How did I not know about sewer replacement?

sewer replacement MelbourneIt turns out that the blocked drain that ruined my bath was actually symptomatic of a far larger problem. We need to get an entire sewer replacement, Melbourne is actually an older city than I thought and it turns out that our pipes are practically ancient. The plumber had thought that he was coming to do a quick fix of our blocked pipes, but decided to do a full camera plumbing inspection when he could not identify the problem. As it turns out, our entire drainage system is slowly crumbling. This seemed odd to me since our house does not look particularly old, but apparently when it was built, they retained the drainage system of the previous property.

Does it make me a bad parent that I did not realise the state of our clogged pipes until they reached breaking point? I do all the home maintenance. I used to do a lot more myself, but lately I have been realising the virtues of outsourcing to others who know what they are doing. Perhaps if I had not lost my hands-on approach, I would have noticed the blocked plumbing earlier.

Let’s focus on the positives. I need to forgive myself, but remember and do better next time. I am so glad that I did not listen to Pat’s idea to try to unblock the drain myself. Surely he does not expect me to be able to identify and fix our collapsed sewerage system. No, we definitely need to engage the services of some expert drainage contractors in Melbourne. Sewerage systems are not something that I am willing to fix. I have been saying affirmations in order to encourage the work to be completed quickly. Usually, affirmations take awhile to work, but this time they were effective immediately. I have noticed that when I stand outside and chant, the plumbers seem to work a lot faster. I did ask if they wanted to partake in my affirmations, but they all politely declined the offer.

Not the Boat Gathering I Expected

outboard motor serviceRevelry is not usually my…‘scene’, as it were. If I host a party, it’s usually to do with business partners or simply celebrating an achievement (of business), and thus attending a party for the sake of it being a party is unfamiliar to me. There comes a time, however, when one must simply let one’s hair down, so to speak. Or so I thought. My Father and the owner of the Extreme Expeditions company were good friends in their youth, odd since their business choices didn’t really overlap. I will admit, I spent some time in my childhood on board the Taylor-Thomas yacht, just as they sometimes came aboard mine, and thus when I heard my friend was having a get-together, I thought I’d pay a visit.

I wasn’t fooled for a second. Had Dirk asked, I could have recommended any number of Melbourne outboard motor services, even supplied one of my own. Whatever silly expedition he was on seemed to have done some damage to the family vessel, and so the power was out. Worse, it was not the cocktail affair that I was expecting, which leads me to wonder what I was expecting. I was clearly overdressed, especially compared to some of the scandalous young women with their dresses lingering up to inch above the knee. There were no champagne waiters, the music was obscenely modern and the whole place was lit by candles, as if it were taking place in the jungle.

The outboard motor issue became apparent when I realised we’d been in the harbour for two hours, though at that point I’d been lingering near the stern, alone with the most dignified drink I could find (a lemon and lime bitters, from a bottle). The boat was scuppered, though fortunately I was able to leave early while the revelry increased. I considered calling Dirk in the morning and recommending the finest outboard motor repairs Melbourne had to offer…though if I remember, he’s the type to sleep until noon anyway. We are clearly very different as businessmen. Also, as people.

-Percival Clancey III

Dominating the Housing Market

Melbourne buyers advocatesWill there ever be a time when the property market isn’t booming? You know, I think not. My business predictions for the coming year are higher than ever, because it seems as if people will always want a roof over their head. Sometimes several, as the case may be.

However, with profits comes a greater amount of uncertainty when knowing where to buy. I was agonizing over where to purchase our third summer home recently, because as a family we’ve been to our Brisbane home far too many times and the villa in France became a problem as Madeira developed travel sickness. No, we needed something local, which forced me to do the unthinkable. I hired a property advocate. Melbourne’s finest, obviously, because I would settle for no less. However, the stresses of the job necessitated me to outsource the finding our own holiday home. I certainly wasn’t about to let Cecelia choose, because while she’s a pretty little thing, she doesn’t quite have the property know-how to make large decisions for the family. No doubt leaving this business to Cecelia would result in a strangely-shaped property with sun-facing windows and fewer than six bathroom, my personal minimum.

I was not disappointed with the advocacy service, however, and in the end I still held the final say. We managed to procure a decent waterfront property with adequate facilities and enough surrounding land that noisy neighbours would not be a problem. To say nothing of the paparazzi constantly wanting the story of my immense success…dear me, just the thought gives me a headache.

Perhaps the next time I am looking into a property around Melbourne, buyers advocates would be an option, should my workload be too immense. And with the property market increasing as it has, what with the common rabble multiplying…it most certainly will be.

The Sports of Kings

gold driving netsThey say Polo is the sport of kings. That’s what my history tutor said, anyway, though I have reason to doubt this for many reasons. Reason one: not EVERY king has to have liked the same sport. Maybe there was a very important one back in the day who really liked polo, and people watched him having a splendid time of it and decided ‘you know what, everyone? This has to be the sport of the king, because look how he enjoys it so’. And then that king retired and the next person became king and there was all this pressure on him to like the same thing, because by that time their entire kingdom’s economy was based around polo and for him to put his foot down and say that he was a big fan of hockey would’ve upset everything. People would’ve had to switch to making hockey nets, all the signs around the kingdom entrance would’ve had to have been changed from ‘TRY POLO: THE SPORT OF KINGS!’ to something like ‘HOCKEY: THE SPORT OF THE CURRENT KING!’ and that just doesn’t have the same advertising ring to it.

I’m terribly glad that modern melbourne doesn’t have any sort of sporting elitism, at least none of which I’m aware. All sorts of sports netting is readily encouraged, unless your sports doesn’t involve nets. Though many of them do, I’ve found…I suppose so many of them involve equipment that can go flying off and cause terrible injury, so netting is what allows the spectators to spectate while remaining unharmed.

Archie went through a phase where he wanted to play polo like Daddy does on the weekends, but I think his natural wants won over and now he is terribly inclined towards golf. That’s why we had the driving range installed down near the lake. I watched the golf driving nets go up and thought that was very sensible, otherwise all the balls would end up underwater.

I am still deciding which sport shall be mine. Mother says I must pick one with an air of grace and ladyhood, so perhaps…clay pigeon shooting?

-Madeira

Some Very Necessary Scaffolding

aluminium platformNo, darling, you’re going to have to put up with the men around the house a little bit longer.

That’s what I keep telling Cecelia, the silly woman. If she doesn’t like the entire right side of the manor being covered in aluminium platforms, she can move to the left side. Pity me; my favourite of the four studies is on that side, and it’s where I keep most of my filing, so I really don’t have a choice.

Every now and then we need to get some professionals in to make sure the stone menagerie is properly affixed. It’s a VERY specialised service, not something I would entrust to just anyone, so I have to have these people flown in from Turkey. They’re the only ones I trust to do the job properly; Ahmed and Sons, proud fixers of stone structures since the 1400s.

You see, we have a veritable zoo’s worth of stone animals lining the top of the manor, and due to weather being so very fickle in these parts, I have to make extra sure that all of them are firmly fixed in place. We don’t want a repeat of the gargoyle incident, do we? More importantly, there’s a very specific place for every single one of those animals. It would be patently, utterly ridiculous to have one of the horses fall off, thus spoiling the entire effect of the Charge of the Light Brigade monument. And our Noah’s Ark recreation would be the laughing stock of the neighbourhood if a single giraffe was left standing while the other had its head knocked off by wild winds.

Of course, our only point of consternation are all the planks and trestles and folding platform ladders, that have to be put in place. Transporting stonemason equipment to a high rooftop is no gentle matter, I suppose, and it’s not every year I have this done. Hopefully the job is done a bit quicker than usual, and mobile scaffolding carted away. I should like to look upon Whitehall in all its splendour again.

-Percival Clancey III

Holidaying Without Being Bothered

Lorne hotelsSince Father owns most of the city, we spend a bit of time outside of it. After all, there’s little else more tiresome than going to a place and seeing all these business people you know. There’s a time for business, and there’s a time for relaxation. Every time we steal a tiny snippet of time to go out as a family, Father ends up seeing some contact, they get into a fierce bit of company rigmarole and we might as well have simply stayed home and ordered a choir to serenade us or something.

After the last time we went out for tiramisu and Albanian hot chocolate, Mother finally said that they needed a local holiday where we weren’t being accosted by the business world. Father let her choose the destination, which was very odd, but we’ve settled on some luxury accommodation in Lorne. Oh, it’s in Victoria- it’s a local holiday, after all- but just far out that we may be able to have a family holiday. Mother has already threatened to take Father’s main business phone and deposit it in the two-storey piranha tank we had installed in lounge #6, and so he seems to be taking the hint.

I must admit, beaches are not the worst of places, provided one takes proper precautions. I could be tempted to leave the aforementioned luxury accommodation and venture out, though not onto a boat…after the previous episode, I have quite gone off them for the time being. Undoubtedly we’ll be taking the family cruise ship down to Lorne, which I can handle. After that, I should very much like to plant my feet firmly on terra firma for the duration of our stay.

Lorne seems like a very agreeable place, from what I have seen. Perhaps one day our influence shall extend there, and Lorne hotels will be under the Clancey Family Empire’s control. Not today, however…if Father even tried, I think Mother would snap completely.

-Archibald Clancey III

Seasick On a Plate Aluminium Boat

plate aluminium boatOften during the family boat trips I am forced to stay low, where I can fool myself into thinking we are not moving. Madeira does give me such grief for it, however. She can be a little beast when Mother and Father are not looking. Just to set all the records straight, I am perfectly fine when the boat is not moving. It is not the location that causes my queasiness, which I truly wish is something my school chums could understand.

My seventh birthday was the time of my discovery, and it was rather embarrassing. I had asked for a boat- specifically a plate aluminium boat, because even then, I was fascinated by industry- and I received one upon which I would celebrate my ascension to manhood. The school chums were invited, though I made sure I was the first one deck for the big party. I felt like I was the king of my own domain, with my own boat at last (my plate alloy boat) and truly grown up. I ordered a sailing trip around the bay while my party was in progress, so I could show off my kingdom as was my due.

This, I am sorry to say, is where the seasickness set in. Madeira had snuck on board, because she is a terror who never obeyed me even when we were younger. The girl is a menace with no respect for the authority of her older sibling. In any case, she made sure to point out to all my chums that I seemed under the weather, despite my attempts to hide it. I ordered a return to shore, but the damage had been done. Clinging to the fishing rod holder, I barely kept my footing and my image (along with the party) was ruined.

My plate alloy boat, the specs of which once caused in me great excitement, now lies abandoned. Perhaps I should donate it to charity, so that those less fortunate than I can take boat trips. I hear people generally enjoy them.

-Archibald Clancey II

Those First Insects

Frankston Pest ControlYou know, I think I was six years old before I even saw an insect. Mother said that a proper lady didn’t spend much time outdoors, at least much more than was socially required (garden parties and such), and thus I tried to follow that mandate to the letter, spending a lot of time in the parlour learning how to crochet and laugh at the jokes of the menfolk.

Then Imogen came to school one day, her butler porting in an ant farm, and I listened in utter fascination as she described how she was allowed to keep the ants in the upper levels of her quarters at the family mansion and she fed them pellets every day (that is, Antony the butler fed them every day and Imogen was allowed to watch).

Such an ecosystem! After that, I’m afraid I became rather hooked on the unladylike aspiration of finding out more about insects. Surrounding suburbs such as Frankston have pest control, where people actually try to get insects and such things out of their homes. Now, I understand people have phobias and such, but if I was at a loss to see how you could control them. In my mind, pest control was much like brain control; getting to the level of the ants and telling them (nay, asking them, more likely) to leave so that business may resume.

Obviously I was wrong there. The grounds of Whitehall Chapel are extensive, and I used to spend our Sunday family walks trying to find evidence of insect life. Apparently our gardeners are given strict orders by Daddy to remove them from our sight, because I saw very few of them. Now that I am eight, my interest has waned somewhat, mostly because I have been allowed to read about them in my computer lessons and I have found that termites can be rather odious. There are designated Frankston termite control companies to deal with the damage they cause. But still…I should like to be allowed to form my own opinion.

-Madeira

Dry needling leads to new love

dry needlingBefore I met my wife I had very little time for universal forces. As a doctor my belief system is rooted in evidence, proof, statistical testing etc. I do not take things on faith alone, I need more. This model of fact finding does not allow for thoughts to do with energies and cosmic forces. However, the events that lead to me meeting the amazing woman that would become my wife, changed everything.

Every once in awhile a patient of mine asks for a treatment that I am either unfamiliar with or unable to prescribe. Normally it’s just a one off and I can refer them to a colleague but over the course of three months, seven years ago, I had thirteen patients inquire about dry needling as a treatment for muscular pain. I decided to do something about. I found a great facility offering dry needling courses in Sydney and booked myself onto the first available one.

On the flight on the way there I sat next to an extremely beautiful woman. We didn’t exchange words but the occasional glance may have occurred. That night at the hotel restaurant I saw the same woman dining alone, we gave a knowing smile and carried on dining independently.  The introduction to dry needling courses was taking place early the next morning so I headed up to bed without haste. As I arrive at the dry needling centre I see all the nametags for various doctors taking part, my hand reaches down to grab mine at the same time as the one adjacent is being picked up. I’m sure you can guess who it was, Dr. Angela Victoria, my future wife, colleague and friend. I never would have imagined that taking a course in dry needling techniques would have such an impact on my life. We’re coming up to our one year anniversary and I can’t imagine my life without her.

Madeira Magic, My Beauty Empire

eyebrow tattooing MelbourneEvery now and then I like to sneak into Father’s study while he’s out. I know it’s so terribly naughty and a very bad habit, but his study is just so interesting. All those grand staircases and big, heavy books covered in dust that make me feel like I’m discovering a book of ancient magic. I can usually just close my eyes and use my imagination to not notice that they’re usually books on finance. Oh, but what if finance was a sort of magic? That’s simply terrific.

Sometimes I read the notes lying around on his desk, which again is rather naughty, but Daddy is always saying to Mummy that I should be taking an interest in business. Mummy wants me to be a lady of class, but I think it’s rather exciting, the world of finance and transactions and stocks. I barely even know what those things are, and they give me a shiver of excitement! I know exactly what I want to do, as well. I shall start my own cosmetic tattooing place in Ballarat. May-Belle at school had it done over the holidays and she looks very splendid, but Mummy said I am not allowed until I am fifteen. That’s centuries away, so I’ve decided that I’m going to own my own chain of eyebrow and cosmetic tattooing places when I’m older. It shall be called…Madeira Magic, because the beauty of the people walking out of the salons will be almost magical, and they shall hold everyone spellbound. Oh, we’ll offer more than just eyebrow services. Dermal fillers, hair removal, that thing that people do with getting rid of moles…no job will be too small. That’s what I’ve learned from the talk around the dinner table: diversity in business is key!

Maybe one day it will turn into an empire’s, just like that of my father. Madeira Magic, the premier service for eyebrow work and general beauty. Because that, also, is the key to great business: specialisation. I will rule the world of Melbourne’s eyebrow tattooing, and probably other things. I haven’t decided yet…

-Madeira