Archive for December, 2007

Sainsbury’s Deliver Some Eighty Bananas Unto Us

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2007 by ladyredjess

It’s indicative of how narrow my life has become that the highlight of my week is when Sainsbury’s, for a reason unbeknowest to this author, deliver two bags full of bananas with our usual shopping. Without charge. The delivery man looks at them askance, then I sign his form and he goes away.

‘Jess, where did all these bananas come from?’ H collapses against the door with laughter.
‘ I checked the receipt three times and couldn’t find any record of them,’ I protest.
It must be a gift, like the week of strange cheeses and lamb neck fillets, which are still in the freezer. I loathe lamb, but because of our parsimonious upbringing I can’t bring myself to throw it out.

At first the novelty is wonderful, because I love green bananas, but then they start to go brown. I refuse to eat ripe – let alone overripe – bananas, so H and our flatmate are left to fight the war against them. They lose, and now our house has become infused with a rank, tropical scent. So for those of you who care to see us over the next few weeks, be warned that you shall be plied with baked banana-borne bounty.


Our Houses are Full of Smoke

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2007 by ladyredjess

This is the title of a book of poems by Deb Westbury, who taught me in my first year of writing at the University of Wollongong. It sprang to mind when, having taken the lid off the rice cooker prior to serving dinner, and having sat down to consume said dinner, I smelled burning. I dashed back into the kitchen and found the room hazy with smoke, while a small fire was in progress upon the cooker lid. I grabbed a teatowel and whacked it out, whereupon I discovered that I’d left the element on and the entire plastic handle had melted into black liquid. The tiny screws that had once held it to the steel lid had been released, tittering into the sink.

Who was the idiot who ever invented electric hobs? Why did our landlord not install a gas oven? For one can see gas burning, thereby avoiding the melting of implements. And when mummy said, ‘A bad worker always blames his tools,’ she was of course completely wrong.

I opened all the windows and went back to my dinner, thinking of my favourite book of poems, Bronwyn Lea’s Flight Animals, which has a poem with the line ‘Midnight is the smell of burning.’ I’ve unfortunately left my copy back in Oz, but from memory it’s about a woman whose husband has left her, and who constantly leaves the elements on and wakes up to burning in the middle of the night. It is a beautiful metaphor for a woman made vacant through loss.

Deb’s only son was killed by a train, and whenever I think of her I wonder how she is. I also recall the poem she wrote for Scarp, the Creative Writing department’s literary magazine, after the accident. In the last few lines she wrote of the cry of a crow, and it seemed to hold all of her sadness.

The theme of smoke and disorientated women has drifted into my own life, this being my first afternoon off in nearly a month, aside from the election weekend, when I was too sick to enjoy myself anyway. I’ve worked nonstop on my thesis and on my research project for a Queensland academic, as well as the usual work at the library. I’m counting the days until Christmas, when H and I go to stay with our friends in the country and I shall be without work, phone or internet (God help me, how shall I live?) for three days. Then there will be a few more days of furious writing, until we fly into the blinding sunlight of Thailand.