You’ve been driving for about eight hours and all you want is a classic pub dinner, but you’re in the middle of an endless stretch of unfamiliar rural territory with no such oasis in sight. You know there must be a tavern around here somewhere, but a cursory glance at the locals you spotted in the servo a few kilometres back tells you’d be better off not asking for directions.
You’ll find it yourself, do what you’ve got to do while drawing minimal attention to your person, and be on your way to the next available motor inn. At least, that’s the plan, but now you’re car’s grinding to a halt right there on the road. Aaaand… it’s gone. It’s usually so reliable, this zippy little car, but then you picked it for city driving, not for marathons on patchy country highways.
Now you’ve got to decide whether you’ll flag down one of the few passing cars, hoping they’ll be a fellow city slick who’ll understand your predicament, rather than a local in a powerful 4WD with a modified engine. Of course, the latter is much more likely to be able to help, and maybe even give you a list of mechanics close to Toowoomba. But they’re also more likely to remind you about your inadequacies in handling your business outside of the city.
Your other option is to call for roadside assistance, which is liable to take several hours to arrive. In your tired and hungry (verging on hangry) state, this hardly seems worth entertaining, but at least it would enable you to keep your pride somewhat intact. As in, you won’t have to pretend you know what ‘ECU remapping’ means while a tanned guy in an oilskin hat scoffs at how little height there is to your car’s undercarriage and makes fun of the tiny little boot.
Ultimately, this is probably just your own anxious self-condemnation talking, and you really want that pub meal – like, yesterday. You summon all your worldly grit, flick on your hazard lights and get out of the car, ready to take charge of the situation.
Desk ornaments: what are they all about? Not that I have anything against ornamentation on the whole, but aren’t desks cluttered enough as it is? Do we really need to be adding random objects that take away valuable surface area from essentials, such as notepads, ergonomic wrist supports, mugs and little bowls of paper clips and USB sticks?
I genuinely want to understand this. My grandfather, a successful businessman, had an office at his home with a big mahogany desk, and I remember it being adorned with an array of wooden 3D puzzles. They were very beautiful objects, to be sure, but I never once saw him pick one of them up to twiddle while musing on a business decision. I never saw him challenge a visitor to solve one while he went and fetched a cup of tea, which would have made perfect sense. I never saw anyone engage with these things, ever.
That’s the thing with these types of objects – they just become part of the scenery, and everyone forgets they’re even there. It’s almost like they’re part of the office space fitout. Companies near Melbourne take that up a notch by actively incorporating purely decorative elements into the foundations of their interiors. So what’s the point? You’d think keeping clutter to an absolute minimum would be one of the first principles of effective office workspace design. Melbourne design aficionados, back me up here. There’s simply no point introducing things into these environments if they don’t serve any functional purpose.
Unless… well, maybe they’re there as a sort of psychology decoy against accumulating clutter. Hear me out. Maybe the idea is that, with some kind of decoration on the desk, we don’t feel a need to introduce more decorative items, because it’s been taken care of by the random bust, kinetic pecking bird sculpture, wood puzzle or nostalgic figurine assigned to fulfil that purpose. Therefore, we’re less tempted to bring in some random piece of junk to adorn our workspace.
I am on a quest to create the smallest glass bottle of all time. I’ve seen some pretty tiny ones in my time, but I want to go smaller. There’s just something about holding the record that gets me going. I would revel in the glory of designing the most fiddly and difficult contraption of all time, and I would make it small enough that no one would ever be able to replicate it.
I’ve done so many hours of research that my brain is constantly filled with little glass figurines. I know the mechanics. I know which Melbourne glazier I’ll be getting in contact with to help bring my project to life. The glass bottle will be so small that a five cent piece won’t fit inside it. The only thing the bottle will fit will be a tiny piece of paper with a message of glory inscribed in it. The tiny note will read “You are holding the world’s smallest glass bottle” in very small writing. It will be epic.
The bottle will be so impressive that all glass bottle enthusiasts will be begging to purchase one. The time and skill that has gone into creating and designing the bottle will mean that it costs upwards of $10,000, but it will be worth it to have a stake in the tiniest glass bottle collection of all time.
For this endeavour to succeed, I will need a repair serviceman on hand. I’m sure there will be many occasions where the bottle is too fiddly and slips out of the talented glazier’s hand. I’m also sure that the lucky few who are able to purchase the tiny glass bottle will crack it at some point. They will need the number for a glass repair service that is capable of dealing with such a small object. It will be provided alongside each bottle purchased.
The importance of this project is off the charts. It will not only revolutionise the glass bottle industry, but make me famous in the process… I can’t wait to get started.
I’m signing off now. It’s time to walk up my newly glass balustrade stairs and go to bed. Big day of researching tomorrow.
No, I like the first thing. Although there must be a good hair salon located in the Melbourne CBD that I can go to without Mother having a fit at the commoners milling around. I need first-hand experience of a hair salon, once that uses quality products and where hair styling is a matter of course rather than a special service. It’s market research…whatever that means. I’ll have to research the term first.
It’s certainly been a long while since Mother and Father took the family on a cruise. They used to be yearly affairs, but with Father being so busy with work it’s been indefinitely postponed, so it would seem. Not that I mind. Work takes precedence over play, I say. It’s an attribute of mine that makes me far superior to my ten-year-old peers, who wish to spend all of their time in leisure. Quit unacceptable, really.
However…the state of the boat does cause me some concern. These things must be maintained, and this seems like the perfect little project to develop some business acumen. I’ll find the most efficient place for marine stainless steel welding and give the old thing a good seeing to, make it right as rain, good as new. That way, the next time we all go boating as a family, we shan’t have to go on a private boating cruise like a bunch of peasants. It’ll all be ship-shape from the get-go.
However…where to acquire something as industrial as stainless steel marine welding? I can’t simply ask Father. That would defeat the purpose of the entire exercise. None of my school chums will know a single thing about this enterprise…they are all of them dolts. I could search online, but Mother restricts my home internet time and I’m afraid I burned through all of it watching gaming streams online…I mean, um, I used it all to perform necessary research, on other things that required research.
Oh, and the other things? A boat requires more than simply marine welding. One must see to the bow rails and snapper racks, if we are to use it for fishing. Stainless steel snapper racks, not regular wooden ones, like peasants. I bet Timothy Cribbins uses wooden ones on his boat, but he is an asinine fool and I have no time for his trading card talk. He couldn’t busy himself with anything more important?
The Taylor-Vaknikovs have gone too far. There’s a certain amount of tact one must display in business and life, and they seem to display neither. I took Archibald along to the unveiling of their new, decorative window glass display, and I was expecting something crude and ill-thought-out. It was even worse than I expected: an entire room dedicated to the history of their family’s business acquisitions. Bear in mind that the people they invited to this event were their business partners and rivals, ostensibly in order to thank them and show that the Taylor-Vaknikovs could not have made it in the business world without their valued contacts.
Tripe. Tripe of the highest order, in fact. The one thing that was actually of benefit in the meeting was seeing the work done with decorative glass. I must make a note to buy out that entire industry, because the artisans had done a wonderful job. It certainly wasn’t their fault that they were forced to depict the Taylor-Vaknikovs and their acquisition of certain key sectors. The glass artists simply did their jobs, portraying this family in their efforts to rub their success in the noses of the people they’d gathered for ostensibly friendship reasons. I was particularly enamoured- that is, in the same way one would be when looking at a train crash- by a large piece of glass near the door that depicted Mikail Taylor-Vaknikov and his acquisition of the vacuum cleaner company that later went on to conquer most of Vietnam. I wanted that deal, and he knew it.
Still, there IS something to be learned. The Clancey family have achievements that go beyond that of simply business, such as the lengthy land disputes to acquire Whitehall Chapel, and the quelling of the great servant civil war of 1892. Once I own the office window tintingsector and have knocked the Taylor-Vaknikovs off their perch, I’ll convert one of our rooms into a history of our family, told in glass.
Sometime I wish I could be invisible. Now, sometimes in this house I DO feel invisible, but that’s not what I mean. It’s just that Mother and Father, despite their good intentions, are rather protective and want me to do certain things at certain times, and I simply cannot wait until I am grown and can make my own decisions. I’m allowed to explore the grounds, but as large as they are, I have traversed them all, and I find the prospect of being observed by security cameras dull and limiting.
Oh, just imagine the trouble I could get up to if I were invisible! I have a school chum who got in on a scholarship, and she tells all the most wonderful stories. For example, her father recently took the car into their local Ringwood mechanic for brake repair and replacement. I know OF Ringwood, but it’s not the type of place Mother and Father would allow me to visit. And even if we did go there for a ball, or a gala, or a grand opening, they wouldn’t let me near places that do car servicing. Imagine if I were invisible, so I could sneak out and find a mechanic, then go into the workshop and see exactly what they do to get by. And also, I would be a fly-on-the-wall for what mechanics talk about while they work! I have very little idea what that might be, but research has led me to indicate that it might be about parking spaces, water coolers and who ate the sandwich in the fridge that did not belong to them. That seems to be what a lot of people have talked about on the very rare occasions I’ve been into work with Father. Surely if there are car mechanics available in Ringwood, they talk about more or less the same types of things? I wouldn’t know. I will possibly never know. Father always flies in his personal mechanics from the Netherlands to service our cars, so we don’t even have the ‘mechanic-visiting’ experience.
Cecelia seems to terribly sad to see Miguel go. He was her favourite footman, after all, and she seems to think there’s going to be an unfillable gap in the household now that Miguel is going back to Guatemala to help with the flooding of his home village.
I keep saying that we need to hire more local help, if only because you avoid this sort of thing. Just last month we lost Jetta because she had to return to Albajeria for a ceremony involving her son being accepted into a monastery, and she hasn’t returned because the celebrations continue for 46 days. Jetta is the only kitchen servant we’ve ever had who’s ever managed to properly prepare my Consommé Turducken, so imagine how I felt!
I should do something to help raise Cecelia’s spirits. I have been meaning to contact some Melbourne professionals in timber window replacement to do something about that eyesore we have in the autumn bedroom. Quite what possessed us to sample aluminium window frames is quite beyond me, and Cecelia is always talking about how it doesn’t mesh with the Ukrainian silk she chose for the drapes. We may only employ that bedroom for part of the year, but that’s no excuse to let such a thing stand. Timber windows it is, and I’ll be sure to keep it a surprise so that she has no knowledge of it until it’s finished.
I have noticed from my business trips that timber windows are rather in right now. Why stop with the autumn bedroom? I’ll send Cecelia away on a day trip with one of her tea-and-scone chums, and when she comes back, Whitehall will be entirely timber window fitted. I’m thinking one company won’t be enough, however; we’re going to need every single well-rated timber window fitter available in Melbourne, for the greatest act of window frame fitting ever seen in this fair city.
And then perhaps I’ll feel better for having been robbed of the chance to taste a perfect turducken.
I’ve grown terribly bored of our kitchen, and I’ve only been in there a couple of times. Of course, I’m talking about the prime kitchen that services the main dining hall. Kitchens two, three, four and…let’s say six are all on the list, although I don’t think we’ve ever had to use them so that’s quite far down said list.
But the prime kitchen? Oh, it’s just so outdated. I went in there the other day after dinner to pay my compliments to the chef- the lobster thermidor was especially excellent, thus causing me to break my usual mantra of not interacting with the help- and I noticed that the place just isn’t up to our standard. Whitehall Chapel is a place that deserves contemporary kitchen design, even if it’s a room that we never actually see. I just can’t stand the thought of it being there…existing…right next to the room where we dine! I know the lavender tiles were my idea, but ideas have moved on. I met up with Lena Pettiwell the other day for scones and a live violin concerto, and she said that she gets comprehensive kitchen renovations every six months.
Why haven’t I thought of that? Just because we never actually see the kitchen? That’s no reason to become slack. We have standards to uphold, for our good name. Oh, and we have some connections with companies that let you custom design your own kitchen. I’d been needing a personal project after the topiary was finished and the stables were just renovated. We don’t even have horses at the moment, but…well, you can’t live in a manor house and not have stables. A manor house without stables is like a manor house without custom designer kitchen renovations. It’s a horrible space that isn’t worth living in. And while we’re on the subject, the dining hall is so 18th century. Perhaps more chrome. More chrome everywhere!
As much as I do not envy our live-in psychologist, at least I still visit him on occasion to make sure he has SOMETHING to do. Psychologists always make for interesting enough conversations partners. And when Percy is off in the office, the children are at school or with their tutors and the servants and workmen have been properly directed to their tasks, sometimes I still have some time left.
Not so for our physician, consigned as she is to the medical wing in the easternmost corner of the mansion. The Clanceys are famously hale and hearty from years of excellent breeding and plenty of money to start every day, so we never fall ill. We just needed that insurance, and all the other rich families have them.
Still, I remain fascinated in this trend of people having hyperbaric chambers for hire in Melbourne, and I suppose beyond. I keep saying to Percy that we need to get some oxygen therapy chambers installed, just for the experience and perhaps for the continued health of the live-in staff. Elliaphelia from two mansions over just had them installed after her husband got a cold- imagine, something so common!- and he was having a bit of difficulty both breathing and smoking at the same time. Percy has never been interested in cigars like many of those in his various Gentlemen’s Clubs, although I’m sure he could down them with no real ill effects if he so desired.
Still, oxygen therapy just sounds so exciting, and quite good for you. Maybe after I’ve been on the cardio machines I can step inside and catch my breath, or…I don’t know. Just the thought of Melbourne’s best portable hyperbaric chambers being part of our medical repertoire just appeals to me, on a completionist level. We have all the other technology, such as the MRI machine, incubation chamber, x-ray machine and the physician to operate them. Oxygen therapy might just complete the set.