Friday, April 29, 2011

Cucumber sandwiches, champers, strawberries and scones

The day Chuck and Di shimmied down the aisle in 1981, I was 11. I was besotted by her dress and wondered if one might attach a hose to her train and play waterslides at the afterparty.

Then, in 1983, as a Perth Modern 'muso', our choir performed in Perth for the visiting couple and my Mum's photos of Princess Diana in her pink chiffon were...well, distant. But mine.

Me and Them

Them and Me

In 1986, I played 'princesses' with my year 10 class as all 26 of us managed to include those ridiculous puffball Diana sleeves on our debutante gowns. I looked like a melting snowman.

Me and Them

Then Diana died and, in our Carnegie apartment block, we refused to believe, for it was the acknowledged mad woman at number 13 who went about spreading the news. Subsequent distress ensued. That sort of surreal space where your mind cannot seem to connect the person with the situation in any way, shape or form.

For umpteen years afterwards, I didn't care about the royals. Much like my abandonment of the West Coast Eagles in the wake of all that Ben Cousins rubbish. The Queen's 'Miserable Year' I deemed as having been brought on by herself. I kind of liked Fergie too. Thus, in 1999, I did what I mistakenly believed everyone would do and voted in favour of Australia becoming a republic.

So here we are and I'm back on the wagon. Today. I'm chuffed to bits and getting the point that somewhere in our psyches, the search for meaning and purpose can be validly found in anything from footy to Oprah to a royal wedding.

My daughter's also a Kate. Her middle name, Elly, happens to be a derivative of my own, Elise, and mine of my mother's, Elizabeth. So, we have a small connection going on there and she's going to eat cucumber sandwiches and take a sip of Earl Grey tea tonight (whilst mummy gets shemozzled on champers). This is because, lucky for me, due to the fact that my own mother, Elizabeth, was au pair to the Queen's composer in London during the 1960s, only four degrees separate Wills and myself, thus rendering me invitation worthy. One up from my sister who only gets to watch it from the sidelines amongst the throngs in London.*

So I, Lady Sharleen Foxy-Hump,** could do nothing but reply to her Majesty in the affirmative...

Do sing along now. And have a jolly good night.

Pork on your fork

The grand old Queen did talk,
refined, as was her yen,
to all assembled hither at her
table once again.

She dinged her little fork
on her wine glass and then
the hush spread through the dining room
and thus she did begin.

‘My Ladies and my Lords
I think I need a gin;
with Wills and Kitty now engaged,
it’s time to marry them.

I know my Charles did baulk
and stuffed his up, but then,
he roosted with Camilla, yes,
that sourfaced feathered hen.

‘So we must walk the walk,
stop youngsters living in sin
and rally with our guest list,’
and with that began mayhem.

The Grand Old Duke of York,
that’s Andrew, had his pen,
and marched right up to his Mummy’s side
to write it all down then.

Like finest cheese to chalk
the list was odd, but then,
if Posh Spice is invited, surely I?
But when? Oh when?

I waited, just like Thorpe,
nine days, or maybe ten,
right at my humble letterbox
and prayed, Dear Wills…amen.

But nothing came at all,
whilst Kate showed off her gem,
‘til one day, oh surprise, surprise,
in hand scribed fountain pen,

‘Miss Leesie, come for pork,
for Wills is marrying.
Wear finest shoes and bestest gloves
and then we can begin.’

The plane it had great torque,
the wedding was akin
to something out of Dynasty
with all that next of kin.

But I heard voices talk,
those gossips, of my sin,
of how my gloves weren’t properlike…
I lost my royal grin.

For when they were up, they were up
and when they were down they were down
and when they were only halfway up
they were neither up nor down.

Perplexed, I popped a cork,
sipped champers in the din,
kicked off my thongs and partied hard
with Kate and Will-i-am.

Copyright Elise Batchelor April 2011

* bitch
** One's royal name for this occasion comprises your grandmother/grandfather's first name. Your surname is the hyphenation of your first pet followed by the street you grew up in. Oh, and due to the rights of poetic licence, I may have used mine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'd love to have a tea with Jackman

In the two days leading up to April this year, I was beside myself. Well, I wish I had been beside myself so the self who was beside me could stay at home in Port Hedland whilst the other 'I' was freed up to tootle down the road to Karratha for a BFAT (A Bloody Freaking Awesome Thing).

You see, Hugh Jackman's publicist had liaised with the West Australian tourist industry to secure him a beach, for one day only, outside Karratha, called Hearson's Cove. The purpose? Why, to film the next in his series of extraordinarily delicious Lipton Iced Tea advertisements.

I thought the proposition ideal. The beach is a long, shelly stretch in a wide bay. The sun is imminently blue. The sea (when it is there, as opposed to when it is out two kilometers, according to local tides) is persistently warm.

Thus, when it came to the Friday morning of his ad. shoot at the commencement of April, all Karratha was abuzz and abussing its way out to this beach. Yet I was more despondent than a Britney fan who'd thought they were going to get live Spears for their splash of cash. And the only way I could cope was by going shopping. First, it was to the homewares store in Port Hedland where I spent over $100 on several items I absolutely did not need. Then I did the grocery shopping, spending $437 on food, drink, vegies and random homebrand appliances. An interesting venture given that I'd just done that week's grocery shopping the morning before.

By lunchtime, having ached my way through the morning, eaten four hot cross buns, crunched up a packet of triple choc biscuits, slurped a bucket of icecream, masticated several bags of chips and drunk six mugs of Lipton Tea, I had nothing left to do but write this poem.

Hugh and Cry

Not lying, I’m crying,
upon the floor I’m dying
and thinking, stop blinking,
mascara splodges inking
my face which is blotchy
and dribbly, blubbery, splotchy.
I’m sitting with icecream,
a bucket, topped with whipped cream.

My spoon I am slurping,
the wine’s made me start burping,
the Tim Tams are crumbs now
with me slumped in my pow wow,
crosslegged and moaning,
‘Oh woe is me,’ I’m groaning.
The morning, a heartbreak,
I’ve made a dreadful mistake.

Why did not I jump on
that bus and get a move on
from Hedland southwest where
Karratha had its coup there?
Hugh Jackman, oh heck, man,
he’s there today, so why am
I sitting here dribbly,
my guts all wobbly wibbly?

To Hearson’s he travelled,
his secrets to unravel
of dancing, so sexy,
with looks which do perplex me.
And right now, he’s sipping
his Lipton’s tea and dripping,
no doubt with his shirt off…
Oh I am such a nuff nuff.

I’m foolish, schoolgirlish,
and somewhat maybe churlish.
Oh bottom! It’s not fair!
So here now in Hedland,
my head and heart in bedlam,
I’ll sit here without cheer
for hours with a sore rear.

The phone rings, it bring brings
at midday and this voice sings:
‘How funny! How stupid?
Can you believe they took it?!
To think that they bought how
Hugh Jackman would be here now
and dancing and singing
down on the beach, hearts ringing.”

I listened, I shivered,
my bottom lip it quivered.
I blushed in the hush and
tried simply to be offhand:
‘Indeed yes, how crazy!
Who’d be sucked in so hazy?
Hugh Jackman, oh haha,
come up to see Karratha.’

And quickly, quite sickly,
I said goodbye all prickly.
And looked all around me;
my purchases astound me.
In woe I’d gone shopping,
the credit card hot hopping.
And that makes me coolish –
FIRST PRIZE Ms April Foolish!

Copyright Elise Batchelor 1st April 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

12 weeks and still counting...

Term one, 2011. I believe this term has been trundling on for about a decade and a half. I've had several changes in hairstyle, watched global warming come and go, then begin again, and eaten my body weight in Tim Tams, several times over.

And I'm not even teaching. So imagine how it's going for the real classroom troupers. Indeed, there should only be so many consecutive weeks in which the drawl of 'Go-od-mo-r-n-ing-mi-ss-who-ev-er-you-are' should be legally permissable, after which point, it's simply time to have a little nap on the desk until the final bell rings and the bliss of silence is incalculable.

So, to the classroom. To the amazing folk at the chalkface. And to every child who is still, besottingly, the perfect angel. Scratch and sniff stickers all round!

(With a special little hello to Macey, Kaylee, Charlotte, Katharine, Ainsley, Grace, Mrs Unkovich, Mrs Bradley and Miss Endersby).

How Many Peas?

One’s got plaits down to her tail
all dipped in fingerpaint.
One’s got fairy bread for lunch
which one might well call quaint.
One’s got shoes on two wrong feet;
he put them on himself.
Ones got laces wrapped around
his ankles, which now swell.

One’s got lice. One’s got sores.
One’s got chicken pox.
One’s got glue upon her eyes
and paint in her lunchbox.
One’s got snot below her lip
she’s blowing with her hanky.
One’s got a flashing headband which plays
Justin Bieber…swanky.

One’s still singing, ‘Row your boat
gently down the stream.’
And when she sees a crocodile,
she never forgets to scream.
One’s got texta on her dress
beneath her right armpit.
One’s got a pea stuck up his nose;
he thinks three more will fit.

One is sitting at her desk,
rather catatonic,
wondering when the term will end;
it’s time for gin and tonic.
And this is just the teachers.
Term one’s long and full.
And if we’re using big words might well
call it interminable.

But, then… little Charlotte smiles, gives her
teacher a sticker – a giraffe.
Cheeky Macey tells a joke
which makes the teacher laugh.
Robert paints a picture
with spots and dots and drool
and gives it to his teacher,
with an apple, ‘’Cause you’re cool!’

Kaylee finds her cupcake
(It’s a little bit squished, but hey)
and hands it to her teacher, saying,
‘You need this today.’
And all the class together
chant, ‘We love you – A LOT!’
They do it for the next three hours.
It’s deafening…but hits the spot.

You can find 'How Many Peas' here in the Pilbara Echo. Ed. 145 P.4
© Elise Batchelor April 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blokes with balls

A girlfriend of mine once rang me in fits, tears and snot evidently dribbling from her facial orrifices as she laughed. Once I was able to lasso in some logical syntax, this is what she told me.

I came home to a spotless kitchen and the whiff of some gorgeous smelling risotto. My husband ushered me to the couch and pressed play on the DVD. It was Love Actually, actually. He then served me a glass of red and joined me for his brandy and dry. We chatted, in a somewhat surreal space to my mind, about the weather, the overgrown lawn, educational theory. Then he ran back to the kitchen, clanked and clattered a little and produced said rustic Italian feast which we ate by movie light, side by side, on our worn out blue sofa. I watched him watch me eat my last morsels of rice. Watched him watch me put my fork down in the bowl. Watched him watch me place my bowl on the floorboards. Watched him watch me settle back in to continue with the movie.

And he suddenly paused it, jumped up and flicked on the light.
What?! I cried. His pace suggested he'd left a burning cake in the oven. Or had suddenly developed a loose bowel.

He returned to the couch. Sat down beside me. Smiled. Into my eyes smiled.
What? It was a bit much.
Then he looked down at my empty risotto bowl and nodded at it. 'Good?'
'Yum?' I answered, hoping this was the correct response.
'Cool,' he replied. Grinning. Frozen. Waiting for....

Suddenly realising the entire set up was a ploy which, no matter how seemingly romantic and altruistic in nature was actually an enactment of the universe's most fundemental, archetypal bluff, I began to laugh. Indeed, I descended into a torrent of hysterical fits, gushing forth, Versuvius like.

And that's when I rang you.

He's still sitting on the couch waiting for her reply...

International Man’s Day

If she gets a day, then so should I.
The time is nigh, but I don’t deny
she pulls her weight around the house
and her cooking’s grouse (she’s quite the spouse),
but since we’ve had, oh, what do you say?
That Women’s Day, that purple display,
to celebrate me, I’ll clean the place
at such a pace she’ll think I’m ace.

I’ll even scrub the feral wok.
Soap suds will flock; she’ll think I rock
and then I’ll tidy up the yard;
it can’t be hard and buy her char-
donnay, the best; it costs five bucks
(I think it sucks), but she’s deluxe
and for her I will also tote
a post-it note(and will not gloat)

that tells me to PUT DOWN THE SEAT.
Now, what a treat. That’s hard to beat
and she will not scream from the loo
as she’d normally do in such a stew
for not just will the seat be down
but a full roll wound I cleverly found
with the other loo rolls she hides so well
on the window sill. And I’m no dill.

After all these jobs are done
I’ll suck up scum, as vacuuming’s fun
and dust her precious ornaments
and ceiling vents and pay the rent
and other bills and fines and fees
(it’s such a breeze If yur organeezed).
I’ll scour the laundry and shower too
and TA DAH! The loo, with flair, I do.

And scrub the sink of facial hair,
the shavings there beyond compare,
and then the bath, I polish it well.
It sparkles ‘til my head does swell.
I then pick up my path that flows
of winding clothes and socks and shoes.
Ecstatic she will be tonight
I’m a bit of all right. She’ll show delight.

Especially when I cook the dinner
and tell her she’s thinner, she’s with a winner.
No chore undone, a spotless home
and bubbly foam in a bath to roam.
My darling will be in such bliss
in the bath’s abyss and I’ll blow a kiss
and because I’ve cleaned ‘til the house shines bright
I’m a shining light and if my cards play right,

oh yes, we had that Women’s Day
(they’re quite ok in the strangest way).
But if she’s had HER day, tonight is MINE
and because I shine and she thinks I’m fine,
I’m sure she’ll want to thank me, yes,
for I ‘m the best and she is blessed.
So off I pop into our bedroom now,
where I’ll “take a bow” and she’ll purr “meow”…

                          …if she ever gets out of the bath.