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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Blog #9 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY FOUR

Back again.

First up congratulations to anyone who correctly identified the intertextual links to the two films in the previous blog.

Especially ALEX G. who picked “All work and no play makes Ard a dull girl” as being a reference to THE SHINING.

And ANIL T. who identified my comment about the carpet “really tying the room together” as a refence to THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

Sadly because of Covid-19 regulations I am unable to post out the expensive prizes. Don’t worry Alex and Anil. I’m disappointed too.

And now for something we’ve all been waiting for – ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY!

Yes, it’s the personal, flexible, directional, book-seeking bedside light!

I’ve been in lots of hotels that either don’t have bedside reading lamps or have ones that are so dull they are useless or are only capable of lighting up the page of a book if you lie them on their side in order for the light to escape past the lightshade part which is too thick to actually let any light through it! Don’t get me started. But this little light (which is there in addition to a bedside lamp) is perfect.

Well done personal, flexible, directional, book-seeking bedside light. You are a champion and a well-deserved recipient of my Room Feature of the Day!

NOW TO THE BIG NEWS.

You really won’t believe what happened today. Seriously. You won’t. When you read this you’ll say, “Michael that’s absolute rubbish! You’re either starting to hallucinate or now you’re just making stuff up to fill up your blog.

Well all I can say is that sometimes fiction is stranger than truth!

Here’s what happened. While Adriana was in the shower I noticed these suspicious items spread out on our couch.

Of course I know what they are now – dress-making patterns. Obviously.

But then I quite understandably assumed that Ard had somehow got her hands on detailed plans of the hotel air conditioning duct system and she was planning to escape from quarantine via those ducts, Tom Cruise Mission Impossible-style!

It placed me in a very tricky position.

But as a good citizen, in order to protect the health of my fellow Queenslanders, I thought it best to report my wife immediately to Hotel Security.

And well, long story short, she was arrested (mid-shower), questioned for two hours by Australian Federal Police, eventually found innocent, given a warning and released back into my custody.

So all’s well that ends well!

And as I said to Ard, sometime – maybe ten or fifteen years in the future – she’ll look back and laugh about it all.

So not a good day for Ard but at least I had a lovely relaxing quiet couple of hours to myself, so I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

That’s it for today.

I’ll leave you with tonight’s STORY BRIDGE colour which is PURPLE!


Cheers
Michael

PS: And today’s meals for the foodies:

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Blog #8 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY THREE

Yes it’s hard to believe but it’s already GROUNDHOG DAY THREE here in the 5 Star High Security Marriott. Honestly it seems like yesterday that I was moaning and whining about it “only being DAY TWO“!

Anyway I’ve got loads to report so I’d better get a move on.

For those of you who bought a ticket in the What Colour Will the Bridge Be Tonight? Sweep, the answer was RED! (Although Ard said it was PINK. And there’s a chance that it might have been MAROON.)

TRIVIA TIME! Can anyone name a song that references the Brisbane STORY BRIDGE?

BZZZZZ! Time’s up. Congratulations if you said Johnny Chester: Glory, Glory (I’ll be back to see the Story Bridge), and my sincere condolences to you for being old enough to remember.

Here’s the chorus:

Glory, glory I’ll be back to see the Story Bridge
And spend my time just lazing in the sun
Amen, amen I’ll be coming back again
Just as soon as jobs I have to do are done.

You can listen to the song in all its glory (see what I did there?) HERE.

Are there any other Story Bridge tunes? If so let me know.

Now, back to more serious matters.

I must say that they are really looking out for our welfare as we hunker down here at the Marriott. We’ve already had three phone calls – one from a lovely RED CROSS lady, one from the DEPT of JUSTICE and one from QLD HEALTH – all checking on how we are coping and our mental and physical state.

I’m pleased to say that my wife and I are both going well. Today for example, I managed to do some important editing of something I’m working on.

And even Ard at one stage was bashing out something rather energetically on the laptop.

So all good here!

In another exciting development I have decided to incorporate a new segment into this quarantine blog entitled – ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY!

Yes that’s right, each day – either for good or bad – I will highlight some aspect of our hotel accommodation for special attention. I know, right. I can only imagine how excited you all must be feeling!

So without further ado the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Monday Oct 19th is (drum roll please): THE CARPET!

Now for some this might come across less as a floor covering and more as a cry for help, but I believe it really ties the room together.

Well that’s it. Nothing much else of any interest has happened here.

Unless of course you count the ghostly apparition that visited the room late last night and which I managed to catch on camera just before it flashed across the room, burnt a hole in the exterior wall and disappeared into the ether.

Cheers
Michael

PS: BROWNIE POINTS to the first reader who correctly identifies the two films subtly alluded to in this blog (apart from Groundhog Day).

PPS: Feel free to send a message, question, observation, cheerio, tribute, confirmation of your undying love etc in the COMMENT section below.

PPPS: And if anyone is interested in our daily meals:

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Blog #7 Hotel Quarantine DAY TWO

Still here.

Nothing much has changed.

Although last night the story Bridge was lit up in Lions’ colours.

It didn’t seem to help.

This morning we rang up and asked for our first ‘fresh air’ break.

Not long after a police officer called at the room and accompanied us in the lift to the balcony pool area of the hotel. There’s room there to walk around a bit while wearing masks and social distancing from other quarantinees.

It was great to get out for about 20 minutes on a gorgeous day in beautiful Brissie.

Besides that it’s been a jam-packed day.

I watched the Wallabies give the All Blacks someone to run over the top of.

I did some reading.

I ate everything that has so far appeared at the door.

I trimmed my beard.

AND I was responsible for making one cup of tea and two cups of coffee (so far).

Meanwhile basically all Adrie’s managed to do as far as I can see, is complete some sort of yoga routine and to make this dress for our grand-daughter.

Someone really needs to get their (her) act together!

Ok I’d better sign off now. I have to start to think about getting ready to begin waiting for our dinner to arrive. Then there’s the eating, and you know, it never ends!

Might just have a quiet evening in tonight to recuperate …

Cheers
Michael

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