1. I adore and miss my beloved Nana. She married, had kids and welcomed grandchildren on the same farm where she was born. She knew what was important and which things just didn't matter. On meeting my friend Sam, who at the time had hot-pink hair, Nana said "Oh! - its just the colour of my bouganvillea" When I showed her photos from the wedding of two lesbian friends of mine she said " Aren't they beautiful girls. Did they make those dresses themselves?"
2. I met my husband, Tim, in my scientific curiosity shop. He was looking for Warburg vessels – obscure laboratory glassware – it just so happened I had some. We discovered over a couple of dates that we both had embroidered smoking hats, were vegetarian and that neither of us had ever owned a television. After our second date, Tim asked me what my favourite film was. I answered Dr. Strangelove. He then asked if I would marry him, which was a joke, but, having an under-developed sense of irony, really freaked me out at the time. We were married about a year later.
3. Using Drake’s equation of diminishing probabilities- which divides the number of stars in a portion of the universe by the number that are likely to have planetary systems; divided by the number of planetary systems that could theoretically support life; divided by the number in which life, having arisen, advances to a state of intelligence and so on- even using the most conservative figures the number of advanced civilisations just in our galaxy still works out to be in the millions.
4. The number of times I think something is probably a bad idea but then go ahead and do it anyway still never ceases to amaze me.
5. The best meal I ever cooked included a terrine of savoury baked cheesecake wrapped in grilled vegetables, followed by home-made pumpkin, roasted garlic and pistachio agnolotti in orange and parsley oil, with pressed chocolate soufflé cake and honey marscapone for desert. Vegetarianism and ‘low-fat’ bear no relationship to one another – at least not in any of my cook-books.
6. The Venus Fly Trap can count. If one of its’ trigger spines were touched once it will not close. The spine must be touched two or three times in quick succession for the trap to wager its precious energy on the likelihood that it is an insect, not a leaf falling, and snap shut.
7. I sometimes think I may have hallucinated this: One beautiful summer evening I had plans for a date with a circus clown. He called and stood me up, so instead I caught a tram to South Bank. A trapeze duo happened to be performing for free in the atrium. While I was watching them a man approached me who looked like he had just stepped out of a canoe in the Amazon. He said he knew me. I said I thought he was mistaken. He suggested that if he could tell me exactly where we met, I let him buy me a beer. I agreed.
“Queensland.” He said.
“Yes, quite possibly” I said.
“West End” he said
“I used to live in West End” I replied.
“You served me coffee in the Sitting Duck Café on Boundary Street three years ago”.
I was too flabbergasted to reply. He suggested that instead of a beer I might like to have a cup of Russian Caravan tea on his boat. It turned out he had arrived at South Bank by canoe.
His boat was called the Red Bill. It was a river boat- a pearl lugger. His name was Simon. He said he had just returned from doing work in the Amazon planting fruit trees with tribes-people.
After tea, he offered to walk me home through the (then) derelict Docklands.
We passed the place where all the seagulls go to roost and caravans where people lived illegally on the fringe of the city. As we were walking up one of the dark and narrow laneways of town another couple walked towards us. As they came closer I could see it was the circus clown and his date. Simon, the jungle explorer and Derek the circus clown knew each other- although it was apparent there was no love lost between them.
If I ever found out what their grudge was I can’t remember. In fact I have no idea what else happened that evening. Perhaps the brain, when faced with too many miraculous events, ceases to function. I wouldn’t be surprised.