I suspect Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd might be reading this blog as he has been lapping up my advice like it was a two-for-one deal on Milky Bars. No sooner had I counselled reassigning Peter 'The Parrot' Garrett to janitorial duties and a hasty return to planet earth re the raisin' up of young'ns to read'n'write proper, than my thoughts are transmogrified into promises and proclamations before one can say, 'is that an election looming or have my cataracts just got worse?' The invoice is in the post, Kev.
I'm glad someone is able to benefit from my foresight as I have yet to find a way. February has been my mensis horribilis of 2010 to date. As far as boding goes, that's about on a par with the fortunes of Gordon 'Scrooge McDuck' Brown. One would certainly not like to challenge him over a limited edition Ikea lowboy by all accounts. I'm safe. I can't even afford to window shop at the moment. The quality of Scrooge's denial of serial violent bullying of his staff - 'you don't solve a global financial crisis by being a shrinking violet' - would tend to suggest that there was no shortage of firewood at No. 10 Downy Street over the winter months. Since I appear to be resident in one of a handful of countries to dodge the GFC, I suppose I should send him a thank you note.
Now for the debit side. My entire monthly income for February was diverted to a) new laptop and b) minor tooth repair. My garden is standing like a wafer-thin sentinel between me and under-nourishment. I'm so glad I had the presence of mind to plant several varieties each of spinach, lettuce and tomatoes and two of basil. Mealtimes would have been very boring otherwise.
Some may relish the opportunity to acquire a new piece of electro-kit but I take the view that the newness of devices simply conflates their likelihood to go wrong more creatively and expensively. Yes, I have had to buy a new laptop - and worse - I have had to accept the conversion to Windows 7 and the inevitability of upgrading my 2003 Microsoft Office Student and Teacher edition. The thought of donating any amount of money to the Gates world domination fund is only slightly less abhorrent to me than dropping my meagre pennies into a pot for a Milosevic memorial.
Wrong decisions on seemingly arbitrary and trivial choices that didn't exist the last time I attempted to bond with a computer (which, admittedly is several millennia ago in laptop years), led to anxious hours of stand-offs and wimpy phone calls to techi-nurse. If there is one thing I really do hate it's having to relearn operations a gratuitously different way for someone else's benefit. But finally, Happy (the new laptop) and I seem to be getting along fine. I am doing my best to ignore its Maoist obsession with self-examination and its tendency to interrupt my Freecell personal best attempts with requests to sanction an endless stream of self-improvement activities.
February's impressive tally of expensive broken things was supplemented by an extraordinary flourishing of household pests. I have to tell you it is not a particularly pleasant experience to wake up with ants in your hair. Spiders, I vowed I would get used to, even very big ones like Spencer (pictured). It was not terribly amusing to find him in the toaster of a morning or hovering over the bed at night, but I learned to live with him. At the end of last winter I thought he'd died and I was genuinely upset when I found a skeleton on the floor. I even saved it in a lovely box.
Spencer came back in February, bigger than ever and with an even greater capacity for suspense. We have recently traded hisses over ownership of the pantyplayer music centre which does tend to be bathed in a slumberly dimness when the mood strikes me to approach it.
Huntsman spiders may be large and fast but they're not poisonous. The same cannot be said of the Redback, which is why finding a huge family of them in my compost bin did not exactly bring out the conservationist in me. I confess, I committed arachnicide via water canon.
Having a garden has convinced me that the earth will survive any amount of climate change. Seriously, it doesn't matter what you put into a garden, something that likes to eat it, will hear about it long before it sprouts. I suspect that social networking is, in fact, an entomological phenomenon.
At this point in time, my own survival depends on waking up before the bugs get my breakfast. It's a curious thing - I'm faster than a politician but slower than a snail...