Tips for clothes sales assistants

The scenario:  I pop into a major department store on my way home in order to spend my birthday and Christmas vouchers.  I’m looking for a pencil skirt so I can recreate the “Newsroom” look. Second from left.

Photo from HBO's Newsroom
Photo from HBO’s Newsroom

It’s the end of the day.  I’m not feeling uber-sexy – no make up, dowdy dress – but I am prepared to spend the cashola.

I flick through the selection in the Country Road section – slim pickings – and pull out a skirt.

Sales assistant bubbles up to me.   Early 20s.  Good looking young man with enthusiasm to burn.

“Oh you know what looks GREAT with that skirt…. this top!”

He pulls out a bright red and blue silky number… well probably polyester but you get the picture.

Maybe I looked a little doubtful.

Maybe he panicked.

Maybe he was trying to relate to someone twice his age.

At this point my tip is… STOP TALKING… because the next thing to come out of his mouth was:

“You know I got my mother to buy this and she looks great.  She always gets comments…”

*cough* *splutter*

Now I don’t care how old I look or how young he is, or in fact how young and sexy his mother is – here’s the thing – NO ONE buying clothes wants to think of themselves as a mother*.

Or, more to the point,  in the same age bracket as the mother of a sales assistant.


It’s bad enough that they put “fat” mirrors in the changing room***, without being made to feel as unsexy and old as “someone’s mother”.

Needless to say I didn’t try the top on and I didn’t buy the skirt.



*Possible exception if you are buying maternity clothes

**The war against age.

***Also a stupid idea if you want to sell clothes


Christmas with the family


Two sleeps before Christmas. Before the hoards arrive. Bearing gifts and wine and food and Christmas cheer. Three sleeps and it’s over.

This year, 25 for dinner.

Which, Groover constantly reminds me, is a lot.

But it doesn’t seem that many to me.

Not many more than the 18 or so we had last year… And we had a great time.

Anyway, everyone is pitching in with food and drink… So really it’s no more effort than having say 12…

I know it will be a bit squeezy.

But we have air-conditioning and a pool so really, we’ll cope with the 39 degree day.

It’s going to be evening and some of the 25 are really quite small.

I think maybe I was a Bedouin in a former life.

I love this hanging out in a big “tent” with all my extended family.

My favourite holidays have been where we’ve shared houses… Christmas 2007, parent’s 40th anniversary 2005 and even Bali last year with friends. (Part of our unofficial extended family also coming on Tuesday night)

Bring it on I say!

I’d invite you too but I think Groover would freak out. Freak out more…

I hope your Christmas is full of happy chaos and unexpected joy.

Blisters and crabs – rowing day 2

Sunrise over Perth

I love rowing.

The getting up isn’t easy.

The cold water that numbs your feet isn’t pleasant.

But the camaraderie, the joy of gliding across a still river, the moment when you are all in sync (and I mean moment) makes up for it all.

It is a true team sport where you absolutely rely on everyone “pulling together”.

And when you get it right it feels fantastic.

I only caught a crab once.

Today I remembered to bring socks and my comfort level skyrocketed.

The UWA Boatshed

After the boats were put away (in the more modern shed next door to the one pictured), we went upstairs to the clubrooms for a cuppa and crumpet.

Crumpets! Oh how I love their buttery goodness.

Downstairs where the boats are, the wood is old and soft, the floorboards wide, the walls have names painted in thick white paint – the 1988 team the last thing you see as you exit the shed and there is the faint smell of rotting fish.

Apparently the smell used to be really bad and everyone thought it was the shed until a member, a professor at UWA, crawled underneath and discovered that rats had been storing blowies under the shed.

I can’t imagine how foul that would have been to clean up but he did it, and placed some rat bait and now the smell is bearable.

Last time I got away lightly and despite sitting on a plane for half a day, had no stiffness or soreness.

Today I think might be different.

We really rowed today. All the way to the Narrows and back.

Dolphins were seen, but not by me sitting in the bow trying to keep in time with everyone in front.

When I got out I had wobbly legs – a sure sign of lactic acid build up.

And I have blisters!


Is it acceptable for a rower to wear gloves?

It was foggy this morning

Normal day.

A normal day... no fog

Foggy day.

Yep. Foggy.

After the fog cleared… you got it.


Evan's above

Took us about half an hour to find!

Nearly broke an ankle.

Good fun.

That’s Perth – a journey of connections

No blisters from these babies.

Today on the Fremantle line, we got to City West when the train driver said  “A fire alarm has activated in the Perth station and you need to de-train here and walk into the city.”

We all got off the train and watched as our driver bravely took off into the inferno that wasn’t the train station.

Four carriage loads of people then started walking.

Now, it’s only one stop from the city, and it wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t raining, and frankly having slept in, I could do with the walk.

But I was wearing my new “comfortable enough to walk to work boots” on their first outing.

They were being road tested indeed rather than the gentle breaking in I had envisaged.

I started chatting to a fellow commuter – dragging a little black suitcase – the accessory of choice for barristers in this fair town.

“Not a day for wearing brand new shoes…” I mutter.

She was astounded I had noticed… “Yes” she says, “I bought these for a wedding next week and was wearing them in to stretch them…”


We feel instantly connected with our new shoes – hers are MUCH more stylish, and it turns out she is a barrister and knows a couple of friends of mine who work at her chambers.

And, as well,  the wedding she is going to wear her new shoes to is of a former colleague of mine.  Her husband is my colleague’s Godfather.

Now in many cities so many connections might be unusual.

But friends.  That’s Perth.

Where we seek for links between us in every conversation – and usually find them.

For a Perthling if you don’t find a connection somewhere, it is something to be remarked upon.

But the new shoes coincidence?

Well that was special.

Stand to the left Perth – and make our city better!

Warning: Rant alert

Perth Train Station at 8 in the morning

A foggy morning.

The rain splattered against the skylight in my bathroom so I knew it was raining.


Deep happiness.

I walk into my bedroom to get changed and I can hear this weird rushing sound.

I check to see if the overhead fan is on… or maybe the reverse cycle air-conditioning.


What is that weird sound?

It’s coming from outside.

I check through the blind.


It’s the rain.

The pouring rain.

I’d forgotten what pouring rain sounded like.


The train was packed at a quarter to eight.

Standing room only.

And when we got to Perth Station the train disgorged its damp and steaming passengers into a mass of humanity.

It swelled at the bottleneck of the escalator.

Does this happen anywhere else in the world?

I have only seen it in Perth.

In London, in Washington DC, in New York, in Paris – much larger populations – the commuters flow like a river, a babbling brook.

But in Perth no – every morning – a huge swell of people trying to get on the escalator.

And here’s why.

No-one stands to the left.

There is no fast moving lane to the right.

Crazy town.

It’s the same on the roads, but don’t get me started.

I would love it if someone could stand there – some official in a high viz vest and just educate my fellow commuters.

Stand to left, walk to the right.

It’s a simple message.

And couldn’t we have some posters in the trains or something?

We have posters for everything else.

C’mon Perth – it’s not that hard.

You can do it.


You CAN do it.


A Vespa and me, an inner-city moment

Oh yeah baby!

btw... short skirt + Vespa = a lot of leg = judiciously cropped photo

That’s me on the back of a Vespa about to scoot through the streets of Perth with TFB.

You don’t know TFB?

Let me just say that the T stands for The and the F stands for Fabulous.

’nuff said.

We are co-training a course and after today’s sessions we decamped with participants of said sessions for a quiet Sav Blanc (the only kind to have on a Wednesday evening) to the Grosvenor on Hay St.

A surprisingly full bar on a Wednesday night we discovered!

Anyhoo, said Sav Blancs consumed, TFB offered me a lift to the station on the back of her little green Vespa – Gecko.

How could I refuse?

An invitation is issued and turns out... I'm just a girl who can't say no... to a Vespa.

The city is different on the back of a scooter.

It smells different.

Less inside of manky, not cleaned often enough, car… and more… cement dust, exhaust fumes, still night air.

It looks different.

You notice the inside of restaurants, the people on the pavement, the hotels and the parks.

TFB drives me down to City West train station.

I swing my leg over the seat, flashing the control tops of my 50 denier tights, and slide off the helmet.

“You’re a pretty good pillion”, says TFB.


I still got it.

The legacy of a mis-spent youth… well… a boyfriend with a motorbike anyway.

I walk up to the platform feeling good and resolve to buy an apartment in the city… and a lime green Vespa.

Or… maybe a red one.

They go faster… right?

How much do I love winter?


Well winter in Perth anyway which is pretty mild.

Cool enough to wear boots. No need for a parka.

And yes I know it’s not winter yet.

And one shower does not a winter make.

Oh but wasn’t it nice to wake up to a washed world yesterday.

To not feel hot.

To wear boots to work.

Boots that have waited patiently in the bottom of my cupboard ready to jump out the first time the mercury dropped below thirty degrees.

That smell of petrichor in the air.

Is it just me?

Waiting game

The road to the Perth Domestic Terminal

Have you ever driven to Perth airport and noticed the lines of cars along the main drag leaving to the car park?

They are nearly always there and today I am one of them.

I am picking up a colleague’s wife who is coming down to Perth for treatment.

Her flight is coming in at five past nine and I’m early.

It’s a typical scenario, no doubt replicated elsewhere, where there is nowhere to park at the airport if you are picking someone up except of course at the vastly overpriced short term car park.

Well… there’s room for about eight cars… maybe.

So I wonder why airport designers or local government don’t just cater for it.

Widen the area on the side of the road slightly.

Or at least make the edge of the road less sharp… thought I might burst a tyre.

Just to make it a bit safer.

Make it standing only.

Or am I being ridiculous?

The summer of our discontent

Now this is the way to read in stupid hot weather

I tried to avoid a weather post, I honestly did.

But more than three weeks of stupidly hot weather, hot and humid weather, finally broke me.

Jeez Louise – how long is this going to last!

It’s more than a koala bear.

Up to today we’ve had 21 days over 30 degrees celcius… and the day before that was 29.6, and before that were another three days of over 30s and the day before that was 29.8… all this can be better seen here.

The last day approaching anything close to bearable was the day after Australia Day.  Humphhh!

And it’s not so much the temperatures… which are bad enough… I can handle me a few days over 35 because I am Australian and climate control is for wimps… it’s the HUMIDITY!

OMG does Perth suddenly think it is Sydney?

Are we now in the tropics?


Mediterranean climate… read it weather gods… DRY heat!

The climate is characterized by warm to hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. [wiki]

None of this humidity is mentioned in the small print.

I am so over it.

I spend my day in barely there bikinis and I don’t care that they barely cover my flabby bits.

I drape myself over couches with a fan directed up my fanny and drink long cool glasses of water from the fridge or Sav Blanc if I think it is past wine o’clock.

I dip myself in the pool at all hours just to cool my body temperature.

And we eat cold foods or take out.

I might be reading “The Winter of Our Disconnect” (very good btw and an interesting choice for the year 12 English syllabus) but I am living “The Summer of our Discontent”.

Bah humbug!


As a sidenote:  When my son started reading the aforementioned English text he said to me:  “I’m scared. She is just like you. Works for the same place, loves The Moth and This American Life and makes her kids listen to them in the car (I would add Radiolab), and writes LOL in capital letters to appear cool…” ouch!

When I told Susan via Facebook (What?  You thought she remained disconnected? lol), she replied: “The thought of that conversation has been making me lol (lower case, mind you) for the past two days.”

The bottom line is though I may yearn for the ability to pull the plug on my family’s electronic lifelines – there doesn’t seem much point now that she’s actually done it.  And besides… how would I blog the experience???!