Murder, anyone?

Next weekend I’ll be presenting a session on the Rainbird murders, 1861, to whoever turns up as part of the Kapunda history month celebrations. I have no idea how many will be there but I figure there has to be at least one. After all, there’s always a reasonable audience for a murder story, and True Crime is a best seller… Right? When I agreed to do it, I wondered if I had enough to fill in the hour and a quarter time slot. That fear dissipated several weeks ago. Now I’m wondering how I will manage to squeeze it all in in such a short time! It’s been interesting going through all my research again. I’d not looked at it for over a year. I’ve tried to get a book on the subject published but no joy so far. After the last rejection I decided that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be and I should move on to other projects. But now the juices are flowing again; the passion is still there; the story won’t let go. So… I guess I’ll have to give it another go. Maybe doing a presentation to a live audience will help me figure out what I’ve been getting wrong in the written version. The Old Boy has been a great help. Thanks to him I’ll have some photos that’ll hopefully keep the audience interested, and he’ll be manning the power point. He’s quite passionate about this story, too, and is supportive and encouraging. So, most of the time the loins are girded, the helmet is on straight and I’m all fired up. The rest of the time I’m thinking, “What am I doing?!!”...

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I got suckered.

I’ve been a fatty most of my life. You name the diets, I’ve tried them: fasting (except for fluids) for a week every month, Israeli Army diet, Scarsdale diet, Atkins, Body Trim, Weight Watchers, LowCarbHighFat (a version of the Paleo thing) , Medifast (prescribed and supervised by a doctor)… and with each of them I had some minor success that soon dissipated. And then, afterwards, I’d get a little bit fatter. And, yes, I stuck to them and was serious about the process. I did the Medifast program for a year. It consisted of breakfast and dinner being a protein shake (with vitamins and minerals added) and an apple and yoghurt, or cup of soup for lunch. I went to the gym two or three times a week and walked lots. At the end of the year I’d lost about a stone/14 pounds/6.4 kilos. Once my back began to disintegrate the medication I was on for that only added to the difficulty. Of course, once cancer turned up it became even harder. That’s right; every other cancer patient I met had lost a lot of weight while on chemo. I got fatter. I used to do the World Vision 40 hour famine every year. One year I weighed myself before I began the fast and then again at the end of it. I’d put on 2 pounds/1 kilo! I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy (nor your disgust). I want you to understand what I’ve done recently. I’ve tried the Garcinia Cambogia supplements. Instead of an endorsement for the product, I want to share my experience as a warning to other desperate fatties. What finally gave me the urge to try the stuff was the combination of a month’s free trial, with the endorsement by Julie Goodwin, the first winner of the Australian MasterChef show. She has recently lost weight and is looking good. I thought, she’s a celebrity I actually trust and, as it’s a free trial, what have I got to lose apart from my fat? It slightly bothered me that a whole lot of small print that mentioned a high price for future orders, flashed at the bottom of my computer screen after I’d hit the ‘send order’ button but I thought at the time: well, it’s probably my poor computer skills and, anyway, surely if it’s a ‘trial’ I can say, no, at the end. Then, to my horror, a couple of days after I sent the order I saw Julie Goodwin on TV. She was expressing her outrage at the company using her name and claiming she achieved her weight loss due to the supplements, when she hadn’t used it at all! I felt a bit sick when I heard that but I still thought, it’s just a free trial. I might as well give it a go. After sticking to it for over three weeks, while also cutting down portion sizes, I had lost 400 grams (that’s less than a pound). I figured that this loss could just as easily be attributed to the smaller portions I was eating. Also, I felt nauseous every time I swallowed the pill. I decided it was not fulfilling its promise of a substantial weight loss, I’d been sucked in yet again, and I should cancel the order before I found myself having to pay squillions for something that was useless. I found the website and clicked on “contact us”. There was no email address, which I thought was strange. There was a list of phone numbers, including one for my state. I rang it and rang it and rang it and eventually I got a recorded message which said that this number is not connected. I decided to try the phone number for Sydney. I got the same message. I then went back to the site but there was no other way to contact them. I read the teeny tiny small print and found a name for either a parent or a subsidiary company and went to their site. I clicked on “contact” and found the same list of phone numbers. However, I also found an email address: myaccount@support…something or other. Yay!  I wrote a polite message asking for my order to be cancelled, with the suggestion that a company that spruiks its “wonderful customer support, with trained support workers”, should be easier to contact than it is. My email bounced. I then went searching even further (I wish I could remember what I did!) and finally found one of their sites that had a “live chat” room. I logged on there and a nice person called “Zaie” asked...

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Farewell and thanks for the Tosca.

I heard, yesterday, that someone I knew well, and who knew me quite intimately (she was one of the masseuses who help me try to keep my lymphoedemic arm under control, therefore she is one of the few people to have seen my naked, one-boob-only chest) died on Good Friday. She had had a hip replacement done last year and didn’t seem to recover from it. She came back to work for a while but we could see she was struggling. Anyway, late last year she was finally diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Now she’s gone. I’d gone to the clinic yesterday for my usual two hour appointment: one hour of laser treatment and then one hour of massage. I’d dragged myself along, somewhat reluctantly, because I was in pain due to my crumbling spine. I was dreading the two hours lying on the hard treatment beds. However, I need the treatment on my arm so there’s not a lot of choice. I was sitting in the waiting room, feeling a little bit sorry for myself, when I heard the news about Robyn. It was as if God slapped me on the cheek and said, “Get over yourself, princess!” I was genuinely shocked to hear the news. She was a wonderful woman, a trail-blazer in the treatment of lymphoedema, who was passionate about helping her clients, worked extremely hard, loved the opera, adored her grandchildren, was soppy about dogs, a fan of Monet, in particular, but loved art in general, and was such an interesting person to chat with. She will be greatly missed. The lady doing my massage yesterday said, “At least she didn’t wait until she’d retired, to live.” Robyn worked hard, six days a week, but then when she had a holiday, she really had a holiday. She had travelled the world. She had indulged her love of opera and had attended performances in Moscow and New York, amongst other places. She’d embraced life. Therefore, we had the most interesting conversations while she was massaging me. We loved talking politics, even though she was a died in the wool conservative and I’m not. We also used to occasionally sing together while she stroked the lymphatic fluid up my arm and across my chest. It was always something classical so I rarely knew the words, but it didn’t matter to her that it consisted of a lot of lalalahs and tum-tiddily-tums. I admired her. She was a pioneer in the use of lasers to treat lymphoedema. The clinic, she and another lady opened, is still one of the few places (or only place) in South Australia where those of us who suffer from this condition, can get treatment. Therefore, she had thousands of patients, many of whom had been treated by her for 20 or 30 years (lymphoedema doesn’t go away). Every single one of them considered her their friend. She will be greatly missed. And the thing is, it totally sucks that she should die in such an awful way. Motor Neurone Disease is hell. Suddenly my problems got a readjustment. So, thanks for that, Robyn. You’re still keeping things real, even after you’re gone. (By the way, I didn’t want to get diverted by explaining what lymphoedema is so, if you don’t know, I suggest you ask Mr. Google.)  ...

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