Foot Pain Fellowship

I knelt down by the babbling brook and sighed as my pack slid from my shoulders. It had been a quiet day’s walk, this one, the miles eaten up underfoot as I strode diligently forward. Head in the clouds, my Da had always said, as he’d watched me stride across the small fields of our village.

         Such small fields, I remembered fondly. Such different times.

         I hadn’t seen my village in many a moon, but I had something… different. A mission. A purpose.

         My hand rose unbidden to stroke at the amulet I kept safely tied around my neck. Even pressed against my flesh – uncannily so – it remained ice-cold to the touch.

         Minutes passed before I shook myself free of the meditative trance I found myself in, and I laughingly chided myself for not starting on the camp sooner.

         ‘You’d find yourself with a fungal nail infection near Cheltenham,’ I chuckled, picturing the gleaming, lavish city I’d travelled through at the beginning of my journey and the haughty, tall denizens who called it home.

         Well, home on this side of the sea at least.

         I lit a small fire for my dinner and rolled the smoothest rock I could find over for a place to perch next to it. It would probably also serve as my pillow, I noted glumly. Sleeping rough had started as a difficult thing to do, I recalled. Now it was just a sad, accepted fact of my life.

         I shook out my aching legs, fondly remembering the way my mother used to rub them after a long day out in the fields. ‘How can compression therapy help with foot pain?’ I’d asked her once, with the arrogance of youth.

         She’d laughed, bless her, and told me to mind my manners. Sure enough, my legs had hurt much less when I woke up the next day. I practically skipped out of our little hole, into the pastures.

         I frowned as I remembered that happier time. Had it been kindness, her massages, or manipulation? What she had to do to force me back out onto the field?

         My fingers, unknowingly, stroked the amulet again.

Rose Blog Attempt

Hello, welcome back to my Gardening Blog – Jim’s Gardening Blog, actually! I never was any good at marketing! (Just ask my publisher!)

         Yes, I know that you all mostly love and adore me for my works as a pioneering author in the gardening space, constantly finding fresh insight in humanity’s oldest art. No, not that one, you fools – Gardening!

         And now I’m bringing all of my God-given talents to this – the Internet! What an exciting time to be alive, what with so much connection, the shifting of the dynamics of power, and an ever-growing list of ways to reach a sizeable potential audience through precise, garden-oriented written content.

         Oh, where was I? That’s right – you probably want to hear about my top tips for growing hippeastrums in Australia!

         Well, to begin, you’re going to want to make sure that your soil is at exactly the right temperature…


‘Done,’ I murmured to myself, hitting the Publish button with a smug grin. ‘That’ll drive them back to my books.’

         I chuckled and got up to pour myself a soothing cup of green tea, with an even more soothing splash of vodka in it.      

         The phone rang as I walked past it into the kitchen, and I answered it with a sigh.

         ‘Jim Bean speaking,’ I said, dryly.     

         ‘It’s Cynthia!’ crackled the voice on the other end, positively seething.

         ‘Oh, hullo,’ I smiled. ‘Did you see the new blog post? I think you’re right, this is going to be great for my online presence and image.’

         ‘You were supposed to send it to me first, you fool!’

         ‘I did,’ I frowned. ‘At least I thought I did? Isn’t that what the Publish button does?’

         ‘No!’ she screeched. ‘Why would literally anybody think that?!’

         ‘You forget I’m an old man,’ I said, sternly.

         ‘You’re fifty-three, you idiot,’ she growled at me. ‘I can’t believe what you wrote.’

         ‘What was wrong with it?’

         ‘Apart from the arrogance, sloppy spelling and general air that you’d rather be growing ground cover roses than touching a computer?’

         ‘What?’ my frown deepened. ‘What was wrong with my spelling?’

         Take it down, now!

Kitchen Renovation Messenger

The Fellowship of the Power Star was almost ready to move on when something strange happened. Princess Plum was the first to notice it, hearing the crunch of leaves behind her. She spun around, umbrella-staff at the ready in case bandits had approached their camp. Instead, she found a small blue penguin person standing there, staring up at her. What was a child of the Ice Kingdom doing here?

The little penguin lifted a flipper to her – Princess Plum could tell the penguin was a girl thanks to the pink bow on her head – face, wiping away tears. “Can you help me? I’m lost.”

Princess Plum knelt down and waved for the penguin to approach. “Of course. What’s your name? You’re a long way from home. What are you doing here? 

“I’m Arabelle,” the penguin said. “My mommy sent me to warn the professional laundry designers of the Renovation Kingdom. She said that the big bad turtle is coming for them next. Do you know where the Renovation Kingdom is? Mommy said it has lots of cool houses.”

Biting her lip, Princess Plum considered how best to break the news to the young penguin. “I’m sorry, Arabelle. This is the Renovation Kingdom. Trowser has already come and destroyed it.”

“Oh,” said Arabelle. “I’m too late, then. The big bad turtle destroyed it, just like the Ice Kingdom.”

“Trowser attacked the Ice Kingdom too?” Princess Plum said, fury rising to her cheeks. Destroying the homes of experts at completing laundry renovations in the Melboune area was one thing, but destroying the cute igloo homes of the Ice Kingdom was another. Trowser would pay for this.

Arabelle nodded. “Mommy and daddy said they were going to the Cloud Kingdom. I’m supposed to go there now, but I don’t know the way.”

Princess Plum sheathed her umbrella-staff and looked at Marion the plumber. “You, with me. Mushrooms, we’ll meet you at the Conveyancing Kingdom. Marion and I will be taking a detour to the Cloud Kingdom first.”

Purposely Broken Glass

Do you ever feel like getting out of somewhere so quickly that you’d be willing to just smash a window to be able to make your escape? I do. I feel like that every day that I am stuck in this stupid office. For some reason, they’ve made every wall (and window) completely of glass. There’s no privacy and it just makes me long to be outside more than in any other situation.

Sometimes I wonder how much it would cost me to just smash the glass and leave for good. I obviously couldn’t return to work, I’d be fired/ would have to quit on the spot, but I would pay for the damages. I’d leave forever and then send them a cheque in the mail to pay for the glass balustrades. Melbourne CBD, where I work, can feel like a prison the majority of the time. Everything looks the same and everyone is trapped in the same massive, lifeless skyscrapers. I could imagine hundreds of thousands other CBD workers imagine smashing the windows of their buildings to escape, too.

I’m going to look into how much it would cost to actually break a massive plane of glass. Probably thousands, which I wouldn’t be able to afford if I simultaneously quit my job/ got fired. I have a friend who works as a commercial glazier in Melbourne. I think my friend could potentially get me a good deal on a new window, but then there’s also the issue of how I could possibly land safely after smashing through it.

I think the next time I have the urge to smash through the glass and never return, I’ll just quit. I’ll yell at my boss and tell him that I’m never going to talk to him again. I’ll walk to the elevator and safely leave the office, never to return. This is definitely the cheaper option.

Here’s to quitting my job.

Sewer Sisters Together

“Rylee?” Maphira called into the abyssal darkness. No response, yet again.

She flicked her flashlight on for but a moment, needing to preserve its batteries. It didn’t have long before it left her in the abyss for good. She couldn’t think of much worse than being trapped in Melbourne’s sewer system.

Other than, of course, having to crawl back to her sister and beg her for help. It didn’t get much more humiliating than that. Having to crawl through the muck and waste dressed as a drain plumber offering service in Melbourne, which only added a little bit of insult to injury.

“Rylee, where are you? I’m sorry! We could really use your help!” Maphira dug nails into her palms. “Don’t make me say it! Fine! You’re the smarter sister and I’ve always been jealous of how awesome you are!”

“Well, you should have just said so.” Rylee’s voice came from several feet away but in the echoing tunnels of the labyrinthian cesspool, she might as well have screamed right in Maphira’s ear.

When her fright-boosted adrenaline faded, Maphira turned back to her sister. “How long have you been there?”

“Quite a while. I was just waiting for you to say the magic words. I assume you need the passcode, right? I’ll tell you right now, it has something to do with plumbers for blocked drains near Essendon.”

“Thanks for that, sis. Really useful.” Maphira didn’t even bother to see if Rylee would follow. She simply passed her and started on the way back to the solar facility, knowing her little sister would cooperate now that she’d had her daily source of validation. “You’d better not ruin this for me. The police force might not have been for you, but my entire career is on the line here.”

Rylee pulled out her phone and lit the path ahead. “Don’t worry, unlike some people in our family, I actually respect the life decisions of others.”

Maphira scoffed. So, that was how this was going to be. Why would she have expected anything less from the brat goddess that was her sister?

Plumbers Are Impressive

The first session went well. This week has flown by which is why I haven’t been able to update you until now. It’s Friday afternoon and we have our second informal plumbing group lesson tomorrow. I thought I’d be updating you on the sessions each Monday but the week really got away from me. So on the eve of our next session, I’ll tell you about our last one.

To put it simply, we got our hands very dirty. I always knew it would be a difficult job to do, but I really have to take my hat off to the professional drain plumbers in Melbourne. I’m just your average joe with absolutely no experience in being a plumber, but even if I had the experience I think it would be a pretty difficult feat. 

By the end of the eight-hour session, the majority of us had got the hang of how to do a sewer replacement. Even though we have had a bit of practice doing sewer replacements now, I’ve decided that there’s no way I’d ever do one myself. It’s just too big a job and I have literally no professional experience. All my friends agreed that this would be the case.

Seeing as we started with the big guns, we’ve decided to try some more basic things for tomorrow’s session. I proposed that we go around the nearby streets and see if we spot any blocked drains. Brighton and nearby suburbs apparently have a lot of them because of the stormwater. We’re going to see if we can identify them and then unblock them ourselves. We’re not sure how easy this will be, but at least we’re giving it a go and will be doing good deeds for some of the locals. At the very least, it’ll be a fun day hanging out with my mates in the warm winter sun. 

Here’s hoping it goes well!

Hair Clogged Drains

Our shower has been the bane of our existence for a long time now. I live in a shared apartment with four other people and we only have one bathroom, which causes a lot of problems as you could imagine.

Three of my housemates are girls with really long hair. Now, I’m no stranger to living with girls. I lived with my mum and sister for twenty-five years, so I know that long hair can cause blocked drains. Close to Brighton, it’s common practice now to (apologies in advance for saying this), put the hair that has been shed on the shower door to then put in the bin later. That way it doesn’t go down the drain and block it. However, I live in the Melbourne CBD now and apparently, that’s not how they do things here. Our shower drains have clogged three times now – and I’ve only been living here for six months…

I tried to have an intervention with my female housemates. I sat them down and told them what my mum and sister do, and how it saved us a lot of money over the years. They said that it was disgusting and certainly not something that they would ever do. I told them it was more disgusting having goo come up through our drains whilst I was showering, but they said that can easily be fixed with a drain replacement. In the Melbourne CBD, it costs an arm and a leg to get a drain repair, or replacement or whatever. I don’t want to have to do this more than once in my lease, because simply, none of us can afford it.

I probably should have thought about what it would be like to live with three girls with long hair. I just assumed that they’d do that thing that all girls do, but apparently not. It’s causing problems, that’s for sure.

Daughter’s Small Feet

My daughter has such tiny little perfect feet, just like me. As you would’ve read in my other blogs, I am really passionate about looking after my feet and keeping them healthy and clean. I think it’s something that everyone should do, but after a couple of in-depth conversations with my expert foot specialist, I realised that most people don’t take foot care as seriously as I do.

When I had my daughter just over eleven months ago now, I vowed that her feet would remain soft and perfect forever. She has the tiniest little toes. It’s truly adorable. I vowed that she would never get any common foot condition. She won’t experience the pain of ingrown toenails, her skin won’t get hard and she won’t get corns and callouses. I’m disgusted at the thought of these things happening to her, but I have to imagine them to ensure that it never becomes a reality. 

I know that kids these days are more likely to experience developmental problems, although I’m not sure why. That’s why I’ve also vowed that if I need to source children’s orthotics in the Cheltenham area in the future then I will. There’s no shame in wearing orthotics as long as her feet are clean and well looked after. In fact, wearing orthotics is one of the best ways to ensure her feet are looked after.

My daughter is crawling now and soon she’ll be able to walk. She’ll need strong, well looked after feet to ensure they can take her wherever she wants to go. She’s going to be a little adventurous child and I’m so excited to see what she does with her life. I’m also excited to see how perfect her feet remain for the rest of her life. 

Okay, I best be off now. I’ve got to bathe my daughter before she goes to sleep. I’m bathing her in this nice oil that makes her skin, including her feet, very soft.

Parent Obsessed Car

I recently bought a car that I love. It’s quite new and has all the fancy gadgets that people want in a car, like touch screen capabilities, cameras, cruise control, the lot. Everyone is really impressed with me because I saved up enough money to buy this awesome car even though I only work part-time. Not many people can say they own a car at my age, especially one that’s so new and fancy.

The only problem with my car is that my parents love it. They want to drive it everywhere, to the point where I don’t even get to drive my own car anymore. They just keep driving away with it and making me pay for the petrol even though they’re the people driving it! They said that it’s payback for all the years that they drove me around and I used their petrol.

They even made me take my car to the expert mechanic close to Hobart to get it repaired when one of them broke it! I don’t know what exactly they broke or how, and neither of them would admit who did it, but I’m angry. Surely I don’t have to pay for them to use my car and then damage it! I need to take a stand. 

I think it’s getting to the point where I might have to move out. My parents are just taking advantage of my awesome car, and they don’t really care that I’ve asked them to stop. I overheard them talking in the kitchen yesterday morning about selling their cars and just using mine full time. Surely that’s not allowed. 

When I went and got my car fixed, I ranted to the mechanic who did my transmission repair in Hobart. Apparently what my parents are doing isn’t uncommon. He said there was some name in car psychology for it, but I’ve forgotten what that is now. All I know is that I need to get my parents help, or I’ll never get to drive my car again. 

Glass Home?

I always thought that my dream house would have a lot of stone. Stone walls, stone floors, stone statues everywhere. I’ve always loved stone buildings, so naturally, I thought one would be for me. The last couple of years, though, I’ve had the honour of renting out a house made entirely out of stone. It has been a bit like living in a castle. Throughout this time, I’ve come to a startling conclusion: stone sucks. Why would anybody want to live in a building made of stone? It gets so cold during the winter. Whatever you do, never live in a stone house. It’s a terrible idea. Listen to my warning, or I promise you’ll regret it.

So, my new thing is glass houses. Yes, I know the saying about people in glass houses. Throw stones in a glass house and you’ll likely be calling up a business for commercial glazing more often than not. With a glass house, you’d need a bit more than your standard residential glazing, so commercial it would have to be. Anyway, I just think it would be really cool to live in a home where there are plenty of glass balustrades, glass ceilings and even glass walls. I’d have it on top of a big hill, overlooking a beautiful valley in the east, so I can watch the sunrise over it. That would be truly magnificent. 

Alternatively, I could see a glass house working in a frozen tundra, perhaps near a mountain lake. Of course, there’s no beating glass balustrades in the Melbourne area, and we don’t have any frozen mountain lakes here, so that’s a bit of a problem. But I’m sure I could make it work. Maybe I could get some glass balustrades imported from Melbourne to whatever cold place I go to. Possibly somewhere in Scandinavia. That would be pretty cool. Oh, I wasn’t even meaning to make a pun there, but I guess it would be cool in both senses of the word. You know, because cool means cold… I’m sure you get it.