  Punches have not been pulled and words have not been minced.

This is known as the sub-standard performance process.

Disconcertingly, problem employee has started paying Prudence compliments. And good manners dictates she accept these compliments gracefully.

It really is most unpleasant.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting things done

Prudence has had a managerial kind of a day.

First off, she donned her union delegate hat, helping resolve a nasty, high-level bullying case. 

Then after a fortifying long macchiato, she put her manager hat on to start of one of those lovely anachronisms that define the public sector: the sub-standard performance process.

The less said about that, the better.

Later on, she was amused to hear (and quite pleased) that she has a reputation as an operator.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The adventure-adverse spirit

Overheard in the office today:

"I'm not comfortable going anywhere there isn't high-speed internet."

Prudence is more than a little worried about the younger generation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

On the way home

Travelling the Midland line is often interesting, occasionally informative.

On the way home tonight, Prudence found herself seated between a pair of Japanese teenage girls and a pair of bogan teenage boys.

The girls giggled and sang along along to their iPod in squeaky, breathy voices.

The boys discussed the terms of their parole with liberal sprinklings of expletives.

Then we all negotiated a wall of burly cops and two drug sniffer dogs at the end of the line.

Ho hum.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ups and downs

The new job at the very important Government department has been busy and, well, quite stressful. Prudence has often gone home with a frown upon her brow and a herd of angry hefalumps stampeding about inside her head.

In the last week she's been told she is no longer considered a psycho bitch and she's a bad manager.

The former being one of the more amusing compliments ever received, the latter later retracted with an admission that the utterer sometimes acts like a child.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kids say the darndest things

Having recently moved from a not-very-important government department to the-supremely-important government department, Prudence has been getting to know her new colleagues.

S, realising he'd stapled one of Prudence's documents to his, handed it back, apologising.

"You're forgiven," Prudence said, "but don't let it happen again, young man."

S sidled closer to Prudence.

"I'm older than I look, you know," he murmured, absolutely straight-faced.

"I'm nearly 30."

Prudence is quite pleased she managed not to snort at that.

Monday, January 9, 2012

There's bound to be a time when this is needed

Prudence is indebted to lovely friend S for this most useful of phrases:

Te Audire no possum. Musa sapientum fix est in aure.

Which translates as: I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

Not having had a classical education, Prudence does not know how to pronounce this, but suspects anyone to whom she directs it, doesn't either.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


After a hiatus of a decade or so of cynicism, Prudence started making resolutions about five years ago. These tended to be quite private, and momentous, if general: to be nicer to oneself, not to be judgmental and cynical, surround oneself with inspirational people, and so on.

The idea was that successive years would build on their predecessors. Prudence is a much better person for the effort, having conquered demons small and large.

For 2012, a change in approach.

1. Learn to crochet

2. Learn to prune the fruit trees so they fruit more, rather than less

3. Find a decent (read grown-up) hairdresser

4. Pay off at least one credit card

5. Find a properly waterproof mascara

Progress reports as and when.