Tag: interesting happening

Banana bend

EC Commission Regulation No 2257/94: all bananas must be “free of abnormal curvature” and at least 14 cm in length.

In 2008 while I was in the UK, it and other EU nations voted out rules about the curves of cucumbers and bends of bananas.

Such rules would have denied my enjoyment in buying my weekly bananas at Dandenong Market.

Bananas from Dandenong market
Bananas from Dandenong market

Admittedly, extreme curvature is inconvenient for storage in my banana house.

Too bendy for banana box
Too bendy for banana box

Child proof gate

I was running late for my 10am meeting. I caught the wrong tram and had to jump off, double back and wait for the right tram.

So I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to get to the unfamiliar office at 10:03am. I was practically on time! Then I spent the next five minutes trying to work out how to open the gate. Was there a doorbell? Another entrance? A lock of some kind?

I looked next door and noticed it was a childcare. Oh! This was probably a child safe gate. It might have one of those ‘high up’ locks.

Sure enough, there was a vertical rod to pull up from the lock at the top of the gate. I struggled to get enough height and leverage through the bars of the gate to do this. This gate was practically Joan proof, as well as child proof.

Finally, I released the gate and rushed in, properly late for the meeting.

Do you like ducks?

It was 5:30pm on Friday and most people had left the office. I was packing up when George came up to my desk.

In a hushed tone he asked, ‘Joan, do you like ducks?’

‘Um, yesss.’ Ducks, I guess they’re cute.

‘What about duck heads and duck wings?’

I thought, ‘I like the whole duck, really. Hmm, I’m confused.’

George continued. ‘I have some, you know. Duck necks, heads and wings. Would you like some? I go to this Chinese restaurant for lunch sometimes and the owners, they know me now. They gave me extra duck necks and wings. At first I was very happy but now I have had too much. Would you like them?’

‘Oh. Yes, I think so,’ I said. Cooking duck would be like cooking chicken, right?

‘Good, good. It’s in the freezer, I’ll show you now.’

I follow after George as he says, ‘It’s easy, do you know 红烧 (hóng shāo)? You can just put it in a pot, cook it with soy sauce…’


I sat at the supermarket, minding all the groceries while Damjan dashed into the store to buy eggs.

A man was walking down the street. He bent down and picked something up. A flash of white — I think it was a cigarette. Why is he picking up a cigarette butt?

He put the scrap in his mouth.

Ah, now I see, he’s a bit scruffy and chewing old cigarettes from the ground. What we have here is a strange person.

He walked straight up to me and stopped.

‘Mumble mumble…’ He peered at me closely.

‘Sorry, what did you say?’ I asked.

‘Do you want a hug?’ he said more distinctly.

‘No, thank you.’

So he shuffled past.

Wild Friday night

Damjan and I were in the city when the sky turned on the faucet at full blast. We ran through torrential rain to Flinders Street station and joined other drenched rain refugees.

The train took off and we stripped off jackets, dumped umbrellas and squeezed out our hair.

Not quite six stops away from home, the train stopped. We sat in silence for five minutes. There was no announcement came to explain the pause.

A few people began peering out the window.

‘Hey, Damjan, do you want to look what’s happening?’ I said.

‘Okay.’ Damjan got out of the chair and joined the growing crowd.

‘The track’s covered in water,’ he said, as he slipped back next to me.

We sat for another five minutes before the train finally started inching forward. Slowly, slowly, we pulled into the next station. The train had made it past the flooded section.

When we finally reached our home station, the rain was as heavy as ever. We readied our umbrellas.

‘AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHH!!!!!!!’ I said quietly as I ran down the platform through the biggest storm I have ever known.

Damjan and I paused for a breath under the station canopy.

‘Ready?’ he asked.


I barrelled down the ramp to the underpass squealing, ‘I can’t see! I can’t see!’

Then, ‘AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGH’ as I found myself knee deep in water. I leapt back.

‘It’s all water!’

The underpass was flooded. I looked back to the platform, where a couple of people were huddled in confusion. There was no other way out.

‘YAAAAAAAAAAAAA!’ A man flew, charging into the water.

‘You dropped your keys!’ I cried, picking up his keys and a USB disk.

‘I’m taking my shoes off!’ Damjan yelled.

‘I’m just going to go for it!’ I yelled back. My shoes were made of netting and rubber. So I gritted my teeth and ran into the cold swirling brown water.

The water came up to my thighs.

I burst out the other side yelling, ‘Your keys! Mister, your keys!’ He wasn’t there. No one heard me.

A red car flashed at me. Damjan’s dad was waiting in the parking lot. I threw my wet self into the back seat. Thirty seconds later, Damjan arrived too.

On the way home, three times, we reversed out of flooded roads to find another route.

We finally made it home, where Damjan’s sister was mopping up the water that had come through the ceiling.

I grew a plant

I’ve been out of the office for four days. When I came in this morning, this is what I saw.

Photo of Joan's office cactus
Joan's office cactus

Whoooo! There’s a new growing thing on the round green one! I’m so excited. I’ve never grown a plant before.

I’ve now taken my cactus plants and put it near the office window so that they can get more sunlight at this most critical time.

Shower of plastic

I reached up to the top shelf of my closet, where I keep a plastic bag of plastic shopping bags. I needed to re-line the  bin in my room.

Suddenly, a shower of plastic confetti rained on me. For about five seconds, I stood still with my hand up-stretched.


I pulled the bag of bags down and watched further disintegration happen. Nervously, I reached in to pull out the largest chunk of plastic remains.

I was thinking that insects might have invaded my closet for food. If so, they would be insects with poor taste, forgoing the tasty woollen jumpers on the bottom shelf for plastic bags from Tesco.

However, I soon discounted this theory. Poking around in the bag, it was apparent that only one plastic bag had fallen apart. The others were untouched.

My current theory is that it had been biodegradable plastic bag. I am surprised that I’ve been able to witness the degradation in action.

Man Test

Damjan, Joel and I were celebrating Pancake Tuesday. Damjan was at the stove in an apron and after a couple of false starts, was back to his finest pancake-flipping form.

He demonstrated. ‘See? Now that the pan’s warmed up and oiled properly, it’s easy.’

‘How about one-and-a-half flips?’ Joel said.

Damjan raised his eyebrows. ‘ No problem.’ He paused, then flicked the pan a little harder then usual.

Sure enough, the pancake turned gracefully in the air, then another half turn, before landing neatly on the waiting pan.

‘Ha!’ Joel said. ‘Bet you can’t do two-and-a-half flips.’

‘Bet I can,’ Damjan grinned. He knew his tools by now. He paused again, then flicked the pan extra hard.

The pancake flew even higher, crested after two-and-a-half turns, then plopped straight down.

‘AAAAWWW!’ we all cheered.

‘Three-and-a-half!’ Joel urged. ‘Three-and-a-half!!’

‘No way,’ Damjan laughed. ‘Uh-uh.’

‘Come on!’ Joel rejoined. ‘Man Test!’

‘What?’ we said.

‘Man Test!’

Damjan couldn’t refuse a Man Test.

‘Okay, okay…’

‘No!’ I gasped. But it was too late. The Man Test challenge had been made.

Damjan held a look of intense concentration for five seconds. Then he launched a mighty pancake flip… and the pan base flew over his head, along with the pancake, and it all came down with a metallic crash and pancake splatter on the kitchen floor.

Damjan was left shocked, holding just the handle in his right hand.

‘Oops,’ Joel said.