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Fairy Home Inspections

The dirt was damp and covered in pixie dust. Penelope felt her pants dampen as she bent down awkwardly on the ground next to where Ferry landed. Her fairy friend dusted off the tiny green suit he had on, straightening his petal tie and turning to her nervously.

“Aren’t you going to go in? This rental inspection isn’t going to start itself,” she whispered, barely loud enough to hear. She knew that Ferry could hear her loud and clear though; fairies had incredibly powerful hearing – one of the reasons she figured he was looking for a new home deep in the forest.

“Can you knock?” He fluttered on the spot nervously. “I’m terrified.”

“This is why you needed to find a buyer’s agent near Kew before we started our hike here,” she muttered, eyeing the tiny home in front of her. It was the size of a shoebox, and her entire thumb would crush the door if she even attempted to knock. She was only there for support and to check if there would be any renovations she could help with on the house, given her green thumb and crafting talent.

“They don’t exactly have amazing buyer’s advocacy businesses in Melbourne for fairies,” he bit back. She knew it was just his nerves. He had explained how stressed he had been about buying a new property. She had even seen him bringing a notepad with different sections for writing down the possible resale value, bargaining potential and auction times of each house they would view.

Penelope shifted back, leaning on the balls of her feet. She motioned with her eyes for Ferry to knock. Given how cramped she felt with branches tickling the top of her head, she was too scared to move much. The potential for her to accidentally knock down the teacup-sized home before the property agent even came out to greet them was horrifying. 

Ferry, taking a deep breath, finally knocked, and the door swung open.

Excitement Heating Up

Before I moved to Canberra, I hailed from the sunny beaches of the Sunshine Coast. I remember huddling in front of a slowly rotating, rusty old fan in the living room, battling with my two brothers to be right in front of it. The only good thing I remember about that fan was that it made your voice sound distorted and robotic when you spoke directly into it which to my 10-year-old self was only about twenty minutes worth of fun.

That’s why when we moved to Canberra, I remember my brothers and I jumping with excitement when the air conditioner van pulled into the driveway that very first summer. Unfortunately, the air con wasn’t working when we first arrived and my dad had to call for air conditioning services. Canberra in summer definitely had more long hot days than you would think.

Nine years later, I find myself clicking away at my computer, 20 years old and huddled in a hoodie and two blankets for warmth, feeling that same excitement as I make my first adult-feeling decision to book ducted heating repairs. Canberra thankfully has some really impressive air con repair companies that service my area. When I made the decision to move out on my own after starting university, my brain had pictured that my excitement would be coming from some very different experiences.

That’s the thing with life: it’s ever-changing. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to share this blog post. Nowadays I find myself constantly feeling that my experiences may not be ‘exciting’ enough or what I had in mind when I was younger.

I scolded myself as though my excitement was misplaced when I found myself happily booking in to repair my old heater today. But then I remembered that rusty old standing fan in Queensland, that first experience of the magic of air conditioning and the future mornings of once again feeling warm before my morning lecture, and I realise no excitement is misplaced. 

If there is any point to this post aside from an odd moment of reflective journaling, it’s this: enjoy the little things in life. Allow yourself to feel and relish in the creature comforts that make up every day. And that sometimes, it’s okay to get excited about the prospect of no longer freezing your toes off at 7am.

The Final Sewer



STEVEN UNWIN, larger than life in his stained work gear, greets the camera with a wide, hearty laugh.

G’day again, mates! We’re off on another ripper adventure today – this time, we’re off to the heart of Northcote! Most people just see those quaint, quiet houses, but I’m here to uncover the thrilling tales hiding beneath the surface.

He chuckles, heading towards the door, his bag full of mysterious tools jangling with each step.


As Steven approaches the entrance of Northcote’s sewer system, his mood changes. His laughter subsides, replaced by a focused determination. He stares into the abyss of the sewer with a serious expression.

Y’see, mates, every now and again you come across nightmare blocked drains near Northcote. They’re more than just a bloody nuisance, they can cause a right ol’ catastrophe!

Pulling out a sophisticated piece of machinery, he winks at the camera, his boisterous personality shining through again.

And when things get really tricky, that’s when ya call some trusty sewer repair businesses in the Melbourne area. They’re like a superhero team for your pipes!

Suddenly, his eyes widen, and he points down the pipe. His voice drops to a whisper as he turns back to the camera.

Now, this is where the real magic happens. See that? That’s a monster croc! Bet you didn’t know, but they’re born wearing sunglasses ’cause their futures are so bright.

Laughing, he gives his thigh a good slap.

And those scales – tougher than a politician’s promises and a hundred times more reliable! And did ya know, their tails can act as WiFi hotspots? No need for a router when you’ve got a sewer croc!

He pauses, the twinkle in his eyes indicating he’s about to share another golden nugget of wisdom.

And the most fascinating fact? Crocs love a good soap opera. Yup, they’re all about the drama. Now, time to get up close and personal with this Northcote nightmare. Let’s get to it!

With a determined grin, he dons a pair of extra-thick gloves. His eyes gleam with anticipation as he heads into the dark, damp sewer, ready for another thrilling adventure.


Bonding Over Utes

How exciting is young love! Two of my friends met each other for the first time over the weekend (at my suggestion) and they hit it off immediately. I was very pleased because I had a feeling they would like each other which is why I made the effort to make sure they got to know each other. When it was clear that they were comfortable talking with just the two of them, I knew that I could move on and talk to my other friends for the rest of the evening. I kept a keen eye on their conversation (obviously) and gave my friend many supportive smiles throughout the night.

The first thing I did the next day was call my friend and ask how her night turned out. I wanted to hear all the details, from the moment I left them to the moment she picked up my phone call and I urged her not to leave anything out. I am emotionally invested in how things worked out for them and I was really excited to hear what she had to say. As it turned out, she went back to his house after the party which was awesome. He was really excited to show her the premium aluminium ute canopies he’d just had installed on his ute, and she was excited to see them. Apparently, that’s all he spoke about the entire party, but my friend was absolutely loving it. She said that the ute canopies are his prized possession and she was really flattered that he would show them to her on the night that they met. Corny, but I love it!

My friend said that she was really good at keeping the conversation going because she had some knowledge of under tray tool boxes for utes in Melbourne as both her brother and dad are tradespeople. That was the reason they hit it off so well at the start of the night. I can’t wait to share what happened next!

Stay tuned. 

Reoccurring foot issue

I’ve been pretty concerned about my feet for the better half of this year. There’s been a few ongoing issues with my feet for a good two years, but it wasn’t until this year when I really started to notice that something was wrong. The first inkling of a slight problem with my foot first occurred two years ago when wearing my high heels. It would feel like the bone in the ball of my foot was moving every time I would stand or walk. I genuinely became worried that wearing heels had dislodged one of my bones. Perhaps this might sound like an overreaction, but it was such a bizarre feeling.

As time went on, I then noticed that after a night of wearing high heels, I’d have numb feet in the morning. This feeling then evolved into numb feet for a day, then to a few days, and now to my current problem of having a numb foot for a month. I eventually had to accept the reality that I did in fact have a problem with my foot and would need to see a foot specialist. Cheltenham has several in my area, but I wanted to visit a specialist that I could trust. Let’s just say, I am very happy that I picked the podiatrist that I did. The podiatrist was extremely sympathetic and spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out the cause of my foot problems. 

According to the podiatrist, I was displaying symptoms of plantar fasciitis. To get to the bottom of the cause, the podiatrist got me to walk up and down their office a few times so she could analyse my walk. I have since received some stretches for my calf and for my foot. Here’s hoping the pain will ease soon and I can enjoy my heels once again, in moderation. 

The Boat Proposal

My friends just got engaged! I can’t believe it! The friends I’m talking about are my boyfriend’s brother and his girlfriend (now fiance), two people who I have come to know and love very much over the last four years. I am seriously so happy for them. I can’t believe they’re going to be married and Sarah is going to be in Adrian’s family for the rest of his life! How cute is that? The whole thing makes me want to burst into happy tears.

They video called us after it happened to tell us the news. They were so happy. I’ve never seen any happiness like it. I asked Patrick how he proposed and what thought went into it, and the story was so cute. He decided to take her out on his family boat to watch the sunset. But before that he needed to make sure the boat was in top condition. He didn’t want anything to happen and potentially ruin his proposal, and so he visited the most highly rated marine stainless steel fabrication shop in Melbourne. He made sure that his boat was in perfect condition and that any fabrication work that needed to be done was completed to the best possible standard. I was so taken aback by all the planning that it made my heart skip a beat. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.

Then Sarah told us what the actual proposal was like. Wow. I’m still taken aback just thinking about it. She was just sitting there, on the edge of the boat, watching the sunset. She was at peace and thought the night couldn’t get any more perfect. Then she heard Patrick ask her to go check on the fishing rod holders (because they were also doing some fishing). She checked on the fishing rods and at the bottom of her one was a beautiful, shiny diamond ring. She told me she couldn’t believe her eyes. She turned around and there Patrick was, on one knee ready to propose.

A Draining Plan

“Okay, let me get this straight, detectives,” said Captain Hold. “This document outlines the Conclave of Mechanists’ entire plans for world domination, where they will create a supposed utopia in which everything is run by machines. They are going to create this world through the electricity generated by solar power. So you’re suggesting that we head down to the sewers and siege this solar power station, sabotaging their entire operation before it can even truly begin?”

“That’s correct,” Maphira said, not sure she liked the look on the Captain’s face. He thought this was a stupid plan.

Captain Hold shook his head and pursed his lips. “That, detectives, is the most brilliant plan I have ever heard. You’ll lead a team down with the excuse of going to fix some blocked drains in the Melbourne CBD, then head toward the energy facility. Let’s get these suckers and bring them in for questioning. We might even be able to bring down the entire Mechanist plot with this. Great job, Maphira and Vai.”

It was strange to get such praise from the Captain. She examined the man’s eyes, the lines of his face, seeking to know if his words were genuine. As far as she could tell, they were. He really thought their plan was a good one? She’d expected him to tell her it was a bad idea to claim they were going to solve an issue with a blocked sewer. Melbourne residents would never believe that. And yet, Captain Hold thought it was the perfect plan.

With the meeting over, some of the other officers came around and clapped Maphira on the shoulder, congratulating her on a job well done. It was hard to believe that in less than 24 hours, she would be leading a team on the precinct’s biggest-ever operation, beneath the sewers of Melbourne. 

She just hoped she wouldn’t find a way to stuff this up. Somehow, the Captain’s confidence had her feeling even more worried about the whole thing. Now there was an expectation on her. But she’d find a way. She had to.

Mechanics in Adelaide

Another day, another auto shop approached by the Conclave of Mechanists, looking for new recruits. This one, not quite the same as the others, though. The Captain had Detectives Maphira and Vai sent straight on a plane to Adelaide. Technically, this case wasn’t under their jurisdiction, but he’d gotten special permission to have them investigate since it was the first time the Mechanists had shown up in South Australia.

Things were moving quickly. Far too quickly for Maphira’s liking. She had a bad feeling that the Mechanists would make a big move soon. What better time to make it than when the two detectives hunting you down are interstate?

They arrived at the mechanic based in Lockleys just before noon. Maphira ignored the grumbling in her stomach – having only eaten a blueberry muffin on the flight over – and shifted her focus to the task ahead. As pointless a task it is, she thought, unable to hold the bitterness back. So many hoops to jump through. If only she could have cut some corners. She could get to the bottom of this so much quicker that way. No. You’re not going to do that. You’ll do this the right way. You’re better than her.

“You okay?” Vai asked, leaning against the rental car. “You seem a bit out of it.”

Maphira swallowed. Head in the game, girl. “I’m fine. What’s the report, say again?”

Vai sighed, clearly annoyed that she had to read it for the third time. “This auto electrical shop was approached by two Mechanists this morning. They suggested that the automobile servicing industry was booming in Melbourne, attempting to coerce the owner to move his business interstate, with help from the Conclave.”

“They’re trying to recruit people from Adelaide now? Man, they must be desperate. Don’t they know that people from Adelaide kind of hate Melbourne? Why on Earth would they want to move their business there?”

Via smiled, recognising that Maphira’s wits were coming back to her. “Good to have you back. Let’s do this.”

A Mechanical Scene

Detective Maphira knelt down on the asphalt of the underwater tunnel connecting Victoria and Tasmania. She placed two fingers on the ground, collecting the trail of oil with her gloved fingers. Judging the scent, she put the clue in the back of her mind for further examination later.

The scene was a mess, with a broken motorcycle and a ruined limousine blocking the road and thousands of scattered metal pieces strewn across the road. As Detective Vai set up the police tape, Maphira pictured what might have happened here.

Explosive used, obviously. What kind of rookie detonates something like that while being close enough on their bike to get hit by the blast, though? 

“Detective, are you there?” came the Sergeant’s voice from her radio.

“Here, boss,” Maphira replied, tapping the radio’s button without bothering to lift it to her mouth. “What’s up?”

“An auto electrician near Milperra just reported that some strange men came and tried to recruit them to their cause. We suspect Conclave activity.”

Maphira clenched a fist, sure she knew exactly where this was going. “And you can’t send any of the others to investigate? You need me and Vai to make our way back to Melbourne on the double because everybody else is tied up? Right?”

“That is correct,” said the Sergeant.

Groaning out her frustration, Maphira stood straight and called over to Detective Vai. “Looks like we’re on our way to a mechanic. Near me, everybody!” After everyone gave their attention, she continued. “Detective Vai and I have to get out of here. Another important case to check out. Get this mess cleaned up and make sure I get a full report of any evidence by tomorrow.”

It wasn’t like the Conclave to be so bold with their recruitment strategies. Usually, they pulled people in with more subtle tactics. Telling people they were chosen by fate to pave the way for their robot, mechanical utopia, for instance. No, if they had openly approached somebody to join them, it was just a diversion.

The Mechanic Location

Rylee stormed toward the crashed limousine with extreme rage, ready to make her absolute best intimidation roll. Natural twenty coming right up, baby. Dirk Bradshaw would be so scared that he’d tell her everything about the Conclave of Mechanists and then some.

As she approached the wreckage, she couldn’t help but laugh. Thank goodness the vehicle hadn’t had any ADAS. Those dang advanced driver assistance systems always made it hard to sneak up on a vehicle, informing the driver that she was getting too close. Car cameras and sensors had become the bane of her existence lately.

She reached the limo and grasped the handle of the upside-down door, yanking it away. The door came right off, smashing into the ground beside her. Beyond the open doorway, Rylee saw two people: Dirk and some young man. Both were unconscious. 

Rylee reached in and grabbed Dirk by the shoulders, hauling him out of the wreckage. As he stirred, she shoved him into the glass wall of the Bass Strunnel. His eyes widened as he realised the predicament he’d found himself in.

“Where is that kobold going?” she asked, resisting the urge to slam her fist into his chest. “Tell me!”

Dirk gave a dark, toothy grin. He coughed, and for a moment Rylee was sure he would say nothing. “Cambridge. It’s a workshop for auto repairs around Cambridge. Is that what you want to hear? It doesn’t matter – you’ll never get there in time.”

He was lying. She was sure of it. There was no way he’d give up that information so easily. And yet, in doing so, she’d found out exactly what she needed to know. The Hobart workshop was unlikely. The Conclave would want a suburb they could use that would not attract attention to themselves.

“Brighton it is. Thanks, Dirk.”

His eyes widened, panic there before he managed to conceal it. Rylee dropped Dirk to the asphalt – he struck it with a thud, grunting.

“I’ll be taking him with me,” she said with a grin. “See you around, Tyrone.”