The Art Site

Friday, July 25, 2008


It was perfect weather for the operation. The rain hit the cloudy windscreen and rolled down in rivulets while we waited a few more minutes in the car. Mum and I were keeping up a steady conversation, but all the time, my stomach churned a little at the thought of the hand specialist's sharp gleaming knife. Moving uneasily in the car seat, I pictured myself sitting in a hard backed leather chair, in some brilliantly lit room, with my arm strapped to a board, people in white lab coats and face masks standing around me, all with knives in their hands. Of course, that probably wasn't how it was going to be at all, I reasoned, forcing down the feeling of dread and replying to some question of Mum's. Besides, the time was up. Mum looked at her cellphone: 1:55 pm.

1st floor. Most stair cases are pretty ordinairy and tend to look the same (except Lady Catherine's, described so eloquently by Mr. Collins). Glancing down, my eyes were attracted to the circles of coloured stones set into the concrete of the stairs. Wow, not many people make a staircase all fancy like that. Wonder what sort of an outfit this place is.
I soon found out. Everything was neat, modern, clean. The walls were glistening white, ornamented by gorgeous flower paintings, mountain daisies, sunflowers and proteas. This encouraged me. I sat down on the leather couch, tried to read my World Powers in the 20th Century book and waited what seemed to be an interminably long time. At last, a lady came out of one of those perfectly organised offices, and said: "Lydia?"

We sat down on the chairs in the office. The seats were leather again, and were sort of puffed up with foam so that they made a kind of a sucking, hissing noise as we sat down.
The lady sat at the desk. Her name badge read: Fiona Timms. What a cool name.
"What's that you've got there?" She asked, eyeing my World Powers book.
I told her.
"Hmm, I always liked that history the best at school."
This was a good start. She took my hand and felt it, moving her fingers gently over mine.
"You don't need an operation on this." Was her startling comment. "I would say this was a pearl ganglia, a little fluid that's seeped from a tiny hole in a leision here. I can test to see, by using a needle to get it out. Do you want to do that, or have an operation on it?"
This was unbelieveable. I don't have t lo have an operation, after all? She can get it out right now? I was relieved, but felt a strange sense of loss. It had been quite fun to think I had this coming, to have the importance of an operation, the sympathy of friends and family and not have to play the piano, do schoolwork or the dishes for a good week. Now the potentially cancerous and mysterious lump in my finger was nothing but a bit of fluid, and could be got out with a couple of needles. How lame.

It was all over in 10 minutes, the major-operation-that-was.


I was poking around in the free shop when I found this little number. This "Superwoman," the can-do-it-all mum is wearing a lacy apron and holding up a roast meal and a sponge cake, while her husband comes through the front door after a long day at the office. His wife has probably done the usual day's work: sent the kids off to school with perfectly packed lunches, cooked for a couple of hours, done the day's mending, had the neighbour round for a cup of tea, laid out her husband's paper, slippers and pipe, and is refreshed and ready for a relaxing evening with her husband. That was then. Of course, these days it's so much better. Because of our new freedom, (with help from Women's Lib.) we women go to Uni, spend more money, time and energy to get better qualifications ("because three years just isn't enough anymore") get married and try and pay off the mammoth student loan by holding down a job then rush home every evening to heat up some TV dinners, because the boss made us work overtime. Of course, Food in a Minute is our favourite show, because that's where we learn how to cut corners and still produce, if not delicious, at least edible, food for the family. Our two kids are, perhaps, slightly neglected. But they don't mind that. They realise that their parents need to work the long hours to pay for all the flash new gadgets they get given. Heck, someone has to pay for Jimmy's new iphone, and Caitlin's paper-thin laptop. Those days were good, when people ate "Lamb Chops with Piquant Sauce" and "Gooseberry Fool" and got their priorities right, most of the time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mr. Darcy?

I guess I'd always viewed myself as more of a Lizzy Bennett, but I did the Which Pride and Prejudice character are you most like? quiz and discovered my secret identity: the melancholic, reserved and witty Mr. Darcy. What made it so funny was that my brother Andy turned out to be Lizzy. I was a bit alarmed that Lydia Bennett and Charlotte Lucas were up there in the 80s,
but then, I suppose there's some Lydia Bennett in all of us. I feel like running away to New Brighton.

Mr. Darcy 95%
Mr Bennett 85%
Charlotte Lucas 80%
Elizabeth Bennet 80%
Mr Bingley 80%
Lydia Bennett 80%
Lady Catherine de Bourgh 70%
Mary Bennett 60%
Mr. Collins 60%
Mrs Bennett 55%
Mr. Wickham 55%
Kitty Bennett 50%
Jane Bennett 40%

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Coffee Part 2

written by Lydie and Andy Moore.

Read the first part of this story at Andy's blog

Dirty dishes covered the kitchen bench, It was getting beyond a joke. Squashed baked-bean cans lay in a heap in one corner of the room, and coffee grinds clogged the drain. Sculling the last of his coffee, he eyed the mess, then looked across at Barry. “We'll sort the place out this evening,” he coughed and surveyed the rest of the room, “before they get back” he continued, with little conviction. Barry stood up and stretched, “Right o. We'd better get out there. I'll feed the pigs, and might as well feed the chickens while I'm round by the sheds. Unless you want to?” He added, knowing that his friend hated feeding the chickens. He gave Barry a withering look. “Your job, mate.”

The sky was still dark, but the faint outline of trees and sheds were just visible as he sat on the old wooden rocker on the veranda, easing his feet into the damp leather boots. He picked up the thick swandri jacket that lay across the seat where he'd left it the night before and pulled it on. It was damp too, but had a comforting heaviness which protected his body from the bitterly cold morning. His father had been a big man and this jacket, as well as being baggy, came down to his knees. He swung the axe down from it's hook on the wall and left it by the wood hut on his way to the milking shed. Better chop some more firewood before the girls get back.

The milking shed was in pristine condition when he arrived. His father had always insisted that everything to do with milking should be perfectly clean, and the boys respected this. Even though they didn't have enough money to get proper milking machines, all the buckets were washed and sterilized every night, and the floors were hosed down.

Grabbing the stool, he tied the cow to the bar, washed his hands in the little sink, and started milking. Leaning his head against the cow's side, he milked automatically, his fingers moving in time, the milk spurting into the bucket with a hissing sound. The steam rose from the half-filled bucket as he untied the cow and moved to the next one. Pausing, he took down a chipped cup from a shelf, and dipped it into the milk. Might as well get the calcium intake for the day. He rubbed a bit of grease on his hands, to make the milking easier on the teats.

He'd finished all six cows and it was 7:00am. His fingers ached and he bent and unbent them trying to get the circulation going again. The light streaked across the fields, creating a patchwork of shadows and blurry light. As he walked over to the wood hut, his feet crunched the frozen grass, and he admired it's virgin beauty, while realising how dangerous it was. A hard frost could destroy an entire crop, and not for the first time, he was thankful they had decided against growing wheat this season.

He dragged the chopping block over to the entrance and picking up the axe, swung it hard on to the first log. The axe bit deeply into the hard grain, and he swung it again, catching it perfectly in the notch, and splitting it in two. His face was set into deep lines of concentration as he split log after log into kindling. The stack of fire wood was steadily growing. He could feel himself becoming overheated, and with one swift movement, he pulled off his swandri, rolled up his shirt sleeves and returned to the job.

to be continued...


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