Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Big Daddy Payne

For the last four months I’ve known that Mel has been pregnant but have been sworn to secrecy by her until today. Today, for the first time I’ve realised I’m going to be Papa Payne early next year. For some reason letting friends and family know what's going on makes it that much more real. Not even yesterday - when I was sat in a dark room, Mel lying next to me, her belly covered in cold gel, an old lady prodding around on her belly with a scanner and tapping away on this large computer that looked like a cash register - not even yesterday when I was sat in that room watching a flat screen TV display black and white blurry shots of the alien wriggling about inside of Mel - did I realise I was going to be a Papa. But today, I know, God willing that I will be. The old lady with the scanner pointed at the screen at a small straight line.
- Do you know what that is? She asked
- No I don’t, I don’t know what any of it is. I said
- I do. Mel said smiling.
- Its a penis isn’t it. I said.
- That’s right some time there quite hard to find especially when it’s dangling around and he's got his legs crossed. I’ve seen it a few times but wanted to make sure. Said the old scanner women.
- Its just like mine, accept mines smaller then that. I said and wondered how this scanner women can make out anything on the screen.

So we spent the morning spying on our secret kid and spent the afternoon telling everyone about him.

And at around 145 BPM the beat goes on...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Where did my nose go?

I had a cracking weekend lined up. Planed a surf Saturday morning and Cricket practice in the nest on Saturday afternoon. Followed by a free evening to myself which I was probably going to spend down the pub watching the cricket or at Brookvale Oval watching Manly play in the rugby League.

Both James and Nick pulled out of the surf so I headed down the beach in the morning drizzle of rain keen to get a good session in. Took my Malibu board with me as I was expecting some clean long boarding waves down at south steyne. Got down there and it wasn’t too crowded and the waves were clean and about shoulder high on the bigger sets that rolled in. My second wave was a beauty and I planned along the wave enjoying the feeling of control on the wave and the long ride I was having. I was conscious of the approaching sandbank which closes the wave out but decided to get every last second out of the ride and jump off at the last moment. Before you knew it my board plummeted down below me and I went down with it crashing in the white water. My board drove itself into my nose which was going in the opposite direction to the board. I looked down and blood was poring out of my nose like a tap. I paddled on my belly into shore with blood leaking all over board. I felt my nose, my septum way flapping around and visions of Danielle Westbrook with no septum flashed before my eyes. I walked home board under arm, blood gushing out of my face. There was very little pain which confused me?? Adrenaline???

I drove up to A&E looking like John Merrick. At the triage desk I told the nurse that I had a problem with my nose. She laughed and asked my name. "Richard Payne". She laughed again at the hilarity of my surname. Now in pain, a young doctor had a look at me and sent me for x-rays. I mentioned the floppy septum and he said it was just a minor cut. He said they couldn’t do anything about the break for five days when the swelling should of calmed down and they can work out if I’ve got a twisted nose. He discharged me and sent a nurse in to clean up my face. I mentioned the septum to the nurse, she removed most of the blood and had a look. "hmmm yep I think I'll get the doctor to have another look."

Junior Doc came back in and agreed that I needed sutures on my nose. He immediately took me into another room and asked me to lie down. He began by searching for all the gear that he needed to stitch up my nose. He looked quite uncomfortable. I felt even more uncomfortable and glanced over at Mel who was visiting me. He cleaned my nose and then told me to hold still while he inserts a needle containing local anaesthetic into the wound on the tip of my nose. (pinch the tip of your nose now, does that hurt?)

I couldn’t not flinch it was excruciatingly painful!! The junior Doc said he was going to call a surgeon for a second opinion. I was sure the young lad hadn’t a clue as to what he was doing. Hours later Registrar Surgeon Doctor Saxby came to see me in his full green surgical out fit. He explained to me that he had been in surgery since 7 in the morning and needed some lunch before working on me. He wasn’t sure if I should have a local or a general Anaesthetic but would check with the plastic surgeon and get back to me. I waited anxiously on the ward in bed. Patients started arriving. A down syndrome man with heart problems, a Lebanese man that busted his knee and was demanding morphine from the nurses and various old people that had seen better days. I sat there nothing to do with my blood red nose in bits.

Doctor Saxby a young surgeon probably about 29 years old, well spoken, well groomed, probably brought up well, definitely British, professional and accretive settled my nerves. He decided to perform the necessary work under a local anaesthetic. He described the entire procedure to me prior to carrying out the work. First step was to numb the area with a local anaesthetic. He started by injecting the nerves in my cheek which wasn’t too bad. He then started to inject my nose. The Injection into the wound on my nose where the junior doc had tried to inject earlier was the most painful. I managed to stay still but did let out a low "arrrghhhh!". The next step was to disinfect the area with swabs and then flush out my nose. I sat up with a kidney bowl under my nose and Dr Saxby flushed out my nose several times with a huge syringe. He then asked me to lay back down and covered my face with green covers so that only my nose was poking out. He tested the area for felling and I told him that I could still feel the prick of the needle. Calming me he put in some more anaesthetic and said "lets get on with it shall we." And he did. He put stitches into my nose, all painful, my eyes welled up on the more painful ones and I let out more low "Arrrghssss!" to let him now it was painful. "There we are all done" Said Saxby. I left face in tatters, clutching anti biotic’s, painkillers and Mel.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Void

The football season was brought to an abrupt end last week. This has created a void on Wednesday nights and Saturdays. I’m desperate to fill this time. My two choices are to join a cricket club (most of the football lads play for long reef during the summer) and join a Surf Life Saving Club. I’m hoping to do both. You have to be able to swim 400 metres in under 9 minutes to join a Life Saving club. Then you have to do your bronze medallion which means study - the anatomy, first aid & the sea - and practical tests, Life saving and a swim run test. To join the cricket club I think there are two strengths required - a sense of humour and a thirst for beer. You need to be able to bat, bowl or catch.

Last night James and I decided to see if we could do the 400 metre swim in less then 9 minutes. We stood at the end of the executive lap pool in his block for a few minutes waiting for the minute hand to synchronize with the bezel on my watch and then dived in. I started with free style and did 6 strokes in between breaths - not a good idea. This soon puffed me out and I moved to breast stroke. I noticed a tampon at the bottom of the pool - one of the reasons why I don’t like pools, always full of sanitary towels. To cut a long story short, I finished the 400 metres with 15 seconds to spare. James finished ahead of me by about a minute. I really should learn how to breathe.

After the swim we sat in the spa and spoke to some wanker that works for a consultancy firm. I asked him what he did for a living and he began boring me with "...Global Off shore Operation.....Front Office relocation.....Global Investment Bank...". His boring girlfriend was just as offensive. She harped on about being a free lance food journalist. I left the spa and went to the pub with James and Amelia for a T-bone steak, couple of beers and a chat about sport.

Tomorrow night the Cricket Club meet up at the pub to discuss the upcoming season - Should be fun.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Cool Water

Failed miserably. Smoked on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not many but still failed. The Seasiders lost too. We were knocked out by a golden goal. Highlight of my weekend was the snorkel I had at south steyne. The water was completely flat and bright blue. I walked down with Mel and found her a spot on the beach out of the wind - which was cold from the south and off shore. We sat right up against the wall at the southern end of the beach. She took out her study books whilst I struggled into my wetsuit without much modesty. I walked over to the shore; the cold water lapped over my toes and reminded me of Galicia. It really was quite chilly today, unusually so. Hardly anyone was in the water and some long distance swimmers were zipping themselves into full length wet suits. I took off into the water in the comfort of my wetsuit. Some cold water leaked in which sent a chill down my back but before long I was engrossed in the scenery. Big silver, striped fish were schooled around some bright green weeds that flowed back and forth with the oceans current. The fish seemed to be chewing at the weeds and didn’t mind my attention from above. Face down I explored around the weeds and noticed some uglier looking cagey fish that were sharp to my movements. They swam for cover when I approached. Tiny fish floated about me with small mouths to eat bits that floated around them. I thought about sharks and if they were near by. The cool lucid water wrapped around me and brought all my senses to life. I dried off on the beach in the sun and flicked through the Sunday paper.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Received a text message from Ricky today. "Haven’t smoked in 9 days." Inspired by Ricky I gave up smoking on the spot. Lets hope I don’t turn into one of the anti smoking Nazi's that have decided to sit in the non-smoking sections of pubs. My throat was coarse in any case as yesterday we won 7-1 to qualify for the semi finals (see: . I celebrated with beers after the game and then found myself leaving the boat shed at 3am. There was the usual argument over the pool table, dancing and irresponsible drinking. Woke Mel when I came in and found myself in the dog house all day Sunday, sporting an incredible hang over. Mad with myself as I wasted a day in doors. It was a beautiful sunny day with smooth waves rolling in at Manly and I stayed on the couch. That's crap. Drinking is over rated. Vowed to go home after the post match beers next week.

Today’s Wednesday and I still haven’t smoked in fact I was offered a cigarette about 15 minutes ago. Luckily it was a Marlboro light my least favourite ciggie. Had a wonderfully long sleep last night, almost a good 12 hours. Probably due to the fact that I’ve been staying up to gone 3am every night to watch the Ashes Test Match. What a game!!!

Monday, August 08, 2005


In a thick Liverpudlian accent Michael spoke to me in the back of the cab that was racing through the city night down Oxford Street. Our driver an African with wild eyes was speeding towards the New Brighton Video Bar on Oxford Street, Edwards local on Edwards Birthday.
- I can smell it. There's two things I can smell straight away. I can smell if your genuine and I can smell a fight.
- Is it like a stench. I said
- It is. I'm not kidding its like a thick smell in the air and I can smell a fight every time. I love violence.
- Lets keep it passive tonight Napoleon. I said. I called him napoleon due to an earlier conversation. Michael told me he didn't like being called "Mike, Mick or Mickey. Me names Michael, Id rather you call me fucking Napoleon then Mick."
The New Brighton is a small hovel of a bar, leave your vanity at the front door, wipe your feet and enter at your peril. The short narrow bar has a toilet at the bottom of a spiral staircase. The tiles were white and the stench on the way down to the dungeon was horrific. After a leak I spoke to Edward about my conversation with Michael. Edward confirmed what Michael had said.
- Yeah he loves fighting. Said Edward. I witnessed an incident last week but I cant tell you about it. Michael has swarm me to secrecy.
The Ashes were playing on the TV in the pub and a group of Aussies were watching the tail enders being bowled out by Freddy Flintoff. The Aussies had black tie outfits on without the ties. It was the end of a long boozy night for them. One of them was trying to engage me and wind me up but I ignored most of what he was saying. He was obviously the drunkest one of the bunch. I saw Michael, head skinned the size of a breeze block, shoulders big, at the bar downing absinths. One of the Aussies tapped him on the shoulder.
- Oi mate. Me mate here reckons he's gonna kick ya fucking head in. The Aussie pointed at the drunk one that had been taunting me earlier. I couldn't believe what I just heard. He had chosen the most violent man on earth as far as I was concerned! My jaw hit the bar floor and I downed my drink in preparation for the unexpected. A chest to chest argument began and the female bar staff got in between the two threatening opponents. The bloke that made the comment to ignite this situation approached me. He was older, greyer, fatter then his mate and was laughing as he spoke.
- I'll tell ya the truth. Me mate here has been pissing me off all night. So I took one look around the bar and saw your mate there and decided to tap him on the shoulder to put me mate in his place. It was the first time he'd backed down all night! He said with a trivial smile on his face.
- You fucking idiot. I said. Do you realise what you've caused you fucking trouble maker. how about I get Michael over here and you can tell him for yourself and we can watch him rip your head off instead.
Luckily the drama fizzed out. I jumped in a cab and chatted about world peace, terrorism, the Ashes and the demise of West Indian cricket with the Bangladeshi Muslim driver all the way home.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Keeper (Harbord v Dee Why)

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Go Karting at Eastern Creek - The Pitt Lane

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

No smoking on the Ferris Wheel of Life

The mist has cleared, the fog and the lag have disappeared and in fact I’m now sleeping better then before the holiday. The Ferris wheel of every day life is back in full motion. Stay in Monday, Tuesday, Football training Wednesday, Beers on Thursday, Meal and Cinema with Mel on a Friday, the match Saturday followed by beers, relax Sunday morning, beers in the afternoon, back to Monday et cetera…. Have met up with Nick and Chris at the Wharf bar. He had his usual Yum Cha lunch and I met them afterwards for sundowner beers in amongst the vaguely fashionable kitsch set that frequent the Wharf Bar on a Sunday afternoon. A new law has been passed in NSW since I’ve been gone. 25% of a bar must now be non-smoking.

Not knowing this Nick, Chris and I sat in the bar looking at Nicks holiday photos. Nick and I lit up and were promptly asked to put them out by a law-abiding mother. We obliged and put out our cigarettes. We were soon joined by Patrick a larrikin friend of Nick’s who wasn’t aware of the smoking ban either. He lit up and was immediately attacked by a woman that had quite obviously lost her marbles.

“Your friends have been just told they can’t smoke here. This is a non-smoking bar. If you don’t put that out I’ll jam it up your arse.” Said the lunatic.

I was expecting a rebuttal from the larrikin that is Patrick but he too realised the women was quite mad and apologised on his way out of the bar. May be his good behaviour bond had something to do with it but I was impressed by his composure. Chris a non-smoker had far less composure and told the women what for. An argument flared up and then the women with kids joined in. The two women were now demanding that all four of us be ejected from the bar. Nick and I left the bar and joined the peacocks in the all smoking out door bar. Nick called her a fatty on the way out and Chris stayed on to argue his point.

The anti smokings Nazi’s are out in force. The western world is slowly going mad.