Monday, October 11, 2010

another year

Looking back at 2010, it’s hard to believe we are so far through the year. Even things that seemed like big landmarks, like my 60th birthday, are now rapidly receding into the past.

My sister Julie did most of the organising of this occasion. We took over a small restaurant near my home and invited a couple of dozen of my friends. Most were from either my church or the croquet club, but there was a scattering of people from other circles.

At this sort of gathering, inevitably the person in question is called on to make a speech. To avoid this, I compiled a trivia quiz covering events that had happened in my lifetime, and passed it out to guests as they arrived. This meant that I could combine the speech with giving the answers to the quiz, killing two birds with one stone.

My note on the invitation that birthday gifts were not necessary was largely unheeded. After the party I had to make two trips out to the car to load the presents into the boot.

This winter was wildly different to last year. In 2009, we had the biggest amount of rain we’ve had for fifty years -- the mud stretched almost to the horizon. But this year it was actually below average for rainfall. Not what I was expecting after last year.

Now that spring is here, Julie is about to start work on her new chicken shed. The keeping of chickens in urban areas is going from strength to strength around the world, but here in Hobart there is a whole bundle of red tape involved. For a start you cannot keep a rooster inside the city boundaries unless you have the written permission of all your neighbours. Then there are restrictions on where you can build your hen house, how far it has to be from the edge of the property, and strict controls on how it affects the people next door. (Penalty for each infringement is a $240 fine.)

The fact that the chickens were there before most of the neighbours moved in cuts no ice with the authorities. A string of complaints to the City Council and the RSPCA have been a recurring irritation for her. Some of them have been out and out trouble-making; one complaint alleged her dog was neglected, which was unbelievable for anybody who has met my sister.

My health seems to suffer during the winter each year nowadays. I get a cough that lasts for weeks, and that tends to drive up my BGL (Blood Glucose Level readings), which upsets my endocrinologist. Controlling my diabetes is more difficult when I’m battling a virus that refuses to move out for months on end.

It’s almost November, which is National Novel Writing Month. This will be the sixth year that I’ve taken part in this challenge to write a 50,000 word novelette in a month. It seems unbelievable, but that means I’ve written a quarter of a million words of fiction ( As often happens, I have no idea what to write about this year, but I’m hoping my subconscious is working on a plot that will come to mind by the end of October!

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