The thrill of the old

We lived in a brand new house once.

The purchase made sense at the time. The Silver Fox was working in Manchester, more than an hour away in peak-hour traffic, and had no time or energy to tackle another ‘project’. Jaded by the efforts that had gone into our first home, a turn-of-the-century terrace, with lath and plaster ceilings and worn walls that after our input were 70 per cent Polyfilla, we decided that new was the way to go.

So we picked our corner plot on a new housing estate, paid our deposit and entered the scary world of the home builder. Bathroom tiles and kitchen cabinets were chosen. Plans were laid to turn the patch of mud at the rear of the house – so compacted by the weight of construction vehicles driving over it that it might as well have been concrete –  into a garden. Continue reading

Rules for a happy office?

office body languageThis week I attended a training session at work, on the organisation’s Responsible Conduct of Staff Policy.

After two hours of discussing the misuse of corporate credit cards, the rules around having another job on the side and the implications of swearing at your colleagues when they annoy you, it struck me that there were a few things missing* from the policy.

1. When returning to the office after exercising, please do not do your cool-down stretches in front of colleagues.
There’s a reason many of us don’t befriend all of our colleagues on Facebook: we know there are some things they just shouldn’t see. The same can be said for senior managers doing glute stretches while wearing very short shorts. Things escape when put under pressure. You know what I’m talking about. Continue reading

My heart belongs to Melbourne

My beloved Melbourne at nightNearly two years ago, the Silver Fox and I handed the keys to our Perth apartment to a letting agency and flew to the UK. The last remnants of our life there were stuffed into suitcases and holdalls and stored at a friend’s house, ready for us to collect on the return trip. After three weeks in Europe we returned to this hemisphere and, following a quick stopover in Perth to pick up the stored bags, I landed in my new home city. Continue reading

What happened to humility?


A little while ago I was introduced to a new member of staff at work, just a few days after they started. I work for a long-established, huge, sprawling organisation, with many illogical structures and unwritten rules that seem specifically designed to confuse the newbie.

I launched my usual ‘new starter’ conversation. ‘How are you finding it?’ I asked with a smile. ‘Don’t worry, we’ll give you a few weeks to get your head around everything.’

The response was cold, firm and direct: ‘I’ve done this type of work many times before. It’s not difficult.’ Continue reading

Tweet memories

Nick HeywardMy husband likes to believe he was my first love, but that’s not strictly true. Many years before the Silver Fox and I met, my heart was taken by another: Nick Heyward.

Nick – if you are not an aficionado of 80s pop as I am – was the singer in Haircut One Hundred. They had a few UK hits in 1981 and 1982 before Nick was chucked out of the band. I was devastated for a while, but it wasn’t long before I grew up a bit and became obsessed with boys with quiffs from Glasgow. Continue reading

Why you shouldn’t always listen to your teacher

I grew up in a small town in the west of Scotland. It had its charms, but with hindsight I sometimes think the best thing about it was the view away from it. The people were (mostly) honest, hard-working types but it was a tough place to grow up. If you reached 50 without having had a heart attack, you were doing well. And let’s just say you could tell by the smiles of the locals that one of the town’s major exports was sugar.

So when I told Mrs Weston, my guidance teacher at school – the one supposed to, er, guide you away from a career in dealing heroin towards something that might actually be useful to society – that I wanted to be a journalist she gave me a disappointed look that indicated she didn’t have the leaflet for that one. Continue reading

Here we go again

So here we go again. A new blog to mark a new phase of my life.

Why ‘a life on the flipside’? Well, I’m going to be writing about my life here in Melbourne, Australia, which is on the other side of the planet from where I grew up.

When I first moved down under, I lived in Perth, Western Australia – and I moved to the other side of the country.

So ‘a life on the other side’ might be more appropriate – but it sounded a bit too supernatural for my rational mind. Flipside, on the other hand, makes me think of records and that makes this once wannabe music journo smile, even although all my vinyl is warped and scratched after years of being dragged around the world.

But it’s not just about geography. Continue reading