Blog #19 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY THE LAST (14)

7:45 am: All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go …

Time to say goodbye to our constant companions – the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge …

… and to good old ROOM 1406 – our home away from home this last fortnight.

We made it to the end. WELL DONE US!

A big and heartfelt THANK YOU to the management and staff of the BRISBANE MARRIOTT along with the men and women of the Army and the Qld Police Force all of whom were friendly and helpful and took great care of us.

Thanks too to everyone who took the time to read any of my quarantine ramblings and thanks especially for the comments and feedback. Writing the BLOG and reading the responses really helped make the 14 days so much more bearable for both of us.

Well it’s been a strange, trying, testing and at times hilarious adventure and there’s only one person in the world I’d want to do it with – and I did.

14 days isolated in close quarters together and not a single cross word. Although I did have my earphones on for lengthy periods of time so …

ANYWAY we’re back at out little abode now and we agree totally with Dorothy’s sentiments – THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Cheers
Michael and Adriana

PS: And look what was waiting for me when I got home. The beautiful CHINESE language edition of THE RUNNING MAN published by Guomai Culture & Media Co Ltd China.

This is now the 7th overseas publication for the book. The others are Germany, USA, France, Italy, Sth Korea and the Netherlands. Never dreamed things like this were possible back in 2000 when I resigned from my teaching position to have a go at writing what would be my first novel. So happy that I stuck with it and saw it through. It was eventually published in Australia in 2004.

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Blog #18 2020: DAY THIRTEEN

DAY THIRTEEN – unlucky for some. But not for us because it’s our last full day of hotel quarantine!

So how did we spend the day? Well, I’m glad you asked.

~ We woke up. Had a cup of tea. Face-timed with our daughter and grand-cutie in Melbourne. Checked emails and social media and the News. Watched some ABC Morning Breakfast. Ard did some washing. I had a shower.

~ And then BREAKFAST ARRIVED. YAY!

Continental breakfast today.

~ After that we did some reading. Ard also did sudoku. And then Ard and I competed in the HOTEL CHAMPIONSHIP LONG-DISTANCE BASKETBALL-SHOT CHALLENGE.

Ard missing YET AGAIN. Although she did eventually run out the winner 7 – 2. (Her effort however was clouded in controversy due to foot-faults and performance-enhancing-drug issues.)

~ In order to recuperate from that grueling burst of exercise we wound down by watching the final two episodes of the mystery/crime series THE HEAD on SBS on Demand.

And then LUNCH ARRIVED. YAY!

Beef salad etc

~ Following lunch and a cup of coffee and some more reading Ard started to get a little restless and agitated and complained she was sick of the sight of my face all the time so …

~ After that, things were a little tense.

Me: Hey Ard, you know how the killing of a father is called patricide; is there a word for the killing of a husband?

Ard: Justifiable homicide?

Hahahahahahaha! She is such a joker!

~ Anyway Ard then started on her aerobics routine and with Little Richard screaming “Lucille!” at me I started work on some of TODAY’S BLOG.

~ Firstly, I did the what would sadly be the last QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY.

THE MIGHTY QLD REDS – Rugby Union

(Strangely enough I didn’t ever see a BRONCOS CITYCAT. But after their season this year it probably burnt to the waterline or sank.)

~ Then I did the last HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY.

And because it has provided us with much pleasure, variety, distraction and beauty, as well as a convenient place to hang washing during our quarantine, the HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Thursday Oct 29th just had to be …

OUR BIG WINDOW TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD!

Some people might think you’re a pane, but we love you (Boom! Tish!)

Thanks for the memories …

The video is even better if you make your own motor-boat noises as it plays.

~ Then I took a break, watched some TV and did some packing. Ard had a shower and read and then …

DINNER ARRIVED. YAY!

Butter Chicken

~ So now as our final night in quarantine draws to a close, it’s time for an episode of The Good Fight, a bit of reading and an early night.

Just as soon as I finish off these SURPLUS SNACKS.

Cheers
Michael

Purple, Green and Blue. The STORY BRIDGE turning it on for our last night.
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Blog #17 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY TWELVE

Hi All

In response to a ground swell of public opinion today I’m going to start the blog with the REGULAR FEATURES.

So first up it’s the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY.

And as a special treat we have TWO for the price of one!

Next we have the crowd favourite, the HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Wednesday Oct 28th and it’s …

the SUITCASE STORAGE BENCH WITH BONUS HIDDEN STORAGE DRAW UNDERNEATH!

And now a real treat for all you BASKETBALL FANS.

Yes that’s right. In order to stop Ard going completely insane I have used my natural creativity and my MacGuyver-like skills and fashioned an incredibly detailed and realistic minature basketball and basketball hoop out of raw materials that I found lying around the hotel room!

I can almost hear the gasps of amazement from here but I assure you I’m telling the truth.

Once I had everything in place I let Ard out of the bathroom and she immediately displayed her mad and silky skills drawing comparisons to the great Lauren Jackson.

“Ard, compared to the great Lauren Jackson you really suck.”

Eventually I had to ban Ard from playing altogether for constantly hanging off the basket despite repeated warnings. (It’s a very dangerous practice especially when everything’s made of paper.)

And speaking of SILKY SKILLS

I’d like to see LeBron do that!

Cheers
Michael

(Dessert below is from yesterday’s menu.}

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Blog #16 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY ELEVEN

GOOD NEWS! Our Covid Test results came back and both Ard and I were NEGATIVE.

Woohoo! That means we should be heading home on Friday morning around 8.00 am.

In other startling news, Ard threatened me with a pair of scissors and demanded I let her cut my hair so she could have “something to do to fill in the time. Or else!”

It seemed like a reasonable request.

In the end I think she did great job. But I’ll let you be the judge …

All right, enough of this frivolity. “Where are the REGULAR FEATURES?” I hear you cry.

Ok then. First up is the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY!

And for the first time we have a special reader request. So this one’s especially for new arrival QUARANTEAM MEMBER SEAN isolating just above us on level 15.

I give you ..

THE MIGHTY BRISBANE ROAR – Football

And the HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Tuesday Oct 27th is …

The AMPLE CUPBOARDS WITH AUTOMATIC INTERIOR MOOD LIGHTING!

Yes, they are all GUCCI t-shirts!

Nothing much else to report today except that we watched Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Equal parts Shocking, Embarrassing, Hilarious, Insightful, Cruel and Ridiculous.

Cheers
Michael

R.I.P. the budding ponytail. I coulda been Willy Nelson!
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Blog #15 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY TEN

Well today was the BIG DAY – Covid-19 Testing Day!

All we were told was that we would be tested some time between 9 and 5. So after an early morning fresh air break from 8.30 to 9.OO we returned to our room and waited.

While we were there, we passed the time by, well … waiting.

The testers finally arrived in full protective gear at around 1.30pm and set up a chair outside our door for the procedure – which was one swab of the back of the mouth and then a cotton bud up each nostril for a count of five seconds.

Because I’m a gentleman (and just in case there was any chance of danger) I let Ard go first. We both survived. The whole thing was quick and a bit uncomfortable and unnerving but not too bad.

My main worry was that with my nose they might lose a cotton bud up there or perhaps dislodge some wayward piece of Lego lost from my childhood.

There was one negative consequence of having our Covid-19 test today.

No that’s not a convertible bra. That’s our face masks drying out after being washed.

And the reason they’re being washed is because we won’t need them again till we leave. And the reason for that is because after testing we now can’t leave the room at all even for a fresh air break.

That’s Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in TOTAL LOCKDOWN for us.

On the whole I think we’ll cope pretty well although Ard has started watching Shawshank Redemption on repeat and has just ordered a poster of Raquel Welsh and a rock hammer on eBay.

OK REGULAR FEATURES time!

First the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY is …

THE MIGHTY BRISBANE HEAT – Twenty20 Cricket

And everybody’s favourite, the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Monday Oct 26th is …

THE APPRORIATELY ELEVATED BATHROOM TAP!

This fabulous faucet is today’s winner because as you can see by the above photos YOU CAN FIT A KETTLE EASILY UNDER IT for filling without the use of a crowbar or a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. In other words it hasn’t been designed by some sadist.

And to finish off – I give you a MEAL with a VIEW.

Last fresh air break for us.

Cheers
Michael (and Adriana)

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Blog #14 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY NINE

Hi all.

Well it continues to be an action-packed roller-coaster ride of excitement here.

Last night for the AFL GRAND FINAL the Story Bridge was lit up in both Geelong and Richmond colours.

And would you believe, at the very moment I was trying to take the photos, a massive UFO landed on the river and I managed to catch it on film just before it shot vertically into the night sky and vanished with a super-sonic boom.

Probably not something you see every day.

And while we’re speaking of the river, the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY is …

THE MIGHTY QLD FIREBIRDS – NETBALL

Today Ard wisely decided against sewing the sheets together to fashion an escape rope which means that she now has finished all her sewing projects and is therefore at a bit of a loose end.

But the good news for me is it means that finally all her sewing patterns and equipment have disappeared from the CHAISE-LOUNGE/DIVAN/SOFA thingy and I can finally use it!

However …

And …

But all is not lost. I have got my name down on a waiting list and I’m really looking forward to hearing some good news maybe in the day or two.

Ok I can’t delay any longer. I’m worried the tension might become too great from some readers. So here it is – the HOTEL ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY!

And today’s worthy recipient is …

Yes it’s the DOUBLE PLUG POINT/DOUBLE USB CHARGER COMBO. You can’t have too many charging ports and these beauties are sprinkled liberally around the room.

And finally just to finished off, congratulations to the Lady Broncos NRL team for their third Premiership win in a row and also to the Brisbane Marriott kitchen staff for yet another delicious daily menu.

Cheers (and go the STORM!)
Michael

AND STILL!

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Blog #13 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY EIGHT

Ok in the last blog I cleverly FORESHADOWED (devious writer’s trick) that today some BIG CHANGES WOULD BE HAPPENING.

And LOOK I wasn’t kidding – NEW SHEETS, TOWELS AND BATHROOM STUFF have arrived!

Now the thing is, even though we are staying at a 5 STAR hotel, the 5 STAR service stops just outside our door.

Which means of course that as far as Ard and I are concerned – WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE NEED TO BE!

Therefore not too surprisingly, my HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Saturday Oct 24th is …

OUR NEWLY MADE KING-SIZE BED.

And apparently, they tell me that now we’ve made our bed, we get to lie in it!

The only worrying side-light to all of this change-over activity is that Ard has now started sewing all the old sheets, pillow cases and towels together end to end.

I suppose I should point out to her that it’s a futile task since we’re 14 floors up and the one big window we have doesn’t even open, but hey, it’s keeping her happy and occupied so every piece of dirty laundry has a silver lining.

And while we’re on the subject of regular blog features, the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY is …

The BRISBANE LIONS AFL Team.

Thought it was appropriate to feature the BRISBANE LIONS on this historic day in Australian sport when for the first time in the history of the Game (due to the pandemic) the Big Dance aka the AFL Grand Final will be played at the GABBA right here in Brisbane and not at the MCG in Melbourne. And to celebrate this great occasion, we’ve really turned on the Sunshine State weather for you!

Sadly the mighty Brisbane Lions fell at the semi-final hurdle and therefore possibly missed what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a grand final in their home town. (But I wouldn’t advise whining about it to this year’s Brisbane Broncos NRL team!)

Now, anyone want a closer look at our meals? No? Well here’s today’s BREAKFAST anyway. Neither of us are much into pancakes and ice-cream for breakfast but it was still nice.

On our fresh air break today the walking course was limited to the undercover area around the pool because of the rain. Normally there’s a side section you can walk down as well.

We usually just walk for the whole half hour. In today’s walk, which as you can see was pretty deserted because of the wet weather, Ard managed to lap me consistently every five or six circuits of the pool.

I have no hard proof of course, but its pretty obvious that she’s a drug cheat.

And just to finish off, this photo was among the FACEBOOK MEMORIES that popped up on my page today.

Seems eerily appropriate somehow.

Cheers
Michael

PS: The answers to yesterday’s inter-textual link films were (1) GROUNDHOG DAY (because of the lines from the Sonny and Cher song that plays every time Bill Murray wakes up) and (2) BLADE RUNNER (because of the bucket-list that mentions attack ships off the shoulder of Orion etc)

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Blog #12 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY SEVEN

They say we’re young and we don’t know, we won’t find out until we grow
Well I don’t know if all that’s true ’cause you got me, and baby I got you …

Hi all.

Today’s BLOG is brought to you by the NUMBER SEVEN and the COLOUR … GREEN!

Well another Friday has rolled around which means we’re HALFWAY THROUGH QUARANTINE!

Now first I need to address something important because I’ve had a mountain of complaints from people who apparently are only interested in the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY and they are constantly whining to me about the fact that they have to “wade through a whole boring blog” before they can finally get to the exciting reveal! (Does the word scroll mean anything to you people?)

Anyway in order to appease those impatient philistines, I will now announce (ahead of time) that the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Friday Oct 23rd is …

the CHAISE LOUNGE/SOFA/DIVAN thingy!

I must say that this really is a remarkable victory for the CHAISE LOUNGE/SOFA/DIVAN thingy mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t even aware that we had a CHAISE LOUNGE/SOFA/DIVAN thingy because it’s always buried under Adrie’s sewing and dress-making crap paraphernalia.

Which is a shame because it is such a lovely and comfortable looking piece of furniture and I’m really hoping that one day if all the planets align as they should, I might just be able to lie on it and, who knows, perhaps even read a book! (I know, you might say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one … )

Seriously though, getting to actually lie on the CHAISE LOUNGE/SOFA/DIVAN thingy is definitely on my BUCKET LIST. Along with seeing attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and watching C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.

NEW FEATURE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know there are a lot of Queensland sport fans out there so in a vain attempt to broaden my reader base I give you the inaugural QLD SPORTINGTEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY!

Might as well start off with the greatest team of all – the MIGHTY QUEENSLAND MAROONS!

Ok I’m going to leave it there but I just want to warn you now that tomorrow is going to be an exciting and special day. You’ll have to wait to find out exactly why but what I can say is that there’ll be BIG CHANGES HAPPENING.

How will you all be able to sleep!

Cheers
Michael

PS: Spot the Inter-textual Links: What two films are alluded to in this blog?

PPS: Always great to get out of the confines of the room and fill the lungs on our daily half hour FRESH AIR breaks!

PPPS: Today’s meals.

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Blog #11 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY SIX

Hi everyone.

After answering yesterday’s fairly dubious questions I thought I might respond to some of the more legitimate questions that I’ve received mainly from folks overseas who are curious as to why we are in hotel quarantine in the first place.

So …

Are you in quarantine because you have Covid-19? NO. Neither my wife nor I have Covid-19 – as far as we are aware. We certainly are feeling fine and have absolutely no symptoms.

We are in mandatory hotel quarantine because we have returned to our home state of Queensland from 5 weeks in Melbourne, Victoria which is deemed a Covid-19 hotspot. Our Queensland state borders are closed to Victorians.

Returning Queenslanders like Ard and me can get back in as long as we quarantine in a hotel for 2 weeks and test negative to the virus. That test is coming up in a few days time. (YAY! Cotton buds up the nose! Finally something different to blog about!)

Can you choose your own hotel? NO. When we landed in Brisbane we were assigned a hotel. I think we were very lucky to get the 5 star Brisbane Marriott which is quite luxurious and lucky again to get a room on the 14th floor with a great view of the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge.

Is the cost of the hotel stay covered by the State Government? Sadly NO. The cost of 14 days at the Marriott plus 3 meals a day plus laundry services is covered by us. It’s not cheap!

So there you are.

And here are we.

Still.

But I think we’re coping pretty well considering, although I am a little worried that there may be some cracks starting to appear. For example …

Ard was going really well with her sewing and dress-making … until she decided to make me a pair of shorts.

Now either she’s got the measurements totally wrong, or I’ve put on more quarantine weight than I ever could have imagined!

I know my legs are great, but …

And now Ard’s offering to cut my hair!

Actually nothing too surprising about that. Ard’s been cutting my hair for years. (Maybe even for yonks.)

BUT if those shorts are an indication that Ard’s starting to lose it, do I really want someone who’s clearly in the grip of cabin fever standing behind me wielding a pair of scissors? (Hint: It’s a rhetorical question.)

In some less concerning and more positive exciting news, yesterday I was emailed the cover for the upcoming German edition of my young adult novel The Things The Will Not Stand. It will be released in Germany by publishers CARL HANSER in Jan 2020.

This will be the eleventh book of mine that the wonderful Carl Hanser has published. They are brilliant and one of the big reasons I was able to become a full-time writer.

I was also asked to send over a short video about the release. Yes! Something else to do!

And being the consummate performer and professional that I am, just 137 takes later, it was done! Not well done. But done.

Now I’m getting towards the end of this blog and I can almost hear a multitude of readers screaming out at me, “BUT MICHAEL, WHAT ABOUT THE HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY!!!!!!

Ok settle down everyone. Let’s not turn into an unruly mob. The HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Thursday Oct 22nd is …

The SHOWER NOZZLE!

Well not so much the shower nozzle itself. More the fact that a large volume of hot water pours out of it at a great rate of knots. Which means unlike some hotel showers I’ve experienced, you can do things like shampoo your hair and not have to spend the next day and a half in the shower trying to rinse it out.

Cheers all
Michael

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Blog #10 Hotel Quarantine DAY FIVE

You’ll never guess where I am!

Oh, right. There you go. Well done, you. But just remember – no one loves a clever dick!

Anyway I’ve been inundated by an avalanche of questions (FACT CHECK REQUIRED) about particular details of LIFE in QUARANTINE so I thought I’d better start answering a few of them before I was completely over-whelmed.

So here goes.

Q1. Hi Michael – love your book The Things That Will Not Stand and I think everyone should read it but I was just wondering if you could explain how the daily meal deliveries work? Reebekkaaah

Sure Reebekkaaah no problems!

It’s like this. Three times a day there is a knock at our door. We have to wait for 10 seconds before opening it because, you know, virus. When we do, the Corridor Kitchen Elves (who we never see) make our food magically appear! See below. When we finish we bundle up our rubbish and place it outside and then the Corridor Cleaning Elves magically whisk it away.

Q2. Hi Michael – love your book The Running Man (even better than Stephen King’s one) and I think everyone should read it, but like all my cool friends I’m dying to know what your ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY is. Konnaaaar

Hold your breath no longer Konnaaaar because the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Wed Oct 21st is … the EXTENDO TWO-SIDED FLIPPY MAGNIFYING BATHROOM MIRROR!

(Could only be improved if the magnifying side came with the warning: Things in this mirror may appear more horrifying than they normally do.)

Q3. Hi Michael – love your Ishmael Trilogy and I think everyone should read it but what I was wondering was, have you got any photos of your wife standing out in the ‘fresh air’ deck with her arms in the air for no apparent reason? Soozaanne

Hey, as luck would have it Soozaanne …

Q4. Hi Michael – love your book Just a Dog and I think everyone should read it, but I was wondering if you’ve taken the opportunity to let your creative juices flow while you been in quarantine? Kallum

Great question Kallum! While I’m more known as a writer of YA and Children’s books (available online or at all good bookstores and heaps of really dodgy ones!) it may come as a surprise to some that I am also highly respected for my innovative art installations.

Here’s one I whipped up today.

If I can just explain it briefly for the lay person who knows nothing about ART.

You see what I’ve done is, I’ve taken an actual apple from our lunch package and I’ve written the words The Beatles on it in marker pen as a visual representation of the famous Beatles’ Apple Logo and then (and here’s the genius part) I’ve positioned the real apple ironically on my laptop right in front of a screen featuring images of numerous Beatle Apple Logos.

Of course there’s much more to it than that but I’d obviously be wasting my breath trying to explain it to someone like you Kallum.

Q5. Hi Michael – love your Eric Vale series and Rodney Loses It and I think everyone should read them but I am curious to know how the police are treating you? Jazzzzmun

Glad you asked Jazzzzmun! The BOYS in BLUE along all the Management and all the Staff at the BRISBANE MARRIOTT who have been taking care of us, get TWO THUMBS UP from Adriana and me!

And I think that’s a very good note on which to finish.

I know a lot of people will be bitter and disappointed that I didn’t get around to answering their question but I’m only human.

Plus there are only 24 hours in a day.

Which given our present circumstances Ard and I agree are FAR TOO MANY!

Cheers
Michael

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