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Showing posts from June, 2010

Travelling, Language and Manners...

I'm leaving in a few days for a holiday in the UK and Europe.  I can't wait!  Having finished my end of financial year "necessities" a few hours ago, my mind is already moving towards the northern hemisphere, warmer weather, a very special friend...and language. I have been having some interesting conversations with fellow Aussies - family and others - about languages.  There is an increasingly strong policy move in Australia towards mandatory second language tuition in schools. We are very monolinguistic here.  Few opportunities to speak, or hear, a second language, day to day, make it a fairly natural situation. But it's very frustrating when travelling. I have been studying French informally now for a couple of years, and I love it - the mental stimulation, the ability to listen to the French news without subtitles, and "get" most of the stories; the recognition of dialogue in French movies while  trying to blank out the subtitles...and the speaking

Parents, Children and Manners...the Grownup Kind

I have my 24 year old son staying with me at the moment. He has lived away for 6 years and to have him back to share the morning coffee and to leave a meal for him for when he gets home from work late is an absolute pleasure. This sojourn will only be for another week, and I will miss him when he goes.   Like so many parents these days, we seem to have our children in their mid-20's returning to the nest, a situation which never happened in my day.  Parents then often downsized as soon as the darlings left, as much as anything as a disincentive for those same darlings to return.  It's amazing how sharing a glass of wine with my son as we discuss our respective days so easily puts us in the category of "friends"...of course I reserve the right to maintain my "mother status" but this nice, easy rapport is very comforting.  After years of very normal teenage/parent altercations, to be able to pay genuine compliments about his manners, appearance and great c

Manners and Aircraft...the Ten Golden Don'ts

I am leaving in a couple of weeks for the UK and Europe – a family wedding in Kent after two days of retail therapy in London and divine indulgence at Grosvenor House - and then two delightful weeks with my Prince in Europe. And after I gave  a recent radio interview with the ABC about aircraft etiquette I thought I would again go through my Ten Golden Don’ts for travelling in an unnatural state through air and time...particularly in economy class. 1. Do not take over your neighbour’s personal space ...the armrest is a necessary boundary. 2. Do not interrupt the in-flight movie’s bad enough that the pilot chats through it, yet alone an unknown flight neighbour. 3. Do not take an overhead luggage compartment that is not above your own seat ...and if you cannot lift your own bag up, it’s too heavy anyway...don’t ask someone else to do it. 4. Do not hide your active Iphone from the flight staff will one day get caught and be in lots of trouble. 5. Do not get out

Sex, Workplace and Impossible Mix?

Following a huge scandal involving the CEO of David Jones resigning in disgrace after allegations of sexual harassment I was interviewed by The West Australian and asked for some thoughts on behaviour standards and manners which should be observed in the workplace, away from the politically correct ‘isms. Louise Percy, Managing Director of The Percy Institute of International Protocol said a man talking to a female colleague should always imagine his partner or wife was standing next to him and act accordingly. “Whether you are the CEO or the member of a junior management team, you have to understand that in any working environment, someone is watching you,” Ms Percy said. A young person being chatted up by a senior co-worker may be put in a difficult position but Ms Percy’s advice is to be firm but fair and say: “I don’t think this is the time and place for this kind of behaviour, with an appropriately steely glance, of course”. (Amanda Saunders, The West Australian, 19 June 201

Swearing and Manners...or Not...

                                                       (Photo: My mobile phone rang at 6.40 this morning...early in anyone’s language, particularly in the dark of the almost shortest day in winter. It was Ryan, the producer from the Breakfast Show on Radio 6PR in Perth, wanting to know if I had heard the news that the Queensland government is going to legislate for the police to be able to present a $100 on-the-spot fine to anyone swearing in public, and particularly at members of the police force. And even if I hadn’t read the news, would I please comment on air at 7.10? I really enjoy the opportunity to chat on radio so I immediately dashed to the computer to read the “breaking news” story. Certainly there is a lack of respect for authoritarian figures in today’s Australia – and for that matter, in yesterday’s Australia. From

Nails, Affairs, Gossip and Manners

As usual I enjoyed visiting my nail salon, Nail Affair, this afternoon. Sharon, the owner is hysterical. She is probably the only business owner in Australia who can get away with abusing, in a very “tongue in cheek” way, her customers and staff, and have us all laughing with her and at her. She has a heart of gold and a sense of humour which is boundless. The salon is only small and when I visited a few weeks ago, Sharon was having an unusually quiet day and as it happened, one of her customers wasn’t. Listening to this woman talk and talk, in a very loud voice about her life, the people in it and her views on all manner of things made me think about how impolite it is to impose such a voice on those around her. I didn’t know her, and from the reactions around me I don’t think the other customers did. But she didn’t draw a breath when speaking to the girl polishing her nails. I was incredulous that she would be so indiscrete in what she was saying, as if she was speaking in

Un-Marriage...and good Manners

I have just finished an evening with great friends for dinner.  I love cooking French-style  food here in Australia and the opportunity to get wild fresh  French asparagus (@$99 a kilo!) and wild French  mixed mushrooms (@$159 a kilo!) was a really good reason to put it all together with  a chicken and a lovely recipe from the Jura region.  My friends were those who really know my cooking and enjoy sitting around my table.  My ex husband and father of my children, my 24 year old son (who provided wonderful French wines to complement the meal) and my dear friend Chrissie, who has lived around the world and is very she needed to be tonight! Contrary to all the rules of polite conversation we discussed religion, sex and politics - sometimes at an interesting level of intensity between the ex and me!  But how nice it is, after a night of pleasant food, wine and stimulating conversation to be able to farewell my guests with a warm kiss and hug. So often families which h