Tag Archives: Jillian

Jillian 22a – Potty Mouth

How Jillian and her Mum Hit The Town and Learned a Few Choice New Expressions and so Much More!

Show-time in Melbourne

Some time ago, now (must have been mid to late 70's) Jillian was in Melbourne with her mother. It was the first time Nancy had been in the big smoke. Any big smoke. Much less Melbourne. I mean there was nowhere you could stand and see the whole town. It was too big to even imagine.

Nancy was a small town girl at heart. Her one vice was a very tiny sherry at Christmas. Although I heard there was one occasion she was coerced into taking a shandy. But that is most definitely a story for another time.

Jillian wanted to show her mum a good time while she was here. But our Jillian sometimes missed the mark with her plans. This is the story of two of those times. For some reason it was the night-life Jillian thought would be a good idea. Remember the sherry? Mum was going to go home with a cupla stories NO-ONE would believe.

Venue Number 1

Sometimes I really wonder about her mind. Jillian figured a live performance would be the thing. A kind of comedy cabaret venue, reasonably new, owned and operated by a Melbourne University chap Johnny Pinder. (After all, he was from NZ. How bad could it be?)

John Pinder

(6 January 1945 – 27 May 2015)  born in Timaru on the South Island of New Zealand and raised 80 kilometres (50 mi) further south in Oamaru, North Otago was a comedy producer and festival director who produced band performances, ran live venues and co-founded three Australian comedy festivals, including Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Circus Oz. In the early 1970s Pinder established The Flying Trapeze Café, Australia's first comedy cabaret venue, in Melbourne. (WikiPedia)

The night started well. It was a gorgeous warm evening and mum and daughter went to a very nice little Eyetalian place on Lygon St for dinner. (Nancy's pronunciation) She was a tad racist and a bit slow to change old habits. Of course she was not sure why they weren't eating Australian food, and why was it so late? I mean they were eating TEA as Nancy called it at 7.00. That's PM. In the evening. Nearly midnight really.

After this experience which may well be the topic of anther story they headed off to the dark and dingy venue colloquially known as the 'Fly Trap'.

The Story of the Flying Trapeze

"Things are very strange over here, darling," Nancy mused, on the way which was a short walk. Only one toilet stop. "We have tea or am I now supposed to call it dinner at night and long after the usual time. Your father used to come home after work and his tea had to be on the table at 5.00pm. No later? Except dinner is what we eat in the middle if the day. Lunchtime. You used to as well, dear. Don't you remember?"

"And why are the pictures or concert or whatever we are going to see on so late. Will I be able to get a cup of tea, and will there be a toilet? You know how I am when I'm not at home?"

"I bet you were doing the Jillian olympic eye roll by this time?" I said, chuckling,

Again the glare. I thought I was being funny. Bit I digress.

A largish, slightly unkempt guy in jeans and a T-shirt met them at the door. The place really was quite small. They had a booking. The chap looked at his list and back over his right shoulder into the dark room behind him (we can only imagine what Nancy was thinking at this time) and found the table. It seemed to have people sitting at it. John (for it was THE John Pinder who was looking after them) walked over to the table and sort of politely asked them if they wouldn't mind moving as this table was booked for a lady from N.Z. no less. Almost family.

The couple looked around at the crowded house (sorry - couldn't resist), at the piano suspended from the ceiling immediately above where they were being directed to sit, and pleasantly suggested that as they were there first they should NOT be the ones to move.

Without missing a beat Johnny shouted at this unfortunate couple. " Well, If you aren't going to move - you can FUCK-OFF then."

OH. MY. GOD.

Jillian was gob-smacked. But Nancy was almost apoplectic. Her mouth was open so wide you could pretty nearly hide in there which is what Jillian wanted to do right now. Hide. Not in her mum's mouth, silly. She wanted to be anywhere but there.

Realising that Johnny was not to be crossed they collapsed into the seats at the table and looked at each-other.

"He said wha...???" exploded Nancy. "I mean what IS this place? How can anyone talk to people like that? What are we doing here this late at night anyway. (Editor's note it was about 9.00 pm) With THESE people? We are going to get killed! What will I tell them back home if that happens? What has happened to you Jillian, my baby?"

"I have not heard anything like that before even from your father and he was in the war." she continued in a kind of frenzied voice. Fright and shock mixed together.

"I am not even sure I know what it means, but I know it is a bad word. A very bad word." she erupted again. I thought she was going to have a fit and hit someone.

"I told you she was a strange species," Jillian said as I looked at her not even sure if this was possibly true.

"It was true. Unfortunately," puffed Jillian, reading my mind.

Jillian didn't remember much more of the night. She had a wine or two and a bit later a small snack of cheese balls.

She had a vague recollection that the acts included a man sitting, swaying on a piano stool suspended above our heads playing a Tom Lehrer number 'The Masochism Tango' on an equally dangling and oscillating piano.

Of course Nancy understood that the name of this song also included a bad word and was talking about terrible things.

These thoughts even transcended the unbelievable sight of the piano, stool and man above our heads. “I thought that bit was magnificent,” remembered Jillian.

Afterwards

Things were ominously quiet in the taxi on the way home. But that was infinitely better than Nancy worrying about their safety and the morels of young people today, and what is being called entertainment, and what about the old pictures like the December 1939 classic 'Gone with the Wind' with the lovely Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and things like that?

And so the night ended. But there was still tomorrow.

“Bloody hell,” thought Jillian. “How can I have stuffed this up so much? What will happen at the next place? Why the hell did I think any of this was a good idea? A cup of tea at home would have done. We could have talked. Mother daughter catch-up stuff. Yeah. Right. I don't need this.”

“FUCK. Who am I kidding? I am so stupid.”

#ourjillian

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Jillian 21 – A Tall Ship

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

Sea Fever by John Masefield -1902

The Enterprize

This was as true for Jillian much more recently than when it was written.

Tall Ship Enterprize
The Enterprize Tall Ships Festival in Hobson's Bay

She had ventured on a voyage from Melbourne to Hobart (Tasmania) on a tall ship, 'The Enterprize' a wonderful replica of the ship on which the first settlers to Melbourne travelled.

Wikipedia tells us a little about Mr Masefield - Born in 1878, died in 1967. He left boarding school in 1892 to train for a life at sea, and to break his addiction to reading, of which his aunt thought little. He found, though, that he could spend much of his time reading and writing Later as his love for story-telling grew, and as he listened to the yarns told about sea lore, he continued to read, and felt that he was to become a writer and story teller himself. Sorry Aunty.

 While the poem was not quite the Ancient Mariner it truly resonated with our Jillian on that voyage. You see all the passengers were expected to perform shipboard tasks as much as the crew.

Tiller

tall ship tiller
The Tiller on The Enterprize

 And one lovely night Jillian found herself at the tiller (this ship did not even have a wheel - a bit early in maritime history for that - but who's quibbling - the tiller still had a kick), steering on a compass heading as instructed by the 1st mate. She was joined at her lonely task - the only other person on watch was a lookout on the front of the ship (bow) - by the Captain.

"Of course" I muttered. "Once a Siren always a Siren."

Advice

"Anyway," she said, giving me the evil eye, "He told me to check that I had the correct compass heading and then look up and forward. For a star. Find one that lines up with a part of the ship and keep them lined up as best you can. For at least a few hours that will be as good as anything and much less to-ing and fro-ing will occur. A compass heading, he told her, will require constant vigilance and many, many corrective actions making you very tired and not in the end being all that effective, or comfortable for the rest of the crew and passengers. Hmmmm, perhaps that was what brought him out of his bed and up on deck in his PJ's", Jillian mused.

It was good advice, but made me recite that stanza of the poem over and over. I couldn't remember any more," she said.

Memories

There were many other memorable events and sights on that cruise if you can call it a cruise.” She said. And she went on to mention some of them. Not in any particular order. But she was not the most logical in her memory, our Jillian.

  • Fishing from the back of the boat and eating the catch for dinner that night. Awesome.
  • A bay where we anchored which was so still that I couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began.
  • Container ships passing in the night looking like cities speeding over the horizon.
  • Crew members (and a few intrepid passengers - not me) swimming with dolphins as we sedately sailed along in the sunshine.
  • The stars. Oh the stars. How can there be so many?
  • Being rocked to sleep every night. Well every 6 hours as we all had to be on watch - 6 hours on 6 hours off.
  • Being woken up after 2 hours sleep when it is raining so hard you couldn’t see; and blowing so hard the bow of the ship was dipping under the water; and being expected to go out on deck to help pull sails down, and tie them up. NOT.
  • Being so seasick the first 10 – 15 hours of the voyage you wanted to die.
  • Gliding majestically under full sail down the Derwent River in the sunshine towards Hobart in company with a large number of other tall ships and boats of all kinds. (Going to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart.)
  • Using very sharp meat cleavers in the galley while the ship was rolling sideways such that the rails on the deck were almost touching the sea. AGAIN NOT.
  • Being on deck working the sails when the wind, rolling and pitching were such that we had to be shackled to lines (ropes) running along the side of the ship from front to back. VERY FRIGHTENING.
  • Working the tiller (steering without a wheel) when it was so rough the tiller had to be secured with many ropes and a block and tackle was required to move it in any direction – and even then it required more than two of the real crew members to move it.
  • The sun. Inside or outside, arms covered or not. But always the hat, which had to be tethered to your head like those old lady librarians glasses.
  • The tranquillity. Oh the tranquillity. When the sea, the weather and the captain all agreed we needed a break and it was calm and beautiful. Wondrous.

Yep. It was hard work. And I paid more than $1,000 for the privilege,” Jillian mumbled.

But, did you enjoy it?” I asked.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 20 – Fire in the House!

Jillian 20 – Fire in the House!

Sometimes Jillian tells me funny stuff, sometimes life stuff and sometimes general stuff that is not very much of anything.

This time I reckon we got some dramatic substance.

Can't remember when this was nor where in the world, but it was obviously exciting and emotional for Jillian.

The Beginning.

During her religious period Jillian was persuaded to go on a 3 day retreat. Having never done anything like this, before, she figured why not? Could be interesting (probably not that much fun as it was a non-speaking – unless in structured discussions - and non fraternising between sexes kind thing.) But interesting is definitely a word that comes to mind. She was not to know how interesting.

It started on a Friday night and went until after the evening meal on the Monday following. Approx 3 days. At least that was the plan.

The format was a dinner and evening fellowship with all participants on the Friday, (no alcohol came as a bit of a blow to our Jillian, but 'in for a penny, in for a pound' she thought), followed by days of prayer – of course; study of The Bible, biblical and saints stories, meditation, rest and relaxation, discussions of social and community activity, and some personal development material relating to goal setting and life planning. All sounded fine and a bit of a change from the daily routine, which was pretty much the idea of the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) St. Ignatius of Loyola, in the 1520s.

This retreat was run by these Jesuits in a complex of 4 buildings on the outskirts of the city. One building was a common area with meeting, cooking, eating and other such admin rooms, there was a dormitory for girls and one for boys and the priests lived in the 4th building. They were all separated by lovely and secluded walkways and gardens. It was very quiet and even serene particularly for outer suburbia.

“Actually,” said Jillian, “It was really very lovely. I was looking forward to it and would probably have enjoyed it immensely.”

“Probably?” I questioned.

Probably

“Yep.” she nodded. “That is the story here. It never happened. Well the opening dinner did and we headed off to our separate dormitory rooms for a read of some saintly literature and an early night. But it was not to be.”

“Oh.” I mumbled. “What happened?”

“We found out later what started it, but at about midnight the boys dormitory went on fire. The building was a bit like a T where the top bar part was a long corridor with individual bedrooms on one side and in the middle where the down-stroke of the T is there was a lounge with a fireplace, large comfy armchairs and sofas, etc for reading and such.

It seemed a spark from the fire had somehow gone into the woodbox (which was full of small cut logs, kindling and newspaper on the bottom), during the evening after dinner, and no-one noticed anything untoward.

After lights out this must have flared up and began to burn the wall beside and behind the fireplace. One of my friends who was in the boys building said they were all very surprised to wake up to the sound of fire and a huge amount of smoke. The silence thing flummoxed them for a minute or two until they realised that this was an emergency and that quite probably as of this moment the retreat was over.

This friend came out of his room which was right at the top of the T to find that the corridor wall just outside his room – the rear wall of the lounge - was completely engulfed, and that the only fire hose reel in the building was on that wall in the middle of the fire. A few seconds longer he thought later, and he would have been no more. He dropped and rolled along the corridor knowing that there was a door at each end, and he could get out.

Safe; he ran round to the front of the building where he and others were able to assure themselves that all the other boys had evacuated. By this time the priest and the girls were collecting in the area in front of the main building. I think some of the priests, and the boys too, were having trouble deciding which was more exciting – the girls' night-attire or the fire. Suffice to say there was hotness all around.

Being Friday night, and outer suburbia there were pubs and drunks in abundance, and a big fire like this is always a draw-card. My friend saw a couple of likely lads throwing rocks at the fireys who were working hard to stop the blaze from reaching a number of gas cylinders and some waste tar drums – from the driveway upgrade a few weeks earlier. He alerted a fireman with a big hose (you know what I mean – stop it) who then turned this towards the two idiots and needless to say the rock throwing was a wash-out.

The building was not completely destroyed, but might as well have been. It was going to have to be demolished.

Aftermath

We had an emergency meeting in the main meeting room to formally close the retreat, and after ensuring that we had collected all undamaged stuff from the boys building (with help from the fabulous firemen), we all began to head home.

Some people had been dropped off by family and were going to be picked up at the end so Jillian and her - very lucky to be alive - friend began a taxi service to take some of these new acquaintances home.

There were a number of other admin kind of things needing to be done and Jillian's friend (I think I remember now, his name was Patrick) offered to help the priests who were a tad upset and not sure what to do nor to whom to turn in this completely unforeseen and extremely unusual circumstance. The upshot was that Jillian and Patrick managed to get to their homes - to their own safe, unburnt beds - late on the Saturday night.

It was a pretty dramatic retreat. Nothing like what was expected. Probably took a few days for the adrenaline to leave the system and for things inside to return to normal. Patrick could not remember he or anyone he knew being that close to death. It was an awakening. As good as any retreat for bringing one closer to God and renewing one's zest for life.

The next week

Patrick was able to retrieve the remains of the very burnt crucifix that had been above his bed-head (on the wall nearest the actual fire) and he brought it along to the Church service at his local Parish on the following Sunday. The priest gave a sermon on the fragility of life while Patrick stood there with this burnt offering in his arms.

Beat that for Drama.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 19 – Best Radio Around

Ya just never know what Jillian is going to come up with next. Here's a story from a long time go which must have been a hoot.

I was at this party with my sister. She was a few years older than me (she was 14, I think, at the time), but it was a youth group party, no booze and kids my parents knew, so it was all right. Besides the olds were going out with my aunt and uncle and so sis had to baby-sit me and this was how it was going to go down. All good.

We were driven to this house in the suburbs and went inside. It was your typical young teen party – dim lights, loud music, a sort of supper of pointy sandwiches (with hundreds and thousands – we were all still supposed to like the stuff we had liked when we were 7), a few sweet biscuits, and some fruit cake. Plastic bottles of coke, fanta and lemonade with plastic cups. You know the story, right?” she asked.

I said I did. I didn't ask about the parents of the kids living in the house, or whose house it was. Seemed inappropriate.

Well, it wasn't all as mum and dad had thought, but I was hardly going to say a word. You don't look a gift horse and all that sort of thing.

Ya see, a few kids believed that Vodka mixed with lemonade – a lot of lemonade – didn't have a taste of booze nor the smell, so a few enterprising ones had managed to get hold of some parental vodka and fill up their own bottles with this concoction. Nobody would know, they thought. Sis made sure I didn't get any. Spoil sport.

The party moved into full swing a tad after we arrived. Bit of booze and the snogging began. It was really neat to part of this grown up stuff. It wasn't long before I couldn't find sis any-more, but not to worry.

What really got me was the music. It was coming out of the radio, really loud, but somehow not like normal radio, I couldn't tell what was different. At 8.00pm there was the Radio Network News. Pips and all. It seemed so right, but also wrong.

The main announcer was called Jim Post. He kept on saying 'This is your host with the most, Jim Post. The most hits, the most gossip and the most fantastic party vibe.' I think that was a new age word - vibe, I hadn't heard it before. There were a couple of other announcers, someone called Mike and another, John, I think. But there was definitely something weird.

The radio station was called 'Best Radio Around - Radio BRA' I thought that was funny as well as I hadn't heard of this station, and I listened to the radio a lot. We were in the early 60's here and there was not a lot else to do. 'Surf music' was playing. That was neat as well. My favourite”

A bit of history here,” Jillian said. “This was the time of The Surfaris, Jan and Dean, Duane Eddy, The early Beach Boys and even Chuck Berry. There were two Australian bands that became known in this genre as well. The Atlantics with their hit Bombora, and Col Joye and the Joy Boys. Their biggest hit in 1963 'Murphy the Surfy' was covered by The Surfaris a year or so later. Nuff history. OK?

I think what really got me was that every now and then someone would yell out a song they wanted to hear and nearly always, not long after, that song came on. Very strange.

But after I heard the name of one of my sister's friends called out on the radio, and some gossip about her new boyfriend I knew there was something I needed to find out. What was going on here?

I went over to the radio set and it didn't seem to be tuned to any station I knew about. But the sound was definitely coming from the radio speakers. This was intriguing. I couldn't figure it out. I had no idea, but there was stuff here I needed to know. Little detective Jillian?

A few moments after this my sister clapped me on the top of my head (I really hated that but it was her quiet way of saying 'squirt - You're the little sister' and asked how I was. 'Was I enjoying myself?' She asked.

'Too right, I replied. 'But what's going on with the music and the radio stuff?' I asked.

She laughed out loud, a bit too loud I thought, probably she had indulged in a little bit of the vodka drink. 'Don't ya know?' she said. 'It's not really the radio. It's a couple of our mates doing it all from the back bed-room. Come on Jillian, you are such a KID,' she said.

'I know,' I said. 'I ... ah ...  just wondered how it was all being done is all.'

'Come on – I'll show you,' she said. And we headed off down the passage to a room away from the lounge. I spotted a big hand written KEEP OUT sign you couldn't miss. She listened with her ear to the door and then tapped lightly on the wooden panel and said her name. The door opened a moment later and we walked in.”

This is my sister Jillian,” sis said.

To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement. The room was totally full of stuff, and 3 older boys. Men really. I mean they were to me at my tender age.

There were a couple of tables in the middle of the room and two record players side by side with funny felt thingy's on top of the turntables under the records; 2 tape machines - 1 a cassette player and 1 was with reels. There was a transistor radio, several big boxes of records and cassette tapes, 2 or 3 pairs of headphones and 2 microphones on stick things covered with a foamy sheet of some kind. There was a funny kind of box thing on the table under the microphone with knobs and switches on it. And wires. There were wires absolutely everywhere. Everything was connected to everything else with wires - every bit of table not covered with equipment was covered with wires. And power cords and double-adapters were all over the floor.

This was so exciting. I had never seen anything like this.

Just then one of the blokes held up his hand to us and motioned us to keep quiet. He leaned forward towards the microphone and with one hand flicked a switch (the sound in the room of the music currently playing stopped suddenly) while his other hand was holding a record on the turntable of the record player to his right (I could see the turntable was going round, but he was holding the record still). What's that about? I thought.

He started talking. I was so excited I nearly wet my pants. Well maybe I did – a little.

Anyway, he said, and I'll remember it 'til I die.. 'Hey all you party goers out there, once again this is your host with the most Jim Post, and you're on the best radio around radio BRA. (only this time he said the word bra and smiled up at me).

We have a very special tune to play for you right now. This is a favourite of a friend of mine - Jillian.'

And I noticed he let go of the actual record which started to turn around. and wound one of the knobs. The music started as he finished speaking  my name and got louder as he turned the knob. It started straight away not after a few seconds like when you put a normal record on and it all sounded so professional.  Then he turned to me - to us.

'How are you cutie,' he said. 'You sister has told me a lot about you.'”

#ourjillian

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Jillian 18 – A New York State of Mind.

I know. Another travel thingy. But I can only report what the lovely Jillian tells me. And this is what I have for this week.

Not sure when this was but she was in New York for a week with a girlfriend and doing all the usual touristy exploring things including the 'hop-on / hop-off' bus and the theatres.

Cupla things were mentioned. Goes to 'People are the best things about anyplace' theory.

Jillian's friend fell over on a wonky ankle in the middle of the road down near the Wall St end of Manhattan island. She thinks it was near the 9/11 hole in the ground.

Going 'A over T' in the middle of any road in NYC can be very dangerous.

But people can be magnificent. Several immediately ran into the street braving the legendary New York traffic to help her up and onto the footpath. They were all so solicitous offering help and suggestions. One said some painkillers and a bit of bed rest, another said to bathe it in a VERY hot Epsom Salts mix.

Jillian opted for all of the above. They both agreed that this was a holiday not to be missed and a small thing like an ankle that couldn't be walked on, was not going to put them off.

Big Yellow TaxiSomeone waved down a taxi. A big yellow taxi, unfortunately no Joni Mitchell anywhere to be seen; and off they sped trying to find an open drug store to get some Epsom Salts. Not so easy.

Many were closed. It was after 5.00pm. And those that were open did not have the required product.

Finally the taxi driver found a place. Pain Killers, Epsom Salts, an additional pharmacist suggested jar of Arnica cream and a huge crepe/elastic wrapping bandage were purchased.

The driver refused any payment and THEN drove them back to their hotel 'The Iconic Broadway Plaza' in the flatiron district.

“I mean this is NY isn't it?” Jillian said. “How could this happen? They are supposed to be unfriendly, arrogant and generally weird? This is not what I expected.”

But there was more to come.

Theatres and shops and restaurants just had to be visited. Well why would you go to NYC and not do that?

But first – as promised, the hop-on, hop-off bus.

Hard to miss. Touts all over the streets have tickets for this historic double-decker bus which covers everything from Uptown to Brooklyn, saving you time and money.

Jillian and her friend found that flirting with the bus drivers was an excellent way to distract them from looking at and ripping off a section of the tickets. And, of course, drivers just lurved the accents.

On the bus there was so much more to see then the subway and it was much more fun. Except for the lack of the subway station hip-hop artists, but that is a story for another time.

Jillian and friend managed to use these buses to get all round the city without ever spending another dime. One ticket. Many trips. Now that is enterprising.

Next. After a show one evening they decided to walk home. They had been to The Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 49th St (You possibly remember 'The 59th Street Bridge Song'? But it wasn't as far north as that.)

After-all their hotel was located at the bustling corner of 27th Street and Broadway not all that far from the thriving theatre district located on Broadway between 42nd and 53rd Streets, known as 'The Great White Way'.

NYC is very easy to navigate as its roads, at least for Manhattan above Houston Street, are aligned on a grid based on the Commissioner's plan of 1811 which is comprised of 12 north-south avenues and 155 east-west streets. By the way - this is also explains why we have the SOHO area which is the part below Houston St Manhattan; (South Of Houston) an area of cramped and irregular streets. This was there long before the aforementioned GRID created in 1811 which area at that time was rural consisting of streams and hills populated by a patchwork of country estates, farms and small houses. History lesson over.

Our intrepid couple had to walk about 1 mile or approx 1.5km along some of the most interesting street-scapes in the whole world. Worth it for sure. As they approached 42nd Street – Times Square – the ankle pain dictated a rest. Deciding to stop at a place they had frequented once or twice already this trip and get a coffee, a sit-down and a Reuben Sandwich (a hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of bread); they were dismayed to see the queue facing them but disappearing away from them to the south. A long way to the south. At least a cupla blocks. Approaching the shop doorway, they leaned forward and peered inside, past and in front of the people in the #1 spot.

At that moment a huge voice welled up from the dim and wonderfully aromatic interior of this - it now seemed completely impossible - haven.

“Hey Australia?” it called. (By the way New Yorkers think any accent not British, Asian or European MUST be Australian. In this case they may have been correct, but it could be a long bow). However, back to the story.

Jillian and friend leaned further into the restaurant and found the source. A very large and jovial man they had met before, was crying out and beckoning them in with such delight and energy that they could not resist; and moving past the probably now mile long line, they sauntered into the belly of the beast.

Later Jillian said it might have been her earlier mix-up with the look-alike money and a possible $100 tip that caused all the excitement; but at this moment they were just overwhelmed by the love that was being pumped their way.

Of course, the celebrity mad New Yorkers began gawking, gesticulating and conferring about who these obviously famous girls were. Must have been some very special people as they had just jumped a 2 mile long queue of equally important NYC denizens. And by invitation from within no less.

Not what you know; who you know. Or the size of your last tip.

What the hey?

#ourjillian

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Jillian 17 – Humour (Again)

I couldn’t laughing2let it go. Seemed like a metaphor for all that we have lost in our modern world. Humour; laughter; funny. What does it all mean? Why do we have laughing groups in almost every country in the world? What is  all about?

Babies and children seem to smile and laugh at many things and often. I don’t believe that it is always gas. What changed?

I began to question Jillian about specifics. Could she tell me about times when she had laughed? When she had found something funny? 

It’s all about the unexpected,” she said.

I know,” I replied. “We already discussed that last time. So give me some examples from your life.”

After a few moments she began, “I remember one time, when I came home from work. I was living in this absurd studio apartment [she did the finger quote thingy] which was really the old front sun room of a pretend stately home – I mean it was a biggish rectangular room probably about 6 metres wide and 12 – 15 metres long and all windows across the front so very cold in winter and hellish in summer. It had a very dark black hole of a closet in the back corner which had a toilet and bath/shower. And there was a bit of a bench contraption on one side wall which had a small cooktop and a camp oven kind of thing for cooking. Room for a small fridge and bugger all space for storage of food and other stuff. Really primitive. Quite possibly not approved for letting out as anything other than a rabbit hutch I reckon

To be truthful,” she reminisced, “I think that, in itself, was funny, but that’s not the joke. laughing1

I had a couple of newly married friends from overseas staying for a few days – less than a week – as they were on a backpacking tour and wanted to get by as cheaply as possible. They had visited me at work this day to see how the other half lived, and as we arrived home we found all my possessions and their stuff on the lawn in front of the ‘room – studio’ and a note from the landlord saying he didn’t want a load of hippies staying at his place. Gave it and him a bad reputation.” [Was that funny as well?]

The shock. But then we peered into the window at the outrageous room we had called home, and the pathetic amount and type of stuff on the lawn and burst out laughing. It was really very funny. 

Thank God; amongst the, what amounted to detritus on the lawn, was a bottle of rather indifferent red wine and a few cracked and stained coffee mugs. We laughed and the three of us drank until it started to get dark and we all realized at the same time – we needed somewhere to stay the night, and I had to go to work tomorrow like I still had a place to live. The ridiculousness of this started the laughing all over again. But we were now out of wine. And that, of course, was NOT a laughing matter.”

Does that qualify?” Jillian asked. 

laughingI stopped laughing long enough to tell her it certainly did. The image of all that junk she called – well whatever she called it – spread all over the lawn and the three of them drinking red wine amongst it all makes me laugh now as I write this.

What happened after that is a fish of a different kettle and we may hear more about it in a later episode.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 16 – Words

A while ago Jillian was telling me about a girl in her primary school when she was quite young. They had a reading class; she remembers they were sitting outside so it was a nice day, and this girl, Janice was her name, had trouble reading one particular word. It was very early in Jillian's reading journey. They were doing the usual books with the family stories that all kids could identify with (possibly not quite the same nowadays. just sayin').

Anyway, the family - in the book - were all together in the morning before dad went off to work and the older kid went to school and mum did the housework. They were having BREAKFAST. Janice kept reading that word as "breakfast fast". Jillian laughed at the memory. I thought about the stereotypes that this scene was forcing upon our kids at that time in our history.

But. It started me thinking about all the words that have different meanings now from when we were young. The words that have been made up over the last 40 or more years to cover situations that just didn't exist before.

(Here’s a challenge for you, my reader. Can you each come up with 3 words that have vastly different meanings now, from when they were first introduced into the English language? ‘Gay’ for example.

Also think about regional and country variations. Could be a fun exercise.)

The way we get words wrong that we read or stuff we say everyday intrigues me also. (Everythink, somethink are two Jillian still says, that come to mind straight away.) Actually that is quite funny really. A woman who is worried about the letter her name starts with but who hasn't managed to get her head/voice around the pronunciation of a couple of everyday words. Whatever!!

Someone's reading this over my shoulder as I am writing and saying to me. "Where's this going? What are you trying to say?"

"I'm not sure," I reply. But I keep going.

I think I'm just getting older, looking at the changes that have occurred around us, and wondering how we all managed to survive.

If we could all look at our lives in a time lapse video I think we would be VERY surprised. Patterns.

Some of our early childhood beliefs are still with us albeit in slightly different manifestations, some have morphed such that they are unrecognizable and some have only recently developed. If only we could go back and watch that happening. Our current mind-sets have been forged in the fires of our life experience.

But it all comes back to language. To words. What we say. What we mean. What we don't really mean, but say anyway. What we think and don't say. What we understand about what others say to us or about us.

We mostly think in words. The way our tiny computer-like brains manage the words we see on the page, the screen, or we hear from the incessant chatter of those around us, or the electronic media, is the basis for everything in our lives.

Change Words

So we need to be careful we are reading things correctly, listening and understanding, not making assumptions or brain jumps like Janice. Sometimes we need to listen to, or read what is NOT being said as well, but at that same time not making stuff mean something it doesn't. Sounds tough. We may not always have a teacher like Janice did to help us.

"Bloody hell," says the voice over my shoulder. "How wanky is all that?"

"Suck it up!" I say.

See what I mean? Words!

#ourjillian

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Jillian 15 – Humour

The other day I asked Jillian (it being the Comedy Festival in Melbourne where I live), what humour meant to her.

“Something that makes me laugh”, she quickly said.

“OK.” I passed the baton back to her. “What makes you laugh?”

Not unexpectedly she replied, “Something that is funny.”

There you have it. The perfectly circular argument.

“What is funny then” I asked thinking this in itself is a funny question. Or did I mean strange?

Again not unexpectedly, she replied, after a fairly long pause, “I guess I don’t really know.”

Must be tough to be a comedian. Pretty simple for a washing machine salesperson to figure out what his/her client wants. They all have clothes to wash. But a funny man? What makes a person laugh? They don’t know themselves. So how can you figure out what to say that is funny. WTF?

Anyway, after a few moments discussion, we figured we both like very similar things. We both find the unexpected funny. Words or situations that might have gone one way, but didn’t.  Stories where you can see the very obvious ending but the narrative takes a full 180 degree turn for the punch line.

"One of the situations that still makes me laugh: Jillian reminisced,  "is a Mother's day card I received from my quite young son one year. It was headed:  'To the beast mum in the  whole world.' Now that is what makes me laugh." she said giggling away all over again.

Jillian, like me, doesn't usually find racist or sexist ‘jokes’ funny. Religious comments and jokes about disabilities are usually not what either of us considers good content for comedy. That being said, we are both very big fans of Steady Eddie. He has cerebral palsy and has a whole show and several recordings of his comedy that centres around his inability do the the kind of stuff we all take for granted. One of his routines concerns an online airline booking where it seems the airline has placed him in an escape row seat so he can help others in an emergency. [Editor note] I think it is called Airports or something. His comments are hilarious.

Steady Eddy: https://www.facebook.com/guruofcomedy

So yeah, we both find self-deprecating humour funny. Makes us laugh. The deal with that is tricky, though. Is it being done purely for the unexpectedness or inappropriateness of the story, and therefore the funniness, or is it a cover for hurt and a cry for help? Who knows?

Adam Hills jokes about his missing foot. Ruby Wax talks a lot about her fights with mental illness and depression.

“One of the things that gets me,” said Jillian, “is the continued ranting and swearing. I mean I don’t have a problem with the words themselves, but I don’t understand what is funny about the word F$%^ all by itself. And I am not sure why many people seem to think anger is funny.”

“Yep. I agree.” I said. “Speaking of swearing, can you remember the Elliot Goblet joke?” I asked. And she knew what I was talking about right away. He is an Iconic Australian Comedian known for his one liners all delivered in his traditional deadpan style.

“This is a family show. I only say F$%^ once. <longish pause>. That was it.”

We both shouted it out together and fell about laughing. Now that was FUNNY.

You can check him out here on Facebook: www.facebook.com/elliot.goblet

Let me ask you, my readers, “What do you think is funny? What is humour to you? What makes you laugh?”

Send in some comments and let’s have a discussion on what is humour.

I think we need to talk more about this. Jillian must have seen some funny things in her life and therefore we will have some more on funny, humour, laughing etc next time?

#ourjillian

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Jillian 14 – Wine Incident

Jillian 14 - Wine Incident

(For the beginning of these snippets please follow this link.

http://career-change-strategies.com.au/fun-training-offers/meet-my-friend-jillian/)

On one of her return visits to New Zealand when she was a bit older, Jillian spent a bit of time in WINDY WELLINGTON. (Remember the visit we spoke of when she was a sales person?) Well it was about a year after that. You might also remember we talked about an earthquake when she was quite young? That was in NZ too as you might imagine.

This incident is based on her life 'In Country'  some time after that.

Jillian had a fairly large number of close friends. In-spite of her frequent musings to the contrary - she is a very like-able woman and has very many really excellent qualities that she is the last person in the world to recognize. As a coach, I am remiss for not chatting to her about this stuff, as it can make a nice life quite unnecessarily negative.

Another story for another time.

Getting back to this one. Jillian had an uncle who was a priest. He lived in the Hawke's Bay region of the North Island in a monastery which was attached to one of the great and famous wine making establishments of the area at the time. The New Zealand wine industry is still even now quite young, but growing rapidly. Grapes were originally brought to the Hawke’s Bay region in the 1850’s by Catholic priests for sacramental wine. And the tradition was continued. Catholics are always attuned to ways of making money for The Church, as Sunday collections can be very fickle and there is a huge infrastructure and many religious (clergy, and teachers) to be supported. So why not?

“Why not make wine for sale to the general public?” they said.

Her uncle was, as it happens, the chief winemaker. A great job. And he was very passionate about it.

On this visit he was VERY excited about a new wine they had released in the last month or so. It was a Red, but when she told me this account, Jillian couldn't remember the name of it which, luckily is not all that important to this tale. She remembered tasting it, she was not a big red wine drinker - at this stage of her life being more partial to unwooded Chardonnays, but she said it was one of the best wines she had EVER tasted.

Some tasting links for your perusal.

http://winefolly.com/review/identifying-flavors-in-wine/

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/40-wine-descriptions/

“It had a large Rosehip kind of taste,” she said, “mixed with Chocolate and a hint of Cinnamon. It was also creamy, nutty and buttery.”

Not sure where the rosehip bit came from, rosehips are the seed pods for roses and these have a tartness that, I think, she didn't really mean. Probably some blackberry taste or something like that. (Editor Note).

As a chardonnay lover, she was probably picking up on the toasty. buttery flavours and creamy textures; as malolactic conversion which is normal for red wines. is used in this particular style of white wine more then any other variety.

Anyway. Bloody hell I get distracted easily.

To cut a long story short she was enamoured with the taste of the wine, and all the palaver her ecstatic uncle couldn't help regaling her with. She remembered it all; at least for a time.

Later that evening, back in Wellington a night or so before her return home to her adopted country, she had a group of friends join her for dinner. 12 in all. This from a woman whose suitcases have a better life than her? Go figure.

They were about to order a wine. Had had a few loosening up drinks and ordered food. Main courses only - they were watching their weight.

Jillian could not believe that the wine that had almost given her an O@#$%, (my word not hers - better not say that here), was on the wine list. She ordered two bottles for the table, as a start, explaining the story I have just told you. Her Uncle? Remember?

As was customary, she was invited to taste it. She asked one of her friends to do the honours as she was so excited by this turn of events. As the delight on her friend's face quickly became a grimace, Jillian grabbed the glass.

The taste was unbelievable. Unbelievably HORRIBLE. Only about 4 hours ago our Jillian had been tasting this wine and discussing its merits with the actual winemaker.

Very politely, she imparted this information to the waiter.

"Oh, I don't think there could possibly be anything wrong with this wine, Miss. It is only new and has just been put on the menu." he expostulated.

"Well, it is most definitely NOT what I was drinking this afternoon," she almost yelled.

A quick reality check of the bottle revealed we were talking about the same wine, same winery, and blow me down if Uncle's name was not on the bottle as winemaker.

"There." She said. "I was with HIM this afternoon (pointing repeatedly at the label), and this does not taste anything like the wine we were drinking. So please, if you are not prepared to replace it; can we talk to the manager?

The waiter brought the owner to the table. His misogynistically horrendous first statement - that the wine was fine and how would a woman know anything about wine anyway - was the final straw.

"OK, girls." she said. "This pig of a man has served us 'off' wine and now he has the temerity to insult me in front of my friends. I know another restaurant just a few doors down. Let's go there."

As one, they rose, fuming for Jillian, and turning towards the door - walked out. Jillian, like a General leading her army, led the troops forward; and they moved 'en masse' to the place down the road.

To add to the moment Jillian saw waiters bringing out the meals as they disappeared out the door.

Is there a moral here?

Probably.

More than one I reckon.

  1.  Think about the consequences of your words and actions. (1 bottle of wine v's 12 full meals?)
  2. Listen to what people are telling you.
  3. Never judge, in particular using stupid stereotypical unsubstantiated beliefs
  4. Be polite and always remember ‘respect’.

Funny just the same? You go girl. Jillian the great.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 13a – 2nd School Incident (Continued)

Jillian 13a - 2nd School Incident (Continued)

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/fun-training-offers/meet-my-friend-jillian/

“Where were we?” Jillian asked when we next met. “Think I left you on a bit of cliff, hanging on my every word?” She smiled. Guess our Jillian is beginning to enjoy this.

“Sir 2? Is that where we were? Where I left you? Sir2 sitting on his desk talking away quietly while we were all shouting at each-other?”

”Yes.” I said trying hard to get the same ferocious glare Jillian can conjure up at the sound of a hat dropping. I failed.

“He had this other infuriating habit of NEVER repeating anything he had said while we were shouting. So, of course we were once again all together shouting,' What did he say? What is happening?'

“Eventually we go the gist of it.

“We were going to 'borrow' tools; tape measures, string, chalk (we had no idea why we needed to bring chalk to school, but we didn't ask) shovels, rakes, spades, picks, some short sticks of wood, a small plank about 3 feet long and about 6 inches wide, and anything else we could find from our Dad's sheds. Someone was to bring a wheelbarrow. No one was to know. This was to be at 6.00pm on Thursday evening after dinner. Secret kids' business.

We were to assemble at the back gate of the school after telling our parents we were going to be outside playing (luckily the weather was good). Sir2 was going to let us know if the coast was clear, meaning all teachers had gone home

On the night. No one else knew anything and there were about 15 or more of us kids. It was the best thing. We were all so excited. We whispered although it was still light and we were outside where we were usually shouting ourselves hoarse, and there was no-one nearby to hear anyway. But it was a bit like 'The Secret Seven', or spies, or really neat stuff like that.

“Sir2 whispered too. He told us we were going to measure out a jumping pit, and a run-up, (he had the measurements on a piece of school notebook) and we were going to dig a long narrow pit about 1 foot deep. It was before decimal currency.

We started by hammering 4 little wooden 'pegs' he called them, into the ground. They made a rectangle. The string was to go around the pegs and when we covered it with chalk and flicked it at the ground it made a white line on the grass to mark the edges of the pit. Sir2 had to check that the angles were correct. The strings had to be 90 degrees – or something - so the pit looked good.

Who would have thought that all this stupid maths was going to be important?

But this was such fabulous stuff, I had no idea, how it was all going to work.

But in about 2 hours – all of us working flat out – we had our pit dug out. It was huge, About 20 or 30 feet long, I later learnt, and about 9 feet wide. We had to take all the dirt and dump it over the back of the field where there was a lot of other dirt so no-one would know. I love secrets.

The run-up went back another 100 feet, but luckily we didn't need to dig this. We just put a couple of pegs to mark the start. We also put our little piece of timber in the ground about 3 feet from the beginning of the pit, to mark where you had to jump from.

When we finished and were laughing and carrying on as kids will do, three big trucks pulled up to the back gate loaded with very little tiny chips of wood and sawdust.

We all looked at Sir2 and he laughed out loud, “What do you think the pit was for?” he asked.

Well we had no idea. But these 3 huge tip-trucks pulled into the school yard and tipped this spectacularly HUGE amount of wood bits into our pit. I had never been this close to a huge noisy smelly truck before . It would have been frightening, but there were younger kids there and that wouldn't have been very good.

That's when the rakes got used. We raked it all so the whole pit was full to overflowing and looked a bit like a huge mound in the town cemetery.

It was getting dark. So we stood back to look at our work. A couple of brave kids had a quick jump.

Our long jump pit was agreed a success.

We snuck back home and managed (most of us, I think) to get the tools back into the sheds without being caught. We headed back to our bedrooms and pretended we were studying. Whew. All hot and sticky. And dirty? You wouldn't believe?

The next day Sir2 was called into the Headmaster’s office to explain how a long-jumping pit had suddenly and magically appeared at the bottom of the school field. The rest of the kids were going crazy. We could tell them now it waslong jump us. We were so proud. One of my best moments at school.

I think Sir2 got into a bit of trouble. But we kept our pit, and some kids did all right at the school sports long jump as well.

It was a win all round. Sir2 was our hero.

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