a Claytons life

From time to time I catch myself humming Dolly Parton’s theme song from the movie Nine to Five.

Workin’ 9 to 5  [and then some], what a way to make a livin’…

There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you?…

For his last birthday I gave the G.O. a card that featured a photo of the Banksy ‘Out of Stock’ street art –
Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.

A year later it is still on back-order.

Luckily the lifestyle we have will get us through another year or so. But sometimes it’s tricky. We live in the city primarily to work, as a means to end our being in the city. Mostly we’re busy but in the lulls we catch up on the rest of our life. Occasionally we take some time out for ourselves.

My annual leave balance generally hovers around zero as I use the days when the G.O. gets mandatory no-work long weekends & holidays, and we head to our house at Taylors Arm to take care of business there. Conversely the G.O. has accrued about 400 hours annual leave and 60 untaken rostered-day-off hours.

In late August we’re taking a whole week of holidays for a road trip to visit far-flung family and friends outside our city-Taylors Arm orbit, an exciting but exhausting prospect we are anticipating. Starting with a 3 night pit stop at T.A. then 5 nights away it will be 2500+ kms and est. 30 hours driving.

In the meantime, an appealing aspect of my life is my blogging-virtual neighbours who share their neighbourhoods, lives and travels. They take us on tours of their gardens and invite us into their kitchens for a cup of tea and a chat about what’s cooking or new. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Dianne‘s renovation of the RUC and her upcycled pantry, Kate‘s & Anne‘s teapots & cosies, and Francesca‘s love of old plates, and want to invite you into my kitchen to share my own.

TA Old dishes etc
From the kitchen at Taylors Arm

In real life I’ve been aiming at combining virtual and real for a meet up with fellow Sydney blogger Celia of Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. However, akin to the storage space I’m without that prevents me from acquiring the tempting array of kitchenalia many of her posts showcase, coordinating available time I’m inevitably without (as happens with existing family and friends) isn’t simple.

I’d also like to share my review of Dianne Gray’s novel The Everything Theory which I finished recently, the culmination of reading all her novels.

I would love to see this novel made into an Australian film. The characters, dialogue and story line are so comprehensive and 3 dimensional that in your mind while reading it, you are there witnessing it unfold. The story is contemporary and intriguing. The detail locationally is amazing but what really impressed was the minutiae that made up the premise of the narrative. Read this novel and take another look at those conspiracy theories, ancient history, myths and so-called mysteries – the way you look at things will never be the same again.

Note: Claytons is the brand name of a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverage coloured and packaged to resemble bottled whisky. It was the subject of a major marketing campaign in Australia and New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s, promoting it as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”… the name has entered into Australian and New Zealand vernacular where it represents a “poor substitute” or “an ineffective solution to a problem”. It can also be used to describe something that is effectively in existence but does not take the appropriate name, e.g. a common-law couple might be described as having a “Claytons marriage”.

34 thoughts on “a Claytons life

  1. When the Banksy lifestyle you wanted for the G.O. is back in stock is that the time TA. becomes a permanent home for you both? If so I’ll see what we can do to increase manufacture.
    xxx Sending Huge Hugs xxx


    1. Yes, we believe so but when the T.A. order comes through we’ll try it on for size. We anticipate it will be a good fit but if not, we’ll exchange it 🙂


  2. One nice thing about working with Neighbourhood houses as a trainer is that they take all the school holidays – so guess who’s getting 2 weeks off after tomorrow! Yippee. 🙂 There’ll be no money coming in but my brain is so tired I really don’t care.

    I love the idea of going on a week long road trip.. except for all the driving! That’s 6 hours a day. 😦


    1. Holidays, any holidays are wonderful and usually go far too quickly. As will our road trip. And yes, we are covering quite a distance but we’ve given ourselves a night and day at home before the imminent Sunday night before Monday morning back at work.


  3. We still use Claytons in conversation too! So I’m going to say you’re definitely not showing your age at all….. 😀 funny how something like that can stick isn’t it?

    Love the cabinet in your kitchen too.


    1. The real Claytons must have been around long enough for me to try it and remember how vile it tasted. The contemporary equivalent I think is the equally vile tasting lo-cal low alcohol why-bother white wine…
      Thank you. As with many things for the TA house it was a long search but after I saw Dianne’s I put the vibes out there, and it turned up in our regular local ‘antique’ shop in Macksville just shabby enough for them to put an unusually modest price tag on it.


  4. I just love that cabinet in your kitchen. I had a similar one (but painted green and white) in the old farmhouse before we went to the city for work (many moons ago) and when we returned it was gone 😦

    Thank you so much for the ping-back and the wonderful review – I’m absolutely thrilled. I was just reading Francis’ ‘Location post’ and saw I’d been pinged by a copy editor for using too much descriptive language (LOL) – the story of my life. Readers love it and copy editors hate it. The straw that broke the camels back came when an editor from a major publishing house told me to remove all Australian references from The Everything Theory. This is the reason I now self-publish 😉

    Your big drive sounds wonderful – I love those (when I don’t have dogs in the car!) 😉


    1. Thank you 🙂 Nothing happens quickly in that house but seeing your wonderful pantry efforts gave me a few more ideas, then it fortuitously appeared in the local ‘antique’ shop, and the G.O. quickly snapped it up.
      As I was reading The Everything Theory it just had the feeling of a wonderful Australian movie or mini-series… nothing to change about it at all. I guess finding stuff to critique is a copy editor’s bread and butter.
      The road trip will be good, and much of it I haven’t done before or so long ago that I may as well not have. Our mud map has us only going as far north as Maryborough then across to Dalby and back to Sydney via Narrabri… not enough available days to venture as far north as we would have liked.


  5. A lovely look into your mind as well as your kitchen, EllaDee. Thank you for explaining ‘Clayton’s’. If I’ve ever heard it before I don’t recall, and I certainly didn’t know what it meant. The antique cabinet is beautiful. May you have many, many days and years at Taylor’s Arm!


    1. Thank you. As is the way of things you’ll notice now if anyone mentions ‘Clayton’s’ 🙂
      The cabinet is happy medium of old but nice enough to blend in with more of the same that furnishes the house. And it is handy to not have to store tins, packets, etc in the linen closet in the hallway.


  6. Darling, you’re not living a Clayton’s life. Yours is as real and present and full as anyone’s, it’s just work in progress. I hope you find time to enjoy it in amongst the busy-ness – the big road trip sounds like great fun! I’ll email you about catching up.. xx


    1. I like that – a work in progress 🙂 But as you know living one life is sometimes busy enough let alone two, but at least it’s all part of a plan… which continues to evolve…


  7. Dolly’s song does keep surfacing here, too. Glad you are getting some time away. Taylor Arms is a wonderful future. Your kitchen looks comfortable. Love the cabinet!
    (Maybe we can escape early this fall after the schools start. Molly wants to hike in mountains.)
    The Everything Theory review is very nice. Book sounds intriguing – must check it out. Thanks for the heads-up


    1. Life goes on regardless, so I think I may as well sing along with it to pass the miles and time going by 🙂
      The cabinet looks like it’s always been there, and comfortable is a great word to describe our TA house… sort of like a nanna’s.
      Molly’s idea is worth following up, space and fresh air before winter sounds like a fine plan.
      All Dianne’s novels are fantastic, and inexpensive & convenient to buy online.


  8. Sugar!!! And how does this date me 🙂 ? I never ever knew ‘Clayton’s was no longer part of everyday vocabulary!!! As far as I am concerned – enjoy the journey, every day of it, ’cause there will come a time when you look back and fondly remember the oddest happenings . . . . 🙂 !


    1. The term ‘Claytons’ appears to be still somewhat in use in Australia at least, and the product is still around but not marketed as much as it once was. It seems though, the term has more popular than the drink ever was. The G.O. and I do our very best to enjoy life wherever and whatever we’re doing, but a conversation I had in the office kitchen this morning confirms that many of us living & working in the city, see other things as desirable as well.


      1. Having always been an urban gal and now have lived a half/half life a long, long time, methinks it is simply a phenomenon of seeing the proverbial glass either half-full or half-empty!!! ‘Life is what you make of it’ is such a corny saying, isn’t it 🙂 ?


  9. I slogged away in the city life for a long time. A LONG time. Often I felt that my plan/dream of moving to the country was so far in the distance as to be unreal. I know that feeling well. But I persevered (barely) and here we are! I’m here to tell you that it will happen. 🙂 Hang in there.


    1. Thank you 🙂 Yes, of course you get it. And for many years, for me, the construct of work and the next deal was what motivated me. Moving from the city was a one day thing. But now real life calls…


  10. I so agree with Celia’s comment (what a wise woman she is!). You have the dream, and both of you will get there. Meanwhile your Sydney life is the best that you can make it. 🙂
    Claytons is like “Not happy Jan” — remembered and used by lots of people. And I love the tea cosy. Was that the one you told me about?


    1. Absolutely, we are not living miserably but a tiny apartment, designed for out-and-about lifestyle, and the hours we work somewhat constrain our choices.
      I wonder if people use ‘not happy Jan’ but no longer connect it to the Yellow Pages ad.
      We are [currently] a single tea cosy household, so that is the one, and one size seems to fit all 🙂


  11. I love hearing about your life in the city and the moments you steal away to the country. That trip in August sounds amazing! 🙂


    1. Thank you. That trip in August sounds exhausting and the more we discuss it the more we realise that it may become a Taylors Arm staycation… at least for now.


  12. I never heard of Clayton’s in my time there, Partner has never mentioned it either. Must ask.

    I like the piece of furniture too. Similar to one I have but no glass doors.

    Reading Dianne’s comment was interesting after my two recent posts on editing and linguistics, style etc. why remove Australian references? Odd.


    1. The cabinets were quite common in their time, as was Claytons in its.
      The comment Dianne is referring to, is to the original post linked to Dianne’s Location, Location… post. The commenter qualifies her opinions so fair enough, but I don’t agree.


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