Is there anybody who hasn't got a story about a recalcitrant photocopier? After all these years in the church office I can usually nurse them along, but every so often things grind to a halt.
Thursday was one of those days. We started out with it jamming every few minutes, then every couple of pages, then finally every page.
Twenty four hours passed without a sign of the repairman; I even got up early in the morning in case he phoned during breakfast. So Friday night I ended up at one of the local office-equipment warehouses shelling out $35 to have the weekend printing done. A series of small delays and inconveniences made for a trying afternoon.
As I drove home that night I kept feeling there was a small insect on my left eyebrow. That wasn't encouraging. It's been a long time since I had that nervous twitch in my left eye and I hoped that it wasn't coming back.
Having some of my sister's poultry living at my house isn't usually that much of an imposition, but this month things have been a bit difficult. The roosters she's keeping outside my back door have grown up enough to start crowing, so we're worried about disturbing the people next door. The problem is that it only takes one of them to start and all the others join in.
This is even more concerning than it might have been, since the Hobart City Council is talking about introducing new regulations to control barking dogs (three minutes of barking at night or six minutes during the day would be the maximum allowed).
If dogs are in the bureaucracy's cross-hairs, can crowing roosters be far away?
Rod Quinn has been standing in for Tony Delroy for a fortnight while he's on holiday from the late show on ABC radio. It's always interesting to see how the fill-in presenters do – the acid test is how they handle the midnight quiz segment The Challenge.
Some of them are a bit clumsy but pick it up quickly. At least one was an unmitigated disaster. Rod Quinn of course had an advantage since he used to be a regular guest on the early days of the show; he had his own segment The Trivia Challenge each Friday night.
But for some reason the going was a lot harder this week. I can only think that someone else was setting the questions – there was a palpable difference in how demanding they were. Even the compere admitted they seemed a lot more difficult.
Fortunately I got in early and phoned in on the Monday. I was heartened to find that Rod remembered my voice and recalled our days on the Trivia Challenge all those years ago. Mind you, I wouldn't have won if my sister hadn't prompted me on the question "What animal has the collective noun of a 'sleuth'?" [It turned out to be bears.]
Later in the week the wheels seemed to fall off. Answers were hard to come by and took a long time to extract. One night the segment went on past the 1 o'clock news, finally ending at 1:26.
"I've always wanted to set a world record," sighed Rod. It seems this was the latest that The Challenge has finished in its 16 years on the air.
Tony is back next week. Let's hope he brings some easier questions with him.
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