Love & catastrophe

It’s a funny world we live in. No, that’s not quite right. Actually, it’s an amazing world – it’s the age we live in that’s ‘funny’.

The age of a ‘traditional’ beginning to a relationship is just SO far behind us. We are no longer limited to meeting someone in our neighbourhood any more, or finding a connection only through our immediate ‘real life’ network of friends and colleagues. The internet is so deeply intertwined in our work & social lives now that it has become a socially acceptable dating tool. I’m not entirely ashamed to say there was a short period of time I had a profile on a ‘dating’ site. I had been single 5 years and, although mostly that was a great thing at the time, it became fairly  depressing.

Now we have things like ‘Tinder’ – the really pre-fabricated off-the-shelf fast food version of cyber-love. I’ve watched people using it, flicking people away… I spend more time choosing an avocado at Woolies. I can’t say a single nice thing about it, but I’m sure it suits the needs of some out there. Personally, I can’t fathom it, but I’m old and am more likely to enjoy a night in and weekends with no plans than out bouncing at the discoteque (they’re still called that, right?). Tinder wasn’t designed for me, and I’m very comfortable with that.

Yet somehow, with all of these resources, finding the right ‘someone’ to love is difficult  in this funny age we live in. I feel like, perhaps, we just meet a lot more ‘wrong-ones’. Which makes the following fact even more amazing – I met my ‘someone’ online.

When all this scribblegraph stuff grew online as it did, I met a hell of a lot of people in a small amount of time. A staggeringly huge amount of people wanted my attention, most of them looking to see if they could make a bit of cash out of me and what I was ‘achieving’ on social media. It was hilarious to me, because none of them realised I wasn’t making any money, and I wasn’t really trying to. A small number of people ‘got’ what I was trying to do, which was just to enjoy drawing and spread a bit of joy around the world. One person in particular really got it, and that was Flea. We met on Google+.

A very long and dreamy love story follows, with lots of international flights, Google Hang-outs and icky romance. We have now been together over 3 years, and Flea has relocated from London to Perth without issue or complaint (except for those relating to the bone-melting heat. She really loathes the heat). Flea will have been living here 2 years in February.

That is: if she’s still here.

Last week I was in Sydney for a bit of a mixed work/R&R week when Flea called to let me know her application for residency had been refused. We experienced the first 12 months of our relationship living apart; that was barely survivable. Not being together when we got this news was completely shattering. She received a simple email with “REFUSED” in the subject line, followed by instructions that she should be out of the country within 28 days.

The provided explanation was brief and required a lot of follow-up work before we fully understood what happens next. There are several paths and avenues open to us, none really more positive than the other. We are lucky to have very supportive family around us who will do everything they can to help. We know there are a lot of people around the world cheering us on (thank you!) – particularly those who know us from Google+. We have countless offers from people to write comprehensive stat. decs. for the review process we’re undertaking. It is helping us stay sane, knowing that there is so much support & love out there.

ash & flea

So – that’s pretty much where we’re at. Catastrophe. We’re only ‘fairly sure’ she won’t have to leave in a couple of weeks, and then the appeal process can take months. AND we’ve been told to expect that to be refused, with near certainty. It just buys us time to find another solution.

The whole point being: this ‘funny old age’ we live in hasn’t caught up with itself. We can find love pretty much anywhere, but it’s so bloody hard to keep it in your life.


Winter loves Rottnest Island

How do you imagine spending a winter’s day? In a log cabin somewhere in the snow perhaps, with mulled wine simmering by a roaring fire. Or preferably huddled under the blankets at home with a movie & someone cuddly. Well, we were lucky enough to get shipped over to Rottnest for nearly 3 weeks’ work recently and were amazed at how glorious it is in the wintry weather.

I admit I felt more than a little over-eager when I packed the snorkel, fins & boardies. It paid off. After some early rain, we caught the sunrise on a perfect day fishing at Ricey Beach. We lost a rig and I decided to go in and save it. It was absolutely glorious in the water; plenty warmer than the air out – and I figured out why we weren’t catching anything, too. There were about 5,000 herring surrounding the hook, but they were all fast asleep. What an amazing sight.

A quokka at our door © AshNathens 2015

A quokka at our door © AshNathens 2015

It was Yoon-Mi’s first trip out to the Island (and my first trip in years) – and she’d never been fishing in her life. I gave her a quick demonstration at the Army Jetty, and thankfully grabbed a herring on the first cast just to keep up appearances of being super proficient. I gave her the sixty-second primer on humanely killing, gutting & cleaning a fish thinking, well, what better way to impress a girl than such a manly skill? I should have known better. My girl is all over this stuff. 24 hours later she was teaching me a trick or two about fish cleaning and preparation for the table. I couldn’t get her away form the water for the rest of the trip; hail, rain or shine, she was down there at sunrise and sunset with a line in the water.

Of course, the other thing she hadn’t ever seen before was a Quokka. Well, she had to get all grrly about something. They really are the laziest creatures on earth. In the middle of the day when they’re ready for a nap, they just curl their head over onto their belly, shut their eyes and pretend the world  doesn’t exist for a little while. They have absolutely no regard for personal safety – they will sleep like this anywhere. In the middle of a road, on a beach with a rising tide, near an Osprey nest… they care not a squat. Oh, to live with such utter disdain of the world and all its evils. We could all learn a thing from the well-fed, fearless little quokka.

One of the most wonderful things about Rottnest in winter is that there are so few people on the island… it made for a pretty perfect trip. We got out biking around the whole island without the swarms of people, or the flies that are always around in summer – what a bonus that is. Most nights we caught our own dinner, and I don’t think we saw a television once.

Given the result in the #Ashes – no TV was twice the blessing.

Rottnest in winter? I highly recommend it.

Gallery of images

Links: Rottnest (wiki)Rottnest Island (official) • Quokkas


A Sunset for the Salmon

This week I have been a bit shattered by overnight work, and I wanted a bit of time out of the house. A walk down by the water is always quite therapeutic, particularly at sunset, and particularly in my little part of the world. Well, any beach on the west coast of Australia, really. Watching the sun set over the ocean is a pretty special thing. It is very common to see dolphins playing in the bay here, but this was a bit more special. We arrived just as a pod of dolphins had finished rounding up what must have been an enormous school of Australian Salmon into shallow water. Here, they would likely feed to repletion. If you look at the photo below, you will see the ripples over the water where the salmon wallow, exhausted from being chased. I could often see dolphin fins arching just out past the school, waiting for the occasional salmon to try desperately flee back to the safety of deeper water.

Surrounded on one side by dolphins, one by swarms of hungry, pecking gulls and another by humans, the salmon had no chance. We watched people crowded shoulder to shoulder along the waterfront with rods and reels, pulling salmon out of water no more than 2 or 3 feet deep at most. They hardly fought as they came ashore. The dolphins must have been chasing the school into shallow water for some time.

Followed by a seafood basket from one of Perth’s very finest Fish & Chip shops, it was a pretty special afternoon… so long as you’re not a salmon.

For them it was pretty bloody brutal.


Roll on the Honeywagon


Flea & I were enamoured today with the job title of one Bobby Galliher, credited in House Of Cards as the “Honeywagon Driver” (right after Dot Supervisor, Linda Luckeroth). Flea has yet to discover what the person does, and it is a fun game to play. Included in this list, amongst several of our guesses, is the real job description of a Honeywagon Driver. What’s your guess?

The Honeywagon Driver is the person who:

  1. Delivers selected sweet treats for the cast & crew,
  2. Delivers the Gift Baskets to A-List crew members,
  3. Delivers a selection of high class escorts to A-List crew members,
  4. Drives the lead actress about town between takes, usually in a sporty red coupé,
  5. Transports the lead actor’s entertainment and personal comfort items, usually in a small truck,
  6. Transports the lead actor’s meals around the set, usually on purpose-adapted Segway,
  7. Drives the cast & crew’s poo around town, usually in a poo-carting truck, or
  8. Delivers the finished film/digital files to the Studio after the day’s wrap, usually in an armored Humvee.

So, what’s your guess? Tweet me.

We’re also currently enjoying Fresh of the Boat, Archer and iZombie. Yes! And patiently awaiting Game of Thrones on April 12th. Impatient.



Perth Summer

It has been a long Perth summer of fires already, and February is only halfway done. It seems the majority of them are deliberately lit; PolAir is overhead most days on the lookout for the little pricks. Yoon-Mi is coping with the heat, despite how much she tells people she isn’t. She’s a lot braver than she lets on;) It has been confronting for her at times; smoky, hot days where she can’t turn on the air conditioning despite the mercury hitting 40°C – it’s a totally different life for her, I’m sure.

This place also has its pros – it’s a pretty special little summer spot, our Point Peron. We’re down there often and in the water by 8am. It’s far from the maddening crowds, and surrounded by reef so it’s often glassy and calm. Perfect for snorkelling, sunbathing and just generally getting our peace on. Then, of course, there’s the wildlife. The nudibranch pictured above; what a beautiful thing these are in their habitat. And so much more! Flea was pointing out a little fish to me yesterday, just a wee thing by the reef she found pretty. I pointed out the enormous octopus sitting below it to her.  She nearly walked on water. Camera: Olympus Tough TG3

An octopus garden: unkempt things at the best of times.

An octopus garden: unkempt things at the best of times.

A juvenile flathead. Very pretty, will be tasty!

A juvenile flathead. Very pretty, will be tasty!

And Flea loved swimming very fast in the opposite direction with a stingray.